(As Testified by Eye Witnesses)
The exodus of our citizens is, needless to say, extremely concerning. At a time where there is no responsible and accountable government in Ethiopia, the long term destinies of the returnees is a grave issue that seems to be overlooked by many due to the overwhelming tide of returnees needing immediate help.
What ETV doesn’t show/tell you
Below are eye witnesses’ words as they were presented.
Eye witnesses told me that the returnees are kept on an open land by the Old Terminal at Bole International Airport with one large tent set up by the Red Cross which is actually used to store their baggage. The tent is full of baggage close to the ceiling that no one is able to take shelter except to retrieve items. Instead they are lying on their towels, bed sheets, and blankets on the grass out in the open. Most women are either with a child or two or pregnant. And it is not strange to see single dads and moms wondering around with their children.
Multiple layers of Federal Police have circumvented the perimeter disallowing visitors to enter the area, regardless of whether or not one has “A Permit to Visit the Ethiopian Returnees.” According the eye witnesses, all they know is “no, you can’t go past here. No, we are not checking any permit papers. We are told to keep people away from here. Go away!” etc etc. One of the eyewitnesses made it to the final checkpoint of a Federal Police and was able to enter impersonating as a returnee that is looking for a family member.
What Minister Tedros and Co. are showing off on TV is completely different from what the scene is on the ground. No wonder the returnees are guarded with a maximum security. The returnees are in dire need of sanitary materials, cloth, and food. And ordinary citizens aren’t able to extend hands due to the bureaucracy. The other eye witness told me that at the moment he entered that camp, he felt that he was visiting Ethiopian migrants in a foreign country. He says “it is heart breaking and completely devastating. You have no idea! Most of them are out of their minds. They need immediate mental and psychiatric health care.”
Witnesses also confirm that IOM has already run out of budget in Ethiopia. This is the time for Tedros and Co. to intimidate people door to door to buy government bonds to help the “illegal Ethiopians” (as they like to address them). After all the Nile Dam is being built for the people right? So if there are no people to care about, what is the use of the building a big dam? So humans, citizens first Mr. Tedros and then dam, okay!?
Eye witnesses say the returnees that have arrived today are sent “home” the following day with an Ethiopian Birr 900 either in their pocket or to be paid at their destination (God knows what additional requirement they put to receive that money. Perhaps EPRDF membership disguised in some kind of ‘Saudi Returnees Association’? Who knows). Eye witnesses were also able to notice that there was a registration going on as to the destinations of the returnees. “Government” agents explain that returnees will be helped through their local representatives at their destinations. I highly doubt that. And i have fear that these returnees will soon be forgotten. Like so many citizens that are forgotten in poverty for years and are only reached out for political support. After all what makes these returnees different from the citizens at home languishing below poverty level and those hundreds of thousands in jail with false charges? Both are problems in the eyes of this “government.”
So this is what ETV/Radio does not show/tell you. I am not going to say what they show/tell you because if you want to know, all you need to do tune to ETV/Radio/Radio Fana/ Zami FM et al.
Two Duties for Concerned Citizens
In my opinion, Ethiopian citizens (concerned ones) all around the world have to duties that we must accomplish side by side. One is simple and the other challenging but certainly doable:
Duty #1 – Extend kind hand to our affected fellow citizens both in Saudi Arabia and back home via any organized or individual means that we trust relentlessly.
>> For those overseas please contact Global Alliance For the Rights of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia: http://defendethiopians.org/ E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 1 (877) RING-ETHIOPIA / 1 (877) 746-4384
>> For those in Ethiopia please contact different mobilizations organized by concerned individual citizens that are not busy playing numbers on Twitter and showing of pictures and videos all over the media.
Duty #2 – Work with ORGANIZED pro democracy parties and movements that you believe to bring an end to the TPLF/EPRDF gangster regime that is the root cause for this devastation and numerous catastrophes that our Godforsaken country is facing today.
Because without being organized and alliance there is only endless talk but results.
Just as i was writing this, news popped on my cellular saying Nelson Mandela has passed away. I shed tears not because i am sorry that he is gone. Its God’s will. I shed tears because this extraordinary man left planet earth. We need more people like him on planet earth that is in a humanitarian peril.
I would love to share one of his many inspiring quotes below:
<<There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenseless people>>