Starvation in Ethiopia can be made history !!! By Tedla Asfaw

July 11th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia needs emergency food aid until the end of this year according to UN. The hope is that if the rain comes we will be OK !! for 2012. The Horn of Africa estimated 10 million people are starving, dying live on TV as we followed it on BBC, in refugees camp in Kenya, bordering Somalia and Ethiopia. The victims are mainly children, women and elderly . Such seen is not new, world communities watched dying children on their mother arms in Ethiopia in 1974 and 1984.. Ethiopia is recognized as a beggar nation, “We are the World”. Ethiopia is equated with hunger, destitution and starvation.

The 1984 hunger under the watchful eye of Derg was mainly blamed on communist Mengistu. The current rulers who were then rebels took advantage of the situation in Tigray, armed themselves to teeth get the support of the west and succeed in overthrowing Derg in 1991. Since then Ethiopia faced hunger in Eastern and South of Ethiopia in 2008. Thanks to the international community help disaster was averted.

At present the hunger has come again, the call for food aid by humanitarian organizations has been going for a couple of weeks. International medias led by BBC are broadcasting from the shelter in Kenya where many are coming from Ethiopia Ogaden and from South Somalia under the control of Al Shabab. Al Shabab promised not to interfere with aid agencies and hope they will honor that commitment to save lives. Will the Ethiopian regime opens Ogaden for donor nations ? We are watching that !!!!

It is indeed tragic to see the Horn of Africa with its agricultural potential again asking for food aid. The UN emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos in Addis Ababa after visiting Ogaden which is hugely affected by the drought told the world that Ethiopia has to do more not to suffer the recurring drought every few year.

Drought is both man made and natural. Ethiopia’s forests are now totally destroyed. Deforestation can only be tackled by mobilizing the farmers who are more than eighty percent of the population. The current regime is spending too much time in concrete. It is proud of showing visitors the highways and high rises but the desertification of the country has accelerated in the last two decades.

In fact it encourages more deforestation by giving large areas of land for foreign land grabbers in the Western part of Ethiopia, the few remaining forests of Ethiopia. I am pleased to hear from visiting South Koren President Lee that environmentally friendly agriculture supported by forestation is what South Korea supports in Ethiopia. What we have been hearing from the regime high officials is bulldozing our lands by foreigners to produce crop for foreigners. Land grabbers care less for our people, land and water.

Valeire Amos, UN emergency relief coordinator talked about establishing water points in the Ogaden and other drought affected areas. The regime is mostly concentrated on how to kick out the nomads to secure land for oil exploration. The government priority and the well being of our people are in direct collision. As long as the West gives aid without any precondition this will go on forever. Ethiopia will not feed itself. Similar call for food aid in the coming decade is certain.

The failed agricultural policy that discourages subsistence agriculture is the root cause of our starvation. In Ethiopia Ogaden there are rivers, voluntary settlements should be encouraged. Ground water potential is plenty. Waiting for rain always for human and cattle is unacceptable. If we encourage our farmers to produce more there is always will be plenty to feed other parts of Ethiopia during emergency.

Substituting our subsistence agriculture to large scale foreign owned farms will surely guarantee our people to call for more food aid every other year. International community should make it illegal to farm in poor and starving nations like Ethiopia to feed other people. The 398 million food aid asked by Ethiopia could have made huge difference if we had invested such money on our subsistence agriculture years ago. Yes we need that aid now to save lives what I argue is that to stop calling for hundreds millions of dollars every few year we need to make smart investment.

Farming in Ethiopia is as old as the country itself. Our highlands which are the products of fertile soils from volcanic activities are exhausted due to farming and erosion. To stabilize our soil, huge forestation program by the farmers is a must. An incentive for farmers who take care of forests in cash and other means is crucial. Students should be encouraged to participate in such program early in their school years.

Ethiopia is blessed with good climate, land and water. World wide climatological change even if it has impact on crop failure it should not make us beg every few year. We have seen three regimes, Haile Selassie the drought of 1974. Mengistu Hailemariam in 1984 and under Meles Zenawi in 2008 and in 2011. What all they have in common is unaccountability.

Dictatorial regimes care for their power. If this power syndrome is supported by Western countries like we have now, tackling our hunger from its root cause will be difficult. If the West cares only for the Land of Horn of Africa, starvation will continue side by side with the exploitation of the land and the water by foreign countries. What is new these days is the West armed the regimes in the Horn while the Arabs and the Asians are using these protection to feed their own people under our expense..

We can not beat starvation without fighting the human factor. Empowering our farmers and workers is a must. It is only educated farmers and workers working with their representatives can make hunger history in Ethiopia and the rest of the Horn.

  1. DRAMA
    | #1

    DO YOU ALL GET IT? IT IS NOT LAND GRAB. WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS TWO WORDS MEAN? WHO CREATED THEM ANYWAY? I DON’T UNDERSTAND WRITERS THAT KEEP ON USING THE SAME WORD OTHERS ARE USING. WHY USE THE WORD LAND GRAB UNLESS ONE WANTS TO ECHO THE SAME PROPOGANDA USED BY SOME CAUCASIAN REPORTER? BELIEVE ME, WE KNOW THIS IS NOT JUST WHATEVER LAND GRAB MEANS. THIS IS SLAVERY. THAT IS WHAT THE FOREIGNERS ARE DOING IN ETHIOPIA? I DON’T GET SOME OF YOU SO CALLED “EDUCATED” ETHIOPIAN WRITERS. WHAT ARE YOU EDUCATED ABOUT? WHY BE A COPY CAT? FIND YOUR OWN DESCRIPTION AND GET TO THE BASIS OF THE REALITY. COLONIZATION IS THE RIGHT WORD. FACE IT, THE FOREIGNER IS IN OUR LANDS EXPLOITING SLAVES AND RUNNING AWAY WITH THE PRIMARTY OR FINAL PRODUCT. THE EXPLOITER MAKES OVER 90% OF THE MONEY SHARE. IN FEUDALISM THE “CHISEGNA” (SLAVE) USED TO OWN ABOUT 10% OF THE TOTAL LAND OWNED BY HIS MASTERS. SIMPLE. MAYBE IT IS EVEN WORSE THAN FEUDALISM BECAUSE YOU CAN’T REBEL DUE TO MORE MODERN ARMY THE DICTATOR IS USING TO PROTECT HIS FOREIGN MASTERS, COMPARED TO THE OLD TIMES. PERIOD. LAND GRAB IS COLONIZATION. DON’T ECHO A FOREIGN PROPOGANDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    DON’T YOU ALL GET IT BY NOW THAT THE WORLD IS TRYING TO SLAVE YOU ALL. WAKE UP YOU SLEEPY, SKINNY BLOOBBERS.
    THE CAUCASIAN, THE CHINESE, AND EVEN THE INDIANS WHO WERE IN DEEP SLEEP LIKE SOME OF YOU YESTERDAY, AMAIZINGLY KNOW THEIR POSITIONS IN THE GLOBAL BUSINESS. THE INDIANS WOULDN’T MESS AROUND WITH THE CAUCASIANS INTEREST…. CORPORATIONS, HUGE PROJECTS, BELONG TO THE #1 MASTER, THE WHITED MAN ETC… THE CAUCASIAN KNOWS BETTER NOT TO TAKE THE CHINESE SHARE LIKE BUILDING ROADS AND REAL ESTATE, AND THE CHINESE KNOWS NOT BRING IN THEIR BANKS…. WHILE THE GERMANS AND OTHER CAUCASIANS ARE EXTENDING THEIR HANDS FOR THEIR INTERESTS…… GOES ON AND ON. THEY ARE ALL FRIENDS AND WE THE ETHIOPIANS ARE THE FOOLS ALLOWING THIS TO HAPPEN, ….WHAT DOES THE ETHIOPIAN GET OUT OF THIS DEAL? GRAINS FROM DONORS SO WE DON’T STARVE… DEVELOPMENT AID MONEY FROM ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (UNDP)TO FATTEN THE DICTATOR AND KEEPS US IN THE SAME OLE’ POSITION W/O DEVELOPMENT AND THEY KEEP ON BUYING OUT OUR COUNTRY… WHO FUNDS THE UNITED NATION? OBVIOUSLY, THE #1 IS USA, BUT ALL THESE LITTLE SUCKERS ALSO FUND THESE ORGANIZATIONS AND GET THEIR RETURNS MULTIPLYED BY 1000. THESE COUNTRIES ALL GIVE DIRECT AID DOLLARS AND WEAPONS TO THE DICATATOR AND KEEP THE DICTATOR BUT THEY ALSO MAKE SURE HE IS ALWAYS ON SURVIVAL MODE SO HE ALSO DOESN’T MESS AGAINST HIS MASTERS. DON’T YOU ALL GET THE FORMULA ?????????????????? IT IS ALSO EASY TO BREAK IT IF YOU UNITE AND TRY.

  2. YEHUDA
    | #2

    You can not empower the farmers before overthrow the dictatorial regimes that empower itself. Same is true for the proletarians including the middle class in urban areas and the farmer in rural as well. Above all, neither will see the light of the day unless concerted effort is made by various opposition parties, FIRST, by uniting as only ONE party gaainst the ruling TPLF?EPDRF and SECOND by forming national agenda fou future Ethiopia. This can only be possible if:

    (1)OLF must get medicine for its incureable disease called “independence from Ethiopia”. (2) all armed group from Oromo Liberation Front and the rest such as EPPR must unite to challenge the regime (3) the MEDREK party should be dismantled in its entirety because it has been hyjacked by Arena Tigray. Not to exclude the Tigrians from political process new but fair minded people must form political party and join the maker of the libration army against Meles and get power share with the new establishment. Any former member of TPLF such as Aregash, Seye, Gebru Asrat etc. must be expelled since they are the agent of the regime even though in the face they look like opponet to Meles. Birtukan Medeksa is a dead women. Her chance to remain in political life is not visible as long as she remain in an idle position. Because she is in the USA, she should formally resign and join Ginbot 7 or if Birhanu is not confortable with that she can form anew and put the pressure on Meles.

    THAT IS WHAT I UNDERSTAND BY THE TERM ‘EMPOWERING THE FARMERS AND WORKERS’

  3. Adem Idris
    | #3

    It is not fair to compare the governments of Emperor Haile Selassie and Colonnel Mengistu Hailemariam to that of Meles Zenawi. The two preceding governments were Ethiopian and had never worked against the interests of their country. Besides, they had never applied racism and fascism as their guiding principles of governance. On the other hand, Meles Zenawi
    an ethnical fascist and his rule is characterised by ethnic discriminationa and marginalization. Meles has been uisng all the resources including relief aid to fvour his own ethnic region. We know that he has stored the largest quantity of grains in Makelle and other parts of Tigray as part of his policy of ethnic discrimination. He prioritises food security in Tigray and the current famine is mainly the outcome of his ethnical fascistic discriminatory rule. There is now a hidden but widespread famine in Addis Ababa because ordinary citizens can not afford to buy food items. Ato Tedla Asfaw and many other good Ethiopians should be able to see and speak about the fascistic and ethnic discriminatory administration of Meles Zenawi.

  4. rezene kadissaba
    | #4

    Yehuda – I thought you are about to give workable solution when you started the list. Surprisingly you recommended more parties for Eth, as if the 90 + parties we have are not enough.

    If I can quote the current Ferenji Eth football coach ” I don’t know why Ethiopians underestimate their football very much. I found it strong and competitive”. I say the same is true for all our issues; be it political, social etc. Most writers rather write about very wide issues, avoiding facts, because they lack current information: plus they truly underestimate Ethiopia as a country. They think it’s the same small country we thought we managed from Addisaba. And they think knowing the derg & Janhoy time Eth is good enough to write about the current Eth. Wrong. Please be informed before you start writing.

  5. Adu
    | #5

    I think Tedla Asfaw ,the cyber hero should go to the bush like the TPLF, take advantage of the drought, arm himself to the teeth and over throw the government . It is that simple ,

    Cheers !!!!!

  6. Tesfa
    | #6

    A LAND THE SIZE OF UNITED KINGDOM HAS BEEN SOLD OUT TO AN INDIAN TYCOON ACCORDING TO:http://ecadforum.com/ethiopianvideo/documentary-and-news/1752/.
    It is so shocking.
    This was not an area in Tigray,a region from which the sellers of this massive land come from. It is in the South. It is somebody else’s land. This in fact is the ancestral land of the Anuaks and the Nuer, the Gambellans.

    Propaganda aside, neither their consent and nor their interest was sought when this happened. As usual, the regime, by dividing the Gambellans in opposing camps and stage-managing the whole affair tries to convince us otherwise. As the simple act of their rushed banishment leaving their utensils,however,shows and as the fear and intimidation of many eloquently speak, this was dictated by the Meles regime with sole purpose of enriching itself and not promoting the interest of Gambellans or other Ethiopians.

    It would be interesting to ask whether Meles and his Tigrayan clique would in the first place give away such a massive land at such a ridiculous price if the land were in Tigray.

    Would Meles and his Tigryan clique have the stomach to sell the highly prized and annexed Humera for instance?
    No they would not.

    In the video, John Vidal, the British investigative journalist, tells us that this is ‘the deal of the century’.
    He is enormously astonished by the whole enterprise where the country, as opposed to the investors, would gain nothing disposing off such fertile and massive land at such cheap price.
    Normally,you would use your land to feed your own starving population, the hungriest in the world, rather than selling it off to investors, if of course you have the interest of your people at heart. The TPLF mafia does not have the interest of our people at heart. It would sell anything to enrich itself. You would wonder how much millions have our ‘leaders’ made out of this particular deal that go directly into their private fat accounts.
    The misery of our people does not elicit their compassion.

    There is no any other regime in the world that sells fertile land the size of Britain while its own people,if it really considers them its own beyond the confines of its own ethnic identity,don’t have anything to eat.
    How does one explain such callous greed?

  7. Motima
    | #7

    The author does not sound original, he is a parrot and echoes what western journalists are saying,look at his title. We expect more than that.
    By the way should we remind him that those affected are Somalis and Somalia,still that should worry us too. As to 10 million starving Somalis,what about 50 million food aid receivers in the great USA ?

  8. Bovril
    | #8

    The Tigrei People Liberation Front,TPLF, were created to liberate tigrei as their name suggests. They have no other purpose. The fact that they landed in Addis Abeba after the fall of the derg is a matter of some coincidence and they did not even believe this would happen.
    Can’t you guys see or understand the truth? To this day, after 20 years in power they still call themselves TPLF. Every one knows that EPRDF is a vehicle created by the TPLF to provide a cover up for its heinous crime against Ethiopia and its people.

    Therefore what we witness year after year since TPLF took power, is no surprise. Every year we witness new even more astonishing tragedy taking place in our country. Astonishing even to outside observers. Before we get over one tragedy, TPLF comes up with even more traumatic events each year.
    This only explains the nature of TPLF and what its objectives are.
    I am amazed that lots of people are still not aware of this simple analogy, and expect good to come out of TPLF. You are wasting your time!

  9. Sheger
    | #9

    If we wait for the rain for farming we will never get out of it either.no body farms just with the rain except,…sorry to say
    But except the land of rivers Ethiopia. Funny isn’t it? But why??????? That is when you come to ask who are our leaders really? What did we do to them? Even though we lived in so many wars and it is always difficult for any kind of development with out peace some time they didn’t even secure our wrights to use our rivers. We can’t blame it on God
    Or nature we have every thing but if you let some body take what is yours day and night you won’t have have any thing
    And there are people that don’t share that don’t care and never says I have enough.

    If the talked Nile dam really is a true story and if it done wright and at the wright place it can solve a whole a lot east
    African problem especially food for east Africa and power to Ethiopia. I don’t think any of this countries around us except
    May be very few has the need for power or or water for farming and feeding their people. The direct victims of this
    Horror is mostly people from the high lands of Ethiopia which is mostly dry and also the nomadic east Africans in general. Who most GOVTS wether Kenya or Somalia or Ethiopia some time don’t as part of any thing may because they
    Just go to from places to places where ever the water is or where ever they want to go so it is hard to make any
    Potential development with this society even though some time they just get up and go back to there base state if they hear there is any hope for business or what ever.

    Just my observation any ways. I though we all need to work on it and come up with a lasting solution as stated by so many including by the Chins Government who are partners with Meles Zenawee for what ever hope or good for Ethiopia
    I am sure they mean no harm by working with our country but they should also know we do not agree with TPLF
    Political agenda and we won’t our freedom and our wright as citizens befor any development talks because it won’t benefit us so why we bother with them for who? And all that takes is RESPECT.

  10. Sheger
    | #10

    By the way when I say power for Ethiopia I mean to say that they say we beuld this dam we built that dam and are selling poewr to this to that while light going out in our capital. I thought may Ethiopia needs some kind of unbelievable
    Power for what ever reason unknown so may be we should incurrege them to belt the dam…….well they say it is also
    For accumulating water for big time farming. We wonderful idea but until then can Ethiopian farmrers use the water from
    The river and start farming with irrigation? And a seeking of farming with irrigation in the futur is that dam is going
    To be the only water to be used for farming the modern way? And if the answer is yes….do you mean all Ethiopian farmers are goi ng to be farming around that the given area only besides they will farm with the rain us usual?

    Or is this Nile dam talk going to doom Ethiopia for what ever coming years????? ….any ways that is even if the story
    Is true. Besides we don’t need it at least for the moment when it comes to power need an less as they say if there a huge market for it out side of Ethiopia.

  11. Sheger
    | #11

    By the way most Africa feeds it self and depends on waters what Comes out of Ethiopia and causing lack of rain
    By deforestation and so on will not cause war of Ethiopian kind only but African kind also. Some time I really wonder
    If their is such thing as African union that works for the true well being of all Africans? Funny thing is there main office is in Addis. Nice nice…..we like to see all kinds of Africans working for Africa and living with us but where is the job being
    Done? Or at least hope for the historic nation of east Africa? Where are some our sovereign teritorys where are some of our people and our door to the sea a country ones was a capital or a Mecca of trad and civilization, and a mother of so many kind of people even to day?

    Thou people with soft skein
    The rivers divid their land
    Like the Solon river calm
    Great Ethiopians ended

    Kindness and pecence
    Their armers
    They lived and live and hold key to
    The awaiting glories.

    They are kind and generous
    They are reach as prosperous
    They ‘v been giving
    Could you manège sharing?
    Don’t clam it all your,
    Other wise
    There is an end to every thing.

    Some time….

  12. ጉረኞች
    | #12

    YEHUDA
    I agree with what you said. The challenge is how do you implement it? Of course some of the jobs are easier than others. For example, MEDREK party can easily be disintegrated and reformed or wither away by itself. I will not claim that ARENA guys hijack MEDREK, the ARENA guys were actually offered to take leadership position on silver platter by the other party leaders (ONC & Andenet, I do not count Beyene since he has no members in his party) who do not want to make their life on the line. From diaspora, the biggest challenge is reforming OLF. The old guards with archaic mentality still managed to hang on the leadership position. OLF desperately need new leadership with broad minded people that recognize the deficiency of ethnic politics and understand all people benefits from democracy not from tribal hullabaloo.

  13. Sheger
    | #13

    And some time divided people because of the rivers would have been better, besides the bible is telling about the nature
    Of our country.

  14. Abel
    | #14

    The TPLF regime does not know its priorities. They are buying 200 Tanks and drones and they are begging $400 million to feed their people. No body doubts the money they are begging is to pocket a little some some.

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