FREEDOM 4 ALL ETHIOPIANS

FREEDOM,DEMOCRACY.JUSTICE.AND UNITY FOR ALL ETHIOPIANS …by DANIEL TESFAYE

Archive for the month “April, 2016”

Gambella Killings and Other Avoidable Ethiopian Tragedies

April27,2016

(SMNE, Press Release) — Putting humanity before ethnicity or other differences and caring about the freedom of others— for no one is free until all are freecould have created a different ending for each of the tragic stories affecting Ethiopians that have unfolded in the last weeks. These incidents did not have to happen, but in each case, could have been avoided or lessened in severity. Much of the pain, suffering, death and loss of countless people and their loved ones could have been avoided had those involved simply put these God-given principles into practice. Gambella Killings and Tragedies

Each incident has an overwhelming component of tribalism gone wrong. How unjust is it to kill, rob and steal from another collective group, dehumanizing them as the other simply because of their ethnicity or the way they look? How wrong is it to commit crimes without any compassion because the other(s) are not part of your own group? How immoral is it to take revenge against some random person, who has done nothing but be of the same ethnicity as the person inflicting harm to some within your own collective group?  

Recurring and avoidable tragedies result when the worst of tribalism is carried out against the collective other; whether on a small-scale, institutionalized into systems like Ethnic Federalism of the TPLF/EPRDF or mixed together and exploited, usually for the benefit of the dominant partner.

Unfortunately, the consequences of these tragedies are now serious and far-reaching. To further complicate matters, they must be dealt with in an environment entirely lacking the supports for success. Collective punishment flourishes in environments where there is a failure of justice. It shows a weak rule of law that is ineffective in ensuring protection for the innocent from collective attacks and hindering those impacted from taking collective revenge. One person can kill another without any consequences. Ethnic federalism of the TPLF/EPRDF and its policies that capitalize on ethnic differences or other distinctions actually promotes this. 

When a ruling party of the TPLF/EPRDF uses ethnicity, religion, political viewpoint, activism, region or other factors to divide people, to protect self-interest, to play favorites with opportunity, to repress legitimate rights and to cover-up needs or complaints rather than dealing with the real problems; the results are what we have recently seen in exploding ethnic-based violence, hunger, and death encountered by the thousands fleeing the country.

Gambella has become the site of increasing ethnic-based violence and killing. On April 21, 2016, two Nuer girls, refugees from South Sudan who were living in the Jewi refugee camp in Gambella, Ethiopia, were hit and killed by a car driven by a highlander associated with a humanitarian group, Action Against Hunger (ACF). The term Highlander refers to a lighter-skinned person originally from the highlands of Ethiopia, rather than indigenous to the region).

In response, some Nuer refugees sought retaliation for their deaths by killing ten or more highlanders, who lived or worked in Gambella. None of those killed were driving the car involved in the accident. The only thing they had in common was their skin-color. Now, highlanders have organized and are retaliating against innocent Nuer, killing three persons. Of the three already killed; none are refugees, but instead are Ethiopian citizens who had nothing to do with the murder of the highlanders.

The highlanders also carried out a protest followed by the attempt by some of them to go to the refugee camp and Nuer areas, but regional and federal security forces prevented them from doing so. Some highlanders threw rocks at the vehicle of the governor of the region, a Nuer, and broke the windshield. Protestors shouted that they did not want to be led by a refugee, claiming the current governor was a refugee from South Sudan rather than a citizen of Ethiopia. Protestors also attacked the vehicle belonging to Riek Machar, the Vice President designate for South Sudan and leader of the SPLA-In Opposition, himself a Nuer, who was preparing to return to Juba to assume his new position there. He condemned the killings by all groups, including the Nuer.

In another incident, occurring a week ago, many were shocked to hear the heart-breaking news of the murder of over 200 Nuer, local citizens of Gambella, who were attacked by approximately 300 armed Murle tribesman who are said to have crossed the Ethiopian border from South Sudan to carry out a simultaneous attack on thirteen Nuer villages in the early morning hours of April 15, 2016. During that attack, mostly unarmed Nuer desperately fought to protect their families against the heavily armed Murle. In addition to the killings, over a hundred children and some women were abducted and two thousand head of livestock taken. It is said that the Murle then returned to South Sudan. These Nuer were not involved in the later attack on the highlanders this past week.

What happened to the Nuer impacted other Ethiopians as can be seen from the many messages of sympathy and support in the social media. Public sentiment was strong; not only because of the great loss of life and the abduction of the women and children, but also because these were foreign aggressors, entering across Ethiopia’s porous borders to attack a vulnerable people who were unable to defend themselves due to the lack of security forces and their disarmament.

We in the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) express our deepest sympathy to those who lost their loved ones and pray that the wounded will soon recover and that those who have been abducted will quickly be returned to their homes and families. These are egregious crimes, piercing the hearts of many caring people; not only within the Nuer community, but far beyond.

Sadly, the numbers of tragic reports affecting the people of Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa have become almost a weekly occurrence. It overwhelms our emotions. It is almost too much to emotionally deal with when we think of these tragedies being followed by two separate incidents where approximately 500 people from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia were drowned crossing the Mediterranean in overcrowded ships in search of freedom and opportunity. This means 1,000 people— men, women and children. The stories from survivors who watched their loved ones drown, unable to save them, are appalling.

We also grieve for these precious lives and extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who so tragically drowned. According to reports, the majority of people who lost their lives, in both incidents, were Oromo, many of them young people escaping the recent violence and government-sponsored killing in Ethiopia. We have heard that some of these victims were activists in the peaceful demonstrations against the regime’s plan to take over indigenous Oromo land as part of the Addis Ababa Master Plan. Fearing arrest, torture or deadly repercussions, they fled Ethiopia, never expecting to lose their lives on the way. 

We deeply feel the pain of these lost lives. These young people were committed to building a better future within the country; but for some, it became too difficult, if not impossible, to do so. Those lost in the sea were also victims of human traffickers who exploited the desperation of those fleeing their countries; however, most of these victims may never have left the country except for the government-sponsored killing of peaceful protestors— over 600 since last November.

Added to the tragedy of these events is the worsening starvation among Ethiopians, especially impacting the people of the Afar and Somali regions of the country. Unfortunately, the peace, security and one-mindedness necessary to better deal with such a deepening food crisis are missing.

Additionally, ESAT News report sources have told them that the Ethiopian Special Envoy for the Prime Minister, Ambassador Berhane Gebrekiristos, had asked the Addis Ababa representative to the UN to stop fundraising efforts being carried out by OCHA, USAID, Save the Children, UNICEF and others since it would “tarnish the image of the country.” Where is the concern for the people who will starve as a result? That story would also “tarnish the image of the country” if it were allowed to surface in the media. Yet, new measures are further restricting the social media in Ethiopia; which, is now the most expensive country in the world for Internet among 120 countries in the study, limiting the number of users in this poor country. (See price rankings by country for the Internet.)

On the other hand, the TPLF/EPRDF government appears to be more proactive in their response to the case involving the Nuer killed by the Murle, possibly because the aggressors came from outside the country. We hope a strategy can be developed to bring the perpetrators to justice, to return those abducted as well as the cattle; however, it is also important to understand how it happened in the first place so it is not repeated.

According to reports coming out of Gambella, the deaths could have been avoided. The Murle alleged to have committed the killings, came from another country. Had there been more security at the borders to protect the citizens; they could have been stopped at the border by Ethiopian security forces whose job it was to protect the borders. However, they were not present to do their job, leaving the border open without any supervision. 

Up until recently, there had been indigenous security forces at the border, consisting of members of the local ethnic communities. However, in February, ethnic violence had erupted between the Nuer and Anuak. These security forces, whose job it was to protect the people of Gambella without bias; instead, turned on each other.

We can blame the TPLF/EPRDF regime, known for using ethnic apartheid divide and conquer politics to maintain tight control over the region, as well as throughout the country. We can also point to years of regional political decisions that were used as tools to alienate one group from another; but yet, the bottom line is that members of both the Nuer and Anuak communities fell into their trap and became complicit in carrying out acts of violence against the other.

This is at a time when reconciliation among the people is of utmost importance. Instead, the situation went out of control without anything to stop it. Rather than dealing with the conflict and crimes committed by various players; the indigenous security forces, as a whole, were disarmed and moved from the border, leaving the country and people vulnerable to attacks such as this one. This provided an open door to groups like the Murle who had committed nearly the same acts against three Anuak villages several weeks ago. At that time, sixteen people were killed, including children and women, and eight children were abducted. Three Anuak villages were burned down. Following this incident, the TPLF/EPRDF regime took no action, essentially giving the opportunity for it to be repeated. This is now the second time. Had the authorities responded as they should have done the first time; it is unlikely that this most recent incident would have been repeated.

Following the latest incident where 200 Nuer were killed, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn made a public statement; but what the country needs is more than a statement. It will require action. If the regime really cares for the Ethiopian people, someone should be held accountable for this. One of those in such a position of responsibility is the Defense Minister who should explain why there was such a lack of security when the risk of guns, violence and further killing was so strong. What is the purpose of defense forces and the legal system when they are not put into action? Again, its a failure of the rule of law.

People agree that a tragedy has happened to the Nuer, but the response of the TPLF/EPRDF should be in a mature, responsible way that will not lead to losing more lives. Reportedly, Ethiopian troops have been given permission by President Salva Kiir to enter South Sudan to find the perpetrators; but it is imperative that an outcome would include a plan to address the security issues.

Simply pursuing the Murle as a whole, instead of the actual perpetrators may be used as a shortcut, but it presents the risk of worsening the outcome, especially if innocent Murle are targeted rather than bringing the real criminals to justice. A meaningful and sustainable solution should be found where the responsibility of the government to protect its own citizens is carried out in actuality, not just in a superficial way in order to look good to outsiders. 

Concern for the safety of the borders should encompass all our borders since it is not only a problem in Gambella, but also in other places, like the border of Kenya. If the government is not willing to secure these borders; they should arm the citizens so they can protect themselves from exactly these kinds of attacks in the future.

These crises in the country signal an opportunity for the TPLF/EPRDF to act for the good of the people; changing their focus from self-preservation and self-interest to acting as a government for the people. In doing so, it may be the best opportunity to help avert a larger crisis that could lead to greater instability. This may be the right time for the TPLF/EPRDF to come to their senses to change the course both they and Ethiopians are on that could lead to an escalation of widespread ethnic violence— a place none of us want to go. 

Instead, it is a chance to bring lasting change that could save everybody— including them. An example of such change would be to open up political space instead of repressing and cracking down on citizens, which includes opening up the media and the exchange of information via technology. Another example would be to release opposition leaders and political prisoners from prisons and jails, and to start a genuine dialogue with the opposition within the country. Still another example would be to revoke the anti-terrorism law used to repress free speech and political activism and also the Charities and Societies Proclamation that has decimated civil society.

The TPLF/EPRDF should listen to the demands of the people. At such a time as this, people are losing hope and these crises that are rising up from every corner of the country will only make it worse, as will the increasing starvation.When people warn about ethnic-based violence exploding, these reported incidents are signs of what could happen on a larger scale without change. Already many Ethiopians— as well as the ruling regime— see themselves first as a collective group where their own survival is seen as primary. The result is the dangerous dehumanization of others that could easily explode under existing conditions. This shows how vitally important it is to embrace a worldview that puts humanity before ethnicity or other differences and protects the rights and freedom of others so that one’s own freedom and rights are upheld; both for practical reasons as well as moral reasons.

The forces of change are already crouching at our door. Those forces could push us towards positive change or result in negative actions leading to an escalation of the consequences we have been seeing. Would it not be better to realize change will come, one way or another, and to embrace the opportunity to bring it in the right way? May God help Ethiopians come to their senses so as to avoid the collision course we are on now.

In closing, we are heartbroken by what has been happening and believe we can find a genuine solution if we are willing to embrace values that support not only our own collective group, but all our people— putting humanity before ethnicity, or any other difference. Human life is precious and as a society, when these lives are lost, we grieve together regardless of ethnicity, religion, regional background, political view or any other differences.

Until we are all free, no one will be free and secure. These principles, upheld by individuals, communities and the rule of law, could have stopped all of these tragedies from occurring and could even minimize the effects of the famine. With God’s help, they could equip Ethiopia for a future beyond what we could ask or imagine.

May God strengthen the families of those who have lost loved ones as they go through this difficult time and may He lead us from the edge of danger to a more compassionate, just and free Ethiopia for all.

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For more information, contact Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE. Email: Obang@solidaritymovement.org

posted by daniel tesfaye

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My Brother, Eskinder (“Invictus”) Nega: You Are Not Alone and We Love You!

April 25,2016

We remember our brother Eskinder Nega

There is nothing more the T-TPLF (Thugtatorship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front) would like to see than the memory of the great Eskinder Nega erased and obliterated from public memory and consciousness. The T-TPLF wants the world to forget Eskinder Nega. They want his memory to fade away into oblivion. If he must be remembered, they want the world to remember him as a “terrorist”.Eskinder Nega, an Ethiopian publisher, journalist and blogger

That was exactly what the white minority apartheid regime of South Africa thought would happen to Nelson Mandela when they gave him a life sentence in 1964 for allgedly committing “terrorism” and shipped him off to Robben Island. Mandela emerged from apartheid prison after 27 years and saved South Africa.

The minority apartheid South African regime did not succeed in consigning Mandela to oblivion. Neither will the T-TPLF succeed with Eskinder Nega. Eskinder will also walk out of prison and those who imprisoned him will soon take his place.

Eskinder Nega’s image, writings and other commentaries on his work and sacrifices are all over social media and various websites including some of the most respected international press and human rights organizations. Hardly does a week go by without some international organization calling attention to his illegal incarceration and plight in T-TPLF prison or demanding his immediate release.

I have Eskinder’s image on the masthead on my Facebook page. Hardly a day passes by without someone asking me if I am aware that there is a picture of someone who does not look like me on my Facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/al.mariam).  I tell them not to worry, “That is the picture of my brother Eskinder Nega!”

I ask my readers a few small favors.

Before reading this commentary, I ask that they read Eskinder’s handwritten letter from T-TPLF “gulag” (prison) as he calls it. (To read the letter, ClickHERE .)

(** We have not word processed Eskinder’s handwritten letter out of respect for the extraordinary effort it took to write it under the constant watch of T-TPLF prison guards and spies and to convey the raw power of the ideas he expressed.**)

I also ask my readers to watch a moving video tribute to Eskinder Nega by Carl Bernstein of   the Washington Post, (the journalist who busted wide open the Watergate scandal leading to the resignation   of President Richard Nixon in August 1974) and Liev Schreiber, (the 2016 Oscar Best Picture winner and celebrated director, screenwriter).  (To watch video, Click HERE. Would Carl Bernstein and Liev Schreiber deliver passionate speeches in defense of a “terrorist”? )

Most of all, I ask my readers to watch a heart-wrenching 3-minute video (with English subtitles) on Eskinder Nega by his wife Sekalem Fasil (herself a distinguished and award-winning Ethiopian journalist in her own right and once imprisoned with her husband for defending press freedom in Ethiopia.)  (To watch video Click HERE.)

Serkalem gave birth to their son Nafqot in T-TPLF prison in 2007.

I am proud to call Eskinder my brother and Serkalem my sister. I am humbled by their sacrifices, awed by their courage, tenacity and  unimpeachable integrity and  inspired by their personal example.

Amnesty 4Eskinder and Serkalem are just symbols of Ethiopia’s best and brightest journalists, dissidents, political and civic leaders and human rights advocates who have languished and continue to languish in T-TPLF official and secret prisons. When I think of Eskinder Nega, I also think of Bekele Gerba, Ahmedin Jebel, Woubshet Taye, Temesgen Desalegn, Andualem Aragie, Andargachew Tsgie, Emawayish Alemu, Deldessa Waqo Jarso,  Akello Akoy Uchula, Zone 9 bloggers and thousands of other political prisoners.

When we remember Eskinder Nega, we remember them all!

The trials and tribulations of Eskinder Nega

Eskinder Nega is an extraordinary Ethiopian journalist and an unapologetic defender of press freedom in Ethiopia. He has been a fearless critic of the T-TPLF since 1993. Over the past two decades, Eskinder and his wife Serkalem launched a number of newspapers that were shuttered by the T-TPLF including Ethiopis, Asqual, Satenaw and Menelik. Until his arrest by the T-TPLF in September 2011, Eskinder was a tireless blogger who had a wide readership in the Ethiopian Diaspora. He called out the T-TPLF, and particularly its late leader Meles Zeanwi, on issues of abuse of power, corruption and maladministration. The T-TPLF has jailed Eskinder on bogus criminal charges so many times, it is hard to keep count.

The T-TPLF jailed Eskinder in September 2011 on trumped up charges of “terrorism”.  His “crime” was 1) criticizing the T-TPLF for its repression of press freedom, 2) wholesale arrest and detention of journalists and 3) discussing the implications of the “Arab Spring” for Ethiopia. The T-TPLF organized a campaign of smear and fear against Eskinder in a futile attempt to portray him as a member of a “terrorist group”, a “spy for foreign forces” and as a “facilitator of  terrorist attacks in Ethiopia.

There is credible evidence from well-placed sources that Meles Zenawi personally harbored extreme hatred for Eskinder. Meles could not stand Eskinder’s audacity to speak to him the way Eskinder did.

Eskinder showed little fear of Meles Zenawi. Eskinder spoke out against Meles come what may.

Meles hated Eskinder because he feared him. Meles feared Eskinder’s pen because Eskinder’s pen oozed out the unvarnished raw truth about Meles Zenawi.

Meles Zenawi can handle a lot of things. But he could not handle the truth.

In September 2010, Eskinder and Serkalem wrote a letter to Columbia University president Lee Bollinger and told the TRUTH about Meles. In that letter Eskidner and Serkalem enumerated the crimes Meles Zenawi had committed against them personally and against press freedom. They urged Meles Zenawi be disinvited: “It is incongruous that a leader who is actively suppressing freedom of expression in his country should now be eagerly awaiting the privilege of expressing his thoughts on the august premises of Columbia University.”

In an “Open Letter to PM Meles Zenawi” in March 2011, Eskinder told Meles the TRUTH. Meles might as well change his name to “Meles Judas Iscariot” and prophesied correctly that Meles will suffer  Judas’ fate for his treachery and betrayal of so many who fought and died for the T-TPLF cause:

None of these leaders [referring to H.I.M. Haile Selassie and military strongman Mengistu Hailemariam and other American presidents], however, whether Ethiopian or American, had to wrestle with the emotional anguish of a bitter break between irreplaceable friends the way Meles Zenawi had to. The lost friendships between Meles and Seye Abraha et al were forged over three decades under the most difficult circumstances. New friends could not possibly fill the void created by their loss. A descent to the emotional wilderness, where it is undoubtedly lonesome, is the least that could have happened to Meles.

I can imagine how the TRUTH in that paragraph could have shredded Meles’ inner core. It is said Meles knew and agonized over what he had done to his closest friends and comrades in arms. (I don’t believe Meles had a conscience to suffer pangs of remorse.)  But if he did, I wonder if he pondered Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 in the depth of his depressions: “…/And look upon myself, and curse my fate, /Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, /Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,/…” Meles had no friends, only enemies.

In the same Letter, Eskinder told Meles to quit the power game while he is ahead:

Ato Meles Zenawi: the people want — no, need — you to leave office. The people are closely watching events in North Africa as I write this letter. They are debating the implications for Africa, including Ethiopia. And they have been inspired by the heroism of ordinary Libyans. Listen to them before it’s too late.

In July 2011, Eskinder told Meles’ tyrannical rule is destined to the dustbin of history,  and democracy  shall rise in Ethiopia from the ashes of T-TPLF rule.

Democracy is humanity’s common destiny. There is no avoiding it whether you are an Eskimo or a Zulu; a Christian or a Muslim; white or black; developed or developing. It is truly universal. And after a long journey, Ethiopia’s encounter with destiny is right around the corner. We are almost there. We shall be free!

In August 2011, Eskinder warned warned  Meles that if things continue the way they are, Meles should expect to meet Gadhafi’s ghastly fate.

Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi, who now leads Africa’s largest dictatorship, and who many suspect is calculating as Gaddafi did at first, should take serious note… And as Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest dictatorship during Mubarak’s reign, was the Arab Spring’s golden prize, so will Ethiopia, sub-Sahara’s biggest dictatorship, be the golden prize for an African Spring. There couldn’t have been an Arab Spring without Egypt. There will be no African Spring without Ethiopia.

Eskinder counselled  Meles Zenawi on September 2, 2011 not to resist demands for peaceful change:

In the event of prolonged absence of peaceful action, an implosion, perhaps violent and no doubt dangerous, is unavoidable. Needless to say, the status-quo is increasingly untenable. The time to call for peaceful and legal action has arrived in Ethiopia. History cannot be postponed indefinitely.

On September 14, 2011, Eskinder was arrested.

On July 13, 2012, Eskinder was sentenced to 18 years in prison by a T-TPLF kangaroo (monkey) court.

The T-TPLF’s evidence of terrorism against Eskinder consisted of poorly recorded audio of Eskinder talking at a town hall meeting potential implications of the Arab Spring in Ethiopia.

On August 20, 2012, Meles Zenawi officially died.

Ethiopian Satellite Television reported on July 20, 2012 (Ethiopian calendarHamle 13, 2004), Meles died.

Scripture says God works in “mysterious ways”.

My information suggests Meles Zenawi hated Eskinder not only for his audacity, fearlessness and courage, but also because Meles envied Eskinder’s intellect.

As I have said many times over the past ten years, Meles was a clever charlatan who managed to convince international diplomats of his intellectual prowess and command of subject matter. Meles was little more than a phrase-mongering mountebank with a gift for gab. Meles made a patsy of former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto who said in a Wikileaks release, “On numerous occasions we have observed Meles run circles around visitors who note general concerns by throwing out detailed responses.”  “Running circles” and setting up easily-duped Western diplomats for demolition was Meles best kept secrets. Those who know Meles know him to be a con artist. Eskinder knew that too. I always believed Meles was a frilled dragon. He will huff, puff and frill his membrane, but he would never engage his opponents in open public debate and discussion.

Who is Eskinder Nega?

It is easy and very difficult to describe Eskinder Nega. He is Ethiopia’s foremost journalist and political prisoner.

In June 2013, Amnesty International declared  Eskinder “prisoner of conscience.” The Committee for the Protection of Journalists has similarlyrecognized that Eskinder is a prisoner of conscience.  Other international human rights and press organizations have issued similar statements.

Eskinder is also the winner of several international press awards for courage, conviction and defense of press freedom.

Eskinder is all of the above and also much more.

Eskinder Nega is a special hero for me not because of the numerous publications he started, his fearless defense of press freedom or the  international accolades he has received, which he eminently deserved.

Eskinder is a special hero to me because he is a freedom fighter of the first order. No he does not use guns, knives and terror  to fight.

His weapon of choice is a pencil or a ball point pen.  His pen spits devastating rounds of truths that paralyze and discombobulate  the T-TPLF. His ideas are a force of nature.

Eskinder uses the truth as a sword to slay falsehoods, corruption, abuse of power and lawlessness.

Armed only with a pen, Eskinder fights despair with hope; fear with courage; anger with reason; arrogance with humility; ignorance with knowledge; intolerance with forbearance; oppression with perseverance; doubt with trust and cruelty with compassion.

But Eskinder is much more than a fighter with a pen.

Eskinder is also a man of supreme courage. Eskinder looked straight into the vengeful eyes of the T-TPLF Beast and said:

You can arrest and jail me for the eight time. You can beat, torture and throw me into solitary confinement. You can persecute and prosecute me. You can starve and deny me medical care in your stinking prison. You can scandalize my name and defame my character. You can even persecute and humiliate my wife and laugh at my child as he cries his eyes out when your goons manhandle me. You can harass, intimidate and make life hell on earth for me and my family. But I will never, never, never bow down to your tyrannical rule, your corruption, your brutality, your sadistic cruelty and abysmal barbarity! For I am Eskinder Nega. I am the master of my fate and captain of my soul!

There are few human beings I respect, appreciate and admire more than Eskinder Nega and his wife Serkalem Fasil.  I have written many tributes in their honor. Eskinder, Serkalem and their son Nafqot (who was born in prison prematurely and denied a life-saving incubator by Meles Zenawi’s “incomprehensible vindictiveness”.)

If I had my way, I would have a law passed declaring them “official Ethiopian national treasures” to make sure no other country or institution could claim them as their own.  They would be given no choice in the matter!

I do not need to speak for Eskinder’s heroism as a defender of press freedom in Ethiopia. There are many who could speak on his behalf more eloquently than I.

Eskinder is the hero of all heroes of press freedom throughout the world.

The world’s most famous dissent journalists have spoken for him and demanded his immediate release, including, among many others, Kenneth Best, Liberia;   Lydia Cacho, Mexico;  Juan Pablo Cardenas, Chile; May Chidiac, Lebanon; Sir Harold Evans, United Kingdom; Akbar Ganji, Iran;Amira Hass, Israel;  Daoud Kuttab, Jordan; Gwen Lister, Namibia;  Raymond Louw, South Africa;  Veran Matić, Serbia;Adam Michnik, Poland; Fred M’membe, Zambia; Nizar Nayouf, Syria;  Pap Saine, The Gambia; Faraj Sarkohi, Iran;   Nedim Şener, Turkey; Arun Shourie, India; Ricardo Uceda, Peru;  Jose Ruben Zamora, Guatemala. Other human rights and press leaders including Mark Hamrick, President, National Press Club, Washington, D.C., Aryeh Neier, President, Open Society Foundations; Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, Joel Simon, Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists, William Easterly, Professor of Economics, New York University.

Eskinder Nega: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

I want Eskinder Nega to know that he is not forgotten. I want Serkalem and Nafqot to know Eskinder will NEVER be forgotten. How can we forget a man who has given us back so much of our dignity by standing up to the T-TPLF?

I want the world to remember Eskinder Nega and all  political prisoners in Ethiopia today.

We remember Eskinder,  ALWAYS. We admire, respect and above all LOVE Eskinder for the wonderful and loving husband and father he is.

Above all, we honor, celebrate and REMEMBER Eskinder Nega as the proud son of Mother Ethiopia.

I thought Michael Jackson’s lyrics with slight paraphrasing would describe how we, the brothers and sisters of Eskinder Nega, really feel:

But you are not alone
We are here with you
Though we’re far apart
You’re always in our hearts
But you are not alone, not alone, not alone…
[We will always be with you.]

I am Eskinder Nega!

Eskinder Invictus!

FREE ESKINDER NEGA AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN ETHIOPIA!!!

posted by daniel tesfaye

 

Ethiopia: U.S. Senators Speak Loud and Clear

April 23,2016

Human Rights Violations in Ethiopia Must Stop!

Last July, Barack Obama visited Ethiopia and declared the ruling Thugtatoship of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (T-TPLF) regime a “democratic government.”Senators Ben Cardin (D-Maryland)

The T-TPLF claimed with a straight face that it had won the 2015 “election” by 100 percent or all 547 seats in “parliament”.

The New York Times called it a “sham”.

Human Rights Watch called Obama’s  statement “shocking”.

I called it a low down dirty shame.

On April 20, 2016, Senators Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murry (D-WA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Al Franken (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Marco Rubio (R-FL)  sponsored a  Resolution condemning the crimes against humanity being committed by the  T-TPLF in Ethiopia today.

Well, they did not exactly use the phrase “crimes against humanity.” But that was exactly what they meant in their Resolution.

Senator Cardin  commenting on his introduction of the  Supporting Respect for Human Rights and Encouraging Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia said:

I am shocked by the brutal actions of the Ethiopian security forces, and offer condolences to the families of those who have been killed.  The Ethiopian constitution affords its citizens the right to peaceful assembly and such actions by Ethiopian government forces are unacceptable. The government’s heavy-handed tactics against journalists and use of the 2009 Anti-Terrorism and Charities and Societies Proclamations to stifle free speech and legitimate political dissent demonstrate a troubling lack of respect for democratic freedoms and human rights. Given the challenges posed by the devastating drought and border insecurity, it is more important than ever that the government take actions to unify rather than alienate its people. It is critical that the government of Ethiopia respect fundamental human rights if it is to meet those challenges.

Senator Rubio echoed the same sentiment:

Peaceful protestors and activists have been arrested, tortured and killed in Ethiopia for simply exercising their basic rights. I condemn these abuses and the Ethiopian government’s stunning disregard for the fundamental rights of the Ethiopian people. I urge the Obama Administration to prioritize respect for human rights and political reforms in the U.S. relationship with Ethiopia.

Obama turned a deaf ear to Senator Rubio’s plea. To add insult to injury, Obama stood up in Addis Ababa and shamelessly declared the T-TPLF is a “democratic government”.

It is to be recalled that Senator Rubio wrote a letter to Obama a few days before Obama visited Ethiopia in July 2015 “highlighting” his “concerns regarding ongoing human rights abuses by the Ethiopian government against its own people.” Senator Rubio warned in his letter:

Although the United States and Ethiopia share an interest in fighting terrorism and securing stability through the region, it is essential that the U.S. does not turn a blind eye to Ethiopia’s human rights abuses. By shutting down avenues to express dissent through the political process, civil society, or media, Ethiopia’s government may fuel further instability in the country.

Brutality by government forces is a crime against humanity.

U.N. Security  Ban Ki-Moon said, “The acts of brutality [by the Syrian government] that are being reported may constitute crimes against humanity or war crimes. Such acts must be investigated and the perpetrators held to account.”

That is exactly what the U.S. Senators are saying and calling for in their Resolution.

The Senate Resolution states in plain words that crimes against humanity have been committed in Ethiopia under T-TPLF rule and there must be “a full, credible, and transparent investigation into the killings and instances of excessive use of force that took place as a result of protests in the Oromia region and  hold security forces accountable for wrongdoing through public proceedings.”

But the Resolution goes well beyond a simple statement of disapproval and criticism.

I believe the  Resolution represents the senators’ sentiments, views and positions on four distinct issues. The Resolution 1)  totally condemns T-TPLF’s crimes against humanity, 2) expresses impatience and dissatisfaction with the Obama Administration’s  do-nothing about human rights approach in Ethiopia, 3) demands direct policy action by the U.S. Secretary of State to secure  improvements in the human rights situation in Ethiopia or to review use of US aid as leverage, and 4) serves clear notice to USAID to undertake programs and activities that could help improve human rights and democratization in Ethiopia.

The catalog of  T-TPLF crimes against humanity in the Resolution

I believe the first part of the Resolution, for all intents and purposes represents, amounts to a legislative  “indictment” against the T-TPLF for crimes against humanity.

The Senate Resolution declares that T-TPLF has:

Engaged in “serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, killings, and torture committed by security forces as well as restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association, politically motivated trials, harassment, and intimidation of opposition members and journalists.”

Engaged in “state sponsored violence against those exercising their rights to peaceful assembly in Oromia and elsewhere in the country, and the abuse of laws to stifle journalistic freedoms, stand in direct contrast to democratic principles and in violation of Ethiopia’s constitution”.

Caused “democratic space in Ethiopia [to] steadily diminish since the general elections of 2005”.

Rigged elections and claimed to have won “100 percent of parliamentary seats”.

Abused a so-called  “Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to limit press freedom, silence independent journalists, and persecute members of the political opposition.”

Restricted and virtually stamped out “civil society and nongovernmental organizations, particularly those investigating alleged violations of human rights by governmental authorities”.

Persecuted and prosecuted journalists and bloggers and created a climate of fear and “coercive environment” for the press.

Killed “at least 200 peaceful protesters in the Oromia region, and that number is likely higher.”

Condemnation of the T-TPLF regime in the Resolution

The Senate Resolution without reservation

Condemns (A) killings of peaceful protesters and excessive use of force by [T-TPLF] security  forces; (B) [T-TPLF] arrest and detention of journalists, students, activists and political leaders who exercise their constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression through peaceful protests; and (C) [T-TPLF] abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to stifle political and civil dissent and journalistic freedoms.

Call for T-TPLF Action in the Resolution

The Senate Resolution makes specific demands on the T-TPLF:

  • Halt the use of excessive force by security forces;
  • Conduct a full, credible, and transparent investigation into the killings and instances of excessive use of force that took place as a result of protests in the Oromia region and hold security forces accountable for wrongdoing through public proceedings;
  • Release dissidents, activists, and 13 journalists who have been jailed, including those 14 arrested for reporting about the protests, for exercising constitutional rights;
  • Respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and guarantee freedom of the 18 press and mass media in keeping with Articles 19, 30 and 29 of the Ethiopian constitution;
  • Engage in open and transparent consultations relative to its development strategy, especially those strategies that could result in people’s displacement from land;
  • Repeal proclamations that can be used as a political tool to harass or prohibit funding for civil society organizations that investigate human rights violations, engage in peaceful political dissent, or advocate for greater political freedoms;
  • Repeal proclamations that prohibit or otherwise limit those displaced from their land from seeking remedy or redress in courts, or that do not provide a transparent, accessible means to access justice for those displaced.

“Step up”: The Obama Administration’s must abandon its do-nothing policy to improve human rights in Ethiopia 

The Resolution diplomatically intimates that the Obama Administration has done little or nothing to help improve the human rights situation in Ethiopia.

Stripped off the diplomatic euphemism, the Resolution asserts the Obama administration has been talking the human rights talk in Ethiopia but unwilling to walk the human rights talk.

The Resolution declares that Obama got T-TPLF leaders to “commit” to “deepen the democratic process and work towards the respect of human rights and improving governance” in July 2015, but the outcome since has been massacres and more repression.

The Resolution calls on the Obama Administration to “review of security assistance to Ethiopia in light of recent developments and to improve transparency with respect to the purposes of such assistance to the people of Ethiopia”.

The Resolution further “calls on the Secretary of State [and] the Administrator of the United States  Agency for International Development, to improve oversight and accountability of United States assistance to Ethiopia.

Senate Affirmation of  Respect for Human Rights in Ethiopia

The Senate Resolution affirms that the U.S. Senate “stands by the people of Ethiopia, and supports their peaceful efforts to increase democratic space and to exercise the rights guaranteed by the Ethiopian constitution.”

What Does the Resolution Really Mean?

It is important to note that the Senate Resolution (“simple resolution) is a legislative act intended to signify the Senate’s “sense” of what is happening in Ethiopia and what needs to be done. (See Senate Rule 30, adopted 2/4/15.)

When the Senate seeks to state its  views, opinions and position, make a point or send a warning on an issue of importance, it employs a simple resolution to get its message across. The Senate Resolution on Ethiopia aims to express the opinion of a majority of Senators.

It is also important to understand simple resolutions, unlike regular “bills” and “resolutions” do not have the force or effect of law nor do they require presidential signature.

So, a reasonable question is why bother to pass a “simple resolution”?

Though simple resolution do not have the binding effect of law, they serve some important purposes. They are used by either house of Congress to:

  • Go on record and take a position on a particular issue and express support or opposition for a particular action, policy, proposal, idea, plan, program, etc.
  • Generate preliminary support or opposition among members for an intended or anticipated action and build momentum;
  • Serve notice to the President that the Senate or House are contemplating imminent action on a particular issue and urge executive corrective action obviating the need for more formal legislative action.
  • Notify U.S. departments and agencies and foreign governments that the U.S. Congress is watching a specific issue with special attention and concern.
  • Communicate a specific message in foreign affairs (to foreign leaders) that a certain state of affairs in a particular country or region is unacceptable to the people of the United States and that legislative actions could follow if the circumstances persist;
  • Apply subtle pressure on foreign governments to make changes in policy.
  • Signify a change in policy or possible forthcoming legislation.
  • Signify the possibility of public hearings.

The bottom line is that Senate resolutions are taken very seriously by most foreign governments and agencies and department of the U.S. Government. It is not unreasonable to suppose that the T-TPLF ignoramuses will chafe and ignore it.

Faced with a similar legislative situation in 2007, Meles Zenawi, the late leader of the T-TPLF, angrily and sarcastically lashed out at Congress  at the U.S. Congress: “The Ethiopian government isn’t willing and is unable to be run like a banana republic from Capitol Hill or anywhere else.”

In 2009, I demonstrated that Meles’ government was quite willing to be treated like a “barley republic from Jeddah or any of the other Gulf states.” At the time, Zenawi was handing out millions of acres of Ethiopian land to so-called Saudi and Gulf “investors”.

In the Ethiopia Senate Resolution, there is little doubt that the T-TPLF will pay special attention. I do not doubt that the T-TPLF is consulting its Big Bucks lobbyist on what to do to nip the resolution in the bud. The T-TPLF has learned from the past (RememberH.R. 2003) that if it pays its lobbyists USD $50,000 a month it could stop cold any legislation in the U.S. Congress.

Demand for USAID Accountability in the Senate Resolution

My readers will recall my letter to USAID Administrator Gayle E. Smith dated March 16, 2016, in which I demanded accountability and transparency in USAID administration of American aid in Ethiopia. I asked Ms. Smith:

What safeguards, if any, are in place to ensure the ruling regime will not put any of the $500 million to political purposes?

What accountability processes are in place to ensure the prevention of corruption in the administration of the aforementioned assistance in Ethiopia? How much of the $500 million is provided to the ruling regime in Ethiopia in the form of discretionary or non-discretionary expenditures?

I am glad to see the April 20, 2016 Senate Resolution makes a similar demand by

call[ing] on the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, to improve  oversight and accountability of United States assistance to Ethiopia pursuant to expectations established in the President’s 2012 Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.

Unanswered Questions

There are many who ask myriad questions about the Senate Resolution. Why now? Where have they been all these years? Does the resolution mean the Senate has something “up its sleeve”? Is it just rhetoric? What is going to happen next? Is the Senate really serious about human rights violations in Ethiopia? Should Ethiopians be hopeful the resolution will produce immediate improvements in the human rights situation in Ethiopia? Will the Senate resolution end up being just talk and no action? And on and on.

It is hard to give definitive answers to these questions.

The U.S. legislative process is very complex requiring bicameral action to enact legislation subject to presidential veto. The American legislative system is structurally designed to function in a slow and deliberate process subject to constitutional and internal legislative rules.

We have learned firsthand how a bill to promote human rights and democracy could be subjected to massive lobbying efforts to defeat it when we worked to pass H.R. 2003 (Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act).

Regardless, I am not concerned.

I wholeheartedly agree with Thomas Payne, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States,  who said in a speech on December 23, 1776:

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value… I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.

posted by daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia: Andualem Aragie’s (Prisoner of conscience) Open Letter to President Obama

April 21,2016

The president of the United States of America,

Dear President Obama,

I am a son of a poor farmer who sustains his family in subsistence agriculture and still is. I am the son of that farmer, who did not try to change the life of his father, nor that of his own, believing from the outset that, it is when societal, political and economic problems are properly dealt with first that we can prosper as a nation or as a family. Mr. President, I am the son of that farmer, who tried to peruse his dream to change the conditions of his people to the better since my university campus days as a student leader and later on as an opposition politician before finally finding myself labeled a terrorist by the Ethiopian regime. I am sentenced to life imprisonment and languishing in the worst prison in Ethiopia, Kaliti PrisonAndualem Aragie's Letter to President Obama

Mr. PREDIDENT, I am a “terrorist” who takes pride in his country as a cradle of mankind(as you have witnessed yourself when you visited Lucy), ancient civilization, home of Gedda Democracy , one of the only two countries in Africa never colonized, and the only country in the whole black Africa with its own alphabet. I am also a terrorist who takes pride in what our great grandmother and fathers accomplished at the battle of Adwa 120 years ago. As you know, the victory of Adwa was a landmark event for the people of Africa under the yoke of colonialism and people of African origin all over the world. I also take pride in my country’s “midwifery” role when African countries fought against colonialism.

I am also a terrorist who deeply feels disgusted and disgraced by the abject poverty, recurrent drought, famine, and age-old civil war that claimed the lives of our youth in great number for a long time now; and the prevailing pervasive undemocratic system of governance in my country. I am also aterrorist who accepts non-violent struggle as a religion and employs it to uproot dictatorship, which I believe, is a major source of our problems.

Mr. President, you said, “Ethiopians are tough fighters”. Yes, when it comes to defending the sovereignty of our country from aggressors, we are tough fighters. Sadly enough, however, we could not repeat it when it comes to defending our sovereignty from our own dictators. The Ethiopian people fought nail and teeth against the Derg military junta for 17 years, and it seemed to most of us that its downfall would herald the dawn of democracy in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, however, we cannot still have a government of different breed. We languish under the quagmire of repression since the last 25 years now. However, we are not sitting with crossed hands. As the battle of Adwa inspired people under colonialism and repressive regimes to fight for their rights, some of us were also inspired by the non-violent struggles of the people of India and the civil rights movement in America, tried to emulate it here for the cause of democracy.

During the 2005 Ethiopian National Elections, it seemed that our effort was to bear fruit, however our hope was shattered when the dictatorial regime rigged the elections. Even worse, the crackdown of the regime on the opposition was so rampant that leaders of the major opposition parties like the then Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), which I was one of its leaders, presumably winner of the elections, were thrown to jail along with thousands of members and supporters. The obstruction of democracy by the regime was so evident that the international community  in general and the European election observing mission in particular denounced the sordid immoral deeds of the regime, however, the backpedalling of the regime was not easily reversible.

It was during this time, my first incarceration, that I was introduced to your brand new ideas in a given magazine. After twenty months of imprisonment, paradoxically about 24 of us were sentenced to life imprisonment but were soon released on pardon. After my release, I was married to the love of my life, Dr. Selam  Aschale. During the subsequent four years that I spent out of jail, we were blessed with two boys Ruh and Nolawi. I had however, somehow sensed that I was bringing to this world children that I cannot raise. The day to day surveillance was an omen to what was to come. However deep in my heart I believed and still believe that it is an honorable thing to die in prison than to lead a docile and capitulated life in the face of brutal dictatorship.

During the post release years, I was lucky enough to witness your first campaign to the office of president of United States of America. I watched almost all your debates Live. I love Soccer Mr. President, but I would be dishonest, if I say I enjoyed it more than I did your debates.  Knowing full well that what I do does not count, I joined millions of your supporters and I was one of the recipients of your e-mail updates. I listened to the acceptance speech of your and Senator John McCain Live. To be quite honest Mr. President, I was deeply moved by your country’s beautiful democratic tradition, my heartfelt yearning for the same thing to take place in my own country.

Yearning for democracy of your type is an unforgivable sin in my country Ethiopia. As Mrs. Rosa Parks was arrested because of her refusal to relinquish her seat and was fined 14 dollars, I was arrested when I was serving my party, the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) as its Vice President and Head of Public Relations Department for the cause of democracy and justice in Ethiopia. I was labeled a terrorist and sentenced to life imprisonment once again. I have been languishing in the worst prison condition even by Ethiopia’s standard for four and half years now. While staring at a sky as small as a palm, my mind wanders everywhere, and keeps on contemplating all sorts of things. I now and then ask myself in Kaliti prison, find refuge in the purity of my cause and intentions, and sleep in peace despite prison ordeal. I think of my wife, in particular my sons, who are growing without a father figure. The first, Ruh was three years old and on his first day of school and Nolawi was ten months old when I was sent into prison.

On your book, the Audacity of Hope, page 72, you discussed how you felt about your daughters and mentioned about other senators who have young families trying to discharge your responsibilities while your family is somewhere else. Mr. President, I hope you feel the pain of injustice inflicted on my family, especially on my children. My sons and the children of many Ethiopian journalists and politicians, who are behind bars are asking different endless questions that they could not find answers to, such as why their fathers don’t come home for so long. Mr. President I don’t want to waste your time by delving into torturing questions that my sons were raising for the last four and half years.

Mr. president, to what extent are people represented even in democracies I believe is a difficult question to easily find an answer, let alone in a country like Ethiopia where elections are used as a camouflage to perpetuate the quarter of a century  dictatorial rule. Even if the camouflage was unmasked during the 2005 Ethiopian National elections, the regime “won” the elections 99.6% and that of the 2015 elections, which it won 100% and it is preaching that the sun of democracy is shining like daybreak in Ethiopia. The world is more than ready to be deceived. Even you, your excellence, during your visit to Ethiopia you were heard saying that the ruling party is popular. Do you really mean it Mr. President?

“All men are equal”

As your founding fathers wonderfully put it Mr. President all of us are created equal. Whether “the poorest of the poor” in a street or “the king of kings” in a palace, we all are created equal in God’s own image. Hence, we all deserve to be fairly treated. No one is created to be subjugated to anyone’s rule under any circumstance. Mr. President, no one can deny your eloquence and that you have beautifully addressed the issue of democracy and justice during your first campaign to the office of the president of the United States of America. You have also poignantly written about it in your book the Audacity of Hope. Your debates and success have made us believe that anything is possible so long as we are ready to avail what it takes. However, those of us in Africa, I don’t think are touched by your practice as by your speeches.

Whether in a far off country like Ethiopia or neighboring countries like Cuba, whether the relationship is economically viable or not, a true alliance between countries should be based on the sovereign right of the people.  As you very well understand, I don’t think this is the case between Ethiopia and the United States. Where is your “clenched fist” Mr. president when the people of Ethiopia are forced to walk it? I heard you admonish our leaders during your state visit in Ethiopia. Is that all what the president of the United States of America could do to help the people of Ethiopia in their fight for justice and democracy?

Mr. President, I believe that you will go down in history as one of the greatest American presidents. I, as well, believe that what you have accomplished in your two terms tenure as the President of the United States is remembered in history as the first President of the United States of America with African origin who did little or nothing to help Africans in their fight for democracy and justice. From the outset, Mr. President many people had doubted if your rhetoric will not matches your practice because of the long-standing political tradition of Washington. I now ruefully think they sounded right. I still am surprised how a president of your great quality could simply see when people are stripped of their God given rights. Is it because of political pragmatism, constructive engagement, or because of “a soul searching inspection” that you were forced to peruse the old way of doing business, Mr. President?

To be quite honest, even when languishing in prison, deep down in my heart, I welcomed your visit to my beloved country. Deep down in my heart, I was confident of you and hoped for something that can help the cause of justice and democracy to transpire as a result of your visit. To my dismay however, you were heard officially saying, “the regime is popular.” What does it really mean Mr. President? I think free and fair election is the best thing to prove if anybody is popular or not. As far as I understand, we have never had free and fair elections in our history so far. So how can it be proven that the regime is popular? Was Saddam Hussein popular when he “won” elections 100%?  It is barely one year since the Ethiopian regime “won” the national elections 100%, but the people of Ethiopia in different regions like Oromiya, Tigray, Amhara and Gambella are fighting for their rights? And people are killed and imprisoned in mass at whims. No one thinks this is what is expected of a popular party or regime. How can a regime that infiltrates, disbands and imprisons leaders of parties that it is believed to have the support of the people, a regime that stifles freedom of the press and throws journalists to jail and keeps its people at gunpoint be a popular one? In a country where the regime is claiming that the economy is growing double digit for 12 consecutive years and the income inequality is narrowing down to a small number, over ten million Ethiopians are waiting for handouts from the donor community. The so called growing economy could not even support starving Ethiopians for at least a year. I don’t think this too is a result of popular ruling party. The Ethiopian youth is fleeing in every direction from its country. Why do they flee from their “popular” government, Mr. President? As you very well know, none of the above is an indicator of a democratic government. Democracies are known for their political, economic and social stabilities.

I believe that you know very well James Meredith. Mr. president even if the authorities were hostile to him; he was able to enroll at the University of Mississippi by the order of the Supreme Court’s order. Even during the Apartheid, South African prisons had some trust on the judiciary. In Ethiopia, it is not when you are accused of terrorism that you know for how many years that you are to be sentenced. It is when you decide to join the opposition or to criticize the regime like journalists Eskinder Nega, Wubeshet Taye, Temesgen Desalenge and many other journalists, and gallant politicians like Bekle Gerba and Habtamu Ayalew and others who are paying dear price behind bars that you will know what is to come. It is not only the arrest warrant but also the verdict that comes out of palace. Institutions are used to perpetuate one party rule Mr. President. No one who loves his country tarnishes the image of his country. I love my country Mr. President, I am not doing that, but trying to show the cruel injustice from its cup even my sons’, and their mother are drinking the brunt of it. Four people were tortured to give false testimony against me. Two of them could not stand it, they did as they were trained and they were released subsequently. The remaining two Nathenael Mekonen and Kinfe Michael Debebe endured the torture however they are up to now suffering as a result of it. Both Natnael and KinfeMichael are sentenced to 18 and 16 years respectively. To put it bluntly Mr. President, we are in the dark. I am sorry that I could not join you in your praise of the regime as a popular one.

The modern time of Adwa

In your country, in 1865, John Wilkes Booth succeeded in assassinating Abraham Lincoln, but could not stop the dawning of a new era of racial justice. Because all men are created equal and his cause was not just. The Gandhi of India was able to win over independence from the British imperial rule, because the cause was just that all men are created equal. As you know Mr. President, Adolf Hitler could not succeed in his effort to establish the Aryan races because his cause was not just, “all men are created equal.” James Earl Ray assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but the sniper that killed him did not kill his dream and you Mr. President are the President of the United States of America as the embodiment of that dream because the cause of the assassin or any one behind him was not just, because “all men are created equal.” 120 years ago exactly this time, our great grandmothers and fathers stood in unison and defeated the Italian invading force, because our cause was just that all men are created equal. Nobody has the right to invade the land or the right of anybody.

Our great grandmother and fathers however were not in a position where they can be considered as men who are created equal at home. I take pride in our father’s peacekeeping missions in Korea and Congo and most of the current peacekeeping missions in different African countries. The irony is, Ethiopians who died and are dying in great number in other countries do not have a government they deem is their own. They have an unfinished assignment at home; like the civil right activists in the 60s in the United States, we truly believe in nonviolent struggle; it is not because we are very religious, but because we believe it is a potent weapon against dictatorship; to bring about lasting peace and development. I believe we will come out victorious in our struggle whatever it takes. Because our cause is just and all men are created equal. We are not terrorists, Mr. President; we are visionaries of true democracy and justice. We are freedom fighters. Like the battle of Adwa, our great grandmothers and fathers accomplished, which seemed impossible at that time, we believe we can also overcome tyranny and can write the history of modern Adwa by making Ethiopia an oasis of democracy, which I believe is a panacea for our problems. Many Ethiopians are paying untold sacrifices to make this dream come true, Mr. President.

We are not what our jailers call us. They know very well the goal of our struggle and the purity of our intentions. The thing is our goal is not theirs, nor is theirs’ ours. This is the basic issue. Dr. Martin Luther King once said that men of bad will are very smart in their usage of time and crafty at getting what they want. This is what our rulers are doing in Ethiopia. However, we will persevere and come out victorious at last.

You are casting tribute

Mr. President I am very mindful that safeguarding the interest of the people of the United States of America is your primary interest and responsibility. But as Dr. Martin Luther King said, mankind is tied up in a single garment of destiny. The goal of democracy and justice should be the goal of all humanity and this does not go against the inalienable rights of anyone, in fact, it goes in line with the lasting peace and prosperity of any country. Tyranny has never been sourced from any country nor will it be. The case of different dictators who are supported by different American governments is a case in point to prove that alliances with dictators are counterproductive. On the other hand, supporting the cause of democracy and justice is in line with the idea of your founding fathers and democratic rights cherished by Americans in your backyard. Mr. President, was Dr. Martin Luther King JR. wrong when he said “injustice is a threat to justice everywhere?” Does not this make sense in the globalized world in the 21stcentury? Do you believe that we should walk alone Mr. President?

Lack of support from democratic countries such as yours and the ever repressive acts of our rulers can delay the dawning of the sun of freedom in Ethiopia, but I have reaffirmed my faith in the struggle of the Ethiopian people that will not remain oppressed. Would I say that you have failed us Mr. President? No, I still believe you still have time, the good will and the urge to directly or indirectly use your political clout to help the cause of democracy and justice in Africa. Your lasting tribute, when it comes to Africa, I think should be related to not only the flesh, but also the spirit of the people who are stripped of their dignity in the hands of their rulers. Therefore, I would like to kindly bring into your attention, to please take your time to remember people, who are fighting for the cause of democracy and justice in Africa in general and in Ethiopia in particular and take the appropriate measures.

Respectfully yours,

Andualem Aragie Wale

(Prisoner of conscience)

March 2, 2016

Kaliti

posted by daniel tsfaye

Ethiopian Political and Civic Organizations Opposed the Candidacy of Tedros Adhanom to WHO Head

April 19,2016

20 Ethiopian Political and Civic organizations write to WHO board of directors in opposition to the candidacy of Tedros Adhanom to the post of Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Dear Matsoso:

We are a diverse group of Ethiopian Diaspora organizations from all parts of the world, working in the field of human rights. We write in opposition to the candidacy of Tedros Adhanom, Ph.D. for the post of Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and respectfully urge you to reject his candidacy.

Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom – A disgrace to Ethiopia

Dr. Adhanom’s nomination as the sole candidate representing Africa is not only an insult to Ethiopia but to all Africans. His candidature must be read in the context of the political, social and economic policies of the government of Ethiopia that he represents. He has served as the Minister of Health from 2005 – 2012 and currently serves as the Foreign Minister for the government of Ethiopia. One need only to scan the various reports from international organizations to gain an understanding of the human rights tragedies ever present in Ethiopia as a direct result of the policies of the Ethiopian government. Dr. Adhanom is a member of the inner circle of a ruling party whose leadership style is antithetical to democracy and respect for the rule of law. Lack of free elections in more than two decades, a fact that has been documented by numerous organizations and governments, serves as prima facie evidence of a repressive regime.

As the face of that government, Dr. Adhanom did not lend confidence as a public health figure while he served as the Minster of Health in Ethiopia. As outlined in this letter, his tenure as head of the Federal Ministry of Health was fraught with mismanagement, incompetence and in particular to the monies granted from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria, resulted in an audit by the Office of the Inspector General.

Therefore, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which an individual with such a compromised resume would be a candidate worthy of serious consideration for the immensely respected and extremely consequential position of the Director General of the WHO.

Minister of Health—Ethiopia (2005-2012)

In 2008, under his watch there was a major cholera outbreak in Ethiopia’s Oromia Region. An investigative report published by the Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health paints a disturbing picture of a deliberate inaction on the part of Dr. Adhanom in the face of the tragic health crisis that was rapidly claiming so many lives. Chief among the findings were:

1- Despite laboratory identification of V cholerae as the cause of the acute watery diarrhea (AWD), the Government of Ethiopia decided not to declare a “cholera outbreak” for fear of economic repercussions resulting from trade embargos and decreased tourism.

2- The government, in disregard of International Health Regulations, continually refused to declare a cholera epidemic and largely declined international assistance.

3- The failure to acknowledge a cholera outbreak had several important implications. First, it meant that the WHO could not assume responsibility for managing the epidemic because this requires that the state declare a cholera outbreak and request assistance. Under the WHO International Health Regulations, 2005, cholera is considered a disease “with demonstrated ability to cause serious public health impact and to spread rapidly internationally.”

As a signatory to this agreement, the Government of Ethiopia had the obligation to report the outbreak because cholera is not endemic to the country. Second, without official declaration of a cholera outbreak, there was a delay in accessing donor funds. Declaration of a cholera outbreak might have resulted in a much more vigorous international response, and resources might have been mobilized much more rapidly. Also, refusing to acknowledge a cholera epidemic weakens the chances for ongoing surveillance to recognize the potential for cholera endemicity in the region.

4- The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported unacceptably high case fatality rates (in 3 of the 5 affected Oromia zones (Guji, East Shewa, and Bale).

In a July 2008 Press Release titled “Health risks add to crisis in Ethiopia,” Dr. Eric Laroche, Assistant Director-General for WHO’s Health Action in Crises said, “In humanitarian terms, the situation is unacceptable. The health of millions of Ethiopians is worsening by the day, and the international community must act to support the country’s government to ease this terrible suffering.”

It is an incontrovertible fact that the Ministry of Health under the under the stewardship of Dr. Tedros Adhanom deliberately failed to contain the crisis and was directly responsible for the death of thousands of Ethiopian citizens. His action smacks not only of gross incompetence but outright criminality.

It defies common sense that such a compromised individual responsible for the tragic and unnecessary loss of so many lives in one country should even be considered as a viable candidate to run the World Health Organization.

Audit of funds from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM)

While Dr. Adhanom served as the head of the Federal Ministry of Health, his office was a recipient of funds from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria. In 2010, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), a body commissioned to audit and investigate Countries receiving Funds from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), conducted an audit of Ethiopia. It is important to note that audits and investigations are performed when a specific risk is identified in countries GFATM programs operate and/or due to a unanimous or open whistle blowing. In Ethiopia, both were found to be the reason which prompted the investigation into the funds (USD 1,306,035,989) allocated to Ethiopia.

Chief among the findings of the audit report were:

1) Misappropriation of Funds and use of donor funds for unsound and politically motivated programs

2) Substandard quality of constructed health facilities by diverting funds which were budgeted for other activities including procuring drugs for patients and prevention activities.

3) Ineligible expenditure

4) Weaknesses in accounting systems and delaying internal and in-country audits

5) Inadequacies in internal audit and lack of organizational independence 6) Principal Recipient (PR) Governance.

The OIG concluded that “the Global Fund grants have been successful in increasing coverage for the three diseases. At the time of audit, there was weak implementation of PMTCT reflected in poor performance against grant targets. A total of USD 165,393,027 was spent on Health Centre construction, resulting in over expenditure of USD57,851, 941 or 54% against the approved budget for health facility renovation. There was inadequate control in place to assure quality and effective use of the constructed health facilities. From the audit findings, the OIG could not provide assurance that oversight arrangements ensured that grant funds are used for the purpose intended. It was the recommendation of the OIG that the Ethiopian government should refund USD 7,026,929 to the Global Fund.

Minister of Foreign Affairs—Ethiopia (2012 to present)

As a politburo member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that has been ruling Ethiopia for the last 24 years Dr. Adhanom is closely associated with a regime well known for its systemic patterns of political repression and egregious human rights violations against Ethiopian citizens.

The abysmal human rights record of the Ethiopian government is very well documented by all the major international rights groups (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Freedom House) including in the U.S. State Department annual human rights report.

In considering Dr. Adhanom’s candidacy for Director General, we implore you to take the following factors into account regarding the human rights situation in Ethiopia.

  • the violent repression of attempts at peaceful protests;
  • the recent mass killings of over 400 Oromo civilians some as young as 8 years old.
  • the 100 million denizens of Ethiopia that are suffering from systematic political and economic repression;
  • the draconian Charities and Societies Proclamation and Anti-Terrorism laws specifically created to stifle dissent.
  • the imprisoned journalists whose incarceration has made Ethiopia the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa according to Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ);
  • the widespread attacks on freedom of expression and information, including censorship, control of news and information, and the closure of newspapers.
  • the political activists who are victims of imprisonment, torture and rape;
  • the prominent political leaders who are victims of harsh imprisonment and torture with their members continually harassed and intimidated by government security forces.

the Ethiopian Muslim community and religious leaders who have been unjustly incarcerated under the Anti-Terrorism Law for demanding that the Ethiopian government stops interfering in their religious affairs.

Dr. Adhanom’s election to lead WHO will effectively put a seal of approval on the gross and systematic abuses of the repressive regime in Ethiopia. It will allow the regime to claim a victory that Dr. Adhanom’s selection to lead a prestigious organization such as WHO is evidence of its respect for human rights and compliance with international standards and further embolden it to continue its shameful behavior towards its own people.

The candidate for Director General of a prestigious organization such as the WHO should not only be a person of high personal achievement but should also embody the highest adherence to internationally recognized human rights standards. Regretfully,

Dr. Adhanom’s record as a member of the ruling party in Ethiopia and specifically his record as Minister of Health does not meet the exceedingly high standards required for a Director General of the WHO. While we would be excited and proud to have a candidate representing Africa, we believe it would behoove us to promote a candidate whose track record doesn’t include policies which led to a deadly Cholera outbreak in 2008 and are leading to an impending famine in 2016.

It is inconceivable that failure at improving the health outcomes of one country and mismanagement of funds obtained from an organization such as the GFATM should result in one’s candidature for the leading health organization of the world.

Consequently because of the aforementioned reasons, we respectfully urge you to reject Dr. Adhanom’s candidacy for the post in the 2017 election.

Representatives of the coalition are available to meet with you or your staff should you have any questions regarding the concerns we have expressed regarding the candidacy of Dr. Tedros Adhanom.

We appreciate your consideration regarding this very important issue.

With assurances of our highest respect,

Ethiopian Advocacy Network

Ethiopiawinnet: Council for the Defense of Citizen Rights

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Leaders

Ethiopian Muslim Religion Leaders (First Hijrah)

Ethiopian Protestant Religion Leaders

United Ethiopian Muslims Peaceful Movement Support Group

Patriotic Ginbot 7 United

Oromo Liberation Front

All Amhara People’s Organization

Moresh Wegene Amhara Organization

Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party

Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia

DC Area Ethiopian Community Joint Task Force

Netsanet Le Ethiopia

Ethiopian Constitutional Monarchy

Ethiopian National Transitional Council

International Ethiopian Women Organization

Solidarity Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners

Former Ethiopian Defense and Police Force Veterans Association

Netsanet Radio

posted by daniel tesfaye

Ethiopia: Death toll from raid rises to 208, 108 children kidnapped

(Reuters) The death toll from a raid carried out by South Sudanese gunmen in western Ethiopia has risen to 208 people and the assailants kidnapped 108 children, an Ethiopian official said on Sunday.

An Anuak woman at work in Abobo, a village in Ethiopia’s Gambella region.

The attack took place on Friday in the Horn of Africa nation’s Gambela region which, alongside a neighboring province, hosts more than 284,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled conflict in their country.

By Sunday afternoon, the number had risen to “208 dead and 75 people wounded” from 140 a day earlier, government spokesman Getachew Reda told Reuters, adding the assailants had also abducted 108 children and taken 2,000 head of livestock.

“Ethiopian Defense Forces are taking measures. They are closing in on the attackers,” he said.

Getachew did not give further details, but officials in Gambela said on Saturday Ethiopian troops had crossed the border in pursuit of the attackers.

Cross-border cattle raids have occurred in the same area in the past, often involving Murle tribesmen from South Sudan’s Jonglei and Upper Nile regions – areas awash with weapons that share borders with Ethiopia.

Previous attacks, however, were smaller in scale.

The gunmen are not believed to have links with South Sudanese government troops or rebel forces who fought the government in Juba in a civil war that ended with a peace deal signed last year.

South Sudanese officials were not immediately available for comment.

Under pressure from neighboring states, the United States, the United Nations and other powers, South Sudan’s feuding sides signed an initial peace deal in August and agreed to share out ministerial positions in January.

posted by daniel tesfaye

Worsening defections in the Ethiopian army

April 13,2016

ESAT News) — Defections by the army was top on the agenda at a recent high level military conference presided by the Minister of Defense, Sirage Fergessa and the Chief of Staff Samora Yenus.Warmonger minority despots in Ethiopia amass army

The Minister told the mid-level officers that the study conducted on the root causes of defections by the army was not satisfactory. The participants agreed the study did not cover the real causes of defections but mainly focused on administrative problems in the army.

There have been reports of defections in the Ethiopian army in recent years, with most of the defectors joining armed resistance groups operating from the country’s northern border. Defectors say corruption, nepotism and ethnic favoritism were the reasons for their defections. Scores of air force pilots have defected just in the last couple of years accusing the regime of ethnic favoritism.

About 90% of Ethiopia’s generals and senior officers are from the Tigray ethnic group causing discontent and resentment on the part of the rank and file.

Army generals and high level officers are involved in unbridled high level corruption while the rank and file eke out an existence.

posted by daniel tesfaye

Twitter, WhatsApp Offline in Ethiopia

12April,2016

Twitter and WhatsApp Offline in Ethiopia’s Oromia Area After Unrest

by William Davison | Bloomberg

  • Messaging apps said unavailable on phones for more than month
  • Authorities alleged to have killed at least 266 protesters

Internet messaging applications such as WhatsApp haven’t worked for more than a month in parts of Ethiopia that include Oromia region, which recently suffered fatal protests, according to local users.Twitter and WhatsApp

Smartphone owners haven’t been able to access services including Facebook Messenger and Twitter on the state-owned monopoly Ethio Telecom’s connection, Seyoum Teshome, a university lecturer, said by phone from Woliso, about 115 kilometers (71.5 miles) southwest of the capital, Addis Ababa.

“All are not working here for more than one month,” said Seyoum, who teaches at Ambo University’s Woliso campus. “The blackout is targeted at mobile data connections.”

A spokesman for Twitter Inc. declined to comment on the issue when e-mailed by Bloomberg on Monday. Facebook Inc., which bought WhatsApp Inc. in 2014, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Protests that began in November in Oromia over perceived economic and political marginalization of Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group led to a crackdown in which security forces allegedly shot dead as many as 266 demonstrators, according to a March report by the Kenya-based Ethiopia Human Rights Project. The government has said that many people died, including security officers, without giving a toll.

One social-media activist, U.S.-based Jawar Mohammed, disseminated information and footage from protests to his more than 500,000 followers on Facebook.

No Explanation

Restricting access isn’t a policy and may be because of “erratic” connections, according to government spokesman Getachew Reda. “We have not yet found any explanation,” he said by phone from Addis Ababa on Monday.

The government has the technology to “control” the messaging applications, the Addis Ababa-based Capital newspaper reported on April 10, citing Andualem Admassie, Ethio Telecom’s chief executive officer. Andualem didn’t answer two calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.

Hawassa city in Ethiopia’s southern region has suffered similar difficulties in accessing applications for more than a month, said Seyoum Hameso, an economics lecturer at the University of East London. “We couldn’t communicate with relatives,” he said in an e-mailed response to questions on Monday.

posted by daniel tesfaye

Britain giving more than £1m to train corrupt Ethiopia security forces

April11,2016

Sentenced to death: Andargachew Tsege

Britain is giving more than a million pounds to train Ethiopia’s security forces – even though the country’s repressive regime abducted a British citizen and holds him under sentence of death.

Andargachew Tsege, a father of three from North London, was snatched almost two years ago while travelling through an airport in Yemen. After being forced on to a plane to Ethiopia, he was paraded on television and held for months in secret detention.

Yet the Foreign Office is spending £500,000 on a master’s programme in ‘security sector management’ run by Cranfield University in Ethiopia – a one-party state accused of horrific human rights abuses. Another £546,500 is being spent by the Ministry of Defence to help support the Ethiopian Peace Support Training Centre, which opened last year.

‘I am furious,’ said Yemi Hailemariam, Mr Tsege’s partner and mother of their children.

‘It’s crazy that we’re giving aid like this. They say it is to improve human rights there but then they go and help the security apparatus detaining Andy.’

The funding – made through the £1 billion Conflict, Security and Stabilisation Fund – emerged in a Freedom of Information request to the Foreign Office, although it declined to detail a human rights assessment on the grounds that it might ‘prejudice relations’.

There are 35 students on the security management course, which includes modules on intelligence operations.

They include officials from Djibouti and Rwanda, another repressive state, as well as Ethiopia.

‘It is deeply alarming that UK taxpayers appear to be funding the very Ethiopian security forces responsible for the kidnap and rendition of British citizen,’ said Maya Foa, from campaign group Reprieve.

FOREIGN AID MADNESS

Almost six in ten UK voters say foreign aid should be the first target of spending cuts, against 36 per cent who favour a crackdown on welfare.

Eighteen months ago, International Development Secretary Justine Greening suspended a similar programme ‘because of concerns about risk and value for money’.

This followed the seizure of Mr Tsege, 61, who has lived in Britain since 1979 and been called his nation’s Nelson Mandela.

His case was highlighted last month by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in a report condemning the Ethiopian government for back-pedalling on human rights.

Internal emails obtained by The Mail on Sunday show that shortly after Mr Tsege’s kidnapping, the Foreign Office’s Africa director complained that a British Minister had raised the case with the Ethiopian Prime Minister ‘but in the same week that DFID announced lots of extra aid, which rather mixes messages’.

Mr Tsege fled Ethiopia after falling out with then-president Meles Zenawi for exposing corruption and later establishing a pro-democracy party.

Seven years ago he was branded a terrorist and sentenced to death in absentia for allegedly preparing a coup, which he denies strongly.

He was abducted in June 2014 while travelling to Eritrea. After a year in solitary, he was moved to a prison near Addis Abba called a ‘gulag’ by human rights groups.

He had a broken thumb when he last met British diplomats, and there have been fears of torture.

Ethiopia, seen as an important ally in the war on terrorism, is the second biggest recipient of British aid, receiving £277 million in direct donations this year.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘Ethiopia is heavily engaged in the fight against Al Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia, which is vital to build stability in the region and to UK interests.’

Source: Mail Online

posted by daniel tesfaye

ትግሉ ሰፊ የምሁራን ተሳትፎ ይሻል! (አርበኞች ግንቦት 7)

April 8,2016

ኢትዮጵያ በበብዛትም ይሁን በጥራት በውጭው አለምም ይሁን በሀገር ውስጥ የሚኖሩ ብዙ ምሁራን ያፈራች ሀገር ነች። በጅጉ የሚያሳዝነው ግን በሀገሪቱና በሕዝቧ ችግር ላይ ሀሳብ ሲሰጡ ፣ ባደባባይ ሲከራከሩና ሲታገሉ የሚታዩት በጅጉ ጥቂቶች ናቸው። ርግጥ ነው ተከታታይ መንግስታት በምሁራን ላይ ያደረሱት ጥቃትና ማግለል ከፍተኛ መሆኑ ይታወቃል። በዚህም ምክንያት ብዙዎች መከራን ከህዝብ ጋር ከመጋፈጥ ይልቅ አጎንብሶ ማሳለፈን የመረጡበት ሁኔታ አለ። ቁጥራቸው ጥቂት ያልሆኑም ለግል ጥቅማቸው ቅድሚያ በመስጠት ከጨቋኝ ገዥዎች ጋር በመተባበር የሚሰሩ መኖራቸውም አይካደም። አብዛኛው ምሁራን በተለይም በብዙ የሀገሪቱ ጉዳይ ላይ ጠለቅ ያለ እውቀት ያላቸው ጭምር ሀገሪቱን ከገባችበት ማጥ ለማውጣት በሚደረገው ትግል ውስጥ እየተሳተፉ አይደለም። ይህ ዛሬ ባለው ችግርም ይሁን በታሪክ ፊት አሳዛኝ ነው።

Patriotic Ginbot 7 Movement for Unity and Democracyሀገራችን ዛሬ መስቀለኛ መንገድ ላይ ነች። የተማሩ ልጆቿ መላ እንዲመቱ በመጠየቅ ላይ ትገኛለች። ይልቁንም በሀገራችን ያለው ችግርና ሀገሪቱ እየሄደች ያለችበት መንገድና አቅጣጫ በተለይ ምሁራንን እንቅልፍ ሊነሰ ይገባል። ዕውነታው ከዚህም አልፎ የሀገሪቱን አሳዛኝና አደገኛ ሁኔታ ለመቀየር በሚደረገው ትግል ውስጥ ከፍተኛ ተሳትፎ እንዲያደርጉ ግድ ይላል። የመንግስት ግፍና ሰቆቃ በበዛበትና የሀገራችን ሕልውና አደጋ ላይ በወደቀበት በአሁኑ ሰዓት ምሁራን ላለመሳተፍ ምክንያት ማቅረብ የማይችሉበት ወቅት ላይ ደርሰናል። እንደማንኛውም ሀገር ምሁራን የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን በሀገራችን ውስጥ ሰላምና ዲሞክራሲ እንዲሰፍንና ፍትሕ የሰፈነበት ስርዓት እንዲመሰረት ሊሸሹት የማይገባ ትልቅ ሚና አላቸው።

ዛሬ በተለያዩ የሀገሪቱ ክፍሎች የሚኖሩ ዜጎች መንግስት በልማትና በልማት እያመካኘ የሚያካሂደውን ሰፊ ዝርፊያ እንዲሁም ወያኔ ሩብ ምዕተ አመት ሙሉ በብሄረሰብ እኩልነት ስም እየማለ የሚያደርሰውን ያንድ ብሄረሰብ ጉጅሌ የበላይነት ማስፋፋት እምርረው በመታገል ላይ ናቸው። መስዋዕትነቱን እየከፈሉ የሚታገሉትና የሚወድቁ የሚነሱት ወጣቶችና ምስኪን ገበሬዎች ናቸው። እነዚህ ወገኖቻችን ሕይወታቸውን ሳይቀር ሲገብሩ በየቀኑ እየሰማንና እያየን ነው። ይህንን የህዝብ ጥያቄና ትግል ማንኛውም ኢትዮጵያዊ ምሁር ተመልካች ሆኖ ሊቀመጥ አይገባም። ትግሉን ከመምራት ጀምሮ እስከ ተራ ታጋይነት ባሉት ረድፎች ሁሉ ምሁራን ቀጥተኛ ተሳትፎ ሊያደርጉ ይገባል። ሰለትግሉ እቅጣጫም ሆነ ስለሀገሪቱ መጻዔ ዕድል ሃሳብ ማመንጨትና ማሰራጨት ይኖርበታል። ሀገራችን የደለቡ ችግሮቿን ተቋቁማ ፍትሕ ዲሞክራሲና እኩልነት የሰፈነባት ሀገር የሚያደርጋትን የምህንድስና ስራ አስቀድሞ ማሰብና ማመቻቸት ይኖርበታል። ርግጥ ነው ይህን መሰል ተሳትፎ የሚያደርጉ ምሁራን አሁንም አሉ። ቁጥራቸው ግን ሊሆን ከሚገባው ጋር ሲወዳደር በጅጉ አነስተኛ ነው።

ምሁርነት ከፍተኛ የትምህርት ደረጃ መቀዳጀት ብቻ እንዳልሆነ የታወቀ ነገር ነው። ምሁርነት ምሉዕ የሚሆነው መላውን የተፈጥሮ ከባቢ ከህዝብ ማህበራዊ ሕይወት ጋር አጣምሮ የሚያስብ አዕምሮን በዕውነት ላይ ለተመሰረተ ሀሳብና ዕውቀት ክብር መስጠትን ለተግባራዊነቱ መሟገትን የጨመረ ሲሆን ነው ። በመሆኑም ሁሌ እንደሚባለው ምሁርነት የጋን መብራትነት አይደለም። ምሁርነት በጨለማ ውስጥ ችቦ ሆኖ ብርሃን መፈንጠቅን ይመለከታል። ምስዋዕትነትንም ይጠይቃል።

ያለንበት ወቅት ለኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን ከፍተኛ ፈተናም ዕድልም ይዞ ቀርቧል። ይህ ልሽሽህ ቢሉት የማይሸሽ ፈተና ከመሆኑ ባልተናነሰ በታሪካችን እንድ ወሳኝ ምዕራፍ ላይ የጎላ አሻራን ለማኖርም ትልቅ የታሪክ ዕድል ነው። ይህ ፈተና ከፍተኛ ያርበኝነት ስሜትንና ሀላፊነት መውሰድን ይጠይቃል። አገር በተወሳሰበ ችግር ምክንያት ወደ አረንቋ እየገባች ምንም ሳይሰሩ መቀመጥ ወይም ዝም ብሎ ከመመልከት የበለጠ ለምሁር ሂሊና የሚከብድ ነገር ሊኖር አይችልም:: በጣም ላስተዋለ ሰው እንዲህ አይነት ዝምታ ሐጢያትም ነው። በእንዲህ አይነት ፈታኝ ወቅት የኢትዮጵያ ምሁራን ሀገሪቱን ወደተሻለ አቅጣጫ እንድትሔድ ላለመታጋል ምንም ምክንያት ማቅረብ አይችሉም። ሀሳብ የሚሰራጭባቸው የሀሳብ ክርክር የሚካሔድባቸው መድረኮች ፣ አደባባዮች ፣ የመገናኛ መሳሪያ አይነቶች የፖለቲካና የሲቪክ ማህበሮች ባገር ውስጥም በውጭም ያሉት መሳተፊያ ናቸው።

ድርጅታችን አርበኞች ግንቦት 7 ምሁራን በሰፊውና እንደየፍላጎቶቻቸውና ችሎታቸው ሊሳተፉ የሚችሉባቸው በርካታ የትግል መስኮች አሉት። የሀገሪቱን ውስብስብ ችግሮች ሊፈቱ የሚችሉ የጥናት ውጤቶች ፣ ሀሳቦች ፣ ምክሮችም ሆነ ቀጥተኛ የምሁራን ተሳትፎ ለማስተናገድ አመቺ ሁኔታ ያለበት ድርጅት ነን። ወደፊትም የምሁራን ተሳትፎ እንዲጎለብት ሁኔታዎችን ይበልጥ ለማመቻቸት እንሰራለን። ዽርጅታችን የሀገራችን ችግር የሚወገደውና ዲሞክራሲና የዜጎች እኩልነት የሚረጋገጠው በበሰለና ከተራ ዜጋ እስከ ብስል ምሁራን በሚያከሂዱት ክርክርና የበሰለ ሃሳብ ላይ ተመስርቶ መሆኑን ያምናል። አሁን ያለው የሀገራችን ምሁራን ተሳትፎ ደረጃ ሁላችንም ከምንጠብቀው በታች በጅጉ ያነሰ መሆኑ ሁላችንንም ከማሳዘን አልፎ የሚያስቆጭና የሚያንገበግብ ሆኖአል:: አገርና ህዝብ ድረሱልኝ እያለ በሚጣራበት በዚህ የታሪክ አጋጣሚ አይቶ እንዳላየ ሰምቶ እንዳልሰማ የተለያዩ ምክንያቶችን እየደረደሩ ማለፍ ይቻል ይሆናል። ይዋል ይደር እንጂ ለነጻነቱ ቀናዕ የሆነው የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ የደረሰበትን አፈናና ጭቆና እምቢኝ ብሎ ነጻነቱን ሲቀዳጅ ግን ከታሪክ ፍርድና ከህዝብ ትዝብት ማምለጥ አይቻለም።

አርበኞች ግንቦት 7 በአገር ውስጥም ሆነ በተለያየ ምክንያት በአለም ተበትኖ የሚኖረው ኢትዮጵያዊ ምሁር ለወገን ደራሽነቱንና አለኝታነቱን አሁኑኑ ይወጣ ዘንድ ወገናዊ ጥሪውን ያቀርባል::

ድል ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ!

posted by daniel tesfaye

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