In a fund-raising that was carried out in the month of November of 1995, Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia on-board the Ethiopian E-Mail Distribution Network (EEDN) collected and sent a total of $10,370.98 to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

When the news that the EHRCO had opted to return a total of $10,000 that was earlier donated to it by the Swiss government reached this virtual community, a fund-raising drive was spontaneously launched to replace the money. The Swiss Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia had donated the money to the EHRCO to help it write a report on the state of human rights conditions in Ethiopia with a historical perspective. However, when the report that sharply and squarely blamed the current Ethiopian government for the deteriorating human right conditions in the country came out, the Swiss Embassy went public accusing this independent human right monitor group for being harsh on the government.


Total amount pledged = $ 11180.98

Total amount paid = $ 10370.98

  • Full Text of EHRCO chairman Professor Mesfin W/Mariam's letter to the Swiss Ambassador to Ethiopia follows next.

October 9, 1995

H.E. Dr. Peter A. Schweizer,
The Ambassador of Switzerland,
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Your Excellency,

Perhaps, it is fitting to begin with Shelly's "The Flight of Love",

When the lamp is shattered,

The light in the dust lies dead....

When the cloud is scattered,

The rainbow's glory is shed

When the lute is broken,

Sweet tones are remembered not,

When the lips have spoken

Loved accents are soon forgot.

Let me assure you, your Excellency, that we have not forgotten that you were the best Ambassador friend of EHRCO. Nor have we forgotten that you provided us with moral support earlier. We shall remain grateful for that.

It is perhaps because of your close association with EHRCO that the most opportune moment was seized to test the strength of that bond. It is now a matter of record that the bond was weak and, therefore, could not weather the storm. What exactly had been saved because of our mutual sentiments, not to talk of commitments to principles, we feel Your Excellency is in a better position to judge. There is no doubt that your excellency felt the loss of the equivalent of $10,000.00. Your attempt to make us pay for that loss in terms of our honor as a people, our human dignity and our commitment to principles, Your Excellency must now realize, offended us deeply. In the words of Shakespeare: For sweetest things turn to sourest by their deeds.

Rest assured, Your Excellency, we are not poor in spirit. We are sorry that it took so much time to return your money. But we hope Your Excellency understands that condemnation came simultaneously with the illegal blocking of EHRCO's bank account. We are glad, however, that the Ethiopian people came to EHRCO's rescue and to enable it to pay you back the full amount. Please find the check enclosed herewith.

Wishing you all the best, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Mesfin Wolde-Mariam

Chairman, EHRCO


Date: Mon, 30 Oct. 1995 10:16:09 EST

From: Prof. Amha TumeLisan, New Orleans

Well! How about a minimum pledge of $50 from at least 200 of us here on EEDN for EHRCO to supplement this indomitable Ethiopian spirit.


Date: Mon., 30 Oct. 1995 12:02:20 -0500


Selam all,

I am filled with pride reading Professor Mesfin act of re-affirming that the Ethiopian spirit can not be colonized be it by money or war. I agree with Dr. Amha's suggestion. Here I pledge $50 for EHRCO. Where shall we send it to?

selam leityoPya!


Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 11:42:55 CST


Yes Amha (TL) that is a good idea. I pledge $50.00 (tell me where to send it. not a bank account). Please keep your pledges public. And send your contribution to (maybe AmhaL). It is easy to hide behind a nonpublic pledge and it is also easy to say you will send it to some bank account and never do it. Unless your idea of nonviolence is something different, you can't get more nonviolent than this. Let us see you pledge in public and send your contribution, specially the peaceful and the democrats. Put your money where your mouth is or you are the ones who are swimming in the alphabet soup.

Amha Asfaw

Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 14:46:40 -0500

From: HailuM@AOL.COM

Selam all,

I am also filled with pride reading Professor Mesfin act of reaffirming that the Ethiopian spirit can not be colonized be it by money or war. I agree with the previous suggestion. Here I pledge $50 for EHRCO. Where shall I send it to?

Best Regrds;

Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 16:49:03 EST

From: Deres Tegenaw <CP24Q8UN@UBVM.BITNET>

It is a good idea. I pledge $75.

From: Haeran Fisseha <fisseha@LELAND.STANFORD.EDU>

Subject: Re: EHRCO

It is wonderful to see the way we are all mobilizing. Thank you to all who started the ball rolling, I too pledge $50 and will mail you a check today.


Date: Thu, 2 Nov 1995 11:32:37 -0500

From: Getachew W Begashaw <begashaw@PILOT.MSU.EDU>

Overwhelmed by the resolve of so many brothers and sisters here in the EEDN community to stand to the occasion of defending the pride and dignity of their country in unity, the East Lansing chapter of EMPUD has asked me to post its contribution of $100.00. It is our hope that this outpouring of support and solidarity with EHRCO could be the dawn of our united effort in our onerous and protracted struggle for freedom of our people.

Ethiopian Human Rights Support Committee
P.O.Box 5142
Springfield, Virginia 22150

If you choose to send your pledge directly to the bank use the following address:

EHRCO, Account Number 05058724
First Virginia Bank Branch 031
7025A Manchester Lakes BLVD.
Alexandria, Virginia 22310