URGENT! For Immediate Release
Mark-up Vote for H.R. 2003 Scheduled for July 31, 2007
The Coalition for HR 2003 is informed and believes that the House Foreign Affairs Committee will calendar H.R. 2003 for mark-up on Tuesday, July 31, 2007. We expect the bill will receive full support by committee members and recommended for passage by the Full House.
Zenawi has engaged his lobbying army of DLA Piper to defeat the bill. They are making calls and paying visits to members asking them not to support and vote for the bill.
DLA Piper has fully engaged their top guns to defeat the bill. See Ken Silverstein’s article in the recent issue of Harper’s Magazine, entitled “Lobbying firms blocking action against Ethiopia’s tyrant.”
We are also very much aware that some individuals who have lately been representing themselves as “shimagles” are indeed leading a secret lobbying campaign against the bill. We are fully aware of their efforts, and if they want to continue on their present course, we insist that they register as lobbyists for a foreign government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, 22 U.S.C. § 611 (c) (1).
The Coalition for H.R. 2003 calls on all Ethiopian Americans in the United States to rise up once again and deliver victory in the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. We are up against the mighty lobbying firm of DLA Piper. If we don’t rise up now and show our support for H.R. 2003, they will use their enormous power to crush our efforts to defend human rights in our country.
Special message from Prof. Al Mariam
I thank the Coalition for H.R. 2003 for giving me the opportunity to say a few words on the challenges that we face in pushing through H.R. 2003 in the House of Representatives.
I am afraid that some of us may not be aware of the concerted and coordinated activities by Zenawi’s lobbyists and others to defeat H.R. 2003. Every single day, Zenawi’s lobbyists, official representatives and even some who claim to be “shimagles” are making phone calls and pounding the pavement in Congress to defeat H.R. 2003. There is a coordinated effort between the lobbying firm, the official representatives in the U.S. and certain “shimagles” and others to mount a covert and not-so-covert assault on our bill. We must stand up and defend our bill!
Zenawi’s new lobbying strategy is simple. He wants to convince Congress that he has changed overnight from a dictator to a democrat. He says: “I have released the political prisoners. I am going to be a good boy from now on. I will abide by the rule of law and all that good stuff. Just don’t slam me with H.R. 2003.”
His lobbyists are chanting the same thing all over Congress. “Sure, sure. Things are improving in Ethiopia. The political prisoners are released. More will be released. Zenawi is willing to observe human rights. He should be given a chance. The bill will hurt the Ethiopian people.” Blah, blah, blah. The unofficial lobbyists are trying to scam members of Congress by telling them that “Ethiopia is trying to solve its problems by using its elders and traditional methods of conflict resolution”. Blah, blah, blah.
But H.R. 2003 is not just about releasing political prisoners. It is about democratic reform and accountability, restoration of the democratic rights of the people, strengthening human rights and civic society organizations and human rights monitoring and reporting processes, increasing the independence of the judiciary, prosecution of human rights abusers, improving election procedures, removing press censorship and repeal of restrictive press laws and provision of various training programs for demcratic participation, and limiting U.S. security assistance to peacekeeping and counter-terrorism only, among others.
Fortunately, we have not only truth and justice on our side, but also the defenders of truth and justice: Donald Payne, Chris Smith, Tom Lantos, Mike Honda, Charlie Rangel and dozens of others.
We have a choice to make now: Let Zenawi buy his way out of H.R. 2003, or we stand up and stop him cold on the steps of Congress. The choice is ours, not his.
Zenawi is certain, very certain, that he will defeat H.R. 2003 and win in the end, because he has millions to spend on lobbying. He thinks he can buy Congress. Have no doubts about this. He is sitting in his palace right now laughing at us: “They are not going to do a damn thing. All they do is moan and groan. They have never been able to do anything in all these years.” So, here we are. Is Zenawi right? “We can’t do a damn thing.” ???
Call, Write, Visit Your members of Congress on behalf of Mother Ethiopia
I ask every Ethiopian American to call, write and visit their members of Congress and ask them to support H.R. 2003. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the questions are:
Can each one of us afford to give Mother Ethiopia 5 minutes out of our busy lives to make a telephone call to a member of Congress and plead on her behalf the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights?
Can each one of us spare 10 minutes to write a letter to a member of Congress and explain Mother Ethiopia’s pain and suffering and the plague that has been visited upon her children?
Can we spare a couple of hours to go to the district office of our member of Congress; or for those of us who live close to Washington D.C., can we spend half a day in Congress and personally petition for relief of the suffering of Ethiopia’s children?
Let’s act NOW!
Let’s prove, No! Surprise Zenawi, that we can really work together to bring about positive transformations in Ethiopia. Let us show him that though we do not have millions to spend on lobbyists, we have hundreds of dedicated Ethiopians who will make up with patriotism and love of country what they lack in money.
My fellow Ethiopian Americans, awaken the giant within you. You have the power to do good, to be caring and compassionate towards your suffering brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. Use your power as a democratic citizen of the United States to fight evil. As Ghandi has taught, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” Let me add that strength does not come from spending millions on lobbyists. It comes from an unflagging and unfaltering commitment to a cause – our holy cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia.
JOIN ME AND THOUSANDS OF OTHERS AS WE MAKE OUR CALLS AND VISITS TO OUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS.
Remember July 31, 2007!
God bless all of you!
Fax your letters, DO NOT MAIL. It takes 2 weeks to deliver a letter to congress because of security inspections.
Office telephone and fax numbers are listed below.
Copy and paste, and modify the letter below to fit your special situation.
Documents can be FAXED during the day or at night.
They will be read whenever they are sent. If you do not have a fax machine, places use fax services available at places like Kinkos, Staples, Office Max and others. You can also ask friends who have faxes to send them for you.
We encourage you to immediately call, write, fax and/or visit your Congressional Representatives’ district and/ Washington D.C. offices and URGE THEM TO CO-SPONSOR HR 2003
OR USE THE FOLLOWING
The Honorable [Name of Member]
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Attention: Foreign Affairs
Dear Representative [name of member]:
I am writing to ask you to co-sponsor H.R. 2003 (“Ethiopia Freedom and Accountability Act of 2007). I also respectfully ask that following committee consideration, you vote to recommend the bill as amended do pass.
(Personalize the letter in the next paragraph. Research the member’s legislative history on Google or by going to their website. If you are in their congressional district mention that also. Mention your line of work, expertise, special things about yourself, if you want.)
Example: Over the years, I have been one of your greatest admirers in the area of human rights, and I very much aware of your leading role in promoting human rights through the Cuban Democracy Act. It gives me great pleasure to write to you on H.R. 2003, (Ethiopia Freedom and Accountability Act of 2007) as I am sure you will appreciate the gravity of the human rights situation in Ethiopia. I am presently … describe your work, responsibilities etc, briefly)
As you may recall, on June 26, 2007, the scheduled mark-up action on H.R. 2003 was delayed because the ruling regime in Ethiopia, through its official representatives, communicated to the Committee that mark-up action on the bill on that date will adversely affect the release of the prisoners of conscience held in Kality prison.
I have learned that the Committee, in the face of such unprecedented challenge to its institutional integrity, nonetheless agreed to delay mark-up action for 2 weeks.
As you know, H.R. 2003 (Ethiopia Freedom and Accountability Act of 2007) is not merely about the release of political prisoners in Kality prison. It is fundamentally about reclaiming, revitalizing and advancing human rights as a central pillar of American foreign policy.
To that end, H.R. 2003 aims to institute accountability and democratic reforms in Ethiopia, aid in the restoration of the democratic rights of the people, strengthen human rights and civic society organizations, increase the independence of the judiciary, assist in bringing to justice human rights abusers are brought to justice, ensure fraud free-elections, and removing press censorship, among many others. Simply stated, it is a bill that aims to institutionalize the rule of law in Ethiopia.
H.R. 2003 is presently co-sponsored by Chairman Lantos, and eighty-three other members. I respectfully request your co-sponsorship because I take great pride in the fact that my representative from the great state of ___________ stood up to defend freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, where most of my relatives and friends still live. I also appreciate your help in expediting the mark-up of the bill by requesting that it be placed on the next calendar of the Committee.
I would like to thank you in advance for your help.
I will call your office in the next day to follow up on this letter.
Give your address and telephone number where you can be reached
DO NOT CALL OR WRITE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MEMBERS LISTED IN RED BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALREADY CO-SPONSORED THE BILL
STATE — TELEPHONE — FAX — District
Eni Faleomavaega American Samoa
Jeff Flake, 6th
Gabrielle Giffords 8th
John Boozman 3rd
Tom Lantos (Chair) 12th
Lynn Woolsey 6th
Jim Costa 20th
Elton Gallegly 24th
Brad Sherman 27th
Howard Berman 28th
Diane E. Watson 33rd
Linda Sanchez 39th
Ed Royce 40th
Dana Rohrabacher 46th
Tom Tancredo 6th
Gus M. Bilirakis 9th
Connie Mack 14th
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen 18th
Robert Wexler 19th
Ron Klein 20th
David Scott 13th
Don Manzullo 16th
Dan Burton 5th
Mike Pence 6th
Bill Delahunt 10th
Russ Carnahan 3rd
Jeff Fortenberry 1st
Christopher Smith 4th
Donald M. Payne 10th
Albio Sires 13th
Gary L. Ackerman 5th
Gregory W. Meeks 6th
Joseph Crowley 7th
Eliot L. Engil 17th
Brad Miller 13th
Steve Chabot 1st
Luis G. Fortuno Purto Rico
David Wu 1st
Joe Wilson 2nd
Gresham Barrett 3rd
Bob Inglis 4th
John Tanner 8th
Ted Poe 2nd
Michael McCaul 10th
Ron Paul 14th
Ruben Hinojosa 15th
Sheila Jackson Lee 18th
Jo Ann Davis 1st
Adam Smith 9th