Dear Birtukan,you are GREAT!! Hopefully,you will be the first democrat,fair,women leader of our beloved Nation.
Dear Birtuye,once again;look foreward!, be Strong!&don’t fear!
We,Ethiopian and our God is with you!
How proud I am of you. I am sure with your and your colleaues determined fearless and peaceful leadership we will atleast reach at the top of the mountain where we can see a holy land of Ethiopian in which our children live in fair justice and democracy.
God bless you
My dearest Burte!!!
I have no words to express how you are wonderful!!!you are the brightest lady of the generation. I will join you in parying for the success of our people. to see ethiopia were free exoressino of idesa florish. Yes we have to be courageous to reach that goal. Oh my GOD please here us from heaven and deliver our people from evil doings of EPDRF.
My dera you are so wondeful!! I am touched by your saying that you are grown in a family that dosent think to harm any body. Belive me GOD is with you. You are the our Martin Luthr king!!!!
Dear Birtuken, you are very young woman, I am too much worried that you scarify a lot at this age. I hope one day, I will see you leading Ethiopia wisely and carefully and write a big chapter in the history of Ethiopia.
U r just starting the journey and U need to get ready for more challanges. Your past was awsome. pursue on this pace and we all will see the bright light of freedom with our struggle.
May God be with U and Ethiopia
thank you Birtukan for all sucrfies you pay with your friends for us. your child and millions of ethiopians are proud of you.
“inde anchi aynetu yibekal andu. hamsa HAILU biweldu hamsa new gudu”
we love you
You never walk alone. God be with You and for all Ethiopian. We are all one nation LOOK EUROPEAN TO DAY. ETHINCETY NEVER HELP FOR DEVELOPMENT THAT IS WHY THEY WORK AND LIVE TOGETHER. THIS KIND OF POLITICS IS OUT OF DATE.
do you really still on a truck
may be you will be some day as the best poleticalist in the world becouse you are still young enough .do you best .brtukan you have the name the name we love it and as well we have sprit the sprit of true women
those of us who would to see anunpredicted heros like you are very proud of you.
Ignore adamant peole like aregawi who can not
differnciate Wusha and a humanbeing.They are
the scums of our society. History will revange them. God bless you!
those of us who would like to see anunpredicted heros you are very proud of you.
Ignore adamant peole like aregawi who can not
differnciate Wusha and a humanbeing.They are
the scums of our society. History will revange them. God bless you!
You’re simply wonderful!!! I’m exceptionally fortunate to have had talks with you during our recent lunch together with a friend. I was truly inspired by your gallant determination for the good cause that you stood for our unfortunate country. We desperately need a genuine leadership that indeed makes a difference.
We all proud of you Burte .we know you are young but full of wisdem and energy and and you are women of Vision we will pray for you and for your family . Fear not and go forward
It is no by might not by power ,know truth
and it shall set Ethiopia free. Woyane thinks they will rule for ever but not . Go forward
Let almaighty GOD be with you.
Dear Birtuye,I was the first to respond to your interview.
Would you please allow me to write again for those guys: AREGAWI & AYELIGN.
You STUPID,WUSHA,SEITAN,DEDDEB!! woyane!!
we will see together!!
Ethiopia,country of Minilik,country of Gobbena, Country of Alulla will never be under YOU!!
Of course thanks to America and other supporters of you;you stayed on the sholder of ‘Miskin Ethiopian’ for the last 17 years.But,now,I’ll never allow you to stay more
on the sholder of my ‘ethiopian people’.
We’ll see together!!
Abatoche sihitet sertew eske-ahun kelidachihual, ke-ahun behuala gin enteyayalen!! YE JEGINAWOCHU ATINITI YIWGANG!
You are a great leader Birtucan. Because of sacrifies former civil rights leaders likr Dr. Martin Luther Kind paid their children and grand children live in a relatively better world now. But some including the King havn’t seen that freedom. You and your political mates have done a fantastic job. You may not see freedom rising in Ethiopia but trust me your childern will.
you are good for nothing.Go to USA and stay quite there.You are nothing only lost people can admire you.
By the way can you tell me why you think 2+2 = 5 ?
Losers,i can see here that 100% go to this room only Kibjit or Fijit supporters.
But that it doesn´t mean 99% ethiopians have voted for this female animal.
This is what Oromo means in practice; see Birtukan Medekesssa the good example of good leadership with clear and open mind. Ethiopia must have an Oromo leader such as Birtukan and others in order to get out from unfair and mischief full political circulation.
I think Birtukan is a rare Ethipian spirit considering how most of us cow from stepping up against injustice and the mafia like orchestrated suppression by Capo Meles & co.
Those few of you that insulted her ( I wish you have expressed why you disagree with her in a civil and reasonable manner) should only see how out numbered you are. It is easy to smell the fear in your lonely and desperate attitude. Your days are counted!
Dear Birtukan we are proud of you keep it up this is what we have to do for our country and people, I would like to suggest you that what to do with traboul makers , Just ignore them and keep your work, i read which was wriiten by the racist of tigray, like argawi, ignore it thats their nightmare
Dear, Britukuan, you are not alone, be strong. One day woyannes will be on your side as soon as they evolved as new generation. The old tradition will be trashed when people like you do for their mind. We know woyannes are illetrate, we do not need to tell them they are illetrate but teach them by showing them love and peaceful struggle. We know they use their muscle rather than their mind, they use their mind to spread hate among ethiopians. Peaceful struggle must be the central struggle for ethiopians. We love you Brikuan.
Bitukuani you are one amara and now tigri kiss ass, a modern gobena wannabe . oromos
will not support you . You sleep with tigrees & you play politicking with nafxania sons . hell no , you won’t succeed in decieving us.
Birtukuan you are the other mrtinluther king. be safe, but tinb Galla like reggassa Hirpa who insult amaras and tigri people is a backward generation who should be garbagged very soon. I’m hassen from afar. Alah bless Britukuan.
I read the Interview,and I would say it is very Interesting story.I do agree about most of what she said in her Interview but all what she said is related to her past.
I was expecting in the interview that she mite explain about the her present role inside kinijit. Surprisingly she dare to talk about it, very sad ! We can take her past as it is. But,when I compair her past and her present role inside kinijit is quite the opposite. It is true all of us are human`s and we do mistakes in every day live. I saw very few people learn from their mistakes and they dont repeat the same mistakes again but most people do it again and again. In my view,at the present moment, Birtukan role inside kinijit is very distractive. I inccarage her to learn from her past mistakes and do what is right to her country and her people.
I think we dont need people who read their biography to us. lets lieve the biography to the historians, or she can write her own book like Birehanu Nega. the dying proffesor as he call it (Birehanu wrote for Birehanu book), you know what I mean ! kkkkk
Take it easy people, dont be hard on me, its my opinon. bye
I really admire what you are doing for the country that we wall love. It will not be far for us to see a strong democratic nation. I really respect your courage and i am ready to help and be part of the struggle as i always was.
Hello everyone, I always first go with the Almighty chosen leaders for Ethiopia. I think Brtukan is one of them. She will be a great leader for ethiopia one day with the help God who ease deep rooted suffer from our kind and innocent people.
I want also mention that Mr Aregawi is an idiot who has a deed evil mission to smear our unity and harmony. Because he started saying Tigre.. Why? He is trying to fool us as if he is representing Tigrie as he wants you to hate Tigre in particular. We know this evil work before hand so mission no1 from Mr Aregawi is failed.
One Ethiopia! we all are same people living in harmony and respect.
It`s interesting to read your Interview with Addis Admas.Birtuye,be more BIRTU on this matter.That`s for the betterment of the Ethiopian politics.Please note well again that “our Politics” itself needs you much more.
Don’t make your brain to shrink by guiding in very narrow route! Oromo or Amara or Tigire or Gurage or Benshangul or Gumuz or Ogaden or …
All of us are the same living in harmony and respect. If there is any difference between us, they are caused by the geographical location where we have been living. Our views may differ but must be respected as everyone should not have the same view on anything. The main thing is we all belong to human kingdom whether you are black or blue or green or yellow… Colour here is to reflect our differences caused by our areas and geographical locaton we have been living.
I am really touched by peace loving people ethiopians the way they respond to Birtukan interview.Most of them are very encouraging.
Long Live to ETHIOPA, WE ALL ONE. Unity is better than distingration or isolation as its force will result in everlasting solutions and prosperouty if it is guided properly and appropriately.
Birtukan is an amazing woman. what worries me is she has no much experience. Ethiopai’s problem is not only about prison and Juges. she has never mentioned about other economical, social , military, political issues. i think she lucks experience. otherwise she is very bright and lovely ethiopian woman. i like her.
There is no such thing to remove weyane with modern stuggle /”selamawi Tigil”/ ,that is for modern thinking society and government,not for weyane and weyane cadres.The only option left is armed struggle.
I can belive those of you who tried to insalt Precious Brtukan. I can tell you are not thinking in your mind you must thinking in your foot while you are robbing inosent Ethiopian people, how in the world in the 21st century you are insulting a woman with a courage and moral like that,you are not only insulting Brtukan you are undermining the whole Ethiopian women. I am telling you are not well deciplind yourself nether your parents raised you well decipline,I am not insulting you as you are bulgar but that is not good word to critisized poltically.you know what? by insulting Brtukan you did not gain one point insteade you loss a million point and show us your small mindedness to the whole ethiopian. great job Brtu
I privileged too see you and toke to you closely .I always tell my self Ethiopans never gate a chans to Know you. When that time cams miracle will happen . I sow you potential you have eldership quality one of them is you tray to rich to people who had deferent openen I witnessed that .
Berchi egzeabher ytebkish
Dear Burtukan, thank you for what you are doing to all Ethiopian people. I pray you will be strong and courageious in the face all challenges. Keep up the good work with honesty and passion. May your name shine through out history. God Bless you.
Thank you for fighting for justice and rule of law in Ethiopia.
Your education and experience is enough to lead Ethiopia. I wish you are the first prime minster of Ethiopia. You are uniter and not divider like Legese Zenawi. I am still calling him with his real name.
You are the first women Ethiopian that inspiring a lot of women. Women and men are created equal. Amhara, Oromo, Tigre, Gurage and others are created equal.
You are not blind by divide and rule law of Woyane. You think above that. You stand for justice.
I admire Bertukan for doing the right thing in relation to Eseye Abreha, but she does not have the capacity to lead Ethiopia. For instance, she was used as a mouth piece of Berhanu Nega to insulte Lidetu Ayalew on many occasions. Lidetu is a man who knew what Berhanu nega and co were upto. What he said happened now.
Dear my fellow Ethiopians,
Let us not hurry to say she is good or bad because she said that Seye should be released with Wass. That is her job and she was paid to do that job, just like you and I are paid to run the factory machine, teach kid in school, work in old people’s home, plant teff or other grains. Let us not hasten to judge a person because of one thing.
Simply put, in your short life and under the circumstances that you grew up and worked, you have done exceptionally well: I salute you. Many things that you have done standout in history already. There are also sacrifices (some ultimate) that others made for you. These, too, standout, again in the book of history. By way of encouraging you to remain true to what glows out to be the foundation goal of your life - justice for all - allow me to mention an example for each of these. First, the letter that you wrote to the US government while in prison, and second the ultimate sacrifice that five Ethiopian young men and women gave to shield you from the TPLF police officers who came to arrest you. I read your letter. I am impressed by its clarity as well as its content. I am impressed more by what the letter tells of the western democracies. The letter simply says “Africans, do NOT be fooled about the Western governments’ stated commitment to democracy promotion”. For the US, for example, to commit to democracy promotion in a certain African country, full length, i.e., there has to be more in it for them than simply democracy. Ethiopia offers the US a strategic geopolitical field. This is perhaps the only prize there is in Ethiopia for the US. When the US can get more of this prize under Prime minister Zenawi, why should they assist the downfall of this autocrat, especially if under an alternative government they stand to loose this prize, perhaps in totality. The spirit of your letter is spot on; do NOT wait for a helping hand from the US when it comes to improving human rights issue in Ethiopia or in democratising the political landscape of the country. The fight may be tough; the waiting may be long; but one thing is certain: only Ethiopians, struggling in unity for a common purpose of nation-building, can bring enduring peace, stability, and prosperity to the country. I urge you to reacquaint yourself with the spirit of your letter and stand firm on the principles that inspired it. On the later example: the five people who paid the ultimate price to protect you. You owe a lot to your nation because of what these fallen heroes did for you. As a human being you will experience many moments in your life where the voice from within tempts you first, and persuades you next, to sell principle for fame or money. May your armour against such voice be the price these young people paid for your protection! If you do so, you shall always; even if the price is your own life – the same precious life that others laid for you – you will allow principle to take first stage over fame and money. Finally, I am an Oromo. I love and identify with Oromo people; I take a natural pride in the fact that I am an Oromo. I listen to Gospel songs in many languages; Oromo, Amharic, English. My heart is very close to God, and the songs that I listen to in all the languages do touch me. But nothing equates, in terms of the intensity of communication with my inner soul, to that which happens when I listen to Gospel Oromos songs. The message that I want to pass to you is this: I admire the fact that you have reached out to other nationalities of Ethiopia. I admire, for example, your deep knowledge of the Amharic language. I love languages, and in that sense, I do envy you. But what has been missing from your publicity is your identification of yourself with the Oromo nation, from whom you come. In my experience, you build more love and trust among other nationalities of your country when you demonstrably identify, first, with your own ethnic people. I support you, and I will pray for you. Remember Galatians 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore keep standing firm and do not subject again to yoke of slavery”. May your way be God’s way, and may it be so steadfastly, and if this is so, may God give you unbreakable power, power with which to bring forth justice and keep it and grow it for the glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
By the way,I know a lot about people,by just reading all comments.
I’m very proud by those having positive attitude to ward ONE ETHIOPIA and ETHIOPIAN.
conversely,I’m very sorry by those silly persons: like Hassan,Afar,who insult oromo’s.
Mr.Hassen; there are so many caderes ,who are representatives of minor group of ethiopia & have “chika mind”like you ,here in our university.
They are simply living to serve,the ruling party and hating the greatest nation-oromo.
Do you think that”ENDE ANTE AYNET BISBIS CHIKA YE GIMEL EREGNA” can insult the greatest nation-OROMO.
Min yedereg; woyane achemalekachihu!
God bless you! It is a great start. We, Ethiopians, are badly demanding peace, democracy, and etc. Those all can not be achieved easily. You are on the right truck to achieve them. I have understood your determinations, capability, and etc-go ahead! We Ethiopians are with you. Get a structure (like others do) you will be successful. But you should be alive (Next to your family), we need you to live long.
God bless Birtukan M
I wonder how Aregawi, Esayias Afeworki, and some others try devalute the scrifies of Bertukan. She teaches and gives all of love and peace. you reply like Hyna who it a dead elefant alone and let other anlmals dont take some pice of it, though he knows he wont finish it alone. I dont think you are Tigrians but use thier name to injekt poisone between tigrians and other nationalities in order to servie or if you are, the you must belong to those who sale the sole of ethiopians like you who did it to ertrians, with home you fought over 30 years against Ethiopians. May be your ancestors sold with other colabraters ethiopia to etalians. If so no wonder. To fill your stomack and pockete you even sale your parents. We had a lot at the time of Mengestu H. Mariam “wusha lebelalet yechohal”. Against-Kinijit even can`t write. he better first learn how to write and read bevor he gives comments. “sew mwsaye beshengo”s first behave and learn to respekt others inorder to be respected. “mekeber bekenfer”. hell with you and long live Birtukan
I got a chance to see you first when you came with the kinijit delegates here in Washington DC.
Birtuken, Your hard work and perseverance will stay on my mind forever and please keep up the good work.
Ethiopia will prevail
That is what we call a Hero. Someone who faces killers with bare hand. Not somebody who is always proud of killing is brothers for power. Power for himself and his tribe/race. Woyanes does it sound a lesson to you?
Please watch out for those who spread hate amongst us by carrying a pen name. When we see someone spreading hate between the Oromo and Amhara, or the Tigre and Amhara, we should flag him red, and kick him out.
Birtukan I want to salute you for what you have done for our country. God Bless You. I am a graduate of addis ababa university, but here I am in the US not really contributing as much as I want for my country. People like you give us glimpse of hope amidst the darkness that engulfs us, I hope that every good citizen could flicker his/her light and out shine this darkness that has engulfed our conuntry for centuries. God help us and God Bless Ethiopia.
Take Care Birtukan
Most people like Britukan are very able and talented people who fight against injustice and unfairness and abusement of rule of law. They do have the ability to understand and picture outside of the box. Tribe or ethinicity is not above the rule of law. Justice, fairness and rule of law are the governing tool for any country including ethiopia. Sometimes i feel sorry for those who can’t see outside of the box i.e their ethinicity. Indeed very very narrow and shallow depth of understanding of the systems how we humanbeing should be understood. Please let us be wise and clever to understand the benefits for all people rather than few particular ethinicity. I always remember what Gandi qoutes that world is enough for everyone but not for greed.
I always pray to God that the Lord give strength and power for Birtukan and other oatriotists who struggle for peace and democaracy. They are undr threat in everyday life. She is matured and passionate to Ethiopian Politics. She is the right women to lead Ethiopia and brin the people to one berh.
You seem afraid. Remember, before Weyane took over, Tigrayans lived in harmony with the rest of Ethiopians. Weyane and your support to them is what makes Ethiopians disagree with you becuase your thinking is ethnocentrism called “Tigray”. For your record, Birtucan ruled for the release of Eseye your Tigrayan man.
Another ethnocentrist person, the only thing you care about is how she help free Eseye so she is okay with you. Eseye who was also the number one in corruption.
When are we Ethiopians start to be calm, think deeply before we give comment on people? Most of us are very selfish and spend our time in struggling to improve our livelihod without contributing a peny to the development of the community we are living in. When some one like this lady gets to the fore front to fight injusticie, instead of looking at the matter in a suttle way, we insult her, and try to down grade her personality. We are not doing it only to her, but to all those who rise up to bring change for our society. Except those who gave positive encouragement to the lady, all those who came up with negagive comments are examples of people in our society who always become obstacle to the development of Ethiopia. The solution to my mind is not insulting them or going to war with them. The solution will be to ignore them and continue doing whatever is good for the society. Let God give them the mind to think good.
I thank you for your courage, and participaion in helping the Ethiopian come out of these disasteur. YOU ARE MY HERO. But I would like to remind you that a living hero is the one who fights to bring a system that will perpetuate and grow stronger. It is also that sees and applies the rules and regulations of the party consistently. That gives respect to the real heros, and see things in their real value. That is wise in diffrentiating between those who only speaks the people word and real work for the people. The status of CUD tells that there were so many grave mistakes that you should have to take the blame. Making mistake is nothing but the problem arises when you can not genuinely correct it. Dear Birtkan as for me The biggest problem arises when your leader ship failed to participate in the reception of Engineer,s arrival. On his arrival he didn’t requst where you are? why you didnt come. But he said we are famillies we have no problem, if we quarrel it is a familly problem for those who talk tell them you are ” werenga ” . But you didnt vist him in his hotel at his arrival, which is a 2 minute drive from your hotel, You didnt late him know your agenda, as a seek person and prison mate you didnt say how you doing? a simple Ethiopian courtesy, but you headed to the town hall meeting. The good thing is he diddnt show up. Had he been there, Was he supposed to respond to the subtle character assasination and derogatory speech of Dr Berhanu against his sacrifice and his organisations sacrifice. I leave it to your judgment. The worest thing come when the committee that was lead by you posted a press release saying that Engineer is your leader BUT he can join you if hebelives in democracy….. If he dosent belive in democracy do you have a right to avoid him, is it formal, legal, constitutional ….Here you give the bullet to kill you for your enemy. read how Aiga use this phrase to divide CUD. How we all were hurted started questioning what is going on. Even if you are my hero I dont want to focues on your positve achivement that will make you a dead hero. I focus on wher I belive your leader ship has failed becaus I belive you can learn from it and becom a living hero.
Know we have many educated people who can fit today at the top place of Weyane and tomorrow at CUD. Back ground is a prime factor not education and speech. Practise should speak loder than words.
thank you Birtukan
i have my mind no harassment to brtukan
its now clear where the dogs are running away may be back wards becouse they didnot finsh the first X meal. to me birtukan doing the work must be done pirade.and those who are still with old truck behind us let them bye the batter one and drive at most speed that bring them nearing us other ways let them not to obstackel for thoes who are still on truck .
be God with you Birtukan
i have no idea where you are coming but i know
one thing that the joung generations tourch
for all ethiopians .
How could a nation be a democratic nation, while underminding and suppressing the culture and language of its majority citizens (OROMOS) ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Can Ethiopia be a Democratic nation through selective democratic process ? ? ?
HERE IS A FAIR TRANSLATION OF HER INTERVIEW. I HOPE THOSE WHO COULD NOT READ THE AMHARIC VERSION WILL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER.
WHO IS BERTUKAN?
Translated by Washera_2000 from an interview by Addis Admass Magazine
April 9, 2008.
Q: When and where were you born? Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
W/t Bertukan: I was born on April 23, 1966 (E.C.) in the neighborhood of the French legation (Ferensay Legasion) and grew up right here in Addis Ababa. My parents were poor and so I received my primary education at Miazia 23 public school and then joined the Etege Menen High school. From there I joined the Addis Ababa University and received my law degree.
Q: How did you decide to study law?
A: It is a long story. Since I was an only child, there was no one to tell me what career path to follow. My parents were not educated enough to advice me on this matter. Once, when I was in 7th grade, my geography teacher was talking to us about marble and said the AAU law school building was made of marble and that it takes a very good grade to get admitted to that school. That stuck in my mind for a long time. At about the same, I heard on TV about a female Supreme Court judge, I think her name was w/o Atsedework Tekle. Although the benefits of education on the legal system were not understandable to me at that age, these two incidents sparked a desire in me for that profession.
Medical school was the other choice I thought about when I was in 12th grade. My nephew was a medical student at that time and he told me that it was one of the best professions in the country. As a result, I made medicine my first choice and social science as my second. Because my GPA was only 3.6, I did not qualify for medical school. So, I joined the Social Sciences department at Sidist Kilo. During my first year of college, I came to have a better understanding of what area of public service I wanted to be in. So, I made law my first choice and political science my second. I was assigned to law school based on my first year grades.
Q: What kind of a child was Bertukan? Quiet, playful, trouble maker or reclusive?
A: I have never been in a fight. I was the peaceful kind. I avoided conflicts so much that my mom used to think it may be from fear. Overall, I never liked brawls and fights and I never had any altercations with my friends.
I grew up alone at home. My older half brother was about 18, and he moved out when I was still very young. So, I grew up knowing only the good and kind side of life. Even as an adult, I could never think that any one would hate me. Although my parents had limited income, they paid special attention to me as an only child and I grew up with love and affection. As a result, I never knew the origins of fights, hate, or hurtful feelings.
Q: How were you with your school education?
A: As I said, I was educated in the public school system. When I was in elementary school, I was first most of the time. In secondary school I was in a “special” class where the competition was severe and I was some where between 1st and 5th place.
Q: Where did you get a job when you finished law school?
A: Assistant judge at the Federal court.
Q: why did you quit that job?
A: When I decided to study law, my ambition was to find a way to serve society and not to get money or benefits from it. I went to law school with the belief that I can bring about change, I can make a difference and when that difference is tied up with law and justice, I felt I will get personal satisfaction. As I proceeded in my law education and got maturity, I wanted to be a judge to be able to administer justice. At that time, it was very difficult to become a judge right out of law school and my friends used to make fun of me for wanting to be a judge knowing how difficult that was. But, my desire was so strong that I believed I would find a way to do it. And when most of my graduating class was employed as assistant judges I was ecstatic. However, I was deeply disappointed with the injustice that I saw. The legal system was in shambles. Most of the existing judges had been dismissed and were replaced by incapable and inexperienced people. What is now being managed by 20 courts was handled by only four at that time. Prisoners were languishing in jails without any justification. Most were just given a court date way beyond the 48 hour limit. That was a painful experience. But because of my determination to become a judge and my belief that I can make a difference, I stuck to it and served for a little over two years. After that, I was elected to be a judge. My naive belief that things will change with time and that an individual can make a difference to change the system were gradually becoming unrealistic and dim. The injustice I witnessed continued for a long time and it was at its worst when I got involved with Ato Seye Abraha’s case. Whenever it appeared to have interfered with political issues law and justice were ignored. There was no fear or hesitation to use whatever power was at their disposal to have their way. For example, when we dismissed Ato Seye’s lawsuit and released him, they pointed a gun at him and took him back to prison, right in front of my eyes. That was a scary, bitter and hopeless experience. Because of that, I started receiving administrative coercion and I made a conscious decision to resign.
Q: What did you feel when you gave the order for his release and saw him taken back to jail? Did you feel that the verdict you gave was not correct?
A: I never doubted for a second my righteousness or the correctness of the verdict. Anyone arrested has a constitutional right to be released on bail. We do consider political circumstances a little differently. There is usually a lot of wrangling back and forth. But, it never occurred to me that the decision we took at that time would cause such a huge war-like drama in that courthouse. Above and beyond that, I never thought it possible that a new law would be promulgated within two to there days to justify his detention. We were ready for the consequences of our actions. We took it as a job related consequence. But, I can say that it was a moment that frightened me and made me loose hope in the justice system. I should mention one thing here that I never talked about before. After his illegal detention and second time appearance in our court, our verdict was that Ato Seye should be free to go. When I went home that night, I started receiving threatening phone calls. This one man called and said to me, “we do not appreciate what you did in the Seye case. Neither history nor the government will forget your atrocious act. We will see to it that you will die in a car accident and your corpse will be thrown to the dogs”. Such intimidation and political interference in the legal system was truly frightening and uncalled for. At that moment, I realized how the system believed in force rather than justice. That realization was very disturbing and hard to deal with.
Q: During your stay in that job, what are the accomplishments that you are proud of? What are your regrets?
A: I don’t think these are issues that can be looked at separately. There were three of us assigned to see criminal cases. Most of our cases were the most difficult federal cases. Some of these included OLF cases or those accused of committing serious crimes. At that time, these people were kept in prison for a long time with an excuse of investigating their case. Their right to be released on bail was not being kept. It was a messy situation and we tried to fix some of this. My belief was to use my profession in a just way and be prepared to pay the ultimate price. The other judge on the chair with me had similar beliefs. Within 15 days we changed the way things were done. If the prosecution brought a prisoner after keeping him/her for more than 48 hours, we would call their supervisors, we would give out warnings or punish them monetarily. We believed that this should be done by all courts. We were aware of the shortage of manpower. But we wanted to protect the constitutional rights of the individual. This kind of practice was unknown before our arrival. As soon as we arrived, we started to play strictly by the rule of the law. We did not allow the police to take more time than the 48 ours to do their investigating and bring the cases to court. This kind of practice was not popular among the government officials. We started receiving warnings and threats and intimidations. Some members of the police would send us messages saying that they would have us caught with secretly placed Hashish (marijuana) in our pockets. Our superiors would use warnings or threats to stop what we were doing. In one instance, Ato Menbere came to my office and asked me why I was doing these things.
Q: What was the issue?
A: An individual in charge of the immigration office allegedly involved in bribery was appearing in our court. After the initial investigation and with the concurrence of the prosecutor, the individual was freed on bail. Ato Mesfin Girma (now diseased), assistant to Minister Weredewold made serious accusations of our act to our supervisor Ato Menbere Tsehay. When Ato Menbere examined the case, he could not find anything wrong with our verdict. The immigration official was released only after Ato Menbere examined the case. This was not the end. This and other issues were added up and a 70 page accusation was leveled against us. There was a demand for our dismissal, but Ato Bereket Simon got involved and asked that our case be reviewed without dismissing us. Ato Abdu Hijira (Comrade Abdu) was assigned to review our case and concluded that we were right in our verdict. We were vindicated and not dismissed. I am proud of standing firm in doing our job, without fear of dismissal or death. That was a memorable and trying time.
Q: Any disappointing decision?
A: I am not sure if the outcome would have been much different in some cases irrespective of what I decided. There were some bank officials accused on issues related to Ato Seye. There were others accused of bribery in the sugar industry. The police never produced enough evidence on these bribery cases beyond some minor indications. So, we gave them seven days to get the case to court. We had agreed to release them if the prosecution did not come with enough evidence. One or two days before the court date, a new law was passed that would prevent their right for release on bail. The case was referred to another court and we were prevented from having a say in the case. What I regret most about that case was not giving the verdict the very day the case came to us. To think that we would have another opportunity to give a verdict on this case was very naive of us. It is also possible that even if we have had a second chance, the final verdict would have been reversed. We all know what happened to Ato Seyoum after he was released on bail. By the way, those businessmen languished in jail for four or five years before their case was thrown out and they were set free.
Some people stay in prison for many years and are released when no fault could be found. Some stay much longer than their case would allow if found guilty and are then released. According to the law of the land, these people could sue the government for reparations or compensations. But, who would do that? When we look at it from that perspective, the legal ramifications are clear for a prosecutor who causes harm to a prisoner by illegal means or keeps him in jail beyond the allowed time before bringing him to court. He can be made to pay compensations for the prisoner. But, what is the situation with our court system? We see things getting worse and not better. It is the government itself that abuses the law and keeps these people in prison for much too long, on tramped up charges or false accusations. It is becoming more and more impossible to find a court which will accept a suit against the government.
When a prisoner is released after seven or eight years of incarceration and no fault is found he says, “thank you for letting me go free. It could have been worse. I could have been in jail for life”. This shows that the system has no checks and balances. It shows the lack of trust in the justice system.
Q: What did you learn from the 1992 elections?
A: In the 2005 elections I did run for a sit in parliament. There were 12 of us running for a single sit. It was clear that EPRDF had a better party and government machinery to field many candidates. So, it was clear that they would win. Still, they did not want to give the opposition any opportunity to win. There was massive election fraud. Their election officials and supporters were doing anything they wanted to do. Compared to the 1997 (2005) elections, it was outright stealing. I used to follow it very closely and I am amazed at the greedy way they went about to win. I run a major campaign, distributing leaflets, having town hall meetings, driving around in a car and agitating people to vote for me. I tried to talk to neighborhood elders and women, young people and workers and this allowed me to meet all kinds of people in our society. At that time, people were hopeless about politics and one elderly woman asked me why I joined politics under these circumstances. What difference would I make? Is it to earn the $2,000 Birr salary? Ok, I will vote for you for your sake. There was no belief that the system will change through the ballot box. This allowed me to appreciate the level of political awareness in our society.
Q: What about in the 1997 (2005) elections?
A: To be honest, I had less enthusiasm about it. I was pregnant. and just had my baby and although I was asked to run I could not do it.
Q: How did you join Keste Demena?
A: Around the time of the formation of Keste Demena, Dr Berhanu Nega came and talked to me. I wanted to think about it and took my time to do so. To join a political party and continue the struggle was not an easy decision to make. I was asked to become one of the founding members. But, it took me some time to look into every aspect of the decision. I finally decided that I should continue my struggle from inside the party rather than criticizing from the outside and thus joined them.
Q: What was your stay in prison like?
A: My own profession comes to play in analyzing the prison conditions and how to survive it. I used to look into the case of every prisoner and why it was taking so long to get justice. This was something I had known before, but to see the misery with my own eyes put me in a sad situation. The lack of justice in our legal system was distressing. If you ask me what I learned from this, what I can say is that prison gives you the time to think deeply about issues and analyze them patiently. Since my upbringing has helped me to look into the positive things in life and the good side of people, I had time to ponder about human behavior. It may not be a big mirror in life, but I have seen enough.
You could say it is a place where criminals congregate and talk about their injustice. But, most of the prisoners in Ethiopian jails are innocent and the rest do not have deep-rooted offenses and are not hard core criminals at all. I would sit there and think about human behavior, about how we love each other, how we clash, how we make compromises to balance our different needs, how very minor issues become a reason for division and separation among human beings. Seeing prisoners fighting one day, making up the next day or going to solitary confinement another day, has made me examine in detail how the larger society resolves issues. At the end of the day, it is all about how to accommodate different political opinions and making compromises in the best democratic way possible. I used to sit and think about what I would do in the future. It gave me plenty of time to think and to contemplate. This was the biggest challenge that I ever had in life.
No kind of imprisonment is easy. For me, what was especially difficult to bear was my separation from my daughter when she was only eight months of age. There are family and friends too. But, the relationship with my daughter used to torture me. I missed her. I could not see her growth and development. When she comes to see me in prison, she had no idea what was going on. That would torment me. In addition, I missed my friends and the conversations we used to have.
In prison, you are with people who are completely different from you. That has its difficulties too. But, when you start to think and believe how big and noble our cause was and when you think of the kind of democracy that can be built for our children and grandchildren, far beyond our dreams, it gave you a special strength to continue to give your best. After a certain period of time, I took it as a normal thing. I received a good lesson in how to deal with difficult situations and to build the capacity to think beyond the difficulties.
Thank you W/t Bertukan.
All I can say is that you are the product of the legal educational system. You have gone to prison and come out under the same regime. You have established a political party to fight the alleged injustice and repressions in the legal system. You owe it to yourself and your people to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship…” to accomplish what you set out to do.
Thank you Ato Bereket for your timely and just intervention.
Would Ms. Bertukan support democratisization and majoritysization Ethiopias national language, which from Amara minority language (Amharic) to Ethiopias Majority (Afaan Oromoffiaa) ? ?
Or will she support the minority (Amaras) and refuse the democratic majority rights or the oromos ? ?
Is she for Democracy and Majority ?? or she is for Amarasization of Ethiopia ??
What an encouraging testimony!!!!
Great personality with an outstanding performance.
Please, whatever you are going to do for our mother Ethiopia I stand to be with you. I would like to be your party’s member and support. But how?
Dear Birtuken, you are very young woman, I am too much worried that you scarify a lot at this age. I hope one day, I will see you leading Ethiopia wisely and carefully and write a big chapter in the history of Ethiopia.
Ms. Bertukan B. serves minority Amaras interest over Ethiopias Majority (Oromos).
Therefor she no different than all hypocrat fake prodemocratic Amara politician wannabees.
Only Amaras oppressors are proud of Ms.Bertukan.
Bedada and Mideksa you are not Oromo.You are EPRDF. Let me ask you,How a person from Oromiya is unable to spell his name correctly?
I’m from oromia.Our basic need is not an issue of language.We need Democracy, Unity and one Ethiopia.
You divider cadere of EPRDF,You will not bring any change,by your divide rule.We love all Ethiopian.They are our brothers,Sisters and wifes.We,oroms’have been and will have live together with other nations of Ethiopia!!
Dividers will not bring any change!!We are Center of Ethiopia and we are Ethiopians.
God bless Ethiopia and Its People.
long live for Birtukan&Dawn for EPRDF!!
She might be well intentioned but she betrays a lack of vision, charisma and experience the moment she opens her mouth. Her lacklustre public performance does not at all inspire confidence in her ability to assume the huge responsibility of leading a opposition party. She is rather like a typical Ethiopian housewife, if I may say so with out sounding racist or sexist, timid and subdued. I just wonder if she could have qualified to be a judge had it not for the Derg’s disastrous socialist policy of assigning fresh graduates to oftentimes overstaffed positions.
Is she from the left, centre or right of the political divide? How does she intend to resuscitate the flagging Ethiopian economy? What are her education, healthcare, and transport policies to mention but a few? Perhaps she has not given much thought to developing policies.
Nobody knows what she stands for apart from the clichéd “unity.” It is curious this word has cropped up in the name of her new party(UDJ) despite the fact that she and her chums are the most divisive individuals in the recent political history of our country leading to the eventual fracture of a once promising and strong Kinijit.
For all what it is worth, my advice to Miss Birtukan is to not give up her day job. She should forget about leading Ethiopia, find a good man, get married and have babies. Her kids stand a better chance of governing Ethiopia than she does if she provides them with good education.
Hello Mrs. Birtukan !I look a brave lady in my life with our beloved ethiopian people…
never give up ur stragle …..tomorrow is another day but always you will be onest and truthfull. INSHAALLAH(ALLAH willing)you will gate ……that u feel dreems .
ALLAH keep ur safe upto the end and smooth ur abstakel on ur way.
Birtukan, Hailu, Berhanu, Yosef and Taye should exclude themselves from any prominent roll in Ethiopian politics if they really care about Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people simply because they have been the most divisive and destructive force in recent Ethiopian political history. These autocrats have played in to the hands of the murderous Meles and TPLF by fracturing Kinijit in to warring factions. They have demonstrated their antidemocratic tendencies when they first sidelined brave and honourable oppositions like OFDEM and UEDF and then decided to boycott parliament trampling on millions of votes. These idiots have dashed our hopes and dreams of a free and prosperous Ethiopia when they refused to represent us in parliament and instead flee to America to seek a better life. They are all despicable and selfish would be despots. There is no guarantee at all they will be any different from the criminal Meles in the unlikely event they assume power.
Ebakachihu eski enwadede I know yetewesenu sewoch sem eyekeyayeru liatalun yemimokeru sene megbare yegodelachew, please let’s love each other, let’s go to school guys ke sewoch telachane anesma aytekmenemena please for once let’s talk about great ethiopia.
well you are the best our country can hope fr the future! i know some day things will be changed and you will lead our beloved Ethiopia. for those of you who think things cannot be changed my response is coating the beloved leader”yes we can”. yes we can change our country and democracy will prevail tyranny!
You gays let us think for ethiopia let us forget etenicity let us think of united and one ethiopia I am from Sidama, wy wife is
Oromo Amahara & Tigre i have children and where can you assigine my children are they
Sidama, Amahara or Oromo? I think every ethiopian is with such ethink locking let us think about one Great ethiopia
God bless ethiopia
I don’t know why you people, like Birtukan, go foolish. you might think woyane will favour you because you betrayed Hailu Shaul.Be ware of the snake under the grass!Protect yourselves from car accidents nd fabricated acusations.Better go abroad so you won’t be victims of evil deeds. we are worried for your life. we don’t expect change out of such a strugle.Never!
Birtucan,I admirte you but am skeptical wether you hve a true heart.Why the division among you, CUD leades? Amazing, is it this way that you dream you can inspire Ethiopians and make a difference? Don’t forget the youth, the children and the elderly people(men and women) who sarificed for the cause you were struggling!Or you stop!
Arrogant Woyanes targat people,not ideas. That is what they have learnt and will keep learning fron the arrogant leader Legese Zenawi.Luckily, the true Tigrians are impressively different from Legese and his stooges.We should turn deaf ears to such bloody people.
Birtukan and her likes, don’t forget the covenant you made with Ethiopians. Don’t worsen the difference among you. Be true for your words. Please unite. If you don’t, how can you be different from Ayele Chamiso and Lidetu Ayalew, the blacksheeps in the course of the Ethiopians struggle for freedom.
Birtukan-you are a wonderful girl.Hundreds of Ethiopian girls have paid with their dear lives for our beloved Ethiopia fighting the Shaabiya-Woyane mercineries and the buchers of Derg.And before them the Ethiopian women had gallantly fought the Italian invaders.Women members of the “Ethiopian Arbegnoch Mahber” are a living testimony of the sacrifices the Ethioian woman has made throughout the centuries for liberty andindependence.
Birtucan-fight on with courage and God bless you.
Please don’t insult each other with those bad words. Let’s leave our primitive kind of thinking and let’s stand for the people dying of poverty and famine. Have an aim to change the name of our country.