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Thursday, 6 May 2010

President Obama, Say Something When You See Something !!!

Tedla Asfaw

New York City was saved last Saturday because of ordinary citizens response to the slogan of the city after 9/11, "Say Something When You See Something". These individuals saved the lives of many tourists and New Yorkers who happened to be in Times Square that day and that moment.

I am one of the persons who subscribe to "say something when you see something"  long before it became a slogan of New York City. I made it part of my life. I speak for my family, neighbor, city  and my home country in my blog, local radios, national and international medias. But I am not brave enough to take it to a higher level like the film producer Chris  Flaherty who has been on hunger strike since May 3 in Washington D.C across the White House. Chris is Staging a hunger strike in front of White House to get the attention of President Obama on behalf of  the famous opposition leader of Ethiopia, Birtukan Mediksa who has been jailed for more than one and half year by Meles Zenawi.

Today Chris is on his third day of a hunger strike . Chris will stay on hunger strike until President Obama publicly recognizes Ms. Birtukan Mediksa as a prisoner of conscience and put pressure for her immediate release. Obama is "seeing" something across his residence and he should "say something". Otherwise the life of Birtukan and even Chris is in danger. Their suffering is for standing for freedom and justice.

I talked to Chris yesterday and today, his spirit is good and I cheered him by saying  President Obama will "say something" this coming"Friday" because he can not say that he is not aware of what is going on across the street for the last three days. The rest is pure politics, how to say it,  ignore it is not an option. The earlier is the better and "Friday" is my deadline Mr. President.

President Obama  promised on his speech in the Ghanaian Parliament that  empowering Africans is his goal. When it comes to Ethiopia nothing has changed so far, it is the well known policy of American "national" interest in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopians are forced to go to an "election" the result of which is well known and Obama has not said "something" on the pre election intimidation by the Ethiopian regime and has not called for the release of Birtukan Mediksa and all political prisoners before any election.

Chris Flaherty is on hunger strike and Obama knows that. We challenge President Obama to "Say something When He sees Something" and save millions of Ethiopians who are under a brutal regime that has been on power for almost two decades using guns, intimidation and fake elections. If the hunger strike continues for days and the life of Chris Flaherty who is championing the cause of millions of Ethiopians is in danger we hold Mr. President accountable. Say Something Mr. President !!!!