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Ethiopian bloggers fear for future in Somalia

The Ethiopian invasion of Somalia is ending freedom of speech in Somalia.

That was the blunt conclusion of undercover Ethiopian blogger Seminawork in his post Somali media under attack, as news came through that Somalia's Ethiopia-backed Transitional Government had shut down independent radio stations and even closed the offices of the international news station, Al Jazeera.

Somalia had some of the freest media in Africa. The Islamists who were labelled as enemies of freedom hadn't tried to close the radio stations which are under attack from the [Transitional Government] now.

Seminawork was one of many Ethiopian bloggers to cast a critical eye on the aftermath of the Ethiopian Government's decision to send its soldiers into Somalia to drive out Islamist forces and restore the Somali Transitional Government to power. (Here is the BBC timeline of the conflict.)

Lela Tensae painted a pessimistic picture of the months and years ahead in The thorn in the Horn:

Unfortunately, the blowback to this irresponsible and senseless war will be felt for years to come. And who will be the on the receiving end of this reckless act that was done in the name of self defense? Once again, it is the innocent people of Ethiopia, whose only desire is to live in a peaceful democratic country, which respects the rights and sovereignty of its neighbors.

The US-based Ethiopundit looked into the implications of America's backing of Ethiopia's military venture against the “terrorist” Islamists in Our man in Africa:

From the American point of view this is win-win. [Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's Prime Minister] is our SOB for now, kicking ass & taking names while the rest of the War on Terror proves to be more frustrating than predicted. For Republicans and Democrats that remains true. The administration wants a clear win somewhere, anywhere and the new Congressional leadership doesn't want to rock the boat lest they do something that actually has ultimate electoral responsibility associated with it.

The Meles endgame in Somalia as in Ethiopia, is eternal rule, riches and that dubious position of international respect that thugs get for killing their way to the top of their personal heap of bodies. However, Ethiopia is now in a war now with no endgame in sight or even planned for besides more political support and cash in the pipeline for its dictatorship.

Eleni Agiz of Ethiopia Encyclopedia gave her take on how relationships between Somalia and Ethiopia had changed since the military confrontation in Somalia-Ethiopia Relations: Then, Now, and in the Future:

Then

Shaky relationship: Somali region of Ethiopia wanted to separate and join its culturally, religiously, physically, linguistically similar neighbor Somalia; and Ethiopia crushed the separatists movement.

Now

BAD relationship: Holy War between Ethiopia and Somalia. Ethiopia does not want crazy terrorists as neighbors – Ethiopia didn't mind having pirates and poor people as neighbors, but terrorists are unacceptable…not because America says so. Ethiopia is totally independent of the US…totally.

The Ameche Rant provided an indepth analysis of where the conflict left each of its main players. Unusually, it was broadly supportive of the military venture, saying that everyone was better off without the Union of Islamic Courts in power, and concluding that the victory was Ethiopia's, not the USA's.

But his post Ethiopia's War in Somalia and its Regional Implications was still cautious:

If Meles keeps his word and bring home the bulk of the troops within the next month or two; Ethiopia can keep its victory and cement its place as the dominant power in the neighbourhood regardless of what happens in Somalia, bar UIC restoring the pre-Christmas status quo…The only way Addis Abeba can squander the victory is if it tries to play peacekeeper thereby becoming a standing target for hit & runners as the Americans have become in Iraq or if it decides to keep on waiting for peacekeepers for more than, let’s say, four to six weeks.

Meanwhile, not everyone in the Ethiopian blogosphere wanted to talk about the conflict. Enset probably spoke for many in This Music is Really Good for You!:

I am in the mood for some respite from the crazy world of Ethiopian politics. I suspect some of you are, too. So please sit back, relax and enjoy these two videos from YouTube. The first one is an amazing guitar rendition of Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D Major by a South Korean who goes by the name FunTwo. The second one is from an equally impressive spoon sliding guitar virtuoso, the South African Hannes Coetzee. Enjoy!

8 comments

  • links for 2007-01-17…

    Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Ethiopian bloggers fear for future in Somalia “Unfortunately, the blowback to this irresponsible and senseless war will be felt for years to come. And who will be the on the receiving end……

  • Gobanimo Gaashaan

    Hello,everybody,
    I live in Somali National Regional State, Ethiopia,
    I wonder if I could say all I have in mind.
    Silence has its own implication. There are so many things that make you feel sad.Our people are being paid lipservice.The leadership in the region is hand-picked,committed people who wish to work their people properly are given bad names, jailed, tortured.
    Recently, hundreds of innocent people have been arrested. The majority of these people are daily labourers, they have one to take care of them in the jails, no food, no blanks, they are beaten, they are not taken to courts.
    That is the tip of the iceberg of what is happening.
    I hope will say more no matter who is sorry, denies, .

    Yours Truly, G.Gaashaan

  • Thanks for posting this- its so good to be able to read about what is happening. I agree that it is the tip of the iceberg.

  • Iam not support slamist or ethiopians either goverment what I support is nation love each ather somalian one languege one cultute say relegion although alot somalians get changed there religion some of them christain let every one beleive what they wan but we need is ademogratic and freedom independency why are you killing your brother that is uneducated person I persume let the brothers and sisters live free let oyur country peace I live uk I wish you people you should know how is like being forieghn country get education you people I would say am so sorry I wish I would make peace and progress my country some time I hate people call me somalia coz our dicnant is gone I think we are worse then animales

  • musse dualeh

    hi fellow human beings. ethiopians and somalians alike. i sm a somalian who grew up with big time animosity between the 2 brotherly people of our two neighboring countries- somalia and ethiopia. i was raised in an environment whereby everybody believed that the worst enemy they have ever got were the ethiopians (habasha). if you come across an ethiopian (habasha) you either kill him or he kills. nothing else was in our minds. i was made to believe that ethiopians are not human, they are born to be evil..kill them.
    1991 i came to addis and have meet so many ethiopians of every nationality, and that was the time i realised that all was paranoia. that ethiopians are really closest to us somalians, we look alike and we are perhaps originally from same people, unlike most of other black africans. so there could be no basis for the historical enemity between our two nations/people. the hatred i was harbouring has been gradually replace by feeling of friendship and understanding. meles is about to destroy all that newly acquired feeling of good will between our two people. he has occupied mogadishu without the acceptance of the general public. your military are at this point in time massacring mogadishu residents- mostly unarmed civilians. hatred for the ethiopians is skyrocketing and every somalian, wherever and whoever they are, is thinking of one thing…REVENGE ON ETHIOPIANS. WE ARE GOING BACK TO SQUARE ONE..WE GOING BACK TO 1964 AND 1977. IN PRESENT CLIMATE, CREATED BY MELES, THERE WILL UNFORTUNATELY BE MANY BITTER WARS BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES. STOP MELES BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.

    MUSSE DUALEH
    MOGADISHU

  • Haymanot

    Meles is truly a sick individual. He remains America’s pawn. He thinks he is helping Somalia but everybody knows Somalia’s situation was one that cannot be solved with outside forces but rather by themselves. Meles himself and his regime is the terrorist. Anybody against them gets labeled as terrorists. The Oromo’s the Ogadenis and Somalis. I pray that Ethiopia can go back to the glorious country it once was and with that I hope all of the Horn of Africa countries can be stable.

  • ag

    ethiopia is still stuck in the past. who the f cares about lucy. get your aids rate down, maybe a new school from time to time(try since haileselassie), equal oppurtunity employers(i have my eyes on you shabia)

  • meseret

    Dears, this all accusation is enough let’s examine our views
    in the eyes of a non- blinded person.
    I am tired of the playing an anti-government games.
    What the Ethiopian Government did was for the good of
    the two nations.
    It was one of the most humanly deeds for me.
    What will Ethiopian government benefit on going to war with
    Somali; obviously nothing.

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