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Ethiopians in the Washington Metropolitan Area Paid homage to the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

By Tsehaye Debalkew, Washington D.C., Sept. 04, 2012

We have thousands of Meles
Unity is strength let us be united to stand up aganist our common enemy.
Art work and poem by Suhulmichael Abai

More than two thousand Diaspora Ethiopians mourned the untimely and sudden passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi by paying homage to him on Sunday at the chancery of the Ethiopian embassy in Washington D.C.

Community members from the Ethiopian Diaspora, expressed their profound shock and anguish at the sudden demise and untimely death of the visionary leader and paid tribute to his distinguishing leadership acumen and his over-arching benevolence, magnanimity and wisdom encapsulated by his far-reaching dreams.

Representatives of the Diaspora community presented wide ranging statements of eulogy by enumerating the phenomenal and monumental tasks the premier had accomplished during his life span.

They praised the late prime minister for changing the nation in a positive fashion for good.  Members drawn from the youth and women's associations and individuals lauded the late PM Meles as a leader endowed with many characteristics dubbing him as an honest, down to earth, honorable, well respected, passionate, compassionate, charismatic, intelligent and visionary leader.

A contingent of State department envoys and former officials of the UN- ECA and the World Bank attended the function and recounted personal stories fittingly describing the late PM as an exceptional leader who stood for peace development and democracy.

Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma, Deputy Head of the Washington D.C. Mission and Chief Public Diplomacy and Communications Department of the Ethiopian Embassy read out the message of condolence Ambassador Girma Birru, Special Envoy and Ambassador Extra-Ordinary and Plenipotentiary to the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The Special Envoy in his moving statement said, "As is vividly observed in most parts of the world it is unusual for countries to have great leaders with far reaching vision and wisdom one following the other. History stands to testify that once in many centuries does each country avail itself of the opportune moment to be blessed by a transformative leader."

 The Extra-ordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador Girma reiterated in his message by saying that one can safely conjecture that Ethiopia had in its long history been lucky enough to have leaders of such caliber, but the emergence of the late PM Meles Zenawi in our present time as a leader endowed with far-arching vision, far-sightedness and wisdom, which he exuded during his tenure was all the more corroborated by the out pouring  of deep-rooted love expressed by the Ethiopian people during their anguish and sorrow for the loss of the great leader, he underscored. Ambassador Girma further succinctly noted that PM Meles Zenawi was an extra-ordinary leader who relentlessly labored to enthrone Ethiopia to its legitimate position in the world stage with the dignity and honor it deserved.

 The Special Envoy in his message all the more declared that the dream and vision of the late PM Meles Zenawi was to completely transform the nation from its traditional image as a country beset by famine and incessant conflict into an exemplary nation wherein peace and development are prevalent. To attain such far-reaching phenomenal dream he recalled that perseverance, devotion, commitment and untiring effort have been the distinguishing characteristics of the late Prime Minister who made a relentless effort day in and day out to make his vision and dream come true.

Hence to lose such a distinguished leader he grieved "like the late PM Meles Zenawi is beyond the ordinary. Yes! I understand it is not as simple as that as saying, death is natural, as relates to his demise. But what makes his loss tragic is the fact that he died during his prime time when his country needed him the most," he underlined. "Our sorrow is aggravated when we think the late Prime Minister Meles' untimely death came when he really wished to have the time to devote to his kids and family" he reminisced.

Ato Negusie Birratu, representing the Washington Metro Area's Renaissance Council consoled the congregation by assuring them that the correct policy and strategy charted out  under  the guidance and stewardship of the late beloved visionary leader shall remain omnipresent and ever-green only and only if we roll up our sleeves and pursue practicing and putting them into action able roles, and  he called upon those present and beyond to pledge and do that as of now by calling of our sorrow and anguish and follow the path of hard work raising high the banner and torch he so caringly uplifted during his somber life he underscored. 

Members of the D.C, Ethiopian Community presented poems and gave touching speeches on the life of Prime Minister Meles. Rahel Yifter, a young girl at one point brought the mourners to their feet and triggered profound tears when she proclaimed, “We will put Meles’ legacy in the inner core of our hearts.”  Moving poems recital occasion drew the limelight by energizing and reinforcing determination of the attendees to embrace Meles’ legacy and to realize his vision—to see a peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia.

UTNA, rep reminisced the engagements the late PM had with members of UTNA i.e. Union of Tigreans in North America, a civic organization whose existence came a year ahead to the emergence of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front /TPLF/ described the late Prime Minister as, “an avid supporter of education who tirelessly advised those he met for the need to transform themselves in order to better serve their motherland and reap the fruits for themselves.

Representatives from the Eritrean Democratic Congress and the Orthodox Christian denomination in North America read messages of condolences and affirmed their solidarity with the Ethiopian people. The Eritrean Democratic Congress offered its solidarity by saying “Peace loving Eritreans equally mourn the death of Prime Minister Meles with you.

In closing, the entire members pledged and expressed their commitment and determination to redouble their efforts in helping Ethiopia, solemnly declared to stand in unison and start working towards the realization of the great vision that Meles harbored for Ethiopia by shouting an oath pledging to fulfill the grand dreams of the late PM Meles Zenawi.  Finally the two thousand strong mourners went out in throngs stood in the premises of the Embassy singing the Ethiopian national anthem and raised their hands aloft and with candle light vigil eulogizing the late PM pledging to pay all sacrifices so that the vision of the great and paramount leader shall be immortal for eternity.