Colonial Masters and Things that go Boom! in Daylight
Two quick points:
Life always gets a little brighter whenever Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi gives an interview to the Western press. His incurable Turrets Syndrome about how the West has an obligation to give him alms is what has made him the backbone of everything magnificently banal… and may I say, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.
Ehhh. Need I go on? Seriously?
For a leader whose country was not colonized by
The drive-by, wintry vituperation directed at Chief EU Elections Observer made Prime Minister Meles a legend in African warlord circles, and why not? A “self appointed colonial viceroy” is what he called Ana Gomes when she decided Melesocracy was frighteningly deficient in democracy. Still tugs at your heartstrings, don’t it?
But a year has passed and ‘self appointed colonial viceroy’, though brilliantly campy, had started to run out of prissiness. Soooooo……
Mr. Meles accused Mr. Blair of behaving like an old colonial master in cutting off aid in response to the killing by government troops of scores of opposition protesters last year.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh. It’s like a long, ice-cold drink of flippancy in the middle of an intellectual drought. But, wait. The
Uh… their colonial principles or other principles? I am rusty on my colonial history, but did colonial powers withdraw aid whenever heads of their colonies mowed down civilians? Somebody look it up.
Mr. Meles said that
That Blair! He must have snuck in a small-print caveat about how the
“I have no personal ill feeling about the position taken by Mr. Blair regarding his feeling that we overreacted, but where I disagree strongly is what they did next. It was not consistent with the new policy.”
Uh. I am beginning to worry about this fabled “new relationship” and “new policy” of the
I dunno. It seems to me that there needs to be a re-knighting of new- new African renaissance leaders (this time make them “deliciously carb free”) since the last batch (Museveni, Meles and Issayas) have turned out to be gun-totting bores.
Anyway, suffice it to say, Ato Meles is displeased. “Colonial master” displeased.
The British government, deeply embarrassed by the violent crackdown, withdrew about £50 million in direct budget support. A planned increase of £30 million was also put on hold, disrupting plans for “basic services” projects.
Other donors followed suit.
Hilary Benn, in January 2006:
… I have not decided to reduce the aid budget to
Methinks no aid cut happened and all this is massive posturing. The
In the end, the
Money flowing into UK bank accounts from developing countries has surged in the past few years, dwarfing
The amount flowing in from poor countries in areas such as
The scale of the exodus of capital from countries with major social problems will raise fears of massive corruption and money laundering that will hurt the welfare of the world's most vulnerable people.
The New Economics Foundation said deposits had risen noticeably over the past five years, with inflows from
So what’s all the bellyaching about?
Second quick point:
Could the residents of Addis Abeba please start acting more terrified? Just so the bombings can stop? I called several people in Addis, all of whom seem brazenly unperturbed by nine bombs ka-booming all over the city.
The timing of this latest series of bombings is way-ree way-ree fishy: a day before the first anniversary of the Ethiopian elections. Someone obviously wanted to divert attention. The places: government offices (to indicate it is someone who has a beef with the guvment), public transportation, cafes and hotel restrooms-- places designed to illicit maximum terror… who doesn’t take a taxi and sit at a café sipping café con leche? Hmm. Who would possibly benefit from a terrified populace that will duck its head in fear?
The most interesting part: the government was unusually coquettish about pointing to who was responsible for the boom-boom. Usually it wastes no time pointing to the OLF, the pesky Eritreans, the man on the moon and colonial viceroys. This time, nada.
This is very disturbing because:
a) where is all the money the
b) how can any organization so boldly penetrate the tight ship the Ethiopian government runs to willy-nilly plant nine bombs without being detected
It’s also a dicey PR problem: the EPRDF needs to point out there are terrorist in its midst (which justifies its military highhandedness), while at the same time telling us that bombs exploding in buses and cafes in the capital city is nothing to get spooked over. How to send out this message? Enter… oh, look… one Zemedkun Tekle, spokesman for the Ministry of Misinformation, who talked to VOA.
The capital is very peaceful and nothing is new. We find those kinds of explosions even in big cities in like the
Well, I feel better.
[Sigh] I miss our old friend Bereket Simon, former Minister of Information, uber kvetcher and imponderous dispenser of drivel. But on the other hand, yes, which one of us living in the
Addis has a new mayor elected by… no body. But perhaps on the new mayor’s task list should be a new catch phrase for Addis… “Addis: bombings don’t slow us down. They shouldn’t you. Come, invest.”
The Returnees Caucasus has been… bombarding (get it?) us with reasons why international aid to Ethiopia should not be cut and how we should aggressively invest in Ethiopia, but maybe it can try informing the government that bombings are scaring away investors and tourists.
Here’s who I predict the Ethiopian government will blame for the bombings: sympathizers of…Al Qaeda. Always a winning tactic, IF Ato Zemedkun can somehow comfort us with his soothing words: “Yes. Islamist anti-peace elements aided by OLF,
So, Addis Abebans, just please pretend you are terrified. Sheesh.------------------------------------------------------
I am trying to collect anecdotes from people who called the World Bank about this flyer. If you are willing, please share your experience.