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International Rivers Network Different Day, but Same Story

By Temam Ababulgu
Tigrai Onlne - May 01, 2014

Recently, a neo-liberal extremist institution by the name of ‘International Rivers Network (IRN)’ had published a shameful statement concerning the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The core substance of the statement is a one-sided, untrue and totally unacceptable. It claimed that “there are no guarantees the GERD will not harm the downstream countries”.

the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project is progressing fast it is about 33% finished.

This statement of the institution is one-sided and parrots Egypt’s exact position. I say this because this statement exactly holds Egypt’s position (word for word) which calls Ethiopia to stop constructing the dam. Nevertheless, Ethiopia in a feat never achieved by any other country it presented 153 design research documents where an expert group investigate and confirmed on 28 of them.

They established that the dam’s design have no problems, and also affirm that the neo-liberal statement is far from the truth. Even though the institution’s statement won’t have any kind of impact on the dam project, this new campaign will also won’t mount to anything as it’s ridden with lies.

But, as the institution’s previous anti-Ethiopia propagation didn’t bear anything, this new effort will not amount anything to it, as this new act is ridden with lies. This repeated effort reminds me of the quote given by the famous scientist Albert Einstein with regards to insanity.

At one time he said that "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". What we can understand from this is the fact trying to get a different outcome after trying a situation either in a positive or negative manner and getting the same kind of results”. This is insanity.

I raised the Einstein quote because it relates to what ‘International Rivers Network (IRN)’ has been and still is doing. As one of the neo-liberal extremist institutions; who in complete opposite to what their name suggests work hard to achieve their own political objective, ‘International Rivers Network(IRN)’, it has returned as an employee of Egypt’s government and called on Ethiopia to stop the GERD project, after its repeated smear campaign against our country’s developmental works failed.

The one thing different from its approach is formerly it used to manifest extreme neo- liberal outlook on its own, whilst now by being an employee of Egypt its getting itself into an issue that’s not its concern.

As its known previously this neo-liberal extremist institution has, together with its likes, bombarded us with reports with regards to “Gilgel Gibe III” electric power generating dam - although its effort has been to no avail. And today turning its lying frequency, and by being under the pocket of Egypt, it’s asking our country to stop constructing the GERD; which itself is part of the government effort to alleviate its citizens from poverty.

According to the believe of this writer, whether its this institution or the other extremist neo-liberal organization; who operate in quite the opposite way to what their name suggests, all fulfill the classification of being ‘insanity’ according to Einstein.

This is because they pray for different outcome from their ritualistic bi-monthly and tri-monthly report they bombard us with regards to blackening our developmental government’s effort to lead our country down the path of our renaissance, including grand developmental undertakings.

Of course these extremist organizations that have their own political objective/by the way/ can write about what they wish for or whatever it is that they are paid to write about. However, I still think they should know that hard truths. First of all, the GERD is not propaganda consumption, as what the institution was told (paid) to say.

The Renaissance dam does not harm any of the downstream countries. Although the position held by the Egyptian government is disappointing, Sudan is giving its (full) support to the project after realizing the benefits of the dam. Despite what the extremist neo-liberal institution blabbered (what it was paid to blabber), the Ethiopian people and government don’t follow a path that would harm anyone.

The relation the country has with neighboring countries and other development partners is based on principle. For instance, looking at the FDRE foreign affair and national security policy and strategy with regards to Egypt states that we should solve the issue of the Nile through a principle of harmonizing our interests, and through peace and negotiation, without hurting our developmental activities.

I think it’s a huge indicator that our country has a strong commitment to create a strong economical links within the region and at a continental level, by adhering to a ‘win-with approach’ in which every side including our brothers the Egyptian people and government come out as winners with regards to our country’s developmental works on Nile.

I believe it’s necessary to understand that our country and people are not building the GERD to harm other’s interest, but to harmonize mutual benefits. Ethiopia only wants to use the Nile River together with the riparian countries in a fair and mutually beneficiary manner. This is why the country is moving to use the River in a constructive manner.

However, Egypt is claiming that the dam construction will decrease the amount of water. For this, just like it was during the days of Mubarak, Egypt is hunting down those who blabber what they are paid to blabber, and making them issue statement that’s not backed with conventional science.

Truth be told, Ethiopia is constructing the dam only to generate electrical power. It doesn’t have a hidden agenda. And the project does not disturb the water flow of the downstream countries. Our country is known for its responsible way of doing its dam projects. For instance, the Tekeze River dam project was done by taking into account the Sudanese farmers. And when the country is building the GERD, being true its previous dealings, it took neighboring countries especially the downstream countries into consideration.

The dam will save both Egypt’s and Sudan’s dam from soil siltation and this will save both countries millions of dollars they would otherwise spend annually on cleaning it. And it will also put a stop to the flooding that visits Sudan every year.

In addition to this, both countries can get cheap electricity. As the water won’t be exposed to evaporation, courtesy of the dam, three billion cubic meter of water can be saved and be used by the riparian countries. It can save them from the devastation that can happen on the countries irrigation project, as a result of heavy flooding that’s created on the Nile River on various times.

In contrast, the amount of land of our country that can be developed by the Nile is very low. The water that can be saved from diverting the River and the two billion cubic meter worth of water that’s saved from being evaporated from Aswan dam (courtesy of the area of its construction) can fulfill this desire of irrigation development so, there can’t be conflicting interest between Ethiopia   and the downstream countries.

Our country is building this dam to get the necessary electricity that would sustain the industrial sector, which is expected to take over the agriculture sector and take the lead of the economy. This is part of the larger effort exerted by our country and people to break free from poverty and achieve self-sufficiency.

While trying to realize its developmental efforts, the country is working to harmonize the interest of the riparian countries, and it’s still working at that. Thus, what the ‘International Rivers Network (IRN)’ should know is that our country won’t stop from operating in the aforementioned manner where it works to harmonize everyone’s interest and bridge a way where everyone will come out  as winners. 

This is why various officials of Ethiopian government came out and repeatedly said “Ethiopia is not an inward looking country which only look in to its national interest. As the Nile is a cross boundary river, the country will do its utmost to take into Egypt’s and Sudan’s interest and wishes into account”.

Although the finance to construct the GERD will be covered b our country; the benefit is for all the three countries, it can create any tension between them. So as the dam guarantees Egypt’s and Sudan’s interest, there is no way they can be hurt. And in a situation where nobody is hurt, its impossible to think about stopping the dam’s project.

All in all, if we are to raise the question ‘Will the construction of GERD will be halted as per the wishes of extremist institution, which parrots Egypt’s position?”, then the answer will be not even for a second? This is because the project is not a pass–time game, as what the institution or Egypt think it is.

Its a grand project which started after the government delved into it by giving huge attention to it. It can be understood from their previous antics that’s a strategy they use to achieve their twisted mission (objective). For this we should take a look back and see the truth.

As any reader of this article knows, since the Ethiopia people started their struggle against their number one enemy poverty; they have gained several successes. The national growth that’s being achieved by the government and the people’s participation is one.

The government’s public infrastructure development program; which includes construction of roads & power generating dams and strengthening trade links, is guaranteeing the public’s benefit. In addition to this, a five-year Growth & transformation plan which envisions growing the country’s national economy by double is being executed, and its garnering results.

And with this, the country is changing its image of famine & war which used to be associated with it for years. And this fact has been attested by the world. However, it’s obvious that there are some forces who can’t accept our growth.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), African Development Bank (ADB), our country’s developmental partner task force (DAG) and other international and continental institutions have all attested to the rapid growth that’s being recorded in our country. When the truth is this, the number of sides that are involved in blackening this feat is pretty staggering.

When the GERD project was first made official, the whole Ethiopian nation, nationalities and people, without any prejudice, have pledged to give their labor, finance (money) and profession, and they have been good on their words.

Although the developmental government with the participation of the public is going forward, the number of sides who propagate that the construction won’t be successful, at every opportunity they got cannot be underestimated. Every Ethiopian knows very well that our natural right to use the Nile has been hampered.

This includes even contemplating about using the river. The GERD project which shattered this thinking has reached more than 32% completion, with the huge Participation and mobilization of the people.

This project is a huge heritage to this generation. This has not only bestowed huge pride on the people, but it’s also driving it to give its labor, money and profession to the project.

At the completion of the project, the 6000 MW of electric power that will be generated will take the electric supply into a adequate level. In addition to this, it will generate huge reserve of foreign currency for our country.

On top of its developmental benefit, it has also bestowed a huge diplomatic success on the government and people-although forces that don’t think positively towards our country have waged a smear campaign. Nevertheless, ‘International Rivers Network (IRN)’ and its master should know that there is no force that would stop this great people’s effort to break free from poverty.

As the owner of the project is the Ethiopian people, it won’t be stopped even for a second. Since the time the project was made official, it has created huge motivation on the people. Various section of the society has strong commitment to give their money, labor and profession.

Through the national agreement the people created, its mobilizing from border to border in an Ethiopian manner by pooling its salary and buying bonds. We are the all-doing of the project and there is not a single reason that would stop it; this is except in the inaccurate lackey mind of ‘International Rivers Network (IRN)’.

Of course, the strategy of weakening Ethiopia through sending pseudo-environment concerned neo-liberal politicians employed by Egypt. It was there during the days of Mubarak, and it’s continuing today. As its known, Ethiopia and Egypt have people-to-people link and closeness that spanned generations.

However, due to the Nile River, their relations did not continue strong as it was expected. Previous Egyptian leaders have used the issue to (of the Nile River) to diffuse their internal problems. They have confused their people by making it appear Egypt will be in trouble, if Ethiopia starts using the Nile. Especially during Hosni Mubarak rule, the Nile issue was used as a medicine to elongate his stay in power, by diverting their people’s attention from problems at home. What we see today is this same strategy albeit adding a new twist in the shape of extremist neo-liberal forces.

As we all know, there isn’t a trick left unused by neo-liberal forces who operate under the guise of ‘Environment protection and human right protection advocacy’ to blacken the work that has been done and is currently been doing by our government, out of their own hidden political agenda.

It can be safely said that the contradictory report put out by institutions like ‘Survival International,’ Human Rights Watch’, ‘Friends of Turkana’, and of course ‘International Rivers Network’ on ‘Gilgel Gibe II’, ‘Tekeze’ and ‘Tana Beles’ dams during election 2002 exposes their hidden political agenda.

The reason’ international Rivers Network’ together with its other “peers” opposes our country’s developmental works through a calculated campaign has to do with their hidden agenda of hampering African’s development (especially those who started to grow through their own path), not to lose their benefit(interest) and to weaken Africa’s economic links(integration). 

These forces want African’s not to grow and stay on aid. This is why they are opposing; through lies and direct & indirect payment I might add, the GERD project. Of course the likes of international Rivers Network don’t accept any kind true evidence (testament).

Any country no matter how fast it’s developing won’t get their blessing as long as that country is doing on its own way (path). In fact they won’t back down from tricking international institutions to secure their interest. It can be recalled that a year and a half ago, they have called on the UN to stop the “Gibe III’ project- although it was to no avail.

All in all as Albert Einstein said, expecting different outcomes while doing the same things over & over again and is a definition of insanity, and ‘International Rivers Network (IRN)’ and the forces behind it should be aware of this. I believe repeating the same things, as an institution and other times as a government, and expecting a different outcome like ‘Ethiopia stopping the project’ is absurdity that involves our development and national interest.

 So, the institution and its masters should know that no matter how much they blabber, there is no opening in our country that could be heard; and also the fact that it can’t confuse and deter us from our developmental path. No matter what they say the GERD project will put its fingerprint on our development as it’s a grand developmental undertaking.

Although these forces presented themselves us Rivers health advocates, as our great leader Ato Meles Zenawi once said, “We can never get along with Neo-liberal extremists”. This is because we have seen them time and again being a hamper and impediment to our developmental aspirations. And the recent act of ‘International Rivers Network (IRN)’, who out of its agenda to stutter our development and as part of its payment did what it did, cannot be seen different from this. 

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