HR 2003 benefits all and sundry

By Robele Ababya
November 25, 2007
HR 2003 was conceived and developed in the aftermath of the historic Ethiopian election of 15 May 2005 that culminated in the unexpected decisive victory of opposition forces over the brutal regime of Woyanne, which in its 16 years of repressive rule, had betrayed vital national interests of Ethiopia, including rendering her the largest land-locked country on the globe.

Therefore the Meles regime has neither moral nor legitimate authority whatsoever to represent Ethiopia on any substantive issue. The opposition of the regime to HR 2003 is a smoke screen to sweep under the rug its well-documented heinous crimes by appearing ‘patriotic’ to the people. Accountability of the regime for its heinous crimes is as certain as the Wuchale Treaty and HR 2003 are mutually exclusive. The two documents have nothing in common and the opponents of the Bill, including government officials, are hallucinating in that the very Ethiopians that they once derogatively called ‘Neftegnas’ will heed their call and inundate the street to protest infringement on their sovereignty.

Scare tactics, or even deliberate lies as a matter of policy in the case of the Meles regime, have been applied to hoodwink the Ethiopian people each time despotic rulers got themselves into political turmoil. It is interesting to note that the past three successive regimes used the river Nile and threat from neighboring Somalia as their weapon to divert public opinion. The following examples may interest readers:

  • The Imperial regime in its wee hours of collapse distributed flyers all over Addis Ababa stating its determination to build dams along the river Nile for irrigation as a means of permanent solution to the famine in the northern region of Ethiopia which shook the foundation of the throne. Also, the regime intensified the propaganda of an impending threat of invasion by Somalia. But the effort lacked sincerity and so did not save the Imperial regime from ultimate demise in the revolution of 1974. There is no question however that the regime cared about the territorial integrity of Ethiopia, but failed to address political issues of the time.
  • The Dergue regime repeated the same promise as its predecessor but more vocally in its resolve to use the waters of the Nile for irrigation so that recurrence of famine in Ethiopia shall be a thing of the past. In all fairness, however, the Dergue regime saw the threat of Siade Barre and reactionary Arab states as detrimental to the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. But it made the political blunder of alienating the Western powers even when they had indicated or offered their support for the concern of the regime provided it moderated its ideology.
  • The Woyanne regime, repeated the propaganda of its predecessors and, not surprisingly, did so cunningly better. As readers will recall, Meles publicly stated that his patience has run out regarding the issue of the utilization of the waters of the Nile. Immediately after that public statement he went to Cairo for talks with President Mubarek of Egypt and God knows what substantive result was achieved after the talks. The HR 2003 has now become a hot propaganda for the government par excellance; it pervades the media under the absolute control of the EPRDF ostensibly to alert the public under its iron grip to the impending infringement on the sovereignty of Ethiopia if the Bill is signed into law. How the regime deceitfully built up the pretext for the unfortunate invasion of Somalia, which got its armed forces bogged down there, is an ongoing saga signaling its eventual demise in disgrace – unless Meles reads the signs on the wall correctly and makes a genuine change of heart and paradigm shift to work for national reconciliation with all opposition political forces as well as with the Ethiopian people first and foremost.

The question is whether the present generation has come of age to question the performance of their government. And the answer is certainly YES.

The present generation living in the age of knowledge and information, want peace and tranquility underpinned by universal compact. The following is one example among several known to this writer (as in President Shimon Peres of Israel facing young Arabs in the Doha Debate) of intense desire of modern society for freedom and liberty – a world of love and harmony.

The tumultuous reception accorded to the CUDP delegations to North America and Europe was beyond description. This writer, from thousands of miles away at his home, watched on his television screen the magnificent display of love, genuine smiles and enthusiasm of the crowd; he was truly spellbound by the jovial mood of the people in a setting adorned with the beloved Ethiopian flag. These trustworthy messengers of peace are in the hearts and minds of the Ethiopian people. Their legacy will pass to generations. So, the Ethiopian martyrs of June and November 2005 in the aftermath of the historic election of that year shall never be forgotten. Perpetrators of the heinous crime shall be brought to justice, for the supporters of HR 2003 have already won a resounding moral victory by the unanimous passage of the Bill by the House of Representatives of the United States Congress. It has secured the endorsement of the American people.

The top leaders of the Woyanne regime may still be captives of communist ideology that they pursued during their days in the bush – unaware of progress made in scientific knowledge and technology pervading all aspects of our lives in this information age. Mankind has penetrated deep into space and submerged to the bottom of the oceans in search of scientific exploits. Genetic mapping and cloning of mammals are phenomenal incursions into the realm of biology. Information comes to the living room of those who care to tune to their television, radios or cell phones. No matter how hard despotic regimes try to suppress the media, people do get the information they need for any course of action they decide to take.

News of gross and abuse of human rights such as the one that the world has witnessed in Darfur, Somalia, and Ogaden, are but few examples of gruesome atrocities that are reported by courageous journalists. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the free media among others report that despotic leaders like Meles of Ethiopia, Esaias of Eritrea, El Bashir of Sudan, the Military junta of Burma et al are killing, incarcerating, torturing and unleashing untold miseries on their own people without impunity. No wonder then that the clarion call is intensifying at this material time globally to uphold the letter and spirit of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

HR2003 is consistent with this Declaration and its benefits will accrue to all and sundry; it cleanses ones conscience by supporting what is morally right; it encourages violators of human rights to show remorse; it creates a congenial climate for the development of a vibrant democratic culture in Ethiopia; it guarantees the independence of the indispensable pillars of democracy; it affirms the right of tax payers of donor countries that their contributions go towards development projects and the building of democratic institutions – not to the pockets of despotic leaders; it assures culprits that they will receive justice that they had denied to their victims. Those of us who support HR 2003 are patriotic, informed and considerate Ethiopians, Ethiopian-Americans and our kin and kith all over the world. Because of our common value premised on freedom and liberty, we are unswerving friends of the American people. On that note, this writer pleads with the exalted Senate of the US Congress to pass the Bill and has the honor to appeal to President Bush to support it in keeping with his often quoted pledge:

“When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for what you are – the future leaders of a free country.”
There is nothing wrong in holding the Meles government to honor its own Constitution, which stipulates respect for UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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The writer can be reached at robele_ababya@yahoo.com

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