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Proclamation No. 1

Last Friday, Abiy Ahmed released a few prisoners of conscience who posed a risk to his control of power. The announcement sounded as if Abiy Ahmed had pardoned the prisoners. In the first place, I don’t believe Abiy alone made the decision to imprison them; the Dergue and Haile Selassie clusters were part of it.

If a leader surrounds himself with yes men and women, and amateurish, yet vengeful lots like Abiy gathered around himself, he will always be forced to make decisions that saves your skin. Abiy surrounded himself with people who think they have a divine mandate to rule Ethiopia by freezing it in the medieval age. Though Abiy’s men and woman appear in western suits, they imitate the feudalists of the past who lorded over the peasants for centuries. Abiy has revived the Ethiopian theocratic rule control the faithful and secure their loyalty.

My issues with Abiy, and the Ethiopian civil war, are clear;they are Eritrean centered. I don’t wish anything good for any force that elongates the suffering of Eritreans, even if their role is secondary or tertiary. Watching tyrants give each other a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in frustrating. Abiy and Isaias have been doing that since 2018. And on Friday last, Ethiopia released some prisoners (not in Eritrea where “release” is not in the vocab of the PFDJ)

1. Prisoners

I always admired Jowar—-he’s resolute, his activism is exemplary, and his struggle is people-centered. Indeed, he proved to be a fine politician and he was among the most effective people who brought about change in Ethiopia, but unfortunately, he was instrumental in installing Abiy as a prime minister.

On Friday morning the Ethiopian television announced the release of Sebhat Negga, the octogenarian historical leader of the TPLF who is affectionately known as Aboy Sebhat [Father Sebhat]. The famous activist and politician Jawar Mohammed and his colleagues were also released.

Since he came to power in 2018, Abiy and his Medemmer party, planned for an all-out assault on Tigray to subjugate its people. A devastating war ensued and as a result, the Ethiopian economy that registered double-digit growth for decades is now in shambles. The material cost of Abiy’s war is unimaginable; the human cost is staggering. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed (still are being killed), maimed, amputated, handicapped; the shadow of the losses will hover over Ethiopia for a long time to come.

2. What really happened?

The war that Abiy launched on Tigray was planned over three years, since 2018. Obviously, a large-scale military campaign takes a long time to prepare and launch. And of course, if the targeted army discovers the plot, it will certainly not wait as a sitting duck until it’s attacked. Therefore, on the 3rd of November the Tigray forces took the initiative and made a pre-emptive strike against the federal forces stationed in their region. But Abiy wanted the world to believe that he mobilized tens of thousands strong forces on the borders of Tigray as a reaction. And on Noveember 4th, his forces invaded Tigray. It has been a slippery slope since then.

However, by August 2021, the Tigray forces (TDF) have moved south in a lightning speed and were breathing over the shoulders of Addis Ababa. Vested interests were busy shuttling, discussing, and threatening, to secure a cease fire agreement. And after so much pressure the TDF yielded and retreated to Tigray. But Abiy presented all of that in as his victory…

3. Promotional style copied from Hollywood

As usual, Abiy is obsessed with PR, and he exploits every opportunity to polish his image. A few weeks ago, when the TDF retreated, Abiy capitalized on the retreat and pretended his forces pushed the TDF to Tigray. He made it appear as if his appearance close to the now silent battle front, in ironed camouflage uniform, single-handedly made the TDF flee the scene. But foreign diplomates had pushed for the deal, and convinced the TDF to retreat. Abiy had agreed to control the Amhara territories and stop there. But he presented his presence in The Afar region and the evacuated surroundings of Dessie and Kombolcha, would confirm his military genius. But how about his supporters?

Abiy’s and Isaias’ supporters were and are obnoxious, they are not ready for peace, nor do they contemplate about the unknown risks involved in wars. They just wanted the war to continue, to eradicate the Tigray and subjugate it. Worse, the federal forces didn’t respect the ceasefire and their tone was not that of a force ready for peace. However, there was a comeback and the TDF restarted its campaign. Finally, it sunk in. Abiy delivered a somewhat reconciliatory speech that he should have made months ago.

That is the development that led to the release of the political prisoners who were thrown into prison in a corrupt manner.

4. The Elephant in the Room

As of today, there is no big elephant in the room, but there is a human elephant named Isaias, sitting in the middle. Eritrean forces are all over Western Tigray and it’s no secret they have been working closely with the Fano militia of the Amhara region. In his latest interview Isaias reaffirmed he will continue to get involved in internal Ethiopian affairs. However, talking about the Sudan he expressed his disapproval of foreign involvements. He has the nerve to condemn foreign interferences in Sudan, which he has been doing for decades, and is doing in Ethiopia. There is no explanation for the genius moves of Isaias’ never ending zero-sum politics that has not yielded any significant achievement for Eritrea!

Isaias’ intentions are no more a secret because he expressed them in many ways—through his supporters, his street activists in the West, and through the upper echelon of the PFDJ. It has also reached the Sudan where the PFDJ has a well-established intelligence network that has penetrated some Sudanese communities, tribes and political groupings.

Now, what concerns Eritreans should be the decades-old feud between the TPLF and PFDJ. Both are hellbent on exterminating each other—even if it requires eliminating a big chunk of Eritrean and Tigrayan population. Unfortunately, the regional traditions nor only embraces such a goal, it dictates it. As is stands now, there is little hope that foreign forces will prevent more bloodbath and restraint the elite warmongers of the region.

According to the deal, Abiy had agreed to release the wrongly arrested notable personalities. But he knew their release will anger the hardliners among the ultra-nationalist Ethiopian diaspora. Being into PR, he lured most of them to Ethiopia by offering cheap flights and state sponsored ego-massaging. And he got them in Ethiopia, away from their reliable internet connection in the rest of the world. And he calmly he released the prisoners. And as expected, some in the Ethiopian diaspora are furious—they might have expected to witness the hanging of the prisoners in person. Disappointed, their anti-Abiy criticism is already underway.

Proclamation No. 1

Since it’s the season of releasing prisoners and offering clemency, I might as well offer one: by the power not vested in me or the Negarit followers, I hereby pardon both tyrants, Isaias and Abiy from all the crimes they committed, and all the sufferings they brought to the region, provided they resign immediately.

About Awate Team

The PENCIL is's editorial and it reflects the combined opinions of the Awate Team and not the individual opinion of team members.

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  • Saleh Johar

    Simon, your comment is flagged by disqus because of the word you used knowingly. Pls help us by refraining from using such words. We had to delete it

  • Haile S.

    ሰላም ዓወታውያን፡ ብፍላይ ደቂ ወጻኢ

    ኣብ shabait ቅልቅል ኢለ
    ሕሕ፡ መጀን፡ ኣብሽር! ቆለይ ካብ ዘልዓለ፥

    Pluripotent ሚኒስተር የማነ (ሻባይት) ክፈልጠኩም
    ወይ ክቲፋንኑ ወይ ነብሲ ክትሃስሉ ኣለኩም
    ማለተይ’ሲ ዓለም ተፈሊጥኩም ተዓዊትኩም

    ዝያዳ ኸኣ ዓዲ ሓሎ ሰጊድ-ሰላም እንተልኩም
    ምስ ወዲኣፎም በለስ እንተውሒጥኩም
    ቁጸርዎ መንግስተ ምድሪ በሊዕኩማስ ሰማይ ዝተንከፍኩም

    ወይ ኣዱሊስ መጠራ ከስከሰ ትኾኑ ዓንዲ ኰንኩም
    ወይ prehistoric ትኮኑ፡ ኣብ ብዓቲ ተሓንጢጥኩም
    ወይ ህንጻታት ኣስመራ ትኾኑ ተፋሕቲሩ መንደቕኩም
    ኣብ ሸሽድሽተ ወርሒ ይወጻ ካይተለወጣ ጽቡቓት ስእልኩም


    ምናልባት ባንዴራ ኤርትራ እንተ ተወንዚፍኩም
    ኣብ ናይ ሓባር ፎቶ ክትወጹ የለን ዘጠራጥረኩም
    ኣብ ፊት እኳ ክንደየናይ፡ ምናልባት ብድሕሪት ተቓቒርኩም
    ኣነ የለኹን ኣብኡ፡ ክትረኽቡኒ ዓይኒ ኣይተድክሙ በይዛኩም

    ከም ወዲ ጋዲ ምስ መለሰ-ስብሓተ እንተ ተሳኢልኩም
    ኣብኣ ትረኽብዋ ብሓሜተ-ምዕንቀፍ፡ ትስእኑ ኣጽፋርኩም

    ብዙሕ ክኣ ኣይትኾርዩ ኣይተስተማስሉ
    ማሕበር ትያትር-ኮመዲ ኣስመራ ይጽምብራና’የን ኣብ ኩሉ
    ቋንቁኡ ዘይፈልጥ፡ በሃም፡ ተመርዕዩ-ጠላም ኣብዘድልየሉ

    • Saleh Johar

      I feel like playing a mischievous game. After the years with of rage I saw due to the meles pucture, I gave them sebhat and they didn’t disappoint me. What do you say I give them one new picture every now and then just for fun? I have so many pictures. What do you think?

      • Haile S.

        ሰላም ሳልሕ፡

        ካብ ሳዕሳዕካ ተቖጻጸ
        ግና ሰብ ከምዘይከይድ ብድንጋጸ

        • Saleh Johar

          I asked a suggestion and I got a couplet that I have to decipher:-)
          Have mercy

          • Haile S.

            ሰላም ሳልሕ

            ኣዪ! ከተሕጥኣኒ ዶ ዓጢቕካ
            ጸይመ እየ ዘለኹ፡ ከምዚ ምባል ይሕሸካ

            ምሓሩኒ’ስኪ፡ ምስ ወየንቲ ?
            እንትርፊ ስእሊ፡ ነይብለይ ልፍንቲ
            እንሃለኩም ንተዘክሮ ካይኮኑ ከለዉ ጥንቲ
            ኣይትተርጉሙ! ዘይ ጽባሕ ኩላህና ከየድቲ
            ኣብዚኣ ኣለና እንዳበልና ሸተት ንታሕቲ

            በሉ ርኣዩ ኣይተስተዋሕድዎ
            ቅዳሕ ሓዙ፡ ድሕሪ ጽባሕ ረብሓ’ለዎ

            እንሃልኩም ምስ ደብርጭ፡ ብጾት ኢና ካብ ሰማንያ
            ኩሉሳዕ ሕራይ ዝብል ዝነበረ ሕጂ በለ ኣይትኸውንን’ያ

            እብዚ ምስ ጀነራል ዶ/ር ተኽለብርሃን ተጋዳላይ ነበር
            ኣብርሆት ንፈለማ ዝሰማዕኩሉ ምስወረደ ካብ ሚኒስተር

            እንሃልኩም ስእሊ ምስ ዓርከይ ስየ
            መሕደሪኡ ዝፈልጥ ዛጊት ካይመሰየ!

            እዝኣ ክኣ ምስ ጌትሽ ኣብ ሸራተን ኣፍ ካየብቆለ
            ከምዚ ሎሚ ካይኮነ ዝፍለጥ ብመልሓሱ ዝልለ

            ምስ ዘይተሳኣልክዎ የለን ሽም ጥራይ ጥቐሱ
            ነገር ካይተምጽኡ ስቕ ብዛዕባ ምስ ኤሱ

  • Haile S.

    ሰላም ሳልሕ

    ተስፋ እገብር ረስኒ-ክትባት ዝሒሉልካ

    ኣንታ ሳልሕ እንታይ ድኣ ወሪዱካ
    Opposiflammation ዶ ለኺፉካ?
    “ሕርር ቅርጽ ድኣ በላ” ኢልካ ጀሚርካ
    ምስ መለስን ኣይተ ስብሓት ፎቶ ተላዒልካ
    በል ሰብ ከይተዕውል ምስ ወዲ-ረዳ ተሳኢልካ
    ኣብታ እንግሊሽ cardiacky colicky! ድኣ’ባ ዘይወሰኽካ

    ኣነ ካብ ዘይተሰመማዕኩሉ ሓደ ክነግረካ
    ነዞም ክልተ ጓሶት ደጎል-ዘይዓጸዉ ልክዕ ምስጓግ ምግላፍካ
    ግና ነተን ማል ገዲፍካየን ንውሓጥቲ በላዕቲ፡ ጨኪንካ!
    ሰለስቲኦም ይኺዱ ይጸርገፉ ንምንታይ ዘይበልካ
    ኣለዉ፡ ስርሒት whitewood እዩ እንዳበልካ!
    ማለተይ’ዩ ብዓይኒ ኤርትራ ‘ተጠሚትካ

    • Saleh Johar

      ኣስሒቅካኒ:: ምልካፍ እንዳ ወሓደኒ:: ንዓሰርተ ዓመት ነታ ባዕለይ ዘርኣኹዎም ስእሊ ከም መጽረፊ ተርእኺባስ ኣይ ምስ መለስ ተሳኢልካ እንዲኻ እንዳተባሃልኩስ ከምሰብ ሃሩረይ ዘየውጻእኩስ ነዘን ቅሩብ ቃላት ኣብዚሕካለይ? ወረ ዝገደደ ከግርዖም ድልየ ነረ ተቆጢብ እየ::

      እቶም ስእለስት ዝብእልካዯም ይጥፍኡ እንዶሞ እንታይ መለሳ’ለዎ? ክሳብ ሕጂ ክልተ ሃገራት ስለ ዝፈልጥ’የ ስይልሰይቲ ሃገር እንተተፈጢራ ካልእ እዩ:: ከምዝሃበና ድማ ሀ ኢልና ንጅምር ግዲ! እምብእር ቀላል ኩላሶ ትኸውን ዶ ኢልካያ?

      ብዓይኒ ኤርትራ’ምበር ካልእ ዓይኒኳ ዘይብለይ

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Abu Salah,

    Excellent recap of the senseless war of “law and order” which isn’t. It was a war of conspiracy to subjugate the people of Tigray. You explained it in a clear way, it’s nature, it’s aim, it’s consequences as we speak. Abiy is an unprincipled person laced with pathological disease of lies, who brought the current human calamity of epic proportions on the people of Tigray at large. Thank you for explaining it without sugar coating, a stance of brave men with principles. One thing for fact, that, if this piece was written by people like me, it would have generated a lot of negative reactions. Good job, my friend.


    • saay7


      There are actually two Abiys. Who emerges (Dr Jeckyl or Mr Hyde) is the key determinant on the future of the region. I know which version I am rooting for :


      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Saay,

        I wasn’t aware about this Gothic Novella, the work of Robert Stevenson – “the strange case of Jekyll and Hyde.” By reading the excerpt of the book in Wikipedia, the novella talks about “people with unpredictably dual nature (that are) outwardly good but at times shockingly evil”. If the story will have some kind of parallel with the current saga of our region, then Abiy will be depictably represent the evil Edward Hyde in the current war for human extermination in our region. I don’t know which version you are rooting for, but I have my own version how the current saga will end. Good to see you back.


  • M/Brhan Idris

    Merhaba Ustaz Saleh,
    I started with the title. I considered it would give me an accurate preview of the Negarit 157: pardoning DIA and A. Ahmed Ali if they leave their power. This was covered in the audio version of Negarit 157 and not in its text. I think it should be included as I see it as the article’s key message since it reflects precisely the title. When I read and listened to the episode, I had the title in my mind.
    So, is it pardoning the system or DIA? I thought your stand was always about the former? Is it to say if DIA leaves power ( one way or another way, he will, including by natural cause), the system can be removed or improved?

    • Saleh Johar

      Very true Brhan,

      Sorry, I took the COVID booster and yesterday. It was bad and didn’t do a good job in the text, including translation which in some sentences is unclear . I will revise it if I feel better.

      • M/Brhan Idris

        Alf Salam Aleyk Ya Saleh,
        Hopefully it will go soon. I had it but , was ok with me. Again quick recovery!

  • Ismail AA

    Selam all,

    Welcome back starting 2022 with this first Negarit edition. Wish you even more productive seasons of the year with health and energy.

    As you have broadly indicated, the quiet efforts diplomats of the principal behind-the- curtain players in Ethiopia’s current civil war have been undertaking to design military re-positioning that favorably enable the TPLF and Dr. Abiy’s government to resort to negotiated end of the war appear to be bearing fruit. The normally usual diplomatic robust diplomatic activities of the Chinese on the side of the Federal Government and the USA and its allies (AU included)on the TPLF side seem to have calibrated to realign prospects of the goals of each side’s respective ally.

    The quick withdrawal of TDA to Tigray borders and response of PM Abiy declaring victory (!) and ordering the freezing of military activities inside the borders of Wollo cannot be taken as mean indicator. Diplomatically, the onus was effectively thrown on the court Dr. Abiy, because the-matter-fact situation would compel him to play the role his national political position as head of the Federal Government required to play. I would argue that this was what the diplomats were intending to achieve to create opportunity for diplomatic efforts.

    So, Abiy quickly moved to sell his new position to his allies and foes at the same time by first floating the yet to evolve inclusive national dialogue. Within this formulation which the diplomatic interlocutors have been demanding, they wanted a balanced public relations gesture from Dr. Abiy’s camp, which came as the release of controversial and formidable political prisoners. Besides, knowing the designed military positioning, coupled by the freeing of Tigrayan prisoners, would enrage one of his key political and military allies, namely, the Amhara component, Abiy tried to make it sure sure to release the Balderas for Genuine Democracy leader, Eskinder Nega and his colleagues. But this has not given any solace to the extremist ego of the Amhara elites, especially the diaspora segment of them. They have reacted furious and have gone to accuse Dr. Abiy as habitual betrayer. This anger was not lost to Eskinder himself, who came out quick to clarify his position as an Amhara, and condemned the release of the Tigrayans. The situation remains fragile.

    It is not yet clear which way things will proceed. Dr. Abiy appears not being able to have things under control. The clashes are still going on, especially the drone bombardment campaign which is costing lives every day. Moreover, it is not yet clear how the dictator in Eritrea will behave. All indications so far show he is not happy at all with Abiy and his moves. It will have to be seen whether their partnership will last, will dare to abandon Abiy or and stick with the Amhara forces and try and undo what Abiy has done; the immediate future., and the way the behind-the-scene players will handle this will be important in how the war in Eritrean front will end.

    • M/Brhan Idris

      Marhaba Ustaz Ismail,
      This episode raised the question of pardoning the dictator in the condition that he resigns. Many people see that the dictator runs the country as his own company, where he hires and fires CEOs of its different departments. These people think that if he leaves power, the company will disintegrate. As the dictator did, no CEO can run the company, as his legacy will not be healthy institutions that help run the country. His legacy will be fear, threat, divide and rule and manipulation. Still, his CEOs have no ability or experience to implement these unhealthy legacies because they lack the essential tools, such as wealth, networks and a special squad that belonged only to the dictator. Dictators only trust their sons and believe that the best to receive their tools of dictatorship are them, i.e. their sons. So the question is not forgiving the dictator if he leaves power. Ok, if he resigns and we pardon him, what will we do if Abraham Isayas Afeworki becomes the next president. So, we should expand the pardoning to include the clique if it resigns and shows its desire to hand power to the people.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam M/Brhan,

        Dictators do not give that kind of space for amnesty and pardons. They are blood thirsty creatures who live and die on hunting their subjects. Pls dream realistic dreams and act accordingly.


        • M/Brhan Idris

          Selam Professor Amanuel,
          My take on the subject is based on the writer title’s Proclamation -no- 1 and the proclamation which is presented at the audio version: pardoning DIA and A. Ahmed if they resign. I do not know if that is a dream or a joke but for the sake argument , I tried to analyze the point. I hope SGJ recovers soon and shed a light.

          • Saleh Johar

            Ahlan Brhan,
            It is more embarrassing than I thought–a whole closing chapter was missing. Now added and here is the missing part…

            Proclamation No. 1

            Since it’s the season of releasing prisoners and offering clemency, I might as well offer one: by the power not vested in me or the Negarit followers, I hereby pardon both tyrants, Isaias and Abiy from all the crimes they committed, and all the sufferings they brought to the region, provided they resign immediately.

      • Ismail AA

        Hayak Allah Ustazna Brhan,

        Its dawns on me now that something was said in the audio was missing from the text. I did not realize that because I only read the text. Usually, I do either read the text or listen to the audio. Incidentally, this time I only read the text, and tried to comment on the general political scene the substance of the episode projected. Thank you for reading and listening to the text and the audio as well alerting Saleh, who has now hopped up to corrected the mishap.

        As to the point you have raised, I am of the opinion that despots do not trust anybody, and sometimes they even doubt themselves. I think the despot in our land cannot be an exception. Dictators must get compelled by suffocating circumstances to start thinking about handing power to anybody, including one of their own offspring. Of course, the case of succession in monarchies is different.

        And, in case they succumb to the verdict of inevitable conditions, and hand over power to one of their progeny, then the legacy they leave behind comes with formidable challenges. So, our problem, too, shall be how to deal with the police -military state with all its elaborate spy networks built around hypnotized social and economic power base. Pardoning the despot or Abraham or military brass would not make the job of building legally institutionalized system easy.

        • M/Brhan Idris

          Salamu Alikum Ustazuna Ismail,
          Some of dictators who resigned or handed power include King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Pinochet of Chile, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. The circumstances that lead to their removal from power can be different but what is in common is that at the end they did hand power to others. So some dictators, handed power and most likely this aspect can be repeated in the future.
          So SGJ might have come with new resolution of 2022 to deal with our dictator.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Idris,

            Ortega is still around. He just rigged another election. President for life.

          • M/Brhan Idris

            Selam Simon,
            You are right he is still around. I am referring 1990 when he lost to the opposition and stepped down.

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Ismail,

          Abraham (Queen Abrehet) will not last 6 months.

          • Haile S.

            ሰላም ስምኦን፡

            ዘረባ ዶ ከይዱካ ?
            ተስፋ እገብር፡ ክኾን ካይፈለጥካ
            ኩልኩል ብፖለቲካ !
            ሰንጢቕካ፡ ሰጊርካ

            ካብ ኩሉ ዘሕዝነኒ
            ብኣብረሀት ሓውተይ መጺኻኒ
            እንታይ በደላ፡ ምንቲ-ምንታይኒ
            ምስ ዘይንፈልጦ ተወዳድራ ነዛ ብሌን ዓይኒ

            እታ ኣብረሀት ጸሓይ ንግሆ
            ናይ ዓወተ ብርሃ-ብርሆ
            ጽሑፋታ ንሓንጎል ዘብልሖ

            ከተወዳድራ ምስ ዘይተመርመረ ወዲ ጎይታ
            ንኤርትራ ንሃገርና ፍጹም ዘይፈልጣ
            ርሒቑ ዘፍልጥ ልዕሊ ቀሓውታ

            ኣብረሀት ሓውተይ ሰላምታ ይብጻሕኪ
            ኣንታ’ዩ ከም ምሌኑ ዘሐከለኪ
            ተራኣኽኒ’ባ ኣብታ ኦም ሓዂርኪ
            ንዒ ደሃይ ሃቢ ኣብ ዘለኺ ኰንኪ

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Ismail,

      Preach peace but conduct a genocidal war.
      Declare victory while retreating full steam.
      Release a handful of prisoners while incarcerating thousands.

      The Abiy-Isaias gimmick show.

      Killed By Death by Motorhead:

      • saay7


        Same artist, different song: ace of spades

        Playing for the high one, dancing with the devil
        Going with the flow, it’s all a game to me
        You know I am born to lose
        And gambling is for fools
        But that’s the way I like it baby.

        War, like gambling, is an addiction. And the region finds a reason to have it every single year.


        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Saay,

          Ace Of Spades is a classic. Ian ‘Lemmy’ Kilmister (RIP).

          Self absorbed, conman Abiy is a high stakes gambler. In such situations, the urban Ethiopian elite freez and become mentally incapacitated.

          Indeed, war is similar to gambling.

          Rules for gambling:

          1. Set a limit on how much to gamble.
          2. Don’t gamble when emotional (negative or positive).
          3. Don’t chase your losses (if you lose $5, don’t gamble more in the hope of getting your $5 back)