Next week, President Obama will visit US client state Ethiopia, ruled by a despotic regime that locks up anyone who dares to speak out against its mass atrocities. Mr. Okello Akway Ochalla, the former governor of Gambella, is one such. His son now appeals to Obama to secure Ochalla’s release from jail.


Last week, the Addis Ababa dictatorship suddenly released jailed prominent journalist Reeyot Alemu and four bloggers without explanation. Reyoot has vowed to continue her struggle for democracy in her country, where many other journalists, bloggers and political leaders remain in jail.


Ethiopia is a heavily aid dependent country. Its Western supporters should ask themselves why such a poor country spends millions of dollars a year trying to hack the phones of exiled journalists instead of using the money to feed hungry citizens and provide other essential services.

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Unsurprisingly, international reaction to the charade that was Ethiopia’s elections has been mild, with the West instead trumpeting the country’s economic growth. Oppressed by the regime for so long and abandoned by the world, the only option for change left to Ethiopians seems to be open resistance.

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The 24 May election was worse than a sham. In turning the poll into a process of complete elimination of the opposition, the government and the ruling party have loudly told the Ethiopian people that any hope of change through peaceful means is just an illusion.