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Obo Arada Shawl alias Wolde Tewolde

MESKEREM 1, 2001 alias September 11, 2008

Of Introduction

These days we are witnessing articles written by real names more than pen names. I hope it is a step foreword towards freedom of using one’s given name. What is in a name? By now everybody and everyone in Ethiopia seems to decipher what his/her name means. Call me by my name is past due and so I move to “call me by my address”.

History and Culture are the two culprits for most of our problems. What is history and what is culture? These are two fundamental questions to be answered by each and every one of us if our perceived problems of social, political and economic are to be resolved.

There are many histories and cultures (ዘር). I cannot discuss them here.

Today, on the beginning of our AEthiopian Millennium new year, I want to present personal histories of struggle (ገድል) of three individuals in the hope that their experience will lead to some lessons to be learned from their Education and Experience (EE).

Of Encounter

Forty years ago, to be exact forty-three years, the three of them met in college. All three of them had respect for Religion, for the Emperor and for Wealth. At the same time, they had fear of the Clergy, of the Government and of the Rich. It was DEBTERAW, however, who revealed to them the secrets of the Clergy vs. religion: of the Emperor vs. his government and of the Aristocracy vs. the intelligentsias. In other words, these three individuals came face to face with freedom of faith, political choice, and economic opportunity.

Today, after 36 years, the three of them once again met in Washington, DC with their freedom of religion, political choice and economic opportunity in unison and intact. What a wonderful encounter! Many thanks to DEBTERAW TSEGEYE G. MEDHIN’S enlightened and mentoring.

The thing that surprised them most is that none of them has changed name in as much as the place they met. It was in a restaurant where the names of Addis Ababa communal communities are displayed on the walls of the restaurant. The hostess invited them to sit between WUBE SEFER and ERI BEKENTU! One of them said to himself, “am I still crying for nothing?” for he used to live in Eri Bekentu neighborhood.

As one of the trio has been recently to Addis Ababa, (the other two have never been either to Ethiopia or Eritrea since 1972), the two asked him whether these places of WUBE and IRI still carry the same names and same surroundings. He himself was surprised by their inquiries. He said, “People like you ‘developers’ are outside the country, what do you expect?” he posed a rhetorical question. “ Everything is in the same condition but with subdued people”, he concluded.

Most people who have been to Addis Ababa remember that Wube Sefer and Eri Bekentu were full of vibrant people. Their colleague briefed them about the current Ethiopian practice of religion, politics and economic development in the country. “There is so much a sad story and history to tell to people in the Diaspora”, he said. Could this be a result of their mentor DEBTERAW’s prolonged imprisonment and disappearance? Who knows? Call me by my address! Where am I?


After graduation, all three were employed in the ministry of communication and transport authority (though all three graduated in economics with special emphasis in International trade). However, right after their employment, like most of their colleagues, these three individuals have been in the shadows of death since the DERG assumed political power.

Despite fear of the Clergy, the Emperor or the Bureaucracy, the majority of graduates of the 1970s have embarked upon the positive work of Minilik’s Development Programs, Haile Sellasie’s Education effort, Tewodros’ concept of Unity and Yohannes’s Religious beliefs. However, the Military and its mentors as well as the Nationalists rejected everything that these kings stood for and instead emulated foreign models of development.

But these three had quickly realized that the ministry they had joined, though critical, was in an infant stage. At the time, out of the population of Ethiopia, 95% of the passengers were using traditional mode of transport whereas over 90% of the goods and services were being transported by pack animals. This realization from their work place accompanied by their education and Debteraw’s mentoring had convinced them to alleviate the Ethiopian transportation and communication system via Planning. It was in this area of planning that the then government of Ethiopia and subsequent regimes failed to convince these individuals to bring them to their side. Instead, these individuals have chosen a different path of struggle to bring change (the Eway Revolution led by EPRP).

Here is a review of their religious, political and economic values in concordance with the past and the future.

Of Religion

The history of AEthiopian religion is based on the symbol of the flag of red, yellow and green. This flag with a primary color was perceived as a bond between the Creator and the AEthiopians. Emperor Minilik II, had embraced it as a country national flag for Ethiopia. However, the narrow nationalists of Tigrai, the humble nationalists of Oromia and the arrogant nationalists of Hamasien have rejected this Flag of sacrifice, peace and prosperity. One has to look closely at what has been added to the current TPLF flag, to OLF flag and to Eritrean government flag. As far as color is concerned, there is no difference. The difference is that the leaders have their own design of stamp of passion to rule or desired to be. Their common factor is their enmity towards Emperor Minilik who adopted it as a national flag. Were the Nationalists against the color of the flag or faith upon which the flag was based? I cannot tell. As far as I can decipher, it is not the color but the faith. If so, let them reveal their faith, whatever it is.

Minilik was not a fervent religious man. In fact when he was deep in economic and social development plans, there was opposition towards his implementation program. For example, he wanted to install telephone lines. There was stiff opposition, but just for implementation purposes, he threatened the pope that he was going to change his religion.

Of Politics

The system of government was the centerpiece for the Eway Revolution as proposed by EPRP. It is appropriate to quote Minilik’s plea for establishing a modern system of government.

European government consuls have arrived in our country, Ethiopia. This is uncommon in our Ethiopian system of government. They cajole us by saying that without a rule of law, there cannot be a country worthy of a government. You also know that they want us to surrender to them. Even though Ethiopia had system of rules and regulations, in a few days, we will have new system of government based on Europeans, I have written rules upon which you will carry your duties and responsibilities without quarrels, without jealousy thereby fully cooperating to strengthen our government. If we carry on to serve our people, it will be beneficial to our government and our country. No one will envy our country. Even though I have tried and tried tirelessly, without minister, council or consul, it is a one-man show resulting in discrediting my efforts. Now with less sleep, less drinks, less love for money but more love for people, I hope you will accomplish the tasks I have assigned to you. In as much as I have trusted you, you should also appoint those whom you trust, those who don’t love money, those who do not abuse the poor but really can help them. As far as money is concerned, I will give you salary so that you will never solicit money from the poor except the required tax. If you go beyond the rules of love set and exploit the poor, I will have to hate you. You will be abused. In the name of your Soul, the Bible and the Cross-, you will be excommunicated.(Atse Minilik II, Paulos Gnogno, and P: 360)

And so Minilik in the spirit of implementation for his programs, he had appointed ministers in the following ministries appointed in order of their importance.

  1. አፈ ንጉስ (Afe Nigus) For ministry of Justice
  2. ፊት አውራሪ (Fit Awrari) For ministry of Defense
  3. ጽሃፈ ትእዛዝ (Tsehafe Tazaz) For ministry of Pen
  4. በጅሮንድ (Bejrond) For Finance and Home affairs
  5. ሊቀ መካስ (Like Meqas) For ministry of Interior
  6. ነጋድራሰ (Negadras) For the ministry of Trade & Foreign Affairs
  7. ከንቲባ (Kentiba) For the ministry of Agriculture
The current regimes of Shaebia and Woyane don’t understand the power of justice and food in the way Minilik understood it. What a travesty!

Of Economics

There is and was no economic thinking in Ethiopia. The current leaders of Ethiopia do not seem to differentiate between Needs and Wants, a basic premise for economic theory. Previously, they had the Albanian model of development and now they seem to be caught between the Chinese and American model of development.

Of Conclusions

The trio individuals has concluded that the TPLF/EPRDF government don’t seem to embrace any works of Haile Sellassie I, Tewodros, Minilik or of Yohannes IV. They also, do not follow the Eway Revolution of Ethiopia as spearheaded by EPRP. Instead they are operating in the footprints of the DERG. The DERG collapsed on its weight and this one is no exception. Without vision and planning (tools for development in political system, religious mechanism for love and peace and above all economic development) the regime of Zenawi cannot survive. It is predicted that it will collapse on 2013 Julian calendar and it is also predicted that Eritrea and Ethiopia will merge into one E on 2013 Gregorian calendar.

Happy New Year to all AEthiopians.Let it be the beginning of our true Millennium

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