Thursday, March 25, 2010

Free Birtukan Mideksa

Ethiopia holds elections on May 23. Ethiopia’s President, Meles Zenawi, has admitted to jamming Voice of America’s Amharic Language broadcasts. He has his reasons. One reason is a person; Birtukan Mideksa. Since December 2008, she has been serving a life sentence for her opposing views.

The government knows her wisdom and popularity, and she is a threat to their power. Our relationship with Ethiopia is delicate.

We have serious defense interests in Ethiopia and the region. The Chinese are there in a robust way investing in wind power and hydroelectric infrastructure. 6 million people, according to the Ethiopian government suffer from starvation because of the ongoing drought. Somalia is a failed state. Eritrea is an ally of Iran. We conduct military operations and intelligence, plus-counter-piracy naval missions out of Djibouti. Sudan is healing…barely. Kenya is unstable.

Ethiopia with its rich, ancient culture, sits land-locked but they need be locked away from our attention.

You may be drinking coffee from Yirgacheffe…or Sidamo…and this may seem very far away to you…

Realize that people like Mideksa, once a national judge, a bright light of democracy, deserves a voice in the coming elections there. Know that we have defense interests with Ethiopia. Yes, they are a fragile state…and yes, we have a great deal upon our diplomatic plate, but be mindful that our sons and daughters may be defending our national interests in the region soon. Know that there are people of Ethiopian ancestry in this country with stories like Mideksa’s to tell…

Read her story and if you think it’s worth a letter, email, a tweet, or fax to your Congressman or Senator, write one…Free Birtukan Mideksa…let Voice of America speak…after all, it’s a voice you pay for…

Listen to VOA here

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of 125 million people.

Please consider this when you sip your next coffee…

Thank you

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