December 16, 2020
“A thing is funny when—in some way that is not actually offensive or frightening—it upsets the established order. Every joke is a tiny revolution. If you had to define humour in a single phrase, you might define it as dignity sitting on a tin-tack. Whatever destroys dignity, and brings down the mighty from their seats, preferably with a bump, is funny. And the bigger the fall, the bigger the joke.”
“The passage above is from the text reprinted in volume three of “George Orwell: The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters”. (quoteinvestigator, Every Joke Is a Tiny Revolution).
Author’s Note: I’m an ardent supporter of press freedom. I’m aware that Addis Standard’s editor, Medihane Ekubamichael, was arrested by the Ethiopian police. When I heard the news about his arrest, I had compassion for him, though I didn’t have the facts about the laws he allegedly violated. Stating my awareness and feelings about his arrest, in this article, is an effort to bring his imprisonment to the limelight. And also to demand he should receive a fair trial!
This article is a respond to Addis Standard’s editor in chief, Tsedale Lemma, article (the New York Times, November 11, 2020, “What’s Happening in Ethiopia Is a Tragedy”).
Although Lemma, in her opinion, rightly expressed what is happening in Ethiopia is a tragedy, her deceptive views are shaped with her ethnic based political motivation and her social needs which superseded her need to seek for “journalistic truth”, which is her first obligation if she is a professional journalist.
An Ethiopian reader of her article, one who attentively follows Ethiopians’ current affairs and has an objective understanding of Ethiopians’ history, cultures and politics, would easily recognize several things about her identity, personality and loyalty in her opinions, including: She is proud to be an Ethiopian if the TPLF’s beaten, ruthless tyrants control the Ethiopian government power. She is prouder in her ethnical (Tigrayan) identity than her national (Ethiopian) identity if Tigray remains a police state of the now obsolete TPLF’s authoritarians. She is proudest in her political identity with the outmoded TPLF’s apartheid policies than her Ethiopian, Tigrayan or journalistic identity.
She made it too obvious for her article’s readers that her loyalty isn’t for Ethiopia, Tigray or journalism; it is for the TPLF’s apartheid policies. For instance, she uses her news website to promote the defunct TPLF’s divide-families-federalism that to divide and rule Ethiopians along ethnic line or to dismantle Ethiopia. She is poor in rationality and pretty bad at finding “journalistic truth” because she let her reasoning become influenced by the TPLF’s ethnic politics – which is designed to divide and conquer Ethiopians among their 80+ languages and their corresponding dialects. Let describe the TPLF’s ethnic politics with a scenario, say a child was born from Ethiopian parents who came from two ethnic groups; for example:
- A Bale Oromo father who speaks his region’s Afaan Oromo and Amharic of the Shewa region
- An Amhara mother who speaks Amharic and Tigrinya of one of the Gonder’s regions
- The child speaks Amharic of the Shewa region and English with an American accent
- The child’s ancestries could be traced, obviously, to various ethnic groups across Africa, including Ethiopia and the Middle East
When the child applies for an ID card or a passport, the child would be required to be classified as an Oromo, because the child’s father is an Oromo.
Jim Fussell, Prevent Genocide International, on his article titled “Group Classification on National ID Cards as a Factor in Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing” articulated that “In his 1996 book Ethnic Cleansing, Andrew Bell-Fialkoff locates genocide and ethnic cleansing within a continuum of eliminationist population policies, offering the following as a definition of population cleansing”
“Population cleansing is a planned, deliberate removal from a certain territory of an undesirable population distinguished by one or more characteristics such as ethnicity, religion, race, class, or sexual preference. These characteristics must serve as the basis for removal for it to qualify as cleansing.”
Did PM Abiy overreach?
Lemma claimed that “… Mr. Abiy overreached. His first cardinal mistake was to sideline the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, for decades the most powerful political force in the country, in the peace he brokered between Ethiopia and Eritrea.”
The fact is Abiy didn’t overreach. He didn’t sideline the TPLF’s ruling class. He executed what the abolished EPRDF’s executive committee, which was led by the TPLF’s butchers, decided long before he became prime minster of Ethiopia in 2018. He broke a deadlock and accepted an international arbitration commission ruling in favor of Eritrea in 2002 and signed a peace agreement with the Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki (The Nobel Prize, Abiy Ahmed Ali Facts).
Regarding communications shut down in Tigray
Lemma said that “As fighting raged [in Tigray], the internet and telephone networks have been shut down [in Tigray].”
She made it appear that Abiy ordered the blackout in Tigray. But Ethio telecom disclosed a video footage taken from security cameras that shows masked intruders disconnecting a network (Ethio Telecom, CCTV cameras video footage and LJDemissie, Reuters’ Fake News).
Is Ethiopia on the edge of civil war?
Lemma stated that “Ethiopia stands on the cusp of civil war, bringing devastation to both the country and the wider region. While the situation is volatile and uncertain, this much is clear: Mr. Abiy’s political project, to bring together the nation in a process of democratization, is over. And much of the blame must be laid at his door.”
Her farfetched concern – “Ethiopia stands on the cusp of civil war” – is the voided TPLF’s demagogues and their pawns the likes of Lemma’s rhetoric. To explain, when the TPLF’s treacherous tyrants lose their grip on power, they planned to trigger a civil war among Ethiopia’s ethnic groups in order to dismantle Ethiopia; and in turn, to destabilize the Horn of Africa region, hoping that will give them a golden opportunity to control Ethiopia.
Her allegation that “… much of the blame [for Ethiopian Tragic situations] must be laid at his [Abiy’s] door is correct, in theory.
To explain, after Abiy took office, he should have brought to justice the TPLF’s criminals – instead of trying to sacrifice justice under a pretext of national reconciliations and transitional justice. This act could have saved tens of thousands of lives, a significant amount of resources and a high opportunity cost of engaging to enforce the rule of law.
But in hindsight, Abiy’s willingness to sacrifice justice for the sake of national reconciliations, peace and stability paid off because the butchers and their pawns fell into their own trap. That created a greater prospect for Ethiopians to be united by the blood of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, the Amhara region militias’ and those innocent civilians the TPLF’s Special Forces slaughtered, including with machetes, among other places, in Mai-Kadra western Tigray.
Lemma is a deceptive journalist
The truth is Lemma has to take some responsibility for Ethiopians, particularly Tigrayans’ subjugations by the TPLF’s demagogues in the last thirty years. Due to her political interest with the TPLF’s tyrants she turned a blind eye to the crimes against humanity that the TPLF’s fascists committed against, among others, Tigreans. For example: using her news website, she never let the world know the Tigrayans’ commoners’ horrifying situations under the TPLF’s juntas.
She ignored the fact about the juntas’ prison holes dug down across Tigray’s mountains. She neglected to let the world know the TPLF’s despots used to execute their teenage guerrilla fighters for having consensual heterosexual relationship. She failed to act as champion fighting for the freedom of her people, the Tigrean people, whom she appeared to defend.
The fact is, after Abiy assumed power, Ethiopians except for Tigrayans have access for independent sources of information; Tigrayans only source of information was the TPLF’s media because the TPLF banned other sources of information. The TPLF’s tyrants also made it illegal to speak, write and/or protest against the TPLF’s ruling class. Moreover, it was almost impossible for opposition parties to promote their agendas in Tigray.
The TPLF’s illegitimate election
In the September 09, 2020, illegal regional election the TPLF held, Lemma’s news website, Addis Standard, reported: “Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party of Tigray regional state, has won 98.2% of the vote for the regional parliament, taking all 152 seats.”
Lemma only reported there was an election in Tigray, without addressing the election’s nature that whether it was legal, democratic and transparent. She didn’t question how a party could win 98.2% of the vote. This evidence shows she isn’t a journalist that seeks “journalistic truth”.
Furthermore, Lemma mainly uses her news website to hide the TPLF’s rulers’ treachery and cruelty. For example, she never brought to light the tortures, disappearances and extra judicial executions of Tigrayans who lives in Tigray. She never mentioned the TPLF’s rulers’ savagery was more “pervasive and widespread problems” in Tigray than any other states in Ethiopia.
She never let her readers be aware of that the TPLF’s torturer kingpins torture every part of a prisoner’s body. For instance, the TPLF’s ruthless security head Getachew Assefa is notorious for, among other things, butchering female prisoners’ vulva: the labia minora and majora, opening of the urethra, clitoris and vagina with pliers. He tormented males’: penises, scrotums and testicles with various objects, including pliers and destroyed prisoners’ manhood related to their sexual power” (LJDemissie, article, December 16, 2018).
Giving a detailed description of how the TPLF’s torturers tortured Engineer Endale Abebe, who is an Oromo Ethiopian, across their prisons, including in Tigray, will make readers “feel queasy and uncomfortable”. To make a point, I paraphrased a few of his horrifying experiences. Abebe who appears to be in his 30s said that:
- He was imprisoned for four years in a foxhole in Tigray
- He wears a diaper because he has been made unable to control his bowel movements by the TPLF’s torturers; they shoved a police black baton in his rectum through his anus
- His TPLF’s torturers left an executed prisoner’s corpse decomposing next to him while they imprisoned him in a foxhole. Their intention was to torture him physically and psychologically with “the stench of putrefaction” of the dead body
- “Generations of maggots” from a prisoner’s corpse crawled on his body. In other words, he was made to live with every second of the dead body’s decomposition phases.
Note: depending on the environment, a corpse’s flesh could decompose [eaten by maggots and turn into soil within five days (“Deer Turns to Dust Before My Eyes”)] to fifty days (Australian Museum, “Stages of decomposition”)
His crime was saying the late PM Meles Zenawi’s parliament was illiterate, after noting some parliament members used their thumbprint as their signature because they didn’t know how to sign their name. Note: “Legally, a signature is just a way to say “Yes, I have read and understand this””
I take Abebe’s word literally because I know a torture victim (I remember his first name was Sisay) whose cellmates had to move him out from their cell and lie him down at a corridor of a makeshift prison because they couldn’t endure the stench of his untreated tortures wounds. I met him; I saw him unable to control his body balance when he walked. Since his feet and toes were irreparably damaged by his untreated torture wounds, when he walks, he loses his balance because his body parts: head, neck, torso and hips thrust him forward.
Sisay was made to suffer during Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam’s bloody Red Terror campaign at the Higher-15 makeshift detention center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I heard he was released after about five years of imprisonment; he graduated from a university in Ethiopia, and he had a successful life. I’m grateful for not witnessing his sufferings.
To conclude, Ethiopians, including Tigrayans despised and rejected the now voided TPLF’s demagogues, among other things, for their apartheid policy and viciousness long before they lost their dominance in all aspects of Ethiopians’ affairs.
I argue that Ethiopians, including Tigrayans would “spare no privileges of respect even in death” to the TPLF’s beaten butchers’ dead bodies. If Ethiopians would be given an opportunity similar to an Italian crowd that was gathered in Piazza Loreto in Milan, Italy in April 29, 1945, I think they would treat the butchers’ corpse like the Italian crowd treated Benito Mussolini and his fascist henchmen’s dead bodies. If I’m given that opportunity, I would throw Kitfo and Kurt-Siga on the TPLF’s super greedy, day-hyenas dead bodies.
The Guardian, April 1945, “It is interesting to see the hate, the fury of those around Mussolini. People spit upon the body, but that is only a continuation of the justice he should have suffered. He died too quickly. “One woman shot five times into the body saying: ‘Five shots for my five assassinated sons.’ All approve and want more. They want the bodies to stay there for six months, and that is not enough. Never has so much hate, rancour, and thirst for vengeance been seen. This is justice. This is a good example and it will be followed by others.”
Finally, I respect the Addis Standard’s chief editor’s freedom of speech. Till I started editing this article and examined her postings on her news website, I never suspected that she has been loyally serving the TPLF’s greedy juntas as their mass media.
I dedicated this article to Engineer Endale Abebe, to show him my compassion for his sufferings in the hands of the TPLF’s cruel, greedy juntas. Endale, my brother, your sufferings are beyond my wildest imagination because I have listened to so many victims of torture stories since I was sixteen-year-old. However, I have never heard a torture survivor saying he/she was made to stay with an executed prisoner’s body and deal with the corpse’s putrefaction.
I heard Kefelegn Alemu Worku, one of the Higher-15’s make shift detention center executioners ordered a detainee to lick with his tongue executed detainees’ bloods off the floor of the interrogation/execution room as Alemu walked detainees to an execution field. The prisoner didn’t lick the bloods, but with other detainees, mopped the bloods off the floor with …
The images used in this article are obtained from Google’s Images; to enhance the article’s contents, they are altered.
This article was drafted at the end of the second week of November 2020 and finished the third week of December 2020. The writer, LJDemissie, can be reached at [email protected].