Meles Zenawi and the miseducation of Ethopian youth – By Teodros Kiros (PhD)

October 6th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

“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. (more…)

“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.” so said Ethiopia’s prime minister, Ato Meles Zenawi.

Sadly, this is the classic case of miseducating Ethiopian youth. I truly wish that Meles had controlled his mouth and thought carefully about words. He is no philosopher, not even a deliberative mind; if he were, he would think first and then speak. Characteristically, he shoots from his mouth, and he leaves it at


In this short piece I would like to examine the truth status of his unthought out statements.

Consider the first statement,

‘ I do not make decisions for her”.

He might not, perhaps, because, she does not let him. Unlike all the political prisoners whom he has jailed, she has a choice. She could walk out of the palace because

(a) She can, if she wants to and

(b) He cannot imprison her if she walks out. The prisoners whom he has jailed have no options. They cannot choose for themselves, if they dare, as some of them did, they would be told that they have violated the myopic constitution-and put in prison.

He dares us when he says,

“ I would tell her to stay clear from this kind of life”

Which kind of life, he does not say. Clearly he is speaking about the life of public accountability, when the leader makes mistakes. He does not believe in the right of the citizen to use public reason and criticize leaders, when they fail to lead properly. The right to use public reason is the core of Living Democracy, a right for which the citizen is jailed in Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopia.

What he has is not fire, or what he might have meant, passion. Passion or fire is a democratic virtue when it is appropriately used at the right time and for the right reason. That passion he does not have. His passion is tyranny, the squashing of dissent and the murder of public reason, the reasoning power of the Ethiopian citizen.

What his daughter needs is not tyrannical fire, but democratic fire, the fire that empowers the citizen to think, to dissent, and to participate in the decision making process.

I truly hope that his vacuous statements do not destroy the Ethiopian youth, whom he is miseducating.

In direct contrast to him, I say to the youth of Ethiopia, use passion in concert with reason. Public offices are not the spaces which you must occupy to silence others, but to allow others to question you, to teach you, to challenge you, so that you can grow and mature along with the citizen who must reason and hold you accountable for the decisions that you make.

Political life, contrary to Meles, is a public good provided that the leader becomes philosophical and philosophy itself becomes an attractive vocation for those who think, for all those who think before speaking.

Perhaps, his daughter whom I congratulate, would teach her father, by one day occupying a public office, and become the voice of Living Democracy.

  1. ETHIOPIAN from Boston
    | #1

    Thank you professor Tewodros Kiros for this brief article. I do not agree with all of it because I may not understand some of the concepts that required deeper understanding or regorious inquiry as to what you meant ” Perhaps, his daughter whom I congratluate, would teach her father, by one day occupying a public office, and become the voice of Living Democracy”. My problem, (if not construed as “miconception”) of the word is “Living Democracy” as if democracy has life in Ethiopia. In my opinio, democracy has been burried two times including after the 1997 pouplar triumph of the opposition group and the second is during The AWASA and ANUAKE riots. Eventhough we the people at home and abroad had hoped that this dead democracy can resurrected once and for all, the fact, however reproved to the contrary since more repression and killings are the order of Meless’ days. The total history of Meles, is therefore, as you said is tyrany. So how a tyrant’s daughter can be expected to be an exemplary figure for the living democracy that did not exist to begin with? Moreover, it is generally believed that the daughter of snake is snake and not Dove. How then (and how dare) you even thought that the daughter of a despot will hold public office to lead the country and teach her father? This seems an insult to the 80-7 millions of the Ethiopian people, thus your opinion can not be trusted at this point. FIRST, the father had blood in his hands and that the Ethiopian people demand Justice not to accommodate his safe place to be a student of his own daughter in Ethiopia and (2) There is no even 1% chance to see continuity of a family based dynasty as that old days of the past because we are in the era of democracy and not the other way. In short, Meles’s daughter can not be Rosa Luxembery in her history but SURELY in her fate.

  2. Adwa
    | #2

    መለስ ናዊ አህያ ነው:: መንግስቱ ሃየለማርያም ይብልጠዋል:: የት እንደሚደርስ እናያለን:; የትግራይ ህዝብ ታሪካዊ ግዴታውን እንደወጣ ማሳስብ እንፈልጋለን:: ቀይ ባህር የትግራይ ህዝብ ታሪካዊ በር ነው:: አክሱም ያለ ቀይ ባህር የለም:: ለሱዳን የተሰጠው መሬት እንዲመለስ የትግራይ ህዝብ ተቃውመዉን እያሰማ ነው::

    Meles Zenawi is really a moron. Mengistu Haile Mariam was much more intellegent than this self-appointed prime minister. The Tigray people have the historical duty of defending the legacy of the aksumite kingdom. Red Sea is inseparable from Aksum and Tigray. Meles Zenawi should be brought to justice. Zenawi is a moron which history has created for ethiopians and other african to take a lesson from. Meles Zenawi embodies the eritrean colonial mentality. He is eritrean through his mother but his psyche is that of a full eritrean who has been suffering under Italian Colonialism. Eritreans do not have self-esteem and are ready-made slaves who serve europeans and arabs (if “eritreans” believed in their african roots, they would not have seceded from Ethiopia and they would not have been enemies of Tigray. Eritrean elites should change this slave mentality. Ethiopians will not give up their Red Sea ports).

    The Tigray people should bring the eritrean clique to justice using all means necessary.

    | #3

    I think you misunderstood me. I was congragulating her for her graduation, and arguing that if she ever runs for a public office , I advise her to rebel against her father and become the voice of living democracy. I was in no way suggeting that we continue a dynastic line. I hope that thinking is dead forever.

  4. Bayu
    | #4

    why is this Eritrean dude concerned about Ethiopia? He should mind his own little God foresaken land.

  5. ETHIOPIAN from Boston
    | #5

    Thank you for clarification, Prof. Tewodros Kiros.

  6. ETHIOPIAN from Boston
    | #6

    TO BAYU:


    1. If you are Ethiopian (which I believe that you are) then why don’t communicate with him in a civilized Ethiopian (HEWANET) way rather than advancing in such reprehensible manner?

    2. Other than being refuge in the West who gave you deligation of authority to speak on behalf of Ethiopia (and for that matter. not for a legitmate business) but to insult an individual in his person?

    3. If you believed that his discussion on Ethiopia is not worthy of your review, then why don’t you ignore the article and do other things that is worthy of your time?. Do you own the Website or believed in Democracy?

    4. Will you ask the same question if Prof. T. Kiros was one of the Human Right Watch person (or even a well known but non-Tigrian opposition membe of any given party?

    | #7

    Dear Ethiopian from Boston;;

    Thanks for your concern. What hurts is that all my contributions are read ethnically. You can imagine the attention that would be bestowed on me, if I was not an Ethiopian with a Tigrean orgin. Look at the way that the intelliecuals of the opposition are treated, and yet long before these intellectuals emerged, I have been quietly contributing literature for the past thirty years. I published my first article at the age of twenty four and have not stopped since. Seven books and hundreds of articles bear my name.

    Even Abugida’s television program has yet to recognize my modest contributions. I am so sad that ethnocentricity has dominated Ethiopianity.

  8. ETHIOPIAN from Boston
    | #8



    I am not a judge to pass my evaluative determination (or judgement)as to this senseless ethnic issue of the day. But the following fact can be inferred from our comments:

    First, the initial article entitled ” Meles Zenawi and the Miseducation of Ethiopian Youth…” was posted by Prof. T. Kiros. I “Ethiopian from Boston” read the article, first but found no or little issue on EDUCATION but about Meles and his politics. Because I either did not like the article or misunderstood it, I advanced my criticism in “my own way” just as BAYU had manifested his ANGER (not detailed comment) in his own way. As the science of psychology dectated us, we humans – as a social animal were quick to act immotionall and miss the true point that we intend to say or act on the issune and fall in the wrong conclusion. Brother Bayu encountered such problem as he reached to the conclusion of De-Ethiopianizing the very Ethiopian and called the Professor an “Eriterian”. Mr. Bayu’s words are simply an after-tought or inadvertent thus harmless error because one who love his country can SAY and DO more grave mistakes. This does not mean that the victim should not react whenever his identity (of country) is outrightly denied WITHOUT FACT. Morally may not so but politically both of you are Right to dispute because your (our) country is in a mess. We should continue to fight in a civilized way for our country’s sake not to satisfy our egos. I hope professor Tewodros should understand the matter and forgive BAYU’s mistake. I also personnaly ask both of you to forgive me since my critical comment against Prof. Tewodros’s article was the castalist for the dispute.

  9. aklilu
    | #9

    weyane tplf always want to brain wash our youth.

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