By Robele Ababya |
Zenawi is one hell of a cruel dictator in the twenty-first century kept in power by the immoral flow of funds ironically from powers which profess guardianship of democracy and defenders of freedom of expression and respecters of fundamental human rights. He was invited to a red carpet treatment at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, by ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair. Zenawi attended the Summit immediately after he illegally declared state of emergency in Addis Ababa to steal the decisive victory of the opposition parties at the polls in 2005. It is a matter of indisputable record that the real victorious leaders were incarcerated; hundreds of their supports were executed in cold blood and tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators were crammed into filthy jails where their heads were shaved with unsterilized blades. He walked on the red carpet to greet his host and mingle among some of the most powerful world leaders and dignitaries. Nobody cared that Zenawi came leaving behind a gruesome crime scene at home evidenced by wailing mothers, grieving fathers, sobbing relatives and shocked friends in a terrorized nation.
The following extract, with quotations from independent media, reflects pessimistic views of the relevance of the G8 Summit to poor African countries. The extract is included for ease of reference as one reads the summary and conclusion of this piece.
Quote “The 2005 edition of the Group of eight (G8) Summit that took place in Gleneagles, Scotland 6-8 July gathered leaders of the eight most powerful countries – the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia. This year’s meeting was marked by the decision made by host Britain to build the meeting on two basic pillars: poverty in Africa & climate change.
Furthermore, British Prime Minister Tony Blair soon posed himself as the leader in the fight against African poverty, a move that many found to be a paradox since the G8 policies and its corporate liaisons are no doubt responsible for Africa’s poverty and looting of its resources. Unquote
The Summit drew roundly negative reaction from the media. Here below are a few quotations:
1. “Is it any wonder that even when Africa was at the centre of media attention during the G8 Summit, the voices that analysed and offered solutions to the continent’s problems were predominantly European Africanists? A curious group of armchair theorists with supposedly better knowledge of Africa than the natives themselves. “ Source: The economic medicine that kills (Telegraph), August, 2005
2. “Why in any case should leaders who preside over economies whose success is bound to pillage and injustice (historically and contemporarily|) be expected to take decisions against their own fundamental interests. Couldn’t it be that we have underestimated the power and influence of corporations that shape the agenda of governments or have we overestimated the power of charity over fundamental interests?” asks Charles Abugre from Christian Aid.
3. “Why in any case should leaders who preside over economies whose success is bound to pillage and injustice (historically and contemporarily|) be expected to take decisions against their own fundamental interests. Couldn’t it be that we have underestimated the power and influence of corporations that shape the agenda of governments or have we overestimated the power of charity over fundamental interests?” asks Charles Abugre from Christian Aid.
4. “This report looks into the development policies in Africa promoted by western leaders such as the G8 and International Financial Institutions and how they have proved to be unsuccessful and counterproductive.”
Development in Africa: Choike report (Choike)
5. “The G8 should not be the object of our supplication. It should be the object of our protest and resistance. Make poverty history, yes please. But to do that, we also have to make the G8, and everything they represent, history.”
Making G8 history (Planeta Portoalegre)
Donors’ support to Zenawi following rigged election 2010
Election 2010 was heavily rigged in favor of the ruling regime; it did not meet international standards as confirmed by the European Observer Mission and the White House. It is sad to learn that the Obama Administration has for 2011 requested approval of US$583 million aid for the illegitimate oppressive regime in Addis Ababa; it is equally sad that the United Kingdom is also channeling generous financial assistance. It is ironic that both are giving aid at this time of austerity at home.
Zenawi is one of the six speakers in a one hour session at Davos World Economic Forum under the title: “Nurturing Africa’s Natural Resources (From the scarce to the bountiful, how should Africa’s natural resources be governed to deliver inclusive growth and ensure their sustainability?” Topics include: Agricultural land sales; Mining resources; Energy exploration; and Fishery depletion. The session is moderated by Tony Blair; Zenawi’s friend Professor Geoffrey Sachs is one of the speakers at the session. It is apparent that Zenawi will speak for ten minutes at the most about “Agricultural land sales” on which he is an ‘expert’ selling Ethiopia’s vast fertile farmlands of one of the poorest nations. His mouthpiece aigaform is dead wrong in reporting that its financier Zenawi is a ‘keynote’ speaker. The point is that the tyrant is being the chance to mingle among the powerful looters of Africa’s resources.
Palestinian Papers (Weakileaks)
One can judge from the following extracts from Palestinian Papers puts the government of Tony Blair on the spotlight in financing and rendering technical support to PA security apparatus known to have to have been torturing people thus becoming problems to international donors.
Quote “The documents confirm that by 2005, British projects under the Palestinian security plan – first drafted and passed to the PA under MI6 auspices – included extensive funding of the most controversial parts of the PA security apparatus, including general intelligence, special forces and preventive security under the heading of “UK-Palestinian projects”.
The last in particular has been the subject of repeated and widespread allegations and evidence of torture, including by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. More recently, the British government has denied directly funding the PA’s preventive security.
US general Keith Dayton, who, along with a string of British deputies was in charge of building up Palestinian security forces as US security co-ordinator for Israel and the Palestinian territories until last October, is recorded in the leaked Palestinian records as complaining about torture by PA intelligence in a meeting with chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat in June 2009. “The intelligence guys are good. The Israelis like them,” Dayton says. “But they are causing some problems for international donors because they are torturing people”, adding: “I’ve only started working on this very recently. I don’t need to tell you who was working with them before” – in an apparent reference to the CIA. Unquote
Summary and Conclusion
Election 2005 by the barrel of the gun by the Zenawi regime whose army and security apparatus trained and armed to the teeth by the USA in particular under the guise of supporting an ally against the “war on terror” dubbed as such by George W. Bush. Election 2010 was heavily rigged in favor of the ruling regime; it did not meet international standards as confirmed by the European Observer Mission and the White House. It is sad to learn that the Obama Administration has for 2011 requested approval of US$583 million aid for the illegitimate oppressive regime in Addis Ababa. The requested assistance is even more shockingly surprising at this time when the demand by Republican lawmakers is intensifying; at this time when civil uprising is spreading like a bush fire across the Arab world forcing the Administration to shun despotic allies on the “war on terror”. The question is why Zenawi is an exception in spite of his nasty of the nastiest human rights record; complete denial of freedom of expression and association in breach of his constitution imposed on the Ethiopian people; rampant corruption and excessively high unemployment of 70%.
The revolution in the Arab world is a good omen for Ethiopia because what was so far a bastion of Ethiopia’s woes is vying for democracy as a matter of necessity. Democratic Arab world would be a trusted neighbor for a democratic Ethiopia which we have to engender. This writer is impressed by Tunisians who have put human dignity at the center of their values in their spectacular struggle for democracy. This is the beginning of a new era in politics that will have no place for any form of extremism.
The G8 Summit of 2005 and others that followed it did not meet their pledges. It is evident that the Western powers defend and protect their national interests first and foremost at any cost. They however respect the strength and unity of others albeit grudgingly – the Tunisian example of massive civil disobedience is a case in point. In the fight against African poverty, many are still finding it a paradox to trust the G8 as reliable partner in development “since its policies and its corporate liaisons are no doubt responsible for Africa’s poverty and looting of its resources”.
An estimated 2 -3 million Ethiopians inundated the streets and public squares in support of the opposition forces – notably Coalition for Unity and Democracy (Kinijit) and Unity of Ethiopian Democratic Forces – at the mammoth peaceful demonstration on 08 May 2005, that is one week before the election of 15 May 2005 that ended in crushing defeat for the ruling TPLF Party. There is no reason that the same kind of sea of humanity should not turnout again to demand the dethronement of Meles Zenawi. The time is propitious to reclaim our human dignity; this must be done primarily by us by paying all the necessary sacrifices to achieve our sacred goal of liberating our beloved country, Ethiopia, in unison while respecting our cultural diversity and categorically rejecting division along ethnic lines that has so far proved a potent weapon of choice of the invader.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org