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by Helen Epstein
Parts of southern Ethiopia resemble the scenery in a Tarzan movie. When I was there last fall, the green forested hills were blanketed in white mist and rain poured down on the small farms and homesteads. In the towns, slabs of meat hung in the butchers’ shops and donkeys hauled huge sacks of coffee beans, Ethiopia’s major export, along the stony dirt roads. So I was surprised to see the signs of hunger everywhere. There were babies with kwashiorkor, a disease caused by malnutrition, which I’d assumed occurred only in war zones. Many of the older children were clearly stunted and some women were so deficient in iodine they had goiters the size of cannonballs.
This East African nation, famous for its ancient rock-hewn churches, Solomonic emperors, and seemingly intractable poverty, has a long history of famine. But I had always assumed that food shortages were more common in the much drier north of the country than in the relatively fertile south. Although rainfall throughout Ethiopia had been erratic in 2008 and 2009, the stunting and goiter I saw were signs of chronic malnutrition, which had clearly existed for many years.
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Ethiopia: Foreign Aid Subsidizes Repression, Says Expert
A month ahead of national elections, the Ethiopian government has come under critical Western scrutiny in an article which accuses foreign donors of "subsidizing a regime that is rapidly becoming one of the most repressive and dictatorial on the continent."
Writing in the current issue of The New York Review of Books, Helen Epstein suggests that Western aid officials "seem reluctant to admit that there are two Prime Minister Meles Zenawis.
"One is a clubbable, charming African who gives moving speeches at Davos and other elite forums about fighting poverty and terrorism. The other is a dictator whose totalitarianism dates back to cold war days."
Epstein, a specialist in public health in developing countries, declares in an extensive analysis:
"The problem with foreign aid in Ethiopia is that both the Ethiopian government and its donors see the people of this country not as individuals with distinct needs, talents, and rights but as an undifferentiated mass, to be mobilized, decentralized, vaccinated, given primary education and pit latrines, and freed from the legacy of feudalism, imperialism, and backwardness."
She says Meles' government has received U.S. $26 billion in development aid from the West in an experiment "to see whether 'the big push' approach to African development will work." In 2008 it received more aid than any other sub-Saharan country.
"The big push," writes Epstein, "has financed 15,000 village health clinics, seventeen universities, countless schools, and the beginnings of a new road network that will bring trade and services to many previously isolated rural areas."
But the aid subsidizes repression, she adds.
"On May 23, Ethiopia will hold its first parliamentary elections since 2005, but the results seem foreordained.
"Opposition groups have been prevented from opening local offices and some opposition candidates have been assaulted by [ruling party] officials or arbitrarily detained by the police.
"The government uses Chinese spy technology to bug phone lines and Internet communications, and countless journalists, editors, judges, academics, and human rights defenders have fled the country or languish behind bars, at risk of torture.
"New laws passed since 2005 have made political activity more difficult than ever."
This so-called analysis is mostly based on unfounded allegations by the very notorious leaders of the opposition party MEDREK, who are well-known for being extremely deceitful. Most of the allegations listed by Ms. Helen Epstein have already been proven to be total FABRICATIONS by MEDREK.
Anyone who basis his/her analysis on such a well-known, deceitful, morally bankrupt group of individuals doesn’t deserve to pass as an amateur journalist let alone an expert. Ms. Helen Epstein is either exceptionally incompetent or a shill for a group which has its own personal interest in mind, but not the interest of the Ethiopia people for sure.
ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር
Is that a common name in Ethiopia?
Or is it just the phony handle of a lapdog of the TPLF?
It must burn your skinny self that there are people around the world who know the truth about dear Ethiopia.
And all you can do is sit at your rented computer and browse websites and spout of the propoganda of the Woyane parasites.
Where does all that aid money go to?
The people of Ethiopia? No, it goes to select projects in Tigray, and the swiss bank accounts of the Woyane.
With the U.S.A, Great Britain and the EU making by far the largest contribution of foreign aid to Ethiopia, how long will it last when the world financial crisis has not stopped but has showed further signs of economic meltdown for the continent of Europe. The oppressive regime of ethnic federalism announced it will be building an arms and ammunition factory in Ethiopia after the G20 agreement in London last year, it is clear the majority of the aid is being syphoned off to support the regimes oppressive military apparatus.
“Man can only begin an enterprise, it is for God to dispose of it to a good end.” Negus Haile Selassie
Long Live the Constitutional Monarchy!, Long Live the Kebra Negast!, Fire burn down the Babylon military oppression of secession, Rise with the Lion of Judah!, Long Live Independent Ethiopia!
One of the most cohorent, well argued, substantive and persuasive article I have seen that is aimed at exposing the shame and troubling state of Ethiopia.
I wonder why Nazret opted to go through a second link instead of providing a direct link to the article.
Now that is what I call an article, not the rumbling and frankely clueless types I see carrying ethiopian names! Thanks Helen, irrespective of your implicit objectives.
[Uzawa, you have a valid point. we were too late to post the article and we simply screwed up. It certainly should have been a cover story]
Anyone who has a different opinion against your masters (Woyane) is a person of hidden agenda, a fabricator of false allegations,and enemy of Ethiopia. We hear the same rhetoric from your two bosses, Meles and Bereket Simon, every time someone exposes their evil deeds. You and your masters never critique the idea instead you start attacking the messenger.
What planet do you live in? is this the first article you have ever read about represive Woyane? or are all articles wrong? What i like asbout this article is that people are finding out the 2 diffrent personalities of woyane leader. The big Q is whether or not the werst keep burying their face in the sand.
Maybe it’s about time we add another sentence to our vocabulary rapporteur to acknowledge the gravely misguided policies of some governments that are carried out in the name of national interests:
STATE SUPPORTERS OF DICTATORSHIP!
This label should stand shoulder to shoulder with the “state supporters of terrorism, after all aren’t dictators terrorists with political power !!
Epstein….another Int’l Jewish (Zionist)Conspiracy huh? where’s Ahmadinajad when you need him…
blah blah blah blah……Only force can remove this ugly monster and its gang of Tigre looters. The idea that this minority of jsut under 5 million controls the day to day lives of about 75 million other Ethiopians is mind boggling …and for the stupid Western governments to think that they can prop up minority rule forever before it crumbles on them like a house of cards is equally perplexing me.
Westerners usually claim that they’ve “vested interest” in stability and that is the reason they claim to support strong men. But don’t they know that strong men from minorities only invite a bigger messier and worst instability than they usually fear?
The dream of expecting a govt of minorities to vacate political power to democratically elected majority government isx just that a dream. sooner or later Ethiopians have to rise up in violence to unseat these thugs and it’s better done sooner than later. 19 years is way too long for Tigre rule. Tigrayans have a choice to make. Unseat Meles and his tigre cronies in the military and and come to terms with their minority status or face the prospect of being chased to their mountain hideouts, forever bmarginalized and live isolated from the rest of Ethiopia, squeezed by Eritreans and then their land grabbed by the Sudan.
Geopolitics will change, alliances change….and from what you have done, you haven’t created any friends anywhere. ( Maybe the Sudanese …by giving Amharaland to them). But once they see that the tide is turning against you, they’ll also betray you.
The Thuggy called Justin is once again
a common identification used by TPLF
Thugs and Tigrai mafiosos to spread lies
and propagandas and to infect this website .
Under the cover of this nicknames many TPLF paid cadres
and Tigrai mafiosos are hidden to mask their
evil mission :Spreading unfounded lies and
rumors against the patriotic diaspora
peoples and the True Ethjiopians .
not sure if this is the same author who wrote “Cruel Ethiopia” but while there are some interesting observations on her part, I feel she is too harsh and I don’t like the title at all. There are good and bad things in very country.
I enjoy reading work that provides solutions not harsh criticisms. No one benefits from her sense of rage about ethiopia and the system and in some ways is disrespectful to us the citizens. She is in public health, I would like to see what her contributions are to anyone in that regard and field. I am all for open dialogue but this overstepps the boundaries between respecting the people and making a point about issues that need attention and her approach defeats the purpose.
Oo Justin I feel sorry for u guy . U are worse then ur chimpanze boss . It is ok to lie some times when things go bad . But u are fool who always say same thing over and over . Are u retarded ?
She is a mouthpiece for some disgruntled NGOs who were barred by law from getting involved in Ethiopian politics. All her stark allegations and assertions are counter to the actual reality on the ground in Ethiopia. The lady keeps making one allegation after another without lifting a finger to validate her allegations. Even worse, she recyles old, tired, fabricated allegations which have already been disproven by credible, independent bodies. The TRUTH is, the reality in Ethiopia is completely different than the picture Ms. Con-Artist Helen Epstein is trying to paint. So, one has to conclude Ms. Epstein is more concerned about welfare of the NGOs she is representing than the Ethiopian people’s. After all, it’s very difficult for the NGOs to advance their own and financial donor’s interest in Ethiopia without manipulating Ethiopian politics.
ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር
With out foreign aid and support Meles would have not last for one month.
Stop helping the brutal regime and help Ethiopians live in democracy.
well without the foreign aid ethiopia will remain with its 18th century road network, famine will reign killing millions, no new university or health center and still…we will have worse when it comes, democracy peace and stability…that is a double loss situation for the country and in case we forgot that is exactly what happend during derg time where million ethipians died from hungar right infront of our eyes.
SAGE, you have said all to JUSTIN (dictator suporter)Swiss, mallesian and newyork banks got the ethiopian aid money in the name of ZENAWI while 99% of ethiopians dieng of hunger.
This must be the twilight zone or the work of a Charlatan who goes by the name Ms. Helen Epstein.
Who knew building schools, universities and road infrastructures, and vaccinating kids, and teaching farmers to be more productive was being repressive?? The Ethiopian government for sure doesn’t think so, and apparently, the NGOs who are involved in this work do not think so too. But much more importantly, the overwhelming number of Ethiopians do not think so, for they keep voting for this appallingly cruel government.
I think Ms. Epstein needs to explain to us why educating Ethiopian kids and farmers, improving the Ethiopian heath care system, and expanding commerce by improving the transportation system is an ‘appalling cruelty’ as she incredibly puts it. What is Ms. Epstein’s suggestion?? Is it Ms. Epstein’s preference for Ethiopians to remain poorly educated, sickly, and poor?? Perhaps that shouldn’t come as huge surprise to anyone since it perfectly fits her stereo type of ‘cultures of the African interior.’
ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር
An Expert on WHAT? what really qualifies this writes with the pedigree she bestowed upon herself?
Dear Ms. Epstein,
You said Ethiopians looked malnourished everywhere you went in Ethiopia. Ms. Epstein, I have seen your picture, I guarantee you Ethiopians everywhere in Ethiopia look a lot more nourished and healthy than you.
ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር
With out foreign aid Ethiopia would have been a democratic and prosperous country.
Foreign aid has proven to create a lazy tyrannical regime, corruption, depending on begging for food and money.
It also created more people to suffer due to hunger because the government doesn’t want people to own land and farm while dealing and willing with foreign governments to farm and export food.
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