No Thank You, Martin  Plaut.


I have always questioned the honesty of your reports and analyses on the many particulars of the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflicts.

On your recent report regarding the coming of damage compensation ruling, you have gone to great length to put up an excessive background on the border controversy. Mr. Plaut, this ruling is not about the border controversy. This is about damages and compensation.

You wrote that Ethiopia is still sitting on Eritrean soil.  On what basis do you assert so? Were you referring to the reality projected by so-called virtual demarcation (VD)? If you were, then, shouldn’t you also mention that the Eritreans are also sitting on Ethiopian soil just by the same logic as that VD ruling also puts equal size of Eritrean land and population within Ethiopia, where Eritreans are sitting currently? While I would not have minded if you had said that Ethiopia has been in control of some places that were delimited inside Eritrea (and likewise on the Ethiopian side), I am totally at loss to understand why a neutral journalist would go far to declare a unilateral recognition of a controversial land ownership based on a controversial legality called VD? And if you had to, why would you do it only to echo one party’s call and not the other one’s?

The key missing element in your reporting was not just the one mentioned above. If one asks as to what would be the most relevant background info in light of the anticipated compensation ruling, one would point a finger to the preceding ruling of the Commission on attaching responsibilities of committing aggression. This Commission clearly stated in its previous deliberations that Eritrea alone takes the entire responsibility of igniting the war. It is expected that its ruling will also reflect this decision. Mr. Plaut, you have not made any mention of this relevant background and context while you dwelt in a less proximate and account of the Border Commissions dealings. But, the sin of omission is much better than lying in the name of reporting.

You wrote about Ethiopia’s seizing Eritrea’s firms in Ethiopia. Well, that was a pure lie, to put it straight. But did you make a mistake or you put yourself in a message-laundry mission?  Ethiopia never seized any Eritrean government’s belongings in its soil. You also wrote, “Ethiopia also lost some properties that were in Eritrean ports.” Mr. Plaut, how did Ethiopia lose its property? You didn’t want to explicitly say it that the Eritrean government had literally shop-lift them from the port. That was probably one of the most noticeably untamed characters exhibited by the Eritrean rulers in contempt of international laws as conflict entered its early stage. Those properties belonged not only to the Ethiopian government but to many private businesses and individuals.

Mr. Plaut, you can have the best of yourself dedicated to echo the Eritrean rulers’ calls and I would not blame for that but don’t take the standard respect to principles of ethical reporting  so low.

Belay. 8/18/09