Al Mariam’s Commentaries / January 3, 2022
There is the Dickensian Ebenezer Scrooge of “Christmas Carol”, that old, nasty, cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas.
“Bah! Humbug!”, says Scrooge about the charity and cheer of Christmas.
There is Dr. Seuss’ Grinch who stole Christmas. The Grinch would growl, “I MUST find some way to stop Christmas from coming.”
Then there is Jeffrey Feltman who shows up on Ethiopian Genna (Christmas) Eve bearing gifts of “peace talks” to Ethiopians as hundreds of thousands of super low-wage factory workers lose their jobs because Feltman and his friends cut off Ethiopia from benefits under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“Bah! Humbug!”, says Jeffrey Feltman at the very thought of Ethiopian Genna.
He cheerfully rubs his palms and tee-hees, “I MUST find some way to make sure the hundreds of thousands of poor Ethiopian workers starve during Ethiopian Genna!”
On January 1, 2022, the U.S. announced Ethiopia has been officially removed from being a beneficiary under the AGOA.
On January 6, 2022, Jeffrey Feltman, President Joe Biden’s “Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa” is said to arrive in Ethiopia on Ethiopian Genna (Christmas) Eve “to discuss peace talks.”
The Scrooge/Grinch who stole Christmas from hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers benefitting under AGOA is coming to Ethiopia to discuss peace talks?!
“Bah! Humbug!”, AGOA!
Then it was reported Bad Santa Feltman was calling it quits.
Feltman is outta the special envoy business after nine months of deplorably incompetent diplomacy in the Horn of Africa.
I got Jeffrey Feltman pegged from Day 1 as Susan Rice’s stooge and diplomatic hitman.
In my March 29, 2021 commentary, I detailed Feltman’s association with Susan Rice and his role in the Libya debacle.
I concluded, “I don’t trust Feltman as far as I could throw him. I believe Feltman is Susan Rice’s stooge doing her bidding: Restoration of the TPLF to power in Ethiopia.”
I was right on each of my predictions!
Before his first visit to the Horn as a special envoy, Feltman was talking trash about Horn leaders.
Before his arrival in the region in early May 2021, Feltman declared a war of words charging, “Authoritarian leaders in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia draw closer at the expense of the wider collective.”
“Authoritarian” is a kinder, gentler word for “dictator”.
U.S. officials often use “authoritarian” to demonize and ostracize leaders that do not kowtow to them (i.e., “Uncle Sam, massuh…)
The fact of the matter is that Feltman was the wrong man for the job.
He was an apparatchik in the Obama democratic machine, a second-stringer, a gofer who asks “how high” when told to jump.
Feltman manifestly was clueless about Ethiopian or Horn history, nor did he have the diplomatic skill to navigate the dangerous shoals of Horn geopolitics.
In 2012, Counterpunch described Feltman as a man of “intemperate logic”, an “extremely divisive figure”, and in the “totality of the Arab world Feltman will not be seen as an open-minded professional.”
Feltman spoke about Ethiopia and the Horn region in the eschatological terms of a diplomatic simpleton.
Days before his first visit, Feltman predicted that if Ethiopia’s leaders did not follow his advice and commands, they will find themselves plunged in a civil war that will make Syria’s civil war “child’s play”.
Diplomatic hyperbole or a diplomatic buffoon?
From Day 1, I labelled Feltman the “Ugly American” after the fictional ambassador Louis Sears in the 1958 book by the same title.
Sears bemoans the fact that the people of the fictional country of Sarkhan are “strange little monkeys”. Sears is completely clueless about Sarkhanese history, politics or society. But it is Sears who is the real monkey.
Feltman believed there are “strange little monkeys” in the Horn of Africa he can scare with threats of sanctions, aid cutoff and warfare.
Feltman, like Sears, is clueless about the history, politics and culture of Horn countries.
Feltman is the real life ugly American diplomat who believes:
US interference is quite acceptable, but Iranian interference is utterly unacceptable. This might be adequate behavior for the diplomat of a country, but it is hardly the temperament for a senior UN official. It raises doubts about Feltman’s ability to be even-handed in his deliberations as a steward of the world’s political dilemmas.
The fact of the matter is that real knowledge of Ethiopia and Ethiopians begins by answering two simple questions:
1) How did Ethiopians manage to maintain their independence for millennia without foreign domination?
2) How did Ethiopians manage to keep their country free of white European colonialism when every part of Africa came under colonial imperialist rule after Berlin Conference of 1884 with the portioning of Africa?
Suffice it to say, there is something called “Ethiopian exceptionalism” that offers a unique perspective on these questions.
If Feltman had studied and answered these questions, he would have known Ethiopia could not be brought to its knees by barking out orders and threats of sanctions and other punishments.
Sadly, Jeffrey Feltman saw himself as the tip of the spear of the TPLF, the Sword of Egypt, the Arrow of Sudan and the New Sheriff of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia!
In August 2021, when Feltman returned to Ethiopia, I schooled him and his bosses on 10 Truths about Ethiopia:
The people of Ethiopia have lost respect and trust in the Biden administration and resent its brazen efforts to neocolonize Ethiopia.
The Biden administration must openly and publicly come to terms with the fact that the TPLF is solely and singularly responsible for the current conflict and war and accordingly.
Susan Rice, Antony Blinken, Samantha Power, Jeffrey Feltman and their lackey must understand Ethiopian history and the Ethiopian character defined as defiance and determination.
What is good for America is good for Ethiopia. America does not negotiate with terrorists, neither will Ethiopia.
The Biden administration must stop its practice of false equivalency between the Ethiopian Government and a terrorist TPLF.
The Biden administration must stop coddling the terrorist TPLF and acknowledge the positive things the Ethiopian Government has done to deescalate the conflict and ensure the humanitarian needs of the people of Tigray are met in the shortest possible time.
The Biden administration must stop treating Ethiopia as if it is its de facto African colony.
It is in the Biden administration’s hand to change the course of worsening relations between the Ethiopia and the U.S.
The Biden administration has awakened a sleeping giant in the consciences of all Ethiopians and energized the Ethiopian diaspora, especially in the U.S. Ethiopians Americans are determined to defeat the democrats particularly in congress in November 2022 and will spare no effort to make sure the Democ RATS are history.
Ultimately, the Biden administration should know Ethiopians today are united. Ethiopians united can never be defeated!
Had Feltman and his bosses heeded the “10 Ethiopian Truths” and acted upon them, Ethiopia-U.S. relations today would have been in a special place.
By September 2021, Feltman had made himself irrelevant.
Not only in Ethiopia but also in Sudan.
In late October 2021, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan made a fool of Feltman when Burhan executed a coup after assuring Feltman there is no risk of a military coup.
Feltman was barely airborne when Burhan announced he has taken over and detained members of the civilian government.
On August 26, 2021, Moussa Faki Mahama, the Chairperson of the AU Commission appointed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as High Representative for the Horn of Africa Region.
It was all about “African/Ethiopian solutions for African/Ethiopian problems.”
Jeffrey Feltman’s “White Man’s Burden” mission was in tatters.
On the Eve of Ethiopian Genna, Feltman comes bearing gifts of peace.
I don’t think so!
Feltman did not want to come. He was pushed. By the Princess of Darkness Susan Rice herself.
Sleazy Suzie set Feltman to fail.
Without a doubt, Feltman is going to be the bad guy in the almost nonexistent Ethiopia-U.S. relations.
Sleazy Suzie will throw Feltman under the bus and if he somehow makes out alive will throw him to the media wolves.
Feltman is diplomatic dead man walking. He is taking his last steps on the diplomatic green mile before he fades into diplomatic oblivion.
He will be the man blamed for the destruction of Ethiopia-U.S. relations.
He will be depicted as Ethiopia’s Lewis Paul Bremer III, the incredibly incompetent Provisional Coalition Administrator of Iraq following the 2003 US invasion.
Bremmer was singlehandedly responsible for the rise of a massive Iraqi resistance resulting from his policy of de-Baathification and disbanding of Saddam Hussein’s Army.
In my August 17, 2021 commentary, I advised Feltman not to confound Afghanistan with Ethiopia. I delivered a simple message to him:
STOP MEDDLING IN ETHIOPIA’S INTERNAL AFFAIRS! Ethiopian solutions for Ethiopia’s problems. The United States Government will never negotiate with terrorists and sacrifice its Constitution, compromise its armed forces and the peace and security of its citizens. Neither will the Ethiopian Government!
Jeffrey Feltman’s could not have chosen a worse time than Ethiopian Genna Eve to visit Ethiopia.
His presence in Ethiopia on Ethiopian Genna Eve adds insult to injury.
Jeffrey Feltman has become and will forever be Ethiopia’s Ebeneezer Scrooge and the Grinch who stole Genna.
Children’s books will be written (indeed, I might write one myself) to remind future generations of Ethiopians that there was once a real man who stole Genna from hundreds of thousands of poor Ethiopian women and plunged them into poverty and did it all sneering, snickering and chuckling.
That will be the legacy of U.S. Special envoy Jeffrey Feltman in Ethiopia.
In the end, Scrooge was visited by Marley’s ghost which had been condemned to walk the world forever bound in chains as punishment for his greed and inhumanity.
Will Feltman be visited by the ghosts of the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian factory women he helped throw into poverty and extreme hardship?
Hope springs eternal…
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.”
These turbulent times in Ethiopia-U.S. relations will pass.
Susan Rice and her crew will realize the error of their ways: The TPLF is NOT and will NEVER be Ethiopia.
The people of Ethiopia and America have a long and strong history spanning nearly a century and a quarter.
What the two countries are going through today will be akin to Scrooge’s “Ghost of Christmas Past”.
There is to come the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Another Genna (Christmas) Day will come. I see it over the horizon.
Those of us in the Christian faith the world over believe Christmas (Genna for Ethiopians) is a time of giving and compassion. It is a joyful season of love, light, hope and peace. Indeed, the Christmas spirit does not require one to be Christian, or even religious.
In the end, Ethiopia and America will find their way back to each other in the Christmas spirit of peace, unity, dignity, humanity and national sovereignty.
In the spirit of Ethiopian Genna and legendary Ethiopian hospitality, I welcome and at the same time say farewell to Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa.
I ask myself, “How lucky am I to spend my first Genna in Ethiopia in 51 years!”
Yes, “hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always to be blest.”
May God bless, protect and defend Ethiopia…