Birtukan Mideksa urges compatriots to stand in unison By Abebe Gellaw

July 5th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

Washington DC–Ethiopia’s freedom icon Birtukan Mideksa heartedly thanked her fellow Ethiopians here on Sunday for their unreserved support during her incarceration and urged them to unify in celebration of their country regardless of the fact that it is still neither a land of freedom nor justice.

In a remark she made at the conclusion of the Ethiopian Heritage Festival held at George Washington University from July 1 to July 3, Birtukan said that despite all the difficulties facing Ethiopia we need to unify to celebrate the rich heritage and greatness of our country.

She noted that ordinary Ethiopians live under the indignity of abject poverty while so many compatriots have chosen to live in exile to escape the harsh realities back home. However, she underlined the importance of keeping hope and faith to claim the true greatness, potential and future of our country.

“I still have a dream about my country. I really have a dream. I have faith in you, in myself, my daughter and the next generation.” She reminded her fellow Ethiopians that they need to unify not only to celebrate and claim the future but also to realize the true potentials of Ethiopia and to make her a common home for all.

Birtukan has also pointed out that the current situation in Ethiopia and our bad experiences in our own country, which is facing many intractable problems, have made it really hard to dream. “It is possible to mention many instances of the triumphs of people over difficulties, but I call to you to look at me so as to keep hoping.”

She reminded her audience that she was a prisoner in solitary confinement in a very small prison cell but never lost hope. She said that she had felt the immense suffering she endured very deeply. When Tilahun [Gesese] died, she even tried to share her grief with a female prison guard, who only rebuffed the gesture of mourning by slamming and locking the door behind her. “We even need people around us to share our grief”, Birtukan said.
She appreciated the fact that the harsh ordeals she had endured solitary confinement was over. “I was locked alone but today I am surrounded by so many people who love me,” the iconic figure said.

Birtukan is in currently in Atlanta to attend the 28th annual sport and cultural event organized by the Ethiopian Sport Federation in North America (ESFNA). ESFNA had faced a serious crisis over its decision to disinvite Birtukan MIdeksa as its guest of honor. The federation was forced to reverse its decision after it faced an intense boycott campaign by Ethiopian activists who took offense at the insensitive measure.

Meanwhile, organizers of the first Ethiopian Heritage Festival have expressed their pleasure at the success of the colorful event which was attended by thousands of Ethiopians who came from all over North America. The presence of Birtukan at the event added deeper meaning to the mission of the event which was aimed at unifying Ethiopians and celebrating the rich cultural, historical, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity of the nation.

  1. K Williams
    | #1

    I think it was held at Georgetown University, not George Washington University as the article states.

  2. Genet Wodajo
    | #2

    W/T Birtukan Mideksa should be hailed as one of the heroines who defied and resisted the intimidations and threats of the fascist and racist Meles Zenawi. The cruel aite Meles Zenawi threw her into his hellish dungeon at Kaliti to make her suffer and break her strong spirit. It was rumoured that the fascist and racist aite Meles Zenawi had personally chosen and ordered the administration of the most cruel psyschological tortur and terror against Birtukan. He had applied the same methods against his opponents during his guerilla years in the deserts of Tigray. Some members and supporters of the fascist camp such as the Tegaru using the false Amhara name, Getachew Mequanent had indicated thier disagreements with their leadership on the arrest and suffering of Birtukan.
    Despite the brutality she had been exposed to, Birtukan maintains her vision and looks forward. The suffering of Birtukan shows that the fascists holding the reign of power in Ethiopia, especially their head aite Meles do never allow the emergence and functioning of any viable opposition force in Ethiopia. Her arrest and suffering have only isolated the fascists and exposed more than ever before the motives of aite Meles Zenawi.

  3. Hailemicheal
    | #3

    I salut you our HEROINE,the symbol of freedom BIRTUKAN!!!GOD BLESS YOU!!!

    | #4


    All the statement mentioned in your comment seems correct even though I am not shure what was the base of your characterization of Bertukan’s “HEROINES or Heroism”. First, I want you to understand me (before hand) that I did NOT mean that Birtukan was not couragious woman as she was and is. However, can we call the living and the dead hero at the same time???. Here is the problem:

    1. Birtukan was my hero whet she returned to Ethiopia after she made statements that Meles and the Weyane gangs do not like to hear. After her returned shw was arrested and at that time I was expected her to be killed but survived. Still I called herro.

    2. After her release, she was reluctant to answer the question whether she had the determination to continue her political activism but never heard her answer to the end. IS THAT THE CHARACTER OF A HERO?

    3. You see if we take the word “hero” in our common conversation, a Marathon runner who lead his competators is a hero. The same applies in other social event. But in the language of politics a hero is different than sports game. Under such circumstances, Birtukan who was released from prision and remain silent pose a serious question. If this is the case, under what (name/title??) can we call Rosa Luxemberg (and other victims of dictatorial regims??)

    In this case I need to bring Mengistu Haile Mariam as an example. Mengistu was considere hero because we believe he was determined to fight to the end. However, after he fleed he was and is being preceieved as FERI, not hero. If not in equal measure to the test, Birtukan will be characterized differently since she proved her political stance by silence, specially after the Western Power recognized her as a learned and the first woman politican. Let’s ask her why she choose remain silent to the point.

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    ይትኛው ይሁዳ እንደሆንክ(ሺ) አልውቅም ግን ከሃዲነትህ(ሽ)ን ብስም ስለገለጻችሁ አልተቸገርንም,body, you play the game the way how the coach wants’ you to play it. You may be good, but does not worth much. The game has its own rule and discipline. You r definition on heroines seem right in a general language as your boss always tried to tell us about freedom, and democracy; the thing is with whom are you playing and who is the counter team to go against you. Who are the referees too? Like you, there are hundreds of scrutinizes on pay roll, to follow her, what she is eating, drinking, whom she is talking and so on. Let alone to say this…. You do not worry, she is smart now.Why are you hustling hard to collect the same little words from her ይሁዳ;

  6. Dany
    | #6

    Let us give Birtukan freedom to choose her career by herself.No doubt ,She has greatly contributed to the peaceful struggle setting a good example for the young.She paid unimaginable sacrifices. Now we should expect ourselves to follow suit .
    Now let us allow her to live her personal life .

  7. Tesfa
    | #7

    Many of us who have never been to prison cannot fully appreciate the depth of suffering that Bertukan endured while she was in Kality prison some time ago.

    The sudden and unexpected removal of her personal liberty, her forced separation from her loved ones, her confinement to a certain difficult and strange spot, the sense of powerlessness and the ignominy of it all must have been very hard things to come to terms with.

    I’d imagine that this was more so specially for a young and not-so- experienced politician who was also a tender and conscientious mother who had to leave behind a small affectionate daughter and a frail old mother.

    It must have equally been an extremely difficult experience for Bertukan to be snatched away from the work and comrades she so loved; the leadership task in which she invested so much emotion, energy and vision; the passionate dream she possibly had about the imminent realization of the liberation of her people and the latter’s high hopes and great expectations of her as a leader to deliver.

    How does one should really react when one is stripped of all these and sent to jail for no apparent reason and with no clear ultimatum?

    What makes Bertukan’s ordeal all the more poignant is that she did not suffer ordinary imprisonment though that was bad as it was. Instead she was subjected to the cruellest treatment in a solitary confinement for months being denied of all human contact.

    The idea was to kill her in the mind. This was an extreme situation where few could survive with their sanity.

    In that connection, Bertukan tells us that she had the most harrowing time of her life during her solitary confinement.

    She speaks about her traumatic loneliness with great emotion. She emphasises that by telling us about the need of some one around even to mourn and grieve for one’s loss. She relates that to her audience telling them the sad story of her encounter with the insensitive prison warden(an instance of the dehumanization of our people) during the passing away of the late Tilahun Gessese.

    After having gone through the pain of loneliness through her solitary confinement and reflecting about it, she underscores the importance of coming together and being in each other’s presence for our common survival.
    She thus gratefully acknowledges the presence of her audience in her life by paying homage to their love, prayer, moral and material support which they offered her and which sustained her through her difficult prison times.

    Therefore, we should be united as a people, she declares.

    She encourages us to dream for the future greatness of our country through our unity as she herself still does dream about this with more vigour.

    Obviously, one observes that prison did not take away or diminished anything from the indomitable Bertukan.

    The generosity and equanimity of her spirit, the integrity and loveliness of her personality, her beautiful vision, her compassion for and wonderful friendship with the poor (the great Zygmunt Baumann in his ‘Collateral Damage’ writes, ‘to be poor is to be lonely’) are still intact.

    Fortunately for us, a onetime sufferer comforts us.

    A good and humane leader who paid for her democratic and peaceful social vision by being subjected to a long and hard solitary confinement persists in calling us for a colourful get together,a carnival of unity and a holy communion with the same old reverence,openness, care and hope of good things to come.

    May all us be a vehicle of peace, justice and freedom!

    | #8


    What is your point of the debate/or the argument? I just manifested my disappointment for abandoning the struggle and open the door for another “tribalists” who come in sheep clothing and joined the Medrek party. In another word I was asking Why not she become like Ethiopian Tewabech, the wife of Emperor Tewodros who died side by side with her husband or Rosa Luxemberg of East Germany. Forget that – why not she choose to remain in prision like Nilson Mandela and get the ultimate honor and support? Those who act in like manner are my heros. This does not mean that I have desired to deprive her a certain level of respect, however.

    Going back to the more inflamatory point you mentioned at the introduction of your “nonsense” comment, i.e., my religion Judaism, YES, it is true that I am an AYHUD or YEHDA which I choose over all other pagan religion including christianity. If you think your faith is superior and leading to the kingdom of heaven, then show me how Judaism lead the human race in to hell of fire. To do that you must prove that I am wrong and that you are right on the question of theology. In another word, I am asking you to challenge me over the article I prepared to trash paganism. I have put for you below and let me see you maturity.

    Good luck, B.A.K

  9. Birtu/can
    | #9

    Dear Birtukan:

    Please don’t keep us in the dark. What does your future hold other than pursuing higher education? I think you are the fuel that can ignite diaspora politics. You can lift the spirit of so many Ethiopians who are disappointed with wishy washy leaders that are here today and gone tomorrow. I believe you are amongst a different breed of leaders a la Mandela and Gandhi.These leaders passed through trials and tribulations, but never gave up the fight against injustice. Now that you are in America where you can’t be intimidated and where your daughter is by your side–what a better place, time and opportunity to grasp the leadership role once again! Remember those who sacrificed their lives for the same cause you champion? You can’t abandon them at this crucial time in Ethiopian history. You can’t allow Meles to laugh on our faces. I am expecting to hear your return to the leadership role, preferably from Atlanta.


  10. Chachi F.
    | #10

    Corrected version:

    What’s all this shielding of Birtukan? We understand that she had suffered and she needs to recover. This does not mean she does not have to answer questions. I, for one, have tons of them. Here goes just two.

    Has she really given up as opposition leader? It seems Meles has broken her spirit, courage and determination. That’s what Meles did to Teddy Afro. Rumor has it that Teddy is a silent supporter of Meles now. From the letter of pardon Birtukan wrote to Meles to the interview she gave before her release, she appeared a different person from what we thought we know and follow. Her demeanor since her release from prison is subdued. It is fine to look for a quite family life but we deserve to know her plan so that we look for another leader in good time.

    How did she leave to the US in few months after her release? Was there prior arrangement between Meles and others to whisk her out from the country so that she does not pose any threat to his power? How come it is a family grant for extended number of years without the level of study determined? Has she signed any paper or verbally given her word not to say “thank you” to the people who supported her in good time or say anything negative about the government? Her silence was deafening and it is a suspect. It is for her to clear the air.

    The peaceful struggle here in the country is crying for a leader (or leaders). Opposition galvanized by hero worship is our political game to succeed against Meles. Meles is not taking such a hero to prison anymore since he has came to learn what the imprisonment of Teddy Afro and Birtukan did to his government. His new trick is to take out the little guys. Be it as it may, Birtukan was and still is expected to deliver on her leadership promise. We have started to feel betrayed, though. Uncharacteristically of her, she is keeping us in the dark about her plan. The sooner she speaks the better.

    God bless our country and its people.

  11. BT
    | #11

    Dear Birtukan,

    You always be my heroine no matter where you will be and what you would like to do in the future. I very much would like to follow your leadership. You seems to have the best quality of a leader for Eትhiopia . A passionate love for Eትhiopia and a sober mind with a lot of ቅንነት. Eትhiopia needs a leader and healer like. You just remind me of HIM himself.
    May God bless you.

  12. Sam
    | #12

    YEHUDA: Birtukan still is a hero to me. A hero is not somebody who brags “AKAKIZERAF” even when the condition does not warrant it. At the time when she was released, the Addis residents were tuned out of politics pretty much. Here was a woman of courage languishing in prison to uphold a principle, but she was almost forgotten by the public once EPDRF reduced her living to a nightmare. Except an article here and there in the diaspora websites, no one dare to question the righteousness of her imprismonent from the people for whom she was struggling for. When she was released rightly she believed her first duty was to raise her child. Does Birtukan’s realization her being a sacrifical lamb did not worth the anguish she went through does take away from her heroic past? I do not. YEHUDA: Mengistu was your hero until he fled away. Not to me. He never was nor will he be. Comparing Birtukan and Mengistu was uncalled for. At least for a simple, commonsense reason. Mengistu was a killer. Birtukan was a pragmatist who does not want to see anybody dies because of political belief. Mengistu from the get go was planned, excuted to monoplize power so that a one man show would prevail. I have not heard any Ethiopian politician who had worked with Birtukan accusing her being power hungry. In fact, I dare say among the politicians who participated in the 2005 election, she was the best example of an idealist politician, even maybe a little bit naive. But do not question her heroism, YEHUDA. If your defination of “hero” is a person who strives to satisfy the half-baked diaspora politics, yes she might not be your hero. Besides, it is totally absurd to base your defination upon your satisfaction. She was a hero when she was imprisoned, and when she chose to keep quiet all of a sudden she became “unhero, according to you.” That is a problem now, and continue to be. The diaspora community wrongly believes to be the final arbiter in political judgment. Anyone who dares to question the diaspora community’s knowelege even about basic politics will be automatically branded … you can choose the adjective. I do not think it will work any longer. The more time elapse the more informed in the diaspora might prevail in discussing Ethiopian politics. That hope is what keeps me visiting Ethiopian websites. I hope I am right.

  13. One of Birtukan admirers
    | #13

    Thank you my dear sister Birtukan–I hope you know how much you’re appreciated and loved by so many millions of Ethiopians in and outside of Ethiopia. Your bravery will be in the history books for generations to come. The hoodlums who are living in the palace and terrorizing and robbing Ethiopians should have been locked up like wild animals instead of patriot law abiding Ethiopians like you. Please pass our love and greetings to your precious daughter and mother also. Enjoy your deserving vacation. Thank you and God’s blessings to you and your family.

  14. Chachi F.
    | #14

    Corrected version.

    When Birtukan resigned from UDJ leadership some months ago, the opposition camp was rife with wild speculations and remains the same to this day. Birtukan’s long silence didn’t help the opposition camp. Further split, recrimination and guilt weakened it wile strengthening the government. One wild speculation which claimed to know what Birtukan was thinking at the time appeared on “”. The blog suggested that she is dissatisfied with all Ethiopians including the diaspora and does not want to be part of their zero sum political game. We regret to have copied and pasted it below without the authorization of the blog administrator.

    [Begins] “Given what Ms. Birtukan underwent in the past five years, her resignation from UDJ leadership is no surprise. The cruel government can reinstate her life imprisonment for any reason. Next time it puts her in prison, it will simply lock the cell and throw away the key. As we know it, Ms. Birtukan is a “victim of convenience” whose life sentence and its reinstatement always tempts the government as an effective tool to warn the opposition that challenges its rule. It was not only lack of her leadership and internal fight and bickering that killed UDJ during her imprisonment, but also fear of the government by other leaders of her party. They did not, understandably, want to be thrown into prison. The politics of fear, intimidation and smear campaign unleashed by the government against UDJ to establish a one party rule has effectively worked.

    While Ms. Birtukan was in prison, UDJ has not called for a serious peaceful protest (a demonstration, for example) other than playing a “hide and seek” game with the government bureaucracy. UDJ’s members and supporters never attempted to peacefully confront the government when they were refused permission to hold meetings or demonstrate. Grim faced and sad, they disperse and go home only to blame the government behind closed doors. Thanks to democracy, the diaspora has made its voice heard. Now the UDJ leadership is silently waiting for the next election which will take place in 2007. The way things go, the party will be forgotten years before the election.

    Ms. Birtukan is smart enough to keep distance from a leadership gripped by internal fight, squabble and fear and the diaspora that wants to lead from afar. She is from the new generation of pragmatic politicians that envisages to break from the old generation and the diaspora which hide behind a young public figure and expect results. The problem is the old and the diaspora have come with heavy baggage – ideological, class, personal and other – which proved difficult for them to shake off. Furthermore, UDJ leaders seem to have resigned to absolute pacificism under the guise of peaceful struggle while the diaspora favors to mix peaceful struggle with violence. Again, the diaspora put aside, if UDJ leaders do not stand at the forefront of the masses to realize the widely recognized tactics of peaceful struggle, they will soon be pushed to the margin. As we know them, the margin is not where they want to find themselves, but they do not have other choice.

    Ms. Bitukan seems to have plunged herself in an intractable political dilemma since her release from prison.

    First, she appears to have found the people reluctant to make the struggle their own and rise up against dictatorship. She might think they want others to do it for them. In this situation, she might have a problem telling who is right: the people who overwhelmingly vote for dictatorship or the opposition which tells the people that the government has to go. But she understands that relying on the masses is a tricky business. As they are effectively deprived of “stake” in everything in the country, they do not see a gain or loss as a result of any political change. They have seen leaders and governments come and go without improvements in their lives. The masses support the status quo and stand unresponsive to any political call because of politicians who do not keep their promise. That’s why they want others to make the change and keep the results to themselves. If they are moved, it is only when they are sure the status quo is disturbed and cannot be restored.

    Second, Ms. Birtukan has witnessed dictatorship after dictatorship crumble due to popular uprising which have made even bold and courageous opposition leaders irrelevant. Since the government has rejected the possibility of peaceful transfer of power from the government to the opposition and vice versa, she might realize that popular uprising is inevitable. She might not know what’ll trigger the uprising. Her guess might be, similar to the recent uprisings in North Africa, the Middle East, the Sudan and Yemen, the fast growing unemployed university, college and high school graduates will spark the uprising and the people will take it from there. Millions will rise to demand explanations on the recurrent and shameful hunger of millions and extensive food shortage in the general population, low level but prolonged civil war going on for decades, massive violations of human and democratic rights, poverty and the recent land grab by foreigners. As the ruling party and the government fail to explain, the Tunisian and Egyptian type revolt will sweep them away. However, Ms. Birtukan might not know when the uprising will take place. Again, her guess might be that Meles Z. will finish his term and leave without facing major uprising. He’ll not officially lead his party in the next election, hence cannot become the next prime minister. Because he officially leaves office before he hits the magic number of the recent uprisings (i.e. thirty years in power after winning 90% or plus of votes), he will be spared from the trouble of quashing an uprising. But as he repeatedly confirmed he will continue to govern (unofficially) by retreating to the background. It means he’ll step aside rather than step down. So, the uprising will mainly focus on his successors who come from the same party with the same program, but with a major deficiency in vision.

    Ms. Birtukan might fear that such uprising will lead to a military dictatorship and prolonged conflict between armed ethnic and multi – ethnic organizations that could effectively bring the country to an end. She might, therefore, ask why participate in a political struggle that will spin out of control and defeat itself? Why also join the club of the old and the diaspora which have deliberately made their future doubtful if not over? Like the masses, the old and the diaspora lack stake in society to genuinely commit themselves. They will step aside and wait for others to bring change. Here she might have seen the country’s deeprooted culture of dead-end politics.

    After weighing the facts, Ms. Birtukan seems to have said “guilty as charged” and moved on.”[Ends]

    Now in the U.S., it might not safe for Birtukan to return to Ethiopia but safety is not the issue for her. Disillusionment with the country’s political forces and their politics is. Our guess is she will apply to immigrate and then take citizenship. New country, new life and new future.

  15. YEHUDA
    | #15


    I do not understand your endless rambling. First you said “Birtukan is your hero” but you are not representative of the Ethiopian people who are presently questioning Birtukan’s silence and the whereabout. Second, you have tried to manupulate my statement about Mengistu Hailemariam’s position in fighting Shabia not to be a herioc act. It is your right to have such a political position because you were in the other side of the Ethiopian cause an assumption I could reasonably choose to maintain.

    Notwithstanding on our past political position, still we neeed an answer about Birtukan’s silence to this day. Birtukan in her choice of time may have something to tell us because we will not expect her to remain silent and keep everyone in the dark. In other word, she must tell us a certain promiss whether false or true so that we will remain until we realize it in action. Even if Birtukan say a word at this critical time, her credibility will be erroded farther for several reasons. First, she is not any more in the same position as she was before since a tribalist group under sheep clothing from Tigray had hyjacked Medrek and Birtukan is not in the making of history. Second, as time lapsed from the time of her release to the distance future, she will be forgotten but remembered as a false prophet that we know in world history. In the Christian bible for example, there is an interesting history. In Matthew 24:1-3, the Phariasee approached Jesus as he was sitting on the mount of Olive and ask “TEL US”-they said “when this things happen, meaning “WHEN IS THE END TIME, YOUR SECOND COMING TO JUDGE THE LEAVING AND THE DEAD? — Jesus answered: in Matthew 24:34, “I TELL YOU THE TRUTH THIS GENERATION WILL NOT PASS AWAY UNTIL ALL THESE THINGS HAPPENED”. Well what is the maximun time for one generation or the generation of the people of Jesus’s time??. The maximum life time of an average man’s age was 50-60 years but even if one assumed to be 100 years, Jesus was not returned according the time period he promissed. After Jesus’ time, the Roman period passed, the Perisian Period passed, the British Empire passed and tomorrow the American centuray as well as the Chines Empire may come and pass. WHERE IS JESUS’ RETURN ???. If we proved falsehood from a prophet, (but also called GOD by christians) there is no reason to believe a mere woman (Birtukan)if she come out from her hideout place and promissed us to retutrn to politics. THE GAME IS OVER. Arena Tigray hijacked her place.

    Finally I say thank you CHACHI F (No.10, above )for our mutually agreed questioning of Birtukan’s political position.

  16. ጉረኞች
    | #16

    Chachi F@10
    “Rumor has it that Teddy is a silent supporter of Meles now.” Your statement defies common sense. Do you mean silent hater of Meles Zenawi? After he has gone through such rough time by order of murderer Zenawi, it is hard to rationalize that the victim supports the perpetrator.
    I do not necessarily disagree with your idea that the public should know what key political figures such as Birtukan planned to do to help bring democracy. I think all Ethiopians should be curious what her next move will be. The public will also be curious if she will or will not go back to Ethiopia after she completes whatever she planned to do in USA, including the rationale for her decision. But, she needs more time to plan. She should not make any decision in haste and later revert or regret it, which might result more embarrassment for her supporters. Her appearance in these events is encouraging though.

  17. Shlomo
    | #17

    When your Emperor Menelik asked the people of Ethiopia to rise and resist the fascist invasion of their country by the Italian forces,the people of Ethiopia responded in an unparalleled vigor and determination. This action by the Ethiopians still stand as a major struggle against repression by almost any one nation in history and especially by black Africa. Why? If we were to answer to this chapter of history honestly,it is because people had faith in their leader,because of his love and respect towards his people and their reciprocal feelings supported by determination and gallantry. Who can Ethiopians rely today for his/her leadership and where is he/she?
    If leaders today are afraid of the jails of the oppressor, will there be a Mandela of the 21st century?.Obviously,fighting repression away from repression does not render the title of a hero to any one. Egyptians,Tunisians and Libyans are leading the way if only the leaders of the Ethiopian opposition should stand to challenge their own dormant gallantry. “” Who said to the Americans. The only thing to fear is fear it self.”" we live to learn.

  18. YEHUDA
    | #18


    That is precisely the point. “Fighting repression away from repression does’t render the title of a HERO to anyone”. But far worse is we call people “hero” when even a so-called hero did fail to appear in the dancing floor of politics especially far from solitary confinment and the like.

  19. Oda Tulu
    | #19

    Dearest icon Judge Birtukan,

    You cute daughter and your old mother must be your top priority for the moment before you join active politics at top level.

    You are the brightest star and still young to serve your beloved country, Ethiopia. Thank God you are alive!

  20. Sheger
    | #20

    Is there any body who read this article and who didnt want to cry? I did. Dear Birtucan, I always have hope for a better
    Ethiopia but you made me realize that we can loos hope too. So we need to keep it close to our hearts and care for it
    For it is the main sours of our liberty freedom and peace in our country and and unity of all our people. For us there is only us and God and every one us matter us a nation and every one of us need the love and care of our nation and the
    Nation needs us. We are Ethiopians, we are the people we are her children’s, we are Ethiopians!!!!!!!!!!!

    Swallowing my tears
    Seeing my brother gone starved
    How can I go a day longer?
    With out hope some were inside?

    HOPE I should hope
    Go away fear
    Come love and strength
    I love my brother
    CARE I should care
    I love my sister.

    Dear Ethiopia!!!!!!!!

  21. Haile
    | #21

    The opposite of a hero is a coward. Those who criticize Birtukan for not speaking or continuing her political activities will not even use their real names to make their comments. Cowards have no right to criticize heroines. BTW: I am one of the cowards just like you guys. The difference among us cowards is that some of us know who we are and don’t criticize. The rest of us criticize to cover our cowardice.

  22. Sam
    | #22

    YEHUDA: I do not see “rumbling” in your part as you saw im mine. You tried to present your case, but with false premise. That is the problem. You have wrong perception of Birtukan to begin with. Yes, Birtukan was, I hope still is, an idealist who was gravitated to politics because she saw injustice. This is not a woman whom from the outset believed actively participatring in politics. In fact, one could argue the injustice EPDRF was conducting was the real alluring force for her to become a politician. I know individuals who want to breathe politics, but Birtukan was not one of them. Finally she became convinced realizing her idealism was tougher than she thought. Let us say because we do not know yet she chose to call it quit. Why YEHUDA you felt the world is crumbling under your feet? It is not wise and even reasonable to assume the vey survivasl of opposition politics die or live because of her. That is exactly what I infer from your writing. Whether Birtukan remains active in politics or not have no any significant impact on the opposition politics. The opposition will survive without her. This is not to downplay the contribution she has made. Not at all. I mentioned this because “personality cult” is the politics of dictators. Yes, an individual might contribute immensely than the average Joe, but changing a government even society’s politics requires more than that– an active participation of the populace. Without that participation even the most brilliant politician will be reduced to nothing. AS for your quoting the Bible to make your case, I do not get the message. When it comes to Bible, I am totally illetrate. When I was in college I was tempted to take Bible study as literature, but finally chose not to. Forgive my ignorance. Had I known a little, I would have understood your need to bring religion in secular politics.

  23. YEHUDA
    | #23


    I am respoonding to your comment after a friend called and reminds me to watch Birtukan and listen her speech on Ethiotube. I typed on Google “Birtukan Mdeksa on you Tube” and many subtitle were listed in whic I click the first three titles in which one of the link directed me to EthioTube and Birtukan was there under the title “Birtukan Medeksa Speech at the Ethiopian Heritage Festivalin in DC July 2, 2011″. There are THREE identical fictures of herself and assumed that her speech was posted repeatedly because it was long. Accordingly, I played all one after the other but it was same duplicate. There is nothing “political speech except thanking the diaspora for the help (moral or otherwise) she received when she was in prision. See the picture for youself and be the judge for yourself whether her moral was reduced to a degree or not. To me she DID even though physically she looks like ok. But when people preceived that the moral of the politician is reduced to a degree, then anyone who make his evaluative determination as to the “trust” and”worthiness” also reduced as well. This is not false premise or assumption that you wuould like readers to believe. It is not. To me Birtukan has been reduced even to forget God as she said many time that she believed in HERSELF, THE PEOPLE, HER DAUGHTER and the FUTURE GENERATION and never mention GOD once who liberate her from captivity . There is no death worse than this. ((( Reply the video, see and judge for your self ))).

    Going back to your argument on (comment # 22), I can say few points as a matter of response to your as follows: FIRST you repeatedly emphasized that Birtukan is a hero for you but not hero for your critic, the YEHUDA. When one notice a syptom of weakness on the leader, that person should not be accused for his understanding of the would-be leader. I did not say that she was not hero at all but I didnot feel confortabele to call hero when the so-called hero failed to appear and confirm his/her future action – action that begin with reaffirmation of the promiss made earlier. I did not see anything even from her video speech mentioned above. SECOND, you also attempted to lecture me that the opposition politics will not vanish or survive because of Birtkan. No where in my comment I asserted such fact. What I said is Birtukan’s “silence” in moving the spirit of her supporters even after her release and subsequent power takeover by Arena Tigray in the name of MEDEREK had made the opposition (in general) and Birtukan (in particular) qustionable politician and therefore, it is hard to call her a hero because to be called a hero, the only measure is SUCCESS OR RESULT something in the possitve. As I mentioned in my previous comment, I said Mengistu was a hero – the question is to what point. LEDETU AYALEW was also called a hero and even people borrowed the name “Mandela” for him. In politics we praise whom we love even though there is no apperent reason to praise or love. It is a matter of preference one over the other, Ledetu or Birtukan ? Jesus or Moses? think of that.

    Finally you asked me (I guess) why I quate biblical information in to secular politics and the answer is that the BIBLE IS FALSE AND CONTRADICTORY that I used to show what was said in one VERSE is also NEGATED or contradicted in another verse or chapter. So when you know that somthing said “TRUE” in one historical source and that same historical source said “FALSE” in another time or place the conclusion is that you reject both since you have no believe either. Thus, in a court of law, the finding of contradictory statement from a witness testimony is the ground for impeachment. In the bible there are few contradictory statements that are difficult to believe it or not. For example example:

    (1). All Christians whatever denomination they may have believed that Jesus was crucified on the cross. However, the most trusted New King James version (NKJV) bible said in Acts 5:30 “the God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by HANGING ON A TREE” (emphasis mine} (2). All Jews/Christians believed that no man has seen God. However, the same bible in Genesis 32:30 Jacob said “for I have seen God FACE TO FACE my life was preserved” (emphasis mine) (3) Christians generally believed that God is three in one and one in three. While this is Christians’ believe, the same Christian bible also contradict the three in one and one in three notion in Mark 12:32 and said “GOD IS ONE AND THERE IS NO OTHER BUT HIM” (all emphasis is mine) In fact this particular verse was borrowed and “reworded” from the Hebrew bible in Isaiah 43:10 which said: ‘You are my witness, said the Loard and My servant whom I have choosen that you may know and believe ME and understand that I AM HE, before Me there was no God formed nor shall be after Me.

    So Mr Sam, religion is politics and the writing of the Bible is pure fiction. However I believe that one supernatural force has created me and MADE it every thing available to me with little effort of my own. I know the bible, the Torah and the Quar’an as well but that does’t mean anything except the more you knew the more you discover falsehood and ultimately destained to hate it. As yiu have confessed to the fact, your unfamiliarity with the Bible is good, and bad.

  24. YEHUDA
    | #24


    Please read the very last sentence ” and NOT bad”

  25. Levi
    | #25

    Regardless of what you believe Judaism or philosophy or Eastern mythology I will not criticize your belief.However, I strongly oppose your constant unjustified criticism of the Christian faith, and the Bible. It is one thing to allege that there is an apparent contradiction in the Bible, but quite another to demonstrate that such is the case. You have argued before you don’t want to debate theology. As far as I am conserned, your desire is to discredit the Bible without being willing to be challenged by believers. In this many people can easily detect ill intent on the back of your mind.
    Now, commenting directly on the topic concerning Birtukan If I were you I would not demand Birtukan a lone to be sole sacrifice to bring change in Ethiopia. If you are concerned about the state of affairs in the country the best you can do is show us yourself thorough practical means. There are many pretentious or idle tattlers like you who are only good on criticizing those who are making difference in the lives of their countrymen, than contributing in a positive way. What moral right do you think you have to criticize birtukan for what you said “her failure not to mention GOD in her speech”. If you can see your own moth then you could have not been so much concerned about her relationship with God. Beside the occasion she was in was a community gathering to promote unique facts of Ethiopia and her community. Hence, Her speech is geared to this purpose and only in this context she made some political comments appropriate to the audience. Therefore, her speech was not out of place she knew what exactly she was dioing.Finally,the comments you are accustomed to give on this forums won’t match a one hour genuine service Birtukan gave to her country. She exactly knew what she was doing.Perhaps, one sentence will characterize best your state of mind: YOU ARE A VERY DECEIVED SOUL. Before it is too late, make peace with your maker.

  26. Anon
    | #26

    Whatever plan Birtukan might have in the future, will be always regarded by many as the leading patriotic figure and heroine the new generation saw. The generation before the 50’s was very determined patriots who defended their country and pass it over to my generation. I am of the generation that, one way or another caused much of the evil that is currently besetting our country. My generation, though I was a high school then, without giving much thought about the consequences of its action ,nevertheless, was in common agreement from North to Southeast to West to shake the foundation , push the pillar, and rip the fabric of the nation that have held together the society hitherto. I am not suggesting here a return to the era of the monarchy as some revisionists lately are proposing, nor do I have any nostalgia for the era of the kings. All I am pointing out is, the generation of the 60-70′s are to be blamed for imposing their, the untried, Marxist dogma upon the rest of Ethiopians, thereby creating chaos, and disorder.
    As usual, without presenting facts, some start to criticize Birtuka for this and that. What makes these people think they have the nerve to do so? You want change in Ethiopia, you really want freedom, and law and order to prevail? Then, learn to fight for it, not with tools of straw as in words or talk, but with deed. Before one makes undeserved criticism, it will be appropriate to ask what I have actually done to my country.
    “To be human is to err”. There may be a room for criticism when it comes to Ethiopian opposition leading figures .But, Bartiuan is not one of them.Forinstace there are those, knowing full well the negative consequences of their action, who are pursuing reckless strategy against the country. Such Political organization that lacks confidence on the people of Ethiopian, and see it unnecessary to seek input of Ethiopians about their undertaking sooner or later will crumble. Had others the level of determination demonstrated by Birtukan, and stayed focused on how to unify our people instead of bowing down before I.A for help, by now we could have been liberated.Birtukan has done more than her share.
    Whatever decision she may make for the future I honor her choice. Now it is up to the rest of us to be willing to pay a sacrifice just as she did.

  27. YEHUDA
    | #27


    Thank you for your comment. Two points are the most burning issue as I have understood your concern in [a] nutshell – Birtukan as a politician and the Bible as a guidence to believe about the Creator of Heaven and earth.

    Concerning Birtukan, you said that I am only criticizing her without contributing something to her struggle. It is true I did criticised Birtukan for the silence and not for her struggle whether she accomplished sothing or not. Supporter like yourself, however, exceedingly glorify her just as you glorify jesus christ. I do not push to such extent of recognizing her role as a politican. Yes she did tried hard but no proff of success. So Jesus attempted to overthrow the Romans but was not succedded. So what is the point to make her unaccomplished mission as manifest of strength. THE FACT IS THAT SHE IS A FAILURE, AND WILL CONTINUE IN THE FUTURE UNLESS SHE TRY TO RESUSITATE FROM WHERE SHE FAIL.

    Concerning religion, I did not fear to debate but believed that Theologians from The Christian denomination (specially Ethiopian Orthodox) are not the people whom I am comfortable to debate SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE THE PEOPLE OF “EMOTION” NOT FACT BASED ON REASON as a result they resolve to curse you if they lose the debate, strike you if you do not accept their semi-deity god and, this culture started not yesterday but in 325 A.D where Nosterious and Arius were killed by Constantinine. Surprisingly, Constantinine also killed his wife and son for not accepting his “State religion”. The War of the Cross also is another example. It is, therefore, better to avoid a violent faith and its followers. Good Luck.

  28. aha!
    | #28

    Second round of campaign after the K-5 tour to North America and the formation of UDJP and Ginbot-7, a split from Kinjit on the pre-text of “no change but durable democracy ” in a country where the priority is economic development before democracy, posing as a prodemocracy movement with the objectives to bring democracy to Ethiopia, protect human rights and restore justice in Ethiopia, with no apparent strategies, whose party title is unity for democracy and justice,with a subset of the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, now launching a second round of campaign following the misguided campaign during the K-5 tour and UDJP leadership, which formed a coalition with lpoyalist opposition parties
    with high visibility of UDJP leadership both in the Ethiopian Heritage and now at ESFNA only reflects the media dominance of the prodemocracy movements making empty noises outside of their objectives upon which the party(ies) is/are formed with indication of strategies.

    With respect to the armed struggle, what took ceter stage is alliance with liberation movements, but not merging for freedom and democracy of all Ethiopians from the current regime, and to the exclusion of EPPF, TPFDM, etc., where both factions armed and so called peaceful struggle, hinging enemy of my enemy is my friend kind of philosophy, which does not hold water, because the opposition parties have similar platform of ethnic agenda with TPLF/eprdf regime and there is enemity/disagreements of the current regime and Eritrean regime maintaining/disolving the secession upto independence of Eritrea from Ethiopia is concerned, nor over the return of the ports to Ethiopia. I do not understand why they even went to war against each other, when could have exploited and had an economic and political strangle holf of the country’s resources as Hamasien-Tigrai ethnic enclave rather indepence provided they agree with power sharing without dominating one another.

  29. aha!
    | #29

    Correction: it should there is no enemity ………. in the second paragraph.

  30. YEHUDA
    | #30

    MR/MS. AHA

    To which main article and/or comment your point is directed ???????
    Is there any discussion in this forum where an idea of armed struggle and related issues were entairtained??, My friend, I think you post your comment in a wrong section of the Topic.

  31. aha!
    | #31

    If the contention is what Chachi and Gurengnoch are talking about, which a rpeated pattern followed by the current regime, there is nothing the W/t Birtukan can do about it, except to resign. However what I am still contending the big fan fare made by Heritage Foundation and ESFNA to bring her back into the spotlight as an active leadeship of UDJP as well Medrek/fdd/fdre, shuns the party leadeships that are engaged in the struggle, fanned through Ethiomedia with photo opportunity of the editor with Birtukan. Ethiomedia is access website to walta information website, VOA and articles from elites with views of the lesser of two alternatives/evils that are not focusing on the goals for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians under liberal and/or social democracy, for the majority of the diaspora who are not inclined into these websites, including the Ethiopian Heritage Foundation and ESFNA.

    As there are now apparent since the 2005 election two political forces: the positive forces of integration for unity, territorial integrity,sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians and the predicament of the silent majority of Ethiopians is in the hands of the ” teletafi” and the “loyalist opposition parties now called the coalition Medrek/fdd/fdre, a mirror image of TPLF/eprdf regime, to coalesce around the parties with national agenda with adopted strategies to achieve the goals for national agenda in a non-violent urising to freedom from autocratic, ethnocratic/ethnic dictatorship with underlying socialism/totalrianism with ethnic feralism of divide and rule policy to restore the original political boundries of the provinces, to restore Ethiopian Nationalism and its national intersts and endow the individual an economic, and political freedom and the God given liberty to save Ethiopia from disintegration.

  32. aha!
    | #32

    Addendum: plese add in the last paragraph,the negative forces of disintegration, after the two political forces: …..

  33. Sheger
    | #33

    Dear Aha, you are very write when you say “a god given liberty to save Ethiopia from disintegration” it is in our nature
    To grow to liberty or to liberat our selves with others. Other wis it is like giving birth to a chilled that won’t grow and become a man. And even our existence most of the time depends on it. So it truly is God given.

  34. Sheger
    | #34

    Specially when we agree, we librate our selves with others ideally and socially but also you don’t librate your selves with
    Thieves and merderrors just for the sake of liberty how ever. like when presedent G W Bush says comander and chiffe
    stating him self even though I don’t understand why he calls him self that instead of your presedent or some thing, I believe what he calles him self is understude in the American people for what ever calture they have or say the state of their power but just becuase some of us foriners dont understand what that mean, they dont have to change that and I believe all US presedants calles them selves
    Comander and chiffe. So In Ethiopias case there are some people that don’t identify them selves to the countries history
    And interest and people may be just because they are simply not Ethiopians even if they call them selves Ethiopians and take advantage of the country and it’s people. And some times they really accept which country they live in and librate them selves with people and the reality of their life and become peacefull to them selves and others around them
    Instade of saying Change this and that on what doesn’t concern them.

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