Thursday, February 2, 2023
HomeOpinionJawar Mohammed’s “Hunger Strike” Drama (By Gemechu Aba Biya)

Jawar Mohammed’s “Hunger Strike” Drama (By Gemechu Aba Biya)

Jawar Mohammed along with his comrade Bekele Gerba ( Photo : file / from JM social media page)

By Gemechu Aba Biya 

If there were an Oscar for the most delusional politicians, Jawar Mohammed of Ethiopia would win by a large margin. He believes he is the greatest political scientist who ever lived because he has a BA degree in political science from Stanford University. If having a BA degree from a university in political science makes someone a political scientist, then there would be millions of political scientists in the world and tens of thousands political scientists in Ethiopia. 

At a conference held in Addis Ababa two years ago, he announced that he was the political adviser to the governments of Malaysia and Singapore while attending high school in the two countries. If attending a high school in a country qualifies someone as a political adviser, then there would be thousands of Ethiopians who would be eligible political advisors to the American government. Talk about delusions of grandeur. 

Asked on television about the Prime Minister’s concept of meddemer, broadly interpreted to mean unity of purpose, he responded that since he invented the calculator, there is no need for him to unite with anybody else. During the same interview, he stated that he was leading the alternative government in Ethiopia and that he has as much power, responsibility, and duty as the Prime Minister. He added, with seriousness worthy of a head of state, “opposing is easy, governing difficult”. 

Two years ago, he announced that if he wanted to, he could destroy Ethiopia in 24 hours, as if Ethiopia were a fragile piece of glass. He told the New York Times that he would run against the Prime Minister in the next election, adding And I will defeat him, there is no question about it.” With these types of delusional beliefs, Jawar has proven to be one of the most unhinged Ethiopian politicians. 

His delusional views have now produced the drama around his “hunger strike”. He has announced that he has been on a “hunger strike” since January 27 until all “political prisoners” are released from prison in Ethiopia. There may be political prisoners in Ethiopia, but he is certainly not one of them. He is in prison because he has been charged with terrorism.  

A hunger strike is a nonviolent method of resistance against a government, but Jawar, the leader of the violent insurrection in Oromia over the last two years, lacks the moral integrity to conduct a nonviolent struggle against the government. 

Why a hunger strike? 

Activists resort to a hunger strike to advance a just cause, but what is Jawar’s just cause? Is it the destruction of Ethiopia? Is it the ethnic cleansing of Amharas and other non-Oromos in Oromia? Is it the destruction of property in Oromia? Is it the murder of Orthodox Christians and the burning of their churches?  Jawar’s only cause is the pursuit of political power at the cost of other people’s lives. His demand for the release of all “political prisoners” is nothing but a demand for his own release from prison. 

Activists go on a hunger strike to make people in power feel guilty about an unjust policy or action. Would the Ethiopian government officials feel guilty about bringing Jawar to justice? I doubt it very much. In fact, many in the government rejoice his incarceration. It would have been a dereliction of duty if the government had not laid charges against him for his terrorist activities. The majority of Ethiopians, angry that it took the government too long to charge him, are at last content that he is in prison. 

Social advocates resort to a hunger strike to mobilize public opinion. There is no doubt that some of Jawar’s followers would be incensed by his “hunger strike”, but the vast majority of the Ethiopian people care less about him, given the crimes that he has committed against the Ethiopian people over the last three years. He is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Oromo youths, the killings of Amharas and other non-Oromos, and the destruction of property worth millions of dollars. 

It is doubtful if that Jawar is fasting. His egotistical personality is incompatible with the decision to go on a hunger strike. When he was outside prison, he had a megaphone, the OMN and other media outlets, that he used extensively to influence the government by advancing his egotistical desires, wishes, and ambitions. Now, he wants to do the same through a “hunger strike” to obtain his release from prison. 

Convinced that the government currently faces a political problem in its campaign to subdue the TPLF, he probably believes the time is right to pressure the government to release him.  It is possible that his announcement to go on a “hunger strike” may have been coordinated with the TPLF for maximum pressure on the government. There was a recent article on Aiga Forum demanding that he be released. The TPLF, through its members and its western surrogates, has been lobbying NGOs, western governments, and multilateral organizations to pressure the Ethiopian government to stop its military campaign against the TPLF. 

This delusional individual believes that his “hunger strike” will rouse his supporters to rise up in Oromia and to  galvanize international public opinion against the Ethiopian government. Internal insurrection and outside interference, he fantasizes, would achieve two goals: his release from prison and the return to power of his political ally, the TPLF, at least in Tigray.   

But this is unlikely to happen, even if he were on a real hunger strike. The Ethiopian government will never allow the TPLF to come to power again. No government will embrace a political party that is committed to violently overthrowing it and has publicly stated that it will kill the current Prime Minister, “to cut off his head”, as Getachew Reda put it recently. 

Hunger strike or not, he will serve his time in jail. It is most unlikely that, even if Jawar were on a real hunger strike, the Ethiopian government would release him from prison before he is convicted, sentenced, and served his time. The Ethiopian public would be opposed to his early release. A lot is at stake. The criminal deserves to be punished. 

The Egotistical Jawar 

Jawar thrives in crises. He needs crises to recruit followers just like a pig needs mud to protect its skin. Without a political crisis, Jawar becomes irrelevant in Ethiopian politics. If he were released before serving time, he would manufacture crises, promote terrorist activities, and undermine peace and stability.  Had he not been in prison, he could have extensively exploited the conflict between the TPLF and the Ethiopian government, exasperating the political situation.

His internment has brought some peace in Ethiopia. He belongs in prison, and the longer he stays there, the better it is for Ethiopia. The court must convict him and put him away for a long time so that Ethiopia can have the peace it deserves for its economic transformation and  the Oromo youth can have the opportunity to be employed in productive activities, free from Jawar’s political agitation. 

His claim about being on a hunger strike is doubtful. Such a course of action is inconsistent with his personality. Selfish individuals pursue their selfish motives by using others, while avoiding personal inconveniences let alone making personal sacrifices. Jawar, the consummate egotistical individual, would never take any action that would jeopardize his life. He sees himself as being too important, too hallowed, too divine to endanger his own life, even in his pursuit of political power. 

The fiction about his “hunger strike” is just political drama, imagined, written, and directed by Jawar; with Jawar as the leading actor; the supporting cast, composed of his groupies, his lawyers, his doctors, and his former employees at OMN. It is entertaining to watch the drama unfold.  It is theatrics at its best. 

We have been told that he has been without food since January 27, for close to a month. Apparently, an individual can live for many days, even months, without food as long as he or she is drinking water but would lose weight.  If indeed he had been without food, he would have lost a lot of weight by now. Had he lost weight, the ever publicity-seeking Jawar would have posted images of his emaciated self on one of the social media outlets. Since he has not released a recent picture of himself, it is clear he is not on a hunger strike.  

Omar as the Cheerleader 

The story about the “hunger strike” has been partially hatched to convince the American government to pressure the Ethiopian government to release Jawar. The strategy seems to have paid off to some extent. A group of state senators in Minnesota have requested that the US State Department intervene for his release. 

Similarly, Ilhan Omar, the Somali-American politician, has stated that “I am deeply alarmed by the situation of the Oromo political prisoners, including Bekele Gerba and other leaders who are on hunger strike”. Ms. Oman should save herself from being “alarmed” about Ethiopia by staying out of Ethiopian politics. She should concentrate on what she was elected to do for her constituents in MN 5th district. 

If she needs a foreign country to be alarmed about, she doesn’t need to look too far; she can start worrying about her native country Somalia that is experiencing serious existential problems. She should be alarmed about Somalia. Omar’s “alarm” and self-serving concerns about Ethiopia notwithstanding, the Biden Administration would not interfere on behalf of the “hunger strikers” for a number of reasons. 

First, the charges against Jawar are serious: inciting and participating in terrorist activities   Second, to participate in Ethiopian politics, he had to renounce his American citizenship. The American government has no legal or moral obligation to interfere on behalf of a non-American.  Third, even if he had retained his American citizenship, being an American does not protect him from the law for a crime he has committed in another country. Even if the American government intervenes on his behalf, the Ethiopian government should just ignore it. 

The hunger strike drama is a desperate attempt by a desperate individual to get himself released from prison by inciting insurrection and by pressuring the Ethiopian government. It is most unlikely that either of these events will happen.  When reality sinks in, he will announce that the “hunger strike”  has ended because he has been “convinced” by his devout followers, his religious leaders, his political allies, the Gada elders, and members of his family to stop it. 

We will be told that he was “persuaded” to end the fasting for the common good of the Oromo people. That will be the culmination of the drama, until he invents another spectacle using a politically opportune moment in the future. Stay tuned. 


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  1. Hey Ittu! I’m not eating! I’m not eating!!! I’m not eating!!!!
    You told me that yesterday. I heard they gonna take to your private physician tomorrow.
    Ok. Can you take the goodies you cooked for me there tomorrow?
    No, I can’t do that.
    Why not?
    Cuz security will be tight over there tomorrow. I’m 100% sure they will frisk everyone going there. I don’t wanna get myself in trouble.
    Then do this.
    Take the goodies to my private doctor’s residence tonight. He will be able to take them with him to his office.
    That is a brilliant idea.
    You are absolutely right. I am the most intelligent person in the history of mankind. The thesis I wrote was used to resolve the conflict in Kosovo.
    Wow!! I did not know that!
    The same thesis was used to resolve the conflict in East Timor, between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It was even used to resolve the border conflict between Peru and Malaysia.
    Wow! Even between countries thousands of miles apart.
    Yep!!! My thesis did all that!!! I was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize but Obama stole it from me.
    Wow!!! I can’t wait until your memoir comes out!!
    Hey Ittu! One more thing. I need you to do me a favor.
    What is that?
    I know you had lived in the Middles East for many years and you are familiar with Egypt. You speak their jami-aa Arabic. There are young boys I had sent there on scholarship. They are stranded there now and I want you to help them find their way back here or go somewhere else except Minnesota.
    Why not Minnesota?
    Cuz rents are too damn high!!!
    No I don’t want to get involved in that.
    Why not Ittu?
    Cuz there were sent there for military training. Weren’t they?
    No, I sent them there so el-Sisi would show them how to handle guns.
    That is military training. Isn’t it?
    No. It is called acclimation with guns.
    It is still military training. I’m a peaceful man. I don’t wanna get involved in that!!!
    Ok. Make sure to take the goodies to my private physician residence tonight.
    Ok. Tonight!!!
    Hey Ittu!!! Don’t forget!! My slogan is still the same: Rents are too damn high in Minnesota!!! Rents are too damn high in Minnesota!!! Rents are too damn high in Minnesota!!!

  2. You are also playing the opposite side drama. If what you said is right, his deeds are also right according to systems thinking, unless only your idea is supposed to be right. You (and the groups you represent) are also as bad for Ethiopia!

  3. Jawars supporters are moving from Minnesota to Connecticut within USA . The Deadline for free online application at www. housing application for single , disabled or elderly refugees is this coming Thursday 02/25/2021.

    Hartford city , Connecticut State ,USA’s public housing authority is giving lottery condo housing applications by the refugees google searching waitlischeck for single or elderly or disabled foreign refugees to be put on the wait list , the government subsidized housing application is accepted only until Thursday February the 25th 2021.

  4. Hunger strike, when it ends in death, is suicide. Both major religions strongly prohibit suicide. It is a crime of one of it’s worst kind. If you hang yourself you will hang yourself repeatedly forever in hell. The same awaits you in hell forever if you shoot or stab yourself. The Almighty Our Creator Shall Not forgive you for destroying your life He so intricately created. This must have been clearly known to someone who has fulfilled one of the obligations(e of Islam, Al-Hajj(highly encouraged when possible). This has all the hallmarks of a charade that could lead to committing unforgivable sin, suicide. Weren’t we just recently told that someone was already in a coma and could not recognize his mother? Then where all this energy suddenly come from to demand to see a private physician only? Qeerroo is not availing itself a cannon fodder for wanton violence as before. It is busy chasing its former tormentors and their rabid dogs in some forsaken joints up north.

  5. This article is very biased. Shame on the reporter you wrote this hateful article about Jawar. You didn’t even bother to be neutral when you wrote this report about your delusional opinions about someone else. The same way you think Jawar is delusional, I think you are delusional biased hateful. Who ever wrote this needs to quit in journalism.

  6. Sami:-
    Have you ever heard of freedom of speech and expression? Just like you have expressed and exercised your freedom of speech on this forum, by criticizing the writer of this article, the writer has an absolute right to exercise his freedom of speech and expression, exactly just like you do, and therefore, Jawar rightly or wrongly have placed himself as a public figure, effectively making himself venerable to open and public criticism, be it by reporters and or by any average joe and layman.
    Not only Jawar is a public figure, he is an extremely a controversial figure, especially by inciting violence and act of terrorism pointed against certain ethnic Ethiopian citizens. Jawar is known for his indelible violence and hate speeches towards a certain ethnic Ethiopians, however he is not known for his political bravery. Even though I might not go that far, I have heard and read his critics calling him “ the Ethiopian Binladen “.

  7. Sami:-
    You’re funny, dictatorial and a control freak. Actually, Gemechu Aba Biya articulated and brilliantly punctuated his article, and in what he wanted to say about the subject matter, in which he focused on, and stayed straight on, right to his points of view, on Jawar Mohammed’s egregious behaviors, by trying to organize, form or create his own extremist militias in order to attack and expel ethnic Amharas from the capital city of Ethiopia Addis Abeba. As far as I am concerned, he doesn’t sound like a skilled 21st century politician, but rather, he sounds like some sort of separatist gorilla leader or a terrorist leader, based upon his activities and speeches. I was going to suggest that, if you are close to him , for you to tutor him on how to become a 21st century politician, rather than becoming a 21st century Ayatollah, but then I figured you don’t sound any better than Jawar Mohammed himself either and therefore I will leave it at that.

    ኢትዮጵያ: ታበፅህ: ዕደዊሃ: ሐበ: እግዚአብሔር::


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