>Today I read an article by Alemayehu G. Mariam who discussed democracy in Ethiopia and whether Ethiopians truly want a democratic society, know what that means to them and their future, and whether the western world is proactive in enforcing human rights while building dignity- or if it is all lip service. I have included excerpts from Mariam’s article below. I only have one word to describe it…DEEP!
Mariam wrote, “I am advised to accept the fact that US human rights rhetoric is primarily intended for international media consumption and to give moral support to the few human rights-minded Ethiopian elites while avoiding the scathing criticisms of the international human rights community for US inaction and hypocrisy. ‘That is realpolitik for you,’ said one of my erudite colleagues jokingly. ‘The US would rather blather about human rights violations to the African masses in the morning only to sit down for a seven-course meal with Africa’s murderers and butchers in the afternoon.'”
“…American policy makers should not be dismissive of ordinary Ethiopians. They should not misinterpret their silence for consent to be brutalised by dictatorship, ” wrote Mariam.
“…It has been argued and anonymously reported in the media that ‘Western diplomats’ in Addis Ababa believe that forceful US action on human rights could create ‘instability’ in the country….But the whole US ‘stability’ subterfuge to do nothing, absolutely nothing, about gross human rights violations in Ethiopia is eerily reminiscent of a shameful period in American history. The principal argument against the abolition of slavery in the US, the ultimate denial of human rights, was ‘stability.'”
Mariam’s correlation between what is and has been taking place in Ethiopia compared to the period of slavery (and post-Civil War) is poignant.
So what are your thoughts? Read the entire article yourself and let me know. http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/66294
Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman
Do Ethiopians really need human rights?
Steel vices, clenched fists and closing walls (Part II)
Alemayehu G. Mariam
2010-07-29, Issue 492