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The Dangerous Tweets of Daniel Kibret: How PM Abiy’s Advisor is Fueling the Conflict in Ethiopia

Daniel Kibret _ Ethiopia
From the web

By LJDemissie 

Imagine waking up one morning to find out that your government’s military has killed over 50 civilians in your region, without any accountability or justice. That is the reality for many people in Amhara and Oromia Regions, Ethiopia. For instance, a recent press release by, including the State Department and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, found reasonable grounds to believe that the Federal Government and its allies had committed crimes against civilians in the Amhara region. It is a fact that all parties to the conflict are committing serious violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Now imagine reading a tweet from one of your Prime Minister’s advisors, who compares the suffering of your people to a dish of seared meat. That is the absurdity of Daniel Kibret, an advisor to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is known for his cryptic “Qene” tweets. However, one of his recent posts has sparked significant controversy. The tweet, written in Amharic, was translated into English and shared widely. It contained a metaphorical narrative of a man, an Ethiopian, being ‘scarred by fire’ seven times.

This narrative is not just disturbing; it’s dehumanizing. It reduces the complex issues of political conflict and civil unrest to a simplistic and violent metaphor. The man, the Ethiopian, being ‘scarred by the fire of bombs’, as meat is seared in the preparation of Tibs, could be interpreted as the man, the Ethiopian, being whipped, punished by hunger or famine by being deprived of food, or being shot by bullets and appearing like seared meat.

The Ethiopian “Wax and Gold” tradition, also known as “Qene”, is a unique literary system that plays with layers of meanings. This tradition is deeply rooted in the culture and history of Ethiopia, particularly among the Amhara ethnic group. The term “Wax and Gold” (Sem-ena-Werq in Amharic) refers to the dualistic nature of the messages conveyed in this tradition. The “wax” represents the apparent or literal meaning of the words, while the “gold” signifies the hidden or deeper meaning.

In the context of Daniel’s tweet, the “Wax and Gold” tradition adds another layer of complexity to the interpretation of the message. It’s a reminder of how deeply rooted these traditions are in Ethiopian discourse, and how they can be used to convey messages that might not be immediately apparent.

However, not everyone is impressed by Daniel’s use of the “Wax and Gold” tradition. Some have responded to his tweet with criticism, sarcasm, or mockery. For example, LJDemissie tweeted: “Behold! Bahir Dar is on lockdown for a sweep operation. @AbiyAhmedAli’s ‘Below-Par Counsel, @danielkibret’, soon will tweet us his usual childish words: ጣጣጣ – ድም ድም – ግውጋ ግውጋ (click, pop, bang, ratatat, whoomph). Instead of calling for dialogue & peace #PeaceNotWar”. This reply contrasts Daniel’s tweet with the reality of the situation in Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara Region, where security forces have reportedly carried out a series of explosions and arrests. It also challenges Daniel’s role as an advisor to the Prime Minister, and calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Ethiopia is a country with a rich history and diverse culture. Its people have shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. However, the current political climate is fraught with tension and conflict. In such a scenario, the words of those in power carry immense weight. They can either soothe the wounds of the past or salt them.

The narrative of ‘scarring an Ethiopian by the fire of bombs’ salts these wounds. It does not promote dialogue, understanding, or reconciliation. Instead, it seems to glorify violence and punishment. This is not the leadership Ethiopia needs at this critical juncture. The country needs leaders who can guide it towards peace and prosperity, not those who fan the flames of conflict.

In conclusion, the narrative of ‘scarring an Ethiopian by the fire of bullets and bombs’ is a stark reminder of the power of words. It underscores the need for responsible and empathetic leadership. Ethiopia deserves better. Its people deserve leaders who value peace over ‘scarring’, dialogue over division, and understanding over conflict. It’s high time for a change in narrative. After all, words matter, and so do actions.

The writer, who received assistance from AI technology developed by OpenAI, can be reached at LJDmissie@yahoo.com

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com

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1 COMMENT

  1. Dear writer, or should I say dear AI technology, because i cannot accept that a real person would give such an intriguing title to his article and then write a piece of nothing. You used just one tweet from Mr. Kibret, failed to analyse it or provide any evidence of hate speech or incite to violence. I am sure if you spent some time doing research you would find a lot, since even me (a farenji living in Ethiopia and considering her my huletegnia hagere) have heard the PM himself using derogatory, dehumanising words many times, such as calling the Tigreans cancer, weed that need to be scorched and uprooted amd many more.
    Instead you wasted your readers time giving a boring and false lecture about the uniqueness of “sem ena work” style of expression. There is nothing uniquely Ethiopian or Ahmara in its use as a way to indirectly say something that conveys its meaning either because it is dangerous to say it directly or because the meaning would be better understood by an audience not familiar to jargon.
    In any way sem ena work is universally used and is called a metaphor, from the Greek word metaphora (μεταφορά). Originally used in storytelling, but most importantly to convey criticism to power by the use of metaphor so that the double meaning of a statement would allow one to hide from the wrath of powerful people subjected to criticism.
    So you failed two times. Firstly failed to elaborate on the title of the article but more unforgivingly failed to use sem ena work to criticise (governmental) power.
    In short, the fact that you needed the assistance of artificial intelligence to write this piece of nothing, makes me doubt your mental abilities and you should never write an article again. Keep playing computer games and leave writing to those who really have something to say.

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