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Defend Comrade Mengistu!

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Marxism with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2008 by Umer

On the struggle of our Ethiopian brothers

by

Ahmed Khan

Comrade Mengistu Haile Mariam, a prominent opponent of colonialism, whose regime provided invaluable assistance to the liberation of Zimbabwe from the colonialist white supremacist regime of Ian Smith, now faces an uncertain future within the very country he helped liberate. Since 1991, when the Derg regime was overthrown and replaced by the neo-colonialist regime of Meles Zinawi, Comrade Mengistu has been in refuge in Zimbabwe. Seldom has a historical figure been maligned on the scale that comrade Mengistu has been. On December 2006, the Federal High Court in Ethiopia tried Mengistu and 24 other members of the Derg regime (1974-1991) in absentia. This kangaroo court brought forward charges ranging from genocide, homicide and illegal imprisonment to illegal property seizure. Mengistu and 11 other members of the Derg, including Legesse Afsaw, former Ethiopian vice-president Fisseha Desta and former Prime Minister Fikresellassie Wogderes, were sentenced to death. However, the ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe, appreciative of the historical role of this great man and the progressive regime he headed, has refused to extradite him to Ethiopia, where he faces certain torture and death at the hands of a vindictive regime representing the interests of the very classes he waged a titanic struggle against. However, with Zimbabwe itself the victim of an insidious policy of regime-change, the future for the revolutionary looks increasingly uncertain. True to its nature, the pro-imperialist opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has included as part of its future policy the extradition of Mengistu back to Ethiopia. One can only remark that this is a shameless example of utter ingratitude.

To understand why Comrade Mengistu remains such a threatening figure for Zinawi’s compradorial regime, we must go beyond the historical re-writing of Ethiopian history that the Imperialists and Zinawi’s regime have attempted and reclaim the progressive, indeed revolutionary, legacy of the Derg regime.

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