Prime Minister of Ethiopia:
An Embarrassment to Tony Blair and the G8
By: Sophia Tesfamariam
June 15, 2005
First of all, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the people of Ethiopia in general and to the families of the individuals who were massacred in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, by security and military forces under the command of Meles Zenawi, the leader of the minority Tigrayan clique in Ethiopia. As if Ethiopia has a shortage of qualified and capable sons and daughters, the key and most important government posts are held by Tigrayans. The Foreign Minister, Chief of Police, Chief of Staff, Chief of Security, Mayor of Addis Abeba, Minister of Federal Affairs and his Deputy, even the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church are Tigrayan.
In the past, when I had written that the Meles led minority regime were a bunch of lawless genocidal thugs, lacked legitimacy in Ethiopia, did not respect the rule of law, etc. etc. there were some people that thought I had an axe to grind against the regime in Ethiopia because I am an Eritrean American. They were absolutely wrong. Today I feel vindicated. The people of Ethiopia all over Ethiopia, as well as the thousands in the Diaspora are echoing my exact sentiments by heroically and courageously challenging the rigged May elections as well as the deceptive and ruthless, criminal actions of the Tigrayan minority regime in Addis.
8 June 2005 will be remembered as yet another “Bloody Wednesday” in Ethiopian history. It was the day 36 young Ethiopians were murdered in cold blood on the streets of Addis Ababa by Meles Zenawi’s security and military forces. In much the same way, in just the last 4 years:
At the time, the international community attempted to cover up and justify Meles’ crimes against humanity by blaming the atrocities on “inexperienced police, using excessive force”. They also told us “the police had no funds to purchase non-lethal crowd control equipment”. As a result the international community decided to pour more funds into Meles’ coffers in the name of “capacity building and training”. I wonder what excuse they will come up with for the 8 June 2005 “Bloody Wednesday” massacres and the arrests of hundreds of innocent Ethiopians for exercising their rights to demonstrate and protest.
The protest in the Ethiopian capital began when the University students and others challenged the results of the15 May elections, which were marred by irregularities, voter intimidations, and allegations of massive fraud, including but not limited to forging and destroying ballots. Meles Zenawi’s security and military forces opened fire on the peaceful, unarmed protestors by massacring 36 and wounding hundreds more. What else could we have expected from the defiant, deceptive, street smart, flip flopping Prime Minister of Ethiopia? Murdering and massacring innocent people has been Meles’ modus operandi. Meles will do anything and say anything to stay in power because he knows the international community, which has been handling him with kid’s gloves, will not take any punitive actions against him. This spoilt child of the US and UK, and a dubious member of the so called Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa, instead of apologizing to the Ethiopians people, justifying the brutal acts of his regime, in a 10 June 2005 interview with Reuters he went on to say:
were beginning to get out of control. At that stage it was prudent to
stop this with forceful action…We have said you're not leaving while you're
inciting violence and starting fires here. They (the opposition) have
been under police surveillance just in case. If things get hotter they
will be detained without any question. If that's intimidation, so be it...”
So be it? How arrogant can one be? Meles Zenawi’s shameful and defiant statements are an embarrassment to the G8 nations in general, and the US and UK in particular, who have been preaching that their foreign aid was dependent on good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law. As a matter of fact, instead of taking appropriate punitive measures against Meles, as a time buying gimmick, the international community has already brokered an agreement between Meles and the opposition in Ethiopia. But I am pretty sure that Meles will once again renege on his signed commitments and internationally mediated agreements.
Meles Zenawi’s defiant and arrogant attitude is not new because he is the same guy who has defied the internationally endorsed Algiers Agreement which he willingly and consciously signed in front of the African Union (AU), European Union (EU), United States (US) and United Nations (UN) high level representatives in December of 2000. He is also the same guy who has rejected the final and binding Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission’s decision of 13 April 2002. He is also the same guy who is obstructing the speedy demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border by coming up with countless deceptive gimmicks and pre-conditions. The budgetary support and debt cancellation the G8 countries have been providing the lawless minority regime, in spite of its countless human rights violations, aggressive wars of expansion against the countries of the region, and crimes against humanity, has emboldened Meles to defy the rule of law, internationally negotiated and endorsed agreements, as well as the rights of the Ethiopian people to democratically choose their leaders.
Therefore, given his dismal track record, any astute observer will realize that Meles Zenawi and his minority Tigrayan clique have absolutely no intention of implementing the agreement with the Ethiopian opposition forces. As to the issue of respecting the democratic rights of the Ethiopian people, I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. We should not forget that as a prelude to his murderous agenda and the 8 June 2005 massacres in Addis Ababa, in his 5 May 2005 speech Meles had said:
“Their policies are geared toward creating hatred and rifts between ethnic groups similar to the policies of the Interahamwe when Hutu militia massacred Tutsis in Rwanda…punish opposition parties who are promoting an ideology of hatred…”
Meles Zenawi’s Tigrayan clique has perfected the lie and deception propaganda tactic known as “accusations in a mirror”. Anytime Meles or his regime accuse anyone of something, we ought to know that that is what they (the Tigrayan clique) are going to do. If they accuse someone of rejecting an agreement, it is because they intend to reject that agreement. If they accuse the opposition of violence, it is because they have planned genocide, violence and chaos. If they accuse the opposition of cheating, it is because they have decided to cheat etc. etc.
Unfortunately, while the Ethiopian people, who have expressed their wishes and aspirations through the ballot box, are suffering at the hands of the brutal, erratic and street smart Prime Minister and his Tigrayan security and military forces, the international community is once again appeasing him and scrambling to devise ways to justify his latest brutal actions, against the wishes of the Ethiopian people. As I have stated above, that is why they have mediated the signing of the agreement between Meles and the Ethiopian opposition groups. But as a person who has been following the development is in the region very closely, I have no doubt that Meles will once again defy the agreement and the rule of law.
This is not the first time and it will not be the last time that Meles Zenawi reneges on agreements he signs, be it with the Ethiopian opposition or with other sovereign countries. As we all know, in December of 2000, Meles signed the Algiers Agreements for the resolution of the Eritrea Ethiopia border conflict through a final and binding arbitration process. After a year and a half of deliberations, when the Eritrea Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) delivered its unanimous final and binding verdict on 13 April 2002, Meles Zenawi rejected the decision and has refused to allow the demarcation of the Eritrea Ethiopia border in accordance with the demarcation directives, procedures, and instructions of the Commission.
Meles’ behavior is unacceptable by any standard. His behavior is directly related to the US led international community refusal to take appropriate punitive actions against this belligerent expansionist minority regime in Ethiopia who is endangering the peace and stability of the region. Today, refusing to abide by the wishes of the people of Ethiopia who have rejected his regime through the ballot box, Meles is recklessly murdering innocent Ethiopians with impunity. He is also endangering the lives of Ethiopians and the people of the region by inciting ethnic and other conflicts in order to preserve his seat of power.
It is high time that the international community and the UN Security Council stop appeasing and pampering the defiant, belligerent, rogue minority regime in Ethiopia. The G8 countries should stop financing Meles’ criminal institutions in Ethiopia, and war of aggression and expansion against Eritrea by taking appropriate punitive actions. Instead of lubricating his war machinery in the name of ‘budgetary support’ and ‘debt cancellation’, as well as providing endless, time buying, toothless resolutions, press releases, letters and official statements, they ought to say enough is enough! Then and only then will peace reign in the Horn of Africa and the people of the region can focus on challenging and reducing poverty and famine. I have no doubt that the people of the region are more than capable of running their lives and know what is best for them. If properly managed, the possibility of peace and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect is on the horizon in the Horn of Africa.
The rule of law must prevail over the law of the jungle!