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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  1. Mola
    | #1

    Yes! you are in America where you can freely protest but you can’t freely burn a bus and kill inocent police.
    If you do it, not only doing it, if you try it the same will happen like the one who shot dead in Ethiopian street.
    NO any country tolerate any protester to express his protest by burn the people’s property and kill police.
    You are in America. If you do it the same what some protestre did in ethiopia, you will see the sequences. Try it.
    God Bless Ethiopia.

  2. gubena
    | #2

    Mola , this story is for you.your “woyane leader nobody can save you”. If you understand. the lorry driver hit the donkey, and get killed. the people told the owner to take the case to court. the owner said oh no the lorry must get forty lushes. if there is true justice in Ethiopia there will no violence. the government broke his own law all the time, so the people challenge him.

  3. Lafiw
    | #3

    Ato Mola,

    Are you trying to deny the realty? It was your boss who enforced an Emergency (Martial) Law stating that ALL security and police forces are going to be under the control of the Prime Minister. It was after this enforcement that 193 innocent Ethiopians were killed by the police and security forces. According to the Inquiry Commission’s established by your boss’s parliament revealed that the police/security officers have a shoot-to-kill order. Now the question is who gave them that order? Under whose command were all these forces?

    So Ato Mola, let me remind you what the residents of Addis said on the Great Run:
    “woyane gudih HR metabih”.

  4. gubena
    | #4

    Mola , this story is for you.your “woyane leader said that nobody can save you”. yes we know that it has the upper hand,If you understand I am going to give you example,here what it says the lorry driver hit the donkey, and get killed. the people told the owner take the case to court. the owner said oh no the lorry must get forty lushes. if there is true justice in Ethiopia there will no violence. the government broke his own law all the time, so the people challenge him.what makes you surprise the people express there felling and some authorities are in there to listen the people voice in civilized manner. is it normal?.

  5. gubena
    | #5

    Mola , this story is for you.your “woyane leader said that nobody can save you”. yes we know that has the upper hand,If you understand I am going to give you example,here what it says the lorry driver hit the donkey, and get killed. the people told the owner take the case to court. the owner said oh no the lorry must get forty lushes. if there is true justice in Ethiopia there will no violence. the government broke his own law all the time, so the people challenge him.what makes you surprise the people express there felling and some authorities are in there to listen the people voice in civilized manner. is it normal?.

  6. gubena
    | #6

    Mola , this story is for you.your “woyane leader said that nobody can save you”. yes we know that has the upper hand,If you understand I am going to give you example,here what it says the lorry driver hit the donkey, and get killed. the people told the owner take the case to court. the owner said oh no the lorry must get forty lushes. if there is true justice in Ethiopia there will no violence. the government broke his own law all the time, so the people challenge him.what makes you surprise the people express there felling the normal way is to find solution. the authorities are in there to listen the people voice in civilized manner. is it normal?.

  7. | #7

    The last time I checked the spoild child of Adwa was the US government payroll. He is being pampered by the CIA,MI6 and other western intelligence agencies.A network of high profile lobyists,lawyers,lawmakers,journalists, NGO’s, acadamics and cadres are manning the war room.Those who are marching for the noble cause should be commended. The time has come to double and redouble our efforts to expose the Agaazi blood thirsty murderers.

  8. erse
    | #8

    Dear,
    Did you see the contribution of the lobiest hired by the tyranny againist our people’s right to live for Hillary Clinton Campaign? i am very surprised to see a candidate that talk about democracy , justice, and hope by supporting a Lobyist who work againist the poor people. I think this is a good evidence to see the fate of ethiopians who live under poverty as the baby killers are nowaadys know very well the game of extending their power that is serving the leaders of western countries esp US in what ever way by ignoring national interests , future of the country , the country relations with its neighbours.I hope we will see strong Article on this issues on the major newspapers and websites of US before the election most probably before the super tuesday

  9. Frank
    | #9

    It is known that you (dysfunctional CUD and few tenacious extremists)are highly engaged in a zero sum game politics.You end up trying every possibility regardless of whether it is consistent with your policies and strategies.This will make you lose credibility among the public.You made every effort to destruct Ethiopia by collaborating with critical enemies as if it is not your motherland.Any healthy person can judge that HR 2003 is nonsense from any standpoint and hence will for sure die soon.Ethiopia is sovereign and hence one can not impose such ridiculous and arrogant Acts.

  10. dunga
    | #10

    Dear Mola,

    Have you, by chance, read HR 2003? HR 2003 stands not only for the civilians, but also for those polices killed at the demonstration. Please take time to read the articles just vividly. Which law, science or logic supports your jugement of killing a person for burning a bus??? Try to think with your own mind.

  11. dunga
    | #11

    Dear Frank,

    HR 2003 is about giving technical and financial support to Ethiopia. Which article is against Ethiopians’ interset? The only article that is against Meles Zenawi’s interst is the article about travel restriction to USA. The article about Ogaden, is right in that it ask human rights experts to get access to check whether there is any human right violation or notin the region. Meles wants to handle things in Ogaden by force. This couldn’t work. What is the logic behind supporting a dictator?

  12. Frank
    | #12

    Dear dunga,

    Thank you for explaining HR 2003 to me.We,all Ethiopians, wish good things for our country.However,HR 2003 is not a support in any form. Let me raise one of the issues there that you might have understood it as a financial support to Ethiopia.It stipulates that some of the institutions have to be restructured. To be particular it talks about the structuring of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia.How it should be structured emanates from our constitution.I am not defending that the Board is dependent or independent. The issue of independence has to be solved in accordance with our constitution.Let me ask you here, do you know how the US electoral Board is established and how it works? If you are in the US, you can experience it? Another is, the issue of human rights and complaints hearing institutions.It also says how this things should work? Now the issue I am raising is that of course, these institutions need to fulfill international laws and principles. However,their source is our constitution which takes in to account our culture, history, way of life and so on.Thus it is not legitimate to impose institutions however articulate they are simply for the reasons I have mentioned. So the US is going to give money ( budget) to restructure the institutions I have mentioned and others. Is this a financial support? Suppose the US adopts a its own electoral board system in Ethiopia, will it work? I am giving you an assignment to read on US electoral board system. In my opinion the US does not have an electoral board, it is different from most Boards we know.

    God bless ethiopia

  13. Aha!
    | #13

    The Ethiopian masses are first protectected by God, and then by the law makers, who uphold the superemacy of the law legislate to to protect the civilians from abuses of human and democratic rights of the the civilians in Ethiopia. It every body’s right to march in protest of human right, restoration of democratic rights and restoration of democratic institutions in Ethiopia.

    Whosoever stands against that could also march and be counted and /or create a forum for a dialogue as which is the best way to free Ethiopia and Ethiopians, not one nationality but the whole ethnic groups en toto.

    As it stands Ethiopians abroad may be catagorized into four or five groups, including, the petty faction of K-5, and “KIL”, although they had done enormous damage to Kinijit party.

    I wish they stop further campaighning in the diaspora and at home to further weaken the party, appologize for ill conceved intentions and work together in a mebership position to work towads certification of the party and/or form a different party of theeir own and move on rather than representing Kinijit, which in in the process of being restablished.

  14. kuku
    | #14

    Thank you Tefferi Mengstie for your great article. It is a good argumnet but when I read it lovely, I got difficulty to understand your fairness. In my opinion, I don’t think HR2003 unfies the fragmented dispora thinking becuase I didn’t see very concret support to prove your article.In one side you wrot prisoin vs the Oromo people.In the other side,you try to associate HR2003 with unfication. To be honest You are lost in my judgment.That is not the way to sove our internal problem.Forget about the diaspora unification you talking about.I personaly oppose HR2003 for reasons.First, HR2003 is not even not close to solve any problem happened or happning now due to the context purpose clarification. I challenge you no body can define HR2003.Meaning, it seems straight forward when we read it but You and I don’t know its long term outcomes.Second, I believe we have to solve our problem by ourselves. We don’t need third part to reconcile, unify,and preach us.Human right abuse is not acceptable butHR2003 can’t resolve it. There are many approaching ways beyond this bill to bring peace, developmet, and brotherhood.

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