Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ethiopia: Assault on academic freedom corners young family

Editor's note - Before he left for Austria on a scholarship, Alemayehu Fentaw was a lecturer at the Law Faculty of Jimma University. A few days prior to his departure, Alemayehu was interviewed by the Reporter newspaper on such issues, among other things, like federalism, regional governments, multi-party democracy. While elaborating, Alemayehu said that opposition parties may never seize power in Ethiopia unless the army stages a coup and removes the regime. The Reporter made that remark the headline of the story. Trouble began to haunt Mr. Alemayehu and family.
His wife and a baby were supposed to survive on Alemayehu's salary. When she couldn't receive a penny for five months, the young mother travelled to Addis and became dependent on her poor grandmother. The fight for survival continued for eight months by which time the academic vice president had taken a series of measures that stripped Alemayehu of even his right to get a job at any higher learning institution in the country. Because of this injustice, the dean of the university, a Nigerian national, submitted his resignation, and left. From Austria, the young scholar sent the following letter about the assault he and his family suffered because his words didn't fall in line with the policies of the one-man dictatorship that has been in power since 1991, and has turned Ethiopia into a failed state.

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