By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
In an email to the BBC, an IOC spokesperson said: “We spoke to the athlete and reminded him of the Olympic charter.”
This means that the concern the IOC would sanction the athlete, applying IOC’s Olympic Charter Rule 50, which bans display of political actions or protests, is now behind him.
Speaking after the race in Rio, Lelisa explained his rationale for his protest by saying:
“The Ethiopian government are killing the Oromo people and taking their land and resources so the Oromo people are protesting and I support the protest as I am Oromo.”
Rule 50, titled Advertising, demonstrations, propaganda underlines in two sub-articles the following:
1. Except as may be authorized by the IOC Executive Board on an exceptional basis, no form of advertising or other publicity shall be allowed in and above the stadia, venues and other competition areas which are considered as part of the Olympic sites. Commercial installations and advertising signs shall not be allowed in the stadia, venues or other sports grounds.
2. No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.
I am happy as an Ethiopian citizen by the courage and selflessness Feyisa demonstrated to the world. I am proud of the action he has taken.
Ever since that moment, I have tried to woe the IOC not to apply Rule 50, or view his action through the outdated lens of precedences in which other athletes were punished before. Here are a few what I have twitted on his behalf:
* Must read Monday, not Sunday
I loved the following tweet by Abraham Gudissa
By way of advice to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, I urge them to give Feyisa Lelisa Human Rights Award.
Feyisa Lelisa has facilitated their work and mission to ensure respect for fundamental human rights around the world. In the case of the repression and oppression of Ethiopians by the mafia in power in the country, he has heroically exposed the most cruel dictatorship the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has imposed on Ethiopians.
This group has in the past 25 years imprisoned, tortured, executed and massacred several tens of thousands of Ethiopians with impunity. It has repeatedly stolen the voices of the people in elections it has been organizing. The TPLF has mismanaged the nations resources, in its extravaganza and abuses that have facilitated first world lifestyle for the torturers and murderers of Ethiopia’s children!
All said and done, Ethiopia under the TPLF is a large prison and a concentration camp where human dignity has been trampled upon!
The United Nations should show courage! Stand for human dignity, in keeping with the objectives of the Organization’s Charter!
ኢትዮጵያ በሪዮ ኦሊምፒክ ዝቅተኛ ውጤት ማሰገንዘቧን ሕወሃት አመነ፣ ምክንያቱን ግን ስለማይነግረን ስግብግብነቱ/ዘረኝነቱ ሃገራችንን እንዴት እንዳዋረደ ኢትዮጵውያን እንጠቁመው!
ዘራፊውና ነፍሰ ገዳዩ ሕወሃት ዙርያውን ተወጠረ! የአትሌቲክስ ፌዴሬሽን አስቸኳይ ጠቅላላ ጉባኤ ጠርቶ ችግሮችን ሊያጠራ እንደሚገባ የአትሌቶች ጊዜያዊ አስተባባሪ ኮሚቴ አሳሰበ! በአንድ ሣምንት ውሳኔ ላይ ካልተደረስ “መሄድ ያለብንን ርቀት ድረስ እንሄዳለን፤ ለዚህም ተዘጋጅተናል!” እንኳን ለዚህ አደረሰን፣ መነቃቃት በኢትዮጵያ!