Al Mariam’s Commentaries

When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.

The real story about decertification of Ethiopia from participation in the African Growth Opportunity Act is the global competition between the U.S. and China. Most of the industrial parks in Ethiopia employing hundreds of thousands of mostly poor rural women were established with the support of Chinese companies. Over the past year, Ethiopia, with the aid of Chinese investment, has attracted some 2 billion U.S. dollars in foreign direct investment. Kicking Ethiopia out of AGOA is really about delivering a death blow to Chinese investment in Ethiopia and broadly in Africa. I predicted that in my February 8, 2021 commentary, “The Second Pillar of the Biden Administration’s Policy in Ethiopia: Make Ethiopia China’s Graveyard in Africa”.

“Jingle bells, AGOA! What fun it is to see 2 hundred thousands poor Ethiopian girls in poverty! Hahaha!”

Human rights of African Americans: The 1994 Crime Law is Joe Biden’s dirty weapon of mass incarceration in America

In May 2021, the U.S. imposed visa restrictions and economic sanctions against  unnamed  government and military officials from Ethiopia and Eritrea because of “human rights violations in Tigray”.

In September, Joe Biden signed an Executive Order “Imposing Sanctions on Certain Persons With Respect to the Humanitarian and Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia”.

In the next week or so, the U.S. will announce Ethiopia has been decertified and removed from eligibility under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) because of “human rights violations in Tigray”.

The million-dollar question is, “Does Joe Biden really care about human rights?

Does Susan Rice care about human rights?

And why do I call President Joseph Biden, “Mean Joe”?

Because Joe Biden is meaner than a junk yard dog!

Joe Biden does not give a rat’s behind about human rights, certainly not the human rights of black people.

Joe Biden is so mean he is known as the Supreme Architect of Mass Incarceration in America!

Mean Joe is the proud author of the $30 billion Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 [“Crime Act”], the largest crime law in American history!

The Crime Act expanded application of the federal death penalty, imposed harsher sentencing laws, mandatory life sentence for conviction of three felonies (i.e., those with prior prison sentences of 1 year or more, including drug use), granted billions to states to build prison industrial complexes provide they also implemented harsh sentencing laws including state three-strikes laws with mandatory minimums, among many other oppressive provisions.

Joe’s Crime Law was his dirty weapon of mass destruction by mass incarceration of African Americans.

In Joe’s own words:

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Mean Joe called young African Americans, the targets of his Crime Law, predators.

A predator is an animal that naturally preys on other animals.

Wolves and Komodo dragons are predators. They hunt down their prey and kill them.

Mean Joe said, “It does not matter if they are victims of society. I don’t care. They are predators. We have predators in our streets.”

That is what Joe Biden thinks young African Americans are, predator animals. He does not care to know anything about them because they are born-predators.

Predator wolves that prey on domestic stock (cattle) are killed.

Is that why “predator young African Americans” are also killed by the police?

Yet today Biden imposes sanctions against Ethiopia in support of the greatest predators in Ethiopian history, the TPLF!

In October 2020, as Biden eyed the presidency, he offered a crocodile apology saying the Crime Law was a “mistake”.

But he did not take personal responsibility. Biden threw the states under the bus claiming, “The mistake came in terms of what the states did locally.”

But Joe knew what his Crime Law would do.

Joe is a lawyer and knew exactly what his Crime Law would do to wreak havoc on African communities in urban areas.

Joe, without a doubt, knew how the Crime Law would work hand in hand with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 [“Drug Act”], which was so discriminatory that it imposed unconscionable sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine.

Under the Drug Act, a defendant was sentenced to a five-year minimum sentence for 5 grams of crack cocaine, but it took 500 grams of powder cocaine to draw the same sentence.

Crack cocaine was cheap and distributed (I am not going to say by whom) in largely African American and minority urban neighborhoods. And “More than 80% of the defendants sentenced for crack offenses are African American, despite the fact that more than 66% of crack users are white or Hispanic.”

Joe Biden’s Crime Law and the Drug Act are two pieces of legislation that have criminalized, dehumanized, anathematized, demasculinized, demoralized, ostracized and pauperized two generations of African American youth.

Today, as a result of the blight created by Joe Biden’s Crime Law, “Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at nearly five times the rate of whites.”

For over two decades, I have seen the impact of Mean Joe’s Crime Law on African Americans and Hispanic Americans.

After all, I defended so many of them and watched them railroaded into the belly of the California Prison Beast.

It took good ole Donald Trump to fix Joe Biden’s mess with his First Step Act!

I have many disagreements with Trump who egged Egypt to bomb the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and indeed voted for Mean Joe.

It was a choice of the lesser of two evils.

The alternative was to not vote all, which would be a betrayal of the millions of African Americans who struggled for decades and earned the right to vote with their blood, sweat and tears.

As for Sleazy Suzie, how much she cares about human rights is documented.

During the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Rice fretted, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?”

You can read the full story about Susan Rice’s moral depravity here.

Ethiopian human rights: AGOA is Joe Biden’s dirty bomb/weapon of mass destruction in Ethiopia

If Joe Biden does not care about the human rights of African Americans in America, born ad raised right here in America, is it not laughable to believe he cares about the human rights of nameless and faceless black people ten thousand miles away in Africa?

I use the metaphor of “dirty bomb/weapon” not to exaggerate but to make a point.

A “dirty bomb/weapon” in military parlance generally refers to a dispersal device with the tactical aim of contaminating an area serving primarily as an area denial device against civilians.

The aim is to use the dirty bomb/weapon to severely restrict, slow down and degrade the opponent’s ability to respond.

The Biden administration is set to use AGOA as the proverbial dirty bomb/weapon against Ethiopia to severely restrict, slow down and endanger the Ethiopian economy with the hope that economic hardship will turn the people of Ethiopia against the government they elected.

AGOA is said to be “the core of U.S. economic policy and commercial engagement with Africa” providing “eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for over 1,800 products and more than 5,000 products that are eligible under the Generalized System of Preferences program.”

There are so-called human rights eligibility requirements including “progress toward establishing a market-based economy, the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process.”

Ethiopia has been a member of AGOA since its inception in 2000.

Gross human rights violations under the oppressive rule of the TPLF since the inception of AGOA neither prevented nor resulted in expulsion of Ethiopia from the AGOA regime.

The 2000 U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Ethiopia, when Ethiopia joined AGOAreported:

The Government’s human rights record remained poor; although there were some improvements in a few areas, serious problems remained. Security forces committed a number of extrajudicial killings and at times beat and mistreated detainees. Prison conditions are poor. Arbitrary arrest and detention and prolonged pretrial detention remained problems. The Government continued to detain persons suspected of sympathizing with or being involved with the OLF. The Government continued to detain and deport without due process Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin… The Government restricts freedom of the press and continued to detain or imprison members of the press… Violence and societal discrimination against women, and abuse of children remained problems. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widespread…

But the U.S. welcomed TPLF-ruled Ethiopia into AGOA. No questions asked!

In August 2013, the TPLF government in Ethiopia and the U.S. hosted the “U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum also known as the AGOA Forum in Addis Ababa”, despite the atrocious human rights record of the TPLF government in Ethiopia.

The 2013 U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Ethiopia reported:

The most significant human rights problems included: restrictions on freedom of expression and association, including through arrests; detention; politically motivated trials; harassment; and intimidation of opposition members and journalists, as well as continued restrictions on print media…continued restrictions on activities of civil society and nongovernmental organizations.

Other human rights problems included arbitrary killings; allegations of torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees by security forces; reports of harsh and, at times, life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches; abuses of the government’s “villagization” program; restrictions on academic freedom; restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, and movement; interference in religious affairs; police, administrative, and judicial corruption; violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children; female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C); trafficking in persons…

The 2012 U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Ethiopia reported word-for-word the same human rights violations reported in 2013.

The 2014 U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Ethiopia reported word-for-word same human rights violations reported in 2013.

Behold the 2020 U.S. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on Ethiopia which reported:

Abiy’s assumption of office was followed by positive changes in the human rights climate. The government decriminalized political movements that in the past were accused of treason, invited opposition leaders to return and resume political activities, allowed peaceful rallies and demonstrations, enabled the formation and unfettered operation of political parties and media outlets, and carried out legislative reform of repressive laws. The opening of political space has also met with challenges. Reforms are taking place in an environment with weak institutions including in the security sector. Ethnic tensions increased, resulting in significant violence in some cases. Citizen-on-citizen violence caused the majority of human rights abuses. (Emphasis added.)

In 1994, when Biden passed his Crime Law, he should have known the cure for crime control and prevention is jobs, NOT mass incarceration and billions of dollars in support for the prison industrial complex.

In 2021, Biden should know the cure for human rights violations in Ethiopia is more jobs not mass layoffs of poor young rural women from low wage manufacturing jobs and plunging them into poverty.

The case for keeping Ethiopia in AGOA—Mamo Mehretu   

In a recent op ed piece in Foreign Policy, Mamo Mehretu, Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed’s Senior policy advisor and Ethiopia’s chief trade negotiator, argued removing Ethiopia from AGOA could pose “an existential threat Ethiopia’s fledgling manufacturing sector. He explained, “removal of AGOA eligibility would only worsen the condition of ordinary Ethiopians who have no connection to the Tigray conflict.”

Mehretu pointed out that in Ethiopia “the two most successful exporting industries under the AGOA, apparel and leather, employ about 200,000 people directly—80 percent of them young women.”

He explained that within the “broader ecosystem of the apparel and leather industries some 1 million low-income citizens and small businesses directly benefitted.”

After pointing out the hypocrisy of US policy which tolerated gross human rights violations under the oppressive rule of the TPLF, Mehretu concluded:

Ethiopia’s removal from the AGOA would deal a serious blow to the welfare of millions of low-income workers at a time when Ethiopia’s manufacturing industry is registering record monthly output levels.

The case for keeping Ethiopia in AGOA– Gregory Simpkins

Gregory Simpkins, the long-serving staff director for the House Subcommittee on Africa, Health, Human Rights and International Organizations and had worked on AGOA from the beginning in his recent blog opined that the so-called human rights litmus test had an indiscriminate impact.

Citing the example of Zimbabwe, Simpkins argued, “the exclusion of Zimbabwe from AGOA from the beginning hurt companies that had robust trade with U.S. buyers when they bore no part in Zimbabwe’s abuses of its citizens. I and other colleagues early on called for some carve-out for companies that had no ties to the offending government.”

Simpkins also pointed out the arbitrary exceptions in AGOA:

There were human rights abusing countries that continued to benefit from AGOA because U.S. Administrations are routinely given what is called “notwithstanding authority” in legislation to bypass restrictions for national security purposes.  Many African governments, including the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF)-led government could have been sanctioned by AGOA suspension at any time during the past 20 years, but Ethiopia wasn’t because of favorable economic conditions and for reasons of national security interest.  That government provided highly regarded peacekeepers and was helpful in addressing regional conflicts, even though it repeatedly instituted state of emergency crackdowns, held numerous political prisoners and had its security forces kill peaceful demonstrators.

According to Simpkins, AGOA has provided “an estimated 40,000 direct jobs in sectors such as leather goods (including shoes and gloves) and textiles and apparel and another one million indirect jobs.  Last year, the United States exported $910,940,000 in goods to Ethiopia, while importing $524,530,000.

Simpkins concluded:

The time will come to discover who was ultimately to blame for human rights abuses in Tigray, but that time has not yet come, and any decision on suspending Ethiopia’s AGOA benefits would be woefully premature at this point.  Hopefully, discussion of an AGOA suspension for Ethiopia is just a possibility being considered.  Such a suspension would not silence all the guns in Tigray, and more than one million Ethiopians now benefiting from AGOA surely hope that suspension is not imminent.

The real story behind the plot to expel Ethiopia from AGOA

“When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”

The real story about decertification of Ethiopia from participation in the African Growth Opportunity Act is the global competition between the U.S. and China.

Most of the industrial parks in Ethiopia employing tens of thousands of mostly poor rural women were established with the support of Chinese companies.

Over the past year, Ethiopia, with the aid of Chinese investment, has attracted some 2 billion U.S. dollars in foreign direct investment.

Kicking Ethiopia out of AGOA is really about delivering the death blow to Chinese investment and influence in Ethiopia and broadly in Africa.

I predicted the Biden administration will make Ethiopia a battleground of its policy to drive China out of Africa by making Ethiopia its grave that in my February 8, 2021 commentary, “The Second Pillar of the Biden Administration’s Policy in Ethiopia: Make Ethiopia China’s Graveyard in Africa”.

Behold a prophesy has come to pass!

Human rights as a ruse for neocolonialism

In his 1981 farewell speech, President Jimmy Carter said, “America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way round. Human rights invented America.”

In my August 2013 commentary, I asked, “Is the U.S. ‘disinventing’ human rights through the pursuit of  double (triple, quadruple) standard of human rights policy wrapped in a cover of diplocrisy (diplocrisy is a term I coined to describe diplomacy by hypocrisy).

The Biden administration has one set of human rights standards for the likes of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and another for the likes of Meles Zenawi.

To paraphrase an old saying, Mugabe, Bashir and Zenawi were all S.O.B.s, but Zenawi was special. He was our, U.S., S.O.B.!

Ethiopia’s expulsion from AGOA is intended to send a message to all other African countries. “You don’t do what you are told, you will find yourselves in the AGOA crosshairs.”

Aah! AGOA, the Sword of Damocles hanging on the heads of the more than three dozen African countries cowering for crumbs.

Moral relativism has rendered the Biden administration morally blind.

But no one is fooled.

“Human rights” has become the kinder and gentler face of Western ideological neocolonialism in Africa.

The Biden administration claims to have human rights as its core foreign policy.

But does the U.S. practice the gospel of human rights it preaches in its foreign policy?

In August 2021, USAID boss Samantha Power tweeted, “Sharing BIG news from Khartoum: the Council of Ministers in #Sudan—yes, Sudan!—has voted unanimously to join the @IntlCrimCourt.”

How sweet it would have been to “share the big news” the U.S. has joined the International Criminal Court!

The U.S. has consistently opposed an international court that could hold US military and political leaders to a uniform global standard of justice.

That is because the U.S. believes as a beacon of democracy and all that it does not need to be held accountable internationally for its human rights violations.

But everyone else MUST be held accountable to U.S. standards including China, Russia, Turkey, Eritrea, Ethiopia and so on.

Did the U.S. commit war crimes in its 20-year war in Afghanistan?

Didn’t the U.S. impose sanctions against the International Criminal Court for daring to investigate war crimes in Afghanistan?


The bottom line is that human rights today is used by the U.S. and the European Union as the language of moral and ideological imperialism. They have politicized and weaponized human rights to bludgeon countries like Ethiopia and Eritrea to impose their neocolonial and imperial ambitions.

AGOA is now proving to be the weapon of choice for US neocolonial ambitions in Africa.

The fact of the matter is that AGOA imports into the U.S. have declined to pre-AGOA levels due to fall of commodity prices and US domestic subsidies.

Except for the miniscule African manufacturing sector, AGOAs overall usefulness to African economic development is highly questionable.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that the US wants to convert AGOA into a bilateral transaction with each African country making a separate deal.

The proposal by African countries to negotiate AGOA as a block has been rejected with hubristic arrogance. “Take it or leave it!”

The old divide and rule still rules.

Devine retribution awaits those who trouble the Ethiopia House

In February 2013, I warned the TPLF with a prophesy. If they continue in their evil ways, they are doomed. This was exactly how I put it:

Scripture teaches, “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”  Meles and his worshippers have profoundly troubled the Ethiopian house and they shall inherit the wind!

Has not the TPLF inherited the wind? Gone with the wind?

In my Farewell Message to Barack Obama on January 15, 2017, I wrote: “But were you to ask me what your legacy shall be in Africa, my answer is this: You shall inherit the wind because you stood on the wrong side of history!”

Does anyone even remember the name Barack Obama in Africa?

Now, Joe Biden and Susan Rice are hellbent to destroy Ethiopia.

Joe Biden, Susan Rice and the Democratic Party have left no stones unturned to trouble the Ethiopia House.

I offer them and their Democratic Party the same prophesy.

On November 8, 2022, Joe Biden, Susan Rice and the Democratic Party shall inherit a tornadic wind.

Job # 1 for all Ethiopian Americans between now and November 8, 2022, is to make American history by making Joe Biden and the Democratic Party history.

It is the privilege of the rich and powerful to play god with the lives of the poor

So, Joe Biden and Susan Rice will play god with the lives of thousands of young women in Ethiopia, most of them poor rural women, and cut their livelihoods and plunge them into abysmal poverty.

These young women are mere pawns in Biden’s game of faux human rights and game of thrones in Ethiopia.

Joe Biden passed his Crime Law and destroyed a generation of African Americans in the name of crime fighting.

Now, Biden is prepared to implement economic sanctions in Ethiopia and destroy a generation of Ethiopians in the name of human rights.

Mean Joe and Sleazy Suzie (Suzie has Joe wrapped around her finger) are hellbent on restoring the TPLF to the Ethiopian Throne.

By the way, why do I call Suzie Sleazy?

Because she is the guardian angel (Princess of Darkness) of the TPLF sleaze balls.

Sleazy Suzie must protect her family, literally.

Is the late TPLF mastermind Meles Zenawi the godfather of Susan Rice’s daughter?

Sleazy Suzie has left no stones unturned to restore the TPLF to power and failing that to destroy Ethiopia using Mean Sleepy Joe.

In her 2012 eulogy, Susan Rice said TPLF boss Meles Zenawi was “an uncommon leader, a rare visionary, and a true friend to me and many.” She concluded by declaring, “The legacy Meles leaves will long endure.”

The singular legacy of Meles Zenawi, of course, is his evil organization, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

No price is high enough to pay to purge the TPLF cancer from the Ethiopian body politics.

Anyone who believes there is a “U.S. policy in Ethiopia” is either naïve, ignorant of the real facts or a blind supporter of the terrorist TPLF!

But there is the “Susan Rice Doctrine” in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Susan Rice is a true “weyanista” believer and the overlord of U.S. policy in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Susan Rice is the brain of the titular U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on U.S. policy in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Susan Rice is the CPU (central processing unit) in Bot Blinken. She programs him and he babbles on like “Doc the talking robot”.

Blinken is Susan Rice’s errand boy.

Blinken was Susan Rice’s Deputy National Security Advisor in the Obama Administration from July 2013 to January 2015.

So, it is nonsensical to ask what U.S. policy is in Ethiopia and Eritrea?

The right question is. “What is the policy and interest of U.S. Secretary-of-State-in-Fact Susan Rice in Ethiopia and Eritrea?”

The answer is clear: Resurrection and restoration of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) by containing and strangling Ethiopian and Eritrean sovereignty!

Sleazy Suzie and Co. will destroy Ethiopia when hell freezes over and the Princess of Darkness goes ice skating with her TPLF devils.

Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy wrote, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

I say, the darkest places in hell are reserved for those who play god with the meagre lives of hundreds of thousands of young rural Ethiopian women whose life chances are pinned on factory job that produces fancy clothes for Americans.

For Mean Joe and Sleazy Suzy taking jobs from hundreds of thousands of young rural Ethiopian women under AGOA is a comedy.

Hahahahaha! Watch them poor girls suffer.  Hahahahaha!

During the Vietnam War, a major in the U.S. Army explaining the decision to bomb a village presumably occupied by Vietcong fighters regardless of civilian casualties, told a reporter, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

Today, it is necessary for Biden to destroy the lives of up to a million people to save human rights in Ethiopia.

History does repeat itself!

Winston Churchill in his first speech as prime minister in May 1940 told the British people what he has in store for them: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

In June, Churchill followed up with another speech:

. . . We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

Churchill’s resolve and determination for complete and total defiance of the Nazi war machine was felt by the British people.

“We shall never surrender!” That shall be the mantra of every Ethiopian.

After Mean Joe and Sleazy Suzie implement their AGOA decertification and sanctions regime and against the overwhelming might and fright of the Biden administration, the Ethiopian people will have only one thing left. DEFIANCE!

DEFIANCE against injustice. DEFIANCE against hegemony. DEFIANCE against hubris. DEFIANCE against neocolonial imperialism.

A man was once asked his friend how he was doing. The friend replied, “I’m going through hell!”

The inquiring friend advised, “Well, keep on going. That is no place to stop!”

Decertification from AGOA participation will be a bump on the Ethiopian road to prosperity.

Regardless, come hell or high water, sanctions and asset freezes and whatever else, I say to all Ethiopians, “Let the dogs bark and even bite, but keep that beautiful Ethiopian camel walking through hell and high water right into prosperity!

And “Never, never, never give up!”

Ethiopian sovereignty and dignity are not for sale!

Neither AGOA, sanctions and restrictions nor all the money in the world is enough to buy off Ethiopian sovereignty and dignity.

The fact remains: Tough times don’t last, tough people do. And Ethiopians are tough as nails.

The Ethiopian people shall take a licking of U.S. sanctions and restrictions, but with God’s help they will keep on ticking right into prosperity… into eternity!