Welcome to Tigrai Online,      Daily News that matters

Dr. Berhanu Nega: Dreaming a White Dove While Sleeping With a Snake

By Addis Alem
July 03, 2013

Dr. Berhanu Nega the Egyptian agent is working with Eritrea to destabilize Ethiopia
How Dr. Berhanu Nega could delude himself into believing that the same money Cairo spends to divide and weaken Ethiopia can also be expected to make it prosperous and democratic

It has been a while since I read Dr. Berhanu Nega’s book - Yenetsanet Goh Siked: Lekelebes Yetemokerew Ye’Ethiopia Democracy – but I still fondly remember the passages where he describes, with moving innocence and optimism, what motivated him and his party (kinejit) to run for the 1997 Ethiopian election.  Innocence and optimism are instantly attractive traits in a person, even in the absence of substance; but in the case of Dr. Berhanu, these traits, as expressed in those passages, were also packed full of substance. The core of this substance stressed that democratization was not a favor E.P.R.D.F. does to his party, but to itself and the nation at large. The idea is E.P.R.D.F. had not subjected the nation to the devastating violence of the Civil War only to prepare it for a new round of violence, rather to make violence obsolete in the practice of Ethiopian politics through democratization. Alas! I never thought that Dr. Berhanu’s philosophizing to take violence out of Ethiopian politics had been just that - empty philosophizing; and it’s deeply disappointing.

Now, I am not by any means condoning the Ethiopian government’s actions during that election, or its heartbreaking aftermath. After all, innocent blood had been spilled; dreams shattered; and after only taking a quick glimpse of its future, the nation stepped back in a shudder. I am absolutely convinced that Dr. Berhanu was correct when he stressed that there could be no sustainable prosperity or stability without a serious democratization effort in Ethiopia. If the Ethiopian government wants to make its argument convincing that any misgivings with the current democratization process in Ethiopia could be directly and sufficiently traced back to institutional inefficiency, then it should take tangible steps to make that clear. The Free Press and the Court System should be accorded special guidance and encouragement to grow truly independent. Since these two institutions are critical to protect citizen’s human rights, which are the building blocks of democratic rights, there can’t be any justifiable reason to keep them subservient to the will of government officials for a day longer. These are simply two wrong tools in the hands of the government that is supposed to be busy working to widen democratic rights to its citizens; and any insistence to claim otherwise would be perceived by the public as a pretext to get away with economic corruption. By unleashing these two institutions to hold its own officials accountable, the government can buy itself valuable credibility as a champion of honest winners - a convincing opening act for an aspiring democratic state.

What I found disappointing about Dr. Berhanu was not his dream of creating a prosperous and democratic Ethiopian state; of course, that is the dream we all share as fellow country men. What I could not follow, or even comprehend, was his willingness to shoot at the nation to supposedly bring it out of its democratic slumber. Now, this is a bad enough transgression; however, to receive the gun from Cairo and Asmara, our nation’s mortal enemies, opens Dr. Berhanu to a whole new level of ridicule. This just can’t be dismissed as a clumsy attempt on his part to atone for the guilt of abandoning the electorate that almost propelled his party, Kinijit, into the cusp of power before his group decided to boycott Parliament. It goes further to show that his deeply flawed “cold calculations” are far more detrimental to the democratization effort in Ethiopia than anything the government can do. Why? Aren’t oppressive governments known to manufacture the threat of war out of thin air exactly to drawn out legitimate calls for democracy and other grievances? How could Dr. Berhanu not see that the very regime in Asmara that is trying to push his own little war machinery is using the threat of war with Ethiopia to oppress its “independent” people?   

Sponsored Links

Only a fool would agitate to jump into war in search of a quick outlet for democracy; the fact of the matter is that war has no outlet for democracy; especially in a poor country like ours which suffers from persistent foreign interference, war can only promise a vicious circle of carnage and destruction. War is also a brutally corrupting beast; it is not a contract you can get in and out of with predetermined outcomes; war has a way of feasting on people’s good intentions and grand ideals, leaving them a hollowed shell of themselves, completely subjugated to its ever changing whims. In other words, war doesn’t indulge you to stick to your principles - whatever they may be; it just wants you to do what it demands until you forget why you got into it in the first place. War is often colossal in scale, terribly messy, and protracted in nature - all of these reasons insure that, even if you are lucky enough to win it, you can no longer remember who the heck you are at the end of it.

The other important aspect of war Dr. Berhanu fails to appreciate is its corrosive effect on the nature and meaning of sacrifice. The original meaning of sacrifice as unconditional self-offering for a higher cause resists corrosion only for martyrs of war; for the living victors of war, sacrifice quickly morphs to assume the meaning of entitlement. Victors of war are quick to sanctify all the pain and suffering of their struggle for a higher cause as a sacrifice only to quickly defile it - to use one of the favorite phrases of the late Prime Minister Meles - to seek rent. You can tell victors of war that “they can’t have their cake and eat it too” all you want – but at the end of the day, nothing can stop them from brandishing their sacrifice to seek rent. It’s human nature. To be honest, I was convinced this was exactly what I thought Dr. Berhanu hated most about E.P.R.D.F. Any claim by Dr. Behnau that he would be any different as a victor of war is simply criminally naïve.               

What compounds Dr. Berhanu’s wrong headedness on the question of war is his readiness to let the Egyptians bankroll it for him through the gang they created to do their bid in Asmara. It’s really beyond me to decipher how he could delude himself into believing that the same money Cairo spends to divide and weaken Ethiopia can also be expected to make it prosperous and democratic. Only a delusional person who lives in a crazed fantasy world fails to see that these two realities are mutually exclusive – for one to prevail, the other must fail. Of course, the real threat here is as always Cairo; Asmara is simply its partner in crime. But we all know that Asmara is not Cairo’s final project; its very existence is predicated on breaking Ethiopia apart so that it can dominate it using the Red Sea as an instrument of exploitation. Remove this calculus and Asmara is reduced to taxing its Diaspora population to stay afloat. These are the facts Dr. Behanu is willfully turning a blind eye to. The good news is that if his recent faltering on his fancy war project is any indication, Ethiopians know better than to follow him into his willful blindness.

Sponsored Links

More Articles

Language for whose Audience in the Ethiopian context? A Message to PM Hailemariam Desalegn

Ethiopia to benefit from Obama’s new $7 billion Africa Power program

Should Ethiopia punish Eritrea for supporting Ethiopian terrorists?

Uganda starts ratifying the Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement

Al-Qaeda in Somalia leader and Al-Shabab founder captured in Somalia

Better Late than Never:The Imperatives of Immortalizing our Martyrs

Ordinary Ethiopians started to speak out against the Egyptian agents

Enough is enough with the old colonial treaty cassettes

Shifting To See Meles in a New Light

Ethiopian Wins Sky Trax World Airline Award for Best Airline Staff Service in Africa

Ethiopian and Egyptian foreign ministers issued a joint statement

Too much ado about nothing: A minor demonstration gets disproportionate speculation

Somaliland to support Ethiopia in the Nile conflict with Egypt

The anti-Corruption Crackdown: Just an episode in the long-term battle

Ethiopia gets $300 million loan from Exim bank of India

Engaging the Diaspora: how, when and where Shaping out workable Methodology

President Yoweri Museveni blasts Egypt in support of Ethiopia

President Mursi and Co., Be Careful What You Wish for Ethiopia and the Renaissance Dam

Ethiopian parliament ratifies the new Nile River Cooperative Framework Agreement

Egypt Has No Choice but to Cooperate with Ethiopia On The Issue of the Nile

Eritrean sponsored terrorists annihilated by Ethiopian security forces

Sudan reaffirms support for the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM) quits armed struggle and returns home

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to pay official visit to China

Ethiopian Extremists wagging their tails and begging Egypt to invade Ethiopia

The Egyptian political rhetoric over the Nile and the reality

Ethiopia summons Egypt’s ambassador over Nile dam attack comments

Egyptian politicians caught plotting how to attack Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Dealing With a Pariah State in the Horn of Africa

Kaizen Initiatives at the Ethiopian Wonji Sugar Manufacturing Company

Beware of wishful thinking: one swallow doesn’t make a summer

Thousands of opposition supporters demonstrated Sunday in Addis Ababa

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea

Tigrainophobia is a bane of unity, peace and democracy

Retired commander of Egyptian forces General Mohamed Ali Bilal, said that it is impossible to strike the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Eritrean diplomat expelled from Canada for extortion money from citizens

Ethiopia diverts the Blue Nile for construction of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The Rise of the Sun People: A New Morning Breaks in Africa

The Ignored State in the horn of Africa

Ethiopian completes all Preparations to Start Services to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro

Africa will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the African Union this weekend in Addis Ababa

Star Alliance launches Navigator ipad App First Airline Alliance to Introduce Customized iPad App

Another flawed, recycled “Human Right report” on Ethiopia from the State Department (Part II)

Hopeful Youth and Renowned Personalities Praise the Late PM Meles Zenawi by Celebrating his Birth Day in D.C,

The role of Qatar in mediating Ethiopia and Eritrea

Another flawed, recycled “Human Right report” on Ethiopia from the State Department

Remembering the Past and Present, Planning for the Future: Is there a Future for Democracy in Eritrea?

Major Mamo Lema: the Achilles’ heel of the “Riotous 15” (R15)

Behind the Fašade of Corruption in Ethiopia and what the Government ought to do

U.S. Department of State issued new travel warning for Eritrea

High Ethiopian government officials arrested for corruption

Fishes That Never Get Wet (The Diaspora based opposition politicians)

Ethiopia to start construction of a high voltage power transmission lines in September

Former official of the Derg, Major Mamo Lema is accussed of “being a member of the terrorist Ginbot-7

If Egypt can build the Aswan Dam and change it’s fate, Ethiopia would build the Grand Renaissance Dam and will make miracles.

Former official of the Derg, Major Mamo Lema is accussed of “being a member of the terrorist Ginbot-7

Why Self-proclaimed Kaizen Management is becoming very fashionable in Ethiopia? An Observation

The Radicalization of Ethiopian Muslims: A Solution Worthy of the Serious Threat Posed

Ethiopia should declare the Algiers agreement and the decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission null and void

Shabiya sponsored Muslim Extremists trying to stop the Grand Renaissance Dam in support of Egypt

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom meets Ethiopian Diasporas in D.C.