Birtukan Mideksa and a challenge to the Ethiopian Diaspora

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I will commence a hunger strike in front of the White House to get President Obama or someone from his administration to acknowledge Birtukan Mideksa as a prisoner of conscious and to call for her immediate release from wrongful imprisonment. Fighting for democracy and freedom have always been traditional American values and I will fight for these values for my Ethiopian brothers and sisters. Please join me in the hunger strike which will commence on May 3rd 2010. We can’t save the World but we can certainly do our part. – Chris Flaherty

Watch below the video of Chris Flaherty’s speech at the Horn of Africa Conference in the Washington Metro Area on April 11, 2010:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and conveniences, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

This is a quote from my biggest hero since childhood, Martin Luther King Jr. It was his movement that inspired me to make films documenting the pursuit of democracy and freedom on a World scale. My recent film, Migration of Beauty documents the historical events that led up to the tragic massacre of some 200 unarmed civilians during the 2005 Ethiopian elections. Out of this storm of tragedy rose one of the most promising leaders for Ethiopia’s future, BIRTUKAN MIDEKSA. Shortly after announcing her bid to run against the ruling party in the 2010 elections she was arrested and imprisoned, effectively eliminating any possibility of the ruling party, the EPRDF to lose the election.

Birtukan Mideksa has been declared a “PRISONER OF CONSCIOUS” by Amnesty International and shares the same status as imprisoned Burmese dissident AUNG SAN SUU KYI. President Obama has made a public statement affirming Aung San Suu Kyi’s status as a prisoner of conscious and called for her release. To date, President Obama or the U.S. State Department have not made any such statements concerning the plight of Birtukan Mideksa supposedly because of vested U.S. interest in the Horn of Africa. The Obama Administration is demonstrating their willingness to appease Meles Zenawi and his EPRDF ruling party for the sake fighting the war on terror, trading off the freedom of an entire nation of people.

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