Acknowledgment: Mesfin Tadesse is the main author of this post.
Emperor Menelik II Donations to Australia
Emperor Menelik II (Atse) sent gifts to Australia in the mid-1890s when the colony had an economic crisis and food shortage. Atse tasted the wheat himself; only the best would do for the people. He packed it at Menagesha Mariyam Monastery that he had built in Shewa district. A photo is featured here; his scoop is in its museum. He sent a whole shipment of gold, silver, trees, herbs, bamboo plants, livestock, prepared food and wheat. Australians wrote back thanking him for the gifts, although the wheat had fermented during the voyage – it took 3 months depending on the winds.
Atse said, ‘Don’t tell me they buried the wheat! How many jars of talla (health-giving home brew) could we have made with that?’
Shaking his right hand up and down, Atse Menelik said, ‘At heaven’s gates, God will ask, “What did you do to ease those people’s hunger?”‘
He called clever women to the monastery and asked, ‘Can we send another shipment with the wheat preserved?’ They par-cooked and processed fresh grain so that it would last the 13,000 kilometres to Sydney. Aussies received a second shipment of perfect, organic wheat. They wrote again asking for the preservation recipe, which Atse had scribed for them. Europeans copied the method, later using chemicals to stop food going off. And when they donated grain, it would not grow from seed.
Atse also sent 2 buckets of coins, 1 silver; 1 gold. Australian archives do not mention this nor his other gifts. Queen Taytu (Itege) sent Australians 12,000 buluko blankets; she tried them on herself to test the comfort. Hungry people needed their warmth. Itege also sent Australians a barrel of Ethiopian “vaseline”—made from black seed—that prevented nose, mouth, eye and ear infections: ‘In the morning, smear it behind your ears, on your eyebrows and around your nose.’ She had seen dandruff in Australian visitors to Ethiopia; then Australians enquired about her medicine when they sent eucalyptus seedlings to Ethiopia. Itege also advised use of lemon peel to treat fungal problems; Australians began to use lemon oil and, today, lemon trees are in most yards. Unfortunately, her husband’s beneficial herbs were confined to a botanical garden labelled ‘east African’; how tenadum could have healed ordinary Aussies!
180 million years ago, the Horn of Africa and Australia belonged to the same land mass: Gondwana. 125 years ago, Atse Menelik nurtured a budding friendship between Ethiopia and the tiny colony that would become Australia. Why did it not flourish? Ethiopia needs friends; Australia could do with more genuine ones.
NGO Non Food Donations
Toxic or Stolen
- In Welo in the north, junta had burned a farmer’s farm and organic crops and shot his livestock. He asked, ‘What will I eat?’ The rebel said, ‘The food program will feed you.’ However, TPLF stole food trucks and left innocent civilians to starve in Welo, Afar and Tigray.
- In 2021, NGO food reached some of the 174,000 displaced Ethiopian farmers from Metekel in the west. Sprayed with chemicals, the grain killed a pregnant woman. Those farmers had grown organic food at home. When they burned the toxic stuff, Europeans reported them “burning food”. Chapter 11 of Lucy’s People describes other foul famine relief dumped on Ethiopians during the time of the communist Derg. Read the extract here.
- In 2022, the Ethiopian government apprehended an NGO that received wheat donations arranged for Ethiopia. It sold them to Djibouti and Kenya. None of Ethiopia’s 8 million starving displaced persons received the food.
- In northern refugee camps, field officers multiply numbers by 5 when claiming rations and sell the excess. In 1 camp, 11,000 were cited as 70,000.
Non Humanitarian Aid
A youth in Weldiya, Welo unloaded aid from an NGO truck. He lifted down sacks of sugar and wheat. Underneath were explosives that untrained people could detonate, causing maximum chaos. He photographed them and shared the image with a friend in Dessie, Welo. The truth about dirty aid reached the world.
Another youth in Addis Ababa was homeless. His father was a former veteran, who volunteered at the front. One night an NGO vehicle stopped underneath the chilly bridge where he sheltered. The van’s number plates were covered with newspaper, but the boys thought, ‘They have come to help!’
Foreigners gave the teenagers 100 ETB each for a meagre breakfast and lit marijuana reefers. The boys had never seen those and refused to smoke them. Then the strangers distributed machetes. In the damp, masking tape detached from the newspaper that hid the rear number plate. The youth read the licence number and reported it to police.
In late 2020, when I was in Addis Ababa, police discovered an NGO vehicle containing automatic rifles, Bren machine guns and grenades. Later in Djibouti, an Egyptian ship supposedly carried spare parts. Its actual cargo was intended for Ethiopia: 100,000 machetes and chain fire-bombs – like grenades.
In Tigray, a cargo aeroplane crashed and defence forces found that it was smuggling weapons. View this Amharic news report.
In this Amharic report, the Ghanaian president tells the West to stop its donations. This controls Africans. They lose their wealth and cleverness. Then foreigners unleash full-scale war.
Attacked on all Fronts
Foreign NGOs shower TPLF with Ethiopian birr. Ethiopians stopped an NGO ambulance carrying more than 1 million USD. With current US and European sanctions of Ethiopia, this is economic warfare.
In mid-June 2022, an NGO gave Addis Ababa hens and roosters “anti-bacterial medicine”. It caused a disease that spread within a 14 kilometre radius of Addis Ababa’s centre and into the mid-south. Many were free-range pets, but Ethiopian had a thriving chicken-meat and eggs export industry. A single factory killed 1.2 million chickens daily. Europe immediately banned imports of Ethiopian poultry products. Demand had been high for the naturally raised and pesticide free meat and eggs. Chicken-meat exports to Europe have now ceased.
2 million poultry sickened and died within a few days. Ethiopian healers prevented further spread of the disease, saving 500 million poultry. The agro-industry sabotage could have also deprived Ethiopians of an important food rich in protein and iron. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopia was attacked on all fronts.
The NGO had refused Federal Police entry to its depot for inspection. Yet the US warms its bomber jet engines near Ethiopia if she disallows what they call humanitarian aid. Why not mind its own business?
In early 2020, visitors lurked around Lake Tana, source of Abay (Blue Nile). They seeded it with kilograms of imboch: a prolific, choking weed that entangled fish, waterbirds, turtles and seahorses. When finally allowed to do so, monks saved their lake.
While in power, the TPLF sterilised Amhara women. View this video. From around 2010, Germans tested Amhara girls’ intelligence, 15,000 at a time. With European and Middle Eastern funding, Egyptian and Turkish NGOs injected the brightest 3 million—aged under 20—with sterility-causing drugs. Today, they cannot conceive and are ill. Upon completion of the project, the wife of TPLF leader Meles Zenawi became the 3rd richest person in Portugal. Dr Tedros was Health Minister. The he was elected, and re-elected, as director of WHO, despite 5 million deaths from coronavirus. Did the UN permanent members originally give him the job as a reward for antisemitism?
Today, a monastery is flat out sheltering 27,000 women and children – mostly orphans of mercenary attacks upon Ethiopians. Their 24/7 work was interrupted by European visitors. ‘We’ve come to inject the girls with contraceptives.’ The children were aged 7–14! No offers of 1 mobile classroom nor exercise books.
Much better are the monastery’s locals—of a completely different religion—who give unobtrusive support. They bring a few sheep and mingle them with the flock or a leave a cow at the gates. And go away quietly. NGO no go.
Callous Treatment of Tigray People
A US NGO has treated innocent Tigray people like this:
- Let the junta conscript 3 of 4 sons in a family. If families won’t give them to the foreign-backed junta to fight, the NGO withholds aid.
- Let the TPLF round up 4,900 maimed returned fighters—many of them children—to perform in a stadium containing 48,000 youth and 12,000 mothers: ‘Who will take my gun now my legs are gone?’ The junta told those opposing a new wave of conscription to walk on the TPLF flag; anybody doing that is shot on the spot.
- 1,200 Tigray people are blind from war injuries; do NGOs help them?
Emperor Haile Selassie I and the Foreign Contractors
A Swede, A German and a Frenchman Walk into Addis Ababa
Emperor Haile Selassie I (Atse) also helped others in trouble: Biafra, with fortnightly loads of wheat, and England during food shortage with grain, cash and livestock. Imagine being invaded by fascists and getting rid of them. How would you feel if you were then forced to give them a job? That happened to Ethiopia after World War II ended in 1945.
< Mussolini’s fascists had devastated Ethiopia. The United Nations (UN) then awarded Ethiopia compensation for rebuilding. The catch was that Emperor Haile Selassie I (Atse) had to employ Europeans from Sweden, France, Norway, England and Belgium. Unrepentant Italians and Germans also came. Europeans were unleashed upon Ethiopian organisations that had run perfectly without them.
The Swedish Telecom director had a safari. One day his son wanted to visit Arba Minch, south of Addis Ababa. Dad’s Land Cruiser was at the garage, so the director lent him a technician’s mini-van. For 10 days until the boy returned, a whole area was without Telecom technical services.
The director of the Ministry of Railway Transport was French; and the director of the Ministry of Chamber was English. They smuggled live exotic animals, ivory and precious stones.
The Ministry of Light and Power got a German director with an English wife and 10 huge dogs. As punishment, he would set them upon Ethiopian workers. This killed 4 people and permanently disabled 3.
One day, the minister dragged a worker to his mansion for punishment. The man said, ‘Let me feed and groom the dogs and clean up the yard. Punish me afterwards.’
‘OK. Feed them. After 10 days, I will punish you.’
On Day 11, the director invited his Italian and English friends to view the dog punishment. Laughing, they packed into the garden. But the dogs did not attack. Instead, all 10 were friendly and played with the worker.
The director’s wife hit a dog. ‘Bite him!’ It turned on her and bit her.
Her husband complained to Atse Haile Selassie: ‘The Ethiopian did something to the dogs to make them attack.’
Atse said, ‘This is the whole story?’
He called the worker who said, ‘I am good with animals and the dogs refused to attack me. The boss was disappointed that I didn’t cry and shit.’
Atse said, ‘These people took our freedom. We do not need their power over us. We had our own services.’
The worker said, ‘The next war will not be with such little fascists and nazis. If they stay on, we will end up murdering them all. Ask them about their work.’
First there had been the fascist occupation. After brief freedom came war-disaster compensation in name only. Atse called all the Europeans.
He said, ‘The UN told us to accept you, but we did not know what you would do in our country, to our people. We will not be your source of income. From the front, you look like horses; from the back, you are pigs. Leave here. Walk straight to the airport. An aeroplane is ready. If any of you is 30 minutes late, our people will chop you into pieces.’
That same day, Haile Selassie terminated the contracts of all foreigners and employed Ethiopians in their place. The Railway Transport Director sent a 10-carriage train from Djibouti to collect his wife. It had 250 empty seats with 21 crew including kitchen staff. The Frenchman’s wife was the only passenger. >
__Mama Teliqwa. Re-telling © Mesfin Tadesse 2020
In the future, Atse Haile Selassie would help other nations in crisis; for example, Biafra, with fortnightly loads of wheat, and England during food shortage with grain, cash and livestock. Today, whatever is going on, Ethiopians care about the world. I heard their prayers for it from churches, mosques and monasteries. The Ethiopian Air Force helped Tanzania protect its air space. Zimbabwe, Uganda, Angola and others also had Ethiopian military training – and hospitality. Some Zimbabweans helped themselves to baskets and yagerlibs drying on clothes lines and took cigarettes on credit. When asked, they returned the handiwork; locals especially made them gifts of traditional bags, baskets and garments.
In 1979, Bob Marley sang for Zimbabwe’s freedom and died mysteriously within 2 years. Robert Gabriel Mugabe said, ‘Remember heaven; if you bring back a zembil basket and shawl, give them to your wife. This will stop her asking forever how they’re made and husband and wife won’t have room to fight.’
After World War I, Atse had helped start the League of Nations. Ethiopia was a founding member of what would become the United Nations after World War II. Until the 1970s, Ethiopians did not need visas to travel. The Ethiopian birr was then accepted in the Middle East and Israel. During the reign of Atse Haile Selassie, China’s Mao Tse Tung sought Ethiopian currency: ‘With that money, you can control the world.’ In 1991, after 17 years of communism, Mesfin was a refugee in Kenya; 1 Ethiopian birr bought 8 Kenyan shillings. High officials auctioned his military field jacket among themselves. Kenyans cherished ‘made in Ethiopia’. Today, the birr buys nothing and economic sanctions hurt Ethiopia. She has never hurt another nation.
© Mesfin Tadesse 2022
- Minilik Salsawi. “Amhara Youth Solidarity Movement. July 17, 2013 [Amhara Women Being Sterilized by TPLF Regime]”. December 21, 2016. YouTube, 11.16 min. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdqCctSsfa4.
- Pearce, Jeff. “Wolf in the Fold: How the WHO’s Director Will Even Betray the World’s Health for the TPLF and how Ethiopia’s Mengele Really Belongs in a Courtroom”. Medium. February 07, 2022. <https://jeffpearce.medium.com/wolf-in-the-fold-how-the-whos-director-will-even-betray-the-world-s-health-for-the-tplf-373a4cde6485>
- Top Mereja. [“Breaking News. Plane Crashed in Tigray: the Leaked Secret of the TPLF”]. September 07, 2021. YouTube, 15.45 min. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCCbODyr6T8>
- Addis Media. [“Djibouti Joins the Path of Dr Abiy”]. September 2021. YouTube, 23 min. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edxKa-n-BVI>
- Featured image photo: Menagesha Mariyam Monastery © ianet Bastyan 2020
- artemisia-abyssinica_botanicaeethiopia2011; Lalibela Host & Worker © Mesfin Tadesse 2017; Hens & Pelicans on Lake Tana Shore © Ianet Bastyan 2020 & 2021