A New York Times article that speaks volumes about Ethiopia’s regime

I read this New York Times (NYT) article about the tragic and preventable landslide at Addis Ababa’s major trash dump in March, 2017, which killed well over a hundred people, many of them children, and buried many poor homes. I will write a separate post about this disaster later.

The NYT article can be read here:

Reading “between the lines,” of the NYT article, I noticed some very telling passages that speak volumes about what is really going on in Ethiopia.

(1) NYT: “’The government must take responsibility for what happened and come up with a better plan for a sustainable solution for these people,” said Girma Seifu, who was the only opposition member in Parliament until a 2015 election gave the governing coalition every seat.'”

ME: Girma Seifu was the only opposition member (out of 547 parliamentary members) until 2015, when the government did even better and won 547/547 parliamentary seats compared with the 546/547 seats it won in 2010. What does that tell you about the Ethiopian election process?

(2) NYT: “The disaster is at odds with the image Ethiopia wants to project as a rapidly developing country. Addis Ababa, home to the African Union, is a bustling city where new malls, hotels and apartment buildings are constantly being built.”

ME: The malls, hotels and other high rise buildings, along with plentiful trees, hide the multiple extensive areas of Addis where poor people live in mud-based homes. You can go into any one of these high rise buildings and if you can get to the fifth floor or higher and look at the view of Addis, then you will see for yourself the huge extent of the poor districts of Addis. On your way there, take note of the many homeless adults, families and children beneath many of these fancy buildings.

(3) NYT: “The government has been constructing high-rise apartment blocks on the edges of the city to house people at subsidized rates, but critics say those efforts have been plagued by corruption.”

ME: Combine the word “Government” and “Corruption,” and you’ll be close to answering some important questions to some important problems in Ethiopia.

(4) NYT: “A security worker at the site, who did not want to give his name for fear of retribution, said that he thought the death toll could exceed the government’s estimate by hundreds of victims.”

ME: The security worker feared retribution if he criticized the government? His fear, and that of most Ethiopians, says a lot about oppression and abuse of the constitutional right to free speech. It’s in the Ethiopian Constitution, but the government itself doesn’t abide by its own constitution on almost every Article.


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