H.R. 2003: A Cause that Unifies the Fragmented Diaspora! – By Tefferi Mengistie

January 31st, 2008 Print Print Email Email

My compatriots from Dallas flocked in a bunch to Oklahoma on January 29, 2008 to stage their protest against Senator Inhofe’s intransigence to listen to the voice of the voiceless. Oklahoma City has become a point of departure for the solidarity train, gathering momentum as it crosses America from coast to coast to coast, whistling the dire need of democracy in Ethiopia. Welcome aboard friends! (more…)

My compatriots from Dallas flocked in a bunch to Oklahoma on January 29, 2008 to stage their protest against Senator Inhofe’s intransigence to listen to the voice of the voiceless. Oklahoma City has become a point of departure for the solidarity train, gathering momentum as it crosses America from coast to coast to coast, whistling the dire need of democracy in Ethiopia. Welcome aboard friends!

This has been a third of the series of mass protests that will be held in Oklahoma. The organizers told me they would do it as long as it takes till the Senator responds to their call. They will make it -sort of- a ritual. We are putting Oklahoma City in a political map of the nation by making it a dueling place – to many Ethiopians living outside of Ethiopia- where the struggle between the forces who yearn for democracy to prevail and few who support a ruthless dictator is fought.

Thank God! We are in America where you can freely protest about the atrocities widely committed and is still being committed to quite a number of Ethiopians by a government voted out of office. Unlike our folks back home, we are not shot because of that, we are not losing our jobs because we voiced our disagreement, nor are we imprisoned for saying Meles kills innocent people.

H.R.2003 is a cause ubiquitous both in and outside of Ethiopia. Barely a day passes by, where it is not mentioned in most of the pro-democracy websites. We are virtually breathing it as a hope, way and means to help our people enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy. The part that sends a shiver on the spines of the dictator is the accountability part. It has become a topic of every day conversation among Ethiopians. It is a covenant to our people, back home, that we shall never let them down!

HR 2003: The “Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007″ is a bill unanimously passed by the US house of representatives on Oct. 2, 2007. It supports, among other things, the advancement of democracy, human rights, independent judiciary, freedom of press, peacekeeping capacity building, and economic development in Ethiopia. In a nut shell, the bill basically encourages the Ethiopian government to respect its own constitution. In the coming few weeks it will be on the senate floor.

One doesn’t necessarily have to be of an Ethiopian extract to lend support to this bill to pass on the Senate floor, except to love fellow human beings so as to say this kind of atrocity must not happen to anyone else. In light of this, a score of tax paying American Citizens (non-Ethiopian origin) went in a freezing, stormy weather to urge the Senator to support the bill which promotes the best of America. They were there to ask the senator to stop supporting a dictator with tax payers’ money. Thank you for doing the right thing! We know your only interest is to see freedom and justice prevail in every corner of the world.

Congratulations to the organizers and participants. You are providing a monumental service to your people by being a voice of freedom and democracy. You are a force of change and are part of a bitter struggle to get rid off tyranny in Ethiopia. All of you are my heroes for venturing out despite the adverse whether condition. I know most of you were not prepared for that kind of cold weather as you had to run (to buy jackets, scarves, gloves and head covers) to the mall across the office in order to stay the course. You were determined to do what it takes to stay in the harsh weather to deliver your message. Be proud of yourselves, for being ambassadors of your people who were not able to make it, for different reasons. I commend you for being a voice that demanded apology from a Senator who insulted every mother in Ethiopia; for being the voice of 193 victims killed by Meles Zenawi’s direct order to his security forces. You were the voice of thousands of political prisoners who are languishing in the Woyane dungeons in different parts of the country. You were the voice representing the weak currently perishing in Ogaden. You were the voice of a huge number of our Oromo brothers and sisters who are currently crowding the Woyane prisons.

By your indomitable spirit, you oil the squeaking wheels of our struggle to bring democracy in Ethiopia. You are making history by frustrating a government that only knows terrorizing its own people. Today, Woyane is staggering from power by the peaceful blow H.R. 2003 has dealt it with. No amount of money spent on Washington lobbyists will eventually save it from fall and this fact is hitting them hard on the face. Rest assured! Woyane’s demise depends, largely, on a relatively small number of tenacious people who are willing to carry the hard work necessary. Stay the course friends, as the road we are taking has so many downs and few ups. It is you, few dedicated agents who will saddle the majority who will surely join the course on its ebb. You are taking the call of “the fierce urgency of now”, to keep the momentum of the peaceful struggle going.

What made this round of protest unique is the solidarity of people from different political parties to work towards a common end, a rare commodity so lacking in almost all political parties existing in the Diaspora. In H.R. 2003 we found a cause that binds us together, a cause that brings the best out of each of us. I feel with optimism that we will build upon this “beginning of a beautiful friendship” to develop a culture of working together, always looking at the bigger picture.

Together we will make a difference!

The writer can be reached at tefferimengistie@yahoo.com

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