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(Western civil societies’ anti-Ethiopia campaign)


Ezana Sehay 05/25/2015

Here is the thing about planting your flag on the moral high ground. If you are going to position yourself as the repository of all that is right and honorable, then you should better make damn sure you live up to that standard because, in the world of politics and elsewhere, there isn’t anything as off-putting as saying one thing and doing another.

Ethiopians, will forgive a lot. They just are not as forgiving about hypocrisy, which brings as around to the Western special interest groups a.k.a. Civil Societies.

Civil societies, at least I theory, are designed to be neutral watchdogs, reporting and organizing campaigns in response to right violations by states in non-arbitrary manner. In reality though unlike the posterior persona they project, the leadership of these groups have evolved in to self-serving political interest groups in compassion clothing. Now days the notion that civil society groups as advocates and promoters of democracy and human rights is starting to ring a little hallow.

These civil societies include: Human Rights Watch [HRW], Amnesty International [AI], Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ], Freedom House [FH] et al.

Contrary to their stated principles; western civil societies are obsessively preoccupied with control and influence. They have evolved in to power-hungry, arrogant micro-interest groups, who more often than not, will do anything to dictate agendas in other nations - They have become too big for their bridge, so to speak.

In doing so, they adhere to the old Western paradigm of paternal politics. Their religiously pandering of democracy and human rights is a smoke screen for their grand scheme of control and influence. That’s why they don’t like being drown to resourceful and hard-working but independent minded governments, like the Ethiopian government.

The great moral dilemma is that, by any standards, Ethiopia is one of those few developing nations registering progress in every spectrum of issues these civil societies claim to care about.

Notwithstanding, according to this caucus, the Ethiopian government comes across as a bad guy. In fact, they go to some length to avoid the positive reality in the country and go through several convoluted and questionable arguments trying to convince us that things are bad - Go figure.

It is now almost automatic for these groups to see the EPRDF government as a dictatorship imposed on a comparatively helpless people. Apparently, these groups don’t know the political dynamism of the Ethiopian people as well as they think they do.

In fairness, most certainly are not razing anti-Ethiopian fanatics on par with HRW. Their views are more nuanced than that, even if they are, on balance objectionable. Nevertheless, they are card carrying members of the Mob [anti-Ethiopian axis], which has embraced the casual anti-EPRDF bias that permeates HRW.


The funny thing about mobs is they are rarely satisfied with singular goal. Having failed to ostracize and vilify the government of Ethiopia the Mob keeps flexing its muscle in various forms.

Now it is inarguable, the infant Ethiopian democracy has its flaws. But we are also aware of the democratic deficits evident in some of those countries consider themselves “solid democracy”.

If truth be told, in the political scheme of things of the prevailing global political reality and in the context of fledgling democracy, the political weaknesses in Ethiopia are small potatoes. But for the Mob, every mishap is good enough to make a banquette of and in the familiar ways of the Mob; the main course is well roasted EPRDF government.  Go figure.

In the case of the Mob’s methodology towards Ethiopia; it is fraught. It is not hard to find a situation where the government is accused of political repression or rights violation with nothing in the way of hard evidence at hand.

Furthermore, for the Mob anyone who dares treed with caution and discourages hasty judgment, and question the validity of some of its sources and stories are cast as government apologists.

That is not all; The Mob’s definition of human rights and freedom in the Ethiopian context is broad. It allows for presumed victims – by in large civil complaints – to lodge political accusations. But little opportunity is given for the accused [the government], to prove its innocence; there by shifting the burden of proof to the accused which is profoundly unfair.

In the Mob’s judgment, opposition [individuals or groups], who disguise as activists, human right advocated, reporters… but with esoteric bad intentions have assumed the status of iconic transcendental victims. And Accusations by the aforementioned against the government are taken at face value.

Besides the job of assessing, investigating, and judging is left in the hands of the Mob itself. In other words, the informal or formal process begins and ends at the point of accusation; the truth of the claim is immaterial.

So, the first order of business for the Mob is to demand that we always treat every charge labeled against the government as true, unless proven otherwise. Presumed innocent as foundation of civility? Forget it! According to the Mob, you ought to take all charges against the government at face value. Failing to do so would make one anti-democracy.

It goes without saying, issues of political, civil rights, press freedom, and is important that demand attention. It doesn’t require for self-aggrandizing [often demonstrating only shaky grip on the country’s reality], push them in to the spotlight. Be that as it may, it is hypocritical to assume the government is guilty until proven innocent, that the hard line opposition can be taken at their wording while the government must defend itself against unsubstantiated allegations, and that none of its voice is worthy of being listened to.

Ordinarily, one would expect people [organizations] should be able to request verification of any allegation of abuse, due process, and the like. Reasonable people [groups] will want to avoid circumstances when false or fabricated accusations can destroy or taint the reputation and credibility of the accused.

But then again, mobs are not reasonable.

This is unfortunate, because had members of the alliance [the Mob], stick to their founding principles, there were so many constructive roles they could have played in assisting the budding Ethiopian democracy.

On many occasions - with eyes open and national interest firmly front and center - the government has expressed, that it is not afraid of frank and sensible engagement with any one of the groups. It has demonstrated its willingness to accept or at least entertain any reform while balancing the need of the country’s priorities. But it has made it clear it will not let itself be dictated against its public interest.

Regrettably, the Mob has squandered such an opportunity in place of feeling righteous and demanding unconditional acceptance of its dogmatic interpretations of events. With nauseating platitude about anything under the sun it chose to indulge its instinct to grab pitchfork and torch.

And so the trend continues

Unabashed - and which Western group is ever abashed by mere facts – the Mob has issued another report with same old allegations against the government and new set of demands strategically planed to coincide with election.

How bizarre is it? Despite the carnage going on in some corners of the world, the Mob shifts the focus to a flood of accusations targeting the Ethiopian government which evidently is in the process of democratization. This is nothing but a convenient politically motivated diversion from its moral impotence.

This latest report really undercuts the Mob’s credibility. Like its previous one it is based on fictional narratives. The same false charges are repeated and amplified.

To sum up: the Mob’s position on Ethiopia is unhelpful and in most instances simply dead wrong.  Its endless pontification about anything and everything is more hypocritical than honest. It is false on facts, suspect in the sources, and reckless in reporting.

Some are beginning to question: what is happening to these groups, are their editors/reporters merely careless, genuinely duped, or willing collaborators in an orchestrated smear?

We may never know the answer any time soon. But one thing is clear; we shouldn’t expect a faire assessment of events in Ethiopia from the Mob, which obviously is infected by the anti-Ethiopian bug.

In closing; sometimes it is hard to know what to make of a conventional wisdom, doesn’t it? It has been a conventional wisdom or assumed that organizations like HRW, AI, and CPJ … purpose is to promote genuine democracy, civil liberty, free press… in countries that fail to adopt those values.

And yet, sometimes, the conventional wisdom is easily changed by a single event, one that turns on its head everything that just about everyone thought they know. The western civil societies’ anti-Ethiopian campaign is such an event.

Now that conventional wisdom, the notion of western civil societies being “crucial to democracy” has become sort of cute, in a quaint and nostalgic way, but for all practical purposes, terribly outmoded – bereft of any credible claim to legitimacy.

The western civil societies have proven to be a dismal failure and a monument to the ease with which political interest overwhelms moral principle.


Kudos to Ethiopians’ civility and intuition!

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