Tigray is a dark side one the UN for Angel Olaran
In this last week of July, we publish reflections about Tigray being a dark face of the UN for Angel Olaran. The Basque missionary reiterates, once again, that while this organization shows a bright face and claims to carry the weight of the world, in Tigray the commitment is only limited to words and “orphans, the elderly, salaries, the sick, the most emerging emergencies, malnourished children, malnourished pregnant women, God’s favorites – who would have thought – those who will welcome us at the end of time, their time – all of them waiting for that money to reach us. And the UN can’t face the Prime’s “Extraordinariness”. If Putin only knew the power of this man (Abiy’s)!”.
Father Olaran makes it clear in this publication that “general malnutrition, diseases, deaths – as I say, trifles in an African country – continue to increase at the same time. It is in situations like these that the UN should show its human, maternal face. But it ends up being quite the opposite, which makes “sometimes one wonders whether it is the hidden face or the dirty face”, reflects Angel Olaran from Wukro, Tigray.
Angel Olaran in Wukro – Tigray
Many times, it is the small details that best reflect the personality, the feelings of someone. That person can be a figure in business, in politics, in sports, religious hierarchy, leaving, at the same time, much to be desired as an individual – his dark side.
In our case, something of the sort happens with the UN: its shining face is more than exposed on all four sides: from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the UN itself and the dozens of institutions under its umbrella . . . who claim to carry the weight, not only of Humanity, but of the World.
These days in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the UN is calling the shots, with the support of the EU, Nato and the like: every day they are in the news, having taken the place of Covid 19.
Since November 4, 2020, which is when the war started inside Ethiopia, the UN has declared to be aware of the problem and proclaimed to be intimately interested in achieving peace, sending highly accredited personnel, to which must be added, personalities of such high position, the best of the EU, Western governments, the African Unity.
All the intervention of the above-mentioned personalities has been limited to the level of words – as the Swahili proverb says “Maneno hayavunji mifupa” (words do not break bones). It is clear that it is not for lack of good advice that the situation between Addis Ababa and Tigray is not resolved.
A couple of small details
I return to a small detail already commented in the previous publication – Angel Olaran is optimistic and continues without losing hope –, and of which the UN will not have heard about it and even less interested; I am referring to the flight in which the 150000 birr arrived. That day the UN plane could not return to Addis because there was no fuel at the Makelle airport. And so, the flights were cancelled for more than two weeks. This was the only way that, in addition to UN personnel, a few Tigrayans and members of NGOs, accrediting in advance their commitment to humanitarian services, could enter and leave Tigray. Apart from the trip of the very small number of people, there is the great “favor” that the federal government grants to Tigray, allowing that, in these trips, only in those of the UN, which in practice are the only ones allowed, they can send, officially, about 5 million birr, the local currency, for the use of NGOs, the only means we have to get it, outside the black market, since the banks are still closed, for more than a year now.
I have already told you that, on that trip, of the total amount of money they brought, 500,000 birr corresponded to our work with orphans, the elderly, etc. (WSDP). (WSDP). Of that amount we only received the 150,000 already mentioned, with the firm promise that on the next flight we would receive the other 350,000. After spending those more than two weeks without fuel, several planes have arrived, without “our” money – and so we continue, after more than a month, on July 24 at night.
On Sunday, July 17, a colleague who had a place to fly to Addis Ababa on Thursday, July 14, returned to Wukro, saying that, due to technical failures, the UN plane is not working and they have not been given a date to travel – and with no telephone, nor any means of communication, it is bad for us.
I do not know if this is the dark side, or perhaps moved by Christian principles, I would have to say, that the UN, apart from the aggressiveness of its shining face exposed these days with Russia, in Ethiopia, shows the humility of the Institution, its respect before sovereign governments and for that reason, as we the common people, also the UN patiently stands in line, until its turn comes. And if they then realize that they are missing a spare part that they do not know where they can get it, well, we hope, by far, that the resumption of service will be delayed. And we will continue to receive no money and no movement of people. All this so inconsistent with the shiny faced “rip and tear” side. As the street philosophy goes: “The law is set, the trap is set”. But in our cases, the trap is set by the one who has made the law. In our humble opinion, of course, we do not know all the rules of the game: the indifference of the UN is much more serious than the attitude of the legislator.
Regarding the 150,000 birr we decided to pay one month’s salary of the WSDP staff, knowing that the next day we would receive the 350,000 birr. As you can see, we do not learn either.
Apart from those 350,000 we still have another 600,000 birr left in Addis in the same package, for which we have followed all the rules imposed by the legislator – we did not even think about them. Orphans, old people, salaries, sick people, more emergencies, malnourished children, malnourished pregnant women, God’s favorites – who would have thought it – those who will welcome us at the end of time, their time – all of them waiting for that money to reach us. And the U.N. has no face for the Prime Minister’s ORDAGO – if Putin only knew the power of this man!
Humanitarian aid – food – keeps on coming
Continuing with the dark side, or game of tricks, traps, humanitarian aid trucks with food continue to arrive from Addis Ababa, but due to lack of fuel the food has been stored for weeks in various centers in the region – it seems that the UN is not able to put 2+2 together. At the beginning of these shipments, there was a stipulated amount of diesel in each truck that was left in the warehouse, together with the food, to proceed with the distribution. As I said at the beginning, these two events with the UN plane, plus the lack of fuel for the distribution of the food, are insignificant details for the UN, which does not know how to take advantage of them, and for us they mean our life, that is, EVERYTHING. In the face of their great universal responsibility, they surely say that, in conscience, they cannot devote more attention to us – it is worth the detail to lend them a hand -.
Since we have already mentioned fuel, we receive the record news that diesel on the black market, the only supplier of the product, is at 400 birrs per liter. When it was at 300 birr we threw our hands on our heads. A couple of weeks ago the price dropped to 150 birr, and in case we were under the illusion that it would continue to fall, with this new adverse movement, we are left even more stagnant in our homes – which is not bad, less temptation to spend: positive until the end -.
As side effects, of no importance for our mother institutions: the lack of food and medication increases. Increasing at the same time the general malnutrition, diseases, deaths – as I say, trifles in an African country -. It is in situations like these that the UN should show its human, maternal face. Perhaps there are no women, mothers, grandmothers, in the UN in those spheres where vital decisions are made. The UN is a man’s business, with no room for sentimentality or tears. If there are also women sharing similar places, they will belong to the group of tomboyish women.
What is stopping the UN from taking this final step?
I commented in one of the letters that, for the UN Secretary General, the life of a Ukrainian civilian has more “specific” value than the lives of a couple of thousands of Tigrayan civilians. Or the “specific” value of a Russian soldier is greater than that of the hundreds of Eritreans and others from outside Tigray, involved in so many crimes against humanity. (You can read the publication in spanish in which Angel Olaran writes about differences in UN treatment and global mismatches).
From a UN office on April 16, 2021, it was communicated: “Sexual violence in Tigray reaches a level of cruelty impossible to understand” – without further significance, just another trifle -. When for us it is much more impossible to understand their passive attitude, leaving their denouncement at the level of a cleaning for the gallery: “To whom it may concern”, washing their hands. As the fox of the Little Prince would say: “Nothing is perfect”.
Tigray, in the computation of international news, has no value whatsoever, not even as a filler. In Sri Lanka to get gasoline they have to queue for up to 3 days; but at least they have money to pay for it and to eat while waiting. Here all the gas stations are closed. There everything is due to government mismanagement. In our case, everything depends on one firm. The UN is the one who is getting the humanitarian aid trucks – food – and the government, for reasons unrelated to humanitarian aid, allows them to arrive in Tigray and. . . . People are still suffering, still dying; at least with the consolation of knowing that food has been sent to them. Does it cost the UN that much for that last step of making sure it gets to the people?
Sometimes one wonders whether it is the hidden face or the dirty face.
–This writing serves to prove once again that Angel Olaran is angry that the world is doing nothing against hunger in Tigray.–
THAT THE UN HAS LEARNED LITTLE, IF ANYTHING, FROM ITS OWN HISTORY
In 1991, Graham Hancock, the same UN executive, published his book “Lords of Poverty”.
He devotes a blank first page, before even getting to the “Contents” to state the reason for the book:
“Lords of Poverty, is dedicated to the World Bank staff who illegally acquired and read my original synopsis in the early days of this project. Their willingness from the beginning to limit my access to inside information convinced me that the aid business has a lot to hide”. (Personal translation from English).
The second page, also blank, is devoted to a poem by Ross Coggins about the services of the Development Set agency.
It refers to the executive of the UN environment, who says goodbye to his friends, explaining something of his work in that agency, to which they arrive on luxury trips, but with their thoughts always on the poor.
He explains to them that: they schedule malnutrition in front of a steak and discussions about hunger during coffee breaks. We face, he tells them, each case, with our mouths open. Assuring them that the residences they stay in are extremely elegant.
He tells them that the consultants who guide them are so complicated, that they always leave with the decision that they have to continue with another meeting to ensure good food.
And he bids them farewell:
Enough verses – Let’s get on with the mission! Our task is as big as the human condition! We pray to God that the biblical promise remains true: the poor you will always have with you.
(From the essence of the poem, also personally translated from English).
On the back cover of the book, he states:
Every year, the bills for all official aid are paid by the rich countries. We, the taxpayers, contribute with a certain satisfaction, thinking that this money will reach the poorest. But no.
On the same back cover, the New York Times Book Review comments, “If books had hands, this one would seek out United Nations officials to strangle” (‘free interpretation of English’).
Throughout the book he makes a documented study of the abuse of this aid by the different UN institutions, finding that up to 80% of the amount of money exposed is used for administrative expenses, apart from their well-paid salaries. None of the official institutions is free from this abuse.
Already from the first pages, he comments on a meeting that the World Bank-International Monetary Fund hold annually, the author being present at one of them. There were 10,000 guests from all over the world. The interest of the participants in the meeting, which lasted a week in New York, was at a minimum. Extravagance, at a maximum: cost 10 million dollars. The author comments that this money could have prevented the blindness of 500,000 children in Africa and Asia, as well as the worsening of the vision of millions more children. And similar parties for dozens more each year.
And this, despite the heartfelt reflections of the then director of the World Bank, Barber Conable, to the guests: “Our institution is powerful in resources and expertise, but its work will be useless if it cannot look at our world through the eyes of the most underprivileged, if we cannot share their hopes and fears. We are here to serve their needs, to help them become aware of their power, their potential, their aspirations. . . Collective action against global poverty is the main purpose that unites us today. To this end, we must rededicate ourselves to achieve this great good. He should have neither blushed, nor stammered, nor apologized for so much falsehood. Yet we can imagine the reaction of many of the guests, who, according to the author, are wearing dark suits, white shirts, silk ties, neat shoes, no shortage of Guzzi’s, moving around in limousines, wondering: What’s this all about? What’s it got to do with us? –You can also read in the blog in spanish what Angel Olaran titled the publication “Without the UN we would have been even worse off”.–
A transversal comment – without further ado -: The events that are held in New York, Geneva … the benefits that enter their nations must exceed their contributions to the problem of hunger in the world (I think I read it in a book by Jean Ziegler, rapporteur of the UN).
A big hug,