Friday, April 08, 2005

How to live down to the worst cariciature of yourself

"Will the madness ever end?" can be a trite phrase, but sometimes, a situation is so unimaginably stupid that no other phrase suffices.

For example, this morning, I saw a headline that read:

ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: Stalemate could lead to war, Eritrean gov’t says.

Between 1998-2000, the two countries fought what can only be categorized as one of the most idiotic and pointless wars in recent history. It was a war that could not be justified even under the most Machiavellian definitions of self-interest or selfish-interest. It was purely a case of machismo, ego and nationalism trumping not only rational thought but even a cold calcuation of self-interest. In the conflict, some 70,000 people died in a stupid war over a mostly empty strip of land that didn't even contain any valuable natural resouces.

Ethiopia and Eritrea are two of the poorest countries in the world. The Ethiopian economy is more dependent on foreign aid that any other country in the world. Eritrea started existence in 1993 with the goal of being self-sufficient, but the insane war and subsequent militarization along with drought and mismanagement have made that goal a distant memory.

Earlier this week, UN report warned of a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Eritrea.

Drought has caused "failed harvests, loss of livestock and food insecurity throughout all parts of the country - both rural and urban," according to the report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Rains have failed for the fifth consecutive year, said the report, and recent surveys showed that pastures in Eritrea’s three most fertile regions - Anseba, Gash Barka, and Debub - were at their driest since 1998.

And the Eritrean dictatorship is STILL thinking about reprising the idiotic border war?!

If the unimaginably stupid war resumes, then the African Union and UN must suspend the two regimes from all its bodies and place an immediate travel ban on them. All foreign aid to the two countries must cease not only until the war stops but until a permanent peace treaty (including border resolution) is signed. The subsequent collapse of the two economies will hopefully be enough pressure to force the leaderships back to a more sane approach.

They, and pseudo-democratic regime in Ethiopia, seem hell bent on living down to every outsider's most offensive cariciature of Africa. The rest of the world, particularly other Africans, need to send the lunatic governments the message that there will be external consequences if they continue this unimaginable folly.


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