Ethiopian 'Land Grab' COMMENTS
'It’s like the British government trying to argue that colonialism in India was not its doing but that of the East India Company and a few rogue generals like Dwyer'

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Daily Mail
Oct 08, 2011
07:20 AM

Debarshi - you are absolutely right in saying 'The short term profit helps you tern a blind eye to the long term consequences, including long-term conflicts and increased risk to the investment itself' That is exactly what has been happenning in Tribal areas where the Government determined to wipe out Tribal/Advivasis resistance to grab lands from the adivasis for the benefit of large corporations and middle calss at a huge cost to tribals/adivasis.The successive Governments systematically abused Tribal/Adivasis land rights and denied their basic demands and branded them all as Naxalites and maoists. On closer look it seems like the Governments both at State and federal are part of the problem rather than the solution. No wonder many Tribals/adivasis taken up arm to fight on to protect their land/family despite on-going human rights abuses by the Police and other security forces. Turning a blind eye on atrocities and abuses is a legacy of  our cultural practice of oppressing Tribals/Adivasis and other weaker section of our society is just a norm after all.

Sydney, Australia
Oct 08, 2011
09:37 AM

RAJESH SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA >> Debarshi - you are absolutely right ..........

<<  Rajesh, u r absolutely right too except it should have been attributed to Anuradha.

Shyamal Barua
Kolkata, India
Oct 08, 2011
11:56 AM

Anuradha Mittal is a dreamer. In the real world rapaciousness is the norm. The problem is between the Ethiopian government and Indian entrepreneurs. There is no reason for the Indian government to be involved. When eventually the Ethiopians become more sophisticated, they will throw the Indians out themselves. That's how it works.

Dallas, United States
Oct 08, 2011
12:28 PM

Just a couple of days back, there was a news report that a Bangalore based firm has seen 30,000 acres of its corn crop washed away by floods in Ethiopia. Some business opportunities are easier to get into than out of. Africa is certainly not a continent for old men.

ashok lal
mumbai, India
Oct 08, 2011
02:13 PM

It’s like the British government trying to argue that colonialism in India was not its doing but that of the East India Company and a few rogue generals like Dwyer.

I hate to seem pedandic but this is an absolutely confused analogy. The British Government took over the East India Company Operation in the  Government of India Act 1858. So it could not escape responsibility for the actions of Generals like Dwyer.   If Ms Mittal is confused about these mechanisms than we have little to learn here.

A better analogy is with California or Australia where European settlers cleared the lands for farming and brought immense prosperity so successive generations and immigrants could indulge in  idyllic middle class lifestyles.

MK Saini
Delhi, India
Oct 08, 2011
03:34 PM

 Some very critical statements about India and Indian policies, coming out of the US and UK,  recently. What's behind it?  If it's not Kashmir, it's India's recent ties with Afghanistan, and if it's not the Naxal issue, it's Indian companies in Ethiopia!  What's going on?  It would at least be nice to hear some Ethiopian perspectives on this matter; it's probably not all gloom and doom as Mittal makes it out to be.

Varun Shekhar
Toronto, CANADA
Oct 08, 2011
09:17 PM

If the Ethopian netas want to get sre****ed, who are we to stop the businessmen?

The British must have had this same attitude pre-independence, when Indians ( like MMS today ), were willing to sell their hearts and fathers to the highest bidder. And the British took full advantage of us.

Male Unblocked
Chennai, India
Oct 08, 2011
10:33 PM

"Ethnic indigenous communities are being hunted down like animals to clear land for Indian firms and businesses. India is behind the government of Ethiopia that is unleashing this kind of terror." Anuradha Mittal

I leafed through the report that Oakland Institute put out and I did not see any evidence that entire communities are being "hunted down like animals". May be I missed it.

Ethiopia has been wracked by civil war and famine for decades. At this point, there is no financial or human capital left in Ethiopia to create a functioning economy, so the government has turned to foreign companies to create a functioning economy that is more than subsistence level farming and hunting/gathering. Since you cannot create land, governments all over the world use eminent domain to appropriate land for use by these companies - this is done even within the US and other Western countries (Google the Kelo decision of the US Supreme Court for one famous example). Inevitably this creates some anger and friction. To go from that to "hunting people down like animals" is a big stretch, and one for which Mittal provides no evidence as far as I can tell.

Perhaps she is "spicing up" her story like some of her fellow jholawallas like Teesta Setalvad and Arundhathi Roy.

Fedup Indian
Hyderabad, India
Oct 09, 2011
07:16 AM

Indians seem to have forgotten totally forgotten Idi Amin of Uganda.Indians are not strong like the Chinese.

Bangalore, India
Oct 09, 2011
08:14 AM

I am totally fed up with this web site (outlookindia), which is nothing more than an ultra-left orgy, jerking off each other. The views of this website are much like the Indian foreign policy - no acknowledgment of realities, but mere self-righteous delusions. Congress party's ideal wet dream; no wonder MMS writes here so often. Be back in a decade. Ciao....

Ravi Jain
Hyderabad, India
Oct 09, 2011
08:50 AM

Yet another self-loathing desi generating headlines-grabbing rhetoric. The dumb press is enthralled by this garbage.

nobody inparticular
Mumbai, India
Oct 09, 2011
10:11 AM

oh well. i was just mentioning in another article about credibility of OUTLOOK and no needing crap articles to sell their business. Looks like they are heading towards it. long live outlook.

Bangalore, India
Oct 09, 2011
06:07 PM

Ravi >> "I am totally fed up with this web site (outlookindia), which is nothing more than an ultra-left orgy, jerking off each other. "

Nobody forces you to read Outlook. If you want the magazines to publish what you like, why don't you start one o your own?

Brilliant Babloo
BablooLand, India
Oct 10, 2011
04:06 AM

 Mera Bharat Mahaaaaaan!!!! As George Carlin puts it that we human are savages, we are just barely out of the Jungle. All this illusion of being civilized is superficial. Whenever we grab power we dictate, exploite and crush things and when we are opressed we support human rights. What a Shame!!!

San Francisco, United States
Oct 10, 2011
04:22 AM

China is the right country to buy these lands because it does not care about the fancy concerns voiced in this article.

Palagummi Viyaya Bhanu
Kakinada, India
Oct 10, 2011
07:58 PM

"Nobody forces you to read Outlook. If you want the magazines to publish what you like, why don't you start one o your own?"

  Many people are fed up and disgusted with mindless negativism in the media, and they have a right to respond.


Varun Shekhar
Toronto, CANADA
Oct 11, 2011
08:24 PM

In the last 5-6 decades several developing nations opened up their economies for foreign investments finding the difficulties of going alone in development. (Don't forget that until 1980s India's slogan was "self sufficient, self confident and self reliant India" and then in 1991 a banrupt government was forced to liberalize the economy).

Since some of these countries became richer as a result, there is a case for encouraging such openness. But there is also a price to pay. Foreign investors are not philathropists- they come with their own commercial interests, Unless the state takes adequate measures to protect the national interests while acknowleding the investors' commercial interests, there will be problems. Since the legal systems in many of the developing nations are not as strong and the political system anywhere is vulnerable to corruption, increased foreign investments can lead to more commerce at the expense of  the socio-economically disadvantaged people.

This indeed is a serious issue that needs to be addressed probably at the UN level so that an institutional  framework is agreed to protect interests of those affected by foreign investments.  We should certainly praise effort of any institute that conducts adequate research on such issues.

However my problem is with the catchy headlines and the left wing radicalism that emanate as an exaggerated response to these issues. Left wing nuts love to call all MNCs evil coconspirator of global capitalism. Calling the government of India as a Colonizer of Ethopia because of Indian corporate investments in Ethopia is utterly idiotic and a sweeping exaggeration. Indian companies that invest in Ethiopia will have to play as per government of Ethiopia's rulebook for all their operations including repatriation of profits. If an Indian company acquires land as per Ethiopian law  she calls it land grab because Ethiopia's legal system is weak and she terms the process Indian colonialization because the government of India is not interfering in Ethiopia's government affairs.

Unfortunately her comments would question the credibility of the research and may even ignore the issue raised which otherwise is important.

For once I thought I was reading an interview of Arundhati Roy who sees the conspiracy of Indian state everywhere. But then Arundhati is not a researcher and she picks and chooses facts, often mixes them with fiction only to back her preconceived ideas.

NEW YORK, United States
Oct 11, 2011
08:33 PM

I read the interview with interest.

In 2008, a news in Times of India reported, " It was 36 years ago that dictator Idi Amin threw out 55,000 Indians, majority Gujaratis, lock, stock and barrel from Uganda. Gujaratis, from this East African country, migrated to UK, Canada and other European countries and scaled heights with their entrepreneurial zeal....."

I remember a teacher who returned from Uganda narrate  his expeirece there. The Gujarati business men would cheat through frauds simple natives of Uganda in very possible manner, as Bengalis did to the innocent tribal people  in the nineteenth century in Chota Nagpur now Jharkhand. 

If an Ugandan went to buy 4 metres of cloth from a Gujarati shop there, the businessman would measure four ends of one metre  and charged price accordingly for 4 metres of cloth. Only a dictator Idi Amin could have kicked out the rogues to relieve his people. Good riddance! This was one good job the hated dictator did for his country.

Indians outreaching Ethiopia would indulge, if not already, in the nefarious practices and earn soon blind enmity of the natives, who will rise in revolt against India and Indians. When in India, the downtrodden sections are brutalized in every possible manner by the same classes and their cohorts aided abd abetted by the Government, where and how does a question of dignified behavious towards natives there arise?

When Nelson Mandela fought election after his release from long life in jail, most people of  Indian origin did not vote him. They voted for the minority white regime. It's share ill luck of the natives of SA that they haven't kicked the Indians out yet.

Sanket Biswas
Kolkata, India
Oct 12, 2011
12:37 AM

"most people of Indian origin did not vote him. They voted for the minority white regime. It's share ill luck of the natives of SA that they haven't kicked the Indians out yet."

  Some excessive self-hatred here.

Varun Shekhar
Toronto, CANADA
Oct 12, 2011
03:11 AM

"It's share ill luck of the natives of SA that they haven't kicked the Indians out yet." Sanket Biswas

Please feel free to kick yourself out of India and do yourself and everyone else a favor.

Twenty years ago, my Marxist friends from Kolkata would tell me about the socialist paradise of Albania where "to each according to his need, from each according to his ability" was the norm. Alas - the Iron Curtain fell and Comrade Enver Hoxha was revealed to be just another East European thug and Albanian society turned out to be brutal and backward. Where is the new socialist paradise? Is there any country in the world whose business practices you admire? Or is private enterprise itself evil?

Fedup Indian
Hyderabad, India
Oct 12, 2011
12:26 PM

People of Assam relish fish and Assam has large water bodies fit for growing fish. But truck loads of Fish packed in termocol boxes are transported from Andhra to Assam as people of Assam are not growing fish. So if the marshes and water bodies in Assam are given to fish farmers of Andhra, Assam will be benifited by getting cheaper fish. The nation will benifit by reduced expenditure of subsidised Deisel to transport fish from Andhra to Assam. 

Similarly, if "under producing land" in Ethiopia is put under intense cultivation, food shortage in Ethiopia can be eliminated. The critics are mainly NGOs involved in relief programmes in Ethiopia as their "shops will close" if Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan etc become self sufficient in food.  No more relief camps and no more "millions from UN".

Charan dewry
Guwahati, India
Feb 12, 2012
12:10 AM

Most of the communities in the entire Indian sub-continent(such as Bengali) are succumbed in ‘Culture of Poverty'(Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is genuinely regret ed or ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-admin system, bad work place, weak mother language, continuous consumption of common social space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold(supported by some lame excuses). Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting children those are born out of ignorance, extreme poverty. It seems that all of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of ‘poverty’) in their own attitude, involve themselves in ‘Production of Space’ (Henri Lefebvre), an intense attachment with the society at large - one different pathway has to create to overcome inherent 'hopeless' mindset; decent, rich Politics will definitely come up. – Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah -711101, India.

Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay
Howrah, India


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