The talk these days at Ethiopians’ favourite hangouts in London is all about President Barrack Obama’s forthcoming visit to Ethiopia: on the possible impact on arm-chair politicians’ affectation with vuvuzela politics and on Ginbot7’s ability to continue to operate against a democratically elected Government of Ethiopia from the comfort of its base in Washington DC.
One name that kept coming up among chillaxing Ethiopians in these hangouts is that of Professor Al Mariam of California State University. While he no doubt is a prolific writer with his Monday commentaries appearing on the Huffington Post as well as on most anti-EPRDF websites, his analyses are by and large claptrap. This is in part due to his notorious visceral hatred for EPRDF in general and for the TPLF in particular.
Al Mariam’s weekly ‘sermon’ is addressed to those bent on circumventing the constitutional order in Ethiopia with a plea for them to engage in civil disobedience against the EPRDF. Fortunately the people for whom the bells of Revolutionary Democracy has been ringing for the past 2 decades, regard Al Mariam and his likes as alien to today’s Ethiopia and therefore do not heed to their pleas and admonitions. For Al Mariam and his likes, Ethiopia, far from being a success story is a basket case; all talk about Ethiopia continuing to register double-digit growth is false; GERD is a white elephant and the nation will never be able to complete it; and that Ethiopia will not last long as a united country. So rebarbative are Al Mariam’s analyses of Ethiopia that word nerds have now produced a new buzz word to describe the psyche of Ethiopian gloom and doom mongers: “Al-apocalypse (Al Mariam + apocalypse).
In a vain attempt at assuaging the morale of the toxic diaspora following Obama’s 2014 thumping approval of Ethiopia, Al Mariam uses his numerous media appearances to down play the significance of President Barrack Obama’s official visit to Ethiopia. One moment he claims Obama will be in Ethiopia because the Ethiopian capital is the seat of the Headquarters of the African Union, and not to commend the EPRDF for building a democratic state out of the embers of a nightmarish military dictatorship. Next he claims that Obama is merely on a whistle-stop stay in Addis. Al Mariam is not wrong; he is mistaken.
In September 2014 President Barrack Obama hosted a meeting to a high level Ethiopian delegation led by Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalgn. It was during a televised opening session that Obama broached the ‘unthinkable’ by giving a thumping approval for the strides Ethiopia has made to broaden the horizon of democracy, for bringing millions of families out of the poverty trap, for remaining an oasis of peace and stability in a troubled region and for fighting international terrorism. Such public commendation by the world’s most powerful person is said to have caused heartache to the network of toxic Diaspora who had pinned their hopes on being catapulted to Menelik II Palace on (Ethiopia’s seat of power) none other than Barack Obama.
President Barrack Obama’s visit will mark a milestone in the 112 years history of diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and the United States. The history may have chequered episodes, but it definitely is a relation that has stood the test of time. Moreover never have the political socio-economic make-up of Ethiopia been to America’s liking (mind you the EPRDF is known for doing things that is right for the national interest, and not to please its development partners) as it is in today’s Ethiopia.
Make no mistake then for President Barrack Obama will go down in history as the first sitting American President to pay a-tap-on-the back visit to the leaders of Ethiopia.
President Obama can therefore look forward to a warm reception both from the Government and people of Ethiopia. Ethiopians value the friendship and hospitality the people of the United States of America have offered to hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians in America particularly at a time when a brutal military dictatorship had unleashed a 17 year reign of terror in our own country. Above all President Obama and his entourage will be able to find out for themselves that present day Ethiopia is a galaxy away from the claim made by gung-ho opposition activists particularly in Washington. President Obama’s will sound the death kneel for Al-apocalypse – for all those who dread to witness the prevalence of durable peace and stability in Ethiopia, for warmongers whose wish it is for Ethiopia to be in hock to cycles of fratricidal war and for gloom and doom mongers. Welcome to ETHIOPIA President Barrack Obama!