By Neamin Zeleke
In the past week, Ethiopians all over the world have watched the barbaric acts committed against our sisters and brothers in Saudi Arabia with deep sorrow and outrage. These inhuman acts are not committed by illegal bandits or criminals operating in the underground, they are committed in broad daylight by the Saudi security forces and government backed youth vigilante. Defenseless Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia continue to face random killings, gang rape, severe beatings, and mass arrest by brutal government forces and government supported mobs.
There are an array of irrefutable evidences of the Saudi government’s brutality, utter disregard for the rule of law, and common human decency. Video images and eye-witness testimonies confirm Saudi Arabians have employed extensive use of torture. These acts of gross human and civil rights violations call for an investigation by the United Nations and International rights groups’ into the full extent of the horrific crime committed by the Saudis.
The plight of our brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia begs the question of why so many Ethiopians are forced to flee their country in the first place. Why are millions of Ethiopians suffering around the world as helpless refugees, undocumented aliens, and, in many cases, beggars? What relegated Ethiopians to live a life of second-class, even third class citizens around the world is nothing but the repression, discrimination, and brutality they face in their own country in the hands of an ethnocratic regime well -equipped with the tools and arsenals of repression.
Millions are forced each day to choose between a wretched existence at home and uncertain search for hope in a strange land. Fed to the brutal whips of the unscrupulous and racist slave drivers in Saudi Arabia by their own government, Ethiopians cannot look for their leaders at home to come to their aid. To those unwitting sympathizers of the criminal regime in Ethiopia, the continuing suffering of helpless Ethiopians at the hands of racist Arabs should come as a wake up call. We should not only blame the perpetrators of the crime; we must also hold accountable those who made life unbearable at home for millions of Ethiopians.
A government that demonstrates no concern for the suffering of its people that it systematically drives to a life of exile, servitude and inhuman treatment should be held accountable, condemned, and ultimately removed. Today the blood of innocent Ethiopians colors Arab streets. Let there be no doubt that their blood will not be spilled in vain. This tragedy should serve as a cause for action and for redemption. It is a call for action for those of us in the Diaspora and back home, who have served as apologists for the criminal regime, trading the time-honored Ethiopian pride and patriotism for petty material gains.
Today, Ethiopia is a country that is ruled by corrupt despots who have utter disregard for basic human rights. They are thugs that have no allegiance to the flag and depraved souls without an iota of national and patriotic ethos. The sacred and time honored ethos that were protected by the blood and sweat of generations of Ethiopian compatriots are being replaced by the callous deeds of morally debauched thugs who have condemned millions to a life of abject poverty, ignorance, disease and abysmal sense of hopelessness.
For those who have paid attention to the reality in Ethiopia, it is abundantly clear that the dehumanization and humiliation of our brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia did not begin on Saudi streets. Many found themselves facing the brutality of the Saudi police after being forced to leave their country because of a similar form of brutality at home. The fact is that most young Ethiopians, besides facing high rate of unemployment, are subject to some of the most serious rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, incommunicado detention, arbitrary arrest, torture, and inhumane prison conditions in Ethiopia.
The criminal regime, which has incarcerated genuine Ethiopians such Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba, Andualem Arage, Reyot Alemu and thousands of others, has institutionalized corruption as a means of controlling the greedy professionals. The ethnocentric tyrants lead lavish lifestyles, while millions suffer under extreme repression and lack of basic necessities. Members of the ruling ethnocentric thugs and their cohorts travel to watch a Premier League game in England, to shop at expensive boutiques in the fashion capitals of the world, or to visit a doctor in Bangkok for minor ailments, while tens and thousands are fleeing their birthplaces in search of a better life in Arab lands. When these Ethiopians who flee their country in search of hope and opportunities face inhuman treatment, including dismemberment and death, the so called government shamefully apologizes to the criminal Saudis who committed the atrocities in the first place.
Credible accounts have demonstrated that the ethnic-based thugs in power have embezzled billions of dollars that they have secured in the form of aid and loans from donor nations and organizations. According to a recent report, in the past few years alone, the criminal regime has borrowed over 16 billion dollars in the name of the people of Ethiopia, and has looted the vast percentage of the money.
The fraction of the loan and donation spent on sub-standard construction projects littering the country and paraded as “Development”, has trickled to the lackeys who serve as subcontractors of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray ( EFFORT) and other financial outfits of the regime. Greedy professionals, including many medical doctors, engineers and even professors, are shamelessly bowing to these criminals in their despicable effort to be the recipients of the loot. It’s no wonder, then, that thousands of our brothers and sisters risk their lives to travel to foreign lands just to be able to feed themselves and their families.
The regime’s response to the onslaught against its people in Saudi Arabia has added insult to injury. Instead of demanding redress for the Ethiopian victims in a visible and public way, the officials of the thugs in power in Addis Ababa did not waste time to use the horrific tragedy committed against Ethiopians in Riyadh to beg for money from the Saudi government in different forms of appeasements and apologies.
Ethiopians must unite against the unscrupulous and decadent ethnocentric dictatorship that has condemned its citizens to a life of misery, dehumanization, repression both at home and in exile. We must hold those in power responsible for the tragic predicaments of our fellow citizens in Arab lands. The ultimate remedy, therefore, is for all Ethiopians to unite in common cause to bring about freedom, democracy, hope and all the requisite social and economic conditions to lead a free and dignified life in our homeland.
By Neamin Zeleke