Fired Up and Ready to Rumble! – Alemayehu G. Mariam

March 16th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

From Discontent to Renewal

In the Winter of our discontent, we complained about the wasted years of antagonism, discord and strife among pro-democracy elements of the Ethiopian Diaspora. (more…)

From Discontent to Renewal

In the Winter of our discontent, we complained about the wasted years of antagonism, discord and strife among pro-democracy elements of the Ethiopian Diaspora. We deplored the years of infighting and useless bickering which had given much delight and merriment to the ruthless dictators. We expressed collective regret over our shortsightedness and inability to see the big picture, and to work collaboratively for the great cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in the motherland. We chafed about lost opportunities to become effective instruments for the protection of human rights in Ethiopia. We found ourselves gripped by a pervasive sense of powerlessness and political paralysis. Then we had our “Aha!” moment, that moment ringing with the “fierce urgency of now”. Then we declared, “We must learn from past mistakes, overcome our differences and march forward together to the exhilarating drumbeat of freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia.”

We are now in our Spring of hope and renewal. Our hope comes from a new sense of unbridled optimism guided by the principle that Ethiopians united can never be defeated. Our renewal comes in the form of a new consciousness: 1) that we can do things much better than before and differently, and by harnessing our resources worldwide, we can effectively promote the cause of freedom, human rights and democracy in Ethiopia; 2) by remaining divided and fragmented, we would be effectively aiding and abetting in the continuing criminal enterprise of the ruthless dictators. This Spring, for many pro-democracy Ethiopians throughout the world, is a time for a new commitment to the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. The seeds of goodwill planted in dialogue and consultation in the Winter are now sprouting as seedlings of collaborative action, cooperation and worldwide consolidation in the struggle for the protection of human rights in Ethiopia. This Spring, pro-democracy Ethiopians can be heard all over the world saying, “Enough talk. Shake hands. Let’s get busy!”

Fired Up and Ready to Rumble!

We are fired up and ready to rumble! Everywhere we turn, we find an overwhelming consensus among pro-democracy Ethiopians that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every Ethiopian is entitled, and stem the arbitrary powers of dictators, reduce intolerance and political violence. Validation of this truth comes from all sectors. The refugees who fled the persecution of the ruling dictators in Ethiopia testify to it. Former political prisoners, dissidents, exiled journalists, human rights advocates and all who believe in democracy, freedom and the rule of law say in a single voice that it is time to act. The victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity call upon us in exile to champion their cause and alleviate their suffering.

Spring Into Action

Ethiopians in exile are excited about the prospect of working together to help alleviate human rights violations in Ethiopia. There is unquestionably massive consensus among pro-democracy Ethiopian exiles to forge a common human rights agenda. But there are issues that bear directly upon the practical formulation and implementation of such an agenda. We are wrestling with two such issues now: 1) determining the most effective method to bring together divergent elements in the worldwide Ethiopian exile community to work and act together in common cause, and 2) identifying a set of actions and outcomes that can be taken to produce tangible and quantifiable results in improving the human rights situation in Ethiopia. These two questions require careful and thoughtful consideration.

Bringing together groups and individuals that have often been at odds with each other, or have not worked together much in the past is not an easy task. Harmonizing different organizational styles and practices requires careful balancing. But we believe we have made significant strides in seating diverse Ethiopian pro-democracy elements at the grand table of human rights dialogue and consultations. We are making good progress in our coalition-building efforts and in beginning to develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve the multiple purposes of advocacy, education, mobilization and action in support of Ethiopian human rights issues. We are going through a natural period of “acclimatization” learning about each other and our unique organizational styles and methods. But we do our best to practice what we preach. Our dialogues are open, civil and intellectually engaging. Our communications are transparent, and all input from participants are integrated in our deliberations. We build upon each other’s strengths.

Identifying a set of advocacy issues and developing an action plan for implementation of a human rights agenda presents its own challenges. We have a sense of our unique assets and resources which can be used to achieve our purposes. We are acutely aware that our issues can be paired with some extraordinary opportunities that were not available to us in the past. For instance, in the U.S. context, the change in administration offers fresh opportunities to revisit the issue of human rights in Ethiopia. We believe the blank check given to the dictators during the Bush era is likely to be a thing of the past. We also believe the continuing, sustained and flagrant human rights violations will figure prominently on the Congressional radar screen. We hope to harness our energies and resources and employ different strategies to advance the cause of human rights in Ethiopia.

There is no question pro-democracy Ethiopians in exile are fired up and ready to act on improving human rights in Ethiopia. The action items are self evident: 1) Human Rights Monitoring: We must work to ensure the regime conforms its conduct to the standards of international human rights conventions which are part of the constitutional law of the regime. Such efforts span a wide variety of activities ranging from factual investigation to documentation and reporting. 2) Advocacy: We must develop a multi-pronged approach to advocacy. There is consensus that advocacy at the highest levels of international policymaking should be a priority. We are also aware of the importance of utilizing resources at the local levels in seeking policy changes at the national level. 3) Release of All Ethiopian Political Prisoners: Recent official reports indicate that a large number of political prisoners continue to languish in the ruling regime’s prisons. Impressive public demonstrations have been held recently to call international attention to the plight of political prisoners in Ethiopia. Additional steps can certainly be taken to champion the cause of Ethiopian political prisoners. 4) Accountability: There is substantial evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ethiopia. In the past year alone, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have published reports documenting such violations of international law. There is also evidence in the form of a certified list of criminal suspects in the post-election massacres in 2005.

There are other related issues which are integral to the success of the foregoing tasks. There is a critical need for human rights education and awareness in the Ethiopian exile community worldwide. One of the reasons why international human rights advocates speak on our behalf has to do with our lack of knowledge and expertise to speak for ourselves on important human rights issues. There is also a need to engage “silently concerned” exiled Ethiopians in the global human rights effort. This requires developing a clear and convincing message and creating practical ways of participation and engagement by such individuals. Increased awareness and access to accurate information on human rights is one of the best methods of mobilizing those who remain marginalized.

We Can Move Mountains!

From our efforts in supporting H.R. 2003 and predecessor bills, we have learned that a well coordinated advocacy campaign can produce significant results in terms of generating wide support for human rights in Ethiopia. The power of advocacy, we believe, lies in the simplicity and purity of the advocacy mission, the passion and commitment of the advocates and supporters and the clarity of vision about the task ahead. We believe in empowering every Ethiopian to become a human rights advocate, and to feel emboldened to take action even when confronted with seemingly impossible obstacles.

We expect bumps in the road. Despite good intentions, grassroots advocacy campaigns will hit snags from time to time. Sometimes efforts may be disjointed and progress may not be visible in linear fashion. But such is the nature of grassroots advocacy. The alternative is to hire the fat cat lobbyists of “K” Street in Washington, D.C. and feed them a princely sum of $50,000 per month. As we have seen, even fat cat lobbyists can be defeated and routed from the legislative battlefield by a disciplined and tenacious army of fleas. We are fired up and ready to rumble! We can move mountains!

  1. አርበኛው
    | #1

    እጅግ በጣም የሚደነቅ ጽሁፍ ነው:: ጸሃፊው ጥሪ እንዳቀረቡልን እጅ ለእጅ ተያይዘን የምንነሳበት ጊዜ አሁንና አሁን ነው::በዲሞክራሲው ዙሪያ ለመስራት መጀመሪያ ከተቀመጥንበት መነሳት ግዴታ ነው::በተለይ ውጭ አገር ያለን ኢትዮጵያውያን ለትግሉ መሳካት አያሌ አስተዋጽኦ ማድረግ ስንችል በመከፋፈል መንፈስ አገር ውስጥ ያሉትን እንዃ ሳይቀር እየበከልን መሆናችንን ብናስብበት የተመረጠ አካሄድ ነው ብዬ አምናለሁ::አገራችን ተስፋችን :መመኪያችን:ኩራታችን:አንድ አለን የምንል ሃብታችን ;በህይወት ኖረን ብቻ ሳይሆን ሬሳችን እንዃ እንዲያርፍባት የምንመኝ በምንም ነገር ልንተካት የማንችል የአምላክ ስጦታችን ነች::ስለዚህ ወገኖቼ በአንድነት ሆ ብለን እንነሳላት!አመሰግናለሁ::

  2. yikerbelen
    | #2

    Let our sint giworigis killed him. The evilest , the ugliest and the most known criminal human being on earth.

    | #3

    ውድ ኢትዮጵያውያን በውጭ ሃገር ያላችሁ: እንደምታውቁት በሃገራችን ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ወያኔን የሚደግፍ ሰው የት አለ ብትሉ በትግራይ ውስጥና በሌሎች አካባቢ ጥቂት ለቀን ሆዳቸው በጥቅም የተገዙ ለወደፊት ትውልዳቸው እንደ ኃይለሥላሴ ጉግሳ(በጣሊያን ወረራ ጊዜ የኢትዮጵያ አርበኞች የሚዋጉበትን ስፍራና መንገድ ሲመራ የነበረው የጣሊያን አጎብዳጅ የነበረው ከሃዲ) ማፈሪያዎች ናቸው:: በዚህ በውጭ ሃገርም እንደነዚህ ዓይነት ጥቂት ማፈሪያ ሆዳሞችን አይተናል ታዝበናል:: ሲመጡ በወያኔ ምክንያት Political Asylum(የፖለቲካ ጥገኞች) ሲሆኑ: የመኖሪያ ፍቃድ ሲያገኙ: ቆየት ብለውም ውስጣዊ ማንነታቸውን በሚስጥር በስደት ላይ ያለውን ግለሰብ በተለያዩ ጥቅማ ጥቅም በመያዝና ወያኔነታቸውን በተግባር ስናይ :በሃገራችን ኢትዮጵያ የወያኔ ሰለባ የሆኑትንና በስቃይ ላይ ያለውን መላውን የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ረስቶ ቅድሚያ የሚሰጠው ጉዳይ የውጭ ሃገር ፓስፖርት አውጥቶ በሃገር ቤት ስለሚሰራው ቤትና ስለሚያጠራቅመው ሃብት ሌላም ሌላም….የነበረበትን የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲና ሃገሩን ይረሳና ምን ያህል አሳፋሪ ትውልድ መጣ ያሰኛል:: አንድ የቀድሞ መንግስት ኮሎኔል የወያኔ ወንበዴዎች ወደአዲስ አበባ አካባቢ ሲጠጉ በአካባቢው የነበሩት ወታደሮች ሲዋጉ እርሳቸው መርካቶ ሄደው ለቤታቸው ጣሪያ ቆርቆሮ ሲያማርጡ ሰዎች እንደታዘቡዋቸው የሰማሁት ነው ትዝ የሚለኝ:: ሆኖም ግን በአሁኑ ወቅት በዚህ በውጭ ሃገር ያለው ኢትዮጵያዊ በአብዛኛው በሙሉ ልብ ቆርጦ በመነሳት የግንቦት7 ንቅናቄን በአለው አቅም በመርዳት የሃገራችንን ህዝብ ከነዚህ የሃገር ሸክም ወንበዴዎች ነጻ ለማውጣት እየተንቀሳቀሰ ነው ያለው: ለወያኔዎችም ትልቅ ራስ ምታት ሆኖባቸዋል:: እንደሚታወቀው ወያኔዎች ምርጫ በሚደረግ ሁኔታ ስልጣንን ለህዝብ ለመስጠት ሳይሆን የተነሱት ብሄርን ከብሄር: ሃይማኖትን ከሃይማኖት አጋጭተው ቀደም ሲል በጫካ ውስጥ ያቀዱትን የማርክሲስት ሌኒንስት ሊግ ኦፍ ትግራይ ሪፓብሊክ ለመመስረት መሆኑን የምናውቀው ጉዳይ ነው:: ከዚያ በፊት አላማቸው በይክፍለሃገሩ ያለውን ሃብት ወደራሳቸው ማጋበስና ማጠራቀም ከዚያም በውንብድና ህገመንግስታቸው ያወጁትን መገንጠል የሚለውን ለማድረግ እንደሆነ ከማንም ኢትዮያዊ የተሰወረ ነገር አይደለም:: ጎበዝ በወያኔዎች ውንብድና አይናችን እያየ ድንበር ተቆርስዋል: “አይንችን እያየ ሃገራችሁን ለምን ትወዳላችሁ ታፈቅራላችሁ መገንጠልን በግድ ደግፉ እኛን ደግፉ አልበለዚያ ታገኛታለህ እየተባሉ ብዙ ውድ ኢትዮጵያውያን ተገድለዋል: አሁንም በየእስር ቤቱ እየተሰቃዩ ነው ያሉትና ትግላችንን በሁሉም አይነት የትግል እንቅስቃሴ ሃገራችንን ነጻ እናውጣ:: ወያኔዎች በፓርላማው ጉባኤ እያሾፉና እየተሳለቁብን ነውና እናስብበት::
    እግዚአብሄር ኢትዮጵያን ይባርክልን
    አንድነታችንን አጽንቶ ወያኔዎችን የምናበረክክበትን ሃይሉን ይስጠን!!! አሜን

  4. mateos
    | #4

    Dearest professor: the weyane mafia family and their Eritrean masters/advisors have found two vital tools to destroy this beautiful nation and this beautiful people, 1- THE GUNS, to kill and silence the ones with intellect AND 2- THE LIES, to confuse the peasants. The Ethiopian diaspora is well aware of these “made in the aiga jungle” tactics by the weyane mafia family that is distroying people that co-existed for thousands of years and this same tactics are spreading all over the world. In due respect to your intellect please use your creativity along other intellectual people like you or THE DEMISE OF THIS BEAUTIFUL NATION AND PEOPLE IS TICKING BY THE SECOND. I’m afraid the Somali situation might look like honeymoon if these mafia family continue to rule with the direction given by donor countries and their Ejritrean masters/advisors! GOD SAVE THE PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA AND ETHIOPIA FROM THE WEYANE MAFIA FAMILY!

  5. በለው
    | #5

    “I believe in empowering every Ethiopian to become a human right advocate” That is the only way to bring Peace love Good governance.people participation Knowing right or wrong,expressing ideas must be costumed.
    የተከበሩ ሊ/ጠበብት አለማየሁ ገ/ማ ስለመልካም ስራዎ እያደነቅን
    (መቼም አዋቂ ሲገኝ ቀጣፈውም ይበዛል ይቺ መልክት ለቤን አላሙዲን ነው)
    በእየ ስርቻው ተቀምጠው ሀብታምና የህግ ባለሟልን እያውዳደሩ በአመት ሁለት ጊዜ ሀገራቸው ባዶ እጃቸውን እየሄዱ ወሬ እያፈሱ በየመንደሩ ቡና እንዲጋበዙ የሚነፉት ወሬ በጣም ይግርማል::
    ለነገሩማ ግሪክ ነበርኩ ካናዳም ዘምቻልሁ ይሉ ነበር “ስደት ለወሬ ያመቻል” ምን አልባት ከሚሰሩበት ቦታ የኬሚካል ሽታ አስተሳሰባቸውን አላሽቆት ይሆናል::
    ታዲያ የመንግስት ቅርበት ካለዎት የሀገሪቱ ህግ ሕንድ, ግብጽና ግሪክ ከሚያጨማልቀው ይህ
    የነብር ግልገል የመሰለ አለመኛ የማርያም አገልጋይ መልሶ ቢሰራው አይማልዱንም ??
    እንገረም ነበር ሲሉን ተምሬአለሁ
    መቆየት ደግ ነው ብዙም ታዝቤአለሁ
    ይሄው ዛሬ ደግሞ ይህን አለማየሁ::

  6. bubu
    | #6


  7. bubu
    | #7

    dil lesefiwu hizib

  8. Robele Ababya
    | #8

    Brilliant and inspiring as usual. The spirit of “Tenesa Teramed” (Stand up and Stride) is gathering momentum, thanks to the unrelenting patriotic effort of Professor Al Gebremariam.
    Respect for universal human rights must be the centerpiece of our struggle against injustice perpetrated by Woyane.

    I thank the Editor of Abugida for the picture accomanying this wonderful article

  9. woro
    | #9

    Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia left for London, Britain, on Sunday to hold prior consultations on the upcoming G20 summit and explore ways on how best to drive home to the rich and emerging nations Africa’s interests.


  10. falk
    | #10

    Proffesor Alemayehu! Firstly, I would like to thank you, about your comments; That is belongs to all Ethiopian.
    Professor! Please you and others Educated Ethiopioan invite to all oposition party Leaders and compromise them to be unite as soon as possible.
    Professor you said- ENOUGH TALK!. SHAKE HANDS!. LET US GET BUSY!.

  11. Woube
    | #11

    The road to democracy appears to be more bumpy and difficult than we thought previously.However still, strongly believe it is only the participation of the people at different level is a only out of our multi-facet problems. In short, democracy is the panache. Woyane is by far the biggest obstacle to make democracy a reality. However, it will be wrong to think; if we somehow get rid of Woyane then democracy is granted. Some of us still wrestling with the genuine ideas of equality, rule of law and accepting the wish of the majority, which are the corner stones of a democratic system. It is here, I see the important role being played by individuals like professor Alemayhu. The professor knowledge, humbleness and humility can be felt to distant lands of the Ethiopian Diaspora. I totally agree with you professor, and will do my level best to contribute my share, to our common cause.
    Thank You Professor Al Mariam you are a real inspiration for all of us who genuinely believe democracy is a way out of the mess.
    I am fired up and ready to rumble

  12. በለው
    | #12

    ተናገረ ፃፈ ሐተተው ሳያመነታ
    “ተነሳ ተራመድ ከንድህን አበርታ”
    ህገ-መንግስቱን አልንቋሸሸም
    አለ” ገለበጣችሁ እንጂ አልተገበራችሁም”
    ጠራ ጮኋል ለመናችሁም እንነጋገር
    አላችሁ አስረዱኝና እንማማር
    ኑ አለ ምሁራን ሁላችሁ
    ሁሌም በኩረጃ በወሬ ትኖራላችሁ!
    ጋዜጠኛ ፓለቲከኛ ሐኪም የሕግ ምሁር
    እስከ መቼ ትነግዳላችሁ በሀገር?
    ተቀራረቡ እንማማር ለሀገር እድገት
    ማን ሊበላ ማ ሊከብር በድሀ ሞት ?
    ይህ ነው ወንድ የእውቀት ባለሟል
    እኛ እንናገር ያየን ስንት የጓዳ ሻንበል
    እንያችሁ ቅረቡ ስትወያዪ ተደመጡ
    ወይ ለማመን ወይ ለማሣመን ውጡ
    ለመናችሁ ተጣራ ተናገረ ሕዝብ ይሁን ምስክር
    በእየስርቻው ሀሚታና ወሬ ዘለፋ ይቅር
    ዘረኞች ሆድ አደሮች ጥቅመኞች ጉረኞች
    በእየጎራው የተደብቃችሁ አሉባልተኞች
    ቅረቡ ተወያዩ በግልፅ እንያችሁ
    የሥርቻ ወሬ አሉባልታ ጉራ ይቅርባችሁ
    ተደናብራችሁ አትስበርግጉ ሥሩ በሙያችሁ
    የተናገረ ገልባጭ እንጂ አዲስ አልፈጠራችሁ
    የሚገርመው ሁሉን እናውቃለን ትላላችሁ
    ግን የጋን መብራት ጎበዝ ነቃፊ ናችሁ
    መንደርተኞች እንጂ ዓለም አላያችሁ ?
    የነብረውን አሻሽለን ያለውን አርመን
    ፍቅር መተሳሰብና መረዳዳትን ተላምደን
    ሁሉን አቀፍ አንድ ኢትዮጵያን እንገነባለን!!

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