Looking out across the vastness of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, it is difficult to see why Ethiopia is known as a land plagued by horrific droughts. – BBC, “Nile restrictions anger Ethiopia,” February 3, 2005
Any action that would endanger the waters of the Blue Nile will be faced with a firm reaction on the part of Egypt, even if that action should lead to war. – Egyptian president Anwar Sadat – cited in “The Waters Of Life,” Time, April 23, 2006.
While Egypt is taking the Nile water to transform the Sahara into something green, we in Ethiopia – which is the source of 85 percent of that water – are denied the possibility of using it to feed ourselves… and forced to beg for food every year. – Ethiopia’s late prime minister Meles Zenawi, February 3, 2005.
The Greek historian Herodotus (c.484- 425 BCE) is credited with designating Egypt “The Gift of the Nile.” Today, tens of millions of Egyptians might consider the epithet “gift” singularly misplaced.
Writing on the wall?
The recent unrest that has raged across Egypt has once again thrust the country into the center of international attention. Indeed, there is a growing realization that the gap between the challenges facing the country and its ability to meet them – in even a minimally adequate fashion – is widening, perhaps irretrievably, making a humanitarian catastrophe of staggering proportions evermore likely.