Target: Siraj Fegeta, Minister of Defense of Ethiopia
Goal: End the militaristic crackdown on political protesters in Oromia that has already claimed hundreds of lives.
Peaceful political protests are being met with deadly force in Ethiopia. Most recently, nearly 100 protesters were killed and many more injured by Ethiopian authorities in the state of Oromia. These protesters, who have been overwhelmingly non-violent, are asking for economic equality and justice after decades of oppression and discrimination. Rather than listening to their pleas, authorities have decided to execute military-grade retaliation, resulting in protesters’ being tear gassed, harassed, beaten, arrested, and gunned down. These relentless killings and arrests have only incited more rage and, therefore, more protests, resulting in a vicious cycle.
The Oromo, the largest ethnic group in the country, have long faced discrimination. However, the origin of these most recent protests can be traced back to 2014 when they began protesting the proposed expansion of the nation’s capital into their state of Oromia. The expansion plan threatened to displace Oromo farmers and seize valuable farmland. It was eventually dropped due to intense opposition, but not before militaristic retaliation claimed the lives of dozens of protesters and landed thousands of others in jail.
Currently, the violent cycle of political protests and government retaliation has claimed upward of 200 lives, according to eyewitnesses. Ethiopia is in a crisis that will not end until the government ceases its brutal crackdown of protests. Peace, order, and justice must be restored, starting by ending the slaughter and unjust arrests of peaceful protesters. Demand that the nation’s Ministry of Defense call off all military forces immediately and end this bloodshed.
Dear Honorable Siraj Fegeta,
The horrors that have unfolded in Oromia in recent years are nothing short of a violation of human rights and a dark stain on Ethiopia’s history. Every death, injury, and arrest that has occurred since the Oromo’s protests began has left a deep wound on the hearts of Ethiopians and humanitarians everywhere. There is no justification for this amount of bloodshed and suffering. Ethiopia’s officials claim that the protests have grown unruly and must be shut down with utmost force, but I find this preposterous. Armed with nothing more than signs and loud voices crying out for justice, protesters are of no threat to Ethiopia’s police and military forces. Their slaughter and imprisonment tell all of Ethiopia that equality does not matter, human rights do not matter, and the possibility of a fair democracy is nothing more than a distant dream.
Nothing that the Ministry of Defense could do at this point could possibly undo the damage that has been done. Nothing will ever bring back the fallen protesters, many of them children, from death. What you and the Ministry can do, however, is end the violent suppression of these political protests. The Oromo and their allies’ voices deserve to be heard, not silenced, and nothing will change until the government steps down.
I must strongly urge you to call off all military and police forces immediately. That is the only way to stop this vicious cycle and regain a sense of peace and normalcy in Ethiopia.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Gadaa.com