Monday, December 12, 2005

With Friends Like This…

I am trying to zip though “Are Men Necessary?” as every self respecting post-feminist I know is scrambling to do. (The simple answer, according to Maureen is, “No. But neither is ice cream.”)

Anyway.

One ringa-dindy… two ringa-dingy… Is this the party to whom I would like to talk to?

Call schedule for today, Monday, December 12, 2005 in support of HR 4423 as put forward by Congressman Chris Smith…

Monday, December 12
Congressman John Boozman: (202) 225-4301
Congressman Brad Sherman: (202) 225-5911

Let the dialing commence.

By the way, two ferenjies who have stuck their necks for Ethiopia: Chris Smith and Ana Gomez. Period. The rest did the whole, “let’s wait to see who is winning and jump on that bandwagon” calisthenics. And Theodore Vestal (because ethiopundit says so, and what ethiopundit says... etch, meet stone).

Let’s do a little compare and contrast:

Chris Smith on November 3:

When I led a delegation to Addis in August, I urged Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to respect the rights of free speech and assembly and to immediately investigate the shooting of more than 40 election protesters by security forces in June. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister has neither respected the rights of his citizens nor the rule of law in his country.

Read the whole statement. It’s pretty amazing.

Then let’s mosey on to Mistah Jimmah Car’a, who is out shilling a book on values and morality. In between, he is worshipping “the Prince of Peace.” (I’ll include the whole thing since it’s short and embittering):

ATLANTA….The Carter Center expresses its alarm at the outbreak of violence in Ethiopia rooted in the ongoing dispute over the May 2005 elections. We send condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives, and urge that every effort be made to avoid further death and injury.

Alrighty. Then…

Both government and opposition party supporters must show restraint. Leaders from each side must seek meaningful, constitutional, and peaceful mechanisms for bringing election disputes to a conclusion and allow the country to move forward.

You have to understand, by the time Mr. Carter issued this statement the leaders of the main opposition had been rounded up and jailed, and Prime Minister Meles was telling western journalist that they were going to be tried for treason. Another segment of the opposition had joined the parliament, something Mr. Carter has been “urging.”

So, yes. Can the opposition please show restraint?

The Center calls upon the government to insist that state security forces refrain from excessive use of force in response to protests and respect and protect the human rights of those who seek to express their opinions peacefully. Free expression and the right of association, including peaceful public demonstrations, are essential to all democracies, and the Ethiopian government has the responsibility to allow such constitutionally protected actions.

So the Ethiopian government has set up concentration camps throughout the land and has been generally acting like a wayward thug. What part of Ato Meles’ government, Mr. Carter sir, do you think is interested in “protect[ing] the human rights of those who seek to express their opinions peacefully”? The part that is rounding up kids and sending them to Dedessa, or the part that is promoting “democracy” by rounding up its opponents? And is there an ETA on when to expect Ato Meles’ government to take on “the responsibility” of allowing constitutionally protected actions such as, let’s see, free expression and freedom of assembly, without the added bonus of gunning down people who do?

The Center encourages the opposition parties associated with the actions to exercise influence over their supporters to bring the current crisis to a close. The constitution's rights of association and protest also have strict limits. They exist within the context of the law.

Yeah. Maybe if Mr. Carter “calls upon” the EPRDF to free up some media, the opposition can ask its supporters not to throw stones so that they don’t get shot in the head.

The Carter Center calls on all parties and the Ethiopian people to recommit themselves to the pursuit of peace and democracy. All parties should seek to re-invigorate channels of communication and peaceful debate while disavowing violence.

Oh, please!

In the end, it won’t matter one single bit what Mr. Carter says. And the reason I keep bringing what he says to the forefront is not because I have deluded myself into thinking he will stand up for human rights in Ethiopia. But I despise the contempt he has for Ethiopians. His statement reeks of scorn, if not aggressive inattentiveness. The time to “call upon” the EPRDF to do anything has long passed.

It’s not that I expect Mr. Carter to “strongly condemn” Ato Meles’ government any time soon either. Please. Not enough Ethiopians have died for Mr. Carter to be rankled. But we all have to make sure that statements like the above goes on Mr. Carter’s human rights record. The smart thing to do now is to keep on asking him to defend his tacit approval of “the situation in Ethiopia.”

And how is it that Chris Smith, who until May none/few of us in the Ethiopian Diaspora had heard of … how come it is Chris Smith who is standing up to Ato Meles more than Mr. Carter?

I don’t like contempt. Especially when it is directed against the weak.

It’s the 15th day of the hunger strike by the jailed opposition leaders.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't forget addisferengi.net and don levine.

3:52 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

“. . .The time to ‘call upon’ the EPRDF to do anything has long passed.”

and yet, when Wegesha dared to express the same sentiments back a couple of blogs ago, you wouldn’t give him the time of day! You were quick to dismiss him out of hand, and NOT with a reasoned response but with a flimsy “How-Dare-You-Indignation” couched in a bunch of 21st Century non sequitur. Mnew, Wonq?

Sorry, Dr. Gondy!

6:33 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous fikir said...

Hmm… Wonq, watch it! Your response touched a couple of nerves… it is unusual for you but don’t under estimate your readers. You got “baaad” crowd, don’t preach.

No hard feelings. We still love you.

8:08 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous Yohannes said...

my pissed off p.o.v:

the reason why Carter has contempt for us is because we let him have contempt for us. we flock to whatever ferenji "Ethiopianist" is on our side, and then flock back when we think they have slighted us. Our hopes still rise and fall with what they say in the halls of Cambridge, U of Chicago and wherever the hell Henze has crawled out from. Simply put, it is a reflection on us. Can someone tell me why, with all the brain power in the Ethiopian diaspora (at least in the US), that there is no Ethiopian political action committee? why don't we have a think tank? Why has it been the same 3-4 "ethiopianists" that have been shaping the agenda for the past three decades now?

as it is said in the halls of wonqville, it is bullshittary. WE do this to ourselves because we neither have the trust in nor the reverence for our own.

(and i missed fikir's point. so now i am pissed even more.)

9:05 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous michelle daba said...

Yohannes,

You mirrored my frustration. My friends and I have been trying to join a group active in DC political wranglings. I'm having a hard time finding an Ethio-American lobbying group.

http://www.ethiopianamerican.org/ has not been active for a while.

I have been trying to contact www.ethiopac.org, but so far I haven't been successful. (Was that set up just for the 2004 elections??)

Obviously there must be someone pushing the Ethiopian cause, but it seems several disparate groups. Or am I hopelessly out of the loop?

Looplessly wondering,

MD.

9:29 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous ye mankussaw welafen said...

michelle,

try
CLEA, Citizens League of Ethiopian-Americans-- http://www.ethioamericans.com

By the way, does anyone know if Condi responded to Paul Sarbanes?

9:41 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous Washera of the Paltalk said...

Hi Wonqette:

At last! free at last!
I have been telling you to include Theodore Vestal among the Great White Men and Women who Sided with Ethiopia (GWMWSE) for a long time. Vestal has to be must reading for all Ethiopians, including EPRDF/Woyane/EPLF/OLF, and especially EPRDF/Woyane/EPLF/OLF.
The Ethiopian liq from Baltimore, who translated Desiderata to Amharic had better be busying himself with his penmanship, lest the Washeraman from the Diaspora beats him on his Washera word processor.

I can see the millions I could rip doing that in a Free, Democratic and Capitalist Ethiopia.

Our people have been fighting the good fight for over 40 years. Meles Zenawi was best equiped to deliver it to them. He failed misreably. Your amazing words from day one, have put this in its true perspectives. You may not have your Bhagdad Bobs to kick around anymore. But you have given us files of documents that make us laugh and learn for a long time to come.
You weave words like Gudu Kassa, but make our pains easier, made us laugh at ourselves, and educated us like no other Ethiopian in the Diaspora I know has. I have never been prouder of being a member of your race.

May you live among us forever. You will always find topics to wrap them with your amazing mastery of the WORD!

We are free at last and there is no turning back. Pack your bags my friends. We will all be there celebrating the Ethiopian Millenium like no other human being has done it before or after. THAT IS WHY WE ARE A SPECIAL BREED!!

Love you
Washera
ps: Why din't you respond to my invitation to address us devoted residents of Wonqiville? If not now, I suggest that we elect you as our guest speaker for the Millenium Party in Ethiopia.
pss: As one capitalist to another, all new words, phrases, abbreviations etc..in this note are copy-writed.

11:26 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree 110%.

Washera has been preaching about your Blog, Ethiopundit and Theodore Vestal in the Diaspora forums, the Paltalk kind, for some time now. Go listen to him on Tuesday, December 16, 2005 at 3:30 pm in Ethiopians in the Diaspora Discussion Forum. PalTalk is becoming popular like the iPod.

We love you too.

11:33 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous Dina said...

The problem with the lack of a united front and voice is that we Ethiopians scorn each other over the tiniest thing. Firstly, it's human to feel scorn, envy and the need to put someone down to please our egos, but it's very Ethiopian to give into these feelings and express them. Secondly we Ethiopians love to bark (and a dog that barks...), so we clamour and complain and shout and get all hot and bothered, but then when it comes down to concrete, unified steps every single one slinks away, to leave one or two "monyoch" to "mawared" themselves by. It's called "AgafTo meTal". If we really supported the imprisoned opposition leader beyond the shrewd calculation of what they can do for us then we'd be out there striking and going into hunger strike (I know Ethiopians in London and elsewhere did that). We'd be rallying behind them no matter what, both here and abroad; we'd keep on because Meles and co. can only kill so many more peaceful protesters before someone steps in. I've said this before and I'll say it again- if someone told me that all it took was ONE person to really go and do all that's in the "Civil Disobedience" Handbook, risking freedom, health and even life, I'd be out there- but I'd need someone to follow up and take it a step higher, to have a consistent, persistent and sustainable action- it's a war of atrition. But as I said be don't respect each other and each other's ideals and efforts. As Yohannes said we need to respect ourselves first.

11:53 PM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonk,

A little out of topic, but when are you going to activate the atom feed for your website. I can't subscribe to your feed (need it because I have a slow connection). It is under settings, and activate atom or xml. Thanks.

1:09 AM, December 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi wonqitvillians

Washera may be coming to Diaspora much sooner. please go and check paltalk.com

Wonquettvillina, whatever

3:12 AM, December 13, 2005  
Anonymous abc-anonymous said...

The discourse is encouraging and mature as long as one has the stamina to live with differing ideas & policies. TachaChilo Menor, noone saint in the world. Otherwise remains demagogue, - BeWarre gize maqaTel.

abc

4:10 AM, December 13, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One visit to Paltalk.. and you will not do it again.

Lest you forgot the rules, Weichegud is in a different league.

12:29 PM, December 13, 2005  
Anonymous mamitaux said...

If you can talk/chat at 3.30pm on a Tuesday, YOU're definately in a different league.

1:14 PM, December 13, 2005  
Anonymous molqaqa imperial revanchist said...

there's a group called "network of ethiopian scholars" that has been publishing good stuff (in a refreshingly non-"Dr. Raselas" style, thank sweet Jesus), although i can't find a central place for them. but here
is one of their articles.

(Is there a US Chapter-- so far I've only found stuff written by the Scandinavian Chapter)

3:10 PM, December 13, 2005  
Blogger enaseb said...

the title of this particular blog conjured something i had read a while ago.

"I saw, then, what help to fighting men the simple, ordered description of their misery and humiliation could be. I saw how explosive the objective revelation to the colonized and the colonizer of an essentially explosive condition could be. It was as if the unveiling of the fatality of their respective paths made the struggle the more necessary and the delaying action the more desperate." -Albert Memmi

malet....who we turnin to for whaaaa?

wonqueye...did you read Arnold's "justification" for Stanley's murder????? be`seme`ab!

12:56 AM, December 14, 2005  
Anonymous mamitaux said...

This is so touching. It reminded me of the spirit that Teddy Afro was speaking of on that VOA interview

This is the report of what happened today after the burial of Lebanese journalist/lawman, Gibran Tueni:

Tueni's father, An-Nahar publisher Ghassan Tueni, spoke: "No to revenge, no to hatred and no to bloodletting," he said, calling for Muslims and Christians to unite. "Let us bury with Gibran all the hatred."

6:46 PM, December 14, 2005  
Blogger Sauba said...

On HR 4423

Congressman Chris Smith deserves a lot of praise and credit for speaking about the election controversy like it is. Unlike other US policy makers, he did not mince words when he expressed his disappointment with the crack-down against opposition supporters in June and promptly called attention to EPRDF's disregard for the rule of law. I hope other lawmakers could be this bold and call a spade by its name. That said, this bill he has authored, though it makes a statement, again calling attention to how Meles has failed to meet standards of good governance, democratic reforms, etc, requires careful observation into what it hopes to achieve and how it can be most effective.

The findings by congress [in the bill] about human rights, democratization and economic development in Ethiopia notwithstanding, essentially the bill calls for two things, Let me start with the second point, which is a benign prohibition of congressional appropriations (a whopping $10m) until Ethiopia and Eritrea both comply with the terms of the Algiers agreement. Last year a similar bill (HR 2270) calling for even stronger punitive measures was passed and its impact thus far is next to insignificant. The first one, which sounds like a strong statement, (but in actual fact isn’t) is the section below on the suspension of security activities unless the government observes international standards of human rights and rule of law.

(1) SUSPENSION- The President shall suspend all joint security activities of the Government of the United States with the Government of Ethiopia, including activities through the U.S. East Africa Counterterrorism Initiative until such time as . . . the Government of Ethiopia is observing international standards of human rights and enforcing the principle of the rule of law, especially by conducting a credible investigation of the killing of civilian protesters by security forces, as well as trying or releasing detainees and granting access for detainees to their families, counsel, and the International Red Cross.

Now these security activities are mainly in the Southern part of Ethiopia where Ethiopian security forces are supposedly being trained on how to crack down on fringe elements like Al Ittihad al Islamiya based in Somalia. It is THE reason US policy considers Meles a reliable ally against terrorism. (For a detailed account of US policy on this issue check this link www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr113.html - and scroll to U.S. Policy toward Ethiopia: Outlook and Recommendations. This joint security initiative is by far, more important to US interests than it is to Ethiopia. Really, how much does Meles rely on this joint security initiative for his survival? Not a stick with any meaningful swing to pressure Meles into doing anything different. In effect, the bill from a US legislative standpoint makes hostage US interests rather than Meles and his party. Gauging from statements and position of the State Dept., it is highly unlikely that the president would agree to suspend training security forces aimed at combating groups with terrorist tendencies. Thus when people call, what they should also be asking is, that language targeted towards Meles be added, like suspension of other direct support from US agencies to Ethiopia, or better yet a complete review of US policy until such time the government observes the rule of law. In the end if Congressman Smith believes the Ethiopian government is not living up to its commitment for democratic reforms (and it appears that he does) it only makes sense to pressure him calling for a complete review of US policy, instead of addressing tiny issues piecemeal.

3:03 PM, December 15, 2005  
Blogger Sauba said...

On HR 4423

Congressman Chris Smith deserves a lot of praise and credit for speaking about the election controversy like it is. Unlike other US policy makers, he did not mince words when he expressed his disappointment with the crack-down against opposition supporters in June and promptly called attention to EPRDF's disregard for the rule of law. I hope other lawmakers could be this bold and call a spade by its name. That said, this bill he has authored, though it makes a statement, again calling attention to how Meles has failed to meet standards of good governance, democratic reforms, etc, requires careful observation into what it hopes to achieve and how it can be most effective.

The findings by congress [in the bill] about human rights, democratization and economic development in Ethiopia notwithstanding, essentially the bill calls for two things, Let me start with the second point, which is a benign prohibition of congressional appropriations (a whopping $10m) until Ethiopia and Eritrea both comply with the terms of the Algiers agreement. Last year a similar bill (HR 2270) calling for even stronger punitive measures was passed and its impact thus far is next to insignificant. The first one, which sounds like a strong statement, (but in actual fact isn’t) is the section below on the suspension of security activities unless the government observes international standards of human rights and rule of law.

(1) SUSPENSION- The President shall suspend all joint security activities of the Government of the United States with the Government of Ethiopia, including activities through the U.S. East Africa Counterterrorism Initiative until such time as . . . the Government of Ethiopia is observing international standards of human rights and enforcing the principle of the rule of law, especially by conducting a credible investigation of the killing of civilian protesters by security forces, as well as trying or releasing detainees and granting access for detainees to their families, counsel, and the International Red Cross.

Now these security activities are mainly in the Southern part of Ethiopia where Ethiopian security forces are supposedly being trained on how to crack down on fringe elements like Al Ittihad al Islamiya based in Somalia. It is THE reason US policy considers Meles a reliable ally against terrorism. (For a detailed account of US policy on this issue check this link www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr113.html - and scroll to U.S. Policy toward Ethiopia: Outlook and Recommendations. This joint security initiative is by far, more important to US interests than it is to Ethiopia. Really, how much does Meles rely on this joint security initiative for his survival? Not a stick with any meaningful swing to pressure Meles into doing anything different. In effect, the bill from a US legislative standpoint makes hostage US interests rather than Meles and his party. Gauging from statements and position of the State Dept., it is highly unlikely that the president would agree to suspend training security forces aimed at combating groups with terrorist tendencies. Thus when people call, what they should also be asking is, that language targeted towards Meles be added, like suspension of other direct support from US agencies to Ethiopia, or better yet a complete review of US policy until such time the government observes the rule of law. In the end if Congressman Smith believes the Ethiopian government is not living up to its commitment for democratic reforms (and it appears that he does) it only makes sense to pressure him calling for a complete review of US policy, instead of addressing tiny issues piecemeal.

3:04 PM, December 15, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

al bundy makes more sense than any given politics (including the one ya'll yappin about).

11:02 AM, March 10, 2009  

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