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Friday, 19 August 2011

Why Eritrea is not begging for food?

By Tedla Asfaw

I hold Meles Zenawi’s regime accountable for the famine in Ethiopia. I argued on medias why our starved people are not covered on local as well as International medias like the coverage given to Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and Mogadishu, Somalia. Meles Zenawi is trying to blame this famine on Al Shabab and Isaias, seems he succeeded in that. The starvation victims are mostly Somali and Ethiopians, many children. From watching foreign medias,however, this is the starvation of Somalia not Ethiopia.

Al Shabab controlled areas starved people are flocking to Mogadishu for aid and Shabab is forced/retreat from Mogadishu and the starving people under its control are fleeing to save their children. Eritrea which is mentioned among the countries which need aid by USAID and aid agencies is put in the same category as Al Shabab. How absurd ?

Isaias is accused by food aid agencies and by State Department for blocking aid to his country. We have not seen starving Eritreans crossing to neighboring countries for food like many in Ethiopia did and went to Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. Ambassador Johnnie Carson should substantiate his accusation of Isaias denying food aid to his people. Mr. Carson at least should travel to neighboring countries bordering Eritrea and find out the starving Eritreans fleeing and Isaias security blocking them. Otherwise it is just joining the club of Meles Zenawi to condemn a regime who is not friendly to the West.There are many unfriendly nations which are feeding their people and why Eritrea is different unless there is another motive behind this, maybe orchestrating a regime change in Asmara ?

Isaias government self reliance if it is successful should be a lesson for Ethiopia that has been on food aid for almost two decades. It seems to me that the West are now accusing Eritrea for anything wrong in the Horn. Isaias can be accused like others in the Horn for being undemocratic but we never heard the West accusing Meles Zenawi for being undemocratic too. If you do not beg for food aid you should be commended not vilified.

If you take U2 singer Bono’s recent word from his appearance on CNN there is no starvation in Tigray, Ethiopia because of work done after the catastrophic draught of 1984-85, he wanted to emulate Meles Zenawi’s regime and do the same in Somalia. What Bono forget is Ethiopia is not only Tigray, we have more than five million people who need emergency food and he better asks Meles Zenawi why he failed to feed all Ethiopians after millions in food aid and money for the last two decades.

The truth of the matter why Tigray is not starved is because there is Safety Net, plenty of food donated by foreign agencies, under the control of government cadres.People in Tigray have to work in forestry and water conservation to get their food ration and small amount of money.If Isaias put such program without any outside help that is commendable and should all learn from Eritrea’s experience.

I can assure you that you can really find out which country is in business of begging among the countries led by “African breed “. Check out how much the ruler personal fortune is. The higher the wealth of the tyrant the worst the dictator and most likely the people, his subjects are looking for food aid. Eritrea and Isaias Afeworki might be on the bottom of this list.