Aklog Birara (Dr)
“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out … without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.” — HL Mencken
In August 2019, John W Whitehead wrote “American Apocalypse: The Government’s Plot to Destabilize the Nation is Working” in River Cities’ Reader. He opined that “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,”
As an Ethiopian American, I am confident that the US possesses strong national institutions including civil society and independent media that will mitigate risks and avert the “destabilization of this great nation.”
My biggest concern Is the US Government’s nefarious activities in destabilizing other countries, most notably Ethiopia. The Biden Administration’s aggressive and pro-TPLF position has tainted constructive and mutually beneficial relations between the USA and Ethiopia that span 118 years. This is unfortunate.
A concert of destabilizing actors
I had thought naively that the 21st century will usher in a more inclusive, just, and democratic world. I had projected wrongly that the global community will tackle any issue including the pandemic that has now deepened injustice and inequality. I had also imagined that rich nations will help poor nations to eradicate poverty altogether. It turns out that the rich are getting richer, while the poor are poorer. Siding with terrorists creates instability. Instability is anathema to sustainable and equitable growth.
The opposite of the ideal is occurring today. This century is characterized by “dishonesty, massive misinformation, plots, neocolonial and imperial tendencies, sharp divisions between the rich North and the emerging South, flawed and domineering international governance, mutual mistrust among the global community at the level of the UN Security Council and relentless propaganda that suggest readiness to apply more punitive measures: punishing financial sanctions and military intervention in Ethiopia and other countries where the EU and the USA have vested interests.
This is the reason disadvantaged groups in the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa are revolting and changing their societies and governments. “NO MORE” is real.
Targeted destabilizing behaviors and action steps are all done in the name of the common good prescribed by the West: human rights, the rule of law, democracy, peace, national security, and a competitive global market.
Three recent examples illustrate this concern. a) President Joe Biden held an online seminar on democracy by excluding a large part of the global community that embraces democracy. b) The European Union requested a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council to “assess the grave human rights situation in Ethiopia” without a Black African state. c) The EU discussed punitive sanctions against Ethiopia fortunately aborted by Germany. The intent is to do justice. This is synchronized: EU action with the US.
EU and US Governments are destabilizing Ethiopia
Mr. Joseph Borrell, High Representative of the EU and Security Policy Vice President of the European Commission lamented lack of consensus among European states to apply punitive sanctions on Ethiopia. I commend the Government of Germany for frustrating this dangerous and precedent setting punitive measure against an independent Black African nation.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that Mr. Borrell protects implicitly is the culprit behind the mayhem in Ethiopia. The tragedy is that this murderous and terrorist group benefits from a free ride given by both EU and US governments because it serves their national interests best.
The reasons behind are geopolitical and strategic. Geopolitical because Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia are vital in controlling the Red Sea and the trade artery to the Middle East and Asia. It is strategic because China’s penetration of the African continent through infrastructure, extractive industries, access to raw materials and markets is huge. In this intense strategic competition between the West led by the USA and the rest led by China and Russia, Ethiopia plays a critical role. As Ethiopia goes so does the rest of Black Africa. This is the reason I urge African youth and their governments to consider the notion that Ethiopia is fighting Africa’s war too. Ethiopia has the right to establish economic and diplomatic relations with any country that respects its sovereignty and security interests,
Humanity without human beings
The EU initiative on human rights reminds me of the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 at which Europeans met, dissected, and shared the entire Africa for themselves. They enriched Europeans and impoverished Black Africans. Fast forward to 2021, Europe plans to hold an exclusive conference to defend the human rights of Black folks. Forget this self-serving rationale. The intent is to determine the fate of a Black African state that is fighting for its survival. I suggest a parallel they never contest. If the state of Israel has the right to defend its right to exist as a state, can European and American leaders tell me their reasoning why they are denying Ethiopia the same right to defend itself?
In my assessment, the answer is straightforward. The West wishes to keep Black Africa condemned to abject poverty, divided along ethnic lines and voiceless. This status serves the EU and the USA.
The Human Rights Council is a Council of European and American white elites discussing the fate of Black and other non-European people without their participation.
I do not contest facts on the ground that all parties to the conflict in Tigray have committed violations and abuses. However, the Council continues to be partisan. It wishes to punish Ethiopia. It does not care to consider that the TPLF is still raping, murdering, and maiming thousands of non-Tigreans. It is destroying economic and social infrastructure: bridges, highways, airports, schools, clinics and hospitals. It is desecrating and looting Churches, Mosques, and monasteries. The responsibility to protect paraded by the West is simply a joke. The West applies this principle selectively depending on who that it wishes to punish or reward.
It is worth repeating that in the recent past alone, countries have collapsed because of US led interventions by the West. Afghanistan, Iraq (the non-existing weapons of mass destruction), Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia. Ethiopians and the rest of Africa said “NO MORE” to intervention in Ethiopia because they have witnessed the destructive power of gross interference. Failed states failed largely because of intervention.
The TPLF is incurably terrorist
The TPLF that the EU and the USA still support has committed and still commits heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UN “High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, made a strong plea for all parties to end the violence and prioritize the protection of civilians and full respect for their human rights. She underscored the need to hold perpetrators accountable on all sides and has stated on several occasions that the increasingly alarming human rights situation in Ethiopia merits further urgent discussions by the Human Rights Council” Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, is quoted saying.
Why did the High Commissioner fail to highlight atrocities and destructions committed by the TPLF over the past five months? Why has the narrative remained the same? Why draw attention only to Tigray?
Sample evidence illustrates the crushing power of the TPLF since June 2021.
- Ethiopia suffers from two to three millionInternally Displaced Persons (IDPs) caused by the TPLF insurgency. There are 500,000 IDPs in the cities of Dessie and Kombolcha alone.
- The demographic composition of IDPS shows 546,814 females and 40,000 children.
- In five Amhara districts in South Gondar occupied by the TPLF the loss incurred by 643 households alone is 4,609 cattle slaughtered; other private properties looted and or damaged, with a total loss estimated at Ethiopian Birr of 5.5 million.
- In Guna/Begemdir, Amhara region, twenty-three (23) religious institutions looted or damaged, with a cost estimate of Ethiopian Birr 2.4 million lost;and 31 water facilities serving 20,538 people destroyed.
- In the same locality in S. Gondar, 178 cattle, 323 goats, 65 pack animals, 38 beehives, 4,072 poultry slaughtered and Ethiopian Birr 5.5 million lost.
- One hundred twenty-two (122) private hotels and shops looted or destroyed; several buildings looted, damaged, or destroyed; 569 other private investments damaged; altogether Ethiopian Birr 261 million investment capital lost.
- Four power generators, four machineries, seventeen vehicles, 9 private grain merchant shops looted, damaged, or destroyed with a total cost of Ethiopian Birr2 million.
- Government facilities are demolished or vandalized by the TPLF. In Nefas Mewcha, twelve health offices, Ambulance vehicles looted, damaged, or destroyed with a total capital loss of Ethiopian Birr 5.1 million.
- In North Wollo 47 cattle slaughtered by the TPLF, 321 hectares of farmland damaged, several churches looted and damaged’ and tens of millions of Ethiopian Birr lost.
- This sample alone shows investment capital loss of Birr 362 million.
It will take decades to rebuild and reconstruct lost investments. It will take years to treat the psychological pain and suffering inflicted on Ethiopian victims, especially children and females.
In Part VI, I discussed the human atrocities inflicted on the Amhara population that the EU and the US ignored or for which they did not demand accountability. This commentary buffets TPLF heinous crimes that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity with an additional factor, namely, socioeconomic crime inflicted on the same population.
- TPLF human and economic atrocities are beyond barbaric. Representatives of the EU, the USA and UN specialized agencies ought to listen to the agonizing cries of Ethiopian mothers, fathers, spouses and other relatives in the town of Dansha, the Amhara region, Ethiopia. Their plight for justice and accountability deserves unqualified and immediate attention. To do this, the West must recognize and appreciate the level of inhumanity, cruelty and barbarism inflicted by TPLF.
- If the EU, the US, and the UN wish to pursue the common global good; they must then stop aligning themselves with champions of terrorism. They must also stop being destabilizers.
- I urge the Governments of the EU and the US as well as the UN Security Council to consider both human atrocities and economic destructionperpetrated by the TPLF. Jumbling up and discussing the gravity of this human tragedy primarily committed by the TPLF is “dishonest,” immoral and unacceptable.
- The governments of the EU and the USA as well as the UN Secretariat have a plethora of information including from me, Amnesty international, Human Rights Watch, the Globe and Mail of Canada and others to hold the TPLF accountable for human and economic crimes.
- I urge the Government of the United States to heed to an urgent call by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center that “expressed concern about US intervention in Ethiopia.” In a release on December 15, 2021, the Center said that it “strongly opposes any United States military intervention or economic sanctions upon Ethiopia or elsewhere in the Horn of Africa.” I am confident that ordinary Americans share this view. I agree that US military intervention will have dire consequences. It will erase relations between Ethiopia and the USA for good. “The disastrous consequences of United States military interventions in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Nicaragua, Haiti, Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, and other countries should convince any objective observer about the futility and immorality of such actions.”
- I also share the sentiment expressed by RMPJC about the futility and precedent setting nature of US military intervention. It will be reckless and damaging for the US. “The center said it is particularly incensed by information that the United States is allegedly giving propaganda and covert material support to Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the current conflict in Ethiopia. The grim history of Western colonialism in Africa and elsewhere provides further reason for opposing any U.S. military intervention or economic sanctions upon the Horn of Africa.” I agree with this urgent call for restraint by the Government of the United States.
- The Federal Government of Ethiopia must demand that the TPLF, its agents and supporters within and outside Ethiopia must paycompensation to Ethiopian victims of TPLF mayhem and destruction identified in this article plus others not covered.
- The proposal to discuss Ethiopia without representation of a single Black African state or government brings the worst fears of all Black Africans, namely, the colonial and imperial past is resurfacing in a new form. There is no way that Black Africa including Ethiopia will succumb to this undemocratic, unfair, and unjust policy of the West led by the Government of the USA.
- Finally, it is time for the West led by the Government of the United States to stop destabilizing Ethiopiaand the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Part VIII will be issued soon.
December 15, 2021