I shall persevere! (By Eskinder Nega, from Kality Prison)
By Eskinder Nega
Kality Prison, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
I shall persevere!
So that I may do the deed that my soul has to itself decreed
Individuals can be penalised, made to suffer (oh, how I miss my child) and even killed. But democracy is a destiny of humanity which can not be averted. It can be delayed but not defeated.
No less significant, absent trials and tribulations, democracy would be devoid of the soul that endows it with character and vitality. I accept my fate, even embrace it as serendipitous. I sleep in peace, even if only in the company of lice, behind bars. The same could not be said of my incarcerator though they sleep in warm beds, next to their wives, in their home.
The government has been able to lie in a court of law effortlessly as a function of the moral paucity of our politics. All the great crimes of history, lest we forget, have their genesis in the moral wilderness of their times.
The mundane details of the case offer nothing substantive but what Christopher Hitchens once described as “a vortex of irrationality and nastiness.” Suffice to say, that this is Ethiopia’s Dreyfus affair. Only this time, the despondency of withering tyranny, not smutty bigotry, is at play.
Martin Amis wrote, quoting Alexander Solzhenitsyn, that Stalinism (in the 30s) tortured you not to force you to reveal a secret, but to collude you in a fiction. This is also the basic rational of the unfolding human rights crisis in Ethiopia. And the same 30s bravado that show-trials can somehow vindicate banal injustice pervades official thinking. Want to unlearn from history, we aptly repeat even its most brazen mistakes.
Why should the rest of the world care? Horace said it best: mutate nomine de te fabula narratur. “Change only the name and this story is also about you.” Where ever justice suffers our common humanity suffers, too.
I will live to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may or may not be a long wait. Whichever way events may go, I shall persevere!
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
History shall absolve democracy