If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Ethiopia and West Bengal

A friend of mine who visited the country recently told me that Ethiopia (population 99.5 million, that is, approximately 10 crores) is a democratic country. But there, 100% parliamentary seats were won by the ruling parties, EPRDF and its allies in the last elections.

He also said that there is no civil law in Ethiopia. Every offence is a criminal offence. So if there is a car crash, the driver is put behind the bars straight away. And nobody knows when the trial will begin. If the poor bloke happens to be an opponent of the ruling party, the trial will possibly never begin. So there are no road accidents in Ethiopia. :) Great!

A little search on the Net … and I found that in the latest incident of human rights violation, 97 peaceful protestors were killed in Oromia and Amhara regions of the country (as estimated by the Amnesty International) in 2016. Ah! These perpetual protestors and their old whines: lack of freedom, rising prices, etc. etc.

I also found a report by Al Jazeera (11 August 2016) that says: A government spokesman, Getachew Reda told them that the Ethiopian government won’t allow the UN to investigate the killings as they (the government) alone were responsible for the safety of their own people.

How sweet of them, and how wonderfully they were discharging their responsibility towards their own people.

Also: “He (Reda) blamed what he called “terrorist elements” for stoking the violence from abroad, without giving further detail.” You knew it, didn’t you?

Gentle Reader, let’s move on to another bastion of democracy, the state of West Bengal in India, a state just about Ethiopia's size in terms of population. Just six months ago, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), swept the state elections with just under 72% of the assembly seats, although the margin of victory was slender to moderate in a majority of the seats. And it was a free and fair election – to a great extent – and even cynics like yours truly couldn’t complain of vote fraud. The national Election Commission had done a commendable job and there were central forces in large numbers.

Recently, in Bengal there have been by-elections in a few constituencies for various reasons and unlike six months ago, the Election Commission had given up. In these elections, the ruling party openly threatened voters, physically assaulted opposition leaders, not to mention workers, and openly rigged the elections while the servile state police cringed in deference to the ruling party goons.

The results? Let’s check the winning margins in different constituencies:


Manteswar – TMC won, 706 in May / 1,27,423 in November

Coochbehar – TMC, 87,000 in May / 4,23,000 in November

Haldia – TMC lost by 21,000 votes in May / won by over 1,00,000 votes in November

The omnipotent leader of TMC routinely urges her followers to win ALL the seats in every election. Yes, like Ethiopia’s EPRDF, she would love to win 100% of the assembly seats.

Human rights? Freedom of expression? Democratic right to protest? My bloody left foot!

Bengaluru / November 26, 2016

Pictures: Courtesy Wikipedia

By Africa_(orthographic_projection).svg: Martin23230LocationEritrea.svg: User:Rei-arturderivative work: SĂ©mhur (talk) - Africa_(orthographic_projection).svgLocationEritrea.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8841388

By Filpro - File:India grey.svg, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50825723

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