For goodness sake terminate your fiery political rhetoric on Birtukan’s release

By Dilwenberu Nega
Oct. 14 2010

“The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.” Florence Scovel Shinn, writer and artist.

One of the defining traits of the toxic Ethiopian Diaspora – whose real role has thankfully confined to staging sparsely attended demonstrations whenever and wherever Meles Zenawi sparks at international gatherings – has remained its inability to learn from past errors, not to say mortifying defeats. Washington D.C.’s toxic Diaspora in particular, had consistently failed to pay heed to the rapid democratization process which continues to take place in Ethiopia. Nor has this section of the Ethiopian Diaspora jettisoned its repeatedly tried and failed approach of attempting to convince foreign states to arm-lock the EPDRF Government into accepting neo-liberal policies which today have proved to be the recipe for an economic meltdown in most of the richer democracies.

At the heart of the toxic Diaspora’s problem is the cancer of democracy: the politics of hate. It is this – and the Diaspora’s unwillingness/inability to divorce itself from viewing events in Ethiopia from the prism of hate – which is largely responsible for turning the vocal Diaspora into a nihilarian.

The release of Birtukan Medikssa, or to be precise, the way her release has spurred totally unwarranted reactions by the handful of avatars of hate politics is a case in point. Two ‘celebrated’ doyens of hate politics commentators in the United States, Professor Al Mariam and Ato Neamin Zeleke, - whose articles have graced opposition web-sites - had the temerity to pull wool over the eyes of the international community by concocting their version of a conspiracy theory. Accordingly, their tomfoolery behaviour has duly been exposed as they make a futile attempt at portraying Birtukan Medikssa as having signed her plea for pardon under duress.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all of the time
There is no doubt that Birtukan Medikssa is the most notable opposition leader from among Ethiopia’s hodgepodge opposition parties, but the bottom-line is that she isn’t Ethiopia’s Aung San Suu Kyi. Yet in their wrong belief of mounting a presumed insurmountable problem to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Birtukan Medikssa supporters in the Ethiopian Diaspora elevated her to an international status which, in truth, was at variance with the views of the great majority of Ethiopians in the Homeland. By only viewing the very video-clips posted on opposition websites one is able to confirm to oneself that Addis Ababa did not come to a stand still by her supporters, in stark contrast to Aung San Suu Kyi’s brief taste of freedom in early 1990s.

Throughout the period of Birtukan’s detention her supporters where hammering the point that not only was she a heroine who will die for a principle she believed in, but above all she was a woman whose will power the EPDRF Government will never dare to crash. These statements, written by the learned and the not so learned of the toxic Diaspora, are there for anyone to read. Today, their thoughts and actions have boomeranged against them.

No one has come to realise the useless state the toxic Diaspora finds itself in, and no one has paid heavy price by the wrongful advice emanating from this very group, better than Birtukan Medikssa. She had, therefore, reached the common sense conclusion that gone are the days when the agile-tongued and the malicious vocal Diaspora can ‘proselytize’ gullible Ethiopians into believing that the politics of hate was the one and only way forward for democracy to flourish in Ethiopia. It is, in fact, her complete disdain of the activities of the confused and confounded Diaspora that had eventually led her to conclude that nothing meaningful can ever flow out of those Ethiopians who have chosen to work in cahoots with the very forces bent on overseeing the total disintegration of the Motherland.

Basically, the issue of Birtukan’s pardon and her semantics ought to have been – in American parlance – a no-brainer, for she had publically declared that she believed in what she had stated on her plea for pardon hook, line and sinker, and that she did it out of her own volition. What more do we want from a lady who is obviously a different lady today than she was before she went to prison? Prison is one place where the faint-hearted break up while the lion-hearted make it up. Therefore, instead of creating make-beliefs to massage their egos, the Al Mariams of the toxic Diaspora should have been seen celebrating the fact that their heroine had used her time in prison to come out a born-again politician (not in its Christian sense) with the humility and the courage to openly admit mistakes with no ifs and buts.

Meanwhile, the EPDRF Government’s decision to address her plea for pardon in a positive manner has sent out two important messages to the world. The first is that it has underlined the obvious: the rule of law remains paramount even in a fledgling democracy like Ethiopia. The second is that even in the hurly-burly world of Ethiopian politics there still is room for magnanimity to follow victory.