Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News’ Category
· A seemingly growing economy.
· Local currency pegged to the dollar.
· Rampant speculation in real estate and currency trading.
· Financial institutions under heavy debt to trans national banks.
When these conditions are met the game is set. The crisis is invented. The foreign banks call the short-term loan in. The currency speculators start hitting the foreign reserve. The desperate government calls in the IMF. They are there the next day with new terms and conditions. It has happened to the following countries.
· Mexico 1994 known as the ‘Mexican Peso Crisis’ The peso fell by 35 percent against the dollar in three days. IMF approved 48billion loan to prop up the peso.
· Thailand November 1997. Bail out 3.9 billion.
· Korea December 1997. Bailout 55 billion.
· Indonesia. 1998. Bailout 43 billion
· Brazil. December 1998. Bailout 30 billion.
The G7 countries banks were protected form the effects of giving excessive loans to a poor and corrupt creditor while the those countries economy was saddled with further debt
Compared to us all these are giants. What do they want from us?
What we got today is as important as what we could be tomorrow. The trans nationals are the new colonialists. Control comes in many forms. A weak corrupt regime is a fertile ground for their operation. When they show up during a certain point in the crisis like the collapse of the Mengistu dictatorship they come with what they call ‘a policy framework paper’ (PFP) The new game plan is trade liberalization, wage freeze, open markets, hasty privatization and new labor laws among a host of changes to make it easy for the Banks and Agro-businesses to operate freely.
We know what happened in Ethiopia. State assets were sold out (transferred) to TPLF organized companies. Land that was illegally confiscated by the Derg was reconfisiscated by the new masters. New labor unions were organized for all trade and professional groups. Teachers and social workers were let go. Price subsidies to farmers was stopped. Price control was lifted. The ‘Kelel’ system was set up in the name of federalism but a Bantustan in nature. Dagmawi writes ‘the ethnic nationalism represented by Kuma Demeksa and other servile ethnic politicians is referred to as “Castrated Nationalism”. The organization of society into ethnic nations and its top down control via castrated ethnic parties was the governing strategy in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.’ Look at both of them now. So much for ‘castrated nationalism’ as a tool for self-determination.
The most important mission of neo colonialism is the control of the food system. We are number one victims of this practice. Giant Agro-business took control of our farm-based economy. It was not a physical take over. That is old fashioned. They gave grants and loan subsidies to the regime, which in turn used the capital to consolidate its hold on the peasant farmer. Seed and fertilizer came under government monopoly that in turn was controlled by trans national agro business conglomerates. According to Chossudovsky ‘Pioneer Hi-Bred positioned itself in seed distribution and marketing, Cargill Inc established itself in the markets for grain and coffee through its subsidiary Ethiopian Commodities’. This symbiotic relationship serves the two parties at the expense of the third, the peasant farmer. Three important names in this are Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill Inc. Our wheat, barley; maize, teff, sorghum and other Ethiopian seed variety have become genetically mapped and patented properties of the agri businesses. What this means is our farmers cannot save and plant or exchange the seeds without breaking the law.
The poor Ethiopian farmer is victimized from many sides. He does not own the land. He cannot raise capital. His seed has been confiscated from him. Fertilizer is out of his reach. Since the ’84 hunger more than 8 million have been locked in what is called a ‘famine zone’. There is no way out. The current ‘give away’ of land to Sudan pales in comparison to the outright robbery of our unique seed supply. We will never get it back. We can reclaim what Sudan is trying to take but the prospect of going against treaties enshrined in their World Trade Organization (WTO), Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreements and other neo colonialist tools is very remote.
It is not good to bite the hand that feeds you, but circumstances have to be taken into consideration. The IMF, World Bank and the trans national corporations make the existence of the corrupt mafia regime possible. The policy they formulate to benefit them selves in turn causes untold misery and pain to our people. The ruling elite they prop up to facilitate their control is destroying our identity and our home. Their callous policy towards us is the cause of famine. Are we supposed to thank them for dumping on us genetically engineered grain that is banned in Western Europe? Is it true that we are being used to ‘launder dirty grain’ in the name of aid? Why is genetically manipulated seed given out with ‘food aid’? Does this cause a further deterioration of Ethiopia’s genetic pool of indigenous seeds?
What is bizarre about the current famine is that the International Organizations and NGO’s are appealing for help while the Ethiopian government is busy denying the extent of the problem. They seem to be angry by the 8 to 12 million figure being quoted by the media. The Prime Mister himself is upset about the conspiracy by the western media to tarnish his image. Instead of ‘one hungry citizen is one too many’ the regime is setting the record straight by claiming the number should not be no more may be 75,000 children dying. I guess that is an acceptable number to perish. As far as you and I are concerned, it comes down to the same old question. What are you going to do about it?
I will leave you with a timely quotation from Indonesia in the aftermath of their ‘crisis’ in 19998.
“”It is paradoxical that the IMF is willing to dictate terms to Suharto when it comes to managing the economy but not when it comes to fundamental economic rights,” an Indonesian human rights worker and researcher using the pseudonym ‘Aryati’ told a Congressional committee… While it is apparently acceptable to the IMF that political power is monopolized, it absolutely insists that the debt be democratically distributed.”
Resources used in the preparation of this article.
*Sowing the Seeds of Famine in Ethiopia, by Michel Chossudovsky
*David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
*Anuradha Mittal, Co-Director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First, in Oakland, California.
*Shiva – The threat to third world farmers.
*IMF– Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Korea
*Sang Mok Ahn – The IMF Korea Bailout – A Korean Nationalist’s View