by Teshome Debalke
What happened in the 2012 G8 conference in the US Capital hosted by President Baraka Obama is historic. The premier gathering of the leaders of the world’s richest countries is where small time dictators come to beg for help for their mismanagement of their respective countries’ economy.
Incidentally, all the G8 Heads of States are democratically elected and legitimate leaders serving their limited terms. Among invited Heads of States are the world’s economically and politically mismanaged nations. In contrast, all are ruled by totalitarian regimes that outlived the term of their counter parts of the G 8’s leaders.
Melse Zenawi of Ethiopia representing the later hasn’t missed these kinds of gathering since he came to power. He ruled through four US presidents’ terms and waiting for the fifth to come. His presence this time around is to plead for more foreign aid to feed the people in the country he presided over as the Prime Minster for the last 21 years (17 years as an ‘elected’ leader, according to the sorry Election Board that is infested with his cadres). The regime and its stooges are stupid enough to believe the people would buy their amateur propaganda of legitimacy.
What made the highly secure G8 conference unlike the previous is the presence of one brave Ethiopian named Abebe Gellaw. The Ethiopian journalist affiliated with the newly established Ethiopian Satellite Television Network (ESAT) is not a stranger for Ethiopians. He is known advocate at the front line in the battle to rid of the totalitarian ruling regime. As a victim of the regime, he left his home country tormented by the same regime led by Melse Zenawi. The two paths crossed again; this time in the United States of America-‘the land of the free and the brave’ in level playing field. Melse striped off his illegal gun under which he rules and Abebe armed with legal press credential to confront him as it always should be if it wasn’t for the tyrant.
The usually secure conference hall for tyrants in the past under diplomatic cover turned in nightmare this time. When Abebe stood up and raised his voice to tell the invited delegates and the world the dictator in front of them is not qualified to be present in the free world let alone to speak on the important issue of food security. In fact the audience seems more interested to hear Abebe Gelaw than the usual ranting from the little dictator they have been hearing for two decades.
The protest went beyond the mini man that usually slips in-and-out telling his gullible audience what they want to hear. After he successfully silenced the free press at home and managed to play the world under diplomatic cover his worst nightmare came through. To the embarrassment of the host, for the first time in the history of G8 meeting the truth was told about tyranny inside a venue that made a habit of entertaining dictators and sending them with more money to suppress their people and put more in their personal vault.
The confused dictator looked puzzled and appeared frightened as if his rule is going to end then and there. He thought arrest would follow. He seems to look for his goons to come to his rescue. The man that is used to send his assassin to deal with his outspoken critics was left halpless-wondering what to do next. The roomful of high level delegates appeared wanting to hear more of what Abebe want to say against the tyrant on the podium-known to have blood on his hand. The look on face of Professor John Evans Atta Mills, the proudly elected President of Ghana and the pride of aFRICA that sat next to him said it all. Confident yet embarrassed to seat next to a corrupt tyrant on the other side of the continent. Forced to share the same podium with a dictator he seems to want to seat next to Abebe than Melse. He stared at the wall as if many thoughts crossed his mind to finally bring Ghana among the few proud nations in Africa.
As expected, the hand picked cadre that accompanied the tyrant did what he is trained to do. He threatened to kill Ababe as he probably did many Ethiopians in the home turf. For sure US authorities would be interested to find out if the out of control cadre would follow on his treat to kill a US citizen. According to Abebe, the man was circling him around wanting to know for what purpose he was present at the conference, as if the venue was reserved only for tyrants and their entourage as it is done at home.
The scenario is a classic case of ‘the clash of civilization’ between primitive dictatorial regime that is used to say ‘my way or the highway’ and the free world that want to know what a regime does with the millions of people it subjugates under its rule and the public money it dispenses for its suppression and corruption. The regime wishes to do the same when it crosses the territories of the free world as it does at home.
Time and time again tyrants feel they can outwit the world when diplomatic protocol forces the host nations to accept them as representative of the nations they rule by force. They think conference rooms behind diplomatic cover are safe from scrutiny when they spew hogwash and get away with it. Their suite wearing assassins/butlers that accompany them couldn’t understand the rule of law to restrain their behavior either. They think they can kill some one and go to lunch on behalf of the tyrant as they are used to do in home turf.
Abebe Gelaw walked in the only safe heaven dictators are afforded in the free world. He came face to face with the ‘devil’ and told him he is a wanted man. He warned him to know there is no safe place for him in the free world that we can’t reach him. He alerted the gathering delegates to know who they are dealing with. The dictator that feels invincible behind his gun carrying goons in the home turf was left necked-pleading for help from his host.
What Abebe did was historic. He showed us hounding dictators everywhere they go is the duty of every citizen in every nation under tyranny. He also thought us we can’t continue to protest from outside but to do whatever it takes to come inside and deprive safe heaven for tyrants. He demonstrated to the world tyranny needs to go and freedom to come sooner than later.
He also thought a good lesson to the stooges of tyranny that reside in the free world. Their celebrated tyrant is noting but a man on the run-a fugitive from justice. He warned them working for or with the tyrant would have consequences of a lifetime. He gave them notice; playing with the devil could take them down the drain with the tyrant.
The world is a different place than it used to be, thank God. Tyrants of this world are no longer thumbing their nose on us any longer. They are faking to emulate their legitimate counter parts in the democratic world just to see the next day. They know well the world is after them as they play hide-and-seek. They understand the only way they can survive the tide is by counterfeiting everything they do to look legitimate and diverting attention from the real issues of freedom. They are willing to do anything and spent whatever it costs to look legitimate.
Melse Zenawi is not any different except he is a little smarter than an average tyrant. He is willing to spend our own money to hire professionals to prop up his image to get a seat in G8 meeting. But, the fake image that cost millions of dollars to build was neutralized by one man with a few words in front of the world. That, my friends is raw power no dictator can buy with all the stolen public money and more.
No fake image lasts the life of the make up pasted on it. It will be striped or fades away in to irrelevancy. That is what Abebe Gelaw did like no protest or petition did all these years; hat off for the creative man.
The struggle must be waged not from the outside but from the inside. As our people say ‘ከብት ያልዋለበት ኩበት ለቀማ’, we have been doing it for too long. It is time to take the struggle where no one took it before-on the doorstep of tyranny and its stooges. It should be called ‘The Gelaw Doctrine’-Follow the tyrant and his stooges where they go to buy legitimacy or to obtain more money to fiancé their corrupt rule in the name of the poor and development.
What is missing in the struggle to rid of tyranny is the inability to follow the money trail wherever it leads. While most people are focused on the little tyrant his cadres and stooges are taking the people to the laundry. The tyrant’s institutions of larceny are left untouched. No one is present like Abebe when they crisscross the world to sell the public’s resources as their private property. Like blood-diamond or black gold or the less known commodities are sold in the back rooms or in the black markets for bargain price Ethiopians must be present to stop it.
As fire retard when deprive of oxygen tyranny will disappear when it deprive of financing and legitimacy. It is as simple as that and Abebe Gelaw showed us how it is done.
Freedom will come, no one can stop