Yoga Journal Pose of the Day

Saturday, November 29, 2008

freedom

I don't claim to know what is going on. The best I can tell, Teddy Afro is a popular young Ethiopian musician, and some of his music was used by the opposition during the time of the hotly contested 2005 elections, to criticize the Meles' government, in some minds, thus making Teddy even more popular. Many believe that the impact of Teddy's music on Meles' government was such, in particular with the song Yasteseryal, that not only was the song banned in Ethiopia, but it appears Meles has set out to silence Teddy by putting him in jail.

Teddy was arrested and charged with reckless driving, vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident in 2006. Later, a higher court reversed the initial decision to release Teddy on bail. Even though he had been in and out of the country for nearly 18 months while out on bail awaiting trial, performing in the US and elsewhere, the higher court said in its decision that they believed he was likely to flee the country. Teddy maintains his innocence, saying he was not involved in the accident and is not the type of person to flee the scene of an accident. So, Teddy remains in jail, in the undeniably deplorable conditions of Ethiopian jails, waiting for the wheels of justice to grind to a resolution.

That's the best I can do to make out what is happening. The rhetoric on the streets is impassioned and involves such language that even I blush at the personal level of the insults that I hear and read.

It is difficult to trust Meles' government which has a poor record of human rights' abuses since coming to power. Meles faces pressures from all sides, inside and outside the country. The border disputes with Eritrea still fester. Somalia is in chaos and increasingly violent and US and other oil producing nations interests there only add to the stew. Although Meles denies it, he recently gave a large portion of its western lands outright to Sudan (in exchange for what, is not clear.)The Oromia within Ethiopia are restless and their larger numbers worry the other ethic groups in Ethiopia. Meles' policies have worsened the ethnic frictions in Ethiopia, which have in times past been better, even to the point where much intermingling of people, language and customs have taken place. The recent pirate attacks off the Somali coast do not make it any easier for Ethiopia as such a large part of the products it imports come through Djibouti. Meles' situation is difficult indeed, but does not excuse his fear of freedom of speech.

I personally was touched by this during my visit to Addis, to run in the Great Ethiopian Race. I'll fill you in on what happened in a coming post!

3 comments:

Simon Mace said...

In a nut shell, what is going on in the horn of Africa.
http://tinyurl.com/3u964k
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/08/news/arms.php
http://www.slate.com/id/2178793/
http://tinyurl.com/ysmvtc
http://tinyurl.com/6dz4xu
http://tinyurl.com/5s3xu5

Simon Mace said...

Human Rights watch report on the situation in Ethiopia
http://tinyurl.com/66jzax

And a laughable report exonerating themselves of the crimes.

http://voanews.com/english/2008-11-26-voa92.cfm

Kati said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Simon. I appreciate the links you provided. Anything that is more informative vs some of the more inflammatory/personal stuff is important. It's too bad most news about Africa in general, Ethiopia in particular, is pretty much of the radar of most news reports in Canada. People just don't realize that what happens pretty much anywhere in the world these days, is relevant to us in our little corner of the world, if only in that a bad energetic vibration let loose in one part of the world cannot but inevitably affect us, in our part of the world, as well.