Monday, 18 August 2008


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My nurse friend sent this and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree. If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously.. Please read: STROKE IDENTIFICATION: During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) .....she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die.... they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this... A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke... totally . He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. RECOGNIZING A STROKE Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR . Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke . Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S * Ask the individual to SMILE. T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. It is sunny out today) R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE o f these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved

Ethiopia’s consistent support for peace in Somalia .
It is perhaps not surprising, given political developments in Somalia in recent years, that a few in the international community with little goodwill towards Ethiopia have claimed Ethiopian aims and intentions towards Somalia have been negative, even hegemonic. Some have even argued the fanciful notion that Ethiopia has been aiming to get control of Mogadishu and turn it into a port for Ethiopia . The briefest knowledge of the behavior of the current Ethiopian leadership, of geography or of history, gives the lie to such exaggerated fantasies, but it has not stopped propagandists repeating, and expanding, such claims: President Abdullahi Yusuf is alleged to be under Ethiopian control; the numbers of Ethiopian troops are to be numbered in tens of thousands; Ethiopia wants Somalia either broken into fragments, or rendered weak and enfeebled, or conversely is aiming to take over the whole country. It is true that Ethiopia’s relations with Somalia under Siad Barre, between 1969 and 1991, could hardly be described as friendly, not surprising since Ethiopia was a major target of irredentism, notably during Siad Barre’s invasion of eastern Ethiopia in 1977 and the subsequent year-long war. Nor should it be overlooked that the nature of pre-EPRDF governments in Ethiopia did not provide the necessary basis for the resolution of problems related to the quest for democratic and national rights for nations and nationalities in Ethiopia . With the advent of a new government in Ethiopia in 1991, and the overthrow of Siad Barre, the way was open for a change in relationship; the EPRDF took every opportunity to try and encourage the creation of a government in Somalia , beginning that same year.

Indeed, most appear to have forgotten that Ethiopia began to focus on the need for peace in Somalia long before the Eldoret/Mbagathi conference (2002-2004), indeed from the time the EPRDF took over in May 1991. Soon after the Transitional Government had been set up, President Meles Zenawi opened a series of consultations with all neighboring states in October and November. Among the issues discussed were peace initiatives for Somalia whose civil wars escalated the very month Siad Barre fled from Mogadishu in January 1991. This led to an Ethiopian initiative, supported by neighboring countries, to organize a broad-based Somali conference to which all parties were invited. It failed, largely because the international community and the UN were not prepared to become effectively involved at that time. Ethiopia made another effort the next year. In April 1992, a Summit on Humanitarian Problems in the Horn of Africa, attended by government representatives, NGOs and civil society groups, was held. A Horn of Africa Standing Committee was set up with Ethiopia in the chair. The following month the first all-party Somali faction meeting was held in Bahr Dar. Political and humanitarian issues were discussed and the Bahr Dar Declaration and Agreement on the Humanitarian Aspects of the Problem in Somalia was agreed in June. This allowed for unhampered distribution of humanitarian assistance and the opening of all ports, airports and roads. It was also agreed the Horn of Africa Committee should maintain consultations with all factions.

This initiative, however, was overtaken by the well-intended actions of the UN and the US to organize appropriate conditions for the arrival of UNITAF and then UNISOM 1 in Somalia . Ethiopia, as chair of the Horn of Africa Committee, remained closely involved with these efforts and with the UN efforts in early 1993 to organize the Informal Preparatory Meeting of Somali factions (January 14/15) and the subsequent Addis Ababa National Reconciliation Conference March 15-27. This produced the Addis Ababa Agreement, signed by 15 factions. Agreement, however, was only reached after a twelve hour meeting between delegation leaders and Ethiopian officials. Not for the first or last time, the international community failed to put its weight behind the agreement. The Addis Ababa Agreement was rapidly overtaken by events in Mogadishu , including clashes between the forces of General Aideed and the US/UN troops.

Later that same year, Ethiopia was given the mandate to facilitate a political settlement in Somalia , in coordination with neighboring states, by an IGAD summit which committed attendees and IGAD itself to work for peace in Somalia . Shortly afterwards at the Organization of African Unity Summit in Cairo , the OAU endorsed a similar mandate for Ethiopia . It might be recalled that the most insistent supporter of this was Eritrea . Indeed, President Issayas recommended it in the most fulsome terms. During the conference, the Central Organ of the OAU for conflict prevention, resolution and management was inaugurated. This facilitated the implementation of Ethiopia ’s mandate help the Somalis to achieve peace in their country.

Following this, Ethiopia carried out a series of consultations with all Somali factions and these efforts at facilitation finally bore fruit in the high-level consultation meeting at Sodere (22 November-31 December 1996). Twenty six Somali parties, factions and movements participated and agreed to establish a National Salvation Committee of 41, and a National Executive Committee of 11. The meeting also agreed to convene a National Reconciliation Conference to be held originally in June and then in Bossaso in November 1997. In fact, this never happened because of the opposition of the USC/Somali National Alliance of Hussein Aideed, and the holding of the Cairo conference which regrettably resulted in a loss of momentum in the Somali peace process because of division among the factions. Although Ethiopia had been mandated by IGAD, the OAU and in effect by the UN, other interested parties were also active. Neither the OAU nor IGAD managed to coordinate such efforts, and unilateral and uncoordinated activities by other states and organizations has been one reason why attempts to resolve Somalia ’s problems did not succeed. All that has changed now, and that is why the prevailing lack of cohesion within the TFG is so regrettable and damaging. Unlike the past, there is today a greater opportunity for Somalis to count on some support from the international community to achieve a breakthrough in the peace process.

The problems of Somalia had, of course, and still have a regional dimension going back to the irredentism of Siad Barre, exploited as it has been by third parties including terrorists to undermine the peace and stability of Ethiopia. Moreover, geographic and ethnic proximity raised the possibility of a spill-over of conflict to other states in the region, though the security threat posed by a collapsed Somali government was of particular interest to Ethiopia . In this sense Ethiopia ’s concern has not, of course, been driven solely by altruistic considerations. It can best be described as rational and enlightened self-interest in the re-creation of a Somali state which is peaceful, stable and prepared to co-exist with its neighbors on the basis of principles of international law governing inter-state relations. It has always been obvious that a revived Somali state would be in Ethiopia’s own national interests which involve ensuring that no threat emanates from Somalia, and that there should be a peaceful and mutually managed border which would not be a wall separating the two peoples. It has always been Ethiopia ’s consistent position that even a bad government is better than no government. Anarchy in Somalia is not in the interest of Ethiopia . This is why the suggestion, among other things, that Ethiopia ’s role in Somalia is at the behest of others, is so ridiculous.

It is also these principles which underpinned Ethiopia ’s support for the Arta Conference in Djibouti in 2000. Despite subsequent allegations to the contrary, Ethiopia played a significant role in getting Arta off the ground, pushing the Rahenweyne Resistance Army and others to attend. Even though this is usually overlooked, Prime Minister Meles attended the inauguration as President of Mr. Abdikassim Salad Hussein. Like most of the international community, including the OAU and IGAD, prior to 2000 Ethiopia saw the concept of building blocks as perhaps the best way forward, providing for the recreation of a Somali state from the bottom up. With the success of the Arta conference and the establishment of the Transitional National Government in 2000, Ethiopia accepted the alternative of a government organized from the top down.

It isn’t necessary to get into the subsequent complications that arose between Ethiopia and President Abdikassim. IGAD’s Khartoum Summit in November 2000 gave conditional recognition to President Abdikassim’s government in a resolution stressing that “the peace process in Somalia must continue and be completed by dialogue and not by resorting to the use of force.” It did not, however, materialize, though this was no fault of Ethiopia . Within a few months it became clear the TNG did not have the capacity to survive. This led to the calling of the Eldoret/Mbagathi conference which eventually set up the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in November 2004, which, together with the associated Transitional Federal Institutions, Ethiopia has consistently supported as currently the only viable solution for Somalia ’s problems. It responded to the TFG’s requests for assistance against internal and external enemies in 2006, and has subsequently worked to provide support and training for the effort to recreate an administrative structure in Somalia .

With the advent of the renewed effort for peace in Somalia intended to broaden the TFG by undertaking reconciliation between the TFG and the ARS under UN auspices, Ethiopia has been able to demonstrate its full support for the process and the Djibouti Agreement. Ethiopia , in fact, has been quite consistent over seventeen years in its efforts to bring back peace, national reconciliation and security in Somalia . Of course, it is always mindful of its own national interests, and which country is not, but these in no way conflict with the interests of the peoples of Somalia , or of those of the sub-region. Ethiopia has never had any inclination for, and has never demonstrated any proclivity towards claiming regional hegemony. Incidentally, when Ethiopia first began to be involved in Somalia , to help the Somali search for peace in 1991, it had not even any standing army. Ethiopia has never had sufficient arrogance for thinking in such a way. It has never overestimated its capacity to influence or control others. Nor has it ignored or over-looked the interests of others even when it may disagree with them. Ethiopia has never been driven by a zero-sum game; it has always pushed for win-win solutions for the peoples of both Somalia and Ethiopia . This applies to its relations with Eritrea as well. This has always been the basis of Ethiopian policies in the sub-region. It will continue to underline Ethiopia ’s support for the TFG and for all efforts for peace and security in our sub-region.