Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Tame reports aren't stopping foreign correspondents from facing threats of expulsion by the Ethiopian government. Last week, some of them travelled to Jijiga with government minders and translators to "investigate" the Ogaden crisis. The journalists were only able to interview people with the permission of the minders.  When  Nicholas Benquista, a reporter for Christan Science Monitor, tried to dig more information independently, the Ethiopian immigration authorities asked him to leave the country within forty eight hours. After intense negotiation the order  of expulsion was changed to final warning  and the journalist was allowed to stay in Ethiopia.
The latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine is rich with articles dealing with cyber censorship. You can find it here. I have contributed to the magazine.

Monday, January 28, 2008

I have boundless regard to Andargachew Tsge. I have already expressed why in previous posts. Yesterday Andargachew puts a two years performance report card on Kinijit, and suggests the way ahead. Reading the first eight or so pages, I thought he had hit the nail right on its head. If Kinijit had been as disorganized as he put it; if some of the leaders were as suspect as he portrayed them; if the movement was based on a fragile coalition as he suggested, the logical conclusion is that part of the reason for for what happened after November 2005 is Kinijit itself. 
The rest of the article steers clear of this important truth. We know that EPRDF isn't democratic. We know EPRDF doesn't want independent institutions. We know these facts. We know  them long, long before the election. The reason Kinijit generated so much excitement among people like me was its stance that even when we know all these we still keep on fighting peacefully; that there will be a lot of battles before the war is won; that the battles demand us huge sacrifices for the values we hold dear; that means is no less worthy that end. I thought the battle was moral as well as political. Should we forgo these lofty ideals because we lost some battles here and there partly due to our own disorganization?

One group of kinijit faces serious intimidation from EPRDF

A Kinijit group led by Birtukan Mideksa is facing intimidation from EPRDF. One of the groups field organizers Alemayehu Yeneneh was detained this morning by the Woreda 20 police. This is Alemayehu's second detention in two weeks. The police claim Birtukan's group is operating in the country illegally as the election board has conferred the party's license to Ayele Chamiso and his group.  In an interview with a new local newspaper called Embilta, Birtukan has indicated that her group which includes a lot of major personalities in Kinijit may change the name of the party for the sake of operating lawfully in Ethiopia.
Meanwhile, sources close to Hailu Shawel here told EZ Post that the chairman of Kinijit will arrive in Addis within the next week.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meles claims Ethiopia is Orthodox Christian

This is an absolute shocker even for gaffe prone Meles. On the Guardian he said this:

Meles also repeated claims that Qatar and other un-named Arab Sunni Muslim states were financing Eritrea's covert operations against Orthodox Christian Ethiopia.

Was he misquoted? Misrepresented? Or misinterpreted? Orthodox Christian Ethiopia? When did we hear this the last time?


Friday, January 25, 2008

They never had it so good

A disorganized opposition, leaders who change positions in the time it takes to say "change", the Americans in pocket, the free press almost non-existent and the underground movement dead, the EPRDFites never had it this good. On Aiga Forum Zeru Hagos declared " Mission Accomplished!"
But this may be the time when a new, disciplined and mature movement for democracy will emerge from the ashes of a failed movement. Remember Serbia at the end of the 1990s. It seemed the People's Movement was dead and buried then. Few years latter, we know what happened.