S H A L L O W O P T I M I S M
AL Mariam: Duped by Tamagen
Genenew Assefa 01-08-16
Who, in a space of three-weeks, flatly contradicts himself on a subject, no less, as serious as the fate of the Ethiopian government? The short answer is, Al Mariam, though he is not the only smart-aleck to flip- flop on the issue of what keeps the EPRDF going. Yet ignorance of the underlying factors of EPRDF's staying power does not seem to deter the Al Mariams from hazarding predictions of state collapse on every small and big occasion. The latest occasion to spur wild speculation of EPRDF's fall is doubtless the concurrent outbreak of distemper in parts of Amhara and Oromia regions. But as the dust settled, though redress of the root cause remains, Al Mariam somewhat tempered his overconfident projection of a deadline for government handover to, strangely enough, unspecified claimants, waiting in the wings, as it were. But no sooner the hour of his pre-formulated ground-zero lapsed than the Professor smartly left open the exact date of EPRDF's inevitable demise. This much is visible in the current sequel to his endless forsight of a terrible ending in store for the founding party of the Ethiopian federation. Let there be no mistake, Al Mariam still believes that EPRDF's days are numbered. The only change, if you can call it that, is a patent slippage from certainty to ambiguity in the time-line of his latest forecast of Woyane's predetermined doom - a move which might possibly have takenn the clever among his readers by unexpected surprise.
But the Professor cares less that his sudden attenuation of his initial certitude in his own time-bound conjuncture of EPRDF's downfall could embarrass his admirers. Lucky for him, his loyal disciples lack the mental dexterity to notice the temporal indeterminacy of his freshest prediction of the impending twilight of the ruling party. How could they whilst they are too busy praying for at least one of Al Mariam's seemingly endless prophecies to come true? Apparently his admirers are spellbound by his fashion of prophesying a calamitous end-time, often keyed, for especial effect, to a hip-hop beat mixed with the polytonal rhythm of a Southern evangelist sermon. A style, as it were, Al Mariam must have taken pains to master, partly to make up for the depthless content of his flurry of alarm-sounding pamphlets that fittingly only the anti-EPRDF websites post with flattering commentaries to boot.
To his credit, the professor is prolific. He churns out blistering commentaries in bewildering succession, though substance, one must hasten to add, is a different matter. All the same, the professor in unencumbered by any nagging question of depth as he can always count on the unenviable intellectual threshold of his fans in America. As true believers, none of Al Mariam's followers are eager think for themselves assured as they are that they can always rely on their guru's infinite wisdom. It is unsurprising, then, is it not, that Al Mariam's disciples swear by his every jive as yet another revelation of the end of the "thugs" ruling Ethiopia on a ''slave plantation'' model no less.
Alas, if Al Mariam's groupies could credit this rendition, they may well have felt jubilant by his December 7 bombshell article that appeared under a no less explosive heading, The "End of the Story" for the T-TPLF in Ethiopia?. No-one can be faulted for feeling intoxicated by a professorial prophecy, assuring the disheartened that at long last deliverance from the yoke of "T"-TPLF's tyranny is at hand. Indeed exuberant embrace of Al Mariam's prophesy is unsurprising as the redemptive promise contained within it is cast in the moving rhetorical flare once popular in African-American civil rights oratory. Witness in the quote bellow Al Mariam's incurable habit of imitating even vintage Afro-American expressions partly to compensate for his thinly-veiled intellectual deficit.
''How long can the T-TPLF go on lording over 100 million people as though it owns and operates a land of slaves? How long can the T-TPLF maintain Ethiopia as a slave plantation where they are the masters and everyone else serfs?... How long the T-TPLF go on silencing the voice of 100 million Ethiopians? How long the T-TPLF keeps its boots on the necks of 100 million Ethiopians? How long? I say, not long! Not long! In December 2015, I cannot predict the exact time and date the T-TPLF will fall in Ethiopia.''
After this uplifting Sermon on the Mountain, the facebook congregation of the faithful could only have expected reverend Al Mariam to declare, "Halleluiah, free at last!" Free at last, Halleluiah!" Instead, euphoric expectancy slipped to despondency no sooner than Al Mariam's somewhat circumscribed follow-up article appeared on December 29. For none who took the above revelatory declarative to heart could have anticipated that Al Mariam could switch from certainty to uncertainty in so short a time lapse without losing face at that. In short, contrary to what those who had their hopes up were anxious to hear, news of Woyane's fall, Al Mariam failed short of their expectation as his latest prophecy revealed no specific time table for the end of Woyane's story. Sensing the artificiality of his first deadline tagged to his own superficial interpretation of recent events, Al Mariam could not but obscure the time-line of his squealed prophesy of "T"-TPLF's denenumout. With a straight-face of a world-class con artist, he writes,
People ask me how and when the T-TPLF dictatorship will end. I have no idea how or when the end of the T-TPLF story will be written. The last chapter of the story of the T-TPLF could be written days, weeks, months or years. I cannot predict. I don’t have the power of prophesy, but I know the power of prophesy.
Now, this is an improvement over his earlier prophesy. Though a sad letdown to those who had hoped that Al Mariam would to let them in on "how and when the T-TPLF dictatorship will end." In any event, it was foolish on Al Mariam's part to brave a prediction with a pre-set date for the ... "last chapter of the story of the T-TPLF." Partly because, misled by the mistiming of the final episode of "T"-TPLF' story, Al Mariam's followers may have planned in vain for a happy celebration the day after December 2015. Some who may have taken Al Mariam's forecast at face value might have anxiously countdown the days of December, ready to uncork champagne bottles the second news were to air of EPRDF's ouster. The adventurous perhaps might have even have gone as far as packing their belongings to return home in the aftermath of EPRDF's unceremonious funeral. Such warped eagerness is not without precedent. Recall, of you will, how in 2005, the self-exiled were ready to board the next flight to Ethiopia in time to secure a ring-side view of Woyane's trial. Sure enough a trial was held, if only those on the dock were not TPLF leaders, but a cabal of business and academic elites bound by a political ideology predicated on belief that they alone are fit to rule. As can be expected, instigation of street turbulence based on this exceedingly undemocratic claim landed the perpetrators in court of law. And, lo and behold, after a brief hearing the accused pleaded guilty to charges of crime of conspiracy to overthrow the lawful government by means proscribed by the constitution. Though implicated in an unpardonable transgression, the convicts were amnestied by executive order, more out of sheer pity than anything else. Pitiful as it is indeed to even think of plotting to overthrow a democratic republic by means of force, whilst legitimate channels exist for orderly transfer of political power.
Yet, though he is no longer sure exactly when, AL Mariam is certain beyond a shadow of doubt that the "T"-TPLF is on the brink of being swept away by a similar mass upheaval without even the benefit of a day in court. Obviously against the backdrop of countless similar predictions, it takes a leap of faith to credit this latest version of Woyane's ending. Particularly when told by Al Mariam of all people, who is least familiar with the background of the TPLF or when and where the front's story began. Nor does this almost-life-long émigré has any clue how each chapter of the TPLF story, written in blood and sweat, developed to the present stage of bright prospect. But, unlike his previous prediction, which turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking, this time around Al Mariam assures his readers that he has his story of "T"-TPLF's ending on a reliable source.
This too is an improvement to the extent that sourcing lends credibility to sanguine tales of "T"-TPLF's twilight --- a subject of transfixing appeal to Al Mariam. The question is, what is the evidence-cum- impeachable source which underpins his latest prophecy though, once bitten twice shay as they say, he left the timing of "T"-TPLF's fall open-ended? Well, Al Mariam would have his readers believe that he came across an ironclad proof that the "T"-TPLF is indeed in the throes of a deathbed agony as he surfed the internet for exactly this kind of solid evidence that none can refute. Overjoyed by his discovery, Al Mariam reckons that this time of second-asking his freakish forecast might pass the test of time. He then decides, in a figure of speech, to wear his clairvoyant hat on top of his academic credentials. In this capacity, the professor thinks that he can foretell the future from the merest of circumstantial evidence. What else is the following but flight of imagination that only Al Mariam credits as authentic?
"In a secretly recorded conversation, Bereket and Addisu talked plainly about the end of times-the final days, the last days-of the T-TPLF in Ethiopia to a group of their supporters."
Since he knows that his words can no longer be taken without a grain of salt, Al Mariam made sure to insert a hyperlink in his text, inviting his readers to review for themselves the evidence on which he based his conclusion. No doubt, those eager to hear the good news from the horse's mouth would switch to the hyperlink as hard evidence trumps self-serving commentary, especially where Al Mariam is concerned. Alas, the clever among AL Mariam's readers are in for an unpleasant surprise for his so-called evidence is simply another of ESAT's many technical handiworks, adept as the Shabia-funded network is at simulation. The sad part is Al Mariam relies on a cheap editing trick, conjoining two separate talks delivered to party members by Bereket Simon and Adissu Legesse four month before the May 2015 national elections. ESAT produced and circulated this cleaver by half forgery obviously to fool the unsuspecting into thinking that they could login and listen to a secretly-recorded conversation in which Berket and Adissu openly expresses their anxieties over, what Al Mariam describes, as the doomed fate of the " T"-TPLF.
Granted, given his long stay abroad, Al Mariam's Amharic could be rusty. This is not meant as a reproach for even recent returnees have a hard time understanding the nuances of the political language of the EPRDF. Perhaps this may have a lot to do with why Al Mariam misconstrued what the two men said as self-admission of their powerlessness in the face of mounting defiance against "T"-TPLF hold on power. Admittedly error occurs in transcribing spoken Amharic into English, but Al Mariam's misinterpretation betrays his ignorance of the formidability of the character of Adissu and Bereket, who, unlike those who dropped out when the going got tough, mustered their courage to found and lead ANDM/EPRDF to victory. Distant as he is from the subject that he endlessly writes about, Al Mariam has no idea that neither men is easily perturbed by any real setback much less by the litany of imaginary disasters that the doomsayers abroad endlessly conjure-up. Had AL Mariam's caricature portrait of Bereket and Adissu contained an iota of truth, the two men would have been remembered for thrown the towel at the first encounter of the many daunting difficulties they faced, and indeed overcame, in their twenty-four years of public service.
Al Mariam is as much clueless about EPRDF's tradition of Gemegema in which both senior officials and rank-and file party members blast each others' shortcomings in unsparing language. Understandably, those unfamiliar with the intensity with which ideas, tactics and strategies are discussed within the party could mistake the brutal candor for acrimony, the stuff which splits political parties into several warring factions. Once in a while, however, secrete recordings of closed-door party sessions, in which those responsible for poor performance are severely reprimanded, leak to ESAT, the world's only provider of year-round 24 hours braking-news service. No sooner the pirated version of the recorded session of heated intra-party exchanges, including debates on challenges encountered and lesson learned, is easily doctored and manipulated to sound desperate to the ears of the credulous. Insistently social-media activists crank out mambo jumbo, embellishing ESAT's pre-scripted requiem for as good as dead EPRDF. No wonder Al Mariam, duped by Tamagen's cut-and-paste audiovisual flick, raced with himself to be the first to announce the end of "T"-TPLF's story. The sad Irony is, for all his claim to erudition, Professor Al Mariam prefers to credit ESAT's horoscope reading of EPRDF's future over IMF's realistic appraisal to the contrary.
Which of the two binary projections of Ethiopia's prospects under the EPRDF government is nearer to the truth depends, no offense intended, on one's IQ. Whereas, no academic credential is needed to take stock of the fact that the IMF, no great admirer of Ethiopia's state-led development, envisions an upward trajectory in the TPLF/EPRDF story, particularly a decade from Al Mariam's Decembers 29 prophesy. Surely, IMF's upbeat ten-year forecast underscores that the International community does not share Al Mariam's downbeat outlook for EPRDF's survival in the coming months or a year at most. If proof need be, suffices to scan the latest IMF report, which confirms that the EPRDF has the right strategic plan in place to lead this country to the level of mid-income nation by 2025. This is not a contrived appraisal issued at the behest of the Ethiopian government. But an independent testimony that obviously speaks to EPRDF's perpetual self-renewal paralleled by huge strides on the path of enacting a long overdue national renaissance. To this extent, it behooves Al Mariam, even if grudgingly, to come to terms with EPRDF's longevity of tenure for the sake of his own sanity. Otherwise, given the increasing high-pitch tone of his recent denunciatory language, Al Mariam may well lose his sanity. Not least because, much to his chagrin, the EPRDF is certain to remain firmly on the saddle, far beyond the artificial time limit fixed by the party's self-serving army of detractors. End of story.