Concerned Ethiopian -Canadians in Ottawa
April 6, 2020
Subject: The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD):
Dear Citizens of Egypt,
First and foremost we are bound by human curtsy and religious fraternity to send you our greetings from Canada. We also wish you a speedy recovery from the COVID-19 epidemic that is taking a toll on your people.
Since Ethiopia began building the GERD on the Nile River eight years ago, the Egyptian Government, military and media have been engaged in orchestrating a barrage of hostile accusations, threats and war mongering propaganda against Ethiopians and their government. We believe your leadership and media are deliberately hoodwinking you with false information and unwarranted bravado. The truth of the matter is that Ethiopia opted for a peaceful settlement to disputes surrounding the GERD with Egypt and Sudan. What our countries need is cooperation and mutual understanding and not confrontation.
In the midst of propaganda warfare we urge Egyptians to refrain from hobnobbing facts with fiction. It is time to understand that the Nile gets 90% of its water from Lake Tana and Ethiopia’s highland rivers. Any fluctuation in rainfall patterns affects the volume of water in the Nile and the dam considerably. This is further compounded by deforestation that is turning Ethiopia to a desert. A century ago the country’s 40% vegetative coverage was depleted to 2% in 2020. It is mutually significant for Egypt to come forward to support Ethiopia’s tree planting initiative and eradication of Water Hyacinth from Lake Tana. We believe it is the most sustainable alternative that saves us from extinction and not the war rhetoric.
Regrettably, your government remains defiant and dismissive to Ethiopia’s call for a negotiated settlement. This should be quite concerning for the people of both countries. Let us be cognizant of Ethiopia’s absolute and legitimate right to build hydro dams on her rivers including the Nile so long that it is done within its geographic boundary. Ethiopia does not require the blessing of outside powers to harness its rivers for social and economic development. However, when constructing dams on rivers cascading international boundaries, we reckon the significance of multilateral and bilateral negotiations as long as such negations are framed on a balanced, fair and equitable arbitration.
Ethiopia does not and will not allow a repeat of the 1929 colonial treaty on the Nile which it considered null and void because it was unjust, morally selfish, and politically bankrupt. Ethiopia won’t be fooled again to the old fashioned and scandalous treaty designed by hegemonic colonial mentality that bullied and terrorized Ethiopians for a century. In a digital world the global political geography then and the 21st century is starkly different from that of the 20’s.
We urge the people and government of Egypt to wake up to new political, and military realities of our time. After a century, Ethiopia has one of the best brains in Africa, a seasoned and robust diplomacy built on coexistence and mutual respect. By all standards, Ethiopia has the best defense and airpower unparalleled in Africa and the Middle East.
Historically, the GOD fearing people of Ethiopia have neither concocted war against any nation nor have they been against peaceful settlement of international disputes. Ethiopians consider war as a last resort. If war is imposed on them history affirms with absolute certainty that they know how to conduct war and win it.
Ethiopians are absolutely zealous and selfless people always united and ready to defend their country’s interest and integrity. Certainly when Ethiopians fight they fight to the finish line by holding a Bible/Quran on one hand and a gun in the other. We have the most resilient people ready to go the extra mile to defend Ethiopia’s vital establishments including the GERD.
Finally, we hear that your government is readying itself to bomb the GERD. The decision to bomb or not is yours alone. Ethiopians won’t interfere in your right to disseminating the propaganda of warfare. However, should your government remain defiant to peaceful resolution, our advice is-let all of us stop playing with fire.
The military option will have gargantuan consequences to both countries. What is best is to reach out to each other as the Ethiopian Government reached your country with COVID-19 supplies last week. Mutual understanding and cooperation are the sole options beneficial to all of us in these trying times of our world.
For info contact Mr. Semaneh Jemere Tel:613-796-6196 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Concerned Ethiopian -Canadians in Ottawa
Editor’s note : The Open letter is addressed to the people of Egypt via the Embassy of Egypt in Ottawa, and CC’ed to various authorities. PDF version is available HERE
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