Mesfin Woldemariam was the founder of Ethiopian Human Rights Council
September 30, 2020
Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, a human rights activist, a political analyst, and critique, a great intellectual and an Ethiopian patriot, passed away on Tuesday in the capital Addis Ababa.
Born in the capital Addis Ababa on April 23, 1930, he has served for a long time as a geography professor at Addis Ababa University. He studied in India and in the United States in the 1950s and ’60s.
After he retired from his teaching position, he spent much of his time struggling against human rights violations in Ethiopia under the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)dominated government.
Bold, furious, unapologetic on matters he believes in, he had been arrested at least twice during the TPLF administration.
He was a staunch critic of ethnic politics in Ethiopia and championed for politics of citizenship that gives primacy for the respect of the human right, equality, and the rule of law.
In 2005, he played a crucial role in the formation of the “Coalition for Unity and Democracy” (CUD) which was formed to challenge the TPLF led government which was a success story in terms of defeating the then ruling party in the ballot box. The late Meles Zenawi led the government had to rig the election to stay in power and send professor Mesfin Woldemariam and other CUD leaders to jail where they stayed for nearly two years.
He has published dozens of books; some purely academic, some are philosophical reflections, and some are reflections on Ethiopian politics. In the past ten years alone, he published several books in Amharic on Ethiopian politics including “Mekshef ende Ethiopia” which narrates about Ethiopia.
When blogging became the order of the day to express political criticism, Mesfin Woldemariam was on the forefront. He had been sharing his insightful social and political criticism until his final weeks. He shared his final status update on social media on September 17, 2020.
Then news emerged about ten or so days ago that he contracted Coronavirus disease. He died at the age of 90. The funeral arrangement is undisclosed at this writing.
At a time when everything Ethiopian was ridiculed in post-1990 Ethiopia, he was a voice for Ethiopia and a symbol of an old Ethiopian value – invincible.
borkena is deeply saddened by his death. Heartfelt condolences to all Ethiopians!
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