July 14, 2021
Haile M. Goshu
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement on reports of a new round of mass detentions of Tigrayans in Ethiopia:
“I’m deeply concerned about reports of Ethiopian forces’ mass detention of Tigrayans. Evidence suggests the conflict is escalating on top of an ongoing humanitarian crisis and widespread famine, and all parties must move towards a nationwide ceasefire as soon as possible,” said Murphy.
Source of the above statement is the Honorable Chris Murphy’s senate website. Noted that Murphy’s statement is prompted by an email Mr. Haile M. Goshu wrote: to Murphy, Honorable Richard Blumenthal and Honorable Bob Melendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In passing, Haile Goshu was a veteran Senior Ethiopian diplomat at the Ethiopian Mission to the UN.
Dear Senator Blumenthal,
I am writing this to express my grave concern regarding the recent and ongoing debate on events in Ethiopia. I am particularly horrified by the prospects of a comprehensive embargo being put together by the Biden Administration. President Biden who overwhelming won the Ethiopian American community votes including in Georgia that put him over the top in that State is committing a colossal mistake by imposing sanctions that will impoverish the people of that country.
Events in the Horn of Africa are complex. There are regional factors at work as the political machinations surrounding Ethiopia’s completion of the Grand dam demonstrate. There are age old ethnic divisions and rivalries in Ethiopia. This is a nation of over eighty ethnic groups welded together by a strong political center. When that political center is undermined the chaos that could result is incomprehensible to contemplate. That is precisely what the Biden Administration is currently doing.
People in Ethiopia regard the US as a beacon of hope and democracy. The US should not be wedded in the ethnic struggles waging on in Ethiopia. It can do well to resolve the dam dispute without taking sides in this historic tug of war over the Nile that dates back to pharaonic times.
The US did not fare well by going knee deep in the religious, ethnic and denominational morass in Iraq. I can imagine the consternation felt by watching and hearing stories of horror and atrocities committed in the Tigrai Region. Setting aside placing blame as to who started this ugly, unwinnable conflict, I just want you to realize that US sanctions are not going to improve the conditions of the people of Tigrai or any other groups in the country. Human Rights organizations and the United Nations are carrying out investigations to determine culpabilities for war crimes committed in the region.
As US citizen of Ethiopian origin with families and friends in Ethiopia including my elderly mother, I urge you to deploy your influence with this Administration and its hawkish Secretary of State to exercise prudence, caution and a balanced and even handed foreign policy that does not favor one nation, Egypt over others, in the ongoing shadow boxing, misinformation and diplomatic chicanery over the filling of the Grand dam. Likewise people in Ethiopia consider the United States as pro-TPLF, the Tigrai front organization that started the mayhem. That is not a good place for the US to be if it wishes to try to play a constructive and positive role in shaping the outcome of a complicated political future for Ethiopia.
Haile M. Goshu