Abiy Ahmed and Vladimir Putin demonstrate the difference between immoral demagoguery and moral democracy. Many times over the past year supporters of the Russian as well as the Ethiopian government’s trampling of human rights and acts of violence against civilians justify these acts because the leaders prosecuting these actions are popular. Some would put this simply by saying “might makes right”. The Greek philosopher, Thrasymachus, in the fifth century BC believed that social norms were artificial. Later Greeks including Socrates believed that society could not function without having guiding principles which guide civilized men and their governments. The Abrahamic faiths recognize the Ten Commandments as basic rules God gave man as a guide to how to live with others.
African slavery was allowed in the United States by popularly elected leaders for many years. Hitler and his NAZI movement was elected to power in Germany by popular vote yet killed millions. Even if Abiy Ahmed was “democratically elected” this did not give him license to govern immorally. This confusion that the sovereignty of popular demagogues should be protected at all costs to protect democracy is a blasphemy to universal values of equality and fair treatment of all mankind. Allowing such leaders as Abiy Ahmed and Vladimir Putin to escape normal social constraints has lead to the chaos and death we are seeing today.
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.
The world payed too little attention to the barbarous invasion of Tigray a little over a year ago. Even though much of the world claims piety to faiths which preach doing good for others over harm somehow this did not apply to a poor African region which was not strategically significant. The complete failure of the African Union, United Nations, NATO alliance, and the G7 industrialized nations to speak up contributed to willful inaction. This was further reinforced by the propaganda machines in Ethiopia which connected to their allies abroad saying any accusations of atrocity in a “law enforcement operation” were false.
Today already hundreds maybe thousands are dead in Ukraine from Russian military strikes from a “law enforcement operation”. Last night the Russian government all but laughed at the United Nations emergency Security Council meeting calling for an end of the Ukraine invasion. They have already set a precedent in Myanmar, Rwanda, and Tigray that impotent discussion of tragedy is a sufficient response to mass violence and genocidal intent. Now another country, Ukraine, and its millions of innocent women and children will pay the price.
When will the world learn?