Zone9 bloggers and journalists
I was truly impressed by your courage to stand up by the nine youngsters and speak against what it now becoming the infinite impunity of the security apparatus (It is very simple: respect the constitution, May 2014). It is true that “the grave effect of this arrest comes in the form that it exposes the gradual apathy by the security apparatus for the rule of law.” However, this is your magazine’s assertion that I would like to challenge. Many of us are appalled by the condescending and abusive handling by the security apparatus of citizens of this country; we are often seen expressing our frustrations against what we call “police brutality” and we find ourselves helpless against our security force’s extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and beatings. But what we repeatedly fail to understand is that the security apparatus is not a separate task force that is operating from an isolated island; it is part and parcel of the system; created by design and nurtured by will of the ruling elites whose very existence depends on the brutality of the security apparatus. Make no mistake, if the security apparatus are brutal, and display no remorse for their repeated violation of the rule of law it is because the politics indulges them a free pass. That is no accident.
Dr. Yetneberk Alemayheu
I would like to express my appreciation for your firm decision to continue covering the unfortunate detention of Ethiopian journalists and members of the zone9 blog. It was indeed a shocking turn of event that, in your own word, has seen many of us “including diehard cliques of the system, united” in our despair (It is very simple: respect the constitution, May 2014). However, this act by the ruling government in Ethiopia is not the first, nor would it be the last. The brutality of post 2005 election crackdown is may be unmatched by anything that has happened since this government came to power in 1991, but pay a close attention, you will find that it was meant to happen every now and then. The forced closure in 2010 of the new and already influential Addis Neger newspaper had robbed the country of its finest youngsters; the massive crackdown in June 2012 against opposition party members and journalists saw a couple dozen critics of the system thrown into jail; the violent suppression of Muslim protestors has resulted in the arrest and crony trial of tens of Ethiopian Muslims; and now the unexpected crackdown against three journalists and six members of the zone9 blog. Lesson? Frequent abuses and occasional mass crackdown by a security apparatus supported by the government in power.
It is now very clear to the Ethiopian people that your magazine that many mistook as being independent and professional is not indeed independent and professional. The arrest of those trouble-making kinds has exposed the skeleton in the closet, which is your magazine, and the other people working for it. Don’t pretend you have not been notified.
Letter to Ambassador Chantal Hebberecht
I read your interview with Addis Standard of its May 2014 edition (vol. 4, No. 39). This is to reflect my view on two issues: First, whether the EU delegation here in Ethiopia works with the government or with the people. If you are with the Ethiopian people, please read the two articles on the same magazine: the article on pensioning in Ethiopia and the Editorial; and much more.
On civil societies, you have to know any civil societies in Ethiopia are working with and for the government. They are created or blessed by the government. Even those you might call ‘independent’ – in reality they are artificial, pretend or mimic to be called ‘independent’ only to get your fund, but work not for the causes of the people. We know the EU – it is a toothless institution (at least its delegation) working for those who have the power, and not for the people. You have to admit and live with this fact –until your term ends.
The shaky premise of authoritarianism
I would like to thank your Society, Economy and Politics columnist for his insightful perspective on this fundamental issue of humanity (The shaky premise of authoritarianism, May 2014). Though I strongly concur with the idea that one has a free will to determine his fate, macro level influences arising from totalitarian political and social systems will have a far-reaching crippling effect on the ability of people to rationally think and freely choose one’s likes. Besides, the other manifestations of totalitarianism on the various aspects of human life are to a greater extent a result of what is in the social and political institutions deployed by totalitarian regimes.