Here at DRI, we must concede our longstanding strenuous effort to get the individual who has been World Bank President to say the word “Democracy” has ignominiously failed. His term ends this weekend.
Alas, this is more than a game. Yesterday, the peaceful Ethiopian blogger Eskinder Nega was convicted of “high treason” and “terrorist acts” for such nefarious activities as noticing there was an Arab Spring. (Nega should have followed the World Bank President’s exemplary speech on the Arab Spring that omitted the word “democracy” even in a purely descriptive sense. ) The World Bank has given Ethiopia’s government more than $2.5 billion (2007-2010) during Robert Zoellick’s term.
Of course, President Zoellick did have to obey
China the 1944 Articles of Agreement, which forbids interference in “the political affairs of any member.” But when Ethiopian rulers use the aid to give food relief to supporters and starve opponents, according to careful documentation by Human Rights Watch (HRW), one begins to wonder if aid itself is political interference? Wouldn’t suspending aid be more consistent with the Articles in that case?
At least the Development Assistance Group for Ethiopia (which includes the US, Canada, the UK, and the EU, together accounting for another $6 billion to Meles Zenawi over 2007-2010) sternly commissioned a field investigation into the HRW charges. Which has since quietly been cancelled. A 2009 secret US cable released by Wikileaks said that donors to Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi were already “keenly aware that foreign assistance … is vulnerable to politicization.”
Mr. Zoellick, you still have two whole business days to use some word form of democra____. Maybe you could just casually mention the official name of North Korea?