With Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi just a few years away from joining an elite club of despots who have ruled their country for a quarter of a century or more, it would only be fitting to take a trip down memory lane at some of his most infamous quotes, as well as his memorable fatuous statements.
10) In 1991, during the London conference, Meles said to British and American officials that the umbrella EPRDF coalition will be subordinate to his TPLF party. When British officials objected, a visibly angry Meles said:
"Let me make something clear. After the conference we are not going to have an EPRDF government."
9) In 1993, during the conclusion of his interview, a reporter asked Meles on his views of Ethiopian history, to which Meles responded with:
"Ethiopia is only 100 years old. Those who claim otherwise are indulging themselves in fairy tales."
8) During a 1994 interview with foreign journalists in Asmara, Meles was quoted to have said the following about Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki:
"Spending one hour with Isaias is far more worthwhile, rewarding and enlightening than reading ten books"
7) In 1997, while holding a discussion with Professor Donald Levine, an intellectual who has studied Ethiopia's history for five decades, Meles stated that Ethiopia had never been a single country prior to Menelik's conquest. In trying to emphasis this point, Meles said:
"The Tigreans had Axum, but what could that mean to the Gurague? The Agew had Lalibela, but what could that mean to the Oromo? The Gonderes had castles, but what could that mean to the Wolaitai?"
6) In an an interview with state media, Meles said the Ethiopian flag is nothing more than a "piece of rag"
"The flag is just a piece of rag."
5) In 1999, after inhumanly deporting over 80,000 Ethiopians of Eritrean origins and robbing them of their property, Meles said to his rubber-stamp parliament:
"If we don't like the color of their eyes, we have the right to chase them away!"
4) In early 2001, a concerned Ethiopian woman asked Meles as to the whereabouts of her son who did not return from his war with Eritrea. Irritated by the tone of her question, he responded with:
"Lady, if your son does not return in six months time, then you'll have your answer!"
3) During the 2005 election demonstrations, to which Meles ordered the deaths of 193 unarmed Ethiopian civilians in Addis Ababa, the premier is said to have referred to Amharas as "donkeys" to his trusted Tigrayan General Samora:
"These Amhara donkeys need to be taught a lesson. They only become peaceful and religious when a kalashnikov is pointed at them."
2) During the disastrous failed invasion and subsequent occupation of Somalia by Ethiopia in 2006, Meles said to the New York Times that his goal was not to topple the ICU but to go after non-existent Eritrean soldiers in Somalia.
“The only forces we are pursuing are Eritreans who are hiding behind the skirts of Somali women.”
1) In 2010, while discussing bilateral relations with the former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in Addis Ababa, Meles said:
"I am Yemeni. I know myself to be a Yemeni. We are Yemenis. Apart from the royal family, Ethiopians are Arabs."
HAWASSA, Ethiopia - Several fires broke out Sunday night in an emerging, traditional-like market place in the tourist-hub city of Hawassa, 270km south of Addis Ababa.
The raging fires killed atleast seven street children, and largely destroyed the area called 'Addis Gebeya,' whose English equivalent is "New Market."
Awassa fire fighters couldn't put out the wind-swept flames alone, and were joined by their colleagues from Shashemene, 25 km away from the lake-side city. At dawn, several bulldozers cleared the area of ashes and debris.
Observers said fire fighters, known for their sluggish efforts, were this time on alert, making sure the blames do not go beyond the targetted 'Addisu Gebeya' and wipe out residential quarters.
The public believes the fires are the work of the ruling party TPLF/EPRDF, which, under the cover of "modernizing urban towns" is dubiously known for destroying private businesses or emerging markets by setting them on fires.
"When bulldozers appear in the morning and clear the area of ashes and debris, it is evident it was the work of the government," one observer said.
TPLF, which in reality practices Marxist-like economics, has a voracious appetite to own the entire economy by way of decimating private businesses - even if they are budding. Even as recent as in January, a privately-owned and historic Taitu Hotel was burned down, with the public squarely pointing its accusatory finger at the ruling party or government.
State-employed fire fighters spent one hour haggling over how much the owner of the hotel should pay them to spare his property. By the time the firefighters agreed , much of the historic site was gone. http://www.ethiomedia.com/10parts/4273.html