Thomas Rhiel and Ben Cotton of Columbia Spectator, the latest victim of Ethiopia’s censorious press law (the website is reportedly blocked in Ethiopia), blog live the absolute Dictator of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi’s, speech at Columbia. He spoke for less than 20 minutes. According to the bloggers, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a man who is believed to have played a big role in inviting the dictator and embarrassing the Forum, introduced the Crime Minister reiterating the disguise about dialogue and free speech.
Ethiopian Review reports, the introduction was “timid and took only about 2 minutes”, uncharacteristic of a man ( i.e Mr.Stiglitz) known for lavishly praising Zenawi. The report also noted that Columbia University President was not among the 50 or so who showed up to listen to Zenawi “excercise his speech rights.”
Responding to a question about how his party was able to get 99.6% of vote in the last election, the mendacious tyrant responded, “It’s 99.6% of all seats, not 99.6% of all votes. Ethiopia has a first-past-the-post system, which means you need just a little over 50% of the vote for each seat. His party is popular because he’s presided over seven years of growth”, the bloggers reported.
In yet another of his white lies, when asked to compare his regime to his predecessors, Zenawi speciously responded, “Under the last regime, people were killed without having access to courts. “That type of oppression is dead. It’s finished. It’s not coming back.” For the record, there is no rule of law in Ethiopia (his absolute and one man rule is the rule of law) and the judicial system is plagued by a woeful lack of independence.
Here is another one: A questioner is railing against Zenawi, listing alleged crimes against humanity committed by Zenawi’s government. The questioner is asking how such crimes could have been committed within a democracy. Zenawi’s response: “I can understand how people have had an inadequate chance to consider the facts.” The lack of access to victims of his repressive rule is unquestionable.
Truly, with free press effectively shut down and the international media restricted to peripheral reporting, there is no adequate chance to consider the facts. On term limits: “In case you are wondering whether I will remain in power until kingdom come, I can assure you that this will be my last term in power.”, Zenawi said. Hmmm sounds familiar. I hope the party won’t insist he stays on. Or wait; he won 99.6% of all seats, mind you not votes. He is purportedly a popular leader – who knows the people may just take it to the streets and insist he stays on. At any rate, I guess we would have to wait five years and see.
Finally, Zenawi is happy that he was afforded the honor and “Ethiopia is making progress, which everyone is invited to come see”, towards a one man ruled state. Proudly ranked: The second poorest place on Earth; In the “bottom five based on access to basic education, teacher-student ratio, and educational provisions for girls” along with lawless Somalia, a disaster raven Haiti and the rogue state of Eritrea; The second most expensive place to get broadband access And the worst place where press freedom has immensely detriorated, if any existed. The list is long but that is the end of the Show, for today anyways.
Read the entire Blog : Live From Zenawi Speech – Columbia Spectator
Related Reports :
- Zenawi speaks at Leaders Forum – Columbia Spectator
- Ethiopia – Columbia Students were short-changed? – Nazret.com (blog)
- Zenawi Implies that His Regime Kills With Court – Gadaa.com
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- Innocent Oromo Students Massacred for demanding basic rights.