BBC AND HRW UNWARRANTED ANTI-ETHIOPIAN PROPAGANDA By Mathza, 11/11/11
On August 4th, 2011 BBC presented a joint undercover investigation report by BBC Newsnight and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Click here). This was followed by an interview on September 21st, 2011 with Mr. Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) (Click here). And on September 29th, 2011 Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Mr. Mitchell of being ‘disingenuous’ and ‘misleading’ regarding the misuse of aid in Ethiopia (Click here). In both the BBC interview and his reaction to HRW accusations Mr. Mitchell repeatedly denied the allegation in many different ways. The following summarizes his replies:
“Those field visits -- and dozens of similar visits by other donor agencies -- made clear that there was no systemic distortion for political reasons in the distribution of aid.”
Note that the above statement asserts that the other donor agencies are of similar conviction. This confirms what the Development Assistance Group (DAG) in Ethiopia has said in the past. DAG comprises 26 bilateral and multilateral development agencies with their field experts and NGOs providing assistance to Ethiopia. This being the case why are the BBC, HRW and their likes more Catholic than the Pope?
The biased BBC report starts with “…the Ethiopian government is using billions of dollars of development aid as a tool for political oppression.” Billions of dollars? —come on BBC—why such a wild exaggeration? As readers may have noticed, the exaggeration seems to run through out its so-called investigative journalism report. This by itself renders the report questionable.
Was BBC really convinced by the investigation it claimed it made during its clandestine visit to a few villages in the same locality? Did it occur to BBC that the whole thing could have been staged by its so-called ―key contacts‖? Does BBC understand that the ―key contacts‖ and some oppositions are jealous of, hold grudge against, and are obsessed with vengeance/retribution of the current government for adopting an ethnic-based federal system of government which they hate and want to revert to the old centralized system of governance? Does BBC know that the federal system equalized the 80 ethnic groups comprising the population of the country; saved the country from disintegration like the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Somalia; brought peace and stability to the country; and continues to record remarkable and increasingly diversified economic and social development? Can BBC understand that the grudge ridden part of the opposition would do anything to achieve their dream of getting rid of the ethnic-based federal system? How does BBC know that the people it interviewed were not bought and coached? How sure is it about the honesty of the interpreters, their ability to interpret, and the possibility that they were implanted to do the dirty work of the ―key contacts‖, including telling the interviewers the opposite of what the interviewees said? Why did BBC give the impression that their investigation on a relatively tiny community appears to be rampant all over the country and involves billions of dollars?
I have no doubt that BBC is aware of the investigation carried out by an independent journalist, Ben, the Editor of ethiopiaFirst.com, in the very same tiny area and the birth place and constituency of Dr. Beyene Petros, apparently one of the so-called ―key contacts‖ who is one of the major sources of misinformation. Did BBC attempt to contact the journalist? One could assume it should have but I have not seen any evidence to that effect so far. Well, Ben visited the exact same area targeted by BBC and interviewed a cross-section of the inhabitants, including government officials and those who voted for Dr. Beyene Petros and his opposition party.
The interviewees included the same persons who were the source of BBC‘s findings. Ben‘s findings in his EthiopiaFirst‘s Investigation Exposes BBC‘s Deceit of August 4th, 2011 (PART 1 and PART 2 videos) (Click here, Click here) revealed that BBC‘s investigation was a hoax. For example, the man whose wife was reported to have died of chronic hunger had actually died of cancer. She was buried in a tomb that her husband showed to Ben. How can a starving family afford and have the energy to erect such an extravagant tomb by local standard. Her death certificate is provided on Ben‘s website ―We Report, You Judge (Click here). Here the irony is that the husband is still alive. One would expect that he would have also died of hunger soon after his wife. From BBC‘s report, the whole community should have been decimated.
Soon after Ben‘s report, Dr. Beyene Petros denied that the persons identified as opposition party members were not. Ben provided incontestable proofs (Click here) of membership which readers could verify by watching his video reporting (Click here). With such glaring evidence, BBC has no choice but to admit its failure to report the truth as it did with its false allegation that the TPLF had used aid for purchasing weapons.
In regard to HRW, it has consistently been conducting smear campaigns against the Ethiopian government. It has become routine for HRW to immediately and automatically cry wolf without an iota of evidence of the innocence of individuals or groups taken in custody. As the saying goes it takes two to tango. It takes two sides, the alleged abuser and the alleged abused, for human right violation to occur. In most cases, the HRW has been blindly accusing the government while ignoring the reason(s), i.e. terrorist atrocities leading to its allegations. Examples of this are measures taken by the government following killings of innocent civilians and destruction of property by the OLF and ONLF. Others include individuals and groups caught red-handed, i.e. plotting, instigating and participating in chaos, wanton killings and destruction, the latest example being the bombing plot in Addis Ababa during the African Union Conference. In all cases the HRW, the BBC and their likes blame the government for taking actions to protect its citizens, one of its main raison d‘etre. Their and media accusations provide publicities, support and justifications for the actions of the terrorists and other perpetrators thereby abetting their destructive objectives and disrupting democratic development. Such irresponsible behaviors and reactions negatively impact the fast development that is taking place in the country. Despite this, and to the dismay of the ―key contacts‖, some oppositions and their foreign supporters and enablers, the country is forging ahead with attaining the Millennium Development Goals. And, according to the World Bank, Ethiopia is one of the four African countries expected to do so.
Ethiopia is currently at a critical stage of development. The country has for centuries suffered from lack of peace and stability (feudal rule, wars of warlords, civil wars, invasions from outside, drought, disease, etc.). As a consequence, it ranks at the bottom in poverty and backwardness among the countries in the world (see Comparing the Incomparable) (Click here). It badly needs sustained peace and stability to catch up with the developing world. As far as I and those who cannot feed themselves are concerned, the right to life/survival through access to water, food and shelter are the most basic human rights the Ethiopians need right now. Enabling the people to drink clean water and feed and shelter themselves promotes good governance and leads to the protection of the other human rights. This in effect is what the present government is successfully trying to do among other things. The choice is between improving the living conditions of the vast destitute majority of poverty-ridden Ethiopians and catering to the intense obsession of a negligible number of power hungry violent-monger Ethiopians that purposely create chaos for selfish ends thereby prolonging the suffering of the people.
Unlike the past regimes, the current government is an all-inclusive decentralized government comprising self-governing states that were marginalized in the past. All ethnic groups are benefiting from the on-going social and economic transformation. This applies to the development of democracy which is progressing in tandem with improving the standard of living and fast growing middle class. At this juncture, Ethiopia finds itself at the verge of taking off towards achieving its development objectives. Meddling with this opportunity because of reckless rhetoric and actions of power hungry miniscule elements starting disturbances, leading to destabilization and disintegration would—in the worst case scenario—be not only the halting and even destruction of development but also the end of Ethiopia. This of course, will never happen simply because all the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, the beneficiaries of the federal system, will not allow it to happen. This being the case, one should ask the question why on earth would they go against their interest?
Application of Western systems, values, etc, including human rights, at par with the Western countries is what the likes of HRW dictate on poor and backward Ethiopia. They want to impose on Ethiopia 21st century democracy and human rights which they themselves attained through centuries of bloody revolutions and trial and errors. They purposely ignore the complexities of conditions and conflicting interests in backward societies characterized by very diversified ethnicities, languages, cultures, religions, etc. The permutations and combinations of these is mind boggling. They did not face such dire situations when they were developing.
In conclusion, it appears that the BBC, HRW, CPJ, Genocide Watch, International Rivers, Survival International and their likes have a hidden agenda regarding Ethiopia. It seems that in the name of human rights advocating the preservation of the wretched traditional conditions of lifestyles of some ethnic groups they are trying to obstruct the developmental state approach that Ethiopia has adopted and which, obviously, is serving it well. The developmental state approach is particularly relevant to developing countries where the private sector has not been and still is not in a position to bring change in the agricultural, industrial and infrastructural sectors. It is about time that the governments of African countries take the initiative to fill the void created as a result of neglect of sustainable development of the economic sector, jointly with the private sector, when possible. The agricultural and manufacturing establishments they develop could eventually be transferred to the private sector as has been and is happening in Ethiopia.
Perhaps they want Ethiopia to fail in its development effort and serve as an example to other countries that dare to adopt it in place of their neo-liberal economic system. The latter – which contrary to its free market and trade policy subsidizes private businesses, such as farming – has been tottering for quite some time. Uncontrolled corporate greed worsened by tight interconnections within a network of major transnational corporations (TNC) resulted in widespread and worsening unemployment, widening and accelerating income gap, unprecedented increase in poverty, rising political instability, refusal by some countries to adopt proportionate carbon emission reduction, etc. The on-going endless worldwide demonstrations against neo-liberalism and the power of a relatively small group of TNCs, especially financial institutions, in the world, particularly in developed countries, show that the system of laissez-faire has failed and it is about time to take a close look at the merits of the developmental state approach*, especially its application for developing countries. It appears that it is an opportune time to give priority to bringing about economic and social justice and equality to the vast majority in this miserable world. Maintaining the status quo of the greedy corporations and the system that supports them should end now. (Aigaforum)
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