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Remembering Ethiopians in Saudi: Christmas and New Year message to you

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By kbede HaileNeb1It is the right moment to say Merry Christmas/ MelekamYeFeronjochi and to the coming Ethiopian Genna, to you all. Wherever you are, whichever faith you hold, or even if you do not believe in Christianity, on this Christmas I wish you happy holidays. I hope you are enjoying a special time with your loved ones. We should also remember our beloved Ethiopians who dehumanized in Saudi Arabia during these high Holidays’.
I can’t help but pause to feel bitterly sad with the current situation in Saudi Arabia. This has been a hard year for our countrymen in Arab countries. Also floods, famines, bitter cold and wars caused much distress almost in every corner of the globe. As if my Christianity guilt isn’t enough, I feel even more guilty for calling others to celebrate when so many others have faced senseless deaths. When we see suffering of our brothers and sister in Saudi Arabia, unforgettable sadness bad memories engulfs on every Ethiopians’ mind. It was a heart breaking moment indeed.
To find out what is going in this country would be nearly impossible. Even if loss of human lives through Saudi’s militia made violence shakes us years of coping and living with tragedy has forced us to accept it. Ethiopian immigrants shouldn’t deserve such harsh treatment. Because, maids as we call them, make their masters’ lives comfortable with cheap pay, available and importantly, easy to manage: they don’t complain abuse, sexual, physical or financial. Above all, they are hassle free to dismiss.
They work wherever they assigned them- in factory and in house etc.12 hour shifts. 30 days a month, with little time to sleep. They might not give sick pay, holidays, parental entitlements. Or retirement benefits and do not get paid when absent from their job
The families and communities of our labor migrants who lost their loved ones to injustice system in Saudi Arabia; our poor people whose lives are taken in dirt, dark place meant to be the graveyard while we along with the rest of others enjoy the freedom with affordable foods; and of course the loss of income of our sacked and robed Ethiopian workers who dare to protest to show their displeasures while others allowed to take over their jobs to move to the higher end of the labor market.

I remember recent conversations with one Ethiopian- “none of these laborers appreciate Ethiopian’s economic growth. The treachery of the poor starved to death, well to do is being paid and stall our growth in the name of investments.” We have to remember that the tool of our oppressor and liberator is our economy.
Our friends and families from the USA, Europe, to Africa and to Ethiopia in particular may not pause for a moment to celebrate European Christmas and New year. Then to make it even more confusing, there are those who celebrate Christmas with gratitude and passion; along with their Christian friends and families to thank God in Arab countries with equal flavor, but with fear. And there are also those who yet, for so many of them the tears flow when they look on to the land that have been forcefully taken away from them, over and over again by whoever became their ruler and controlling the material world.
Ethiopia may indeed rise on the blood, sweat and tears of its people who have brutally beaten to death, thrown out of windows, dragged on the streets, raped, burned and tortured in Arab world. However, I am wondering, how long will take for those tears, so many tears, to cease flowing?
The month of November was a month of deep mourning for Ethiopians; was a tough one for us because of the Saudi’s action against our people. It is difficult even for the glowing sun to cloak those memories of our loved ones who lost lives in 2013 and in the four-fifty decades. My silent prayer is for our countrymen, who lost loves, or as we affectionately used to call them maids and servants. Where is justice when there is such senseless violence against innocent people? Our past protest projects have brought us together to condemn their unlawful action without thinking twice.
Dear readers, you may have someone who you have lost recently, if not to death but perhaps to another moment in time. I hope you remember those moments when you got to celebrate with your dear ones. I hope you find the strength to hold on to the beautiful memories but also the courage to let go of the grief.
One a personal note, goodbye to brothers and sisters who lost your precious live. And I wish you all the best that are alive and expelled to your country with memory, anger anguish and disappointment. We will admire your struggle and suffering to achieve your dreams. You have lived life at its fullest and your laughter will echo forever in our hearts.
I don’t want to leave you with a sad, intense message but I wanted to pass my heart feeling. I am thankful that I am alive, that I am free and that I can still exercise my freedom!
We continue to thank God for bringing us in a country where at least we express our feelings in support of brothers and sisters who suffer unjustly. What we learn from this is to finish what we started, to stand united as we did this time, and to be vigilant all the time to face the unpredictable challenges of the world. I hope those Ethiopians back home who aspired to go to Middle Eastern countries will learn lesson from this ordeal.
So, I wish you a very special Christmas and a happy new year. I hope you can deal with the pain of life, feel all the joy it brings you and undertake your personal journey even if you don’t always know your destination.
Kbede haile is a freelance writer and author of numerous articles and books about the Ethiopian immigrants in American. Can be reached at: [email protected]