Ezana Sehay 08/22/2014

They say the greatness of a leader can be measured by his/her sustainability in public consciousness after his/her passing. If one takes this parameter at face value; the posthumous stratospheric elevation Meles is accorded by the people of Ethiopia reaffirms his status as one of the giants.

Ethiopians’ deep and sincere compassion for Meles and the tsunami of emotion generated by the shock of his death is still as strong as ever __ but why? Could it be because his death was unexpected, or that he was in his prime time both chronologically and professionally, or could it be because of the plethora of information {about the man and his mystic} that is streaming? One thing is certain … the people are still deeply touched by the spirit of his greatness.

For Meles, politics was not an expression of personal purity nor was he a fun of personality cult. In fact I am certain he wouldn’t have approved the accolade he is accorded. Nevertheless, he has earned the stripes of greatness that needs to be told.

Because Meles was exceptional: an indispensable man of global influence, an esteemed statesman, and a wielder of opinion who shone on national and international spotlight. A career intellectual he was the only Ethiopian leader to have spent his entire life cloistered in public life.

Meles blazed a trail to the leadership that is utterly unique; not in academia, professional, or entitlement __ he simply enjoyed the most meteoric rise in the Ethiopian leadership history; one with the most unlikely origin __ in the campus of the hills and trenches of rural Ethiopia {as a freedom fighter}.

Meles loved his struggling years with religious zeal and that was when and where he swiftly went from obscurity to prominence and eventually to becoming one of the most influential public figure in the global arena.

He rose to his position through brain power; he attained the unique capability of wedding the complexity of his intellect with the simplicity of his compassion for his people; always placing principle before politics __ followed his conscious never first checking public opinion.

He was a pedantic; a distinguish public thinker who had become a political scientist, an economist, and a historian… has written numerous articles and delivered lectures and speeches __ always on matters that reached in to the realm of public affairs.

His intellectual vigor is only dwarfed by the essence of compulsion he developed for his country and his ambition and commitment to replicate the glory days of the Ethiopian people __ to make history rather than tell it.

Meles was sturdily nationalist and mystically moralist. He didn’t often preach it but he orderly practiced it, infusing all his decisions with the vigor and compassion that was never lost on the people.

In 1991, when the EPRDF assumed power and appointed Meles to be president, arguably he was the least experienced person to hold the highest office in the land. But in no time he become the presidency’s most accomplished student of national leadership. As such he proved to be an exceptionally evolved political animal, with tough hide and sharp claws.

Over the years he demonstrated his evangelical affection for the people and always spoke eloquently about his {his government’s} vision for the country and he found much of the nation agreeing with what he had to say.

In order to actualize the renaissance of the nation he was instrumental in drafting the progressive constitution which reaffirmed our unity in diversity from which radiates our strength.

Meles strongly believed in democracy as an idea but he also recognized the moral challenges of democracy. He believed democracy should aim for moral order as humanly possible.

For Meles economic destitution is an antithetical to the democratic principle, and therefore, a responsible government should set its priorities to meet the basic of all the human rights: economic development and social security __ the foundation for a great society.

Every great leader has a determining moment. Meles has too many of those; such as the day he arose the consciousness of the nation: the day he summoned the people and announced the most consequential undertaking in the history of this great nation … the day he dared the people to reasserted their God given right to exploit the virtues of their great river Abay {Nile}. The collective euphoria ignited then is getting stronger by the day.

Meles was equally admired abroad as well {esp. by Africans}. His government initiated one of the most far-reaching precepts of the Ethiopian foreign policy which gained the country respect and acceptance in the global sphere.

Most notably, Meles is well recognized for his relentless advocacy for the interest of Africa. No matter the issue; global warming, debt, or fair trade … during the intense negotiations, Meles always displayed his mightiest weapon; his oratory. With resonant voice and precise diction he became one of the most respected speakers in such forums.

He was acclaimed for his intellect, his evaluative skills, command of language, and his provision of cogent and analytical views of issues of global importance.

But most importantly for Ethiopians Meles was not just a leader. He was a son, a father, a brother, a friend and of course a teacher. Who is not mesmerized by his speech when he addressed the nation or the legislatures? He could extemporize for hours without a pause or misplaced word. He spoke in perfect sentences, compose entire paragraph in his head, relying on superior vocabulary and sometimes humor us with metaphors.

He has thought us that leading is about choosing, managing your politics by strategically thinking and picking your spot; always looking for genuine opportunities that can be exploited and above all it is about setting priorities__ not tilting at winds mills. With such wisdom he has accomplished what other leaders can only dream of.

But more than personal glory, Meles’s determination to defeat poverty at any cost become his reason d’être and that would ultimately be his sacred legacy. Others before him had championed similar doctrines, but Meles was the first to stake his life on the idea, forever affixing his name to the vision of prosperous Ethiopia.

No national leader in such power and influence at any time is profoundly penetrated by the obsession of yanking his people from the yoke of poverty. To that end, he summoned the people to join him in the unconditional war on poverty. That call ignited a social capital that is beginning to bear fruit.

The country is set upon a new trajectory and is spinning away from the gravity of decades of misery. We are witnessing her being transformed from a symbol of failure in to that of hope and possibilities.

Thanks to Meles our people’s national pride is up, way up. There is a seismic shift in the social cosmic order of our society. Ethiopians civic thinking, perceptions, and political imperatives have changed for the better. Today Ethiopians are optimistic, forward looking, confident, and secure__ over all one big happy family.

God bless his soul!


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