by Alemayehu G Mariam (Professor)
It is a big international secret that Ethiopia today is in the middle of a Biblical famine.
For the second time since 1984-85!
Last week, the Global Post headlined an article posing the question:
Ethiopia is facing its worst drought in 30 years. Can the government stop famine this time?
The “government” of Ethiopia Global Post is asking if it can stop the famine is a thugtatorship known as the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Back in 1984-85, the TPLF was a terrorist group in Ethiopia.
Today, the TPLF is still classified as a terrorist group by the Global Terrorism Database.
The question precisely framed is: Can the T-TPLF stop the famine in Ethiopia? (The “T-” signifies thugtatorship. A “thugtatorship” is a “government” of thugs, for thugs, by thugs.)
The answer is: Can the T-TPLF stop begging, panhandling the world for food?
For the past 24 years, the T-TPLF has dealt with the problem of famine in Ethiopia by begging international food aid and handouts every single year.
There is little difference between the T-TPLF international food aid and alms addicts and the crystal meth addicts lurking in downtown street alleys in America.
They both gotta have it.
The only difference is that the T-TPLF addicts wear ill-fitting designer suits, often one or two sizes too big.
How can anyone be so devoid of self-dignity that they have made begging a profession, a way of life?
How can anyone make an industry out of begging?
The T-TPLF beggars remind me of fitting verse in Shakespeare’s King John:
Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail,
And say there is no sin but to be rich;
And being rich, my virtue then shall be
To say there is no vice but beggary.
The T-TPLF leaders have made a virtue of beggary.
They see no vice in beggary even after they have become filthy rich from corruption and aid-profiteering.
The evidence of T-TPLF beggary over the past eight years provides conclusive proof that the T-TPLF is a regime of beggars.
In February 2014, it was reported that “Ethiopia finds itself in critical need of donors’ assistance, in order to feed 2.7 million people.” That was for early 2014. U.S. tax payers shelled out $218 million.
In 2013, Ethiopia received nearly $700m in humanitarian aid to feed over 4 million people. U.S. tax payers shelled out $236 million.
In September 2012, “The Ethiopian government announced 3.7 million of its citizens will require humanitarian assistance between August and December of this year, up from 3.2 million in January.” U.S. taxpayers shelled out $307 million.
In 2011, international humanitarian food aid to Ethiopia amounted to nearly $500 million. U.S taxpayers shelled out $313 million.
In August 2010, UN FAO reported, “An estimated 5.2 million [Ethiopians] still depend on emergency food assistance and agencies agree on a severe situation of high hunger in the long term.”
In a 2010 Report, Human Rights Watch documented the cynical and deadly games the T-TPLF has played using donor-financed fertilizer, seeds, food aid and jobs to build an extensive network of local officials, militias and spies to control who gets what, when and how. The T-TPLF snagged $588 million in international humanitarian aid.
In 2010, the Office of the Inspector General of the State Department concluded that there is no way to tell what USAID is doing with hundreds of millions of American tax dollars in Ethiopia:
While USAID/Ethiopia is contributing to the achievement of market-led economic growth and the improved resilience of farmers, pastoralists, and other beneficiaries in Ethiopia, it is not possible to determine the extent of that contribution because of weakness in the mission’s performance management and reporting system.
In 2009, the U.N. reported, “Some 4.8 million Ethiopians will require emergency food and related aid costing $270 million for the first six months of 2010.” U.S. taxpayers shelled out $346 million.
In August 2009, The Independent, the British national paper reported, “Millions of impoverished Ethiopians face the threat of malnutrition and possibly starvation this winter in what is shaping up to be the country’s worst food crisis for decades. Estimates of the number of people who need emergency food aid have risen steadily this year from 4.9 million in January to 5.3 million in May and 6.2 million in June.”
In 2008, the T-TPLF pocketed $479 million in American tax dollars in the name of “humanitarian assistance”.
Last week, the New York Times reported, “The Ethiopian government announced that about 8.2 million people are in need of food assistance, up from the 4.55 million estimated in August.”
The report wondered if Ethiopia is going to be once more “a poster child for humanitarian aid”.
The T-TPLF has made Ethiopia the international “poster land” for the Black Horseman (famine) of the Apocalypse.
In two months, the T-TPLF estimate of Ethiopians facing famine doubled from 4.5 million to 8.2 million people.
That’s the stupid numbers game the T-TPLF is playing.
The T-TPLF will not tell the truth all at once. They will throw in the numbers casually in bits and pieces hoping no one notices.
Following the current trend line, is there any question that by the end of the year the T-TPLF will announce the famine is affecting 12 million Ethiopians.
By summer 2016, when Mr. El Nino arrives in full regalia, 25 million Ethiopians will be looking at the Black Horseman straight in the eye.
Courtesy of the T-TPLF.
The T-TPLF thinks they are outsmarting and confusing everyone. They are fooling only themselves.
The fact of the matter is that every single year for the past twenty-four years, the T-TPLF has been begging for emergency food assistance and slurping up hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. and other Western donors.
The T-TPLF has refined the art of begging to such an exquisite level that I coined a new phrase to describe it, the “baksheesh (beggar) state.”
In October 2014, I introduced the concept of the “baksheesh state” to analyze regimes and states that sustain themselves primarily through international alms (aid + loans) and engage in aid/loan racketeering (use of legitimate organizations for illegal purposes) through a variety of corrupt practices.
The T-TPLF baksheesh state is exactly the kind of beggar state the noted Nigerian nationalist, author and statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, warned Africans to beware.
In 1967, at the 4th Summit meeting of the Organization of African Unity, Chief Awo sternly and prophetically warned:
Today, Africa is a Continent of COMPETING BEGGAR NATIONS. We vie with one another for favours from our former colonial masters; and we deliberately fall over one another to invite neocolonialists to come to our different territories to preside over our economic fortunes…
… We may continue and indeed we will be right to continue to use the power and influence which sovereignty confers, as well as the tactics and manoeuvres which international diplomacy legitimatises, to extract more and more alms from our benefactors. But the inherent evil remains—and it remains with us and with no one else: unless a beggar shakes off and irrevocably turns his back on, his begging habit, he will forever remain a beggar. For, the more he begs the more he develops the beggar characteristics of lack of initiative, courage, drive and self-reliance.’” (Emphasis added.)
Nearly one-half century after Chief Awolowo’s warning, the T-TPLF has become the shining example, the poster boys for African beggars.
Can the T-TPLF feed 9 million Ethiopians facing famine today?
By begging the world for food?
Beg. Beg. Beg. Beg…
No country in history ever beat famine by panhandling and begging.
How could Ethiopia?
It is well-established that Ethiopia has been and remains Africa’s largest recipient of foreign aid.
Foreign aid is a fancy word for alms on a grand scale. It is given to beggar regimes in the name of their countries.
According to Global Humanitarian Assistance, “in 2012, Ethiopia received US$484 million in international humanitarian assistance, making it the seventh largest recipient. Initial estimates for 2013 total US$550 million.” It further reported, “Ethiopia has been in the top 10 recipients of humanitarian assistance in all of the last 10 years. Humanitarian assistance peaked at US$937 million in 2008, when it was the second largest recipient.”
In other words, under the T-TPLF, Ethiopia has been the largest beggar nation in all of Africa and in the top ten beggar countries in the world for over a decade.
According to the Development Assistance Group ETHIOPIA, Official Development Assistance given to Ethiopia for 2008 was $3.819 billion, $3,525 billion in 2010 and $3,563 billion in 2011.
In 2011, “Britain chose Ethiopia to be its biggest recipient of development aid during the next four years.”
The U.S. increased its aid to the TPLF regime from nearly $1.8 billion in 2005 to nearly $3.5 billion in 2008.
The T-TPLF has been in overdrive nearly doubling the alms it got from American taxpayers in three years.
The U.S. Government administers its food aid program in Ethiopia chiefly in partnership with the Relief Society of Tigray (REST).
Last year, USAID said, “REST is one of four NGO partners that implement the PSNP throughout Ethiopia with USAID support. Other partners include Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Hungry, and Save the Children.”
Now, who do you think gets the lion’s share (excuse me, hyena’s share) of the U.S. aid money?
What is REST?
REST is the same racketeering organization that stole international food aid in 1984-85 and converted it to military and private use of T-TPLF leaders.
I documented REST’s racketeering activities in my May 2010 commentary “Licensed to Steal” in the Huffington Post.
REST’s racketeering activity with famine aid over three decades ago was simply breathtaking in its demonic ingenuity.
At the onset of the food aid scam in 1984, REST used a three-staged process of deception.
In stage one, one group of TPLF/REST officials masquerading as legitimate grain merchants would approach the myriad NGOs involved in the distribution of food aid and offer to sell them substantial quantities of grain for quick delivery to the famine victims.
At the time, the TPLF had acquired and stashed in secret warehouses grains from various sources, including NGOs, for use by its fighters. These secretly stashed grain stockpiles were in fact being offered for sale to the NGOs. The TPLF/REST “grain dealers” would complete the sale transaction and return back to their hideouts with the payment from the NGOs.
In stage two, another group of TPLF/REST operatives would take over the responsibility of delivering the relief aid inside Tigrai. To inspire confidence in the NGO’s, TPLF/REST officials would facilitate spot checks of grain stockpiles in their own secret warehouses. But the warehouses were tricked out. According to a TPLF member who witnessed the scam, “if you go there, half of the warehouse was stacked full of sand.” The NGO representatives would perform visual inspections of the stockpiles, give their approval and cross back into the Sudan to conduct additional grain purchases.
In the third stage, the same or different group of TPLF/REST officials would go back to the NGOs and make a pitch for additional sales of grains for delivery in a different part of Tigrai. These offers did not involve any new or fresh supplies of grain. Instead, stockpiles of grain already in secret storage facilities in various locations throughout Tigrai were trucked around to new locations, giving the appearance to the NGOs that fresh supplies of grain were being bought in and delivered. Since the aid workers have no means of independently verifying the grain that is being shuttled from one location to another from completely fresh shipments, they would perform cursory inspections and make payments.
In that manner, TPLF/REST was able to sell and resell multiple times the same previously acquired stockpile of grain (and sand) to the NGOs generating millions of dollars in revenue. TPLF/REST used various ways and techniques in 1985 to maximize its business transactions with the NGOs and in selling grain shipments sent by donor countries.
In 2009, the U.S. State Department promised to investigate allegations that “$850 million in food and anti-poverty aid from the U.S. is being distributed on the basis of political favoritism by the current prime minister’s party.”
No report has ever been issued. (I have challenged USAID countless times to produce the investigative report on use of American tax dollars for “political favoritism” or acknowledge that fact that the T-TPLF piranahs have eaten $850 million American taxpayer dollars as USAID personnel hung around posh hotels sipping cognac and munching on caviar.)
Today the U.S. Government has chosen to use REST, the same racketeering organization, to deliver food aid to famine-stricken Ethiopians.
Imagine the U.S. Government making long-term partnership arrangements (to borrow USAID’s phrase describing its relationship with REST) with the Mafia Commissione or Cupola for the distribution of public assistance and social services to the urban poor in America.
American taxpayers would be outraged by such action of their government.
But unbeknown to American tax payers, that is exactly what their government is doing with their hard-earned tax dollars in Ethiopia by partnering with the T-TPLF.
There is now a new deception game being rolled out before our eyes today by the T-TPLF and its Western donors and loaners. They say the famine in Ethiopia today is caused by some “guy” called “El Nino.”
The T-TPLF and its Western donor and loaner co-conspirators now say El Nino (“a warming in sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific causes unusually heavy rains in some parts of the world and drought elsewhere”) but for El Nino there would not be famine in Ethiopia today.
Some guy named Abraham Tekeste, an alleged junior T-TPLF minister, was quoted by the resident Bloomberg reporter in Ethiopia last week stating that the famine is a product of a “clear El Nino effect” and as result “growth of about 10 percent is still achievable in the 12 months to July 7.”
What a crock of ***t!
The Bloomberg reporter did not challenge Tekeste on the bogus “10 percent growth” that has NEVER happened under the T-TPLF and the fact that El Nino has little to do with the explosive famine today.
The T-TPLF’s cheerleaders, some foreign reporters based in Ethiopia and others elsewhere continue to shamelessly perpetuate the BIG LIE about Ethiopia’s “double-digit economic growth”.
I completely and totally discredited the “double digit economic growth” canard years ago, but the foreign reporters continue to mindlessly repeat the lie in an attempt to appear journalistically fair to the T-TPLF.
I challenge any foreign reporter to disprove my evidence that the T-TPLF claim of double digit growth is totally bogus.
I demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt in my commentary The “World Bank and Ethiopia’s ‘Growth and Transformation’” that the T-TPLF claim of double digit growth is phonier than a birth certificate for Bigfoot.
Global Post claimed, “They [Ethiopians] now live in the world’s fastest-growing economy, overseen by a government that has halved the poverty rate in 20 years by running Africa’s largest social protection program.”
The Daily Nation, a leading newspaper in Kenya recently reported, “Today, Ethiopia’s near-double-digit economic growth and huge infrastructure investment makes the country one of Africa’s top-performing economies and a magnet for foreign investment.” That is simply false, false, false!!!
What a crock of ***t!
The fact of the matter is Ethiopia ranks 132nd (out of 189 economies) in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2015 report. In 2014, Ethiopia ranked 129 (slightly “better” than in 2015).
In the category “Starting a Business”, Ethiopia ranked 168 out of 189 economies in 2015. In 2014, Ethiopia ranked 165/189 in the same category (slightly “better” than in 2015).
Regardless of the facts, these willfully ignorant foreign journalists lazily and mindlessly parrot the crock of ***t they are fed by the T-TPLF and the international poverty pimps about Ethiopia’s economic growth and investment.
These foreign journalist are so witless that they do not even question how one of the “world’s fastest growing economy” is unable to feed its people and 10 percent of them (10 million) are facing famine?
Back in the day, the kind of reporting the foreign journalists do on Ethiopia “yellow journalism”.
What is hard to believe today is the fact that the foreign journalists swallow hook, line and sinker the canard about El Nino causing the famine in Ethiopia today.
These so-called journalists have chosen to be willfully ignorant of the fact that over the past 15 years, there have been at least 3 “El Ninos”, but none of them has produced famines in Ethiopia on the scale of what we see now, approaching 9 million people.
In fact, 1997-98 was ranked as the second “Very Strong” (highest rating) El Nino year since 1950, but there was no Biblical famine of the type we see in Ethiopia today.
According to the UN, the number of famine victims in Ethiopia could double by next year as “‘15 million people will require food assistance’ next year, more than inside war-torn Syria.” (Emphasis added.)
The report added, “Without a robust response supported by the international community, there is a high probability of a significant food insecurity and nutrition disaster.”
The T-TPLF and their Western donors and loaners think they are so smart that they can convince the world that the Ethiopian people are feasting when dying in famine.
A few weeks ago, an ignorant T-TPLF clown “minister of GCAO” named Redwan Hussien, acknowledged there is a critical food crises in the country “but dismissed the need for international food assistance.”
Redwan says Ethiopia does not need international assistance. Yet, the Ethiopian “government” says it needs aid to feed 8.2 million people facing famine.
The T-TPLF boobs cannot even get their stories straight.
Redwan also said, “We are able to feed ourselves and hence the magnitude of the problem has not been felt by the majority of the public including in areas affected by the shortage of rain.” (Emphasis added.)
So 8.2 million Ethiopians are feasting?
Is this Redwan chap in denial or is he just clowning with the lives of millions of Ethiopians?
Maybe he is just dumber than a box of rocks.
According to Redwan, the starving people of Ethiopia don’t know they are starving.
So the real question is: Can the likes of Redwan (and he is probably the crème de la crème of the T-TPLF) save 8.2 million Ethiopians from famine?
In September 2010, Redwan’s late master Meles Zenawi (the brain in the T-TPLF) pompously declared, “We have devised a plan which will enable us to produce surplus and be able to feed ourselves by 2015 without the need for food aid.”
In September 2015, Ethiopia is facing a Biblical famine.
The TPLF thugs delude themselves into believing that they can fool all of the people all of the time with their idiotic claims of “double-digit growth”, “investment magnet” and the rest of the crap they pump out.
They think no one will fact check them.
(To be fair, how many Ethiopian scholars, journalists, analysts, etc., actually fact check the T-TPLF to keep ’em honest?)
Well, the truth must be told. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Just as the T-TPLF are born liars, the opposition seems to be intellectually paralyzed and has flat-lined on the EEG machine.
The worst is yet to come
In 2011, U.S. Census Bureau made the frightening prediction that Ethiopia’s population by 2050 will more than triple to 278 million.
By 2025, ten years from now, the U.S. Census Bureau projects Ethiopia will have 131 million people.
Ethiopia cannot feed 99 million people today.
It could not feed 87 million in 2010.
It could not feed 78 million people in 2006.
How the hell is Ethiopia going to feed 131 million people in 2025?
Ethiopia is heading at warp speed in the direction of a “Malthusian catastrophe” (where disease, starvation, war, etc. will reduce the population to the level of food production) in the foreseeable future.
Famine in Ethiopia is not made by “El Niñ0”, “El Niña” or “El Chapo”.
It is not made by drought.
It is made by BAD GOVERNANCE!
It is made by the “El Patróns” of the T-TPLF.
That is what Wolfgang Fengler, a lead economist for the World Bank, said in 2011:
The famine in the Horn of Africa is a result of artificially high prices for food and civil conflict than natural and environmental causes. This crisis is manmade. Droughts have occurred over and again, but you need bad policymaking for that to lead to a famine.” In other words, it is bad and poor governance that is at the core of the famine problem in Ethiopia, not drought or other environmental causes. (Emphasis added.)
The El Patróns of the T-TPLF will never eradicate famine in Ethiopia.
The El Patróns of the T-TPLF came to power by riding the 1984-85 famine like the Black Horseman.
Famine is mother’s milk to the El Patróns 0f the T-TPLF (no pun intended).
Famine is a big business for the El Patróns T-TPLF in Ethiopia.
Famine was a big business for the El Patróns of T-TPLF in Ethiopia 1984-85.
Famine is a lucrative business for the El Patróns of the T-TPLF in Ethiopia in 2015.
A big famine will be a big cash cow (no pun intended) for the El Patróns of the T-TPLF in 2016.
The El Patróns of the T-TPLF are licking their chops and stretching out their begging bowls at the gates of the diplomatic missions and embassies bleating, “Baksheesh, please. Alms for the starving!”
The famine business will be exceptionally good for the El Patróns of the T-TPLF in 2016.
I can imagine the El Patróns of the T-TPLF with pom poms in hand cheering during their Famine Festival:
“What do we want? FAMINE! When do we want it? NOW!”
To ask the T-TPLF to eradicate famine is like asking the Mafia to eradicate loansharking, racketeering, trafficking and political corruption.
The answer to the question, “Can the T-TPLF stop the famine in Ethiopia today?” is another question.
“Can the Mafia stop committing crimes today?”
Whoever said, “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay.”?
Well!!! The weed of famine also bears a bitter fruit. But famine does pay for the luxurious lifestyles of the El Patróns of the T-TPLF!
To be continued…