Urgent Appeal to the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia: Donald Y. Yamamoto

Your Excellency, allow me to congratulate you on your new post.
I am writing you as a taxpayer concerned person from your city of birth, the beautiful Seattle, WA. You are assigned to Ethiopia in a critical era in the Centennial history of Ethio-US diplomatic relations. Unparalleled by any standard from your predecessors, technology helps Millions of Ethiopians to monitor your moves and the policy of the US towards the political turmoil in Ethiopia after the May 2005 Election.
Because of the prevalence of total blockade of civic and political rights in our origin of country, Ethiopian-Americans in the major cities of America and all over the world have been consistently pleading to the American government to pressure and influence the Meles Zenawi government in accepting the vote of the Ethiopian people, release of political prisoners and respect of human rights. We were encouraged by the May 3, 2006 press statement of the Department of State calling “the need for the release of political detainees and…. urge the government and opposition groups to continue their constructive dialogue, which is the only way of reconciling Ethiopia’s political differences.”
To the betrayal of our faith on the above statement, the ruling regime never bends an inch for peace and reconciliation. On the contrary, hundreds of elected officials with thousands of their supporters, journalists and civic society members are still languishing in jails. An Inquiry Commission whose members were hand picked by the ruling EPRDF party and established by parliamentary proclamation concluded that the “government used excessive force and killed registered 193 citizens”. I even had a personal chance to learn the saddening details from the two members of the commission while they briefed the Ethiopian community in an overcrowded hall here in Seattle. Against all odds, the Meles regime remains stubborn and imposes a predetermined ridicule trail against CUD leaders and members of the civic society. February 19, 2007 is the date set to finish up the court drama.
Your Excellency, what happened to the American government? Why a blind eye on our struggle for democracy? It is with great sadness that I witness the soft hand of the Bush administration against a well-known dictator confirmed by the international media and for sure, you probably would agree if not for the diplomatic camouflage. An alarmingly increasing number of Ethiopian-Americans are giving up hope on the US promise of stand for democratization. Many even consider it a double standard. I personally believe that the American foreign policy on Ethiopia is shortsighted. There is a critical role and unique opportunity for you as an Ambassador. It is to the best interest of the US to stand for a genuine democratic process in Ethiopia, which is highly symbolic to the volatile Horn of Africa region. Trust me, it is a public secret to ask the level of pressure your administration can exert on the Meles regime! On the other side of the coin, I wonder why policy analysts fail to see the un-reversal political landscape of Ethiopia after the May 2005 Election. The Ethiopian people have voted not only for a mire regime change, it was also a referendum to live with total freedom.
Mr. Ambassador Yamamoto, we have been following unconfirmed recent reports of your personal involvement in the negotiation of the incarcerated CUD leaders in Kaliti prison directly with them and with an attempt to influence, through their family members. If it is true, stand to be proven one day, you are reported to be taking the disadvantaged position of the prisoners to concede for the very principle they stood for. Meles is trying to put the blame on the wrong party. Like what the recently defected Judge Teshale said, Meles has an infamous character: He kills and asks, who is the Killer?! How can CUD leaders in jail take responsibility for the people killed, imprisoned and the unspeakable gross human rights violations reported time and again by international human rights organizations including continuous country reports from your State Department? How can they plead guilty for genocide! How can they compromise the ‘option’ of getting away from the political leadership role bestowed up on them by their electorate!
Millions of Ethiopians are eagerly following this tragic trial. The result has far reaching consequences. If the pre-judgment guilty verdict imposed by Meles is endorsed it could be a point where many Ethiopians might give up their faith on peaceful transition of power and slide to…I don’t want even to say it. To avoid that, yes, that is where you can work hard and facilitate a negotiated political solution. It is even a win-win situation for the Meles regime. From repeated statements of the opposition leaders, what we hear is National Reconciliation involving major political forces both with in and out side Ethiopia.
Your Excellency,

Given my highest respect to your authority, I plead you to be my personal representative and consider the following points for the sake of peace and stability in Ethiopia:
  1. Help a genuinely negotiated political settlement and secure the unconditional release of CUD leaders and many other political prisoners.
  2. Help facilitating a National Reconciliation incorporating the ruling regime and the opposition forces both with in and out side Ethiopia.
  3. Help the American government to adopt a people friendly foreign policy that gives weight to and entrusts the people than the unstable ruling regime. America still has to prove its stand for democracy to the Ethiopian people.
  4. And finally, we are left with pains of rumors on what the embassy does to settle down the overall crisis… so, please update us.

I thank you very much for your consideration.
God Bless Ethio-America friendship!
Muluneh Yohannes

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at7:03 PM


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