EU, USA, AND UN STANCE ON ETHIOPIA DEGRADES DEMOCRACY

By Dr. Aklog Birara 

Sad Face of WarThe most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out ... Inevitably he concludes that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.” — HL Mencken

In “American Apocalypse: The Government’s Plot to Destabilize the Nation is Working, River Cities’ Reader 2019”, John W. Whitehead said, “The US government is working hard to destabilize the nation.  No, this is not another conspiracy theory. Although it is certainly not far-fetched to suggest that the government might be engaged in nefarious activities that run counter to the best interests of the American people”.

The USA possesses national institutions that can mitigate risks and avert “destabilization of this great nation.” Who will defend weak nations targeted by the USA? Indeed, the USA Government’s nefarious activities are destabilizing Ethiopia. The Biden Administration’s pro-Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)’s position has tainted and undermined mutually beneficial relations between USA and Ethiopia.

I had predicted that the world would tackle global issues such as the pandemic equitably; and imagined that rich nations would help eradicate poverty. Instead, the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. The European Union (EU), the USA and the UN sided with the terroristic TPLF and threatened the democratically elected Government of Ethiopia.

The international order suffers from unjust governance that creates mutual mistrust at the UN Security Council. Misrepresentation, blaming victims of terrorism, and threats to apply punitive financial measures and military intervention in Ethiopia emboldens TPLF.

NO MOREAnti-War Demonstration Why the “NO MORE” mobilization? “NO MORE” mobilized the entire world: well-meaning youth in Africa, the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean to join hands to protest in more than thirty cities; and to reject hegemony and military interventions under the pretext of safeguarding the common good: human rights, democracy, peace, national security, and a free market. Such interventions are illusive because the engagement is exclusionary. For example,

  • President Joe Biden held an online seminar on democracy by excluding a large part of the global community that embraces democracy.
  • The EU initiated a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council to “assess the grave human rights situation in Ethiopia” without a Black African state.
  • The EU discussed punitive actions against Ethiopia, fortunately it was aborted by Germany.

Joseph Borrell, a Representative of the EU, lamented lack of consensus among members for punitive sanctions against Ethiopia. Thanks to Germany, the conceived measure was aborted. The TPLF which Mr. Borrell protects is the culprit behind the mayhem; and is the one which benefits from getting a free ride granted by the West.

Behind the conflict in Ethiopia are geopolitical and strategic interests. Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia are vital for the control of the maritime route through Red Sea and the sea lanes to the Middle East and Asia. China’s penetration of Africa’s huge market is a perceived threat to the interests of western countries. Ethiopia plays a role in the strategic competition between US-led West and China/Russia-led East/South countries. From this perspective, Ethiopia is fighting to protect Africa’s interests.

It is important to defend inclusion. The EU-led Human Rights Council resolution reminds me of the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. Europeans commoditized the entire Africa and enriched Europeans while impoverishing Africans. Mimicking Berlin, the EU passed a resolution to defend human rights of Black folks without Black people. If the state of Israel has the right to defend its right to exist, then Western leaders cannot deny Ethiopia the right to defend itself.

The TPLF initiated the war on November 3, 2020, in which it deliberately committed horrendous atrocities and caused massive destruction in Afar and Amhara, but not in Tigray. It licensed its troops to rape, kill, destroy, and desecrate places of worship.

The UNHR Council ignored the costs of destruction by the TPLF, which include the following:

          a) 7,000 schools vandalized, damaged, or destroyed in the Afar and Amhara regions, four thousand in five Amhara zone, and Wollo    University looted and damaged with a loss of ten billion Birr.

          b) Two million students forced to abandon classes, and 116 thousand teachers furloughed with an estimated cost of eleven billion Birr to rehabilitate the damaged schools.

          c) Four thousand health facilities looted or destroyed, sixty health centers in Afar, eighty-two government health offices, 40 hospitals, 453 health stations, 1,850 health posts, 4 blood banks and one oxygen factory in the Amhara region vandalized or destroyed. It will take tens of billions of Birrs to rebuild them.

          d) Tita branch EPHARM drug store with drugs worth 2.6 billion Birr, near Dessie, were vandalized and destroyed.

          e) Forty factories in Dessie and Kombolcha destroyed, and 11,000 workers made jobless.

        f) One hundred twenty-two private hotels, shops and dozens of buildings looted or destroyed, 569 other private investments damaged, altogether 261 million Ethiopian Birr worth of investment capital lost.

        g) One and half million hectares of farmland in the Afar and Amhara regions ravaged, and forty-three million quintals of grain lost; and thousands of livestock slaughtered in Afar and Amhara.

         h) Six religious, two cultural sites, and twenty-two tourist services entities worth twenty-three million Birr destroyed. Menz Guassa, Borena Saint, Guna and Abune Yoseph community conservations, Worehimenu National Park, in Amhara, destroyed, degrading tourism that supports up to thirty-six million Ethiopians whose annual loss of income amounts to twenty-five million Birr.

Ethiopia estimates that TPLF caused losses of 279 billion Birr or $5.8 billion in property damage; more than the $5 billion the US provided to Ethiopia over the past 5 years.

Words cannot describe TPLF human atrocities in Amhara, Mai Kadra genocide after the war followed by executions in Anthokia Gemza, Gashena, Chinna Teklehaimanot Kebele of Dabat Woreda (Amhara); mass graves in Kombolcha and Kobo and Afars in Galikoma.

TPLF set ablaze rural villages and crop fields; and displaced more than two million people in Amhara region.

For the West to enhance its moral standing in Africa, it must abandon its support for TPLF and supports the reconstruction of Ethiopia’s war-shattered economy. The Federal Government of Ethiopia must demand that TPLF, and its supporters pay compensation for the restoration of damages as well as to individual victims. It is time for the US-dominated West to stop destabilizing Ethiopia and the rest of Africa.