By Yilma Bekele,The citizen
March 4 2014
Maybe he heard the fate of technicians that used to work for EAL but were offered a job by foreign carriers and were prevented from leaving by his country’s Immigration after EAL passed their names.
It is definitely the first time an international carrier jet has been hijacked by its own crew member. Answering ‘why’ is not a simple matter. The act by the co-pilot is intertwined with all that is wrong with our country. It is the crystallization of all our woes in one neat package.
The alleged hijacker is reported to be in his early 30’s. To be a co-pilot of a commercial jet is a big deal. It is a huge accomplishment. What circumstances force such a person to commit a crime with harsh penalties is what we should try to answer.
It is the kind of act that results from the pressure of living under a totalitarian government.
A place where your employer owns your body and soul and where one is constantly reminded of his disposability on a daily basis. One comes to a point where there is nothing to live and hope for.
It is reported that the alleged hijacker has been an employee for five years. It is enough time for the person to know the inner workings of the organization he is part of.
From his current decision, it is obvious that he did not agree with or like what he saw.
Some would ask why he did not just leave. That is one option. He must have gone to pilot school for a few years to get his certification. Of course he must have flown hundreds of hours to be promoted and occupy a co-pilot seat of a big jumbo jet. If he is in his early thirties, flying has occupied most of his life. With such a professional resume, why he didn’t just leave and get a job somewhere else is a good question.
Maybe he heard the fate of technicians that used to work for EAL but were offered a job by foreign carriers and were prevented from leaving by his country’s Immigration after EAL passed their names. Even if he managed to leave, it is doubtful EAL would give him any reference, let alone a positive one. The only option was to submit and humiliate oneself.
Yes, there is more to the story. The co-pilot could be a patriotic Ethiopian that is able to see the degradation of his country and people and vowed to do something about it. Someone that decided a bold action is called for to show the unbearable situation our people are put through and called TPLF out in a very loud manner.
We are a very quiet and reserved people. We like to hush hush problems and sweep all that we do not want to see under the rug. Our co-pilot is rocking the boat. He exposed the ethnic regime for what it is – a place where such a young professional person does not feel free to live his life in peace.
The American whistleblower Edward Snowden sacrificed so much to protect freedom and privacy and it looks to me our young co-pilot has sacrificed so much and faces a very uncertain future but showed the world how much the situation in Ethiopia has deteriorated.
Whether he meant to or not is not the question. What the world is now talking about is how repressive and closed Ethiopia is. It makes the Western enablers work of propping up the minority regime a little difficult. It also makes it easy for our supporters in the European Union and the US Senate to show the other face of Ethiopia removed from Woyane pie in sky propaganda.
Situations like this are a very revealing moment about the people in power. They often forget that they are accountable for their actions and words. In Ethiopia they control the means of communication.
They are free to change the story from one day to the next and they make sure no one challenges their spin. It is different in the West.
It was a little disorienting to see Ato Redwan Hussein with the title of ‘Government Spokesman’ answering questions regarding the incident.
He is reported by Reuters to have said: ‘the flight has made a scheduled stop in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where the hijacker or hijackers might have boarded the plane.’
ESAT carried an interview with a female passenger that boarded in Addis and deplaned in Rome.
According to her, it was a direct flight from Addis to Rome and continued to Milan. The hijacking took place between Milan and Rome and the plane was redirected to Geneva.
How a Government spokesman could make such a false statement in front of the media says a lot about our country. It is because it has always become very easy for Woyane officials and their underlings to tell a story any way they wish since it can always be altered and retold tomorrow.
We are relieved no one was hurt. We hope Swiss officials will take the political nature of his desperate act when they try his case. In most Ethiopians’ opinion, he succeeded in showing the desperate situation the human rights situation is in Ethiopia.
The government in power is terrified of the people and is resorting to criminal methods to instil fear. Such bold acts by individuals like the brave co-pilot draw attention to our country and the dire situation.
There are hundreds that die in Somalia, Red Sea, Yemen, southern Africa and many other places fleeing Ethiopia for a better life. They appear just as numbers in UN statistics.
Our young and educated are migrating out at an alarming rate. The co-pilot’s action is a wake up cry for us the stakeholders to wake up and pay attention.