Cyber-tigers: take your drama to your momma*

By Dilwenberu Nega
Feb. 21 2011

Much has been said about the histrionics which Ethiopian opposition websites exhibit from time to time, but today’s maddening monotony takes the proverbial biscuit. An ambush of cyber-tigers, in hock to a nightmare fantasy of turning placid Meskel Square into babel of Tahir Square, are busy emitting their morbid imaginations, muddled opinions and opinionated truculence on the blogosphere like never before. Hence, the Toxi-pora - the inherently anti-brigade within the Ethiopian Diaspora - is more to be pitied than to be laughed at.

If everyone was jumping off the bridge, would you do it too?

When it comes to patriotism the attributes which makes Ethiopians a cut above the rest are our determination to be masters of our destiny as well as our refusal to be either a copy-cat of or a guinea pig for foreigners. That explains why one of the most widely used Amharic proverbs is still: “Plough your turf with native oxen.” (Yagerun serdo bageru beray). And yet, here we are made to witness a hopelessly befogged fraternity of Toxi-poras giving sermon after sermon on the ‘virtue’ of turning young Addis Ababans – the sons and daughters of the poor– into guinea-pigs for a Tahir-style binge of uprisings. Mind you, no cyber-tiger likes to be the first to step on the ice, but yet he/she has the brazen audacity to issue rules of engagement from the comfort of his/her home in Europe or America. How could this be a fair deal? What kind of “Ethiopiawinet” bestows the right to live in comfort for a democracy activist, but condemns poor and young Ethiopians to risk life and limb? Must we not demand that our democracy activists, in places like London and Washington DC, to lead by example? These are the burning questions that the likes of Professor Al Mariam and Abebe Gellaw need to answer without hesitation or deviation.

If brains were dynamite, cyber-warriors wouldn’t have enough to blow their nose

Many patriotic Ethiopians are today fully aware of cyber-warriors’ braggadocio on oppositions’ blogosphere, and believe that Homeland Ethiopians would turn a blind eye and deaf ear to their mangled argument. Ethiopians would, therefore, be in the right to resist the cyber-tigers’ charm offensive to win hearts and minds, because Ethiopia’s positivity is far greater than its negativity. The facts speak for themselves. First and foremost, the political dynamics in Ethiopia and in the Arab countries engulfed by a wave of uprisings are poles apart. While Ethiopia’s first past the post electoral system and parliamentary democracy has seen Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the helm of government for close to 20 years, it would be utterly nonsensical to translate his prime ministerial stint as being autocratic, never mind tyrannical. Besides, is it not the case that the Prime Minister has pledged to leave office at the end of the life of this Parliament; making him the first ever Ethiopian leader to hand over power in a smooth and orderly manner. Secondly, by ensuring EPDRF becomes a constantly “Listening Party,” the regime has succeeded in carving out policies which reflect the needs and aspirations of the populace. Thirdly the debilitating effects of food prices on consumers was something that Meles Zenawi – unlike Ben Ali or Hosni Mubarak – decided to take the bull by the horns at an early stage. Last, but not least, what our cyber-warriors still refuse to come to terms with is the fact Addis Ababa has not ordered a media blackout on the wave of unrests engulfing North Africa and parts of the Middle East. Both the state-owned ETV and scores of private media have been prolific in their coverage and analysis of the cataclysmic episodes in Tunisia and Egypt. This free flow of information to Ethiopians at a time when Toxi-poras are busy with their pernicious designs speaks volumes of the trust EPDRF continues to enjoy from the majority of Ethiopians the length and breadth of Ethiopia. As stated in my “In a calm sea every man is a pilot” ( 28th January 2011) Addis Ababa has no rhyme or reason to be either Jasmine or Tahir-phobic, largely because of the hard and dedicated work EPDRF did over the last 20 years.

High-time hate-mongers come to realise what baits the Toxi-pora banes the ‘Lamaybora!’

*Stop your histrionics