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Ethiopia: Prime Minister Meles’ Funeral was not any different

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09/05/12

  11:51:28 pm, by admin, 2197 words  
Categories: Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Prime Minister Meles’ Funeral was not any different

Ethiopia: Prime Minister Meles’ Funeral was not any different

By Tibebe Samuel Ferenji

Some Ethiopians have expressed their disappointment in the way that the people of Ethiopia mourned the death of Mr. Meles Zenawi. In the absence of free press, it is hard to tell who is mourning his death for real, and whether the mourning and the funeral was staged by his comrades. It would be self deception and foolish to assume that Mr. Zenawi did not have his supporters who truly mourned his death. As the Addis Dimts Radio Talk Show Host, Abebe Belew, put it in perspective, their are millions of people who supported Mr. Zenawi; and their are those who truly mourned his death. There is no question that there are people who benefited from the policies and “leadership” of Mr. Zenawi. I am certain that millions of people have truly expressed their sorrow publicly; I am also certain that more than 85% of the population were not represented in this well orchestrated ‘drama.” Though Mr. Zenawi ruled Ethiopia for 21 years, he ruled the TPLF with his Iron Fist for 29 years. He surrounded himself with gutless yes men who worshiped him, and recruited cadres who have done everything possible the last 21 years for the people of Ethiopia to Worship Mr. Zenawi. In the absence of objective information and transparency, we have to relay in history to put the mourning of Mr. Zenawi in perspective.

"True praise comes often even to the lowly; false praise only to the strong."
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Looking back in history, at the experience of other countries that encountered similar situations, we learn that such propaganda is not unique to Ethiopia’s Zenawi. In fact, a close scrutiny of Mao Zedong’s funeral in November 1976, clearly shows a striking similarity of Mr. Zenawi’s and Mao’s funeral. It is very difficult not to construe that Mr. Zenawi’s funeral was orchestrated from the play book of china’s communist Party. In fact, the EPRDF applied such a staged funeral with a surgical precession. One can say with absolute certainty that the mourning displayed in Ethiopia and Mr. Zenawi’s funeral is exactly the same as the mourning and the funeral that took place in china in November 1976. Such staged funerals are not unique to Mao and Meles; in fact it is common in countries where not only one party but one man ruled a nation. Tyrants build a system of government making themselves the center of the universe, and build personality cult to create a climate of fear. At the end, they leave a legacy that forces their people to worship them as someone holy, despite the fact, they treated their fellow citizens with contempt and ruled with brutality.
“….acknowledged, as a visionary, poet, calligrapher, guerrilla chieftain, military genius, unifier, and even - claimed - charmer.” This is what the world was told when the former Chinese leader Mao Zedong died in November 1976. “…Video showed weeping civilians who swayed with grief and shouted "father, father" as black Lincoln and Mercedes limousines and army trucks streamed past the crowds…” This was what AP reported on December 28, 2011 about the funeral of North Korea’s president Kim Jong-Il. When The Soviet Union Leader Vladimir Elich Lenin funeral took place in January 1924 the Guardian reported “…the greatest processions Moscow has ever seen. District by district, factory by factory, people of all nationalities, everybody, regardless of appearances, muffled in the warmest things they had, the whole town seemed to be moving towards the square. The Communists wore black bands edged with scarlet round their arms, but almost everyone I saw was wearing some sign of mourning, and even in the fashionable Kuznetzki Bridge Street well-dressed, obviously non-Communist, ladies were wearing mourning favours. Small boys were selling little portraits of Lenin which people pinned on their breasts, and at some points small paper portraits were being handed out free, and eagerly claimed.” Lenin was also praised as brilliant, intelligent, visionary, and revolutionary.
Of course, Mr. Zenawi cannot be compared with the intellect and the impact that Lenin and Mao have had in world politics. Compared to Lenin and Mao, Prime Minister Meles’ impact in world politics is none existent. However, there is fundamental common trait that Mr. Zenawi shares with tyrants like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Kim. It is interesting to note that the Soviet Union staged a public funeral in Moscow in 1924, for a man who was the architect of “The Red Terror” in USSR, and for the man responsible for the death of more than 8 million Soviets. Those who opposed Lenin’s regime were put in deplorable prison, tortured, and executed. When Lenin died in January 1924, the communist party vowed to continue “Lenin’s vision”, to implement his strategy, and take the Soviet Union to the path that he started. In order to continue that path, the Communist Party built a personality cult around Lenin and created a climate of fear to debunk any opposition. When Lenin was replaced by the less competent Joseph Stalin, the state machine became more brutal. Stalin ruled the USSR under the shadow of Lenin. In 1953, when Joseph Stalin died, the people of USSR publicly whipped his death despite the fact Joseph Stalin was one of the most brutal tyrants in the world. Like all tyrants, Stalin created a cult of personality in the Soviet Union around both himself and Lenin. Many personality cults in history have been frequently measured and compared to his. Stalin was called "Father of Nations," "Brilliant Genius of Humanity," "Great Architect of Communism," "Gardener of Human Happiness" and so on. Does this sound familiar? History teaches us that Stalin is responsible for the death, torture, exile, and imprisonment of millions of Soviet citizens. Despite his dismal record in human rights, the people of the USSR were forced to accept Stalin as “Brilliant Genius of Humanity." Interestingly, this is exactly that the EPRDF is propagating in Ethiopia to canonize Mr. Zenawi, a man responsible for the death, disappearance, torture, and imprisonment of millions of Ethiopians. Just like the Communist Party of the USSR, it is the EPRDF’s desire to continue the climate of fear that was perpetrated by Mr. Zenawi. It is because they want to continue to rule with brutality in the shadow of Mr. Zenawi that we have witnessed the shameful display of public mourning in Ethiopia.
Like the September 2, 2012, funeral in Addis Ababa, the People of China witnessed similar funeral for Mao. Mao is a man responsible for the death of close to 70 Million people, and for the suffering of millions more; when he died, however, he was praised as a brilliant leader who stood for freedom and humanity. Millions of Chinese took part in mourning the death of Mao despite his cruelty. In December 2011, we have witnessed similar theater in North Korea during the burial of another cult seeking dictator. When the North Korea’s tyrant Kim Jong -II died, his comrades followed the footsteps of Communist China and Communist USSR. As Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, Kim was also responsible for the death of Millions of North Koreans. There were more than 200,000 political prisoners in North Korea when President Kim died. Human rights organizations and the United Nations have condemned President Kim for his brutal treatment of his citizens and for public executions of political prisoners.
Although most people are talking about the human rights violation and the death of thousands of Ethiopians under Mr. Meles Zenawi’s 21 years rule, Mr. Zenawi did not start killing civilians when he took power in Ethiopia. He is responsible for the death of thousands of civilians who had nothing to do with the war against the military junta. One of the reason the TPLF is listed as one of brutal terrorist organizations in the United States Stated Department Terrorists List is because of TPLF’s brutal actions against innocent civilians during its rebel years under the leadership of Meles. It is understandable for young Ethiopians who may not know the real Meles to admire and praise him. It is understandable that the EPRDF and its surrogates have keen interest and have worked day and night to build a personality cult around Mr. Zenawi because they want to continue to rule under his shadow. It is for that reason they tell us about the dubious “economic development under Meles.” The Western journalists who are to lazy to get out there and do their investigative journalism and closely examine what is going on in Ethiopia, they echo what the regime tells them form their comfortable office. The “economic development” that is taking place in Ethiopia is happening because of Billions of dollars coming from the donor nations, not because of Meles’ ingenuity. What is happening in Ethiopian is not because of Meles, it is in spite of Meles. Meles did not lift Ethiopia out of poverty, if that was the case why are we still considered one of the poorest nation in the world after 21 years of Meles’ rule? The fact is, Mr. Zenawi was not this “brilliant, intelligent, humanitarian, visionary” leader that his proponents are propagating. He was short sighted and brutal. He is a man responsible for the massacre that took place in Arsi, Bedeno, Harrar, Wolega, and other parts of the country in 1991 and 1992. Mr. Zenawi is responsible for the killing that took place in Addis Ababa University in January 1993; he is responsible for the killing that took place in March 1995 in the Great Anwar Mosque; he is responsible for the assassination of Assefa Maru and Tesfaye Tadesse in broad day light in Addis Ababa in 1997; he is responsible for the massacre that took place in Wolayta in November 1999; he is responsible for the killing that took place during the 2000 election,; he is responsible for the killing that took place in Addis Ababa University and other universities in April 2001; he is responsible for the massacre of about 400 civilians in Gambela; he is responsible for the massacre of more than 200 innocent citizens during the 2005 election; he is responsible for the detention, torture, uprooting, and the suffering of millions of people; and he is responsible for the killing that took place in Harrar and Addis Ababa in 2012. More over, he is responsible for the brain drain in Ethiopia because the best and the brightest of Ethiopia’s children are forced to live in exile. After 21 years of rule, Meles did not even build one hospital that could treat his “illness.” These are samples of crimes committed by the EPRDF regime under Mr. Zenawi.
Like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Kim, Meles ruled with brute force and made an enormous effort to build personality cult around him. Like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Kim, Meles is praised as brilliant, humanitarian, father of the country and so on. Despite such pretentious false praise, the fact does not change that Meles was one of the short sighted, but cleverest dictators in Africa that used ethnic division to prolong his grip to power. Looking at history, Meles’ funeral and the mourning displayed was not any different from those tyrants before him. The notion that Meles was “uncommonly wise” as stated by Dr. Susan Rice is not only an insult to all Africans, it is a racist remark that should be condemned by all. Africans have leaders who are full of wisdom. Young Africans who are full of wisdom to lead their nations are killed, imprisoned, or forced into exile with willful blindness and reckless support for tyrants by the United States and its allies. Unfortunately, it is the western power that wants us to live in a dark and portrays Africans as ignorant; it is such false assertions which lead to a belief that Africans are not wise. As a result, Western puppets like Meles Zenawi are considered “uncommonly wise.” It is an insult to the intelligence of Africans to call a man “a visionary leader” when he laid a foundation for ethnic hatred and division in a nation where its people lived with harmony side by side despite ethnic and religious differences. It is because Ethiopians like Professor Asrat Woldeyes, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, and millions of others stood and said no to the divisive ethnic politics that, at the end, Meles was forced to embrace the unity of Ethiopia. Meles who came to power with flag and banner of the TPLF, Meles, who claimed that Ethiopia has only a 100 year history, was defeated. At the end, Meles spoke about the thousands years of Ethiopia’s history, at the end, his coffin was wrapped with the Ethiopian flag that he struggled so hard to undermine.
From past history, we could assert that if Colonel Mengistu Hailmeariam had died as a president of Ethiopia, his funeral would have been similar to that of Meles. Further more, it will not take a rocket scientist to predict that we will see Eritrea’s Issaias Afeworki’s and Cuba’s Castro funeral in the same fashion should they die while their regime is ruling their respective countries. Therefore, we should not be surprised that Mr. Zenawi’s funeral was staged the same way as the tyrants before him, and that he was praised in the same manner.

For those who are interested to see the striking similarity of Mao’s and Meles’ funeral, please visit: http://www.chinasmack.com/2011/pictures/chinese-mourning-mao-zedongs-death-in-1976.html .

17 comments

Comment from: Selam Le Ethiopia [Visitor]
Selam Le Ethiopia

Is in it ironic that Ato Meles coffin was wrapped with Ethiopian flag? Back in the days he called it “cherk!!” . We are witnessing history….

09/06/12 @ 01:20
Comment from: domino [Visitor]
domino

I respect your opinions, and the parallels you draw here. However, I invite you to compare your views with the one in the blog on this link, for whatever it is worth.

http://www.danielkibret.com/2012/09/blog-post.html#more

Good reading

09/06/12 @ 02:10
Comment from: kaleb [Visitor]
kaleb

Ferenji, “85%” is really awkward and insult. That’s your assumption, and it’s totally wrong. I am not surprised, as most of you do this way. The fact is, Ethiopians do know how to see their political views and party issues diffent from national ones. Moarning for Meles’ death can never make any one a member or supporter of EPRDF. Being a member, of course, can put the sorrow deep. But saddened by his death cannot justify that someone is a member. FYI, EPRDF has about 8mln members. Moarners, I hope you have seen.

09/06/12 @ 02:39
Comment from: Solomon [Visitor]
Solomon

Tibebe - DeDeB AHiYa WeRe BiCHA! Do something useful for your people. Talk. talk, talk, talk,….rubbish!

09/06/12 @ 02:53
Comment from: Adebayo [Visitor]
Adebayo

Nikita Khruschev, the president who succeeded Stalin, denounced Stalin’s personality cult and set gulag prisoners free. Hopefuly, Hailemariam Desalegn will learn from Khruschev; not from Medevedev and bend over to TPLF.

09/06/12 @ 03:28
Comment from: Eyayu Gedel [Visitor]
Eyayu Gedel

‘The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.’???
“The foolish reject what they see and not what they think; the wise reject what they think and not what they see.” Huang

If you’re an eritrean i rest my case.Qoshasha banda

09/06/12 @ 08:22
Comment from: Gebru [Visitor]
Gebru

I never understood the changing gear of Mr.Abebe Belew, and Artist Tamagne Beyene, during the Derg era these two idiots used to sangs and praise derg’s Red-Terror, and now they try to tell us they are a changed citzen who stands for peoples causes. Please ! you guys stop barking we knows you both very well stay where you are live your life, but you better avoid Ethiopian politics, because that is not your field (profession) You still believe “Derg” do nothing wrong for Ethiopian people..

09/06/12 @ 09:57
Comment from: Dera [Visitor]
Dera

Abebe Gelaw the most Idiot person ever exist in this planet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

09/06/12 @ 10:28
Comment from: Aslas Baelak [Visitor]
Aslas Baelak

Having this much information maybe useful for the sake writing an article such as this but saying something as PM. Meles Zenawi’s funeral-staged is not ethical. i do not care about who wrote the article because i will feel even more ashemed if he or she calls her or himself an ethiopian. please stop wasting time on such irrelevance. i know that i dont know about the history of our politics-atleast not that much but when i heard the news that day, i was devestated. Meles is now dead! you dont only feel sorry for him knowing he passed away as a peson, but he was important. of course he is not perfect but who is? you? huh? if you had been given 1min of his responsibility-u would the reason for not massaccaring but the sucide of all 80 million of us. meles left med school for the sake of his people. you maybe successful with your job-but thats for YOU, after you die 1day nobody is going to care. bcoz what matters after death is not his own success but his significance!!!

09/06/12 @ 11:00
Comment from: Abebe Belew [Visitor]
Abebe Belew

We were dreaming TPLF or EPRDF will go forever and was hated by Ethiopian people however the Ethiopian people ashamed us by supporting the fallen leader. I think we opposition have to give up bothering and talking against Ethiopian government because the people not we living in a rich country can decide the destiny of Ethiopina.
All Ethiopian residing aborad: Let us not waste our time because the Ethiopian people are witnessed Meles had done a lot more than everybody else in the history of Ethiopia and they will follow his footsteps not ours. Meles death is a death to the opposition residing abroad. I have been angry and confused how the Ethiopians in their home land had been mourning about the death of Meles and got lost hope to oppose and no more to oppose again. I hope everybody will learn from me. It is not shame to accept reality like me.

09/06/12 @ 11:35
Comment from: Ferenji is another of the Idiots Meles talked about [Visitor]
Ferenji is another of the Idiots Meles talked about

This Fernenji guy is up to his neck in BS. Ferenji, Messay Kebede and the rest of toxic diaspora are at a loss to see Ethiopians from cost to cost grieving for Meles. They try to be armchair analyst from across the Ocean. In the end though, it doesn’t matter. Your hate filled analysis has zero impact on Ethiopia. It never had. It never will. keep writing nonsense if it makes you feel better.

09/06/12 @ 11:45
Comment from: lulu [Visitor]
lulu

Mr ferenji
I found some bing mistakes which I think are delibrate .
Ethiopia was not a place where ppl are living peacfully with each other .if that was the case we wouldn’t have seen so many fronts in every corner of the country .If that is the case we wouldn’t have seen OLF being most populare among oromons .
You said meles never advocated unity of ethiopia . he actually did . he wants to try a different approach . The path taken by the previous gov’t has been the same . have a very strong central gov’t ,suppress every dissent with power and you will acheive an ethiopian unity .
Having seen the drawback of this kind of approach he opted for a different one ,namely ,unity for bottom to up approach .
he want every ethinic group to exercise their culture and language with no limits to bring the country together . The irony is ethiopia has been a very storng country with peac for the last 20 years . Let us the result of what happens to the approach of the previous govt .they put the country in endless war and lost one of the big provinces of the country .
meles was misunderstoon in so many ways . he wants to do what the average ethiopians acheive but with a different method .

09/06/12 @ 13:30
Comment from: noname4me [Visitor]
noname4me

Dear Tibebe Samuel Ferenji

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
THEODORE ROOSEVELT
Meles did what he think is correct for Ethiopian people. That makes him a great person. Please stop undermining our people. Balege !!!!!

09/06/12 @ 14:35
Comment from: selam [Visitor]
selam

For those of us who were in front of ETV listening Zenawi’s lectures on 100 years of Ethiopian history and that our flag is no different from BERBERE MEQUATERIA CHIERK, it is beyond our imagination to see the body of that person wrapped in that same CHIERK, again in that ETV.
I can’t say anything about the experience of the new generation, as I believe have heard a better lecture on the subject.
Time. time, time ……. we will see more.

09/06/12 @ 14:45
Comment from: flulu [Visitor]
flulu

Selam ,
if you actually see what meles said about flag is this : flag by itself is just cherk but it is what is behind that is important . If you see the whole context he doesn’t undermine or disrepected a flag .
Let us not oppose for the sake of opposition .

09/06/12 @ 22:09
Comment from: nafkot [Visitor]
nafkot

There might be some truth in your article, but it lacks evidences to support itself; becos: you didn’t compare what wrongs and good things he did. you only focused on the negative ideas you wanted to inject your virus of hatred to others. I’m really sorry for you; you need someone to help you.

09/07/12 @ 04:36
Comment from: selam [Visitor]
selam

The fact is that he had changed his view about Ethiopia and Ethiopians at the later stage. That is why he became one of the most contradictory leader of our times. If you were one of ETV fans back in the 1990s then you remember the speeches he delivered on each and every issue. At the early days of his leadership, he showed no respect to the people, was very spontaneous, speaks what passes in his mind, without thinking of the consequences after 20 years. Later on, he became very complicated and never clear on what his real role is in the country. You can see his speeches from the internet, if you were not there at the time. Obviously, he did not envisaged himself to be as important as he became later. Who knows??? Then, as a Tigray liberation front rebel leader, he had a completely different view of Ethiopia, its history and Ethiopiawians.
Half Ethiopian, half Eritrean, with a book written to justify the struggle of the later, and becoming a leader of Ethiopia. So complicated, a very complex personality and is in history now. RIP

09/07/12 @ 05:28

rebtel

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