Walk, Protest Like Egyptians – By Tedla Asfaw
I watched a brave woman(Aljazerra April 6) on the street of Cairo saying no to Mubarak’s tyranny supporting the stay home strike called by Egyptian workers who are now living on a USA $2 per day and can not afford to buy bread for their families due to high inflation.
The stay home strike that was called by workers and later on communicated to students and the masses on Internet by bloggers was a success.The streets of Cairo were quiet except few protesters that were matched in number with armed security personnel who were seen beating women, children and old people.
The government of Egypt claimed the “illegal” strike was a failure and most people went to their normal business,however, we saw empty streets in Cairo and we know the strike was a success and did send a message and shock wave to Mubarak that his days are numbered.
The people who were on the streets were angered by the regime for not allowing them to protest and vent their frustration peacefully. We all know that country like Egypt and Ethiopia who are the staunch supporters of the “war on terrorr” are good in terrorizing their citizens and locking opponents first fabricate charges later and convict them for long term prison.
Moreover, this protest is coming before the Municipal election in Egypt this week and the regime has already locked up opposition supporters like the Muslim Brotherhood who have wide support in the poor neighborhoods that won substantial seat before.The Muslim Brotherhood has boycotted this coming election because the regime has already learned from its previous mistakes and fielded many of its candidates to take the municipal seat and it seems to me that Mubarak and Melese Zenawi are following the same script in conducting “fair and free election”.
Both regimes deny the right to protest and accuse the protesters as outlaws who wanted to destabilize their countries. Both wanted to rule forever. Mubarak wanted to transfer power to his son and Melese is not sure when to transfer power and the closest one maybe his wife, Emebete Azeb. The possible alternative is to initiate a debate within TPLF not “to waste the brain power of our beloved leader, Melese Zenawi” is to make him a president of Ethiopia by amending the TPLF’s Constitution in his own parliament.
The economic hardship of about 40% of Egyptians who live below poverty line is a good testament for the failed Mubarak tyranny and this can be said the same if not more for Ethiopia where food price is sky rocketing and Melese Zenawi who blame the economic growth of China and India together with home merchants for inflating prices.
The west including Saudi can help subsidize food in Egypt and avoid the mass uprising which is surely to come. Ethiopia is already benefiting from the USA subsidized wheat and the question is for how long? As we see the war in Iraq and the recession in USA is not encouraging to put hope on the handout from USA.The seventy million Egyptians and seventy million Ethiopians have been ruled for their long history by autocrats supported by west and the recent talk of “democracy and freedom” by Bush and Condi remains empty rhetoric and the people of Egypt has taken a lead by going out on the streets and demand their democracy and freedom this past week,.
Ethiopians should do no less. We have to follow the Egyptian example and call a stay home strike and boycott the government organized make-believe election for this month. We know their is sacrifice to be paid and we also know millions of our people have no dignified life to live for.