Ghosts of Famine and Drought: Creation of Diplomats Engaged in Disinformation

By Dawit

My passion for Mathematics has overtaken over my desire to write more. As such, I have decided to end this series in part 6, the lowest perfect number. In the language of Mathematics, a perfect number is a number that is equal to the sum of its proper factors. For example 6 is a perfect number because 1 + 2 + 3 = 6. The next perfect number is 28; however, I posses neither the ability nor the writing skills to keep you engaged for such a long series.

I have tried to present my “eye witness report” on the previous five parts. In addition to the promising harvest of wheat, barley, maize (corn), and sorghum crops that covered most of the farming plots I observed during my trip, I have talked about the number of young children I observed playing soccer in the streets of Asmara. The peace and ease of travel across the country were also great indications of Eritrea”s well being and a sign of the society”s transformation to peace and normalcy. The absence of military check points (kielatat) that had to be instituted after the Ethiopian invasion is of more significance than the naked eye can meet. I was told the checkpoints were removed about a year ago. Speaking from experience, the Asmera-AdiKwala road had more than ten of them, the Asmara-Massawa road about eight, and the Asmera-AdiqeyiH about six military checkpoints. These checkpoints were a necessary burden one had to bear like the long lines on airport security checks around the world. I am glad they are gone. I hope the insatiable appetite of our neighbors to the south for war and invasion is over and we don”t have to reinstitute them. I hope Somalia was their last victim of invasion and degradation of society. Our neighbors to the south seem to see the world in a zero-sum game. If one of their neighbors is prospering, some how, in their twisted logic, they think they must be loosing something. If they think their neighbor is sleeping well, they have to stay up to figure out why the neighbor is sleeping, in the process validating their argument of zero-sum game. The reason they could not sleep throughout the night, they argue, was because one of their neighbors had slept well.

May be, at least partly, because of the absence of the check points the gap in the prices of grain in Asmara and the regional cities have dramatically narrowed. A year ago, the price of sorghum in Teseney was almost half of what was selling in the markets of Asmara, about 2,500 nakfa per quintal for wediAker (lower quality) and 4000 for SaEda meshela (highest quality). Today, however, wediAker is selling for 1,300 nakfa per quintal in Asmara and for 1,250 nakfa in Teseney. Meanwhile qeyH Taff that costs 3,600 per quintal in Asmara is selling for about 3,500 nakfa in Adi Kwala. Many simultaneous reasons have simultaneously revitalized the internal economic dynamics of the country.

As I have indicated in the preamble, According to Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, many of the recent refugees arriving in Kenya and Ethiopia “are suffering from life-threatening malnutrition, and there may be many more in need of assistance in Eritrea, where a repressive regime fails to provide data on the humanitarian needs of its own people.” Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, also has this to say, “[w]e believe there is a famine in Eritrea, but we”re deeply concerned that none of us know because they have barred UN agencies, barred NGOs.” If I understood their statements correctly, Ambassador Susan Rice and Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson seem to admit that there is no data that supports their assertions of “famine” and “life-threatening malnutrition” in Eritrea. If there is no data that supports the existence of “famine” or “life-threatening malnutrition” in Eritrea, how can they both disregard the alternative argument that there is no food shortage in Eritrea? With all due respect to both of them and the offices they represent, I wish I could say their arguments are argumentum ad ignorantiam (argument from ignorance), a logical fallacy that claims the truth of an assertion merely because it has not been proven false. But I cannot say that because they are purposely doing it to sneak in a fallacy as a tactic, a ploy many times used to discredit individuals who cannot disprove your claim. Some gullible individuals might argue that in order to disprove the claims made by Ambassador Susan Rice and Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, all the Eritrean government need to do is invite or re-admit the “barred UN agencies” so that they can fill the information “black-hole” and report the “facts in the ground”. In other words, the Eritrean government needs to let the NGOs back into the country so that the US can have its “eyes and ears” in Eritrea. But this means to fall into the Carson-Rice trap. Otherwise with all the “eyes from the sky” it is very hard to imagine the two Ambassadors really didn”t know.

What Johnny Carson and Susan Rice are championing is part of a well orchestrated and choreographed disinformation (not misinformation; while misinformation is false information spread unintentionally, disinformation is false information purposely disseminated in order to mislead). As the timing of the “ghost famine” disinformation clearly shows, the ghost story was designed to be part of the package Rice and the Ethiopians were to present to the international community in order to justify their push for additional sanctions on Eritrea. The sad thing is that the intended objective will neither preserve the interest of the American people nor help the people of the Horn.

There is no famine in Eritrea. It was all a ghost, Susan Rice’s disinformation ghost. I had genuinely searched for the ghosts of famine and drought I read over the news wires before my departure to Eritrea. Fortunately, I never saw nor heard of any indication of such a case in my excursions outside of Asmera.

PS: Here is a link ( to a visual representation that validates the stories of the young national service man from weQerti I spoke on the Asmera-DekemHare road and the passengers we gave a ride on the way to Mai nefHi. They were right in that what I was seeing was nothing compared to what they had seen.

PSS: Here is also a recent news article of this year”s harvest

Bumper harvest expected in Emni Haili sub-zone

Mendefera, 28 October 2011- In the Sub-zone of Emni Haili, Southern region, the 15 thousands of hectares of land cultivated with different crops and cereals is in a good condition and ripe for bumper harvest, disclosed Mr. Osman Arafa, Administrator of the sub-zone.

According to the information he gave to Erina, the farmers of the sub-zone are expecting good harvest for they have properly prepared their plots for cultivation in addition to practicing crop rotation.

Mr. Mustafa Nur Husein, Administrator of Southern region during his visit to the sub-zones of Dubarba and Emni Haili said that the farmers of the region are raising their knowledge and experience year by year, and reminded them to strengthen efforts towards ensuring food security.

Regional statistical data indicate that the vast land cultivated through irrigation, other than that cultivated on the basis of the normal rainy season, is registering evident development.

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