to May Rally Excellent: Some Next Steps to Organizing
Yours in Your Area
April 22, 2008
The response to the call for an Ethiopian rally for
Freedom and Justice on May 15-18, 2008 has been overwhelming!
I have heard from Ethiopians in thirteen countries and
in over thirty cities within these countries, all voicing
their desire to participate. Just to name a few we heard
from Tel Aviv to Toronto, from London to Los Angeles,
from Addis Ababa to Amsterdam, from Stockholm to Johannesburg
and from Zurich to Sydney.
The responses are not from only one political or ethnic
group, but are representative of the diversity within
the borders of Ethiopia. This shows me that Ethiopians
are beginning to understand that a movement for freedom
and justice must welcome all to join in creating a new
This rally will provide an opportunity not only to
demonstrate our solidarity with those in Ethiopia who
are greatly suffering under the current Meles regime,
but it will also be a “Day
of Remembrance” for the thousands of Ethiopians
who have died or suffered because of human rights abuses
and injustice inflicted against us by the EPRDF. It
will be a day to call for a halt to the war waged on
civilians in the Ogaden and in Somalia. It will be a
day to call for the release of political prisoners like
Teddy Afro, a beloved Ethiopian musician whose courageous
songs struck to the heart of our problems we are facing
in our country.
By coming out to rally on May 15-18th, you, the reader,
is saying to the EPRDF government and to the world,
that our people did not die or suffer in vain and that
you will not rest until justice comes to Ethiopia! By
taking action, you demonstrate your protest of the betrayal
of democracy in our country. We have seen it in the
hijacking of the Ethiopian National election of May
2005, in the suppression of any opposition in the local
Ethiopian elections of April 2008, in the manipulation
of the Constitution, in the violation of human rights
and in the total lack of adherence to the rule of law.
This is a rally where everyone hoping for a better
Ethiopia is needed. No political affiliation is necessary,
but every political affiliation is invited. All Ethiopians
who are unhappy with the worsening crisis in Ethiopia,
even those who have never before participated in a rally
or attended a meeting, should come. Many of those who
have participated before have become weary of politics,
but this is not about politics. Neither is this rally
about one’s ethnicity, one’s region, one’s
religion or any other distinguishing characteristics
found within the family of Ethiopians. It is a rally
for all Ethiopians who want justice, harmony, freedom
and peace for all.
This means that this rally is for the average Ethiopian
as well as for those in one of the many organized groups
like the Kinijit, the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces
(UEDF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) the Ethiopian
National United Front (ENUF), the Ogaden National Liberation
Front (ONLF), the Afar Liberation Front, Gambella Liberation
Front, the Sidamo Liberation Front, the Gasha for Ethiopia,
Solidarity Forum of Ethiopia, the Oromo-American Citizens'
Council, the Ogaden Human Rights Committee, the Coalition
for H.R. 2003, Ethiopian Canadian Citizens League (ECCL),
the Beneshangul Human Rights Foundation, Solidarity
Committee for Ethiopian Political Prisoners (SOCEPP)...
I have already been in touch with representatives from
nearly all of these organizations and they are more
than willing to march for freedom and justice, side
by side with their fellow Ethiopians.
The task ahead now is for individuals and groups to
help organize the efforts in your particular areas;
however, I (and others) will be offering some general
guidance and coordination of the effort in order to
make the task easier and the results more powerful as
we all come together to show our desire for a new Ethiopia.
First of all, some of us will be meeting this Friday
on April 25, 2008 to set up a means for intercommunication
with each other. If you want to be part of this meeting,
for the teleconference number. We hope to plan for future
press releases, teleconferences, radio coverage, Paltalk,
email communications, YouTube and phone calls in order
to share ideas and enhance the efforts of each group.
However, keep in mind that every event will vary in
some ways from others because they will reflect the
creativity, drive, uniqueness and resourceful of those
Ethiopians organizing it.
Secondly, we have included this same email address
so that we can help coordinate volunteers by area, linking
volunteers to organizers. Simply let us know if you
are willing to help in some way and try to describe
what you would like to do. If you are not sure, that
is okay, just contact us and voice your willingness
to help. The time is short and we must organize quickly.
We need people to help obtain necessary permits, to
invite the press, to invite special guests, to create
slogans, to design T-shirts (if so desired), to make
signs, to recruit volunteers, to reach out to other
groups and individuals in your area, to organize prayer,
to decide on locations, to contribute financially, to
organize child care for volunteers or to arrange transportation
to the event. There is something for everyone to do.
Various side events or even alternative events may
be explored, all of which could also raise awareness
of the lack of justice and freedom in Ethiopia. Such
events might include a 10K/5K run/walk, dinners, music
events, special prayer services in churches, mosques
or synagogues and other such events. Funds could be
raised for the Movement for a New Ethiopia through selling
T-shirts, refreshments or beverages or by holding various
events like dinners, auctions, raffles or other such
This rally marks the start of the Movement for a New
Ethiopia. This is only the beginning. After we march,
get ready for more work ahead. It is time to combine
our resources and efforts. No freedom will be sustainable
until all Ethiopians are free. Say no to ethnic politics
and to divisiveness that has been defeating us for years.
The Western donor countries cannot free us and will
continue to work with Meles and the EPRDF until there
is a second choice that is stronger and better. You,
the reader, are that second choice if you and others
do their part.
For you, the readers, who are women, do not leave it
up to only the men. You are our mothers, the backbone
of our society. It is you who are always trying to piece
together the remnants of a society, torn apart by corruption,
ethnic hatred, division and greed. Stand up for a different
kind of Ethiopia. I believe you can help nurture this
movement as you nurture your children. These children
are our future.
Now, I also want to especially address the youth of
Ethiopia. You must become engaged if we are to find
a new and better Ethiopia where we can live together
rather than fighting each other to survive. Whether
that future is bleak or bright can be affected by what
you do right now.
I repeat, I am calling on all men, women, young and
old to join the family of Ethiopians wanting a new and
better Ethiopia by calling or emailing now! Then convince
your family and friends to do the same!
Together we are better than separate. Together, the
garden of God’s precious children of Ethiopia
will then be filled with the dark, light, short, tall,
thin and heavy varieties of humankind, the beauty and
complexity of which, reflects the greatness of our Almighty
Creator. May God guide and help us!
For more information please contact
me by email at: Obang@anuakjustice.org
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