Wednesday, April 15, 2009
It was with particular sadness that I read the details of the death of Brian Adkins in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as reported by GW Hatchet staff writers Carly Lagrotteria and Eric Roper. Although I did not know Brian well, I met with him before he departed for Ethiopia. It brought back memories. I was about his age with B.A. and M.A. degrees from GW when I departed in 1964 for my first foreign service assignment in Lebanon. What an exhilarating time of life. Brian had everything going for him. And what a tragic end to his life! My own experience with Ethiopia began in 1969 as the assistant desk officer for Ethiopia in the Department of State. My career neared its end as the ambassador to Ethiopia from 1996 to 1999. I have the fondest memories of the country and the Ethiopian people. I would just like to emphasize that Brian's experience is a complete anomaly. I have no idea what led to this violent act, but it is important that Americans not generalize about Ethiopians on the basis of the terrible actions by this individual.