Date: Fri May 01 2009 - 20:34:59 EDT
Meles Zenawi, Gordon Brown, George Bush, Tony Blair Et Al...
Ahead of the 2005 sham elections in Ethiopia, George Bush and Tony Blair assembled a group of African leaders as key figures to represent Africa’s interest in the G8 gathering in Gleneagles England in July of 2005. The African leaders were chosen to represent four specific regions with the exception of AU representative and the Ghanaian President who was likely at the meeting to honor the then General Secretary of UN Kofi Anan who is from Ghana. According to the design of Bush-Blair duo, South Africa’s Mbeki was representing the Southern part of Africa, Obasanjo of Nigeria represented Western Africa and Meles represented the East and the Horn of Africa. However, the whole charade was a show to give the appearance of inclusive West while the true agenda was the exploitation of Africa using a palatable process.
To promote these African leaders there was a media blitz designed to elevate their stature as democratic reformers. Meles was allowed to pal-around with celebrities such as Bono, Bob Geldof, Bill Clinton, Geoffrey Sachs and the like. He attended high profile forums, and was granted prime time one-on-one interviews by key opinion- maker-news-organizations such as the BBC and CNN. Christian Amanpour pulled-out all the stops. She went to Tigray Ethiopia, the birth place of Meles Zenawi, to promote better farming-method Geoffrey Sachs, Bono and Geldof promoted at the time. Amanpour gave Meles multiple opportunities to present and promote their ideas to the international community. As if anointed spokesperson of African ideals, Meles sat on major prime time forum by CNN moderated by Amanpour attended by key international figures including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to address poverty and related issues.
They waged a brilliant PR campaign with a slogan, “Make Poverty History.” The idea was to funnel money to underdeveloped countries in Africa using World Bank, African Development Bank and the IMF. The campaign was two pronged: first, to fight poverty by addressing aid to alleviate malaria, HIV Aids, debt relief and assistance for better farming methods. Secondly, and most importantly, they wanted to press “donor” countries to replenish the funds of IMF and other international banks. These were the key agendas and components of make-poverty-history.
Fast-forward to April 2, 2009, there is a New UK Prime minister Gordon Brown who was Lord of The Treasury during Tony Blair’s reign. There are new economic actors in the world which necessitated adjustment of numbers from G8 to G20. The economic situation for many countries is dire; the political dictatorship of the West has diminished somewhat challenged by new actors/powers. And sadly, the fate of many African countries remained the same. Poverty is not history, it is now and raging in Africa.
The G20 therefore was a simply a gathering and a photo-op for world leaders on a major stage. However, they agreed on one agenda-item; to replenish the coffers of the IMF by pledging additional trillion dollars. This is how the famed intellectual, author and professor Noam Chomsky characterized the meeting and its outcome in an interview he gave on April 13, 2009 with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman:
“Now, there was one point on which they agreed: a sharp recapitalization of the International Monetary Fund; pour a lot of money into the IMF. That’s a pretty dubious move. I mean, the record of the IMF has—the IMF is more or less a branch of the US Treasury, even though it has a European director. Its past role has been extremely destructive. In fact, its American US executive director captured its role when she described it as “the credit community’s enforcer,” meaning if a third world dictator incurs a huge debt—people didn’t, but the dictator did; say, Suharto in Indonesia—and then the debt defaults, the lenders, who have made plenty of money because it was a risky loan so they get high interest and so on, they have to be protected, meaning not by the dictator, by the people of Indonesia, who are subjected to harsh structural adjustment programs so that they can pay back the debt, which they didn’t incur, so that we can be compensated, rich Westerners can be compensated. So that’s the IMF, the credit community’s enforcer, a very destructive role in the third world. Now it’s to be recapitalized.”
The IMF, as Noam Chomsky put it correctly, does not have a good track record in developing countries. Its sole purpose is to put underdeveloped countries in debt and make them repay it with resources after they default. And even if the IMF claims to have changed its ways for the better, their actions contradict it. Mr. Chomsky elaborated further:
“Well, is there any reason to believe it will be different? In fact, if you look today, it’s quite striking to see the advice that the Western powers are following, the programs that they’re following, and compare them to the instructions given to the third world. So, say, take Indonesia again. Indonesia had a huge financial crisis about ten years ago, and the instructions were the standard ones: “Here is what you have to do. First, pay off your debts to us. Second, privatize, so that we can then pick up your assets on the cheap. Third, raise interest rates to slow down the economy and force the population to suffer, you know, to pay us back.” Those are the regular instructions the IMF is still giving them.”
In order to recapitalize IMF, the West needed African leaders to demonstrate a need for funding so they don’t appear to be shoving IMF to Africans. This dubious strategy quiets the critics while satisfying their constituencies in the West. So, they set up elaborate strategies to use African leaders such as Meles Zenawi to say Africa is in need of resources from the international community. The problem is these leaders are not accountable to the people they lead and do not represent Africans or African interests. They represent Western interest because they depend on the West for their survival and fortunes irrespective of the living conditions in their countries. That means African people have no representation at the G-20 or similar international gathering!
This highlights the hypocrisy, duplicity and callous disregard Tony Blair and Gordon Brown display for Africans all over in the name of fighting poverty. In June of 2005, Tony Blair embraced an embattled Meles Zenawi as a key African leader shortly after Meles killed 136 innocent unarmed demonstrating civilians. This is officially documented account of events by US State Department, US congressional offices and EU representatives in Ethiopia at the time. While Ethiopians were bloodied by brut force on the hands of the minority regime; Tony Blair sat on state-dinners, used the world stage as a photo- op and smiled with Meles. At a moment in history when events are documented by nanoseconds, Tony Blair embraced and shook the bloodied hands of Meles Zenawi a man responsible for ethnic-cleansing over 75,000 Eritreans from Ethiopia and boasted “we can kick any one out if we don’t like the color of their eyes.” It is difficult to comprehend why Tony Blair, George Bush and-co decided to ignore justice at a crucial moment in a world history by embracing a criminal who committed and still commits genocide, major crimes against humanity and broke international laws.
The reaction by key Meles supporters and friends such as Bono and Bob Geldof was even more striking. Bob Geldof told Meles to “Grow Up!” An indirect way of saying you embarrassed us, you fool. A timid and hypocritical response compared to their deafening cry for democracy elsewhere in Africa. As a result Bob Geldof was banned from Ethiopia denying him the world stage that he once owned as an advocate against famine. Bob Geldof and Bono were the public faces who played a crucial role by organizing the Live8 concert in June of 2005 ahead of the G8 gathering and put pressure on the gathering powers. They brilliantly sold it to the international community while at the same time promoting themselves. In addition, as members of organizations such as The Commission for Africa, they played key roles as opinion makers in promoting related agendas
Four years later and in the same spirit, Prime Minister Gordon Brown accorded another warm welcome to Meles Zenawi on April 2, 2009. This is significant because a) it demonstrated the callous disregard Gordon Brown and his likes have for Ethiopians in particular and Africans all over, b) affirmed that the rule of law, democracy and justice sermon they sing is one BIG LIE! And c) it is a demonstration of a consistent policy. This is especially true in comparison to the actions they have taken and pressure they exerted in Zimbabwe and with the indictment of Sudan’s President, Hassan Al Bashir. Their hypocrisy is boundless. And unfortunately, for the second time in four years they accomplished what they wanted; the commitment of trillion dollars from the donor countries to replenish IMF. Meles did exactly what he was expected to do, provide an African face and the sound-bite necessary to be echoed by major media outlets in the West. In that regard it was a winning and successful event for Gordon Brown.
However, the G20 gathering was even more significant for those who demonstrated against the presence of Meles and other causes. For the first time, such gathering was demonstrated by significant number of Africans. These Africans are part of publics who are directly impacted by policies Western leaders shoved on Africans for decades. It was also significant because for the fist time the demarcation line between the selfish-motives of the West and those who are being affected by the policies was delineated clearly and unambiguously. What Gordon Brown and-co did was a slap on the face of Africans and evidence of complicity to the crimes African leaders commit against their own people.
This means, for the first time, Africans have opportunities to level the field of justice for all leaders. The English language provides ammunition and opportunity for the justice seeker to hold criminal leaders of rich countries accountable. It is easy to see motive, intent, crime and evidence. They are culpable because they aid and abet. They are culprits and accomplices of the genocides and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by Meles Zenawi and others under their umbrella and with their political and economic support! It also means Africans should stop seeking justice from these wolves and see them with the same lens they see Meles Zenawi. Because these carnivores don’t care about all the things Africans hold dear. There is nothing in their history that suggests they can be just and serve the interest of Africans. To the contrary, African misery is in large part due to their mistreatment and malfeasance. They exploited Africa, enslaved Africans and colonized it mercilessly.
Hence, the responsibility to ensure peace, stability and prosperity lies clearly on Africans. What Diaspora Ethiopians did in London was brave, educational and a call for all Africans to be vigilant. While there is no expectation to see change on Western policies towards Africa; there is a new found momentum amongst young Africans who are beginning to fight the destructive polices of the west. In addition, there is hope for President Obama to turn away from the greed laced policies that helped to destroy the lives of millions of Africans for centuries. That is the only hope!
In the meantime, after his return from Gleneagles England, emboldened Meles Zenawi is confidently continuing to implement what he planned during the Bush and Blair era. He is eradicating any and all political oppositions by killing and putting them in jail in the pretext of protecting Orange-Revolution, coup-plots and terror threats. Meles is also trying the Obama administration while at the same time hoping to get similar support he received during the Bush and Blair era. The question is can Ethiopians and Africans expect Gordon Brown, Bob Geldof, Bono, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and others to exert the kind of pressure they exerted and actions they took in Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iraq and other places on Meles Zenawi? Don’t hold your breath. Meles is their mercenary gang leader!
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