I had an interesting read on your magazine about the plight of women in Ethiopia (Domestic abuse against women in Ethiopia: the price of not knowing her pain, March 2013). You made an interesting point in arguing that if we do not know the extent of the problem – even if we know it exists – fixing it will not be easy. In my country Norway, we have publicly available data on everything from abuse against prostitutes to domestic abuse against housewives. Indeed its prevalence is a lot less when compared to its prevalence in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. However, it is the understanding of everyone involved in addressing the problem that it needs, first and foremost, be identified properly. It was also disturbing to read that the role of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association in solving these problems is cut back because of a law that is not as likely to be enforced properly as it is meant to hassle. It is a shame.
A Norwegian in Addis Ababa
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your second year anniversary. When reading your anniversary message, I was surprised to learn that some of your readers treat your magazine as “a magazine for the elites,” (2nd year anniversary message from the editor-in-chief, March 2013). I have been in the publishing business from 2001 – 2007 here in Ethiopia. Since then the price of print has gone through the roof following heavy taxes the government kept on imposing on paper imports. I am surprised that your magazine costs just 15 birr a copy. This should have been the reason why people believe your magazine to be a magazine only for the elites, not your content and language. I don’t see why reading English and being interested to find out what is happening around the world should be considered elitism. It is always easy to judge a hard work form a lounger, but that doesn’t mean that one should defend his stand. Keep up the good work!
Your 2nd year special coverage has a re-print of a story about religious tension between Christians and Muslims in Ethiopia which was first published in your magazine back in March 2011 (Religious tension in Ethiopia, March 2013). You have done a good job of chronicling incidents that led to physical confrontations between followers of Christian and Muslim religions in Ethiopia. For some reasons I doubt is sincere, however, you have chosen to focus on incidents that happened on or before the 2006 military intervention of the Ethiopian army in Somalia. You have also claimed that religious tension in Ethiopia reached its “climax” after the intervention. It may have been one reason but Ethiopia’s religious equilibrium started to collapse soon after the current government took power in 1991 and declared freedom of religion for all. We have witnessed killings of Christians by Muslims and Muslims by Christians in Harar, Arsi, Bale and Ambo between 1991 and 2000, when finally the government started acknowledging the problem and started intervening. Professor Medhane Tadesse’s May 2003 assessment is may be closer to the truth.
Addis Ababa University
The Ethiopian spirit
I was fascinated to read your magazin for the first time and to come across with an article written by my former professor Taye Negussie. Congratulations both for your good work and your 2nd year anniversary. Professor Taye discussed in his otherwise meticulous article about Ethiopia and Ethiopianism (The challenges of keeping the ‘Ethiopian spirit’ alive, March 2013). I completely agree with his argument of what kicks the Ethiopian spirit on and off. However Professor Taye did not mention, or purposely avoided mentioning, the other factor uniting Ethiopians in urban areas: their opposition to the current regime. It is true that Addis Ababa is a stronghold of opposition to the regime, but lately thanks to social media Ethiopians from all corners of the country are speaking in one language when discussing injustice and the government’s brutality to crack down on dissent. It is a strong force to reckon.