Monday February 8, 2016, a Chinese New Year of Monkey, was a snowy cold day for rally in New York City in front of the United Nations. Public Schools were closed and traffic was light. in Ethiopia, monkeys are known for being smart and people who are “smart” are often refereed to as “smart as monkey” or “Bilt Endetotit”.
Ethiopian activists who braved the cold and snowy weather were also smart like the monkey. By being the voice of their people for over two decades, the activists have learned the importance of rally. They reject the idea of “useless protest”.
The rally in support of Ethiopians back home who were killed, beaten and jailed and the illegal land demarcation deal between Ethiopia and Sudan were the cause of the protest. The signed petition of 25,000 people organized by the Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee and various political, civic and religious organizations in the diaspora was handed to the office of the Secretary General of the United Nations.
Representatives went to the UN and handed over the petition on behalf of the protesters and the thousands who signed it. In the meantime, the call for the release of political prisoners and accountability for the loss of lives in various regions of Ethiopia was heard loud and clear in the snowy cold air across United Nations.
After the submission of the petition different speakers took turns and highlighted the injustice in Ethiopia. Ms. Tsigereda who was one of the organizers told the crowd to keep on fighting until Ethiopians are free in their own country. She stressed the importance of working together to achieve that goal.
A Muslim representative reminded the crowd how Ethiopia was a just society where those persecuted got shelter in the time of Prophet Mohamed. He said Ethiopian Muslims shattered the barrier of ethnicity and have been struggling to practice their religion freely as Ethiopians.
The killings in the Oromo region of Ethiopia by government security forces, the ethnically driven land grab by pitting one group against the other in Gonder and Gambella was also condemned. Protesers held the govenment accountable for the loss of lives and property.
Protesters call for Ethiopians back home and in the diaspora to unite and save their country. The outside powers like UN role is very limited. It is only when Ethiopians who are now seeing each other on the prism of Ethnicity thanks to the last 25 years government propaganda of “Self determination/ Yemanenet ” Must Break that Mistrust/Yalemetemamen and save their country from breaking apart. Long Live Motherland Ethiopia!