Don’t reward Ethiopia’s failure in real democracy with American aid

The reluctance of the world to act against the atrocities in Tigray only facilitates their continuation

The action of the majority of the world’s leading democracies to vote for investigation of human rights violations by all parties in Ethiopia is only significant if it represents a concerned and determined effort rather than a fleeting sound bite that will be forgotten.

Voting for a leader is the beginning of democracy not its end. Not since the rise of fascism and communism in the early 20th century has the concept of what makes democracy been so threatened in the world. Democracy is not the iron will of a majority over a minority it is instead the recognition of the rights of all citizens to basic freedoms. This is essence of democracy.

At this moment Ethiopia has become one of the most repressive governments in the world. There is no freedom of the press, no freedom of assembly, no habeas corpus protection, no right to impartial due process or any due process, no freedom from legal discrimination against a minority, no freedom of communication, no freedom to private property, no freedom to earn a living, and finally no freedom against extrajudicial killing or violation.

The State Department under the Biden Administration talks a lot but in reality has accomplished very little in facing many international challenges. America’s security and world stability always sits on the edge of precipitous cliff because democracy is a very fragile entity to maintain at home and abroad. As St. Paul tells us in his writings man is always struggling against his animal nature to find his spiritual self. The 18th century English philosopher John Stuart Mills, a major inspiration to the American revolution, espoused responsibility, morality, and freedom to live ones life as one chooses but strongly proclaimed that society must act strongly when clearly its actions hurt others pointing to the conflict of mob actions versus a minority.

The valuable resources the United States expends in foreign aid which are the fruit of Americans hard work should be given with understanding of  promoting democracy. At this point when there is much that needs to be done in America and you have a country of Ethiopia who is choosing to spend its capital in weapons and deprivation against minorities then America should abstain from facilitating these actions. Whilst many say that the United States cannot and should not be the policeman of the world nor should we be the facilitator of evil tyrants. Like the Bible tells us we should leave the house, shake the dust from our feet, and move on as regards Ethiopia.

On the other hand, if we abandon the Tigray, Oromo, and others in Ethiopia who are currently at risk of being crushed out of existence then that demeaning of their status of being equal creations of God in his image will serve to forever demean our own status before our Creator.

Author: Professor Tony Magana

Professor Tony Magana is Head of the Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. He directs a neurosurgery residency and training program as well as neuroscience research.

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