It is very surprising and a potential stain on the US’s international reputation when a man dedicated to the division and breakup of a country becomes a member of the American supposedly impartial team of mediators for the country’s citizens!
I’m an Ethiopian American. Impartiality, fairness, and justice are fundamental American principles in any mediation effort to bring peace and understanding between differing groups.
I believe the US stands for truth, fairness, and justice. One of the basic ways in which fairness and justice are ensured in any mediation efforts is to appoint knowledgeable, truly impartial, fair, and just individuals that represent the best of the American idea to the mediation team.
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the US is making a great mistake in the current mediation effort in Ethiopia. Yes, we Ethiopian Americans are watching the process and the expected results of the mediation effort. We hope it will shine a bright light on the US’s fundamental principles of impartiality, fairness, and justice in the mediation process if handled correctly.
If the process is mishandled, it will cast it as a shameful, fundamentally unfair, untrustworthy, and unjust society in the eyes of global observers.
With the current negotiation plan for Ethiopia, according to media reports, I was surprised to hear that Ephraim Yishak (Prof.) will be one of the members of the American mediation team.
I am not sure what criteria were used to select the mediation team members. I’m not also sure if the Ethiopian-American community was consulted or totally ignored by the responsible State Department officials.
I have known Ephraim since 1991. At the time, many Ethiopian Americans were trying to get rid of the Communist Derg regime and bring democratic elections to Ethiopia.
Ephraim and I first met in Toronto, Canada in 1991. I helped organize that meeting and Ephraim was at the meeting as well.
The second meeting was held in Washington, DC, at the Capitol Hill Hilton the same year. I found Ephraim’s ideas were the most divisive regarding the various Ethiopian communities. The rest of us were trying hard to bring all the various groups, including the Eritreans, together in a united front. Ephraim was opposed to this idea, and the meeting was dissolved. He moved on to create an organization that favored only a certain group and made it clear that he had no interest in a united Ethiopia.
It is a great mystery how on earth Ephraim could now qualify as an impartial, fair, and just member of an American mediation team on Ethiopian matters. If the media story is indeed true, the US is being set up for a huge and shameful failure.
The action of its mediation team, which includes Ephraim, is unlikely to be impartial or fair and just. I doubt this tainted team will bring peace and conciliation to Ethiopia. I am afraid it may, in fact, sow the seeds of more disharmony and discord.
I urge the officials of the State department involved in setting up the mediation team to reconsider their decision.
Should any official wish to know more or get additional facts, I invite them to contact me. I will be happy to provide evidence in the US or in Ethiopia.
America’s international reputation for fairness and justice is on the line in this matter. If American politicians and diplomats would like to walk with their heads held high as trustworthy, fair, and just negotiators in international affairs, it is important that the makeup of this mediation team, particularly the involvement of Ephraim, be seriously reconsidered in order to keep the good name of our great country.
(Assefa Adefris can be reached at – [email protected])