Open letter to Semhal Meles Zenawi – By Mahlet Gurmu

October 5th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Dear Semhal,

I am sure that the first question that is very likely to spring up in your mind can be why anyone wants to write an open letter to you. (more…)

Dear Semhal,

I am sure that the first question that is very likely to spring up in your mind can be why anyone wants to write an open letter to you. To be honest, the simple reason why I have chosen to write an open letter to you, as an adult daughter of our ruler, is to challenge your conscience with some facts you may not have a chance to confront. As the saying goes, the truth is subversive. It helps us confront the reality and compel us to think, behave and act differently.

As you might know, in the age of the Internet, conversations about issues that really matter can easily reach anyone in any part of the world. Now that you are living in the United Kingdom, far from barbed-wired Ethiopia, I am certain that you have unfettered access to the Internet as your dad has no power to filter and block websites and jam radio stations in a free country.

It was in 2005, a time of popular demand for freedom, violent repressions and crackdowns in Ethiopia, I became aware of your existence. In mid-2005, it was reported that you graduated from Sanford community school in Addis Ababa. But your graduation was not an ordinary event in spite of the fact that the tension between your father’s brutal tyranny and the popular demand for democracy and freedom had already reached a critical stage.

According to news reports, your high school graduation was celebrated with a fanfare at the Sheraton Addis Luxury Collection in the presence of your parents, dignitaries, diplomats, tycoons and loyalists who must have brought you dazzling diamonds and expensive gifts. While the celebration and jubilation at the well-choreographed Sheraton party was in full swing, in many corners of the country poor women and their families were thrown in disarray consumed with heart-rending grief. They were wailing and weeping not with the intention of spoiling your party but to mourn the killings and mass detention of their dear children a few days before your graduation party when your dad ordered his army to open gun fire at those defenceless and unarmed young girls and boys who were out in the streets to sing the songs of freedom.

One of the slaughtered young girls whose innocent smile remained frozen on her face was Shibre Desalegn. Young Shibre was just 21 years old and a high school graduate but living with her poor single mum and six siblings in Kotebe. In stead of celebrating anything worthy of calling a party, she was nipped in the bud. You may wonder why she was slaughtered in broad day light.

On June 6, 2005, security forces invaded Addis Ababa University campuses to quell peaceful protests demanding respect for the ballot box as evidence was abound that revealed the fact that your father and his regional puppets stole the election to reverse their electoral defeats. Your father’s ruthless soldiers beat up and rounded up university students and carted them away to concentration camps. When the convoy of prisoners reached Kotebe, local young men and women who felt the injustice blocked roads and demanded the release of the students. Brutality being the hallmark of tyranny, security forces opened fire. One TPLF agent reportedly shot dead Shibre at point-blank range with a high calibre bullet that blew up her tender body into pieces. She died instantly, right on the spot. Even if the killers were known, nobody was held to account for such an abhorrent crime to this day. In fact, Shibre is just one of the countless victims of dictatorship whose country cannot guarantee justice.

Quite recently, your dad brought you back in the media spotlight when he discussed your future as a potential successor. Answering a question from a reporter at a recent press conference about your political zeal he said: “Fortunately, I do not make decisions for her. But if I were to make that decision, I would tell her to stay clear from this kind of life, if she possibly can. But in the end, if there is enough fire in her to make it possible to live such a life – because I do not think you can live it without adequate fire inside – and if she has that fire, then welcome to the club.

“But if she does not have that fire, this should be the last thing she should think of. And my advice to every kid in Ethiopia is “if you have the fire – go for it, if you do not – stay as far away from it as you possibly can for your own health.”

I found his declaration quite amazing. Apparently, he does not make decisions for you. This is truly astounding as he is a classic dictator who has been dictating the fate of 80 million Ethiopians for over three decades. He has made Ethiopia landlocked without the people’s will costing the poor over $800 million annually in port services. He has divided them along genetic and blood lines without their will. He kills, maims and brutalizes them without their will. He cedes Ethiopian territories to neighbouring countries without their will. He mobilized poor children of peasants making them fodders of wa….The list is countless.

He declared that you are free to decide your own fate unlike the masses suffering under his boots. In fact, this can now be true as you are currently living in the United Kingdom, far from his jurisdiction and prying eyes.

The other interesting word he used is fire. Your father may be referring to the ruthlessness, callousness, selfishness and destructiveness that are inherent in every dictator’s heart. He said: “My advice to every kid in Ethiopia is if you have the fire, go for it, if you don’t stay away as far away from it as you possibly can for your own health.” Well, we have witnessed throughout the last four decades that those who have a fire in their hearts of justice, fairness, equality and freedom have been killed, jailed, tortured, maimed and suffered immensely at the hands of ruthless men like Mengistu, Isayas and Meles. As there is no space and time to recount here what these evil men have done to our brothers, sisters, cousins and fellow countrymen, I will leave it to you to do your own research in the pages of our history full of horror stories.

Dear Semal, you may not have heard about Birtukan Mideksa, a woman of immense sense of justice and freedom. Her heart is burning with the fire of justice, freedom and equality. She was a judge who tried to work for justice. But the is not the kind of judges your dad wants. She respect the bail right of Seye Abraha when she was a judge. That was unthinkable in any court in Ethiopia as Seye’s main problem, apart from the corruption scandal, was his rivalry with your dad.

Birtukan is the kind of leader that can open a new chapter in Ethiopian history. She can be a model for the coming generation. Like so many great leaders that have graced the good side of history, she is a visionary who fervently believes that tyranny must end and give way to democracy. Unlike you father, whose life can only be characterized with destruction and bloodshed, this woman of peace has never committed a crime. She has never killed anyone or caused suffering upon a living soul. Her only crime has been speaking out against the brutal dictatorship of your own father, calling for a genuine democracy, not the kind of deception we have been subjected to in the name of election. Birtukan is spending her precious time in your father’s dungeon so that her spirit will be broken, her heart bleeds and her mouth cannot utter a word of truth.

The prisoner, Birtukan, is also a daughter for her mum, a mother for her daughter, a friend for those who love and respect her and a leader for those who follow her. Have you ever asked your father why such a bright young woman with a potential to transform our poor nation and tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience are locked up in jails and dungeons without trial, unjustly shackled and handcuffed in every dark corners of injustice? I assume that is not an easy question to raise with your father.

In Ethiopia, children of rulers like you have never been lucky in terms of inheriting a good and bright future. Despite the fact that you grew up in one of Africa’s most sprawling palaces built by a monarch, those who have been close to the cursed epicentre of power have either been killed or exiled. If you have enough power in your heart to join politics, please reject your parent’s Machiavellian ways of repression, bloodshed, deception, corruption and ruthlessness.

Some children of dictators in history have challenged the tyranny of their fathers. Famous among them is Castro’s exiled daughter Alina, who became his vocal critic. It is not easy to challenge and reject a dictatorial father but think about all the facts all the truth and the countless of victims of your dictatorial father.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


P.S. In a couple of your photos, you were pictured shooting guns. I do hope you will not turn them to innocent civilians.

  1. koster
    | #1

    It is well written but it is not right to compare Meles a tyrant who hates the country he rules and torture and terrorize the people he was supposed to serve, with Castro who did a tremendous contribution to his beloved CUBA (a better health and education system even better than the USA) despite the crime committed to his country by the USA (EMBARGO).

    It is very unfortunate to witness that Meles end up like Saddam Hussien and his children like the children of Saddam.

  2. yesha
    | #2

    the uknown is the unknown, how ever leave alone the meles children like any other dictator for not having any involvement in the actions of their father. do the right thing right before you do ahyawn fortow dawllawn language. if you have guts stand against meles the dictator yourslf.
    go bless ethiopia.

  3. Realist
    | #3

    You are wasting your time if you are really applying to her conscience. She carries the genes from two bloodthirsty inhuman creatures, and she is brought up to be vicious. She is already taught to kill. What comes out of the egg of a snake will be a snake. Do not expect a dove.

  4. yikerbelen
    | #4

    It is well formulated and articulated letter to semahal leggesse. I hope should will learn some thing from this letter and will challenge her dictatorial father about the un lawfull imprisonment of Judge Birtukan medkessa. I hope semehal will stand for justice, democracy and freedom and ask her father why did he imprisoned that vissionary, innocent jidgt with good heart.

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    melse is thief

  6. alemu
  7. justice for all
    | #7

    This is long overdue. Thank you for writing this letter to the butcher’s daughter in behalf of all concerned Ethiopians. I hope you keep it up till you hear from her. I wish you had included the photos of some of the victims:

  8. Teshome
    | #8

    Semhal and her siblings are very unfortunate children, born from the ugliest, greediest, and most cruel mother and father. It doesn’t matter how educated they are and how humble they may be, these children are raised by vampires are likely to be one, unles they disassociate themselves from their vampire parents at thier early lives. It is hard, but that is the only option they have inorder to have a normal life in the future. Otherwise, their future will be hell.

  9. Gera
    | #9

    The daughter should be left alone. We all have kids and they are not responsible of what we do. However, they could influence their families. That is a fact of life. Can this daughter play this role. I do not think so. Because her mother is a duplicate of her father, both are real enemies of Ethiopia. They are there to destroy Ethiopia. And they are teaching their daughter a gun of violence because the family thinks they came to power on the death bed of their enemies. Brutality is their weapon to stay in life and that is what we are witnessing that they want to rely to their daughter. The saying goes “Tell me your friend and I will tell you what you are”.
    So time will tell whether this daughter will negate her family influence and stand up for herself or follow suit.I do not think a snake will turn into a dove. Let us see her if she has an independent surviving soul to emanicipate herself. This daughter of Meles and Bertukan both claim to be Ethiopians. The difference in between them is the cause they stood for.


  10. Teklu
    | #10

    The daughter can’t be left alone as she or her close family intentionally posted this pictures to the public. The daughter is the product of evil who poses with a rifle instead of a book. How many decent family train their children’s to carry a gun and teach them how to shoot and kill? I bet all of you, Meles’s daughter never had an Oromo, Amara or a Gurage friend and might have been denied to have any contact with non-golden people. We must not forget Woyane children’s are raised to hate other than Golden-Tigrians. The rifle you see at the picture may be aiming at you tomorrow.

  11. justice for all
    | #11

    I see where you are coming from, but this letter is not to accuse her for her father’s sin but to get her informed.
    Don’t you think this girl needs to be informed? Don’t you think she needs to know the money she is using for her food, school and clothing coming from while millions of Ethiopians are struggling to survive?
    Don’t you think she needs to know millions of Ethiopians are dying for a lack of piece of bread and a cup of water while her parents are spending millions for material things? Don’t you think she needs to know that her father respects her choice but deny Ethiopians who they elected to govern them?

    Not only she is the spitting image of her father, but the way she is holding and aiming an automatic weapon, shows that is she is following in her parents’ footsteps. The weapon she is holding is not a hunting gun, but a weapon to destroy human lives. God help us!

  12. Anonymous
    | #12

    FIYEL EZZA KIZIMZIM EZZA it does not make a sense to inlude chilren on their parents deed. Sorry I Agree on gettin rid of Melese but I disagree on the concept of involving children actually leave the daughter alone!!!

  13. JIGSA
    | #13

    the tribalist tigrai liberation front leader meless zenai and his group stole the election2005 and they are preparing to do so 2010.these shameful woyanes are really mindless fools who dream to rule ethiopia with out the will of the ethiopin far as the ethiopian people conserned the woyane tplf regime is a de’facto regime who is there illegally and the ethiopian people will remove them soon.god bless ethiopia!

  14. justice for all
    | #14

    I have no doubt we are going to see that ugly monkey face Meless for the next five or more years living in that palace, unless he is removed by force before he destroys Ethiopia. Dictators like Meles do not acknowledge Democracy.

  15. ETHIOPIAN from Boston
    | #15


    The soul who sin shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. (EZEKIEL 18:20)

    In this regard, the whole Christian theology which hold that “any one who is born after ADAM & EVE is a sinner or have “original sin”. Such “ancestral Sin” is false and was not ispired by God. In fact, this doctrine was introduced by LYON IRENAEUS of the second Century Bishop. This doctrine was also rejected by another christian Bishop, AUGUSTINE HIPPO. Only another self appointed appostile called “Saint” Paul repeatedly reintroduced this concept after Jesus’ ascension.

  16. xxahmed
    | #16

    she will pay the price. all weyane cadre will pay the price

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