duckOctober 16, 2018

 The noble word Freedom means different thing for different contemporary elites. For some, it means to do anything they feel like it to their fellow compatriots with impunity. For others, it is simply a transaction i.e. what is good for me is good enough for the rest. But, for the vast majority, it means to be left alone to mind their own business without infringing on the freedom and rights of others.

Oxford dictionary defines Freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants”.

Therefore, when Freedom is outsourced to contemporary political elites, it remained an elusive slogan to conveniently redefined at will than tangible ‘right act, speak, or think as one wants’ – a modern version of monarchy without crown of I will act, speak and think for you at my pleasure to turn individuals as helpless herds.

The 19th century Danish philosopher, theologian and social critic Soren Kierkegaard known as the Father of Existentialism said; “people demand freedom of speech as compensation for freedom of thought they seldom uses”.

For the vast majority of people deprived of individual freedom by coercion or transaction of the willing elites’ is where the make-believe Free Press and lapdog journalists come in to redefine individual Freedom for the political, social and economic convenience of their partners in crime.

That is where the adage — ‘lying and stealing are next door neighbors’ get traction and, as fate would have it, one can’t exist without the other nor can live apart to pivot reality into a convenient fairytale.

Mind you, it didn’t say ‘lying and stealing’ are roommates nor, one family under one roof but, neighbors or as a good friend like to refer them — Citizens of Convenience and, sadly to say at the expenses of the individual freedom and rights of the people.

In the last 27 years, nothing illustrates ‘lying and stealing are next door neighbors’ than lapdog journalists of make-believe Free Press and their partners in crime that stole individual freedom of Ethiopians.   Unfortunately, no one is paying attention the consequence of the two neighbors that undermined the role of the Free Press to distracts the people from the reality of Ethiopia and the ongoing reform under the new PM.

If we really think about it, contemporary political elites’ the ‘cart before the horse self-serving dogma is where it all started. Peace before justice, justice before the truth, groups’ rights before individual rights, freedom of speech before thought, representation before consent, development before individual ownership … all prove; contemporary political elites determination to sustain or climb on illegitimate power and privilege at the expenses of the people of Ethiopia remain priority # 1 as we continue witness unfold.

When you add ethnic apartheid poison of their enablers in the mix to bury the truth further underground to prevent people from coming together to exercise their individual freedom and rights; no-freedom-no rights-no peace-no consent standoff off was the inevitable outcome as it was designed by the usual suspects.

Make no mistake, without The Free Press and watchdog journalists everything else is smoke screen. Unfortunately, in contemporary Ethiopia where lapdog journalists rule their watchdog counterparts; power and privilege indefinitely will remain in the wrong hands.

The legendry Chinese-American computer scientist, author and educator Newton Lee advised; “Journalists should be watchdogs, not lapdogs”, little did he know it was not by choice but, by design.

Lapdog journalism is not new in the history of nations. In fact, the elites that dealt with it in ‘democratic societies’ brought about the birth of the Free Press in the 16th century Europe and North America.

Therefore, it isn’t a mystery the most honored profession of journalism that kept dysfunctional elites of free societies at bay to behave civilized enough not to infringe on individual freedom remained impossible with their counterparts in unfree societies like Ethiopia in 21st century.

The same can be said for every profession where contemporary dysfunctional elites make mockery of their profession in service of one interest groups or another of their choice perusing illegitimate power and privilege for as long as one can remember at the expenses the people.

But, unlike any; watching the consequential profession of journalism reduced for the convenience of dimwitted dysfunctional political elites’ lust for power and privilege not only disheartening but, should alarm everyone to stop them from the danger they pause in the future sooner than later.

Unfortunately, the danger lapdog journalists pause is not only at home but, abroad in the diaspora and in the mainstream Media of ‘the free world’. As the saying goes; ‘you can get lapdog journalists out of the jungle but, not the jungle out of them’.

In that regard, in September of 2014 I asked;  Ethiopian Diaspora Medias: Head in the sand journalism?”  to find out; what motivates wannabe ‘journalists’ in diaspora to throw the baby (the profession of journalism) with the bath water or make mockery of the profession that is obvious for an average Ethiopian.

But, observing the same wannabe ‘journalists’ doing the same thing under the new Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed initiated reform shows; the need to first transform the profession of journalism thus, the Free Press from ground up before anything else to save Ethiopians from the crisis looming from lapdog journalists’ fairytale on behalf of their enablers. Where are the old professional journalists Association’s leaders when Ethiopia need them?

The source of the fairytale narrative of African regimes and their enablers that made ‘lying and stealing next door neighbors’ possible is well known for centuries. The reason behind it and who may be responsible is not a mystery either. But, no African elite we know of articulated the reality with humor and eloquence as well as fear and despair the false Africa is Rising and growing narratives of lapdog journalist and their partners-in- crime spew day-in-and-out than Ali Mufuruki  on TED TALK presentation. He not only illustrates how home-grown dysfunctional elites conspire to miss the forest for the tree in their quest to robe Africa with their partner in crime or what our people rightly refer as ሌባ ለአመሉ ቅቤ ይልሳል.

For instance, lapdog journalists’ partnership with IMF is not by accident but by design.  Take for instance World Economic Forum’s May 2018 report (before the new PM Abiy came to power in April) by ‘Senior Writer and freelance journalist’ Alex Gray stating; Ethiopia is Africa’s fastest-growing economy. it reads

“The IMF World Economic Outlook predicts 8.5% growth in 2018, far outstripping that of advanced economies”.

It followed with several news outlets (after the new PM Abiy came to power in April) including the September 2018 Africa News report;  “IMF Projects Ethiopian economic growth rising to 8.5 % in 2018/19/” stating;

“Growth is expected to step up in 2018/9 … supported by stronger confidence as the uncertainty of the previous year recedes, and the availability of domestic and foreign direct investment improves,” Julio Escolano, head of an IMF team that visited Ethiopia to make the assessment, said in a statement.

“The authorities’ strategy to shift the engine of economic activity to private sector development while the public sector consolidates is appropriate to maintain strong growth.”

Every local and mainstream Western Media picked up the same narratives before and after the new PM reform and run with it with no questions asked.  But, this time, the IMF staff that came up with the same predetermined report was led by Julio Escolano, ‘an advisor in the IMF’s African Department team’ that spent two weeks in Addis Ababa.

The IMF African Head is Abebe Aemiroselassie, an Ethiopian national that advised the Transitional Government of Ethiopia from 1991 until he joined IMF and he is nowhere to be found to validate Julio Escolano’ team report in the chaotic period before and after the new Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed that inherited sever foreign exchange shortage and escalating national debt that forced him  to search for help from the Ethiopian diaspora, the Chinese government and Middle Eastern regimes.

Unfortunately, Abebe Amero Selassie must be too busy with the new PM’s Advisory Council on privatization of public assets in Addis Ababa to explain the predetermined ‘economic outlook of IMF on Ethiopia he is entrusted to oversee.

Unfortunately, thinktanks that are supposed have no gain out of misleading narratives of the reality of Ethiopia are not far behind from the rest. Whether they are freelancing as laptop journalists on behalf of interest groups or they are writing on behalf of their respective organization is hard to say.

Take for instance the October 5, 2018 report titled Ethiopia East-Africa’s Emerging Giant by Claire Felter, a journalist for the renown U.S. thinktank The Council for Foreign Relation. How such highly regarded thinktank miss the forest for the tree on Ethiopia makes anyone wonder what kind of fellows the Council is assembling more than anything else.

Never mind the country that supposedly grew by double digits in the last decade building physical infrastructure on debt financing outsourced to China and domestic the counties data outsourced for IMF under Abebe Aemiroselassie leadership can’t built one institution to collect reliable data in 27 years for ‘journalists’ to tell the world should remind us what Dr. Morton Jerven, the author of Poor Numbers, How we are misled by African Development Statistic and what to do about it (2013) before he was chased out of Africa and the world forums. His talk on Africa data says more about the self-serving data of IMF, EIB, UNDP, the Afdb… for half a century.

But, it gets worst when the world wire news services like AP, AFP, Bloomberg and Reuters hire lapdog journalists as their Africa correspondent to push more false narratives.

The Ethiopian national Mesert Elias of Associated Press (AP)  and the Egyptian national Nizar Manek of Bloomberg correspondent in Addis Ababa comes in mind how laptop journalism works.

For instance, Mesert Elias of Associated Press in Addis Ababa on its October 11, 2018 article Italy’s PM visits Ethiopia and then Eritrea to support peace wrote;

“Ethiopia and Italy, Europe’s fourth-largest economy, signed loan and grant agreements worth 22 million euros ($25.5 million), the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported”

He went on;

Conte also was expected to meet with members of the Italian community. Italy was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Ethiopia in 1889 and its forces occupied parts of the country, including Addis Ababa, in the late 1930s. Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia in the early 1990s.”

First, Mesert Elias knows; Fana Broadcasting is NOT ‘state affiliated’ Media but, Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) owned and operated private propaganda Media that also owns Walta Information Center, a news agency and Walfa, a promotion and event marketing joint venture firm between Fana and Walta based in London, U.K.

Second, he knows; Italy was not the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Ethiopia in 1889 but, it was a Fascist State that attempted to invade Ethiopia in 1886 and was dissuasively defeated in Adowa by the renowned King Menelik II.   He is also aware; Fascist Italy forces reinvaded again and occupied Ethiopia for five years — 1936-41 from its previously occupied Ethiopian territory base of Eritrea until it was defeated once in 1941. Eritrea declared independence in 1993 by reported 99.9% referendum vote and with the blessing of TPLF Chairman Melse Zenawi at the United Nation on behalf of Ethiopia.

The Mekele University Law School graduate turn AP correspondent in Addis Ababa Mesrt Elias, not only confessing he is a lapdog journalist of TPLF in a single report but, willing to lie about it to the world at the expenses of the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian national Nizar Manek of Bloomberg on his September‎ ‎19‎, ‎2018‎ article titled Rebels in Gas-Rich Ethiopian Region in Talks With Government . He wrote;

“A rebel group in eastern Ethiopia’s gas-rich Somali region began landmark peace talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.

The talks may lead to a referendum on self-determination after a three-decade insurgency by the Ogaden National Liberation Front in an area where gas extraction could generate $7 billion of state revenue a year. They’re the latest step toward a political thaw in the Horn of Africa country in the wake of sweeping political reforms initiated under Abiy since he came to power in April.”

Apparently, from all peace talk the new PM Abiy is engaged with various ‘rebel groups’ and opposition political parties;  no one knows why the Egyptian national  Nizar Manek of Blomberg news service is interested “on talks may lead to a referendum on self-determination after a three-decade insurgency by the Ogaden National Liberation Front in an area where gas extraction could generate $7 billion of state revenue a year” may be and how he determined gas extraction from the region generates $7 billion except to revile he is lapdog journalist for Egyptian or Middle Eastern interest.

At the meantime, Nizar Manek and his partner Samuel Gebru Bloomberg correspondent in Nairobi put out a joint report on Aug 26 2018 titled War Is Over. Now Comes The Hard Part For Eritrea. it reads;

“Eritrea’s rapprochement with Ethiopia may have removed the threat of conflict, but it poses a new challenge for the one-party Red Sea state that’s long prioritized a war-footing with its giant neighbor over democracy.”

No one knew the two nations were at war ‘over democracy’ until the two Bloomberg lapdog journalists figured it out.

Samuel Gebru solo article of ‎July‎ ‎26‎, ‎2018‎ titled Ethiopia’s Premier to Woo Diaspora Investors as He Visits U.S. is as bungled as any. He wrote;

“Zemedeneh Negatu, a U.S.-based investor, said last week that the diaspora now has ways to partake in opportunities in Ethiopia, following pledges to partly privatize companies such as Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise and Ethio Telecom Corp.

And quoted Negatu saying;

“Ethiopia is the fastest-growing economy in Africa,” he said at an investment forum in Washington D.C. “If that is the kind of trajectory we are looking at then we need to be prepared as the diaspora to take advantage of that.”

What Samuel’s article (beside PM “Abiy faces the task of bringing an end to several years of sporadic regional protests over alleged land grabs and political neglect that threatened to derail the boom in the state-planned economy) fail to tell his readers is; Negatu role as adviser and investor of ‘the state-planned economy’ for over two decades at the same time on behalf of Tigray People Liberation Front ‘prepared to take advantage’ .

If one follows laptop journalists attentively, it looks like they are playing cyber wargame against the people of Ethiopia on behalf of their partners in crime. But, the bigger question is, why do world’s renowned wire news services, Media outlets and thinktanks hire mediocre or lapdog journalists that putout fairytales with impunity to mislead the world audiences calls the need to establish Media watchdogs than ever before.

Our people saying; ከብት ያልዋለበት ኩበት ለቀማ better explains the behavior of contemporary dysfunctional elites’ behavior in general, more so lapdog journalists posed as Free Press correspondent and reinforces ‘lying and stealing are next door neighbors’.

The answer for who is stealing and who is lying to cover up for the bandits depends on if you are the victim or the beneficiary of their crimes.  Apparently, if you are the later; the truth is the last thing you look for to keep your lapdog journalism job your very life depends on.

Whether you are laptop journalist for TPLF and surrogates or enablers for the last 27 years; reform to tell the truth is the last thing in your mind.  Therefore, if the truth must be told as it always should; reform starts from telling the truth, and, no one in Ethiopia is primarily responsible undermining the truth than laptop journalists led by TPLF owned and operated Media outlets that infest the airwaves and the cyberspaces with fairytale of 27 long years and counting.  And, if one pays close attention, lapdog journalists are swarming the new Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed like a pack of angry ‘bees’ stinging him every time he utters the reality of TPLF led ethnic apartheid modeled as the 19th century colonial rule.

Therefore, before anything, reform must begin from the Media establishments getting rid of lapdog journalist of power and replace them with watchdog journalists on power to bring about the people of Ethiopia on the same page of the reality for freedom.

The good news, the Ethiopian Satellite Network Television remained ‘the best thing that happened to the people of Ethiopia since the Adowa victory’ as it embarked to lead the Media reform effort to free the people of Ethiopia from lapdog journalists of the usual suspects.

The people of Ethiopia are fully aware of what is being done by lapdog journalists in their name. The challenge the new PM team is facing to reform a well-entrenched ethnic apartheid system built on pivoting the reality of Ethiopians on behalf of their enablers are lapdog journalists.  If the PM Abiy leaves them continue to do business as the usual, he might as well kiss reform worth the civilized people of Ethiopia goodbye.

Abraham Lincoln once said; “You can’t escape the reasonability of tomorrow by evading it today”.

Prime Minster Abiy biggest challenge are not necessarily the well-entrenched TPLF Mafia and surrogates but, their lapdog journalists’ next-door neighbors that lie for them every day.

The elites with genuine interest to help the reform effort on behalf of the people of Ethiopia can help the PM rid of lapdog journalists one at a time and all together.

The news, Vision Ethiopia holding its 7th Forum in Addis Ababa is a giant step in the right direction to explore on the ground what comes first in the new PM reform efforts. To change the false narratives of Ethiopia perpetuated by lapdog journalists of every Media should be their # 1 priority to build confidence among Ethiopians.

The biggest challenge for intentionally polarized society like Ethiopia is truth telling. Vision Ethiopia fellows can take lapdog journalists and their Media outlets to task to shape up or ship out. It goes a long way to end the history of fairytales told by the usual suspects at the expense of the people of Ethiopia for far too long.

As Chairman of Patriotic-Ginbot Seven Movement Professor Berhanu Nega wrote in prison; Yensanet Goh Seked is upon Ethiopians. If contemporary elites squander such historical opportunity for petty politics and benefit again, their legacy will rest in the Hall of Shame of History like many before them.

In that note and, with the familiar speech of the late U.S. President John F. Kennedy; ‘Ask what you can do for your country not what your country can do for you’. What better thing to do for your country than ending the behavior of lapdog journalists and their Merchants-of-Death neighbors’ first to make reform worth its name.

Now you know why ‘lying and stealing are next door neighbors’

Finally, are you a lapdog journalist? If so, be careful what you wish for the people of Ethiopia, it will come back to bit you.  The sooner you introduce yourself to the truth; the better your dejected life would be. There is no glory making a living lying for yourself daily nor, hiding for your past transgression as a cure. As they say, telling the truth will set you free.

The article is dedicated for watchdog journalists that continue to struggle to put out the inconvenient truth about The Ethiopians with great sacrifice while their lapdog counterparts enjoy the benefit of their bandit neighbors afforded them.  

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1 COMMENT

  1. Of course, there are always journalists who tried their best in putting the truth forward, the likes of Temesgen Desalegn, exceptions. But what happened to them is an open secret. You are quite righ watchdog journalists are among the priorities in our country. But a strong civil society based protection system with international support is required.
    Setting up an effective watchdog journalism in all fields is very difficult. There are always interest groups in almost every country with strong global connection that renders the effort of not lying worthless.

    Below is the immortal saying of Mr. John Swinton in late 19th century around 1883 that clearly shows that there is no free journalism even in the so called free society .

    John Swinton (1829–1901) was a Scottish-American journalist, newspaper publisher, and orator.

    ” There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to villify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “Independent Press”! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes”

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