Today’s mention of this jailed dissident is really one mention too many

9 Jul

From a letter just published in the New York Review of Books, signed by me and others:

On June 27, 2012, the Ethiopian high court convicted journalist Eskinder Nega and twenty-three others on vague terrorism charges, continuing a trend in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi jails his critics as “terrorists” …

Eskinder Nega, who received this year’s PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, has been a leading voice for press freedom in Ethiopia for almost two decades. He has been repeatedly detained, imprisoned with his wife Serkalem Fasil on treason charges.

Now Eskinder Nega is facing between 15 years and life in prison…His sentence will be announced on July 13, 2012.

We call on President Obama and all world leaders to condemn Eskinder’s imprisonment.

This site just mentioned Eskinder last week, and just this last January publicized a previous letter in the NYRB about Eskinder’s case.

Let me be honest. I am tired of writing about Eskinder Nega. You are tired of reading about Eskinder Nega. This site really needs to move on from Eskinder Nega.

Let me consult Elie Wiesel on our major compassion fatigue:

Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

Let’s call on all to condemn the imprisonment of Eskinder Nega.