Birtukan’s release was the first piece of good news from the realm of Ethiopian politics in a long while. Since 2005, the political atmosphere has been in a downward spiral. Her release was obtained after she was made to sign a pardon request that almost verbatim repeated what the Prime Minister said were her crimes (including ludicrous details of her thought process that he conjured up).
Even after all these years in power Meles/TPLF has learned nothing. Politically, there was a lot of good will to be had from Birtukan’s release. But their ego had to be gratified by having her sign a paper that is childish rubbish. It impresses no one. It just demonstrates their pettiness.
Though no one has said it yet, I think that she ultimately had to sign this paper is in part an indictment of the opposition. Caught in infighting, impressing Ambassadors, recruiting celebrity, it made the political struggle fizzle. Birtukan was for the most part abandoned and left with little choice.
Finally, I am reading several articles asking Birtukan to again lead the way. Since 2005, she has paid and continues to pay the ultimate price for a struggle that should be everyone’s. Decisions on her future should now be left to her. She has earned at least that much if not more.
Welcome home Birtukan!