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Zimbabwe and Ethiopia: Any double standards?
Posted: Saturday, March 31, 2007
Source: Accra Daily Mail
Dear [Accra Daily] Editor
Please kindly reproduce the following article in your popular paper to enable President. John Agyekum Kufuor, the distinguished current Chairman of the African Union, and the good Ghanaian public to have a clear picture of the current situation in Ethiopia under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Almost all media in England carry Zimbabwe's human rights abuses. They have stories about the brutal dictator and the world's response to the recent violence. Morgan Tsvagari has been lionized in the media.
Since the violence, the BBC has opened most of its news with Zimbabwe, its top correspondent Orla Guerin reporting from South Africa. Other European media outlets have also extensively covered the story in hostile ways to Mugabe. The man has to go. He is a classic African dictator who has no regard for the wishes of the citizenry he is supposed to serve. He is corrupt and brutal.
Yet the same scrutiny which is accorded this liberation hero is not given to another dictator a few thousand miles north of Zimbabwe. Meles’ government has killed many people in recent years. His soldiers and policemen have tortured opposition activists.
He has imprisoned opponents. While in Zimbabwe, the opposition MDC has its offices all over the country, the main opposition in Ethiopia is unofficially outlawed. Mugabe's three months ban on demonstrations was received with abhorrence by the west. In Ethiopia, demonstrations have been prohibited since May 2005.
Two striking issues differentiate Ethiopia from Zimbabwe. While Mugabe told the west to "go hang" long time ago, Meles has chosen to be the pawn in their hands. Mugabe's defiance was met by sanctions from the furious West. Meles, an equally fierce dictator, is being showered with financial gifts from the World Bank and the West.
More importantly, there is "the white factor" which has made Europeans and Americans to act differently in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Meles government killed its own people. Mugabe's dictatorship started to become unacceptable when he confiscated white-owned farms. When Mugabe murdered thousands of people in Ndebele in the 1980s, the opposition from the West was largely muted. The very least one could say about the reaction to Mugabe is hypocrisy.
When Ghana and Ghanaians under the able leadership of John Kufuor, are enjoying the rule of law, freedom of speech, respect for human rights and all other goodies that come with democracy after a long struggle, their brothers and sisters in Ethiopia are suffering under the firm grips of a tyrant, who is terrorizing, intimidating and torturing them.
In Ethiopia today, there is only one television station – government owned, no free press, no private radio stations (no phone-ins). Even family members are afraid of each other. The country is full of paid informants. In short, Ethiopia is a police state.
If you are defending the defenceless, and if you are the voice of the voiceless through the power of the pen, please reproduce the above and let the world know what is going on in far away Ethiopia. Thanking you for the cooperation and hoping to see the article in your next issue.
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