One of the largest demonstrations in Ethiopian History by Oromo students
The largest ever demonstrations in Ethiopia took place a month ago, and are now continuing all over the Oromia region and throughout Ethiopia. This is perhaps the beginning of the most extraordinary human rights movement in Ethiopian history, with ripple effects that may resonate around the world. Ethiopians, especially the students in the Oromia region, have been working tirelessly for a long time to protect their individual liberties and freedom.
As the death toll of these students rises, and after weeks of peaceful protest and funerals, the very meaning of justice has taken a different role in Ethiopia. Despite the pervasive talk about democracy and human rights issues, the reigning government of Ethiopia is savaging the people, flooding the country with foreign profiteers in the name of “investment” while trampling the opportunity and future of the average Ethiopian. Following this massive protests, all public schools in Oromia region have been shut down. Unless the international community stops this ruthless regime, they will continue unleashing carnage upon innocent students in the Oromia region and elsewhere.
The students who have lost their lives will never be made to rise and walk again. The loss of these innocent students to this national strife will damage the fabric of all Ethiopian society, and especially the universities throughout the region. The students are protesting against a few oligarchs who have a seat at the table while the rest of the nation suffers in silence. They are protesting against a system of one party rule, trying to find a way to dismantle the supremacy of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the mastermind in Ethiopia’s ruling, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), government and their systemic racism.
The uprisings in the Oromia region proved that the Oromo student movement would not be limited to a handful of cities — nor would it be limited to situations in which unarmed Oromo men and women were killed by so called Agazee police officers in cities run by the Oromo government.
Instead of focusing on millions of people facing famine in the country, the government is harassing people and distressing the situation further. Recent study shows that Ethiopia is ranked 157 out of 169 countries in the 2010 United Nations Development Program Index. It is one of the world’s largest recipients of humanitarian food and development assistance, it received more than 700,000 tons of food and £1.8 billion in aid last year, but the country has given three million hectares of land to foreign corporations. There are also numerous “incentives” to ensure that food production is exported out of the country, providing foreign exchange for the country. Displacement from farmlands is widespread and the vast majority of locals receive no compensation.
By contrast, the students believe in “democratic values,” supporting the idea that a healthy and orderly society can only exist where freedom is preserved. Common sense tells us that the safety, concern and fear of students should be a priority, but unfortunately the events of the past weeks have been completely astonishing and shocking. The government of Ethiopia decided to harass and kill innocent young students who are protesting against the most corrupt regime in Africa.
As we all know, the value of education extends far beyond skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic. It is one of the most essential investments a country can make in its people and its future, and it is critical to reducing poverty and inequality. The students of the Oromia region have said over and over again how education helps to fight against corruption, encouraging transparency, good governance.
We, at Bati News Press, believe that education is a fundamental human right which is still denied to millions of children in Ethiopia. Today, there are many tremendous obstacles hindering the innocent Oromo student’s access to education. This crisis is affecting the poorest and most marginalized students, which crushes their ability to lead meaningful, productive lives.