Open Letter to Columbia University Community – Robele Ababya
Open Letter to Columbia University Community
Robele Ababya, 18 September 2010
I write this letter with excruciating pain and agony in protest against the invitation extended by the prestigious Colombia University to tyrant Meles Zenawi to speak at the World Leaders Forum on 22 September 2010.
Meles would be given the podium to speak at the same time that the world-acclaimed prisoner of conscience, Birtukan Mideksa, her 74-year old mother Almaz Gebre-Egziabher and her five-year old daughter Hale Mideksa are being tortured physically and psychologically. This sole bread winner of the family is locked up in a filthy notorious prison presently in spite of worldwide demand for her unconditional and immediate release; her daughter Hale in the care of her grandmother irretrievable loss of motherly love; the old lady is left without support. What a gruesome act of cruelty!
Meles is going to speak while the 36-year former Judge Birtukan, founder and leader of a popular Unity, Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP) in Ethiopia, is languishing in prison – her charisma, intelligence, integrity locked up therein in waste. UDJP is the first large Party of its kind in Ethiopia (probably also Africa) led by with a university graduate from Law School at the helm; she is regarded as a beacon of hope for millions of her supporters especially the young.
Meles, the ‘victor’ with 99.6% in the heavily rigged election of 23 May 2010, while keeping his formidable charismatic opponents including Birtukan and thousands of opposition politicians in prison, is going take advantage of the opportunity provided by Colombia University to lecture the world once again that the election was free, fair, efficient and credible. He may repeat his usual lie that democracy is essential, not an option, for Ethiopia. He may expect a sustained applause or even a standing ovation from his audience, which the state media under his effective control of his party will repeatedly broadcast a doctored version of the event in Ethiopia projecting the tyrant as a respectable ‘statesman leading Africa’ in order to mask his heinous crimes or betrayals which include: genocide, grave abuse of human rights, dismembering Ethiopia and leaving her landlocked, rampant breach of the constitution, perpetrating regional instability, enslaving peasants in serfdom, vote robbery or rigging in elections, sellout of vital national interests, economic mismanagement, abject poverty, soaring inflation, massive unemployment, corruption, ceding fertile farmland to the Sudan secretly, denying academic freedom to tertiary institutions, denying access to independent sources of information such as jamming the VOA and ESAT ad infinitum.
It is hard to imagine that Columbia University is unaware of the brinkmanship of Meles Zenawi and the suffering of the now 82 million Ethiopian people for the last 19 years of his misrule.
As Teshome Debalke said in the title of his article – posted on ECADF on 17 September 2010 – “Meles is not alone; his enablers have everything to do with it”.
“There is more to the invitation than what is being told to the public. The relationship between the tyrants and many interest groups to tap on foreign Aid expenditure on poor countries has a lot to do [with] who get invited. Melse happens to be the darling of poverty peddlers presiding in the poorest country on earth and willing to get as much foreign Aid as he can by all means necessary”.
In closing, I would like to bring to your attention the following quotations perfectly applicable to Meles:
“Ethiopia is a classic example of Amartya Sen’s dictum that famines don’t occur in democracies, only under tyrannies”. William Westerly in his article the “Hazard of doing good”, 08 September 2010.
“It’s not the rains, it’s the rulers” – William Westerly in his article the “Hazard of doing good”,
08 September 2010.
And I sincerely hope that Meles will receive the same harsh treatment deservedly accorded to the leader of Iran.