Straightforward message


Last week I was very emotional to express my feelings concerning the measure taken by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) regarding the issue of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). As far as I am concerned, the UNSC passed fair resolution that the issue of GERD on which Egypt and Ethiopia has long been at loggerhead should be directed to the right reconciliatory body, African Union (AU). This is surprising. Mind you, 11 independent states are said to be riparian countries of the Blue Nile River. If negotiation is thought (I believe so) to be the best solution, all these riparian countries will have to come to the discussion table. On the other way round, they should be given the chance to voice their views. The simple way to implement this is through their mutual representative, AU. There is an Amharic saying that goes like this… a fart, which is released in agreement will not have bad smell. Ethiopia has long been reiterating that the general agreement or discussion should be among the riparian countries. It is, however, unfortunate that Egypt needs to drag this African issue to the UNSC. Here Egypt has failed once again miserably. What the Ethiopian minister of Water and Irrigation Development, Engineer Sileshi Bekele stated last week at the UNSC meeting was that dealing with water development at this level is beyond the mandate of the Council.
Yes, my man… it is not the mandate of UNSC to deal with issues related to water development. After all, we are not building nuclear power. We are rather developing hydroelectric dam. …simple initiative taken to build waterfalls that is solely intended to hit the electric charging turbines. Can you hear that? There are many issues of fundamental importance, which the UNSC should deal with. Many such issues and disputes are pushing countries across the globe to the verge of conflicts and wars. Better for the UNSC to pock its nose on the belligerent Sudanese forces that trespassed on the territory of neighboring Ethiopia. Note that, this can easily ignite cross boarder conflicts in the Horn of Africa. …Better for UNSC to reprimand the Egyptian government that trots like truant mad dog to meddle with internal affairs of Ethiopia. By the way, what makes GERD special to bring its issue to UNSC? As the minister of Water and Irrigation Development said there are many hydraulic dams built in Europe, Africa, Asia and America… Why UNSC does not show the slightest interest to mediate possible disputes raised around these hydroelectric dams?
Ethiopia has made everything clear that her mere intention is harnessing its water resources in a bid to supply 65 million poor Ethiopians with electric power. This very day our compatriots numbering in millions are pushing on lives without electric power. Millions of Ethiopian women are collecting firewood for cooking their daily meals. Many hospitals, residential houses, mills, colleges, industrial parks are highly in need of sufficient and reliable electric power. Our capital city, Addis Ababa is getting power service on shift basis. Suffice is to say that Addis Abebans (metropolitans) pass several nights of a month in darkness. Hospitals are in problems to conduct surgeries due to lack of reliable electric power… We are not like Egyptians who have already fulfilled their electric power supply to 100 per cent.
As Engineer Sileshi says, GERD is under construction by the sweat, blood and tears of all Ethiopians. Our people in all walks of life have been involved to contribute money for the construction of this massive dam. GERD is a public project. What the people across the globe should know is that the World Bank refused to provide the necessary financial support to Ethiopia for the execution of such a development project. This means Ethiopians are not allowed to have their own dam that can bring electric power to their dark houses. We Ethiopians have been doomed to lead backward and wild lives in dark villages and cottages. We are expected to collect firewood from forests if we need to cook our meals… They need us to do this forever.
Let me put one questions to all people across the world in general and the Americans in particular. What will be the responses of USA if Mexico says it has the right to control and manage the Hoover Dam, which was built by USA on Colorado River that flows through Mexico? …Will that ever happen? Let’s say this happens. Then, will Americans accept that? No way! Then what makes ours special? Or … is it to mean that black Africans have not the right to do whatever they like with their own resources?
The minister of Water and Irrigation Development said that 85 percent of the Nile water comes from Ethiopia. Meaning… this ancient country has the right to harness its own river for the benefit of its poor people who are leading lives in darkness. Ethiopia has the desire to harness its potential hydropower and lift its people out of poverty. As the minister said, this country has no any intention to harm the lower riparian country. Prick up your ears and listen that we have the desire to live together in peace and cooperation.
Egyptians need to receive 40 billion cubic meters of the total 49 billion cubic meters water flow of the Blue Nile. This means Egyptians want to take over 86 per cent of the Nile water! What! They claim such amount of water is very essential for their agricultural production. The fact is that 97 per cent of the water Egypt gets comes from the Blue Nile with its source the highlands of Ethiopia. Egypt and Sudan takes 90 per cent of the water from the Nile. How? Yes, this was deliberately designed on a grant agreement mediated in 1929 by the colonial power, Great Britain. Listen… Ethiopia is not expected to be governed by this agreement written by the colonial master of Egypt and Sudan. No one can twist our hands to abide by this rusty rule or agreement. Do not expect us to respect such an agreement that violates the rights of other riparian countries. C’mon … is it not the natural rights of these riparian countries to harness the resource? Egypt and Sudan have selfishly stuck to the slovenly made treaties their colonial master had designed for them. Nevertheless, Ethiopia has reiterated that as an independent and sovereign country, it will never bow down to this draconian treaty.
My message is that this is the time for all Ethiopians to lift their heads and join forces in defending the honor and unity of their country. We all should know that the western world and the Arab League are working in concert against our interest. Let’s tell them boldly that there is no turning back. We will never flinch an inch! We know it is hard to win hearts and minds of some crocked officials of the government of Egypt and Sudan. Because they deliberately convinced themselves that the Nile River should remain forever as their personal property. They believe that no one, except Egypt and Sudan, should be allowed to ladle out a single drop of water.