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Time to say NO MORE to the Condescending Polices of the West

Time to say NO MORE to the Condescending Polices of the West

by Yafet Zereou

The current conflict in Ethiopia is throwing a spotlight on the underhanded polices of the western powers, especially the United Kingdom — which seems to be hangover from its colonial days and to this day still believes that not only does the UK have a divine right to have a say in the affairs of Africans, but the UK expects its prescriptions to be final and accepted without any question, just as in past colonial days.

Ever since the conflict in Ethiopia was ignited by the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) in the early hours of 4th November 2020 when the TPLF attempted to take control of the Ethiopian Northern Command and grab power in Ethiopia, various western governments, organisations and individuals have been seen to give either covert or overt support to the TPLF — an organisation designated as a terrorist organisation by the Ethiopian government.

With the failure of the TPLF to carry out its plans, there has been a concerted effort by some in the west to scapegoat Eritrea by making unsubstantiated and in most parts contradictory statements that have little or nothing to do with the current reality in the region.

One such western group is the All Party Parliamentary Group for Eritrea (APPG for Eritrea). Although this group is made up of members of parliament from both houses of the UK parliament – the House of Commons and House of Lords — it has no official status within the UK Parliament or has any official affiliation with the Parliament. It is clear from its mission statement that the APPGE stands squarely against Eritrea under the pretence of being concerned about human rights — the Trojan horse that western powers always use in furthering their ulterior motives. With the secretary of the APPGE being wholly funded by Eritrea Focus, an organisation of dubious reputation and one that has been set up for the sole purpose of bringing about a change of government in Eritrea, it is not difficult to see that the APPGE has no intention of being objective nor being governed by facts and the reality on ground as it pursues its thinly disguised objective of installing a puppet government of its liking in Eritrea.

The APPGE ever since the start of the TPLF instigated conflict has been waging a malicious campaign against Eritrea in a futile bid to oversee a change of government in Eritrea and install one that is subservient to the needs of the west and its corporations, rather than one that aspires to meet the needs of the people like the current government of Eritrea.

The APPGE and those associated with it in a move that exposes their lack of the geography of the area they claim to be concerned about, have gone as far as accusing Eritrea of using food as a weapon against the Ethiopian region of Tigray. Of course, to such groups the small matter of the detail of how Eritrea can do this while no food trucks have gone from its ports or Eritrean territory to the Northern region of Ethiopia for well over two decades is of little consequence to them. With all aid trucks operating through Ethiopian regions, how can Eritrean troops control the movement of food aid to the Tigray region as it is delivered through sovereign Ethiopian territory? Besides, with the World Food Programme and other aid agencies being active in this region, why is there no proof of Eritrean troops blocking food aid being presented??

In their unscrupulous ways the APPGE and others while accusing Eritrea of hindering the delivery of food aid to the Tigray region of Ethiopia, are ostensibly mute about the WFP’s revelation that nearly all of its vehicles sent to deliver food aid to the Tigray region had not returned as they had been commandeered by the TPLF to transport not food, but the TPLF’s rag tag fighting forces.

One of the purposes of the APPGE is to sponsor questions to British Ministers. When one reads the questions that are being asked, one cannot but think that those in the British Parliament, especially the House of Lords are stuck in some sort of time warp where they think that Britannia still rules the waves. As a case in point it is worth looking at where the primary concern of the APPGE lies by having a cursory examination of the questions that have been raised by members of the group.

In a letter dated 4thNovember 2020 — the very day the TPLF had attacked the Ethiopian army’s Northern Command — addressed to the British Foreign Secretary, the then chair of the APPG for Eritrea, Kate Osamor MP, had asked for the recognition of the Ethiopian region of Tigray in the event the region decided to secede from Ethiopia and go on to declare itself as an independent state. Kate Osamor MP in her letter seems to be asking for the British government to intervene if either the Ethiopian or Eritrean government took military action in retaliation against the TPLF’s cowardly attack, forgetting that even as she penned her letter to the Foreign Secretary the TPLF that she was portraying as a congenial political entity was bragging about how after overpowering the Ethiopian army it now possessed the most powerful military force in the entire East African region — in an all too apparent threat aimed at Eritrea. Kate Osamor, the former chairperson of the APPG for Eritrea, writing a letter in support of the TPLF while the bodies of Ethiopian soldiers that had been brutally murdered by the TPLF lay unburied and still warm to the touch: says all that needs to be said about the real intention of the APPGE.

Then there is the question tabled by Lord Alton of Liverpool on 22nd February 2021 asking about the British government’s assessment and views of a supposed military pact that Eritrea and Ethiopia — both sovereign independent nations — may have had. Lord Alton must think that without the say so of the UK, African nations must not and should not make agreements between themselves to protect their territorial integrity and must first seek approval from the UK. It is hard to imagine a non European country, be it in Africa, Asia, or Latin America taking such an interest in the affairs of countries like the UK. How would the UK government and its parliament react if it were to be asked by a country from Africa or the other continents to clarify the UK’s military pacts with other sovereign nations? Why do the western political figures believe that they have a right to walk into the parlours of sovereign nations and demand to see or to be told about the inner most secrets of that nation, when they themselves would consider such an interest in their affairs as a breach of their sovereignty and a serious threat to their national security.

Another example of the arrogance and ignorance that permeates through the western political class which considers Africa to be their problem that only they can solve — of which Lord Alton of Liverpool is a card carrying member — is their inability to differentiate between Africans.

In a question come statement that the noble Lord made on 22nd November 2021, he claimed that Tigrayan refugees were being forcibly repatriated to Eritrea. Of course no one asked how the Tigrayans became refugees in their own region in Ethiopia. Then there is the issue of repatriating these Tigrayan ‘refugees’ to Eritrea. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘repatriate’ as sending someone back to their own country. How then can Tigrayans — whose home country is Ethiopia — be ‘repatriated to Eritrea, a foreign country?

Similarly, in November 2021the noble Lord went on to say that, torture, rape and starvation are being used as weapons of war in the Tigray region. Again, no one pointed out that at this point in time there is no active fighting in the Tigray region and the TPLF has been in complete control of the region ever since the Ethiopian federal troops withdrew from the region in June 2021. So, if Lord Alton of Liverpool is claiming that there is torture, rape and starvation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, it can only mean that the responsibility for these atrocities must be laid down at the feet of the TPLF.

The fact that Lord Alton of Liverpool and the APPGE have been ostensibly silent about the 16 rocket attacks by the TPLF on Asmara, the Eritrean capital and that they have not condemned the TPLF for documented crimes the group has committed on Eritrean refugees, is testament that they have no interest in the wellbeing of Eritreans.

It is a mystery why an All Party Parliament Group supposedly setup to follow Eritrean matters is so focused on what is going on in Ethiopia, while the All Party Parliament Group for Ethiopia and Djibouti remains silent.

David Patrick Paul Alton, was made a Lord and became a member of the House of Lords — the most undemocratic institution in the World — in 1997 by the then British Prime Minister John Major. To become a member of the House of Lords one has either to be a Bishop, be handpicked by the British Prime Minster and until some twenty years ago be privileged to be born to a Hereditary Lord so that by virtue of their birth they can inherit the Peerage title of their father when he dies.

The House of Lord is not accountable to anyone but the British Monarch. Those with truly democratic aspirations have shunned the House of Lords and have tried for the past hundred or so years to abolish it — with no success. In the early sixties the former Labour MP the late Tony Benn, had fought in the courts to denounce his peerage which he had inherited when his father had died as he wanted to continue being an elected British member of parliament in the House of Commons — something he would not have been able to do if he had inherited his father’s title. Tony Benn had succeed in changing the law, giving people the right to chose not to inherit their father’s title in order not to become a Lord in the House of Lords — if they did not wish to.

David Patrick Paul Alton’s acceptance of a peerage and choosing to become a member of the House of Lords underlines his desire not to be held accountable, as does his numerous unfounded untrue statements about Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Those of a similar persuasion as David Patrick Paul Alton, must realise that times have changed and Eritreans, Ethiopians and the rest of Africa are saying NO MORE to their shenanigans and crocodile tears shed on behalf of Africans.

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