Photos: Vigil for Alem Dechassa Outside Lebanon Embassy in D.C.

A vigil to mourn Alem Dechassa’s death was held outside the Lebanon embassy in Washington D.C. on Thursday, March 15, 2012. (Photo by Martha Z. Tegegn for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Martha Z. Tegegn

Published: Friday, March 16, 2012

Washington, D.C (TADIAS) – A crowd of Ethiopians gathered in front of the Embassy of Lebanon here on Thursday morning for an hour vigil to mourn and protest the death of 33-year old Alem Dechassa, the Ethiopian woman that was violently mistreated outside the Ethiopian embassy in Beirut as shown in a viral video last weekend. Alem died on Wednesday.

“I admire her resilience in resisting her abusers,” said Ephrem Amsalu, who drove with his friends from northern Virginia. “She is a true hero who put a spotlight on this enormous crisis.” He added: “I am here to show my deepest gratitude to her heroism and to express my concern about her sudden death a few days after the attack.”

Ms. Meseret Hassen of Silver Spring, Maryland also attended the event. “I am confident the Lebanese government will do the right thing,” she said. “I hope this uproar will continue until we come up with solid solution and I would also hope that the Ethiopian government would strengthen its relationship with its citizens abroad, particularly domestic workers in Arab countries.”

Ato Teklemichael Abebe spoke on behalf of the crowd. “Thank you for giving us this opportunity to listen to our issues,” he said. Addressing Lebanese Embassy staff he added: “We would like to thank you for primarily arresting the man who is behind this. However the Daily Star just announced that the man who is responsible for this action has been released. We would like you to explain to us the details surrounding the news.”

“We strongly condemn the tragedy that has happened to your fellow citizen Ms. Alem Dechassa,” Mr. Toni Frangie, Lebanese Embassy’s first secretary told the crowd. “What happened is unacceptable by all human rights standards and we can assure you that the Lebanese government is fully and strongly committed to take all the necessary steps and measures to hold accountable the offenders and to prevent any kind of human rights abuse.” He added: “I will convey your demands and your concerns to our government.”

Below is a slideshow from the vigil for Alem Dechassa in Washington D.C. on March 15, 2012.

Changing Ethiopia’s Media Image: The Case of People-Trafficking (TADIAS)
2012 in Pictures: Politcs, London Olympics and Alem Dechasa (TADIAS)
Lebanon cannot be ‘civilised’ while domestic workers are abused (The Guardian)
Petition to Stop the Abuse of Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon (
Photos: Vigil for Alem Dechassa Outside Lebanon Embassy in D.C. (TADIAS)
Ethiopia Sues Lebanese Man Over Beating of Domestic Worker (The Daily Star)
Ethiopian Abused in Lebanon Said to Have Committed Suicide (The New York Times)
In Lebanon Abuse Video of Ethiopian Domestic Worker Surfaces (TADIAS)

35 Responses to “Photos: Vigil for Alem Dechassa Outside Lebanon Embassy in D.C.”

  1. 1 Tedla Asfaw Mar 16th, 2012 at 10:55 am

    I thank all who came out yesterday in front of the Lebanese Embassy in DC to mourn Aleme Dechasa and demand justice. We are calling for the same kind of rally in NYC where we have an organization that is working as an advocate of Ethiopian women who are abused in Middle East. Our women should lead the struggle for justice and dignity until then action like the one initiated by concerned Ethiopians in DC is critical.

    Last week Ethiopian women in DC had a three day conference.On that conference many young women participated from different areas. Similar gathering at local level was held in NYC too.Those women should take the lead. Freedom and justice demands visibility on streets. Occupied Wall Streets is a good example for that. It is up to our women to use all avenues to demand justice for our women.

    I suggest for our women to organize rallies through out America this March the “Women Month” and make Alem Dechasa the symbol of Arab Barbarism and be advocate for the “Invisible Ethiopian” housemaids who are abused as we speak.

    Ethiopian Muslim as well as Christian leaders should mobilize their followers by publicly preaching on the death of Alem Dechasa and call for those who are responsible to face justice.

    I call on all Ethiopian women who have recognition on national and international stages, athletes, politicians, artists, models etc to speak up on the wider problem of our women killing and abuse in Middle East that is widely covered in foreign media for sometimes now.

    We need them to speak if they want to get respect from the Ethiopian people. A single death and abuse of Ethiopian women is our humiliation as Ethiopians. The whole world is watching us for our failure not to come in defense of our women who are now living in a modern day Slavery in Middle East !!!


    Tedla Asfaw

  2. 2 Mimi Mar 16th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    R.I.P Alem

    Thank you all for gathering infront of Lebanese embassy. I admire you all for standing up for our sister. Although I wasn’t there in persone I was thinking about Alem and you all here from NYC. And for our sisters in Middle East I pray God keeps you all safe.

  3. 3 A Mar 16th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Thoughts and prayers for Alem and all the others that are still being abused and mistreated.


  4. 4 NYU Mar 16th, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    The nyc protest sounds unnecessary at this point unless it’s designed to hijack thIS universal issue for narrow political purposes. What we need is real action, not protest. We need to figure out a way to establish phone hotlines for domestic abuse victims using available technology and skills in our community. Street protest is a show. We are not going to be begging for our god given rights from anybody on the streets. Not the Lebanon Embassy, not the Ethiopian Embassy, not the UN. They all can go to hell. I don’t have time to waste time shouting nonsense. We are a generation that neesd to reclaim its future through action. Not words.

  5. 5 ethio mona Mar 16th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    r.i.p my sisiter you always in our heart ! araboch chekagh yedeyablos lejoch yesow nebse endekelde yemyayo erkosoch

  6. 6 Ras Mar 16th, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I like what the Lebanese Embassy said! Good result.

  7. 7 MIMI Brooklyn Mar 16th, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    @Tedla Asfaw Ethiopian protests in NYC have no sense of discipline and they are totally mean spirited. I am a collage student deeply concerned about woman’s right and humans rights in general AND during the last big protest outside Columbia university, I went to show my solidarity. And to my total shock and embarrassment this crazy guy started calling me shermuta woyane. OMG I almost cried and I never want to be associated with kind of people that call me prostitute when they don’t even know me. You are lucky my father did not hear you.


  8. 8 T-berhan Mar 16th, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    you did a great thing brothers and sister in the Us. We are saddend by the loss of our sister Alem.

    thank you for

  9. 9 London Mar 16th, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I am proud of you Ethiopians in U.S.! RIP Alem.

  10. 10 Suleman Mar 16th, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I am proud of the Ethiopian community in D.C. and how respectfully they communicated with the Lebanon Embassy. Go Ethiopia!

  11. 11 Selam Mar 16th, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    mimi brooklny, I hear you my sister. If there is anyting the untimely and tragic death of our sisiter Alem Dechassa has shown us that it is time for UNITY. silent majority NEEDS to speak up against those that create division, annotation, name calling. what’s hodam for example? As if you don’t have your own hode. grow up please. anybody that calls you hodam is an idiot and does not have better vocabulary. Stop disrespecting other Ethiopians just because you disagree with them politically. Get a brain. Let’s stop assigning motives to people we have not even met you. Ethiopia belongs to all of us.

  12. 12 Derege Shewa Mar 16th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Alem Dechassa I am happy that you are not forgotten!

  13. 13 Marshmellow Mar 16th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I agree that the “Ethiopian government would strengthen its relationship with its citizens abroad, particularly domestic workers in Arab countries.”

    Good job Ethios!!

  14. 14 Meron Mar 16th, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Hope they will find out who killed her because she did not kill herself.

  15. 15 NYU Mar 16th, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    MIMI Brooklyn, sorry about what happened to you. I am not surprised because they hate out of jealousy and malice. Simply cause they have no wits or class about themselves to do whatever it is the person they disagree with. It’s annoying and it keeps a lot of good Ethiopians from contributing to a new and progressive Ethiopia. That’s why I am suspicious of these so called street protests.

  16. 16 Ayantu Borena Mar 16th, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Rest in Peace my hero! This story broke my heart all the way in Australia. My Ethiopian brothers and sisters I love you for all the concern you shwoed Alem. She deserves it. Let’s please honor her memory by changing our attitude towards one another. At a minimum, let’s respect each other as human-beings. Nobody is above anyone!

    With love from Australia,

  17. 17 bob Mar 16th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    I really want to admire Ethiopians and others who were out in the Embassy of Lebanon at DC to protest about this unacceptable cruelty was made to Alem Dechassa and other innocent sisters living abroad.

    RIP to Alem Dechassa

    Stay blessed!!!

  18. 18 Petros Mar 17th, 2012 at 4:53 am

    You deserve all respect for you guys who live in US for showing the credebility of Ethiopians who suffer around the world, specially for those who live in developing countries, thank you even the quiq reaction you showed for Ethiopians imigrant live Norway who face deportation, It whould be appreciated if more Ethiopian who live in the other part of the world follow the same foot step and show what we are going through for the rest of the world too.
    May God place your soul in heaven. REST IN PEACE OUR HERO.

  19. 19 Tessema M Mar 17th, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Well done guys… we have to continue our efforts till we get a concrete solution for the problems of our sisters in the Arab countries

  20. 20 London Mar 17th, 2012 at 6:22 am

    R.I.P.Alem thanks all the people in D.C. I don’t think alem killed herself they need to find out who killed alem. May god place your soul in heaven.

  21. 21 Be_fearless Mar 17th, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    My people…how we came to be this way? What went wrong?

    The answer is because we have become embarrassingly complacent cowards! We have become dead while we are still walking!

    Until such time as when Ethiopians who take pride in themselves and their country come to be, such tragic stories will continue to unfold from all corners of the world. You think the Lebanese ambassador cares for a few dozen Ethiopians who assemble in its front door to beg for justice? He/she was probably laughing in his office.

    We have to start by cleaning our own house! Uproot the evil in Ethiopia who continues to cling to power after 20 decades in governance! Enough is enough! An Ethiopia for its own people by its own people should come to be! The world will then recognize the true black lions we claim to be, including the beasts who mistreated our one of our own in front of her embassy!

    Freedom for Ethiopia and its poor!

  22. 22 Cali Mar 17th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Go east coast!! Great job on domestic workers issue!!

  23. 23 Dorze Mar 17th, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    She will always be our hero long live Alem Dechassa!!

  24. 24 Yeshi2000 Mar 18th, 2012 at 12:04 am

    I was at this event. A great collection of photos and quotes that fully expresses how we feel, in the deepest sense, about what was done to our sister and hero Alem!!! Rest in peace angel.

  25. 25 Walia Mar 18th, 2012 at 12:16 am

    She was a woman very beautiful with fusion of physical beauty and mental strength until they broke her down. heinous crime that is the way we witnessed her being abused in such a cruel manner as it appeared in the film and it was shocking enough and to add insult to injury they say she killed herself. Really, how so? With bed sheets? Very clever to say that, is it not? Mr Ali the criminal is lying his teeth off. I know it deep in my heart that she was killed. anyway, may god save her soul. AND may he pay them what they deserve but Alem Dechassa did not deserve to die. RIP!

  26. 26 Zeru Mar 18th, 2012 at 7:10 am

    R.I.P Alem. Shame on Ethiopian Government representative especially Ethiopian Embassey in Beruit Lebanon.

  27. 27 Hewan Mar 18th, 2012 at 10:23 am


  28. 28 Teklu Mar 19th, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Let Alem, rest in peace, It is really shame for Ethiopian Ambassador in Lebanon not to take care of his citizens….shame on you Ethiopian General Consul Asaminew Debelie Bonssa

  29. 29 Ewunetu Yigelt Mar 23rd, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Dear Ethiopian
    Really thank you very much taking the lead and bringing the issue to the attention of the Lebanase government and to the rest of the world,to know the truth,what really happen in the Arab world violating human right.Alem is the Heros of the Hero,who dare to face death for the truth.Even she passed away what shee did is speaking above the graveyard.Let all human being fight against such injustice and in human.such criminal will never be left to the Ethiopian government,but to all human around the globe to bring the true justice in behalf of those victemed for such heart breakings.
    peace to all human being and to the globe;

  1. 1 Update: Ethiopia Sues Lebanese Man Over Beating of Domestic Worker at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 16th, 2012 at 7:07 am
  2. 2 In Memory of Alem Dechassa: Reporting & Mapping Domestic Migrant Worker Abuse in the Middle East at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 17th, 2012 at 2:15 am
  3. 3 UPDATE: Ethiopia Seeks Full Investigation Into Alem Dechassa’s Death at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 21st, 2012 at 12:24 am
  4. 4 UPDATE: Ali Mahfouz Charged in Contributing to Death of Alem Dechassa at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Mar 23rd, 2012 at 7:05 pm
  5. 5 Ethiopians in Lebanon Protest their Consulate’s Apathy, Callousness at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:21 am
  6. 6 Ethiopian and Lebanese Reactions to the Death of Alem at Tadias Magazine Pingback on Apr 14th, 2012 at 12:25 am
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