Ethiopian Blogs Roundup

This will be my new weekly post to help you stay up-to-date with Ethiopian social media sphere; here I will round up some of the blog posts and facebook posts that caught my attention.

To begin with survival international released a report this week, “Survival uncovers shocking human rights abuses in Ethiopia” From its first paragraph:

Survival has uncovered shocking new evidence of human rights abuses against tribes in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, as government efforts to develop lucrative sugar cane plantations in the region intensify

Survival’s report actually comes across with another report on Aljazeera by Dominic Brown, an independent filmmaker and writer which comes under ferocious backing a week and criticism just a before Survival’s report. Here is the link of Aljazeera’s report. And on Guardian’s Global development blog: “Ethiopia dam project rides roughshod over heritage of local tribes people”.

BBC.CO.UK presents a reflective analysis about land grab titled “Land grab or development opportunity?” on its site with a link from World Bank which documented media reports of land deals over the period between 2008 and 2009. You can see Ethiopia’s situation when it is contrasted with the rest of Africa.

The Amharic version of “The Reporter” posts a news report that Andualem Aragie a politician standing trial for terrorism charges is said be beaten in his prison cell by a convicted murderer. In fact this hideous act was allegedly instigated by the ruling party and did not go unnoticed with many Ethiopian social media enthusiast sharing the news and opinions on their walls.

Another main event which frenzied the social media sphere is the death of Sebhat Gebregziabher, celebrated Amharic writers of Amharic Naturalism literature.

Tesfaye Gebreab
who is the centre of a major controversy by drawing disapproval and support from his old buddies and new fans because of his non-fiction books published his new blog of late. And he wrote about his quandary to publish his third major nonfiction book titled “የስደተኛው ማስታወሻ” which can roughly be translated as “The Diary of the Exiled” as he fears EPRP might scan his book and put it on the net as they did same on Mengistu Hailemarim’s Memoir. By the way I recently am having some trouble in accessing Tesfaye’s blog; shall I fear the worst which is obviously blocking

Addis Ababa University’s School of journalism against journalists?

There is barely any example found in the world that a school of journalism to take side against journalists and make them look awful and destructive in their attempt to seek excellence in journalism.

What an outrageous option did the dean of the School of Journalism- Addis Ababa University have opted at critical junctures that a “good” appearance of the School of Journalism, well at least for donors as the school was at first initiated with a huge pump of money from Swedish neighbors –Norwegians.

In his interview you can read it here .Amharic version with the state owned Amharic daily Addis Zemen; the Dean of the School of Journalism converted the “good “image of the school of journalism into a destructive and sinister outlook! This is so menacing at least for existing students because the school still heavily relays on expatriate voluntary teachers from all over the world

The Dean took a swipe at two Swedish journalists who are currently serving their 11 year sentence in prison. He censured them in a blatantly one-sided fashion on inside page rather than the front. He said that “the Swedish journalists were caught in a region where there is no fuss ,media spotlight or whatsoever and their trial has nothing to do with freedom of speech and freedom of expression … are all things we have been hearing on global media is rubbish ” Translated from Amharic . This seems a bit extreme for a school of journalism which prides itself as progressive with a high standard of academic freedom.

Never mind, because the dean of the school went further, arguing that “if our government had filed a complaint for an international court, urging an investigation into the actions of these two Swedish journalists and their employer media ,both would have been fined seriously” Do not ever dare to laugh to yourself because this is not a comic story.

“This country has law and order and they could have lodged their request through legal method” said the dean. At times that may well be true. But hang on – didn’t the dean know about investigative journalism. The dean’s remark seems to imply that these journalists never attempt to get information in an appropriate way. He seems to rush for the conclusion that the journalists committed egregious breaches of Ethiopia’s laws.
Just one final point no doubt there is more freedom in higher education than elsewhere, but there is no prospect of journalism departments in Ethiopia’s Universities turning into vibrant training centre for our future journalists with such kind of bashing sentiment for journalists.

An Incomplete guide to Ethiopian Blogs

It seems that since the social media motivated Arab uprisings Ethiopians turned their face to digital media for alternative voices as Ethiopia’s traditional media landscape is subjugated by pro-government and government media. Ethiopians’ hopes for relatively better freedom of expression have never been higher, at least since all exiled media can be accessed through internet.

Against this backdrop every time I logged in to my facebook or twitter account I observe new Ethiopian blog url’s shared by Ethiopian bloggers and social media aficionado. Then I decided to share the list with my readers but the challenge is where can I get a complete list of Ethiopian blogs? No problem it can be a partial list but my readers and fellow bloggers can recommend and make it inclusive. If I may start with news blogs ….

News blogs

The control of government grip on traditional media in the country is far above the ground, but it is being challenged, and sporadically supplanted, by an embryonic Ethiopian blogs and social media enthusiasts reversing time-honored notions of the contours of informational flows between diasporas and homelands. For your Ethiopian related contents that are blocked in Ethiopia are available in one of the following Ethiopian blogs. Have a look at one of the following blogs and of course these are not the only ones

Reflective Blogs

If you are looking for opinions be it on politics, religion, education, or homosexuality the following blogs will let you know or direct you at least to what is being said on the issues by Ethiopians. Please complete the list.

Philosophy blogs
Here is a confession-“I was baptized and brought up in the Orthodox Christian faith. I was taught it in childhood and throughout my boyhood and youth. But when I abandoned the second course of the university at the age of eighteen I no longer believed any of the things I had been taught” This actually is Tolstoy’s confession of the late 19th century but if you are interested to read similar confessions by other bloggers or philosophers I bet Zelalem’s blog worth clicks. I wish many bloggers will join this list of bloggers here and Zelalem, you will “never walk alone”.

Literary Blogs

You love literary touch pieces, the following blogs are a good staring place. Tesfaye Gebreab’s blog

Academic Blogs dominated by law blogs

Programming geek’s blog

As conclusion
These blogs are increasing in number and influencing those who have access to technology to recognize information in their own context. Delicious developmental information is no longer entirely determined by pro-government media. Besides these blogs are presenting information that is inaccessible in a traditional mainstream media .After all do we have a mainstream media in Ethiopia? Anyway try them all.Now, anyone with access to the Internet can consume whatever information individuals have put up in the form of blog posts, whether it is direct reporting of an experience, or a personal translation of the experience. Keep up the good work and bloggers!

One final point

Two of the following fast budding facebook groups of Ethiopian bloggers are commendable options to go through Ethiopian blogs both inside and outside Ethiopia. The links are here and here