3 Big Questions for John Kerry’s Ethiopia trip By Admasu Belay
US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to make a visit to Ethiopia next week. All of us Ethiopians worldwide are hoping such a trip will not reward and not give legitimacy to the TPLF one-party dictatorship. But this visit can also be a good opportunity for the voice of the people to be heard. Dear US Secretary of State John Kerry, as taxpaying American citizens & residents as well as citizens of the free world, we Ethiopians worldwide urge you to address the following three important questions during your trip to Ethiopia.
#1. Will US continue to support the apartheid system and ethnic cleansing in Ethiopia?
After the South Africa apartheid regime ended, America said never again! But today the US has been silent while the TPLF regime practices ethnic segregation in Ethiopia. The US embassy in Addis Ababa comments about democracy but never about the apartheid system. Today millions of Ethiopians are being removed and dislocated from their homes in one region to another in the name of “ethnic federalism.” This apartheid system was first created by the TPLF and OLF to divide and rule Ethiopians. Most of all, this “ethnic federalism” has denied the human rights of mixed Ethiopians who are born from two or more ethnicity. These millions of Ethiopians are only Ethiopians and they do NOT belong to any one ethnic group as they are born from multiple ethnicity. These millions of mixed Ethiopians are currently under ethnic cleansing as we speak! They are forced to deny their identity or face death or marginalization. Can you imagine Irish Americans being kicked out of Nebraska or Wisconsin just because they are not German-Americans? Can you imagine mixed multiracial Americans being second-class citizens with no place to call home? Such grace is happening in Ethiopia in the 21st century. Before another Rwanda happens, the United States should take action and stand for the survival and human right of mixed Ethiopians.
#2. Will USA continue to finance the Egyptian military against peace in Africa?
This is an old issue. The ongoing US policy of paying billions of dollars worth military aid to Egypt has destabilized the whole east Africa. Most of the weapons sent to Egypt end up in Somalia and Sudan to arm militants and terrorists. Your own UN-led weapons investigations have revealed that the Egyptian military trained and armed terrorists in Somalia. Egypt does this because it wants to destabilize the Nile river’s upstream nations as well as to place a pro-Cairo puppet islamic fundamentalist regime in Mogadishu. Most of all, the US massive military aid to Egypt has tilted the balance of power in Africa, making Egypt a lawless bully when it comes to Nile river basin negotiations. This US policy will become the most destabilizing and most disasterous US policy of all in Africa unless it is stopped as soon as possible.
#3. Will you stand with our activists and journalists in prison to promote democracy in Ethiopia?
We Ethiopians are becoming hopeless and tired of the ongoing foreign policy of supporting “stability” over democracy. Since Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted the failure of US policy favoring dictatorship for the sake of stability, nothing still has changed in American approach to democracy. Since then, thousands of pro-democracy Ethiopians have died fighting for change but they got no support from the West. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Americans voted for the election of President Barack Obama hoping for “change” but we have seen none of it. Where is our campaign promise? Where is change? Now is the time. During your trip, we urge you Mr Secretary, to finally stand on the right side of history and support democracy in Ethiopia.
Note: Everytime a high ranking US official plans a visit to Ethiopia, the TPLF dictatorship takes hostages for negotiation. That is what the shameful TPLF did again by imprisoning six journalists this week. http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2014/04/26/six-members-of-blogging-collective-arrested-in-ethiopia/
We urge You Mr Secretary not to fall for another TPLF trap! Instead of negotiating for the recent TPLF hostages, we ask you to negotiate for the freedom of the whole Ethiopian population! 90 million people are TPLF’s hostages. We have thousands of other journalists, our young leaders like Andualem Arage, many Oromo parliamentarians and opposition politicians suffering in prison for years! We want real long-term change with independent institutions and free election board in Ethiopia. We want the Ethiopian military to be independent and representative of all Ethiopia, not just represent one ethnic group. We want you to guarantee us that the next national election will be monitored by thousands of American observers in every polling and counting stations in Ethiopia. After over 20 years of dictatorship in Ethiopia, it is time for the United States to take concrete steps to support Ethiopian democracy. We don’t want just words, we want words followed by action.
The relationship between Ethiopia and the United States is long and historical. Like the US, Ethiopia is multiethnic, multi religious and a country of immigrants who gradually settled to present day central Ethiopia several hundreds years ago. The people of the two countries will always share the same values and have common interests. In this time of need, We are confident that you will stand with the people of Ethiopia and be on the right side of history.