OF EINIÑO & UNREST AL Mariam’s Game Changer Toxic Mix (Genenew Assefa)
Finally, after years of frustration, AL Mariam is beside himself with boundless frenzy and jubilation. Not because he hit a jackpot or won an academic merit of award, an unlikely prospect for apparent reason. Far from any of these fortunes, Al Mariam is overexcited by the recent flare-ups in Oromia, though neither the immediate precipitating factors of the unrest nor the implications bodes well to the cause he identifies with or holds close to his heart. All the same Al Mariam is exultantly happy that not all is well in Oromia, albeit not as much as he is overjoyed by news of the El Niño-induced drought, affecting more than 10 million people by the latest official count. In disbelief that luck suddenly smiled on his otherwise luckless political crusade mixed with hatemongering, Al Mariam hardly wasted any time before rushing to vent his exuberance in writing, as he did, in his recent article, Ethiopian Spring in a Winter of Discontent? The latest of his endless polemics, pointing as ever an accusatory finger at the Ethiopian government he most loves to hate. Only this time around he pays homage to moderation by inserting a few elegiac but disingenuous expressions of concern for Ethiopian El Niño victims.
Some might be taken in by Al Mariam’s grand oration, stressing the need for condemning the responsible party as a form of expressing solidarity with ostensibly manmade drought victims who deserve compassion. A spiritual trait, though not in so many words, he claims to personify in addition to his self-proclaimed peerless intellectual sophistication. A few might even expect the humble professor to do more than breast-beating for the plight of the drought-stricken in a country he had never laid eyes on for almost a half century. Despite his self-seclusion behind daunting space and time barriers, so to speak, AL Mariam has his own admirers who might expect a minuscule, at least, of what might be taken as a practical humane gesture as proof of his sincerity. This is the least anyone could expect from a self-described humanist thinker whose heart, he says, aches for the suffering of his countrymen at the hands of a government he demeans as a “thuggish” regime. But to count on Al Mariam’s concern for the Ethiopian people, particularly in their hour of need, only betrays ignorance of his moral penury and pretention to a lofty intellectual calling. A double drawback, though concealed beneath his impressive flare for an American style of prose, sprinkled with one-liners lifted from ghetto rappers, rhyming phrases from evangelical preachers, not to mention pertinent and vintage quotes from the speeches of the founding fathers of his adopted country. Yet, reciting words of moral wisdom as an alibi for personal ethical integrity, is difficult to reconcile with salivating as he does at the prospect of extracting political millage from an inflated account of the condition of drought- relief recipients. Indeed a glance at his recent article bears out the relish with which he waxes eloquent as he harps on the return of “evil days” to Ethiopia, spelling his most favorite English word –hunger– in bold capital letters, “F A M I N.” Deformed as it is, gleeful enunciation of the scary signifier of natural disaster as if it yields political advantage only underscores Al Mariam’s desperation. Why else would he be so emphatic as to scribe famine in block-letters unless he lacks conviction in the message he intends to convey? Obvious Al Mariam has to resort to dramatics as the content of his contention has no purchase except among the know-nothing parties abroad. Apparently he is less certain today than ever that the simmering social and political tension that he has been writing about in hyper-inflated register would ever boil over and bring down the Ethiopian government. No wonder Al Mariam speaks of drought in terms of famine as nothing else, in his twisted mind, but mass starvation holds promise of regime change in Ethiopia. So much for hope against hope, particularly at this juncture of renewed state resolve to surge ahead undaunted by the coincidence of El Niño and angry unrest in small-towns of Oromia. Read More