No one can deny the EPRDF is hard working. They’ve been busy blocking websites and denying the blockages. They’ve been directing the trials of the CUD leaders and creating interesting “facts” submitted as evidence. One of the most amusing parts of my day is picking up the Ethiopian Herald to read what these crazy kids will come up with next.
The EPRDF has been doing a lot of finger pointing. And the thing with pointing a finger is there are three fingers pointing back at you. The harder the EPRDF works to prove that both bloggers and CUD members aren’t with ’em, the more they establish their own government as a farce.
Some simple points on democracy:
1. The right to speak out against the government.
Previously this year, journalists were beaten and/or arrested. Now the EPRDF is censoring the internet by blocking certain websites and blogs; we’re waiting to see if bloggers will actually be targeted next.
2. A certain amount of faith in the population to make their own choices.
By censuring and censoring the media, the government denies the public the ability to make their own decisions as to what to read and what to believe. If the government is concerned about the slanted views expressed on the internet or elsewhere, have faith that ETV and the Herald offset this bias.
3. An opposition party is necessary.
The CUD leaders were arrested on charges of treason, await their fate in prison and are now being subjected to circus trials.
4. Respect for due process and rule of law.
Circus trials. Need I say more?
Mr. EPRDF, you claim you are part of democracy. If you block information, you are not part of democracy. If you view your public as an incapable mass, you are not part of democracy. If you charge the opposition with treason, you are not part of democracy. If you use the opposition’s campaign as evidence of treason, you are not part of democracy.
Dissent is a healthy part of democracy. The harder the EPRDF works to show who the dissenters are, the more it distances itself from democracy. There are many of us, Ethiopian or otherwise, who believe the actions and/or inactions of the EPRDF will be its own downfall. It’s a slippery slope and we hope the slide is fast.