It is with a great deal of sadness and urgency we write this blog to you today.
One of our closest partners, Redwan Aman, and his colleague Yusuf Beshir, were apprehended by the Government of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, on June 30. Both American Citizens living in Seattle, Redwan and Yusuf were on assignment as media personnel with the Oromo Media Network (OMN), a U.S. based media organization that covers stories of Ethiopia’s Oromo region, in the latter half of June when they were apprehended by Ethiopian security forces as part of a nationwide sweep aimed to suppress coverage of political demonstrations against public officials in response to the assassination of beloved Oromo singer and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa on June 29. Since their incarceration, families and loved here in Seattle have not heard from them as the government has since shut down all forms of digital communication, and concerns grow more worrisome as the level of unrest only rises.
Both Redwan and Yusuf are Oromo, a nation indigenous to regions covering southern and central Ethiopia and parts of northern Kenya, constituting East Africa’s largest ethnic group. The Oromo Community here in Seattle (and in cities across the U.S.) has organized numerous protests to raise awareness about Yusuf and Redwan’s disappearance and the political fallout in Ethiopia. Oromo activists spoke with local news networks KOMO News and KING 5, urging the greater Seattle community to contact our local and state representatives and demand they protect both men and bring them back to Seattle.
We stand in solidarity with Seattle’s Oromo community and share their concerns for the arrest and resulting disappearance of Redwan Aman and Yusuf Beshir. We call for U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to investigate Redwan and Yusuf’s whereabouts and bring both men back to Seattle in good health.
We urge you to join us in our support of Redwan and Yusuf. Reverberating the calls-to-action voiced by local Oromo activists, we ask that folks:
1. contact our U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell via phone, email, letter, or social media and demand they promptly investigate the disappearance of Redwan and Yusuf and secure their return to the U.S.
Senator Patty Murray’s phone number : 206-553-5545
Senator Maria Cantwell’s phone number: 206-220-6400
Hello, My name is _____________, and I am one of your constituents. I am concerned about the arbitrary arrest of two Washingtonians in Ethiopia. We do not know the whereabouts of Redwan Aman, and Yusuf Beshir. The Ethiopian government has blocked all communications into Ethiopia and we are gravely concerned. We demand the immediate release and repatriation of both U.S. Citizens Redwan Aman, and Yusuf Beshir.
2. If you are a resident of Washington’s 9th Congressional District, contact Rep. Adam Smith via phone, email, or mailed letter to demand he work with U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to fight for the safe return of Redwan and Yusuf
3. sign and share this petition to demand the Ethiopian government release all political prisoners
4. amplify the voices of Seattle’s Oromo community by following their social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Follow, like, share, and retweet: make your support heard online, too.
Redwan has been a valued partner of DNDA’s neighborhood youth programs. He is the head of Intercity
Soccer League, a community sports organization dedicated to providing underserved King County youth the mentorship and resources necessary to develop as skillful soccer players and promising young adults. In just the last year alone, Redwan
worked with DNDA to ensure close to 150 youth had equitable access to youth soccer programs. His work with DNDA is but just one of his projects. He is an amazing community leader who has been able to serve countless youth and families as an advocate for immigrant and refugee families, coach to Foster High School’s boys soccer team, leading figure of Team Oromia Seattle, journalist performing media-related projects with the Oromo Media Network both in the U.S. and abroad, and a philanthropist organizing numerous charitable projects for youth across the Oromo region of Ethiopia. To say Redwan and his colleague Yusuf are missed is an understatement.
At the current moment, we ask that folks support the efforts of local Oromo activists by helping raise community awareness. It takes one to reach one, so please share this blog with your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors, and help us bring Redwan and Yusuf back home. We will keep you updated as circumstances transpire over the next coming weeks.
Intale Shuba, DNDA Development Associate