Opinion: Human rights, development and American credibility in Ethiopia

September 10, 2016

By David Thompson

Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa took complete control of the conversation surrounding his outstanding performance in Rio. Typically, conversations after an Olympic event circle around the standard, “What were you thinking during the last mile?” or opportunities to talk of one’s own achievements. Feyisa completed the incredible feat of finishing a marathon in 2:09:54, yet, he brought light to a more serious issue: Ethiopia’s killing and marginalization of the Oromo population.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International released reports this past summer documenting the killings of hundreds, mass incarcerations of thousands, and police state actions taken against the Oromo people. Despite these well-documented reports, public outcry and awareness in the West, including the US, has been almost non-existent until Feyisa brought the issue front and center.

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