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Aggie journalism prof’s Washington Post article foreshadows Ethiopian leader’s death

August 25th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

Editor’s Note: USU JCOM Professor Matthew D. LaPlante led a team of Aggie student journalists to Ethiopia this summer. When they got back, he published this piece in The Washington Post about worries over Ethiopia’s leadership. Within weeks, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was acknowledged to have died (Monday, Aug. 20). The Post (and others) editorialized about it. LaPlante’s piece from the Post, three weeks earlier, is prescient.

By Matthew D. LaPlante
Special to the Washington Post

Published: August 8, 2012

Burhan Ozbilici/AP—Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi in 2007.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — When the summer rains come, as they have in cleansing torrents over recent weeks, the 3 million residents of Ethiopia’s smog-choked capital usually inhale a little more deeply and exhale a little more freely.

But at this moment it seems the entire city is holding its breath. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the rebel-turned-technocrat who has led Ethiopia since 1991, is sick. And his long absence from public view has given Ethiopians cause to contemplate what their nation — now enjoying one of the longest sustained periods of economic development in its history — might look like without him.

MORE For LaPlante’s full Washington Post story, click here.


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