Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopia News’

Well-known patriot Shambel Zewdu Ayalew joins ENTC

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

A great Ethiopian patriot Shambel Zewdu Ayalew joins the Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) as an adviser.

Shambel Zewdu was elected as a member of Ethiopian parliament representing Gondar in 2005, but when the Woyanne junta stole the election, he refused to join the parliament and went into the bushes to fight for the Ethiopian people’s right to choose their own government through the ballot box. In that regard, he is an authentic Ethiopian hero and patriot who stood firm on his principles and paid enormous personal sacrifices while others betrayed their people for crumbs.

Last month, Shambel Zewdu arrived in Uganda and he is now assisting ENTC with building its organizational structure inside Ethiopia and neighboring countries, according to the ENCT leadership.

ENTC has also revealed that it will convene its second general assembly in the first week of this coming February and that preparations are currently underway.

ENTC continues seasonal campaign

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) is conveying its best wishes in the holiday season to all Ethiopians. It has been 6 months since ENTC has been officially formed. Although the road to victory is a long and difficult one, the group’s beginning is a promising one. It is with everyone’s participation that the struggle can bear fruit. ENTC is inviting you to participate in their holiday donation drive and also join them in their effort.

View this short slide

የሃይማኖት ነጻነት ጥብቅና በኢትዮጵያ

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

ከፕሮፌሰር  ዓለማየሁ  ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም  ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

ለውድቀት የተዳረገው የሃይማኖት ነጻነት በኢትዮጵያ

በዚህ ባለፈው ሰኔ ወር ላይ ‹‹ አንድነት ለሃይማኖት›› በሚል ጽሁፍ በኢትዮጵያ ስለሚካሄደው የሃይማኖት ነጻነት ገፈፋ ያለኝን ስጋት ገልጬ  ነበር፡፡ በዚህም ሳቢያ ኢትዮጵያ ዉስጥ አዲሱ የሰብአዊ መብት መጣስ  አካሄድ በሃይማኖት ነጻነት ላይ ማነጣጠሩን አሳስቤያለሁ፡፡ ስጋቴን  ትንሽ ቀለል ያረገልኝ ስርአት የተላበሱት የክርስቲያኑና የሙስሊሙ የሃይሞነት መሪዎች በሃይማኖት ውስጥ የሚሞከረውን አግባብነት የሌለውን ጣልቃ ገብነት ጠንክረው መቃወማቸውን በማየቴ ነበር፡፡ መጣጣፌ ላይ አንዳልኩት ‹‹ላለፉት በርካታ ዓመታት›› ኢትዮጵያ የወንጀል፤ የጥቃት፤ የሰብአዊ መበት መደፈር፤ተፈጥሮ የቸረውን መብት መርገጫ ማዕከል ሆና ኖራለች፡፡ አሁን ደግሞ የኢትዮጵያ የሃይመኖት አባቶች ኢትዮጵያ የሃይማኖት ነጻነት የሚገፈፍባት ሃገር ሆነች እያሉ ያማርራሉ›› ፡፡  የሙስሊሙና የክርስትና ሃይማኖት መሪዎችና አማኞች፤ ጠንክረውና እጅ ለእጅ በመያያዝ በአንድነት ሆነው፤ ለዕምነታቸው ነጻነት ለማስገኘትና መብትቸውን ለማስጠበቅ ሕሊናቸው በሚያዛቸው መንቀሳቀስ እንዲችሉ በሰላማዊ አምቢታ ጸንተው ቆመዋል፡፡

የገዢው መንገስት ባለስልጣናት ይህን በሕገ መንግስቱ ላይ በግልጽ የተቀመጠውን ድንጋጌ በመዘንጋት አለያም አውቀው አናውቅም በማለት በቸልተኝነትና በማንአለብኝነት ይህን የነጻነት የእምነት በነጻ የመንቀሳቀስ ሂደት በአክራሪነት በገዲድ በመተርጎም እንቅስቃሴውን ለማዳከም በመጣር ላይ ናቸው፡፡በቅርቡ ያለፉት መለስ ዜናዊ፤ ሲናገሩ ‹‹በቅርቡ በተከናወነው የጌታችን መድሐኒታችን የጥምቀት በዓል በተከበረበት ወቅት አንዳንድ የክርስቲያን እምነት ተከታዮች የክርስቲያን መንግስት ይቋቋምልን በማለት መፈክር ይዘው ወጥተዋል፤ እንዲሁም እምነታቸውን በነጻ ሃይማኖታቸውም ከጣልቃ ገብነት የጸዳ እንዲሆን ያነሱትን የሙስሊሙን ጥያቄ፤ ይህን ጥያቄ የሚያነሱት የአልቃይዳ ተባባሪ የሆኑ የ‹‹ሳላፊ›› ጥገኞች›› በማለት ታርጋ ለጥፈውባቸዋል፡፡ መለስ ውንጀላቸውን ቆርጠው በመቀጠል ‹‹ለመጀመርያ ጊዜያት የአልቃይዳ ሴል በኢትዮጵያ ታየ በማለት፤ አብዛኛዎቹም በባሌ፤እና በአርሲ ይገኛሉ ብለዋል፡፡ ይህ ማለት ግን በኢትዮጵያ ያሉት ሳላፊስ በሙሉ አልቃይዳ ናቸው ለማለት አይደለም፡፡ አብዛኛዎቹ አይደሉም፡፡ሆኖም ግን እነዚህ ሳላፊዎች ትክክለኛውን (የሙስሊም) ሃይሞኖታዊ ትምህርት ሲያፋልሱ ታይተዋል ብለው ነበር››፡፡

የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ዓለምአቀፋዊ የሃይሞኖት ነጻነት ኮሚሽን ባወጣው መግለጫ  (ዩ ኤስ ሲ አይ አር ኤፍ)  ላይ ባለፈው ወር ይህን አክራሪ ናቸው የሚለውን አባባል ማጣጣል ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ በኢትዮጵያ ባሉ ኢትዮጵያዊያን ላይ የሚደረገውን የሃይማኖት ተጽእኖና ጭቆና እያሳሰበው መሆኑንም፤ ጥየቄያቸው ግን እንደሚባለው ሳይሆን በሃገሪቱ ላይ ባሉት የሙስሊም አማኞች ላይ በሚደረግ የጉልበትና የግፍ አካሄድ እምነቱ ከሚፈቅደውና ሙስሊሙ ሕብረተሰብ ከሚያምንበትና ሲከተለው ከነበረው አካሄድ ውጪ በሆነ አዲስ መጥ ስርአት እንዲያምን ለማስገደድ ሰለሆነ መንግስት ከድርጊቱ እንዲታቀብ አሳስቧል፡፡ ሲዘግቡም፥

የኢትዮጵያ ገዢ መንግስት ፍላጎቱ አልሃበሽ የሚባለውን የዕምንት አመለካከት በሙስሊሙ ማሕበረሰብ ላይ በግዴታ በመጫን ለዝንተዓለም ሲከተሉት ከነበረው የሱፊ አመለካከትና ስነስራት ለመለየት እያስገደደ ነው፡፡ ገዢው መንግስት ከዚህም ባሻገር የሙስሊማኑ የሃይማኖት አባቶችን ከባለዕምነቶቹ ፍላጎትና ፈቃደኝነት ውጪ፤ ምርጫውን በራሱ በማካሄድ ሹመኞቹን ጭኖባቸዋል፡፡ ቀደም ሲል በነጻነት የሚንቀሳቀስ ተጽእኖ የሌለበት በመባል ሲታወቅ የነበረው የኢትዮጵያን እስልምና ጉዳዮች ከፍተኛ ምክር ቤትን አሁን ገዢው መንግሰት በራሱ ምደባ ስልጣን በያዙት ለገዢው መንግስት አገልጋይና ጉዳይ አስፈጻሚዎችን አስቀምጦበታል፡፡ የመፍትሔ አፈላላጊ ኮሚቴ ብሎ የሙስሊሙ ሕብረተሰብ ያስቀመጣቸውን ወኪሎቹን ለኔ መመርያ ካልተገዛችሁ በሚል አመለካከት፤ ሰብስቦ በተፈጠረና አንዳች የእውነት ፍንጣቂ የሌለበት በተደጋጋሚ በንጹሃን ላይ ሲለጠፍ ያለውን ሽብርተኛ በማለት ወደ ወህኒ ማውረድ በሃገሪቱ ባሉት ሙስሊማን ላይ ተጽእኖ ለማድረግና ለመቆጣጠር አንመች ያሉትን በማስፈራራት ማግለል ይዞዋል፡፡ በዚህ ሰበብም በኦክቶበር 29 ላይ የኢትዮጵያ ገዢ መንግስት 29ኙን የሙስሊሙ ማሕበረሰብ ወኪሎችና ሰላማዊ ተንቀሳቃሾች ሽብርተኞችና እስላማዋ መንግስት ለመመስረት የተነሳሱ ናቸው በማለት ወንጅሏቸዋል፡፡

የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ዓለምአቀፋዊ የሃይሞኖት ነጻነት የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ዓለምአቀፋዊ የሃይማኖት ነጻነት ኮሚሽነር አዚዝ አል ሂብሪ በግልጽ ሲናገር:

ይህ የወቅቱ መሰረተ ቢስ ክስና ውንጀላ የኢትዮጵያ መነግስት ተቃዋሚዎቹን ዝም ለማሰኘትና ለማሰር፤ የሙስሊሙም ሕብረተሰብ ያነሳውን ሰላማዊና ሕገመንገስታዊ የዕምነት ነጻነት ጥያቄ በሰበብ አስባቡ ለማጨናገፍና ዓለም አቀፋዊ የሆነውን የዕምንት ጥያቄ ለማክሰም የሚጠቀምበት ዘዴ ነው፡፡ እነዚህ በቁጥር አነስተኛ የሆኑት ለእስር ቢዳረጉም የዓላማው ደጋፊዎች የሆኑት በሺህ የሚቆጠሩ ናቸው በሰላማዊ መንገድ ጥያቄውን አንስተው እንደመጥ ያሉት፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ገዢ መንግስት በሙስሊም ዜጎቹ እምነት ውስጥ ጣልቃ መግባቱን ማቆም አለበት፡፡አለአግባብም ባልሰሩትና ባልፈጸሙት ውንጀላ የታሰሩትንም ሊለቅ ተገቢ ነው ብሏል፡፡

የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ዓለምአቀፋዊ የሃይሞኖት ነጻነት ኮሚሽንም ያነሳቸውን ጭብጦች በተመለከተ ሊተኮርባቸው የሚገቡ ጉዳዮች አሉ፡፡ በቅድሚያ ይህ የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ዓለምአቀፋዊ የሃይሞኖት ነጻነት ኮሚሽን ድርጅት መንግስታዊ ያልሆነ ድርጅት፤የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋች፤ ወይም የመንግስት አፈቀላጤም  አይደለም፡፡ የ1998 ዓመቱን ዓለም አቀፍን ሃይማኖታዊ ነጻነት ድንጋጌ አስመልክቶ በዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ምከር ቤት (ኮንግሬስ) የተቋቋመ ነጻ የሆነ ኮሚሽን ሲሆን ተግባሩም በዓለም አካባቢ ባሉ ሃይማኖታዊ ክስተቶች ስለሚከናወኑትና ስለነጻነታቸው ሁኔታ ዘገባ እያጠናቀረ፤ አስፈላጊ ሲመስለውም የፖሊሲ ሃሳብ ለፕሬዜዳንቱ፤ለሃገር አስተዳደር፤ እና ለኮንግሬሱ ማቅረብ ነው፡፡  ይህን ኮሚሽን ለመምራትም ዕውቅና ያላቸውና በዓለም አቀፉ ሃይሞኖታዊ እውነታዎችን ስርአት ላይ በቂ ዕውቀትና ግንዛቤ ያላቸው ግለሰቦች፤ ስለውጭ ግንኙነት፤ዓለም አቀፋዊ ስለሆነው የሰብአዊ መብት ጠንቅቀው የተረዱና ግንዛቤያቸውም የሰፋ የሆኑት ተመርጠው የሚካተቱበትና ስራውን የሚያካሂዱበት ነው፡፡ ይህ ኮሚሽን ማንኛቸውንም በዓለም ተቀባይነት ያላቸውን ድንግጌዎች ሁሉ በማክበር የማስከበር ሃሳብ ለሚመለከታቸው በማቅረብ ተግባራዊ እንዲደረግ ይጥራል፤ ይሟገታል፡፡

የዚህ (የ ዩ ኤስ ሲ አይ አር ኤፍ) የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ዓለምአቀፋዊ የሃይሞኖት ነጻነት ኮሚሽን ማስረጃና ምስክርነት በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የሃይሞነታዊ እምነት ነፃነት መጣሱን መንግስታዊ ጥቃትም እየደረሰበት እንደሆነ በሚገባ ያረጋገጠ ነው፡፡

የኢትዮጵያ  ዓለም አቀፋዊና  ሕገመንግስታዊ  ግዴታ  የሃይማኖት  ነጻነትንም  ያካተተ ነው

የገዢው መንግሥት ባወጣውና ባጸደቀው ሕገመንግስት መሰረት የሃይማኖት ነጻነትን የማክበር ግዴታ እንዳለበት ደንግጓል፡፡ በዚህ ድንጋጌውም ገዢው መንግስት ጣልቃ በመግባት ነጻ አንደሆነ በሚገባ ተቀምጧል፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ መንገስት ዓለማዊ መንግስት ነው እንጂ መንፈሳዊ መንግስት አልተመሰረተበትም:: የህገ መንግስቱ አንቀጽ 11 በሃይማኖትና በመንግስት መሃል ደንግጎ መንግስትም በሃይሞነቱ ሃይማኖቱም በመንግስት ውስጥ ጣልቃ እንዳይገቡ ያግዳል፡፡ አንቀጽ 27ም እንደ የሃይመኖቶች የነጻነት አንቀጽ ተብሎ ሊጠቀስ ይችላል፡፡ በመሆኑም ‹‹ሁሉም እንደየእምነታቸውና ፍላጎታቸው በነጻ የማሰብን፤እና የሃይማኖት ነጻነትን›› ያረጋግጣል፡፡ ማንም ሃይማኖትን መቀበልም ሆነ ወይም ወዳሰኘው ሃይማኖታዊ እምነት መዞርን፤ በግልም ሆነ በቡድን አለያም በመሰባሰብ ተደራጅቶ ማምለክን በምርጫው ማከናወንን ይፈቅዳል፡፡

የአንቀጽ 11 እና 27 ሕገመንግስታዊ ቋንቋ አጠቃቀም በቀጥታ ቃል በቃል ከዓለም አቀፍ የሰብአዊ መብቶች ድንጋጌ የተገለበጠ ነው፡፡ይህም በዲሴምበር 10 1948 በኢትዮጵያ ተቀባይነት አግኝቷል፡፡ አንቀጽ 18 የዓለም አቀፍ የሲቪልና የፖለቲካ መብቶች ቃል ኪዳን፤በጁን 11 1993 በኢትዮጵያ ተቀባይነት አግኝቶ ጸድቋል፡፡ በዚህም ድንጋጌ መሰረት ማንም ቢሆን የሃይማኖት የሰብአዊ መብትና በነጻ የማሰብ መብቱ ይጠበቅለት ዘንድ የግድ ነው፡፡ የአፍሪካውም (ባንጁል) ቻርተር ከዓለም አቀፋዊው ድንጋጌ ጋር ተመሳሳይ ነው፡፡በየድንጋጌውም ላይ የዓለም አቀፉን ድንግጌ በማክበር መተግበር እንዳለበት ያረጋግጣል፡፡ ኢትዮጵያም የሁለቱም ቻርተሮች ፈራሚ ነችና ድንጋጌዎቹን በተቀረጹበት መልክ ማክበርና ሕዝቦቿም ተጠቃሚ እንዲሆኑ  ቃሏን ማክበር ስላለባት ገዠው መንግስትም ከዚህ ውጪ ትርጓሜ ሊሰጥበት አይችልም፡፡

የኢትዮጵያ ዢው መንግስት ለዓለም አቀፍ ድንጋጌዎች በገባው ግዴታ መሰረት በራሱ ሕገመንግስት ላይ ያሰፈራቸውን መብቶች መከበርና ሳይሸራረፉ ለሕዝቡ መቆማቸውን ማረጋገጥ ይጠበቅበታል

ግዙፍ የሆነና በነጻ ወገኖች የተረጋገጠ፤ በቂና ታሪካዊ ማስረጃ ያለው፤ የድርጊቱ ሰለባ ከሆኑትና ከሌሎችም የተጠናቀረው እውነታ የሚያሳየው መንግስታዊ የሆነ የሃይማኖት ነጻነት ጥሰት መኖሩንና ጉልህ የሆነ የሰዎች የእምነትና ሕገመንግስታዊ መብትም መጣስ መኖሩን የሚያስረዳ ነው፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት ከሃይማኖቱ ተከታዮች ፍላጎትና መሪዎቻቸውም ባላመኑበት መንገድ ጫና በመፍጠርና ሃይልና ማስገደድ ባለው ሂደት መሪዎች መርጦ ከማስቀመጡም ባሻገር አዲስ ስርአት በማምጣት የአልሃበሽን የእስልምና ወገናዊ እምነት ለመጫን ነው ዓላማው፡፡በሃይማኖታዊው ዋና ፍሬ ነገር ላይ በማትኮር የሃይማኖት አባቶች በማለት የእስልምና ጉዳዮች ከፍተኛ ካውንስልን እንዲመሩ መንግስት መርጦ  በተለያዩ የሙስሊሙ ኮሙኒቲ አባልታ ባሉበት ሁሉ 11 የሪጂኖች የእስልምና ከውንስል ብሎ ማስቀመጡ  አግባብነትም ሆነ ተቀባይነትም የሌለው ተግባር ነው፡፡ መንግስት በመስጊድ ሊደረግ የሚገባውን የምርጫ ሂደት በማፋለስ በመንግስት ቁጥጥር ስር ባሉ ስፍራዎች እንዲካሄድ ማደረጉ  የሚፈልጋቸው አገልጋዮቹ ያለአግባብ ስልጣኑን ይዘው እንዲያገለግሉት ለማድረግ ብቻ ነው፡፡ ይህን ሂደት አንቀበልም ሃይማኖታዊ ስርአትም የተከተለ አይደለም በማለት ተቃውሞ ያቀረቡትንም በማግለል፤ ከቦታቸው እንዲነሱ አድርጓል፡፡ ከተነሱም በኋላ ለእስራት ዳርጓቸዋል::  በንጸህናና በሰላማዊ መንገድም የተበላሸው እንዲስተካከል አላግባብ የተከናወነውም ምርጫ እንደቀየር ሃሳብ ያቀረቡትን ከማሰርም አልፎ ቀሪዎቹንም ሱገቡና ሲወጡ በደህንነቶች ቁጥጥርና ክትትል እንዲደረግባቸው በማድረግ ሰላሙን ሁሉ በማደፍረስ ላይ ነው፡፡ በመንግስት ተመርጠው የተቀመጡትም አገልጋዮች ተቀባይነት አጥተው ከቢሮ ማቀፍ አላለፉም፤ ይልቁንስ የመንግስት መጠቀሚያ ሰላዮች ተብለው በብዙሃኑ የሙስሊም እምነት ተከታዮች ከመፈረጅ ውጪ ያገኙት አንዳችም ነገር የለም:: ያገኙት ነገር ቢኖር የመንግስትን ግልጋሎት ማከናወን ብቻና ከመንግስት የሚቸራቸውን ነው፡፡ በዚህም መሰረት የሙስሊሙን ህብረተሰብ ወደማያምንበትና ወደተበላሸ እምነታዊ ስርአት ማካተት ጨርሶ የማይቻል ጉዳይ ነው፡፡

ገዢው መንግስት በጣልቃ ገብነቱ ላይ ተቃውሞ ባነሱት ሙስሊማን ላይ  በለጠፈው ሽብርተኝነት የወንጀል ክስና  ሌላም ክህደት ለሞላው ውንጀላው አንዳችም ማስረጃ ማቅረብ አልቻለም፡፡  እነዚህ በከንቱ ለእስር የተዳረጉት የነጻነት ተሟጋቾች፤ከውጭ ሃይል ጋር አላቸው ስለተባለው ግንኙነት፤ ሥልጣን ለመያዝ ተብሎም ስለተነሳው ጉዳይ፤ የሙስሊም መንግስት ይቋቋም ብለዋል ስለተባለበትም ቢሆን ወንጃዩ መንግስት አንዳችም ማሰረጃ ለማቅረብ አልበቃም፡፡ ማንኛቸውም ነጻ ወገኖችና ታዛቢዎች ቢሆኑ ያረጋገጡት፤ ሕገመንግስታዊ መብታቸውን በሰላማዊ መንገድ ለማስከበር መንቀሳቀሳቸውን፤ የራሳቸውን መሪዎችና የእስልምና ጉዳዮች የካወንስል መሪዎች እንምረጥ ከማለት ውጪ አንዳችም ሌላ ሁኔታ እንዳላዩ ነው፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ ተገቢያልሆነ ጥያቄ አይደለም፡፡ ሕገመንግስታዊ መብታቸው ነው፡፡ መንግስት መርጦ ያስቀመጣቸው ሹማምንት ሊያገለግሏቸውም ሆነ መብታቸውን ሊያስጠብቁላቸው የማይችሉና፤ በምርጫውም የሙስሊሙን ይሁንታ ያልተሰጡ በመሆናቸው አይረቡንም ነው አባባላቸው እናም ልክ ናቸው፡፡ እነዚህ የተመረጡባቸው ሹመኞች እንቅስቃሴያቸው የሙስሊሙን ሕብረተሰብ ለመከፋፈል፤ ሰላማዊውን ሕብረተሰብ ለማበጣበጥ፤ በሃገር አቀፍ ደረጃ በሙስሊሙ ሕብረተሰብ ዙርያ ሰላም እንዲጠፋ ማድረግ ነው፡፡

ገዢው መንግስት ‹‹የጸረሽብርተኝነት ሕግ›› ከጥቅም ውጪ ጅራፉን የማጮህ አርማውን  የማውለብለብ  ሱስ  አለበት

ገዢው መንግስት የሃይማኖት ነጻነትን፤የጽሁፍና የፕሬስ (ብዙሃን) ነጻነትን፤የሕዝቡን ሃሳቡን በነጻ የመግለጽ ነጻነትን ባገደና በጣሰ ቁጥር የራሱን ሕገመንግስት እየጣሰ መሆኑን እያወቀ ይክዳል፡፡ በትንሹ ለእስር የዳረጋቸውን 29 የሙስሊሙን ታጋዮች፤ በሽብርተኝነት ሲወነጅል ያው በተደጋጋሚ የታየውን የፈጠራ ሽብርተኝነትን ታርጋ መለጠፉን በመቀጠል ሲያደርገው የነበረውንና በብዙ ማስረጃዎች ሊረጋገጥበት የሚችለውን የሃሰት ውንጀላ መድገሙ እንጂ አዲስ አይደለም፡፡ ይህም የዚህ መንግስት መታወቂያው ሆኗል፡፡ አሁን ያለውን የኢትዮጵያ ምስቅልቅል ሁኔታ ለማስተካከል ይሄ በሽብርተኝነት ነጻና ሰላማዊ ሰዎችን መወንጀልና ማሰር መፍትሔ ሊሆን አይችልም፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ባለስልጣናት ሊገነዘቡት ያልቻሉት የውሃ ቅዳ ውሃ መልስ የሞኝ ጨዋታቸው ‹‹ጸረሽብርተኝነት›› ለገዢው መንግስት ያተረፈለት ነገር ቢኖር ችግሮችን፤ የሚነሱ ሃሳቦችን፤ህዝባዊ ፍላጎቶችን፤ እውነትን ለማየት እንዳይችል አይኑን መጋረድ ብቻ ነው፡፡ ሕዝቦች ሰብአዊ ክብርን ይሻሉ፤ በስልጣን ላይ ባሉ ሁሉ ሕዝብ ሊከበርና ሰብአዊ መብቱም ሊጠበቅለት ተገቢ ነው፡፡ ሕገመንግስታዊ መብታቸውን ባነሱ ቁጥር በስልጣን ላይ የተጣበቁት እየደነበሩ ሊወንጅሏቸው ጨርሶ ተገቢ አይደለም፡፡

የመንግስቱ መሪዎች‹‹ጸረ ሽብርተኝነትን ሕግ›› እንደጋሻ አንጠልጥለው ሰላማዊ ቅዋሜ አንሺዎችንና በሃይመኖታችን ጣልቃ አትግቡብን በማለት ለሰልፍ የሚወጡትን መኮነንንና ማሰርን ማንገላታትን መፍትሔ አድርገው ማሰብ ከጀመሩ ሰነበቱ፡፡ አንድ የማይታያቸው ክፉ ነገር ግን በሕዝቡ ሕሊናና ልብ ውስጥ እየሰፋና እያደገ፤ ምሬቱም እየከረፋውና እየጎፈነነው በመሄድ ላይ ያለውን የህዝብ ብሶት ማወቅ አለመቻል ወይም ችላ ማለታቸው ነው፡፡ ከትምህርት ደረጃ መውደቅና ጨርሶም ለመማር አለመቻል፤ ሥራ አጥነት፤ እና ተስፋ መቁረጥ ጭርሱን ሰብአዊነታቸው ከመሰረቱ እንዲጎዳና ለችገር እንዲጋለጡ በመዳረጋቸው ወጣቱ ትውልድ እራሱን ለማሻሻልም ሆነ ለሃገሩ ልማታዊ እድገት ተሳትፎ ለኑሮው የሚሆን ስራ ላይ እንዳይሳተፍ በመደረጉ ልቡ ለጊዜው ዝም ያለ ቢሆንም እያመረቀዘ አንድ ቀን የሚፈነዳ ነው፡፡ አሁን በስልጣን ላይ ያሉት አሁን ረጋ ያለ የሚመስላቸው ይህ የወጣት ብሶት ምሬት መከራ፤ ግለቱ ጨምሮ ሲፈነዳና ወጣቶቹም ከተጫነባቸው ፍርሃት ሲላቀቁና ፍርሃት አልባነት ሲነግስላቸው፤ የተስፋ መቁረጥ ክረምት ወጥቶ የተስፋና የመልካም ራዕይ ጸደይ ሲመጣ ልክ እንደ ‹‹አረቡ ጸደይ›› ያ የታሰበውና ታፍኖ የነበረው መብት ነጻነት እኩልነት አብቦ ሃገሩን በአዲስ አበባዎችና ልምላሜ እድገት ያለብሰዋል፡፡ የዚያን ጊዜ ታዲያ ያ ሽብርተኝነትና የጸረሽብር አዋጅ ፍለጋውን ወደ እውነተኞች አሸባሪዎችና ሕጉን መቀለጃና ሃጢአት መሸፈኛ ወዳደረጉት ያለፈባቸው በማድረግ ሃቃዊ ስራውን ማከናወን ይቀጥላል፡፡

ይህ አሁን በመኩራራትና በማን አለብኝነት እየተኮፈሰ ያለው ሞኝ ስብስብ ከሁለቱ የአሜሪካን መንግስት ከፍተኛ የህግ ዳኞች ሊማሩ ይችሉ ይሆናል፡፡ ‹‹የራሱን ህግ ማክበር ከተሳነው መንግስት የበለጠ የመንግስትን መሰረት የሚጥል የለም፡፡ የኛ መንግስት በራሱ ምሳሌነት ሕዝቡን ሀሉ ለህግ እንዲገዛ ያስተምራል፡፡ መንግስት እራሱ ሕግ አፍራሽ ከሆነ፤ ሕግን መናቅን መጣስን ነው የሚዘራው፡፡በዚህም ሁሉም ሰው ሕግን በእጁ እንዲያደርግና እንደፈቀደ እንዲሆን በመጋበዝ መተረማመስ (አናርኪ) እንዲፈጠር ያደርጋል፡፡››

የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ ዓለምአቀፋዊ የሃይሞኖት ነጻነት ኮሚሽን እንዳለው: መንግስት ያገታቸውን የሙስሊሙን መፍትሔ አፈላላጊ ኮሚቴ አባላትና ሌሎቹንም ታጋቾች በመፍታት፤በሃይማኖት ላይ የጣለውን እግድ ማንሳት ኣለበት፡፡

መንግሥት በራስ ሕግ አፍራሽ ከሆነ፤ የራሱን ውድቀት ያፋጥናል፡፡

የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from): http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2012/12/02/in_defense_of_religious_freedom_in_ethiopia

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::) ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

In Defense of Religious Freedom in Ethiopia

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

rfThe Precarious State of Religious Freedom in Ethiopia

In a weekly column entitled “Unity in Divinity” this past June, I expressed grave concern over official encroachments on religious freedom in Ethiopia. I lamented the fact that religious freedom was becoming a new focal target of official human rights violations. But I was also encouraged by the steadfast resistance of some principled Christian and Muslim religious leaders to official interference in religious affairs. I noted that “For the past two decades, Ethiopia has been the scene of crimes against humanity and crimes against nature. Now Ethiopian religious leaders say Ethiopia is the scene of crimes against divinity. Christian and Muslim leaders and followers today are standing together and locking arms to defend religious freedom and each other’s rights to freely exercise their consciences.”

Officials of the ruling regime in Ethiopia see the issue of religious freedom as a problem of “religious extremism”.  The late Meles Zenawi alleged that some Christians at the Timket celebrations (baptism of Jesus, epiphany) earlier this year had carried signs and slogans expressing their desire to have a “Christian government in Ethiopia”.  He also leveled similar accusations against some Ethiopian Muslims protesting official interference in their religious affairs for being “Salafis” linked to Al Qaeda. Meles claimed that “for the first time, an Al Qaeda cell has been found in Ethiopia. Most of them in Bale and Arsi. All of the members of this cell are Salafis. This is not to say all Salafis in Ethiopia are Al Qaeda members. Most of them are not. But these Salafis have been observed distorting the real teachings [of Islam].”

A Statement issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) last month not only dismissed allegations of religious extremism but also expressed “deep concern about the increasing deterioration of religious freedoms for Muslims in Ethiopia.” USCIRF virtually indicted the “the Ethiopian government [for seeking] to force a change in the sect of Islam practiced nationwide” and for “punishing [Muslim] clergy and laity who have resisted.” According to the USCIRF Statement,

since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to impose the al-Ahbash Islamic sect on the country’s Muslim community, a community that traditionally has practiced the Sufi form of Islam.   The government also has manipulated the election of the new leaders of the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC).  Previously viewed as an independent body, EIASC is now viewed as a government-controlled institution.  The arrests, terrorism charges and takeover of EIASC signify a troubling escalation in the government’s attempts to control Ethiopia’s Muslim community and provide further evidence of a decline in religious freedom in Ethiopia. Muslims throughout Ethiopia have been arrested during peaceful protests: On October 29, the Ethiopia government charged 29 protestors with terrorism and attempting to establish an Islamic state.

USCIRF Commissioner Azizah al-Hibri bluntly stated,

These charges are only the latest and most concerning attempt  by the Ethiopian government to crush opposition to its efforts to control the practice of religion by imposing on Ethiopian Muslims a specific interpretation of Islam. The individuals charged were among tens of thousands peacefully protesting the government’s violations of international standards and their constitutional right to religious freedom.  The Ethiopian government should cease interfering in the internal affairs of its Muslim community and immediately and unconditionally release those wrongfully imprisoned.

It is important to note some very important facts about USCIRF to underscore the significance of its findings. First, USCIRF is not an NGO, a partisan human rights advocacy group or organization or a government agency. It is an independent Commission established by the U.S. Congress (the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998) for the purpose of “monitoring the status of freedom of religion or belief abroad and to provide policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.”  Second, Commissioners are appointed in a bipartisan process by the U.S. President and Democratic and Republican leaders in the U.S. House and Senate.  Third, Commissioners are “selected among distinguished individuals noted for their knowledge and experience in fields relevant to the issue of international religious freedom, including foreign affairs, direct experience abroad, human rights, and international law.” Fourth, as an independent body, USCIRF’s mission is to “examine the actions of foreign governments against these universal standards and by their freely undertaken international commitments” such as those found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Statement of USCIRF is based on substantial evidence that freedom of religion in Ethiopia is under sustained official attack.

Ethiopia’s International and Constitutional Obligations to Uphold Freedom of Religion

The ruling regime’s constitutional duty to respect the religious freedom of its citizens revolves around its obligations to prevent the establishment of an official religion and refrain from interference in the free exercise of religious belief. Article 11 of the Ethiopian Constitution (which could be described as the “establishment article”) mandates “separation of state and religion” to ensure that the “Ethiopian State is a secular state” and that “no state religion” is established. This article creates a reciprocal obligation between religion and state by prohibiting the “State [from] interfere[ing] in religious affairs” and “religion [from] interfere[ing] in the affairs of the State.” Article 27 (which could be described as the “free exercise of religion article”) guarantees “Everyone the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” including the “freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.” Article 27 prohibits “coercion by force or any other means, which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.”

The constitutional language of Articles 11 and 27 is derived almost verbatim from Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (ratified by Ethiopia on December 10, 1948) and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ratified by Ethiopia on June 11, 1993) which provide  that  “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.” Article 8 of the African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights similarly guarantees “freedom of conscience [and] the profession and free practice of religion” and prohibits States from enacting “measures restricting the exercise of these freedoms”. Article 13 of the Ethiopian Constitution incorporates by explicit reference as the law of the land international legal obligations in securing fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom: “The fundamental rights and freedoms enumerated in this Chapter [“Chapter Three, Fundamental Rights and Freedoms”] shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international human rights covenants and conventions ratified by Ethiopia.

The Ruling Regime in Ethiopia Must Conform Its Actions to Its Own Constitution and Obligations Under International Law

There is substantial and independently verified evidence and a massive amount of anecdotal evidence in the form of testimony by victims of violations of religious freedom that the ruling regime in Ethiopia has engaged and continues to engage in acts that flagrantly violate the constitutional and legal rights of citizens to freely exercise their religion. The regime has sought to impose upon the Muslim community in Ethiopia not only leaders that it has chosen for that community but has also tried to impose its own preferred al-Ahbash Islamic sect on them. It has interfered in quintessentially religious affairs by engineering the election of preferred leaders to the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council which is the “central organizing body of the Muslim Community in Ethiopia” and manages 11 Regional Islamic Affairs Councils in various zones and districts. The regime has usurped established procedures to conduct elections of religious leaders in officially controlled centers instead of mosques. Religious leaders and administrators who have demanded official non-interference or refused to cooperate with officials in protest have been removed from office, persecuted and prosecuted. Religious dissidents and leaders have been placed under surveillance for pursuing purely religious activities and theri vocal opposition to official interference. As a result, the officially engineered Council has little credibility with the vast majority of Muslims and is generally viewed as an agency of the regime created by the regime and for the regime to serve the interests of the regime in politically controlling the Muslim population.

The ruling regime has produced no evidence to support its claims of subversion, terrorism and other allegations of criminality by those protesting official interference. There is no evidence to show that those demanding non-interference in their religious affairs are in alliance with any radical groups or have any intention whatsoever to seize political power or establish an “Islamic state” in Ethiopia. All independent observers confirm that the protesters seek nothing more than their constitutional right to democratically elect their own Islamic Affairs Supreme Council leaders. That is not an unreasonable demand. It is their democratic right. The protesters insist that the “leaders” elected for them by the regime do not have their consent nor can they faithfully represent their interests. They believe the regime selected leaders  could ultimately create strife, division  and conflict in the Muslim community throughout the country. It is also clear that the leaders that emerged from the regime orchestrated elections do not enjoy much credibility with a significant segment of the Muslim community.

The ruling regime has a bad habit of whipping out its “anti-terrorism law” every time it violates its own Constitution and laws by denying the rights of citizens to religious freedom, the right of the press to report freely and the right of citizens to freely express themselves.  Its arrest and detention of at least 29 Muslim leaders on charges of “terrorism” is just the most recent example of the regime’s indiscriminate and predictable use of its so-called anti-terrorism law as a cure all for all of its problems in society.

What the leaders of the regime in Ethiopia do not seem to  appreciate is the simple fact that there is a limit to the use of the “anti-terrorism law”. The regime cannot get legitimacy or acceptance by the people by exacting harsh punishment on citizens who exercise their constitutional rights. The “anti-terrorism law” is not a panacea to fix the complex political problems facing Ethiopian society. It does not guarantee stability or permanence for the regime. What the “anti-terrorism law” does is keep the regime blinded to the real problems, issues and demands of citizens in Ethiopian society. Citizens want and demand basic human dignity — to be respected and treated fairly by those in power and to have their human rights protected. They do not want to be treated as criminals for demanding or exercising their constitutional rights.

With their “anti-terrorism law”, the leaders of the regime see peaceful protesters and demonstrators in the streets demanding official non-interference in religious matter; but they are completely blinded to the quiet riot that is raging in the hearts and minds of citizens and communities throughout the country. They are blinded to the quiet riot among the masses of the youth whose sense of despair and hopelessness is deepened daily by lack of educational, employment and other opportunities for self-improvement and participation in the development of their country. For a time, the quiet riot of despair and hopelessness will simmer. But those in power today should not doubt that when hopelessness and despair reaches the boiling point of desperation and citizens  overcome their fear of fear, their winter of discontent will be made glorious by an inexorable spring, just like the “Arab Spring”. When that happens, the tables will turn and the “anti-terrorism law” will visit its erstwhile practitioners.

The regime could learn an important lesson from the counsel of two eminent U.S. Supreme Court Justices:

Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws. Our government teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

As USCIRF deamnded, the regime must “release those it has arrested and end its religious freedom abuses and allow Muslims to practice peacefully their faith as they see fit.”

If government becomes the lawbreaker, it hastens its own demise.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/   and

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

and

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

Selling Ethiopia away piece by piece (video)

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

The video below shows how the Woyanne regime is selling Ethiopia’s fertile land to foreign investors after displacing the people who reside on the land. This is done in the name of development, but the only thing that is being developed with this scheme is the parasite regime officials’ bank accounts in Europe and the U.S.

How Emperor HaileSelassie struggled to modernize Ethiopia

Friday, November 30th, 2012

As narrated by historians and individuals who were close to the Emperor.

ENTC has formed a new chapter in Uganda

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has continued to work on expanding its organizational reach throughout the world. This effort includes strengthening the chapters that are already established as well as forming new ones. In line with this effort, it has announced the successful completion of the formation of ENTC Uganda chapter with dedicated Ethiopians.

email: entcuganda@gmail.com

Hailemariam Desalegn commits his first major blunder since he took office 3 months ago

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has made a cabinet reshuffle today and appointed Debretsion Gebremichael, the notorious spy and member of Meles Zenawi’s death squad, as a deputy prime minister. Another TPLF politburo member, Teodros Adhanom, is appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

This is a major blunder on Hailemariam’s part since Debretsion is not only a criminal who was responsible for carrying out assassinations for Meles Zenawi, he is a threat to Hailemariam’s own authority.

On top of being a serial killer, Debretsion’s crime include keeping 99.5 percent of Ethiopians in the information dark age by limiting their access to information technology as Minister of Communication. Because of the policies implemented by him, Ethiopia’s information technology sector is one of the least developed in the world.

The promotion of Debretsion to the deputy premiership is further proof that Ethiopia is sliding deeper into tyranny even after khat-junkie dictator Meles Zenawi is gone.

However, Hailemariam may not have a choice in the matter in the first place. It is likely that he was forced by TPLF to make such cabinet appointments.

ESFNA selects the University of Maryland for its 30th Year Event

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

ESFNA
PRESS RELEASE

It is with tremendous excitement we announce the 30th Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) Tournament venue and the return of North American’s largest and longest Ethiopian annual sporting and cultural event to the Washington, DC metropolitan area. After evaluating several options, ESFNA has selected the newly modernized, high-tech facility at The University of Maryland Byrd Stadium for its historic 30th anniversary cultural and sports celebration. The week-long event will take place from June 30 to July 6, 2013. Byrd Stadium is located at 2001 Paint Branch Drive, College Park, MD.

A major reason for selecting the University of Maryland Byrd Stadium is its capacity and modern conveniences which are ideal to accommodate the large crowds expected to attend this historic week-long celebration. The Washington, DC metropolitan area is home to the largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia. It is within driving distance of other metropolitan areas with large Ethiopian communities – to name a few; Atlanta in the South, Toronto in the North, New York and Boston in the East, and Columbus, OH and Chicago in the Midwest. It is estimated that more than 600,000 Ethiopians live within these geographic locations. The Washington, DC metropolitan area is served by three major airports: Reagan National Airport, Washington Dulles International and BWI Thurgood Marshall International. Byrd Stadium is also centrally located near many Ethiopian
restaurants and other Ethiopian businesses.

We are currently evaluating several bids to serve as main and overflow hotels with significant discounts for our guests. As soon as the selections are made, we will post information on our website (www.esfna.net). We invite and encourage Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to join us during the week of our events so that we can all celebrate our heritage and our 30th year together.

For more information, please visit our website (www.esfna.net) or call 647-701-8527.
For sponsorship and vending matters, please contact our Business Department at 408-373-0606 or 202-257-9791.

Bringing Ethiopians Together
ESFNA prides itself in creating a unique stage where Ethiopians of all backgrounds, ethnicity, religions and political convictions can come together to celebrate our long enduring unique heritage and diversity that has become our strength through the millenniums. Our goal and vision over the past 30 years has been to maintain ESFNA’s annual festivities as the Mecca where ALL Ethiopians and supporters can come together once a year to create our own mini Ethiopia in the land of our refuge.

Founded in 1984, ESFNA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promote the rich Ethiopian culture and heritage as well as building positive environments within Ethiopian-American communities in North America. Its mission is Bringing Ethiopians Together to network, support the business community, empower the young by providing scholarships and mentoring program, primarily using soccer tournaments, other sports activities and
cultural events as vehicles. ESFNA, by virtue of its status is non-political, non-religious and non-ethnic. We adhered to this position all along as legally expected and aligned with our bylaws.

Yohannes Berhanu
ESFNA Public Relations
Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America

Spy chief Debretsion Gebrmicheal appointed as Deputy Prime Minister

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

ADDIS ABABA (Reporter) — The House of Peoples’ Representatives today approved the appointment of two new Deputy Prime Ministers. Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Debretsion Gebremichael, and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and head of the Office of the Prime Minister were both appointed to be coordinators for Finance and Economy Cluster with the rank of Deputy Prime Minister and Governance and Reform Cluster with the rank of Deputy Prime Minister respectively. Muktar was also appointed to be the Minister of Civil Service replacing Junedine Sado.

Hailemariam said that the new portfolio of his deputies is structured in a way that his administration’s focus is on good governance and reform as well as finance and economy.

In an another unprecedented move Hailemariam appointed Tewodros Adhanom (Ph.D.), minister of Health, to be Foreign Minister. Keseteberhan Admasu State Minister of Heath was appointed to be Minister of Health while Kebede Chane, who served as Minister of Trade for  over a year without the endorsement of the House, has been confirmed in the same position.

Acting Foreign Minister, Berhane Gebrekristos assumed his previous position of State Minister of Foreign Affairs. The fate of Junedine Sado, former Minister of Civil Service remains unknown.

Lone opposition MP, Girma Seifu, accepted the new cabinet reshuffle but turned down the appointment of Kebede Chanie.

How TPLF officials gave away Ethiopia’s genetic rights to Teff

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

How Ethiopia Lost Control of Its Teff Genetic Resources

By Regine Andrsen and Tone Wenge | Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI)
Photo: Marit Fikke / Development Fund

November 12, 2012

In 2005, Ethiopia concluded an agreement with the Dutch company HPFI, sharing its teff genetic resources in return for a part of the benefits that would be achieved from developing teff products for the European market.

In the end, Ethiopia received practically no benefits. Instead, due to a broad patent and a questionable bankruptcy, it lost its right to utilize and reap benefits from its own teff genetic resources in the countries where the patent is valid.

The amazing story of the Teff Agreement has been uncovered and meticulously documented in a recent FNI report by FNI researchers Regine Andersen and Tone Winge.

Teff is a food grain endemic to the Ethiopian highlands, where it has been cultivated for several thousand years. Rich in nutritional value, it is an important staple crop for Ethiopians. Since it is gluten-free, it is also interesting for markets in other parts of the world.

A 2005 agreement between Ethiopia and the Dutch company HPFI gave HPFI access to 12 Ethiopian teff varieties, which it was to use for developing new teff-based products for the European market. In return, the company was to share substantial benefits with Ethiopia.

The Teff Agreement was hailed as one of the most advanced of its time. It was seen as a pilot case for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in terms of access to and benefit-sharing from the use of genetic resources (ABS).

But the high expectations were never met: The only benefits Ethiopia ever received were 4000 Euro and a small, early interrupted research project.

And then, in 2009, the company went bankrupt. In the years prior to bankruptcy, however, HPFI managed to obtain a broad patent on the processing of teff flour in Europe, covering ripe grain, as well as fine flour, dough, batter and non-traditional teff products. This patent, along with other values of the company, had then been transferred to new companies set up by the same owners.

These companies now possess the exclusive rights to a large range of teff-based products. But as it was the now bankrupt HPFI that was Ethiopia’s contract partner, these new companies are not bound by the contractual obligations of HPFI towards Ethiopia.

Ethiopia thus ended up receiving practically none of the benefits promised under the agreement, and its future opportunities to profit from teff in international markets were smaller than before.

Regine AndersenHow was this possible?

This is what FNI researchers Regine Andersen and Tone Winge have been looking into in their new report The Access and Benefit-Sharing Agreement on Teff Genetic Resources: Facts and Lessons, published by FNI today.

Their report has been written as part of FNI’s contribution to the German-led ABS Capacity Development Initiative, focusing on mainly African experiences with access to and benefit-sharing from the use of their genetic resources.

Lessons to be learned

Tone WingeThrough their in-depth analysis of the course of events with regard to the Teff Agreement and the related patent on the processing of teff flour, Andersen and Winge attempt to extract lessons to ensure that future access and benefit-sharing agreements will have better prospects of success. They also provide recommendations for the implementation of the CBD. Some of the main conclusions can be summarized as follows:

   Under the current circumstances, even the very best ABS agreement is without value if there is no willingness to comply with it: As long as there are no measures in place in the user-countries (in the teff case: The Netherlands) such agreements can be seen as gentlemen’s agreements, requiring a basis of good faith.

   Provider countries (in the teff case: Ethiopia) need institutional and financial support to enable them to monitor ABS agreements, and to facilitate real access to justice in the user countries. A multilateral instrument for this purpose under the CBD combined with user-country legislation is probably the most realistic possibility to realize the objectives on fair and equitable benefit-sharing of the CBD and its Nagoya Protocol.

   Formulations in ABS agreements prohibiting the patenting of genetic resources may be easy to circumvent, and more sophisticated formulations should be chosen if this is to be avoided.

Susan Rice’s love affair with genocidal dictators in Africa (Michael Hirsh)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Michael Hirsh | National Journal

For a president who rarely shows emotion, Barack Obama’s surprisingly personal blast at Republican critics of Susan Rice, his U.N ambassador, suggested two things. One, Obama genuinely admires Rice and thinks she’s being unfairly criticized for giving a controversial explanation of the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack that later didn’t hold up. And two, he may well intend to name her his second-term secretary of State, as some reports indicate.

Obama made a fair point when he said Rice “had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received.” All Rice did was to carefully articulate on the Sunday TV talk shows what the administration knew at the time, “based on the best information we have to date,” as she put it.

But there are other issues with Rice’s record, both as U.N. ambassador and earlier as a senior Clinton administration official, that are all but certain to come out at any confirmation hearing, many of them concerning her performance in Africa. Critics say that since her failure to advocate an intervention in the terrible genocide in Rwanda in 1994 — Bill Clinton later said his administration’s unwillingness to act was the worst mistake of his presidency — she has conducted a dubious and naïve policy of looking the other way at allies who commit atrocities, reflecting to some degree the stark and emotionless realpolitik sometimes associated with Obama, who is traveling this week to another formerly isolated dictatorship: Burma.

Most recently, critics say, Rice held up publication of a U.N. report that concluded that the government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, with whom she has a long and close relationship, was supplying and financing a brutal Congolese rebel force known as the M23 Movement. M23’s leader, Bosco Ntaganda, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for recruiting child soldiers and is accused of committing atrocities. She has even wrangled with Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, and others in the department, who all have been more critical of the Rwandans, according to some human-rights activists who speak with State’s Africa team frequently.

Rice claimed she wanted Rwanda to get a fair hearing and examine the report first, and her spokesman, Payton Knopf, says that “it’s patently incorrect to say she slowed [it] down.” But Jason Stearns, a Yale scholar who worked for 10 years in the Congo and wrote a book called Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, says “that is not common practice with these reports. Even when Rwanda did get a hearing, all they did was to use it to smear the report and say how wrong it was.” The report has since been published.

Mark Lagon, a former assistant secretary of State under George W. Bush and a human-rights specialist at Georgetown, has generally positive things to say about Rice’s tenure as U.N. ambassador, especially her leadership in the intervention in Libya against Muammar el-Qaddafi and her revival of the administration’s failing policy on Darfur. But he too says she has fallen short on Africa. “In recent months, there is documentary evidence of atrocities in the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo], and their umbilical cord is back in Rwanda. These issues have not been raised in the Security Council, and Susan has fought the U.N. raising them in the Security Council,” Lagon says.

In September, Rice also delivered a glowing eulogy for the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, whom many rights activists considered to have been a repressive dictator.

Recently, during a meeting at the U.N. mission of France, after the French ambassador told Rice that the U.N. needed to do more to intervene in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rice was said to have replied: “It’s the eastern DRC. If it’s not M23, it’s going to be some other group,” according to an account given by a human-rights worker who spoke with several people in the room. (Rice’s spokesman said he was familiar with the meeting but did not know if she made the comment.)

If true, that rather jaded observation would appear to echo a Rice remark that Howard French, a long-time New York Times correspondent in Africa, related in an essay in the New York Review of Books in 2009, which was highly critical of Rice. In the article, headlined “Kagame’s Secret War in the Congo,” in which French calls the largely ignored conflict “one of the most destructive wars in modern history,” he suggests that Rice either naïvely or callously trusted new African leaders such as Kagame and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda to stop any future genocide, saying, “They know how to deal with that. The only thing we have to do is look the other way.” Stearns, the author, says that during Rice’s time in the Clinton administration “they were complicit to the extent that they turned a blind eye and took at face value Rwandan assurances that Rwanda was looking only after its own security interests.”

Knopf, Rice’s spokesman, says “she clearly has relationships, some of which are very close, with African leaders, and Kagame is one of them. Her view and our view is that these relationships have given her an opportunity to influence events.”

At the same time, however, Knopf says Rice has been tough and forthright in criticizing Rwandan abuses, and backed a “very strong statement out of the Security Council in August about M23.” (The statement, though, did not refer to Rwandan support directly.)

In a speech she gave at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology in November 2011, Rice took Kagame’s government to task for a political culture that “remains comparatively closed. Press restrictions persist. Civil-society activists, journalists, and political opponents of the government often fear organizing peacefully and speaking out. Some have been harassed. Some have been intimidated by late-night callers. Some have simply disappeared.”

The long conflict in Congo has sometimes been called “Africa’s World War,” because it has led to a staggering 5.4 million deaths — far more than any war anywhere since World War II. Throughout it, Kagame has appeared to play a clever game of pretending to intervene to impose peace and deliver Western-friendly policies, while in fact carving out a sphere of influence by which he can control parts of Congo’s mineral wealth.

Ironically, much of the controversy that surrounds Rice’s relationship with Kagame and other African leaders goes back to the event that Rice herself has admitted was personally wrenching for her, and influenced much of her later views: her failure to stop the Rwandan genocide.

At the time, under National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, Rice was in charge of advising Clinton’s National Security Council on peacekeeping and international organizations such as the United Nations. “Essentially, they wanted [Rwanda] to go away,” scholar Michael Barnett, who worked at the U.S. mission to the United Nations then and later wrote the book Eyewitness to Genocide, told me in an interview in 2008. “There was little interest by Rice or Lake in trying to stir up any action in Washington.”

Both Lake and Rice later said they were haunted by their inaction. In an interview in 2008, Rice told me that she was too “junior”at the time to have affected decision-making then, but that “everyone who lived through that feels profoundly remorseful and bothered by it.”

“I will never forget the horror of walking through a church and an adjacent schoolyard where one of the massacres had occurred,” Rice said in her 2011 speech in Kigali. “Six months later, the decomposing bodies of those who had been so cruelly murdered still lay strewn around what should have been a place of peace. For me, the memory of stepping around and over those corpses will remain the most searing reminder imaginable of what humans can do to one another.”

Rice’s relationship with Kagame began with her efforts to form a new African leaders group in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. Among them were Museveni and Ethiopia’s Zenawi. The Clinton administration “believed in an African renaissance,” says Stearns. “She backed this somewhat naïvely, because they were forward-looking leaders who spoke a different language. They spoke about markets.”

While Rice was serving — and despite her later denials before Congress — the Clinton administration appeared to back an invasion of the troubled Congo by Rwanda and Uganda, according to a 2002 article in the journal Current History by Columbia University scholar Peter Rosenblum. In the article, titled “Irrational Exuberance: The Clinton Administration in Africa,” Rosenblum called the invasion “a public relations disaster from which the United States has not recovered.”

ENTC has formed a new chapter in Kenya

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has continued to work on expanding its organizational reach throughout the world. This effort includes strengthening the chapters that are already established as well as forming new ones. In line with this effort, it has announced the successful completion of the formation of ENTC Kenya chapter with dedicated Ethiopians.

email: entc.kenya@gmail.com

Key Elements of Civil Resistance (video)

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The key elements are:
A. UNITY with an Effective Leadership
B. Offensive and Defensive Continuous PLANNING.
C. Non-violent DISCIPLINE.
• With Non-violent Discipline it is easy to induce loyalty shift
• Wide majority of the population don’t endorse violence.

Click here to read more and watch video.

The Tall Tale of Susan Rice

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

srOn September 2, 2012, Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., delivered a nauseatingly sentimental oration at the funeral of Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi. She called Meles “selfless and tireless” and “totally dedicated to his work and family.” She said he was “tough, unsentimental and sometimes unyielding. And, of course, he had little patience for fools, or idiots, as he liked to call them.”  The “fools” and “idiots” that Rice caricatured with rhetorical gusto and flair are Ethiopia’s  independent  journalists, opposition leaders, dissidents, political prisoners, civil society leaders and human rights advocates.Watching the video of her eulogy, one could easily say she “had gone native” completely. But it was clear that her aim was to deliver the last punch to the gut of Meles’ opponents as a sendoff present.

As the old saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together”. Rice, like Meles, likes to insult and humiliate those who disagree with her. She had a reputation in the State Department as boor and a bit of a bully; or as those who knew her say, she was a “bull-in-a-china-shop”. She is known for verbal pyrotechnics, shouting matches and finger wagging at meetings. On one occasion, she is reported to have flipped her middle finger at the late Richard Holbrooke, the dean of American diplomats, at a senior State Department staff meeting. Prior to the onset of the air campaign in Libya in March 2012, France’s U.N. ambassador, Gerard Araud, advised Rice that the European Union would seek a no-fly zone resolution from the Security Council regardless of U.S. support. She gave Araud the verbal equivalent of a kick in the rear end: “You’re not going to drag us into your shitty war.” She later tried to claim full credit for the effort: “We need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond, a no-fly zone at this point, as the situation on the ground has evolved, and as a no-fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk.” This past July when China and Russia at the U.N. blocked adoption of language linking climate change to international security, she lambasted them as “pathetic” and “shortsighted” and accused them of “dereliction of duty.”

That was then. In the past several days, Rice was on the receiving end. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham virtually called Rice a fool and an idiot for her statements following the U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya on September 11 in which four Americans were murdered. Rice appeared on five national Sunday talk shows five days after the attack and made the boldfaced claim that the attack on the consulate “was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo in response to this very offensive video that was disseminated”. According to Rice, the protest by a “small number of people who came to the consulate” was “hijacked” by “clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons.”

Senator McCain showed “little patience for fools, or idiots” and fairy tales when he angrily threatened  to block Rice if she were nominated to become Secretary of State: “Susan Rice should have known better, and if she didn’t know better, she’s not qualified. She has proven that she either doesn’t understand or she is not willing to accept evidence on its face. There is no doubt five days later what this attack was and for.”  Rice’s Benghazi story was reminiscent of the bedtime stories of the late Meles Zenawi.

Truth be told, only a “fool” or an “idiot” would not know or reasonably surmise the attack on the U.S. consulate  was a terrorist act. CIA Director David Petraeus recently testified that from the moment he heard of the attack, he knew it was a terrorist act. He included this fact in the talking points he sent to the White House which somehow got redacted form Rice’s public statements. The experts and pundits also called it a terrorist act. For Rice, it was a protest gone wrong.

But there remain a number of puzzling questions: Why was Rice selected to become the point person on the attack in light of President Obama’s defense that Rice “had nothing to do with Benghazi.” Why didn’t Hilary Clinton step up to explain what happened? Did the White House throw Rice under the bus to save Hilary? Was Rice supposed to provide plausible deniability and political cover until the election was over by calling a manifest terrorist attack a protest over an offensive anti-Muslim video?  Did Rice have to fall on the Benghazi sword to divert attention or delay accountability for the Administration’s failure to take appropriate preventive action in Benghazi as the price for nomination to the job of Secretary of State? Or was the White House trying to showcase Rice’s diplomatic adroitness and savvy in a futile attempt to bridge her unbridgeable competence and “stature gap” to become America’s foreign policy chief?

President Obama was ready to drive a lance through the heart of Republican villains hell bent on capturing and devouring his prevaricating damsel in distress. He told McCain and Graham to bring it on. If the Republican duo and their buddies “want to go after somebody, they should go after me. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador? Who had nothing to do with Benghazi? And was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? To besmirch her reputation is outrageous.” That was great drama staged by “no drama Obama.” 

What is mindboggling is the fact that Rice would believe and earnestly propagate such a cock-and-bull story about the Benghazi attack. Rice is a person with extraordinary credentials. She is a graduate of Stanford and Oxford Universities and a Rhodes scholar to boot! She was a top official in the National Security Agency and an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Clinton Administration. She has two decades of solid high level foreign policy experience. Yet five days after the attack, Rice shuttled from one news talk show to another telling the American people the Benghazi attack was not an act of terrorism. Is that willful ignorance, foolishness or idiocy?

The fact that the attack occurred on September 11 –  a day that shall live in infamy in American history — and the attackers used their trademark “heavier weapons” (to use Rice’s words) of terrorism — pickup mounted machine guns, AK-47s, RPGs, hand grenades, mortars and IEDs — meant nothing to Rice. The fact that in Libya today there are all sorts of militias, rebel groups, Islamist radicals and terrorist cells are operating freely did not suggest the strong possibility of a terrorist attack for Rice. The fact that Gadhafi made Libya a state sponsor of terrorism for decades provided no historical context for Rice. Simply stated, in the Benghazi attack Rice saw something that looked like a duck, walked like a duck and quacked like a duck, but she concluded it was a giraffe.

The race card-ists and race baiters came out in full battle dress to defend Rice against charges of  “incompetence”. Rep. Jim Clyburn, House Assistant Democratic Leader, was the first to strike a blow by politicizing Rice’s incompetence. “You know, these are code words. These kinds of terms that those of us — especially those of us who were grown and raised in the South — we’ve been hearing these little words and phrases all of our lives and we get insulted by them. Susan Rice is as competent as anybody you will find.”  A group of democratic lawmakers delivered a second salvo charging “sexism and racism”. That was the shot across the bow and the message to the Republicans is clear:

Obama wants Rice as Secretary of State. He has won re-election. Rice will be nominated. Republicans who oppose her will be tarred and feathered as racists, sexists and misogynists persecuting a competent black woman. They will be demonized, dehumanized and discredited in the media. The democrats have 55 votes in the Senate and will be able to peel off at least 5 Republicans to end a filibuster. Rice will get the job of Secretary of State. Republicans will have eggs on their faces and will look like fools and idiots at the end of the day.

Such is the Democrat game plan and screenplay for victory and triumph in the Rice nomination. The Republicans will probably put up a nominal fight but will eventually fold under a withering Democrat attack. Rice will rise triumphant.

Rice’s confirmation as Secretary of State will be a sad day for American foreign policy because she is simply not qualified to be America’s diplomat-in-chief. Her confirmation will mark the saddest day for human rights throughout the world and particularly in Africa. Thetired, the poor, the huddled masses of Africa yearning to breath free will continue to find themselves in the iron chokehold of African dictators for another four years as Rice turns a blind eye to massive human rights violations. African dictators will be beating their drums and dancing in the streets. They will be happier than pigs in mud. They know she will have their backs for another four years. With Rice at the helm, there will be more money, more aid and more loans for African dictators. But the truth must be told. Calling Rice “incompetent” is a fact, not a racially coded denigration of African Americans. To paraphrase Clyburn, Rice is as incompetent as you will find.

The Peter Principle essentially states that in an organization where promotion is based on achievement, success, and merit, that organization’s members will eventually be promoted beyond their level of ability. In other words, “employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence.” The Dilbert principle states organizations tend to systematically promote their least-competent employees to higher management positions in order to limit the amount of damage they are capable of doing. If Rice succeeds Hilary Clinton, she will be a living example of the fusion of the Peter and Dilbert Principles at the highest level of the American government.

Let the truth be told: Susan Rice is simply not competent to become U.S. Secretary of State! To be a competent diplomat-in-chief of a great country, fundamental moral integrity is a necessity. Rice is incompetent because she lacks not only the moral judgment to tell right from wrong and truth from falsehood, but she is also incapable of distinguishing between two wrongs. In March 2012, Rice scathingly condemned Iran, North Korea and Syria “for their mass violations of human rights”. On September 2, 2012, she delivered a canonizing oration at the funeral of one of the ruthless dictators in recent African history. Twelve days before Rice recited Meles’ hagiography, Human Rights Watch issued a report stating, “Ethiopia has seen a sharp deterioration in civil and political rights, with mounting restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. The ruling party has increasingly consolidated its power, weakening the independence of core institutions such as the judiciary and the independent media that are crucial to the rule of law.”

A competent Secretary of State must have a working knowledge of military operations. Rice is clueless about military and paramilitary operations. She said the Benghazi attackers used “heavier weapons” but she could not connect the signature weapons of terrorists to the attackers who used them. Cluelessly or disingenuously, she tried to convince Americans and the world that a coordinated assault on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi was caused by “a small number of people” whose “protest” had gone awry!

A competent Secretary of State must have sound political judgment. Despite her stellar education and broad experience in foreign policy, Rice has traded intellectual integrity and prudence for blind political ambition. She seems incapable of discerning truth from falsehood even when it is obvious. She seems to have little concern for the truth or falsity of what she says; and evidently, she will say anything to advance her political ambitions in reckless disregard for the manifest truth. As Senator McCain perceptively observed, “she either doesn’t understand or she is not willing to accept evidence on its face”. She also does not seem to understand or appreciate the fact that a high level public official in her position has an obligation to undertake due diligence to find out what is true and what is false before swaggering in public peddling boldfaced lies.

A competent Secretary of State diplomat must subordinate his/her political ambitions to his/her patriotic duty to those who put their lives on the line to defend American values. Rice is incompetent because she will put her own political ambitions and loyalties to her political party above her patriotic duty to her fallen compatriots. She is a person for whom political expediency and opportunism are the creed of life.  She will blindly tow the party line and support a policy without regard to principles or scruples. In other words, Susan Rice is a party hack and not material for the job of America’s diplomat-in-chief.

A competent Secretary of State must have intellectual courage and conviction. Rice is incompetent because she lacks intellectual courage, commitment and conviction. In a scholarly writing in 2006, Rice energetically argued that “Mali [as] an example of a well-governed country that suffers from capacity gaps that extremist groups have been able to exploit.  Mali cooperates fully with the United States on counterterrorism matters.”  In April 2012, when radical Islamist rebels took over Northern Mali and split the country in half, all she could offer was an empty statement calling on “all parties in Mali (including murderous terrorists) to seek a peaceful solution through appropriate political dialogue.” She folded her hands and watched for nearly four years doing nothing as Mali spiraled from a “well-governed country” to a divided strife-stricken country half of which today is a haven for murderous terrorists. Rice will talk the talk but not walk the talk.

A competent Secretary of State must be tempered in language and demeanor. Rice is incompetent because she lacks diplomatic temperament and thrives on being antagonistic, condescending and disrespectful to colleagues and other diplomats. A bullying and loose cannon Secretary of State cannot perform his/her job competently. She has a disgusting scatological lexicon. She is intolerant and arrogant and will try to vilify into submission those who disagree with her.

It is said that “stupid is as stupid does”; so “incompetent is as incompetent does”. I hope President Obama will not nominate Rice to replace Clinton. But I believe he will and we will all get to see a Shakespearean mini-drama at the confirmation hearings: “To be, or not to be (Secretary of State): that is the question (for Rice):/Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer (for all the lies she has told)/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (in a Senate confirmation hearing),/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles (by coming clean and telling the truth)…/.

I believe Rice will be will be exposed for what she really is at the confirmation hearing– a grand obfuscator of the truth, an artful dodger and a masterful artist of political expediency and intrigue. In 1994, when the Clinton Administration pretended to be ignorant of the terror in Rwanda and the death toll continued to rise by the thousands, Rice’s concern was not taking immediate action to stop the genocide and saving lives but the political consequences of calling the Rwandan tragedy a “genocide” and saving her job and others in her party. She had the audacity, moral depravity and sheer callous indifference to ask, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?”

Did Rice avoid using the word “terrorism” in explaining the Benghazi attack because she was concerned about the political costs the President would have to pay in the November election if the voters were to see him as doing nothing to prevent it?

At the end of the day, what Rice told the American people five days after the Benghazi attack, to quote Shakespeare, “is a (tall) tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

የሱዛን ራይስ ሸፍጥ በቤንጋዚው ጥቃት ላይ!

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

ከፕሮፌሰር  ዓለማየሁ  ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም  ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

በሴፕቴምበር 2 2012 የአሜሪካዋ አምባሳደር በተባበሩት መንግስታት: ሱዛን ራይስ በኢትዮጵያ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስ ዜናዊ የቀብር ስርአት ላይ ስሜታዊ ሆና የሚያቅለሸልሽ ቃላት ያዘለ ንግግር አነብንባ ነበር፡፡ መለስን፤ ‹‹የማይደክምና ራሱን የማይወድ››በአጠቃላይ እሱነቱ ለስራውና ለቤተሰቡ የሆነ ብላዋለች፡፡ ‹‹ጠንካራ፤ በእምነቱ የጸና እና በእርግጥም ለጂሎችና ለደደቦች  እሱ እንደሚጠራቸው ትእግስቱ ትንሽ ነበር፡፡ ሱዛን ራይስ ይህን ቅጥ ያጣና ከአንድ አሜሪካን ከሚያህል ሃገር ወኪል ጨርሶ ሊሰማ የማይገባ ያልተገራ ንግግር ስታደርግ ጅልና ደደብ የሚለውን ቃል በድፍረትና በአጥንኦት የለጠፈችው በኢትዮጵያዊያን ነጻ ጋዜጠኞች፤የተቃዋሚ መሪዎች፤ተሟጋቾች፤የፖለቲካ እስረኞች፤የሲቪል ማሕበረ ሰብ መሪዎች፤እና የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋቾች ላይ ነው፡፡ የንግግሯን ቪዲዮ በመመልከት  ሴትዮዋ ይህን ንግግር የመለስን ተቃዋሚዎች በመጨረሻ ጡጫ  ደረታቸዉን ብላ ለመለስ የአስከሬን መሸኛ አድርጋ ማቅረቧ እንደነበር ያስታውቃል፡፡

‹‹ አንድ አይነት ላባ ያላቸው ወፎች አብረው ይከንፋሉ›› ይባባል፡፡ ራይስ እንደ መለስ ሁሉ ተቃዋሚዎቿንና ሃሳቧን የማይጋሯትን ትሳደባለች ታንቋሽሻለች፡፡ በስቴት ዲፓርትመንት አካባቢ የሚያውቋት በዘለፋ በቁጣና በማስፈራራት አነጋገራዎ ነው፡፡ በዚህም አጉል ደንፊ ተብላ ትታወቃለች፡፡ አለያም በጣም በሚያውቋት ዘንድ ‹‹የቻይና መደብር በሬ›› (አተራማሽ ወይም በጥባጭ ማለት ነው) ይሏታል፡፡ በስብሰባዎች ላይ በቃላት ርችት፤በአፈነበልባል፤በጣት ቀሳሪነት ራይስ ትታወቃለች፡፡ በአንድ ወቅት በአሜሪካን ዲፕሎማቶች ዋና ታዋቂ በነበሩት ሪቻርድ ሆል ብሩክ ላይ የበላዮች ስቴት ዲፓርትመንት አባላት ስብሰባ ላይ በአሜሪካንና በሌላውም ዓለም በሳቸው ደረጃ ካሉ ሰዎች የማይጠበቀውንና ጸያፍ ተብሎ የሚጠራውን ድርጊት በአደባባይ የመሃል ጣታቸውን ቀስረውባቸዋል ይባላል፡፡

በማርች 2012 የፈረንሳዩ የተባበሩት መንግስታት አምባሳደር ለራይስ እንደምክር የአውሮፓ ዩኒየን አሜሪካ ደገፈም አልደገፈም የበረራ ክልከላ ዞን ከተባበሩት መንግስታት የደህንነት ካውንስል ይፈልጋል በማለት ላቀረቡላት ሃሳብ ራይስ ለአምባሳደሩ ወሽመጥ በሚቆርጥ አነጋገር ‹‹መቼም ወደ አዛባ ጦርነታችሁ እንደማትጎትቱን አምናለሁ›› በማለት ከያዘችው ስልጣንና ከፈረንሳይ አቻዋ ጋር ሊደረግ በማይገባ የጋጠ ወጥ አባባል መልሳላቸዋል፡፡ በኋላ ግን ይህ ያጥላላችው ሃሳብ አመርቂ ውጤት በማስገኘቱ የሃሰቡ አፍላቂ በመምሰል ምስጋናውን ጠቅላ ለራሷ ለማድረግ በመዘየድ ‹‹ከማሰብና ከማቀድ ባለፈ የበረራ ክልከላውን ዞን በማጠናከር ልናተኩርበትና ልንተገብረውም አስፈላጊነቱ ወሳኝ ነው፡፡ የምድሩ ፍልሚያ ብዙም ስላላዋጣና ሲቪል ማህበረሰቡንም ከአደጋው ለመጠበቅ አዋጪው ይሄው ነውና›› በማለት ቀድማ ያጣጣለችውንና የፈረንሳዩን አቻዋን የሰደበችበትን ሃሳብ መልሳ በራሷ አፍላቂነት የተገኘ ለማስመሰል ጥራበታለች፡፡ ባለፈው ጁላይ ቻይናና ሩስያ ስለዓየር ለውጥ የቀረበውን ሂደት በተቃወሙበት ወቅት ራይስ ጉደኛዋ እዚህም ላይ ‹‹እርባና ቢስ›› ‹‹ሃሳበ ቢስ›› በማለት በማጣጣል ‹‹ የተግባር ውድቀት›› በማለት ኮንናቸዋለች፡፡

ያ እንግዲህ ያ ነበር፡፡ባለፈው ሳምንት በቤንጋዚ ሊቢያ ውስጥ በሴፕቴምበር 11 የ አራት አሜሪካውያንን ሕይወት የቀጠፈውን በአሜሪካን ኮንሱሌት የደረሰውን ፍንዳታ አስመልክቶ ራይስ በሰጠችው ዘገባ የተነሳ የሪፓብሊካን ሴኔተሮች ጆን ማኬይንና ሊንድሲ ግራሃም ሱዛን ራይስን ጅል ደደብ ስራዋን የማታዉቅ ናት የሚል ሃያል አስተያየታቸውን ሰንዝረውባታል፡፡ ራይስ ከፍንዳታው አምስት ቀናት በኋላ በአምስት የተሌቪዝን ዜና ፕሮግራሞች ላይ ቀርባ፤ “በኮንስሌቱ ላይ የደረሰው ፍንዳታ ግብታዊ፤ በእቅድ ያልተደረገ፤ ነው:: በካይሮ በተነሳሳው ተቃውሞ ላይ የተመሰረተና ዋናው አነሳሽም አጸያፊውና አሳዛኝ የሆነው የእስላምን እምነት የሚያንቁያሽሽ የቪዲዮ ዝግጅት ያስከተለው ነው” በማለት ገለጠች፡፡ እንደ ራይስ አባባል፤በጥቂት ሰዎች ስብስብ ወደ ኤምባሲው የሄደው የተቃውሞ ትዕይንት በድንገት በተጠናከረ መሳርያ በታጠቁ አክራሪ ስብስቦች ‹‹ተጠልፎ›› ነው አደጋው የተፈጸመው ብላ ነበር፡፡

‹‹ሴኔተር ማኬይን ለ‹‹ጅሎችና ለደደቦች ትዕግስታቸው ማለቁን›› እና ለራይስ ተረት ተረት ጨዋታ ቁጣቸው ገንፍሎ ራይስ የውጭ ጉዳይ  ዋና አስተዳደሪ ሆና ስሟ ለምርጫ ቢቀርብ ተቃውሟቸው የከረረ እንደሚሆንና ለማሳገድም እንደሚጥሩ አስጠንቅቀው ነበር፡፡ ‹‹ሱዛን ራይስ ቀድማ ልታውቅ ይገባት ነበር፡፡ ሳታውቅ ከቀረች ደግሞ ለቦታው ጨርሶ አትመጥንም፡፡ አንድ ያረጋገጠችው ጉዳይ ቢኖር፤ ወይ አይገባትም ደድባለች አለያም፤ ያገጠጠውን ሃቅ መቀበል ቸግሯታል” ብለው በሃይል ቃል ተናግረዋል፡፡ ይህ የጥቃት ድርጊት ከአምስት ቀን በኋላ በእውነታነት የተረጋገጠው ነገር ነበር፡፡ለነገሩ የራይስ የቤንጋዚ ታሪክ የቀድሞው መለስ ዜናዊ የመኝታ ሰአት ተረት ተረት ቅሪትን ያስታዉሳል፡፡››

ሃቅ በገሃድ ይውጣ::  በቤንጋዚ የአሜሪካን ኮንሱሌት ላይ የደረሰው ጥቃት የሽብርተኞች መሆኑን ማወቅ የተሳነው አለያም መገመት ያቃተው ‹‹ጅል››ና ‹‹ደደብ›› ብቻ ነው፡፡ የሲ አይ ኤ ዋና ሹም የነበሩት ፔትራዩስ፤ በቅርቡ በሰጡት መግለጫ መሰረት፤ ፍንዳታው መፈጸሙን እነደሰሙ ድርጊቱ የሽብርተኛች መሆኑን ወዲው ማወቃቸውንና ማረጋገጣቸውን ይፋ አድርገዋል፡፡ ይህን መግለጫ ለሁዋይት ሃውስ የመነጋገርያ ነጥብ  እንዲሆን ቢያቀርቡትም ከራይስ ንግግር ላይ አልገባም ነበር:: ለነገሩ ግራ የሚያጋባው ጉዳዩ በአግባቡ የሚያገባቸውና መግለጫውንም ሊሰጡ የሚገባቸው ዋና አስተዳዳሪዋ ሂላሪ ክሊንተን ሆነው ሳለ፤በምን ሰበብ ራይስ ጥልቅ እንዳለች ግልጽ አይደለም፡፡ ለምን ሂላሪ መግለጫውን አልሰጡም፤ወይስ ሁዋይት ሃውስ ሂላሪን ለማዳን ሲል ራይስን አውቶቡስ ጎማ ስር እንደታኮ አስቀመጣት? ወይስ ራይስ እውነት የሚመስል ቅጥፈትና የፖለቲካ ሽፋን ለመስጠት ነበር የሽብርተኞች ድርጊት አይደለም ያለችው? ካልሆነስ፤ ምናልባት በቤንጋዚው ስለታማ ጉዳይ

ላይ ወድቃ አስፈላጊውን እርምጃ በወቅቱና ባስቸኳይ ባለመወሰዱ ያደረሰውን ጉዳት መከላከያ ለማቅረብ የሞከረችህው? ወይስ በቤንጋዚ ለተፈጸመው እኩይ ተግባር ራይስ መሳርያ በመሆን ወደ፤ የሃገር አስተዳዳሪነቱን ሹመት ለማግኘትበቀላማጅነት መቅረቧ ነው፡፡ ወይስ ሁዋይት ሃውስ የራይስን የእውቀት ደረጃ፤ ጥንካሬ፤ያላትን አይደፈሬነትማስመሰልና የተፈጠረውን ክፍተት ለማጥበብ ሲባል ለሹመቱ ያላትን ብቃት ለማረጋገጥ የተፈጸመ ነው?

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ የሪፓብሊካን ራይስ አቀንቃኞች ላይ ጎራዴአቸዉን መዘው ነበር የወጡት፡፡ ማኬይንንና እና ግራሃምን ኦባማ ሲናገርዋቸው ‹‹ሪፓብሊካኖችናወዳጆቻቸው ሰው ማጥቃት ካሰቡ እኔን ማጥቃት ይችላሉ፡፡ ግን በአንዲት የሃገሪቱን የተባበሩት መንግስታትአምባሳደር ላይ መነሳሳት? በቤንጋዚ ጉዳይ በማያገባት ላይ? እና ከደህንነት ክፍሉ ያገኘችውን መግለጫ መሰረትአድርጋ በመናገሯ? ስሟንና ተግባሯን ማጥላላትና ማንቋሸሽ አሳዘኝ ተግባር ነው፡፡››  ይሄ እንግዲህ ‹‹የኦባማ ድራማ ›› በሚባለው አይነት የተቀነባበረ ትእይንት ድራማ ነበር፡፡

ለሕሊና የሚከብደውና አሳፋሪ ነገር ግን ይህን የመሰለውን ቅጥ አምባሩ የጠፋ የቤንጋዚ የጥቃት ታሪክ ራይስ አምና ለአለም ማስተጋባቷ ነው፡፡ራይስ እኮ እንደብዙዎቻችን ዝም ብላ አይደለችም፡፡ የስታንፈርድ እና የኦክስፎርድ ዩኒቨርስቲዎች ተመራቂ፤የሮድስ ስኮላር፤ በናሽናል ሴኪዩሪቲ ኤጀንሲ ከፍተኛ ቦታ ላይ የነበረች፤ በክሊንተን አስተዳደር ወቅት የሃገር አስተዳደር የአፍሪካ ጉዳይ ምክትል ጸሃፊ የነበረች ከፍ ያለች ባለስልጣን እኮ ናት፡፡ በሃገር የውጭ ግንኙነት የበርካታ ዓመታትልምድ ያላት ሰው ናት፡፡ያም ሆኖ አደጋው ከተፈጸመ ከአምስት ቀናት በኋላ ራይስ ከአንዱ ቴሌቪዥን ፕሮግራም ወደ ሌላው እየከነፈች፤ ለአሜሪካን ሕዝብ የቤንጋዚው ፍንዳት የአስሸባሪዎች (ቴሬሪስቶች) ጥቃት አይደለም በማለት ታስተጋባ ጀመር፡፡ ታዲያ ይሄ የአውቆ ደደብነት ነው ወይስ የጅል መልካም አስተሳብ? ፍንዳታው በሴፕቴምበር 11 መፈጸሙ፤ጥቃቱን የፈጸሙት መታወቂያቸው የሆነውን (ራይስ እንደአለችው) የሽብር መፈጸሚያቸውን ‹‹ከባድ መሳርያዎች›› የተተቀሙ፤ ……..በመኪና ላይ የተደገነ መትረየስ፤ ኤኬ-47ቶች (ካላሽ)፤ አርፒጂዎች የእጅ ቦምቦች፤ ሞርታሮች፤ ይሄ ሁሉ የጥፋት ቁሳቁስ ለራይስ ምንም ነገር መስሎ አልታያትም፡፡ ከጋዳፊ ከስልጣን መወገድ ቀደም ብሎ፤ብዙ ዓይነት ሚሊሺያዎች አመጸኞች፤ በርካታ የሽብር ድርጅቶች (ሴሎች) በቤንጋዚ መኖራቸው ለራይስ የሽብር ጥቀቱን ሊያመጣ እንደሚችል ሊያስገምታት አልቻለም:: ጋዳፊ ሊቢያን ለብዙ ዓመታት ለሽብርተኞች ሃገራዊ እርዳታ ለጋሽ አድርጓት እንደነበር ለራይስ ምንም አይነት ታሪካዊ እንድምታ ሊያስገነዝባት አልቻለም፡፡ በቀላሉ አነጋገር ለራይስ ጉዳዩ እንደ ወፍ መስሎ እንደ ወፍ ተራምዶ ቢታያትም እሷ ግን ግመል ነው ብላ ደመደመች፡፡

የእሽቅድድሙ አባሎችና የሩጫው አራጋቢዎች የራይስን የችሎታ ማነስ ሊያስተባብሉ ከያሉበት ተጠራርተው የጦር ልብሳቸውን ተላብሰው ተሰባሰቡ፡፡ የዴሞክራት ምከር ቤት መሪ ጂም ክላይበርን የመጀመርያው ተከላካይ ነበር፡፡‹‹አያችሁ እነዚህ እኮ የሚስጥር አነጋገር ቃላቶች ናቸው፡፡ እኛ እነዚህን አባባሎች በተለይም እኛ በደቡብ  ተወልደን ያደግነው፤ህይወታችንን ሙሉ እነዚህን ቃላት (የስራ ችሎታ የላቸዉም) ስነባል ስንሰደብ ነው የኖርነው:: ሱዛን ራይስ ከማንም የማታንስ አዋቂ ናት:›› ብለው ተናገሩ::  ሌሎች ዴሞክራቶችም ጉዳዩን ‹‹የጾታና የዘር›› አድርገው መኮነን ጀመሩ፡፡ ምን አይነት እሳቤ ማጣት ነው?  ሆኖም: ራይስን ‹‹ችሎታ ቢስ ማለት?›› ስም  ማጥፋት አይደለም:: እውነት ነው እንጂ::

ጥረቱ ማኬይንንና ግራሃምን ለማዋረድ ተብሎ የተቃጣና የራይስን ችሎታ ቢስነት ለማድበስበስ ተብሎ የታቀደ ነው፡፡ መልክቱ ለሪፕቡሊካኖች ግልጥ ነው። ፕሬዝደንት ኦባማ ራይስን ዉጭ ጉዳይ መሪ እንድትሆን ይፈለጋሉ። ተቃዋሚ ረፑብሊካኖች ከወጡ እንደ ዘርኛና ሴቶችን እንደሚጠሉ ሆነው በብዙሃን ይቀርባሉ። ራይስ ቩመቱን ታገኛለች፥ ረፑብሊካንስ ይከሽፋሉ የሚል ዝየዳ ነው ደሞክራቶች የያዙት። ሊሰራላችው ይችላል።

ዕውነቱ ግን ራይስ የትም ቢጓዙ የማትገኝ ችሎታ ቢስ ፍጡር ናት፡፡ የአንድ ታላቅ ሃገር ብቃት ያለው ዲፕሎማት ለመሆን መሰረታዊ የሞራል ብቃት ዋነኛ ተፈላጊው ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ራይስ ሃቁን ከውሸቱ ለይታ ለማወቅ የሞራል የፍርድ ሚዛን የጎደላት በመሆኗ ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ ሁለት ውሸቶችን ለመለየትም ቢሆን ችሎታው እጅጉን ይጎድላታል፡፡ በማርች 2012፤ ራይስ በጭፍኗ  ኢራንን፤ ሰሜን ኮርያን፤ሲሪያን ስለሚያካሂዱት የሰብአዊ መብት ጥሰት እስከመጨረሻ ድረስ ኮነነቻቸው፡፡ በሴፕቴምበር 2, 2012 በአሁኑ የአፍሪካ ታሪክ ተወዳዳሪ የማይገኝለት ፈላጭ ቆራጭ በሆነው መሪ ቀብር ላይ ተገኝታ በሙገሳ መላክ የሚያስመስል የተካበ ንግግሯን አሰማች፡፡ ራይስ የመለስን የሕይወት ታሪክ ከማቅረቧ አስራ ሁለት ቀናት ቀደም ብሎ፤ሁመን ራይትስ ዎች የተባለው ዓለም አቀፍ የሰብአዊ መብት ጠባቂ ድርጅት‹‹በኢትዮጵያ የሲቪልና የፖለቲካ መብት ሂደት እያሽቆለቆለ በመሄድ ላይ ነው፡፡ ሃሳብን በነጻ መግለጽ፤በማህበርመደራጀት፤ መሰብሰብ፤ ሁሉ እገዳ እየተደረገባቸው ነው፡፡ ገዢው ፓርቲ የጉልበት ስልጣኑን በመቆጣጠር፤ የፍትሕ አካላትን ፤የመገናኛ ብዙሃንን ነጻነት ለሕግ የበላይነት በእጅጉ አስፈላጊ የሆኑትን በመቆጣጠር በደል መፈጸሙእየባሰበት ነው›› በማለት መግለጫ አውቷል፡፡

ብቃት ያለው ዲፕሎማት ስለወታደራዊ ተቋም በቂ እውቀት ሊኖረው ይገባል፡፡ በውጭ ጉዳይ ተግባር ላይ በቂ ልምድና ትምህርት ቢኖራትም: ራይስ የስልጣን መጨበጫውን መንገድ በጭፍን የፖለቲካ ምኞቷ ሸቅጣዋለች፡፡ ዕውነትን ከመቀላመድ ለመለየት ችሎታ ያነሳት ትመስላለች፡፡ ራይስ የራሷን የፖለቲካ ምኞት እስካሳካላት ድረስ አውነት ይሁን ሃሰትጉዳይዋ አይደለምና ምንም ነገር ከማለት ወደኋላ አትልም፡፡ ሴኔተር ማኬይን እንደታዘቡትና እንዳሰቀመጡት ‹‹ሴትዮዋ ወይም ምንም አይገባትም፤ አለያም ማስረጃን ከነማስረጃው ሲቀርብ መቀበል አትፈቅድም›› ብለዋል:: ከዚያም አልፎእንደ አንድ በሷ ደረጃ ያለ ከፍተኛ ሕዝባዊ ባለስልጣን በሕዝብ ፊት ቀርቦ ያገጠጠ ውሸትን ከማቅረብ በፊት እውነቱንና ሃሰቱን አጥርቶ ማወቅ ይጠበቅበታል፡፡

ብቃት ያለው ዲፕሎማት፤የሷን/የሱን የፖለቲካ ምኞት ከሱ/ከሷ ብሔራዊ ግዳጅ ጋር ማዛመድ ጠበቅበታል፡፡ የራሷንየፖለቲካ ምኞትና ጠቀሜታ ለፓርቲዋ መገልገያ አድርጋ በማስቀደም፤ ብሔራዊ ሃላፊነቷን ስለምትተወው ራይስ ችሎታ ይጎድላታል ብሔራዊ ተአመኒነትም የላትም፡፡ ራይስ የፖለቲካ ጥቅም እና ጥቅም አሳዳጅነት፤ ከምንም በላይቅድሚያ የምትሰጣቸው መመሪያዎቿ ናቸው፡፡ በጭፍኗ የፓርቲዋን መስመር በመከተል ምንም አይነት ፖሊሲ ቢሆን ያለምንም ዓላማና ግንዛቤ  የምታራምድ ናት፡፡ የራሷን የፖለቲካ ምኞት እስካሳካለት ድረስ ምንም ይሁን ምንም የአለምንም ይሉኝታ ተግባራዊ ከማድረግ የማትመለስ፤የሞራል ግዴታዋን ጠቅልላ የጣለች አደራ በላ ናት፡፡ በአጭሩ የፓርቲ አናፋሽ ሆና የራሷን የፖለቲካ ምኞት ብቻ ለማሳካት የምትኖር ግለ ሰብ ናት፡፡

ብቃት ያለው ዲፕሎማት የችሎታ ጥንካሬ ሊኖረው ግድ ነው፡፡ የችሎታ ጥንካሬና ሃለፊነት ስለሚጎላት ራይስ ችሎታ ያንሳታል፡፡ በ2006 ባቀረበችው ምሁራዊ ጽሁፏ፤ ራይስ ማሊ እንደ መልካም አስተዳደር ያላት ሃገር በችሎታ ማነስ የምትሰቃይ ሃገርና አክራሪዎች ሲመዘብሯት የኖረች ሀጋር ናት በማለት ጽፋ ነበር፡፡ ማሊ በጸረሽብርተኝነት ከአሜሪካ መንግስት ጋር የጠበቀ ትስስር ያላት ናት፡፡ በኤፕሪል 2012 አክራሪ የሙስሊም አፈንጋጮች ሰሜናዊ ማሊን በመያዝ ሃገሪቱን ለሁለት በከፈሉበት ወቅት ግን፤ራይስ ያደረሰችው ዕርዳታ ‹‹በማሊ ያሉት ፓርቲዎች ሁሉ አግባብነት ባለው የፖለቲካ ውይይት ሰላማዊ ኑሮን ሊቀጥሉ ይገባል›› የሚል የቃላት ድርደራ ብቻ ነበር፡፡ ያቺ‹‹የመልካም አስተዳደር›› ሃገር የነበረች ማሊ የተከፋፈለችና ለመከራ የተዳረገች፤ የሽብርተኞች መናሃርያ ስትሆን በትንሹ ለአራት ዓመታት ራይስ ቃላት ከመደርደር ባሻገር እርምጃውን መራመድ ግን አልቻለችም፡፡

ብቃት ያለው ዲፕሎማት በቃላት አጠቃቀሙና በምግባሩ ሁሉ የታረመ ሊሆን ተገቢ ነው፡፡ የዲፕሎማቲክ አስተሳሰብ ስለሚጎድላት፤ዘወትር ነገር ጫሪ ሆና ስለምትገኝ፤ አብረዋት ለሚሰሩትና ለሌሎች ዲፕሎማቶች አክብሮት ስለሌላት፤ጉረኛና ደንፊ በመሆኗ ራይስ የችሎታ ማነስ ችግር አለባትና ብቃት የላትም፡፡ ሱዛን ራይስን ‹‹ጅል››አለያም ‹‹ግሳንግስ››ብዬ ዝቅ ለማለት አልፈልግም፡፡ ለነገሩ፤ ሁለቱንም እንዳይደለች አምናለሁ:: ይልቁንስ፤የራሷን የፖለቲካ ምኞት ለማሳክት ስትል እሷነቷን ለሽያጭ የምታቀርብ፤ አስሊ፤ሸፍጠኛ፤ተንኮለኛ፤ሰሪ፤ ሃሳብ ሰላቢ፤ራስ ወዳድ፤ የሆነች ፖለቲከኛ ናት፡፡ ሃሰትን ለመሸፋፈን በሚደረግ ሴራ ውስጥ ፈቃደኛ ሽፋን ሆና የምታገለግል እኩይ ባህሪ ያላት ናት፡፡ በዚህም በመሸፋፈን ተግባሯ  ስለሽብርተኞቹ ሁኔታ በማለባበስ በድርጊቱ ሕይወታቸው ያለፉትን አራት አሜሪካዊያን አርበኞች የግድያ መንስኤ ምንነት አሳንሳ አቅርባ የአሜሪካንንና የዓለምን ሕብረተሰብ ለማታለል ከንቱ ጥረት አሳየች፡፡

‹‹ውዳቂ እንደውዳቂው ሁኔታ ነው›› እንደሚባለው ‹‹የችሎታ ማነስም እንደችሎታው አናሳነት ነው››፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንትኦባማ ራይስ ክሊንተንን እንድትተካ አይመርጧትም የሚል ተስፋ አለኝ፡፡ ከመረጧትም ከባድና ትልቅ  ሼክስፒራዊ  ችግር ይገጥማታል፡፡ (የሃገር አስተዳደር) ‹‹መሆን ወይም አለመሆን›› ያ ነው ጥያቄው፡፡‹‹ከሕሊና ጭንቀት መላቀቅ ያ ነው ክብር የሞላው›› (ለቀላመደቻቸው እብለቶች ሁሉ) ላልታሰበው ሽንቆጣና ቀስቶች ፍላጻ ላልታሰበው መጻኢ እድል ውሳኔ (በሴኔቱ ዘንድ ለሚደረገው እሰጥ አገባ) አለያም በባሀሩ ላይ ላለው ሞገድ መሳርያ መምዘዝ፤ (ዕውነትን በመናገርን ጸህናን ማስመስከር) ራይስ በምርጫው ቀንቷት ወደ ሴኔት ውሳኔ ከደረሰች፤እውነተኛ እሷነቷ፤ እውነትን ለፖለቲካ መጠቀሚያነትና የራሷን ምኞት ለማሳካት ስትል የምትዳክር ሃቅ አልባ መሆኗ ይጋለጣል፡፡ በ1994 የክሊንተን አስተዳደር በሩዋንዳ በመካሄድ ላይ የነበረውን እልቂትና የዘር ማጥፋት ጭፍጨፋ እንደማያውቅ አስመስሎ በቸልታ ሊያልፈው ሲሞክር የሞቱ ቁጥር በሺዎች እየጨመረ ሄዶ ጭፍጨፋውንና የዘር እልቂቱን ለማቆም አፋጣኝ እርምጃ በመውሰድ ሕወት ማትረፍሲቻል፤የራሷን ስልጣን ላለማጣትና የሷንና የመሰል የፓርቲ ባለስልጣናትን ስምና ሁኔታ ለመጠበቅ ስትል ብቻ ሰው አስጨረሰች፡፡  ስትናገርም “የዘር ማጥፋት የሚለውን ቃል የተጠቀምን እንደሆነና ምንም ሳናደርግ ብንቀር፤ የኖቬምበሩ የምክር ብት ምርጫ ምን ሊያጋጥው ይችላል?”  አለች:: የሱዛን ራይስ ችሎታ ይህ እውንታዊ ምስክር ነው::

አሁንም: ራይስ በቤንጋዚ የተፈጸመውን ድርጊት ሽብር ብላ ለመጥራት ያስፈራትና ያሳሰባት በኖቬምበር በሚካሄደው ፕሬዜዳንታዊ ምርጫ ላይ ሊያስከትል የሚችለው ችግር አስጨንቋት ነውን?

እመት: ሱዛን ራይስ ሆይ! ‹‹ጅሉስ›› ማነው? ‹‹ደደቡስ›› ማነው አሁን?

የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2012/11/24/the_tall_tale_of_susan_rice

ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

ENTC has formed a new chapter in South Africa

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has continued to work on expanding its organizational reach throughout the world. This effort includes strengthening the chapters that are already established as well as forming new ones. In line with this effort, it has announced that it completed the successful formation of the South African chapter with dedicated Ethiopians.

email: entc.southafrica@gmail.com  tel: 27-745768381

ENTC requests diplomatic recognition from Norway

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

PRESS RELEASE
November 22, 2012

The Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has sent a communiqué to the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and the State Minister of International Development Heikki Holmas, requesting a diplomatic recognition. The letter was submitted to the to the Ministry by Dr. Girum Zeleke, ENTC’s diplomatic representative in Norway.

The letter explains ENTC’s mission, and discusses the worsening political, economic and security crises in Ethiopia, as well as the need for the Sweden government to help with a peaceful transition to democracy.

The Transitional Council was founded at a 3-day conference in Dallas, Texas, that was convened from July 1 – 3, 2012, with the participation of representatives from all over the world.

Diplomacy is one of the primary tasks that the ENTC general assembly assigned to the leadership at the July 2012 conference in Dallas.

For more info:
ENTC Foreign Relations Committee
85 S. Bragg St. Alexandria VA, 22312 USA
Tel: 202-735-4262
Email: entc.pr@gmail.com
Website: etntc.org

Nile project: a hidden bomb? or a pomise for shared prosperity?

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

By Aklog Birara, PhD

This paper is third of a series on Ethiopian fascinations concerning the “Arab Spring.” Beyond these current fascinations, there are strategic economic and diplomatic dimensions that require deeper analysis and understanding with regard to relations between Ethiopia on the one hand, and Egypt on the other. I refer to the future development and use of the waters of the Nile River. I know of no other topic in the 21st century that evokes strong emotions and national sentiments in Egypt and Ethiopia than the development and use of the River Nile and its tributaries. These sentiments emanate from the fact that water is among the most precious natural resource assets in the world. It is the source of life, identity, civilization, food self-sufficiency and security, industrialization, potential wealth and security for those who possess it and a source of jealousy for those who do not. People need water to survive. They need fertile or irrigable land to procreate and to produce food. Water meets basic needs. As populations increase and infrastructural and economic demand intensify, governments are obliged to respond to the needs of their societies as a matter of urgency. They have little choice but to harness their water resources for the betterment of their respective societies. Understandably, government officials, experts, academics, and members of civil society from both sides express views that reflect competing national interests. Elementary school children in both countries find themselves growing up with the belief that their respective perception- that is single country-focused – is the most critical; and it is. Ethiopian history, resistances to foreign aggression, honor, and identity emanate largely from its coveted position as the source of the Blue Nile or Abay. When viewed regionally and multilaterally, perceptions on both sides often underestimate the interdependence of riparian nations in general, Ethiopia, and Egypt in particular. For peace to prevail, mutuality must govern relations and the future.

Seifu Metaferia Firew, a well-known Ethiopian poet, expresses the widely held view among Ethiopians that, as the “origin of the Nile, Ethiopia, continues to suffer from water scarcity” and from recurring famine. He suggests that this “shameful” condition continues not because Ethiopia does not possess water; but because its government is unable to “develop, harness, and use” the country’s “vast water resources and silt to dam, irrigate, produce and feed its large and growing population. Ethiopia, he says, loses two ways: “The waters of the massive Abay River (the Blue Nile) flow into the Greater Nile; and that this river takes away millions of tons of fertile soils from the Ethiopian highlands” year after year and provides the material foundation for Egyptian agriculture. At the same time, Ethiopia faces chronic drought, famine, skyrocketing food prices, and hunger. Today, more than 4.5 million Ethiopians endure the worst famine since the 1980s. In light of this, the author suggests that “Someday, I (meaning government), will be held accountable for gross negligence to develop the Abay River” so that Ethiopians will no longer go through the humiliation of hunger, destitution and international food aid dependency. The lack of prioritization in the agricultural sector in general and irrigated farming in particular is now a “national crisis.” The thesis of this chapter is that no current or future government in Ethiopia will survive unless it addresses this fundamental national crisis. To-date, successive Egyptian governments have managed to marginalize Ethiopia and bar it from exploiting its major rivers including the Abay. The fact that Ethiopia is “the water tower of Africa” has meant practically nothing when measured against the food self-sufficiency and security and modernization needs of the country. In contrast, Nile-centered and dependent Egypt has succeeded to meet domestic food demand and to create a strong agric-based industry that employs millions. Egypt has done this by invoking the principle of acquired or “historic rights” while denying Ethiopia fair and equitable share of the Nile. 1/

These two seemingly irreconcilable perspectives and principles lead me to the second thesis of the article. On the Egyptian side is the principle of acquired or “historic rights,” a principle inherited from the colonial era that gives Egypt total hegemony over the Nile. This hegemony clashes with the principles of equitable and fair share, principles that most Sub-Saharan African riparian states now embrace. On the Ethiopian side is the history-based and growing recognition that “historic rights” claimed by Egypt and to some extent Northern Sudan are unjust and unfair, and that colonial and foreign interference-based treaties and legal arrangements are no longer viable or acceptable. One cannot appreciate the depth and breadth of these two contending views unless and until one goes back and examines history. Ethiopia’s claim for fair and equitable allocation is not new at all, and predates pre- Aksumite Empire and the height of Egyptian civilization. The country’s history shows that King Lalibela wanted to build a dam long before dams had become an economic necessity. Emperors such as Zara Yaqob, Yohannes, Teodros, Menelik, Haile Selassie, and leaders such as Mengistu Haile Mariam and Meles Zenawi manifest visions and perspectives that defend Ethiopia’s national interests over its water resources. Emperor Yohannes IV died defending this sacrosanct principle, as did Emperor Teodros. Regardless of regime, Ethiopia and Egypt will remain adversaries over the use of the Nile. At best, they will remain keen competitors in the decades ahead.

Demography may now be destiny

The Nile River has been a major source of contention, rivalry, and animosity between Egypt and Ethiopia since time immemorial. The fundamental role of the Nile in shaping Egyptian life is incontestable. Egyptian civilization is a gift of the Nile six sevenths of the waters of which originate from the Ethiopian highlands. The battle for control and for influence of countries around it predates Egypt’s Pharos. From time to time, it has involved powers beyond riparian states for more than 7,000 years. This tradition to exercise monopoly continued under British imperial rule that imposed binding agreements on riparian nations on behalf of Egypt, a British colony at the time. Egypt signed a Nile Agreement in 1929 that offered it natural and exclusive rights over the Nile. This arrangement begun to unravel only after Sub-Saharan African states gained independence. Until then, Ethiopia stood as the sole voice in defense of the principle of fair and equitable share without success. This Egyptian inherited “historic right” and preponderance has virtually undermined Ethiopia’s legitimate rights to advance its national development by building hydroelectric and irrigation dams. Ethiopian and other independent experts contend that Egypt does not contribute a drop of rain or water to the Nile. Ethiopia contributes 86 percent of the water and uses only 1 percent for irrigation. Thirty percent of Ethiopia’s land mass that covers 385,400 square kilometers is within the Abay River Basin and its tributaries. This provides potential of 3,500,000 hectares of irrigable land, more than sufficient to meet Ethiopia’s food demand for decades. From 1990 to present, the country used only 90,000 hectares of the available potential within this land mass. Given geographic spread, population, and size, Ethiopia possesses geopolitical and demographic advantage unmatched by other riparian states. This enormous potential suggests urgency. Ethiopia’s population of 90 million–the second largest in Africa– will reach 278 million by 2050, the tenth largest in the world. This dramatic demographic shift will have profound economic and political impact not only in the Horn but also in the rest of Africa and the Middle East. This in itself foretells the need for change in the governance of Nile waters. Ethiopia’s legitimacy is firmer than ever before. There is no doubt in my mind that Ethiopia will emerge as a leading economy over the coming 25 to 50 years; if it resolves its current political crisis and establishes inclusive and participatory governance.

Colonial powers and especially Britain tried to tie Ethiopia’s hands at a time when the country was relatively weak. The May 15 1902 Treaty between Britain and so-called “Abyssinia” regulated the frontier between Ethiopia and the Sudan, a British colony. Article III of this treaty states that “The Emperor Menelik engages not to construct or to allow being constructed any work across the Blue Nile, Lake Tana or the Sobat which would arrest the flow of their waters into the Nile, except in agreement with the governments of Great Britain and the Sudan. “ This and the 1929 agreement weakened Ethiopia’s position in that both set a precedent used by Egypt subsequently to justify unfair and unjust arrangements. The Nile Waters Agreement of 1959 between the Republic of the Sudan and the United Arab Republic of Egypt benefitted from colonial precedents to which Ethiopia is not a party. At the center of all these agreements, the economic principles that the River “needs projects for its full control and for increasing its yield for the full utilization of its waters” are under-scored. It is unthinkable to realize development without a project or program. This same principle of project applies to Ethiopia. “Acquired or historic rights” trace their origins to these types of arrangements that conferred on Egypt and the Sudan exclusive rights to develop and use the Nile. Both countries continue to adhere to these outdated agreements as if the world remains static. “The absurdity of the land of the Blue Nile dying of thirst (during the Great Famine of the 1980s in which 1 million lives were lost; and today in which close to five million Ethiopians face death) was combined with fact that Egypt at that time (l980s) was about to face a similar catastrophe,” had rains not started in Ethiopia. This nature-driven interdependence between Egypt and Ethiopia virtually defines the acrimonious links between two competing societies that depend on the same river to achieve the same goals. “The intensive Egyptian-Ethiopian efforts to reach understanding that resumed in the early 1990s have not been facilitated by old legacies of mutual suspicion…Egypt was not only born of the Nile, it also lives by it, and its dependence increases with the pace of modernization and population growth.” The same forces that deepen Egypt’s dependence on the Nile are shaping Ethiopian society at speeds that no one had anticipated in the last century. I am not referring only to demographic change. Ethiopians aspire to achieve rapid and inclusive modernization, and possess the requisite talent pool and material resources to achieve these goals over the coming decades. The various dams built and proposed reflect this achievable goal. 2/

Ethiopian interest in harnessing and developing its water resources for development are not new. Successive Ethiopian governments tried to persuade the Egyptian and Sudanese governments of Ethiopia’s right to invest in its waters to meet changing needs. In 1960, the Imperial government under Emperor Haile Selassie sponsored a hydroelectric and irrigation feasibility study led by the US Bureau of Reclamation. In July 1964, the group identified 71 locations, 31 water, and 19 specific hydroelectric sites on the Abay River. It recommended the construction of hydroelectric dams that would produce 87 billion kilowatt electricity per year, more than sufficient to meet domestic demand. Irrigation dams of varied sizes would irrigate 430, 000 hectares of land and would meet the food security needs of the country for decades. Breakdowns of the proposals suggest the seriousness of the thinking and the sizes of the projects. One such hydroelectric dam would have been bigger than the Aswan Dam that contains 51 million cubic meters of water; and would generate more electricity than the Aswan Dam. The primary locations identified included Lake Tana, Mendassa near the Sudanese border and Makile. The government was able to realize only the Fincha Dam. The newly proposed Millennium Dam is not radically different in dimension or in location from earlier proposals.3/

Why did the other projects fail to come to fruition? The primary reason is Egyptian intransigence and rejection of any move by Ethiopia to develop its waters. The Tana Beles hydroelectric and irrigation project involving five dams near Lake Tana proposed in 1958–that would have benefitted 200,000 farmers under financing from the African Development Bank– was rejected outright by Egypt. The feasibility study conducted by the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Tana Beles project would have effectively transformed the Abay Gorge and Lake Tana into the “primary all-Nile reservoir to supply electricity and irrigation for Ethiopia while significantly enlarging and regulating the amount of water flowing into the Sudan and Egypt. “ The scheme would have benefited Egypt too. Egypt rejected all of the projects and persuaded multilateral financial institutions not to support Ethiopia’s ambitions. This rejection curtailed Ethiopia’s potential in developing its water resources to meet its food demands and to reduce poverty. In 1977, a World Bank study of the Nile concluded that the “Waters of the Nile probably constitute Ethiopia’s greatest natural asset for development. The development of the River Nile in Ethiopia has the potential to contribute significantly to poverty reduction, meet domestic power and food demands, and become a cornerstone of a future export strategy.” 4/

How do riparian states move from intransigence to commonality?

In my view, and as the World Bank study suggests, past arrangements are no longer viable and or acceptable to changing Ethiopian development needs. Governments must recognize the importance of averting the inevitability of war over the Nile. As a step forward, there must be willingness and readiness on all sides to build mutual confidence and trust. Ethiopians feel that the lead responsibility must come from Egypt. In the past and today, Egypt finances(d) and provides()d armaments and safe harbor to secessionist movements such as the Eritrean Peoples’ Liberation Front, the Oromo Liberation Front, the Ogaden Liberation Front, and the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front. These and similar activities must cease. The evolving consensus among riparian states and the world community suggests an urgent need for radical shifts in policy and covenants among all parties. Threats and suspicions must give way to win-win options that would serve all parties fairly and equitably. The alternative could be catastrophic for Egypt and Ethiopia in particular. War will have no boundaries; and no one will emerge victorious. Ethiopia is vast enough to develop its water resources without much danger. Those that tried to encircle and weaken it in the past failed because of the unity and patriotism of the population. The key point is that the threat of war is not a viable option. No one including Egypt can win a war that will engulf the entire region. Egypt and Ethiopia need one another not only to survive but also to thrive. Egypt’s priority is to ensure that it has adequate water flow. Ethiopia’s first priority is to achieve food self-sufficiency and security for its growing population. It cannot cope with demand until and unless it harnesses and develops its water resources as optimally as possible without affecting Egypt adversely. Hydroelectric and irrigation infrastructure at a massive-scale is a prerequisite in achieving this urgent goal for Ethiopia. This is a matter of survival, sovereignty, and national security for Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

In light of the above, Ethiopians within and outside the country agree that fair and equitable allocation and use of the Nile is a necessity. The vast majority of 11 riparian states, including South Sudan, endorse this fundamental principle. The Ethiopian government, other riparian states, and independent experts point out to successful examples in the rest of the world where riparian nations negotiated fair and equitable allocation and use of major rivers such as the Mekong, the Amazon, Indus/Ganges, and Okavango. Ethiopian experts suggest that the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) of 1999 provides an institutional framework for genuine negotiations and program implementation that will lead to cooperative development of the Nile. Egypt places numerous conditions on NBI to undermine its effectiveness. Professor Majeed Rahman recognizes that Ethiopia has needs too and points out that “Egypt’s defiance of the NBI and its lack of participation in the NBI’s initial attempt to convene such a cooperative agreement is a crucial aspect of the NBI’s objective to consolidate through cooperation in the negotiation for equitable distribution.” This lack of engagement from and inflexibility by Egypt leads Rahman to conclude that Egypt “has denied other riparian countries complete access to water resources along the Nile and for that matter has exercised her hegemonic power over the development and control of water resources in the Nile River Basin for decades.” 5/

Tesfaye Tadesse believes that Egyptian government attitude in maintaining the status quo began to change slightly for three fundamental reasons:

I)”Pressure” from the global community including the World Bank and UNDP;
ii) “Threats” from riparian states that they will go ahead and develop their waters with or without Egyptian consent; and,
iii) “Changes in Egyptian public and political” sentiments. 6/

This turned out to be an optimistic view in that the Egyptian government has dragged its feet with the hope that other riparian states will be willing to wait for decades more patiently. Egypt continues to adhere to its hard-line policy of maintaining the status-quo. Against this, Ethiopia pursues its ambitious water infrastructure project at a pace never witnessed in the country’s history. This includes “the controversial multibillion-dollar Nile River (Millennium) Dam that could supply 5,000 megawatt of electricity for itself and its neighbors including newcomer South Sudan. “ Ethiopia plans to build four additional dams, “together, 20 dams either built or planned– the largest number in Africa.” Concerns include the environment and the political and diplomatic fallout that could ensue. “Egypt and North Sudan have expressed concern that the mega dam project could seriously reduce the downstream water flow of the Nile River to their countries. “ As worrisome is the lack of a proper environmental and social assessment by the Ethiopian government. In my mind, the Ethiopian government did not consider smaller irrigation and hydroelectric dams that are more cost effective and less costly to maintain. Further, the government initiated these mammoth projects at a time when it is granting millions of hectares of irrigable farmlands to foreign investors from 36 foreign countries. 7/

Is there a way out?

In my view, the most sensible way forward is to accommodate the needs and aspirations of all riparian nations in a fair, equitable and balanced manner. The World Bank, the Canadian Development Agency (CIDA) and the UNDP tried to promote shared, fair and equitable use of the Nile through the auspices of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). It is clear that no single state should have monopoly over the Nile. Article 5 of the UN General Assembly Convention A/51/869, 1997 on the Law of Non-navigational uses of International watercourses recognizes the need for “equitable and reasonable utilization and participation” explicitly. “Watercourse states shall in their respective territories utilize an international watercourse in an equitable and reasonable manner,” with the intent of serving their social, economic, hydraulic, ecological, conservation, and development needs. NBI is consistent with this UN mandate. This first multilateral initiative provides a solid framework for the 11 riparian states: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, North Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda representing more than 300 million people that depend on the Nile to pursue a shared vision and set of programs along the following lines:

• “Develop the Nile in a sustainable and equitable manner to ensure prosperity, security, and peace for all its peoples;
• “Ensure cooperation and joint action between riparian countries seeking win-win gains;
• “Target poverty eradication and promote economic integration; and
• “Ensure the program results in a move from planning to action.” 8/

These objectives are noble but require political will. Many years after NBI, there are yet no clear commitments and or political will to advance a cooperative approach. The current impasse on the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) curtailed by Egypt and North Sudan has not been helpful in moving from rhetoric to action. My own view is that it is tantamount to madness for anyone to use force or the threat of force against any African state that assets its right to use its waters to dam, irrigate and feed its starving population. The Egyptian position “We want historical use of the Nile water to be recognized by other Nile Basin countries because this is the only source of water we have,” before it would sign the agreement is irresponsible and restrains MBI. Egypt insists on the three preconditions:

1) Maintain its share of 55.5 billion m3 of water” per the 1959 Treaty;
2) Prior notification by upstream states before they can construct hydroelectric and other projects; and
3) Basin decisions to be mad by consensus not majority vote” giving Egypt veto power. 9/

These three preconditions prevent an otherwise promising agreement from bearing fruit. The spring 2011 high level Egyptian delegation to Ethiopia mirrors the emerging reality on the Nile that requires compromise rather than confrontation. All sides must recognize that fair and equitable allocation of the waters of the Nile is here to stay. Although controversial, the proposed Millennium Dam has galvanized a cross-section of the Ethiopian population. Ethiopia is going ahead with this mammoth project without prior notification thereby reinforcing its sovereignty over waters within its own borders. This is a position many Ethiopian experts defend. Ethiopians may disagree on many political and ideological issues. Disagreement concerning the legitimate right of Ethiopia to use its water resources for the betterment of its people and for its national security should not be among them. 10/

I should like to conclude this article with an optimistic note that riparian nations can derive substantial benefits from a cooperative rather than from unilateral approaches in the use of the Nile River. I am convinced that meaningful dialogue, negotiation and confidence-building rather than destructive and costly confrontation should usher in a new era of cooperative development and shared benefits for the populations of member countries. Within this spirit, governments have an obligation to their respective people to draw upon the state of the art technical, hydraulic, environmental and water resource knowledge and experience that will ensure sustainability and peace, avail waters, protect long-term security, reduce un-necessary sedimentation and loss and promote greater regional economic integration. This is the only legacy that makes sense. It is natural that Ethiopians admire the Egyptian people’s revolution on its own merit. They cannot afford to ignore the adversarial and contentious relations between the two countries that predate Egypt’s Pharos and the Aksumite Empire.

Reference notes
1/ Firew, M. Seifu, Abay: Fengie yekebere wuha. Daraku Publishing Inc. Boston, 2009. The author presents a penetrating notion that, left unaddressed, the Abay River contains the ingredients of a massive “bomb buried in water” and waiting to explode. The Amharic symbolism is not academic. The current famine in the Ogaden and persistent hunger among the Ethiopian population suggest that the demand on the government to respond will be far greater in the future, than it has been over the past 3,000 years of Ethiopian history.

2/ Haggai, Erlic, the Cross-and the River: Ethiopia, Egypt, and the Nile. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder. 2012. Haggai brings to the debate on the Nile a feature often ignored by most experts on the Nile, namely, the broader cultural, historical, religious, and other relationships between Egypt and Ethiopia that reveal commonalities. One commonality is the Coptic faith. Ethiopia is predominantly a Christian country with strong links to the Egyptian population that belongs to the Coptic faith. This long tradition in the evolution of this faith and Ethiopia’s capacity to accommodate all three major faiths: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam portend potential for mutuality that both sides must explore and strengthen.

3/ US Bureau of Reclamation, Land and Water Resources of the Blue Nile. Addis Ababa. July 1964. The Bureau identified that Ethiopia possessed ample irrigable land to meet food self-sufficiency and security for decades to come. Ethiopia would have avoided hunger and would have managed famines on its own if it translated these projects into action.

4/ The World Bank, “The World Bank, Ethiopia and the Nile: a strategy for Ethiopia.” Washington, DC. 1998. Internal draft document. While the Bank endorses Ethiopia’s fundamental rights in the development of the Nile to meet growing demand, it has refrained from financing major hydroelectric and irrigation dam projects. In fact, it role in agricultural development has been disappointing. The Bank continues to present analytical and policy pieces without backing them with real resources.

5/ Rahman, A. Majeed, the Geopolitics of Water in the Nile Basin. Global Research. July 24, 2011. Rahman points out the danger of war in the event that a win-win solution that will serve all parties cannot be reached. In my view, the NBI provides a good framework for further negotiator.

6/ Tafesse, Tesfaye. Water conflict resolution and institution building in the Nile Basin. Monograph 178. Institute for Security Studies.

7/ Than, Ken. Ethiopia: why a massive dam on Nile? National Geography News. July 14, 2011.

8/ International Roundtable: the Nile: sharing experiences, sharing visions. Berlin. 2002
Nine/ Wolde Giorgis, Hailu. Le Abay Wuha Mugit. Addis Ababa University Press. 2001.

10/Ibid.

Teddy Afro rocks Atlanta (video)

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Tikur Sew Concert, Atlanta, Nov. 21, 2012

አስታውሳለሁ! እንዴት እረሳለሁ!!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

አስታውሳለሁ! እንዴት እረሳለሁ!!

ከፕሮፌሰር  ዓለማየሁ  ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም  ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

በ ሰኔ 6-8 እና በ ህዳር 1-4 2005 (እንዳሮፓ አቆጣጠር) በ በግንቦት 2005 የተካሄደውን ምርጫ ተከትሎ ኢህአዴግ ያወጣውን ሕገ መንግሥት በማመን ባዶ እጃቸውን ወደ አደባባይ የወጡ ንጹሃን ወንዶች፤ሴቶች፤ሕጻናት ኢትዮጵያዊያን በቅርቡ ሕይወታቸው ባለፈው በመለስ ዜናዊ ቀጥተኛ ትእዛዝና ቁጥጥር ሕይወታቸው በአሰቃቂ ሁኔታ በጥይት ተደብድበው ተገድለዋል። በአቶ መለስ ዜናዊና በፓርላማው ሕጋዊ ሆኖ የተዋቀረው የአጣሪ ኮሚሽን  አጣርቶ እንደዘገበው እውነታ፤ “ባዶ እጃቸውን በሕገ መንግሥቱ ላይ በጸደቀው መብታቸው መሰረት ወደ አደባባይ ከወጡትና ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ በማካሄድ ላይ ከነበሩት መሃል 193ቱ፤ እና እንዲሁም በመንግሥት ወህኒ ቤት ታስረው ባሉት በርካታዎች ላይ ከፖሊስ በተተኮሰ ጥይት ሕይወታቸው አልፏል 763ም ቁስለኛ ሆነዋል፡፡ አጣሪ ኮሚሽኑ ሁኔታውን በአግባቡና ከወገንተኛነት ነጻ በሆነ መንፈስ በማጣራት የንጹሃኑ ደም አለ አግባብ መፍሰሱን ሕይወታቸውም መቀጠፉን ዘግቧል፡፡ ገዢው መንግሥትና የገዢው መንግሥት መገናኛ ብዙሃን፤ እንዲሁም ወንጀሉን የፈጸሙት ፖሊሶችና ሌሎች የጦሩ አባላት የሰነዘሩትን ክስ ኮሚሽኑ በማጣራት ሂደቱ ጨርሶ ተአማኒነት የሌለው ፈጠራ ነው ብሎ አጣጥሎታል፡፡ በአጣሪው ዘገባ መሰረት “በሰላማዊ ሰልፈኞቹ በንብረት ላይ የደረሰ አንዳችም ጥፋት አለመኖሩን አረጋግጧል፡፡ አንድም ሰልፈኛ ሽጉጥም ሆነ ቦምብና ሌላም መሳርያ የያዘ አልነበረም፡፡ ከመንግሥት ታጣቂ ሃይሎችም የተተኮሱት ጥይቶች ሰልፈኛውን አስፈራርቶ ለመበተን የተቃጡ ሳይሆኑ በማነጣጠር ለመግደል ሆን ተብለው መተኮሳቸውን የሚያሳየው ሟቾችና ቁስለኞች የተመቱት ደረታቸውንና ጭንቅላታቸውን መሆኑ ነው፡፡”

(ጠቃሚ መረጃ፡-  የኮሚሽኑ የ193 የሟች ዜጎች ዘገባ የሚያጠቃልለው ሰኔ 6-8 እና በ ህዳር 1-4 2005 (እንዳሮፓ አቆጣጠር) ያለውን ግድያ ብቻ ነው፡፡ የ2005ቱን ምርጫ ተከትሎ በግልጽ ከተመዘገበው ግድያ ውጪ በመንግስት የጦር ሃይሎች ለሞት የተዳረጉት ቁጥራቸው እጅጉን የናረ ሲሆን ይህም የግድያዎቹ ዘገባ ኮሚሽኑ ዘገባውን ከሚያቀርበበት ከተወሰነው ወቅት ካለፈ በኋላ በመታወቃቸው ነው፡፡)

አስታውሳለሁ: እንዴትስ ይረሳል!

የሰማእታት ዝርዝር:

ረቡማ እሸቴ እርጋታ 34  ግንበኛ፡፡ መልሳቸው ደምሴ አላምነው 16 ተማሪ፡፡ ሀድራ ሹክራ ኡስማን 22፤ ስራዋ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ጃፈር ሰይድ ኢብራሂም 2፤8 አነስተኛ ነጋዴ፡፡መኮንን 17 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ወልደሰማያት: ስራ አጥ፡፡ ባሕሩ  ምን ላርግህ ደምለው  ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ፈቃደ ነጋሽ፤ 25 ሜካኒክ፡፡ አብራሃም  ይልማ፤ 17 ታክሲ ረዳት፡፡ ያሬድ በላቸው እሸቴ፤23 አነስተኛ ነጋዴ፡፡ ከበደ ወ/ጊ/ሕይወት፤17 ተማሪ፡፡ ማቲያስ ግርማ ፍልፍሉ 14 ተማሪ፡፡ ጌትነት አያሌው ወዳጆ፤ 48 አነስተኛ ንግድ፡፡ እንዳልካቸው መገርሳ ሁንዴ፤18፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ አልዩ ጠዩሱፍ ኢሳ 20  የቀን ሰራተኛ፡፡ ሳምሶን ንጉሴ ያዕቆብ 23 የህዝብ ትራንስፖርት፡፡ አለበለው አሸናፊ አበበ፤18 ተማሪ፡፡ በልዩ ባዩ ዘአ፤ የትራንስፖርት ረዳት፡፡ ዩሱፍ አብደላ ጀማል፤23 ተማሪ፡፡ አብርሃም ስሜ ወ/አገኘሁ፤23 የትራንስፖርት ረዳት፡፡ ሞሃመድ ሁሴን ቤካ፤ 45 ገበሬ፡፡ ረደላ ክንባዱ አደል፤19 የታክሲ ረዳት፡፡ ሃብታሙ አመንሲሳ ኡርጌሳ፤ አነስተኛ ንግድ፡፡ ዳዊት ፈቃዱ ጸጋዬ፤ 19 ሜካኒክ፡፡ ገዛኸኝ መንገሻ ገረመው፤ 15 ተማሪ፡፡ ዮናስ አሰፋ አበራ፤24 ስራው አልታወቀም:: ግርማ  ዓለሙ ወልዴ፤38 ሾፌር፡፡ ወ/ሮ ደስታ ኡማ ብሩ፤38 አነስተኛ ንግድ፡፡ ለገሰ ቱሉ ፈይሳ፤ 60 ግንበኛ፡፡ ተስፋዬ ድልገባ ቡሽራ፤ 19 ጫማ አዳሽ፡፡ ቢኒያም ደንበላ ደገፋ፤ 18፤ ሥራ አጥ፡፡ ሚሊዪን ከበደ ሮቢ፤32 የትራነስፖርት ረዳት፡፡ ደረጀ ዳመና ደኒ፤24 ተማሪ፡፡ ነቢዩ ዓለማየሁ ሃይሌ፤ 16 ተማሪ፡፡ ምትኩ ኡድማ ሚሶንዳ፤ 24 የቤት ሰራተኛ፡፡ አንዋር ኪያር ሱሩር፤ 22 አነስተኛ ንግድ፡፡ ንጉሴ ዋበኝ፤36 የቤት ሰራተኛ፡፡ ዙልፋ ሱሩር ሃሰን 50 የቤት እመቤት፡፡

ዋሲሁን ከበደ፤ 16 ተማሪ፡፡ ኤርሚያስ ፈቃዱ ከተማ፤ 20 ተማሪ፡፡ 00428፤ 25 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ 00429፤26 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡00430 30 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ አዲሱ በላቸው፤ 25 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ደመቀ ካሳ አበበ፤  ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡00432፤ 22፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡00450፤20፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ 13903፤25፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ 00435 30፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡13906፤25፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ተማም ሙክታር፤ 25 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡በየነ ኑር ቤዛ፤ 25፤ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ወሰን አሰፋ፤ 25፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ አበበ አንተነህ፤ 30 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ፈቃዱ ሃይሌ፤ 25፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ኤልያስ ጉልቴ፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ብርሃኑ አሸሞ ወረቃ፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ አሸብር ዓየለ መኩሪያ፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡  ዳዊት ፈቃዱ ሰማ፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ መርሃ ጽድቅ ሲራክ፤ 22፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ በለጠ ጋሻው ጠና፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ በሃይሉ ተስፋዬ፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ 21760፤18፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ 21523, 25፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡11657, 24,  ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡21520, 25  ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ; 21781, 60 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ጌታቸው አዘዘ፤ 45 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡; 21762, 75 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ 11662,45, ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡21763, 25, ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡  13087, 30, ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ 21571, 25, ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ 21761, 21, ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ እንዳልካቸው ወ/ ገብርኤል፤ 27 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡

ሃይለማርያም አምባዬ፤ 20 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ መብራቱ ውብሸት ዘውዱ 27 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ስንታዬሁ እስጢፋኖስ በየነ፤ 14 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ታምሩ ሃይለሚካኤል፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ አድማሱ ተገኝ አበበ፤ 45 ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ እቴነሽ ይማም፤50፤ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ወርቄ አበበ፤ 19፤ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ፍቃዱ ደግፌ 27 ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ሸምሱ ካሊድ፤25፤ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡አብዱዋሂድ አህመዲነ፤30፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ተክሌ ደበሌ፤ 20 ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ታደሰ ፈይሳ 38፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ሰሎሞን ተስፋዬ 25፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ቅጣው ወርቁ፤25፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ እንዳልካቸው ወርቁ፤ 25፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ደስታ አያሌው ነጋሽ፤ 30፤ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ይለፍ ነጋ፤ 15፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ዮሐንስ ሃይሌ፤20፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ በሃይሉ ተሸመ ብርሃኑ፤30፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ሙሉ ኩምሳ ሶሬሳ፤50፤ የቤት እመቤት፡፡ ቴዎድሮስ ግደይ ሃይሉ፤ 23 ጫማ አሻሻጭ፡፡ ደጀኔ ይልማ ገብሬ፤18 ሱቅ ሰራተኛ፡፡ፀጋ ሁን ወልደ ገብርኤል፤18፤ተማሪ፡፡ ደረጃ ማሞ ሃሰን፤27፤ አናጢ፡፡ ረጋሳ ጉቱታ ፈይሳ፤55፤ ላወንድሪ ሰራተኛ፡፡ቴዎድሮስ ገብረወልድ፤28 የግል ስራ፡፡

መኮንን ደስታ ገ/ እግዚአብሔር፤20፤ ሜካኒክ፡፡ ኤልያስ ገ;ጊዮርጊስ23 ተማሪ፡፡ አብርሃም አሰፋ መኮንን፤ 21፤ የቀን ሰራተኛ፡፡ጥሩወርቅ ገ/ ጻድቅ፤ 41፤ የቤት እመቤት፡፡ሄኖክ ቀጸላ መኮንን፤ 28፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ጌቱ ሸዋንጉስ መረታ፤ 24፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ወ/ሮ ክብነሽ መልኬ ታደሰ፤ 52፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ መሳይ አዲሱ ስጦታው፤ 29፤ የግል ስራ፡፡ ሙሉዓለም ንገሤ ወየሳ፤ 15፡፡ አያል ሰው ማሞ፤23፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ስንታየሁ መለሰ፤ 24፤ የቀን ሰራተኝ፡፡ ወ/ሮ ጸዳለ ዓለሙ ቢራ፤50፤ የቤት እመቤት፡፡ አባይነህ ሳራ ሰዴ፤ 35፤ ልብስ ሰፊ፡፡ ፍቅረማርያም ቁምቢ ተሊላ፤ 18፤ ሾፌር፡፡ ዓለማየሁ ገርባ፤ 26፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ጆርጅ ጌትዬ አበበ፤ 36፤ የግል ትራንስፖርት፡፡ ሃብታሙ ዘገየ ቶላ፤ 16፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ምትኩ ዘለቀ ገ/ሥላሴ፤24፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ምትኩ ዘለቀ ገ/ ስላሴ፤ 24 ፤ ተማሪ፡፡  ትእዛዙ ወግል ሰራተኛ፡፡ ፍቃዱ አመላ ዳልጌ፤ 36፤ ልብስ ሰፊ፡፡ ሸዋጋ በቀለ ወ/ ጊዮርጊስ፤ 38፤ የቀን ሰራተኛ፡፡ ዓለማየሁ ኢፋ ዘውዴ፤ 32፤ ጨርቃ ጨርቅ ሰራተኛ፡፡ ዘልዓለም  ቀጸላ ገ/ጻድቅ፤ 31፤ ታክሲ ነጂ፡፡ መቆያ መብራቱ ታደሰ፤ 19 ተማሪ፡፡ ሃይልዬ ግርማ ሁሴን፤ 19፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ወ/ሮ ፍስሐ ጣሰው ውሩፋ፤  23፤ ፖሊስ፡፡ ወጋየሁ ዘርይሁን አርጋው፤ 26 ሥራ አጥ፡፡

መላኩ መኮንን ከበደ፤ 19፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ አባይነህ ደዴ ኦራ፤ 25፤ ልብስ ሰፊ፡፡ ወ/ሮ አበበች በቀለ ሁለቱ፤ 50፤ የቤት እመቤት፡፡ ደመቀ  አበጀ ጀምበሬ፤  30፤ ገበሬ፡፡ ክንዴ መለሰ ወረሱ፤ 22፤ ስራ አጥ፡፡ እንዳለ እውነቱ ገብረመድህን፤ 23፤ የግል ሰራተኛ፡፡ ዓለማየሁ ተሸመ ወልዴ፤ 24፤ መምህር፡፡ ብስራት ተስፋዬ ደምሴ፤ 24፤ መኪና አስመጪ፡፡ መስፍን ገ/ወልድ ሃብተ ጊዮርጊስ፤ 23 የግል ስራ፡፡ ወሊዮ ሁሴን ዳሪ፤ 18፤ የግል ስራ፡፡ በሃይሉ ግርማ ገብረ መድህን፤ 20፤ በግል ስራ፡፡ ሲራጅ ኑሪ ሰኢድ፤ 18፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ኢዮብ ገብረ መድህን፤ 25፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ዳንኤል ወርቁ ሙሉጌታ፤ 25፤ የቀን ሰራተኛ፡፡ ቴዎድሮስ ከበደ ደገፋ፤ 25፤ ጫማ ፋብሪካ ሰራተኛታ፡፡ ጋሻው ታደሰ ሙሉጌታ፤ 24፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ከበደ በዳሶ ኢርኮ፤ 22፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ለቻሳ ከፈና ለታሳ፤  21፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ጃገማ በዳኔ በሻህ፤ 20፤ ተማሪ፡፡  ደበላ አኦለታ ጉታ፤ 15፤ ተማሪ፡፡ መላኩ፤ተረፈ ፈይሳ፤ 16፤ ተማሪ፡፡ ወ/ሮ እልፍነሽ ተክሌ፤ 45፤ ስራው ያልታወቀ፡፡ ሃሰን ዱላ፤ 64፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ሁሴን ሃሰን ዱላ፤ 25፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ጸሃይ ደጀኔ ደምሴ፤ 15፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ስሙ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ስሙ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ስሙ ያልታወቀ፡፡ አግደው ፤ 18፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ጌታቸው  አፈወርቅ ተረፈ፤ 16፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ደለለኝ ክንዴ ዓለሙ፤ 20፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ዩሱፍ ሞሃመድ ኡመር፤ 20፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡

መኩርያ ተፈራ ተበጀ፤ 22፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ባድሜ ሞገስ ተሻማሁ፤ 20፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ አምባው ጌታሁን፤ 38፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ተሾመ  አዲስ ኪዳኔ፤ 65፤ የጤና ተቋም ሰራተኛ፡፡ ዮሴፍ ሙሉጌታ ረጋሣ፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ አቢዩ ንጉሴ፤  ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ታደሰ ሻሬ በሃጋ፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ኤፍሬም ጥላሁን ሻፊ፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ አበበ ሐርቆ ሃማ፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ገበሬ ሞላ፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ሰይዲን ኑረዲን፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ እንየው ጌታቸው ጸጋዬ 32፤ ትራንስፖርት ረዳት፡፡ አብዱራህማን ሁሴን ፈረጀ፤  32፤ አናጢ፡፡ አብዱል መናን ሁሴን፤ 28፤ በግል ሰራተኛ፡፡ ጂግሳ ቶላ ሰጠኝ፤ 18፤ ተማሪ፡፡ አሰፋ  አብሽሮ ነጋሳ፤ 33፤ አናጢ፡፡ ከተማ ኩቦ ኢንኮ 23፤ ልብስ ሰፊ፡፡ ክብረት ዕድሉ እልፍነህ፤ 48፤ ጥበቃ ሰራተኛ፡፡ ኢዮብ ገዛኸኝ ዘመድኩን፤ 24፤ ግል ሰራተኛ፡፡ ተስፋዬ ብርሃኔ መነገሻ፤ 15፤ በግል፡፡ ሻምበል ደበሳ ሰርቤሳ ቶሎሳ፤ 58፤ በግል ስራ፡፡ ትንሳኤ መንግስቱ ዘገየ፤ 14 ልብስ ሰፊ፡፡ ኪዳኔ ገብሬ ሽኩሮው፤ 25፤ የቀን ሰራተኛ፡፡ አንዱዓለም ሽበላው፤ 16፤ ተማሪ፡፡ አዲሱ ዳኜ ተስፋሀን፤ 19፤ በግል፡፡ ካሳ በየነ፤ 28፤ ባለ ልብስ ሱቅ፡፡ ይታገሱ ሲሳይ፤ 22፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ያልታወቀ፡፡ ያልታወቀ፤ 22፤ ስራ ያልታወቀ፡፡

የመንግስት ደህንነት ሰራተኞች ከቡድናቸው በተተኮሰ ጥይት የተገደሉ፤(እርስ በርስ የተገዳደሉ) ነጋ ገብሬ፤ ጀበና ደሳለኝ፤ ሙሊቶ ኢርኮ፤ ዮሐንስ ሰሎሞን፤ አሸናፊ ደሳለኝ፤ ፌያ ገብረመንፈስ፡፡

ኖቬምበር 2/2005 (እንዳሮፓ አቆጣጠር) በቃሊቲ ወህኒ ቤት ተዘግቶባቸው እያሉ የተጨፈጨፉ ፍርደኞችና ፍርድ በመጠበቅ ላይ የነበሩ፡፡

1. ጠይብ ሸምሱ ሞሃመድ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤የመሳርያ ትግል ሲያነሳሳ ተብሎ ክስ የቀረበበት፡፡2. ሳሊ ከበደ፤ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡3. ሰፊው እንድሪስ፤ታፈሰ ወረዳ፤ ዕድሜያቸው ያልታወቀ በአሰገድዶ መድፈር የተከሰሱ፡፡ 4. ዘገየ ተንኮሉ በላይ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 5. ቢያድግልኝ ተማም፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ክሱ ያልታወቀ፡፡ 6. ገብሬ መስፍን ዳኜ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ ክሱ ያልታወቀ፡፡ 7. በቀለ አብርሃም ታዬ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ 8. አበሻ ጉታ ሞላ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ ክሱ ያልታወቀ፡፡ 9. ኩርፋ መልካ ተሊላ፤ በማስፈራራት የተከሰሰ፡፡

10. በጋሻው ተረፈ ጉደታ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ በሰላም ማደፍረስ የተከሰሰ፡፡ 11. አብዱዋሂብ አህመዲን፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 12. ተስፋዬ አቢይ ሙሉጌታ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ በመሳርያ ትግል ማነሳሳት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 13. አዳኔ ቢረዳ፤ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ በግድያ የተከሰሰ፡፡ 14. ይርዳው ከርሴማ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 15. ባልቻ ዓለሙ ረጋሳ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 16. አቡሽ በለው ወዳጆ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 17. ዋለልኝ ታምሬ በላይ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ በአስገድዶ መድፈር የተከሰሰ፡፡ 18. ቸርነት ሃይሌ ቶላ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 19. ተማም ሸምሱ ጎሌ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡

20. ገበየሁ በቀለ አለነ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 21. ዳኔኤል ታዬ ለኩ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 22. ሞሃመድ ቱጂ ከኔ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 23. አብዱ ነጂብ ኑር፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 24. የማታው ሰርቤሎ፤ በአስገድዶ መድፈር የተከሰሰ፡፡ 25. ፍቅሩ ናትናኤል ሰው ነህ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ ወንድ፤  በማስፈራራት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 26. ሙኒር ከሊል አደም፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ በዋለጌነት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 27. ሃይማኖት በድሉ ተሸመ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤በማጭበርበር የተከሰሰ፡፡ 28. ተስፋዬ ክብሮም ተክኔ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 29. ወርቅነህ ተፈራ ሁንዴ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡

30. ሲሳይ ምትኩ፤ በማጭበርበር የተከሰሰ፤ 31. ሙሉነህ አይናለም ማሞ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 32. ታደሰ ሩፌ የኔነህ፤ በማስፈራራት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 33. አንተነህ በዬቻ ቀበቻ፤ ዕድሜው ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ የመሳርያ ትግል በማነሳሳት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 34. ዘርይሁን መሬሳ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ንብረት በማውደም የተከሰሰ፡፡ 35. ወጋየሁ ዘርይሁን አርጋው፤ በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 36. በከልካይ ታምሩ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 37. የራስወርቅ አንተነህ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ በማጭበርበር የተከሰሰ፡፡ 38. ባዘዘው ብርሀኑ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ በሶዶማዊ ተግባር ማነሳሳት የተከሰሰ፡፡39. ሰሎሞን ኢዮብ ጉታ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ በአስገድዶ መድፈር  የተከሰሰ፡፡

40. አሳዩ ምትኩ አራጌ.ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ በማስፈራራት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 41. ጋሜ ሃይሉ ዘዬ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ጸጥታ በመንሳት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 42. ማሩ እናውጋው ድንበሬ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤በአስገድዶ መድፈር የተከሰሰ፡፡ 43. እጅጉ ምናሌ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ በመግደል ሙከራ የተከሰሰ፡፡ 44. ሃይሉ ቦስና ሃቢብ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ መደበቂያ በመስጠት የተከሰሰ፡፡45. ጥላሁን መሰረት፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡46. ንጉሴ በላይነህ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 47. አሸናፊ አበባው፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 48. ፈለቀ ድንቄ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡49. ጀንበሬ ድንቅነህ ቢለው፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ጸጥታ በማወክ የተከሰሰ፡፡

50. ቶሎሳ ወርቁ ደበበ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 51. መካሻ በላይነህ ታምሩ፤ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ በዱር አዳሪነት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 52. ይፍሩ አደራው፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ክስ ያለተመሰረተበት፡፡ 53. ፋንታሁን ዳኜ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 54. ጥበበ ዋኬኔ ቱፋ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤ የመሳርያ ትግል በመቀስቀስ የተከሰሰ፡፡ 55. ሰሎሞን ገብረዓምላክ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ቡር አዳሪነት የተከሰሰ፡፡56. ባንጃው ቹቹ ካሳሁን፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤በስርቆት የተከሰሰ፡፡ 57. ደመቀ አበጀ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ በመግደል ሙከራ የተከሰሰ፡፡.58. እንዳለ እውነቱ መንግስቴ፤ወንድ፤ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡ 59. ዓለማየሁ ገረባ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ወንድ፤በ2004 በተካሄደው የዩኒቨርሲቲ ተማሪዎች እንቅስቃሴ በማነሳሳት የተከሰሰ፡፡60. ሞርኮታ ኢዶሳ፤ ዕድሜ ያልታወቀ፤ ወንድ፤ ክስ ያልተመሰረተበት፡፡

[ለታሪክ መዝገብ፡- ቢያንስ የ237 በዚህ ግድያና ጭፍጨፋ በቀጥታ ተሳትፈው የነበሩት የተረጋገጠ የፖሊስና የደህንነት አባልት ስም ዝርዝር  በመዝገብ አለ፡፡  በአስቸኳይ ወደ ፍርድ ሊቀርቡ ይገባል፡፡

የሰባዊ መብት ተምዋጋች የኔ ሰው ገብሬን አስታውሳለሁ

በ 11/11/11 (እንዳሮፓ አቆጣጠር) መምህርና የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋች የነበረው የ 29 ዓመቱ የኔ ሰው ገብሬ በዳውሮ ዞን፤ተርቻ ቀበሌ በደቡብ ኢትዮጵያ በሕዝብ መሰብሰቢያ ቦታ እራሱን በእሳት አቃጥሎ ተሰዋ፡፡ በቃጠሎው በደረሰበት ጉደት የተነሳ በ3ኛው ቀን ሕይቱ አለፈ፡፡ የኔ ሰው እራሱን በእሳት ከማያያዙ በፊት፤ በቦታው ለተሰበሰቡት ሰዎች ‹‹ሕግና መልካም አስተዳደር በሌለበት፤ ሰብአዊ መብት በሚጣስበት ሃገር፤ እነዚህ ወጣቶች በነጻ እንዲለቀቁ ስል እራሴን እሰዋለሁ›› በማለት ተናገረ፡፡ የኔ ሰው ገብሬን አስታውሳለሁ::

አስታውሳለሁ! እንዴት እረሳለሁ!!

‹‹ ተስፋን ላለማጣት አንድ ሺህ አንድ ሰበቦች ለመፍጠር እየታገልኩም፤ ገዳዮቹን አስታውሳለሁ፤ ሟቾቹን አስታውሳለሁ፡፡ ምክንያቱም እያስታወስኩ ፤እሰቃያለሁ፡፡ስለማስታዉስም ተስፋ አደርጋለሁ::›› ኤሊ ዌይሴል: ከሆሎኮስት የተረፈና የኖቤል የሰላም  ሽልማት ተቀባይ::

አስታውሳለሁ!

እንዴት እረሳለሁ!!

ሁሌም ተስፋ አደርጋለሁ!!!

ሁላችንም ልናስታውስ እንጂ መርሳት አንችልም፡፡

እንዳይደገም!!!

የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2012/11/12/i_remember

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::)

ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

 

ENTC sent an open letter to the UN on the election of Ethiopia to the Human Rights Council

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

ENTC has sent an open letter to UN Secretery General Mr. Ban Ki-moon regarding the recent election of Ethiopia to the Human Rights Council. ENTC in its letter expressed its disappointment that the election contradicts the fact that Ethiopia currently is being ruled by dictatorial regime that violates human rights of its citizens and cracks down on any form of dissent.

Read the full text

Killer of the Dallas TX Desta Restaurant owners extradited from Colorado

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

By Robert Wilonsky | The Dallas Morning News

Abey Belete GirmaIt’s been three months since 40-year-old Yayehyirad “Yared” Lemma and 31-year-old Yenenesh “Yenni” Desta were shot to death in front of their Lower Greenville home. The couple was returning home from Desta, the Ethiopian restaurant they ran on Greenville Avenue near Forest Lane, when a man accosted them on their front porch. Police would later say Abey Belette Girma was the shooter, and that he’d followed the couple home from the restaurant because they’d “disrespected him.”

Dallas police issued a capital murder arrest warrant for Girma, who’d left the state: A witness told police the 37-year-old Girma showed him the pistol he used to shoot the couple, then forced him to drive to Goodland, Kansas. Eventually, Girma showed up in Aurora, Colorado, where he was taken into custody and booked into the Arapahoe County jail.

And that’s where he sat till last week. But Dallas County records show that Girma is now being held in the Dallas County jail. He’s being held on a $1 million bond, charged with capital murder.

Sources familiar with the case say it took so long to get Girma back to Dallas because he fought extradition.

Girma is due in court Monday to approve Juan Sanchez as his court-appointed attorney. Sanchez says a pre-trial hearing will follow soon after.

20 Home Based Business Ideas

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

If you are thinking about starting your own Home Based Business, the available options can be overwhelming. However, there are many tried and true home-based businesses that may be just what you are looking for.

Here are the top 25 home based business ideas, in no particular order:

1. Translator. In a multi-ethnic society such as the United State, translation service is in big demand. American Translators Association can be a good source of information on how to establish a home-based translation service.

2. Tutoring. You can start a business tutoring students by advertising at schools, the local YMCA, and other places frequented by families. If you have children, talk to their teachers and determine the needs of your school district.

3. Consulting. If you are an expert in your industry, such as finance, marketing, or mediation, consider beginning your own consulting business.

4. Medical and legal transcription. If you have transcription skills and the necessary equipment, you can easily work from home for a variety of different companies. Check local community colleges or online for transcription training courses. Medical transcription involves picking up dictation via tape, voice file and digital system using foot pedal for “start-stop” control, ear phones and a “word processing program”. You can either choose to conduct medical transcription as an independent worker or an employee with benefits.

5. Medical claims billing. This industry is one of the most popular work-from-home businesses — so much so that suspect companies have been popping up on the Internet and in classified advertisements. ELearners.com can help you locate transcription training courses online. Home based medical transcription is one of the most popular choices for a home business. Medical transcription provides flexibility, ease of training and the ability to be your own boss without the high cost of getting started. Medical transcriptionists quickly and accurately interpret through doctor’s dictation, the medical records of patients into medically and grammatically precise reports. The interactions between the patient and his physician require transcription. Some of these include: Surgical procedures, Medical consultations, Diagnoses, Prognoses, Prescriptions, Radiological or other laboratory results, Dissemination of the patients “medical history”, Autopsy reports

6. Accounting. There are many franchises and opportunities available for certified public accountants. If you are interested in getting certified, take a look at the Web site of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for information on specific state requirements.

7. Web design. If you can design quality Web sites, consider turning your skills into a home-based business. Although the software and hardware costs can be steep, good Web designers tend to be well-compensated for their efforts.

8. Desktop publishing. Do you have a creative flair for putting together brochures and newsletters? You can offer your own desktop publishing services to other small businesses. Software can be expensive, so make sure to give applications a trial run or take a course before investing in one.

9. Photography. If you are skilled with a camera, you can open your own photography studio in your home. Keep in mind that you will need space to shoot the pictures as well as a light-free space for a darkroom if you decide to process your film and print your photographs yourself.

10. Home inspection. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors Web site provides information on becoming certified to inspect homes.

11. Remodeling. If you are a gifted carpenter or contractor, you can turn your passion into your own business. The SBA provides loans to experienced contractors looking to renovate homes or businesses in order to sell them.

12. Interior design. If you have a flair for the creative, consider interior design. The American Society of Interior Designers Web site provides resources for aspiring interior designers, including a list of each state’s requirements for licensing.

13. Catering or personal chef. Consider starting your own catering or personal chef business from your own kitchen. You can set yourself apart from competitors by providing specialized services such as low-carb or vegetarian menus.

14. Gift baskets. Gift basket creation is a popular and creative home-based business. Target both individuals and businesses to increase potential sales.

15. Wedding planner. If you are an ace at organizing important events and have a Rolodex full of contacts, consider becoming a wedding planner. There are numerous online certification courses online, including one from Weddings Beautiful.

16. Personal shopper. If you are a great shopper with an eye for people’s personal styles, you can offer your services to those less inclined. In addition, consider providing a gift shopping service for those too busy to shop themselves.

17. Concierge. If you have a lot of energy, a love for the mundane, and the ability to juggle multiple tasks, consider providing a personal concierge to busy business people or parents.

18. Computer repair. Are you the person everyone calls when they have a computer problem? Turn this into a business and start getting paid for fixing fatal errors. Check out Geeks on Call America and Rescuecom if you are interested in franchise opportunities.

19. Cleaning service. If you are good at cleaning, consider offering your services to others. One way to go is with a franchise. CleanNet-USA and JaniKing are two of the largest franchisers in the cleaning market.

20. Carpet cleaning service. There are many popular franchises that allow you to start your own carpet cleaning business and receive the equipment and training you need. ServiceMaster Clean and ChemDry are two of the bigger ones.

Source: Home Business Opportunity

Please share your own home-based business ideas with us.

ENTC has formed a new chapter in Belgium

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) has continued to work on expanding its organizational reach throughout the world. This effort includes strengthening the chapters that are already established as well as forming new ones. In line with this effort, it has announced that it completed the successful formation of the Belgium chapter with dedicated Ethiopians.

email: belgium.entc@gmail.com
tel: 0032-493-499-619

Eritrea’s president decides to step down

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Ethiopian Review has been informed by a credible source in Asmara that Eritrea’s president Isaias Afwerki is planning to step down within a year along with most of the senior leadership and transfer power to younger leaders.

Asked about possible successors, the source said he can throw out some names but it would be pure speculation on his part. Isaias is keeping the decision close to the vest.

Another source and an attentive observer of Eritrean politics has told Ethiopian Review that Isaias’ decision to step down is not surprising and that he has been quietly preparing for transfer of power because of his declining health as well as growing discontent in the military. Isaias doesn’t want to die in office like his late nemesis Meles Zenawi, our source said, adding: He wants to be a Mandela- or George Washington-like figure to his country by overseeing a smooth transfer of power on his own term.

After Eritrean military officers have started to openly complain about poor living conditions with no improvement in sight, earlier this year Isaias promised that there will be changes, including a new constitution. But no one expected he will hand over power while alive.

The Eritrean opposition media are reporting that the regime is unraveling and senior officials are contemplating defections. Earlier this week, there was a rumor that Information Minister Ali Abdu has sought asylum in Canada.

Ethiopian Review’s sources have denied the rumor and that Ali Abdu is still at the Ministry of Information. As a matter fact, according to our source, Ali, who is like a son to Isaias, is one of the younger leader whose prominence in the Eritrean government will reach new heights in the post-Isaias era if the transition of power goes smoothly.

Regarding war with Ethiopia’s regime, Ethiopian Review’s source said that no one among the senior leadership expects full scale military clash because both countries have neither the will nor the economic resources to fight. Both regimes talk about possible war to divert the attention of their people from domestic problems.

Seyoum Mesfin receiving medical treatment at a Washington hospital

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Seyoum MesfinFormer TPLF regime foreign minister and current ambassador to China, Seyoum Mesfin, is said to be receiving medical treatment at a hospital in Bellevue, Washington, according to an Ethiopian Review source.

Ethiopian Review has been informed that Seyoum was admitted to Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, about 10 miles east of Seattle, last week but the hospital itself would neither confirm nor deny that he is there. We made a phone call to the hospital again this afternoon, and we are told that he could be an outpatient but was not willing to give us further information.

Seyoum was conspicuously absent from the TPLF meeting that took place in Mekele last week, ESAT reported.

The secretive and paranoid nature of TPLF officials make it difficult to get such information that could easily be obtained in most other countries. The regime admitted that dictator Meles Zenawi died two months after Ethiopian Review and other media reported his death.

Seyoum is reportedly suffering from AIDS. When Meles died in July this year, many observers predicted that he would take over as chairman of the ruling TPLF and EPRDF.

This is some text!

Journalism is Not Terrorism: EFF

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Electronic Freedom Foundation Calling on Ethiopia to Free Eskinder Nega

By Rainey Reitman | Electronic Freedom Foundation

November 19, 2012

Eskinder Nega, an award-winning journalist who has been imprisoned for over a year, appeared briefly in court to appeal the terrorism charges levied against him. Eskinder has unwaveringly denied the charges, maintaining that blogging about human rights abuses and democracy is not a form of terrorism. In July, Eskinder was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his reporting. In court this week, his appeal was cut short: according to one report EFF received from partners working on his case, Eskinder was not allowed to read his defense statement and the appeal was rescheduled to November 22. We are continuing to seek confirmation about the status of the trial. For now, we’re asking concerned individuals to join us in calling on the Ethiopian government to live up to the promises in their own Constitution and free Eskinder Nega.

While many journalists have either fled Ethiopia or been silenced by repressive policies, Eskinder Nega has become a national symbol for press freedom. Educated in the United States in the 1980s, Nega studied political science and economics at American University. He subsequently returned to Ethiopia where he has worked as a journalist for over twenty years. Nega founded 4 newspapers –all of which were shut down by the Ethiopian government –and has been jailed 9 times in the last two decades for his outspoken articles.

Upon his release from prison in 2007, Nega’s journalism license was revoked and he was banned from working on newspapers. He immediately turned to the Internet and began using blogs to speak out. Some of his work has been published on Ethiomedia, a blog that is inaccessible from inside Ethiopia.

Four years later in 2011, Nega was the recipient of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. Peter Godwin, President on the PEN American Center, noted that Eskinder understood the risks of continuing to speak out publicly:

He went back into the breach knowing full well what the risks were for doing so. He had a number of other options. He grew up in the DC area. He could have left the country, but he chose to stay. He’d been arrested 6 or 7 times before, he’s had newspapers closed down. He’s really been hounded by the Ethiopian regime.

Birtukan Midekssa, a former federal judge and opposition leader in Ethiopia, says Nega has been unwavering even in the face of death threats from the police. Midekssa said: “At some point, they told him that, you know, they are tired of arresting him. And they said, this time around, we are not going to arrest you, we are going to kill you. Better stop it. But he can’t, you know. He can’t stop. That’s him.”

Already targeted by police, Eskinder Nega drew even more ire from the Ethiopian government when he continued to blog about the Arab Spring uprisings. Through articles like As Egypt and Yemen protest, wither Ethiopia’s opposition? and Egypt’s and General Tsadkan’s lesson to Ethiopian Generals, Nega discussed the implications of the pro-democracy movements in North Africa and the Middle East on Ethiopia. Nega was picked up by the police in February 2011. According to a harrowing account Nega wrote afterwards, he was interrogated at length about his journalism, and the police threatened to seek retribution against him if protests broke out in Ethiopia.

A few months later, he was arrested again. This time, Eskinder Nega was charged with terrorism.

Where are all the Newspapers? The Plight of Independent Press and Ethiopia’s Internet Access

To understand the risk –and importance—of Nega’s work, one must first understand the status of independent media in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Constitution promises to uphold freedom of expression, stating: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression without any interference. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any media of his choice.” But Ethiopia has a dark history of shutting down newspapers and imprisoning journalists.

Immediately prior to the 1990s, there was no independent media to speak of in Ethiopia as the country struggled under a Communist regime and devastating famines. The early 1990s saw major political change in the country. Communism was ousted, a bicameral legislature and judicial system were created, and a new Constitution was written and enacted. Meles Zenawi, who would prove himself deeply aligned with U.S. interests, governed—initially as President, then as Prime Minister. While in some way Zenawi helped Ethiopia to recover after many difficult years of conflict and depravation, his government was marked by an intractable disrespect for human rights and press freedom.

In 1992, Ethiopia issued a Press Proclamation that, in addition to other restrictions on free expression, gave the government the ability to shut down publications that printed “false” information. Ethiopia became one of the leading countries in imprisoning journalists during the 1990s, trailing only Cuba and China.

In the lead up to the 2005 election, there was a brief period of improved journalistic freedom in Ethiopia. However, the aftermath of the controversial election brought a severe crack down on independent media. Even as clashes between government troops and protesters left dozens of civilians dead, law enforcement began a witch-hunt for journalists. Dozens of journalists were arrested and charged with serious crimes such as treason and even genocide. Some of these journalists faced decades in prison or even the death sentence.

The Committee to Protect Journalists described the crackdown:

Along with issuing its “wanted lists,” the government raided newsrooms, blocked newspapers from publishing, and expelled two foreign reporters, including a long-serving Associated Press correspondent. About a dozen exiled Ethiopian journalists were charged in absentia with treason. The U.S. government-funded Voice of America and Germany’s Deutsche Welle, which broadcast radio programs into Ethiopia in local languages, were targeted by smear campaigns in state media, endangering their local correspondents…Eight newspapers were shut as a result of criminal indictments and the jailing of their top journalists.

Many of the journalists who were not arrested fled the country or stopped reporting. The few newspapers that survived the purge increased their self-censorship.

Eskinder and his then-pregnant wife, Serkalem Fasil, a newspaper publisher, were both arrested during the 2005 crackdown on dissent. They each spent over a year in prison.

In Ethiopia today, journalism is still a dangerous occupation. In July 2009, the Ethiopian parliament passed the Anti-Terror Proclamation, a sweeping piece of “anti-terrorism” legislation that’s been used to imprison journalists and political dissidents. Amnesty International researcher Claire Beston, who was expelled from Ethiopia in August of last year, has criticized the application of the law, noting: “Since the law has been introduced, it’s been used more to prosecute opposition members and journalists than persons who might be committing so-called terrorist activities.”

Eskinder Nega criticized the anti-terrorism law just before he was arrested for violating it. In the article, Eskinder pointed to Debebe Eshetu, a famous actor, whose imprisonment under the anti-terrorism law Eskinder said “defies logic.”

The problems with press freedom in Ethiopia are compounded because the majority of the population can’t get to the open Internet, which might otherwise give them access to international news outlets.

Part of this is due to difficulties in accessing the Internet at all. Internet penetration in Ethiopia is among the lowest in all of sub-Saharan Africa. According to Open Net Initiative’s 2009 report, the majority of Internet access in the country occurs in Internet café, most of which are in the capital city. These cafes provide slow and unreliable service. As Nega noted in 2011, Internet access in Ethiopia is slow and cumbersome to use: “It is hard to sign in and out of a simple email window. Fast broadband Internet gave birth to the North African revolution, and now the revolution-phobic EPRDF-led Ethiopian government [Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front] is struggling against fast internet access.”

But even Ethiopians who can get online often can’t reach independent, international news. The only telecommunications service provider for all of Ethiopia is the state-owned Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (Ethio-Telecom), which heavily censors access to the open Internet. Tests conducted by the Open Net Initiative in September 2012 showed that online political and news sites are heavily blocked within the country.

In June, EFF reported on recent increases in the censorship and surveillance practices in Ethiopia. Ethio-Telecom began deep packet inspection of all Internet traffic in the country, which engineers at the Tor Project discovered when Tor stopped working there in May of this year.

In the same month, the government of Ethiopia ratified the new Telecom Service Infringement Law. This law criminalizes online speech that may be construed as defamatory or terrorist, and holds the website or account owner liable even if the speech is posted as a comment by someone else on their website. Endalk, a prominent Ethiopian blogger, has wondered if this law could be “the most creative way of copying SOPA and PIPA.” The law also tries to squash competition of VOiP services and harshly punishes citizens for using or having in their possession any telecommunications equipment without prior permission from the government.

Through law and practice, through intimidation and arrest, the Ethiopian government has looked to choke off free expression at every corner. It is no wonder than Eskinder Nega is one of the few outspoken journalists still operating inside Ethiopia.

Eskinder’s Current Conditions

While we are unable to receive direct reports from Eskinder about his current physical conditions, our knowledge of the prison system in Ethiopia leaves us gravely concerned.

A country report about Ethiopia produced by the U.S. Department of State, noted:

Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and in some cases life threatening. Severe overcrowding was common, especially in sleeping quarters. The government provided approximately eight birr ($0.46) per prisoner per day for food, water, and health care…Medical care was unreliable in federal prisons and almost nonexistent in regional prisons. Water shortages caused unhygienic conditions, and most prisons lacked appropriate sanitary facilities.

Wikileaks published a diplomatic cable that was called “Inside Ethiopia’s jails” that is far more graphic than the State Department’s annual report. The cable, based on reports from several recently released prisoners, detailed extreme deprivation, including:

“Abuses reported include being blindfolded and hung by the wrists for several hours, bound by chains and beaten, held in solitary confinement for several days to weeks or months, subjected to mental torture such as harassment and humiliation, forced to stand for over 16 hours, and having heavy objects hung from one’s genitalia (males).”

Even though the cables noted that much of the torture occurred in police station detentions, the threat of torture in the Kaliti Prison (where Eskinder is being held) is still possible. We are deeply concerned about the physical condition of Eskinder.

Freeing Eskinder Nega (and Helping All of Ethiopia’s Imprisoned Journalists)

Freeing Eskinder Nega will help preserve a vital voice for independent journalism in a country that hungers for access to truthful news coverage. It will also serve as inspiration for activists working to free other imprisoned journalists in this country.

The Ethiopian government has released journalists in the past—including Eskinder, several times. Earlier this year, it released and pardoned Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye after substantial international pressure. And in August, Temesghen Desalegn, editor of a leading independent weekly newspaper in Ethiopia, was released and cleared of the criminal charges against him. So we know that activist efforts – including international pressure – can be persuasive to the Ethiopian government. If nothing else, continued international attention can help ensure Eskinder Nega’s safety as he continues to appeal his case.

Here’s how you can get involved:
• Sign PEN American Center’s petition, which automatically an email to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Minister of Justice Berhanu Hailu.
• Send appeals by mail to Ethiopian officials and their local Ethiopian Embassy or Consulate.
• Tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Suggested Tweet:
Journalism is not terrorism. Join @PenAmerican and @EFF in fighting to #FreeEskinder Nega. http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/2226

We’re also going to be changing the EFF Twitter profile image to show a #FreeEskinder banner leading up to Eskinder’s next appeal. We hope you’ll do the same to your own online accounts by using the image located here.

The United States has deep ties with Ethiopia, which is a major military alley for our country in sub-Saharan Africa. EFF is writing an open letter to the US State Department to urge them to speak out on Eskinder’s case to Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister. As the Washington Post stated, Eskinder’s case is “a source of tension and embarrassment to the Obama administration,” whose new Africa strategy makes democracy promotion the number one priority.

We’ll be watching Eskinder’s case closely in the coming months. Follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the campaign.

 

Follow EFF

Journalism is not terrorism. Join @PenAmerican and @EFF in fighting to free #EskinderNega https://eff.org/r.a7qY

Ethiopian Review’s 2012 Top 5 Political Turkeys

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Thanksgiving Holiday is this week and here is Ethiopian Review’s 2012 Top 5 Political Turkeys, as a warm up to the much anticipated Ethiopian Review’s 2012 Person of the Year, which will be announced around the end of December.

5. Aba Gebremedhin (formerly Abune Paulos) – accompanied his boss to hell.

4. Barack Obama – gives $3 billion to Ethiopia’s corrupt dictator while his country is burdened with a $17-trillion debt.

3. Mit Romney – couldn’t defeat the most incompetent president since Jimmy Carter.

2. Susan Rice – her lies and hubris finally caught up to her.

1. Meles Zenawi & Azeb Mesfin – good riddance finally. He died running scared and without enjoying his loot.

Your comments are welcomed.

Trekking in Ethiopia’s Semien Mountains

Monday, November 19th, 2012

By Kraig Becker

Ethiopia is home to one of the more spectacular, yet lesser known, classic treks of the world. The Semien Mountains, found in the northern part of the country, offer amazing scenery, dizzying heights, and unique wildlife, with treks that can range anywhere from one to two weeks in length. Best of all, the trails tend to be remote and generally empty, providing solitude to travelers throughout the breathtaking landscapes.

The Semien range is quite rugged, with plenty of altitude. Many of the peaks rise above 11,000 feet, with the tallest, Ras Dashen, reaching 15,159 feet in height. The trails and campsites remain primitive, and there are few amenities to be had out in the Ethiopian wilds, but the mostly untouched backcountry offers deep gorges and unique rock formations, delivering stunning views to trekkers at every turn.

One of the more unique aspects of a Semien trek is that the trails wander through remote villages on a regular basis. This allows hikers the opportunity to visit with locals who live in the region and still maintain a simple lifestyle that has remained mostly unchanged for generations. The presence of these villages allows for cultural immersion, which is something that is often missing on similar treks in other parts of the world.

There is also plenty of wildlife to see on the trail as well, with Gelada Baboons being one of the highlights. The baboons make their homes amongst the rocky outcroppings of the Semien Mountains and rarely stray far from those protective spaces. Other animals in the area include the walia ibex, a species of mountain goats unique to the region, and the Ethiopian wolf, which resembles a red fox in most physical aspects.

For trekkers who have already covered the more well known treks of the world, such as the Inca Trail or the Annapurna Circuit, the Semien Mountains offer an isolated, little known escape that remains off the radar for many travelers. The incredible views, unique mountain villages, and interesting wildlife set it apart from just about any other hike, and will leave a lasting impression on anyone who makes the journey. (Source: Gadling.com)

Ethiopian-Americans protest persecution of Muslims in Ethiopia

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Washington, DC,  July 16, 2012.

Muslims and Christians of Ethiopian origin came out in large numbers to protest against the Ethiopian authorities’ harassment, arrest, torture and killing of Ethiopian Muslims.  The event was organized by the Washington-based First Hijrah Foundation.

Click here for a video of the demonstrations

 


Survival guide resources

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

The following is a valuable collection of survival guides for natural and man-made disasters. It is a good idea to download and keep them on your computer’s hard drive or memory sticks.

  1. Preserving Fruits And Vegetables
  2. Wound Closure Manual
  3. Survival Medicine
  4. Canning Fermented Foods and Pickled Vegetables
  5. Practical Guide to Free Energy Devices
  6. Survival In Cold Weather Areas
  7. CIA Lock Picking Training Manual
  8. Boyscout cookbook
  9. Food-Storage-for-Survival
  10. Small Scale-Food-Drying-Technologies
  11. Navy-Seal-Physical-Fitness-Guide
  12. How to make fertilizers
  13. US-Marines-Close-Quarters-Combat-Manual
  14. US-Marine-Corps-Hand-to-Hand-Combat
  15. US Army-Combatives-handtohand-combat
  16. Military-Hand-to-Hand-Combat-Guide
  17. Practical-Unarmed-Combat
  18. Marine-Martial-Arts-Training
  19. Military-Hand-to-Hand-Combat-Guide
  20. Aikido (Hand to Hand: Martial Arts)
  21. Combat-Conditioning-Manual (JiuJitsu)
  22. Bushcraft leather work
  23. Flintknapping manual
  24. Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties
  25. Foxfire-One
  26. Foxfire-Two
  27. Foxfire-Three
  28. Woodsman-Ship
  29. Vegetable-Garden-Encyclopedia
  30. Preparing and Canning Poultry, Red Meats, and Seafood
  31. MacGyver-How To Handbook
  32. The Making of Leather
  33. The Jerky Chef
  34. Guide to home carpentry
  35. Baby-Food
  36. Solar Dehydrator
  37. Secret-Hiding-Places
  38. Radio Monitoring Guide
  39. Native-Berry-Recipes
  40. Metal-Forming
  41. Making Desiccant Packs for long-term firearm storage
  42. Jerky-Recipes
  43. Hunting-With-a-Bow-and-Arrow
  44. How to make common things
  45. How-to-Make-a-Plastic-Covered-Solar-Still
  46. How-to-Build-a-Solar-Food-Dryer
  47. How-to-Build-a-Solar-Crop-Dryer
  48. How-to-Be-Invisible
  49. Homemade-Tracer-Ammo
  50. Herbal-Manual
  51. Healing-Pets-With-Alternative-Medicine
  52. Getaway-Driving-Techniques
  53. Food-Storage-Recipes
  54. Food Storage Cooking School
  55. FEMA Emergency Gassifer
  56. Every Step in Canning
  57. Essentials of Archery
  58. Electro-Motors
  59. Drying-Fruits-and-Vegetables
  60. Electromagnetic Pulse Protection Manual
  61. Dictionary of Food
  62. Declination diagram
  63. Cultivation, Harvesting, Curing, and Uses of Herbs
  64. CIA-Simple-Sabatoge-Field-Manual
  65. Canning-Processing-Charts
  66. Canning Principles
  67. Canning Meat Safely
  68. Canadian-Scout-Manual
  69. Build Classic-Crossbow
  70. Homemade-Weapons
  71. Beverage Plants
  72. Knotting-knots
  73. Hunting-and-Fishing
  74. Guide-to-Wilderness-Living
  75. Raw-Foods Guide
  76. Poultry
  77. Dry-Farming
  78. Home-Dried-Food
  79. Urban Preparation Kit
  80. Traps
  81. Wilderness Survival Skills
  82. Surviving-Terrorism
  83. Wilderness-Survival
  84. Water-Purification
  85. Nuclear War Survival Skills
  86. How to build a debris hut
  87. HHS Pandemic Influenza Plan
  88. Combat-Survival-Evasion
  89. Cold Weather_Survival – 1
  90. Cold Weather  Survival – 2
  91. Camp Life in the Woods and Trap Making
  92. Aids to survival
  93. Adventurer-Woodstravel-Module
  94. Evasion and recovery
  95. USMC Individual Terrorism Survival
  96. USMC-Winter-Survival-Course
  97. Wilderness-Evasion-a-Guide
  98. USMC-Summer-Survival-Course
  99. USMC-Pistol-Markmanship
  100. How-to-Kill-Tanks
  101. Combat-Training With Pistols
  102. Guerrila Warfare
  103. Map-Reading-and-Land-Navigation
  104. Topographic-Operations
  105. Terrain-Analysis
  106. Special Forces Caching Techniques
  107. Rifle-Marksmanship
  108. Rappelling
  109. Ranger-Unit-Operations
  110. Mountain-Operations
  111. Marine-Land-Navigation
  112. How-to-Start-and-Train-a-Militia-Unit
  113. How-to-Find-Your-Way
  114. Combat Survival Guerrila Skills Handbook
  115. Combat Skills
  116. Combat Guerrilla Survival Skills
  117. US Army Field Manual, Civil Disturbance Operations
  118. Basic food preparation
  119. Soldiers-Manual-of-Common-Tasks-Level-1
  120. Soldiers-Manual-of-Common-Tasks-Level-2-3-and-4
  121. Army Basic-Cold-Weather-Manual
  122. Army Camouflage-Concealment-and-Decoys
  123. Army Concrete-and-Masonry
  124. Carpentry
  125. Army Urban-Operations
  126. Where There is No Dentist
  127. Where-There-Is-No-Doctor
  128. Personal-wilderness-medical-kit
  129. Full-First-Aid-Manual-FM-2111
  130. Emergency War Surgery
  131. Ditch-Medicine-Advanced-Field-Procedures-For-Emergencies
  132. WHO-Monographs-on-Selected-Medicinal-Plants
  133. WHO-Monographs-on-Selected-Medicinal-Plants-Vol-2
  134. WHO-Monographs-on-Selected-Medicinal-Plants-Vol-3
  135. WHO-Monographs-on-Selected-Medicinal-Plants-Volume-4
  136. Useful-Wild-Plants-of-the-United-States-and-Canada
  137. How-to-make-herbal-preparations
  138. Survival Edible Medicinal-Plants
  139. Healing-Pets-With-Alternative-Medicine
  140. Edible-Wild-Plants
  141. Common Edible Mushrooms
  142. Anticancer Therapeutics
  143. Nature Cure
  144. Survival knots
  145. Ropes, Knots, Ladders, Lashings and Anchorages
  146. Knots, Splices and Rope Work
  147. Knots-for-Mountaineering, Camping, Climbing, Rescue
  148. Essential-Fishing-knots
  149. Encyclopedia of Knots
  150. Edible and medicinal plants

ጥቁሩ ሰው

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

“ጥቁሩ ሰው” ይናገራል!

የ አቶ ኦባንግ ሜቶ ቃለ ምልልስ ከ ጎልጉል ድረ ገጽ ጋር

November 16, 2012

Obang Metho

“ጥቁሩ ሰው” ይሉታል። ኢትዮጵያዊያን ለሚያሽከረከራት አስፈሪ ፈተና መፍትሄው ሰብአዊነትን ማስቀደም ብቻ ነው የሚል የጸና እምነት አለው። “ከጎሳ በፊት ሰብዓዊነት” በሚል መሪ ዓላማ ከሚመስሉት ጋር በመሆን ድርጅት አቋቁሞ መሥራት ከጀመረበት ጊዜ አንስቶ ባከናወናቸው ሥራዎች ከፍተኛ እርካታ እንደሚሰማው ያምናል። ኢትዮጵያዊያን ችግር ደርሶባቸዋል በሚባልበት ሁሉ ቀድሞ ደራሽ እንደሆነ ብዙዎች ይመሰክሩለታል። በዚህና በሰብዓዊ መብት ጉዳይ በሰራቸው ስራዎቹ ቁጥራቸው ቀላል የማይባሉ ደጋፊዎችና አድናቂዎች ለማፍራት ቢችልም “ከጀርባው ድብቅ ዓላማና አጀንዳ አለው፣ ብቻውን ይሮጣል” የሚሉትን ጨምሮ በግል አቋሞቹ ዙሪያ ነቀፌታ የሚሰነዝሩበትም አሉ።

የወደፊት ዕቅዱና የሚነቅፉት እንደሚሉት መቼ ፖለቲካ ፓርቲ መስርቶ ይፋ ያደርጋል? በሚሉትና በተመሳሳይ ጉዳዮች ዙሪያ ኦባንግ ሜቶ ከጎልጉል የድረገጽ ጋዜጣ ጋር ቃለ ምልልስ አድርጓል። ኦባንግ ሜቶ (ጥቁሩ ሰው) የአንደኛ ደረጃ ትምህርቱን ጋምቤላ ተማረ። ከዚያም ሁለተኛና የዩኒቨርሲቲ ትምህርቱን ካናዳ ተከታትሎዋል። በመጀመሪያ የጋምቤላ ልማት ኤጀንሲ (GDA) የሚባል ድርጅት አቋቁሞ በርካታ ተግባራትን እያከናወነ ነበር፡፡ በኋላም በጋምቤላ የዛሬ 9ዓመት አካባቢ ከ400 በላይ አኙዋኮች ሲጨፈጨፉ ህይወቱ ተቀየረ፡፡ ሁኔታው በአመለካከቱ ላይ ብቻ ሳይሆን በግል ህይወቱ ላይ ከፍተኛ ለውጥ አመጣ፡፡ ሁሉንም ትቶ ድምጽ አልባ ለሆኑት ድምጽ ለመሆን የአኙዋክ የፍትሕ ምክርቤትን በማቋቋምና በኃላፊነት በመሥራት የመለስ አገዛዝን እና የወንጀሉን ተዋናዮች በዓለምአቀፍ ፍርድርቤት ሊያስከስስ የሚችል ተግባር አከናወነ፡፡ ሆኖም ችግሩ የአኙዋክ ብቻ ሳይሆን የመላው ኢትዮጵያ መሆኑን በጥልቅ ከተረዳ በኋላ ኢትዮጵያ ነጻ ሳትወጣ አኙዋክ ብቻ ወይም ሌላው እንዲሁ በግሉ ነጻ ቢወጣ ችግሩ ፈጽሞ ሊቃለል እንደማይችል በተረዳበት ጊዜ ትግሉን ቀየረ፡፡ አዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ ብትመሠረት የሁላችንም ችግር መፍትሔ እንደሚያገኝ በማስተዋል ከበርካታ ኢትዮጵያውያን ጋር በመሆን ለአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ የጋራ ንቅናቄን (አኢጋን) (http://www.solidaritymovement.org/) በማቋቋም የትግሉን መስመር አሰፋው፡፡ “ሁላችንም ነጻ ካልወጣን ማንም ብቻውን ነጻ መሆን አይችልም” የሚለውን መሪ መፈክር በማንገብ “ከጎሣ ይልቅ ለሰብዓዊነት ቅድሚያ” እንዲሰጥ በመታገል ዓመታትን አስቆጥሯል – ኦባንግ ሜቶ ለአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ የጋራ ንቅናቄ ዋና ዳይሬክተር!

ጎልጉል፦ደስተኛ ነህ?

ኦባንግ፦ዘወትር የምመለከተው ወደፊት ነው። የማምንበትን አደርጋለሁ። የማደርገው ሁሉ ለኅሊናዬ ስል ነው። ኅሊናዬን እረፍት የሚነሳ ነገር አላደርግም። ግልጽ ነኝ።ዕቅዴ፣ ሃሳቤ፣ እምነቴ፣ ቀናነትና መደጋገፍ ላይ የተመሰረተ በመሆኑ ዘወትር ደስተኛ ነኝ። በየቀኑ በርካታ በረከቶች አሉኝ። ይህንን ስል ሃዘን አይሰማኝም ማለት ግን አይደለም። በርካታ ጉዳዮች እረፍት ይነሱኛል። ማንም ለራሱ ብቻ መኖር የለበትም …

ጎልጉል፦በተለይ የሚያስደስትህ ምንድር ነው?

ኦባንግ፦የወገኖቼን ችግር ለመቅረፍ የማደርገው ጥረት ልዩ እርካታ ይሰጠኛል። ሰዎችን ለመርዳት ተንቀሳቅሼ ምላሹ መልካም ዜና ሲሆን ደስታዬ ልዩ ነው። የልፋቴን ዋጋ ስመለከት ቀኑን ሙሉ በደስታ እንዳለቅስ ያደርገኛል። እንዲህ ያለውን እርካታ በሌላ በምንም መንገድ ላገኘው አልችልም። እንዲህ ያለው ደስታ ቀኑ ሁሉ የተባረከ እንዲሆን ያደርግልኛል። በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ …

ጎልጉል፦በተለይ የምትጠላው ምንድነው? ይህንን ጥያቄ የማነሳው …

ኦባንግ፦(…አቋርጦ በመግባት) ተንኮል። ጥላቻ። ድንቁርና፡፡ ውሸት …

ጎልጉል፦የፖለቲካ ፓርቲ የማቋቋም ድብቅ አጀንዳ አለው የሚል አስተያየት ይደመጣል፤

ኦባንግ፦ለጊዜው አላሰብኩም። ባቋቁምስ? ምንድነው ችግሩ? ማንስ ያገባዋል? ምንም ነገር የማድረግ መብቱ እኮ የኔ የግሌ ነው፤

ጎልጉል፦በየጊዜው የሚነሳ ጉዳይ ስለሆነ ግልጽ እንዲሆን ነው የጠየኩህ፤

ኦባንግ፦ከዚህ በፊት ያስታወቅኩኝ ይመስለኛል። የፖለቲካ ፓርቲ የማቋቋም ወይም በተቋቋሙት የፖለቲካ ድርጅቶች ውስጥ የመሳተፍ ባለመብቱ እኔ ብቻ ነኝ። ማንም አያገባውም። እንዲህ ዓይነት ሌሎችን የመቆጣጠር አዝማሚያ ሊገባኝ አይችልም።በተወለድኩበት ጋምቤላ በመቶሺህ የሚቆጠሩ ሰዎች በአንድ ሃኪም ብቻ ሲመረመሩ ሳይ አመመኝ። ይህ ሳይበቃቸው ጭፍጨፋ ተከተለ። ይህኔ ማንም ሳይቀሰቅሰኝ የተገፉና የሚረገጡ ወገኖችን ለመታደግ ማንም ሳይቀሰቅሰኝ ወሰንኩ። ችግራቸውን ይፋ ለማድረግ አደባባይ ወጣሁ። ድርጅት አቋቋምኩ። በህይወት እያሉ የሚያጣጥሩ ሰዎችን መንገድ ላይ እያዩ ጥሎ መሔድ ይቻላል? ሰብዓዊነት ነው? እየሞቱ ያሉ ዜጎችን ለመርዳት፣ የነሱ ስቃይ ይመለከተኛል ብሎ መነሳት ምን ድብቅ አጀንዳ ይኖረዋል? እንዲህ አይነቱን ኋላ ቀርና የቀረ አስተሳሰብ አልወደውም። አጠላዋለሁ። ከየት እንደመጣሁ የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ያውቃል። እኔ የመጣሁት ፍትህ ለተጠሙ ድምጽ ለመሆን እንጂ ለተንኮል አይደለም። ተንኮል ምን እንደሆነም አላውቅም። ድብቅ ነገርም የለኝም። ከማንስ ነው የሚደበቀው?

ጎልጉል፦ስለዚህ የፖለቲካ ፓርቲ የማቋቋም ሃሳብ የለህም ማለት ነው?

ኦባንግ፦በራሴ ጊዜ ሁሉንም አደርገዋለሁ። ማንም ለኔ ሃሳብና እቅድ ጊዜ አያወጣልኝም። ማድረግ በምፈልግበት ጊዜ ባደባባይ ልክ አሁን እንደምሰራው አደርገዋለሁ። ለሁሉም ነገር የራሴ የጊዜ ምርጫ አለኝ። እኔ በራሴ ሳንባ የምተነፍስ ሰው ነኝ። እኔን በተመለከተ ምን እያደረኩ እንደሆነ በማሰብ የሚጨነቁ የራሳቸውን ስራ እንዲሰሩ እመክራቸዋለሁ። እኔ የራሴን እቅድ ይዤ እየሰራሁ ነው። ሌሎችም የራሳቸውን፣ ያዋጣናል ያሉትን ይስሩ። በቃ!! ተመለሰልህ?

ጎልጉል፦”ለሁሉም ጊዜ አለው” ብለኸኛል፤

ኦባንግ፦አዎ! ለሁሉም ጊዜ አለው። ፍትህ ለጠማቸው ወገኖች በሚቻለው ሁሉ መድረስ ግድ ነው። የሌሎችን ኑሮና ስቃይ መካፈል ሰው የመሆናችን አንዱ መግለጫ ነው።በእውነት፣ በቀጥተኛው መንገድ፣ የተከታዮችን ልብ ሳንሰብር ማገልገል ለማንም የሚተው ሥራ አይደለም፡፡ ሁላችንም ያገባናል። ባገራቸው ጉዳይ ከሚያገባቸው ዜጎች መካከል አንዱ ነኝ።

ጎልጉል፦ብቻህን ትሮጣለህ ይሉሃል?

ኦባንግ፦እንዲህ ያለው ኢትዮጵያን አሁን ካለችበትም ደረጃ እንደገና ወደ ባሰ ኋላ ቀርነት ለሚመልሳት አመለካከትና አስተሳሰብ እንግዳ ነኝ። በነጻነት የማምን ነጻ ሰው ነኝ። ወዳጆቼን ቅር ያሰኛል እንጂ በርካታ ጉዳዮችን ማንሳትና መናገር የምችልበት አጋጣሚዎች ነበሩ። ራሳችንን ችለን ከመስራት ይልቅ ሌላው ላይ መንጠልጠል ምን ጥቅም እንዳለ ሊገባኝ አይችልም። እኔ የምመራው ድርጅት የራሱ መዋቅር ያለው፣የሚሰራውን የሚያውቅ፣ በሙያቸውና በዜግነታቸው ዓላማውን ተቀብለው ያለ አንዳች ጥቅም የሚያገለግሉት ቦርድና ስራ አመራር ያለው ነው። አባላቶቹም በፍቅር ድርጅታቸውን አምነው የሚሰሩ ናቸው። እኔን ብቻውን ይሮጣል የሚሉ ወገኖች የሚያስቀይሙት እንግዲህ እንዲህ ያሉትን፣ የማያውቋቸውን ሰዎች ነው። እኔ እስከማውቀው ድረስ ብቻዬን አይደለሁም። አብረውኝ የሚሮጡና በነጻ ከፍቅር ብዛት ከጎኔ ያሉት ወገኖች እጅግ ብዙ ናቸው። ችግሩ እነዚህ አብረውኝ ያሉ ሰዎች በየቦታው መታየት የሚፈልጉ ስላልሆኑ ለአንዳንድ ሰዎች ብቻዬን ያለሁ ይመስላቸዋል፡፡ እና ብቻውን ይሮጣል ይሉኛል፡፡

ጎልጉል፦ድርጅትህ የተለየ መስፈርት አለው?

ኦባንግ፦ በመጀመሪያ “ድርጅትህ” ያልከውን አልቀበልም፡፡ እኔ መሪ ብሆንም ለአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ የጋራ ንቅናቄ “የኦባንግ ድርጅት አይደለም”፡፡ የጋራ ንቅናቄያችን ምንም መስፈርት የለውም፤ በፍጹም። እንደሚታወቀው ሥራችን ሁሉ ህጋዊ ነው፡፡ የጥንካሬያችን መሠረትም ይኸው ነው፡፡ ድርጅታችን በአሜሪካ አገር በሕግ የተመዘገበና የመክሰስም ሆነ የመከሰስ መብት ያለው ነው፡፡ ገቢና ወጪያችንንም በየጊዜው በህጋዊ መልኩ ለመንግሥት መ/ቤቶች ሪፖርት እናደርጋለን፡፡ የወያኔን ሕገወጥነት የምንቃወመው ራሳችን ሕገወጥ በመሆን አይደለም፡፡ እናም ስለዚህ በሕጋዊነት ላይ የጸና አቋም አለን፡፡ ከዚህ ሌላ ግን የጋራ ንቅናቄያችን አገራቸውን የሚወዱ፣ ሰብዓዊነትን የሚያከብሩ፣ የወደፊት ልጅ ልጆቻቸው ህይወት የሚያሳዝኗቸው፣ እነሱ ያለፉበት መንገድ ስህተትና ኋላ ቀር እንደሆነ የተረዱ በነጻነት የሚምኑ፣ በበጎ ፈቃድ፣ በቀናነት፣ በፍቅርና በርህራሄ የሚያምኑ ነጻ ሰዎች የሚቀላቀሉት ድርጅት ነው። (http://www.solidaritymovement.org/)

የጋራ ንቅናቄያችን የያዘው ራዕይ ብቻውን ታላቁ ሃብቱ ነው። ግን ከግብ የሚያደርሱት ሰዎች ይፈልጋል። እነዚህ ሰዎች ጎሳና የደም ግንኙነት የማያግዳቸው የአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ መስራቾች ናቸው። እኔን ውሰደኝ። ከጋምቤላ ነው የተገኘሁት። ይህ ታላቅ ሃብት ነው ያልኩት ታላቅ ዓላማ ስለገዛኝ እንጂ ከጋምቤላ ጉዳይ ጋር መሮጥ እችል ነበር። የጋምቤላን ጉዳይ ብቻ አንጠልጥዬ ብሮጥ መስበክ የምጀምረው የቀድሞውን ስህተት ይሆናል። ስህተት መድገም ታጋይ ወይም የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋች አያሰኝም።

ጎልጉል፦ላቋርጥህና “የቀድሞውን ስህተት መስበክ” ስትል ምን ማለት ነው?

ኦባንግ፦ነብሱን ይማረውና አቶ መለስ ይሰብከው የነበረው ሁሉ ጥላቻ ነበር። ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ባለው እውነት መሠረት ሁሉም የተረገጠ ህዝብ ነው። ሁሉም የተገፋ ህዝብ ነው። የቱን ጠልተህ፣ የቱን ትወዳለህ? መለስ አማራውን ነፍጠኛና የሌላው ህዝብ ሁሉ ጠላት አድርጎ ሰበከ። ኦሮሞውን ጠባብ እያለ ከሌላው ጋር አጣላው። የተጨቆኑ በሚል ብሄር ብሄረሰቦችን ጥላቻ አስታጠቃቸው። በጥላቻ ላይ መሰረት ያደረገው ስብከት ህይወት ቀጠፈ፡፡ አሁንም ሰው እየሞተ ነው። መፈናቀል አስከተለ። አሁንም አልቆመም። ከሰውነት ባህርይ የወጣና ዘግናኝ ጭፍጨፋ ተካሄደ … ብዙ ማለት ይቻላል። ከጥላቻ የሚገኘው ትርፍ እንግዲህ ይህ ነው። ቀደም ባሉት ስርዓቶችም ቢሆን ከዘመን ጋር አብሮ ባለመሄድ ምክንያት በርካታ ችግሮችን ለማሳለፍ ተገደናል። እናም ይህ አስነዋሪና ኋላ ቀር ፖለቲካ አንድ ቦታ ላይ መቆም ይገባዋል። የምናስቀረው ደግሞ እኛ የዚህ ዘመን ሰዎች ነን። ጥላቻን መስበክ መቆም አለበት። ይህንን ለመረዳት የሚያስፈልገው ቀና መሆን ብቻ ነው። በቀናነት ብቻ ብዙ መራመድ ይቻላል። ቀና ስንሆን ብዙ ነገር ይገለጥልናል። በሁሉም መንገድ ተሞክሮ አልሆነም። ቀና በመሆን ግን ይቻላል።

ጎልጉል፦አቶ መለስ በህይወት እያሉ ስለተጨቆኑና ስለተረገጡ ህዝቦች ሲሉ መታገላቸውን በተደጋጋሚ ይናገሩ ነበር። ባንተ አመለካከት ዋናው ስህተታቸው ምኑ ላይ ነው?

ኦባንግ፦አቶ መለስ ህወሓትን ከፊት አድርገው አዲስ አበባ ሲገቡ እውነተኛ ብሔራዊ እርቅ አድርገው ቢሆን ኖሮ ዛሬ ተገፍተን በስደት ያለን ሁላችን በየሙያችን አገራችንና ወገኖቻችንን እናግዝ ነበር። የሆነው ግን የተለየ ነው። መለስ “እነሱ” ብሎ ሌሎችን በመወንጀል ጥላቻን ማወጅ ጀመረ። ትውልድን የሚያንጽ ብሄራዊ ሚዲያ ሳይቀር የጥላቻና የቂም ስብከት እንዲያስተጋባ ተደረገ። የዚህ መዘዝ ዛሬ ላይ ጣለን። የጋራ ንቅናቄያችን “እነሱ” የሚል ቋንቋ የለውም። ስንጀምር “እኛ” ብለን ነው። ይህ ልዩ ያደርገናል። የሰው ልጆች ጥላቻን ለመሸከም አይመጥኑም። ጥላቻ የሚዘራብን እንደሰው ስለማንታይ ነው። እንደ ሰው ስላልተከበርን ነው። ሰው መልካም ነገር እንዲያደርግ ከፈጣሪ የተሰጠው ልዩ ስጦታ አለው፡፡ መለስ ግን ይህንን ረስቷል። በብሄር ብሄረሰብ ስም ሲምል ሁላችንንም ሳያሳፍር ነው። ብቻውን ወይም ጥቂት ሰዎች ይዞ ወደ ጥፋት ሄደ፤

ጎልጉል፦ “መሳፈር” ብታብራራልኝ?

ኦባንግ፦በምሳሌ ልግለጸው። ምሳሌው ለመለስ ብቻ አይደለም። ለሁላችንም የሚሆን ነው። አውሮፓና አሜሪካ ወይም ባደጉት አገሮች ተማሪዎች የጉብኝት ጉዞ አላቸው። ለጉብኝት ሲነሱ አውቶቡስ ይቀርባል። አወቶቡሱ እንደቀረበ ቀድመው የሚገቡት ተማሪዎች ናቸው። ተማሪዎች ገብተው ሲያልቁ አስተማሪዎቹ ይቆጥሯቸዋል። ሁሉም መግባታቸውን ካረጋገጡ በኋላ አስተማሪዎቹ ተሳፍረው ሾፌሩን አውቶቡሱን እንዲያንቀሳቀስ ይነግሩታል። አስተማሪዎቹ ተማሪዎቹን ቅድሚያ ሰጥተው ማስገባትና የተባለው ቦታ ድረስ የማድረስ ሃላፊነት አለባቸው። ጉብኝቱም ካለቀ በኋላ ሁሉም  ተማሪዎች አውቶቡስ ውስጥ ተመልሰው ሳይገቡ አውቶቡሱ ዝም ብሎ አይነሳም። ሁሉም ተማሪዎች መኖራቸውና ማንም እንዳልቀረ ደግመው ደጋግመው ያረጋግጣሉ። እንደመጀመሪያው ሁሉም ተማሪዎች መሳፈራቸው ሲረጋገጥ አውቶቡሱ እንዲንቀሳቀስ ለሾፌሩ ያስታውቃሉ።

ጎለጉል፡- ታዲያ ከዚህ ምሳሌ የምንማረው ምንድነው?

ኦባንግ፡- የምንማረውማ አውቶቡሱ አገር ነው። ተማሪዎቹ ህዝብ ናቸው። እንግዲህ መለስ አገር ሲመራ ሁላችንንም ቆጥሮና መሳፈራችንን አረጋግጦ መሆን ሲጋባው ብቻውን ተሳፍሮ ሌሎች የሚፈልጋቸውን ጨምሮ ቆለፈብንና ብቻውን ነጎደ። አንዳንድ የሚጠቅሙትን ከጎኑ አደረገ። በመሪያችን ያልተቆጠርን በዛን። አታስፈልጉም የተባልነው በለጥን። የተቆለፈብንና የጉዞው ተመልካች የሆን ከልክ በላይ ሆንን። መለስ ካለፉት ስርዓቶች ትምህርት ተምሮ ጉዞውን አንድ ላይ በእርቅና በፍቅር ሊያደርገው ይችል ነበር። መለስ ተገፍቻለሁ ብሎ በረሃ ገባ። ከበረሃ ሲመለስና መሪ ሲሆን እኔንና እኔን መሰል ወገኖችን ገፋንና ከአውቶቡሱ ውጪ አደረገን። ሳንቆጠር የቀረን በሙሉ ሌላ አውቶቡስ ፍለጋ ተሰደድን፤ አሁንም እየተሰደድን እንገኛለን፡፡ በመለስ አውቶቡስ የሚቆጥረን ስላልነበረ ሌላ የሚቆጥረን እንፈልጋለን፡፡ ዛሬም ተመልሰን ይህንን ለመድገም መስራት ያለብን አይመስለኝም። አንዱ ሌላውን እየገፋ በበቀል ታሪክ መሄድ መቆም አለበት። ይህ የእኛ ትውልድ ቢያንስ ቢያንስ ይህንን ማድረግ አለበት። መለስ አልቆጠረንም ብለን የራሳችንን አውቶቡስ ይዘን ከመሄድ ይልቅ መጀመሪያ ወገናችንን እንሰብስብ፤ እንቁጠር፡፡ በተራ ብልጣብልጥነትና በተንኮል ሳይሆን በቀናነት!! ቀናነት!! ቀናነት!! …

ጎልጉል፦እዚህ ላይ አቶ መለስን ብቻ ተጠያቂ እያደረክ ነው?

ኦባንግ፦እሳቸው ይህንን የጥላቻ ታሪክ መቀየር ይችሉ ነበር። መገፋትና መጨቆን አግባብ አይደለም ብለው የታገሉትን ወንድሞችና እህቶች ሞት ሊያከብሩት ይገባ ነበር። “በጠላቶቻችን መቃብር ላይ” ብለው ባይነሱ ኖሮ የኢትዮጵያ መከራ ያቆም ነበር። በየመን፣ በመካከለኛው ምስራቅ፣ በአውሮፓ፣ በአሜሪካ፣ በኬኒያ፣ በደቡብ አፍሪካና በተለያዩ አገራት በስደት የሚማቅቁ ወገኖች የመለስ ስርዓት ውጤቶች ናቸው። ድህነት ከፍቶ ቆሻሻ መብላት የጀመሩ ትውልዶች የታዩት፣ በባህር ላይ ሲሰደዱ የሚያልቁ ወገኖች፣ በሲና በረሃ የሰውነት ክፍላቸው እየተወሰደ የውሻ ሞት የሚሞቱት ወገኖች፣ የድርጅት አባል ካልሆናችሁ ስራ አታገኙም ተብለው በረሃብ የሚጠበሱ አካሎቻችን የመለስ ስርዓት ውጤቶች ናቸው። መለስ መነጋገሪያ ይዞ የተናገራቸው የጥላቻና እርስ በርስ የሚያባላ ቅስቀሳ እኔ መድገም አልፈልግም።ማናችንም ልንደግመው አይገባም። በነገራችን ላይ ኢህአዴግ ራሱ የሁሉም ነገር መሃንዲስ መለስ እንደሆነ አሁን እያረጋገጠ ነው። እኔ የምለው ግን በቀል የሌለባትን አገር ለመመስረት እናተኩር ነው እንጂ መለስን በመውቀስና በመደብደብ ለውጥ አይመጣም። ጥላቻውን ማስተጋባት ከቀጠልን የቀድሞው ስህተት ምሩቃን እንሆንና ምንም በማያውቀው በመጪው ትውልድ፣ በልጅ ልጆቻችን ላይ የምንፈርድ እንሆናለን።ይህንን ካደረግን ከነመለስና ከሌሎች በምን እንሻላለን ለሚለው ጥያቄ መልስ የለም። አርቆ መመልከት አግባብ የሚሆነው እዚህ ላይ ነው።

ጎልጉል፦ስጋት አለህ ማለት ነው?

ኦባንግ፦እኔ ብቻ ሳልሆን አብዛኛው ህዝብ፣ በተለይም ወደ የትኛው አቅጣጫ እንደሚሄድ መወሰን ያልቻለው ህዝብ ጭንቀት ውስጥ ስለመሆኑ ጥርጥር የለኝም። ጎጆ ቤት ስትገባ ጎንበስ ማለት አለብህ። ኢትዮጵያችን ዙሪያውን ምስጥ በበላው እንጨት የቆመ ጎጆ ተደርጋለች። የከፋቸው ብዙ ናቸው። ተገደው ሳይወዱ በሃይል የሚመሩ የጥላቻ ፖለቲካ ውጤት የሆኑ ጥቂት አይደሉም። በእንዲህ አይነት ጎጆ ውስጥ ለመግባት በጣም ጎንበስ ማለት ግድ ነው። አለበለዚያ አንዱ እንጨት ከተነካ ጎጆዋ ጎጆ መሆኗ ይቀራል። ይህ አርቀህ ስታይ የምትመለከተው ገጽታ ነው። ይህቺ ጎጆ ጎጆ መሆኗ ከቀረ ቢሮጥም መድረሻ የለም። ጎጆዋን የበላት ምስጥ ጥላቻ ነው። ይህንን ጥላቻ ስናስወግድና በሰብዓዊነት መሰረት ላይ ተተክለን መንቀሳቀስ ስንችል ጎንበስ ሳንል ደረታችንን ገልብጠን ብንገባም የማይነቃነቅ ቤት ይኖረናል። ያቺኑ በቋፍ ላይ ያለች ጎጆ በመጠጋገን ለመኖር ማሰብ በኔ እምነት ኋላ ቀርነት ነው። ራዕይ አልባ መሆን ነው። የአውሬ አስተሳሰብ ነው። ተራ የእሳት አደጋ ወይም የአምቡላንስ አገልግሎት አይነት ነው። እና …

ጎልጉል፡- ምሳሌዎች ሁሉ ይገርማሉ፤ ቅድም ስለ አውቶቡስ ስትናገር ነበር አሁን ደግሞ ጎጆ …

ኦባንግ፡- (በማቋረጥ) ልክ ነህ ለኔ ትልቅ ትርጉም ስላላቸው ነው፡፡ … እና ወደ ጀመርኩት ሃሳቤ ስመለስ … ራሴን በርካታ ጥያቄዎች እጠይቃለሁ። የማገኘው መልስ ይገርመኛል። የኢትዮጵያ ልጆች ደንቆሮዎች ነን እንዳልል፣ በመላው ዓለም ታላላቅ ባለሙያዎች አሉ። ደሃ ነን እንዳልል፣ ሃብት አለን። ታሪክ አልባ ነን እንዳልል፣ የታላላቅ ታሪክ ባለቤት ነን። ባህል አልባ ነን እንዳልል፣ አስገራሚ ባህሎች ባለቤት እንደሆን እረዳለሁ። ታዲያ ችግራችን ምንድነው? እስራኤል ታናሽ ህዝብ ነው። ግን የት ደርሰዋል? እኛ ለምን? ምንድነው የጎደለን? መሪ የሚባሉት ሰዎች በልተው ሌላው ጦሙን ሲያድር ምን እርካታ ይሰማቸዋል? አገር እየሳሳች ስትሄድ በጋራ መፍትሄ እንፈልግ፣ በጋራ እንስራ፣ አንድነታችንን እናጠናክር፣ እጅ ለእጅ እንያያዝ፣ በግሌ የማገኘው ነገር ይቅርና ቅድሚያ አገሬን ለማለት ያልቻልነው ለምንድነው? ይህ ስጋት የኔ ብቻ አይሆንም። ሁሉም ራሱን መጠየቅና ለህሊናው ታምኖ አቅጣጫውን ማስተካከል አለበት። በግልጽ የአመለካከት ለውጥ ማካሄድ አስፈላጊ ነው። የጋራ ንቅናቄያችን ይህንን ጥሪ ማስታላለፍ ይፈልጋል። ማስተዋልና አመዛዝኖ መጓዝ፣ የራስን ስራና የራስን ድርሻ መስራት፣ ሌላውን አለመረበሽ፣ አለመተንኮስ፣ ተንኮል አለመስራት፣ ከሁሉም በላይ ራስን ማክበርና ለሌላው ስቃይ መታመም ያስፈልጋል።

ጎልጉል፦መሪ የመሆን እቅድ አለህ?

ኦባንግ፦ጥሩ መሪ ሊኖረን እንደሚገባ አምናለሁ። ጥሩ መሪ ያስፈልገናል። የራሱን ጎሣ ወይም ወገን ብቻ ሳይሆን ሁላችንም አውቶቡሱን መሳፈራችንን፣ ሁላችንም መቆጠራችንን ካረጋገጠ በኋላ አውቶቡሱ ውስጥ ገብቶ በሩን የሚዘጋ መሪ ያስፈልጋል። እንዲህ አይነት መሪ ሲኖረን (ስንመርጥ) ሲና በረሃ መታረድ ይቆማል። በባህር የሚጠፋው ነብስ ባገሩ አምራች ይሆናል። የተሻለች አገር ለመፍጠር ግን ዝምታ፣ አያገባኝም፣ የለሁበትም ማለት አይሰራም። ጥላቻን መስበክ ፈጽሞ ወደዛ አያደርስምና ሊታሰብበት ይገባል። አገራችን ከያቅጣጫው እስካሁን የተዘራባት ጥላቻ ይበቃል። አስተሳሰባችንን ቀይረን ከሰራን አገር ቤት ውስጥ ትክክለኛ መሪ እናገኛለን። ስለመቀመጫና ስለ መሪነት ያለን አስተሳሰብ ይህ ነው። የመሪ ችግር አለብን። ጦሟን አድራ ልጆቿን እንደምትመግብ እናት ለሚመራው ህዝብ የሚጨንቀው መሪ ለማየት ደግሞ ሳልሰለች የወደፊቱን እያየሁ እሰራለሁ። እንሰራለን።

ጎልጉል፦እናት ስትል ስለ አያትህ እያነሳህ የምትናገረውን አስታወሰኝ …

ኦባንግ፦(አሰበ፤ ከቆይታ በኋላ) አያቴ በህይወቴ ውስጥ ትልቅ ቦታ አላት። መቼም ቢሆን የማልረሳው ዘር ዘርታብኛለች። በሷ ዘመን ሳትማር ስለትምህርት አስፈላጊነት መክራኛለች። አሳስባኛለች። በቃል ብቻ አይደለም ቢጫ እርሳስና 32 ሉክ (ገጽ) ያለው ደብተር ገዝታ ወደ ትምህርት ቤት እንድሄድ አድርጋለች። ህጻን በነበርኩበት ወቅት ሌሎችን ስለማክበር፣ ስለመውደድ፣ ስለመንከባከብ፣ ከጨለማ ውስጥ በመውጣት ለራሳችን ብርሃን ማብራት እንዳለብን ደጋግማ ትነግረኝ ነበር። አሁን ሳስበው የአያቴ ምክርና ተግባራዊ ድጋፍ እዚህ እንዳደረሰኝ ይሰማኛል። ሳስባት በረከት ይሞላኛል።

ጎልጉል፦የምክራቸው መነሻ ምን ነበር? የትምህርትን አስፈላጊነት ለመረዳት የረዳቸው የተለየ አጋጣሚ ነበር?

ኦባንግ፦ቤተ ክርስቲያን ታዘወትር ነበር። በተፈጥሮ ብልህና አዋቂ ናት። ለማወቅ የግድ ዶክተርና ተመራማሪ ወይም መሃንዲስ መሆን አያስፈልግም። ደጋግሜ የምናገረው አንድ ነገር አለ። ሰው ቅን ሲሆን፣ ቅን ሆኖ ለመኖር ሲወስን ብዙ ነገሮች ይታዩታል። በቀናነት የሚገለጽና የሚገኝ ግንዛቤ የሚፈራርስ አይደለም። ቀና ስትሆን ማንንም ለማስደሰት አትኖርም፤ ምክንያቱም ትክክለኛ የሆነ ነገር ብቻ ነው የምታደርገው። ቀና ሰው ባመነበት ሳያስመስል አክብሮና ተከብሮ ይኖራል። ይህ የአያቴ ውርስ ረዳኝ። ከሺዎች ዓመታት በፊት የነበሩትን ኢትዮጵያዊያንና ታሪካቸውን ስንመለከት ከየትኛውም ኮሌጅ አልተመረቁም። ግን አዋቂነታቸው አሁን ድረስ እኛ ልንቀጥልበት ያልቻልነው ነው። የጸዳ ህሊናና ስብዕና ስላላቸው ወገኖች ሳስብ ደስ ይለኛል። አሁን እኔ የማደርገው አያቴ አድርግ ያለችኝን ነው። ነገሮች ተስተካክለው ቢሆኑ ኖሮ እኔ የጸረ ድንቁርናን ዘመቻ አርበኛና አዝማች እሆን ነበር። ድንቁርና ባህላችን እንዳልሆነ አስተምር ነበር። ካገራቸውና ከምድራቸው ሌላ መሄጃ የሌላቸውን ህዝቦችን እንዲገለሉ የሚያደርገውን ቅዠት የሆነና በጣም አስደንጋጭ የሆነ አመለካከት ለማስወገድ እደክም ነበር። ራቁታቸውን የሚሄዱ፣ ጎዳናና ዱር ውስጥ የሚተኙ፣ “ልዩነታችን ውበታችን ነው” እያሉ ለፍቅርና ለአክብሮት ሳይሆን ለቱሪዝም አግልግሎት ገንዘብ መሰብሰቢያ የሚውሉትን አካሎቻችንን የማዳን ስራ እሰራ ነበር። ያ በአገር መስዬ ባስቀመጥኩት አውቶቡስ ውስጥ ከሌሎች ወገኖቻቸው ጋር ባንድነት ተቆጥረው መሳፈራቸውን የሚያረጋግጥላቸው ስርዓት እንዲገነባ እታገል ነበር። አገር ማለት ህዝብ ነው። በእውነት መምራት ከመሪ ብቻ ሳይሆን አምኖ መመራትም ከተመሪው ህዝብ ይጠበቃል። ሁሉም ኢትዮጵያዊ አግባብነት ያለው ኑሮ ለመኖር ይመጥናል። ሁላችንም የዚህ አለም ስደተኞች ነን። ነጮቹም፣ ሃብታሞቹም፣ ድሃዎቹም፣ ጥቁሮቹም … ህይወታችን ዘላለማዊ አይደለንም። የኮንትራት ህይወት የምንመራ ነን። በዚህ ውስን የኮንትራት ህይወታችን ምንም በማያውቁና ለችግር መንስዔ ላልሆኑ ልጆቻችን የተስተካከለ ዘመን ማውረስ የኛ ግዴታ ነው። ጨለማና ከድንቁርና ውስጥ መውጣት አማራጭ የለውም። አያቴ በዛን ወቅት ይህንን ታስብ ነበር። ይህንን እንዳደርግም ዘርና ጎሳ ሳትለይ ታስጠነቅቀኝ ነበር። በቀናነት!!

ጎልጉል፦የአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ የጋራ ንቅናቄም ሆነ አንተ ራስህ ባብዛኛው ስለ “ድርሻ” ትናገራላችሁ። ምን ለማለት ነው?

ኦባንግ፦አዎ! ድርሻ እንላለን። ድርሻ፣ ድርሻ፣ ድርሻ፣ ድርሻ፣ … ድርሻ በማለት ዛሬም ወደፊትም እንጮሃለን። እጅ፣ እግር፣ አፍንጫ፣ ዓይን፣ ምላስ፣ አፍ፣ … ሁሉም ባግባቡ ድርሻቸውን ሲወጡ ሁሉንም የተሸከመው አካል የተሳካ ስራ ይሰራል። ጤነኛም ይሆናል። እግር የዓይን ስራ ልስራ ካለ ችግር ነው። አፍንጫ ምላስ ልሁን ሲል አካል ሙሉ እንቅስቃሴው ይበላሻል። እኛም እንዲሁ ነን። ሁላችንም ድርሻ አለን፤ ድርሻ የሌለው የለም፤ ድርሻችንን ማወቅ አለብን። ድርሻችንን መወጣት አለብን ስንል የማንችለውን ከመስራት በመቆጠብ የምንችለውን ማድረግ ማለት ነው። ሁሉንም ባቅም በእውቀት ማድረግ ማለት ነው። መተማመንና መግባባትን ማስፈን። ለጥቅምና ለጊዜያዊ ደስታ በሚል ሌሎችን በመምሰል ከራስ እውነተኛ ማንነት ጋር አለመጣላት በራሱ የድርሻን መወጣት ነው።

ጎልጉል፦የድርሻን ከመወጣት ጋር በተያያዘ በድርጅትዎ ያስተዋሉት ወይም በሌሎች ድርጅቶች ውስጥ ሊቀየር ይገባዋል የሚሉት ደካማ ጎን አለ?

ኦባንግ፦ስለ ማንኛውም ድርጅት ለይቼ አስተያየት መስጠት አልፈልግም። የምናገረው በጥቅል ለሁላችንም ይሆናል ብዬ የማምንበትን ነው። ወደ ጋራ ንቅናቄያችን ስመለስ ግን ብዙ አስገራሚ ገጠመኞች አሉኝ። በሺህ የሚቆጠሩ ወገኖችን ከስደት ችግር እንዲወጡ አድርገናል። በያሉበት አገርም ህጋዊነት እንዲያገኙ ድርጅታችን ካለው ታዋቂነትና ሕጋዊነት አኳያ ያለአንዳች ክፍያ በነጻ የረዳናቸው እጅግ በርካታ ናቸው፡፡ በዚህ ስራችን ብዙ መናገር ባንፈልግም የሚያውቁ ያውቁናል። እንዳንዶች ርዳታ ካገኙና ከችግር ከተላቀቁ በኋላ ተመልሰው እኛው ላይ ዘመቻ የሚያካሂዱ አሉ። ጥላቻን ስለማወግዝና በክፋት አንድ ርምጃ መራመድ እንደማይቻል ስለማምን ወደኋላ ተመልሼ ማሰብና መናገር የማልፈልጋቸው ጉዳዮች አሉ። ዋናው መናገር የምፈልገው ከራስ ጋር የመታረቅና ቀና የመሆን አስፈላጊነት ላይ ነው። በተንኮል ደስተኛ ሆነን አንኖርም። በቀላሉ ተንኮል ባሰብን ቁጥር እያነስን፣ እየቀጨጭን፣ ጭንቀት እየጨመርን እንሄዳለን። ለፖለቲካ ብቻ ሳይሆን ይህ ለጤናም ጥሩ አይደለም። ጥሩ እንቅልፍ እንኳን መተኛት አንችልም፡፡ ከሁሉም በላይ ሌሎች ከኛ ብዙ የሚጠብቁ ወገኖችን እናሳዝናለን። ትውልድን እናከስራለን። መከራችንን ራሳችን እናረዝመዋለን።

ጎልጉል፦መናገር እየፈለክ የምትጠነቀቅ ይመስላል። ለምን ግልጽ አታደርገውም?

ኦባንግ፦እኔ ነጻ ሰው ነኝ። ማስመሰልና ማድበስበስ፣ ተንኮል፣ ከበስተጀርባ ምናምን የሚባል ነገር አላውቅበትም። እንዲህ ያለውን ባህልም አልደረስኩበትም። ስለማይጠቅም ሞክሬውም አላውቅም። የጋራ ንቅናቄያችን በጀርመን፣ በሜክሲኮ፣ ካናዳ፣ እስራኤል፣ ስፔን፣ ስዊድን፣ እንግሊዝ፣ ማልታ፣ ሊቢያ፣ ሳዑዲ አረቢያ፣ የመን፣ ዱባይ፣ ኬኒያ፣ ደቡብ አፍሪካ፣ ዩጋንዳ … አገርቤት በወያኔ ስርዓት ተገፍተው የተሰደዱ፤ ተቸገርን ብለው ሲጠሩን ካበት ቦታ ጎሳ፣ ብሄር፣ ዘር፣ ክልል፣ ጾታ፣ ማንነት፣ ቀለም ሳንጠይቅ ደርሰናል። የምንችለውን እጅግ ውስን በሆነ አቅም ያለ በቂ ርዳታ አድርገናል። ከሺህ በላይ ወገኖች ከስቃይ እንዲገላገሉ ጊዜያዊ መፍትሄ እንዲያገኙ አድርገናል። ምንም እንኳ ስደት የሚያስደስት ነገር ወይም ማዕረግ ባይሆንም ከችግር በመላቀቃቸው ደስተኞች ነን። በስደት ካምፕ ውስጥና እስር ቤት ከመማቀቅ መገላገለቸው የበረከት ያህል ያረካናል። የሚያሳዝነው ግን እነዚህ ወገኖች እነሱ ባለፉበት ችግር ውስጥ ሆነው ለዓመታት ለሚማቅቁ ሌሎች ወገኖቻቸው አለማሰባቸው ነው። ያለፉበትን መርሳታቸው ነው። መጀመሪያ እንድረዳቸው ሲጠይቁንና ስናገኛቸው “የጋራ ንቅናቄው የሚያደርገውን አንተም የምትሠራውን እናደንቃለን፤ አባል መሆን እንፈልጋለን፤ አብረን እንሰራለን” ይላሉ። ችግራቸው ሲቃለል ሁሉንም ይረሱታል። ለራሳቸው እንኳን መታመን አይችሉም። በችግራቸው ወቅትና ከችግራቸው በኋላ የማስተውለው ተለዋዋጭ ገጽታቸው ያሳዝነኛል። ቅድም ያልኩት የድርሻ ጉዳይ የሚነሳው እዚህ ላይ ነው። በመከራ ውስጥ ያሉትን ለመርዳት፣ ለስደት መሰረታዊ መፍትሄ ለማምጣት የድርሻን መወጣት አስፋላጊ የሚሆነው እዚህ ላይ ነው። እኛ ሳንረዳዳ ሌሎች አልረዱንም ብንል በጣም ትክክል አይሆንም፤ ከቀልድ አያልፍም።

ጎልጉል፦በአብዛኛው ለአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ የጋራ ንቅናቄ የሚያወጣቸው ጽሁፎች እና መግለጫዎች ወደ ሕዝቡ በተገቢው ሁኔታ እንደማይደርስ በአንድ ወቅት ተናግረህ ነበር፡፡ ምክንያቱ ምንድርነው? ችግሩ ያለው የት ላይ ነው?

ኦባንግ፦የጋራ ንቅናቄያችን ማንኛውንም ጽሁፍ ከማውጣቱ በፊት በቂ የሆነ ጥናት ያደርጋል፡፡ በተጠያቂነት የምናምን ስለሆነ ለምናወጣቸው ጽሁፎች ማስረጃ እንሰበስባለን፡፡ ከዚያም ጽሁፉ አስፈላጊ ከሆነ በእንግሊዝኛ ብቻ ወይም በአማርኛ ብቻ ወይም በሁለቱም ቋንቋዎች እናወጣለን፡፡ በዚህ አጋጣሚ በሌላ ቋንቋ ለመርዳት የሚፈልጉ ካሉ በራችን ክፍት ነው – ድርሻ የሚለው ነገር በዚህ መልኩ ሊወሰድም ይችላል፡፡ እናም ጽሁፎችን ካዘጋጀን በኋላ ባለን የኢሜይል ሊስት መሠረት በዓለም ዙሪያ እጅግ በርካታ ለሆኑ ግለሰቦች፣ በዳያስፖራም ሆነ አገርቤት ለሚገኙ ለሁሉም የኢትዮጵያ ድረገጾች፣ የሬዲዮ ጣቢያዎች፣ የሚዲያዎች (ዋና ዋና ለሚባሉት የምዕራብ ሚዲያዎችን ጨምሮ)፣ የፖለቲካ ድርጅቶች፣ የአርነት ንቅናቄዎች፣ የሲቪክ ማኅበራት፣ አገር ቤት ለሚገኙ የመንግሥት መ/ቤቶች፣ ባለሥልጣናት እና ቁጥራቸው እጅግ ብዙ  ለሆነ ግለሰቦች እንበትነዋለን፡፡ ድርጅቶችንና ሚዲያን በተመለከተ አይደርሰኝም የሚል ይኖራል ብዬ አልገምትም፡፡ ይህ ከሆነ በኋላ ጽሁፎቻችን በኢሜይል የማይደርሳቸውና ከሚዲያ መረጃ የሚያገኙ በሙሉ ድረገጾች ላይ ያነባሉ ብለን ስንጠብቅ በርካታዎቹ ጽሁፎቻችን አይለጥፉም፡፡ በፌስቡክ ወይም በኢሜይል ጽሁፋችንን አንብበው በኢትዮጵያውያን ድረገጽ ላይ ሳይለጠፍ በመቅረቱ ግራ ተጋብተው በየጊዜው የሚደውሉልን (ከኢትዮጵያ ድረስ)፣ የሚጽፉልን፣ ምክንያቱን የሚጠይቁ … እጅግ በርካታ ናቸው፡፡ የሚያሳዝነው በጣም እርግጠኛ የሆንባቸውና ወሳኝ የሆኑ ጽሁፎችም ሳይለጠፉ ቀርተዋል፡፡ ምክንያቱን በጭራሽ በማናውቀው ሁኔታ ለረጅም ጊዜ መለጠፍ ያቆሙ ድረገጾችም አሉ፡፡ እስካሁን የነገሩን ነገር የለም፡፡ እኛ ሥራችን ስለሆነ ለታሪክም ስለሚያስፈልግ የምንልከውን ጽሁፍ ማን እንደደረሰውና ማን በማሰራጨቱ እንደተባበረ መረጃ እናስቀምጣለን፡፡ ሳያቋርጡ የሚተባበሩንና ጊዜው ሲደርስ ስም ጠቅሰን የምናመሰግናቸው ድረገጾችና ሚዲያዎች አሉ፡፡ እና ለማለት የምፈልገው ከእኛ በኩል ምንም ችግር እንደሌለ ነው፡፡ ካለ ግን ለመስማትና ለማስተካከል ዝግጁ ነን፡፡

ጎልጉል፦በቅርቡ እስራኤል አገር በእስር ላሉ ወገኖች የጀመራችሁት እንቅስቃሴ በምን ተቋጨ?

ኦባንግ፦የሚቋጭ ነገር የለም። ከእስር የተፈቱ አሉ። ህጻናት ከተማ እንዲገቡ ተደርጓል። ወደፊት በተከታታይ ከሌሎች አካላት ጋር በመሆን እንሰራለን። በቅርቡ ዝርዝር ሪፖርት የሚኖረኝ ይመስለኛል። እዚህ ላይ ግን አንድ አስገራሚ ነገር መናገር እፈልጋለሁ። እስራኤል ወገኖቻችን መታሰራቸውን የሰማነው በሚያስደነግጥ ሁኔታ ነበር። በሲና በረሃ የደረሰባቸው ግፍ ማንም ኅሊና ያለውን ወገን ያስደነግጣል።እረፍትም ይነሳል። በማያውቁት የሲና በረሃ ውስጥ አካላቸው በገንዘብ እዳ ሲሰረቅና ሲወሰድ ከመስማት በላይ የወገንን ልብ የሚያደማ ምንም ጉዳይ የለም። ከዚህ መከራ የተረፉትንና በመከራ ላይ ያሉትን ለመታደግ ወስነን ርዳታ ያደርጉልን ዘንድ ሶስት ሺህ የኢሜል መልዕክት በአብዛኛው ለኢትዮጵያውያን አሰራጨን። ምላሽ ያገኘነው ከሰባት ሰው ብቻ ነው። ይህ ያስደነግጣል። ምን ሆነናል? ያሰኛል። በዚህ ላይ ብዙ መናገር አልፈልግም፤ ወደ ሌላ ጉዳይ እንሂድ፤ …

ጎልጉል፦በቅርቡ በኖርዌይ ከኢትዮጵያ ጥገኝነት ጠያቂዎች ማህበር አመራሮች ጋር እንዲሁም ከተለያዩ አካላት ጋር ተወያይተህ ነበር፤

ኦባንግ፦የስደት ማመልከቻ ተቀብሎ ከሚወስነው፣ የመጀመሪያ ማመልከቻ ውድቅ ሲደረግ ይግባኝ ሰሚ ሆኖ ብይን ከሚሰጠው፣ ለስደት ማመልከቻ ግብአት ይሆን ዘንድ ውሳኔ መረጃ ከሚያዘጋጀው ላንድ ኢንፎ (Land Info) ከሚባለው ወሳኝ መ/ቤትና በጣም በዝቅተኛ ዋጋ እየሰሩ ጉልበታቸውን ለሚበዘበዙ ተከራካሪ ለመሆን ከሚሰራ ተቋም ጋር ተነጋግረን ነበር። ከሁሉም ጋር ጥሩ የተባለ መግባባት የሰፈነበት ውይይት አድርገን ስለነበር አንድ ለውጥ እጠብቅ ነበር። በግልም መረጃ ልኬላቸዋለሁ። ከውይይታችን አንድ ሳምንት በኋላ ላንድ ኢንፎ ያወጣው አዲስ ሪፖርት የዚሁ ከማህበሩ ጋር በመሆን ያደረግነው ውይይት ውጤት ይመስለኛል። ስራው ተጀመረ እንጂ አላለቀም። ላንድ ኢንፎ በራሱ ድረገጽ፣ በኖርዌጂያን ቋንቋ ይፋ ያደረገው መረጃ በግልጽ እንደሚያሳየው፣ እኛም በተደጋጋሚ ስንናገረው እንደነበርነው የኖርዌይ መንግስት ዲፖርት ለማድረግ የተስማማው ወገኖቻችን የት እንደሚያርፉ ሪፖርቱ ቁልጭ አድርጎ ያሳያል። በራሳቸው ባለሙያና በራሳቸው ቋንቋ የተሰራ በመሆኑ መቀበል የግዳቸው ነው የሚሆነው። በዚህ አጋጣሚ በውይይታችን ወቅት በገቡት ቃል መሰረት ላደረጉት ምስጋና ይገባቸዋል።

ጎልጉል፦በቀጣይ ምን ታስቧል? ምንስ መደረግ አለበት ትላለህ?

ኦባንግ፦በየካምፑ ያሉትን ወገኖቻችንን ሙሉ በሙሉም ባይሆን ከኖርዌይ ጠንካራ አጋሮቻችን፣ ከማህበሩና ከድርጅታችን አባላት ጋር በመሆን ለመጎብኘት ዝግጅት አለን። ሌሎችም ጠንከር ያሉ ስራዎች ይሰራሉ። ቅድም ለማለት እንደፈለኩት ሁላችንም ድርሻ አለን። ማንም አያገባኝም ማለት አይችልም። በኖርዌይ ያሉ ወገኖች አሁን በጀመሩት መንገድ ቢደራጁ ከኖርዌይ አልፈው ሌሎች አገራት ያሉ ወገኖቻቸውን የመጎብኘትና የመርዳት አቅም መፍጠር ይችላሉ። ማህበራቸውን አጠናክረው ቢሰሩ በኖርዌይ እንደማንኛውም ማህበራት የገንዘብ ድጋፍ ማግኘትና ከተረጂነት መላቀቅ ይቻላቸዋል። መደራጀት ወሳኝ ነው። ይህንን ስል አልሞከሩም ለማለት አይደለም። አባላቶች ሙሉ ድጋፍ እንዲያደርጉላቸው ለማሳሰብ ስለፈለኩ ነው። እያንዳንዱ አባል ህግና ደንብ በሚፈቅደው መስራት መብቱን ለማስከበር መስራት ይገባዋል። እጁና እግሩን አጣጥፎ አስቀምጦ ሌሎችን መውቀስ አግባብ አይደለም። የመኖሪያ ፈቃድ ያገኙ ወገኖችም ወንድምና እህቶቻቸውን ለመርዳት፣ ለማገዝ፣ ለመተባበር፣ ለመጎብኘት፣ ችግራቸውን ለመካፈል መነሳሳት አለባቸው። ወረቀት ማግኘት ብቻውን የመኖር ምስጢር አይደለም። የሰው ልጅ ከወረቀት በላይ ነው፡፡ በመረዳዳትና የተቸገሩ ወገኖችን በማገዝ ውስጥ የሚገኘው የህይወት ትርጉምና ምስጢር ይበልጣልና!!

ጎልጉል፡- የዕለት ቀንህ ምን ይመስላል?

ኦባንግ፡- በጋራ ንቅናቄያችን የምንሠራው ሥራ ሁሉ ምንም ድብቅ ነገር ስለሌለ ስልኬም ሆነ የኢሜይል አድራሻዬ የስካይፕና የፌስቡክ አካውንቴ ክፍት ነው፡፡ ማንም ሰው በፈለገው ጊዜ ማግኘት ይችላል፡፡ ከዓለም ዙሪያ አለ በሚባለው መገናኛ ሁሉ መልዕክት ይመጣልኛል፡፡ ምስጋና፣ ድጋፍ፣ ዕርዳታ፣ ነቀፋ፣ ስድብ (ወያኔ ከሆኑም ካልሆኑ)፣ የስብሰባ ጥሪ፣ ለምን ይህንን አትሠራም የሚል ትዕዛዝ፣ አስተያየት፣ የፍቅር መልዕክት፣ … ሁሉም ዓይነት ይደርሰኛል፡፡ አብረውኝ ከሚሠሩት ጋር እየተጋራን እናነበዋለን፣ እንሰማዋለን፣ … ይህንን ብቻ መከታተል በራሱ የአንድ ቀን ጊዜ ይፈልጋል፡፡ ከበርካታ ሰዎች ጋር እገናኛለሁ፤ በየቀኑ የጋራ ንቅናቄያችንን የቤተሰብ መጠን ይሰፋል፤ “ከጎሣ ይልቅ ሰብዓዊነት ይቅደም” የሚለውን በተግባር አይበታለሁ፡፡ በጣም ያስደስተኛል፡፡ ስለዚህ ሁሉንም ነገር ፕላን እያወጣሁ አከናውነዋሁ፡፡ በየቀኑ የማደርገውን በዕቅድ አደርጋለሁ፡፡ ነገር ግን በጣም ጊዜ የሚያስፈልገው ነገር መሥራት ካለብኝ ስልኬንም ሁሉንም ነገር ዘግቼ ጊዜዬን ለብቻዬ አሳልፋለሁ፡፡ ያኔ ደውለው ያጡኝንም ሆነ ፈልገውኝ ያላገኙን በሙሉ ይቅርታ እላለሁ፡፡

ጎልጉል፦“ጥቁሩ ሰው” የሚሉህ ለምንድነው? ስሙ ተስማምቶሃል? ወይስ ……

ኦባንግ፦(ሳቀ!!) ቀለሜ ጥቁር ነው። ጥቁር ሰው ነኝ። በትክክለኛው ቀለሜ ተጠራሁ። ቀናህ እንዴ … !? (በፈገግታ ድምጽ)

ማሳሰቢያ፡ – አቶ ኦባንግ ሜቶ ቃለመጠይቁ ያደረገው በአማርኛ ሲሆን አንዳንድ ጊዜ ሃሳቡን ለመግለጽ እንግሊዝኛ የተጠቀመበትን ቦታ የቃለምልልሱ ፍሰት ለመጠበቅ ስንል በአማርኛ መልሰን አቅርበነዋል፡፡

Some of the poor in Addis Ababa survive on restaurant leftovers

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

While members of the ruling Woyanne junta and their families plunder the country and buy properties in Western capitals, over one million people in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa are left homeless and many of them depend on restaurant leftovers to survive. Addis Fortune reports the following:

(ADDIS FORTUNE) — Fekadu Petros, 24, moved to Addis Abeba from his native Wolayta, 390km south of the capital following the death of his father, who was survived by seven children and his wife. The short and skinny young man has worked in the city for the past four years, sending whatever money he can save to his mother and siblings.

He is attached to a scrap metal store in Menallesh Terra, Merkato, which pays him 250 Br a month. But, he also carries stuff for a lot of people visiting Merkato to do their shopping. On good days he can make as much as 60 Br from these people, he says.

The money may seem significant, but living on a day-to-day basis, people like Fekadu hardly think of their incomes on a monthly basis. They pay 10 Br just for a sleeping space on a mat. For 300 Br a month, they could get a better place, but they do not have enough money at any given time to pay for it upfront. They live on a daily basis.

A proper meal costs about 15 Br in that part of Merkato. Many of these people, including day labourers, shoeshine boys, snack vendors, and beggars, eat gursha, handfuls of restaurant leftovers served from plastic bags.

Gursha, under normal circumstances, is a small roll of enjera and stew that one person puts into the mouth of another as an act of intimacy or hospitality, a tradition in Ethiopia.

However, in Merkato, daily labourers buy their meals in gurshas, and these gurshas are so big that one cannot help but be amazed at seeing that much food finding enough space in one person’s mouth.

Gursha has become a business for people with access to restaurant leftovers, serving people who cannot afford a proper meal. A veteran gursha vendor, a middle-aged woman who declined to give her name, as well as her friends first came up with the idea of selling gursha in 1989 in Teklehaimnot area, she said. They later moved into Menallesh Terra in 1992. Another group of young people started such a business near Ras Theatre in Merkato, and they called the place where they settled Fews Terra, translated remedy area.

The unemployment rate in Addis Abeba is 19pc, but that has not deterred the 55,000 additional people who migrate from other regions each year in search of job and better life, the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) reports. Fekadu had to drop out of high school to join this flood of poorly educated people who mostly end up as day labourers.

Now, twice a day, he lines up at Fews Terra for a trio of giant gurshas, which costs three Birr in all and fills his stomach, leaving him happy and satisfied. Although they used to pay only 50 cents for the same amount just a few years back, they do not complain. He often tries to get to Fews Terra early, when the line is short, in order to get the better food. Besides, as the hands of the sellers get tired, the size of their gurshas get smaller.

One of these culinary businessmen is Mehreteab Tewelde, a young man from the Abenet area in his early 20s, who quit school after eighth grade. He has been selling gursha for about a year now. He buys four large plastic bags full of leftover food, known as bulle, left over in the local vernacular, from restaurant employees for 30 Br each. When all of his customers have had their gurshas, his profit might be 70 Br to 90 Br per day. His mother only knows that he is a plumber. If she discovered his real job, she would be embarrassed, he says, even though he gives her all the money he makes from it.

Another such person works as a cleaner at a restaurant, which gives him bags of food to give away for free. But he sells it at Fews Terra, instead.

These gurshas do not only save money but also time for people who need to rush back to look for more work.

‘‘The only thing that matters is to save some money from what I earn, no matter what I eat or where I sleep,’’ Fekadu said, echoing the opinions of many of the people in the line.

In the competitive business of supplying gursha, having water for hand washing and drinking is an advantage. The Fews Terra sellers benefit from the local Total gas station, whose owner, Bereka Delil, has given free access to water for the beggars, shoe shiners, day labourers, and anyone else who needs a drink or wash.

This business has recently spread to many areas of Addis Abeba. Merkato has at least three places. There are others in Piazza and Sidist Kilo areas. The Sidist Kilo sellers get their leftovers from Addis Abeba University’s campus for free. ‘‘I am so happy that I get to eat and sleep everyday,’’ Tariku Kebede, 30, one of the sellers there says.

This is the sentiment shared by almost all of the vendors and customers of the gursha markets. These youngsters only think about how to get through their daily hustle and bustle.

Officials of Addis Ketema District, of which Merkato is a part, has followed neither the market nor the health risks involved in eating leftover food, according to Hussien Kelifa, expert at the Wereda 18 Health Office, which monitors Menallesh Terra.

The way the food is carried, served, and eaten looks very unhygienic, says Abenet Tekle, a researcher in food science and nutrition at the Pasteur Institute.

“I have never fallen ill because of a meal I have eaten from bulle,” Fekadu says.

His family, he says, are happy with the money he regularly sends to them, thinking that he is working in a good place and eating good food.

Division of Responsibilities for Self Liberation

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Nonviolent struggle has nothing to do with passivity, submissiveness, or cowardice. Just as in violent action, these must first be rejected and overcome before the struggle can proceed… [read more]

Ethiopian authorities manufacturing Muslim threat to stifle dissent: expert

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Ethiopia: Govt Increasingly Intolerant of Islam Risks Radicalizing Muslims

By Alemayehu Feantauw| LBJ School of Public Affairs

November 16, 2012

The Ethiopian constitution provides for freedom of religion and requires the separation of state and religion. However, the Muslim community in Ethiopia has, for more than a year now, been holding protests at mosques around the country against what is perceived as government interference in religious affairs.

The protesters are demanding that the current members of the Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (Majlis) be replaced by elected representatives and that elections for Majlis representatives be held in mosques rather than in the Kebeles. Some members of the Muslim community accuse the Ethiopian Government of controlling the Majlis and sponsoring the propagation of Al-Ahbash, a little known sect of Islam.

The Ethiopian Government accuses the protesters of being led by extremists who want to establish an Islamic state in place of the current secular federation. The Ethiopian Government responded against some protests in 2012 with deadly force, most recently in Assassa in April and Gerba in October, resulting in the death of at least seven protesters, a large number of injuries, and the imprisonment of a number of protesters on terrorism charges.

The protests were triggered by the suspension of the Awoliyah Muslim Mission School and the dismissal of 50 Arabic teachers via a letter issued by the Majlis. The Awoliyah Muslim Mission School has been a member since 1993 of the Islamic charitable agency known as International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), and has been linked to the Saudi Arabia controlled World Muslim League.

The Ethiopian authorities consider Awoliyah to be a breeding ground for a new generation of radical Muslims, which they refer to as “Salafi-Jihadists” or “Wahabi-Salafists”. However, the Muslim protesters have consistently adhered to nonviolent demonstrations, leaving the Ethiopian Government with little to no evidence of behavior or action that could be described as terrorism.

It is clear to date that the Ethiopian Government is manufacturing a security problem where none actually exists. Concerns about ‘terrorism’ in Ethiopia (and the wider world) have degenerated into an irrational suspicion of Muslims, which will continue unabated until Ethiopia and its Western partners reflect more critically on their own perceptions.

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ በሁለተኛው ዙር ምርጫ ምን ይጠበቅባቸዋል

Friday, November 16th, 2012

ከፕሮፌሰር  ዓለማየሁ  ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም  ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ሁለተኛውን ዙር የፕሬዜዳንትነት ምርጫ በማሸነፋቸው እንኳን ደስ ያለዎት ማለቱ አግባብ ነው፡፡ የአሜሪካንን መራጮች አብላጫ ድምጽ አግኝቶ ለማሸነፍ ብቃት ባለው አካሄድ ለድል በቅተዋል፡፡ ሚት ሮምኒም ለማይናቀው የምርጫ ግብግባቸው ሊመሰገኑ ተገቢ ነው፡፡ በማጠቃለያው የመለያያ ንግግራቸው ላይ ሚት ሩምኒ ግሩም የሆነ መልእክት አስተላልፈዋል፡፡ ‹‹በእንደዚህ አይነቱ ወቅት የደጋፊዎቻችንን ስሜታዊ ጫጫታ ማዳመጥ፤የፖለቲካ አካኪ ዘራፍ ባይነትን ለማስተናገድ ጊዜው አይደለም፡፡ መሪዎቻችን የሕዝቡን ፍላጎትና ምኞት ለማሳካት መንቀሳቀስ ሲኖርባቸው እኛ ሕዝቦች ደግሞ ለዚህ ሂደት አስፈላጊውን ድጋፍና ትብብር ለማድረግ በቀናነት መነሳሳት ይገባናል” ብለዋል::

ባለፈው ሳምንት በተከናወነው የምርጫ ሂደት ወቅት አንዳንድ ኢትዮጵያዊያን አሜሪካውያን በቁጭትና በምሬት ጣቶቻቸው እየጠቆሙ ሮሮ ምሬታቸውን አሰምተዋል:: ጥርሳቸውን በማቀጫቀጭ ንዴታቸውን አሳይተዋል:: ፤አይናቸው በቁጭት ቀልቷል፡፡ከፊሎቹ በፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ተግባር አዝነው ለተቃዋሚዋው አቻቸው ቅስቀሳ ሲያደርጉ ነበር፡፡ በአፍሪካና በኢትዮጵያ ስለሰብአዊ መብት ቀደም ሲሉ የተናገሩትን አጓጊና ተስፋ ያዘለ ዲስኩራቸውን ወደ ተግባር ለውጥው አንዳች ለውጥ ባለማምጣታቸው በኢትዮ አሜሪካውያን ዘንድ ክህደት አለያም ድክመት ሆኖ ታይቶባቸዋል፡፡ ከፊሎች ደግሞ ፕሬዜዳንቱ በአፍሪካ ላሉ ፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች ደጋፊና ረዳት በመሆናቸው ተቀይመዋል፡፡ ሌሎች ደግሞ ፕሬዜዳንቱ ስላጋጠማቸው ሃገራዊ ችግርና ስለነበረባቸው ውጥረት አዝነውላቸዋል፡፡ የአሜሪካንን ዓለም አቀፋዊ ጥቅም ለማስጠበቅ የሚያስችለውን የአሜሪካንን የውጭ ፖሊሲ ማስተካከልና መቅረጽ ነበረባቸው፡፡ ለአሜሪካ በአፍሪካ ቀንድ አካባቢ የተከሰተው ሽብርተኛነት አሳሳቢ ነበርና ኦባማ ደግሞ ሽብርተኝነትን ለማክሰም ሰብአዊ መብትን ከጸረ ሽብርተኝነት ዓለም አቀፍ እንቅስቃሴ ጋር ማቀናጀት ነበረባቸው፡፡

እኔም ፕሬዜዳንቱ በመጠኑም ቢሆን ሰብአዊ መብትን በተመለከተ አጀንዳ ለመቅረጽ ባለመቻላቸው በምር ቅር ተሰኝቼባቸዋለሁ፡፡ ከዚሁ ጋር ደግሞ በአሜሪካ ውስጥ ስለአለው የኤኮኖሚ ችግር፤አንዳንድ አጣዳፊ የሆኑ ሶሻል ፖሊሲዎችን መንደፍ፤ስለነበረባቸው ሁለት ጦርነቶችን በማካሄድና በዓለም ዙርያ የተነሱና የተካረሩ ግጭቶችን ጦዘው ችግር ከማባባሳቸው አስቀድሞ ማስታገስ ስለነበረባቸው ነው በሚል አልፋቸዋለሁ፡፡ በደቡብ ሱዳን ሬፈረንደም ላይ ስለወሰዱት አቋምና ስለተገኘውም ድል አንድ ሌላ አፍሪካዊ ሃገር እንዲፈጠር በመቻላቸው አደንቃቸዋለሁ፡፡

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ጥቂት የአሜሪካ ወታደሮች ሃይል እንዲዘምትና ያን የደም ጥማት አራራው አናቱ ላይ የወጣበትን ጆሴፍ ኮኒንና የደም ጥማት ጓደኞቹን እንዲይዟቸው ካልተቻለም እንዲገሏቸው ማዘዛቸው ታላቅ ድርጊት ነው፡፡ እንደኔ እምንት በጣም ትልቅ የሚባል ክሌፕቶክራሲ ፕሮጄክት ፕሮጄክት (ወሮበላአገር በዝባዞች) ተግባራዊ ማድረጋቸውም ታላቅ ተግባር ነው፡፡ ‹‹አፍሪካ ሙሳዊነት ብክነት›› (Africorruption, Inc.”,) በሚለው መጣጥፌ ላይ እንዳቀረብኩት፤ዋነኛው የአፍሪካ መሪዎች ተግባራቸው ሙስና ነው ብዬ ነበር፡፡ አብላጫዎቹ የአፍሪካ ገዢዎች ዋነኛ መመርያቸውና ተግባራቸው የራሳቸውን ሃገር ብሔራዊ የገንዘብ ተቋማትና ሪሶረሱን በመበዝበዝና በመስረቅ፤እጅጉን የተወሳሰበ የግድያና የወንጀል ኢንተርፕራይዝ መፍጠር ነው፡፡ እንደ ግሎባል ፋይናንሻል ኢንተግሪቲ ዘገባ በስውርና በሰበብ አስባቡ ከኢትዮጵያ ወደ አሜሪካ የፈረጠጠው የሃገሪቱ ሃብት ከ2000-2009 ባለው ጊዜ  $11.7 ቢሊዮን ዶላር ነው፡፡ በሊቢያ ሕዝብ ላይ ላለፉት 41 ዓመታት ተንሰራፍቶ ፍዳቸውን ሲያበላቸው የነበረውን የሊቢያውን ጋዳፊን ከስር መሰረቱ ነቅሎ ለመጣልና ለሊቢያውያን የእፎይታ ዘመን ለማምጣት በተባበሩት መንግስታት መመርያ ላይ በመንተራስ የተባበሩት መንግስታት የ1973ን ውሳኔ  ሬዞሉውሽን እንዲያልፍ በማድረጋቸውና አብላጫውን የጦሩን ሂደት የኔቶ አባል ሃገራት ሃላፊነት እንዲሆን በማድረጋቸው እጅጉን አደንቃቸዋለሁ፡፡ ከዚህም ባለፈ በጠነከረ አመራር የሚስጥር የነበሩትን የሲ አይ ኤ ወህኒ ቤቶች እንዲዘጉና የነበረውም ስቃይና የመከራ አመራመር እንዲያበቃ አድርገው የጓንታኔሞ ቤዝም ተዘግቶ የፍርድ ሂደቶች ሁሉ አግባብነት ወዳለው የሲቪል ፍርድ ቤቶች እንዲዛወር በማድረጋቸው የዓለም አቀፍ ሰብአዊ መብት ድንጋጌዎች እንዲከበሩ በወሰዱት እርምጃ አከብራቸዋለሁ፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ ብሎም በጠቅላላው አፍሪካ አህጉር ስለ ሰብአዊ መብት ብዙ ሊያደርጉ ሲችሉ አላደረጉትም፡፡ ባለፉት ሁለ፤ት ዓመታት ስለአሜሪካ ፖሊሲ ድክመት በርካታ ጦማሮችን ጽፌያለሁ፡፡ በአፍሪካ የአሜሪካ ፖሊሲ ድክመት አሜሪካም ሆነ ሌሎች አውሮፓ ሃገሮች በአፍሪካ ያለውን ዴሞክራሲና ሰብአዊ  መብት ሁኔታ ፍላጎታቸውን እምነታቸው በስልጣን  ለመቆየትና የሃገሪቱንና የሕዝቡን ነንብረትና ሃብት በመበዝበዝ ራሳቸውንና አሽቃባጮቻቸውን ለማቶጀር የሚንደፋደፉትን  የአፍሪካን ፈላጭ ቆረጭ ገዢዎች በመንከባከብ ለውለታ ሰሪነት ሊገዙበት እንደማይገባ አሳስቤያለሁ፡፡

“ሰግታቶርሺፕ (የወሮበላ መንግስት)፡‹‹ በአፍሪካ ከፍተኛው የጦዘ የፈላጭ ቆራጭነት አገዛዝ ደረጃ›› በሚለው አምዴም ላይ እነዚህ የአፍሪካ የቀን ጅቦች ገዢዎች የዘለቀና በጥቅም ላይ የተመሰረተ የወዳጅነት ግንኙነት አላቸው በማለት ሞጋቻቸዋለሁ፡፡ በእርዳታና በንግድ ስም የምዕራቡ ዓለም በተለይም አሜሪካ እነዚህ ሰውበላ ገዢዎች በአፍሪካ ውስጥ እንዲበራከቱ ብርታት ሆነዋቸዋል፡፡ ከጥቂት ወራት በፊት ‹‹ኢትዮጵያ በቦንድ ኤይድ ውስጥ›› በሚለው ጽሁፌ ላይ ዓለም አቀፉ እርዳታ አፍሪካን በአፍራሽ ጎኑ እየጎዳት እንደሆነ  አሳስቤ ነበር፡፡ በ1960ዎቹ አብዛኛው የአፍሪካ ሃገራት ነጻ ከመውጣታቸው አስቀድሞ  አፍሪካውያን በኮሎኒያል ማነቆ ተወጥረው ነበር በማለት ጥፌ ነበር፡፡ በቅርቡ ባሰፈርኩት ማሳሰቢያ ጽሁፌም ኢትዮጵያ ‹‹ምግብ ለችጋር፤እና አስተሳሰብ››  በሚለው አምድ በቅርቡ በዋሽንግቶን የተደረገውን የጂ 8 ስብሰባን አስመልክቼ ስብሰባውና የሚያስተላልፈው ውሳኔ ያለፈውን ለአፍሪካ ሲደረግ የነበረውን የቅኝ ገዢዎች መቀራመት የተካ ነው በማለት አስተያየቴን አስፍሬ ነበር፡፡ የጂ 8 አባላት አዲሱ ጥምረታቸው፤ አፍሪካን ከችጋር ለማላቀቅ፤ ርሃብንና ድርቅን ለማሰወገድ በአፍሪካ ውስጥ የያሉትን ምርጥና ለም ቦታዎች ለጠገቡት የዓለም የናጠቱ ሃብታሞች በመስጠት ማቀዳቸውንም አሳውቄያለሁ፡፡

በኢትዮጵያ አልፎም በመላው አፍሪካ ውስጥ የኦባማ አስተዳደር ሊያደርግ ሲችልላ ባላደረጋቸው የአፍሪካውያን ፍላጎትና ራዕይ ላይ አንዳችም ጉዳይ ባለማድረጉ ካለኝ ቅሬታ ባሻገር  ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማን በዳግም ምርጫው ወቅት ደግፌያቸዋለሁ፡፡ ከነስህተታቸው ተስፋ የሚጣልባቸው መሪነታቸውን አሳይተውኛልና፡፡ በ2004 ሴነተር ኦባማ ባደረጉት መሪ ንግግራቸው፤ ‹‹ጥቁር አሜሪካውያን፤ነጭ አሜሪካውያን፤ላቲና አሜሪካ፤ኤሽያ አሜሪካ ብሎ ዜጋ የለም፡፡ያለው አንድ የተባበሩት አሜሪካ ብቻ ነው፡፡›› እነዚህ ቃላቶች ምንግዜም እያነቃቁኝና ተስፋዬንም እያለመለሙት ወጣቱ የኢትዮጵያዊያን ትውልድ ወንድ ሴት ሳይል በአንድነት ተሰባስበው በመግባባትና በመፈቃቀር ‹‹ኦሮሞ ኢትዮጵያ፤አማራ ኢትዮጵያ፤ትግራይ ኢትዮጵያ፤ጉራጌ ኢትዮጵያ፤ኦጋዴን ኢትዮጵያ፤ አኝዋክ ኢትዮጵያ…… ብሎ ዜጋ የለም ያለው ፤ ፍትሕ እንደውሃ እኩል የሚፈስባት ህብትና ልማትም እንደታላቅ ምንጭ የሚፈልቅባት   አንድ የተባበረች ኢትዮጵያ እንጂ›› የሚልበት ወቅት እንደሚመጣ  ቁልጭ ብሎ ይታየኛል፡፡

ሰብአዊ መብት 2003ን ረቂቀ ህግ  (“Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007”) ሲካሄድ በነበረው የውይይት መድረክ ላይ በወቅቱ የሴኔተር ኦባማ የሥራ ባልደረቦች ጋር በቢሯቸውና ለበርካታ ጊዜያት ተገናኝተን ነበር፡፡ በዚያን ወቅት ቢሉ በምክር ቤቱ  አልፎ ወደ ሴኔት ሲደርስ ኦባማ ሙሉ ድጋፋቸውን እንደሚሰጡ ምንም ጥርጣሬ አልነበረም፡፡ በፌብሪዋሪ 2008 የምክክር ስብስባችን የባሮክ ኦባማን የፕሬዜዳንትነት ውድድርን ተመራጭነት ሙሉ በሙሉ ድጋፉን ሰጥቷል፡፡ በዚህም ጊዜ አሜሪካ በአፍሪካ ላሉት ፈላጭ ቆራጭ መሰሪ ገዢዎች ድጋፍ ሙሉ በሙሉ እንደሚያቋርጥ ተስፋችን ብሩህ ሆኖ ፖሊሲውም የአፍሪካውያንን ራዕይ የሚያጠናክር ተስፋቸውንም የሚያጎላ እንሚሆን አምነን   ነበር፡፡ ወቅቱም የአሜሪካ ፕሬዜዳንት በኢትዮጵያ ያለውን የሰብአዊ መብት ረገጣ በማጥፋት ይህንንም ሲያደርጉ የነበሩትን ሰው በላዎች ከስልጣናቸው እንደሚያወርዳቸው የላቀ ራዕይ ሰንቀን ነበር፡፡

አፍሪካ በአሜሪካኑ የአጀንዳ ፖሊሲ አወቃቀር ላይ አንሶ በመገኘቱ፤ ባለፉት አራት ዓመታት ፕሬዜዳንቱ በሌሎች ስራዎች በመጠመድና ለሃገራቸው ቅድሚያ በመስጠት በመየያዝ አፍሪካ ከነበረችበት ለባሰ ፈላጭ ቆራጭ የቀን ጅቦች መፈንጫ ሆነች እንጂ ተስፋው አልተተገበረም፡፡ በቅርቡ በተካሄደው ‹‹የውጭ ፖሊሲ ክርክር ላይ› አፍሪካ ለይስሙላ ያህል ነው የተጠቀሰችው፡፡ በዓለም በድህነት በሶስተኛ ደረጃ ላይ ባለች ማሊ  አልቃይዳ ስለመኖሩ እግረመንገድ ገለጻ ነበር የተደረገው፡፡ (እንደ ኢኮኖሚስት መጽሔት ገለጻ፤ ኢትዮጵያ በዓለማችን የመጨረሻዋ ድሃ ሀገር ናት  ናት) ለማቻቻል ሳይሆን እርግጥ ነው ፕሬዜዳንቱ በአጀንዳቸው ላይ በርካታ ፈታኝ ጉዳዮች ነበሩባቸው፤የአረቦች መነሳሳት እንደሰደድ እሳት እየተቀጣጠለ ዘመን ያስቆጠሩ ፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች እየመነጠረ ነበር፤ በመካከለኛው ምስራቅም የኒውክሊየር ጉዳይ አሳሳቢ ሆኖ መጥቷል:: ፤ በአውሮፓም የተከሰተው የኤኮኖሚ ውድቀት አውሮፓን ሊሽመደምድ እየዳዳው ነው፡፡

ተስፋ በኢትዮጵያ ብሎም በአፍሪካ ምን ግዜም ዘልዓለማዊ ነው፡፡

በዚህ የፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ዳግም የፕሬዜዳንትነት የሥራ ዘመን በአፍሪካ ያለው የሰብአዊ መብት ጉዳይ በፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ የውጭ ፖሊሲ አጀንዳ ላይ ትኩረት የሚሰጠው ጉዳይ እንደሚሆን የላቀ ተስፋ አለኝ፡፡ ለዚህም አመላካች የሚሆነው በምርጫው ማግስት ፕሬዜዳቱ ማይነማርን (በርማ) ከሁለት ሳምንት በኋላ ለመጎብኘት ማቀዳቸው ነው፡፡ ፋይዳ በሌለው ከአሃምሳ ምስት አመት ወታደራዊ  አገዛዝ ዘመን በኋላ ማይነማር ቀስ በቀስ ወደ ዴሞክራሲያዎ ስርአት እያመራች ነው፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት ቲየን ሲየን የፖለቲካ እስረኞችን ሁሉ እየለቀቁ ነው፡፡ የዜና ማሰራጫዎችን ሁሉ ማዕቀቡና ቁጥጥሩ እየተነሳላቸው:: ፤ የፖለቲካና የኢኮኖሚ ለውጥሪፎርም እየተካሄደ ነው፡፡ከሃያሁለት ዓመታት የግፍ የቤት አስር ወጥተው አውንግ ሳን ሱዊ ኪ በፓርላማው እውቅና የተሰጣቸው ሕጋዊ ተቃዋሚ ሆነዋል፡፡እንደ አሜሪካ ድምጽ ሬዲዮ ዘገባም፤የስቴት ዲፓርትመንት አፈ ጉባኤም በኢትዮጵያ ስለሚታየው የሰብአዊ መብት ጉዳይ አጽንኦት እንደተሰጠው ተደምጸዋል፡፡ የኦባማ አስተዳደር በአፍሪካ ስላለው ጉዳይ ቆራጥ አቋም ይዞ ሰብአዊ መብትን ለሕዝቡ እንደሚያስገኝ አንዳንድ ምልክቶች እየታዩ ነው፡፡

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ለአፍሪካ ዘልዓለማዊና የማይነጥፍ የዴሞክራሲ ልዕልና የመመስረት ዓላማ አላቸው

በተለምዶ  ዳግም ምርጫ በአሜርካ አብዛኛው ትኩረቱ በውጪ ፖሊሴ ላይ ያነጣጠረ ነው፡፡ በዚህ ወቅትም በይበልጥ የሚያስቡበትና ሊተገብሩም የሚሹት፤ከአግልግሎታቸው ፍጻሜ በኋላ የሚተዉትንና ዘመን ሊያስታውሰው የሚችለውን መልካምና ዘላቂ ድርጊታቸውን ነው፡፡ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባም ለአፍሪካ የማይዘነጋና በቅርስነት የሚታሰብ የሰብአዊ መብት መከበር ስጦታ ትተው ማለፍ ነው ዓላማቸው፡፡በእርግጠኝነትም እሳቸው ወደ ሥልጣን ከመጡበት ጊዜ በባሰ ሁኔታ ውስጥ አፍሪካን ጥለው መሄድ አይፈልጉም ብዬ አስባለሁ፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ወደስልጣን በመጡበት ጊዜ ጦር ሰብቀው አለያም ምርጫን አጭበርብረው፤ወደስልጣን የወጡ የአፍሪካ ገዢዎች የበረከቱበት ነበር፡፡ በአሁኑ ወቅት ደግሞ  አፍሪካ ውስጥ በአብዛኛው ያሉት ገዢዎች የሕግ የበላይነት ጨረሶ የጠፋበትና ሕግ ማለት እነዚሁ ፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎችና ሆድ አደር አገልጋዮቻቸው የሆኑበት፤ በመሆናቸው ሁኔታው ለአእምሮ የሚሰቀጥጥ ነው፡፡ የሰብአዊ መብት ገፈፋ የዕለት ተዕለት ተግባራቸው ነው፡፡በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ጋዜጠኞች፤ የሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋቾች፤የተቃዋሚዎ ፓርቲ መሪዎች፤ሰላማዊ መብት ጠያቂዎች፤ይታሰራሉ፤አለፍርድ በየዕለቱ በገዢዎቹ በየስለላ ድርጅቶች አባላት ስቃያቸውን ያያሉ፡፡

ምንም እንኳን በአሜሪካ ተወልደው ቢያድጉም ለፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ አፍሪካ የአባታቸው ሃገር ነው፡፡እንደማንኛውም ኢትዮጵያዊ አሜሪካ ኦባማም አሁጉሩን ከድህነት ማውጣት ብቻ ሳይሆን፤ በአፍሪካ ውስጥ የሰብአዊ መብት ተከብሮ፤ነጻና ፍትሐዊ ምርጫም እንዲካሄድበት፤ የሕግ የበላይነትም የሚጠበቅበት እንዲሆን ምኞት እንዳላቸው አልጠራጠርም፡፡‹‹ከአባቴ ሕልሞች ›› በተባለው መጽሃፋቸው “….በአባቴ ገጽታ ውስጥ ነበር፤ከዚያ ጥቁር ሰው፤ከአፍሪካው ልጅ፤በኔ ውስጥ የተጠራቀመውን መልካም ዋጋ ሁሉ፤የማርቲንን፤ የዱቧንና የማንዴላን ብርታት የተቸርኩት››፡፡ እነዚህ ሰዎች ባሳለፉት የትግል ጥንካሬያቸውና ብርታታቸው እንደራሴ በማየት፤ ባከብራቸውም ያ የአባቴ ድምጽ ግን ምንገግዜም ሳይለየኝ የማደርገውን ሁሉ እየፈቀደልኝና እየመራኝ አብሮኝ አለ፡፡ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባም በዚሀ የሁለተኛው ዘመን አመራራቸው አፍሪካውያን ለሰብአዊ ክብራቸው በሚያደርጉት ትገል አፍሪካውያንን እንደሚያግዙና ለድልም እንደሚያበቋቸው አልጠራጠርም፡፡

በአረብ የመነሳሳት ወቅት የአሜሪካ የውጭ ፖሊሲ ሁኔታ

በአረቦች መነሳሳት ወቅት የአሜሪካን መንግስት የነበረውን የሰብአዊ መብት ፖሊሲሰ ከ ደህንነትና የኤኮኖሚ ጠቀሜታ ጋር ማዋሃዱን ሂደት ከ እብሪተኞች ፈላጭ ቆራጭ መሪዎች ከሚያደርገው አመለካከት ጋር በድጋሚ ማጥናት፤ ሁኔታዎችን ማገናዘብ፤ መመርመር ማስተካከልም እንዳለበት ተገነዘበ፡፡ የአካባቢውን የደህንነትና የመረጋጋት ሁኔታና ዋስትና በዲክታተር መሪዎች አመኔታ ላይ በማድረግ የአረብ ዓለሙን ሕዝቦች ስቃይና መከራ፤ የሚፈጸምባቸውን ግፍ በቸልታ ማሳለፉን ታሪክ ያሳያል፡፡የአረቡ ዓለም የበቃኝ ሂደት ሲፈነዳና ሕዝቡ በእምቢታ ለነጻነት ለሰብአዊ መብት መከበር ለዴሞክራሲ እውነታ ሲነሳሳ የአሜሪካ አስተዳደርም በመደናገጥና ግራ በመጋባት የሚያደርገው ተዘበራረቀበት፡፡

የአሜሪካ መንግስት ከአፍሪካ የፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች ጋር ያለውን ሁኔታ አያይዞ የሚመለከተው በአካባቢው ካለው ደህንነትና መረጋጋት ጋር ስለነበር፤የሰብአዊ መብትንና ሌሎችንም ሕዝባዊ መብቶች ማንሳቱ ከእነዚህ አረመኔ ፈላጭ ቆራጭ ገዢዎች ጋር ስለሚያጋጨው ትብብራቸውን ላለማጣት ፍርሃት አለው፡፡ከዚህም በመነሳት ሁኔታዎቹ ሲታዩ የአሜሪካን መንግስት ከዝምታ የዲፕሎማቲክ ፖሊሲና የቃላት ባዶ ተስፋ ከመቸር ያለፈ ተግባር በአፍሪካ ውስጥ አላከናወነም፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ የአሜሪካ ዘላቂ ዓለም አቀፍ ፍላጎት የሞራል ማስታገሻ ድጎማ ቃላትና ድርጊትን በማውገዝ ብቻ አንዳችም እርምጃ እንደማያስኬድ እንደሚያውቁ አልጠራጠርም፡፡ የፕሬዜዳንቱ አካሄድ በቅድሚያ የዲፕሎማቲክ አካሄዱን በሚገባ ማስኬድና ውጤቱን ተመልክቶ ካልሆነ አስቀድመው ወደመጨረሻው አማራጫቸው እንደማይገቡ የታየ ነው፡፡እንዳሉትም ‹‹የሰብአዊ መብትን ተግባራዊ ማድረግ የሚቻለው በቃላት በሚሰነዘሩ ሂደቶች ብቻ ሊሆን አይችልም፡፡ አንዳንድ ጊዜም እጅጉን በጠነከረ የዲፕሎማሲ ግንኙነትና ድርድር መሞከር አለበት፡፡ እርግጥ የሰብአዊ መብት ሂደትን በተመለከተ ከግፈኛ መሪዎች ጋር የሚደረግ መግባባት በጣሙን አስቸጋሪና በእምቢታና በጀብደኝነት ላይ የተመሰረተ እንደሆነ እገነዘባለሁ፡፡ ማንኛውም ጨቋኝ መንግስት መውጫ መንገድ እስካላገኘ ድረስ ከነበረበት ዝቅ ብሎ መውረድን አይቀበልም፡፡ ባለፉት ጥቂት ዓመታት ጥቂት የአፍሪካ መሪዎች በተከፈተላቸው በር በመውጣት የዴሞክራሲንና የሰብአዊ መብትን መከበር ተቀብለዋል፡፡ አብዛኛዎቹ  ደግሞ የተከፈተላቸውን የሠላም በር በአጉል ንቀትና በማያዋጣቸው ማንአለብኝነት በርግጫ መልሰው ዘግተውታል፡፡ በጣም እርግጠኛ ነኝ ፕሬዜዳንቱ በሁለተኛው የአስተዳደር ዘመናቸው ከቃላትና ከማስታመም አልፈው የአፍሪካን መሪዎች የእርዳታና የችሮታ ከረጢት በእጃቸው ስለያዙ ሸምቀቆውን በማጥበቅና በማላላት አካሄዳቸውን ሊያስለውጡና በአፍሪካ የተናፈቀውን የነጻነት መንገድ እንደሚያስተካክሉት እምነቴ ነው፡፡

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ፕሬዜዳንት ብቻ ሳይሆኑ የሕገመንግስታዊ ጠበቃም ናቸውና……..

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ መሪ ከመሆናቸው በፊት ያካበቱት ልምድ አሁንም በአስተሳሰባቸውና በድርጊታቸው ላይ ጫና እንደሚፈጥርባቸው አምናለሁ:: እንደ ኮኒስቲቲዩሻናልና የሲቪል የሕግ ባለሙያነታቸው፤  ስለሕግ መዛባትና ስለሞራል ድክመት፤ ስለሰብአዊ ክብር መደፈርና ሌሎችም ተመሳሳይ ጉዳዮች የጠነከረ ልምድና እምነት አላቸው፡፡ ለረጂም ዓመታት በሰብአዊ አገልግሎት፤ በሕብረተሰብ ፍላጎትና ጥቃትን በመከላከል ዘርፍ ብዙ ሰርተው በርካታ ልማድ ያላቸው ናቸው፡፡ የተቸገሩትናና አቅመ ደካሞችን፤ በቤተክርስቲያናት በኩል በማደራጀትና በመርዳት ብዙ ከውነዋል፡፡ የኮሙኒቲ ተግባራቸው የታመቀ ልምድ አስጨብጧቸዋልና ያወውቁቅታል፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ የሕግን የበላይነት ጥቅሙን ይረዱታል የሚል ጠንካራ እምነት አለኝ፡፡የሕግ ምሁርና የተቸገሩ ምስኪኖች ተሟጋች እንደመሆናቸውም ማንኛቸውም የችግር ምንነት በአግባቡ የገባቸው ናቸው፡፡ስለዚህም ለሕብረተሰብና ለአካባቢ ሰዎች ያላቸው ተሟጋችነት በዚህ የሁለተኛው አስተዳደር ዘመናቸው ጎልቶ ይወጣል እላለሁ፡፡

አንዳንዶቻችን ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ምን ሊያደረጉልን ይችላሉ በሚለው ጥያቄ እንታለላለን፡፡ ትክክለኛው ጥያቄ ግን እኛስ በመደራጀት፤የኦባማን አስተዳደር በእውነተኛው ሁኔታ ላይ በማግባባት፤ጠንካራ የሰብአዊ መብት አጀንዳ እንዲቀርጽ ለማድረግ ምን እያደረግን ነው የሚለው መሆን አለበት፡፡ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ምርጫውን ባሸነፉበት ማታ ባደረጉት ንግግር ‹‹በእኛ ዴሞክራሲ የዜጎች ሚና በሰጣችሁት ድምጽ ብቻ የሚገታ አይደለም፡፡ አሜሪካ ፈጽሞ ለኛስ ምን ይደረግልናል ሃገር ሆኖ አያውቅም፡፡ይልቅስ በእኛስ በኩል ሊደረግ የሚገባው ምንድን ነው፤በዚህ አስቸጋሪና ፈታኝ ወቅት ግን አስፈላጊና የራሳችን በሆነው መንግስት ምን ይጠበቅብናል የሚለው ነው›› ገቨርነር ሮምኒ በመጨረሻው የማክተሚያ ንግግራቸው እንዳሉት ‹‹ በእንዲህ አይነቱ ወቅት እርስ በርስ መነቃቋርና ባለፈው  ጥርስ በመንከስ መለያየት የለብንም፡፡ መሪዎቻችን ባሻገር ተጉዘው የሕዝቡን ፍላጎት ማሟላት ሲገባቸው እኛ ሕዝቦች ደግሞ ጊዜው የሚጠይቀውን ማድርግ ግዴታችን ነው፡፡››……. ይህ ነው የኢትዮጵያዊያን አሜሪካውያን እምነት ሊሆን የሚገባው፡፡ በዲያስፖራውም በሃገራችንም ውስጥ፡፡ ይህንን ነው አምነን በመቀበል መተግበር ያለብን፡፡ካለፈው ስህተታችንና ድክመታችን በመማር እራሳችንን አስተካክለንና ሂደታችንን አርመን የኦባማ አስተዳደር ተገቢውን እንዲያደርግ መጎትጎት ያለብን፡፡ የአረብ አሜሪካኖች፤ኢራንያን አሜሪካኖች፤አርሚኒያን አሜሪካኖች፤ማሲዶንያን አሜሪካኖች፤ሰርቢያን አሜሪካኖችና ሌሎችም ከአስተዳደሩ ጋር በጥንካሬያቸው በመሞገት ተግባራቸው ውጤታማ ሆኗል፡፡ እንደሰብአዊ መብት ተሟጋቾችና ጠበቆች፤የአሜሪካ ቀዳሚ ባለስልጣናት ጋር በመቀራረብና በመነጋገር በመግባባት ስለሰብአዊ መብት የሃገራችን ሁኔታ በማስረዳት ውጤታማ መሆን ይጠበቅብናል፡፡

የአሜሪካን መንግስት ዲክታተሮች የሆኑ  አመራሩ ላይ የተቀመጡት ወዳጆቹን ማንበርከኩን ያወቅበታል፡፡በ1980 የአሜሪካን መንግስት በፊሊፒንስ፤በቺሊ በታይዋን እና በምእራብ ኮሪያ ውስጥ በተካሄደው የዴሞክራሲ ሽግግር ቁልፍ ቦታ እንደተጫወተ ይታወሳል፡፡ በሶቭየት ዩኒየንና በሌሎቹ የሶቭየት ክልል በነበሩት ሃገራት የዴሞክራሲ ሂደትም አሜሪካ ድርድሩን በመምራት ውጤታማ እንዳደረገ ይታወሳል፡፡ጥያቄው አሜሪካ በኢትዮጵያ ወይም በአፍሪካ ውስጥ የሰብአዊ መብት አጀንዳን ያራምዳል ወይ ሳይሆን፤ ይህን ሁኔታ ተግባራዊ ለማድረግ የፖለቲካ ፈቃደኝነቱ አለው ወይ ነው፡፡ በፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ሁለተኛ የአስተዳደር ዘመን ፈቃደኝነቱ ይታያል የሚልጠንካራ እምነት አለኝ፡፡

የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2012/11/11/what_should_ethiopians_expect_in_a_second_obama_term

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::)

ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

German’s Heinrich Böll Foundation leaves Ethiopia in protest

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

(DW) — Named after the German Nobel Prize winner for Literature, the Heinrich Böll Foundation is an NGO promoting democracy and human rights. It is leaving Ethiopia in protest against restrictions on its activities.

“The closure of the office in Ethiopia is a sign of protest by the foundation against the ongoing restrictions on civil rights and freedom of speech” said a statement released by the Heinrich Böll Foundation explaining why they had closed their office in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The organization’s chairwoman Barbara Unmüßig and the country director Patrick Berg said it had become impossible for the organization to work for democracy, gender equality and sustainable development under existing circumstances. They were referring to the law on NGOs passed in 2009 which is known as the “Charities and Societies Proclamation” and restricts freedom of press, expression and assembly.

The law that worsens human rights

This “NGO law” severely curtails the activities of non governmental organizations and human rights groups. It is targets not just foreign groups, but also Ethiopia’s two largest human rights organizations.

According to the rights group Amnesty international, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (HRCO), which has been active since 1991, had its bank account frozen under this law. Nine of its twelve offices have been closed and 85 percent of its staff laid off.

The women’s rights organization Ethiopian Women Lawyers Organization (EWLA) was forced to lay off 75 percent of its staff and assets worth $595,000 (468,000 euros) were frozen. Previously, the organization was able to give free legal assistance to some 20,000 women, nowadays it is barely able to function, says Amnesty international.

Germany’s Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is affiliated to the Greens Party, had been trying for three years to get a bilateral agreement signed with the Ethiopian government which have would granted it more room for manoeuvre than it would have been accorded under the NGO law. But such efforts were in vain.

Appeal at ministerial level in vain

They even tried to raise the issue with the Ethiopian government through the offices of German Development minister Dirk Niebel while he was on a visit to Addis Ababa, but that also yielded no results.

“We realized that we cannot pursue our mission and we can no longer support our local partners of several years,” Patrick Berg told DW.

Berg said “NGO law” was part of a system of repression and symbolic of a deterioration in human rights that had spread through the country since the elections in 2005. 200 people were killed in demonstrations against ballot-rigging in that poll.

Official Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon was quoted by German’s news agency DPA as saying the government would be “delighted if the Heinrich Böll Foundation would continue its work in Ethiopia.”

The departure of the Heinrich Böll Foundation leaves the Friedrich Ebert Foundation as the only remaining German think tank in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Muslim protests show no signs of abating

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

ADDIS ABABA (IRIN) – Tensions have been simmering over several months between Muslims and the government, with thousands holding demonstrations in protest at the government’s alleged interference in religious affairs; the government has blamed the protests on a small group of extremists.

Around 60 percent of Ethiopia’s 84 million people are Christians; Muslims make up about one-third of the population, according to official figures. Religion-related clashes have been rare in the country, but unrest over the past several months has led to several deaths and dozens of arrests. IRIN looks at the causes of, and fallout from, the protests.

What sparked the protests?

The leaders of the protests, which began in December 2011, accuse the Ethiopian government of trying to impose the al-Ahbash Islamic sect on the country’s Muslim community, which traditionally practices the Sufi form of Islam. Al-Ahbash beliefs are an interpretation of Islam combining elements of Sunni Islam and Sufism; its teachings are popular in Lebanon. Said to be first taught by Ethiopian scholar Abdullah al-Harari, the Ethiopian Al-Ahbash teachings are moderate, advocating Islamic pluralism, while opposing political activism.

In December 2011, the state moved to dismiss the administration of the Awoliya religious school in Addis Ababa. In July, police dispersed an overnight meeting at the school on the eve of an African Union heads of state summit, and arrested several protesters and organizers of the meeting, which police officials said did not have a permit.

Those behind the meeting, an “Arbitration Committee” of 17 led by prominent religious scholars, said they wanted to dialogue with the government but insisted they would continue legitimate protests to oppose its continued interference in the administration of the religious school and the election of members of the country’s supreme Islamic Council.

They accuse the government of dictating elections to the council, which concluded on 5 November, and favour the Al-Ahbash Muslim sect.

Temam Ababulga, a lawyer representing activists who led the protests – some of them are currently behind bars – says they are appealing to a federal court to cancel the election and its outcome, on the grounds that the elections were not conducted in accordance with the council’s by-laws.

“The opposition to Ahbash at this time is not theological… the protesters oppose… that the regime is sponsoring the movement, providing finance, logistical support and allowing it to use both the Islamic Council and the state institution in its proselytization,” said Jawar Mohammed, an Ethiopian analyst now studying at Columbia University in the USA.

“Ahbash has been in Ethiopia since the 1990s and has peacefully coexisted with the rest of Islamic revival movements,” he added. “The confrontation came only after the government invited the leading figures from Lebanon and started aggressive re-indoctrination campaign.”

What is the government’s response?

The government denies that it is violating the country’s constitution by meddling in religious affairs. Addressing parliament on 16 October, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said: “The government is not and would not interfere in the affairs of any religion in the country.”

At the height of the protests in mid-April, then Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died in August, told parliament that “a few extremists are working to erode the age-old tradition of tolerance between traditional Sufi Muslims and Christians in Ethiopia,” and stressed that they would not be tolerated by the government.

“The government… has made a number of efforts to encourage engagement with the protesters and has, for example, also done all it can to support the matter of elections for the Islamic Council,” said a statement by the government in response to Amnesty International’s allegations.

“It is true that some members of a `protesters committee’ have been arrested following violent protests, but it is completely misleading to suggest that this `committee’ had been `chosen to represent the Muslim community’s grievances to the government’. This `committee’ was not chosen nor elected by anyone… It was, in sum, a small, self-appointed committee of protesters whose support in the community at large, as the recent election clearly demonstrated, was minimal.”

Increasing Islamic militancy in the region – Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania have all witnessed increased Islamist activity – is of concern to the Ethiopian authorities, who say they are facing growing threats evident from the discovery of the first Al-Qaeda cell in the country; 11 people have been in an on-going trial, suspected of being members of an Al-Qaeda cell and accused of planning terrorist attacks.

What are rights groups saying?

The USA has added its voice to accusations that Ethiopia has been interfering in the religious affairs of its Islamic population and wrongfully arresting people. Addis Ababa has on several occasions rejected these charges.

“Since July 2011, the Ethiopian government has sought to force a change in the sect of Islam practiced nationwide and has punished clergy and laity who have resisted,” an 8 November press statement by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom – a bipartisan federal government body – said. “Muslims throughout Ethiopia have been arrested during peaceful protests.”

Amnesty International has also accused the Ethiopian authorities of “committing human rights violations in response to the ongoing Muslim protest movement in the country”. The organization said the police was using “excessive force” against peaceful demonstrators.

Human Rights Watch says it is deeply concerned that Ethiopia’s government has repeatedly used terrorism-related prosecutions to clamp down on lawful freedom of speech and assembly.

“Many of these trials have been politically motivated and marred by serious due process violations,” Laetitia Bader, a Human Rights Watch researcher on Ethiopia, told IRIN via email. “The Muslim leaders and others, should be immediately released unless the government can produce credible evidence of unlawful activity. The fact that many of the detainees have been in detention for over three months without charge does raise questions about the existence of such evidence.”

Rights groups also say journalists covering the protests are being increasingly harassed. In October, police briefly detained Marthe Van Der Wolf, a reporter with the Voice of America as she was covering one of the protests at the Anwar Mosque, and according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), told to erase her recorded interviews.

“Ethiopian authorities should halt their harassment of journalists covering the country’s Muslim community and their intimidation of citizens who have tried to speak to reporters about sensitive religious, ethnic, and political issues,” CPJ said in an October statement.

The government denies violently suppressing the protests, and says “one or two of the protests were extremely violent (with police killed).”

Activists and rights groups are concerned about references to “terrorism” in the charges. “The charges contain similar allegations used to prosecute dissident journalists and opposition leaders in the past few years… the leaders of the Muslim protest are just the latest victims of the regime’s war against dissenting voices,” said Jawar Mohammed.

“In fact, many of the Muslim scholars and spiritual leaders being accused of such conspiracy to create an Islamic state have written and publicly spoken advocating against any form of extremism, emphasizing that Ethiopia is a multi-faith country where secular state is indispensable for co-existence,” he added. “The irony is that these Muslim leaders, many of them, are followers of the Sufi tradition and have a proven track record of actively fighting against infiltration of the community by extremist elements.”

What is the extent of the protests and violence?

The demonstrations have continued for close to a year, and show no signs of abating. During Eid Al Adha celebrations in late October, tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets to celebrate the holiday; after the prayers, they staged protests. “We have nothing to kill for… but we have Islam to die for,” read some of the protesters’ banners.

The arrest of an Imam in the Oromia region back in April led to clashes that left four dead, while the country’s federal police clashed with protesters at Addis Ababa’s Grand Anwar mosque on 21 July.

In October, in the Amhara Region, three civilians and one police officer were killed when protesters stormed a police station where a religious leader was jailed, said Communication Affairs State Minister Shimeles Kemal. On 29 October, federal prosecutors charged the jailed activists and others with terrorism; a group of 29 people are accused of aiming to establish an Islamic state, undermining the country’s secular constitution.

How might resentments play out?

In a report released shortly after Meles’s death, the think tank International Crisis Group warned that the new government would find it difficult to deal with grievances in the absence of “any meaningful domestic political opposition”.

“Resentments would likely continue to be turned into ethnic and religious channels, thus undermining stability and, in the worst case of civil war, even survival of a multi-ethnic, multi-faith state,” the authors said.

Obama’s adviser on human rights accuses Susan Rice of being a bystander to genocide

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

In a 2001 article, Samantha Power, currently a Special Assistant to President Barack Obama, referred to Ambassador Susan Rice and her colleagues as “Bystanders to Genocide” for failing to intervene and try to stop the Rwanda genocide. Samantha writes:

At an interagency teleconference in late April, Susan Rice, a rising star on the National Security Council (NSC) who worked under Richard Clarke, stunned a few of the officials present when she asked, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?”

This one sentence crystallizes the nature of Susan Rice as a morally bankrupt person bereft of human decency. Therefore, when she heaps praise on Meles Zenawi, a genocidal dictator who burned entire villages in Ogaden and slaughtered the Anuak ethnic group in western Ethiopia, to mention just two of his countless crimes, no body should be surprised.

Samantha goes on to write:

Susan Rice… feels that she has a debt to repay. “There was such a huge disconnect between the logic of each of the decisions we took along the way during the genocide and the moral consequences of the decisions taken collectively,” Rice says. “I swore to myself that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.” Rice was subsequently appointed NSC Africa director and, later, assistant secretary of state for African affairs…

Susan is repaying a debt by sharing a stage with an ICC-indicted war criminal, Al Bashir, in calling a mass murderer, Meles Zenawi, a wise man with a world class mind.

Susan Rice was a bystander to genocide during the Clinton Administration, and currently in the Obama Administration, she is a cheerleader to genocide. If Obama is elected for another term and she becomes a secretary of state, who knows what she will become.

Watch Susan Rice’s speech below. Read the full text of Samantha’s article here.

Unity the path to change in Ethiopia: Researcher

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

The King is dead long live the King

By Graham Peebles

November 14,  2012

It is a new-year in Ethiopia, (belated) happy 2005 one and all. With it comes a new prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, deputy PM under Meles Zenawi who died some time in August or was it July. A fog of misinformation and uncertainty surrounds the final months of Meles life, ingrained secrecy being both a political and national characteristic that works against social and ethnic cohesion, strengthening mistrust and division.

It is unclear what route the deputy PM, a Protestant from humble beginnings in the small, desperately poor Wolayta community, took to step into the prime ministerial shoes. Some believe the US administration through its powerful military machine Africom, engineered the sympathetic replacement. The US is Ethiopia’s main donor, giving around $3 billion a year, Ethiopia for it’s part and in exchange for such generosity perhaps, allows the US military to station and launch drones from it’s sacred soil into Somalia, or indeed anywhere the Pentagon hacks choose and the deadly drones can reach.

New Prime Minister same old regime story

The new Prime Minister has worryingly vowed, the BBC 21/09/12 report, to continue Mr. Meles “legacy without any change,” a legacy littered with human rights violations and injustices, which has little to recommend it. Meles ruled over a single party State in all but name, for, as the International Crisis Group (ICG) make clear, “Meles engineered one-party rule in effect for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and his Tigrayan inner circle, with the complicity of other ethnic elites that were co-opted into the ruling alliance, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).” A dictatorship in fact and form and as is consistent with such regimes, brutal, controlling and intolerant. No matter the accolades expressed on Meles death by senior politicians and diplomats around the world, who like nothing more it seems than a friendly tyrant.

Hailemariam was chosen, it is alleged, simply to give the appearance of an ethnically balanced leadership, that he will have little independence, and dutifully tow the ideologically driven line of Revolutionary Democracy. Whatever the method and no doubt it was constitutionally correct, Hailemariam and deputy Demeke Mekonnen, are now enthroned, let us wish them well for there is much work to be done within Ethiopia.

Old injustices urgent issues

Human rights issues cry out to be dealt with, starting with the immediate unconditional release of all so called ‘political prisoners’, tried and Imprisoned under the internationally condemned, unjust Anti Terrorist Proclamation, for the heinous crime of publicly disagreeing with the TPLF dominated government. The Ethiopian government should, HRW demand, “amend the law’s most pernicious provisions, which are being used to criminalize free expression and peaceful dissent.” Journalists, mainly working outside of Ethiopia and supporters of opposition political parties are the common targets, tried in absentia in Ethiopian courts by a judiciary that functions as little more than a sentencing body for the government and thinks nothing of handing down life sentences to dissenting voices, based on fabricated charges. Human Rights Watch (HRW) make this illegal pattern clear, stating “the use of draconian laws and trumped-up charges to crack down on free speech and peaceful dissent makes a mockery of the rule of law,” both Federal and International.

The government, immersed in paranoia and determined to control all forms of debate and platforms of expression, fire off accusations of terrorist activity to anyone seen to disagree with their disagreeable policies. The ambiguous provision of ‘conspiracy to commit terrorist acts’ is usually cited as criminal activity, or the even more foggy crime of offering ‘moral support’, which has little or no specific meaning and as HRW assert, “is contrary to the principle of legality.” Such ill-defined terms are employed to criminalize dissent and justify the unjust.

Each urgently required reform flows into and out of the other, connected, as they are by the fundamental need to observe basic human rights, at the heart of which sits freedom and justice. Constitutional law provides for the statutory observation of all freedoms of expression that are nevertheless denied in practice or at best grossly restricted. The press, TV and radio is almost exclusively State owned, television is firmly under government control and with literacy resting at around 48% of the adult population is the arm with the greatest reach and influence. Control of the World wide-web is also in the hands of the EPRDF, the sole telecommunications company being listed in the extensive business portfolio of the government, who control and restrict both Internet expansion and use. Over 80% live in rural areas and currently a mere 0.5%  (400,000) of the population have Internet access, the second lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Unity in diversity

With between 70 and 80 tribal sets within the seven major ethnic groups and a 45/35% Christian, Muslim split, cooperation tolerance and unity are essential factors in the countries wellbeing and strength, as well as its internal security. As imperial nations have long known a united civilian population is a threat; divide the factions, separate the ethnic groups, fragment the people make them compete, even fight among themselves and maintain dominion. This, contrary to the EPRDF’s policy of Ethnic Federalism devised in 1991 when they took power, has consistently been the regimes approach. All political authority rests firmly within the party controlled by the TPLF, as the ICG report makes clear, “behind the façade of devolution, [the EPRDF] adopted a highly centralized system that has exacerbated identity-based conflicts.”

Self-determination and self-rule for the major regional groups was, on paper, a central component of Ethnic Federalism, however, as The international human rights group Advocates for Human Rights (AHR) in its report on ethnic groups in Ethiopia found, the government, “actively impedes the rights of disadvantaged ethnic groups to self determination.” Far from building partnerships and cultivating cooperation and tolerance, policies flowing from the TPLF/EPRDF’s desire to maximize control in all areas of society, including the powerful religious groups work to encourage fragmentation, create religious dissonance, strengthen ethnic divisions and deny much needed social unity.

Ethiopia has the third largest population of Muslims in Africa and is thought to be the birthplace of Islam in the continent as well as the cradle of African Christianity. The government has for long controlled Muslim affairs via The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, which is simply a mouthpiece for the ruling party. There has, as Crescent International reports, “been no election in the council for the last 13 years. The council has remained against the rights of Muslims including wearing hijab and congregational prayer in universities.” Muslims have been calling with increasing intensity for the removal of the unelected council and the State sponsored imposition of Al-Ahbash (The Abyssinian) Islam, a movement that blends elements of Sunni Islam with Sufism. Protests against government meddling are now a regular extension to Friday prayers in Addis Ababa. The Washington Post 2nd November reports the new PM speaking to parliament on 16th October, stating, surprisingly given the EPRDF’s involvement in all things religious, that “the government fully respects freedom of religion and “would not interfere in the affairs of religion just as religion would not interfere in matters of politics.” It does indeed seem he is determined to follow in word and deed in the dictatorial duplicitous footsteps of his predecessor.

The Government with predictable consistency has labeled these legitimate demands the actions of ‘religious extremists’ and In July this year resorted to violent means in an attempt to settle the issue, killing four Muslims at prayer and arresting scores more. HRW reported “Ethiopian police and security services have harassed, assaulted, and arbitrarily arrested hundreds of Muslims at Addis Ababa’s Awalia and Anwar mosques who were protesting government interference in religious affairs.“ Religious extremists as we all know means terrorists, the US Army definition of terrorism is worth relating at this point. It is, they say “the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature…through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear.” Accordingly if name-calling is the name of the game, the EPRDF’s policies qualify them unconditionally for the terrorist label, prefixed with the title, ‘State’

It’s worth noting that Orthodox Christian leaders have spoken out in support of their Muslim brothers and aired their own concerns at government interference in all things religious. The head Christian is also a regime appointee. The richness of the countries culture lies in its ancient ethnic diversity and a deeply religious nature that infuses all areas of cultural life, expressed by both orthodox Christians and Muslims who, despite the governments best effort have lived peacefully side-by-side as it were for generations.

Ethnic division centralized discriminatory rule

Regional divisions are being strengthened as ethnic groups are forced to compete for life saving handouts administered by the EPRDF through their network of regional councils. The Kebeles and Woreda’s reach into every village and household, stomach and mind in the country, distributing a range of development support from international donors, including emergency food relief determined by allegiance to the ruling party. Along with this illegal immoral act that needs the urgent attention of donors, whose silence and apathy makes them complicit in the regimes criminality, AHR found the EPRDF use discriminatory tactics to “interfere with the rights of disadvantaged ethnic groups” in all areas of civil society.

Employment is all too often conditional on party affiliation, teachers thought to be supporters of opposition parties are harassed, trade unions, supported within the liberal constitution, if not affiliated with the regime party face dismantling, the members and leaders intimidated and threatened. And Oromo business people, AHR discovered, “are denied business licenses without explanation and face police harassment targeted at customers, suppliers, and employees.”

In schools and colleges both teachers and students are exposed to political indoctrination and ‘encouraged’ to join the ruling party; continued employment and studies being a carrot, unemployment and expulsion the regime stick, membership of the Oromo Liberation Front a guarantee of both. In areas relating to culture, AHR found ”Oromo’s e.g. do not feel free to speak Oromiffa in public or to use distinctively Oromo names,” leading Oromo cultural figures have been persecuted and the Charities and Societies Proclamation – another poisonous piece of legislation that needs revising or scrapping, restricts the development of cultural relationships with members of the diaspora.

Forced from village to Villagization

Ethnic groups forced into villagization programs by the government as they sell off large tracts of land to foreign corporations, make easy targets for a regime pursuing the fragmentation of society and the exploitation of the people. Large numbers have been forcibly re-located, in Gambella alone HRW report,  “approximately 70,000 people were slated to be moved by the end of 2011,” into settlements that provide no health services or clean water and often lack schools. Quick to capitalize on the child’s plight Government officials, AHR report “force schoolchildren in these villages to abandon their studies to provide labor for constructing shelters.” An illegal action adding further, to the catalogue of State criminality or to give it its US army title, State terrorism.

It is projected that if the herding of indigenous people continues at the present rate, all rural dwellers, that’s 80% of the population, will be living in one or other of these government created villagization centers by the next decade, without any consultation with those affected, no matter the party line on participation and voluntary movement. It’s hard to discuss social engineering and ancestral land rights with armed solders whilst your home is demolished. Violent coercion is widespread, HRW again ‘security forces enforcing the population transfers have been implicated in at least 20 rapes in the past year. Fear and intimidation are widespread among affected populations.”

Divide and rule extends into the very heart of ethnic communities, families are routinely broken up when driven into the villagization settlements, making women and children particularly vulnerable, as AHR found “in rural areas typically populated by disadvantaged ethnic groups are often victims of human trafficking. The Government has taken no meaningful measures to prevent such trafficking or to provide assistance or support to victims.” Trafficking of women within Ethiopia and overseas, often to the Gulf States almost always equates to prostitution or forced domestic labor, where sexual abuse, violence and degrading treatment is the common experience.

United in purpose

The EPRDF has divided, inhibited and controlled the people of Ethiopia. Fear and intimidation their weapons of choice, wielded without recrimination, compassion or regret, the ‘international community’, who supply a third of the national budget uninterested in their brutality act not in support of the people. The opportunity presented to and by the change of Prime Minister has (to date) proven to be nothing more than a hollow hope. The cry of the people ignored once more, their voices cast into the darkness and dismissed.

The political opposition, fragmented and dysfunctional, offers no vision of change, however there is a powerful alternative responsible group; It is the worlds ‘second superpower’, it is the rich diversity of the people and the strength inherent in their potential unity, standing together in peaceful defense of social justice, freedom and human dignity. The people of Oromo and Amahra, Tigray and Somali, Sidama, Gurage, Wolaita and Afar, look to each other and fear not, look to your neighbors and friends, share your concerns, your hopes, and fear not; for fear is the weapon of the bully the enemy of the good. Look to the next village, communicate and organize, fear not, for fear inhibits and controls. Look to the adjoining street and neighborhood where live others, who too shiver in fear of the police and armed forces, the Kebeles and Woredas who in the full light of day distribute food, jobs, education opportunities and health care based on illegal partisan discrimination.

Unity of the people, rich in diversity united in purpose, is the need and song of the time, for Ethiopia and indeed for the world. Together there is safety and strength beyond measure,  “when there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you,” proclaims an African proverb. This truth applies to the individual, the family the people of a nation. Brothers and sisters of one humanity we are, our pains are shared, so too our joys and hopes. No government can withstand the unified strength of a people held together by a common and just cause, acting peacefully in honor of freedom and justice. Such is the need within the wonderful land of Ethiopia, the people of which have suffered much and for far, far too long.

 


[i] [i] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19672302

[ii] http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/horn-of-africa/ethiopia-eritrea/b089-ethiopia-after-meles.aspx

[iii] http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/06/27/ethiopia-terrorism-law-used-crush-free-speech

[iv] http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/06/27/ethiopia-terrorism-law-used-crush-free-speech

[v] www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/…/AHR_Ethiopia_CESCR48.pdf

[vii] http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/08/15/ethiopia-prominent-muslims-detained-crackdown

[viii] http://www.chomsky.info/articles/200205–02.htm

[ix] http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/resettlement-and-villagization-tools-militarization-sw-ethiopia

 

Let’s Get Real and Conduct Strategic Struggle

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Participants in nonviolent movements sometimes, because of a particular act by the dictatorship has so enraged the populace that they have launched into action without having any idea how the rising might end. While spontaneity has some positive qualities, it has often had disadvantages. Frequently, the democratic resisters have not anticipated the brutalities of the dictatorship, so that they suffered gravely and the resistance has collapsed. At times the lack of planning by democrats has left crucial decisions to chance, with disastrous results… [read more]

What Should Ethiopians Expect in a Second Obama Term?

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

obIt is proper to congratulate President Obama on his re-election to a second term. He put up a masterful campaign to earn the votes of the majority of American voters. Mitt Romney also deserves commendation for a hard fought campaign. In his concession speech Romney was supremely gracious: “At a time like this we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work, and we citizens also have to rise to occasion.”

There has been a bit of finger-wagging, teeth-gnashing, eye-rolling and bellyaching among some Ethiopian Americans in the run up to the U.S. presidential election held last week. Some were angry at President Obama and actively campaigned in support of his opponent. They felt betrayed by the President’s inability or unwillingness to give effect to his lofty rhetoric on human rights in Africa and Ethiopia. Others were disappointed by what they believed to be active support for and aid to brutal African dictators. Many tried to be empathetic of the President’s difficult circumstances. He had to formulate American foreign policy to maximize achievement of American global national interests. Terrorism in the Horn of Africa was a critical issue for the U.S. and Obama had to necessarily subordinate human rights to global counter-terrorism issues.

I was quite disappointed by the President’s failure to implement even a rudimentary human rights agenda in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa. But I also understood that he had some fierce battles to fight domestically trying to shore up the American economy, pushing some basic social policies, fighting two wars and putting out brushfires in a conflict-ridden world. I gave the President credit for a major diplomatic achievement in the South Sudan referendum which led to the creation of Africa’s newest state.  President Obama authorized the deployment of a small contingent of U.S. troops to capture or kill the bloodthirsty thug Joseph Kony and his criminal partners. He launched the kleptocracy project which I thought was a great idea. As I argued in my column “Africorruption, Inc.“, the “business of African governments in the main is corruption. The majority of African ‘leaders’ seize political power to operate sophisticated criminal enterprises to loot their national treasuries and resources.” I felt the kleptocracy project could effectively prevent illicit money transfer from Ethiopia to the U.S. According to Global Financial Integrity, Ethiopia lost US$11.7 billion to illicit financial outflows between 2000 and 2009. I gave the president high marks for working through the U.N. to pass U.N. Resolution 1973 which endorsed the effort to protect Libyan civilians and his use of NATO partners to shoulder much of the military responsibility to rid Gadhafi from Libya after 41 years of brutal dictatorship. More broadly, I give him credit for closing secret  C.I.A. prisons, ending extraordinary renditions and enhanced interrogations (torture), trying to close down the detention camp in Guantánamo Bay and move trials from military tribunals into civilian courts and abide by international laws of human rights. No doubt, he has much more to do in the area of global human rights.

I believe he could have done a lot more in Africa and Ethiopia to promote human rights, but did not. I have written numerous columns over the past couple of years that have been very critical of U.S. policy. In the “The Moral Hazard of U.S. Policy in Africa“, I argued that neither the U.S. nor the West could afford to sacrifice democracy and human rights in Africa to curry favor with incorrigible African dictators whose sole interest is in clinging to power to enrich themselves and their cronies. In my column, “Thugtatorship: The Highest Stage of African Dictatorship”, I argued Africa’s thugtatorships have longstanding and profitable partnerships with the West. Through aid and trade, the West and particularly the U.S. has enabled these thugocracies to flourish in Africa. A few months ago, in my column “Ethiopia in Bond Aid,” I argued that international aid is negatively affecting Africa’s development. “Before much of Africa became ‘independent’ in the 1960s, Africans were held under the yoke of “colonial bondage”. ‘International aid’ addiction has transformed Africa’s colonial bondage into neo-colonial bondaid.” In another recent column “Ethiopia: Food for Famine and Thought!”, I criticized the G8 Food Security Summit held in Washington, D.C. this past June as a reinvention of the old colonialism: “The G-8’s ‘New Alliance’ smacks of the old Scramble for Africa. The G-8 wants to liberate Africa from hunger, famine and starvation by facilitating the handover of millions of hectares of Africa’s best land to global multinationals…”

But despite disappointments, misgivings, apprehensions and concern over the Obama Administration’s failure to actively promote human rights in Ethiopia and Africa, I have supported President Obama. For all his faults, he has been an inspiring leader to me. Like many Americans, I was awed by state Senator Obama’s keynote speech at the Democratic national Convention in 2004 when he unapologetically declared: “There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. There is not a liberal America. There is not a conservative America. There is a United States of America.” These words continue to inspire me to dream of the day when young Ethiopian men and women shall come together from all parts of the country and shout out and sing the words, “There is not an Oromo Ethiopia, Amhara Ethiopia, Tigrai Ethiopia, Gurage Ethiopia, Ogadeni Ethiopia, Anuak Ethiopia… There is only a united Ethiopia where ‘justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.’”

During the advocacy effort to pass H.R. 2003 (“Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007”), we had opportunities to meet with U.S. Senator Obama’s  staffers in his district office and on the Hill on a number of occasions. Our meetings were encouraging and there was little doubt that Senator Obama would support H.R. 2003 if the bill had made it to the Senate floor after it passed the House of Representatives in October 2007.  In February 2008, our advocacy group, the Coalition for H.R. 2003, formally endorsed Barack Obama’s presidential bid. We declared that “it is time for the U.S. to abandon its support of African dictators, and pursue policies that uplift and advance the people of Africa. It is time for an American president who will stand up for human rights in Ethiopia, and demand of those who violate human rights to stand down!”

Over the last four years, our enthusiasm and support for the President flagged and waned significantly as Africa remained on the fringes of U.S. foreign policy agenda. During the recent presidential “foreign policy debate” Africa was barely mentioned. There was only passing reference to Al Qaeda’s presence in Mali, the third poorest country on the planet. (According to the Economist Magazine, Ethiopia is the poorest country on the planet.) But not to make excuses, the President had a lot on his foreign policy plate. The Arab Spring was spreading like wildfire sweeping out longtime dictators. Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East remains a critical issue. The global economic meltdown threatens certain European countries with total economic collapse.

Hope Springs Eternal in Ethiopia and the Rest of Africa 

I am hopeful that human rights in Africa will occupy a prominent role in the foreign policy agenda of President   Obama’s second term. An indication of such a trend may be evident in the announcement two days after President Obama’s reelection that he will be visiting Myanmar (Burma) in a couple of weeks. After five decades of ruthless military dictatorship, Myanmar is gradually transforming itself into a democracy. President Thein Sein has released political prisoners, lifted media bans and implemented economic and political reforms. Amazingly, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is the acknowledged opposition leader in parliament after two decades of house arrest. Last week, a State Department spokesperson underscored the need for human rights improvement in Ethiopia according to a Voice of America report. There are favorable signs the Obama Administration will pursue a more aggressive human rights agenda in Africa.

President Obama Would Like to Leave a Legacy of Democracy and Freedom in Africa

Historically, second-term presidents become increasingly focused on foreign policy. They also become acutely aware of the legacy they would like to leave after they complete their second term. I believe President Obama would like to leave a memorable and monumental legacy of human rights in Africa. I cannot believe that he is so indifferent to Africa that he would leave it in worse condition than he found it. When he became president, much of Africa was dominated by dictators  who shot their way to power or rigged elections to get into power. In much of Africa today, the absence of the rule of law is shocking to the conscience. Massive human rights violations are commonplace. In Ethiopia, journalists, dissidents, opposition leaders, peaceful demonstrators, civil society and human rights advocates are jailed, harassed and persecuted every day.

Needless to say, for President Obama Africa is the land of his father even though he was born and raised in America. I believe President Obama, like most immigrant Ethiopian Americans, would like to help the continent not only escape poverty but also achieve better governance and greater respect for the rule of law. He would like to see Africa having free and fair elections and improved human rights conditions. In his book Dreams From My Father, he wrote, “… It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa, that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela. And if later I saw that the black men I knew – Frank or Ray or Will or Rafiq – fell short of such lofty standards; if I had learned to respect these men for the struggles they went through, recognizing them as my own – my father’s voice had nevertheless remained untainted, inspiring, rebuking, granting or withholding approval.  You do not work hard enough, Barry. You must help in your people’s struggle. Wake up, black man!” A man whose life’s inspiration comes from Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, W.E. B. DuBois and Nelson Mandela cannot ignore or remain indifferent to the suffering of African peoples. I think he will help Africans in their struggle for dignity in his second term.

U.S. Human Rights Policy in the Post Arab Spring Period

In the post-Arab Spring world, the U.S. has come to realize that its formula of subordinating its human rights policy to security and economic interests in dealing with dictators needs reexamination, recalibration and reformulation. By relying on dictators to maintain domestic and regional stability, the U.S. has historically ignored and remained indifferent to the needs, aspirations and suffering of the Arab masses. When the Arab masses exploded in anger, the U.S. was perplexed and did not know what to do.

The U.S. has been timid in raising human rights issues with Africa’s dictators fearing lack of cooperation in the war on terror and other strategic objectives. The U.S. effort has been limited to issuing empty verbal exhortations and practicing “quite diplomacy” which has produced very little to advance an American human rights agenda. I believe the President understands that America’s long term global interests cannot be advanced or achieved merely through moral exhortations and condemnations. We know that the President’s style is to exhaust diplomacy before taking more drastic measures. As he explained, “The promotion of human rights cannot be about exhortation alone. At times, it must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy. I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation. But I also know that sanctions without outreach–and condemnation without discussion–can carry forward a crippling status quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door.” For the past four years, few African dictators have walked through the door that leads to democracy and human rights. Many of them have kicked it shut. I am hopeful that in the second term, the President will go beyond “exhortation” to concrete action in dealing with African dictators since he holds their aid purse strings.

President Obama is Not Just a President But Also a Constitutional Lawyer and…  

I believe President Obama’s experiences before he became a national leader continue to have great influence on his thinking and actions. As a constitutional and civil rights lawyer, I believe he has an innate sense of moral distaste and repugnance for injustice and arbitrariness. President Obama cut his teeth as a lawyer representing individuals in civil and voting rights litigation and wrongful terminations in employment though he could have joined any one of the most prestigious law firms in America. He spent his early years doing grassroots organizing and advocacy working with churches and community groups to help the poor and disadvantaged. To be sure, he has spent more time doing community work than serving on the national political stage. As a constitutional and civil rights lawyer, law professor and advocate for the poor, I believe President Obama understands the immense importance of the rule of law, protection of civil liberties and human rights and the need to restrain those who abuse their powers and sneer at the rule of law.  I think the community activist side of him will be more visible in his second term.

Ask Not What Obama Can Do for Ethiopia, But…

Some of us make the mistake of asking what President Obama can do for us. The right question is what we can do for Ethiopia by organizing, mobilizing and lobbying the Obama Administration to establish and pursue a  firm human rights agenda. In his victory speech on election night President Obama said, “The role of citizen in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government.” Governor Romney in his concession speech said, “At a time like this we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work, and we citizens also have to rise to occasion.” These are the principles Ethiopian Americans, and others in the Diaspora and at home, should embrace and practice. It should be time for a fresh start. We should learn from past mistakes and begin to organize and reach out in earnest to the Obama Administration. Many groups have had success with the Administration in advancing their causes including Arab Americans, Iranian Americans, Armenian Americans, Macedonian Americans, Serbian Americans and many others. As human rights activists and advocates, we should demand engagement by senior U.S. officials and diplomats on human rights issues.

The U.S. knows how to apply pressure on dictators who have been “friends”. In the 1980s, the U.S. played a central role in the transition of the Philippines, Chile, Taiwan, and South Korea from dictatorship to democracy. The United States also kept human rights agenda front and center when it conducted negotiations with the Soviet Union and other Soviet-bloc countries. The question is not whether the U.S. can advance a vigorous human rights agenda in Ethiopia or Africa, but if it has the political will to do so. I am hopeful that will will manifest itself in President Obama’s second term.

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at:

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

China’s new leadership faces growing number of crises

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

By Jillian Kay Melchior

As China holds its 18th National Congress this week, with the Communist Party preparing for a once-in-a-decade transition of power, the nation looks superficially exultant. Ethnic-minority delegates clad in their cultural garb smile and wave to photographers; pretty girls throng paramilitary policemen in immaculate green suits; red and yellow plastic flowers abound. Meanwhile, in the provinces, chubby-cheeked kindergartners dress up in Red Army uniforms and sing old Communist songs, and university students line up to form the Communist hammer and sickle. All very good photo ops.

But China’s blogosphere tells a different story, describing a jittery, paranoid Chinese leadership. The Mandarin word for “18th Party Congress” — shrr-ba-da — sounds a lot like “Sparta,” some Chinese netizens have quipped, and that’s roughly the mood in Beijing this week.

There, cab drivers have been instructed to child-lock their rear doors and remove the window handles altogether to prevent passengers from throwing out subversive pamphlets. (In a city where impoverished drivers often work, sleep, and eat in their taxis, many passengers are now complaining about strong odors in cabs.) Meanwhile, balloons, pet pigeons, ping-pong balls, and remote-control airplanes have all been identified as possible security risks. Heavy censorship has frustratingly slowed the Internet, even for those with virtual private networks. And it’s even become hard for Beijingers to buy a kitchen knife or pencil sharpener from local shops.

These security precautions are extreme, even for National Congresses. But they’re also entirely understandable… [continue reading here]

A U.S. panel accused Ethiopia’s regime of abusing religious freedom of Muslims

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

(Reuters) – A U.S. panel on religious freedom accused the Ethiopian government of trying to tighten control of its Muslim minority amid mass protests, saying it is risking greater destabilization of the Horn of Africa region.

Ethiopia, which has long been seen by the West as a bulwark against Muslim rebels in neighboring Somalia, says it fears militant Islam is taking root in the country.

However, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) accused the government of arresting peaceful Muslim protesters, noting that 29 of them had been charged last month with what the authorities said was “planning to commit terrorist acts”.

Ethiopian Muslims, who make up about a third of the population in the majority Christian country, accuse the government of interfering in the highest Muslim affairs body, the Ethiopia Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC). Thousands of Muslims have staged weekly mosque sit-ins and street protests in Addis Ababa over the past year.

“The arrests, terrorism charges and takeover of EIASC signify a troubling escalation in the government’s attempts to control Ethiopia’s Muslim community and provide further evidence of a decline in religious freedom in Ethiopia,” the Commission said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Ethiopian officials were unavailable for comment on the statement from the Commission, whose members are appointed by President Barack Obama and senior Congressional Democrats and Republicans.

Commission Chairwoman Katrina Lantos Swett called on the U.S. government to raise the issue with Addis Ababa.

“USCIRF has found that repressing religious communities in the name of countering extremism leads to more extremism, greater instability, and possibly violence,” she said.

“Given Ethiopia’s strategic importance in the Horn of Africa … it is vital that the Ethiopian government end its religious freedom abuses and allow Muslims to practice peacefully their faith as they see fit,” she added. “Otherwise the government’s current policies and practices will lead to greater destabilization of an already volatile region.”

Over the past six years Ethiopia has twice sent troops into Somalia to battle Islamist rebels, including al Shaabab militants, and officials say some of the protesters are bankrolled by Islamist groups in the Middle East.

The Commission backed the protesters’ complaints that the government had been trying since last year to impose the apolitical Al Ahbash sect on Ethiopian Muslims. The government has denied this but dozens of Muslims have been arrested since the demonstrations started in 2011.

Ethiopia is 63 percent Christian and 34 percent Muslim, according to official figures, with the vast majority of Muslims adhering to the moderate, Sufi version of Islam.

Cloud of uncertainty over Ethiopia after Meles: UK Institute

Friday, November 9th, 2012

After Meles: Implications for Ethiopia’s Development

BY  Handino, M., Lind, J. and Mesfin, B |UK Institute of Development Studies

October 2012

Meles Zenawi, the long-serving Ethiopian Prime Minister since 1995 and leader of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition, passed away in August. His death sparked considerable concern and debate internationally. The political stability of Ethiopia – the largest recipient of overseas development assistance in Africa – was put into question. Would the loss of Zenawi upend a decade of staggering official economic growth? Would it halt the transformation of Ethiopia from a famine-plagued country to a regional hegemon in the Horn of Africa?

The late Ethiopian dictator

Meles sought to replicate the Chinese growth ‘miracle’ and to craft a distinctly Ethiopian version of this that has been labelled ‘developmental authoritarianism’ by outsiders. He dismissed human rights critiques from many directions and squeezed the space for opposition and civic society to organise around governance and rights-based concerns – unless part of officially sanctioned institutions.

Foreign donors quietly criticised his policies – more vocally after the post 2005 elections – yet maintained substantial aid commitments to the country in the long term. With his death, some western critics have sought to cast the transition as an opportunity for Ethiopia’s development partners to press governance and human rights concerns yet again. However, the implications of the transition to a new PM and leadership at the top of the EPRDF are far from certain.

The first issue of a new policy briefing series from IDS explores the implications of Meles’ death for Ethiopia’s political stability, geo-political relations and development pathways. The IDS Rapid Response Briefings are published by the Institute of Development Studies and aim to provide high level analysis of rapidly emerging and unexpected global events and their impact on global development policy and practice. The briefings provide expert perspectives, opinions and commentary from around the world drawing on the experience and expertise of IDS’s 1000 alumni and 250 partners.

So, what are the implications of Meles’ death?

Politics

Meles’ successor, Hailemariam Dessalegn, Foreign Minister and Vice Premier since 2010, from the EPRDF, became acting PM under party rules in September. Crucially, Hailemariam is from the southern part of the country – Wolaita more specifically – and was not a member of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that holds ultimate power in the coalition.

While Hailemariam’s appointment has been welcomed by Southerners within Ethiopia, representation of SNNPR in the military and federal command structure is minimal or absent altogether. The TPLF maintains control over the National Intelligence and Security Services, as well as the all-powerful federal police. A majority of recent key military appointments were from Meles’ home Tigray region, which has led some to speculate that Hailemariam’s appointment is a calculated political move by and for the TPLF, allowing them to maintain de facto political authority behind a cloak of ethnic pluralism.

Meles’ death exposes the dangers of a state built around one man, but he also leaves behind a formidable political machine. For Hailemariam the challenge is whether and how he can manage the machine. Members of competing elites may fight for control of this machine and ethnic movements on the periphery could be emboldened to exploit a perceived power vacuum. Eritrea might also sense an opportunity to destabilise its neighbour. The question is whether perceived economic development and prosperity will willingly be traded for political instability – even by those at loggerheads with the central state.

Geo-politics

Ethiopia’s presence and capacity for global influence may well diminish. Meles courted Chinese largesse and trade and investment deals with other non-conventional donors such as Turkey, Brazil and India. He was an astute political game-player and realised that many more strategic issues could be used to assist western powers and, therefore, ensure their eventual quiescence when human rights abuses were carried out.

Ethiopia is a key strategic ally in counter-terrorism efforts by the US and its allies in the Horn. Meles opened Ethiopia’s doors to U.S. geostrategic interests, through positioning drones at Arba Minch in the south of the country, which enables greater U.S. geostrategic reach in and around Somalia, and providing proxy forces for the U.S.-backed invasion of southern Somalia in 2006.

Meles deftly negotiated the intricacies of regional diplomacy in the Horn, cultivating close ties with both Sudans. He championed regional economic integration and was deeply engaged in the Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport project (LAPSSET) as well as several hydroelectric schemes under which Ethiopia sought to position itself as a regional energy exporter.

Economy

In spite of significant economic growth over the past decade and important gains in reducing poverty, Hailemariam inherits formidable economic challenges. These are dominated by the need to find secure livelihoods for a large and growing population and the acute vulnerability of its major economic sector – rainfed agriculture which is dominated by small plots that are leased by the government. Two thirds of the economy is controlled by government through nationalised and ‘para-statal’ enterprises, many of which fall under the control of TPLF figures.

The current picture is mixed: economic vibrancy is apparent in Addis Ababa and other major cities as construction booms and the consumption economy grows. Yet unemployment is rising – particularly in urban areas, inequality is widening and inflation has surged in recent years. Balancing the complex interrelations between transformations in agriculture, urbanisation, employment generation and maintaining a reasonable cost of living is the challenge facing the new Prime Minister.

1 million people live in the streets of Addis Ababa (video)

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

This documentary highlights the abject poverty in Ethiopia’s capital where over 1 million people are homeless and tens of thousands of children survive on trash dump while the khat-addicted dictator spends hundreds of millions of dollars to buy military hardware.

How to Bankrupt EFFORT (TPLF) Companies

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Effective nonviolent UNITY of action has little to do with shouting slogans. It has everything to do with separating tyrants from their means of control… [read more]

ትውልደ ኢትዮጵያዊያን አሜሪካውያን በ2012 ምርጫ መሳተፍ ይገባቸዋል

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

ከፕሮፌሰር  ዓለማየሁ  ገብረማርያም

ትርጉም  ከነጻነት ለሃገሬ

ጉዳዩ የምርጫ  ብቻ አይደለም እኮ

ባለፈው ሴብቴምበር ስለ ፕሬዜዳንት ባራክ ኦባማ ድጋሚ መመረጥ ድጋፌን ገልጬ ነበር፡፡ ለታዳሚዎቼ  እንዳስነበብኩት በ2008 ምርጫ ተወዳዳሪ ባራክ ኦባማን ደግፌ እንደነበርና ከምርጫው በኋላ ግን በታየው በተለይም ኢትዮጵያንና  አፍሪካን በተመለከተ  ስለተካሄደው አስተዳደራዊ ፖሊሲ ግን በጣሙን ቅሬታ አድሮብኛል፡፡ እንደትጠቀስኩት:-

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ በአፍሪካ ውስጥ ተግባራዊ አደርጋለሁ ያሉትን መልካም አስተዳደርን፤የሰብአዊ መብትን መከበር፤የዴሚክራሲን ተግባራዊነት በተመለከተ ቃላቸውን ጠብቀዋል?  በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ስላለው የሰብአዊ መብት ገፈፋና ረገጣ ያሉትን አድርገዋል? በጭራሽ! ኢትዮ አሜሪካውያንስ ፕሬዜዳንቱ በአክራ (ጋና) የገቡትን ቃል ስላልጠበቁና የሰነዘሩትን የተስፋ ቃል ባለማክበራቸው ቅር ተሰኝተዋል? አስተዳደራቸውስ በኢትዮጵያ በጉልበት ስልጣን ለያዘው ፈላጭ ቆራጩ ዲክታተራዊ ገዢ ድጋፍ ማድረጋቸውስ ኢትዮ አሜሪካውያንን አሳዝኗል? አዎን በሚገባ እንጂ!

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ‹‹በአፍሪካ ጠንካራ የሆነ የዴሞክራቲክ ስርአት፤ት የሕግ የበላይ ነት የሚከበርበት፤ለፖለቲካዊ እንቅስቃሴ አድሎ የሌለበትና ሁሉም በእኩል የሚስተናገዱበት መድረክና ሰብአዊ መብትም በእውነተኛ መልኩ የሚተበርበት ኢኒስትቲዩሽን መፍጠር አስፈላጊ ነው›› ማለታቸውን እናስታውሳለን፡፡ ከዚህ ባሻገርም ‹‹አፍሪካ ጡንተኞች አየስፈልጓትም፤ በጉልበት ስልጣን ላይ በመንጠላጠል ማስተዳደርን ወደ መግዛት መለወጥ ባህሪያቸው የሆኑ ሰዎችም አያስፈልጓትም፤ የሚያስፈልጓት ጠንካራ የሆኑ ተቋሞች ነው፡፡›› ልማት ምንግዜም በመልካም አስተዳደር ላይ የተመሰረተ ነው፡፡ ማንም ሃገር መሪ ነን ብለው ስልጣን የተቀመጡት የሕዝቡን ካዝና የሚበዘብዙት ከሆነ ሕዝቡ በምንም መልኩ ሃብት ሊያፈራ ንብረት ሊኖረው አይችልም::  ታዲያ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ እነዚህን አጓጊና የኢትዮጵያ የሌለችም አፍሪካዊያን ናፍቆት የሆኑትን ቃላት ሲናገሯቸው አምነውባቸው ከልባቸው ነው ወይስ ለማለት ብቻ ነው የተነፈሱት?

ባለፈው ጦማሬ ላይ እንዳሰፈርኩት፤ ከአፍ የወደቀ አፋፍ የሆኑ በርካታ ጉዳዮች አሉ፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ በኢትዮጵያና በአፍሪካ ያላከናወኗቸው ከንቱ ሆነው የቀሩ ተስፋዎችን በማንሳት ፕሬዜዳንቱ ላይ አመልካች ጣቶቻቸውን ሲዘረጉ በእርጋታ ማሰብና መገንዘብ ያለባቸው ሶስቱ ጣቶቻቸው መልሰው ወደ እነሱ ማመለከታቸውን ነው፡፡

ሃቅ መነገር አለበት፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንቱ አድርጋለሁ ብለው ያላደረጓቸውን ጉዳዮች በማስታወስ ለውንጀላ ስንቀርብ እኛም ትውልደ ኢትዮጵያ አሜሪካውያንም  ልክ እንደፐፕሬዜዳንቱ  ልናደርጋቸው ሲገባን ለኢትዮጵያ  ያላደረግናቸው በርካታ ጉዳዮች እንዳሉ ብናስብ ፕሬዜዳንቱ ካላደረጓቸው የማይተናነስ ሆነው እናገኛቸዋለን፡፡ ይሄ ነው መቀበል የሚከብደው እውነታ፡፡ የፕሬዜዳንቱ የገቡትን ቃል አለማከናወን ለኛ መስታወታችን ሆኖ እራሳችንን የምናይበትና የምንታዘብበት ይሆነናል፡፡ ልክ ፕሬዜዳንቱ እንዳሉት እኛም በተለያየ ሰበብና ቦታ አጋጣሚ በኢትዮጵያና በአፍሪካ በአጠቃላይ ስለዴሞክራሲ፤ መልካም አስተዳደር፤ሰብአዊ መብት አለመከበር ቁጭትና እሮሮ እናሰማለን፡፡ ሆኖም ግን እነዚህን ቃላቶች ወደተግባር ለመለወጥ ግን ሽብረክ ብለናል ሃሞታችን ፈሷል፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ በሃገራቸው የደህንነት ጉዳይና የሃገር ጥቅም ላይ ተወጥረው ነበር፡፡ እኛም በግል ፍላጎታችንና በግል ጥቅማችን ታፍነን፤ ታስረን፤ አቅመቢስ ሆነን ነበር፡፡

እራሳችንን መጠየቅ ያለብን ከዚህ የከረሩ ጥያቄዎች አሉ፡፡ በኦባማ አስተዳደር ላይ ስለሰብአዊ መብት መከበር፤ስለመልካም አስተዳደር፤ስለዴሞክራሲ ባለፉት አራት ዓመታት ውስጥ ምን ተጽእኖ አድርገናል? አስተዳደሩ ላይ ጫና ለመፍጠርና መደመጥም እንድንችል እራሳችንን አደራጅተናል? ሕገመንግስታዊ መብታችንን መሰረት በማድረግ አስተዳደሩን ለተጠያቂነት አብቅተናል?

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባባማ ባለፉት አራት የስልጣን ዘመናቸው ላከናወኗቸው ተግባራት ከፍተኛ አድናቆት አለኝ፡፡ በእሳቸው ቁጥጥር ከግሉ ክፍል 5 ሚሊዮን ስራዎች እንዲፈጠሩ አድርገዋል፡፡ ምንም እንኳ አንዳንዶች ‹‹ዲትሮይት ኪሳራ ያስመዝግብ›› በማለት ቢወተውቱም ኦባማ ግን፤የአውቶ ኢንዱስትሪው አካኪ ዘራፍ እንዲል አብቅተውታል፡፡ ከዚህ ቀደም አንድም አይነት የጤና ዋስትና የሌላቸው 40 ሚሊዮን አሜርካዊያን በሳቸው ‹‹የሚቻል የጤና ፖሊሲ›› መሰረት የጤና ዋስትና ባለመብቶች ሆነዋል፡፡ የሸማቾች የኤኮኖሚና የጥበቃ ቢሮ መስርተው፤አንዳንድ ራስ ወዳድና ስግብግብ ነጋዴዎች ለዓመታት ህብረተሰቡን ሲመዘብሩት የነበረውን እንዲቆም አድርገዋል፡፡ ለተመሳሳይ ስራ የሴቶች ክፍያ ከወንዶች እኩል እንዲሆን ህጉን ፈርመዋል፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት የኢራክን ጦርነት ለፍጻሜ አብቅተዋል፡፡ በ2014ም የአፍጋኒስታንን ጦርነት ለማብቃት ቃል ገብተዋል፡፡አልቃይዳን ፈለጉን በመከተልና ሽብርተኛ ተግባሩን ለማምከን እጅጉን ፈታኝ የሆነውን ወታደራዊ እንቅስቃሴ ተግባራዊ አድርገዋል::  ይህ ባይሳካ ኖሮ የፕሬዜዳንቱን ስልጣንና ዳግም ምርጫ ፈተና ውስጥ ያስገባው ነበር፡፡ ባለፈው ሳምንት አጋጥሞ የነበረውን የጎርፍና የአውሎ ነፋስ አደጋ በተመለከተ የሪፓብሊካኑ የኒው ጄርሲ አስተዳዳሪ ክሪስ ክርስቲ ለአደጋው የኦባማን እንቅስቃሴ  ‹‹እጅጉን ውጤታማ›› ሲለው አስተዳደራዊ እንቅስቃሴውንም ‹‹በእጅጉ የተዋጣ››  ብሎታል፡፡

ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ እንደ ጦር አዘዥነታቸው፤ ግልጽ፤ ዝግጁ፤ ፈቃደኛ፤በትብብር ለመስራት ፈቃደኝነታቸውን በተግባር በማሳየት ያላቸውን ውጤታማና ብቃት ያላቸው መሆኑን አስመስክረዋል፡፡ በየሂደቱ ተቃውሞ እንደጋሬጣ ቢሆንባቸውም አልተበገሩም፡፡ እንቅፋት ሆነውባቸዋል፤አላራምድ ብለዋቸዋል፤ፖሊሲያቸውን ሳይሆን እሳቸውነታቸውን ፈትነዋቸዋል፡፡ የሪፓብሊካን ፓርቲ የበላይ ቁንጮ ባለስልጣን ሚች  ማኮነል  ‹‹አንድና ብቸኛ ማሸነፍ ያለብን ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማን የአንድ ጊዜ ብቻ ተመራጭ ማድረግ ነው፡፡ የኔና የሁሉም በሃገሪቱ የሚገኙ ሪፓብሊካን ዋነኛና ብቸኛ የፖለቲካ ዓላማ ይሄው ነው››፡፡ ፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ገና ያላለቀ ስራ እንዳላቸውና ኤኮኖሚውንም የመገንባት ሂደት እንዳላበቃ ያውቃሉ፡፡ ይህንንና ሌሎችንም ጅምር ተግባራት ፍጻሜ ለማድረስ ተጨማሪ የአንድ ዘመን ምርጫ ማሸነፍ አለባቸው፡፡ ለዚህም የሁሉንም ኢትዮጵየዊና አሜሪካዊ ድምጽ ይፈልጋሉ፡፡

እንደ እውነት በአሜሪካ ስላለው የምርጫ መብት ጉዳይ ነው

ይህን አምድ የምጽፈው ለፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ያለኝን ድጋፍ በማሰልቸት ለመናገር ሳይሆን፤በአሜሪካ ስለአለው ሰፊ  የምርጫ መብት ለማሳሰብ ነው፡፡ ስለምርጫ መብት አስፈላጊነት በጠራራ ጸሃይ ሃገራችን ላይ  ከተከመረው አረመኔው ገዢ ታማኝ  ወታደሮች  በመቶ ከሚቆጠሩት ኢትዮጵያዊያን ወንድሞችና እህቶች በ2005 ሕይወታቸው ካለፈውና፤ድምጻቸው በመሰረቁ ምክንያት ያንን ለመቃወም ሕገ መንግስቱን አምነው ባዶ እጃቸውን ለሰላማዊ ተቃውሞ ወጥተው ለእስር ከተዳረጉት በ10 ሺዎች ከሚቆጠሩት የበለጠ የሚገነዘበው የለም፡፡ ኢትዮጵያዊያን አሜሪካውያን ለፐሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ድምጻቸውን እንዲሰጡ ሳሳስብ መብታቸውን በመጠቀምም ለሚፈቅዱት ተወዳዳሪ ድምጽ መስጠትና በመብታቸው መጠቀም እንደሚችሉም በማመን ነው፡፡

የአሜሪካ ፖለቲካ ተማሪዎች አለያም  ሕገ መንግስታዊ ህግን ያልተማሩ፤ ይህንን ከሁሉም በላይ የሆነውን መብት ለማስከበር ስለ ትግል ታሪኩ፤ ስለተከፈለው ዋጋ፤ስለጠፋው ሕይወት ብዙም ላይረዱ ይችላሉ፡፡ በ1787 የአሜሪካ ሪፓብሊክ ሲቀየስ ነጮችና ሃብት ያለቸው አሜሪካውያን ወንዶች ብቻ ነበሩ የመምረጥ መብት ያላቸው:: በ1790 የመጀመርያው የመራጮች ቁጥር ሲሰላ፤ በ13ቱም ቅኝ ግዛቶች 3.893.635 ብቻ ነበሩ:: ከነዚህም ውስጥ 807.094 ነጻ ወንዶች ብቻ ሲሆኑ ከነዚህ ውስጥም ከ10-16 በመቶው ብቻ ነበሩ ለምርጫ የሚያበቃ ሃብት የነበራቸው፡፡ 1.541.263 ነጻ  ሴቶች  ነጮች የምርጫ መብት አልነበራቸውም፡፡ 694.280 አፍሮ አሜሪካውያንም (ባሮች ነበሩና) የምርጫ መብት አልነበራቸውም፡፡791.850 ነጮችም የምርጫ መብት የሚያስፈልገውን ሃብት ስላልነበራቸው መብት አልነበራቸውም፡፡

ቀስ በቀስ ለመምረጥ የሃብት አስፈላጊነት እየቀረ ሄደ እና በ1850 በርካታ አሜሪካዊ ወንዶች አላአንዳች ማዕቀብ መምረጥ ቻሉ፡፡ አንዳንድ ግዛቶች ግን ለማያምኑዋቸውና አነስተኛ ብለው ለሚንቋቸው የመምረጥ መብትን ያግዱ ነበር፡፡ በ1855-57 ማሳቹሰትስና ኮነቲከት የመጻፍና የማንበብ ፈተና የአይሪሽ-ካቶሊክ ስደተኞችን ከምርጫው ለማገድ አስቀመጡ፡፡ በ1865 የአሜሪካ የሲቪል ጦርነት አበቃ፡፡ በዚህም ወቅት ባርነት ተሰረዘና የቀድሞዎቹ ባርያ ይባሉ የነበሩት የምርጫ መብት አገኙ፡፡ ይህም በ1870 አስራ አምስተኛው አሜንድመንት ሲጸድቅ ነበር፡፡ አሜንድመንቱም ‹‹የአሜሪካዊ ዜጋ የምርጫ መብት በዘርም ሆነ፤በቀለም አያም ባለፈው ጊዜ በነበረው የባርያ አገልጋይነት ወይም በሌላ ሰበብ በማንኛውም የአሜሪካ ግዛት ጨርሶ ሊነካ አይገባም›› ይላል፡፡

ሆኖም ግን ግዛቶቹ የቀድሞ ባርያዎቻቸው ከእነሱ ጋር በእኩል ደረጃ ቆመው መምረጥ መፈቀዱን አልወደዱትምና የዜግነት  መብታቸውን ሊገፏቸው ሞክረዋል፡፡ በ1889 አስር  የአሜሪካ ደቡባዊ ግዛቶች የምርጫ ታክስ የሚሉትን አውጥተው (አንድ ዜጋ መምረጥ ከፈለገ ታክስ መክፈል ይጠበቅበታል) አፍሮ አሜሪካውያንን ከምርጫ ማስቀረት ፈለጉ፡፡ ለአመታት አፍሮ አሜሪካውያንን በሰበብ አስባቡ ከምርጫ ለማስቀረት ብዙ ዘዴዎች ሰበቦችን  በመፍጠር ህጎችም ማውጣት ቀጠሉ፡፡ አፍሮ አሜሪካውያንን ከማንኛውም ፓርቲ አባልነት ማስወገድ፤ መክፈል የሚችሉ ብቻ እንዲመርጡ፤ሌላው ግራ የሚያጋበው የመራጮች ምዝገባ ሲሆን ይህም በተደጋጋሚ የሚደረግ ሆኖ፤ ከዚያም አንድ ሰው በሚመርጥበት አካባቢ ለረጂም ዓመታት በነዋሪነት የተመዘገበ፤ አለያም ምርጫ ምዝገባውን በማያመች ቀንና ሰአት በማድረግ አፍሮ አሜርካዊያንን ተስፋ ማስቆረጥ በጣም ይሞከሩ ነበር፡፡ ለምሳሌ በጥጥ ለቀማ ወቅት ምዝገባውን በማድረግ በስራ ላይ በሚጠመዱበት ጊዜና ሰአት እያደረጉ ማግለል፡፡ ከዚህም ባለፈ የምርጫ ካርዶችን ከሳጥኖች በማውጣት ለሚፈልጉት ተወዳዳሪ በማድረግ የአፍሮ አሜሪካውያኑን ተሳትፎ ላልፈለጉት ተመራጭ ማድረግ፤ ቆጠራ ማሳሳት፤ ሳጥኑን ደፍቶ ባዶውን ማስቀመጥና ሌሎችም የምርጫ ሌብነት ተንኮሎች ይካሄዱ ነበር:: አፍሮ አሜሪካውያኑን በተለያየ ጉዳያቸው ይደግፈናል ያሉትን ስለሚመርጡ በነዚህ ዜጎች ላይ ማስፈራራት፤ ጨለማን ተገን አድርጎ ጉዳት በማድረስ፤ እንዳይመርጡ ለመከላከል ይህንና መሳይ ተስፋ ማስቆረጫዎችን ያካሂዱ ነበር፡፡ ሴቶችም በምርጫ እንዳይጃፈሉ ዋጋ የሌላቸው ተደርገው ይታዩ ነበር፡፡

ምንም እንኳን የአፍሮ አሜሪካውያን የምርጫ ተሳትፎ መብት በሚገባ ተደንግጎ ቢጸድቅና ጉዳዩም በአሜሪካ ከፍተኛ የፍትሕ አካል በ1950 እና በ1960 የወጣው የመምረጥ መብት ዋጋ እንዲያጣ ቢደረግም በ1965 በድጋሚ የመምረጥ መብትን ያጸደቀው (በ70-75 እና በ82 የተጠናከረው) ሕግ ነው አፍሮ አሜሪካውያን የመምረጥ መብታቸውን በአግባቡና ሳይሸራረፍ፤ በማንም ሳይታገድና ሳይዛነፍ እንዲጠቀሙበትና መምረጥ እንዲችሉ ያደረጋቸው፡፡ ይህ ሕግ በምንም መልኩ ልዩነትን ሲከለክል እንዲሁም የመጻፍና የማንበብ ፈተናንም አገደ፡፡ እና ይህንንም አለአንዳች መደናቀፍ በስራ ላይ እንዲውል አስፈላጊ የሆኑ ሕጎችና እንዚህንም ሕጎች የሚያጸድቅ አካል ለመላ ሃገሪቱ መመርያ አውጪ አድርጎ በማስቀመጥ የነበረውን ችግር ሁሉ በማስወገድ ሁሉም ዜጋ የምርጫ መብቱ እንዲከበርለት ተደረገ፡፡

ያበቃለት 2012የመራጮች ቁጥጥር ወይም የምርጫ አስፈጻሚዎችን አመኔት መጠበቅ?

ባለፉት ጥቂት ዓመታት የምርጫውን ስርአት ለማጠናከር ሲባል የለውጥ ንፋስ በአንዳንድ ግዛቶች ታይተዋል፡፡ አንዳንዶች እነዚህ ህጎች ‹‹ፎቶግራፍ ያለበት መታወቂያ›› ይጠይቃሉ:: ለመመዝገብም ሆነ ለመምረጥ የዜግነት መታወቂያና ማረጋገጫ ይሆናል፡፡ አንዳንድ ግዛቶች ደግሞ የምርጫ መመዝገቢያ ቀኖችን ያያሳንሳሉ::  ለምሳሌ በምርጫው እለት ምዝገባን ያግዳሉ፡፡ ሌሎች ግዛቶች ደግሞ ቅድመ ወንጀል ሪኮርድ ያለባቸው በምርጫ መብታቸው እንዳይጠቀሙ ያዛሉ፡፡ በተለይም አናሳ ቁጥር ባላቸው ብሄሮች አካባቢ ማንነታቸው የማይታወቁ ሰዎች እነዚህን አናሳ ቁጥር ያላቸውን መራጮች ማስፈራሪያ ምልክት ይሰቅላሉ:: ማስፈራሪያና ዛቻ ያለባቸው ወረቀቶች አባዝተው ይበትናሉ፡፡

ሕጎቹ በደምሳሳው ሲነበቡና ሲታዩ መልካምና ምክንያተዊ መስለው ነው የሚታዩት፡፡ በምርጫ ቦታዎች የግለሰቡን ማንነት የሚገልጸው ባለፎቶግራፍ መታወቂያው ተቃውሞ ማስነሳቱ ተቀባይነት የለውም፡፡ በማንኛውም ሃገር አንድ ሰው ለመምረጥ ወደ ምርጫ ጣቢያ ሄዶ ድምጹን ሲሰጥ ማንነቱን የሚገልጽ መታወቂያ እንዲያሳይ ይገደዳል ይህም ተገቢ ነው፡፡ ከሚቀርበው በረካተ ምክንያት ጋር ሲታይ ግን ይህን ያህል አሳሳቢነቱ የሚያሳምን አይደለም፡፡ በቅርቡ የፔንሲልቫንያ ግዛት ስለመታወቂያ  መጠየቅና ማሳየት ደንቡን አጽድቋል፡፡ ግዛቱ ግን ስለምርጫ መጭበርበር አንዳችም ማስረጃ አልነበረውም፡፡ በጭራሽ! የኢንዲያና ግዛትም በ2005 እንዲሁ አንዳችም የምርጫ ማጭበርበር ሳይኖር ውዝግብም ሳይከሰት ደንቡ ጸደቀ፡፡ በ2008 እና በ2010 በቴክሳስ ከ13 ሚሊዮን የምርጫ ድምጾች ውስጥ በሌላ ሰው ስም አመሳስለው የመረጡ የተባሉ የስምንት ድምጾች አቤቱታ ነበር፡፡ እነዚህ ሁሉ አዳዲስ ሕጎች እንዲወጡ የተደረጉት የሪፓብሊካን ባለስልጣኖችና የክልል መንግስታት ሹሞች ነው፡፡

እንደ እውነቱ ከሆነ፤ ይሄ ፎቶግራፍ ያለበት መታወቂያ ጥያቄ የቀድሞው የመጻፍና ማንበብ ችሎታ፤የምርጫ ታክስ፤እና የመሳሰሉት ምርጫ ማጨናገፊያዎች ቅሪት ነው፡፡ አፍሪካን አሜሪካውያንን ጨምሮ በርካቶች ሂስፓኒኮች፤እና ሌሎችም በዚህ ህግ ተጠቂ ይሆናሉ፡፡ ዕድሜ ባለጸጎችና ወጣቶችም በአብዛኛው የዴሞክራቲክ ፓርቲ ደጋፊዎችም ለዚሁ ሰለባ ይዳረጋሉ፡፡ አሁን ወደ መጠናቀቁ የተቃረበውን የ 2012 ምርጫ ይህ ህግ ምን ያህል እንደሚጎዳው አይተወቅም፡፡ በአፍሪካ አሜሪካውያን ሴቶችና በሌሎችም በዘመናት በተካሄደ የደም ብዙ ላብ የፈሰሰበት፤እንባ የተረጨበት ትግል ውጤት የሆነው ህግ ምን ያህል ይጎዳ ይሆን?

እያንዳንዱ  የመራጭ ድምጽ  ዋጋው  ከፍተኛ  ነው

በ2000 በተካሄደው ምርጫ አልጎር ቡሽን ያሸነፈው፡- በ50.999.897 የቡሽ ደግሞ 50.456.002 (ወይም 543,895  በሆነ ልዩነት ነው)፡፡በተጣበበ እንዳሁኑ ባለ የምርጫ ሂደት ወቅት እያንዳንዱ ድምጽ የማሸነፊያ ሃይል ነው፡፡ የእያንዳንዱ መራጭ ድምጽ የተመራጩ ሃይል ነው፡፡

በሰሜን ቨርጂኒያ፤ፍሎሪዳ፤ኦሃዮና ኮሎራዶ በአሰርት ሺዎች የሚቆጠሩ ትውልደ ኢትዮጵያዊያን አሜሪካውያን የምርጫ ባለመብቶች ይገኛሉ፡፡እነዚህ ወገኖች የምርጫ ድምጻቸውን ለፕሬዜዳንት ኦባማ ቢሰጡ ለዚህ ከፍ ያለ አክብሮትና ምስጋና ይኖረኛል፡፡ በሌላ ጎኑ ደሞ ምርጫቸው ግላዊ መብታቸው ነውና የፈቀዱትንም ቢመርጡ አክብሮቴና ምስጋናዬ አይቀንስም፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ የታየው የ 99.6 በመቶ የአሸነፍኩ ባይነት አይነት ሁኔታ ያቃጠለውና ያሳዘነው ማንኛውም ኢትዮ አሜሪካዊ ድምጹን በመስጠት በዚያ ባይሆን እዚህ በነጻው አሜሪካ እልሁን ለመወጣት ድምጹን በተገቢው ተመራጭ ሳጥን ማሰማት ይኖርበታል፡፡

የተቶረገመው ጽሁፍ (translated from):

http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/2012/11/02/ethiopian_americans_gotta_vote_in_2012

(ይህን ጦማር ለሌሎችም ያካፍሉ::)

ካሁን በፊት የቀረቡ የጸሃፊው ጦማሮችን  ለማግኘት እዚህ ይጫኑ::

http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic 

http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Obama failed to stand for the cause of freedom

Monday, November 5th, 2012

By Elias Kifle

President Barack Obama has been a terrible disappointment for many Ethiopians and freedom loving people who supported him and voted for him in 2008. It is unforgivable that the Obama Administration had befriended, supported and praised the late Ethiopian dictator, Meles Zenawi, a genocidal tyrant whose hands were soaked with the blood of thousands innocent Ethiopians. Obama’s own State Department accused Meles of gross human rights violations. And yet Obama’s envoy referred to him as a ‘dear friend’ and a wise man. How can any Ethiopian who cares for Ethiopia and stands for freedom supports such an administration that financed and encouraged a genocidal dictator and a thief?

It is said that people deserve their government. In Ethiopia, we do not have the freedom to elect our government. The country is ruled by blood thirsty tyranny that is bankrolled by the Obama Administration and European Union to the tune of $3 billion per year. What excuse do those of us in the U.S. have for supporting Obama, a “dear friend” of the dictator who spilled the blood of so many of our brothers and sisters? By supporting Obama, we are encouraging him and other presidents after him to continue bankrolling tyrants in Ethiopia and other countries around the world.

The Obama foreign policy is one of the many areas where he didn’t keep his promise. He betrayed freedom loving people around the world by keeping in place the U.S. foreign policy that supported some of the most brutal and corrupt tyrants around the world. In fact, Obama took it the next level. Other U.S. presidents before him were holding their noses when they dealt with dictators. Obama made them his ‘dear’ friends. In the case of Ethiopia, dictator Meles Zenawi was accused by international human rights groups of committing genocide and war crimes. Let me ask you this: Would the Jewish community in the U.S. support a president who is friendly toward Nazi Germany. Meles is our Hitler. If we support Obama, we deserve to be ruled by a Hitlerian like Meles.

Another reason not to vote for Obama is not to repeat the mistake of the African-American community. For the past 40 yeas, the overwhelming majority of the African-American community has been supporting the Democratic Party. What have they benefited from such loyalty? Nothing. The African-American community is the most neglected voting group in the United States because of its loyalty to one party, even though the social values of a large majority of African-Americans are contrary to the Democratic Party. When Obama went on a ‘job tour’ in October last ear, he didn’t visit any African-American neighborhood. But the jobless rate among blacks (14.3%) is almost double that of the national rate (7.9%). When Obama won the presidency in 2008, the jobless rate among blacks was 9.1%, according to the Department of Labor.

Unlike the Jewish, Asian and other communities, the African-Americans relegated themselves to irrelevancy in the U.S. elections by blindly supporting one party. If the growing Ethiopian-American community wants to have voice, it must not allow itself to be taken for granted like the African-Americans. Vote for candidates who share your values, and you will see both parties competing for your votes.

Tomorrow, vote for Romney because many of his values are closer to ours, and if we support him, we may have a leverage with him when it comes to the U.S. policy toward Ethiopia. (What we want the U.S. to do is to stop funding murderous dictators.) Right now we have zero leverage because our vote is taken for granted by Obama.

I would like to hear your views. Click here to comment.

Statement from the Holy Synod of Ethiopian Orthodox Church

Monday, November 5th, 2012

The Holly Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in exile has issued a statement following its regular meeting last week. Click here to read.

Ethiopian Americans Gotta Vote in 2012!

Sunday, November 4th, 2012
 It’s Not Just About an Election  

v3In September, I expressed my support for President Barack Obama’s re-election. I told my readers that I enthusiastically supported candidate Obama in 2008 but was disappointed by his Administration’s policy in Ethiopia and Africa following his election:

Did President Obama deliver on the promises he made for Africa to promote good governance, democracy and human rights? Did he deliver on human rights in Ethiopia? No. Are Ethiopian Americans disappointed over the unfulfilled promises President Obama made in Accra, Ghana in 2009 and his Administration’s support for a dictatorship in Ethiopia? Yes. We remember when President Obama talked about the need to develop robust democratic institutions, uphold the rule of law  and the necessity of maintaining open political space and protecting human rights in Africa. We all remember what he said:  “Africa does not need strong men but strong institutions.”  “Development depends on good governance.” “No nation will create wealth if its leaders exploit the economy.” Was he just saying these words or did he truly believe them?

I also argued that in all fairness there is plenty of blame to go around.  I cautioned  those of us who are quick to point an accusatory index finger at President Obama for what he has not done in Ethiopia and Africa to beware that three fingers are pointing directly at them.

Truth be told,  what the President has done or not done to promote good governance, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia is no different than what we, the vast majority of Ethiopian Americans, have done or not done  to promote the same values in Ethiopia. That is the painful truth we must face. The President’s actions or lack of actions mirror our own. Just like the President, we profess our belief in democracy, good governance and human rights in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa. But we have also failed to put our values in action. President Obama was constrained in his actions by factors of U.S. national security and national interest. We were constrained by factors of personal interest and personal security…

But there are other hard questions we should ask ourselves: What did we do to bring pressure on the Obama Administration to promote human rights, good governance and democracy in Africa over the past 4 years? Did we organize to have our voices heard by the Administration? Did we exercise our constitutional rights to hold the Administration accountable?

But I also gave President Obama high marks for many accomplishments over the past four years. Under his watch, over 5  million private sector jobs were created. The U.S. auto industry came roaring back even though some had urged, “Let Detroit go bankrupt!”. President Obama put his presidency on the line by spending all of his political capital in enacting the Affordable Health Care Act which offered health insurance to some 40 million Americans who had none. He established a Consumer Financial and Protection Bureau to oversee crooked financial institutions who had been ripping off consumers for years. He signed a law that secured the rights of women to equal pay for equal work. President Obama ended the war in Iraq. He has promised to end the war in Afghanistan in 2014.  He has pursued Al Qaeda relentlessly and ended the criminal career of the most infamous terrorist in a risky military operation, which had it failed, could have doomed his presidency. Last week,  Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey described President Obama’s response to   “Hurricane Sandy’s” devastation of the east coast of the United States as “outstanding” and his Administration’s  handling of the relief operation as “excellent”.

President Obama has proven himself to be a resolute commander in chief and a president open, ready, willing and able to engage in bipartisanship, collaboration and cooperation to get the nation’s business done. But the road he has travelled over the past 4 years has been a hard one. He has faced stiff opposition at every turn. He has been  obstructed, blocked, thwarted, vilified and demonized by those who loath him personally than disagree with his policies.  The top leader of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, vowed, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president. That’s my single most important political goal, along with every active Republican in the country.” President Obama knows his work is not finished and he has a lot more to do in improving the economy. He needs another term to complete his work. He needs the support and vote of every Ethiopian American.

It is Really About the Right to Vote in America

I write this column not so much to reiterate my support for President Obama but to underscore the enormous importance of the right to vote in America. Perhaps no one knew the importance of the right to vote than the hundreds of our brothers and sisters who were  mowed down in cold blood by  by troops loyal to the ruling regime in Ethiopia in 2005, and the tens of thousands who were imprisoned for peacefully protesting their stolen votes. While I would urge Ethiopian Americans to vote for President Obama, I believe it is far more important for them to exercise their right to vote for the candidate and issues of their choice.

Those who are not students of American politics and constitutional law may not be aware of the history of struggle and the untold sacrifices and and the high price paid in lost lives  to secure, protect and defend this precious of all rights. When the American republic was forged in 1787, only white male property owners had the right to vote. When the first census was taken in 1790, there were 3,893,635 persons in the thirteen colonies and the four other districts and territories which  later  became states. There were 807,094 free white males, of which 10-16 percent met the property requirement to have the right to vote! The  1,541,263 free white females  did not have the right to vote. The 694,280 “persons”          (slaves)  did not have the right to vote. The 791,850 free white males did not have  the right to vote.

The property requirement for the right to vote was gradually dropped; and by 1850 the vast majority of white males could vote without significant obstacles.  But some states sought to exclude and suppress the voting rights of disfavored groups.  Between 1855-57, Connecticut and Massachusetts adopted a “literacy test” (a test of one’s ability to read and write) to discriminate against Irish-Catholic immigrants. After the  American Civil War  ended in 1865 and slavery was abolished  by the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Congressional enactment of various civil rights laws, the former slaves formally gained the right to vote with the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870. “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

But the states were not prepared to allow the former slaves to become their political equals by exercising  their ultimate citizenship right. Beginning with Florida in 1889, ten  states in southern United States adopted poll taxes (in order to vote, a citizen has to pay a poll tax) to keep African Americans from voting. Large numbers of impoverished  African Americans  could not afford to pay the poll taxes and were disenfran- chised by this requirement. For decades, many southern states devised various means to keep African Americans from voting.  Some used  “white primaries” (political parties excluding African Americans from party membership and closing the primaries to everyone except party members). Others complicated the voter registration process by requiring frequent re-registration, long terms of residence in a district before voting, registration at inconvenient times such the  planting season, providing inaccurate and misleading information about voting dates, etc. Still others used “gerrymandering” (creating electoral districts by manipulating geographic boundaries to dilute the electoral strength of minority groups and create protected districts) to deny African Americans representatives of their own choosing. Electoral fraud was rampant in the states which sought to restrict African American electoral participation. Ballot box stuffing, throwing out votes for disfavored candidates, deliberately miscounting votes, changing votes from one candidate to another were common. Violence, threats and intimidation of African Americans were also commonly used to keep African Americans from voting despite federal laws against such criminal acts.

Women were not considered worthy of voting rights until 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified guaranteeing women’s suffrage. “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Native Americans did not acquire full citizenship rights including the right to vote in federal elections until Congress passed the Indian Citizenship Act in 1924.

Though many of the laws and practices aimed at preventing African Americans from voting were invalidated by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1950s and 1960s, it was the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (and its expansion in 1970, 1975, and 1982) that enabled African Americans to finally and effectively exercise their right to vote. This law bans racial discrimination in voting and outlaws barriers to voting such as literacy tests. Most importantly, it requires  certain state and local governments to “preclear” proposed changes in voting or election procedures with either the U.S. Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It also requires that certain state and local jurisdictions provide assistance in languages other than English to voters who are not literate or fluent in English, in addition to granting authority to the  U.S. Attorney General  to send federal examiners and observers to monitor elections.

Deja Vu 2012: Voter Suppression or Protection of Electoral Integrity?

In the last few years, we have seen a spate of new state laws proposed and enacted to presumably strengthen the integrity of the electoral system. Some of these laws require “photo IDs” and proof of citizenship to register or vote. Other state laws aim to restrict voter registration drives, abolish election day registration, reduce the number of early voting periods and limit absentee voting opportunities. Still other states have sought to  make it more difficult for people who move to stay registered and vote and prevent  citizens with past criminal convictions from voting. Anonymous private groups have put up billboards and sent out flyers to intimidate, confuse and mislead potential voters, particularly those in the minority communities.

These laws appear to be benign and reasonable on their faces. There is little that is  objectionable about requiring some form of official photo identification at the polls. It is customary in many countries to show identification for voters to cast a ballot. But despite lofty claims of protecting the integrity and prevention of fraud, the real reason behind these laws  appears to be voter suppression.  In a recent court case in Pennsylvania, the State of Pennsylvania admitted in a court stipulation that in passing its voter ID law, the state had no evidence of voter fraud. None! Indiana passed a voter ID law in 2005 even though there was no evidence of a documented or prosecuted case  of voter impersonation fraud. Five voter impersonation complaints were filed in Texas in 2008 and 2010 out of some 13 million ballots cast.  All of these laws are sponsored and were enacted by Republican state legislators and governors.  In five states, Democratic governors vetoed ID laws passed by Republican legislatures. Such laws raise eyebrows in light of the ferocious declaration of the Republican minority leader of the U.S. Senate Mitch McConnell, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president. That’s my single most important political goal, along with every active Republican in the country.

Truth be told, these photo ID laws seem to be reminiscent of the old practices of voter suppression using literacy tests, poll taxes and the like. With new waves of immigration and diversity in the  the electoral population, some may find the demographic trends alarming and threatening to their political power and dominance. Millions are expected to be disproportionately affected by these laws including African Americans, Hispanic and other ethnic voters, the young and elderly and mostly democratic voters. It is not clear how these laws will affect the 2012 presidential elections which are said to be  too close to call. But it is clear that there is a looming, imminetn and ominous threat to the right to vote which was gained through two centuries of blood, sweat and tears of  African Americans, women and others.

EVERY VOTE REALLY COUNTS!

In the 2000 Presidential Election, Al Gore won the popular vote by 50,999,897 to Bush’s 50,456,002 (or by 543,895 [0.5%]). Bush won Florida 2,912,790 to Gore’s 2,912,253 (by 537 votes!) and got that state’s 25 electoral votes winning the Electoral College by 271-266. It is not difficult to imagine that in a close election such as the current presidential election, every single, solitary vote really counts.

In Northern Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Colorado, there are tens of thousands of Ethiopian Americans eligible to vote. Though I would be very pleased and appreciative  if they voted for President Obama, I would be equally happy if they exercised their right to vote for whomever they choose. If the idea of one party winning 99.6 percent of the votes in Ethiopia offends any Ethiopian American, s/he should make sure  his/her one vote counts in America!

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Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at: http://www.ecadforum.com/Amharic/archives/category/al-mariam-amharic and http://ethioforum.org/?cat=24

Previous commentaries by the author are available at: http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/  and www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

The 66 TPLF Parasitic Companies Under EFFORT

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Nonviolent Resistance (NVR) is the use of NVR weapons (strikes, boycotts, civil disobedience, mass protests, nonviolent sabotage) to disrupt the functioning of the regime and make the country ungovernable. It is to deny the tyrant the compliance, cooperation and submission he requires. The economic hegemony of the TPLF coupled with its gross mismanagement of the nation’s resources and the massive systemic corruption that has infected the body politic of the nation is the ticking time bomb that may very well destroy the fabric of the Ethiopian society… [read more]

TPLF army branching out into banking

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Defense Ministry set to establish Army Bank

By Yohannes Anberbir | The Reporter

In an unprecedented move, the Ethiopian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is set to enter the country’s financial sector establishing what it calls “Army Bank”.

TPLF to start own bank

According to the minister of Defense, Siraj Fegessa, MoD is undertaking preparations for the bank to  go operational in the current fiscal year.

The plan was announced on Wednesday when Siraj presented the ministry’s quarterly performance report and program for the current fiscal year to the Foreign Defense and Security Standing Committee of the House of Peoples’ Representatives.

He also indicated that a steering committee has been established to discuss the issue with the Central Bank and devise ways on how to establish the Army Bank.

Having recalled that the ministry have been trying to establish a micro finance enterprise last year, he also explained that the main aim of forming the bank is to help military personnel develop the culture of saving and help them be owners of a house.

He also made clear that the establishment of a micro finance enterprises was not realized as the Central Bank did not give the license because of legal issues. He, however, told the standing committee that  the ministry has the legal backing to establishing the bank and that the steering committee is currently working on the matter.

According to the Siraj, MoD has established the “Defense Force Foundation” whose primary task is providing basic goods and services to members of the armed forces. For this current year the foundation will be engaged in the construction of houses for army members, Siraj said.

However, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) neither knows about the Army Bank nor has it received any formal request for licensing.

Public Relations head with the NBE, Alemayehu Kebede, told The Reporter that the NBE has the responsibility of delivering the right information for anyone who wants to establish a bank and the Ministry of Defense might have gained this information.

He, however, indicated that the NBE has not received any application from Ministry of Defense and if the MoD submits a formal request the matter will be dealt with based on the legal work procedure.

Illiterate Ethiopian children hacked Motorola Xoom tablets

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

By David Talbot, MIT Technology Review

With 100 million first-grade-aged children worldwide having no access to schooling, the One Laptop Per Child organization is trying something new in two remote Ethiopian villages—simply dropping off tablet computers with preloaded programs and seeing what happens.

The goal: to see if illiterate kids with no previous exposure to written words can learn how to read all by themselves, by experimenting with the tablet and its preloaded alphabet-training games, e-books, movies, cartoons, paintings, and other programs.

Early observations are encouraging, said Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC’s founder, at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week.

The devices involved are Motorola Xoom tablets—used together with a solar charging system, which Ethiopian technicians had taught adults in the village to use. Once a week, a technician visits the villages and swaps out memory cards so that researchers can study how the machines were actually used.

After several months, the kids in both villages were still heavily engaged in using and recharging the machines, and had been observed reciting the “alphabet song,” and even spelling words. One boy, exposed to literacy games with animal pictures, opened up a paint program and wrote the word “Lion.”

The experiment is being done in two isolated rural villages with about 20 first-grade-aged children each, about 50 miles from Addis Ababa. One village is called Wonchi, on the rim of a volcanic crater at 11,000 feet; the other is called Wolonchete, in the Great Rift Valley. Children there had never previously seen printed materials, road signs, or even packaging that had words on them, Negroponte said.

Earlier this year, OLPC workers dropped off closed boxes containing the tablets, taped shut, with no instruction. “I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.”

Elaborating later on Negroponte’s hacking comment, Ed McNierney, OLPC’s chief technology officer, said that the kids had gotten around OLPC’s effort to freeze desktop settings. “The kids had completely customized the desktop—so every kids’ tablet looked different. We had installed software to prevent them from doing that,” McNierney said. “And the fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.”

“If they can learn to read, then they can read to learn,” Negroponte said (see “Emtech Preview: Another Way to Think About Learning”).

In an interview after his talk, Negroponte said that while the early results are promising, reaching conclusions about whether children could learn to read this way would require more time. “If it gets funded, it would need to continue for another a year and a half to two years to come to a conclusion that the scientific community would accept,” Negroponte said. “We’d have to start with a new village and make a clean start.”

The idea of dropping off tablets outside of the context of schools is a new paradigm for OLPC. Through the late 2000s, the company was focused on delivering a custom miniaturized and ruggedized laptop, the XO, of which about 3 million have been distributed to kids in 40 countries. Deployments went to schools including ones in Peru (see “Una Laptop por Nino”).

Giving computers directly to poor kids without any instruction is even more ambitious than OLPC’s earlier pushes. “What can we do for these 100 million kids around the world who don’t go to school?” McNierney said. “Can we give them tool to read and learn—without having to provide schools and teachers and textbooks and all that?”

Ethiopian authorities abusing Muslim population: Amnesty International

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Ethiopia: Government continues to target peaceful Muslim protest movement

Amnesty International

2 November 2012

Ethiopia: Government continues to target peaceful Muslim protest movement

The Ethiopian authorities are committing human rights violations in response to the ongoing Muslim protest movement in the country. Large numbers of protestors have been arrested, many of whom remain in detention. There are also numerous reports of police using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators. Key figures within the movement have been charged with terrorism offences. Most of those arrested and charged appear to have been targeted solely because of their participation in a peaceful protest movement.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have participated in regular peaceful protests throughout 2012, opposing alleged government interference in Islamic affairs. Protestors accuse the government of attempting to impose the teachings of the Al Ahbash sect of Islam on the Muslim community and of interference in elections for the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs.

Ethiopia’s Constitution prohibits state involvement in religious affairs. The Constitution also contains an expansive provision on the right to peacefully protest, which is routinely flouted by the authorities.

Allegations of excessive use of force by police

An incident that occurred in Gerba town, in the South Wollo zone of the Amhara region, on Sunday 21 October -during which police officers fired on civilians, killing at least three people and injuring others – raises serious questions about the use of deadly force against protestors. In speaking about the incident to the media, the government confirmed the three deaths but claimed that protestors had attacked a police station armed with machetes and hand guns to try to secure the release of another protestor who had been arrested earlier in the day. The government also stated that a police officer was killed in the alleged attack. However, the protestors report that they had peacefully demanded and secured the release of the arrested person during the morning of 21 October and the protest had subsequently dispersed. Later in the day federal police, called in as reinforcements, arrived at the mosque in Gerba town and opened fire, targeting people coming out of the mosque as well as others in the vicinity. One man told Amnesty International that he had seen a police officer killed in the ensuing violence. Other witnesses said they could not confirm any police deaths. An unknown number of arrests are reported to have taken place during the incident on 21 October and more arrests reportedly occurred in the aftermath of the incident, including the arrests of people who spoke to the media about events.

Amnesty International has previously reported on similar, incidents of police allegedly using excessive force. In July Amnesty International called for an investigation into two incidents – at Awalia and Anwar mosques in Addis Ababa – in relation to which numerous allegations were made about excessive use of force by police, including firing live ammunition and beating protestors in the street and in detention, resulting in many injuries among protestors. However, no investigation has taken place to Amnesty International’s knowledge.

Amnesty International is also calling for an independent investigation into an incident that took place in Asasa town, Arsi district, Oromia region in April in which the police reportedly shot dead at least four people. Reports about the incident from the government and from those involved differ widely. The violence is reported to have occurred when the police attempted to arrest an Imam from the mosque. In statements to the press after the event, the government stated that supporters of the Imam attacked the police station to try to secure his release. However, local sources told the media that the police had opened fire in the town when supporters tried to prevent the man’s arrest. The government claimed the Imam had been preaching extremist ideology. However the protestors claim that the attempted arrest was because the Imam had refused to undergo ‘training’ in Al Ahbash ideology, which the government had made obligatory for Muslim preachers.

Use of Anti-Terrorism legislation against leaders of peaceful protest movement

On 29 October, 28 men and one woman were formally charged with ‘terrorist acts’ and ‘planning…, incitement and attempt of terrorist acts’ under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (2009) in relation to their involvement in the protest movement. Two Muslim organisations were also charged under the same law with ‘rendering support to terrorism.’ Those charged include nine members of the committee selected by the Muslim community to represent their grievances to the government, and one journalist, Yusuf Getachew, who works for the publication Ye’Muslimoch Guday (Muslim Affairs).

These individuals appear to have been arrested and charged solely because they exercised their human rights to freedom of expression and to participate in a peaceful protest movement. Since its introduction in 2009 the excessively broad Anti-Terrorism Proclamation has predominantly been used to prosecute dissenters and critics of the government, including journalists and members of political opposition parties.

At least 24 of those charged on 29 October were arrested in mid-July and have been held on remand under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, which allows for up to four months of investigative detention without charge. The defendants were detained illegally for the last five days before the charges were brought, after the police and prosecutors failed to turn up to a hearing on 24 October at which they were required to present charges and evidence, causing the judge to declare the case closed, according to one of the lawyers for the defendants. However, the judge did not order the release of the group, who were then brought to court on 29 October and charged.

A senior representative of the government told Amnesty International that the arrested individuals instigated violence and were trying to undermine the Constitution under the guise of religion. Similar statements from other senior members of the government have also been reported in the media. Amnesty International is concerned that, in a country where the government has significant influence over the courts, these comments may undermine the right of the accused to presumption of innocence.

The government has repeatedly attempted to paint the protest movement as violent and terrorist-related in statements to the media and in parliament. However, the vast majority of the protests are reported to be peaceful, and peaceful tactics have repeatedly been used by the protestors, including silent demonstrations and holding up white material, paper and ribbons as a sign of peaceful intent. While a few isolated incidents of violence have occurred, these have taken place during episodes where excessive police force is alleged. According to the accounts of the protestors, it was the actions of the police that triggered a violent response. Independent investigations are required to establish the course of events during these incidents.

Continued arrests and detention of peaceful protestors

Since July, when large numbers of arrests took place and incidents occurred at Awalia and Anwar mosques in Addis Ababa, protests have continued to take place in several regions, including in the towns of Dessie, Jimma, Harar, Shashemene, Adama, Bati, Kemise, and Robe. In addition to the original grievances of the movement, the protestors also demonstrated against the continued detention of members of the committee chosen to represent the Muslim community’s grievances to the government. Arrests, arbitrary detention and harassment of protestors are reported to have taken place in a number of locations.� Many of these reports have included allegations of police beating protestors, and the use of tear gas against peaceful demonstrations has been alleged in at least two locations.

Many demonstrations occurred in advance of elections for the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, which took place on 7 October. Although the long delay in holding the elections was one of the central grievances of the movement, the protestors raised several serious concerns in relation to the elections, including: the fact that the elections took place while their chosen representatives remained in detention; the level of control the government had over the poll; and the rejection of the protestors’ long-standing demand that the elections should be held in mosques instead of in kebele (local administration) offices. Demonstrators also allege that the government was coercing voters in advance of the election, threatening the withdrawal of access to state resources and other repercussions for those who did not vote. In statements made to Amnesty International and to the media, members of the protest movement have reported that a significant proportion of the Muslim community boycotted the poll, although the government declared the elections a success.

It is not known how many protestors are now in detention. Hundreds of arrests have been made over recent months. Of the large numbers who were arrested around the two July incidents, as reported by Amnesty International on 25 July, many were detained for a few days and subsequently released. However, an unknown number remain in detention, in Maikelawi, Ziway and other detention centres.

Efforts to prevent reporting on the government’s response to the protests

The government has sought to prevent reporting on the protest movement. Two colleagues of Yusuf Getachew from Ye’Muslimoch Guday fled the country after Yusuf was arrested and their own houses were searched. Neither Ye’Muslimoch Guday nor two other Muslim publications – weeklies Selefiah and Sewtul Islam – have been published since the July events. A correspondent for Voice of America was temporarily detained on 5 October in Addis Ababa while reporting on protests against the Supreme Council elections, and was told to delete any interviews she had recorded with protestors.

 

***

The response of the Ethiopian government to the protest movement has involved widespread violations of human rights. There has been almost no effort on the part of the authorities to engage with the protestors on their grievances or to put in place mechanisms for dialogue.

Amnesty International believes that the majority, if not all of those arrested, have been detained for exercising their right to peaceful protest, as protected under the Ethiopian Constitution and international law. The organization is calling on the Ethiopian authorities to release immediately and unconditionally any individuals who have been detained for their participation in protest actions. All detainees who remain in detention without charge must be brought swiftly before a judicial authority. Where credible evidence of a criminal offence exists people must be charged promptly, or should be immediately and unconditionally released. All detainees must have their rights in detention upheld, be provided with full access to legal representatives, medical care if they require it and to family members.

The reports of police use of excessive force against protestors in Gerba on 21 October, in Addis Ababa in July and in Asasa in April, must be properly investigated through processes that meet international standards in relation to impartiality and credibility. If enough admissible evidence of crimes is found, suspected perpetrators should be prosecuted in effective trial proceedings that meet international standards.

� These incidents have been reported in local and Diaspora media, on social media sites, and in information submitted directly to Amnesty International.

 

Ethiopian journalist honored in Beverly Hills

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

(LOS ANGELES TIMES) — Reeyot Alemu missed an important dinner engagement in Beverly Hills. But she had a good excuse.

The 31-year-old journalist is jailed in the notoriously brutal, rodent-infested Kaliti prison in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. She’s two years into a five-year sentence for daring to write about poverty, opposition politics and gender equality.

Reeyot AlemuThe dinner she missed Monday was the annual awards ceremony, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, for the International Women’s Media Foundation, which celebrates courageous women journalists.

This year’s honorees included Alemu, whose detention will be reviewed next week by Ethiopia’s highest court, organizers said. There’s only modest reason to be hopeful, although the attention of the award could put pressure on the regime.

Even from prison, Alemu declined to be silent.

“Shooting the people who march through the streets demanding freedom and democracy; jailing the opposition party leaders and journalists… preventing freedom of speech, association and the press; corruption and domination of one tribe are some of the bad doings of our government,” she wrote in accepting one of three courage awards.

“I know that I would pay the price for my courage and I was ready to accept that price,” she wrote.

Another honoree, Khadija Ismayilova of Azerbaijan, was jolted into serious journalism by the death of investigative reporter Elmar Huseynov.

“He was shot — five bullets in the mouth,” Ismayilova said. “Shot dead in front of his door.”

Another colleague survived having his legs run over by a car and then being left for dead, simply for asking how a charity controlled by the president’s wife was funded. She decided that a pervasive silence of self-censorship about corruption had to be broken.
Ismayilova, 36, works for Radio Free Europe, which, as a foreign-based operation, may offer some protection from outright brutality. It didn’t stop powerful forces from installing hidden video equipment in her bedroom.

Blackmailers threatened to post intimate footage of her and her boyfriend unless she backed off.

“I was surprised with my reaction,” she said. “I discovered that anger is bigger than fear.”

She continued her work, and the video was posted online — instantly making her a target for harm in the socially conservative Muslim country.

She kept working, and soon aired a story about how the president’s family benefited financially from an expensive vanity project — building the world’s tallest flagpole. Within six months, another regional autocrat built a pole two meters higher.

“I’m not chasing them,” she said of President Ilham Aliyev and his family, who’ve become the focus of her repeated reports on corruption. “Just whatever you did, their names pop out.”

She added: “I had like bodyguards for a couple of months, but I don’t need it. It doesn’t prevent anything. They are much more powerful than I am and they can do whatever they want. They can kill me if they want.

“So it doesn’t make sense to think about it. I do what I want to do…I will do my work.”

The third honoree, Asmaa al-Ghoul, a journalist/blogger from Gaza, gained widespread attention in 2007 when she published a critical letter to her uncle, a military leader of Hamas, the faction which controls Gaza. It was titled “Dear Uncle, Is This the Homeland We Want?”

The letter criticized him for forcing Islamic views on the population and using the family home to interrogate and beat members of the rival political group Fatah.

She’s been arrested and beaten twice by Hamas — once when she was writing about the Arab spring, and again about her desire for an independent Palestine under a united government.

In an interview, al-Ghoul said that Gaza suffers from three overlapping occupations: by Israeli forces who send helicopters overhead and drop bombs, and also by the oppression of the two main, rival Palestinian factions.

At Monday’s dinner, a lifetime achievement award went to Zubeida Mustafa of Pakistan, who is 70 and nearly blind, but continues to write. She was saluted as a woman who opened the doors of the newsroom to other women in her country.

Ethiopia Muslims stage peaceful protest after Friday prayer

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — As midday prayers came to an end at the Grand Anwar mosque in Ethiopia’s capital, worshippers continued on to what has become a regular second act on Fridays — shouting anti-government slogans.

The demonstrations this Friday did not turn violent. But tensions are rising between the government in this mostly Christian country and Muslim worshippers. On Monday, federal prosecutors charged a group of 29 Muslims with terrorism and working to establish an Islamic republic.

Not all encounters between police and the protesters have been peaceful. In July, hundreds were arrested after a scuffle in the mosque that injured many and damaged property, including city buses.

Religious violence outside the capital has killed eight and wounded about a dozen this year in two incidents, including one last month when protesters tried to free jailed Muslim leaders in the Amhara region. Protests first erupted in December after the state, wary of Islamist extremists, wanted to change the leadership of a religious school in the capital.

The government also expelled two Arabs in May after the pair flew in from Middle East and disseminated pamphlets at the Anwar mosque. Two-thirds of Ethiopians are Christians; the rest are Muslims.

Ethiopia’s former leader, Meles Zenawi, before he died in August expressed concern over rising fundamentalism he said was evident by the first discovery of an al-Qaida cell in the country. A federal court is scheduled to rule Monday in the case of 11 people charged with being members of al-Qaida. One Kenyan national has already pleaded guilty.

Protesters also accuse the government of unconstitutionally encouraging a moderate teaching of Islam called Al-Ahbash and dictating the election of community leaders to support it at an Addis Ababa religious school.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, speaking to parliament on Oct. 16, said the government fully respects freedom of religion and “would not interfere in the affairs of religion just as religion would not interfere in matters of politics.” He blamed “extremist elements” for the protests. He said some protesters “tried to activate a hidden political agenda under the pretext of religion.”

On Monday, federal prosecutors charged a group of 29 people, including the jailed activists, with terrorism.

The group, including a wife of a senior Cabinet minister, now faces charges including leading a covert movement to undermine the country’s secular constitution and establish an Islamic republic. Prosecutors say the group incited violence and called for jihad against the federal government.

The minister’s wife, Habiba Mohammed, is charged with coordinating finances for the group. Police say she was caught leaving the Saudi Arabian embassy in Addis Ababa with nearly $3,000. Other suspects are also charged with receiving pay from the embassy “to preach extremism.”

Before the charges were filed, the minister defended his wife, saying he had asked the Saudi ambassador for the money to help construct a mosque their family is building.

Rights groups are concerned about the trial and the use of an anti-terrorism law which they say has been used in past trials to silence dissent, not prosecute terrorists.

“Many of these trials have been politically motivated and marred by serious due process violations. The Ethiopian authorities should allow systematic independent trial monitoring, including by human rights organizations, throughout the trial,” said Laetitia Bader of Human Rights Watch.

One protester on Friday said his group is changing the color used in past protests, yellow, to white to underscore that the jailed leaders are peaceful activists, not terrorists.

Ethiopia lost $3.4 billion through capital flight in 2010 – University of Massachusetts

Monday, October 29th, 2012

In a new report released this month, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst revealed that Ethiopia loses over a billion dollar every year through capital flight and in 2010 alone, USD $3.4 billion have vanished. It is not secret who the thieves are. Number one among them is Azeb Mesfin, wife of the late dictator Meles Zenawi. One brazen theft that Meles himself talked about is the disappearance of 10,000 tonnes of coffee. Other well-known thieves who are looting Ethiopia’s treasure are Mohammed Al Amoudi (TPLF), Berhane Gebre-Kristos (TPLF), and Sebhat Nega (TPLF), just to name some of them. Read the full report here.

Israeli company focuses on Ogaden and Afar lands

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Some say Somali and Afar regions are deserts, Israelis dub it a “bread basket”

By Yonas Abiye | Ethiopianreporter.com

October 27, 2012

Looking at a wide portion of Somali or Afar regions, one might be tempted to call it as an unproductive or non-loam soil because of the hottest temperature and the acacia trees as well as thorny prosopis juliflora (derogatorily otherwise known as Woyane tree).
Meanwhile, in the eye of anyone from Israel, this is a funny view. For them, Somali or Afar areas are like a virgin and fertile land.

For Ethiopian pastoralists, whose livelihood depends on animal husbandry, agriculture had almost ‘zero position’. For them livestock are everything. Most of them have a belief that there is no life without livestock.

Though the Ethiopian government, as a national development strategy, had attempted to introduce the agriculture system to pastoralist areas, most of them seem hardly manageable to accept agriculture as an alternative means to their livelihood. Their life is always mobile.

Within these prevailing facts and challenges an Israel company, Agropeace, came to Ethiopia two years ago to engage in the country’s large-scale agriculture mainly focusing in the mass production of biofuel plants and floricultures as well as crops, unlike most local as well as oversees investors who do not dare to engage in such ventures in the region. This is obviously seem that many of the investors, if not all, prefer putting their money near fertile lands of the country around Addis Ababa and in the nearest and relatively modest towns.

Meanwhile, Agropeace looks determined to grow more in one of the country’s hottest and remote areas of Somali region such as Shinile and Gad districts.

In fact, for a longtime, ploughing lands or having agriculture practice has been an unusual, or unpreferable business in Shinile and Gad localities which are not very far from the town of Dire Dawa.

Having secured nearly 2000 hectares from the Somali region four years ago, Agropeace launched its first pilot project by producing maize and caster seeds. Since such kind of agri-business has not been common in the pastoralist’s areas, for Agropeace it was a challenging mission to gain the support of the local residents.

According to the existing tradition of most pastoralists, every plot of land belongs to their communal property where they feed their cattle no matter the title deed given to them as is common in other parts of Ethiopia. As a result, the Israel company had not received positive welcome from the resident pastoralist communities from Shinile as well as Gad.

So, the company had to work hard to get the goodwill of the pastoralists. Eventually since water shortage is the serious problem of the, Agropeace first built around six wells and delivered water to the community for their livelihood and to their livestock. Next, in its first year the company produced tomato, green pepper and maize and distributed it to the community. This was also coupled by teaching them a new trend of agricultural production on how to produce it and create employment opportunities.

Recently, the company organized a two-days field trip where its major shareholders from the US and the UK, along with the Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia, as well as local officials visited the project sites in Shinile and Gad.

Briefing on the progress of the project, the founder of the company, Zir Brosh, told visitors that “the project is very promising. So far, from this pilot project, we have learnt that the area is very fertile and suitable for castor, any crops and vegetables so that we are able to grow year round. “

Yohash Zohar, the general manager of Agropeace Ethiopia, said that despite some challenges the company faces as an initial development cost the company is profitable in a short period of time.

“This project, I believe, will be a benchmark for Ethiopia and will attract many other foreign investors,” he told The Reporter.

“We truly believe that the drier regions of Ethiopia such as Somali and Afar regions can actually be the bread-basket of Ethiopia,” he said, adding that with the right development and usage of underground water they (Afar and Somali regions) can produce more cash crops probably for all other parts of Ethiopia together.

He also explained that the advantage of investing in the Somali region is also advantageous, logistically citing its proximity to the Port of Djibouti.
“It makes a lot of sense to invest in such areas,” Zohar said.

According to the general manager, the company is investing a total amount of 20 million dollars for its 2000 hectare project, out of which 70 percent of the investment loan is acquired from Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) while the rest is partly financed from Agropeace, development partners as well as from the income generated from the project itself.

He told The Reporter that the company aims to start exporting in 2013 for the first time, starting with some 2000 tons of castor seed that is estimated to be roughly worth about 2.5 million dollars.

So far, over 350 hectares of land has been cleared for castor production.

“In Israel we have a lot of experiences in developing deserts and turn it into productive agricultural farm. Once you have enough water and use it with kid gloves, it will be advantageous because being very dry is an advantage. When you have water for irrigation, you can absolutely control how much water you can use for your farm.”
For the company, infrastructure development is a bottleneck challenge that has already forced it to incur core investment costs.

Anteneh Gelaye, chief operation manager of the project, explained that such a kind of investment is the first project in the area.

Anteneh told The Reporter that at that demonstration site, Agropeace has carried out pilot project and has seen satisfactory results particularly in castor seed, soya bean, groundnut as well as maize.

“Though this areas is semi-desert, for example, last year using Israeli technology we grew an American maize seed. And we have harvested about 80 quintals from a hectare while is 30 quintals in normal case.”

The Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia, Belaynesh Zevadia, hailed the company’s project saying, “I’m happy about this promising achievement. They did a great job.”

She also told the company, “I hope in a couple of years, you would reap good production.

“There is a jewish saying that goes “If you save one life, you will save the world”, Belaynesh said after she saw the water wells the company provided for the local residents “I was born in Gondar and grew up in Addis Ababa before leaving for Israel when I was 17. I didn’t know we have such kind of place. Now I’m proud of being Jewish. I’m proud of Ethiopia. Please keep saving more lives.”

Similarly, the vice president of development DBE, Tadesse Oge’e, praised the company for its project.

“Your commitment to invest in such kind of area is very fantastic while most investors prefer to invest in Addis Ababa and surrounding areas. We are ready to support this project and continue to support it.

Issayas Kebede, from Ministry of Agriculture, on his part said, “This is the kind of development that Ethiopia seeks. When you lose, we lose, when your gain we gain.
For a long time the area was known as one of the country’s smuggling corridor and black market zones.

 

Massive protests by Ethiopian Muslims following Eid prayers on Friday

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Muslims defied threats by Ethiopia’s TPLF regime as hundreds of thousands marched following Eid prayers on Friday. Protests engulfed not only Addis Ababa, but also other major Ethiopian cities as well.  They asked the government to stop interference in religious affairs.

Watch video of the protest below.

Source: Bilaccommunication.com

A professor’s search for his lost dog in Addis Ababa

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

A short film about the search for a dog provides a vivid insight into life in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. Directed by Miguel Llansó and Yohannes Feleke. Screened at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam.

Ethiopian Muslims continue protests, as new PM continues the legacy of interference

Friday, October 19th, 2012

By Mohammed Osman

A couple of days after Ethiopia’ new Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn voiced his government’s stubborn stance towards the legitimate demands of the country’s Muslims, the faithful continued their nationwide protests against government interference in religious affairs.

The mosque-based protest was staged on Friday, October 19, at Anwar and Nur mosques, two major mosques in the capital Addis Ababa, as well as at mosques in a number of towns across the country. Friday’s protests took place in predominantly Muslim cities such as Harar, Dessie, Bati and Kemise, among others.

Muslim communities have been staging similar weekly peaceful protests for the last eleven months. The last of such massive protests was staged in Addis Ababa and several cities across the country on October 5, 2012.

The October 5 nationwide protest was meant to send a strong message to the government that Muslim communities all over the nation are not taking part in the ruling-party-orchestrated election of Majlis leadership that was slated for October 7.

The October 7 election was significantly boycotted by the country’s Muslims, but that did not prevent the ruling EPRDF from orchestrating a politico-farce drama employing every means, which included coercion, intimidation, involvement of non-Muslims as well as unwary Muslims, especially in rural areas.

The election drama was accentuated by the EPRDF-controlled TV station, which gave a 25-minute-long coverage for a selection of well-orchestrated election-proceedings and interviews. With a carefully-framed close-ups and long shots, the TV report was “effective” in attaining its sole purpose – that of cheating the public. And, for a party that cherishes its own follies, that was sufficient to make the claim: “Ethiopian Muslims have elected their leaders in a free, fair and democratic election.”

Mockery at the Highest-level

What was screened on ETV was also sufficient for the newly appointed Prime Minister to “congratulate” Ethiopian Muslims for “electing their leaders democratically.”

In his first appearance at the Parliament after swearing in as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, the successor of the late PM Meles Zenawi, Hailemariam appeared no less stubborn than his former boss did. “I would like to congratulate the Muslim population for being able to elect their leaders in a free and democratic election!”

For Ethiopian Muslims the Premier’s congratulatory remark is a mockery at the highest level. It is a mockery at democracy, the rule of law and, above all, the country’s constitution. If anything, Friday’s nationwide protest was a direct reaction to this mockery.

The popular Muslims’ movement was prompted by years of accumulated grievances over the failure of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, otherwise known as Majlis, to deliver meaningful services to the Muslim community.

In a clear violation of the country’s constitution, the Majlis has been under the full control of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) for the past 18 years. The Muslims’ accumulated grievances burst out in December last year after the government set out in a bold attempt to impose a Lebanese-born sect called al-Ahbash on the Muslim population.

The unconstitutional and adventurous project was jointly launched in July 2011 by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and the Majlis, whose leaders were followers of Ahbash, and appointed by the ruling party.

For Ethiopian Muslims, who continued their peaceful protests for the past eleven months, changing the Ahbash-dominated leadership of the Majlis through a truly democratic and free election is a matter not only of asserting constitutional rights, but also of defending their faith and unity. It is also about reclaiming and protecting their institution.

For EPRDF, analysts say, it is a matter of asserting its ideology of Revolutionary Democracy, which dictates full control of all mass-based institutions. This assertion puts the ruling-EPRDF in full collision with the constitution, which is regarded as the supreme law of the land. Over the years, this collision has manifested in several instances.

In this particular instance, EPRDF’s continued desire to control the Majlis is in clear contravention to Article 11, sub-Article 3 of the constitution, which stipulates non-interference of the state in religious matters, and that of religion in state affairs; as well as Article 27, sub-Article 2, which provides for the rights of believers “to establish institutions of religious education and administration in order to propagate and organize their religion.” Alas, that is how Ethiopian politics has been going since the constitution was endorsed 18 years ago, amidst jubilant “nations, nationalities and peoples.”

Nevertheless, EPRDF denies all accusations from every direction. In his last appearance at the Parliament, the late Prime Minister was asked by a fellow MP about the allegation of government interference in Muslim religious affairs. The late PM responded: “No, we did not interfere in religious affairs, and we cannot interfere in religion. … That is because the constitution does not allow us to do so.”

The new Prime Minister, in his first appearance to the parliament last Tuesday, repeated this statement verbatim. He not only repeated the statement, but also imitated the gestures of the late PM. That seems as per his promise “to continue the legacy of the great leader.”

Al Amoudi’s human trafficker in Ethiopia identified (update)

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

In March 2012, I posted the report below about the trafficking of Ethiopian women to the Middle East and identified one of the major players behind it. The report was a result of thorough investigations, corroborated by multiple witnesses who are residing in Addis Ababa. Several months after the report was published, the TPLF regime banned the trafficking of Ethiopian women to UAE, but not to Saudi Arabia and other countries. Meanwhile, Jemal Ahmed, Al Amoudi’s business partner who is identified in my report, has filed a defamation lawsuit against me in the United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia. The notorious law firm, DLA Piper, is representing Jemal in the lawsuit. DLA Piper has hired a $250-per hour private investigator, a former FBI agent, to follow me all over the Untied States. In a court document, the private investigator, Harold Corpus, testified that he has observed me at the balcony of my parents’ residence, among other places. Since the apartment has a security gate, he must have committed trespassing to enter inside. Human trafficking is just the tip of the iceberg of the predatory business practices that Jemal Ahmed and his partner, Mohammed Al Amoudi, are involved in with the backing of the TPLF regime in Ethiopia. In just recent months, they have forcibly removed tens of thousands of people in western Ethiopia after confiscating their land which they are using to grow flower and vegetable to be exported to Saudi Arabia and UAE. If Al Amoudi, Jemal and their allies in the TPLF junta think that they can intimidate and silence me by hiring former FBI agents and a mercenary law firm, they chose a wrong target. I will continue to expose them until they stop plundering my country and robbing my people. I am confident that the U.S. justice system will not allow them to trample upon the freedom of exiled Ethiopian journalists.

* * * * *

Al Amoudi’s human trafficker in Ethiopia identified

By Elias Kifle

It’s been suspected that Sheik Saudi agent Mohammed Al Amoudi is behind the planned “export” of 45,000 Ethiopian women per month from the Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia. The women, most of whom are teenage girls, will be working in slave-like conditions, often subjected to beatings and other kinds of abuses. Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit has now confirmed Al Amoudi’s involvement in this massive human trafficking, and also we have been able to identified the person whom he has put in charge of the operation.

His name is Jemal Ahmed. He is an Ethiopian, resides in Addis Ababa, and frequently travels to Saudi Arabia and other Arab counties as an employee of Al Amoudi.

Jemal’s responsibilities extend beyond human trafficking. He is also in charge of Horizon Plantations, one of Al Amoudi’s companies that is engaged in destructive commercial farms that are used for growing and exporting cash crops. In 2009, the Woyanne gave Al Amoudi 250,000 hectares of land in southern and western Ethiopia, in many cases forcibly removing local farmers from their lands. Because of excessive use of chemical fertilizers, the land will be totally useless in just a few years. The ground water will also be unusable

Jemal and other partners of Al Amoudi who are pillaging and plundering Ethiopia, and selling our women as slaves to Arab countries, must be stopped. Share this information and take the necessary action.

We Ethiopians currently have no government to protect us. So let’s protect each other and fight to save our country.

TPLF boss says Muslim protests have to be stopped

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Debretsion Gebremichael, TPLF spy chief who also doubles as Minister of Communication and Information Technology, appears to suggest that the ruling party has mobilized to crush peaceful Muslim protests.  Debretsion used Addis Ababa University as a platform to declare war on what he called “religious radicalism” and “terrorism.”

 

Eskedar Kifle | Capital Ethiopia

October 8, 2012

The Addis Ababa University, the longest serving higher institution in Ethiopia, gave a three day seminar to its teachers in all campuses, Capital learned. The meeting was originally intended to take place at one location from October 3 to 5, but they later decided to carry it out separately on different campuses.

The notorious Debretsion who intercepts email, other electronic communications

When the seminar came to a close at the Sidist Kilo Main campus on Friday, October 5, Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), Minister of Information and Communication Technology gave guidance to the participants saying that in the coming years the university must focus on the problems of religious radicalism and the dangers of terrorism.

“We don’t want to have a destabilization movement under the guise of religion. In every religion we trace fundamentalism which is contrary to the basic principle of religion that teaches coexistence with each other,” Debretstion was quoted as saying. This movement has to be stopped, he strongly warned.

He also attended the meeting at the Arat Kilo Science Faculty on Thursday, October 3. Sources told Capital that at Science Faculty like in other faculties raised questions about the teachers’ salary increase. Dr. Debretsion discouraged the issue out of hand by saying:

“This time don’t expect a pay raise. You have the capacity to generate additional income by having additional work elsewhere. We don’t like that option. But on the government side there is no plan to increase the salary of teachers at this time,” he said.

A teacher who preferred anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue told Capital that he is not happy with the response of Debretsion. “Inflation is extremely high. So life is difficult to manage with the salary we are receiving now. House rent is increasing literally every month. The government wants us to provide a quality education. With this small pay it is impossible to have first class teachers. So the fall of the standard of education, due to mediocre teachers, is an avoidable fact,” he said.

But Dr. Debretsion was positive about the housing question. “I know that the late Prime Minister wanted the housing problem of the university teachers to be tackled. Accordingly something has been done in that direction all through. So we will exert every effort to resolve the housing problem that the teachers face,” Dr. Debretsion said.
The other major discussion point was about the quality of education. There was a consensus that the quality of education has tremendously gone down. Though all of them agreed to improve the quality of education, no viable future plan was put in place. “We all said that we will improve the quality of education.  This is a cliché like saying we shall realize the dreams of the visionary leader,” remarked one disgruntled teacher. But making change requires a backbreaking job, he concluded.

The Ethiopians and moral conduct

Friday, October 12th, 2012

By Yilma Bekele

I dreamt about my uncle. He has been dead for over ten years so I was wondering what brought him to my conscious now. It was a vivid dream and I awoke both sad and happy. So all day long I kept wondering what is it that made me dream about him. I really think I was able to come up with a reasonable explanation why this memory was triggered in my brain. I believe it is due to what I have been reading lately that awaken this memory about service, integrity and today’s Ethiopia.

The night before the dream I read a very revealing article on goolgule.com about the land grab in Oromia region. It is a depressing tale of what those in position of power and authority do to our people. The story was told to give us perspective about Ato Junedin Sado, who seems to find himself in a very precarious position lately. His problem that started before the death of the tyrant has escalated to his being dismissed from that TPLF satellite organization OPDO. It looks like this puppet who has been serving his TPLF masters faithfully betraying the Oromo people is now paying the price for his sins.

I also have been reading about the Deputy Mayor of Addis Abeba Ato Kefyale Azeze defecting and moving to the US as a fellow refugee. I have also been informed about Ato Getachew Belay, a high ranking TPLF official, who decided to stay in the US abandoning his post. Ato Getachew has served his party as head of the Privatization Agency and head of EFFORT. Both are posts normally reserved for party loyalists.

The defections must have been what got me to think about service to people and country. That must be what triggered this deeply held memory to surface in the middle of the night. My uncle is one of the few people that have left a mark in my brain. I always think of him in a very pleasant manner. The earliest I remember of him from is the picture hanging on our living room wall. It was taken before he left for Korea as part of the United Nations peace keeping force. He was dresses in a greenish uniform sitting on a chair with medals on his chest. It was a serious picture but his boyish face betrayed the stern garish looking uniform and made him look like a kind solder unlike a warrior he was supposed to be. No question that picture impressed all of us growing children.

Upon his return from Korea he was recruited to work at our embassy in Egypt. He must have stayed there a long time because when we met next I was already in high school. He was working as administrator at Paulos Hospital in Addis Abeba. He got married and built a beautiful bungalow in Gulele. My brother and I used to love going over to visit him in the weekends and spend the day listening to him talk and observe the disciplined and meticulous way he lived.

He built the house himself and for us it was like a Ferenji place. It has a beautiful bathroom with toilet, bathtub and bidet with working plumbing system including hot water. The house has a beautiful dining area and a living room for entertainment with couches and a radio. His flower garden was a marvel to look at. We sat and ate in the dining room and washed our hands in the bathroom without a maid fetching water and towel to our table.

A few years later he built an addition on his land to rent for income and help raise his three beautiful daughters. He was making an honest living and looking forward to enjoying his retirement. I finished High school and came to America.

The appearance of the Derg changed everything. The turmoil that followed affected my uncle and his contemporaries in a negative manner. The Derg expropriated all wealth created regardless of how it was achieved. My uncle became the victim of this haphazard and meaningless policy. The Derg became the landlord of his property and his tenant started paying rent to the government. My uncle was forced to retire due to the turmoil in the country.

When I visited him next I couldn’t help but notice how fast he has aged. He was still living in his house but there was no incentive to do any repair or make his house into his own castle. It was shocking to see the deterioration of both man and property. Such a vibrant and go getter of a person was reduced to spending his days on trifle affairs and mundane subjects. It was odd to see his previous tenant subleasing the house and making money. The coming of Woyane did not make things any better. They took over where the Derg left off. That is how much things have turned topsy turvy.
May be I am grasping for straws, maybe I am letting my imagination go wild but the truth is I saw a connection between my dreaming of yester year and the current news coming out of Ethiopia. My uncle’s life was a simple straight line of service and hard work with rewards of stable and fulfilling end until it was rudely interrupted. His achievement was on merit and his honest service is what makes the wheels of society turn in predictable manner. His honorable way of life was an example to all our family. We all learn by example and he was a proud mentor.

Why am I writing about my uncle is a good question. I wanted to tell you we have not always been the way we are now. Lawless, corrupt, shifty, no roots and void of faith, this is what has become of us. I believe this describes the new Ethiopia. Not long ago our country and people were different. Yes there was inequality, there was injustice and we were definitely backward. But we were not degraded, self-loathing and hopeless.
What do we have today? There is no sense of public service but public robbery, there is no sense of do the right thing but a sense of what can I get away with, there is no sense of pride in workmanship but cheap labor for fast money, there is no sense of us but it is all about me. That is what the TPLF regime cultivates. That is why they could do all kinds of damage to our people and at the end of the day abandon all and move out of the country.
When I read about the likes of Junedin, Kefyalew and Getachew I start to wonder about the future of my country and people. What do our people learn from such disgraceful action? What kind of society produces such individuals? How did our country find itself putting such people in charge?
Let us take Ato Junedin. Let us also remember the entire OPDO leadership was rejected by the Oromo people during the 2005 elections. They were restored to their position after Ato Meles ordered recount of the ballots. It was in the aftermath of this event that the OPDO leadership decided to teach the people a lesson. Land is the only wealth the Ethiopian peasant owns. He has no bank account, no capital in machinery and no stocks and bonds. People like Junedin robed the land from the simple peasant. The stolen land was leased to grow flower for the export market while some was used to build condominiums and town houses.

The same peasant that lost his land was recruited to work as a day laborer while his children were let loose in the green houses where they grew flowers. Fifteen and sixteen year old Oromo girls were exposed to chemicals and fertilizers without adequate or no protection. The land given to the developers with fancy names puts the children’s fable Alice in wonderland to shame. In a country where the per capita income is less than $700 a year our developers are constructing housing that costs five million to twenty million. That is what a company called Country Club Developers is building in Legetafo, Oromia. It is also true that over 95% of the residents of Oromia cannot afford to purchase their dream house in Legetafo. Ato Junedin made all this possible.

Folks like Kefyalew and Getachew are the engines that facilitated the working of the TPLF anti Ethiopian machine. Today they come to America as victims. They followed high officials of the Derg regime that left before the fall of Mengistu. Derg era criminals today are respected members of our community. I assure you in a few years Kefyalew and Getachew will join our Church, Mosque and Eder as ordinary fellows in exile. How could a lesson be learnt if yesterday’s criminals are today’s freedom fighters?

Do you think the problem is with them or with us? Do you think people like Junedin, Kefyalew and Getachew can exist with us? There is no ying without yang, there is no smoke without fire and there is no criminal without a victim. Our indifference, our apathy makes people like the above flourish. When we keep quiet while observing injustice we encourage such evil act to continue. When we participate in buying stolen land, building on stolen land we facilitate the coming to death of our homeland. We mock our people’s plight because we ventured out and collected a fist full of dollars.

It does not require a fortune teller to predict sooner or later the injustice, the famine; the hopelessness will force our people to resort to force as they have done before. Today’s Ethiopia is reaching that boiling point. This is not because it is written but it is so because her children failed her, because her children refused to act because her children looked the other way. The solution lies in each one of us. We all know what is right and what is wrong. We all know we cannot judge the Junedins and the Kefyalews and the Getachews if we would act like them given the chance. The question to ask ourselves is would I be different? Am I a better human being aware, conscious, and keeper of my brother?

DNA confirms Ethiopian lions are genetically distinct group

Friday, October 12th, 2012

By Steve Connor | The Independent

October 11, 2012

A pride of captive lions descended from the private menagerie of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is genetically distinct from all other lions of Africa, a study has found.

 

The Ethiopian lion has a distinctive dark mane and is slightly smaller and more compact than other African lions. Now an analysis of its DNA has revealed the Ethiopian lion is also a distinct breed.

It is thought that there may be less than a few hundred Ethiopian lions living in the wild and scientists are urging that their unique genetic makeup should be preserved by a captive-breeding programme.

DNA tests on 15 of the 20 Ethiopian lions kept in Addis Ababa Zoo have revealed that they form a separate genetic group from the lions of east Africa and southern Africa, said Michael Hofreiter of the University of York.

The male lions are the last lions in the world to possess the distinctive dark brown mane. They are the direct descendants of a group of seven males and two females taken from the wild in 1948 for Haile Sellassie’s own zoo, Dr Hofreiter said.

A comparison with other populations of wild lions living in the Serengeti of Tanzania in east Africa and the lions of the Kalahari desert of south-west Africa found that the Addis Ababa lions are quite separate genetically, he said.

“We therefore believe the Addis Ababa lions should be treated as a distinct conservation management unit and are urging immediate conservation actions, including a captive breeding programme, to preserve this unique lion population,” Dr Hofreiter said.

As a species, lions are under threat and their numbers have dwindled over the decades, with the biggest populations centred on east Africa and southern Africa, with a tiny population of Asiatic lions existing in the Gir Forest of India.

Two lion populations that shared the dark brown mane of the Ethiopian lion – the North African Barbary lions and the South African Cape lions – have already gone extinct in the wild.

Susann Bruche of Imperial College London, the lead author of the study published in European Journal of Wildlife Research, said that it is important to preserve the genetic diversity of the Ethiopian lions to help the species as a whole.

“A great amount of genetic diversity in lions has most likely already been lost, largely due to human influences. Every effort should be made to preserve as much of the lion’s genetic heritage as possible,” Dr Bruche said.

“We hope field surveys will identify wild relatives of the unique Addis Ababa Zoo lions in the future, but conserving the captive population is a crucial first step,” she said.

VOA reporter in Addis Ababa detained

Friday, October 5th, 2012

(CPJ) Ethiopian authorities should halt their harassment of journalists covering the country’s Muslim community and their intimidation of citizens who have tried to speak to reporters about sensitive religious, ethnic, and political issues, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Police in the capital, Addis Ababa, briefly detained Marthe Van Der Wolf, a reporter with the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America as she was covering a protest by members of Ethiopia’s Muslim community at the Anwar Mosque, local journalists said. The protesters were demonstrating against alleged government interference in Islamic Council elections scheduled for Sunday, according to VOA and local journalists.

Wolf was taken to a police station and told to erase her recorded interviews, and then released without charge, local journalists said… [read more]

Occupy palace – Week 2

Friday, October 5th, 2012

It’s been 2 weeks now since the widow of Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi has been refusing to leave the prime minister’s residence in the National Palace. Azeb Mesfin, aka the mother of corruption, is causing a major embarrassment for the new prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, and his government by refusing to vacate the official residence of the prime minister as the law requires. He is also exposed to security threats by having to travel to the National Palace every morning from his home in the Bole neighborhood of Addis Ababa. Hailemariam was sworn in two weeks ago, Friday, September 21.

Ethiopian Muslims resume protest against government interference

Friday, October 5th, 2012

By William Davison

(Bloomberg) — Today, several thousand Ethiopian Muslims protested in the capital, Addis Ababa, against what they say is government interference in the election of Islamic council leaders, a participant said.

An election for the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council is scheduled to be held on Oct. 7, for the first time in 12 years. Some Muslims will boycott the elections, which the government is trying to force them to vote in, demonstrator Mudessa Omar said.

“Let us vote for our own people,” Mudessa said in an interview outside Anwar Mosque, the capital’s largest Mosque and site of the demonstration. “The government has candidates that don’t represent the people.”

Some Muslims in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation, have been objecting to alleged government interference in religious affairs for a year. The government has said the movement is led by extremists who want to create an Islamic state in the nation of 94 million people. About a third of them are Muslims, according to the C.I.A World Factbook.

Muslims cast their vote “en masse” in a first round of voting to choose electoral officers on Sept. 30 and are registered to vote on Oct. 7, State Minister of Communications Shimeles Kemal said.

“This is a last desperate attempt to prevent people from casting their vote,” he said by phone from the capital today. “The vast majority have rejected extremism.”

Police on July 19 arrested some Muslim leaders they accused of sparking violent demonstrations in the capital. Some demonstrators today chanted to demand their release, protester Nuru Maradi said in an interview outside the mosque.

ESAT is back on air Ethiopia

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Addis Ababa residents confirmed to Ethiopian Review that ESAT is back on air. ESAT also issued the following press release:

ESAT has finalizing testing and is back on air in Ethiopia through New Horn TV.

ESAT Management would like to announce that it has resumed its satellite TV program transmission to
Ethiopia and neighbouring countries thru New Horn TV.

For the past few days the signal has been successfully tested. The details are as follows:

NEW HORN TV Satellite
Eutelsat 7 West
Frequency: 10815 MHz
Polarity: Horizontal
Symbol Rate: 27.5 MB or 27500
FEC 5/6

ESAT Management would like to encourage all viewers and ESAT supporters all around the world to
send the information to friends and family in Ethiopia as well as provide feedback on the quality of the
transmission and reception. @ +15713051637.

ESAT Management
Management@ethsat.com

Obang’s letter to PM Hailemariam

Friday, September 28th, 2012

 “Meaningful Reforms, Reconciliation and the Restoration of Justice”

SMNE Urges New Prime Minister to Take Bold Steps That Will Lead the Country to a New Ethiopia

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn,

 

September 26, 2012

 

His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn,

Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia

Office of the Prime Minister

P.O. BOX – 1031

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

Dear Prime Minister Hailemariam,

 

We are writing this letter to you, first of all to congratulate you in your appointment as the new prime minister of Ethiopia—only the third Ethiopian leader to assume this position within the last nearly forty years and the first of the three to assume it through a smooth transition—only because the former prime minister died; yet, this is an unprecedented development in Ethiopia’s recent history and we urge you to take hold of your God-given opportunity to help bring truth, honesty, justice, equality and reconciliation and healing that are so needed by for the survival of our severely wounded and divided nation. It is a significant moment to seize if you are to make a historical and meaningful contribution to a genuinely more inclusive Ethiopia where the humanity of each and every Ethiopian is valued more than their ethnicity, the religion they practice, the region they come from or their political party membership.

 

You are now the leader of Ethiopia; meaning you are the leader not only of the EPRDF or the TPLF or the leader of those who agree with you, but you are also the leader of all Ethiopians, including those who disagree with your party and have been labeled by them as enemies or extremists. Based on the presumption that you will assume your position of responsibility to all the people of Ethiopia—something which hopefully will be proven through concrete action within a very short period of time—we are writing to you, as the new head of the country, to urge you to boldly implement meaningful change from the status quo—moving Ethiopia from a deeply entrenched system that excludes the majority of Ethiopians to one that will free all within our society to realize their God-given gifts.  

 

Mr. Prime Minister,

 

For your information, the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), of which I am the executive director, is a social justice group, established specifically to break the pattern of Ethiopian destruction that has led ethnic-liberation fronts like the TPLF from grievance, to resistance, to revenge, to overthrowing the Derg, to taking control of the country, to making the country landlocked through splitting it in two, to implementing a system of ethnic-apartheid-domination, to presenting a false picture of a unified Ethiopia through a flawed system of tribes (nations and nationalities)  rather than as the Ethiopian people in order for a tiny elite from one ethnic group to cover up a system of ethnic, crony, party, and regional favoritism, to the present stage which is the exploitation of the oppressed and the rest of the people by a few in the TPLF who run the entire country under the pseudonym of the EPRDF.

 

We in the SMNE strongly disavow any right of any oppressed group to use their past oppression as an excuse to tyrannize or subjugate others; yet, this is exactly what the TPLF has done, in company with the EPRDF. It is epitomized in the recent case of a young person who applied to Addis Ababa University but was rejected because the “quota” for Amharas had been met rather than accepting students based on giftedness, academic credentials and drive. One’s ethnicity should never give you preferred status or be the basis of rejection. This is wrong and immoral.

 

This was the reason the SMNE was created; not as a political party but as a movement to empower and unify all diverse Ethiopians around these principles in order to build a New Ethiopia where we value the humanity of everyone, not only those like ourselves. We stand for a country where the “system” is structured and well-protected by checks and balances to protect the rights of all for until then “no one will be free until all are free.”

 

 

For a “New Ethiopia” to emerge, it means the old Ethiopia must be reformed. You are in a position to drive those reforms forward. Without such reforms, we know many will reject being part of an Ethiopia where they have been oppressed, marginalized, discriminated against, mistreated and/or seen as “impediments to be removed” rather than being accepted as active and contributing partners and beneficiaries in the life of Ethiopian society. This is something we all know is true. Such an Ethiopia is an old Ethiopia, a dying Ethiopia and an Ethiopia that must be discarded if we are to become a New Ethiopia that is good for everyone.

 

Mr. Prime Minister,

 

Who would have ever thought that a young man from the Boloso Sore district of the Wolayita Zone in southern Ethiopia, who walked to school some kilometers away with his younger brother, whose dream was to become a doctor, would be the new prime minister of Ethiopia and the leader of more than ninety million people? This may only be about God’s plan to use you, as someone from one of our rich and proud ethnic groups in the South and from a humble beginning, to help bring the family of Ethiopians together to plant a garden for the future of all of us. This garden of beautiful, multi-colored and multi-shaped blooms symbolizes the over 80 different, but all precious, ethnicities of Ethiopia.

 

The fertile soil of this garden must start with clean and repentant hearts, with our minds open to the truth and by souls filled with pure intentions. Transformational change must be based on love rather than hatred; dialogue rather than violence; reconciliation rather than vengeance; restored justice rather than oppression. This is the only way we can pass on a blessing rather than a curse to the next generation of Ethiopians. We now call on you, Mr. Prime Minister, to move Ethiopia in this new direction. This was the reason the SMNE created—to bring respectful dialogue as we honestly confront our problems so that we might carve out solutions. This is not only about the people but it is about doing what is right in the eyes of our Almighty God who sometimes calls some of us, like yourself, to do very difficult things, but promises to be faithful to those who trust Him and walk in His ways. By what you decide to do, you will show who you will please. These are moral issues with clear directives that lead to freedom of souls, people and nations.

 

We in the SMNE also posed such moral choices to Meles in two open letters, on two occasions, Open Letter to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and read in English.. Or  read in Amharic.. but he chose to close his ears and ignored us like he ignores the majority of Ethiopians. Instead, he continued to advance his own plans of pleasing those he considered to be his own. We were not surprised, but look where it has led us as a people and now he is gone. Today, you can make a difference, but only if you recognize God’s call in this unique opportunity. Are you willing to take whatever steps God has given to you to do your part in bringing light and life back to Ethiopia?

 

Mr. Prime Minister,

 

Our people have suffered so much. If you go from one corner of our beautiful country to each of the others to listen to the people—starting from the south to the north and from the east to the west—you will hear the same stories of their pain, grief, suffering and hard lives. These heartbreaking stories do not come only because of the difficulties of life we all face, but much of their hardship, poverty, lack of opportunity and abuse has come as the result of government policies and harmful actions. Even their chronic poverty and lack of food security can be related to the lack of freedom, the lack of property rights, the failure of the rule of law, the rampant corruption and regime repression.

 

A nation is like a body. When one part of the body is inflicted with pain, it affects the rest of the body. This one body we call Ethiopia, which is shared by all of us—binding us together—has suffered so much in the hands of the people who have been in charge. These leaders who have led our country all these years are the ones who have failed in their responsibilities to nurture, protect and care for all the people of Ethiopia who are loved by God and precious to Him. It is not an easy responsibility you are being asked to assume, but nevertheless, this responsibility for leadership is now in your hands. If you choose to do what is right in God’s eyes, God will help you, but if you choose to continue to oppress the people and to unfairly exploit them and their resources, you will be on your own. 

 

Mr. Prime Minister,

 

We know that many Ethiopians are assuming that the TPLF is in total control of you and these people are watching every action you take to prove it. They assume the TPLF is simply pretending that a Southerner is leading a country, when in truth; it is those on the TPLF Central Committee who are doing so. This is the general speculation of the people, but it may not be true.

 

We know you know much of what is wrong in Ethiopia and might want to change it but will have limits set on you by some, but you may find many, even within the TPLF, who recognize the opportunity to jump from a sinking ship of the TPLF and they may help you more than most expect. We know you cannot do it alone. We also know your party cannot do it alone. The only way is to do it together with the rest of the people of Ethiopia and through the power of God as He works in the hearts and minds of the people to accomplish purposes greater than we can now see.

God may have placed you in this position for such a time as this, but if you do not rise to the purpose, God will find another way. Up until now, the TPLF has not been with the people, but you must reach out to them; especially to your enemies or the people with whom you may disagree with and take concrete action even if it is not popular.

 

Mr. Prime Minister,

 

Ethiopia needs deep reforms, not simply cosmetic reforms that skim the surface. All political prisoners must be released. Political space must be restored. You must meet with the political oppositions. Repeal laws that block civil society and freedom of expression and information. Stop the land grabs and the human rights abuses by the Ethiopian military and security forces. They are on the Ethiopian payroll. Stop religious repression and government interference in religious affairs. Call for National Reconciliation and tell the people within the TPLF/EPRDF that they are needed parts of this beautiful body—the country of Ethiopia. They will not be harmed and will have a deserved place in a New Ethiopia for they are “us.” Those who committed crimes will face justice but not on the street. This beautiful country of all of us will not survive by pretending. Ignoring the problems without taking an active role in bringing meaningful change will bring consequences none of us want. Take the necessary bold moves that must be done for the wellbeing, safety and security of our people.

 

We all live once and have opportunities that will pass us by if not taken. This may be the moment for good that God planned in advance for you. Stand up for the harassed people of Ethiopia. Our country needs transformation and you cannot do it alone. In light of this, reach out to people and be on their side. You are appointed to be a leader of all the people. May God give you the words, the strength, the wisdom, the openings and the support you need to change the direction of Ethiopia from doom to dawn; giving your all to provide a structure to bring reforms, reconciliation and justice so that a dying nation may be revived; so that the favoritism of an unjust ethnic-apartheid system be ended, the shackles of injustice unlocked and a people and nation be inspired to lift up their hands to their Creator God. 

 

Mr. Prime Minister,

 

As for us, in the SMNE, we are always ready to do whatever we can because we are part of this body of Ethiopia and humanity and are committed to the betterment of all our people. We will not compromise in what we believe meaning we cannot settle for pretense without change, for small goals when we need deep reforms or for benefits for only a few for no one will be free until all are free.

 

We must care about all our Ethiopian sisters and brothers so that Ethiopia is a better Ethiopia rather than a beggar Ethiopia; an Ethiopia where our children can live in whatever part of the country they want; where they can live and flourish rather than risking their lives as they flee beyond our borders for freedom and opportunity; an Ethiopia where Ethiopians dispersed throughout the world can feel safe to return home to help rebuild this beloved country of ours—a country of freedom and opportunity for all.

 

We believe this is doable and have hope in our people from every ethnic group, region, religious group, and political group from all over the country that they will rise to the challenge by doing their share. As long as there is strong leadership that puts the interests of humanity ahead of the self-interests of a few; there is no reason that will prevent our Ethiopia from overcoming the negative images for which we are known throughout the world as  a starving and dying people.

 

In conclusion, if you choose to take these strong steps forward, we understand that it may cost you great sacrifice, but you will be choosing the side of righteousness. The people will know it and stand by you! The past is the past and we must move ahead. Take that step now! May God help us all!

 

In hope,

 

Your brother,

 

Obang Metho,

Executive Director of the SMNE

910-17th St. NW, Suite 419

Washington, DC 20006 USA

Phone 202 725-1616

Email: Obang@solidaritymovement.org.

Website: www.solidaritymovement.org
 

Meles Zenawi’s legacy of terror

Friday, September 28th, 2012

By Melakou Tegegn

Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi died in August after ruling the country from 1995 to 2012. Contrary to regime claims of economic development, he will be remembered for crushing all dissent to his rule.

Discussing Meles’ legacy is not discussing one person; Meles represented his party and government. The discussion on his legacy is political and not personal. I have nothing against Meles the person, and this discussion is not about giving or denying him credit; it is about the future of our country, it is about the plight of our people.

THE FEBRUARY REVOLUTION ON 1974 AND TPLF

The TPLF was created in 1975, i.e. one year after the plebeian revolution broke out in Ethiopia and overthrew the autocrat. It is crucial to ask what the role of the would-be TPLF leaders/cadres was in the February revolution. Very few of them such as Aregawi Berehe had already been involved in the student movement but we don’t know what role they had during February 1974.

One thing we know for sure is the fact that some of their leading cadres such as Birhane Gebre Kirstos and Nestanet Asfaw were disinterested in the movement until the scourge of ethnicity rose at the end of 1974 when some Tigrean and Oromo students demanded to be sent to Tigrai and Oromiya regions for the Derg’s zemetcha campaign.

Actually, what is more important is their characterization of the February revolution. The TPLF leaders denied the class content of the revolution but held instead the view that the revolution brought out ethnic contradictions and antagonisms in Ethiopia. This was in fact advanced to ‘rationalize’ the extreme form of parochial ethnic construction that they declared in their 1976 Manifesto. As we will see below, this was a completely erroneous characterization.

The class content of the February revolution was so glaring that one only has to glance at the main demands that were advanced by the numerous strikes and demonstrations at the time. In addition, the fundamental demands in 1974 corresponded to structural questions pertaining to freedom and democracy.

On top of the numerous strikes and demands by the downtrodden of every sector of society, the earth-shaking action came when the young Ethiopian working class launched the first general strike in the country and perhaps in Africa as well. The resolutions that the then Confederation of Ethiopian Labour Unions (CELU) passed during the general strike was fundamentally political and went beyond the sectoral demands of the working class. It demanded democracy and freedom, abolition of the monarchy, land to the tillers and more demands that are related to the poor and oppressed.

If we sum up the nature of the demands brought forth in February, the main ones were freedom and democracy, an end to the monarchy (targeting the ruling class), land to the tillers (a class question), religious equality (the class content is reflected in the demand by poor priests who demanded the removal of the higher clergy), women’s equality (a class question), a people’s republic and a provisional government to form it and so on. These questions reflected the contradictions between social classes that existed at the time.

No apparent demands for ethnic rights and/or exclusiveness were observed in the entire period of the revolution. It was at such a time and under such a situation that the TPLF leaders completely denied the class content of the revolution and clung to their characterization that finally led to the ethnicization of politics when they came to power.

Actually, in their 1976 Manifesto, they unambiguously stated that the solution to Ethiopia’s problem is when the various nationalities wage an ethnic war against Shoan Amharas, bring about ‘national democratic revolutions in each nationality’ and see if they can reconstitute Ethiopia again. It is this same theory that Meles reintroduced as the ethnicization of politics when he assumed power both in the TPLF and EPRDF. The legacy of Meles on ethnicization of politics should be assessed against this background.

The overriding demand for freedom and democracy during the February revolution should not be seen as a sheer political demand for recognition of rights. Democracy and freedom are historical questions as far as Ethiopia is concerned as it is a poor country and hitherto ruled by autocracies of one type or another. Freedom and democracy constitute a negation of systems that strangled its people and subjected them to a poverty of biblical proportions. But, we all know that Ethiopia’s historical question was not answered by the Derg in the affirmative.

Quite the contrary, as the Derg ruled the country by official state terror. By negating the demand for freedom and democracy, the Derg opted to ‘generate development’ through its own way. But, we all know it never happened. At the end of the day, the legacy of the Derg is rule by official terror, total suppression of free and independent participation, the subjugation of the individual (despite the rhetoric on being revolutionary, proletarian, socialist, etc), the supremacy and unquestioned authority of the party and state, the consequent rebellions, the defeat of the Left and rise of ethnic-based movements and an over-centralized economy and colossal poverty.

MELES’ LEGACY

In 1991, Meles’ EPRDF took power against the backdrop of the legacy left by the Derg. On top of their demand for freedom and democracy in 1974, the peoples of Ethiopia all the more wanted and demanded freedom and democracy when the EPRDF took power. What makes freedom and democracy historical questions is also the fact that they are so resilient that they are continuously being demanded by every new generation. Let’s now glance at the legacy left to us by Meles and his regime.

It was unexpected and a paradox of historical proportions that Meles has been anointed with all sorts portraying him as ‘genius’ and who ‘brought about development and economic growth’ not just by the propaganda machine he set up but also by leaders of the West, including Barak Obama and leading world media. What is their basis or source of information? It is not difficult at all to destroy these assumptions as they are founded on falsification. The legacy of Meles at the political level is not very different from that of the Derg.

In summary: similar to that of the Derg, Meles’ political legacy is a prevalence of rule by official terror [Mengistu resorted to the infamous Red Terror to destroy the left; Meles also enacted a law 'against terrorism' to destroy his critics and opposition in general]. Like the Derg, it did not permit free and independent expression, no independent existence outside the state. Mengistu framed up the left with criminal charges in order to destroy any opposition and critique, so did Meles Zenawi in the 2005 elections and after. The Derg made the unions his own instruments by quashing their independent existence; so did Meles Zenawi. In a similar fashion the Derg did not permit NGOs to function, Meles quashed them by ‘law’.

Meles’ legacy, like that of the Derg, also includes committing massacres in various parts of the country. Meles’ army committed massacres in Gambela, ostensibly to crush a resistance by the Anuak; in the Ogaden on the excuse of crushing the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF); and in the streets of Addis Ababa and other towns under the guise of putting down protests against the stealing of the election results in 2005. In his earlier days in power, Meles’ regime was also involved in three but little known massacres targeting Amhara communities in Wollega.

Another manifestation of the use of sheer force and terror is the practice of mass arrests. Since the advent of EPRDF power, a characteristic feature is the mass arrests conducted throughout the entire period of the 21 years of its acquisition of political power. The climax of the practice of mass arrests came in 2005 when Meles’ army and police arrested more than 11,000 persons throughout the country. Meles’ legacy on the mass arrest front also includes the mass arrests of individuals of Oromo extraction. Today, the country’s jails outside Tigray and Amhara regions are filled with Oromo political prisoners in the vain attempt to crush the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

By now, the entire world knows that one of Meles’ legacies is the mass arrest of journalists. In the entire period of its 21 years of rule, Meles’ regime has been characterized by international human rights organizations as ‘enemy number one’ of the free press. At the end of his rule, Meles even locked prisoners in jail, charging them with terrorism and sentencing them for a maximum period of 18 years.

Very recently and as the last repressive action of his rule, Meles resorted to a massive clamp down against Muslim protesters. His regime forcefully introduced a newly concocted interpretation of Islam and imposed it on the Muslim community through its stooges within the Muslim clergy. The Muslim community came out in protest, particularly after Friday prayers, but they were suppressed by force and its leaders are locked in prison.

INSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNANCE

Meles has also been praised for bringing stable and much better governance. However, from the perspective of sustainable development, how true is this? A glance at what is required in terms of having a properly functioning modern state that can generate sustainable development unambiguously attests to the fact that in his entire 21 years of rule, Meles Zenawi has completely failed to develop the institutions of governance at the level which is required in Ethiopia. What are the requirements to build a modern state that can generate sustainable development? In brief, it is crucial to transform the current institutions of governance into a proper modern state. This means there must be a clear division of power and role between the three major component parts of the state, i.e. the executive (government), legislature (parliament) and the judiciary.

The executive must be accountable to the parliament and judiciary, the legislature to the people and the judiciary to both government and legislature. In order to have such a clear division of power and role, freedom and democracy serve as the basis. Without freedom and democracy, one cannot come up with such distinct roles and powers of the major institutions of the state. We know very well that what Meles has instituted in this respect is exactly the opposite. The executive controls both the legislature and judiciary and that is why the legislature is a rubber stamp and the judiciary is a pawn of the executive. In fact, what Meles instituted is worse than that. Since 2001, i.e. after he eliminated his rivals within the TPLF and other EPRDF organizations, he has institutionalized a personalized power where he alone decided on issues ranging from major to minor.

In short, Meles has, just like the absolutist state of medieval Europe, institutionalized a personal dictatorship a la Louis IX who said, ‘L’etat est mois’ (‘I am the state’.) We can even call this the ‘Melesization’ of the state. He personified the state to the worst level. And this is the state of affairs that he called ‘the democratic developmental state’. What is ‘democratic’ and ‘developmental’ in this personified state, only he could explain. Unfortunately, he never did.

On top of all these, in order for a state to be called a state in the proper sense of the term, it must be accountable to society and society must have the mechanism to make the state accountable to it. Secondly, constitutionalism and prevalence of the rule of law must be one of the principal characteristic features of the modern state. Again, the entire world knows that these two characteristics never existed under his Ethiopia.

CIVIL SOCIETY

In political science, state and civil society are symbiotic to each other. That means a state cannot exist without civil society and vice versa. One cannot talk about the state without civil society because the evolution processes of both are simultaneous and inter-dependent. The institutions of the state can only develop through freedom and democracy which are also the basis for the emergence of civil society.

From the development perspective, civil society is a precondition for social development as civil society is the object and subject of development. If development should be human-centered, it should be designed for people. Development should be designed to lift the poor and marginalized out of the ashes and crown them with dignity, a title which all humans deserve.

This calls for crowning society with freedom and democracy through which it develops and transforms itself into civil society. We see here again that freedom and democracy are pivotal for the emergence of civil society and that without civil society ‘development’ is only material and not human centered. As universally recognized, Meles’ legacy in this respect is indisputably horrible. However, even those who accuse him of being a dictator but give him credit for the ‘economic growth’ he ostensibly brought about, failed to see the crucial role that freedom and democracy have in the transition period.

One crucial element in the process of social development is the transformation of individuals from subjects to citizen. This transformation process is historical, belonging to a period of transition from a situation of non-democracy to democracy and freedom. Without freedom and democracy, individuals cannot be transformed into citizens. It is only if they are free and independent that they can become aware and knowledgeable about the conditions (political, economic, social and ideological) that govern their existence.

The transformation of subjects to citizens is a crucial element in the development and governance processes. Viewed from this perspective, the legacy of Meles is absolutely negative and in fact a hindrance to this transformation of individuals. Under Meles, the individual Ethiopian has been reduced to less than the subject of the Haile Selassie days.

In summary, we have seen how freedom and democracy are crucial in the processes of the three transformations, i.e. government to a state, society to a civil society and subjects to citizens. We have also seen that freedom and democracy are the basis for these transformations. Meles’ legacy on all these transformation processes is absolutely negative and counter-productive.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Human rights, like freedom and democracy, are an integral part of both the modern state and development. What distinguishes humans from animals is not their capacity to think (as a few animal species have also been proved to have the potential to think), but their capacity to express in speech and writing what they think. Denying humans the right to express what they think is tantamount to reducing them to the level of animals. By denying the Ethiopian people their fundamental human rights, the right to expression and other fundamental human rights, Meles Zenawi has subjected Ethiopians to the level of animals.

We can also add here violations of other fundamental human rights such as women’s rights, the rights of indigenous peoples (pastoralists, hunter-gatherers), the rights of the child and youth, etc … All these human rights violations are executed in violation of international instruments such as conventions and declarations by the United Nations and African Union. That is precisely why the government of Meles Zenawi had come under fire by the various Treaty Bodies of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva as well as by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. In fact, in a rare move, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights condemned the violation of human rights in Ethiopia in its last session in April 2012.

DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

Contemporary development discourse has it that freedom and democracy is a precondition for development. This is the fundamental principle that has been universally accepted. But, what does Meles say on this? He rejects this principle and in one of his last public utterances he said, ‘I don’t believe in this night-time, you know, bed-time stories and contrived arguments linking economic growth with democracy’ (April, 2012).

Something that Zenawi has received praise for is his record on generating development and economic growth. It is only the people of Ethiopia who still wallow in abject poverty and under-development that simply dismiss such claims; because, neither development nor economic growth has taken place under Meles. Now, let’s separate our comments into two: development and economic growth.

Development: we only mention the fundamental domains for sustainable development to occur and ask whether or not they are attained in Ethiopia under Meles.

- Political democracy? Obviously no.

- Environmental preservation? The opposite has happened.

- Gender equality: never, women are still treated as slaves.

- Child and youth development has not been taken seriously (as inheritors to lead the future generation)

- Population: unchecked population boom contributing to poverty.

Economic growth: the truth about the hullabaloo on ‘economic growth’ is based on a propaganda gimmick introduced by Meles himself in the wake of the stolen 2005 election. The principal ‘lesson’ that Meles drew from the 2005 election in which his party lost miserably is that it was necessary to change the pattern of rule. Thus, closing down the private media, advocacy NGOs and human rights organizations as well as opposition parties was essential as these were the main institutions that contested government claims on economic growth.

Thus, closing down all avenues of alternative information was found out to be essential to embark on wild claims on economic growth. Then, all of a sudden, and precisely after 2007, wild claims of economic growth were made by Meles’ regime. Those who swallowed these claims seem never to ask how come this ‘economic growth’ is recorded all of a sudden after 2005. What happened after 2005? Did they find oil? Diamonds? What did they get that boosts their capability to accumulate capital and invest it? Meles made wild claims particularly in agricultural outputs.

These are very fishy figures and no independent verification was permitted. (It is impossible to take government figures on economic growth for granted without independent verification.) The whole stratagem of Meles was to dispel the pressure from the West who pressed for the liberalization of the political situation. To dispel this, he devised a propaganda gimmick that compels the West to drop its pressure on grounds that after all Meles has ‘ brought economic growth’.

This is not to deny that there have occurred incremental economic changes. Yes, roads have been built, buildings have been constructed in Addis, and real estate business has grown. Let there be no confusion, however, that in the first place, these incremental changes do not necessarily indicate economic growth. Secondly, there is always incremental change even under conditions of poverty and under-development.

However, the two main questions are: (1) what should have been the rate of the incremental change to label it as growth against the backdrop of size of population, level of the poverty prevalence, etc…? And (2) what could have the Ethiopian people attained had they instituted a democratic government of their like as they demanded in 1974? These are the questions we should ask before equating these incremental changes alone as ‘economic growth’. Thirdly, in order for economic growth to occur, there must be even development in the main sectors of the economy such as agriculture, industry and commerce.

Hailemariam pledges to maintain Meles Zenawi’s controversial policies – VOA

Friday, September 28th, 2012

By Peter Heinlein | Voice of America

NEW YORK — Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has pledged to maintain the controversial policies of his predecessor, Meles Zenawi, who died last month. The Ethiopian leader outlined his views on foreign and domestic issues in an interview with VOA’s Peter Heinlein in New York.

In a 30-minute conversation, Prime Minister Hailemariam discussed topics from Ethiopia’s strained ties with neighboring Eritrea, relations with China and the United States, and the government’s clampdown on media.

The interview was Hailemariam’s first since taking office last week. It took place in New York, on the eve of his first address as prime minister to the United Nations General Assembly.

On Eritrea, he said he sees no sign of a thaw in a relationship that has been frozen since an indecisive two-year war that ended in 2000. That conflict left at least 70,000 people dead.

Eritrea says progress depends on Ethiopia’s acceptance of an international border commission ruling that favors Eritrea’s position. However, Hailemariam says the only solution lies in bilateral dialogue.

“There is no change in policy. Our policy designed after the war since nine years, a standing policy that we need to have dialogue without conditions, so we offered this to the Eritrean government and leadership and are waiting for this to happen for the last nine years and will continue to do so,” said Hailemariam.

Ethiopia’s relations with Egypt also have been strained over sharing Nile River waters. The government of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak had resisted efforts by Ethiopia and other countries along the upper Nile to renegotiate a colonial-era water sharing agreement.

Hailemariam says he will wait to see what policies the new government in Cairo will adopt.

“The previous Egyptian regime was looking into the Nile issue as a security issue. There are a number rumors that this is [seen as] a security issue, but I cannot tell you the government’s position until now. So I don’t want to deal with those speculations because we haven’t come across officially a change of policy with the current Egyptian governmen,” he said.

Hailemariam also expressed satisfaction with the election of a new president in neighboring Somalia, and with the signing of a cooperation agreement between Sudan ad South Sudan. He said both developments will contribute to regional stability.

The Ethiopian leader said relations with both China and the United States are good. He rejected a suggestion that Ethiopia is tilting toward Beijing for economic and ideological reasons, and he defended the decision of Ethiopia’s ruling party to strengthen relations with China’s Communist Party.

“Our party has very close ties with the Communist Party of China because we have areas where we can learn from the work the Chinese Communist Party is doing, simply because we are people centered, where Chinese Community Party has experience with working with people at the grass root, so we learn with China, this kind of approach, it doesn’t mean our ideology is similar to China,” said Hailemariam.

On domestic issues, Hailemariam defended the imprisonment of several journalists and opposition politicians under a recently enacted anti-terrorism law. He said those sentenced to long jail terms, such as award-winning blogger and fierce government critic Eskinder Nega, had been living a double life, or as he called it, “wearing two hats.”

“Our national security interest cannot be compromised by somebody having two hats. We have to tell them they can have only one hat which is legal and the legal way of doing things, be it in journalism or opposition discourse, but if they opt to have two mixed functions, we are clear to differentiate the two,” he said.

The Ethiopian leader also suggested his government will continue to clamp down on opposition media, including jamming VOA Amharic service broadcasts and blocking foreign websites considered objectionable.

“My government has no policy of blocking these issues. It is depending on the websites or whatever, if there is any connection with these kind of organizations, it’s obvious. That’s done in every country. You cannot open a blog of Osama bin Laden in the United States,” he said.

Hailemariam is filling out the remainder of the late prime minister Meles’ term, which ends in 2015. He said if the ruling Ethiopia Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, or EPRDF, gives him the chance, he would like to serve at least one more term. But he added, “that will be a decision of the party”.

The EPRDF has held power in Addis Ababa since 1991, when it ousted the pro-Soviet Marxist dictator Mengistu Hailemariam after a lengthy armed struggle.

Ethiopian flight 409 might be a victim of Israel-Hizbullah war (Wikileaks)

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Wikileaks has released documents today that shed new light on what has cause the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 in 2009. The new WikiLeaks releases are email threads from the global intelligence firm Stratfor dating back to the time of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. While investigations were taking place in Beirut and Paris, Stratfor was prying for answers from different high level sources. The sources included a hospital director in Beirut, a Lebanese military source, and a Hezbollah media source… [read more]

For Susan Rice, a Chance for Redemption

Monday, September 24th, 2012

By Selam Beyene, PhD

The eulogy delivered in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa by Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, on the occasion of the funeral and mysterious death of dictator Meles Zenawi will probably go down in the annals of US diplomacy as one of the most inauspicious moments in which an opportunity was missed to assert the values of this great country.

To the dismay of the people of Ethiopia, the Ambassador failed to seize the moment to send an unwavering message of America’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law to a captive audience that included TPLF cadres and some of the most notorious African dictators, and instead chose to join the likes of Omar al-Bashir of Sudan in profiling a larger-than-life portrait of the deceased despot, who had ruled that poor African nation with an iron fist for over two decades.

In complete ignorance of her own State Department report on the abysmal human rights records of Zenawi, Rice gave credence to the outlandish fanfare the TPLF cadres had orchestrated, in a brazen imitation of the Kim of North Korea, to idolize the “Great Leader”, and added her voice to the ululation the inhabitants of Addis were dictated to wail under deplorable duress.

For a seasoned diplomat, that moment was a golden opportunity to reiterate to the cadres of the TPLF and other African dictators in attendance the timeless message of Barack Obama in which he perceptively counseled:

“…. there are some who advocate for democracy only when they’re out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. So no matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who would hold power: You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy. “

In point of fact, diplomats do not often get a second chance to redeem themselves from catastrophic missteps. Fortunately for Rice there is a second chance to make nice with the Ethiopian people and to discharge her diplomatic responsibilities with prudence by engaging the Ethiopian delegation on what is expected of good governance, when they come to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly on September 28, 2012.

Recognizing Ethiopia is at a crossroads, the Ambassador should exercise discreet diplomacy and send a strong message to the EPRDF kingmakers that the time to play ethnic politics is over; and that leaders who do not play by the rule of law, who consider themselves above the law and who deny their people basic human rights and the freedom to choose their own government, will be disallowed membership to the community of civilized nations and denied access to much-needed loans and financial assistance.

More importantly, the Ambassador should take to heart and reinforce Barack Obama’s direction:

“… Governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments– provided they govern with respect for all their people.”

Following the unexpected demise of Meles Zenawi, leaders of his ethnic-based party, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and the umbrella front, the EPRDF, have on many occasions expressed their determination to continue his repressive policies by other means, without regard to the rights and aspirations of the people of Ethiopia for a free and all-inclusive representative government.

Many peace and freedom loving Ethiopians hope that the recent announcement by the regime’s propaganda chief, Bereket Simon, concerning the appointments of Hailemariam Dessalegn, a Southerner, as chairman and Demeke Mekonnen, an Amhara, as vice-chairman, of the EPRDF, is not a window-dressing move intended to enable the perpetuation of the ethnocentric dictatorship of the TPLF, that still is in full control of the vital economic, military and security institutions of the country.

Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora anxiously pray that the EPRDF cadres are not succumbing to an age-old trick of dictators who appoint figureheads and hold sham elections in order to buy time to eliminate opponents and entrench themselves in power. They painfully remember all too well how Mengistu HaileMariam deceptively used this ruse when he placed Aman Andom, an Eritrean, and later Teferi Banti, an Oromo, as heads of state, before he conveniently eliminated them and imposed his brand of brutal dictatorship.

With the vast majority of the army generals still hailing from the minority Tigrai ethnic group, TPLF affiliated conglomerates controlling the vital economic activities in the country, journalists and other dissenting members of the society languishing in prison in thousands, major opposition groups completely shut out from the political process, and all relevant mediums of communication controlled by the ruling party, many genuine Ethiopians wait to be convinced that it is not a charade for the EPRDF cadres to pretend they have a change of heart in naming members of other ethnic groups to leadership positions.

The Ambassador and the US government have a historic opportunity to impress on the EPRDF cadres to establish a strong Ethiopia and leave a lasting legacy by abandoning the destructive ethnic policy of the late dictator, and opening the door for genuine dialogue and discourse on the way forward to building a better Ethiopia – an Ethiopia in which individual rights will be respected; everyone will have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and no individual or group will be above the law.

All internal and external players should understand the bitter fact that a minority member of a society cannot continue to rule, repress, exploit and deny the basic rights of the vast majority through force, repression, subterfuge and espionage. History has shown time and again, be it in Apartheid South Africa or Ian Smiths’ Rhodesia, that repression and exploitation by a minority ethnic group would inevitably fade away. Failure to understand this historical verity has drastic consequences; and as John F. Kennedy famously said: “Those who make peaceful evolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”.

In case the EPRDF leaders and their sponsors find it necessary to be reminded, the following are prudent measures, embraced by all freedom and peace loving Ethiopians, that should be implemented immediately as a demonstration of goodwill and readiness to change :

  • Release, unconditionally, all political prisoners, including such journalists as Eskinder Nega.
  • Annul all repressive laws promulgated in the name of “war on terror” but intended to harass, intimidate and incarcerate opposition groups and individuals.
  • Invite all opposition groups inside and outside of Ethiopia who fight for the establishment of rule of law and democracy in Ethiopia, and form a consensus on a framework for establishing democracy in the country.
  • Permit unfettered freedom of speech and expression.
  • Desist from implementing irresponsible economic and fiscal policies, abandon the current campaign of land grabs, and foster a market economy where all citizens participate in business opportunities without regard to political, religious or ethnic affiliations.
  • Diversify the monolithic army leadership through active recruitment of talents from all ethnic groups that constitute the Ethiopian mosaic.

(The writer can be reached at Selam Beyene, Ph.D. beyene50@gmail.com)

Ethiopia: A New Prime Minister in a New Year

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

By Alemayehu G Mariam

hmEthiopians had their new year on September 11. It is now 2005. On September 21, they also got a new prime minster. How delightfully felicitous to have a new prime minister in the new year! Heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to the people of Ethiopia are in order.

Hailemariam Desalegn was sworn in as prime minister before a special session of parliament. It was a rather low key affair with little pomp and circumstance. There were no parades and no sounds of bugle or trumpet announcing the changing of the guard. No inaugural balls. It was a starkly scripted ceremonial affair with minimal fanfare and political theatricality. Some 375 of the 547 members of Parliament sat quietly and heard Hailemariam recite the oath of office and gave him a hearty round of applause.

Since late May, Hailemariam has been operating in political limbo. He was officially described as “deputy”, “acting” and “interim” prime minster, the latter two offices unauthorized by the Constitution of Ethiopia. There were also some nettlesome constitutional questions about the duties of the deputy prime minister in the absence of the prime minister and the proper method of succession. Those issues aside, Hailemariam’s swearing in ceremony was scheduled on several prior occasions only to be cancelled without adequate explanation.  The abrupt cancellations fueled all types of speculations and conspiracy theories about turmoil and confusion  among the ruling elites. To complicate things further, it was officially announced days before the actual swearing in ceremony that Hailemariam would be sworn in early October. For some publicly unexplained reason, a special session of parliament was suddenly called for the purpose of naming a prime minister creating additional public confusion about the manifest dithering among the power elites.

Hailemariam takes office under a cloud of apprehension. Speculations abound that he is really a “figure head”, a “front man” and a “seat warmer” for the entrenched interests in a transitional period. Critics suggest that he will have little independence of action and will be puppet-mastered by those who control the politics and economy behind the scenes. Others suggest that he is a “technocract” who is unlikely to survive in a political machine that is lubricated by intrigue, cabalist conspiracy and skullduggery. But some, including myself, have taken a  wait-and-see attitude and would like to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Hailemariam’s “inauguration speech” hammered the theme of “Stay the Course.” He said under his leadership the programs and projects that have been initiated and underway will continue to completion. “Our task is to stay the course on the path to firm development guided by the policies and strategies [of our party]. We will continue to pursue development and democracy by strengthening our collective leadership and by mobilizing the people.” He said modernizing agriculture and the rural economy by accelerating agricultural development were top priorities. His government “will work hard” to improve agricultural infrastructure. He promised help to cattle raisers. He emphasized the need for better educational quality and entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth. He said the country needs a curriculum focused on science, technology and math. His administration will work hard to expand opportunities for women and pay greater attention to women’s health and improved health care services to mothers. He called upon the intellectuals and professional associations to engage in rigorous applied policy analysis and research to solve practical problems.

Hailemariam said his vision is to see Ethiopia join the middle income countries in ten years. To achieve that, he said significant improvements are needed in industry and manufacturing. His administration will pay special attention to remove development bottlenecks, improve the export sector and facilitate greater cooperation between the private sector and the government. He promised to work hard to alleviate housing and transportation problems in Addis Ababa. He touched upon the economy noting that though inflation is coming down, much more action is needed to bring it under control. He urged Ethiopians to bite the bullet (tirs neksen) and make sure the existing plans for ground and rail transportation, hydroelectric power generation and telecommunications are successfully executed. He pledged to complete the “Hedasse Gidib” (“Renassaince Dam”) over the Blue Nile. He referred to corruption and mismanagement in land administration, rent and tax collections and public contracts and pledged to get the public involved in eliminating them. He noted that there were significant deficits in good governance in the operation of the police, courts, security system that need to be improved.

Hailemariam emphasized that importance of human rights. He urged the parliamentary oversight committee to review the work of the Human Rights Commission for improvements. He underscored the vital role of the  Elections Commission, the Human Rights Commission, press organizations and opposition parties in the country’s democratization. He said he was ready to work “closely” with press organizations, civic society institutions and other entities engaged in the democratic process.  On foreign policy, he focused on regional issues, Ethiopia’s contribution to peace-building in Somalia, South Sudan and the  Sudan.

The speech could best be described as “technocratic” in the sense that it focused on ways of solving the  complex problems facing the country. The speech was short on rhetoric, oratory, appeals to the pathos of the masses and big new ideas and promises.  He did not sugarcoat the deep economic problems of the country with hyperbolic claims of 14 percent annual growth nor did he make any grandiose claims about Ethiopia as the “one of the fastest-growing, non-oil-dependent economies in the developing world”. There were no impactful or memorable lines or sound bite phrases in the speech. He offered no inspirational exhortations in words which “soared to poetic heights, igniting the imagination with vivid imagery”. There were no anecdotes or storytelling about the plight of the poor and the toiling masses. It was a speech intended to serve as a call to action with the message that he will work hard and asks the people to join him. He spoke of responsibility, hard work, willingness to lead, standing up to challenges, engaging the opposition, civil society and press institutions, etc.  for the purpose of improving the  lives of the people.

Hailemariam’s speech was a refreshing change from similar speeches of  yester years in a number of ways. It was delivered in a dignified and statesmanlike manner. It was not an ideologically laced speech despite repeated references to the guiding grand plan. It was accommodating and bereft of any attitude of the old militaristic and aggressive tone of “my way or the highway.” There was no finger pointing and demonization. He did not use the old tricks of “us v. them”. He did not come across as an arrogant know-it-all ideologue. He offered olive branches to the opposition, the press and other critics of the ruling party. What was even more interesting was that he did not pull out the old straw men and whipping boys of  “neoliberalism”, “neocolonialism”, and “imperialism” to pin the blame on them for Ethiopia’s problems. He did not pull any punches against the local opposition or neighboring countries. He used no threats and words of intimidation.  Even when he addressed the issues of corruption, mismanagement and abuse of power, he aimed for legal accountability rather than issuing   empty condemnatory words or threats.

Another surprising aspect was the fact that the speech contained none of the old triumphalism, celebratory lap running and victorious chest-beating exercises. There was no display of strength of the ruling party, no self-congratulations and ego stroking. He softly challenged the opposition and the people to work together in dealing with the country’s problems.  His speech seemed to be aimed more at making the people think and act on existing plans than making new promises. Over all, the speech was written with intelligence, thoughtfulness and purpose. Hailemariam spoke in a cool and collected manner and tried to get his points across directly. What he lacked in rhetorical flair, he made up with a projection of self-assurance, humility, respectability and profesionalism.

What Was Not Said

There were various things that were not said. Though Hailemariam acknowledged the structural economic problems and the soaring inflation, he offered no short-term remedial plans.  He repeatedly came back to  “stay the course”  theme. Does “staying the course” mean “our way or the highway”?  Is national reconciliation an idea the ruling party will consider? There was no indication in the speech about the transitional process itself, but he did offer what appeared to be olive branches to the opposition, the press and others.

Hailemariam also did not give any indication about the release of the large numbers of political prisoners that are held throughout the country. Nor did he mention anything about re-drafting the various repressive press, civil society and so-called anti-terrorism laws. For over a decade, all of the major international human rights and press organizations have condemned the government in Ethiopia for its flagrant violations of human rights, illegal detention of   dissidents and suppression of press institutions and persecution of journalists.

Words and Actions: Shoes of the New Prime Minister

It is often hard to judge politicians by the speeches they make. It is not uncommon for politicians to deliver inspirational speeches and come up short on the action side of things. It is true that action speaks louder than words. In his speech, it seems Hailemariam sought to move himself, his party and the people to action. But he is in a difficult situation. He feels, or is forced to feel, that he has to “fill in big shoes”.  He said he will walk in  footsteps that have already been stamped out. But the shoe that fits one person pinches another. But for all the hero worship, Hailemariam must realize that there is a difference between shoes and boots. For two decades, boots, not shoes, were worn. Those boots have made a disfiguring impression on the Ethiopian landscape. It must be hard to pretend to walk in the shoes of someone who had sported heavy boots. The problem is what happens when one wears someone else’s shoes that do not fit. Do you then change the shoe or the foot?  I hope Hailemariam will in time learn to walk in the shoes of the ordinary Ethiopian. He will find out that those shoes are tattered and their soles full of holes. Once he has walked a mile in those shoes, he will understand what it will take to get every Ethiopian new shoes. He must also realize that “it isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” There comes a time when we all need new shoes. That time is now. All Ethiopians need new shoes for the long walk to freedom, democracy and human rights. Prime Minster Hailemariam does not need hand-me down shoes; he needs shoes that are just his size and style and rugged enough for the long haul.

I believe Hailemariam gave a good “professional” speech. I do not think it will be remembered for any memorable lines, phrases or grand ideas. It was a speech that fit the man who stood before parliament and took the oath of office. As a self-described utopian Ethiopian, I thought the very fact of Hailemariam taking the oath of office symbolically represented the dawn of a long-delayed democracy in Ethiopia. Few would have expected a man from one of the country’s minority ethnic group to rise to such heights. Whether by design, accident or fortune, Hailemariam’s presence to take the oath of office, even without a speech or a statement, would have  communicated a profound message about Ethiopia’s inevitable and unstoppable transition to democracy. Most importantly, now any Ethiopian boy or girl from any part of the country could genuinely aspire to become prime minister regardless of his/her ethnicity, region, language or religion.

I do not know if  history will remember Hailemariam’s “inaugural” speech as a game changer. History will judge him not for the words he spoke or did not speak when he took the oath of office but for his actions after he became prime minister. It’s premature to judge. I like the fact that he appeared statesmanlike, chose his words carefully, focused on facts and presented himself in businesslike manner. It is encouraging that he   expressed commitment to work hard to make Ethiopia a middle income country within a decade. He showed a practical sense of mission and vision while keeping expectations to reasonable levels.

To be Or Not To Be a Prime Minister

“Being Prime Minister is a lonely job,” wrote Maggie Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minsiter. “In a sense it ought to be; you cannot lead from a crowd.” I would say being a prime minister for Hailemariam, as the first prime minster from a minority ethnic group, will be not only lonely but tough as well. But somebody has got to do it. Hailemariam has his work cut out for him and he will face great challenges from within and without, as will the people of Ethiopia. I wish him well paraphrasing Winston Churchill who told his people in their darkest hour:

I would say to the House as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Democracy. Democracy at all costs. Democracy in spite of all terror. Democracy, however long and hard the road may be, for without democracy there is no survival.”

I believe Ethiopia will survive and thrive and her transition to democracy is irreversible, inevitable, unstoppable and divinely ordained!

On a personal note, I would give Prime Minster Hailemariam a bit of unsolicited advice. Smile a little because when you smile the whole world, not just the whole of Ethiopia, smiles with you!

Amharic translations of recent commentaries by the author may be found at: http://www.ethiopianreview.com/amharic/?author=57

Previous commentaries by the author are available at: http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/  and www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/

Stop bullshitting

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

By Elias Kifle

After I wrote a commentary a few days ago saying that we Ethiopians need to give the new prime minister some time to prove himself worthy of our support, I have received a flood of responses from some who supported my call, others who strongly opposed me, and a few who are in the middle. Supporters of TPLF are also disguising themselves as opposition and trying to exploit the discussion to their advantage. They want Hailemariam to fail so that they will return to power.

To my surprise, the most aggressive criticism of what I’ve said came mostly (not all, but mostly) from individuals who are contributing little or nothing to the struggle for freedom in Ethiopia. By contrast, those who have been expressing goodwill toward Hailemariam are mostly those who have been active in the struggle. My focus in this commentary are the cynics.

One of those cynical individuals is a friend of mine who called me on Friday afternoon, right after the new prime minister was sworn in, to give me tongue lashing. She said, ‘How dare you ask us to support Hailemariam? How is he better than Meles? Nothing has changed… Didn’t’ you hear his speech today? He didn’t give any hint of change… I am angry at you… etc.’

I asked her: ‘Did you expect Hailemariam, who is currently surrounded by TPLF hynas, to say any thing that would antagonize them? Do you want him to get assassinated? Do you want him to become another Teferi Benti or Aman Andom?’

My friend: ‘At least he could have hinted that there will be changes and that he will release the political prisoners… He is too weak to say or do any thing that contradicts the wishes of his TPLF bosses…’

Me: ‘Do you mean Hailemariam should be brave like Andualem, Eskindir, Prof. Asrat…? I am sure you would not shed a drop of tear if TPLF put a bullet in his head? What have you done when TPLF jailed brave Ethiopians like Andualem? What have you done when Meles gunned down all those young pro-democracy protestors in the streets of Addis Ababa? I bet you didn’t lose even one hour of sleep over that…’

Not surprisingly, my friend did not have any answer.

It is the same story with many (not all) of those who are now condemning Hailemariam before the guy was not even sworn in. Such individuals are engaged in nothing more than political bullshitting. Empty talk, no action! They come up with all kinds of excuses not to support opposition groups and the independent media. And yet, they have no shame in expecting some one to sacrifice himself.

Let’s be serious: Was it really that difficult to overthrow Meles Zenawi, or at least force him to come to the negotiation table? Meles’s strength was our apathy, laziness, and disunity. Meles could not have thrown the political leaders and journalists in jail had enough people been serious about the struggle. Without firing a single shot, through economic boycott alone, we could have crippled Meles and his Woyanne junta. It is because most people have become so selfish and stopped caring for one another that very few people have to pay heavy sacrifices.

Hailemariam cannot do any thing by himself. His first priority is not our demand. It should be his own survival. He is surrounded by TPLF, a gang of cold-blooded murderers who are capable of killing him in a split second. To me, the fact that Ethiopia is no longer led by an evil dictator who hated her and her people is by itself a major change. By all accounts Hailemariam is not an evil person, and he doesn’t hate Ethiopia. I heard from various people who know him closely that he is a decent man. That is a good starting point. Now it is up to us to help him transition Ethiopia to genuine democracy by weakening and defeating the enemy, TPLF. We have the power to defeat TPLF without firing a shot. Let’s do it.

If you want Hailemariam to release the political prisoners, I have this message for you: get off your butt and let’s campaign against the TPLF, not Hailemariam. Let’s boycott all business enterprises that are controlled by TPLF, such as Ethiopian Airlines (that is headed by an incompetent TPLF cadre named Tewolde Gebremariam), Wugagan Bank (owned by Sebhat Nega), Guna Trading (controlled by Azeb Mesfin) and others. For the next 3 month or so let’s also reduce the money we send to our families in Ethiopia by 20 – 30 percent. TPLF will be forced to agree to release all the political prisoners, or else they will run out of money. That is how the U.S. forced TPLF to accept Hailemariam as prime minister. There was no money in the bank after Meles Zenawi’s family and friends looted the treasury. Banks had stopped giving hard currency to importers. The economy, that is dominated by TPLF, was about to collapse. The U.S. promised them hard currency infusion if they do not block Hailemariam from becoming prime minister. They relented. We can do the same think. We can force TPLF to accept our demands.

If you are not willing to take part in such campaign, shut the hell up please.

African land grab leads to famine: Obang’s address to conference in Germany

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Obang Metho speaks about  Land, Water and Resource-Grabbing and Its Impact on Food Security in Africa

At the 1st Africa Congress on Effective Cooperation for a Green Africa in Bremerhaven, Germany

Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE)

Thank you for inviting me to address the 1st Africa Congress on Effective Cooperation for a Green Africa (ECOGA).  It is a great honor for me to be here with you and I am humbled to be one of the keynote speakers on a topic of such great importance to Africa and the world beyond. Before I start, I would like to thank Mr. Arne Dunker, the Executive Director of Klimahaus, (Climate House), a brilliant way of letting others experience the different climates of the world within one building without going anywhere. It is a unique way to educate the people about preserving our environment. Even the rooms used at this conference are named as significant symbols of concerns regarding global warming raised at the Kyoto Accord and Montreal Accord. I would also like to thank the Society for Threatened Peoples, Jens Tanneberg, Dr. Eva Quante‐Brandt, Dr. Auma Obama, Ken Nyauncho Osinde, Dr. Nkechi Madubuko and other dignitaries here.

As I speak about the relationship between land, water and resource use related to food insecurity; particularly related to what I have called the “Second Scramble for African Land, Water and Resources,” I will not only be speaking of Africa as a whole, but I will be speaking as an insider—as someone who comes from this land and soil called Africa; in particular, from the Gambella region of Ethiopia in East Africa, which enables me to use my own experience as a microcosm of what is most at risk on the continent. Yet, the issues of Africa are also global issues that will positively or negatively impact our global society.  As global citizens, we will best flourish when we respect the rights of others for “no one will be free until all are free.”  This is a fundamental principle of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), the social justice movement of which I am the executive director.

We are all connected together not only by living our lives together on this planet, but by the God-given humanity within each of us, which should be a bridge to valuing “others” – including those unlike us—putting “humanity before ethnicity” or any other differences. This is another fundamental principle of the SMNE for our humanity has no ethnic, religious, political or national boundaries while the dehumanization of “others” has repeatedly led to genocide, injustice, exploitation, corruption, poverty  and deadly violence. When I speak, I am talking not only about my life and the future of my children and grandchildren but also of yours. It is that same inter-connectedness that brought me here today to address this audience made up of some of the top thinkers and decision-makers related to a “Green Africa,” even though I grew up in one of the most remote and marginalized regions of Ethiopia, on the border of South Sudan.

I come from a tiny, previously unknown, and now what some consider to be an endangered people group called Anuak, which means, “people who eat together, who laugh together and who share.” Anuak indigenous land stretches between eastern South Sudan and western Ethiopia, dividing the Anuak between two separate countries. When the civil war was going on in Southern Sudan, tens of thousands of refugees from every ethnicity, passed through our land, seeking refuge and peace. The Anuak of Gambella, Ethiopia would often supplies food and water to the weary refugees as they fled war-torn Sudan.

Sadly, right now, the Anuak, nearly all small subsistence farmers, are becoming refugees in their own land as they are internally displaced from indigenous land their ancestors have possessed for centuries. They have become “discardable” people by a regime that wants their land, but not them, in order to lease it to foreigners and regime-cronies for commercial farms. They are not alone; millions of other Ethiopians and Africans from countries all over the continent are facing the same plight.

One of the greatest threats Africa has ever faced is the impact from this new phenomenon of land-grabbing. In many places, these land grabs are going on without any input from stakeholders and without any compensation for lost lands, homes, crops and livelihoods. Small farmers are ill-prepared for the sudden dispossession of their land and with it, the means to their livelihood. Lacking education or training for other jobs, some have become a source of cheap labor as they are left without alternative means for survival. These foreign investors, countries and regime cronies are often making secretive leasing agreements with authoritarian regimes that give them millions of hectares of land for next to nothing for periods of time as long as 99 years in some cases.

With the current concerns for food security, especially in a changing climate where our soaring world population is expected to reach nine billion inhabitants by 2050—only 38 years from now, unused and underutilized land, with access to water for irrigation, has become the new “precious commodity” sometimes called “green gold.” Add to that the ever-increasing global need for resources like minerals, oil, natural gas and commodities in general and where do eyes turn but towards Africa, a continent with great reserves of rich, untapped resources. This is what is driving the second scramble for Africa.

During the first scramble for Africa, foreign slave-traders trafficked African human beings with assistance from partners on the inside, Africans themselves, who were wanting to profit from the betrayal of their fellow African brothers and sisters, especially those from competing tribes. Divide and conquer policies made it easier for outsiders to align with some African opportunists, the powerful among them, who then became complicit with these outsiders in the exploitation of other Africans. Colonialism, while making some genuine contributions to Africa, is still broadly considered one of the darkest of times in the history of humanity, marked by the ruthless, exploitive and dehumanizing pursuit of slave labor, economic profit and power from Africans and Africa.

This pursuit of Africa’s people as marketable commodities and of Africa’s many resources led to foreign-led minority rule, which was maintained through divide and conquer strategies, later adopted by African strongmen. The continent has not recovered. These African strongmen, with their “tribal-based groups” continue today. Even in Ethiopia, where colonial efforts failed, feudalism succeeded—with similar results. Whether colonialism or feudalism, both systems fed off of the manipulation of tribalism or its weaknesses. Now, “one-tribe-take-all” politics, with its “colonial” or “feudal” strongmen, has infected much of Africa and can be seen in the ethnic-based, one-party regimes typical of most dictatorships on the continent. Conflict never resolves as one group thrives—usually a minority of the population—while everyone else struggles. If another group comes into power; the pattern is oftentimes repeated. Strong institutions for checks and balances do not exist or when they do, they are pseudo-institutions, controlled by those in power. These non-representative governments continue to epitomize what happened at the Berlin conference of 1885, held only a short distance from where we are today, when Europeans met to divvy up the continent of Africa based on their self-interests. No Africans were present.  Now, modern-day African dictators are doing the same.

Thirsty for power, material wealth and privilege, and empowered by foreign and crony partners and heavy-handed militaries, they are divvying up the indigenous land and resources of the African people, without consulting the people or providing compensation for losses, as required under international law and many national constitutions. The people are disempowered, intimidated or “bought off.” The environment has never been at greater risk as short-term interests and quick gain trumps the political will to give oversight to ecological concerns surrounding development projects.

From 2008 until now, some 204 million acres of land (approximately 80 million hectares) have been leased worldwide. The majority of it is in Africa. Within the African continent, Ethiopia is at the forefront of these land-grab deals. Within Ethiopia, no place has been more affected than my own home region of Gambella, which has now become the epicenter of land-grabs in the world. Let me share with you how it happened and how these land-grabs are contributing to food insecurity in a place where people have not had to rely on outsiders to feed them until now.

In 2008, the authoritarian regime, led by the recently deceased Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, made a secretive deal with Karuturi Global LTD, an Indian-run commercial agricultural operation. In that deal, they leased 100,000 hectares for fifty years, with the promise of 200,000 more hectares when they developed the first section; making it the largest commercial farm in the world.

Most of the produce is destined for export to India or other commodity markets. Some of the local Anuak have been employed by Karuturi, but wages are mostly below the World Bank’s established poverty level. In one year, from 2009 to 2010, the number of private investors in the Gambella region—mostly companies from India, Saudi Arabia, China and regime cronies— mushroomed from close to zero to nearly 900. They include Saudi Star, owned by Sheik Mohammed al Amoudi, a half Ethiopian-half Saudi billionaire, who allegedly will be exporting the food to Saudi Arabia. This past year, armed insurgents, opposed to the land grabs, broke into their headquarters and killed a number of Saudi Star employees, an indication of potential for violence in some of these communities opposed to the expropriation of land from the local people.

A land study completed for the Ethiopian government in 1995 highlighted the value of the Gambella region as being a potential breadbasket of Ethiopia because of its fertile land and plentiful water in the lowlands of the Upper Nile headwaters. It was an undeveloped region of great bio-diversity, abundant wildlife and virgin forests. Around the same time, oil was found. Finding resources on your land is like finding cancer in your body—it threatens your life and future—especially in a country where the people are seen as impediments rather than valued; even more so if these people demand their rights under their own constitution and international law.

In 2003, the regime went after the oil. The first step was to silence those Anuak leaders who were most outspoken regarding having a say—a right within the Ethiopian Constitution—in the development of the oil reserves on Anuak indigenous land. Starting on December 13, 2003, armed Ethiopian Defense Forces, accompanied by civilian militias equipped by the regime with machetes, attacked and brutally murdered 424 Anuak leaders within a span of three days. The bodies were buried in mass graves. Women were raped and homes, clinics and schools destroyed; followed by over two more years of widespread perpetration of human rights crimes and destruction. I personally knew over 300 of those killed during this 3-day massacre; among them were relatives, classmates and colleagues in the development work I was doing in the area. The regime covered it all up and attributed it to ethnic conflict between the Anuak and another indigenous ethnic group. A Chinese company, under the auspices of Petronas of Malaysia, began drilling for oil at the very same time. As long as they were there, the human rights crimes continued.

Genocide Watch completed two reports, classifying it as genocide targeting a specific people group, the Anuak, and determining that those in the highest offices of the country were involved in its planning and execution. Human Rights Watch did two reports and found widespread crimes against humanity related to the oil drilling.

In 2007, when the drilling only produced dry wells, the troops were moved to southeastern Ethiopia and Somalia where many similar crimes were committed against civilians of the Ogaden region.[i] Now, the Ethiopian government has announced that they will be partnering in the extraction of oil from the Ogaden region.

If you fast-forward to the present time in Gambella, it is now the grabbing of land, the forced eviction of the local people and the renewed human rights crimes perpetrated by the military against any resistance to the above that threatens the Anuak and other indigenous people.   In 2011, we in the SMNE partnered with the Oakland Institute (OI)[ii] to complete a comprehensive study on the nature of these land grabs, “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Ethiopia.” It was part of a larger study done by OI and other partners of a number of other African countries.

Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch completed an investigation of the impact of these land grabs on the local people. They reported on the forced eviction of 70,000 indigenous people from their homes and farms in Gambella, with plans to eventually move a total of 245,000 people—three-quarters of the total population in the region. (See Human Rights Watch Report)[iii] The regime has alleged that the resettlement moves were voluntary and motivated by the regime’s intention to better provide services such as clean water, medical care and schools; but in actuality, the people were forced to move to “villagization centers” where many people ended up living under trees and to areas where services, fertile land and access to water were far inferior, less accessible or non-existent.

Some of those who have been displaced are people I personally know, so when I am talking about the impact, I know many of their stories.  I know that those forced off their land are now struggling to eat.  I know about the huge areas of virgin forests that have been cut down to clear vast fields for planting. I know how vulnerable the rivers are to pollution from chemicals and fertilizers. These are rivers from which I used to drink or fish. I know how the wildlife will be jeopardized. I know how those who resist are beaten, killed, disappeared or arrested. This is not only happening in Gambella and in Ethiopia but wherever people have no rights and where others covet their resources or land. This is confirmed by the PBS documentary http://cironline.org/reports/ethiopia-battle-land-and-water entitled: The latest battleground in the global race to secure prized farmland and water and another video done by the Guardian http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt22chvx_yQ&feature=related

 

 

Land-grabs Undermine Food Security in Places Previously Independent of Food Aid

When we talk about food shortages in 2008 and food insecurity in general, we are not talking about the people in the rural areas of Africa where these land grabs are going on because these people, under normal conditions, have nearly always been able to feed themselves. These people will now be the ones to go hungry because their land is being used to feed the world, but not themselves.

Here are some facts on food security in Africa:

According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO):

  •  One out of three persons in Sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished.

According to the African Human Development Report of 2012[iv] that focuses on improving food security:

  • Over 41% of children, under the age of five in Sub-Saharan Africa, had stunted growth. Their projection for 2020 only went down by 1%.
  • Hunger in Africa is the highest in the world.

In the June, 2011 quarterly issue of the African Food Security Brief[v], they report:

  • Sub-Saharan African countries reported an increase in cereal production in 2010 from 2009, but it failed to result in increased food security in many of the countries studied.

Modern-day dictatorships set the foundation for the second scramble for African resources.

Where there is no freedom, no voice or no justice, the rights and interests of the people are ignored, forgotten or abused. Let’s look at some recent statistics that link poor African governance and the lack of freedom to food insecurity and the threat of land and resource grabbing.

  • Africans are among the least free people on earth.[vi]
  • According to a 2012 report from Freedom House,[vii] five of the ten countries in the world suffering the greatest aggregate declines in freedom from 2007 to 2011, were in Africa.
  • Topping the list of those countries experiencing the greatest declines in freedom over the past two years were: The Gambia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda and Djibouti.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, 82% of the countries studied were only partly free or not free; contrasted with Europe, where 96% of the countries are free, with only 4% being partly free and none being not free.
  • In terms of the population, 88% of Sub-Saharan Africans are only partly free or not free whereas 13% of Europeans are partly free and no country within Europe is considered “not free.”
  • Interestingly, two African countries made the list of countries that have seen the greatest net gains in freedom. They are Tunisia and Egypt, both of whom overthrew their authoritarian leaders in the Arab Spring, following decades of repressive rule; hopefully, they will continue in this direction.

Freedom House saw the greatest declines in freedom in these countries in respect to the rule of law and freedom of association with other noted declines related to flawed elections, suppression of the political opposition, the media, journalists and civil society; and in my own country, Ethiopia, the use of anti-terrorism laws to target political opponents and journalists. 

I was recently charged by the current government of Ethiopia, and convicted in absentia, of terrorism, without ever receiving a single document regarding it. I received hundreds of calls and emails of congratulations from Ethiopians complimenting me for making the list as it meant the government saw our work as a threat to their authoritarian rule. Sadly, some of Ethiopia’s most democratic and valiant voices for freedom have been locked up and tortured within Ethiopia.[viii]

Dictatorships, crony-capitalism and corruption will block food security despite efforts.

Meles Zenawi, the architect of the Ethiopian system of increasing authoritarianism, has died. Under his leadership, Ethiopia had plans to lease 4 million hectares of land to foreign and crony investor. Accompanying these secretive land deals are record amounts of illicit capital leakage from the country. Preceding the release of a more comprehensive study by Global Financial Integrity on Illicit Financial Outflows from Developing Countries Over the Decade Ending in 2009,[ix] they chose to highlight Ethiopia.

They reported $11.7 billion (USD) leaving the country in the period of 2000- 2009 and a shocking $3.26 billion USD in 2009 alone—the first year of record land acquisitions. They stated: “The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry. No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming upstream against the current of illicit capital leakage.”

 

Not only is money from investment, foreign aid and funds for development blocked from reaching the people, but an atmosphere of corruption prevents better models of investment from materializing. Corruption deters ethical investors from doing business in Africa—decreasing good economic opportunities for Africans and instead increasing their food insecurity. In the second scramble for Africa, it is no longer the people who are sought after, but instead it is their land, water and resources. In Ethiopia, anyone who stands against these land-grabs is called “anti-development,” “anti-investment” or “anti-economic growth” and becomes a target of the regime while investors and companies willing to give bribes and kickbacks, while ignoring the violation of rights on the ground, are becoming complicit with Africa’s corrupt governments in its abuse of the people.

No one will argue with the fact that Africa desperately needs development, investment and economic growth, but what is needed is the right kind of investor and development. In western countries, laws protect the people, but in most of Africa, those laws are absent or not enforced. The people of Africa seek investors who will partner with the people in mutually beneficial and sustainable economic opportunities; however, most of these kinds of investors, developers and partners shy away from much of Africa because of the very real risks of doing business there. 

Those ethical foreign and local investors and developers, who do take the risk, usually do so with caution and on a limited basis; however, many simply refuse to even attempt to do business in Africa—or within most countries of Africa—because of its corruption, its lack of infrastructure, its insecurity and the unreliability of the forever changing whims and politics of its authoritarian political leaders.

A representative from a major agricultural company shared recently that they were only willing to do business in five African countries at this time because of the expectation of bribes by public officials and because their company had strict policies against bribery.

This decision is confirmed in a soon-to-be-released survey of eight East African countries by Transparency International and its East African Chapters. In their preview of it, they report that “more than half of all those who deal with public service providers are forced to pay bribes.”[x] Despite the 37 signatories to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD),[xi] against bribery and corruption and its mission to improve the economic and social well being of the people of the world, bribery is still rampant, with many countries still not signatories or where signatories, many still have shown a lack of political will to enforce compliance. Germany is the second greatest enforcer of this act, only exceeded by the United States, with a higher population. 

Unfortunately, where impunity exists, corrupt practices give unfair advantage to corrupt partners and undermine opportunity for principled economic partners who comply voluntarily or because of anti-bribery laws in their own countries. Such ethical partners should be rewarded once these countries are freed from the hands of their strongmen, but until then, Africans depend on these foreign partners to uphold honest and fair business practice. If Africa is not going to fall victim to the next scramble, it cannot be done alone without such international cooperation. Additionally, the people of Africa must press their countries for needed reforms, transparency, accountability, and improved regional and continental cooperation. Africa has 54 countries and 1.2 billion people who must take charge of their future.

As long as Africans are denied land tenure; food insecurity will continue.

Mohammed Ibrahim, Africa’s billionaire who is offering rich payoff’s to African leaders who do not take kickbacks says there is no justification for Africa being poor due to its immense wealth. He blames Africans for the way they govern themselves. He believes if African leaders were not so corrupt, that many more investors would be interested in investing. Every year he publishes a report, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, looking at 86 indicators in Africa’s 54 states; ranking them accordingly. Accountability is one factor he believes is missing from most. In 2011 he gives Sierra Leone and Liberia some of the best marks for improvement even though they are not at the top. In regards to Sudan and South Sudan, he states in a recent interview by the Wall Street Journal,[xii]In the absence of security, who can talk about development?”  Sudan is his homeland.

However, he voices concern for most of Africa regarding a total disregard for property rights.  He says, “The glaring issue here is the land title. Almost without exception, states hold title to everything… this means the 70% of Africans who farm for a living can’t monetize their profits, they have no collateral—if you don’t have title, how can you raise money, how can you borrow money? It’s a major issue in agricultural development, and it needs to be faced head-on.”

Like he says, land tenure is a major problem in ensuring food security and gives the legal justification for land-grabs. These unfair laws should be challenged and changed. Until Africans can own land, these problems will continue. Africans must demand the right to own land.

The SMNE will be publishing a study on the relationship of food insecurity to the lack of land tenure in Ethiopia. It was done in partnership with the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. It affirms all that Mr. Ibriham has said. This one factor, land tenure, would help the small farmers to multiply their productivity; yet, it goes back to the overwhelming need on the continent for freedom.

The rule of law is a weapon against hunger; where it exists, the people are more food secure.

No foreign country would ever come to Germany and kick the people out from their homes and land with no benefit to the people. No outside country could go to Canada to exploit the forests for its lumber; chopping down the trees and not caring about the effect on the ecology and the people; it would never be accepted.  It is like someone going to Saudi Arabia and taking all the oil and not caring that the Saudi people did not have any oil to heat their homes or to run their cars. It is like depleting the fish on the coast off of Japan, and leaving none for the locals.  Every well-functioning country has laws to protect the rights of the local people. This kind of exploitation only happens in those places where there are no strong regulatory mechanisms or where there is a government who does not care about the people. Unless there are ethics or laws, the privileged and the powerful will take all the advantages; leaving the most vulnerable out.

We live in a world where the balance between the advantaged and disadvantaged is large; like in the case of the exploitation of minerals in the Congo. If those minerals were found in West London or in New York State, the people of that place would benefit, but in the Congo, it is the African strongmen and their partners in many forms—other strongmen, opportunistic nations, corporations or even donor nations. If you are not strong, you are on your own. In some cases, those who are benefiting do not want the people empowered or awakened because if the people knew their rights; the daylight robbery of the people would stop and fairer competition and the rule of law would inhibit exploitation.

In Africa, the people often do not know their rights because they are intentionally denied knowledge and information. Ethiopia is the fourth least prepared country in the world for technological expansion.[xiii] The reason is because the dictatorial government has been so effective in using imported technology from China to limit the free-flow of information to their own people. Ethiopia should be embarrassed to have one of the lowest percentages of people with cell phones, Internet service or telephone landlines on the entire African continent.[xiv] All of these blocks to information hold the people back and keep the country hostage to poverty, hunger and starvation.

For many Africans, their land is the only thing they have. They are uneducated and ill-prepared for jobs beyond farming if suddenly forced from making their livelihoods in this way. For example, in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia live some of the most isolated and neglected of people on earth. Left alone, they have survived because of their land and water. Now, the Ethiopian government plans on taking their land and water away from them without giving them any benefits in order to make way for government-controlled sugar plantations. Who will speak for the people of the Omo Valley?  Their government, who should be setting the regulations to protect them, is instead complicit. As a result, they become the victims. They will struggle and some, if not many, will die of hunger or related health issues. Who will benefit? Regime cronies will if the status quo continues under the newly appointed prime minister and his government.

God has given us a beautiful earth with abundant resources and we have toiled to feed ourselves. Whether we are human beings or another living creature, we share the land and the water. We still have enough land to share, but in this global society, that sharing requires that we think not only about ourselves and our groups, but also about others who may be weaker and more vulnerable. We must also consider preserving the conditions for life for other living creatures; creating a balance within our ecosystem to sustain ourselves and our resources.  It cannot be done by rhetoric from the powerful, which only serves to cover up the exploitation of those on the ground for there are those who know the law and how to use laws to their own advantage. They pass laws to criminalize dissent and to guarantee their own access to the land of others. They use their power to justify what is wrong, rather than to act fairly. They use their power to exclude. It is immoral and unconscionable. It should not be accepted. 

If we are genuinely honest, we know that this land was given to us by God; in no place is that more affirmed than in Africa by the African people. We should not settle for anything less than what is right and it should apply to everyone. Knowing what is right is part of what makes us human. Whether educated or not, what is right is embedded in all of us. Everyone knows it—whether rich or poor, educated or illiterate, powerful or weak. For example, everyone knows that it is wrong to kill another person. The same applies to recognizing the need of other human beings for shelter, food, family and the necessities to sustain life and that what belongs to them should not be robbed from another person because they are weaker.

As global resources are becoming increasingly precious, we must follow righteousness in these decisions. If we do not, we will lose our humanity, our soul, our peace and our security. We will shirk our responsibility to care and protect others as we would want done to us. 

This land-grabbing is life-grabbing. It should not be allowed and should not be accepted by decent human beings. We live on this globe called earth. It may look huge to us here, but from space, it is like a tiny ball that can fit into a hand. We are all in this together and we have to maintain it. We have a stake in it. When dealing with a human life, we should value it, putting “humanity before ethnicity” or any other distinctions that divide us from each other.

For a better world, it requires all of us to remember that “none of us will be free until our brother and sister—our fellow human beings in this world—are free.” Our humanity does not have boundaries.  We have to preserve it, protect it and be part of it.  Do not be bystanders. We have to reach out, take action, love our global neighbors and be the ones to do your share from wherever you are.

Thank you!

Please do not hesitate to e-mail your comments to Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE, at: Obang@solidaritymovement.org. You can find more about us through our website at: www.solidaritymovement.org



[i] http://www.hrw.org/reports/2008/06/12/collective-punishment : War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia’s Somali Region

[viii] http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Rights-Groups-Ethiopia-Using-Anti-Terror-Law-To-Stifle-Dissent-134274558.html; November 21, 2011, Rights Groups: Ethiopia Using Anti-Terror Law To Stifle Dissent, Peter Heinlein, Addis Ababa

[xii] Wall Street Journal, The Philanthropist of Honest Government, September 8-9, 2012, by Anne Jolis

Ato Seye and his politics

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

By Yilma Bekele

Mr. Charles Krauthammer is an American syndicated columnist, political commentator and is considered a highly influential conservative voice. He is critical of President Obama’s policies and supports the election of Mr. Romney to be President. As a tradition if a candidate for the presidency does not have a thick resume when it comes to foreign policy issues they normally travel to friendly European countries to shake hands with the leaders for what is called a ‘photo opportunity’.

It is with this in mind that Mr. Romney flew over to Great Britain to rub shoulders with British Conservative Party leaders and attend the opening of the Summer Olympic Games. Unfortunately the trip did not go as intended. Mr. Romney got the British all pissed off by doubting their security plans and furthermore questioning if they were enthusiastic about the games being held there. It is fair to say all of Britain wanted nothing more than for Mr. Romney to pack and leave.

His ill manners in Britain were a source of unbearable anguish to his friends and supporters in the conservative camp. I very much enjoyed Mr. Krauthammer’s analysis of the unfortunate situation. He wrote “What Romney answered in that question, it’s unbelievable, it’s beyond human understanding, it’s incomprehensible. I’m out of adjectives,” Krauthammer said. ‘All Romney has to do is say nothing. It’s like a guy in the 100-meter dash. All he has to do is to finish, he doesn’t have to win. And instead, he tackles the guy in the lane next to him and ends up disqualified. I don’t get it.”

I brought this up because that is how his friends and supporters must have felt when they heard Ato Seye Abraha’s speech in Seattle a few days back. Fresh from his two years course at Harvard all Ato Seye got to do was utter a few smart sounding phrases and reintroduce himself into our politics. Just like Mr. Romney Ato Seye ended up putting his foot in his mouth. Mistakes like this occur not because the individuals are uninformed but rather they just happen to be clueless about their surroundings and lack common sense to fully understand what is expected of them to achieve the goal they set for themselves.

Mr. Romney goes to Britain and undermines his hosts and Ato Seye traveled to Seattle to insult the sensibilities of his fellow Ethiopian citizens in exile. Their action is what is called self inflicted wound. The fact that Ato Seye was invited by the same poor immigrants that left their homeland due to the policies put in place while he was part of the leadership is what makes the situation a little difficult to comprehend. I always say we Ethiopians are a marvel to watch and Seattle is the epicenter of that phenomenon. I do not know how to put it in English but in Amharic we say ‘teteketo asteki’.

At Seye is not an ordinary Ethiopian. He is one of the founders of the Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and was member of the Central Committee or Politburo of that infamous organization. Upon the defeat of the Derg and TPLF takeover of power Ato Seye has served his party as Defense Minister, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigrai (EFFORT) and Chairman of Ethiopian Airlines.

After the war between Shabia and Woyane in 19998-2000 Ato Seye was accused by his friend Meles Zenawi of leaning towards Bonapartism and extreme corruption. He was expelled from the TPLF, tried by Ato Meles’s kangaroo court and spent six years in prison. One can say he is lucky because normally in the TPLF dissent can cost you your life. It is also good to note that unlike other prisoners taken by TPLF he did not have to ask for pardon to get his freedom.

Upon his release Ato Seye formed Forum for Democratic Dialogue (FDD) with the aim of bringing opposition activists together. Around this time Judge Bertukan Mideksa Chairman of Andenet Party was again accused of fabricated charges by Ato Meles and taken to Kalit prison. In her absence Dr. Negasso Gidada another former member of EPRDPF assumed the Chairmanship. Ato Seye joined Andenet Party. Please note his admission to the party caused such an upheaval that a few of the founding members such as Professor Mesfin and Ato Debebe Eshetu including quite a few young activists were driven away from the party.

This was also the time Ato Meles and his TPLF Party were holding elections. This was also the main reason Chairman Bertukan was removed from the scene. Our beloved leader was held in solitary confinement and subjected to psychological abuse and inhuman treatment with the knowledge of Meles Zenawi and his security department.

Despite the fact that their Chairman was in jail for no crime other than being highly popular and a proven leader, despite the fact that the so called ‘Election Board’’ was still under the TPLF, despite the fact that foreign observers were put on short leash and despite the fact that plenty Ethiopians advocated boycotting this election charade Andenet choose to give Meles Zenawi a cover of legitimacy by showing up to be humiliated. While the TPLF was holding election circus Andenet candidates were in North America holding ‘Town Hall’ meetings with the Diaspora that cannot vote.

It was not long after the 99% Meles victory Ato Seye came to the US to go to school. For two years he stayed out of Ethiopian politics. He did not involve himself in Diaspora politics either. Seattle is the first instance we hear from Ato Seye. He was representing Medrek with fellow politician Dr. Merera Gudina.

As far as I am concerned the timing is a little difficult to comprehend. Our country is on the verge of change after over twenty years of TPLF dictatorship. The Woyane kingpin has died unexpectedly and his Party is moving heaven and earth to find a formula to continue the misrule. Why in the world would an Ethiopian opposition leader hold a meeting in faraway USA is a good question to ask? On the other hand it fits the pattern. When there is vital burning issue at home the leaders travel outside to hold discussion with the non stake holders. It is definitely not to explain the situation to us. We have more unfettered discussion in the Diaspora. We enjoy free press. We have more Radio and television service. Our Web sites are unblocked and independent. What in the world can they tell us that we don’t know?

Ato Seye’s short speech (http://www.awrambatimes.com/wp-content/uploads/SEEYE-SEATTLE-SPEECH.pdf) in Seattle was a little short on facts and completely void of vision and historical accuracy. It can also be said that Ato Seye has Chutzpah or Cojones or in simple English balls to show up among the Diaspora and read eulogy for the person that caused so much hurt and agony to our people. Dr. Merera as usual served as a sidekick the role he has played the last eight years or so.

I am hundred percent sure he(Seye) is aware of the fact that our people were ordered to line up in the rain and forced to show grief but choose to tell us it was a voluntary action why? He is knowledgeable of the workings of the Woyane system he helped set up that practiced the art of control and coercion starting in Tigrai, why is he pretending otherwise?

I am one hundred percent sure he did not chastise his American friends when they celebrated the death of Osama Bin Laden whereas we are lectured to be ashamed of showing pleasure at the death of the tyrant why is that? Don’t we feel pain? Don’t we grief for the many thousands that were killed by TPLF army and security?

I am really surprised by his lecture regarding our lack of ‘diplomatic skills’. He brought the example of Armenians in the US that play a strong and vital role lobbying to steer American foreign policy to help their homeland. He also thinks our vehement opposition to Ambassador Susan Rice’s speech at the dictator’s funeral to be misguided and false. I beg to disagree on both points.

The first analogy is way off mark. Armenians migrated to the US a long time ago. About three generations back. In fact about twenty years ago the Governor of California was of Armenian descent. Ethiopians are still on the first generation. The fact of the matter is we are the most successful and vibrant group among the new immigrants. Our New Year events are attended by Governors, Congressmen and Mayors all across America. We have managed to schedule hearings in the US Congress regarding our country and even managed to present a bill to help assure Human Rights in dear old Ethiopia. No new immigrant has scaled such heights. We got work to do but we have not been idle. I do not recall Ato Seye giving us a hand the last two years he has resided in the US.

As for Ambassador Rice she was wrong. She made mockery of our people’s quest for freedom and dignity. She insulted us. We will not trade our honor to curry favor from no one. We vented our frustrations. Sometimes it is necessary to stand for what we believe to be right and she has to be told in no uncertain words that heaping praise to a human right abuser, denier of democracy and murder of our family and friends is never acceptable.

The Seattle speech was geared to lay a conciliatory tone to a certain wing of TPLF and also advise the rest of us not to look back. I don’t care about the TPLF part but I do agree it is a good idea to move forward. There is also this little thing called history. We learn from the past so we avoid certain mistakes. South Africans have managed to do that. They just did not gloss over past mistakes but brought it up in the open and dealt with it. That is what ‘Truth and reconciliation’ is about. Air your dirty laundry for all to see and punish those that crossed the line and reform those that show remorse. Moving forward without doing that is like putting dirty cloth after a shower. The murder of Assefa Maru, the death of Professor Asrat the shooting of Shibre and others have to be laid to rest in a proper way.

I am not being uncharitable towards Ato Seye. As I said before he is not an ordinary Ethiopian. He was invited to Seattle because he is a political figure. He was one of the leaders of TPLF Party. He was present when Eritrea gained its independence a decision made behind closed doors, he was there when the current constitution was imposed on us, he facilitated the formation of Kilil Bantustans, he was aware that the so called EPDRF was nothing but a cover up for TPLF domination, he was the CEO of EFFORT which got its start by using the law to steal important businesses and properties that belonged to all Ethiopians to be controlled by a party and a family and today he is one of the leaders of the biggest and important legally recognized opposition party. This is the reason we should hold him to a higher standard.

Leadership is not an easy matter. That is why all the advanced democracies hold competition on a level playing field to pick the best among many. The leader can make or break the country. For every Nelson Mandela there is an Adolf Hitler. It is obvious we do not have the skills to choose a good leader. We haven’t had the experience. Our people have not yet chosen a leader thru the ballot. We must be among the very few in the world that have not enjoyed the luxury of deciding who the leader should be. Throughout our history leadership has been usurped by the strong and cunning.

Why is it so? Is it because we don’t question authority? Do we differ to other due to wealth, education, age or linage? Why are we so meek? When is this behavior going to stop? When are we going to stop being cheer leaders and start the real work of leading by example? The Diaspora has to stop serving as an ATM machine to those that use our kind heart to further their failed policies. The Diaspora has to stop being a door mat and learn how to say no. There is nothing wrong with that. Ato Seye has to stop treating us like imbeciles and go join his old party now his nemesis is gone. This idea of telling us there has been twenty years of peace and progress in Ethiopia should be laid to rest. This idea of lecturing us on how to mind our business sitting on top or the sideline is not acceptable. We got plenty of that what we are lacking is bold leadership that listens to our heart beat.

The conditional nature of TPLF’s Ethiopiawinet

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

By Messay Kebede

A friend recently sent me a video presenting Sebhat Nega’s defense of the TPLF constitution. My friend was rightly amazed at the dismissive and arrogant nature of the defense. My reaction wandered a bit in the direction of assessing the origin of the defense: I could not help but ask what torturous path led a Tigrean to a defense erasing the shared legacy of a very long history. Let me first briefly summarize the content of Sebhat’s discourse.

Sebhat refers to a hypothetical situation where opponents intent on dismissing the TPLF constitution succeed in seizing power. Sebhat emphatically predicts the inevitable disintegration of Ethiopia and the outbreak of war. According to him, the TPLF constitution is the foundation of Ethiopian unity. It originated from a consensus of all the peoples of Ethiopia and remains the sole guarantee of equality. Since equality is the basis of unity, any change altering its main principles inexorably entails the collapse of unity. In his assumption, this almost happened in 2005 when forces inimical to the constitution scored important electoral gains. If the movement had not been violently crushed, it would have certainly resulted in war and disintegration.

By way of illustration, Sebhat takes the case of the United States. The foundation of the American federation is the Constitution, which, if changed, will entail the disintegration of the country. For Sebhat, what Ethiopians have in common with Americans is precisely that for both of them constitutional consensus is the source of nationalism. Just as American nationalism is tied to a constitutional document, so too Ethiopian nationalism derives from the TPLF constitution.

I leave out Sebhat’s illusion that the TPLF constitution originated from a consensus of all the peoples of Ethiopia when we know too well that said consensus was imposed on powerless peoples by the victorious Tigrean and Eritrean guerrilla armies. However, the illusion metamorphoses into arrogance when Sebhat compares the TPLF constitution with the American Constitution. The latter promotes individual rights while the TPLF constitution gives primacy to group rights, that is, to ethnic belonging, the consequence of which is that it works against national integration by isolating and nurturing ethnic states. States in Ethiopia are not administrative units that decentralize power and empower local communities but ethnic enclaves that create national borders within the nation and grant them with the right to secede.

What is most appalling and utterly false is Sebhat’s declaration that the fundamental act of being Ethiopian is an outcome of the TPLF constitution. How could it be so when what we all know so far is that the Ethiopian state and society have their origin in the distant history of the Aksumite kingdom and that their cultural features and history testify to a long and uninterrupted legacy that equally involved Tigreans and Amharas? Even our recent history defines Yohannes, not as the emperor of Tigray, but as the emperor of Ethiopia. The unequivocal reality is thus that Ethiopian nationhood is defined by history, and not by the acceptance of the 1994 constitution. Here we can extend to Ethiopia Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement, to wit, “Europe was created by History; America by Philosophy.” Rather than the constitution begetting Ethiopian nationhood, it presupposes it as the object of its rectification. This reversal of the correct order is typical of the thinking of the TPLF and is reflected in the first statement of the preamble in the form of “We, the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia.”

Let me ask a question: when the guerrilla army of the TPLF marched into Amhara territory and finally into Addis Ababa and seized state power, were we supposed to assume that Ethiopia did not exist yet? But then, there is nothing that prevents us from qualifying the march as an invasion of foreign troops, nay, as a colonial conquest. Since I am sure that Sebhat will contest such a characterization, then why does he keep defining Ethiopianness by a constitution when the country existed for a long time prior to the writing of the constitution?

What Sebhat is in reality revealing is the conditional nature of his Ethiopianism. He is Ethiopian so long as the constitution, imposed by the TPLF and conducive to its hegemony over Ethiopia, is the supreme law of the land. What this means if not that Tigray will not agree to remain within Ethiopia if the TPLF loses its hegemonic position. I cannot speak for all Tigreans, among whom many are dedicated Ethiopians, but Sebhat’s position shows that the leadership of the TPLF has been and still is appropriated by individuals who have always posed the issue of Ethiopian unity in conditional terms.

This conditionality explains why many pro-Ethiopian activists and intellectuals consider Sebhat and his likes as nothing more than stooges of the EPLF. Yet, their support for Eritrean independence is just a logical conclusion of their conditional Ethiopianness. One cannot be conditionally Ethiopian while being a resolute defender of the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Moreover, the hegemonic goal of the TPLF could hardly accommodate a rival organization like the EPLF. Both ideological consistency and interest dictated the TPLF’s determined effort to oust Eritrea from Ethiopia.

Obviously, the perceived fragility of the system subsequent to the demise of Meles Zenawi now drives TPLF people to blackmail Ethiopians. If the TPLF does not rule, Sebhat promises the deluge. Is this not to admit that two decades of forceful enforcement of the constitution were not enough to generate even a semblance of consensus? What a brilliant achievement! Sebhat sounds like those children who agree to play with other children provided they always win.

EPRDF chooses Hailemriam Desalegn and Demeke Mekonnen as chair and vice chair

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

By William Davison

ADDIS ABABA (Bloomberg) — Ethiopia’s ruling party, EPRDF, confirmed acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as the successor to the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Meles, who led Ethiopia for 21 years and who oversaw one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, died on Aug. 20 from an infection contracted while he was recovering from an undisclosed illness. Hailemariam, Meles’s deputy in the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front and a former foreign minister, took over in an acting capacity the next day.

“Out of three candidates, Hailemariam has got the unanimous vote of council members and will serve as chairman of EPRDF and Demeke Mekonen will serve as well as deputy chairperson of EPRDF,” Communications Minister Bereket Simon said in the capital, Addis Ababa. “Whoever’s elected as chair and deputy chair of party will automatically be the nominees for the premiership and deputy premiership. So both Mr. Hailemariam and Mr. Demeke will represent the party and be candidates and be presented to parliament for approval when it starts its formal session in early October.”

Ethiopia, the continent’s second-most populous nation, is a key U.S. ally in its battle against al-Qaeda in the region. Ethiopian troops in December invaded Somalia for the second time in four years to join the battle against al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s Somalia affiliate.

The federal parliament, which has only one opposition lawmaker out of 547, is expected to swear in Hailemariam on Oct. 8, Bereket said.

At Meles’s funeral on Sept. 2, Hailemariam vowed to continue with his state-led development model that channeled loans, aid, investment and domestic revenue into infrastructure, industry and public services. The result was growth that averaged 10 percent in the past eight years, according to the government.

Human-rights groups criticized the government for cracking down on civil liberties and introducing anti-terrorism laws in 2009 that have been used to jail opposition politicians and journalists.

The EPRDF is a coalition of four parties representing the Amhara people, the Oromo, the Tigray and a collection of southern groups. Meles was leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which led the ouster of a military junta in 1991, while Hailemariam hails from the southern bloc. His deputy is from the Amhara National Democratic Movement.

The EPRDF’s council, which has 45 representatives from each bloc, chose Meles’s successor from the 36-member executive committee of the party. Ethiopia’s next parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2015.

Ethiopia’s ruling junta convened to choose a replacement to the late dictator (video)

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Ethiopia’s ruling junta, EPRDF, convened today to choose a successor to the late dictator Meles Zenawi. Today’s meeting has just ended, but there is no official announcement on any decision yet. The meeting was chaired by acting prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The following is the only official news so far:

A two-day EPRDF Council meeting began today (September 14th) here in Addis Ababa. The EPRDF secretariat announced that the 180 member council will agree on a chairman and deputy-chairman for the Front following the death of Prime Minster Meles Zenawi It is also expected to decide on a number of related matters.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Ethiopian National Transitional Council spreads its regime change message in Ethiopia

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

In the Ethiopian New Year, Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC), in collaboration with Tinsae Ethiopia, has intensified its call to the people of Ethiopia to get organized and liberate ourselves from the TPLF regime.

During the past week, Tinsae Ethiopia members in Addis Ababa and other cities have been working closely with the ENTC to distribute pamphlets (see below) and writing on walls to call for regime change.

Because of the extremely tight security we did not want to endanger our members by asking them to take photos of all their activities, but they were able to send us some photos, including the following two.

Ethiopians rise up!

Fore more information visit Tinsae Ethiopia and ENTC web sites.

Home and country burglarized

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

By Yilma Bekele
Someone broke into our house. They forced the backdoor open and went through every square inch of the house. They turned our mattress over, pilfered through our drawers and left the closet in a mess. It was done in the middle of the day and it looks like they took their time. They stole laptops, I pod, tablet computer, flat screen TV’s and my wife’s gold jewelry.
We have lived in the same neighborhood for over twenty years now. Nothing like this has happened before. We felt safe and secure. We did not have a burglar alarm. There were no metal guards on our doors and windows. When we moved to the area most of our neighbors were elderly people enjoying their retirement. They were always outside sitting on their porch and remising and watching. It is true there were one or two houses where the young kids were dealing drugs but the presence of the grandfathers made their business low-key.
Burglary is an ugly and very personal crime. Most of the stuff they took is replaceable. What is disturbing and creepy is the fact that a stranger went thru your stuff. I just keep visualizing their ugly dirty hands in my drawer and all over my home. They stole expensive stuff like computers but what bothered me most was the loss of quarters I was saving for my son. They took the flat screen televisions and Google tablet but the loss of little gold crosses from my mom to my wife is what keeps me awake at night. The thought of a burglar never crossed my mind but now I am convinced burglars are the scums of the earth. I better not be called for a jury duty where the crime is burglary. Off with his/her head is what first comes to mind.
I was seething with anger regarding my home invasion when I read Ambassador Susan Rice eulogy at the funeral of you know who in my homeland. My depression was compounded. Et tu Susan? When Bush was the President Ambassador Rice opined on the Washington Post “We Saved Europeans. Why Not Africans?” regarding the administration’s refusal to use force in Darfur and her praise of President Clinton’s military intervention in Kosovo. Compare that to her statement at the funeral of an African tyrant. Our fearless Ambassador was very generous with her praises of the dictator and was nice enough to include the human side of him inquiring about her family. She went out of her way to heap accolades like a smitten teen ager and elevate the dictator to new heights. I have no problem with her ignorance but what got my goat was her statement “He [Meles] was tough, unsentimental and sometimes unyielding. And, of course, he had little patience for fools, or “idiots,” as he liked to call them” That to me is too personal. Shame on you Susan Rice! Those of us that fight injustice are not fools or idiots. My dear Ambassador it looks like you have things reversed.
Those that deny freedom to others, those that deny democracy, those that deny the rule of law are considered fools and idiots. On the other hand those that fight back to secure their God given right to live in peace and dignity are normally referred to as freedom fighters. As a black person that find yourself in such a high and powerful position representing your country I would have thought you would be the perfect candidate to identify with the cause of our people and be able to articulate our wishes and dreams better than your Wasp predecessors. Mrs. Ambassador it is a little disconcerting to think a poor immigrant like me is constantly fighting with rednecks and conservatives that judge you negatively based on the color of your skin and declare you unfit to represent America and here you are paying my favor by dancing with criminals and unsavory characters. Too bad you are not a student of MLK. Where did you miss the bus?
Anyway I gave your transgressions and insulting behavior some thought and was able to put things in perspective. I decided there is no reason I should spend an ounce of energy on what you think and say. I got bigger problems to solve. Thus I went back to my home burglary issue and viewed the two items and marveled at the linkage of the situation.
I did not leave my home open. Someone forced the door open. What I have done since then is install security doors and windows, install cameras and use cloud storage to back up my documents. It is impossible to stop a determined criminal the least I could do is make the bum work to earn his pay. It is said you know who your friends are in times of difficulty. I was humbled by two of my friends that gave me a lap top computer and a flat screen television to ease my pain. My friends Getachew and Dr. Tesfaye made me realize I am not alone. We are each other’s keeper.
When it came to my homeland the situation is a little different. The burglars did not have to break a door or climb thru a window. They just bought their way in to our precious country. They used collaborators to open the door and let them in. We left our door open. No need to blame the burglar for our being indifferent regarding our treasure. Ambassador Rice was praising an individual we allowed to dictate to us for over twenty years. I know some fought back. Plenty paid with their life. The use of ethnic loyalty was his calling card. I am also sure that his harsh and intrusive system have something to do with his longevity. No matter the reason, our door was left open, and our security was compromised.
The solution to safeguard a country is a little different than securing a home. Walls, cameras, border guards on the ground and drones in the sky are not a solution. The best full proof system is a population that is empowered to safeguard its own freedom. The citizen has to feel that they are in charge and they own their country. Those in charge have to understand that they serve by the will of the people. That is what is meant by ‘for the people by the people.’ As they are hired by the citizen they must know that the possibility of being fired for misconduct is real.
This kind of arrangement assures the leader entrusted with the key will not open the door and let strangers in to take advantage of a poor nation. Strangers will not try using underhanded means to get in and and act like king makers knowing it will be rejected. The recent death of the dictator is proof that our door was left wide open. The situation has favored the outsiders at the expense of the citizen. He was loved, respected, held in high esteem, considered a visionary and a person of extraordinary super natural gift. Unfortunately the sky high phrases are uttered by no other than those that enabled him to stay in power.
The issue is not Susan Rice, European Union or any outside party. We are that are the legitimate owners of this Nation called Ethiopia that allows misfits, megalomaniacs and unsavory individuals to hold the key to our door. We refuse to stand for fair play and justice. Recently when talking about an issue that tested the American people President Obama said ‘As Americans let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those, both civilian and military, who represent us around the globe.’ It is when we can say those words regarding our motherland that we can stand straight look each other in the eye and utter the words ‘I love Ethiopia.’ Anything else is hot air and bluster.

Video shows a fake firefight was staged to convict two Swedish journalists in Ethiopia

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Translated from Swedish TV website SVT

Proof of Hoax in Ethiopia

SVT can now reveal that the videos that the Ethiopian government used as evidence of the arrest of the Swedish journalists is staged. Our sources even claim that the video was shot two days after Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye were arrested.

During the trial of Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye autumn 2011 showed prosecutor videos that he meant clearly proven Swedes crimes. Even then questioned a video sequence and the prosecutor was forced to admit that the sound of gunfire was applied retrospectively. But the prosecutor insisted that the films showed the arrest of one authentic way.

Välregisserat acting
SVT has now taken some of the unedited raw material. Prosecutor film gives the impression that there is heavy fighting when two rebels from the ONLF guerrillas arrested. But in the original material can be clearly seen that the “rebels” are acting as if they were extras in a movie and laugh between scenes. When SVT examines more sequences, it becomes even clearer that it is a välregisserat acting.

-They were just an actor and had never even met Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson said Abdulahi Hussein, who provided material to SVT and now living under death threats. Despite this, he chooses to come forward with his name.

False evidence
At trial, also testified two soldiers from the special border police force that a large number of ONLF rebels killed when Swedish journalists were arrested. To prove this is a dead rebel in the prosecutor’s movie. The man alleged to have killed a few minutes earlier, and the sequence is taken from a distance. The original materials are close-ups of the corpse but SVT’s sources say that it is an old corpse. Bullet holes are dry and portions of the face is bluish.

-The military gave Johan and Martin left in the jungle for several days. The reason for it was to find time to record the movie. When the film was finished, they were taken to the capital Addis Ababa to the embassy could meet them, said Abdulahi Hussein.

Smuggled out
The film material is smuggled out in stages from Ethiopia by sources who are now living under the threat of death. Abdulahi Hussein previously worked within the Ethiopian administration in the Ogaden but has now fled the country. He was responsible for the collection of the filmed material used in the Ethiopian video and it was he who approved the result.

-The purpose of the video was to prosecute them and get them sentenced to a long prison term.

EPRDF becoming a tinderbox

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A delegation of the ruling junta in Ethiopia, Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), has secretly met with acting prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn over the weekend in Addis Ababa to negotiate TPLF’s role in the new regime.

It is not known yet what was exactly discussed at the meeting, but observers speculate that the TPLF is trying to pressure Hailemariam into agreeing with their demand to keep the current government structure intact, or else stand down and help pave the way for the new TPLF leader to become prime minister.

Abay Tsehay, Arkebe Ekubay and Debretsion Gebremichael are in the short list of candidates for the TPLF chairmanship, Ethiopian Review sources reported.

The TPLF leadership decided to start negotiating with Hailemariam to avoid confrontation with the ANDM, OPDO and SEPDM (member organizations of the ruling coalition, the EPRDF) before the 180-member EPRDF council meets next weekend.

Bereket Simon did not accompany Hailemariam during the negotiation with TPLF leaders. He was busy meeting with ANDM members over the weekend.

Former chairman and co-founder of TPLF Sebhat Nega is taking an extremely hardline position. It is reported that the 81-year-old Sebhat is prepared to call for the nuclear option (Article 39) if necessary and declare Tigray an independent country if TPLF fails to secure the premiership. Sebhat believes that TPLF will be back to square one — back to where they started — if power slips from their hands. TPLF members inside the country and abroad are expressing the same concern.

Major, potentially explosive, development is expected between now and next Sunday.

Al Amoudi back to drinking and partying

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The drunkard billionaire sheik Mohamed Al Amoudi, best friend of the late Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi, is back to partying, getting drunk and making a fool out of himself.

Al Amoudi

Saudi Arabia warned its citizens not to travel to Ethiopia

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

RIYADH (SPA) — The Interior Ministry has warned citizens against traveling to Ethiopia.

The warning came after a cable from the Saudi Embassy in Addis Ababa about the tense situation currently prevailing in Ethiopia, including violence against Muslims and the arrests made by the federal police on a daily basis. Some Saudi citizens were among those arrested.

The warning will be in effect until the situation calms down, the ministry said.

TPLF prepares to conduct purges in the EPRDF rank to keep the premiership

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

The Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF), the leading party in the ruling coalition in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Front (EPRDF), is preparing to eliminate potential threats to its continued dominance by conducting purges in the EPRDF rank, according to the latest information we have received from Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit sources in Addis Ababa.

In a series of meetings over the past few days with members and supporters inside the country and around the world, the TPLF leadership heard earful that under no circumstance the premiership should go to Hailemariam Desalegn or any one who is not a member of the TPLF.

The other members of the ruling coalition, namely OPDO, ANDM and SEPDM, seem to be equally determined to swear in Hailemariam as the new prime minister of Ethiopia.

Both sides are being led by powerful personalities. The TPLF side is being led from behind the scene by 80-year-old Sebhat Nega, while the ANDM-OPDO-SEPDM side is being led by propaganda chief Bereket Simon. Both Sebhat and Bereket are known to be masters of political intrigue and maneuverings.

Balance of power

On Sebhat’s TPLF side there are the military, which is led by Generals Samora Yenus and Saere Mekonen, and the security/intelligence, which is led by Debretsion Gebrmichael and Getachew Assefa.

On Bereket-Hailemariam’s side there are the notorious Federal Police whose head is Workneh Gebeyehu, the Addis Ababa Police, local militias, and a large populous that is tired of being dominated by one minority ethnic group. OPDO is armed to its teeth, and Addis Ababa police is led by Hassan Shifa of TPLF, but most of its members are from ANDM and OPDO. The officers could back Bereket-Hailemariam’s side. Another big asset for the Bereket side is local militias that are dispersed through out Amhara, Oromiya and southern regions. They can be instrumental in blocking any military movement by the TPLF generals.

The balance of power favors the Bereket-Hailemariam group, but Sebhat’s TPLF seems to be more determined and ready to sacrifice any thing and every thing to stay in power. They have the mindset of all or nothing, which makes them dangerous.

Knowing the nature of TPLF, the question now is, who is going to blink first? Or, more aptly asked, who is going to be breakfast?

Meles Zenawi, America’s “son-of-a-bitch”

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

By Olaana Abbaaxiiqii

On August 20, following Ethiopia’s meticulously choreographed funeral for former dictator, Meles Zenawi, which was designed to buttress his legacy, a friend asked me to listen to the United States Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice’s encomium on the deification ceremony. I obliged but regret doing so because I came out a cynic.

It is no secret that US national interests trump human rights and democracy. In an oft repeated quote, Franklin D. Roosevelt said of US ally Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza: “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

In the past, the US had pampered dictators like the Shah of Iran, Mobutu Sesse Seko of Zaire, and the CIA engineered the assassination of democratically elected leaders in Latin America and other places to install their puppets. Now that the Cold War is over, I believed those were things of the past, and that American foreign policy is, by and large, centered on the “singular greatness of American ideals, and their proven capacity to inspire a better world.” Besides, we were told, with a new dawn of “American leadership” on the horizon, America is back and ready to lead, again.

In his historic inauguration speech, President Barack Obama proclaimed: “to those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.“

On that momentous occasion, watched by millions around the world, “from the grandest capitals” to the smallest villages, little did we know that those were just words – used only for convenience and discarded at will. The more things changed the more they stayed the same. And even trivial and ill-conceived US strategic interests trump over people’s aspirations for freedom, liberty and democracy around the world.

Mrs. Rice’s encomium for the Ethiopian dictator was not only a reflection of a moral decadence of American diplomats, especially those covering Africa, but also a grand betrayal of the courageous ideals put forth by America’s founding fathers .

From her perch at the UN office, Susan Rice, does not see or feel the suffering, killing and humiliation that Zenawi had inflicted upon millions of his countrymen. Even if she did, since Meles implemented their wishes around Africa, everything else got secondary consideration.

The Oxford dictionary defines dictator as “a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained control by force.” Meles Zenawi, Ambassador Rice’s “consistently reasoned” friend, meets this definition on all accounts.

For 17 long-years, he wielded an immense power as the PM of Ethiopia and Chairman of the ruling coalition, the EPRDF. Prior to that he served five years as President of Ethiopia. He has been the head of Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front, the powerful coalition partners, since 1989. He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Ethiopian army. Oh! He also took over the reigns of power after violent overthrow of Mengistu Hailemariam, the communist boogieman.

Over the years, Zenawi, whom Mrs. Rice called, an “uncommonly wise [leader who was] – able to see the big picture and the long game” single-handedly closed the political space, dismantled the free media, enfeebled the opposition, and ruled the country by pitting rival groups against one another.

Meles was not my friend and I cannot attest to his personal qualities. But, unlike Susan Rice, I have intimate knowledge, personal experience, and direct accounts from people whom he brutalized and lorded over. Rather than his personal qualities in the abstract, I judge Zenawi based on what his policy did to my people. It is on that basis I pass judgment on Mrs. Rice’s eulogy.

So, who was Meles Zenawi to an average Ethiopian?

Zenawi had his hands soaked with bloods of thousands of innocent Ethiopians. Shortly after he joined the TPLF as a young fighter, Zenawi rose to the top of the organization through Machiavellian intrigue and his depraved actions. He allegedly ordered the execution of his own compatriots who disagreed with him. Even after coming to power in 1991, Zenawi maintained his ironclad rule by constantly purging those seen as a threat, real or imagined, to his power, including his own former comrades in arms.

True to a form of a real dictator, Zenawi never tolerated differing ideas and competitions. A typical megalomaniac, the “great leader” loved surrounding himself with equally sycophant yes-men. Unlike many other dictators, he was an ever-morphing actor. While he tormented the people of Ethiopia, Zenawi only showed his softer, caring, and smiling face to his foreign friends who adored his intellect, wicked sense of humor, and his intolerance for “for fools, or ‘idiots,’ as he liked to call them.” It is true that Zenawi had no patience for journalists, opposition leaders and anyone who dared to criticize him. That is why he institutionalized criminalization of dissent by devising draconian “laws” like “the deeply flawed anti-terrorism legislation” or the anti-NGO law.

The Ethiopian people who suffered the brunt of Zenawi’s brutality did not see his humane side, because he did not show it to them. To call Zenawi, a brute, wise, as Mrs. Rice did, is to demean the word or insult our intelligence. I agree with Mrs. Rice that Meles was a very smart man; however, this does not absolve his crimes. In fact, this is what made him all the more dangerous. Zenawi’s security forces committed crimes in the shadow of darkness. He filled prisons with opponents and ordered their torture in dark cells. Many of his opponents simply vanished – never to be heard from again in two decades.

Meles was not “selfless,” he had a depraved heart. During his guerrilla years, he devised tactics and strategies that showed his callous disregard for human life. After taking over the helm, he built a secretive regime whose existence depended on systematic repression and zeal to win at any cost.

Zenawi’s unhealthy obsession for winning became evident during the Ethio-Eritrean war of 2000. This senseless war over a barren wasteland of few kilometers took more than 100 thousand lives. He sent thousands of non-Tigrean foot soldiers as minesweepers before the well-trained elite Tigrean soldiers were deployed. The carnage Zenawi inflicted upon millions, in deadly competition with his ex-best-friend turned enemy number one, Isaias Afewarki – over a minor conflict that could have been settled through diplomatic channels – is a testament to his depraved soul. It is beyond any reasonable imagination why Zenawi spent over one billion dollars on armaments, $480 million in 1999 alone, while large parts of the country was suffering from famine.

Contrary to claims that Zenawi “lifted millions out of poverty, hunger, and strife,”he had no compassion for the suffering of others. Everything was a fair game so long as he gained from it. When he invaded Somalia in 2006, a large portion of Ogaden, the Somali-region of Ethiopia where Zenawi faced fierce resistance in recent years, was under the threat of famine. Zenawi didn’t care as long as the US foreign aid checks kept flowing.

In her hagiography, Susan Rice said, the young Meles was “spurred” to action by a “torment of terrible time” to drive out another “strongman who had turned Ethiopia into a parched field of sorrow.” But she forgot to add or deliberately ignored, Zenawi actually used the famine stricken people of Tigray for his political gains, by forcing them to flee to Sudan in thousands so that his organization could prove Dergue’s atrocities to the international community. Having successfully convinced donors that “a famine of biblical proportions” was taking place, TPLF cashed Bob Geldof’s Band Aid and Live Aid money to buy weapons.
At the time when the 1984 famine became a public embarrassment for the communist regime, Zenawi’s rebel group, the TPLF, controlled most of Tigray – an area severely affected by famine. As BBC’s Martin Plaut reported in 2010, channeling the relief aid through the TPLF “was the only way of reaching those in desperate need” in areas the rebels – fighting to take down the Dergue – controlled. As a TPLF army commander at the time, Aregawi Berhe, told Plaut: TPLF “made a policy decision that only five percent of the money received…would be spent on relief, with the bulk going directly or indirectly to support their military and political campaigns.” The remaining 95 percent “was allocated to buying weapons and building up a hard-line Marxist political party within the rebel movement.”

Mrs. Rice also forgot to mention what a senior US diplomat, Robert Houdek, who was in Ethiopia around late 1980s told Plaut, the TPLF members admitted “at the time that some aid money and supplies was used to buy weapons” – a fact also corroborated by CIA documents.
Instead of remaking “himself overnight from guerrilla to a statesman” as Susan Rice would have us believe, in the words of former Ethiopian president Negaso Gidada, whom he appointed, Zenawi became “a replica of the very strongman he replaced”– Mengistu Hailemariam. The genocide in Gambela, the carpet-bombing of villages and nomadic settlements in Ogaden, the more than 4,407 extra judicial killings of Oromo nationalists and over 900 disappearances, the 2002 Awassa killings, the 2005 killing of more than 200 people on the streets of Addis Ababa, were sufficient to land him in the International Criminal Court. However, thanks to his powerful friends and apologists like Susan Rice, Meles walked free in life and is lionized in death.

Fortunately, theirs won’t be the last word. A time will come when the peoples of Ethiopia write Zenawi’s true legacy. His historical verdict will not be based on the subjective personal accounts of a friend, but rather on the objective evidence of his victims: the voices of thousands of prisoners who languished and are still languishing in Zenawi’s dungeons and endure torture, stories of refugees who run away fearing Zenawi’s intimidation and etc.

The hopes of millions who yearned to live in freedom but instead suffered indignities by Zenawi’s policy will be told. The names of those who were killed by Zenawi’s forces would be inscribed on a stone as our heroes. We will put Zenawi’s name besides Mengistu Hailemariam, in the hall of shame, so that the future generation remembers them for the atrocities they committed against our people. Zenawi was not the father of our rebirth, but we hope he will be the end of our misery.

Susan Rice did not appear in the apotheosis drama just as a friend of Meles, but she led an official delegation to the funeral as a representative of the US government. She forgot that her words have serious implications beyond her personal feelings for Meles. Mrs. Rice’s insensitive eulogy will be remembered as the Obama administration’s endorsement of personality cult over institutional building, dictatorship over freedom, and minority over a majority rule.

Since her days as assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Mrs. Rice played a very important role in promoting the TPLF government. She remained a true friend to Zenawi until the end. She was instrumental in the Clinton administration’s naming of Zenawi as one of the new generation of African leaders. With a request from Zenawi, Rice did her best to categorize the Oromo Liberation Front as a terrorist organization, but failed. She exhibited a behavior so unbecoming of a diplomat in her zeal to defend Zenawi’s government.

It’s time for all Ethiopian-Americans to reconsider their overwhelming support to Obama during his first election. We should not be taken for granted.

The Ethiopian government spends millions of dollars to lobby the US government through firms like DLA Piper and others. It’s not clear whether Mrs. Rice’s affection for Meles was partly sustained by DLA Piper’s lobbing efforts. At the very least, Mrs. Rice’s judgment was clouded by the close personal relationship she had with Meles.

However, as a seasoned diplomat, she should not have allowed her personal feelings to run amok and take the best part of her. She should have shown a minimum of sensitivity to thousands, who were killed, imprisoned, tortured and became refugees as a result of Zenawi’s policies. Those “fools and idiots” were freedom fighters to millions or press freedom advocates who wanted to see better Ethiopia. We may be fools, we may be idiots, but one thing is for sure: we have an enduring cause, truth, and justice on our side. I am confident that in the final analysis, freedom and liberty will triumph over tyranny.

With the following wise words of Martin Luther King, until next time:

I know you are asking today, “How long will it take?….

I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth crushed to earth will rise again.

How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever.
How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow….
How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

(The writer can be reached at olaanaabbaaxiiqi@yahoo.com. The article was originally posted on opride.com)

Some advise to TPLF (Tesfaye Gebreab)

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

We are learning that the division within the ruling junta EPRDF is deepening by the day and by the hour as they squabble over who will replace Meles Zenawi continues. Making things even more complicated is that widow of the late dictator, Azeb Mesfin, is refusing to vacate the prime minister’s residence until a new prime minister is selected. The EPRDF 180-member council is called to replace Meles next week, but some thing may explode before the meeting, according to observers in Addis Ababa.

Author Tesfaye Gebreab has this (tongue-in-cheek) advise to his former comrades:

የኢህአዴግ የስልጣን ሽኩቻ ተባብሶ በመቀጠሉ የአመራር አባላቱ ዝግ ስብሰባ ላይ ስለመሆናቸው እየተሰማ ነው። ይህን ሽኩቻ ከህዝብ ጆሮ ለመሰወር ሲባል ስለ ኢህአዴግ ስራ አስፈፃሚ ስብሰባ በቴሌቪዥን የተላለፈው ቀሽም ድራማ ነበር። የአመራር አባላቱ እጃቸውን እያወጡ ድምፅ ሲሰጡ በቲቪ ይታያል። በምን ጉዳይ ላይ ነው ተከራክረው በድምፅ ወሰኑት? አልተገለፀም። ከኢህአዴግ ነባር ልምድ አንፃር፣ ከስብሰባው በፊት ጋዜጠኞች ገብተው ምስል ቀርፀው እንዲወጡ እንደሚደረግ አውቃለሁ። ከዚያም በሮችና መስኮቶች ተዘግተው ስብሰባው ይቀጥላል።

ሆነው ሆኖ፣ የመለስ ሞት ከተጠበቀው ጊዜ ፈጥኖ የመጣ ነበርና ጓዶች ያልተዘጋጁበት ገጥሟቸዋል። መለስ ጷግሜ ላይ ወደ አገርቤት ተመልሶ ለእንቁጣጣሽ ዋዜማ የፖለቲካ እስረኞችን በመፍታት፣ እስርቤቱን ባዶ ያደርገዋል ተብሎ እየተጠበቀ እሱ ግን እንደወጣ ቀረ። እንግዲህ ህይወት መቀጠሏ አልቀረም። በችግር ጊዜ መረዳዳት ያለ ነውና፣ የቀድሞ ጓደኞቼ ምናልባት ከሰሙኝ አንዳንድ ጠቃሚ ምክሮችን እዚህ ላስቀምጥ።

የጠቅላይ ሚኒስትርነቱን ቦታ ለሃይለማርያም ከመስጠት የተሻለ ምንም አማራጭ የለም። በዚህ ጉዳይ ላይ ልዩነቶች እየጠበቡ ስለመጡ ይህ ችግር አይመስለኝም። ርግጥ ነው፣ ሁሉም የአባል ድርጅቶች ሃይለማርያምን የሚፈልጉበት የየራሳቸው ምክንያት አላቸው። በጥቅሉ ግን ‘ቢያንስ ሃይሌ አይከዳም።’ ተብሎ ይታሰባል። ሃይለማርያም ወንበሩን የሚረከብ ከሆነ የራሱን ካቢኔ ለመቋቋም መጠየቁ መረጃ አለ። መረጃው ግን አጠራጠሮኛል። ሃይሌ ከጀርባ የሚገፋው ከሌለ ብቻውን ያን ያህል አይዳፈርም። ስለቡድን አሰራር ደህና አድርገው አጥምቀውታልና፣ በአንጋፋዎቹ እየተመከረ ስራውን ሊሰራ ራሱን አሰናድቶአል። በባህርይው ለስላሳ በመሆኑ ትእዛዝ ይጥሳል ተብሎ አይጠበቅም። ህወሃት ሃይለማርያምን በደንብ እየተቆጣጠረ ለማሰራት፣ ከአንጋፎቹ አንዱን አማካሪ አድርጎ መሾም ነው። አርከበ እቁባይ፣ አባይ ፀሃዬ፣ ስዩም መስፍን የሚሉ አሉ። በውጭ ግንኙነት ልምድ ስላለው ስዩም ይሻላል። አባይ ፀሃዬ የጀመረውን ይጨርስ። በተለይ የዋልድባ ነገር ከስኳር ምርቱ ይልቅ ከጎንደር – ትግራይ ድንበር ጋር የተያያዘ የመሬት ባለቤትነት ጉዳይ ስላለበት፣ ያንን ዳር ማድረስ ይገባልና አባይ ፀሃዬን መንካት አይገባም። … [read the full text here]

Ethiopia’s opportunity — a new day beckons: Graham Peebles

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Analysis

By Graham Peebles | Ceasefiremagazine.com

In the wake of the death of Ethiopia’s long-serving PM, Meles Zenawi, two weeks ago, Graham Peebles argues this could be the best opportunity in a generation for Ethiopians to secure a more equal, more independent future.


The death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, announced on 22nd August after his mysterious two-month disappearance, presents a tremendous opportunity to Ethiopia. Let a new day dawn for the people, one filled with hope and fundamental change, where human rights and justice are respected, where freedom is encouraged and cultivated in all areas and where fear is banished to the past.

Meles rose to power as a revolutionary to overthrow a dictatorship. Ironically he too fell under the spell of power, and the freedom fighter became the dictator, the greatest obstacle to freedom and liberty. He had been in power since 1991, when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) led a coalition of armed opposition groups in overturning the rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam.

Control and repression

No matter the repeated accolades and platitudes expressed by heads of State upon his passing, let us be clear: PM Meles Zenawi presided over an undemocratic regime that repressed the people, tolerating no political dissent, and as Human Rights Watch state in One Hundred Ways of Putting on Pressure, “since the controversial 2005 elections – Ethiopia has seen a sharp deterioration in civil and political rights, with mounting restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly.”

In fact under Zenawi’s leadership the EPRDF government have trampled on the human rights of the Ethiopian people, centralised power, falsely imprisoned in large numbers of members of opposition parties and journalists and responded with brutal force to demonstrations after the 2005 sham poll – when security forces murdered over 200 innocent people on the streets of Addis Ababa. Not to mention the killings of hundreds of people in Gambella, the persecution of the people of Oromia, along with human rights violations in Afar and the Ogaden.

The media is party/state controlled, so too is the sole telecommunications company, as well as the judiciary, all of which is contrary to federal law as enshrined in the constitution. PM Meles, whose record, as the BBC rather generously phrased it, “has, at best, been patchy and rather uninspiring” has “orchestrated a discreet purge of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the administration, demoting, sidelining or reassigning key potential rivals and opponents.” As the Inter Press Service (IPS) succinctly put it, he “ruled with an increasingly authoritarian fist for more than two decades”. Let us hope such times will now be consigned to the murky past.

Unity – The way forward

If responded to with intelligence and love, patience and tolerance, the political space created by Meles’s departure could be a beginning in which firm and lasting steps towards an open, just, free civil society may be taken, broad ethnic participation encouraged and divisions set aside. A peaceful social revolution, long overdue, in which the perennial values of democracy are fostered, enabling the people to step out from the repressive shadow of the late prime minister and his EPRDF dictatorship and unite as one people, diverse yet unified, synthesising the many and enriching the country. Such is the opportunity at hand. As such, the keynote for the time ahead in Ethiopia should be unity, unity in diversity.

There are a great many ethnic and tribal groups in Ethiopia, some 77 according to the US State department, “with their own distinct language. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members.” The people of Oromo make up the single largest group and along with Amhara and Tigreans account for around 70% of the 85 million population. A further division exists along religious lines, with roughly 50% Orthodox Christian – living mainly in the highlands and 50% Muslim, inhabiting the lowland regions. Historically these two groups and the government have co-existed peacefully.

However, as the International Crisis Group’s (ICG) report ‘Ethiopia after Meles’ states:

“tensions are mounting between the government and the large Muslim community. Muslim committees have protested perceived interference in religious affairs. The authorities sought to link their demonstrations to Islamic extremism and terrorism, and Meles exacerbated matters by accusing the protestors of “peddling ideologies of intolerance”

This from a man who effectively outlawed all political dissent and banned freedom of expression. Christian Orthodox priests have also protested political interference and expressed their support for their Muslim brothers.

Such religious discord needs a sensitive response, not cliché name-calling. Predictably the T word has been wheeled out by a government that has sought to impose ideological control in every area of Ethiopian society, including the church. Let such repressive practices be buried along with Prime Minister Meles and let the current EPRDF government learn what is perhaps the greatest lesson of responsible government: to listen to the people yhey are in office to serve.

Designed to divide

Amharic is the official language and until recently was used in primary school instruction. It has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya, reinforcing ethnic divisions that contrary to the policy of ‘Ethnic Federalism’ designed by the TPLF, have been strengthened under the Meles premiership.

The highly centralised EPRDF has employed divide and rule tactics to weaken political opposition, fuel separation along ethnic lines, disempowering the community, engendering competition for land and natural resources as well as for government funds. Fragmented ethnic groups competing for resources and bickering amongst themselves have little time or energy to protest government policy and make easy prey for a regime seeking total control.

Division spawns conflict and, as the ICG found, “Exclusion and disfranchisement have provided fertile ground for ethnic and religious radicalisation, already evident in some lowland regions, where the ruling party exploits resources without local consent.” Massive land sales is one issue alluded to here; displacing thousands of indigenous people, forcing subsistence farmers and pastoralists off the land, destroying large areas of forest and wildlife habitat, that for a few dollars are turned over to international corporations who cultivate crops for their home market. All of which, let us add, without any form of consultation with local groups.

Democracy is participation, the opportunity before Ethiopia is to create an environment in which participation is encouraged and the people have a voice, where unity is seen as the means and the goal; where the Oromo people, those in the Ogaden, Amhara and Tigrae and the other ethnic groups are fully included and the development of community groups is facilitated.

The opposition and diaspora

Under the Meles regime not only have the main Ethnic groups been divided and disempowered, but so too has the diaspora opposition, too weak and ineffective. Fractured and despondent activists and opposition members of the various bodies need to unite at this time of uncertainty and opportunity and work collectively to establish a dialogue with the EPRDF government.

A national dialogue is needed in which opposition groups inside and outside the country and the people, for too long silenced, are allowed to participate and indeed be listened too. Such a move would set a new and inclusive tone and would engender hope that the ruling EPRDF recognises the mood of the country.

The diaspora’s role is crucial in any movement towards democracy in Ethiopia. Consensus amongst the various factions is essential and ideas of opposition, the pre-occupation of the past, that serve only to strengthen division and thus play into the hands of the EPRDF, forgotten. Constructive creative contributions should be encouraged, holding in mind the underlying principle of unity to soften government resistance to change and cultivate trust. As the ICG expresses it:

“Opposition forces may now be able to agree on a basic platform calling for an all-inclusive transitional process leading to free and fair elections in a couple of years. Such an arrangement should include all political forces armed and unarmed, that endorse a non-violent process to achieve an inclusive, democratically-elected regime.”

The Federal Constitution, written by the TPLF, full as it is of articles of decency and acceptability, disregarded by the government, is vague and ambiguous regarding the process of transition and succession in the event of the Prime Ministers death. On Aug 23, Al Jazeera reported that “The Ethiopian parliament has been recalled from recess to swear-in Zenawi’s successor, Hailemariam Desalegn, the deputy prime minister, who will most likely lead Ethiopia until 2015, when the current term of the ruling party comes to an end.”  This is by no means certain, as Desagelen is reportedly unsure about accepting the mantle of PM.

A provisional cross party government is called for. One with broad support that would initiate reforms, repeal the unjust Anti Terrorist Proclamation and other repressive legislation, free the media, most importantly television and radio and begin to build a vibrant active civil society. Such progressive steps would establish the foundations of a strong democratic platform that could be developed up to and after the 2015 elections.

Responsible support and development

The development much championed in Ethiopia – where the partisan distribution of aid, including emergency food relief, is an open secret – does not correspond to a definition that those who believe in equality, justice, human rights, and freedom of expression would recognise. As Al Jazeera reported two weeks ago, “Zenawi has been praised for bringing development and economic growth to one of Africa’s poorest nations but his critics say that came at the cost of respect for democracy and human rights.”

To put Ethiopia’s much trumpeted economic growth in perspective, let us note that the average annual income in Ethiopia equates to just $3 a day. Food staples have quadrupled in price in the last four years, largely as a consequence of the extensive land sales, and according to Bloomberg Business, Ethiopia’s “annual inflation rate climbed to 34.7 percent in May as food prices surged, Inflation accelerated from 25.6 percent in the previous month, food prices jumped 41 percent in the year.“

In addition the gap is increasing between the majority who are poor and the small number of wealthy Ethiopians, who are primarily members of the ruling party, as IPS reported on 22 Aug, “development has yet to reach the vast majority of the country’s population. Instead, much of this wealth – and political power – has been retained by the ruling party and, particularly, by the tiny Tigrayan minority community to which Meles belonged.” These party members have followed the trend of other dictatorships and invested their accrued wealth overseas.

Development and democracy are closely related, not some western idea of democracy, but a living social movement of participation and inclusion, evolving out of the actions and creativity of the people themselves. An idea PM Meles did not recognise. The ICG report quotes Meles stating he did not “believe in bedtime stories and contrived arguments linking economic growth with democracy.”

In truth he did not believe in democracy at all. The price of his short sightedness and ideologically-driven policies has been paid by the people, whose human rights were ignored, and freedoms stolen.

Suppressed and silenced for too long, now is the time to listen to their cries for justice and freedom. All efforts should be made to encourage and mobilise the people of Ethiopia. It is not simply calm that is needed, as many have reiterated, but action. It is time for the people, so long inhibited to act, to demand their rights and express their vision for the future of their country.

Ethiopia is the recipient of over $3 billion of development aid a year, second only to Indonesia. The US, Britain and the EU, along with the World Bank are the main donors. In exchange for what amounts to over a third of Ethiopia’s annual budget, the west has a strategically placed ally in the Horn of Africa who will act when asked to and function as a military outpost for America who launch drone attacks from its soil.

Those supporting development within Ethiopia share the opportunity and responsibility for change within the country. Mediation between the various ethnic groups and political parties, encouraging openness and facilitating discussion is an obvious role that could and indeed should be undertaken.

Required action

In order to realise the opportunity before Ethiopia, certain basic steps showing a renewed adherence to international and federal law need to be taken immediately by the EPRDF:

  • All political prisoners must be released.
  • The internationally-condemned Anti Terrorist Proclamation repealed
  • Freedom of the media, assembly and dissent allowed

These are fundamental requirements in moving Ethiopia forward and establishing an atmosphere of hope that will encourage political and civil participation and safeguard against the potential radicalisation of opposition groups.

International donors need to recognise their collusion in a range of human rights abuses that have taken place under PM Meles and ensure these demands are acted on, linking development assistance to swift implementation. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has asked of “Ethiopia’s international partners [to] call on the government to support fundamental rights and freedoms in the country and a prompt rollback of repressive laws. Ethiopia’s government should commit to respect for human rights and core rights reforms in the coming days and weeks”.

Denied good governance for many years the people of Ethiopia have suffered much, too much and for too long. Let the current space afforded by the passing of PM Meles be filled with their united voices, articulating their grievances, expressing their hopes and concerns, and with the responsible support of international friends and partners demand fundamental change, freedom and social justice, long overdue.

Graham Peebles is Director of The Create Trust, a UK registered charity, supporting fundamental social change and the human rights of individuals in acute need. He may be reached at  graham@thecreatetrust.org.Graham Peebles

Meles’s Death: Paradoxes and Opportunities

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

By Messay Kebede

Beyond the pathetic and at times ridiculous theatrics of Ethiopians ordered not only to mourn but also to show visible signs of a boundless grief over the death of Meles Zenawi, henceforth advertised as a great and beloved Ethiopian leader, I hear a murmur that increasingly sounds like a condescending laughter. Who is laughing? Perhaps history is laughing at the extraordinary reversal of Meles and the TPLF. When the guerrilla troops of the TPLF marched on Addis Ababa in 1991 and their leaders seized power, they promised freedom and democracy for all the peoples of Ethiopia. After 20 years of total rule, what we observe is people mourning a leader in the North Korean style, that is, the reality of a government that feels entitled to order its people even how to feel.

This is a new landmark: already whatever Ethiopians used to have belongs to the government, including their house, their land, and the schools to which they send their children, just as they are told to which ethnic bantustan they belong and which party they should follow under pain of being demoted to second or even third rate citizens. I would hardly be surprised if the government soon orders Ethiopians who to marry and which religion to adopt. The totalitarian strangle is tightening every day to the point of utter suffocation of what makes their humanity, namely, their ability to govern themselves.

The recent drama of a prolonged and effusive official mourning is deliberately staged to achieve two interrelated results. On the one hand, by demanding that Ethiopians show an outpouring grief over the death of Meles, his successors and followers want to further humiliate them so as to erase any temptation of protest, obvious as it is that a humiliated, broken people is unable to stand up for itself. On the other hand, the submission of the people to the point of manifesting grief over the demise of their oppressor provides his successors with a semblance of legitimacy. The more Meles is glorified and his successors swear to continue his “great” work, the more they acquire the mantle of legitimacy by presenting themselves as his trusted heirs. This borrowed legitimacy is necessary to find some form of acceptance among party members, the military establishment, and the troops.

It should be noted that the strategy could backfire. Indeed, the more Meles is exalted, the less his successors appear as able people. The excessive exaltation of Meles leaves the impression that he did everything by himself, that he was the only decider, planner, and executor. His stature is now so high that his successors look like dwarfs licking his boots. This confirms what Sebhat Nega supposedly said, to wit, that “in his death, Meles took with him the TPLF as well.” Meles’s glory is obtained at the expense of the TPLF and, as repeatedly confirmed by history, the rise of a dictator always undermines his followers. Even though dictatorship was thought necessary to impose the interests of the party, the first loser is always the party in that it creates a force that it can no longer control.

The most stunning reversal is however the fuss aimed at presenting Meles as a great Ethiopian nationalist leader. Meles, who all along ridiculed Ethiopian nationalism, landlocked Ethiopia, fragmented the country into ethnic states, officially and repeatedly stigmatized Ethiopian legacy, even went to the extent of defending the secession of Tigray, is now exalted as a staunch Ethiopian nationalist. What is more, he who defined himself so pompously as a Tigrean nationalist, wanted his funeral ceremony and his burial to take place in Addis Ababa, as though he had nothing to do with Tigray. That the once vehement Tigrean nationalist suddenly found Tigray too small for him represents the apex of paradox. There is after all a winner in the 20 years of wasted rule and it is Ethiopia. The fact that Meles’s body did not even touch the soil of Tigray is his mea culpa and final tribute to Ethiopian nationhood.

Lastly, I have a free advice for Meles’s successors. Instead of trying to find the legitimacy that they lack by hiding behind the ghost of Meles, they should seriously consider the only path that provides them with their own legitimacy. The resolution to continue Meles’s policy is a deadlock and ultimately dangerous for their own survival and interests. To continue the same policy without Meles would require them to be more repressive and totalitarian than Meles ever was, the outcome of which can only be the exasperation of popular unrests. Even if we assume that the EPRDF has the ability to become more repressive, the implementation of the policy will necessitate another “strong man.” And this means back to square one, that is, back to one-man dictatorship with all its risks and restrictions on the ruling party itself. Notably, the rise of such a dictator, assuming it is possible, would come at the cost of the unity of the EPRDF and even of the TPLF.

The only viable path is to correct Meles’s mistake by opening up the political space to opposition forces and by lifting all the restrictions on freedom of speech and organization as well as by liberating all political prisoners. To do so would confer a new legitimacy on Meles’s successors while at the same time removing the possibility of another round of dictatorial rule and reaffirming the unity of the EPRDF and of the various parties that compose it. In other words, both the EPRDF and the TPLF need the participation of opposition forces to regain an internally working democratic condition and preserve their unity.

As things stand now, I see no better way to move in a different direction than to confirm Haile Mariam Desalegn as the new prime minister. More than his status as deputy prime minister, what militates in favor of his confirmation is that he represents the southern peoples and, as such, can intercede between the big competing forces within the EPRDF. This gives him the strategic position to preserve the unity of the party and opens up a space for the participation of the opposition. Let there be no misunderstanding: I am not saying that Haile Mariam is the right person. Some such conclusion would be utterly premature and unfounded on any reliable proof. Rather, I am suggesting that he should be given the benefit of the doubt, given his strategic position. At any rate, we will soon know whether he can take advantage of his position and initiate a new direction.

(The writer can be reached at mkebede1@udayton.edu)

The cause of Meles Zenawi’s death and its import

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

By Selam Beyene

In the absence of a legitimate autopsy report, a death certificate or a credible official statement relating to the reason behind the hospitalization and eventual death of the former ruler of one of the most populous countries in Africa, there are compelling medical and circumstantial arguments to suggest that the episode of May 18, 2012, in which the valiant Abebe Gellaw confronted Zenawi, might have played a major role in accelerating the demise of the dictator.

Prior to August 21, 2012, when the TPLF cadres that are currently terrorizing the country announced his death, Zenawi had not been seen in public for several weeks, and there had only been conflicting reports about his conditions or whereabouts issued by the Woyanne propaganda machinery.

Nonetheless, there were several pieces of circumstantial evidence that indicated the deteriorating condition of Zenawi’s health in the aftermath of the May18th encounter with Abebe Gellaw. Most notably, immediately after the confrontation, Zenawi reportedly failed to attend a function at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C., that was organized to express gratitude to his followers in the Diaspora. A few weeks later, he was seen as a ghost-like creature during his meeting with Chinese officials at the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. The final confirmation of his ailment later came when he failed to attend an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in July.

While there is no conclusive medical evidence to indicate that shock can actually kill a person, there is ample literature to surmise that it can impact the cardiovascular system, and thereby exacerbate a deteriorating or compromised condition leading to death.

In the medical literature, fear and stress are known to cause substantial biochemical conflicts between the sympathetic and parasympathetic responses when a person is faced with an imminent danger, the so-called fight-or-flight phenomenon. In particular, shock, as an extreme stress reaction, ensues when the stress level is so high that the endocrine and nervous systems are unable to cope with the circumstance. People who have underlying health problems may, therefore, experience fatalities as a result of the exacerbation of these conditions.

In their book, Gleitman et al. (2004)[1] report that, in the face of extreme stress, catecholamine hormones, such as adrenaline, trigger physical reactions, including acceleration of heart and lung action, constriction of blood vessels, and shaking. For someone with cardiovascular problems, a huge release of catecholamines can lead to instant or eventual death.

Some of the above events were, of course, observed in Zenawi’s reaction to the unexpected challenge by Gellaw. In one of his weekly commentaries, Alemayehu G. Mariam poetically captured the moment as follows:

“…. For seven seconds, the mighty Zenawi zoned out into a catatonic trance like the patrons of opium dens. For a fleeting moment, he seemed almost comatose. His head was bowed, his back hunched, his chin drooped, his lips quivered and his eyes gazed vacantly at the floor just like the criminal defendant who got handed a life sentence or worse. A close-up video showed him breathing heavily, almost semi-hyperventilating. His pectoral muscles heaved spastically under his shirt. An imminent cardiac event?” [2]

For a dictator who, distrusting the people he ruled with an iron fist, had insulated himself with one of the most skilled and highly armed protective security details in the world; for a dictator who, out fear and insecurity, had never interacted or mingled with the people that he had so despised, mocked and disparaged during his two decades of tyranny; the sudden outburst of such dreaded phrases as “Meles Zenawi is a dictator!” in that world forum was a shocking experience that his frail body had not been accustomed to or able to withstand.

Although the secretive TPLF ruling party never revealed the general health condition of the dictator while he was in office, rumors did abound about his poor health resulting from a slapdash life-style, including smoking, drinking and other substance abuse – all risk factors for cardiovascular and oncological complications.

In view of the indirect association of death and shock in a compromised person, and given the poor state of Zenawi’s health prior to the event, it is not beyond the realm of possibilities to surmise that the May 18th confrontation might have contributed to his death.

If Gellaw’s heroic action had a role in the death of the dictator, then it would explain in part why the TPLF cadres kept the condition of the late dictator and the bona fide cause of his death a highly guarded secret. Manifestly, any suggestion that the event of May 18th contributed to the demise of the dictator would hearten others to follow suit and challenge the repressive rule of the TPLF. Most importantly, if there was the perspicacity that one person could contribute in a momentous way to bring down a vicious dictator, despite his ostensibly impenetrable security details, the millions of oppressed citizens would be emboldened and an organized mass uprising would be inevitable to end the monopoly enjoyed by the minority thugs on the nation’s political and military power structure and scarce resources.

The North Korean style funeral ceremony and the idolization of the deceased is also part of an overall orchestrated stratagem to demonstrate spurious invincibility and to thwart any semblance of vulnerability. The attempt to paint a larger-than-life picture of the deceased despot, and the much advertized claim that he was a respected leader in the world forum is, of course, at variance with the low esteem in which the despot was held by world leaders in private conversations. As revealed in the United States diplomatic cables leak, he was in fact a light weight in the eyes of diplomats and heads of states. Contrary to the myth propagated by his henchmen, in the opinion of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, he was an “economic illiterate”, while in the assessment of George W. Bush he was nothing more than “an errand boy”. What the TPLF cadres are doing in his death validates what Former US ambassador Donald Yamamoto observed when the dictator was alive: a “democratic deficit” example, and someone “begging to get world attention to have his ideologies acceptable.” [3]

The death of the dictator a short while after his encounter with Abebe Gellaw may serve both as a metaphor and as a template for the demise of tyranny in Ethiopia. Authoritarianism inherently is an aberration in human society, and hence a sick political system. So, as in the case of Zenawi, a major shock could unavoidably trigger the collapse of the system, as has been recently observed in the Middle East and other regions ruled by tyrants. This shock could come in the form of popular uprisings, concerted resistance by the people, organized lobbying by the Diaspora to cut the supply line of foreign aid, or internal fractures spearheaded by pro-democratic factions.

The only way out of this predicament for TPLF rulers is to recognize and respect the will of the people to live in freedom and liberty. In the short term, they should open up the political space and invite all opposition leaders for a genuine dialog to chart a framework for a democratic Ethiopia in which individual rights will be unconditionally respected, and all citizens will have equal opportunities in the pursuit of happiness and determination of the government of their choice.

If the TPLF insists in propagating the failed autocratic, ethnic-based and corrupt policies of the late dictator, then all freedom loving Ethiopians back home and in the Diaspora should rise in unity and give the aberrant system a shock from which it will never recover. It is a mathematical impossibility for a minority group to dream it would be able to perpetuate its repression over eighty million people for much longer.

It is time for the West to refrain from continuing to nurture the activities of a criminal regime and derailing the aspirations of the people to live in freedom and prosperity. In this regard, pro-democracy groups and individuals in the Diaspora have a historic role to play and influence donor nations and institutions.

* Henry Gleitman, Alan J. Fridlund and Daniel Reisberg (2004). Psychology (6 ed.). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-97767-6.)
* http://addisvoice.com/2012/05/ethiopia-meles-speechless/
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contents_of_the_United_States_diplomatic_cables_leak_(Region_%E2%80%94_Africa)#Ethiopia

(Selam Beyene,PhD, can be reached at Beyene50@gmail.com)

The late dictator’s funeral scaled down because of security concerns

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

The late Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi’s funeral Sunday has been scaled down because of security threats, according to an Ethiopian Review correspondent in Addis Ababa.

The gathering for the funeral at the Addis Ababa Holy Trinity Cathedral has also been reduced to a small number of foreign dignitaries and senior members of the ruling party, while the people are being ordered to go to the various tents that has been set up through out Addis Ababa and watch the ceremony on TV.

meles zenawi funeral tent addis ababa

The number of people coming from other regions of Ethiopia for the funeral has also been reduced to 200 per region.

The main fear on the part of the junta is that a riot could break out if there is a large crowd and things could easily get out of hand.

It is not clear where Meles Zenwi will be buried, but we have been informed that it will not be at the Holy Trinity cemetery.  There is a wide spread speculation that his body is placed inside a freezer at a secure location and may be set to this birth place, Adwa.

This is an extremely stressful time for the TPLF junta. … stay tuned for updates.

Addis Ababa in a somber mood as the dictator’s burial looms

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is a total clampdown on the independent press in Ethiopia. Even foreign correspondents are working under constant threats, frequently being called into Bereket Simon’s office to be threatened with expulsion from the country. In the report below by William Davison of Bloomberg, we removed all the junk that he was forced to add to his report in order to placate the junta and kept only the few hard facts.

By William Davison

ADDIS ABABA (Bloomberg) — [ ... ] Throughout the capital, the mood is somber as Sunday’s funeral looms. Normally deafening bars keep stereos switched off. State television offers blanket coverage of the mourning. There are few outliers. An articulate young journalist – as appreciative of Meles’s rules as millions of his compatriots – reports on Facebook of the intimidation he suffered when he sat on a poster of the premier outside the palace after paying his respects to Meles.

“I was mad that my respect for the late PM could be simplified by the manner I treated a poster,” he writes.

One individual was hauled to a police station for disrespectfully listening to music on headphones, another user alleges below. [...]

In an afternoon of stalking the mini-city of flats freshly hoisted by the government and now cluttered with barbers, bars, grocery stores and hordes of people, just one person expresses some doubt. “The EPRDF [Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front] is one party. They dominate everything,” a Russian-educated trader says in perfect English about the Meles-led ruling coalition. “There is no freedom for journalists. A lot of them are in prison.” Those would include dissident Ethiopian writer Eskinder Nega, who was recently sentenced to 18 years in prison for terrorism offenses.

The trader then requests to remain anonymous.

The system’s excesses are also on public display. The mobilization skills of the 6 million-strong party, previously used to permeate state and society, bolster crushing election victories, and encourage donations for Meles’s political masterstroke, the damming of the Nile, are in overdrive. Colleagues cannot travel to Addis Ababa for a meeting next week, one individual informs: all public transport is tied up busing people in for the funeral. Teams of government workers were parading through central Addis Aug. 31, chanting slogans and brandishing placards about the necessity to keep Meles’s dream alive.

The dynamics are similar to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam fundraising campaign: Both Meles and the Nile hydropower project – which signaled Ethiopia’s intention to use a huge asset historically monopolized by Egypt – would be staggeringly popular without any leverage being applied by the EPRDF’s leaders and cadres; yet they still turn the screw in order to strengthen their grip on power.

Critics sneer at some of the party’s alleged tactics: “they’re all receiving per diems”; “homeless beggars on television are praising Meles”; “they’re wheeling the sick out of hospital to join the crowds.”

A leaked letter purportedly from university administrators demanding that staff attend a mourning ceremony makes its way round the Web. “Got it. The North Korean comparisons are justified,” pontificated a media advocate from New York, suggesting that the mourning was not sincere.

But Kemal indicates otherwise. “I cried. Nobody pushed me, nobody paid me. I cried,” he volunteers about his response to Meles’s death.

[...] Away from the public pomp, nervous Ethiopians and Addis’s chattering classes opine that the future is uncertain. Very little is known about the inner workings of an opaque ruling party. Only time will tell whether its stability and thus the country’s is wrecked by factional squabbling. Only the years and decades to come will define his legacy [...]

Addis Ababa donkeys mourn the late Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi

Friday, August 31st, 2012

A large group of donkeys residing in Addis Ababa went to the National Palace to pay respect to the late Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi, according to ETV.

On a serious note, the donkeys are better than all the people pigs who cried for the genocidal dictator who has been looting Ethiopia and terrorizing its people for the past 21 years. They cry for a guy who calls them adhgi (agasses). We agree with Meles on that — they are agasses.

Addis Ababa donkeys mourn the late Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi

BOYCOTT Ethiopian Airlines – NO RIGHTS? NO FLIGHTS!

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Airline boycott has a storied past in South Africa as part of a broader consumer boycott by activists standing against state repression. These activists who called for a free and democratic South Africa understood that, if one is serious about human rights and democracy, then every
nonviolent resistance, including economic boycott, must be waged.

For 21 years, the violent and manipulative TPLF rulers have been coercing where they can — such as human rights defenders in Ethiopia and everyone else in the country. And where they can’t coerce, for example, outside of the country, they have been playing with the minds of pro-democracy Ethiopians abroad, leading us to dither and to limit ourselves in the nonviolent methods we use to wage our fight against dictatorship in our country. It is time that we take the example of the freedom-fighters in South Africa. We should take action and stop flying Ethiopian Airlines (EAL) to put pressure on the oppresses.

With every flight on EAL, we are dutifully handing over our scarce cash, in the form of foreign currency, and are unwittingly keeping the hungry TPLF well-fed and the military loyal to them.

Here are just a few significant moments in the boycott movement against the South African Apartheid rule’s airline, South African Airways (SAA). This can inspire us to do our part and quit using EAL:

As early as the 1960s, several African states pioneered the application of pressure on the brutal Apartheid regime through the regime’s airline, by prohibiting the use of their airspace by SAA. This made it exceedingly difficult for the regime to operate its airline. Under effective grassroots activism, SAA started to become a liability for respected firms left and right that had been associated with SAA. For example, in 1985, the well-established Washington D.C. law firm Covington & Burling, which used to represent SAA, dropped it as a client.

Patriotic anti-apartheid activists were able to also influence US policy to pass in 1986 the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. Among other things, the law banned flights by SAA into the United States. Soon thereafter, Australia followed suit with a similar legislation concerning SAA.

In 1988 anti-Apartheid activists in London unrelentingly occupied SAA’s offices there, as part of the ‘No Rights? No Flights!’ campaign. Activists realized that one of the ways to effectively strike at the heart of the violent and racist white rule in South Africa was to target a boycott where it hurt the repressive rulers: at their treasured cash-cow, the government controlled airline. The poster on the left in the picture above (and enlarged below) subverts the Apartheid regime’s advertisement slogan for the purpose of galvanizing consumers to stop flying SAA.

Economic boycotts such as these, along with a wide range of methods to resist the authoritarian racial rule in South Africa, led to the crumbling of Apartheid rule in 1990.
Boycott Ethiopian Airlines

100,000 children live in the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Children living on the rough streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capitol, describe their days and nights of struggle. To better understand the mentality that keeps the children from seeking help, we speak with Dr. Minas Hiruy, the director of a local charity organization. He believes that, given a chance, the children can one day succeed.