Egypt: Jingoism. Part two
Countries are blessed with their own natural resources. When found within one’s boundary it is meant to be used by that country only, whatever high demand of that resource might be in the neighbouring countries, best example is petroleum and sea ports. However certain resources are trans-boundary by their nature and hence there must be a framework agreement between the beneficiaries. Rivers fall to this second category, and Abay ( Nile) is not an exception. Danube river is the second largest river in Europe. It originates from the Black Forest in south west Germany and drains into the Black Sea. It is source of beauty for cities like Vienna, Budapest, and Belgrade as they lie in its banks. It ties these countries together. There is mutual agreement in its utilisation and protection from pollution. By the same token the river Abay should be a source of brotherly agreement and cooperation between Ethiopia, the Sudan and Egypt. More often than not, the river Abay has been a source of mistrust between these countries.
For years Egyptians were adamant in forging collaboration with the upper riparian countries of the Nile basin in general, and with Ethiopia in particular. Ethiopia is the contributor of the lions share in the Nile basin countries via its river Abay. Instead of collaboration and mutual benefit every Egyptian president in history was busy in making sure these countries stay in an abject poverty and incessant war. To some degree they have succeeded. But what they missed was the fact that no country will remain in darkness forever.
Abay is deep in the heart of every proud Ethiopian. It used to be source to our dismay as we were not able to enjoy its riches. We shed bloody tears as Abay haemorrhages our country carrying the red fertile soil away from each farm we had. From our early childhood schools we were raised with the hope that one day we will be able to build a dam in Abay and we will drink the milk of our beloved resource. Use of Abay won’t be restricted to poems and songs.
Contrary to the orthodox belief, in the politics of Abay it is the less developed Ethiopia which is showing rational and reasonable justifications compared to Egypt which enjoys countless hydrologic experts. Ethiopians are rational people. No Ethiopian would like to eat alone, sharing is in the heart of our culture. We share what we have, no matter how small it is.
Ethiopia doesn’t have any intention of diverting the river’s course nor reducing its levels in an amount that hurts Egypt or Sudan. We don’t enjoy to see misery of people through our TV sets. We understand by harming these people we don’t get the prosperity we imagine nor lasting peace. We believe in a win win solution, so much as we believe in God.
Egyptian madness is even stunning sometimes. President Anwar Sadat promised the Israelis to give them water from the Nile through tunnels constructed under the Suez Canal. What we understand from this attempt is that Egypt is using more water than it needs and Egyptians give almost everything once they are defeated in a war. It is sickening to see our Abay used as sacrificial lamb to secure friendship with the victorious Israel. Egyptian politicians black smear Ethiopia in the Arab world by suing the later as collaborating with Israel in building the dam. The same Egyptian tongue tells the Israelis it was willing to give the water they long so much had it not been for the objection of Ethiopia. What kind of evil mentality is?
One of the most characteristic brand of the Egypt’s policy towards the recent misunderstanding with Ethiopia is, the Absence of Policy. They keep changing what they have said before the ink dries. No two Egyptian politicians will give the same stand regarding the GERD. No single politician will repeat the same comment he forwarded to one journalist when again asked by another one. Lie after lie, deceit after deceit! How many times have they changed their words in the last two years? In one hand they say all the options are on the table in trying to intimidate Ethiopia. When they realised this has fallen to the deaf ear they put on a new mask and return back to the negotiation table.
But the Egyptian media is always the same. Hatred driven, malicious media as it is, its only purpose is to delude the peace loving Egyptian people and encumber them in a suspicious and threatened mentality. Majority of the media outlets are anti Ethiopia, anti Black Africa. They are not even trustworthy even for their leaders. They have humiliated their leaders by broadcasting a meeting live on television what was supposed to be a secret meeting. I don’t believe that was an accident. It was a deliberate action to drag us in to unnecessary conflict. One prototype Egyptian journalist even hung a phone over our venerable ambassador while he was justifying our cause. They don’t want reason to be broadcasted through their channels.
While on the negotiation table last week, they were busy opening a military office in Uganda. We have no problem with their bilateral relation although the message was intended to signal otherwise. Egypt has already bought some corrupt officials in some African countries in association with the river Nile agreement. It is not impressive to see countries like Tanzania loosing their firm stance at times.
Egypt offered to build a dam in South Sudan. Look at the mockery: as if the people of South Sudanese people were not there for centuries. The offer came after South Sudan showed the interest to sign the NBI (Nile Basin Initiative). A military agreement with Djibouti or Somalia, a base in Eritrea or office in Kampala doesn’t intimidate us.
History is our witness. Who won the wars waged against us by the invading armies of Italy, Somalia, Egypt, or Eritrea? Ethiopia! It is not because Ethiopia was better equipped or wealthier country. It is because we are determined to die for our beloved mother country’s sovereignty. No one can stand in the footpaths of an army who is fighting for a just cause. Rational Ethiopians are always the winners. This time we will win in the diplomatic arena as well, but if history repeats itself and the story of League of Nations repeats itself, if once again the world took the wrong side and betrayed Ethiopia, the God of Ethiopia will empower us.
I will finish my article by quoting the late PM Meles Zenawi.
‘No one will stop the unstoppable’.
‘In the aftermath of war with Ethiopia, no aggressor will remain to tell the story’