Sunday, October 28, 2012

Meles Zenawi Memorial Service at Abyssinian Baptist Church

Together with three other former U.S. ambassadors to Ethiopia, I attended the memorial service for Meles Zenawi on 27 October 2012 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in the Harlem section of New York. Among the persons who made remarks were Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

I was saddened by some of the vituperative and just plain disrespectful remarks (usually by anonymous individuals) that subsequently appeared on Ethiopian websites in response to the remarks of Ambassador Rice. While I was not invited to make remarks, I have no doubt that whatever I might have said would also have been harshly criticized by these same individuals. Like Ambassador Rice, I have disagreed both as a representative of the U.S. government and as a private individual with some of the policies of Prime Minister Meles. But in spite of these disagreements, I always respected Meles as a person and the office that he held.

The event at the Abyssinian Baptist Church was a memorial to a deceased person; it was not a political rally. It was the wrong time and place to express such hostility. But lest the readers of the hostile blog postings think this was a major protest rally, let me make one point crystal clear. I walked from my hotel in Harlem to the Church on Saturday morning and passed across the street from all SIX protestors at fifteen minutes before nine, when the service began. At the conclusion of the service I returned to my hotel at about noon. The number of protestors had grown to between ten and twelve. Perhaps there were several more present when the service was underway and they decided to leave before noon. But this was a very small group of protestors.

As for the remarks made by Ambassador Rice, I urge that you read them yourself and make up your own mind. Click here to access them.

In the 12 hours after this posting as Hurricane Sandy hits the Mid-Atlantic and New England region, some 1,700 persons have read this item and 12 of you responded. Some of the replies agreed with me; others did not. Since none of the responses contained truly offensive language, I posted all 12 without editorial change. (I will not post responses that contain offensive language. I also congratulate those of you who have the courage to include your name.)

The memorials to Meles are over. New Ethiopian leaders are in place. I deeply hope the new team will open the political process in Ethiopia. At a minimum, it deserves in my humble opinion as an outside observer a chance to demonstrate how it can serve the people of Ethiopia.

ADDENDUM as of the evening of 29 October.


I seemed to have touched off a firestorm with this posting. That was not my intention. I have posted at least 80 percent of the comments (pro and con) that I have received. I have not posted several that were in my opinion excessively offensive, usually aimed at me personally but one or two that were over the top on the other side. I don't mind being called an "old dude" as one person said in a response that I have not included. At age 72, the author was, of course, correct. Unfortunately, the language deteriorated sharply after that point and will not find its way on my blog.

This will be my last comment on this issue. I just want to end where I began. This was a memorial service. What is important for Ethiopians now is to look forward, to help make Ethiopia a better place. I hope some of the harshest critics can find their way to support organizations like the Ethiopian-North American Health Professionals Association and People to People and less time fulminating.

56 comments:

  1. With all due respect Mr. Ambassador, this was a political rally of sorts. Mr. Meles Zenawi was not a Christian or a believer in the facade of being Christian for the sake of political unity. Having a memorial service in a church in the United States was a political statement being made by the United Nations. Susan Rice, regardless of her great admiration or great dislike for the former Prime Minister is not as important to this occasion as the fact that she is the UN Representative for the US.

    However, you did not need to be there except in support for a man you admired. Let it rest at that, no need to attack the protestors who have the right to protest a political figure. Your admiration of the man (despite your differences) is no more relevant than the dislike of the man (despite the possible errors in their perceptions of him).

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  2. Just One question
    I understand why some vocal and impolite opposition may frustrate you. It is a behaviour that should be condemned.
    However, I have issues with how you approach the persona of Meles. Applying your logic of 'this guy did some good and some bad' we can literally sweep all the blood from Hitler, Stalin or Lenin. Is it because meles was responsible for lesser lives destroyed or is it because your standard different standard for different part of the world that you hold him to a low standard?
    The state dep it self wrote how the security, under meles direct command, killed protestors in the aftermath of the 2005 elections. Wasn't that enough number to condemn him in life and in death? How many lives does it take to label him murderous? Just honest questions from a man confused by the standard employed by private americans.

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    1. Don't u think the opposition was the one leading those people for riots instead of peaceful demonstration??? i remeber mr.hailu shawel officially said that some 10000 lives might be sacrificed before cud helds the power, which was very irresponsible.i'm sure by now most of us learned a lot from that opposition group; how they used to be before 2005 election & where are they right now. they weren't even politicians.of course that was the first time the govnt faced such type of demonstration;they never had experiance but i believe meles gave a lot of warnings before it happened. they burned down public transportations,a telecomunication building, some of them have weapons....

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    2. You look confused, please read again what you have wrote and think what kind of person you are.

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  3. Dear Mr Ambassador this guys are a disgrace to all of us Ethiopians. They do not have much to do in life except to rally for everything.

    Last time they were in rally to tell United States to stop the Chinese going to Ethiopia build roads and bridges. They believed the US will be happy when they hate Chinese. They are stupid and dangerous but the good thing is that they are always outnumbered by the good Ethiopians.

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    1. I am Ethiopian and Meles was not a disgrace. He is our hero. He spent all his life for his people. So Ato Mulubrhan please talk about yourself, not about Ethiopian, because you can not really represent the Millions of Ethiopian!!!

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  4. Dear Ambassador,
    Thank you for your insightful comment. This will be an eye opener to many diaspora compatriots.
    I am touched with what you said on the last paragraph
    "it was not a political rally. It was the wrong time and place to express such hostility..."

    Thanks again

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  5. Dear Ambassador Shin,

    It has always been the same story. The so called protesters in the USA have always been few but very vocal. One way or another, they are associated to the previous regime or are individuals who want to grab power in Ethiopia at any cost or are fully blinded by hate. Besides most of the uncivilized comments that you see on the few hostile Ethiopian websites are written by President Isayas's agents from Eritrea, disguised as Ethiopians. The sad thing is such organizations as Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Crisis Group (ICG), CPJ, etc... criticize the Ethiopian government based on these fabricated and false remarks by these vocal group of Ethiopians and Eritreans. The fact on the ground remains that under the late PM Meles and EPRDF, Ethiopia has made great strides in all fronts including democracy. People forget that before Meles came to power, any Ethiopian with a different opinion to the previous regime gets a bullet on his head, not for free but a paid bullet by the one to be killed or by his/her family. Meles's loss is untimely and tragic but such a great visionary leader does not simply die and vanish. His vision and legacy will lead Ethiopia for the tens and hundreds of years to come. The recent smooth power transition, the first of its kind in Ethiopia's entire history is just the beginning of Meles's great legacy. Ethiopia will gradually but surely prevail. May Meles's soul rest in eternal heaven.

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    1. Well said Solomon! That is the truth. Meles was a great leader who has able to transform Ethiopia. However, it is a job to the residues of the criminal Mengistu regime, their families and some racists to spoil the names of our beloved country and our great leader Meles Zenawi.

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  6. Thanks Ms. Rice.
    Ethiopians ans friends of Ethiopia will remember this remarkabel speech. Yes Meles has changed Ethiopia for ever. There is no a reverse gear in this motion. We Ethiopias majority appreciate that. Bur few specially living in your country are using their full fledged demactatic right irresiponsiblly. Some time it makes you think are these people for real? I would ask the US government to really restrain these lunatics who mock at democracy. I urge Mr. Obama to look into his immigration policies once again. USA should not be a haven for non peace loving, hate mongers at all.
    God Bless America and Ethiopia.
    Elizabeth

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  7. These losers were like that Mr. ex ambassador for the last 20 or so years. sorry to see that it took you a long time to see their ugly faces.

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  8. Amb. David H Shin, I thank you for your wise article. I myself I belong to the opposition in the past. But this time I left the opposition group, because every thing the opposition knows is hatered, insult, character assasination, misinformation. Only God knows what Ginbot 7 is gaining. As they are sponsored by Eritrea, they do everything the Eritrean regime tell them to do. I myself was in prison during Meles Zenawi time, but he is dead now. I give my respect for his accomplishments. RIP

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  9. Dear Ambassador Shin, Thanks for expressing your views on the extremist groups, as you said it one can disagree on policy matters with this or that individual, but having tolerance and respect towards differing views is essential in a democratic society.

    I myself have noticed some dangerous attitudes on those extremist websites. Ethiopia has already embarked on a democratization process and there is no way going back to the past. Her excellency Susan Rices's remark portray the good leadership of the late PM Meles and his clever negotiating skills

    Thanks Mr Ambassador for sharing your views.

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  10. well expressed the situation

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  11. you have rightly expressed the feelings of all of us who were there.

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  12. Yes, those handful guys were disrespectful but what about Ambassador Susan Rice's remark on the opposition forces to Meles as "fools" or "idiots". It is also saddening to hear always a single story in chasing your interests.

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  13. It has saddened you because as an ex ambassador you think yourself in her shoes.Do you have few seconds to be in place of those disrespectful anonymous? Those individuals might have been any ordinary people but Susan with her prestigious title never wanted to care for the poor Ethiopian people & tell the truth. No one can expect her to condemn Meles on his memorial service. Ethiopians who hated or love him have shown their condolence on his funeral.
    US state department annual report criticize Ethiopian government on human right, political space, freedom of speech,genocide...every year.At the same time US officials eulogize the dictator concerning only for their political interest. Al Shabab is your concern not the poor Ethiopians suffer.
    “Pray for the Victims not for a killer“ was the individuals message

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  14. Ambassador Shinn,

    I know that you are very well versed in Ethiopian history. Starting from John Bell, who was a good friend of King Tewdros to the great Alfred Elg, who was a close associate of King Minilik, we are blessed to have such marvelous individuals to be friends of our people and country. For our generation, I personally believe you are one of those people. Why do I believe that? Because I see that you care. Even when you are maligned by people, who are very much unbecoming, you are not condescending and tend to look past them and see the good and decent people of Ethiopia. I just want to say, as an Ethiopian, who is not very much fond of Meles Zenawi’s government, my people are lucky to have you as a friend, who constantly appeals to their sanity. Thank you.

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  15. Thank you for your insightful blog, Mr Ambassador. Your opinion of the few extremes among the diaspora and their distasteful personal attacks is shared by the silent majority both in and outside of the country. They are doing more damage than good to the democratization process in the country. The contributions of Meles to the fight against poverty, conflict-resolutions, and renaissance of his country is plain for any rational person to see.

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  16. By attending the propaganda meet in that church you were making a political statement, you were taking the side of a tyrannical, minority ethnic group. You wouldn't have meddled in the internal affairs of a foreign nation like that, if it was one you had some respect for.

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  17. Dear Ambassador Shinn,
    I remember you from your time in Ethiopia and I was able to listen to some of your presentations in the US. I have a due respect and appreciation for your interest in Ethiopia and for your honest comments even when you face oppositions from both groups, those who support and oppose the Ethiopian government. One such instance is the Horn of Africa conference that took place in Washington, DC, several years ago. I have enjoyed your presentation on the economic situations of the nations in the Horn. But, the so called oppositions, whether educated or not, were trying to make you "lie" about the reality. These people haven't grown. What you have seen in NY is the same thing. Good thing is, as you have realized, they are not so many. So, please do not give up on the Ethiopian Diaspora. There are many good people who care about their country and who truly work to see Ethiopia develop.

    I have read the full text of Ambassador Rice's speech and it's based on truth and her experience with the former PM of Ethiopia.

    Thank you very much
    Amare Engida

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    1. Thank you very much Ambassador Shinn for braving to tell the truth to the haters of Ethiopia and PM Meles Zenawi. My government is indebted to you and my late Prime Minister was a Great Leader in the best tradition of Mao Zedung,Zhou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping.
      Getachew Reda

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    2. Mao was great, but Meles was so small he isn't even worth the good professor's time.

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  18. Meles left Ethiopia a 100 times better than when he first inherited power. I have seen the developments myself and am genuinely in awe of all that Meles's regime has produced to date.

    But it's easy for me to make such honest observations. I am not interested in power - just the development of Ethiopia. I am also not an Amarah - so there is no sense of entitlement running through my veins. I don't see Amahars as the natural rulers of Ethiopia, so a Tigray-dominated government doesn't bother me.

    All I am interested is in Ethiopia's progress.

    So far so good under Meles. May God continue to help the country to develop. In due course, Ethiopia just might turn into a democracy! Dictatorship is the inevitable root to political progress; just look around Africa. The country needs time and patience - something the power mongers in the Diaspora are refusing to give.

    They want power now, and on their own terms. If it means setting the country back 20 years then so be it. For them it's not about progress, it's not about development. It's about who runs the country. Scary & sad.

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  19. Ambassador Shinn,

    You know very well that most Ethiopians both at home and in the diaspora are afraid to publicly criticize the government. If this fear were not so pervasive, then perhaps the pundits, including you, who expected an easy win for the EPRDF in 2005 elections, wouldn't have been so wrong!

    You've always said that you disagree with the human rights policies of the Ethiopian government. Obviously you know that on the ground there are real victims of the Ethiopian government, including many who've fled as refugees. How can you in good conscience begrudge these folks for venting their feelings against Meles - even a dead Meles?

    I don't think it is our place to judge such folks. Even webmasters like Elias Kifle. His web site may be extremely aggressive and even unhelpful sometimes, but what can you expect from a fellow sentenced to death in absentia!

    True, some people may be rude, very rude, in attacking the Ethiopian government, but if you and I suffered as much, we might not do any better.

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  20. Merone,

    With all due respect Mr. Ambassador, we Ethiopian are very respectful people regardless or crede or color. Our disapointment by the U.S adminstration is not only being disrespected by Ambassador Rice you too continiously trying to tell us or paint a different picture than what we experience and what's going on inside Ethiopia.
    We believe in the first amendment the Constitution of the United States guaranteeing the right of free expression; includes freedom of assembly and freedom of the press and freedom of religion and freedom of speech. You know very well the legacy of meles to the majority of Ethiopian he's no different than Benito Mussolini or Hitler. Whavt he left is a legacy of corruption, ethnic cleansing and religious atrocity..to name a few. How can we including you who believe in all men created equal ...not telling the truth when you see a tyranny you more than anyone else should stand on the side of the victim. We have no hate for meles personally if he have not committed all the injustice with the current regime. How can you convince anyone a man who cleange to power for 21 years and rigged the vote and killed innocent Ethiopian for excercising their God given right. Well the God of Israel is on our side when the weak are calling his name he give justice we have seen and we'll continue to see.

    I would not enjoy any families death or pain but I'm greatful that he can no longer hurt our people. Of course his ethnic junta is in power Ethiopia will continue to suffer but we'll over come whether your or ambassador rice help we'll over come. God will be with Ethiopians always whether you're a believer or not.

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    1. Assuming that your name is Meron,

      "....First amendment the Constitution of the United States..."

      You must be out of your mind to compare a 200 years old democracy (America) with a 20 years of attempt (Ethiopia). Don't forget, "Rome Never Built Over Night".....Zenawi did start the journey, it's up to us to perfect and complete it.


      Regards

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    2. Thank you to Ambassador Shinn, for observing the fact. With all due respect, you are not aware of the facts here in Ethiopia. The majority of Ethiopians? Really. Mussolini and Hitler really, read your history. Come to Ethiopia and find out the facts for yourself. I myself moved her three years ago from the US, and have made up my own mind after seeing and gathering my own data and research. Do you believe millions inside this country are less intelligent or intimidated to state facts! Please read our local newspaper, you will be surprised. Do not underestimate the young and bright individuals who have were born and raised in this Ethiopia. "first amendment..... Without sounding emotional, please I know you are more intelligent than that. Come to Ethiopia and engage in dialogues with those of us who are interested in working for the progress of Ethiopia and with all peace seeking nations. Meles Zenawi is admired by millions! Please believe! You do not need to share my sentiment. You do owe it to yourself to seek the facts! Regards,

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    3. Dear Guenet Kassa,
      God bless you for your genuine opinion. You said it right that whoever wants to see the fact, the place will be Ethiopian and the millions of people in Ethiopia; not those of us who are full of hate!!!

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  21. Dear Ambassador Shinn,
    It was interesting to read what you wrote about those individuals you happen to observe at the memorial service. Frankly speaking, they are not worth your time to write such an article. Their likes are everywhere where Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian origin are gathered to listen or discuss about ongoing situation in Ethiopia. You don't need to have any affiliation to any party or group to be insulted or ridiculed. Their whole strategy is scaring people so that nothing positive can be said about on going positive developments or about the government of Ethiopia. they have no logic what so ever. It is always their way or not anyone will be a victim of their foul mouth. By the way, I don't mean that all what is going on in Ethiopia is positive. But as independent person of Ethiopian origin, I would like to know about the negatives and the positives in Ethiopia. One way to do that is attending meetings. Unfortunately these same individuals and the likes are always there to disturb meetings and insult people and scream with profanity. That is why I said these few individuals are not worth your time. I am sure that Ambassador Susan Rice knows these people very well.

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  22. Prime Minster Meles was, a man who can communicate right time, right place and with right people. In this case, he made a visible change in Ethiopia, and I hope invisible change will follow. You can oppose some thing big and dangerous to your country, according to your level of understanding. However, opposing the course of nature like, the sunrise and sunset is some thing out of control. At the same time, it is hard to deny and opposes the magnitude of change that the late Prime Minister Meles brought to Ethiopia. In addition, becoming disrespectful to some one whom is expressing personal idea dose not make us look purposeful. Please, let us be part of the change, and hope for the better future to together. We all belong and dream for better Ethiopia.

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  23. Pictures has more volumes than words. People in Ethiopia have shown their greviences with the Prime Minister's death ; therefore it doesnt make any difference how opposition disporas feel . The bottom line is if you live in US respect the constitution of United States and that is freedom of speech incuding indiviuals right to support someone .Respect indiviuals right of freedom of speech.

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  24. Dear Ambassador Shinn,
    Thank you very much for expressing our (the silent majority of Ethiopians)feelings in a simple and plain language. Those protesters are irrelevant and insignificants - not worthy of discussing about them.

    On behalf of all Ethiopians, I would like also to apologies for any vulgarism and insults expressed by those individuals & cyber worriers (mostly Eritreans) towards to you and Mrs Suzan Rice. We have utmost respect and love to you, Mrs Rice and to all friends of Ethiopia.

    To All Eritreans,
    We are sick and tired of you. Do not under estimate and test our patient. All Ethiopians know very well that you are polluting the entire Ethiopian websites with your venom.

    These are list of Ethiopian websites hijacked by Eritreans
    www.nazret.com
    www.ethiotube.com
    www.ecadforum.com

    ---------------------------------------------
    Thank you Ambassador Shinn,

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    1. Ibsa, Did you foget "Ethiopian" Review, or you just don't consider it Ethiopian?..I believe the later is the case.

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  25. Dear Ambassador Shinn,

    Thank you for standing for what is right.

    I was disgusted with some of the offending comments made at several Ethiopian websites, regarding Ambassador Rice's speech at the church.

    The New York city memorial service was to pay respect for Meles the individual, not the ruling party, EPRDF.

    Whether we agree or disagree with some one, we need to be respectful. Judging from the hateful comments (mind you to a dead person), it is easy to figure out what such haters would do if they hold power tomorrow.

    I can honestly say that I admired Meles Zenawi very much even though I didn't subscribe to his policies 100%. Yes, he has accomplished a lot for Ethiopia, and he has also made many mistakes. Was Meles Zenawi perfect? No. Is there any perfect leader in the world? Way, no!

    My take is that, Meles Zenawi has accomplished so much with less damage compared to otherwise some other leader were to lead Ethiopia!

    Many memorial websites have popped up since he died, the best one so far being:

    http://www.MelesZenawi.com

    May God bless Ethiopia and America!!!

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  26. sorry I had to make some correction,

    Dear Ambassador,
    Given your deep knowledge of our region, I am rather surprised that you have reached for a conclusion based on Internet remarks that could have been made by any one pretending to be Ethiopian..The logic behind Eritrea's decision to dispatch armies of cadres to confuse readers may be understandable as Eritrea whose economy entirely depends on remittance from diaspora can not afford to sit idle, but I would have thought some one of you caliber should have been able to read between the line..Trust us Mr Shine, Most of us Ethiopians, regardless of our political stand have always viewed people like you as friends of Ethiopia and there is no way those vile comments you have read could have come from Ethiopians..To give you an example of how active Eritrean cadres are on the net, there are times a pr-written but slightly edited comments longer than the article itself appears within seconds of any Eritrean or Ethiopian related article or news appearing, mostly under ethiopian ethnic names such as Oromo names...a prove that they work 24/7..well in fact it is unfortunate that I have to tell you the obvious.. but that is the case your honorable..We Ethiopians have a lot of respect for the work you have done with Ethiopia..thanks!

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  27. You got 80% of the comments inline with your remark is mainly because it is posted(linked) in one of the pro-government website(www.aigaforum.com). There is no doubt that some of the diaspora members are to the extreme and probably you are right that the diaspora should do something better than this one but trust me you don't know the psychology of the populace. You have the intelligence source that all the uttered economic growth claimed by this regime is using cooked data and partially printing billions of lower money. Nay more, the small growth rate registered recently are mainly because of the boost in construction sector by remittance from the diaspora, which in fact will not continue, and the boost in the service sector. You can look at figures from ILO that the unemployment rate is over 40%.

    When you guys are highly obsessed with the security in Somalia, another security nightmare may come. For sure I will witness the Mubarak syndrome in Ethiopia perhaps in the near future.

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    1. Mr. Anonymous,
      [80% yea = www.aigaforum.com.] - you have a shiny lame justification and childish deduction at best. Don't you worry, we all know Aiga Forum is a mouthpiece of EPRDF.

      The point is that you are not Ethiopian!
      Your post says it all...it seems that you are disappointed and regretted with the absence and lack of chaos & destruction in our beloved country. A sane Ethiopian wont belittle a minute progress in his/her country...here you are praying and hoping for a gloomy future - Mubarak Syndrome. We've been there and done that (1974 Ethiopian Revolution). The Arabs with their Spring, summer or winter revolution (whatever name you call it)are the late comers.
      My advice to you is simple - go back to your Eritrean website!

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    2. You are insulting the intelligence of well researched people putting yourself in shame. Showing how little you know. Is that how you want to convince the people around you. They may listen but they will notice how little you know about the country or people. It is better not to toy with out the know. Emotion blinds you leading you to rush judgement or ignore the obvious. Do you get it a little???

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  28. Dear Ambassador,

    I am an Ethiopian and a great admirer of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. I would like to salute you for your balanced views and for your respect to the prime minister and his nation, despite such personal attacks from members of the extremist Ethiopian opposition groups.

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  29. Dear Ambassador
    I wonder what you will say to the innocent people who were murdered on a broad day light by your admired leader Melles Zenawi? One thing I have never come to understand is, the stand of the USA! You people say, you stand for democracy, then, you finance, protect and admire dictators? Melles Zenawi, RIP, he was nothing but a dictator.
    You have the right to support and admire Melles Zenawi, but there are victims too.
    I thank you Sir

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    1. I always feel bad about the unfotunate day in 2005,all that blood shed, but it was clearly the works of the then CUD hunger for power, they mis interpret the youth movement to grab power rather than be part of the democracratic process, if they took the vote and partcipate in the nation building all that blood shed could have been avoided, most of those unemployed youngster were looking for a change.They punished EPDRF by their vote as the gov. did nothing to creating job opportunities for the urban youth, all its policies were only focused to help the rural people, this does mean CUD was the legitmate to lead the country, Let me tell you one thing, in India, were largest democracy excercised,The BJP party waited for 10 elections to get the trust from the people and that too stayed in power only for 13 days as the coalition party withdrew its support.
      Meles was born a leader and Visionary,He change the country for good given all the challenges and status quo,He always thinks globally and acted locally. HE was a "special one". People we should not forget the central government was instilled for over 100 years and the challenge was clear and tough.
      Honestly speaking, after the last 10 years I'm so proud to say, I am an Ethiopian,Before that I used to think to twice before I speak up my nationality,So things has greatly changed for better and I eagerly wait for people to ask me where my origin is. thanks,

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  30. i have attended several of you presentation and read some of your publication, and always I admire you of your well thought statements including your observation on the memorial service of late prime minster Meles Zenawi. However, those vocal diaspora gone out of line several years back. For example, when they came fully charged to harm the peaceful demonstrates who came out in support of Prime Minster Melese`s arrival at G-8 meeting which is fully captured in video, slashing tiers of suspected EPRDF supporters and intimidation of those who have different political belief etc. Mind you, they project them self's as fair and just who stood for democracy. But what they they practice in this country is the same practice as the era of Mengistu Hailemariams regime policy of harassment and torture to those who disagree with them.they are few in number and they will get smaller as the truth prevails.

    Sincerely,

    Hagos

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  31. I am not sure why you did not post my comment but I will try to say it nicer. I do not know who protested at this memorial service and that was perhaps in bad taste. However, you must understand that to "real" Ethiopians that this man is a traitor and a "banda". My previous statement is harsh but true, let me explain. A "real" Ethiopian would not discriminate or care from what part of Ethiopia you came from and would die for the country in terms of fighting off invaders. One example is Abune Tekle Haimanot and Abune Petros, check his biography. Meles is a traitor because he has not defended Ethiopian land and because he has divided the country. Like I said before he divided the ancient provinces into ethnic provinces which is nuts. He has readily given away Ethiopian land in Gambela and the Sudanese border lands. Read about the Ethiopians there fighting off the Sudanese Army. It is that simple and it doesn't help that he comes from a lineage in which his recent ancestors fought for the Italians against Ethiopia. This is not an extreme position. The people crying for Meles Zenawi are either his spies that he paid for or people forced by his administration to cry for him. Some of the young generation don't understand because they have no access to information thanks to Meles Zenawi.

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    1. Do you mean that 40millions or more people who were crying are paid or forced to cry ? Then you and a few like are the only true Ethiopians . Can you cry from the bottom of the heart for being paid or forced ?

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  32. This shouldn't need reminding, but, Meles Zenawi's group, TPLF, has quite a propaganda machine. There is an organized and finance presence on the web.
    The simplest way to check out the facts is to go to a neutral source and do the research.

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  33. I am an undecided voter residing in Northern Virginia, not far from Loudon, which would be a swing vote county in the 2012 presidential election. This Sunday, October 14 on the “Ethiopian American Convention" to be held in Washington Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia and throughout the November election, the Ethiopian community need to articulate the “Ethiopian American” voter concerns.

    We need programs on news outlets to articulate what "Ethiopian American" voters are asking of the next US administration to receive our votes; we should be educating the Ethiopian American community between now and the election. Inform our community on the vote they need to be casting based on the promise we receive from either of the Republican or Democratic parties. Just because we are immigrants we should not be voting for the Democrats alone.

    Ask the Republican or Democratic Party representatives to stop writing a blank check to the government of Ethiopia. We should also not assume that the Ethiopian Diaspora in swing States like Virginia, to be convinced easily by our argument. Let us not forget that the US Diaspora is divided, especially the ones that have financial and political interest in Ethiopia, want the ruling party EPRDF to stay in power. There are also few pro-government radio stations in the DC metro area that could run negative campaigns, that the opposition "Ethiopian American Voters” are requesting foreign aid to be stopped to Ethiopia. This is not true.

    The US, together with multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, has been endorsing loans and aid to Ethiopia. The US has a strong board of directors at the World Bank, and is the most influential member of The Word Bank with the highest vote. We are not requesting that the World Food Program’s US humanitarian assistance be stopped to Ethiopia either, but for US government to make sure food aid and humanitarian assistance are not diverted, or used to coerce the Ethiopian peasants for political gain. As recently as September 2012, the World Bank Group have mobilized US$600 million in development financing for the third phase of the Promoting Basic Services (PBS III).The World Bank loans are literally providing a budget support to the government of Ethiopia, which means the Ethiopian government is only accountable to donor governments, and not to the Ethiopian people.

    For a start in good faith, we should demand that Ambassador Susan Rice make a formal apology for her statement of “Fools” in Addis Ababa on former Prime Minster Meles Zenawi funeral. This should be a start even to trust the Obama Administration’s State department, if they are taking the Ethiopian Americans voters seriously. If we read the recent statement from Karen J. Hanrahan, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor on October 9, 2012. This should be the strongest ever statement by the Obama State Departments on human right abuse in Ethiopia, but statements alone are not enough.
    http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/rm/2012/198773.htm

    Based on the signal from the ‘Ethiopian American Convention’ to be held on Sunday October 14, ‘Vote Free Ethiopia’ and other civic organizations, and Ethiopian Americans should immediately make assessments to decide which candidate to endorse. We are not requesting for promises, but words backed by a strong action. After the convention, Ethiopian Americans should decide which candidate and specific party to endorse and announce their choice on the local media and news outlets.
    The author is a graduate student in Washington D. C Metro area.

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  34. Dear Ambassador;
    When it comes to TPLF I never perceived your neutrality and you seem continue to ignore the true nature of the organization you had closely worked with in the past. If you were still serving in the U.S Administration, I would understand if you would twist the truth to fit the US interest. But once you retired I don’t understand why you continue to ignore the factual realties of Economic Growth, Governance , Human Right of record the Ethiopian Regime . Unless you intend to do a lobbying work for the government of Ethiopia. You continue to fail to reflect on the true nature of Meles Zenawi and the corrupt ethnically divisive regime that he left behind that the US administration continue to help.
    Good Luck,

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  35. How are you there ? The Hurricane Sandy battered our city and knocked many but some of us are still up. I need to share with you what happened in Harlem last Friday when all was quite and life seems normal in NYC. Ambassador David Shin posted on his blog about Harlem Memorial for late Meles Zenawi last Sunday while I posted about our rally " Pray for Victims not a killer rally " after Saturday protest. It seems he is answering for us whom he accused of disrespectful ?

    When it comes to disrespect, the NYC police can judge who was disrespectful. The record shows that many of the regime cadres were told by the police for their out of control behavior. The protesters who came braving the bad forecast for Sandy should be commended for what they did. Their main goal was to challenge the Abyssinian Baptist Church and foreign diplomats to "Pray for the Victims not for a killer". Ambassador Shin has been a supporter of Meles Zenawi and he had every right to participate on his memorial. We do have every right to pray for our victims on the Abyssinian Baptist Church out door.

    Thanks,

    Tedla Asfaw

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  36. Ambassador
    ,
    I would expect a degree of objectivity from you when you say that you were 'saddened' by the response of some Ethiopians to the comment made by Ambassador Rice. In her speech, Mrs. Rice treated those who criticized the legacy of the late prime minister literally as '…stupid'. Such kind of uncalled-for statement should have been rectified, in the first place, by the body that sent her to represent it in the funeral service, namely The State Department, and informally criticized by prominent people like you. To my knowledge, none of this happened until this date. Rubbing salt into the wound, the populace who gathered, manu-military, for the funeral service were obliged to endure such kind of insulting remarks by the Ambassador of the United States of America (I live in Europe, by the way).

    I believe it is in this context that you should put on balance the reaction of some of the disenchanted Ethiopians who congregated in front of the Church to express their disillusionment created by the American policy, whatever kind of rationalization one may give to the policy.

    For the sake of argument, let us assume that one of the individuals who were present in front of the Abyssinian Baptist Church was a brother of one of the Ethiopians who were deliberately shot by the government, on the head, during the 2005 election. Would you be willing to tell him that it "was the wrong time and place" to express his indignity? Was it not an act of atrocity that should be remembered and condemned every time the occasion arises?

    With due respect, allow me to disagree with you. As former Ambassador to Ethiopia, and as someone who still actively influence and comment the current Ethiopian politics, your presence in this memorial service can only be political. Furthermore, if we were to judge from your public appearances and statements, it gives the impression that your partisanship goes beyond the government policy. I recall, in 2005, when the electoral process was still in process and in jeopardy, your first comment that came out public (audio/video) was that "…it is known that Kinijit is Amhara". I am not in defense of Kinijit or the Amharas. But, at the time, and as an objective observer, the issue was not to side with one or another of the contenders; it was rather critical moment to give support for a proper and democratic process of election. This comment of yours haunts me to this day; I wonder if the question of "ethnicity" is equally important to you as it was for the late prime minister, and if there was an objective alliance on the matter, I mean in terms of policy.

    Let me conclude by saying that individuals who expressed their frustration over the Internet should not be as a pretext to blur the real issue of disrespect that Ambassador Rice has shown by giving such kind of statement in front of the Ethiopian people. The articles that came out in websites are non-issue in this matter.

    Sahle-Mariam Taye

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    1. Sahle-Mariam Taye,
      Very articulate yet still futile. If it isn't clear by now that nothing good can be expected from the US administrations, then the hurt will continue.

      Delete
  37. Dear Ambassador Shinn,

    This is the third time that I am writing this. I am not sure what was offensive before but I will try and avoid any inflammatory words. However,I will not apologize for calling Meles Zenawi a traitor. I understand why you might think this is inflammatory. Some people in the Right of american politics imply that President Obama is not an american and does not care about this country. However, the designation of Meles Zenawi as a traitor is not rhetoric but fact. In one interview with his TV network he said, "The flag is just a piece of rag." (Source: Ethiopian Review Blog). Think about that statement. He denigrated the flag which my ancestors fought for in their effort to protect their land. Did Obama ever say that the American flag was a piece of rag? No, of course not but Meles Zenawi did. Meles Zenawi in another interview with his TV network in 1993 said, "Ethiopia is only 100 years old. Those who claim otherwise are indulging themselves in fairy tales." (Source: Ethiopian Review Blog). Think about this statement. He just characterized a 3000 year old nation as one that was 100 years old. He sounds like a racist European from the 18th or 19th century who said completely inaccurate information about Africa. Finally, when Meles Zenawi went to Libya for bilateral talks with Gadhafi in 2010 he said, "I am Yemeni. I know myself to be a Yemeni. We are Yemenis. Apart from the royal family, Ethiopians are Arabs." (Source: Ethiopian Review Blog). Think about that. You might not understand this but we don't like being called Arabs. The Arabs may have arabnized Sudan and Egypt but they will never do this to Ethiopia. Do you understand? We Ethiopians are a prideful people. Let me give you one final example of how he would be considered a traitor. If you brought the most patriotic Ethiopian in history which would be Tewedros II and Meles Zenawi in the same room, bad things would happen. I am pretty sure Tewedros II would go nuts and kill this guy (read Tewedros II history). I hope you post this.

    From
    Yonas Abebe

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    Replies
    1. The Ethiopian flag originally used by the monarchy was green, yellow and red. Then the lion symbol was added by Haileslassie. Derg got rid of the lion symbol, which represents the Solomonic dynasty who believe they were the only “legitimate rulers”, to show that a new era has started in the Ethiopian history. Following the fall of Derg the emblem was added to show the ethnic diversity of the people is inherent beauty of Ethiopia. The spiritual connection is between an individual citizen and the whole people in the country not between the flag and the country. There were flagless empires like the ancient Greek civilization. The Roman Empire’s flag was a banner that represented the emperor not the people. Even the number of stars in USA’s flag has changed to show the then made progresses. This shows a flag is subject to change and it is not even a living thing. I have never seen a country which went to war because its flag was burnt, although countries respond to the death of a single citizen in a foreign country. If Meles actually said that, it was to show the people should be given priority not merely the piece of colored cloth.
      The Axumite Civilization was the first to use the name Ethiopia as an empire. But at that time only the current regional state of Tigrai, which covers a tiny portion in modern Ethiopia was part of the civilization. Other parts of the civilization are now in Eritrea, Sudan and South of the Arab Peninsula. So modern Ethiopia is only as old as 100 years and got its current shape during Menelik II. After the fall of Axum the highlands which claimed the name Ethiopia has for instance went to war for centuries with the lowlands. Ethiopia was an enemy to the lowlands although they are part of modern Ethiopia now. So the Ethiopia which exists now is 100 years old with diverse history that finally led to its formation. The word itself is not a proof that this Ethiopia has existed as a single nation for 3 millennia.
      Different countries give citizenship based on different criteria. But for political reasons sometimes people trace the origin of others to claim that they are not legitimate citizens. For example some people claim Isaias Afwerki is Ethiopian and Meles Zenawi is Eritrean by trying to trace their origin. If it is not the law of the country which really matters then it means the human race is East African because originally the human race moved to all parts of the world from this particular location. Considering the Caucasian looking faces in Ethiopia, I believe we have some ancestors who were Arabs, some who were Jews and of course others. If Meles actually said that, it was meant that Ethiopia can coexist peacefully with the Arabs.
      A true patriot loves his people, fight for them and die for them. Tewodros II massacered and burnt a lot of innocent people in the Amahara territories and unprofessionally imprisoned diplomats. His dream to unite Ethiopia had already failed when he was defeated by the British. From my point of view it is Ras Alula who is the most patriotic person. He defeated the Egyptian invaders under Yohannes and blocked their progress to the source of the Nile, it is known that the Egyptians were successful in conquering the Eastern part of Ethiopia. He defeated the Italians at the battle of Dogali and freed Egyptians trapped in Sudan single handedly. He recruited the spy Awalom who totally tricked the Italians to start the war at the wrong time and fought with his own regiment at the battle of Adwa. His history is however taken for granted because of his humble origin and of course history might be stolen from the history makers. This of course is true when you consider patriotism in the old fashioned way which was expressed by how bravely one fought in wars. I believe it now encompasses many other aspects.
      Best Regards,
      Filmon Hadush.

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  38. The Ethiopian review, this is where your problem starts. Is this where you get your facts. Where is the source of your formal research. This is why the majority of the Ethiopians in Ethiopia have stopped listening. You can be relevant but please seek the real facts. You must come here and make your own decision. You are misinformed by the delusional opposition. You are an audience in the development of Ethiopia. It is very easy to sit back and criticize the efforts of others. By the way if you are a former regime sympathizer, an enemy of Ethiopia. If I barked, I'm barking up the wrong tree. God bless Ethiopia and the USA.

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  39. wedi Guenet, just give it a rest.

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  40. From the above comment:

    1) "In one interview with his TV network he said, "The flag is just a piece of rag." (Source: Ethiopian Review Blog)"

    2) "Ethiopia is only 100 years old. Those who claim otherwise are indulging themselves in fairy tales." (Source: Ethiopian Review Blog).

    3) "I am Yemeni. I know myself to be a Yemeni. We are Yemenis. Apart from the royal family, Ethiopians are Arabs." (Source: Ethiopian Review Blog).

    All of the above three quotes were from EthiopianReview.com. This is an opposition website run by an Eritrean. They should have named it EthiopianOpposition.com instead. Who in the world will quote anything from EthiopianReview? This is a website that announces alive people as dead; and post whatever they like instead of facts.

    I can not find these said quotes anywhere. Can you please provide the links here that actually show Meles Zenawi saying the quoted sentences (i.e. videos)? Otherwise,these quotes are rubbish.

    May God bless America and Ethiopia!

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