Rev. Tegga Lendado, PhD. (Atlanta, 24 April 2009) From the outset this article is a plea for Bertukan Mideksa’s release for the Sake of peace. I’m only trying to address this delicate situation from a SHIMGILINA role form my Christian ethics and humanitarian perspective.
Apparently, Bertukan’s issue is legally moot, politically undemocratic, logically absurd and morally disturbing. I do not think the government authorities and other politicians should waste their precious time and energy in such a minute matter. This is a plea for her unconditional release in light of the foregone presidential pardon.
Many of her friends believe that Miss Burtukan was simply telling the truth, being true to her religious conscience. Others say neither her former arrest nor the current one is legal. Without further delving into the case, the way the pardon was served and administered was unethical and fishy. The document the shimageles devised is should not be construed as political, judicial and administrative, so as to hold her liable per se. Whatever the shimageles did to secure the pardon was indeed commendable. The elders effectively mediated the deal off-records of the court. That the court should re-indict or reconvict or re-sentence or re-imprison her is rather unfortunate. The fact that she asked for forgiveness should not be seen any different from the fact that she never felt any remorse of the crime she was accused of committing. I have heard or at least understood one former co-prisoner/defendant almost the same thing but he is not sent back to jail. Could the young woman be the weakest link of the gang to fall prey? Why Burtukan only and now? To say the least, Burtukan is becoming like a sacrificial lamb for all the culprits of 2005 massacre (read Isaiah 53, St. John.3:15-16) as it talks about Medhane-Alem, Jesus Christ).
Was the pardon meant for the alleged massacre or for her “illegal” political activities? Did she kill any one or give order to kill any one? Was she a government authority, executive, like an army member or police force, so as to act in that manner? If she had committed such a heinous crime and lied about it then why should she return to Ethiopia after her European tour? Is she trying to win the heart of the people by suffering in the hands of her “enemies”? What is the point? Is anyone trying to make her a hero? Does a government have jurisdiction over a crime committed beyond its borders, be it “deceit” or otherwise? How can a government be so potent and play omni-present or omniscient, all-knowing like the Almighty God to pursue an individual’s motive, speech, state and affair, not even in a good sense? If her crime is just lying, should she then not be prosecuted for that alone? If politics was always telling the truth, will it not cease to exist?
I also think the pardon document is misleading and so the PM, the Parliament and the President of the country need to revisit the court’s decision in the interest of all concerned parties. Yes, the government has the mandate to safeguard and implement the law. But, at times, cut-and-dry implementation of the law may not be helpful when it come to making peace. In essence, for the sake of peace and democratic progress, she should be released and all the charges should be dropped.
Burtukan should be freed on humanitarian consideration as she has an aging mother and a child to support at this bad economic time. Keeping her in prison serves no other purpose than aggravating unnecessary political upheavals and forcing her dependents suffer more for issues they are not directly involved in. Young Bertukan should also learn that politics, unlike law or physical science, is unfortunately, a tricky venture. The rule of legal justice and that of political maneuvering do not seem to auger well.
For the sake of peace and in the spirit of God’s forgiveness granted to humanity and in light of this Holy Season, it is my plea that the Ethiopian government authorities re-forgive (70×7 as per Mt.18: 21-22) Bertukan Mideksa to set free from imprisonment. If Ethiopia is magnanimous enough to accommodate President Al Bashir, an arrest warranted suspect before ICC, it would equally be honorable and worthwhile for Ethiopia to forgive its own citizen?
In another note, let me conclude my plea by quoting a young athelete, Bryan Steinhauer, 22, recovering from coma after suffering his friends’ beating on his head. He said, “ I am not full of hate; hatred kills progress” (CNN News, April 23, 2009). Let us remember the Savior and Steven’s utterances, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”. Let us be free from the shackles of revenge, if any. God bless us all! May He bless Ethiopia! Nkosi sekelele Afrika!
Rev. Tegga Lendado, PhD.
African Community Network/Ethiopian Bible Fellowship
Atlanta, GA, USA