A response to Ambassador Cohen’s Proposal

Ambassador Herman Cohen

“The Red Sea Is Slipping into Total Arab Control” (Ambassador Cohen (www.cohenononafrica.com, December 29, 2015)

“The governments of the Arabian Peninsula are eating your lunch” A response to Ambassador Cohen’s Proposal

Ambassador Cohen, who peacefully transferred power from one dictatorship to another, and the Pope who crowned Meles Zenawi has emerged with another spectacular proposal / policy for Abyssinians. This time, a response to Ambassador Herman Cohen is in order.

Before attempting to make an assessment about Mr. Cohen’s proposal, it is necessary to deal first, with the politically incorrect framework. An Ethiopian national may quickly identify the stinging idea associated with the proposal, and its intended beneficiaries. Mr. Cohen wrote (www.cohenonafrica.com, December 2015):

“Hey, all you Abyssinians out there. While you are wasting time squabbling with each other and not talking to each other, the governments of the Arabian Peninsula are eating your lunch”. 

The above statement is politically incorrect in as far as Ethiopian nationals are concerned. History reminds us that the Italians referred to the people of the region South of Tigray, as Abyssinians; and the rest in the North, as Ethiopians. While the term Abyssinians may appear correct to the political consultant, Mr. Cohen, it is not to the Ethiopians. Colonial Italy applied the above distinction to ease its efforts to conquer the country by dividing it into two nations, Abyssinia and Ethiopia. The Italians referred to the region that was in their immediate sphere of colony, as Ethiopia, the country they knew had long history and symbolic significance in the World. The rest that was supposed to fall under their occupation next, as Abyssinia. The Colonial Italy referred to Yohannes as King of Ethiopia; and Menelik as King of Abyssinia. That was the colonial strategy that never materialized as the two invasions of Italy failed miserably. The aspirations of the Colonial forces ended with horrific self-destruction. Ethiopia maintained its biblical name and continued its existence as the domain of the independent people in the World. Cohen used the name Abyssinia perhaps unknowingly, and out of ignorance about the implication of the name. Cohen might have thought that the two names are used interchangeably, the common assumption and mistake that ordinary people make.

There is also a statement that seems politically incorrect. It is about who exactly has been stealing and eating Ethiopians’ lunch (Injera) for the last 25 years. There was no time in history that the governments of the Arabian Peninsula scared Ethiopians. Egypt is a jock. It threatened to start full-fledged war against Ethiopia over the construction of Hidase Dam. It will no doubt do the same when Ethiopians reroute the power grid west ward to light the houses of Abyssinians. The idea that the Arabs will conquer Ethiopia is a farfetched scenario. Mr. Cohen is unaware, but he has hinted how and where the Third World War starts. Ethiopians know about the prophesy.

Ethiopians are sick of the rebels that Ambassador Cohen installed and crowned as the regional Chiefs. Ambassador Cohen shaped Abyssinia by marginalizing the significant segment of the Ethiopian people. That was a grand plan and policy truly colonial. The consequences have been far reaching. The present Ethiopia is the showcase of that policy. The present proposal is no different from the schemes of 1991. The proposal of Mr. Cohen however statuesque by its appears, the main purpose is to preserve and continue the policy in place. Thus, in that respect, the proposal introduces a dangerous development that directly clashes with the aspirations of the people. Ethiopians wish to regain and maintain their independent sovereign nation, to remove the dictatorial regime and install in its place a democratic governance. They want to live in peace and harmony among themselves and with all nations all around them.

Mr. Cohen cannot be ignorant about the leader who stashed billions of dollars in foreign banks; the wealth of the nation that he robbed from the children that continue to starve to death. Mr. Cohen cannot pretend ignorant about the corruption, and the staggering amount of money flowing out of the country by those who cannot see themselves in the country after the end of the regime. Mr. Cohen ought to know the fact that the entire Cadre of TPLF are embezzling and robbing the impoverished nation. Mr. Cohen used the terms ‘lunch’ and ‘Sharia’ symbolically, but Ethiopians take it literally because TPLF demolished the monasteries, Mosques, landmarks, stole coffee from silos, and gold from the banks worth billions. Thus, to be morally graced, and politically correct, Mr. Cohen should look nowhere to find the thieves and the invaders. Mr. Cohen suggested the use of International Institutions to help the regimes. If these institutions have any good intentions for the neglected people of Ethiopia, the starting point to help the people would be retrieving the money worth billions that left Ethiopia illegally as soon as the Institutions delivered the grants, and loans to help the poor people. They know where the money ended up and who has them. If they wish to do the right thing they have the means to retrieve the wealth stolen and return it to the people, This action discourages dictatorship and promote democracy more than wars and revolutions can do.

Another curios matter is the timing that Ambassador Cohen surfaced with such mind boggling scenario. This is a critical period to Ethiopians. Nationalism and unity among Ethiopian people is spreading like wildfire. The people are disenchanted and dissatisfied, and their disobediences are threatening the regime. The people seemed determined to dethrone the boys of Ambassador Cohen. Therefore, it may not be surprising that Mr. Cohen surfaced to save TPLF and Shabya. TPLF is not a political organization that can be reformed. For that reason, the present proposal of Mr. Cohen is no better than the arrangement of 1991. Mr. Cohen was in position to understand the cause of Badme war. The Ethiopian people have nothing to do with Badme or any other war. It will be unjust and immoral to implicate the Ethiopian people with the affairs of Badme and Algiers. More importantly, the Ethiopian people have nothing to do with the crimes that TPLF committed against other people.

If the suggestion of Mr. Cohen is a policy rather than a mere proposal, Ethiopians have to exercise their will and desire to reject or swallow the bitter pill. The Ethiopian people have different understanding about World events. The Ethiopian people believe that the junta in power has been major attractions to terrorism. The Arabs or their terrorist elements can find no good climate in Ethiopia let alone fertile soils to hatch and grow terrorists that destroy Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues. The friction between TPLF and Shabya has destabilized the region. Each regime cultivates terrorists to do harm against the other. The differences between the two forces are not superficial that can be resolved by settling the issues of Badme and Assab as Mr. Cohen suggested. The differences between the two are deeply engrained in the social psyches filled with antagonism, and mistrust, Each is obsessed to assert their superiority and the inferiority of the other. These differences had led both to war many times even while they were in the bushes fighting against one common enemy, the Ethiopian government. After Eritrea gained its dependence, the ongoing difference between the two reached its apex leading both to a bitter war at Badme. The one time guerrilla fighters showed their destructive powers, as well as their savagery. The two groups / people are incapable to live together. Only in democratic Ethiopia, in a nation of individuality, the social and economic developments, the harmony and peaceful existence that bonds will diffuse the differences, animosity, and antagonism tribes have against each other. A Nation of Individuality has the capacity to dissolve the backward tribal conflicts. That is the beauty of democracy. Mr. Cohen has asked the Abyssinians:

“Have you noticed that warships from the United Arab Emirates are operating out of the port of Asab 24/7? Their interest is in Yemen, not in Eritrea or Ethiopia” (Cohen, H. 2015). 

If Mr. Cohen is right about his concern, Ethiopia has lost interest in Yemen centuries ago. If the Arab countries take over Yemen, Ethiopia will hardly feel the presence of the new neighbor. If Mr. Cohen meant that Ethiopia is the target of terrorists, and not Yemen, then, Ethiopia need to quickly depose the junta, and install a legitimate regime that will be feared and respected by its neighbors. Ethiopia will be capable to insulate itself from the external terrorists, and more than that, Ethiopia can extend its hands to help maintain world peace as it did in Korea and Congo.

Mr. Cohen is a household name in Ethiopia, as was Dr. Kissinger, who effectively dismantled or helped to dismantle the Imperial regime. Dr. Kissinger once stated that his name is house-hold name in Ethiopia. Ambassador Cohen will remain the house-hold name in Ethiopia for generations to come. It is about time Ambassador Cohen begin to think about the 6 million Ethiopians who are presently starving to death, about the Ethiopians refugees suffering in the Middle East and Arab countries, and the people that the ruthless forces of TPLF maim on the streets, school compounds, and villages around the country. The ‘lunch’ that Ethiopian do not have, the ‘sharia law’ that will never grow on Ethiopian soil, and the armies of Islamic State that will never set foot on Ethiopia are not more dangerous to Ethiopians’ aspirations than the Junta. In Ethiopia, the people have no lunch to protect, no monastery and Mosque to defend successfully, no court system to trust. Mr. Cohen has the wrong concern and fear for Ethiopians.

Ambassador Cohen is once again on the wrong side of history. Ambassador Cohen has his own commitment greater than anything else. He told us that his own boss, the Secretary of the State was not aware what he did in London in 1991. Mr. Cohen expressed that his boss would have been angry if he found out. Ethiopians wonder to this day whose directives Mr. Cohen followed. Mr. Cohen understands the struggle of the Ethiopian people, but his proposal does not support their aspirations to bring a democratic rule, peace, and harmony.