Depoliticizing Ethiopian Renaissance
April 20, 2014
Environmental activism is a recent day phenomenon, which came into being after the fact of environmental degradation due to development projects, including water development projects. These facts have set in motion environmental laws and the mushrooming of environmental activism. These environmental laws have now found their ways in the legislative process in the U.S. Recent legislative initiatives in the U.S. Congress to address a drought emergency in California and the criticisms they have generated from environmental activists are good examples.
Marking Voice Finfinne’s Tenth Year Anniversary
December 15, 2013
The coincidences of the above political developments in Ethiopia with the launching of Voice Finfinne are historical. It is arguably apparent that, overall, Ethiopia’s stability as a country is headed in a better direction today than where it was before the launching of Voice Finfinne. While Voice Finfinne cannot claim exclusive credits for its modest contributions by way of presenting critical analyses, it cannot be denied that the decision to launch Voice Finfinne was to counter Meles Zenawi’s political repressions against the Oromo mass in Ethiopia in particular and the Ethiopian public in general. In this regard, we celebrate the tenth year anniversary of Voice Finfinne with a level of fulfillment.
September 23, 2013
In exceptional America, an ordinary human being can be part of this battle by expressing such opinions using his or her right of the freedom of speech. Humanity will be served better by reminding itself the virtue of democracy and advancing it. In democracy, dictators and ordinary human beings are created equal, to use Mr. Putin’s words. We can safely say that this is clear enough in exceptional America.
Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and In Memoriam: Finfinne Times's Fifth Experiment of Recognition
September 21, 2013
In the spirit of our unique experiences, to remind ourselves about our collective achievements during the last Ethiopian year, to remember once more the outstanding lifetime contributions of our lost ones during the year, and to espouse the collective determination of our society to make a continued progress in the New Year, Finfinne Times announces its fifth trial recognitions of Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY).
No One is More Ethiopian than an Oromo
August 11, 2013
The Grand Delusion among certain Oromo political activists defies such common senses. To the extent that the names America and Europe were given in ancient times by certain individuals, Ethiopia is not different. To the extent that the name Ethiopia was first uttered by a certain Greek traveler to refer to a section of Oromo community, which also belongs to the community known as Kush, and to the extent that the above Oromo political activists claim to belong to the Kush community, it goes without saying that no one is more Ethiopian than an Oromo.
An Analysis of Dr. Fikre Tolassa Jigsa's Open Letter to Dr. Beyan Asoba (in Amharic)
June 1, 2013
The Civilization Causality
March 17, 2013
We can fairly argue, therefore, that Epicurean terms, ancient Greece’s civilization, and the conclusions of ancient Chinese political theorists appear to be in consonance with the observation of Sir Winston Churchill. We can also fairy argue that the history of humanity’s collective progress is that of the waning down of brutality cascades and development and continued outreach of civility. More importantly, as David Brooks also points out, it is very hard to get out of brutality cascades; it has never been easy.
Reward Opportunities for a Literary Competition on Haroma / Hiddassie / Renaissance (HHR) in Ethiopia and East Africa
January 19, 2013
Interested individuals, groups, or organizations may enter the competition by submitting an essay or a poem of no more than two pages and as short as one paragraph editor @ finfinnetimes.com . The writing should describe briefly, but as deeply as possible, the individual, group, or organization’s understanding of Haaroma / Hiddassie / Renaissance (HHR) in Ethiopia in particular and East Africa in general. For more detail about this literary competition, follow the above link.
Taking Oromo Movement to the Next Higher Level
January 1, 2013
Nearly 40 years ago when young students in Ethiopia were introduced to the ideas of colonialism, socialism, communism, self-determination, liberation, and independence, some of them formed the Ethiopian Student Movement (ESM) and others got involved in one or more similar organizations, including the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), and so on. Without sober debates at both national and international forums, the young students quickly subscribed to one or more of the imported ideas.
Undoing Mao Zedong’s Gun Power in Africa
November 23, 2012
Africa’s populace may not be intimidated by Mr. Mao Zedong’s political trajectory like their Chinese counterparts who were intimidated by him and his communist comrades that gave birth to and brought up the Red Army’s party. If the Communist Party thought it can befriend certain African leaders that are not legitimately elected by their constituents and impose its archaic opportunism on Africans, the African populace may have to force it to convulse under the weight of this opportunism and evolve out of it to become a meaningful partner with Africa and the African populace.
How Governor Romney Lost and Set Back Republicanism
November 12, 2012
While there is hope that the attachment of these independent analysts to republicanism is likely to deepen, the hoped for debate between President Obama and Speaker Gingrich to deepen this attachment hasn’t come to pass. Yet, even if it may have faced a setback, republicanism is likely to thrive in the years to come, especially if the alternative path taken on November 6, 2012, proves to be less realistic than promised. Its tenets of inclusiveness, liberty, honesy, integrity, hard work, and justice are likely to make republicanism a more sought after societal value by any conscious society.
Engineer Hailemariam Desalegn Becomes the First Graduate Leader of Ethiopia
September 22, 2012
On Friday, September 21, 2012, Engineer Hailemariam Desalegn was sworn in as Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister. His appointment by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) comes one month after the death of the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, was announced on August 20, 2012. He was laid to rest on September 2, 2012.
Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and In Memoriam: Finfinne Times's Fourth Experiment of Recognition
September 12, 2012
In the spirit of our unique experiences, to remind ourselves about our collective achievements during the last Ethiopian year, to remember once more the outstanding lifetime contributions of our lost ones during the year, and to espouse the collective determination of our society to make a continued progress in the New Year, Finfinne Times announces its fourth trial recognitions of Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and a Memoriam.
Hinging in the Middle
August 25, 2012
The stars are aligned for Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn. If he can manage to pass the test, he may well be remembered as one of the Ethiopian leaders for whom an excellent opportunity came and who used that opportunity to help change Ethiopia’s politics for the better. He may well be advised to leave a legacy of a civilian leader that unconditionally respected and showed the rule of law to the Ethiopian people and the world community that can be marked with a Hailemariam Desalegn’s Institute of Governance at Addis Ababa University or Arba Minch University, his alma matter and first professional home base, respectively.
The Communist Party of China's Political Relations with Africa is Illegitimate
August 5, 2012
A genuine partnership between Africa and other parties is one that cannot be damaged by remarks of an American diplomat to an African audience at an African University. European colonialists have come to Africa and Africans have fought back and won independence. However, Africa’s colonial experience should not be used as an excuse by new African friends from the east for the purpose of exploiting Africa’s resources. As the collusion of European colonialists with African chiefs was illegitimate and paved the way for the exploitation of the continent’s natural resources, the collusion between the CP and African dictators is illegitimate and indefensible as a mutual friendship between Africans and China. As the Chinese Professor Yan Xuetong wrote in the New York Times on November 20, 2011, the CP may have to do soul searching as far as its relationship with Africa goes. In so doing, it may rediscover ancient Chinese philosophical virtue that the key to international influence is morality, as Professor Xuetong wrote from Beijing. If that morality is any guide, any African friend ought to stand with the African mass, even if it comes at the expense of severing relationships with dictators.
The Tragedy of Meles Zenawi’s Ingenuity
August 1, 2012
Ever since Meles Zenawi forced his way to the helm of power in Ethiopia in 1991, at no other time did he lack answers or excuses for major news in the air concerning Ethiopia. Starting from the early days of his appearances on Ethiopian Television, it is fair to say that his ingenuity at giving answers during such public discourses attracted much attention. His quick quips and depth of dishonesty could easily buy him unsuspecting believers or turn away innocent observers for good. To wit, when a local journalist cornered him in 1991 with a serious question regarding a certain crime that was committed by his party, which had been widely reported, he surprised his listeners by quickly answering that he heard about the crime for the first time from the journalist. His body language of insensitivity about the issue, however, appeared to betray his posture for innocence.
Amharic Poem on the Haroma / Hiddassie / Renaissance Agenda (HHRA) in Ethiopia and East Africa
July 3, 2012
Reward Opportunities for a Literary Competition on the Haroma / Hiddassie / Renaissance Agenda (HHRA) in Ethiopia and East Africa
May 27, 2012
Interested individuals, groups, or organizations may enter the competition by submitting an essay or a poem of no more than two pages and as short as one paragraph. The writing should describe the individual, group, or organization’s understanding of aroma / Hiddassie / Renaissance (HHR) briefly, but as deeply as possible, within the context of this agenda in Ethiopia in particular and East Africa in general.
Who were they? What have they done? And where are they now?
May 5, 2012
The latest Ethiopian to come on the spotlight as one of the awardees of Emperor Haile Selassie I is Dr. Haile Debas, who recently received the University of California at San Francisco’s highest honor for his contributions to advance health worldwide, among others. According to published reprots, Dr. Haile Debas is a UCSF’s chancellor emeritus, dean emeritus of the school of Medicine, Maurice Galante distinguished professor of surgery, founding executive director of Global Health Sciences, and director of the University of California Global Health Institute. This is quite a track record of accomplishment from childhood of excellence in learning global leadership in health sciences.
Tear down Meles Zenawi’s Fences for Justice to Reign from Corner to Corner in Ethiopia
April 29, 2012
This vision has now started to reverberate from corner to corner in Ethiopia after Meles Zenawi borrowed it quickly and his government started to propagate it, albeit expediently for domestic political consumption. From the movement’s toil in eastern Ethiopia, the hills of which Siye Abraha once visited and told the Ethiopian populace that his political grouping can not only fight a war but also create one before he fell out with his comrade-in-arm Meles Zenawi and saw his judicial right overseen by a heroine young Oromo judge, the Ethiopian Renaissance vision has seen praises from Tigray to landmarks in a remote corner in western Ethiopia. This probably makes it the first pan Ethiopian venture in recent times. Tearing down Meles Zenawi’s fences will only build on this noble venture and bring about justice to every corner of Ethiopia.
February 20, 2012
What have become evident in the Africa rising narratives are a growing sense of democracy and economic success stories. These narratives being driven by Africans are a sign of Africans in action to bring their continent to a better level of development. The likening of African lions to Asian Tigers narrative followed a quip in passant on a public discussion forum that went “move over the tigers, the lions are coming.” The latest resource nationalism story from The Economist came after a short analysis nearly a year ago by Finfinne Times about global “superdom” and Africa’s resources. That the struggle of Africa to overcome its underdevelopment, that this struggle is bearing meaningful fruits, and that these fruits are being appreciated beyond its borders seem sure signs of Africa rising while the success of democratization against dictatorship will assure the success of the trajectory of its rise.
The Derailed Oromo Movement Gets Back on Track Once More
January 8, 2012
How to achieve this is another question. Shortsighted activities that put political parties that are opponents to Meles Zenawi's ruling front to his and his front's terms are not likely to bear fruit any time soon. A farsighted and fruitful approach may be for all independent political parties to take him on his own terms. With a vast majority of the Ethiopian geographic gradient not his bed, it is only a matter of time before his dictatorship will be entangled by his own terms.
Republicanism on Trial
January 2, 2012
While these are arguably strong leadership qualities, we have also learned about his political baggage from his long-time public service and that his rivals are heavily using it to win the Iowa caucuses. While we should recognize and respect the electorate and candidates’ rights to choose and compete, we shouldn’t remain unfocused about the desired solution for the problem that is already observed. This is a historic trial of republicanism and we may be compelled to say that magnanimity is a call of the day.
A Son of China Speaks from Beijing
November 24, 2011
We don't disagree and could just add that this battle may be as old as humanity's known existence. The egalitarian values of the communities in east Africa where this writer comes from, the give me liberty or death motto well known in America, and the humane authority prescribed by ancient Chinese thinkers and brought to us by Professor Yan Xuetong are mere signals of humanity's inherent quest that may be as old as its existence. This understanding is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of human rights that was signed after the end of the Second World War. It may have been imagined to take us to a harmonious global community. On that count, the humane authority brought to us by Professor Yan Xuetong may be only an organic component of the prescription that is already in place. The failure by China to follow it in its stately business dealings with African governments, which has been characterized as "no strings attached," must have been far removed from its own virtue. On this count, it it is duty bound to mend it.
Globalization of the Tea Party Movement
November 11, 2011
Sorting out such confusions doesn’t take much thinking. There are common sense values. Any transgressions against these values are bound to, and should, give birth to movements like the Tea Party. For these kinds of movements to be highly effective, they need to go beyond spontaneity to form a formidable force at the grassroots level both nationally and globally. The assurance of liberty everywhere is its maintenance anywhere. If the current Tea Party manages to accomplish this, it may well be recorded in history books as more significant than the first Tea Party. This is simply because of the global dimensions of the challenges and opportunities that historical circumstances have made it to face.
The Newt Gingrich Factor in the Game of the Brains
September 25, 2011
While the passions of the other republican candidates to solve the problem the U.S. has faced are admirable, the depth of Mr. Gingrich’s understanding of the the problem appears unsurpassed in the identified field. Perhaps, it may well be the depth of understanding of the problem that will likely pose a historical challenge to Mr. Obama’s intellectual prowess in the upcoming general elections. The debate between President Obama and Speaker Gingrich may well prepare the electorate for a referendum about the direction in which the U.S. and the world are headed politically. In order to make a historical decision at the ballot boxes, the electorate deserves to have one of the best intellectually stimulating debates about the ideological directions we are facing as a collective group. All genuine political leaders across the spectrum of political persuasions are duty bound to provide this opportunity to the electorate so that it can make an informed decision at this milestone in humanity’s long journey towards a collective progress.
Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and In Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions: Finfinne Times's Third Experiment of Recognition
September 12, 2011
In the spirit of our unique experiences, to remind ourselves about our collective achievements during the last Ethiopian year, to remember once more the outstanding lifetime contributions of our lost ones during the year, and to espouse the collective determination of our society to make a continued progress in the New Year, Finfinne Times announces its third trial recognitions of Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY).
A Path Charted by Courage
August 14, 2011
While attending law school at the Addis Ababa University, Judge Birtukan Mideksa’s vision might have been leading a decent and peaceful life while practicing law in Ethiopia’s judicial system. Fate would have her preside over a high profile case in early career as a district judge in the Ethiopian federal judiciary system.
Does Messay Kebede Have the Right to Shake Dirty Hands?
July 9, 2011
In one of his books, Tesfaye Ghebreab, who has been Meles Zenawi’s functionary, wrote in Amharic a telling borrowed poem, which has been translated roughly as follows.
Don't say it can't be – it has been as it did
Buried buried – lie the remains
Uplifting the stone – who knows if it rises?
"The rocks piled – the dirt mixed
That lives quietly – wearing the grass and leaves
The remain is a mountain – has neither mouth nor ear
Doesn't hear can't be cultivated – it is huge deaf"
You said and ignored – without knowing what is within it
I am afraid for you – that it might explode and you get destroyed
(Poem – Hanit Panit)
A Manifesto of Political Demise by Submitting to the Politically Dead Hypocrites
June 25, 2011
In the final analysis, Dr. Messay has the right to express his opinions and silently submit to the politically dead hypocrites but not the right to add insult to injuries to have his perceived elites walk over the sacrifices of many. In fact, we may even fairly guess that he won’t get the favors he might be seeking but will be abused to recant his past bold criticisms no sooner than the date of his submission, as Engineer Hailu Shawel found out the hard way.
Global “Superdom” and Africa’s Resources
April 23, 2011
All these connections can be looked at in various ways. One way to look at them is to contemplate the equities in our contributions to produce and utilizations of the products. Another way to look at it is to think that we are all interconnected and that what all these show are humanity’s shared experience on earth with Africa as its home and source of prominence.
Another Study Points to Africa as the Origin of Languages
April 15, 2011
A new study by Dr. Quentin D. Atkinson, which appeared in the April 15, 2011, issue of the journal Science, points to Africa as the origin of languages. To reach this conclusion, he applied mathematical methods to linguistics and studied patterns in more than 500 languages spoken throughout the world.
Intellectual Dishonesty Costs Civilizations
April 9, 2011
To the extent that the old maxim that a problem identified is half solved holds true, Mr. Newt Gingrich may have come close to identifying the contemporary problem we may be facing collectively as global citizens and inheritors of a trajectory of humanity’s history and traditions. Understanding the values of this trajectory for our collective progress, upholding them, and defending them should remain far more important than a populist venture for provisional votes from a less informed constituency. Failing to do so through intellectual dishonesty for political expediency is likely to have an uncalculated cost to our collective civilization and the progresses we have made so far as global citizens.
A Travesty of Justice on Treason, History, and Ideology in the Expediency to Set Precedence for a Utilitarian Pardon
January 17, 2011
It is unfortunate that the rich Ethiopian tradition loses its value on the dawn of its Renaissance by a clique that professes to have accepted this quest that wise members of our community have charted. This clique has no moral high ground to orchestrate the pardoning of its historical opponents by denying the Ethiopian public, and, more importantly, the aggrieved the chance to hear from the perpetrators. This goes to not only those aggrieved Ethiopians under the leadership of the former Ethiopian government but also under the current Ethiopian government. If Menghistu’s government’s extrajudicial punishment of perceived or real wrongdoings is criminal, Meles' clique’s creation of a semblance of judicial system through an extrajudicial means should be no less criminal. The argument from some quarters that the entire process should be looked at as a national issue and the aggrieved should forgo their right to hear from the perpetrators and be healed is to commoditize the sacred life and family values; this desecrates the rich Ethiopian tradition. Anything short of the will of the aggrieved under both governments should be considered a travesty of justice on treason, history, and ideology to expedite setting the precedence for a utilitarian pardon, which the clique in the current Ethiopian government is likely to need more than the leadership members in the former Ethiopian government.
Why I Think that Republicanism Should Take Back America
October 31, 2010
The fruitful trajectory of social progress from East Africa to Europe and its successful experiment in the United States makes it imperative for republicanism to firmly protect humanity’s collective project for progress here in the United States and elsewhere where it is evidently rich and has the potential for further growth. It is not the creeping up of subconsciousness about the fruit of our collective quest for progress on the turf of civic virtue that will propel us all forward but the consciously projected shining out of the glows from the fruits of our collective progress that was brought about by that burst of light for equality and free thinking, which has been characterized as what it means to be human.
The Inhumane Caging of a Heroine to Escape from the Responsibility of Criminal Actions
October 10, 2010
As one of the Oromo sayings go, look not where you fell, but where it was slippery. Evidently, Meles seems not ready to look back to see where it was slippery to take responsibility and not afraid to trek along his self-imposed slippery path to escape from it in history books. In doing so, he hasn’t failed so far to leave behind a trace of his unwitting revelations along the way that can be compiled in a voluminous history book for the world to learn from and judge as well as for psychologists to research about his persona. Judge Birtukan Mideksa has become a legend for an embodiment of a civic virtue that she clearly expressed readiness to die for honorably. No amount of inhumane treatment of her to rush away from the shackle of responsibility of misleading the Ethiopian people and his own pool of loyalists will ever erase that civic virtue.
Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and In Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions: Finfinne Times's Second Experiment of Recognition
September 12, 2010
In the spirit of our unique experiences, to remind ourselves about our collective achievements during the last year, to remember once more the outstanding lifetime contributions of our lost ones during the year, and to espouse the collective determination of our society to make a continued progress in the New Year, Finfinne Times announces its second trial recognitions of Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and a Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions (MEOLC.)
The Folly of Political Detachment from the Past, Present, and Future – Part II
April 25, 2010
In conclusion, today, Ethiopia’s political landscape in the run up to the May 23, 2010, legislative elections seems to be no less charged than it was in the run up to the May 15, 2005, legislative elections. There is no convincing reason to believe that the players behind the manifestation of Ethiopia’s political atmosphere in the run up to and after the 2005 elections have completely left the theatrical scene or departed from their long time but misguided convictions. Meles Zenawi has admitted to having made a calculated risk in the 2005 elections and vowed since that the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which he has been leading for a long time, will never repeat the same mistake again. If anything, he appears to have elevated his inciting words and actions in recent weeks and months. Granted that these observations are not farfetched, the Ethiopian public has various options to avoid stepping on the charged political landscape that would be immensely damaging to them and opens the escape routes for those who have been shamefully trampling on their basic rights. It has been arguably assured that the public court these players have been put in will deliver victory to the public in history books. However, the assurance of victory to the public will be only after they come out victorious even if it means staying away from the charged political landscape in today’s Ethiopia as the public debate and verdict process works itself out. Denying them being the party to even minor riots that can be taken out of control during this election season for possible premeditated dubious ends by the players may well be the wisest decision our public will have made during this election season. This is not running away from one's legitimate rights, which is uncharacteristic of our society, but doing it through other means towards victory.
From Helping to Power to a Worrisome Awakening to the Abuse of Power
March 31, 2010
For close observers of Ethiopian politics and its machinations under Meles Zenawi who came to power with the blessing of former officials of the United States, the picture of what the Ethiopian people have been subjected to for long has become very clear. He has been making very unusual decisions that baffle his own former associates and confidantes, the leaders of political parties inside and outside Ethiopia, the general Ethiopian citizenry, and the international community. What may not have been put out to the public well enough are not his erratic actions but the unfortunate deficiency of the path he has traveled in life, as clearly depicted in Birtukan's instinctual and natural reactions conveyed through the above peom to his actions, as well as amply demonstrated by the unexpected revelations of his erratic actions, including working unconstitutionally to prospect the jamming the VOA.
The Folly of Political Detachment from the Past, Present, and Future – Part I
March 14, 2010
Over the last few weeks, to his credit, Tibebe Samuel Ferenji stepped outside the machinated box of the contemporary Ethio-Eritrean politics and tried to highlight its prevailing state and possible future directions. Sentimental arguments, instead of learned debates, have ensued about Tibebe’s analysis, notably by Neamin Zeleke. What the arguments boil down to appears to be whether the pledge of the current leaders of Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) to support certain Ethiopian political forces to remove the current Ethiopian government from power is politically justified or not.
The Startling Disconnect between the Ethiopian Citizenry and Political Activists
February 17, 2010
If the said general broad consensus had been built, perhaps, all those who responded would not fail to provide the single common framework that the quest for democracy demands. Arguably, this single framework that the quest for democracy demands would be starting the process of creating a government of the Ethiopian citizenry by the Ethiopian citizenry for the Ethiopian citizenry. Seemingly an extension of Abraham Lincoln's famous wisdom of government of the people by the people for the people, this framework idea is also at the core of the egalitarian values of the Oromo Gada system. If this wisdom could not have been borrowed from Abraham Lincoln, it could have been drawn from our age old wisdom tradition that gave birth to the Ethiopian Renaissance Agenda that many have subscribed to consciously.
The Failed Eritrean Experiment and Its Exonerations
December 27, 2009
If Emperor Haile Selassie I’s leadership, UN’s Resolution 390(A,) Mr. John Foster Dulles’s prophetic foresight, the Unionist Party of Eritrea’s judgment to be united with Ethiopia, and Lieutenant Colonel Menghistu Hailemariam’s long-time fight against the EPLF were wrong, the EPLF's political leadership of Eritrea had the opportunity to prove to itself, the Eritrean citizenry, the African Union, and the world at large that it is a responsible member of sovereign nations that takes the quest for regional and international security responsibly and seriously. Unfortunately, it acted otherwise and in the process exonerated all the above leaders and organizations convictions about Eritrea. The UNSC’s Resolution 1907 (2009) that put the sanctions appears to have become the remedy to the Failed Eritrean Experiment. In Meles Zenawi’s own words in reaction to the resolution, the sanctions are appropriate to the current Eritrean government’s leadership’s behavior of gatte-wett, which roughly means vagabond.
Ethiopia’s Virtuous Patriotism Comes to Light through the Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia
November 27, 2009
What has come to bind these three present day Ethiopian political figures, Dr. Merera Gudina, Ato Siye Abraha, and Judge Birtukan Mideksa, appears to be their clear principle on the stability of the country and the region. They all rose at different times, courageously going against the wind in their own rights in what appears to be the reincarnations of Fitawrari Habteghiorghis Dinagde, Ras Alula Abba Nega, and Empress Taytu Bitul, respectively. Rising to the call of their conscience, they and their political parties have come together in the newly formed Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia, which incidentally appears to shed light on Ethiopia’s virtuous patriotism. For the first time in its known history, this virtuous patriotism is on guard outside the government bureaucracy while those in it have rendered themselves political pawns by showing their indifference or ignorance to its potential destabilization in recent years, even if they appear now to be its legitimate stabilization pioneers after they have met, to use Prime Minster Meles Zenawi’s words, a dead end.
An Unofficial Translation of One of Birtukan Mideksa's Poems from Jail
November 14, 2009
In a recent short documentary posted on the internet, Birtukan Mideksa read a short poem in Amharic that she wrote while in a 4 meter by 2 meter jail cell with another prisoner. According to this documentary, her writing of the poem was triggered by the cruel harassment she faced from her handler police member of the Ethiopian government. Below is an unofficial translation of her poem. This unofficial translation is done in a literal sense to keep the original sentiment of the poem, as much as possible.
The Dimensions of the Code of Conduct of Four Political Parties for the 2010 Elections in Ethiopia
November 8, 2009
In the final analysis, in a span of less than forty years, this agreement is likely to be a watermark in a political trajectory of transitions from a monarchical rule that claimed a divine mandate to rule the people to a single party dictatorial rule that claimed popular legitimacy to rule the people to what appears to be a thorough deliberation for a transition to a meaningful multiparty system that will eventually make the people the source of political power, or to put it bluntly, public service. Its success is bound to be tested by its inclusiveness, the transparency in its implementation, and its ability to produce meaningful results. These are badly needed for our society whose attachment to nature is still firm and who has been paying heroic sacrifices through that firmness.
A Stunning Progress in the Celebration of Irreecha in 2009
October 10, 2009
Such a stunning progress in celebrating Irreecha only shows the resilience of our society’s shared values of the past and a virtuous direction for the future. As it has been said, the past is the best guide to the future. While the world is celebrating the discovery of Ardi to understand our past better so as to help us see our future better, we should be also pleased in seeing the strengthening of our cultural values, which is bound to help guide our future.
Oromos Have Thought Bigger, Professor Messay Kebede
September 22, 2009
In an article titled “To the Oromo Elite: Think Big,” as a reaction to Jawar Siraj Mohammed’s recent article titled “The Failed Journey of the OLF [Oromo Liberation Front],” Professor Messay Kebede dwelt on the issue of self-determination for Oromos by targeting what he called the “Oromo Elite.” As self-aggrandizing as the title of Professor Messay’s article sounds, we can only speculate that the effort is a good faith intention, as far as the legitimate Oromo cause goes, to debate about the political issues of Ethiopia and East Africa so that they may be solved, as much as possible, in the best interest of all of our communities. Therefore, such an invitation to debate avails us an opportunity for a healthy interaction of perceptions among various quarters, which will help us all grasp the reality on the ground.
Both issues of self-determination for Oromos and what the perception of being an “elite” means in Oromo consciousness have been dwelt on at length among Oromos already.
In an article titled “Self-Determination or Self-Assertion?” posted to the web in May 2004, Voice Finfinne concludes: "... for autonomous movement, using self-determination as a tool gives a false sense of the possibility of independence. For independence movement, self-determination [in the case of Oromia] should be irrelevant. What the concept of self-determination has actually become in Oromo freedom movement is a tool of mixed signal. This column argues that self-assertion for either autonomy or independence should take the place of self-determination."
Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and In Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions: Finfinne Times's First Experiment of Recognition
September 12, 2009
In the spirit of our unique experiences, to remind ourselves about our collective achievements during the last year, to remember once more the outstanding lifetime contributions of our lost ones during the year, and to espouse the collective determination of our society to make a continued progress in the New Year, Finfinne Times announces its first trial recognitions of Outstanding Ethiopian Accomplishments of the Year (OEAY) and a Memoriam of an Ethiopian’s Outstanding Lifetime Contributions (MEOLC.)
As the Depth of East Africa's Rich History Comes to Light, Sectarian Claims Emerge
August 16, 2009
As what great thinkers who made deeper observations into our rich past gets a firm foothold at home, sectarian claims not only miss the truth about such rich history but also invite a laborious work at a later time to show the full picture. Obviously, such a long history that has been at a distance from many of our historians, which is now coming to light for all to see in a convincing way, cannot be limited to a strip of land or a language that has been acknowledged to have not existed at the time the history that is now claimed was written. This is especially true when the Oromo people, acknowledged by scholars to be a very ancient race on which most other peoples in our region have been grafted, who have been spearheading the search into our past and its maintenance but without an exclusive claim to it, whose footprints are to be found in most places in our region, including in the strip land that now claims to be the home of human origin, and whose vocabularies dominate in the language that emerged more recently, may be watching these emerging sectarian claims in pleasant surprise.
Guarding our Peoples' Moral Victory
July 5, 2009
And if truth be told and Major Dawit is ready to accept it as he prescribes it to the younger generation that has been conveniently blamed for denial, the relationship between both the EPLF and TPLF on the one hand and our peoples' deep culture on the other hand can never be mixed in history's books. Intolerance is the epitome of both fronts while tolerance has been the character of our peoples' deep culture. One is as young as dropping out from colleges and running away from civil service to join armed struggle, living insecure life in the jungle, and then ending up at the helm of a nation's treasure that became a venue to the dereliction of assumed responsibility, whereas the other is a value system that "evolved over the centuries," as Major Dawit put it. Therefore, any careful observer or activist in the service of the people should not expect or ask the people to rally behind those that have been on an opposite trajectory to their value system instead of expecting and asking the lost to come back to our peoples' established trajectory of value system.
Ill-Informed Misinformation or Purposeful Disinformation?
March 6, 2009
However it may be viewed by media reporters and their informants alike, certain things are for sure. A democratic deliberation and peaceful transfer of power are the demands of our time and the hope of our future. It may not be without a reason that Professor Donald N. Levine asserted in 2006 that "The Oromo tradition of Gumi Gayo, which brings people together from all over (many many parts of) Oromoland is one of the most democratic institutions. And, I only wish that the Congress of the United States could operate in the democratic way that the Oromo Gumi Gayo operates." Perhaps, it may not be easy for those people who are used to the customary system of kingdoms to clearly see the distinction between their customary worlds and a full-fledged democracy that they characterize as a process that is as complex as the American Electoral College. It is a deliberate fight for independence by determined and farsighted honorable people that set them free from the customary system of kingdoms. Ill-informed misinformation or purposeful disinformation neither serves the quest for knowledge nor humanity's innate quest for liberty.
A Glimmer of Hope for Somalia and the Peace and Stability of East Africa
February 21, 2009
After all the dust settles down and Somalia and the Somalis see a sign of hope, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s pledge to lead a secular government in Somalia is a glimmer of hope for Somalia and the peace and stability of East Africa. It would be a virtuous achievement for Somalia if President Ahmed could put down all the labels and blames he has been receiving and manages to bring about a renewed era for his people and country.
An Unofficial Translation of Tesfaye Gebreab's Account on the Assassination of Darara Kafani
February 8, 2009.
In September 1994, Darara Kafani, a successful businessman in Ambo, Oromia regional state, Ethiopia, was assassinated in cold blood. In a recently released book in Amharic, titled "Yegazexegnaw Mastawesha," roughly translated "The Journalist's Memoir," Tesfaye Gebreab recounts what he claimed to have heard from a certain Major Jemal Yusuf, who, Tesfaye writes, passed away about a year ago. Tesfaye reveals about a meticulous tactic that was planned and put to practice in the Oromia region. Tesfaye sends a mixed signal about whether this meticulous tactic was to agitate the people for rebellion, or to suppress them and govern them.
He points out that the execution of the plan in Ambo was made by a committee that was headed by Abba Dula Gammada, the current president of Oromia. He suggests that the plan was not isolated to Ambo, but was for all the major cities in Oromia. However, Tesfaye gives no other specifics beyond his suggestion about what happened in other cities in this chapter of his memoir.
Finfinne Times is presenting its readers an unofficial translation from Amharic to English of Tesfaye's account of Darara's assassination. This unofficial translation was done to the best knowledge of the translator and in a literal way as much as possible to keep the sentiment in which the author wrote the memoir. This unofficial translation of Tasfaye's account is presented here in its entirety.
Don't say it can't be – it has been as it did
Buried buried – lie the remains
Uplifting the stone – who knows if it rises?
"The rocks piled – the dirt mixed
That lives quietly – wearing the grass and leaves
The remain is a mountain – has neither mouth nor ear
Doesn't hear can't be cultivated – it is huge deaf"
You said and ignored – without knowing what is within it
I am afraid for you – that it might explode and you get destroyed
Unofficial Translation of Birtukan Mideksa's "My Word"
January 1, 2009.
On December 27, 2008, Birtukan Mideksa, the top leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP) in Ethiopia wrote a lengthy statement in Amharic that she titled Kale, which roughly means "My Word." Finfinne Times is an independent newspaper and has no affiliation with Birtukan or her party. As such, it is presenting its readers an unofficial translation of her statement from Amharic to English. This unofficial translation was done without consultation with legal experts but to the best knowledge of the translator and in a literal way as much as possible. We stand to be corrected if there is any unintended discrepancy in this translation and welcome any and all suggestions to correct any discrepancy, as well as any better version from any interested party.
From a Senseless Political Attack to a Sensible Political Merger
December 21, 2008
Now, it is a foregone conclusion that if the people who formed the OFDM worked with the ONC at that time, instead of attacking it for a perceived cheap political gain, they could have become a stronger political party to better reckon with in challenging the policies and wrongdoings of the ruling party. Be that as it may and leaving the judgment to history books, the news of the merger between the two parties to challenge the ruling parties within the constitutional framework that both subscribe to is, if true, a sensible news that should be welcome and supported.
Lenco Lata Vindicates Gobana Dache's Participation in Building Ethiopia
November 9, 2008
By joining the struggle against the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie I, Lenco and other students of the time may have jumped in the struggle against the ruling class with fervor to bring about a change in the feudalistic ideology at that time. Yet he hasn't escaped from being the victim of extrapolating that fervor to fighting the country, and by extension, the people. He is the author of a book titled "The Ethiopian State at the Crossroads: Decolonization & Democratization or Disintegration," which was published in 1999 by the Red Sea Press, Inc. His recent pronouncement on the EPRP radio that he appreciates the patience of the Ethiopian people and that he loves the country very much are a clear indication of his victimhood and a vindication of Ras Gobana Dache's participation in building Ethiopia.
The Powers of our Wisdom and Values
June 15, 2008.
Whatever lessons can be drawn from such reflections, Meles' political posture in criticizing from the pulpit of the so called "international conferences on Africa" organized first by China, then by India, and now by Japan is devoid of our wisdom and values. Our people not only stand against injustice, but they have also shown their determination to fight the right fight, including against colonialism. Their successes must have given us the prudence to know when and from where to criticize. For an Ethiopian Prime Minister to go to China for help and sending the criticism from a Chinese soil, to India for help and sending the criticism from an Indian soil, or going to Japan for help and sending the criticism from a Japanese soil are certainly not the wisdom and values of our society.
The Significance of the Recent Finding of Archaeologists at Aksum, Ethiopia
All these potential evidences and the archaeologists' suggestions don't point in the same direction. The archaeologists' suggestion that a "Cult of Sothis developed in Ethiopia with the arrival of Judaism and the Ark of the Covenant" does not explain the simple fact that the same star has similar names and significance much farther south from Aksum as well as among the Dogon people, who, interestingly enough, use the same tricolors of black, red, and white as the Oromo national tricolors. Unless it explains the differences between the two schools of thoughts, one being that it is a local observation and cultivation as pointed above and the other being it came from elsewhere according to the archaeologists, the latter's suggestion may well be presumptuous.
Perceived Subordination or Genuinely Made Claim?
March 16, 2008
Instead of lamenting about the achievements of other Ethiopians and cultivating a sense of subordination because of historical events, Ethiopians with the mindset of Mathza would probably benefit themselves and their people by making efforts to produce their original ideas, cultivating the original ideas of other Ethiopians, and celebrating the achievements of all. There is no reason why Miruts Yifter should feel subordinate to the achievements of Haile Gebreselassie, and Haile Gabreselassie should feel subordinate to the achievements of Kenenisa Bekele when all of them can celebrate their individual achievements and the achievements of all. The legitimate quest for meaningful political decentralization by all groups should not lead to picking one piece of history and running with it for a perceived political utility by placing oneself in a subordinate position.
The Hypocrisy of the Call for Armed Struggle in Ethiopia at this Time
March 22, 2008.
Armed struggle has been the fashion in many corners of Africa in the past before the era of the internet. The ammunition used is mostly manufactured outside Africa, imported, and used by Africans against Africans on African soil. People raise arms because of well founded or perceived lack of justice. However, there is no more powerful struggle than the pursuit and disposition of the truth, which cultivates justice. Modern communications technology has made the pursuit and disposition of the truth very fast that the propoents of armed struggle of our times don't appear to have taken into account while echoing the old method that was clearly started before the emergence of this technology. The pursuit and disposition of the truth done by members of the Inquiry Commission of the post 2005 legislative elections violence in Ethiopia has helped pass unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives a human rights accountability and democracy bill on Ethiopia. The current political landscape in Ethiopia appears poised to lay a more fertile ground for the strengthening of the rule of law. Documenting the crimes that have been committed and are likely to be committed in the future may be more important than the call for armed struggle so that the criminals face justice when the rule of law prevails over dictatorship in Ethiopia. In addition, another round of armed struggle in Ethiopia is likely to open the door for more crimes.
Consciousness is the Source of Empowerment
March 16, 2008
Nature has been our people's Open Laboratory for at least 100,000 years, if we are convinced that the latest DNA study that reported that humanity dispersed from a single location near Finfinne (Addis Ababa) is true. In that case, the pursuit of the hidden knowledge in Ge'ez may well lead us to discovering Afan Oromo in it. Perhaps, it may not be by coincidence that the Oromo tricolors of black, red, and white are exactly the same as the tricolors in Yemen's flag. In Jean Doresse's words, "Historians argue that the first language was Sabean. But Oromiffa, Somali and Afar languages use words whose origin is earlier than hieroglyphic Egyptian. They are the most ancient spoken languages."
From a "Piece of Cloth" to a "Sovereign People"
January 29, 2008
If Meles wished to see the expression of democracy from the inside, he must have seen it. If he wished to see the expression of democracy from the outside, he must have seen it. Perhaps, what he couldn't admit to see in the past is the bottleneck. We can only hope that the expressions of democracy from the inside and the outside have been seen in turn that what is left is its meaningful delivery in return. And that shouldn't be seen as a charity, but it is the people's right that they shouldn't be denied by anyone.
Random Walks, Faint Pointers, and the Orphans of the Rich Ethiopian Tradition
January 6, 2008
If this observation holds some grain of truth, the current discourse in the Ethiopian politics, especially in the Diaspora, may well be characterized by random walks and faint pointers among the orphans of the Ethiopian rich tradition. Red lights are flying in the faces of the random walkers, leaving lasting impressions on them. That is not a healthy business for those who want to contribute to the struggle of the people for a long time to come. As Dr. Messay has called for it, understanding the cause of the problem at a deeper level will only make finding a solution to the problem easier.
The Controversy about AFRICOM's Headquarters Location
December 30, 2007
With these two sides of the controversy, Ethiopia may not be in a comfortable position to make the decision for or against hosing AFRICOM's headquarters. The logical step may be to refer to the consensus of the African entity that is responsible for such an important matter that concerns the continent. Despite political differences, the role of the Ethiopian intellectuals could well be analyzing the long-term implications and benefits of such matters. They should not use this matter to score cheap political points against or for the current Ethiopian government or the party that is ruling it.
Acquitted at Long Last, but at What Cost?
December 11, 2007.
While lessons must be learned from such callous actions of the government, and the political episode that followed it, the question of who should be responsible for the price paid by this organization, its leaders, and all the other parties involved in the opposition to the government’s ill-advised action remains unanswered.
History Judging Poor Judgments
December 2, 2007
Perhaps, the natural connection between the peoples of the two countries may have been so strong as to be broken down by all kinds of efforts to the contrary. The EEBC ended its mandate by stating its 2002 delimitation decision as "the only valid legal description of the boundary." According to Meles, the virtual demarcation is legally nonsense. As of the writing of this article, no official statement was posted at the Eritrean Ministry of Information outlet website, regarding the EEBC's final statement before its andate expired.
The Chair That Became the Test of Integrity
October 11, 2007
Perhaps, the question should have been a political one that could have narrowed the gap between the ruling party and the alternative parties political grouping. The EPRDF could have used this opportunity to mend the political gap it has with the people by reaching out to the alternative parties. The gap between the ruling party and the people, and hence the alternative political parties grouping, is clear and loud in the presidents pledge that he wishes to bring the government and the people together. Yet every player in the event was put to the integrity test and we are not sure if any group has passed the test. We can only hope the materialization of the president’s pledge as we enter the era of his second term in office.
"Look Not Where You Fell, But Where It Was Slippery" (An Oromo Saying)
October 8, 2007
In the interest of the peace and security in the country and in the region, the best course for those government officials implicated in human rights violations in Ethiopia may be to step down from their public services, face the Ethiopian people, and accept their judgment with the grace of defeat, if they have any left. That is what public servants in democratic societies do whenever they are implicated in gross allegations. One would expect that self-respecting Ethiopian government officials would do likewise whether the truth of their deeds comes from the Ethiopian public or the U.S. Congress. Whether the U.S. Senate passes the Bill and President Bush signs it into law or not, the verdict of the U.S. Congress is compelling. The Oromo saying of looking where it was slippery instead of where one fell is befitting to the verdict coming out to the international community.
Worthy Opponents and Defeated New Friends
October 3, 2007
To his credit, the Chairman of the CUD doesn’t seem to budge from his original plan. However, as the moderate group takes off from his core All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP), his group is bound to be facing an uphill battle that the group will most probably revise its political program especially as it relates to federalism and diversity. That venture may help the party to leave a lasting legacy in Ethiopia for its fight for the unity of the country at a critical time when it risked disintegration that would have led to an uncertain future. Otherwise, the upward battle it is going to face may well be a downward spiral in the face of numerous alternative political parties alongside with the splinter group from the CUD.
A Soft Landing Speech for Meles Zenawi?
September 15, 2007
However, the subject of Ethiopian renaissance, Kushitic renaissance to be specific, has been raised and discussed in the past. It is only fitting to see the subject finally taken up as an official Ethiopian government’s perspective. Ancient Kushitic civilization was one of the oldest civilizations in the world, similar to that of the Indus Valley civilization. Today, the descendants of the Indus Valley civilization are found scattered in the Indian subcontinent, and may include the populations of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and so on. On the other hand, the descendants of Kushitic civilization are scattered across East and North Africa as the Oromo, the Amhara and to a large extent the Tigre (the Semitized Ethiopians, as Prof. Donald N. Levine calls them), the Afar, the Somali, the Sidama, the Masaai, the Tutsi, the Fulani, the Dogon, and so on.
From Land to the Tiller to Power to the People
The Ethiopian Student Movement's Unfinished Political Journey
July 1, 2007.
To mention a few, Leenco Lata, a former deputy leader of the OLF wrote a book a few years back with a title The Ethiopian State at the Crossroads. Dr. Merera Gudina, the founder of the Oromo National Congress (ONC), produced another book titled Ethiopia: Competing Ethnic Nationalisms and the Quest for Democracy. Ayele Zewge, the founder of the Oromo Movement for Federalism and Ethiopian Unity (OMFEU), wrote a book titled Gizit ina Gizot, which is in the Amharic language. Dr. Berhanu Nega, the founding member and leader of Keste-demena and the Coalition for Unity and Democracy parties wrote a book titled Ye Netsanet Goh Siqed, also in Amharic. In what appears to be a tit-for-tat response to Dr. Berhanu Nega's book, Lidetu Ayalew, the founding member and leader of the EUDP-Medhin party, wrote a book called Ye Arem Irsha, also in Amharic. Early on, Andargachew Tsigie, a current leading member of the Kinigit International Leadership (KIL), wrote a book called Netsanet Yemayawiq Netsa Awchi, which is also in Amharic. Meles Zenawi, a longtime leader of the TPLF/EPRDF and Ethiopia's leader since 1991, wrote a book titled African Economic Renaissance: Dead Ends and New Beginnings.
Leenco Lata's Political Compass Lost in the Tatters?
March 10, 2007.
Leenco starts his writings by asking "Why seek something you already have?" This question, the first line of the article, fails to tell whether Leenco’s writing is out of concern about Meles’ handling of Ethiopian politics or if it is a political advice to Meles not to bother because he has what he needs.
East Africa's Ideological and Strategic Conflicts
December 10, 2006.
Even though Ethiopia defeated Italy, a European colonial venture, foreign influence on the region continued after that. Italy continued to influence the region through its colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland until it was forced to leave after the end of World War II and the independence of Somalia, respectively. On the other hand, European missionaries found their way into certain corners of Ethiopia and started to make their presence felt long before their colonial army counterparts tried to control it by force but to no avail.
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