Tuesday, October 24, 2006

How ugly is politics?

Will be back in a sec… workin’ for the man.

Quick observation. If politics is ugly, then realpolitik is downright revolting.

1) Darfur: If you missed 60 Minutes on Sunday, watch it here or read the summary here. Reporter Scott Pelley and John Pendergrast go in search of Jacob, a Darfuri boy whose schoolbooks were found in the rubble in the aftermath of a Janjaweed massacre. Killer quote:

Sudan’s U.N. representative looked amused during Bush's speech. AlBashir threatened war against U.N. peacekeepers.

Why do these guys mock the
U.S. in public? Well, it turns out our government's relationship with Sudan is complicated. In the 1990’s AlBashir hosted Osama bin Laden for five years, so he has information on al Qaeda.

"It's been a very good deal for the government of Sudan to give little tidbits of information about suspects around the world in order to blunt United States outrage over what’s happening in Darfur," Prendergast says.

Last year, the U.S. sent a private jet to bring Sudan’s intelligence chief to CIA headquarters.

"This is the same guy who was the architect of the counter-insurgency strategy in
Darfur. What kind of signal does that send to the government of Sudan?" Prendergast asks.

"Look, this is a hard thing to swallow, because what you’re saying is, the United States is in bed with the government in Khartoum on counterterrorism issues and therefore we are looking the other way on a genocide I mean, that’s tough," Pelley remarks.

"I think it's a really heinous arrangement and one that history will judge very harshly," Prendergast replies.

As Borat would say, “We support your War of Terror.”

2) HR 5680: Ethiomedia has an article by one Don Baseman from Portland, Ethiopia: Repression worsens, calls for sanctions blocked by Hastert. Killer quote:

A foreign policy assistant to Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) told us that his office was "lobbied hard by the State Department to vote against sanctions". The Blumenauer staffer said "the Bush administration does not want to upset Prime Minister Zenawi" because of his 'cooperation' against terrorists.

Oh yeah. That again. Prime Minister as a good soldier against terror? I wonder what the lingo will be when he turns against Washington.

3) EU and Yalemzewd: Congressman Donald Payne makes an explosive accusation in his press release of October 21:

Yalemzewd, who works for the European Commission in Addis found out late last week that a decision was made to arrest her. She decided to stay in her office to avoid arrest. After several days, she was asked by a senior EC official to leave the office.

Yalemzewd was betrayed by her own employer. Instead of protecting her, this official ruined her life. I strongly condemn this act and call on the European Commission to investigate this decision.

Woah. Inde Hewan urges us to write the EU to take responsibility, and to make sure Yalemzewd is not tortured by the EU’s ally. Here are the relevant emails:

timothy.clarke@ec.europa.eu , herve.delphin@ec.europa.eu,

CC: hrwnyc@hrw.org, amnesty-eu@aieu.be ,
DELEGATION-ETHIOPIA@CEC.EU.INT , horn@voanews.com , letters@observer.co.uk,

(see the comments section of the previous post for a sample letter.)

So, how ugly is politics? Pretty f’ing ugly. For solace I turn to music and pictures of Ethiopia that remind me Ethiopia is more than politics.

The folks at Yag for Life have great photographs of water projects they’ve funded.

… and somehow, life goes on.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this time I thought I was reading on an Ethiopian blog, hmm!

12:53 PM, October 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

realpolitick is like madonna: a little whorish, a lot opportunistic and audacious in that "i can buy a baby in malawi" way.

on a (different?) note, with all that's happening in ethiopia (inqury report, EU scandal), andrew at meskel square is reduced to covering a new addis roundabout. how does a bonefide journalist get reduced to this? he needs to stay in addis THAT badly?


1:35 PM, October 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why the UN just doesn't fund and expand the AU force instead of trying to replace it. It seems to me that they are haggling over an unwinable argument especially with the Chinese in the security council - maybe they should just negotiate sending Chinese peacekeepers - not that I think that will ever happen. The Anthony Lake plan is also another disaster in the making.

I think the bottom line is that the arguments at the UN are mostly about resources [who eventually has control over Sudan], and less about genocide and even less so about tips that are atleast a decade old.

Just look at Congo where according to the UN itself, by January of this year the death toll in the conflict was higher than the numbers killed in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Darfur - but is there anyone saying anything there? Or maybe the mining fields haven't been affected?

4:26 PM, October 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i really enjoy your blog and the humor that you inject into the news sometimes.

in any case, i was amazed at what these judges that fled with the report must have gone through and what they are going through now. these folks left their families to share this report with the world. what can be done to help these folks? how can people that want to help them help them?

8:02 PM, October 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Real African Politics, serving servitude to serve the beneficiarias of slavery. The Master need not worry, for the job get done by Africans "Know it All Elites" by choice.

If there is any hope against all hopes, ETW's Yag for Life and the likes make more sense and promising to shake the bondage from mind enslavement.

8:54 PM, October 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous II,

Said similar thing sometime in the past at Wonqville. The reason AU's capacity is not bolstered by infusion of Western money which could resolve the crisis and the West's insistence on UN, is because it fits US foreign policy of weakening Sudan by UN taking another big chunk of land in addition to Southern Sudan outside the central government's control. Think of the late years of Sadam's rule in Iraq you will get the picture of where this is heading.
What troubles me the most is the way we (who should know better about what has been done to our country by the West's PR schemes) are jumping to whatever they are concocting "as the biggest humanitarian crisis" of the day.
We seem to abhor, morally outraged by humanitarian crisis whose images & sounds are propagated in megaphones thruout the world mainly by Western media, while we ignore far more calamities as that of the Congo tragedy where victims are dying in large number hidden from cameras. I do not want to minimise the severity of the suffering of Darfurians in Sudan but when the fervent activists for the their cause are American Jewish groups, there is something unsettling about this cause. How come relatively even small proportion of attention is not given by these activists, media figures & celebrities to the plight of Congolese victims of strife, our Anuaks or Ethiopian, Egyptian and Pakistani pro-democracy activists? Is Darfur the only humanitarian crisis, the world has to know? The issue is powerful interests set the agenda and wants us to focus only on that crisis, 'cause it helps them to achieve their foreign policy goals. Are n't Ethiopians victims of such PR ploys when images of the 1980s famine were pushed on every household's TV relentlessly? Our tragedy was exploited for political purpose and who cares about the long lasting effects those images have on people's mind, as far as the political objectives are achieved.
This has become what we are known for, thanks to those images of the 80s.

7:13 PM, October 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great of we could stop engaging in ad hominem attacks and focused on more constructive ways to do poltics. A real good start would be to begin a discussion on the citizens charter that has been issued by the Ethiopian Institute for Non-Violence. I believe that this document is is the one of the few constructive tool that I have come across that could really help us structure healthy debate about Ethiopia. I hope you help to spread its good words.

8:52 AM, October 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with IHIT Herut. We should discuss the charter which stipulates what citizens of Ethiopian should expect from their government or how they want to be governed. Our civic culture tend to be reactive as exemplified by our moblization in IDIR and similar tragedies. Our mobilisation in politics imitates that of the IDIR we react after events, instead of trying to shape things/events to our liking. Eritreans have learned from their Italian colonisers and most importantly from the British Trustee administration to take the traditional form of organisation to higher form of civic culture and they beat us in mobilising in proactive manner to safeguard their interest. Here is a forward looking document which change our way of civic culture. I was told everybody is invited to discuss this important document at the following website. The charter is also being discussed at

TPLFers from Aiga forum are trying to attack it with their childish remarks. At least let us defend it from their attack.

3:05 PM, October 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

heard about EAFCT Ethiopian Americans against Fraud Convicts and Terrorism

1:22 PM, April 14, 2007  

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