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20/08/2020 18:39 PM


By: Mr Abdu Habib
Email: sabbahar@rocketmail.com


By: Abdu Habib
Email: sabbahar@rocketmail.com

"The Lord detests lying lips but he delights in people who are trustworthy"
(Proverbs* 12:22 NIV, King James)

Since the first day of his visit to Eritrea, whenever the Nobel Peace Prize non-winner winner, Abiy Ahmed, wanted to talk about Eritrea, he made very dubious and misleading statements that reflected lack of connection to a concern with truth, in the final analysis, delving deep into his psyche and secret agenda. This is very disturbing and dangerous because some of the falsehoods, with the intention of deceiving, made it clear that he lacked two ingredients one needs to be called a human being: conscience and empathy.

Though he said a lot that bothered Eritreans, one of the most recent worrisome statements of Abiy Ahmed that fall into this category was that not only Ethiopia but the whole world knows that the government of Eritrea is a force working for peace and development. Listen to one strong Eritrean response to this statement on #Eritrea #Ethiopia #AbyiAhmed #“ገሃነም-እሳት ኢዩ እቲ ዝለዓለ ሽልማት ሰይጣን ክህበካ ዝኽእል ንዑኡ ብምግልጋልካ” ቢሊ ሳንደይ, Aug 6, 2020 (https//youtu.be/RWXCicSeo70). This response contests the bullshits and lies in an extraordinary way, and is amazing in informing and educating the people.

The second statement was made in his meeting with the Ethiopian opposition parties in which he ranted in impassioned way that, after visiting Eritrea multiple times, he found out that the thirty-year armed struggle for national independence in which the Eritrean people unnecessarily shed their blood, was a total loss and in vain. We never imagine anybody could be so much blinded by the truth. Here, the phrase “blinded by the truth” means that he is not recognizing the Eritrean situation, sticking to false information, and denying the situation on the ground.

Additionally, the second statement, in particular, will remain to be a huge stain in his history and will haunt him forever. However, not of less importance was that the Ethiopian opposition parties and the Ethiopian media in the meeting, were shamefully silent when such dishonesty was committed by their leader in their presence. We believe that the fact Abiy Ahmed could lie so big in the presence of the opposition parties and media shows that he under-estimated the people around him, whose silence proved that they place little importance in freedom and human rights for any human being (politics or national interests aside) or have little respect for the principle that honesty and integrity are the main values in every aspect of life. If we assume (our assumption could be unsafe) that, for them as Ethiopians, the principle of honesty and integrity could be of much more concern than issues of freedom and human rights of the Eritrean people, we raise the question: Do they exempt their leader from adhering to these values? If they do not demand from their leader to respect the values of honesty and integrity, we go ahead asking: Does democracy have a realistic prospect for success in Ethiopia currently? Are they true adherents of democracy themselves? We will just pass this issue with a remark that this is nothing but flexible morals and ethics.

Some Eritreans made dispassionate examination of his statements, while others were influenced by a strong emotion, giving insulting responses. Of course, getting angry could be inevitable but that is not a productive process to hold him accountable for his lies. Still others, specially PFDJ supporters and a couple of other Eritreans (no need to mention names), who thought or wanted to give the false impression that they are the most objective and the most sober Eritrean activists, streamed out a weak defence that Abiy Ahmed represented his country’s interest and has the right to express his opinion. Nevertheless, other Eritreans promptly tore their defence apart, showing that the Ethiopian Prime Minister and his supporters, who do not have respect for the feelings and rights of other peoples, would not believe their eyes and ears that they found some Eritreans ready to defend their conceit towards the Eritrean people, their derision, contemptuous ridicule and mockery for the independence of the country. As there is no great mystry about the motive of Abiy Ahmed behind this deliberate campaign, this is hard for us, as non-supporters of the Eritrean regime, to stomach.

We would say that only few could argue that lies are not a part of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms) of modern society. True, we sugarcoat them by some tolerable or easy to swallow terminologies like marketing, advertising, propaganda or spin. Accordingly, professionals, including politicians or leaders, use these terminologies (disguised lies) to deceive and reach a certain goal. As a matter of fact, politicians are taken by the public as the professional liars par excellence (better or more than all others of the same kind). That is why in "Politics and the English Language", an essay George Orwell wrote in 1946 to criticise the “ugly and inaccurate” written language of his time in which he examines the link between political orthodoxies and the abuse of language, candidly states, “Political language … is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.”

As a complement to the paragraph above, we raise the question: Are lies the same? This was answered by the philosopher Hannah Arendt, in her essay “Truth and Politics” (published in the New Yorker in 1967). She divides lies into two, describing each as follows:

• Lies that are minimal forms of deception, which she describes as a “micro-tear in the fabric of reality”.

• Lies that are so big that “…they require a complete rearrangement of the whole factual texture, a shift to another reality.”

With the explanations above in mind, we ask: To which of the above two categories do we assign Abiy Ahmed’s lies?

When someone lies, he/she is expected to foresee that no one would find out the truth and that no one would get hurt. We remember the big shocking lie Abiy Ahmed spoke during his first visit to Asmara, stating that Atse Isias lives in a humble way, not better than the ordinary people, adding that the way the Atse lives should be emulated by African leaders. It is no secret that Atse Isias wears “Bututo” (ragged or shabby clothes**) and his wife wears “Abu Ashara” (clothes from the store: “Everything for ten”). But nobody would beleive that a man of Abiy Ahmed’s level of intellect (Ph.D. holder) fails even to suspect that pretension to be poor is a very common pattern of behaviour for many leaders. To make sure that his statement about Eritrea sticks on the wall, Abiy Ahmed should have asked himself the following questions before opening his mouth:

• Does what he intends to say coincide with the image the Eritrean people have about his host?
• Could anybody find out the truth about his statement and contest it?
• Does his statement hurt the Eritrean people in one way or another?

This is what we expect from any ordinary citizen, let alone from a leader of a country.

In a nutshell, if a person does not carefully review what he wants to say in light of the above listed questions, he should be considered a socio-pathetic liar (related to a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behaviors, and a lack of conscience). As all of us went through some kind of religious or moral schooling, if not formal, at least at home, at the hands of our parents, there is no need to discuss why lying is wrong.

Nonetheless, the American philosopher, Harry Frankfurt, distinguishes between a liar and a bull-shitter or a lie and a bullshit. Bullshit is a nonsense- talk, without having a clue what someone is talking about, typically to mislead and deceive. Here philosopher Harry Frankfurt says that the bull-shitter does not care about the difference between the truth and falsity of his assertion, adding that bull-shitters,”… just pick ideas, or make them up, to suit their purpose.” This difference makes the last two statements of Abiy Ahmed about Eritrea more of bullshits than lies. Each one of them is as bullshit as Trump’s allegation that Obama was born outside the US.

Many writers would agree that bullshit has become a new currency in politics these days. As observers, we see nowadays a new breed of politicians flourishing: popularist leaders, whose bullshit artists par excellence are Donald Trump of the U.S. and Boris Johnson of the U.K. For them, lying and bullshitting has become a part of their everyday routine. It is earning them both popularity and widespread sense of disgust and loathing at the same time, depending on their supporters and critics.

Experts who monitor everyday activities of the bullshit artists, tell us that, in their attempt to shape public opinion, the bullshit artists use a varied mixture of lies, half-truths, suggestive or disparaging hints and remarks, and empty verbiage, though we know fact checking is regularly practiced by the media and the progressive forces. It is unfortunate to observe that Abiy Ahmed, who is struggling hard to frustrate the will of the Eritrean people through his lies, bullshitting and drumming campaign in favour of Eritrea’s devil (we leave what he says in public meetings in and outside Addis Ababa for Ethiopians to evaluate), is currently ranking next to the two bullshit artists par excellence, polluting the whole East Africa and constituting a serious threat to any democratic movement in the region. The core questions we need to ask ourselves here are: How did we get into this situation? Or: How could Abiy Ahmed dare to go that far in his notorious campaign?

The answers to these questions are deeply rooted in the relations developed between the two allied leaders during the last two years and how each one of them has the back of the other, so that they could jointly eliminate their common enemies (real and perceived), enhance each other and prolong their rules that are vividly becoming complementary. Put bluntly, what has brought the two leaders together is their notorious hunger to rule, dominate, and oppress; not the good of the two countries.

As skepticism and mistrust of Abiy Ahmed has already become rampant among our people and have now reached the climax, we cannot pass without saying few things about how the destiny of the two leaders of mutual or reciprocal relation is inter-related. In other words, this is to say that we have to show that the demise of one of them is the demise of the other. We will cite some examples below.

In concrete terms, among the many things Abiy Ahmed did in favour of Atse Isias include: helping him get out of the isolation in which he lived for decades, ending international sanctions imposed on Isias’s Eritrea, reconciling him with other African leaders, helping him suppress the Eritrean people’s struggle for justice and democracy (with the help of the Ethiopian intelligence network in and outside the country), giving multi-faceted support and lobbing in favour of the ruling gang in Eritrea at the UN Security Council, African Union, and Human Rights Council forums, (of course, by giving assignments to the Ethiopian diplomatic missions), and using his Ethiopian supporters to join Pro-Isias Eritrean protests in the West. Further, Abiy Ahmed sadly turned his government into an oppressive weapon against the Eritrean opposition and the Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia, and allowed the ruling gang to have security and military presence there, turning a blind eye when the security personnel of the Atse kidnap, follow, or harass Eritreans living in Ethiopia. There should be many others in the areas of security, finances, and international relations, but they will be exposed with time. Simply put, Abiy Ahmed has been doing everything possible for the Atse by way of helping him suppress the Eritrean struggle and prolong the agony of our people. Here we ask: Do these hostile activities make Abiy Ahmed a friend or a foe for the Eritrean people?

On the flip side, Atse Isias who is knee-deep in Ethiopian politics that does not concern him and still sinking deeper, had brokered, convinced and pressured or arm-twisted the armed contingents of the Ethiopian opposition harboured by Atse Isias during the Wayane rule, to return to their country under the promise to be allowed to struggle peacefully inside the country, the Eritrean embassies in Europe, Middle East and North America have been carrying spying and survelience activities on Diaspora Ethiopians in favour of Abiy Ahmed, organizing Eritreans to participate in the Pro-Abiy Ethiopian protests in the West, and conducting propaganda campaigns (watch the drumming campaign of the new PFDJ propaganda machine in the West and the army of PFDJ facebook users). Inside Ethiopia, according to Oromo sources, there are Eritrean commando units in Addis Ababa and other Ethiopian cities, specially in the Oromia region, doing all dirty work on behalf of Abiy Ahmed, whose country is fast descending in chaos, anarchy and social unrest, and his new Prosperity Party staggering, overwhelmed by the daily exposure of corruption, fraud and partisan politics, and widely-spread allegation that it is turning into a master rather than being a vehicle to bring change. Here too, we are tempted to ask: Is Atse Isias a friend or a foe for the Ethiopian people?

If the alliance between Abiy Ahmed, the emerging dictator, and Atse Isias, the veteran dictator and mentor, is so unholy, targeting all progressive forces that could become obstacles for the continuation of their oppressive rules, it is not surprising for the hostile statements of Abiy Ahmed about Eritrea to be a common stand for both. That is why we have never heard any comment from the Atse, his Minister of Propaganda, or any other PFDJ worshipper. In fact, Atse Isias has said more that could reflect his treason and serious threat to the Eritrean sovereignty. What is strange then? What we should worry about is not what the allied leaders are doing, which is obvious, but what we should do to stop them before they could cause irrepairable damage to both countries and the whole Horn of Africa. This is the hard nut to crack.

Eritrean justice seekers were among the first who supported and welcomed the peaceful transition of power that brought Abiy Ahmed to the office of the Prime Minster and stood firm and tall to defend him against the campaign of the time waged against him by Ethiopian chauvinists, hoping that he will bring democratization and people-based genuine peace and economic integration to the whole Horn of Africa, and enhance our struggle against the brutal dictatorship of Atse Isias and the struggle of all other oppressed peoples of Africa living under similar oppressive regimes. Nonetheless, his democratic and progressive rhetoric and the hope expressed in his speeches, and the great measures he started to take, correcting the course of justice and history in Ethiopia, did not last long but were short-lived. These measures included releasing political prisoners, banning torture, dismantling the notorious prisons, allowing free press to function and develop, prohibiting spontaneous political arrests, waging an anti-corruption campaign, referring to the Ethiopian opposition as “political opponents”, calling on rebels to return home and join the peaceful struggle… etc, to mention a few). But sadly enough, this liberal direction became a passing fad, and some of the changes were slowly reversed or eroded. Here by “passing fad” we mean: fashion, activity, and feeling that lasted for only a short period of time or not worthy of taking seriously. But the question remains: When did this role reversal or renegade take place? The answer is when the following things started to happen:

• When Mein Kampf (Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto of 1925) became his night time reading material.

• When the leader of Africa’s North Korea, Atse Isias, became his partner and mentor, and Isias’s playbook became his Bible.

• When the anti-people attitude of criminality and dirty political drama meticulously played to eliminate and physically liquidate political opponents of Egypt’s Cici became his source of inspiration.

• When the betrayal of the dream of the oppressed Oromo people and the elimination of the symbols of their national struggle became his daily preoccupation.

• When his office, mind and heart became open to reactionaries and chauvinists.

• When Gulf money and advice started influencing his policies and direction of things in Ethiopia.

• When he joined the club of bullshit arts par excellence.

We are well-aware that Abiy Ahmed had a dream to rule Ethiopia as the 7th king, that this was a dream his mother instilled in him since childhood and that he is comfortable to talk about, and in fact in a boasting manner. Observers are of the opinion that, though he managed to come to power and his dream was half-realized, he is striving to stay in power and rule for ten years by any means: right, wrong, offensive, immoral, evil, or wicked. Accordingly, the harsh reality is that there is nobody above him except the sky and he answers to nobody. How about his conscience? In case his conscience gives a margin for others and listen, we would tell him that the Eritrean people is bigger than him and his despicable partner, the iron-fisted Atse Isias, and that no power on earth can defeat their will. As to the Ethiopian opposition and Ethiopian media, we would like to remind them that rejecting lies and the culture of deceit and bullshitting is very critical in building free, democratic and prosperous society. This requires, we add, empowering the people to engage in a much-needed social critique. That is the reason why fact checking of what leaders say has become an important task of the opposition and the free media in the West, where there is enough realization that leadership that adheres to honesty and integrity makes a big difference in the future of the country.

Our biggest concern, as East Africans, is that: When are we going to hold our leaders accountable if we do not start it from now and instill that responsibility in the evolving personality of our children? Ethiopians have a better political climate that could help them lead other Africans in holding leaders accountable, and we see healthy symptoms. Yet, we expect more scrutiny and challenge in issues of governance and foreign policy. Here the political puzzle is: Why do most of the Ethiopian opposition and free media need to continue in their silence when Atse Isias manages to export his values, system of goverancne and way of handling the opposition? We have no doubt that they know what is the best for their country, but if they tell us that things are going in the right direction, then we would tell them that they are not watching things very carefully. Though we see overall strength, we do not hesitate to tell them that silence is their Achilles’ heel, though, unlike the Eritrean people, they have some margin to speak out.

As discussed above in detail, Abiy Ahmed and Atse Isias are working hand and glove to oppress and silence the Ethiopian and the Eritrean peoples. This shows that there should be a strategic alliance between the peoples of the two countries so that they could defeat the oppressors and their war on the right of identity, self-awareness, the right of dignity, the right of equality, the right of social justice and democracy. What the two leaders are doing is not in the interest of both peoples and the future relations of the two countries. These governments will be taken into the bin of history sooner or later because history has time and again taught us that the government that does not have the support of the people is short-lived. But peoples who are the real owners of the two countries will remain forever united by one dream: to grow together as sisterly countries. Should we allow the two leaders to destroy that chance? In few words, the loss of Abiy and Atse Isias is the gain of our two peoples, and vice versa.



* Proverbs is a book of the Bible containing truths or words of wisdom from Solomon and other wise Israelis, or general sayings that are considered wise.

** In her facebook presentation, an Ethiopian woman remarked on Atse Isias saying: “ውቃቤዉ ሸሸው” (The prestige embodied in his physical appearance has abandoned him.)

By: Abdu Habib
Email: sabbahar@rocketmail.com

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See also past articles and seminars by Mr. By Abdu Habib.
ካልኦት ብ' ኣቶ ዓብዱ ሓቢብ ዝተጻሕፉ ጽሑፋት ኣብ ታሕቲ ተወከሱ:-

ATV:ናይ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ እንኮ ምርጫ ሰላም ኢዩ! - ጸዋዒት ዓለምለኻዊ ተበግሶ ባይቶታት ይኣክል፡

See also Related /  ምስዚ ዝተኣሳሰር ሓበሬታ፡-

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