Who Deserves Democracy in the Eyes of the West?


Yoftahe Hailu

The hypocrisy is palpable when it comes to dealing with dictators around the world.  For example, the executive and legislative branches of the US government have been debating on how to deal with Putin’s Russia for months and passing one sanction after another.  We’re not naive; we realize national interest trumps other considerations. However, the west is fast losing its moral leadership in the hypocritical way it deals with dictators around the world.

President Trump was wined and dined by the Saudi dictators who brutally rule their citizens with an iron fist.  Yes, we realize the oil rich kingdom has wealth that cannot be ignored, but we thought ideals and principles superseded short term goals and alliances.  Just yesterday, the US imposed even more sanctions on Venezuela citing Nicolas Maduro is becoming an absolute dictator and going against the wishes of the people of Venezuela.  President Mugabe of Zimbabwe is also a common punching bag for the hypocritical west in picking and choosing “bad” dictators.

I am sorry, I don’t think that’s how it works.  When President Obama declared the 100% victory by the Ethiopian regime fair and free, he did not bat an eye.  When Susan Rice giggled at declaring the same election fair and free, she didn’t care because who is Ethiopia and Ethiopians after all.  Not even a year after the so called fair and free elections, protests broke out all over Ethiopia by the people who supposedly gave their approval 100%.

The US and EU indeed have a big leverage in nudging countries to go in the directions they wish.  The sad reality is, both the US and EU prefer to deal with dictators from black and brown faced countries.  It is a lot easier to convince one dictator to do your bidding than the messy and time consuming democratic process.  Hence, the west pays lip service on issues of democracy in Africa while actively sabotaging democratic alternatives in countries like Ethiopia and strengthening brutal dictators by providing them foreign currency and arms.

It is very note-worthy to realize most opposition leaders have been given scholarships at Harvard and other prestigious institutions in order to remove them from very place where they’re most needed.  Until Ethiopians organize and present a viable alternative that cannot be ignored, the US and EU will continue to empower and finance our jailers and killers.  My message to the youth around the world is to take an active role in civic affairs of their resident countries.  When we organize, our forces multiply.  The definition of synergy is not 1 + 1 = 2.  If we have synergy, then 1 + 1 could equal a 1,000.  When everyone brings his or her best to the table, we can exponentially increase our strength and become a force no one can contend with.

Let’s not wait for the hypocritical west to come to our aid. Let’s take matters into our hands and control our own destiny.  The solution is in us. The solution is us.  Let us live One for All and All for One so we can create a bright future for Ethiopia.