I would like to thank you for your press statement ( http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/
ps/2016/01/251256.htm) on Oromo protesters and Ethiopian regime. Since the regime is in power, many untold atrocities were committed on imprisoned Oromos and their families for decades. Human Right Watch, Amnesty International, US State Department annual report and other international human right advocacy groups documented it. Silencing citizens for asking basic rights is not new for the world. Support given to Ethiopian army in fight against terrorism, mainly by U.S government and European Union, has been used to silence, kill and torture citizens under cover of fight against terrorism.
Related to master plan, over 150,000 poor farmers around Addis Ababa have been evicted and became beggars in less than ten years. Nobody know about where about of children of evicted families-a silent way of ethnic cleansing under cover of development. Besides, with recent revolt which now on the surface looks just master plan, over 250 Oromos were killed and thousands of Oromo students were sent to jail including party leaders and journalists. I do not want to mention about unbalanced development going on across the country and its ramifications on drought affected areas, in particular in areas resisted the regime. The financial source of all these atrocities committed on citizens are mainly European Union and United States. These are the outcome of supporting military of dictators and minority led regime. For that matter, TPLF led regime will do whatever possible, to extent of working secretly with Al Shabaab in Somalia, to get millions of dollars from western countries.
Coming back to main motto of this email, resistance against master plan started with families directly affected by the policy. All Oromos including those government cadres opposed implementation of the master plan because of its implications on future Oromia though their voice silenced by ruling elites. Releasing political party leaders and journalists, which you pointed out in your press statement, will be seen as positive outcome but has no power to stop the revolt. I concur that all political prisoners including party leaders and journalists must be released with no conditions.
The power of the movement, however, is not in the hand of political party leaders like Oromo Federal Congress (OFC) which have no means to challenge the regime. Releasing party leaders, journalists and suspending the master plan will not stop the revolt as tens of thousands of poor farmers have already been evicted from their land over the last ten years. We do not expect fair compensation from the regime killing them for their lands which worth million of dollars in the current land market.
To counter master plan, thousands of volunteer Oromo youths mainly from areas affected by master plan (children of evicted families) have been recruited and being trained to defend their ancestor land and Oromia at large. Any dialogue with the regime should be with families directly affected with master plan and those families sacrificed their children. In other words, in spite of all Oromos involvement, the uprising has been led by families evicted from their land and the Oromo rebel, a group neither Asmara based nor operate under influence/support of neighboring countries. It is home based rebel led by children of evicted families. This is what your office has to be aware off and with whom the government should deal with. The unrest, which started with master plan, is passing to the next level-resistance against injustice for twenty five years. It has been and will be backed by nations and nationalities of the country.
Unrest inside Ethiopian military army will be more clear for the World. With sacrifice of Oromo and Ethiopians in general, the time United State government and European Union turn blind eye toward injustice in Ethiopia is short. Citizens have been killed for decades for their land in different corners of the country but response from State Department and European Union did not stop the regime from killing civilians. Despite our continues effort, we have not seen when press statements and annual reports from state department is translated into action. I am copying to international advocacy groups, concerned Ethiopians, and countries which have leverage in one way or another on the regime which includes big players of European Union, U.S. government and the Arab World. Thank you for taking your time and reading this comment!
Dereje Bacha, PH.D
Phone: (402) 805-2606