"Those who wonder what just happened"
Briefly…., managed to self medicate enough to see some medal ceremonies… Shani Davis taking the gold. It was almost surreal… snowy night, a black man in the middle podium, the American national anthem. For several complicated reasons, I wanted to cry. Congrats to Robel!! Representin’! I saw on TV that he had some ET fans waving him in. “Robel with a cause”… hmmm… wonder if he’s heard that one before.
Qirb new ye Ityopiya Tnsae.
A group of fur-coated Italian women who were daintily sipping on espresso decided to strike up a conversation with us by asking us if we knew Oprah. Of course we did. For those of you here and who like vodka, the
Thanks again Gooch!
At a Kinijit seminar that I recently attended, the (superb) speaker, urging his audience to actually do something, remarked that there are three types of people:
Those who take action.
Those who watch while the action takes place.
Those who wonder what just happened.
Well, it was funny in Amharic.
In the last comments section, Kuchiye asked if we, the readers of ETW, I assume, should take action in the form of creating a lobby group, the W-ET organization.
From my experience, I'd like to share some of the considerations that go into building successful lobby efforts. Nothing systematic, I'm just throwing out a bunch of suggestions.
1. You need like-minded people who trust each other. This means people have to get together, talk, perhaps socialize, get to know each other, and establish a relationship. So you can't quite do this over the Internet, or at least not exclusively over the Internet..
2. Generally, the fewer and bigger the organizations, the better. If there are twenty 'pro-democracy' or 'human rights advocacy' Ethiopian organizations in the
3. On the other hand, the existing organizations could be far away, non-functioning, or too cumbersome and ineffective. In this case, it is better to work individually or in a small group, but on a small scale. A particularly effective strategy is to target your local congressman or senator and one potentially influential member of the media, and build a relationship as a constituent or member of the local public. Sensitize them about the situation in
4. I think it is helpful to think of two types of participation - light and heavy. Light is just sending money to a lobby organization, calling or sending form letters to your congressman, once in a while attending events where a show of numbers is important, such as ones attended by the local congressman, donating to your local congressman's campaign. Volunteering for your congressman's campaign starts getting on the heavy side. Heavy is actual direct lobbying - building relationships with and lobbying congressmen and media members, administering lobby efforts, writing press releases and policy statements, etc.
5. Most people have other things to do, of course, and want to keep things as simple as possible and participate lightly. To these, I would suggest sending money to Kinijit Support -
6. Heavy involvement requires that one invests time to acquire the skills and knowledge, especially knowledge about the situation in
7. We must understand that the Ethiopian lobby groups and opposition party support groups in the
8. The most effective lobbying is done by non-partisan 'pro-democracy and human rights' groups, rather than political party support groups, as the former are seen as unbiased and more credible, and they can embrace people from various political parties. However, from what I know, in the
10. An underlying concern for many is their want of privacy out of fear of what will happen to them if they want to travel to
11. Solidarity with like-minded folks and a spirit of 'tolerance' and inclusion is absolutely crucial. Kinijit and Hibret supporters should reach out one another and to OLF supporters, too. The bottom line for all is democracy. On other issues, one can agree to disagree, but by actually engaging in dialogue, you may be surprised at how much you have in common and how much you can learn.
12. Do not fear the 'knuckleheads' - those poor politicos who seem to dictatorial and hardheaded and unwelcoming. Treat them nicely, be empathetic, try and understand what makes them so edgy, and you will soon be best pals, or at least be able to work together.
To summarize, here's what you can (easily) do:
1. Contact your congressman once a month or so, preferably by phone or letter mail.
2. Spread you message to any influential people you know, such us members of the media, but others as well.
3. Give money to a Kinijit or Hibret support group, and once in a while, ask what they did with it. As you can see from their web sites, it's easy to send money anonymously if you like.
4. Get five other people to do the above.
If you manage to do this, I guarantee your efforts will be felt in Congress.
Next time, I'll talk about what we're actually