Ethiopia: Why Did Meles Zenawi Massacre 40 Innocent
Ethiopians in June 2005?
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
July 14, 2005
The cold blooded massacre of 40 innocent Ethiopians in Addis Ababa on June
2005 and the detention of thousands across Ethiopia and the detention of thousands
more across Ethiopia by the defiant Tigrayan Prime Minister, has been the subject
of news reports, interviews, letters to the European Union and US State Department,
and remains the main subject in the worldwide demonstrations that are continuing
to be conducted by Ethiopians in the Diaspora. The world is asking why? Why
did Meles Zenawi order the massacre and the detention of defenseless Ethiopians?
If I were to be sarcastic, I would
say it was to get more funding from the donors for his "ill-equipped"
forces. The last time he did this, he was given money for training his police
and security forces in the art of "crowd control", and for the purchase
of "non lethal weapons". Sarcasm aside, the real reason Meles Zenawi
murdered the 40 innocent defenseless Ethiopians and detained thousands, is because
he got away with all previous violations of human rights, massacres, murders,
genocides and defiance of international law and arbitration. His violations
are many, but allow me to list some his most notorious and obvious defiant behaviors:
- Meles Zenawi's security
and military apparatus massacred 44 University students in cold blood in Addis
Ababa in 2001. The international community blamed it on "inadequate
training" and funneled millions into Meles Zenawi's coffers in the name
of "capacity building and training" and he got away with it. In
fact the international community tried to justify, and make excuses for, Meles'
- On May 2002, Meles Zenawi's
forces massacred over 100 people in Awassa, his forces committed illegal acts
against innocent citizens who were demonstrating against a change in the administrative
status of Awassa. Security agents used machine guns mounted on armored
vehicles to fire into a group of unarmed peasants, workers, women and children.
Twelve of those killed were children. An investigation was supposed to have
been conducted but still, Meles Zenawi got away with it
- Meles Zenawi's crimes of
genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Anuak people in the Gambela region,
southwest of the country has been widely reported by Ethiopian human rights
groups as well as Genocide Watch and Survivors International. Thousands of
Anuak were forced to flee from their homes into neighboring Sudan and hundreds
were killed when their homes were burnt to the ground by Meles Zenawi's forces.
The international community responded with deafening silence and once again,
Meles Zenawi got away with it.
- In what was described then
as "Africa's Kosovo", the shameless bigoted leader of the Tigrayan
minority regime in Ethiopia, in 1998 and 1999 deported over 80,000 innocent
Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin and confiscated over a billion
dollars worth of their hard earned belongings right under the watchful eye
of the African Union, UN and EU Ambassadors. Manifesting his ignorance of
Japanese-American history, he had the audacity to say, "The Ethiopian
government has the unrestricted right to expel any foreigner from the country
for any reason whatsoever. Any foreigner, whether Eritrean, Japanese, etc.,
lives in Ethiopia because of the goodwill of the government. If the Ethiopian
government says 'Go, because we don't like the colour of your eyes,' they
have to leave." Nevertheless, he got away with it.
- Shortly after the Eritrea
Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) delivered its final and binding decision
on 13 April 2004 re-affirming Eritrea's sovereignty over Badme, a group of
journalist visited the Badme. The leader of the Tigrayan clique in Ethiopia
immediately demanded the removal of Jean Victor Nkolo, the first UNMEE spokesperson.
Once again the defiant Meles Zenawi was appeased and got what he wanted. Nkolo
was replaced even though there was nothing that he did that warranted such
- Constantly testing the waters
and getting away with all its defiant and arrogant demands, Meles Zenawi requested
the removal of Major General Patrick Cammaert, the first UNMEE Force Commander.
The flip-flopping, street smart, poster child of the donors, Meles Zenawi,
got what he wanted. Again Kofi Annan obliged, and the Force Commander was
- In Algiers the Eritrean
and Ethiopian governments agreed to allow UN direct flights between Asmara
and Addis Ababa. However, defying the internationally accepted and UN Security
Council endorsed agreement, Meles Zenawi refused to allow the use of the direct
route between the two capitals. He insisted on a diversion and got away with
it. Instead of urging and pressuring Meles to abide by his signed agreements,
UN officials started to "urge the two parties" to allow direct flights.
Today, this soft handed approach, in favor of Meles, is costing the UN millions
- While it is clearly stated
in the Algiers Agreement that the delimitation and demarcation of the Eritrea
Ethiopia border is the sole mandate and responsibility of the Eritrea Ethiopia
Border Commission (EEBC), insulting and questioning the competency and capacity
of the internationally recognized members of the Commission as a body that
is "in terminal crisis", the spoilt child of the West, Meles Zenawi,
wrote a letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan requesting "alternative
mechanism and dialogue with Eritrea". Again Meles got away with his defiance
of UN Security Council resolutions and decisions. Succumbing to Meles's defiant
request of "alternative mechanism and dialogue with Eritrea", UNSG
Kofi Annan appointed Lloyd Axworthy to serve as his special envoy to Eritrea
- Meles Zenawi has rejected
the UN Security Council endorsed final and binding decision of the Eritrea
Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) and has refused to allow the demarcation
of the Eritrea Ethiopia border in accordance with the EEBC's decision, demarcation
directives, orders and procedures. Numerous pre-conditions, as well as requests
for amendments and revisions were forwarded by Meles. Again he is being handled
with kids gloves. Because the international community has refused to take
appropriate punitive actions against this belligerent leader, the demarcation
process which was supposed to take only 3-6 months has been suspended for
the last three years, costing the UN $250 million per year to maintain the
UN peacekeeping force (UNMEE) funds which could have been used for other UN
missions or for the eradication of poverty in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
- In defiance of the EEBC's
delineation decision and demarcation instructions and UN Security Council
resolutions, Meles Zenawi violated sovereign Eritrean territory by establishing
new Tigryan settlements in Badme and other Eritrean territories. The
EEBC had ordered the dismantling of the new settlements. He refused to do
so. Because there are no consequences to his aggressive and expansionist
activities, he is still militarily occupying Eritrean territories.
- Provoking Eritrea into another
war, 4 months ago, Meles Zenawi deployed more than 60,000 Ethiopian troops
to the Southern boundary of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ). The UN Security
Council has called on Meles "to redeploy his troops away from the vicinity
of the Southern boundary of the Temporary Security Zone". Meles has so
far refused to do so, and is getting away with it.
Consequently, as the facts above
clearly show, the reason that Meles cold bloodedly massacred and murdered 40
innocent defenseless Ethiopians in June 2005, is because nothing has happened
to him for the crimes he has committed in the past. In fact, he was appeased
and most of the time he was rewarded. Some may say the above facts are being
tackled and handled. That is not true. As a matter of fact, they have been deliberately
avoided and neglected by the international community.
As a result of the international
community's negligence and appeasement policy towards this belligerent genocidal
individual, as recent as 15 May 2005, exactly three weeks before he unleashed
his murderous Tigrayan dominated "Agazi" special forces on the innocent
and defenseless residents of Addis Ababa, suppressing the legitimate right of
the Ethiopian people to hold peaceful demonstration and protest, he declared
a 'State of Emergency' by saying, "As of tomorrow (16 May 2005), for
the next one month no demonstrations of any sort will be allowed within the
city and its environs... the government has decided
to bring all the security forces, the police and the local militias, under one
command accountable to the prime minister (to me)", and he got
way with it.
Embarrassing and exposing his
backers and advisors, and their tacit approval of his belligerent behavior,
because the international community did not condemn him for the 15 May 2005
suppressive decree, and because some even advised him and applauded him, in
a 4 July 2005 interview with the BBC Meles boastfully said:
"...we banned demonstrations
for a month and that, for your information, none of our development partners
complained about that..."
What a stupid revelation! No wonder
to this day, none of Meles' international backers has called on him to lift
the dictatorial decree so that the people of Ethiopia can peacefully and freely
demonstrate or protest. They are also not urging Meles to create an independent
body to conduct an investigation into the massacres of 8 June 2005. So much
for those who preach about democracy and human rights, while applauding murder
and suppressive decrees!
Therefore, unless and until the
international community collectively takes appropriate punitive measures against
Meles and his Tigrayan clique (Foreign Minister, Chief of Police, Chief of Staff,
Chief of Security, Mayor of Addis Ababa, Minister of Federal Affairs and his
Deputy, and the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church etc. etc. who are also from
Tigray) by suspending foreign aid given to them in the name of budgetary support,
development assistance, and debt cancellation, Meles will continue to slaughter
unarmed Ethiopians, and will continue to obstruct the speedy and unconditional
demarcation of the Eritrea and Ethiopia border, thus plunging the region into
further chaos and destruction.
As a Prime Minister of a country
which is fully dependent on foreign aid, and as a person who lacks legitimacy
to rule Ethiopia, if it is not for the diplomatic, political and economic support
he receives from his "development partners", Meles neither has
the resources nor the capacity to create chaos and commotion in the region.
The rule of law must prevail over
the law of the jungle.