South African Minister Pandor Speaks ”Truth to Power” in U.S.

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Grace Naledi Pandor

March 30, 2024

South Africa is under attack by the self-proclaimed international rules-based order, which is another name for the Anglo-American establishment. Naledi Pandor, who is the equivalent of the Foreign Minister for South Africa, in her visit to the United States, is challenging their geopolitical doctrine that erroneously views the world as a zero-sum game composed of only victors and victims.

South Africa is being assaulted in the United States Congress for its right to conduct its sovereign foreign policy with other nations. Congressman John James (R-MI) has spearheaded the passage of legislation H.R. 7256  through the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which alleges that South Africa is a threat to the national security of the U.S.

H.R. 7256  Section 3, sense of the Congress (1)

that the ANC’s foreign policy actions have long ceased to reflect the stated stance of nonalignment, and now directly favor that PRC, the Russian Federation, and Hamas, a known proxy of Iran, and therefore undermines the United States national security and foreign policy interest.

The mis-named U.S.-South Africa Bilateral Relations Review Act, with bipartisan support has passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and can now advance to a full vote of  to the House of Representatives.

According to this nefarious legislation, South Africa’s alleged “offences” include:

  • Courageously bringing to the United Nations International Court of Justice, the genocidal behavior by the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamim Netanyahu against the Palestinian people of Gaza.
  • Remaining in continuous dialogue with nations of the so called axis of evil; Russia, China, and Iran.
  • For participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • For being a leader of the Global South and Non-Aligned Movement that provides an alternative to the diseased ideology of zero-sum geopolitics. .

In a March 21, press release from his office, Cong James writes: “South African officials have made a miscalculation by aligning themselves with Russia and China. It is in our national security interests for the United States to review our relationships with nations that may not share our values and align themselves with such actors.

This disgraceful piece of legislation, which attacks Minister Pandor personally, reflects the animus towards a nation that does not accept the absolute authority of the “rules-based order.” South Africa is being targeted by the United States, not for any single action it has taken, but because South Africa will not submit to the dictates of the Western political-financial elite.  South Africa, other African nations and those of the Global South will rightly understand this legislation as a full scale violation of South Africa’s sovereignty.

Minister Pandor, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC, March 19, 2024

Speaking Truth to Power

Into this environment, Minister Pandor challenged the precepts of geopolitical thinking in Washington, displaying courage, morality, diplomatic adeptness, all with a quality of grace and dignity, rarely seen in the U.S. Capital.

On March 19, I had the privilege of observing Minister Pandor in her discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and afterwards at an inter-faith dialogue at the South African embassy on ending the war in Gaza.

The event at Carnegie entitled: Are South Africa-U.S. Relations at a Turning Point? A Conversation With Naledi Pandor, was conducted by Dan Baer, Carnegie’s senior vice president for policy research. Baer’s argumentative attitude reflecting the prejudices of Washington, was constantly challenged by Minister Pandor, as can be seen from the partial transcript that follows.

Baer began by asking Min. Pandor to rate American political leadership. She responded, shockingly: I rate it at 6 for executive and below that for the legislature…. I’m not sure the legislators have an understanding of South Africa…. I think they make conclusions about South Africa’s international relations, without necessarily speaking to us. And this is very troubling…. If I were to make a statement about their policy, I would at least speak to us first, and attempt to understand, the cause, if any, might be of an emerging dissonance.

Regarding the United Nations, Min. Pandor said: I think we need to look at the composition and the functioning, and the capacity associated with having a Security Council. I think we should have African presence as permanent members…. I also think East Asia should have a presence. I think India being so big and not being a part of the permanent members is an odd reality….

Continuing on the UN, she said: we don’t need more multilateral bodies to replace the United Nations, but the UN needs to be reformed to be more than a monitoring body…. We need to consider the [UN] capacity for peace enforcement. We have to find a way of protecting innocent people when there’s a conflict.

Minister Pandor participating in an interfaith dialogue (South African Embassy, March 19) with representatives from Jewish, Christian and Muslim organizations opposed to Israeli’s war in Gaza.

Baer asserted that: the BRICS invited six new members, four of which are authoritarian regimes.

Pandor stood her ground, responding: Who makes these judgments? This assessment that you’re making…

Baer interrupted her, saying: You would challenge the premise that Iran, for example, is an authoritarian regime?

Min. Pandor: Is it your role to make that judgment?

Baer replied: I don’t think it’s me, uh, saying that. It’s widely regarded by most people….

Min. Pandor: I don’t know if they are an authoritarian regime. I do know that—

Baer interrupted: The minister of South Africa does not know if the regime in Iran is authoritarian?

Min. Pandor: I don’t have that definition in my logbook. I do have a concern about women, and their rights in Iran, and this is something I have discussed with the government of Iran, particularly my colleague, the foreign minister…. And to use our [South Africa’s] earned democratic success to say this actually works … because if we stop talking with everybody, because we define them in a particular way, I think that the models we have adopted would not have any meaning…. We use our post-apartheid progress as a way of exemplifying for others that we think this is a good practice to adopt.

Baer: It’s difficult to make the argument that South Africa’s example is available to people in Iran or China, or in Saudi Arabia….”

Min. Pandor: We’re not a perfect democracy by any means…. We have huge problems of poverty … which derive from our history … which we have not been able to fully address as an emerging democracy. But I do believe that there is a strength in being able to speak with everyone, because if you close off, I don’t think you achieve anything.

International Court of Justice (Courtesy of Al Jazeera)

The discussion was contentious again when Baer criticized South Africa for bringing the charge of Israeli genocide against Palestinians living in Gaza, to the International Court of Justice, and not against Russia for the war in Ukraine.

Baer: What did South Africa intend to accomplish by bringing its case to the ICJ on Gaza? And how does South Africa square that with abstaining on UN resolutions with respect to Russia’s aggression to Ukraine? You compellingly spoke of the need for the UN to respond to the killing of innocent civilians, and certainly that’s happening in Ukraine. How does South Africa see connecting those two positions?

Min. Pandor: On Gaza, and what we hope to accomplish, the first thing is to stop the killing of innocent Palestinians, and what we’ve seen, what each of us watches every day, surely makes us horrified about ourselves, and our inability to stop that. So, we hoped that through the ICJ, through respect for it…as one of the international law institutions that through the provisional measures … would reduce the harm…. We knew that we may not stop the conflict in its entirety, but if we could reduce harm to the civilian population and get humanitarian aid in, we would be happy.

Min. Pandor: Provisional measures have been ignored by Israel, we’re seeing mass starvation now, and famine before our very eyes…. I think as humanity we need to look at ourselves in horror…. Speaking of Israel’s defiance to adhere to any law… there’s license, I can do what I want, and not be stopped…. The minute you allow something like this, then what you’re doing is setting in play a form of practice that will be very difficult to challenge in the future. We went to the ICJ, because we have always been told by those who know democracy better than us, that we must respect human rights, that we should respect UN institutions, that we should practice democracy, that we should end conflict in Africa. And so, we were merely practicing what is preached to us every day….

Min. Pandor: It behooves us to say, how do we find a better way…. It’s made more difficult by the most powerful countries in the world, because the impression that’s created is that it’s the weak who must respect, the weak should implement and the powerful can do what they want.

Min. Pandor: How do the powerful contribute to the greater good? What role is being played to ensure all of us hold up the highest standard? We’re the country that remains talking every week to both [Russia and Ukraine]. That’s saying we’ve got to get you in the same room. We participated in all the working groups, on the peace plan of President Zelenskyy. And we’ve now said, we think there has to be a meeting with Russia….

Talking of South Africa’s aspirations for the continent, Min. Pandor said: So, we do try to be good. But we don’t get it right all the time. … I believe we’re making an effort. And for us, the first prize would be in Africa to silence the guns, focus on development, industrialization, productive capacity, and achieving a livelihood for the majority of Africans, that places us in a different space of development. That is first prize, and first concern for us.

I completely concur with Minister Pandor: development, industrialization, and improving the livelihood of Africans is the first prize!

In the videos below, once can view Minister Pandor’s articulation of South Africa’s policy.

Read my earlier posts:

South African Minister Pandor Articulates Principles of Development for Africa

Int’l Court of Justice Rules Genocide Plausible: Netanyahu & Biden Losing Support

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is a teacher, writer, public speaker, and consultant on Africa. Mr. Freeman strongly believes that economic development is an essential human right. He is also the creator of the blog:  lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

U.S. Has No Right Under International Law To Violate Ethiopia’s Sovereignty With HR6600 & S-3199

Addis Media Network- English

March 29, 2022

The video above and the news story below are from an interview with Lawrence Freeman by Ethiopian News Agency on March 24, 2022.

The U.S. Congress is advocating resolutions that would dictate policy to Ethiopia, violating its sovereignty: HR6600 in the House of Representatives; and S-3199 in the Senate. The geo-political establishment is not done with Ethiopia and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. They will hound the Ethiopia over allegations of human rights abuses, rule of low, charges of genocide and ethnic cleansing in an effort to force the government to submit. Ethiopia has demonstrated its enormous potential, typified by the GERD and the Addis-Djibouti railroad. If the U.S. government was more intelligent and not under the grip of geopolitics, it would be supporting Ethiopia’s progress.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

Pres Biden Must End Destructive U.S. Policy Towards Ethiopia

Ethiopia has been the linchpin of stability and a leader of economic growth in East Africa

Lawrence Freeman, October 31, 2021

In the wake of the recent coup in Sudan, it is imperative that President Biden act to prevent any further deterioration of conditions in the Horn of Africa. Thus far, in the first ten months of the Biden administration, the United States has pursued a destructive policy towards Ethiopia, which threatens to cause more suffering and death. Now is the time, before it is too late, for the U.S. to reverse course by supporting the elected government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is attempting to preserve the integrity of Ethiopia.

Sudan is now in upheaval with the military wing of the ill-fated coalition seizing control of the transitional government. For those of us who know Sudan well, not only was this predictable, but one should expect more instability in this poor nation of forty-five million people. This demonstrates how fragile conditions are in this region of Africa. After twenty years of mis-guided policy the U.S. has lost much, if not all of its influence in Sudan. It is now in the process of turning its oldest and at one time, its strongest ally, Ethiopia, into a new enemy, contrary to the wishes of Ethiopians. For decades Ethiopia has been the cornerstone for security in an often unstable Horn of Africa. Is Biden willing to jettison this strategic relationship?

If the Biden administration had supported the Ethiopian government, instead of issuing sanctions and threatening more, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) instigated conflict would have withered months ago. Overt attacks by the U.S. government against Ethiopia, providing tacit support to the TPLF, not only encourages the TPLF to continue their efforts to overthrow the government in Addis, but encourages other rebel groups to do the same.

Those who are screaming the loudest to end this conflict by attempting to  bludgeon Prime Minister Abiy into accepting the demands of the insurrectionists, are in fact prolonging the war.

The deceptive and dangerous narrative propagated by Western nations and media, refuse to recognize the necessity of defending the lawful Ethiopian nation-state. Attempting to frame this almost one year old conflict in ethnic terms is specious and designed to undermine the fabric that holds the nation together. Let President Biden be warned: should he continue to listen to foolish advisors, who are parroting those “humanitarian-imperialists” calling for further intervention against the Ethiopian nation-state, than he will be remembered in infamy for the needless bloodshed he brought upon tens of millions of Africans.

Will President Biden discard the strongest ally of the U.S. in the Horn of Africa?

Truth Versus False Narrative

  • The conflict in Ethiopia is not between “two warring parties” or “ethnicities” as many ignorant Western governments and media have repeatedly regurgitated. The government, headed by Prime Minister Abiy, who was duly elected, is attempting, with no support from the U.S., to safeguard the lives of over 110 million Ethiopian citizens. The TPLF rebelled against the government by attacking the Ethiopian National Defense Force, the military arm of the Federal government. The TPLF  has declared its intention to march on Addis Ababa, the capital, to overthrow the government. That makes those leaders of the TPLF, not the Tigrayan people, an enemy of the state.
  • The people of Tigray, led by the TPLF, by adopting the 1995 Ethiopian Federal Constitution, willingly joined the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, thereby accepting the central government in Addis. To reject the Union, which they voluntarily entered, by holding separate elections and declaring war against the Federal government, is a violation of the law, and a threat to the entire nation.
  • Individual states are not equivalent in law or governance to the Federal government. This lesson was hard fought by the U.S. from the inception of the U.S. Constitution, through the 1800s with the movement of “nullifiers”, who renounced the power of the Federal government. This ultimately led to the Civil War, a war to save the Union, which lasted four years and cost the lives of approximately 750,000 Americans.
  • The pervasive inundation of a narrative by the West that intentionally obscures the life and death battle to prevent the Ethiopian nation from being torn apart, is itself contributing to the prolonged conflict and loss of life.

U.S. Targets Ethiopian Government

Neither the Biden administration or the U.S. Congress have shown any respect for the sovereignty of Ethiopia, nor deviated from the narrative that the conflict in Ethiopia is between warring parties and opposing belligerent ethnicities. The House Foreign Relations Committee has passed and sent to the full House of Representatives for a vote, House Resolution 445 (H. Res. 445), amended by Congresswoman Bass upon her return from Ethiopia in September. While this resolution has no legal force, it demonstrates the desire by thoughtless members of the U.S. Congress to continue to mis-characterize the conflict in Ethiopia. It reeks with Western arrogance and disdain for the rights of Ethiopia as a sovereign nation.

The resolution demands that the government cease hostilities and reconcile with the TPLF. This intentionally overlooks the fact that the conflict, which has and continues to cause massive suffering among the Ethiopian people, was instigated by the TPLF’s attack on the Ethiopian government’s military, posted in Mekelle, Tigray. Not only is the source of Ethiopia’s humanitarian crisis ignored, but the armed rebels responsible for the attack on a federal military installation are treated with equivalency to a lawful government of a sovereign nation.

U.S. sanctions, supported by the Congress, are intended to punish Ethiopia, exposing the underlying belief by U.S. officials, who beleive Ethiopia is responsible for this protracted conflict.

Conspicuously missing from this ten page document is even the slightest recognition of the June national election that democratically chose Abiy Ahmed as their leader. The peaceful election did happen, and almost forty million Ethiopians actually stood in line to vote. Yet the resolution contemptuously urges Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, and Samantha Power, Administrator of USAID to “promote democracy in Ethiopia.”

Stoking the flames of ethnic warfare, Western analysts have made deceitful comparisons of Ethiopia to the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia, where NATO and the U.S. forces militarily intervened, and to Rwanda prior to the 1994 genocide.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.

U.S. congress ignores successful June 21, 2021 Ethiopian national elections

Can War Be Just?

War by its very nature is an abuse of human rights and a humanitarian disaster for humankind. Killing a fellow human being, terminating the life of one of the Creator’s children, is always a grave wrong, that must be avoided at all costs. Those living in conflict zones suffer greatly, as a result of shortages of food, medicine, and the basic necessities of life. As one American General put it: war is hell. Therefore, those responsible for initiating armed conflict should be held fully accountable for their heinous actions.

St. Augustine, the fourth century Christian theologian thought that war was always a sin, but a “just war” can be fought if its intention is to bring about peace. Augustine lived before the existence of the nation-state was realized, thus did not specifically address the nature of this present conflict.

We can say with the authority of reason and moral certitude that combat emanating from ethnicity is not a just war. Armed conflict between sisters and brothers, fighting each other for ethnic territorial control or political dominance can never be justified. However, how can we not contemplate that a war to stop the destruction of the nation-state, has justification?

Will The U.S. Support Egypt’s Violation Of Ethiopia’s Sovereign Right to Operate The GERD?

Countries of the Nile River Basin-World Bank (Courtesy of researchgate.net)

Will The U.S. Support Egypt’s Violation Of Ethiopia’s Sovereign Right to Operate The GERD?

Lawrence Freeman

June 5, 2021

Is the United States’ continued escalation of hostile policy towards Ethiopia preparing the groundwork to support Egypt’s “colonial rights” over the Nile River? As the White House and Congress threaten more sanctions against Ethiopia, their sovereign right to generate electricity for its people through the operation of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) is being linked to the conflict in Tigray. Is the Biden administration and the Democrat controlled Congress ominously following in the footsteps of President Trump, who shockingly gave a “green light” for Egypt to bomb the GERD? This would be a grave mistake, with more disastrous consequences than the Obama’s administration’s bombing of Libya and overthrowing President Kaddafi. While U.S. foreign policy in the region is aligning itself more closely to Egypt, it continues to undermine Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s sovereign authority to prevent the Balkanization of his nation.

Sanctions Are Not For Allies

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s still unproven, but often repeated March 30th allegation of ethnic cleansing by the Ethiopia government in Tigray, has provided the impetus for the crescendo of group-think Congressional voices to attack Ethiopia, America’s foremost ally in the Horn of Africa. On May 23rd, Blinken intensified U.S. aggression towards Ethiopia by:

  • Issuing sanctions.
  • Cutting off funds for security and economic growth.
  • Pressuring multi-lateral institutions to cease funding programs in Ethiopia.
  • altering U.S.-Ethiopia defense accords, which have been essential in the war against terrorism and providing security for East Africa.

(Read: New U.S. Hostilities Against Ethiopia Threatens Horn of Africa)

Addis Ababa February 5/2021 (ENA) Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed held phone conversation with United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Thursday.

Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives support Secretary Blinken’s sanctions against Ethiopia. Sanctions are a very poor and crude tool for conducting foreign policy, and I have opposed their implementation except in the most unique cases. However, it is unheard of to apply sanctions against a long-standing ally, and it is utterly counterproductive. The government of Prime Minister Abiy should be supported in defeating the insurrectionists, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This is contrary to calls from the U.S and United Kingdom for a cease fire and reconciliation between the Ethiopian National defense Forces (ENDF) and the TPLF.

TPLF, not the Tigrayan community, is intent on tearing apart Ethiopia, and weakening the government of Prime Minister Abiy.  Ethiopia’s future existence as a sovereign nation-state depends on quelling this insurrection.

Pause for a moment, think, then ask yourself; how did President Lincoln personally conduct the war against the southern rebels? He summarily shunned all calls for peace and reconciliation, until the anti-Union, insurrectionist movement was defeated.

The Biden administration and the U.S. Congress are contributing to the potential dismemberment of the most vital nation in East Africa by sanctioning, threatening, and punishing the government of Prime Minister Abiy.  If these officials, actually had any knowledge of the dynamic of ethno-nationalism in Ethiopia, they might come to realize that their actions could encourage more ethnic regions to attempt separation from the nation of Ethiopia.

Senate Recklessness Led by Bob Menendez

A new level of belligerence towards Ethiopia was on display at the May 26th,  Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the conflict in Tigray.  It is interesting to note that all but one of the speeches and accusations against Ethiopia were uttered by liberal Democrats. Ranking Member, Frank Risch, was the only Republican to join the anti-Ethiopian crusade.

Chairmen Bob Menendez referenced Secretary Blinken’s allegations of ethnic cleansing and other alleged crimes by the Ethiopian government. He demanded that Ambassador Godec, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, who was testifying, provide the proof that Ethiopia has “committed war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Tigray. Appallingly, the other Democrats on the committee followed Menendez in lock-step, demanding “action now” against Ethiopia.

Senator Bob Menendez (D. NJ) Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Courtesy foreign.senate.gov)

Sarah Charles, testifying from USAID Humanitarian Assistance, further inflamed the hearings by projecting that Ethiopia will experience another “man-made famine,” reminiscent of 1985, if actions are not taken immediately. The potential for a new famine became the mantra of the senators at the hearing.

Allegations of hunger, and atrocities committed during the conflict must be fully investigated.  However, to compare the current situation in Tigray to the famine of 1983-1985 that caused over one million deaths in Ethiopia, is contemptible. That famine was exacerbated by the destructive policies of Mengistu Halle Mariam, leader of the fascist-Marxist Derg. Likely unbeknownst to the uninformed senators, Mengistu, from 1976-1978  launched the “Red Terror,” murdering over half a million Ethiopians, in a genocide against his own people. To equate the famine of 1983-1985 and Mengistu’s policies to Ethiopia today and Prime Minister Abiy, is beyond reprehensible.

Senator Menendez opened the hearing by claiming that the conflict in Tigray echoes what happened in Darfur, Sudan. I travelled to Sudan many times from 1996 to 2012, including two tours of Darfur. Between that and my own extensive research, I am very familiar with Sudan and its history.  I can assert unequivocally that there is no resemblance between Darfur, Sudan, and Tigray, Ethiopia.

Tragically, the behavior by the U.S. Congress, is shameful and reflects an acute superficiality in understanding the complex history of Ethiopia.

Overturn Geo-Political Thinking

While the U.S., led by Secretary Blinken, is reversing decades of friendship between Ethiopia and America, and endangering the Horn of Africa, the Biden administration is enhancing its rapport with Egypt.

On May 26th, while the Senate was ratcheting up the pressure on Ethiopia, Secretary Blinken was in Cairo conveying:

“President Biden’s appreciation to President Sisi for Egypt’s critical mediation efforts in support of a cease fire between Israel and Hamas…”

“The Secretary affirmed the strong strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt, and President Biden’s commitment to this relationship.  He reiterated the United States’ commitment to Egypt’s water security and to the urgent resumption of substantive and results oriented negotiations under the leadership of the African Union to resolve the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).”

The sovereign right of Ethiopia to fill and operate the GERD for the general welfare of its citizens has become linked to the conditions in Tigray.

Democrat Senator Mendez, at the hearing ostensibly on Tigray, made the same veiled threat on the GERD as President Trump, who infamously suggested that Egypt might try to blow-up the GERD. Mendez blurted out, that Egypt has told him more than once, “if the GERD issue is not dealt with in a way that assures their water needs…they will do what is necessary…They have red lines…”

Ethiopia and its seven neighboring countries

On May 27, Egyptian President Sisi, traveled to Djibouti, whose port provides access to the Gulf of Eden and Indian Ocean for its neighbor and major trading partner, Ethiopia. This was the first visit ever of an Egyptian head of state to Djibouti. According to African Intelligence, the two leaders discussed new security relations between their nations. African Intelligence further reports that Egypt’s defense minister and army chief of staff, who also visited Djibouti, “would like to see the creation of an Egyptian base in Djibouti not far from the Ethiopian border.”

At his news conference in Djibouti, President Sisi said:

“I stressed Egypt’s rejection of any attempt to impose a fait accompli through unilateral measures that disregard the interests and rights of the two downstream countries.”  

Egypt has made repeated military threats against Ethiopia, has formed a military alliance with Sudan, and last month, carried out joint military exercises with Sudan labeled “Guardians of the Nile”.

Since Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. aid next to Israel,  it would not be difficult for the U.S. to convince Egypt to stand down.

According to a knowledgeable expert on the region, the Biden administration is preparing to relocate the hub of its anti-terrorism  deployment in the Horn of Africa, from Ethiopia to Kenya.  The U.S. is trying to persuade Gulf nations, who support Ethiopia, to leverage their relationship in an effort to pressure Ethiopia to abandon its commitment to the GERD.

President Biden may or may not be aware of the implications of his decision to undermine Prime Minister Abiy’s government and support Egypt in their brinkmanship with Ethiopia regarding the GERD. His administration, filled with personnel from the Obama and Clinton presidencies, is following the same warped geo-political doctrine of his predecessors. Rather than responding to the fixed contours of the contentiousness surrounding the GERD, a true statesman would desire to shift the discussion to a higher level of potential resolution. Instead, the U.S., dominated by geo-politics, is fixated on seeking partners, who serve their narrow immediate interests, such as Egypt’s role in mitigating the Israel-Palestine crisis.

In fact, there is no danger of Ethiopia depriving downstream nations (Egypt and Sudan) of water for their people.  This was admitted by Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry himself: Egypt Foreign Minister Says Water Safe Despite Ethiopian Dam Threat.

The GERD will actually help both Egypt and Sudan by regulating the Nile, preventing deadly floods, reducing evaporation, and providing a water bank to draw on in emergencies. However, the GERD is not even the fundamental cause of Egypt’s water problem, as Yaniv Cohen explains: Egypt has a water problem and it’s not only the GERD

 

Eskom’s Koeberg nuclear power station today turned on its temporary mobile groundwater desalination plant, which will ease the pressure on the City of Cape Town’s water supply. Courtesy esi-africa.com)

The real issue concerning the Nile River is strategic; the Nile does not have enough water to provide for the hundreds of millions of Africans living in the nations of the Nile Basin.

For the economic growth and well being of the nations of the Nile Basin, more water is needed than the Nile can deliver. The equivalent of a second Nile has to be created by human beings. This is the discussion that should take place among the Nile Basin nations and the larger international communities. It requires creative and visionary  thinking, outside of the box, not confined to geo-politics. To alleviate nations from quarreling over a limited supply of Nile water, let us be bold in our imagination. Instead, conceive of the New Nile Project by constructing nuclear powered desalination plants along the Mediterranean and Red Sea to create large amounts of new potable water. These nuclear plants in additional to efficient desalination, and supplying abundant energy, would become nuplexes– manufacturing hubs for industrial and agricultural development.

Some addicted to the narrow thinking of geo-politics today, will object and say it cannot be done, it will take too long and cost too much. To those naysayers, I would respond by asking, is it better to have water wars among emerging nations that are struggling to feed their people laden by poverty? As populations expand, and economies grow, more water will be required. Why not use the urgency of resolving today’s combative dispute over the filling of the GERD, to prod our lazy minds to create a solution for the future of the Nile Basin?  Overcoming all the many engineering and scientific impediments to achieve our New Nile Project will be challenging, but this is the very reason we human beings were put here on earth.

President Lincoln delivering his Second Inaugural Address March 4, 1865. (courtesy hisotyplace.com)

A Just End To A New Beginning

The fighting in Tigray, the ancient birthplace of Ethiopia, must come to end as soon as possible to prevent the loss of more lives and further suffering. This laceration in the fabric of Ethiopian society should be healed, and not allowed  to propagate. Following the government’s safeguarding of the Tigray region, an all-out mobilization must be launched, with vigorous international support, to rebuild the province, upgrading economic conditions to guarantee that every person living in Tigray, a productive and dignified life.

When the conflict in Tigray is concluded, it would be appropriate for Prime Minister Abiy to emulate the spirit of President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. It was delivered  on March 4, 1865, almost four years after the war began, which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, and six weeks before his enemies assassinated him. After President Lincoln affirms his commitment to defeat the southern rebels at all costs, he compassionately pleads for peace.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Let Prime Minister Abiy use this overture as a prelude to lead a healthy dialogue with the Ethiopian people; to unite the nation around the preeminence of an Ethiopian identity, one that supersedes ethnicity.  Reformulation of the Ethiopian Constitution of 1995 to emphasize Ethiopian citizenship, which transcends ethno-regionalism, should follow.

It is in the shared, common, and self-interest of all Ethiopians to participate in the development of their society and increase the wealth of their economy for the benefit of themselves and their posterity. With the near future generation of 6,200 megawatts of electricity from the GERD, Ethiopia will bring light and prosperity to all its citizens. This is cause for all Ethiopians to join together in joyous celebration.

Read my earlier posts:

New U.S. Hostilities Against Ethiopia Threatens Horn of Africa

Prime Logue/Media Interviews Lawrence Freeman in Addis Ababa: “Without the Elimination of Poverty, There Will Be No Democracy in Africa”

U.S. Senators’ Call for Postponing Ethiopian Election Is Foolish & Very Dangerous

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

False Narratives of Ethiopian Conflict Are Toxic

(Courtesy of souncloud.com)

False Narratives of Ethiopian Conflict Are Toxic

Lawrence Freeman

April 5, 2021

In two months, Ethiopia will have national elections, which can potentially shape the future of the largest nation in East Africa. False narratives of the cause and description of the fighting in the northern section of Ethiopia, Tigray, remain misleading and detrimental. This can undermine the efforts of Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed to introduce a non-ethnic based discourse with his newly created Prosperity Party.

Unfortunately, much of the narrative that dominates the news and reporting is falsely framed as a contest between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the government of Ethiopia, headed by Prime Minister Abiy. Some news reports refer to Tigray as a “contested” region between two opposing armed forces. Other commentaries attempt to legitimize the actions of the TPLF as defenders of their territory from “outside” military. Let us be clear. There is no equivalency between the TPLF and the government of Prime Minister Abiy. Such analysis is not only faulty but is dangerous to the nation of Ethiopia. It invites other disingenuous ethnic leaders to launch destabilizations against the Ethiopian nation. Some accounts of the conflict even question, who was responsible for initiating the fighting, blatantly attempting to rewrite history.

It is well known that in the early hours of November 4, the TPLF without cause, attacked the Ethiopian Defense Forces at the Mekele outpost,  stealing munitions and murdering soldiers in their sleep. The government of Prime Minister Abiy was obligated to respond with a military counterattack to ensure that Ethiopia remained a sovereign nation.

As long as policy and deliberations in Ethiopia are twisted around the contours of which ethnic group is in power, the nation’s progress will be disrupted and curtailed.

Allegations of Ethnic Cleansing

The United Nations defines ethnic cleansing as:

“ a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas…. rendering an area ethnically homogeneous

Ethnic cleansing is intolerable and repugnant to civilized society. Given the highly contentious environment in Ethiopia between different ethnic groups, unsubstantiated charges of ethnic cleansing and genocide are inflammatory and pernicious. Hurling such accusations without incontrovertible proof is more than provocative. It can lead to increased violence, threatening the very fabric of Ethiopia as a sovereign nation only months away from its national election.  Yet these unfounded accusations are repeated again and again.

In a March 30th letter to United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, Congressmen Gregory Meeks, and Michael McCaul, condemned Ethiopia for “acts of ethnic cleansing,” without offering any evidence other than hearsay from the media. Unfortunately, Blinken himself had used the same provocative language earlier in March, accusing the Ethiopian government of ethnic cleansing, without proof. Protest from the Ethiopian government in Addis Ababa prompted President Biden to send Senator Coons to Ethiopia as his special envoy. Upon his return, Sen. Coons not only refused to repeat such charges, but expressed optimism in the subsequent actions of Prime Minister Abiy.

Atrocities or other illegal actions that have been reported, must be thoroughly investigated, as Prime Minister Abiy has promised to conduct in conjunction with the United Nations. However, the continued use of unsubstantiated accusations of ethnic cleansing by U.S. officials, repeated by the reckless media, are imprudent and perilous to the entire Horn of Africa.

The same congressional letter threatened sanctions against Ethiopia. Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S., Fitsum Arega, responded the next day, March 31st with his own letter to the two congressmen:

“Your call for what appears to be blanket sanctions is not only counterproductive to the goal of providing support for those in need, but also significantly undermines the two nations’ long cooperate relationship. The U.S. should be working to ensure that funds and supplies are  going to those in need, not in threatening behavior that will diminish cooperative efforts to bring much needed help to those in need.”

U.S. Senator Coons says Ethiopia trip was ‘constructive.’ (Courtesy tadias.com)

Human Identity Transcends Ethnicity

Ethiopia’s upcoming election on June 5 will be historic. For the first time, with Prime Minister Abiy’s national Prosperity Party on the ballot, there will be an alternative to the destructive politics of ethno-nationalist partisanship. It is important for all Ethiopians to take responsibility for ensuring that this election is not marred by violent ethnic confrontations.

Now, let us deal with the core issue confronting Ethiopia’s society, which politicians, reporters, Washington think tanks, and NGOs, do not understand; Ethiopian people are not defined by ethnicity.

We are all human beings first and foremost. What does it really mean to be human, and what is its relevancy to the current circumstances in Ethiopia?

Our heritage, no matter how much we respect our parents, cherish our birthplace, and traditions, does not determine our essence as human beings. Our worth, as human beings is not derived from where we were born. What distinguishes us, all of us, as human, as opposed to all other creatures is; that we are bequeathed by the Creator with the very special quality of creative reason.  No animal possesses creativity, and no machine can reproduce this unique quality, which I will identify as our soul-mind. The power of reason-creativity is not deduction, induction, or logic. It is the ability to discover, through hypothesis, new physical, and social principles embedded in the universe by the Creator, awaiting for us to uncover.  This characteristic of creative-mentation distinguishes the human species, as having a single human culture, which cannot be subdivided.

All societies, going back at least million years in Africa, have progressed as a result of human creativity.  Continuous, uninterrupted discovery of new universal principles that advance civilization from one level of science-culture to the next. This, our human culture, coherent with the physical universe, lawfully shatters the silly belief of a preordained  limit to the growth of humankind.

Thus, deep down in our soul-mind, we are all universally unified, and alike. We are not fundamentally different, except in secondary features that serve to enrich the breath of our universal human culture. African nations can no longer allow themselves to be ruled and divided by ethnicity and religion. No ethnic group, religion, or class ought to enjoy any superiority. Religious and ethnic differences should not undermine a nation’s national unity.

Each nation has developed uniquely, contributing to the diversity and richness of our civilization. Each nation has uniquely fashioned an identity from historical events and future aspirations.

Let that national identity moored to our exclusive human identity prevail. Any lesser identity is an assault on our unique humanness.

With this concept in mind, let Ethiopia demonstrate its commitment to protect and care for all its citizens by allowing justice to overcome propaganda and prejudice in judging the crimes committed in this conflict.

ReadTwo Key Members of Congress Condemn Atrocities in Tigray and Call for US Action

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.