Ethiopia and Russia share belief technology is for killing not saving lives

Photograph of cluster munition dropped on Samre in Tigray in Februrary 2021. Cluster munitions are outlawed by international treaty.  Source NY TImes

God gave man the gift of a mind capable of developing technology which can take life or save it. He has free will in how to use this gift. At this moment the world seems to me divided into two major factions. A group who values human life versus those that value the power of the state over human life. This week I had a life saving operation done with high tech robotic technology by a highly trained surgeon while in other parts of the world government leaders are using technology to kill hundreds of innocent civilians at a time. The Western democracies spend 100x or more per capita for medical care versus countries like Russia and Ethiopia who value spending more for munitions then medicine. 

I was a witness to the invasion of Tigray by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces in November 2020.  During this war outlawed cluster bombs and artillery rounds have been used by Eritrea and Ethiopia killing thousands of civilians. This was reported to diplomatic authorities by myself in January 2021 and noted by the New York Times with photographic records of the munition. Subsequently Ethiopia doubled its foreign debt to over $65 billion by buying drone weapons.  Now in addition to the Tigray deaths from drone attacks, thousands of civilian Ukrainians have been killed by cluster weapons and other high tech weapons.

While the democracies of the world voted overwhelmingly against the Russian invasion in the United Nations General Assembly North Korea, Syria, Belarus, and Eritrea opposed it. In a move clearly cowardly in nature, Ethiopia abstained while issuing a statement that it did want the situation in Ukraine to further exacerbate. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s statement about the severe consequences of the civil war in Ethiopia which he planned, prosecuted, and prolongs that the civil war “has shown the devastating consequence that war inflicts upon families, communities, livelihoods and the economy at large” is grossly hypocritical. 

Russia is now depriving Ukrainians of heat, water, electricity, and communication just as Ethiopia its sworn military ally has withheld food and medical supplies for year to Tigray. 

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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