Wounded in Addis, finished off in Riyadh – Ephrem Madebo

November 17th, 2013 Print Print Email Email

From China to Ethiopia and from Belarus to Saudi Arabia, there is no shortage of repressive regimes in the world. In general, repressive societies are defined as exerting pervasive state control over daily life, banning free speech and political opposition, and practicing severe human rights violations. All of these attributes describe the Ethiopian regime from head to toe, but the TPLF regime in Ethiopia has many more attributes that makes it the worst of the worst. Oppressive regimes don not hate their country, yet the Ethiopian regime does. Even though oppressive regimes kill their citizens for a variety of reasons, they don’t kill out of hatred. The TPLF regime in Ethiopia hunts and kills people that it really hates. Almost all countries of the world, authoritarian or egalitarian, show the utmost concern and respect for their citizens who immigrate to other countries. Ethiopia is visibly different; it is really different, so much so, that the Ethiopian embassies throughout the world (including Saudi) are happily opened for certain kind of people and are inhospitable and closed for everybody else.

In recent years, the oil rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia with its growing economy has been a magnet for migrant workers from Ethiopia and other poor countries of Africa and Asia. Although Ethiopian migrant workers have constantly been harassed, abused and treated like a plug horse by their Saudi employers and the police, many young Ethiopians who have been denied opportunities in their native country, have considered Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arab states as much better and attractive destinations for hope and better life.

The Ethiopian regime which has a fiduciary responsibility of creating domestic employment has in fact facilitated the migration of young Ethiopians to Saudi and other Gulf States, and its corrupted officials have benefited from this immoral act of “legal human trafficking”. This total neglect of Ethiopians by their own government on one side, and the abundant supply of cheap Ethiopian labor on the other, has encouraged some savage Saudis into believing that they either own or have full control over the migrant workers who work and live with them. As a result, domestic employers, local gangs and the youth mob have assaulted, abused, gang raped, mutilated and even killed helpless Ethiopian migrant workers.

When the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) saw the persecution to which his followers were subjected to in Mecca, he told them to find safe haven in Ethiopia (aka Abyssinia at the time). His followers trusted their trustworthy leader, and they fled to Ethiopia where they enjoyed the unmatched hospitality of the Ethiopian people. The year was 615 AD, It was the First Hijra (migration); and Ethiopia was its destination. As he would never forget the hospitality and generosity of the Ethiopians, the Prophet Mohammed said: “Abyssinia is a land of justice in which no one is oppressed”

Well, today, 1398 years after the First Hijra, two things have changed dramatically. Ethiopia, hailed as the land of justice by the Prophet, is now the symbol of brutality in Africa. And on the other side, Saudi Arabia, the very land of the Prophet and the Holy Land of Islam, has become the land of acute brutality. Ironically, the victims of this brutality are none than the very people that extended their warm hands to the very first migrants of Islam. In the year 615 AD and thereafter, the people and government of Ethiopia showed their utmost hospitality and love towards the first immigrants of Islam. Today, one of the most repressive and brute regimes in the world, the Saudi regime, is returning the favor with absurdity, brutality, and outright inanity.

I hope the Saudi government understands that there is a fine line between tightening its immigration policy and ill-treating and killing immigrants – I only hope because as brute and as injudicious as the Saudi government is, it is never right and it has never been right on anything related to justice, freedom, and human right. Did I say human rights? Oh! Yes, and it does not get more tangled or meshed than this. The Saudi government is known for its sever human rights violations, and Ethiopia is no better if it is not worse. Many young Ethiopians leave their home land and head to Saudi for two main reasons: employment discrimination and lack of opportunity, and lack of freedom and sever human rights violations at home. In Saudi, well; yes Ethiopians are employed in Saudi, but the assault, the abuse and the torture follows them.

The other very strange and undesirable similarity between Ethiopia and Saudi is that, in a very ironic move, these two repressive regimes and three other countries (Russia, China, and Cuba) with questionable human rights records recently secured seats on none other than the UN Human Rights Council. It’s sad, rather absurd that the Saudi and the Ethiopian governments that torture and kill their own citizens are elected to oversee human rights violations elsewhere in the world.

Obviously, from what has been said, the two oppressive regimes, Ethiopia & Saudi, seem to be complementing each other in abusing Ethiopians. Yes, indeed, these two oppressive regimes are as close as ‘lips and teeth’ where one causes the pain and the other finishes off the patient. I personally applaud the current international effort in support of our people in Saudi, but until we tackle the root cause of the problem, the teamwork of Addis and Riyadh continue, and so does the suffering of our people. Therefore, It is crucially important that we start slashing the lip and sending the teeth into the cold.

Saudi Arabia sees Ethiopia as its bread basket for the future, and the ever gluttonous and cash thirty TPLF regime wants to exploit this need by granting the Saudis a massive amount of cheap & fertile land. Hence the leadership in Riyadh harbors no illusion that it is truly interested in the survival of the TPLF regime so long as Addis can keep its promise of supplying cheap labor and land.
In this dominant-submissive relationship, the Saudis take their own self-interest more seriously and do what they want without worrying about Ethiopia. Swallowing its own feelings and avoiding standing-up for the interest of the Ethiopian people, the bigoted and subservient TPLF regime regards Saudi’s needs as paramount. Hence, Ethiopians go to Saudi as domestic workers where they are assaulted, abused and killed; and the Saudis come to Ethiopia as entrepreneurs and get all the respect they may not be getting in their own country.

What we saw in Riyadh and Addis in the last week or two is the reflection of this dominant-submissive relationship. In Riyadh and many other Saudi cities, Ethiopians who protested against the abusive actions of the Saudi regime were arrested, beaten and killed. In Addis, Ethiopians who tried to protest in front of the Saudi embassy were rounded up by the Ethiopian police and beaten like dogs. As long as this dominant-submissive relationship exists, when we talk about Ethiopia and Saudi, as the political satirist Abe Tokichaw would say; it may be very important to make a distinction between Saudi Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.
In the last two weeks, I watched hours of gruesome and excruciating video clips from Saudi that made me sick to my bones. The street crackdown, the house to house arrest and beating, the rape, the mutilation and the killings have made me ask . . . is Saudi the Holy Land or the land of brutality?

Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have become the world of mean streets, where bloody killers are operating with the “immortal certainty” that they will never have to pay for the snuffling out of human life. We must make them pay, and we must stop the team work of this brute and savage duo. There are the Ethiopian people, there is the opposition and there are the damn TPLF gangs. We must get rid of the damn gangs!

  1. Dilwenberu
    | #1

    The so called weak opposition is exaggerating and using this tragic situation to discredit the democratic and developmental government of Ethiopia. Specially the Amhara dominated and led opposition such as the terror linked Ginbot 7 are working hard to spread hate and false propganda. The problem we have now in Ethiopia is the product of the previous brutal Amhara rules in the country. But the Amharas want us to forget this and put the blame on our democratic government in Ethiopia. Shame on the extreme and toxic Amhara disapora.

  2. Anonymous
    | #2

    What a difference an article makes. I read Dr. Tekola’s aritcle and compared it to the G7 man. Dr. Tekola did not sound like a concerned Ethiopian.Thank you ato efrem even if you are G7. Your articel is very powerful and it holds both the TPLF and the Saudi gov accountable for the problem

  3. Basha
    | #3

    What a difference an article makes. I read Dr. Tekola’s aritcle and compared it to the G7 man. Dr. Tekola did not sound like a concerned Ethiopian.Thank you ato efrem even if you are G7. Your articel is very powerful and it holds both the TPLF and the Saudi gov accountable for the problem

  4. LM
    | #4

    I don’t know much about Ethiopian politics, but I get the sense you are trying to create a moral equivalence between the Ethiopian and Saudi government to fulfill your own ethnocentric political agenda. It’s people like you who serve racist Arabs in their fomenting of black on black violence in Africa. They don’t care about your petty politics, unless it is to destabilize and tear apart the one country they were never able to Arabize/Islamize – Ethiopia. Whatever similarities there might be between the Ethiopian and Saudi government, they end at religious freedoms and the treatment of nationals – full stop. You hate Ethiopia so much that even when Saudis are clearly the violators here and Ethiopia is spending it’s money to repatriate and rehabilitate its people and see an end to abuse of Ethiopians abroad (albeit not quickly enough), you still find an excuse to insert your ethnic politics. You know it would be too obvious that you are being petty if you ignore the injustices of the Saudi situation altogether, but you don’t want to let Ethiopia off the hook, (assuming there is a hook it should be on), so you settle for option B, which is “oh, they are both evil. They are both the same”. But still, in doing so, as long as there are commentators like you who like to point the finger at other blacks, with obsessive persistence, Arab supremacists will be enjoying the show, laughing, because they know that discord in Africa – especially in a country that provides 86% of it’s water to arguably the most important Arab country in the world – means that black Africans will be too preoccupied with internal conflicts antiquated tribalism to actually do something about their economies. Their hate for one another will give them tunnel vision. Perhaps the most astounding example of this is how some Ethiopians oppose the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, which is a pivot point for Ethiopia revolutionizing her economy; meanwhile, these same Ethiopians are well aware of the anti-dam efforts of Egypt – and perhaps, to an extent, Saudi Arabia. I’m not saying you should address ineptitude and corruption in the Ethiopian government. All I’m saying is, to put it boldly, you’re helping to spread propaganda for people who think you and Ethiopians are inferior. If you really want to “get rid of the damn gangs” in Ethiopia, try a gradual approach, not something akin to an Arab Spring. That hasn’t worked out too well for Libya, Syria, nor Egypt. Ethiopia doesn’t need a mob to change the political conditions. She needs vibrant and creative thinkers – and doers. Otherwise, Ethiopia will regress, sliding back from the economic, healthcare,and social progress it has made thus far; and when the smoke clears after getting rid of those gangs, how do you know some worse regime (i.e Islamist)won’t take over? Ethiopia and the horn of Africa as a whole, doesn’t need anymore bloodshed, famine, disease outbreaks, etc. “Making them pay” will only ensure there will be more generations of destruction.

  5. Worku tesfaye
    | #5

    Wy ze Ethiopia regime become oppressive his citizens?
    We are in home land,ze regime hv tried to organizing and supporting zos youths out of job.eye witnessly many interested youths hv got zis opportunity and absolutely change zier life conditions.
    Even still if any body who has interested to organizing zem self and ask request from micro,ze regime will ready to help.
    Regime provide u working area,loan and facilitate any necessary needed.
    Ze reason for migration is beyond what every bodys intentionally explain.individual poverty arise from level of knowledge and cultural impact.gov may contribute a little bet effect.
    We are always more looking for ozers source of income,in stead thinking and creating ze source of in come of ourselves.
    Ze big problem of regime is no policy which give orientation and education based interpreoner (small Business creating skill) at each rural kebele.
    Ze money which individuals paid for transportation and brokers for migration is more zan enough to start small business at different location of country.

  6. dodo
    | #6

    I am sorry to say but that you are dead wrong about Cuba, unless you are the victim of a relentless and vicious American propaganda. Cuba is probably the most perfect society in existence today.

  7. Mageyd
    | #7

    Saudi Arabia continues its brutal crackdown on Ethiopian immigrants
    The Saudi Arabians robbed the money the migrants saved. Many of those who make it to Ethiopia safely are forced to stay under the bridge in Addis Ababa as a homeless person having nowhere better to go to. Many of the returnees are already residing under the bridge begging for money to buy food with inside church compounds after they returned to Ethiopia. Even the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church have declared a two months emergency fasting period to make sure the public aware of the severity of the physical and psychological dangers the migrants are currently dealing with.

  8. Anonymous
    | #8

    What a hell are you telling us you TPLF puppet? Ephrem Madebo, is not Amhara,but he is a true son of Ethiopia unlike you. Why do you hate the tuth?

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    Cuba is the most perfect society on earth? Come to Miami Florida and get some proof for it you bone head WOYANE banda

  10. Anonymous
    | #10

    You can’t help it, one has to have good conscience to understand the sufferings and human rights abuse of innocent people.
    After more than two decades, you still shamelessly try to shift the blame on hard working poor Amharas. You are simply a laughable senseless creature that has the heart and mentality of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and the likes. No group of people in Ethiopia have ever been as ruthless, inhumane, insensitive, remorseless, looters and killers as evil woyanes that hate the country and Ethiopians. You people are in it to divide, demoralize, torture and kill Ethiopians and rob the country — you have been doing that for over 25 years.

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