Letters

By , Solomon Segai, and Barry J. Cohen

Expulsions From Ethiopia and Eritrea

The article on the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, "When Neighbors Become Enemies, Civilians Pay" (July 7), was disappointing to me. I usually find your paper to be a reliable and comprehensive source of international news, but this was not a shining example.

Although the government of Ethiopia is not known to respect the human rights of its citizens, it certainly has not violated the human rights of Eritreans living in that country or even those who are being expelled. Government policy has benefited the Eritreans enormously by allowing their children to attend Ethiopian schools without charge, permitting them to work and live freely, allowing them to remit their incomes without restriction, giving them employment in key government posts, and even allowing them to serve in the country's security forces. And yet, the Eritreans living in Ethiopia have consistently been in the forefront of conflict between the two countries.

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Despite this betrayal, only a tiny proportion of those living in Ethiopia have been expelled. And those who have been expelled were caught undermining the same government that helped them. They chose to exacerbate the conflict by spying, raising money for the war effort, and sabotaging the economic and security system. Even after committing such horrendous acts, the government treated them humanely, leaving their families intact and allowing them to liquidate their assets and repatriate their money within a reasonable period of time. Is this a gross violation of human rights?

In contrast, the Eritrean government has expelled many more Ethiopians who have worked and lived in that country for many years as civilians, and it has done so after expropriating their assets and without giving them adequate time to settle their affairs; similar mass expulsions have occurred many times before. And yet, the article did not mention such gross violations of human rights committed by that government.

I hope future articles will be more analytical and enlightening, which are characteristics that I admire in your paper.

Teketel Haile-Mariam

McLean, Va.

I would really like to thank you for telling the world the truth about the barbaric action being taken against Eritreans living in Ethiopia by the brutal Ethiopian government. The whole world is witnessing Ethiopian officials denying that they are treating Eritrean civilians harshly. Please keep on informing the world about truth.

Solomon Segai

Lynn, Mass.

Advocacy journalism

In regards to "Get It Right vs. Make a Splash" (July 3), why are so many media outlets having problems with writers faking stories?

It's not just competitive pressures or corporate ownership. Those are just favorite whipping boys, which allow journalists to disavow responsibility. The real failure is "advocacy journalism," a view that it is not the truth that matters to readers but "social responsibility," which is also known as propaganda.

Advocacy journalism caught on in the early 1980s and changed the nature of reporting from "who, what, and where" to "who can we blame?" which is always from one part of the political spectrum. The culture of advocacy journalism stacked the media in favor of liberals. Political correctness became the driving force.

In such a culture, accuracy takes second place. The rash of recent discoveries of fraud are news, not because fraud exists but because it's being caught. It is a healthy sign that American journalism may be on the way to rediscovering its roots. Because you can't fool all the people, all of the time.

Barry J. Cohen

Walnut Creek, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to "Readers Write," and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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