Our government, Oy!
Graham Hancock’s (not Handcock, as books.google.com would tell u) “Lords of Poverty” is one of those books I start without the hope of finishing. Not that you need to read further than the remaining part of the title (“The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business” ) to know what the book is all about. It’s about the power, prestige, and corruption of the International Aid Business and who did the most damage, by how much. More or less, one might notice, the kind of protest that’s been made against NGO’s at Parliamentarian meetings in Ethiopia for the last 17 years; and one which our government is known to mutely raise its eyes to heaven over and say, plain and simple, how beggars can not be choosers until somebody from one of those NGOs made the fatal mistake of miscalculating how immature and indiscriminate our government can be when it comes to getting back at those who pissed it off. (European parliamentarian Ana Gomez would have more to say on the subject ;)). Proving not just how much “choosers” beggars can be, we are after all Ethiopians (would rather “t’om maDer’ than risk not having our way) but how they can dictate terms (as if, one is tempted to think, they do not care who got to pay/die for it if them terms aren’t met).
Now, I’m not saying the Ethiopian government’s attempt to restrict NGOs activities in the country is wrong. Humanitarian organizations are no doubt run by people who see every penny and opportunity as a chance to: “you chop, me self I chop, palaver finish”, as Odili Samalu would say. Which explains why many of us Ethiopians would do anything to join an NGO, in whatever capacity. But isn’t that the truth to everyone else in the country?! Shop owners! House owners! “Lada” and Minibus owners! Farmers! Private businesses! Public businesses! “Yelimat Dirijitoch”?! Can any one of us in all honesty wash our hands off and claim innocence from ripping off (time, money, goodwill) from the poor & vulnerable?! Not me!!
However, and this makes all the difference, the timing can not be worse!
Here the country is, I mean to say, at the brink of another starvation (of 6 million children, as BBC “deliberately exaggerated” to “belittle the economic growth of the country … calculating it’s interests”, or 4.5 million according to an indignant Deputy Prime Minister Addisu Legesse), and our government is going around with a pair of scissors trying to “clip” NGO’s wings, as allafrica.com called it, to get back at a handful of individuals it felt did it wrong on “Mircha 97”. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, what it takes to have a government grow & how ours [in particular] doesn’t seem to learn ANYTHING from it’s past mistakes!
What else can one say to show one’s diappointment and heart break except “YaSaZinal”!
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