By Berhane Kahsay, May 27, 2012
The way the so called VOA ‘’journalist’’ behaved when he was asked to produce his credentials by the police who were in Awalai mosque to maintain law and order was very shocking indeed. Why did he refuse? Why was this man showing disrespect for the law of the land and its enforcers? Is he above the law because he is an American ‘’journalist’’? Would he behave in the same fashion in his own country? Is there an element of racism? Why did he exaggerate the ‘’Islamic affairs’’ issue beyond all proportions? What were the motives behind this wild, unsubstantiated and inflammatory reporting? Demonstrations are allowed in Ethiopia as in America, so why is this man making a meal of it? Why does he think that every time there is a problem in Ethiopia the government would collapse as happened in Arab countries that were led by absolute tyrants? Is he not aware that the country has come a long way and democracy is being entrenched? Isn’t proof that as a direct result of the progress in Ethiopia, the proponents of violence such as Ginbot-7, OLF, and ONLF have been rejected by the people at home and they are reduced to being hecklers and messenger boys for the ailing President of Eritrea?
In America the law enforcement agencies will come down on you like a ton of bricks if you refuse to obey orders especially if you happen to be the wrong colour. You will end up with a severely aching and bruised body by the time they are finished with you. In Ethiopia, Mr Heinlein declined to cooperate with the police, which he would not do in his own country, and was taken to the station for questioning; he was later released in one piece and returned home in his diplomatic car that belonged to his wife. The VOA reporter tried to use a cocktail of Journalism and diplomacy for sinister motives but failed miserably. Mr Heinlein resorted to lies and fabrications as no news was bad news as far as he was concerned.
Mr Heinlein and others like him, who reside in poor third world countries, seriously believe that they can break the law of the land they abode with impunity because of the colour of their skin. It may be the case elsewhere but not in today’s Ethiopia. If in any doubt, Mr Heinlein should visit kaliti prison and have a chat with the two Swedish terror sponsors who entered Ethiopia illegally claiming to be journalists. A couple of years ago Norway was humiliated for exhibiting a ‘’ big brother’’ attitude towards Ethiopia and had to plead with Prime Minister Meles for its embassy to re-open after relations between the two countries were terminated. Recently the Italian foreign ministry made a public announcement supporting its former colony Eritrea but had to climb down after the Italian government realised that it was not in their long term economic interest to be on the wrong side of Ethiopia. The country has moved on and will keep on moving. This proud nation of ours has re-gained its self respect and confidence. Mr Heinlein and racists like him should take note of these and behave in a civilised manner otherwise they would pay a heavy price for showing scant respect for its people and the law of the land.
If Mr Heinlein reckons he can destabilise Ethiopia by disseminating wrong information, he should think again. Others tried it before numerous times but never materialised. The people of Ethiopia have made it clear on many occasions that they detest violence and any contentious issues should be resolved in a peaceful and civilised manner. In any case, Mr Heinlein’s report is wholly in accurate as it claims 30 million strong Muslim communities were organising demonstrations to protest against the government. Thousands have been gathering in mosques for a number of weeks demanding fair and transparent elections to the leadership of the Supreme Islamic Council and not a single person was incarcerated. Their right to peacefully demonstrate is enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia thanks to gallant fighters of the TPLF.
Unfortunately, a minority among them, coached by foreign extremists who demolish mosques in places like Iraq, are tryin99g to ferment discourse between the government and the Muslim community at large. So far they have not been successful, and it is just a matter of time before they are weeded out by the vast majority law abiding Muslims that show great respect and love for their country. This will definitely come as a bitter disappointment to the pseudo journalist Peter Heinlein who is finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that Ethiopia is making tremendous economic and democratic strides, and like many other African countries, it is slowly loosening her links with the US and forming strong economic bonds with China, India, Brazil and Turkey. In a short period, China has constructed the Ethio-China road, the Spaghetti Junction and the huge and fantastic AU building for free. There is nothing in Ethiopia that indicates decades of American presence in the country. Ethiopia’s strong alliance with the Chinese is very much resented by the American administration and they are making their feelings known by using the likes of the VOA reporter and various NGOs. The racist Peter Heinlein looks down on Ethiopia and other black African countries because of their low economic status. It won’t be too long before Ethiopia joins middle income countries of the world and the pseudo reporter who should have been expelled from the country will be forced to show respect and think twice before he spews out lies and fabrications designed to create civic strives.