By Eyob Haile
Just after 3 years of establishment ESAT turns to be the dominant, if not, the sole source of information to Ethiopians who reside in and outside the country, not dismissing the hope it has rekindled among the majority of Ethiopians that the organization would usher in a change that many Ethiopians have been fighting for generations. Save the aborted 2005 election, there is no any other time than now that Ethiopians started to feel change is imminent. Listening the public opinion that is aired on ESAT regularly , one can conclude that ESAT is writing history in front of our eyes . Although a foreign based media, ESAT has able to extend its tentacles in almost all parts of Ethiopia. Today anything happening in the remotest section of Ethiopia will not escape the strong eyes of ESAT. The eviction of the Amhara people from Benshagul Gumuz is a case in point. Had it not been for ESAT, the plight of our people would have remained unknown. Even the age old news media outlets in the likes of VOA and DW radios caught this news long after ESAT has made it an “ordinary story”. Government owned ETV has not yet reported about the eviction though the bosses have acknowledged that the government did commit a serious crime.
Three years ago any politician or activist would covet to appear on the BBC , CNN or Aljazeera, now that became history. Ethiopians are able to form their own BBC , their own Aljazeera, just in three years. I must take off my hat to all ESAT staff who have turned something impossible to something possible. ESAT taught us that something extraordinary could be achieved if we utilized our own potential with determination and self confidence. ESAT boosted our confidence , became the pride of Ethiopians aboard who had been criticized for shouting but doing nothing concrete for the people of Ethiopia .
Having said those kind words about ESAT, let me mention two important reasons why I failed to contribute for ESAT in the last 3 years. I used to listen ESAT news for free. What better explains, then, my failure to contribute a single cent for my primary source of information ? Selfishness! I must declare ” I am selfish”. If I run out of a hotel to avoid paying my dues after I got my delicious meal , if I am not poor, then I am selfish. Some of you may give this and that reason for failing to support ESAT . Come on guys! You are cheating yourselves. There is no free lunch on earth.
ESAT journalists eke out day in and day out to gather information. They never complained that ” they are tired off “. In doing so, they have shattered the information monopoly of the regime, which was helping it to sustain its absolute power in the last 21 years. I sometimes doubt if they have any remaining time to spend it with their family. If all ESAT journalists are single, they must be celibate, otherwise no girl or boy will tolerate this. If they have families, and are healthy , the families must be special ones or rare in type. Imagine they live in Europe and America and family requirements in these continents is not like in Ethiopia. It is a must to spend a certain portion of time with your kids, otherwise you will lose your kids to another family who promise to raise your kids by giving them sufficient time and attention. That is why I said our journalists have special families. The paradox is here then. If these brave journalists spend much of their time to inform me about my country, what good reason can explain my failure to log in and pay 10 dollar per month to support them? Idleness! I must declare I am idle! Selfishness and idleness are the two main reasons why I failed to support ESAT.
By Eyob Haile