The Donkeys of Asmara: Berhanu Nega’s Story in the New York Times

by The Strathink Editorial Team

Joshua Hammer, a prize winning journalist who writes about Africa, took on the strange and sad story of Berhanu Nega in a New York Times article entitled, “Once a Bucknell Professor, Now the Commander of an Ethiopian Rebel Army.” And why not? Berhanu Nega’s story is made for Western audiences—an Ethiopian-born professor of economics living the American Dream in Pennsylvania. Berhanu rooted for the Cavaliers and the Eagles, puttered around his stylish suburban home and gave faculty dinner parties where he served food from his country. He and his wife, an optometrist, sent their two sons to top-rated universities in the United States. Life was good.

According to Joshua Hammer, few Bucknell faculty and students knew much about Berhanu’s other life in Ethiopia. A long time political activist, Berhanu had gone back to Ethiopia in the early 1990s when the former military Marxist government was overthrown and the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front assumed power.

Berhanu grew up a member of Ethiopia’s wealthy elite and took over the remnants of his father’s businesses upon his return. He taught part-time at the university and spent his time attempting to ingratiate himself with the top leadership. Things took an ugly turn for Berhanu following the 2005 elections when the opposition, buttressed and encouraged by a group of European election observers, challenged the election results before the final count was even completed. Berhanu Nega led the charge accompanied by his lady friend, Ana Gomes, head of the EU’s election observer group.

The opposition took to the streets in a violent protest and almost two hundred people, including seven police, died in the violence. Berhanu and the opposition leadership were detained and charged. After a highly public trial, which included observers from various international organizations and embassies, the court found Berhanu and cohorts guilty of armed rebellion. They were imprisoned and after serving two years, were released. Berhanu was allowed to leave the country and continue the life he left behind in the United States.

Mr. Hammer calls Berhanu a “political prisoner” but in a report done by Reporters Without Borders, observers of the trial deemed the trial fair and in accordance with Ethiopian law.

Berhanu, having forfeited his U.S. residence card to stand for election in Ethiopia, was granted another residence permit while still in prison. The U.S. maintains a soft spot for Berhanu, allowing him to circumvent U.S. law on a number of occasions. While it is illegal for all other holders of residence permits to raise money and arms to overthrow a sitting government friendly to the United States, according the Neutrality Act, Berhanu appears to be an exception.

Berhanu’s organization, registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit humanitarian organization, according to their IRS application, is called Ginbot 7. Until recently, Berhanu was the “group’s intellectual leader and principal fundraiser.” In June 2104, when Ethiopia intercepted the group’s commander in Eritrea, Andargachew Tsige, Berhanu made the decision to go to Asmara, taking an indefinite sabbatical leave from Bucknell University. In the meantime, Andargachew vented his frustration about Ginbot 7’s leadership and detailed the gruesome details of training Ethiopians how to make and detonate bombs in public places such as shopping malls and houses of worship to maximize the carnage targeting Ethiopians going about their daily lives.

Bucknell must be taking its cues from the U.S. government, granting leave to a faculty member to lead an army against an ally of the U.S. Bucknell University must also condone the use of terrorism against civilians as long as the faculty member is tenured.

A faculty member at Bucknell, Professor Rickard, is quoted saying Berhanu’s advocacy of violence is “troubling” but “understandable.” Why? Professor Ricard cites one of the reasons as the fact that Berhanu’s sister was killed by the government. However, Professor Rickard failed to point out that Berhanu’s sister was killed by another government—the same government that was defeated by the government Berhanu is trying to violently overthrow. Professor Rickard should learn more about Ethiopia’s history before making pronouncements about what is “understandable.”

So Joshua Hammer travels to Eritrea, the “North Korea of Africa,” to meet with Berhanu and tell his story of leading an Ethiopian rebel army of “several hundred rebel fighters in Eritrea.” For the Western reader, Berhanu’s life in Asmara may seem a hardship. He only has high-speed internet in his office—yet less than one percent of Eritreans have internet. Berhanu’s access to internet, however, allows him to keep regular contact with his wife and two sons.

Yes, his wife and sons are not with him in Asmara. His sons attended excellent American universities and one is now working at a New York investment bank. It is difficult not to compare Berhanu’s sons to the young people in Ethiopia. Ginbot 7 preys upon the marginalized youth in Ethiopia to take risks not asked of the sons and daughters of Ginbot 7’s leadership. That is one of the benefits of privilege.

Joshua Hammer notes that the lights cut out in Berhanu’s bungalow. Yet, he is still able to drink his Asmara beer and chilled Absolut vodka. He sits in his bungalow with his “comrades from the U.S., Canada, Luxumberg and the U.K.” They eat their injera and watch television before driving out to the border with Ethiopia to talk to his army of 200 soldiers. They are delayed one day because there is no fuel to buy for his Hilux pickup truck. After all, this is Eritrea. He brings a few boxes of medical supplies to the front, in case one of the soldiers has a headache from the crushing boredom of sitting along the border waiting for—for what? What are two hundred soldiers going to do against Ethiopia’s massive military might?

The next day, Joshua Hammer and Berhanu Nega walk down Asmara’s Harnet Avenue, admiring the art deco cafes and the donkeys strolling down the boulevard to nibble at the grass. Joshua Hammer calls Asmara a city frozen in time. And indeed, not much has changed since the country became independent 25 years ago. No elections. No constitution. Indefinite national service. Arbitrary detention. People disappear. People are tortured. People are killed.

Yet, according to Mr. Hammer, “Nega insisted that he saw positives in the dictatorship.” Berhanu thinks the recent U.N. report documenting “crimes against humanity” is exaggerated and politically motivated. “They [Eritrea] have always been nice to us.” A former colleague at Bucknell says differently. “He [Berhanu] holds no illusions about Eritrea.” We hope President Isayas doesn’t read this in the New York Times. It could spell trouble for Berhanu.

Mr. Hammer, an experienced journalist who has written about the best and worst of Africa, captures some of the irony in the story about a Bucknell professor going off to serve as a rebel commander of a 200-man army. He juxtaposes the dictatorship of Isayas Afewerki to Berhanu’s Nega’s claims of fighting for democracy for a country clearly further along the path than Eritrea. He refrains from exaggerating the hardship suffered by Berhanu and his comrades and cites the staggering statistics of the ordinary Eritrean’s quality of life. He notes Bucknell University’s roots in the American liberal tradition while ignoring the violence advocated and carried out by one of its professors—going so far as to grant him an indefinite leave of absence.

What Joshua Hammer fails to point out, however, are the consequences of Berhanu’s decision to overthrow the Ethiopian government using “any means necessary.” What Bucknell University fails to consider is the impact of Berhanu Nega’s use of violence on the Ethiopian people. What the United States government fails to explain by allowing Berhanu Nega to circumvent the law of the land is why, by omission and commission, they are supporting the violent overthrow of the Ethiopian government.

For readers of the New York Times, it is a great story to read on a lazy Sunday morning while sipping $3.00 coffees at Starbucks. For the Ethiopian people, however, the story of Berhanu Nega is not a fun way to spend a Sunday morning. Berhanu Nega and Ginbot are spoilers to a country with definite problems but on a track moving forward. Berhanu Nega and Ginbot 7 are like the two donkeys strolling down Asmara’s Harnet Avenue—a public nuisance, braying loudly and spitting on the hard-won gains of the Ethiopian people.

 

 

 

65 Responses to “The Donkeys of Asmara: Berhanu Nega’s Story in the New York Times”

  1. Fekede Taeme says:

    Halleluiah New York Times.
    It was high time someone to tell the truth and NY times came out bold!
    All others were writing twisted and negative articles against Ethiopian government and supporting the oppositions.
    The patience and humble character of Ethiopian government, just to maintain the hard earned peace, had been taken as a weakness.
    I greatly appreciate the professionalism and the truthfulness of NY Times.
    Thank you and high regards,
    Fekede Taeme

    • some says:

      It takes courage to tell the truth ginbot 7 will liberate us from this intolerable condition in Ethiopia i know you will block this comment.
      Freedom is closer than ever.

      • Berhanu Ashenafi says:

        Liberate you from who? My brother/sister, I think you need to liberate your brain from hate. Ethiopia has been progressing in all fronts since the fall of the fascist Derg regime 25 years ago. It is work in progress and we are in the right direction. The current government along with the Ethiopian people have dug out the country from the grimm hole that derg and the regimes before it have sunk it for more than a century. Now is not the time to be nostalgic about a historical nightmare. Ethiopia is moving forward and it is home for every ethnic group to live in equality and harmony.

      • The Truth says:

        I’m 100% sure u don’t know what u r talking about. Sorry, but u must be an illiterate person. I’m surprised that u confessed ur comment does not deserve to be posted. By the way, if I ask-liberate u from what?

  2. Abba Biyaa says:

    I know Berhanu is not a genuine politician and even a dictator, but the issues that he has only 200 soldiers may not hold water. Just due to the incumbent government’s weakness and dictatorship nature, though Berehanu is not a genuine man, he has million supporters in Ethiopia. There is no doubt about this. This huge public support is almost created by the weakness of the government not Berehanu’s ability. Now Ethiopia is in big problem which I believe can be solved by the government if it fully implements what is written in the constitution. Some times, even the cadres are complicating the problem by violating the right of the citizen as per the constitution. For instance, why government prohibit peaceful demonstration when required by political organizations? How on earth the government won 100% in May 2015 faces now huge oppositions from the public? There will be problems during election. I think the government need to revise tribal federalism as it is creating a problem even to federal government’s plan implementation like the master plan voided following the mass demonstration against the plan assuming this our land not Ethiopia’s.

  3. Woldu Kidane says:

    Well done, the truth has to come out by a courageous and intelligent people like you. Best of all, you did your best to make all responsible individuals and institutions to check their actions and comments before publicizing their “correctness”. You gave them the direction where to find the truth. Also you indicated to them the legality of their action.
    They are wrong and they need to do their home work to find the truth before they look foolish in front of the people who knows the truth.
    I have nothing to add about “So called Berhanu” who is fooling the vulnerable, laterally confused people to his advantage to collect money. He is the enemy of the Ethiopia people, period. He is an economist who denied to accept the work of infrastructure, building the housing and business buildings and the electric dam (renaissance dam) work are not in “his 21st century economic definition” as economic entities. He was able to teach in a USA university after reading his “21st century economic definition” on TV. May be the university did not notice because he read it in Amharic. Otherwise he would had been fired not by the University but by his students.
    Thank you

  4. Ethioman says:

    Sir,

    It was interesting to read, in the New York Times original article, Mr. Berhanu’s conviction that “he was giving himself ‘four or five years’ before he and his rebel forces entered Ethiopia as part of a new democratic dispensation.”

    Mr. Berhanu appears to have conveniently forgotten it in 2016, but, back in 2010, this same man assured Ethiopians in the diaspora that he “will remove the EPRDF (the current ruling party in Ethiopia) from power in SIX months.” To achieve this, “all I need is a contribution of US $500 from each person”, he told his supporters.

    The gullible diaspora Ethiopians, believed his words and handed him their hard earned cash in exchange of a worthless “Certificate of Ethiopian Patriotism.”

    The six-month deadline he gave them came and went with no tangible result. Now, Mr. Hammeraug is reporting that Mr. Berhanu is giving himself a new “four or five years” deadline. If this is not a con artist’s work, tell me what is?

    It is my sincere hope that Mr. Hammeraug, a Princeton graduated with a cum laude degree and a seasoned journalist with numerous awards under his belt, will do a thorough investigation into the unpleasant background of this defrauder and post a revised version of his original New York Times article. To facilitate his investigation, Mr. Hammeraug may want to consider speaking to Mr. Berhanu’s victims, a cross section of Ethiopians in the diaspora. But, above all, Mr. Hammeraug must speak to Mr. Nega’s one time comrades, the former CUD leadership such as Mr. Hailu Shawel, Professor Mesfin Weldemariam and Mr. Lidetu Ayalew. It is an open secret that Mr. Berhanu outwitted and later unceremony betrayed these notable gentlemen.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  5. Assefa H says:

    How much did this journalist earn from Egypt to write such wonderful poem about the gim 7 (rotten 7 times)?

  6. semay says:

    Why we worry about Dr. Birhanu. He is already declared self suicide. He is the number 1 most failed Ethiopian politician in the 21st century of Ethiopian history.
    Reason number 1: The relation made with Asmara. Because what is Isayas’s policy to Ethiopia as well as to neighbouring countries. No need explanation to Ethiopians.
    Reason number 2: His hate policy and his propaganda up on Tigrai people. The evidence is clear. What happening in Amhara state is enough.
    Reason number 3: His immature propaganda in Bahrdar. The evidence is clear. People destroying their public properties. eg. destroyed flower investors company. (how money local people was working there), destroyed municipal water sources.
    Reason number 4: There is no Ethiopia excluding Tigraian people. Any one who love Ethiopia should love the whole Ethiopian people.
    Reason number 5: The medias supporting his hate propaganda from abroad. eg. ESAT.
    These are a few from the many immature politician Dr. Birhanu. The Ethiopian people are ahead of him in every aspects of politics.
    What is wrote about his profile and what is doing practically has big gap. The supporters should support him as his actual mentality not as his profile. economics and politics are different. leadership also has its own criteria. Any one who wish to be prime minster must fill full a number of criteria. It is big responsibility. Not just you went Asmara and you speak fluent English. Also please delete from your mind the legend TPLF is in powered through the help of EPLF. TPLF came to power through the scarification of the Tigray people and strong leadership.
    Instead i would like to ask him about the agriculture products in this year in Eritrea? we expect his scientific analysis as before. I hope also to include the onion and pepper farming he is working forcefully with a few innocent and forced Ethiopians. (for his convenience the rebels).
    So, what ever wrote and spoke about him has no value. The people of Ethiopia of course demands democracy, good governance, competent opposition parties, peace and progress. But no need of hate among ethnics no need of insulting each others, no need of destroying public infrastructures. God bless Ethiopia.

    • Bereket says:

      kikikik

      it seems logical when you put it in numbers but just trash TPLF’s propaganda.Do you think we are ignorant how you guys came to power? Shabiya did it!

      Just one reminder, Public anger could erupt because of lack of freedom, equality and justice and hate may spring unknowingly on those on power, in our case TPLF, then damage on properties and humans. If you blame just some individuals and try to mock, i really telling you, sincerely, you are living in delusion.

      • The Truth says:

        Bereket, I’m not surprised u writing this because I know the Eris behavior very well. U especially the older generation of Eris behavior is a duplicates of Italians. So, the behavior of Eris younger generation has a trickle down effect. Hence, the younger generation is shedding off the Italian behavior and becoming themselves which is a good thing. Therefore, u must be an older generation who is glued to that behavior.

  7. Ayagebahem says:

    200 solidger vs ethiopian army might sound David vs Goliath but remember meles and his comrades started their struggle less than handful. And we are all Ginbot 7 !!! Talking about no election in Eritrea , I rather have no election than 100 % claimed victory !! You should be ashamed of yourself !!!

    • semay says:

      No one has objection that you are all G7. But you should to know Meles & his comrades base was in the territory of Ethiopia (Dedebit-Tigray). It was not in Eritrean Gash-Barka farming. They were not forced servants of EPLF farming. Unlike G7 doing. And you said we are all G7. so, tell us how is going farming in Eritrea. Are you from the G7 rebels or from the diaspora who oppose for the purpose of to grant asylum in US & Europe? b/c to grant asylum you should to oppose government, you should to pay & register as member of opposition party. Then start to say TPLF dictator – mobile video camera – good evidence – you start asylum procedure then you get residence permit Bahhh G7. that is diaspora & activist mean) G7 are all asylum seekers.

      • Someone says:

        Semay I can say you are power seeker and money pleaser from the current gov’t who is currently violating the right of a human being and governed by illiterate people who are backed by few individuals like you seeking advantage by posting favorable comments lets speak the truth man

  8. Jon amare says:

    This one completely foolish . This Weyane the one hey give money for New York Times. Right like this kind of completely foolish article. What it to Ethiopa we need this time is. Change??????

  9. Jon amare says:

    We need to change we need to change we need to change

  10. Aberash Kinfe says:

    It look Weyane Tigria are finshed.This ppl are ugly!!

  11. Berhanu Ashenafi says:

    This is an insightful and eye-opening story. The truth will always come out. Better late than never! Thank you.

  12. Haile says:

    What is the point of using the word “Donkeys” to describe berhanu nega and his groups?. Can’t you find other word to describe them?

    • Berhanu Ashenafi says:

      Calling them donkeys is belittling the hard working animal. They should be called hyenas or even better vampires!

    • Muller says:

      Donkey means illu or adgi or ahiya, what else do you want to know. The truth has spoken, God bless the writer. Thank you.

    • wedinakfa says:

      that is their limitation and the only language they know can you see their Secret Service and Communication Minister bragging about illuminating the African continent!!! never mind WOY-ANE and their dim ideology is going to be buried once and for all, make my word, bye bye WOY-ANE!!!

  13. Senit Seme. says:

    So true. We shouldn’t be fulled by people like this who don’t have the interest of the people at all. POWER GREED.

  14. malor says:

    ante agame arfeh tekemet, koletachehun new minkortew!!

  15. Amanuel Assefa says:

    What an interesting and insightful article! Anyway, the US is investing much to destabilize Ethiopia. The comrades of Berhanu Nega and other extremists, like Mohammed Jawar, are enjoying protection by the US government to destabilize Ethiopia and violently overthrow the government.

  16. Hagos says:

    ” What Bucknell University fails to consider is the impact of Berhanu Nega’s use of violence on the Ethiopian people. What the United States government fails to explain by allowing Berhanu Nega to circumvent the law of the land is why, by omission and commission, they are supporting the violent overthrow of the Ethiopian government”.

    You’re right and indeed! we need to learn from these individual’s who is confussing inocent people for Geopolitics of the interest of Red sea resources and guarding the historical enemy of Ethiopia because of Nile (Abay River) againist the Great Rennansance Dam of Etheiopia.

  17. Mezgebe says:

    He is a weak bullet fired by our arch enemy Egypt to distablize Ethiopia and then to stop the dams construction on our blue Nile river. which was plotted by the former egiptian president and his supporters. But, it is a dream and Birhanu will redream it again in kality person soon.

  18. Mohammed Adem says:

    Thank you New York times for finally balancing your reporting. Mr.nega had for many years inbarked on a systemic demonizing of ethnic Tigrians Using his media EAST to spread hate against Tigrians. His efforts finally bore some fruit. Recent his gunbey7 party order their followers to target tigrian business ,properties etc in Gonder. Many Tigrians were killed for just being Tigrians. Their properties destroyed. Many thousands run for dear life. Seeking shelter in the Sudan.Berhanu nega is directly responsible for the death and measery of my relatives.His victims will not forget him I hope the law wwill catch up with whom as we.

  19. Haile says:

    You are underestimate him the professor. Slowly but surely is moving to addis abeba with help of dictator isas afeworki.

  20. Kadir Mohammed says:

    The Ass Berhanu, is preaching democracy in the land of dictator Essayas the president of tyrant blood sucker terrorist government where democracy is unthoughtful. Ginbot-7 is a registered humanitarian agent in the US, yes in his evil mind he wants to cheet the innocent US government. Indirectly the US government is unknowingly supporting a terrorist group in it back yard. Berhanu seems to looks to hero but we have seen him pouring his urine & feces in the face of true Ethiopian heroes ie EPRDF security forces. But he is mentally sick and elusionist to dream to be president professor Berhanu Nega of the Ethiopian people. It is not easy to earn such respect for the blood sucker terrorist.

  21. Abishee says:

    Timely comment,
    Poor prof Berhanu N got a nice gift from NYT despite his true history who lacks intellectual integrity accused by many as a lair and opportunistic without principle only hungry for power which he will never ever have it. As a minority from Gurage, he will never have s support from Oromos, Tigreans and non Ahmaru. He hates Oromos and Tigreans at his heart and above all he is too Farii as Addisu put it correctly.
    . Therefore,who will allow another brutal Mengistu again??.

  22. Kumakullo says:

    Just to say a few words on Birhanu’s sister. Her name is Askale Nega(we used 2 call her colti 2 say coltafa)she was a sophomore biology major when she went 4 national service 2 Gidole in Gamo Gofa. Birhanu was a high school student then. After evacuation of national service , she joined EPRP & later ended up in ‘Kerchele’ prison where she was executed. Unlike her brother , she died 4 what she believed in . This is what Birhanu is not telling . Askal RIP

  23. Tasew says:

    Time to expose those who do fund raising for ESAT in each State

  24. Taitu says:

    Malor, agame? Really ? Can you not be civill enough to leave a proper comment even if you do not agree with the article ? Who are you to cut the balls of anyone ? The Ethiopian people on the ground except the few misguided ones by people like you do not even remember the racially hate word that you used ” agame”. No one uses it on Ethiopia anymore ! News flash to you . Birhanu Nega is a disgruntled ” politician” who wants to revenge the Ethiopian government for his near loss of power , which was actually his fault because he would not accept the huge amount of number of seats he won then and for his imprisonment. Does he have the interest of the Ethiopian people at heart? NO. I wish NY times writer had done more investigation. I wish the people in the diaspora understand the consequences of their blind support for us living here in Ethiopia.

  25. Taitu says:

    I also want to add , let’s say Berhanu gets his wish ? Who then is going to lead the country ? The few comrades mentioned in the NY article from Canada, UK, ? You think the other opposition parties who have been sweating and paying the “price” to ” peacefully” struggle and put their agendas across will let Birhanu lead the country . He was not able to create coalition in 2005 in peaceful times and reneged on his coalition with professor Mesfin, Lidetu, Hailu Shawl then and a leopard does not change its spots so the same will happen again , meaning there will be chaos. If Tamagne Beyene thinks he will have a share in this he can also forget it . These are people using diaspora money to make a living . How can an ex comedian who never held a serious job in his life even remotely think he is capable to lead a country of 100 mill ? Diaspora wake up !!

  26. #KingJohnIV says:

    Here is the original article of Joshua Hammer, “Once a Bucknell Professor, Now the Commander of an Ethiopian Rebel Army” to read the link below:

    http://www.ethiopiandj.com/2016/08/31/bucknell-professor-now-commander-ethiopian-rebel-army/

  27. Teferi says:

    It was interesting for me to read your article. It was a good response to the NY times.However,I want to point out some of the things I did not agree with. First the article should not start with an insult.”The Donkey OF Asmara”, well sir there are some anti Amhara people that try to call all Amharas “Donkey”. I am Amhara and this was offensive to me. I don’t agree with Dr. Berhanu Nega but respect his right to do what he wishes. Personally,I will never go to Asmara to bear arms to fight Ethiopians. So my comment to you Sir is that in Life do not make major decision while being emotional. I think you put the word “donkey” because of your emotion. Keep the discussion going because I believe problems can be solved by discussion not guns. Thank you.

  28. ABDI says:

    For those of you who are talking about the current government and it’s democracy, they do know nothing about the atrocity and crimes committed by it’s military and security personel against innocent people in Ogaden region, , people disappear often,extrajudicial killing and summary arresting becomes part of their live, don’t mention the gang rape. the region becomes under control of General Waldo Abraha ( the commander of the Regime army in Harer) , he was in Jigjiga these days demanding people to pay 250 million birr for Tigreyains who been affected by uprising in Oromo and Amara regions, so where is the democracy and rule of law you talking about in ethiopia right now ?

  29. ABDI says:

    The current Ethiopian government is widely recognized as a criminally organized group with high rates of human rights abuses. According to The New York Times and Human Rights Watch, tens of thousands of peaceful protesters against the government have been incarcerated, and over 700 have been killed, in recent months. Look at http://www.Jpost.com

    • Berhanu Ashenafi says:

      An outright lie! The truth is to the contrary. The current government is developmental, democratic but not perfect and pro-poor. However, the likes of ABDI are blinded by hate towards certain people in the government. As JFK once said, “ask what not your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country”. Complaining about voids is not patriotic if you are not contributing anything. Alas!

  30. ABDI says:

    @Behan Ashenafi, ” the current government is developmental and democratic. ….” what on earth is that to take all of 547 seats in the parliament and all of 1900 seats of regional parliament, even arab dictators in mileast neve say they win thier elections with 100%, there is freedom of speech in ethiopia, no justice, and anyone who dare to speeke out will end up in jail as handrands of bloggers and journalists do,maybe you are not living in ethiopia or you are blinded by excessive loyalty you have for the current regime in Addiss.

    • gebre mekontaw says:

      Wait, next time you will get 20% and it will be boring for you to sit and listen Woyane’s Liflefa, Hodam Amhara’s snoar and Oromo Qebegna’s approval of discussion and plan to loot and kill the Amharas and Oromos. Yes, as long as Woyane is in power,that is what you will get . They came with a plan to loot Wollega’s coffee, Ogaden’s oil, Amhara’s land (unto Abay Gidib). Do you think they make the Abay Dam without a reason? They plan to encroach slowly and claim that it is Tigre’s land. Yes, they would not build it to you. By the way, they gave Assab to Eritrea because it is not in the interest of Tigray to let the Amharas and Oromos have a port when Tigray depart from Ethiopia. Don’t you heard they eliminated 2 million Amharas using various tactics? It is funny that they also discuss it in their parliament. You can search youtube about the missing Amharas. They are dropping in millions under this administration. I believe, time has come to get retribution.

  31. Taitu says:

    @Abdi, you have every right to feel the way you do and voice your opinion. However, your comments need to be based with facts . The summary killing and imprisonment without reason is not true and 250 million birr to be collected from Jijiga? That is so untrue. Be logical, if the people of Jijiga can raise this kind of money and then truly our country has grown so big in its economy that one city can easily pay this much amount of money.
    The government has lots of problems? Yes it’s true it does and they need to work on that and widen the political space , good governance needs to improve and the list is big . This does not mean that good things have not been done either so let’s acknowledge that as well . No matter what though creating chaos in the country which will be hijacked by anyone is detrimental to our country . Voice of reason must prevail .

  32. Taitu says:

    @ Teferi, I totally agree with your comment on the title of the article . I also do not see the relevance of the donkeys in this article . Like Teferi said, let us not be emotional but reasonable .

  33. Alemayehu says:

    Thanks to good that the NYTs is interested on this issue. The last thing Ethiopians need now is a “liberator” of the type led by the “Donkeys” of Asmara.

  34. Kaleb gebru says:

    I agree with the excellent analysis. A liberator is not what is needed. To liberate us from what?

  35. Kaleb gebru says:

    Eritrea is the one that needs to be liberated from its shabia leaders. They asked and fought for independence…they have it. Why can’t the leave us Ethiopians alone so we can build our country?

  36. ABDI says:

    @Taitu, it maybe very hard for you to believe that,but that is the reality on the ground, I had family members whome disappeared after they been picked up by security personel, I had witnessed dead body laying on the ground killed by the Regime military and been denied to be buried by the military, for two days , I know a man who spent 8 year in central jail of Jigjiga and never been brought to the court. These are few examples among others, so it is easy to say that is not true because you never experienced that horrific things in your region. People in the region live in fear. In term of General Waldo Abraha and his money collections in the region it is not something secret that the puppet at regional administration have organised meeting with businessmen in Jigjiga and civil servants to collect millions of birr for Tigreyains who been affected by uprising in Oromo and Amara.

  37. gebre mekontaw says:

    I feel like Birhanu is a nightmare for anti-democratic Woyane. I know most of you are afraid of him. He tried to follow the democratic way but you would not give him a chance. Do not forget that he was elected to be mayor of Addis Ababa. He was stolen his seat because of Woyane’s threat. Well, he will come with might and reclaim his country. I know you have looted the country’s land. I lost my 650sqm plot to Woyane Kadre because he wanted to build a building on my plot. In return, I get 150sqm out in a bush with no road, water and electricity. Your democracy is this one. Stealing from people,

  38. God says:

    Please get the hole picture of this article with a bit of humbleness,to begin with having on mind to over throw a government managing hundreds of million people by arm struggle,madness it self,imagine civil war and the the results would be.
    And to you my friend times journafokenlist,when did you realise that this man is a muster better, too late to mention about him that he is up to no good to America or the world,next time be honest and be on time,that will make you a journalist.
    To supporters:90% of you who reside in state have property in Ethiopia,would never initiate a proxy war in the land,must be the those who were part of Derby family,those who can’t speak English while they residea for decades,addicted,hopeless….look,Ethiopia is running and fast,furious. .

  39. Yayu says:

    The New York Magazine and NPR have given great coverage about the heroic personality of professor Birhanu who lived selflessly. We know the current TPLFites,the former rebels, could not do that after they started living lavishly at the cost of Ethiopian suffering. Now they cannot trade off the economic and political upper hand to fight back the true patriots like Birhanu who challenge such a barbaric and inhuman regime. The time has come for TPLFites to flee anywhere possible to save themselves leaving behind what they grabbed illegally. This is the bitter truth. Swallow it!

  40. we didnt need any approval or anything from the n.y times corrupted journalist for our liberty .it does matter what u say about the professor what we fight for is freedom no matter how much time it takes or who support us we will be free. and when we do the people itself will choose who will lead us and there wont be any going back.talk less of the professor doesnt change anythg at all in this time where life is a diseases in ethiopia we will be free even if it takes half of the people life and we will do it by ourself no european union americans or un even prof.birhan’s help cause we have had enough it .

  41. Belachew Aredo says:

    It is sad to observe that, weyane supporters and officials are all liars. If you have seen the the weyane official on EBC Tv. they have been lying just about everything they have been talking about. As the Ethiopian people and the whole world knows if you are Tigre you are the boss,manager,business man or woman etc.
    This has been going for 25 years, now the Ethiopian people said stop it, the country is for all its citizens.
    The official never mention this (it is the third rail).
    But, the main problem is the dominance of the minority group. If you don’t correct that weyanes roping Ethiopia will stop forever. The end will very ugly.

  42. Alemayhu A. says:

    Dear TPLF followers, please open your eyes and brain. If you are still thinking in the era of Ancient life and spread propaganda of hate and tribalism, you are dull. The most important thing for our country is equality, justice and respect of rights, not spreading hate and narrow political agenda.

  43. Tebik says:

    Lets add one thing for Semays. He said Derg was collapsed by TPLF and Tigrai people.very sad because of Derg removed from his powerby the following reasons:
    1. failures of the Derg policy i.e socialism(old fashion political system)
    2. The strong military fighting of EPLF and OLF against Derg
    3. the ruin of socialist camp
    4. the secret support of America and other European countries to TPLF and EPLF
    5. Derg was outcasted by the people of Ethiopia etc. Woyane did its part not more than 5% and shabia more than 75%. I am surprising by the saying “Tigrians took the lion share”. back to history that Ethiopia resisted foreigners by Ethiopian people.

  44. Adam says:

    How much does the government pay you for your propaganda? The Ethiopian dictators are looting the country blind – taking money given to it in form of Aid, and stealing people’s land. Its a country where 5th graders are now mafia millionaires who don’t know what to do except kill and trash people.

    • Adam says:

      May be its your lobbyist who wrote for you. Why don’t you say who you are instead of hiding behind The Strathink Editorial Team for your propaganda – people can now smell fake news – well.

  45. William20 says:

    Hello, do you allow guest posting on strathink.net ? 🙂 Please let me know on my email

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