This Ain't Hollywood, 345 James St N, Hamilton

HAMILTON LOVES YOU: A Show of Support for Human Rights Activist KIDUS MEHALU & FAMILY

Presented by Wallis Peggie and Lindy Vopnfjörð

5PM-7PM FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT Featuring children's performer Andy Griffiths Lindy Vopnfjord and family


BACKGROUND: In June 2019, the Ethiopian government staged a false coup and murdered their own chief of defence as a pretext to round up activists like my friend, Kidus.

When Kidus wasn't home, security forces came to take him away. He has been targeted for arrest. Luckily, they did not know they were speaking with his wife. She has had to leave her job, since that's how they find the partners of activists. His family is not safe.

Most of us don't know very much about what's going on in Ethiopia because it's not reported well in the news. Activists like Kidus have been rounded up, and those who haven't been shot are being held in 2' x 2' holes in the ground. Thousands of activists have disappeared since the staged coup at the end of June.

When I first met Kidus four years ago, we met over Skype. He couldn't travel because he had been badly beaten by Ethiopian security forces and his skull was cracked. At the time, all they could accuse him of was holding a reading group encouraging entrepreneurialism and promoting liberal democratic ideals like the ones we enjoy. The students he taught had in the past protected him by forming a chain around him. They called him a force of nature, and I wrote a song about him on my album Frozen In Time. Even then, his inspiration behind the song had to be kept anonymous to keep his family safe. He has put his life at risk many times to fight for the human rights we can take for granted here.

Now the government has the excuse of a coup, not just a reading group, and want to take him away for good. Kidus, his wife, and their two small girls have escaped, but they had to leave almost everything behind. They need money to be somewhere safe and start a new life. They have arrived in Hamilton and are trying to make their way. They welcomed a baby boy Feb 2nd and need help getting on their feet.

Please give what you can to support this amazing family. If you're not in a position to give right now, please share this fundraiser.

Thank you, Lindy Vopnfjord