By Yilma Bekele
I could have titled this piece ‘Obama and his Africa peace keepers’ but that would not be fair. Anybody with half a brain can see that I am trying to make my issue to be his problem. Excuse me just because fighting for my right is beneath my dignity there is no reason to impose on him that I am unable to do for whatever reason. Dear Mr. President we Africans are not amused! This is what appeared on The Guardian
‘According to President Obama, who announced a series of American support and initiatives generated from the summit, the US government would be creating what it called “the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP, “A-Prep” for short), with “a new investment of $110 million per year for three to five years to build the capacity of African militaries to rapidly deploy peacekeepers in response to emerging conflict, a concept that holds powerful life-saving potential.”
It is President Obama’s lasting gift to Africa. He is helping Africa by training and arming soldiers from countries that rely on the gun to stay in power. Compared to all other abuses our continent receives from outsiders this one seems to hurt the most. It was a moment of Et tu, Obama? Is this how you pay your cousins? Sending the gun instead of bread? Sending the solder instead of the doctor? Calling them ‘Peace Keeping Force’ is that good old American trick of giving an awful thing a pretty sounding name. It was not long ago President Regan named the MX missile that was capable of turning the Soviet Union into one big parking lot the ‘Peacekeeper’.
The African peace Keeping force he is proposing conjures up visions of the condition of Latin America in the sixties, seventies and eighties that saw the procession of Military Juntas with the training and active support of the US. We are watching history repeat itself – the game is the same but the venue has changed.
We Ethiopians in the US supported Obama’s Presidency among other reasons is the hope and belief that he would forcefully bring the issue of Human Rights and Good Governance to the table. Despite his high sounding and intoxicating rhetoric he has failed to contribute positively towards the African Renaissance.
Right now my focus is not on the policy advanced by the administration that would only increase Africa’s suffering. Looking at the composition of the group nominated to be in charge I have no doubt burning, looting, and rape are considered peace keeping methods. Assembling solders from Ethiopia, Uganda, and Rwanda is like picking the City police force from the local penitentiary. I doubt any African is excited about being a continent trotting mercenary in the employ of one super power or another. What the heck we Ethiopians are good at killing each other why not kill strangers and still get paid for it is another way of looking at it. Do you think it is a win-win situation for savage Woyane?
Let us talk about Ethiopia and our reaction to the policy of coddling tyrants, insane and certified psychopathic African strongmen by the ‘Democratic’ West. We never tire pointing out the inconsistency between word and deeds by the West. Are we correct in calling them coward and selfish? Do you think they should have done more including using economic and military tools to punish dictators and human rights abusers?
I am sure all my readers agree the West has not done much to help the aspirations of non-white people to be free. In fact it can be said the West has actively worked to thwart the quest for freedom. Everybody knows that. Putting that aside do we Ethiopians believe the West to be entirely responsible for our misfortune? Or do we share the blame?
In the interest of fairness this is what policy makers in the West witness when they see their options on how to interact with our country and people. They look at the Ethiopian government and see one big pyramid scheme with a taint of ethnocentrism and a dash of thuggish behavior mixed with a spoon full of ignorance. Unfortunate for us they also get to notice how the population both at home and in the Diaspora react to such abuse and mis-use of power. The Western policy maker gets to see as we really are-warts and all.
I am not going thru a laundry list of the crimes of the TPLF or their lack of empathy and their capacity for unsatisfiable greed. I am sure Western Policy makers are aware of Woyane’s sick state of mind. Thanks to Wiki leaks we are today sure the US knows where all the skeletons are buried. Time will tell. Anyway let us not worry about outsiders.
What else do you think they see? They see a Diaspora that fled Ethiopia through different means and in the process of rebuilding in foreign lands. They also notice the same Diaspora that has become the cash cow of the government that is still practicing the policy of displacement that made them flee their homeland. The western policy maker observes the Diaspora to be a primary contributor to the welfare of the Woyane regime.
What are the ways the Diaspora help the TPLF Government to rule with an iron fist and abuse our people and country? The Diaspora money is cash with no strings attached. The Diaspora is a major player in the condominium building process on land leased from Woyane owners. The Diaspora is a sure market for Ethiopian Airlines. The Diasporas contribution lubricates the Woyane cash need – the lease scam is used to corrupt the civil servant, the building frenzy keep EFFORT floating and Ethiopian Airlines is a Woyane taxi and cash cow with plenty of fringe benefits doled out by TPLF based on ones’ ethnic origin.
Today the Diaspora can dine on injera that’s is made in Ethiopia and flown packed in plastic to the USA. It is no surprise to see Ethiopian owned dining and entertainment establishments here in the US stock their bars with Woyane controlled Brewery and its Woyane supply chain, cook our food with spices from home imported by Woyane business men (always in the background) and swear by butter and grain brought in container ships all facilitated by the ruling group in one way or another. They export those basic necessities to amass dollars that in turn finds its way out of the country to be deposited in savings or buy Real Estate with cash all over the world, especially here in the US. We have the list.
This behavior is definitely not good or end good for all involved. How we got into this is part of our history. We are not the first one to fall on hard times nor will we be the last. Right now our concern is how to climb out of the deep hole we have dug for ourselves. We totally do not want to insistently dwell on the past and relive our mistakes or endlessly recount the many ways Woyane’ are evil. No sir we want to about talk what we can do in response.
The last few years activists and community organizers allocated plenty of time, cash and other resources to closely work with Politicians, community leaders and other decision makers in the West to bring change at home. We are proud to make Human Right in Ethiopia the discussion in the halls of the US Congress and European Union. Our country will always remember all those brave Ethiopians that stood with their people despite extreme heat and freezing cold all over the world. It is safe to say that our effort has at times tamed the savage regime.
Our effort has shown promise at times but it is becoming obvious that it never is a game changer. It is our problem and we are the only ones that can solve it to our satisfaction. When solution is imposed or incubated by outsiders it never lasts long and one is back to the drawing board within a short time. Logic dictates that we devise a way to do the job ourselves. Once outsiders see that we are trying I am sure they will be happy to help because no one is loved and worshiped more than a winner.
The solution to our problem is all around us. We learn from those that fought for freedom before us. I know it is our second time around but I wouldn’t mention that if I were you. The American Revolution started by dumping English tea in Boston harbor. The colonies were refusing to pay taxes without consent and the rest is history.
Ever since then history book is full of wars, civil wars, civil strife and civil unrest where people fought to be free. That is what we are doing now. Fighting to be free once again. Finishing the job that started over fifty years ago.
The answer is very simple in the face of it but very difficult in the implementation. Normally humans act based on selfish interest. But there are times due to circumstances we act in ways that is hurtful not only to others but ourselves. That is what is happening in Ethiopia. We the children that were lucky to leave our home and build a good life outside at times do things that end up hurting those we love while empowering the evil doers. I am sure some do it because that is what they are, morally bankrupt and weak. On the other hand there are a lot that given the fact would not hesitate to do what is morally right.
We have to strive to empower our people. Our culture, the relentless war waged against our core values by the Woyane regime is toxic but we have shown we are resilient. That is exactly the reason there are no credible grass roots organizations based on ethnicity or religion in our home land. The ones we see today (OPDO, ANDM blah blah) are the brain child of Woyane and the laughing stock of our nation.
That is the wonderful foundation we are given the opportunity to build on. Surely devising a way and convincing our people to act in self-interest is not beyond our capacity is it?
The culture of being held accountable and behaving in a responsible manner towards each other are values we have to encourage. Being aware Woyane to be the root cause of our problem, we have to have the strength and conviction to take the next logical action – avoid all dealings with Woyane. It is consciously staying away from all situations that would force us to deal with the regime or its agents unless it is of utmost importance. Marginalization of Woyane, their supporters and their products is one of the most potent weapon we possess.
Should we form an Organization, a Committee or a Chapter to organize this momentous undertaking? May be. My experience in such matters is not encouraging. On the other hand it is a good idea to come out with different ways of reaching the stake holders. Educating the people is the key to the campaign. We are able to undertake the task of education when we stop our voracious appetite to hear the evil Woyane tales and fables. Enough said.
It is not about the West. It is not about TPLF Woyane. It is all about each and every one of us. How could they have respect for us when we tolerate the abuse of our people? A few knowingly or out of ignorance participate in this feeding frenzy. (See how easy it is to get diverted?) I forgot it is not about them. The question I should answer is if I am following the program of loving Ethiopia and avoiding Woyane and associates? Nothing less nothing more. It is not about my neighbor it is about me.
What we are about to do is proven to work. Gandhi used it against the British, Martin Luther King Jr. used it against segregationists, South Africans thru ANC urged all foreigners to divest from their country and today it is widely used to force Corporations change their behavior when it gets out of line.
Indians went without salt during the salt boycott and endured, Black Americans walked miles to avoid taking the bus and won, manufacturing companies closed or reduced work hours and Black South Africans lost wages and today they enjoy freedom. To discuss whether our action will hurt our people is insane. Human life and dignity is not something to bargain with. No one is willing to serve as a slave no matter the pay. We will not serve Woyane rule under any circumstances or negotiate about servitude.
Surely going without injera, not drinking Woyane beer, not taking Ethiopian Air Lines, not building on stolen land, not sending money using Woyane agents is a sacrifice we should bear with dignity on behalf of freedom and equality. Here is a wonderful quote ‘To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before’. Avoiding Woyane is a good place to start.