Obama’s planned trip to Ethiopia riles some emigres

By The Washington Post

Saturday, July 4, 2015

dc23 (1)WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama entered the White House, many Ethiopian immigrants cheered. But now that Obama will soon visit Ethiopia, many are up in arms.

Their concern is that his trip this month — the first by a sitting American president — will send the wrong message and bolster a regime that has intimidated opponents, manipulated elections and sent dozens of journalists to prison.

“Mr. Obama is supporting a dictatorship and giving legitimacy to tyranny,” declared Serkalem Selassie, 39, a refugee in Arlington, Va.

For Selassie, a former newspaper publisher who fled her homeland and now works at a parking garage, the anger is deeply personal. Her husband, journalist Eskinder Nega, is in prison serving an 18-year sentence for treason.

Obama’s trip will underscore the delicate balancing act of U.S. relations with the Addis Ababa government, a crucial ally in a volatile region.

Near the White House on Friday, Serkalem Selassie and her 9-year-old son, Nafkot, protested President Obama’s upcoming trip to Ethi­o­pia. As a journalist in her homeland, she was jailed, and Nafkot was born while she was in prison. She has political asylum now. (Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)
Near the White House on Friday, Serkalem Selassie and her 9-year-old son, Nafkot, protested President Obama’s upcoming trip to Ethi­o­pia. As a journalist in her homeland, she was jailed, and Nafkot was born while she was in prison. She has political asylum now. (Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)

Read more: http://triblive.com/usworld/nation

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