Ethiopia and the United States: Can the Crisis be Prevented? 

Filed under: News Feature,Opinion |

By Dawit W  Giorgis 

The simmering crisis in Ethiopia has reached a boiling point. It is extremely  serious and every person who has watched Ethiopia closely knows that. It is not simply about repression and extrajudicial killings, stifling of freedom of expression, but most of all it is about ethnic politics; a minority government, representing in theory  6% of the population, that is in complete control of the state machinery including the economic political and state apparatus. This is the part that the US and other European governments and the mainstream media do not want to discuss when referring to the regime in Ethiopia.  Current Ethiopia is gripped with the Rwandan syndrome before the 1994 genocide. It is Tigray people  (the 6%) versus the rest of the population. It is a situation where most   belonging to the 6% get better treatment than the others. It is a situation where the elites from the 6% own major private enterprises directly and indirectly.  It is a situation where the entre 6% is portrayed as a superior race than the others. It is a case where  disproportionate amount of resources is being directed to the province where the 6%t live. It is a case where the majority of the 6% are led to believe that they will be exterminated unless they have full control of the economic,  political and security apparatus. It is a case where through fear, intimidation and blackmail, the 6% is being brainwashed to hate the rest of the population and prepare itself against a possible genocide. Hence the hate becomes mutual.

 

The violence that is going on now is against the majority Amahra and Oromo population. But the tides of change have arrived.  The people have united against the regime and for the last few years there has been persistent call for change with violent reprisals. It is like the proverbial saying “the chicken has come home to roost.” The Tigreans are under siege and most have not even benefitted from a regime ( TPLF=EPRDF) which it states is there on their behalf.

 

The only way that this regime can stay in power is by putting one ethnic group against the other, by fabricating stories, by dividing them in an even smaller ethnic groups and preaching hate, committing atrocities and blaming other ethnic groups for the incidents.   Those who closely monitor the situation know that this is a recipe for disaster and genocide The dirty tactics that has made it possible for the TPLF regime to stay in power for 28 years has come to a dead end. The next thing that most Ethiopians expect is civil war and unless the regime’s major supporters, EU and the US,  take the necessary steps and force the government to transit to an internationally monitored democratic election, the civil war may be unstoppable. The US’s major ally in the region is Ethiopia because the Ethiopian regime is an important partner in the fight against terror in the region. To make sure that the US continues to support the status quo in Ethiopia, the regime is doing everything possible to ensure that it is seen as an indispensable partner  in  the fight against  terror in the region.

 

Now the major source of terror is becoming Ethiopia itself. By creating the conditions for terrorism to thrive and hostile external elements to comfortably operate in Ethiopia, the regime is preparing the nation to be another Yemen. Ethiopia is  descending to anarchy and possible proxy war. The stakes are high and no neighbor including Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Yemen and some of the Gulf States (certainly Saudi Arabia) would want to be left out in trying to shape the future of Ethiopia.

 

This will serve neither the short term nor long term interest of the US.  The US is acting against reason and allowing this country to implode and create an unprecedented chaos in the region. And this will certainly   reverberate across the Horn and  indeed Africa. Every Ethiopian now realizes that this might not be preventable. The US administration looks at the surface and not what simmers beneath; the periphery not the center of the discontent and rebellion. The US expects that the worst scenario will not happen and if it happens it would prefer fighting the fire rather than preventing it from happening. Ethiopia is 100 minion people, the second largest population in Africa, bordering countries who will be directly affected by the spill over.

 

Successive administrations have lacked wisdom and consistency in building an African policy.  America as a global leader for democracy and human rights cannot afford to sit on the side lines and witness a tragedy unfold.

Contemporary history of successive US administrations  is replete with history of non-willingness to intervene to prevent a disaster in Africa.  US administrations have always opted for the status quoi where America’s interests are not affected.  They allowed grave situations to change to human tragedies and then credit themselves for providing humanitarian assistance when they could have prevented the whole crisis from the beginning.  When situations are clearly   leading to civil war, US   prefers making policy options that are based on assessments that preclude objective analysis from credible sources. It seems State department does not have the expertise nor does the CIA to know what is exactly going on in Ethiopia and what is likely to happen.   They may have adequate and precise information but do not have the willingness to take pro-active measures. Like the Saudi Lobby, the Ethiopian lobby in the US has become one of the most powerful whose agents are paid enormous amount of money.

 

The facts are easy to discover if only we refer to independent sources who have visited many parts of Ethiopia and talked to young and old, in the absence of minders. Then they would realize how serious the situation is.  People will tell you that they are amassing weapons, some of them distributed by the regime to its own allies for ‘self-defense’. It s like the Habyarimana Government  ( Rwanda just before the 1994 genocide) which has been openly distributing weapons to the Hutu militias (Interhamway) in early 1990s.  But America buried it’s head in the sand and as a result over 800,000 people were killed. It refused to acknowledge the early warnings. I was there with the agonizing job to stabilize the situation including organizing mass graves.  What happened in Rwanda could have been prevented or stopped.

 

On a 1998 state visit to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, Clinton formally apologized for US inaction  “It may seem strange to you here, especially the many of you who lost members of your family, but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror,” he said.

In a 2013, interview he was more frank: “If we’d gone in sooner, I believe we could have saved at least a third of the lives that were lost,” he admitted. “It had an enduring impact on me.” He estimated that if the US had provided as few as 10,000 troops, more than 300,000 Rwandan lives could have been spared.

In one of my previous articles entitled Lessons Learnt from Rwanda, I wrote  this:

  “   We might think that such kind of scenario will never happen in Ethiopia. But just think about it: who thought that a country called Somalia with one language, one ethnic group and one religion would so rapidly fall apart and be a failed state for two decades? Who would have thought that the former Yugoslavia would disintegrate and result in the kind of genocide and ethnic cleaning we have seen in the heart of Europe, sending many leaders to the international criminal court? Who would have thought that South Sudan, which had its independence in 2011, after decades of war, would descend to a civil war that is causing the death and displacement of hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese? Who would have thought that Muammar Gadhafi would be overthrown in such a swift and brutal way and the country plunging into civil war and becoming the breeding ground of terrorists like ISIS, an evil that slaughtered many innocent young Ethiopian migrants?  And the list can go on.”

Washington’s continued support for the Egyptian dictatorship in the face of massive pro-democracy protests was a  sign that both Congress and the Obama administration remained out of touch with the growing demands for freedom in the Arab world. There was coup d’etat and General el Sisi imposed a military rule. Many lives were lost to attain freedom. In the end the sacrifices did not mean anything. America allied with a system that was worse than Mubarak. Egypt of today  looks worse than  it’s past. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s crackdown on dissidents continues. ISIS and other radical elements are now freely operating in Sinai and many parts across the country.

 

The Horn of Africa is the most complex security zone in the world.  Ambassador David Shinn writing for the international policy Digest says,  “When you add the fact that the Horn is located on a religious fault line, you have a recipe for frequent conflict. It has arguably been the most conflicted corner of the world since the end of World War II. The Horn has constantly posed a serious challenge for U.S. policy.”

 

As the only super power, America must exercise it’s weight judiciously, cautiously and fairly. That is the only way it can maintain a credible image and in the process protect it’s strategic, economic and security interest.

 

In one of my favorite books ‘The March of Folly,’ the author, Barbara Tuchman,  assessing the Vietnam War shows how America had accurate intelligence from independent reportage and special investigative units that the goal of the war was not achievable.  She states that the folly consisted not in pursuit of a goal in ignorance of the obstacles but in persistence in the pursuit despite accumulating evidence that the goal was unattainable and damaging to the society and national interest of the USA.

“The question raised is why did the policy makers close their minds to the evidence and the implications? This is the classic symptom of folly: refusal to draw occlusions from the evidence, addiction to the counterproductive.”

The least the US can do is to stop what is perceived as collusion with a state sponsored terrorism.

Dawit W Giorgis

25 Responses to Ethiopia and the United States: Can the Crisis be Prevented? 

  1. Dawit W Giorgis;
    How could you generalized “It is Tigray people (the 6%) versus the rest of the population.” You are ignorant. You have no any moral to speak about humanity. You were The Derge general and since then you don’t learn and change? Wow! You are just like TPLF/EPRDF and the Derge. Please don’t fabricate

    Lema
    October 24, 2017 at 1:19 pm
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  2. Lema,
    Please do not take extremely opposite view just to shadow on the reality of the Ethiopia. Of course, if an outsider can see a little deeper than what you wrote, substantial evidence is available to falsify your intention.
    Lets cool down at least at this very point of time,

    Demeke
    October 24, 2017 at 2:22 pm
    Reply

  3. Lema,
    Please do not take extremely opposite view just to shadow on the reality of the current Ethiopia. Of course, if an outsider can see a little deeper than what you wrote, substantial evidence is available to falsify your intention.
    Lets cool down at least at this very point of time,

    Demeke
    October 24, 2017 at 2:35 pm
    Reply

  4. Thank you Demeke.
    No more suffering and killing like the Derge to the well educated and experienced 60 ministries; TPLF/EPRDF firing 42 unreplaceable professors.
    “It is Tigray people (the 6%) versus the rest of the population.” by Col. Dawit is very strong statement and indicating for killing which is “Ethnic cleansing”.
    I can expect from other a few individuals but not from well informed and experienced Col. Dawit.
    Demeke you have to stand for right or wrong. No more any excuse. We should not allow any back dirty politics or revenge.

    Lema
    October 24, 2017 at 3:33 pm
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  5. Since we didn’t see any fruitfull reaction from the tigreans and tigrean elits against criminal act of tplf on the rest of ethiopian people, we many ethiopian people believe it is 6% tigreans people versus the rest of ethiopian people. Simpel question for tigreans: is there any amara or oromo who go to tigrean land and order the people to do this and that. The answer is no. You know it we know it. For the sake of peace tplf should leave the land of oromo and amara as soon as possible. We and you all know that tplf fight to librate tigray so it should stay in his librated land. All people say ‘Down Down Weyane’ Tigreans should listen this voice.

    nabil
    October 24, 2017 at 3:59 pm
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    • nabil ,

      6% is a joke used by extremists . They think they can threaten Tigrians by pulling percent out of their rare end .Do they belive Somali people are behind them ?? do they think afar is with them ??
      do they expect all to be with the loooooooooooooooooosers !

      SO , LET THEM JOKE ON THEM SELVES .

      THEY WERE CAUGHT BY SURPRISE WHEN ETHIOPIAN SOMALI PEOPLE STAND BY TIGRAINS SIDE . THEY THOUGHT IT WAS 6% VS THE REST .

      NOW WE SEE THAT ALL NATIONS AND NATIONALITIES , OPPRESSED PEOPLE , PEOPLE WHO GOT THEIR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM , EVEN ALL ERETRIANS EXCEPT SHABIA DOGS ARE BY THE SIDE OF TIGRAINS .

      RESPECT IS THE ONLY OPTION .

      NANA
      October 25, 2017 at 12:44 am
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      • We are with you and nothing will happen, let the derg remainers bark like dog. Ethiopia is on the right path and no one can pleased someone who is tended not to be satisfy.

        Kabalqabad
        October 25, 2017 at 3:49 pm
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      • Leave us ( Eritrean) alone. All is your (Tigrains) problem deal with it. i can 100% assure you we are on the side of the rest of Ethiopia for the unity of Ethiopia.

        Sele
        October 25, 2017 at 3:57 pm
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        • Sele ,

          I SAID ALL ERETRIANS ECEPT SHABIA DOGS .MOST YOUNG ERETRIANS ARE NOW IN TIGRAI WELL TAKEN CARE OF BY THEIR BROTHERS .

          NANA
          October 26, 2017 at 12:10 am
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          • NANA
            Don’t fool you self they use Ethiopia as a transit to other county. they are not came to you because in love with you. We all know it. Most of the people in measker are from Tigiray.
            Furthermore i think you don’t know Derg specifically Col. Dawit he change his way of thinking the first day when he assigned as administration in Eritrea just check the history what he did in Eritrea. You can not compare him with you General Tsadkan and others. Look at him he stile work to help himself. He is not a campany owner like you col and Generals. He did a great job for Ethiopia and Eritrea period.

            Sele
            October 26, 2017 at 5:45 pm
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  6. I don’t think that EU or USA have any interest to come to us and prevent us from this possible ruwanda type genocide. We are blacks and for them we are nothing. But if the stakeholder of that country specially the oromo and amhara elite work together then there is a high possibility to prevent the coming catastroph in the history of ethiopia and africa.

    nabil
    October 24, 2017 at 4:12 pm
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  7. Please compare matured and experienced politician like Lench Letta, Prof. Berhanu Nega, Dr. Dima Negeo with bankruptcy individual like Col. Dawit.

    http://www.zehabesha.com/zehabesha-news-lencho-letta-prof-berhanu-nega-dr-dima-negeo-enm/

    Lema
    October 24, 2017 at 4:22 pm
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  8. This is not Dawit W Giorgis’ first apocalyptic prophecy about Ethiopia. He has been writing in similar tone for the last two decades. Ethiopia is still there and his propecy has fallen by the sideline. What’s strange about this one is it clearly shows his desperateness because no one is listening to him. People do not listen to him because he’s the worst type agitator who wants to see Oromo and Amara stand against another Tigre.

    If you read and re-read the note he published above, you would understand that he wants the entire Tigre wiped out. To be angry with TPLF and some Tigres who benefited from TPLF rule is one thing, but to portray Tigres as TPLF and call for their extermination another. Even if Tigres support TPLF, their support should be rationally explained and understood and efforts made to bring them to the fold rather than threaten them by genocide. Dawit W Giorgis’ threat rhetoric only strengthens TPLF’s position by reinforcing the fear of Tigres that they might be attacked if TPLF does not protect them. It is time to bring Tigres to their senses but not by threatening them with genocide.

    Not long ago, prof. Mesfin also talked in similar prophetic tone, but nobody took him seriously because so many people are working hard to understand ethnic relations in the country and mitigate conflicts. His warning to Tigres under the pretext that they’re beneficiaries of TPLF rule and tied their future with the demise of the organization was noted and let to pass. Nobody wanted to criticise him about his flagrant misstep because he is a senior fellow who deserved respect.

    Now, Dawit W. G. is trailing on prof. Mesfin’s path and is not attracting comments to tell him that he is wrong in presenting Tigres as the enemy. No wonder TPLF is reportedly discussing to invoke article 39 of the constitution if attack on Tigres is imminent. If Tigres back TPLF as Dawit W. G. tries to tell us, it can plunge the country into constitutional crisis by declaring independence of Tigray. Then Dawit will sit to discuss unity with Tigray TPLF still at the top. Rumer has it that they’re able and ready to move all Tigres back to Tigray from all regions in less than a day. There won’t be genocide and the roject’s name is “AADDEEYY”.

    I don’t know if I am from another universe, but I have not seen TPLF involvement in the Oromo -Somali – Afar conflicts. It might be the author and promoter of ethnic politics, but these conflicts – though in small scale – have been going on for generations. Why TPLF authored ethnic politics is because it “represents” only 6% of the population and that does not ensure its fair representaion at the centre. The things TPLF did to strengthen ethnic politics had benefited it and some Tigrea in all respects (economic, political, civil status, etc.), but it does not mean ethnic politics has no support in the country. In fact, we have reached a stage where we cannot govern ourselves without it. Not long ago, Dawit W. G. himself was talking about Amara organizing on ethnic line.

    If TPLF is present in these conflicts, show me the proof. To understand my point, ask what OPDO and the party governing Somali region are doing with respect to the conflicts. The army and security which is disproportionately TPLF is offically banned from operating in the regions. If that is the case, where is TPLF to deploy Oromos and Somalis to kill and displace each other? More importantly, where are the Tigre people (who essentially live in Tigray) that side with the Oromo or Somali in the conflict? Dawit W.G. should prove his case. He cannot simply call for genocide and call it quit. He is responsible for what he is saying.

    EU and U.S. have adequate information about what’s going on in the country. They do not have ears to apocalyptic prediction which has no basis. Dawit W. G. can mention Rwanda with the hope that the name will precipitate their involvement, but it won’t happen because they know the country is not going to implode as he prophesises.

    Dawit W.G is old – maybe in his eighties now. At this age, most get heavy in weight and mature in wisdom, but he’s still light both in weight and wisdom. I wish he does not write anything out of respect for the people and the country.

    Adenen Kemeatu Sewerene
    October 24, 2017 at 7:17 pm
    Reply

  9. BARKING DOG SELDOM BITES !

    NANA
    October 25, 2017 at 12:49 am
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  10. Nabil:
    I don’t think so you are a normal person; you are just like TPLF/EPRDF and Issays of Eritrea.

    Adene Kemeatu Sewerene:
    Thank you very much. Because of you and others like you Ethiopia will rise again and we will cheer the good culture and tradition with no killing at all.
    God bless you.

    Lema
    October 25, 2017 at 6:42 am
    Reply

  11. After TPLF librated his land with the support of tigreans and eritteans in 1991 it occupied the oromo and amara land. From this time on they are exploiting the source of this nations and another nationalities by hiding itsselfes in fake Federalisem. In the reality tplf became a bad black colonizer. One or more questions for tigreans. Is there any amara or oromo organisation which is going to tigray land and kill tigreans? The answer is no. Fakt is: Tplf which has the wide support of tigreans gone to amara and oromo land and started to kill torture the Amara and Oromo people. It is tplf who started Genocide nobody else. My 2. Question for tigreans why you are crying about Genocide? The Amara people and oromo people want only librate themselves and their land from this criminal gangster tplf. You have your own land, so stay in your own land and call that you are independent country. No singel oromo or amara is against your will. Why you don’t go to sudan or eritrea and dom the same thing what you did on oromo and amara people. The Amara and Oromo have the right to defend themselves. But you have to know you do not have any right to kill them in their own land since they didn’t touch you. Please tigrean brother answer these simple question and try to make peace with the people of amara and oromo.

    nabil
    October 25, 2017 at 2:39 pm
    Reply

    • You are Shabia. There is no Amhara or Oromo land. All the land is Ethiopian. You could not defeat TPLF by waging war and you are trying this way now? There is no Amhara land, Oromo land, … all lands belong to Ethiopia.

      Nanaa
      October 25, 2017 at 10:33 pm
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  12. NANA: you are the occupier of Oromo, amara and other nationalities Land. I am not the extrimist. Your the extremist. You are the occupier and I am not the one. You are the one who decided to kill, torture and rape in your infamous prisons in the land of oromo and amara just because people asked their natural right. Just because people tried to defend their land and their resource and asked their freedom. The people want to librate their own land as you librated your beautiful country Tigray.
    As you had supported the eritreans to librate their country support the people of amara and oromo to librate their country. Instade of being extrimist, occupier, killer and genocider, be a human being and make peace with the people of Oromo and Amara. The bell is Ringing: Down Down Tplf, Down Down genocider Down Down Down……gangster, terrorist tplf.

    nabil
    October 25, 2017 at 3:56 pm
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    • They Shabia dog is feasting on Ethiopian conflict. He got drunk of it. Nabil aka Ascaris Shabia, Ethiopia will rule and continue to exist, no matter what your wishes, it will never happen your way. Dedeb, you are trying to divided Ethiopians? Yesterday is Ethiopia, today Ethiopia and tomorrow is Ethiopia. Ethiopia will continue to exist to enternty. No amount of hate, Shabia propaganda is going to change that.

      Nanaa
      October 25, 2017 at 10:37 pm
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    • NABIL ,

      GET HELP FOR YOUR BIPOLAR DISORDER !

      YOUR OWN FABRICATED STORY IS INTOXICATING YOU .EVERY ONE KNOWS THAT YOU ARE EXTRIMIST LOOSER WHO KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT DEMOCRACY .

      DO NOT TRY TO HIDE BEHIND OTHER PEOPLE TO GET TO ARAT KILLO .

      NANA
      October 26, 2017 at 12:13 am
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  13. Dear Dawit W Giorgis ,

    At this age, and with all that life experience one would expect you to be a wise man. But to my dismay, you have not changed a bit. You are racist, hate monger. You one of those who got us to where we are today. You have no shame to preaching genocide here. I am scratching my head if you think today like this, what you were thinking during derg time?

    As much as I hate the regime, I despise you. You are an elderly Ethiopian.You have served us as mediator and reconcilor and you have done real works to bring our people together regardless ethnics. But you have fallen in the same trap that you are accusing others. Anyway, USA can not do anything if the regime does not. Which country is saved by USA? No single country can be mentioned. You are a chatterbox like Alemayehu Gebremariam. But I have a message for you, if this is what you have for us? then shut up and get lost old man.

    Nanaa
    October 25, 2017 at 10:27 pm
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  14. Dawit you should know better since lived very close to Rwanda; but you are preaching ethnic cleaning in 2017; you are lost. Stay out from our time.

    LoveEthio
    October 27, 2017 at 6:25 am
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  15. Dawit is really sick. After 60 ministries blood, red terror, famine, the Rawanda genocide still fabricating against specific people is poor propaganda with no place any where. I don’t have to be from that area of the “6%” to stand up to oppose it or to be human. Ethiopia and Ethipians deserve peace not killing plan as Dawit is fabricating to hide his own guilty conscience or may be he has become one of hutu of Rawanda.

    Laikun
    October 27, 2017 at 10:46 am
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  16. @NANAA

    nanaa, you are stupid and lair, we are not your side.

    niether somali nor afar are your side,stupid kadaab.

    your people tigtrash are only minority and barbaric here.

    and your time is numbered.

    tigray means trash

    somali_man
    October 28, 2017 at 7:36 am
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  17. The positive political development in Ethiopian is a result of actors in the country itself. These actors had one time expected the diaspora to intervene and save them from TPLF/EPRDF but they quickly learned that the diaspora is simply a talk shop that cannot deliver on what it talking about. It has media outlets such as ESAT, OMN, a number of radio stations and countless websites.

    If you follow the programs in these media outlets, it is like a celebrity show with serious compition going on behind clsoed doors. The higher you contribute in finacing the media, the more coverage you’ll get including telling stories about your private life. It is not the wisdom, knowledge or experience that you’ll share that matters to be hosted.

    Apart from and in addition to the above, mediocre “journalists” and defectors from TPLF/EPRDF sit to discuss, analyse and re-analyse the same issues in different languages day in day out, shake hands and go home. It is sad to say but that’s what they do.

    Now they have reached a stage of apeasing OPDO and ANDM as agents of reform – even change – which proves that they are helplessly admitting their irrelevance. At the same time, they have ended their bravado that they are at the centre of the struggle to topple TPLF/EPRDF.
    The bravado is not to change until the end of time unless they start reflecting on how to make themselves relevant beyoond appeasment.

    The desire and aspiration of the diaspora oppostion is to present itself as a victor if the TPLF/EPRDF are toppled. Except media outlets that talk about what’s happening in the country and sit and comment on it, they have no noticiable role right now. There is no reflection how they can be relevant to the resistance in the country.

    Huhu hihi
    October 29, 2017 at 6:41 pm
    Reply

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