Courting the Nile Goddess

1 Sep 2009

By Ayenew Haileselassie, Daily Monitor

Addis Ababa — North Korea keeps shooting its long range missiles now and then. These missiles do not just reach all important targets; they can also deliver a nuclear message. Its leaders, or rather leader, has effectively made the world believe that he is unpredictable, that one day he could really strike American or South Korean targets.

Japan, Russia and China are all concerned, but not as badly as the other two countries. He has the gun; he seems to have the will to use it. The missing element is the excuse. (Of course, the other side of the argument is that he is already using them and reaping the benefits at least from the immediate south.) Now there are many of us who think that we are too far away or too detached to be concerned about this issue.

But suppose it was not North Korea, but Egypt. Suppose it tried a missile in its vast deserts. Suppose it stood its ground and kept trying them even at a great cost to its international relations. It would of course regain its old stature in the Arab world, Israel would not leave a stone unturned to destroy the country's missile capabilities, and we in Ethiopia would at last live in constant fear of the consequences of a grave transboundary issue that followed the currents of the river Nile.

It all begins like a love affair. Abay (the Blue Nile) flees its home meets his lover, the White Nile in Khartoum, and the two disappear into the Egyptian Desert. For all the basin countries, except Sudan and Egypt, this trip is not a honeymoon, but an elopement. Everybody loved them, but they chose the desert....

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