Emperor Exhorts Ethiopia to Fight “To the Last Man” (New York Times, 19 July 1935)

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Published in: on January 31, 2008 at 11:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Open Letter to the Organic Intellectuals accross the Horn of Africa

Dr. Mesfin Araya, York College, The City University of New York

            January 29, 2008

                                     

“ It is a curious thing with national hatred….Yet there is a stage at which it vanishes altogether, where one stands above the nations, so to speak , sharing joy or sorrow of a neiggboring people as though they had been encountered by one’s own ‘’ 1

The Age of Enlightenment in Europe has made a profound revolutionary change in the history of humanity.  As history, however, is ultimately indeterminate, the Enlightenment has paradoxically brought humanity blessings as well as continued social crises .

With its central governing philosophical principle—The Mind, Reason, as the sole supreme authority—it has opened our eyes to the hitherto impenetrable secrets of nature; and  behind the modern day of individual freedom and the unprecedented material comfort in the Western world lurks the historical role of the Enlightenment , although ‘The Third World’ frighteningly remains marginalized.

On the other hand, its heartless logic has unleashed unbridled ecological racism, resulting in a scaring environmental decay ;  socially ,  it has aggressively eroded and narrowed the ethical-moral sphere:  The debilitating poverty in ‘The Third World’, the   accelerating fatal North/South divide, largely along the racial line ,  the morally disturbing   global proliferation of the sex industry, etc. are indeed indicative of the unquestionable products of a civilization apparently singularily driven by The Mind, Reason, that has  never  tried to engage the Heart,  as the latter has invariably been dismissed as a mere locus of emotions, irrationalities.  

We need to understand, however, that behind the distortion, pollution of the historical role of the Enlightenment has been the critical role of its own twin products :  The nation- state and capitalism .

The worst crime in the modern history of humanity occurred when  a selfish minority elite in society invented the nation-state ; but the great tragedy unfolded when humanity itself blindly believed and followed the enterprising , destructively selfish , nationalists. 

The nation-state–driven by its inherent mechanics of Us/Them syndrome and by its no less inherent logic of profit motive–has been central in the unfolding agony of humanity. . AS early as 1862 Lord  Acton had predicted that ,  when he wrote that nationalism

“…does not aim either at liberty or prosperty, both of  which it sacrifices to the  imperative necessity of making the nation the mould and measure of the state. Its course will be marked with  material as well as moral ruin.’’2 

Behind the notorious history of the transatlantic slave trade and the cruelest institution of slavery in The’New’ World was the logic of the nation-state.  The primary culprit in the late 19th century European scramble for the ‘The magnificent African cake’ —under the holy alliance of the politician , the merchant , the army , and the church— was the nation-state itself.  The two destructive World wars , and the heartless Jewish Holocaust– “ …the mass sacrifice of human beings to the idol of nationalism . ’’ 3 —  were no less the products of the nation-state; the unending suffering of our Palestinian sisters and brothers  is rooted in the nation-state, this time parodixically, with a Zionist accent .  Behind the Rwanda ethnic mayhem was also the role of the nation-state, with an African accent .   

With the pessimism of the mind and the optimism of the heart, our dear Democratic Left, Eric Hobsbaum, tells us that– like  ‘ The  owl of Minerva—which brings wisdom—flies out at dusk ’– the nation-state,  with its nationalism and selfish interest, may be on its way out under the onslaught of globalization.  If so , its departure does not appear seamless.  In its apparent death-bed, it seems to have engineered a destructive agenda.  Among its targets is the Horn of Africa . Currently , we are watching the alarming military buildup  along the Ethio-Eritrean border, where “ the threat of war is very real . ” 4  ;  and we all know that wars –as Goethe would would say  “… make many unhappy while they last and none happy when they are over . ” 5

The great question of our time is :  Can we frustrate its agenda?  Certainly, the answer must be yes ;  as the alternative is mayhem , as an end in itself.

Awate.com had– on December 2 , 2007– released ‘An Open Letter to Eritrean and Ethiopian People’  with its encouraging and enticing slogan:  ‘Together, we can do it!’ —i.e. ,  to avert  the impending  Ethio-Eritrean war, which has been conducted so far as a proxy war in the Horn.  Indeed, it is a welcome call, especially coming from Eritreans in whose homeland  “ Even the stones  [ let alone human beings- M.A. ]  were burning”  under Mengistu Haile Mariam’s brutal war of ‘Greater Ethiopia’ nationalism .   But their call ought to go beyond simply preempting the war to include the defeat of the twin tyrants :  The incorrigible dictator in Asmara , Isaias Afwerki, and  Meles  Zenawe in Addis Ababa ,  the shameless  Musharraf of the Horn of Africa .

The Oromo Liberation Front [OLF] had also issued —on December 3 , 2007— a public statement ,  calling upon resisting forces in the Horn of Africa to rally around the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy [ AFD ], in order to realize  peace , democracy , and prosperty .  But it is one thing to appeal for the  need to initiate a united front across the region in which OLF itself —like all other opposition forces— would participate as an equal partner  and totally quite another and disappointing thing to call upon resisting forces to merely circle around the would-be umbrella organization, the AFD .  This is not the time for competing in leadership, it is rather the defining moment for creative collaborative efforts.  

I call upon the organic intellectuals across the Horn of Africa—those who are deeply committed to the welfare of  ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ in the region– to close ranks and mobilise their capacty to unleash a social movement to defeat the twin tyrants  .  As a social movement, they can popularize democratic ideas that can be transformed into a formidable material force to bring Peace, Democracy, and Social Justice .  I submit that I have little doubts that  once these rare and indespensable social values are realized, ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ of the Horn of Africa—who have for long undergone lived experience of abject poverty, oppression, and a vicious cycle of tyrannical rule—are likely to vote with their feet to bury the twin tyrants, the nation-state, and inaugurate a peaceful and democratic transition to the union of the countries in the region . 

The organic intellectuals of the region can restlessly expose the servile role of opportunist intellectuals, the advisory councils  behind the merciless tyrants;  they can educate and show an alternative emancipatory vision .  Indeed, history is settled at the present moment ;  and if they ever opt to remain as a side observer ,  they will never escape their de facto complicity with the wantonly destructive designs that the twin tyrants have in store for their people .

I call upon  our Ethiopian and Eritrean sisters and brothers- where ever they may be- to join the struggle against the tyrants . I also call upon our Oromo, Ogaden, and Somali sisters and brothers- whose legitimate grievances have yet to be addressed – to join the collective sruggle. Indeed, the need for a united Front has never been more timely !  This is the time for all of us to exit from our respectve ethnic wombs and assert our humanity. We ought not forget– as Goethe would remind us—- that  The world advances only because of those who oppose it .’’ 6

May the spirit of Ra, God, Allah, and that of our ancestors find us courage and resolve to make a difference .  May the spirit of EPRP members—who bravely marched to their death ,  holding ‘ Democracia’  high in the face of the merciless ‘ Red Terror’ ,  and  may equally the spirit of the Eritrean martyrs— who heroically sacrificed their lives for freedom that never saw the light of day—sustain our collective sruggle for Peace, Democracy , and Social Justice . ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ in the Horn of Africa shall triumph !!!


P.S.

To my dear friends — wherever they are , who may still be not embracing ,  but rather embraced by emancipatory vision—I would like to recall our memorable years as undergraduates in Addis Ababa : We were young dreamers then—long before the process of living tried its best to undermine our collective dreams for our people .    Do you remember when in the depth of the night we formed a circle and swore :  ‘ Only death do us part ? ’ .   Our dear friends , Wallelegn Mokonnen, Yesehak Debretsion,   Yohanes Sebhatu , Tselote Heskias ,  Meles Gebre-Mariam , Tesfu Kidane , and many more , were there ;   Debteraw [ Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin ] was obviously at the center with us .  I, for one, remember vividly  ! 

Debteraw  remains an exceptional friend.  We ought  not  forget his critical role , especially in the darkest years of EPRP : When doubts and hopelessness prevailed, he asserted  courage and resolve! When the narrow individual interest prevailed, he affirmed the broader vision and the collective interest!  When sheer expediency prevailed, he held cherished principles high ;  when merciless Reason prevailed ,  he asserted the optimism of the Heart !  When some sold their souls to the Dergue , and then to Wayane ,  he resolved to struggle– regardless of the price to be paid .   Indeed,  Debteraw–  ‘ The Black Lion’ of the rugged mountains of Ethiopia– shall always live in our hearts .

In the great African tradition  the departed are not dead ,  as they continue to participate in the lives of the living .  To die in the African tradition is to change one’s address.  Our dear Debteraw has only changed his address ;  and what really matters on our part is never to discontinue contact !  May his indomitable spirit guide us all in this stormy, Suname—like political weather in the Horn of Africa !

Notes

1.      Frederick Ungar [ ed. ] . Goethe’s World View, [ New York : Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1963 ] :185

2.      Edward Hallett Carr .  Nationalism and After . [ London : Macmillan ] : vi

3.      Ibid . ,p . 34

4.      Herald Tribune, December12 , 2007

5.      Goethe , p . 187

6.      Ibid . , p 113

Published in: on January 30, 2008 at 9:02 am  Comments (27)  

Deals that made behaind the Ethiopian people will be exposed (Amharic pdf)

Published in: on January 29, 2008 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Unlearned Lesson of the Afabet War & the Diaspora Zombification

By  Getachew Reda

No question, some websites owners building Zombies, are working hard to replace real people by play write actors to derailed yours and my attention that would have had focus against the treasonous mercenary regime of TPLF Meles Zenawi.  Zombification or the work of a cult that has increasingly taken over the mind and soul of the Ethiopian Diaspora is sucking the morrow of our energy destroying our unity to the extent you can see naked cults praising website owners who invited EPLF to come to Ethiopia to save it from TPLF. The degree of such Zombiedom is that bad!

Particular websites for months now, been dedicated to add more moss to the oak, dragging the attention of the struggle from Berhane Mewa to Andargachew from them to AFD/OLF/EPLF from it to KIL from KIL to Berhanu Bertukan , from the BB to the attention of Democratic EPRP, from there to the tour of an actor, from the actor to Siye.  Who knows from Siye what will follow. In the midst of this, the real focus is marking a new rout of hate to each other which can dwarf us even more dwarfed from standing tall in front of a monster who is praying to see us all fall.

As repeatedly said it before regarding Siye and the rest; I have no anger at any of them. If he can be the solution, I will be more than happy to see it and support him. But, by Golly! Give Colonel Mengistu and other the chance to save the nation, which were been destroyed by TPLF and the Derg.  That could have been the Thanks giving gift to Ethiopia indeed if we are talking reconciliation issues.

The amazing thing that we felt as a sprinkled of freezing cold water on our face shocked us is the writing of some commentators who told us the Meison Leader Dr. Negede Gobeze whose hand is wet with Ethiopian blood therefore condemned him not to participate in politics while the leaders of the most treasonous and blood thirsty organization of TPLF who are primary responsible for mass killings and sufferings are suddenly qualified for reconciliation and rehabilitation. The worst thing of it is; when people tried for expressing their reaction based on the pain inflicted by such leaders to their families and country are labeled as “few extremists”. I can’t tell you what made such individuals to cross the line to defend individual leaders of TPLF is beyond me. I like to remind readers or those who seemed to forget the nature of TPLF to hear it through the words of a victim excerpted from my article TRUE STORY The harrowing stories of TPLF mass murders in Tigrai as told by a surviving elder. (By Getachew Reda, November 12, 2003 ). Quote:

 “Those are not Tigrians, those are not Ethiopians; those are some evil creatures from hell! They have no respect for even the old. They were educated by us, by the Tigrian parents; they were schooled by the farmers’ and tax-payers’ money, they were armed by Tigrians but turned their back on us, and humiliated us in a way difficult to express in words.”

If such victims or their families just react as any human sense with feeling reaction even for temporary reaction as humankinds suffered from such organization, why in the world do victims deserve an insult to the extent calling them “few Extremists”? Don’t they have a mild word to express than to label us as such? In my opinion, it is not the hate/dislike of Siye or others that made things rough; it is the people around him the words they use to describe Siye and to his reactors made it ugly.

As the NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu in his commentary of “Zombification” he, said the word is undergoing Zombification. It was gradual for a while a few Zombies here and there. But it is becoming massive now”. The Other day said Andrei: “the other day in Colorado, 20,000 people showed up at a bake sale for Rush Limbaugh calling themselves” Ditto -Heads”, because, they have no thought of their own, only a voice that says “Dito” every time Rush speaks”.  (Rush Limbaugh is a conservative talk show host on TV/Radio. The word “Ditto” as I understood meant nothing but a habit to fill the blank as we sometimes say, “Bingo!”

Mass Zombification is the art of building cults. There are degrees of Zombification, of course. Mass Zombification is not new; said Andrei. Ditto- Heads” are benign compared to the suicidal mobs of followers who gave up every thought in their heads for the sake of slogans that lead them directly to mass graves.

What truly happening here in our community in the Ethiopian Diaspora (all sides- pro or against Meles Zenawi’s party TPLF) is mass Zombification in the name of reconciliation or new politics or Fara and Arada politics. When we heard such political baptizing, the rest of us the un-Zombies turn our heads hoping the epidemic of Zombification will just worn out soon. But, it seems there are individuals/groups who are engaged in such business of Zombification who took fun out of the slow paralysis that they induce in people who are not quite Zombies yet.

This disunity and hate among each other of us reminds me the 1988 of the mercenary Eritreans against nationalist Ethiopian army war in Afabet in Eritrea.  Gebru Tarekeng in his paper “from Afabet to Shire: the Defeat and Demise of Ethiopia’s Red Army 1988- 89; journal of modern Africa Studies Volume 42, 2, June 2004) said;  Quote:

“The heads of the 14th and 19thdivisions were so busy arguing that when head quarters warned them the rebels had been seen moving weapons around by Camel and ordered them to close off a 5 K.M gap between their forces, they ignored command. Lost in their hatred for one another, Ethiopia’s commanders virtually forgot to hate their enemy”

From there we know what happened. Entire divisions were being allowed to fall into separatist hands (remember the strongest of all the five Divisions the NADOW Division!). Not only the hate among each other that made the commanders virtually forgot to hate the enemy, but also the deliberate sabotaging the war effort by insiders who were able to infiltrate the army key positions did contributed to the fall of the might army of Africa, in similar way, as the Kil/AFD did mange to destroy the unity of the opposition inside and outside Ethiopia currently by derailed our attention away from focusing the enemy.  The unlearn lesson of the Afabet commanders and the struggle we lost would have been now a lesson for all of us. But, we seemed to forget why we lost all odds over and over. 

 

Ethiopia will prevail!

Published in: on January 28, 2008 at 9:25 pm  Comments (15)  

HELTER SKELTER, TOPSY TURVY

By Hama Tuma

The ones who suffer most are those who expect a smooth ride, some logic at least in the ways of the world, a little bit of fairness. Alas, the world we live in is not fair at all. The logic, if any, has defied all human cognition and the double standard is so benumbing that the wailing of the weak is unheard even by the victims themselves. 

Every other week, dozens of Ethiopians, Somalis and Eritreans drown in the shark infested Indian Ocean as they try to make their way to Yemen to seek asylum. Imagine Yemen being an Eldorado on the Red Sea! Yemeni soldiers, most probably high on Khat, shoot at the flimsy boats carrying the refugees as cruel traffickers throw women and children overboard before fleeing away. The sharks have a feast. Those who make it face the inhuman treatment of the Yemeni soldiers and police– women and young boys are often raped, most are robbed, beaten and in the end denied asylum. The UNHCR? Does the cow in heaven give us any milk? Contrast this sad state of affairs with the Italians from Naples/Napoli who sought asylum in Switzerland (and I bet you they will get it) because Naples is stinking to the skies as the garbage is not being collected due to the Camorra Mafia induced crisis impeding garbage collection. Ethiopians deal with such situations in their own way: the child whose mother is delayed at the market place cries as much as the child whose mother has died. Who said the world is fair? 

Take the violence in Kenya which is taking place in poor rural areas and in Kibera–like horrible slums in downtown Nairobi. Washington, which was silent when Meles Zenawi massacred Ethiopians in Addis Abeba following a rigged election result in June 2005, cried foul. What do the Kenyans have that Ethiopians don’t? If Ethiopia had oil like Equatorial Guinea and Chad we could have understood why the oil addicted White House would keep quiet in the face of gross human rights violations. Yes, we know Meles Zenawi is a foot soldier in the so called war against Terror but so is the Kenyan regime. So, why the criticism of Kibaki and the pat on the back for Meles Zenawi? Is the Tigrean alley cat just lucky? Be that as it may, we can safely say there are dictators and there are dictators. You just can’t say a cat is a cat in the dark no matter its colour. As the Ethiopian political scene is awash with accusations of “dictator, dictator” it is plain confusing. How does one tell one dictator from another and who is a dictator in the first place? Can there be two dictators in one place as some fools allege? Imagine Deby and Nguema in Chad coexisting, Bongo and Sassou hobnobbing in State House in  downtown Libreville, Mugabe sharing power with Kabila, Gelleh and Yusuf in Mogadishou, Meles and Beshir in Addis or Khartoum, Gadafi and Bouteflika in Tripoli. A wild circus, just crazy, not even virtually conceivable. Dictatorship is an exclusive business, it tolerates no other, Kibaki has not time for Meles and vice versa. At the end of the day, the ones who die in Kenya are poor Kikuys and Luos and not the fat cat Kibakis and Odingas. But this is not new either. The victims always do the dying, the killers thrive. It is not a fair world. Tell me another story please.  

In many Western countries dogs have been given the legal right to inherit their owners and to have legal assistance in case of need. Take an Ethiopian refugee in the horrible Libyan Desert detention center, facing deportation, and hoping for legal representation. In your dreams situation par excellence. Take a young Ethiopian girl trafficked to the Middle East and forced to endure racism and crude and cruel exploitation and hoping for legal representation like the dogs in the West. Time to wake up. Trafficked girls? What about duped and dumped soldiers? Armed Ethiopians in Somalia who are forced to see the corpses of their friends being dragged in dusty Mogadishu streets are a case in point. No one has told them why they are there, whose war they are fighting and who really are their enemies and what they have done against Ethiopia. We can call them abandoned children though they are armed adults and not the child soldiers of Fode Sankoh in Sierra Leone. Trafficked to die in Somalia for the cause of a foreign power. Helpless like their sisters in Beirut. Some of them try to flee to Yemen and meet the same fate as other hapless refugees. Is there any one out there who would adopt these poor souls? Helter skelter, topsy turvy, disaster galore. Where do we go from here? A self declared know it all and power crazed super power has messed up the whole of the so called Horn of Africa. Jealous Kenyans have joined in the fray and are rushing to destroy their country. Will they succeed like the Somalis to destroy the State and still survive? In other words, will Kenyans vindicate Karl Marx and prove that the State can wither away without heaven falling down on our miserable heads? A bold experiment, interesting but unfair to Kenyans who may have to bear the burden.  

A long time ago, the doyen of African literature, Chinua Achebe, lamented on the growth of the “cult of medicority”.  We have passed the time of the wild clowns (like Idi Amin and Bokassa) and entered the era of Clinton’s “young democrats” who have soured into vicious tyrants before even the American fellow got humiliated by the Monica scandal. The tyrants who prattle about democracy still rig elections and shoot to death those who dare to protest against the fraud. It was Meles Zenawi two years ago and it is Mwai Kibaki now and will be, perhaps, Mugabe next. Those in power are mediocre but worse still their opposition are, at times, even worse. Museveni has slid down into the mire but I will pick him any day if given the Joseph Kony choice. The rulers of Sierra Leone were bad but the rebels of Fode Sankoh were horrible. The MDC in Zimbabwe is a darling of the West and there is justified doubt on whether it will ever be an improvement on Mugabe. Idris Deby or Beshir? What the Ethiopian proverb says about a beauty contest between monkeys comes to mind. The faces are different and yet the same, the masks are not deceptive at all. The models are also flawed. The tyrants try to do a Bush on us but it fails pathetically. The grammatically challenged Texan declared victory, mission accomplished, in Iraq but is still bogged down there and sacrificing American lives and causing the massive death of Iraqis. Meles Zenawi imitated Bush and declared victory in Somalia and just two days ago dozens of his soldiers had to die there fighting the insurgents. What victory? Delusion and illusion allowed to come to the throne to champion mediocrity. Imitating a crude super power is becoming the favourite pastime of tin pot dictators from impoverished places. 

Helter skelter, topsy turvy. The whole election charade could very well be a result of addiction. Old habits die hard, don’t they, if at all. Everyone knows the elections will be rigged and/or the real results denied. Times have changed and stayed the same too. The old one party rule and 99.9% victory for the dictator is no more. Lip service is paid to multi party democracy, the election field is mined in favour of the dictators and if they still lose they unleash a brutal army to put people back in their horrible place. Why go through all this pain and bloodshed for a farce of an election that does not, in the end, saved the faces of those in power.  In the past, Africa’s problems were attributed to its wealth, the riches being coveted by greedy colonial powers. Nowadays, the apologists of the mess we see are telling us Africa is a burden on the West with no strategic significance at all. Forget the diamonds, the gold, and the coltan. Tantalum, the petrol, etc. If we are of no significance but only there to produce babies to be handed over to rich white actresses what the hell is going on in the Horn of Africa then? All talks of oil in Somalia and the Ogaden being an exaggerated claim why is America messing up the region just to search for three alleged Islamic barbudos? Why are Ethiopian troops in Somalia fighting a war that is clearly not their own? Why and how did 4 million Congolese die even as the West cried “genocide'” in Darfur? Much activity for an irrelevant” continent, no? 

To be fair, we should not expect benevolence and fairness from Washington–just consider the fact that, in 1981, the US vetoed the UN draft resolution that wanted to declare education, work, health care, proper nourishment and national development as human rights. And yet, millions of Americans themselves are below the poverty line, illiterate and with no medical insurance. It is unacceptable but consider the following facts and figures( from BS) to get things in perspective: 

1.       6 million children under the age of 5 die every year because of hunger.

2.       A child dies of starvation every 7 seconds according to the World Food Program. 80% of the world’s hungry children live in countries with food surpluses.

3.       Half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day.

4.       For $12 you can buy “SPRAY ON MUD” for your SUV. According to the company’s website, SPRAY ON MUD can give the impression “you’ve just come back from a day’s shooting, fishing, or visiting friends on a farm instead of dropping the kids off at the mall on your way to yoga class. The creator of SPRAY ON MUD reassures us that “people may want to look like they’ve been off road, but they certainly don’t want any chips or scratches on paint work.”

5.       1/3 of the world’s population is without electricity. If present trends continue, this figure will grow by 25% in the next 20 years.

6.       20 million people in the world who need a wheelchair for basic mobility do not have one.

7.       In 2003, British people spent more than $2 billion on candy.

8.       Of the 4.4 billion people in developing countries:

o        3/5 lack basic sanitation,

o        1/3 have no safe drinking water,

o        1/4 have inadequate housing,

o        1/5 are undernourished,

o        1/5 have no modern health services.

9.       The U.S. “defence” budget in 2005 was over $ 1 billion a day.

10.   113 million children in developing countries are without access to basic education. 60% are girls.

11.   Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding cost between $2 and 3$ million and Angerlina Jolie buys a man-made island in the Middle East for US$ 30 million while she reportedly paid a mere $10,000 to adopt an Ethiopian baby whose name she changed to Zahara.

12.   The richest countries are home to 20% of the world’s population who consume 86% of all resources.

13.   “75% of the world’s pollution comes from 25% of the world’s population.

14.   Globally the number 1 occupation for disabled people is begging.

15.   1.1 billion (1/6 of the world’s population) do not have clean water. 2.4 billion do not have adequate sanitation. 1 child dies every 15 seconds from water related disease, which amounts to nearly 6,000 deaths a day or the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing.

16.   $8 billion spent on cosmetics in the U.S. each year would provide clean water for the developing world.  

17.   It takes 11,000 liters of water to create 1 quarter-pounder hamburger.

18.   The amount of money spent on pet food in the U.S. and Europe each year equals the additional amount needed to provide basic food and health care for all the people in poor countries, with a sizeable amount left over.

19.   The amount of money spent on ice cream in Europe each year would be enough to ensure reproductive health for all women in developing countries per year.

20.   The U.S. has the highest rate of child poverty among the industrialized countries, with 1 in every 5 children growing up in poverty.

21.   $500,000: Amount the Iraq war costs per minute, according to a new analysis by a Nobel Prize winning economist at Harvard, who noted that the amount spent on the war each day could pay for health care for 423,529 children. (Time magazine, October 2007)

22.   About 650,000 Iraqi civilians (many of them women and children) have died (killed for oil) since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq (for oil) according to the Lancet medical journal.

23.   When U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney was CEO of oil field supply company Halliburton, he did almost $24 million in business with Saddam Hussein.

24.   In 2005, 37 million Americans lived in poverty,  25. 3% Native Americans,and Alaska Natives, 24.9% were blacks, 21.8% were Hispanics, 11.1% were Asians, and 8.3% were Whites.

25.   The production costs of an hour of “reality” TV programming is about $800,000.

26.   The 225 richest people in the world have a combined wealth of more than $1 trillion, equal to the annual income of the poorest 47% of the Earth’s population, some 2.5 billion people.

27.   $13 billion a year would satisfy the world’s sanitation and food needs (about as much as the people of the U.S. and European Union spend each year on perfume).

28.   Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney, makes $9,783 an hour compared with a Haitian worker who stitches Disney products for 28 cents an hour.

29.   Over their lifetime, 1 child born in the West will consume and pollute more than would 30 children born in developing countries.

30.   1/6 of the world’s population lives in squalid unhealthy areas mostly without water, sanitation, public services or legal security.

31.   A birthday party for former Tyco chief executive Dennis Kozlowski’s wife Karen, cost $2.2 million. It included an ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David that urinated Vodka.

32.   In the entire world, those living in extreme poverty (on less than $1 a day) rose from 271 million in 1996 to 313 million in 2002. That is an increase of 42 million in 6 years.

33.   The military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost the U.S. $ 400 billion in 3 years.

34.   Daily deaths around the world:

o        24,000 from hunger

o        6,000 children from diarrhea

o        2,700 children from measles

o        1,400 women in child birth

o        550 children from war

o        201 from drought 

35.   The 3 richest people in the world have assets that exceed the combined gross domestic product of the 48 least-developed countries.

36.   It would cost between $7 and 8 billion a year to provide primary education for everyone in the developing world. This amount represents 4 days of global military spending, and 50% of what the U.S. spends annually on children’s toys.

37.   The amount of money that the richest 1% of the world’s population makes each year equals what the poorest 57% make.

38.   100 million children in the world are estimated to be living or working on the streets and 1.2 million women and girls under 18 are trafficked for prostitution each year.

Surely, the same old story. After all, Al Capone the mafia boss and one time mayor of Chicago did say capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class. A cleaner Mayor, Ken Livingstone of London, said “world wide capitalism kills more people every day than Hitler did. And he was crazy.” Real socialism of the Stalinist mould, whose vestiges still make rulers in Korea, Ethiopia, China and other places swoon, was not any better either. For all the trumpeting, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the woman president of Liberia, has not really fared any better than Charles Taylor who is being judged in the Hague for crimes against humanity while Henry Kissinger, a war criminal, is being feted at Davos. Colour, of skin first and political next, of course matters even if the fans of Barack Obama are heard optimistically shouting “race does not matter”. The man who killed more than a million people, Suharto of Indonesia, was also given a State funeral. Who is the criminal and who was the victim? People with short memories have messed it all up, yesterday’s criminal can be feted as today’s hero without a pip of an apology or a mea culpa from them. The mess persists and spreads. No wonder many people are confused and mediocrity has ascended to the throne. 

Published in: on January 28, 2008 at 8:51 pm  Comments (41)  

Weekly News Round-Up (Amharic pdf)

Published in: on January 28, 2008 at 8:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Paltalk No.9 (Amharic pdf)

Published in: on January 27, 2008 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

12 Years Old Djiboutian Refugee Girl Sent to Adult Prison

Published in: on January 26, 2008 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bertukan Confirmed the inseparable marriage of the DrDoLittle Group with Woyane

Published in: on January 26, 2008 at 2:38 am  Leave a Comment  

BBC Group confirmed their inseparable marriage with Woyane (Amharic audio report)

Published in: on January 26, 2008 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment