A guide to the works of Zone9ers which are brought to the court as an evidence. As the majority of the works are in Amharic it is important to have a glimpse of their work in English. The following are excerpts, quotes and passages translated contextually.
Note: This writings are brought to support the accusations of terrorism related activities.
Title: Freedom and Bread
By: Natnael Feleke
Published date: June 5, 2012
In his introduction Natnael has painted the level of fear the country has been experiencing. He gave instances of this fear culture that engulfed Ethiopia. Elders advise young people to avoid discussing politics in public. He highlighted why freedom and bread are a contested issues in Ethiopian politics. He provocatively asked which (bread or freedom) should be prioritized. In the article organized in five subtitles Natnael has shown the plight of Ethiopians in relation with freedom and bread. Natnael argued even though we need bread we also need freedom as Zimbabwean blogger famously put it “we need food but we also need freedom to speak against people who steal our food”. To read the Amharic version click here.
Title: The price of censorship
By: Natnael Feleke
Published date: Feb 12, 2013
This article is written as part of advocacy efforts of Zone9ers to stop censorship in Ethiopia. In his anecdote Natnael used a video from a commemorative event organized by Pen America for award winning journalist Eskinder Nega. In the video (available here) American investigative journalist Carl Bernstein and actor, producer and director Issac Liev made a speech highlighting the achievement of journalist Eskinder Nega and the importance of freedom of speech. The reason Natnael make this event anecdotal to his article is to show how media operates in free environment contribute for the greater cause of humanity. He mentioned Carl Bernsteins investigative reporting during the Watergates scandal which led to the dramatic resignation of President Richard Nixon. He attributed the resignation of the president to the working and free American media environment of the 1970s. Natnael contrasted this with repressive media environment and the price journalists and bloggers pay to have an open and independent media environment. He further argued censorship and control has an economic impact. He made a reference of the works of the Nobel Prize laureate Amartya Sen. According to the article no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent country with democratic form of government and relatively free press. So Natnael has argued that free press is critically important in fight against poverty. To read the Amharic version click here.
Title: Love and Exile
By: Solomon Abreha, Not a member of Zone9 and based in Europe
Published date: Oct 9, 2012
Unless brief introduction about the causes of exile the article is nothing political. It is about love affairs among Ethiopians who live in exile. To read the Amharic version click here.
Title: Had Wael Ghonim been an Ethiopian
By: Befekadu Hailu
Published date: Jan 7, 2013
Befeqadu wrote an imaginary interview with the Egyptian Internet activist and computer engineer. He assumed what Ghonim would respond to his questions has he been Ethiopian.Excerpts from an imaginary interview.
Q: What is your name?
A: My name is Bekel Gerba, Reyot Alemu, Argaw Ashine, Mesfin Negah, Shibre Desalegne, Ahmedin Jebel, Olabna Lelisa, Eskinder Nega, Yusuf Abdela, Anduaalem Aragie. I am an Ethiopian whose human rights are downgraded and got harassed, beaten, incarcerated and exiled for just being myself.
Q: How old are you?
A: Well, I have lived my entire life under dictatorship
Q: Do you have any personal relationship with people you mentioned above?
A: I have never met them in person but they are all kind of inspiriting people. I share a dream of being free. I hope I will meet them in person one day.
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: I hate repression. It is so aching to see people downgraded from their dignified humanity to an object of repression. I will keep on doing what I am doing.
Q: Don’t you fear when you do this?
A: I have fears and fear is only human. But I shall keep doing what I am doing. To read the Amharic version click here.
Title: Journalism or manufacturing consent
By: Endalkachew H/Mikael
Published date: June 23, 2012
It is a piece which criticize the developmental journalism practiced by state media. The writer argues state media journalism is used to manufacture consent. To read the Amharic version click here.
Title: Let our voice be heard
By: Endalkachew H/Mikael and Befekadu Hailu
Published date: Aug 15, 2012
It is a feature article about repression of people’s right. The writers took the title from Ethiopian Muslims religious rights activists facebook page. They illustrated the lack of freedom across all spectrum of life. To read the Amharic version click here.
Title: How should we be heard?
By: Mahlet Fantahun
Published date: Aug 11, 2012
In the article Mahlet commented on the basic communication breakdown between citizens and the government. She raised the importance of communication for good governance. She also commented on transient and ephemeral nature of Ethiopia’s media reporting and invited her readers to suggest any better ways of communications. To read the Amharic version click here.
Title: Legacies and Visions of Meles Zenawi
By: Soliyana Shimeles
Published date: Nov 12, 2012
On this piece Soliyana reflected on hyped and highly glorified legacies of Meles Zenawi. She listed ten major legacies that the late Meles has left behind. Bad governance, poor civic society organizations and fear are among them. It is a contrast for a flawless character Meles has got from state media. To read the Amharic version click here.
Title: Ethiopian Censorship and law past and present
By: Zelalem Kibret
Published date: Feb 21, 2013
In this article Zelalem has reflected on censorship history and its implications in scholarly manner. He highlighted the Ethiopia’s legal frame work of censorship broadly. To illustrate his point he quoted Ethiopia’s most storied writer laureate Tsegaye Gebremedihin said “Among 41 theaters I have written (including the one’s I translated and wrote in English) twelve of them were all banned. Twenty one of them were tainted. Three of them were half altered. Four of them are not yet staged. From the three anthologies (two of them not yet published) of my poems I have compiled, thirsty seven individual poems got me spanked by the Ethiopia’s bureau of censorship, government security people, or top officials…. “. Zelalem conclude that even though the current Ethiopia’s constitution has avoided institutional censorship he has shown proclamations that have instituted censorship after the 2005 Ethiopia’s controversial election. He wrapped up his article with a beautiful quote from Ben Shahn “You have not converted a man because you have s silenced him”, To read the Amharic version click here.