Washington Update

February 23rd, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Feb. 22, 2007|By Mesfin Mekonen

According to reports from Ethiopian news media, the trial of opposition politicians who were jailed in fall of 2005 has been delayed, ostensibly so that translations of statements made by Hailu Shawel, the chairman of the CUD (Coalition for Unity and Democracy) can be presented to the court. The statements were made at a National Press Club press conference in September 2005. Hailu Shawel and the other prisoners have been accused of committing treason and other crimes, when in fact all they simply advocated non-violent political change.

The National Press Club printed a brief report about Hailu Shawel’s press conference in its publication, The NPC Record, on September 29, 2005. This article makes it completely clear that Hailu Shawel’s National Press Club statements did not constitute treason. The complete text of the article follows:

Ethiopian Politician Calls For President’s Removal
Opposition political leader Hailu Shawel of Ethiopia at a Sept. 20 Newsmaker called for the removal of President Meles Zenawe, whose dictatorship is causing poverty and human rights violations, he said. A member of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy/United Ethiopian Democratic Forces, Shawel said these combined political parties “have resolved to bring good government to Ethiopia.” Decrying the lack of U.S. support, he added, “Don’t come after we die to cry for us.” Shawel also criticized the U.S. for working with Zenawe: “to deal with a dictator is to encourage a dictator,” he said. He insisted that “no guns will be used in bringing down the dictator, not a single bullet will be fired.” But, he conceded, “it will take several years to straighten out the mess our country has become.”

In addition to the comments noted in the NPC Record, Hailu Shawel denounced the Meles regime, described the gross election irregularities, intimidation and cheating, and called on the international community to press the regime to support the opposition’s demands for the formation of an interim government. He noted that the Meles regime was abusing human rights and the rule of law. The regime’s subsequent actions, especially its jailing of Hailu Shawel and other opposition politicians, Journalists and civic group, demonstrated the accuracy of his statements.

The only way to put Ethiopia on a toward democracy and economic prosperity is for the government to meet with the entire range of political and civic groups to discuss and plan the creation of an interim government that will oversee new elections. The only alternative to holding new elections is a continuing descent into totalitarian dictatorship, further destruction of the economy, and even greater suffering by the Ethiopian people. The regime’s policies have already created massive suffering: outbreaks of preventable diseases such as malaria and cholera are killing large numbers of people; government cronyism is allowing a tiny elite to prosper while most of the country slips further into despair; and the destruction of democratic institutions is creating a breeding ground for violence because the people are losing faith in the possibility of improving their lives and their country through peaceful means.

  1. Shumet Menywab
    | #1

    Mr. Meles and his political community have chosen their political and economical interest first over the 70 million plus population of Ethiopia. Devoted to make themselves with being richer and more powerful, this shameless political group is bleeding Ethiopia by minutes, days and months. It is not a hiden campign against the Ethiopian people they oppressed. It is by the law of the gun they brought from the gungle. They are expert on how to extriminate their enemy. Through out this political group’s political history, the only expert they come with to hold a government power was and has been is on how to shoot to kill. They are so proud of their expertis and did not even hesitate to further extend their long experience by invading a neighbor state. While the people of Ethiopia in one simple peaceful struggle to win this political group’s heart is stronger than ever in their country’s government repressive history, the group’s political expertis chose to continue to be the ever expert of the gun. This group should not be allowed to rule the 70 plus million of Ethiopians by gun. America is a wonderful, blessing and so powerful country in the world. This country has more human values than gun values over its history. That is why it continues to be the most richest and chosen place to live in. And this coutry’s government system is the best in the world because of the democracy and human values it has. America does not choose only good and democratic countries to be a friend. It choses to work with other governments for its own interest and to share its values. Mostly, more dectotorial governments fall a victim of America at the end rather than at the begining of a friendship. So one thing the Meles group should realize is today’s support from America should not be enbolden them to travel with the same inhuman action. It may take a time for the American people to learn more but the Ethiopian people would not be a victim of today’s American support for Mr. Meles for ever. The over 100,000 Ethiopians in a blessed land of America know what the real human value America holds. While this cummunity’s attachment to their relatives in Ethiopia and life styles in America will bring stronger support for Ethiopian democratical struggle, the Ethiopian people should not cry for mercy. As they know Ethiopia is far away from the American people to know what is going on in their lives, they should not be expecting only the American support to save their democratical struggle. They are the number one force to up right the Ethiopian flag with democratical government system. To speak up against the Meles government repressive should no be seen as treason or a provokative to create gunocide against a minority. As Meles’s political base is ethnicity and his government high ranking positions have more key players from his ethnic backgrounds, the struggle for democracy should not be a reason not to be ruled by rightful individuals from a minority group. The problem is the Meles’ group is not a rightful group. So better know the difference of these political meandering that Meles and his power partners are creating to confuse us. Ethiopia shall rise with democracy so no evil will confuse its people to be devided. Shumet

  2. grasso
    | #2

    PM Meles Zenawi – is The best and an exemplary leader that ruled Ethiopia in a long time. of course the west are not happy when a leader tries to change an African state. Most of former communist countries from East Europe are not happy about their government but you don’t see them on the street of USA and Western Europe shouting against their government, instead you will find them trying to convince Investors to go and spend money in their countries The same goes to south and western Africa including south American countries ,Even Eritrea .so what is wrong with us ,Ethiopians? think!
    Ethiopians before you go out and protest against the government .by doing this we will drive away Investors and Donors who can help us to go out of poverty and those who can open Jobs back home and hire Our brothers and sisters .Remember PM meles isn’t going to rule Ethiopia for ever .so If we are not happy with the next PM of our country ,are we going to protest in the street of America and western Europe ? let’s think before action.

  3. caro
    | #3

    It is good that the virtues of the state of things in Ethiopia is affirmed that the people are better of in all the meaningful measures of thier well being or of their standard of living than at any time. It is shown the utility of the masses is much more improved they are not any more die of starvation.
    The short comings are beyound the control of the government. It has to choose the better of the two evils the interest of the majority of the population of Ethiopia that live in the rural areas and the self actualisation of ethnocentric, we know it all city dwellers that are being bombarded by 100′s of tabloid news papers. They are freer to day to write or speak what they want to than the “Dixi Chicks” could. Compared to the news that comes from FOX or CNN whose bottom line advertisement and profit is the censor, the Ethiopian news papers or tabloid of partisan politics have less negative consequence. Even in a developed country there are some news that are classified for the security need of the nation. When some political news paper says there was a massacar in Ogaden, a genocide in Addis and people beaten up in Ambo, thrown in jail and tortured all over the country. Number one the don’t use the right definition of a genocide, or other govt. offences. They don’t have the capacity to cover all that happens in the country, it is hear say or just fictitious roumer. The states are self governing bodies and they only ask help from the federal government when it is only out of there control. There are not news papers worthy of the name in Ethiopia, most feed the ethnically charged consumer, malicious and mendacious politically baised garbbage. Other wise it is safe to travel at midnight in Addis on foot in Addis than D.C. To much freedom has negative consequences specially if those who handle news are irresponsible. Ethiopia’s strength is its weakness as well. We have a diverse population and creating anarchy by feeding wrong information will result in the loss of ethnic based conflict. So the News man must be self censoring or be responsible but, what he writes results in ethnic or religious conflict that results in death and suffering he has to be responsible for his actions. Freedom comes with responsibility other wise why do we need law, courts,police and prisons. Even a car driver should not drink and drive and injure or kill some body he will pay for violating the law and harming others by his irresponsible action.
    Ethiopians are glad that the country is becoming selfsuficent in food production and is on a positive track in meeting the basic needs of the majority of the people in the rural areas.
    Last but not least at least 50% of the urban population is sterile, unemployed or under employed and is high times important to move to the land where one can be a productive citizen and not a burden to society.

  4. nebo
    | #4

    this is the reason why i hate CUD. they take advantage of natural disasters for political reason like talking about cholera like meles zenawi put cholera in ethiopia. government policies create cholera?? what a genius mind! talking about ethnic conflicts and accusing the government of human rights when it uses an iron fist to settle those issues. i mean, how long will these people play this game?? and we have seen ethiopia, we have went over there. we have seen the improvements, why the heck does this CUD man portray a nation that is in ruins?? what do they think meles zenawi received in 1991?? the richest nation in the world or something?? this is ridiculous! also talking about enriching the elite, OMG, so many international institutions already said the ethiopian government is #1 in africa in spending for the poor. what is this CUD guy talking about??

    and what shawel said about meles zenawi before he runs aga

  5. terrara
    | #5

    It is not a knew story to the world to associate Ethiopia with poverty. They had seen the human tragedy more than a couple of times but this time they will not see in their Tv the pictures of the past. Every body sees Ethiopia today is still a poor country but no more starving to death. Instead they observe an Ethiopia that one can be proud off in its economic growth,decreasing poverty, school, clinic, road construction,and providing potable water. CUD by trying to over charge is loosing its credibility to inform. Miss information of the confused confusers is like preaching to the fan club,but it is a double sided sword it looses credibility among the majority of the people who can’t be happy to the abuse of the truth. Any government makes mistakes you can raise the issue supported with fact and figures to persuade people, half truth or miss statement for political gain results in a negative consequence. Forgent not the story of the foolish Sheepered who cries several times “Wolf” and the people ran to help, but he tells them he was just kidding; when he really is comfronted by a pack of wolfs, the people said he is just kidding and he and his flock were all consumed and the scavangers had cleaned the left over with out a trace of the massacar other than a bl

  6. Meles Zenawi
    | #6








  7. Kiros
    | #7

    Meles and the current Cholera epidemic are all the same. They kill innocent people including babies.

  8. Mesfin
    | #8

    Well, there is unusually high traffic of Meles’s cadres today. That is a good evidence for the fact that Meles’s is agitating that he is getting a lot of the western media attention lately. There is more to come yet. The whole world would come to see the Nazi nature of Meles/Woyanne. Fist when I see quite a few of new names, I thought they were just a regular type of Meles’s supporters that want to express their opinion on a free media such as abugida, but when I read their comments I noticed that they are Meles’s cadres with their trade mark big lies. Meles’s cadres (woyannes) are so stupid they think everyone will buy their nonsense and don’t even hesitate to talk about it. I have one assignment for these Meles’s cadres. Whatever it was you posted your message on abugida for the whole world to see. My question for you is if you do that why not the rest of the Ethiopia people that is prohibited from visiting free web site such as abugida? Why is that your boss, your god Meles Zenawi afraid free expression and free people? If you support Meles’s suppression in Ethiopia, it doesn’t give any sense that you came out and post on this site that Meles doesn’t want the Ethiopia people to read. Once again you are contradicting your self and show your nonsense for the whole world. By the way Meles is not God like you think. He is one wired looking short guy who can’t stop himself from visiting bathroom a couple of times in a day. I mention this not to just make fun of Meles. I just want you to come to your mind and see Meles a human being. He is one confused human being with a dark vision.

    Take care!

  9. | #9

    it’s the absolute cruelity of TPLF which bring all part of the society on the sreet of America,we heard that Zenawi snach millions from the poverty stricken people and give it for pay-roll propagandists like terrar,nebo,grasso isn’t it sad and cruel not to expose and struggle against his brutual rule? who is playing important role in controlling the country’s economy?are you courgious enuogh to tell us Ethiopia is on the right direction towards democracy?you fool just the few TPLF cadres who are living in a dream world, the whole world knows everything about the minority regime in Ethiopia.

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