Three-Ring Media Circus in Oslo?: Why I Support PM Abiy’s Decision Not to Give Media Interviews at the Nobel Ceremonies

Reading Time: 11 minutes

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

 

Oslo City Hall

“Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war; That this foul deed shall smell above the earth.”

H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed is scheduled to formally accept his Nobvel Peace Prize and deliver his Nobel lecture at Oslo City Hall on December 10.

The media hounds are carping over the fact that PM Abiy has respectfully declined to do interviews, news conferences and others related activities in the ceremonial events.

Because he has declined to give interview, the grandstanders and showboaters are coming out of the woodwork threatening to “let slip the dogs of protest” into the streets of Oslo during PM Abiy’s visit.

A Norwegian anthropologist and director of Oslo Analytica, and self-proclaimed Ethiopia expert, by the name of Kjetil Tronvoll, has declared a personal war of words on PM Abiy Ahmed.

Tronvoll alleges PM Abiy Ahmed has refused to give press interviews because

he doesn’t have much to brag about after his first six months. There are great tensions in Ethiopia, as great as it has hardly ever been. By not meeting the press, Ahmed avoids having to answer difficult questions about the peace process, about the unrest in Ethiopia and what the growing fragmentation in Ahmed’s own party could entail.

Professor Doom & Gloom Tronvoll prognosticates:

Ethiopia is deeply divided between those who want unity and those who want ethnic autonomy. Many believe that Abiy now cuts off the branch he is sitting on. His power base is weathering with every passing day. If the election is carried out and there is a big if, and if it becomes a fair election, an even bigger if, then Abiy will lose.

According to one report, Tronvoll has threatened to lead a demonstration against PM Abiy during the Oslo ceremonies.

The gall, the audacity of a mercenary intellectual leading a street demonstration against PM Abiy and proclaiming Apocalypse in Ethiopia!

Tronvoll, who is today threatening to unleash hordes of protesters on the streets of Oslo during PM Abiy’s visit, was nowhere to be seen when the mass murderer Meles Zenawi visited Oslo in October 2011 and Ethiopian refugees in Norway went out in the streets to protest his visit.

Tronvoll, who is today threatening to unleash hordes of protesters on the streets of Oslo during PM Abiy’s visit was stone cold silent when the Norwegian government undertook a mass deportation program of Ethiopians  into the hands of the murderous Tigrean People’s Liberation Front in 2012.

Those Ethiopian refugees in Norway needed to be defended. They needed a voice, a champion for their just cause.

Many of them had lived and worked in Norway for over two decades.

Most of them were given work permits and allowed to live freely and work in Norway when they first entered.

Most had learned the language and adopted Norwegian culture. Among the refugees include some 450 children born in Norway and living in “asylum seeker reception centers” for several years.

These children attended school and many of them spoke only Norwegian.

I vigorously defended the Ethiopian refugees in my March 2012 commentary, “No Way for Ethiopian Refugees in Norway” from 5,400 miles away.

Tronvoll sat on his duff in the Oslo lording over “Oslo Analytica, a research and consultancy company, organized as a subsidiary of Bjørknes University College.”

Tronvoll did not organize street protests when the Norwegian Government subjected Ethiopian refugees refoulement (involuntary return) prohibited under international law.

Tronvoll did not pen an op-ed piece to plead their cause in Norwegian society.

Tronvoll did not lobby the Norwegian Government to cancel the deportation program.

Tronvoll was silent as the grave when the murderous regime of Meles Zenawi signed a MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING with the Norwegian Government, which provided, among other things, for the identification and return of individuals who opposed the Zenawi regime.

Today, Tronvoll wants to become the drum major of protesters in Oslo against PM Abiy.

Today, Tronvoll wants to mobilize protesters against PM Abiy who released all political prisoners and invited with open arms any and all Ethiopians who had left their country to avoid political persecution under the TPLF regime.

Today, Tronvoll wants to become the White Knight saving the Ethiopian damsel in distress.

What a two-faced, shameless hypocrite!

With all due disrespect, I am sick and tired of self-styled mercenary intellectual poverty pimps who try to steal the limelight and make names for themselves by tearing down progressive African leaders and proclaiming they are de facto leaders of the Ethiopian diaspora opposition.

Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass about intellectual snake oil salesmen-cum-consultants like Tronvoll, Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stigliz,  Alex deWaala and Herman Cohen.

I have nothing but absolute contempt for vampiric foreign intellectuals who live off of trafficking in African misery and merchandizing  themselves as “international consultants”.

Let there be no mistake: I will continue to expose these intellectual neocolonialists wherever I find them.

Media interview, weapon of mass media distraction or media ambush in Oslo?

member of the Nobel Committee commenting on PM Abiy’s declination for “media interviews” said, “We strongly believe that freedom of expression and a free and independent press are vital components of peace.”

I agree with that statement.

The question for me is what to do when the independent press is more interested in infotainment than the advancement of peace.

It is said that there are traditional ceremonial press events associated with the Nobel Peace Prize including a news conference with PM of Norway, interview with members of the “international media” and a meeting with a children’s group.

The main event is the Nobel Lecture where the recipient shares his/her views and hopes for a better and peaceful world.

The reasons given by PM Abiy’s office in declining interviews are straightforward:

The Prime Minister will be attending essential and prioritized programs, agreed upon in consultation with the Nobel Institute, to honor and respect the Nobel tradition. It is quite challenging for a sitting Head of State to dedicate that many days, particularly where domestic issues are pressing and warrant attention.

I understand that to mean the PM is honored to be in Oslo to receive the honor. He will deliver the obligatory lecture and promptly return home because he has pressing business waiting for his attention.

Indeed, PM Abiy’s decision to decline press statements and interviews is consistent with the language and spirit of the Prize he received and especially Alfred Nobel’s intentions in his last will and testament.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee in award citation stated the Committee

hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region.

The Committee listed PM Abiy’s cumulative accomplishments in the cause of peace including his:

decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.

initiation of important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future.

lifting of the country’s state of emergency.

granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners.

discontinuing media censorship.

legalization of outlawed opposition groups.

dismissal of military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption.

increase of the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life.

pledge to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.

active contribution to the normalization of diplomatic relations between Eritrea.

efforts to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area; and

key role in the Sudan conflict by bringing to the negotiating table the military regime and the opposition.

The question is simply this: Is the “media interview” actually intended to amplify the accomplishments recited in the Nobel citation?

I shall argue the central aim is not to use the “media interview” to talk about peace but to use the “interview” as a weapon of mass media distraction about issues and problems challenging Ethiopia in its transition to democracy.

To put it bluntly, the media wants to use the opportunity to embarrass, smear, humiliate and dishonor PM Abiy Ahmed.

The schadenfreude media wants to rain of PM Abiy’s parade as he celebrates the great honor bestowed upon him.

To be perfectly and unabashedly honest, those who insist on “media interviews” in Oslo have ONE and only ONE purpose: Pour gasoline and stoke up the fires of controversy on the Ethiopian political landscape.

It is all so transparent.

Doomsayer Tronvoll has articulated the purpose of the media interview with crystal clarity.

The “media interview” will be about all of the things PM Abiy “doesn’t have much to brag about after his first six months.”

The “media interview” will be about “the great tensions in Ethiopia”.

The “media interview” will be about “the unrest in Ethiopia”.

The “media interview” will be about the “growing fragmentation in Ahmed’s own party”.

The “media interview” will be about “if the election is carried out and there is a big if, and if it becomes a fair election, an even bigger if, then Abiy will lose.

The whole “media interview” will be about Ethiopia going to hell in a hand basket.

It will be about keeping Ethiopians wallowing in fear and anxiety about their future.

It will not be about a peaceful Ethiopia rising from the ashes of a 27 year-long dictatorship.

It will not be about the hopes and dreams of the Ethiopian people.

The nattering media nabobs of negativism do not want to talk about peace in Ethiopia or in the Horn region.

They want to talk about war, an Armageddon in the Horn and imminent civil war in Ethiopia.

Whatever responses PM Abiy gives in an interview will be distorted into half-truths and spun to  generate even more controversy.

But “Hope Springs Eternal in Africa With Leaders Like Abiy Ahmed!”

I understand why the media is not genuinely interested in peace.

Good news does not sell advertising.

News about peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and love does not sell advertising.

Scholars and commentators have asked, “Why does the media concentrate on the bad things in life, rather than the good?”

Stories about war, hate, conflict, strife sell newspaper and TV ads.

“If it bleeds, it leads” the news.

Cynicism, pessimism and relentless negativism sell.

That is why the newsprint and airwaves are filled with stories about terrorism, crime , plagues, epidemics and disasters.

The media monetizes bad news and constantly pumps out information the world is getting worse  by the day.

That is the real story behind the campaign of the howling hounds to “let slip the dogs of street protest” against PM Abiy in Oslo.”

Embarrassing, humiliating, villifying and disparaging an African

Leading the march against PM Abiy, Tronvoll believes, will make him a hero to the Ethiopian people.

I have defended many hustlers in my legal career.

I know a hustle and a hustler when I see one.

It reminds me of the book, “House of Lies” and how management consultants steal your watch and then tell you the time.

I see no point in PM Abiy participating in media three-ring circus whose sole purpose is to trash his epochal accomplishments and churn out junk news, fake news and fabricated news about Ethiopia going to hell in a hand basket.  

I say, “Let the nattering nabobs of negativism, the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history” go to hell!

The Nobel Peace Prize ceremony should be conducted in the spirit of Alfred Nobel’s last will and testament

In his last will and testament, Alfred Nobel provided for an award to be given to “champions of peace to be selected by a committee of five persons tin the Norwegian Storting”.

He declared, “It is my express wish that when awarding the prizes, no consideration be given to nationality, but that the prize be awarded to the worthiest person, whether or not they are Scandinavian.”

Alfred Nobel did not state in his will that the “champion of peace” give media interviews or press conferences.

Nothing in Nobel’s will suggests he intended a three-ring media circus to be part of the celebration of the champion of peace.

Neither the Nobel Committee nor the “media” should be disappointed.

In interpreting a will, it is a rule followed, arguably universally, to give effect to the testator’s (will maker) intentions by reviewing the will as a whole and interpreting it based on the plain meaning of the words used.

There is no language in Nobel’s will that demands or even suggest the “champion of peace” to conduct a three-ring media circus.

Gratitude is the natural response to any gift and the Nobel Lecture is a natural expression of gratitude for the honor.

Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Champion of Peace will say his peace when he formally accepts his award.

I am not concerned about the cackling and braying media.

History remembers the Nobel Peace Prize for the worthy deeds of the champion of peace, not for the recipient’s performance before the ringmasters of the a three-ring media circus!

Five reasons why I agree with PM Abiy’s decision to decline press events in Oslo

A media circus inside a Trojan Horse

I see no purpose in being part of a three-ring media circus stage-managed by those who have a personal axe to grind with PM Abiy. Those who wanted to ambush PM Abiy in the “media interviews” are manifestly frustrated. They will not get a chance to embarrass him in public. PM Abiy has stated in good faith and in good will what he will do.

I say to the nattering nabobs of negativism, “Deal with it! Get over it! Keep moving!”

Shame on them for politicizing the Nobel Peace Prize

Alfred Nobel in his will wanted his peace prize to be as non-political as possible.

In his last will and testament, he wrote, “It is my express wish that when awarding the prizes, no consideration be given to nationality, but that the prize be awarded to the worthiest person, whether or not they are Scandinavian.”

It is manifest from the plain language of Nobel’s will he did not intend his prize to be politicized and trivialized. He wanted it to focus on peace and peace alone.

I commend PM Abiy for insisting on living out the manifest intentions of Alfred Nobel and not politicize the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony is the Oscars or Emmys

The way PM Abiy’s critics are talking, one would likely think that the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is the Oscars or Emmy’s. It is not.

I believe it takes away from the solemn purpose established by Nobel for his peace prize by making the award ceremony a media entertainment event.

Nobel’s will and last testament is stunning for its clarity and lack of sentimentality.

Nobel exactly knew the purpose of his bequest. His intentions were of the greatest solemnity and purposefulness. He wanted to leave his money for the betterment of mankind and the advancement of peace throughout the world.

Nobel did not intend his legacy to be global infotainment in his name.

Why not respect the wishes of the champion of peace

Those barking and howling at PM Abiy for not giving a media interview assert they have some kind of legal or moral right to compel him to do so.

They can criticize him all they want but they must recognize that as a champion of peace PM Abiy can decide whether or not to talk to them.

Alfred Nobel did not put a quid pro quo clause in his last will and testament requiring participation in a three-ring media circus in exchange for the peace prize.

PM Abiy could extend the media in Oslo the privilege of interviewing him. But he has the absolute right to say, “No!”

The Nobel Peace Prize is not a rite of passage

There are those who argue PM Abiy is breaking with Nobel Peace Prize tradition by not giving media interviews.

I think these people confuse tradition with rites of passage.

I am sure the “tradition of media interviews” in Nobel ceremonies is a cherished one.

But the howling hounds of “media interviews” seem to confuse with rite of passage.

Any self-respecting anthropologist knows rites of passage are rituals which mark the passing of one stage of life and entry of another.

PM Abiy is in Oslo not to go through the rites of passage and affirm before the court of public opinion that he is a peacemaker.

He is in Oslo to accept an award bestowed upon him for his extraordinary achievements and become what Alfred Nobel described as a “champion of peace.”

I say, “Hail the Champion!”

“Champions train, losers complain.”.

It is what it is!

PM Abiy has made his intentions clear. He is acting in good faith and in good will in his appearance in Oslo to receive his award.

I support his decision to abide by the language and spirit of Alfred Nobel’s last will and testament.

Those who do not like his decision can moan and groan about it until the cows come home.

Or they can take his decision for what it is and deal with it.

Get over it!

Afterthought

Let’s face it and be honest.

The green-eyed monster is eating the guts out of the domestic and foreign opponents and detractors of PM Abiy.

They just cannot believe how Abiy Ahmed came out of nowhere and did miraculous things in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa.

The windbag do-nothing, good-for-nothing pseudo-intellectuals keep jabbering.

The social media tsetse flies spread lies, disinformation and fake news to undermine his leadership.

His fair-weather friends talk behind his back.

There are so many people jealous of Abiy Ahmed.

What I have determined anecdotally is that those who are jealous of Abiy Ahmed are generally lazy, lack self-confidence and are losers in life.

That is why jealous people are a matter of mind over matter to me. I don’t mind, and they don’t matter.

Suffice it to say, jealousy is the cancer of the soul.

Those who are jealous of Abiy Ahmed better get soul healing.

I wish them, “Get well soon!”

 

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4 comments

  1. Al Mariam,

    Living in the Western world and trashing the Media, the fourth pillar of democracy, is not only sickness but blatant hypocrisy.

  2. Regardless of the merit or demerits of criticism of Abey’s leadership, Al’s none stop ululation of Abey has become nauseating.

  3. The new Andreas Eshete is getting deep low and crazy

    Look what Al Abiy is is saying
    1. “I support his decision to abide by the language and spirit of Alfred Nobel’s last will and testament.”

    Al-Abiy the propagandist, Mr Alfred Nobel never killed any one or joint a criminal organization

    2. “They just cannot believe how Abiy Ahmed came out of nowhere and did miraculous things in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa.”
    This is untrue and a blatant lie. He came from somewhere. He was groomed by Zenawi, he was spy director and the ruler of Oromia. And what miracle are you talking about, Sir? Burning churches, stoning citizens, displacing millions, crucifying christians.

    3. “There are so many people jealous of Abiy Amhemad”
    Are you out of your mind, Al Abiy? Jealous of Abiy for what? This an argument of a three old child.

    Al-Abiy, even St paul and Peter did not write the amount your write about your new God, Abiy Ahmad.

    I have never seen an educated man serving a criminal as a propagandist this low.

    Shame on you!

  4. Maybe Al is trying to move to Ethiopia to be treated like Jawar with governmental bodyguards famous like a celebrity.
    Many of his types did the same for Meles Zenawi in the first few years Meles Zenawi got to power with Meles giving them no mind except to Andreas Eshete who tutored Meles’s children throughout their childhood school studies.

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