Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thank you!

Our release was as surprising as our detention. Five of us were released as the charges were ‘withdrawn’ in July. While four of us were released because we were acquitted (save the appeal against our acquittal). Still one of our member, Befeqadu, was released on bail and he is yet to defend himself later this year in December. Even though we were released in different circumstances; one thing makes all of us similar – our strong belief that we didn’t deserve even a single day of arrest. Yes, it is good to be released, but we were arrested undeservedly. All we did was writing and striving for the rule of law because we want to see the improvement of our country and the lives of its citizens. However, writing and dreaming for the better of our nation got us detained, harassed, tortured and exiled. Undeservedly.
It makes us happy when we hear people are inspired by our story. But it also makes us sad when we learn people are scared to write because they have seen what we have gone through for our writings. Our incarceration makes us experience happiness and grief at the same time. The bottom line is it is good to know we have inspired people while it is saddening that we have learnt the fact that people have left the public discourse as a result of our detention. Yes, it is sad to know the fact that our detention has a chilling effect on public discourse.
Our incarceration made us feel our lives pass by us. It is true we have missed and lost things. But, we also have increased our learning curve. We have learnt a lot. Our detention tells a broader story of our country. We were able to witness the price of Freedom of Expression is dearly expensive. We are firsthand witnesses of injustice. More than anything we have learnt the fact that a nation which is rampant with injustice is the foremost enemy of its law abiding citizens.
We are victims of institutionalized misconducts. But, it is not beyond our forgiveness. Our incarcerators who gave us those ordeals, even if you are not asking us for our forgiveness, here we are. Please forgive us for we are law abiding citizens who refuse to live in your terms.
For all people who were with us both in good times and in bad times, those of you who stood by us not only in our successes but also in our failures, YOU are awesome! You are our friends, you are our family you were our lawyers, you campaigned for us, and you defended our cause. Thank you! Media organizations, rights groups and the entire community who showed solidarity and concerns for our cause. Thank you! You all deserve our heartfelt gratitude for you have reduced the lengthy prison time and eased the boredom of imprisonment.

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