Time we learned to hear things we don’t like

By Dilwenberu Nega
Nov. 18 2010

I was spurred to write on this topic after my attention was drawn to two completely unrelated matters which took place in two different places, but nonetheless share an eerie sense of oneness: the need to hear things we don’t like. The first was Ato Lidetu Ayalew’s interview with Washington’s “And Ethiopia Radio,” where he so robustly cut to size the self-styled leader of Geem-boat 7, Dr Birrhanu Nega. The second is UK-resident Ato Wondimu Mekonen’s latest smear and sneer riddled on-line script in which he castigated his one-time darling radio station, Deutsche Vellle, for covering the promotional evening on tourism hosted by the Embassy of FDRE in London at the Royal Geographical Society.

Reactions to both men’s verbal and written ‘emissions’ were those of complete disapproval. In a move seen by many as an attempt to restore his former stardom among Ethiopian expats, Lidetu Ayalew, who is currently on a tour of US and Europe, dealt a death blow to Dr Birrhanu Nega’s expectations of galvanizing financial and morale support to overthrow the EPDRF-led government by fair or foul means. Speaking at a gathering to remember those who lost their lives at a Kinijit-nudged violence following the 2005 National Elections, Birrhanu Nega accused Lidetu Ayalew of urging the then CUD leadership to occupy their seats in parliament on the heels of the death of CUD supporters in the midst of a violent skirmish with security forces. Such accusation by Birrhanu Nega was music to the fraternity of hate mongers among Ethiopian expats who had gone to great lengths to make us accept Birrhanu’s tale hook, line and sinker.

Mounting pressure from the public to know the truth, nothing but the truth, persuaded Lidetu Ayalew to rise to the challenge, and challenge he did, in a manner and style reminiscent of his former years of resplendence. Lidetu Ayalew’s interview with Washington’s “And Ethiopia Radio” was to all intents and purposes viewed by many as a bombshell. By first rebutting accusations levelled against him so convincingly, Lidetu, then, exposed Birhanu’s atheism, his catalogue of errors and his track record which is replete with lies and deceptions. It was, however, his punch-line - “I came to realise God’s love to Ethiopia when Birhanu Nega was prevented from making it to the top” - which left Geemboat 7’s small clusters of supporters in taters. Geemboat 7 has since initiated an all out damage limitation exercise. Already London-resident Andargachew Tsiege and his gung-ho supporters are leaving no stone unturned to prevent Lidetu Ayalew from addressing Ethiopians on Sunday 21st November 2010 at the Function Room of ECB, Ethiopian Community in Britain. Sources close to Lidetu told this writer that as far as Lidetu Ayalew is concerned “It’s neck or nothing!” There would be nothing that would stop Lidetu from further exposing the sinister plans of Biirhanu Nega to Ethiopians residing in the London area.

As to the matter regarding Ato Wondimu Mekonen’s latest online script attacking everyone and anyone who does not sneeze whenever he takes the snuff, it is a different kettle of fish. By way of introduction, Ato Wondimu Mekonen is quite an erudite Ethiopian, albeit a confused and confounded one at that. He is a man having many hats and none of them fit very well; a Jack of all trades but master of none fellow. One week he is a human rights activist, only to see him, that is, attacking Ethiopia’s human rights track-record in one of the Committee Rooms of the House of Commons alongside a convicted criminal, former Derg Administrator of Debre Tabor. Another week he is a democrat lecturing on freedom of choice, only to see him, that is, harassing men and women for supporting a political party of their choice. Another month, he is a defender of free press, only to see him, that is attacking a media outlet for broadcasting news that he did not like others to hear.

This time round, Ato Wondimu Mekonen is targeting Amhara Ethiopians who are preparing to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of ANDM – the party of their choice. While he considers it his democratic right to celebrate or remember an event of his choice, he is adamant that such right be not given to others. What kind of human rights advocacy is this? While he considers Deutche Velle’s coverage of anti-EPDRF demonstrations in London to be an exercise of freedom of expression on the part of the radio station, he is scathing in his attack on Deutsche Velle’s coverage of a tourism promotional evening hosted by FDRE’s Embassy in London. Most imbecile of all, he reprimands Deutsche Velle’s correspondent for addressing the Ethiopian Ambassador as His Excellency.

The Wondimu Mekonens of our world need to come out from their la-la land and have the courage to accept the naked truth: Ethiopians, young and old, are no longer willing to be hood-winked by their cooked-up story which portrays our Motherland as a basket case. Undeterred, then, by the smear and sneer campaigns of Wondimu Mekonen we, Amhara Ethiopians, will rejoice at the 30th Birthday of ANDM secure in the realization that without whose sacrifice we would not have been able to see the dawn of democracy in Ethiopia over 19 years ago.

All are, therefore, most welcome to join a celebration of a great deed. Date: Saturday 27th November 2010. Time: from 3:00pm onwards. Venue: the sovereign territory called Embassy of FDRE, 17 Prince’s Gate London. SW7