President Obama Had His Chance and He Blew It

The historic visit to Ethiopia afforded President Obama an opportunity to help end annimosity between Eritrea and Ethiopia
The historic visit to Ethiopia afforded President Obama a golden opportunity to solidify his laurel as a Nobel Peace Prize winner by helping end the state of no-peace no-war affair between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Alas! He just blew it.

By Alem Fisshatzion,

As the first sitting American president to visit Ethiopia, President Barak Obama had a golden opportunity to right a whole long chain of wrongs; the first of which inevitably should have been to stop baby-cuddling the Ethiopian regime and turning a blind eye to their dangerous regional destabilization policies.

As guarantor to the Algiers agreement which Ethiopia openly and stubbornly continue to defy, it is both the duty and moral obligation of the United States to see to it that Ethiopia complies or face consequences. Instead, it is the victim, Eritrea, whom the International Community under the leadership of the US has chosen to punish.

President Obama was vociferously criticized both domestically and internationally for visiting Ethiopia at this juncture, the culmination of that nation’s lengthy track record of human rights abuses against its own population, crimes against its neighbors and in short, being a threat to stability in the Horn of Africa.

As the leading supporter and aid donor to Ethiopia, the US has a lot of muscle to wield and bring about significant changes in Ethiopia’s policies of aggression in the region and being a general deterrent to lasting peace and stability in the region. Well, Obama did get the chance to be the architect of peaceful co-existence to the Horn of Africa and he blew it. He did not take along with him anything new to Africa. Instead, he continues to support and praise the criminal regime in Addis. What the American taxpayer has paid for in essence, is a nice weekend for Obama in exotic East Africa and a chance for him to visit his roots. Alex Hailey, at least paid his own fare when he visited his roots in the Gambia.

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READ MORE : President Obama: Tear Down the Wall Between Eritrea and Ethiopia
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As the legendary Bob Marley once sang: “you can fool some people sometimes, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. We are aware, and have always been wise to the various shenanigans of the United States of America, the organs of the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union whenever the question about Eritrea is tabled. We know that if these entities had their wish, the nation of Eritrea would never have seen the light of day, let alone be a successful thriving, and rapidly developing nation today.

It is rather sad that the world at large, and the present generation today who have not made the effort to delve into the annals of history and examine for themselves the very well documented chain of atrocities and shameful treatment that Eritrea has suffered as a nation from the United Nations, Great Britain and the United States of America. There is no doubt in my mind that if the mainstream media of today were to publicize the events that have transpired around the dawn of the birth of present day Eritrea at the beginning of the 1940s, more than half the world would hasten to reverse their wrong perception of Eritrea and indeed realize that Eritrea really is the victim of a very long and shameful systematic series of violations, plundering and acts of injustice. Mainstream media, however, has clearly shown that they would rather continue to regurgitate lies and fabrications about Eritrea than to honor their moral and ethical obligation to remain honest, impartial, objective and unbiased.

Several institutions have also adopted the popular practice of copy-and-paste technique of compiling reports on Eritrea. A very bright example of mainstream media’s tactics about smothering Eritrea is the ridiculously childish and unprofessional snubbing of the gigantic 10,000 strong #HandsOffEritrea Europe-wide Eritrean demonstration on 22nd June 2015, in Geneva. This event was preceded by the now infamous biased and bogus report on Eritrea’s human rights situation presented by the Commission of Inquiry (COI) of the UN on 8th June 2015. On that day, the Eritrean diaspora in Europe made their voice heard; so did thousands more in California, USA; and yet thousands more in Melbourne Australia. That was just one of the many ways that we Eritreans pride ourselves in showing the whole world how unified and bonded we traditionally are.

It is true that history repeats itself, but if the United States continue to hope that Eritrea will ever be brought to her knees and succumb to ever return under the yoke of Ethiopian occupation again, then Obama and all his successors better re-think again. Gone are the days when Ethiopia  will ever decide who will maintain a Base on Eritrean soil without the consent and blessing of the government and people of Eritrea. Ethiopia no longer has any say at all about using Kagnew Base to play the world powers against each other in exchange for their favours . The whole world is aware that the Horn of Africa is one of the most strategic but also volatile spots on earth and that Eritrea is the grandstand location to control that very vital waterway. Ethiopia is land logged and has always been. The United States’ ploy in incorporating Eritrea into Ethiopia thereby giving Ethiopia access to the waters of the Red Sea will never happen again.

By the way, that alliance between the US and Ethiopia did not end well at all: as soon as the puppet Imperial Majesty was unceremoniously ousted from power by the bloodthirsty Colonel Mengistu in 1974, one of the first things he did was to kick the US out of the Base and hand it over to the USSR to whom he was now fraternizing with and pledging eternal allegiance.

The US with all their National Security Advisers ought really to fathom by now that it is high time that they started reckoning with Eritrea. That means stopping all these meaningless and baseless sanctions against Eritrea and immediately and unconditionally reinstate her as a full-fledged member of the International Community, based on mutual respect. The US’ continued backing of deceitful Ethiopia does not help the Ethiopian people or the region and it is a constant cause of embarrassment for Washington.

How can we take the US seriously when they turn the other way while Ethiopia is the main source of destabilization and insecurity at home and around in the neighbourhood? Even Susan Rice enjoyed a hearty laugh with reporters recently when she was asked at a press conference about the ruling party’s ridiculous claims of winning 100 percent of the contested seats of parliament in the May election.

I can’t help quoting Bruh Tesfa’s article “UN Human Rights Council’s Intervention on Eritrea: Dispelling the Myth”. The situation cannot be better described than Bruh puts it:

The UN Human Rights Council’s report on Eritrea’s human rights has little to do with the country’s human rights situation, if any. It’s a matter of historical record that the current UNHRC report is the continuation of the never-ending hostility and a political plot to undermine Eritrea’s sovereignty and its independent political path. If one thinks the measures that have been taken by the United nations against the state and people of Eritrea, including the illegal sanctions and the deafening silence and total disregard to the call to implement the border ruling, are born out of love for the people, then it’s time that he/she wakes up from the deep sleep he/she is in and get with the reality of the world.

The International Community sits idly aside and watches while Etiopia holds a whole nation to ransom and proudly proclaim that the Ethio/Eritrean situation of “No war, No Peace” can continue rather indefinitely. Well, to them, we say: “silence is consent”.  This is the twenty-first century and what all peace-loving nations are striving at is “No war, Much Peace”.

During his much criticized visit to Addis, however, President Obama has half-heartedly made feeble efforts to break that silence by urging Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to minimize their hindering of press freedom and adopt political openness. I must reiterate that Obama has the chance to right most of the wrongs Eritrea has been subjected to and make this visit one that is as much remembered forever in the same caliber as President Nixon’s historical visit to China in the 1970’s.

President Obama also addressed the African Union meeting on Tuesday 28th July 2015 in Addis Ababa before ending his luxury tour of the Horn of Africa. Again, sadly, nothing of significance that the world will remember Obama by doing something to promote lasting peace and stability came out of that. The only way the world can remember Obama’s visit to Ethiopia is that he was the only sitting US president who travelled halfway across the globe to give moral support to a very aggressive dictatorship and legitimize their efforts in derailing stability and being a menace. Call a spade a spade!