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Op/Ed

Dear Editor,

I enjoyed reading your cover story assessing the political landscape in Ethiopia one year after the death of Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia: a year after Meles, Aug. 2013).  However, I found it hard to comprehend or share your general point about the country having seen no change or little change in the past one year owing to the death of Meles. For starters, what do we mean by “a change?” and what justifies our argument in whether there should be a “change” or not?  What happened in August last year is a sudden death of a man who is, without doubt, credited to the political shape and geographical size of this country. But these are not found on mere papers locked in a vault in his office where no one can access them to rewrite them. The changes this country has gone through for the last two decades are institutional: miscarriage of justice is institutional, as is corruption; abuse of power is institutional as is nepotism; gagging dissent is institutional as is arbitrary detention of hundreds of innocent civilians…the list can go on. So here is a question for you and your team of writers: was expecting anything different in just a year legitimate?

 Prof. Be’edilu Chernet G/Meskel

Oslo

Eyob Balcha, Special to Addis Standard  (@eyobbalcha )

The Ethiopian developmental state is getting a comfortable ground in the political economy of the country. It is preached almost every day that it is with a strong and committed political leadership of the ruling party that the current factual success is achieved. But this is happening at the expenses of a compromise particularly in citizens’ democratic and political rights.  This article intends to continue the conversation and debate on the Ethiopian developmental state model reflected in the last two editions of this magazine.

Mark N. Katz

President Obama has announced that he intends to launch a military strike against Syria in response to his strongly held conviction that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its people. It is not at all clear, though, when or even if he will receive approval from Congress or from many (indeed, any) other governments for his initiative.

Regardless of whether he receives domestic and international support for military action against Syria, there is a more modest but symbolically important step that the Obama administration could take that does not need congressional approval: breaking diplomatic relations with Syria.