Context is Everything!!!
By Sam B.
Matt Bryden, as the controversial Coordinator of the Monitoring Group for Somalia and Eritrea (SEMG) has been rather tactless. He is now finished as the coordinator of the group. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, has replaced him by Jarat Chopra, another Canadian described as regional expert. Gone is also Ghassan Schbley, SEMG’s Eritea finance expert.
In a previous note the above has been disclosed here. Matt Bryden and his group were the focus of official Eritrean ire. Eritrea, through its Ambassador at the UN demonstrated in details that “sufficiently illustrate the political bias and lack of professionalism that has characterized the work of the Monitoring Group.” Eritrea “also emphasize that several member countries in this Committee harbor similar misgivings and some have publicly expressed their concerns on previous occasions. “
Eritrea’s Ambassador further dispatched his government’s request thusly:
“my Government believes that the composition of the Monitoring Group must be seriously examined to ensure fairness and justice. Let me also recall that my Government has sent four appeals, spelling out its reasons in greater detail, to the UN Security Council and to the Secretary General of the UN on this account since September last year.”
Additionally many members of the Eritrean community and some semi-official representatives have been expressing their disdain of Matt Bryden and the shoddy work of his group. Sophia Tesfamariam for instance wrote:
“The political agendas of its handlers and that of the SEMG’s role in advancing illicit political agendas using the SEMG as cover are becoming clearer with each report. The UN Security Council must remove Matt Bryden and the team as they have severely undermined the credibility of the Monitoring Group and cannot possibly present an objective, neutral and credible report on Eritrea, or Somali for that matter. …. The UN Security Council must provide the new SEMG clear guidelines, clear mandate and clear code of conduct for its work.”
After all that one would think Matt Bryden’s departure would be news worthy or at the very least noteworthy. Strangely enough, as of the writing of this note, it has not been the case. Why? Is it because our embassy at the United Nations has not seen the documents announcing the changes in SEMG composition? But how can that be so since nearly a week has passed since this document has been released by the United Nations and made public. Surely our Embassy has a copy, RIGHT? If so why has this not been provided to the public?
Or is this a result or a reflection of deeper malaise within our information delivery system that is sitting on its hand and waiting some other news organisations to report this important news first? Surprisingly, Matt Bryden has given a radio interview admitting he has been replaced and it has been reported a few days ago. It is more likely that the insular nature of our information gathering system that exhibits a highly an Anglo-Saxon bias is waiting for one of these organizations to report it first, and make it kosher, before disseminating it to Eritrean audiences. Perhaps?
Whatever the reason the fact that our “media systems” have failed to capture this freely available information must be of some concern. At least it is to this person. I hope we are not all sitting around waiting until Matthew Russell Lee, of Inner City Press, comes back from his vacation, or wherever he is, reports it in his unusual way first. As grateful as one is for Matthew for that service, one hopes we can develop our own effective and proactive media apparatus.
In the end the question that persists is; how hard is it to report this freely available information? How is one to serve the truth by being silent or depending on others?