Donald Levine on the promised release of prisoners
This is a message I’ve recieved from Professor Donald Levine on the conviction and promised release of plolitical prisoners.
Sem-inna worq yiqir!Dubbi qarumman dubbatani miti!
Andenat Kala agar yebarekal;Andenet kelela yaweredal.
Reports of the signing of a mediated consensus document by political prisoners at Kaliti brings a fresh blast of hope to all who care for human rifghts and for the future of Ethiopia.It offers a chance to get the country’s progress toward democratization and development back on track.It makes me feel like saying, you are coming home! You are returning to your honorable traditions: of hig makeber, of gaaddisa nagayaa, of shemgilna, of gurabet mekebabir, of beherawi andenet. You may be saying goodby to outmoded customs such as hamet, mesedadeb, political sem-inna worq, and politik be-temenja.
The timing is of course perfect. It opens the way to a genuinely joyous celebration in Maskaram of the Ethiopian millennium. It enables all concerned to face the future instead rather than continuing to obsess over past grievances, even though a future agenda will include efforts to redress those grievances. I am delighted to learn that my good friend and great Ethiopian patriot Zeleke Gessesse, of One Love Africa, is inpreparing a special musical celebration of this supreme moment of peaceful reconciliation.
I hope all concerned will seize this moment as an opportunity to make renewed progress toward a genuinely democratic system. This means:
- the return of the CUD prisoners to a full and respected place as members of one of the opposition parties in the country;
- the release of all Oromos, Tigrayans, and any others who are being held as political prisoners;
- the creation of an independent structure to manage and ensure the independence of government-controlled media;
- open use of electronic media;
- institutional capacity-building in the judicial system to ensure that it is kept free from interference from political pressures stemming from any quarter;
- institutional capacity-building in the Election Commission to ensure that future elections will be free and fair; and
- a pledge by ALL parties inside and outside Ethiopia to renounce the kind of hate propaganda and violence that flourished around the time of the May 2005 election and since, and to engage in the kinds of peaceful communication that has characterized Ethiopians at their finest.
These changes will take time, but I urge everyone to do what can be done to ensure that irreversible steps toward them are put in place over the next few months.
Liben Gebre Etiyopia
aka Professor Donald Levine