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HomeOpinionIn Defence Of Meskerem Abera (By Solomon Gebreselassie)

In Defence Of Meskerem Abera (By Solomon Gebreselassie)

Meskerem Abera _ Ethiopia
Meskerem Abera (Photo : file /SM)

By Solomon Gebreselassie

I recently read an essay on Borkena.com by Koki Abeselome(a pen name whose real identity has been publicly self-acknowledged) demonizing Meskerem Abera, one of the youngest female warriors in contemporary Ethiopia fighting for good governance in the trenches and in the jails of PM Abiy Ahmed. In heaping scorn, Koki lumped Meskerem along with Major Dawit WG and Vision Ethiopia. While the latter two can ably defend themselves should they choose to consider the blasphemies worthy of their time, Meskerem unfortunately is in PM Abiy’s jail for the second time separated from her small children and family and cannot respond to Koki’s defamation. About Major Dawit and Vision Ethiopia, regardless of one’s differences,  suffice it to say that at the minimum they should be admired and respected for their courageous submittal of alternative ideas to get us out of the progressive worsening of human and socio-economic conditions taking root since the PM took power.

Koki has extensively delved into analyzing what she calls “Oromo Politics” with groupings, genus and species aplenty. Because nothing of substance by way of evidentiary support is given to authenticate these classifications, we will not waste time providing counter arguments to the whims, speculations and hearsays. However, fairness demands standing with the voiceless and those unjustly put behind bars when their good names are maligned, such as the octogenerian Tadewos Tantu, Meskerem Abera and human rights lawyer Wondimu Ibssa. These are current victims of Koki’s “strategic and visionary leader Abiy”, whose ሳናጣራ አናስርም pledge of yesterday has been gathering dust on the wayside.

Back to Meskerem: what is her political demeanor and record? As anyone fairly familiar with her works and statements readily attests, Meskerem is an activist who stands with those who have been denied justice and fair treatment. Years ago, she has championed the cause of the suffering of the internally displaced Oromos from the Somali Regional State. Following that, she has untiringly exposed the injustices meted out to Gedeos whose domicile is nearby the college she then taught at. As the grave human rights violations and genocide severely targeted the Amhara community, particularly spiraling out of control in the last two years, she has focused her attention towards getting a permanent solution to this scourge, earning her a name by her detractors as an “Amhara activist”. In their small world, they were diminishing her as a local ethnonationalist to bring her down to their level. However, she proudly wore the badge and continues to fight for the genocide of Amharas to cease in the largest cause of the day staining the “strategic and visionay Abiy” leadership. One of Meskerem’s detractors, recently accused her of seeing Ethiopian politics through the prism of Sha’abiya and Prosperity Party. No sooner had he uttered these words than she was hauled back in jail for the second time by none other than the PP party.

After her first stint in jail, Meskerem could have compromised her principles upon release and lived her life in the good graces of the regime and its supporters. But the duty of courage beckoned. Her clear conscience kept reminding her to continue truth telling. The price was a second jail term.

Meskerem’s style is thoughtful, balanced, and piercingly analytic. This is best displayed in her Ethio Nikat YouTube program where she fields tough questions from her co-anchor, Amha Degefa. For those who know the program, Amha does not throw her soft balls. They try to give a balanced view on all the sides of the issues, oftentimes the co-anchor playing the devil’s advocate. Fair-minded and close followers of Ethiopian politics can find out for themselves and would appreciate  Ethio-Nikat’s immense contributions towards modernizing Ethiopian politics. Teacher, journalist  and human rights activist Meskerem is now in jail for her troubles in defending the truth in the most reasonable and rational manner. To its credit, the Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ) has recently issued a bulletin for the immediate release from jail of Meskerem Abera.

She is one of the few female voices that is in the public square today defying patriarchy and male chauvinism to carve a niche for the female, and humane voice. Among her struggle models are the bevy of EPRP women who gave their lives in the struggle, women such as Smegne Minale(Dilay) of Assimba and Belessa, Smegne Lemma of Addis, and Abebech Bekele of ESUNA and Assimba.  Instead of throwing a lifeboat and a hand of support to such voices, the last thing we need to do is to tear down such national treasures by allying with seemingly powerful forces owning the tanks and the banks. 

Since the coming to power of PM Abiy, our hopes for change have gradually turned to nightmares, and only a sustained, and coordinated peaceful struggle for good governance, respect for human life and the country’s unity guarantees a return to the course and women like Meskerem play a pivotal role in this struggle.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, Solomon G/Selassie, for authoring such an article in defense of the defenseless cage bird, Meskerem Abera, from the cowardice attack of “Koki Abeselom” who lives far away from the fire that is consuming the Amhara community. Following Koki’s write ups, one would notice that “she” had never ever stood with the victims but with the powerful oppressors and abusers of human rights . Partly, I guess, it is must be our fault, “her” readers, for unwittingly appreciating the way she wrote during the TPLF, although we didn’t know that she was dancing with them behind the curtains, in the name of “intellectual service” or an adviser. So, being hailed as “all knowing”, she went on to wash books, borrowing the Amharic expression.

  2. Ato Solomon , thank you for articulating a powerful defense for Meskerem Aberra and against the scurrilous attack of those who struggle for human and civil rights by Koki and her ilk. She and PM Abiy have been praying at the alter of the prosperity goddess, the IMF , World Bank and Western powers . Unfortunately their prosperity gospel has been at the expense of unimaginable brutality against innocent victims all over Ethiopia since the advent of the so called changes about four years ago.
    Koki has made many disparaging remarks about human rights activists and peaceful public demonstrations by the groups like the #NoMore. She seems to have forgotten that Jim Crow America and the Soviet empire were brought down to their knees by a simple minister , Martin Luther King and a shipyard worker Lech Walesa .
    They were both thrown into jail just like Meskeren by Illiberal governments.
    As the saying goes those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it.

  3. I am no so sure what make of Tadiod Tantu. May be is too old to be politically correct and say things without filter. but other wise he seems harmless. If anything, he needs, sanctions of what is permitted say as non hate speech but not prison. As Mesketem Abera, was only she campaigning for the rights of Oromos minorities displaced from the Somal region while ignoring the blight of Somali minority cruelly displaced from and terrorized in Oromia region by OPDO /qeero/OLF gangs ? Because there were thousand victims on the other side too, who are living in IDP status and still living in dusty camps to this day? Why the preferential treatment and perception.? This shows that there was double standard of political activism based on ethnic favoritism and/ or condemnation in the broader sense and other longstanding of poltical agendas iwith the country elites rather than pure and holistic and universal human rights activism for the affected communities in her part regardless.

  4. Abiy and PP need to go. It has been over 4 years since this individual came to power from nowhere. He was given unprecedented support in recent Ethiopian history from hundreds of millions at home and from millions in diaspora. He has wasted his political capital. The PP under his leadership and chairmanship has become the most hated political party at present. Because Abe came with an axe on his shoulders, with a hidden oromumma agenda, he has failed miserably to grow into a statesman.

    He is surrounded with corrupt, unethical and incapable army of cadres. Unfortunately also, out of a deep seated inferiority complex of his group and maybe even himself, he is trying to project an image and aura of “ I know everything and I am an expert at everything” mentality.

    Abiy cannot and will not be the transformative leader millions of Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia have hoped for at the beginning. The trajectory shows a currency in free fall, exorbitant cost of living, and insecurity and lack of stability across the entire country. Abiy cannot credibly be portrayed as a Pan Africanist any longer either. Nor is he a globally acceptable leader to transform Ethiopia. His 15 minutes of fame is up; time for Ethiopians to change course.

  5. Let this young lady go! She might have said or written something not palatable to the power that be. So what? Our women should be encouraged to speak up their minds because that is what has been sorely missed for centuries. Leave her alone!

  6. Thank you, Solomon Gebreselassie for defending the well articulated, human right defender and journalist Meskerem Aberra. Her crime is being honest, brave and to the point journalist and an observer teacher that is rare to find in Ethiopia and always on the radar by the repressive and dishonest regime.

    Besides growing wise and blessed with 80 years of knowledge, morality, ethics and health Mr Tadios Tantu’s crime is also having so much historical facts, knowledge and being honest. He never fabricated anything and always has been inviting to debate with adversaries. Such people are always found threats to the Orommuma regime living and breathing on lies and deceits.

    Meskerem and Tadios Tantu are genuine Ethiopians who unselfishly put themselves out to speak the truth. They didn’t go and become terrorist, killing innocent people but rather openly came out with civilized and articulated arguments and statements Infront of the whole world. Their intention is good and not to hurt Abiy or anyone but to guide him pull him to the right direction that they believe will bring stability and security for the whole country.

    This is a great article that exposes Koki Abeselome’s ignorance and unethical character,
    Koki Abeselome is dying for attention with instigative, callous unfounded lies and tales that stemmed from hate for genuine Ethiopians and Ethiopia. This person’s sinister articles targets every ethnic group including Abiy Ahmed and that speaks loud for Egypt or enemy of Ethiopia..

  7. What constructive thing has she done that brought Ethiopians together to rally behind a common cause? Isn’t she a Divisive Sharp Tongue who stirs trouble changing platforms?

    How does fanning the Amara-Oromo animosity flame and spewing incendiary remarks wearing the Ethiopian Activist Hat make anyone hero/journalist/human rights activist?

    Journalism is compiling and reporting FACTS neutrally. It is also a four-year field of study at accredited universities. A Journalist is neither a politician nor a propagandist!

    How many journalists with BA in Journalism went to jail for doing their jobs by-the-book? Aren’t Ethnic Politicians who pose as Journalists making journalism synonymous with misinformation, smear campaign, character assassination, spewing inter-ethnic animosity, and insulting whoever differs with them in opinion or ethnicity?

    PS: I haven’t read Koki Abesolom/Dr.Yonas Birru’s article! I am just speaking my mind!

    • You don’t value her constructive and intelligent thinking because you seem to be from the opposite/ muscle head OPDO side. If she was not a threat to the current muscle head politicians she would not have been imprisoned twice.

      The current PP/OPDO collection calling itself a government has lost sleep over people/journalist , 80 years Tadios Tantu for speaking facts, their findings and opinion. What is the most important thing to the over sensitive thin skin Abiy and co is people who speak nothing and only clap hands when Abiy talks because he has no ability to come and speak without reading prepared scripts.

      Instead you should ask why people in Ethiopia are not free to speak, live any where they want to and gather? Why being ABUSED, HARASSED AND THEIR RIGHT VIOLATED FOR FREE SPEECH ?????????????

      • እኔ የማውቀው አማራ – አስታዋይ – ሰው አክባሪ – እና – ትሁት ነው! ለአማራ መቆርቆር ማለት – በየመንደሩ እና በየመድረኩ እየኼዱ መንጣጣት – ሆነ እንዴ?

        ኢትዮጵያ – የእንጀራ ልጅ የላትም! ኢትዮጵያውያን – ሐሳባቸውን – ተከባብረው – መግለፅ መቻል አለባቸው! አማራን – መላገጫ እያደረጋችሁት ነው! ድንቄም አክቲቪስቶች!

        ይልቁንስ – ለመስከረም ልጓም /// ለሽሜው ደግሞ – ቡና በቴርሞስ ይውሰዱላቸው! #NoMoreመንጣጣት

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