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HomeLetter to the editorDr. Tedros won’t be President Trump’s sacrificial lamb

Dr. Tedros won’t be President Trump’s sacrificial lamb

Yilma Gebru
April 27, 2020

The year 2020 with its concomitant infectious disease covid-19 is as maverick as the US President Donald J Trump. 2020 is really so maverick that it skipped the winter bolstering climate change advocates’ claim that global warming is a threat to our existence unless controlled.The coronavirus has tested the western democracy in such a way that it allowed governments to interfere in their citizens’ life for the first time since the Second World War. It posed a question to Westerners’ capabilities to cure every disease that may arise from a virus.

Amid all this, there is President Trump leading the most powerful country on earth. To begin with, President Trump is too naïve to fathom the complex politics of this world. His approach is always straightforward which is good if it is in the right place, yet every time he faces challenges instead of trying to resolve them wisely he rushes to find a lamb to scarify. We can raise many instances of these, especially blaming his predecessor for every failure he encounters. I won’t get into that, as that is not the scope of this peace. This piece is aiming at defending the World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Dr.Tedros Adhanom. The coming election is a make or break thing for President Trump and covid-19 is untoward, because, before this disease emerges he was hoping he would win the 2020 election comfortably. While the disease was in China, he was still relaxing thinking it would be confined to China, he might have even thought that it won’t go out of Wuhan, the capital city of the Hubei province which was the epicenter of the disease. That was why he was boasting saying we will control it, it won’t go out of our hand. When it got out of control and started killing hundreds and thousands of people in Europe and continued spreading swiftly in his own country, as usual he started to look for a lamb, found none but Dr.Tedros the chief of WHO, the hard working, humble and proficient person. This, it is not me saying it, but the famous international media like the TIME magazine, the BBC World testify. Even his own cabinet member, the famous and accomplished doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci witnessed that Dr.Tedros has a proven record of achievements while working as health minister of Ethiopia. 

In a futile attempt to persuade his audience, President Trump says the WHO misled us saying the disease doesn’t transmit from man to man, but I was not convinced hence I stopped the flight from China. This argument doesn’t hold water at all, why because if that were the case America wouldn’t be the first by having the largest number of confirmed cases of covid-19. The fact that America was unprepared in Trump’s administration for this crisis was divulged when it sought help for the very cheap but very essential equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE). President Trump had to reach out to his arch enemies such as Russia and China, not to mention Canada’s accusation of his administration for keeping PPE that was intended for Canada.  

Did really, WHO conceal information to help the Chinese? That is a matter to be scrutinized, if it is true, that is a crime and no one should be accountable but Dr.Tedros. Whatever the case, Dr.Tedros is not the first African to face this kind of challenge.  The late prominent UN Secretary Kofi Annan faced the same challenge why only because he opposed the American led war against Iraq. The funny thing is that the then administration used the same threat President Trump used today mentioning the contribution America is making to the UN. This pretty much contradicts the values the Americans boast to build in the world. If Kofi Annan or any of his family are involved in any kind of crime they should be accountable for it. The question is why it comes to the Americans mind when the individual expresses a different view from them. By the same token, President Trump was praising the Chinese for their handling of the coronavirus, but when he sees it is jeopardizing his second term chance, he turns his face to WHO. Even now seeing Americans dying in their hundreds and his health official advisors are telling him to be cautious about reopening businesses, or else face resurgence, he keeps pushing his fans to urge their governors to reopen business causing fomentation in some states. Tomorrow when the problem occurs as usual he will look for a lamb to scarify. But, Dr.Tedros and his team are continuing to undertake their responsibility. Like Trump’s health care advisors, they are warning governments to think twice before deciding to ease restrictions of movement. 

The other libel coming to Dr.Tedros is from Taiwan. Taiwan is not a member of the WHO. True, the Chinese who consider Taiwan to be one of their provinces, might have impeded their ambition to become a member state. But, they have to talk to China, not WHO. They are claiming they did a great job and rescued their nation from this pandemic. Once they learned about it, they communicated with the WHO asking if the disease is transmitted human to human. We may say the WHO is wrong for not replying to their request. But, here there is an insidious aim the Taiwanese want to achieve which is out of the scope of WHO. WHO is a health organization, not a political one.  Therefore, I would say the WHO did the right thing by ignoring their question. 

Dr. Tedros’ case in the eyes of Ethiopians 

AS we all know nowadays, Ethiopian politics is divided between radical ethnic proponents and radical nationalists. I just want to see it from the viewpoint of Ethiopians on the aisle of both sides in the Ethiopian political spectrum. It is unfortunate, this issue would have been a good opportunity to be united, and we are missing it once again. 

If there is anything the coronavirus is teaching us, it is the fact that we human beings are the same. Dr.Tedros has said it all. “If the attack is on me, I don’t care, but we are losing lives… If we are divided there will be a crack, if we are united we will win this pandemic”. 

Some radical nationalists keep whining blaming Dr. Tedros for being a member of TPLF. In the first place depicting all TPLF members as a demon is bullshit, true, there are criminals among TPLF members as there are criminals among all the four parties that comprise the former EPRDF the now defunct party that ruled Ethiopia for 27 years, who should be accountable for the crimes they committed. But, Dr.Tedros was a devoted nationalist when he was serving the Ethiopian government. Only because some so called nationalists have a deep-rooted hatred towards TPLF, it is wrong to defame a hard-working person like Dr.Tedros. Some disingenuous foes of him, without understanding the essence of the matter, merely echo Trump’s claim and pretend they understand it. 

The other radical ethnic proponents that I should raise are TPLF fans. They always rush to pull the matter to the other extreme. There are thousands of nationalist Ethiopians including tigarus who want to deflate the ethnic tensions and bring everybody to the middle. Yet, tegaru radicals like the oromo or any other radicals know no middle ground. Even now, because their business is usually with radical nationalists, they are involved in a tug of war regarding this issue. It is in their habit attributing any allegation to any tigaru to his ethnicity. For example, one of these radicals, Kebede, a tegrean is detained. They won’t be prompted to ask why once you tell them he is a tigrean that is enough for them. Possible to give a lot of instances, I won’t waste time listing that as it will be out of the scope of this piece. But there are thousands of Ethiopians who backup DR.Tedros including those who opposed him before, now they say we have to support him because he is ours. Yet, for radical tigarus if ninety-nine   people come out to support Dr.Tedros and one person comes out to oppose him, their eyes will be blindfolded for the ninety-nine and wide open to see conspicuously that one dissident. Then they come out in their social media or any media to spread their poison namely he is being opposed only because he is a tigrean. 

The crux of the matter is that both the ethnic proponents and nationalists think that one flourishes at the demise of the other. In this case, the Ethiopian nationalists think that demonizing TPLF, by any means possible, is the end of politics; on the contrary, radical tigarus think they capitalize any time they whine about tigarus’ mistreatment in Ethiopia. Indeed, this is incivility, as it doesn’t help anyone. The nitty-gritty is that Dr. Tedros won’t be President Trump’s sacrificed lamb, therefore, both side need to start thinking how they might make the country a suitable place to live for everyone, or else get out of the way and give a chance for citizens who aspire building a suitable place for every citizen.     

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