WE NEED FREEDOM MORE THAN FOOD Eskinder Nega, The hero who inspired me - By Abebe Gelaw

Moments before I rose up to condemn the late tyrant Meles Zenawi in front of world leaders exactly six years ago, on May 18,2012, the immeasurable pain and suffering of one man was on my mind. I imagined the excruciating pains Eskinder Nega was condemned to endure in Zenawi’s dungeon of injustice. Then I imagined the suffering of the people of Ethiopia and all the souls crushed under Meles Zenawi’s boots. I also imagined the cruelty of the tyrant who never felt the pains and misery of his victims. Finding myself in the same room with him was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss no matter what the consequences could be.
I was ready to do something that could amplify the voices of the voiceless people of Ethiopia. However, no matter how ready I was, it wasn’t an easy decision to disrupt a meeting of the powerful people gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington D.C. I prayed to God to give me the power and courage to rise up to the challenge of the moment.
Meles Zenawi was speaking about food security. He was making an effort to impress his august audience with his usual sophistry and fake accomplishments.
I suddenly interrupted him. “Meles Zenawi is a dictator. Free Eskinder Nega and all political prisoners. You are a dictator. You are committing crimes against humanity. Don’t talk about food without freedom. We need freedom more than food. We need freedom….” My voice was unusually thunderous. He was shaken and bewildered because he never heard such a condemnation against him.
After six years, I met my friend and hero here in Washington D.C. under the gaze of Martin Luther King memorial statue.
I reminded him what he boldly told the Kangaroo court judges. He had told them only God and history will judge. Meles Zenawi is not here with us to witness our joy, the joy of being walking freely and living without fear.
God is faithful. In the past six years, so many things have happened. While the crisis of the regime is facing has escalated, a powerful wind of change is blowing across Ethiopia. Eskinder, who is the hero who inspired me to challenge and condemned the Goliath of the day six years ago, is committed to doing whatever it takes to free Ethiopia from the tentacles of tyranny. So am I.
Our struggle will continue. Next year, I will meet Eskinder,  many other heroes,  and heroines not in Washington D.C. but in Ethiopia. We shall be free!
“Nothing is impossible for God!” (Luke 1:37)
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