Critical issues inherited by icon Birtukan and her peers

By Robele Ababya, 29 December 2009 — There is no doubt of the dominance of the three issues – climate change, disarmament and abject poverty – over the world political scene. The main blame for the first two falls squarely on the shoulders of the rich and the powerful in the industrialized world. The miserable billions of poor peoples of this earth share the blame for the third issue for their lack of stamina in taking resolute action to curb the greed and irresponsible behavior of the extremely few power-broker or despot-maker billionaires on Forbes list and millionaires aspiring to get there.

These draconian issues are here to stay because most political leaders in power at this material time are incapable of addressing them due to complexity of the issues, lack of moral courage underpinned by servitude to the invisible wealthy masters controlling by proxy every aspect of social, economical and political dynamics.

I am a firm believer in the Almighty God and as such have no grudge against wealthy people enjoying the fruit of their honest labor. But I am also aware of what a French philosopher once said: that wealth is a stolen property. Neo-colonial masters of today are beneficiaries of the immense wealth amassed by their predecessors who had inhumanely deceived, enslaved and exploited Africans in order to exploit their labor and loot the vast resources of their God-given continent.

The scramble for Africa is back again on the saddle if anything this time in a sophisticated way. Africans are made to bear the lion’s portion for every blunder perpetrated by the greed of vestiges of imperialism using their despotic surrogates in the developing world to advance their narrow interests.

These are issues inherited by Birtukan Mideksa and her peers of new generation of Ethiopia and Africa at large who have to carry the heavy burden for no mistakes of their own.

I thought I should very briefly share with my esteemed readers what experience has informed me on these issues.

Climate change

The effect of human activity on climate change as a going political concern is relatively new gathering momentum with the coming into effect of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005. As a non-industrialized continent, the share of Africa in polluting the atmosphere through the release of greenhouse gases has been and still is insignificant. This was the reason that Africa agreed to demand 400 billion dollars a year from industrialized countries in order to invest in green technology. To that end, tyrant Meles was selected as Chief Negotiator to lead African delegates at the NOP15 Conference.

But the self-proclaimed “Statesman leading Africa” betrayed Africa in Paris beating expectations of those of us that he would the betrayal in Copenhagen!

The international community witnessed, with shock and condemnation, the betrayal of tyrant Meles Zenawi purportedly representing the African continent as chief negotiator at COP15. The outcome of the Conference is characterized by expressions of utter disappointment such as the following, which are worth committing to memory:

  • “As the shiny limos scampered in the dark towards the Copenhagen Airport on December 18 with their freight of the world’s high and mighty, John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, lamented: “The city of Copenhagen is a crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport.” (Emphasis added)
  • “Better to have no deal at Copenhagen than one that spells catastrophe. The only offer on the table in Copenhagen would condemn the developing world to poverty and suffering in perpetuity.” – Award-winning journalist and activist Naomi Klein.
  • “The 10 billion dollar start-up fund per annum for three years is”not enough to buy coffins to bury us”.
  • “On the ninth day of the Copenhagen climate summit, Africa was sacrificed. The position of the G77 negotiating bloc, including African states, had been clear: a 2°C increase in average global temperatures translates into a 3–3.5°C increase in Africa. That means, according to the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, “an additional 55 million people could be at risk from hunger”, and “water stress could affect between 350 and 600 million more people”.
  • The outcome of the UN climate meeting in Copenhagen was “a gross violation of the tradition of the United Nations”. We have been asked “to sign a suicide pact, an incineration pact, in order to maintain the economic dominance of a few countries. It’s a solution based on values that funneled six million people in Europe into furnaces”, said Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese negotiator for the group of 132 developing countries, known as the G77. Copenhagen was exposed as a complicity to accelerate the threat of ecocide.
  • “We are facing impending disaster on a monstrous scale … A global goal of about 2°C is to condemn Africa to incineration and no modern development.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

According to Reuters, President Barrack Obama, on Wednesday, 23 December 2009, said that “disappointment over the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit was justified”, and hardening a widespread verdict that the conference had been a failure. (Emphasis added).

In sharp contrast, ‘personality cult’ makers heralded on their official website the success of the COP15 and accorded their midget ‘hero’’ a rousing welcome with the song: “For he is a jolly good fellow which nobody can deny”. The pathological liars swiftly withdrew any reference to the performance of the tyrant from Aigaforum website because of the outrage of the international community against the sellout of the African continent by tyrant Meles. What a shame!

Three months before the Conference Meles was quoted as saying:

“We will use our numbers to delegitimize any agreement that is not consist It’s hard to believe this is the same man who only three months ago was saying this: “We will use our numbers to delegitimize any agreement that is not consistent with our minimal position … If need be, we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent … What we are not prepared to live with is global warming above the minimum avoidable level.”And this: “We will participate in the upcoming negotiations not as supplicants pleading for our case but as negotiators defending our views and interests.”

But the tyrant ended up selling Africa. In doing so he thought that the powers he sought to serve will save him from facing the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his heinous crimes against humanity.

I recall my plea to the former Vice President of USA, Al Gore, that dictators like Meles are part of the problem in the degrading of the environment. I am eager to know what his rating was of the outcome of the COP15.

Nuclear disarmament

The question that comes to mind is whether man is a rational animal given his propensity to build weapons of mass destruction. The quest for arms race is attributed, in the words of Senator Harry Truman (later President of USA) at a press conference in 1943, to “suspicions, rivalries, apathy, and greed” – all of which are very much alive today. Ironically the USA was the first to test the atomic bomb and President Truman was the first to order the dropping of the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during World War II.

It is interesting to note however that there were movements vehemently opposed to the development of military armament signifying the rational aspect of humankind. One such movement made its debut in 1935 under the name “Moral Re-armament” (MRA). I recall in my early twenties during the Imperial regime that a senior member of MRA spoke at the Officers Club in Debre Zeit and left a lasting impression on me since then. He said that future wars should be avoided by all means adding that the centerpiece of the MRA is the recognition of the existence of fundamental moral crisis and that moral recovery should precede economic recovery. He said resources wasted in readiness for war should be turned to readiness for peace. I believe the leaders of Africa are guilty for purchasing arms to kill each other and the masses are also to blame for their apathy in letting them (leaders) do so.

It is needless to state the incalculable colossal amount of resources wasted on the development of military weapons and the lives and property lost in wars.

Moral crisis is afflicting the world. Africa was, and is now, a victim of irrational behavior of humankind. Most of its people are victims of moral crisis engendered by its corrupt leaders at the service of the vestiges of former colonial masters. Tyrant Meles is a distinct example.

Birtukan and like-minded generation of leaders in Ethiopia and Africa at large have a formidable duty in spending less on the military, and concentrating more on development and conflict resolution.

Abject poverty

This issue is inextricably related to the other two issues briefly dealt with above for which the blame mainly falls squarely on the shoulders of the industrialized countries. The masses of Africa however should admit responsibility for allowing the gross incompetence of their leaders. This apathy on the part of the masses would be suicidal.

There is moral crisis in Africa exacerbated by heavy dependency on foreign aid for practically everything. Resources wasted on military institutions and hardware are huge, but to fight which external enemy?

It would be foolhardy to believe that we Africans can extricate ourselves from abject poverty unless most of the present power-hungry, corrupt, greedy, compassionless and mercenary despots are thrown out of power and replaced with visionary leaders of the likes of Kwame Nkrumah and some of the founders of the former OAU including Emperor Haile Selassie in all fairness.

Birtukan is a trustworthy leader who will carry forward the vision of a united Africa.


There is intolerable moral crisis in Africa. Political prisoners are languishing in jail; shocking abuse of human rights is rampant. It makes sense to put moral recovery before recovery.

Climate change and disarmament are not the overriding issues of the masses which have nothing more to lose except their abject poverty.

We Africans must expedite our unity in a true spirit of renaissance in order to nip in the bud the increasingly looming danger of neocolonialism – the second scramble for Africa. Those corrupt, greedy and incompetent African leaders should be replaced with visionary, strong and vibrant young leaders capable of reversing the suicidal trend facing the people of the continent living in desperation.

Tyrant Meles, the alien despotic ruler of Ethiopia, has just proved the number one betrayer of vital interests of Africa. As such he must be the first to face justice for all the bad examples he had set in committing heinous crimes, destabilizing the Horn of Africa, and subverting the development of democracy by stealing votes.

Africa is not responsible for the effect of greenhouse emissions on climate change. It is therefore morally and politically justified to demand adequate funding from polluters in order to invest in green technology.

The young generation of Africa have indispensable role in putting the vital interests of Africa first and foremost; to ensure respect for basic human rights; to ensure that the rule of law to reigns supreme over their continent.

In closing, I fervently pray as always everyday to the Almighty God to give strength to the unjustly imprisoned icon judge Birtukan Mideksa – the charismatic, intelligent and principled leader at the helm of the largest opposition political party in Ethiopia who will undoubtedly become a trusted partner to emerging young African leaders in defending the vital interests of the continent.

I call on all my fellow Pan Africanists to rally to the right cause of Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners in Ethiopia.

Free Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners in Ethiopia!


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Posted by on December 29, 2009. Filed under NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.