The angry children of Ethiopia. By Yilma Bekele
We really are a special people. No matter how far we go one eye is always on Ethiopia. The last few days we saw something we did not like. Ethiopians on all four corners of the world saw it at the same time. We were universally sad and worried to death. What we saw being done to our cousins will not be forgotten. What the Saudi Security and a few Saudi citizens did to unarmed young boys and girls is ugly. It is a sad reflection on Saudi Arabia’s society being built with petro dollars. All I can say is what a waste. When that freaky system they are constructing implodes I know they will bring their sorry ass to Ethiopia and we will meet under our terms.
We are normally a very quiet and reserved people. But the situation in the Middle East in general and Saudi in particular seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Our response which is still in progress was one of united indignation. Outside of Ethiopia protest was held in every city, town and village Ethiopians live. Why do we go out on protest marches is a good question.
We all agree the way the Arabs of the Middle East treat us is degrading, inhuman, against international treaties and should stop right now. How do we accomplish that goal is the answer to our current problem. Today there are thousands in detention camps, thousands that live in fear and plenty more that are being abused as we speak. How do we stop them hurting our people and disrespecting our country?
There are several ways to get the Arabs to listen and pay attention. Military might is the most effective method. There is nothing like having a big gun to level the playing field. That is the response of Nation States. Unfortunately the Diaspora does not have an army. So we did what we could to show our concern. No Saudi Embassy and Conciliate was safe from our assault. We did our part in the Bay Area. It was great to see Ethiopians speaking in one voice. Our Eritrean cousins joined us and made the occasion more notable. Who else would show up in times of crisis other than one’s family near and far. Although it was a chilly November day we all felt warm and energized by each other’s positive energy and that fierce Ethiopian spirit. It was a work day and plenty were unable to come. But we all felt their presence.
Our aim was to put the Saudi government on notice that those they are abusing with impunity have someone that cares. We were using international shaming as a weapon. We were also teaching the citizens of the countries we live in about the dire situation Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali migrant workers find themselves in. Our protest were recorded by the news media and our petitions have gone to all those that can act on it.
It feels good to be able to protest in a peaceful manner and makes one’s opinion known. It is clear it is not enough to solve the problem we are facing. We cannot sustain this anger for long. In a few weeks just because we got over it does not mean the problem is gone. We need to figure out a lasting solution.
There are three solutions I have in mind. All three would effectively solve our problem and we can return back to what we were doing. Solution number one is flex our military muscle and fly our jets into Saudi air space and act menacingly. Solution number two is bring all our people back home where they belong. In fact the Arabs would even pay for the trip back. The third and final solution is pulverize the source of the problem that seems to drive young people out of their country.
Solution number one is not an option. Our military cannot even win over Somalia – a country with no government. Solution number two is not acceptable either. The way the Woyane regime is constructed they need remittances to replenish their foreign currency, are pleased with getting rid of young impatient citizens and with unemployment over forty percent and more there is no incentive to bring the kids home. If there was opportunity they would not have left in the first place.
Why exactly are these young people flocking to the Middle East knowing the danger? The simple answer is because they see no future in their homeland. Leaving your place of birth is not an easy decision. It is a very traumatic experience. The hardship is doubled when one has a low educational level and no skill to sell.
Normally it is the job of a government to protect its citizens. Ours is unable and unwilling to do that. That is why we in the Diaspora are protesting despite the governments many attempts to infiltrate and sabotage our efforts in the community. We do not have a government that feels any sense of responsibility to its citizen. The government is a body detached from the citizen thus is in no position to understand the degree of anger that is building up in the society. While tens of thousands are in so called detention centers the regime wants to toot its horn for bringing two hundred fifty six back. And the handpicked Foreign Minister says ‘…they have homes to come to’ knowing he has no plans to resettle all these stranded citizens.
The Ethiopian people despite news blackout by the regime were very much disturbed by the news. Led by Semayawi Party and Andenet they tried to protest in front of the Kingdom’s Embassy but were even denied that. The regime sent its security force to harass, beat up and jail citizens that were exercising their right in a peaceful manner. We can march in Washington D.C., Seoul-South Korea, Oslo-Norway, and Toronto-Canada but are not allowed in Addis Ababa. We are escorted by motorcycle police in San Francisco but are whipped like animals by Ethiopian Federal Police.
The regime knows we are very angry and is doing all it can to bottle this tsunami of emotion. Their operatives are working hard to shift the blame on Arabs. They are screaming let us discuss effect not cause. They say we are strictly concerned about human rights abuse in Saudi Arabia and there is no need to bring ‘politics’ into the picture. We don’t ask why everybody is migrating out despite the danger but protest if they are abused by some savage government. Woyane agents and Hodam Diaspora are enlisted to keep the discussion strictly on the behavior of the Arabs and shield the regime.
This incident has shone a bright light on the nature of the minority regime in Addis Abeba. Faced with a major problem affecting thousands of its citizens it chooses to keep quiet. The Saudis notified the world that they are giving a seven month period for undocumented people to find spencer or leave. The Ethiopian government is fully aware that there are a large number of our people that have entered the country without proper credentials. For seven months the Woyane regime chooses to ignore the situation. Knowing the young citizens are at harm’s way the Woyane regime did nothing to help them.
Even after the whole world became aware of the dire situations faced by our people including the killings, rape, beatings the Ethiopian government is still calling the Diaspora alarmist and putting out false press releases denying the problem. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.
What do you think, doesn’t the third solution of removing this entity called Woyane from the scene the only option that could result in a lasting solution faced by our country and people? We definitely cannot change the Saudi Regime. It is too rich and powerful to be moved by our protest. Anyway it is always easier and better to change one’s own condition than someone else’s.
This latest confrontations with the minority regime has elevated our movement to a higher level. The Woyane is being stripped of any and all legitimacy and proving once again it does not have the interest of our country and people when it comes to dealing with other nations. Many that were fiving the regime the benefit of the doubt are today looking at it differently. The picture is getting clearer by the day. The regime claim they have repatriated two hundred fifty people they just have twenty five thousand plus to go.
We the children of Ethiopia have a choice in front of us. We can continue being abused by our own government or we could roll our sleeves and unite to deliver a crippling blow so it will never rear its ugly tribalist head ever again in the land of the Habeshas. It is your choice. We can continue the dysfunctional behavior we are famous for like putting each other down, creating organizations that don’t stand any chance of doing anything substantial, peddling the ethnic card using those knowledge challenged followers, travelling home and feeding the monster with our hard earned money or pretending everything is great and no need to lift a finger. All are choices we have to make. You can support Semayawi party in its quest to use smart nonviolent means; you could help Andenet in its slow deliberative process or join the forces of Ginbot 7 in its painstakingly organized stealth assault at the heart of the enemy. I don’t want to hear you say there is no leader, no vanguard party because if you don’t join and help there won’t be any. If protest march is not followed with concrete action then what is the point of all this drama?