By Abdi Ahmed
July 31, 2007 — Humankind has come a long way in the search for good governance and a wholesome political and socio-economic existence. Right from ancient times, tremendous efforts have been made towards fashioning governmental systems that would enhance the well-being of citizens. Proponents of autocracy, aristocracy, oligarchy and even kakistocracy would insist that they have in mind the best interests of the people. Meles Zenawi, the new atze Menilik III, is firmly maintaining his authoritarian rule on the Ethiopian Somalis incorporated in the 19th century in Ethiopia.
Meles and his cabinet who let go their cousins, Eritrean, have imposed a system of hell on earth on Ethiopian Somali and have taken advantage the notion of fighting terrorism that becomes a mode of operandi for African dictators in this era of globalization. However, New York Times had recently exposed Meles’s immeasurable atrocities on the Ethiopian Somali to the world. And Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC flows counter attack on the respected New York Times is a case point.
The world is frightened of terror. The fear has caused many Western governments to institute the level of security and control that, some are already arguing, come close to undermining the freedoms on which their societies are supposedly based. As we, We, Ethiopia Somali in North America noted earlier, many African dictators have jumped to the wagon of fighting the terrorism groups so as to stifle the right and basic freedom of its own people; Ethiopian Meles Zenawi regime is one of them and New York Times has been showed its naked violation of human rights and abusing of individual rights in the remote area of Somali Region of Ethiopia.
The appalling treatment meted out to the Ethiopian Somalis by Meles Zenawi’s happy triggered soldiers illustrates the sort of ephemeral victory that the dictator regimes as now winning in Horn of Africa. The people have been prohibited to access to food and other basic necessities. The We, Ethiopia Somali in North America firmly stands with NY times report on its Articles published on July 22nd editions about Ethiopian food aid efforts in the Somali regional state of Ethiopia and rejecting the unfounded stories manufactured by Ethiopian embassy in Washington, DC.
The jailing of US citizen of Ethiopian origin, Mohamed Abdi, who was kept in prison as a hostage for more than three months without due process illustrated clearly the true nature of Meles Zenawi inhuman character. Mohamed Abdi was finally freed after media and the congress that put a pressure on the Ethiopian regime. It was a case that surprised the international human rights organization and particularly Ethiopian Somali community in North America. In Ethiopia, there is currently insensitivity toward the standards of the fairness and justice which are cornerstones of civilized societies. Ignoring these atrocities gives a victory to Al-Qaeda. The We, Ethiopia Somali in North America aware of the cases written in New York Times has reliable materials in hand and facts that Ethiopia government blocked the aid effort in the region. For instance, the President of Somali Region had justified publicly on BBC Somali language services that he has given seven days the ICRC, a respect humanitarian organization, to leave the country. That is a contradiction per excellence on the statement made by the Ethiopian Embassy official in Washington DC.
Having written a series of articles published in the NY Times, Jeffrey Gettleman disclosed to the world with a glimpse of the atrocities committed by Zenawi’s regime against the people of Somali Region. In so doing, Gettleman not only demonstrated journalistic professionalism of the highest order, but also provided uncommon comfort to the 5 million Ethiopian Somalis suffering under Zenawi’s iron rule a ka Joseph Stalin.
Through a powerful exposition of the brutality of Zenawi and his deceits of the donor community, Gettleman declared: The Ethiopian military and its proxy militias have been siphoning off millions of dollars in food aid and using a U.N. polio eradication program to funnel money to their fighters, its citizens and including our American DOD employees kept as a hostage in more than three month in the remote Somali regional state of Ethiopia.
Modern day McCarthyism is currently in full fledged in Ethiopia; We, Ethiopia Somali in North America believes that most would agree that the right to life and freedom of thought are a given. On the contrary, Ethiopian Somali Region is going through a period of extreme fear and suspicion during which unsubstantiated allegations assume the mantle of proof, where lives, reputations and careers are ruined on the strength of a whisper, where a people are whipped into such a state of conspiratorial psychosis that everyone becomes a demented hunter of “the enemy. Innocent women are raped, villages are burnt and elderly men and women are beaten and tortured in the name of fighting terrorism. A new Darfur is making in Horn of Africa.
For instance, one of the prominent Ethiopian Somali parliamentarians, Jemal Derie Kalif, had defected to German government as result of this intimidation and harassment.
Kalif, the defected member of Ethiopian parliament, told to one of Somalis radio:
It takes a nation which claims to be built on respect for individual freedoms and converts it into a police state where terror tactics are directed at the population, where free thought and conscience are criminalized.
We, Ethiopia Somali in North America believes that the centrality of human rights in the scheme of things is self-evident. Any system of government that is not founded on the protection of civil liberties and the public good is, quite simply, untenable in today’s realities. Politics is all about people, improving their existential conditions and inspiring hope and confidence in them of a better tomorrow. In Somali State, Meles Zenawi’s long hand based upon fake federal System is ruling with his cadres and his police style regional autonomy .In the last sixteen years, Meles has changed seven presidents in the Somali Region State. Some of them jailed, some fled the country and others killed.
When and where the people lose hope in the future, the consequence is usually exhibited in the form of apathy, anarchical tendencies or rebellion. It is by engendering feelings of compassion, self-worth and relevance in the general population through the observance by the state of human rights norms that society can be assured of peace, order and good government. Needless to say, all this is brought about through the instrumentality of law. Without the due process of law, it is well-nigh impossible to contemplate society itself.
The recent killing of Chinese oil drillers were blatant example of people frustrated with the regime of Addis and did reveal a glimpse of EPRDF dictatorial ruling system. The regime should be questioned if the world is seeking lasting peace in the remote area of Somali regional state.
A law-governed society is clearly distinguishable from a colony of apes. While there could be a semblance of law and order in the animal kingdom, primates act more on instinct than the well-ordered rationality that is deemed to predominate in the human society. The notion of the rule of law, understandably, emerged at a particular point in time in the human evolution. While certain race supremacist theories might wish to appropriate the concept of rule of law to them, the fact bears re-stating that subjection of human conduct to the governance of rules is a universal value of humanity and not one to be restricted to particular times or places. For instance, Somali Region is the second biggest state in Ethiopia and produces 70 percent of hard currency for the Ethiopian federal government through its livestock, but the people of that region are not the ones who get access to the profit of their land. The same could be said about Oromo land. The natives of Meles Zenawi are the investors of the regions.
It is within this context that we are called upon to interrogate the nexus between human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Ethiopia and focus on the real issue at hand.
We, Ethiopia Somali in North America States that It is, therefore, not surprising that our understanding of human rights, democracy or, in fact, the rule of law has generally followed that of Europe and America. And, as we are discovering in today’s globalized world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to localize any concept as we are compelled, more and more, to chafe under the tyranny of imposed paradigms such as Meles Zenawi and his cabinet. The dictatorial regime of Ethiopia will not stifle the freedom of written, speech and organization of Ethiopian Somali around the world and the reputable newspaper, New York Times.
*The author is based in the USA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org