Joe Michael (30 August 2008) If there is a country on earth where you could get incarcerated for something you didn’t do; if there is a State in the 21st century where government authorities are above the law; if there is a place in the modern world where armed forces beat you in public for no reason; if there is one country on earth where you could be arrested, tortured, and killed for confronting government authorities, it is Ethiopia.
You could get arrested in Ethiopia and kept in a jail for long without committing a crime. Especially if your accusers are government officials, they don’t have to prove the elements of your crimes. Being against their wrong deeds by itself is a proven crime that can send you to jail.
It is like the story of slavery; masters are always right even when they are wrong. If you ask ‘why’, you put yourself in trouble.
Ethiopia is like a foreign land for its own people. It is a country where opponents of the government treated as second class citizens.
For journalist, Ethiopia is like a war zone where you are unsure of who, when and what shoots you. The only way of survival is being loyal to the government. The recently passed press law was deliberately adopted to limit journalist’s freedom. In accordance with the new law, journalists could face criminal charges for reporting wrongs of government officials and agencies, including unfolding true stories of corruption.
Be glad that you are not living in Ethiopia where government officials are above the law. Be glad that you are not living in a state where judges don’t judge you by the book, but by the instruction they receive from their bosses. Most of all, be glad that you are not living in Ethiopia where there is no constitutional rights that protect you.