Friday, July 20, 2007

Workers Unite! Ethiopian Style

In 1974, the Ethiopian Communist party took power in Ethiopia. This monument in the center of the city memorializes their victory over Haile Selassie.

The communist obelisk is similar in size and style to the ancient obelisks in the northern city of Axum, serving as an idealogical counterpoint to Axum's tradition as Ethiopia's holiest Christian site.

The communist revolution occurred during the reign of the last king of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, in the 1970's. The reliefs depict effects of the severe drought, the greed of the buorgeoisie, and communism's triumphant rise led by Mengistu Haile Mariam.

Mengistu Haile Mariam, leader of the revolution:

One of the four walls commemorating the Cuban, Soviet, and North Korean revolutionaries that came to their comrades aid:

During Mengistu's reign, he perpetrated what "Human Rights Watch" called one of the most systematic mass murders by a State in African History. In 1991, Mengistu Haile Mariam was forced from power and fled to Zimbabwe. In January 2007, he was sentenced to life in prison in absentia by the Ethiopian Government. Zimbabwe has refused to extradite him to Ethiopia to face trial.

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