Fetsum: My experience in Denver Festival (IX)
Fetsum: My experience in Denver Festival (IX) People may ask why I have been intensely involved in this subject and the answer is as simple as I was an active part of it until things changed
Fetsum: My experience in Denver Festival (IX)
People may ask why I have been intensely involved in this subject and the answer is as simple as I was an active part of it until things changed unexpectedly. Yet, people do not know the changes because they were not told and I am still in the background of the Denver Committee without being an active member of it. I had to clarify the issues for transparency and close this chapter of my life once and for all.
There are many things I don’t know but I am 100% certain about the importance of my freedom that neither Jesus the Christ nor Allah the Creator can stop me from expressing my mind in this life. The significance of my being is directly proportional to my freedom of speech. I took it to the fullest when I said in one of my books that I was afraid of the United States Government more than a cold blooded terrorist and I got away with it. Yet, you can play around with commonsense in the first few shots of the feel but no intelligence can sustain compulsive deception and inconsistency for a long time because they collapse on their weight sooner than later. The shortest path between two points is a straight line and life is not about competition but pleasant coexistence. It is as simple as accepting what we know and we don’t know and humbly harmonizing them with willingness to learn through any form of enlightenment.
As I discussed in my last article, I had a fundamental difference with the committee that I politely kept on addressing to the chairman as much as I could. But as the days got closer, I knew I had to give up most of the inquiries and focus on achieving the most important of them: it was a matter of survival and that happened to be the need to study the concept of TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT from universal points of view as part of the manifesto’s “Guarantee the required “consciousness & organization” for change “ምምርግጋጽ: ለውጢ ዝጠልቦ “ንቅሓትን ውዳበን:”. I had to get something in this regard to be in terms with my trip to Denver. It was with this situation in the background that I wrote the next activity report as follows:
“Report #5: Date: 6/17/2018: Time: 7 PM-10:00 PM: Place: Tele-conferencing: Note: The report is subject for edition by the participants of the meeting.The following individuals attended the meeting that started at 7:15 PM in the evening: Dr. Gebre, Dr. Salih, Ato Abdella, Ato Sengal and Ato Fetsum. According to an agreement in the previous engagement, all committee members had individually or in group formally submitted their views or proposals on the festival organizers’ “Terms of Reference” ahead of schedule for comprehensive discussion in this meeting. The formal proposals were as follows: [avoided here since I already disclosed them in the previous articles].
On June 17, 2018, 11:57 AM, the committee members received the following message from Ato Sengal. [avoided here since I disclosed it in the last article].
1) The Chairman opened the meeting with his view on the point of reference based on his communication in “Draft Proposal for Output II” sent on June 17, 2018; 11:57 AM that states; “our discussion of today will base on this draft proposal. Please read it carefully before coming to the meeting, as much as possible.”. The discussion should have been on the draft proposals of all participants based on their agreement but all other formal proposals were eliminated from the discussion.
2) The Chairman did not read, at least Fetsum Abraham’s formal proposal by admission in telephone communication. It seems the situation may be the same with the others as well for none of the inputs of Dr. Mohammed and Dr. Tsegai were fully discussed in the meeting (although both were absent at the time). This procedure contradicts the agreement that all have equal chance for discussion. The Chairman cannot selectively impose his ideas by exclusively addressing his proposal as the main topics of the meeting. As a result, timely and very important political issues of the people have so far been eliminated in favor of important moralistic goals; only weakly touched for formality matters as witnessed in the way the meeting was conducted.
3) The participants substantially discussed OUTPUT II’s Phase I (Goals to be accomplished at this point of the struggle) and only the following three points were presented by the Chairman (with “Dr. Gebre’s assistance”) to that effect: “Generate National Harmony, Guarantee the required “consciousnessand organization” for change and Defeat the dictatorial system”. There was no political goal to be achieved in Phase I because of the exclusion of other views from the forum.
The participants, however, shared their opinions on finding common grounds and strongly entertained the following points to that end.
To expedite the urgency, I also sent another productive grievance to the festival organizers Asmerom Asfha and Tewelde Kidane, and Sengal on 6/20/2018. Then Sengal responded:
Sengal: “Dear brother Fizum; Good afternoon. I acknowledge the receipt of your e-mail message. Thank you so much for expressing your opinions. Will you allow me to share your opinion with the team members? Your prompt response is highly appreciated. Yours, Sengal”
Fetsum: “Dear brother Sengal; thank you for your response and please share it with everyone as you proposed. Thank you”
In the mean time, I missed a meeting on 6/22/2018 because of illness. That was actually the only one I did out of the ten or eleven meetings we had in about two months of engagement. I could not write a Report for that meeting so I sent Sengal this message:
Fetsum: “Hello Sengal; I just could not make it last evening (6/22/2018) and I am sorry. I suppose we have concluded the project and may have to write the last report in my assumption. In any case please help me on how to present the remaining report and what the next move may be. God bless you and thank you.”
Sengal: “will do”
I then attended the next meeting held on 7/1/2018 to learn from him that Dr. Mohammed would serve as our Reporter in the festival. The brother did not even attend most of the meetings because of busy schedule, although was spiritually intact with us throughout the deal. I thought Dr. Salih should have been a better choice because of his consistent attendance ever since he joined the committee later on in time. This was just a matter of opinion and either would be okay. I shared this opinion in the meeting and left it there but I also shared my opinion on the undemocratic nature of the procedure. They justified the action in view of “diversity”; and I took it and moved on.
“Dear Chairman Sengal; As you know, the committee started its work in May and conducted its first meeting on May 5, 2018 where it elected Ato Sengal and Ato Fetsum to serve as Chairman and Reporter until, at least the end of the festival.
Clearly, the committee was meeting on Sundays since the time it started working with additional meetings on Fridays towards the end of its mission, with the Chairman and the Reporter carrying their responsibilities accordingly. In 6/22/2018, however, the responsibility of reporting the final product of the Terms of Reference has been given to Dr. Mohammed Besher as told in the meeting conducted on 6/27/2018 without formal dismissal of Reporter Fetsum Abraham. Fetsum was absent on 6/27/2018 for the first time because of illness. Exchange of ideas to this effect have been taped on 6/29/2018 when the Chairman announced the change towards the end of the meeting. Based on the situation, this will be the last report from Fetsum pertaining the committee’s activities ahead. Thank you”
At that point, I had been working hard getting ready to graphically (power point) discuss the democratic processes in Ghana, Somalia, Liberia and East Tumor with the crowd in Denver and the festival organizers were looking forward to it. Sengal was supportive as well and that is what I have been doing in July apart from our meetings. The festival was now few days away and we were about to meet there in person.
I started my journey to Denver firmly believing of securing an opportunity to address the crowd on the importance of studying the concept of transitional government at this stage of the fight from the last meeting around the end of June, though we closed it without crystallizing the topic because of other issues on the table. This is actually documented in item (4) of Repport#5 and we all knew from the beginning that we would discuss the issues at the festival without restriction.
It was now July the 3rd when I called Sengal from BWI Airport in Baltimore to discuss few things, one of them being the unfinished issues in the last meeting. I was trying to see what he had in mind concerning the distribution of time between us in the festival.
Little did I know the brother operates like the Shabias. He was not only unresponsive but repulsive and reactive as well. I think he stayed too long in Eritrea working for the regime to adapt few dictatorial tendencies. He is a very good actor and orator with no democratic culture; he likes to ignore grievances and kill ideas and does not understand the importance of officially responding to inquiries as a Chairman. The dude loves to complicate issues just for devil’s advocacy in typical WEDI SHUK flip flopping style and he makes sure he does it “off the record”. It was disgusting! I am sure my brothers in the committee would find my revelation very surprising and I don’t blame them a bit. They did not know what was going on between us, and I did not make it an issue until that moment in time.
But without detailing the situation he said he would not allow me to speak or present my project to the public at the festival. I think he slept on it and woke up with the nightmare to finally do what he had wanted to do without any reservation. He also said “Salih Ghadi will instead address the people as part of the committee” just to touch a nerve and, of course he did because I believed him. I had no problem with this arrangement but certainly with its implication to fairness and democracy. Brother Ghadi was not a member of the committee and never attended even a meeting with us except for about 5 minutes of the first one in May 5, 2018 to tell us that he was not interested to be part of the committee. Sengal created the story to frustrate me; to demoralize me out of the picture through reactive response such as anger, etc. and there is no doubt that I travelled to Denver with it. They call it Psychological Warfare and it “involves the planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of opposition groups”. It takes place in different circumstances to confuse and nullify a political challenge but I did not understand its advantage in this situation till I saw the result many months after the festival.
I could not understand why he went as far as he went with me. I knew he does not like GI but this engagement was not about it at all. How on the planet did he expect me to travel that far a distance, staying in a hotel and moving around with a rental car on my own expense for about a week to quietly listen him rapping his rap at the total expense of my hard earned preparation in spite of all the money, emotions, energies and time I invested on the deal? He expected me to obey his absolute authority and shut my mouth in my most important country, the United States of America where I lived since teenage years with full freedom of expression. To make it more exciting, the restriction was only against me. I don’t know how it chases you but it grabbed me by the tail as if I were a cat.
I did not take the Denver event as a means to an end but as something interesting for all of us to produce anything through hard work ahead. I had to maintain a Kool composure despite the unnecessary abuse I was facing from Sengal that the other brothers most likely did not know. I despise being in this situation and have tried my best not to be. I should have been writing about the committee’s progress report at this point in the journey because we could have academically completed the first conceptual chapter of the mission by January the 6th. as we publicly promised to the people in the festival. But there was no project to do and nothing to write about except promises as far as my knowledge is concerned. That is how the outcome of all that effort was designed to be and I think the result expresses the situation with silence for itself.
The problem was obvious! He just did not want the people to learn about their supreme status in the society in relation to the Transitional Government we expect ahead. He did not want me to discuss the importance of its neutrality in our democratic journey. He was literally scared of PEOPLE’s WEDABE and the term NEUTRAL in front of the Transitional Government in question. I was not even requesting the committee to accept it but to be willing studying it for a conclusive result based on academic dialogue before something happens in the country. He, thus personalized my independent view on our political situation to the point he felt threatened enough to go as far as it took to stop me from any involvement with the people. I had never experienced something like this and could not help thinking about what FEAR can do to some superficial human beings.
In any case, I told him to rethink his dictatorial fantasy and reconcile with the reality for the sake of honesty and peace. What he was trying to do does not reconcile with his own words in the Manifesto’s Goals 1 and 2 (tolerance, engagement, dialogue, respect, consciousness, creativity, accommodating ideas, acceptance and academically narrowing differences, etc.). I made it clear to him that I would address my issues (our difference) to the people one way or another and that I did not need his permission for that. I withdrew from the negative energy wishing him a good night sleep with his “we will see” rhetoric and I travelled there that evening with strange and unsettled state of mind.
Here is a wise statement in one a forum that brother Sengal needs to carefully read and shuffle his reality. “In politics, one attempts to discredit the messenger. Double standards may be found in those who advocate for the principle of engagement but fail to practice it themselves. No one can preach anyone else, but to lead by example.” I will complete this project in my next article and thank you for your patience. To be continued!