Ethiopia: Misuse of social media and threat it imposes to our coexistence
April 4, 2015
by Nathnael Abate M/ Norway
The fastest advancement of communication technologies made communications very easy at global level. Nowadays almost all the information that is available in advanced parts of the world is also accessible in developing and under developed parts of the world. The benefits of communication technologies in education, informatics, politics, economics, entertainment and on other sectors are vast and enormous. Nevertheless when these communication systems are misused the rapid flow of false information through the social media or another communication system could cause destruction to individuals, society and nation and business institutes at global and national level. Some societies have better awareness about the advantages and disadvantages of the social media. In general, the social networking or media awareness of American or European societies is much higher than Africa societies, in particular our or Ethiopian society.
As communication technologies have great benefits, also it has great risks. On this piece of writing I would like to point out the current misuse of social networks by few Ethiopian individuals and groups together with the dangers that the misuse of social network imposes on our society and country. At present multiple hate speeches, videos and images are continuously published and circulating around among Ethiopians on social Medias. These misinformation have a potential to spark intolerance and hate in society one against other. Certain ethnic group hate and intolerance will gradually lead to ethnic or political violence. Some of the factors that contributed to the ongoing cyber based ethnic tensions among Ethiopians are low awareness about coexistence, poor knowledge of political history of the country, intolerance, misconception of the former governance systems, exaggeration of past discriminations and heroic deeds. The misconceptions based tensions are growing at alarming rate over social media presently. As a matter of fact, the tensions among the ethnicities of country were systematically devised by TPLF and it served TPLF to stay in power the past 24 yrs. However since few years internally and externally growing oppositions are shaking the system of TPLF from many angles. Thus TPLF devised cyber warfare among the ethnic groups to get relief from the opposition and rescue itself.
The cyber hate spreaders are dominantly agents of TPLF and unknowingly most innocent individuals are brain washed by this fabricated false history and stood along with these secret servants of government. The agents are primarily targeting on the issues that are thought to cause disputes or chaoses among ethnicities of the country. TPLF advanced its hate preaching technique to cyber or internet warfare. The faults of former administration systems such as political exclusion and systematic undermining of socio-ethnic identities are primarily used as a weapon to create tension. The current expressly motivated ethnic hatred propaganda over social Medias is well coordinated and which is intended for the destruction of essential social cohesion among the people. Some individuals spread hate simply from what they see and hear, others from misunderstanding and not evaluating the truth. Generally hatred grows from poor knowledge, misinformation and biased judgment. Here, I don’t deny the fact that, there were some political history faults and ethnic marginalization in the former administration systems as well as today under the umbrella of TPLF. Preeminence of one ethnic group over others will in fact inevitably lead to more confrontations in the future. Governance system faults and ethnic marginalization existed in the political history of all societies and countries not only in Ethiopia as it is used by TPLF to create tension and chaos. There is no country or society that is built without political history faults and these faults are no longer used as an excuse spread hate.
For instance one of economically most prosperous and politically stable countries in the world is Norway. Despite their current socio-political stability, the former governance systems discriminated the minority in the country. The minority Sami people or Laplanders are native Scandinavia. Few decades back they were not allowed to talk or learn their language either develop their culture in Norway and neighboring Scandinavian countries. The Sami have for centuries been the subject of discrimination and abuse by the dominant cultures claiming possession of their lands right unto the present day. Yet to this day, Sami are being forced to choose the specific identity of the country within whose declared borders the Samis’ land lies and adopt that country’s values at the expense of Sami culture. Nevertheless the Laplanders are not denying being part of Norway or other country where they live because of the discrimination, political suppression and cultural dominancy in past. When it comes to the socio political history of Ethiopia, the former political system faults are the paramount or focal point of the country’s politics.
The ruling dictator regime propagandas are addressed to the subjects by comparing itself with the former administration systems. On the other hand, we (the citizens of Ethiopia) use the past political history faults or political discrimination as a pillar or foundation of our differences by forgetting our common values, histories and complex social integrity. In addition to the above, TPLF is not able to compare its system with current global political systems and our political ideologies and arguments are not better than TPLFs. Since both TPLF System and our political ideologies are bound to the past political history and governance system of the country. This tells us that without our conscious we are trapped by TPLF systematic snares and accomplishing its mission indirectly.
The consequences of misusing social media to preach hate among our people will destruct us soon or later. In progress it is creating high tension among ethnicities which may lead to something bad to happen. We should keep in mind that some ethnic tensions which were not halted on time had grown to cause greatest disaster in human history. For instance the Rwandan genocide was initiated by the tension between two ethnicities which resulted in the death of over 800,000 people just in 100 days. The animosity between the Tutsis and Hutus had grown ever since colonial time according to the reports. The current circulation of antagonism or extreme dislike speeches, videos and images may not take things to the level of civil war like the one happened in Rwanda but the acceleration of false information and hate speech should seriously be taken and halted from growing further. It is also open secret that TPLF government deployed countless online spies for hate spreading mission. These spies are armed with hate propaganda to spread it along with the mission to spy user’s political activities over internet. This biased, racist and misleading information on internet have the potential to destruct tolerance, trust, and coexistence values of the societies in our country. Individuals, who don’t have enough awareness about TPLFs systematic entrapments can easily become brain washed or victims of such propaganda.
Causes of ethnic tension among the groups in multicultural society
The fundamental feature of a plural or multicultural society is its ability to protect at all times the unity of the society and avoiding tensions, violence or chaos without denying the identities of its building blocks. Core political system of TPLF is based on linguistic politics which is known to contribute to the ethnic tensions along with the faults of former political systems. According to many researches, in heterogeneous societies once ethnic tension is established, violence is inevitable unless differences or disputes resolved with maximum efforts. Ethnic tension is results of past socio-political and economic discrimination, previous offences of certain group, suppression and related circumstances. In addition to listed causes, an incapability of governors to separate the concept of citizenship or national identity from ethnic identity is another reason that contributes to the ethnic tensions.
We citizens of Ethiopia must treat ethnic and cultural diversity as a unifying force not as a political violence manipulation tool. We should openly challenge the hate preachers, emphasize our rights as citizens irrespective of our ethnicity, foster an honest and open debate on the all possible socio political events, and engage in genuine reconciliation. If we succeed in accomplishing these goals, Ethiopia can become a model for stability and integration of ethnic groups for horn of Africa and the rest part of world. If we fail to do, we will set ourselves again on the path to an endless violence and deadly inter-ethnic conflict.
Together we are stronger
The benefits of national unity are undisputable. Unified and strong country can easily defend itself from external and internal aggressions. Political stability, economical prosperity and social integrations are easily achievable in a unified country. Ethiopia is indeed a nation of diversity where various ethnic groups live together to strive for peace, success and harmony. For instance we can recall our victory over fascist Italians by our unified forces in 1896. Also Ethiopia is a country which is a showcase of how to live together in mutual harmony with ethnic or religious differences. Therefore Ethiopians of all ethnic origins should manifest the aspiration to achieve multicultural understandings to build unified and strong country. These harmonies and achievement could prevail if ethnic prejudice is minimal. Ethnic members should have strong nationhood and feel that all their fellow ethnicities are standing for their common nation. Besides, we should foster friendship among the ethnic groups and we should perceive working with members from other ethnic groups as an effort to encourage unity among the ethnic groups of the country. Whenever misunderstanding occurs, ethnic groups should avoid blaming other ethnic groups. Instead, we should discuss problems and conflicts with people from other ethnic groups. This concerted effort among the people can help to foster and promote a multicultural understanding among Ethiopians.
posted by Daniel tesfaye