When an Ethiopian-American economist suspend her profession in the midair, what can Ethiopians do?

My people, we are in a new era where dysfunctional elites of all kinds are in sink where not to ask why but how much to sell their professional and personal integrity and their nation for the highest bidder in the blink of an eye and say; ‘apple can be orange’ if the price is right.

Eleni GeberMedhin

by Teshome Debalke

It isn’t unusual to find many contemporary Ethiopian professionals to live in alternative reality by suspending their profession in the midair to swivel the political, social and economic reality of Ethiopia.

Obviously, such behavior is often attributed to human nature’s propensity for corruption combined with the miseducation of the mind as many literatures argue.   The absence of public institutions including the Free Press to restrain the behavior isn’t helping either.

The simple fact there are still many contemporary elites endorsing the long rejected Apartheid system of South Africa on the people of Ethiopia alone shows their unhinged behavior to gamble on the lives of millions of people can’t be explained by corruption and miseducation (ignorance) alone.

After all, what could possibly attract contemporary elites to an Apartheid political system that brought the institutions of segregation, exploitation, corruption, extortion, rights violations, conflicts, deaths and distractions to millions South Africans on the people of Ethiopia despite personal benefit and ignorance?

It appears more to do with what their enablers want more than what they wanted us to believe.

But, no one we can think of willingly and publicly suspended her profession in the midair for an apartheid system of Ethiopia in the name of helping poor farmers than Dr. Eleni GeberMedhin, an American trained economist and the Founder and the Former CEO of the infamous make-believe ‘Ethiopian Commodity Exchange’ that claims, ‘apple is the new orange’.

In the absence of independent information by an apartheid regime’s decree, it would be pointless to argue about the ‘Commodity Exchange’ or more like the Commodity Extraction. After all, an Exchange by its nature is as much if not more information exchange as it is commodity exchange. Therefore, in an alternative reality, it can be whatever the ruling party and its professional subordinates like Dr. Eleni G.M wanted it to be and who, what, when, where, why and how they think Commodity Exaction take place on the expenses of the people of Ethiopia.

That is why many authoritarian regimes around the world to their credit are brave enough and refuse to claim–rationing commodities and hogging information an Exchange and stick with Marketing Board, Committee, Council… to show; they are in charge who eats or not and what until the infamous economist Dr. Eleni came along to defy every conceivable discipline in the field of social science to call it a Commodity Exchange; “especially designed for Ethiopia” as she like to put it.

Therefore, Ethiopians have little choice for now but to live with a make-believe Exchange like everything that comes out of the self-declared ethnic Apartheid and Developmental State regime that itself suspended the meaning of government, governance, the rule of law, the Free Press and economic development in the midair.

But, the irony a Stanford University trained economist in the free market and consent of the governed (democracy) would believe an Exchange by a decree of an ethnic Apartheid regime that controls the means-and-ways of productions, including land and information on the top of the power to make policy and law as well as enforce them speaks for itself. When that wasn’t enough, a ruling party that buy-and-sell, finance, transport, export, hoard… commodities posed as private sector sums up the audacity of Dr. Eleni to believe apple is the new orange to insult the intelligence of the people of Ethiopia.

Her suspension of reality began in her 2003 TED conference pitch for exclusively Western audience when she claimed to find ‘the magic bullet’ to help the poor farmers of her compatriots ‘ to enjoy life and liberty in peruse of happiness as their western counterpart’ if only foreign aid comes her way to do it and perpetuated the biggest hoax any economist came up in the history of market development and helping poor farmers we have seen yet.

Few years after the make-believe Exchange was established to chase cash crops for export to satisfy the ruling party appetite for foreign exchange as it was intended, the relatively stable price of basic staple commodities for locals gone off-the-roof as Ethiopians scramble to have a meal a day ever since.

No one knows the economic miracle or the celebration for an Exchange where ‘15 million people directly or indirectly involved in the Ethiopian coffee industry’ to generate less than a billion dollars export earnings.  But, in alternative universe Dr. Eleni operates; pleasing the regime, donors and foreign importers is priority # 1.

Regardless, three years after Dr. Eleni accomplished her mission paid by foreign aid, she left with no fanfare and explanation to reappear again in Nairobi, Kenya as Eleni L.L.C., a private equity fund management company that would replicate her ‘Commodity Extraction’ ‘success’ throughout Africa. Ironically and again, if only foreign donors/investors advance her millions of dollars to start her venture to help the poor farmers in the rest of Africa. As expected, IFC of the World Bank Group and Morgan Stanley of an American investment bank advanced her millions of US dollars to “incubate and support the formation of commodity exchanges across Africa, helping to promote food security”, according Business Wire.

It is not clear how cash crop trade can help improve food security and why Nairobi was chosen to establish her private equity venture Eleni L.L.C.  and return to Addis Ababa where her ‘successful’ and ‘first of its kind commodity exchange especially designed for Ethiopia’ was established to help poor farmers was established where the economy is ‘growing by double digits’ — surpassing Kenya itself as the regime in Addis Ababa and its enablers like us believe.

Nevertheless, among one of the first clients of Eleni L.L.C. was 8 Miles Fund, a private equity fund led by Paul David Hewson or better known as Bon, the Irish entertainer turn foreign aid advocate for Africa  and  Bob Geldof, the infamous Irish Rock singer that came to the world attention for leading the 1984 Ethiopian famine fund-raising concert ‘We are the World’. The Concert that raised 100s of million dollars was eventually handed over by Geldof to Araya GeberMedhin, a rebel fighter of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) disguised as a Sudanese merchant by pseudo name Mohammed as reported by the BBC expose as well as by the confession of Araya GeberMedhin (grain merchant Mohammed) himself.

The expose didn’t prevent Dr. Eleni not the international community from working with the then rebel and the present ruling TPLF party of Ethiopia and its affiliated businesses and nonprofits, including The Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) companies, Relief Society of Tigray (REST) and Tigray Development Association (TDA) all disguised as independent entities selling and buying goods and services  and receiving 100s of millions of dollars of more foreign aid in the name of famine victims of Tigray then and helping the poor and developing the economy in Ethiopia now.

Bono that also operates a nonprofit One Campaign to raise fund for the same ‘African poor’ based in Washington DC. His latest addition to his One Campaign’s management team as President is Gale Smith, the Former USAID Director and a stanch supporter of the ruling party TPLF since it’s insurgency days with four decades of experience in foreign aid industry that started with her employment for the rebel TPLF run Relief Society of Tigray (REST), a nonprofit organization established in 1984 that received the Live Aid fund by Bob Geldof and 100s of millions up to the present.

Gale Smith joined ONE Campaign as President on January 17, 2017 — leaving her USAID post just three days before President elect Thump took office on January 20.

How Bono, an Irish entertainer that runs a nonprofit ONE Campaign brought Gale Smith he knew since 1984 Ethiopian famine abroad as President to his nonprofit wing ended up as private equity investor as 8 Miles Fund at Eleni L.L.C. at the same time is another saga in the African poverty industry and the genius of circle of elites ‘helping the poor’ to help themselves by uttering ‘apple is the new orange’ in the alternative reality they operate.

When that is not enough, Dr. Jendayi Frazer, the Former Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Bush Administration and a Stafford University graduate in political Science showing up as Managing Partner of Africa Exchange Holding (AFEX), a private equity investor in the Rwanda Commodity Exchange is another twist in the helping the poor business.

Could Dr. Eleni L.L.C.’s genius to attract former government officials, celebrities, philanthropists in extractive commodity industry as investors in Africa has something to do with it?

Dr. Jendayi interview with Africa Agribusiness Magazine speaks for itself who could be behind AFEX and how in the ‘apple is the new orange’ business unexpected characters show up.  But, her answer to the critical question paused to her on governance sums up; the entire hoax propitiated on Africans in the name of Public Private Partnership (PPP) of helping the poor is the tip of the iceberg.

Wait, Dr. Eleni is not done yet. After a long absence from the Media seen — too busy running Eleni L.L.C in Nairobi, her reappearance in Addis Ababa again is another surprise in a nation of many surprises. This time as Blue Moon, (www.bluemoonethiopia.com), a private equity fund/angel investor/ incubator company not to help the poor farmers but to help Ethiopian startups in the agribusiness as she described it on the little-known Gera-Show Program on the Dtv entertainment Media platform in Addis Ababa with no known owners.

The timing of her reappearance in the middle of the ongoing political, social and economic crises, commercial boycott and conflict in the nation is rather strange. It is not clear whether the staged info-commercial is self-promotion of her new venture or to portray everything is hunky-dory with the Apartheid regime for Ethiopians to venture into new business.  But, the interviewer with no clue of the subject matter of her new venture nor the old Exchange venture she abandoned after she accomplished her mission and not to mention the ongoing political, social and economic crises of the ethnic apartheid regime’s role not to ask appropriate question appears; he is part of the propaganda apparatus playing dumb.

Nevertheless, you can’t help but notice not a single word that upset the ruling TPLF that operates racketeering ring in the nation while it rams its policy and makes-and- breaks and enforce the law at will was uttered throughout the interview from both to illustrates; there is more to Dr. Eleni and her new venture Blue Moon than what she wanted Ethiopians to believe in the Amharic language.

It reminds me of the saying; ‘never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it’ as compromised professionals like Dr. Eleni wrestle with the Apartheid regime with no-way-out of cleaning themselves.

It appears, in what I like to refer as ‘professional corruption’ (defined as the volunteer suspension of the rule of any discipline) to pick and choose what fits the alternative reality of Apartheid reaching the tipping point as the self-imposed mental refuge of many elites continued to agonized not to surrender for the reality in front of them.

People in the ‘free world’ overcame such medieval intellectual subordination to tyranny during 18th century enlightenment period that propel them in political, social and economic freedom in what are referred at present as democracies of the world where many of our contemporary elites are educated.  Yet, more-and-more of them are found voluntarily subordinating their profession and integrity for authoritarian regimes in the 21st century where reality is suspended by decree and the rule of law became a means to their end against the interest of the people.

But, what is not clear for many Ethiopians, the motivation behind well situated professionals’ in the West voluntarily subordinating for an ethnic apartheid authoritarianism in Africa. The only two possible explanations we can think of are; greed i.e. the same old unchallenged corruption for more or the ideology of ethnic Apartheid that would spin any human in the midair to remain suspended indefinitely from reality or a combination of both.

No one knows what motivated Dr. Eleni’s subordination for a self-declared minority ethnic Apartheid regime. But, her repeated insistence — ‘no one can question her Ethiopiawinet’ in direct defiance with the same ethnic Apartheid regime’s instigated ethnic ID she carry in her purse stands out and indicates; corruption alone may not explain her behavior as it does to many opportunist professional elites that wouldn’t give a hoot what happens to the people of Ethiopia as-long-as they line up their pockets with ill-gotten money and avoid scrutiny and accountability with safe-havens to escape. Or, as a good friend like to describe them; “Citizens of Convenience’.

In fact, ‘professional corruption’ in authoritarian regime is as old as modern states. It is the single traceable behavior of the elites that kept majority of the world’s population in poverty, conflicts, hopeless and deprivation of freedom and rights thus, massive migration from many nations of the world all democracies overcame.

Ethiopia is not the exception and Dr. Eleni is the premier example of ‘professional corruption’ run amok in one of the poorest nation in the world. What makes her strange than others; she is the most privileged person — educated in one of the most prestigious University of America where free thoughts, Free Press and free market are the emblems of its foundations for her to turn into a self-righteous purveyor of ‘apple is the new orange’ to conveniently suspend reality and ignore the crimes of a minority ethnic apartheid regime is beyond corruption to explain.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t off-the-cuff accusation or political jab as many wanted the world to believe. After all, Eleni has not officially declared affiliation with any political party else though she conveniently ignores the crimes of the regime. Then why voluntarily abandon the science of economics for a corrupt apartheid tyranny?

Without wasting time going in the detail on what is obvious; what good is the profession of economics if the science is overwritten by decree than the other way around on the expenses of the people of Ethiopia is enough to understand the motive?

Unfortunately, and tragically she is not alone. With many of her peers that champion and promote ethnic Apartheid authoritarianism as a good thing for their poor compatriots but, not good enough for them — as they crisscross the globe with multiple citizenship in search of foreign partners to rip their ‘own’ people is beyond the usual hypocrisy but a lot more.

My people, welcome to the new breed of contemporary dysfunctional elites of Ethiopia that swear ‘apple is the new orange’ (Apartheid is the new Revolutionary Democracy and racketeering is the new Developmental State) with a straight face in the age of Information Revolution. Armed with diplomas from prestigious Western universities and modern information technology they deprive their compatriots to silence their critics; they are having a field day of their lives in partnership with their questionable foreign partners in crime at the expenses of the people of Ethiopia never seen in modern history.

I have written about so many of what I consider ‘juvenile delinquent’ elites in a cover of questionable credential to say, ‘apple is the new orange’. Quite frankly; it is like a goose chase to pin them down as they play hide-and-seek and a moving target to avoid accountability.

I am not sure if ethnic Apartheid rule brought the worst out of them like alcohol beverage does to rational people. But, I do know the cost of their unhinged juvenile behavior to millions of our people is mounting while they are playing hid-and-seek behind the apartheid regime.

Whatever may be playing in their heads and hearts when they appear in public to defend the indefensible, there is one thing they hate and avoid; people who speak the truth that defy their alternative reality.  No wonder they don’t show up on independent Medias where they can’t lecture their conveniently staged narratives to get away with ‘murder’.

To be fair to our ‘juvenile delinquent’ elites, their foreign enablers are as much to blame for empowering them to behave like drunken sailors in public. For instance, when I read New Africa Magazine recent interviewwith Bill Gates (the new self-appointed spokesperson for the Africa poor and economic development) framed as “Exclusive: Bill Gates candidly opens up on aid, technology in Africa and lessons from China”, while he is hosting his Foundation’s sideline venue at the 72nd UN General Assembly of the Head of States that attracted ‘big and small’ personalities, including the former President Barack Obama that spoke on the venue.

What jumps out in the Gates’ interview was what the interviewer referred as “…in wide ranging interview, the billionaire philanthropist who co-founded the Gates Foundation with his wife Melinda reviles how Africa—’where their prime focus is on health and agriculture – constitute’ over half of what we do’ in terms of delivery. But, he is categorical on the need for aid accountability”.

Gate said;

“I wish every election in Africa was about who can run the health care system best for everyone; who can run the agriculture system best for everyone. Democracy, even in the West, is kind of unusual in terms of what priorities voters make choice on. But, some government really place expertise in to the health care and allocate an appropriate amount of finance to the health system.”

First, for a man that spent a pocket change relative to the economies of the countries his Foundation is involved to be concerned only about ‘aid accountability’ as oppose everything else in nations with no accountability and rampant institutional corruptions and rights violations under authoritarian rules, it speaks volume how delusional the billionaire philanthropist is suspended in his own alternative reality that empowers the Elenis’ of Africa.

To rub it even further to justify his dysfunctional behavior, he compared the decision of voters’ representatives in the West, as ‘kind of unusual” in prioritizing service delivery than authoritarian regimes—essentially endorsing to opt from democratic rule in favor of authoritarian rule to satisfy his over budget ego relative to the pocket-change spending on the poor of Africa and elsewhere.

No wonder Gates ‘endorsed’ the notorious TPLF boss Dr. Tewodros Andanom for WTO Director General using his financial clout so that he can ‘deliver health service’ to the world poor worth his money.

But, that is not all, President Obama speech on Gates Foundation’s venue — praising Gates’ Foundations work and promise to follow his footsteps with his newly established Obama Foundation to repeat; ‘authoritarian regimes are better in delivering services than democratic regimes’ when it serves their alternate reality of ‘apple is the new orange’.

It is almost impossible to believe, political and business leaders of democratic nations including President Obama, Bill & Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates that endorse 100% election votes qualify a party to pass as ‘democratically elected government’ halfway across the world in Ethiopia to fit their alternative reality are quick to raise hell at home to say; President Trump’s ‘rigged’ election demands investigation by all government agencies, congress and Medias…?

My people, we are in a new era where dysfunctional elites of all kinds are in sink where not to ask why but how much to sell their professional and personal integrity and their nation for the highest bidder in the blink of an eye and say; ‘apple can be orange’ if the price is right.

Since the highest bid almost always comes from foreign governments, donors and investors, you will find most professionals-for-sale in the same venue where they congregate over-and-over again in the name of helping the poor, the disadvantaged, the sick… and developing the economy as they wine-and-dine with depots that made the people poor, disadvantaged, sick… and the rest.

The question is not whether they are for sale or not anymore but, what the people can do to end ‘professional corruption’ from the public space altogether that will end everything else, including rogue regimes’ rule.

Therefore, if history is a lesson, the nuisance of ‘professional corruption’ in public space ended when the old journalism formula 5W1H, (who, what, when, where, why and how) — the one-and-only known formula to humanity is applied.  And, only the Free Press that has no ax to grind capable of applying the formula that would end ‘professional corruption’ at home as it happened in many democratic nations.

If the formula isn’t applied as we are witnessing in many nations around the world that became the breeding ground for ‘professional corruption’ in the service of authoritarian rule, nothing will change. And, Ethiopia is a prime example of ‘professional corruption’ is a badge of honor to wear to have a seat on the table or be invited in venues and the make-believe Medias controlled by the same people who perpetuate ‘apple is the new orange’.

Therefore, any intellectual elite, particularly those in a position of power and influence that doesn’t appreciate the role of the Free Press and fear scrutiny (whatever their justification may be) by default are corrupt.  In other words, fear of facing the truth is what makes contemporary dysfunctional elites behave like drunken sailors.

Once again, I will like to reiterate, ESAT is the one-and-only Media network with worldwide reach known to implement the 5W1H formula of journalism that shook the foundation of contemporary ‘professional corruption’.

Therefore, If ESAT is to be blamed, it is not because for not applying 5W1H formula to seek the truth but, for not doing more of it while under attack from the usual suspects that won’t stand the truth. That much is proven to be true beyond reasonable doubt as ESAT’s 7th years anniversary is celebrated and as make-believe Medias scramble to make ‘apple orange’ in the alternative universe they reside.

Thus, the question; who is afraid of the 5W1H the people of Ethiopia have been asking for centuries and why answers all the questions to end ‘professional corruption’ particularly those with the power to cause death-and-distraction as we witnessed for the last 27 years – rendering them as good-for-nothing to the badly needed profession to free the people of Ethiopia from the bondage of apartheid tyranny.

One simple thing Ethiopians need and must do to end professional corruption from spreading further is to demand every Media to abide by 5W1H formula as they should or seize to exist and demand the Free Press to hound professional corruption peddlers. Such collective action not only end the previvors of alternatives narratives but, deprives ‘professional corruption’ a hiding place altogether. After all, isn’t that the foundation of the Free Press all about?

They say, ‘there are simple solutions for complex problems’. But, it doesn’t seem to apply in modern Ethiopia. We heard many well-meaning contemporary intellectuals tell us to the complexity of our problem.   What they fail to understand and confront is; the complexity of the problem is caused by ‘professional corruption’ of their peers refusing to answer the 5W1H Ethiopians have been asking for centuries. The absence of institutions to make them professionally and legally responsible and accountable for their offense on behalf of the people is not helping either.

In the real world they say, ‘crime doesn’t pay’. But, in the alternative universe where our corrupt professional operates, it pays them so-much-so; it is a magnate for them to abandon the free world and put up their profession for sale.

What is even more distressing about the whole circus they stage; they invite foreign partners as investors-donors in the name of ‘helping the poor’ and economic development’ as if it would whitewash their corruption.

Admittedly, they are good on one thing only — putting out stage shows on make-believe Media for the world to believe ‘apple is the new orange’.  The question is, where are ‘the police’ when we need them most?

The legendary Democratic Governor of the State of Illinois Adlai Stevenson II ((1945-53) summed up the piece of the puzzle Ethiopians are struggling to end under the Apartheid regime rule. He said;

“Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.”

Examining who are corrupting the public mind in contemporary Ethiopia will solve half of the remaining puzzle to end ‘professional corruption’ thus, tyranny for good. Need I say who are the make-believe Media and their patrons that corrupt the public mind saying; ‘apple is the orange’ like a toddler on a dipper?

We all were ‘toddlers on a dipper’ one time or another in our lives that learned out of it by making mistakes after mistakes to finally understand ‘apple is not orange’. But, when professionals with PhDs refuse to acknowledge apple is NOT orange to cause havoc on millions of people’s lives and livelihoods, that is where the problem began and must end. After all, human adults regardless of our background, education, origin… have a universal language we speak to say; ‘apple is not orange’ unless we remain toddlers on a dipper not to tell the differences. But, when we fail the test to acknowledge that basic truth hiding behind the highest credential money can buy, we are indeed not only toddlers on dippers that refuse to grow up but, deviant one.

Dr. Eleni GebreMedhin and many like her that volunteer to subordinate their profession to hold the people of Ethiopia hostage in service of ethnic Apartheid tyranny must grow up out of their dippers to say; apple is NOT the new orange.  That one simple courageous act to tell the truth goes a long way than everything they can do and stage in a lifetime; not to mention it will free their imprisoned mind from the prison of alternative universe.

Finally, a tribute to my civilized people of Ethiopia that defy the uncivilized Apartheid regime and its professional subordinates’ onslaught.  As our people say, ሳይመሽ አይነጋም and in the same breath; as Patriotic Ginbot 7 Chairman Professor Berhanu Nega’s book tittle says; ‘የነፃናት ጎህ ሲቀድ’ is coming soon and, nothing anyone do can stop it.

Therefore, my fellow Ethiopians; seating on the sideline hoping for freedom, liberty and lasting democratic change to come is a myth. Let’s get our acts together and carry our own weights. The change we all wish for requires and demands our contribution however little it may seem in the larger geopolitics.  For starter, exposing the top-brass of TPLF apartheid regime behind the seen to help independent Medias to expose them for the world can go a long way to stop the bleeding regardless of your political affiliation. Support with your money and talent the movement that you know are following the right course for democracy to end is critical to replace the regime.  As much critical if not more is, exposing the enablers of the ethnic Apartheid regimes to the world, particularly those in the aid industry that colluded with the regime in the name of helping the poor, the sick… and developing the economy is a game changer.

In the word of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “There comes a time when silence is betrayal”

The article is dedicated to contemporary Ethiopian professionals that paid the ultimate price for sticking to their professional and ethics and personal integrity by telling the truth.  Other elites on the sideline should step up to match their civilized compatriots to help end the aggravation TPLF Apartheid tyranny brought on the people of Ethiopia.  


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