Germany’s Colonial Apprach And Historical Amnesia On The Horn of Africa
Serawr Information Centre 28 October, 2018
The foreign Minister of Germany, Heiko Maas, outlined how his government will influence developments in the Horn of Africa region in a speech delivered on Ethiopia/Eritrea to the German Bundestag. The speech has drawn strong criticism from the Ministry of Information of Eritrea- calling it “appalling” for its “trite and distorted narrative” on the rapprochement between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The short statement concluded calling “on the German Government to refrain from meddling in the affairs of the Horn of Africa”.
At a time, when the Horn of Africa is going through massive changes not only in relations between the countries themselves, but also in the way the region wants deal with other countries; what the statement of the Foreign Ministry of Germany demonstrates is its inability to change from a colonial approach in dealing with African countries.
In the same way as the recent publications of the Western media on the development between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the Germany statement suffers from historical amnesia- they ignore the fundamental developments of a few decades and present the rising of Dr Abiy Ahmed to power as the starting point of their narrative.
They have good reason for their deliberate forgetfulness of recent history. Germany and the west at large were on the wrong side of history.
The west prolonged the suffering of the Ethiopian people and the region at large by providing economic, political and diplomatic support to the TPLF, a minority regime that ruled Ethiopia creating havoc in the lives millions of people across the region. Therefore, the Western countries found themselves in direct conflict with the aspirations and struggles of the Ethiopian people and the region at large.
Due to its strategic location and the abundant natural resources, the Horn of Africa region has always attracted foreign interventions throughout its long history. These interventions have not only prevented the people of the region from solving their internal problems by themselves, but they have been the major causes of the problems.
This is one of the major problems that the governments of the region are seeking to amend. Therefore, unless the government of Germany adapts to these changes, it will find itself in diplomatic clash.
One of the main tools that the West employs in their agenda to influence development in the region, has been to turn countries against each other. In this regard the West has been exposed spectacularly in the case of the imposed sanction on Eritrea recently.
The Western sponsored sanction on Eritrea was imposed in the name Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Following the recent development in the region, these countries have been urging for the lifting of the sanction on Eritrea. Whereas the main sponsors of the sanction, the USA, UK and France are still taking stand against lifting the sanction despite the removal of all the grounds for its imposition.
Another major troubling part of the statement of the Foreign Minister of Germany is its declaration of its commitment to bring political changes in Eritrea. The Minister stated: “ We should encourage the reform forces and call for an opening up within the country in an appropriate manner. We’re currently exploring concrete ways of doing this. Especially within the European context, we have suitable means and measures.”
Eritrea is a country with small population and unique history, which has been sentenced to death by the most powerful entities in the world. No stone was left unturned for the collapse of the country.
Germany was one of the countries that employed a hostile policy towards Eritrea. For instance, as the wikileaks documents revealed, the government of Germany tried to sabotage the first mining production in Eritrea. After having agreed to extend a commercial loan of $146 million “the German government has pulled the plug on this credit guarantee (REF B), Post was told by an Asmara-based European diplomat that “a German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs” has revisited the credit guarantee and recommended that it be rescinded due to Eritrea’s spoiler role in the Horn of Africa and potential UN or AU sanctions.”
The enormous challenges including military invasions, sanctions, political and economic pressures, have affected the country and people badly. The ugly war that was waged on Eritrea required a rule of engagement fit for the challenge.
Eritrea has come out of the trying times that put its very existence into question as a formidable nation and with its principles intact. Hence, Germany can not claim the moral high ground or be in a position to preach or interfere in matters of Eritrea’s internal affairs.
With the emerging peace, Eritrea will be able to refocus its effort and resources towards improving the living stand of its people, and will build a strong, organized system that will protect the rights of its people and one that can withstand and adapt to future domestic, regional and global challenges.These enormous and challenging tasks will not be carried out to please the German government, but to advance Eritrea’s national interest and fulfill the goals of the Eritrean struggle.