Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Spin Master

In an eastern region of Ethiopia yesterday a small outbreak of violence occurred between Ethiopian Military who were guarding a Chinese oil drilling operation and a regional separatist group called the OGADEN NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT (ONLF).

The BBC reports that it was a massacre where 9 Chinese nationals and "scores" of Ethiopian military guards were killed in an unprovoked attack.

Conversely, the ONLF spokesperson disputes the use of the word "massacre" and says it was a fight and that they won. He does claim that 350 Ethopian troops were killed and his side lost two men.

I don't pretend to understand the politics behind this event - I believe the ONLF doesn't appreciate the Ethiopian gov't allowing and spending resources to enable foreign oil drilling, while the people of the region are living in poverty. (See also the economics of oil drilling in the gulf off of Louisiana.)

I do wonder if the ONLF spokesperson had to compete for his job. "Alright
Abdirahman, here's the scenario. We've just sunk a boat with 20 kittens and Mother Theresa. What would you say to the media?"

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