Monday, June 10, 2013

We are dependable and predictable to our neighbors


I don’t know why it is; but I was expecting the worst to come. Good to hear President Moursi of Egypt concluding his speech at the national conference saying, "We need to have a good relation with the People of Ethiopia, We don't want to have enemy."
President Moursi was somehow friendly while beginning his speech. He speaks about the trilateral commissions and says Egypt’s relations are improving with the Nile basin countries especially Ethiopia. Moursi said Egypt is having talks with Sudan and Ethiopia and notifies Egypt do not want to harm to them.
However, his full speech was not as soft as it were at the beginning. He rather boosted Egyptians are “the soldiers of God, and are not afraid for conspiracies or threats from East or West.”
 Moursi’s today’s televised speech to his Islamist supporters in Cairo was self contradicting as it was for the other top officials since the diversion of the Blue Nile two weeks ago. At one hand he promised he would keep "all options" open to defend Egypt's water supply from being affected by the giant new dam.  He then said “Cairo did not want war.” But he doesn’t dare to say that the “all option” is minus war.
I was surprised to hear Moursi admitting the baseless rumor that Ethiopia started building the dam having the turmoil in Egypt as a gain. He told us “whoever thinks that the people of Egypt will be busy with challenges and forget to protect their borders and water are disillusioned.”
Of course, Ethiopia understands that Egypt is busy fixing its internal problems and that is why the FDRE Parliament delays the ratification of the Cooperative Framework Agreement till Egypt form a stable government. However, the decision /plan/ to build the GERD had been made already before the Arab Spring hits Egypt.
"If Egypt is the Nile's gift, then the Nile is a gift to Egypt," Morsi said in his opening remarks witnessing how much he is attached to the 20th and earlier centuries perception of exclusive ownership to the Nile.
Mohamed Moursi rammed home in emotive language that Egyptians will not accept any reduction in the flow of the river on which their civilisation has been based for millennia. Using emotive language to underline the importance of the Nile to Egypt, he draws on an old Egyptian song about the Nile, "If it diminishes by one drop then our blood is the alternative."
While Morsi delivered his speech, some of his supporters chanted slogans against Israel and accused it of colluding with Ethiopia to harm Egypt. Blaming Israel for Egypt's problems is natural to the Egyptians.
Now again, Morsi appeared to be using concern about GERD to whip up nationalistic fervor ahead of protests planned against him at the end of this month. When the president utters the phrase "our blood is the alternative," the crowd erupted in applause.
The issue of the Nile could be used to distract the attention of Egyptians from severe domestic political and economic challenges. He might also have thought the dispute will provides an opportunity to rally Egyptians behind him after a divisive first year in power. But that does not help solve the root cause for the Egypt’s crisis.
Morsi says Egypt does not wish harm upon any nation, but that the lives of all Egyptians are connected to the Nile River. Yes we know the life of Egyptians is dependent on Nile but we feel our very responsibility to respect their natural and legal rights. However, that is not because we are susceptible to Egypt’s attack or vulnerable to their sabotage but because we are dependable and predictable to our relation with neighbors and Africans at large.
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