Zone 9: The Growing Gulag in Ethiopia

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Free Zone 9 Bloggers

(Credit: Hisham Almiraat, Global Voices Online)

In Ethiopia, an ever-increasing number of journalists, opposition members, activists, and other dissenting voices, are imprisoned in the eight zones of the infamous Kaliti Prison in Addis Ababa.

However, a ninth zone exists in Ethiopia, one that extends well beyond the walls of Kaliti. The inability to express thoughts freely without fearing for one’s safety represents a virtual ‘imprisonment’ for the vast majority Ethiopian citizens. It was with this principle in mind that “Zone 9” was created.

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Another Strongman for Ethiopia?

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Ethiopia human rights protest

Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s taciturn, ironfisted ruler, passed away after 21 years of increasingly autocratic rule, leaving the country and its global allies at an interesting and rare crossroads: Will the country continue along its current path of political authoritarianism and its extensive machinery of suppression, or will we see the rights of Ethiopian people restored in an more transparent, accountable political system?

Zenawi’s passing marks a major transition point in terms of political leadership and governance in sub Saharan Africa, as he was part of a third generation of  post-colonial leadership that succeeded in  establishing themselves on the global stage while creating governments that systematically  stripped individuals of their rights and then of their freedom.

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