By Sisay Hishe Assefa
Tigrai Online, October 17, 2013
The intention of this article is to have my say on the reaction and response of some Egyptian officials and politicians towards to Ethiopia's action on building a dam on Nile, to generate electricity. When they learnt the seriousness of Ethiopia's commitment, few officials and some emotionally driven ordinary citizens of Egypt panicked and still they are caught in the middle of confusion. They had been spreading false information, starting from the eve of the implementation of this historical project. Beyond the act of the Egyptians it was also used by a high ranking official of Saudi Arabia, as a means to divert current domestic social attention, within their own kingdom.
The gravitas of our late Prime Minister HE Meles Zenawi, on the issue of Nile and the direction of the country was not limited to a character of an individual leader or to the leadership of the country, at large. All the abstract idea was fetched from the hearts of Ethiopians, which is a reflection of not only the willingness to share our own resources to others but also to answer the governing principle of fairness. It was not a strategic perspective of avoiding or reducing consequences, but doing so is the foundation of the rule of law to the satisfaction of the demands of natural justice.
Planning and acting on the basis of Political correctness alone does not help any people in all stages of consciousness, to answer fundamental questions raised by time. History teaches us that our ancestors were clear on identifying the right, to the fair side of any matter. Sometimes, all right decisions may not be fair, or all acts imposed to signal political correctness may controversially damage the national interest of nations and the vice versa.
Truth is universal, with in the context of time and the balance of probability. Truth by itself does not weigh, as it is of subjective and relative in character. It should be weighed using the current and acceptable scale, which is made by time. The natural essence of protagonism and antagonism, which is governed by the law of negation of negation constantly changes everything in the universe under the concept of time. That's why things pass and become history, with different taste to today's realities.
We Ethiopians believe in acting fair under right circumstances. At the same time we are made to never compromise with our dignity, nor we accept any deal at the expense of our dignity and national pride.
This was simply inherited from our ancestors, who were powerful to impose governing laws on vast territories beyond the current Ethiopia. Currently, we are not looking to or attempting to collect taxes from Yemen and other countries beyond the Red Sea as our ancestors did. Time has changed that pattern and now we are limited to what we have at hand. It will not be tolerated by the world now, if we attempt to collect taxes beyond the existing territories of our country. However, we are entitled to use our resources with out limit to the extent of selling our resources or demanding compensation for what we lose.
The need for using Nile to produce electricity emerged because of change in the philosophy, direction, capacity and the whole spirit of Ethiopia, which is equal to a mandatory natural essence, and such change was not welcomed by some Egyptian officials. It led them in to a panic as if the game is dramatically changing to dry up the "throat" of their people.
Cenophobia based on unfounded fear have never solved a difficulty. The leaders of Egypt need to avoid the unrealistic optimism and tell their people the truth that works for both countries.
Patriotism in its right place always plays a significant role in stabilizing and unifying a society of any kind, but when plaid along with the wrong beads, it is more in to destruction than to a progress.
We, Ethiopians are trying to be economically self contained, by using our resources, both human and natural resources. we are following a path that leads us to economic independence. Though I am not entitled to comment the leadership in Egypt, in terms of their national interest, I want to suggest that they have to create a nation that stands by itself without the continuous alms from the United States or any other donor. Doing so compromises the certainty of the future of their citizens and undermines the national pride and patriotism of the great people of Egypt. The other issue is also the importance and implied value of having a strong and healthy neighbor.
Egypt with that all highly educated man power and different resources, should be brought forward with big voice along with other Africans to transform our continent. Leaders of Egypt should embrace the new theory of marking human resource first to none in transforming their economy. They have to wake up and adjust themselves with the social consciousness of Egyptians and the objective reality of the world in the 21st century.
In the 21, century the potential source of all changes does not come from natural resource only, it is human resource that can take out ailing economy of a country from the darkness to prosperity. We've already witnessed the act of untamed governments with lots of natural resources leading their country in to a social decay.
It is not wise and is equal to a trespass on the set of rules to try to lecture Ethiopians about the importance of Nile to the people of Egypt. Ethiopians have shown the demand for economic equity on Nile water. We know what kind of minerals that river carries from our highlands to the low lands of Sudan and Egypt. We did not simply ignore it, believing it to be beyond our reach. We accepted it as a natural blessing to both the giver and the receiver. Other than that when we need to generate electric power to enhance our economy, we haven't requested permission from Egypt or any other country, as requesting Egypt for permission to use Nile equals to a national embarrassment to all Ethiopians, including to those who are waged by the Egyptian government to try to destabilize Ethiopia.
Egyptian leaders should learn from history, and they should not allow their mind to live in the past. Now the game is completely different. They were waging enemies of our country Ethiopia for generations, instead of funding their own citizens to brighten their future.
On the other hand some biased officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were heard negatively commenting on our decision up on the Nile. Primarily, it is out of their understanding to have a say about Nile. At the same time it would be wise to see towards their own domestic social crises, that could lead them to an overnight collapse instead of showing a random abruption about a concern which is non of their business. I believe they were trying to divert attention of their angry people with an intention to halt or stop the society from questioning their authenticity to be where they are now.
Igniting clashes, conflicts and rough diplomatic dialogues to divert domestic social divergence is an old and outdated strategy. The intention of the KSA's minister was simply to create a topic of interest, within the people of the kingdom. However, it was not effective. The question of the people of the kingdom has nothing to do with the question of Nile. They may have many domestic concerns from democratization of their country up to questioning of the need for the presence of an absolute monarchy, in the twenty first century. Such a matter is not an Ethiopian interest, because we respect the independence and sovereignty of the kingdom, despite reality. Our interest is simply to use our own resources fairly and we will never associate it with any irrelevant topic.
Some Egyptian officials also interpreted what we are doing in a way that fits to their biased personal interest. They were playing politics of inducing fear, in to the minds of their own citizens, by modifying or distorting the truth. What they missed is to know and value the ingenuity of their own people, to analyze their weak plot. It is unfortunate to our brothers and sisters in Egypt for not getting the right leadership, that matches their collective consciousness.
I have never questioned what we are doing, but it makes me sick when some natives of Ethiopia collect wages from the Egyptian government to be used as agents of destabilization against their own mother land and its great people. Along with this sad story, there is also good news. Those mercenaries are not passing the test on the current benchmarks set by the Egyptian government. Thanks to the financial constraints and economic challenges where the government is in. Despite the long lived trend, now it is seeking them to act blatantly against the interest of Ethiopians. For years, they were literally cheating the concerned Egyptian government officials by showing them video footages of nominal demonstrations, staged in some places in Europe and North America. At this time it is known that it was bogus. According to latest information, no Ethiopian opposition in the Diaspora qualifies to get fund from the Egyptian government. I believe they found it relatively preferable to help and support the initiatives of the Eritrean government to try to destabilize Ethiopia. Even this it self is under the shadow of a huge question mark. Time the wonderful factor is revealing many secrets and old games. Those ineffective and outdated trends are being carried away to museum to remain as history, to help the new generation to understand the causes of national failure, and to avoid the reoccurrence of such a huge mistake in the future.
I have a very simple wisdom of common sense to share with those who are leading their countries with a political soliloquy of no audience. The former prime minister of Ethiopia HE Meles Zenawi have already taught them in a pragmatic way, to boldly and bravely deal with their immediate problems, Instead of working on a useless practice that leads their regime in to political dysmorphic disorder. Egyptian politicians seem to misunderstand or ignore the existing ideological dichotomy within their own society believing that society is "univocal".
We Ethiopians are always simple and straight forward. We accept and Honor the values of others and the governing rule of reinstating and nurturing brotherhood with Egyptians and all other nations, but not on the cost of our national interest. We are brave and unconditionally determined to stick with those crystal clear principles, and we are definitely not stubborn.
Ethiopia is a country of so many great philosophers and leaders. These generous person seeks a good reason beyond the reasonable doubt, to stand up against the interest of any other people. Our great grandparents were extremely serious on defending their land and equally careful on handling and treating captives with dignity, when the whole world was under the darkness of ignorance and greed. Ethiopia was capable of negotiating and giving pardon to captive generals and high ranking officers of the invader Italian army, during the battle of Adwa.
Ethiopia is a country which has introduced asylum to the world, by allowing the followers of prophet Mohammed (PBUH) to live free and to preach about their religion, when they were persecuted for their religious affiliation in the Arabia Land before 1400 years. There are so many wonderful parts of our history that are known to all people, despite their current view on this country. I advice the government of Egypt to face the "problem" with all its pros and cons. As stated by many officials of Ethiopia the plan on the renaissance dam is simply based on a "WIN WIN" strategy. Nobody loses by being part of this great project. But in principle any government should believe on the absolute right of Ethiopians to use our resources, though we don't seek their blessings.
When the land falls and rises we Ethiopians flew in the same manner with our land and we pass every decision by putting the national interest of Ethiopians next to None.
I the author of this article am not representing any political or social group from Ethiopia. I stand alone like all Ethiopians, when others try to compromise the dignity and national pride of Ethiopians. For that reason I keep the values and bravery of Ethiopians under any circumstance at a higher degree, where it always deserves to be.
In the near future the whole world will accept the renaissance of the nation. At that time the game will definitely change in to a unequivocal level. However, Ethiopia and Ethiopians will remain decent, farsighted and understanding to all nations, as the driving power comes from a source beyond the expected changes.
Sisay Hishe Assefa