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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Bob Geldoff defending the looters of food aid ?

Tedla Asfaw

I met Bob Geldoff in Belgium, Ghent,  in 1986-87 by accident in conference as a young student and was excited to see him after the live aid he organized saved the lives of the famine of 1984-85 victims in northern Ethiopia of Tigray.This young man was my hero and many Ethiopians do believe like that. However, Ethiopia after twenty five years of the great famine is still on food aid, wide famine has been averted only because of food aid by USA and the west for TPLF since it has been in power in 1991. The hundred millions of dollars food aid "fruit" is also visible buying wealth for  TPLF millionaires.

The current rulers of Ethiopia, TPLF, which Bob Geldoff know them personally are millionaires using looted  money from food aid. BBC documentary by Martin Plaut, March 3. 2010, exposed, though late, how aid money was used to buy weapons which many Ethiopians have been aware thanks to one of the person in the documentary, Gebre Medhin Araya, TPLF fighter then. The scheme of deception and looting  has been the trade mark of TPLF since that deadly famine. An experience that is only getting sophisticated year to year after TPLF has controlled power for almost two decades.

What Matin Plaut did is telling  the world community what he found in his one year investigation, no wonder, the thieves and those who were cheated, the aid agencies, are crying foul. I wish Bob Geldoff has not declined the invitation for the documentary. However, Bob Geldoff  defending the looters and accusing BBC for the story and accusing the former TPLF fighters who are our heroes as disgruntled people is to be fooled once more and we totally reject it.

Let me tell you one thing Mr. Geldoff. The aid money that went through, Relief Society of Tigray( REST) is now under Endowment Fund For Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) that controls ninety percent of wealth in Ethiopia. This is a fact and the source of the wealth is foreign food aid which you yourself and other aid agencies handed to REST/TPLF in Khartoum for which Gebre Medhin Araya was a witness, TPLF treasurer.

Mr. Geldoff, whatever is exposed now can not be washed away as a case of  few disgruntled individuals including Aregawi Berhe former TPLF commander, trying to score points. The fruit of the loot is open for all to see.  As I said last year on the twenty fifth anniversary of the famine on my piece, "Millionaires were born out of Ethiopia's famine" Oct. 25, 2009. Now as BBC reported it was also used to buy weapons. Stop the cover up Mr. Geldoff, and I urge you to distance yourself from Meles Zenawi and other looters who are busy now selling Ethiopian land for fast cash in open market.

The diaspora community will rally against Meles Zenawi and call for him to step down representing Africa in global environmental conference. A man who supervised the sale of "Sand for Money" is responsible for the loss of  thousand of  lives and can not be a spokesperson for planet earth. My hero, Bob Geldoff defending such a man is an insult to all Ethiopians, the victims of that famine and those of us who are still alive !!!!