On May 14,1999 the day Haile Gebreselasse's Endurance movie was released in a movie theater near to Lincoln Center in Manhattan, New York when I heard the sad news of the passing of Professor Asrat Woldeyese, the true son of Ethiopia, who challenged the TPLF leadership face to face from day one and was jailed for many years and died as a result of it nine years ago today.
I did not change my plan to watch endurance and in fact watching the movie and seeing the Ethiopian national flag wave high accompanied by our songs made me cry both for the victory of Haile and the passing of professor Asrat on that day, what a coincidence. I had not met this brave son of Ethiopia when he came to New York to expose the brutality of TPLF and the targetting of Amharas and call for Ethiopians to join him in his organization.
All Amhara Organization he led was a God send organization then to save many poor farmers who were killed for coming from wrong ethnic group and until now no one is charged for those crimes that was well documented. Who will forget those people thrown from mountain cliffs live? Had Asrat and few of his close allies did not expose this crime for the world TPLF might have set a record for genocide even beating Rwanda's.
Nine years after he passed, the country he loved most,Ethiopia, is still run by warlords who now crosses international boundary to spread their terror after they were soundly defeated by popular vote three years ago and our peoples basic rights to speak, organize has been denied and are living under martial law.
The unity Asrat called then is still illusive and the bickering and fighting among political groups is still unsolved. On this ninth anniversary of the passing of Asrat and the third anniversary of Ethiopians people electoral victory over TPLF we should honor him by mobilizing Ethiopians to hold each others hand and defeat the brutal regime of Melese Zenawi.
We are also expected to hear the formation of new movement led by Dr. Birhanu Nega on this day to add to many organizations we had in the Diaspora and time will tell if this one is different than the one we had in substance. What I believe we lack is to build bridges between nationalist organizations mainly OLF and ONLF and other multi ethnic organizations.
This division can only be bridged if we start working together as brothers and sisters in common areas. This week celebration which will start tomorrow and go on until Sunday is a good opportunity to come together as big family under one huge tent enough for all of us as long us we keep the TPLF agents away. There is a saying in Amharic, "Betebache Eyale Nethue Weha Ayetetame" meaning you can not drink clean water while someone is stirring mud.
It is common in many of Ethiopians culture to seat and talk and reach to someone when he or she is in trouble and mother Ethiopia is agonizing and she is in pain and need all her children today and she is calling each one of us.