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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Are Ethiopians Abandoning President Obama?

While loyalty towards President Obama between Black community and Black churches have been tested in the last weeks since the president announced his support of gay marriage, Ethiopians have also found a reason to question President Obama's foreign policy decisions.

Ethiopians upset over PM Zenawi's participation in G-8 summit and
Food Security symposium held last week. Photo/CD Brown.
As the president hosted the G-8 Summit and announced new global food regulations this week, inviting several world leaders, members of the Ethiopian community are outraged over the invitation of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and are asking President Obama to stop supporting the man they say should be convicted of war crimes.

"President Obama said during his election campaign that he wouldn't sand beside dictators, said Neamin Zeleke", one of the organizers of  DC protest last Thursday outside the Ronald Reagan Int'l Building where there president was speaking on food security.

"He [Zenawi] is the worst dictator since [Robert] Mugabe."

Ethiopians want the arrest of their prime minister Meles Zenawi. 
Ethiopians, for the last 20 years of the Zenawi reign, have witnessed the prime minister take funds from the country's poor and give to China.  The region has witnessed several human rights violations as well as the ordered killings of journalists.   Land in the region has been sold to Indians, leaving many of the Ethiopians homeless and starving.

A stark contrast to the president's remarks at the Food Security symposium where he stated, "So we take pride in the fact that, because of smart investments in nutrition and agriculture and safety nets, millions of people in Kenya and Ethiopia did not need emergency aid in the recent drought."
More staggering statistics in the region show 80% of the population living below the absolute poverty lines (less than $1.25 per day).  Seventy-percent of Ethiopians youth are unemployed.

Ethiopians protest across from the DC Mayor Vincent Gray's office.  Photo/CD Brown.
"We [Ethiopians] voted for Obama, but we will not this time said Tsegay Debterew", member of the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party (EPRP).

Along election lines, Ethiopians have long claimed that the election of Prime Minster Zenawi has, for years, been rigged.

The group handed out flyers at the rally that read, "Zenawi claimed that his party won the parliamentary election by 99.6%; a vote not even Jesus Christ or prophet Muhammad can claim."

Ethiopians claim Zenawi sales their land.  Photo/CD Brown.
The flyer also had a clear message for President Obama:  "Your support to Zenawi undermines Ethiopian people struggle for freedom, human rights and justice."

In light of the proterstor's demands, President Obama announced over $3 billion in private-sector investment plans to boost African food security via African and G-8 government  funding and action to enable long-term success of agriculture investments. Commitments form part of the G8's New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition will help lift 50 million people out of poverty.  Investments were developed in collaboration with the Grow Africa partnership of the African Union, NEPAD and the World Economic Forum.

Said President Obama, "We’ll continue to be the leader in times of crisis, as we’ve done as the single largest donor of aid in the Horn of Africa, and as we focus on the drought in the Sahel.  That's why I’ve proposed to continue increasing funds for food security.  So I want to be clear:  The United States will remain a global leader in development in partnership with you.  And we will continue to make available food, or emergency aid.  That will not change.  But what we do want to partner with you on is a strategy so that emergency aid becomes less and less relevant as a consequence of greater and greater sustainability within these own countries."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Zenawi, and other African leaders, for participating in the food security symposium.

“These gentlemen [John Mills of Ghana; Jekaya Kikwete of Tanzania; Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia] are here because they understand the opportunity that is being presented; the true partnership, the global partnership around the ending of food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition. And we are very impressed that you have taken this leadership position and the time to be with us here. We want to support and build up countries who have leaders like those here before you to take their rightful place of leadership by regionally and globally.”

Related
Video:  Ethiopian journalist goes in on Zenawi
G8 Summit

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