Sunday, March 25, 2007

In the shadow of Kamilat's vigil

(By Tis Abay)
We were around 500. We were there to proclaim our solidarity to Kamilat-the victim of an acid attack.The crowd included the two other victims of the attack-Kamila's Sisters. There was also a man in a wheel chair who really felt the victim's pain.There I saw a Norwegian with his Ethiopian friends. Needless to say, the organizers and bunch of chroniclers(journalists and bloggers) were there as well.

As we all know,Ethiopians are denied the right to demonstration since May 15/05 by the official decree of Ato Meles. But these people were demonstrating their fury against the attacker with no permission for demonstration. For this march didn't have the power to shake Melese's throne or for it didn't have anything to do with "outrage against the constitution", it was permitted post facto...or didn't need permission at all. That is a technicality for lawyers in a country where there in no rule of law.

There were no members of Agazi force or Federal police around. The march was accompanied by a candle light vigil,which took place at the gate of Yekatit 12 Hospital on March 23rd from 5:30-7:00 PM. At the gate, Kamilat made the most touching speech. After the speech the gathered fellow citizens marched around Yekatit 12 Square singing a song- which condemn gender based violence.The ceremony was called and organized by the Network of EthiopianWomen Association(NEWA) and another Coalition of Women's Associations.

Kamilat will fly shortly either to France or SaudiArabia in the coming Tuesday,March 26th.The medical cost will be covered by the tycoon Sheik Mohammed Al Amudi.

Way before the tycoon's late arrival to lend a hand, the first person to pay her a visit in person,to comfort her,to pledge10 thousand birr and air ticket expenses,...to be a real friend in need was indeed Haile Gebreselase. That great Ethiopian.

This acid attack shocked the nation to core . Yet there is recklessness as well. The weekly Saturday newspapers which published the attacker's story were sold for double their price. I heard a furious man saying; "True,we are supposed to hear his side of the story,;but it is inhuman to throw acid even if it is an eye for an eye." Spot on.

Meanwhile, EPRDF has sensed an opportunity here. Their officials including Meles are stepping on each other to condemn the incident. Kamilat's wasn't the first acid attack on women here.Meles was nowhere to be seen when identical aggression was made in Arsi three years ago.

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