Jeffrey Gettleman of the New York Times. But like Don Quichotte at the windmills I waive and waive my sword, and he refuses to fight back! What a coward. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
It all started out nicely about 4 months ago... with a front page article about Ethiopia on the NY Times. Here's what I had to say on 21 Jun 2007:
The journalist was clearly sympathetic to the ONLF .. but still I was glad that article appeared on the cover of the Times. Somalia was a big mistake by Meles. A Times article wont make things worse... Instead of worrying about the Times, the outside force they should be concerned about is the mullahs in the madrassas preaching about christian Ethiopians raping and killing muslims on behalf of Bush.
At least this article will make things better because the sooner they feel pressure from outside and the stronger it is, the better chance there is that ET can get the out of Somalia, bring in the AU and de-escalate the situation in Ogaden.
On a month later, our destinies crossed paths again when he wrote a more aggressive piece about the Ogaden region. Here's what I wrote in response on July 24, 2007:
True the fact is that ONLF is resurgent, there's a huge crisis in
Ogaden and that is a big story that deserves to be on the cover.
But this guy is either biased or irresponsible. He repeats the
allegation that three guys who spoke up at a meeting were tortured and killed
by the govt. He simply echoes Ogaden Online, adding that they have "a
network of reporters and contributors, some equipped with satellite
phones." Isn't that a pathetic way to validate their legitimacy? For all we
know it could be the ONLF office in that runs that website.
Moreover, he knows who the alleged victims are (the guys spoke on a NY
Times video!!!). And he can't verify it? He can't even get an official
response or statement from the govt about this? He has quotes from the
govt spokesman for other things but not this. WTF?! He didn"t have
time to call back before the deadline? The dog ate the response? We're
talking about 3 specifc guys who were tortured and killed allegedly
because of the Times material. It's a disgraceful level of investigation.
Hopefully we'll soon know whether the truth is that it's ONLF
propaganda or a government atrocity but it won't be thanks to Jeffrey Gettleman
-- the new ... Pffff! Shame on the Times. Plus they just
raised the daily price to $1.25! I swear I'm this close to dumping the
old grey lady
Finally, the epic showdown on Oct 2, 2007. As you can see the temperature rose
Check this out: "A calm voice from embattled Eritrea" http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/02/world/africa/02eritrea.html
by.... you guessed it! Our hero Jeffrey Gettleman, aka Judith Miller the Second. Yes the same Jeffrey "excuse me while I regurgitate ONLF press releases" Gettleman who we last saw a couple of months ago in the thread below.
This time Isaias is the subject of Gettleman's fantasy. Acoording to the article, Isaias is simply a righteous guy, leader of a mighty little country in a fight against superpowers, who don't like it simply because it's "one small voice"! Besides the noble and righteous struggle against superpowers, Eritrea has a few mundane little economic challenges. But the only thing holding back the flourishing of democracy and growth of the economy is... you guessed it, the evil big neighbor to the south. To cap it off, Gellman says "... Mr. Isaias’s mustached face, which has been likened to an African version of Tom Selleck." Seriously. They actually printed that. I swear I expected the article to continue: "After the blowjob, Isu asked me if it was as good for me as it was for him". Seriously.
In fact if you read it carefully, there are no meaningful facts at all, no sign that any pointed questions were asked, nothing but a glowing portrait of Issayas, exactly as he would want himself portrayed, a calm nice guy, with hobbies, no pretensions, but idealist, fighting for justice.
Last time I was angry at the Times, now shock, disbelief.... What comes next again? Weyne weyne... New York Times... Anyway forget them, others are doing quality reporting and analysis, I just came across the example pasted below.
"Ethiopia has often justified military action in Somalia on grounds of cooperation between what it calls "terrorist" groups in Somalia and the rebellion in Ogaden. The ONLF certainly has strong ethnic and political links to Somali insurgents now fighting against the Ethiopian military presence in Somalia. It may have decided to escalate its rebellion in Ogaden in response to Ethiopia's full-scale military intervention in Somalia in December last year.
Now there are reliable reports that, as a result of Ethiopian military pressure inside Somalia, Somali insurgents including members the militant Islamist al-Shabaab have sought refuge in Ogaden where they could be regrouping. Thus instead of containing and calming the situation in Somalia, the actions of Ethiopia's forces there may well be exacerbating the conflict and regionalising it.
The emerging crisis in the Ogaden is indicative of an increasingly volatile political and military situation in the Horn of Africa. Predictably civilians are bearing the brunt of the crisis both in the Ogaden and in Somalia where hundreds of thousands have been displaced by fighting since the Ethiopian intervention. Predictably human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war are being perpetrated by all sides. It could all get a lot worse, especially if it leads to a resumption of the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
So why isn't the international community doing more to address this crisis. Hasn't the UN being saying for years that crisis prevention is better than cure?
The EU and the United States have significant leverage over Ethiopia in the form of foreign aid and political influence. They should use it instead of turning a blind eye to abuses carried out by the Ethiopian security forces in the name of counter terrorism.
Western support for Ethiopia's counter insurgency efforts in the Horn of Africa is not only morally wrong and riddled with double standards, it is also ineffective and counterproductive. It will lead to the escalation and regionalisation of the conflicts of the region and may well help to radicalise its large and young Muslim population. "