Ms. Birtukan Mideksa’s Imprisonement… – G. E. Gorfu

January 11th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

A sad aspect in recent political arena in Ethiopia is the imprisonment of the leader of an opposition party, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa. One asks, ‘What purpose was this intended to serve?’ Was it to disrupt the regrouping of the opposition parties and for the governing party to gain ground in preparation of the coming elections?

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A sad aspect in recent political arena in Ethiopia is the imprisonment of the leader of an opposition party, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa. One asks, ‘What purpose was this intended to serve?’ Was it to disrupt the regrouping of the opposition parties and for the governing party to gain ground in preparation of the coming elections?

If that was the intention, it seems to have already backfired and produced the very opposite effect. Ms. Mideksa has now become a rallying point and a heroin for many people that oppose the government.

The whole world read the clemency letter and saw the signatures of imprisoned political leader before they were released. If Ms. Mideksa should now choose to deny that she never asked for clemency and never signed any such letter, there should be no reason to arrest her again and demand a withdrawal of her statement. The government like a good parent should use sophisticated methods and techniques to discredit her as a leader of the opposition without resorting to imprisonment or any such punishment.

We are now in the Twenty First Century where politics should be seen as no different from any other official duty, and leaders of opposing parties should socialize and eat and drink together afterhours without resorting to personal animosity. One needs to learn that as a basic of professionalism in politics. If there is an attack, it should be aimed solely at the views and policies of the opponent and not at the person who espouses those views.

Furthermore, the full formality and respect of the opponent and to the office he/she holds should be accorded in addressing each other, and that should be the manner and decorum of all communication. With that in mind, I was disappointed to hear Professor Mesfin talk of Professor Ephraim, calling him by his first name, as if he was referring to some little boy. That is neither our Ethiopian tradition nor the talk of a savvy politician. One should always respect opponents even during disagreements in order to be respected in return.

Democracy, at its very minimum, requires a good deal of tolerance and mutual respect. Tolerance however seems to be in short supply these days largely due to the watershed that unfolded after the election of 2005. Many democratic venues that had opened up before that time have been shut down since. That is very sad indeed.

A major bulwark of democracy is the freedom of speech. The only restrictions to that freedom: 1) A person has no right to cry, ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre; and 2) A person has no right to make a speech that incites the public to riot. That is all.

Freedom of speech gives the right to tell lies, as well as all types of jokes one cares to tell, and the government should respect and tolerate that freedom. After all, are politicians and lawyers known for always telling the truth? Especially here in the USA, one may be hard pressed to find a politician who does not tell a lie from time to time; this so much so that a joke goes: ‘Mommy, Mommy, do all fables start with: Once upon a time? No my daughter, there are some fables that start with: “If elected, I promise…!”’

I therefore call upon the Attorney General to reconsider his decision and I strongly urge the Ethiopian government to show magnanimity and release Ms. Birtukan Mideksa.

  1. AGERE_ETHIOPIA
    | #1

    i didn’t know how the tplf regime thinks, i didn’t think they have advisor,ohhh i am sorry i forgot, bereket simon is the advisor of tplf whom have had a typical hate for the amhara ethinic group, and the one who blocked every investement in that area,and i think all these gangsters didn’t have brain to think twice, they only thinks just for that moment. They should know that detaining the opposition leader mustn’t block any movement, and also they shouldn’t arrest their brain and their wish of democracy for their country , they only arrest their body. I think the agazi regime should have to consider that, any way the good thing is the regime is on the way to collpase.
    peace

  2. AGERE_ETHIOPIA
    | #2

    i didn’t know how the tplf regime thinks, i didn’t think they have advisor,ohhh i am sorry i forgot, bereket simon is the advisor of tplf whom have had a typical hate for the amhara ethinic group, and the one who blocked every investement in that area,and i think all these gangsters didn’t have brain to think twice, they only thinks just for that moment. They should know that detaining the opposition leader mustn’t block any movement, and also they shouldn’t arrest their brain and their wish of democracy for their country , they only arrest their body. I think the agazi regime should have to consider that, any way the good thing is the regime is on the way to collpase.

  3. Girum
    | #3

    “With that in mind, I was disappointed to hear Professor Mesfin talk of Professor Ephraim, calling him by his first name, as if he was referring to some little boy. That is neither our Ethiopian tradition nor the talk of a savvy politician. One should always respect opponents even during disagreements in order to be respected in return.”

    First of all, you probably forgot that back home we address each other by first names. Secondly, they both are professors, so Prof. Mesfin doesn’t have to use his title to address his counterpart as it is accustomed in other parts of the world too. Thirdly, Profs. Mesfin and Ephraim are not opponents.

    I give you positve mark for the rest of your message.
    On the lighter side, I think any person not only does he/she have a right to cry fire but also are obliged to cry fire if and only if there is certainly fire. No?

  4. Tazabo mechi
    | #4

    Gorfu

    Do not tell us about Ehrem who trying day and night to dismantle Ethiopia before he dies. Professor mesfin was beaten and suffers for Ethiopia while this blady stupid was still hunging around to support woyane.There is a difference between this two.You should not worrey about this unless you want to tell us that you are sole kadre of woyane.Stop it ok.May be you want to make a BLABLA we had enough from woyane and his surrogates.

  5. washeraw
    | #5

    Are you serious when you wrote this?

    “I therefore call upon the Attorney General to reconsider his decision and I strongly urge the Ethiopian government to show magnanimity and release Ms. Birtukan Mideksa.”

    “Magnanimity” is not the word! Because Birtukan didn’t do anything that would justify her imprisonment. The message we are supposed to get is “the law is above everyone, and Melles is the law”

  6. Hagere
    | #6

    Gorfu,

    Thank you for your appeal for respecting the freedom of speech and tolerance. But your settle messages raise few questions.

    You are asking magnanimity from the dictators and criminals. The only crime committed is by the very people that you are asking magnanimity from. they are the ones who kill, torture, jail and destroy the country. Who are they forgiving? Themselves?

    Then you want to chastize the elder professor Mesfin without even having the decency to condemen the woyane gangs who ordered that this 80 year old prpfessor be beaten by a thugh. You should know that respect is something to be earned and if you have not noticed, Professor Ephraim’s deeds are not worthy of respect. He has degraded the esteemed role elder’s play in Ethiopia by being a tool for a dictator. I am glad that the opposition leaders were released in part through him serving as Meles’ messenger. But the lack of courage and integrity the elders displayed in the face of Meles’ cunning and cruel game, respect is not the thought that comes to mind when you think of this man. Read not only what he has and has not done in relation to the illegal detention of our leaders but also the praises he showered on the criminals Tamirat Layne and Meles and what he also said about the separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia.

    In fairness, one good thing this professor did is to acknowledge lately that what Birtukan said in her recent statement was accurate. In this respect he deserves a lot more respect than the supposedly spiritual leader Paster Daniel who served as shimagle and then came as the jailer being part of the appeal committee.
    Since Professor Mesfin is as old as Professor Ephraim why do you find it offensive that he called him Ephraim? How come you do not find it unacceptable the unacceptable lack of integrity and courage that the elders are displaying? Are not you also forgetting that professor Mesfin is a victim of Professor Ephraim’s actions and inactions?

    Have a little more intellectual integrity Sir

  7. dubale
    | #7

    Remember every one.

    Gorfu is number third woyane from Adewa. He is the one who supported life imprisonment on Birtukan and others before.

  8. Mekdi
    | #8

    Gorfu is worried about the back fire not about imprisonment and criminal killings done by his cousins.

    Gorfu = Chiraq

  9. Netsanet
    | #9

    Good day to all of you, specially to Girum. From your writing I can see that you didn’t have know how of the acadamic atmospere of scholars. It is very common scholars calling each other by thier first name, specially when they are with in the same status or know each other very well. It is even an expresion of some kind of intimacy and respect ok. Girum before you said boldly something on the web ask or read more. Thank you.

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