Friday, March 16, 2012

An Open letter to the Ethiopian Consul in Lebanon

Letter by Tadeos Anteneh, published on, an Ethiopian Blog

Dear Asaminew Debele,

The tragic and untimely death of fellow Ethiopian and mother of two Alem Dechasa has once again blown the cover masking the utter and complete lack of concern your government continues to show to the plight of Ethiopian women across the Arab world.

Alem did not have to die at this point in time
nor indeed in this appalling way if you had only accorded her the support she desperately came to seek from you as her official representative in that country. Your unspeakable failure to act means an innocent hard working Ethiopian woman was savagely beaten and hounded around by a gang of Lebanese thugs outside your consulate until she was eventually taken to die in circumstances not conclusively known even to you the Ethiopian head of mission.

Sir, the primary duty of any diplomat is to provide protection and support to fellow citizens in a foreign country in which he/she is sent to represent his/her country. However, either because of your incompetence , lack of compassion and concern or perhaps total disregard to care for those you have been delegated to represent, you have stood aside when tens of Ethiopian women were subjected to some of the worst inhuman treatment at the hands of their employers.

How could you live another day knowing you could have prevented Alem's unacceptable death if you had acted promptly by intervening to stop her being overpowered and bundled away to her death in the back of a car ? Could you not have escalated Alem's daylight abduction and beating to the highest authorities in the land ? How much more desperate did this have to be for you to put a halt to your other duties and personally get involved in seeking an amicable outcome to whatever dispute she might have had with the employer/thug who abused her in front of the world ? I accept you could not have anticipated the death of Alem but surely you could have been more proactive in dealing with a situation so critical as this has been from the moment the Ethiopian young lady run away to your consulate.

You have told the Lebanese media how shocked you are about Alem's death. Surely the shock you have felt must be the result of your regret for failing to have done more to come to her aid.

One wonders just why the government which you represent has failed for so long to tackle this most urgent of problems for Ethiopian women in the Middle East. How long will this continue ? Could a more stringent and tighter regulation not help end this unspeakable misery ?

More specifically , as the head of the Ethiopian mission what will you do now to help bring the attackers of Alem to justice ? Or will you just brush this serious incident aside once public interest wanes in the days and weeks ahead ? Will you investigate what happened to Alem right from the start ? Better still, will you publish your investigation or whatever report you commission to ascertain the facts of her case including the facts surrounding her untimely death ? As I am sure you will accept , the circumstances of her death are mysterious. And only an independent Ethiopian-led investigation will deliver a result acceptable to many if not most people following this entire episode.

The lessons to be learnt from the circumstances of Alem's death are of wide reaching significance to the thousands of Ethiopian women scattered around the Arab world to make a living for themselves and their families back in our country. Hence, Ethiopians will be watching to see what you will do to follow up on Alem's case and explore ways to improve the wider problem of the general plight of young women in Lebanon and across the Middle East.

Sincerely yours,

Tadeos Anteneh

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