Saturday, December 20, 2008
Freedom of Speech! Really?
See, it is so troubling when the very people who are fighting for freedom of speech , fighting back the very freedom of speech them selves. It is a pure paradoxical ignorance – at its best.
We Ethiopians, at times, love the warmth of the mob mentality. When it comes to opposing, dissing, lamenting, complaining, gaming up to pull someone down, we can form solidarity. we even have a saying that boasts itself “Ye Telate Telat Wedaje New” loosely translated “ the foe of my enemy is a friend of mine” - unfortunately it is true!
What is the point here? Recently I was so struck by some of so called “intellectuals” narrow minded view of freedom of speech.
Let’s get some facts straight:
1) The very thing I detest about the current government and other dictators is while freedom of speech is the right of humanity, they should not hold our mouth from speaking what our hearts compelled to utter.
2) Every one that posses a balanced out look of the world should be instrumental voicing up for core human rights violation; one being freedom of speech. We Ethiopians should voice up for the same cause when OUR government functions otherwise.
3) Any individual or organization or group that claims to defend this freedom of speech should not fall under the hypocritical path of double standard by becoming an anti-freedom themselves with their my way or the highway attitude.
What compelled me to speak of freedom of speech is the behavior so rampant in some of Ethiopians website sites, blogs and published materials. Some even go to the extreme to call names and to throw stones at any opinion that doesn’t seem to suit their shallow outlook of ‘the enemy of my foe…’ view. It is so shameful and embarrassing to claim the “peace-seeker” but to fail to be the “peace-maker”.
Then What seems to be true is:
1) If I have my opinion, then you get yours! Then, there should never be a reason why you are ready to kill me while you are preaching peace!
2) If your intention is to shut all the voices that sound different from ‘your own’, then you are no different from the very dictators who are committing atrocity on humanity.
3) By doing so, you are limiting the type of exposure and learning your might gain in shaping up your world outlook.
4) You make more enemies, and you prove that you are the worst type of Hypocrite the new Ethiopia would never accept.
We live in 22nd century; the world has changed so much. Our country, Ethiopia, has issues of the 19th century content. Broaden your mind (especially those in Diasporas and exposed to different ways of thinking), develop an all inclusive point of view. Even if you don’t accept an opinion don’t loose your sense of respect. That is the only way you gain respect back.
Once the great Mother Theresa was quoted saying :"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."
See! The difference is in the outlook! If we seek freedom of speech, then we should practice and preach freedom-of-speech ourselves.
That is the new Ethiopia!