Judging by merit By Bahir Kemal

July 5th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

The judgment of the merits and faults of the work or actions of an individual or group by another is a short definition of criticism. To criticize does not necessarily imply to find fault, but the word is often taken to mean the simple expression of an objection against.

There is variety of criticism; one of them is constrictive one, which is one of my focuses here. A lot of us hate even some times scared of criticism no matter what ever type of it. We are not open for criticisms especially when we are in leading position when we need the most to full fill our goal, we don’t want to be challenged , we take it personal even though we know it is not.

Freedom of expression is part of democracy and good governance; it also means to be open to critique to correct our weakness in the process to achieve our goal instead of taking it personally and attacking the critique with any means in our possession. These types of attitude pushes valuable human power to the other side and weaken our strength. Winston Churchill Once said “Criticism might not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy say of things.”

These days one can observes that a lot of critical articles being posted on Ethiopian online journals (websites) mostly by our Ethiopian scholars criticizing ideas of the groups, individuals in some extant beyond the idea attaching individuals themselves by calling names, even by putting the news as is as we notice in case of “ Ethiopia purges 7 army generals..”.

On the critique side being genuine is important when we criticize someone’s idea or group, it shouldn’t be just for criticizing or fault finding, it has to be constructive supported by evidence. In some case it hard to say the critique knows what he is criticizing or understood the content or the idea of the person he is criticizing. It shouldn’t be as they said, lost in translation.

If we are on the same side of political ideology or struggle or even if we are not we have to choose the right approach and the right time unless other wise it is dangerous for our goal in the future if we let it go without correcting present fault/mistake.

As I personally observed, some of as went as far as name calling in the middle of criticizing the idea which is not beneficial if we are on the opposition side of struggle to bring democracy, freedom and good governance to our people unless we are just pretending to be. Especially after I read one of the critique couple of days a go I suspect that it is part of EPRDF/TPLF smear campaign to weaken/silence the opposition especially of Diaspora which is nightmare of the current authoritarian government of Meles.

One can conclude from recent even when VOA Broadcast Board of Governors visited Ethiopia and TPLF gave the name of the people he doesn’t want to be on VOA Ethiopian language programs (Amharic, Tigrinya & afaan Oromo) in another word those people the regime scared of, these are our brave scholars, journalists (who Meles chased them out of the country), artists, activists.. etc who has no tank or gun other than their pen and gifted brain, I don’t want to mention a name who may you know, one of them scared TPLF as if he is in Addis Ababa if you are following resent news regarding those “terrorist” journalist.

Every body knows the percentage of access to internet ( free web site are blocked ), absence of free media (in Ethiopia case news paper, radio and TV), only few people in the capital have access, by renting to read, even to government controlled media, but still TPLF scared of these brave people.

Here I am not advocating unconditional agreement on all with all which is not lasting solution and leads to dictatorship the one we are opposing and struggling to replace with democracy. I am not advocating that we have to be perfect otherwise all our words, steps deeds…etc has to be under scrutiny all the time either, while we are human being and leaving in imperfect world. However we have to be careful and look of the advantage, disadvantage, timing….etc of what we are criticizing.

Frank Howard Clark once said “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots”.

Samuel Johnson, 19 century English author once said “The duty of criticism is neither to depreciate nor dignify by partial representations, but to hold out the light of reason, whatever it may discover; and to promulgate the determinations of truth, whatever she shall dictate”

God the Almighty Bless Ethiopia

Bahir Kemal bahirmukhtar@hotmail.com

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