Ethiopia: Rage and Sorrow as Meles Zenawi's Death Confirmed

Today's official confirmation of the death of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s prime minster, has stirred both rage and sorrow. Ethiopians all over the globe reacted to his death with mixed emotions on Facebook and Twitter where his name is trending.

Following his death, Meles Zenawi is trending on Twitter. Source: Twitter Screenshot

Meles Zenawi, died of an undisclosed illness, Ethiopian State TV confirmed on Tuesday, August 21, 2012. He was 57 and is believed to have died in a hospital in Europe on Monday just before midnight after contracting an infection.

Rumors about the health and whereabouts of Ethiopia’s Prime Minster Meles Zenawi have been circulating online for weeks after disappearing from the public immediately after the G20 meeting in Mexico in June. He even failed to attend the 21st Ordinary Session of the African Union which was hosted in Addis Ababa in July.

Reacting to the official confirmation, Fekade Adera said:

RIP Mr. Meles! finally we officially learnt that you are gone. Never too late to your remnants to draw some good lesson from your demise.

Mesfine Negash posted on his Facebook page:

#WhereIsMelse? He was dead till proven alive. Now officially proven dead! The seismic lie exposed.

Meles Zenawi at the World Economic Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, May 2010. Photo courtesy of World Economic Forum (CC BY-SA 2.0)

However, Solomon Birhanu remembered him in a positive light:

..He set the standard what to offer to be Ethiopia leader , he accomplish so many but there were too many on the line, his vision was greater than anyone can imagine ….but no one know him very well , he is the man studied master & PhD while he is in PM position , he studied all the past, present & future wisdom,he pushed hard him self to see the unseen so that all Ethiopia can see it, he librate him self from material world so that others will librate automatically , he think big & dream big, he sees no one will see, he lives for others not for him self, …. If you push very hard, something will break that is what happen ….. I am just very sad . You did not lost we lost you, RIP PM meles !

Abiye Teklemarima has a message for people who think it is impolite to highlight ignoble acts of a public figure after their death:

Glenn Greenwald on the etiquette of saying good things and expressing good wishes in the immediate aftermath of the death of public figures:

But that is completely inapplicable to the death of a public person, especially one who is political. When someone dies who is a public figure by virtue of their political acts discussions of them upon death will be inherently politicized. How they are remembered is not strictly a matter of the sensitivities of their loved ones, but has substantial impact on the culture which discusses their lives. To allow significant political figures to be heralded with purely one-sided requiems — enforced by misguided (even if well-intentioned) notions of private etiquette that bar discussions of their bad acts — is not a matter of politeness; it’s deceitful and propagandistic. To exploit the sentiments of sympathy produced by death to enshrine a political figure as Great and Noble is to sanction, or at best minimize, their sins. Misapplying private death etiquette to public figures creates false history and glorifies the ignoble.”

Mehrat congratulated Abiye  for sharing the message from Greenwald:

OMG! I love you for sharing this, Abiye Teklemariam Megenta! And God bless Glenn Greenwald's soul! You both rock! You have no idea how therapeutic it is for me to read this right now!

Tsion wrote:

i second this saying ‘Misapplying private death etiquette to public figures creates false history and glorifies the ignoble’

Meaza disagreed:

I don't agree! Today i only opt to think about the other side of meles. Meles the reformer, Meles the visionary, meles the african leader:(….. I wholeheartedly say ‘rest in peace prime minister'!

Girma said that Zenawi deserves some respect:

Despite the flaws He has made,He deserves some respect -He was once a leader(for better or worse)!


@BBCDanielS: Meles Zenawi had many flaws and crushed dissent ruthlessly at times. But Ethiopia is a far better place today than 20 years ago.

@EurasiaGroup: Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi is FOURTH African president dead in office in 2012. Joins: Sanha (Guinea-Bissau); Mutharika (Malawi); Mills (Ghana)

@Sam2habesha: RIP to the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.. & RIP to the hundreds of people he murdered also..

@ayittey: Shedding crocodile tears over the demise of the crocodile liberator, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

@addis_fortune: Question:- “Federal and regional election after this?” Bereket [Government Spokesperson] reposnded “Not at all.” #Ethiopia #MelesZenawi

@TigistSelam: Ethiopia has a lot to look forward to, despite it's sudden loss. At the end of it all, it is the people that matter. #Ethiopia #MelesZenawi

@dicthandbook: Dead Dictator: Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia), pro at torture, detention, one party system, surveillance. Must have read Dictators Handbook.

Meles Zenawi was President of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995 and later became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in 1995 following the general elections that year.


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