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United States needs to pressure Ethiopia's Tyrant to improve human rights - Editorial

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02/01/12

  09:55:59 pm, by admin, 179 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

United States needs to pressure Ethiopia's Tyrant to improve human rights - Editorial

Curbing the baser tendencies of Ethiopia's strong man: editorial

By The Plain Dealer Editorial Board

The Cleveland Plain Dealer

The United States, Ethiopia's biggest donor, needs to pressure Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government to improve its lousy human rights record.

The prime minister deserves high marks for improving the nation's health indicators, economy and agriculture. Targeted U.S. aid helped achieve these outcomes, reducing Ethiopia's long-term dependence on outside help.

But human rights organizations say Meles' government is also turning parts of the country into prison camps, jailing, torturing or hounding into exile journalists and dissidents.

A shocking BBC news report last year found evidence that the government withheld food, fertilizers and seeds from villages that did not support Meles' political party -- a death sentence in this rural country.

The United States provides a significant share of the $3 billion Ethiopia receives annually in long-term development aid, mostly through a multilateral donor partnership. It and other donors need to convince Meles that it pays to have a civil society and to ensure that allegations of government misconduct can be independently investigated.

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Comment from: gashe_mamo [Member]  
gashe_mamo

Dear Editorial .. Ahun gena be ay’nachew metah!

Ethiopia gets the highest amount of foreign aid next to Afghanistan. With the right policy , right management this was an opportunity for a real and viable change in the lives of the poor ones, but Mr Naziawe & his crooks couldn’t fight corruption, … used the foreign aid for their political agenda & the poor ones becomes the most poorer; where as those with close ties becomes super-rich!

02/01/12 @ 23:03
Comment from: addiszemen [Member]  
addiszemen

If you start your analysis of Ethiopia by telling us this govt turned parts of the country to a prison camp, well, we don’t need to read any more further to conclude that your just another fiasco who has no idea what he is talking about. LOL!!

02/01/12 @ 23:08
Comment from: dan [Visitor]
dan

Correction-the US is not the biggest donor in Ethiopia, in fact the US contributes only less than a quarter of the 3 billion Ethiopia has been getting annually.The US role in Ethiopian development is hyped in this article when in fact the EU contributes most of donation.
It looks like the writer is confusing Ethiopia with Egypt where the US gives massive military and economic assistance.
The US is in fact manipulating the woyane government and have forced the Ethiopian military to fight American war in Somalia with Russian hardware.All in all the US is making profit out of this unholy alliance and it is time that Ethiopia look to the East.

02/01/12 @ 23:52
Comment from: john john [Visitor]
3 stars
john john

First of there is no human right in the USA itself a nation who protect and serve only the 1% . The 99% movement is plain clear to the world. Regarding Ethiopian PM his work and leadership with excellent vision is evidence to all Ethiopian citizen please take your garbage pressure idea to somewhere else where it belong. I don’t think Ethiopia will go for delusional world mess.

02/01/12 @ 23:54
Comment from: Zeku Etyopia Tiqdem [Visitor]
Zeku Etyopia Tiqdem

US ponders ditching Ethiopia…chronicles of hypocrisy.

By Zeku Etyopia

For all the nationwide buzz of investment and growth in cooperation with the Renaissance hydro electric Dam construction and the EPRDF government’s 5 year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), foreign media networks covering Ethiopia have chosen to ignore the program and have been increasingly highlighting the arrests of journalists by Ethiopian police on various charges ranging from terrorism to treason.

The grumbling has reached fever pitch since the arrest of opposition blogger Eskinder Nega as well as the 11 year sentence of two Swedish journalists caught trying to illegally enter Ethiopia with armed ONLF fighters. Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders have criticized the Ethiopian government for it’s new anti terror laws and more and more reports are refering to Ethiopia as an autocratic state.

A few weeks ago, we saw the Developpment and Research Institute of New York University, call on the Obama administration to cut all ties with the Ethiopian government. They demanded that all aid be stopped and national projects abandoned.

And their cries have not gone without consideration. Wikileaks releases in the past year or so suggest that the US government is rather frustrated with the direction the bilateral relations between our countries is headed. Officials have quietly complained about Ethiopia’s lack of free speech, opposition party restrictions, and election fraud. Many even worry that Ethiopia will become a rogue state.

Opponents of the ruling EPRDF government, as well as anti Ethiopian elements in the Horn of Africa decipher our relationship, agreements and current bickering as follows:

Ethiopia is a puppet state of America. Ethiopia is paid to protect American interests in Africa and will invade it’s neighbours in a heartbeat after a phone call order from Washington DC reaches Addis Ababa. But Ethiopia’s human rights abuses and lack of national progress are slowly turning the democratic all round good guy Americans away from the evil abusive dictatorship led Ethiopians.

After carefully studying the situation, I have no choice but to declare the United States guilty of blatant hypocrisy. The fact that the idea of double crossing Ethiopia is even being considered shows complete disregard of the values of allied cooperation. The people of Ethiopia expect and deserve better from the United States of America.

First thing first. What the USA needs to realize is that Ethiopia is nobody’s slave. We are nobody’s slave. We aren’t mercenaries. We aren’t hitmen. And we definetly aren’t anyone’s sidekick. The action on the ground, the decisions on the front line, prove it. We are partners and allies, and each bullet fired in our various military escapades was fired with the interests of the US AND Ethiopia’s sovereignty at the trigger. And none were fired without the consent of Ethiopia.

Let’s start with Ethiopia’s operation to take the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) out of power in Somalia launched in 2006. It is falsely percieved that the United States pushed Ethiopia into war to eliminate an anti American foe, financing the whole scheme. And that Ethiopia was rewarded in foreign aid.

This version of events has been widely propagated by ERi Tv and is baseless. Many Somali organizations have also chosen to accept this version as it portrays Ethiopia as a mindless out of control war machine. However, even many diaspora seated Ethiopian opposition media sources have chosen to spread this sequence of events to tarnish the name of our country for their political ambitions. It saddens me that my own fellow countrymen could be so near sighted and selfish. Because of this many are ill informed about the events leading up to the war.

The truth is that Ethiopia financed the entire Somalia adventure. The United States didn’t cover the price of a single bullet. Ethiopia’s General Samora Younis has brought this up in conversations with American military leaders who have conceded that their country should have been more involved. Ethiopia went in first and foremost in her own desire to prevent a future Arab-Eritrean sponsored Somali jihadist invasion of Ethiopia. We did not enter to protect the star spangled banner. We did not enter to eliminate a threat to the west. We went to prevent 1977 from repeating itself again, when Ethiopia quietly sat passively as our neighbour, after unsuccesfully invading us in 1963 continued beefing up it’s armed forces, purchasing tanks, jets, missiles and armements, plotting our deaths for over a decade, then finally invading and causing untold death and destruction on our soil, and untold damage on our economy. To prevent this from happening again in the new millenium, Ethiopia went in, knocked the threat out. Had our intervention not occured, we would have seen a much more massive, bloodier war on our own soil like we did 35 years ago. That combined with the dethroned Somali government inviting Ethiopian troops to rescue their country and we had every reason to send our bravest.

The United States also wanted an overthrow of the UIC. An extremist organization led by former warlords with a strong anti American rhetoric similar to Mahmoud Ahmadinejab of Iran, would never be America’s pet peeve. They did not want a Taliban in Africa, or another safe haven for Al Qaeda. It was in their interests to see the death of the UIC, and after the 1993 Blackhawk down incident, the United States did not want to send in US Marines.

They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

That certainly applied here. Ethiopia and the United States both had an enemy in the UIC for their own reasons, both saw the need for it’s overthrow and both acted. Ethiopia did the hard work and launched an all out military operation, while the US sent a few drones to hunt suspected Al Qaeda suspects. The US killing 2 or 3 Al Qaeda members did not make our mission any easier, and does not qualify as aiding us. Neither does satellite imagery of Somalia. One can not compare sending military hardware, soldiers or cash, to giving us pictures available for free download on Google Earth.

The United States should be infinitely grateful to the people of Ethiopia. We did the hard work, sacrificed the lives of our beloved soldiers, paid for it ourselves and saved the United States billions of dollars in warfare and thousands of American lives.

You’re welcome America.

Ethiopia enjoys a blossoming partnership with the most powerful country on earth and since the downfall of the communist derg regime, the American people’s relationship with Ethiopians has been one of mutual respect, understanding, cooperation and to be even considering turning on us now is downright treasonous.

Where are Ethiopians today? Why are the Americans secretly discussing cutting ties with us? What are our defects? I don’t believe it is logical to expect a country of 85 ethnic groups and nearly as many languages that survived the horror of about a dozen wars, including civil wars and invasions in the last 120 years, recurring famines and backwarded monarchial and communist government systems, to immediately be transformed into a western style democratic utopia within 20 years. It’s incredibly naive to hope so. The so called democracy activists and opposition media have no idea of the issues that an extremely multiculturally mixed, politically divided Ethiopia full of traditionally oppressed ethnic minority groups faces.

In 20 years, Ethiopia of today is for the first time since the Axumite Empire era, among the highest growing countries on the globe. For the first time in 150 years, there are no civil wars being fought in Ethiopia. The biggest steps to modernisation including eliminating culturally backward practices such as marrying off children, female genital mutilation (FGM) have been taken in the past 10 years. Ethiopia has made it’s biggest strides in combatting malnutrition, illiteracy, HIV AIDS, child mortality, poverty to the point that our life expectancy for both men and women has surpassed 50, when it was as low as 38 in the 1980ies. Ethiopia has for most it’s history been known for rebels fighting despots and causing death and damage to our people. Ethiopians have suffered terribly because of inter fighting on political differences. However in 2012, the majority of Ethiopians, even those who oppose the EPRDF’s rule have put their political differences aside to unite to build the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. Had we followed the US style governance and changed leaders and systems every 4 years, starting from scratch each time to repair what was one of the most damaged nations on the planet at the time, we wouldn’t have made significant progress. It takes an Ethiopian with the familiarity of the Ethiopian dilemna to create success, Amnesty International or the DRI of NYU and other foreign bodies have a better chance of putting a man on Jupiter than solving the extremely complex puzzle of governing Ethiopia.

But if these nosy activists and the American government are seriously worried about the human rights or democracy in Ethiopia, why don’t we hear them calling for ceasing ties with Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia, no elections, democracy or free speech of any kind, hundreds of executions every year by a bogus judicial system for ridiculous accusations such as blasphemy, witchcraft, drug possession, adultery which merit public beheadings, public stonings which are so frequent that Saudi Arabia executes the second most people in the world behind China. Thousands of women have been beaten, tortured, raped by Saudi police forces charged of being seen in public with non relatives, or driving a car. According to wikileaks the princes, police chiefs and army leaders of Saudi Arabia hold secret parties where alcohol, drugs, prostitutes are readily available, even if they kill those who dare attempt to enjoy those luxuries. Saudi Arabia remains the biggest source of Al Qaeda funding and terrorism.

But never have any of these activists called on the United States to sever ties with them. Saudi Arabia is an “ally in the war against terrorism. A friend of America.”

The hypocrisy is unbelievable. The United States is really showing it’s artificial and cheap mentality. If we dont cater to America’s every whim shall we be thrust away?

Another example: How many of you know who Amina Salem Nasser is? Answer: none of you. She was a Saudi women who claimed she could cure diseases with magic. She was insane indeed. Well a few months ago Saudi Arabia sentenced her to death for witchcraft and she was beheaded. It didn’t make headline news, barely anyone cared. It slipped most of us. Nobody even knows about the case.

Now rewind to 2008. Sakineh Ashtiani, 43 year old Iranian women. She was sentenced to death for adultery by Iran a country that openly opposes American policy. American media spread the story like wildfire, protests occured across America and the world, celebrities wore t-shirts bearing her face, hundreds of thousands of people wrote letters to the Iranian embassies of the world, candle light vigils, her cause was the talk of the world.

The Saudi woman, there isn’t an image of her available and I can’t even find her age, American media chose not to highlight her to embarass the Saudis.

But to demonize Iran, they exploited the Ashtiani case, in the end Ashtiani had her death sentence switched to jail time after so much pressure.

This shows the malicious intentions and double standards shown by the United States of America.

The USA must accept that Ethiopia will never be Saudi Arabia. We will NEVER be Saudi Arabia. We will gladly cooperate with the USA in mutual benefits but not cater to the USA.

And just so Americans realize our sacrifice, had the USA entered Somalia instead of Ethiopia, America could have lost billions more for another war, thousands of dead American marines, and the recession would have been even more painful and take the country down the drain. And who knows? Like Vietnam they might have even lost.

The USA had an enemy taken out without paying a dollar. Do they know what we lost? Casualty reports list our dead from 1000-2500 fallen Ethiopians. About 2000 of our best, our bravest, our sons are worth more than billions of America’s currency. They may not value our troops but to us the life of an Ethiopian is most precious.

My message to Ethiopians:

We Ethiopians are on the right track. Lets just build our country, create our self sufficient civilization so we dont have to listen to these crackhead, pot smoking, hippy, greenpeace, save the whale, hypocritical, double standard back stabbing, crybaby activists and politicians who have no idea how tough it is to be Ethiopian.

God bless Ethiopia.

Good night.

ETYOPIA TIQDEM.

02/02/12 @ 00:36
Comment from: C'est moi senait [Visitor]
C'est moi senait

Pinochi of weyannes looks like alamoudis boyfriend. Just look the way he sat. No diplomatic. He still act and sit like if he is in Mekele or that dusty road in Sudan .

02/02/12 @ 00:49
Comment from: Native Amhara [Visitor]
Native Amhara

The pm picture is a Hollywood match. If I were him, I will exit as good as He is now and peaceful retirement. By making his own personal decision, without listening his fellows.
Leader fellows are not good at the end. Take examples from Mengistu, Mubarak, Qadafi, etc. But, before he exit, let him implement rules for One time chance election only.

02/02/12 @ 02:08
Comment from: koster [Visitor]
koster

It has always been the foreign policy of the USA to support looters and killers called “friendly tyrants” from Mobutu/Mubarek/Meles - The major problem lies is the parasitic relationship between the North and the South and that the WEST does not believe in reality that free and democratic government in Africa is against their interest of looting African resources.

02/02/12 @ 02:36
Comment from: mesfin_b [Member]  
mesfin_b

To Zeku Etyopia Tiqdem.

really?
Now who is the “crackhead"?

Just Curious.

Deatth to Shifta/tyrant Meles Chenawi.

02/02/12 @ 11:22
Comment from: aberaham [Visitor]
aberaham

Ethiopia must stay the course in the face of some frantic efforts intended to derail the fight against poverty and backwardness! A collaborative effort between some foreign agents and some members of the Diaspora whose ethno-regionalist politics has been fuming ever since the formation of Ethiopian Federalism is trying to tarnish our country’s image. Their politics is based on hate and envy in the face of unprecedented transformation that is galvanizing the country. We trust that the vanguard of this transformation – the Ethiopian Government will stand resolute and the politics of hate and envy will vanish!

02/02/12 @ 12:00
Comment from: Abe [Visitor]
Abe

The Ethiopian regime continues to receive US$ 3 million annually, and counts on the West to chip in even more. Contrary to the editorial observation, this trend does not translate into “reducing Ethiopia’s long-term dependence on outside help”. Instead, continued aid dependency has become something like an uninterrupted supply of oxygen cylinders to a perennially sick patient.

02/02/12 @ 12:55
Comment from: Abe [Visitor]
Abe

The Ethiopian regime continues to receive US$ 3 million annually, and counts on the West to chip in even more. Contrary to the editorial observation, this trend does not translate into “reducing Ethiopia’s long-term dependence on outside help”. Instead, continued aid dependency has become something like an uninterrupted supply of oxygen cylinders to a perennially sick patient.

02/02/12 @ 12:55
Comment from: Tirngo [Visitor]
Tirngo

No matter who is ruling, President, King, or any other title; many people of that beautiful land remain poor. Those who are smart and close to the ruling classes only get the best opportunity and live the best the country offered. Otherwise, the poor or the majority live below human being expectation; it is heart breaking situation how the young people roaming around without any job opportunity. The elderly have no pension entitlement or any kind of welfare organization to depend on and they end up on begging in the streets those who are lucky; the rest probably remain in their cottages and God knows their condition. The young and beautiful girls when they could be an asset to the society they are occupied in sealing their dignity to cheap occupation. This situation is not strange for that country; it has been exercised for years. So what is the future? Only God knows.
I wonder if the newly inaugurated humongous building of OAU would have any contribution to the poor of that land except for extraordinary life style of few individuals. Yes, it is only “Gura.”

02/02/12 @ 13:06
Comment from: Mehari [Visitor]
5 stars
Mehari

Most of us remember Obama as a fresh President, his first tour in Africa? he said a lot about freedom and democracy. What a speech. He can talk, but never practice what he says. This was among the major failure of his government which brought such economical down turn in the US. Same goes with his attitude about Africa. He really does not care as long as Meles offers him a base in Arba minch or take his order and fight in Somalia. He is welcome to have a colorful pictures among G20 every year and repress his people. The US for that matter, is not remembered anywhere in giving practical support to bring freedom and equality they preach in any country of the third world. As long as they are able to misuse and abuse us for their so called “strategical advantage” let the demons rule that country. Remember Mobutu, Idi Amin, Al saleh, Ghadafi, Mubarak ? any radical and nationalist like Nikrumah can not live long. Cuba was a headache for US Presidents simply for being self sustained and socialist government. The embargo and suffering was the result of refusing not to cooperate. Pinoche was the right hand and Indonesian Suharto was a good friend of the US even Sadam Hussein for certain times. It is vain thinking they will do any thing for our interest and help comes from God and from our struggle in unity, vision and sustainability.

02/02/12 @ 13:35
Comment from: Belay [Visitor]
Belay

“The prime minister deserves high marks for improving the nation’s health indicators, economy and agriculture.”
..
“But human rights organizations say Meles’ government is also turning parts of the country into prison camps".
….
its hard to disagree with these statement/observation. however, the problem is what we had before meles regime was only the killings and human right abuses without a drop of the development this guy cited above, and the scary part is we can easily fall back to those dark days where the glass is empty as compared to now where the glass is half by his own admission. so what do we do ????

02/02/12 @ 16:53

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