Saturday, December 16, 2006

Is Ethiopia a true ally against terrorism?

While debate over whether Somalia will become a terrorist state ensues, few in America question the legitimacy of Ethiopia. The current Ethiopian regime was elected democratically. In a New York Times article, that may seem legitimate enough. Reality states otherwise, because our so-called "liberal press" leaves out context.

Just as the Kurds and Tibetans have had their lands seized, history shows the Oromo also had their lands taken unjustly. The Oromo have a distinct culture, language , and even religion. Contrary to beliefs of some Abyssinian scholars, the Oromo have been in the region for some time. The Oromo language shares 20% of its words with Somali, and no one disputes Somalian heritage.

The Abyssinians believe they are, and might even be, descendents of Cush. They had faith that God was on their side. Therefore their kings were appointed by God, who justified war with the Oromo many times. Using their Christian credentials with European traders, they were finally able to crush the Oromo.

Abyssinians are the most ardent Christians in Africa. Being so before Europe "colonized" them, were able to postpone take-over. Italian Fascist Mussolini invaded Ethiopia using Oromo slavery as justification, without League of Nations approval, in 1935 and controlled the country until WW2 resolved.

The Oromo have steadily regained rights as time has progressed. In some circumstances Oromo are able to speak their language without punishment, but not yet in most public schools. They have used both political and violence to push for their cause. The most visible organization in their struggle is the Oromo Liberation Front.

How is the current Ethiopian government illegitimate?:

1) European Parliament resolution on Ethiopia

2) Human Rights Watch - Abuses and Political Repression in Ethiopia's Oromia Region

3) Amnesty International report on Ethiopia

4) US State Department codemnation

How is Ethiopia to justify war against Somalia when it is terrorizing its own people? How can Americans sit by and excuse human rights violations that are facts? How can America assume Somali will become a nation hellbent on American destruction? It takes quite a leap from reality to justify a war with Somalia.

Abdi Galgalo, an Oromo, makes his point against a war with Somalia. Siddise Abamagal believes genocide against the Oromo will be committed if war with Somalia breaks out. The American media ignore Oromo viewpoint, because they contradict Executive intelligence. But American citizens deserve to know what supporting a Somalian war entails.

If America supports Ethiopia, it supports terrorism and lethality against Oromo. This situation is not unfamiliar territory in American foreign policy. We ignored the Kurds, supporting Iraq, while at war with Iran.

Wake up America!
We cannot support terrorism and human rights violations in any form - even from our so-called allies. We cannot drag our flag in muddy water and immediately fly it with pride!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holy War or proxy war in the Horn of Africa?

Ethiopia, an ardently Orthodox Christian nation, is declaring war on Somalia - with U.S. support. The primary reason appears that Ethiopia fears a neighboring nation being an Islamist State. The United States does not want that either, for the irrational fear that it could become a "terrorist" state. For some odd reason, all Somalians have the unpolitically correct label of "Islamofascists." That is who we are are war with, according to many.

Eritrea, having just regained their lands from Ethiopia, supports the Islamist government because Ethiopia does not. Isaias Afwerki , President of Eritrea, wants a proxy war with Ethiopia. With Osama Bin Laden claiming Somalia as primary front for his war on the West, America will want a proxy war through Ethiopia. Somalia, having just regained some stability in 2004, faces the prospect of another harsh conflict.

When nations insist on war as a solution in Somalia, they key questions:

1) Do Ethiopian and Eritrean citizens gain from such a war?

Their money would be better spent diversifying their economies and tending to their own citizens. Their governments seem hellbent on destabilizing the entire region. The people of both nations and Somalia lose.

Ethiopia can certainly slaughter all of its opponents, especially if America chooses a more active role supplying weapons. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi probably assumes more aid from America if he does its bidding. This is quite foolish, like attacking a bees nest assuming you will get help. Neoconservatives may care about foreign aid, but Conservatives do not. And Democrats won't likely give Ethiopia more aid because they follow Bush as blindly as Kazakhstan.

Eritrea is rushing headfirst into fatalities. But they only want a way to hurt Ethiopia without officially declaring war. Foolish, but very ego driven.

2) Does lethality really solve anything?

I have long felt that we need to change the culture of lethality. For too long humans have generally lived peaceful family lives, but accepted that "their" nations military was on "their" side. Lethality is on no man's side but deaths. We need to see militarism for what is it - a last resort and not just a big stick worth wielding at the "other" AKA "the enemy of us."

Somalia is a stabler nation, and even if Islamists control it - will lethality make things better? Somalian Women, children, in addition to men of all ages await war. They wield machine guns ready to die for their nation. They will obey the will of Allah, otherwise the Americans have won.

3) What would no war in Somalia mean?

Imagine that all sides backed off from war. Bin Laden would have nothing to rally around except "Nation Building" in Somalia - what we are supposed to be doing in Iraq. Eritrea and Ethiopia could focus on domestic needs instead of fighting a pointless and irrational proxy war. The United States could focus on real issues, rather than supporting lethality further. All other nations not directly involved, the most signifcant being Kenya, would have no refugees coming caused by a regional war.

I can't imagine why any American would think they could change the mind of another country by use of lethality. Did we end Communism through brute force? How about Socialism in Latin America?

If China becomes the next superpower, would we want them to act as we have - spreading authoritian regimes around the world? America has a reputation and legacy to rebuild. If we are to pass the torch of global power to another nation or region we must become create the standards we want them to abide by. We should start by supporting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ensuring the UN enforces them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kucinich for America

Who is best fit to be the next President? The media is already in a frenzy over Hilary vs. Obama vs. McCain vs. [ insert latest hot candidate here ]. But yesterday someone stood up and said he would fight for a better America. One that would value all its citizens and enable greater equality. One where hope would triumph over fear. Dennis Kucinich declared his candidacy for President in 2008.

Why would I endorse a candidate this early in the game? Because Kucinich is the real thing. He is in this for the long haul, and has continually worked to gain each political office he eventually attained. He will make it to the oval office.

What issues does Dennis stand for? Simple:

  1. Universal Health Care
  2. International Cooperation: US out of Iraq, UN in
  3. Jobs and Withdrawal from NAFTA and WTO
  4. Repeal of the "Patriot Act"
  5. Guaranteed Quality Education, Pre-K Through College
  6. Full Social Security Benefits at Age 65
  7. Right-to-Choose, Privacy, and Civil Rights
  8. Balance Between Workers and Corporations
  9. Environmental Renewal and Clean Energy
  10. Restored Rural Communities and Family Farms
1) America needs some form of universal healthcare. Even Costa Rica has understood the value of this institution, and it has enabled its citizens to thrive in the 21st Century.

2)The United States cannot solve Iraq alone. Even if Kazakhstan and our "coalition of the willing" send all available troop strength - we will still be outnumbered. We need a stronger United Nations, if anything to preserve international order. It is unwise for America to undo the UN when it can be used as an international institution promoting human rights globally.

3) Free trade is not free. The environmental and labor regulations are trade partners do not have endanger our planet and local workers. NAFTA is not solving Mexico's economic woes, but exacerbating them - making America seem the only hope for the desparate.

4) The Patriot Act was passed after 9-11 through emotional fear rather than rational dialogue. It hasn't made us safer, and its effectiveness as a band-aid is beginning to wear off.

5) America is the only industrial nation to NOT offer its citizens free college. Do economically disadvantaged students really have to take out loans just to get what the rich already have? The only Federal program we have currently is the Pentagon, promoting lethality in conjunction with tuition.

6) Social Security does need some revision - it needs to be strengthened, not repealed. If SS benefits were offered on the free market, no citizen could afford it. But our government is able to provide this at a much lower cost than the financial market, to the benefit of our entire society.

7) Do we really need to undo the work of 30 years of human rights activism? Let's support the work already accomplished and a part of our culture. What isn't perfect can be reformed without dismantlement.

8) Corporations and business provide us all jobs - at least those not self employed or work for the government. But they cannot flout labor laws and treat its employees like cattle. Nor can employees expect to be useless to their employers. We need accountability on both sides, and a ways to ensure families and communites some economic stability.

9) Let's face it - oil and other hydrocarbons are starting to become more detrimental to our nation. When President Bush stated that America is "addicted to oil" we have made the first step towards ending the addiction - admitting it exists in the first place. Renewable energy can replace our needs more than we realized even 10 years ago. Further R&D in renewables will ensure a more sustainable future.

10) I can't agree more - we need a better agriculture policy than merely subsidies. We need incentives that have multiple bottom lines: more locally produced, biodiversified and nutritious foods, produced without chemicals that treat our soil like dirt.
I cannot think of reasons why Dennis Kucinich doesn't deserve the Presidency. The Democrats have become complacent, but have the opportunity to change that in 2008. I'm not talking about a further tilt to the left or center - but a tilt towards opportunity and hope. The mid-term election this November was a taste of what can be. Dennis Kucinich offers a glimpse of what is further possible.

The big question is: Will Democrats be bold enough to endorse a candidate not deemed "electable" as John Kerry or Mike Hatch were?