By Bereket Kidane,
THE West has always treated African leaders like children. They always talk down to them. They don’t show them the respect that is shown to heads of state from other parts of the world.
In keeping with past practice of slights and departure from protocol, the Obama White House announced this weekend that every African leader that has received an invite for the White House Summit will be tested for the Ebola Virus without exception. How demeaning and disrespectful is that?
Some have written about the fact that President Isaias was not on the invite list. It looks like he has already been vindicated before the summit even started. Why would any self-respecting leader subject himself and his country to that kind of disrespect?
He would not have come anyway had he been invited. He would have politely said “No Thank you” as he did to the Europe-Africa Summit that was held in Brussels this past April.
Part of the reason the West disapproves of Eritrea and its leader is because Eritrea refuses to be dictated to and insists on being treated as an equal partner when it comes to issues of development assistance, foreign investment as well as political matters. It goes without saying that foreign aid is anything but altruistic in nature.
The thinking in Western capitals is, “How dare Eritrea tries to be different! How dare she!” Of course, African countries are not allowed to think for themselves.
According to US News and World Report, the Obama White House has already announced that it is going to break protocol tradition and not allow the African leaders a one-on-one meeting with the President. African leaders are asking what the point of their trip is then?
In another break with protocol, the White House is telling African ambassadors that there will not be a final document after the summit is over.
The fact that the summit is held on President Obama’s birthday has led many critics to believe that this is more of a legacy program for the president than a working meeting with real results.