Herman Cohen’s Second “Coup” in Ethiopia? We Demand an Apology!

By  Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam

How true the saying, “There is no fool like an old fool.”

My readers know I don’t tolerate old fools.

Of course, there are old fools; and there are offensive and villainous old fools.

Herman Cohen is an offensive and villainous old fool.

On June 24, 2019, Herman Cohen tweeted:

Failed coup in #Ethiopia’s Amhara state was an attempt by ethnic nationalists to restore Amhara hegemony over all of Ethiopia that existed for several centuries prior to 1991. That dream is now permanently dead.

To me, what Herman Cohen tweeted is pure and simple hate speech.

Demonizing an entire group as ethnic hegemons is hate speech.

If someone of Herman Cohen’s stature have said such an outrageous thing about a religious or ethnic group in the United States, there would have been hell to pay.

But Herman Cohen thinks he can demonize and defame Amhara people and get away with it.

Don’t think so!

Herman Cohen will be held accountable in the court of world public opinion!

But who is Herman Cohen?

The short answer is Herman Cohen is a nitwit on twitter.

But who really is Herman Cohen?

Herman Cohen is a washed up, done-for, don’t-forget-me American diplomat who tries to show he is still relevant by tweeting drivel every day on Africa on his Twitter pagewhich sports a picture of him with Nelson Mandela.

Herman Cohen is a has-been U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1989 to 1993).

Herman Cohen  blusters about having brokered “an end to the Eritrean-Ethiopian War in 1991, and conflicts in Angola and Mozambique.”

Herman Cohen is said to be “president of Cohen and Woods International”, a “firm established in 1994 to provides strategic planning services to African and Middle Eastern governments and multinational corporations doing business in Africa and the Middle East.”

I rarely get angry at anyone for having said something I don’t like.

For the past 13 years, people have called me every name in the book and criticized me for my views.

My attitude has always, always been, “Frankly, my dear I don’t give a damn what you say about me!”

But I give a goddamn about what Herman Cohen said about “Amhara hegemony over all of Ethiopia that existed for several centuries prior to 1991” in his June 24, 2018 tweet.

I am frigging mad about Herman Cohen’s unprovoked and scandalous defamation of Amhara people as hegemons.

Truth be told, I am hopping mad. I am foaming at the mouth. I am ticked off. Pissed off. Teed off. Flipped out. Gone ballistic.

I am spitting rivets. I have blown my stack.

Yes, I have gone bananas over Herman Cohen’s witless and asinine tweet:

Failed coup in #Ethiopia’s Amhara state was an attempt by ethnic nationalists to restore Amhara hegemony over all of Ethiopia that existed for several centuries prior to 1991. That dream is now permanently dead.

But what the hell happened in 1991?

Why is 1991 such a big year for Herman Cohen?

I will tell you exactly why 1991 is a milestone year for Herman Cohen.

In 1991, Herman Cohen took a barrel of gasoline and dumped it on the fire of civil war burning in Ethiopia.

In 2019, Herman Cohen is trying to do the same thing on smoldering ethnic fires.

In 1991, Herman Cohen was the kingmaker in Ethiopia.

In 1991, Herman Cohen officiated the coronation of the Prince of Darkness Meles Zenawi and delivered the key to the palace to the Forces of Darkness.

Herman Cohen is single-handedly responsible for the crimes and abuses committed by the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front in Ethiopia for the past 27 years.

In 1991, Herman Cohen was the malignant mastermind who signed, sealed and delivered the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia.

In 1991, Herman Cohen, with the stroke of the pen, executed a coup d’état  in Ethiopia.

In 2019, Herman Cohen defames an entire people as “ethnonationalist hegemons” because of a misguided actions of a few disgruntled officials involved in an amateurish and  doomed from the start coup d’état. 

Am I making up stories about Herman Cohen’s coup d’état because I am in a hissy fit?

Hell, no!

Exactly 28 years to the month, on June 9, 1991, Newsweek puzzled over Cohen’s intrigue in bringing the TPLF to power and orchestrating Eritrea’s secession in a piece entitled, “COHEN’S COUP IN ETHIOPIA?” Newsweek wrote:

The real bombshell that day came out of London, where Cohen, a 35-year veteran of the Foreign  Service, reversed decades of U.S. policy by calling a referendum on independence for Eritrea-for which Eritrean nationalists have fought a 30-year war–a ‘good idea.’

The man who signed, sealed, shredded and sold Ethiopia is now talking about ethnonationalists’ coup and “centuries long Amhara hegemony”.

The man who signed, sealed, shredded and sold Ethiopia in June 1991 is demonizing Amharas in June 2019.

But what is Cohen’s evidence of “Amhara hegemony”?

Without a doubt, Cohen’s historical reference on “Amhara hegemony” is the Manifestoof the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front.

According to TPLF historiography, “Eritrea is an Ethiopian colony. Ethiopia is a country created by (Emperor) Menelik. Tigray is an independent sovereign country which was invaded by (Emperor) Atse Menelik and became an Amhara colony. Tigray is a colonial territory of Amhara.”

I have it all documented! Check it out!

I pity that old fool Herman Cohen. He should know better.

The late British PM Edward Heath said, “A diplomat is a man who thinks twice before he says nothing.”

I say Herman Cohen is a has-been diplomat who does not think before he spits venom on people who have done absolutely nothing to him.

Could it be that Herman Cohen attended the Stick Your Foot in Your Mouth School of Diplomacy?

Herman Cohen’s disgusting allegation of “Amhara hegemony” is as true as the revolting allegation of international “Jewish hegemony” in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

There never was an “international Jewish hegemony”!

There never was an “centuries-long Amhara hegemony” in Ethiopia!

Cohen should know about the dangers of incendiary and inflammatory political rhetoric about racial and ethnic hegemony.

Shame on you, Herman Cohen!

Take down your picture with Nelson Mandela from your twitter page.

You shame Nelson Mandela’s memory with your drivel about “Amhara hegemony”.

Herman Cohen, did you know Nelson Mandela said:

Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African. Meeting the emperor himself would be like shaking hands with history.

Is that the “Amhara hegemony” referenced in your dimwitted tweet?

Do you think Mandela’s imagination would have been captured by a nation under “Amhara hegemony” “over the past several centuries”?

Look at your handiwork Herman Cohen.

You single-handedly made possible the rise of ethnic apartheid in Ethiopia. 

Old misguided fools and babes must be disciplined

I don’t want to waste time and words talking about old fools.

But when an old fool demonizes an entire people, I must rise, defend and discipline him.

Herman Cohen should know that demonization of a people is the first step to seeking a final solution for them.

Talk of hegemony ends up in action to eliminate the purported hegemons. Using words like “hegemony” to indict an entire ethnic and religious group is an invitation to others to inflict violence on them.

Herman Cohen should know that.

The global rise in antisemitism today is driven by political rhetoric that demonizes a group of people because of their religion or race.

We don’t need a global voice for anti-Amhara rhetoric by one who should know better.

Herman Cohen deserves Shakespearean discipline for speaking out of turn.

Goneril, the cruel, deceitful and villainous daughter of King Lear, obsessed with overthrowing her father proclaims:

Old fools are babes again and must be used
With checks as flatteries, when they are seen abused.
Remember what I have said.

In plain English, old fools become like babies again. You can’t just flatter them. You must discipline them when you see that they are misguided.

Herman Cohen obsessed with overthrowing an imaginary Amhara hegemony must be publicly called out, named and shamed.

Herman Cohen, remember what I have said here!

Herman Cohen, please don’t demonize Amhara people. They have done nothing to you.

Leave them the hell alone.

Herman Cohen, please don’t defame and dishonor Amhara people. They have said nothing to defame or dishonor you.

Herman Cohen, please don’t smear, disparage and provoke Amhara people with your unfounded and scandalous drivel about “centuries-long hegemony”.

I shall forgive you for you know not what you say.

I forgive you because our prime minister H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed says, “We must separate the thorns from the rose flowers.”

You are a thorn on side of Amhara people. You have been a thorn on the side of the Ethiopian people since 1991.

Herman Cohen, you have done enough damage to Ethiopian politics.

Why can’t you leave us the hell alone. Let us solve our own problems. We don’t need your witless tweets or shallow advice.

I respect old people because they have wisdom. But I have no respect for an old twit who tweets morsels of drivel just to stay relevant.

I know there are many Ethiopians who are pissed off at Cohen’s tweet and his decades-long political tampering in their country.

I hope I have delivered a measured response to Herman Cohen on their behalf in this blog.

But as Ethiopians we  must never lose faith in each other because of what outsiders say who we are.

We must never carry the burden of hate placed upon us by those who have caused injury, misery and sorrow in the past.

As I have said before, “We must not lose faith in our fellow Ethiopians. Ethiopia is an ocean. If a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty (applying Mahatma Gandhi’s wisdom to Ethiopia).”

Let’s focus on a positive message and groove to positive vibrations.

Paraphrasing the words of the great Bob Marley, we should all stand up and sing:

One Love! One Heart! One Ethiopia. Let’s get together and feel all right. Give thanks and praise to the Lord and we will feel all right/ We will be alright. Let’s get together in One Love! One Heart! One Ethiopia and feel all right.

The teachable moment for Herman Cohen is this: Should he continue in his defamation, demonization and persecution campaign against Amharas or any Ethiopians, I am ready, willing and able to defend and wage a vigorous and unrelenting anti-defamation campaign against him and his ilk.

We demand an apology from Herman Cohen for his defamation of Amhara people.

Apology not forthcoming,



  1. hahaha, silly hippos. One of the two is rewriting history as to which one though is in the eye of the beholder. It’s like 1984 all over again: ‘How do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself; who gives your arguments a fair hearing and simply persists in his lunacy?’ Some call it alternative facts, untruths and doublespeak or simply ethnic-based politicking. “I must learn to love the fool in me – the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control,” said Merera Gudina, or was it Theodore Isaac Rubin. For the two hippos Merera would say there is an oromo saying that “fools seldom differ” or small minds rarely differ.” How can anybody be mad at Merera for God’s sake? Mark Twain would agree both hippos are fools: “It is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” The whole thing would have been less comical if Dr. La didn’t take himself so seriously. Why but he’s always upset at everything and everybody under the sun. Even at such episodes when he is not being himself but it is him. In reference to history though no one can beat George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984: ‘He who controls the past controls the future, He who controls the present controls the past…The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth…Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them…Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing…’ The question is what is fact anyways? Is it subjective, quantifiable or up for debate? Merriam-Webster dictionary says : A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality.” Does that apply to Ethiopian history? or is it dependable on ethnicity?

  2. Wow!! I can’t believe this former official has degraded himself down to the gutter. To me there has never been a situation where the entire people of Oromia and Amhara going at each other’s throat. That poor farmer and that wretched urban dweller in both regions do not have any ambition to rule over the others. It has been individuals who committed any crime on one ethnic group or the other just to line their pockets with loots. They had jailed and murdered citizens for that end. That Tigre farmer, that Oromo peasant, that Amhara poor highlander, all these three and others like them are innocent. Somebody should give this elderly man serious counseling. This is beyond being wrong. During such trying time, it is just disgusting because he is making the effort of those level head countrymen/women who work 24-7 to avert a potential blood bath. And that is not funny sir!!!! What is the matter with you!!!

  3. Dear Professor,

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this former official pulls anti this anti that card on you! You watch!!!
    Also, expect to get a call from his lawyers too for defamation.

  4. My comment as a member of #Qeerroo is that to try to silence those like Herman Cohen, who speak the fact and truth does not sever for the peace and democratization process of Ethiopia. Trying to run the “Jewish” and “Amhara” scenario is an attempt of keeping the indoctrination of old and poor myth of the “Solomonic Dynasty”, which is tried and failed even in the past century. The end has come to the old system and now we #Qeerroo and other Ethiopian Youths are in new world!

  5. To me to try to silence those like Herman Cohen, who speak towards truth does not sever for the peace and democratization process of Ethiopia. Trying to run the “Jewish” and “Amhara” scenario is an attempt of keeping the indoctrination of old and poor myth of the “Solomonic Dynasty”. The end has come to the old system and now we #Qeerroo and other Ethiopian Youths are in new world!

  6. A good watch for Herman Cohen the potty part is that he think is expert on Ethiopian affairs but have not study not a single Ethiopian language. So he need some one to translate him. I bet the EPDRF gov is paying him a consultation fee for his pension.

  7. Al,
    I beg to disagree with you.
    Cohen did not demonize the Amhara people. He referred to “ethnic nationalists”. There is a difference between the two entities.

  8. @Michael Tesfai

    And why do you actually think is ok for every ethnic group to have nationalists but Amharas that have been abused beyond what a human can imagine furring the EPDRF rule and still today can not have nationalists?

  9. @Michael Tesfai

    You see every ethnic elitist lazy politicians now deep inside the current ethnic arrangement is deeply flawed and they fear if ethnic Amhara get the upper hand they will loose all the goodies they amassed under the pretext of ethnic arrangement. Tigray would loose Welkait, Hummera and Raya to mention few. Oromia could loose half of it region territory, Somali region could loose significant land and resources if we account all Amharic speaking persons. That is why the Ethnic cleansing is going underway with complete impunity and right under the west sight. Census is also being delayed because it neither favor the ethnic elitists. The major obstacle for the Ethiopian people to realize their freedom is actually EPDRF and mainly TPLF, ODP and ADP. They value more their power position more than the people’s life and they look to the other side on the risks currently is going our country. They turned the youth movement as tool for consolidating their power and continue to disenfranchise half of the population based on ethnicity. And what ADP is doing relative to the other EPDRF sister parties is one of submission betrying its own people.

    According to Mr Cohen he has to find a scapegoats to carry his white gultiness load in Amharas. He has not proved at any point what is what he calls Amhara domination. And why he is obsessed with non existent theme unless he has hate for Amhara if the Ethiopian that that supposedly Amahara rulers represented on regards to fighting white colonialism. Amhara dominated and developed a country as it did the Tigreans alongside Amharas or Oromos. Did he ever even mention Oromos expansion form the South and how barbaric it was in it relation to the slave trade of the region. Does he even ever talk about white privilege in his own society? There is no excuse for him to blast entire population just to get some attention or for his pocket

  10. Dear Al Mariam, May God bless you. Cohen is an old misinformed important wannabe diplomat. What he says is irrelevant.What sadness me more the tplf official ,the lady head of federation house repeated the same Amhara hate statements few days ago. PM Abiy is unfortunately surrounded by Amhara hating individuals. One thing Abiy and his group will not understand they can no longer crush Amhara by force into submission. Tplf will never ever get to power again. They may always dream
    A mistake was done big time in 1991. No matter how much they work 24/7 to divide Amharas and Oromos they will fail miserably. Shoa is truly a mix of Oromo and Amhra. That force by itself will destroy tplf for good.

  11. You nitwit, bullishit elder get the hell out of the Ethiopian politics. you are proclaim a civil war between Innocent poor peoples for your dirty politics. You will pay the price for the things that you had been doing back a halocost again.

    Fuck you !!!!!!!!


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