Meles Zenawi-Lifelong Fighter for Democracy and Justice!
Ethiopia, the cradle of human being and the springboard for ancient civilizations, is widely endowed with diverse historical, social, cultural, ecological, natural, religious etc resources. The nation consists of more than 80 nations and nationalities with their respective peculiar cultural, historical, linguistic, religious and other features.
Unfortunately all these nations, nationalities and peoples with their tremendous peculiarities and identities were ignored for ages. They were mercilessly oppressed and exploited for centuries. Ethiopians were deprived of their basic human and democratic rights and freedoms. Consequently, they were forced to live as secondary citizens in their own country. This was the very destiny of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia till the demise of the Military Junta in 1991.
However, the Ethiopian nations, nationalities and peoples never crippled their hands and minds even for a single second. They, rather, unreservedly struggled against the brutal regimes. The Bale, Gojjam and, Tigray farmers’ movements and the student movement of the 1960s were among the notable features of these struggles.
Unfortunately, almost all the formers struggles ended up in to collapse and demise for they were not well organized. Likewise, there was no strong public or political organization that led the public in the struggle against the brutal regimes. It was in February 1985 that some vanguard patriots under the Umbrella of the then Tigray Freedom Fighters or TPLF today launched open armed struggle against the Cannibal Dergue Regime. The very goal of this struggle was to dismantle the dictator regime, replace it with popular democratic system and thereby establish prosperous and democratic Ethiopia.
Thanks to the unreserved and tireless struggles and remarkable sacrifice of the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia led by the EPRDF, they dismantled the dictatorial regime of the Dergue.
The EPRDF defeated the military rule neither because the EPRDF was equipped with better military weapons nor even because it was highly advanced in military science. The secret of the EPRDF was in its clear goals, readiness to wage every possible sacrifice, unwavering stand on the issues of sovereignty of the public and miraculous commitment and discipline of its leaders and members. For this reason, EPRDF has been managed to mobilize the general public in every walks of life to bring about lasting difference in the long journey towards our Renaissance.
In implementing EPRDF policies and strategies both during the armed struggle and after, EPRDF leaders have been playing vital roles. These leaders have been unreservedly paying prudent sacrifices for the betterment Ethiopians. Though the EPRDF has lots of patriot leaders, the focus of this article goes to the selfless and extraordinarily visionary leader-Meles Zenawi.
Since his election as a member of the executive committee of the TPLF in 1979, Meles Zenawi’s contribution for the advancement of the country is incalculable. “Since his election to the executive committee during the first congress of the TPLF held in 1979, and especially following his re-election in 1983 and subsequent membership of the politburo, Meles made important and strategic contribution to advance the armed struggle [against the dictatorial Dergue Regime]” (Meles’s Portriat:Sketch of Who He is, P:03).
During the armed struggle, Meles’s participation and contribution was prominent and valuable. His objective situational analysis both national and international affairs benefitted the EPRDF to defeat the Dergue. Moreover, his valuable arguments at times of bad pitches saved the EPRDF from disintegration and fatal splits. It is, hence, rational to call Meles as a real vaccine and proper remedy that repeatedly saved the EPRDF from possible dead ends and thereby advance the struggle against the brutal regime and latter the struggle against poverty and backwardness.
As an extraordinarily visionary change leader, Meles always focused on possibly new but highest paradigms. He always targeted the maximum possible goals which might be attainable through stretched efforts. New achievements were not sources of his satisfaction and never gave him a relief. He rather, looked forward to achieve the highest one. Thus, Meles unreservedly searched the ways that drove the struggle from simple to complex and/or from lower to higher stages. That was why he never sought a rest in his lifetime. When he was recomended to have a rest even by medical doctors, his response was very short and precise. He always said that how a leader of a poor country such as ours needs a rest! He repeatedly stated that as the EPRDF soldier, he would contribute his maximum efforts till he left with zero gram flesh! And he practically did it! He paid prudent sacrifice till the last second of his life!
Meles paid his life for democracy and justice. He set extraordinarily high goals in the struggle against poverty and backwardness. To implement his bigger dreams-to see a country where democratic rule, good governance and social justice prevails up on free will and full involvement of the peoples, emancipating from poverty and join a middle income status economy-Meles always set bigger goals and objectives. “As a reflection of his ambition, Meles was not satisfied with the pace of the progress made during the first two years of the renewal period. He wanted an expansion of rural development efforts already achieved; a rejuvenation of cities and towns; full rehabilitation of the ruling party [the EPRDF]; and an encouragement of the Ethiopian youth to turn them in to empowered agents of the fight against poverty” (Meles’s Portriat:Sketch of Who He is, P:09).
Meles sacrificed his life to ensure equality of the Ethiopian nations, nationalities and peoples. Likewise his entire life was sacrifice to abolish every form of inequality, be it gender, religion, linguistic, rural-urban etc. Let alone the question of equality here in his Country, Meles also struggled for justice across the globe. His struggle against the adverse effects of climate change is an excellent example for this matter. Meles critically challenged advanced nations for the fatal consequences of their rapid industrialization where African, Asian, Latin American and Small Island nations have been suffering in none of their faults. He unreservedly challenged them because their rapid industrialization has been killing the economies of developing countries. That is why in his address to the 12th heads of States and Government Summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa stated with great regret that “Africa has contributed virtually nothing to the global warming but is expected to be one of the primary victims of its consequences.”
TRUE, Meles sacrificed his life not only for the betterment of Ethiopians and the Ethiopian Renaissance but also for all disadvantaged countries and groups all over the globe. That is why Ethiopia has been playing a vanguard role in the UN and AU peace keeping and peace creation missions, particularly in Africa. Meles’s role in stabilizing the African continent in general and the horn of Africa in particular was repeatedly recognized and applauded by the International Community.
Without the strong support of Ethiopia, under the leadership of Meles Zenawi, the establishment of Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia was unthinkable. Moreover, the TFG could never last long without the extraordinary support of Ethiopians. And Meles strongly backed the efforts of IGAD and the African Union in creating peace and tranquility in Somalia. Thus, Meles waged his life to ensure peace and order in the African Continent.
Furthermore, Meles challenged the ineffectiveness of Neo-Liberal Political Economy in Africa. Meles not only challenges Neo-Liberal Political Economy but also forwarded a new approach to effectively address the African Dilemma. He repeatedly claimed that Neo-Liberal Political Economy is practically an instrument for rent seeking politics in Africa. Hence, he suggested that African countries should search their own home grown policies and strategies that spring from their objective problems. For Meles, African challenges must be solved through African mechanisms, that is, there can never be one size fit for kind of imported solution for every domestic problem. Therefore, Meles paid his life in searching of best ways to transform the Africa continent as well.
By and large, Meles sacrificed his precious life for democracy and justice by adamantly but wisely combating every actual and/or potential factor of inequality and/or injustice. And for sure, we all Africans miss him for he was our responsible spokesman who unreservedly and unwaveringly defended our real interests in the international fora. That is why various leaders across the globe shocked with the news of his death. And that is why African leaders expressing their deepest condolence still now.
Meles accomplished his glorious tasks selflessly. What is remained, I think, is maintaining and consolidating his visions that transcend both generation and time. Hence, we need to contribute our maximum efforts to realize the Ethiopian Renaissance in particular and the African Renaissance in general.
REST IN PEACE Meles Zenawi!!!
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