Currently viewing the tag: "Ethiopia"

Remarks by Alex de Waal on the occasion of the first anniversary commemoration of the death of Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, August 20, 2013.

 

It is a privilege to be here today, to honour the memory of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

 

I first had the opportunity to [...]

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As we all recall, on 28 January 2012, our Heads of State and Government laid the foundation stone for the AU Human Rights Memorial (AUHRM) during the inauguration of the new AU Conference Centre and Office Complex. This is a very important project not only to preserve the memory of mass atrocities but also to prevent future recurrence of such crimes. We should, therefore, spare no effort to enable this Memorial achieve its central objective of becoming a permanent centre where people from all over the world gather to reflect on the sanctity of life. It should also serve as a place where our policy makers renew their collective commitment to prevent atrocious crimes such as genocide from happening ever again on our continent.

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The extraction of the Falasha from Ethiopia remains a dark chapter in our history which we should not forget. As a nation we are poorer, deprived of their cultural and historical legacy. As a nation we are shamed by the cynical way in which our leaders exploited them for money and weapons. Most importantly, the Ethiopian Jews have become victims of this relocation, at best unwitting, at worst coerced. It is not surprising that people who have undergone such an uprooting are traumatized and prone to become social casualties. The revelation that the Israeli state has systematically violated their rights in the most sinister manner, betraying the trust that the Beta Israel put in that government as their protector, is a signal that this historic wrong needs to be righted.

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In the months following his death on 20 August, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been eulogized and demonized in equal measure. But his policies, and the transformational paradigm on which they were based, have rarely been elucidated. While alive, Meles was equally indifferent to praise and blame. To those who acclaimed Ethiopia’s remarkable economic growth, he would ask, do they understand that his policies completely contradicted the neo-liberal Washington Consensus? To those who condemned his measures against the political opposition and civil society organizations, he demanded to know how they would define democracy and seek a feasible path to it, in a political economy dominated by patronage and rent seeking?

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Our colleagues at “Focus on the Horn,” have posted an essay by Jacob Wiebel and Toni Weis, “A Monument for Graziana: Italy’s unresolved relations to its violent colonial past.” The story of one Italian town’s decision to mount a memorial to honor Marsahll Rodolfo Graziana also appears on the August 29, 2012 website of [...]

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Our partners, African Arguments, have posted Peter Gill’s insightful tribute to Meles Zenawi, the late Ethiopian leader. Gill, the author of Famine and Foreigners: Ethiopia since Live Aid, quotes extensively from his interview with Zenawi, ending with this comment:

Meles’ work was not quite done.  It is still unclear how far the transition [...]

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