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Open Letter to Senator Inhofe
Open Letter to Senator Inhofe
Re: Floor Statement on H.R. 2003 “The Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007”
I must respectfully take issue with your prepared remarks regarding H.R. 2003, The Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007. The House of Representatives has sent H.R. 2003 to the Senate with unanimous backing. Not one Representative took issue with the bill.
Now it is up to the Senate to pass this legislation. I believe the bill is sound and a very important American contribution to democracy in Ethiopia. The reality in Ethiopia is that the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi continues to oppress the Ethiopian population. This regime has never hesitated to imprison and kill its national political opposition. “Unprecedented progress” and “obvious advancements” are illusions; ask an Ethiopian.
Travels by members of the U.S. Senate are highly visible to the people living in the areas visited. If those people are subjected to pervasive spying by Secret Police then what may be heard could be false witness. Such was the case, I am sure, in Ethiopia.
Your interest in the adoption of a young Ethiopian girl by your daughter is quite commendable. But one person out of seventy-five million souls is a very small sample. H.R. 2003 addresses the large issues confronting the nation of Ethiopia and should be enacted.
If you say that you “…continue to agree that the violence and intimidation that took place after the 2005 election was an unnecessary use of excessive force” you need to know that this continues to the present moment. The Meles regime has in fact taken no steps to introduce democracy to Ethiopia. To the contrary, it has embarked on an International campaign to cover up its well documented crimes. The regime continues to hold political prisoners, crush freedom of the press, and silence all those who are suspected of resisting. It intimidates all opposition without mercy.
Most of the statement is about what has been termed the “War on Terror”. Ethiopia’s people are not supporters of Islamist terrorists agendas. In fact most of the country has been Christian for nearly two thousand years. The regime’s “anti-terror” policies are cynical ruses to hang onto power. H.R. 2003 puts the United States on the side of the Ethiopian people.
It is interesting to note that you cite public relations training for the regime as a positive thing. This is one hundred and eighty degrees off course. First Ethiopia needs democracy, respect for human rights, and free market development.
Ethiopians have been hoping for support from the United States to improve their lives. A free and democratic Ethiopia could be a very strong ally of the United States, as long as the Ethiopians are free to make their own choices. As subjects of a regime like that in power now all those possibilities are jeopardized.
I urge you to reconsider your position. Speak with distinguished persons such as Representative Chris Smith (R- NJ) who have been crucial in drafting and enacting this legislation. If the regime is so good for Ethiopia how can they be afraid of fair elections?
Mesfin Mekonen, Kinijit International Foreign Relations