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Columbia University expresses regret

The following letter was sent to Ethiopian Review today by Robert Hornsby, Director of Media Relations, Columbia University:

from: Robert Hornsby
to: Elias Kifle

The longstanding editorial policy of the World Leaders Forum website has been to provide only the basic factual information about the name of speakers, their bios, date of events and, if provided, the title of remarks. The background information that was posted by staff about the Forum involving the Prime Minister of Ethiopia was obtained from the government’s Mission and was not properly cited as such. We regret that error.

It is not the policy of the World Leaders Forum to take editorial positions of the type inadvertently suggested by this unattributed text and, as is the case with all guest speakers on Columbia’s campus, Prime Minister Zenawi’s invitation to speak at Columbia does not constitute endorsement of his views or his nation’s policies.

Prime Minister Zenawi’s remarks will be followed by an open question and answer period with students and members of our university community. Because we insist that such an open exchange be part of World Leaders Forum events, foreign leaders visiting the University often are confronted with probing questions that they may not face in their home countries. Providing such a forum for debate of controversial ideas and issues is central to the University’s free speech values, its educational mission, and its role as a global center of learning.

Robert Hornsby
Director of Media Relations
Office of Communications and Public Affairs
Columbia University in the City of New York
Rm. 402 Low Library, Mail code 4321
535 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027

p: 212-854-9752; f: 212-678-5573
e: [email protected]

43 thoughts on “Columbia University expresses regret

  1. It is not enough just to tell us about the policy of the university. we Ethiopian want the university to deny Mlese a platform to continue to tell the world lays about His administration. while millions of Ethiopian people are going hungry,and our leaders are in political prison and denied there basic human right bay the Woyane administration.

  2. Well it is my highest suggestion that they should also invite the following ‘world leaders: Leader of the junta from Myanmar (Burma), the head honcho of Al Shabbab, the presidents of Belarus, Moldova, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Togo’s Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, all the serial killers in US jail awaiting executions and including their leftist darling Mengistu Haile Mariam. Why not? What the heck!!! Fair is fair, right? I can see how some of them swoon when this goon from Dedebit start blabbering. How cute!!!!! How eloquent!!!!!! Some of them may faint or have an orgasm just looking at him speaking!!! How cute!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Those who can join the forum be courageous to expose him like Hard Talk host of the BBC grill him.He will lose his temper and insult you saying QOSHASHA ten times like he insulted his robot parlamantarians.

  4. The tyrant keeps telling endless lies. If we ask him about political prisoners, he will say “this is between the law and Birtukan”. He should not get the platform to speak. Let him talk to the “Parliament” in Arat Kilo.

  5. Columbia University can not and should not evade responsibility and defend its immoral position under the veil of PR. If the University invites a guest to speak to its community of students and professors, it is then apparent that those who invite guests know whom they are inviting and if the guest is worthy of the name of the Institution. The University seems to be misguided by self interested individuals like Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffery Sachs who have developed a casual friendship with a person who tries to wash his bloody hands with the naive personality of such academics. They were defending his policies in their speaches and in the process ignorning his crimes and now they are pressuring their University to provide a platform in which he may well argue that one party state is the only way for economic development. It that takes killing innocent children and women on the streets, so bit it. For Stiglitz and Sachs, their underlying theme is that Ethiopian do not deserve to live in liberty and democracy.

    Coming back to Columbia cheap PR, there can never be sufficient time to provide students the opportunity to confront the tyrant with facts and answer their questions. All is cosmetic when you have such a setting….as was the case when Ahmadinejad of Iran came to deliver a speach a couple of years ago. Now that you know how genocidal Zenawi truely is, the best and honest thing to do is cancel his appearance and post the reason on your website.

  6. I am sorry to say this! Immorality and inhuman thinking have been continued to destroy USA’s long standing values and cultures in democracy because of blasphemous thoughts which are real phenomenon in every aspects of USA today! To all Ethiopians this irresponsible and inhuman act of Colombia University is a direct acts of attacking each and every Ethiopian’s survival! Unforgivable injustice to all of us if CU continues to its proposal! Let us fight for our survival in whatever means we get to stop this irresponsible and stupidity forever!

  7. Email: [email protected]

    Dear Dr. Bollinger, President
    Columbia University in the City of New York
    Office of the President
    202 Low Library
    535 West 116th Street, Mail Code 4309
    New York, NY 10027

    Dear President Bollinger,

    I am deeply dismayed by the Columbia University’s lack of information by inviting Meles Zenawi, the atrocious dictator of Ethiopia
    It is deeply troubling for the citizens of the United Sates of African origin, when Columbia University as one of the most respected Universities in the United States, decides to invite to its campus one of the notorious murderers in the continent of Africa.
    Have you or your university staffs ever tried to investigate the human rights violations under the leadership of Meles Zenawi that are documented and released by the US State Department? What is the difference between inviting a terrorist and a dictator? Is it okay to invite dictators like Mussolini, Hitler or Stalin to speak at our universities?
    Can it be said that by inviting Mussolini, Hitler or Stalin to speak at our universities, we can provide a forum for debate of controversial ideas and issues that is central to the University’s free speech values, its educational mission, and its role as a global center of learning? I don’t think so.
    The Prime Minister Zenawi’s invitation will definitely boost his image and help him to claim as being one of the most democrat leaders in the world and sadly in his home country. It is shame for Columbia University to serve as an image builder for dictators.
    I strongly ask you to consider your invitation. Otherwise history will document our awful action that will damage our relation with the people of Ethiopia that are suffering and are being terrorized daily under the regime of Meles Zenawi.

    Thank you very much for your consideration.


    Mike Peter, PhD, PE

  8. My Ethiopian brothers and sisters,the best way to expose this child killer Meles Zenawi,go to Facebook and find Columbia university active student group and make them very aware about his evil deeds,Columbia university have a very few ethiopian students.

  9. Elias!

    You are doing a fantastic job as always. We really appreciate all you do for our beloved Ethiopia! Your dedication to our country is above and beyond, and we need more patriotic people like you. Thank you and God bless you! To Mr Robert Hornsby, I’ve only one thing to say: SHAME ON YOU!

  10. Thanks Elias, Job well done.
    The next step should be to avail sharp minds at the meeting in the University and give hard time to the Killer-in-Cheif. As suggested by one of your readers, Prof. Al. Mariam would be the right one.

  11. This is a time for Ethiopian economists to challenge the dictator about the myth of Economic growth in Ethiopia. How the ‘apartheid’ like system is marginalising the majority of the Ethiopian people and sending them to unprecedented poverty whereas prospering a few gangsters of the tribal junta. The tyrant must be challenged about the distribution of the so-called growing economy, how dangerously he is leading the country in to an ethnic strife by favouring his own ethnic minions and systematically impoverishing the majority of the Ethiopian people. It is very important that Ethiopian participants prepare themselves with very relevant and criticaly important questions only, without delving in to matters that are not immediate concern at the discussion. We have to expect also that there will be some sell-out (hodams) who will try to confuse matters and cover up his crime.

  12. Fair enough.
    What I have a problem with now is the title of the discussion on which Legesse Zenawi is invited. I hope attendees will ask tough questions.
    On the other hand, I also hope Ethiopians/NYorkers will show up in droves to show that the terrorist is not welcome anymore.

  13. I am one of Ethiopians who are enrolled for udndergraduate study in Colombia . we are trying to form a group and ask different political questions in order to expose the dictator and to let the world know how this man rules our country.

  14. elias,

    thanks for your great job….continue to do the best….i urge all ethiopians around new york and others who are planning to travel to new york…to go to the forum and challenge meles sytanawi with a bunch of questions… there are many other ethiopians will demonstrate to show their anger aginst the evil and racist group leader of tplf ……come on ethiopians lets get up and show our anger not only by writing but also by showing practically

  15. Columbia University, New York
    202 Low Library
    535 West 116th Street
    New York, NY 10027

    Dear Professor Stiglitz,

    An Italian proverb goes, “Money and friendship break the arms of justice”

    In 2005, Prof Jeffrey Sachs lobbied the Board of the Yara Foundation
    and secured the award of the first African Green Revolution Yara
    Prize, for the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, for “his
    contribution to improve food security and human nutrition in ways that
    also protect the environment.” To me, that was like awarding a Nobel
    Peace Prize to Osama bin Laden in recognition of “his extraordinarily
    outstanding contribution to world peace and stability.”

    Now, the good Professor has arranged a forum here at Columbia
    University for the brutal dictator to make a keynote address “on the
    topic of Ethiopia and African Leadership,” in other words, to ridicule
    the Ethiopian and African people. Well, Japanese rightly say that a
    monkey makes fun of the red behinds of his fellow monkeys. Is Mr
    Zenawi going to tell the audience that he has been in power for the
    last 20 years and has hijacked the 2005 national election, in which he
    massacred over 200 people in broad day light and sent thousands of
    civilians to jail? Or is he going to convince you that he legitimately
    secured “99% of the votes” in the 2010 national election?

    Despite his tremendous effort to end poverty in Africa, Prof Sachs’s
    muteness on suppression of political organizations has one or the
    other way contributed to the consolidation of single party system in
    Ethiopia. Why is Prof. Sachs now promoting the propaganda and agenda
    of a corrupt and criminal dictator? If the issue on ground doesn’t
    bother him then he might as well invite Robert Mugabe to the forum. Is
    this what the University stands for?

    W. Biruk, PhD
    Boston, Massachusetts

  16. I agree with Wondimu’s suggestion because we Ethiopians in Europe have a good example from Meles’s humiliation in Belgium where he became DUDA. When you go there get prepared with flyers and facts on the evil things that he did against the Ethiopian people. I urge you also not to be aggressive but intellectually superior.

    I would like to take this opportunity and applaud Elias Kifle’s struggle against tyranny. However, I don’t suggest you celebrate a single fellow’s effort as you did with Tamagne who is also doing his best.

  17. where is the apology Elias????where ??? can you underline it??? you halucinating facist worst than Mengistu terror monger, you will walk alone, you cold hearted timid sould, good for nothing,
    your brother,

  18. Elias,
    What ever you get labeled at times and you are not always right all the time, some of your special attribute that is assertively determined and commited now and then makes you stand out. You got some results and that is a good and encouraging out come.
    Having said that and believing strongly in fact based media, my position agrees with Columbia University in the following remark.

    “Prime Minister Zenawi’s remarks will be followed by an open question and answer period with students and members of our university community. Because we insist that such an open exchange be part of World Leaders Forum events, foreign leaders visiting the University often are confronted with probing questions that they may not face in their home countries..”.

    Then the focus should as well be also to find Ethiopian students who attend Columbia University, coordinate with them and submit questions. A demonstration is being organized and if it is done and making sure influential and international media is present, could be favorable especially for those in prison, questionable issues like the recent media law, distribution of “capitalism” ( Sebhat Nega’s favourate word ) as you have recently pointed out( business contracts given to immediate associates) ethnic based military structure, human right etc

  19. “Providing such a forum for debate of controversial ideas and issues is central to the University’s free speech values, its educational mission, and its role as a global center of learning.”

    What kind of fair-and-balanced debate gonna take place if the main event is a speech by the crime minster; followed up by questions about the crime minster’s favorite movies and books?

    This is not just a case of a free speech, but an instant of giving a free ride to a tyrant and a criminal on a center stage.

    Thanks to CU.

  20. I am thankful for the likes of Elias who are using their knowledge and talent and their valuable time to fight the illegitimate woyane government with their pen to be the voice for the voiceless Ethiopians.

    I agree with #15, Every Columbia University students should be informed about the mass murderer of innocent Ethiopians and the looter of Ethiopia. The students need to know about the 15 millions of Ethiopians who are expected to die for a lack of piece of bread and a cup of water, while the dictator of Ethiopia, Meles, his wife Azeb and their friends are becoming multimillionaires and living large, literally robbing and draining every ounce of sweat and blood out of the poor Ethiopians.

    I am looking forward to read more strong letters written to the president of Columbia University by our elite and scholar Ethiopians. Since, I can’t write a well thought, strong well researched letter—-I am asking, begging and pleading with our Ethiopian Scholars to flood the President of Columbia University with their letters. Please be counted and be a voice for the voiceless Ethiopians and fight for the injustice woyane are committing on our country and our country men and women. Please, don’t let Meles give us his middle finger and get away with his lies and crimes. Expose him the best you can. Thank you all!

  21. Dear genuine Ethiopians abroad, this is the moment when our stamina will be tested while our poor families are confronting this pathological liar and his loyal cadres day in and day out.

    Especially scholars who love Ethiopia should confront this illiterate arrogant person…

    So if there is a chance to participate on the discussion forum let us (Ethiopian scholars) expose him to the world at large if not we have to find out genuine Ethiopian students from the university and provide them the real picture of Ethiopia by now so that they can present their case as properly as possible.


  22. The statement provided by Columbia University sounds like an old cliche to me – Inviting Zenawi and then saying they are not endorsing what Zenawi stands for. Confusing; but education should not be so confusing.

    Why would Zenawi be given access to free speech at the podium at Columbia University while Zenawi himself is vehemently denying free speech to millions of Ethiopian citizens?

    A prime example of Meles Zenawi’s denial of free speech here is MS. BIRTUKAN MIDEKSA. She is still in prison simply because she spoke the truth about her deal with the government.

    Why on earth are you allowing this guy a free speech at Columbia University?


  23. Do not fool us, it is crystal clear that the WEST, though speak of peace and democracy love “friendly tyrants” like Meles Zenawi who does not hesitate to sell his country or people as long as profitable and prolongs his reign of state terror.

    For me a killer is a killer whether he kills one person or 1000. If the WEST are serious they should use the American/Webser Dictionary and say no to all tyrants whether they are friendly or not friendly to the WEST.

  24. This is a bad story for CU. PS let every body go to CU on Sep 22,2010 @ 3 pm and show to the world who this man is, reputable international media are invited to make live transmission of our protest. Every Ethiopian in the US are invited with his slogan and flyers to show his tyranical nature.
    Shame on those professors who are running after murderer

  25. All said, dear ethiopians lets do our level best to bare out the real image of this straw-man(pm meles zenawi), and rest assured, the truth shall shout out and expose the true anti-human & self-legitimate terrorist identity of the simply machiavellian tyrant meles zenawi and his facist regime eprdf(collection of demagogic bloody politicians).
    I suggest it will be good to foresee his bogus and charactersticaly a neverboggled-to-lay nature on alike forums, and prepare accordingly to wel confront and hush up him, on the stage that he is unfairly provided with to systematicaly lay & confuse the public, more publicly, by cu.
    Plus, it will be strategical to raise issues like:
    -his attempt to create and preserve a deliberatively constructed culture of fear motivated by his greedy ethinic intereset to increase social control more comfortably in a mistrustful & mutually fearing populace
    -introduction of scare mongering, & chilling effect laws or policies éxample: the late proclamations of ngo’s & civil societies, anti-terror, media & communication, election code of conduct…
    -economic marginalization and the motivated systematic impoverishment and dispowerment of the people
    -manipulation of ‘over-cooked’ words, facts, news, datas or source in order to indoctrinate certain desired behaviors, justify or over-simplify gov’tal policies or actions
    -outright fabrication of events or claims for some specific goals
    -careful & repeated distraction of the public’s attentión
    -distortion of terminologies and invention and usage of newspeak to his periodic advantage…
    -and finally realistic facts on the ground.
    we took this particular and previous acts of acknowledging and supporting the tyrant by cu., at the cost of the suffering of millions of victim poor ethiopians, like: “pushing in a stick to the peoples wound.”

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