Thousands protest against kangaroo court

teddi_afro_03.jpgAddis Ababa, 21 April 2008 (EMF) – Thousands of Ethiopians gathered on Monday at the kangaroo court in Addis Ababa, to protest against the vindictive imprisonment of the popular artist, Teddy Afro. The kangaroo court adjourned today the case of Teddy Afro to Wednesday, 23 April 2008, sources said. The infamous Judge, Leul G/Mariam adjourned the case to deleberately delay justice to the artist.

Leul G/Mariam, the Judge who gave death sentences and life imprisonment to almost all political prisoners, including journalists and kinijt leaders, inquired the prosecutor to come up with his case in ten days. But the prosecutor responded him saying three days are enough. “This is very unusual but not unexpected,” said a senior lawyer in Addis Ababa. “It is a politically motivated vengeance against the artist.” she added. According to the lawyer, the inquiry usually comes from a prosecutor, not from a judge.

Teddy was framed by the TPLF authorities in November 2006, allegedly for the hit-and-run crime, a fabricated story which Teddy vehemently rejects.

It is obvious that Teddy Afro is behind bars over his music which is critical to the incumbent dictator.

Read also:
The Teddy Afro Factors

21 April 2008 – By Tigist Gedamu*

This short article about Teddy Afro and his role in the current Ethiopia situation was written about a year ago. I thought, considering the fact that currently he is imprisoned in Kality; we should revisit the Teddy Afro Factors. And, we all should think of him and follow his extraordinary and exemplary life.

It is an open secrete that the Teddy Afro’s music has been phenomenal in the contemporary Ethiopia music history. Teddy’s music not only tells the amazing talent that this young man acquires, they also convey the issues that Teddy cares so much about. Apparently what Teddy cares about is what most Ethiopians care about. That is the main reason why his messages are residing in the majority Ethiopians heart and makes his message powerful. Since the release of “Yasteserial” I had chances to attend three of Teddy’s concerts. In March 2006 in Seattle, in July 2006 in Lose Angeles and again on July 2, 2007 in Seattle, Washington. In these concerts I noticed that Teddy flexed his Ethiopian celebrity mussel by drawing large crowed of funs from every age group and gender, particularly the younger generation. Besides entertaining his fan base, Teddy also consistently speaks about, from stage, the matters that are dear to him and to all of us Ethiopians. In my opinion Teddy’s messages can be seen in three main categories.

First, Teddy sings and preaches about how we Ethiopians need to strengthen our unity as citizens of a nation by celebrating the culture and beauty of the diverse ethnic groups that existed in Ethiopia. Teddy articulates that our diversity should be a source of pride, strength and beauty for Ethiopia, not a source of division and chaos. That is how most Ethiopians feel and they have been shown that time and time again. Tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect among Ethiopian ethnic groups are all good for all Ethiopians who are capable of thinking rationally.

Teddy sings and talks about the unity of Ethiopia and at the same time he suggests that he is not a politician and he has little or no interest in politics. That leads me to believe that Teddy thinks that the Unity of Ethiopia is not a political issue, it is not suppose to be like that and the Ethiopia unity shouldn’t be up for discussion by any political organization. I couldn’t agree more. Politicians can have their difference regarding a lot of issues with in the unity of Ethiopia that matters for Ethiopians. The Ethiopian politicians can differ on their economic, educational and other polices. However, they have no right to question whether Ethiopia should remain or stay united as a nation or not. The major United States political parties, Democrats and Republican can be mentioned as a good example in this case. These two major political parties have quite a few logical and natural differences between them regarding how to lead and strength the United States of America. However, both of these parties have an unwavering stand when it comes to defending the United States and never put the unity of their county in a compromising position. All Ethiopian political parties should follow the American political parties’ example for the good of our country.

The other interesting message that Teddy has been communicating from the stage is the need of Diaspora Ethiopians to go back to Ethiopia. (Wede Agre Bete) I am sure Teddy is more than smart enough to know the brutal and dictatorial nature of the governing group in Ethiopia. I am sure Teddy knows that thinking freely and expression of ideas can cost life in Ethiopia. I am confident that Teddy understands that the political and economic instability that cause a lot of us to leave our beloved country still exist in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, he emphasizes that we at some point need to go back to Ethiopia, and he says that is where we belong to. It seems to me that Teddy believes we don’t need the Weyanne’s good will or mercy to go back to our country. I think that Teddy believes that we just can be far away from the challenges that we face now in our country history and be effective catalysts for a change. We need to be close to our country, our people and confront whatever obstacle we may have a head of us. In principle, he is defiantly right. If we love our country and if we care so much about it, we need to find a way to go back and contribute what we can for a positive change. It is true that can be a tough task that could go as far as costing our lives for some of us. Given the brutality and irrational thinking of Weyannes What Teddy says and sings on the stage freely has a potential for a trouble for Teddy himself. If I were Teddy, I would not go back to Ethiopia. But, Teddy is not me. He is one courageous and very talented young man who lives what he preaches. That is why I admire him so much. I think he has a rare quality that Ethiopia needs from her children in these very difficult and dark days of our country history.

In conclusion, what we all or at least most of us should learn from Teddy’s factors is that we need to stand for the causes that we believe in. If we don’t speak our mind, if we don’t participate in our country affairs actively, and if we don’t tell hour history, it is easy for others to tell us who we are. Usually they would tell us or paint us as something that they want us to be. That just can’t be good at all. We need to tell who we are, stay active, go back to Ethiopia at least to visit at this point and be a part of the solution that our country needs these days. Visiting or living in our own country, speaking our mind freely and addressing our concerns are just basic human rights that are given to all human beings from the almighty God. We don’t need to wait mercy, permission or a good will from nobody to do that. Imagine what would happen in Ethiopia, if not all of us, if most of us get courage to stand up and be resolute for our convictions. In my opinion that is what Teddy has been doing in a very civil and creative manner, and we all need to do the same thing

* The writer can be reached at: tigistgedamu25@yahoo.com

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