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Africa Mourns a 'Visionary and Gallant' Son

Africa Mourns a 'Visionary and Gallant' Son

By Pan Butamire, 24 August 2012

IN Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia has lost a great son and perhaps the greatest leader the country has had in a long time. And, equally, Africa has been robbed of a voice that commanded attention on the articulation of the African cause. Truly, last Monday night marked a dark hour for whoever cares about the worth of Africans.

There is no doubt that Zenawi will be missed by all on this globe who cherish the equality of man. May the Almighty rest his soul in eternal peace!

When he lived, Zenawi ensured that his people enjoyed that peace but this world that depends on non-African opinion was gang-hoed into believing otherwise. He was portrayed as a Dracula whose survival depended on the blood of opponents of his leadership. We were told that politicians who opposed him were killed or thrown into prison. That journalists lived only if they sang his name. Ethiopia was presented to us as a lawless jungle where its citizens depended on the whims of one man.

Practically all news in the foreign media has strained to ignore the confidence and positive outlook that Ethiopians have finally found in their country.

The picture that was thrown to us was that of Ethiopia before the 1970s. This was when it was under the iron hand of the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and Power of Trinity. The titles alone tell a story of lording it over a people in an Ethiopia of sad times.

Emperor Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah, presided over a people to whom famine was a constant. And the vivid picture of that was captured for posterity when the Emperor was photographed feeding meat to his pride of lions, in his imperial palace, at a time when his people in their droves were dying of hunger.

Alternatively, we were given the picture of Ethiopia after Selassie and under Mengistu Hailemariam. Mengistu and his Derg (junta), when they ruled Ethiopia between 1974 and 1991, embarked on a systematic cleansing of some ethnic groups, using hunger and what Ethiopians called the Red Terror.

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