by Tedla Asfaw
The Blue Party of Ethiopia also known as “Semaiawi Party” has called for a public protest rally next week on May 25 in front of African Union in Addis Ababa. The rally has nothing to do with the 50th year anniversary of the foundation of OAU/AU. However, it chose this date to remind foreign guests who are coming to Ethiopia that Ethiopians are living in their own country in fear and poverty behind newly built roads and high rises. Protest of any kind has been illegal since May 2005 in Ethiopia. The only rally that has been allowed for the record is the one organized by Eritrean Refugees to protest against Isaias Afeworki’s dictatorship.
The right to assemble and freedom of speech is non existent in Ethiopia. Many journalists who challenged the TPLF/Woyane regime by exercising these rights ended up in jail accused as terrorists. Many Ethiopians are living in fear and political parties can not assemble even in rented hotels. The Blue Party that called the May 25 rally was denied dinner gathering in a rented hotel by government security forces early this year.
The Blue Party called Ethiopians in March of this year to come out and denounce the erection of Mausoleum for Graziani in Italy. The government beat up and arrested more than 40 people. The members and activists of this party are mainly young and female. They are action oriented and risk takers. Their leaders drove to South Ethiopia to see the evicted or ethnically cleansed Amhara farmers from Beni Shanguel and Gumuz last month. They were briefly jailed.
The Blue Party is protesting injustices when it sees it. The ESAT “Eneweyaye” May 13 program by three hosts seem to disagree with the May 25 Rally because of its timing and the lack of other parties participation. Ato Fasil argued that the rally looks like “begging” foreigners/Ferenji Limina. The majorities on the 50th celebration are Africans. As the hosts agreed many of them have similar problems in their own countries and the Blue Party’s call for Freedom and Justice for Ethiopians is not at all begging. It is exercising citizens right to assemble.
Ato Fasil argument that the regime by allowing such protest for first time might get credential as a “democratic ” is absurd. The nature of the regime is not determined by what it did in one day but its record of more than twenty two years. The whole world including those guests on that day know what Ethiopia has been under TPLF/Woyane. That day rally is to affirm our people right to say No when they see it any place, day and time, nothing wrong with May 24.
The Blue Party called this rally and asked others to join it. Someone has to start and should be commended for that.The young and women are comprising the majority of our people and many of them are not members of the Blue Party or any other parties. By going out on May 25 where foreign journalists are abundant will reaffirm the world the call for Freedom and Justice made by millions in Addis Ababa eight years ago.This time they might be a tiny fraction of that number but the demand remains the same. The braves though few are always in front line for the Freedom Battle.
Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and Wubishit Desse could have been better journalists and analysts from distance. They chose to speak and write and paid a high price for it. Andualem Arage and Bekele Gerba could have shut their mouth and still be a leader of a party they chose not. Many whose names are many to mention here have already given their lives for justice, did not choose place,date and time. The Blue Party members chose to follow them and need encouragement.
This is a month of Freedom here in the Ethiopian Diaspora in North America. Abebe Gellaw an ESAT Journalist on May 18, 2012 morning at Regan Building in Washington D.C. shattered the Wall of Fear and denounced the late Meles Zenawi led Dictatorship and Injustices Financed by the West. An act of one man was considered by TPLF/Woyane supporters and many foreigners as “impolite” action. The Ethiopian people are proud of Abebe’s heroic Voice !!! We have never been in in business of begging or worshipping foreigners. Polite and Proud !!!!
The few who will start the Freedom Rally on the 50th year commemoration of OAU/AU against injustice in Ethiopia are doing the right thing like Abebe in America. Doing it on May 25 will magnify their effort like Abebe’s protest of May 18, 2012. Make no mistake, some think that this is the first peaceful rally in Ethiopia since May 2005 but it is not. The peaceful rally in Ethiopia is now more than 16 months old carried out by hundreds thousands every Friday in mosques throughout Ethiopia. What the Blue Party is trying to do is bring all Ethiopians, Christians and Muslims to common agenda in a public place. TPLF failed to sabotage the Ethiopian Muslims prayer rally and it will fail to sabotage the May 25 political rally in Addis Ababa. We are all Blue !!!! Long Live May 18 and Long Live May 25 !!!!