Thousands of people leave or join facebook everyday. Some go away quietly while some join noisily.
However, this short note posted by Ethiopian dissident Journalist Abiye Teklemariam on his profile page is telling of the role Facebook now plays in the lives of more than 1 billion people everyday
I don’t know how to say goodbye to a platform that has been my single most important place of self-disclosure since my newspaper, Addis Neger, was closed in late 2009. I have met great friends, kept in touch with the news in my country, learned an incredible lot from debates and conversations on Facebook. There were wonderful moments of joy, which included some Fbers spontaneously celebrating the defunct Addis Neger and its writers. There were moments when I felt really down: The feeling of betrayal when some of my human rights conscious FB family members rewrote history in the name of a hard-to-defend etiquette when our ex-PM died stands out as the worst of them all. Throughout moments of joy, desperation and agony, this platform and some of its young and passionate participants have made me more alive than I would have been. It has been a journey to savor.
But even a great journey has to end somewhere before its inspiration and purpose is lost. I’ll miss everyone here and wish that all the vigor and energy of this place would remain for a long, long time. For the sake of tracing of my own lifetime journey in the future, I won’t delete the account, but I will deactivate it permanently as of tomorrow evening. I am on twitter for the people who want to interact with me. Goodbye
About the author Abiye Teklemariam Megenta
Abiye Teklemariam Megenta, also known as Abiye Teklemariam, is an Ethiopian print and radio journalist who co-founded the defunct Addis Neger, which was the largest private newspaper in Ethiopia before its closure in December 2009. Three top editors of the newspaper quietly slipped out of the country, accusing the Ethiopian government of relentless intimidation, harassment and persecution.
Teklemariam, who was the newspaper’s executive editor, had left the country two months earlier for the United Kingdom. On a BBC interview, he staunchly defended the decision of his colleagues to leave the country, claiming that the government’s plan to bring charges against the newspaper’s top editors made their tasks impossible to carry out.
Presently, he is a vocal democracy activist and a student in Oxford, England.