Boycott ESFNA events in Washington DC

Who do you stand with?

Tegbar (Ethiopian Democratic Action League) was formed in 1997 with a simple mission: To give voice to the thousands of political prisoners who languish in jail. Since that time we have created international awareness for the plight of political prisoners by staging protest rallies, peaceful civil disobedience, vigils, town hall meetings, and family events in several cities around the world. On the 25th anniversary of the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) in Washington DC, we ask you all to join us and give your voice to the millions of Ethiopians who are languishing under Meles Zenawi’s brutal dictatorship by boycotting all events sponsored by ESFNA.

ESFNA has recently announced that it has received a donation of USD$300,000 from Woyanne businessman Sheik Al Amoudi. By accepting the donation from the Woyanne sheik, ESFNA has made a clear choice to align itself with an individual who is a key supporter of Meles Zenawi’s brutal dictatorship.

The connection between Meles Zenawi’s terrorist regime and the Sheik includes, among many things, that they are being represented in the U.S. by the law firm DLA Piper. This is the same law firm that had represented Woyanne in a recent European Union parliamentary hearing on the political crisis in Ethiopia. Al Amoudi is a major business partner of the Meles crime family. Ethiopian resources, such as gold, are being mined and smuggled out of the country by Al Amoudi’s private planes without the knowledge of even the Meles regime’s own Ministry of Mines. Al Amoudi has also a corrupting influence on the Ethiopian society, particularly the youth, through his public drunkenness, having sexual relationships with multiple partners other than his wives, turning thousands of desperately poor Ethiopian teenage girls into sex toys for his business partners, friends, and bodyguards, using his ill-gotten money to buy Ethiopian artists, athletes and prominent citizens NOT to speak out against the fascist regime, etc. Al Amoudi is a lowlife corrupt businessman, on top of the fact that he is a key financier of Meles Zenawi’s killing machine. He is not a role model for young Ethiopians by any standard.

It is not secret to ESFNA officials that Meles Zenawi’s regime is currently increasing its military budget, spending millions on lobbyists, giving away Ethiopia’s land to Sudan, committing gross human rights violations in and outside Ethiopia, while subjugating, brutalizing, terrorizing and starving millions of Ethiopians and Somalis. Acceptance of Al Amoudi’s donation is an endorsement of Woyanne’s crime on the people of Ethiopia and Somalia by ESFNA. As clear as ESFNA’s choice to stand with the Woyanne terrorist regime, so must our choice be in standing with the millions of our oppressed people.

Taking a stand takes courage. It’s not always the easiest choice, but one that speaks volumes about what is most important to a person/organization. ESFNA could have accepted the donation and made a contribution for the exact amount to the Red Cross or other NGOs working to feed millions of our people who are currently facing starvation. They could have declined and encouraged the Sheik to contribute the money to address the famine in Ethiopia that is caused by the mismanagement of Ethiopia’s resources by the Meles regime. But that would have taken courage. The decision to accept the money shows the presence of obscene greed within ESFNA.

In the 2005 elections, millions of Ethiopians took a stand. Months leading up to that historical day, they came out in large numbers to show a desire for new leadership. When the time to vote came, they came out 26 million strong to stand up and vote for change. Their voices would, however, be muzzled. When they stood up after the election and protested vote stealing, Woyane’s special forces showered them with bullets killing and injuring thousands. Let us take this opportunity to stand for them.

A few years back, Teddy Afro took a stand. In a sold out event at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa, he was told by Al Amoudi’s henchmen not to perform one of his songs criticizing Meles Zenawi’s dictatorship. The Sheik was not going to allow Teddy to criticize his friend and partner that night, no, not in his house. As his fans waited in suspense, Teddy Afro had to make a decision — he chose not to compromise his principle. As he currently languishes in prison, let us stand for him.

Tegbar is calling for the boycott of all events organized by the ESFNA. What we are NOT, however, calling for is the boycott of independent activities, such as concerts and conferences. A good number of hardworking merchants have paid money to ESFNA to provide goods and services and they should be supported. There are also many events including concerts and parties that are not sponsored by ESFNA that we can attend and enjoy.

Don’t embrace ESFNA’s choice by purchasing tickets to attend a concert or a soccer match it has organized. Instead, let us all stand up and be a voice to the voiceless.

Stop the Struggle, Join the Fight!