Open Letter to University of Columbia – Netsanet Zegeye
Dear President of the University of Columbia,
Dear Officials of the University,
I hope you will listen to me, for you have a good culture of at least listening to each other even mere hearing or listening may not bring about understanding. But I feel a bit ashamed when I tell you the stark fact in our country, Ethiopia, that we nowadays are found in a state of mutual exclusion like those of the people of Babylon as we know them in religious books. Thanks to your developed democratic culture, people in your country are believed to exercise their freedom of expression and other democratic rights without being suppressed by the government organs.
Dear President and the entire community of the University,
I am absolutely certain that you will give us your optimum attention now for the sake of humanity and good governance. As you are living in a relatively well enlightened society, you must know the necessity of listening to others’ grudges when someone is doing something that affects the life of the one who is supposed to lead an atrocious life like the majority of the people in my country Ethiopia.
Do you know the current burning issue of Ethiopians this week? I know you know and it is against that move of your university that I am writing this letter. I do vividly remember that your university did the same thing sometime ago. It was the invitation of Mr Ahmedinejad as your Guest of Honor. At that time I recall that there were some inconveniences and commotions amongst the audience. I also remember who had profited from that incidence. I shall not go further in this Iranian profit and loss calculation, not because it is not my concern; it is but a past history.
Do you really know Prime Minister Meles Zenawi?
Let me introduce you myself to you before I introduce you to another Hitler of Ethiopia.
It doesn’t matter if you waste seconds to know an individual with an insignificant profile and hence a nonentity. If you are Christian, remember what Jesus said as a parable when He was teaching His followers. It was about the happiness of the owner of one hundred sheep while he got his one lost sheep. Remember how our world would have been a beautiful habitat had we the earthlings been willing to respect each other irrespective of what we are or what we have or what we do. Any how I am this in short: am a university staffer in Ethiopia, in my fifties, married, fathering some children. I am utterly against any form of exploitation of man by man; I despise and strongly oppose any form of discrimination, ethnic grouping, religious fanaticism and conflicts thereof, political intrigues, self-righteousness, etc. Well, I might have introduced myself in a way that could best fit my ego, but never mind and allow me to have the benefit of the doubt for now and for this specific occasion.
Who is Prime Minister Meles Zenawi?
Unless we prefer to go the safest way and say, “Wow, he is one of the young leaders of Africa who is toiling day and night to bring about a fully-fledged democracy and economic development to his nation,” the real picture on the ground is quite the opposite.
Yes, PM Meles was a young African leader who was lucky enough to grab the attention of not only the international community, which nowadays this phrase has become synonymous to the US, but also that of ours, Ethiopians who were skeptic then. But now after 20 years of his tenure, it is regrettable that neither is Meles young democratic leader nor has the nation achieved the dreams of both the international community and the ‘skeptics’. We have a saying which can literally be translated, “ Lie and provision get depleted as time goes.” This saying is used when a lie, which was formerly taken for granted that it will turn to be true, remains a lie through out. For example, some 15 years back, our PM in an interview said that Ethiopians would eat three times a day within ten years ahead of that period of time, but even after 15 years or so, the majority is not able to get food that is required minimally a day.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is this: Needless to mention his physical appearance, he is about my age. His psychological make up is totally different from the majority of the people in Ethiopia, even I sometimes go to the extent of believing that there is no one in his like, not only in Ethiopia, but also in the entire Universe, for a number of reasons.
1. He is a man of vengeance. He had/ has been killing many citizens in an extra-judiciary manner of eliminating his opponents starting from his jungle struggle. And surprisingly, nobody has been able to stop the killing spree of this semi-lunatic individual. In addition, he is still at his heyday of doing whatever pleases him. The rest of the population is considered as a toy or any playing thing.
2. He is not democrat, rather he is autocrat and despotic. He has been in power for over 30 years including his chairmanship to the resistance movement he was leading before a nationwide modern slavery was declared in 1991 after the fall of the relatively benign regime of the Dergue.
3. He is known for election rigging. He rigged all the so called elections in the past with the blessing of the west. The west’s behavior with respect to the nature of real democracy is quite a paradox when we observe such laughable inconsistencies.
4. He is ethnocentric. Almost all government high positions are held by the people from the ethnic group of this black-sheep – to- humanity man of our nation. The Ministry of Defense is fully controlled by his handpicked people. All the ministries and other government owned institutions are run by his people. In fact, we may see some people from other ethnic groups, but that is meant for propaganda and in case of such rarities, the person next to that authority in pretense is outrightly from the ruling ethnic group. This Kagame of Ethiopia is highly expert in deceiving the world. The reason for his voracity of giving all positions to his ethnic group is that he doesn’t trust others and he feels insecure if and when others come to political power and economic stability. Therefore, he gets good sleep when he and his cliques control everything in the country. To my knowledge, no country in the world has encountered such arrogant leader hitherto.
5. He is typically Hitler. Hitler slaughtered the Jews around 1940s during WWII. Likewise, PM Meles has incessantly been massacring Ethiopians who demanded their democratic rights in general, and those ethnic groups whom he thinks are a menace to his power, in particular. In this regard, especially the Amharas along with their culture have been the prior victims of this paranoid person. In fact, as in Rwanda moderate Hutus were equally categorized as Tutsis and hence got the death prize like their Tutsi brothers and sisters, in Ethiopia too moderate and conscientious Tigrians, from whose loins this cursed man was born, were and still are persecuted for their “betrayal”. I say this for the sake of truth seeking, not to stoke up emotions among some peevish citizens in any case. A reality is always a reality whether you cover it or not. This is our current bad situation, which we call it in Amharic, ‘gemena’. But the major source and engineer of our vicissitude and untold poverty is PM Meles Zenawi and his ethnocentric system.
5. He is not Ethiopian. We say, ‘Actions speak more than words.” PM Meles has been doing against the interest of Ethiopia as a country. For example, no country of the world has a history of its leader blessing the secession of his/her country’s territory and helping financially and militarily to sustain the independence he/she has granted. To your surprise, our eccentric PM Meles had written a letter to the UN that pleads the acceptance of Eritrea, the former Ethiopian territory which was later detached from motherland with the staunch assistance of this shameless guy. In general, we can surely say that this deceptive PM is in power as a delegate of certain entity to accomplish the total down fall of the nation. We can say sane Ethiopians are now at war with their own brother whose brain is colonized by certain negative forces.
6. He is highly corrupt. People say that he has billions of dollars. His wife is said to leave no stone unturned to get money. The wealth of these crooked partners is estimated enormous. At the same time, we have to remember that millions of Ethiopians are starving at this very moment, though there are some signs of development especially in regard to roads, buildings, and some infrastructures.
Our PM is this. I know I told you just few points. Due to my human limitations, I might not have covered all the evils that have been done by this “specially created” to Ethiopia indispensable man of the millennium. Believe me, he is the one who has spoilt Ethiopia and her proud citizens in such a way that renaissance or resurrection would nearly be impossible unless there is any sort of divine intervention.
I would like to suggest these points; please, don’t judge us by the buildings of Addis Ababa; don’t judge us by the cooked “studies” of ‘our’ government or research assassins; don’t judge us by the false documentation; don’t judge us by the presence of Sheraton and Hilton or any other starred place of luxury in Addis; don’t judge us by the import-export index of the Chamber of Commerce. Judge us by the multitude of prisoners of conscience we have, like Birtukan Mideksa who is languishing at Kaliti prison without any crime; judge us by the number of people we have that don’t eat even once a day; judge us by the migration of our people to all parts of the globe, even to Somalia and the Solomon Islands of the Pacific Ocean, to get better political refuge and economic life; judge us by the standardized research results of the renowned institutions; judge us by sending volunteers directly to us to the grassroots level and observe our real life without being duped by the officials at luxurious hotels or in the Palace around a sumptuous buffet and intoxicating liquor.
My final closure shall go like this: Dear President of Columbia University, please listen to us, the oppressed one, the over trodden citizens. Don’t forget the fact that you too have a moral obligation to help the destitute in time of their adversity, for you are a human being like them. We are crying for your instant action. Reconsider the invitation you have forwarded to our Butcher. We say, “A book is not judged by its cover,” likewise, an official should not be judged by the title he has, be it ‘Prime Minister’ or ‘Chancellor’, ‘King’ or ‘President’. There had/have been countless PMs in the past as there will have been the same number of them in the future. Well, we know Bendel Bokassa was a President; Id Amin Dada was a president; Sadam Hussien was a President; Charles Taylor was a President: Mussolini, Hitler, Bismark, Stalin, Milosevic, … all these were PMs or Presidents. One question as a finale to my letter of grievance; if these tyrant kids of this planet were alive, would you invite them to the podium of your respected University? Let the Almighty be with you and help you reconsider this invitation.
Netsanet Zegeye, from Ethiopia