by Joshua Lebenuski
The US state department undersecretary for political affairs Wendy Sherman in her recent visit to Addis Ababa praised the TPLF led government of Ethiopia in unequivocal terms calling it a ‘democracy’ and it is going to conduct an election that would be fair and free. It was such blunt opinion of the US high official that caught with surprised not only Ethiopians yearning for Democracy and justice in the nation but other western observers and free Medias with surprise since it does not reflect the facts on the ground. Among others Freedom House and the Washington Post Editorial Board has clearly stated that such statements is ‘irresponsible’ and unfounded given the number of Journalists, opposition parties and human rights activists jailed and tortured by the regime.
We Ethiopians has for a long time been calling for the international community to put pressure on the Ethiopian regime so as to change its behaviors and reform its policies and institutions that primarily designed to sustain the minority hegemony used as a means of amassing economic benefit and power to the selected few while the majority are left in darkness. It is nothing but the ill-conceived political and economic policies of the regime that has been in power for a quarter of a century that led so many Ethiopians leave the nation in millions and end up in destinations where they are inhumanly treated and fall under the sword of the devil’s disciples/ISIS,ISIL. Wendy Sherman failed to see this obvious reality and preferred to align with the beast at home calling it an ‘angel’. While it is unfortunate to have such a mistaken opinion of the regime we Ethiopians have come to realize one clear and obvious reason behind such decision.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt once called the Nicaraguan Dictator Anastasio Somoza Garcia ‘He may be a son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch’. The motivation for such statement emanates from the fact that the US administration of the time and the subsequent ones fully understood the brutal and repressive nature of Somoza’s regime and it was something the US people and government despise. However, Somoza was a strong man in Nicaragua who would enable communism contained in the western hemisphere and protect the political, economic and ideological interest of the US and the west. As we know this unholy alliance has helped Somoza to establish a dynasty that lasted half a century until his son who succeeded him was ultimately removed from power in 1979.
So, times change but behaviors remain. In the 21st century we are seeing a statement coming from the high official of the US praising and cherishing the repressive and brutal regime in Ethiopia a ‘democracy’ and more. What this tells us about the decision for such opinion and denial of reality is simple and obvious; some in the administration are telling us TPLF and the political elites in Ethiopia could be sons of bitches, but they are our sons of bitches since they are loyal dogs running behind the balls we throw before them. This is politics 101 understanding of the relationship that we see today between the administration and the TPLF regime in Addis Ababa. Such short sighted US policy decision of aligning with a repressive regime through financial aid and political support would only be expedient in the short run. A relationship that does not involve the needs and aspirations of the people but simply done with the political elite will not last long and history has shown us many examples.
The American unholy alliance with Mobutu of Zaire, Somoza of Nicaragua and so many more other repressive regimes are a testimony of this fact. It is only with real and genuine free and democratic regimes an American alliance would be viable and long lasting as in Western Europe and Far East. And this should be the guiding principle of any American administration, but deceiving oneself by calling an obvious devil angel of democracy and freedom is not only wrong but it is also hypocritical.
We Ethiopians are the one who live under the yoke imposed on us by the regime with no mercy. And we know with no shred of doubt what kind of regime we have and the untold human rights violations and abused done on a daily basis. Wendy Sherman can reflect whatever opinion she would like to for whatever reason. But the fact will always remain that the regime in Addis is a brutal and repressive machine that has thrown innocent politicians and journalists in its jails just to sustain its grip on power. Besides, the election of May 2015 is right here and we all know in the TPLF court election is a formality by which others are allowed to compete but not win. The regime the Undersecretary Praised as ‘Democratic’ shall be seen in just three short weeks’ time and if TPLF leaves power as democratic as she claimed it to be then I would say to myself ‘foot in the mouth’. Indeed, I would not mind that let just be a genuine election and a genuine outcome.