In the eyes of Dutch NRC International Handesbald newspaper
By Almaz Mequanint | July 24, 2012



In June 23, 2012 I attended the talk show conducted by Mr. Kibret Mekonnen/ Colour Multimedia production owner & AIMIRO Media. The talk show was held at Taken at Dudok Den Haag (PRODEMOS) in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Mr. Tefera Addisu and I addressed the audience about the issue of Ethiopian victims of fluoride and Asbestos of Wonji, Wonji/Showa and Metehara employees who were working for Dutch run company HVA International who was running three sugar factories in 1954, 1960 & 1968 until 1974.

HVA International didn't respect and violated our economic, social and cultural rights by withholding information from its employees the existence of excess fluoride in the drinking water but informing/protecting the Ducth employees only. Also by building the roofs of the employees’ houses from asbestos. Even though the UN reported the case in 2004, HVA International denies its wrongdoing and The Netherlands government should be held accountable to compensate Wonji, Wonji/Showa & Metehara fluoride/Asbestos victims. Ethiopian employees/families including my family & I had been discriminated/segregated in facilities, residential areas & medical treatments. Even though apartheid based on race is outlawed at the time, but corporation like HVA had their own system that goes far deeper than that in disguise. HVA International’s cruelty and injustice exercised its system of an economic apartheid on its Ethiopian employees regarding them as no more than cheap expendable laborers.

From those who were invited only Ethiopians attended the talk show. There was a great expectation of Dutch Media and Dutch citizens who were working to HVA in Ethiopia to come and hear the sad story of these mistreated Ethiopian laborers. Unfortunately, no Dutch citizens or the invited Dutch media NRC Handelsbad showed up.

Very sadly, while thousands Wonji victims are still suffering and dying some Western medias /editors reject to raise the issue and make report on it. To mention one of them is NCR Handelsblad who made a poor and senseless decision not to report on it by stating “Too far away and too long ago.” Oh really, too far and too long ago!

NCR Handelsblad showed the lack of concern for countless number of Wonji,Wonji/Showa & Metehara fluoride/asbestos victims suffering, deformed births, tainted teeth suffering from mesothelioma, dental & skeletal fluorosis and most of them dying from it.

There is a profound disconnect between this senseless and inhumane action of NCR Handelsblad and its mission statement “NRC Handelsblad is recognized for its authoritative reporting of national politics, foreign affairs, financial news and coverage of arts and culture. It has a liberal profile and is targeted at an affluent and well-educated readership.” http://vorige.nrc.nl/article1876754.ece

NRC Handelsblad also brags about its provision of readership with quality journalism based on its mission. By refusing to report on Wonji victims and HVA issues it clearly reflects it’s irresponsible, unfair and unethical manipulated journalism/news coverage. Or may be the victimization by the Dutch corporation…a nationalistic behavior played role on this matter. Any ways, NRC Handelsbald failed to reflect the diversity of the Dutch & international public they serve by holding some group to one standard while using a different double standard for other groups.

If NRC Handelsblad claims itself a liberal newspaper would not be just common sense and ethical to advocate for the poor and voiceless like Wonji victims? What does the ignorance, negativity and defensiveness help for liberal newspaper like NRC Handelsbald when reporting and reflecting over the mistakes done on Wonji victims could inspire, motivate and change our attitude towards finding justice?

Maybe ignorant/curious eyes will be opened on what is really going on in Wonji, Wonji/Showa & Metehara. Again I repeat the statement by NRC Handelsblad “Too far away and too long ago.” This is very bizarre to say the least! My conclusion, shame on NRC Handelsblad!

Sincerely,
Almaz Mequanint


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