The HR-128 US Congress Saga

By Yohannes Gebresellasie (Ph.d) Addis Ababa

A state of emergency is put in place to protect innocent citizens and to maintain peace and stability in a nation. Any nation uses State of Emergency when lawlessness and anarchy prevails and when peace and stability is disturbed. State of emergency happens even in democratic nations when such things happen. A glaring example is that of France that lasted for over a year. The government of Ethiopia used State of Emergency twice in order to protect its citizens from foreign funded terrorists and toxic Diaspora violence and terror campaign instigators. The first declared State of Emergency in Ethiopia lasted three months and all those culprits who were found guilty of terrorism were given amnesty by the government and were released and now they are free citizens. The current one will take six months because there were lives lost and heavy damages inflicted on property and massive violence was inflicted disturbing national peace and security and resulting confusion and insecurity amongst the public at large; therefore, the government did the right thing in imposing state of emergency in order to preserve law and order on the one hand and to maintain peace and stability of the nation on the other. Here, it should be noted that the stance made by the government had a full support of the majority of the public here at home and now because of that people are free to move and work anywhere and anytime they want. When peace and stability and the rule of law is respected just like that of civilized nations such as the United states give the highest priority towards, then the government as promised will lift the state of emergency. Here another issue in point is that when developed nations like France, China and others put State of emergency in place, nations like the United States keep silent while the same thing is practiced within the developing nations like Ethiopia, it is sad least to say that the US is the first one to accuse without even seeing and analyzing the whole situation going on within the country in question. This reminds me of my former Professor who said “ a weather man who works in an office with no window says it is raining when in fact it is shining outside and says it is shining when in fact it is raining outside” therefore, it will be wise to see things in reality for ones perusal. It would have been wise to see things before putting the current HR128 against Ethiopia by the United States Congress intended to punish Ethiopia. Ethiopia is fighting terrorism instigated by foreign based terrorists and enemies of the nation. Some are based and stationed right there in the United states and working day in and day out to defame this beautiful nation that maintained international reputation for securing its freedom against colonizers and neo-colonizers, for fighting terrorism, for maintain peace and stability in the region and for contributing peace keeping forces towards the United nations peace keeping mission, for developing a democratic process in the country, the current peaceful transfer of power conducted in the nation and prior to that the five free, fair and peaceful elections conducted in the nation, and, for being firm against those who tried to twist its arms so that they can put in place a government rather a stooge who can be manipulated to serve their interest and not the interest of its people. Our Defense and security Forces are unique in a sense that they originate from the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and peoples; therefore, they are the peoples’ base and are part and parcel of the community at large. Further, they stand side by side with the people and are loyal to the constitution and the constitutional order of the land. They are therefore signs, symbols and reflections of the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. The Ethiopian Defense and Security Forces have been established on the basis, needs and benefits of the public at large. The Ethiopian Defense and Security Forces believe upon quality, purpose and principle as opposed to quantity or simple numbers. The Ethiopian Defense and Security Forces enjoy the full support and confidence of the public at large because they firmly defend the political power and side with the public at large; therefore, the Ethiopian Defense and Security Forces are very much linked with and respected by the public at large. It is ended a big mistake to accuse the Ethiopian Defense and Security Forces of any wrong doing against their own people. Therefore, the accusation in that regard doesn’t hold water at all and it must be put on the back burner once and for all. It is simply a propaganda accusation by few toxic Diasporas that do not represent the Ethiopian Diasporas at all. In the same way the disturbances that occurred during the Oromia Irrecha festival which is a very proud culture and tradition of the Oromo People has been orchestrated by few foreign funded terrorists. Thanks to the patience and maturity of our security and police forces, the terrorist attack was repealed without any bullet fired by the security forces. Unfortunately, few people lost their lives and few were hurt because of the massive pushing and pulling of people trying to escape from the festival. This rich Oromia tradition has been going on for generations with the exception of some interruption during the former regimes especially during the Derg regime. However even then, the Oromia people kept this noble tradition and were able to preserve and pass this enriched and noble tradition to the next generation with dignity and pride. Irrecha means peace, Irrecha means tolerance, Irrecha means sharing and caring and Irrecha means hosting and providing assistance, providing the right direction and providing food, shelter etc. to everyone that shares thise rich and noble tradition and there can be nothing better than helping and caring and than being peaceful with one self and with others. Therefore this envied and enriched tradition must continue with no interruption what so ever and must pass from generation to generation with dignity and respect because it benefits the society at large. However, recently few foreign aided and funded individuals and groups tried to divert this rich tradition into violence and anarchy in order to fulfill the sinister agenda of the enemies of Ethiopia and in order to spoil the good image of the nation. It should be noted however that our security forces reacted intelligently and were able to save so many lives and no bullet was fired against those violence instigators. Those who started the violence were tried and later released from detention as opposed to the accusation by the HR128 against Ethiopia.
The disagreement, disturbances and demonstrations conducted by some people within the Amhara and Oromia Regions is directly related to the continuous interference by those toxic Diasporas on the internal affairs of the nation intended to destroy the constitution and the constitutional order of the land and to grasp power by all means including through violence and anarchy as opposed to the HR 128 claim . This too was not carefully analyzed by those who sponsored HR128 against Ethiopia. Here at home, we have witnessed unlawful gatherings crating havocs here and there often times than not and tend to get into emotions and take part in unlawful, destructive and uncivilized manner. In any demonstration, the people at large must comprehend their rights and responsibilities during the process. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand and they are two sides of the same coin; therefore, responsible people must always be aware of their rights and responsibilities and they must not be carried away with emotions or irresponsible behavior. Instead, they must become very careful and always be prudent when conducting demonstrations because the whole public is watching and judging their behavior, their characteristics and their general performances. We have witnessed recent activities here at home and most of them were way below the required standard and unexpected from a civilized society aspiring to represent the interest of the public at large. Here, I am referring to some illegal and destructive activities made by some few people against our national interest and against our sovereignty. I was especially shocked to hear people calling names based on ethnicity, religious or linguistic backgrounds. In our era of 21st century, dialogue, tolerance and mutual understanding is the way to go and not chauvinism, racism, egocentrism and religious fundamentalism among others. These are outdated, archive and a zero sum losing games with no positive results. The young generation can learn a lesson or two from the experiences of the more democratic nations like the US to be tolerant and refrain from being intolerance, chauvinist, ego-centrist and racist because such behavior is ignorant and uncivilized. Further, that kind of behavior usually emanates from lack of substance or mere ignorance or from both. That is what is going on with few toxic Diasporas stationed in the US. Unethical and uncivilized personal attack based on ethnicity, linguistic and religious background has nothing to do with any democratic and civilized behavior or even freedom of speech because that kind of behavior is simply foolish and unacceptable least to say. Providing alternative and useful agendas, programs pertinent to the developmental endeavor of the nation and the public at large has everything to do with democratic demonstrations and that is not analyzed by the HR 128 sponsors. Therefore, baseless finger pointing and attacks on a nation and its people is regrettable least to say. Therefore, HR 128 should have seen and focused on issues, substances, programs, strategies and tactics undertaken in Ethiopia in order to help the nation and the public at large and not on cheap and unethical comments that can backfire and that can have detrimental and regrettable effect on the sponsors own personalities. People are judged by their behavior among others and people want to hear gentle, intelligent and wise personalities. They want to see and hear substance not insult; so, one has to be careful not to insult the intelligence of the public at large. Some fundamentalist and chauvinist Diasporas stationed in the US who have been busy knocking the doors of every US congress, have time and again tried to use religious and ethnic cover-ups in order to advance their personal and/ or group’s hidden agendas. They have tried time and again to infiltrate and jeopardize this solid interpersonal, inter religious and ethnic harmony that lasted for generations between and among the Ethiopian people and that was instrumental in maintaining the national stability and peaceful coexistence amongst this nation. They have now erroneously succeeded to convince the sponsors of HR128 in that regard. However, this inter personal inter religious and other relationships between and among the Ethiopian people is deeply rooted, highly intertwined and profoundly entrenched within the blood and sole of the Ethiopian people. Therefore, they did not succeed in advancing their divisive and menacing agendas before and they cannot and will not be able to succeed in the 21st century with this generation either. Religious extremism, terrorism and advancement of hate propaganda using religious cover up and xenophobic agenda is a thing of the past, an obsolete, archaic, uncivilized and backward phenomenon that this dynamic and vibrant generation of the 21st century living in Ethiopia cannot and will not accept.

Currently we saw in an unprecedented and senseless cruelty and cold blooded murder in its worst way, form and shape an act of brutality based simply on xenophobia by few individual criminals, few toxic Diasporas, Genbot 7, OLF and the likes who are stationed in the US over innocent people. What a great shame! II hope that such inhuman and savagery act of terror will never happen again anywhere to anyone and that people will take a lesson or two from that savagery act of murder. Unlike the false claims by the HR128 and unlike what the toxic Diasporas want the US congress to believe, the Ethiopian Government has released many descendants, journalists, activists who have violated the constitution and the constitutional order Those who were taken to prison are now given amnesty and are released and free. Instead of accusing the Ethiopian government in that regard, one can simply come to Ethiopia to see things for one’s perusal. Respect for human, citizenship and democratic rights and freedom of speech, movement, demonstration etc. are entrenched within the Ethiopian constitution. Those rights are not matters of choice rather, they are matters of life and death because the Ethiopian people fought and gave their lives to secure them. The relationship between and among our people is what we inherited from our ancestors and that noble relationship is what we must pass to the next generation and not violence, conflicts and wars that toxic Diasporas are on the daily basis trying to export to our nation and trying to confuse the international community in general and the American congress in particular. Conflicts and war, illegal and violent activities as ways and means of achieving individual, group or institutional goals and objectives will always have detrimental consequences on peace and development of any nation because they cause damage, destruction and underdevelopment that are highly regrettable. Few negative people want to deny Ethiopians of these precious values and norms they shared together for centuries. How can one separate these men from mercenaries? A mercenary sells his country and his people for money. That is exactly what these mercenary men have done from their sanctuary in North America living comfortably there and wanting Ethiopians who live in this country together sharing their values and norms for centuries to kill each other. What these mercenary men do not know or do not want to know however, is that here in Ethiopia, there is a tradition where all people live understanding each others’ language, culture, religion and tradition. However, these mercenary are full of hatred and are racists, bigots and ethno-centrists; therefore, they do not possess peace internally and consequently; they are dominated by fear, hate, mischief, sorrow and many other wrongful characters. These negative acts revolve around them and they become internally and mentally sick. Further, since they are not peaceful externally, they are less tolerant and they have developed aggressive behavior and aggressive act such as violence both verbal and physical. As a result, they not only become major instigators for both human as well as material damages and destruction but they also become causes for instability, lawlessness and anarchy. That is the real character of those toxic Diasporas who instigate HR128 a year ago and become successful in wrongly convincing the member of congress to table HR128 and punish Ethiopia. I believe all nations must learn a lesson or two from that untimely and unwise decision and be very careful not to be associated with such sick people. Instead, they should focus and work hard in order to fight poverty, eliminate conflicts and wars, guarantee prosperity and most importantly preserve and retain peace in a country. We are living in the 21st century Ethiopia and Ethiopia has a constitution. The constitution of the nation puts all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples on equal footings and safeguards their rights and responsibilities. Further, the constitution creates unity in diversity and recognizes and respects the over eighty-five ethic groups in Ethiopia with the same status. Since Diasporas by and large reside in countries like the US with rich experience in tolerance, dialogue and other similar peaceful conflict resolution mechanisms and since they live and experience those norms, they are best suited to contribute their experiences to their country of origin. They can play a significant role in promoting those values and norms to the society with less experience in that regard. In other words, they must help in transferring those peaceful values that they take for granted in places where they reside and the achievements gained as a result; as opposed to advocating violence and other illegal activities in order to achieve personal, group or institutional goals. Diaspora’s gift for their country of origin should therefore primarily focus on promoting peace, stability and sustainable development and certainly not violence, anarchy and lawlessness. Unlike what is claimed by the HR128 congress report, it has been over twenty-five years now that the Ethiopian people began to enjoy peace, democracy and good governance and focus on sustainable development in order to get rid of another chronic envy: Poverty and under development. The country has been going on the right track since this government came to power and most importantly, the people lived in peace and harmony. Violence and anarchy has been an issue of the past and people focused on development, investment, education and training in order to put their nation forward. All these, they realized can only be achieved if there is peace. They also realize that all the achievements they accomplished can only be sustainable in the absence of violence and in the presence of peace, democracy and good governance. The Ethiopian people do very much want to maintain and safeguard their achievements over the years gained through hard fought struggle and immense sacrifice. They definitely do not want to give up and loose to some mercenaries who would like to take them back to the old and archaic mentality. Democratization, good governance and sustainable development are matters of survival and not of choice for the public at large; therefore, they are here to stay and never to be hijacked by some fundamentalists and extremists from within the toxic Diasporas. The important achievements of the Ethiopian people have been safeguarded by the constitution of the land that explicitly recognizes equality of citizens. Tolerance as part and parcel of the Ethiopian culture has been instrumental to and a binding factor of the Ethiopian social and/or communal relationships. In other words, tolerance is a symbol of Ethiopianess. This binding factor has helped Ethiopians to share joy and jubilation together as a people during good times and console each other as a people during difficult times and that, despite their religious, linguistic or any other differences. It further helped Ethiopians fulfill their citizenship rights and responsibilities jointly and helped create a sense of belongingness and love and respect for fellow Ethiopians on the one hand and for the motherland on the other. It can be argued that within the Ethiopian context, tolerance, love and respect for a fellow citizen takes precedence and is given a paramount importance despite religious, linguistic or any other differences. This cultural trait that has been transcended from generation to generation is a solid expression of the Ethiopian way of life. Anyone, individual or group that may try to bring to this country the real problem of extremism, terrorism and xenophobic agenda under the banner of fundamentalism to infiltrate this highly embedded culture and to create a division amongst the Ethiopian people simply to advance hidden agenda better read the history of the Ethiopian people. Those who tried failed time and again rather defectively and those who have a propensity to try are doomed to fail. In our era of globalization, nations are getting closer and closer for shared experience and for shared prosperity. Nations are also caring more and more for each other as they have realized that they all live in the same world and thus have to look after each other and not hate each other. Therefore, the American congress should have realized that Ethiopia is progressing in every field and US’s collaboration and contribution in that regard is vital. The issue, expression and state of democracy is relative. Different governments exercise acceptable democratic state and thus, they are considered Civilized Democratic Republic. That means there is no such perfect democracy anywhere. On the other hand however, this does not mean that governments and alike do not have to strive to achieve what is considered basic, fundamental, acceptable, reliable and that encompasses and fulfills standard and civilized democratic norms and citizenship rights to their people as much as possible. Since the downfall of the former dictatorial military regime and despite internal as well as external provocations and conspiracies, Ethiopia continues to maintain agreeable and relative peace, stability and embark on civilized norms and values of democratization, good governance and sustainable development. Although those norms and values can take long time to be fully implemented, from the very outset, the Ethiopian government formulated a constitution that guarantees equality for all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of the nation. The constitution guarantees freedom of speech, expression in all aspects, ways and means unlike the negative comments of the HR128. There are different independent newspapers with variety of views within the country expressing different social, economic and political views and addressing different issues. Also, there are different political parties operating with different political agendas within the parliament of Ethiopia. Generally, the Ethiopian people have by and large been enjoying relative peace, stability and the fruits of democratic values and norms since this current government came to power over twenty-five years ago. It is to be recalled that these fundamental rights of citizens were absent during the former regimes. Recent election where over twenty-five million Ethiopians casted their votes to the parties they wished is but one demonstration where the Ethiopian people exercised their democratic rights and responsibilities. During the last elections, many international observers including the renowned Carter Center and over thirty-five thousand domestic observers declared that the elections were free, fair and democratic.
Democratic nations follow rather strictly, only democratic and legal ways and means to resolve problems that may arise during social or political disagreements and this was the trend that should be followed by some opposition party members to resolve problem arising from the recent unfavorable demonstrations and disturbances in some areas of our nation However, some extremist individuals and groups located in foreign countries are using tax-payers money to destroy every peaceful democratic of the Ethiopian people thus far gained by choosing violent ways and means instead of peaceful dialogue for achieving their objective i.e. to grasp power by every means including through violence and anarchy. Further, some extremist leadership have made their number one priority to try to convince the international community that there is no democracy in Ethiopia or that the government is reversing the democratic process in Ethiopia and therefore the international community should penalize the country by denying economic assistance etc. All these allegations by some internal and external extremist leadership against the government of Ethiopia is simply nonsense. It is non-sense because democracy is a matter of survival and not a matter of choice to the Ethiopian people. More importantly, Ethiopians fought very hard against former dictatorial regimes to secure democratization and good governance and that they have enjoyed these values over twenty five years now. Also, the current government fought rigorously for the prevalence, maintenance and development of peace, democracy and human rights in this country. These rights that are entrenched in and guaranteed by the constitution are reinforced on a daily bases because democratic rights, human rights protection and respect for the dignity of the Ethiopian people is the number one priority of this government and will continue to be so in the future. Therefore, international governmental and non-governmental organizations alike must not be mislead and must not be confused by some extremist Diaspora leadership in that regard. Instead, they should rest assured that democracy and human rights are alive and well and are here to stay because as mentioned earlier, these are matters of survival and not matters of choice because they are hard fought for. The government of Ethiopia will make sure that democracy, good governance and sustainable development are its number one priority. Also, international assistance and cooperation in that regard is imperative, rather indispensable to guarantee these fundamental mechanisms of human rights protection. Therefore, international governmental as well as non-governmental institutions alike must continue their assistance in that regard in order to reinforce those civilized values they have cherished.
As in any law abiding government, the Ethiopian government has the responsibility of implementing state of emergency in order to secure law and order and in order to protect its citizens from violent activities and in order to bring those culprits to justice. That is exactly what the government has done against few extremists. The government has also given amnesty to many offenders to help them learn from their mistakes and be responsible citizens. This is what is called due process of the law of the land. Democratic rights, due process of justice and good governance is well and sound in Ethiopia and is here to stay because that is why the Ethiopian people fought and paid a lot of scarifies for. An excellent example of such a phenomenon is the decision taken by the nation’s Prime Minister to voluntarily and without any pressure from any one, group or government to resign from the highest post of the land i.e. from the post of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and from the leadership of his own party. Such a bold, courageous and wise decision is simply unprecedented unheard of and truly historic. It is indeed exemplary not only to the democratic process underway in Ethiopia but also to the whole continent of Africa as well. Another example is the democratic process undertaken by the ruling party in selecting the next leader of the party and thus, the next Prime Minister of the country. This shows that there is no turning back on democracy in Ethiopia because the country is on the right track in that regard. On the other hand however, those who want to grasp power by any means including through violence are very busy in lobbying and in knocking at every governmental and non–governmental doors in order to mislead the international community on the current Ethiopian democratic process. They say among other things that democracy is going backwards in Ethiopia, the government is turning more and more to dictatorship and that there are no human rights that opposition parties are under arrest simply for political reasons etc. The reality however is that Ethiopia has continued to embark on what it firmly believes i.e. on democratization, good governance, on poverty alleviation and on sustainable development because these are again matters of survival and not matters of choice to the public at large. Therefore, the country will continue to advance following the right trend. The international community should not be mislead by few self serving hard core opposition parties whose intensions are to bring back the old archaic and dictatorial system. The Ethiopian people suffered enormously under the former brutal military regime for a very long time and do not have the intention to go back to that old system anymore because they have had enough. There is no turning back on those hard fought values and norms. No one should have any doubt on that and most importantly, no one must be misled by few opposition propagandists form within and the Diaspora. Therefore, it is important that governmental and non-governmental organizations alike build confidence on the democratic process flourishing in Ethiopia and continue their cooperation and collaboration in order to further reinforce peace, stability and good governance in the country. As the majority of Ethiopian Diasporas love to contribute to the overall development of their country of origin, their enhanced, organized and systematic assistance in that regard can be an asset to the overall development endeavor of this nation. It is time therefore that destructive forced from within and abroad refrain from evil did and do the right thing and the right thing is to help the motherland. Let us all take the lion’s share of peace and prosperity. We need no war mongers and terrorist armed traffickers and defaming mediocre informers. It is time majority of peace loving Diasporas tell few disillusioned Diasporas to come back to their senses and do the right thing: helping and not defaming the motherland.

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