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Ethiopia - Profanity at the Helm of Diplomacy: The Moral Decay of Meles Zenawi
Ginbot 7 Statement
Last week, during the UN's human rights review session on Ethiopia, the United States' Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, Douglas M. Griffiths stated that: “Independent observers have noted…that most senior government positions are overwhelmingly represented by one ethnicity”. This was a simple restatement of facts outlined in the State Department's Country Report on Ethiopia and by various international human rights organizations. In addition, Ginbot 7 has produced evidence that a single ethnic group occupies 58 out of the 62 top military positions. That the Ethiopian government practices rampant ethnic discrimination is incontrovertible
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi responded to the U.S. ambassador's comments by calling him an idiot - to quote - "I have not heard of such idiocy. But if it has occurred, it proves the idiocy of the person (the U.S. ambassador) in Geneva." For Ethiopians, Zenawi's remarks are par for the course. He is known to be habitually vitriolic and uncouth in his speeches to local audiences, while taking pains to appear the picture of civility to diplomats. This episode is yet another reminder to the West and its diplomats that Zenawi, beneath the thin veneer, remains a boorish dictator.
And the West should treat him as such. Eighteen years of dictatorship and failed Western diplomacy illustrate that coddling and quiet diplomacy is ineffective in Ethiopia. What is needed is firmness and directness - a language and approach appropriate to Zenawi. As bankrollers of the Zenawi dictatorship, Western governments have the right and leverage to dictate to Zenawi.
It is, unfortunately, true that many diplomats remain reticent to take Zenawi to task, cynically holding on to the adage that though Zenawi "may be an "s.o.b", he's our "s.o.b."
Ginbot 7 would like to remind them of the obvious diplomatic and foreign policy risks of such a short-sighted approach.
Ginbot 7, Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy
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