Cease and Desist-Ato Andaregachew!
By Samuel Estefanous 6 Agust 2019
I read Andy Tsige’s political autobiography and noted, ‘a good book but it would have been a great one-had it been edited.’
What a shame! A book of such ‘grandeur’ wasn’t edited; looks like to me, Ato Andargachew published his rich rough notes just like Giday Zeratsion did.
But rough notes have their own peculiar charms-like racy tabloids do- and it was a good read indeed except for the following.
1-The Fitewarari Meshashaesque Syndrome
Andy goes to ridiculously grotesque length to tell us that…if he isn’t of a Mesfanit descent he certainly could pass for a Mequanent one. Implicitly he seems to understand that he wasn’t convincing and in a state of desperate effort to account for the gap tooth in his story, for no apparent reason he goes on a libelous bashing of other comrades of allegedly ‘low’ birth.
According to Andy- Tamrat Layne’s mother was a domestic enjera baker. Tefera Walwa’s mom was ‘even worse’. He wasn’t just bashing his old Comrades but their ‘destitute’ mothers as well as if they are stains on the reputations of the said ‘freedom fighters.’ It kinda reminded me an old TV comedy series from the 90s.
A warrant officer knocks at a house in the Southside of Chicago and the head of the family answers the call. Dutifully the Police informs the man (who happens to be black) that he had come to arrest his son.
‘Are you sure you are after my son.’ The father wants to know and the officer reads out that warrant,
‘A black youth in his early twenties or late teens wearing a knit cap’
‘But that is HALF Chicago, Sir’ the father protests. If indeed Tamrat’s and Tefera’s families were destitute that was HALF Ethiopia if not more, what is the big deal and what is the big idea!
2-Andy Contra Captain Wogderes.
I have read the Captain’s memoir and by any measure and account, it was a great deal better than Andy’s. Unlike Andy’s, it isn’t laced with a juvenile sense of superiority, no where would you find a passage that glorifies his own individual person, and nowhere would you be pushing the book away and sigh ‘for shame.’
From the very outset Andaregachew seems to have been intimidated by the literary skill, language proficiency, research organization skill and wealth of information at the disposal of the Derguists. And as is always the case, when he finds the going is getting a little tough, he turns on some other innocent bystander and tries to discredit or down right libel him.
But in the case of one Captain Wogdres, it was a laborious but futile attempt. He ended up doing uncredited promotional gig for the Captain’s forth coming book. So much so that, half the book might as well be subtitled-Andy Contra Captain Wogderes.
Why would he pick on the Captain every second page of his tome? I mean he didn’t reflect on Hiwot Tefera’s definitive and inimitable depiction of the era. Especially considering the curious fact that both covered exactly the same ‘Revolutionary Period’ beginning from the year of induction at HS1U in the Academic Year 1973? I mean anybody could see that the style was in part unmistakably that of Hiwot yet she is hardly acknowledged.
3-The Satellites Revolving around the Sun.
I am not saying it is fabricated or something. But some facts are toned down even if they are true. When you read Andy’s book you have this feeling like just about every great revolutionary event of the time was happening in close proximity to or around his person.
Meles Zenawi? What does he know about student movements? He used to borrow books from the one and only Andy! Even MEISON’s Fida wasn’t spared. He was made to look insignificant in the presence of the fiery singular REVO of the time. Askalech Nega? Why she used to tease him sweetly as the jolly Marxists.
What about Aboma Mitiku? That sore loser! He used to suffer from an inferiority complex of clinical magnitude; he just couldn’t deal with the name Andargachew! All his problems boiled down to that, if you really want to know the truth.
Perhaps Debesay is leagues far away? Are you kidding me…one can even say Andy was his distinguished ADC. Talk about the famous Kuchira bank robbery…Andy would be nodding his heads like a sage…I was the designated driver of the legendary getaway car.
4- Pop’s Beetles Wolkswagon
For no apparent reason this car makes a curious appearance every ten page of the book. Perhaps as a sure mark of a higher social station in the Addis of the 60s. This is in the event you forget mom descended from established landed gentry in East Shoa except that unlike the blood sucking vermin landlords of the day, theirs was ‘earned’. Remember Fitewarari Mesgheshas eulogizing of the origin of his right to his native land?
‘How could anybody forget that these lands are due to us as the reward of the noble blood our ancestors had spilled for their country?’
5-The marks of Tekle Hawaryat and Merse’hazen.
These two are giants of modern Ethiopian history. Andy quotes extensively from the former’s book in his opening first two pages. But the passage he chose was ill advised for it has become a cliché after it was made famous by the historian Abebaw on Sheger FM. Otherwise it was one of the good takeaways of the book. I mean the fact that Andy has benefited from epic works of the captioned two.
6-The Oromara Brief
I liked this one. Now it has become fashionable to hitch a ride on the Oromara bandwagon. Why should Ato Adny be an exception? At this one time every American suddenly went on this historical digging of roots to find a link to the native Indian blood. Elizabeth Warren was one. Hilary Clinton was another.
Here, too, everybody is bent on finding a safe link to the native Oromo blood bank. Even the good old Prince Ras Mengesha did; looks like he is as much an Oromo as he is a Tenben or Tigraway.
7-Cease and Desist, Sir
In your native England you might have heard folks being served with a notice of Cease and Desist. It is a common law legal lingo. Here it is known by the provision number of the article-1772. I am just kidding. What I want you to cease and desist is-please don’t publish your next book before you have your manuscript edited by scholars like Abebaw, Deboch and the like.
8-Thank you and God Bless