For Immediate Release፡ March 4 Freedom Organizers!
The March4Freedom rally took place on Sunday, two days after the Ethiopian New Year, under a warm, blue sky, and with the United States Capitol, the compelling symbol of democracy and rule of law, as its backdrop. The powerful, inspiring speakers ranged across Tamagn Beyene, artist and political activist; Dr. Gregory Stanton, head of the organisation GenocideWatch; Sasha Gong, candidate for the Virginia House of Delgates and erstwhile political prisoner who—like Birtukan Mideksa and many other freedom loving women in repressive countries—had the gruelling experience of solitary confinement in her native China; Obang Metho, Dr. Kassa Ayalew, Dr. Mekdese Kassa, and other co-organisers of the March4Freedom Rally; Ahmed Hussen , who came all the way from Minnesota to be part of the March for Freedom, and many other excellent speakers. And the rally included, of course, many, many dedicated demonstrators who wanted to be part of a gathering that sought to re-energise the Ethiopian community to take their country back from the clutches of cynical authoritarianism. The rally was especially honoured by the several marchers who came from across the United States—for example from the north from Minnesota, from the Southwest from Nevada, and from the West from Seattle—and even all the way from London.
One of the main objectives of the March4Freedom was to break through the paralysing small-group-think which has beset our Ethiopian community and which has prevented many in our community to work with each other toward a common goal—across ethnicities, religious affiliations, beliefs about methods of struggle against dictatorship, and simply across groups and organisations. With 38 different civic organisations and civic groups—representing the rich diversity of Ethiopians aspiring toward a better, democratic Ethiopia—which endorsed the March4Freedom, it is clear that this effort was not that of just one or few individuals or groups, but it was the outcome of an expanding tolerance, and a wider opening of Ethiopians’ hearts and minds toward each other, arising from the understanding that we will no longer be our own worst enemy, and no longer play into the ruling party’s ideology of “each group unto itself, but one group ruling over all others”.
We thank you immensely for all the effort—time, money, energy, priority—that you have committed to make this rally a success, and to be part of the solution in our effort to take our country back from the hands of repression. Without you it would never have happened. But we all still have much to do! And indeed there is so much we can do! Let us not stop this momentum, continue to work with each other to build a strong Ethiopian community which can be an agent for positive change in our homeland!