Please allow me to commend you on your courageous expedition to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, a country we in Ethiopia in particular and the whole world in general think is a wasted land. Your cover story (Somalia: the failed state no more, May 2013) asked a critical question on why Ethiopia was not a part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Apart from what the unnamed diplomat from the AU said in your article, “in order to maintain its own military strategic interest in Somalia, “‘which may not necessarily be in tandem with the strategic interest of AMISOM’”, historically, Ethiopia has had a different and often intense relationship with Somalia than it does with the rest of its neighbors. This relationship compels Ethiopia to maintain a specific strategic interest and presence, which will not be curtails under AMISOM’s rules of engagement, which will diminish Ethiopia’s military engagement in dealing with some of the eminent threats emanating from Al-Qaida linked militant groups operating within Somalia, such as the Al-Shabab. However, this doesn’t make Ethiopia’s decision politically wrong. If you look at Kenya, for example, it decided to join the AMISOM only after it secured its national interest in the port city of Kismayo and elsewhere.
Colonel Salif Mustafa
Former member of the AMISOM
I had an interesting read on your magazine about the plight of women in Ethiopia (Domestic abuse against women in Ethiopia: the price of not knowing her pain, March 2013). You made an interesting point in arguing that if we do not know the extent of the problem – even if we know it exists – fixing it will not be easy. In my country Norway, we have publicly available data on everything from abuse against prostitutes to domestic abuse against housewives. Indeed its prevalence is a lot less when compared to its prevalence in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. However, it is the understanding of everyone involved in addressing the problem that it needs, first and foremost, be identified properly. It was also disturbing to read that the role of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association in solving these problems is cut back because of a law that is not as likely to be enforced properly as it is meant to hassle. It is a shame.
A Norwegian in Addis Ababa
The song of Pan-Africanism cannot be sung in today’s Africa the same way as it was half a century ago
Eyob Balcha, special to Addis Standard
Think about a young African in the late 1950s or in the 1960s on the streets of Algiers, Accra or Arusha. You will get a characteristic picture of a youth-hood that hardly escapes from the ideals and debates of freedom and independence, and from the categorical distinction of Socialism/Marxism vs. Capitalism/Imperialism. The widespread grass root social movements for noble ideas of social justice and equality would also have high probability of enlightening the youth’s perspective.