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The Cry wolf of the Washington Post

The Cry wolf of the Washington Post

 

By FGR, Mekele University

May 12, 2105

 

 

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_145x100/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2015/04/30/Editorial-Opinion/Images/Par8149060-1472.jpgAs has been their customary behavior on the eve and in the aftermath of the previous four Ethiopian general elections, some self-proclaimed human right institutions and media outlets from afar and near are barking their hearts out unconstructively against Ethiopia and its democratically elected government as the country is nearing to conduct its fifth national election on May 24, 2015.  The Washington Post is one that seems to be sworn and hell-bent to spew out all ills against Ethiopia, and its general elections. It is once again tied up with releasing false and unsubstantiated Ethiopia, its government and the upcoming election. On May 1, 2015, the Editorial Board of the said media outlet released an editorial titled The United States' irresponsible praise of Ethiopia's regime. To the surprise of many, the editorial is accompanied by a dazzling picture, depicting the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, making a speech during the opening ceremony for the groundbreaking of the Ethio-China Dong Guan Huajian International Light Industrial Zone outside Addis Ababa on April 16, 2015.

 

In the editorial, the Wendy Sherman’s statement that “Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair and credible. To the writer’s (Washington Post’s) chagrin, a State Department spokeswoman later confirmed that Sherman’s comments “fully reflect the U.S. government’s positions on these issues.” The remark of Wendy Sherman writer laments with is followed by the Washington Post’s utterly subjective and hastily generalized statement that “The ensuing backlash from Ethiopians and human rights advocates was deserved”. Let’s dissect this conclusion of the Washington Post and see the validity of its claim. First of all, who are the ‘Ethiopians’ that are said to have negatively reacted or ‘backlashed’ against Wendy Sherman’s true and encouraging words on Ethiopia’s democracy and its upcoming election? One does not need to ferret out deep to identify the identity of these “Ethiopians”. They are the usual; few individuals who committed various atrocities against the Ethiopian peoples during the 17 years of the dictatorial regime of Mengistu Hailemariam; escaped the court of justice by fleeing Ethiopia and, some with pseudo-names, got a sanctuary in the US and other western countries. These people were meant to stand trial here in Ethiopia for a number of crimes such as embezzlement, direct or indirect participation in the infamous “red terror”, genocide and other crimes they directly orchestrated or worked as accomplices. These are the very people who have been leaving no stone unturned to conspire against Ethiopia and have been working hand in gloves with all enemies of Ethiopia to try to derail its economic development. These are the very individuals who day in and out cry fouls and naysayers who will not back down from sabotaging Ethiopia’s wellbeing and progress if they manage to get the slightest opportunity. These are the few individuals who protested in the streets of Washington DC when, up on the approval of the Ethiopian Parliament, the Ethiopian Defense Force took a pre-emptive measure and ‘nixed in the bud’ the mayhem and destruction the then Union of Islamic Courts (UICs), from which the terrorist Al-Shabab stemed out, was plotting. Of course, these are the very individuals who showed their allegiance to the former Egyptian leaders and cried out their eyes and hearts against the building of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Gilgel Gibe III Dam and the construction of many sugar factories in almost every region in the country. In general, the ones whom you – the Editorial Board of Washington Post called ‘Ethiopians’ are virtually non-Ethiopians who were ones so, but after committing crimes at home, they tossed away their Ethiopian nationality and received the nationality of the US and other western countries. Succinctly put, these are the very people who have the motto: go to hell Ethiopia that we do not rule. So the Board of the Washington Post was, to say the least, irresponsible and foolhardy to make such a generalization that ‘Ethiopians’ have backlashed with the statement of Wendy Sherman. The true Ethiopians are back home battling against poverty and backwardness and thus, transforming the image of their country. Of course a significant number of Ethiopians in the diaspora are also putting a fulcrum to the massive economic healing the country is undergoing.

 

Now, let me move on to the other chunk of your conclusion: that the statement of Wendy Sherman deservedly ensued backlash from ‘Ethiopians’ and ‘human rights advocates’. So who are the people/institutions you dubbed here as human rights advocates? You mentioned one – the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). It has now been years since the CPJ was engaged in heaping up allegations that Ethiopia is a thorny place for journalists and opposition leaders. It has been doing this for the last two decades and seems determined to continue doing so as long as the EPRDF-led government is in power. The crux of the matter is that the free press was born for the first time in Ethiopia in 1991 and has been growing in leaps and bounds since then. Ratifying in its constitution, the government created a ground where journalists can openly criticize, rebuke and taint the policies and agenda the government drafts. Exhausted of doing these, they have gone far and were engaged in ad hominem for the last 20 or so years.  Contrary to this, some printed and air media sprouted and have been working in a responsible and impartial manner: appreciating the government when the latter does a job worth appreciating and criticizing it when it fails to meet expectations in some ways.


 

 As is the case in the US, France, Canada or other developed countries, the government has to deal with a heavy hand with journalists who, under the cover of journalism, threaten the security of the people it (the government) came from and the sovereignty of the land it is entitled to take care of. The reaction of the CPJ has been the same when the Ethiopian Defense Force (EDF) captured red-handed two Swedish ‘journalists’ fighting alongside the ONLF. The CPJ and other related self-proclaimed human right organizations went cacophonic saying that these ‘journalists’ should be released as they were exercising their journalistic duties. In a similar vein, you are again falsely criticizing the Ethiopian Government when it put under control the ‘journalists’ who gave themselves the  nom de guerre ‘Zone 9’ bloggers and worked round the clock against the interest of the country and its people.  As the age old maxim goes, charity begins at home. There are indescribable social and racial abuses, discriminations and unjust practices in the countries where you are sitting and operating from.

 

 If you (Board of the Washington Post) think you are in reality for civil rights, democracy and free press, cast off your hypocrisy and decry France and Canada, to mention but a few, who have adopted new anti-terrorism laws (that range from spying on personal telephone calls, striping of citizenship to forbidding citizens from browsing websites presumed to be frequented by suspected terrorists) for the sake of their people’s security and wellbeing. The picture at the top of this article speaks it all what your problem with Ethiopia is and why you get obsessed with Ethiopia and its government, especially during election times: it is the ideology and path of development the Ethiopian government pursues. Besides you, there are several other tentacles of neo-liberals and liberals who bark at Ethiopia and its government whenever rivers are diverted for development purposes; conspiracies to topple down the constitutional government are foiled; mountains are flattened to build schools, universities and hospitals; roads are paved to connect/link communities and valleys are changed into water reservoir to generate electricity and build sugar factories. Your problem is not with democracy and election in Ethiopia. Your problem is the different path that Ethiopia has taken in its endeavor to line itself with the middle income countries and beyond – a path that countries like China, Singapore, Brazil, South Korea and many other emerging countries followed. That is why your tile The United States' irresponsible praise of Ethiopia's regime is prefaced by a picture where the Prime Minister of Ethiopia is delivering a speech at the Ethio-China collaboration Summit. Your actual and inner most worry has surfaced out as you try to cloud it by other pretexts.

 

To recap, Ethiopia will continue to hear a number of cry wolves in the days ahead. The days when Ethiopia will fall at the mercy of neo-liberals/liberals and their tentacles are remote. As a sovereign, independent and resilient country, Ethiopia will continue to follow its path of development it deems is the right one. Nonetheless, the tentacles of neo-liberals and liberals like The Washington Post, CPJ, and International Rivers and so on will continue to cry wolf every time Ethiopia diverts a river; foils terrorists’ plots; breaks a rock and/or clears a bush for the development of its peoples. Rain or shine, Ethiopia has prepared to conduct its fifth round election on the 24th of May, 2015, and will determine its destiny by the sheer choice of its peoples. Dogs/wolves will, as usual, bark on the eve and in the aftermath of the election. But the camel will keep marching with these barks totally unheeded as barking dogs/wolves seldom bite.

 

 

 

 


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