Letter to Dr. Condoleeza Rice

To Dr Condoleeza Rice
Secretary of State
US Department of State
2001 C Street
Washington, DC 20520

Date October 25, 2006

Dear Dr Rice

Re: The continuing suppression of human and democratic rights in Ethiopia. The mounting frustration of the Ethiopian people against US government cosy relationship with the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi
We [the undersigned?/who represent so and so?] are writing this letter as Ethiopians all over the world are drawing closer to the first year commemoration of the massacre of unarmed and innocent civilians, and the imprisonment of leaders and supporters of the peaceful opposition movement in Ethiopia by the brutal regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The massacre took place in the capital on November 1, 2005, and the repression has intensified throughout the country ever since.
Since the US government is fully aware of the magnitude of repression that is taking place in Ethiopia we see no need to repeat the vile acts of Meles Zenawi’s regime in this brief letter. It suffices to point out that the severity of the repression has become a worrying issue even to the US congress. As you are aware, a human rights bill HR5680, Ethiopia Freedom, democracy and Human Rights Act, has won the approval of the House International Relation Committee with unanimous bi-partisan support. Soon this bill is expected to go to the floor of the House of Representatives.
However, contrary to the serious concerns of both the US congress and the people of Ethiopia, the US administration has continued its incredibly cosy relation with the tyrannical regime in Addis Ababa. Underlying the apparent reluctance to dissociate from Meles Zenawi’s regime is the US government belief that it is an ally on the war on terror. What we Ethiopians cannot understand is the strange reasoning that brought the US government to believe that a regime which is terrorizing it own people can fight terrorism somewhere else. In reality the US government support to the regime in Addis Ababa is self-defeating, not to mention politically unpopular and morally unjustifiable. It does not serve the long term interests of all who want to put an end to the scourge of terrorism in the Horn of Africa.
In the general election of May 2005, Ethiopians came out in their millions to embrace democracy, the rule of law and national reconcilation, not to embrace fanaticism or to institute a political order inimical to the interest of the United States. They were out in their millions to embrace freedom, civil liberties and the pursuit of happiness, the very same values the US government tries to promote or defend at great financial and human cost all over the world. In fact our folks in Ethiopia went out to the polls and elected their political leaders believing in the words of President Bush "that America will stand on the side of those who seek freedom and democracy". This reminds us to recall a poignant reply given by one of the opposition leaders during the May 2005 election campaign. He was challenged by the audience what assurances he could give against anticipated government reprisal should the people decide to come out and vote for the political party of their choice. His incredible assurance was "The Americans will not allow them". Now all the leaders of the main opposition including the person who uttered that poignant assurance, "America will not allow them", are languishing in jail along with many journalists, leaders of civic organisation and tens of thousands of their supporters. Hundreds were murdered in cold blood, a fact which has been established by the report of the inquiry commission. Despite its ongoing horrendous crime against humanity, the Ethiopian government continues to receive financial, diplomatic and militarily support from the US government. Ethiopians cannot interpret current policy and praxis of the US administration towards the regime in Addis Ababa in any other way except as reneging on its promise, a deliberate position taken against popular aspirations for freedom and democracy in order to appease perpetrators of state terror.
As we commemorate the first anniversary of the November Massacre and subsequent repression we would like to express our disappointment and heightened sense of betrayal by the US administration. Its current policy has inflicted incredible damage to the faith and favourable image our compatriots had about the US before the election. Its abandonment of Ethiopia to the mercy of one of the most brutal dictators that Africa has seen in recent years will taint Ethiopians' views of America for years to come. We believe this policy will not even serve the national security interest of the US administration in the short term.
We want to use this opportunity to ask the US government to review its policy on Ethiopia and assist the House International Relation Committee to bring the bill HR 5680 to the floor of the House of Representatives so that it passes into a law without further delay. We also ask the US government to use its influences with the Ethiopian government to demand the release of all political prisoners, and to settle all political differences with the opposition in just, peaceful and sincere negotiations.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at12:18 PM

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