Geeska Afrika Online

Ethiopia: Letter from Prison, The CNN award Journalist Woubshet Taye

New York (HAN) November 30, 2015 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiatives News.   Democracy is the only solution. Conflating terrorism and journalism in Ethiopia.
I miss my son, Justice very much. But I can’t see him as often as I would like to because I am now transferred to Ziway which is 60 miles from Addis Ababa. My wife travels every week to visit me but we have decided to spare our son the travel and I see him only once a month. But the strict rules here not to hug or kiss visitors, even if they are family members, have made the visitation hours torture moments than sweet opportunities.

Distance has also separated me from my old father who is 91 and my mother. Many of my friends and supporters are unable or even fear visiting me even when I was in Addis now it is even more difficult. The only thing I can say is that I attended high school here in Ziway and I still have some friends from those long days still come to visit me once in a while.

​I try to keep my mind busy by going to church exercising reading and teaching. The library has very limited books and many magazines and newspapers are censored. I used to teach English and Arabic in previous prisons for other prisoners. I even helped in preparing some students for national college entrance exams but here there are no such prison schools so I can only teach few students on personal one to one level.
Discussing with other fellow political prisoners about Ethiopia is my other pass time. Even though our physical state here in prison is deplorable we still think about the rest of Ethiopia that is outside the prison box. In one cell there are roughly 150 prisoners and the rooms don’t get treated by any kind of pesticides. But Ethiopia’s deteriorating politics bothers us more than the bed bugs. The rising ethnic tension worries as above any question. I can sense hate developing among some prisoners for the ruling elite but hate can’t solve political problems.

I share them my hope in the healing power of the democratic order for ethnic tensions and other problems our nation has. It may take time but democracy is inevitable in Ethiopia. When I was a journalist at Awramba we used to conclude our editorial with the sentence Ethiopia shall live forever but I think we should have said Ethiopia shall live free forever what is the meaning of existence without freedom?

Yes Ethiopia is an ancient civilization but all is for nothing if we aren’t free. I believed then and I still believe that part of the responsibility of media and journalists is to create the necessary condition awareness for this freedom to be realized. I will not regret my activist journalism. I will still maintain hope in the possibility of freedom in Ethiopia. Ethiopia shall live free forever.

Photo: The CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards is the most prestigious and respected Award for journalists across the African Continent.


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