Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom (PhD) made an emotional speech about the suffering of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia during the 3rd International Conference on Family Planning Conference held in Addis Ababa last week.
Here is Dr. Tedros’s speech transcribed by blogger Fetsum Berhane.
As you know, from Saudi Arabia, you know, although it is not deporting just Ethiopians only, we know, it is deporting other citizens also which they call illegal. And from Ethiopia’s side, three were killed during the crackdown and not only that, thousands are in camps. We are trying to make it as smooth as possible because Saudi Arabia says they are “illegals”, we don’t mind, they have home to come.
And we have already started the operation and our command post is working well. We have already received thousands, we are expecting tens of thousands and I would like to assure you that we are ready to receive our fellow citizens home.
I had the last 10 days, because in family planning, as we have been saying, we care for girls and women. I had calls straight from the camps, from women who are crying for help. There is nothing moving than that.
I am so sad and really depressed. That’s why I was going to come here and actually ask Dr. kesete excuse because it is almost around the clock crisis management since this issue started. But in the name of global solidarity, even if we are going to deport illegals, we can do it smoothly because this is not a war situation. It is, maybe accepted, when nations are at war, to deport like this, in a very rapid fashion, then people may understand, but not in a peace time situation.
We could have arranged it together to make a smooth transfer because as i said earlier, we are ready to have our citizens. So i am sorry to start with this, it is something that has been bugging me for some time now.
Off course we have been working a lot on long term and short term solutions for long time in Ethiopia now, because there are structural problems that we need to address, to solve the problem once and for all. And you know Ethiopia is making progress and growing in double digits, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we know we can make it, and we know we can eliminate poverty. We are in the right direction but still we believe in global solidarity. But we never expected that this would happen.
For those who don’t know, i will share you one thing. When Prophet Mohammed was being chased immediately after he started Islam, a great religion, he sent his followers, the Shaba’s, to Ethiopia. He sent his followers, the Shaba’s, to Ethiopia. According to history from the muslin community, they were the first refugees who came to Ethiopia who were sheltered and who lived here peacefully until the end of their life. Their cemetery still actually can be found in northern Ethiopia, in Tigrai. You can find it there; i have visited it myself because we consider that as our treasure and the emperor then received them well. and not only that, when the authorities at the time came to chase those who has asked refuge in Ethiopia, the followers of Prophet Mohammed, our emperor refused to give away those refugees who asked refuge in Ethiopia.
I think, for global solidarity, that was the gesture that was done more than a millennium and half ago, 1400 something i think. So that should be remembered. There is always a time when you need help, and when you can support. You need help one day, you may support another day. We were on the supporters end yesterday, maybe we are on the receiving end today, and that is actually the reality in our world. That is why we need to join hands, in order to make this world a better place. We don’t have excuses. Helping each other is not, is not, is not something that is really difficult.
So, sorry i will stop here, but i am glad to share what i feel, to share with you my disappointment, to share with you how the last 10 days have been the most tragic in my life, which we never expected, a complete surprise. But i am still hopeful because i still believe people can come back to their senses and go for global solidarity.
Then, in order not to disrespect you, my former colleagues and current colleagues, despite my sadness, i came to be with you. But it is a lesson for us, it is a big lesson, but we are hopeful that we will have a better world, and together we can do it.
You may watch the video here: