Congressman’s contributions to his state, country and the world celebrated
Newark, NJ. March 14, 2012
A sizable group of pro-democracy Ethiopians, including the prominent opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa, bid farewell to former Congressman Donald Payne at a moving funeral service held at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. Also present was Dr. Berhanu Nega, the leader of Ethiopia’s Ginbot 7 opposition party.
Congressman Payne was among the very few courageous American politicians who demanded the release of Ms. Mideksa when she was unjustly imprisoned by Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi. The late Congressman also spoke up against the violence perpetrated by the ruling party in the wake of fraudulent 2005 elections.
Ethiopian-Americans have been at the forefront of those paying tribute to the late Congressman. Professor Alemayehu Gebremariam, a renowned scholar and human rights advocate, wrote: “the passing of Donald Payne marks a bad day for America, a bad day for Ethiopia and a bad day for Africa! To lose a champion of Africa’s poor and starving masses is unbearable. We mourn a great loss to the cause of democracy and human rights in Africa, but we shall seek to overcome that loss with a celebration of a great life of accomplishment, compassion and caring.”
Former President William Jefferson Clinton led the impressive list of American leaders who paid tribute to the legacy of Donald Payne.
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