A Call For Justice: Dimtsachin Yisema Washington D.C.
July 27, 2014
The Ethiopian-American Muslim community in the Washington Metropolitan area is once again appealing to anybody who cares to listen about the gross human rights violation being committed by the ruthless ethnic based minority government of Ethiopia. We have been raising our voice for the last several years to draw the rest of the world’s attention to the atrocities committed by the Ethiopian government against its own people.
International and Regional Human Rights Watchdogs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch including NGOs and semi-governmental organizations have not only continuously condemned the Ethiopian government’s wholesale Universal Human Rights transgressions, they have also documented it for history. Unfortunately, our plea has so far been ignored by those we trusted the most to stand on the side of justice and liberty. As a result, the dictators in Addis Ababa have been emboldened to continue on their repression in a much wider scale. The Western donor countries, specially, the Obama Administration and the British government who are responsible for most of the foreign aid money Ethiopia receives have so far conveniently opted to look the other way while the minority ruling clique is running a system not that much different from that of North Korea. Are we Ethiopians any less human beings than the people of Ukraine who within minutes of their crises got the undivided attention of the West? How is history going to judge the West – the bastion of democracy – for propping up a dictatorship that has jailed the most journalists in the world, religious leaders and conscientious objectors? We know we are living in a very dangerous world that is infested with terrorism. Why is it not obvious for the West allying with a dictatorship that is terrorizing its own people defeats the purpose of the “War on Terror”? We know nations big and small are driven by their interests, but standing on the side of democracy, justice and rule of law must be unconditional. This is what the West has abdicated from for the last 23 years by standing on the side of the rogue regime in Ethiopia. Is the West really at peace with itself while the so called ‘significant ally’ in the “War on Terror” is terrorizing its own people?
Three years ago, Ethiopian Muslims embarked on a peaceful protest every Friday within the confines of their Mosques after the government closed the only Islamic Higher Education Institute in the country, and unabashedly in contravention to the Constitution of the country imported and imposed on them by diktat the unorthodox Ahbashi ideology. In an earnest attempt to seek redress and stop the interference in their religious affairs, Ethiopian Muslims gathered and elected an Arbitration Committee that started negotiating with the government.
Unfortunately, the government was not moved and convinced. Instead, it tried to use the mediation process to divide the Muslim community, further exacerbating the situation. Needless to say the government’s crackdown that followed resulted in numerous deaths, countless injuries, and arbitrary detentions. As part of the crackdown, about two years ago, the government arrested all the members of the Arbitration Committee and charged them with ‘Treason, Terrorism, and Attempting to Impose the Sharia Law in the country’. These Muslim Community leaders and thousands of others are still languishing in the notorious prisons across the country and being subjected to a vast array of inhumane treatment with no relief in sight. Undoubtedly, the country has been converted into a roofless giant prison.
Today, the scale of the oppression has widened. Muslim students have been banned from praying on college campuses. Several hundred female Muslim students have been expelled from colleges and universities for refusing to comply with the ‘No Hijab’ rules. Hundreds of students have been arrested for standing their grounds facing miscellaneous trumped up charges in kangaroo courts that serve only the twisted political agenda of the government.
Today, the majority of the Mosques in Ethiopia are headed by the ruling party cadres masquerading as true Muslims. Praying is restricted to neighborhood Mosques and IDs are checked at entrances by security agents. Today, it is becoming so difficult to be a Muslim in Ethiopia that Muslim religious leaders and scholars, and the youth are fleeing the country in droves as do followers of other faiths. Even other countries are not safe havens anymore. Recently, Ethiopian security agents abducted three leaders of opposition groups from Yemen and Kenya with the help of corrupt officials in these countries.
On July 18, 2014, while Ethiopian Muslims were conducting their Friday congregational prayer at the Anwar Mosque in the Capital City, they were attacked without any provocation by the much dreaded riot Police armed with gears from the West. As a result, a young man was killed, hundreds were injured and several unaccounted for. Thousands: male, female, old and young were rounded up and transported to a designated location where they were subjected to further beating. Hijabs were forcefully snatched off females’ faces just to humiliate them. A wounded man was dragged out of his doctor’s care and thrown into jail with a bullet still lodged in his back. We want the world to know that such acts of terror are repeated across the country on regular bases. How long does the West stay comfortable looking the other way and giving deaf ears to the plight of Ethiopian Muslims? Back in 1991, the ruling clique negotiated its way to power with the help of the US and the British Administrations. We believe, these two donor countries are responsible more than any other country and have the moral obligation and the leverage to force the dictators in Addis Ababa to submit to the will of the people and restore rule of law in the country before it is too late and the country succumbs into complete chaos.
Dimtsachin Yisema Washington D.C.
posted by Daniel tesfaye