Ato Bereket Simon Writes a Book on the Past Two Elections
By Seble Teweldebirhan
Addis Ababa, December 21, 2011 (Ezega.com) - On Tuesday night this week, Sheraton Addis was crowded by Ethiopian celebrities, politicians, business community, diplomats, journalist, and many other recognizable personalities. Prominent artists like the king of Ethiopian Jazz Mulatu Astatke, World Laurite Afewerke Tekele, and politicians including ministers of almost all sectors and parliamentarians, Advisors of the Prime Minister including Dr Fasil Nahom, the business community from the top like Sheik Mohammed Al Amodin, all showed up at Sheraton Addis. Around 500 people in general were gathered at the glamour’s Laliebela Hall that was overflowing with classical décor, an open bar, and plenty of free food.
The occasion for this gathering was the inauguration of a book written by Head of the Government Communications Affairs Office (GCAO) at a minister level and connoisseur politician, Bereket Simon titled “Yehulet Mirchawoch Weg; Nadan Yegeta Agerawi Rucha” or ‘The Tell of Two Elections”.
At the ceremony artists including Haregewine Assefa, Emebet Woldegebreal, Fekadu Teklemariam and Bayushe Alemayehu read poems and some pages from the book they said impressed them the most.
The guest of honor Ministry of Education Minister Ato Demeke Mekonenen expressed his appreciation to the author saying it takes courage and a great deal of patience to write a book with all the responsibilities Ato Bereket assumes at his position. “I am honored to inaugurate this book as a guest of honor. I know Bereket for a long time and I wonder how tough it was for him to write a book with all he does for this country,” he said. Ato Bereket presented Ato Demeke with the very first published and signed copy of the book, which at the same time declared the official inauguration of the book.
Ato Bereket on his side underlined the importance of senior EPDRF officials to become storytellers so that their history would pass to the coming generations. “EPDRF is a party that has so much history. We had an incredible journey both during the struggle against Derg and after we assumed power. However, as a party, we always focus on the present and the future and never had the time to tell and write about the past. We are always busy moving forward. I think that is one of the reasons most of our stories are not written yet,” he said.
“2005 was the hardest time for EPDRF. Not only that we lost the election in some areas but also the opposition parties created so many catastrophes that tasted our capacity to stop it. That was one of the few times the party doubted its ability to continue the fight. I cannot lie to you there were times we just decided to give it all up. However, at the end, we knew we have the responsibility and if we did not do it, nobody would. That gave us the courage to keep going,” he said
Ato Bereket mentioned his prior intention was to write the story of the controversial 2005 election. However, time went quickly that the 2010 election become part of the story. According to the synopsis of the book, Ato Bereket found it convenient since the book takes an interesting step by comparing the two elections. He believes the comparison, answers the ultimate question that is ‘what went wrong in 2005 for EPDRF to lose considerable seats in parliament and was corrected in 2010 during which the party won all but only one seat.'
“As a person who writes history, I tried very much to put my emotions away, and focus on facts that the public already knows and some of the information, me as an active participant of both elections had the privilege of knowing. The readers will be the one who will judge if I was successful in striving to balance the story and focus only on what really happened,” he wrote on the synopsis of the book.
Ato Bereket during the inaugural ceremony took time to praise and acknowledge his party and some of the people who he said helped him to finalize the book. “I would like to thank my party EPDRF, for whom I am committed very much. This party gave me the opportunity to become who I am today and most importantly to have all the experiences you will read in the book. I also like to thank Meles Zenawe who read the first draft of this book twice. As you know, he is the busiest man in the country but he took time to read and give me some significant comments on the book. He is not only a wonderful boss but also a very good friend. Meles is a great leader who led by example and who can work and make others work. I am grateful for him,” he said.
Ato Bereket also mentioned his family, many of his colleagues and party members to acknowledge for all they did for the successful finalization of the book. However, he praised one name more, and that is Ethiopian Billionaire Al Amoudi.
The publishing cost and the extravagant inaugural ceremony at Sheraton Addis was said to be covered by Al Amoudi. At the ceremony, Al Amoudi said that he could not be happier in helping Ato Bereket to publish his book. “People say I love EPDRF. Let me tell you the truth, I do love them. I love them because they paid a price none of us is willing to pay for this country. They fought a long and brutal war, bled, and died for us. I have learned love and commitment for a country and striving for the development of the country from them. They thought me what democracy and politics is. For that I do support them in every way I can,” he said. He also mentioned the time when the public despised him for his public support for EPDRF.
“In 2005, many people criticized me for showing my support for EPDRF. At the time, the only thing I did was wearing a shirt with Nib printed on it. I do not regret doing that. I think I am allowed to show my support for a party I love dearly,” he said.
“Yehulet Mirchawoch Weg” incorporates two parts and ten chapters that tell the story of the two elections in 2005 and 2010 and the ups and downs of the ruling party during these elections. The 314-page book was said by the author to show the ruling party's version of the story for the controversial 2005 election and the total victory of the 2010 election. Considering many individuals from the opposition parties wrote several books, especially on the 2005 election, it was about time for the ruling party to tell its side of the story and explain the huge differences between the results of the last two elections.
(Stay tune for the full review of the book)
Seble Teweldebirhan is Addis Ababa based Reporter for Ezega.com. She can be reached by sending email through this form.