Starvation and Ethnic Cleansing Stalk Ethiopia

Originally published at: https://quillette.com/2021/03/07/starvation-and-ethnic-cleansing-stalk-ethiopia/

“Forgetful of the world, by whom they were forgotten,” wrote eminent 18th-century British historian Edward Gibbon of the “Aethiopians” as they “slept near a thousand years.” Ethiopia remains the only African country not colonised—its rugged mountainous terrain kept out intruders and helped to preserve one of Africa’s most unique cultures. The country is far more prominent…

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I would love to say something insightful about it, but this is horrible, and sounds like a lot of African history.

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We cannot rescue them.

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Wakanda forever.

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The Wilsonian conception of the Nation-State is pretty hollow, when the region, historically governed by a historical dynasty, is just some agglommeration of sub-tribes swearing allegiance to power, in which the reigning power can protect. There are seldom good answers from high or outside when the dynasty breaks down. No promises which can be kept. It’s every family for itself. And the fighting is tragic. It leads into a local dark age, in a radioactive region, where anything attenot to effect change likely makes it worse.

And yet how can the Western do-gooders, with resources to contribute, not try to help? Helping is a moral imperative, even when the goal in unclear and the result llkely worse.

What armor should we put on, before we go in pretending to have wise solutions.

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I’m afraid do-gooders often do no good. Humanitarian aid lines the pockets of the dictators and their henchmen. Really, all the do-gooders did is give Abiy a Nobel Peace Prize and salute him as a “liberal democrat”. How are the same clots who did that going to “save” Ethiopia? (insert pained laugh here). Also, the West can help as it much as it wants, and all it will get is hatred and blame in return. The West has been “helping” Africa since the 1960s. God alone knows the resources and money that has been spent. Not one dent has been made. People can say stupid shit about how, let’s say, Bill Gates has saved “millions” from malaria. It’s not true, but even if it were, Africa quickly cooks up new ways to keep lives brutish and/or short.

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I spent a good amount of time in East Africa. The issues are often more diverse than are often reported in the rest of the world.

There are no simple solutions unfortunately.

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2.3 trillion, from the advanced economies overall, and the West specifically. Much of it was wasted, but it very much depended upon how the money was spent. Top-down approaches, so typical of government, were of course doomed to failure, but a retail approach- driven by an understanding of conditions on the ground, much like an altruistic form of entrepreneurship, proved far more successful.

In one example, effective altruism- decided in offices and public meetings in the West, deemed mosquito nets a priority- with nets shipped in bulk and freely distributed. The result was many nets destined for waste dumps, cut-up to make wedding dresses and used for fishing. A few smarter cookies decided to use free market principles. First, wealthier households were sold mosquito nets at a profit, making them an aspirational good. Then nurses were given a small commission for promoting the nets to their patients in clinics. The ‘net’ result was a far greater uptake of nets, and the project became cost-neutral in contributions, because of the for-profit sales.

This is bad news from Ethiopia. Since 2004 Ethiopia has been one of Africa’s success stories. According to the World Bank, GDP growth has ranged from 13.6% to 6.8%. In 2003 GDP per capita was $119.49 and by 2019 it had climbed to $855.76. It’s not just the direct consequences of war and violence through civil unrest which cause humanitarian crises. By 2019, starvation and much of the disease which comes along with it, was confined to war zones and areas too disrupted for aid workers and convoys to safely enter.

Still, it’s a snapshot of what life was like before the Enlightenment. It should make us grateful for the material transformation much of the world has experienced, along with the stability it brings.

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It is awful and, for those who point out the horrors of colonization, note it never was.

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TPLF is the ISIS of Ethiopia - a terrorist organization which has to be dismantelled if we want peace in Ethiopia and the region. https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/ethiopia-many-crimes-tplf No wonder if there is starvation in Ethiopia when all the AID money is looted by the “liberators” - https://satenaw.com/top-20-richest-tigray-peoples-liberation-front-tplf-terrorist-ganges-slaving-ethiopia/

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The modern history of Ethiopia as I understand it:

The royal family (Haile Selassie et al) were in charge. Then in the 1970s there was a coup (led by Mengistu) that established a Marxist regime. In the 1980s there was the famine (centered in Tigray as I learned from this article), that killed about a million. In the 1990s, Mengistu’s regime was overthrown by Tigrayan rebels (TPLF) who established their own authoritarian national regime. In 2018, the new prime minister Abiy started decentralizing reforms aimed at an ethnic federalism, and the Tigrayans lost power. Then during Covid 2020, Abiy delayed all regional elections, Tigray held them anyway, and he sent in the national army to depose the (illegitimate) Tigrayan regional government.

The former province of Eritrea also plays a role in this. Eritrea had a long-running separatist movement, and gained independence around the time of Mengistu’s fall, becoming a one-party state that has only ever known the same leader. Eritrea neighbors Tigray, and fought a border war with Ethiopia during the period of Tigrayan dominance. A peace treaty was not signed until Abiy.

During this time, Ethiopian population more than tripled, from 30 million in the 1970s to 115 million now. And one more twist (I learned this from the first link provided by @Melese1950), Tedros the director-general of WHO, who has become well-known during the Covid pandemic, was a minister of health and then foreign minister, for the TPLF-led government.

Late last year, James Jeffreys, the author of this article, wrote that

foreign journalists [working there during the TPLF-led period] … were routinely accused of being TPLF stooges and sympathisers

and indeed one may find a 2017 article from an Ethiopian forum about Jeffreys, saying that as a foreign journalist he would have been

under a short leash of TPLF intelligence service

As a former British army captain now working from the US as a “freelance journalist” specializing in Ethiopia, Mr Jeffreys probably isn’t telling us everything about his own relationship to the country.

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Okay, I’m going to say something unpleasant. The West isn’t perfect (especially now) but it’s not as if African leaders haven’t seen Western technology or Western societies, and they do covet some of these things, like fancy cars or mansions, but rarely if ever, is there a desire to emulate these things. I mean, no one says: Okay,let’s do this: let’s make amazing cars, let’s build amazing bridges, let’s maintain roads, let’s rival Germans in efficiency, let’s be technological pioneers. It’s more like: let’s wait for Whitey to build stuff then take it, and if it breaks, we wait for him to make it again. I mean, people can hate me and call me racist, but how are black people ever going to stand on their own two feet if we keep saying: oh, that’s fine, honey, it’s my fault really etc? I mean, maybe the kindest thing to say, and the most respectful (i.e. speaking to someone as an equal) is: this is your mess, you fix it.

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I thought the attention whores celebrities already solved Africa’s problems. You mean it takes more than virtue signalling with a few songs? Wow, who would have guessed?

God help the Ethiopians and all the starving people of the world. This problem has existed since pre-Biblical times and is something of a Gordian Knot. A hundred years from now the media will still be reporting on this.

Perhaps Bill (and Melinda) Gates, the Masters of the Universe and all the unworthy, corrupt oligarchs can take over the job of feeding the world. It’s not like they don’t have the money to do it.

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It’s the Kobayashi Maru. It’s the no-win situation. No matter what we do, we will be the villains.

1993: Bill Clinton intervenes in Somalia. The famine was already over by the time US troops arrived. The result was the Mogadishu Massacre where 5,000 civilians died. America’s fault.

1994: Bill Clinton doesn’t intervene in Rwanda. Tutsi-Hutu slaughter ensues. Because America didn’t intervene, it was America’s fault.

Either way, we get blamed. The only winning move is not to play.

The establishment is now beginning to discover what many voters intuitively believed back in the 1990s. Building a globalist world order is much more expensive and difficult than it appeared in a quarter-century ago, when America was unopposed. Further, Washington’s foreign-policy establishment is neither as wise nor as competent as it believes itself to be. They just love playing the game of thrones, and just assume it’s always worth the price.

The most common objection I hear when I advocate non-interventionist foreign policy can essentially be boiled down to something like, “But- but- but if we’re not controlling the world all the time, then the world will be out of our control!” The argument, as I understand it, is that if the US-centralized empire stopped waging endless wars, staging coups, inflicting siege warfare upon civilian populations, patrolling the skies with flying death robots, arming terrorist militias, and torturing journalists who expose US war crimes, the bad guys might win.

When you do these things, you’re the bad guys.

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Beautiful, elegant connection to the Gordian Knot. Kudos!

I agree with everything you’ve written above. You are a lucid one.

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Unfortunately that is the history of Africa even prior to Western influence. Tribalism still predominates in most areas and it is a hard topic to address. TIA is a real thing.

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Ethiopia has a war-index (Kriegsindex, Gunnar Heinsohn) from about 5 to 6. That means that for every man between 55 to 59 there are 5 to 6 young men from 15 to 19 years to step in. Paired with a poor economy and strict social rules this leads to harsh competition between the young men. ( https://counter-currents.com/2020/03/its-the-population-stupid-gunnar-heinsohns-sohne-und-weltmacht/ )

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Resentment of Tigrean domination has been building for decades. The developmental disparity between Tigre and the south is stark. It is not entirely due to crony corruption, as unequal development in Tigre would not surprise me, even in the complete absence of any artificial advantages. But there has been plenty of crony corruption, and the post-Marxist regime has been a loose construction of ethno-states glued together by corruption.

Abiy is returning to the Emperor’s idea----strong center, ethno-neutral development for all. The other key strategy the Emperor pursued is inter marriage of the ethnic elites (he was himself a product of such) and western style education. It may be too late, time will tell. The Oromo south (to which Abiy belongs) was annexed late in the 19th c. by Menelik II, as a bulwark against French, English and Italian colonial forces massed in Somalia, Kenya and Sudan.

The Rastafarian community in Shashamane has not escaped the violence. The reprisals, however, have been discerning and selective, which I was gratified to hear. Not all Rastafarians were targeted indiscriminately.

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The Nelson Mandella success story has gone strangely quiet. Farmlands?

Speaking at the FT Africa Summit in London last year, Ramaphosa said South Africa lost $34bn, about a 10th of the country’s GDP, to corruption during the decade that his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, was in power. Ramaphosa, who took office as president in 2018, was Zuma’s deputy for four years.

“Corruption is a huge problem in South Africa,” McKinley said. “It is deep and runs all the way from the top down to district level. But it is not out of control or unique to South Africa alone. With the right leadership, it can be contained.”

30 years since Mandela was freed, where does South Africa stand? | Nelson Mandela News | Al Jazeera

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Perhaps we should be thankful that the Ethiopian government is keeping a tight media lock-down on Tigray. If they allowed the press in and social media postings, the outcry in the West do “do something” would be deafening. But as the author and many posts point out, it is unlikely we can do much that will help much.

Bottom line is that while everybody wants to “do something”, nobody wants to see their 18-year-old son get their butt shot off in the crossfire in a region they can’t find on the map.

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