NO “WHITE ELEPHANT” IN ETHIOPIA: ALEMAYEHU’S FOLLY (Prof.Tecola W. Hagos)
A week ago I read a stupefying long article by Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam titled “Dam! White Elephant in Ethiopia?” posted in several Ethiopian Websites. The article is about ten pages long, mostly of quoted material from an article titled “A Proxy Campaign against Ethiopia?: a response by GERD National Panel of Experts (NPoE)” posted in several Ethiopian Websites. In his article, Alemayehu expressed his anger as follows:
“The regime’s nameless, faceless and conscienceless ‘experts,’ hiding behind the anonymity of ‘professional Ethiopians well versed with and advising on GERD Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam related issues,’ unloaded a torrent vituperative diatribe against International Rivers in the vintage style of their late hate master of name-calling, cheap shots and put-downs, Meles Zenawi. In a hatchet job polemic entitled, ‘A Proxy Campaign against Ethiopia?’ the “GERD national panel of experts” (“GERD experts”) jumped on International Rivers like a pack of hungry junkyard dogs on a squirrel”
First of all, the National Panel of Experts may not have listed their individual names but they are not without identity; they have a corporate presence as members of the Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abay (EIPSA) [http://www.eipsa1.com/cms/news] that was established on 22 June 2013 “in response to the timely need for an organized and independent professional Ethiopian voice surrounding the issue of the Nile River.” Writing as members of a group is not something unusual, and in no way should excuse any writer to unleash an avalanche of vulgarity, as can be observed in Alemayehu’s article quoted above. And ultimately Alemayehu did the unthinkable: he committed treason against Ethiopia by siding with Egypt. He had the temerity to call the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam a “White Elephant” and a “wasteful vanity” project. No matter who laid the first stone for the construction of the Dam, it is now our Dam, our national effort of the people of Ethiopia, our precious act of patriotic zeal and love of country. Above all else, it is both the moral and physical antidote to the Kilil ethnic fracturing of Ethiopia. In situations of this type, one must look beyond one’s own frustration and personal ambition.
The first unusual feature of Alemayehu’s response article is that it jumps out at any reader due to the extreme vulgar language Alemayehu used in his comments. Reading the whole article, both quoted material and the insertions, I am left scratching my head for the article does not make much sense despite the fact that I tried to find even some tangential merit that would help clear the fog that has descended on the legal and political regime surrounding international rivers in general and the Abay River (the Blue Nile) and the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in particular. To say Alemayehu quoted extensively in his article is a gross understatement; it is more like he reprinted the original article titled “A Proxy Campaign against Ethiopia?” reinforced with his own straw insertions here and there. Read more