Wednesday, February 14, 2018, ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega was pardoned and released from prison on Wednesday, after serving seven years for allegedly being linked to banned groups. Below is his speech to supporters, following his release.
Here I stand before you-my family, friends, fellow journalists and human rights activists, Ethiopians, the diaspora and international community – Free from my chains, humbled by your perseverance and solidarity, and most of all, awed by the love, generosity and might of God.
Be assured that we have cause to celebrate, for we have amply demonstrated, on the one hand, the potency of unarmed justice to triumph over armed injustice, and , on the other, highlighted that the cause of democracy anywhere is the cause of all democrats everywhere. For democracy is not relative to culture and history as too many well-meaning people have come to believe, not it is, as all authoritarians insist sovereign issue to be pursued in isolation by each country.
Rather, democracy is a universally applicable ideal which should be fought for as communism was once fought under the Comin tern: a peaceful, militant, world-wide revolutionary movement dedicated to victory in all countries.
Needless to say, our journey has yet to be complete. How long this journey will take no one knows. What we know for certain is what the immediate future holds for us; more hardship; more sacrifice, more tears, more imprisonment, exile and even death.
But these are deprivations we shall bear with dignity and pride because of the promise which lies at the end: love and peace, justice and equality, tolerance and empathy and a closure, once and for all to oppression.
In the quest for democracy, humanity, wages its last epic struggle to be part this saga is not merely a moral imperative but also a privilege. The struggle not only receives from us but also gives us, in return the self-transcendence which gives meaning to our lives. No worse a fate afflicts a person than merely live one’s life for one’s self.
History is on our side. Justice is on our side. The people are on our side. And most crucially of all. God is on our side. What remains is only the enriching an assured victory.
On with the struggle
Free all political prisoners
Liberté, égalité, fraternité