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Ethiopia: Letter to the Editor Response to Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam

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03/18/11

  12:16:57 am, by admin, 2152 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Letter to the Editor Response to Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam

Ethiopia: Letter to the Editor Response to Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam


By Teddy Girma and Sara Shiferaw

Dear Editor:


In a recent commentary posted on your website, Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam offers an analysis of the American foreign policy in Africa and its negative impact on stifling pro-democracy movements across the continent ("The Moral Hazard of U.S. Policy in Africa - Part I). We are fans of the writer and share his tireless advocacy for a legitimately elected government in Ethiopia. So we offer the following response, not for the sake of being disagreeable, but rather to pinpoint some inconsistencies in the piece. And, most importantly, to engage in an open discussion on this very important topic in order to find common ground on how to pressure the administration moving forward. We can do much better than bashing President Obama from the sidelines. That's the easy part. We need to engage the White House and influence policy in Africa - only if we can master a collective will and joint front to do so.

In the article, Professor Alemayehu gives Uncle Sam a deserving failing grade for continuing to provide "the safety net of foreign aid" to dictators, allowing them to perpetually extend their life-line, resulting in severe consequences for the African people - including "a mismanaged economy, debilitating corruption and proliferating poverty." The writer's concern is also supported by a majority of Americans who think that foreign aid is a big waste of taxpayers money. In an exclusive online opinion piece published on the Times this week, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, Tina Rosenberg, cites a Bloomberg National Poll that shows "that more than 7 in 10 Americans think that Congress can find major savings in the federal budget by slashing foreign aid. It’s a new poll, but this is old news." According to the story, "Americans have always vastly overestimated how much we spend on foreign aid. A 2010 survey asked Americans what percentage of the federal budget went to foreign aid. The median response was 25 percent. When asked what percentage would be appropriate, the answer was 10 percent. Polls going back at least a decade show similar responses. In fact, foreign aid accounts for less than 1 percent of the federal budget."

However, one percent or not, Professor Alemayehu points out: "The moral hazard in Western policy comes not just from the fact that they provide fail-safe insurance to repressive regimes but also from the rewards of increasing amounts of aid and loans to buffer them from a tsunami of democratic popular uprising. As we have recently seen with Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubark in Egypt and Gadahafi in Libya, supporting “strongmen” in Africa will at best produce the illusion of stability, control and permanence for the West. But turning a blind eye to gross human rights violations and complicity in the denial of democratic rights to African peoples is irrefutable evidence of moral bankruptcy."

We wish Professor Alemayehu had also proposed a more constructive, alternative solution because "The truth is, much of foreign aid works," writes Rosenberg. "Hundreds of millions of people around the world are better off because wealthy countries pay to vaccinate children, dig wells, build roads and buy schoolbooks."
Rosenberg adds: "But some foreign aid is wasted, stolen or spent on projects that don’t really help people. But let’s talk about on-the-ground practical solutions, The Center for Global Development has an intriguing idea that might help. It could make some forms of foreign aid more effective, less corrupt and more responsive to what people need. And in doing so, it could capture more public support for something that improves, and often saves, the lives of millions. The idea is called Cash on Delivery: instead of rich countries paying for all the little pieces that go into a poor country’s program, they pay only when something good comes out. Aid would get transferred when there are measurable, provable results." We wonder what Professor Alemayehu thinks of this idea?

Professor Alemayehu reserves his harshest criticism for Barack Obama, whom he argues played the 'The pied piper of change' during his candidacy in 2008. In this case, the author says, the victims were Ethiopian-Americans and other African immigrants who are naturalized American citizens that were duped into voting for Obama because he projected a perception of kinship and sympathy for their dreams and aspirations for a better Africa. Fair enough. Except that the writer indulges in exaggeration to make the point.

The Professor writes:

"In 2008, when then-Senator Obama was campaigning for the presidency, his advisor on Africa, Witney W. Schneidman, laid out the candidate’s fundamental policy objectives for Africa. Schneidman argued that “Barack Obama understands Africa and its importance to the United States” and “to strengthen our common security, we must invest in our common humanity.” Unquestionably, Senator Obama was a man of little talk and lots of action. He aggressively promoted human rights and accountability throughout the continent. He co-sponsored major legislation to help end genocide in Darfur (Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006), vigorously advocated for a no-fly zone in Darfur (not so in Libya today), secured funds to facilitate free and fair elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo... In America, Senator Obama made a “strong effort to reach out to first, second and third generation Africans who have become American citizens to encourage them to be part of the effort that will elect Barack Obama president of the United States.” He actively sought the support of Ethiopians. His campaign specifically called on the “10,000 Ethiopian-Americans in Virginia to help turn that state blue on November 4th.”. On November 4, 2008, Ethiopian Americans came out by the tens of thousands and helped turn Virginia blue. "


It is true that Ethiopian Americans in fact contributed in helping to turn Virginia from a Red State into a Blue State in 2008, but not entirely for the reasons articulated by Professor Alemayehu. Indeed, Barack Obama was propelled to victory by a coalition of young voters, suburbanites, and minorities - segments of the U.S. electorate which certainly include Ethiopian-Americans and other African immigrants who are naturalized American citizens. "Two-thirds of voters from 18 to 29 years old favored Obama, a 12 percentage-point increase from 2004's presidential vote," according to Bloomberg News. "Obama also attracted votes from two out of three Hispanics, the fastest-growing demographic group, making the difference in Florida, Colorado and other states with significant Hispanic populations." And according to MSNBC, in Virginia Obama received 52 percent of the vote, which no Democrat had carried since 1964. Black voters (including African immigrants), who comprised 20% of voters broke 92% in favor of Obama. Voters citing the ECONOMY as their top concern, who comprised 58% of voters delivered 54% their vote for Obama. Independent voters, who comprised 27% of voters went Obama's way by 49%. And Voters under age 40, who comprised 41% handed Obama 56% of their vote.

It is fair to say that a large number of Obama supporters within the African community had high hopes for the African continent under the Obama presidency. However, it is a bit of a stretch to suggest that African immigrants (those who are naturalized citizens) supported Obama/Biden in 2008 on the basis of Obama's future African policy alone. Some might have done so, but it defies logic to place the larger African community (including Ethiopian Americans) in one basket as casting their vote strictly on foreign policy. That's akin to saying the two out of three Hispanics, who also voted for Obama, did so on the basis of his future policy towards Latin America. They did not. In fact, two years into his presidency, Obama remains very popular in these communities. According to La Opinión, a Spanish-language newspaper, which cites a poll conducted by its parent company ImpreMedia and Latino Decisions, despite having fallen short on economic and immigration promises he made to Latino voters before he was elected, Obama's approval ratings among Latino voters increased to 70% last month. Among blacks, which includes Ethiopian Americans and other Africans, the President's approval rating is even higher - over 91%. The numbers show that the state of U.S. foreign policy towards Africa is not much of a factor on how Africans in the United States view Obama, because not all agree that he is doing a bad job. The assumption itself discounts the fact that the African community (which includes Ethiopian Americans) is very diverse. Simply put, the connection between Africans and Obama does not rest on Africa. It's much more than that.

Similar to other ethnic communities in U.S., the African Diaspora is also a heterogeneous one, made up of people who come from diverse cultural backgrounds with differences of language, opinion, political affiliation, wealth, educational levels, professional experiences, etc. Even within the Ethiopian-American population, political loyalties (both here and at home) cover the whole gamut, including Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, pro-opposition voices, anti-government activists, pro-democracy advocates, human rights lawyers, OLF supporters, government sympathizers, you name it. They are just as concerned about issues at home as they are here in the states. There can be no doubt that the historic and symbolic nature of Obama's candidacy in 2008 had an added influence in galvanizing the African community as well. But that's not the whole story. At the same time, African immigrants are just as equally affected as everyone in this country by the high cost of health care, rising college tuition, lack of good teachers in public schools, crime in their neighborhoods, lack of good-paying jobs, as well the overall performance of the American economy. The Ethiopian-American cab-driver and his shopkeeper wife in Washington, D.C. are just as likely to worry, as is their Kenyan American insurance-agent, about gas prices, mortgage payments and safe parks for their children in D.C., as they do about the political situation in Ethiopia and Kenya. Even America's military adventures has an impact in our community. It is no longer unusual, for example, to encounter an Ethiopian American family, or Nigerian-American family, who has a son, daughter, husband, wife, brother or sister serving in the U.S. military. The issues that most affect these families, such as veterans benefits or the war in Afghanistan, may not necessarily carry the same weight for other Ethiopians or Nigerians who are more attuned to the problems facing their home countries, and vice versa. In the same token, the unemployed Ethiopian-American engineer in Virginia can not be faulted if he/she is more focused on the economy and jobs as opposed to foreign policy. The young Ethiopian American banker on Wall Street might care less about what Obama does in Africa than he does about financial regulation in this country.

Whether we like it or not, these are reflections of the fast-evolving African demographics in the United States. To ignore the diversity is to bury our head in the sand.

Lastly, Professor Alemayehu alludes to the ongoing debate about Libya and President Obama's reluctance to use military force to finish-off Gadhafi. It would have been helpful to readers had the author also included the other side of the argument. The question that most were asking is that even enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya involves risks. Why should American soldiers be the only ones to pay by their blood? How many countries are willing to put real skin in the action? Will Western military intervention be counterproductive? Will it provoke anger against the United States for interfering in a homegrown political movement? These are serious questions that needed to be cleared-up. The good news is that the United Nations Security Council (with big push by Susan Rice, the American Ambassador to the UN) has approved a measure authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians from Gaddafi's brutality. The measure goes even further than a no-fly zone, allowing any measures short of a ground invasion. In the mean time, we know that the U.S. is closely working with the opposition to speed up not only Gadhafi's end, but also the formation of post-Gadhafi government (Libya 2.0). Hillary Clinton has already started direct talks with the leaders. Obama has said that "By any measure, Moammar Gaddafi's government has violated international norms and common decency and must be held accountable." To that end, he has frozen all assets in the United States held by Gaddafi and four of his children. He has also abandoned the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. The administration is assisting the U.N. and other agencies in compiling a legal case against senior Gaddafi advisers for future prosecution in an international criminal court. Still, some point out that he is losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Arab street protesters. He is "failing to bind the United States." Acknowledging the irony of Obama's dilemma, a senior administration official was recently quoted as saying: "There is a desire for Obama - not the American president, but Obama - to speak to their aspirations," but "his first job is to be the American president."

The writers are Ethiopian Americans. They live and work in Washington, D.C. They can be reached at shiferaw.sara@gmail.com.

37 comments

Comment from: addiszemen [Member]  

What Obama and the rest of western country leaders failed to understand is, all African or Arab countries need to have well organized opposition party with a clear party programme. You cannot ask people just to rise up and demand the cuurent govt to leave with out plan B. What then? You saw the uncertainity future of the successfull uprising like in Egypt and Tunisia. The disaster going on in Libya. None of the changes come easily. Most of all, you will never know who is going to take power. “Keditu wedematu"?

03/18/11 @ 00:47
Comment from: MO [Visitor]
MO

Good point. why are we more interested in what is going on in the north African region than what is going on in Ethiopia? I agree that Ghadafi must go.But do we know who is going to replace him? people let us not forget who we are..we are Ethiopians and our issue is completely different than Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. these countries speaks the same language and we don’t.currently, President Obama has his own issues that he inherited from Bush. Afghanistan, Iraq, Economy these are his issues. I wish Al mariam writes more about his solution for Ethiopia instead of trying to lecture us about what we already know.

03/18/11 @ 00:49
Comment from: liku [Visitor]
liku

Ooops! Shiferaw & Sara
I’m proud of you guys,I can smell objectivity from your side.The Al-temarem side is ful of crap and shallow.

“A 2010 survey asked Americans what percentage of the federal budget went to foreign aid. The median response was 25 percent. When asked what percentage would be appropriate, the answer was 10 percent. Polls going back at least a decade show similar responses. In fact, foreign aid accounts for less than 1 percent of the federal budget.”

May be the Psuedo-professor deliberatly ignored surveys like this in an attempt to sway attitude of gullible Ethio-americans who have no idea or interest in his crap.But you guys challenge his pointless rant by presenting a real showtime front to dialogue.Keep up the good work.

Ethiopia Lezelealem Tinur.

03/18/11 @ 01:47
Comment from: wasachew [Visitor]
wasachew

DEATH TO TPLF AND AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

03/18/11 @ 02:03
Comment from: Terefe [Visitor]
Terefe

What is the purpose of this writing? To criticize Professor Al Mariam or to defend Obama. Whichever your intention was, it did not serve us well, the Ethiopian people. You are scratching where it did not itch. Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending the professor, but why spend your and our time by just writing where you have no purpose of writing about some trivial issues when there are thousands to write about.You seem to know about American politics well, however, it is better you let us know how to change the shameful 99.6% election victory never to appear in our political spectrum. Sorry Guys.

03/18/11 @ 04:22
Comment from: Solomon [Visitor]
Solomon

One positive revolution has emerged from the world comunity in Libya than else where in the world in the history of United nations.That is to fight dictators not to kill there own people using heavy weapons bought using peoples money.

If this can work no dictators be left in Africa or else where for the next 10 years

03/18/11 @ 05:09
Comment from: awlonefas [Member]  
awlonefas

I am afraid the root cause of the entire evil is not touched ….

Development aid per se is not a gift. Developed nations have a UN obligation to donate 0.7 percent of their GDP to developing nations, question is only to whom and how much!

If a developing poor country did not get enough donation means that particular government is foolish(not to mix with proud)! Mostly it is due to luck of understanding. For the oppositions to shout the donner nations are not on our side is a blanket accusation and equally wrong. Each side must be smart enough to persuade and convince the donner nations to get their merit, that simple, but hard in reality. Yet to shout loud only for the sake of hindering the government from getting it is outright stupid! Hindering is not that matters rather winning the aid money instead is what makes the difference!

03/18/11 @ 06:02
Comment from: Oromo in DC [Visitor]
Oromo in DC

I enjoy how Teddy Girma and Sara Shiferaw used stereotypical “cab driver” and “unemployeed engineer"designation to represent Ethiopians in the DC area. The above post would have been complete if they used “parking lot attendant” as well. TPLF’s stereotype of Diaspora Ethiopian. There are no medical doctors, gainfully employeed engineers, teachers, students, computer scientists, business owning Ethiopians. This is a diversity to which “Teddy and Sara” are alien. Unfortunately for T & S, this mass of Ethiopians, which is most likely to vote, will not vote for Obama if he continues to buttress the bloodthirsty minority junta in Ethiopia.

03/18/11 @ 07:32
Comment from: Imperial Body Guard [Visitor]
Imperial Body Guard

“Those who, in the light of all these historical ties and evidence of unity, are coming between Us on religious, ethnical and other grounds are doing so not for our benefit but for that of their own. This can be easily understood. That former colonial powers are benefiting from creating discord among geographically, economically, historically and ethnically linked people in Africa and other parts of the world in order to maintain their former authority is known not only to those who can read but to the illiterate as well. Nobody knows better than We Africans that the policy of divide and rule are aspirations of those who seek to benefit at others’ expense. That it is the obsolete method of dividing to rule in order to rule by divining is apparent.

Being aware of the attacks and tricks of imperialism, Ethiopia has been the first African country who waged war against such powers and through her unity, has preserved her liberty through victories as in the recent case of Adua. More than being an example to the rest of the African states, after the Second World War, Ethiopia struggled alone in International Conferences, for African independence with no other free African nations to support her as at present. No greater testimony could be available to the resistance made by Our patriots against the enemy on seven fronts with the use of out-dated weapons than the heroic activities of Our fathers, relying upon GOD the Almighty.” Selected Speeches of HIM Negus Haile Selassie I, page 465

“Every structure must be built on a solid foundation, for those constructed otherwise would soon collapse. The proclamation by which We made land grants to the entire Ethiopian people is the foundation of this scheme.” Selected Speeches of HIM Haile Selassie I, page 487

“It is not necessary to enumerate countries where the people and entire country having lost unity, spiritual or otherwise, have become playgrounds and laughing stocks of outsiders. The historical events of certain countries bear witness to this fact. In our own times, there are those expansionists who by shedding blood, desire to achieve their ambition and by dismembering themselves they are seen as tools for alien interests. Our people from Ethiopia shed blood, to save them from disintegration. Those personalities who believe in freeing a country by secession are selfish and prey to outsiders. We will not accept their motives.” Selected Speeches of HIM Negus Haile Selassie I, page 426

Long Live the Constitutional Monarchy!

Long Live the Kebra Negast!
Fire burn down the witchcraft star of secession
Rise with the Lion of Judah!
Gasha for Ethiopians!
Long Live Independent Ethiopia!

03/18/11 @ 07:53
Comment from: Daniel [Visitor]
Daniel

Prof. Alemayehou should come clear on his position of the current constitution.It is the Constitution that all democrats should oppose. It is a tool that any organisation can use to set up a one party state. Those in the opposition today who claim that they can implement the current Constitution better than the EPRDF does are forces that democrats should confront. They may be one of the many in the opposition today. Given chance they have the potential to be sole dictators of tomorrow.

03/18/11 @ 09:06
Comment from: Teshome [Visitor]
Teshome

A lengthy response to a lengthy article. Unless authors learn how to present their case in a precise, organized, and to the point manner, I am not sure too many peolple have the time to read thier messages. I did not have the time to sit by my computer to read both article.
That said, phrases like “many people support this ….majority believe in that….” are used by many authors to make thier idea a popular one. Such phrases without a backup support are nothing more than exaggerations.

03/18/11 @ 09:12
Comment from: Tefera [Visitor]
Tefera

i cant believe people still read what this guy writes. what a waste.

03/18/11 @ 10:23
Comment from: kul [Visitor]
kul

The writers gave us detailed analysis on the diverse nature of the African Diaspora in America. In doing so, they accuse Prof. Al Mariam of exaggeration. They allege that Prof Al Mariam wrongly concluded that ‘many African immigrants (those who are naturalized citizens) supported Obama/Biden in 2008 on the basis of Obama’s future African policy alone.’ I found this allegation a little over the top. Can any body who read Al Mariam’s article show me where he said African immigrants voted for Obama SOLELY BASED ON HIS AFRICAN POLICY? I didn’t see any such assertion on Al Mariam’s article.

On a separate note, the writers said they are Ethiopian Americans which suggests that they or their ascendants were “Ethiopians” once upon a time. How come they didn’t mention the current Ethiopian situation in their article? Just curious

03/18/11 @ 10:31
Comment from: Alex [Visitor]
Alex

Well done shferaw and Sara I hope u will pick an article from aiga forum and walta information like to mr zeru Hagos and others in u r next comment

03/18/11 @ 11:01
Comment from: Kena Keb [Visitor]
Kena Keb

Alemayehu G/Mariam’s numerous articles, appearances on TV channels like Aljazira, interviews on VOA amharic radio broadcast and other sites have vividly reflected his one fundamental wish to see the demise of the ruling political party in Ethiopia at what ever cost. To call it his wish would be, in fact, very modest so calling it an obsession would be a better term that would explain his engagement.

To be an opponent of one ideology or a person leading a political party is one matter but to indiscriminately agree with anything or anybody that opposes that one disapproves of, will gradually go against the logic of all basic arguments for which one advocates. Failing to notice this pitfall, therfore, can be detrimental or even fatal in that it leads to an inevitable squandering of respect and credibility. Alemayehu’s and Berhanu Nega’s(Genbot 7)flirting and alligning with the policies of Isaias Afeworki only to get at the ruling political party in Ethiopia is one monumental strategic inefficiency for a democracy both these gentlemen claim are struggling for.
Alemayehu categorically disapproves all the reports that speak well of the economical and other developments that are going on in Ethiopia(He even once called Ethiopia’s economic growth a “fairy tale"),he mobilized certain US congressmen to put political pressure on the Ethiopian government and stop financial aid, is now very favourably campaigning for “youthvolution” and “youthbellion” like in Tunisia etc, and when that avenue of inciting rebellion did not materialize in the speed he had wanted(at least for now), his latest article crticizing President B.Obama, to which Teddy Girma and Sara Shiferaw are responding here, is his latest strategical dream to oust the government in Ethiopia.

I believe it is with this background and the very concrete and convincing argument that Teddy Girma and Sara Shiferaw have presented here that they have achieved to effectively debunk Alemahyu’s long “claimed” authority on politics in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia shall prosper!!

03/18/11 @ 12:41
Comment from: Tulu Proud ET [Visitor]
Tulu Proud ET

Enough! Beka! Gaye! Bass! Yiakel!
Get OUT Meles

Teddy Girma and Sara Shiferaw

What a pity, two morons writing one article. It shows how Prof. Alemyaeyu’a argument is beyond reproach.

No American tax payer should be given to Meles who glues to power illegally for 20 years.

Without Ethiopians vote Virginia would not have gone Blue.

Meles came in as a rebel leader, then president and now as prime minister and all along he is the executive decision maker for 20 years.

That tells that Meles is an authoritarian Tyrant who has no intention to bring democracy.

The evidence also shows how this monster got addicted to aid and donation money.

While he and his family lives lavishly spending $5000 on one day suit Ethiopians on the other hand are dying of hunger because of his bad and greedy governing policy.

Onother Evidence is how he descended the country to be recognized as being the #1 aid recipient in Africa.

Hunger and Starvation kept perpetuating while land is sold to other rich countries. To the point Meles no longer wants farmers to grow crops because he depends on begging.

03/18/11 @ 13:50
Comment from: yurie [Visitor]
yurie

National interest come first to obama or sharon. god bless meles he know who to play this kind of game.

My advice to amra ppl is look at guragai and learn to do some think perhaps cleaning shoes. politics is not for you.

long life EPRDF

03/18/11 @ 13:52
Comment from: Tezibt [Visitor]
Tezibt

While professor Al manifests an impeccable mastery of the english language in most of his writings, unfortunately these articles are marred by negativism and pessimism. If I am right, I sense desperation and outright hypocracy in most of his writings. Like the writers of this above article, I have followed Prof. Al for almost 20 years. Unfortunately, his views and opinions seem to go with the flow. He really lacks principles in his opinions as they seem to shift based on the temprature of polics. A supposedly dynamic academician like him should come up with original ideas rather than copy and paste other’s ideas. I hope he will some how come up with ideas of his own that will represent his qualification and elit academic status. I would still give him A+++ for deligent commitment of two decades.

03/18/11 @ 14:15
Comment from: yoni [Visitor]
yoni

“Professor Alemayehu alludes to the ongoing debate about Libya and President Obama’s reluctance to use military force to finish-off Gadhafi”

Ofcourse what Al-temarem wants Obama to do is act like George Bush behaved and kill US’s credibility around the world and in the process radicalize Libya…this shows how Al-Bundi is out of touch with reality and too selfish to see matters from others points of view rather than his own.
He completely misunderstood that the struggle Libya belongs to the Libyan people…US and any foriegn involvements will take the ownership of the cause resulting in the radicalizing of the other side.

“…the unemployed Ethiopian-American engineer in Virginia can not be faulted if he/she is more focused on the economy and jobs as opposed to Obama’s foreign policy. “

Al-Bundi strictly voted for Obama thinking Obama will make his lifetime wish come true…that is to punish Meles and get his dream job as sort of minister beaurocrat in Ethiopia.

Ofcourse he does not care about the concerns of the average americans…he has his sweet salary and health care coverage that is better than most cab drivers in DC.

Al and his likes who barfs same long article every week does not know the meaning of “Fight Your Battle"…that is why he begs the West day and night and trying to remotely control the Ethiopian youth for his own agenda.

Finally, it does not hurt for these selfish azmaris to aknowledge that US foreign policy is changing as China and other merging powers are getting more credibility around the world than the US…cause nobody wants to deal with The West’s hypocracy and political baggage that comes with Aid.

03/18/11 @ 15:07
Comment from: Tedla Hailu [Visitor]
Tedla Hailu

Dear Teddy and Sara,

Are you trying to bash Professor Alemayehu for airing his concerns about President Obama’s policy towards African dictators? It is a pity. President Obama has a better knowledge of Africa, but has not done anything tangible in supporting the people of Africa. He is still following the same policy directives as the previous US administrations.

Do you see what the final result will be? The same milk in different bottles. You cannot promote democracy, the rule of law and good governance in Africa by supporting tyrants like Meles Zenawi.

President Obama and his foreign policy staff at the White House, Department of State or in US Embassies in Africa should redraw their approach towards African dictators. While dining and wining with African dictators, US Government officials cannot claim that they are promoting a policy of good governance, democracy and the rule of law in Africa at the same time. PERIOD.

President Obama’s election mantra was ‘CHANGE: YES WE CAN!” Where is that change in US foreign policy towards Africa? What is tha change in US foreign policy during the Obama Administration from the previous US Administrations? Name one single US foreign policy item on Africa that has been changed under President Obama.

03/18/11 @ 15:30
Comment from: Bergude [Visitor]
Bergude

For how long Africa run with foreign aid? It is long due to be at least self sufficient in food, but year after year Africa remains dependant on foreign aid and people are dying of hunger.
Every country can shape or decisive of their own destiny based on their own culture, religion, political inflation, economical condition, etc. Imagine, for the last thirty or forty years many countries have advanced while Africa still crawling on the same path.
Africa need to awake and be determining to work hard and disintegrate from its old habits and system and function properly. Instead of fighting each other and blaming one another stood each other, work hard, educate the youngsters and be prepared to be honest leaders, and don’t scare to build Democracy.
President Obama brilliant, highly intellectual and far sighted individual who reached to be President of United States, because of his own capacity and hard work. He is a good exemplar to other young people of any other country around the world. I wish every person can read his book, “Dreams from My Father.”
It is worth mentioning the Organizations with very little result, with significant names: United Nations (UN), Organization for African Unity (OAU) and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). One might wonder their share of responsibilities and their contribution when it comes to crises of Africa. They should at least establish monitoring system; instead watching those fights and offer last minute solution.
Please, Africa you have unexploited natural wealth, you have many bright mined youth and you have experienced countless negative situation which will give you humble opportunity to teach yourself ; why not have the courage to change for better and show the world that you too can make it.


03/18/11 @ 16:08
Comment from: gud [Visitor]
gud

Al Mariam, i think you need to review your writing before you post it, because there are several points it does not make sense. when the US government involve in other country internal conflict,they have to see different thing as it mentioned in Sheferaw and Sara article.you always criticize specially the Ethiopian government based on your ethnic back ground and your hatred to ward meles zenawi.use your educational back ground to be fair and give honest opinion. Do not confuse the fact.

03/18/11 @ 16:30
Comment from: Ali [Visitor]
Ali

to: Liku… what is the point of you pointing out the aid percentage of America?

I’m not for this author or that but will support any rational thought, whether it came from Meles or the average psycho.

As for the aid money you mentioned, it means nothing; It actually supports Al views. Do you know how much money 1% of American GDP is? You are looking at $150 Billion dollars (GDP is $15 Tril) we are just giving away, be it for AIDS or to enrich tyrants.

US GDP is $15 Tril
China Gdp $5 Tril
Continental Africa is $2.5 Tril

Ethio $25 billion

So, my friend, don’t attack peoples’ view with a weak stance like the above one. 1% of a gazillion is a lot of dough!

03/18/11 @ 16:34
Comment from: Lemlem [Visitor]
Lemlem

Dear Ethiopians,

Please do not waste your time and life thinking someone will free you. Even if Obama is becomes a God, he cannot save Ethiopia or Ethiopians. you guys do not know how this world is run. You have no clue.

By the way, Obama is not elected by chance or Obaba is occupying white house by design. He has no the authority to change anything in USA leave alone in Ethiopia.

Obama is set in white house by design to facelift American image which was tarnished by Bush and his precedessors.

As far as their interest in Ethiopia. you guys are full of fools. Americans never care about anyone except themselves. This is a reality which you could have learnt from thier own trace of histroy. Americans care about their interest only.

By the way Americans have 10 commadnement of America. The first commandement is says,” no matter what, first American interest.” Democracy is a cover plan mission statement to make believe people.

By the way, there is much democracy in Scandinivian than in USA. There is much equity in society in Scandinavian than in USA. Scandinavian citizens have un limited to education and health care whereas im America, 60% Americans have no access to basic primary healthy care. About 40 % Americans have no access to education. If one does not have money in USA, he or she cannot go to school or hospital. You will die in your house. Whereas in Scandinanvian, Canada,… education and health care is free to every citizen. Besides, while in Scandinavians and Canada ,… has a well-fare state that supports individuals who have no work or who have disabiliites. In USA there is no state institution of social security. If you cannot work and earn money in USA, you damned to live in Ghetto.

In Scandinavian countries, canada,… citizen are actually paid money as incentive to send their children to school and even to go to clinc to check their health.

Still, the Scandinavians, Canada,… do not say much about democracy. It is the USA which has little litmus of democracy that bombards citizen of the world with false democracy.

Until we free ourselves, no one can free us.

03/18/11 @ 17:06
Comment from: Tirfnesh [Visitor]
Tirfnesh

It is so boring to read and read kilometers upon kilometers of endless writings that are not leading to anything practical,say, in terms of organizing and uniting broad based and trustworthy opposition forces as well as organizing and empowering the people on the ground in a new and visionary manners in order to challenge the brutal Ethiopian dictatorship that have been dehumanizing the Ethiopian people for the last 20 years and still keep hording 99.6% of power at gun points to conduct his business as usual.

Dictators are not endlessly in power because they own all round strengths and networks of influential friends and acquaintances but simply because there are no credible, united, strong and brave opposition parties ready to stand up up repeatedly and challenge the tyrants by all means possible with out fear of risks but with opportunities in mind.

Writers and speech (like the above two criticizing each other’s speeches) makers are one tribe specializing in writing and writing as an end in itself. But we also need people who are practical, action oriented and can make it happen. With out then nothing can become changed.

As for president Obama I think that we Ethiopians need to challenge our own dictator bravely rather than standing on the fence and keep singing and appealing for Obama to come fight for us and give us liberty fo free on a golden plate.

Yes, the donor communities and the US administration generously support the brutal criminal human rights violator Ethiopian dictator just like they have been supporting the Tunisian and the Egyptian dictators being regarded as trusted regional allies as well as also because they maned (headed) the state itself.

In the case of the Tunisian and and the Egyptian cases both the donor communities and the US administration slowly but surely disowned their traditional puppets being considered risk factors and sided with the change forces. The initiation for change and transformation primarily came from the people themselves and only after that assisted by the external powers. That needs to be the natural order of things.

In the case of Libya and Gaddafi, it does not matter as to who comes after his 42 years of dictatorship. Suffice to say that any change is absolutely a good change whether perfect or imperfect. Dictators always prevent the birth and growth of independent political parties so that they may always claim the absence of any viable political alternatives to their brutal rule and through that try hard to legitimize their endless monopoly of power just like Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt have advocated and lost while dictator Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, dictator Gaddafi of Libya, etc. are currently claiming.

“If we are not in charge there will be division, blood bath and genocide.” is their usual self serving disgraceful propaganda.

In fact they themselves are the mother of all the violence, genocides and periodic blood bathes and mass miseries.

03/18/11 @ 17:06
Comment from: Tulu Proud ET [Visitor]
Tulu Proud ET

Enough! Beka! Gaye! Bass! Yiakel! Throw Tyrant Meles Out of Ethiopia!!!!!

Solomon,

Good Point!

No African Tyrant shall kill its citizens like Libya’s Gaddafi and Meles Chenawi!!! the bucher of Addis.

03/18/11 @ 17:29
Comment from: mesfin_b [Member]  
mesfin_b

አቶ ግርማና ውይዘሮ ሽፈራው ያቀረቡት አመልካከት ፕሮፈሰር አለማርያም ያቀረበውን ጥሁፍ መቃረኑን ተገንዝብያለሁ ፕሮፈሰር አለማርያም ኦባማ የአፍሪቃን ዲክታተሮች የሚቃወም መመርያዎች ማስፈጽም ሲኖርበት አሁን ድረስ አገዛዛቸውን እንድያጠናክሩ እርዳታው አልቆመም:: ይህንን ቁልጭ አርጎ ማሳወቅ ፕሮፈሰሩን አውናባጅ አመለካከት አለው ማለት ትክክል አይደለም::
አሜሪካ ሁልጊዜ የራስዋን ጥቅም የሚኖርበትን ህኔታ ነው የምታስከብረው:: ስለዚህም እኛ በራስችን ጥረት ዲችታተር መለስን አስወግደን መብታችንን ማስከበር አለብን::

03/18/11 @ 21:52
Comment from: G [Visitor]
G

My question is why can’t Ethiopians Americans run for office in Ethiopia. Not only et. Americans but any one who was born in Ethiopia regardless where he/she grow up. I think if that is allowed Ethiopia could gain a lot. Just a question in case if someone try to explain to me without insult. Thanks

03/19/11 @ 00:13
Comment from: Tulu Proud ET [Visitor]
Tulu Proud ET

Thanks Ali,

The writers intention is to minimize the size of Americans donation (150 Billion) to African Tyrants. Meles receives the highest amount of aid.

As you put it very precisely that is a lot of money and much bigger than Ethiopians GDP (25 Billion) itself.

1% of Americans tax dollar (150 Billion) going to help tyrant is a total waste for Americans and a total silencing machine for the aid recipients.

03/19/11 @ 13:24
Comment from: Dag [Visitor]
Dag

I love it!!! I hope Al understands this is a friendly fire. These guys just passed him a nice ball to see if he is capable of taking it past the goalkeeper. I am confident he will score the goal and give Teddy and Sara the high-five! Then, Ethiopia wins!!

Lesson: Obama is the people’s man. He is the grandfather of people-power. He is an icon. He is a celebrity. He is a living historical figure. You don’t win the youth and Africans by attacking Obama with Tea-Party talking points (Rush Limbaua, min serto yibla).

Instead, you help the brother succeed. Obama is the man!!

03/19/11 @ 13:47
Comment from: ygermal [Visitor]
ygermal

Are you trying to criticize or tying to campaign for OBAMA?you seems like you know American’s politics,but it is unfortunate you don’t know nothing.You are just brain washed by Liberal Democrat. America stand always beyond their advantage & interest.It is clear for everybody that helping the dictators means it does not mean they care for the people.Where was Obama all this time all the other Country leaders trying to help the rebels when Gadafi is murdering his on people for the last 3,4 weeks.Playing golf worrying about his College Basketball brackets. His foreign policy is very weak.Why he does need to go to other country bow & apologized.Any given time if the movement start in Ethiopia don’t expect an emidiate help from OBAMA. We have to know that and prepare our self for strong unity & struggle to over through the dictator regime.We have done it more than once. The people of Ethiopia & young generation at the time we overthrown the King (feudalism),fought w/ DERG even it was not successful during election 97(2005) we tried our best.We don’t have to see or learn from any other country.We been there before we know what it look likes.The only thing surprise me where is this time the new young generation? and what are they thinking? Again and again I am saying we do not need 90 or more different partys.

03/19/11 @ 13:48
Comment from: sena [Visitor]
sena

USA or Europe can’t bring change or democracy in Ethiopia. Even if they suspend aid, this can’t be solution. The only solution is use your own means for change be it non-violnce means or militarly. Freedom is not simple as we think to achieve through Obama’s pressure on Meles or by countless propagandas. By the way if we succed to bring change by uprising in Ethiopa, which political party will rule the country? how? on what principle? Simply talking or writing about democracy and rule of law can’t make us different from present rullers. For me if we get a chance to overthrough the present regime, the worst will come to Ethiopia, that is disintegration or unresolvable conflict.

03/19/11 @ 15:26
Comment from: gud [Visitor]
gud

G it is a good idea but Ethiopians in diaspora do not want a peaceful transition instead they want old fashion revolution like (atnesam woy)
your idea works if we Ethiopians love our country and save it from further distraction,learn to work together for the better of our country,respect and trust the government who is elected by the people.So ethiopia is our country not only tegreans,oromo ,amara etc.
as long as it is peaceful your idea is great.Thank you with respect.

03/19/11 @ 17:14
Comment from: A [Visitor]
A

G,

You are asking a question for which you already the answer exactly.

How can one compete in a country being ruled by an over armed, over drinking and over agitated reckless killer dictator winning 99.6% of election by the sheer power of guns and sends his opponents to medieval rat and mice infested medieval dungeons where are a prison guard?

03/19/11 @ 19:37
Comment from: Damawi [Visitor]
Damawi

G. I agree. Ethio-Americans should run for office in Ethiopia. They understands democarcy better than most of you morons commenting here. You should take note from Teddy and Sara’s article. Thank you.

03/20/11 @ 11:38
Comment from: tsehay [Visitor]
tsehay

Aren’t these two critics like the lobbyists for meles and against Ethiopian people that we detest in DLA piper? What sell outs! trying to defend meles, ever so covertly disguising it as defense for Obama… when it comes to Ethiopian issue if your have divided interest then shut up!!

03/20/11 @ 12:54
Comment from: liku [Visitor]
liku

To:Ali and Tulu Proud Et,
Thanks for probing,I hope U’v digested the whole point of T&S’s contention.That is how people are ,even the American citizens,gullible about the AID sinario.People believe it is 25% but reality showes that AID money is 1% of GDP.I’m a living witness what magic this AID money is doing here to desperate people like me.The tyrant you despise in Ethiopia built 30 universties, I and my fellow ethiopians are being enlightened.Look around guys,AID money is really changing lives.That was my point.

Ethiopia Lezelealem Tinur.

03/21/11 @ 04:45

rebtel

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