Al Mariam’s Commentaries
February 23, 2021
Author’s Note: I refer to my previous commentaries (Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV) on my extremely pessimistic prognostications on U.S. policy in Ethiopia under the Biden Administration. In this commentary, I shall discuss what I believe will be the fourth pillar of U.S. policy in Ethiopia under the Biden Administration: Pull the Plug on a Rising and Shining Ethiopia.
My arguments herein in a nutshell are as follows: There is a systematic and carefully planned campaign by the U.S., the European Union (EU) and the Western media against Ethiopia. That campaign is evident in the endless threats, commands and thinly-veiled demonstrations of bellicosity and hostility by U.S. officials (“Gang of Four: Puppet Mistress Susan Rice, Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan and Samantha Power) and E.U. Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Borrel. Their allies in the Western media continue to flood cyberspace with lies, damned lies, fake news and disinformation on Ethiopia. The aim of the coordinated global government and media offensive is to neutralize, destabilize, demonize, anathematize, marginalize, scandalize, demoralize and ostracize Ethiopia. In short, the “Forces of Evil” aim to pull the plug on a rising and shining Ethiopia by pulling the plug on the GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam). The GERD is Ethiopia’s surefire ticket out of poverty and the formal end of panhandling and rear end kissing of the West. The GERD will ensure Ethiopia and the continent will have the power to fight their way out of the slavery of Western foreign aid and pittance loans into the promised land of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. By destroying the GERD, the U.S., E.U. and their lackeys aim to make Ethiopia Africa’s permanent symbol of poverty, famine, panhandling, conflict and strife.
The specter of a rising and shining Ethiopia
A specter is haunting the Biden Administration, the European Union, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Egypt and the Western media in the Horn of Africa.
The specter of a rising and shining Ethiopia regional and continental power!
The Biden administration and the powers of Europe — the European Union – along with the Western media and their underlings have entered into an unholy alliance to exorcise this specter.
The Unholy Alliance today secretly plots to systematically undermine, and through a war of economic and diplomatic attrition and a global campaign of disinformation and demonization in seeking to destroy a rising and shining Ethiopia regional power.
It is high time that Ethiopians, especially the intelligentsia, should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims and their principles, and defend Ethiopia against this Unholy Alliance with a manifesto of resistance, defiance and indomitability.
Ethiopia is the future of Africa, the Horn of Africa
The truth I speak hereunder will shock Ethiopia’s fair-weather friends and foes. But Ethiopia’s genuine friends will be awed.
Many will find the TRUTH had to swallow.
The TRUTH is a rising and shining Ethiopia is the greatest threat to the U.S. and the powers of Europe in their subjugation of Africa.
The answer is simple. As goes Ethiopia, so does Africa.
Because Ethiopia is EXCEPTIONAL!
An EXCEPTIONAL Ethiopia could be a real-life practical model of Africa’s potential, independence and self-reliance.
The campaign to pull the plug on a rising and shining Ethiopia is in full swing today!
Ethiopia- The Land of Origins, “Africa’s Bright Gem”, “Africa’s Hopes and Destiny”
Am I crowing and blowing patriotic smoke about “Ethiopian exceptionalism” or do I have evidence to back up my claims?!
I have often written about “Ethiopian exceptionalism.”
When I speak of “Ethiopian exceptionalism”, I simply aim to convey the idea that Ethiopia has certain unique and positive qualities that make it different (but in no way better or superior to any others) from other nations in the world.
But the great Pan Africanist and first president of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah expressed it best in his poem, “Ethiopia Shall Rise”.
Nkrumah described Ethiopia as “Africa’s bright gem”, “land of the wise”, the “bold cradle of Africa’s ancient rule” and as “Africa’s hopes and destiny.”
Ethiopia is the cradle of humanity. So says the Smithsonian and backs it up with irrefutable archeological evidence.
Ethiopia may well deserve the title Cradle of Humankind. Some of the most famous, most iconic hominid fossils have been discovered within the country’s borders. Ethiopia can claim many ‘firsts’ in the hominid record book, including first stone tools and the first Homo sapiens.
I mean exceptional not only in the grand things of life such as the “Cradle of Humankind.”
I also mean exceptional in the ordinary things of life.
A reporter for the Mail & Guardian who had visited Ethiopia yearned for a speedy return:
But the thing to return for with the greatest urgency is the country’s hospitable people. It is as though Ethiopians have been schooled in being pleasant. Coupled with their sense of humility is a stirring physical beauty.
Their humility, hospitality and beauty make Ethiopians exceptional.
Ethiopian exceptionalism also in matters great for human civilization.
During the First Hijra, the Prophet Muhammad directed his persecuted followers “to leave Makkah and to seek sanctuary in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) ruled by a Christian king, well-known for being a just and God-fearing man.”
But for the fact that the Axumite king welcomed persecuted Muslims, protected them and refused to return them to their persecutors as early as 615 A.D. Islam may not have survived.
The Axumite king assured the survival of Islam as a religion.
Ethiopia is one of the few countries in the world where Christians and Muslims have lived side by side with mutual respect and appreciation for hundreds of years.
That is true even today despite the relentless efforts of domestic and foreign conspirators to create sectarian strife between members of the two religions.
How about Ethiopian exceptionalism in Christianity?
Ethiopia has a special place in the Old Testament.
Few are aware that Ethiopia is the first country mentioned in the Old Testament. “And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. Genesis 2:13, King James Version).
The “River Gihon” is none other than Abay River in Ethiopia. Foreigners call Abay “The Nile”.
It is on the River Ghion that Ethiopia is building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The Ethiopian Bible is the oldest and most complete bible on earth written in the ancient language of Ge’ez which is still used today in the liturgies of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Coptic Orthodox Church.
The Ethiopian Bible is nearly 800 years older than the King James Version and contains over 100 books compared to 66 of the Protestant Bible.
Ethiopia is mentioned at least 38 times in the Bible.
In the Book of Psalms 68:31 is written, “Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” God always lifts those who stretch their hands to Him.
As far as I am able to ascertain, there are no European countries that are mentioned in the Bible with the exception of Greece and Rome in the Epistles. If I am mistaken, I shall stand corrected.
The 11 medieval monolithic Christian churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia built in the 13th-century as the “New Jerusalem” are a marvel of human ingenuity. UNESCO described the churches as “a gigantic accomplishment in engineering and architecture”. The Lalibela churches were hewn from solid blocks of rock with doors, windows, columns and roofs meticulously carved out and complemented with an extensive system of drainage ditches, trenches and ceremonial passages.
In December 2019, a team of archaeologists uncovered the oldest known Christian church in sub-Saharan Africa, dating back to the “about the same time when Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianity in 313 CE and then converted on his deathbed in 337 CE.”
When the English barons slapped King John with the Magna Carta in 1215 demanding that he subordinate himself to the “law of the land” (rule of law), Ethiopian kings were practicing the rule of law in the Fetha Nagast in 1240, 547 years before the U.S. Constitution was written (1787).
The Fetha Negast was Ethiopia’s Constitution and supreme law of the land until it was replaced by the 1931 Constitution of Ethiopia.
Coffee that courses in the bloodstreams of billions of humans every day in every nook and cranny of the plant originated in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Airlines, established in 1945, when nearly all of Africa was under colonial rule is the premier carrier on the continent unrivalled in Africa for efficiency and operational success, turning profits for almost all the years of its existence.
In April 2020, Ethiopian Airlines “launched a hub inside an international airport in the capital Addis Ababa to distribute life-saving supplies across the African continent against COVID-19.”
In May 2020, Ethiopian Airlines “emerged as a key transit hub for the shipment of much sought-after Covid-19 medical equipment to Latin America.”
Ethiopian Airlines opened a “$300 million Terminal 2 that has the distinction of being the world’s first completed amid the pandemic and designed with an eye towards biosafety.”
On February 6, 2021, “Ethiopian Airlines carried the first COVID-19 vaccine shipment to Africa.”
Ethiopia is the only country in Africa with its own complete indigenous written alphabet and numerals and extensive liturgical literature in Ge’ez script, one of the oldest in the world, still widely used in Ethiopia today.
Ethiopia holds a special place in the minds of all Africans.
Ethiopia was the only African country to sit on equal terms with the great powers of the world and became an original signatory to the Covenant of the League of Nations in 1922.
Ethiopia was the only African country to sign the U.N. Charter in 1945.
Ethiopia was the only African country to become an original signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Geneva Conventions in 1948.
Ethiopia was the principal architect of the Organization of African Union in 1963 which established its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In his autobiography, Nelson Mandela wrote Ethiopia “has always held a special place in my own imagination and the prospect of visiting… attracted me more strongly than a trip to France, England and America combined. I felt I would be visiting my own genesis, unearthing the roots of what made me an African.”
Almost 125 years ago to the week, Ethiopia defeated the mighty Italian Army on March 1, 1896 in a battle that lasted for one-half day but reported as lasting two days.
Emperor Menelik’s victory has been described as “one of the great military campaigns of modern history.”
Italy’s defeat sent tectonic shockwaves throughout Europe.
How on earth is it possible for black people to defeat a white European power with modern weapons and take tens of thousands of white prisoners?!
It was a terrifying prospect for the European colonial powers in Africa. They had to overhaul their entire colonial strategy so that Africa will not be a clone of Ethiopia kicking the butts of the colonial masters.
The Battle of Adwa marked a watershed in the long unraveling of European colonial exploitation and domination of Africa.
Adwa became a symbol not only for liberation throughout colonial Africa but also for African American liberation. To summarize:
Ethiopia stood in for Africa as a whole, Adwa fused this symbolic Ethiopia with the contemporary Ethiopian state in the minds and hearts of the African diaspora. It produced and proliferated a particular idea of Ethiopia in Pan-Africanist thought, one that saw Ethiopia as the vestige of black freedom in a world where black people – whether in the Americas, Europe, or Africa – were subject to racial domination and exploitation. Indeed, at the first Pan-African Conference in 1900 – where W.E.B. Du Bois uttered his famous statement that ‘the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,’ delegates declared the Ethiopian emperor a “Great Protector” of African peoples everywhere.
Ethiopia defeated Italy again in 1941.
What does this all mean?
Destroy Ethiopia and you will have destroyed Africa.
Disable Ethiopia and you will have disabled all of Africa.
Cripple Ethiopia and you will have crippled all of Africa.
Pull the plug on Ethiopia, the “Dark Continent” will be enveloped in darkness.
That is why I believe the U.S. and the E.U. and Western media will do everything they can to make Ethiopia their battleground in Africa.
If they lose, Africa will be forever free from their neocolonial domination.
If they win, Africa will forever be doomed to their perpetual bondage.
The U.S., the powers of Europe and the Western Media have become the Chicken Littles clucking, “The sky is falling on Ethiopia!”
The U.S. the powers of Europe (E.U.) and their lackey Western media are waging a relentless diplomatic war of words and economic attrition and disinformation on Ethiopia.
The U.S., the powers of Europe and the Western media seek to blacken Ethiopia’s image and create alarm of doom and gloom globally.
They have become Ethiopia’s veritable CHICKEN LITTLES clucking doom and gloom:
The sky is falling on Ethiopia. Ethiopia is in civil war. Ethiopia’s Tigray region is facing biblical famine. The Ethiopian Government is committing human rights violations and committing war crimes. Ethiopia is mistreating refugees. Ethiopia is disintegrating from ethnic warfare. Ethiopia is suppressing press freedom. Ethiopia is a threat to regional peace. Ethiopia attacked its own Tigray region and the Sudan. Ethiopia must provide full access to Tigray region. Ethiopia is persecuting political opponents and illegally holding political prisoners…
Punishing Ethiopia to make it an example for the rest of Africa
On November 30, 2020, Europe’s Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, demanded, on penalty of European Union cut off of aid, that “Ethiopian authorities provide full and unrestricted access of humanitarian workers and humanitarian aid to all areas of Tigray.”
On December 16, 2020, Ambassador Johan Borgstam, EU Head of Delegation to Ethiopia, announced, “A 90 million euro budget support disbursement that was supposed to be made at the end of this year has been postponed. The reason for the decision to postpone the budget support disbursements is that the EU first wants to see granting of full humanitarian access to Tigray for relief actors so that people in need can be reached and there is an end to ethnic-based targeting.”
In 2020, the Trump administration appropriated $453,073,000 million in aid to Ethiopia.
In August 2020, the U.S. cut $130 million (“temporary pause”) from its annual aid to Ethiopia because Ethiopia did not sign the so-called Washington GERD agreement.
On September 2, 2020, Trump personally directed aid cuts to Ethiopia because of “lack of progress” in Ethiopia’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over the GERD.
The New York Times observed, “It was an unusual example of Mr. Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly.”
On October 15, 2020, it became clear that the actual cut was more than double of what was reported in August for a whopping $264 million cut (42%) in antiterrorism and development assistance for Ethiopia!
On January 15, 2021, EU’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Borrell threatened, “We are ready to help, but unless there is access for humanitarian aid operators, the EU cannot disburse the planned budget support to the Ethiopian government.” On February 23, 2021, Borrell issued the same demand.
On February 17, 2021, Jutta Urpilainen, EU commissioner for international partnerships, said, “We need to plan very carefully” about “what are we going to do with those disbursements and payments” and must have “a broader strategy towards Ethiopia.” Urpilainen added, “What we need is this kind of international approach including all different actors in order to leverage and really make a difference.”
As of February 12, 2021, UN agencies and NGOs have been given full access and approval from the Ethiopian Government for 53 international staff to travel to Tigray and provide relief services.
On February 19, 2021, the U.S. issued a statement “delinking” Trump’s cut off of aid from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute and relinking it to the situation to Tigray.
The Western media has made Ethiopia the African poster child for famine, starvation, disease and poverty.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Ethiopia’s Renaissance as an African Giant
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the great Nigerian nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence movement in 1967 warned:
Today, Africa is a Continent of COMPETING BEGGAR NATIONS. We vie with one another for favours from our former colonial masters; and we deliberately fall over one another to invite neocolonialists to come to our different territories to preside over our economic fortunes…
… We may continue and indeed we will be right to continue to use the power and influence which sovereignty confers, as well as the tactics and manoeuvres which international diplomacy legitimatises, to extract more and more alms from our benefactors. But the inherent evil remains—and it remains with us and with no one else: unless a beggar shakes off and irrevocably turns his back on, his begging habit, he will forever remain a beggar. For, the more he begs the more he develops the beggar characteristics of lack of initiative, courage, drive and self-reliance.
President John F. Kennedy said, “Foreign aid is a method by which the United States maintains a position of influence and control around the world.”
California Congressman Howard Berman said, “I have said it before but it bears repeating: Aid is not a gift. The United States provides foreign assistance because it serves OUR interests.”
In December 2017, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo at a joint press conference in Accra with the visiting French president Emmanuel Macron said something that shocked all Africa.
Akufo-Addo in no uncertain terms told Macron to take his aid and shove it:
We can no longer continue to make policy for ourselves and for our country and our region and our continent on the basis of whatever support the Western world or France or the European Union can give us. It will not work. It has not worked, and it will not work. Our responsibility is to charter a path which is about how we can develop our nation’s ourselves. It is not right for a country like Ghana 60 years after independence to still have its health and education budgets being financed on the basis of the generosity and charity of European taxpayers. By now, we should be able to finance our basic needs ourselves.
When Ethiopia completes the GERD on the River Gihon (“Nile”), she will be giving, not receiving aid. Ethiopia will be a donor not a panhandler.
The GERD is Ethiopia’s anti-foreign aid addiction medication.
The GERD is Ethiopia’s guarantee of prosperity and national unity.
The GERD is Ethiopia’s source of light to walk out of the darkness of poverty that envelopes it.
The GERD powers Ethiopia to become a regional and continental power.
According to the World Bank, in 2020, agricultural workers represent 65 percent of total employment in Ethiopia.
How can Ethiopia diversify its economy and more importantly industrialize when its people have so little supply of electricity?
According to a 2018 World Bank report, “About 70 percent of the population in Ethiopia live without electricity.”
According to the World Bank, in 2018, “100 percent of the urban and rural population in Egypt has electricity.”
According to the World Bank, Ethiopia’s GDP per capita in 2018 was USD772. For Egypt, it was USD2,550, a more than threefold increase.
GERD is Ethiopia’s silver bullet to slay the age-old monsters of poverty, underdevelopment and dependence on Western handouts.
GERD will power Ethiopia out of a subsistence agricultural economy to a solid industrialized economy.
GERD when completed will be the largest dam in Africa capable of generating up to 6.4 gigawatts of electricity.
Such power generation capacity will not only accelerate and intensify Ethiopia’s economic development by making it possible to have a diversified industrial base and create a new, non-agricultural jobs but also generate enormous foreign exchange earnings.
The Second Industrial Revolution that occurred in the West in the last quarter of the 19th century was principally the result of harness electricity to power industry. America transitioned from an agrarian economy to an industrial one because of electricity.
Arguably, among the topmost important and successful social legislations in American history is the Rural Electrification Act (REA) of 1936. In 1936, “nearly 90 percent of farms lacked electric power because the costs to get electricity to rural areas were prohibitive.”
On the 80th anniversary of the Rural Electrification Act (REA) in 2016, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said:
Eighty years ago today, President Roosevelt signed the law which charged USDA to provide electric power to rural America. Today’s investments continue a part of USDA’s mission that has brought reliable, safe and affordable electric power to America’s farms, ranches and rural communities, improved the quality of life for rural residents, increased farm productivity and made America the breadbasket to the world. Continuing to invest in rural electric infrastructure will help keep our economy strong.
The GERD will do much, much more than the REA did for America!
The GERD will not only make Ethiopia self-sufficient in food production but also the breadbasket for all Africa!
The GERD will change the lives of all Ethiopians for the better.
Ethiopians living in rural areas (85% of them) will be able to vastly improve the quality of their lives.
Children in rural areas will be able to study during evening hours. Improved school performance could result in a higher income potential over the long run.
Businesses could expand in the rural areas with the availability of a reliable supply of electricity and diversify the local economy.
Rural household incomes will rise significantly.
Rural farmers could boost production through irrigation powered by electric pumps. Electric pumps could help extract fresh potable water for 85 percent of the population.
Women and girls who spend so much time collecting firewood and other biofuels could start their own businesses and attend school.
Electricity powered televisions, computers and other communication devices could provide better access to information and business knowledge to ordinary Ethiopians.
The fact of the matter is “All of sub-Saharan Africa’s generating capacity combined does not exceed that of Spain.” Incredible!
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), “South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, accounts for 46 per cent of Africa’s power-generating capacity, North Africa for 34 per cent and the rest of Africa for only 20 per cent.”
Indeed, sub-Saharan African countries face regular and frequent blackouts due to insuﬃcient generating capacity, weak infrastructure and unreliable transmission facilities and increasing costs.
In 2013, President Barack Obama announced his “Power Africa” program.
In the 2019 Power Africa Annual Report, it is claimed that “more than 68 million people in sub-Saharan Africa now have first-time access to electricity thanks to the 14.8 million new home and business connections facilitated by Power Africa support.”
The Report indicates a total of 886,995 connections since Power Africa was launched.
Of these new on-grid connections Power Africa helped establish since 2013, 496,723 are in Nigeria; 178,543 in Uganda and 10,796 are in Ethiopia.
Yes, only 10,796 are in Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa!
My prophesy is that the U.S. and the European Union working covertly with Egypt and other regional foes of Ethiopia will do everything they can to unplug the power from the GERD.
Donald Trump has already signaled his intention to “blow up” the GERD.
The Biden Administration working with the European Union and the Western fake news media will try to finish the job started by Trump.
They will do everything they can, economically, politically, socially and even militarily to destroy a rising and shining Ethiopia by destroying the GERD!
THEY WILL FAIL!
Just like the mighty Italian colonial army on March 1, 1896 at the Battle of Adwa!
 During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State-to-be Antony Blinken answering Senator Chris Coons’ question said, the “issues that caused the [Tigray] conflict can actually be discussed and litigated as opposed to dealt with through violence.” (Italics added.) I accept Blinken’s offer to “litigate” any matter concerning Ethiopia, and so in this commentary I intend to litigate against what I believe will be Blinken/U.S. policy in Ethiopia.
I know my predictions about Ethiopian-U.S. relations under the Biden administration spell doom and gloom. Many who have read Part I, Part II and Part II, of this series have expressed shock and consternation over the audacity of my predictions. “You went on the attack before even giving the Biden administration a chance…They didn’t even open their luggage before you unloaded…”
I do not attack. I speak truth to power. Only those who cannot handle the truth will regard my analysis as a prophesy of doom and gloom.
Suffice it to say, I have yet to hear from anyone – in power, out of power, salivating for power — who is prepared to refute my analysis and evidence. I shall continue to speak my truth to power. No pussyfooting, no sugarcoating, no bobbing or weaving. Straight up!
If I am disproven in my predictions, I will publicly “eat crow”, sacrilege for a vegetarian.