The Dragon’s Dance with Hyenas By Alemayehu G Mariam

February 13th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

The Chinese Dragon is dancing the Watusi shuffle with African Hyenas. Things could not be better for the Dragon in Africa. In the middle of what once used to be the African Pride Land now stands a brand-spanking new hyenas’ den called the African Union Hall (AU). Every penny of the USD$200 million stately pleasure dome was paid for by China. It is said to be “China’s gift to Africa.” It was all lovey-dovey two weeks ago when the hyenas assembled to pay homage to the mighty Dragon:

… This magnificent…building which will now house the headquarters of our continental organization is built on the ruins of a prison that represented desperation and hopelessness… The face of this great hall is meant to convey this message of optimism, a message that is out of the decades of hopelessness and imprisonment a new era of hope is dawning, and that Africa is being unshackled and freed… It is therefore very appropriate for China to decide to build this hall — the hall of the rise of Africa — this hall of African renaissance… I am sure I speak for all of you when I say to the people and government of China thank you so very much. May our partnership continue and prosper.

There was no end to the bootlicking and praise of the “generosity of the Chinese government”, and how the “gift” represents “a qualitative leap in the relations between China and Africa”. AU president Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Equatorial Guinea’s dictator since 1979, even saw “a reflection of the new Africa, and the future we want for Africa” in the glassed 20-storey tower.

The Dragon was equally obliging:

…There exists profound traditional friendship between China and Africa… China has always been Africa’s good friend, good partner and good brother…. [S]trengthen[ing] unity and cooperation between China and Africa and promot[ing] common development is an important cornerstone of China’s foreign policy, and a long-term strategic choice…

… First, we must firmly uphold peace, stability and development of Africa…. Second, we must fully respect the efforts of African countries in resolving African issues independently…. Interference in Africa’s internal affairs by outside forces out of selfish motives can only complicate the efforts to resolve issues in Africa…. Third, we must vigorously support African countries in seeking strength through unity and the integration process…. Fourth, we must pay more attention to the issue of African development and make bigger input…

… Throughout the development of China-Africa relations, we have always respected the sovereignty and development path of African countries and refrained from interfering in their internal affairs… We…have never attached political strings to our assistance to Africa. … To further strengthen China-AU friendship and cooperation… China will provide a total of RMB 600 million free assistance to the AU in the next three years…

The “China Model” in Africa

It is fashionable among African dictators to pledge allegiance to the so-called China Model of economic development. Meles Zenawi, the dictator in Ethiopia, claimed that by following the “China Model”:

The African Renaissance that we all dreamed of is beginning to happen. There could be no better proof of this than the fact that the pundits and academics who were publicly advocating for the re-colonization of our continent have now refrained from doing so… The magnificent new head quarters (sic) of our continental organization—the AU which has been at the center of the struggle for the African renaissance (sic) is the symbol of the rise of Africa…

But what exactly is the China Model?

African dictators rarely explain the “China Model”, but the phrase rolls off their lips like the voodoo incantations of sorcerers. If the dictators are to be believed, the “China Model” is the magic carpet that will transport Africa from abysmal underdevelopment and poverty to stratospheric economic growth and industrialization. Supposedly, China became a global economic power in just a few decades by opening up its economy to foreign and domestic investment, cutting and reducing taxes, co-investing in infrastructure projects and vastly expanding the labor intensive services sector. It is said to be a “win-win” situation for China and Africa.

But there is one small catch: China did it all by maintaining a one-party system that has a chokehold on all state institutions including the civil service, the armed and security forces and by instituting a vast system of censorship that systenmatically filters or significantly obstructs the flow of information to the people.

What does China think of the “China Model” being exported to Africa? Not much! Liu Guijin, China’s special representative on African affairs assuredly says, “What we are doing is sharing our experiences. Believe me, China doesn’t want to export our ideology, our governance, our model. We don’t regard it as a mature model.”
So, why do African dictators insist on championing a half-baked “China Model” as the Holy Grail of African economic salvation when the Chinese themselves do not think it is a “mature model” worth exporting or imitating? Could it be that African dictators are using the “China Model” hype as smokescreen to justify their clinging to power and sucking their economies like ticks on an African milk cow?

Stripped off its hype, the “China Model” in Africa is the same old one-man, one-party pony that has been around since independence in the 1960s. Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and even the wily and sly eighty-six year-old Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, pull the “China Model” stunt just to cling to power. In the good old days, Zenawi, Museveni and Kagame used their status as the “new breed of African leaders” (bestowed upon them by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair) to legitimize and perpetuate themselves in power. Now they heap contempt on the West for its “band-aid” approach to development, criticize the “gunboat diplomacy” of the U.S. (whose taxpayers have shelled out tens of billions in the last decade) and tongue-lash “extremist neo-liberals” (whoever they are) for slamming them on their atrocious human rights record and mindboggling corruption.

The one-man, one-party state recycled as the “China Model” is nothing new. Kwame Nkrumah was the first Sub-Saharan African leader to try it and fail. Just like the silver-tongued mouthpieces of the “China Model” today, Nkrumah back then condemned neocolonialism (a term he reputedly created) and imperialism for Africa’s exploitation and depridation. Nkrumah’s program of rapid industrialization – to reduce Ghana’s dependence on foreign capital and imports – had a devastating effect on its important cocoa export sector. Many of the socialist economic development projects that he launched also failed miserably. By the time he was overthrown in a military coup in 1966, Ghana had fallen from one of the richest African countries to one of the poorest. Similarly, Tanzania nose-dived from the largest exporter of agricultural products in Africa to the largest importer of agricultural products. The one-man, one-party state, touted as the solution to the problems of ethnic and tribal conflict, also failed as civil wars, genocides, and corruption spread throughout the continent like wildfire. For decades, African liberation leaders and founding fathers qua dictators and military junta leaders have tried all types of tricks to justify the one-man, one-party state and avoid a genuine multiparty democracy. Now Africa’s newest dictators want to rebottle the same old one-man, one-party wine in a new bottle labeled “Chateau China Model”.

The Record of the “China Model” in Africa

Are Zenawi and the other members of African Dictators, Inc., really following the “not mature” “China Model” in practice? Are foreign and domestic investors free to to do business in Africa without being bogged down in silly and mindless regulations and running the gauntlet of a buzzsaw of corruption? For instance, how much of Ethiopia’s business environment is really “negotiable” for investment? The 2011 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index which ranks 183 countries (1=most business-friendly regulations) shows dismal figures for Ethiopia: Overall Ease of Doing Business Rank (111); starting a business (99); dealing with construction permits (56); getting electricity (93); registering property (113); getting credit (150); protecting investors (122); paying taxes (40); trading across borders (157); enforcing contracts (57) and resolving insolvency (89).

The “China Model” is obviously a smokescreen for Zenawi and African Dictators, Inc., to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Africa. It provides a plausible justification for avoiding transparent and accountable governance, competitive, free and fair elections, enforceable property rights and suppressing free speech, the press and independent judiciaries. It is a hoax perpetrated on the people to ensure absolute political obedience and control, maximize the ruling class’ monopoly over the economy and justify the brutal suppression of all dissent.

The “China Model” naturally appeals to Africa’s kleptocratic dictators because it enables them to project the illusion of economic development as they suppress the democratic aspirations of their people and suck their national economies dry. Global Financial Integrity recently wrote: “The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry. No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming upstream against the current of illicit capital leakage.” That is what the China Model means in Ethiopia, and for that matter much of Africa.
Why the China Model? Why Not the “Ghanaian Model”?

The “China Model” may be just fine for China, but why can’t Africa have an “African Model”? Is there not a single country in Africa worthy of some imitation. Must Africans always worship before the altar of Western or Eastern political Deities?

In July, 2009, in one of my weekly commentaries I asked a simple question:What is it the Ghanaians got, we ain’t got?” I argued that present day Ghana can offer a reasonably good, certainly not perfect, template of governance for the rest of Africa. Ironically, it is to Ghana, the cradle of the one-man, one-party rule in Sub-Saharan Africa, that we must now turn to find a model of constitutional multiparty democracy.

Ghana today has a functioning, competitive, multiparty political system guided by its 1992 Constitution. Article 55 guarantees that “every citizen of Ghana of voting age has the right to join a political party”. Political parties are free to organize and ‘disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programs of a national character’. But tribal and ethnic parties are illegal in Ghana under Article 55 (4). That is the key to Ghana’s political success. The Ghanaians also have an independent electoral commission (Art. 46) which is “not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority” and has proven itself by ensuring the integrity of the electoral process. Ghanaians enjoy a panoply of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights. In 2010, Ghana (with a population of 24 million) ranked 26 out of 178 countries worldwide on the World Press Freedom Index (WPFI).

In contrast, Ethiopia (with a population of nearly 90 million) ranked 139 out of 178 on the WPFI. There are more than 133 private newspapers, 110 FM radio stations and two state-owned dailies in Ghana. Ghanaians express their opinions without fear of government retaliation. The rule of law is upheld and the government follows and respects the constitution. Ghana has a fierecely independent judiciary, which is vital to the observance of the rule of law and protection of civil liberties. Political leaders and public officials abide by the rulings and decisions of the courts and other fact-finding inquiry commissions. Ghana is certainly not a utopia, but she is positive proof that multiparty constitutional democracy can help overcome political and economic dystopia in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa. Why not adopt the “Ghanaian Model”?

Why is the Dragon Dancing With Hyenas?

China’s economic investment in Africa is said to exceed USD$150 billion; and hundreds of Chinese companies are doing business in all parts of the continent. The Chinese government through its banks has given billions of dollars in low interest loans and credit lines to undertake a variety of infrastructure projects and other high profile projects, including the new African Union building. It has provided a range of technical assistance programs and provided scholarships and training opportunities to African students.

But why is China so generous with Africa? The conventional explanation is that China is hungry for natural resources to feed its economy. It uses its loans, grants and development assistance to project “soft power” and access Africa’s vast natural resources in oil, timber and minerals while cultivating a market for its surplus production in industrial and consumer products. Others say, loans and assistance programs to Africa are velvety gloves that hide an iron fist of neocolonial and neo-imperialist ambition. Last Summer, in an interview concerning the growing role of China in Africa, Secretary Hilary Clinton plaintly stated: “We don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa.”

China’s role in Ethiopia in particular raises some troubling questions. According to one study, “whenever Ethiopia sought Chinese aid, loan, investment and arms, the latter has responded positively by providing debt reduction and technical assistance to Ethiopia with no political strings attached.” Another study concluded: “In the construction and the energy sector, Chinese involvement in telecommunication, road and power plant construction projects through very low initial bid-prices (as well as offering credit to finance such projects) has been displacing both local and other foreign construction firms (Notwithstanding, for example in the case of power plants, the fact that the very low initial entry bid-prices are off-setted by high operational costs when the projects start operation; and the fact that Chinese big credits are almost at commercial terms).” Others have complained of trade deficits, dumping of low price textiles and clothing, industrial products and consumer electronics. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise to anyone. At the 1963 inaugural O.A.U. Summit, H.I.M. Haile Selassie said, “Africa was a physical resource to be exploited and Africans were chattels to be purchased bodily or, at best, peoples to be reduced to vassalage and lackeyhood. Africa was the market for the produce of other nations and the source of the raw materials with which their factories were fed.”

Blowback for China?

Sooner or later China has to come to terms with three simple questions: Can it afford to fasten its destiny to Africa’s dictators, genociders and despots? How long can China pretend to turn a blind eye to the misery of the African people suffering under ruthless dictatorships? Will there be a price to pay once the African dictators that China supported are forced out of power in a popular uprising?

Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from Zambia where just a few months ago the role of China became a hot political issue in the elections. Michael Sata, who became president of Zambia last Fall after four attempts, “made a sport of baiting China, calling its businesspeople in the country ‘profiteers,’ not investors”, and denouncing the Chinese for “bringing in their own people to push wheelbarrows instead of hiring local people.”

The Dragon is known for breathing fire. If China does not re-think its African policy carefully and continues its blind association and unquestioning support of corrupt African dictators and tyrants, in time it will likely suffer multiple “blowbacks” across the continent from the flames of popular upheavals and backlashes from revolts against dictatorship.

China’s policy of “noninterference” (a/k/a “hear no evil, see no evil and say no evil” about Africa’s dictators) is actually the most conspicuous and underappreciated from of interference there is. What can be more “interference” than providing the economic means to sustain and nurture repressive and dictatorial regimes? In time, “noninterference” will logically and inevitably evolve into tighter defense and military relationships with the dictatorial regimes; and significant military presence may be unavoidable to defend Chinese economic interests and investments in Africa.

In Chinese folklore, the dragon is known for his intelligence, strength, goodness, longevity and wisdom. In African folklore, the hyena is known for treachery, gluttony and stupidity. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), in his speech at the 18th summit of the African Union inaugurating “China’s gift to Africa” said, “As an African saying goes, to be without a friend is to be poor indeed.” But the Dragon should think twice before befriending hyenas because the African people, like African elephants, have long memories. They remember their friends and the friends of their enemies. But Chairman Quinglin should also heed a couple of wise Chinese sayings: “A man should choose a friend who is better than himself” (unless, of course, the man believes that “birds of a feather flock together”). But more importantly, “One should not lift a rock only to drop it on one’s own foot.”

  1. ፊኪርተ
    | #1

    በርቱ እንበርታ አንድ እንሁን እነዚሂን አትፊ የሆኑ ነከርሶችሂን እናቲፋችሀው

  2. Ananymous
    | #2

    Dearest professor: your article headline should read–THE PIMP CHUHUAHUA FROM ADWA!!!!

  3. weygud
    | #3

    Didn’t China refused loans for EU recently?

  4. George
  5. Johny
    | #5

    “Could it be that African dictators are using the “China Model” hype as smokescreen to justify their clinging to power and sucking their economies like ticks on an African milk cow?”

    you got it, that is the reason.

  6. Anonymous
    | #6

    Those shoppers who have lived in the Capitalist West, are well accustomed to reduced offers & completely “Free” give aways. These “truly free” tokens range from buy one get one for “Free” to “Free” drive away cars. But also wisdom teaches us none were “Free” anyway. We know this is a “clever” modern marketing manouver of selling goods & services. I.e., an enticing way of making lots and lots of money well taken care of for any inlationary costs either right now and then and at a sure time in the near future. That brings this question. Why hasn’t anyone been able to see what is behind these so called “Soft” loans and the ease with which they are available without the need for hard bargaining-the 100 year term lease of vast tracts of land at knock down prices with free “ground water” to boot is a big worry. There is great doubt how this will bring about food self-sufficiency when land is controlled by foreigners? Knowing what we know now it is not hard to see land and water will cost more to own than Gold and we don’t have wait 100 years to see that. The question is will the soil be able to support any life at all even after ten years let alone to withstand the full lease term of one hundred years of rape through the planned extensive farming. It is scary. Instead, I think we should strife for sustainablity at smaller scale. The right of the local population must be paramount, guranteed and maintained. Whole paricipation of citizens must be encouraged and supported and guided. Don’t expect food security from farming your own land by otsiders-
    it is obvious that boarders on folly.

  7. Girum
    | #7

    China’s economic investment in Africa is said to exceed USD$150 billion; and hundreds of Chinese companies are doing business in all parts of the continent. The Chinese government through its banks has given billions of dollars in low interest loans and credit lines to undertake a variety of infrastructure projects and other high profile projects, including the new African Union building. It has provided a range of technical assistance programs and provided scholarships and training opportunities to African students.But why is China so generous with Africa? The conventional explanation is that China is hungry for natural resources to feed its economy. It uses its loans, grants and development assistance to project “soft power” and access Africa’s vast natural resources in oil, timber and minerals while cultivating a market for its surplus production in industrial and consumer products. Others say, loans and assistance programs to Africa are velvety gloves that hide an iron fist of neocolonial and neo-imperialist ambition. Last Summer, in an interview concerning the growing role of China in Africa, Secretary Hilary Clinton plaintly stated: “We don’t want to see a new colonialism in Africa.”
    The writer addresses so many things and also writes some how confusing things.The problem with we Africans is that we have lost our own identity and hence want to copy/paste and side with others in order to find ourselves. I strongly support mutual friendship and it is inevitable natural and social law. However, friendship becomes mutual and long lasting as long as each party has its own self-awareness and self-concept regarding its own values and identities. The west has its own identities and values and hence the east too.And indeed we Africans too. Now the issue is more than the narrow perspectives of dictatorship and democracy regarding African Leaders designated as Hyenas by the writer in that it is also mainly due to the clash of civilization as well. The WEST especially US has developed more of the values of individualism that is personal identity, integrity and freedom while the East has developed giving preference to more of the values of socialism rather than individualism and its associated individual identity, integrity and freedom. And the point so many of us misses very much is that what are we really we Ethiopians or Africans in general regarding the above human dynamism? And when we side with either the WEST or CHINA of EAST then what are our norms and yardsticks to have such association and friendship? The west is inculcating and hyping Liberal-Economy, Liberal-democracy based on its own inherent social structure and social fabric. And the question I want to pose is what is our rational reason to accept advocate and adopt such valuesfrom the WEST or the EAST? What is our own life-philosophy and political philosophy to adopt any of foreign values be it CHINEES or that of the WEST? Who is our enemy and who is our friend and in what basis of evaluation and ideals.
    China has been securing its interests in china the way the writer clearly puts and more than that the way we clearly see it in our day to day life experiences. And the WEST, especially US and UK are also securing their interests in Africa, by pushing away CHINA, like the way we see it in Libya through No-Fly-Zone scenario. And hence i do not see the difference between the two blocks except the WEST is even using modern time barbaric feudalistic aggression and occupation under the disguise of democracy and humanitarian mission. As the writer mentioned it regarding CHINESE alliance with African dictators, same way the West, especially US and UK, are maintaining their interests in other Arab countries not only with dictatorial regimes but also more than that with aristocratic monarchies like is the case in the seven GCC countries like Saudi(where not only there is no election but also women are not allowed even to drive a car), Bahrain, Quatar, Kuwait…..
    Therefore the writer’s presentation of the Chinese case is just like telling only one side of the story. The writer can be (his right) and may be pro Western in that he is trying to depict the West and its associated global capitalism as if it is a saint.
    I some how understand the from time to time emerging enlightenment and awakening among the mass regarding global social order and due to this there is such an immense intricate fight between WESTERN values and that of EASTERN values like CHINA. Even when the writer quotes Hilary Clinton regarding the neo-colonization of China regarding Africa as a reference for his general view regarding china, it is a bit shameful invocation for the writer in that it is some how incompatible and derogatory for his intellectual analysis. Here I want to say that I am neither pro-china nor pro-West and indeed simply blindly relying and supporting either party regarding its values does not help. What we need is mutual partnership and not patronage and worshiping of either party. We can take good values from each party and build it up on our own established identity and integrity as an African. It is the WEST,US and UK, that has NATO and military commands like AFRICOM for Africa no china. Rulers of Africa are not hyenas (as is designated by the writer) not only for China but also for the West.
    If the writer is designating African leaders as hyenas for having economic cooperation with Africa then what is that of US that has such an immense economic ties with CHINA it self where CHINA has around 3 trillions of dollars in reserve in US?
    The entire global situation is so intricate and not as such simple and straight the way the writer tries to present it in black and white, labeling CHINA as ….and that of the WEST as ……and also African rulers as DEMOCRATS…. or DICTATORS…….
    And hence we have to thing critically beyond such stereotypical presentation and have to make paradigm shift. Neither the WEST nor the EAST is a SAINT and indeed also an EVIL. As there are striving and contending colonial powers in the WEST then there are also from the EAST. However it is we the 3rd world peoples who are between such global rival players like a sandwich. There are many Ethiopian intellectuals who side with each block and also say this or that accordingly. However, rather than simply siding with either sides of the rival player blocks why not we seriously internalizeand look inwards and find our own identity and integrity and the associated values as an African.No one is our true friend except us ourselves. Therefore true partnership has to built and start locally and internally between our rulers and their subject mass. While there is no such basic vital partnership among ourselves then any partnership with outsiders does not help the poor Africans. It does not matter whether African rulers side with the WEST or the EAST as long as they do not create the necessary vital partnership and integrity with their own peoples. Therefore as an African it does not help us as such whether we are pro-WEST or PRO-EAST as long as we do not have our own identity and integrity as an African. Rather so many of our Ethiopian intellectual writers in Diaspora seem to cover up the intricate issues of global Capitalism and its global political economy and its pervasive global deep-rooted and multifaceted pervasive repercussions. Even I hear very contradictory and hypocritical allegation and demonizing of Ato Meles regarding his double standard game playing approaches between the WEST and CHINA. When Ato Meles is siding economically with CHINA we say he is dictator and communist and that is why he sides with communist China as if the WEST is not working economically with China. And also at other times when Ato Meles is also having military, political and other ties with the WEST like under the disguise off fighting terrorism then we say the west is helping dictators. The entire judgment is becoming with what we have ties with others externally rather than we have internally. Therefore harmony and coherence should start from home not from outside of home. It is our values and identity internally and locally at home that we have that should decide what sort of partnership and ties we would have with others externally not the other way. African rulers for most and for best should have intimacy and partnership first locally with their own people before they have any with outsiders. And hence we have to mainly judge our African leaders with the values and integrity they have with us and not with what they have with foreigners. African leaders when they have alliance and ties with CHINA then they are demonized as Hyenas by the writer when they are having alliance and ties with the WEST then will they become a saint or Lion or…..?And hence we need critical thinking as an African and come out of the cocoon of this already built paradigm set up we are wavering in. Let’s explore our own identity and values as an African and work on it and built on it by having partnership with others. For how long will we continue to judge ourselves by the relationship our rulers make with foreign powers?
    Ii is really amazing and also I laugh at it the way the writer’s invocation of the speech of Hillary Clinton as a reference. And hence even it seems that the writer is knowingly or unknowingly exposing implicitly his siding with the WEST as if the WEST is a SAINT we have to accept it undoubtedly as our holly savior. There is a saying that when the big elephants are fighting it is the lawn that gets hurt in between. When the WEST is aggressively building military bases in 3rd world countries to maintain its interest then China wisely started building roads and buildings and other infrastructures.
    And even also when the West is giving aid money to Ato Meles,Ato Meles used the money to make contracts with China. It only do not matter who does what as an intermediate of the entire process but also mainly what is the end-game of this whole process or showdown? Whether China comes to us passively with such unconditional cooperation, which is by far better, or whether the WEST comes to us aggressively through occupation under the disguise of democracy and humanitarian mission (as is the case in Libya) the most important thing to seriously question is as to what is the end-game. For now China’s approach is by far better than that of the WEST. But eventually through time what matters the most is neither being pro-china nor pro-West but rather what matters most is what we have internally at home. There is no such a thing as a detached concept of foreign policy. Foreign policy is the reflection of internal self and internal policies and values. Why our own leaders whom we have blood relations, our sisters and brothers fathers and mothers start to have love affairs first with foreigners rather than that of their own local population? What matters most deep deep inside is whether our leaders are nationalist who have the desired loyalty, respect and love for their country and peoples not rather whether they are dictators or democrats or whether they are pro-West or Pro-china. The most Am zing and tragic thing I happen to understand from such articles is that rather than primarily defending and advancing the interest of our people where we belong to rather why do we as such worry and want to evaluate our rulers based on their partnership with foreign powers rather than their relationship with us. We have to evaluate and judge our own leaders based on our own values and norms not based on whether they are pro-west or pro-EAST or not either based on what the WEST or the EAST says about them. All rival global powers are scrambling in Africa for their own primary interest. And hence such rival global powers depending on the situations and exiting realities sometimes they stop confrontation and/or compromise differences and form alliance between themselves, like is the case in Libya, and sometimes they confront one another as is the case now a days in Syria or may be tomorrow regarding Iran.
    The most important thing regarding African and 3rd world leaders is more of regarding their allegiance with their own country and peoples rather than with that of foreign powers. There is external pressure and also internal pressure. And to which force they succumb to matters most. As far as I happen to understand China is even following more of democratic values passively and wisely than that of the WEST in that it does not enforce as is the writers puts it (China’s policy of “noninterference” (a/k/a “hear no evil, see no evil and say no evil” about Africa’s dictators) preconditions to have ties with 3rd world countries. Rather the West is using double standards in that it is becoming so hypocritical in that at one time it seems that it advocates democratic governments and at the other times it hampers democratic movements not in line with its own interests and also at the same time it is working closely not only with dictatorial regime but also with aristocratic monarchies as is the case in GCC countries. And the current Arab spring is very telling of this intricate reality that is beyond our stereotypical and black and white polarized analysis based one mere local dictatorship and democracy. Therefore what is currently the pervasive governing rule is neither democracy nor dictatorship but rather the dictatorship of global-capitalism. And the fight is not merely based on stereotypical democracy nor dictatorship but rather based on class structure that is between the poor and the rich. Deep deep inside that is the nature of the fight. Deep deep inside it is the fight between evil and good that is between selfishness and greediness and that of altruistic socialist values and ideologies. Deep deep inside it is the fight between “only and only I first and then others” and that of “love others as you love yourself”. Deep deep inside it is the fight between that of individualism (I) first as is the case in the West and that of socialism (WE) first as is the case in the EAST. And therefore I ask the writer to which block we Ethiopians and Africans really mainly belong to? However I am not saying that there is such a clear cut black and white boundary regarding the I and WE conundrum. But I am some how trying to mention the basic underlying decisive values between the EAST and WEST. Therefore rather than labeling our rulers as hyenas when they make ties with CHINA and also may be rather than labeling them as …. (I do not know what the writer may say) when they make ties with the West, then why not we explore, find, create and then establish our own inherent and authentic brand values as Africans? And therefore it is better that we stop wavering between the EAST and the WEST and rather better find our true self as Africans. When the writer mentions Hilary Clinton as an absolute righteous reference for his analysis, it seems that he is blindly supporting the WEST as if it is an absolute SAINT. China was recent victim of Japanese colonialism. And hence the Chinese pretty well know what colonialism means better than that of Western peoples.
    The writer does not seem to remind the FIRST-WE inherent values of Chinese peoples and is rather totally immersed in the First-ME liberal ideologies of the WEST.
    Now to all writers and readers in Abugida I want to remind the choice regarding this basic determining fundamental ideology in human dynamism. The choice and fight between FIRST-ME and FIRST-WE. And hence let us all make break down analysis and judgments in this regard rather than always hyping the issues of dictatorship and its counter part bogus democracy through mere elections. As far as I understand the Chinese system is based on the fundamentally and primary governing ideology of FIRST-WE. For them It does not as such matter who is in power or how comes to power with regard to the bogus democracy (for them it is more of a means not an end by itself) but rather what matters most is what is practically done eventually as an end game for the majority mass. As far as I understand most of us are mainly focusing on bogus democracy that is more of a means rather than an end if we view it from the vast perspectives of life in general. Think of a billion Chinese peoples who try to directly implement Western style democracy and its values. The western style capitalist system systematically controls the mass through bogus democracy through election but the mass can not control the system through election. When the occupy movements, mainly in US and UK, directly targets the source of the mess that is the super rich 1%(in fact very less than even 1 %) then we are seeing it how is the harsh crack down response against the movements. And hence it is good that such events happen so that to seriously question about what sort of democracy we are talking in the first place. Well then the government of China will also do the same thing if mass demonstrations are seriously targeted against the prevailing system there.
    And hence our stereotypical understanding about democracy is even in quandary. And hence we are in very moment of time in history to rise above the already established paradigm set-up of bogus democracy that is hyped and inculcated by the WEST.
    And hence writers like the respected honorable Alemayehu and others Ethiopians better think beyond the paradigms of Western style values and Western style democracy. And that is why the writer labels African leaders as hyenas just only because they have ties with China. How about those who have ties with the WEST?
    Finally I want to assert that such narrow black and white polarized thinking does not take us any where with regard to our own interest. Therefore we better internalize rather than externalize our issues. Let’s not make bogus democracy through elections as an end-game by itself and let’s critically think and make paradigm shift, in fact that is pragmatic and not delusional, and think beyond this conundrum of bogus democracy. Let’s create and establish our own culture of internal solidarity harmony and allegiance first as a viable and meaningful nation-states rather than simply siding with global rival power blocks with out having this in advance preliminary fundamental internal identity and integrity that is at the level of nation-statehood.

    God bless Ethiopia and the whole world!!!

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