Re: Plea for release of Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners in Ethiopia by Robele Ababya

October 6th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Madame Chancellor Angela Merkel

Federal Republic of Germany


Madame Chancellor Angela Merkel

Federal Republic of Germany


Mme Chancellor,

Re: Plea for release of Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners in Ethiopia

I have the honour and privilege to congratulate You on Your recent election as Chancellor of Germany for the second time. I note You are the first person of Your gender to occupy such a powerful office in Germany renowned for its sophisticated civilization embellished with the immortal works of Beethoven, Mozart, Goethe, Kepler and Leibniz among many others.

The gracious acceptance of, as he put it, “bitter defeat” by your opponent was a triumph for democracy; his remark that democracy has no basis without social justice is indisputable; the cheering crowd of his supporters is an example to emulate by emerging democracies.

We Ethiopians have not been as fortunate in that Meles Zenawi missed this kind of noble opportunity of conceding defeat in the historic election of 15 May 2005 and thereby avoiding the prospect of being tried in the International Criminal Court for acts of genocide, war crime, and crimes against humanity. He continues making mockery of Western democracy while craving for their financial support.

Therefore it would be morally inadmissible that mature and advanced democracies such as that of Germany not to openly condemn a dictator that terrorizes the cultured and freedom loving Ethiopian people – proud claimants to values bequeathed by the Queen of Sheba, Saint Yared, countless patriots and prolific writers in the spiritual domain and philosophy.

Mme Chancellor,

At this time of writing Germany is one of the top five economic power on our Planet and Your remarkable success in being one of two countries in EU in taking Germany out of the current worldwide recession is a mark of high distinction and irrefutable evidence that women at the helm of government can provide effective leadership in times of colossal crisis.

As one brought up under the care of a widow and a grandmother both of which I call my iron ladies I understand the moral courage, love and confidence ladies of strong character and decency can transmit to their children and set example to their community. No wonder then that I have this passion to take delight in the success of women in assuming high political posts in government and corporate positions in the private sector to bring balance to global policies still unfairly and sometimes cruelly exploited or dominated by men.

Madame Chancellor,

In our beloved country Ethiopia, there is a wonderful icon Judge Birtukan Mideksa languishing in a notorious jail on the outskirts of Addis Ababa cruelly separated from her five year daughter and her mother above 70 years old. Her fault in the eyes of the brutal dictator is her growing popularity as a Chairman of the biggest opposition political party in Ethiopia struggling for peaceful democratic change. Her unique virtue is telling truth to power no matter what the consequence. When Meles jailed her for 18 months in the aftermath of the historic election of 2005 together with her illustrious colleagues, her famous message from her infamous prison cell was “What is man without his freedom”. Her charisma, intelligence, integrity, commitment to democratic values frightens the despotic ruler. He has therefore locked her up for the second time in jail depriving society of the use of her immense talent.

The future of democracy in Ethiopia is bleak to say the least now that Meles has for the time being declared his ‘resignation’ from government laughably in 2016. It means that it is a forgone conclusion that he has ‘won’ the 2010 election in advance and expects continuity of donor funds to his second illegitimate term following the historic election of 2005 in which he was soundly defeated but stole votes in broad daylight; sent the victors to prison; and unleashed ruthless crackdown on peaceful protesters. Security forces under his direct command killed hundreds in cold-blood and incarcerated tens of thousands mainly young Ethiopians. The bad precedence set by Meles that was mainly overlooked by donor Western democracies spread like virus across Africa and the very recent despicable grave abuse of human rights in Guinea is the latest example.

The Germans, Mme Chancellor, have lived with the excruciating reality of legacy of atrocities perpetrated by Adolph Hitler. In the case of Ethiopia Mengistu Haile Mariam demoralized or killed a generation of highly educated and experienced citizens; Meles is doing far worse in that he is plundering, deeply wounding and mutilating the nation. This is sadly a gruesome reality facing young leaders like Judge Birtukan Mideksa. Ethiopians are determined to put an end to succession of one dictator by another. Your help to that end is critical.

It is the ardent hope and fervent prayer of all peace loving Ethiopians yearning for democracy that the excessive abuse of power by the ruling regime under tyrant Meles shall be stopped with your intervention, Madam Chancellor. For in the 21st century with so many women in power and more set to join their rank, it is time to rid politics of the stigma that it is ‘dirty’ by supplanting it with the notion that it is a noble undertaking for responsible leaders. In this way the youth can have faith in democracy and the rule of law.

Judge Birtukan Mideksa is innocent. Her charisma, intelligence, integrity, strong belief in the principles of democracy and rule of law are being wasted – all cruelly locked up in a filthy prison due to her arrest by the arbitrary order of a tyrant scared of defeat in a fair and free democratic election.

It is morally untenable helping a dictator with proven gross violations of human rights at the expense of German taxpayers.

So, my earnest plea to You, Mme Chancellor, is to exert effective pressure, such as denying direct financial support, on Meles to release Judge Birtukan and all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally so that they can compete in the election of 2010.

It is my ardent wish that Ethiopian-German relations dating back to the era of the farsighted visionary leader Emperor Menilik II will flourish on the basis of the 21st century priority of respecting fundamental human rights and rule of law but sadly lacking in Ethiopia.

Most respectfully,

Robele Ababya

His Excellency the Ambassador of Germany
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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