Activists Protest Against Obama’s Africa Policy
By Tedla Asfaw
Since the Obama Administration has announced the African “Rulers” gathering in Washington. D.C, earlier this year for this summer Ethiopians have put it on their calender to voice for what they have been saying for more than 23 years to previous administrations including this one, the Obama Administration.
We reminded President Clinton before the “War on Terror” that he was wrong when he promoted the “African new Breeds of Leaders ” countries like Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia.
The ruler of Eritrea is now out of favor by the Obama Administration and accused of being a “Bad Boy” in the neighborhood for human rights violations, jailing journalists and denying freedom of religion etc.
We challenged the Obama Administration if this litmus test of appearing on August 4-6 was indeed applied to Ethiopia. Is there no human rights violations in Ethiopia ? Is there no jailing, torturing and killing of anyone who oppose the regime in Ethiopia ? The answer is Eritrea is not different than Ethiopia.
Was it not John Kerry himself who went to Addis Ababa this year and has failed all of us by admiring the big Chinese Cranes in Addis, the double digit growth of the Ethiopian economy and never said a word on those who were jailed for long term jails for using their pens and papers demanding Freedom and Justice for Ethiopians.
Mentioning Eskinder Nega or one of the Zone 9 bloggers name is not different than the Obama speech in Ghanaian parliament in 2008-09 which all of us took it as a shift in policy towards Africa from previous disastrous policy before and following 9/11. Obama has failed us miserably !!!!!!
No wonder the slogans carried by the thousands of Ethiopian protesters focused on the “War on Terror” and the state terrorism. Today in Ethiopia thousands of peaceful Ethiopian Muslim protesters are beaten and jailed, University students killed in the Oromo region of Ethiopia for peaceful protests. Andargatchew Tsige a Secretary of Ginbot 7 exiled opposition movement was kidnapped in Yemen in June of this year and on his 2nd TV appearance on the government channel the tortured victim was heard crying in agony on the background !!!
The Obama Administration has admitted human rights violations and extrajudicial killing in Ethiopia on its own report but they are telling us that that they are discussing all these with their ally on the “War on Terror” behind our back not to anger the Ethiopian regime.
Holding an African summit in D.C. where half a million Ethiopians live has exposed Obama Ethiopia/African Policy for all. The D.C. police force and security establishment number was more than us around 7 30am the beginning of our rally.
The road blockage surrounding the National Academy of Science where the 600 delegates attended the day event had attracted medias once the crowd number reached its peak of more than few thousands around 9 :30 am. The protest was covered by channel 7, BBC, NPR VOA Amharic, ESAT TV etc.
The DC Joint Task Force and Global Alliance for Rights of Ethiopians have done great job in dealing with security and the media people. The crowd was full of energy and many young people attended. It is a sign of passing the torch to the next generation of Ethiopians.
The young Ethiopian Muslims can easily be identified by their Hijab. They were parents carrying their young children on their shoulders for six hours. The mild weather in a blue sky and Green Yellow Red flag was a magnet for tourists and States Department employees alike.
Around 10 30 am a coffee break many of the delegates including the Ethiopian delegates heard the thunderous chant that was directed against them very closely while moving from their tent to the open. Most were surprised and some were trying to record the action.
Protesters were asked by our religious leaders to reflect on ourselves. Why all this misery for 23 years ?? We were told that it is our God Given rights to reject so called church fathers who are dividing our community in the diaspora. We mist reject all those in our communities. The time is Now !!!!!
At noon time the crowd was in action to march to the IMF and World Bank the final destination of our protest. The police wanted us to take the short cut fearing the huge crowd on Constitution Avenue that can block the traffic.
After half an hour of heated discussion with the organizers the police finally let us march on the Constitution Avenue. The African Tent put for the first day of African Summit was “hit” by our “Sound Drone” at lunch time.
The participants who missed the action in the morning can not hide from this one. The chant coming, Africa is not for sale, Ethiopia is not for sale, Congo is not sale. Human rights before investment. Invest on the people of Africa. Stop state terrorism, Africa for Africans etc.
The tourists, state department employees who came out for lunch and of course the delegates who came to the National Academy of Science heard our message loud and clear. Obama African policy has got a big “F” and it has to make it up in the next two years. Otherwise Africans will never remember Obama for anything except for the color of his African skin.
After half an hour march we finally reached the destination of our rally, the IMF and World Bank. The bankers for human rights violations in Ethiopia/Africa. The European Union which is not different from the Obama Administration towards Africa controlled the IMF while the World Bank, USA’s bank both have been financing human rights violations in Africa. There failed policy was exposed for the public. Shame on Obama !!! Shame on EU.
The rally concluded at 1 30 pm and was a great success. The protest will continue this evening and on the culmination of African summit tomorrow. Even if this rally is an Ethiopian rally it was great to so see Congolese joining us from the beginning and the Burundi brothers and sisters joining us on the end of our rally. Long Live African Unity !!!! Viva the DC Joint Task Force and Global Alliance for The Rights of Ethiopians for organizing the rally.