Perhaps due to other burning issues in our home politics, I never wrote anything about the Nile whose origin and the lion’s share of its content are attributed to my nation, Ethiopia.
There is a good saying by an English poet, Lord Byron, “Till taught by pain, men know not water’s worth.” Ethiopians, sending freely their golden liquid to Egypt for thousands of years, even without a word of “thank you” from those thankless Pharaonians, have been suffering from poverty for millennia. Ethiopia, if utilized her natural resources and Godsend opportunities such as Abbay river, would have been one of the richest countries in the world by now had she not been the target of all evils on planet Earth, even beyond. Of course, it is not uncommon that you would have zillions of enemies if you have something good, including even your internal loopholes which may systematically be interconnected with the external ones. When an entity is fragmented, it is natural that it becomes easy prey of its foes.
To my little knowledge, no any other country in the world is prisoner of its own wealth other than Ethiopia. You can imagine this simple analogy: Suppose you have a bread in your home, suppose an outsider from a distance comes and daringly orders you not to eat, even not to touch that bread of yours other than watching while the outsider himself voraciously gobbles the bread. The greedy outsider, the alpha and the omega of selfishness, never gets satisfied with the bread though he devours it in a seemingly perpetual manner. This outsider knows not any border for the realization of its id’s childish interests. The so called ego and super-ego of Freudian personality structure are non-existent in the dictionary of this outsider. This outsider and Egypt are the two sides of a coin. For a sane individual, Egypt is simply mediocre.
I am always confused of how the world is oblivious of Egypt’s behavior with respect to the Nile. She seems to be, or acts as if she is the source of the Nile and the world appears to willy-nilly accept this abracadabra. Not only in principle but also basically, any country with any natural resource is the first to use or utilize the resource(s) at its disposal. For example, Lesotho sells some four river waters to South Africa; Arab countries sell their fuel to the world; Brazil and Ethiopia sell coffee; Russia sells diamond to support her economy, etc. Other than the controversial river Nile, many transboundary rivers are used by all countries in question. But when it comes to Ethiopia, the story is ridiculously different. What a country is Ethiopia! And, no country even among the so called super powers, doesn’t want to stand with the truth. Maybe Ethiopia is economically poor and militarily harmless? Maybe Egypt is rich and influential?…
For the past thousands of years, Ethiopia has never been beneficiary of her own Nile. This Nile has rather been the cause of Ethiopia’s suffering in a number of ways. First and foremost, this ‘cursed’ river has been transporting her fertile soil (silt) to the Sudan and Egypt. Second, it has been the main reason for the proliferation of enemies against Ethiopia both from within and without. The enemies assisted mainly by Egypt and other ‘stakeholders’ have been composing and employing so many harmful conspiracies so that Ethiopia gets engaged in an everlasting political turmoil because of which she couldn’t have any chance to use her resources for her economic progress and scientific civilization. It is obvious that the enemies of Ethiopia have been clever enough to distract Ethiopia from the path of development and make her join the highway of destruction instead, a highway which was already busy of entertaining countries such as Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, etc. You know the story of failed states and victims of ethnocentric politics in the near past. …
It is funny and lamentably exasperating that Egypt sleeplessly has been trying to cut off the hands which have been used to feed her; this is a crime, a sin, and an immoral act of bestiality. To be an enemy of the source or origin of your life is ostensibly awkward. Ethiopia has never opposed Egypt while the latter constructed more than five dams and lots of small pools for entertainment and irrigation. Ethiopia has never opposed Egypt while she used the Nile in any way she chose including selling its contents to third parties.
But when Ethiopia began the GERD, Egypt became mad and engaged in all sorts of ill-mannered activities to disrupt the construction while she should be happy. Egypt didn’t want to read the international law on cross border waters which mandates the source countries that they have the right to use their rivers in a fair way as far as they don’t impede the flow of the water. When it comes to the Nile, it is puzzling that Egypt is not in a position to allow Ethiopia to use even a drop of it. Egypt must see an MD soon!
Now, the time for Ethiopia is approaching. It is a matter of life and death. Ethiopia must use her waters come what may. We Ethiopians know Egypt can’t threaten us and hinder us from using our river(s). If the worst comes, the first worst scenario is a war between Egypt and Ethiopia which I think is less likely.
Okay, suppose a myopic warmonger from Egypt’s side is going to ignite the war. And let’s assume that the war is begun today. Let’s take it for granted that Egypt has succeeded in blowing the GERD, which is, to me, so unlikely as well. Mind you! Unless Egypt colonizes Ethiopia and Ethiopia becomes an oversea province of Egypt, the current Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s government of the Pharaohs will never enjoy the benediction of the Nile River anymore. This is an absolute truth. I will tell you why, just a little bit later.
On the other hand, Ethiopia and Ethiopians are really generous. We can go through so many ‘ifs’. If Ethiopia’s leaders were irreligious, they would force Egypt to pay money for their use of the Nile; If Ethiopian leaders were as cruel as those of the Egyptian ones, they could restrain the flow of Abbay; if Ethiopians were unkind, they could harm Egyptians through manipulating their source of breath, the Nile.
On the contrary, if Ethiopia were Egypt and Egypt were Ethiopia, Ethiopia would never get even a glass of water from Abbay leave alone the free perennial flow of this river just free of charge. We Ethiopians are so different in this unparalleled bounteousness though the response from Egyptians is death and eternal suffering. I think now it is time for Egyptians to think twice with regard to the madness of their leaders. Bygones are bygones. Egypt has been “clever” for thousands of years. But now it is time out.
How can Ethiopians block the flow of the Nile to the Sudan and Egypt? Very simple. It is a matter of six months or perhaps a year. With little budgetary support from the government, if or when all the people of Ethiopia engage in a campaign of distorting the direction of all tributaries of Abbay, this internationally famous river will become downsized to a national level within a short period of time. Then after, the monotonous talk of negotiation between and/or among nations with regard to the Nile will be an item of history. As simple as that. By then, perhaps, the prediction of the bible will have been realized.
To me, Egypt cannot be a threat to Ethiopia anymore if Ethiopians come to their conscience and if God considers all the vicissitudes we have been in for the last few centuries. I am positive that Ethiopia will get a rebirth once again in the near future and all her enemies will deeply regret. All earthly evils seem to gather in Ethiopia now and conspire to dismantle this beautiful nation along with her children. Apparently, it seems that there could be some trying times ahead which may demand some severe sacrifice, but at the end Ethiopia and Ethiopians will come out triumphant. The birth pangs come before the babies…
God bless Ethiopia.
Ambachew Dejene ([email protected])