Open Letter to President Barack Obama
Stop TPLF Genocide against the Ethiopian People before it’s too late!
Dear Mr. President: Since your first campaign for the Presidency, I have been supporting you and your policies. I volunteered at the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns by making phone calls to voters in Virginia and also door to door campaigning encouraging voters to vote for you. I also was one of the 13,000 army of volunteers that tirelessly worked to make sure your historical first inauguration was successful. Like the two million people in attendance on January 20, 2009 at your inauguration, I was filled with hope and was convinced that your election would bring about change in the United States and abroad, especially in Africa.
President Obama, Ethiopians like all Africans had full hope that you would support Africans’ efforts to be able to conduct free and fair elections so that they can elect their own leaders. I am happy in supporting you especially on your domestic policy and some foreign policy big accomplishments, however during your historic visit to Ethiopia instead of using the unique opportunity to have a frank dialogue with the opposition political parties, civil societies and the TPLF regime regarding the situation in Ethiopia and find solution to have a fair and free election; you made a very disappointing statement that the Ethiopian government led by the TPLF fascist regime had been democratically elected. As you may know, before the 2015 election the TPLF regime dismantled the two main opposition parties that had a potential to win the election had the election been free and fair. I am talking about The Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) Party and All Ethiopian Unity Party (AUEP). TPLF also created a huge roadblock to the remaining parties such us the Blue party and Oromo Federalist Congress. You knew that it was declared that the regime had won 100% of the vote which was a laughable matter and it was clear that the election was a joke. Your statement gave the TPLF some kind of moral support in their actions which is terrorizing the Ethiopian people with brutality. The TPLF used your statement for their propaganda and they showed it on the national TV over and over again.
Mr. President: On October 6, 2016 I sent you a one page version of this letter through the designated White House Website.
On August 30th, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn ordered the army and security forces to use deadly force against peaceful demonstrators. Following his order there has been ruthless killings and atrocities by the regime security forces mainly against Amharas and Oromos. There is ample evidence that the regime is consistently and systematically terrorizing and killing protestors who are demonstrating against the regime land grabbing and for asking removal of this regime from power.
The October 2nd Bishouftu massacre where over 650 people were killed who were peacefully celebrating Irreechaa, the annual Oromo people festival and the August 7th Bhair Dar massacre where security forces killed over 100 demonstrators can show the level of atrocity and crackdown that is carried out by the Ethiopian fascist regime special forces.
The reality, Mr. President, is that these massacres will continue unless America stands up on the side of the Ethiopian people immediately. Mr. President, your administration must ACT NOW to take bold and decisive ACTION against the atrocities led by the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF).
Since I sent you my letter the situation worsen with the current regime declaring state of emergency and practically taking away all human and civil rights and terrorizing people with more brutality. Internet, social media usage and even talking over the phone to overseas family and friends are outlawed. Security forces are breaking into people’s houses, bit them and rob their properties such as cash, jewelry and other valuables, in some instances even killed them. Last week, in Sebeta a small town, which is located around 17 miles away from Addis Ababa the TPLF regime arrested about 1600 people. The situation is very frightening, and dangerous. Even embassies and other international organizations work is severely affected by this draconian and outrageous act.
Therefore, I respectfully urge you and your administration to act urgently to do the following:
Professor Mesifin Woldemariam, a prominent scholar and human rights defender in his recent paper called to end the TPLF rule and suggested to create a care taker government.
The Ethiopian people have identified its enemy-it is TPLF, not the Tigray people as TPLF tries to confuse the Tigray people and the international community. The Ethiopian people are determined to remove the TPLF’s apartheid regime from power and create a fertile ground for building the process of creating a transitional government which would stabilize the situation and mandated to draft the constitution and prepare the first free and fair election.
As an Ethiopian-American along with the Ethiopian diaspora, demand that TPLF must be removed from power immediately. Real power in Ethiopia is concentrated in the hands of TPLF and parties which are part of the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) including the Prime Minster have no meaningful power. They are not decision makers. TPLF controls the army, security, police, parliament, judiciary, communication, transportation, trade, banks, foreign policy, the land, the economy and enjoys absolute power. TPLF will continue to kill, destroy and loot the country and its natural resources only to line their pockets financially through secretive offshore accounts.
Mr. President, failure to act will lead to a much dreadful situation than the genocide which took place in Rwanda. It will also lead to the destabilization of the Horn of Africa and beyond. Also failure to do so will a moral obligation that will be etched in the United States foreign policy’s history and your presidential legacy.
Let me expand on the information widely reported by the US and international media regarding the TPLF atrocities against the Ethiopian people. On September 10th, two top TPLF officials, Seyoum Mesfin (former Minister of Foreign Affairs) and Abaye Tsehaye (Minster of Federal Affairs) both founders of TPLF, in a televised interview, warned the Ethiopian people that if the people of Ethiopia try to remove TPLF from power, then the consequences will be similar to that of Rwanda, but in the Ethiopian case the result of the genocide will be on a much larger proportion.
My worst fear was echoed by 34 politicians and community leaders of Tigrayan descent who expressed their worries that TPLF has made a clear warning of genocide so they have called for a united action to remove TPLF from power. This is a very serious threat which asks for an immediate action.
TPLF and its evil ethnic based ideology cannot and should not be reformed and the best solution is to remove it from power. TPLF ethnic based federalism has failed and needs to be replaced with a workable system of government which can be acceptable by majority of the Ethiopian people. Any attempt to keep TPLF in power with some cosmetic changes will not solve anything and it will further destabilize the country and the entire region.
As a U.S. citizen, I strongly believe that to support the Ethiopian people’s struggle to remove TPLF -the tyrannical regime for 25 years in power – is in the U.S. national and foreign policy interest. A democratically elected government that have support from the majority of the Ethiopian people will have a strong and fundamental relationship with the U.S. and will be a strong U.S. ally in the fight against terrorists and extremists in the region and beyond.
President Obama: Ethiopian-Americans overwhelmingly supported you in both 2008 and 2012. Also in this election year it cannot be undermined the role of Ethiopian-Americans that live in swing states such as: Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida to support the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
There is no time to waste. It is time to act before it is too late.
I would love to have a meeting with an official from your administration to deeply expand on this urgent matter. Thank you for your time and consideration to take action now.
Shiferaw Gesesse, Ph.D in international law, I can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org