The Farce of the "Ethiopian Millennium" That must be boycotted by all self-respecting Ethiopians

By Fekade Shewakena
The Ethiopian Millennium to be marked in September 2007 has more of a metaphorical meaning than the farce the Ethiopian government is planning to make off of it.

What a coincidence that we trail most of the countries of the world by seven years into the celebration of the millennium and still also trail behind almost all of them in nearly every index of societal development. I have a friend who seriously asks if this has to do with our socioeconomic and political backwardness.
Just as the Woyane regime drumbeats its statistics to create a delusional and none existing economic leap in the country, I just read a World Economic Forum report which declares that Ethiopia has slid to the rank of 120th out of 125 countries in 2006 in Global Competitive Index, from the 116th that it stood at a year ago. The UNICEF also reports that another false promise of development, the so called Millennium Development Goal (MDG), is far off for Ethiopia to approach let alone achieve. I know these are top secrets in Ethiopia where the entire media is ordered to tell the people only the good news that, very soon, bread will be raining from the sky. Ethiopians are not allowed to know that the number of their absolute poor, defined by the World Bank as those earning les than a dollar a day, have nearly tripled since the EPRDF came to power fifteen years ago and the rank of the unemployed is continuously swelling to limits of explosion.
Yes, we Ethiopians love our unique heritages including the way we subdivide the solar cycle into thirteen months and often pride ourselves of this uniqueness. In many cases the brutal autocratic rulers that we have had to live under over these long years of our history have used every bit of our heritage to perpetuate their own myths and extend their repressive systems. Now it is the Woyane’s turn.
This celebration is planned to be a diversionary tactic and spread the delusion that everything in the country is going well. The TPLF/EPRDF is saying, “listen people of Ethiopia, ask not your freedoms and democratic rights, and complain not when we sometime mass-kill you and your children since we do that in order for the bread to rain from the sky, don’t demand the release of the innocent representatives you elected against us, forget them for you are, after all, poor people who need care takers like us determined to feed you like pigs. Read the statistics, oh! people of Ethiopia we have grown 10% ….That is the meaning of democracy and good governance and that is why we put your elected leaders in jail and killed some of you. Seek not human dignity people of Ethiopia, for that brings you in conflict with us and would lessen the amount of bread you are going to get, ….”. This is the theme of this sham celebration. Remember that sham call by Foreign Minister Syum Mesfin and the Meles government to celebrate the Award of Badame to Ethiopia by the International Arbitration Court? This is the same thing folks. This shameless people are asking us to forget their crimes and dance with them on the streets that are still blood stained from their massacres.
Obviously this planned festivity is meant to divert attention from the widespread human rights abuse and repression that have become routine in Ethiopia since the ill fated May 2005 election. The TPLF seems to have settled on running a police state now, because it appears that there is no other way it is going to survive this mass distaste and rejection. The festivity is obviously meant to help throw some anesthesia on the Ethiopian people into forgetting their serious grievances and anger at being led by a certified illegitimate government.
Already the countdown and the celebration of this Orwellian drama have begun and the government media are devoting a lot of time for it. The firecrackers and the champagne and scotch are ordered. A so called Secretariat of the Millennium Celebration is established and will be overseen by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. There is a council of 120 people to deliberate on the kind of celebration. Millions of dollars taken out of the mouths of hungry children are diverted to fund the drama. The former office of the USIS is now the headquarters of this sham celebration. A four man committee is set up to do the choreography. Some of these are well known empty headed blowhards who have demonstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they wear enough blinders to make them believe freedom, democracy and economic progress are flowing in Ethiopia like a mighty river. They have demonstrated that they believe the massacres of June and November 2005, the genocidal killings in Gambella and Awassa and elsewhere as well as the incarceration of thousands of innocent people and their elected leaders are fabrications in the minds of some confused Ethiopians in Diaspora. They believe people like the 93 year old Oromo prisoner in Kaliti, who suffers nearly a decade in prison without seeing a day in court accused of having a son that joined the OLF, is a fiction on Dr. Berhanu Nega’s book, “The dawn of Freedom”.
I also hear from insiders that the biggest stumbling block to the expected colorful celebration in Addis Ababa are the many symbols of poverty that swarm Addis Ababa, the rag wearing beggars and miserable poor street children that flood the streets. This serious problem has to be dealt with before this great day of delusion. God knows where they would take them, but if previous reports by the Ethiopian Human Rights Council that some street dwellers were thrown into hyena infested eucalyptus forests on the outskirts of Addis are any lead, the hyenas would have the best millennium celebration of all living creatures in Ethiopia next to the affluent TPLF/EPRDF officials, their cronies and some heartless individuals who would fool themselves into this celebration. The mass media, radio and television have started administering the anesthesia already.
I am not against marking or commemorating this day at all. But I see another way of marking it. It is fitting to mark the day by making it a day of reflection and introspect. A day where we examine what has gone wrong with us in the past. I would have liked to mark it with bringing peasants, intellectuals and all the bright people in our country into a discussion forum where we can rock our head and see our past and vow to do better in the future.
The millennium day may be an opportune time where we have to look at ourselves with sincerity and brutal honesty and ask ourselves many why questions. Why is this beautiful country condemned to live in misery when it is endowed with everything we need to live a descent life? What is wrong with us that we have more than 30% forest covered land a millennium ago and left with less than 1% of that today? Why are we at the bottom of every global measure of development and why do we keep being ruled by brutal dictators that are hardly different from the tribal barons that ruled Ethiopians hundreds of years ago? Why, in Gods name, have we turned our country into a virtual hellhole where every young person’s dream to flee out of it at their earliest convenience.
Serious and self-respecting Ethiopians should despise and boycott this farce. It is a humiliation to be a part of it. Let’s instead plan for a day of reflection and introspect, perhaps a day of prayer to ask God to help us leave a better country for our children than we currently have and dream a collective dream for something better. In my view this is the best and appropriate way to celebrate the millennium.
Fellow Ethiopians in Diaspora, cancel your planned trips to Ethiopia on September 7. Fellow Ethiopians inside Ethiopia, stay home and pray for your country and the coming generation on the millennium day and avoid being a party to this Orwellian farce. Do some personal work to commemorate the day. Don’t be a part of this sick joke.

Fekade Shewakena can be reached at

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at3:05 PM


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