Daily Archives: August 22, 2016

Crossed Arms Over Head: a symbol of solidarity that fuels Oromo freedom

By Jitu Dh

(Advocacy4Oromia, 22 August 2016) The one main thing I’ve taken from Feyisa Lelisa’s act of defiance is that at times of adversity, there are always going to be people who will arouse hope, there are always going to be people who enable us to envision a world where we can live freely without fear of prosecution, torture, rape, being silenced, institutionalised discrimination, murder and so on. His symbol of solidarity with his people adds fuel to our pre-existing need and want for, in simpler terms, freedom.

Fayyisaa Leellisaa 234

I mean, I understand that this doesn’t mean freedom is here because the struggle continues. There are more protests, and undeniably more crackdowns. But it does mean that not only is there a wider audience becoming aware of the plight of the diaspora but also lets the Oromo people know that there are people like Feyisa who use their platforms as means to project the demands and the cries of the Oromo.

He showed to the world, to the Ethiopian government that quickly attempted to silence him by shutting down the live program, and to the Oromo people who are facing the consequences of an oppressive system that the Oromo struggle is not one that will be forgotten. He showed that the Oromo cries are not unheard and that there will always be people there to project their demands when there are forces trying to silence them.

If we keep using whatever platform we have, whether be it on social media or connections with government officials, schools, television networks, popular media and/or news outlets, and raise more and more awareness to create a national uproar and outcry, a world of self-governance and a future where we can freely live on our land, speak our tongue and wave our flag with pride without fear and prosecution won’t be far away.

This is why we cannot let Feyisa become a one off, we can’t let him blow over. He has become relevant, a martyr to the plight of the diaspora. He can create a chain of reactions where we can all use our platforms, on and offline to ensure a just and prosperous future.

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Feyisa Lelissa is afraid his government might kill him after Olympic protest

Feyisa Lelissa personified bravery.

ETHIOPIA’S Feyisa Lelisa marked his silver medal in the Olympic Games men’s marathon on Sunday by staging a dramatic protest against his country’s government, claiming his life could be in peril.
Lilesa, who was second to Kenyan favourite Eliud Kipchoge, crossed his arms above his head in an “X” as he finished the gruelling event as a protest against the Ethiopian government’s crackdown on political dissent.
“I have relatives in prison back home,” he said.
“If you talk about democracy they kill you. If I go back to Ethiopia maybe they will kill me, or put me in prison.
“It is very dangerous in my country. Maybe I have to go to another country. I was protesting for people everywhere who have no freedom.”
Human rights groups say that Ethiopian security forces have killed scores of people in recent weeks as authorities crack down on a wave of anti-government unrest in two key regions, central-western Oromia and Amhara in the north.
BBC World TV presenter Piers Edwards called the protest an “extraordinary moment”, while the Washington Post’s Kevin Sieff said on Twitter it was “the bravest act of the 2016 Olympics”. Plenty of others took to social media to praise the Ethiopian.
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Piers Edwards ✔ @piers_e
Extraordinary moment. Feyisa Lilesa: “If not kill me, they will put me in prison. Maybe I will move country” #ETH http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-37150673
8:22 AM – 22 Aug 2016
14 14 Retweets 8 8 likes
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Kevin Sieff ✔ @ksieff
This is the equivalent of the 1968 Black Power salute in Mexico City, but riskier. If he returns to Ethiopia, Lilesa could be jailed.
2:56 AM – 22 Aug 2016
329 329 Retweets 197 197 likes
9h
Mohammed Ademo ✔ @OPride
His name will be mentioned next to historied US athletes Tommie Smith & John Carlos who displayed the Black Power Salute at the 968 Olympics
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Mohammed Ademo ✔ @OPride
#FeyisaLilesa used the biggest stage of his life to express a muzzled generational cry for freedom. He spoke without words. #courage
5:45 AM – 22 Aug 2016
88 88 Retweets 71 71 likes
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
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Zecharias Zelalem @ZekuZelalem
Staunchly defiant to the end. Feyisa Lilesa at the #Rio2016 press conference, explaining his #OromoProtests gesture.
2:39 AM – 22 Aug 2016
41 41 Retweets 39 39 likes
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
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Solome @Solitti
Feyisa Lilesa just made the biggest sacrifice by showing the sign of resistance. Our Hero. #OromoProtests
1:24 AM – 22 Aug 2016 · Takoma Park, MD, United States
177 177 Retweets 159 159 likes
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Selamawit Adugna @selseladu
Someone hug Feyisa Lilesa for me. Who took #OromoProtests #EthiopiaProtests to Rio? #Rio2016 #mensmarathon
12:48 AM – 22 Aug 2016
8 8 Retweets 16 16 likes
14h
Fisseha Tegegn @total_433
A fantastic SILVER medal for Feyisa Lilesa of #Ethiopia. The Ethiopian finishes in second place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. #Rio2016 #ETH
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Fisseha Tegegn @total_433
Feyisa Lilesa has celebrated his silver medal by showing the resistance sign. RESPECT!!! #Rio2016
12:42 AM – 22 Aug 2016
40 40 Retweets 62 62 likes
Lilesa finished the marathon in a time of two hours, nine minutes and 54 seconds, but after the race, had no interest in talking about his sensational performance.
The 26-year-old is Oromo, making him part of the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. Protests have broken out in recent months over the government’s plan to expand the capital of Addis Ababa and reallocate land in Oromo, which would displace much of the population.

“The Ethiopian government is killing the Oromo people and taking their land and resources so the Oromo people are protesting and I support the protest as I am Oromo,” Lilesa told the press.
“Oromo is my tribe … Oromo people now protest what is right, for peace, for a place.
“In the last nine months, more than 1,000 people died.
“And others charged with treason. It’s a very dangerous situation among Oromo people in Ethiopia.”
According to the Washington Post, Ethiopia’s state broadcaster did not air footage of Lilesa finishing the marathon.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/sport/olympics/feyisa-lilesa-is-afraid-his-government-might-kill-him-after-olympic-protest/news-story/5696534bd8a05ca66ef0ea740ee54100