Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Birhanu Nega writes a book; a book that rekindles the kinijit spirit

Publisher: Andargachew Tsgie
Printing house: MM publishing

Kaliti jail is notoriously hot in the summer. With an average of more than 100 people crammed in one room, it is hard to breath. Prisoners spend most of their times outside their cells to avoid the stifling heat inside. For five months since he was taken to one of the worst cells in Kaliti, unlike most of his cell mates Birhanu Nega spent his time inside the cell writing. It wasn't a letter or a diary he was writing. It was a book.
How the book manuscript made it outside the cell and to kampla for publishing is amazing. it shows the nature of the struggle and the number of people involved in it. The story of the process of writing is, however, fascinating. Security guards twice took away some parts of the manuscript. He wrote them again.
The book itself which was titled "Yenetsanet Goh Siked: Likelebes yetemokerew ye'Ethiopia democracy" is 618 pages long and has four parts. Birhanu briefly takes us the formation of his early political life in the first part. He then lays a case for liberal democracy in Ethiopia and the problems of building democracy. The second part tries to answer what makes the election last year so special. He goes through the politics of EPRDF and opposition before the election. In the third part he recounts the events post election, until the November repression and their imprisonment. The last part takes on EPRDF's misguided calculations and the future of Ethiopia.
The book is one of the most fascinating accounts of an Ethiopian politician and a political philosophy he and fellow courageous leaders in prison share. It is emotionally involving with some extraordinary tales. One will come out with enormous moral burden after reading the book. It is a must read.
Tomorrow; detailed review of the book
-Why and How EPRDF lost the election
-Birhanu's great Admiration for Dr. Merera
-Kinijit's collective leadership and the great role of Hailu Shawel
-How the chairman, Hailu Shawel wasn't authoritarian unlike the claims by EPRDF
-His disdain for Dr. Beyene Petros
-How he views Lidetu
-His relatinship with Bereket
-The fascinating tale of Kinijit from Birth to prison
-The moral leadership of professor Mesfin
-Ethiopia's and Kinijit's Future
and other breath-taking accounts


Anonymous said...

Is it is written in English or Amharic?

Anonymous said...

Berhanu We love you,
look forward to reading it.
Bravo Andergachew.
Just a note: When Kinijit N/A was asked for publication they refused as they were fighting each other and Andergachew filled in the gap.

Anonymous said...

Great mind will not sleep evenif they are in jail,,

Thank you one of our great leaders,, We love you and you colleagues morethan anything..

All you have special place in our hearts and minds

Anonymous said...

Bravo Berhanu! What a hero.

Go Kinijit Leaders! Keep making history one after the other.

God bless you, Berhanu our black knight in shining armor.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from "Berhanu Nega"? The light has risen and so has the spirit of Kinijit - his name itself says it all.

Anonymous said...

where can one get this book?

Anonymous said...

I am egger to read this book
Good bless kinijit leaders

Anonymous said...

This is the most perfect time for our hero's book to come out. With the struggle and movement in Ethiopia being forced to take a back seat, this sure will ignite it back.

Bravo Dr Berhanu.

You keep giving us hope.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. Birhanu. I did not get the book yet. But his dedication and heroism is just enough for me to keep my hope alive.

Thanks Ethio Zagol.

Anonymous said...

While Dr. Birhanu Nega is such a brilliant, talented and gallant fighter for the cause of Kinijit why Kinijit stripped him from the leadership post?

If it is true, why Kinijit Int'l refused to publish the book?

Anonymous said...

Woyane can not kill the undieing sprit of Kinijit's leaaders and the determination for change of Ethiopian people.

Thank you Dr. Berhanu. We pray and struggle for your and our other heroes of Kinijit unconditional release. You are everyone's aspiration.

God bless Ethiopia and its people.
Thank you Ethio-Zagol for the update.

Anonymous said...

To the above anonymous,
Because Dr. Berhanu Nega is not power hungery and doesn't have an ego problem. He rather do the job and get the young leaders to develop.
Kinijit didn't publish it because few Kinijit N/A leaders have ego problem and are much concerned with their own glorification than the movement.

Anonymous said...

Why you people ofcourse few in number want to divide the kinijit leaders by saying Kinijit Local [@ home] and kinijit international?

Is't Ato Andargachew Tsege publisher of the book? Is not he Andargachew, memeber of KI? Why don't you want to speak out the truth atleast one day? Doyou know that the people is looking the day to day activities of the Ethiopian politics?

If you have some thing better to deliver for the Ethiopian people worrk on that we are intellegent enough to see what you are seeing.

Anonymous said...

Expectation at best.

Some great works of reading have come out of prison in the world in the past, and it is great news to find Dr. Birhanu join that effort to inform what took place.

Despite his struggle with his health and worst prison conditions, to write a philosophical and political book on Democracy in Ethiopia shows the strength of his spirit and his persistence against the odds.

This is a big lift for CUDP/Kinijit which seems to be ubder the test of political elements. We hope Dr. B. Nega's health heals, the day comes that he is out of prison, join his family and take a leadership role.

EZ Thank you for the good news and we look forward for the book review, and later the book.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait reading this wonderful man's book.I am not a poltician ,but realy admire Dr.Birhanu for his peaceful & hateles(even for EPRDF)dream for our country.Where can I get the book?

Anonymous said...

Where can i get the Book ?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Zagol for your unreserved effort to make us aware of what is going in our country. Even if we live in Addis and visit our jailed leaders every weekend we never heard about the book. Still the unanswered question is how and where to get the book. Dear Mr. Zagol please keep us informed on how and when we can get the book. We are really really looking forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read DR. Birhanu's book. It would be wise to realise the books every ware the same time so Dr. Birhanu’s families could benefit from sales of the books. Especially, Here in US and Europe there are lots of buyers. Now I am concerned that the contraband dialers could benefit from this not DR. Birhanu’s families.

Anonymous said...

When you are a born leader like Dr Birhanu you write 600+ pages of substantive account. When you are an autocrat like Meles Zenawi you write 28 pages of letters to the editor: full of insults and expressions of arogance!

Wherever you are, YOU are our leader Dr, Birhanu!!!

Anonymous said...

Those who want to brew division and animosity among ppl pls get your sense back. what kind os sill accusation you are labeling on Kinijit NA is unbelievable. Your attempt shows that you are the one who has ego problem

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am filled with anxiety right now, and am looking forward to reading the book soon. You know Dr. Birhanu is one of our greatest assets, the beacon of hope for democracy in our beloved motherland. I feel there is absolutely nothing to disregard from whatever he utters. May GOD wrap him with the warmth of his love and blessings! Amen.


Anonymous said...

thank u dr Berhanu,you are our everlasting's very hard let alone to write even to think of wrting a book in kaliti.i don't know such a brave guy like you.God bless you.all ethiopians love &respect you.
EZ thank u for the breaking news,please infrom us from where we can get the book.

Anonymous said... Elias Kifle of Ethiopian review accusations about kinijit NA is true? If Zagol's claim Kinijit NA refused to have Dr Berhanu Nega's book published is true,they need to get dismissed from their duties.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the great news. In the last couple days we are seeing hopefull signs that Kinijit is moving in the right direction. Kinijit Interantional Leadership is setting its house in order. Some of the conflicts in the leadership are being solved. It is time to act in organized, coordinated and costructive way.

Kinijit NA support group should publish Dr. Brehanu's book in US or Canda and make it availalbe on as soon as possible.Since there is very hight demand for the book some people will try to profit from publishing and selling the book illegally.


Anonymous said...

hmmm anon,

Where on earth did you read Zagol saying KNA refused to have the book published? This ain't your run of the mill book it is a
classic I am sure and cannot be
given to KNA or anyone willy nilly.

No shortage of publishers, don't worry! All those gallant heroes involved in this project are a part of history!

Anonymous said...

Thank Et-zagol

At the end of the tunnel, there is always a light. When the books ready for market, let us not only purchase the book but also make a reasonable contribution towards to Kinjet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Etiho-Zagol, this really is good news. I believe the democratic forces both at home and abroad have finally managed to turn the corner. Let’s keep the pendulum swinging our way. The last couple of months were really disappointing. But hey, it is always dark before dawn.

take care,

Alamirew said...

That means Birhanu is not in jail! They put only his body in prison not his mind. Who believes he wrote 600+ pages book while living in that worst prison cell? Humans like him are extraordinary on my Ethiopian view for Ethiopian. Ethiopians, how many of us are even a little bit strong like him? We all of us should be proud of him.

Bravo Birhanu.


Dear Ethiomedia,
We want to buy the book.
Please notify us as soon as possible that where we can find it.

God Bless Ethiopian Heros' Dr. Berhanu and Others who are in prison with him.

Looking forward for response.

Anonymous said...

Does Berhanu really think the Arbagugu massacre as ethnic clash? (page 11)

If he really thinks that way it will be a total waste of talent. This increase my suspecion that the book is writen by a person who has been part of the transitional government when these crimes were committed. Whoever wrote this book must be part of AFD who is peddling backward to please OLF by denying the massacre of thousands people. It is a kind of Arbagugu denial, like that of holocaust. Isn't the same reason that provoked Prof. Asrat and Eng. Hailu Shawel to establish AAPO?

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Birhanu,

Bereft of everything, in the crowded prison cells of Kaliti you shine in the hearts and minds of 70 million Ethiopians. I am thrilled by your courage, wisdom and commitment to give the Ethiopian people and the international community the true account of the democratic struggle waged in Ethiopia. You need to be saluted. The outline of your new book is fantastic.

You have unmasked the truth between: democracy and dictatorship, nationalism and sectarianism, honesty and betrayals, diplomacy and tact, political dodgers and honest brokers, success and setbacks. What has struck me most is your dedication to democracy. I am sure the majority of us will be appreciative of your book.

Politics is the art of the possible, history is the art of the impossible. You have never attempted the impossible and something that is historically relevant may not be politically correct. In this situation one has to make choices. You chose not to be part of a shame parliament whose alternative is Kaliti. It is for people to judge if you are correct or not. Whatever is people’s judgment on you, your books is a relevant account that gives lessons to those who want to carry your ideals of freedom and democracy in Ethiopia.

The next generation will learn a lot from your account of events. I look forward to reading it. It must be translated to English.

Congratulations for a job well done.

Anonymous said...

Dear (kibur) Dr.Birhanu Nega
Let GOd be with you.
Remember that u r always in our hearts.



Anonymous said...

August 11,2006

... commented here the day EZ posted this commentary. I just read the book's outline in Amharic on I am completly puzzled why's web site refrained to post any thing about the book. If it is assumed that the existance of the book uplift Kinijit's spirit, KIL's silence is possibly weakening its own very existance. To doubt ER's web site is one thing, but to ignore a book release from Kaliti is very questionable??????!

From the book's outline, the highlight of the content, with no wasted terms, seems a custom designed view for a Democratic system in Ethiopia. One hopes the book goes for sale through may be even Dr.Birhanu's website. English translation will be great. Mr. A. Tsege is part of the publishing process, and well he is a member of KIL. Why is Kinijit's website ignoring it?.

Anonymous said...

Kinijit's website is controled by Girma Bekele, that is why they banned Berhanu's book.

Anonymous said...

GOD if one planes reading the book should take tow days leave ypu cant go to work the next days.
It is hard to find the book in addis one has to find the dealers like cokain you can not get it in shops.

Anonymous said...

Dear Zagol editor,
I would like to share to you my happiness that dr. Birhanu's book which I offered for free to a book reading club is given to a club from Dessie. I know how hard it is to believe such kind of offers. However, through some dedicated coleagues it happened to be true.
Wish you and your bloggers a happy and successful newyear.

Anonymous said...

The euphoria with Birhanu Nega’s Bashing Renewed!

To a happily captive and wildly enthusiastic green-audience of KINIJITT or its sympathizers out of sentimental links in Diaspora in early August Birhanu Nega gave out a memoir written in Amharic in which he attempts to bash over political tit-for tat he had to go through with Mr. Meles Zenawi, his one time close friend and would be ally. In his forward of the book Birhanu bashes about the "Difficult challenges that remain in both the KINIJIT future tasks, his difference with Hailu Shawl, who is technocrat and the EPRDF-led parliament responsibilities in re-establishment of the democracy of the early 1990s that was on the rise and that of his love-hate syndrome towards EPRP. In Birhanu’s view, Ethiopia is going to be safer and her people are going to be more secure because the KINIJITT delegation has better tools in its portfolio of new democracies and in bringing about freedom and peace in Ethiopia.

Birhanu bashes that: "Ethiopia is going to be safer and her people are going to be more secure because the platforms created by KINIJITT. He is convinced that the Kinijitt delegation has better tools in its portfolio of new democracies and in bringing about freedom and peace in Ethiopia.” In those early 1990s hay days of TPLF, most of those sitting in Kalletti jail today were sharing its views and visions while sitting in its bandwagon and behaving in the same tone and breath as was the Woyane itself. They were no different from the way their colleagues in Woyane parliament or in Meles Zenawi's government senior positions were sharing the instances of undisciplined havoc. At that time, Birhanu was in close ally with the Africa Group established and spearheaded by Endrias Eshete and Yokob Wolde Mariam. Likewise, Birhanu and Mesfin were close friends with Tamirat Laine and Aboy Sibhatu. Do the atrocities the KINIJITT fellows shared since the 1990s with TPLF make present day Ethiopia any better or more secure? I don’t think so. Rather this incidence can make certainly few of the Ethiopians who know this issue hates KINIJITT and TPLF alike, as it is difficult to understand how that circumstance of bondage makes Ethiopia safer. As said Birhanu used to work in close alliance with Tamirat Laine , Andreas Eshete and Yakobe Wolde Mariam-henchmen who continue to support TPLF.

Then there is these days the wondrous report from Birhanu Nega on the eve of his transfer from Kalletti to Kerchelle, in which he asks: If it is worth for the Ethiopian public to work for the dying TPLF’s-government? I can't imagine why anybody would want to work for TPLF as Birhanu and his colleagues did in the recent past, in the first place. Now that they are in house arrest, almost all of them are experiencing the downturns of their popular support.
Ever since TPLF entered into Menilik’s palace, prices of major market commodities have been falling for years. Layoffs are a regular occurrence.

Amidst all the confusion, Birhanu is heard bashing the following: “One thing I can imagine is that: exceptionally few persons in Addis Ababa, just like me, have life goals that don't centre on money. Some of us pursue careers where we can make a difference. Some of us pursue career goals that will get us out of the small town existences where we'd otherwise be trapped in. Some of us would rather not choose a profession based on power capturing and circulation trends. And some of us would rather give up a few bucks here or there to chase that. I can't understand people who live their lives with money as a primary goal. Even if I'm deluding myself into believing I'm making a difference, I'd rather keep chasing that.”

That would be funny if he did not describe such a devastating example of the TPLF who is punishing and handling the Ethiopian people that have not been charged with carrying out any crime. They all act at one time or other as police, judge, jury and executioner, all of them in one protected and inviolable Meles Zenawi's paw. They are the only beings in Ethiopia that can live with complete assurance that any of their malicious actions will never, ever, be questioned. How can their co-existence bring democracy to Ethiopia?

But we are assured by Birhanu and his minions that if the last election was not foiled somehow, they would have made by now Ethiopia more secure by their blood-crazed fans and antics. Not only does he make that fatuous claim but he announces in his memoir, presumably seriously and without a knowing grin that "Ethiopia will be more secure because the actions taken thus far has made a better and fertile ground for the new democracies under KINIJITT".

If Birhanu believes the rise of democracies is on the way to shine through KINIJIT, he is at a state of becoming lunatic. And when his KINIJIT fans cheered his statement it showed, alas, that they have been thoroughly brainwashed. They are as blindly loyal to Birhanu and Hailu as any member of the SS were to Adolf Hitler.

The other issues to re-consider and worth discussing openly and frankly are points indicated below once again:
1. why and how EPRDF lost the May 2005 election; if at all it did?
2. Berhanu’s closeness to and admiration for Dr. Merara Gudina.
3. Birhanu’s clear difference in opinion against Hailu Shawl and Kinijit’s fate being led by weak and old technocrats and stubborn aristocrats.
4. How the chairman, Hailu Shawl remains as authoritarian as ever before while he was with AAPO since the early 1990s.
5. Birhanu’s unexpected disdain for Dr. Beyene Petros
6. How he views Lidetu
7. His close relationship with Bereket Simon, Tamirat Laine, Tefera Awaluwa, Yakob Wole Mariam, Andreas Eshete and Genene Asfaw – Key elements of Meles Zenawi.
8. The partial and subjective tale of Kinijit from foundation to mass hysteric escalation and later to prison.
9. The moral leadership of Mesfin Wolde Miriam and his ‘Yager Shimagile’ bashing.
10. Ethiopia’s future under a weakly organized Kinijit.
11. The way out for Ethiopians.

In Ethiopia, both under Mengistu and TPLF military domination, there has been no semblance of democracy. The situation is worrisome as Ethiopia does not yet have strong, armed and well-organized opposition party that represents the interests of the overwhelming majority of its population and withstand against all odds including TPLF. Those in Diaspora are so blind-folded and give empty shouting for KINIJIT out of sheer hate for TPLF and out of desperation for making a quick fix of the political jigsaw puzzle.

By the end of the day, Birhanu’s Memoir is nothing but simply trashing the following entities and persons:

2. Hailu Shawl
3. All Ethnic parties and organizations
4. American Ambassadors and American Policy
5. Donors
6. Intellectuals
7. Beyene Petros
8. Merara Godina
9. Lidetu Ayalew
10. Bereket Simon, Meles Zenawi and EPRDF

Mainly he praises no one but him; and he is very light commenting on key mistakes committed by Kinijit and its stubborn leadership groups.

Unfortunately, the Ethiopian community in Diaspora is infatuated by hatred and is applauding, hailing, shouting and demonstrating against TPLF; whoever comes its way just because the non-prepared Diaspora has no leaders to cling on to has become the scene of the day. Yesterday it was in Washington DC. Tomorrow no doubt it is going to be demonstration time in New York City. So sad that this poor nation is once again at bay. And it is so sad to see most of the Ethiopians opted for joining hand just to get rid of Woyane!

It is an open secret that a CIA colonel recruited Isayas Afeworki and used him to orchestrate the splintering of ELF and the creation of TPLF.
- CIA then created, armed, financed & trained EPLF as a subversive proxy organization destined to counter both Soviet interests & Arab nationalism.
Moving forward to the fateful year 1991, it is a recorded fact that the Russian control & influence over Ethiopia dwindled and died while the takeover of the USA was automatic by speerheading TPLF as its Trojan horse.
This colonial style take over of a state started with the revival of the colonial Italian blue print to facilitate the US colonial grip-over the rest of Ethiopia.
Herman Cohen played the role of a midwife and facilitated the dismemberment of Ethiopia into two distinct States. The Bahire Negash part of former Tigray region located along the Red Sea fall under the direct control of the Defense Department which still runs the subversive proxy organization from DC. The larger southern part is controlled by the State Department thru its sorogate agent TPLF. Cohen's declaration that his department has worked very closely with Meles's TPLF since 1985 suggests that the first contacts between TPLF and the CIA dates back to the mid-1970s. The result of the 30 years co-operation with the USA has blatantly paid for TPLF to come to power much smoothly. Further the CIA opted for using the Colonial Italian policy of ethnic divisive rule & strife to subdue Ethiopia, all that in the name of Tigray and people of Tigre.
Both TPLF & EPLF are simply trained & dressed CIA-dogs that sniff, bark & bite whenever citizens stand up aginst TPLF and EPLF to wage for their God given rights. Ethiopia thus remains a question mark. She stands at bay and stretching her arms to the Almighty God. Her off-springs are selfish, sentimental and simple minded. They are not in a position to turn the wave of the storm. Rather they are blowing with the wind! Too bad and too tragic an episode it is.

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Anonymous said...

Too much sentimental and personal admiration of the person Birhanu Nega without indicating even a phrase of key important points that his admirers picked for justifying the hail and applaud for the man. Indeed that has been the way Ethiopia suffered. No careful observation of the ongoing episode and look for the Black hole. A saying goes: 'Girgir Le Leba Yamechewal'.

What we need is a serious thinking and a working strategy on how to overcome the problems the country is facing.

(1) How much is Kinijit prepared itself - party wise, militarily, political program and agenda in order to take over power. I don't think Meles will give up his post so easily. In fact the man has been telling us frankly stating "Mengedun Cherk Yadirgilachu!". How many of us are really ready to get organized and be pushed to go into the bush - as Meles and his party did once upon a time?

(2) As for paper tigers - we have them in plenty. We need guns and gun men - who can put down their private business and family affairs and pick up their guns get organized and go to the bushes of Ethiopia. That is the only way to take up power and change the venue.

(3) As for acting in mass hysteric manner and causing havoc, we are good at. The sooner gun shots are heard and some of our Miskins fall down - us sit and cry and start writing of martyrs and imprisoned heroes. We are good at knocking doors and appealing to the wide world asking for the release of our prisoners. Oh yes, crying we are good at it.

(4) As for moving by hearsay and sentiment the majority of us are good at. Whereas sitting down on our *** and start the pain staking work of coming-up with clear plans, strategies and detailed account of alternative solutions to the problems that we are puzzled with, we are extremely poor. That is why we see structurally similar mistakes being committed by various Ethiopian parties. That is why we lack maturity.

(5) As for Meles and TPLF – what is so strange today that makes them so shockingly bad? Honestly speaking these people and their leader have been telling us and act upon what they tell us in advance. Even before they were brought to power by CIA conspiracy – they have given ample accounts on how and why they will dismantle the country by creating two states. Once in power Meles has been inviting us to: either come to terms with his policy or prepare ourselves for the bitter struggle against him. Mengedun Cherk Yadirgilachihu’ is a serious and instructive message that most of us took so lightly. So what have we been doing for so long in trying to meet the type of democracy we want to see in Ethiopia? Nothing. By coincidence un-organized people go out for nomination and find the true feeling of the people crying out loud for help. Without much planning they create havoc as usual and go to jail and we start the good old Mary-go-round. We are trapped in the same vicious circle of poverty of visionary politics. We conduct too much Hoya Hoye and too many demonstrations all around the globe to the extent that it is becoming a trade mark for those sissy Ethiopians in Diaspora!.

Let us start all over again – get organized, get armed and go to the bushes to defend our identity and nation. Let us become serious in reasoning and stop sentimental rationalization.

Anonymous said...

The conclusion he makes is absolutely nonsense. I am sure the guy hasn't read the book.

So, all discussion which starts by assuming that the post is a good summary of Brehanu's opinion is bound to lead to wrong conclusions.

I have read the book, and to me Berhanu says:

1. Revolutionary democracy is a poor trcik used by EPRDF to remain in power, EPRDF is confused between leftist thinking, market economy and ethnocentrism

2. Melles is a pathological liar and vulgar person

3. Peaceful struggle is essential for establishing democratic tradition in our country

4. Democracy is a means to an end (development) and an end by itself (natural rights of the citizen)

He also gives us an inside look of what went behind the curtains: internally within CUD and in the negotiations with EPRDF and UEDF (Addis Ababa)

Please read the book before you read comments by misinformers.