GOOD NEWS FROM THE HOMEFRONT!
Pre-Millennium Unity.... A Sign Of Hope!
A summary special report by Ras Iadonis Tafari,
president of LOJ Local 33,www.EthiopianWorldFederation.org
This morning, July 25th 2007, we made our regular update long distance call to Shashemene, Ethiopia, to the office of the official land grant administrator, Dr. Gladstone Robinson. We received most blessed and very encouraging news of a united parade celebrated in the Ethiopian World Federation name on the streets of the "...gates of Zion" in honouring the 115th Earthday of the King of Kings of Ethiopia, Qedamawi Haile Selassie (I). As the phone rang, we were expectant as always to hear the voice on the other side, "Selamta, Tena Yistilign!", we said. "Tadyas!" was the reply from the affectionate elder on the line. It was more than obvious that we both looked forward to the frequent long-distance communications between the US and Mother Ethiopia. We began to exchange salutations in the Ethiopian way and with heartical one love amongst the bredren.
The mutual concern for each other's welfare and good was evident and now the discussion of the business at hand began. The update was slightly overdue in light of a special convention for the EWF 2007 recently being concluded here in New York, we desired to inform the shimagle of the progress being made. However, his news was even more encouraging to us then what we were about to present to him and the family on the land. "The federation parade was so beautiful.... All of us came together.... From London, From Addis, From Shashemene!" My heart and hopes rose in joy at hearing the glad tidings and good news. Dr. Robinson, the elder-shimagle, continued and went on to say, ".... we have a nice unity working... one thing we are trying to do.... [is] to have a corporate business....you know?!!!" Brother Gladstone went on to explain how the Ethiopian World Federation community in Shashemene was attempting to start it's own block making and cement enterprise to further develop a sustainable village, a model village to fulfill the vision of the land grant gift of the Emperor, His Imperial Majesty Haile Sellassie the First. "We all say that we either have to buy them or make them [for our selves]. So that's what we say!"
The 1967 appointed official land grant administrator and executive officer then asked how was the business of the federation going in the states. I explained to the elder the signifigant matters concerning the federation and the special convention that we witnessed in addition to the observations from our fellow members in attendance. He expressed joy and hope that such seemingly positive efforts towards unity and coalition will be in "spirit and in truth." We wholeheartedly agreed seeing the past four (4) years of contentious activitity, including a frivolous court case and the ignomious results. "They keep saying democracy, democracy!.... But, we [in Ethiopia] don't have no democracy." Brief reference was made to the CUD leaders, the 35 or so members of the opposition party in Ethiopia that were recently released from a life imprisonment sentence for defying the present government. "We have to take matters in our own hands." He later went on to say, "....We're not bribing nobody. We're paying [all our own] legal fees [in defense of the EWF Shashemene Land Grant]." New members as well as old members on the land grant are becoming more unified together, combining all their nominal resources to resist the "imminent domain" situation that has begun to disaffect many residents of the land grant recently, including the official land grant headquarters, first established in the late sixties.
"Did you see Pennycooke?" asked Dr. Gladstone. "Because he [said he has] access to some $200,000USD... for selling the [federation] house?!!" We told him that we had borne witness to the cross-examination that Ras Ronald underwent on the evening to morning session on the day that we attended. We told our executive member that it was not certain exactly how much was gained by the apparent sale, but that he [Pennycooke] said that their intentions in the matter was squarely on the "Model City" project and that's where these funds were being allocated according to the open forum discussions July 20th into the morning of the 21st. The subject changed then and we spoke about the supporters and members of the Royal Ethiopian family that have become official Federation members and executives alongside the authorized administrator. He spoke in detail of the those who are uniting to preserve and protect the land grant and the EWF in Ethiopia such as Ras Tagass [A.R. King], BJ Moody, Solomon Wolfe [Marcus Selassie], Bro. Negussie, Bro. Lumumba David, ".....along with my Queen [Emabet Yeshi, Dr. Gladstone's Ethiopian-born wife and mother of his beautiful children], the other sister with the Royal Family [of Asfa Wossen's son, His Royal Highness Zara Ya'Iqob including the Royal retainers]..... Yeah, yeah! We are all together... You know!?" Then he began to laugh briefly as if to say that those vain hopes to spread false rumours designed to create disunity and negative innuendos are being gradually crushed by the feet of the GOD on the head of the serpents. This brought intense joy to our heart as we heard him speak in such positive tones upon the ruq t'ri, or distance call to the motherland, to the horn Africa.
"We must stand up... before the UN... and before the African Union.... and accuse [guilty] people [who are] sabotaging repatriation!" After all, it was Dr. Robinson during the 1960s that was instrumental in keeping the "save ourselves from annihilation" the primary aim and objective issue of Repatriations on the official Federation business agenda by working directly with the original members of the historic 1961 "Africa Mission", the late Mortimo Planno and the formulation and subsequent establishment of the EWF special committee appropiately named the "African Repatriation Committee" otherwise known as the "ARC" by acronym. Inspite of these recorded facts being obscured and misinterpreted by certain dubious individuals, both inside and outside of the Federation, Dr. Robinson hasn't become discouraged and instead shows great hope and grace in the face of such ungodly adversities. He redirects his thoughts to the needs and necessities of the moment, both for the land grant and those desirous of coming home to "be Ethiopians!" In order to further the legal progress that has already begun to prevent "imminent domain" from snatching more land from the impovished settler families, "We need thousands [even] hundreds of thousands of dollars" he reinterates both to fight the legal case that he hasn't given up on in the High Courts of the land and to establish the additional settlements in preparation for the influx of more "homecomers" desirous of sustainable repatriations. "[We need that] legal funds boost real quick!" is the ultimatum that has been placed on us who are responsible member/citizens to do all in our power to aid and support those on the frontlines. The purpose of this fundraising? Simply put, "... to take the government into court." It cannot be clearer that our official EWF community in Shashemene is in a desperate position in terms of its 'ways and means' that it receives from those of us in the west and this has got to change for the better. We work, we pray. After a brief rest, we pray and start to work again.
"Did you receive anything from me recently [in the mail]?" inquired the Shimagle (Elder) Ras as we spoke further. We answered, "Awo.... Yes, regarding the Oromia School of Pharmacy [and the pictures of him and his local members including the newest members of the family of the EWF, the Royals and their relations]." But, before we could go on, our ten minute card was done and our call was ended. Immediately, we redialed and used another card to continue where we left off. "For one thing....," he said,"We have been to the President's office [of Oromia region].... And they said that they were going to give some monies....if we vacate my spot [already allocated] for the [Oromia Pharmacy] school.... they [certain Ethiopian authorities] call it the.... Right of Imminent Domain.... I have the proof that it was renewed by the Investment Courts [the right and authority to establish the school on it].... It comes to the point, where they.... just like with His Imperial Majesty [Haile Selassie I] and the League of Nations.... the same thing! [We are being] Betrayed by our [own] brothers and sisters!" So that the proof may be known to all, especially us in the west, his offices will be sending copies, in English, Amharic and Oromia, to us here in America under documented authority ASAP. And the finances to boost these efforts cannot be understated or ignored, especially at a time like now.... on the eve of the New Millennium! "The quicker you [all] can send some help... will show [and prove] that we [as the EWF, Inc.] are working together." he concluded gently yet assertively with purpose.
We briefly spoke about the remaining "little foxes" that are attempting to spoil the tender vines and what must be done to curb and thwart that on both sides of the ocean. After that, the elder statesman of the organization proceeded to recall the 115th Earthday celebrations recently stating that, ".....but anyway, I was so happy the other day....we... in the name of the federation had five ... three vans and two trucks.... I was playing the funde on one.... and it was beautiful.... believe me...." At that point we both said "Rastafari!" making an echo reverberate from earth to heaven like a sweet melody. "And the people.... when the Crown Prince came down [from His residence connect to the official Shashemene Land Grant HQ]..... He doesn't go into the 12 Tribes compound anymore... in that sense, " Robinson acknowledged, "He gives respect [honours the years of service and effort] to INI and then He comes into my yard... and spends three hours... four hours" he went on to say with a humble laugh while remembering the kindness of those who have learnt the truth after so many years of false rumours and outright lies to bring him down from his high appointed honour. "Give Thanks!" he amen-ed as is his signature response to any gift of Jah that he receives.
Near the fulfillment of the Ethiopia call, the former Dr. reminded us to scan and circulate the pictures sent in order to raise funds and awareness of the progress of development, gradual, yet ongoing. This reminds me of how Janhoy, His Majesty, was always delighted when Ethiopians would sell and circulate His Majestic foto making an income for themselves as well as the Ethiopian economy. "Raise some funds.... these are original photographs... nobody else has a copy of [them]... or else... nobody else has this [true] story.... cause all of dem [other pioneer settlers] have a story...." Gladstone spoke affectionately of Papa Negus, the elder shimagle from Jamaica, in his 90s who trodded recently and settled in Shashemene, Ethiopia along with Momma Earth, his queen. When Papa Negus and Momma Earth came to the land grant no one offered them any residence with the exception of Dr. Gladstone and his gracious wife, Emabet Yeshi. They visit and spend time together regularly and have been known to plow and till the soil cultivating much good and fruitful crops side by side as bredren and fellow shimaglewoch (honourable elders).
"We need [cement] blocks for building... and we need an income.... Federation [and] Ras Tafari.... We didn't come here just to sit down....We come here to develop!" he went on to remind us all. We inquired about some of the Ethiopian bredren and sistren who are active members of the HQ local on the land such as brother Negussie, the resident videographer, and our recent official business correspondence to him. He is on one of the Ethiopian-based Millennium committees established by the Ethiopian people to coordinate events under the Federal and local governments as well as a registered officer in the SLG HQ local established by Dr. Robinson since 1967 and re-established after the unauthorized actions in 2005. He then requested that the official seal be sent and returned to Ethiopia that was placed in Local 33's care for the expediting of matters left unfinished since he experienced unexpected difficulties on his last visit. We told him that arrangements had already been made as he and the Crown Prince requested in order to further the business at home and abroad. His reply at the accomplishment of the business was classically and simply, "Ishi!" meaning "its okay, it's alright."
Yet, the evident and heartfelt UNITY that was expressed by all parties and all sides was hard not to talk about just a little more. "The Father give us.... [and] we give H.I.M. a birthday gift of UNITY!" he said and I could only reply "Amen [True and Faithful witness - Rev. 3:14]. Our Ethiopian Orthodox Rastafari Elder brother Fiqre Sellassie (Dr. Robinson's Ethiopian baptismal name) further continued to explained the details of this unity to prove that it is real and a definite change since times past when he then said, ".....Cause I working together with Wolfe, Moody, Tagass....Reuben...." He paused momentarily and then reinterated that, ".... there are many [key] people [now] in the federation [in Ethiopia and in particular on the land grant] besides INI..... some in Addis, some in Shashemene, some in London.....but we all have the same desire...." True, true. "It's just a matter of humbling ourselves and doing the works!"
"I am going to send you [all] copies of the latest... dealings [concerning the imminent domain situation threatening certain areas]... with the office of the President.... the Oromia President.... cause we went to his office... and that's why we said that there's no justice.... it's a betrayal... suck you in... .then [attempt to] waste you....if they could take back every inch of land today... that would happen!" he urgently warned. "Cause the people dem... some of them.... don't like His Imperial Majesty!" Now, he advised, it's up to us to raise the funds, awareness and support. The people of the land grant are looking to us for that support that they so desperately need and were promised by many of us still here in the west for years now. "What answer shall I give my people?"
Log on, donate and become a sponsor today at:www.ethiopianworldfederation.org
Feel Free to Call, Link and Contact our Ethiopia Land Grant representatives. Dr. Gladstone Robinson, H.R.H. the Crown Prince: Zara Yaqob, EWF videoagrapher Ato Negussie, the resident staff of the Black Lion Museum and/or the EWF's official SLG-HQ. Find out more about the Oromia School of Pharmacy project and how you can help support the on-going collective community efforts today:
Write: Dr. Gladstone Robinson,
C/O EWF-Shashemene Land Grant HQ,
PO Box 417, Shashemene, Ethiopia
See what's New! online at www.EthiopianWorldFederation.com.
*LOJ Local 33 is a subsidiary member of the Ethiopian World Federation, Incorporated, a 501 C4 non-profit organization and a participating partner of the EWF International Trade 2007 non-partisan collective initiative.