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Friday, June 16, 2006

To Birhanu Nega with love

"And Moses chose from among the people able men, such as feared God, men of truth, hating unjust gains..."

The wash of time fades recollections of the uninspired. My here and there moments with you before the election; however, were never routine. My memory of the events would remain unclouded. Your feverish passion for freedom, your incisive words which stroke chord in my heart, were awe inspiring. These were the times when I had been practicing the art of self-deceit and hypocrisy assiduously, unplugged to the reality of my country and the state of freedom of my own mind; and unwilling to make choices. Non-committal and phoniness were the way of life for me. Perhaps you may not know it; but those moments with you changed my life. They were times for the wrenching of consciousness. Like the many Ethiopians you inspired out of the doldrums of uncommitted life and into the struggle for freedom, the many who received hope from you, the many whose narrative of life twisted from its uneventful course, Birhanu, I owe you.
This great land of destitution and death; tyranny and misery produced the somber vision of the existence of an Ethiopian in you. Yet you failed to be receptive of the tragic side of life. You didn't consider Ethiopia a hopeless and useless passion. Instead, you believed in the decency of Ethiopians and stood up to create a just political and economic system, you thought, you and all Ethiopians deserved. You longed for human institutions which have a soil congenial enough to nourish freedom and democracy.
For the unlettered and the dispossessed who considered you as a messiah, you had the modesty to claim that you weren't a liberator, but a man fighting for his own freedom. A free man defends his own freedom and urges other men to defend theirs.
“I am not here to liberate you from your inhuman condition; you know better how to do that for yourself. I do not claim to lead a liberation movement, but I am a compatriot in the fight for freedom. I am not fighting for your freedom, but for my own sake. I came back to my country with a determination to live in peace, harmony, and freedom. I want to pass over to my kids a country that makes them proud, a country that allows them to live to the limits of their dreams and beyond. I am in this fight not to liberate others but to fulfill my own desire to live in freedom. Those of you who want to stand and be counted as free individuals can join me and my compatriots in this honorable endeavor, but you have to decide in person and in full consent with your God. And when each one of us reaches that level of yearning for freedom there is no limit to the sky we can reach, to the stars we can approach”
Remember those beautiful lines. They were a free man's message. They were yours.
Of course, you did rise up for freedom with the same readiness and commitment of a soldier who was ready to sacrifice his life in a battlefield. You left your materially comfortable life to land in jail where people are treated in the most inhumane and degrading fashion. Yet even there you continue to believe in human spirit. You give love for those who couldn't transcend hate. "It is enough," claims J.P. Sartre, "for a man to love all other men with undivided love." Birhanu, you are showing us how a man can give undivided love to fellow men.
For you, politics isn't an end. Power is just a means of achieving justice and freedom. That was why you espoused the virtue of honesty in politics. That was why, in a land where gallons of human blood was spilt as if it was expired ink, for political end, you tried to make politics civil. Imagine the brave young people you inspired to politics. Birtukan Midekesa. Muluneh Eyuel. Sileshi Tena. Yeneneh Mulat. Daniel Assefa. Imagine the number of Ethiopians like me who have vowed never to give away their freedom lying down. Imagine the number of people who are intoxicated with the spirit of Kinijit; the spirit you and fellow Kinijit leaders entrenched in the fabrics of their minds. In prison or in hospital (where you are now), such thoughts should spur you on.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

EZ,

This is sooooooooooo profound!
I could not control my tears.

He has indeed inspired many
beyond the shores of Ethiopia!

God be with him!

Anonymous said...

6/16/06 USA

To: Mayor elect,Dr.Birhanu Nega

We wish you a quick recovery, strength and a bright future. Ethiopia/ns need you.

Keep a positive spirit and God in your thoughts. We look forward to hear your well being.

Anonymous said...

EZ,

Thanks man.That was beautiful and fitting. Oh, Berhanu, how brilliant, inspiring, pragmatic and charsmatic you are. For me, you changed the face Ethiopian boring, mean spirited politics forever. May God protect you from evil.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Berhanu, have you ever thought of how many millions you intoxicated with the wisdom and inevitable necessity of freedom as a man and as an Ethiopian, you pioneered and swifted the heart of many Ethiopians and I am proud to be one of them. Your kind, humble and frank attitude towards humanity, even to those merciless tyrants was amazing. I couldn't forget the respect that you gave to woyanes by agruing to call them eprdf ... you open hearted, genuine but firm fight for freedom gave you hope to the last minute, till the 11th hour before your prison where you were commenting "... it puzzled me what kind of government we are facing ... ". Despite the crime they are commiting on you let GOD perserve your humanity and kindness. You are our hero, we missed you so much and our souls are in search of you ... we want to see you lead us to your dream of freedom to the nation.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Berhanu is one of our beloved leaders.
I began to know him some 5 years ago when my educated elder brother told me while watching Berhanu on TV news "Look, look this is a very nice man I saw him in a meeting". After that I began to follow his speeches and actions. He is a great man. Even I used to see him accompanying his children to Bingham school every day. Also I used to follow in his election campaign trails speeches in weredas that did not belong to me but just to listen his speeches.
With all this on Thursday someone told me what happened at Tikur Anbessa Hospital that Dr. Berhanu was cheered by doctors, nurses and staffs all rushed down to the ground floor to welcome, greet. Even patients in the compound shouted “doctoriye doctoriye” and waving hands at every corner despite federals prevented close contact.
He finds the Kinjit spirit shines everywhere he goes. I am happy with all these.
I wish him recover soon.
Ameen.

Anonymous said...

Dr Berhanu Nega will be our president in the near future.I can see that clearly.

The Troubleshooter said...

Amen! to all what is said to this great man.

The Troubleshooter

Anonymous said...

Dear EZ,

Thank you for this wonderful tribute to the man who is transforming our nation with a vision of love, unity and fearlesness. His focused effort to bring about a democratic Ethiopia has already earned him a very special place in Ethiopian history.

Dear Dr Berhanu,

May you recover soon.
We Love You

Anonymous said...

He is our hope and wisdom.

We love him.

Wish you a speedy recovery!

Anonymous said...

Birhanu is our hope, next to God.

Anonymous said...

In a land where politics was considered as dangerous as playing with a live wire, in a land where patriotism was rediculed day and night through governement owned media, in a land where people were told to divide and beat on an ethnic group for being dominant in the past and another one for allegedly being separatist, where the struggle for access to the sea which was already achieved was denied and citizens were told they were colonizers by their own gov't Herman Cohen and co. chose for them in London in May 1991.

And then there were people like you, Berhanu, who still believed in Ethiopia. You and your party won the first almost free election in the history of the country by landslide. You made us believe that Ethiopia is a country to live and die for. Not to be ashamed of. You made us Ethiopians again. For that and for that alone I owe you, Berhanu and all the Ethiopian patriots like you, a bunch. My children will know what kind of great people you are.

You remind me of someone, dear Berhanu.

General Nega Tegegn had to send a young brave soldier to a certain death in 1971 on a mission when he was commander of the third division. General Nega said to the soldier that his chances of coming out alive was next to nil and told him that Ethiopia will take care of his nine month old child and his wife. The soldier came out alive after successfully completing the mission and went on voluntarily on a second one. Because of that soldier's and his unit's bravery thousands of Ethiopian lives were saved and Ethiopia's dignity restored. That soldier would also save Ethiopian Airlines from shutting down later on and was in charge of training the legendary 'anti-hijackers' of Ethiopian Airlines for many years. and someone I know at the battle field after the undisciplined 'militia soldiers' fled at the sound of the first fire leaving the commanders to face the enemy by themselves. That soldier would make it to the rank of General and was the only one to receive the highest medal for bravery in Ethiopia's near century old army's history.

When TPLF asked him to speak out against one ethnic group in 1991, General Tesfaye refused and chose to go to jail for many years instead. In the book he wrote in some part of Africa recently, General Tesfaye says he never regrets fighting for Ethiopia. He dedicated his book for the Ethiopian Airborne that he was raised in in his youth and later recreated and trained and commanded. His regret on the killings of General Getachew Nadew and General Mer'd Nigussie who were his mentors...His picture in his red airborne brt and the star on the cover reminds every Ethiopian of dignity of yesteryears.

You remind me of General Tesfaye HabteMariam, Berhanu, though you grew up in Addis and he in rural Guraghe village and later in Ambo and he is much older than you. Your similarities are in your visions and dedications. And your unconditional love for Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

You will recover, Dr Berhanu, you'll lead us into a bright future. You will make Ethiopia a better place. I know you'll struggle and pass on a better Ethiopia for your very young children and our children too.

Anonymous said...

God knows u changed my life. i know i will not be the same no more.u should know that u started a new generation of Ethiopians, with new aproch to life, belive that we will never walk the same way again.

Andinet Melaku said...

Watch the rising of the current Beast, Dr. Berhanu Nega

At this time of our history many of the political parties which are operating both in Ethiopia and in diaspora are working in favor of a tribal biased political ideology. we are about to encounter the rising of a bald seven head beast, in the country which is known for its strong unity independence. As the well known Ethiopian saying reminds us "it is better to face the familiar devil than to meet with an unknown angle" but what we actually experiencing is that of the opposite . As we have recently heard one of the Kinijet elected member Doctor Berhanu Nega has taken off his mask and he made himself clear what he stands for. It is remarkable how a man like Berhanu Nega could able to hide his true face while he was running for power to show off his Beast nature . However we are finally able to know the man and his Arada politics .As he himself told us he is an other Beast to tear Ethiopia apart. He is particularly a curse and a treat to the people of Amhara. Even though he is not brave enough to get the attention of the pioneers of Amahara people, he is able to say that he is not going to follow the politics of Faras .it is obvious what the beast is up to. He has no blood that can make him one among the nefetegas[ the poinoores of Amhara] . He doesn't have a rebellious spirit so that he can not relate himself to the patriotic people . As a matter of fact the legend and the legacy of Amhara is mirror to his one page history. Thus Doctor Berhanu has no choice than to turn against the Nefetegnas who remind of him the endless slavery his fathers left of him. By criticizing the political Culture of Ethiopia for that matter Amhara as an old fashion an undemocratic Berhanu will not get in the palace of Minellik and most importantly What the current beast fail to consider is that at the moment he made himself known as an enemy of Amhara , he committed a suicide .