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Monday, 4 June 2007

The false patriotism of a dying regime

(AV) The figurehead of the divisive regime, “President” Girma Woldegiorgis, has sent a letter to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain demanding the return of Prince Alemayehu’s bones to Ethiopia for reburial. The Prince, the son of the unifier Emperor Theodros, died in 1879 at the age of 18 in Britain and was buried at Windsor Castle.

What makes the demand quite astonishing is the fact that the Meles regime, which has been methodically fracturing Ethiopia apart and dividing its people, has proved itself to be oppressor of the living, killing, maiming, torturing and detaining patriotic Ethiopians en mass. It is now telling the world that it would “preserve” and dignify the bones of a dead Prince. Had Prince Alemayehu been alive, he would have fled the country like millions of his compatriots abhorred with the crimes of a dying regime which doesn’t know how to treat its people with dignity and fairness.

Human dignity can only be meaningful to the living, not the dead. Though we are not against the idea of reburying the remains of the late Prince in Ethiopia, the task should only be undertaken by a government which respects the people as well as the history of Ethiopia. As we all know, millions of Ethiopians in and outside of the country, as well as the bones of thousands of people killed in cold blood, are crying for justice.

One of the leaders of the ludicrous scheme, Mulugetta Asrate Kassa, told Reuters: "The prince was a prisoner of war. His return would ease the minds of lots of Ethiopians who believe his rightful resting place should be here with his father." He says that the bones should arrive in Ethiopia for the ridiculous millennium party being organized for the pleasure of the oligarchy. In a country where thousands of innocent prisoners of conscience languish in jails, Mulugetta tells us that the return of the bones would ease the minds of lots of Ethiopians. This is sycophancy of the worst kind. Who has appointed Mulugetta as a bone collector?

Let us not put the cart before the horse for the sake of the false patriotism of a dying regime. Until Ethiopia is liberated from the tentacles of tyranny, Prince Alemaheyu’s bones remain much safer in exile than at the hands of a destructive tyrant in an empire of injustice.