Last minutes push for Sakharov Prize – By Abebe Gellaw

October 10th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

As it has been widely publicized, Ethiopian heroine Birtukan Mideksa is one of the nine nominees being considered for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament. (more…)

As it has been widely publicized, Ethiopian heroine Birtukan Mideksa is one of the nine nominees being considered for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament. Thanks to the great friend of Ethiopia, MEP Ana Gomes, Birtukan has a chance to be this year’s winner of this coveted award that annually recognizes and honors extraordinary people that have made significant contributions for human rights and freedom of expression.

On October 5, the European Parliament approved nine nominees after debating on the merits of each nominee for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Though. The nominations were presented at a joint meeting on Foreign Affairs and Development committees and the Subcommittee on Human Rights. The nominees are Ethiopia’s pro-democracy leader Birtukan Mideksa, the citizen movement Access, Aminatou Haidar, Haytham Al-Maleh, Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, Guillermo Fariñas, Dawit Isaak, Father Thadeus and the Christian mission Open Doors.

One of the nine nominees will be honored to join extraordinary freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi, who have both been awarded the prize. The Sakharov Prize rewards groups or individuals that have shown extreme bravery and courage in the fight for dignity, human rights and freedom of expression.

The European Parliament will choose the three finalists and winners on 18 and 21 October respectively. The winner will receive the award on 15 December in the presence of dignitaries and the world media. The award ceremony coincides with the anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was signed on 10 December in 1948, according to the European Parliament.

The coveted prize is named after the late Soviet scientist and freedom fighter Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989), who won international recognition for his outspoken opposition to the former Soviet Union’s nuclear programme and its repressive policies. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he was elected a member of the free Russian Parliament.
According to the group that nominated Birtukan, the Sakharov prize will offer her more visibility and international protection, which will further galvanize support for her struggle for freedom in Ethiopia.

MEP Ana Gomes has already called on Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to support Birtukan’s nomination. Please write to Members of the European Parliament before 12 October in support of Birtukan Mideksa’s nomination. Let us all make a last minutes push as Birtukan’s win is a win for Ethiopia that will also generate world-wide attention for the untold suffering of the people of Ethiopia under dictator Meles Zenawi.

If you haven’t already written to MEPs in connection with this campaign, please click here to find Members of the European Parliament and their contact details.

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Sample Letter

Dear MEP……

I am sending you this brief note to humbly request you to lend support to Birtukan Mideksa’s nomination for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Birtukan is an unsung heroine that needs the attention and unreserved support of people like you in her struggle for freedom, human rights and justice in Ethiopia.

Young lawyer and former judge Birtukan is a single mum and leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice, who was jailed twice in the last five years for standing against the criminal repressions being committed by the forces of injustice led by Meles Zenawi. Her last incarceration, though it ended last week, lasted 646 days in Kality jail, where she was subjected to untold brutality and solitary confinement. She was also denied visitation rights, access to a lawyer and proper medical care.

Your support for Birtukan’s nomination will undoubtedly add momentum to the struggle of the Ethiopian people for dignity, human rights, justice and democracy in our country and can also draw attention to the thousands of political prisoners languishing in harsh jails across Ethiopia.

In anticipation of your kind support, I appreciate your kindness to add your voice in recognition of the struggle of Birtukan Mideksa and the entire oppressed people of Ethiopia.

Yours sincerely
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  1. Mebrate Million
    | #1

    as done that.Thank you.Urge others to continue to do so.This is so important.She

  2. Tilahun Bekele
    | #2

    “The inflated ego of tyrant (here is Meles) is a curse to himself and his world – no matter how his affairs may seem to prosper, self-terrorized, fear-haunted, alert at every hand to meet and battle back the anticipated aggressions of his environment, which are primarily the reflections of the uncontrollable impulses to acquisition within himself, the giant of self-achieved independence is the world’s messenger of disaster, even though, in his mind, he may entertain himself with human intensions, wherever he sets his hand there is a cry ( if not from a housetops, then-more miserably- within every heart): a cry for the redeeming hero: ( here is Bertukan Mideksa) the carrier of shining blade, whose blow, whose touch, whose existence, shall liberate and restore the land in her image.”

    Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
    Here is not even silence in the mountains
    But dry sterile thunder without rain
    Here is not even solitude in the mountains
    But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
    From doors of mudcracked houses”

    Writes Joseph Campbell the World’s famous classics “Hero with thousand faces”.

    I invite All Peace loving Ethiopians to use this email: civis@europarl.europa.eu to expose tyrant and to win our Champion of love Bertukan Mideksa Sakharov Prize. Please Please Please !!!!!!!

  3. Asse
    | #3

    We want Meles and Azeb dead or alive no we want meles and

  4. Asse
    | #4

    No we want mels and Azeb alive they have to pay for what they did to
    all people

  5. Mebrate Million
    | #5

    Sorry for typing error above #1
    Yes,I have done that.Thank you.I urge others also to continue to do that.
    This is so important.
    I can easily imagine the cruelty Bertukan was subjected to in those two years of her incarceration in Meles’s dark prison.Her short description of her years of captivity as ‘dreadful’ still give us sufficient picture of the degree of inhumanity and barbarity in which she was treated. However, given who TPLF are,this is not at all surprising.Such acts are in line with TPLF’s past guerrilla history and current resolve of destroying any perceived opposition and maintaining power by all coercive means.The fact that we have now smart dressing,smooth talking, parliament seating ‘Honorable’ pretending to be democrats does not alter the FACT that these people would continue to humiliate,taunt, character assassinate,intimidate,exile,terrorise,jail,physically and psychologically torture,maim,kill using mission squads or cause
    ‘accidental deaths’ and ‘silent disappearances’ in order to hold on and cling to their ‘hard gained’ power.
    TPLF’s fundamental belief is that they power grew out of the barrel of their guns and not out of some ‘cranky’ notion of the consent of the people.Additionally,they maintain that this is the real time they reap the economic harvest of their political struggles hence their individual corrupt gains in millions and their prior attention to the strategic development of what they call their own region.
    For TPLF, Ethiopia is always a means to an end and not an end by itself.
    Bertukan is in the way of that.She is brand new to the political scene in that she does not, like TPLF, carry any baggage from the past. Her Pan-Ethiopian politics is a breath of fresh air and it is at odds with TPLF’s ethnic project.She is honest, courageous, young and popular.
    Bertukan,like many other living victims of the wicked TPLF,now sustains wounds. Who would not under her unbearable circumstances?
    But to the chagrin of the sadistic Meles and his servile lieutenants, let it be declared that his wounds are not lasting. They will heal. The huge adoration and love of her people act like massively soothing balm in the mind of the ‘injured’ innocent person to restore her.Any possible lingering seed of self reproach and doubt that the the ‘enemy’ attempted diabolically to implant in her mind cannot outgrow the understanding, SYMPATHY and admiration of the millions who still see her as their dignified, brave and true leader.She will certainly thrive feeding from the tree of that knowledge that millions are with her while her vindictive captors grow lonelier and weaker through their more alienation from the people.
    TPLF is not just lonely and weak. It is doomed to fail. In the final analysis, all these cruelty, maltreatment and injury inflicted on our people will come home to roost.
    What essentially did away with the Dergue is its own cruelty not EPLF and TPLF’s guns.
    History is true to itself. TPLF,like the Dergue,will die of its own cruelty.

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