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Columbia University withdraws statement about Meles

In announcing the invitation to Ethiopia’s brutal tyrant, Columbia University had posted the following appalling statement on its web site:

Under the seasoned governmental leadership of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, now in his fourth term, and vision of the Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Ethiopia has made and continues to make progresses in many areas including in education, transportation, health and energy.

After being bombarded by angry Ethiopians yesterday, the university removed the statement and left only the following:

An address by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi followed by a question and answer session with the audience. (read here)

Ethiopian Review has saved a screenshot of the University’s outrageous statement. See the screenshot here. Compare it with what is posted now.

Removing the statement is not enough. The University needs to investigate how such a blatantly false statement that is offensive to 80 million Ethiopians was posted on its web site to begin with.

Columbia University needs to also rescind its invitation to the tyrant.

Make your voice heard. Write or call:

Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University
Phone: (212) 854-9970; Fax: (212) 854-9973
Email: [email protected]

University Programs and Events
Office of the President
Columbia University in the City of New York
202 Low Library, 535 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027


Dear President Bollinger:

We are astounded to learn Columbia University has invited Meles Zenawi, a cruel dictator whose legacy is the repression of his own people to the World Leaders Forum as a keynote speaker on the topic of Ethiopia and African Leadership.

The Ethiopian-American Community and other advocates of human rights are outraged that Columbia University is willing to give a forum to the head of a repressive regime that has maladministered Ethiopia for the past 20years.

In the May 23, 2010 election, Meles Zenawi stifled all voices of freedom and declared a sham 99.6% victory that further de legitimized his brutal regime. In a May 25, 2010 statement, , National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said, “An environment conducive to free and fair elections was not in place even before election day.”

Five years earlier, he had thwarted the democratic aspirations of the people of Ethiopia and ordered the brutal massacre of over 193 unarmed peaceful protesters and jailed the entire opposition leadership and many of their supporters.

As the President of Columbia University and as a distinguished advocate of academic freedom, we acknowledge your right to invite speakers whom you believe will add to the academic experience of Columbia students. It is the essential element of American democracy and value system. We appreciate it and believe it is what makes America great.

But, neither freedom of speech nor academic freedom requires Columbia University to give its podium to a dictator who has actively and brutally suppressed academic freedom. On April 9, 1993, the Meles regime fired 42, some internationally acclaimed, professors from Addis Ababa University with negative implications for the university as well as the nation.

Using famine, illiteracy, and ethnic division as potent weapons, he has condemned a whole generation of Ethiopians to perpetual poverty and suffering. He has criminalized dissent and violently suppressed any threats to his despotic rule. He has sent to prison opposition party leaders, including the courageous political leader Judge Birtukan Mideksa, (the only woman political leader in Ethiopia). Journalists, and human rights activists are routinely jailed on trumped-up charges. In the name of bogus development, Meles Zenaw has embezzled international aid money and the country’s meager resources; and used land, jobs, and educational opportunities as tools of subjugation.

Does you University seriously believe that hearing the views of a brutal dictator sitting at the helm of a failed state would add to the “academic experience of your students”?

We respectfully request Columbia University to rescind the invitation to Meles Zenawi.

We also ask that you make a strong public statement against giving a podium to dictators like Meles Zenawi who are known for egregious human rights abuses and send a strong message to Ethiopians and all people suffering under the yoke of dictatorship .

We urge you to take this opportunity.


Tel: +1-212-851-7421; Fax: +1-212-851-7410
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]

29 thoughts on “Columbia University withdraws statement about Meles

  1. Elias,

    I hope you won’t block my post.

    You are surprising me a lot. You are doing great job than I ever thought. More than some of the self acclaimend political oppositions.

    Keep it up!

  2. Why is that,the President of Columbia University takes a delight in watching dictators give speeches at his University and presents a one hour lesson for his students “Brutal Dictatorship–101” by Crime Minister Meles Setenawi.

  3. I called Colombia university and talked to secretary of the president. It seems they are not overwhelmed yet by calls to protest the invitation of Zenawi to Colombia. Please everybody call the University!

  4. I am wondering how much Prof Sachs is getting out of this arrangement. Didn’t he get enough from Yara Foundation few years ago? Comparing it with the appearance of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University in 2007, I don’t think President Bollinger will reverse his decision, though. However, we should make sure that the president gets the facts and challenges the Crime Minister in a way he did to the Iranian cruel dictator four years ago. He should not let that opportunist and crooked professor moderate the Q&A session.

  5. See, what our calls and emails have done. Good job to us…lol Now let’s bombard the phone and email of the university…May be they will rescind the invitation.

    Eat that one woyane stooges…

  6. I do not have any problem with Zenawi’s giving speach at the CU. But the topic they have choosen is irrelevant to him. So they should change this topic to ” how to manipulate election,deceive international community,and eradicate poverity by giving press conference”

  7. This is how powerful we are. The change of their tone has changed. You see, defenders of dictators such as US and UK believe there is development in Ethiopia because they merely rely on buildings, etc. dictators such as Zenawi, Musevni and Kagame are exact and same. They have mass genocide blood in their hand and at the same time pretend there is development in their country to trick the West and besides they abide by what the West says. So, they live happily ever after. This approach is new method of governing for dictators so that they don’t get lots of oppositions. However, our job will be to show that development is nothing without human right respect and economic equality for all.

  8. Professor Jeffrey Sachs, a mercenary intellectual, is instrumental in helping the dictator’s invitation to Columbia University. The Professor uses his position at Columbia University to direct international public relations on behalf of Ethiopia’s Tigre tyrant and other African despots. Professor Sachs is known by Diaspora Africans as an Intellectual Mercenary Director of the Institute of Earth at Columbia University. For the least 18 years, Jeffrey Sachs has been lobbying the IMF, the World Bank, G-20 countries, the Clinton Foundation and other western countries and agencies on behalf of Meles Zenawi, the child killer. He has now put the name of the most prestigious academic institution as a platform for his lies and dishonest representation of African criminals for money.

    He must be exposed to his faculty peers at Columbia University, for what he is – a mercenary.Please write to the program Director Professor Joseph Stiglitz ([email protected]) and other faculty at the International Development and Globalization Program of Columbia University.

    You can obtain the e-mail addresses of all faculty members at the website below: and expose

  9. Elias good job. you’re making a difference, little by little!
    I called the # above and told the guy who answered the phone how disgusted I am by the president’s decision to invite a criminal murderer. I expressed my hope that the prez. would change his mind and withdraw this tyrant’s name from this event. I was emotional. the man listened to what i had to say and said he would pass the msg along to the president. every single voice counts! everyone should call and express their disgust.
    that’s the least we can do!!

  10. Columbia university management got caught with their hand in the cookie jar by Ethiopian Review. As we all know Columbia university is the training ground for future journalists, diplomats and even spies. Of course the management wanted to familiarize their students with one of US puppets and how to do business with such a puppet who is trained to serve his masters but not the people of Ethiopia. This is how things work in the real world of interest politics. I think this is a very good lesson to Ethiopians in the diaspora who have drunk the Koolaid for a while. In my view a very good wake up call. It sure is helping Ethiopians realize who their real friends and enemies are.

  11. Nothing wonder me anymore in this world.How on earth can be possibel a university with such big power of knowledge couldn’t get the true story of the mass killer Melese..It is just like calling Mellosovich of Serbia after Srebrenica killing. Columbia University has no History departement to know about African leaders or they are paid by weyane greedy Lobbist.

  12. The President of Columbia University was highly criticized by the majority of US citizens for allowing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give a speech–Mahmoud Ahmadinejad happened to be one of the most hated man in America. But when it comes to dictator Meles, the majority of Americans do not know who he is and his criminal records. Americans won’t pay attention, even if the tyrant goes to the White House and gives a speech. Meles is the biggest problem of Ethiopia and Ethiopians and every Ethiopians must do every thing they can to let the world know the real Meles and his criminal records. Please write or call Columbia University and let your voice heard. Birtukan is counting on all of us to speak in behalf of her and for the rest of Ethiopians like her…it is the least we can do!

  13. Yes, phoning, administrating, rotten eggs, rotten tomatoes,shoes, etc. throwing is good. In addition to that, it is also good to outline briefly and propagate the dictator’s gross human rights violations and genocides of the last some 20 years and the utterly pathetic and inhuman conditions from which the Ethiopian people are suffering both at home and abroad as cheap slaves to be slaughtered and and or raped at will.

    Just a single highlighted list of major crimes outlined and publicized widely. This is not only a curse but also an opportunity disguised as a curse. The crime publicity campaign can also be in the form of email campaign to all concerned parties.

  14. Don’t praise this blood sucker dictator. He did not progress Ethiopia. He brought its downfall. Woyanne doesn’t help any Ethiopians except for Tigrays. I MEAN SERIOUSLY, A 99.6% WIN?? ONLY PEOPLE WITH NO BRAINS WOULD FALL FOR THAT. The only reason the western countries praised only Meles is because they are glad to have wiped out communism and want to support anyone who doesn’t attack them or their allies. Look at what he did to the opposition! He jailed Birtukan Mideksa. He jailed journalists. Colombia University, if you don’t cancel this event for the blood sucking butcher of Africa, we will keep bombarding you with emails, phone calls, etc.

  15. This institute announces the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, as if the institution studies human rights violation while ignoring reports by HRW, AI, Country Report, Genocide Watch, and other repeatable organization. Shame on you Colombia University for your antithesis acts countering documented facts of crimes against humanity by presenting a blood tented dictator as exemplary to pollute young minds of Colombia University.

  16. How about advertising on a car around the college so that the columbia university students will be aware of the human right oppression that is happening in Ethiopia, like the courageous Ethiopians who did embarrased DLA Piper in D.C.?

  17. Elias,thank you for your tirless effort in exposing the tyrant’s hipocracy.

    I apploud your vigiliance over the activities of Melese,his sceheduled speech at this institution,and for being first to break this event to your audiences.Now,every one has to be envolved to convince the adminstration to reconsider its decision.Thank you again.

  18. I think Tyrants and the so-called ‘Western Allies’ from poor countries (like Meles) are fitting in to Sach’s development model. This guy is always trying to give a cover to Meles during his time of crisis. Below I would like to highlight Sach’s flawed and disastrous economic models as refuted by renowned scientists all over the world.
    One of the strongest critics of Sach’s development model is William Easterly, a professor of economics at New York University. Easterly reproached The End of Poverty (Sach’s book) in his review for The Washington Post, and Easterly’s 2006 book White Man’s Burden is an even more thorough rebuttal of Sachs’ argument that poor countries are stuck in a “poverty trap” from which there is no escape, except by massively scaled-up foreign aid, though Sachs himself has clearly emphasized the need for a complex, multi-faceted, clinical and unique approach to economic development, of which increased and responsible foreign aid is nearly always a necessary but insufficient part. Easterly presents statistical evidence that he claims proves that many emerging markets attained their higher status without large amounts of foreign aid as Sachs proposes. This point is also echoed by the economist Dambisa Moyo who points out that when Sachs was her lecturer at Harvard it was he himself who taught that “the path to long-term development would only be achieved through private sector involvement and free market solutions”. She continues “Perhaps what I had not gleaned at that time was that Mr. Sachs’ development approach was made for countries such as Russia, Poland and Bolivia, whereas the aid- dependency approach, with no accompanying job creation, was reserved for Africa.”
    Another Sachs critic is Amir Attaran, a scientist and lawyer and currently the Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health and Global Development at the University of Ottawa. Sachs and Attaran have worked closely as colleagues, including coauthoring a famous study in The Lancet documenting the dearth of foreign aid money to fight HIV/AIDS in the 1990s, which led to the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. However, Sachs and Attaran part company in their opinion of the Millennium Development Goals, and Attaran argued in a paper published in PLoS Medicine and an editorial in the New York Times that the United Nations has misled people by setting specific, but immeasurable, targets for the MDGs (for example, to reduce maternal mortality or malaria).Sachs dismissed that view in a reply to PLoS Medicine by saying that only a handful of the MDGs are immeasurable, but Attaran then cited the United Nations’ own data analysis (which the UN subsequently blocked from public access) showing that progress on a very large majority of the MDGs is never measured.

    Sachs has also been criticized by leftists for having an overly neoliberal perspective on the economy. Nancy Holmstrom and Richard Smith pointed out that, in advising implementation of his shock therapy on the collapsing Soviet Union, Sachs “supposed the transition to capitalism would be a natural, virtually automatic economic process: start by abandoning state planning, free up prices, promote private competition with state-owned industry, and sell off state industry as fast as possible…”. They go on to cite the drastic decreases in industrial output over the ensuing years, a nearly halving of the country’s GDP and of personal incomes, a doubling of the suicide rate, and a skyrocketing unemployment rate.The Lancet has recently reported that rapid privatization of the Soviet Union caused a 12.8% death rate increase among males in just two years,a claim that The Economist attributed to alcoholism, though The Lancet article attributed the rise in alcoholism to changes in the economy.Canadian activist Naomi Klein argues in her 2007 book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism that Sachs’ Bolivian “success” is not true. In her analysis, the radical reforms pushed by Sachs were neither democratically agreed upon nor achieved without violent state repression and left the majority of Bolivians in worse circumstances.

  19. Elias,

    You are indeed a one-man wrecking machine of the TPLF genocidal establishment!!!

    I seldom praise or unnecessarily congratulate people; however, this time, I have to. I believe you have truly captured the imagination of millions of Ethiopians with what you did This time. So, my friend Congratulation on a job well done, and thank you very much.

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