28/05/03 (B199) Lettre ouverte en Anglais, à M. Nicholas Kristof du New York Times en écho à son article qui avait été repris sur notre site (Omar Ali)

Dear Mr.

I became
adducted to the New York times editorial and columns, since I discovered your
articles. I’ll admit that 15 or 20 minutes of my lunchtime at work are dedicated
to your columns. I’ll not mention the others times that I try to read your
pages on the Internet during my working hours.

Imagine my
surprise when you precisely describe the political and human rights conditions,
about a region that has little interest for Americans. I’m referring on your
last Op-Ed column about Eritrea. It’s true that Eritrea in its early days
was a symbol for the majority of African people.

But it’s
also not a secret that Eritrea is turning out into a dictatorship today. We
are all aware that the people of Eritrea are suffering, millions are starving
to death, without the help of the Americans and the Europeans thousand of
children will die from hunger and diseases. The regime that holds the power
has little or no concerns about its population.

Eritrea is
listed as the country that has most violated human rights condition in last
few years.

The reason
of my writings today is to give you a closer look of a country located in
the same region but not different than the situation in Eritrea.

As you are
aware since the horrible attack on America (9/11), the bush administration
has declared war on terrorism. The anti-terrorism force called (The Combined
Joint Task Force) patrolling the Indian Ocean and the red sea is based in
Djibouti. The force mostly consists of marines, French legionnaires and hundreds
of German and Spanish army; it is under the command of American general. Close
to 2400 marines are participating in the operation. An old French base called
(lemonieur) is now renovated for the Americans.

The central
command of the CJTF has moved from mount Whitney to lemonieur base and the
secretary of state Donald rumsfield has made a visit to Djibouti before the
Iraqi war.

There is
no doubt that Djibouti is a major ally to the American in the war on terror.
And your newspaper has mention Djibouti several times in last few months.

One can say
that Djibouti has more interest today for Americans than never in the past.
Almost 200 millions of American taxpayers money has given to that country
for humanitarian aid. Only god knows where that money goes.

The people
of Djibouti are held in hostage by its own government. The public servants
did not receive salaries for the last 5 months; people are killed, jailed
and persecuted for no reason. The government uses harassment, financial blackmailing
and in some cases physical elimination to silent the opposition group.

in the political life of the country is guaranteed by the constitution but
never respected by the authorities.

Last month
a journalist and leader of the only credible opposition party Daher Ahmed
Farah known as "DAF" was jailed because of an article he wrote about
the number 2 of the army general "zakaria". Mr. Daher Ahmed Farah
was exercising as journalist the basic right of all society "freedom
of speech" guaranteed by the UN convention.

He is in
prison since April 20th 2003, visits are not allowed and he is detained in
horrific conditions. You can visit the website of the "reporter sans
frontiere" to get more information about dasher’s case, there is also
a petition available for the public to support him.

Here is the
link http://www.petitiononline.com/daflibre/petition.html.

Sans frontiere has offered him legal aid services and media coverage in that

He is not
the only one in prison for similar reasons, others political activists are
jailed in the same prison for years. Political opponents are often crashed
by authorities the opposition groups are claiming election fraud on the 2003
legislative election. They filed a lawsuit against the government in Djibouti
and international institutions. According to a report made by the United States
foreign affairs department "Djibouti human rights records are poor".
You can read the full report here.

Despite all
the facts, the government of Djibouti continues to receive money from various
donors including US, France, India, and Saudi Arabia…the money that the
government collect for humanitarian aid never goes to relieve the suffering
of the population, it often goes into the pocket of the of the president (Mr.
Ismail Omar guelleh) and his relatives. The president and his families are
the best customers of Mercedes firm and real state owners in US and European

Mr. Kristof,
I’m urging you to do your little investigation to see how revolting and discouraging
is the situation in Djibouti.

I know that
once you are convinced that American people should know about what’s happening
there, I’ll read it in you columns.

Best regards,