With their beautiful attire and Hijab on the head, Ethiopian Muslim women surprised Woyanes and everyone in Houston on Sunday, April 14, 2013. Instead of usual cordial and subservient Ethiopian woman, who were often absent from such rallies, Woyane Ambassador was confronted with assertive, and bold Ethiopian women, who at last understood the damage the regime has done to their people regardless of where they hail from.
Unlike in the past the conference was packed, but the Woyane Ambassador might have thought the Muslim audience was his usual allies of the past from Tigre or some allies from the South. To his surprise, he faced a different class of Ethiopian women who at last decided to face the Woyane beast head on.
The Woyane amassed security, for protection, and to silence the opposition, despite such preparation and the presence of such force, the Ethiopian women refused to be silenced and refused to be kicked out of the audience even after the Woyanes urged the police to do so.
The new face of Ethiopian resistance was no more men with jackets, and pants, but Ethiopian women with Hijab. With their coordinated attire, the women filled over half of the audience, showed their protest banners demanding the release of political prisoner and more.
The Ethiopian community in Houston showed up inside the conference room and on the streets in force to demonstrate its displeasure with the Woyane Ambassador from Washington. After months of advertising and promotion, the Woyane Ambassador Girma Biru showed up to collect funds for the Abay Dam, believing his cadres in Houston sold the idea with an ironclad confidence. At the beginning, Houstonians gave the Ambassador the benefit of the doubt to tell his version of the Woyane story and about the Abay Dam. At the beginning, the confident Ambassador narrated the importance of the dam to Ethiopia and how the Woyanes are pulling Ethiopia out of it darkness, while this assertion is highly debatable and probably patently false.
To the surprise of the Ambassador and many Ethiopians, almost half of the audience was women of the Islamic faith. The turnout was beyond any ones expectation; the conference room was packed and some people were forced to stand up. Besides filling the conference with their beautiful attire and yellow Hijab, the Ethiopian women put the Woyane cadres to the task repeatedly raising the plight of their brethren and forcing the police to ask some of them to leave. However, the women would not have it and refused to budge, and the police were forced to back down as the audience turned to their defense.
To his credit, the Ambassador agreed to answer all questions at the end despite his Woyane handlers’ recommendation that all questions be submitted in advance in writing so that they can dictate which questions to be asked or not to be asked. The audience protested to Woyane handlers’ recommendation and the Ambassador relented and took questions from the audience. Unfortunately, he was unable to give straight answers as the audience was looking forward, and the conference degenerated into chaos and the police were called in intervene a few times.
Another surprise to Woyane and other Ethiopians, most of the audience turned to be from the opposition. When the room was cleared off all the protestors, only small groups of people were left with the Ambassador.
As the meeting become unruly, the ambassador decided to call of the meeting and the Ethiopians audience starting singing “Woyane Leba” and Lelaba Genzeb Ansetim”
When the Ambassador cancelled the meeting, he urged those Woyane supporters stayed afoot to make their contribution. However, an awe struck Ambassador was left with an empty room of few supporters and Woyane cadres who organized the meeting. This should have been the most humiliating moment for him: seeing empty conference full of Police and Woyane cadres.
The demonstration continued outside the building and on the streets to make sure that the Ambassador did not leave without more humiliation and embracement and to make sure that he tells his masters in Ethiopia that the table has turned against them and the rumbling of the new freedom fighters, Ethiopian women with hijab. It should be very clear to Woyanes that the days of using religion and tribe are no more marketable as more people are becoming more aware of the damage the Woyane system has caused to every Ethiopians in the last 21 years.
While many in the audience have no problem with the construction of the dam, but they are keenly aware of what Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN, the U.S. Department of State, and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have documented about the human rights violations committed by the incumbent regime. Using the Federal Police regularly intimidates and kills at will on streets, schools, churches and mosques, as it has done just recently in Anwar Mosque in Addis Ababa and in various cities throughout Ethiopia.
Many Ethiopians are aware of the overwhelming evidence about the tyrannical situation in Ethiopia and all believe that it went too far and for too long. The end of the Woyane appears imminent whether they realize it or not; the rising tide of resistance fueled by the unwarranted religious interference and oppression is unstoppable.
The yellow Hijab, a symbol of resistance adopted by the Ethiopian Muslims, will accelerate the downfall of the Woyanes, and restore nationalism and unity, missing for the last 21 years.
Dula can be reached at [email protected]