I had a chance to read review and analyze it. The book is divided into two parts. In the first volume of his reminiscence, the Colonel was accusatory, emotional and angry at everyone including his former comrades, his adversaries and the EPRDF Government. In the present volume, he seems to be mellow, composed, reflective, nostalgic and even considerate to some extent.
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I had a chance to read review and analyze it. The book is divided into two parts. In the first volume of his reminiscence, the Colonel was accusatory, emotional and angry at everyone including his former comrades, his adversaries and the EPRDF Government. In the present volume, he seems to be mellow, composed, reflective, nostalgic and even considerate to some extent. He now calls his incarcerated ex-comrades his brothers and friends, unlike in the past, even though he shows no sign of remorse still.
Genet has captured even the humane side of his split personality. I intend to review this book and use the occasion to analyze it and pose a few crucial questions to Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam, the former President of Ethiopia. Even though it is almost 20 years since the Colonel was exiled, the impact of his legacy is still fresh in the minds of many Ethiopians. I will also offer him an advice with regards to the book he is currently writing whether he heeds to my advice or not. In part one, the Colonel touches many subjects speaking briefly about Major Dawit Wolde-giorgis, Emperor Haile-selassie, Ex-prime Minster Endalkachew Mekonen, the late Oromo leader Baro Tumssa, the Felasha, Robert Mugabe, Garbachov and Paul Henze, He also airs his views on power and African leaders, Derg and democracy, his opponents, the EPRDF court that gave him death sentence, remorse and forgiveness, betrayal, his security officers, his counselors, those injured in war, Somalia, and last, the book he is currently writing.
I can cite Emperor Haile Selassie as an example. Whereas he could have given an account of how he met the Emperor first, how he impacted him, why he was opposed to him, what he thought of him as a person and leader stating his achievements and failures, he makes statements irrelevant to these. I have no clue how the author posed her questions to him, but his answers are too brief and too unrevealing even when it comes to topics that warrant detailed responses such as his childhood.
Speaking about his childhood, he remembers how his mother made him a ball of rags, and how later on his uncle bought him a real ball, and how other kids of his neighborhood flocked after him begging him to kick his ball.
However, he does not say where in Ethiopia this event took place. Teka Tulu, Col. Debela Dinssa, and even Captain Legesse Asfaw; and spurred him to give a detailed account of their character. The Colonel misses Ethiopia in general, and is very nostalgic for Harer in particular. He has a particular affection and yearning for Harer since it was there he had spent his life before he joined the Derg in Addis Abeba. Would the Colonel now put his feet in the shoes of such unfortunate Ethiopians and feel their pain and anguish?
Whether he would or not the fact that he is as homesick as other refugees is a poetic justice. He is scared of his own shadow. His condition is worst than being incarcerated! His good wife is pious. Speaking of his wife, Weyzero Wubanchi Bishaw, she is a true and devoted wife who shared his fate all the way through without flinching.
Without her, he would probably have collapsed, unable to bear all the pressure exerted on him. According to what I read and heard about her, she was gentle and God-fearing.
When her husband was in power, she never abused her power nor amassed wealth like some women of her position would have done. She left the palace and her country to share the misfortune of her husband without partaking of his glory, always maintaining a low profile.
In not dedicating a chapter or two to her, the author of this book, Genet Ayele has missed a wealth of information the former first lady would have shared with her on herself, her husband, her children, and most of all, on the Ethiopian Revolution. Weyzero Genet should not only interview her in the future, but also her children and the uncle, as well as the brother of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam. Genet, let me give you this assignment for the future.
Your task is not completed yet as you think it is. The present book authored by Genet Ayele reveals that Colonel Mengistu is writing a book about his life, the Revolution and Ethiopian history. It is long overdue that you wrote such a book, dear Colonel. I find this part to be engaging and mind-stimulating.
The insight of some of them on the Revolution, The Ethio-Somali war, the aborted coup in Asmara and the Ethio-Eritrean civil war is profound and original. These interviews add some more facts to our knowledge of these subjects. In enjoyed them a lot. The finale of the book ends abruptly. It has no designated conclusion. I wish the author summed up the book by summarizing it in a conclusion stating her personal comments and views on the interviews.
Moreover, the colonels views on a variety of topics and burning issues are too short, and do not reveal as much as we expect them to.
I wish the author stirred the Colonel to elaborate them. Overall, Genet Ayele should be applauded for presenting us with this book and the previous one which dealt with the life of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam. I gather that she spent her own hard-earned money to write and publish it. It is obvious that it has cost her a fortune.
Her readers owe Genet a few nice words for her extraordinary achievement. She also lost two brothers in battlefields. Regarding Prof.
His name simply appeared in a sentence among a number of other names. Is every person that happens to know Prof. Endrias an associate of the Government?
Furthermore, what is wrong if the Professor indeed advised and encouraged her to write a book of this much historical significance on the man who ruled Ethiopia for 17 years, and she thanked him for it, regardless of his political stance and his position in the Government? It is regrettable that he discredits her name instead of saying a few nice words for her effort. I wish he focused on the substance of the book than becoming personal for a reason unclear to the reader.
What was the secret of his rise to power not only among his rank and file, but also among all those intellectuals by whom he was surrounded. Some people attribute this to his callousness and sobriety of mind in the face of calamity, as well as his ruthlessness and speed to take action while others take time to reflect and deliberate instead of acting decisively when situations called for immediate action. Granted this was so, I think the main reasons were his leadership ability and audacity.
Was it not because the Derg members detected in him some leadership qualities that they chose him to lead them in the beginning?
And how would he outmaneuver and outsmart the intellectuals that were keen on using him to seize power themselves, as well as his foes and friends alike unless he had some intellect, persuasive power and was crafty? True, he eliminated his opponents violently to emerge as a total winner. If the colonel would take my advice worth one cent regarding the book he intends to write, I have something to say.
I read in this book the outline of your forthcoming book. It is ambitious. Besides your life, you are writing on Ethiopia history. Unless you dedicate only a chapter to Ethiopian history, the reader will lose track of your own history. So, avoid devoting too many pages to Ethiopian history.
People can access Ethiopian history on their own if they desire to. Even though your interpretation and perspective of Ethiopian history would be interesting of and in themselves, your own life history should be the focus and the issue. For this reason, I encourage you to detail it truthfully. Please give us the truth, and the whole truth. Avoid justifications of allegations and counter allegations, and focus on the facts.
Personally, I would like to know more about your childhood, boyhood, your life as a soldier, your parents, family members, the personalities that you met, encountered and impacted on and influenced you, incidents and events that affected and shaped your views and character.
If you pass away without telling your life history truthfully, it will remain shrouded in mystery for eternity. It is only you who can record your life history best as long as you are alive. According to your father, shortly before the Ethio-Italian war broke out in European Calendar , your mother was engaged to your father. After the war broke out, your father and mother lost track of one another. Your mother married another man and lived at Chefe-denssa? The Italians asked your mother to choose between your father and the man she had married.
Your mother chose your father and married him. Then you were born. Your father moved to Addis Abeba and you started to live with Dejazmatch Kebede Tessema on your own, even though you were not related to him biologically. He helped you to join the army and also to win a short scholarship for a military training in the USA. Colonel, is this all true? How much of this is true? It is important that you include such details in your autobiography. How was growing up in Ethiopia?
For instance, it is rumored that some people had teased you when you were young on the basis of the dark tone of your skin. If this is true, how did this affect you and impact your social and political behaviors and actions later on?
Did you do something to change the mentality of such color-conscious, abusive individuals in a black African country? On another note, since you were the head-of-state of Ethiopia for 17 years, you are held accountable for both the good and bad actions you and your government took during your tenure as a leader.
Too much blood was shed during your reign. Please allow me to pose to you a few questions for the record, pertaining to bloodletting and other issues. I understand that you were one of the major actors of a historical time marked by a revolution. Yes indeed, I am cognizant of the fact that making a revolution is not attending a wedding party. My contention is that, you could have minimized the death-toll, had you cared much to preserve human life.
One way of doing this would have been to keep in prison the people you had captured and incapacitated, instead of executing them in an act of retribution. Let me start with the death of Emperor Haile Selassie.
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I had a chance to read review and analyze it. The book is divided into two parts. In the first volume of his reminiscence, the Colonel was accusatory, emotional and angry at everyone including his former comrades, his adversaries and the EPRDF Government. In the present volume, he seems to be mellow, composed, reflective, nostalgic and even considerate to some extent. He now calls his incarcerated ex-comrades his brothers and friends, unlike in the past, even though he shows no sign of remorse still. Genet has captured even the humane side of his split personality.
The Reminiscence of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam
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