Selling citizens, selling children and selling land
– Yilma Bekele
The late Democratic Republic of Germany (GDR) commonly known as East Germany was a very sad country. It was a place where the state elevated the art of coercion into a science. The Stasi (short for Staatssicherheitsdienst, or State Security Service) was the most potent weapon ever devised by a dictatorship.
The Stasi kept a close tab on all its citizens. The collapse of GDR, and the dismantling of the Berlin wall, gave us a clear look into the workings of a totalitarian state. It is said that Stasi had 91,000 employees and 350,000 collaborators in a country of 17 million.1 The Stasi infiltrated all associations, organizations, and clubs. The Stasi used blackmail to persuade citizens to inform on each other, including their own family. The Stasi was the most evil organization. The familiarity with Ethiopia is not a coincidence. The TPLF Internal Security is the new Stasi.
The TPLF’s security system is modeled after the Stasi. The regime might be clueless regarding the economic system, but it does not spare a penny when it comes to organizing a ruthless internal security system to blackmail, intimidate, and frighten the citizens of the country.
The GDR leaders constructed walls, buried land mines, and erected watchtowers to prevent their people from fleeing to the West. They also devised a clever way to profit from their hostages. They agreed to release political prisoners in exchange for money from their West German cousins. By the 1980’s, the payments we so large, that they became part of the GDR’s economic planning. Overall, 33,755 prisoners were released from the GDR, for a total amount of 3,436,900,755DM or $2.28 billion US dollars.2 As you can see, it was a very lucrative business.
Today we have the Ethiopian regime playing the same game with a different twist. Instead of political prisoners, the regime generates income by selling our children. We were famous for drought and famine, but now we are famous for the export of our children. It is true that the spread of HIV Aids, and other communicable diseases have decimated our population. Orphans are everywhere. For a poor country, without any safety net, the plight of our children is very sad indeed. On the other hand, the problem cannot be resolved by selling your precious resource. The minority regime has opened the door to unscrupulous individuals and organizations that have set up shop in Ethiopia. Their main concern is turning a profit rather than searching for a lasting solution. Reading ‘The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism’ report is experiencing a nightmarish situation while still awake. It makes you wonder if there is any thing sacred to the TPLF riffraff.
Well-informed sources have told the Schuster Institute that recent trends in Ethiopia’s international adoptions strongly suggest an increase in corruption. In the past, these have been signs that a country’s adoption system is shifting from “white” to “gray”—that is, from a well-regulated humanitarian effort dedicated to the children’s welfare, to a business that is taking children from living families in order to gain profits from Western adoption fees.3
Once the regime figured out this is one area where an obscene amount of profit can be made, with little or no investment, there was nothing that would stop our gallant rulers. The Schuster Report goes on to say ‘For Ethiopia, the numbers of children sent in adoption climbed from a total of 262 in 2002 to more than 2520 in 2007—a tenfold expansion in five years.4
When you consider that the average cost to adopt in Ethiopia is around twenty thousand US dollars (the cheapest in the world) the government took in over 50 million US dollars in 2007 alone. Based on the trend of the last eight years, the numbers for 2008 and 2009 must be considerably higher. The Woyane government that is passing laws to suppress the independent press, human right work, in addition to curtailing NGO activities, is all of a sudden very receptive to the idea of setting up ‘model orphan centers’ by non-regulated foreign adoption agencies. Schuster Report goes on to say,
· “Homes” for pregnant women that appear to have been created “strictly to provide infants for the adoption trade” (in the words of an observer).
· Fraud on the children’s documents about such facts as their real ages and whether they were abandoned or relinquished by families.
As you can see the TPLF regime in collusion with westerners was using the so-called “homes” as a baby factory designed for export of children who were treated like “another” commodity. Can you imagine the agony of a mother or a father who “gives” up their baby never to see him or her again? What is very alarming is the fact that some of the children who were put up for adoption are not orphans. Woyane agents falsified documents to show the children as orphans, while the birth parents were still alive according to Canadian parents that were swindled in Ethiopia.5
As if selling children were not enough, the regime is also involved in signing long-term leases of our fertile land with foreign investors. An article by Michael Chebsi reads:
The Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has promised Saudi Arabia that his country will provide hundreds of thousands of hectares of unutilised agricultural land for growing cereals in the east African country. This is a follow up to an earlier pledge by Ethiopia to grant 5,000 hectares of land to the Djibouti government for large-scale commercial farming.
The Ethiopian agriculture ministry is identifying available land for such foreign investors; so far close to two million hectares of land have been identified in the regions of Oromia and Amhara, where almost all cereals in the country are produced.6
Land is state property in Ethiopia. The regime uses its status as the landlord to control the life of the peasant farmer. Seventeen years of experimentation with voodoo economics have left the country unable to feed itself. Over fourteen million Ethiopians are in constant need of food handouts from foreign donors. Instead of changing a failed policy, the regime is trying to solve its balance of payment problem by leasing our land. The consequence of this action is to condemn millions of citizens into perpetual insecurity and forces them to need help from outsiders.
The Ethiopian Stasi strangle hold on our people is visible in every part of our country. The security services are part of the everyday landscape. They make it a point to be seen and felt. The idea is to intimidate and terrorize. They are in every office, in every coffee shop and bar on every street corner including places of worship. They do not try to blend in rather they like to stand out begging for recognition. The aim is to create mistrust and fear. The TPLF regime spends more money on security than education and health combined. Their presence is even felt by the Diaspora. Most of our people are afraid to have their picture taken during a protest, scared to sign their name and contribute money anonymously. I am sure there are a few that report back on the activities of the Diaspora but the fear factor is more than the reality. The TPLF regime is a fear factory.
Dictatorship is not sustainable. Despite all the effort by the leaders of GDR, they were not able to stop the spontaneous uprising by their people. Sooner or later the victims wake up. The East German dictator Erich Honecker fled to the old Soviet Union when his country withered away. Unfortunately for him, the Soviet Union went through some change itself and he was extradited back home. During the trial, he was found to be ill with terminal cancer, and the Germans government unceremoniously deported him to Chile where he died alone. His life was a total waste, but he also caused agony and hardship to his people. Andenet Party Chairman Judge Bertukan Mideksa has been in jail two hundred and fifty days. Her crime is she stood up against the dictatorship. The regime is using Judge Bertukan to break the will of the people. It is a futile effort by those in power to get respect and recognition. It did not work for Mengistu Haile Mariam. It did not work for Erich Honecker. There is no reason to believe that it is going to work this time. All patriotic Ethiopians know Judge Bertukan is paying the price for our freedom. We know that Judge Bertukan is the reflection our dreams and our hope for our ancient kingdom. We share the sentiments of the late Senator Kennedy when he said ‘the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.’ Hear this .WAV 173K The dream of the righteous and just Ethiopia will never die. We, that is you, and I, we are the future. Never doubt that. Ethiopia will rise up again.