The Ethiopian revolution will not be televised



The Ethiopian revolution will not be Televised

For over eight months, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian Muslims and some Christians have been demonstrating after every Friday prayer against government oppression and interference in their religious affairs. Despite some journalist calling these demonstrations "Africa’s biggest protests since Tahrir Square," little attention has been given to them by most western news agencies. Even the seemingly protest-obsessed Al-Jazeera English has been unusually silent about these massive demonstrations that have been rocking Addis Ababa of late.

So what gives you say? It's likely the United States is playing a key role in all this by politically shielding and financially supporting Ethiopia's one-man-regime. In fact, a 2009 Wikileaks cable written by Donald Yamamoto, the former  U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, candidly explains their unyielding support for the Meles-led Government, even after the regime shot and killed 193 unarmed protesters after the sham 2005 elections:
While Meles's comments about Getachew and Gen. Samora are clearly disingenuous, we do believe that this posturing reflects a genuine fear on the part of the GoE (Government of Ethiopia) that this "shift" will weaken their position domestically and internationally, thus opening the door for their "enemies" to gain more power and/or traction. This is not an unreasonable conclusion on their part given the de facto cover that the USG (United States Government) has provided them over the past few years -- particularly after 2005 -- and what it might mean if that cover was reduced. (emphasis mines)

Another reason why western media outlets are not covering the events is because the regime has sealed off the locations from the few western reporters in the country. When VOA's correspondent Peter Heinlein and his translator Simegineh Yekoye went to cover the demonstrations, Ethiopian security agents quickly put them in custody and charged them for 'illegal reporting'. More recently, William Davison, Bloomberg's correspondent in Ethiopia, attempted to gain access to the protests a few days ago, and he too was interrogated and blocked from covering the events by security officials (see picture below).

But in Ethiopia, not all reporters are treated equally. For example, Reuter's correspondent Aaron Massho, who is Ethiopian, has not only covered the demonstrations, but was given unprecedented access to the protest areas on more than a few occasions. This is particularly odd when you consider the regime has blocked access to all other western reporters and human rights organizations. In a country where critical reporting of the government can earn you decades in prison, one can only conclude Aaron has struck a deal with the regime. Indeed, reading Aaron's reports of the demonstrations and of the region as a whole, it almost reads as if government spokesperson Bereket Simons edited them himself. 

In any case, as the protesters gain momentum and demand an end to oppression and interferences in their religious affairs, the government will continue to intimidate, arrest and use violence to suppress them. The U.S. Government on its part will turn a blind eye and continue to politically shield the regime, while reporters such as Aaron Massho of Reuters will go on to give a distorted, biased and rosy image of the events for international consumption, even as several western nations have already started issuing travel warnings for their citizens in Addis Ababa, due to the heavy-handed crackdowns the government has unleashed.



Ethiopian security agents firing teargas on protesters

Ethiopian protesters cross their hands, signaling to the regime that
they may arrest them but can't stop their revolution 
Bloomberg Willam Davison being blocked from reporting
the massive protests in Addis Ababa - July 20, 2012
A sign from an Ethiopian protester reads: 'If answer to peaceful
request is prison, then know that we are ready to die'
Chinese made teargas fired on Ethiopian protesters. The
Government denies it used tear gas but this is damning evidence
it certainly did. 


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