The Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians, (GARE) joins the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora who were shocked and saddened by the savage beheading and heinous murder of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. We are encouraged by the outpouring of indignation and condemnation of these atrocities by global institutions such as the UN and the Vatican and governments including the United States, Egypt and numerous others.
GARE condemns in the strongest words possible the unspeakable atrocities committed by the extremist terrorist group-ISIS- against our Ethiopian brothers in Libya and other murders of Ethiopians in the rest of the world firmly and unequivocally. The barbaric groups depiction in the video justifying the slaying of Ethiopian Christians to avenge “The Muslim blood that was shed under the hands of your religion is not cheap” is intended to incite religious war in Ethiopia between Christians and Muslims who have peacefully lived side by side for thousands of years. The extremist group made no distinction of Ethiopians along ethnic lines. Ethiopian Muslims have expressed their outrage at the heinous crimes and categorically reject their faith being used by the nihilistic terror group that purports to represent Islam. We urge this sentiment of solidarity and common cause to continue. This tragic event should transform us in profound ways and motivate us to work together for justice, freedom and democracy in Ethiopia.
The multi-fold tragedy and collective humiliation facing Ethiopians around the world defies the imagination and is unlikely to stop any time soon. The boat that sank on the Mediterranean carrying more than 900 people had an estimated “400” Ethiopians on board. On April 22, Reuters reported that two boats, one “containing 250 Ethiopians, Ghanaians and Senegalese, and another containing only Ethiopians and Eritreans were stopped on the Libyan coast” for unexplained reasons.
What is the Fundamental Reason for This Unprecedented Mass Exodus?
An overwhelming (2/3) majority of the Ethiopian population is young. Most were born after the current regime came to power in 1991. For most of their young lives, the youth have been robbed of their dignity in two ways: they are not free to demand justice or to find sustainable employment at home; they face uncertain and degrading conditions when they leave their homes in search of opportunities abroad. The beheading and wholesale massacre of 30 Ethiopian Christians and the deaths of hundreds on their way to Europe is a systemic and suffocating governance policy issue.
In the aftermath of the slayings in Libya, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians across the globe grieved and prayed for the dead and questioned the legitimacy of their own government accusing it that it does not defend their rights, that it is incapable of creating jobs and that it denies them freedom, justice and opportunities. Protesters carried slogans that questions, “Do we have a government that cares? Where is it and what does it stand for?”
Reuters reported on April 22, 2015, at the government sponsored protest that “Demonstrators hurled stones and police tear gas as emotions ran high.” Protestors demanded government responsibility and accountability for joblessness that forces thousands of Ethiopian youth to travel through death traps such as Libya and Yemen in the hope of crossing to Europe. They chastised the leaders of the governing party as thieves (leba in Amharic).
Beyond the empty rhetoric, shedding crocodile tears, and politically motivated calls for three days of national mourning, the governing party shows no sign of letting up its repressive deeds against peaceful protestors. Federal police and security forces savagely beat up and clubbed innocent people. Even at a time of national humiliation and mourning the Ethiopian government is using its draconian anti-terrorism law to criminalize peaceful dissent. People are clubbed and beaten in broad day light whether they demand freedom of expression or accountability for the unprecedented exodus and the horrific impact on the lives of the thousands of Ethiopians fleeing the stifling political and economic situation in their country.
The tragedy is that the repressive and oppressive one party state is at the same time one of the most corrupt in the world. Ethnic-based nepotism in hiring, embezzlement of funds, bribery, corruption and illicit outflow of billions of dollars is bleeding Ethiopian society, leaving little capital to open and expand opportunities for millions of unemployed and underemployed youth creating an impossible choice of “death or flight.” Tragically, the degrading human trafficking that afflicts hundreds of thousands each year and the unprecedented number of young girls and boys who leave Ethiopia at a rate unheard of in the country’s history will persist as long as the current ethnic-minority led dictatorship continues to govern.
In light of this, The Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians calls on all Ethiopians and people of good will across the globe to make their voices heard for good governance, the rule of law, equitable access to social and economic opportunities, advancement of civil society, independent and free media, political pluralism and respect for human rights in Ethiopia. We urge our supporters to collaborate with human rights and spiritual communities and leaders and hold vigils, protests and campaigns wherever they reside. The Global Alliance will do its level best to facilitate these events in the coming weeks and months.
Global Alliance For the Rights of Ethiopians expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the most recent victims in Libya as well as to the families of the thousands of young people that have perished fleeing persecution and poverty.
Source : Ethiomedia