I am Eskinder Nega…

September 30th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

I am Eskinder Nega. I am not one person. I am eighty million strong. I will let one of my voices speak for me because today I am locked up in Makelawi prison. Those who are in power in Ethiopia have tried to silence my voice. They want to shut me up by locking me up. They don’t want me to be heard. They are afraid of the truth I speak out. They think by putting me in solitary confinement they will destroy my hopes and dreams. As you can see, that is an impossible task. I am but a reflection of my people. I am the echo of their voice. I am a proud father. I am a husband. I am a friend. I am a journalist. I am not now nor have I ever been a terrorist; but I am now and have on previous occasions been a victim of state terrorism and victim of a judicial system that works only for its creators.

I write because that is what I do – tell the truth. I am passionate about what I do. I write to expose what is hidden from the public eye in the dark recesses of power. I speak truth to power. It is my life’s mission to inform and teach. I write because it is my profession. It is my calling in life. I do not have an army. I do not belong to a political party, not even an association. I have no money nor do I have special powers. All I have is my pen. I try to use my pen wisely and fairly. I do not use my pen to stab others; I use it to educate those who are bent on hurting others. I do not use my words to demean, insult or humiliate others. I use my pen to teach, preach and do outreach. I use my pen to investigate and seek out the truth. That is how I keeping coming to this hellhole at Maekelawi time and again.

Why do I insist on telling the truth. Because I can! Article 29 of the Ethiopian Constitution says I can: “Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression without any interference.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says I can: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1.) They have locked me up and accused me of being a “terrorist” for telling the truth. I am no terrorist, but they are terrified by the truth. I am a political prisoner but they are prisoners of the truth guarded by an army of lies.

I love Ethiopia. I make no apologies about that. Some may say my love for my country and people have brought me and my family nothing but trouble and grief. My family and friends have suffered greatly because of the stands I have taken. I have persisted in asserting my God-given freedom to write and express myself; they persist in trying to break my will and dehumanize me. They want to teach others what can happen to them if they stand up and speak up. Meles Zenawi is determined to isolate me and kill my spirit, just like he tried to isolate and kill Birtukan’s spirit. I have been jailed before for speaking the truth, for expressing my ideas and for seeking peaceful change. I keep paying the price; but is all worth it if my suffering, and those millions who suffer along with me one day will have the opportunity to see peaceful change for themselves and their children.

I have lost much locked away as a prisoner of conscience. I almost lost our precious son, and my dear and courageous partner in the struggle for peaceful change in our country. We lost a thriving business and my profession was taken away from me. I am neither a hero nor a stubborn fool. I am just an ordinary Ethiopian that took the maxim ‘all people are created equal’ to heart. This story is not about me. It is about those who have chosen to imprison me because of my beliefs in democracy and human rights.

Do not think my case is unique. I am but just one of the thousands of Ethiopians denied justice and freedom. I have done nothing heroic. I am satisfied that if my suffering brings light on the horror taking place in the motherland, I will bear it with courage. My friends should not despair for I am at peace with myself. As I said before, it is not about Eskinder the man or Eskinder the political prisoner. It is about human, rights, democracy and the rule of law for which Eskinder continues to struggle.

Here I am today in solitary confinement in Makelawi Prison. I am a prisoner of conscience, a political prisoner. But my mind is free; my heart is full of love for my people and my spirit soars. My jailors think of me as an “enemy of the state”. But I am the enemy of no one; and no one is my enemy. I love my country, I love my people. I bear malice towards no one.

I am jailed but not silenced. My friends speak for me. My people speak for me. Stranger across the oceans speak for me. And I listen to the words of Martin Luther King: “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” I will never be silent or silenced because I have eighty million voices.

Let me speak my peace again as I did in my last opinion piece: “Ethiopia must and should avoid violence. If Ethiopia shuns violence so will most of sub-Sahara Africa. And only then will the advent of the African Spring be even better news than that of the Arab Spring.”
Join Eskinder Nega’s group on Facebook.


  1. Sam
    | #1

    I have read for considerable time now articles headlined I am Eskinder Nega too. The writer of I am Eskinder Nega, the above article, however, really described convincingly who really Eskinder Nega is and who his tormentors are. The writer wrote “this story [my imprisoment] is not about me. It is about those who have chosen to imprispon me because of my beliefs in democracy and human rights.” Well put. Sometimes two sentences say it all which in bad writing two hundred words could not make it. The writer in those two sentences summed it up well. Well done.

  2. The Eritrean one!
    | #2

    The horrors that are being committed in the name of terror by Zenawi and his boss Bereket supported by greedy Americans so called diplomats upon the people of Ethiopians, Somalians, Eritreans, and Sudans are quite astonishing. As of today the horn of African communities are sentenced to misery and distructions by Zenawi and his boss Bereket supported by greedy self-serving diplomats– the people of Ethiopia are sentenced to brutal aiga jungle democracy; the people of Somalia are sentenced to death in the name of terror; the people of Eritrea are sentenced to death for Aby Tigry dream to be achieved; the Sudans people must fight each other so in the near future weyane can loot Sudan’s natural resources during the day time. As the wikileaks continue to expose Meles and his boss Bereket true colors my conclusion of the thugs are nothing but sell-outs. Meles and his boss Bereket must face justice in Ethiopia-by-Ethiopians for all of their crimes and that includes for selling children to paedophiles in the name of adaption; selling girls to arabs in the name of work; and sentencing Ethiopians to endless misery.

  3. Sheger
    | #3

    I am Eskinder Nega

    I am an Ethiopian
    I live In my country
    But currently
    In prison.

    For speaking off democracy
    Fighting for my freedom
    And the freedom of this
    Ancient country
    That ones a kingdom
    My country my home.

    I say free Ethiopia!
    But they do all bigotry and slavery
    Robbery and misery
    Uncivilized doing
    In country of bravery
    In a country of victory
    In a country of full of light
    To Ethiopia home sweet.

    Her hands an folded to god and kindness
    May it brake thou her enemy even when it fells
    Out of tyrdness.

    Dear Ethiopia pray
    Strech your arms High
    Eskinder is not home alone
    He is eighty million
    Eskinder is not prison alone
    85 or some million


    Dear Eskindir may God protect you
    And our beloved Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. sam
    | #4

    we have to walk up for our right in ethiopian. we need change as soon as possbel.

  5. It is unfair
    | #5

    What kind of world do we live in these days–the real terrorists and thieves live in the palace and lavish homes and the innocent, who fight for real democracy, equality and free-speech get locked up in a hellhole that is build intentionally to torture and kill innocent people. Where is God when peace loving people and goodhearted people suffer? Doesn’t God hear and see the cries of his oppressed people, the hungry, the sick, the injustice, the power abuse and the inhumane despicable behavior of heartless tyrants like Meles? When is enough is enough? How long Ethiopians have to suffer at the hands of evil people?

  6. Sheger
    | #6

    Dear It is u fair, we have to say no enough BEKA. God created us all we have to do our part. No one shale stand before you doing crimes as your government or protector. No one should be looked down, specially in their nation.

    This GOVTS are almost enemy of Ethiopia if not indeed. If we are enemy of them first we need to stop but I don’t Helene that is the truth. No matter what we have to come together us people of one nation and live and work to gather
    For the betterment of our people inside and out side of our country and the world around us.

    Ethiopia is not on another planet we all live here on earth. And we should all care. They want us to care about our rent
    And money while taking every thing from us as if like we are the poorest of people. Ethiopia is reach in nature and people, we have a promising land ” Zion ” . Zion is Ethiopia and her peoples sensibility and proudness and protectiveness lovingness and motherliness and godliness or god loving. And Ethiopia is a mother to so many.

    Long live Ethiopia!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Sheger
    | #7

    And Zion ( Ethiopia ) is the mother land to man kind. And this info is supported by science too.

Comments are closed.