(The Washington Times) — The White House has announced President Obama will visit Ethiopia later this month. Mr. Obama’s office has been flooded with letters and faxes of deep concern from Ethiopian-Americans. Under normal circumstances, Ethiopians would rejoice at such a visit. Why the anguish?

U.S. and Ethiopian relations were established in 1903 by Ethiopia’s distinguished Emperor Menelik II and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, and they have continued uninterrupted since. America’s durable contribution to Ethiopia is the formation of its human capital and strong institutions. I am a beneficiary of the largest Peace Corps contingent in the world. America is the preferred destination of Ethiopians. They bring with them a rich culture, add value to the economy by establishing places of worship and small enterprises, including restaurants, and promote America’s values of justice, rule-of-law and democracy.

It is understandable that the United States would want to maintain strong ties with Ethiopia in the fight against terrorism in the Horn of Africa. It is not in America’s long-term interest to bankroll or legitimize a dictatorship that terrorizes its own people for demanding justice. In May, the ruling party ran against itself and won 100 percent of the parliamentary seats. It dominates faith institutions, finance and economy, natural resources, intelligence and security, and the military. Fear and corruption permeate society.

President Obama has a golden opportunity to send a strong message to Ethiopia’s rulers that future American aid will be conditional on the Ethiopian government’s commitment to fundamental freedoms, human rights, the rule of law and inclusive governance. Such a message will further strengthen America’s relations with the Ethiopian people and encourage all Africans to build democratic governance.

AKLOG BIRARA

President, Center for Inclusive Development (ABRAW)

Ashton, Md.

5 thoughts on “Obama’s chance to help Ethiopia

  1. It is only ignorant and imbecile that expect something good from the USA. USA of America is only for selfish individual and group interest. The USA is the country that labelled the icon of anti apartheid struggle Nelson Mandella as terrorist and prevent him from visiting the USA. The USA is the country that labelled Yasir Arafat as a terrorist. The USA is the coulntry in which man marries a man and women can marry a women against the biblical teaching which they are proud of bringing to Africa. The USA is the country that has strong ties with countries that have never seen democracy but ruled by kings, i.e Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirate, Ethiopia etc. So, forget about the USA and get organized and armed. Seek only the kingdom of politically, militarily and economically strong OLF, everything shall add unto you. I hate to read when people write their disappointment about the USA as if USA’s stand anti democratic stand is new in their history of foreign relation. The USA never believed in democracy but for individual, at most tiny group interest. Imagine, USA relation with Ethiopia started “the distinguished Emperor Menelik.” While Menelik killed 5 million Oromians, sold 3 million into slavery and destroyed the entire Oromian ecosystem, for the USA and Ethiopians, he was the distinguished Emperor. What a devilish is can this be?

  2. It is only ignorant and imbecile that expect something good from the USA. USA of America is only for selfish individual and group interest. The USA is the country that labelled the icon of anti apartheid struggle Nelson Mandella as terrorist and prevent him from visiting the USA. The USA is the country that labelled Yasir Arafat as a terrorist. The USA is the coulntry in which man marries a man and women can marry a women against the biblical teaching which they are proud of bringing to Africa. The USA is the country that has strong ties with countries that have never seen democracy but ruled by kings, i.e Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirate, Ethiopia etc. So, forget about the USA and get organized and armed. Seek only the kingdom of politically, militarily and economically strong OLF, everything shall add unto you. I hate to read when people write their disappointment about the USA as if USA’s stand anti democratic stand is new in their history of foreign relation. The USA never believed in democracy but for individual, at most tiny group interest. Imagine, USA relation with Ethiopia started “the distinguished Emperor Menelik.” While Menelik killed 5 million Oromians, sold 3 million into slavery and destroyed the entire Oromian ecosystem, for the USA and Ethiopians, he was the distinguished Emperor. What a devilish is can this be? Another Ethiopian devil, Emperor Hailesellassie, who was strongly backed by the USA was overthrown by popular revolt. Another devil Emperor, Mangistu Haile Marian, dierectly financed by Russia was indirectly financed by the USA was overthrown by colonized people’s resistance movement. Since the start of USA relation with Ethiopia during Menelik in 1903 to date, the uSA has been financing and promoting brutal, cannibalistic and genocidal colonial regimes in Ethiopia. These the fact that we should look at when we talk USA stand on democracy and human rights. The USA never ever stood for democracy but as people pick and use their umbrella from where they hang it when it only rains, the USA used democracy and human right only to promote its individual and tiny group interest in the USA. The USA has no history of working fro democracy and human right from principle and conviction. This is the fact that we have to look in the face. Instead of expecting dove from the eggs of snakes do your own home work of getting organized and arming your self to fight to death or survive. The USA never stop from digging the grave yard of our ancestors and build its business on it.

  3. Mr Obama is shall do good for Ethiopia and Africa if he meets the leaders of MEDREK, Dr. Marara Gudina and Dr. Beyene Petros.
    Practically, they are the only authentic defenders of human rights and democracy in in Ethiopia. Obama should not lose this opportunity for his own personal legacy vis-à-vis African socio-political progress.

    If he shall not meet the opposition party, his visit would be seen as a USA venture on an open market in a bid to buy woyane mercenaries for their fight against Al-Qaida in Somalia. Nothing more.

    At the same time this would be seen as a godsend bonanza by the anti-imperialist Somali insurgents, for it undoubtedly attracts massively the international Jihadists in their favor. In the process Al-Shabab and Woyane shall prosper at the cost of Oromo and Somali people’s suffering.
    Woyane will see the opportunity to get more billions of financial flow and encouragement from the US to drive-off oromo farmers from their land and continue massacring their children.

    Conclusion: Obama’s hand shake with Woyane means abundant wealth for both Al-Shabab and Woyane.

  4. You people, don’t wait good things from USA, unless you are mafia group. America is every place where is income or where the gangs are leading the nation by the system of divided and rule. Looking Indians in America, I think, it is shame on Ethiopians, particularly on Oromo educated persons to wait helping from American foreign policy to democratize Ethiopia or to make free Oromo people.

  5. I don’t think it matter most if President Obama meets opposition leaders, human right activists or even political prisoners. They will have a chance to meet with him and explain to him how the election was undemocratic, the brutality of the regime and all that jazz. Doesn’t he know that? I believe he does.

    Regardless of all that jazz, I wish he sides with the Ethiopian people and stop USA being cheated and used by the regime in Addis as a cash cow in the name of fighting terrorism in the region. That will matter most to all peoples in the region and American tax payers.

    Woyanes/TPLF tell lies about peace and terrorism in the region. As as been told repeatedly, President Obama’s own advisers side with the regime and may never have told him the truth in the first place. They are more loyal to woyanes/TPLF than to the president himself.

    That being the situation and the truth, the President can neither civilize nor democratize those bunches. As it is understood, the primary objective of his visit is to discuss the increasing threat coming from Al Shabab and how to keep USA’s regional interest intact at the expense of countries and peoples in the region. At the end, it is our people who will be left with their perpetual problems. The release of a few journalists and keeping thousands others in jail is a clear message to all of us that the president can do nothing about it. If there is one, we shall wait and see.

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