Ethiopia’s tyrant is scheduled to give a speech at Columbia University in NY, on Sept 22nd. Zenawi is heading for a quarter of a century in power at gun point in Ethiopia. He has successfully stolen a vote and claimed his party win the recent national election by 99.6%. It seems that the university is misinformed about this brutal dictator. Please, make your voice heard. Write or call using the samples letters below.
Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University
Phone: (212) 854-9970;+1-212-851-7421 Fax: (212) 854-9973,+1-212-851-7410
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
SAMPLE LETTER 1
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, www.america.gov…, 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.
SAMPLE LETTER 2
Dear Dr. Bollinger,
I am deeply saddened by your university’s lack of insight in inviting a killer dictator such as Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia to a prestigious place such as the Columbia University of New York. It is deeply troubling when Columbia University under your leadership is rolling out a red carpet to invite a notorious killer and murderer into your campus.
Has your stuff bothered to do some research before they invite anyone from Africa where killer dictators are rampant? Or you don’t care as long as a dictator is not a terrorist killing Americans? Does it mean that you don’t give a hoot if a dictator like Meles Zenawi kills his own people like flies? Have you ever considered to look into Meles Zenawi’s file at the US State Department? Please do. Don’t take my word for it. Check US Government records to get to the truth.
We ask you politely, as the president of Columbia University, to rescind this gross error in judgement by inviting a well-known murderer to Columbia University.
We appreciate your cooperation.