I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for bringing out to your esteemed readers the suffering of our citizens in the brutal hands of Saudi Arabia’s police forces (Governing by crisis: a labor migration gone terribly wrong, Dec. 2013). Especial recognition for your courage in exposing that “lack of timely and effective labor inspection by MOLSA means most of these agencies were running their businesses at a massive scale and manner no different than trafficking itself.”
However, I was deeply disappointed by your lack of straightforwardness in addressing the connection between the Ethiopian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the sufferings of our citizens. There is more than your subtle admittance that: “there are too many unverifiable stories from some of the returnees, including rampant corruption at the Ethiopian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and ineffective bureaucracy.” It should have been your job to verify these stories in the first place.
As to the political and diplomatic consequences, in other countries where politicians and diplomats are held accountable for their actions, under similar circumstances the first thing that would have happened was either a re-call or dismissal of diplomats who oversaw the unfolding of such tragedies. In your report, you have mentioned that: “Countries such as Philippines and Pakistan have used the time to legalize close to a million migrant workers each and took home those with no documents. But for reasons its officials have not disclosed, yet, Ethiopia has missed the train.” While many, including myself, appreciate the restless efforts exerted by Dr. Tedros Adnahom, our minister for foreign affairs, to control what could simply be termed as a modern day devastating human tragedy, it is not enough that our minister limited his efforts to doing what he has been doing. Other than the unfortunate turns of events that led to such massive migration, including trafficking, someone, somewhere is clearly accountable for what happened in Saudi Arabia and the Ministry has the responsibility and an obligation to find the truth and share it with the deserving public. The first sensible thing would be to re-call or dismiss the entire diplomatic mission stationed in Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Berihun kassa
Your cover story on the plight of Ethiopians in the hands of the Saudi police brought more question than answers (Governing by crisis: a labor migration gone terribly wrong, Dec. 2013). The “link” your story fell short of exposing properly and yet claimed as existing “between MOLSA, the main Department of Immigration and National Affairs, which is responsible for issuing passports, and regional administrative offices responsible for issuing identity cards for would be migrant workers,” is nothing but an organized racketeering planned and executed by state employees. On more than one occasion, I have been informed by people who I closely know about a complaint letter they have written to MOLSA evidencing issuance of passports to underage girls from the countryside. In all occasions the girls were tricked by organized traffickers who use legal channels to secure them passports by corrupting officials from the main department of immigration affairs. I hope your next article will go beyond the tip of the iceberg and uncover the evils beneath this catastrophe.
Private consultant on migration
The ‘colonization of mind’
I always enjoy reading your columnist’s thought provoking article on different matters as I enjoyed so while reading his latest on the failure of our education system (The ‘colonization of mind’ Dec. 2013). However, I found the article one sided and hostile to western education. Your columnist argues that, “in most developing countries – the former colonies as well as countries that supposedly evaded the direct colonization of the past century such as Ethiopia – the core educational institutions and practices such as medium of instruction, curriculum contents, teaching methodologies, routine administrative practices, methodologies of knowledge creation and dissemination at large are all but modeled after the dominant Western behavioral education system.” That is all true but generalizing that “through an educational system designed in its favor, the West has now managed to impose its own world views, cultural dogmas and practices on the larger part of our planet,” is, to my taste and understanding, hostile and disregarding. Of all the people, as a respected academician your columnist must know than he and hundreds of his likes are the results of a western oriented education adapted by successive regimes in Ethiopia and still in place. If one needs to criticize the failure in education curricula in particular in Ethiopia and in general in Africa and other third world countries, one needs to look at variables far and beyond the influence of western education; in Ethiopia’s case it is a politicized education curricula run by a bunch of party loyal cadres than academicians.
Your regular reader