Open Letter to the President of ICG

Ms Arbour

President and CEO

International Crisis Group



11th September 2009

Dear Ms Arbour

As I write to you on Ethiopian New Year’s Day, may I wish you Enqutatash!   Ethiopians the length and breadth of Ethiopia celebrate the dawn of a new year in a revamped Ethiopia which is at peace with herself.   True, it is a newly configured Ethiopia but, nonetheless, it is an Ethiopia which has restored the sense of pride in one’s ethnic and cultural identities to Ethiopia’s nations, nationalities and peoples.   And if you care to take a cursory glance at the history of Ethiopia, you would come to realise the reason for the writing in blood of the annals of Ethiopia are explicitly attributed to the conspicuous absence of the very rights and privileges Ethiopians have come to enjoy today.

It is against these glaring prevailing conditions of Ethiopia, that your Horn of Africa Office in Nairobi has chosen to churn out a ‘study’ on the 4th September 2009 which concluded by admonishing the international community “not to ignore and down play these problems.”

Madam President

I don’t think the ICG needs reminding of the fact that the international community was neither the obstetrician nor mid-wife of Ethiopian democracy.   Ours is a home-grown democracy which, as it were, is free range and GM free.   Nor did the Fathers of Ethiopian Democracy have to travel all the way to either London or Paris to receive the Constitution of FDRE on a silver platter.   That is why we have come to regard it as the eye ball of our nation and any tampering of it by outside forces would, therefore, instinctively ignite the wrath of Ethiopians.   The idea or proposal currently being toyed by the ICG will, therefore, neither succeeds in arm locking or frogmarching Ethiopia into implementing the will of foreign forces.   That, my learned Madam President, would be to kow-tow to a new form of neo-colonialism to which Ethiopia is world renowned in being dead against it.

Ethiopian democracy today is fit and getting fortified.   Every day brings in new additions that enrich the building process of pluralistic democracy in Ethiopia.   We have managed to pick up the pieces from the dark side of the 2005 National Elections by tapping in from our willingness, not to say naiveté, of allowing unfettered access to foreign forces masquerading as NGOs and CSOs.

Madam President

Laughable, then, is it not to witness Crisis Group’s Deputy Africa Group Director, still clinging on to the term “donor” six years after it has been replaced by “partner” courtesy of the Cotonou Agreement of 2003.  Moreover, it is not only wrong, but irresponsible too, is it not, to hyper-ventilate a teething problem which Ethiopia resolved amicably years ago and portraying it as though it is still alive and kicking today.

 In conclusion, I hope you will come to rue the day ICG had chosen to embrace such an idiotically apocalyptic vision for Ethiopia.   But there again we could argue that Winston Churchill had said it all years ago: “It is wise to look ahead, but foolish to look further than you can see.”

With kind regards

Dilwenberu Nega