Friday, May 26

A Sign of Desperation

Seminawork (wax and gold) a great blog of 'ethiopian life, politics, culture and arts' reports that the Government Blocks Bloggers. Below is the full post ... and Meskel Square confirms the blocking itself. Seminawork also shows how to evade the censorship.


Government Blocks Bloggers from Seminawork, May 16

Over the last two days, all blogspots blogs including have been blocked in Ethiopia. Those who seek political quips fron weichegud or intelligent analysis form other bloggers can't access the sites via the telecom servers. In addition, the government has blocked Ethiopian Review, cyber ethiopia, quatero and Free our leaders websites.

My sources told me this is done by tel. with the advise and help of the chinese.This blog can't be accessed in Ethiopia so the following advise may not reach its intended readers. Other websites like Ethiomedia who hasn't yet been blocked should carry the message to Ethiopian readers.

Readers can use an open proxy like this which allow to circumvent the blocks. Readers should click on and enter the address that is blocked in the displayed box. Using the proxy we can access our beloved blogs and websites even though the government has censored them.


two cents from ethiopundit

In the September 2004 post Information De-Evolution V - Big Brother? we noted the manner of Chinese control and censorship of the internet and wondered ... Why does what happens in China matter to Ethiopia? .... because it is the model for the flow of information in Ethiopia according to the Ethiopian government itself.

An article from The Reporter (link long dead now) detailed a public debate about the draconian draft press law (back when there was a semblance of a minimally free press to get donor aid flowing) that was thought by many to be the death knell for Ethiopia's then already besieged press.
According to observers who followed the meeting, what was more revolting than the restrictive and prohibitive content of the draft press law were the explanations of the Minister of Information himself who officiously told the participants that his government has the right to jam broadcasting, block the internet.

". . .Jamming is not illegal, China does block the internet," the Minister said. "What toppled the governments of eastern European countries were mainly the international broadcasters. We don't want that to be repeated in our country . . ." he added.

Publishers, editors and journalists alike vowed to continue their fight against both the content of the draft press law and the intent and purpose of the government.
The admiration for China's restrictions on information and the expressed fear that the events that liberated Eastern Europe from totalitarianism parallel the Ethiopian situation today is a stunning and revealing admission from a government official.

Dagmawi notes of Ethiopian government criticism of the peaceful revolutions of Eastern Europe in the past year that
The PEACEFUL Ukrainian Orange Revolution deposed a despot and opened the way to real democracy in the country. The incompetent TPLF/EPRDF prosecution doesnt realize that in opposing the Ukrainian Orange Revolution, they are supporting the maintenance of DICTATORSHIP in eastern Europe.
As for the official's statement as to what is legal and not ... it is nonsense. In Nazi Germany and in the former Soviet Union death and concentration camps were perfectly legal according to the evil laws of Hitler and Stalin although they were all nothing but crimes against humanity.

In Ethiopia today the 'legality' of a fictitious parliament, supreme court, anti-terrorism task force, elections and other such simalcrums of the institutions and actions of civilized government are meaningless and indeed harmful when decreed in the service of dictatorship.


This article China campuses' Internet hall monitors from the International Herald Tribune reveals the other approach of such governments to control debate. The article describes a student in her
second year at Shanghai Normal University, coming across as ordinary is just fine, given the parallel life she leads. For several hours each week she repairs to a little-known on-campus office crammed with computers, where she logs on, unsuspected by other students, to help police her university's Internet forums.

Once online, following suggestions from professors or older students, she introduces politically correct or innocuous themes for discussion.
Meles Inc. can censor blogs in Ethiopia but abroad it plans ahead and attempts to massage opinion in the same manner above when the level of discourse and criticism gets to be too large for simple intimidation to work.


How absurd! ... just imagine a government so insecure and so concerned with bloggers and their simple truths that it tries to shut them down and control them. The government's actions are, of course, a sign of desperation.

You see, Ethiopians seem to have forgotten that politics is none of their business. Zemene Ashattir is crumbling away and only the kalashnikovs and cadres remain as justification for rule.

An email points out one obvious truth that had escaped us initially - the blogger ban not only prevents opinion from reaching INTO Ethiopia it also prevents unregulated news from getting OUT OF Ethiopia.


Satisfy My Soul [Ego] has a humorous take on the issue and provides a list of web based proxy servers to evade blockages.

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