“Just last month, an American won the Boston Marathon for the frist time in 30 years. Which was inspiring and only fair since a KENYAN has been president for the last six,”- President Obama during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last Saturday.
DURING a speech made at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, John Kerry, Secretary of State, gleefully told the crowd an American won the Boston Marathon, and added the winner, Meb Kiflghzi, was of Kenyan descent. Kerry Said:
“This year, nothing negative to anybody in Ethiopia, but an American won the Boston Marathon. (Applause.) So, anyway. Pretty remarkable, though I might add of Kenyan descent. So I don’t know what it is. We’ve got to, I think, somehow get people running more or something like that.”
Many Eritreans, including myself, were disappointed by Kerry’s remark. We felt he purposely gaffed Meb’s Eritrean origin in order to appease Ethiopia.
After all, Kerry’s speech failed to condemn Ethiopia on its numerous human rights violations, including the gunning down of 47 Oromo protesters in Ambo just a day before his visit. He also failed to mention Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories. So purposely messing up on Meb’s origins should be seen as another political move to appease a regime that hates all things Eritrea and Eritrean.
Keep in mind, Kerry has intelligent speech writers. It’s hard to believe they would gaffe the origins of Meb when he was the talk of the country after winning the Boston Marathon. After his victory, Meb became an instant celebrity in America. He even received a phone call from Kerry’s boss, Obama, to congratulate him on his victory. Every newspaper and TV news show mentioned Meb was American of Eritrean origin. Meb himself made this clear. So for me, it’s hard to believe Kerry’s team of speech writers didn’t know his origin without them deliberately goofing it up to appease Ethiopia.
I believe the reason why Kerry and his writers deliberately gaffed Meb’s origins is to not mention Eritrea or Eritrean because they don’t want reporters to bring up the topic of Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of sovereign Eritrean territories.
Another reason is because the U.S. administration is well aware that the minority ruled dictatorship in Addis Ababa suffers from inferiority complex towards Eritreans. Several renowned professors and U.S. officials have noted that Tigrayan elites do suffer from inferiority complex towards Eritreans. Mentioning another successful Eritrean may have brought out uncomfortable feelings among his audience.
So for Kerry, this was just another political move where he tells his audience members what they wanted to hear. This shouldn’t come as a surprise for people in the U.S. Kerry has always been a flip-flopping politician who sailed wherever the wind blew.
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