“ Knowledge for the World ”
By Feyera Sobokssa, Torture survivor
A professor from Johns Hopkins University once came to the Catholic University of America (CUA) to participate on a human rights training that was sponsored by both the CUA, the U.N. and the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) – International. I tried by best to explain to her about Revolutionary Democracy and the torture techniques that are being used by the minority regime of the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF). I have shown her photographs and the bruises that were all over the a survivor’s thighs and arms as a result of severe torture.
The TPLF security forces were warning him not to show those bruises to anybody, even to his own wife, but he defied their warnings and managed to show it to both his wife, his friends,relatives while it was fresh. He also managed to show the photographs to as many people as possible including that professor. He couldn’t have managed to convince the professor from Johns Hopkins University if he didn’t retain those photographs while the bruises were fresh. The professor was finally convinced and said, “I thought I knew the world.” Is it not really fair to ask that the university whose slogan is “Knowledge for the World” doesn’t even know what was going on in Ethiopia?
We kept on talking to the American people and we managed to create awareness about the persecution of the Oromo people and other marginalized nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian Empire. The Washington Post published the following: “History has not been kind to the Oromo people, whose complaints of subjugation date back to the last quarter of the 19th century, when they were colonized by the armies of Ethiopian Emperor Menilik II, said John Herbeson, an African Studies lecturer at Johns Hopkins University’s school of Advanced International Studies.” ~ Emily Wax, The Washington Post, April 1, 2012.
Before the publication of this article, Herbeson talked to activists at TASSC – International. I was there when he officially talked his grave concerns about the Oromo people and other marginalized people in Ethiopia..
I read an article that quoted Thomas Jefferson when I was under persecution by the TPLF Fascist regime. I took note of it and quoted it repeatedly on most of the articles I have written. My dream came true and we managed to launch an independent media, MWMF, for the Oromo and other marginalized people in the Horn of Africa. We were connected first at the Addis Ababa.University and we will move on and continue building the networks until real change comes true through our protracted struggle
Finally, I would like to emphasize that we must create and strengthen the advocacy department under MWMF. We should not assume that people of the world know what their governments are doing in collaboration with African dictators. We must talk to influential people, civil society institutions, faith institutions, the academia and human rights organizations.
Advocacy Closes the Gap
There are honest people who think their donations would reach the needy. Faith workers may not get the complete picture unless they are informed by people who have been the victims like the Oromos and the Somalis in the Horn of Africa. That is the major reason why we must work hard to create and strengthen advocacy in major cities of the world.