They are not worthy to shake her hands by Ashenafi Mola

December 13th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

A few weeks ago, I read some articles that are for and against inviting Birtukan Mideksa to the annual ESFNA event. The argument made for inviting the first known Ethiopian female pro-democracy leader was compelling. (more…)

A few weeks ago, I read some articles that are for and against inviting Birtukan Mideksa to the annual ESFNA event. The argument made for inviting the first known Ethiopian female pro-democracy leader was compelling. On the other hand, the opposing sides gave justifications that were not just weak, rather disingenuous.

Birtukan paid huge sacrifice for the sake of human rights, democracy, and freedom. She suffered much at the hands of dictators who were determined to vegetate (exact word Zenawi used) her in jail. They accused her falsely and called her names. They put her in dungeon while she was still pregnant, which is un-Ethiopian by nature; and placed her in solitary confinement in a rat infested room. They denied her medical treatment when she was sick and cried for help. They harassed and tortured her. They separated her from her baby daughter and aging mother. The list goes on.

Her release from prison brought so much joy not just among Ethiopians, but everyone who loves, seeks, and fights for freedom, both inside the country and abroad. Some of the pictures taken the moment she was released speak volumes; among many, the young man who fell on her feet to show his deep respect, and the mother lifting her hands towards heaven to praise her God. Certainly, such expressions only show how revered and loved Birtukan is.

So who are those individuals at ESFNA who argued against inviting her? What are they afraid of? These questions have been largely answered by those who favored here coming to the event; thus, no repeat necessary here; however, it is good to highlight a couple of things about some of ESFNA board members. First, many of the board members are in possession of teams that do not represent their communities. The board members are opposed to allowing community teams to register and participate in these annual events, if privately owned teams already exist in the same city. Therefore, it is fair to say that ESFNA leaders do not have a policy of community centered approach. If they had one, then they would have given priority to community registered teams to participate in these events. I doubt that would happen as long as these guys are there.
Secondly, what is the big deal about ESFNA? If you have been to the annual event just few times, I am sure you know exactly what to expect – same old stuff. Why? Because the leaders are dull, and lack imagination. They are selfish individuals who run around to show their plastic badge. Most of them are simply Yekebereta Wonber Felageewoch.

Birtukan is one brave Ethiopian woman. She is the epitome of courage, inspiration to our nation, and role model to many young women. Freedom is a pure universal human right, and there is no politics to it. Birtukan fought for feedom and democracy, and paid praiseworthy sacrifice; her tenacity and love of country cannot be questioned.

Now, compare Birtukan’s qualities to the guys running ESFNA who refused to honor her. Are they even worthy to shake her hand let alone sit next to her?

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