All those who terrorize people are themselves in constant fear and terror
A press statement issued by Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ)
Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ)
Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) fully realizes that terrorism is an irresponsible act that destroys innocent lives, maims innocent people, destroys a country’s resources and development structures and, as such, condemns it without any equivocation.
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We condemn terrorism not only because it is destructive but also because it is the act of arrogant bullies that impose their will on others. On the other hand, in as much as we condemn terrorism, we also condemn any regime that terrorizes its people in the name of fighting terrorism. This is our firm position and the people know it. Nor is this UDJ position hidden from EPRDF and its ubiquitous state security that operates on a budget of millions of birr.
As we have been making it clear at every opportunity available, the proclamation on terrorism has become not only a mechanism of spreading terror among the people but also a major weapon of suppressing any legal and peaceful opposition to the ruling regime. The arrest, on September 14, 2011, of Ato Adndualem Arage, Vice Chairman of UDJ and Head of the Public Relations Standing Committee, and of Ato Natnaiel Mekonnen and Ato Asaminew Birhanu, members of the National Council of our party, and the statement given by the government following the arrests is a clear example of this truth. Given the nature of the EPRDF rule of the last 20 years, we know that this kind of repressive measure is not the first of it kind; nor will it be the last.Unity for Democracy and Justice has never been and will never be a den for people who promote acts of terrorism. All the measures and activities of our party are based on democratically made decisions and implemented in a transparent manner. It must be made clear here that the real reason for the accusation that UDJ is a den for terrorists is the fact that our party has been gaining strength and the trust and support of the people.
Fitih, the Amharic weekly newspaper, conducted, at the end of the 2003 Ethiopian year, a survey of public opinion on the institutions that had influenced public opinion the most that year. UDJ was one of the institutions chosen. This indicates that behind the choice of our party as being one of the most influential institutions, there are influential personalities. Ato Andualem Arage, who has been gaining strength in the peaceful political struggle, is one of those personalities. The messages that come out through the arrest of Ato Andualem are many. But the one message that comes out loud and clear is the intimidation of the young people who are coming to opposition parties, assuming positions of responsibility and proving their capability, and the sinister design to chase them away from the arena of struggle. This is a clear strategy for nipping the genuine youth involvement in the bud.
These days, accusing heroes who struggle peacefully for the respect of human and democratic rights of citizens as terrorists seems to have become a fashion on the part of the government. The imprisonment of the renowned free journalist, Eskindir Negga, is viewed in this light. So is the case of the politicians and journalists imprisoned a few weeks earlier.
We wish to take this opportunity to ask EPRDF a question: “Do you really know what terrorism really is and what its consequences are? Any person or institution that sees reality with a sane mind prays to be saved from terrorism. Anyone who sees the brutal acts of terrorism being perpetrated in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, India and recently in Nigeria dreads terrorism. Charging Ato Andualem with terrorism would be belittling the suffering of the people who are victimized by horrific terrorism.
Instead of getting together with legally established and operating political parties that raise legitimate questions and resolving national issues through dialogue, the EPRDF regime has chosen to embark on a campaign of violating constitutionally recognized rights in the name of terrorism and with the main focus on securing its power through repression.
The ruling regime must know that it cannot stop the forward march of the struggle for freedom and democracy by trying to engulf the people in fear. The struggle for freedom is a spiritual tsunami. One can stop and imprison the human body but not the human spirit. The more repressive a regime becomes, the stronger and more determined the spirit becomes. This is what history proves over and over again.
We wish to reiterate to our people and to everyone else that our party will always be in the forefront of any activity designed to fight terrorism. Equally, we will always be in the forefront in the struggle to protect the people’s human and democratic rights and to empower the people. In fact, we wish to state once again our commitment to working together with other partner parties and continuing our legal and peaceful struggle.
We respectfully call upon the people to carry out their responsibility of struggling for their freedom and for the protection and respect of their rights and to bring the same struggle to a point where it could not be reversed. The famous French scholar Voltaire once said that: “Fear comes after a crime, for it is a punishment for a crime.” Unity for Democracy and Justice is not a criminal and has no place for fear. Let criminals be afraid.
Long live Ethiopia!
Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ)
September 16, 2011
Addis Ababa .