Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Interview with a dictator

After last weeks post featuring a video clip of Al Jazeera's interview with Eritrean dictator Isaias Afewerki, I would be remiss if I didn't offer a link to an interview with Afewerki's arch nemesis, Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi.

EthioBlog has reprinted a Time magazine interview with Meles Zenawi, where the interviewer asks some tough questions about democracy in Ethiopia, his proxy war with Eritrea in Somalia, Ethiopia's relationship with the United States, human rights abuses, and whether nor not he intends to step down for good when his term expires in three years. Compared to the soft soap questions Al Jazeera asked Afewerki, Meles Zenawi was clearly put on the spot.

I can't say the interview revealed any surprises until he admitted that "fear" keeps him awake at night.

It has always been fear — fear that this great nation, which was great 1,000 years ago but then embarked on a downward spiral for 1,000 years, and reached its nadir when millions of people were starving and dying, may be on the verge of total collapse. Now it's not a fear of collapse, I believe we are beyond that. It's the fear that the light which is beginning to flicker, the light of a renewal, an Ethiopian renaissance, that this light might be dimmed by some bloody mistake by someone, somewhere.
- Meles Zenawi

Despite his "fears" about Ethiopia's political and economic progress going down the tubes, Zenawi insists that he will be stepping down when his term expires, a claim dictators often make in haste and repent in leisure. You can read the rest of the interview here at EthioBlog, and judge the sincerity of his claims for yourself.

UPDATE: Thank you, Dan, for giving a shout out to DotW over on The Democratic Piece. Yes, there really are blogs about everything.

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