By T. Goshu
As I always do (whenever I can) , I participated in the cry out for Freedom and human rights in front of the White House to show our solidarity to our patriotic fellow Ethiopians back home. I appreciate those who organize ,and those who were parts of the cry out and tried to make the voices of millions of Ethiopians heard abroad especially by those governments which keep financing their “bad guys” regardless of the incredible level of suffering going on in our country. Let me on the other hand , express my observation about not only today’s demonstration but also about a considerable number of demonstrations I took part in the last several years. It goes like this:
I do not have any naïve expectation of seeing aggressive and massive public demonstrations every time and anywhere. But on the other hand , I am sorry to say but I have to say that demonstrations should not be for the sake of going to streets or in front of appropriate foreign government offices such as the White House and disperse with out having reasonable influence /impact either on the officials or the public at large. I know many of my fellowmen/women may argue that the question of how many concerned Ethiopians show up does not matter this much as the main objective is to make the serious concerns we have address to a government or the public at large. Well, as matter of principle and rights of to do so, I agree. However, this kind of seemingly genuine thinking does not hold water this much especially in this era which is highly influenced by a very big and aggressive Public Relation Works or Public Diplomacy . Folks, yes, one individual or small group of people can have a very clear and serious cause to make through meetings /protests/demonstrations. But the legitimate aggressive ,massive and convincing cause makes a big difference in the process of the struggle . Believe or not, the officials and the public at large can be mindful and seriously responsive to our cry outs whenever they watch large size ,powerful and aggressive public messages. That is exactly what we miss in our efforts to make our voices heard in most instances.
The second observation of mine is about the slogans ( the carriers of our messages) which in most cases lacks motivation and public attention. This is both in terms of content and form. In terms of form, some sounds long sentences difficult to express them in a sense of powerful and massive voices. In terms of content, some sounds that they are directed to the government which is directly responsible for the action it takes .I am not saying it is not good or right to chant all kinds of appropriate slogans anywhere we express our concerns. What I am saying is that we need to identify to which kinds of messages should we give more emphasis and recitation to let those governments know exactly what we are demanding for. Example: It is very appropriate and targetful to demand the White House ;
‘ Stop financing and supporting the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia!
. Side with the people of Ethiopia , not dictators!
. Stop financing dictators with tax payers money!
. Where is your promise about the value democracy and freedom!
. Break your silence and help the Ethiopian people in their fight for freedom!
. Do not wait for another Rwanda or Somalia ….!
. Act before it is too late !
. Stop financing dictators and making Ethiopia a prison of innocent citizens!
. Ethiopians deserve the right to live in freedom and with dignity!
. Can you listen to the voices of the Ethiopian people !
And so many other messages should be directed to foreign governments . Short and clear.
Although it is necessary to let those governments know that the Ethiopian people are demanding what the regime in ETHIOPIA should do by chanting other kinds of slogans , I think it is better to recite those slogans which carry the message we want to send to those foreign governments .
.One nation, one people and one Ethiopia !
. Release all political prisoners!
. Free all political prisoners! Now!!
. We want justice /freedom /rule of law …!
This demands are primarily directed to the regime in ETHIOPIA.I think it will be more meaningful if we link these messages with our demands to those foreign governments.