Thursday, December 07, 2006

Blues for the Horn

Many are familiar with the younger siblings of George W. Bush. There’s Jeb, who in all likelihood will run for president in a couple years, and then Neil and Marvin, Texas businessmen, who like their older brother, are no doubt priming themselves for an early retirement as leaders of the free world.

Then there is the lesser-known younger brother of George W. Bush. He has all the characteristics of a model Bush brother. He’s a consummate capitalist, an economist by trade. He’s shirked every military obligation ever set before him. He does whatever his older brother tells him, wears George’s hand-me-down draws, and, more importantly, he’s an impeccable copycat, like all good little brothers.

His name is Meles Zenawi, and he is currently the prime minister of Ethiopia. There is no way to understand Mr. Zenawi’s foreign policy and domestic decisions as a head of state outside of his role as George W. Bush’s younger brother and little bitch. Here are a few examples:

In the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush managed to somehow slide himself into the White House, even though his opponent gained a majority of the popular vote. He did this through questionable, strong-arm methods and through the Supreme Court.

In the 2005 national election in Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, taking cues from his older brother, somehow managed to win a landslide victory over a united, democratic opposition who, besides sweeping almost 90% of the vote in the capital city, had strong support in the countryside. Zenawi did this by strong-arming voters in the rural areas, hiring shady ballot counters and armed men to lord over the polling areas, and sheer fraud. EU election monitors unanimously agreed that the election should not be acknowledged. The opposition party, who had nevertheless managed to win considerable seats in the parliament, were then beset by a new onslaught of laws that essentially sucked all the power out of their new positions. They protested. They refused to appear in parliament until they were given their democratically elected authority.

They were summarily thrown in prison, where they remain.

If this were not enough to mimic his older brother, Prime Minister Zenawi, whose approval rating would probably factor in the negative digits in Ethiopia, where he is both feared and hated, has recently declared war on Iraq–er, I mean, Somalia. And all of us know what his older brother thinks of Somalia.

Note to self: do NOT go on hunting trip with Ethiopia’s vice-minister.

Wait.

What is a vice-minister? Did I just make that up?

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