Monday, November 24, 2003

I read an interesting interview with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

As you may know, in the late 90s, Ethiopia fought a disastrous and idiotic border war with former ally Eritrea, which was once a province of Ethiopia. The war was fought over the Badme triangle. A region which has basically nothing.

In the interview, Meles called Badme some godforsaken village, adding that the war and border dispute were not about territory.

So if it's not about territory, then what could possibly have provoked two of the poorest countries in the world to fight such a bloody war? Meles explains:

According to the latest rendition of the Boundary Commission, Badme would be 800 metres inside Eritrea. What’s 800 metres in a country as big as Ethiopia? What’s 800 metres compared to what we willingly and happily gave up as Eritrea? It’s nothing. But it’s 800 metres which we are told is something it has never been, and something that it will never be. That’s the point. That’s the crux of the matter.

As many as 70,000 people were believed to have died in this war over "some godforsaken village" just so two politicians who didn't like each other could prove a point. I'm glad the prime minister clarified things.


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