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The Meles Mystery: Has Anyone Seen Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Zenawi – OpEd

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To many Ethiopians the sudden disappearance of Prime Minister Zenawi is a source of joy and excited expectation, for his die-hard supporters apprehension no doubt and concern for their leader. Is he dead they ask, or perhaps critically ill, has he run away, finally overwhelmed by guilt and shame at the way he and his ministerial cronies have treated the people of Ethiopia, since they took power from the communist Derg twenty one years ago. Or is he recovering from illness peacefully on some isolated retreat.

The Prime Minister has not been seen since his last outing at the G20 summit, in Mexico on 19th June, where he looked a wee shadow of his usual Italian suited self. Such prolonged absence is unusual for a man who revels in performing his supporting part upon the international stage of political propaganda. He has failed to appear at a series of high-profile events since June, including the opening of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa in July.

Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi.
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi.

So where is the revolutionary democrat? It has been repeatedly reported that Meles has received treatment in the Saint-Luc hospital in Brussels for a stomach complaint, a suitably vague description as to mean nothing. The Washington Post (8/8/2012)i affirms “Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the rebel-turned-technocrat who has led Ethiopia since 1991, is sick.” The Guardian (8/8/2012)ii relays “the Egyptian state information service reporting that Meles underwent surgery in Germany.” They continue “It is a mystery what has happened to Meles and not even his own ministers know his fate,” an exiled Ethiopian source said.” According to a ‘government source’, (no name or status is given) speaking to the Guardian, Meles is on holiday, well it is the summer after all, and is recovering from an illness. There is no mention of where he is holidaying or why he has not personally issued a statement, reassured his followers, who are no doubt worried, and silenced the internal tussling within the EPRDF, that is undoubtedly taking place.

Secrecy smoke and mirrors

Ethiopians are notoriously secretive and distrustful, the great Polish journalist Rysard Kapuscinski in his classic work ‘The Emperor’, regarding the reign of the last Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selasie and his inner circle, states “the Ethiopians are deeply distrustful and found it hard to believe in the sincerity of my intentions,” elsewhere he goes further claiming that Ethiopians are the most “secretive people on Earth.” Having lived in Addis Ababa and worked with Ethiopians for a number of years, my experience certainly bears out Kapuscinski’s comments reinforced by René Lefort, author of ‘Ethiopia. An heretical revolution?’ when he states “given the history of Ethiopia, where secrecy is a cardinal virtue”

The Sellasie years were ones shrouded in deceit and extreme secrecy, all discussions and decisions between the Emperor and his ministers took place verbally. There are no documents with Sellasie’s signature, making it possible for him to deny involvement in any policy, to adopt a number of positions on any issue and to change his mind based on political expediency at any point in time. Kapuscinski relates, “Though he ruled for half a century, not even those closest to him knew what his signature looked like.” At meetings the Monty Python sounding ‘Minister of The Pen’, recorded the Emperors orders and instructions, whose words were often muffled and ambiguous, allowing for non-commitment on issues and the creation of fear amongst his ‘court’.

Image and social status is of great importance within Ethiopian society. In 1973, whilst hundreds of thousands starved, Halie Selasie and his government denied that a famine was taking place in the northeast of Ethiopia, known as the ‘Unknown Famine’ and lied to ITV journalist David Dimbleby, who reported the situation in Wollo that Sellasie and his cronies had attempted to cover up. Food was in fact available in the Wollo region, but was transported to the capital Addis Ababa, where it could command higher prices at market, all under the direction of the Sellasie regime. The revelation to the World of the famine hastened his downfall and he was deposed in 1974 by a military junta, led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, who had him suffocated to death a year later.

Another example of the secretive/duplicitous tendency of the Ethiopian people, creating a false or misleading image was the way Emperor Menelik II death in December 1913 was kept quiet. He died and was buried without any public announcements after suffering a stroke and being unable to govern for several years. And this for and of a man regarded by many as the last true Emperor.

The Meles way

There is no freedom of the press in Ethiopia; in fact there is little or no freedom in any area of social or political life. Express dissent at governments policies and face certain imprisonment, write articles critical of Zenawi and his regime and expect to be charged with treason or some such fictitious crime and sentenced as many have been, often in absentia, to life imprisonment. The Economist (7/8/2012)iii reports “Dissident or investigative journalists have been jailed or driven into exile. In July a prominent online journalist, Eskinder Nega, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.” Political opposition is all but banned under the Zenawi administration.

All media is state owned, so too the sole telecommunication company. As well as the major printing press Barhanena Selam, who recently told the weekly newspaper Feteh, who planned to publish a story quoting BBC and others discussing the where about and health of Meles, that the government had ordered that week’s edition (22/7/2012) of the paper, about 30,000 copies, to be blocked on grounds of inciting national insecurity and endangering the government and the public. Such is the degree of media control.

Accurate, uncensored information about anything is therefore impossible to find within the Ethiopian news sources, who are to nobody’s surprise towing the EPRDF party line on the missing premier – ‘Meles is on holiday, recovering from illness.’ ESAT the independent satellite television station based in Holland, have reported various accounts of Meles death (30/7/2012), misquoting it appears the Belgium based International Crisis Group, who denied giving any such information. It is it seems a maze of invisibility cloaks, secrets and deceit, a drama that would one feels not surprise Kapuscinski in the least.

The EPRDF under Meles Zenawi has been in power since 1991, he has been Prime Minister since 1995, after taking the mantle of President the previous four years. Two stolen corrupt elections in 2005 and 2010, in which European observers declared the election unfair. The regime is a dictatorship, trampling on human rights and restricting all freedoms, selling off vast tracks of prime Ethiopian farmland to international corporations for a few dollars, displacing hundreds of thousands of indigenous people in the process, who are corralled into villagization developments. Land sold is cultivated to grow staples not for the needy people of Ethiopia where some 13 million are food insecure, but for the industrial farmers home ‘market’.

Western complacency

The west believes, as it did with Egypt’s President Mubarak, that it has an ally in Prime Minister Zenawi. He allows American drones to be stationed on Ethiopian soil, and acts when ordered to by the imperial master. In 2006 Ethiopian troops invaded Somalia, at the behest of George W. Bush, who sought to subdue the activities of the Al Shabab militia (Islamist group). The deal is clear and predictable: Meles allows Ethiopia to be an outpost of the American military, in exchange for the west turning a blind eye to extensive human rights abuses in the country. As the Financial Times states “western donors and allies have been willing to overlook human rights abuses and a lack of political freedom at home.” Human rights abuses that destroy lives too many to count, but trouble not ‘western donors’, concerned only to extend their reach into all corners of the world

Around $3 billion a year is given to Ethiopia in development aid by the US, Europe, Britain and The World bank, all of which incidentally is paid to or through government agencies. The EPRDF misuse and politicize the funds, allocating donations based on political affiliation and not need, including emergency humanitarian aid.

For western donor countries the heavy hand of a tyrant, that inhibits and controls, offers stability, or so those fearful of freedom will say, as the Financial Times (9/08/2012)iv comments, “Strongmen in power can be useful allies. They make decisions fast and can impose their wills.” Not withstanding the impact on the people of their hasty ideologically driven decisions and shortsighted actions.

Time for change

If Zenawi is unable to continue in office, and according to Rene Lefort in Open Democracy (8/8/2012)v “the widespread conviction shared by most diplomats and experts is that, whether Meles is dead or alive, he is no longer in charge and never will be again, so the candidacy for his succession is open.” should the constitution be respected, parliament would pick a successor. Would his passing make any difference, ushering in change in the way the EPRDF rules Ethiopia, for in the absence of any credible, well-organized, coherent opposition they are sure to continue in power. Will freedom social justice and democracy flow into the country unrestricted, gently healing the deep wounds of the past 20 years, or will another in the mould of the repressive, brutal Zenawi step forward to continue his legacy of suppression and human rights abuse. One suspects the latter would take place, sadly Ethiopia has lacked good governance for generations.

The ERDF and its leader Meles Zenawi, whilst publically espousing democratic values and signing all manner of human rights laws into their constitution and federal code – to be summarily ignored, are idealists, adhering firmly to a version of ‘Revolutionary Democracy’. At the core of which is a centralized controlling dogma, that believes in social uniformity and the abolition of independent thought. Human Rights Watch (HRW) in their report on Ethiopia ‘Development without Freedom,’vi quote Meles describing his version of the ideology, “individuals will start to think alike and all persons will cease having their own independent outlook. In this order, individual thinking becomes simply part of collective thinking because the individual will not be in a position to reflect on concepts that have not been prescribed by Revolutionary Democracy.”

Time for freedom and justice

Perhaps Meles Zenawi is dead or and one feels this more likely, recuperating on holiday. Alive or not, his passing is long overdue, should a man who holds such divisive inhibiting ideals, disregards human rights laws and indeed Ethiopian domestic laws, and seems to care little for the people of Ethiopia hold political office at all. It is time for change within Ethiopia. The current regime locked as they are into a repressive narrow ideology show no signs of relaxing the controls exerted upon the people, in fact since 2009 State repression has intensified.

It is Prime Minister Meles Zenawi that leads the EPRDF government and dictates policy. Governance is highly centralized, The Economist (7/7/2012)vii states “power has still rested with a clutch of Mr. Meles’s comrades from his home area of Tigray in northern Ethiopia,” and according to a former American ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn cited in The Economist, “this hard core, including the army’s chief of staff, General Samora Younis, retains a “paranoid and secretive leadership style.” Echoes of Sellasie perhaps and further support for Kapuscinski’s view.

The people’s time

One doubts a man like Meles Zenawi would be a great lose, either to the African continent or to the people of Ethiopia. On the contrary the majority of Ethiopians would rejoice, for under his leadership they are controlled and suffer, have no voice and cry out to be heard, are entrapped and yearn to be free: free to express themselves, to gather and speak openly, free to build a just and open society. Free to be.


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Graham Peebles

Graham Peebles

Graham is an artist, writer and director of The Create Trust, he founded in 2006. He has run education projects & teacher training programs in Palestine, India and Ethiopia, where he spent two years working with local groups in Addis Ababa. A long time student of the Ageless Wisdom Teachings, and eastern philosophy, he is currently writing a series of essays on education. Contact: [email protected]

47 thoughts on “The Meles Mystery: Has Anyone Seen Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Zenawi – OpEd

  • August 14, 2012 at 7:38 pm
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    ‘Alive or not, his passing is long overdue’
    shameful death wish for a fellow Human being, good or bad, from a director of a charity.

    Reply
    • August 14, 2012 at 8:49 pm
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      As one of Africa’s long-serving self-elected tyrant,Meles Zenawi is a curse to the 80 million population of Ethiopian.His death (if true) may not guarantee democratic freedom but will definitely mean a passing of east-Africa’s own Gaddafi.

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    • August 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm
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      John truth hurts, I would rather have the truth that hurts than the alternative.

      Reply
  • August 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm
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    He is probably in heaven.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm
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    Thankyou, you got the point. Great observation and anlysis based on facts. keep it up.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm
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    it is an in depth analysis and observation. Thank you, sir. The woyane (TPLF) cadres are here again to blindly support their master and attack everyone that has a different opinion than them. I dont know when these narrow minded ppl start to realize the suffering of 85 million people. it is sad that they forgot what they had been 21 years ago.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm
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    Very well said. You spoke our mind. The world will be a better place without him.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm
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    Great Job!!! Thanks ..

    Reply
  • August 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm
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    Thank you Graham Peebles for your honest and realistic assessment of the politics and people of Ethiopia.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm
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    it is faight between Ahmara’s history and the current Tigria ruling class who are using any means to stay in power. beacuse they know it that if they lose power now, its never going back to them forever. So they are going to confuse the people by hiding their leaders in order to make sure succession with in TPLF. So no ministiers know about him. TPLF is lumpen group of who took power in the time of ethiopian people desperation by war.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm
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    A very deep analysis, perhaps close to Rene’s. I won’t be surprised if those who belong to the privileged minority, and a very few from the 6% of Ethiopia’s population, and those from Meles’s home region will accuse you and abuse you in writing. Never mind, they are a transitional phenomena. They showed us what their rule looks like in the last 2 decades. Their Revolutionary Democracy is neither revolutionary nor democratic in practice.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm
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    All the things you talk about are daily facts to us Ethiopians. Every Ethiopians knows this but cannot say a word because the guy with the guns, dictator Meles, will be shooting. You are a true journalist!! All Ethiopians, minus Meles and his villagers, will be thankful to you. Talk about truth!! This is in your face type of truth. This is written not to please anyone just the naked truth, and that is what the world needs. Nobody can refute this. It is also based on the day-to-day reality in the country. The whole world needs to know the truth.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm
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    I am grateful and do appreciate people and organizations who stand for fundamental human rights. You are really great if you are genuinely doing that. However, your piece here is maddeningly misleading and very saddening. Those who do not know Ethiopia may believe you. What a despair! Where is accountability? Where is truth? Press freedom: check out ‘Ethiopian Reporter’ and ‘Addis Tribune’ and many others. Dissent: Go talk to Professor Merera Gudina, or Dr. Beyene Petros, or Lidetu, or ….should I go on? Religious freedom: Go talk to the hundreds of non-denominational churches that have mushroomed in the last two decades. What is your message, really? This nation has so many ethnic, cultural, historical complexities with as much beauty and an unlikely potential for cataclysmic crisis. I do hope and wish this will not happen despite you and others like you and some of Ethiopia’s confused children. In an ethnic/race oriented political system, I feel the pain of those who may imagine or perceive favoritism. How I wish such division does not exist! How I wish for the time where to govern would mean to maintain roads and deliver mails. In that case who would care about who is running the country? Just like Belgium where there was no goverment for a time and nothing happened! You took liberty in maligning Selassie. He was not perfect, but please know that he is one of the few outstanding people in the world who has done so much for his country, for Africa and the World. He was the expression of African dignity, hospitality, and fellowship. Do you know his contribution to the people of color in the world? Menilk… Because of him Africa and being African has survived Europe. If it were not for Menilik, Haileselassie and many others, the entire Africa would have been gobbled by Europe’s might and greed. please give due respect. Being secretive could be why Ethiopia survived Europe. From this writing I can see that you do not really know anything about Ethiopa and Ethiopia’s history beyond its deceptive looks.

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    • August 15, 2012 at 2:06 am
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      Mamo you say you like truth, here you have it and naked. If you are after propaganda and falsehood, then listen to the Ethiopian government media.

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    • August 15, 2012 at 8:06 am
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      Come on Mamo… there you again, just picked your own Juntas and Institutions as a reference. We know Beyene Petros,… one of the puppets of Meles a consumption for the West,acting like a true opposition, Addis Tribune,.. mouth of TPLF, Lidetu,… the back stubber,… you want me to keep going? I ain’t got no time for selfish ppl like you. Believe it or not, your cup is full. You are at the edge of a cliff. You better change your mind and join the majority. I’m sure you will come to your senses when your belly starts to emptying. That time is not too far, for losers like you.

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    • August 15, 2012 at 9:52 am
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      Agree with you Mamo .Let’s guard Ethiopia from evil

      Reply
  • August 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm
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    What a crap analysis! I can see an ocean of negativity in your analysis – The reality is Ethiopia has been changing and changing for the better since 2000. Whether you like it or not the arm twisting tactic in the name of human rights and freedom of expression won’t work in Ethiopia any more.
    We as a society and people have taken control of our own destiny and don’t need any of your crap analysis and crocodile tears. Please write a single article and analysis about the human life loss and police cruelty and discrimination that took place in the London riots. You may have fooled our fathers and forefathers but not any more. We have learned it the hard way all your tactics and malice. You incite violence and hatred in the family and society so that you can come in through the back door and loot our resources

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    • August 15, 2012 at 2:07 am
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      Mr.Sammy leeches are enjoying by animal blood. They could not be happy without blood. So idiot leech like you who are sucking blood of poor Ethiopian will never be happy by the change of this regime. this is know. so nothing surprise if you put trash comment like this. My friend as leech never live sucking animals blood forever you garbage people will never live by sucking our blood forever.

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      • August 15, 2012 at 8:17 am
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        Don’t worry about him. His (Sammy’s) cup is full. Anyone who don’t sing their song is an enemy…. It’s always,… their way or a high way….
        We should do something, though, to overthrow Sammy and his kinds from their cruelty… let’s put together our forces and kick them to the bushes…once and for all. That’s the only way…. Tweeting online won’t solve the real problem.

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    • August 15, 2012 at 6:27 am
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      Sammy,
      What the hell you are talking? Just you are crying thinking of your benefit as cadre or you are throwing your blind anger and hatred. The truth is the western countries are better of during Meles’s regime than before. As they are getting protection & resources (under the guise of trade) with the lives of poor people of Ethiopia who are sacrifying in somalia, killed by Woyane thugs like you, languishing in jail in known and unknown dungeons, tortured, ….. in the name of Terrorism, treason, stability …. Any NGO or Projects which are financed by western countries and multilateral organizations are not doing the intended work of development rather they are sharing the fund among Woyane thugs and so- called western consultants hierarchically. Who owns the structures that are built in Addis and major towns? This is robbery in broad daylight!!! Who is stashing a great deal of money in western and Asian banks? Go and read The Financial Integrity report by UNDP. In this 21st century, I have never seen people in Ethiopia like woyane thugs who are abhorrent,monstrous, corrupt, evil ….

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    • August 15, 2012 at 9:34 am
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      We need to be very careful with the Americans and Europeans who are filing their knives to slaugheter Ethiopia ,just the way they dealt with Iraq and Lybia . Then we will wake up to cry . Meles is our Business .

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  • August 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm
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    The handling of Zenawi’s disappearance by Zenawi can in a way tell us who is Zenawi. The least they should have done was to announce the PM was sick and his deputy is doing the job till he comes back. This least missing, one can conclude the Meles’ are governing Ethiopia with hatred.

    This has been pure Ethiopian Psychology.

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  • August 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm
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    Mr Peebles…..rested assure you will never ever set a foot in Ethiopia after writing such an article. I am sure your name has already been entered in the fictitious terrorist list just like the rest of the journalist who tried to expose this ruthless so called democratic government. As Meles I would not be surprised for all we know he could be in Syria advising Beshire….lol. Dead or alive it’s time for him to step down. 21 yrs is more than enough Mr crimeminister Meles Zenawi.

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    • August 15, 2012 at 8:29 am
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      I like your attitude MoMo. For sure, Peebles might have already gotten a life sentence as we speak (in absentia)… could then be pardoned afterwards signing a fake document. This is a routine in the Ethiopian Justice system.
      But for Mr Peebles, I applauded and gave two thumbs up; we need one more Peebles…, who speaks the truth without fear and influence.

      Reply
  • August 15, 2012 at 12:03 am
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    Meles’s brutality has lost him his credibility of belonging to the human family. No sympathy for a tyrant. Let freedom ring all over Ethiopia!

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  • August 15, 2012 at 1:11 am
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    In the history of ethiopian politics, no government ruled by election!

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  • August 15, 2012 at 1:54 am
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    This is absolutely what is on the ground. This is a real reference to western who fold blind their eyes on the reality and try to keep their interest by the cost of helpless poor Ethiopian blood. This is the fact, this is the truth. Don’t hesitate more than 80% of Ethiopians will be happy if this brutal Devil die.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 2:02 am
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    It is a quite reasonable analysis of the situation in the current Ethiopia. Despotism, favoritism, ethnic bantustanization, no freedom of press, speech, association and independent judiciary. All these venomous snakes got to go and time to celebrate!
    Enough is enough!

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  • August 15, 2012 at 2:07 am
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    Thank you Graham Peebles for your great analysis regarding the situations around the mysterious disappearance of Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. I think Meles is very busy receiving his judgiments in the Heaven right now. When he will be done, he will send his judgment reports to his fellow Woyanes as a warning for the disastors that awaiting for them because they are next in line! Woyanes keep on hiding this codition is only to worsen the situation in the country.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 2:27 am
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    I think Sammy is also one of them! Sammy is the worst dictator. Why is he against Graham Peebles? Is it just because he aired his excellent views which are the ralty? Sammy shame on you why don’t you talk about the 2005 massacre in Ethiopia about our land being sold by woyane today instead of talking the riots in other democratic nation. If that would have happened in Ethiopia, woyane would have killed all!

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  • August 15, 2012 at 2:43 am
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    Even though I don’t partially agree with some of the comments of Polish Journalist, the over all analysis of the situation in the past 21 solid years was very true and no one can try to cover up. The people have been treated as “speaking goods” rather than as citizens of this great country.

    Mr Peebles’s you did great job. Well Done ! Bear in mind this is the worest regime ever the country had even wors that the communist Derg. The regime typically implemented the British principles during the colonial period “divide and rule”. People of Ethiopia lost national sentiment and divided based on their clan, tribes and geographical location.

    Let he go for the better of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. You can’t sacrifice human value with economic growth. If you have blood in your hand, you will pay the price!!

    In this occasion, I am sorry for the west for their “blind eyes” and “deaf ears”.

    Once again, Peebles Well Done !!

    Reply
  • August 15, 2012 at 2:59 am
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    Well articulated and unbiased article!

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  • August 15, 2012 at 4:27 am
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    who can talk of freedom? who can talk of equality? those two things are images of heaven that man kind can never achieve. there has been and never be a free equal nation. difference and inequality are inherent in human kind. westerns expose our weakness, our unjust system with their giant media to divide us knowing no one is there to expose their own. in this sophisticated, cutting edge scientific world Africa’s main and harsh enemy is the developed, self-proclaimed free western nations. no nation comes to greatness and prosperity exercising democracy. living in this evil competitive world you always have enemies that creates difference in your nation to benefit from your crises, war, weakness so they can steal your resource easily.
    It is time for Africa to say no to war, armed or violent opposition, hundreds of war and never benefited or become free. If we want to change the system we can infiltrate institutions, political parties, governments. it may take time but we will have a smooth peaceful transition where no one has to die, development uninterrupted, nation prospers, as the same time implement the ideology we want; the Jews have done it for thousands of years and it worked. now they exercise world power through financial institutions, they control the world.
    WAKE UP AFRICA IGNORE WHAT SOME ILLITERATE WESTERN JOURNALISTS SAY.
    INFILTRATE DON’T FIGHT!!!
    SAY NO MORE WAR

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    • August 15, 2012 at 9:25 am
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      Agree . Ethiopian , be ware of dividers !!!

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  • August 15, 2012 at 4:41 am
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    Graham, this article will jeopardy your safety if you ever plan to go to Ethiopia, before this government is gone. The government will also be be on our case if they know we made comments here. Plus the beneficiaries of the current government will accuse of all sorts of things and may say bad things about you.

    only if people in Ethiopia were able to comment on this article you would get millions of thank yous. As you know only Ethiopians from outside Ethiopia can comment on this article. Because all internet from Ethiopia is monitored. The people in the country are muzzled.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 8:02 am
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    Although an interesting piece I found it to be unbalanced and not painting a fair picture on a lot of fronts. I want to take two examples. One is that although a lot of what is written about Meles and his cronies is true, there should have been an attempt made to also highlight some of the developments during his reign so far. Otherwise you are being what we accuse our Ethiopian media outlets of being ‘blindly one-sided’, pro or against Meles. The second where I take personal offence to is the rash generalisation of Ethiopians as being ‘secretive’ is very misleading, that also quoting two individuals. As one previous commentator wrote, it is because of being ‘secretive’ that our ancestors kept the nation for us because history shows us again and again it is through ulterior motives, lies and deceit that colonialists raped Africa, many have attempted and failed in Ethiopia. So when you write a piece please try to analyse it from at least more than one superficial angle, at least on Ethiopa which is a very complex nation. Just to make your point you dont need to ignore…THE TRUTH.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 8:55 am
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    graham,
    I agree with 90% of your observation. no body wishes the death of his fellow citizen. but the death of meles is a big hope for ethiopians. he sowed hatered and defferences in the country. he killed many innocent lives. it is a big favor for the citizens if he is not arround forever. all humans are equal!!! peace to ethiopia, God bless us!!!

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  • August 15, 2012 at 9:47 am
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    Thank you, Graham. You make me feel sane again. I’ve just spent three months travelling in Ethiopia trying to understand the closed and mistrustful mentality of the majority of the people. I couldn’t understand why I rarely felt truly welcome, and why every conversation I had seemed to get ‘lost in translation’, but you have clarified it for me. I sincerely hope that a change of government is coming for the people of this beautiful country. They deserve so much better.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 10:11 am
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    YOUR SHALLOW ANALYSIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CURRENT ETHIOPIA. THE COUNTRY HAS GONE A LONG WAY IN ESTABLISHING DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS AND INSURING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WHEN THE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES INCLUDING YOUR OWN ARE MOVING THE OTHER WAY ROUND. NO ONE CAN CLAIM THAT EVERYTHING IS GOING PERFECT IN ETHIOPIA AS IT NEVER HAPPENED IN WESTERN COUNTRIES EITHER. SO WHAT IS THE POINT THAT YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO MAKE? YOU MEAN THAT YOU HAVE ABSOLUTE DEMOCRACY OVER THERE? ARE YOU TRYING TO DENY THE DOUBLE DIGIT GROWTH THAT TOOK PLACE FOR THE PAST SEVEN TO EIGHT CONSECUTIVE YEARS? ARE YOU TRYING TO NULLIFY THE EXISTENCE OF DOZENS OF PRIVATE OWNED MEDIAS? AFTER ALL WHEN YOU SAY MAJORITY OF ETHIOPIANS ARE UNHAPPY WITH CURRENT GOVERNMENT, MAJORITY ACCORDING TO YOU WILL BE NOTHING BUT THE UNHAPPY ELEMENTS OF DIASPORA WHO HAVE LEFT THE COUNTRY FOR LOSING THEIR GREEDY WISHES TO BE IN POWER OR THOSE WHO HAVE COMMITTED CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. NO HEALTHY ETHIOPIAN WILL APPRECIATE YOUR TRASH ARTICLE WHICH CAN NOT PAY BACK THE COST OF ITS PUBLICATION. SHAME ON YOU.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 11:45 am
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    The analysis has told the world the truth that most Ethiopians (excluding those ….) living reality with the regime led by the tyrant Meles

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  • August 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm
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    “Ethiopians are notoriously secretive and distrustful” – There is good reason for this; I suggest you read books by Portal (British spy) and other 19th century travellers to Ethiopia. Ethiopia remained independent by being vigilant and distrustful of the motives of foreign powers.

    “The Sellasie years were ones shrouded in deceit and extreme secrecy”. It is always easy to criticise by looking through “retroscopy”. Haile Sellasie was was by all standards a great symbol of freedom for Africa. His words at the League of Nations following the invasion of Ethiopia by Facist Italy were prophetic. This doesn’t mean he was perfect but you piece was rather biased /insulting and put him in a bad light.

    “One doubts a man like Meles Zenawi would be a great lose, either to the African continent or to the people of Ethiopia. On the contrary the majority of Ethiopians would rejoice”. Where is the evidence for such statements? Again in my opinion a rather biased opinion. However biased and inaccurate your remarks are, you are entiltled to make them and have a right to visit the country if you so wish.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm
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    Yohannes and others in the same venue,
    I want you to understand my message. The few names I mentioned as opposition figures, you have judged them to be miss-representing themselves. I disagree. I do not support ethnicity based whatever system. It leads to distrust. It leads to injustice. And I am not a supporter of any political party over another. For the sake of truth, fairness and justice, I share my thoughts. In this article and many others I see either unintentional or willful distortion of bare facts. I hate violence and such baseless propaganda can lead to senseless violence. History teaches. Remember Hutu and Tutsi. The senseless demonic killings were partly caused by our own ignorance and partly by European foreigners who helped fan the flame in many many ways. I do believe it was not intentional but when they meddled the meddled big time (refer to their hx). This is what is happening in Ethiopia now. Many of Ethiopian children are not happy today, like in any country. You may not be happy about the philosophy of the governing party. Please say it peacefully and respectfully. The pen is mightier than the sword. Do not take liberty with the truth to make your point. Teach yourself some history of your country. Do not become emotional hater. It does not work. The only thing that comes out of this is destruction of your own brothers and sisters. Then you become a laughing stoke of the world of racism. Disturbingly, Africans outside Africa are stupidly viewed by some as inferior humans. Ethiopians representing their African brothers have been the antidote to this ignorant stereotype for so long. The phenomenon we call Ethiopia had to contend with several centuries long foes (Europe, The Ottoman, Egypt)in the past and it is the same today, if not worse. Egypt, Sudan, Eritrean government and its citizen supporters, Al-Shebab of Somalia with enormous support from…. (You know). Now the writer of this piece is just one who does not know this or understand this. He is just a professional pandering to those who…or genuine yet clueless philanthropist who would do more damage than good. And yet, you my brother are ready to gut out your remarkable heritage, your beloved country. Cry Ethiopia.

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  • August 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm
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    Best analysis in recent history of bloggers/journalists writing on Ethiopia!
    I do not expect you to cover all the issues running arround Meles Zenawi, who hates Ethiopia but calls himself once president other times prime minister. However, I wish you would have covered what he did/ said, such as:
    1. During Eritrea-Ethiopia war (1998), Ethiopian troops victoriously marching to seize Asmara & aust Isayas from power but Meles stoped our troops and returned after more than 70,000 young Ethiopians lost their life. This is because MZ loves Eritrea more than Ethiopia.

    2. Meles zenawi called our Green Yellow Red flag apiece of garment to show his disrespect to Ethiopia & Ethiopians.

    3. He sent troops to invade Somalia and 1000’s of young Ethiopians died. When asked about the number of troops lost in Somalia, he refused to disclose to Ethiopians.

    4. He abused the term TERRORISM by using it to jail journalists & opposition party members all because they wrote or say something against him.

    5. He gave higher post to his wife to control EPRDF and he put her as a CEO of atrading conglomerate called EFORT.

    This are few more things you would have included in your discourse but it is well said and I realy appreciated it.

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  • August 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm
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    What ever.. My be unbiased article… I do not think Meles him self will mind reading such articles except that it has no mention of at list one remarkable achievement out of so many he has registered. I for one know he has built 10 universities 10 hospitals and the long peaceful spell the country has enjoyed in his tenure.

    Meles is an Ethiopian citizen as such he earns the right to rule it’s people. One thing is for sure, I would rather stand by the side of Meles than any human rights NGO or what ever.. Ultmetely Meles is a man of integrity and has shown love and determinayion in bargaining Ethiopia’s position in the world and Africa, the facts are there to see on the African union as well as global warming…Lets not be too concerned by this Article, the guy has to do his job and get the much needed funding for his NGO. In truth he should be writin about the injustices that is happning in his own home land. statistically speaking there are more people suffering discrimination and injustice in the west than in Africa.. Trust me..One can not loth Sellasi, and then Minilik and then Mengistu and then Meles and then… Talk about the likes of Tony Blair? monsters who killed millions in one month in Iraq? making Meles and our prevous Ethiopian leaders ills added togather a childs play.. Apology if I do not make sense..;))

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  • August 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm
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    I would say this information is partly true. Because it did not cover the positive things EPRDF or Melese Zenawi did. Those references he mentioned atleast talked about economic development, expansion in school and health system and the ability to win donors money.

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  • September 13, 2012 at 11:49 am
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    Ethiopia would never develop unless we apperciate the good things done by some people.I don’t like hatrade politics. Let us ask what each of us has done for our country instead of condemning those who has done a bit.

    Reply

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