Good Morning friend,
Nice to meet you yesterday at the reception in Manhattan. Your expertise in environment is overlapping to my interest as well. I am actively involved in the Diaspora Ethiopian community which is growing in U.S.A and in areas like Washington D.C. is estimated to be more than half million and here in NY Metropolitan area we do not have accurate figure but it might be close to twenty thousands. As you know politics and environment are inseparable. The voice of our people back home can only be heard by those who are free to express it and unfortunately our people are voiceless like the planet Earth.
My back ground is Ag. Engineering, working in soil and water management for five years in the world driest and difficult terrain in Awash Valley of Ethiopia. This is the the home of Lucy/Denkinish and the area of great interest for paleontologists and geologists alike. An active volcano is an attraction also for tourists and recent studies show that there is a new ocean born in that part of Ethiopia.
Knowing this part of Ethiopia what I care most is for the Afar people who have lead a nomadic life for thousands of years. Their livelihood is now threatened by the current government and foreign landlords who are planting sugarcane for bio fuel. Upstream where the Awash River forms a lake, Koka , it has turned green because of chemicals dumped to the rivers and streams, mostly from government owned leather factories and cash cropping flower farms grown using fertilizers.
After I saw a documentary from Al Jazerra English, I wrote a piece "Koka Turns Green" which is posted on many Ethiopian websites. You can go to www.addisvoice.com and check my AV blog on the left side. I wrote few pieces related with environment and current political situation in Ethiopia.
Recently on the World Talk Radio program I challenged an American professor from NJ who acted as sales man for Ethiopia," a land of investment" disregarding the big issue of land in Ethiopia which is controlled by the government. Land is now sold/leased to Saudi Arabia, India, China and many poor farmers are displaced to hand over land on a long lease agreement up to ninety years for foreigners with cash, stimulating tyranny on the way.
The rural agriculture which supports more than eighty percent of our people is threatened by conglomerates in collusion with unelected, tyrannical government of Ethiopia which has USA's full support as an ally on "terror" and China which is looking for land and resources to satisfy its appetite wherever it gets.
It is sad the West is supporting a regime that ruled people by force,currently up to 14 millions of them on food aid, out of which six millions would die if donations is not coming on time. Paradoxically, the previous communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam was accused for the famine of 1984 while the current rulers are rewarded for just doing the same.
The voice of our people, Ethiopian diaspora, are organizing a demo at Copenhagen, Denmark next month on the climate conference to denounce the presence of Meles Zenawi representing Africa where his record should have put him out of business in a democratic country.
We call all who care for mother Earth to show sympathy and care for fellow human being too. Westerners have ignored our call for transparency and accountability highlighting the human right and environmental record to no avail, but we will keep just doing that. Ethiopians from all over Europe will demand once again to recognize Ethiopia as a failed country in human and environmental measurement, and the person who is responsible for that Meles Zenawi should not be allowed to get a platform as a responsible person on world stage.
Ethiopia has been a disaster under Meles Zenawi for the last nineteen years and it is time to stand with our people as we are trying to stand with mother Earth. After all Earth without people is not Earth to care for.