On April 25 of this year, the Ethiopian government made news by arresting six bloggers and three freelance journalists. It is now over 100 days, and counting, since the six Zone 9 bloggers and the three freelance journalists were thrown into Ethiopian prison cells. The nine writers are facing terrorism-related charges, standing accused of inciting violence through social media.
Imagine a world without a George Orwell and The Road to Wigan Pier, without Katherine Boo and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, or without Óscar Martínez and The Beast. What if Britain, the United States, and El Salvador had silenced these radicals before they ever documented working class poverty, the economics of slum life, and the horror of migrant trails?
For instance, in one of the most memorable scenes of the documentary, its director Nate Araya interviews a number of locals in a taxi minivan. In all of the segments, there were no Bono, Bill Gates nor Bob Geldof explaining what is working in Ethiopia but local citizens giving us a glimpse of their practical work on the ground as they help change the reality of the country.
As Saudi Arabia curbs its vital but "illegal" migrant population violently this week to appease high unemployment, I cannot help but reflect on my moment with such destitute citizens a few years ago. Like almost all migrant workers everywhere including in North America, these people perform jobs that their own citizens would not dare touch.
While growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I knew very little about Boston. Yet I knew everything to know about the Boston Marathon. I understood the Boston Marathon to be where the world came to compete and meet a personal milestone. I understood that even a country that is as poor and powerless as Ethiopia can compete and win.
In the passionate exchange on the role of the Government of Canada via CIDA in Africa between the NDP MP and the Minister of International Cooperation, I side with Julian Fantino in what I think is best for Africa. These days, Africans are more occupied with trade and economical opportunities rather than handouts as often advocated by the NDP.
The late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been described as both a dictator and a progressive leader. But one cannot measure Ethiopia by Canadian or American standards. The fact is that most western civilizations did not start out as unified nation we see today and the fact is that democracy is a process.
In the great mass of Ethiopians in the United States, one man sees great potential for American's newest immigrants. A radio personality, a writer, and an activist, Tewodros "Teddy" Fikre is seeking a sear in the eight Congressional District in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A huge step for any Ethiopian.
What to do about Syria? It's a valid question, about which there is no valid answer. Perhaps a better question would be, is there anything we (meaning the developed or civilized world) wants to do? The outside world is neither policeman nor colonizer. Syria wouldn't be the pushover Libya was, and if we became involved it could well boomerang when democracy doesn't occur, and a different tyranny ensues.
Most Westerners see the crisis in the Horn of Africa as a combination of a large population, chronic poverty, and corruption, and they believe that none of this will ever change, so giving money to this self perpetuating crisis is throwing it away. But I offer another narrative that I believe is closer to the truth.