EDITORIAL ETHIOPIANS IN SAUDI ARABIAPublished Posted on | By TZTA News
A depressing historical moment is taking place in Saudi Arabia and it seems it’s not getting the attention it deserves from the mainstream media and politicians. The Ethiopian diaspora, here in Canada and around the world, are making such an admirable effort to explain the unfolding issue to the world. We salute you.
In Toronto for instance, there was a memorial service at Queens Park, a gathering of hundreds at City Hall, both on last Friday, and this past Monday at the heart of downtown on Dundas Square with a large crowd denouncing the human rights violations on the Ethiopian migrant population in Saudi Arabia. We hope the media as well as elected officials will hear their voices and act. It’s in the nature of the Canadian fabric not to be an observer but an actor when injustice happens anywhere. We should embrace that legacy once more.
The issues of the Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East and their social safety nets have been a concern to Ethiopians for a while. With no labor or human rights protection, low pay and long hours – there have been many who have allegedly committed suicide as a way out of their desperation. Many Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East have been accused of many crimes and been punished harshly and accordingly yet there has never been anyone held responsible when they are the victims.
To make matters worse – the Saudi Arabia government, that literally needs cheap labor to stay competitive, decided to deport most of them. This was purely a political short sighted decision done to appease the Saudi nationals’ complaints of high unemployment.
We believe the Saudi leadership acted foolishly and wrongly blaming the shortcomings of the Saudi economy on the hardest yet undervalued Ethiopian migrant populations. To begin with, migrants serve jobs that no citizen would want to touch by preforming hard labor and household responsibilities such as backbreaking cleaning of mansions. Most times, young adolescent maids are sexually abused. In the last week – the leadership even allowed police and the public to violently kill and abuse them in public view. This is without regards to any humanity or notion of civilization in the kingdom.
The authorities even looked the other way as the public took policing in their own hands by killing, abusing and stealing the migrants and most of this sad act can be viewed on social media. To a country blessed with a mountain of wealth, to commit such a crime is sad and unfortunate. We hope they know that civilizations are not measured based on how you treat the most powerful, but the least powerful among them. We hope the Saudis will look at history as they abuse our people as it was Ethiopia that gave the followers of Prophet Mohamed a refuge in their time of need.
Ethiopians came from a country with a city the UNESCO considers ‘the fourth holy city of Islam,”Harar”, with countless mosques built generations ago.Time will tell what the future holds for our people. In the meantime – speak loud UNITED for the desperate and destitute Ethiopians that need our immediate voice and help in the Middle East. To them, we might be their last hope to be heard. They are us and we are them. We should not disappoint them.