Here it comes again!
The construction of the hydro-power Dam is not a damned move, but those who blindly opposing it are the most irksome.
By W. Yilma March 26, 2012-
Much has been said about the on going hydro-power Dam construction and the Agro- industrial development programs carried out in Ethiopia. The dam and land lease are the two most targeted subjects for attack by special interest groups. Still the voice is coming from different angles in different ways They talk about the right of the indigenous people, as if they worried more than the Local, Regional or Federal government. They want to fool us such move is not good for the country, as if Ethiopia is the only country in the world to construct huge hydro-power Dams or lease its land for Agro-industrial development. Simply, they pretend to be worried more than us about our future, people, ecosystem, and our economy.
They want us to obey their directives how we should handle and run our national socio-economic policies. What is more disturbing here is the stand taken by some Ethiopian folks from Diaspora. Some of them even crossed the line, and opened a joint front together with foreigners to deceive the international communities, that Ethiopian decision to use her own resources is wrong. They not only blindly condemned the on going hydro power Dam construction, but also ridiculed and undermining those Ethiopians scientist and professionals who are actively and relentlessly participating in project planing, preparation and execution. Some with no shame, worried more about the neighboring tribes than ours. Because they are intoxicated with hate, their actions and criticisms are beyond proportional and unreasonable.
Previously as they call it, it was about "Gambella land land grab", Gilgel Gibe I, and II. Now it is about Gilgel Gibe III, the Renaissance Grand Dam, and about the south Omo indigenous people. A world wide coordination efforts is going on to twist the hand of the government to drop or to reverse its decisions. To fulfill their ill agendas they opened a coordinated fronts with the so called Human Right Watch, Oakland Institute, International Right Groups, International Rivers, African Resources Working Groups, and others, individuals who are participating in endless research or study programs (more than 50 years) in poor African marginalized areas. Their endless studies are mainly focused mainly in Sociology, Archeology, Paleontology, Paleoanthropalogy. These different organizations, individuals and groups have different interest in Africa and in particular in Ethiopia. Some of them are racist who do not want to see developed Africa. Some have their own narrow ideology, political and financial interest.
I am outsider and I have no connection with the present government. I can't say every thing what the current government is doing now is correct. But as a human being I can sense use my mind to look events in a positive and objective ways. As any other Ethiopian, I follows my country's situation daily with open minded. I have no preconceived notion about individual or groups or I am not biased about the government in power or the oppositions alike. If the government do the right thing I supported with my full heart. If something went wrong, I never hesitate to speak my mind, whenever I got the opportunity. Therefore I am not sided with any group. My main objective here is to express my concerns about the way some section from Diaspora "politicians" are entertaining national development programs with political differences.
Ethiopia immediate objective is to secure food sufficiency and economic development. To achieve this goal, we should effectively and efficiently utilize our vast virgin natural resources. Obviously these untouched or underutilized resources are located in those areas where our marginalized societies are living. The people who are living in those marginalized areas have the right to get equal opportunities to develop their area and change their way of life. We can't keep our marginalized population as a tourist attraction sites. Their way of life need to be changed, and their land need to be utilized for their own benefit. There life will be in danger only if we failed to do something to solve the endemic problems they experiences for centuries, mainly food, and forage insecurity for themselves as well as for their live stocks. The only reason the indigenous people could extinct or the prevailing endemic inter tribal conflicts continues to challenge their well-being is only if we failed to do something to change their way of life , and failed to give them a chance to participate in national economic activities. It is not as some naive Diaspora politicians are propagating, that the people will be extincted and inter tribal conflict will be aggravated if the on going development plan take in to effect. No culture or tradition is static and unchanged forever. If needed it need to be changed for good. It is inhumane to advocate to keep people in isolation for the sake of tourist attractions or denied civilization for the sake of scientific study. No one deny the importance of research and scientific studies. However, it is a matter of weighing which one is important for our immediate national interest. It is unwise to think that vast agricultural land area should be idle to keep the interest of outsiders. Who cares about the Archaeological or other endless "scientific studies" which is not belong to us or bring benefit to the people in question?The various scientific studies" conducting by foreigners in those places are not our immediate interest. To pullout from our economic development endeavors just to meet the demands of foreigners is unacceptable.
The concern of those critics are about environment and indigenous people. Every fair minded person shared their concerns, but it is also open secret that as much as human action could disturb nature he could also conserve and change nature to his own benefits. As far as I know, any human activities could have an impact to the environment. The question here is to what extent and what measure need to be taken to balance the damage.Therefore, whether we choose "Do Nothing" approaches or development, our environment will be affected and deteriorating mainly by continues uncontrollable natural causes, human and animal activities. In fact, the main cause of environmental problem we are witnessing in our planet is not because Ethiopia is constructing hydro power dam or engaging in developing her virgin land for agriculture, but due to the irresponsible action taken by developed nations to develop their industry, agriculture, and other multipurpose nuclear plant facilities. They are responsible for to days world erratic and unstable ecological problems. Ethiopia shares in this respect is insignificant. In fact the only way we could get out of the problem nature brought us is by effectively utilizing our rivers for modern agriculture and hydro-power. Therefore, unless they have a hidden agendas, I do not see a big issue here why few Diaspora" scholars" together with self appointed international organizations, institutions, and individuals are worried about the construction of the dam. Their motive is purely political.
If we closely scrutinize what has been said by those who are viciously opposing the construction of hydro-power dams and agricultural development, it will give us some clue how some individual are determined not only to oppose any development program, but also determined to insult and wrongly portraits home grown intellectuals who are dedicated to bring change to their country and their people. If a self proclaimed "law professor" from Diaspora unfairly condemned a well know environmental scientist, the only thing I can say here is what is he talking about? This shows how some Diaspora self proclaimed "intellectuals or scholars" are suffering from "all I know disease syndromes". What professional mandate or credibility does have a "law professor" from United States blindly insulted discredit the Ethiopian Environmental Agency, and the professionals how they conducted the project study? Is it morally, and ethically acceptable to criminalize Ethiopian professionals and on the other hand highly appreciating and applauds those foreigners who are deliberately manipulating information to halt our development efforts? To me this kind of mentality is a result of inferiority complex.
If a person who have never been in Omo Valleys areas, how could he talk about those people and write a fiction as if he is the one who know what is good for these people? If some one without any hesitation said that 200,000 indigenous people from this areas are evicted from their ancestral land, either he/she does not know the place at all or he/she deliberately want to deceive the public by feeding wrong information. I know the area very well and unless they count the livestock together with the people, there is no way 200,000 people are evicted or will be evicted from their land, once the project is implemented. The entire South Omo valley area is not densely populated and people as a small group are living sparsely apart from each other. unless there is a drastic demographic change within the last 11 years I do not think the number of people living in the project areas reaches 200,000. The agricultural practices in these areas are very primitive, and the areas has never been food sufficiency.Therefore, other than helping the local people to alleviate their food scarcity , the implementation of the project does not have a negative effects to the people in question.The information coming from people who are opposing the project is simply lie. It is sad when "intellectuals" are using their knowledge and talents to distort data and information to attract peoples attentions.To deceive peoples by manipulating data and information is unacceptable. To me I call this intellectual terrorism. Because terrorism is not limited only killing people with weapon. knowledge too is a weapon, if wrongly applied in a wrong place in a wrong time.
It is not clear for me why some individuals in Diaspora who have a good education, spend their valuable time, knowledge, energy and money not for the betterment of their people but for waste- ful purposes. The easiest thing one can do is to criticize those who are working to make difference to their people. The more the Ethiopia economic activities holding momentum, the more vocal Diaspora opposition become active to do whatever is necessary to damage the image of their home country. Foreigners have reasons to afraid the on going development activities in Ethiopia. The potential Ethiopia has to influence other African nations is the main reason. However, the reason why some sectors of Diaspora Ethiopian are viciously opposing any development program activities in their home country is hard to understand. I do think patriotism have different versions in their camp.
It is unwise to think economic development is possible without planned dislocation of people from their land. It is not like what the USA and the Canadians governments has done against the indigenous Indians in the mid 19th. century. Ethiopian case is different from what has been done by these two countries against the indigenous Indians. Indigenous Indians were collectively punished and massacred indiscriminately; forcefully evicted from their ancestral land. Even to punish them in hunger, the wild animals which were their source of food were indiscriminately butchered. History knows it. Ethiopian case is by far different from this. However, what need to be clear here is that during implementations of such huge project, encountering of minor and manageable problems are an avoidable. But this is an acceptable universal problems that can be fixed easily. No Anuak, Nuer from Gambella or Dasanach, Karo, Mursi , Nyangatom, Body from Omo valley were evicted unfairly from their ancestral land as some are claimed.
The on going hydro- power Dams construction and agro- industrial activities, no matter who planned or under which government are executing, we need to stand together. Government comes and goes. Those infrastructures established or economic development accomplished will remain in the country for the benefit of our people. It does not need to be a "good lawyer or a good economist" to understand this. By the way the dam is not damned, but those who oppose it from the far distance blindly are the most awkward!
There are many policies, social and economic issues we can discuss and argue with civility, and intellectuals integrity. Portraying wrongly, insulting or ridiculing each other does not bring positive changes to our multifaceted problems. It is not only a successive government policies are stupid, but our extreme poverty too is the most difficult one to overcome overnight. It needs our willingness to work together. Only discussion with civility, and promoting peace full struggle is a way forward to achieve a positive changes in our country. Let's unite, and extend our hands and knowledge to support developmental projects which have national significance. When it comes to river Abay, Egyptians have one voice, regardless of their differences. Why we failed to do so and snatching each other as vicious carnivore ? The time is now to choose the right path.
Long Live Ethiopia