By Tedla Asfaw
The rainy cloudy Sept. 28, 2012 was not a welcome weather for anyone. It
was raining hard from early morning and we followed the weather hour by
hour fearing for a washout of our rally scheduled for 3pm at 47 Street and
2nd Avenue at UN. Rain started to tamper down at noon but still the cloud
was threatening . Hailemariam Desalegn might have liked the rainy day to
avoid any protest after he gave a very unwelcome interview to VOA’s Peter
Heinlein yesterday which angered most of us.
Our protest rally was not organized to unwelcome or welcome Hailemariam. It
was a Freedom rally which was dubbed as May 18 the Freedom rally which
forced the late Meles Zenawi to bow his head in front of his foreign
supporters at Regan Building in DC on May 18 this year. The slogan we
prepared were calling for all political prisoners to be released and the
backers of the Ethiopian regime to stop financing dictatorship that
violated civil rights of its citizens.
However, after the Sept. 27 interview that accuses the jailed activists and
journalists as people who carry two hats one for legal activity and another
for illegal activity we have no choice but to respond in kind and our rally
soon turned denouncing Hailemariam as another Woyane from South. Hailemarim
Desalegn is a living Meles Zenawi. Hailemariam is Woyane was shouted at the
Some who wanted time to be given to Hailemariam started distancing
themselves from Hailemariam after his VOA interview. New York has to
“update” its slogan accordingly. Around 1pm fellow Ethiopians have arrived
from DC area in Manhattan two hours earlier than the protest time. Taking
advantage of the brake in the rain we started gathering around 1:30pm and
start putting our placards and flags in the designated area. The police let
us gather even before 3pm and we took advantage of that.
The on and off slight shower did not bother us for the first hour or so. In
fact we were energized by the shower and slogans to denounce the
dictatorship in Ethiopia went on continuously. Stop terrorizing the people
of Ethiopia !!! Shame on you Obama for supporting dictatorship in Ethiopia.
Shame on You USA for selecting Ethiopian dictators behind the scene.
Ethiopians did not vote for Hailemariam. The slogan went on like that.
More people started coming around 3pm and the slogans went on both in
English and Amharic. A Swedish media had an interview with us for less than
half hour. The journalist asked the aim of our rally and what we thought of
the recently released Swedish journalists from Ethiopian jail. We informed
them that the Western media heard similar story years ago but ignored it
and now forced to hear from their own people who suffered in Ethiopian
jail. Nothing new for us or the people of Ethiopia who have been abused for
the last twenty one years.
Other medias also covered our rally without asking for interview. The UN
diplomats were educated on what is going in Ethiopia. Around 4:30pm the
time Hailemariam addressed the UN 67th General Assembly there was similar
address for the Ethiopian people from the plaza. The address challenged
Hailemaram Desalegn to tell the whole truth about the injustice, corruption
and human rights abuse in Ethiopia and to resign from his position or
“Mideba” in Amharic as a messenger of Woyane/TPLF.
Unfortunately Hailemariam missed this historical opportunity and officially
declared himself another Woyane/TPLF from South at UN. Some Woyane/TPLF
supporters were tearing the flyers they were handed out of anger. In reply
they were condemned by the protesters as “Hodeaderes”. The shower has
completely stopped and the huge crowd passing around UN was educated on
what is going in Ethiopia until 6pm.
Hailemariam Desalegn led government is identical to that of the late Meles
Zenawi’s government. its backers are the same. Its vision is the same.
Hailemariam himself without any apology declared that he is another Meles
Zenawi. Hailemariam should get what ever Meles got in the last two decades
whenever he travelled out of Ethiopia. New York has given him the first
unwelcome and this will continue until Hailemariam is alive or forced to