My name is Birtukan Mideksa and I was serving a life sentence when the Ethiopian government set me free – thanks to pressure from Amnesty International.

via Help get them home | Amnesty International UK.

This is a success story. Now Mideksa is asking for people’s help to pressurize the Ethiopian government to free journalist Eskinder.

When the Ethiopian government used anti-terror laws to silence its critics, [journalist] Eskinder spoke out in protest.

Perhaps you don’t live in Ethiopia. Perhaps you don’t live anywhere Ethopia. Perhaps you’re not exactly sure where Ethiopia is, and don’t really care. So what if some dude got himself arrested in some far-away country? What’s it got to do with me living in Japan, the US, the UK or wherever?

I’m asking you to at least read his story, because someday you may be in jail and you may be guilty, and you may need all the help you can get.

Why was this dude arrested? For writing articles protesting the government’s crackdown. That’s right: writing articles protesting government activities has now been defined as terrorism in some places.

But that’s far away. In a tin-pot country. Why should you care? Well, if you live in Japan, you might recall that just recently a Japanese politician stated that people who protest the new secrecy law are in fact engaging in terrorism.

“I believe the tactics of simply shouting (opinions) at the top of one’s voice seems not so different from an act of terrorism in essence.” (LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, in a blog entry dated Nov. 29).

This is stretching the definition of the word beyond any reasonable degree. The word now, thanks to this politician’s statement, has lost any real meaning.

Another interpretation is that the word now means whatever the ruling party says it means.

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.” (Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”)

Clearly Mr. Ishiba is Humpty Dumpty, or would like to be.

So please consider the case of Eskinder. One day, it may be your ass in jail.

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