Ethiopia ranks 17 in Failed State Index

June 26, 2012 — In its annual Failed States Index, The Fund for Peace organization, ranks Ethiopia at 17, sliding behind three positions from the previous year.

Citing mounting demographic pressures, increased security apparatus abuses against civilians, the rise of factionalized elites, and rampant human right violations within the country as a critical areas of concern, the non-profit organization gave Ethiopia a dismal score of 97.9.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Washington, D.C.-based research institution ranks Somalia (114.9) at the top of its index, followed by Democratic Republic of Congo (111.2), the Sudan(109.4), South Sudan (N/A) and Chad (107.6).

In a similar ranking, the Global Peace Index, conducted by the Research Institute of Economics and Peace, places Ethiopia at number 10, indicating Africa's second most populous state is one of the most dangerous countries to live in.
Failed State Index - Ethiopia ranks 17

Ethiopia: Top 10 infamous Meles Zenawi quotes

Top 10 infamous Meles Zenawi quotes

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."

Meles Zenawi in Eritrea with Isaias Afwerki 

Dictator Meles Zenawi plans on banning Skype to clamp down on dissidents 

Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi is 'gravely ill' from brain tumor

Meles Zenawi is "gravely ill" from brain tumor

June 22, 2012  — Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi appeared visibly thin and frail during the G-20 summit held in the Mexican resort town of Los Cabos last Tuesday, raising speculation that the 57-year-old former guerrilla fighter's health is rapidly deteriorating.

Rumors of the premier's ill-health were first brought to light by ESAT last week, after unnamed sources tipped off the Amsterdam-based satellite news agency over Zenawi's secretive and frequent medical trips to Brussels, who is reportedly suffering from a persistent grade III brain tumor.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a security officer with ties to the elusive Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service, revealed to Durame by phone that Meles is "gravely ill" and does indeed suffer from a number of aliments, including Astrocytoma, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

"Meles Zenawi's gaunt appearance of late does seem to indicate he's suffering from some type of severe aliment. It seems decades of  poor diet, excessive drinking and smoking have finally caught up with him.", said Zeray Gebremariam, a 58-year-old former TPLF fighter by phone.

Despite the preimers attempts to conceal his alcohol and cigarette addictions from public eye, he has on rare occasions given inklings to journalists of his battles with substance abuse. In 1991, upon observing a no smoking sign during a breif exam in London, Meles said to a reporter, "I've spent the last 17 years fighting a civil war but I've never been so frightened as I am now. There's no way I'll sit the exam without a fag! [British slang for cigarette]"[1]

Dictator Meles Zenawi appears shockingly thinner and frail in under a month

[1]Ethiopia & Eritrea, by Matt Phillips, Jean-Bernard Carillet, Page 40

Using Skype in Ethiopia will earn you 15 years in prison

In Ethiopia, using Skype will earn you 15-year prison sentence

June 15, 2012  —  Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has passed a controversial legislation that criminalizes the use of Skype, Google Voice and all Voice Over IP (VoIP) communications.

Citing reasons of "national security" for taking such harsh measures, the bill was put into law on May 24. According to the BBC, violators of this law will face stiff fines and a maxim of 15 years in prison.

In what is seen as the government's attempt at clamping down on dissidents, Zenawi has ordered a number of restrictions on the local press and media of late, including blocking the anonymous TOR service.

"Nothing really surprises me anymore from this regime. What's next? Will Meles criminalize smoke signals too? This dictator must go!" said a 29-year-old teacher from Addis Ababa by phone.

Fleeing persecution and lengthy prison sentences, some 79 journalist have fled Ethiopia since 2001, the highest figure in the world, according to the New York-based Committie to Protect Journalist.

Globally, Ethiopia has the second lowest internet penetration rate of 0.5 percent and one of the slowest internet connections.

Using  Skype in Ethiopia will earn you up to 15 years in prison

Semhal Meles is rumored to be in a serious relationship with a Nigerian businessman

Semhal Meles is rumored to be in a serious relationship with a Nigerian businessman

June 8, 2012  — Semhal Meles, the daughter of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, is rumored to be in a serious relationship with a Nigerian businessman that has caused a family feud within the Zenawi household.

The 26-year-old is alleged to be in a relationship with her longtime boyfriend, Christopher Adebayo, whom she first met in the city of North Oxford, England, while attending St Clare's international boarding school.

Semhal first revealed this information to her father last Sunday, when the topic of marriage came up during dinner. Despite the long-distance nature of their relationship, Semhal added that things have gotten 'serious' between them lately.

Meles was said to have been visibly upset by her revelation and reminded Semhal that she was prohibited from marrying anyone outside of her Tigray ethnicity and threatened to disown her if she continued to see him.

While her father drew the line in the sand and made his position clear, her mother, Azeb, however, is said to have taken a more diplomatic approach, preferring to be a bit accepting of her relationship.

Described as a independent minded, Semhal first appeared on the Ethiopian political scene when a number of unfaltering images of her were leaked by in late 2009.

Semhal Meles appears visibly intoxicated in Ethiopia

Semhal Meles sporting a rifle 

Tigray's economic depression causes rift among Senior Ethiopian politicians

Tigray's economic depression causes rift among Senior Ethiopian politicians

June 8, 2012  — An emerging rift among senior members of TPLF Central Committee has prompted Prime Minister Meles Zeanwi to hold an emergency meeting in Addis Ababa to defuse escalating tensions, according to a source with ties to the government.

Frustrated by the border dispute with neighboring Eritrea and the devastating economic down turn it has caused on their home region of Tigray, TPLF bigwigs questioned the premier if this strategy is in the long-term interest of the Tigrayan people.

Moreover, an adviser for the president of the Tigray Regional State, Mr. Roman Gebreselassie, voiced his concern with the rising popularity of a little-known rebel group called the Tigray Peoples Democratic Movement. He criticized Zenawi for failing to create jobs in his region and suggested his perceived indifference for the welfare of Tigrayans has given this rebel movement favorable conditions to recruit Tigrayan youths.

Recognizing mounting corruption as a major problem within the country, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Health of Ethiopia and Abay Woldu, President of Tigray Regional State, noted corruption has become a normal activity among senior EPRDF members and suggested serious measures need to be taken swiftly before it becomes a national security threat.

During the conclusion of the emergency meeting, Zenawi acknowledged most of his compatriots' grievances were legitimate and agreed a larger allocation of funds should be provided to Tigray in the upcoming fiscal year. However, the premier blamed Tigray's economic hardships on regional leaders failures, rather than blaming his increasingly unpopular "no war, no peace" strategy with neighboring Eritrea that has scared away potential investors and hampered the local economy.

Dictator Meles Zenawi increasingly seen as unpopular in Tigray