Wednesday, March 28

Nothing To Offer But Fear Itself

Revolutionary Rap

I am a nightmare walking, psychopath talking,
King of my jungle, just a gangster stalking

Red or blue, cuz or blood, it just don't matter
Sucker die for your life when my shotgun scatters

My game ain't knowledge my game's fear
I've no remorse so squares beware

But my true mission is just revenge
You ain't in my sect, you ain't my friend

Wear the wrong color your life could end
Homicide's my favorite binge

Lyrics from Ice T via Colors


In the article Do we really know Meles Zenawi?, Ethiomedia reports on an interview between Ethiopia's dictator and the Ambassadors' Donors Group who met on May 9, 2005. The donors (by design the most important constituency of the regime) wanted to know why "there are some words being spoken with reference to Rwanda and the Interhamwe. What was the basis to push the government to use these harsh languages?"

Here is the response of Meles, "[t]hank you Ambassadors for the indiscreet questions, and I'll also start by responding to them: We believe the opposition have two fundamental, intrinsic natural problems". To start with, according to the dictionary an indiscreet question is one that in NOT 'respectful of privacy or secrecy; quiet; diplomatic'. So ... either Meles was smiling inwardly and displaying a serious attitude towards the hands that actually support his power, or ...

Anyway, he went on to say that the issue was that the opposition was trying to change the constitution by unconstitutional means. In the PM's words,
[t]hat in my view can pose a threat to stability in Ethiopia. So long as these groups are on the fringes, they add color and spice. But in the long run, they will create a problem. If we do not have a loyal opposition, loyal to the constitutional order, then the choice for the people will be the EPRDF or chaos.

And this is not a good choice, and not good for democracy. But this for me is not the main weakness of the opposition. It is a weakness, but it is not the major one. The main weakness of the opposition is that they have identified a number of scapegoats. These scape goats are not Jews because most of them have left. These are not Tutsis because we do not have Tutsis here.

Despite what the Interhamwes used to say, Tutsis are Rwandans. The scapegoats here are primarily Tigrayans, the Muslims and minority ethnic groups. Even in the very successful demonstration we had yesterday, some of the statements of the opposition was in coded language. What they said yesterday was - "We will send the EPRDF to where it came from." The EPRDF is tantamount to the TPLF, which is tantamount to the Tigrayans.
Besides being a litany of lies, the above statements are very revealing. For any other leader they would be quite indiscreet. However, for Meles Inc. this is business as usual and usually swallowed whole by observers.

A loyal opposition is needed for the sake of 'color and spice'. Translate this bit into the reality that the 'election' was meant to be a Potemkin Coronation of Meles by foreigners and no contest of any kind. The rewards were not to be a display of support from Ethiopians but rather the blessing of the Donors Group in the form of piles of cold hard cash and permanent political support.

Also notice that without 'a loyal opposition' "then the choice for the people will be the EPRDF or chaos." This is a frequent theme in the regime's politics. In the past Meles said that "Ethiopia will have to be ruled through Revolutionary Democracy. Otherwise because of the extraordinary circumstance relating to nationalities, it will face disintegration in no time."

What this all means is that as far as the journey of Ethiopian politics goes there are only two possible destinations - !Melesian Revolution or Death!. The rather silly but equally murderous ideological underpinnings of the regime vary all the way from the subtle demented worship of Albania's Hoxha to the double barrelled intellectual tour de force of Revolutionary Democracy and The New Paradigm.

The common theme of each justification for tyranny is the same as Mao's words that "power grows out of the barrel of a gun." Because nations loyal to such ideas (without an adequate capitalist interlude to actually bring about economic growth to exploit) are by necessity beggar nations, the 'barrel of a gun' concept has simply been updated with the belief that "power grows out of the pockets of Western taxpayers."

For Ethiopians, to be loyal to the constitution implies submission and subjugation to dictatorship. Because the document can't be taken seriously as a means of governing a nation it serves as a simalcrum of the laws of actually civilized governments. For that matter, dictators, above all, have affection for constitutions authored by themselves which guarantee their personal power.

The constitution enshrines tribal divide and rule, the absence of private property, unaccountable rule and no assurance of any democratic freedoms. These in turn assure eternal poverty and dictatorship.

Nevertheless, Ethiopia's opposition took political space afforded by the government's arrogance seriously enough to go beyond 'color and spice' to win election in every district where observers where present. Even after frantic manipulation of results and further years to make numbers up no final tally has been released because it would simply not be believed.

The PM says that the opposition is looking for scapegoats. Of course, the entire history of the PM's vanguard party is defined by vicious purges against traditional or unsubmissive Tigrayans, anyone opposed to the EPLF, anyone loyal to Ethiopia, anyone who did not keep up with the revolutionary god of the moment, and above all anyone who did not accept Meles as their personal savior.

Ethiopian government is defined by the definition of scapegoats and the absolute regional master of manipulating every community along tribal, regional, religious, ethnic, and ideological lines is Meles himself.

Professor Theodore Vestal points out that "Indeed, one aspect of the ethnic federalism of the FDRE is but a thinly disguised license to encourage hatred of the Amharas." This in time with actual genocidal acts against the Anuak and according to Human Rights Watch where Oromos are to be found
New quasi-governmental structures have been set up throughout the region and are being used to monitor and control the rural population down to the level of individual households.

These 'gott and garee' structures have been employed to gather information, monitor and harass outspoken individuals, control and restrict the movement of the rural population and disseminate political propaganda on behalf of the ruling OPDO.
Sadly, the structures in question are not really that new and are native to every communist tyranny in history from Castro's Cuba to Maoist China, HRW goes on to say that
Oromia’s gott and garee are not entirely new innovations. The gott are reportedly modeled on rural administrative structures that were put in place in rural Tigray by the TPLF during the war against the Derg. In addition, a similar set of structures has existed for some time in the Amhara and Southern Peoples, Nations and Nationalities Regional States, although it is not clear whether they are being used for the same purposes [ btw, they are.

In most of Oromia, however, the gott and garee are very new. According to some regional officials, the gott and garee have been in place for over a year in some parts of the region, but in all of the areas visited by Human Rights Watch the structures have been in place only since roughly September 2004.

Officials placed in charge of the gott and garee have been implicated in numerous violations of human rights. These include imposing fines and even imprisonment without due process, forced or compulsory labor, and restrictions on the rights to freedom of association, movement and expression.
Add to this list that there are no private property rights in Ethiopia and that most Ethiopians are serfs of the state and therefore serfs of Meles Inc. Folks can be forced off of their land at the whim of local party/government officials, permanently in debt for fertilizer and other essential to the Meles Inc. party/government monopolies that take their harvests and rakes in billions from abroad in their name.

Mengistu began the kebeles or 'committees for the defense of the revolution' that took so many lives and ruined so many others. Meles refined the concept of such absolute control in Tigray before inheriting and strengthening the kebeles of Ethiopia in general.

As we often say Tigrayans are the first victims of Meles Inc. Defining all Ethiopian politics in terms of genocidal threats serves Meles and his perverse, frankly evil, desire that Tigrayans be isolated from all other Ethiopians while looking to him for life itself. No Ethiopian reality has ever justified such a point of view and no one believes it.

Actually, no one is expected to believe it. What all are supposed to take note of is that for Meles politics is war and defeat means absolute victory or absolute destruction and given the stakes that he defines with his words that he is willing to do anything to stay in power. All the talk of genocide is actually a threat by Meles against all, particularly Tigrayans, that Ethiopian life means either "Melesian Revolution or Death."

Quite evidently keeping with this theme is the words of Meles to the Donors Group that
The EPRDF is tantamount to the TPLF, which is tantamount to the Tigrayans.
See the vile but clear logic of hate there? You see according to Meles, to be against Meles is to be against Tigrayans. We repeat this is more of a threat by Meles against Tigrayans than against anyone else.

Mengistu made similiar threats to Ethiopians and Tigrayans in particular in his day and carried them out. The only difference today is that Meles faces no opposition like his own and that the Soviet Union cared even less about simulated human rights than the Donors Group.

Meles and Mengistu along with the alphabet soup of revolutionary or revolutionary tribal organizations born with them share the essentials for disaster from control of the economy in fewer hands than ever before, to the absence of private property, to tribalism onto a belief that any means justified revolutionary ends.

Just in the very early days of his vanguard party purges and mass murder took the lives of tens of thousands of Tigrayans. One concerned observer pointed this out and was told "[s]o what, Red China had to kill a million people [actually 70 million by the 1970s] in order to become victorious.". By the early 1980s, even the Soviets were forced to ask Mengistu's diplomats why they did not stop purges and mass killings. The response was "we are jonly doing what Lenin did."

One of our favorite quotes, very familiar to our readers, is from the BBC
Observers used to joke that when the TPLF captured towns from Mengistu's Marxist regime, they would take down the ubiquitous portraits of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Lenin in government offices, and replace them with even larger ones.
Tigrayans have always been on the front lines of Ethiopian history. They are the most direct descendants of Axum, a history that does have meaning to all Ethiopians. The battles of Adwa and Maichew were fought there just as most invaders were first fought there. Tigrayans were always the most or among the most committed to a united Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Politics recently quoted the Indian Ocean Newsletter about a recent visit to the US by a central figure close to the PM. "An executive of the Endowment Fund For the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), a consortium of companies supporting the government, and a member of the central committee of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front" met with a few diaspora Tigrayans.

He warned them about “dangers which face the TPLF and the Tigrayans”. The
overall message was to call the expatriate Tigrayans not to be duped by the “chauvinistic” Amhara, citing the name of the owner of the web site.

Justifying Meles Zenawi’s policies, he told his audience that he considered that letting the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUPD, opposition) win the election in 2005 would have come down to letting the partisans of the old regime come back to the surface, which would have led to a massacre of Tigrayans.

He reiterated that “enemies like the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Party” should be neutralised “by all possible means” and did not hide that he was personally in favour of condemning Hailu Shawel and the other opposition leaders imprisoned.
Simply amazing, right?

Tribal communism is like a zombie in one of the George Romero movies. Especially note the bits about 'chauvanistic Amharas', the genocide canard, and the insistence on 'neutralising enemies by all possible means'.

Once again all of this is actually a threat, and an unbelievably crude one, by Meles against all, particularly Tigrayans, that Ethiopian life means either "Melesian Revolution or Death."

We have no illusions that all of history between Ethiopian ethnic groups was all a Disney movie. We also know very well how many sincere members of the TPLF have gone through dangerous journeys to oppose to any degree, the all encompassing organization that has captured their country.

However, the insidious level of tribal hatred foisted on Ethiopians by Meles and Mengistu is an entirely new and destructive factor in Ethiopian history suited to the personal power and ambitions of a few men.

The horror visited upon the Tigrayan people by absurd ideologies and atavistic hatreds should make us wonder who in the end caused more sufferng, and who killed more people there, Mengistu or Meles? Ultimately one must wonder if it matters.

All of the blood, sweat and tears caused by the Scientific Socialist or the Revolutionary Democratic versions of Tribal Communism over the past thirty years have only served the cause of greedy, grasping killers at the top of a heap of bodies.

FDR once said that Americans had "nothing to fear but fear itself". Ethiopia's dictatorships have had "nothing to offer anyone but fear itself".

Even if no one believes a shred of the genocidal fears on parade, observers should be certain of the sincere belief of minds that communicate such fears of the efficacy of killing.

Meles and Mengistu are nothing but gangsters with seats in the United Nations. They have far more in common with each other than anyone else but fellow revolutionary leaders.


Below are more posts on the ideological origins of and the grim price paid for tribal divide and rule:

In Whose Name?
The Killing Fields
The Butcher's Bill for the Closing of the Ethiopian Mind
On the Pitfalls of Ethnic Politics
New Jack Country
On the Origins of the TPLF
Blood, Oil and Ethnic Rule in Gambella
Don't Believe The Hype
Ethnicity, Poverty and War
War Makes Folks Poor

Monday, March 12

Donald Vader

Emperor Palpatine & Donald Vader

The Ambassador of the Republic could have been a Jedi Knight .... what follows is the tragic true tale of Ambassador Yamamoto & his seduction by the dark side of the force.


We are amazed at times about the amount of attention paid to the court proceedings in Addis concerning the imprisoned leaders of the opposition, journalists and human rights activists. Of course the fate of the victims of Ethiopia's dictatorship is of great concern - our point is that the court and what happens in it is a silly, albeit lethal, masquerade of civilized proceedings.

The fate of the imprisoned leades is solely in the hands of Meles Zenawi. They are in prison with their lives on the line because he wants them to be and they will be sentenced when and how he wants them to be. Press releases about documents, evidence, witnesses, postponements etc. are just part of a game.

Tens of millions of Ethiopians have no human rights, up to a hundred thousand were put in prison camps in the past two years, tens of thousands have 'disappeared' and the only ones that even matter are the very few that Western aid donors personally know about.

It is that personal knowledge by the representatives of governments that threaten and beg Meles Inc. to treat its own people decently, that is keeping those men and women alive - nothing else or they would have already shared the even nastier fate of so many others. Ambassador Yamamoto has declared that

Ethiopia is one of the United States’ most important partners because it shares and supports many of our strategic goals [but that] ... the United States remains deeply concerned about Ethiopia’s domestic political environment.
Despite all evidence to the contrary Yamamoto also believes that
Everything may not be at the speed we would like, but at least it's moving forward.
Maybe it depends on what the meaning of 'forward' is? If forward is defined as short term foreign interests being served vis a vis Somalia then things are certainly moving forward ... but in no other way.

Yamamoto said
Meles' military cooperation wouldn't earn him a pass on human rights issues
but this is obviously not the case, of course the regime is getting a total pass on the human rights issue.

Second only to Meles in deciding the fate of the imprisoned leaders is Ambassador Yamamoto. One of our favorite blogs, Seminawork, has been keeping up with the Ambassador's actions in Addis. It is nice that he is more polite to the Ethiopian staff at the Embassy than his predecessor and that his style is less confrontational than other attempted intermediaries between Meles Inc. and the political prisoners.

But ... a little bit of a problem remains.

Meles wants to remain in power forever and the U.S. (having decided that he is Our Man in Africa despite all Collateral Damage) want him to remain in power (at least until the next Administration has to deal with the whole resulting mess). The elected opposition political prisoners and the Ethiopian people don't want Meles to remain in power.

The Ambassador may be working hard to get them released but only at the price of the will and the interests of the Ethiopian people being defied and ignored. For men and women of principle just like the political prisoners in question being released is not what it is all about.

After all if personal priviledge and relative freedom in a larger prison Ethiopia was what mattered to them they would have joined Meles Inc. to begin with rather than risking their lives for their cause.

Imagine that back during the twenty-seven years that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for his struggle against apartheid that he got regular visits from American diplomats and even well meaning South African scholars / sports heroes.

The American diplomats and the others told Mandela that Soviet activities in Angola and Mozambique are more important than human rights in South Africa and that he should approach Botha on bended knee to apologize for his opposition and criminal attempt at overthrowing the Apartheid Regime.

Or picture this, that back during the imprisonment of Natan Sharansky in a Soviet labor camp in Siberia that American diplomats had visited him regularly along with well meaning Russian scholars and sports heroes.

The American diplomats and the others told Sharansky that the health of ongoing detente talks between the superpowers were more important than the human rights of Russians and that he should approach Brezhnev on bended knee to apologize for his opposition and criminal attempt at overthrowing the Communist Regime.

Further, how about this further arm twisting: American diplomats approach the families of Mandela and Sharansky and ask them to pressure their stubborn kin into apologizing for their opposition and criminal attempts to overthrow a regime that serves American interests.

Imagine the degree of hostile revulsion that would have greeted such American acts had they occured. Even 'constructive engagement' had its limits. But, this is exactly what has happened to the families of the political prisoners in Ethiopia. From Seminawork

According to American Embassy sources, members of the families of Brehnau Nega, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, Hailu Shawel and Yacob Woldemariam were asked to appear at the Embassy last Thursday on short notice. At the meeting, the US Ambassador appeared with Ethiopia's greatest Athlete, Haile Gebresillasie and Ambassador Bekele. Both have been mediating talks between the jailed Kinijit leaders and the Meles administration.

After the family members were briefed about the talks by Haile and Ambassador Bekele, they were told that the government wanted the jailed leaders to apologize for conspiring to overthrow it. A letter of apology drafted by the EPRDF was also shown to them. Ambassador Yamomoto assured the family members that if the prisoners signed the lettter, his office would guarantee their release.
To their eternal credit the family members refused to do so. For an American diplomat to support a dictatorship is at times understandable given that foreign policy is about self interest or in the case of the Clinton / Bush / Meles unholy alliance a matter of very very very short term interest.

However, that an American diplomat would participate in the pressuring the families of legitimate dissidents for the public relations purposes of a dictatorship is revolting. Opposition in Ethiopia is already a capital crime - one must assume that the Ambassador hasn't thought this whole thing out - if he has things get really ugly.

Families in Ethiopia already suffer for those close to them. The regime owns all land in Ethiopia and as Trotsky said, "opposition where the state owns all land [or the economy for that matter] is death by slow starvation." (Our addition is in italics.)

Rural folks are subject to summary seizure of their land, imprisonment at the whim of local party officials who also manage their planned crop and fertilizer based indebtedness to the regime whose permission they must seek to visit neighboring farms or villages.

The regime owns the rest of the economy through government monopolies, party owned businesses and crony businesses. Urban folks work, are educated or simply survive at the whim of the regime and its cronies / servile representatives throughout society.

All the while all Ethiopians are subject to one of the most brutal and corrupt systems on earth including murderous private tribal militias, staged terrorist incidents, vicious secret police and fake institutions of civilized government where they have no voice.

The degree of bravery that it takes to oppose the regime in the Gibee is almost impossible to comprehend as are the costs paid by individuals and their families and communities.

More familiar to Ethiopian dissident families regarding the government's interests in their role is the following from a November 27, 2005 New York Times editorial, "Mr. Good Governance Goes Bad"
Alemzurya Teshoe, 25, the daughter of one opposition leader, told Marc Lacey of The Times that police raided her home to take away her father and fatally shot her mother, who was screaming in protest.

Ms. Teshoe said neighbors who went to recover her mother's body were told that they had to sign a document saying that the opposition party was responsible for the killing. ''I was there when they killed my mother,'' she said of the request, which was later dropped. ''I saw it with my own eyes.''
The similiarities here are too obvious to point out. The American Ambassador has under the guise of 'just helping everybody' served the interests of Meles Inc. in the very worst manner. Darth Vader hardly ever did better for Emperor Palpatine. The Ambassador's actions are simply wrong.

No one expects different from Meles, but for the U.S. government to be involved in communicating threats and dangling carrots in this matter is not what Americans pay taxes for. Expecially when it is the fact that the names of the victims are known to the U.S. government is all that keeps those victims alive.

Participants in the discussions with American diplomats must be wondering the following - "if we don't cooperate will this nice man choose not to remember the names of our family member arrested for being a dissident?" This is simply not the kind of message that American diplomats should ever give anyone.

Particularly in the setting of suddenly being summoned to the U.S. Embassy while worried about their imprisoned loved ones - only to be presented by the American Ambassador kindly asking / (threatening?) / hurrying them to submit to a tyrant - it is a wonder that the families had the strength to resist.

We are sure that the British may have tried the same kind of pressure through foreign diplomats on the intimates of those who signed the Declaration of Independence. Certainly those left behind in the South by runaway slaves who went to join the Union Army were also subjected to such attempts at intimidation.

Ambassador Yamamoto is just following orders in the end. The real issue is that President Bush's statement that
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you
clearly does not apply to Ethiopians.

It is in the setting of the show trial under way and resulting human rights pressure on both the Meles Inc. and American governments that all of this maneuvering is going on. Some minimal semblance of pretended decency is required by both parties to get what they want lest Congress or the American press start to pay attention to Our Man in Africa.

The stakes are far too high for a public relations effort from anyone. According to Meles the issue with the opposition even beyond their supposed Rwanda style ambitions is not his personal power (he even vows to give up before the next election!) but the constitution.

Particularly its clauses for tribal divide and rule and for the total absence of all private property rights. Those clauses and the essentially corrupt worldview they represent is exactly why Ethiopia will always be in permanent crisis and desperately poor.

Loyalty to a constitution forced down a country's throat is like expecting Mandela and Sharansky to have accepted the South African or Soviet constitutions of the 1980s. The way things are now the regime needs no Ethiopian support to stay in power. The only true constituency of Meles Inc. is foreign aid donors.

It is simply shameful and beyond all civilized diplomatic precedent that a representative of the American government would collude with a dictatorship in this way. Using the families of dissidents to force apologies and surrender for sincerely held democratic beliefs is vile.

Such efforts are about as unpleasant and new as previous statements to the Ethiopian diaspora, that unique amidst immigrants to America, that they should mind their own business when it came to U.S. foreign policy.

This, regarding an Ethiopian dictatorship that uses Ethiopian embassies and consulates to spy on and intimidate the diaspora for the crime of criticism while out of AK-47 range.

This is all exactly the type of thing that Congress and the press need to know about. Americans should be aware what their government is doing and tolerating in their good name.

Don't play along with whatever charade comes out of Meles Inc. There is no trial verdict due - there is only the decision that Meles makes. He will make it in consultation with the U.S. government to see how much he can get away with.


The Killing Fields post below is complete and the beginning of a new series.

Monday, March 5

The Killing Fields

Just before the 'election' of 2005, Ethiopia's dictator had a conversation with a few EU Parliamentarians interested in the election observation process. Remember, American observers were turned away as "CIA agents of Imperialism", Ethiopian observers were subjected to arrest, intimidation and death, while FIVE EU observers accompanied the Prime Minister to his own uncontested vote / propaganda opportunity.

Anyway, the following exchange occured around the whole "Rwanda Genocide" accusation by the 'tribal divide and rule' regime against the opposition. From EthioMedia:
Mr. WIJKMAN - We all know too little to really make a judgment. We discussed with one of the opposition about the Rwandan thing. He said that they were being accused of pushing the Tigrayans out. He said how can they do that when they have thousands of them as members.

H.E. the P.M. - If they get 1% of the Vote in Tigray, you have got a thousand dollars.

Mr. WIJKMAN - If I win that bet, I will return it back to Ethiopia.

H.E. the P.M. - There is a history for this. Many of the senior leadership of the opposition are people who were associated with the Dergue. Much of the resistance to Mengistu came in the form of an armed struggle mainly for Tigray and Eritrea. Eritrea is no longer in the equation.

But the Tigrayans remain to be part of Ethiopia. So the issue of the war on self-determination and land which we thought was settled by the constitution is still being fought over, fortunately without bullets.
Thus is defined the essence of the regime and its relations with all Ethiopians - lies swallowed whole by the true constituency of the regime in the form of foreign aid givers, tribal / regional / religious divide and rule, and land policies guaranteed to cause eternal poverty and oppression.

EthioMedia also has an account of an interview with Ethiopia's dictator conducted by Professor Donald Levine. He asked Ethiopia's dictator why there were Tigrayans in the opposition and why Tigrayans in Addis voted for the opposition if they were to be victims of a planned genocide.

(Indeed, every district nationwide where foreign observers where present overwhelmingly voted for the opposition - no final vote tally has been released almost two years later for any districts. This even for districts where observers could be shot at will.)

The response of Prime Minister Zenawi was to say with a practiced, repulsive glibness that in Nazi Germany's concentration camps that some victims were forced to attack each other. The Professor's response was appropriate
When I heard that, honestly, that churned my stomach.
Thus, is further defined the essence of the regime and particularly its relations with the Tigrayan people. The notion that all Hindus in Uttar Pradesh or all Puerto Ricans in Harlem agreed with one man or one party would be manifestly offensive to all civilized people. Yet the notion that all Tigrayans agree with Meles or else risk or deserve suffering and scorn is supposed to be just fine with all.

What Meles is describing is not a relationship with Tigrayans based on loyalty or common interest or affection but one based on coercion, fear and contempt. That is the only way that such absolute obedience can be rationally expected from any community and the only way that any opposition from any quarter takes on an apocalyptic tone of genocide.

Meles is not just telling lies in the above quotes - the threats against any opponents, particularly Tigrayan ones are clear to any observer who does not need facility with 'wax and gold' but who only needs to pay attention.

In essence what he is saying is that political power for him is a matter of life and death and total war that goes beyond the platitudes of democracy that the message is wrapped up in.

To Meles, to be Tigrayan is by definition to be loyal to him and his minions unto death. The threat was based on decades of brutally remaking Tigray in his own image and the hatred he hoped had been created against Tigrayans by his own policies. He has power for now but the hatred bit has not worked and never will.

Tigrayans were just the first victims of Meles Inc. just as Russians were the first victims of the Bolsheviks. Tigrayans had the tragic misfortune of having to bear the weight of both Meles and Mengistu in the competition to see which band of Marxist-Leninists would get to wreck Ethiopia with a system that always produced streams of refugees, hunger and oppression.

The current ruling party has always abused the good name of Tigrayans just as Mengistu abused the good name of all Ethiopians. Both distorted the history of their victims, purposeful dismantled their traditions, criminalized their culture, and attempted to erase independent thought to justify the creation of the two most bloody and greedy aristocracies in all of Ethiopian history.

The book Mao: The Unknown Story is about one of the most bloody figures in human history whose 70 million Chinese victims perished on the very same path that both Mengistu and Meles gladly chose for Ethiopia.

Mao was an inspiration to both Mengistu and Meles. From 1974 on both dictators made the people of Tigray suffer in killing fields for the interchangeable purposes of 'Scientific Socialism' and 'Revolutionary Democracy'.

For example, in the early days of the Chinese Communist Party a frequent weapon used by Mao to kill enemies among the party and people was the charge of being Anti-Bolshevik (A.B.). This means that daring to consider Chinese interests without giving primacy to those of the Soviet Union (or just being accused of the same) was rewarded with a death sentence. Millions died in the AB purges.

In Mengistu's Scientific Socialist Ethiopia being an AB was also cause for capital punishment. At first the AB purge hit Dergue members, then other ranks of the armed forces and finally all of Ethiopia. The punishment hundreds of thousands got for not having a sufficiently 'Internationalist' perspective and and being overconcerned with Ethiopian interests was death.

In the earlier days of Meles and his Revolutionary Democratic Tigray all the way through 1998, being an AB was not an issue since initially the Bolsheviks were supporting Mengistu and later they lost the Cold War. What did get tens of thousands of Tigrayans from fighters to cadres to civilians killed was overconcern with Ethiopian or Tigrayan issues while not displaying sufficient loyalty to the cause of the EPLF.

In another essay, Professor Levine had this to say about the roots of the tribal / class divide and rule origins of Ethiopia's current dictatorship
[E]thno-Marxist sentiment drove the most ambitious elements of the TPLF movement. It led those who took political control of the TPLF to turn against Tigrayan political elements who did not support Eritrean independence. Before long that led, evidence suggests, to a policy of liquidating those elements.

Tigray became, survivors of those horrific years aver, a "killing field." According to many reports, which must be investigated further by future historians, Tigrayan civilians were slaughtered right and left–in many cases following gruesome torture, according to eye witnesses.
That convenient ideology served the fearsome will to power of a few who systematically tore down Tigrayan culture, tradition, history and identity and and tried to rebuild it in the service of Meles Inc. At some point the EPLF decided that independence depended not only on defeat of Ethioipa but its destruction.

During the First World War, Germans “transported Lenin in a sealed train like a plague bacillus from Switzerland to Russia” with the express purpose of weakening Russia - and it worked. The war ended with the Bolsheviks signing away vast swathes of their country in exchange for their party's rule.

Communist upheavel in Tigray according to Levine
became a heady brew that induced the committed TPLF ethno-Marxists to murder great numbers of civilians and to perpetrate slanders against Amharas and Ethiopian patriots.

One veteran of those killings confesses that when he told another, early in the fighting "the number of people we have killed thus far has reached 10,000," his comrade replied: "So what, Red China had to kill a million people in order to become victorious."

Attitudes of that sort, be it noted, were shared by other Ethiopian revolutionaries of the time.
Note that the 10,000 figure was EARLY during the purges in Tigray. In the post, On the Origins of the TPLF we discussed how the party was very careful to avoid mention of any Marxist topic because it was certain that the people of Tigray would reject it. It is also as Meles Inc. became more secure in its grip on the people it supposedly spoke for that it forced through the anti-Ethiopian agenda at its core.

This despite the facts that Tigray has traditionally always had the strongest property rights in Ethiopia and that Tigray was the most unwavering center of Ethiopian unity throughout history.

For Meles to become legitimate everything before him and in opposition to him had to become a spring of simple evil - and the first targets were in Tigray. Revolutionary vanguard parties are not places for compromise. Mengistu also held the identical view, opposition could only be destroyed and after cowing urban Ethiopia he also turned his appetite for destruction towards Tigray.

Indeed, the conflict in Ethiopia back then is most accurately described as a contest to see which band of Communists would rule Ethiopia - military junta scientific socialists or student tribal revolutionary democrats. Their respective plans for Ethiopia and/or Tigray were identical.

As long as power was gained or kept - all was justified. Normal values and rules of tradition or morality be they cultural or religious were viewed with contempt. The problem is that there is so much value in Ethiopian / Tigrayan history, tradition and culture that can not be tossed aside without an enormous price being paid.

Meles has failed in his attempt to create an ersatz Tigrayan identity centered on his own personal interests that makes that proud people his least free subjects. The vile and bloody revolutionary culture of Meles Inc. is no more authentic to Tigray than the vile and bloody culture of crack dealers is authentic to African-Americans.


We will run through the Mao book and make other comparisons to the recent Ethiopian experience in a Killing Fields series because the story provides clear and present parallels to the price Ethiopians have paid to tyranny.