Memorial Service Coordinating Committee, Sept 05, 2012
In a memorial service arranged to honor the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral, over 900 Ethiopians, Ethiopian Americans and friends of Ethiopia residing in the Denver Metro area and all over Colorado paid tribute to their prodigious and visionary leader on Saturday, September 1st, 2012. They have been mourning the sudden and untimely death of their beloved Prime Minister for nearly two weeks. They have been crying out their grief and anguish with their family and friends, since the sad news was announced on ETV on August 20th, 2012.
In the memorial service which lasted for more than four hours, a moment of silence was observed for Prime Minister Meles followed by a brief life history of the great leader. Messages of condolences and solidarity were presented by representatives from various organizations and associations. The Aurora City Council, the Aurora City Neighborhood Services, and the Axum Sister City sent representatives to the memorial service to express their sympathy and condolences on the passing of the Ethiopian Prime Minister. In addition, messages of condolences and solidarity were delivered from various community associations functioning in the Denver Metropolis such as the Ethiopian Muslim Association of Denver-Colorado, the Tigray-Ethiopian Community Association in Colorado, the Eritrean people in Colorado, the Sudanese Community Association in Colorado, and the Ethiopian Somali Community Association in Colorado.
Some of the innumerable accomplishments of the Prime Minister were raised in the various components of the memorial service. Prime Minister Meles was reminisced on the occasion for his astounding leadership in institutionalizing a system that promotes democracy, good governance and economic development, for being a father of a new and prosperous Ethiopia, for phenomenally targeting poverty as the prime enemy of the country, for being a formidable negotiator and mediator, for magnificently representing the African continent for over a decade at the international stage including the G-8 and G-20 summits, and for making Ethiopia assume its rightful place in the international arena. More importantly, the Prime Minister was celebrated for his feted vision of making Ethiopia a well-developed and advanced country with its citizens joining middle class economy in less than a couple of decades. Prime Minister Meles is a visionary and far-sighted leader respected not only by his own people but also by world leaders and heads of various global organizations.
A number of Ethiopians presented poems in different languages as a tribute to their honorable Prime Minister. Some of the poems focused on the bright side of the takeoff stage of the development endeavor and they were inquiring the tireless Prime Minister in their poetry why he departed so early. Others were addressing the extraordinary accomplishments of his government and expressing disbelief in his passing. Others emphasized more on his vision which will live eternally despite his early departure. In addition to the poems, a few Ethiopians who had the chance to know him closely either as allies or as members of the opposition expressed their opinions about the late Prime Minister. They pointed out that while PM Meles was very tough, intelligent, assiduous, and unwavering when it comes to doing business, he was a very personable, passionate, compassionate and humble individual off the job both to people within his party and within the opposition. One member of the opposition in particular strongly indicated that opposition just for the sake of opposition is a worthless act. No one can deny the economic development the country has registered under the leadership of the late Prime Minister. No one can deny the capability of the late Prime Minister for the magnificent job he and his party have done to the country and the people. People can see what has been done for themselves and follow what the Ethiopian people and world leaders have been saying about the Prime Minister, who was an amazing Ethiopian to be proud of not only by his supporters but also by his opponents and critics. It’s imperative for all Ethiopians in the diaspora with different political orientations to mourn in unison just like the Ethiopian people back home at this difficult time – a time of mourning and grief that has engulfed the entire world. Blind opposition and hatred is of no good to the country we all cherish, to the Ethiopian people, and to those who succumb to blind opposition and hatred themselves.
Religious leaders of Ethiopian Orthodox and Protestant churches were also in attendance at the memorial service and they gave strong messages pertaining to good manners and deeds to be learned from the life experience of the Prime Minister such as living for the people serving them without rest, and embracing and preaching peace more than anything else. It was also remarked that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi brought Ethiopian nations, nationalities and peoples together under the federal system while at the helm of political power. He has also brought all Ethiopian together under one umbrella at the time of his sudden and unexpectedly early passing. This is unheard of in the history of the country, unprecedented in the history of the African continent and perhaps unique in the history of the world. Another big point put forth during the memorial service was the idea of putting Prime Minister Meles’s leadership as a STANDARD through which subsequent Ethiopian leaders will be appraised. Participants also affirmed that even though the grief over the loss of the Prime Minister was overwhelming, they were comforted by the love and compliment the Ethiopian people and world leaders accorded to the Prime Minister and by the legacy he has left behind and the vision he has outlined in the policies and strategies including the five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).
Strong messages that would help remember the Prime Minister for generations were also suggested during the memorial service such as the following:
The Premier has contributed profoundly to the rebirth of a new Ethiopia in which human rights and religious freedoms are protected, and the rights of nations, nationalities and peoples to decide on their own destiny are realized as enshrined in the Constitution. In order to make sure that the contributions of the Prime Minister shine for generations to come, a holiday should be dedicated to him in the Ethiopian Calendar. That way, future generations will continue to remember Prime Minister Meles for the renaissance of the Ethiopian state.
Participants of the memorial service pointed out that despite Prime Minister Meles’s departure at such a young age, his matchless contribution and service to his country and his people will remain eternal in the hearts and minds of the current generation and subsequent generations. The Memorial service ended with candle light vigil accompanied by strong expression of resolve and commitment to follow the footsteps of the late Prime Minister in fighting poverty, in promoting economic development and broadly in realizing his vision including the GTP and beyond. Participants of the memorial service have also expressed their commitment to contribute their share to the completion of the various mega projects including the Grand Renaissance Dam, which is a symbolic monument of the Ethiopian renaissance spearheaded by the late Prime Minister.
Eternal glory to our beloved PM Minister Meles Zenawi!
May his soul rest in peace!