Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News’ Category

New DVD teaches Woyannes to eat less

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

A British film-maker and an Ethiopian doctor are producing a film that teaches Ethiopians to eat less so that they can avoid becoming obese, the report below explains. What the report fails to mention is that these fat Ethiopians are very few and belong to the ruling class, and they are commonly known as Woyannes. And the stupid doctor, Dawit Mengistu, who is involved in making the film, is best described as aggasses. The report is full of factual errors written by a lazy reporter named Dave Himelfield. Click here to see some photos of Woyanne kids for a glimps into their obscene lifestyle. The photo below is Meles Zenawi’s daughter and Sebhat Nega’s son partying and getting drunk.

HUDDERSFIED, UK (The Huddersfield Daily) — TWO Huddersfield men are out to save the lives of Ethiopians – from gorging, drinking and smoking themselves to death.

In a total U-turn from the haunting images of the 1984 famine which sparked Live Aid, parts of Ethiopia are now becoming affluent and some of its wealthier people are falling victim to Western-style excesses – including obesity.

Film-maker John Edmonds and public health expert Dr Dawit Mengistu – who was born in Ethiopia – have realised there is a growing health problem in the African country due to growing wealth and fast food restaurants opening.

Now the Examiner can exclusively reveal their move to tackle a problem no-one could have dreamed would ever exist in Ethiopia.

Old images of starving Ethiopian children – which prompted the 1985 Live Aid appeal spearheaded by pop star Bob Geldof – still haunt many people’s perception of that country.

But 24 years later Ethiopia has a growing affluent population which is gorging on western-style fast food, smoking and drinking.

‘White-collar’ sit down jobs are on the increase in urban areas – as is car ownership.

Mr Edmonds said: “Urban areas in Ethiopia teeter on the edge of yet another new crisis – diseases of affluence. Sadly, the western diet and lifestyle are becoming more and more popular with everyone who can afford them.

“Cars are in demand, western-style high-fat fast food outlets are multiplying, the use of tobacco and alcohol is increasing and, with all these changes, so is the incidence of diseases.”

“The average Ethiopian knows little of the dangers of fast food, lack of exercise, high-fat food and the like and the amount of public information on these issues in the Ethiopian language is rare.

“As the result, low-income countries such as Ethiopia are seeing shocking increase in obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Ethiopian art gallery opens in Atlanta

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Hanatzeb Ethiopian Art GalleryHanatzeb Ethiopian Art Gallery, the first of its kind in Atlanta, celebrated its grand opening on November 1. The Gallery also hosted a 2-day art and litrature event this past weekend, Nov. 20 – 22, where Ethiopian traditional bread and coffee were served.

Located in the Buckhead neighborhood, Hanatzeb Gallery adds to the City of Atlanta’s growing art scene.

Along with paintings, the gallery carries Ethiopian artifacts, such as traditional crosses,  masks, books, and household items.

The Gallery also hosts poem reading events and receptions for Ethiopian painters and artists to help them introduce their works.

The owner, Anteneh Girma, says that one of the objectives of the gallery is to introduce Ethiopia’s still undiscovered, but incredibly talented artists to the world.

Indeed many of the paintings currently on display in the gallery are stunningly beautiful. Most of them are brought from Ethiopia. Some have been produced by Ethiopian artists who are residing in the U.S.

The gallery is open from 10 AM – 6 PM from Monday through Saturday. It is located at 49 B Bennett Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30309.

(More information: Tel 404-352-4373 or visit Hanatzeb Gallery’s web site: hanatazeb.com)

USAID helps a Woyanne company win $30m contract

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has brokered a $30 million contract between a U.S.-based business and a company owned by Ethiopia’s tribal junta, according to a report by Jason McLure of Bloomberg News. This should not be a surprise since USAID and the World Bank, poverty mongering organizations, are as corrupt as the 3rd world vampires such as Meles Zenawi they support. These “development” organizations are the worst perpetuators of corruption and bad governance in Africa. Read the full report below.

(Bloomberg) — An Ethiopian opposition party has criticized a U.S. aid program for helping a textile plant with ties to the country’s ruling party win a multimillion dollar contract from an American company.

The program, known as the AGOA Plus project, is designed to help link African manufacturers to American buyers in order to take advantage of preferential tariff treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The so-called AGOA program, started by the U.S. government in 2000, allows about 6,500 products from Africa to enter the U.S. free of duties or quotas.

On Nov. 19, the U.S. Agency for International Development- (USAID) funded AGOA Plus said it brokered a contract worth as much as $30 million annually between Jackson, Mississippi-based Atlas Manufacturing Group and Almeda Textile. Almeda is part of a group of companies that was founded and is controlled by members of Ethiopia’s ruling party, [the Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF)].

[Alameda and 60 other mega-million-dollar companies are under the direct control of Meles Zenawi’s wife Azeb Mesfin through a conglomerate named EFFORT.]

“The American government is using public money to support a dictatorial government,” Beyene Petros, an opposition lawmaker from the Forum for Democratic Dialogue, said in a phone interview on Nov. 23. “This is simply crazy. I don’t know who is advising them or why they are doing this.”

As part of the deal, Almeda will produce restaurant uniforms and other garments for Atlas, which specializes in importing textiles to the U.S. from African countries eligible under AGOA. Ethiopian textile exports under AGOA were $18 million in 2008, lagging countries such as Lesotho, which exported $340 million in goods under the trade pact.

Economic Development

Michael Gonzales, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, said the goal of the project was to foster economic development, not help political parties. In matching U.S. buyers with Ethiopian manufacturers, it didn’t provide American companies with information about the ownership of Ethiopian factories, Gonzales said in a phone interview yesterday.

The U.S. works with the Ethiopian Textile and Garment Manufacturers Association, Gonzales said.

“Almeda is a member of this association,” he said. “Almeda is one of relatively few Ethiopian factories with the capacity to fill an order of this volume.”

Razvan Ionele, general manager of Almeda, said in an e- mailed response to questions that the deal would consolidate the image that Ethiopia is a possible sourcing location for producing textiles. He declined to comment on the company’s ties to Ethiopia’s ruling party.

James Langford, chairman of Atlas Manufacturing, declined to comment, when contacted via e-mail yesterday.

Elections

Foreign aid to Ethiopia has emerged as an issue ahead of national elections scheduled for May, which the opposition has warned may not be free and fair. Earlier this month, the Forum for Democratic Dialogue said its members had been denied access to a food aid program funded by the U.S., the U.K. and the World Bank as well as Ethiopian government jobs funded by foreign donors. The government has denied the allegations, and the American and British governments have said they are probing the claims.

Almeda, located in the northern city of Adwa, the birthplace of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, is owned by the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray, or Effort, one of Ethiopia’s largest business groups. It comprises more than a dozen companies established by former guerrillas from Meles’s Tigray Peoples Liberation Front that seized power from the Communist Derg government in 1991.

Effort’s CEO, Abadi Zemu, is a senior official in the TPLF, which has ruled Ethiopia for the past 18-years in an alliance of pro-Meles parties known as the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front. Effort’s deputy chief executive, Azeb Mesfin, is Meles’s wife.

Opaque

Last year, the World Bank’s Ethiopia country director said the finances of Ethiopia’s endowment businesses were opaque and a bank report this year called on policy makers to ensure that endowment firms are managed at arms-length to the government.

Effort is using the profit from Almeda and its other businesses for economic development and projects like schools and housing in Ethiopia’s ethnic Tigray region and not for political purposes, said Abadi.

“The initial money of course was from the TPLF,” he said in phone interview yesterday from the northern city of Mekelle. “But since then the ruling party cannot make any claim on its resources.”

Addis Alemayehu, the director of the AGOA Plus project, said his organization had been working on the deal for 18 months and said its intent was to create jobs.

“For me, you go to the factory and you look at the 2,000 to 3,000 Ethiopians working, that’s all I care about,” he said in a phone interview on Nov. 23 in Addis Ababa. “There’s always going to be a negative side when it comes to deals like this.” [Wushetam. How much commission did you, Addis Alemayehu, receive from the deal?]

Moral bankruptcy in Ethiopia's opposition leadership

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Currently there exists a moral bankruptcy of opposition political leadership in Ethiopia. Hailu Shawel is the embodiment of such bankruptcy.

By Neamin Zeleke

“In our time, political speech and writings are largely the defense of the indefensible.” So wrote George Orwell, one of the great public intellectuals of the 20th century who spoke truth to both left and rights powers. No matter all the posturing and attempts to justify it with so much and contradictory statements and interviews by the actors and supporters alike, the recent act of singing the so-called “code of conduct” remains nothing but a grand betrayal. A betrayal is the name that could aptly characterize the document that does not meet the criteria to hold free, fair and credible elections in Ethiopia.

Chairman of All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP) Ato Hailu Shawl’s recent action is nothing less than reneging on the loftiest goals of the democratic movement, under whose banner thousands paid the ultimate price, including those who followed him and believed in him during the 2005 national elections that was rigged by the ruling party and the bloody aftermath. As a result of such betrayal, the movement to liberate Ethiopia from Woyanne has been forced to take a step backwards as the ruling party is using him — and that of the so-called “third way” “critical supporters” like Ato Lidetu and Ato Ayele Chamiso, the very men who betrayed Ato Hailu and the rest of Knijit leaders when they were thrown in prison — to tell the international community that now it has made an agreement with opposition forces.

By signing on this lame “code of conduct,” Ato Hailu has compromised the strategic objective of even those who struggle via peaceful means, i.e., the widening of the political space in order to hold free and fair elections by forcing the ruling party to compromise and given in to serious concessions. If Hailu Shawel can make an agreement with the Woyanne with whom he has an ocean of differences, as he made it clear in the public declarations of AEUP objectives, why can’t he agree with other opposition groups in order to increase their bargaining power? Doing so would enable him and the other groups to attain the bargaining muscle and political clout. At the end of the day, the more the political space and real democratic political order materialize, the more all players benefit to compete freely once the playing field is leveled.

What is also sad, as others have pointed out, is the fact that he did not put on the table even half of the 8 point preconditions that the Kinjit presented to the Woyane during the massive fraud committed by the ruling party following election 2005. The damage goes even further: The agreement he entered into with the regime and the two parties has blunted the attempt by Medrek to get at least better concessions as they have made known that a free and fair election cannot be held while the ruling TPLF/EPRDF controls the Election Board and appoints the 200,000 election workers at nearly 40,000 polling stations. They have also demanded the release of all political prisoners.

In addition, the absences of these demands, the lack of even the gesture to negotiate about the release of all political prisoners is a tragic, callous and immoral act. One cannot talk of struggling against dictatorship when he or she clearly knows that political prisoners, irrespective of their affiliation, are political prisoners including his former colleague, Judge Birtukan Midekesa, who is currently languishing in Meles Zenawi’s prison.

Ato Hailu Shawel has found it better to come to an agreement with the ruling party in the hope of carving his own little political space and concerned only about his political future — a breathing space for his organization at the expense of the overwhelming majority of Ethiopians hungry for rule of law, democracy, respect for human rights, their empowerment in the political and economic affairs of their country.

Let us recall that Ethiopians supported Kinjit and its leaders during the 2005 elections due to its forceful demands and clear alternatives to Woyanne and its promise to deliver democracy and rule of law for the people of Ethiopia. It was not the persona of Hailu, Lidetu, Berhanu… that did the magic of what was then called “Sunami”. It was their unified and unifying message and the vision that did the magic. It was not even the details of the program that people rallied behind. I doubt if the majority of Ethiopians even read much of it. Instead, it was Kinjit’s clear and simple message of change and alternative to the ruling party that won it a widespread support throughout Ethiopia. As observers aptly said, it was a “protest” support and vote by an electorate that wanted real change and saw Kinjit at its rightful agent.

Where then is the moral leadership that is expected of opposition leaders under conditions of dictatorship? Is opposition political leadership, under the context of a dictatorship, simply about making calculated moves to benefit single organizations or few organizations? Ato Hailu discussed only about AEUP’s political prisoners. Even then, I am not sure how many of them are released, if ever the harassment has stopped. But we would not even know as he said that the “EPRDF does not like it when we make too much noise; we find it better to write letters and follow up their case” (his interview on the Reporter).

Tomorrow the TPLF/EPRDF will tell him to stop writing the letters and then he would do so, if we take his logic. Where does it stop? What then can we call such an organization that abandons its own methods of exposing human rights abuses, even those enshrined in the so-called constitution under whose ambit it claims to operate?

This last point brings us to the heart of the matter. The constitution is said to be the supreme law of the land. But the TPLF/EPRDF has trampled on it time and again, violating each and every article for the past 16 years since its adoption. There is no reason to expect that, the agreement, a mini version along with few purported benefit to a “privileged” opposition groups, could not be violated by the TPLF.

Nothing better should have been expected from Hailu Shawel, considering his track record of throwing a monkey wrench amidst the democratic movement since 2003. This was the time when he decided to leave UEDF (coalition of 15 political parties formed in 2003) without solid reasons. He left just ten days after his delegates Major Getachew Mengistie, and the late Dr. Mekonnen Bishaw made a public statement that they would play a great role in strengthening UEDF. Hailu Shawel lied in a statement made public while the real issue was that he was unhappy due to the fact that the conference held for seven days did not elect him as the chairman in his absence. Had he been at the all party conference he would have been elected. But he gave the lame excuse that he was sick, to show up in DC in just about a week to start dismantling UEDF and pull AEUP out. The other causality in that incident was Ato Wondayehu Kassa, AEUP North America representative who was found to be an obstacle to the devious act of Ato Hailu’s decision of withdrawing AEUP from UEDF.

For anyone involved in the details of what was going on then, one can safely reach to a conclusion that the man is not amenable to political compromise among opposition forces and one who is incapable of handling contradictions in a farsighted and statesmanlike manner as our struggle demands from those who claim to be leaders of the struggle of our people for democracy and freedom.

The root of Kiniji’s split and its collapse has much to do with such a character, if not the only reason. When the problem of Kinjit surfaced, several elder groups genuinely tired to reconcile the minor differences between him and the rest of the Knijit leadership. It is a very well known fact that he was the one who obdurately refused to make peace. He even refused to respond to messages and phone calls from those who tried to reach and talk to him about reconciliation to save Kinjit from the impending collapse. As well known, the split of Kinjit took a heavy toll on the hope and aspiration of several millions of Ethiopians for change and freedom.

Tragic, indeed, that he has the heart sit, negotiate, and agree on a non-essential document that cannot add an iota to bring about a positive change in Ethiopia. Indeed, he had the stomach to shake hands with a dictator whose hands are drenched with the blood of thousands without getting substantial concessions to hold free and fair elections in Ethiopia.

If our struggle is for raw political power and under a condition where there is a democratic system, I can understand and go along with the view that some have argued in recent days that each party acts and calculates its steps to maximize its position in relative to other players on the political landscape. But when it is done under a dictatorship such as our ever miserable people are, and when our central quest is to win our freedom denied to us Ethiopians by successive dictatorships including the TPLF/EPRDF, it becomes a cynical pursuit at the expense of the broader struggle of the Ethiopian people for genuinely democratic and free Ethiopia.

Let us leave all the past evil and wrongs that the TPLF has wrought on Ethiopia and our people. Just think for a single moment of all those teenagers, mothers, elders, and men and women, who were savagely gunned down after the May 2005 elections by Agazi forces under Meles Zenawi’s direct command. Why did they die? Why did mothers lose their loved ones? Sons and daughters, children and the new born lost their loved ones. Why and why indeed? All the bloody massacre against unarmed protesters and non-protesters alike and whose innocence was proved by the report made public thanks to the courageous move of the Inquiry Commission Meles himself appointed.

Think of all those tens of thousands who were tortured and subjected to inhumane treatment following the May 2005 elections. Recall all the brutalities, humiliation, and debasement tens of thousands of Ethiopians had to endure. Was it for individuals and political organizations to calculate as to how to maximize their individual and organizational power, increase their sits in an impotent rubber stamp parliament? Was it for a being “privileged” than other opposition groups?

The brutal reality remains that one should not have any illusion that a minority dictatorship like the TPLF will ever give up political power through peaceful means only. Even if defeated at the polls, it will not give up all its economic, political, and military domination of Ethiopia that it has amassed during the past 18 years. There are too much at stake for the TPLF, its ethnic supporters and their cronies from other ethnic groups.

Having said that, I do not have any objections towards those organizations waging their struggle through peaceful method of struggle so long as they genuinely promote the establishment of real multi-party democracy and the rule of law, and equality of all citizens and ethnic groups in our country by replacing the dictatorship of the TPLF/ERPDF and the hegemony and domination of an elite of a minority ethnic group and their surrogates from other ethnic groups in all realms of Ethiopia’s national life at the expense of the rest of the Ethiopian people. In other words, as long as these opposition forces struggle peacefully and legally with a view of democratizing Ethiopia, as opposed to having a limited end to shilly-shally in order just to get crumbs and increase their seats in the lame duck parliament by the “good will” of the ruling party and serve it as junior partners of the status quo.

In view of what has transpired in recent weeks, it is safe to argue that there exists a moral bankruptcy of opposition political leadership under the current Ethiopian condition. Ato Hailu is the embodiment of such moral bankruptcy. In the meantime, our people are under the yoke of a corrupt ethnic dictatorship that will leave no stone unturned, no tactic unused, no cleaver games from being played out to perpetuate its hold on to state power by all and any means.

(The writer can be reached at neaminz@aol.com)

Ethiopia's Gebre-Egziabher Gebremariam victorious in Portugal

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Gebre-Egziabher Gebremariam Portugal Nov 21 2009Lisbon, Portugal (IAAF) – Reigning World Cross Country champion Gebregziabher Gebremariam opened the IAAF Cross Country Permit season with a victory at the Oeiras Cross Country on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Ethiopian proved his power in Oeiras over the elements – strong winds and hard rains – as well as his opponents. From the outset a group of six ran together at the front and followed a strong pace: Gebremariam, his countryman Tariku Bekele who won in Oeiras in 2004 (and was second in 2005), the Kenyans Edwin Kuambai and Kiprono Menjo (third in Oeiras in 2006), Italian cross country champion Andrea Lalli, and the surprise in the field, the Portuguese Eduardo Mbengani.

Lap after lap, the lead group grew smaller and in the last of the five laps we saw a strong finish sprint between the young Portuguese and the world champion. At the line, Gebremariam take the victory, just one second ahead of Mbengani.

“This wasn´t as easy as some may think,” Gebremariam said. “I’m pleased with the course, it was very good. But the weather was not so good – too much wind and rain – but I’m training to achieve my goals and this event was wonderful for my preparation». He also said that he was pleased to pull off the win over a long sustained sprint against Mbengani. “I’m happy to see that are good runners in Portugal. I tried to help him, but in the final I made my move.”

“This was a surprise,” said Mbengani. “I didn’t expect to be second in this cross, but this was the mirror of my preparation, which wasn’t so good at all because of some injury problems. I’m very happy to achieve my first goal: to make a good showing to get on the national team for the European Cross Country Championships.”

Finishing in third place was Kiprono Menjo, repeating his finish from 2006, followed by the European hope, Italy’s Andrea Lalli, who was fourth ahead of Edwin Kuambai. In fifth place was the Portuguese veteran (41 years old) José Ramos, one second ahead of José Rocha, the winner of last weekend’s contest in Torres Vedras. Bekele was a distant eighth, more than 50 seconds behind the winner.

Portuguese podium sweep – women’s race

In the women’s event, as with predicted, the Portuguese women lived up to their billing as the favourites. Jessica Augusto, who failed to start last weekend in Torres Vedras, moved herself to the lead and showed everybody why she was last year’s European championships runner-up. With a solid pace she moved ahead a created a strong advantage between the following group, which included Inês Monteiro, the European bronze medallist last year, and Anália Rosa. Upping the tempo, they left Kenyan Milka Jerotich more than 90 metres behind.

After them Ana Dias, fifth here the last two years, repeated this place and prove her candidature to the national team.

”The win wasn’t easy,” Augusto said. “It’s never easy win in Oeiras, because this is a tough course. I’m very happy to win today, I expect to get to the national team and I’m doing my best to go there and try to get another medal.”

António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF

Leading Results -

MEN (9000m):
1. Gebre Gebrmariam ETH 24.41
2. Eduardo Mbengani POR 24.42
3. Kiprono Menjo KEN 24.45
4. Andrea Lalli ITA 24.56
5. Edwin Kuambai KEN 25.19
6. José Rocha POR 25.24
7. José Ramos POR 25.25
8. Tariku Bekele ETH 25.30

WOMEN (5000m):
1. Jessica Augusto POR 15.39
2. Inês Monteiro POR 15.49
3. Anália Rosa POR 15.51
4. Milka Jerotich KEN 16.11
5. Ana Dias POR 16.14
6. Sara Moreira POR 16.17
7. Leonor Carneiro POR 16.23
8. Mónica Rosa POR 16.28

277 Ethiopians arrested in Yemen's Abyan and Hajjah provinces

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

SANA’A, (Saba) — Yemen Ministry of Interior reported that police arrested 277 Ethiopians on Monday, including 18 women, as they tried to illegally to enter the country.

The Ministry quoted security sources as saying that that 202 Ethiopians disembarked at the coast of Abyan Province in south Yemen from a smuggling boat.

In Medi city of the Hajjah Province, additional 72 Ethiopians, including five women, were arrested.

In the City of Mahweet, Yemeni authorities have arrested three Ethiopians aged 18-20 who reached Yemen by smuggling boats.

Woyanne seeks to execute recently convicted 'coup plotters'

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Spokesman for the inJustice Ministry in Ethiopia, Ato Mekonnen Bezabih, said today that his regime is seeking death penalty against most of the 46 individuals who are accused of plotting coup d’etat and convicted by the Woyanne kangaroo court last week.

VOA’s Peter Heinlein reported the following:

ADDIS ABABA — Prosecutors in Ethiopia are seeking the death penalty for 40 people found guilty of conspiring to overthrow the government. Twenty-seven of the defendants were tried and convicted last week. Thirteen others, most of them living in exile, were earlier found guilty in absentia. This VOA correspondent was in the courtroom as the 27 in custody pleaded for reduced sentences.

One by one, the 27 convicted conspirators were given a chance to explain to a three-judge panel why they should not be executed for planning a campaign of violence aimed at bringing down Meles Zenawi’s government.

The group was convicted of five charges. Among them were trying to incite rebellion within the army, plotting to kill senior government officials and destroy strategic facilities.

All were said to be members of the outlawed Ginbot 7 Movement led by exiled political leader Berhanu Nega.

Berhanu, now a university professor in the United States, was among the 13 convicted in absentia. He has denied the existence of a plot, but has repeatedly called Meles’s government ‘illegitimate’ and said it should be removed by any means.

Many of 27 convicted last week are current or former military officers. Speaking to the court, they pointed to their decades of decorated service. Some spoke of fighting with the forces that overthrew the previous Marxist regime. Several listed the medals they had won and the wounds they suffered fighting for Ethiopia in its Woyanne’s war against Eritrea a decade ago, or serving in Somalia, or in the counterinsurgency campaign against rebels in the independence-minded Ogaden region.

Two defendants, both former army majors, admitted their guilt and threw themselves on the mercy of the court.

Ethiopia’s inJustice Ministry spokesman Mekonnen Bezabeh says while the death penalty is being sought for all 40, the two who pleaded guilty would get special consideration.

“We asked the court for the death penalty, but we also asked the court to minimize the penalty for two persons who told to the court their activities,” Bezabeh said.

The other defendants, including the lone woman among the 40, maintained their innocence throughout the trial, though some said they respect the court’s decision.

Several defendants, including the few represented by attorneys, questioned whether the death penalty is appropriate in a case where the charge is simply planning a coup, not carrying it out. Presiding judge Adem Ibrahim was silent on the matter, but Justice Ministry spokesman Mekonnen said the cumulative weight of all the charges calls for the maximum punishment.

“According to our procedure law, if there are so many charges, each penalty will be added and they will be penalized the sum of the penalties, so when we see their convictions, by acting contradiction with the constitution, and also they conspired to make a crisis between army forces, the penalty would be the highest penalty point, which is the death penalty,” Bezabeh said.

Those facing the maximum penalty include Melaku Teferra, a senior member of Ethiopia’s opposition UDJ, or Unity for Democracy and Justice Party. Melaku was among the scores of political leaders convicted of inciting post-election violence in 2005, then later pardoned.

In outlining the charges Tuesday, Chief Prosecutor Berihun Tewoldeberhan singled out Melaku, saying he should have learned from his past mistakes.

Melaku is one of two top UDJ officials in prison as next May’s elections approach. The party’s main leader, Birtukan Mideksa, was also among those jailed after the 2005 election and then pardoned. But she was sent back to prison last December and ordered to finish serving a life sentence after denying that she had asked for the pardon.

Ethiopian farmers substitute coffee for khat and corn

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

A museum is being erected in Bonga, Ethiopia — the birthplace of coffee. But because small-scale farmers are fragmented and disorganized, they are not reaching the potential of the coffee crop.

Worldfocus correspondent Martin Seemungal reports from Ethiopia’s coffee country, where farmers are deciding to plant corn and khat, a leafy drug that is chewed with stimulating effects somewhere between caffeine and cocaine. Watch the report below:

What is an ethnic Jew?

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Ethiopians face racism in Israel Non-violent demonstrations in Israel by once warmly welcomed Jewish Ethiopian immigrants were shut down by police while political leaders sought an 11th hour deal to allow black students into schools, reminding many of the anti-segregation struggles in the U.S. in the 1950s and 60s. Ethiopians were brought into the country in celebrated covert operations during the 1980s and 90s, but now find that racism trumps the shared religion that brought the to Israel in the first place. The root of the problem is made evident in a recent book’s title, One People, One Blood: Ethiopian-Israelis and the Return to Judaism.

“We came here because we thought Israel was our country. We didn’t expect this,” said Demelash Belay, a 36-year-old English teacher who moved to Israel in 2006 in a CSM interview. “We heard in Ethiopia that Israel is a democratic country. We found discrimination. And because of it Ethiopians are suffering.” Protest leader Uri Kabadeh wore a T-shirt reading “We want equality, we’re all Jewish” as he led a crowd chanting in both their native Amharric and adopted Hebrew. “Down with racism, down with discrimination.” 100,000 Ethiopians now live in Israel , with more arriving each year. Non-violent demonstrations an police responses are nothing new.

Some say the difference between this situation and U.S. segregation is that the latter was state-supported and this one comes from institutions like schools and the native ethnic Jewish population. But wait a second. “Native ethnic Jewish population”? That’s a term deserving of a bit of deconstruction: the Jews in Israel came and come from every nation in Europe and the Americas, as well as different parts of Asia. What is an ethnic Jew? Is not the identity of Jews based in religion not race, a dangerous conflation that often repeated events of the 20th century make clear? Not for Ethiopian immigrants there.

The Apartheid-like treatment of Palestinian based on Arab ethnicity and religious affiliations (mostly Muslim, also Christian), the actual “native” population, is explicitly supported by the Israeli state. Is the feigned “acceptance” of Ethiopians meant as a palliative or a smokescreen? Israel’s sole Ethiopian parliamentarian rushed to the state’s defense, forgetting that what is happening to his constituents is but a pale reflection of ongoing, racist and religionist current events creating the future of Palestinians, the Middle East region and the world their grandchildren will inherit.

Ethiopia on sale: children, land, gold, oil…

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Last week we heard from a U.S. official, Assistant Secretary of State Michele Bond, that this year 2,200 Ethiopian children were imported to the U.S. on adoption. They were sold by the adoption agencies in Ethiopia that are affiliated with Meles Zenawi’s wife Jezebel Mesfin at $30,000 each. Yesterday, it was reported that Meles Zenawi’s regime sold an Indian company 765,000 hectares of fertile land in Ethiopia to grow crops and export them to India. All the while, millions of people in Ethiopia have nothing to eat.  Today, it is reported that the Meles junta has sold gold mines in western Ethiopia that contain 40 tonnes of gold deposit to a Saudi company that is owned by Ethiopian billionaire Al Amoudi. In order to extract the gold, they had to wipe out the population in the area first. Ethiopian women are being sold into slavery in Arab countries. Meles and Jezebel are selling every thing in Ethiopia and when they run out of things to sell, they will implement article 39 and take off for the Republic of Tigray.

The following is a report by Reuters about Woyanne-Saudi gold extraction deal.

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia signed a deal on Tuesday for a Saudi firm to extract an estimated 20 tonnes of recoverable gold found in the Horn of African country last month, the mines and energy minister said.

Two firms — Saudi Arabia’s Midroc Gold Co. and Britain’s Golden Prospecting Mining Co. — discovered deposits estimated to contain more than 40 tonnes of gold last month and applied for extraction licences.

“We will sign an extraction agreement with the Saudi company today,” Minister for Mines and Energy, Alemayehu Tegenu, told Reuters in an interview, adding it would be mined over 11 years.

“We hope to sign an agreement with the British company next year,” he said.

The minister said Sakaro, a mining company wholly-owned by Midroc Gold Co., discovered an estimated 20 tonnes in the Lege-Dembi gold belt. Midroc is owned by Ethiopian-born Saudi business tycoon Sheik Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi.

Golden Prospecting Mining’s find of about 23 tonnes is in western Ethiopia.

Under the terms of the deal, Ethiopia gets 5 percent of royalties, takes 2 percent equity and will charge 35 percent tax. The extraction licence expires once 20 tonnes of gold has been extracted.

The Ethiopian government says it has identified possible reserves of up to 500 tonnes in different regions.

The country now makes $105 million a year from gold exports and that could double when Midroc starts its extraction, Alemayehu said.

The Horn of Africa nation has made $450.5 million from about 48 tonnes of gold exports in the last 10 years, according to the National Bank of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia: Our shame cannot be covered up

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

We, the current generation of Ethiopians, as a society should be ashamed of our inability to provide food for millions of our children. The latest estimate is that over 6 million Ethiopians are facing starvation and millions of children are malnourished, while the so-called “government” of Ethiopia is selling the country’s fertile land to Saudi Arabia and India so that they can secure food for their people. And yet a group of Ethiopian tour companies, 25 of them, are currently up in arms against BBC’s coverage of the food shortage in Ethiopia (see below a report by Ash Smyth). These companies could be owned by Ethiopia’s vampire regime that is sucking the life blood of our country. BBC is doing a good job in exposing the starvation in Ethiopia that the regime and its opportunist friends try to hide. The ongoing starvation in Ethiopia should put the regime, and every Ethiopian, to shame.

Ethiopian tour operators attack BBC’s doom-laden coverage

By Ash Smyth (The First Post): Ethiopian tour operators, in London for this month’s World Travel Market, have addressed a furious open letter to the BBC’s Director General, concerning the Corporation’s recent coverage of the drought in Ethiopia. The letter, signed by some 25 companies, accuses the BBC of casually dramatising its broadcasts with footage from the infamous 1984 famine.

“Ethiopia,” they wrote, “has changed beyond all recognition since 1984, yet the BBC insists on showing images from that time. They are very intrusive and are deeply upsetting to many millions of Ethiopians.”

[Ethiopia has changed only for the few Woyannes and their collaborators.]

But beyond the matter of stung pride, the tour operators insist that the “doom-laden scenario” implied by the BBC’s use of old newsreel damages the national image, deterring foreign investment and scaring off tourists. “Investment, trade and tourism are key to Ethiopia’s development,” they claim ­ “more so than aid.”

[BBC runs old newsreel because the regime does not allow reporters to videotape the current famine.]

Which is true. The tourism industry currently accounts for approximately five per cent of Ethiopia’s GDP and tourism is a “featured component” of the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. With about 400,000 tourists a year, the country is still not exactly a hotspot, but adroit marketing of events like the 2007 ‘millennium’ and the annual Addis ‘Marathon’ (10km) have seen visitor numbers increase steadily over the last five years (visitors, incidentally, who invariably comment on how green the country is).

[It is true, the country is green and fertile. So do not say the starvation in Ethiopia is due to rain shortage and drought. That is a lie told by the regime and repeated by poverty-mongers like the World Bank. The problem is that the regime is busy stealing the country's wealth, instead of governing.]

The Ethiopians are not hiding the scale of the current problem, either – ­ they can’t afford to. Poor rains in the first six months of this year, above-average food prices, and shrinking levels of routine foreign aid, have resulted, by the government’s own figures, in 6.2 million empty mouths. [This is a lie. poor rain is not the cause of food shortage in Ethiopia. If so, why do Saudi and Indian companies come, grow wheat and corn in Ethiopia and export them to their countries?]

Just to see out the rest of 2009, Ethiopia will need some 350,000 metric tonnes of additional foodstuffs: $120m worth.

But “there will not be famine again in Ethiopia,” promises Prime Crime Minister Meles Zenawi. The state has built (with Chinese assistance, of course) more than 100,000km of new roads to facilitate distribution, shelled out for more food, arranged for the berthing of extra supply ships in Djibouti, and increased trucking capacity. “The government has an efficient early warning system and keeps stores of food for times of shortfall.”

[Is that why millions of children are malnourished in Ethiopia?]

Unfortunately, though, Ethiopia’s shortfall policies can still only cater for a couple of million people in a good year. Moreover, these are all emergency measures, addressing the results of food crises, not the causes.

Ethiopia’s constant need for aid stems largely from increasingly frequent droughts, wars both internal and external, and a population (thanks, ironically, to all the improvements of the last quarter-century) expanding by two million a year. But it is also the result of bad agricultural policies.

[There is no drought in Ethiopia. The problem is mismanagement and only mismanagement of the country by the regime that is run by village idiots.]

Chief among these is the fact that all land is state-owned (a hangover, perhaps tellingly, from previous famine-struck eras). This stifles growth, since farmers can’t take out loans against the land, and fosters inefficient subdivision as plots are endlessly divided through the generations.

The result is that, in one of the fastest-growing economies in the world (according to Economist [false] predictions), the agricultural sector employs 80 per cent of the workforce and yet 40 per cent of the country lives below the poverty line; agriculture accounts for half of Ethiopia’s GDP ­ and one of her chief imports is food.

Ethiopians, meanwhile, tend to blame donor nations for dumping grain on them, rather than giving them cash to buy it locally. My enquiries also met with a reminder that more than 12m Britons receive government subsidy of some kind (which would have been a neat comeback if, given the circumstances, the correspondence hadn’t also sported the line: “Ethiopia, the water tower of Africa”).

But whatever the immediate cause of the current crisis, the BBC’s lazy Geldof-ite coverage certainly isn’t helping its effect. Worse, it is not the first time this has happened. In 2004, Michael Buerk’s ’20th anniversary’ broadcasts prompted a raft of cancellations from prospective visitors under the impression that famine was once again rife. Again, Ethiopian tour operators complained.

To date, neither letter has had a response. The BBC well deserves the rap on the knuckles ­ and the Ethiopians deserve an apology.

Kenyans head to Ethiopia to discuss investment in hydropower

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

hydroelectric power planBloomberg reports that the Government of Kenya wants to invest in hydroelectric plants in its northern neighbor, Ethiopia, to ensure the country secures enough energy imports to cover a domestic supply shortfall.

Kenya Electricity Generating Corporation’s CEO Eddy Njoroge and Kenyan Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi will hold meetings with government officials in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, next week to discuss the proposal, according to the report.

“We want to be equity holders,” said Njoroge. “Ethiopia has good hydropower potential and it’s very cheap.”

Kenya is also turning its attention to renewable energy, with backing from the World Bank. Speaking during a tour of the Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant on Tuesday, World Bank Vice President for Africa Obiageli Ezekwesili said as the world shifts focus on mitigating effects of climate change, renewable sources of energy such as geothermal was the way of future power production.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has already indicated that Kenya has the capacity to produce its entire electricity requirements from clean energy sources.

The UN agency puts the potential wind energy at 2,000MW and 7,000MW from geothermal and substantial biomass resources.

Ms Ezekwesili revealed that geothermal development was one of the key energy projects the bank would be ready to finance to help boost power production.

“Over a period of 10 years the government would need to invest $4.5 billion in up-scaling the contribution of geothermal energy to 49 percent of its energy mix which we would be willing to partner with the government to make it possible,” she said.

Ms Ezekwesili was however quick to add that the government should not rely on direct foreign investments to finance energy projects adding they should be in the forefront of generating its own funds.

“I am therefore pleased when I hear that KenGen recently had a public infrastructure bond offer to raise its own capital for infrastructure development.”

Also speaking during the tour, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Managing Director Eddy Njoroge pointed out they were keenly looking towards Solar Thermal energy to further strengthen power production capacity that is also environmentally friendly.

“I will be going to Spain with a team from KenGen to learn from them since they are a world leader when it comes to harnessing solar and thermal energy,” he revealed.

The government has also revealed it was keen on importing hydropower from Ethiopia to stabilise power supply and demand. Mr Njoroge welcomed the move saying it would offer Kenya cheap hydro energy (pegged at four US cents per kilowatt-hour) which could be added on to the national grid.

Ms Ezekwesili further stressed this point adding that Kenya had the potential to solve its energy crisis, which she noted was a major constraint to economic development.

“I have had the opportunity to look at your economic blue print and see that energy is one of the key areas the government is addressing the energy situation,” she said in reference to Vision 2030.

She however urged the government to focus on enhancing its distribution capacity, to make power more accessible to Kenyans as they seek to improve their social status.

Woyanne shops for anti-riot gear ahead of election

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Woyanne shops for anti-riot gear ahead of election and more news. Watch below:

Indian company acquires 765,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Ethiopian farm wheatEthiopia’s autocratic leader Meles Zenawi has embarked on a controversial policy of leasing huge amount of land to foreign private investors in an attempt to boost agricultural production for the local market and for export. However, environmentalists and agricultural policy planners fear the leasing of huge tracts of land to private developers in some countries could harm the environment. They are concerned that land which is already under strain from years of degradation will suffer more. They say the loss of trees in particular has caused an imbalance in the eco-system, resulting in regular drought and famine.

By Billie O’Kadameri

(RFI) — Indian businessman Ramakrishna Karuturi, managing Director of Karuturi Global Ltd, one of the world’s top agribusiness transnational corporations, has acquired nearly 765,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia. His company is involved in flower and food production.

Karuturi told Radio France International (RFI) that the world should applaud instead of vilifying efforts by people like him. “When you look at the last ten years of world food production vis-à-vis consumption, I think over six of those ten years, we in the world have eaten more than we produced, and world food stocks are at a debilitatingly low 67-day stock. 67 days of food is disastrous and I don’t think in the history of mankind, the world has ever come this close.”

With very low per capita electricity coverage, nearly 85 percent of Ethiopia’s rural population relies on wood fuel for domestic energy for cooking, according to Dr Gemedo Dalle, Head of Forest Genetic Resources Department at the Ethiopian Institute for Biodiversity and Conservation in Addis Ababa.

This already constitutes an emerging crisis for the government and policy planners. Yet more land tree cover will be under pressure as large-scale land investors flock to Ethiopia taking advantage of the country’s land policy that makes it easy to acquire huge land areas.

Professor Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Director of the Addis Ababa-based Knowledge, Capacity and Innovation Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute opposes the leasing of huge tracts of land to foreign investors:

If you are acquiring say hundreds of thousands of hectares of land and you clear all of this land, the impact on the environment is very severe, because you are going to cut all the trees. [...] Sometimes they don’t grow food, sometimes it is for bio-fuel plants and other things so it is not going to improve the food security of the people. Sometimes they even cultivate food but the food is shipped completely out.

But 43-year old Karuturi rejects the claims that his investment will not address food security problems in Africa. “Africa is the world’s largest market for food. Africa imports 16 billion dollars worth of food every year. Out of 25 million tonnes of rice that is traded globally per year, 10 million tonnes is imported by Africa. Of course I will sell my food in Africa because Africa is the best place to sell food [...] people are acutely short of food here.”

The Ethiopian government insists that its policy will seek to balance investment in agriculture, with a strict regime for protecting the environment.

Abera Deressa is Ethiopia’s Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development. “They cannot harm the environment. We are very clear on this. We in the Ministry of Agriculture are developing an environmental code of practice for the private sector. [...] We are also advising them not to cut trees, they have to manage soil erosion.”

“As you know very well the global climate change crisis is because of poor management of the environment in developing countries; the other is by emission of carbon dioxide into the air by developed countries through industrialisation process.”

“But but here in Africa, in our country pollution of the environment is by poor management of agricultural practices; deforestation, degradation, improper land management; these are the factors that we have to control”.

Yemen police arrest 25 Ethiopians

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

ABYAN, YEMEN (Saba) — Yemen police arrested 25 Ethiopians, including 2 women, who had arrived in Ahwar District in Abyan Province, Interior Ministry has reported.

The refugees, who entered Yemen illegally, were sent to a refugee camp where currently hundreds of other Ethiopians are housed.

Furthermore, 45 Somali refugees, including 4 women and 4 children, have arrived in Ahwar Coast.

Ethiopian emperor's watch sold to unknown buyer in Geneva

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Menelik II of Ethiopia GENEVA — A rare historical pocket watch made for an Ethiopian emperor Menelik II has sold to an unknown buyer for £30,000 at an auction in Geneva, Switzerland.

The historically important clock — which is known as ‘The Negus Watch’ and is made from 18K yellow gold — was a gift from Emperor Menelik II to Léon Chefneux in recognition of his contribution to building Ethiopia’s first railway line.

It is thought the watch was probably presented as a welcome gift before the commercial agreement was signed between the emperor and the railway designer.

Menelik pocket watch The watch stands for progress, innovation and modernity and has remained in the same family for over 100 years.

It has a white enamel dial and is paved with rubies and diamonds.

This was the first time it had appeared at auction and it was sold with its presentation case and the original First Class Geneva Observatory Certificate.

Ethiopian anthropologist who found Ardi to speak at Indiana Univ.

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Yohannes Haile-SelassieIndiana University in Bloomington USA announced today that Ethiopian anthropologist Yohannes HaileSelassie, who found the first fragment of the newly reported Ardipithecus ramidus skeleton nicknamed “Ardi,” will talk about the discovery and its implications at the University’s Whittenberger Auditorim on December 1 next month.

The lecture is sponsored by the Stone Age Institute and Indiana University’s CRAFT Research Center.

Dr Yohannes HaileSelassie is curator and head of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University.

“This is one of the most important fossil hominid discoveries of our lifetime and gives us critical evidence about the origins of upright walking and what our early ancestors looked like,” said Nicholas Toth, co-director, with Kathy Schick, of the Stone Age Institute. “This is a great opportunity for people to hear, first hand, about the circumstances of the Ardi discovery and analysis and get a feel for the rigors and excitement of fieldwork in the Afar region of Ethiopia.”

Dr Yohannes is a member of the research team that discovered and analyzed a 4.4 million-year-old partial skeleton of the early hominid ancestor Ardipithecus ramidus in the Afar Rift region of Ethiopia. Results of the 17-year investigation were published Oct. 2 in a special issue of the journal Science, opening a new chapter on human evolution by extending knowledge to a period only a few million years after the human line diverged from that leading to chimpanzees.

It was Yohannes who, in November 1994, found the first piece — a hand bone — of the female skeleton that would become known as Ardi. The partial skeleton, including the skull with teeth, arms, hands, pelvis, legs and feet, was recovered through excavations between 1994 and 1997.

The research team found a total of 110 hominid fossil specimens representing at least 36 different individuals, along with fossils of dozens of animal and plant species. The results are helping scientists discern in greater detail the basic steps in the evolution of modern humans from ancient apes.

The Stone Age Institute, directed by Indiana University Department of Anthropology professors Schick and Toth, also carries out anthropological field research in Ethiopia’s Afar triangle. In 2005, Institute researcher Sileshi Semaw and colleagues reported the discovery of 4.5 million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus skeletal fossils, including parts of jaw bones, teeth, part of a toe bone and intact finger bones. The fossils were retrieved from the Gona Study Area in northern Ethiopia.

The Stone Age Institute is an independent research center dedicated to the archaeological study of human origins and technological development. It has strong ties with Indiana University, especially CRAFT (the Center for Research into the Anthropological Foundations of Technology) and the Human Evolutionary Studies Program.

U.S. Senate confirms Ethiopian to head MCC

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Daniel W YohannesWashington, D.C. — The United States Senate on Nov. 20, 2009, unanimously confirmed President Barack Obama’s nomination of Daniel W. Yohannes, a native of Ethiopia, as the new Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). As CEO, Mr. Yohannes will undertake MCC’s mission to reduce poverty through economic growth.

MCC is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. Created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004, with strong bipartisan support, MCC is changing the conversation on the delivery of U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership, and results.

During his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Yohannes said, “I welcome the opportunity to lead MCC. I will work as a good emissary for MCC to partners around the world, to U.S. Congress, and to all stakeholders, with the input of MCC’s professionals, the Board of Directors, the development community, partner countries, and the private sector. I’m confident that MCC’s anti-poverty partnerships worldwide will generate sustainable economic growth and opportunity, and this is fundamental to enhancing our collective security and common humanity for a more prosperous, peaceful world.”

Mr. Yohannes continued, “We have a lot to accomplish in order to advance our government’s vision to reduce global poverty. It is challenging to replace patronage with partnership to deliver smart aid that matters by encouraging some policies, country-led development, and sustainable results. MCC offers some important lessons on where to start. MCC lays an innovative foundation to address the complex problem of global poverty.”

Following is Mr. Yohannes’ biography:

Daniel W. Yohannes, Chief Executive Office, Millennium Challenge Corporation
Daniel W. Yohannes, a former banker and active philanthropist from Englewood, Colorado, was nominated by President Obama as Chief Executive Officer of MCC on September 18, 2009.

Since retiring from his post as Vice Chairman of U.S. Bank in 2003, Mr. Yohannes has been a private investor specializing in real estate, financial institutions, and the renewable energy sector. From 1992 to 1999, Mr. Yohannes was President and CEO of Colorado National Bank (part of U.S. Bank), and before this held a number of leadership roles at Security Pacific Bank (now Bank of America).

Mr. Yohannes is active in his community and serves on various boards and civil organizations, including the Board of the National Jewish Hospital, the Denver Art Museum’s Board of Trustees, and the Board of Directors for the University of Colorado Medical School. He was a board member of Project C.U.R.E. (Commission on Urgent Relief & Equipment), which provides medical supplies for needy people around the world, and chairman of the Mayor of Denver’s Greenprint Council, a leadership group focused on improving the environment of cities and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Yohannes graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Economics and earned an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he is fluent in Amharic.

Israeli official calls for segregation of Ethiopian students

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

“The Education Ministry should educate itself first,” says Gadi Yevrakan, who directs the headquarters for the struggle for social equality for Jewish Ethiopians. “If I hadn’t seen the symbol of the state of Israel on the letter I would have thought it had been taken from the 1950s of the previous century in the US, when there was segregation on buses.”

By Yaheli Moran Zelikovitch | YNetNews

The Education Ministry has sent out a letter to religious boarding schools in Tel Aviv saying there have been reports of misbehavior by “Ethiopian born” students in the city’s central bus station.

The letter obtained by Ynet asks principals to make sure the students take “alternate routes” home in order that they do not disrupt the peace.

The letter is signed by the ministry’s supervisor of religious boarding schools, Shmuel Dukov. It was sent to principals of boarding schools all over Israel as well as their supervisors, just a week ahead of the Ethiopian Jews’ national Sigd festival in Israel.

The letter indicates that the students should ride separate buses from their friends upon returning home from their respective schools in order not to pass through Tel Aviv’s central bus station.

“This letter is outrageous,” says a counselor at one of the schools that received the letter. “I instruct a group of Ethiopian students, and have no trouble with them. They are adorable. What is the meaning of this obtuse language?” He said he had no intention of telling the students they should use alternate routes.

“The Education Ministry should educate itself first,” says Gadi Yevrakan, who directs the headquarters for the struggle for social equality for Jewish Ethiopians.

“If I hadn’t seen the symbol of the state of Israel on the letter I would have thought it had been taken from the ’50s of the previous century in the US, when there was segregation on buses.”

Yevrakan said the ministry had crossed a “moral and educational red line”, and that he hoped Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar would cancel the letter’s instructions.

“The Education Ministry, instead of educating youth, is educating society towards racial stigmatism regarding an entire race,” he said. “Now you can really see the ugly face of education in Israel. We will fight this with all our means.”

The Education Ministry responded to the outrage by stating: “Israel Police has alerted the attention of the ministry to the fact that some of the teens traveling home from their boarding schools for vacation are subjected to violence. For this reason a representative of the Education Ministry has decided to examine alternative ways to secure their safety.”

Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi's Ploy for Copenhagen Conference

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

By Selam Beyene

Copenhagen Conference

Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi, who has no respect for fundamental human rights and who has one of the worst environmental records in the history of Ethiopia, has no moral authority to rear his head as a champion of climate change for the people of Africa.

As the rest of the world awaits a successful outcome of the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Ethiopia’s tyrant Meles Zenawi has been honing a Machiavellian gambit to exploit his hard-earned role as a representative of Africa to advance his vicious political and economic agenda.

It is hard to disagree with the notion that industrialized countries have much to atone for with regard to their contribution to the environmental catastrophe in countries like Ethiopia. However, these countries should not exacerbate the hardship their actions have wreaked on the people by handing over in haste compensatory money to dictators who would only use it to buttress their oppressive machinery and to fatten their foreign bank accounts.

Indeed, the environmental and humanitarian damage caused by Meles Zenawi’s autocratic and corrupt regime in Ethiopia is incalculable. Below are a few examples that give a glimpse of the relentless onslaught of the dictator against the fragile environment of the country in his tragic crusade to oppress the people and plunder the wealth of that poor nation.

Massive deforestation, thanks to Zenawi’s insatiable desire to amass hard-currency, has contributed to continued environmental degradation, poverty and famine in the country. According to one report, in the first few years of Zenawi’s repressive rule, “… between 1990 and 2005, Ethiopia lost 14.0% of its forest cover, or around 2,114,000 hectares.” A case in point is his recent campaign to sell the more fertile parts of the country to multinational farmers without regard to the ecological consequences. As reported in the November 22, 2009 issue of the New York Times Magazine [2]:

“Zenawi, a former Marxist rebel who has turned into a champion of private capital, has publicly said he is very eager to attract foreign farm investors by offering them what the government describes as virgin land. An Ethiopian agriculture ministry official recently told Reuters that he has identified more than seven million acres. The government plans to lease half of it before the next harvest, at the dirt-cheap annual rate of around 50 cents per acre.”

The dictator has banned private ownership of land and used it as a tool for the subjugation of the rural population. As a consequence, he has encouraged unsustainable land utilization and inevitable environmental degradation, as affirmed by the aforementioned New York Times Magazine report.

“This land-tenure policy has made it possible for a one-party state to hand over huge tracts to investors at nominal rents, in secrecy, without the bother of a condemnation process.”

The problem was summed up in the October 26, 2009 issue of the Herald Scotland, which stated:

“Ethiopia’s land, post-Mengistu, still belongs to the state and cannot be sold. ….. One consequence is that state land gets divided and sub-divided among the families who sit on it. Plots become so tiny and the soil so exhausted that it cannot feed the families who work it – even in times of normal rainfall.”

Utilizing famine as a weapon of mass repression, Zenawi has systematically instituted policies that contributed in major ways to the recurrent drought and human tragedy in that country. According to a recent UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, 35 million Ethiopians or about 44% of the total population are malnourished, and that the country has the largest proportion of malnourished people in the world!

The dictator has instituted draconian laws to restrict the activities of NGOs who work in the field of human rights and other areas that are incompatible with the corrupt and repressive policies of the regime. In particular, the law has severely curbed the ability of environmental NGOs to educate the public at large on climate change issues and to expose the destructive environmental policy of Zenawi’s deceitful government.

Why has Zenawi desperately campaigned to secure invitation at the Copenhagen Climate Conference?

The dictator’s resourcefulness when it comes to hoodwinking donor nations through appearances at major summits has been well documented. At G8 and G20 summits, he has insolently and callously exploited the famine and poverty that he has inflicted on the people as means of shaming wealthy nations into giving him billions of dollars in aid.

Predictably, he has now seen even greater opportunity in the Copenhagen Conference, and has assiduously lobbied corrupt African diplomats to nominate him as an African Union’s chief negotiator. As reported in the November 20, 2009 issue of the Daily Nation, Zenawi, true to form, was quick to ask “…the rich industrialized nations to compensate the less developed Africa for the impact of global warming.”

Having been rejected by the people of Ethiopia in successive elections, another even more sinister motive for his obsession about invitation to major meetings is the desire to earn legitimacy and to divert attention from his appalling human rights records and crimes against humanity. The timing of the upcoming Climate Conference is particularly opportune as the venue is expected to provide much needed visibility at home and abroad while he intensifies his blatant attacks to cripple any potential opposition in the May 2010 elections.

Just a few weeks before the Climate Conference, the dictator gave a deceiving gesture of rapprochement by orchestrating a highly publicized and theatrical ceremony of reconciliation with a prominent leader of one of the opposition groups. He quickly used the occasion to silence international critiques and to appease those donor nations who only needed a pretext to prop up his repressive regime. After an intensive barrage of propaganda to publicize the event to gullible international observers, he has now embarked on an even more terrifying campaign of sniffing out any viable opposition and squashing it ruthlessly. As acknowledged by Karl Wycoff, deputy assistant secretary of state for East African Affairs, after a recent visit to the country, even the US is concerned by the “… reduction in political space and the ability of opposition parties to operate and do what opposition parties should do.”

Thus, in view of the proven crimes of Zenawi and his regime against humanity, his continued assault on the environment and his contempt for good governance and rule of law, the presence of the dictator at a conference of considerable significance to mankind is not only a trivialization of the noble cause for which those concerned with climate change stand, but also an affront to human decency.

We, therefore, call upon industrialized nations not to rush to reward dictators with compensatory money knowing that the money would be used to cause even graver hardship on the people who must be helped.

We also call upon the hosts of the Climate Conference to take extra measures so that the venue would not be exploited by unscrupulous dictators as a cover for their crimes and as a platform to gain visibility.

Ethiopians in the Diaspora are asked to heighten their vigilance and expose the tyrant, as they have admirably done so in Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005; Pittsburgh, PA, in 2009; and in numerous other places over the years. Through effective demonstrations, well-researched publications, and constructive engagement of the Conference organizers, they should expose the depravity of the tyrant and ensure that the dictator does not use the august occasion as a forum to strengthen his repressive machinery and to divert attention from the crimes he is committing against the people.

Albert Camus wrote: “The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.” For almost two decades, Zenawi has used the predicament of the people of Ethiopia to bolster his repressive machinery and to plunder the wealth of the nation. This time, the world must awaken to the vile ruse of the dictator, and stop him before he inflicts more devastating human suffering in the name of development, democracy, and now climate change.

(Selam Beyene, Ph.D., can be reached at Beyene50@gmail.com)

Famous Ethiopian singer Manalemosh Dibo passed away

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

manalemosh dibo One of Ethiopia’s most popular singers, Manalemosh Dibo, passed away today from natural causes, according to news sources in Ethiopia.

Manalemosh died in South Africa where she went to receive medical treatment after suffering from intestinal cancer for over a year.

Before going to South Africa Manalemosh was receiving treatment at Tikur Anbessa (Black Lion) Hospital in Addis Ababa. When her condition deteriorated, Tikur Anbessa doctors recommended that she gets treatment abroad. Ethiopian billionaire Al Amoudi covered her expenses to travel to South Africa.

Manalemosh was a young singer who’s popularity grew with each song she released. She is particularly well-known for her traditional songs such as Asabelew, Awdamet, and Minjar.

Below is a video of one of her most popular and Ethiopian Review’s favorite songs:

Hailu Shawel condemned at the Great Ethiopian Run

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Great Ethiopian Run Nov 21 2009a ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Thousands of people have participated in the 9th annual Great Ethiopian Run that was held Sunday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. World marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe and Ethiopian long distance star Derartu Tulu launched the race as guests of honor.

Today’s overall winner was Tilahun Regassa, while Koreni Jelila won the women’s race. Each received $2,100 award.

The Great Ethiopian Run, which was started by Haile GebreSelassie in collaboration with Toyota Motor Company, is the biggest road race in Africa attracting tens of thousands of runners.

Today’s run was broadcast live for the first time by major international sport channels, according to event organizer Haile GebreSelassie.

Since 2006, the Great Ethiopian Run has been used by Addis Ababa residents to voice their anger and frustration at the Woyanne regime, as they have no other outlet. Public meetings and opposition rallies are prohibited by the U.S.-backed brutal regime of Meles Zenawi.

Today’s event was a little different. The Woyanne regime was not the only target. The 76-year-old opposition party leader Hailu Shawel was the focus of protest. He was condemned by the runners for signing an agreement with Meles Zenawi on the upcoming general election without any tangible change on the part of the Woyanne regime, such as the release of political prisoners, including Birtukan Mideksa, leader of one of the main opposition parties. (Read more in Amharic by Awramba Times here.)

Over 2,200 children were adopted from Ethiopia this year

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Michele Bond, expresses concern over the sharp increase in adoption from Ethiopia.

QUESTION: Which countries do you see the sharpest increase in children ready for adoption? Is it related to conflict or poverty such as Zimbabwe?

MS. BOND: Well, the – one country that I could point to that had a sharp increase this year is Ethiopia, where the numbers that – it was up about 30 percent, and let me just – the – it was just over 2,200 children who were adopted this year from Ethiopia. That is not related to conflict. By and large, conflict is not one of the issues that tends to lead to a spike in adoptions, because children may be separated from their families but haven’t necessarily permanently lost those families as a result of population movements.

So we are watching adoptions and examining the situation in Ethiopia very carefully, because it’s a very serious concern when you – if you see the number of adoptions start to increase sharply, you want to be sure that the infrastructure if that country is equipped to monitor and carefully vet every one of those cases. Rapid growth isn’t necessarily a good thing.

QUESTION: You are mentioning experiences from other continents. How is the experience here in the Western Hemisphere between Latin American countries and the U.S.?

MS. BOND: When the United States joined The Hague Convention in April 2008, that made us a Hague partner for quite a few countries which prefer to limit their adoption interchanges with fellow – to fellow Hague countries. So there are some countries where we – American are now eligible to adopt that they might not have been before. And developing those contacts and those relationships is not something, again, that happens overnight. But I think that we may see a shift in some countries of more interest in looking for homes for children in the United States if they haven’t been able to have them adopted locally.

More generally, we have Guatemala, which is a country in which new adoptions cannot begin at this point. Guatemala is a Hague country and they are working to establish Hague-compliant procedures –

QUESTION: In Mexico?

MS. BOND: Mexico is a country where there are surprisingly few adoptions to the United States, and that is – it’s surprising in the sense that we have – we share such a long border. But there is a pretty strong reluctance in Mexico to allow children to be adopted by foreign families, even Mexican American families. And so by and large, the majority of the adoptions that we see are intra-family adoptions, not adoptions by people who are unrelated to the child.

QUESTION: On Ethiopia, you’re not entirely clear what’s causing the spike of adoptions?

MS. BOND: Well, I think what’s causing the spike of adoptions is that there are, first of all, many children in the country who are homeless and/or living in institutions and need homes. And there are people who are working to try to identify those children and match them with people in the United States and in other countries who are interested in adoption. Our concern about it is that you can easily find yourself in a situation where it’s difficult to tell the difference between children who genuinely don’t have a family and those who have been documented to look like they don’t.

And unless you have the host government with – well equipped to investigate itself, to document, to lock in the identity of these children, then it can be very hard to prevent the missed documentation of children, and situations where, for example, birth parents are coerced or persuaded to relinquish their children for money or not, but – when it’s something that they wouldn’t have considered doing if someone hadn’t been pressuring them to do it. Obviously, that’s not something that we want.

QUESTION: So there are some suspicions maybe that there’s a racket going on or –

MS. BOND: It’s something that the Ethiopian Government is carefully looking at and so are we and so is every other government whose citizens are adopting there. Ukraine, as it happens, is another country where we saw a 30 percent increase in adoptions last year. In the case of Ukraine, however, that’s not – it’s not something that we see as a trend. The numbers tend to go up and down a bit. So it can be hard to know whether you’re definitely seeing a movement in one direction or the other.

QUESTION: Let me just follow on quickly, if you don’t mind, please. What we want to know clearly, not just from one particular country (inaudible), let’s say from around the globe. As far as criteria for – like it’s a conflict or poverty or what causes or brings those children for adoption basically to the U.S.? Is it the regional conflicts? You are saying (inaudible) or elsewhere, war or homeless or the parents are dying and that – I mean, what are the major causes of the adoption of people (inaudible) of people, or children coming here?

MS. BOND: All right. The question is what are the typical reasons that children are placed for inter-country adoption. And when you talk about countries around the world, including the United States, which also has children that are adopted by foreign families and leave here to go and live in a foreign country –

QUESTION: Yeah. I’m sorry, let’s say India or let’s say sometimes they say – they seek asylum. What’s the difference between asylums or other adoption for children, let’s say? Are there children also in that category or for –

MS. BOND: Okay. Let me get to that question in a moment, if I may. The reasons that children are available for adoption by foreign citizens vary in different countries. In China, typically the reason has been that there were children, little girls, who were born and placed for adoption by families who were hoping that they might have a son.

And the fact is that – there was a reference in one question to age requirements and other requirements being imposed on adopting parents – the number of children available for adoption in China has diminished. And the number of people who are interested in adopting in China is much higher than the number of children that are – that need homes. And that’s one reason that the Chinese Government imposed the changes and the requirements for adopting parents. They were simply trying to reduce the pool of all well-qualified people who were applying to adopt. They had many more than they could vet and many more than they needed.

In some other countries, the children are in care because of local poverty. But what’s important is that in some countries, children may be placed in institutions by their families because the families know that’s a place where the children will be fed and cared for and educated. And there are countries where the families then anticipate that the children will return home when they’re a little bit older, maybe 10 or 12, old enough to contribute to the family and help their parents.

And so that’s one of the things that we have to be on guard against. The fact that a child is in an orphanage and has been there for some time doesn’t make him an orphan in the sense – well, in any sense, he’s not a child who needs a home. He has a family.

I think – I hope that that’s helpful in terms of the –

QUESTION: Yeah, only about asylum, if – if you had any case of the child or somebody had asked asylum for a child rather than adoption.

MS. BOND: The question is about whether children also come into the United States as asylees, as people who are seeking asylum from our government as opposed to adoption. Getting asylum is a very different sort of process. And in order to apply for asylum, a person has to show that he is facing some sort of persecution or threat in his own country. Typically, unaccompanied children would not be likely to apply for asylum. That would be rare.

MR. TONER: We have time for just one more question.

QUESTION: Can I just ask very quickly for you to speak in a little more detail about your comment that some other countries are approaching the United States about adopting American children? Who are those countries and how many American kids are adopted overseas?

MS. BOND: Since we joined The Hague, so since April of 2008, there are 71 American children who have been adopted by foreign families. Thirty-seven of those were adopted under The Hague, so that means that they were adopted to Hague partner countries and the adoption began after April 1, 2008 – the work on it, because as you know, it takes months to complete these things. So we’re still at a stage where the majority of outgoing adoptions are non-Hague, but we anticipate that they’re going to be primarily Hague.

The typical countries – Canada, Western Europe, Australia, countries that are our Hague partners and where local adoption opportunities are very limited, they’re very – relatively few children available for adoption. To their credit, several of the governments that have approached us have said that they are particularly interested in identifying waiting children in foster care as candidates for adoption by their citizens. They are not trying to compete for healthy newborn infants.

MR. TONER: Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The above is part of the briefing by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond on National Adoption Day on November 20, 2009. Read the full transcript here)

EDP officials in Tigray resign over Meles-Lidetu deal

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Except one, all members and officials of Lidetu Ayalew’s Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) in Tigray have resigned en mass protesting the deal Lidetu signed recently with Meles Zenawi on the conduct of the May 2010 general elections in Ethiopia.

In an interview with the VOA, Ato Tekle Bekele, chairman of EDP in Tigray and member of the party’s central committee, said that EDP has turned itself into a supporter of the TPLF/EPRDF regime, instead of a genuine opposition party.

Click here to listen:  

Ato Tekle said that he and his comrades decided to take a stand and resigned after repeated discussions with the party’s leadership failed to bring result.

Lidetu is not the only surrenderist who is facing rebellion inside his organization over the traitorous deal with Woyanne. Ethiopian Review sources in Addis Ababa are reporting that trouble is also brewing for Hailu Shawel inside his All Ethiopian Unity Party. Two weeks ago, a senior member of AEUP, Major Argaw Kabtamu, has resigned after expressing disgust over the agreement of surrender to the Woyanne tribal junta.

Memher Zebene, Ethiopia's Jimmy Swaggart?

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Memher (Preacher) Zebene Lema has started out as a charismatic young preacher at the Ethiopian Orthodox Medhani-Alem and St. Mary churches in DC and Maryland. Then he opened his own bible class so that he can keep all the donation from his students. After making loads of money, 2 years ago he went to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to get married at the Sheraton Hotel — Al Amoudi’s whorehouse. The fake patriarch, Ato Gebremedhin (formerly Aba Paulos), was the guest of honor. (Zebene says he did not invite him.)

Following the wedding, Ato Gebermedhin’s lackeys awarded him Abune Petros’ Cross. It is the cross this great Ethiopian hero and religious father used to compel the people of Ethiopia to resist Fascist Italy’s invasion in 1935. Italians executed Abune Petros. Now Memher Zebene walks around with Abune Petros’ cross in his pocket. He has been advised by Ethiopians inside the country and abroad to return the Cross to the Church, as it is a national treasure. He arrogantly refused.

After returning from his lavish wedding at the Addis Sheraton (a favorite spot for Arab sheiks to molest underage girls), all the money and fame became too much for Memher Zebene to handle. The “servant of God,” became a power-crazed thug who insults the elderly and antagonize senior Orthodox Church priests.

Zebene is currently using his blind young followers to harass and intimidate church leaders in the Ethiopian Community. Any one who criticizes Zebene is labled “pente” (a follower of the Pentecostal denomination) by him and his followers. Ironically, Zebene attends classes at the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington DC, which is run by adherents of the Baptist and Pentecostal denominations.

If Zebene keeps up what he is doing, he will soon become Ethiopia’s Jimmy Swaggart. He is bringing upon himself his own downfall through corruption and hubris.

Zebene just needs to follow what he preaches, and he can save himself. He is indeed a talented preacher. He started out great, particularly attracting young Ethiopians to the Church, but sudden fame and wealth have corrupted him.

The following article about Memher Zebene is sent to Ethiopian Review by a concerned Ethiopian and member of the Orthodox Church in Washington DC.

መምህር ዘበነ፥ መስቀሉን መልስ

ከታሪኩ ይበልጣል (ዋሽንግተን ዲሲ)

“ይህንን ባታደርጉ ትቀሰፋላችሁ፣ ይህንን ብታደርጉ ደግሞ የመንግስተ ሰማያት ቤታችሁ ይሰራላችኋል፤ ቤታችሁ በገነት ይሆናል” እያሉን ነገር ግን እራሳቸው በምድራዊ ቤት የዘቀጡ፣ መቀሰፊያውን የሚፈጽሙ ዓለመኞች፣ ከጎስቋሎች በይሁዳ ኮሮጆ በምጽዋት በፈለጉት መንገድ በተሰበሰበ ገንዘብ ሸራተን ሰርግ የሚሰርጉ፣ ዘመኑ ባፈራው የቅንጦት ዕቃና ተሽከርካሪ የሚንፈላሰሱና ቪላ የሚሰሩ በአንፃሩ ደግሞ ሌላው ግን ዳዋ ለብሶ፣ ድንጋይ ተንተርሶና ጤዛ ልሶ በደበሎ እንደተጠቀለለ ለቀኑ ቆሎ አሮበት ስለ አገሩና ህዝቡ በቁርና በጸሃይ ሳይዝል በጸሎት ተጠምዶ ጉድ የሚታይበት የጉድ ዘመን በኢትዮጵያ ሰፍኗል። “እኔ አውቃለሁ መንፈሳዊ ነኝ” የሚሉ ዳሩ ግን በምዝበራ የደለቡ የዓለም ሰንጋዎች፣ ግን መንፈሳዊ ተብየዎች በተናቀ ሥራቸው እውነተኛ ካህናቶችን አሰዳቢዎች ክርስቶስ መስቀሉን የተሸከመው ለመላው የሰው ዘር መሆኑንን በሆዳቸው የካዱ ጉደኛ ሹመኞችና ነጠላ ያጣፉ ጀሌዎችና ዱልዱሞች ተዋህዶ ተጥለቅልቃለችና መላ ይሻላል። ካህናት ነን እያሉ በካህናት ሥም ዛሬ በቤተክስቲያናትና በልጆቿ ላይ እየተፈጸመ ያለውን ተንኮልና ደባ ሰይጣን እራሱ ቢጠየቅ “ከእነርሱ ተማርኩበት እንጅ ተንኮላቸውንና ከፋፋይነታቸውን በፍጽም አልደረስኩበትም” የሚል ይመስለኛልና ልብ ያለው ልብ ይበል!

ዘበነ (መምህር) እራሱ በተግባር የማይፈጽመውን አስተምራለሁ የሚል፤ በድህነት ከተነነ ቤተሰብ ውስጥ ወጥቶ ግን በሙዳይ በተቀፈፈ የምዕመናንና የመበለቶች ገንዘብ ሰርግ ሸራተን ያደረገ ዓለመኛ ሳባኪ በማይፈጽመው ግን የእምነት ንጉስ ነኝ ባይ ጮሌ እንደ እኩዮች ዓለም በዘረጋቻቸው የዕውቀት ዘፎች ሁሉ አውቃለሁ የሚል እውነት የሚናገሩትን ያለስማቸው ስም የሚሰጥና የሚፈርጅ ቤተክርስቲያንዋ በታሪክ ያላየቻቸውንና የማታዋቃቸውን ‘የቡድሃ’ አይሉ ‘የኒንጃ’ ወይንም የኦሎምፒክ መወዳደሪያ ወይም ሌላ ቀለም ባፅሸበረቁ የጳጳስ፣ የቆሞስ፣ የመነኩሴ፣ የቄስ ወይንም የዲያቆን አሊያም የምዕመን አይሉት የሌላ የሥልጣን ተዋረድ ያልጠበቀ ልብስ አጥላቂ “ምንቸት ጋን ነኝ” ያለበት የመለያየትና የስድብ ፊታውራሪ ፍቅርን ሳያውቀው ስለፍቅር፤ አንድነትን እየናደ ስለአንድነት፤ የውንድማማችነትን መንፈስ እየገደለ ስለወንድማማችነት መምህር ነኝ የሚል፤ አዛውንት አባቶች ወደ ኋላ እንዲቀመጡ ተደርጎ እሱ አሳራጊ፤ ይህች ከንቱ ዓለም እንኳን የቅደም ተከተል ተዋረዷን ታውቃለች ይገርማል! ግን ይህንን አያስተውለውም።

በጣም የሚገርመው የማይለው ስለሌለ “ሁለት ሶስተኛውን እልፍ ሲልም ሶስት አራተኛውን የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብና የሰሜን አሜሪካን የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ክርስቲያን አድርጌያለሁ” ያለ ደፋር፤ ለመሆኑ ይህንን አድርጌያለሁ ካለ አመዛኙ የኢትዮጵያ ሕህብ እምነት ምን ይሆን የነበረው? አይን አውጣነት ወይንስ ሌላ? ከዚህ ቀደም እስከ አሁን የሚያንገበግበን በኢትዮጵያ የነጻነት ተጋድሎ ለዓለ ህብረተሰብ በዓለም አደባባዮች ለኢትዮጵያ እንዳንጮህ ለአገር የመጮህን ተስፋ ለማመንመን ያደረጋቸው መሰሪና አደናጋሪ ሰበካዎችና በማር የተለወሱ መርዛማ እንቅስቃሴዎች ታሪክ ይቅር የምይለው በደል ነው። አንድ ነገር ግን እናረጋግጣለን የኢትዮጵያ ትንሳዔም ቅርብ ነው!!! ይህንን ለጊዜ ፍርድ እንተወዋለን ያኔ ማጣፊያው ያጥራል።

ግለሰቡ ተመክሮ የማይሰማ ነው። ከዚህ ቀደም በቅዱስ ሚካኤል ቤተክርስቲያን ከእየሩሳሌም በመጡ የዕድሜ ባለጸጋ መንፈሳዊ አባት “አባቶችን አትዳፈር፣ ትህትና ይኑርህ” ብለው በእማኝ ፊት ያሉትን ባለመቀበል እነሆ ዛሬ ተመክሮ የማይሰማ ትዕቢተኛ፣ ቀናተኛ የሆነና ያለአግባብ ሰዎችን በመዝለፍ አባቶችንና እናቶችን በማዋረድና በመዘርጠጥ በሚከፍተው አፍ ጭንቅላቱ የሚታይ እራሱ የቆብ፣ የልብስና የአፍ ምሩቅ መሆኑን ማወቅ ለማንም አያዳግትም። የቤተክርስቲያንዋ መከፋፈል በውግዘት መለያየት ተጠቃሚዎች እርሱና መሰሎቹ ሆነዋልና። የኢ.ኦ.ተ. ቤ/ክር አንድ ከሆነች ሊቅውንተ ቤ/ክር ስለሚሰባሰቡና ፍቅር ሁሉን ስለሚገዛ ተራራ ነኝ ያለው ኩይሳም ስለማይሆን ጠላት ዲያብሎስም ስለሚያፍርና ጥቅም ስለሚቀር የቤተክርስቲያንዋን አንድነት አይወዱትም። ያልሆነ ስም ልጠፋና ስድብ ግን ይቀናቸዋል። ስድብ ባዶነት ነው። ስድብ ከዲያብሎስ ጋር ሕብረት መፍጠር ነውና ልታቆም ይገባሃል! አደራችን የጌታችን የመድሃኒታችንን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ መስቀል እንጂ የመከፋፈልና የስድብ፣ የጩኽትና የልፍለፋ የመሳለቂያ የሥጋ ገበያ ሊሆን አይገባም እንልሃልን።

ኃይላችን ስለሆነው መስቀል ስናነሳ ጌታችን፣ መድኅኒታችንና አምላካችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ መከራን በመቀበል በመስቀል ላይ ባፈሰሰው ደም ሰላምን እንዳወጀልን ሁሉ አባታችን ኢትዮጵያዊ ሰማዕቱ ቅዱስ አቡነ ጴጥሮስም የእምነት የተዋህዶ አርበኛ ስለ እምነቱና ስለውድ ሃገሩ ኢትዮጵያ፣ ከአምላኩ እንዳየው መስቀሉን እንደጨበጠ ጠላትን በመገሰፅና በማውገዝ በባንዳዎች ትብብር በጨካኞች እጅ ተረሽኗል። ጌታችን በመስቀሉ ዲያብሎስን እንደገደለና እንዳሸነፈ ሰማዕቱ ኢትዮጵያዊ ጴጥሮስም በመስቀሉ ፋሽስትን ገደለና አሸነፈ። የእዛ የእምነት ፅናት የተዋህዶ አርበኝነት ምልክት ቅርስ መሆኑ ተዘንግቶ “በእከከኝ ልከክልህ” የስጋ ገበያ ለከንቱ ውዳሴ በአባ ቀውስጦስ አማካይነት ለዘበነ (መምህር) በመሰጠቱን ከዚህ በፊት እንዲመለስ በየጊዜው በኢንተርኔት ከአገሪቱ ዜጎች መጠየቁን እኛም እንደ ኢትዮጵያዊ ዜግነታችን የሃገር ቅርስ በመሆኑ ያንገበግበናልና በአስቸኳይ ያለቅድመ ሁኔታ መመለስ አልበት። ግልሰቡ አልወሰደም እንዳይባል አፍ ሲያመልጥ እንዲሉ “ለሰርጌ መመረቂያ ከአባ ቆውስጦስ ተሰጥቶኛል” በማለት በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔዓለም ቤተክርስቲያን ሲመጻደቅ የተናገረውን ማውጣት ይቻላል። የአባ ቆውስጦስ ስጦታ ቤተክርስቲያኒቱን ለሶስተኛ ሲኖዶስ አሳልፎ ለመስጠት የተደረገ ውስጣዊ ደባ ነው ሲሉ አንዳንድ የቤተክርስቲያኒቱ አባላት በጊዜው ሲናገሩ ተደመጠዋል። ታዲያ እንግዲህ ታላላቅ አባቶችን ሳያፍሩ “ሆዳሞች” ያሉና ያዋረዱ፣ ከሆዳሞች ያገኙትን ማረጋገጫ ያልቀረበበትን አለኝ የሚሉትን ክህነት እንዴት እንቀበለው? ስሊዚህ የኢትዮጵያ ቤ/ክር በቀደሙ አባቶች አማካይነት ተዋህዶ በቤዛነት ለሃገሯና ለዜጎቿ ለመላ የዓለም ክርስቲያን የተከፈለ የመስዋዕትነት ቋሚ ምስክር ነውና ዘበነ (መምህር) የመመለስ ኃላፊነትም ግዴታም አለብህ።

የተዋህዶ አርበኛ ሰማዕቱ አባታችን ቅዱስ ጴጥሮስ በምላስ፣ በልብስና በዘር ከፋፋይነት ሳይሆን የተመካው በጌታችን በመድኃኒታችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ መስቀል ማለትም እንደቃሉ እኔስ ከጌታችን ከኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ መስቀል በቀር በሌላ ትምክህት ከእኔ ይራቅ (ገላ 6-14) ብሎ በዛች በመጨረሻዋ የጭንቅና ፈታኝ ሰዓት የክርስቶስን ዓርማ መስቀሉን መንፈሳዊ ክብሩን በቀኝ እጁ እንደጨበጠ ጽናትን እስከሞት ታላቅ ምስክርነቱን ስለኢትዮጵያ ስለህዝቡና ስለእምነቱ ደሙን በማፍሰስ ፍቅሩን የእግዚያብሔር ጽናቱን የገለጠበት የተሰዋውን የዛን የተዋህዶ አንበሳ መስቀል ለግል መውሰድና በማስኮብለል ከሀገር በማስወጣት ወደ ኪስ መክተት የመጨረሻ ነውርና ወደ ታች መዝቀጥ ነው። መመለሱ ግዴታ ነው። “ሀገሬ ኢትዮጵያ ሞኝ ነሽ ተላላ የሞተልሽ ቀርቶ የገደለሽ በላ” ካልሆነ በስተቀር አንተና መሰሎችህ በመጀመሪያ ገዝታችሁ ያንጠለጠላችሁትን መስቀል በቅጡ ያዙ! የሰማዕቱን ፈለግ ተከተሉና ከከንቱ ውዳሴ ይልቅ እውነቱን የቤተክርስቲያን አንድነት ጩሁ። መጀመሪያ በዓለም ካለ ህይወት እንደ ሸራተን ከመሰለው ውጡ። አባታችን የተገኘው በመስቀሉ ስር ከቤተክርስቲያን እንጅ ሸራተን በሳንቲም መልቀሚያ ጉባዔ አልነበረም።

ስለአባ እከሌ መኖር ይብቃችሁ። ነገሩ የእናንተ አባእገሌ ሆዳችሁ ጥቅማችሁ ነው።እስኪ የእውነት ሰው ሁኑና ስለ አገር የማይነገርበትና ከእውነት ከራቀው አደንቋሪ ጩኸት ውጡና ሰማዕቱ ጴጥሮስን ልትሆኑት ባትችሉም መሰሉት። ይህ መስቀል እንዲመለስ ሕግም ያስገድዳል። ቅርስን መዝረፍና ለግል ማድረግ የማየገባውን ማድረግ ወንጀል ነውና!!! ምን ይታወቃል አሊያም አንድ ቀን እንደ ድንቅነሽ (ሉሲ) ታከራዩትና ገንዘብ ትሸቅጡበት ይሆናል። ሕዋርያው ቅዱስ ጳውሎስ ፊሊጶ 3-10 በመልዕክቱ “የእነሱ መጨረሻ ጥፋት ነው፣ ሆዳቸው አምላካቸው ነው። ክብራቸው በነውራቸው ነው፣ አሳባቸው ምድራዊ ነው” እንዳለን መጨረሻቸው ጥፋት የሆነ የስም ክርስቲያኖች ፊሊጵ 3-10 ታንኩንና የመርዝ ጭሱን እየባረኩ በመላክ በባንዳዎች ትብብር ኢትዮጵያ ሀገራችንና ህዝቧን በወረሩበት በዛ የመከራ ቀን ብዙ ተጎድተናል፤ ከጉዳታችም አንዱ የአቡነ ጴጥሮስ በባንዳዎች ትብብር መረሸን ነው። መስቀሉ የዚህ ምስክር ነው። ቫቲካንም ይቅርታ ልትጠይቅበት ይገባል። እውነተኛ አባቶቻችንም ይህንን ጥያቄ እንድትጠይቁ ጩኽታችን ይድረሳችሁ።

አባታችን ካህን አሮንና ልጆቹ የእስራኤልን ልጆች እንደባረካቸው፣ ያዕቆብም በሸመገለ ጊዜ ኤፍሬምንና ምናሴን እንደባረካቸው አባታችን ሰማዕቱ አቡነ ጴጥሮስም የኢትዮጵያን ልጆችና ምድሯን ሁሉ ስለእውነትና ነጻነት የባረከበት የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ሀብትና ቅርስ የሆነው ያ ታሪካዊ መስቀልም ትናንትም ዛሬም ወደፊትም የማይሸጥ፣ የማይለውጥና የሀገርና የህዝብ ሀብት ነው። ይህ መስቀል አቡነ ጴጥሮስ የነፍሳችን መዳኛ እንዲሆን እንድናስተውል ለኢትዮጵያ አለኝታ እንዲሆነን ትቶልን ያለፈ የእውነት ቅርስ ነውና ዘበነ (መምህር) መልስ! በሀገርና በዓለም ዙሪያ የምትገኙ ኢትዮጵያውን ይህ መስቀል እንዲመለስ የበኩላችሁን ጥረት ታደርጉ ዘንድ ጥሪ ይድረሳችሁ። በተለይም የአሜሪካ ድምፅ ሬዲዮ፣ የጀርመን ድምፅ ሬዲዮ፣ ነፃነት ለኢትዮጵያ ሬዲዮ፣ የህብረት ሬድዮ፣ አዲስ ድምፅ ሬዲዮ፣ የኢትዮጵያ ሴቶች ድምፅ ሬዲዮ፣ የኢትዮጵያዊነት ሬዲዮ፣ የሀገር ፍቅር ሬዲዮ፣የኢትዮጵያ የዘውድ ምክር ቤትና እንዲሁም ሌሎችም የህዝብ መገናኛ አውታሮችና ድረ ገጾች የሀገርን ቅርስ ከማስመለስና የሀገርን ታሪክ ለተተኪው ትውልድ ከማቆየት አኳያ በጉዳዩ ላይ ጥሪ አድርገንላችኋለንና ምላሻችሁን እንጠብቃለን። ስለሁሉም ነገር ልዑል እግዚያብሔር ይመስገን።

Meles Zenawi: Ethiopia's Idumaean

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

By Lemma Nathan

“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” – Matthew 2:18

His name was Herod, but latter they called him Herod the Great. The contemptuous referred to him formally, as Herod I. He was born in Jericho. His father was a high-ranked {www:Idumaean} officer. At the age of 25, he was already appointed Governor of Galilee. Although “gentile” by origin, he publicly confessed to adhere to Judaism. But most never considered him as a true Israelite, specially the scribes; and that created in him a consuming feeling of rejection with which he had to fight all his life – half a century ago, the Edomites were forced to Judaism (or leave their place) when the Maccabean John Hyrcanus conquered their regions. Since then, it was never easy to judge whether an Edomite had truly converted.

In 43 BC, his father conspired to murder Caesar. The young Herod, a shrewd mathematician, decided to collaborate with the Romans and poisoned his own father -– with a professional aloofness. His own life had been sought by so many, by friends and by enemies alike, but he plied the troublesome tides of Near Eastern politics with uncanny success. Josephus describes him as a mad man, “a man … of great barbarity towards all men equally, and a slave to his passion … for from a private man he became a king; and though he were encompassed with ten thousand dangers, he got clear of them all.” [F. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Book 17, chapter 7].

Perhaps he was notoriously known to mankind as the monster of the first Christmas -– for the murder of the children of Bethlehem, according to Matthew 2:16. But in his record of murder, the list is endless -– his wife, her mother, her grandfather, two brothers-in-law, three of his own sons, and uncountable foes as well as subjects.

Among his people, he was vicious and lonely, often depressed and paranoid. But for the Romans, Herod was an extraordinary leader, a crucial bridge between the Jew and the gentiles; an indispensable ally…

But Herod was also a colossal and passionate builder of highways, fortresses, palaces, temples, and aqueducts — in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, and beyond the river Jordan. He built the magnificent port of Caesarea; and renewed the great temple of Jerusalem (Herod’s temple).

It will be unfair to compare this monstrous figure with contemporary tyrants, including our own Meles Zenawi. To do so will be an overstatement. But I have been reading lately a book written by W.H. Auden [W.H. Auden, For the time being, Faber and Faber, 1964]. In this book, Auden tries to fathom what threads of reasoning were woven in the mind of Herod at the eve of the Massacre of the Children of Bethlehem. To my own great surprise, and quite involuntarily, I was unable to discard the image of our own “Prime Minster,” the present day tyrant of Ethiopia…

On this fateful day, Herod begins his reasoning thus:

“Because I am bewildered, because I must decide, because my decision must be in conformity with Nature and Necessity…”

Then Herod, as if to clear the way for a clean confrontation with his own ambition, begins to honour the people who were most significant in his life – his father, his mother, his nurse, his brother, his professors, and his secretary.

Why should someone die tomorrow? Remarkably, thoughts flow like a river. Herod sums up the situation soberly, like a seasoned politician, I mean, like our Meles, when he was confronted by the decision to kill innocent people with live bullets and sharpshooters. Herod counts his achievements, not to praise himself, of course, but to justify his case for staying on power.

“…The highway to the coast goes to straight up over the mountains and the truck-drivers no longer carry guns. Things are beginning to take shape. It is a long time since any one stole the park benches or murdered the swans…” [W.H. Auden, For the time being, Faber and Faber, 1964].

Then he tries to imagine what will happen if he let go of power:

“…if this rumor is not stamped out now… Reason will be replaced by Revelation …Idealism will be replaced by Materialism… Justice will be replaced by Pity as the cardinal human virtue, and all fear of retribution will vanish.” [W.H. Auden, For the time being, Faber and Faber, 1964]

Herod does not stop there. He knows that fear of disorder, real or imagined, is not a necessary prerequisite to hold fast to power. This time, he tries to count the unfinished work. If everything were accomplished, then there would be no need for a transformer:

“In twenty years I have managed to do a little. Not enough, of course. There are villages only a few miles from here where they still believe in witches. There isn’t a single town where a good bookshop would pay. One could count on the finger of one hand the people capable of solving the problem of Achilles and the Tortoise…”

Unfinished work gives him purpose in office. And an excuse not to process one’s own guilt. But in the end, Herod has to return to himself.

“I have worked like a slave. Ask anyone you like. I read all official dispatches without skipping. I have taken elocution lessons. I have hardly ever taken bribes. … I have tried to be good. … I am a liberal. I want everybody to be happy…” [W.H. Auden, For the time being, Faber and Faber, 1964].

As much as I dislike comparing Prime Minster Meles with Herod the Great, I cannot escape the images I picture in my mind as the Prime Minster stares out of the window on the eve of the massacre of Addis in that fateful November Day, 2005. Besides, I find great and irresistible parallels between the two men. It is common knowledge that many Ethiopians do not consider Meles as one of them. Secondly, Meles feels rejected by the intelligentsia, notably by the Addis Ababa University.

The unconcealed bitterness reveals itself in his manifest contempt to and rejection of the intelligentsia. As if to compensate the void, the last two decades have seen world class intellectuals and Nobel laureates in Addis giving lectures and seminars at a high cost to our leaders. Several American and British scholars have been invited to drop by just for tea on their way to India or South Africa.

Josephus tells us Herod was choleric in temperament. Any one who has been with Prime Minster Meles for a while knows his choleric temperament. Moreover, psychologists tell us that many tyrants are choleric in temperament. According to Tim Lahay, choleric leaders have a remarkable ability to see their destination, but they don’t know how to reach there [T. Lahay, Spirit controlled temperament, Tyndale House Publishers (Revised edition), September 7, 1994]. Well, one needs little to add to this statement, as far as the leadership in Addis is concerned.

The {www:TPLF} leadership has been, and deservedly, proud of its construction. For the killing of the innocents; the imprisonment of the multitudes; and the ruthless dealing with opponents, the relentless justification is its hard work. And this has been most gladly and thankfully taken by our diplomats in Addis.

Most important of all, Herod had no real friends. The people he counted as friends were remote, in Rome, and he sees them only occasionally. As if to purchase their love, his gift to them was always expensive and rare. But truly speaking, these were not his friends. Once a friend who knew our Prime Minster well told me that he has no real friend. He has his {www:TPLF} comrades, for certain. And he has his “friends” in the West. But “ordinary” Ethiopian friend, he has none. That is unfortunate and that is the cost of the road he chooses to go through.

Josephus tells us that Herod was suffering from an excruciating pain. He describes his illness as “fire glowing”, “which did not so much appear to the touch outwardly, as … inwardly”, “ulcer”, a pain in the “colon”; “an aqueous and transparent liquor… in his feet and at the bottom of his belly”, “his genitals were rotting, and produce worms”, etc.

Based on these descriptions, some medical experts believe that Herod had chronic kidney disorder, potentially complicated by Fournier gangrene. Others report that the visible worms and putrefaction are likely to have been scabies, a contagious ectoparasite skin infection characterized by superficial burrows and intense itching [H. Ashrafian, Herod the Great and his worms. Journal of Infection, Volume 51, Issue 1, Pages 82-83]. Scholars also believe that Herod suffered throughout his lifetime from depression and paranoia.

Since we have little access to the private life of Our Prime Minster, it is hard to say much about his illness. But recent report about repeated treatments to different counties cannot be ignored. For many are longing for change.

“Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” Matthew 3:20.

Should this be the only way we Ethiopians in the Diaspora get back home?

(The writer can be reached at leannney@googlemail.com)

Ethiopian family of Canadian Citizen on the run from persecution

Friday, November 20th, 2009

The family of Bashir Makhtal, a Canadian citizen, continue to face persecution in Ethiopia. “This isn’t just something personal with respect to Bashir Makhtal, although he clearly is one of the figures at the center of this drama,” said Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, which has monitored Mr. Makhtal’s case since his arrest. “It’s family-based persecution, and I think that also underscores the nature and the severity of the repression the Ogadeni population is experiencing in Ethiopia.”

By David Macdougall | Special Report by The Globe and Mail

KENYA — During the first month of her imprisonment in Ethiopia, Rukiya Ahmed Makhtal was blindfolded and beaten. “You are Makhtal’s family,” she recalled her persecutor saying. “If you are Makhtal’s family, that means you are one of the problems.”

Ms. Makhtal, 53, is the older sister of Ethiopian-born Bashir Ahmed Makhtal, the Canadian citizen and former Toronto information technologist who has spent the past three years in Ethiopian prisons. Convicted of terrorism-related charges, he was sentenced in August to life in prison, but is scheduled to appear before an appeal court today. His family, who maintain his innocence, say they have been persecuted because of the actions of his grandfather.

After spending 14 months in various Ethiopian prisons where she says she was bound, blindfolded and badly beaten, thrown in isolation, raped and told she would be executed, Ms. Makhtal was at last transferred to a crowded low-security prison where family scrounged for 1,000 birr (roughly $80) and paid the guards to look the other way while she walked through the prison gates and, like so many of her kin, away from Ethiopia for good.

For two days, she trudged across the Ethiopian desert, struggling from poor health and the wounds on her body, trying to blend in with a train of nomads and fearful she might be spotted before reaching the border.

During the past year, others in Bashir Makhtal’s family have trickled into Hagadera, a notoriously squalid and overcrowded refugee camp at Dadaab in Kenya’s North Eastern Province.

Ms. Makhtal, who is asking for resettlement in Canada as a refugee and whose case is being followed by Amnesty International, is now among 16 people sleeping in the sand under scant shelter, all of whom say they are related to Bashir Makhtal and the victims of persecution in Ethiopia.

Bashir Makhtal and his sister, Rukiya, are the grandchildren of a founding member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a separatist movement in the ethnic Somali region of eastern Ethiopia, though both deny having been involved in the group.

“He was my grandfather,” Ms. Makhtal says. “We didn’t even know him.”

After an April, 2007, ONLF attack on a Chinese oil field at Abole in eastern Ethiopia that left 70 Chinese and Ethiopian workers dead, Ethiopia drastically stepped up a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in the region.

A 2008 Human Rights Watch report accuses Ethiopian soldiers of burning down entire villages, mass detentions and even demonstration killings, “with Ethiopian soldiers singling out relatives of suspected ONLF members,” and of conducting widespread “military attacks on civilians and villages that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Abdi Mohamed Ahmed, 29, who says Ms. Makhtal is his aunt and who denies ever being involved with the ONLF, remembers the night in late 2007 the Ethiopian National Defence Forces came for his family, circling his house before dragging out his entire family, beating them and hauling them off to different jails.

“They used to tie our eyes, torturing and beating. They used to tie our hands and legs together and they hang us up from the ceiling. And everybody was alone.”

This was when Bashir Makhtal’s sister, his older brother Hassan Ahmed, and several of their children were also arrested.

Last Thursday, Hassan Ahmed Makhtal, who had been imprisoned for 22 months and was serving a life sentence, died in the Ethiopian capital after being released early to receive medical attention. A press release issued by the Ogaden Human Rights Commission claims he “died from wounds sustained during his detention,” though the cause of his death could not be independently verified.

According to several family members, two of Hassan Makhtal’s children – a 27-year-old son and a 25-year-old daughter – were beaten to death in military prisons less than a month after their arrest in 2008.

“They are not targeting ONLF. Our army is very strong now,” said Abdirahman Mahdi, a central committee member of the separatist group, who spoke during a recent interview in Toronto. “What they do is they target the weak spot, the civilians, the women and children.”

“This isn’t just something personal with respect to Bashir Makhtal, although he clearly is one of the figures at the centre of this drama,” said Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, which has monitored Mr. Makhtal’s case since his arrest. “It’s family-based persecution, and I think that also underscores the nature and the severity of the repression the Ogadeni population is experiencing in Ethiopia.”

Mr. Makhtal was arrested by Kenyan authorities in December, 2006, as he attempted to flee the suddenly rising violence in neighbouring Somalia, where friends and family say he had travelled for business.

He was among 90 prisoners, including American, British and Kenyan nationals, who were forcibly deported, in violation of both Kenyan and international law, first to Mogadishu and then to Ethiopia. While every other Western country managed to secure the release of its citizens, Mr. Makhtal, the only Canadian arrested, alone remains in Ethiopian custody.

Said Makhtal, Mr. Makhtal’s cousin in Hamilton, Ont., says he’s optimistic about tomorrow’s outcome, but added: “I don’t know how much more I can count on the Ethiopian court system.”

In the meantime, many of Mr. Makhtal’s family are left to wait in the refugee camp while Amnesty International Canada puts forward their case to the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi.

“The life of Hagadera is too difficult,” Mr. Ahmed said. “There is no life, there is no health. There is not even enough water, the air of that place is not even good.”

“And still this moment we live under fear because there may be Ethiopian security,” he added, pointing out that Kenya already delivered his uncle, Mr. Makhtal, to Ethiopian authorities.

“Obviously, Canada continues to face difficulties in ensuring the safety of Mr. Makhtal himself,” Mr. Neve said. “At least we do have the opportunity to try and ensure safety for these other family members.”

The missing 8.6 million Ethiopians, where art thou?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

By Yilma Bekele

I couldn’t sleep all night. I kept turning and tossing to no avail. What was bothering me was what I heard on VOA yesterday afternoon. VOA is Voice of America for those of you not in the know. I found out I can listen to VOA on my smart phone and things haven’t been the same. My phone has become my best friend. I can surf the web, send email, watch You Tube, shoot a video, listen to the radio and oh yes talk too. My phone has become indispensable. Back to my story.

Dispersed among the many important stories of the day I heard the announcer discussing food, rather the lack of food in East Africa. Looks like the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) was passing out the plate to collect donations to feed poor Africans and the pledge from the Europeans fell short and the director and African delegates were crying about the indifference of the rich countries. This is what you call aggressive begging. It takes balls to sit on such virgin land and blame others for your own stupidity so I didn’t pay that much attention to the story.

What came next was what piqued my interest. UNFPA (UN population fund) was discussing the state of human population growth. According to them there are eighty-two and half million Ethiopians. Plenty of us if you ask me. On the other hand the Ethiopian government count shows seventy-three point nine million Ethiopians. Quiet a discrepancy wouldn’t you say. We are talking about eight point six million Abeshas an accounted for. Now you know why I couldn’t sleep.

I don’t mind if we are missing a few thousand of us. You know how African borders are. It is possible the day or week of the count some have ventured far following rich grazing grounds or even gone to the market in a neighboring country. It is also possible so many are escaping and temporarily situated in Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea or Djibouti. I doubt if they will stop for the census bureau to be counted. Believe me eight point six million is not a small number. For crying out loud it is larger than a whole bunch of countries entire population.

Staying up all night has its rewards. As the sun was rising over the rolling hills of East bay, the birds chirping signaling a new day the answer came to me, we Ethiopians have a problem with numbers! We just don’t know how to count. That is not idle talk my friend, I got proof.

Let us just start with famine. According to the UN, US Aid, Oxfam and other professionals who do this sort of stuff for a living there are over ten million Ethiopians in need of food. According to the Meles regime the number is less than four million. It sort of bizarre to haggle over the number of your own people condemned to die of hunger but that is what has become of our country. Why this obsession with numbers you might ask. It is because the TPLF regime is always interested in the degrees of suffering of our people.

They start with the great famine of 1973 and compare that with the famine of 1983 and arrive at the startling conclusion that says less are dying thus we are doing better. With TPLF the question is not how to avoid famine but how to manage famine. Thus they spend time, energy and try our patience playing with numbers.

How about the much heralded 12% growth. Again it is a number TPLF throws with abandon gets quoted by Reuter or Bloomberg ergo it becomes a fact. The question is does reality on the ground jive with fantasy in the collective brain of TPLF cadres? I am afraid not. Putting up some concrete structures using Diaspora money, paving roads with IMF and Chinese loans is not an example of sustainable growth. It is just feel good economics or voodoo economics. The numbers are repeated again and again purposely to etch them in our mind.

Even the so-called Federal budget is not immune to this number challenge we face. After the 2005 elections the TPLF regime was printing money as if it was going out of style. The money was used to bribe the different EPDRF minions and buy their temporary loyalty. When the Federal Audit Report showed the truth about the minority regimes borrowing of billions of Bir the Prime Minster was not amused. Our fearless leader called the report a ‘junior accountants error’ and rejected the findings. His handpicked teams of investigators were able to shift a few zeros and bring the report in line with his wishes.

The mother of all ‘number challenged’ problems was the 2005 general elections. It was a situation where electorate and the ballot were in complete and total dis-harmony. It took more than six months of the best TPLF cadre’s brain to reconcile what really happened with what was supposed to happen. Even our favorite Woyane Bereket Semeon’s Wollo constituency was in disarray. The second balloting ordered by TPLF showed more people than what turned out to vote during the first free and euphoric election. Go figure that out!

Numbers and facts came to clash during the recent ‘Tekeze dam’ inaugaration. The prime Minster was proud and precise when he said Tekeze was built by “berasachin genzeb” Again does this jive with reality or does it leave many un answered questions. According to some knowledgeable sources ‘The Tekeze Dam Project financing is by China National Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Company (CWHEC), 49pc, and China Gezhouba Water and Power (group) Ltd, 30pc, and Sur Construction, subsidiary company of EFFORT, 21pc. (TPLF) So what is it? Does it belong to us or the bond holders? Is this a new formula of financing? Questions, questions.

I will leave you with one number problem we encountered a while back as told by our own Tamagne Beyene. He tells it a whole lot better but I will do my best. The TPLF radio, yes they used to have a radio station during their armed struggle for the liberation of Tigrai, in its reports of their heroism was throwing increasable numbers regarding the number of Derg solders they have killed. Unfortunately when the numbers were added up at the end of the day they showed that they have killed more solders than all the Derg military combined.

The question for us is shall we get out of this numbers business? Shall we bring in outsiders to do any and all counting business in our country? Can Ethiopians be trusted with numbers or is it a localized TPLF problem? No matter it still leaves us with eight point six million Ethiopians out there with no one to claim them. Misplacing that many Abeshas is nothing to sniff at, I want my people accounted for.

U.S. official gives lips service on repression in Ethiopia

Friday, November 20th, 2009

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Bureau of African Affairs Karl Wyckoff and Woyanne Foreign Affairs Minister Seyoum Mesfin held talks on Thursday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

On Friday, in a meeting with reporters, Mr Wyckoff expressed concerns about the restrictions on opposition parties in Ethiopia ahead of elections next year, which is scheduled to be held on May 23, 2010.

“The US is concerned by what we see as reduction in political space and the ability of opposition parties to operate and do what opposition parties should do,” Karl Wyckoff, who arrived is in Ethiopia for an official visit, told reporters.

The Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (FDD, or Medrek in Amharic) has also accused Meles Zenawi’s regime of arresting its members and supporters in a bid to discourage its following ahead of the polls, a charge the government has repeatedly denied. (Sources include AFP, Reuters)

The following is how the ruling party Woyanned-owned WIC reported Wyckoff’s visit:

Addis Ababa (WIC) Minister Seyoum Mesfin held talks with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Bureau of African Affairs, Karl Wyckoff here on Thursday.

The two officials discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries, according to Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They also exchanged views on the efforts being made by the government of Ethiopia to ensure peace in the Horn of Africa particularly in Somalia.

Speaking on the occasion, Seyoum said America and others need to extend the necessary support to the Somali Federal Transitional Government.

He also informed the US official that Ethiopia has been making efforts to ensure peace in Somalia.

Seyoum also briefed the official on the upcoming national elections.

He said the government of Ethiopia has been striving hard to make the forthcoming election peaceful, democratic and fair.

Wycoff said told journalists after the talks that America and Ethiopia have longstanding friendly relationships.

He further said America and Ethiopia have discussed on various issues ranging from economic development to human rights as well as democratic issues.

They also talked on regional and sub-regional issues including the Horn of Africa and Somalia.

He said IGAD and AU are good partners of America in ensuring stability in the Horn of Africa and Africa as a whole.

Expressing appreciation to economic development Ethiopia has registered in the last couple of years, Wycoff said America would work with the government of Ethiopia in this regard.

Ethiopian 'virgin land' for sale

Friday, November 20th, 2009

According to the World Bank, as much as three-quarters of Ethiopia’s arable land is not under cultivation, and agronomists say that with substantial capital expenditure, much of it could become bountiful. Since the world food crisis, Meles Zenawi, a former Marxist rebel who has turned into a champion of private capital, has publicly said he is “very eager” to attract foreign farm investors by offering them what the government describes as “virgin land.”

Dr. Robert Zeigler, an eminent American botanist, flew to Saudi Arabia in March for a series of high-level discussions about the future of the kingdom’s food supply. Saudi leaders were frightened: heavily dependent on imports, they had seen the price of rice and wheat, their dietary staples, fluctuate violently on the world market over the previous three years, at one point doubling in just a few months. The Saudis, rich in oil money but poor in arable land, were groping for a strategy to ensure that they could continue to meet the appetites of a growing population, and they wanted Zeigler’s expertise.

There are basically two ways to increase the supply of food: find new fields to plant or invent ways to multiply what existing ones yield. Zeigler runs the International Rice Research Institute, which is devoted to the latter course, employing science to expand the size of harvests. During the so-called Green Revolution of the 1960s, the institute’s laboratory developed “miracle rice,” a high-yielding strain that has been credited with saving millions of people from famine. Zeigler went to Saudi Arabia hoping that the wealthy kingdom might offer money for the basic research that leads to such technological breakthroughs. Instead, to his surprise, he discovered that the Saudis wanted to attack the problem from the opposite direction. They were looking for land.

In a series of meetings, Saudi government officials, bankers and agribusiness executives told an institute delegation led by Zeigler that they intended to spend billions of dollars to establish plantations to produce rice and other staple crops in African nations like Mali, Senegal, Sudan and Ethiopia. “They laid out this incredible plan,” Zeigler recalled. He was flabbergasted, not only by the scale of the projects but also by the audacity of their setting. Africa, the world’s most famished continent, can’t currently feed itself, let alone foreign markets.

The American scientist was catching a glimpse of an emerging test of the world’s food resources, one that has begun to take shape over the last year, largely outside the bounds of international scrutiny. A variety of factors — some transitory, like the spike in food prices, and others intractable, like global population growth and water scarcity — have created a market for farmland, as rich but resource-deprived nations in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere seek to outsource their food production to places where fields are cheap and abundant. Because much of the world’s arable land is already in use — almost 90 percent, according to one estimate, if you take out forests and fragile ecosystems — the search has led to the countries least touched by development, in Africa. According to a recent study by the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, one of the earth’s last large reserves of underused land is the billion-acre Guinea Savannah zone, a crescent-shaped swath that runs east across Africa all the way to Ethiopia, and southward to Congo and Angola.

Foreign investors — some of them representing governments, some of them private interests — are promising to construct infrastructure, bring new technologies, create jobs and boost the productivity of underused land so that it not only feeds overseas markets but also feeds more Africans. (More than a third of the continent’s population is malnourished.) They’ve found that impoverished governments are often only too welcoming, offering land at giveaway prices. A few transactions have received significant publicity, like Kenya’s deal to lease nearly 100,000 acres to the Qatari government in return for financing a new port, or South Korea’s agreement to develop almost 400 square miles in Tanzania. But many other land deals, of near-unprecedented size, have been sealed with little fanfare.

Investors who are taking part in the land rush say they are confronting a primal fear, a situation in which food is unavailable at any price. Over the 30 years between the mid-1970s and the middle of this decade, grain supplies soared and prices fell by about half, a steady trend that led many experts to believe that there was no limit to humanity’s capacity to feed itself. But in 2006, the situation reversed, in concert with a wider commodities boom. Food prices increased slightly that year, rose by a quarter in 2007 and skyrocketed in 2008. Surplus-producing countries like Argentina and Vietnam, worried about feeding their own populations, placed restrictions on exports. American consumers, if they noticed the food crisis at all, saw it in modestly inflated supermarket bills, especially for meat and dairy products. But to many countries — not just in the Middle East but also import-dependent nations like South Korea and Japan — the specter of hyperinflation and hoarding presented an existential threat.

“When some governments stop exporting rice or wheat, it becomes a real, serious problem for people that don’t have full self-sufficiency,” said Al Arabi Mohammed Hamdi, an economic adviser to the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development. Sitting in his office in Dubai, overlooking the cargo-laden wooden boats moored along the city’s creek, Hamdi told me his view, that the only way to assure food security is to control the means of production.

Hamdi’s agency, which coordinates investments on behalf of 20 member states, has recently announced several projects, including a tentative $250 million joint venture with two private companies, which is slated to receive heavy subsidies from a Saudi program called the King Abdullah Initiative for Saudi Agricultural Investment Abroad. He said the main fields of investment for the project would most likely be Sudan and Ethiopia, countries with favorable climates that are situated just across the Red Sea. Hamdi waved a sheaf of memos that had just arrived on his desk, which he said were from another partner, Sheik Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a billionaire member of the royal family of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, who has shown interest in acquiring land in Sudan and Eritrea. “There is no problem about money,” Hamdi said. “It’s about where and how.”

A long the dirt road that runs to Lake Ziway, a teardrop in the furrow of Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley, farmers drove their donkey carts past a little orange-domed Orthodox church, and the tombs of their ancestors, decorated with vivid murals of horses and cattle. Between clusters of huts that looked as if they were constructed of matchsticks, there were wide-open wheat fields, where skinny young men were tilling the soil with wooden plows and teams of oxen. And then, nearing the lake, a fence appeared, closing off the countryside behind taut strings of barbed wire.

All through the Rift Valley region, my travel companion, an Ethiopian economist, had taken to pointing out all the new fence posts, standing naked and knobby like freshly cut saplings — mundane signifiers, he said, of the recent rush for Ethiopian land. In the old days, he told me, farmers rarely bothered with such formal lines of demarcation, but now the country’s earth is in demand. This fence, though, was different from the others — it stretched on for a mile or more. Behind it, we could glimpse a vast expanse of dark volcanic soil, recently turned over by tractors. “So,” said my guide, “this belongs to the sheik.”

He meant Sheik Mohammed Al Amoudi, a Saudi Arabia-based oil-and-construction billionaire who was born in Ethiopia and maintains a close relationship with the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s autocratic regime. (Fear of both men led my guide to say he didn’t want to be identified by name.) Over time, Al Amoudi, one of the world’s 50 richest people, according to Forbes, has used his fortune and political ties to amass control over large portions of Ethiopia’s private sector, including mines, hotels and plantations on which he grows tea, coffee, rubber and japtropha, a plant that has enormous promise as a biofuel. Since the global price spike, he has been getting into the newly lucrative world food trade.

Ethiopia might seem an unlikely hotbed of agricultural investment. To most of the world, the country is defined by images of famine: about a million people died there during the drought of the mid-1980s, and today about four times that many depend on emergency food aid. But according to the World Bank, as much as three-quarters of Ethiopia’s arable land is not under cultivation, and agronomists say that with substantial capital expenditure, much of it could become bountiful. Since the world food crisis, Zenawi, a former Marxist rebel who has turned into a champion of private capital, has publicly said he is “very eager” to attract foreign farm investors by offering them what the government describes as “virgin land.” An Ethiopian agriculture ministry official recently told Reuters that he has identified more than seven million acres. The government plans to lease half of it before the next harvest, at the dirt-cheap annual rate of around 50 cents per acre. “We are associated with hunger, although we have enormous investment opportunities,” explained Abi Woldemeskel, director general of the Ethiopian Investment Agency. “So that negative perception has to be changed through promotion.”

The government’s pliant attitude, along with Ethiopia’s convenient location, has made it an ideal target for Middle Eastern investors like Mohammed Al Amoudi. Not long ago, a newly formed Al Amoudi company, Saudi Star Agricultural Development, announced its plans to obtain the rights to more than a million acres — a land mass the size of Delaware — in the apparent hope of capitalizing on the Saudi government’s initiative to subsidize overseas staple-crop production. At a pilot site in the west of the country, he’s already cultivating rice. Earlier this year, amid great fanfare marking the start of the program, Al Amoudi personally presented the first shipment from the farm to King Abdullah in Riyadh. Meanwhile, in the Rift Valley region, another subsidiary is starting to grow fruits and vegetables for export to the Persian Gulf.

Al Amoudi’s plans raise a recurring question surrounding investment in food production: who will reap the benefits? As we drove down to the waterside, through fields dotted with massive sycamores, a farm supervisor told me that the 2,000-acre enterprise currently produces food for the local market, but there were plans to irrigate with water from the lake, and to shift the focus to exports. In the distance, dozens of laborers were bent to the ground, planting corn and onions.

Later, when I asked a couple of workers how much they were paid, they said nine birr each day, or around 75 cents. It wasn’t much, but Al Amoudi’s defenders say that’s the going rate for farm labor in Ethiopia. They argue that his investments are creating jobs, improving the productivity of dormant land and bringing economic development to rural communities. “We have achieved what the government hasn’t done for how many years,” says Arega Worku, an Ethiopian who is an agriculture adviser to Al Amoudi. (Al Amoudi declined to be interviewed.) Ethiopian journalists and opposition figures, however, have questioned the economic benefits of the deals, as well as Al Amoudi’s cozy relationship with the ruling party.

By far the most powerful opposition, however, surrounds the issue of land rights — a problem of historic proportions in Ethiopia. Just down the road from the farm on Lake Ziway, I caught sight of a gray-bearded man wearing a weathered pinstripe blazer, who was crouched over a ditch, washing his shoes. I stopped to ask him about the fence, and before long, a large group of villagers gathered around to tell me a resentful story. Decades ago, they said, during the rule of a Communist dictatorship in Ethiopia, the land was confiscated from them. After that dictatorship was overthrown, Al Amoudi took over the farm in a government privatization deal, over the futile objections of the displaced locals. The billionaire might consider the land his, but the villagers had long memories, and they angrily maintained that they were its rightful owners.

Throughout Africa, the politics of land is linked to the grim reality of hunger. Famines, typically produced by some combination of weather, pestilence and bad governance, break out with merciless randomness, unleashing calamity and reshaping history. Every country has its unique dynamics. Unlike most African nations, Ethiopia was never colonized in the 19th century but instead was ruled by emperors, who granted feudal plantations to members of their royal courts. The last emperor, Haile Selassie, was brought down by a famine that fueled a popular uprising. His dispossessed subjects chanted the slogan “land to the tiller.” The succeeding Communist dictatorship, which took ownership of all land for itself and pursued a disastrous collectivization policy, was toppled in the aftermath of the droughts of the 1980s. Under the present regime, private ownership of land is still banned, and every farmer in Ethiopia, foreign and domestic, works his fields under a licensing arrangement with the government. This land-tenure policy has made it possible for a one-party state to hand over huge tracts to investors at nominal rents, in secrecy, without the bother of a condemnation process.

Ethiopia’s government denies that anyone is being displaced, saying that the land is unused — an assertion many experts doubt. “One thing that is very clear, that seems to have escaped the attention of most investors, is that this is not simply empty land,” says Michael Taylor, a policy specialist at the International Land Coalition. If land in Africa hasn’t been planted, he says, it’s probably for a reason. Maybe it’s used to graze livestock, or deliberately left fallow to prevent nutrient depletion and erosion.

There is an ongoing debate among experts about the extent of the global land-acquisition trend. By its nature the evidence is piecemeal and anecdotal, and many highly publicized investments have yet to actually materialize on the ground. The most serious attempt to quantify the land rush, spearheaded by the International Institute for Environment and Development, suggests that as of earlier this year, the Ethiopian government had approved deals totaling around 1.5 million acres, while the country’s investment agency reports that it has approved 815 foreign-financed agricultural projects since 2007, nearly doubling the number registered in the entire previous decade. But that’s far from a complete picture. While the details of a few arrangements have leaked out, like one Saudi consortium’s plans to spend $100 million to grow wheat, barley and rice, many others remain undisclosed, and Addis Ababa has been awash in rumors of Arab moneymen who supposedly rent planes, pick out fertile tracts and cut deals.

Of course, there have been scrambles for African land before. In the view of critics, the colonial legacy is what makes the large land deals so outrageous, and they warn of potentially calamitous consequences. “Wars have been fought over this,” says Devlin Kuyek, a researcher with Grain, an advocacy group that opposes large-scale agribusiness and has played a key role in bringing attention to what it calls the “global land grab.”

It wasn’t until Grain compiled a long list of such deals into a polemical report titled “Seized!” last October that experts really began to talk about a serious trend. Although deals were being brokered in disparate locales like Australia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Vietnam, the most controversial field of investment was clearly Africa. “When you started to get some hints about what was happening in these deals,” Kuyek says, “it was shocking.” Within a month, Grain’s warnings seemed to be vindicated when The Financial Times broke news that the South Korean conglomerate Daewoo Logistics had signed an agreement to take over about half of Madagascar’s arable land, paying nothing, with the intention of growing corn and palm oil for export. Popular protests broke out, helping to mobilize opposition to Madagascar’s already unpopular president, who was overthrown in a coup in March.

The episode illustrated the emotional volatility of the land issue and raised questions about the degree to which corrupt leaders might be profiting off the deals. Since then, there has been an international outcry. Legislators from the Philippines have called for an investigation into their government’s agreements with various investing nations, while Thailand’s leader has vowed to chase off any foreign land buyers.

But there’s more than one side to the argument. Development economists and African governments say that if a country like Ethiopia is ever going to feed itself, let alone wean itself from foreign aid, which totaled $2.4 billion in 2007, it will have to find some way of increasing the productivity of its agriculture. “We’ve been complaining for decades about the lack of investment in African agriculture,” says David Hallam, a trade expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization. Last fall, Paul Collier of Oxford University, an influential voice on issues of world poverty, published a provocative article in Foreign Affairs in which he argued that a “middle- and upper-class love affair with peasant agriculture” has clouded the African development debate with “romanticism.” Approvingly citing the example of Brazil — where masses of indigenous landholders were displaced in favor of large-scale farms — Collier concluded that “to ignore commercial agriculture as a force for rural development and enhanced food supply is surely ideological.”

In Ethiopia, Mohammed Al Amoudi and other foreign agricultural investors are putting Collier’s theory into practice. Near the southern town of Awassa, in a shadow of a soaring Rift Valley escarpment, sits a field of waving corn and a complex of domed greenhouses, looking pristine and alien against the natural backdrop. On an overcast July morning, dozens of laborers were at work preparing the ground for one of Al Amoudi’s latest enterprises: a commercial vegetable farm.

“For a grower, this is heaven on earth,” says Jan Prins, managing director of the subsidiary company that is running the venture for Al Amoudi. Originally from the Netherlands, Prins says he assumed that Ethiopia was arid but was surprised to learn when he came to the country that much of it was fertile, with diverse microclimates. The Awassa farm is one of four that Prins is getting up and running. Using computerized irrigation systems, the farms will grow tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, melons and other fresh produce, the vast majority of it to be shipped to Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Over time, he says, he hopes to expand into growing other crops, like wheat and barley, the latter of which can be used to feed camels.

The nations of the Persian Gulf are likely to see their populations increase by half by 2030, and already import 60 percent of their food. Self-sufficiency isn’t a viable option, as the Saudis have learned through bitter experience. In the 1970s, worries about the stability of the global food supply inspired the Saudi government to grow wheat through intensive irrigation. Between 1980 and 1999, according to a study by Elie Elhadj, a banker and historian, the Saudis pumped 300 billion cubic meters of water into their desert. By the early 1990s, the kingdom had managed to become the world’s sixth-largest wheat exporter. But then its leaders started paying attention to the warnings of environmentalists, who pointed out that irrigation was draining a nonreplenishable supply of underground freshwater. Saudi Arabia now plans to phase out wheat production by 2016, which is one reason it’s looking to other countries to fill its food needs.

“The rules of the game have changed,” says Saad Al Swatt, the chief executive of the Tabuk Agricultural Development Company, one of the kingdom’s largest farming concerns. Al Swatt’s company was one of those that met with Robert Zeigler about farming rice; he says that with government encouragement, he is looking at expanding into countries like Sudan, Ethiopia and Vietnam. “They have the land, they have the water, but unfortunately, they don’t have the system or sometimes the finance to have these large-scale agricultural projects.” Al Swatt says. “We wanted to export our experience and really develop those areas, to help people.”

About 10 percent of the more than 80 million people who live in Ethiopia suffer from chronic food shortages. This year, because of poor rains, the U.N. World Food Program warns that much of East Africa faces the threat of a famine, potentially the worst in almost two decades. Traditionally, the model for feeding the hungry in Africa has involved shipping in surpluses from the rest of the world in times of emergency, but governments that are trying to attract investment say that the new farms could provide a lasting, noncharitable solution. (“It’s better than begging,” one Ethiopian official recently told the African publication Business Daily.) Whatever the long-term justification, however, it looks bad politically for countries like Kenya and Ethiopia to be letting foreign investors use their land at a time when their people face the specter of mass starvation. And many experts wonder whether such governments will go through with the deals. Ethiopia, after all, was one of the countries that banned grain exports during the recent spike in world food prices. “The idea that one country would go to another country,” says Robert Zeigler, “and lease some land, and expect that the rice produced there would be made available to them if there’s a food crisis in that host country, is ludicrous.”

The hyperinflationary spiral that caused the world food crisis had multiple causes. The harvests in 2006 and 2007 were the worst of the decade, hedge funds and other players in the commodities markets appear to have driven up prices and government subsidies for biofuels encouraged farmers to grow crops that ended up as ethanol. But the environment and demography are more lasting issues, and experts predict that prices, which have declined since their peak, are likely to stabilize significantly above precrisis levels. This represents a danger to the developing world, where the poor spend between 50 and 80 percent of their income on food, but it may also present an opportunity. If one good thing has emerged from the crisis, it’s a growing awareness of Africa’s unrealized agricultural potential. Because where there are appetites, there are profits to be made.

In late June, several hundred farmers and investment bankers came together in Manhattan to survey the landscape at a conference on global agriculture investment. The food crisis has served as a catalyst for the sleepy agricultural sector, spurring financial firms like Goldman Sachs and BlackRock to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in overseas agricultural projects, so the mood was heady for business, though depressing for humanity. There much talk of Thomas Malthus, the 19th-century prophet of overpopulation and famine.

“Beware of 2020 and beyond, because we think there could be genuine food shortages by that period,” Susan Payne, the chief executive of Emergent Asset Management, told the audience during a talk on Africa’s agricultural potential. She showed a series of slides citing chilling statistics: grain stocks are at their lowest levels in 60 years; there were food riots in 15 countries in 2008; global warming is turning arable land into desert; freshwater is dwindling and China is draining its reserves; and the really big problem that contributes to all the others — the world’s population is growing by 80 million hungry people a year. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that in order to feed the world’s projected population in 2050 — some nine billion people — agricultural production needs to increase by an annual average of 1 percent. That means adding around 23 million tons of cereals to the world’s food supply next year, a little less than the total production of Australia in 2008.

“Africa is the final frontier,” Payne told me after the conference. “It’s the one continent that remains relatively unexploited.” Emergent’s African Agricultural Land Fund, started last year, is investing several hundred million dollars into commercial farms around the continent. Africa may be known for decrepit infrastructure and corrupt governments — problems that are being steadily alleviated, Payne argues — but land and labor come so cheaply there that she calculates the risks are worthwhile.

The payoffs could be immense. In a country like Ethiopia, farmers put in backbreaking effort, but they yield about a third as much wheat per acre as do Europe, China or Chile. Even modest interventions could start to close this gap. One small example: the black soil I saw throughout the Great Rift region. Known as vertisol, it’s a product of volcanic activity and possesses the nutrients to produce enormous harvests. Because of its high clay content, however, it becomes sticky and waterlogged during the rainy season, which makes it very difficult to plow by traditional methods. With the addition of advanced implements, improved seeds and fertilizer, you can double the amount of wheat it yields. Ethiopia, like all of Africa, is full of such opportunities, which is one reason the World Bank says that investing in agriculture is one of the most effective ways to speed economic development on the continent.

Yet agriculture has historically been a tiny item in foreign-aid budgets. For years, governments, private foundations and donor institutions like the World Bank have been urging African governments to fill the spending gap with private investment. Now, at the very moment a world food crisis has come along, creating the perhaps fleeting possibility of an influx of capital into African agriculture, some of the same organizations are sending conflicting messages. The Food and Agriculture Organization, for instance, co-sponsored a report calling for a major expansion of commercial agriculture in Africa, but the organization’s director-general has simultaneously been warning of the “neocolonial” dangers of land deals. “We’re making them feel that it’s sinful,” says Mafa Chipeta, a Malawian who oversees Ethiopia and the rest of eastern Africa for the organization. “Why are we not saying, here is an opportunity?”

One focus of agricultural investment in Ethiopia is the region of Gambella, near the border with Sudan. The World Bank says it has more than four million acres of irrigable land. “It’s emerald green, the whole place is fertile and they have only 200,000 people down there,” says Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, head of an Indian commercial farming company. Earlier this year, Karuturi signed an agreement with the government to lease close to 800,000 acres on which he will grow rice, wheat and sugar cane, among other crops. Karuturi told me he doesn’t have to export the food to make money; there’s plenty of profit potential in the East African market. He has flown in John Deere tractors, agricultural experts from Texas A&M and commercial farmers from Mississippi to help him get things going. He says he’s raising $100 million in capital from private equity firms for the first phase of the project, which he estimates will ultimately cost well over a billion dollars. “Recently, I saw a lot of articles . . . where they referred to me as a food pirate,” Karuturi says. “This whole thing is so elitist, it’s ridiculous. They want Africa to remain poor.”

But the argument against enormous land concessions needn’t be based solely on appeals to human rights, environmental warnings or romanticism. It’s possible to be a believer in development without endorsing Paul Collier’s view that the small landholders stand in its way. In fact, there’s a whole school of economic thought that says that Collier is wrong, that big is not necessarily better in agriculture — and that the land deals therefore might be unwise not because they’re wrong but because they’re unprofitable. A recent World Bank study found that large-scale export agriculture in Africa has succeeded only with plantation crops like sugar and tea or in ventures that were propped up by extreme government subsidies, during colonialism or during the apartheid era in South Africa.

This record of failure is one reason that the government of Qatar, in addressing its food-security concerns, has chosen to concentrate on investing in existing agribusinesses rather than just acquiring land. That’s just one of many ways to invest in farming without removing the African farmers. On a bright Rift Valley afternoon, I went to see another option, a cooperative scheme under which a group of around 300 Ethiopians, working plots of 4 to 10 acres, were getting into export agriculture. During the European winter, they grew green beans for the Dutch market. The rest of the year, they cultivated corn and other crops for local consumption. The land had been irrigated with the help of a nonprofit organization and an Ethiopian commercial farmer named Tsegaye Abebe, who brought all the produce to market.

As a breeze riffled through a tall field of corn, a group of farmers, wearing sandals made from old tires, told me the arrangement, while not perfect, was beneficial in the most crucial respect: they weren’t toiling for someone else. Not far away, a Pakistani investor had taken over a government cattle ranch, once an area free for grazing, and had put fences and trenches in place to keep out the local livestock. The Ethiopians who worked there were miserable.

The farmers had heard rumors that foreign investors were eyeing still more Ethiopian land. Imam Gemedo Tilago, a 78-year-old cloaked in a white cotton shawl, shook his finger, vowing that Allah would not allow the community to remain passive. But that was a problem for the future, and the farmers had more grounded concerns. I noticed, driving down the rural paths that led to this farm, that the earth looked parched in places, and the cattle were showing their ribs through their dull brown hides. The worried farmers told me that this year, the seasonal rains were late in coming to the Rift Valley. If they didn’t arrive soon, there’d be hunger.

(The above article is written by Andrew Rice, a contributing writer and the author of “The Teeth May Smile But the Heart Does Not Forget,” about a Ugandan murder trial.)

Ethiopian wins Oklahoma State University pageant

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Freweini Hadera Freweini Hadera, a construction management graduate student from Ethiopia, is crowned as Miss International at the Oklahoma State University International Student Organization’s annual Mr. and Miss International pageant.

By Danielle Davis

Oklahoma, USA (OSU) — It was a full house for the International Student Organization’s annual Mr. and Miss International pageant Wednesday night.

Students, families and friends gathered in the OSU Student Union Little Theater to support the contestants of this year’s pageant.

With charismatic hosts, Brittnee Cooks and Joseph Jones, the atmosphere was thick with excitement and eagerness to see who would be crowned OSU’s Mr. and Miss International.

The hosts introduced the four judges before the contestants took the stage for their opening dance.

The opening dance, which Nash McQuarters choreographed, was a montage of three Michael Jackson songs; “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Remember the Time” and “Black or White.”

On an overhead above the stage, the video for “Black or White” played as each contestant performed a brief dance symbolizing his or her culture.

Following a performance of a three-man team of Malaysian drummers, each contestant shared a traditional outfit with a brief explanation of its symbolism.

Contestants performed with traditional and contemporary music.

Miss India Neetha Sindhu started the talent portion with a dance called Dashavatar, which displayed India’s elegant traditions. Mr. India Bharathwaj Gopalakrishnan played a fusion of classical Indian and Western music on an Indian bamboo flute.

Mr. China Zongkai Tian displayed his Chinese calligraphy and the delicate and powerful art of Kung Fu.

Mr. Nepal Bigyan Koirala and Miss Nepal Preety Mathema gave separate energetic customary and modern dances.

Mr. Vietnam Danh Pham Phan ended the talent section with an acoustic guitar and vocal performance of “Winter Lady.”

The last round before crowning Mr. and Miss International required each contestant to answer questions such as, “How can you help incoming students with culture shock?” or “How would you showcase your culture among the vast international population at OSU?”
Mr. and Miss India were second runners-up. First runners-up Miss Nepal and Mr. Vietnam were each rewarded with a scholarship check for $150 and a glass plaque for their achievements.

Crowned as Mr. and Miss International were Miss Africa Freweini Hadera, a construction management graduate student, and Mr. Nepal, a media management graduate student.
Hadera and Koirala each received a scholarship check for $350 and a glass plaque for their new titles as Mr. and Miss International.

Hadera said she was exceedingly happy with her win, proud to represent her country and looks forward to putting her new title to good use.

“I am so happy,” Hadera said. “I look forward to being on ISO’s side to help international students achieve whatever they want and also help international students battle their challenges.”

Koirala had some of the same aspirations but with a slightly broader view.

“What I see here at Oklahoma State is that we need to gather up more people to come to events like this,” Koirala said. “I saw a few empty seats. We need to reach out to more professors, more students. We’ve got 32,000 people all across the state that are apart of OSU. We can bring them all together.”

What do you expect from the coming elections in Ethiopia?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

By Messay Kebede

Articles fulminating against Hailu Shawel’s signing of the code of conduct proliferate on Ethiopian websites. For these articles, the unilateral and hasty agreement with Meles while other opposition groups, such as Medrek, are still in contention about some important issues, constitutes nothing less than betrayal on Hailu’s part. This act of sabotage suggests, according to some articles, a prior agreement with the Meles regime promising Hailu a post in the future government in exchange for his contribution in dividing and weakening the opposition.

I am not yet ready to endorse this kind of analysis, though I admit that the agreement looks fishy indeed. I also wonder why those who used to oppose Hailu’s leadership of the AEUO are surprised at the “betrayal”: not only they should have expected his reversal, but also they should have seen it as a blessing in disguise finally precipitating his discredit among his own followers. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that the agreement rests on a common interest: as it stands, it keeps Birtukan in jail to the delight of the EPRDF, Hailu, and his cronies; it also handicaps the rising multinational opposition known as Medrek.

Rather than adding to the general consternation, I would like to express my surprise at the ferocity of the criticisms, as it seems to reveal an expectation that I thought people had put behind them once and for all. To give a huge importance to negotiations with Meles strikes me as a naïve attitude. If anything, the reversal of the 2005 elections, the violent crackdown of protesters, and the imprisonment of the leaders of Kinjit have underscored the futility of reaching agreement with the present regime. So long as an autonomous power able to enforce mutually agreed documents is not in place, negotiations mean nothing. Those who blame Hailu Shawel seem to say that a fair and just election is possible in Ethiopia provided that the correct agreement is reached. In other words, it is hoped that tough negotiations will force Meles to respect the agreement. Is there an Ethiopian of sane mind really ready to give Meles such a vote of confidence?

The only broker that could have forced Meles to stick to the agreement is the international community. That is why some commentators argue that the signing of the code of conduct removed the possibility of obtaining more concessions in the direction of fair election from Meles through the pressure of the international community, not to mention the fact that said agreement with a major opposition group provides him with some “democratic” respectability.

I find the argument weak. The 2005 elections have taught us that the international community is unwilling to accompany its verbal condemnations with concrete punitive measures. Meles know this more than anybody else, especially now that the American administration seems again reluctant to add deeds to words. As to the democratic appearance that Meles might put on, I don’t think that Western governments are so gullible that they will fail to see that the agreement is yet another maneuver to divide and cripple the opposition.

Does this mean that the best option is not to participate in elections that we know are but fake? Such a conclusion would miss that elections have their own dynamics that even the most repressive regimes cannot totally control. They create events that lead to unforeseen outcomes, as witnessed by the 2005 elections and the recent Iranian elections. Moreover, fake elections generate deep frustrations that compel people to look for alternative forms of expression, perhaps even to show their discontent through non-cooperative forms of resistance, such as strikes and demonstrations.

My position is thus the following: let us continue to play the game of elections, but without creating the illusion that something decisive that would have brought victory was jeopardized by Hailu’s “betrayal.” Such an implication entertains the illusory hope that fair elections are possible under the TPLF. Instead, the elections should serve us to emphasize the extent to which the TPLF government does not even respect its own constitution. For, negotiations would have been unnecessary if the constitution had any force of law. Repeated exposures of the regime’s inconsistencies can convince people to try alternative means so as to have their voice respected.

One thing is clear: everything depends on the goal that each opposition party sets to itself. If an opposition party targets the toppling of the TPLF, then I understand that it sees negotiations as a means of creating the optimal condition for its success. Unfortunately, such a goal is unrealistic: assuming that victory is still possible, it will only lead to a repeat of the 2005 crackdown. By contrast, if an opposition party pursues the modest goals of increasing its seats in the parliament and becoming an opposing partner of the government rather than an expeller standing outside it, I understand that such a party sees negotiations with the TPLF from a different angle. This political option looks more realistic: it is based on a long-term strategy of being part of the government that it means to influence while strengthening the party and removing insecurity from those who now control power in the case of a loss of majority in the distant future.

I am not suggesting that Hailu Shawel has opted for the long-term strategy for the simple reason that I have no information concerning his motives. I raise the issue because I want us to be clear about our expectations. Put otherwise, when opposition parties decide to participate in elections, they must tell us clearly what their objectives are. If, under the present conditions, their main objective is to oust the TPLF government by winning the majority of votes, I tell them that they are obviously using the wrong method, and so should adjust the means to the end by, for instance, embracing armed struggle. Hence my question to those who castigate Hailu Shawel: What do you expect from the coming elections?

(The author can be reached at Messay.Kebede@notes.udayton.edu)

ONLF killed 985 Woyannes, burned 6 vehicles

Friday, November 20th, 2009

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an Ethiopian rebel group that is operating in eastern Ethiopia, is reporting more Woyanne regime casualties in a renewed offensive that took place since November 10. The following is a military communique:

Military operations related to the 10 November 2009 offensive have concluded in Ogaden. In total, 6 military vehicles belonging to the regime have been destroyed thus far by ONLF forces. The death toll from all fronts now stands at 985 of Woyanne regime troops killed, including 12 officers, with a large number wounded.

Military hardware was captured on all fronts of the offensive, including small arms, ammunition, communications equipment and other materials of intelligence value.

By all measures, the 10 November offensive has resulted in a resounding defeat for Meles Zenawi’s regime where our ONLF deployed.

Reliable sources confirm that the regime is now planning a counter-offensive and intends to target civilians in particular. The regime plans to resettle civilians by force and particularly target
communities near the active fronts of the 10 November offensive.

Orders have also been issued by the regime to deny international food aid to large areas of Ogaden. This denial of international food aid to the civilian population for political reasons and the forceful planned resettlement of the people into what could lead to modern day concentration camps is unacceptable and clearly a war crime.

Donor nations bear a responsibility to hold the regime accountable for their humanitarian assistance which is being used to subjugate rather than support the civilian population of Ogaden.

The regime continues to deny these actions but is clearly fearful of independent media coming to Ogaden to see for themselves the resounding victory of ONLF forces during the 10 November offensive.

The ONLF welcomes all independent individual journalists and international media organizations who wish to come to Ogaden and report on events here.

ONLF challenge the regime to allow independent media into Ogaden if it has nothing to hide from the international community.

Politicizing of U.S. aid to Ethiopia ahead of election

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

WASHINGTON DC (VOA Editorial) — The United States is committed to helping people in need all over the world, and it takes this mission very seriously. With billions of dollars spent on humanitarian, economic and other forms of assistance every year, the U.S. wants to be sure that the aid is properly and effectively distributed. So it is that U.S. officials are concerned about recent reports that the Ethiopian government may be politicizing humanitarian assistance ahead of next year’s national elections.

Amid wide-spread food shortages caused by a long-running drought across much of East Africa, Ethiopia receives considerable aid from the U.S. and other nations. It is estimated that more than 6 million of the country’s 80 million people rely on aid to survive, with another 7 million relying heavily on on the Productive Safety Net Program, a food-for-work program administered by the government and supported by foreign assistance.

A spokesman for the major opposition political coalition, the Forum for Democratic Dialogue, recently complained that the government was allowing only ruling party members to take part in the Productive Safety Net Program. To eat, he said, desperate people are forced to join the ruling party. A top government spokesman, however, flatly denies the charge.

Though unproven, the allegations echo a similar charge by the opposition that in 2005 officials in Oromiya denied food aid from international donors to residents of some communities that had voted for opposition candidates in elections that year.

The U.S. Government is aware of the recent complaints. All U.S. government humanitarian assistance agencies have monitoring systems in place to prevent or expose such activity which we are continually reviewing and working to improve. Discussions are also taking place with nongovernmental partners to ensure full compliance with the U.S. strict monitoring standards. USAID personnel in Ethiopia are increasing field visits to observe distribution dynamics with specific attention to these allegations.

The U.S. is committed to the people of Ethiopia and ensuring that its humanitarian aid does reach those most in need.

A U.S. citizen survives 107 days in Ethiopian prison

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

By Douglas McGill

jailed in Ethiopia(The McGill Report) — Okwa Omot is sleeping safely in a warm bed at his home in Washington, D.C. this week. That is something of a miracle considering that only a week ago –- and for 107 days before that -– he was sleeping on freezing cold concrete floors in Ethiopian prisons, accused of treason and threatened with execution.

The 32-year-old hotel housekeeper and U.S. citizen had traveled to Ethiopia in July to visit family members he hadn’t seen for nine years.

Instead, he was arrested for inciting revolution and shut away in prison.

He was released last Tuesday after friends in Minnesota and U.S. Embassy officials in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, worked for weeks to convince Ethiopian authorities that Omot posed no threat to their government.

The prison system of Ethiopia is one of the world’s great, dark secrets.

The Ethiopian government denies that systematic human rights abuses occur there, even as , with support from the U.S. State Department, claim that Ethiopia runs one of the most brutal penal systems on earth – a system that is a linchpin in a dictatorship that rules Ethiopia through raw fear under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Omot’s experience supports that bleak view of Ethiopia’s prisons, and the story of his three-month ordeal offers a rare inside glimpse into that world.

Ethnic Cleansing

On July 26, Omot was arrested near the village of Dimma, Ethiopia, by nine Ethiopian police who grabbed him under a tree where he was resting.

“We heard you were coming,” the police told him. “We know that in America you plot against Ethiopia, but we have our supporters in America too, and they told us to expect you.”

Omot is a member of the Anuak tribe, whose indigenous territory  straddles southeast Sudan and western Ethiopia. Since 1991, when the present Ethiopian regime took power, the Anuak have been the target of intense ethnic cleansing by the Ethiopian government according to Human Rights Watch and other groups.

Omot fled that ethnic cleansing in 1992, spending three years in refugee camps in Kenya before settling in the U.S. in 1995. He became a U.S. citizen last year.

Never politically active, Omot raised suspicions on his recent trip by entering Ethiopia not through airport customs in Addis Ababa, but rather by the traditional Anuak way, which is walking across the border from an Anuak village in Sudan, to the Ethiopian Anuak village of Dimma.

Old-Timers

Omot feared for his life every moment in prison.

‘“You will die like a dog now there is no one to defend you,”’ Omot recalls his jailers in Dimma taunting him. “They said, ‘In America, black people are treated like slaves and there are no white people who will come from America to save your life.’ I told them, ‘Did you see that in America we now have a black president?’ They said ‘Shut up!’”

After five days in Dimma, Omot was moved to a bigger prison in the town of Gambella, the capital of the western state of the same name, and the heart of the Anuak’s indigenous homeland.

The Gambella prison has for many years housed hundreds of Anuak men accused of plotting against Ethiopia.

Although Omot was not able to count the number of prisoners himself, old-timers in the prison told him there were 475 prisoners being held there, of whom only 20 or so were not Anuak.

“One night a group of soldiers came to me and said ‘We are going to teach you something,’” Omot recalls. “They blindfolded me and shoved me into a pickup truck. When they took off my blindfold they pushed me to the ground and I was surrounded by dead bodies. They were mostly skeletons but with pieces of clothing still stuck on.

“The soldiers told me, ‘Unless you confess you will look like those bodies. You will die just like they did. We will kill you right now.’”

Independent Reports

Instead of collapsing, Omot became calm.

“‘A man can never live to 200 years,’” Omot told his captors. “‘Life comes to an end for everyone. I have nothing to tell you. If you want to kill me, kill me.’ They put the blindfold back on and drove me back to the prison.”

Another day in Gambella, Omot was snatched from his cell and taken to the office of Omot Olom, the governor of the region.

Olom is deeply feared among the Anuak as a planner of one of the worst massacres ever carried out against their tribe, on Dec. 13, 2003, when uniformed Ethiopian soldiers moving door to door executed some 425 Anuak men and boys in Gambella on a single day.

The fact of the massacre, and Olom’s involvement in it, have been corroborated by independent reports including a 2004 report by Genocide Watch, and a 2005 report by Human Rights Watch connecting Olom to “crimes against humanity” committed against the Anuak.

Now meeting Olom face-to-face, Omot again feared for his life.

“He called me an American terrorist,” Omot said. “He said, ‘Omot, we know your history. You killed Ethiopian people before you left to live in America, and you have been sending money from America to kill Ethiopians. And now you are coming back to support terrorists living in Gambella. We are either going to kill you or destroy your passport.’”

Maekelawi Prison

A ray of hope appeared for Omot when a consular official from the U.S. embassy, who had been alerted to Omot’s arrest by Anuak friends living in Minnesota, flew from Addis Ababa to visit him in the Gambella prison.

That visit saved his life, Omot said. Thanks to the embassy’s intervention, he was transferred to the Maekelawi federal prison in Addis Ababa, where U.S. embassy officials were able to visit him more often.

But his trials were not yet over, as Maekelawi is an infamous dungeon of horrors.

Tales of torture, extrajudicial execution, solitary confinement in shackles, and brutal conditions at Maekelawi are legion in Ethiopia.

Tens of thousands of street protesters, journalists, and opposition politicians over the years have spent long stretches in Maekelawi – sometimes never leaving.

Lights Off

At Maekelawi, Omot was thrown into a dark basement cell, which he shared with another inmate.

“It was cold as a refrigerator,” Omot said. “I thought I was going to die from the cold. I had one thin blanket but I needed much more to stay warm.”

In his 17 days underground, the dim overhead lights mysteriously went off on four different occasions, after which each time he heard shuffling sounds in the darkness.

His cellmate told him that when a person died in prison, the lights were turned off while the body was picked up and taken away.

Michael Gonzales, a U.S. embassy spokesman in Addis Ababa, confirmed that Omot is a U.S. citizen and that a consular official in Addis Ababa met with him in Gambella and the Maekelawi prison in Addis, to win his release last week. Senior U.S. embassy officials also contacted Ethiopian officials on Omot’s behalf, Gonzales said.

Apee Jobi, an Anuak American who lives in Brooklyn Park, MN first alerted the U.S. embassy in Ethiopia about Omot’s arrest in early August, and worked with embassy officials towards his release.

Jobi said Omot’s arrest and imprisonment was standard operating procedure today in Ethiopia, as part of the system of fear that supports the regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Many ethnic groups in Ethiopia are suppressed using these tactics, Jobi said.

“From the point of view of the government, loyalty means innocence,” Jobi said. “But if you are a stranger, you are guilty.  But it doesn’t mean you have committed a crime.”

Ethiopians in Israel celebrate Sigd

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Sigd-festival-IsraelThe Beta Israeli Sigd festival falls on the 29th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. It is the 50th day, starting with Yom Kippur (analogous to counting 50 days from Pesach to Shavuos), and is a festival unique to the Beta Israel community.

For their forebears in Ethiopia, the Sigd was a religious holiday renewing their covenant with God and expressing longing for Zion. But for many among the thousands marking it in Jerusalem on Monday, the festival was more of a day of ethnic pride.

“The sigd is very empowering,” said Aviva Nagosa, 32. “It is the only thing left that joins us all together.”

While in Ethiopia, the Sigd highlighted the uniqueness of the Beta Yisrael — the ancient Jewish community — amongst their Ethiopian neighbours, today it defines them as a distinguished group among other Israeli Jews.

The government last year recognised Sigd as an official Israeli holiday, meaning no one gets penalised for taking time off work to attend. And indeed the buses came from all over Israel.

As white turbaned holy men, or kessim, holding up colourful umbrellas, recited prayers in the ancient Ge’ez language, Natan Biadglin, a 25-year-old Ethiopian youth counsellor from Haifa, said that “Ninety-five per cent of people here do not understand Ge’ez.”

Still, the prayers are significant as a part of the community’s heritage.

“Young people need to know where they come from. This strengthens them and helps them because Israelis do not accept them so much.”

White-robed women prostrated themselves at key points of the prayers and a kes offered blessings — this time in Amharic — for peace, livelihood and “that god will hear our prayers”.

Soldiers given the day off strained to take pictures of the holy men with their cellphones and cameras.

Despite some gains, Ethiopian Jews remain the poorest segment of Israel’s Jewish population and are at times stereotyped as a social burden. The sense of not being accepted by other Israelis was accentuated in September when religious schools in Petah Tikva refused to accept Ethiopian children.

“Even if they do not accept us at work or in school, we are here,” Shlomo Mola, an MK from the Kadima party, told the gathering. “We do not need a kosher certificate from anyone.”

Some in the crowd walked up to the kessim and gave them money, fulfilling vows they made during last year’s Sigd to donate money if their prayers came true. “Today I made a vow for next year,” said Tzahi Ezra, 36. “My mother is sick and if she becomes healthy, I will bring her here.”

The word Sigd is from the semitic language Amharic for prostration and the root letters s-g-d are the same as in Mesgid (etymologically related to Masjid in another semitic tongue – Arabic), one of the two Ethiopian Jewish terms for synagogue. During the celebration, members of the community fast, recite Psalms, and gather in Jerusalem where Kessim read from the Orit. The ritual is followed by the breaking of the fast, dancing, and general revelry. In February 2008 MK Uri Ariel submitted legislation to the Knesset in order to establish Sigd as an Israeli national holiday, [2] and in July 2008 the Knesset officially “decided to formally add the Ethiopian Sigd holiday to the list of State holidays.”

(Source: Wikipedia, TheJC.com)

Former Commercial Bank of Ethiopia manager gets 9 years

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — The state-controlled news service, WIC, reports that a former general manager of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and two other individuals received stiff prison sentence for corruption.

(WIC) – The Federal High Court sentenced three corrupt offenders on November 16 and 17 to rigorous imprisonment ranging from 5-9 years and ordered them to pay from 1, 000-15,000 birr in fine.

According to a press release the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) sent to WIC, the court found Tibebu Robi, former General Manager of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia at the China-Africa Avenue Branch guilty of misappropriating 400, 000 birr and 1,000 USD, which went missing.

The Court, therefore, sentenced him to nine years of rigorous imprisonment and fined him 15,000 birr on 16 November 2009.

Similarly, Aklilu Alemayehu, former Head of the Customers Service Department with the same Branch, was found guilty of being part of the above-mentioned crime and was, therefore, given eight years of rigorous imprisonment. He was also fined 10, 000 birr.

In a related development, the Court found Genet Tadesse, former Employee of Kebelle 07/14 was found guilty of embezzling 18,514 birr. As a result, it sentenced her to five years of rigorous imprisonment and fined her 1,000 birr. FEACC filed the charges in 2008.

Woyanne kangaroo court convicts alleged coup plotters

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — An Ethiopian court on Thursday convicted 26 people who were accused of taking part in an alleged coup plot earlier this year and acquitted five others.

Judge Adem Ibrahim said most of the defendants in the case had said they were tortured by police into submitting false testimonies. But he said the witnesses had not convinced the court of the torture allegations.

In April, Ethiopia said the suspects were found with weapons, plans and information that linked them to a prominent opposition group started after the country’s disputed 2005 elections. Ethiopia has acknowledged that its security forces killed 193 civilians protesting alleged election fraud that year.

The defendants had faced charges of attempting to dismantle the constitutional order, assassinate officials, destroy infrastructure and agitate anarchy. The court said Thursday there was insufficient evidence brought against five of them.

In August, a Pennsylvania economics professor was found guilty in absentia, one of 13 previous convictions in the case. Berhanu Nega, who teaches at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., has denied any involvement.

Berhanu was elected mayor of Addis Ababa in 2005 but was arrested afterward along with more than 100 other opposition politicians and stood trial for treason. He and the others were freed in 2007 in a pardon deal.

More from Reuters:

ADDIS ABABA, Nov 19 (Reuters) – An Ethiopian court convicted 27 serving and former soldiers on Thursday of planning a coup and found them guilty on other charges which also carry the death penalty.

“The men were convicted of various offences including conspiring to kill government officials and conspiring to instruct the army not to obey government orders,” Mekonnen Bezabeih, Justice Ministry spokesman, told Reuters.

“The maximum sentence for the offences would be the death penalty.”

A further 13 men were convicted in absentia on the same charges in August. That group included Ethiopian-born U.S. citizen, Berhanu Nega, who teaches economics at Philadelphia’s Bucknell University.

Six more men were acquitted on all charges.

Judge Adem Ibrahim warned relatives not to “wail or show emotion” when the verdict was announced but several people cried as the men were convicted.

Scores of police ringed the courtroom and escorted the men to waiting vans.

Berhanu was elected mayor of capital Addis Ababa in Ethiopia’s last elections in 2005, but was jailed with other opposition leaders after disputing the government’s victory in the election and were accused of orchestrating street protests.

Security forces killed about 200 protesters who Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said were marching on government buildings to overthrow him.

“BEATEN AND BEATEN AND BROKEN”

Berhanu was pardoned in 2007 and went to the United States where he set up his “May 15″ opposition group named after the date of the 2005 election.

Prosecution lawyers said Berhanu led the 40 “May 15″ members from the United States.

Addis Ababa says the group had planned to blow up power and telecoms facilities to provoke protesters who would then march on government buildings and try to topple the government.

The arrests have worried rights groups, who say the Ethiopian government has been cracking down on dissent ahead of national elections next May.

Opposition parties say the charges have been trumped up as an excuse to arrest their members. Relatives of the men say they have been tortured in prison.

“They have been brutalised in prison and so have all the other men,” one relative told Reuters after the conviction.

“Our loved ones have been beaten and beaten and broken so that we don’t even recognize them when they come to court. One man has been blinded.”

Rights group Amnesty International says relatives of “May 15″ members have been unfairly arrested. The Ethiopian government denies that.

The men will be sentenced on Nov. 24. (Editing by Louise Ireland)

The Meaning of Hebret

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Teddy Fikre

I love this word. However, as an Ethiopian who lived the overwhelming majority of my life in America, I did not understand that this word has been tainted due to the origins of a propaganda campaign back in Ethiopia. Ironically, this word represents the very essence of a regime that forced my family to immigrate to America back in 1983 at the age of seven. This very word—Hebret—is a word that represented the suffering of countless many and the reason why Ethiopians are the second largest community of immigrants from Africa. But still….

Hebret.

The word, irrespective of history, is one that I love. To me, Hebret means unity; it means a collective effort for a collective success. The Chinese have a saying that goes “you can break on straw easily, you can’t break a hundred straws bonded together”. One man alone can accomplish little, a hundred men working together for one goal can profoundly change the world. That is the very meaning of a community, thus the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. Let me put it another way, “50 Lomi Le 1 Sew Sekimu, Le 50 Sew Getu New”. It basically means that 50 lemons when one person is carrying is it heavy, but when carried by 50 people is enjoyable.

So is this the missing link in Ethiopia, is this the missing link in Africa, and is the missing link within the African Diaspora and African-American community at large. When I was a child in Ethiopia, I used to notice a certain inferiority complex in the community. Shocked? You should not be, I remember that certain doctors that were not from Ethiopia would be flocked to, meanwhile, doctors Ethiopian doctors would have a certain connotation—a certain stigma as if though you only go to them if your literally in dire straits. It makes me wonder why I romanticized the fact that I attended Lycee in Ethiopia. Or why, as a child, I deferred to non-Ethiopian instructors a thousand times more than my Ethiopian instructors.

Thus I came to America, and what I have noticed the utter dearth of Hebret not only in the Ethiopian community but in the African Diaspora overall. I took note of the many instances of an African-American that would try to start a business and would struggle to get support from his/her own community. How else can you explain when a black man starts a business and he goes to service his own for support and he literally gets almost no support. Oh how many times I have you witnessed a black plumber who would visit an African-American to fix his leaking toilet. Upon entrance to the house, the first question he would often get asked is “Bruh can I get a discount”? Yet these very people would NEVER ask a non-minority for a discount. Or how about an African-American mechanic who has to put up with the menace of “dude seriously I can only pay $25 for the oil change”. Yet these very obstinate consumers would gladly fork over $60 for an oil change at Jiffy Lube.

Is it no wonder that successful Ethiopians specifically or those from the African Diaspora generally often get frustrated and feel alienated from the community. And then they get blamed for being “sell-outs” when they choose to move to the suburbs and no longer feel a bond to their community. When you call them sell-outs because they made it big, did you support them when they were struggling? Thus, who is the sell-out, the person that tried to provide you a service that you neglected when he was struggling or that very same person who—out of frustration, anger, or experience—finally says good riddance when he makes it big.

This happens time and again. Through my work last during last year’s presidential campaign, what I encountered over and over again were whisper campaigns about this person or that person. “Oh you can’t trust him, he is a leba (thief)”. “Esu ma, lerasu becha new emiseraw.” “He is only using Ethiopia for his own good”. I shake my head, here is a man who is offering something profound for his community, a visionary that can advance the cause for everyone. Yet, he is a leba aydel? I am forever grateful for the many people I met during last year’s presidential campaign who worked endlessly to organize the Ethiopian community. And I know that there were countless others who did the same without me knowing about them. However, as much as we broke out back to offer our community a voice, the vast majority of our own did not support. Yet, when Obama got elected on November 4th, I could not count how many Ethiopians I saw dancing in the streets of DC.

And yet, as I point a finger, there are three pointing back at me. I recall many times of my own personal failings. There was a particular moment when it crystallized in me how my own judgments are infected with the germ of self-hate. When was this? Well, I never had a problem giving a dollar to none minority kids who were selling donuts for a basketball camp or a weekend getaway. However, one particular day, after buying groceries from Safeway, a couple of African-Americans kids asked me to give them money so they could go to football camp. My first though, to my own shame—“yeah right, I wonder what you will really do with this dollar?” I got in my car, and I ran smack dab into a cognitive dissonance. Did I ever have this question for those kids that were not minorities? Did I have this question to those children who were selling Girl Scout cookies? Most have these types of thoughts, but bury them behind facades of enlightenment and smiles of indifference.

Yes, this is uncomfortable to discuss, but truth is needed. How many of us have these types of judgment, and it’s not a one way street where Ethiopians have stereotypes about African-Americans. When I came to America in the 1980s, growing up I was called jungle monkey, antelope chaser, vine swinger, by whom you say, by my African-American classmates. The first friend I had was a white girl who asked me about Ethiopia and wanted to know my name. So lest you think that the biases and judgments are only one way, think again, it is a strain that strains the whole lot.

This is the plight of our community. We don’t trust, we don’t support. I cannot paint everyone with the same brush of mistrust, but my own experiences have taught me that this is not an isolated incident. When someone comes around tying to make a change, she is instantly questioned—her motives judged not for the facts but by the opinions of poisoned minds. I wonder if we really knew how much inherent power we have in our own community. Although we have no quantitative idea of how many Ethiopians live in America, we know that there are enough of us to make a profound change and improve the lives of many if we worked together. However, we choose to sip buna and talk about what if and what is not right. Inertia is a rule of thumb, action is always given the thumbs down.

We question and procrastinate before we support. We suspect before we accept. Guilty until proven innocent, and even then guilty regardless. Any Ethiopian who sets out to try something new is instantly branded with the scarlet letter of either greed or a some overseas political affiliation. So I circle back to the original premise. What exactly is wrong with using Ethiopia for our own benefit. After all, it’s all semantics; what one would call using others would say unity. What one would label as “using”, others would say it’s Hebret—a collective success based on a collective work.

“One man may hit the mark, another blunder; but heed not these distinctions. Only from the alliance of the one, working with and through the other, are great things born.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

So how much longer shall we continue to question every man or woman who espouses to do something different—to make a change. Do we continue to brand a visionary who dares to have the audacity to believe in making an impact that will help his own people—and so what if he benefits financially while doing so? Sure there are times I can recount when my very people were selling bottles of water for four dollars while we were marching for freedom in 1996, and do I put these people (hustlers) in league with the someone who dares to dream the dream that he can make a profound impact on humanity—to achieve the impossible and to think he can make a difference in even one person’s life?

So next time you see a man or woman—Ethiopian, Nigerian, Kenyan, Jamaican or other—who starts his own business. The next time you encounter kids at Safeway who are selling cookies to go to football camp. The next time you see a visionary who just might make your life better. Pause. And ask, is what he is doing going to make my life better, or will you ask “bruh can I get a discount?” or “What do you get out of it”. Will you ask, “Is he using Ethiopia”, or will you ask, “Is he going to make a difference for Ethiopia?” Maybe, just maybe, his idea can unload some of the lemons off your back.

(Teddy Fikre isw an organizer with Ethiopian-Americans for Change, www.EA4C.org)

EPPF strives to fill the leadership gap

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Elias Kifle

I have just returned from a 30-day field trip during which I visited and held meetings with leaders and fighters of the Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front (EPPF), as well as the Tigray People Democratic Movement (TPDM), Benishangul People Liberation Movement (BPLM), Gambela People’s Democratic Movement Front (GPDMF), and Ethiopian People’s Front for Equality and Justice (EPFEJ — formerly known as Southern Ethiopian People’s Front for Equality and Justice). These five organizations are currently coordinating their activities after signing a cooperation agreement over a year ago. Their cooperation includes joint military missions against the Woyanne tribal junta.

Elias Kifle with EPPF fighters

Elias Kifle with EPPF fighters

eppf-2009-10-142926

I had also participated in a 2-day EPPF conference, from October 17-18, which was attended by members of the EPPF executive committee and central council, and representatives from the U.S., U.K., Germany and Denmark.

During the trip, I spent most of my time following EPPF activities and holding discussions with its leaders and members, both at the organization’s headquarters in Asmara and in the field.

I am not sure whether it is a coincidence, but while I was there visiting with EPPF fighters, the Woyanne-controlled TV aired a 4-day program about the elimination of EPPF “bandits” by “government” forces. (Derg also used to call Woyannes “bandits.”) A couple of days later I was a few hundred meters from the Tigray border with a unit of EPPF fighters taking photos and recording video. I told the fighters, who had recently returned from a military mission, what the Woyanne media was saying about them. The unit leader smiled and told me “here is the proof,” pointing to his comrades.

Such claims by Woyanne do not surprise the battle-hardned EPPF fighters. They are used to the Bereket Simon lie factory. But one thing is clear — Woyanne is increasingly concerned about EPPF. Otherwise, why air a 4-day TV program on an organization that it claims doesn’t exist? The answer is clear.

It is not only Woyanne that is questioning EPPF’s role as a viable opposition group. It is joined by others with different motives who are desperately arguing that EPPF should not be taken seriously. There is even a web site that is dedicated to telling people that EPPF doesn’t exist. As an eye witness, what I have seen is to the contrary. EPPF is becoming a leading Ethiopian opposition group that is poised to fill the current leadership gap in Ethiopian opposition camp.

Having said that, the organization is not without its own share of problems and difficulties. Its political wing is terribly ineffective and for a long time its public relations effort has been weak. With the recent launching of its own radio program — YeArbegna Dimts — and a web site, eppfonline.org, EPPF is attempting to improve its shortcomings as far as PR is concerned.

In the political sphere, a recent attempt by the leadership to restructure its political wing has failed due to the selection of an incompetent individual who was appointed as head of political affairs. That person has now been replaced and a new political affairs office is being considered.

EPPF’s activities in the Diaspora has also been facing recurring problems. The EPPF International Committee has been disbanded for the second time after it was concluded at the October conference that the group was doing more harm than good. The conference decided that there will no longer be an “international committee” that is tasked with coordinating the Diaspora activities. From now on, each chapter in the Diaspora will report directly to EPPF’s main office. The October conference unanimously passed a resolution to this effect.

Additionally, the conference has authorized local chapters to engage in diplomatic and political activities on behalf of EPPF. Representatives in Europe and the U.S. can now contact government officials and explain to them the mission and objectives of EPPF, particularly its clear stand on international terrorism, which is one of the main concerns of the U.S. and EU governments when it comes to political activities in Ethiopia, and the Horn of Africa, in general. EPPF has made it clear in its political program that it is waging a struggle to defend the people of Ethiopia from Woyanne regime’s brutal repression. EPPF strives to maintain good relations with all governments around the world, including those in the Horn of Africa.

With all the difficulties it is facing, EPPF’s track record as an opposition force shines better than any other Ethiopian opposition group. During the past 10 years of its tumultuous existence, EPPF has been able to survive many dangers that could have splintered the organization into several small factions. Unlike many other Ethiopian opposition parties, EPPF is forging ahead as a united resistance group. With some minor adjustments and restructuring, EPPF has the potential to transform itself in to a leading opposition force that can help bring about positive change in Ethiopia.

Before I returned to the U.S., my colleague Sileshi Tilahun and I had the opportunity to meet with President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea. It is our second meeting with him. The first one was in May 2009 for an interview. I have also held discussions with the Minister of Information Ali Abdu and other officials. I will post a report shortly about the meeting with Prsident Isaias, in which he shared with us his views about cooperations between Ethiopian opposition groups and Eritrea, and his vision on normalizing Ethiopia-Eritrea relations.

ከአቶ ምትኩ ይመር ለቀረበ ጽሁፍ የተሰጠ ምላሽ

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

ከሙታን ሰፈር ከሚሰማ የቅኔ ዘረፋ ይልቅ የሕያው አምላክን ተግሳጽ መርጠናል

ከአቤል ጋሼ

[pdf]

(“ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም” በሚል ርዕስ ከአቶ ምትኩ ይመር ለቀረበ ጽሁፍ የተሰጠ ምላሽ)

አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የተባሉ የዋሽንግቶን ዲ.ሲ ነዋሪ በሰሞንኛው “(“ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም”) በሚል ርዕስ ባስነበቡን ጽሁፋቸው በአሜሪካን ሀገር በሜሪላንድ ክፍለ-ግዛት፣ በቴምፒል ሂል ወረዳ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን የሚገኙ ሁለት የቤተ ክርስቲያኗን ታዋቂ ሰዎች ማለትም የእናታችን የወ/ሮ ውድነሽ አምሳሉንና የቀሲስ መምህር ዘበነ ለማን ስሞች ጠቅሰው በእሳቸው አስተሳሰብና፣ ቁጣና በቀል በተመላ ስሜታዊነት የሚያውቁትንና የመሰላቸውን የሞት ቃላቸውን ሰብከውናል፣ የቤልሖር መንፈስ የሞላው የጠብ ግብዣቸውን ጋብዘውናል፣ በልዩነትና ባለመግባባት እንድንተራመስ በራዕይ 6 የተጠቀሰውን ዓይነት ባለጥቁር ሰንደቅ የሀመር ፈረሳቸውን እየጋለቡ ፊታውራሪ ሆነው ለጦርነት ሊያሰልፉን “ሳይቃጠል በቅጠል” በሚል ቋንቋ በአዝማችነት ተነሳስተዋል። ጽሁፉ ለኢትዮጵያውያን ስለሚሰጠው ማህበረሰባዊ ጠቀሜታ፣ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤ/ክርስቲያን ያለባትን ፈተና ለማቃለል የሚኖረው አስተዋጽኦና ‘እውነትን እፈልጋለሁ” ከሚል፣ የሀገር ተቆርቋሪ ተዘግቦ እንደሆነ አንባቢ ሁሉ በራሱ አስተያየትና ሚዛን እንዲመዝነው እተዋለሁ። ሆኖም አንባቢው ለመመዘን እንዲችል ብዬ በማሰብ በተወራው ጉዳይ ላይ ብርሃን የሚፈነጥቅ የአጸፋ መልስ እንደሚያስፈልገው አምኜበታለሁ። ለዚህም ያነሳሱኝ ቢያንስ ሶስት አበይት ምክንያቶች ስላሉ እነሱን ልግለጽ።

1ኛ) አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን ውስጥ ተፈጠሩ ያሏቸው ክስተቶች ተፈጸሙ በተባሉበት ወቅት የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ አስተዳደር ውስጥ አገልጋይ ሆኜ እሰራ ነበር።፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ አባላት ስብሰባ አደረጉ በተባለበት ወቅት ስብሰባውን በመምራት በቀጥታ በጉዳዩ ውስጥ ስለተሳተፍኩ የጠቅላላውን ጉዳይ አስተዳደራዊ ነክና መሰረታዊ የክስተቶችን አንኳር ጉዳዮች ሁሉ በቦርድ ጸሐፊነቴ ከሞላ ጎደል እውቅና ነበረኝ። ስለዚህም የገጠመኞችን ግራና ቀኝ ለመመልከት እድልም ስላጋጠመኝ እንዲሁ በጥራዝ ነጠቅነት፣ “እውነት”ና “ሰላም” በአደባባይ እንደ ሰንጋ ሲታረዱ ስመለከትና ትክክል ባልሆነ ወሬና አሉባልታ ሕዝብ እንዲተራመስ፣ ሰላም እንዲጠፋ፣ የኢትዮጵያውያንን የህብረት ተስፋ የበለጠ እንዲቀብጽ የሚያደርግ መልዕክት ያዘለ ጽሁፍ በዘመኑ የድረ-ገጽ መስኮት ተበትኖ ስመለከት፣ “ማን ያርዳ የቀበረ፣ ማን ይመስክር የነበረ” እንዲሉ አስፈላጊውን መረጃ ለአንባብያን በማቅረብ ስለሚገባው ነገር መስክሮ የተሰነዘረውን የሰብቅ ጦርነት በእምነት ጥሩር መመከትና መፋለም አስፈላጊ መሆኑን ስላመንኩበት ነው።

2ኛ) በሁለተኛ ደረጃ ዛሬ (ጉዳዩ ከተፈጸመ ከ6 ወር በኋላ) በእግዚአብሔር የተባረከ የሰላም መንፈስ በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን እንዳለን የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን የምናምነውና በግልጽ የምናየው ነገር ነው። አልፎ ተርፎም አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” ከጠቀሱት ገጠመኝ ወዲህ በርካታ ለቤተ ክርስቲያናችንንና ለሌሎችም የሚጠቅሙ ጉዳዮች በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን እየተፈጸሙ መሆኑ በግልጽ የሚታይበት፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ጠቅላላ ሰላምና አካሄድ በአይነቱ የላቀ መሆኑ በአብነት የሚጠቀስና ሌሎችም አብያተ ክርስቲያናት ከቤተ ክርስቲያኗ አሰራር ሊማሩ የሚያጠይቁበት ወቅት ነው። ታዲያ በዚህ ሁኔታ ላይ እያለን ይኸንን የመሰለ ዕቡይ መንፈስ የተጠናወተው ጽሁፍ በአለም አቀፍ ደረጃ በሚተላለፍ ድረ-ገጽ ላይ አስፍሮ የግለሰቦችን፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንንና አልፎ ተርፎም የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያንን ክብርና ገመና በአደባባይ ለአፈርሳታ ማውጣት በግለሰብ ላይ የተቃጣ ይምሰል እንጂ የኦርቶዶክስ አማኝነትንና የኢትዮጵያዊነትን ክብርና መንፈስ የሚጻረር ስለሆነ እንዲህ እውነታውን አንጋዶና በውሸትና በአሉባልታ በክሎ “ድንጋይ ዳቦ ነው” የሚል ሲመጣ ዝም ማለት ሕሊና ስለሚቆጠቁጥና በተለይም ባለማወቅ ከሙታን ምድር የተላኩ ደብዳቤዎችን አንብበው ውዥንብር ውስጥ የሚገቡ ወገኖች ሊኖሩ ስለሚችሉ በጉዳዩ ላይ ብርሃንን መፈንጠቅና የአቶ “ምትኩ”ን ጽሁፍ ማህበራዊ እሴቱን ማሳየት ለማህበረሰባችን የሚጠቅምና፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንንም ክብር መጠበቅ የሚራዳ እንደሆነ ስላመንኩበት ነው።

3ኛ) በጠቅላላው ዛሬ የኢትዮጵያና የልጆቿ ፈተና ከምንጊዜውም በላይ ከፍቶ፣ በሀገራችን ረሀብ፣ በሽታ፣ የአስተዳደር መዛባት፣ ወዘተ.. ወገኖቻችንን በሚፈትንበት ወቅት እያንዳንዳችን እጅ ለእጅ ተያይዘን በሰከነ አእምሮ፣ በቀና መንፈስ፣ የልዑል እግዚአብሔርን ታጋዥነትን ተማጽነን ወደ ብርሃኑ ጎዳና መጓዝ ሲኖርብን “ከድጡ ወደ ማጡ” እንዲሉ በየቀኑ የምናነበው ጽሁፍ፣ በሬዲዮ ሞገዶች የምንሰማው አብዛኛው ሁካታ የክፋት፣ የሀኬት፣ የሰውን ስብዕና የማጣጣልና የማንቋሸሽ መሆኑን እያየሁ ከልብ አዝናለሁ። ታዲያ ምንም እንኳን ስለቤተ ክርስቲያን ጉዳይ የጠለቀ ዕውቀት ባይኖረኝና፣ ስለ ስነ መለኮት ሂስ ለመስጠት ችሎታው የሌለኝ ቢሆንም፣ ግን ኢትየጵዊነቴና፣ የኦርቶዶክስ እምነት ተከታይነቴ እያስገደደኝ እንዲህ በሕዝብ ዓይን ላይ የበርበሬ ዱቄት የሚበትን ዓላማ ያለው ጽሁፍ ሳነብ ስለጉዳዩ በቅርብ የማውቀውን በመንተራስ መልስ መመለስ እንዳለብኝ ግዴታ ተሰምቶኝ ነው። በተለይም ከሙታን ሀገር በሚላኩልን ደብዳቤዎች የሚተላለፉ የክፋትና የአሉባልታ ዝባዝንኬዎችን እየተመረዝን በመካከላችን ሰላምን ስላጣን፣ የሀገራችንንም ትንሳዔ እየራቀብን ስለመጣ፣ በኢትዮጵያዊነት ስም “እባካችሁ ገንቢ በሆነ ጉዳዮች ላይ እንነጋገር፣ መሰዳደብ፣ መዘላለፍ፣ ሰዎችን አውርዶ መጣልንና፣ የሰዎችን ስብዕና ዱቄት ማድረግ፣ አልፎ ተርፎም የማናውቀውን ነገር ቀነጣጥበን በወሬ የ”ባቢሎን ግንብ” እየሰራን የሞት አዝመራ ማዝመሩን ይብቃን፣፡ ይልቅስ አባቶች ያወረሱንን የኢትዮጵያዊነት አብነት ማለትም ስለሕያውነት፣ ሰውን ስለማዳን፣ ስለ መልካሙ፣ ስለቀናው ጉዳይ፣ ስለይቅርታ፣ በብርሃን ስለመመላላስ፣ ስለመማርና ጥበብን ስለመገብየት እንሽቀዳደም” ብዬ ለወገኖቼ የዜግነት ጥሪ ለማስተላለፍና ይኸንን የሚያሳዝን አጋጣሚ ቢያንስ የምንማማርበትና ወደፊት ከተመሳሳይ ማህበራዊ ዝቅጠት ውስጥ እንዳንወቅድ የምንመለከትበት ጥሩ መነጽርና፣ አስረጅ መጠቀሜ ነው።

ለ. በጽሁፉ ስለቀረቡት ግለሰቦች።

1ኛ. እናታችን እማማ ውድነሽ አምሳሉ፦ በእውነት እኒህ እናት ታላቅ ኢትዮጵያዊና የሀገር አንጡራ ሀብት ናቸው። ጸሀፊው በጽሁፋቸው ስለእኒህ ግለሰብ ማንነት ካሰፈሩትም በላይ እናታችን አንደበተ ርቱዕ፣ የውስጥ ነጻነትን የተቀዳጁ፣ የሚመስላቸውን የሚጠይቁ፣ እውነትን ለማግኘት፣ የእምነት ትጥቃቸውን ታጥቀው፣ የእውነትን ጦር በተገኘው ሁኔታ ከመስበቅ ወደ ኋላ የማይሉ፣ በመምሰል ካባ ተጀቡኖ በሚኖር አለም ውስጥ ራሳቸውን ሆነው የሚኖሩ ኢትዮጵያዊ ናቸው። እንደ እውነቱም እማማ ውድነሽ ኢትዮጵያውያን በበለጠ ለያውቋቸው የሚገባ የጠለቀ የመንፈሳዊና የአለም እውቀት ያካበቱ የነጠሩ ምሁር፣ ታላቅ እናት፣ የቤተክርስቲያናችን ዋልታ፣ መካሪ፣ ዘካሪ ናቸው። ስለኢትዮጵያ ያላቸው መቆርቆር፣ ለኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ያላቸው ቀናኢነት፣ ወጣቱ ትውልድ ሊማረው የሚገባ ሲሆን ደከመኝ፣ ታከተኝ ሳይሉ ወገንን ለመርዳት፣ የአለም ፈተናና ዕድሜ ሳያግዳቸው በነፍስ አድን የወገን ጥሪ፣ ለልጆች ተስፋ ለመሆን፣ በቤተ ክርስቲያን ደህንነት ዙሪያ፣ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም መጠንከር አቢይና ለተቀባይ ትውልድ የሚዘከሩ ጉልህ ስራዎችን የሚሰሩ እናት ናቸው። በዚህ ሁኔታ በሚያደርጉት ሁሉ የሚመለከተውና ኣርኣያ የሚሆነው ላጣው ትውልድ ተምሳሌት የሚሆኑ ታላቅ ኢትዮጵያዊ ናቸው። የዛሬው ትውልድ ኢትዮጵያውያን አለመታደላችን ከሚገለጽበት አንዱ መንገድ እንደዚህ ያሉ ሊመክሩንና ሊገስጹን የሚችሉ እናቶችንና አባቶችን እየቀረብን አውቀናቸው ከአንደበታቸው የሚገኘውን ፍሬ ከናፍር አዳምጠን መማር ጥበብን መገብየት አለመቻላችን ነው። ሲነግሩንም አናዳምጣቸውም። ልዑል እግዚአብሔር እናታችንን በጤንነት፣ በዕድሜ በጸጋ ይጠብቅልን!

2ኛ. መምህር ቀሲስ ዘበነ ለማ፦ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ አስተዳዳሪ ናቸው። ጸሀፊው አቶ “ምትኩ” ኢትዮጵያዊና ክርስቲያናዊ ትሕትና በጎደለው አጻጻፍ “ዘበነ” እያሉ በስድና በብልግና አጠራር እንዳቃለሏቸው ሳይሆን መምህር ቀሲስ ዘበነ ለማ በወጣትነት ዕድሜያቸው “አንቱ” መባልን ያተረፉ፣ በወንጌል ገበሬነታቸው ብዙ ሺ ወጣቶችን ወደ ሕያው ጎዳና መልሰው በክርስቶስ የመዳንን ተስፋ ያስጨበጡ፣ ደከመኝ ሰለቸኝ ሳይሉ የህይወትን ቃል የሚዘሩ፣ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም መንፈሳዊ ጉባዔ ውስጥ ካላቸው ሃላፊነት ባሻገር በሁለት የተለያዩ ቦታዎች (በአሌክዛንደሪያ፣ ቨርጅኒያና በሲልቨርስፕሪንግ ሜሪላንድ) የወንጌል ስብከት የሚሰጡባቸው ወንበሮች ዘርግተው ለብዙ ሺ ወጣቶች የመንፈስን ትጥቅ የሚያስታጥቁ፣ በቤሪያ ጉባዔ የወንጌል ትምህርት ለብዙዎች የነፍስ ምግብ እየሰጡ የኮተኮቱ፣ እንዲሁም ዛሬ በክርስቶስ ተከታዮች ላይ ከጨለማው ሰፈር በተለያዩ ሜዲያዎች የተቃጣውን ነፍስን የሚሰቅዝ ከፍተኛ የሆነ የመንፈስ ጦርነት ለመዋጋት በሬዲዮና በኢንተርኔት የወንጌልን ስብከትን እያካሄዱ ለኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ቤተ ክርስቲያንና ለአማኞቿ አለኝታና በመሆን ስማቸውንና አንገታቸውን በአደባባይ አውጠው ሰጠው ራሳቸውን በመንፈሳዊ እስጢፋኖስነት አቅርበው ሰማዕት እየሆኑ ያሉና ከየአቅጣጫው በኦርቶዶክስ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ላይ የሚዘምቱ የሞት ፊታውራሪዎችን የሚፋለሙ ዕንቁ የቤተ ክርስቲያን ልጅ፣ የሚመኩባቸው፣ የሚያኮሩ ኢትዮጵያዊ የመንፈስ ወንድም ናቸው።

መምህር ዘበነ ዛሬ ከምዕራቡ ዓለም በሚመነጩ የእምነት ሰደዶች ከፍተኛ የሆነ ጥቃት እየተሰነዘረባት ያለችዋን የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያንን ለመታደግ የነፍስ ጥሪ ሆኖባቸው ከላይ ታች የሚማስኑና የሚደክሙ፣ እንደ መጥምቁ ዮሐንስ በምድረ በዳ ከሚጮሁ እፍኝ የማይሞሉ ወጣት ወንጌላውያንና ሰባኪያን አንዱ ናቸው። በርግጥም የጎደለውን ከመቁጠርና የግለሰቡን ስብዕና ከማጥቆር፣ የሞላውንና ያደረጉትን ሙከራ ለሚመለከት መምህር ዘበነ ለኦርቶዶክስ አማኞች ባለውለታ ናቸው። አሁንም እኒህን ታላቅ ወጣት መንፈሳዊ መሪ በዕድሜ፣ በጤና ጠብቆ፣ በመክሊታቸው ላይ መክሊትን አብዝቶ፣ ለኛም የበለጠ እንዲመግቡን፣ ለሳቸውም የበለጠውን ሰማያዊ የድል አክሊል እንዲያጎናጽፍልን ሁሉም ነገር የማይሳነውን ቸሩን መድኃኔ ዓለምን እማጸናለሁ፡፡ እኒህ መንፈሳዊ አባት ለቤተ ክርስቲያኑ በሰጡት ላቅ ያለ አገልግሎት ከቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ምዕመናን በተመረጡ ታላላቅ አባቶችና እናቶች ተመርጠው ለላቀ አገልግሎት ዕውቅና ካገኙ አራት ካህናት ውስጥ አንዱ መሆናቸውን መገንዘብ ከፈለጉ ከ2007-2009 በስራ ላይ የነበረው የባአደራ ቦርድ ለአባላቱ ባቀረበው የስራ አፈጻጸም ሪፖርት ላይ ሊመለከቱ ይችላሉ። በነገራችን ላይ መምህር ዘበነ እንደ ሁላችንም የሚሳሳቱ ሰው ናቸው፣ ይኸንንም ስለሚያውቁ በግልም ይሁን በአውደ ምህረት ላይ ለሰራሁት፣ ለበደልሁት “ይቅር በሉኝ” ብለው ይቅርታን የሚጠይቁ፣ ይቅርታን የሚያስተምሩ፣ መክሊታቸውም እንደ መጽሐፉ አባባል “30፣ 60፣ 100” የሚሆን ያማረ ፍሬ የሚይዝላቸው መምህር ናቸው።

3ኛ. ጸሀፊው አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር”፦ “ምትኩ ይመር” በሚል ስም የሚታወቁ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን አባል የሉም። የተጠቀሱት ጉዳዮች ሲፈጸሙና ሲነገሩ በአባልነት ተሳትፈው ጉዳዩን የተከታተሉና የሚያውቁ ግለሰብ አልነበሩምም፣ የሉምም። እንደመሰለኝ ጸሀፊው የብዕር ስም ተጠቅመው እነደጻፉት አስባለሁ። በእውን በዚህ ስም የሌሉ ግን በብዕር ስም ተደብቀው የሚጽፉ ከሆነ ከወዲሁ የጻፉበት አላማና ሊያስተላፉ የሞከሩት መልዕክት ሁሉ ጥያቄ ውስጥ ይገባል። ምክንያቱም መደበቁ የፍርሃትና የሸፍጥ ብሎም የሸንጎኛነት ምልክት ስለሆነ ነው።
የብዕር ስም በሥነ-ጽሁፍ አለም ውስጥ ለጥቅም የሚውልበት የራሱ ምክንያት አለው። የስነ ጽሁፍ አለም እውነትንና የፈጠራን ስራ ስለሚያካትት የብዕር ስም ደራሲያን ቢጠቀሙበት ስራቸው ፈጠራም ስለሚኖርበት ተቀባይነት ያለውና አንዳንዴም ገበያቸውን ለመጨመር ነው። እውነት አርነት ታወጣሃለች የሚል ሀይማኖት ለሚከተልና እውነትን ለሚሻ ጸሀፊ ግን ብርሃኑን ሸሽቶ ከጨለማ አምባ ስሙኝ ማለት ይቸግራል። እንደገባኝ ጸሀፊው “ምትኩ ይመር” የሚል የጨለመ ትንቢትን የተሸከመ ስም ያወጡት ካስተላለፉት መልዕክት አንጻር የመምህር ዘበነ ለማን ከደብረ ገነት መነሳትና በሌላ መተካት አጥብቀው ስለሚመኙ “በሱ ምትክ የሚመጣው ይመርልን” በሚል ከንቱ የልባቸውን ፍላጎት በውስጠ ታዋዊነት ማስደመጣቸው ይመስለኛል። ተሳስቼ ከሆነ ይቅርታ እየጠየቅሁ “ምትኩ ይመር” በሚል ስም የሚታወቁ በእውን ታውቀው የሚኖሩ ግለሰብ ካሉ በክርስቶስ ወንድም አድርጌ የማከብርዎ፣ መሆኑን እንዲያውቁልኝ እፈልጋለሁ። ይኸንን የአጸፋ መልስ እንድሰጥዎ ያስገደደኝ ያስነበቡን የጭንቀትና የጠብ ድግስን የሚነግር ደብዳቤ በ”ሀመር ፈረስ” ተጭኖ የመጣ ከሙታን ምድር የተቀኘ ያልተዋጣለት ቅኔ ሆኖ በጥላቻና በክፍፍል መንፈስ ተሞልቶ ከጥቅሙ ጉዳቱ አመዝኖ ስላየሁትና እኩይነቱ ስለሚያውክና ስለሚያስተክዝ ብሎም ወደ ነፍስ ውስጥ ገብቶ ስለሚመርዝ ለአንባቢያን የጽሁፉን ማህበራዊ እሴትና ጠቀሜታ መመዘን የሚያስችላቸው ተጨማሪ መረጃ ለማቀበል ነው። በዚህ አጋጣሚ የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን በይቅርታ መንገድ ወደ ሕያዋንን ሀገር መጓዝን መርጠን፣ በይቅር ምንተእግዚአብሔር ፍቅርን ተላብሰን የሰላም የወይን ፍሬ እየተመገብን መሆኑን አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” እንዲያውቁትም ለመግለጽ እፈልጋለሁ።

ሐ. መታረም የሚገባቸው አቢይ ስህተቶች
1ኛ. ጸሀፊው በጽሁፋቸው ላይ በደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም የአባላት ስብሰባ ላይ እናታችን እማማ ውድነሽ “….በስብሰባው ላይ ልትገኝም አይገባህም፣ በነጻነት እንወያይበት” ብለዋል የሚል ሀረግ አስቀምጠዋል። በቅድሚያ የተከበሩ እናታችን ይኸንን አላሉም፣፡ “ይኸን አልሽ ተባለ” ቢባሉ እንኳን በጣም ያዝናሉ። አንድም ካህናት በስብሰባችን ሊገኙ አይችሉም የሚል መንፈስም በንግግራቸው ውስጥ ስላልጨመሩ፣ በሁለተኛ ደረጃም ህጉን ጠንቅቀው ስለሚያውቁት ይኸንን አይነት ያለአዋቂ አባባል ሊሉ እንደማይችሉ ስለሚያውቁት ነው። ጸሀፊው በዚህ ግድፈታቸው እናታችንን ያለቦታቸው ከማዋል ባሻገር የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን የአባላት ጉባዔ የሌለውን ስም ሰጥተውታል።እማማ ውድነሽ ቤተ ክርስቲያኗ አሁን የምትተዳደርበትን መተዳደሪያ ደንብ ሲዘጋጅ በጸሀፊነት አገልግለዋል።በዚሁ ለ3ኛ ጊዜ ተሻሽሎ በቀረበው የቤተ ክርስቲያኗ መተዳደሪያ ደንብ ውስጥ አንቀጽ 3፡ሀ፡ክፍል 4፡ “ጠቅላላ ጉባዔ ማለት ይህን ደንብ የሚያከብሩ ካህናቱንና አባላቱን ያጠቃለለ ነው።” ይላል። በዚህ ህግ መሰረት ለአመታት በርካታ ስብሰባዎች ሲካሄዱ የካህናት በጠቅላላ ጉባኤ ሙሉ ተካፋይነታቸው ጥያቄ ውስጥ ገብቶ አያውቅም። የእናታችን አስተያየትም ይህ አልነበረም። አቶ “ምትኩ” ይኸንን ያህል ለደብረ ገነት ዋቢ ጠበቃ ሆነው ሲናገሩና የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን አሰራር እንዲህ በቅርብ የሚያውቁ ከሆነ እንዴት የቤተ ክርስቲያኗን መተዳደሪያ ደንብ በትክክል ማወቅ ተሳናቸው? ካህናት ሳይኖሩበት የተደረገው ስብሰባ መቼ ነው? እናታችንን እንዲህ ካወቋቸው እንዴት በዚህ ስብሰባ የተናገሩትን አቢይና ትክክለኛ መልዕክት ለአንባቢያን ማቅረብ ቸገራቸው? በጣም ይገርማል!

የማናውቀውን ስንጽፍ ለኛም ለሌሎችም ፈተናንና ውዥንብርን የምንፈጥረው ለዚህ ነው። በርግጥም ጸሀፊ የሚጽፈው የሚዋጣለትና ፍሬ የሚይዝ የሚያውቀውን ሲጽፍ ብቻ ነውና ወደፊትም ስለሚያውቁትና በትክክል በማስረጃ በሚቀርብ ነገር ዙሪያ ቢጽፉ ድካምዎ ጣፋጭ ፍሬ እንደሚይዝ እመክራለሁ።

2ኛ. ጸሀፊው አቶ ምትኩ “የቤተ ክርስቲያኒቷ ምእመናን ላይ “ነግ በኔ” የሚል ከፍተኛ ጭንቀትና ሥጋት አሳድሯል።” ብለው ስላሰፈሩት ጉዳይ ይመለከታል። አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የደብረ ገነትን መድኃኔ ዓለምን ምዕመናን ቢያውቋቸው ኖሮ ይኸንን ደግመው አይጽፉትም ነበር። “እሱ ነው የጻፈው” ተብለውም መታወቅም አይፈልጉም። ምናልባትም በብዕር ስም ጽፈው ከሆነ ስለማያውቁን ምዕመናን ያለዎት ግምት ኃፍረትን ስለሚያመጣ የጨለማ ስም መምረጥዎ ጥሩ መደበቂያ ይሆንዎታል። ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን እንደ እማማ ውድነሽ የከበሩና ከፍተኛና የጠለቀ እውቀትንና ጥበብን ያካበቱ ምዕመናን አምልኮተ እግዚአብሔር የሚፈጽሙበት፣ በጠቅላላው ምዕመናኑ ሰላምን ፈላጊ፣ ጠንካራዎች፣ ለጋሶች፣ ያላቸውን ሁሉ ለቤተ ክርስቲያናቸው በመስጠት የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን በሀገረ አሜሪካ አብርታ የምትታወቅበትን መንገድ የሚያመቻቹ ናቸው። የቤተክርስቲያኗ አስተዳደርም በቀለጠፈና በተመሰከረለት ሁኔታ ስራውን የሚያከናውንና በዘረጋው የሰከነነና የተደራጀ አካሄድ የሚደነቅ ሲሆን በጠቅላላው የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ ማህበረሰብ ሰላምን በመሻት ረገድ የሚያደርገው ጥረትና ስኬታማ የተመላበት ጉዞው ለሌሎች በፈተና ላይ ላሉ አብያተ ክርስቲያናት አርኣያ የሚሆን ነው።

የደብረ ገነት ምዕመናን በጥቃቅኑ ጉዳይ ሁሉ የጽሁፉ አቅራቢ እንደጠቀሱት “በከፍተኛ ጭንቀትና ሥጋት” እንቅልፍ የሚያጡ ሳይሆኑ፣ በቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ውስጥ በተዘረጉት የመስተዳድር ዘርፎች ማለትም የአስተዳደር ቦርድ፣ የካህናት ጉባዔና የመንፈሳዊ ጉባዔ አማካኝነት የቤተ ክርስቲያኗን ጉዳዮች በተገቢው መንገድ እልባት እየሰጡ ሰላማቸውን የሚያራምዱ ድንቅና ግሩም ሰዎች ናቸው።

የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን ቤተ ክርስቲያናቸው በግለሰቦች የምትመካ ሳትሆን ክርስቶስ መሰረቷ ሆኖ የጸናች፣ አለም ሳይፈጠር የነበረው፣ አለምን አሳልፎ የሚኖረው ኃያል ፈጣሪ ክቡር ስሙ ተጠርቶ መንፈስ ቅዱስ የሚከብርባት፣ ማንኛውንም የሰው ሰውኛ ፈተና መቋቋም የምትችል መሆኑን ያምናሉ። ብዙ ውጣውረድም አሳልፈዋል። በአሸናፊነትም ተወጠዋል። እንዲህ “መድኃኔ ዓለም ረድኤታችን ነው” ብለው የሚያምኑ ምዕመናንን ነው ጸሀፊው በጭንቀትና በሥጋት የሚወጥሯቸው። በእውነት እንዲህ ማሰብ የምዕመናኑን ጉባዔና እያንዳንዱን አባል (አቶ “ምትኩ” አባል ከሆኑ ራሳቸውንም ጨምሮ) መተረብ ነው። ይህ የምዕመናን ጉባዔ ነው ዛሬም መምህር ዘበነ ለማን የቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ምክትል አስተዳዳሪ እንደሆኑ ተቀብሎ፣ አምኖበት፣ ጉባኤው አለቃ እስኪሰይም ድረስ መንፈሳዊውን ክፍል እንዲመሩ አውቋቸው የሚኖረው። ይህ እኔ ስለጻፍኩት ሳይሆን ላላንቀላፋ (ከሙታን ምድር ላልሆነ) የሚያየው የሚመሰክረው ጉዳይ ነው። የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን ይኸንን ባይፈልጉ ለቤታቸው የሚበጀውን ከማድረግ እጃቸውን የሚይዘው፣ ወይም የሚያስፈራቸው አንዳች ነገር የለም።

3ኛ. ጸሀፊው ስለዘገቧቸው በቤተክርስቲያናችን ስለተፈጠሩት ክስተቶች፦
“በምኒልክ ዘመን የደነቆረ ምኒልክ ይሙት እንዳለ ይኖራል” ሆኖ ነው እንጂ ዛሬ ስለደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም መዘገብ ለሚፈልግ የወገን ተቆርቋሪ የሆነ ማንኛውም ግለሰብ የዛሬ 6 ወር ያለፈ ያረጀ ዜና ከመተረክ ዛሬ በዚህ አስቸጋሪ ጊዜ ቤተ ክርስቲያኗ በመተዳደሪያ ደንቧ እየተመራች እንዴት በሰላም መንገድ እንደምትጓዝና በማኔጅመንትና አስተዳደር አሰራር የዘረጋቸውን ቅልጥፍና የተመላበት አሰራር ምን እንደሚመስል በማጥናት ለሌሎች አብያተ ክርስቲያናት ትምህርት በሚሆንበት ሁኔታ ላይ በተቸና፣ በጻፈ ነበር። ግን ለዚህ አልታደል ብለን ገና ከሙታን ምድር የተላኩ ደብዳቤዎችን እያነበብን ያለን ትውልድ ነን። ለዚህ የአጸፋ ምላሽ ጽሁፍ መነሻውም እንዲሁ ሁከትን ያነገበ የሙታን ምድር ደብዳቤ በኢንተርኔት መበተኑ ነው። አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” በዘገቧቸው ጉዳዮች ዙሪያ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ውስጥ ከ6 ወር በፊት የተፈጠሩትን ጉዳዮች በተመለከተ የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ አስተዳደር፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ የሽምግልና ኮሚቴና፣ የካህናት ጉባዔ በአንድነትና በህብረት መክረውና ዘክረው ለቤተ ክርስቲያኗ የሚበጀውን መፍትሔ ነድፈው፣ በይቅር ምንተእግዜአብሔር ዕርቀሰላም ወርዶ፣ ሁለቱ ግለሰቦች የመንፈስ እናትና የመንፈስ ልጅ ሆነው የሚኖሩበት ጊዜ ነው። (ተሰራ ለተባለው ስህተትና መተላለፍ ሁሉ የጠብ አታሞ የሚያስመታ ነገር፡የለውም። ሁለቱም ታላላቅ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ሰዎች ናቸው። በሰውነታቸው ጥፋት ሰርተው ከሆነ ሁሉንም በሚያጥበው በክርስቶስ ደም ተወግዶ ዛሬ የሰላም ዘንባባ በቤታችን ተንዠርግጓል። ወደፊትም ሰዎች በሰውነታቸው የሚሰሯቸው መተላለፎች ይኖራሉ፣ አሉም፣ ሰው ከስህተት ውጭ ታስቦ አያውቅም። እግዚአብሔር ብቻ ፍጹም ነው። ይኸንን አቶ “ምትኩ” አስረግጠው ሊያውቁት ያስፈልጋል።) እንዲህ ያለ የሰላምና የይቅርታን ጥሩ መንፈስ በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ያለ መሆኑን መዘገብ ለአንባብያን ጆሮ የሚጣፍጥ ዜና ማቀበል ይሆን ነበር። ከዚህ ይልቅ አቶ “ምትኩ” በምትኩ ለግርግርና ለፍጥጫ ጋብዘውናል – “ሳይቃጠል በቅጠል” እያሉ! የሚቃጠል ነገር አላየንም። ክብር ምስጋና ይድረሰውና ቸሩ መድኃኔ ዓለም ሁልጊዜም ወደ ብርሃኑ እየመራ ዛሬ ከደረስንበት አድርሶናል።

መ. የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ችግር ማን እንደሚፈታልን …
ጸሀፊው በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን አሰራር ዙሪያ አንተርሰው በመምህር ዘበነ ሥልጣን ዙሪያ ያሉብንን ችግሮች ለመፍታት የሊቃውንትን – ስም ጠቅሰው ሲጋብዙ ተነበዋል። ዛሬ ሊቃውንት የሚሰባሰቡ የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለምን ችግር ለመፍታት ነው? “ዝሆኑን አስወስዶ በጭራው መጣላት” እንዳይሆን ያስፈራል። ዛሬ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ከላይ እስከታች ፈተና በዝቶባት በምታቃትትበት ወቅት የሊቃውንት መጋበዝ በአንዷ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ችግር ላይ ለመፈላሰፍና ለመጠበብ ነው? ይልቅስ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን በሲኖዶስ ችግር ስትፈተን ሊቃውንት ስለበጎው ነገር ስለቀናው ነገር ቢመካከሩ አይሻልም? በነገራችን ላይ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ያላትን የመስተዳደር ጉዳይ፣ መንፈሳዊም ይሁን አስተዳደራዊ በሚገባ በተዘረጉት የመስተዳድር መዋቅሮች በመጠቀም የምትፈታ ስለሆነች የተጋበዙትን ቀሲስ ምክር አትሻም። ጸሀፊው ለጠቀሷቸው ክስተቶች መፍትሔ ለመፍታት ደግሞ ከሰው ይልቅ የልዑል እግዚአብሔርን አጋዥነት ለምነን ብዙ ወደፊት ገስግሰናል።

በርግጥ ከእከሌ ከእከሌ ሳይል በጠቅላላው በኦርቶዶክስ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ዙሪያ ያለው ችግር እንዲፈታ የሊቃውንትና የጠበብት፣ የካህናትና በሙሉ የቲኦሎጂ ተመራማሪዎች፣ የላቁ አባቶችና እናቶች መምከርና ከፈተናው መውጣት በሚቻልበት ጉዳይ ላይ ህብረትን አንድነትን መሻት መወያየት አልፎ ተርፎም ውጤት ማስመዝገብ ያሻል። ከሁሉም በላይ ግን ለችግሩ ሁሉ መፍትሔ ለሆነው “ሰላማችሁን እንኩ” ለሚል ክርስቶስ ሁላችንም የምንገዛ ከሆነ ከጳጳሳት እስከ ዲያቆናት እስከ ምዕመናን ድረስ በደሙ የዋጃት የአንዲት ቤተ ክርስቲያን ልጆች የሆንን ሁሉ በተቀደሰና በሰከነ፣ ትሕትና በተመላበት መንገድ ወደ አምላካችን እጆቻችንን ዘርግተን፣ እንደ ነነዌ ሰዎች አልቅሰን ጾመን፣ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ወደ ቀደመ ክብሯ የመመለስ ሰማያዊና ምድራዊ አደራ፣ ሃላፊነትና ግዴታ አለብን።

ይህ አንኳር የሆነው የጠቅላላ የቤተ ክርስቲያኗ ችግር ሳይፈታ በጎን ግን እከሌ የእከሌን ችግር ይፍታው፣ እከሌ ጠበብት ይጠየቅ እያሉ አንዱን በአንዱ ላይ ማነሳሳት ግን ለሰላም ከቆመ ዜጋ የሚጠበቅ አይደለም።

ሠ. እውን የመምህር ዘበነ ቅስና ተቀባይነት አለውን?
የመምህር ቀሲስ ዘበነ ለማንም ሆነ የእያንዳንዱን ካህን ብቃት በተመለከተ በኢንተርኔት የሚያፈራርድ ምንም ምክንያት የለም። ሁላችንም የማንዘነጋው ከሁሉም በላይ የአንድን ካህን ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የሚያጸድቅለት ዋና ሿሚና፣ ቅባቱን የሚያፈስ የህያውነት ምንጭ ሊቀ ካህናቱ ጌታችን አምላካችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ነው። በክርስቶስ ስም ያልከበረ ሊቀ ካህናቱ ያልተቀበለው ክህነት ሲነባበር ቢውል የፈሰሰ ውሀ አያቀናም። በርግጥም ፍትሐ ነገስቱና የቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ሥርዓትና ቀኖና በሚፈቅደው መሰረት ካህናት ክህነታቸውን መቀበል፣ ማክበር፣ ተገቢውን የክህነት ብቃት ማሟላት ይኖርባቸዋል። ለኛ ምዕመናን ግን ለዘመናት በካህናት ፊት ቀርበን፣ በእጃቸው ተባርከን፣ የያዙትን የክርስቶስ መስቀል ተሳልመን ስንሄድ የበለጠውና በመንፈስ አይናችን የምናየው “ከበደን” ወይም “አበበ” ወይም ‘ሙሉጌታ” ወዘተ የተባለ ሰው ሰርቲፊኬት ይዞ ቆሞ ሳይሆን የሊቀ ካህናቱን ውክልና ይዞ የዘላለማዊ ሕያውነትን መንፈስ ተላብሶ፣ መስቀል ይዞ፣ በልዑል እግዚአብሔር ስም “ይፍታህ” ብሎ የክርስቶስን የድህነትን የተስፋ ቃል የሚመግበንን የክርስቶስ ወኪል ነው። ለምዕመናን ወደ ቤተክርስቲያን ስንመጣ፣ ለጸሎት፣ ለምስጋና፣ ለንስሀ እጃችንን ስንዘረጋ በልባችን ጽላት የተጻፈው ሰማያዊውን ውል የተፈራረምነው ከአንዱ አምላክ ከመድኃኔ ዓለም እንጂ ከግለሰቦችም አይደለም። እንደ እውነቱም በየደብሩ፣ በየቤተ ክርስቲያኑ በየገዳሙ ሄደን ለነፍሳችን አስቤዛ ስንሸምት ነፍሳችንን ሐሴት የምታደርገው እከሌ የሚባለውን ሰርቲፊኬት ያለውን ለማግኜት ሳይሆን በሁሉም ቦታ ሆኖ ለሚጠብቀን ለሚታደገን ኤልሻዳይ አምላክ ባለን መታመን ተከልለን ነው።

የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ምዕመናን ካህናት እከሌ ሰርቲፊኬት አለው የለውም የሚል አይነት ቋንቋ እየተነጋገሩ ካህናትንም ኑ እንመርምራችሁ፣ እናጣራ እያሉ የጠየቁበት ታሪክ የላቸውም። እምነታቸው በቂ ጋሻ ናትና!! በእምነት ድልድያቸው እየተሸጋገሩ በካህናት ላይ ሙሉ እምነት እያሳደሩ አምላካቸውን እያመለኩ ኖረዋል። በርግጥ ካህናት በቂ የሆነ ለክሀነት የሚያበቃ ስልጠና፣ ትምህርት፣ መባረክ፣ መመረቅ፣ ሊኖራቸው ያስፈልጋል። ካህናት የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ባላት አሰራር ውስጥ አልፈው ክህነታቸውን ማግኘት ይኖርባቸዋል። ይህ የቤተ ክህነት የአሰራር መዋቅር በሚፈቅደው መንገድ የሚሰራ ነው።( በርግጥ ዛሬ በቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ውስጥ ያለው የአመራር መፈረካከስና ያስከተለውን ግርግርና ውዥንብር ከግምት ያስገቧል። ችግራችን እዚያም ላይ አለ፣ ይልቅስ ይኸን ነው መፍታት፣ እንዴት ወደ አንድ መንፈስ እንደምንመጣ!)።

የቤተ ክርስቲያናችን አንዱ ጥንካሬዋና የመጎልበቷ መገለጫም ሊቃውንቶቿ የረቀቁና የመጠቁ መሆናቸውና ኢትዮጵያዊ የሆነ ወጥ አስተሳሰብና የሐይማኖት ፍልስፍናና እይታ ያላቸው ስለሆኑ ነው። በጸሀፊው ጽሁፍ ውስጥ አንድ አውሮፓዊ ስለ ኢትዮጵያውያን ሊቃውንት ባሉት ነጥብ እስማማለሁ። ሊቃውንቶቻችን ያወቁ፣ የነቁ፣ የተጠበቡ ናቸው። ወደፊትም ይኸው አካሄድ በበለጠ ተጨምሮበት፣ መቀጠል አለበት። የእድገት ምልክቱ ባለው ላይ አሻሽሎ መገኘት ነው። ለቤተ ክርስቲያናችን መበልጸግ አሁንም ለሙያው ብቃት የሌላቸውና በአግባቡ የክህነት ሥልጠናና ሹመት የሌላቸው ካህናት ካሉ ልቦና እንዲሰጣቸውና ወደሚችሉት ሙያ እንዲሰማሩ ያስፈልጋል።

የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም ምዕመናን የቀሲስ ዘበነን ሥልጣነ-ክህነት እንደሌሎች ካህናቶቻችንና በሌላም ደብር እንደሚባርኩን ካህናት አውቀነው ተቀብለን፣ አምነንበት ካህኑ የአምላካችንን ስም ጠርተው “አሀዱ አብ…” ብለው ቅዳሴ እየቀደሱ፣ እየባረኩን ፣ ነፍሳችን ኃሴት እያደረገች አለን፣ ሰላምም አለን። በአጋጣሚ ደግሞ ዛሬ (11/15/09) ቀሲስ ዘበነ በዋና ቀዳሺነት አገልግለው፣ ባርከውን፣ አቁርበውን ደስ ብሎን ወደ ቤታችን ተመልሰናል። ታዲያ እውነታው ይኸ ሆኖ ሳለ፣ እኒህ ካህን ፍሬያቸውን እያየን በምንኖርበት በአሁኑ ሰዓት አቶ “ምትኩ” የሚያደርጉት በእምነታችን ውስጥ የጥርጣሬ መርዝና፣ የወሬ “H1N1” የሚበትን የነገር ቋት ከደጃችን ላይ አምጥቶ መጣል፣ ትርጉም የሚያጣ የጨለማ ጩኸት ነው። ቀሲስ መምህር ዘበነ ለማ እንደሌሎች ካህናት በእምነት ካህናችን አድርገን ተቀብለናቸው፣ በደስታ እያገለገሉን ነው። አቶ “ምትኩ’ ራሳቸው መምህር ዘበነ በሚያገለግሉበት ጊዜ እየተሳተፉ ግን ሥልጣነ ክህነታቸው “አልዋጥ” ስላላቸው ከሆነ የሚጽፉትን የጻፉት ራስን መቃረን ይመስለኛልና ከራሳቸው ጋር እንዲታረቁ ያሻል። የመምህር ዘበነን የክህነተ ሥልጣናቸውን እሴት ዝርዝሩና ውስጠ ነገሩ በካህኑ፣ ዕልቅናውን በሰጧቸው አባት፣ በኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ሲኖዶስና በተለይም በሊቀ ካህናቱ በኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ እጅ ያለ ነው። እኛ መንፈሳዊ ዕውቀት የሌለን ግን የማንችለውን ነገር ከምንቧጥጥና የሀገራችንንና የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ጉዳይ በማይገባው አይነት ለአፈርሳታና ለአሉሽ አሉሽ ከምንዳርግ በቦታችን ሆነን የመድኃኔ፡ዓለም ክርስቶስን ጥበቃ እንለምን። የሚያዋጣው እሱ ስለሆነ!

ጠቅላላውን ጸሀፊው ለእኛ እንኳን ባያስቡልን ለራሳቸው የውስጥ ሰላም ለምን እንደማይጨነቁ አጠይቃለሁ። ምን ለማትረፍ ነው ይሆን? እላለሁ። ግዴለም እኛስ የምድር ሰዎች ትቢያ ስለሆንን ብዙ አያሳስብ ይሆናል። በታላቁ ጌታ በክርስቶስ ስም ተሰይሞ የሚቀድስን አንድ ካህን ሰርቲፊኬት አለው ወይም የለውም ብሎ ለማከራከር በድህረ ገጽ አፈርሳታ ከማውጣትስ በፊት ስለጉዳዩ እውነትነትና አግባብ ያለው አካሄድ በሕሊና ማመላላስ ተገቢ አይሆንም ወይ? እውን እንዲህ የአምላካችንን ስም በከንቱ ለአእምሮአዊ አጠይቆና አሉሽ አሉሽ መዳረግ በእሳት መጫወት አይሆንም ወይ? ሆኖም እንኳን ቢሆን ምነው የቤተ ክህነት አዋቂዎች በአርሞሞና በጸሎት ቢመክሩበት? እኛ ምዕመናን ስለሰማያዊው አለም ያለን ግንዛቤ በጣም ውሱን እንደመሆኑና ካህናት በሚመግቡን የመንፈስ “ወተት” የምናድግ ሆነን ሳለን፣ የከበረውን የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ክብርና፣ ህልውና ምነው በአለም ቋንቋ በአደባባይ ባንዘባበትበት? ለእኛ ብዙ ለማናውቀው እምነታችንን ያጠነጠነባቸውን የቤተ ክርስቲያን ምሥጢራት እንዲህ ውል እንደሌለው ልቃቂት ሲጎለጎሉ ስናይ ውስጣችን በውዥንብር እንዲጋይ የታሰበ ይመስላል። ለምን? ማንን ለመጥቀም? አቶ “ምትኩ” እንዲህ ያስነበቡንን ነገር ሲዘክሩ በምን አይነት መልኩ የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያንን ትጠቀማለች ብለው አስበውት ነው? ምነው ነገራችንንና የሕይወት መገለጫችንን ሁሉ “ያላዋቂ ሳሚ” ባናደርገው። በነገራችን ላይ እኒህ ጸሀፊ ለምን እንዲህ ያለ ጽሁፍ ጻፉ ብየ ሳስብ ያገኘሁት በቂ መልስ ባይኖርም፣ ቅዱስ ጴጥሮስ በ1ኛ መልእክቱ ምዕራፍ 5፡(8-9) ላይ፣ “እንግዲህ ዐዋቂዎች ሁኑ፣ ትጉም፣ ጠላታችሁ ጋኔን የሚውጠውን ፈልጎ፣ እንደሚያገሳ አንበሳ ይዞራልና። እርሱንም በእምነት ጸንታችሁ ተቃወሙት፣ እንዲህም ያለ መከራ በዓለም በአሉ ወንድሞቻችሁ ላይ እንደሚፈጸም ዕወቁ” ብሎ የመከረው ትዕይንቱ ከፊቴ ድቅን አለብኝና አዘንኩ። ምናልባት በዓለም በአሉ ወንድሞች ላይ ይፈጸማል የተባለው ፈተና እንዲህ ይሆን ይሆን?፣ የሚውጠውን የሚፈልገውስ የተባለው ጋኔንስ ተሳክቶለት እየዋጠን ይሆን? ብዬም ፈራሁ።

ረ. ምነው የጎደለውን ማጉላት መረጥን?
በጠቅላላው ከዚህ ትርምስምስ ውስጥ ጎልቶ የሚወጣው አንድ ነገር ለምንድነው እንዲህ መራር የሆንነው የሚል ነው፡ ሁላችንም እኮ ስህተት እንሰራለን። ግን የይቅርታ ቋንቋ የት ሄደ? ምነው ጌታችን አምላካችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ “ከባቴ አበሳ” አይደለምን? እውን እንደ ቸርነቱ ስለሚምረን እንጂ የስንታችን ኃጢአት ቀላል ሆኖ በእርሱ ፊት ያቆመናልን? የተበዳደልነውስ ነገር ካለ አጋጣሚውን እየፈለግን በደመኛችን ላይ በጀርባው ጦር ለመውጋት ከምናሰፈስፍ፣ ለምን የበደለንን ሰው መስቀል ተሸክመንለት አንጓዝም? በሮሜ 12፡20-21 ሐዋርያው ጳውሎስ የመከረን በፍቅር ጠላትን የማሸኘነፍን አብነት መቼ እንተረጉመው ይሆን? ክርስትና ትርጉሙስ ከቂም በቀል ነጻነትን ማወጅ አልነበረምን? ታዲያ እንዲህ ቂም በቀልን የሚተፋ ብዕር እንደምን በክርስቶስ ስም ይጽፋል? እውን የኢየሱስን ስም ኃይል ያወቀ እንዲህ ይደፍራል? ለመሆኑ ስንቶቻችን ነን ከኃጢአት ሳንነካካ እንደ በረዶ ነጭ የሆንነው? ስንቶቻችን ነን የመምህር ዘበነን የሰውነት ድክመቶች ናቸው የምንላቸውን በኩራዝ እያፈላለግን እየተነተንን በድረ-ገጽ ትራጂክ ተውኔቶችን ስንጽፍ ሕሊናችን ብሩህ የሚሆንና ሀገራዊ አስተዋጽኦ አደረግን ብለን የምንኮራ? ማነው በማን ላይ የመጀመሪያውን ደንጋይ የሚወረውር? በንጹሐን ደም የታጠቡት እነ ኮሌኔል መንግሥቱና ተባባሪዎቻው በአውሮፓ፣ በአፍሪካ፣ በአሜሪካና በሌሎችም አለማት አለማቸውን እየቀጩና አብረውን እየኖሩ ባሉበት ዘመን ጥሩ የሰሩልንንና ሊያድጉ የሚችሉ ወጣት መሪዎችን የአፍ እላፊያቸውንና ትንንሽ ድክመታቸውን እየቆጠርን በዘመኑ የ”ዲጂታል ድንጋይ” በቁም ስንወግራቸውና በነጋታው ደግሞ ለኢትዮጵያ ትንሳዔ ወደፈጣሪ እሮሮ ስናሰማ የትኛውን ሰምቶ ፈጣሪ አቤት እንደሚለን ለማሰብ ይቸግራል። አንዳንዴ ስራችን አህያውን ትቶ ዳውላውን ይመስላል! የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ በቁሙ የሚቀብሩ ስንቶች የሉምን? ለነገሩ “ባልንጀራው ቢያጠቃው ወደሚስቱ ሮጠ” ይባል የለ። ይሁንና እንዲህ እርስ በእርስ እየተጠላለፍን፣ ወንድማችን የሚወድቅበትን ጉድጓድ እየቆፈርን ቀናችንን ስናጠፋ በረከቱም እንደራቀን፣ እንደተቸገርን ውሉ እንደጠፋብን እንቀጥላለን። …..ኦሮማይ!

ሰ. ከሙታን ምድር ቅኔ ዘረፋ የሕያዋን ሀገር ሀ፣ ሁ.. ነፍስን ያለመልማል።
“ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም” በሚል ርዕስ አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የዘገቡልን ጽሁፍ ከየት ሀገር የተላከ ነው ቢባል “ከሙታን አለም” ይሆናል ብዬ እወራረዳለሁ። ምክንያቱም በሕያዋን አለም መድኃኒታችን ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ በሚገዛው መንግሥት ውስጥ “የአሳደህ በለው” ቋንቋ የለም። በወንጌሉ የሰፈረው ትምህርት ሁሉ ወደቀራንዮ መስቀል፣ ለእኛ ሲል ደሙን ያፈሰሰውን ክርስቶስን ያመለክተናል። እርሱም ዘላለማዊ ሕይወት ለማግኘት ህግጋቱን ፈጽሙ ይላል። የህግጋቱ ሁሉ የበላይ አድርጎ ሁለቶችን ሲመርጥልን፣ አምላክህን ውደድ፣ ጎረቤትህንም ውደድ፣ በእነዚህ በሁለቱ ላይ ህግጋትና ነቢያት ይፈጸማሉ ነበር ያለን። ከሁለቱ የትኛውን ህግ ተጠቅመው ይሆን አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” ጽሁፋቸውን ያስነበቡን? የትኛው ህግ ነው እራሳቸው አንጋፋ ባሉት ቤተ ክርስቲያን ውስጥ ከፍተኛ አድናቆትን አትርፎ የሚሰብክን ሰባኪ መምህር ከዚህ በታች ለናሙና የተጠቀሱትን ጸያፍ ገለጣዎች ተጠቅሞ ለመናገር የሚያደፋፍራቸው?
“ለስጋ ለገበያና የሚለፈልፍና የሚቀባጥር ካድሬ አይደለህም”
“ሸቀጥ ለተጠቃሚዎች ለመሸጥ እንደሚንገበገብ ማስታወቂያ ተናጋሪ የቃላት ወንጭፍ በጆሮአችን አትወርውር፡”
“በኛ በምእመናን በራሳችን ገንዘብና ማዕድ አትስደበን፡”
“የእግዚአብሔርን ቃል ከማንብነብ ባሻገር”
“እንደ ዘበነ ያሉ አጥፊዎች ….” ወዘተ
እያሉ ተራና መረን የሆኑ የስድብ ውርጅብኙን ያወርዱታል። አዎ! የአቶ “ምትኩ” ደብዳቤ እነዚህንና ሌሎችንም ለጆሮ የሚዘገንኑ የመደዴና የስድነት ባሕሪ የተጠናወታቸውን ሐረጓች ያካተቱ ናቸው።

እንዴት ያለ ክርስትና ነው ካህናትን ሲመዝን “በኛ በምዕመናን በራሳችን ገንዘብ…” እያለ የቅዱሳን አባቶችን አገልግሎት በሥጋዊ ሚዛን የሚለካ? ድሮስ ቢሆን የቤተ ክርስቲያን ሕንጻ በምዕመናን እንጂ በማን ይሰራል? ካህኑማ ስራው መቅደስ ውስጥ ነው። እውን የመንፈስ አባቶች ከሚመግቡን ወርቃማ የሕይወት ቃልና ከሚያገለግሉት አገልግሎት የሚበልጥ እኛ የምንሰጣቸው ነገር ይኖራል? ለመሆኑ በ”እኛ ማዕድ አትስደበን” የሚያሰኝ ምኑ ማዕድ ነው? ከአገልግሎት በኋላ የሚቀርበውን ሙት እህል ነው? ወይስ ይኸ መሰረታዊ የስጋ ፍላጎታቸውን የማይሸፍን ብል የሚበላው አፈር የሚሆን “መደጎሚያ ደመወዝ” እያልን የምንሰጣቸውን ገንዘብ ይሆን? ወይንስ ምኑን እየቆጠርን ይሆን “በኛ በምእመናን በራሳችን ገንዘብ..” እያልን የምንገዳደርና የምንለፋቸው? እግዚኦ ነው! ማንኛውም ቤተ ክርስቲያን ሕያው የሆነ፣ የብዙዎች እጅ እንደ አንድ እየሆነ እየተጣመረ እየሰራው፣ ሃላፊዎች ለአዲሶች እያስረከቡት፣ በቀጣይነት ለትውልድ በሚያልፍበት መንገዱ ተዋቅሮ የሚሄድ በክርስቶስ ደም ላይ የሚታነጽ ዘላለማዊ ውቅር እንጂ እንደ ግል ርስት “የእኔ” እያሉ የሚገዳደሩበት አይደለም። እንዲያውም ሰማየዊው መቅደስማ ሰው የሚሰራው አይደለም፣ በቅድምና የነበረ ነው። ለመሆኑ ሰው ለእግዚአብሔር ቤት የሚበቃ ምን በቂ መባ አግብቶ ቢቆጥር ነው “በእኛ ማዕድ” “በእኛ ገንዘብ እያለ” የሚፎክር? እውን “እኔ ባስገባሁት መባ” እያሉ መገዳደር ለእግዚአብሔር ቤት ይሰራልን? ለእግዚአብሔር የሚያስደስተው የተሰበረ ልብ እንጂ ክፋት እንደቡና ከሚያፈላ ልብ የመጣን እምክ እምክ የሚል ዶላር አይደለም። ልባችን ሳይነጻ፣ ወንድሞቻችንን እየበደልንና ካህናትን በስጋዊ እይታ እየለፈፍን የምናቀርበውን መባና “የእኛ ገንዘብ..ማዕድ” እያልን የምንመካበት ገንዘብ በአምላካችን ፊት እንደ ፋንድያ የሚቆጠር ይመስለኛል። በመሰረቱ ቤተ እግዚአብሔር በግል መንፈስ መነካካትም የለበትም፣ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ሲታሰብ ሥጋ መገነዝ አለበት። ነፍስ ብቻ እግዚአብሔርን ታገልግል። ከዚህ ውጭ እንዲያው በሙታን አለም መመላለስ ነው!

ለነገሩ ለቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ዕድገትና ግንባታስ ቢሆን መምህር ዘበነ ለደብረ ገነት ህንጻ መሰራትና በጠቅላላ የቤተ ክርስቲያኑ ሞገስና ክብር መጨመር ያደረጉትን አስተዋጽኦ ምን እንደሆነ አቶ “ምትኩ” ያውቃሉ? ለደብረ ገነት ግንባታ መምህር ዘበነ ያደረጉት ተዋጽኦ ቀላል ነውን? የደብረ ገነት አባል ቢሆኑ የተናገሩትን ለመናገር አይደፍሩም። አዎን ደብረ ገነት ከ30 ዓመት በላይ ሲለፉ፣ ሲማስኑ፣ ሲወድቁ፣ ሲነሱ ከሌላቸው ቆርሰው እየሰጡ ቤቱን ከአሁኑ ደረጃ እንዲደርስ የገነቡ የብዙ ጠንካራ ኢትዮጵያውያን ውጤት ነው። በዚህ ጉዞ ውስጥ አብሮ ደግሞ መምህር ዘበነም የራሳቸውን አመርቂ የሆነ አኩሪ ውጤት አስመዝግበዋል። ሁሉም በመክሊቱ፣ በችሎታው አበርክቶ ነው ደብረ ገነት ዛሬ ከደረሰበት ደረጃ የደረሰው። ለመሆኑ አቶ “ምትኩ” ደብረ ገነትን ካወቁ ስለ”ዘሩባቤል እጆች”ና ስለ”ዳግማዊ ዘሩባቤል” ፕሮጀክቶች ያውቃሉ? ለአብነት ለመጥቀስ ያህል መምህር ዘበነም በበኩላቸው የዘሩባቤል እጆች የተባለውን ከፍተኛ የልማት እንቅስቃሴ መርተው በአንድ ቀን ከግማሽ ሚሊዮን ዶላር በላይ እንዲሰባበስ ከፍተኛ የመንፈሳዊ ቅስቀሳ እንዳበረከቱ የቤተክርስቲያናችንን ታሪክ ከስሩ የሚያውቁ ይመሰክራሉ። በቅርቡም ዳግማዊ ዘሩባቤልን በመንፈሳዊ መሪነት እንዲከወንና አመርቂ የሆነ ገንዘብ እንዲሰበሰብ የበኩላቸውን ላቅ ያለ ድርሻ አበርክተዋል። ታዲያ የሰራን ሰው ማመስገን እኮ ተገቢ ነው (Let us give credit where credit is due!)፣ የሰራን ሰራህ ብሎ “እሰየው” “ጎሽ” ማለት የዕድገት ምልክት ነው። አብሮም በተገቢው መንገድ መገሰጹም አስፈላጊ ነው። ግን ተግሳጽ ክብረ ነክ ሲሆን ወደሞት አፋፍ ይወስዳል። ማህበረሰባችን ጥሩ የሰራን የሚደግፍ፣ የሚያጠፋን በአግባቡ የሚገስጽ ነበር፣ የምህረትን ቋንቋ እየተናገረ። እንደዛሬው ጀግኖችን በቁም የመቅበር፣ በጥይት የመረሸን ባሕል ሳንላበስ ጀግኖች እንደ ኮከብ የሚያበሩባት የኢትዮጵያ ምድር ልጆች ነበርን!

ይኸም እንኳን ቢቀር በቅዱስ መጽሀፉ እኮ “የእግዚአብሔርን ቃል የሰጧችሁን ዋኖቻችሁን አስቡ” የሚል ማስታወሻ ነበረ። እስኪ አቶ “ምትኩ” በጢሞቴዎስ 1፡5(17-18) እንዲሁም፣ መምህራንን ስለማክበር በዕብራውያን 13፡(17-19) የተጠቀሰውንም ያንብቡት። ወንጀል እንኳን የሰራ ግለሰብ በፍርድ ቤት ሲከሰስ በአግባቡና በክብሩ ይጠራል። በሰሞኑ በዚህ የምንኖርበት ሀገር በቴክሳስ ግዛት 13 ሰዎችን በመግደል ከፍተኛ ሀገራዊ ወንጀል የፈጸሙት ሜጀር ሁሴን የተባሉ መኮንን እንኳን ስማቸው በየሜዲያው ሲነሳ ከነሙሉ ማዕረጋቸው እየተጠሩ ነበር። እንዲያው ምን አይነት ስልጣኔ ተላብሰው ይሆን አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የአንድን ቤተ ክርስቲያን ምክትል አስተዳዳሪ፣ ሺዎች በወንጌል ሰባኪነታቸው የተጠቀሙባቸውን የተከበሩ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችንን ካህን “ዘበነ” እያሉ የሚያንጠለጥሉ? ይህ ነው የእውቀት ድንበሩ? ይህ ነው የክርስቲያንነት መገለጫው? ይህ ነው ኦርቶዶክስ እምነታችን የምታስተምረን? ያሳፍራል! ታዲያ እንዲህ የበላንበትን የእምነት ወጪት ስንሰብር እንዴት በረከት ይኖረናል? በእውነት አቶ “ምትኩ” የጻፉበትን አላማ ሊመረምሩት ያሻል።

ዛሬ ሀገራችን ከደረሰችበት የውድቀት ደረጃ የደረስንበት አንደኛውና ዋነኛው ምክንያት ሰውን ያህል በአርኣያ ሥላሴ የተፈጠረ ፍጡር ከእንስሳ አሳንሰን ሸክም ስናከብድበት፣ ስሙን ማጥፋትን፣ ማሳደድን፣አልፎ ተርፎም ግድያን እንደ ልማድ ስለቆጠርነው ነው። አዎን ላለፉት 35 አመታት በአንጻራዊ አመለካከት ሰው እየረከሰ ጤፍና በቆሎ እየተወደደ መጧል። ራሳችንን አረከስነውና ከፈጣሪያችንም ተጣላንና የሞት ከበሮ በየቀዬው እየተመታ፣ የኃዘን ድባብ በሀገራችን ላይ አጥልሎ ይገኛል። በአብዮት ስም ሰውን በሜዳ ላይ የማረድና ደሙን እንደ በግ የማፍሰስን ጭካኔ ተመለከትን። ደነዘዝንና ሰዎች ሰዎችን ማሳደድ ነውር መሆኑን የሚያስተምረንን ዕንቁ ኃይማኖታችንን፣ ትውፊታችንንና ገንቢ ባህላችንን ቀስ በቀስ እየናድነው መጣን። ፓትርያርክ የሚረሸንበትን ዘመን አየነው፣ የሰው ነፍስ ቀልድ ሆነ። በጦርነት መቶ ሺ፣ ሁለት መቶ ሺ..ወዘተ.. ማጣት ተለመደ። በዘርና በጎሳ ፖለቲካም ሆድና ጀርባ ሆንን;፤ ..ፕሮፌሰር መስፍን “የክህደት ቁልቁለት” በሚል መጽሀፋቸው እንዳስጨበጡን መቆሚያችን ሳይታወቅ እንዳንቆም ሆነን ቁልቁል መንከባለሉን ቀጥለናል።… አዎ ዛሬ የሰዎችን ስም በአደባባይ ጭቃ መለወስ፣ ትንሽ እንኳን ብቅ የሚሉትንና ለሀገር ተስፋ የሚሆኑትን እንደ ጫማ ሚስማር ወደ ውስጥ መቀብቀብ ክብራችንን ይጨምርልን ይመስል በአንድ ጊዜ ለሺዎች በሚበተን የዘመኑ ድረ-ገጽ ላይ ችሎት መሰየምና እንካስላንትያ መግጠም ባህል ሆኗል። በምን ሂሳብ? የትኛውን ገነት ለመውረስ? እንዴት ተደርጎ የማሸነፍ ስሌት እየተሰራ ነው? አረ ደሙን በቀራንዩ ባፈሰሰው ስሙ ሁሉንም ኃይላትና ሥልጣናት በሚገዛው በጌታችን በኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ስም ወደአእምሮአችን እንመለስ፣ አረ ልቦና እንግዛ! አረ እብደታችን ይብቃን!

ጸሀፊው አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” ማንን እንደወከሉ ባይነግሩንም በአቃቤ ህግነት ፍርዳቸውን ሲመሰርቱ “እኛ ለዘበነ የምንለው…” ብለው ቁጣቸውንና ዘለፋቸውን ሲያፈሱት ይነበባሉ። “ለመሆኑ እናንተ እነማን ናችሁ?” የሚል ጥያቄም አብሮ ያስነሳል። የሰዎች ስብስብና ለቤተ ክርስቲያን የምትቆረቆሩ ወይስ ይኸ ጠበል ሲረጭ እንደሚወጣው አይነት “መናፍስት”? እነማን ናችሁ? አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” አንድ ግለሰብ ሆነው ቀርበው እንደገና “እኛ” እያሉ ድንገት ሲቀየሩ በመጽሀፉ የተጠቀሰው በአንዱ ግለሰብ ውስጥ 2000 ሆነው የተቀመጡትን የሌጌዮን መናፍስትን ታሪክ ወደ አእምሮ ያመጣል። እናንተ ስንት ናችሁ? ምሳችሁስ (አድርግ አድርግ የሚላችሁ) ምንድን ነው? ምዕመናንን ማራበሽ፣ የሰውን ስብዕና ማቆሸሽ፣ ሌላስ? በአንድ አእምሮ ውስጥ ብዙ ሆነው የሚነጋገሩ ድምጸቶች ሲሰሙ በኢንተርኔት ጦርነት ለማዋጋት ከመነሳት የፃድቃኔን ጸበል ከወዲሁ ማሰቡ ይበጃል። ከጨለማው አደባባይ የሚያስደብቅ ምን ጉዳይ አለ? የሚገርምዎት የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ፡ዓለም ድንቅና ጠንካራ ምዕመናን በጨለማው ውስጥ ሆነው፣ በብዕር ስም ተደብቀው፣ ራሳቸውን እየሰደቡ፣ የሚወዱትን ቤተ ክርስቲያን ጉዳይ አፈርሳታ አያወጡም። የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ፡ዓለም ቤተ ክርስቲያን ጨዋና፣ የከበሩ የዕድሜ፣ የዕውቀትና፣ የልምድ ባለቤት የሆኑ እናቶችና አባቶች የመሉበት ሲሆን፣ ምዕመናኑ ስለቤታቸው ጉዳይ ሁሉ በሰከነና ዲሲፕሊን በተመላበት የዲሞክራሲን አሰራር በጠበቀ መልኩ እየመከሩና እየተወያዩ በብልጽግናና በዕድገት ጎዳና የሚጓዙ ለሌሎች ተምሳሌት ናቸው።

አቶ “ምትኩ” በወኪልነት ከሆነ የሚናገሩት ማንን ወክለው ነው? አባልስ ከሆኑ ለምን ቤተ ክርስቲያኗ በምትከተለው የመተዳደሪያ ደንብ ስርዓት ተጠቅመው የጠቀሷቸው ችግሮች እንዲፈቱ አይጠይቁም? ታዲያ ከጨለማው ውስጥ “እኛ” የሚሉንና በድብቅ ስም ተሸፍነው የሚናገሩ ከሆነ ይህ ከሙታን ምድር፣ ብርሃን ከሌለበት፣ ሕሊና ከጠፋበት አለም የተከሸነ የሙታን ደብዳቤ እንጂ ሕያዋን የጌታችን የአምላካችንን የኢየሱስ ክርስቶስን ክቡር ስም እየጠቀሱ የሚጽፉት ጽሁፍ አይደለም። አዎ! የሙታን ምድር ደብዳቤ ያስታውቃል፡፡ ሞት ሞት ይሸታል! ማሳደድ ቋንቋው ነው! ስድብ ዝልፊያ፣ ሸንጎን ያራምዳል። እንዲህ ያለ ቋንቋ በሕያዋን ምድር፣ በሰላም ፈላጊዎች ሰፈር አይነገርም። በርግጥም የደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም አባላት አቶ “ምትኩ” የተጠቀሙበትን ቋንቋ አይጠቀሙም፣ እንዲህ ያለ የጨለማ አካሄድ መርጠው፣ ቤተ ክርስቲያናቸውን ለአፈርሳታ አያወጡም፣ የቤተ ክርስቲያናችን አባላት ለቤታቸው ተቆርቋሪዎች ናቸው። ማንኛውም አይነት አስቻጋሪም ይሁን ቀላል ጥያቄ ካላቸው በስነ ስርዓት ተደማምጠው የሚግባቡበትና መፍትሔ የሚፈልጉበት የምዕመናን ጉባዔና አስተዳደራዊ መዋቅሮችና መንገዶች አላቸው። አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” የመረጡትን አይነት አክብሮትና ብስለት የጎደለው ስነጽሁፍ የትህትናን አካሄድ የሳተ የስድብ ውርጅብኝ የደብረ ገነት ምዕመናን ይጸየፉታል፣ አይቀበሉትም፣ እኛንም አይወክልም።

የሰላምን ቋንቋ የሚናገር፣ የክርስቶስ ባሪያ የሆነ ሰው የበደለው ጠላቱን እንኳን ሲያገኝ በእርምት የተሻለ ሰው የሚሆንበትን መንገድ ያሳያል። ይቅርታ ቋንቋው ነው። በሀገራችንን አነጋገር “ሰው ለሰው መድኃኒት ነው” እንላለን። እውነት ነው ሰው ለሰው አጋር፣ መድኃኒት፣ አለኝታ፣ ድጋፍ ነው። ሰው እንዲህ ያለ መድኃኒትነት የሚገለጽበት መልካም ስራ የሚሰራ የተቀደሰው የእግዚአብሔር መንፈስ በውስጡ ሲኖር ነው። ሰው በራሱ ምንም አያደርግም። በተቃራኒው ደግሞ ሰው የሰው ገዢና የስቃዩ ምንጭ ሆኖ ሲወከል ስናይ በውስጡ የሚሰራውንም መንፈስ እንድናጠይቅ እንገደዳለን። የዚህን አካሄድ በአጭሩ ለመረዳት ከፈለግን ከአቤልና ቃየል ወዲህ የሰውንና የአለምን ታሪክ ዝም ብሎ ማጤን በቂ ነው። ሰው ለሰው አጥፊው የሆነበት ከበቂ በላይ ማስረጃ አለን። ከኦሽዊዝ (Auschwitz) እስከ ሩዋንዳ፣ ከ911 እስከ መካከለኛው ምሥራቅ፣ ከኢትዮጵያ የጦርነት ታሪኮች እስከ ተለያዩ የሀይማኖትና የእርስ በእርስ ትንንቆች ድረስ ምክንያቶች የሰው በጨለማ አስተሳሰብ ውስጥ መኖር ነው፣ ምክንያቱ ቢባል ሰው የጨለማ ቋንቋን ሲነጋገር የሰውን ክቡርነት ስለሚረሳ! ፕላዩተስ (Plautus) የተባለ ሮማዊ ተናገረው የሚባል “ሰው ለሰው ተኩላ ነው” (Homo Homini lupus or Man is wolf to man”) የሚል ብሂል ከላይ የጠቀስናቸውን የሰው ልጅ የጥፋት ታሪኮች የሚገልጥ መስሎ ይገዝፍብናል። ታዲያ የትኛው ባሕሪያችን በድርጊታቸን ውስጥ እንደሚጎላ ሁልጊዜም ማመዛዘን ይገባል። ለሰው ልጅና ለወንድማችን መድኃኒት ነን ወይስ ተኩላ ነን? ሰውን ሲርበው እናበላዋለን ወይስ ለራሳችን ዝና የሰውን ስብዕና አጉድፈን እንጥላለን? ይኸው ነው የዘመናችን የመኖር ወይም ያለመኖር ሐምሌታዊ ጥያቄ!

አቶ “ምትኩ” ይመር የቤተ ክርስቲያን ተቆርቋሪ፣ ቅዱስ መጽሀፉን አዋቂና ጠቃሽ ሆነው የቀረቡትን ያህል፣ በጻፉት ጽሁፋቸው የሰው ፈጣሪው ልዑል እግዚአብሔር የደነገገውን “ጎረቤትህን እንደራስህ ውደድ” በሚል መርሆ ስር እየተዳደሩ ከሆነ ጽሁፋቸው አክብሮትን የሚገልጸውና፣ ይህን ህግ በስራ ላይ የሚያውለው፣ የት ላይ ነው? ሰው ለሰው አዛኝ መሆኑን የሚመሰክሩልን እንዴት ነው? የት ላይ ነው የይቅርታን ቋንቋን የሚጠቀሙት? ምነው እንዲህ ያለ ቁጣ? ምን ለማትረፍ? ሰዎችን እያሳደዱና እየዘለፉ ሰው ለሰው ተኩላ መሆኑን በሚመሰክር አካሄድ መጓዝ? ለምን አስፈለገ? እውን ስለቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ሲጽፉ ይኸንን መሰረታዊ ህግ ማሰብ አያሻም ነበርን? የሚጽፉትን ማወቅ መሰረታዊ ነው፡፤ የፈላስፋዎች ቁንጮ የሆነው ሶቅራጥስ የሚያውቀውን ሁሉ አውቆ በጣም ከሚደነቅባቸው ብሂሎች በዋናነት የሚጠቀሰው “የማውቀው አለማወቄን ነው” ማለቱ ነው። ምነው በሚያውቁት መጠን መተዳደርና አንደበትን ማሰራት የትህትና መገለጫውና የጥበብ ትሩፋቱ መሆኑን አቶ “ምትኩ” ባወቁት! አባቶቻችን “ዝምታ ወርቅ ነው” የሚል ብሂል ሲያስተላልፉልን ያለምክንያት አልነበረም። አላዋቂ ሲናገር ጥፋትን ስለሚተፋ ነው።

ሸ. ምዕመናንና መምህር ዘበነስ ከዚህ ስንክሳራችን ምን እንማራለን?
በርግጥ ሰው ጥሩ የሚሰራውን ያህል በአካባቢው ላሉ ሰዎች የማይመች ንግግር፣ ስራና ባሕሪ ሊያሳይ ይችላል። ከዚህ ነጻ የሆነ ሰው የለም። መምህር ዘበነም ከዚህ የሰው ተፈጥሮ ነጻ ሊሆኑ አይችሉም። በተለይ በአሁኑ ሰዓት እንዲህ ከተለያየ አቅጣጫ የሚሰነዘሩ ጥቆማዎች ሲኖሩ የግለሰቦችን ክብር የሚነኩ፣ እንደ ትዕቢት ሊቆጠሩ የሚችሉ አካሄዶችን የሚጠቁሙ አስተያየቶችና የመረሩ ስሜቶች ሲመነጩ፡ በተለይም አመኔታ የሚጣልባቸው ሰዎች ለቤተ ክርስቲያንና ለሀገር የሚቆረቆሩ ሰዎች ሲመክሩ “እውን ሕዝብ የሚያስቀይም ነገር እየፈጸምሁ ነውን?” በማለት ራሳቸውን ሊገመግሙና ሊያጠኑ ከስህተታቸውም ሊማሩ ያስፈልጋል። ይኸንንም የሚያደርጉ ሰው ናቸው ብዬ አምናለሁ። ከዚህ በፊት በአውደ ምሕረት ላይ መስቀል ይዘው “ይቅር በሉኝ” ብለው ንስሐ ሲገቡ አይቻለሁ። ስህተት መስራታቸውን ካመኑበት ይቅርታን ይጠይቃሉ፡ ይኸንን አብረን በሰራንባቸው ጊዜያት ሁሉ በሚገባ ታዝቤያለሁ።

ለሁላችንም ልንገነዘበው የሚያስፈልገዉ ነገር ግን ችግር የሚመጣው ከስህተት መማር ሳይቻልና ስህተት ልማድ ሆኖ ጉዳት ማስከተል ሲጀምር ነው። መሪዎችና በሕዝብ ፊት ያሉ ሰዎች ስሕተታቸው ቶሎ ይታያል፣ ከታዬም በኋላ ጎልቶ ይወጣል። ታዲያ በሕዝብ ፊት የሚንቀሳቀስ መሪ ትሕትናን ገንዘቡ አድርጎ፣ ለሚሰራው ስህተት ይቅርታን እየከፈለ፣ ለትሕትና ተምሳሌት እየሆነ መሄድ ይገባዋል። የኢትዮጵያ ሕብረተሰብ መሪዎቹን አክብሯቸው የሚኖር ስህተት ስለማይሰሩ አልነበረም፣ ብዙ ስህተቶችን የሰሩ መሪዎች አሉን። ዛሬም እየተሰሩ እንመለከታለን፡፤ ግን ሕዝቡ የሞላውን እየቆጠረ፣ በጎደለው ይቅር እያለ መሐሪነትና ታጋሽነትን ባሕሪው አድርጎ የኖረ መልካም ሕዝብ ስለሆነ ነው። ታዲያ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ሲጠላም ያንኑ ያህል ነው። ከዚህ ታሪካችን መማር አለብን፡፤ ለዚህ ነው መሐሪነትንና ታጋሽነትን ገንዘባችን ማድረግ የሚገባን። የሚያሳዝነው ግን የኛ ትውልድ ለዚህ ልቡ ደንዳና ሆኗል። በሀሳብ መለያየት ማለት ደም የተቃባ ባላጋራ የመሆን ያህል መጠላላት ሆኗል። ከዚህ አካሄዳችን መለወጥ ይኖርብናል። ዛሬም እንደትላንትናው አባቶቻችን እንደተጠቀሙበት በይቅርታ መንፈስ፣ ተግባብቶ፣ ተከባብሮ ተቻችሎ በፍቅር መኖር ከምንም በላይ ምርጫችን ሊሆን ይገባል። በመስቀሉ ላይ የተሰዋው አንድያ የእግዚአብሔር ልጅ በደሙ የጻፈልን ኑዛዜ ይኸንኑ የፍቅር አብነት ነው። ትላንት ለአሜሪካ ፕሬዚዳንትነት የተወዳደሩት ሴኔተር ክሊንተንና ሴኔተር ኦባማ ምን ያህል የሃሳብ ፍጥጫ ላይ ደርሰው እንደነበረ የምናውቀው ነው። ዛሬ ደግሞ አንዱ የሌላው መከታ ሆነው እየሰሩ ነው። ይህ በአለም ሕይወት እንኳን እንዲህ ከተቻለ በክርስትና ጥሪማ ምን ያህል የዕለት ተግባራችን በሆነ! በእውነት ይህ በሆነበት የአሜሪካ ምድር እየኖርን ከዚህ ቅዱስ አካሄድ ተምረን የማንለወጥና የራሳችንም ሀገራዊ፣ ማህበራዊና፣ ግላዊ ሕይወት ለማስተካከል የማንጥር ከሆነ እግዚአብሔርስ ምን ምሳሌ ሊያቀርብልን ይችላል?

ቀ. ማጠቃለያ
(1ኛ) በአጭሩ ከላይ ምክንያቶችን ጠቅሰን እንዳነበብነው “ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም።” በሚል አቶ “ምትኩ ይመር” ያስነበቡን ጽሁፍ “ቢከፍቱት ተልባ” ነው። ምክንያቱም፡

(ሀ)፣ የተሸከመውን መልዕክት በትክክል ለማስተላለፍ የተጠቀሱት ግለሰቦች ተናገሩት የተባለውን ነገር እንኳን በትክክል ጠቅሶ አያስቀምጥም። ለአብነት ያህል ካህኑን “በስብሰባው ላይ ልትገኝ አትችልም” ብለዋል ብሎ የተጠቀሰው በስብሰባው ላይ ያልተባለ፣ ተናገሩ የተባሉትንም ግለሰብ የሚያሳዝን ነው።

(ለ) ጸሐፊው የአንድን ቤተ ክርስቲያን ጉዳይ በተቆርቋሪነት ተፈርጀው ሲናገሩ የቤተ ክርስቲያኗን መተዳደሪያ ደንብ እንኳን አጥርተው አያውቁትም። ካህናት የጠቅላላ ጉባዔ አባላት መሆናቸውንና እንደማንኛውም አባል በእኩልነት መሳተፍ የሚችሉ መሆናቸውን እንኳን አያውቁም። ይኸንን ቢያውቁ ኖሮ ሲጀመር ከላይ በ(ሀ) የተጠቀሰውን፣ እከሌ ተናገረው ብለው እንኳን ለማለት አይታሰባቸውም ነበር። የስብሰባ ባህላችንን ቢያውቁት ሁልጊዜም በስብሰባችን መካከልም ካህናት መኖራቸውንም ያውቁት ነበርና።

(ሐ) ለሺዎች አንባቢያን የኦርቶዶክስ እምነት ተቆርቋሪነታቸውን ለማስገንዘብ የተነሱ እኒህ ግለሰብ፣ ከአንድ ክርስቲያን የሚጠበቀውን የትሕትና አቀራረብና አጸጻፍ አፋልሰው መድረኩን መዘራጠጫ ሊያደርጉት ሞክረውል። እንዲህ ያለ የስድብ ውርጅብኝ፣ ዘለፋ፣ ያካተተ ጽሁፍ በየትኛውም ቦታ ሞገስ ኖሮት አያውቅም። እስኪ አቶ “ምትኩ” በገላትያ 5፡19- 21 ድረስ የጠቀሳቸውን የስጋ ስራዎችንና በአንጻሩ ደግሞ በተቃራኒው ሐዋርያው ጳውሎስ እዚያው ወረድ ብሎ በቁጥር 5፡ 22- 26 የተጠቀሱትን የመንፈስ ፍሬዎችንም ይመርምሩ። እስኪ የሥጋንና የመንፈስን ፍሬዎች አወዳድረው ከሁለቱ አማራጮች የርስዎ ጽሁፍ በየትኛው እንደሚፈረጅ በእውነት ይፍረዱ። ይኸንን ቢያውቁ ኖሮ እውን ብዕርዎን ያነሱ ኖሯል? ለዚያ ነው ጽሁፉ በቁምነገር ወንፊት ቢነፋ እብቅና እንክርዳድ ብቻ የሚወጣው!

2ኛ) ሌላው በዚህ አጋጣሚ ላሳስበው የምወደውና ሊታወቅ የሚገባው ጉዳይ ለሀገራችን የወደፊት ትንሳዔ፣ ለእድገቷና ለብልጽግናዋ ለኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋሕዶ ቤተ ክርስቲያናችን ደህንነት ስንል ኢትዮጵያውያን ሁሉ በችሎታችን ያለውን አንድ ነገር ማድረግ የትውልድና የዜግነት ግዴታ አለብን። ይኸውም በጽሁፍም ይሁን በአየር ሞገድ በሚተላለፉ ዜናዎች በጆሮአችን የምናዳምጣቸውና የምናስተላልፋቸው መልእክቶች ስለጤናማነታቸውና ስለገንቢነታቸው መመርመር ይገባናል። ክፉ መናፍስት አለምን ያጣበቡበት ዘመን ነው። የሚተላለፉልን መልዕክቶች ወይ የሕይወትን ቃል በውስጣችን የሚያሰርጹ ወይንም የሞትን ጡሩንባ የሚነፉ ናቸው። ከሁለቱ መምረጥ የእኛ ፋንታ ነው። ለመምረጥም ችሎታው አለን – በአምሳሉ መፈጠራችንን አንርሳ – የጥበብን ሀገር መሻት ብቻ ይኖርብናል። በጥበብ ሁሉም ስለሚገለጽና ስለሚታይ! የሰዎችን አብሮ የመኖር፣ ሰላምን፣ ይቅር መባባልን፣ ፍቅርን የሚያራምዱ መልዕክቶች ከሕያዋን ሀገር የመጡ በሕያው አምላክ የተቀደሰ መንፈስ የተባረኩ ጽሁፎችና ድምጸቶች ናቸው። ሰዎችን በማዋረድ ክብርን በመግፈፍፍ፣ ለጠብ በማዘጋጀት፣ በስድብ፣ በዘለፋ መልክ የተቀረጹ ጽሁፎችና የአየር ሞገድ መልዕክቶች ደግሞ ለነፍሳችን ሁከትን የሚያመጡ አብሮ መኖራችንን የሚፈታተኑ ለሀገራችን ትንሳዔ፣ ለቤተክርስቲያናችን ደህንነት ቀቢጸ ተስፋን የሚያራምዱ የሙታን ጩኸቶች ናቸው። እግዚአብሔር በሰጠን የሰውነት ጥበብ ከታገዝን የሙታንን እንጉርጉሮ ከሕያዋን ዝማሬ መለየት ስለማይቸግረን በጎውን፣ መልካሙን፣ ጥሩውን የሚያስጨብጡንን ከመርገምና ከመዝለፍ ተቆጥበን ለሀገራችን የሚበጀውን እናድርግ። ሐዋርያው ጳውሎስ በቅዱስ ቃሉ የመከረንን በጥሞና መመርመሩ ስለወንድሞቻችንና ስለእህቶቻችን ከአንደበታችን የምናፈሰውን እንድንመረምርና በጥፋት ጎዳና እንዳንጓዝ ይረዳናልና ከዚህ ላይ ማስታወሱ ይበጃል። እንዲህ ይላል፦

“የሚሰሙአችሁ ሞገስ ያገኙ ዘንድ ግዳጃችሁ እንዲፈጸም መልካም ነገር እንጂ ከፉ ነገር ሁሉ ከአፋችሁ አይውጣ። በዳናችሁ ጊዜ የታተማችሁበትን የእግዚአብሔር ቅዱስ መንፈስ አታሳዝኑት። መራራነትንና ጥፋትን፣ ስድብን ሁሉ ከክፉ ነገር ሁሉ ጋር ከእናንተ ጋር አርቁ። እርስ በእርሳችሁም ቸሮችና ርህሩሆች ሁኑ፣ እግዚአብሔርም በክርስቶስ ይቅር እንዳላችሁ ይቅር ተባባሉ።”ኤፌሶን 4፡29-32

አዎ! በኢትዮጵያውነታችን እንድንኮራና የሀገራችንን ትንሳኤ እውን እንዲሆንልን፣ በፍቅርና፣ በይቅርታ ቋንቋ እየተናገርን፣ “ለሚሰሙን ሞገስ ያገኙ ዘንድ ግዳጃችንን” እየፈጸምን፣ ለጆሮአችን ከቅዱሳን የከንፈር ፍሬ እየመረጥን እያዳመጥን በጥበብ እንደግ! ኢትዮጵያውያን ሆይ!፡ከሙታን ምድር የሚላኩልንን ደብዳቤዎችና በሬዲዮ ሞገዶች የሚለቀቁብንን የክፋት ንግግሮች ማንበብና ማዳመጥ ይብቃን! ይልቅስ ሁላችንም ተባብረን አንዳችን ለአንዳችን ዋቢና ቋሚ ጠበቃ ሆነን ሐይማኖታችንን እንጠብቅ፣ ሀገራችንን እንታደግ፣!

የሞትን ትዕዛዝ ለመፈጸም በ ሀመር ፈረስ እየጋለቡ ከሚመጡብን መናፍስት ሁሉ የይሁዳ አንበሳ የሆነው ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ እንዲጠብቀን በእርሱ እንመን እንታመን!!

ልዑል እግዚአብሔር በቸርነቱ ይጠብቀን፣ እንደበደላችን ሳይሆን እንደ ቸርነቱ የሚያኖረን አንድ አምላክ ለሁላችንም የፍቅርንና የሰላም የአንድነትን ልቦና ይስጠን፣

የኢትዮጵያችንን በክብር መቆም ያፋጥንልን!!!

ሁሉን ለሚያደርግ፣ ሲመታትን፣ ኃይላትንና ሥልጣናትን ለፈጠረ፣ ነገስታትና ኃይለኞች ሁሉ የሚንበረከኩለት አንዱ ጌታ የልዑል እግዚአብሔር ልጅ ኢየሱስ ክርስቶስ ክብር ምሥጋና ይግባው።

UK gives $316 million to Ethiopia's tribal junta

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The British Government announced the release of a food aid package of US$316 million to help international efforts to relief over 6 million people facing starvation to pro up the Ethiopia’s blood thirsty minority dictatorship.

Last October Ethiopia’s tribal junta appealed for 159,410 tonnes of food, costing $121 million, $8.9 million worth of fortified blended food for malnourished women and children, and for $45 million in non-food needs. The government said number of people in need of urgent assistance during the period October to December 2009 has increased to 6.2 million from 4.9 million at beginning of the year.

Also there are 7.6 million people on support through a food-for-work scheme in rural areas. This raises to 13 million the total of people in need to food assistance.

The UK Minister of State for International Development, Gareth Thomas MP, announced an aid package of four billion Birr this year to support the provision of basic services, social protection and humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia, the official news agency ENA said today.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Thomas said that the fund will be used for expansion of health and education services as well as safe water provision and road construction over the next three years.

The visiting minister also encouraged the Ethiopian authorities to investigate allegations by opposition parties that local officials are using food aid to force opposition members to join the ruling party ahead of national elections.

“I have heard allegations from the international community about distribution of food aid and the (food-for-work) programme and I have already raised those accusations with the deputy prime minister,” Thomas, said.

He further added “These allegations should be investigated thoroughly. The government said if evidence is produced that they would investigate and that was encouraging.”

At the end of October the World Bank approved a total grant of 480 million US dollars for Ethiopia’s safety net program which is helping to uplift millions of poor Ethiopians from extreme poverty.

“The board of directors approved a US$350 million grant and a US$130 million credit to Ethiopia to support an innovative program that is keeping millions of families out of extreme poverty and helping them to achieve food security,” the bank said in a statement.

However the Ethiopian Prime Crime Minster Meles Zinawi in a meeting with the British minister said the international media have exaggerated food shortage occurred in Ethiopia. (Sudan Tribune)

Yemen police detain 191 refugees from Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

ABYAN — Yemeni police have arrested 191 Ethiopians who are suspected of entering the country illegally, the Interior Ministry has reported.

Police in Abyan Province have arrested nearly 150 Ethiopians, including 5 women, who arrived at Ahwar Coast by a smuggling boat.

In Marib Province, Yemeni police said they have arrested 41 Ethiopians who were trying to cross into Saudi Arabia.

All the arrested Ethiopians have been sent to the Immigration and Passports Authority in the Yemen capital Sana’a.

Africa: double trouble

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Scott Morgan

This posting has two concerns that if taken together can be construed as being interdependent. First of All Lets Discuss One of the Most Serious Problems currently occurring in Africa. That is the Rampant Use of Sexual Assaults by Insurgents and Government Forces in Several Countries.

The List of such occurrences is lengthy and troubling.

In Recent Days a UN Fact-finding Mission Sent to Zimbabwe found that Groups such as WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) Members of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) and Other Members of Civil Society have been attacked. The Allegations have been around since 2002 when the Political Crisis Began. So will the perpetrators be brought to justice?

Second is the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We all have Heard the reports regarding the use of Rape as a weapon in the Kivu Provinces. Also MONUC is suspending contacts with One Unit Operating in the East. The United States has announced that it will assist Kinshasa with this large problem. What Happens if the UN Pull out its Peacekeepers are reports over the weekend are suggesting?

Its nice to see that the crises in Zimbabwe and Congo are being noticed. But what about Darfur? Khartoum has announced that It will close some IDP camps early next year. So what happens to those being treated for their attacks? And who will protect them?

Or will Impunity be the rule of the day such as what has occured in Guniea after the Massacre after the Opposition Rally?

PART II

There are Two New Areas to be concerned with:

First Reports indicate that Militants from the Niger Delta have travelled to the Oil Producing Western Region of Ghana. Links have been established and lessons have been learned. Already Land Grabs have occured and there are reports of Arms being moved into the Region. Now the question is will ExxonMobil make the same mistakes that Chevron and Shell made in the Niger Delta?

Second area of concern is the Dar Tama Region of T’Chad. According to reports over the weekend the Chadian Security Forces have launched an Operation near the town of Tchowtchow. At least 6 People have been killed, 10 other Tortured or Castrated and one person remains missing. Now the Chadian Islamic Front has called for Jihad and the Sudanese Government would like a change in the Government of Chad. All we can say is that the devil is in the details in this situation. More to follow on this topic and check out ramadji.com for more information regarding Chad.

The LRA launched an Attack in Southern Sudan which killed 4 Men. However 56 members reportedly surrendered to the Southern Sudan Military. A Report Last week stated that an Estimated 100 Fighters remained in the DRC and the majority of the rest were in either Southern Sudan or the Central African Republic. The US Senate will discuss the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act on November 17th. It is expected to be marked up.

Finally the Rebels in the Ogaden Region in Ethiopia launched an Offensive over the weekend reportedly capturing 7 towns. On Monday the Zenawi Regime Denied this. Resolving this conflict could be a viable part of resolving the Somalia Fiasco.

(Scott Morgan is a regular contributor for EthiopianReview.com and writes extensively about Africa on his own blog, Confused Eagle.)

Ethiopia is sliding deeper into authoritarian controls

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Geoffrey York | The Globe And Mail

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Six months before a crucial election, one of Ethiopia’s small band of opposition MPs has a simple question: How can he campaign for votes when he cannot even hold a public meeting or meet voters freely?

Negaso Gidada, a former president of Ethiopia and now an independent MP, tried to visit his constituents in southern Ethiopia recently. It was an arduous journey.

He was not permitted to hold any meetings in public places. He was kept under surveillance, and his hosts were interrogated. Those who met him were questioned by police. He was given no coverage in the media.

“People are so intimidated that they are afraid even to speak to me on the phone,” he says. “Campaigning is totally impossible. How can it be a fair election?”

Four years ago, foreign election observers concluded that the last Ethiopian election had been rigged. Opposition supporters took to the streets, and an estimated 30,000 people were arrested in a crackdown on dissent. Nearly 200 people were killed when Ethiopia’s police opened fire on the protesters. Dozens of opposition leaders and activists were jailed.

This time, with an election scheduled for May, the ruling party is taking no chances. Ethiopia is sliding deeper into authoritarian controls. Police agents and informers are keeping a close eye on the population, with harsh restrictions imposed on opposition leaders and civil society groups.

The election matters because Ethiopia is strategically important. It is the second most populous country in sub-Saharan African, and a key U.S. ally in the Horn of Africa, where Ethiopian troops have repeatedly intervened in Somalia. And it is one of the biggest recipients of Canadian foreign aid, with $90-million donated by Canada in 2007 alone.

Mr. Negaso, who was president of Ethiopia from 1995 to 2001 but later split from the ruling party of autocratic Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, has managed to hold only a few public meetings as he travelled around the country in the past year.

One meeting in August was broken up by dozens of thugs, including some whom he recognized from the ranks of the ruling party. They shouted, whistled, grabbed the microphone and prevented people from speaking. “We were chased out,” Mr. Negaso said.

In another district, he said, the police told opposition leaders that they needed a special permit if they wanted to use a megaphone.

Even his e-mail messages and phone calls are monitored, he said. But he refuses to be intimidated. “If you are afraid,” he says, “you can’t do anything.”

Another opposition leader, Seye Abraha, is a former close ally of Mr. Meles from the early 1970s when they were both young revolutionaries fighting the military junta known as the Derg, which they finally overthrew in 1991. He became the defence minister but was jailed for six years on corruption allegations after a falling out with Mr. Meles. Now he says he is under constant surveillance, his phones and e-mails monitored, his movements constantly followed by security agents.

“In restaurants, spies sit close to me, and you can’t ask them to leave,” he says. “There is no private life, no private property. And there is nowhere you can complain. You can go to the police, but they will do nothing.”

In a desperate effort to communicate with voters, the opposition sometimes tries to distribute cellphones to its supporters. If it sends campaign letters to voters, the letters must be kept hidden from security agents. “Families are afraid to pass the letters from one to another,” said Bulcha Demeksa, an MP who heads an opposition party.

Earlier this year, eight of Ethiopia’s opposition parties formed a coalition with Mr. Negaso and Mr. Seeye in a bid to defeat the ruling party, but the move has been little help. “If tomorrow I go to my constituency and speak to people under a tree, the police will disrupt it,” Mr. Bulcha said.

The International Crisis Group, an independent think tank based in Brussels, says the Ethiopian government is controlling its population with neighbourhood committees, informers, media controls and high-tech surveillance.

“Thanks to Chinese electronic monitoring-and-control software, the government is able to block most opposition electronic communications when it desires,” the group said in a recent report.

“Few journalists, academics, human-rights advocates and intellectuals dare to publicly criticize the government. While self-censorship existed before the 2005 elections, it has now become widespread.”

Ethiopia's regime tries to cover up a new famine

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

By Francis Elliot | Times Online

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — It wasn’t famine that killed Jamal Ali’s mother. She died in a cholera outbreak that swept through their Ethiopian village when at last the rains came. Twenty-five years later Jamal, now a parent himself, is lining up for handouts in a food distribution centre in Harbu, Amhara, His prematurely aged face, hollow with hunger, creases further when asked about this unwelcome return. “It is a very bitter feeling. No one likes this begging. I am ashamed,” he said.

Up a steep, dusty track from Harbu to Chorisa village the tiny, duncoloured terraced fields bare witness to the third poor harvest in a row. This village is supposed to be an aid showpiece but even here fields of failed cereal crops are being turned over to lean-looking cattle.

A villager strips an ear of the cereal crop tef and cups the inedible seed in her hand for a moment before casting into a relentlessly sky. It’s not that the rains didn’t come, she said — they came just at the wrong time. The field was supposed to yield 500 kilograms of cash crop; now it might just save a few cows from starvation.

The UN warns that 6.2 million Ethiopians will need some sort of food aid in the coming months. The Government also seems highly sensitive to the idea that it needs help. Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister, would rather the world took notice of his position representing Africa in the climate change negotiations next month than his country’s never-ending dependency on food aid.

In Addis Ababa Ethiopian and Western officials voice disapproval of doom-laden reports that fail to acknowledge the progress being made, or the differences in scale between the famine of 1984, which killed a million people, and the situation today.

In private they acknowledge that Mr Meles and his Government are deliberately frustrating and delaying official assessments of the scale of the country’s humanitarian needs and blocking access to some areas where the situation is worst.

The latest UN estimate, to be released this Friday, is due to revise its figure upwards to nine million for those who will need help. Arguing that the definition of those in need is too broad — it includes those who are in a position to sell assets to buy food — the Government wants to change the way the figures are calculated to reduce that figure to 5 million.

Donor countries and the UN fear that counting only the truly desperate is a ploy that risks understating the true scale of the crisis. There are also allegations that food aid is being withheld from the regime’s opponents.

Criticism of Ethiopia has been muted by its success in improving local healthcare and expanding education, alongside its strategic importance in the fight against Islamic extremism in the Horn of Africa. Britain, which gives the country £200 million a year, and is Ethiopia’s second-largest bilateral donor, is stepping up the pressure on what was once regarded as its showpiece partner in Africa, amid growing concerns about what could happen in the coming months.

“The Government has just got to embrace the crisis and not be frightened of the statistics,” Gareth Thomas, a minister with the Department for International Development, said yesterday. “It is different from 1984 but there’s still huge need. There’s got to be a recognition that if we are going to stop children from being malnourished and keep people alive we have got to have accurate information and we’ve got to have it in a timely manner.”

Speaking before a meeting with Mr Meles, Mr Thomas said that he also intended to raise credible reports that aid was being withheld from opponents, but insisted he was satisfied that British aid was getting through. His main message, however, was that the Government had not yet grasped the urgent need for reform. The population, about 35 million in 1984, is now about 80 million and will have doubled again by 2050. At the same time, according to some estimates, most Ethiopian agriculture is still less productive than that of medieval England.

Mr Meles blames climate change for the erratic rainfall that has led to three successive poor harvests. The state’s ownership of land and its failure to provide seeds and fertiliser is at least as a big a factor, according to observers.

Similarly, the Government has overseen the building of an impressive road network — but in the absence of a thriving private sector and a more liberalised economy the traffic, other than convoys of aid vehicles, is light.

Two million Ethiopians a year are moving into cities as pressure on the land and education increase, a movement that threatens to overwhelm the state’s efforts to provide housing and jobs.

More than half of Britain’s annual aid budget of £117 million goes on helping to fund work schemes that keep 7.5 million Ethiopians out of the food distribution centres. With less than 5 per cent of the population becoming fully self-reliant in most areas each year, the dependency on foreign aid threatens to increase not diminish.

Mix of traditional food and entertainment at DC's Little Ethiopia

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

By Tom Sietsema

WASHINGTON DC — Ethiopian Yellow Pages of the Washington Metro Area estimates there are more than 45 dining rooms serving doro wot and injera. So how does Yehune Belay, who just added the title of restaurateur to his résumé, hope to distinguish his place in Shaw from the pack?

By re-creating the atmosphere of an Ethiopian home, he says.

Little Ethiopia Restaurant (1924 Ninth St. NW; 202-319-1924) is underground, beneath the office of those Yellow Pages where Belay works with his wife, Tutu. The low-ceilinged space is unlike its competitors. Here, patrons congregate on rustic wooden stools beneath what look like umbrellas made of twigs, each cluster of seats and tables separated by a see-through shade. A small gallery’s worth of imported arts and crafts practically warrants a guide.

Tutu Belay’s sister, Nunu Tesfaye, presides over the kitchen, where she dishes out all the traditional Ethiopian fare, from the mild, beef-filled turnovers known as sambusas to cubed lamb zipped up with berbere, the fiery spice blend. The platter I’m most drawn to is the vegetarian sampler: dollops of grassy collard greens, jalapeno-ignited tomato salad, sauteed cabbage, spicy beets and faintly sweet lentil purees in three different shades. Like every main course, this one is served on (and with) injera, the slightly sour bread that doubles as a floppy utensil for the rest of the food.

Throughout the day, Belay makes his way down to greet customers. Nice touch. He’s also responsible for the late-night weekend entertainment at Little Ethiopia. “I’ve been singing since I was 9,” says the man with half a dozen CDs to his credit. (Washington Post)

Why is the U.S. giving special treatment to Ethiopia's dictatorship?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

By Obang Metho

Addressed to Senator John Kerry, Chairman, The Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate.

As an esteemed member of the Senate, as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as an advocate for human rights and democracy, we in the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) and on behalf of many like-minded Ethiopians, want to call into question the current United States partnership with one of the most repressive dictators and violators of human rights in Africa—Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.

The “free pass” he has enjoyed because of this partnership with the US may no longer be justifiable in light of the increasing repression, deteriorating conditions and worsening tensions in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Looming starvation, the closure of all political space, the warnings by the Washington DC based International Crisis Group of possible ethnic violence, continuing human rights crimes and the increasing radicalization of some in response to these crimes are all warning signs; any one of them a serious risk factor, but together, all the more worrisome.

As many from the Horn perceive that it is US support that is prolonging this regime, we urge you in significant positions of leadership to make swift adjustments to failing past policies that favor the dictator and increasingly alienate the people of the Horn from donor countries like the US. It may be the only way to salvage a deteriorating relationship and to avert the increasing likelihood of large-scale consequences. It is also highly imperative that the US policy makers seek consultation and assistance from those Ethiopians and others from the Horn who are most invested in peace, stability and prosperity in the Horn—not government promulgators of propaganda. In light of this, we are formally requesting a Senate hearing on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa focused on seeking solutions.

I am writing to you as a representative of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia. Before informing you of a recent outrageous example of the lack of justice in Ethiopia, permit me to provide some background on the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia. The SMNE is not an opposition group, but a non-political, grassroots social justice movement of Ethiopians who have come together in coalition across ethnic, regional, political, religious and cultural lines to bring about a more open, liberal and prosperous Ethiopia where “humanity comes before ethnicity” and where freedom, justice and the respect for human rights is available for all for “no one will be free until all are free.”

We represent Ethiopians who are not asking the US to do the work for us, but are requesting that the US and other outsiders who are supporting this totalitarian regime to stop creating obstacles to our freedom. US support is now shoring up a “strong man” instead of “strong institutions, “ in opposition to what President Obama stated would be our position in his speech in Ghana. In fact, evidence of this “strong man’s” complicity in the perpetration of widespread human rights crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, has led to Prime Minister Meles’ referral to the International Criminal Court.

As Ethiopians face a food crisis, potentially affecting more than the food crisis in 1984-1985, Meles is blaming the US for climate change rather than taking any responsibility for his repressive agricultural policies that deny land-ownership as well as access to such supports as fertilizer, seed, agricultural experts and other resources unless one is a party member. Will the US provide food aid without looking at the root problem or the politically and ethnically based distribution of our aid?
You and others may not be fully aware of the evil underside to this illiberal government due to the repression or distortion of information coming in and out of the country; however, even the US media has been strangely silent, partially due to countless restrictions to journalists and other media. Regardless, Ethiopian Americans maintain strong informational pipelines to the country, often gaining first hand information from relatives and friends who are sometimes victims and witnesses.

In closing, allow us to recount an incident of “Orwellian Ethiopian justice” from this past week. Earlier this year, on April 25th, over 46 Ethiopians from inside the country were arrested, charged and detained for attempting to overthrow the government. Those arrested in relationship to the suspected coup plot are said to be working in partnership with the Ginbot-7 Movement for Justice and Democracy, a political opposition group led by Dr. Berhana Nega and Mr. Andargachew Tsige, both currently living in exile outside of the country. Among those arrested include family members of Ginbot-7 leaders, including the 80-year-old father of Andargachew Tsige, (known to be diabetic and to be recovering from recent heart bypass surgery) and at least one member from Nega’s family, who were reportedly taken to Maekelawi Prison.

Another, Mr. Asaminew Tsige Tebeje, had been a former Ethiopian Air force general in the Meles-controlled military whose loyalties became “suspect,” possibly a casualty of the “ethnically-based cleansing” of non-Tigrayans from the military that occurred earlier in the year. Mr. Asaminew was first demoted then fired from his job prior to his arrest. Currently, there are said to be 61 leadership positions within the EPRDF military of which 57 are held by Tigrayans, who only make up only 6% of the total population. The second general Mr. Mekonnen Worku had been retired from the military.

After many months, these two prisoners along with two other were brought into court on Friday, November 13, 2009, for a hearing. Family members, many other Ethiopians as well as some reporters were present for that hearing and witnessed the opening statement by the prosecution where a postponement was requested, citing the need to compile further evidence. Mr. Asaminew, fearing that he would again being locked up for an indefinite period of time, bluntly spoke out telling all present that he had been tortured by security agents in the prison. The other general Mr. Mekonnen, then also spoke out, alleging the same.

Immediately, the judge stopped them as the government prosecutors said it would taint the image of the Ethiopian justice system due to the presence of foreign journalists in the courtroom.; postponing it until the next hearing. At this, the former general Mr. Asaminew, broke into tears, triggering an emotional reaction by the audience, the press and most everyone present. Before it could be controlled, many were loudly sobbing and the judge ordered the spectators to be removed from the courtroom.

While others were leaving, the judge then allowed the two men to proceed. Mr. Asaminew reported having lost his left eye, his hearing in one ear and that he had sustained unknown internal injuries from severe blows to his body. He testified that an ankle bracelet had been ripped off, tearing away flesh. He said he had been repeatedly insulted and called names because of his ethnicity (Amhara). He wanted the court to do four things: 1) provide medical treatment, 2) allow visitors from the International Red Cross and Amnesty International, 3) end his solitary confinement and 4) arrest those who tortured him; all of whom he said he could name. He denied the basis for all charges saying he had done nothing wrong.

The other retired general showed the court physical evidence of a broken arm, injury to his leg and other injuries. As a result, the judge said to put their testimony in writing and to come back Monday of the following week.

This event, as reported by eyewitnesses and Voice of America, provides an example of the many incidents of torture and injustice being carried out by a government who is supposed to be our ally.
Another case involves four Anuak men, Mr. Obang Oluch Achew, Mr. Omot Okomu, Mr. Okwiia Akway Omot and Mr. Obang Ogom, who fled the Gambella region of Ethiopia in 2003 after their family members and over 400 others were killed in the government perpetrated massacre of the Anuak. No one has yet been brought to justice for these crimes, which forms part of the basis for the referral of Meles Zenawi to the ICC for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity.

Two months ago, these Anuak were trying to return to Ethiopia from Sudan and were arrested and accused of being insurgents. While being detained, they were tortured in the Gambella region and then disappeared. Relatives were told they had been taken to a military prison in Addis Ababa, but no one seems to know their location. There are many other cases like this in the regions of Oromiya, Afar, the Ogaden, Amhara and throughout the entire country where the situation is similar.

The one and only viable human rights institution in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), who used to document this, has been blocked in its efforts by the same government which has also passed a bill making human rights work—as well as advocacy for children’s rights, women’s rights, rights for the disabled and ethnic or religious conflict resolution—punishable by up to 15 years for any organizations receiving more than 10% of its funding from foreign sources. Please see the link of the law in its entirety (Click here: Anti-terrorism Law). This ill-defined law could be tailored to justify what are actually politically-motivated charges and the innocent could be targeted with trumped up charges while government-supported perpetrators went free.

An Ethiopian judge, whose name is being withheld, sums up the lack of justice in the following testimony: “You ask if there is justice in Ethiopia and my answer to you is, none. Even in the wild jungle there is more justice than what we have here! The bylaws and articles we have in the Constitution are meaningless. We have been ordered like dogs, to go do one thing, and then we are ordered to do the opposite—all the time. If I speak up or refuse to do what I am instructed, I will end up behind bars like those imprisoned across the country. The federal system interferes all the way, even to the district level…Justice only applies to those who have a political position… what I am saying may cost me my own life, but it may enrich other people’s lives who will not be haunted by their own thoughts as I am… I will leave it to God! My only hope is that the end is not far away and that justice will come to Ethiopia!”

Is this the kind of government you and other supporters of democracy in the Senate, House and
administration intended to support with US tax dollars? Such a government cannot be a trustworthy partner and will play us against other donors and the people. In other countries of similar nature we have suspended aid, revoked visas, barred entrance to human rights perpetrators, called elections illegitimate, given sanctions, exerted diplomatic pressure and in a few cases, intervened militarily. Why are Meles and his corrupt regime getting special treatment?

No longer can we simply excuse our position by blaming Ethiopians for not having “a viable alternative” when Meles makes sure there is none or contrives look-alike ones to his favor, which is not a problem if all others are able to openly compete for offices. However, this is not the case; instead, he is arresting any of those who present as a threat, like the leader of the Unity for Justice and Democracy (UDJ) party, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa, a former judge and the first woman ever to lead a major Ethiopian political party.

Ms. Mideksa, was elected in 2005 national election. Mr. Meles Zenawi is an individual responsible for the rigging of the Ethiopian National election where he declared himself the winner. He was complicit in the repression and shooting of 200 unarmed election protestors and in the arrest and 20-month imprisonment of Ms. Mideksa and other opposition leaders.

In October 2, 2007, Ms. Mideksa, testified in the US Congress, after she was released. In late 2008, she was again arrested and given a life sentence for refusing to recant a statement made in Sweden regarding the terms of her pardon, leaving her young child in the care of her mother.

In summary, we are hoping you will take leadership in setting up a Senate hearing to re-configure the US policy towards Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa now that the true nature of this regime has been revealed.

This request was informally made just two weeks ago, when I and some of my colleagues were in your office in Washington DC and had a very good conversation with your Assistant at Foreign Relations on Africa. We also made the same request to Donald Payne, the Chair of the House Sub-committee on Africa, who is also considering this request.

We would also respectfully ask that you send a letter to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, requesting that she and the State Department clarify their position on how they are responding to the worsening conditions in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa. We hope to be part of that solution.

(Obang Metho, executive director of Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, can be reached at obang@solidaritymovement.org)

Hailu Shawel dines with Woyannes after surrender

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (Addis Fortune) — For a change, and after several months of political doldrums, the landscape has begun to churn. Not surprisingly, the recent deal signed at the Sheraton Addis in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa between leaders of the four political parties, including the incumbent’s, has struck up the debate at the various gossip corridors across the city.

However, none of the political leaders is facing the sizzle of frying pan more so than Hailu Shawel. It is fast becoming a trying task just to find defenders of his, these days.

It seems apparent that the coming national election will hardly be harvest time for Hailu and party. The situation makes it painfully obvious that he will need to employ an abundance of damage control exercises in the few months ahead – all the while paying a huge price, much more so than any of the parties in the deal.

Negotiators from his party, the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), did not surrender easily after what was an exhaustive, two-month long inter-party dialogue.

Negotiators from the ruling party [in large part] and those from the other opposition parties [to a certain extent] have demonstrated unusual patience in keeping AEUP’s negotiators at the roundtable held inside Parliament. The latter were proven to be extremely wooly, with all the list of questions they would bring the following day, purportedly from Hailu.

The chief negotiator for AEUP was Yacob Leekie, brother of Senay Leekie, a Soviet trained Marxist. He was killed in the mid-1970s inside Menelik’s Palace, during a shoot-out between those who had supported Mengistu Hailemariam and others stood against him. Senay was a prominent personality in the early years of bloody political struggle within the junior military officers and the leftist politicians around them.

Yacob is also known to have been raised with the family of Kassa WoldeMariam, president of the Addis Abeba University, during the Emperor’s rule. His daughter, Yeshi, also a great granddaughter of the Emperor’s, is married to Hailu Shawel’s son, Shawel Hailu.

Nevertheless, none of the four negotiators of AEUP were as forceful and close to Hailu as Mamushet Amare. Once a captain in the Derg army, he was calling the shots during the negotiations.

Revealing the identities of those on the negotiating front on behalf of the ruling EPRDF is proved especially relevant: Bereket Simon, Hailemariam Desalegn, Sekuture Getachew and Muktar Kedir.

The Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) had been represented by its president, Lidetu Ayalew, as well as Mushie Semu and Mesfin.

There was a huge uncertainty, down to the very last day, as to whether or not Hailu’s party would actually sign the deal. They had threatened to drop out of the deal on several occasions. Reason being that they had wanted to talk about broader issues, they had felt would affect the coming election, and not simply the code of conduct. It came as a surprise to all when Yacob Leekie came around to agreeing to the signing at the end.

The final point of concern among negotiators was the supposed unpredictability of Hailu fearing he would go for a microphone in the presence of Meles Zenawi. Negotiators from the ruling party had gambled, too. They were not to be disappointed as they watched Hailu say what has earned him onslaught from his supporters and appreciation from his opponents across the aisle.

Praised, he was, at a dinner party which the ruling party, Woyanne, hosted. The party was hosted inside the Addis Top View Hotel, near Ras Amba Hotel at Arat Kilo. It was held to celebrate the deal on the electoral code of conduct the very night it was signed. Several political leaders from all the four parties were seated mingled at tables which looked designed to let them feel one another out.

Somalia is outpacing Ethiopia in mobile phone access

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Economist reports how “once the toys of rich yuppies, mobile phones have evolved in a few short years to become tools of economic empowerment for the world’s poorest people. These phones compensate for inadequate infrastructure, such as bad roads and slow postal services, allowing information to move more freely, making markets more efficient and unleashing entrepreneurship.”

This focuses on three trends: the spread of mobile phones in developing countries and the accompanying rise in home-grown mobile operators that exceed the heretofore Western incumbent firms; the rise of China’s two leading telecoms-equipment makers from low-cost, low-quality operators to high-quality and innovative powers; and development of a raft of new phone-based services in the developing world, which go far beyond text messages and phone calls, with new data services including agricultural advice, health care and financial transfers. And whereas government-run phone monopolies do remain in places like Ethiopia, they are being dwarfed in impact and innovation by the real competition one finds in spots like war-ravaged Somalia, a poor nation with no real government where a dozen mobile operators seek market share and explain a far greater “mobile teledensity” than Ethiopia.

As telling are the many ways in which it’s now apparent that the spread of phones promotes economic development, especially money transfers or mobile banking, which derives from the custom in the developing world of using prepaid calling credit as an informal currency far more efficient than physically sending it from one place to another.

Economist: In the grand scheme of telecoms history, mobile phones have made a bigger difference to the lives of more people, more quickly, than any previous technology. They have spread the fastest and proved the easiest and cheapest to develop. It is now clear that the long process of connecting everyone on Earth to a global telecommunications network, which began with the invention of the telegraph in 1791, is on the verge of being completed. Mobile phones will have done more than anything else to advance the democratization of telecoms, and all the advantages that come with it.

Ethiopians in Israel resist interracial marriage – survey

Monday, November 16th, 2009

(Haaretz.com) — Intermarriage between between Jews from different ethnic backgrounds has increased steadily over the past several decades, and people say that this is solving the socioeconomic gaps that existed between Ashkenazim and Sephardim in Israeli society.

However, Ethiopian Israelis seem to be exempt from the trend, so far. According to a Central Bureau of Statistics report published on, about 90 percent of Ethiopians – 93 percent of men and 85 percent of women – marry within their community.

The statistical portrait of Ethiopian Israelis was published to coincide with the community’s Sigd holiday, which is celebrated every year on the 29th of Heshvan on the Hebrew calendar, which is today.

At the end of 2008, there were 119,300 people of Ethiopian descent in Israel, including nearly 81,000 people born in Ethiopia and about 38,500 native Israelis (about 32 percent of the community) who had at least one parent who was born in Ethiopia.

The urban areas with the largest concentrations of Ethiopians include Netanya, where one in 10 residents is Ethiopian; and Kiryat Malakhi, where one in three residents, or 3,400 people, are Ethiopian.

The election of Barack Obama, whose father was black and whose mother was white, highlighted the subject of interracial marriage. Nonetheless, the rate of racial intermarriage in the United States is lower than it is in Israel.

According to a study published in the U.S. two years ago, 6 percent of black people who married, married a white person, as opposed to 10 percent in Israel.

The Center for Academic Studies found last year that most Israeli respondents were not comfortable with the prospect of one of their own children marrying an Ethiopian.

Fifty-seven percent said it would be entirely unacceptable for their daughters to marry an Ethiopian, and 39 percent said so regarding their sons.

Avi Masfin, the deputy director of the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews, says the barriers to intermarriage come from both sides.

“I think from the standpoint of Israeli society generally and from the standpoint of those of Ethiopian origin, it will take time until there is readiness for intermarriage. Portions of the Ethiopian community itself are conservative and have concerns.”

Masfin said the figures also reflect the community’s relative isolation.

“People who have left that isolation, through the army, the university [or] mixed clubs, can see that even if there are differences in culture, they can be bridged,” he said.

Masfin, who immigrated from Ethiopia in 1986, is married to a woman who is not Ethiopian, whom he met while the two were students at Bar-Ilan University.

Interview with EPPF Fighter (Part II)

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Interview with EPPF Fighter (Part II) and more news. Watch below:

Angola amb. to Ethiopia misses the point on "illegal" immigration

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Editor’s Note: The Angola Ambassador to Ethiopia is placing the blame on helpless African refugees who are migrating from one country to another to seek better life, since vampire regimes are making Africa unlivable. Where there is good governance there is no illegal immigration. What is needed is not more border security, but less corruption on the part of African governments — including the Ambassador’s own government of Angola, more free trade, more economic development, more education, and more freedom for the people’s of Africa.

Luanda – The Angolan ambassador to Ethiopia and permanent representative to the African Union (AU), Manuel Domingos Augusto, Sunday in Addis Ababa, urged a greater attention to the phenomenon of illegal immigration in Africa as it poses threat to peace and stability.

Manuel Augusto was speaking at the activities that marked the 34th anniversary of National
Independence, celebrated on 11 November.

“The experience teaches us that the stability of any nation demands the exercise of sovereignty
and the authority of the State within the national territory and effective supervision of its borders”, he stressed.

The Angolan diplomat acknowledges the hospitality and solidarity as pillars of the African Union, apart from calling for a careful reflection on the illegal immigration which is now representing a true threat to peace, stability, order and cooperation among States.

According to Manuel Augusto, the creation of a regime of migration to regulate the entry and
exit of foreign citizens is a key condition for the defence of the State sovereignty.

He added that such measure should be taken in accordance with the real capacity of each
state of receiving and keeping the residence of foreigners, within the premises of African
hospitality and dignity, without undermining the internal stability and specially the national
interests.

The Angolan ambassador advised for an interstate cooperation aiming at discouraging and
eliminating illegal immigration, thus promoting confidence in the good neighbourhood relations
among States.

Manuel Augusto recalled that the Angolan government had taken steps to respond to the
challenges of illegal immigration based on national provisions and international practice.

To commemorate the 34th anniversary of the National Independence was held a photo
exhibition that highlighted the participation of the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos
Santos, at G-20 Summit, in Aquilla, Italy and the visit to Angola of the Pope Benedict XVI.

The visits to Angola of Russian president, Dimitri Medved, South African leader, Jacob Zuma,
United States’ State secretary, Hillary Clinton, were also portrayed at the event.

U.S. investigates claims its aid being used for politics in Ethiopia

Monday, November 16th, 2009

an Kelly, U.S. Department of States Spokesman

QUESTION: I have a couple of Ethiopia questions.

MR. KELLY: Ethiopia questions.

QUESTION: Yeah. Has the State Department or USAID investigated claims by the country’s opposition, including a former president and defense minister that some of the $850 million in food and anti-poverty aid from the U.S. is being distributed on the basis of political favoritism by the current prime minister’s party? And then, also when the Secretary met with the Ethiopian foreign minister last week, did she bring up the issue of the jailed opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa, and did she express any concerns about the fairness of the upcoming Ethiopian elections in May?

MR. KELLY: Yeah. Well, regarding the assistance, we’re committed to assisting people in need all over the world. And we provide humanitarian assistance that is politically neutral, socially impartial, and based on people’s needs, rather than on political factors. And we’re, of course, aware of these reports that you raise, Indira, about the politicization of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia. Regarding that, let me say that we have monitoring systems in place to prevent or expose such activities, which we are continually reviewing and working to improve. Personnel from U.S. Embassy in Addis are increasing their field visits to observe how the assistance is distributed, and they’re aware of these allegations, so they’re conducting these monitoring activities specifically with these allegations in mind. We are committed to the people of Ethiopia and ensuring that our humanitarian assistance does reach those most in need.

In fiscal year 2008, the U.S. provided $934 million in overall assistance to Ethiopia, of which $479 million was humanitarian assistance. The fiscal year 2009 numbers will be available at the end of the calendar year. This – the meeting last week, I was not in that meeting, but I understand that a full range of issues were discussed. And in general, human rights are at the center of our bilateral dialogues with Ethiopia.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KELLY: Thanks.

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC, November 12, 2009
Click here for the Full transcript.

ONLF killed 626 Woyanne troops in lastest fighting

Monday, November 16th, 2009

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an Ethiopian rebel group operating in eastern Ethiopia, said today that its fighters have killed 626 Woyanne regime troops in latest fighting since Nov. 10, 2009. ONLF sent the following military communique to Ethiopian Review:

The Ogaden National Liberation Front’s latest multi-front offensive, which began on 10 November 2009, has resulted in a total of 626 Woyanne regime troops killed thus far. Among the killed are twelve field officers.

The ONLF has captured sensitive intelligence gathering material including communications monitoring equipment.

ONLF casualties were minimal given that our forces had the element of surprise on all fronts.

A significant amount of military hardware has been captured or destroyed including small
arms, ammunition, and communications equipment. Military grade maps have also been captured. A total of 4 large military transport vehicles have been destroyed.

ONLF field commanders are encouraging scattered regime troops still in the vicinity to surrender. They will be treated humanely and those wishing to be transferred to our allies the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) will receive safe passage to OLF units.

A significant number of civilians are now receiving medical care from ONLF units. Our forces have also freed Somali civilians which were detained in several of the regimes barracks taken by our forces during this operation. Many of those civilians show signs of torture.

The bodies of the regimes troops are still scattered on the battlefield in places such as Obolka where they present a health hazard to the local Somali community. Military operations are still ongoing.

Detainees accused of plotting coup brutally tortured by police

Monday, November 16th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — The 46 detainees who are currently on trial after being accused by the tribal junta in Ethiopia of trying to overthrow the regime have told the court on Friday that they are being savagely beaten up by security personnel.

One of the accused, Ato Asaminew Tsige, told the court that he has lost sight in one eye from the beatings.

Upon hearing Ato Asaminew’s claim, family members started to cry loudly, prompting the judges to remove every one from the court room except the accused, the prosecutors, the defense lawyers, the police, and some journalists.

Ato Asaminew asked the court to appoint an independent physician to give the detainees medical treatment and investigate the tortures.

An official representing the prison denied the torture charge. The judges hearing the case told the detainees to file their complaints in writing.

More by Tamiru Tsige, a correspondent for The Reporter:

መንግሥትን በሃይልና በአመፅ ለመጣል ሲንቀሳቀሱ ደርሸባቸዋለሁ በሚል የፌዴራል ዐቃቤ ሕግ ክስ ከመሠረተባቸው ተከሳሾች መካከል አንዳንዶቹ በማረሚያ ቤት ውስጥ ድብደባ እንደደረሰባቸው ለፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ሁለተኛ ደረጃ ፍርድ ቤት ሁለተኛ ወንጀል ችሎት ኅዳር 4 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. አቤቱታ አቀረቡ፡፡ ማረሚያ ቤቱ የቀረበበትን አቤቱታ “የተቋሙን ሥም ለማጥፋት የተደረገ ነው” ሲል አስተባብሏል፡፡

በእነ ብርጋዴር ጀነራል ተፈራ ማሞ የክስ መዝገብ በተከሰሱት 46 ተከሳሾች ላይ የተደመጡትን የመከላከያ ምስክሮች ቃል (880 ገጽ) ከህግ አግባብ ጋር በማገናዘብ ውሳኔ ለመስጠት ለኅዳር 4 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ቀጥሮ የነበረው የፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት ሁለተኛ ወንጀል ችሎት “የ8ኛ፣ 19ኛ፣ 21ኛና የ32ኛ ተከሳሾች ያሰሟቸው ምስክሮች ቃል ባለ መድረሱ ሁሉንም አጠቃለን ኅዳር 8 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. የመጨረሻ ውሳኔ እንሰጣለን” ሲል፤ የ28ቱ ተከሳሾች ጠበቃ ተነስተው ደንበኞቻቸው ለፍርድ ቤቱ የሚያመላክቱት አቤቱታ እንዳላቸው ተናገሩ፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱ “አሁን ምንም አንቀበልም” ሲል፤ 2ኛ ተከሳሽ የሆኑት አቶ አሳምነው ጽጌ በመሀል ተነስተው “በጌታ ስም፣ በምታመልኩት ሥም አዳምጡን እኔ ዓይኔ ጠፍቷል” ሲሉ ችሎቱን የታደሙት ዘመድ አዝማድ የፍርድ ቤቱን አዳራሽ በጩኸት አናወጡት፡፡

ለተወሰነ ደቂቃ ጩኸት በተቀላቀለበት ለቅሶ ተናውጦ የነበረው የፍርድ ቤቱ አዳራሽ ሲረጋጋ፣ “ፍርድ ቤቱ በጩኸትና በሁካታ ሊሰራ ስለማይችልና አቤቱታ አቅራቢዎቹም በተረጋጋና በተስተካከለ መልኩ መናገር ስለማይችሉ ፀጥታ ወሳኝ ነው፡፡ አሁንም ተከሳሾቹ የሚያቀርቡትን አቤቱታ በጥሞና መስማት እንዲቻል፣ ከፖሊስ፣ ጠበቃና ዐቃቤ ሕግ ውጭ ችሎቱን የታደማችሁ ትወጡና በዝግ እንሰማለን” በማለቱ ጋዜጠኞችን ጨምሮ ሁሉም የችሎቱ ታዳሚዎች ወጡ፡፡

ጋዜጠኞች ለዳኞች አመልክተን እንድንገባ ከተፈቀደ በኋላ ተቋርጦ የነበረው “ተደበደብን” ያሉት ተከሳሾች አቤቱታ መደመጥ ጀመረ፡፡

ጥቅምት 27 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ከምሽቱ 12፡10 ሰዓት ሲሆን ለብቻቸው ከታሰሩበት “ትፈለጋለህ” ተብለው ሲጠሩ “የመተኛ ሰዓቴ ነው ለምን” ቢሉም እንደሚፈለጉ በድጋሚ ተነግሯቸው ወደ ሌላ ክፍል ከተወሰዱ በኋላ ግንባራቸውንና ዓይናቸውን ተመትተው ጉዳት እንደደረሰባቸው ለፍርድ ቤቱ በመጀመሪያ አቤቱታቸውን ያሰሙት ሁለተኛ ተከሳሹ አቶ አሳምነው ጽጌ ናቸው፡፡

አቶ አሳምነው ለፍርድ ቤቱ ጨምረው ባሰሙት አቤቱታ በተለይ ግራ ዓይናቸው ከፍተኛ ጉዳት እንደደረሰበትና ሰው መለየት እንደማይችሉ፣ አንገታቸው ላይ አድርገውት የነበረ ሀብል ሲበጠስ በመጐዳታቸው ከፈሳሽ በስተቀር ምግብ መውሰድ እንደማይችሉ፣ ጥቅምት 28 እና 29 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ከቤተሰቦቻቸው ጋር እንዳልተገናኙ ተናግረዋል፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱ ገለልተኛ በሆነ ሐኪም እንዲመረመሩ፣ የሰብዓዊ መብት ተሟጋች አካላት እንዲጐበኛቸው፣ እንደማንኛውም እስረኛ ከሌሎች እስረኞች ጋር ተቀላቅለው እንዲታሰሩ ትዕዛዝ እንዲሰጥላቸውም አመልክተዋል፡፡

“የተደበደበው ፍትሕ ነው” ያሉት አቶ አሳምነው ፍርድ ቤቱ ጥቃት ያደረሱባቸው ለፍርድ እንዲቀርቡ እንዲያደርግላቸው ሲሉ ለፍርድ ቤቱ አመልክተዋል፡፡

የምግብ ማቆም አድማ አድርገዋል በሚል ከታሰሩበት ክፍል ወደ ሌላ ክፍል ተወስደው እጃቸው በካቴና ከታሰረ በኋላ ጆሮአቸው አካባቢ በደረሰባቸው ድብደባ ጉዳት እንደደረሰባቸው ለፍርድ ቤቱ አቤቱታቸውን ያሰሙት 6ኛ ተከሳሽ ሻለቃ መኮንን ወርቁ ሲሆኑ፣ እርሳቸው ግን ምንም ዓይነት የምግብ ማቆም አድማ አለማድረጋቸውን ተናግረዋል፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱ ከማረሚያ ቤት እስረኞቹን በሀላፊነት ይዘው የመጡትን ኃላፊ ስለ ሁኔታው ጠይቋቸው፤ “ይኸንን ነገር የሰማሁት አሁን ነው፡፡ እንደዚህ ያለ ድርጊት በማረሚያ ቤቱ ውስጥ አልተፈፀመም ይኸ ሆን ተብሎ የማረሚያ ቤቱን ሥም ለማጥፋት ነው” በማለት ምላሽ ሰጥተዋል፡፡

“ይኸ ፊት ለፊት የሚታይ ነገር ነው፡፡ የሆነ ችግር እንዳለ ይታያል፡፡ ተፈጥሮ ነው ወይስ ምንድነው?” በማለት ፍርድ ቤቱ ኃላፊውን ጠይቆ፤ ከሠው ጋር ተጣልተው ከሆነ “ተጣልተዋል”፣ ወይም ታመው ከሆነ “ታመዋል” በማለት መጠቆም እንደሚያስፈልግ ገል”ል፡፡

ማንም መመታት እንደሌለበት፣ ጉዳዩ መጣራት እንዳለበት ፍርድ ቤቱ አሳስቦ፣ “ተደብድበናል” ያሉት ተከሳሾች ሁኔታውን በጽሑፍ ለኅዳር 7 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ይዘው እንዲቀርቡ አዟል፡፡

ፍርድ ቤቱ በተከሳሾቹ ላይ ጉዳቱን ያደረሱትንና ጉዳቱ የደረሰበትን ምክንያት የማረሚያ ቤቱ ዋና አስተዳዳሪ አጣርተው ይዘው እንዲቀርቡ ትዕዛዝ ከሰጠ በኋላ በጉዳዩ ላይ ባለው አቅም አጣርቶ አፋጣኝ ውሳኔ እንደሚሰጥ አስታውቋል፡፡

ጉዳዩ እስከሚጣራና ውሳኔው እስከሚሰጥ ድረስ በገለልተኛ ሀኪም ህክምና እንዲደረግላቸውና ትዕዛዝ እንዲሰጥላቸው የጠየቁት ደግሞ ብርጋዴር ጄኔራል ተፈራ ማሞ ሲሆኑ፤ “የትና ማነው ገለልተኛ ሀኪም? የሚለውን አጣርተን አፋጣኝ ትዕዛዝ እንሰጣለን” በማለት ፍርድ ቤቱ ምላሽ ሰጥቶ ለኅዳር 7 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. ተለዋጭ ቀጠሮ በመስጠት ችሎቱ ተጠናቋል፡፡

The U.S. and China in Africa: To compete or cooperate?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

BEIJING (CNN) — Large African communities are forming in China, from Guangzhou to Beijing. Many of the migrants are traders and entrepreneurs hoping to make a profit by sending China’s cheap manufactured goods back home.

Ethiopian David Bekele is searching for space to open a new restaurant in Beijing. “Almost every African country has an embassy here in Beijing,” says Bekele. “There’s a huge number of students from Africa who come on scholarships funded by the Chinese government. And there are a lot businessmen come from Africa to buy goods and do trading.”

Beijing’s first Ethiopian restaurant, Ras Ethiopian Cuisine, was opened on March 6, 2008.

As U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao and the highest-ranking members of the Chinese Politburo, one has to wonder if he is sizing up the competition.

China appears to be leaving the United States in the dust by taking off on a global shopping spree from South America to the Middle East and especially Africa. The question is, can the U.S. keep up and does it want to?

The presidents did not address Africa in their joint statements on Tuesday in Beijing, but no doubt it is on both of their agendas.

So far this year, Obama has stopped in Ghana and Egypt while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped a seven-nation African tour in August.

Hu has stopped in Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius while Premier Wen Jiabao just attended the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Cairo. Among other things, he pledged $10 billion in loans to developing African countries. That is double what China promised at the same forum in 2006.

Wen emphasized that China is taking another step forward with its relationships with African countries. “This represents a new stage of development in relations with Africa,” he said earlier this month.

So far this year, China’s foreign direct investment in Africa is up 77.5 percent. China’s trade with Africa has multiplied 10 times in the last decade to more than $107 billion.

If anyone is keeping score, some analysts say the U.S. is behind.

“To my mind, the U.S. is already on the backfoot in Africa,” says David Kelly, Professor of China Studies at University of Technology Sydney. “The American public may not be terribly aware but basically most of Africa thinks it’s a great thing that China has come into the game, not necessarily because of the public goods that China provides or those alone, (but) because it must force America to raise its game.”

As the son of a Kenyan, Obama may have won African hearts, but it is China’s deep pockets that have been winning over African governments.

In the last few years, China has struck deal after deal with African countries, often buying natural resources in exchange for building infrastructure and providing loans. It is typical that the roads, hospitals, schools and more must be built primarily by Chinese workers.

In Gabon, the Chinese recently financed $800 million in railways, dams and ports in exchange for access to iron ore.

Critics say China’s actions have propped up dictatorships in Zimbabwe and Sudan. The Chinese have been supporting oil production in Sudan for years. China International Fund, a little-known Chinese company, reportedly signed a $7 billion mining deal with Guinea’s repressive military regime.

In response to criticism, Wen recently stated, “There has long been the argument that China is plundering Africa’s resources … Anyone who is familiar with history would know that the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Africa did not start just yesterday but as early as half a century ago. In those years, we helped Africa build the Tanzara railway and sent to Africa large numbers of medical teams. But we did not take away a single drop of oil or a single ton of mineral ores from Africa.”

Some leaders of African countries have indicated Africa will take money from anyone who is giving.

“Foreign direct investment has no fixed allegiance or nationality – it goes where it is most welcome,” said Ghanaian president John Atta Mills at a recent conference in Washington.

While China’s relationship with Africa strengthens, analysts say the United States may be too focused on the Middle East and, ironically this week, China to notice. Previous U.S. administrations placed Africa relatively high on their list of priorities. President George W. Bush’s heavy investment in HIV and AIDS prevention on the continent is largely considered a success.

In early October, Obama supported a $3.5 billion hunger and food security initiative focused on agriculture over the next three years in developing countries. Much of the money is intended for Africa. However, at this stage Obama’s Africa strategy has yet to be solidified.

But the vast opportunities in Africa are not without challenges. Poverty, corruption and instability are constantly changing the game. The question is how the U.S. and China choose to play.

Some analysts say Africa gives the U.S. and China a chance not necessarily to compete, but to cooperate and to make vital changes on a developing continent. Zha Daojiong, Professor of International Relations at Peking University, says the U.S. and China should consider working together on humanitarian issues including health care and food security.

“I think it is a meaningful issue for both governments to discuss,” says Zha. “Clearly there is a great potential there. We should put the interests of the African people in the center of these considerations.”

የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ለሰጠን ኃላፊነት ብቁ ሆነን አልተገኘንም – ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ ኃ/ማርያም

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ ኃ/ማርያም፥ የአንድነት ለፍትህና ለዴሞክራሲ ፓርቲ ም/ሊቀመንበርና የውጪ ግንኙነት ኃላፊ የነበሩ

የአንድነት ለፍትህና ለዴሞክራሲ ፓርቲ ምክትል ፕሬዚዳንትና የውጪ ግንኙነት ኃላፊ ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ ኃይለ ማርያም ፓርቲያቸውን በቃኝ በማለት ተሰናብተዋል፡፡ ከፓርቲው ራሳቸውን ያገለሉበትንና ሌሎች ጉዳዮችን በተመለከተ ከሪፖርተር ጋዜጣ አሰግድ ተፈራና ሰብለወንጌል ሃብታሙ አነጋግረዋቸዋል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እርስዎን የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የሚያውቆት ከ1997ቱ ምርጫ ጋር በተያያዘ ነው፡፡ ከምርጫ 97 በፊት ከኢህአዴግ የሹመት ጥሪ እንደደረስዎት ይነገራል?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- በአንድ ወቅት ደርሶኛል፡፡ በሽግግር መንግሥቱ ጊዜ የወቅቱ አፈጉባኤ ከነበሩት ከአቶ ዳዊት ዮሐንስ ጋር እንተዋወቅ ስለነበርና ኢሕአፓም ሆነን ስለሰራን ጥያቄ አቅርቦልኝ ነበር፡፡ በወቅቱ አሜሪካ አስተምር ስለነበር ስልክ ደውሎ የፍትሕ ሚኒስትሩ እየለቀቁ ነው፣ የእሳቸውን ቦታ ወይንም የቀይ ሽብር ፍርድ ቤት ገና መቋቋሙ ነበርና ልዩ አቃቤ እንድሆን ጠይቆኝ ነበር፡፡ በኋላ እኔም ትንሽ ጊዜ ላስብበት ብዬ አንዳንድ አስተማሪዎችን ካማከርኩኝ በኋላ ኢህአዴግ በርግጥ ለቀይ ሽብር ተዋንያን ፍትህ እሰጣለሁ የሚል ከሆነ እኔ ከእዛ ልሸሽ አልችልም የምችለውን አስተዋፅኦ አደርጋለሁ፡፡ ስለዚህ ልዩ አቃቤ ሕግ ቦታ ለመያዝ ፈቃደኛ ነኝ፡፡ ሆኖም ግን በዚህ በስራዬ ላይ መንግሥት ምንም ዓይነት ጣልቃ እንዳይገባ ከበጀት በስተቀር እገሌ ይከሰስ (ትከሰስ”፣ እገሌ ይለቀቅ (ትለቀቅ) የሚለውን በምንም ጣልቃ ገብነት ዓይነት መልኩ የማልቀበል መሆኑን፤ ሹመቱ ከዚያ ውጭ ከሆነ ግን የአቃቤ ሕግ ስራን ለመስራት ፈቃደኛ ነኝ ብዬ ለአቶ ዳዊት ዮሐንስ ነገርኩት፡፡ የወቅቱ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር የነበሩት አቶ ታምራት ላይኔ ነበሩ፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩ በጥቂት ቀናት ይደውሉልሃል፤ እናም ይሄንኑ እንድትሠራ ይጠይቁሃል በሚል አቶ ዳዊት ቃል ገባልኝ፡፡ ከዛ በኋላ ግን ከእነሱ ምንም ሳልሰማ ነገሩ የውሃ ሽታ ሆነ፡፡ በኋላ ግን ስሰማ ያዕቆብ ኢሕአፓ ስለነበረ ለተከሰሱ ሰዎች ፍትህ ለመስጠት ያዳግተዋል፡፡ በቂም በቀል ይነሳሳል በሚል ቦታው ለእኔ እንዳልተሰጠ ሰማሁ፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በቅንጅት አመራሮች ውስጥ ዴሞክራሲ የሚባል ነገር የለም፡፡ አምባገነንነትና ለሥልጣን መጓጓት አለ፡፡ እነዚህ ነገሮች በወቅቱ ባይኖሩ ኖሮ ምርጫውን ተከትለው የሚመጡትን ችግሮች ሁሉ መጋፈጥ/መወጣት ይቻል ነበር የሚሉ ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ የእርስዎ አቋም ምንድነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ይህንን አስተያየት የሚሰጡት ስህተት ነበሩ ማለት አይቻልም፡፡ ግን ደግሞ ሌላም ሁኔታም አለ፡፡ እርግጥ እነዚህ ነገሮች በሙሉ ነበሩ፡፡ አንድ መዘንጋት የሌለበት ነገር ቢኖር እኛ እራሳችን ከጀርባችን ምን ዓይነት ሰዎች ነበርን? የሚለው ነው፡፡ ከጀርባችን በማርክሲዝም ሌኒንዝም ታንፀን የመጣን፣ ቅራኔዎች በውይይት ሳይሆን በመጠፋፋት መፈታት አለባቸው የሚል እምነት ይዘን የመጣን ሰዎች ነበርን፡፡ እናም ችግሮችን በውይይት ለመፍታት አመቺ ሁኔታ አልነበረም፡፡ የመጣንበት የፖለቲካ ባህል ችግሮችን በውይይት የሚፈታ አልነበረም፡፡ ይሄ ትልቅ አስተዋፅኦ አድርጓል፡፡ እንደሚታወቀው የአመራሩ አባል ሁሉም ማለት ይቻላል መኢሶን፣ ኢሠፓ ወይም ኢህአፓ የነበረ ነው፡፡ ሁላችንም የየፓርቲያችንን ባህል ይዘን የመጣን ነን፡፡ እነኚህ ፓርቲዎች ደግሞ በጊዜው አስተሳሰብ እንደነበረው ሁሉ ችግሮች በውይይት ሳይሆን በመጠፋፋት ይፈቱ የሚሉ ነበሩ፡፡ እነዚህ ሁሉ ችግሮች ተደራርበው ከተባለው ከአምባገነንነት፣ ከሥልጣን ጉጉት ጋር ተደማምረው ለቅንጅት መፍረስ ምክንያት ሊሆኑ ችለዋል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ከምርጫ በኋላ ፓርላማ እንግባ አንግባ በሚለው ውዝግብ እርስዎ ፓርላማ እንግባ የሚል አቋም ይዘው ነበር ይባላል፡፡ እውነት ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- በመጀመሪያ ፓርላማ መግባት የለብንም ብዬ ብዙ ስከራከር የነበርኩት እኔ ነበርኩ፡፡ ከብዙ ውይይት በኋላ ፓርላማ መግባቱንና ከተማውን መረከቡ የሕዝብ አደራ እንደመሆኑ መጠን ይሄንን ማድረግ አለብን፤ የሚል አቋም ይዤ ነበር፡፡ ይህ እንዲሆን ግን አንዳንድ ቅድመ ሁኔታዎች የምንላቸው ነገሮች መፍትሄ ማግኘት አለባቸው የሚልም አቋም ነበረኝ፡፡

በአንድ ወቅት ድርድሩ በተካረረበትና በተወጠረበት ወቅት ለአንዲት የአሜሪካ ዲፕሎማት ሌላው ቢቀር በምርጫ አካባቢ አንድ ዓይነት መግባቢያ ከመንግሥት ብታመጪልን እኔ ጓደኞቼን አነጋግሬ ፓርላማ የምንገባበት መንገድ ይፈልጋል፡፡ ይሄንን ሞክሪ ብያት ነበር፡፡

ስምንት ቅድመ ሁኔታዎች ነበር ያስቀመጥነው፡፡ ከስምንቱ አንዱ ብቻ ኢህአዴግ ይቀበል፡፡ የምርጫ ቦርድ ገለልተኝነት እንደሚሆን ማረጋገጫ ይስጠንና ወደ ፓርላማ የመግባቱ ነገር ጓደኞቼን ላሳምን እሞክራለሁ አልኩኝ፡፡ ሴትየዋ እሺ እሞክራለሁ ብላ ሄዳ ያነጋገረችውን አነጋግራ ስትመለስ ግን “ምንም ዓይነት መለሳለስ ላገኝ አልቻልኩም” አለች፤ ከዛ በኋላ ድርድሩም ውይይቱም ፈረሰ፡፡ እኛም በአቋማችን ፀናን፡፡ ወደ ፓርላማ ገብተን ከተማውን እንድንረከብ ያልኩት ቢያንስ ቢያንስ የዚህ የምርጫ ቦርድ ገለልተኝነት ብቻ ይረጋገጥልን የቀሩትን ሰባት ቅድመ ሁኔታዎች ፓርላማ ውስጥ ከገባን በኋላ እንወያይበታለን፡፡ የሚል አቋም ነበረኝ፡፡ በመንግሥት በኩል ስለምርጫ ቦርድ ሁኔታ ምንም ፍንጭ ሊሰጠን አልተፈለገም፡፡ ስለዚህ ድርድሩ ፈረሰ፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ዛሬ ላይ ሆነው ሲያዩት በወቅቱ የተወሰነው ውሳኔ ትክክል ነው ወይስ ብለው ያምናሉ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እንግዲህ ዛሬ ላይ ሆኜ ሳየው ምን አልባት ፓርላማ ገብተን መሞከር ነበረብን እላለሁ፡፡ ፓርላማ ገብተን በሙከራ ደረጃ እንኳን የሚያሰራን ከሆነ መስራት፣ ሁኔታው የማያሰራ ከሆነ ጥለን ልንወጣ እንችል ነበር፡፡ እርግጥ ሁኔታው በጣም አስቸጋሪ ነበር፡፡ እንደሚታወቀው የከተማው በጀት ወደ ሌላ ቦታ እየተዛወረ፣ ኃላፊነቱም ወደ ሌላ ቦታ እየተቀየረ ነበር፡፡ አዲስ አበባን ብንረከብ የማያሰራ ሁኔታ ስለመኖሩ ብዙ ፍንጭ ነበር፡፡ ግን ያም ቢሆን የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ፈቃድ ፈፅመን፣ ፓርላማ ገብተን ይኸውና መስራት አልቻልንም፣ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የራስህን ምርጫ ውሰድ፡፡ ሞክረናል፣ አቅቶናል መስራት አልቻልንም ብለን ያኔ ብንወስን የተሻለ ነበር፡፡ አሁን ሳየው የሰራነው ጥፋት ይህ ይመስለኛል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ቅንጅትን ከፈጠሩት ፓርቲዎች ውስጥ በርካታ እጩዎችን ያቀረበውና በርካታ አባላትን ያስመዘገበው ፓርቲ የሚፈለገውን ቦታ አልተሰጠውም፤ እነዚህ ችግሮች ናቸው ፓርቲውን ወደ ከፋ ችግር የከተቱት የሚሉ ወገኖችም አሉ፤

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ከዚህ በፊት በቅንጅትም ሆነ በራሱ ፓርቲ ከፍተኛ አስተዋፅኦ ያደረገ፣ ብዙ መስዋዕትነት የከፈለው አቶ ልደቱ አያሌው፣ ከምክትል ሊቀ መንበርነት ሊያልፍ አልቻለም፡፡ በርካታ አስተያየት ቢሰነዘርም እኔ እንደሚገባኝ አቶ ልደቱ ከፓርቲው ጋር መናቆር የጀመረው ከዚያ ጊዜ ጀምሮ ይመስለኛል፡፡ ከዛ በፊት ከፓርቲ ጋር አብሮ ነበር የሚሄደው፡፡ በእውነት ሊካድ የማይቻል ብዙ መስዋዕትነት የከፈለ ሰው ነበር፡፡ ም/ሊቀመንበር መሆን ይገባኛል የሚል እምነት ነበረው፡፡ ከዚህ በፊት በትግሉ ብዙም የማትታወቀው ወ/ት ብርቱካን ሚደቅሳ በመመረጧ እኔ እንደገመገምኩት አቶ ልደቱ ቅሬታ እንደተሰማው ነው፡፡ አቶ ልደቱ ከፓርቲው መለየትና ከቅንጅት ተቃራኒ እርምጃ መውሰድ የጀመረው ከዚያ በኋላ ይመስለኛል፡፡ አንዳንድ ሰዎች ከዚያ በፊት ብዙ የሚያወሩት ነገር አለ፡፡ እኔ ግን አልቀበለውም፡፡ እኔ የሚመስለኝ የአቶ ልደቱ ቂም የተጀመረው በምርጫው ይገባኛል የሚለውን ቦታ ባለመሰጠቱ ይመስለኛል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ወ/ት ብርቱካን ሚደቅሳ ምክትል ሊቀመንበር መሆናቸው ትክክል አይደለም እያሉ ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- በእኔ በኩል ትክክል ነበረ ነው የምለው፤ ወ/ት ብርቱካን ተሞክሮዋ በፓርቲ ውስጥ ያደረገችው ትግል ብዙም የተመዘገበ ነገር ባይኖራትም፤ በጊዜው ለወጣቶችና ለሴቶች ጥሩ ማደፋፈሪያና ግሩም ምሳሌ ነበረች፡፡ በምክትል ሊቀመንበርነት ልታድግና ለወደፊቱ ሊቀመንበር ልትሆን የምትችል መሪ መሆኗን ያየንበት ነውና የምክትል ሊቀመንበርነት ምርጫው ትክክል ነበር፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የአቶ ልደቱ ኩርፊያ ስህተት ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እንግዲህ የአቶ ልደቱ ኩርፊያ ስህተት ነው ማለት አስቸጋሪ ነው፡፡ በእሱ ዓይን ሆነን ብናየው ብዙ መስዋእትነት የከፈለ፣ ብዙ አስተዋፅኦ ያደረገ ሰው ነው፡፡ እና ይገባኛል የሚል እምነት አለው . . .

ሪፖርተር፡- በቅንጅት ውሰጥ ያሉ ሰዎች ለእኔነት፣ ለዝናና ለክብር የሞቱ ናቸው ይባላል፡፡ እርስዎ እኔ እንዲህ ነኝ የሚሉት ነገር . . . .

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እኔነትና ዝና ፍለጋ ነበር፡፡ ገንዘብ የሚፈልግ የፓርቲ አመራር ግን አልነበረም፡፡ በአብዛኛው ገንዘብ ያለን፣ ራሳችንን የቻልን ነን፡፡ የስልጣን ጥም ፍላጎት ግን አልነበረም ማለት አይቻልም፡፡ ይሄን ግላዊ ስሜት ለሀገርና ለሕዝብ ጥቅም ማስገዛት ይገባ ነበር፡፡ ይህ ማለት ቅንጅትን አስቀድሞ፤ አስፈላጊም ከሆነ ራስን ማግለል ይገባ ነበር፡፡ በእውነት ይሄም ሲባል በአመራር ደረጃ የነበሩት እኔ እስከማውቃቸው ድረስ ለሥልጣን የሞቱ፣ ለዝና የሚስገበገቡ ሰዎች ነበሩም ብዬም መመልከት እቸገራለሁ፡፡ በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ ለቅንጅት መድከምና መሞት ሌላ ምን ምክንያት አለ ማለት ይቻላል? የራስን ስሜት ለሕዝብና ጥቅም ሲባል ማስገዛት ያለመቻል ካልሆነ በስተቀር፡፡ ለቅንጅት መፍረስ ሌላ ምን ምክንያት ሊቀርብ ይችላል? እኔ ግራ ይገባኛል፡፡ አንዳንዶቹም በጣም ሀብታም የሚባሉ ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ ከስሜታቸውም የገንዘብ ፍቅር የነበራቸው ሰዎች አይደሉም እገሌ፣ እገሌ ማለቱ አስፈላጊ አይደለም፡፡ ገንዘብ አይደለም ያሸነፋቸው እኔ የሚመስለኝ ያሸነፋቸው እልህ ነው፡፡ እገሌ ከእገሌ ጋር በመጣመድ “እሱ አያሸንፈኝም፤ እኔ ግን አሸንፈዋለሁ” የሚል ዓይነት እልህ መገባባት ይመስለኛል፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ ሥልጣንን ያዩ የቀመሱትም ነበሩ፡፡ የችግሩ መንስኤ በግለሰቦች መሃል ያለው አለመጣጣምና አለመግባባት ይመስለኛል፡፡ የግል ስሜትና የቂም በቀል እንጂ እነኚህ በአመራር ደረጃ የነበሩ ሰዎች በገንዘብም ሊታሙ የሚችሉ ሰዎች አይደሉም፡፡ የሥልጣን ጥም ያሰከራቸው ናቸው ማለትም አስቸጋሪ ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እልህና ቂም በቀሉ የቱ ነው የነበረው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- መቼም እገሌና እገሌ ናቸው ማለት አልችልም፡፡ ከፍተኛ አመራር ውስጥ በነበሩ ሰዎች ውስጥ የሚንፀባረቅ ነበር፡፡ በከፍተኛ አመራር ውስጥ የነበሩ፣ በከፍተኛ ደረጃ በቂም፣ በጥላቻና በእልህ የሚፈላለጉ ሰዎች ነበሩ፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ ቅንጅትን ካዳከሙት ውስጥ አንዱና ዋናው ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እነዚህ ሰዎች እንዴት አንድ ላይ ሊደራጁ ቻሉ? ምንድን ነው ላያስማማቸው ያልቻለው? ቂም እና ጥላቻ ደረጃ እንዴት ደረሱ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እንግዲህ ይሄ መቀያየምና መጠላላት የጀመረው ቆይቶ ነው፡፡ ከበፊት የተጀመረ አይደለም፡፡ ቀደም ሲል እንዲያውም ወዳጅ የነበሩና በጣም የሚቀራረቡ ናቸው፡፡ ኋላ ግን ቂሙ እየሰረፀ ነው የመጣው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ምንድን ነው የቂሙ መነሻ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ሥልጣኔን ቀማኝ ወይም ደግሞ አምባገነን ሆነብኝ የሚል ነው፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ በሁለት ወይም በሦስት ሰዎች ብቻ ላይ የሚመሠረት አይደለም፡፡ ጠቅላላውን ቅንጅትን የዳሰሰ ጉዳይ ነው መጠላላቱ፣ ምቀኝነቱ በየደረጃው ያለ ስሜት እንጂ በከፍተኛ አመራሮች ደረጃ የተወሰነ አይደለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የእርስዎ ስም ባይነሣም የኢንጂነር ኃይሉ ሻውልና የዶክተር ብርሃኑ ነጋ ችግር ቅንጅትን አደጋ ላይ ጥሎታል የሚሉ አሉ፤

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እኔ ሙሉ ለሙሉ አልስማማም፡፡ እርግጥ የእነሱ ችግር ብዙ አስተዋፅኦ አድርጓል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ፓርቲ መሪ እንጂ ተመሪ አይደለም፡፡ ቅንጅት ተመሪ ሆና ወደቀ የሚሉ የፖለቲካ ተንታኞች አሉ፡፡ ይስማሙበታል?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ይሄ ተአማኒነት ያለው አነጋገር ነው፡፡ ፓርላማ በመግባትና ላለመግባት ሕዝቡን እናነጋግር ብለን በተሰማራንበት ወቅት ከአንድ ቀበሌ በስተቀር “እራሳችሁ ወስኑ እናንተ የወሰናችሁትን እንከተላለን እንቀበላለን” ነው ያሉት፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ ግን “የእኛ ምርጫ ባትገቡ ነው፤ ግን እናንተ መሪዎች እንደመሆናችሁ እናንተ ወስናችሁ እንግባ የምትሉ ከሆነ እንከተላችኋለን” ብለዋል፡፡ ስለዚህ ከአንድ ቀበሌ በስተቀር ፓርላማ አትግቡ የተባልንበት ቀበሌ የለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ስለዚህ ቅንጅት በወቅቱ የመሪነት ሚና ሳይሆን የተመሪነት ሚና ሲጫወት ነበር?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ይሄ ጥፋት ነው፡፡ መሪ መንገዱን አሳይቶ ሕዝቡን መርቶ ማሳመን እንጂ፣ ሕዝቡ በሚፈልገው መንገድ መጎተት የለበትም፡፡ መሪ የበለጠ ዕውቀት አለው ይባላል፡፡ ከተራው ሕዝብ የተሻለ ግምትና የተሻለ አስተሳሰብ ሊኖረው ይችላል፡፡ ስለዚህ ሕዝቡን የመምራት ግዴታ አለበት፡፡ ሕዝቡ አንድ ሀሳብ አቅርቦለት ያን ሀሳብ እንዲቀበል ማሳመን እንጂ፣ በፖለቲካው በቂ ግንዛቤና ዕውቀት የሌለውን ሕዝብ የወሰነውን ውሳኔ መከተል የለበትም፡፡ ይሄ የአመራር ድክመት ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የሕዝብ አደራ በጥፋትና በድክመት ተሳቦ መቅረት አለበት?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ከቃሊቲ ከወጣን በኋላ አስራ አንድ የአውሮፓ አገሮችን ጎብኝተናል፡፡ በቡድን ሆነን አሜሪካም በቀረብኩበት መድረክ ሁሉ እኛ የአመራር አባላት የሕዝቡን ልብ በመስበር፣ ሕዝቡን በማስቀየም ለተሰጠን እምነትና ድጋፋ ብቁ ሆነን ባለመገኘታችን በተገኘሁበት መድረክ ሁሉ ይቅርታ ጠይቄያለሁ፡፡ ዛሬም ማንንም አልወክልም . . . . . ለሥልጣን ጉጉት ወይንም ፓርላማ ለመግባት አይደለም፡፡ ሕዝቡ ለጣለብንን አመኔታ ብቁ ሆነን ባለመገኘታችን ጥፋት ሰርተናል፡፡ እኔ በመፅሐፍም ሆነ በሕይወት ተሞክሮዬ አንድ ፓርቲ እንዲህ ዓይነት የሕዝብ ድጋፍ ሲኖረው አይቼም፣ ሰምቼም፣ አንብቤም አላውቅም፡፡ ለእዚህ ታላቅ ድጋፍ፣ አደራ፣ ውክልና ብቁ ሆነን አልተገኘንም፡፡ አዝናለሁ፡፡ እድሜዬን በሙሉ የሚቆጠቁጠኝ ነገር ሆኖ ይኖራል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እስር ቤት እንኳን ተማምናችሁ ተስማምታችሁ አልወጣችሁም ከእስር ስትፈቱ ወዲያው መጣላታችሁን ያዩ እንኳንም መንግሥት ያልሆኑ ብለዋል፡

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እስር ቤት በዚያች በጠባብ አካባቢ ለ18 ወር አብረን በቆየንበት ጊዜ አንዳንድ ግላዊ መናቆሮች ነበሩ፡፡ ይሄ ግን ወደ ፓርቲ የዘለቀ አልነበረም፡፡ አነስተኛ የሆነ የግለሰቦች መቀያየምና መነቋቆር ታይቷል፡፡ እርግጥ ይሄ ከእስር ከወጣን በኋላ በሁለት ቡድን ተከፋፍለን ግማሾቻችን አውሮፓ፣ ግማሾቻችን ደግሞ አሜሪካ በሄድንበት ወቅት ተከስቷል፡፡ ለሆነው ነገር ሁሉ የምወክለው ፓርቲ የለም፤ በግሌ የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ይቅርታ ጠይቄአለሁ፡፡ በአመራር ውስጥ የነበርን ሰዎች ሁሉ ሕይወታችንን የሚቆጠቁጠን ነገር ተፈፅሟል፡፡ ለኢትዮጵያ አንድ ጮራ ፈንጥቆ ነበር፡፡ አገራችን ልዩ አቅጣጫና መንገድ ትይዝ ነበር፡፡ ሁሉም ነገር ያልተሳካውና የመከነው ደግሞ በእኛ በአመራሮቹ ጥፋት እንጂ ከሕዝቡ ድጋፍ በማጣት አይደለም፡፡ ወይንም ደግሞ በባላንጦቻችን ጥንካሬ አይደለም፡፡ በእኛ ድክመት ብቻ ነው፡፡ አመቺ በሆነ ጊዜ ሁሉ የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ተንበረክከን ይቅርታ መጠየቅ ይኖርብናል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ፖለቲካ እኮ ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- እንግዲህ ምን ይደረጋል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ግን ከአሁን በኋላ ያ መንፈስ የሚመለስ ይመስልዎታል? በኢትዮጵያ የፖለቲካ ታሪክ ውስጥ የ1997ቱ የምርጫ መነቃቃት ዳግም አይታይም የሚሉ አሉ፤

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- በእውነት አስቸጋሪ ነው፤ በቅንጅት የነበረው መንፈስ እንደገና እንዲያንሰራራ ጊዜ የሚወስድ ይሆናል፡፡ ምንአልባት ከ5 ዓመት ወይም ከ10 ዓመት ከዛም በላይ ሊወስድ ይችላል፡፡ ምክንያቱም እንዲህ ዓይነት ሁኔታ በየቀኑ አይከሰትም፤ ሕዝብ በእኛ ምክንያት ቆስሏል፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ከእስር ቤቱ ከወጣችሁ በኋላ የቅንጅት ሕጋዊ መብት በምርጫ ቦርድ ተቀባይነት ይኑረውም አይኑረውም እንዲገፋፋ ተደርጎ ለሌላ ከተሰጠ በኋላ አንድነት ለፍትህና ለዲሞክራሲ ፓርቲ ተቋቁሟል በዚህ የቀድሞ ስህተታችሁን ገምግማችሁ ነበር?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- የቅንጅትን ተሞክሮ አንስተን የተነጋገርነው ነገር የለም፡፡ መጀመሪያ ሀሳቡን ያመጣችው ወ/ት ብርቱካን ነች፡፡ የቅንጅት ወራሽ ነን በሚለው ተስማማን፡፡ የቅንጅት መንፈስ ይዘን እንጓዛለን የሚል እምነትና ፍላጎት ነበረን፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ አሁንም የቅንጅት መንፈስ ይዞ እየተጓዘ ነው የሚል እምነት አላቸው፡፡ በእውነት አንድነት ፓርቲ በሂደት በተወሰነ ጊዜ ቅንጅትን ሊተካ፣ የቅንጅትን መንፈስ ይዞ ሊሄድ ይችል ነበር፡፡ በመንገዱ ግን ብዙ እንቅፋቶች ነበሩት፡፡ በተለይ የሊቀመንበሯ የወ/ት ብርቱካን ሚደቅሳ መታሰር ይሄን የአንድነት ፓርቲ ሂደት በከፍተኛ ደረጃ አደናቅፎታል፡፡ በፓርቲ ውስጥ መከፋፈል ተፈጥሮ የተለመደው መናቆርና መጠፋፋት እየቀጠለ ነው፡፡

ምናልባት ሕዝቡ ቂሙን ረስቶ በቅንጅት ለተፈፀመበት በደል ይቅርታ ብሎ፣ ሌላ ትውልድ ተክቶ ቅንጅት አስመዝግቦት የነበረውን ድል እንደገና ለማስመዝገብ የኢትዮጵያ ወጣት ችሎታ ቢኖረውም በአሁኑ መልክ ግን ሊሳካ አይችልም፡፡ የኢትዮጵያ ወጣት አንፀባራቂ የሆነ የትግል ታሪክ አለው፡፡ ከፊውዳሊዝም ጋር ተዋድቋል፡፡ ከፋሺዝም ጋርም ተዋድቋል፡፡ አሁንም ሁኔታውን ለመለወጥ ብዙ ትግል እያካሄደ ነው፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ ወጣት ላይ ከፍተኛ እምነት አለኝ፡፡ አሁንም፣ የአሁኑ ወጣት እንደቀድሞዎቹ ኃላፊነቱን ይዞ ሀገሪቱን ወደ ዲሞክራሲ፣ ወደብልፅግናና ልማት ያመራል የሚል እምነት አለኝ፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ዛሬ በአንድነት ፓርቲ ውስጥ ለተፈጠረው ችግር ትልቁ ምክንያት ምንድነው ብለው ነው የሚያምኑት?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ቀደም ሲልም ሆነ አሁን አንድ መረሳት የሌለበት ትልቅ ጉዳይ አለ፡፡ ኢህአዴግ ቅንጅትን ለማፍረስ የራሱን ሚና ተጫውቷል፡፡ የሚጠበቅም ነው፡፡ በሰላማዊ መንገድ ለሥልጣን የምንራኮት ኃይሎች ነበርን፡፡ እናም ኢህአዴግም አልተኛልንም፡፡ ቅንጅት እንዲፈርስ ትልቁ ድርሻ የኢህአዴግ አስተዋፅኦ ነው ማለት ይቻላል፡፡ ለቅንጅት መፍረስ የእኛም ከፍተኛ አስተዋፅኦ እንዳለው ተናግሬያለሁ፡፡ አሁንም ቢሆን አንድነት ፓርቲ የተፈጠረው ከዚህ የተለየ አይደለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ኢህአዴግ ምን አደረገ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ወ/ት ብርቱካንን አሰረ፡፡ በየአካባቢው የፓርቲው ንቁ ተሳታፊዎችና በወረዳ አመራር ደረጃ የነበሩትን ብዙዎቹን አስሯል፡፡ አንገላቷል፡፡ ስብሰባ ለማካሄድ እንኳን አይፈቀድልንም፡፡ የፓርቲውን ሊቀመንበር እስር ቤት ከመወርወር ሌላ ምን ያድርግ?

ሪፖርተር፡- አንድነት ጠንካራ ተቃዋሚ ሆኖ መቀጠል ሲገባው የእርስ በርስ ሽኩቻ ውስጥ ገብቷል፡፡ የፕሮፌሰር መስፍን ወገኖችና የአንድነት አመራሮች መሠረታዊ ልዩነት በእርስዎ እምነት ምንድነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- መሠረታዊው ችግር ፍርጥርጥ አድርጎ በግልፅ አለመወያየት ነው፡፡ በግልፅ ጠረጴዛ ዙሪያ ልዩነትን አስቀምጦ፣ አፍረጥርጦ መናገር አለመቻል፣ እገሌ ይቀየመኛል፣ ይጣላኛል፣ በሚል ፍርሃትና የባህል ተፅዕኖ ሳቢያ፣ እያንዳንዳችን በጀርባችን ያዘልነው የቀደመው አመለካከት ሁሉ ተደማምሮ በግልፅ ለመወያየት አለመቻል ነው ዋናው ምክንያት የሚመስለኝ፡፡ በእውነት ለእኔ የገባኝ የሚያጣላና የሚያለያየው ነገር ይሄ ነው ማለት አልችልም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- የፓርቲው አመላመል የፓርቲው ምስጢር እንዲወጣ አድርጓል ይባላል?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- የአንድነት ፓርቲው አመላመል ራሱ በጣም ልቅ ነው፡፡ ፎርም በመሙላት ብቻ የፓርቲ አባላት የሆኑ ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ አባላት ሲመለምሉ ጀርባቸው ሳይፈተሸ ዝም ብለው አባል የሆኑ አሉ፡፡ በዚህ ክፍተት ኢህአዴግ የሚችለውን መስራቱ የማይቀር ነው፡፡ መረጃ የሚያወጡ ተደርሶባቸዋል፡፡ ቢሆንም ግን ሙሉ በሙሉ የቆመ አይደለም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- እርስዎ ምክትል ሊቀመንበር ነዎት? እርስዎ ይሄ እንዳይሆን ይከላከሉ ነበር? አባል ስንመለምል ሰርገው እንዳይገቡብን እንዲህ እናድርግ ብለው ያውቃሉ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ምንም አላልኩም፡፡ የኔ ስራ ብዙ ጊዜ ከውጭ ግንኙነት ጋር ስለነበረ የድርጅት ጉዳይ፣ የፓርቲ ምልመላ ጉዳይ፣ እነዚህን ሁሉ የሚመለከታቸው ሰዎች አሉ፡፡ የእነሱ ተግባር ነው በሚል፡፡ ነገሩ ይመለከተኛል ማለት ነበረብኝ፡፡ ጥፋት ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በአብዛኛው የስራ አስፈፃሚ ስብሰባ ላይ አይገኙም፡፡ ይቀራሉ፡፡ ምክንያቱ ምንድን ነው?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- የስራ አስፈፃሚ ኮሚቴ ወይም የምክር ቤት ሰብስባ መቅረት የጀመርኩት ከቅርብ ጊዜ ወዲህ ነው፡፡ ይህም ራሴ የወሰንኩት ነው፡፡ በፖለቲካው መድረክ ብዙ ጊዜ ስለቆየሁ ለሌሎቹ እድል መስጠት ይገባል፡፡ ወጣቶች መተካት አለባቸው የሚል ፅኑ እምነት አለኝ፡፡ ዛሬ ጊዜው የተለየ ነው፡፡ ጊዜው የዴሞክራሲ ነው፡፡ የመወያያና የመነጋገሪያ ጊዜ እንጂ የመጠፋፊያና የመነቋቆሪያ ጊዜ አይደለም፡፡ የመጠፋፊያ ባህል ያልተጠናወታቸው ሰዎች ሥልጣን ላይ መውጣት አለባቸው፡፡

ገዢው ፓርቲ ይበልጥ አክራሪና አናቋሪ ፓርቲ ነው፡፡ ከሁሉም የበለጠ ገዢው ፓርቲ የድሮ ማርክሲስቶችን አስወግዶ ወጣቶችን መተካት አለበት፡፡

ለሀገሪቱ ሰላምና እድገት አስተማማኝነት ከተፈለገ በማርክሲዝም ሌኒንዝም ታንፀው ስር ሰደው የመጡ ሰዎች በሙሉ ከየትኛውም የፖለቲካ አመራር መውጣት አለባቸው፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስ ዜናዊ ራሳቸው መጀመሪያ ከሁሉ ሰው በፊት ሥልጣናቸውን መልቀቅ አለባቸው፡፡ እሳቸው የማርክሲስት ሌኒኒስት አደገኛ አክራሪ የነበሩ ናቸው፡፡ አሁን ከማየው አንፃር ሙሉ በሙሉ ተቀይረዋል፡፡ የሚል እምነት የለኝም፡፡ የሀገሪቱ ፖሊሲ በአብዛኛው የሶሻሊስት ፖሊሲ አቀንቃኝ ነው፡፡ የንብረት አያያዝ፣ የመሬት ባለቤትነት ከተመለከትን የኮሚኒስት ሥርዓት ነው፡፡ ብዙ ድርጅቶች በመንግሥት እጅ ናቸው፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ የኮሚኒስት ሥርዓት ገፅታ ነው፡፡ ዴሞክራሲን ማፈን፣ የንግግር ነፃነትን ማፈን፣ የኮሚኒስት ሥርዓት መመሪያ ነው፡፡ በሀገራችን እነዚህ ሁሉ አሉ፡፡ ስለዚህ አሁን ሀገራችን በብዙም ባይሆን በከፊል ሶሻሊስት ናት ማለት ይቻላል፡፡

ዘመኑ የሊበራል ዲሞክራሲ በመሆኑ እነዚህ በኮሚኒስት የታነፁ ሰዎች ቦታውን መልቀቅ አለባቸው፡፡ ይሄ ሩሲያና በምስራቅ አውሮፓም ሆኗል፡፡ በኮሚኒዝም የታነፁ ሰዎች ሁሉ ለቀው፣ ዛሬ ከኮሚኒዝም በኋላ የተወለዱ፣ ኮሚኒዝም ሊያበቃ ሲል የተወለዱ ትውልድ ነው የሥልጣን ባለቤት የሆኑት፡፡

የሩሲያ መሪ ሃምሳ ዓመት አልሞላቸውም፡፡ የአሜሪካንም ብንወስድ አርባ ስምንት ዓመታቸው ነው፡፡ ምስራቅ አውሮፓም ተመሳሳይ ነው፡፡ ሁሉም ወጣቶች ናቸው፡፡ ኮሚኒዝም ከተዳከመ በኋላ ያደጉ ሰዎች ናቸው፡፡ ስለዚህ በአዲስ ትውልድ፣ በአዲስ አስተሳሰብ አመራሮቻቸው ተክተዋል፡፡ ኢትዮጵያውያንም ይህንን ፈለግ መከተል አለብን፡፡ የአገራችን ወጣቶች ለዚህ ይሰንፋሉ አልልም፡፡ አኩሪ የሆነና አንፀባራቂ ታሪክ አላቸው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስን የሚተካቸው ሰው የለም የሚሉ አሉ፡፡ ፓርቲያቸው በተለይ ያለእሳቸው የሚል እምነት አለው፤

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ፈረንጆቹ ይሄንን ዓይነቱን ነገር ካሳይኮፋንትካ (Sycophant) ይሉታል፡፡ ባዶ ነገር የሚናገሩ አሞጋሾች የሚሉት ነው፡፡

ይሄ አሞጋሾች የሚሉት ነገር ነው፡፡ ማንም ማንንም ይተካዋል፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስም ሰው ናቸው፡፡ በግል ችሎታቸውም ቢሆን ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትሩን የሚመጥናቸው ኢትዮጵያዊ የለም ማለት ኢትዮጵያውያንን ሁሉ መስደብ ነው፡፡ ደግሞ የሲስተም ጉዳይ ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በቃኝ እያሉ ነው? ለምን? ሽሽት ወይስ መሰላቸት?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- አዎን” አሁን እኔ በቅቶኛል፡፡ ይሄም ማለት ከትግል ሜዳ እወጣለሁ ማለት አይደለም፡፡ በፓርቲ አመራርነት ግን አልቀጥልም፡፡ ደብዳቤም አስገብቻለሁ፡፡ ለደብዳቤው ገና ምንም ምላሽ አላገኘሁም፡፡ ምላሹም ደግሞ ተቀባይነት እንደሚያገኝ እርግጠኛ ነኝ፡፡ ምክንያቱም የበቃኝ ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ በሌላ ደረጃ ልሰራ እችላለሁ፡፡ በአማካሪነት ልሰራ ላማክር እውቀቱ ካለኝ ችሎታው ካለኝ የማውቀው ነገር ከሆነ ለማማከር ዝግጁ ነኝ፡፡ ሌላም የፅሑፍ ስራም አስፈላጊ ከሆነ ልሰራ ዝግጁ ነኝ፡፡ ግን በአመራሩ ደረጃ ከአሁን በኋላ አላደርገውም፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በፖለቲካው መስመር ካልሆነ በምን መልኩ ሊታገሉ አስበዋል?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ለአገር ዕድገትና ልማት በየአቅጣጫው መስራት ያስፈልገዋል፡፡ ንግድም ላይ እንኳን ብሰማራ ለአገር ዕድገት ነው ብዬ አስባለሁ፡፡ አንዳንድ ትንንሽ ነገሮችንም ብፅፍ እሱም ለአገር አስተዋፅኦ ይኖረዋል፡፡ እንዲሁም በምፈለግበት አካባቢ እንዲህ ዓይነት የተወሰነ ስራ ብባል ለመስራት ዝግጁ ነኝ፡፡ እኔ ሙሉ በሙሉ ከፖለቲካ ወጥቻለሁ አልልም፡፡ ማንም ከፖለቲካ ሊወጣ አይችልም፡፡ ከፖለቲካማ አይሸሽም፡፡ ፖለቲካ ልሽሽህ የሚባል ነገር አይደለም፡፡

ሰው የፖለቲካ እንስሳ ነው ይባላል፡፡ ከፖለቲካ ልወጣ አልችልም፤ ከብዙ ጊዜ ጀምሮ የያዝኩት ነው፡፡

ሪፖርተር፡- በተደጋጋሚ ኢህአዴግ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ሊረሳው የማይችለውን ታሪካዊ ስህተቶች ሠርቷል ብለው ሲናገሩ ይሰማል፡፤ እነዚህን ነገሮች የመታገያ ስልቶችም አድርገው ይቀጥላሉ?

ዶ/ር ያዕቆብ፡- ኢትዮጵያን የባሕር በር የማሳጣት ጉዳይ ዋናው ነው፡፡ አሰብን የማጣቱ ጉዳይ መቼም ቢሆን የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ የሚረሳው ጉዳይ አይሆንም፡፡ እኔም አቅሜ በፈቀደ፣ በሌሎችም እንቅስቃሴ የምተወው አይደለም፡፡ የባሕር በር መዘጋት የኢኮኖሚ ጥያቄም ብቻ አይደለም፣ የፀጥታም ጉዳይ ነው፡፡ ማንኛውንም ኢትዮጵያዊ ኢህአዴግ የሰራው ትልቅ ስህተት ምንድነው? ተብሎ ቢጠየቅ የባህር በር መዝጋቱ ነው የሚል መልስ እንደሚሰጥ ጥርጥር የለውም፡፡ አሰብ የኢትዮጵያ ሉአላዊ ግዛት ናት፡፡ ለዚህ ብዙ ምክንያቶች አሉ፡፡ ይሄ መንግሥት ሊያሰከብር የሚችለው የነበረ፣ ነገር ግን በድክመቱና በማንአለብኝነቱ ለቆት እንጂ አሰብ የኢትዮጵያ አካል ነበረች፡፡

ከስዊድንና ከጀርመን አምባሳደሮች ጋር በጊዜው ስለ አሰብ አንስተን ስንነጋገር በአሰብ ላይ ኢትዮጵያ ጥያቄ ብታነሳ የጀርመንና የስዊድን መንግሥት ይደግፉት ነበር ብለዋል፡፡ ዛሬ የዓለም አስተሳሰብ አብዛኛው እንደዚህ ነው፡፡ በአንድ ወቅት አሜሪካ አሰብ ወደ ኢትዮጵያ መታጠፍ ይገባዋል በሚል በተመድ ጽ/ቤት ፊት ለፊት ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ አደረግን፡፡ የፀጥታ ም/ቤት አባላትን ለማነጋገር ተከፋፈልን፡፡ እኔ የፈረንሳይና የአሜሪካ የፀጥታ ም/ቤት አባላትን አገኘሁና ስንጠይቃቸው ያሉት መንግሥታችሁ አልጠየቀንም፤ እኛ እንዴት አድርገን እንጠይቅና እንደግፍ፤ መንግሥታችሁ ቢጠይቅ ኖሮ ይሆን ነበር የሚል መልስ ስጡኝ፡፡

መንግሥታችሁ አሳልፎ የሰጠውን ነገር እኛ በምን መልኩ እንቃወማለን ብለው አሉ፡፡ በተለያዩ መድረኮች ከውጭ ሀገር ሰዎች ጋር ተነጋግሬአለሁ፤ ከወደብ የስድስት ሰዓት ርቀት ላይ ሆነን የባህር በር ተዘግቶብናል፤ ስንል የሚያምን የለም፡፡ ብዙ ሕዝብ እያላት የባህር በር የሌላት አገር ኢትዮጵያ ናት፡፡

መፍትሄ ካልተገኘለት ለትውልድ የሚቀር ቁስል ነው፡፡ ማንም ኢትዮጵያዊ የሚለቀው አይደለም፡፡ በ60 ኪ.ሜ. ርቀት ታፍነህ ሙት የሚል ሕግ የለም፡፡ በሠላማዊ መንገድ እንደሚሆን ተስፋ እናደርጋለን፡፡ በመደራደር ቢሆን ተስፋ እናደርጋን፡፡ ሌሎችንም ብዙ መፍቻ መንገዶች አሉ፡፡ ለሰላምና ለዕርቅ ሲባል ምናልባት መሬት ማሸጋሸግ ይቻላል፡፡ ለኤርትራውያኑ የእርሻ መሬት ሰጥቶ አሰብን ሊሰጡን ይችላሉ፡፡ ለሰላም ሲባል እንጂ ሃብትነቱ በመርህ ደረጃ የኢትዮጵያ ነው፡፡

ሁለተኛው የኢህአዴግ ስህተት ብዬ የምቆጥረው፣ ሕዝቡን በብሔረሰብ መከፋፈል ነው፡፡ ይሄ ሲባል ግን በቅድሚያ ላስጠነቅቀው የምፈልገው ብሔረሰቦች የራሳቸውን ቋንቋ የመናገር፣ ባህላቸውን የማክበር፣ ታሪካቸውን የማሳወቅ፣ የውስጥ አስተዳደራቸውን የመምራት መብት አላቸው፡፡ አሁን ግን ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የሚታየው ብሔረሰብ ተከፋፍሎ ከዚህ በፊት ባልታየ መልኩ ምንአልባት አንድ ሳምንት በማይሞላ ጊዜ የብሔረሰቦች ግጭት በተለያዩ አካባቢዎችና የትምህርት ተቋማት፣ ወጣቶች በብሔረሰብ እየተቧደኑ ብዙ ጊዜ ጉዳት የደረሰበት ሁኔታ አለ፡፡ የሰንደቅ ዓላማ ባህል በተከበረበት ወቅት አንድ ጥፋት አስተውያለሁ፡፡ ሕፃናት “ሰንደቅ ዓላማ ምን ማለት ነው?” ተብለው ሲጠየቁ የብሔር ብሔረሰቦች እኩልነት፣ በመፈቃቀድ ላይ የተመሠረተ አንድነት ማለት ነው እያሉ የተነገራቸውን ይመልሳሉ፡፡ እንግዲህ አንድ ትውልድ ኢትዮጵያ በብሔር ብሔረሰብ የተከፋፈለች አገር ናት ብሎ እያደገ ነው ማለት ነው፡፡ ከአፋቸው እነዚህ ሕፃናት አንድ ጊዜ ኢትዮጵያ ሲሉ አልሠማሁም፡፡ ይህ አደገኛ አካሄድ ነው፡፡

አንድ ሰው “ትልቅ አገር ተከፋፍሎ ትንሽ ይሆናል፤ ትንሽ አገር ደግሞ ተባብሮ ትልቅ ይሆናል” ብሏል፡፡ አሁን እኔ ስጋቴ የወደፊት ኢትዮጵያ እኛ የምናውቃት ሆና ትቀጥላለች ወይ . . . . . አንድ ብሔረሰብ ከአንድ መንግሥት ጋር ውል የመፈራረም መብት የለውም፡፡ አሜሪካ ግን ይደረጋል፡፡ አሜሪካ የተዋሃዱት እኮ ሉአላዊ ሀገር የነበሩ ናቸው፡፡ አሜሪካ እያንዳንዱ ስቴት ከሌላ መንግሥት ጋር ውል መፈራረም ይችላል፡፡ ከዛ ሌላ እኔ የማውቀው አገር የለም፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ አንዳንድ ብሔረሰቦች ወደ ሀገርነት እያመሩ ነው፡፡ የራሳቸው ልዩ ሀገር እየሆኑ ነው፡፡ ቀስ በቀስ ወዴት እየተኬደ ነው? ይህ ታሪካዊ ስህተት ነው፡፡ ስለታሪካዊ ስህተት ካነሳን ቅንጅትን ማፍረስም ሌላ የታሪክ ጉዳይ ነው፡፡

Be aware of Facebook risks

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Facebook has become the most preferred way of keeping in touch with friends and establishing new friendships for many Ethiopians in the Diaspora. It is therefore necessary to learn more about this new means of communication, particularly the risks involved. The following are helpful tips by Newsweek and NBC:

Every day tens of millions of people log on to Facebook, the popular social-network site, and spend time playing goofy online games. But watch out. Some people playing these games are getting fleeced by scammers, tricked into signing up for products and services they didn’t want.

Worse yet, this isn’t happening by accident. The companies that develop games for Facebook make big money by selling ad space—some of it to scammers.

This week, Silicon Valley blogger Michael Arrington caused a ruckus by suggesting that Facebook itself has been turning a blind eye to the scams because it is sharing in the spoils. Arrington, who runs the influential TechCrunch blog, is on a crusade to pressure Facebook to clean up its act.

“Ultimately this is Facebook’s fault,” Arrington says. He says the social-networking site isn’t enforcing its own rules against scam ads. “It’s like with Major League Baseball and steroids. If the rules aren’t enforced, which is what’s happening on Facebook, then people are going to break the rules. Facebook needs to stop this.”

Here’s five tips to protect yourself from scams:

* If you don’t know the sender – don’t open it! Booby-trapped attachments are often disguised in clever thank you notes or e-greetings.

* Watch out for emails that request personal information. No legitimate organization will ask for your social security number.

* Be careful with e-mails that look like they are from PayPal, Facebook, or other popular sites. Often these emails are linked to a third-party site that make them look official, but are actually run by thieves or scammers. Instead, just type the Web site’s address directly into your browser.

* Watch for typos or spelling mistakes. Scam artists are street smart, but many have flunked basic grammar. If the email has multiple typos or grammatical errors, odds are it’s not real.

* Watch for red-flag phrases, like “You have won!” or “Verify your account.” Genuine firms never send e-mails like that.

5 soldiers defect complaining corruption

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

ASMARA — Police officers and soldiers under Ethiopia’s Woyanne regime continue to abandon their units and return to their homes, and many are defecting to Eritrea. This week, Ginbot 7 Radio has reported that 1,500 police officers failed to report for duty in the past few weeks. Today, Ethiopian Review’s correspondent in Asamara is reporting that 5 soldiers have recently defected to Eritrea.

The soldiers are complaining that there is no national Ethiopian army. The armed forces in Ethiopia are completely dominated by one minority ethnic group from Tigray, and the army is serving not the national interest of Ethiopia, but the interest of the ruling tribal junta.

The 5 soldiers who have just arrived in Eritrea are Corporal Berhanu Hailu from the Northern Command’s 21st Division, Corporal Tilahun Debula from Northern Command’s 11th Division, Private Bizualem Shiferraw from the Northern Command’s 14th Division, Private Kelila Hassan from the Nothern Command’s 11th Division, and Private Sisay Tesfaye from the Nothern Command’s 14th Division.

Why Hailu Shawel chose a shameful defeat

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

By Captain Woldemikael Dagnachew

Politicians of today-in-age and yesteryear continuously failed to listen, learn and level with citizens to liberate our country and shorten the sufferings of our oppressed citizens. Centuries ago, historians came up with the classic theory to explain the rise and decline of nations. The theory was that great nations start out tough-minded and energetic. Toughness and energy lead to wealth and power. Wealth and too much power lead to affluence and luxury. Affluence and luxury lead to decadence, corruption and decline. Human nature, in no form of it at all, could ever bear prosperity, John Adams wrote in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, warning against the coming corruption of his country. It is too sad that Hailu Shawul has joined the corrupted EPRDF too? For him, betraying the loyal AEUP Members and Supporters was yet another symptom of moral decay. TPLF divided Ethiopians to easily, deviously, systematically and ruthlessly rule the country and we foolishly embraced that division and remained divided for over 18 years. How stupid was that my fellow Ethiopians? Someone once said that all it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing. If this is true then, we really have to ask ourselves if good people are chosen to lead us because evil appears to be prevailing and this is becoming more apparent as we consider the level of moral decay apparent in most, if not all, of our present day politicians. How do these traitorous politicians like Lidetu, Ayele and Hailu get elected? Has our tolerant and wise society really sunk this low that whatever is wrong is right and whatever is right is wrong? Zemene GrimbiT!

I have no doubt that Prof. Tecola Hagos sounded to be an Ethiopian patriot and that I am grateful to him for spilling the beans about Halu Shawul’s past flirts with the devil. But equally I blame him for not exposing him for the past 18 long years despite criticizing most opposition parties and individuals. We could have saved our time, energy and the many millions that Hailu Shawel and his North America gangsters alleged to have stolen from the generous public in the name of Fund-Raising for Kinijit that was hi-jacked and destroyed by the TPLF with Lidetu and Ayele’s help.

Nevertheless, I was still eager to read Prof. Tecola’s articles to know why Hailu Shawel could not join TPLF in 1992 or thereafter as he admittedly wanted a position and whether he was given any position to serve in TPLF or his demands were rejected? The public may want to know also if he was used since then by TPLF as an agent to destroy Kinijit.

WHY IS THAT MORAL DECAY IS SPREADING THROUGH OUR POLITICIANS AND OUR SOCIETY?

So what has really happened to Ethiopian politics and the so-called politicians? Did we really lose our traditional morality? No, we were the victims of our own backward politics and untrained politicians we chose and trusted to lead us. It’s a sign of our spiritual and moral decay that we expect so much as a people from politics, selfish and power hungry politicians like Ayele Chamiso, Lidetu and now, Hailu Shawul who betrayed us and that we are so much less capable of seeing through their obvious and self-serving machinations.

I believe that this stems from the decline of the Christian religion; without some hope in the next world and some balanced sense of the human good in light of eternal life, politics assumes exaggerated importance. It becomes the only hope of community, human unity, the alleviation of pain and suffering and injustice. We do not only put too much faith in politicians but also blindly followed individuals like them as cults and forget that it’s a prosaic task often undertaken by venal people. Our nation is tainted with crimes against God and humanity where human rights are systematically violated, resulting in the disappearance and death of over 6,000,000 Ethiopians since TPLF seized power without being elected by the people & for the people of Ethiopia. It was winner takes all auction or political theft made between the dictatorial Derg regime and TPLF Bandits. We cannot anymore stand as mere spectators of dismal and flagrant display of historical failures to bring a very genuine social, economic and political reforms in Ethiopia. The lying politicians especially like Lidetu and Hailu and their media talking heads and the I know-it-all commentators or writers who supported them are tying to confuse the issue, to justify their ideological and practical impotence, their immorality, which has allowed a continuous rain of betrayals without any serious attempt to end it immediately and by all means. It is now, Zemene GrimbiT indeed!

Their reaction shows how the perversion of moral values in Ethiopia and in the Diasporas has reached such a level that Ethiopian citizens are treated as cannon fodder, as peons to be used and transferred at will, peons in an immoral political process of sheer surrender in the face of TPLF’s state terrorism, of concessions, appeasement and self-destruction. Only a very harsh response to every attack against us a very painful and bloody response against the other side – can decrease the other side’s appetite to attack us and can save human lives. With the so-called “peace process” I myself used to advocate, the situation has become much worse for us Ethiopians, given that the TPLF state terrorists with automatic rifles, guns and tanks went from a few dozen before 1997 to many tens of thousands of killings, thanks to the American government of George W Bush’s brilliant idea to give them machine guns, loans & Aids to continue to loot Ethiopian wealth, terrorise the nation and now, bit by bit lease fertile lands and give away a vast place the size of an European country to weaken and destroy Ethiopia and its unparalleled history that the west have always been jealous about. There have been more and more victims of massacres since the 2005 general election. The word “peace” has been emptied of all meaning, and has become a “code word” for surrender, having been used for almost 19 years to define that which in reality is nothing but the spilling of innocent blood, offered in sacrifice to the Woyane of a murderous ideology. Those who were murdered by the TPLF terrorists, lead by Meles Zenawi (the “engineer” of the Agaazie guns, to whom he might dedicate roads, squares, football teams and tournaments in future, all under the rigorous absence of the free press in Ethiopia and the silence of the media in the West), would be called by President Obama too, who knows “sacrifices for peace and democracy”. Today, more than ever, the warning and reproach by the Prophet Ezekiel resounds profoundly true: they say, “Peace, Peace”, and there is no “peace” So, why would we want to have allies like America, It’s not only a sign of weakness knowing that the west cannot liberate us at all, but us who can liberate ourselves. Period!

As some thought all along and expressed it too, the west is knowingly appeasing the Woyanes because they have surrendered Ethiopia’s sovereignty. The gullible Ethiopians might think they have a country called Ethiopia but lately the reality speaks different. It is a country that belongs to Sheik Al Amoudin and his Arab billionaires, 1000s of NGOs and foreign forces that are running the country the way they like it. Even Hailu Shawul admitted that he was given plenty of Kurkum (a fatherly kick on the head by western diplomats in Addis) in addition to his imprisonment, which he now seemed to have accepted to be all right to be forced to sign the so-called “Code of Conduct” that destroyed his good reputation. The Diplomats argue, even the opposition leaders are dancing to their tunes and they control the country’s political affairs. The Woyanes have no other work other than celebrating food donation as if it’s their good year harvest. I don’t know how much insult and shame the people of Ethiopia can take anymore. Are you ready to betray the fallen heroes too, and give up your entire sovereignty and freedom? What a Zemene GrimbiT we live in really? What a Chat, Reggae and Traitors Twuld, we really have become? Therefore, forget, if you can, the swine flu pandemic, stormy weather and extortion, climate change, pirates, and focus instead on a deadly disease that is fast sweeping through Ethiopian politics: moral gangrene. As it infects the limbs of Politics, rotting the body tissue of Opposition Politics and its Good Cause, the stench of terminal decay becomes unmissable. The bungled attempt by Engineer Hailu against his recent critic was the latest symptom of a political necrosis too, that is destroying his own authority in AEUP.

Hailu remains a leader of AEUP but the party’s purpose will be dying, eaten away by a cascade of incompetence and turpitude cause by TPLF’s terminal disease called opportunism. It is bad enough that the AEUP Could not put an effective brake on the runaway train of Hailu. But when TPLF urge Hailu the betrayal of his friends, members and supporters, the brave, very disciplined people who stuck with him through dark nights, when Hailu the traitor and weaker finally threw in the towel, you can be sure that Ethiopian decency and patriotism are in bad decay and on death row. Hailu’s signing of a fake and biased document was fundamentally unpatriotic. Foolishly, perhaps, I had always thought he was brave and bigger than that. Worst of all, it is spectacularly inept, in need of adult supervision. He has said many patriotic things during his struggle with us and a now saying different things just before the next general election after whick he thinks would be appointed as a President to sit on that rocking chair to build his business empire. It’s telling that so many people are willing to buy this self-serving use of the passive voice. Instead of seeing an optimist politician, I instead see a typical politician, a man with great faith in himself that he hopes others will endorse him without asking too many questions. But Ethiopians are no more trusting fools after Lidetu Kihdetu’s betrayal of 2005. He is also a man that is all too plastic, willing to avoid controversy because his number one issue is not the liberation of oppressed Ethiopians, but himself and his salvific mission to riches and higher position in EPRDF government before he dies.

Hailu always wanted to be a President not because he wants to commit to any particular good policy but because he believes his mere presence will elevate our politics and his native intelligence will be able to see him through any particular issue on which he has not taken a stand up to now. He finds it unseemly and constricting to commit himself to the liberal policies he has endorsed his entire career when it was safe to do so. This is all packaging that reveals someone for whom winning will trump matters of high principle and accountability. But TPLF is not as kind or stupid as he may have thought too? He will never be a President. TPLF does not like Amharas. From now on too, Hailu shawul and the so-called code of conduct, cannot be trusted even with small change. Full marks to those on all sides of the Medrek and others who refused to sign the execution papers and refused to believe that there would ever be a free and fair election. Do we still really want thousands more aliens entering an over-crowded rubber stamp parliament only to say Squak Squack like Ducks to change nothing at all after all what we saw for five years? On 30/10/2009 Hailu Shawul grabbed the spotlight for having “no principles and no courage”. To be accused of doing a shameful thing, all because, the stink from moral gangrene was sickening. Sad!

WHEN GOOD PEOPLE IN ANY COUNTRY CEASE THEIR VIGILANCE AND STRUGGLE, THEN EVIL MEN PREVAIL… – PEARL S. BUCK

There are many good people in our country. I would even venture to state that the overwhelming vast majority of our 80 million citizens are good people. The problem is that the good people have let their guard down and allowed selfish, weak and evil men to prevail. By following those false prophets of government solving all the ills of society, we have allowed the hangman’s gallows to grow and loom ever larger over our every day existence. Ethiopia’s so-called politicians and those who are now in the corridors of power mislead the people, abused their power to only acquire their wealth. To acquire their wealth, the more greedy ones also used all means possible to get them. They enjoyed much advantage in the art of survival. Our nation being abundant with resources and of which many were still untapped, were “goldmines” to these greedy people, and by their greed, they took and swallowed like dinosaurs, whatever things that came to their path. Their greed had domino effect because they normally cried for more and when they cried for more, they then took away most of the wealth of the country like Mengistu Hailemariam the butcher and all others did, leaving the crumbs under the table to the unfortunate who are wounded and left behind with empty hands and pockets to fight for it. This was how business morality began to slide and people began to trust each other less. The effect was that, it also created a gap where the rich became richer and the poor became poorer and sicker. There was no more equality under the eyes of the law and this then affected the country’s ancient social order. At present, equal opportunities in the fields of private business, and ownerships of property and advancement of personal skills are now no more there. People no more respect each other because the more powerful creatures around them had threatened their rights. The government became less caring where tough laws were passed to control and to curtail unwarranted norms or behaviours so that the regime and few of their close friends like Sheik Al Amoudin can cause harm to the people & control social and economic order.

ETHIOPIAN TRIBAL AND OR RACIAL HARMONY THAT IS AFFECTED BY THE EPRDF

The wrong policies of the TPLF government were supposed to give equal advantage to the Amharas, Oromos, Tigrians and other natives of Ethiopia, but this was not materialized. All Ethiopians did not equally share opportunities and wealth in the country. Only those Ethiopians who support the TPLF got the added advantage over those outside them. At the same time in pursing the never-ending policy of an Economic Policy, TPLF had created racial tensions from time to time. It had been purposely created with the focus to ensure that only one particular race or group of people will continue to benefit from the wealth of the country at the expense of other Ethiopians sufferings. There will be further erosion of equality of rights and opportunities. All protection of our rights and equality as enshrined in the Federal Constitution will be further diluted or be taken away. The Federal Constitution will just become a paper tiger and will be ineffective to provide economic, security, political stability, equality, and certainty. For those who were not so fortunate than those in power and being also having not so much opportunity in their paths to help them overcome the spiralling costs of living, they have no choice, but to rob, cheat and sell their bodies, sell chat or drugs to survive. Why? Morals, trusts and integrity were no more be important to them because they had to survive. There had been much moral decay and this was a disease of the 21st century created by the thugs in the TPLF government. We must examine this moral decay carefully and we must seek a cure for it. When moral decay creeps in, our society will collapse. There will be more plunders, cheats, robbers & ruthless killers everywhere. Sadly, it is Zemene GrimbiT.

When the present parliamentarians were elected they took Oaths before the Speakers of the Legislative Assemblies and or in Parliament to protect the Constitutions. The Constitutions are to ensure equality and equal protection before the law, equal opportunity for all races in the fields of business, education, possession of property and the protection of rights of citizens, but many had failed to uphold the Oaths for fear of losing popularity, labelled as OLF or other and or be kicked out in the next election and even be beaten badly by the regime’s thugs as was after the last General Election in 2005. This then created a situation of selfishness among parliamentarians and Ministers and the attitude among these politicians were also that as long as they survive, they forgot or neglected to represent the peoples’ voices in and outside the Legislative Assemblies and Parliament. This was only to ensure their own political survival and that was what the Lidetus, Ayeles and Hailus did. Their selfishness had not been dignified. Other good brains after being been marginalized would just have their political career shortened. The end result is that the country will stand losing these honest and patriotic politicians. Many cabinet ministers also dared not to speak during cabinet meetings for fear that the leadership will not pick them in coming elections and even sack them from the fake cabinet. This was because being in the EPRDF regime’s administration; the stakes are always high especially if you are not a trusted TPLF member. This is because once elected these opportunists and ordinary yobs could also gain extra allowances if given ministerial posts. They could also gain extra allowances by making them sit in the Board of Directors of government-linked companies or in statutory bodies. Since politicians in the TPLF had played a very devious role in causing all those bad political, racial, social and economic divide, they must mend it; otherwise, it will be too late and things can explode at any time. Power had been in their hands if they continue to take away people’s land, people’s rights and discriminate them, we would in these next few years see the bad effect of TPLF’s ruthless abuses. They better call for national reconciliation soon. Otherwise, people will go to the streets and we will see that law and order would be of no effect in our country. Our beloved country Ethiopia will be like some of our neighbouring countries where elected governments collapsed by demonstrations & protests in the streets. How to cure the disease? It is very simple, but the cure would be time consuming because of the rot inside. Politicians need to take the lead because they were the causes of these diseases. Politicians and administrators created peace and progress in any society and if all take the lead, the domino effect of a better society could be felt again.

SHOULD OUR MORALLY DECAYED POLITICIANS BE HELD TO A HIGHER MORAL STANDARD?

The current poor state of the Ethiopian economy and the interests of our politicians, who are often openly supported by the government media and their blinded cadres, typically rule political trends. In recent years, many countries tried to ensure free and fair elections to have adopted several legal and regulatory reforms, and financial disclosure has been claimed to prevent political bribery in some cases.

Yet, even the most striving reforms were often destabilized and taken advantage of, in the name of money and glory. However, the fundamental factor that governs a nation’s political tendency is what people believe about right and wrong, what they aspire for their lives, what virtues they practice, what responsibilities they undertake, what ideals they shape and what vices they condemn. In other words, the fundamental factor in a well-governed state is moral. When it comes to good politics, immorality is a fundamental notion of the viewpoints of all political parties that are involved. For example, in the United States, conservatives oppose abortion defending the human rights of the unborn child, but they don’t support social programs that would ensure help for uneducated people. Liberals oppose death penalty on the grounds of diminishing human lives, but they strongly support abortion. Obviously, both sides are inconsistent and immoral and yet to their own minds, they try to do the right thing under the umbrella of politically correct behaviour. The problem is that in a politicised world governed by collective thinking, people typically do not question the purposes or actions of political leaders because they have voted for them. Lying and the distortion of truth become indispensable tactics for the success of political systems. Politicians imply a system of beliefs that establish their judgment on the morality of a bad situation. This explains the numerous scandals of political corruption in United States, but also in our Mother Ethiopia.

As you may all heard too, Jack Abramoff was found guilty of conspiracy, tax evasion and corruption. Duke Cunningham pleaded guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion; President Bill Clinton was accused for lying about his relations with Monika Lewinsky; and further was investigated for his relation to the White-water Development Corporation while he was Governor of Arkansas; Kenneth Lay was found guilty of security fraud and his name was related to the known Enron scandal along with the names of 158 elected Republicans and 100 Democrats in Congress in 2001. Most of the politicians, lobbyists or political allies were found guilty and sentenced for their committed political crimes. Others are still waiting for their fate in the International Court at The Hague. Meles & Co; soon would be one of them too? Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg. We all live in an infected moral society that promotes individualism as a result of a totalitarian system of political influence that accepts a total collapse of values. And this is the result of the collapse of the political system that values irresponsibility and selfishness instead of the responsible social behaviour. State interests considerably overshadow nation’s interests. Often politicians promote the notion that we are whom we vote for, fighting for ceasing the cultural, social and ethnic conflicts around the world and having a vision of a better world to live in. Moral and political issues should be resolved under a new spirit of compromise and cooperation. Politicians should definitely reorganize their principles and reaffirm their values. They should always strive to re-establish their links to fundamental spiritual values in order to influence society both in individual and collective level. Spiritual and moral values should be the foundation for new economic, social, spiritual and cultural concerns so that politicians are able to get free from the influence of the media, greed and apply their political systems to the best of the society. The Ethiopian government should also effectively redesign the terms of employment in public service, then incentive policies would be improved and would mobilize political will for the sustained anti-corruption and anti-division. But is TPLF controlled the right kind of government for Ethiopia & even for any country in this world that would be willing to eradicate division and corruption? I very much doubt it and in fact further say that TPLF is a 21st Century political disease that poisoned, decayed and destroyed civility and morality in our country.

To awake in people a new sense of responsibility is an intricate task, especially when political and state interests are being put at stake and or at risk. However, the moral strength of a society is the reflection of the life of its members and therefore politicians should acquire a brand new perspective on politics. An issue, which received little attention from politicians and media in the election campaign, is the spiritual and moral decay of our nation. The TPLF and most opposition party leaders do not have all the answers. A spiritual and moral revival is the only answer. This will in time inspire and uplift politics and our society. It is important for all political leaders in our country and also in Diasporas to remember that they are setting an appropriate example for the general public. Often, good people can have a poorely misguided ideas. One can be a political street fighter while remaining civil, moral and patriotic. The key is to stick to the issues and remain loyal. I encourage MEDREK’s political leaders to step back to consider whether they are setting a good, civil example for the citizens of our country and all their future decisions to be for the benefit of Ethiopia, all Ethiopians and not for their personal benefits. The public should also help them to never negotiate out of fear and never fear to negotiate with nasty TPLF.

Also, I strongly urge them never to give in to the TPLF’s selfish, devious, mischievous negotiators and foreign government diplomats bullying, to agree to anything that only benefit the ruling party to stay on power at a cost of the sufferings of the Ethiopian people. Those that push “their selfish wants and rights” push the nation into more dangerous chaos. This time, it is do or die time for the opposition. TPLF’s drama must end or be stopped with blood and sweat if at all necessary. We must say enough is enough! Why too? Ambassador David H. Shinn who was a former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia said, “The United States can impact the situation on the margins, but it does not have the power to force fundamental change even if there was agreement on what that change should be. The fact is that U.S. leverage is much more limited than most in the Ethiopian Diaspora believe. As a reader during the past 25 years of political commentary by the Ethiopian Diaspora and based on my own contacts with that community, I am really struck by the prevailing belief that the U.S. government has the ability to change Ethiopian polices and alter the fundamental direction of events in Ethiopia. This view is misguided. The opinion piece goes on to state, Congress should hold hearings and enact legislation to help Ethiopians create the conditions that are necessary to ensure that food aid is never needed again. The implication is that the U.S. government can resolve Ethiopia’s governmental, demographic, political and social issues. The United States can impact the situation on the margins, but it does not have the power to force fundamental change even if there was agreement on what that change should be. Those in the Ethiopian Diaspora who oppose the Ethiopian government usually suggest that American assistance to Ethiopia can and should serve as the leverage for forcing change in the country”. Zemene GrimbiT!

The TPLF government & pressure groups who call themselves foreign diplomats, who always pretended to care for people’s rights and the well-being of Ethiopia, but gave no thought to how rights can operate in conscious society gives rise to respect for individual rights. There is no end to the so-called rights, which was always demanded. A right-and-freedom-conscious society in effect recognises a few rights and neglects many others for the sake of peace but does not work with TPLF as proved time and time again. The rights that are recognised are those, which are demanded by the powerful, the aggressive and the nasty authorities like TPLF leaders. There cannot be a human-right without a duty. An endless cacophony of demands by foreign embassies in our country for rights has become a dominant feature of modem Ethiopian politics (fed by bad legislation, loans & food aids which encourages these demands). At the same time, there is a deafening silence on the question of individual liberty & democracy. History has continually demonstrated that the greatest of civilizations decline and fall when they succumb to indulgence at the expense of discipline and endeavour. The fates of Egyptian and Roman civilisations are prime examples. It is not too early for Western Civilization to heed the supreme lesson of human experience. It is time for them to stop appeasing tyrants like Meles Zenawi and lecturing us democracy.

The moral and spiritual decay of the nation is the root cause of the escalating political, economic, social and other problems, which confronted Ethiopia. The major political parties, many political activists, government servants and statutory employees of TPLF, (there is no EPRDF), media & educationists are not seriously confronting this on-going decay to unite and defeat our enemies. There are some genuine politicians too, among the above that are conscious of the problems but are oppressed by the secular institutional structures and obstacles. Some, who are totally antagonistic to good moral, confronts this minority, and spiritual values, as well as those who profess commitment or who are nominally religious, but at the same time pursue and promote secular ideas, ideologies and goals that indirectly if not directly, undermine the spiritual and also the good moral. The latter are unaware of the effects of their actions. There is no indication that Government, the educationists or the media have any answers to our problems. Our moral and spiritual decay is at the root of most known problems. The future of Ethiopia must depend on a spiritual, moral and patriotism revival in unison, which alone can inspire and uplift the political, economic, legal, educational, social and other sectors of Ethiopians life and make possible productive change and development. This task rests with all religions who believe in God and who recognise God’s Lordship over the earth and all who freely dwell on it. May our Almighty God eradicate evil from mother Ethiopia? May God help the opposition politicians not to be outsmarted by TPLF too? Amen!!

Long Live Mother Ethiopia and Her Loyal Children Who Stood By Her, When The Going Got Tough!

(The author of this article can be reached at: yaabbelraha@yahoo.com)

The "Untold Story" of the Starvation in Ethiopia

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

By Obang Metho

Do Donors in the West Really Want a Strong, Independent, Unified and Democratic Ethiopia?

As Ethiopians who care about the future of the people of Ethiopia, we want to share with you the “untold story” about hunger in Ethiopia as you examine strategies to intervene in the current food crisis in the country. First of all, we deeply thank you for your recent compassionate plea before the UK House of Commons for food aid to Ethiopia due to the current risk of starvation to many millions. Many Ethiopians face certain starvation without such aid; however, unless the root reasons are examined and long-term solutions sought, Ethiopia will remain a country in constant crisis.

We represent Ethiopians who believe Ethiopia should be capable of feeding itself, even during periods of drought and famine. Unfortunately, Ethiopia has become a “culture of poverty,” with numerous “locks” in place that ensure the continuation of chronic failure and never-ending dependence on others for our basic survival. Without fundamental changes to those mechanisms, attitudes and actions that perpetuate such dependence, huge amounts of food aid will neither meet our immense and ongoing need nor will it bring about a sustainable solution.

The image of famine, hunger, poverty and dependency on outsiders for our basic survival has not always been synonymous with “Ethiopia.” In the 1950ties, most Ethiopians fed themselves and were better off than they are now despite global technological advances, most of which have not reached Ethiopia. Climate change and population increases certainly play a role, but are only part of the problem, much of which has at its core, the authoritarian government under the control of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

I am writing to you as a representative of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) , a grassroots social justice movement of diverse Ethiopians which seeks to mobilize Ethiopians in the Diaspora and within Ethiopia to unite in a coalition across ethnic, regional, political, cultural and religious lines to work together in bringing about and sustaining a more reconciled Ethiopia where robust freedoms, the rule of law, respect for human rights, equal opportunity and good governance undergird a societal structure conducive to the enhancement of life and well-being for all its citizens.
The food crisis is an area of great concern to us. We seek to do all we can to help reduce the scope and impact of this looming crisis by focusing on long-term solutions can be found.

First we must acknowledge that Ethiopia has greatly benefited from friendships with other countries, organizations and notable individuals, which have provided a great deal of support over the years, particularly during times of crisis such as in 1984-1985 during the last major famine, when the UK and others in the world rallied to support the suffering people of Ethiopia.

Now, twenty five years later, Ethiopians are unfortunately in the same position. It is not by accident. Any investigation of the previous famine will reveal a close association with the repressive regime of Mengistu who was responsible for the large-scale destruction of food, animals, homes and crops, all accompanied with widespread human rights atrocities, only exacerbated by the drought.

Opponents were targeted and Meles was among them. He is now repeating that cycle so when one asks why Ethiopia is not better prepared for recurrent droughts, one may see that with one hand his regime is destroying the peoples’ means to sustain their lives while with the other hand, begging for food aid. As long as there is need, his regime has been financially benefiting. The problem now is that with the drought, the need has mushroomed beyond what is “manageable.”
UK House of Commons

Closer investigation will reveal longstanding and deeply entrenched corruption, mismanagement and the use of aid, development and agricultural policies as a means to exert political control. In such a system, some are rewarded and others punished, even with starvation, based on party membership, ethnicity or compliance. The disparities between regions can be seen by the map predicting which regions will be most affected.

During the last drought, the very arid region of Tigray was hard hit, but as you can see, development resources have reduced the threat in 2009. Yet, on November 6th, the government-controlled website, Walta, reported that 486,000 quintals of food was distributed in the Tigrayan region, along with seed for farmers.What about the need in the southern sections of the country?

What is the purpose of such favouritism except to create a greater divide and deeper ethnic tensions between Tigrayans, many who want this regime to fall, and the rest of Ethiopians?

It is hard to believe that Meles truly cares about the Tigrayans, but instead it is more likely a ploy to shore up more support for himself by unfairly lumping Tigrayans together with him, making them feel more vulnerable without him.

You maybe saw a hint of a bigger problem when you visited south-eastern Ethiopian a year ago to assess the condition of the people in the Ogaden; however, instead of seeing an accurate picture, you later learned that what you saw was a “staged version” as the most malnourished children were removed from their dying beds just prior to your visit in order to minimize the seriousness of the problem.

Here is a country that cares more about its image than its dying people; one where the numbers of those at risk have been covered up. What you may have seen if allowed full access was how the Meles regime has targeted the people of the Ogaden, using human rights crimes, starvation and deprivation of humanitarian aid as tools of oppression and blanket punishment of an ethnicity for any resistance.
Since that time, forty-two NGO’s have been kicked out of the region; allegedly, because of providing reports of the serious human rights violations being committed by the Ethiopian military. When the walls blocking access to the Ogaden region finally fall, the world may not be prepared for what they will see—something that may radicalize parts of this population.

It is no surprise that there is little pre-planning to help avoid starvation in a country that regularly wants more money to put into its military to suppress the people or that is now allegedly nearly “giving away some of Ethiopia’s most fertile land to investors or foreign countries rather than removing agricultural development obstacles to Ethiopians.

Even more outrageous is evidence regarding the level of corruption in Ethiopia that prevents the food and humanitarian aid from reaching many of the people for which it was intended; instead, ending up in overseas bank accounts of those in the Ethiopian government or their crony supporters who dominate most every sector of society. Research conducted on this issue revealed that the amount of money being deposited in UK bank accounts from Ethiopia exceeded or nearly exceeded what it received in financial aid. As the people of Ethiopia suffer and starve, tolerance of such corruption becomes morally reprehensible.

Why is the Meles regime allowed to repeatedly break the rules of accountability required by donor countries? This is wrong. Right now, the excuse is being given, by Meles too, that there is no viable alternative to Meles so he is better than a failed state, but the tensions rising in Ethiopia may become too great for Meles to handle and it may all end up exploding into violence and chaos. Why are donors not more concerned about empowering a viable alternative—an opposition movement—that could bring greater justice and freedom rather than empowering a dictator now accused of genocide and crimes against humanity? Where is the pressure to release such legitimate leaders such as Birtukan Mideksa who was imprisoned only because she was a threat?

Right now, no one is protecting the people or their interests and many opportunists like it that way, but this comes at a cost as the perfect storm is brewing in Ethiopia for disaster. The world of truly compassionate decision makers can now make a difference in taking a moral stand. Real solutions must be demanded, rather than ones contrived to appear humane while supporting the exploitation of a nation and people behind their backs.

The conception of Ethiopians as being incapable of supporting themselves is insulting to Ethiopians who cannot even buy fertilizer or good quality seeds without political affiliation. Ethiopia is a rich country that has ample resources and areas of richly fertile land that could feed the country. This is what donor countries should be emphasizing rather than giving food aid year after year and supporting a regime that after 19 years has instead killed the democratic voice and the God-given valuing of human life and dignity. No wonder why there is no viable alternative.

With the election coming up in 2010, the people of Ethiopia are watching carefully to see if the donor countries like the USA and UK will change or will continue with the same game plan. If they continue as is, that will be telling. Do the donor countries like the UK, US, Canada and the EU really care about a free and fair election or only about the appearance of a free and fair election because they are afraid of what kind of regime might come after Meles?

The truth is, the longer the investment is made in a dictator over the people, the deeper the resentment of the people will be and the tighter the control will have to become to limit the voice of the people. This is why many fear that Ethiopia may implode. To avoid this result, only a deep change of course, not just pretence, will bear the desired fruit for both sides.

Ethiopia has become a fragile state that could erupt and destabilize the entire Horn of Africa unless there is structural change that deals head on with the high level of corruption, serial dictators, divide and conquer policies, cronyism and the free reign given to internal and external opportunists. Emergency food aid is only the beginning of the problem. Eventually, Ethiopians will win their freedom; it is just a matter of time.

Let morality be the guide rather than economic or national interests. Ethiopians can see that some in the West really do not want a viable, more democratic alternative to Meles as long as everything is for sale in Ethiopia at “bargain” prices, but if the West loses its soul, what a tragedy for the rest of the world! Please take a stand for the moral right to be done in terms of Ethiopia.

No amount of democratic and humane rhetoric or financial aid will ease the conscience or guilt of those who gain from the plight of others. Like the brilliant and courageous Wilbur Wilberforce, who fought against the economic entrenchments that held slavery in place, we call on you, as someone who is a voice of compassion and justice, to open those locks that will otherwise condemn millions to continuing starvation, suffering, poverty and human rights crimes.

(The above is an Open Letter to the UK Secretary of State and Donor Countries to Ethiopia. Mr. Obang Metho is the Executive Director of Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE). The writer can be reached at obang@solidaritymovement.org)

Verizon to launch iPhone

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

For Ethiopians who would love to get their hands on iPhone, but do not want to switch to AT&T, Apple may have a good news for them soon. It is reported that Apple has contacted a company in Taiwan to produce UMTS/CDMA hybrid iPhone due in the third quarter of next year that will enable the company to sell a single global handset to all carriers, and specifically to Verizon Wireless in the US.

Citing its supply-chain checks, Northeast Securities, a financial services firm, said in a research note issued last week that Apple will launch a WCDMA/CDMA2000-enabled version of the device — not an LTE version — through Verizon by the summer of 2010.

Another report, from OTR Global, provided to AppleInsider, says the new “worldmode” iPhone will gain compatibility with CDMA2000 networks (including Verizon’s US network, which is currently incompatible with existing iPhone models) while retaining compatibility with UMTS 3G networks globally using a new hybrid chip produced by Qualcomm.

According to OTR’s sources, Asustek subsidiary Pegatron will build the new hybrid phone devices for Apple rather than Hon Hai, the iPhone’s current manufacturer. This decision was reportedly made to prevent the company from being “constrained by a single-source assembler.”

A smaller body

The research note identified the new phone as having a 2.8″ screen, which is significantly smaller than the current iPhone’s 3.5″ display.

Last summer, component pictures indicating the development of a smaller 2.8″ iPhone model appeared on the web next to the standard 3.5″ parts currently in production, and a Chinese-language newspaper reported that an upcoming model of the iPhone would be smaller and lighter.

Without any mention of both larger and smaller versions in OTR’s report, it appears but has not yet been confirmed that next year’s iPhone will scale down in size while also gaining compatibility with all major mobile networks.

CDMA vs. WCDMA

The American technological rift between CDMA providers (including Sprint and Verizon) and GSM/UMTS providers (T-Moblie and AT&T) was widely expected to remain in place until Verizon moved to LTE, the next generation of UMTS service.

In other countries, CDMA providers have either shut down their networks and moved entirely to UMTS service (as Telstra did in Australia) or added a UMTS overlay to their existing CDMA service (as Bell and Telus just recently did in Canada). In the US, Verizon decided to do neither, and instead will only be investing in a new next generation LTE network that won’t be completed for years.

This appeared to leave little opportunity for a Verizon iPhone before 2011, but Qualcomm’s “worldmode” hybrid component enables Apple to continue offering a single iPhone version that can be sold by both AT&T and Verizon in the US, and on virtually every carrier outside the US.

UMTS is the 3G service associated with GSM providers, but it uses radio carrier technology (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) similar to but incompatible with Qualcomm’s CDMA2000/EVDO used by Verizon. Despite the technical similarities, CDMA2000 and UMTS/WCDMA are competing, non-interoperable 3G technologies. With nearly all mobile carriers having announced plans to shift to UMTS or LTE in the future, CDMA2000 represents a dead end.

It still remains widely deployed in various markets however, including the US, where Verizon’s CDMA2000 3G network is widely regarded as having wider reach and providing better data service than AT&T’s newer UMTS 3G network. AT&T’s 3G service is rated particularly poorly in San Francisco and New York City, where coverage holes have been exacerbated by a huge influx of data-hungry iPhone users. AT&T has yet to introduce its 3G MicroCell to enable users to solve their own dead zones at home or work.

Qualcomm’s new hybrid CDMA/WCDMA chip offers the potential for a single, global iPhone that users can take to any major carrier, solving the network fractionalization problem. It also solves other issues that had served as roadblocks, including the issue of user confusion that would result from Apple selling separate CDMA and GSM/UMTS versions of the iPhone.

With one phone that works on both types of networks, any differences between the two (such as in features like conference calling and simultaneous voice and data, unique to UMTS) will be more apparently tied to the provider’s network rather than to an iPhone model itself.

Verizon’s DROID, cancellation fee launch

Verizon’s merciless attacks on AT&T’s 3G network coverage in ads spoofing the iPhone’s “there’s an app for that” slogan were another factor which left some observers to think that Verizon could not possibly be in talks with Apple to sell the iPhone anytime soon, but the OTR report indicates that Verizon and Apple have already hammered out an agreement to sell the new iPhone model within the year.

Verizon recently launched two smartphones aimed squarely at the iPhone: the BlackBerry Storm 2 and Motorola Droid. At the same time, the provider also announced a new cancelation policy that charges users a hefty $350 when they attempt to back out of contracts involving “advanced devices.”

Last year, the company found little lasting enthusiasm from users who assumed that the original Storm would be closer to the iPhone in terms of features; whether the new fee is an attempt to penalize unsatisfied users or to profit from switchers next year, it may result in users rethinking their purchases right now.

With reports breaking the news that Verizon will be selling the iPhone within the year, sales of the Storm 2, Droid, and next year’s Palm Pre may end up repressed if customers decide they’d rather wait for the iPhone to arrive instead of facing the prospect of a major cancellation penalty and the loss of their subsidy credit by buying an alternative device now.

Droid reviews have largely described it as a second place alternative for users who want to stick with Verizon. That being the case, the prospect of a Verizon iPhone appears poised to deflate Droid sales this holiday season.

Bad news for AT&T

The news might not be good for AT&T, considering that many users have switched to AT&T solely because they wanted to get the iPhone. The availability of a Verizon iPhone may cause AT&T buyers to hold off on new purchases until they see what kinds of competitive deals AT&T and Verizon will offer once the iPhone’s exclusivity with AT&T ends next summer and the new “worldmode” iPhone appears.

It does however give AT&T a year to improve its 3G network and roll out the 3G MicroCell before being hit with mass defections from iPhone users irate over service issues. AT&T can still advertise that its 3G network is faster than Verizon’s CDMA2000 coverage, and that it offers some features that CDMA2000 does not, including simultaneous voice and data and easy to use, multiple party conference calling.

AT&T has struggled to keep up with the pace of iPhone development, failing to immediately implement iPhone 3.0’s MMS and tethering features, and remaining unable to take advantage of the faster 7.2 Mbps HSPA data potential of the iPhone 3GS. The threat posed by a “worldmode” iPhone should push AT&T to deliver a year of high priority network upgrades, and potentially result in more competitive service plans.

Verizon ready to jump on the iPhone bandwagon

Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive of Verizon Communications, said last month that the decision to launch iPhone on Verizon is not up to his company. “This is a decision that is exclusively in Apple’s court,” he said during Verizon’s third-quarter earnings call. “We obviously would be interested at any point in the future they thought it would make sense for them to have us as a partner. And so we will leave it with them on that score.”

“What they have done has been successful, so we have to sit back and give them credit for that,” he said. “Our view is to broaden the base of choice for customers, and hopefully along the way, Apple, as well as others, will decide to jump on the bandwagon.”

Accused coup plotters savagely beaten up in prison

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Some of the 46 detainees who are currently on trial after being accused by the tribal junta in Ethiopia of trying to overthrow the regime have told the court on Friday that they are being savagely tortured by security personnel.

One of the accused, Ato Asaminew Tsige, told the court that he has lost sight in one eye from the beatings.

Upon hearing Ato Asaminew’s claim, family members started to cry loudly, prompting the judges to remove every one from the court room except the accused, the prosecutors, the defense lawyers, the police, and some journalists.

Ato Asaminew asked the court to appoint an independent physician to give the detainees medical treatment and investigate the tortures.

An official representing the prison denied the torture charge. The judges hearing the case told the detainees to file their complaints in writing.

Teddy Afro in Dubai – video

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Teddy Afro in Dubai, October 16, 2009. The video was recorded by Martha Semu, an Ethiopian who resides in UAE. Watch more videos here.

Ethiopia elections: Last ditch attempt at blowing dust

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

By Hindessa Abdul

Four political parties are said to have agreed upon and signed a “code of conduct” that would make it easier for them to run for the 2010 general elections in Ethiopia. At the moment it is the governing party which is known to the public or to whoever is concerned. The three “opposition parties” who signed the code are Coalition for Unity and Democracy (a creation of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia and awarded to an Ayele Chamiso), the All Ethiopian Unity Organization, and the Ethiopian Democratic Party. The leaders of the latter two are much more known than the parties they supposedly represent. The agreement on the code of conduct was signed by the prime minister wearing his hat of a party leader.

The Message

The appearance of the prime minister is symbolic in view of the rare appearances he makes with opposition politicians. He is normally satisfied with sending his all too powerful lackey who officially is the communications adviser with a minister portfolio.

The TPLF boss didn’t show up there for the Ethiopian public. That was rather an attempt to hoodwink the major donors who from time to time talk of the ever narrowing political space in the country. It sells well also with those who think in absence of a “strong opposition”; Meles is the messiah who can lead the horn of African nation to the Promised Land.

In view of the pressure some of the donors exerting on those who didn’t join the charade, particularly the Forum (Medrek), the stunt seems to hit the intended target. Even more so, Forum may succumb to the pressure as they will be threatened with cancellation of their certificates as parties.

The calculation

Forum (Medrek) which is a motley group of eight parties and individuals have some personalities who can make noise. TPLF has warned from the outset it has learnt a lesson from the 2005 elections and they will not tolerate any similar behaviors. While TPLF wants some of them in the parliament as it had done ever since 1995 following the adoption of the constitution jointly written by Meles and the late Kifle Wodajo, it doesn’t want any more seats for the nominal opposition. As it has been observed recently every result must be in the 99 percent realm. The last local elections were reminiscent of the Maoist states of the 70s from which TPLF draw its ideology. In the 2008 local elections TPLF got 3.5 million cadres elected for the various local and regional councils (That is about the entire population of Congo Brazzaville). The news was that only 3 people were elected from other ranks.

Though TPLF would allow Forum to contest the elections under his own terms, what Hailu Shawel gave him was more than they bargained for. It was a God sent moment. So if Forum is forced to boycott the elections, it is the party of Lidetu and Hailu who will be contesting. Is there anyone by now who believes that they will ever win a seat in a fair election? But no surprises if both show up in the parliament next year. TPLF will work hard to get them elected.

The story of betrayal

During the 2005 elections and aftermath, in addition to the killings, torture, imprisonment and intimidation, there were a fair amount of betrayals and frequent changes of sides that undermined the opposition. Some were monumental. Like that of Lidetu Ayalew, the act of which earned him the nickname Kihdetu Ayalew.

It is almost a fresh memory when Hailu stood as a symbol of defiance just after the election with that famous footage of international media showing him under house arrest in his own compound. The same can be said of Lidetu when his former enemies ransacked his office and put him under house arrest.

While the latest betrayal doesn’t make a difference in the political scene, it was clearly aiming at gaining some short sighted benefits. The Engineer may have been calculating that the eminent release of Birtukan would send him into oblivion. So before she even got released he wanted to make a statement. One cannot hide the fact that his submission to TPLF is a blow to Forum who at the moment do not know what to do. But whatever calculation the Engineer may have in his mind, it is too late too little to save his skin. For the moment Hailu has at least gained the title he has always wanted. TPLF has ordered all their media to address him as Engineer Hailu Shawel. But at the end of the day, make no mistake he is the biggest loser of all.

Sprinkles in parliament

Since the formation of the parliament TPLF has deliberately put a couple of opposition politicians with an oratorical skill. That was supposed to give a democratic character to the rubber stamp parliament. In the mid 90s it was Major (Shaleqa) Admasse who never tired of condemning the leaders of TPLF and ANDM. When he finally passed away, the government media produced a nice obituary. Then came Professor Beyene Petros, Bedru Adem, Dr Merera Gudina, Lidetu Ayalew and the likes. Each gave the parliament some semblance of a democratic character. Obituaries abound, what they will get in exchange is yet to be seen.

Now it is the members of Forum making the noise. Dr Merera Gudina, Bulcha Demeksa, former president Dr Negasso Gidada and former defense minister Seye Abraha who are being the most outspoken. Again the public is suspicious of some of these politicians for the various roles they had played earlier. I don’t blame the public.

Seye Abraha was known for his battle rhetoric before he fell out with his brothers in arms. Some like Dr Merera were unwilling accomplices of the government for deciding to join the parliament after the carnage of unarmed civilians in 2005. Probably the most notorious of them all is the biology professor turned politician Dr Beyene Petros. He has been chairman of so many political parties that this writer may be forgiven for losing track of which party he is leading at the moment. It is true that he has been the member of the parliament for over a decade. When not in parliament he was vice minister of education when TPLF just took power.

In closing

Whatever the agreements or code of conducts there will be nothing that will change in Ethiopian politics at least for the foreseeable future. The result of the election has been a fait accompli since long time. The systematic elimination of opposition politicians has left TPLF to be the sole party that calls the shots for many years to come. In the mid 90s some leaders of the party were talking of becoming the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) of Ethiopia, in reference to the Mexican governing party that was in power for over 70 years. But then PRI was defeated and that talk slowly died down.

What this election is good for the ruling party is not about political transformation of the country. They also have an economic incentive. The year is already promising for Trans Ethiopia owned by the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT) which is already amassing fortune out of the transportation of food to the drought affected areas. They will also make more money in the transportation of election materials to the various corners of the country. Party cadres will definitely benefit from the per diems and other perks when they will be assigned to carry out the elections. The party owned publishing houses like Mega will be busy printing the various materials. The list goes on and on. These are the other altruistic reasons for undertaking the elections.

(The writer can be reached at ab.media@yahoo.com)

Ethiopia: Addis Ababa Police Headquarters robbed

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Unknown individuals have reportedly robbed the Addis Ababa Police Headquarters late last month taking with them over 20 AK-47 automatic rifles, several hand grenades, and ammunition, according to Ginbot 7 Radio.

Such a brazen attack on a police headquarters in Addis Ababa, which is watched by several layers of security agencies — the Federal Police, kebele police, the military, Ministry of Internal Security, and the Addis Ababa police itself — has caused a speculation that the robbery might be an inside job.

More from Ginbot 7 Newspaper [Amhairc]:

ከባድ የጥበቃ ስራ በሚካሄድበት አዲስ አባባ ፖሊስ ጽፈት ቤት ውስጥ የመሳሪያ ዝርፊያ ተካሄደ

የወያኔ የደህንነት፣ የመከላከያና የፖሊስ አባለት ለ24 ሰአት በተጠንቀቅ በሚጠብቋት አዲስ አበባ የመሳሪያ ዝሪፊያ መካሄዱ ፤ ዝሪፊያውም የተካሄደው በፖሊስ ጣቢያው ግቢ ውስጥ መሆኑ ብዙዎችን አስገርሟል።

ጥቅምት 24 ቀን 2002 አም ማንነታቸው ባልታወቁ ሰዎች በአዲስ ከተማ ፖሊስ ጣቢያ ውስጥ በተፈጸመው ዝርፊያ ከ20 በላይ ክላሺንኮቭ ጠመንጃዎችና በርካታ ጥይቶችና ቦምቦች መዘረፋቸውን ምንጮቻችን ተናግረዋል። ዝርፊያው የተፈጸመው በሌሊት ሲሆን፣ የወያኔ ተረኛ ጠባቂ ፖሊሶች ስራቸውን በመስራት ላይ እንደነበሩም ለማወቅ ተችሎአል።

የዘራፊዎቹ ማንነት በውል ባይታወቅም ለዝግጅታችን ሚደርሱን መረጃዎች እንደሚያመላክቱት ዝርፊያውን የፈጸሙት ራሳቸው የወያኔ ሹመኞች ሳይሆኑ አልቀረም። የወያኔ ባለስልጣናት የተወሰኑ ፖሊሶችን ለማጥቃት በማሰብ ዝርፊያውን ሆን ብለው እንዳቀነባበሩት የሚጠቁሙ መረጃዎች በርካታ ሲሆኑ፣ የግንቦት 7 ድምጽ መረጃውን አጣርቶ ለህዝብ ይፋ ለማድረግ በመስራት ላይ ነው።

በተያያዘ ዜናም ባለፈው ወር ብቻ ከ1500 በላይ ፖሊሶች ስራቸውን በፈቃዳቸው ለቀዋል። ፖሊሶቹ ከወያኔ ጋር አብረው ለመስራት አለመፈለጋቸውን በመግለጽ የመልቀቂያ ደብዳቤ ሲያስገቡ መቆየታቸውን ለማወቅ የተቻለ ሲሆን፣ ወያኔ በሚለቁ ፖሊሶች ቦታ ታማኝ ተተኪዎችን ካዘጋጀ በሁዋላ የስራ መልቀቂያውን መፍቀዱ ታውቋል። ይህን ተከትሎም ከ1500 በላይ ፖሊሶች ስራቸውን ጥለው መውጣታቸውን ከታማኝ ምንጮች ያገኘው መረጃ አመልክቷል።

ወያኔ በፖሊሶች ላይ ያለው ጥርጣሬ በየጊዜው እየጨመረ በመምጣቱ በቅርቡ በጦላይ ወታደራዊ ማስልጠኛ ጣቢያ ግምገማ አካሄዶ በርካታ ፖሊሶችን ማባረሩ የሚታወስ ሲሆን፣ ተመሳሳይ ዙር ግምገማ በቅርቡ እንደሚደረግም ለማወቅ ተችሎአል።

ወታደሮችና ፖሊሶች አገርን በመግደል ላይ ካለው የወያኔ አገዛዝ ጋር በመተባበር ወገናቸውን ከመበደል እንዲታቀቡና የነጻነት ሀይሎችን እንዲቀላቀሉ የግንቦት 7 ሊ/መንበር የሆኑት ዶ/ር ብርሀኑ ነጋ በአዲስ አመት መልእክታቸው ጥሪ ማቅረባቸው የሚታወስ ሲሆን፣ ጥሪው በሰራዊቱና በፖሊሶች ዘንድ ከፍተኛ ተቀባይነት እያገኘ መምጣቱን የሚደርሱን መረጃዎች ያሳያሉ።

Nigeria beats Kenya, secures place in World Cup 2010

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Nigeria has guaranteed its place in the World Cup Football 2010 championships in South Africa, beating Kenya on their home pitch 3:2 on Saturday.

Trailing at half-time in a match they had to win, the Nigerians hit back with two goals inside five minutes.

The Kenyans failed to clear a cross and the former Newcastle United striker spun before hooking the ball past goalkeeper Willis Ochieng to earn Nigeria a fourth World Cup appearance.

Russia is taking on Slovenia on today in Moscow in their first game in the World Cup Qualifiers. The teams will meet up again on November 18 in Slovenia for the deciding match.

Slovenia, who last reached the finals in 2002, have put in a series of strong defensive performances during their qualification campaign, conceding just four goals, fewer than only the Netherlands.

However, Guus Hiddink’s Russian side will be relieved to have avoided neighbors Ukraine, who will meet Greece in the playoffs.

Russia qualified for the playoffs after finishing second behind Germany in Group 4. Hiddink is hoping to bring his fourth national team to the World Cup, having previously led impressive campaigns with the Netherlands in 1998, South Korea in 2002, and Australia in 2006.

Institutionalized torture of Hassan Ahmed Makhtal in Ethiopia

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Hassan Ahmed Makhtal Article 2 of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment states that: “Each State party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 prohibits torture during internal armed conflict. States are also required to bring those responsible for torture to justice and to give redress and compensation to those who have been tortured.

Article 18(1) of the Ethiopian Constitution states that: “No person shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

However, in the Ogaden, there is neither arrest nor interrogation without torture. Usually, Ethiopian armed and security forces systematically torture detainees to extract confessions or information under duress. A number of people were tortured to death. The OHRC has examined a large number of torture survivors; some of them were disabled, while others bore scars of torture on their bodies.

The latest victim of Ethiopian government’s institutionalized torture was Hassan Ahmed Makhtal who died from wounds sustained during his detention.

On May 17th 2007, in Jigjiga, Ethiopian security forces and the local police arrested Hassan Ahmed Makhtal and a number of his relatives from their residences in the dead of night. And then they were transferred to Garabcase military barracks and Jigjiga Police Centre. According to ex-jail mates and relatives’ accounts they have undergone severe physical and psychological torture. Hassan, who was in a poor state of health, was denied adequate medical treatment while he was in detention. (See Ogaden: Ethiopian Government Forces: Massacre, displace and starve out the civilian population with impunity ref: OHRC/AR/07).

Recently, after 22 months of detention without official charges or trial he was released on bail, and was not allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Hassan’s younger brother Bashir Ahmed Makhtal who is a prominent Canadian businessman, and originates from the Ogaden region, is now serving a life sentence in an Ethiopian jail. He was accused of being a member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front. (Bashir Ahmed Makhtal: Addis Ababa Court’s Sentence: A Miscarriage of Justice ref: OHRC /PRAU/1209).

Since the arrest of his Canadian brother, the Ethiopian government has hunted down all members of his extended family without an apparent reason.

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee is concerned about the safety and well-being of the remaining members of Hassan Ahmed Makhtal’s extended family, who are in detention and asks for their unconditional and immediate release.

The Ogaden Human Rights Committee condemns Ethiopian government’s policy of subjecting detainees to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

(Ogaden Human Rights Committee, ogadenrights.org)

Egyptian police gun down an Ethiopian man

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

EL-ARISH, EGYPT — An Egyptian security official on Saturday said border guards shot to death another Ethiopian who was trying to cross the border into Israel.

“Guards first fired a warning shot as the man tried to cross the barbed wire fence early Saturday. When he failed to stop, he was shot dead,” the Egyptian official said.

Two Ethiopians and an Eritrean were also injured in the incident and were arrested by Egyptian authorities.

In September, Egypt police shot an Ethiopian woman and arrested at least 14 people who were trying to enter Israel illegally.

Ethiopian Emperor Menelik's pocket watch on auction

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Menelik pocket watch GENEVA (AP) — A historical pocket watch made for Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II (1844 – 1913), “The Negus Watch”, dating from 1893, is displayed during an auction preview for the media at Sotheby’s in Geneva, Switzerland, this week.

The auction, Magnificent Jewels, will go on sale November 17 in Geneva.

The Watch was a gift to Leon Chefneux in recognition of his contribution to the implementation of Ethiopia’s first railway line, as inscribed on the inside of the case ‘Don de Sa Majeste Menelik II Empereur d’Ethiopie’.

The yellow gold chronometer pocket watch’s case embraces a white enamel dial. It exhibits a blue and white enamel embellishment, Ethiopian polychrome symbols, used in place of hour markers, subsidiary seconds, a white enamel replacement dial, as well as a back cover, suggestive of the monarch’s crown, infoniac.com says.

Paved with rubies and diamonds, the model is offered in its presentation case and accompanied by the original First Class Geneva Observatory Certificate.

The estimated value is CHF 30,000 – 50,000 (US$ 29,100 – 48,500).

የግል ሚዲያ የዴሞክራሲ ዋስትና እንጂ ጠላት አይደለም

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

ከአውራምባ ታይምስ ዝግጅት ክፍል

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ኢትዮጵያ ፈርማ ከተቀበለቻቸው የተባበሩት መንግስታት የሰብአዊ መብት ሰነዶች አንዱ በዓለም አቀፍ የሲቪልና የፖለቲካ መብቶች ቃል ኪዳን አንቀጽ 19 ስር የሚገኘውና ማንኛውም ሰው ያለምንም ጣልቃ ገብነት የራሱን አስተሳሰብ ስለመያዝ መብቱ የሚደነግገው ክፍል ነው:: ድንጋጌው ሃሳብ በነፃነት የሚገለጽባቸውን የተለያዩ መንገዶች በመብትነት ያጎናፀፈ ሲሆን አጠቃቀሙን አስመልክቶም ግዴታዎችንና ኃላፊነቶችን አካቷል:: … የኢ.ፌ.ዴ.ሪ. ህገ መንግስት አንቀጽ 29 ንዑስ አንቀጽ 4 ደግሞ ድንጋጌዎቹን የሚያጠነክርና አስፈላጊው የህግ ጥበቃ የሚደረግበትን አግባብ ይገልፃል:: … እድሜ ጠገቡ አዲስ ዘመን ጋዜጣ ህዳር 1 ቀን 2002 ዓ.ም. በ69ኛ አመት 61ኛ እትሙ አቋሙን ከሚያንፀባርቅበት የርዕሰ አንቀጽ ጎን ቆርኔልዮስ የተባሉ ፀሃፊን መጣጥፍ የአዘጋጆቹ ምንም አይነት ሙያዊ አርትኦት ያልዳሰሰው በሚያስመስል መንገድ የተዘጋጀውን አሳዛኝና አሸማቃቂ ጽሁፍ አስመልክቶ የሚወስነው በመንግስት የተዘጋጀው ኤዲቶሪያል ፖሊሲው መሆኑ እንደተጠበቀ ሆኖ ከላይ በተጠቀሰው ዕለት ከድርጊት ዘጋቢነት ይልቅ ወደ ድርጊት አስፈፃሚነት የተለወጡ ጋዜጦችና ጋዜጠኞች በሚል ርዕስ በአውራምባ ታይምስ እና በአዲስ ነገር ጋዜጦች ላይ የቀረበው ጽሁፍ ሃሳብን በነፃነት ከመግለጽ መርህ ይልቅ ከሳሽና ፈራጅ በመሆን በነፃው ፕሬስ ላይ የተቃጣ ስልታዊ ጥቃት ሲሆን የመንግስት ፖሊሲና ስትራቴጂዎች አበስራለሁ የሚለው አዲስ ዘመን ጋዜጣ ይህንኑ ጽሁፍ ከርዕሰ አንቀጹ ጎን ያለውን ገዥ አምድ በመስጠት አትሞ ማሰራጨቱ የጉዳዩን አደገኝነት ያጎላዋል:: … ለመቀጠል እዚህ ላይ ይጫኑ [pdf]

Ethiopia: ONLF forces attack multiple Woyanne targets

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

An Ethiopian rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), is reporting that it has carried out a massive military campaign against forces of the Woyanne tribal junta in eastern Ethiopia in the past few days and occupied 7 towns. The following is a military communique from the ONLF:

Armed forces of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) launched a broad multiple front military operation against military positions of the Woyanne regime occupation army liberating seven towns in Ogaden on Tuesday, 10 November, 2009. The operation involved thousands of ONLF troops and resulted in two days of heavy fighting. A significant number of Woyanne troops have been killed and their military hardware captured or destroyed during this operation.

ONLF forces entered the towns of Obolka located near Harar, Hamaro located to the East of Fik, Higlaaley near Degah Bur, Yucub located 40km from Wardheer, Galadiid located 35km from Kabri Dahar, Boodhaano near the city of Godey, Gunogabo located near Degah Bur,

Woyanne forces had deployed troops and positioned large amounts of military hardware in all of these towns due to their strategic military value. ONLF forces were warmly welcomed by the population in these areas and are administering medical care to those civilians attacked by retreating Woyanne forces.

Ethiopia: A senior AEUP leader resigned in protest

Friday, November 13th, 2009

A senior leader of the All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), Major Argaw Kabtamu, has resigned from the party after protesting the party chairman Hailu Shawel’s agreement with head of the Woyanne regime, Meles Zenawi, on the upcoming general elections.

Major (Shaleqa) Argaw spent 2 years in jail, and was released on August 18, 2007, along with 30 other political prisoners. He is a highly respected leader of AEUP who is known for his principled stand.

In a related story, some leaders and members of the AEUP are circulating a petition within the party hierarchy in order to force Hailu Shawel to back out of the the traitorous agreement he signed with Meles Zenawi, a blood thirsty dictator who unleashed his death squads on Shibre Desalegn and thousands of other peaceful pro-democracy protesters following the May 2005 elections. During the same period, over 40,000 young Ethiopians were rounded up from Addis Ababa and other cities and were sent to malaria-infested concentration camps in remote parts of Ethiopia.

Younger AEUP activists are also currently working to force the resignation of Hailu Shawel for committing one of the worst betrayals of the people in Ethiopian history.

HRW honors Ethiopian human rights activist Daniel Bekele

Friday, November 13th, 2009

An Ethiopian human rights activist who was jailed for 2 1/2 years said Friday that his country is less free today than it was during its disputed 2005 election.

Daniel Bekele, 42, is crisscrossing the U.S. and Canada on a speaking tour after being honored for his human rights work by New York-based Human Rights Watch.

The soft-spoken lawyer — who won a court order that allowed him serve as an election monitor in Ethiopia in 2005, only to be arrested and charged with treason and attempted genocide later — says a bevy of new, restrictive legislation bodes poorly for a free vote in 2010.

“What is very interesting to note in Ethiopia is sort of the opening of democratic space until 2005, and how that … has constantly been shrinking, if not closing down since then,” Daniel said in a telephone interview from Toronto. In keeping with Ethiopian custom, he uses his first name on second reference.

Those laws, he said, include legislation implemented last year that essentially forbids cash-strapped Ethiopian organizations from doing human rights work, if more than 10 percent of their budget comes from foreign donors, and a strict new anti-terrorism law that could be used to prosecute journalists for what they publish.

The opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats in the 2005 vote, but not enough to topple Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The opposition claimed the voting was rigged, and European Union observers said it was marred by irregularities.

The election was followed by violent protests. Ethiopia acknowledged that its security forces killed 193 civilians protesting alleged election fraud.

Leslie Lefkow, a Human Rights Watch researcher who is accompanying Daniel on his speaking tour, said rights workers in Ethiopia face increasing harassment, arrest and danger.

“The situation for human rights defenders is not only tight, it’s dangerous,” she said Friday. “There are certainly human rights defenders who are being threatened and being forced to flee the country.”

Opposition politicians have for months been pointing to signs of increased oppression in Ethiopia, notably the harassment and arrest of thousands of their candidates in 2008′s local elections that they believe allowed the ruling party to sweep the elections.

Prime Minister Meles said in September that he will run in May’s presidential election, reversing repeated avowals that he would retire. Meles has held power since he and his Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front led a 1991 coup to depose Mengistu Haile Mariam.

On Friday, more than 40 suspects arrested in April and charged with trying to plot a violent coup were scheduled to appear in an Addis Ababa court. The hearing was postponed.

“Some of the defendants made allegations that they were tortured and mistreated in earlier days,” Lefkow said. “To my knowledge, they still have not been given access to an independent medical assessment of that. In these various trials, including in Daniel’s own trial a few years ago, there’s a lot of rhetoric about the Ethiopian judicial system adhering to the rule of law, but little evidence.”

Daniel said he hopes to return to Ethiopia and resume his work after finishing his studies at Oxford University. For his own safety, he did not provide details about his time in prison with fellow activist Netsanet Demissie.

Both were initially charged with treason and attempted genocide along with 100 opposition leaders and journalists, then convicted of inciting violence and imprisoned for 2.5 years.

The main group of 38 politicians and journalists wrote a formal apology to the government and were convicted and pardoned in 2007, to great jubilation in the Ethiopian capital.

Daniel and Netsanet refused to sign the pardon deal and continued to fight their case as public attention for their situation waned. Daniel appeared undeterred by the sudden drop in attendance at the trial, appearing before the three-judge tribunal, his hands clasped, head high, speaking calmly and referring to thick law books.

“He is an incredibly courageous and committed person,” Lefkow said. “He desperately wants to help build up Ethiopia into a democratic society.”

(By Anita Powell, AP writer, Ethiopia correspondent from 2007 to 2009.)

A book about Gen. Demissie Bulto released in DC

Friday, November 13th, 2009

CRYSTAL CITY, VIRGINIA — On November 9, 2009, a crowd of over 120 gathered for a book signing event at the Double Tree Hotel in Crystal City, Virginia.

Ato Neamin Zeleke, the lead organizer and publisher, opened the event with a remark that highlighted the import of preserving the legacy of heroic Ethiopians who served their nation with honor and dignity and who sacrificed life and limb for their nation and people.

The event featured speeches by distinguished guests as well as family members of the late General Demissie Bulto.

Among those who spoke were the wife of Maj. Gen. Demissie, Wzr. Aster Adamu, his brothers Ato Kibebrew Bulto and Ato Berhanu Bulto, and Capt. Mamo Habtewold, an old friend of Gen Demissie and the most decorated Ethiopian war hero during the Korean War.

Capt. Mamo, who received the highest medal of honor from Atse HaileSelassie, Silver Star from the US Government, and King Leopold’s Star from the Belgium Government, and the highest medal from the Korean Government, spoke about his early days with Gen. Demissie at the Royal Honor Guard Military Academy and at the Korean War.

Wzr. Aster’s remarks focused on the hardship military families face on a daily basis and the struggles she faced and overcame in raising a family while her husband was fighting in the war against Somalia in the South and East and later against in Eritrea.

Those who spoke following her praised Wzr. Aster for preserving her late husband’s war dairies for over twenty years and leading a successful effort to unearth the remains of her late husband and other officers — who were killed by Mengistu Hailemariam loyalists and buried en masse in Eritrea — and conduct a proper burial in Addis Ababa.

Gen. Wubetu Tsegaye, who was imprisoned by Col. Mengistu Hailemariam following the May 1989 coup also spoke about his encounters with Gen. Demissie during one of the major battles in the North.

Gen. Wubetu described Gen. Demissie as an officer with an amazing skill as a strategic military thinker and planner in drawing up the most complex and largest military maneuver during the battle to free Barentu that included air born (several thousand that was dropped by a parachute), Heliborn troops (Troops dropped from Helicopter), amphibious landing with the Ethiopian Navy, mechanized and ground troops.

Brig. Gen. Tesfaye Habtemariam, who received the highest medal for his heroic leadership in a daring rescue mission in the Nakfa Mountains, also spoke eloquently about the time when he met Gen. Demissie for the first time when he was sent to Ethiopian Airborne in the 1960s to receive commando training. He singled out Maj. Gen. Merid Nigussie and Gen. Demissie Bulto as two officers who were highly capable army leaders. He said “I see the two of them as very similar, almost as two sides of the same coin. I recall many instances when they would show up at the battlefield and inspect the tiniest detail that one may overlook. They would look at a freshly dug foxhole and would ask the soldier to try to sit and move around in it. Then would ask the soldier how he is going to sleep in it, sit in it, relax in it. ‘You may be pinned down here by enemy fire for days,’ they would caution.”

Gen. Tesfaye added, “some times the soldiers would leave behind some of the ammunition that we would distribute for the given mission. The amount distributed depended on the nature of the mission but some soldiers would leave some of it behind to lighten their load. I have witnessed these two Generals conduct random checks of the soldiers’ sacks before sending us off to a mission. The two were the most detail oriented leaders who deeply cared about the welfare of their soldiers.”

Gen. Tesfaye also recalled an instance during the much-celebrated victory at Barentu when Gen. Demissie showed up at the front lines in Algena to encourage the troops: “He was not supposed to expose himself like that. However, he was a kind of leader who believed a general should inspect every movement and encourage his troops even when doing so posed grave dangers to his own life. The soldiers did not expect to see a senior commander at the battlefront and his presence gave us a moral boost.”

Brig. Gen Gezmu, Capt. Getachew Woldemariam, Lt. Ayal-Sew Dessie, Ato Asteway Merid — the son of the late Maj. General Merid Negussie, Ato Ayleneh Ejigou, and Ato Samson Demissie also spoke before the Q&A session.

Gen. Gezmu said he remembered the late general in particular for his unique effort to improve the welfare of his soldiers and staff. He recalled the general as a man who would try to help alleviate personal problems of officers and soldiers under his command. Capt. Getachew reminisced about his days with Gen. Demissie as a cadet at the Royal Guard Militay Academy.

An old friend of the author of the book, Ato Samson, recalled the time some fifteen years back when the author began writing the book. Samson remarked that the book has inspired him to record his own father’s story and held the book as an example of how each of us can contribute to the preservation of the history of our people.

A documentary video directed by Artist Tamagne Beyene was shown followed by a Q&A session with the author.

Artist Alemtsehay Wodajo read a poem dedicated to members of the former armed forces who gave the ultimate.

Distinguished guests present include Amb. Imiru Zeleke, Amb. Ayalew Mandefro — former Defense Minister, and journalist Ato Mulugeta Lule.

Gen. Demissie served in the Ethiopian army for a total of 38 years, 23 years during Emperor HaileSelassie and 15 years during the Derg regime. He received a total of 17 medals, 15 of which he received from Emperor HaileSellase including first level medal for battlefield heroism for his heroic deeds leading an airborne battalion at the battle of Degehabour during the first Somalia war in 1963.

(For more information about the book, write to neaminZ@aol.com)

Ethiopian-American vote delivers in Virginia 09 elections

Friday, November 13th, 2009

VIRGINIA, USA (ea4c.org) — Creigh Deeds and the Democratic ticket suffered a sweeping defeat, turning what Obama turned into a “Blue State” back into the red column of the Republican Party. The loss suffered by the Democrats was stunning in scope and magnitude. Not only did the Democratic Party lose its hold of the Governor’s mansion, they also lost the Lt. Governor’s election and the Attorney General’s election. Furthermore, the Democrats also lost control of the State House. And in a completely jaw-dropping fashion, Deeds not only lost statewide, he lost in Democratic strongholds such as Fairfax and in Northern Virginia as a whole.

The one “Blue” spot in a sea of Northern Virginia red occurred in the City of Alexandria and Arlington. Amazingly, these were the only areas that Deeds won. These two cities are part of the 8th Congressional District, a district which is home to a massive Ethiopian-American community. By showing up in droves to the polls, Ethiopian-Americans were able to join a coalition of voters that kept at least one part of Northern Virginia blue. The turnout of Ethiopians in support of Creigh Deeds did not happen in a vacuum. Creigh Deeds reached out to the Ethiopian community on October 17th. Based on that outreach, Ethiopian-Americans for Change formally endorsed Creigh Deeds and the Democratic slate. In order to gauge the level of support that Creigh Deeds enjoyed, Ethiopian-Americans for Change conducted a scientific poll two days after Deed’s initial outreach.

The support Deeds enjoyed at that time from the Ethiopian-American community was anemic at best. The first poll revealed that Deed’s support level stood at an astonishing 28%. Moreover, only 45% of Ethiopians intended on voting on November 3rd. Based on these findings, Ethiopian-Americans for Change conducted an intensive voter outreach effort from October 19 through election night. In order to gauge the effectiveness of our effort,Ethiopian-Americans for Change conducted a second round of surveys to over 14,000 registered Ethiopians who live in the eight congressional district in the days leading up to the big election on November 3rd in Virginia. This was a follow up poll to get a feel of how the race is going and how much of an impact the Ethiopian-American community can have on the outcome of the state-wide race. The turnaround between the first poll (Oct 19th -21st) and the latest poll (Oct 31st-Nov 1st) was stunning.

* A 20 point increase in the number of Ethiopians who stated that they are currently registered (from 68.1% to 88%). This was not due to newly registered voters, rather, it was due in the increase of awareness on behalf of folks who voted last year yet thought they were not registered for this election
* A 26 point increase in the number of Ethiopians who stated that they were aware of the Nov. 3rd election (from 45% to 71%)
* A 22 point increase in the number of Ethiopians who stated that they plan on voting on November 3rd (from 36.3% to 58%)
* A stunning 28 point increase in the number of Ethiopians who stated that they plan on voting for Deeds (from 28.8% to 56%)

We did not have a data set from the previous poll for Jody Wagner, but on the latest poll, Jody Wagner was garnering 53% of the Ethiopian vote while Bolling was mired at 3.0%.

The massive shift can be explained in part by the sustained efforts Ethiopian-Americans for Change has made upon endorsing Creigh Deeds and the Democratic slate.

Consider:

1. Made over 2,500 phone calls using the database of 14,000 + registered Ethiopian voters we have from the 8th Congressional District

2. Held the “Meet the Candidates” forum where we introduced Deeds, Wagner et al to the Ethiopian community

3. Passed out over 2,000 flyers and posters to Ethiopian businesses and individuals

4. Sent out 4 emails to our Ethiopian-Americans for Change email database

5. Sent out countless press releases to generate interest from Ethiopian media

6. Leveraged our website (EA4C.org), facebook and twitter accounts to build up excitement within and outside of the Ethiopian community

7. Customized a youtube commercial on behalf of Deeds to the Ethiopian community

Based on these results, we are confident that our effort in the 8th Congressional District increased turnout significantly and netted Deeds anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 votes.  When the multiplier effect that our efforts had  in other districts that have a heavy Ethiopian presence (10th, 11th, and the 7th), the Ethiopian-American community would have cast a decisive vote if the election this year was as close as the election in 2005.

(For full detail of the poll and any follow up questions, contact media@ea4c.org.  Raw numbers from the poll will be made available for all media outlet that have a valid credential.)

Ethiopia Member of Parliament resigns in disgust

Friday, November 13th, 2009

By Belete Etana Disassa

I am a member of parliament (MP) and deputy chairman of Public Account Standing Committee (PAC) of the House of Peoples’ Representatives of Ethiopia, elected as a representative of Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) from Limu Kossa District, Jimma zone, Oromia region.

I want to give my honest and sincere testimony of the conditions currently prevailing in Ethiopia. This testimony is in no way intended to defame the ruling party and its cohorts. The main purpose of this letter is to expose the hidden facts in Ethiopia.

Today in Ethiopia there is no democracy, rule of law, respect for human and civil rights. The judiciary system in totally under the control of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). There is no justice and independent court proceeding.

If you are an MP, you are duty bound to ask questions. But if you ask questions, you are branded as OLF and you are a terrorist and a criminal. Article 54(5) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) Constitution, states that “No member of the House may be prosecuted on account of any vote he cats or opinion he expresses in the House, nor shall any administrative action be taken against any member on such grounds.” But the person who asks the democratic and human rights of the people to be respected is automatically branded as OLF member, and I am one of the victim.

The EPRDF/TPLF regime is simply a dictatorship. It does not respect its own constitution. It murders, detains, tortures and arbitrary arrests innocent citizens. The regime is particularly on a campaign of detaining Oromo nationalists. Human rights abuses are common and a day to day activity of the regime, particularly in Oromia. Authorities imposed the new structures the “Garee” and “Goxii” system to monitor the speech and personal lives of the rural population, to restrict and control the movement of residents. If you oppose the system, you are thrown in prison to stay there for years without appearing before court.

Article 12 (1) and (2) of the FDRE constitution requires transparency and accountability but on the ground the fact is different. In 2008, from the 20 Federal Government Institutions, over 192.5 million birr was detected as deficit (misuse). From this money, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia account for the biggest share of improperly spent money. Expenditures of 560 million birr by Revenue Authority and 121.9 million birr by the Ethiopian Customs Authority have not been backed up by any document.

The Ethiopian Mapping Agency and Ministry of Mines and Energy billing customers without the proper tariff has been approved by the Council of Ministers. Furthermore, the former Ministry of Infrastructure has collected over 47.2 million birr annual fee with out any approved tariff.

Our finding also reveals that over 226.5 million birr worth of purchase by six institutions were not in accordance with the purchase manual of the government. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has paid 98,000 birr to its former head as salary and allowance when the head was not at his position for 27 months.

The National Bank of Ethiopia on the recent gold scam reveals that contrary to the bank procedure, one individual has been supplying gold to the bank without registering. Package that contains the brick of gold has not been properly inspected after it was certified it was gold by the Ethiopian Geological Survey office. The bank has also paid the gold value without properly weighing it and has accepted 38 similar gold bricks that weigh the same and with equal carat levels.

The finding revealed illegal procurements, unlawful payments, spending beyond the allocated budget, and expenditure that could not be accounted for, amounting to more than 2.5 billion Birr. Also the government of improperly borrowing an extra 3.3 billion birr from banks. This borrowing has contributed to the inflation rate in the country.

Corruption remains a serious problem in the country. As to our responsibility to investigate this fact, the response of the government is to disparage and disqualify the activity. On the other hand, the government officials appeared to manipulate the privatization process, state and party owned businesses received preferential access and misuse of public funds.

Such misdeeds and crimes were causing me mental anguish for the last three years. I have been receiving death threats for speaking up against the wanton disregard for the rule of law. My conscience could no longer allow me to continue to be a member of the party, an MP and deputy hairman of PAC of the House. I have chosen to resign from the regime and its rubber stamp parliament.

Ethiopia: ONLF fighters take over military base in Dufan

Friday, November 13th, 2009

The Ogaden Liberation Front (ONLF) officials yesterday said that they took over control of more Woyanne regime military basses in eastern Ethiopia.

Abdukadir Hassan Hirmoge, deputy chairman of ONLF, claimed victory over Woyanne forces following clashes in the past few days.

Abdulkadir said that ONLF forces attacked Woyanne-controlled areas such as Dufan and Dudume Adde about 20 kilometers from Dhagahbur and many other military targets. He said that the ONLF fighters took over the Woyanne military bases in Dufan and other areas that they attacked in the recent fighting.

Ethiopian lawyer Daniel Bekele to speak at HRW event in Toronto

Friday, November 13th, 2009

By Sonia Verma | The Globe and Mail

When Daniel Bekele, an Ethiopian lawyer, takes the stage at a Human Rights Watch dinner Friday in Toronto honouring his bravery, he will give a speech but he won’t tell his story.

He fears his government will send him back to the same prison from which he has just been released if he reveals too much about his ordeal.

“In my country I know how every word would be interpreted, so when you ask me a question about what happened and I try to answer it, my mind is also thinking how every word I say could possibly be interpreted in a hundred and one ways. So, unfortunately, I can’t speak freely,” Mr. Bekele explained in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Mr. Bekele, 42, was among an estimated 30,000 civil-society leaders, journalists and politicians arrested in the wake of Ethiopia’s disputed 2005 election, in which the opposition won an unprecedented number of parliamentary seats but failed to topple Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The opposition claimed the vote had been rigged, as did a team of European Union election observers. A parliamentary inquiry concluded that nearly 200 civilians were killed in a subsequent government crackdown on the opposition.

Mr. Bekele was charged with inciting violence against the government, punishable by life in prison or death.

A human-rights lawyer who had led election-monitoring efforts, he refused to sign a letter of apology, choosing instead to go to trial to test the rule of law.

He was convicted and spent 21/2 years in prison before being released by presidential pardon.

Fearing repercussions when he learned Human Rights Watch was honouring him with an award, he requested his name not be published until he and his family had left the country.

Birtukan Medekssa, an Ethiopian opposition politician who was also jailed in 2005 and subsequently released was rearrested last year after reports suggested she publicized certain conditions of her release.

“For this reason I find it difficult to go into this story of my arrest, what I was accused of and what I did to defend myself,” said Mr. Bekele, a husband and father of two.

He hopes his silence will serve to underscore the dangers still faced by human-rights advocates who are continuing to press for change in Ethiopia in the run-up to a new round of parliamentary elections in May.

“The challenge is that there is still a huge mismatch between what the constitution says and the reality on the ground,” Mr. Bekele said.

He is currently completing a PhD at Oxford University, but eventually plans to return to Ethiopia to continue his work: “I have every intention of going back and that’s why I have to be so careful,” he said.

“I need to continue to do this. Somebody needs to do this job.”

Meles blames U.S. for Ethiopia's economic problems

Friday, November 13th, 2009

By Peter Heinlein

ADDIS ABABA (VOA) — Ethiopia’s Prime Crime Minister Meles Zenawi says failures in the U.S. financial system are largely to blame for Africa’s economic crisis, and pointed to China as a possible key to recovery. Our correspondent in Addis Ababa has details of the Ethiopian leader’s keynote address to the annual African Economic Conference.

Speaking to an audience of academics and policymakers, Ethiopia Prime Minister the khat addicted dictator Meles Zenawi painted a gloomy picture of Africa’s economic outlook. He said the theme of the conference, fostering development in the current economic climate, may be impossible.

“The first question that comes to my mind is: Is it possible to foster development when we have a whole era of economic crisis ahead of us? I am going to suggest today that while it is probable that Africa will not be able to foster development in the current era, it is nevertheless possible to do so,” said Meles Zenawi.

Mr. Meles, a former Marxist rebel leader, launched a blistering attack on what he called “discredited neo-liberal economic policies” imposed on Africa from outside. He said unsustainable consumption by the United States when times were good had condemned Africa to a protracted period of low growth ahead.

“The United States has hitherto served as the consumer of last resort and helped to maintain the unsustainable division of labor and division of production and consumption,” he said. “It is no longer able to do it, and this is the main cause of the current crisis.”

Mr. Meles suggested Africa’s best hope might be a massive infusion of cash from China and other countries that have amassed surplus savings by producing goods for the consumers.

“It is possible to imagine that the Chinese will decided to redirect some of their surplus savings to infrastructural development in Africa,” said Meles Zenawi. “It is possible to do so because to some extent it is already happening. Such a shift would mean tens of billions of dollars per annum invested in African infrastructure, again opening the opportunity for the transformation of the overall economy. Indeed, it is not only possible but highly probable that the Chinese will take steps that would widen the window of opportunity for Africa.”

The Ethiopian prime minister, who will lead the African delegation to next month’s Copenhagen climate summit, expressed doubt the world is serious about tackling global warming. But he said a climate deal could be a boon to Africa, with its sources of renewable energy.

Some experts say Africa stands to receive as much as $100 billion a year from rich countries to offset the effects of climate change.

The three-day African Economic Conference is being held against a backdrop of low-growth forecasts for the near future. The 2009 growth estimate for sub-Saharan Africa is just 1.3 percent, with a prediction of an increase to four or five percent next year.

African Development Bank chief Donald Kaberuka, said prospects for recovery remain fragile. He said a full recovery would not occur until the continent returns to seven-percent growth, possibly within a few years.

Ethiopian man gets 32 years in prison for killing sister

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS (Star Tribune) — A 25-year-old Richfield, Minnesota, resident will spend at least 32 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to killing his sister and assaulting her infant.

Guuci Beyena Mekonnen, an Ethiopia native, entered his plea last week and was sentenced by Hennepin County Judge Tanya Bransford on Monday to a sentence determined by the plea deal.

If he had gone to trial and been convicted of first-degree murder, Mokonnen could have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of release.

On May 2, Richfield police responded to a call about a woman lying in the parking lot at 734 E. 78th St. near the Buena Vista Apartments. The woman, who was on her back, had a slash across her throat and bled heavily. In her arms was an 8-month-old infant, the complaint against Mokonnen said.

While investigators were at the scene, police received a 911 call from the Mall of America transit stop from a man who said he had killed his sister. Police went there and arrested Guuci Mokonnen, according to the complaint.

Mokonnen told police he was angry at his sister for not allowing him to live with her. He said he was homeless and unemployed and had thought about killing her for three years. He said he took a knife from his brother’s apartment to kill her.

Mokonnen received 30 years for killing his sister and three years for threatening the baby. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

Schools to teach Amarigna, Tigrigna as Hieroglyphic languages

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Since the release of the new book, “Amarigna & Tigrigna Qal Hieroglyphs for Beginners” (ancientgebts.org), Ethiopian and Eritrean adults have been familiarizing themselves with the controversial subject of the book. Now their children will have the opportunity to be exposed to it, too, in the classroom.

With the introduction of a companion teacher’s guide to the book, for primary and secondary education, now Eritrean, Ethiopian, and other school children in classrooms around the world will have the opportunity to learn about and examine Tigrigna and Amarigna as the founding languages of ancient Gebts. They will also for the first time be exposed to ancient Amara and Akele-Gezai, as not only the founders of ancient Gebts and writing, but also the providers of civilization to the world, which has long been attributed to ancient Gebts.

“With 30 million to 60 million Tigrigna and Amarigna speakers around the world, including those in Eritrea and Ethiopia,” says Legesse Allyn, author and publisher of the book and classroom teacher’s guide, “school-age children of Eritrean and Ethiopian parents will have a chance to see and experience their own languages in a new and exciting way – as the founding languages of ancient Gebts.”

Not only that, but for those school children who attend school outside of Eritrea and Ethiopia, especially in Western nations, their classmates will be introduced to their languages possibly for the first time in an official classroom setting. Together, Habesha and non-Habesha school children will learn about the languages of ancient Gebts as thriving, living languages as both the first written languages in the world and as the official founding languages of ancient Gebts 5100 years ago.”

The companion teacher’s guide includes a guide to synthesizing the content of “Amaringa & Tigrigna Qal Hieroglyphs for Beginners” with Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is essential for classroom learning. It also features a set of classroom exercises and the first available pronunciation guide matching the hieroglyphs to the pronunciation sounds of Tigrigna and Amarigna.

Not only that, but the pronunciation guide portion of the teacher’s guide utilizes fidel characters for the first time to teach hieroglyphic pronunciation, reading, and writing – fidel being a direct descendent of ancient Gebts hieroglyphs. The pronunciation guide is much different from what one might be accustomed to seeing in typical alphabet charts in schools and market places, where the complete alphabet is dispersed throughout a single chart.

Even if one does not agree with Legesse Allyn’s research, allowing school children to learn and benefit from current day research, in real time, that defines the origin of the very written words you are reading in this article, is invaluable to both the school children themselves and the broader global community. Never before has the fairly recent development of writing been so specifically explained as to why and how after an estimated 100,000 years modern human existence. If ancient Amara and Akele-Gezai had not developed writing for the administration of ancient Gebts, when might it have been invented?

(For more information visit ancientgebts.org)

Message to Memher Zebene

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

ሥልጣነ-ክህነት የቂም መወጫ በትር አይደለም!

[click here for pdf]

ከምትኩ ይመር፣ ዋሽንግተን ዲሲ

ዘበነ (መምህር) መንገድህን ፈትን ራስህንም ጠይቅ፤ ሥጋ ከባድ ነው፣ ትእቢትም ያሳፍናል። በእምነትና በሥራ እንጅ በቲፎዞ ገነት አትወረስም፣ መጽሃፉም አላለም። በአንጋፋው የሜሪላንድ ደብረ ገነት መድኃኔ ዓለም የኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ቤተክርስቲያን ውስጥ በቅርቡ በተካሄደ የምእመናን አባላት ስብሰባ ላይ በማይመለከትህ ጉዳይ ላይ ጣልቃ ለመግባትና ባላት በግል ሃሳባቸውን እንዳይለዋወጡ እንቅፋት ለመፍጠር ያደረከውን ሙከራ በመቃወም የተከበሩ አዛውንት እማማ ውድነሽ “ይህ የምእመናን ጉባኤና ውይይት እንጅ የካህናት አይደለምና ጣልቃ ገብነትህን አቁም። አንተን አይመለከትህም፣ ዝም ልትል ይገባሃል። በስብሰባው ላይ ልትገኝም አይገባህም፣ በነፃነት እንወያይበት” ብለው ሃሳባቸውን ስላቀረቡ ብቻ “ሀጢአትና ሸክላ የሚገስጸውን ይጠላል” የሚባለው ደርሶብህ እኝህ እናት የጌታችንና የመድኃኒታችንን እየሱስ ክርስቶስ ሥጋ ወደሙ ለመቀበል በቀረቡ ጊዜ በሆድህ ቂም ቋጥረህ አሸምቀህ ስትጠብቅ ቆይተህ በወፈግዝት እንዳይቀበሉ ለማድረግ ያደረከው ከንቱ መከራ በመክሸፉ ልኡል እግዚያብሔር ይመስገን እንላለን። ለመሆኑ ባለቤቱ እንኳን “ሀጢአት ያላደረገ ድንጋዩን ይወርውር ነበር ያለው። አንተ በዛ ዘመን ብትኖር ኖሮ ደፋር ነህና ካድራጎትህ ትወረውር ነበር ማለት ይቻላል።

ጌታችንን መድኃኒታችንን እየሱስ ክርስቶስ “እውነት እውነት እላችኋለሁ ሥጋዬን ካልበላችሁ ደሜንም ካልጠጣችሁ ህይወት የላችሁም። ሥጋዬን የሚበላ ደሜን የሚጠጣ የዘላለም ሕይወት አለው። እኔም በመጨረሻው ቀን አስነሳዋለሁ። ሥጋዬ እውነተኛ መብል፣ ደሜም መጠጥ ነውና ስጋዬን የሚበላ ደሜንም የሚጠጣ በእኔ ይኖራል እኔም በእርሱ እኖራለሁ። ህያው አብ እንደላከኝ እኔም በእርሱ እኖራለሁ” (ዮሐንስ ም.6 ቁ. 53-57):: በዚህ ቃል እውነትነት ያመኑት ትምህርቱን ወስደው፣ ከራሳቸው ጋር ተነጋግረው በነጻነት ወስነው፣ ጾመው፣ ጸልየው፣ መጽውተው፣ ንስሐ ገብተው፣ ሕጉንና ሥርዓተ ቤተክርስቲያንና አዋጁን ጠብቀው በምሳሌነት ከቆሙትና ከምናከብራቸው አባቶቻችንና እናቶቻችን መካከል አንዷ የሆኑትና እንደ መንፈሳዊ እናትነታቸው በሁሉም የኢ.ኦ.ተ.ቤ.ክ. የማይታጡት የተከበሩ እናታችን ላይ ውርደት ለማድርስ ሞክርህ የነበረው በልኡል እግዚያብሔር ከሽፎብሃል። እኝህ አዛውንት እናታችን በጸሎት የተጠመዱ፣ መፅሀፍትን የሚያውቁ፣ በዘመኑ ትምህርትም ከፍተኛ ደረጃ ላይ የደረሱ፣ ሁል ጊዜ የሚያነቡ፣ የሚጠይቁ፣ ለቤተክርስቲያናችን ቀናኢነትና ተቆርቋሪነት ያላቸው፣ እውነትን ያለፍራቻ የሚመሰክሩና በፈጣሪያቸው የሚመኩ ቅን እናት ላይ ከዓለም የኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ቤተክርስቲያናት ደንብና ሥርዓት ውጭ እንደውም ከዓለም የቤተክርስቲያን ታሪክና አስተምሮት ያልታየና ያልተደረገ የእግዚያብሔር ሚስጢርን በማቃለል በግል ጥላቻና ቂም በመነሳት በወፈግዝት የተከበረውን የጌታችንን የመድኃኒታችንን እየሱስ ክርስቶስ ሥጋና ደም ለመቀበል እየተራመዱ እያሉ በአደባባይ አውግዧለሁ አይቀበሏትም ብለህ መደንፋትህ በርካታ የቤተርሲቲያኒቷ ምእመናን ላይ “ነግ በኔ” የሚል ከፍተኛ ጭንቀትና ሥጋት አሳድሯል። በእጅጉ Aሳዝኗል፣ አንገብግቧልም።

በመሠረቱ አዛውንቷ የአንተ ጥርስ ውስጥ የገቡት “ክህነት ማን ሰጠህ? መቼና የት? ብለው በመጠየቃቸውና መስቀልም ከአንተና ከመሰልህ ባለመሳለማቸውና ስላላመኑባችሁ በዲያቢሎሳዊ ስሜት ተነስተህ የግል ቂም በቀል መውጫ ለማድረግ እንዳይቀበሉ ለማድረግ ወፈግዝትህን በጭካኔ አወረድክባቸው። እንደተገነዘብነው ዘዴህ እኝህ ለሰማይ ለምድር የከበዱ አዛውንትን በማዋረድና በማዋከብ በአንተ ላይ ወቀሳና ተቃወሞ የሚያነሱብህን ሌሎች ምእመናን ላይ ጉልበትህን ለማሳየትና ለወደፊትም እንዳይነሱብህ ለመቀጣጫነትም እንደሆነ አይጠረጠርም። አንድ ነባር ምእመን እንዳሉት “ይህ ሰው የመለስ ዜናዊን ሥልጣን ቢያገኝ፣ ከእሱ በከፋ ሁኔታ የሰው ዘር አይተርፈውም ነበር ፣ ቂመኛና ጨካኝ ነው” ነበር ያሉት። ሁልጊዜ ይደልዎን፣ አድናቆትንና ምስጋናንና ብቻ አትጠብቅ። ስታጠፋ ለመገሰጽ፣ ስትሳሳት ለመታረም ዝግጁ መሆን አለብህ። “የሹም ዶሮ እሽ አትበሉኝ አለች” እንደሚባለው መሆን ተከባሎ አዘቅት ውስጥ መግባትን ያስከትላል።

ዘበነ ፣ልብ በል ሰባኪ ወይም መምህር ወደ ሰገነት የሚወጣው የእግዚያብሔርን ቃል ለመስበክ እንጅ ከግል ሁኔት በመነሳት ለውዳሴ ከንቱ ወይም ለእርግማንና ለወፈግዝት መሆን አይኖርበትም። በቀሪው ዘመናቸው እግዚያብሔርን እንዲያማርሩ አዛውንት ምእመናን ላይ ወጥመድ መሸመቅና ለማሸማቀቅ “ገዝቻለሁ” እያሉ በአውደ ምሕረቱ ማጓራት በጣም አስነዋሪ ድርጊት ነው። የንሥሐ አባታቸው አይደለህ፣ ብትሆንም እንኳዋ ለመቁረብ በገዛ ፈቃዳቸው የቀረቡትን ሰው “አይገባዎትም ተመለሱ” የማለት ሥልጣን ከየት አመጣህ? በተለይ በዚህ በምንኖርበት የሰው መብት በሚከበርበት Aገር ላይ ማን በማን ላይ ይጮሃል? በደንብ የሚያስቀጣ ሕግ አለው እኮ! ነገር ግን እርሳቸው በልጠውሃል በአካልና በመንፈስ ከመንገዳቸው ሳይለቁ “ይቅር ይበልህ” እያሉ የነፍስ መዳኛ ብቸኛው መድሃኒት የሆነውን የእየሱስ ክርስቶስን ሥጋና ደመ ተቀብለዋል። በእለቱ አገልግሎት ላይ የነበሩት ተረኛው ቀዳሽ ካህን ያንተን ተጽእኖ በመቋቋም ሳይታወኩ በማቀበልዎና ለእግዚያብሔር ህግ በመቆምዎ ኮራንብዎ! ለካስ ቤተክርስቲያናችን አሁንም ሰው አላት አልን። እውነተኛ አባት ህጉንና ሥርዓቱን ደንቡን ያውቃልና “በስመ አብ ወወልድ ወመንፈስ ቅዱስ አሃዱ አምላክ“ እያሉ እየገሰጹ በተፈጠረው ሁኔታ ምእመናኑ እንዳይታወክ እየጸለዩ የቅዳሴ አገልግሎትዎን አጠናቀዋልና ምስጋና ከልብ ይድረስዎ። ትክክለኛ ካህንነትዎን በፈታኝ ጊዜ አስመስክረዋልና ኮራንብዎት! እግዚያብሔርም የቀደሙ አባቶቻችንን ፀጋና በርከት እንዲሁም እድሜና ጤና ሰጥቶ ገልግሎትዎን ይባርክ።

ዘበነ እኝህ በሃሰት የውግዘት አኮርባጅ የገረፋቸው አዛውንት እውነተኛ የክርስቲያን ተምሳሌት፣ አንጡራ የኦርቶዶክስ ሐብት ሲሆኑ አቧራ ጠርገው ላይ ታች ብለው ደክመው ዛሬ እግዚያብሔርን በቦታው እንድናመልክበት ቤተክርስቲያን ከሌሎች አባቶችና እናቶች ጋር ሰርተው ለአንተ (ለዘበነ) ኮሮጆ እንድትሞላበት ስላደረጉ፣ የሥራና የመተዳደሪያ መስክ ስለከፈቱልህ ውለታቸውን በማዋረድ ከፈልካቸው። “ወርቅ ላበደረ ጠጠር” ማላት ይህ ነው። እኝህ እናት ቢሳሳቱ እንኳ ወደ ስጋ ወደሙ መቅረብ የህይወት መድሃኒት ነውና፣ ይፈውሳቸው ብለህ ልትጸልይላቸውና ልትመክራቸው በተገባህ ነበር። ለነገሩ አንተ ምን ታደርግ “ግርግር ለምን ያመቻል” እንዲሉ የቤተክርስቲያናችን በጠላቶችዋ እንድትከፋፈል መደረግ ለአንተና ለመሰሎችህ አመችቷልና። ግን እስከ መቼ? እራስህን መርምር። በኛ በምእመናን በራሳችን ገንዘብና ማእድ አትስደበን። ሸቀጥ ለተጠቃሚዎች ለመሸጥ እንደሚንገበገብ ማስታወቂያ ተናጋሪ የቃላት ወንጭፍ በጆሮአችን አትወርውር። እመቤታችን ቅድስት ድንግል ማርያም በትህትንና በአክብሮት ነው መልአኩን ገብርኤል “እንደ ቃልህ ይደረግልኝ” ያለቸው።በትህትና ነው ለተራበ ውሻ ጫማውን ውልቃ ውሃ ያጠጣችው። ሰባኪ እኮ ራሱ የእውነት መጀመሪያ መሆን ይገባዋል። የእምነትን ስብከት ከፕሮፓጋንዳ ለይ። አንተ የወንጌል ሰባኪ መምህር ነህ እንጅ ለስጋ ለገበያ የሚለፈልፍና የሚቀባጥር ካድሬ አይደለህም። ጌታችንን መድሃኒታችንን እየሱስ ክርስቶስ እንዳስተማረን እውነቱንና ወንጌሉን ብቻ መስክር። “ሰው ሊያደርግባችሁ የማትወዱትን እናንተም በሰው ላይ አታድርጉ” የሚለውን የእግዚያብሔር ቃል ከማነብነብ ባሻገር አንተም በሥራ ላይ አውለው። ቃሉን ብቻ ስበክ። የምትሰብከውንም በስራ ላይ ማዋልህን አረጋግጥ። በአዛውንቷ ላይ የወረወርከው የወፈግዝት ፍላፃ አልፏል። ወዮ ለአንተ ግን በንስሐና በይቅርታ እስካልተመለስክ ድረስ በእድሜህ የፈተና ፍላጻ ይሆናል!

ስለምንተ ማርያም፣ ስለቸሩ እግዚያብሔር ብለው በመንፈስ ቅዱስ አስተማሪነት ችግሩን፣ ረሃቡንና ጥሙን ተቋቁመው በዓለም ወደር ካልተገኘለት የመንፈስ ቅዱስ የእውቀት ውቅያኖስ በሁሉም የእውቀት ዘርፎች እጅግ ከፍተኛ ደረጃ ላይ የደረሱትን በተለይም ዘመናት ባስቆጠሩት በጎጃም፣ በጎንደር፣ በወሎ፣ በሸዋና በትግራይ የኢትዮጵያ ቤተክርስቲያናት ዋና ዋና የቅኔ፣ የትርጓሜ፣ የድጓና የዜማ ትምህርታቸውን አጠናቀው መንፈሳዊ ፒ.ኤች.ዲያቸውን ኩራት በሆነችው የኢትዮጵያ ቤተክርስቲያን ያገኙትን እውነተኛ ካህናት አባቶቻችንን መሳድብ፣ ማቃለል፣ ማብጠልጠል፣ ማንጓጠጥና መዘርጠጥ የቤተክርስቲያን ጠላትነት ብቻ ሳይሆን የአገርና የሕዝህም ጭምር ነው። ስለሆነም ስተሃልና ልብህን ከስድብ መልስ። እነዚህ ሊቃውንተ ቤተክርስቲያን በፍፁም አንተ ዘበነ እንዳዋረድካቸው “ሆዳሞች፣ልብስና ቆብ ብቻ፣ አባጨጓሬም ‘አባ’ ይባላል ወዘተ ተብለው መሳለቂያ የሚሆኑ አይደሉም። ለነገሩማ ማንም ቢሆን ያውም በቤተክርስቱያ ቅጽር ግቢ ውስጥ መስድብ፣ ማውረድና መሳለቂያ ማድረግ ክልክል ነው። ቃሉም እንደሚለው “ክፉ ሰውም ከልብ ክፉ መዝገብ ክፉውን ያወጣል” ሉቃስ 6-45።

በአንድ ወቅት አንድ እንግሊዛዊ ጸሃፊ ስለ አባቶቻችን ካህናትና ሊቃውንት ጥልቅ የእውቀትና የጥበብ ማህደርነት ሲናገር“ በአውሮፓ አንድ ሰው፣ አንድ የትምህርት ዓይነት ያጠናል ወይንም የአንድ የትምህርት ዓይነት ባለቤት ነው። በትዮጵያ ግን አንድ ሰው የባለብዙ ዘርፎች ትምህርት ባለቤት ነው። በመሆኑም በአውሮፓ አንድ ሰው ቢሞት ያው የአንድ የሙያ ባለቤት ሞተ ነው የሚባለው። በትዮጵያ ግን Aንድ ሰው ቢሞት Aንድ ትልቅ ሙዚየም እንደተቃጠለ ይቆጠራል ብሎ ነበር። ታዲያ እነዚህ በዓለም ዓቀፍ ደረጃ የተመሰከረላቸውን መንፈሳዊ ኢትዮጵያዊያን አባቶች መሳደብና መናቅ ምን ይባላል? አንተ ማነህና? ከየትኛውስ የቅኔ፣ የተርጓሜ፣ የድጓና የዜማ ትምህርት ቤት ነው የበቀልከው? ወይንስ ፌሬሰንበት ዘ….. ይሆን? እኛ ግን ጽድቅን ለማግኘትና መንግሥተ ሰማያትን ለመውረስ ይህንን ከንቱ ዓለም ንቀውና ተጸይፈው፤ ጤዛ ለብሰው ዳዋ ተንተርሰው በጽድቅ መንገድ የሄዱት ሊቃውንቶቻችንና ካህናቶቻችንን አለኝታዎቻችንና መመኪያዎቻችን ናቸውና እባክህን ከእነሱ ላይ ውረድ።

እንደዚህ ዓይነት በቤተ ክርስቲያን ውስጥ የሚደርሱ ችግሮችና እንደ ዘበነ ያሉ አጥፊዎች በጊዜው ባለመታረማቸውና አጥፊዎችም ላይ አግባብነት ያላቸው የሥነሥርዓት እርምጃዎች ባለመወሰዳቸው እነሆ ዛሬ ቤተክርስቲያናችን ከፍተኛ አደጋ ላይ ትገናለች። አንዳንድ የቤተክርስቲያን አባቶችና መምህራን በምእመናቸው ላይ ተነሳስተው በአድማ፣ በጥላቻ፣ በቁጣ፣ ‘በስገዱልኝ’ የሚመሩን መሆን የለባቸውም ። እኛ ለዘበነ የምንለው ከዚህ ከገባህበት “ከሴኬም ጉዞ” ውጣ ሲያልቅ አያምር Aይሁንብህ፣ ከዚህ በፊት ስለቤተክርስቲያን የጮህከውን እስተዋጾ ገደል ከቶታልና በጸሎት እራስህን በመግዛት ወደነበርክበት የፀጋ ስብከት ተመለስ። አንደበትህን ከስድብ፣ ከሽርደዳ፣ ከአሽሙርና ከፌዝ አርቀህ ለቃለ እግዚያብሔር ብቻ አድርገው። በተለይ መምህራን በትእግሥት፣ በግብረገብነት፣ በሥነሥርዓት የሚያስተምሩ መሆን ይኖርባቸዋል። የኋላ የቤተክርስቲያናችን ታሪክ የእነ አቡነ ተክለ ሐይማኖትና የመሳሰሉት የእምነት ጽናት፣ መስዋእትነት፣ ግብረግብነትና ሥነምግባርን አስተምሮን አልፏል። ስድብ፣ ቁጣ፣ ቂም፣በቀልና ወፈግዝት ምእመናንን የሚመርዝና ቤተክርስቲያንን የሚያጠፋ ነውና በአስቸኳይ እርግፍ አድርገህ ተወው። እዚህ ላይ ሳይነሳ መታለፍ የሌለበት የደብረገነት መድኃኔዓለም ቤተክርስቲያን አለቃና መስራች የነበሩት ትጉህ ና ታታሪው አባታችን መልአከ ገነት ልሳነ ወርቅ ውቡ በህይወት እያሉ ዘበነ ትናንትና እዚህ መጥተህ በዲያቆንነት ቅዳሴ ላይ ስምህን ስታስነሳ አይከብድህም ወይ? አገራችንስ ውስጥ የቤተክርስቲያን አለቃ ካህን እያለ የዲያቆን ስም ቅዳሴ ላይ ተነስቶ ያውቃል ወይ? እኛ ሳናውቀው የቤተክርስቲያን ህግ ተለወጠ ወይንስ ሌላ ምክንያት አለ? በየትኛውም የዓለም ክፍል ያላችሁ እውነተኛ ሊቃውንተ ቤተክርስቲያን ምን ትላላችሁ? የተከበሩ አባታችን ቀሲስ አስተርአየ በዚህ ጉዳይ ላይ ምን ይላሉ? ሳይቃጠል በቅጠል ነውና መላ በሉ!

Ethiopians in Israel struggle to succeed – video

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Ybase Chekol, an Ethiopian Christian man, says his ancestors were among a group of Jews known as the Falash Mura who were forced to convert to Christianity more than 100 years ago.

Now, he and his family have moved to Israel, where Israeli law allows the Falash Mura to become citizens – if they embrace Judaism.

But as Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Jerusalem, discrimination makes it hard for many of these immigrants to succeed in Israeli society. Watch the video below

Woyanne selling out Ethiopian farmers

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

BAKO, Ethiopia — For centuries, farmers like Berhanu Gudina have eked out a living in Ethiopia’s central lowlands, tending tiny plots of maize, wheat or barley amid the vastness of the lush green plains.

Now, they find themselves working cheek by jowl with high-tech commercial farms stretching over thousands of hectares tilled by state-of-the-art tractors — and owned and operated by foreigners.

With memories of Ethiopia’s devastating 1984 famine still fresh in the minds of its leaders, the government has been enticing well-heeled foreigners to invest in the nation’s underperforming agriculture sector. It is part of an economic development push they say will help the Horn of Africa nation ensure it has enough food for its 80 million people.

Many small Ethiopian farmers do not share their leaders’ enthusiasm for the policy, eying the outsiders with a suspicion that has crept across Africa as millions of hectares have been placed, with varying degrees of transparency, in foreign hands.

“Now we see Indians coming, Chinese coming. Before, we were just Ethiopian,” 54-year-old Gudina said in Bako, a small farming town 280 km (170 miles) west of Addis Ababa. “What do they want here? The same as the British in Kenya? To steal everything? Our government is selling our country to the Asians so they can make money for themselves.”

Xenophobia aside, a number of organizations — including the foundation started by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates — argue that Africa should support its own farmers.

“Instead of African countries giving away their best lands, they should invest in their own farmers,” said Akin Adesina, vice president of the Nairobi-based Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). “What’s needed is a small-holder, farmer-based revolution. African land should not be up for garage sale.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Both sides of the debate agree on this much: a stark reality — underlined by last year’s food price crisis — looms large over Ethiopia and beyond. The world is in danger of running out of food.

By 2050, when its population is likely to be more than 9 billion, up from 6 billion now, the world’s food production needs to increase by 70 percent, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

In Africa, which for a variety of reasons was bypassed by the Green Revolution that transformed India and China in the 1960s and 1970s, the numbers are even more bleak. The continent’s population is set to double from 1 billion now.

In all, the FAO says, feeding those extra mouths is going to take $83 billion (50.2 billion pound) in investment every year for the next four decades, increasing both the amount of cultivated land and how much it produces. The estimated investment for Africa alone is $11 billion a year.

For deeply impoverished Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa’s second-most populous nation after Nigeria, even a fraction of those sums is unthinkable.

Yet with 111 million hectares — nearly twice the area of Texas — within its borders, the answer, in the government’s eyes, is simple: Lease ‘spare’ land to wealthy outsiders to get them to grow the food. One unfortunate consequence of that thinking is Gudina and his little plot of maize are painted as part of the problem, rather than a potential solution.

“The small-scale farmers are not producing the quality they should, because they don’t have the technology,” said Esayas Kebede, head of the Agricultural Investment Agency, a body founded only in February but already talking about offering foreign farmers 3 million hectares in the next two years.

“There are 12 million households in Ethiopia. We can’t afford to give new technology to all of them,” he said, sitting in an office adorned with maps showing possible sites for commercial farms.

Indian agro-conglomerate Karuturi Global, whose involvement in Ethiopia so far has been exporting cut-flowers to Europe, has taken the hint, branching out into food production with a sprawling maize farm in Bako. Unlike with similar land deals elsewhere in Africa, the company insists crops will be exported only after demand is met in Ethiopia — where 6.2 million people are said to be in need of emergency food aid because of poor seasonal rains.

“Our main aim is to feed the Ethiopian people,” Karuturi’s Ethiopia general manager, Hanumatha Rao, told Reuters, sitting under an awning at the Bako farm as hundreds of labourers harvested maize in the fields stretching up nearby hillsides. “Whatever we produce will go to the stomachs of the Ethiopian people before it goes to the international market.”

ANOTHER AFRICAN REVOLUTION

While many governments have been busy courting foreigners, in most cases from Asia or the Middle East, to increase Africa’s food output, small farmers like Gudina are not totally without friends.

An initiative backed by the Melinda and Bill Gates and Rockefeller foundations is aiming to kick-start an African Green Revolution, carefully avoiding the pitfalls that had engulfed previous such attempts.

In particular, Africa boasts a dazzling array of soil types, climates and crops that have defied the one-size-fits-all solution of better seed, fertilizer and irrigation that worked in Asia half a century ago.

Its perennial tendency to corruption and official incompetence has also played its part in keeping average grain yields on the continent at just 1.2 tons per hectare, compared with 3.5 tons in Europe and 5.5 tons in the United States.

AGRA’s Adesina says sub-Saharan governments are slowly realizing the importance of small farmers, who account for 70 percent of the region’s population and 60 percent of its agricultural output. But he urges governments to make good on a pledge six years ago to raise farm spending to 10 percent of their national budgets.

For its part, AGRA is pouring money into research institutes from Burkina Faso in the west to Tanzania in the east to breed higher yielding and more drought- and pest-resistant strains of everything from maize and cassava to sorghum and sweet potato.

“We’ve been studying African agriculture for several decades and the message we keep getting back from farmers is: ‘It’s the seeds, stupid,’” said Joseph DeVries, director of AGRA’s seed improvement division. “What you’re planting is what you’re harvesting.”

As yet, the work — carefully packaged as “Africans working for an African solution” — involves only conventional breeding techniques, such as cross-pollination and hybridization, as genetically modified seeds remain prohibitively expensive for farmers subsisting on one or two dollars a day.

However, AGRA does not rule out a future role for GM food crops, a stance that has stoked fears it will inadvertently pave the way for U.S. seed companies into the continent beyond South Africa, the only country that allows widespread commercial use. It also accepts a need for chemical soil additives — a source of concern to environmentalists — although it stresses the importance of “judicious and efficient use of fertilizer and more intensive use of organic matter.”

After 10 years of research, DeVries said, AGRA has developed, among other things, a cassava variety with double its previous yield and a hybrid sorghum strain that is producing 3 to 3.5 tons per hectare, compared with 1 ton before. It is also giving grants to rural shop-keepers to try to create seed distribution networks in countries that remain too small or inaccessible to attract interest from established commercial suppliers.

“There’s huge demand for these new varieties, but there’s just not nearly enough investment. It’s logistics, and it’s also capital,” DeVries said.

CASH FOR CROPS

As ever in Africa, money — or, rather, a lack of it — is a major problem. According to AGRA’s Adesina, only 1 percent of private capital on the continent is made available to farming, due to banks’ concerns about loan collateral and a reluctance to deal with farmers who in many cases are barely literate.

However, the Green Revolution push has begun to attract some serious financial players.

With AGRA providing $10 million in loan guarantees, South Africa’s Standard Bank, the continent’s biggest bank, has earmarked $100 million over three years for small farmers in Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. The pilot scheme suggests the bank is buying an argument slowly gaining traction: That Africa, a continent more renowned for war, famine and disasters, could and should evolve into the breadbasket of the world.

With less than 25 percent of Africa’s potential arable land under cultivation, according to many estimates, and its current levels of yield at rock-bottom, it is a compelling, if distant, vision.

“The first step is improving the efficiency of small farmers in Africa,” said Jacques Taylor, head of Standard Bank’s agricultural banking arm in Johannesburg, seat of the gold on which most of South Africa’s wealth has so far been based. “Can we get them to increase their yields from just over 1 ton to 3 tons to 5 tons? That’s possible. It’s not a dream. It’s a reality.”

LAND-GRABS AND GM’S TROJAN HORSE?

Even though Standard Bank says it is keen to expand the funding, if all goes well, there is a very long way to go before such financing makes a dent in the $11 billion the FAO says has to be invested in Africa each year.

“Do we need more of this? For sure. $100 million is really a drop in the ocean when you look at the funding needs,” Taylor said. “But we’d like to think this is a step in the right direction.”

As such, it seems inevitable Africa will have to adopt a dual-track approach to its looming food crisis — rolling out the red carpet for more Karuturis, but also making life easier for Berhanu Gudina and his colleagues in central Ethiopia.

While it is hard to fault the thinking behind either strategy, critics of both abound.

Across the continent, foreign deals have been condemned as “land-grabs” negotiated between barely accountable administrations and outside companies or governments who care little about poverty or development.

In one notable case, in Madagascar, a little-reported million-hectare deal with South Korean conglomerate Daewoo contributed heavily to a successful popular uprising in March against President Marc Ravalomanana.

Elsewhere, from Sudan and its numerous Gulf farmer-investors, to Republic of Congo and a group of white South African commercial farmers, to Ethiopia and its Indians, land has become a hot political potato.

The prevailing view outside governments is that the little guys are being forced to make way for the mega-deal.

“It cannot just descend on them from the sky. It has to be done in consultation with the people who occupy the land,” Ethiopian opposition leader Bulcha Demeksa told Reuters. “But the government is not doing that. It is just going ahead and signing agreement after agreement with the foreigners.”

Similarly, AGRA’s detractors look to unintended consequences of India’s Green Revolution — particularly the environmental damage caused by widespread fertilizer use and drying up of water tables — to argue Africa should look before it leaps.

Furthermore, says Mariam Myatt of the Johannesburg-based African Centre for Biosafety, if India’s experience is anything to go by, a Green Revolution would leave Africa’s farmers as dependent on banks and seed and fertilizer companies as they are now on seasonal rains.

“The Green Revolution, under the guise of solving hunger in Africa, is nothing more than a push for a parasitic corporate-controlled chemical system of agriculture,” she said.

With Bill Gates also pumping funding into biotech research at bodies such as the African Agriculture Technology Foundation, Myatt said, AGRA might end up as the unwitting Trojan horse that eases GM crops — and Western corporate interests — into Africa.

“It will go a long way towards laying the groundwork for the entry of private fertilizer and agrochemical companies and seed companies and, more particularly, GM seed companies.”

(Source: Reuters. Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Jim Impoco and Walter Bagley)

The joy and sadness of November

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

By Yilma Bekele

November 9, 1989, is a special day for the German people, in particular, and for the rest of humanity, in general. It is a day that one more system designed to treat fellow humans as lesser beings is shattered and discarded. On November 9, 1989, the ‘wall’ that was built to keep people in fear and agony was finally breached and then there was light. It was celebrated with great fanfare. The enabler of this heroic act, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and current German Chancellor Angela Merkel held hand and crossed the border to cheers and tears accompanied by thousands of fellow citizens. Angela Merkel said “This is not just a day of celebration for Germans. This is a day of celebration for the whole of Europe; this is a day of celebration for all those people who have more freedom.”

November 1, 2005, is a special day for the Ethiopian people. On that fateful day that will live in infamy in our ancient history, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi ordered his private Agazi force to open fire using live bullets on fellow Ethiopians that were peacefully protesting the rigged outcome of the May general election.

The independent report by Chairman Frehiwot Samuel and Judge Wolde-Michael Meshesha showed that government forces massacred 197 civilians. We are eternally grateful to the courageous act by Frehiwot Samuel and Judge Wolde Michael and other inquiry commission members for shining a bright light on the despicable act committed by the Meles regime. At this critical juncture in our history where principle and integrity are traded like commodity it is rare to find such patriotic Ethiopians who are willing to tell the truth and are ready to pay the price.

The story of our November 1, 2005, does not end with the massacre. Prime Minster Meles and his cabinet of criminals detained more than 40,000 Ethiopians and transported them to all corners of the country. We became familiar with places such as Zewai, Dedessa, Bir Sheloko, Shoa Robit, Kolfe and Sendafa. People were indiscriminately picked up from their homes, work places and street corners and taken to be shaved, beaten, starved and humiliated their crime; being Ethiopian or young. How many were exposed to AIDS by the wholesale shaving using the same razor blade, how many were eaten by crocodiles trying to escape Dedessa hellhole and how many were scared for life for being treated like a herd of animals will never be known.

November 1, 2005, should be etched in the brain of every Ethiopian that values human life and hungers for freedom and equality. We commemorate Yekatit 12, 1937. We have built a monument in Arat Kilo to remind us of Yekatit 12. On Yekatit 12, 1837 the fascist forces that were occupying our motherland opened fire on the residents of Addis Abeba in retaliation to the attempted assassination of the Viceroy Graziani by Abrham Deboch and Moges Asgedom. On November 1, 2005 Agazi forces, the private army of Meles Zenawi and friends massacred our people for demanding freedom. Graziani and Meles will never be forgotten. When the time comes a monument will be erected for our heroes of November 1, 2005. No one can stop that.

The Germans celebrated their November victory. They remembered the nightmare years under Communism and rejoiced in their new found freedom. For over fifty years the East German people suffered untold hardship. Some collaborated with the regime for economic reasons, some collaborated because there was no place to go but no matter all suffered because tomorrow brought more misery and hopelessness. Today Germany is one and people are building a new free and independent society based on a strong foundation of the rule of law.

The Ethiopians still remember what November brought. November was a ‘eureka’ moment. It laid bare the character of the so-called EPDRF regime. The lies, falsehoods, empty bravado of the minority regime was exposed for all to see. We came to realize that there is no such thing as EPDRF but TPLF, that there is no such thing as the Ethiopian police but private Agazi Force, answerable to Meles Zenawi and a few of his inner circle and there is no such thing as a cabinet but a few dedicated hard core Woyanes.

No matter there are always dedicated people fighting slavery and injustice. It is no different in Ethiopia. There are those that choose immediate fame and glory and side with the enemies of the people. There are those willing to sell everything including their country because of cowardice or natural weakness. Then there are those who choose freedom and risk it all. We have encountered plenty of brave Ethiopians in this time of trial and tribulations in our history. We are emboldened by their selfless act and dedication. They make all of look good.

The heroes of the leadership of Kinijit hold a special place in our heart. Their smart organizational skills and simple message of hope galvanized the whole nation. Our country was filled with hope, possibility and unsurpassed joy. Over a million people showed up to that celebration of pre-victory and showed the whole world that we are not stupid that we can taste freedom and we are ready for the future. Dr. Berhanu and friends unlocked the doors of possibility and unleashed a powerful force that was brewing inside of us. No one can extinguish that fire. The more they try the more it glows.

Inquiry commission Chairman Frehiwot Samuel and Judge Wolde Michael Meshesha gave us the gift of standing up against dictators. The truth was told and there is no amount of revision that can change what really happened on that day. They were forced to flee their beloved homeland because they refused to be bought, intimidated or humiliated.

Judge Bertukan Mediksa is celebrating 317 days in Woyane jail. Judge Bertukan is the symbol of our suffering. She is also a bright light shining over all of humanity with a message of dedication to the truth and love for mother Ethiopia. She is a strong lady following the footsteps of Abuna Petros, Abrham Deboch and Moges Asgedom. Amnesty International has declared our dear sister, mother, and leader of Andenet Party a political prisoner. Please join the global write for Rights organized by AI. It is the duty of every Ethiopian to involve a minimum of ten people to this noble cause. You can use the following format to let your opinion be known:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/pdf/WAT09sampleltrs_all.doc

http://www.amnestyusa.org/writeathon/pdf/WAT09sampleltrs_all.pdf

We commemorate November 1, 2005 to pay our respect for those who lost their lives when they were trying to speak for us. We can do our silent prayers or attend a service for our heroes. But that would not be enough. The real commemoration is working to stop another November 1, from happening. It is doing your share wherever you are in setting aside time or money to help those who are working to stop a repeat of Nobember1. To all my country people scattered all over the planet remember we are here in a foreign land among strangers because the ‘freedom deniers’ are over there wrecking our motherland and planning more November massacres. You can stop them or sit idle. It is your choice.

North Carolina: Senseless murder of Ethiopian girl

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr

CHARLOTTE, NC (Charlotte Observer) — Staying in Ethiopia was a death sentence for the pretty, thin 17-year-old girl with a heart defect.

Tigist Yemane was weak. She couldn’t walk more than a few steps without passing out.

Without an operation, doctors told her in 2004, she would be dead in six months.

In the United States, the operation to fix her mitral stenosis is relatively simple and involves an overnight hospital stay. In her native Ethiopia, the operation was out of her reach.

Yemane had become the woman of the house after her mother died when she was nine. Her father, she told friends, was an alcoholic and mostly out of the picture. She cooked and cleaned and looked after her younger siblings. And as her ailment progressed, Yemane got weaker and weaker.

John Cederholm, a Charlotte heart surgeon visiting a missionary friend in the Addis Ababa slum, thought he could help. He and Brian Davidson, who runs a sports-based outreach program in Ethiopia, convinced authorities there to give Yemane a temporary visa, telling them they’d ensure her return. For the first time, Yemane had hope for living beyond her teenage years.

But nearly six years later, Yemane is dead – the 45th homicide victim this year in Charlotte, the city where she floundered for a foothold in America.

‘This is your opportunity’

In 2004, Yemane flew to Charlotte where Dr. Cederholm performed surgery at the Sanger Clinic, replacing one of the valves in her heart.

The Ethiopian teen stayed in the Cederholm’s Charlotte home and absorbed American culture as she healed and got stronger.

“She came over with a little bit of broken English,” Cederholm said. At first, “she didn’t know how to turn on a shower. She didn’t know how to turn on a stove.”

When she was better, Cederholm fulfilled his promise to Ethiopian authorities and put Yemane on a plane back to her native country. But her visa was still valid and people close to her in Ethiopia saw it as her ticket out of the slums.

“They told her, ‘This is your opportunity for a new life. This is your chance to escape,’” Cederholm said.

Family and friends collected money to pay for another flight to the U.S.

Cederholm and Davidson are unsure when Yemane returned to the United States.

They do know she arrived in Washington D.C. with little money and the phone number of a family she hoped to stay with.

“It’s only human and natural to want something better,” Davidson said. “Unfortunately, the reality of the fact is (the U.S.) is not what it looks like in the movies.

“Her life, it was a hardship.”

Back in the U.S., but alone

Yemane made the phone call but the family said they didn’t have the money or space to take her in, Cederholm said.

Yemane was homeless and alone.

For three years, she flitted from home to home, staying with Ethiopian families who took her in, sometimes sleeping on the streets or in shelters. She was married briefly to a man who friends said abused her, but she managed to get away.

Her compass always pointed to Charlotte, the only real home in the United States she knew. Around 2006, Cederholm said his family took her in once again for about a month.

In 2007, she met Loretta Caldwell, who runs a Charlotte ministry that takes in homeless women. The police were trying to take Yemane to a homeless shelter on the westside, but she’d been there before and didn’t want to go back.

“She started running up to my car saying ‘Lady, help me, help me, please help me,’” Caldwell said.

“And I pulled off looking back at her and said ‘She’s so beautiful. What happened to her?’”

Caldwell took her in.

Over the next two years, in a stable and permanent home, Yemane thrived. Caldwell helped her get a visa and a job. She used pink paint on the walls of her room, which was larger than the apartment she shared with her siblings in Ethiopia. She set up profiles on Facebook and MySpace, and her accent became fainter as she burned through calling cards talking to her siblings in Ethiopia.

One of her brothers just had a baby, and she was collecting baby clothes to send to him.

She called Caldwell “mother,” and the older woman began to think of Yemane as her daughter.

‘Are you OK? Are you safe?’

Caldwell says she was overprotective of her surrogate daughter. Even though Yemane was 23, Caldwell ran criminal background checks on the men she would date, and set a curfew.

She said she trusted Yemane’s latest boyfriend, Davon Thomas, because she knew his mother, and they seemed like “good, Christian people.”

Caldwell said she last spoke with Yemane on Friday night. Yemane had called to say she might break curfew.

“Are you OK?” Caldwell asked. “Are you safe?”

Yemane said “yes” to both, and Caldwell said she was going to bed.

The next morning, Yemane’s pink room was still empty.

“I started calling her. And I started calling him. And then I called around to find her,” Caldwell said.

“Within 30 minutes … the detectives were at my front door.”

Police say Thomas shot Yemane to death early Saturday morning inside his parents’ house in the Reedy Creek Community. Police called it a domestic homicide and searched for Thomas for two days before he turned himself in.

Thomas, 27, is in Mecklenburg jail, charged with Yemane’s murder. And the Charlotteans who helped bring a sick teenager over from Ethiopia six years ago were raising money to send her body back.

Solutions for some common Windows 7 problems

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Windows 7 is faster than Vista, makes better use of your system resources, is packed with interesting features, and looks great. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. If you’ve moved to Windows 7 recently then you might have noticed various upgrade problems, interface issues and features that seem to have disappeared entirely, among many other complications with the new system.

Don’t despair. While these problems can be really frustrating, answers are beginning to appear. We’ve uncovered some of the best and most effective solutions around, so follow our guide and your Windows 7 installation will soon be back on track.

18 cool things Windows 7 does that Vista doesn’t

1. Vista upgrade hangs at 62%

Windows 7 can start causing problems before it’s even installed, as many people report their upgrade hangs forever at 62%. Which is annoying.

Reboot, and your PC should roll back to Windows Vista. You can then open the setup log file \$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther\setupact.log to view what happened. Microsoft says this is usually caused because the Iphlpsvc service has stopped responding, and just adding an environment variable to ignore it will fix the problem. Point your browser at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/975253 for the fix.

If this doesn’t help (or your upgrade hangs at something other than 62%) then browse the setup log for other clues. And you might also try to boot and install from the Windows 7 disc, if possible, as that reduces the chance of any conflict with your existing Vista (or XP) setup.

INSTALL WINDOWS 7: Windows 7 upgrades are usually quick, but sometimes it doesn’t install at all

2. DVD drive not found

In some cases your DVD drive may not be found by Windows 7, even if it’s visible in the BIOS and using the standard driver.

The standard solution here is to run REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\, then delete both UpperFilters and LowerFilters in the right-hand pane (UpperFilters.bak and LowerFilters.bak entries can be ignored).

No change? Resetting the drive letter has worked for some. Click Start, type Disk Management and choose the “Create and format hard disk partitions” link. If your optical drive is visible here then right-click it, select Change Drive Letter and Paths, click Change and choose a new letter. If the drive is now visible in Explorer, then repeat the process to change the drive letter back; if it’s still not visible, reboot and it should appear.

3. Aero isn’t running

If Windows 7 isn’t looking its best, then the Aero theme may not have been fully enabled on your system. Click Start, type Aero, choose the “Find and fix problems with transparency and other visual effects” link, and click Next to launch the Aero troubleshooting wizard. It’ll try to identify and resolve and problems. And if it doesn’t, then install the latest driver for your graphics hardware. That could be all your system needs.

Some Aero features may be disabled in the Registry, though. For example, if Aero Peek (the ability to make open windows transparent to display your desktop underneath) doesn’t work for you, then launch REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM and make sure EnableAeroPeek is set to 1, rather than 0.

NO AERO: Windows 7’s troubleshooting wizards will fix many display problems while you watch

4. Aero Snap irritations

Windows 7’s new ability to move and resize windows, all in one movement, can be a genuine productivity boost. But if you find windows moving around when you don’t expect it then Aero Snap is more of an annoyance than anything else, though at least it’s one you can disable in just a few seconds.

Launch Control Panel, click Ease of Access, and select either “Change how your mouse works” or “Change how your keyboard works”. Then browse down to the “Make it easier to manage windows” section, check “Prevent windows from being automatically arranged when moved to the edge of the screen”, click OK, and program windows now won’t go anywhere unless you specifically command it.

5. iPhone won’t sync in Windows 7

Irritated iPhone users are beginning to report major difficulties in getting their iPhone to sync with Windows 7 systems. Particularly 64-bit Windows 7 systems, based around the P55 chipset. The iPhone is usually (though not always) recognised, but iTunes then complains that it can’t connect to the unit because of an “unknown error”, usually (though again, not always) 0xE8000065.

Disabling USB power management appears to be one solution. Click Start, type DEVMGMT.MSC and press [Enter] to launch Device Manager, then click View > Devices By Type. Expand the Universal Serial Bus controllers section of the tree, right-click each USB Root Hub entry in turn, select Properties > Power Management, and clear “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power”.

Reboot your PC after this tweak and try again. This works for some, but if you’re out of luck then check the Apple Discussions thread for other ideas.

SYNCING FEELING: iTunes on Windows 7 won’t always see, or sync with, your iPod

6. Windows 7 themes change your custom icons

Windows 7 has some spectacular new themes – there’s a great selection at the Microsoft site – but installing them can have one annoying side-effect. If you’ve previously changed a system icon like Computer or the Recycle Bin then that could disappear, replaced by the equivalent icon from the theme pack.

To prevent this, right-click an empty part of the desktop, select Personalize > Change Desktop Icons, clear the “Allow themes to change desktop icons” box and click OK. Your icons will now be preserved, and the only way to change them will be manually, from the same Desktop Icons dialogue.

7. Taskbar problems

We like the new Windows 7 taskbar, but many people seem less than impressed with the new approach to taskbar buttons, finding it difficult to tell at a glance whether an icon is a running application or a pinned shortcut. If this sounds like you then there’s an easy way to restore more standard taskbar buttons, though – right-click the taskbar, select Properties, and set Taskbar Buttons to “Never combine” or “Combine when taskbar is full”.

You can even restore the old Quick Launch toolbar in just a few clicks. Simply right-click the taskbar, click Toolbars > New Toolbar, type %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch in the folder box and click Select Folder. The Quick Launch toolbar should then reappear, and you can move and resize it to suit your needs.

STANDARD TASKBAR: Just a few seconds work and your taskbar has that retro look

8. Missing Explorer folders

Click Start > Computer in Windows 7 and you’ll find system folders like Control Panel and the Recycle Bin are no longer displayed in the left-hand Explore pane. This seems like a backward step to us, but there’s a quick solution. Click Tools > Folder Options, check “Show all folders”, click OK and all your top-level system folders will reappear.

9. Missing applets

Windows 7 installs quickly and takes up less hard drive space than you might expect, but in part that’s down to cheating – Mail, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery and other applets are no longer bundled with a standard Windows installation. Instead you must download the programs you need from the Windows Live Essentials site.

Installing Live Essentials will also get you potentially unnecessary extras, though, like an ActiveX control to help in uploading files to Windows Live SkyDrive. And the Windows Live Sign-In Assistant, which can be useful if you want to switch between multiple Windows Live accounts. If you have only one Windows Live account, and no plans to use Live SkyDrive, then these can safely be removed from the Control Panel Uninstall A Program applet.

TAKE YOUR PICK: You can install as many, or as few of the Live Essentials programs as you like

10. Too many minidumps

By default Windows 7 now keeps the last 50 minidump files (memory images saved when your PC crashes). If you’re keen on using dump files to troubleshoot crashes then this is good news, but if you’ve no interest in that kind of advanced debugging then minidumps are just a waste of your valuable hard drive space. In which case you should run REGEDIT, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl, and set MiniDumpsCount to 1. Windows will only now keep the last dump file and you’ll free up a little hard drive space.

11. HP Multifunction Printer problems

If you’ve an HP multifunction printer with its “Full Feature Software solution” or “Basic Driver solution” installed then, after upgrading to Windows 7, you may find the printer stops working. Press the buttons on the front of the printer and nothing will happen; launch the software manually and you’ll see reports that it can’t connect to your hardware.

The problem is that a few files and Registry entries have been lost in the migration to Windows Vista, and even reinstalling the original HP software won’t help. Fortunately there’s a new version of HP Solution Center that should get everything working again, though, and you can find out more about it at the HP support site.

12. Hidden extensions

And, of course, no list of Windows annoyances would be complete without a mention of Explorer’s default settings, which even in Windows 7 remain to hide file extensions, as well as system files and folders.

To fix this, launch Explorer and click Tools > Folder Options > View.

Clear the “Hide extensions for known file types” to show file extensions, reducing the likelihood that you’ll accidentally double-click on virus.txt.exe in future.

And as long as there are no novice users on your system who might go poking around in Explorer, we’d also choose to “Show hidden files and folders” as well as clear the “Hide protected operating system files” box. It’s often important to see these files when you’re troubleshooting, or following problem-solving instructions from someone else. (Source: Techradar.com)

Five Soldiers Defect to Eritrea

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Five Soldiers Defect to Eritrea and more news. Watch below:

Warlord Meles says Africa can give world clean energy

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: It seems the mental condition of Ethiopia’s khat addicted tyrant is deteriorating by the day. He doesn’t have food to feed 6 million people and yet he talks about giving the world clean energy.

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister tribal warlord Meles Zenawi, who will represent Africa at next month’s Copenhagen climate change talks, said on Thursday it was unlikely the world was serious about tackling global warming.

[Meles Zenawi is too incompetent to feed his own province of Tigray, let alone contribute any thing on climate change. To invite him to Copenhagen must be a sick joke by European politicians.]

The United Nations summit in Denmark will try to agree on how to counter climate change and come up with a post-Kyoto treaty protocol to curb harmful emissions.

“It is highly improbable … the world is serious about climate change and (will decide) to take effective measures to tackle it,” Meles told an economic conference in Addis Ababa. “But no one can say such an outcome is completely impossible.”

Meles has become Africa’s most outspoken leader on climate change and has argued that European pollution may have caused his country’s ruinous 1984 famine.

Aid workers say a five-year drought, worsened by climate change, is afflicting some 23 million people in seven east African nations, with Ethiopia worst affected.

Meles has demanded the rich world compensate Africa for the impact of global warming, and says the funding would help develop the continent’s agro-industries.

“Such a revival of the bedrock of Africa’s economies would revitalise our strategy for managing chronic poverty in the short-term while laying the basis for overall economic transformation in the long-term,” the prime minister said.

“POTENTIAL ENERGY NICHE”

Poor nations want rich countries to cut emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 to avert the worst effects of climate change. But many industrialised nations fear such cuts are out of reach, especially in an economic downturn.

Some climate experts have called for rich countries to pay up to $100 billion annually to counter the impact of global warming in Africa.

Meles, who also represented Africa at G8 and G20 summits of rich nations this year, said investment could help the continent provide clean energy to the world.

“If the decision to tackle climate change effectively were to be made, then Africa with its vast resources of renewable energy — solar, wind, hydropower, bio-energy — would have an important niche in the global market,” Meles said.

Power shortages are common in African countries, costing economies billions of dollars and hindering investment, even though natural resources are abundant.

Africa contributes little to the pollution blamed for warming, but is forecast to be hardest hit by its impact.

The Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum says poor nations bear more than nine-tenths of the human and economic burden of climate change.

The 50 poorest countries, however, contribute less than 1 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions that scientists say are threatening the planet, it says. (Editing by Daniel Wallis and Jon Hemming)

Liya Kebede on challenges facing mothers in Ethiopia

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

In Ethiopia, 94 percent of women deliver their babies at home, without the aid of a trained birth attendant.

Follow Liya Kebede, the World Health Organization’s Global Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and a native of Ethiopia, as she learns firsthand the challenges facing mothers and newborns and how new U.S.-funded programs are helping to shift the odds in their favor. Watch the video below:

2 Ethiopian men charged with fraud in Atlanta

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

ATLANTA — Bartow County Sheriff’s Office Investigators have arrested two Atlanta men — who are natives of Ethiopia — in connection with more than $2,000 worth of fraudulent purchases.

According to Sheriff’s Office reports Asaye H. Tewolde, 33, of Atlanta and Henok Biede Weldemicael, 26, also of Atlanta each have been charged with 72 counts of financial transaction card fraud from purchases they made in Bartow County over the last several weeks.

The two are accused of using invalid gift cards to make purchases at a Mapco Express in Cartersville in October and November. According to investigators, the pair were interfering with the satellite transceiver that verifies the credit card purchases, enabling them to buy numerous items on the invalid cards.

The pair were arrested when they attempted to use the cards at the same store again and store employees contacted deputies.

Investigators have recovered more than 75 invalid gift cards that were allegedly being used by the pair to purchase cigarettes and other items. Tewolde and Weldemicael also are suspected of the same crime in other jurisdictions.

Both men are being held at the Bartow County Jail pending a bond hearing.

EPPF Fighters attack Woyanne in Wolkait area

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

EPPF Fighters attack Woyanne in Wolkait area and more News. Watch below:

Tecola Hagos on Hailu Shawel's betrayal

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Tecola W. Hagos

The events of the last two week in Ethiopia has been painful, but a great example of political betrayal and opportunism of the worst kind. I watched on video the depiction of an open platform of November 1, 2009 attended by Ministers, Dignitaries, Ambassadors from all over the World, and the throng of journalists, at a signing ceremony presided by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the public humiliation and the betrayal of the people of Ethiopia in the person of Hailu Shawel, Lidetu Ayalew, and Ayalew Chamiso, who claim to represent the opposition interest of the Ethiopian people. I ask myself what happened to common decency, sense of self-worth, and communal responsibility for those individuals in attendance of the staging of the signing of the Code of Conduct to stoop so low as complete pawns in the hands of a power-crazed puppet-master.

I cannot afford to lose all faith in my fellow Ethiopians, thus I conjectured the possibility of blackmail by the Government of Meles Zenawi of Hailu Shawel, and to a lesser extent Lidetu Ayalew and Ayalew Chamiso, with some hitherto unknown horrible corruption charges or some sordid video record in order to force them play their dubious role becoming gatekeepers to ward off other opposition parties and groups, such as the Medrek group. I tried also some other explanation to justify such action by the three gentlemen, namely the question of the national interest. But when I examined closely each of the above excuses I was willing to entertain on their behalf to avoid unfounded allegations, I realized that the record of those individuals, in the past several years, indicate deliberate opportunistic and predatory activities. The signing of the Code of Conduct is simply the fulfillment of long drawn processes of marriage with the EPRDF.

I recall Engineer Hailu Shawel coming to see me in 1992 at the new office complex built during the time of Mengistu’s administration at the Menilik’s Palace grounds. What he wanted was to inform me his desire to cooperate with EPRDF, and he gave me the impression that he was seeking some appointment. [In those days, I was perceived to be some kind of king-maker.] I tried to inform him that the time was not conducive for me to talk about such personal issues and I pointed to him the fact that I was moving to a new office. I talked with him in a temporary little office that I simply used for the moment in order to accommodate his insistence to see me. Trying to cooperate with ones government is not per se evil; however, it is the motive that indicates the character flaw or strength of an individual. My assessment of Hailu Shawel in that brief moment of encounter was that of a person of opportunistic character—I am vindicated and proven right several times over in the course of the last fifteen years.

During the same period in the 1990s, I watched the birth of the AAPO led by the highly principled Professor Asrat; I witnessed the establishment of the Human Rights Commission, and the infighting of the OLF for political parity with the EPRDF. I am contrasting those developments to point out the fact that Hailu Shawel’s interest right from the start was a highly personal one compared to the activities of the leaders of such different political and civic groups I had a chance to know about due to my proximity to the center of power and due to personal acquaintances with many of the players in those organizations. Hailu Shawel played a highly personal political game. He is the quintessential Mahel Sefari. He used the frustration and hatred a number of Addis Ababean feel for EPRDF to his personal advantage by projecting himself as a man-of-the-people to the leadership of EPRDF, and not to be trifled with. When he started his All Ethiopians Unity Party, Hailu Shawel was doing that with an approval wink from EPRDF leaders because Professor Asrat’s All Amhara organization was gaining tremendous support and was becoming a real threat to the very survival of EPRDF even when the Professor Asrat was in detention. The leaders of the EPRDF needed an organization that will divide and dilute such concentrated challenge to their power.

No matter how hard one may try to change an old donkey into a stallion, it is an impossible task to achieve such fete. Just like nature, society cannot be that easily fooled. Such silly effort to fool society was amply demonstrated to the entire world to see by the event of November 1, 2009 at the Sheraton Hotel. Almost six months ago, on June 4, 2009, I wrote predicting such situation.

As he has done countless times in the past, Meles Zenawi will try all kinds of trickery dividing the opposition and driving wedges in between opposition leaders. It is no secret that Meles and his group have effectively divided and weakened the opposition in the past; for example, AAPO, OLF, CUD et cetera were all victims of the divisive schemes of launching leaders against each other. Thus, it will not surprise me if Meles Zenawi would offer Hailu Shawel the Presidency of Ethiopia in exchange for Hailu’s docility and political betrayal of the opposition.

What is well camouflaged and effectively hidden from everyone else’s scrutiny is the ambition of Hailu Shawel to be Meles Zenawi’s Ye Elfign Askelkai—a power broker position that is most favored and desired by Mahel Sefaris. The political evolution of Kinijit and Hailu Shawel’s role in the final political skirmish after the aborted election of 2005 leading to the arrest and conviction of Kinijit leaders was a situation where activities went out of control and dragged many of the leaders including Hailu Shawel into such a situation. However, the moment the Leaders of Kinjit were released from prison the split started with Hailu Shawel disassociating himself and separating his own group from the rest of Kinjit Members.

In 1991 to 1993 when I was advising the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, Ledetu Ayalew was too junior a person for me to know at all, so was Ayalew Chamiso. In fact, I never met those two gentlemen, I only know of them from reports, newspaper articles, videos, and pictures since my second exile (after 1993 to date) in the United States. Based on such reports and documentation, I wrote in a couple of articles expressing my admiration for Lidetu Ayalew as an individual who came to prominence through his own native wits and smarts without the help of any ethnic based hegemonic structure or help from academia or anybody else for that matter. It is no little achievement in a society that is densely stratified in tight hierarchical structure based on ethnic exclusivity, family prominence, and wealth, for a simple born peasant man from Lasta to make such inroad into the power structure of Ethiopia, especially an Ethiopia being ruled by the most rigid and closed Government in the history of this ancient land.

I have pointed out above the diverse personalities and interests of the three leaders who signed the Code of Conduct. Often people have pointed out to me and others that one should not focus on individual personalities when dealing with the political life of a nation. I respectfully differ from such high standard, for Ethiopian politics is driven completely by focusing on the personality of the leaders of Ethiopian political parties. It would be unrealistic for anyone to try to do politics in Ethiopia without first focusing on Ethiopian political personalities.

The Game Plan

It is imperative to understand the mind of Meles Zenawi and his close associates in order to understand why the group decided to form close alliance with Hailu Shawel. It is no surprise to me that such scheme would come about at this point. Over ten years ago, in my book Demystifying Political Thought, Power, and Economic Development (1999), I predicted the breakup of AAPO, and that fractured group in time would join forces with the faction of the TPLF corrupt leadership and would continue the repressive Government of the EPRDF under the leadership of Meles Zenawi.

The Amharas will continue in their present status, disorganized and ineffective, incapable to counter or regain the political clout they presumably had lost if the present fracturing continuous… moreover recent development indicate that AAPO officials in Addis Ababa are working together with the EPRDF undermining the very Amhara movement they were elected to lead and promote. [Referring to Qegnazmatch Nekatibeb leading AAPO and the continued detention of Professor Asrat] It is only a matter of time before the national office of AAPO in Ethiopia fractures and joins the EPRDF corrupt structure. In keeping with such trend, a faction from the TPLF with a section from AAPO, and exofficials of Mengistu’s government and the camp started by One Ethiopia will metamorphosis into a support group for Meles. (84-5)

[Tecola W. Hagos, Demystifying Political Thought, Power, and Economic Development (1999), pages 84-5. (Emphasis added)]

Meles Zenawi has perfected the art of “divide and rule” and raised it to new heights. Recent books, articles, and book reviews by former members of the TPLF have given us a glimpse of the sordid and corrupt inner workings of the TPLF. We have now a clear picture of the organizations administration and finance, more importantly the names and roles played by the core leaders responsible for the day to day functioning of the TPLF. Meles Zenawi, Sebhat Nega, Seyoum Mesfine, Abay Tsehai, Abadi Zemu, Brehane Gebrekristos, Tewodros Hagos et cetera played major roles in all the corrupt schemes hoodwinking major international humanitarian organizations and their star fund raisers whereby millions of dollars was deposited in accounts established by such individuals allegedly for the starving people of Tigray and vicinity. There was neither public auditing nor proper accounting ever to this day of all the hundreds of millions of dollars donated and received through charitable fund raising from the West and others. The individuals who had intimate knowledge of the finance and administrative process at the time, such as Gebremedhin Araya, Aregawi Berhe et cetera, have exposed the diabolical secret of the TPLF leaders diversion of donated funds into private accounts that was never audited by the organization.

Those TPLF leaders distributed a minuscule amount to the starving Tigrayan refugees in the Sudan, and kept the rest for their own use in accounts controlled by them. Because of such meager assistance most Tigrayan refugees in the Sudan tried to return to their home base even though it was under the administration of the Military Regime. The attraction was that Regime was providing sustenance far in excess of what was provided by TPLF Leaders even though the donated fund the TPLF Leaders were in charge of was far in excess of the donations that the Ethiopian Government had acquired from international donors. Furthermore, Meles Zenawi as the leader of that pack outmaneuvered Western governmental security and spying agencies by portraying himself and his close supporters as democratic and honorable leaders. The fact is that by the time the EPRDF reached Addis Ababa overrunning the Military Regime, the leaders of the TPLF were already Millioners. They all have tasted the forbidden golden apple from the tree of wealth. By then they were infested like Gollum with obsessive and insatiable appetite for wealth.

The only agenda they had was how best they could use their guerrilla forces to establish and run a puppet government in order to control the resources of a defeated country, and how best to loot it blind. We all have been wrong to a great extent in believing that they were interested in the fracturing of Ethiopia because of their hatred of the very idea of an Ethiopia and the fact that they were against the military dictatorship then in power. Some of us also wrongly believed that they were partial in their love and commitment to see an independent Eritrea. They would not have cared an iota for Eritrea if it were not in their best interest to do so in order to exploit and loot Ethiopia by themselves. In that shameful criminal activity of looting and robbery, they found Al-Amoudi, an individual who taught them a thing or too how to move huge amount of money around the world. He also might have personally facilitated the international web of investment and banking of the hundreds of millions of dollars and other hard currency thus stolen effectively hiding such fabulous looted wealth from Ethiopia including gold mined in mines allegedly owned by Al-Amoudi. In short, we are dealing here with a different breed of men unseen in the history of Ethiopia or the World before who held a nation hostage for one purpose only—to loot its wealth.

The true nature of the activities of the Leaders of the TPLF has become far more clearer now than a decade ago, since former TPLF leaders such as Gebremedhin Araya (responsible for the finance of TPLF), Aregawi Berhe (former Leader and Commander of the TPLF guerilla forces) and others have finally started writing and publishing their memoire. It is absolutely clear from such accounts that the main goal of the TPLF Leadership had shifted since 1984 from fighting for the liberation of the people of Tigray/Ethiopia to the acquisition of wealth by using the guerrilla structure that was in place to control the state structure. Meles Zenawi and his select tiny support group having tested of the forbidden golden apple born out of the famine of 1984 and after were simply dedicated to make as much money as possible looting and confiscating the wealth of a nation. They were in fact a group of mercenaries similar in their operation like the Mafia.

They used as their foot soldiers naïve peasant boys and girls from Tigray and a few from adjoining Provinces, young men and women who believed in a nationalist cause, to fight the deadliest war against a brutal military regime for seventeen years. Setting aside those patriotic naïve fighters, the leaders of the TPLF were just common criminals then as they are now.

The bond that held tight Meles Zenawi and his group is not patriotism; it is not concern for the people of Tigray; it is not the desire to help Eritreans. The bond is made of gold chain called “Money.” The interest born of money and wealth creates the most enduring and highly exclusive bonding. That is literally what we see in the current leaders of the TPLF. Opposition supporters writing endlessly ascribing the current disastrous Ethiopian government administration to narrow ethnic interest are totally wrong. Any mention of “Woyane” as the target of dissent and derision is like barking up the wrong tree. The people of Tigray are primary victims of the TPLF even worse than the rest of Ethiopia. The affinity between Meles Zenawi and the Mahel Sefaris is obvious.

The losers in the current game of the signing of the Code of Conduct and realignment of the EPRDF with its newest Member Hailu Shawel (AEUP) are the people of Ethiopia, not Hailu Shawel and his Party, not Medrek or anybody else. Meles Zenawi has gained another day to prepare for far longer and devastating fight against all those who are concerned about the vital interest of Ethiopia, the Opposition et cetera. He has extended his life to do more damage to the state of Ethiopia entrenching his divisive Killel system, alienating Ethiopian territory, selling/leasing huge chunk of Ethiopian land to foreign investors and states while millions of Ethiopians starve to death. He will keep looting Ethiopia’s gold in collaboration with Al-Amoudi.

The incorporation of new Satellite organizations, such as AEUP replacing the old ones, such as ANDM, OPDO et cetera that have atrophied over the last ten years, due to serious marginalization of the leaders of such organizations by Meles Zenawi. Starting from the arrest and imprisonment of Tamrat Layne, all Satellite organizations of the EPRDF lost their political luster. In the guise of the signing of a Code of Conduct, which is a meaningless document in itself, Meles Zenawi is putting in place a blue print for his future. There is some other subterranean purpose in the game that was fully displayed for the World to see on November 1, 2009. The bottom-line is that Meles Zenawi is replacing his old cronies wholesale with the quintessential Mahel Sefaris, who had worked diligently as shadow advisors and yes men of incredibly loyalty to Meles Zenawi in the last eighteen years. The current political development of Meles Zenawi’s budding friendship with Hailu Shawel spells doom for the old comrades of Meles Zenawi, such as
Adissu Legesse, Teferra Walwa, Kassu Illala et cetera who will soon be retired and replaced by the technocrats that Hailu Shawel would organize after the election of 2010, such technocrats are salivating right now to join the new administration with “Emperor” Meles Zenawi on the Throne for the next twenty years. This is the likely and disgusting outcome of the game plan that could only be conjured up by a sick mind.

North Carolina man shot Ethiopian girlfriend

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Ely Portillo | Charlotte Observer

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA — A man accused of murdering his girlfriend Saturday turned himself in to authorities Monday night, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

Investigators say Davon Londell Thomas, 27, shot his girlfriend, 23-year-old Tigist Yemane, a native of Ethiopia, shortly before 5 AM Saturday morning at his parents’ home on Willowglen Trail near Reedy Creek Park.

They say he then fled into woods near the house.

A murder warrant was issued for his arrest, but on Saturday Thomas eluded search dogs, a helicopter and dozens of officers combing the surrounding area for him.

Police warned the public that he had military training from serving in the Army National Guard and should be considered armed and dangerous.

But on Monday he surrendered at CMPD headquarters uptown.

Court records show Thomas pleaded guilty in 2008 to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

His sentence was suspended and he was given probation until 2011.

Last month, he pleaded guilty to resisting a public officer and was given probation and ordered to perform community service.

He was also forbidden to possess any firearms.

Ethiopia's delusional tyrant

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Isaac Ugbabe

Echoing the Ethiopian government’s recent call for food aid, British diplomat, Paddy Ashdown, has requested the international community’s urgent assistance in preventing a looming humanitarian crisis. Reuters reports that 160,000 tons of food are required if the devastating effects of poor rainfall are to be avoided. According to the Economist magazine, this year has seen the worst drought in East Africa since possibly 1991. Production of Kenya’s staple crop, maize, is expected to fall by a third, with subsistence farmers suffering the most. In several parts of the country, villagers are already dependent on monthly government rations of maize-meal and cooking oil. Somalia, faced with attrition from an escalating civil war, is now also considering the daunting prospect of supplying emergency food supplies to about 3.6 million hungry people. Yet, it is Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, that is most susceptible to climate change, and, confronting the specter of famine, will have to ask itself why it is once again in this perilous situation. Paddy Ashdown, speaking to Reuters about the possibility of 6.2 million Ethiopians starving to death, said, “We can prevent this situation getting to much worse proportions.”

Although the government’s appeal for aid coincides with the 25th anniversary of the 1984 famine, a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of over 1million Ethiopians, Ashdown claims such a doomsday scenario is less likely in the twenty-first century. “A number of factors are not in place that were in place then. There was a civil war, we didn’t have the institutions we have now to deal with problems, and we reacted late.” Although agriculture remains the mainstay of Ethiopia’s economy, and most farmers continue to employ outmoded practices, the country is better prepared to avert famine than it was 25 years ago. And, thanks to the well-publicized Band Aid and USA for Africa campaigns in the 1980s, the world is much more aware. According to the U.S. State Department, agriculture is responsible for more than 80 percent of Ethiopia’s exports and provides jobs for 85 percent of its population. Coffee production is the country’s largest source of foreign reserves, and, unsurprisingly, is closely monitored by the government. Other important agricultural exports include animal skins, pulses, and “khat”, a 6-12 foot flowering shrub whose leaves are chewed for their mind-altering effects. Ethiopian farmers who survived the last famine are wary of losing their livelihoods, and indeed their lives, to the vagaries of climate change. You might even say they are paranoid. “We did not work night and day before…but we do now,” said Mesele Adhena, a farmer supporting six children, in an interview with the BBC. The government, for its part, is stockpiling grain, though it’s been reported these emergency rations will run out before the rural poor are given their share. There is also a food-for-work program that, if properly implemented, will keep famine from rearing its ugly head.

Things that obviously have not changed since 1984 include Africa’s misplaced priorities and its predilection for strongmen. The 18-year tenure of Ethiopia’s khat addicted Prime Minister dictator Meles Zenawi is proof of this. Zenawi, who came to power in 1991, the year of the last major East African drought, has, through rain or shine, managed to keep a firm grip on power. And even though it’s been suggested that he’ll step down after next year’s elections, it is widely believed that, even if he does, he’ll stay on as chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). According to the Economist, Zenawi isn’t concerned with such speculation, dismissing it as “boring.” However, a separate report by the Economist on the recent release from prison of popular reggae artist, Teddy Afro, shows the government is desperate to improve its image ahead of elections. Mr. Afro had been jailed on trumped-up charges, not, as might be expected, for possession of marijuana, but for a hit-and-run accident involving a homeless man in the capital, Addis Ababa. His fans believe he was locked away, like numerous other dissidents, including the young judge and opposition leader, Birtukan Mideksa, because he “compared Mr. Meles’s lot to a brutal junta.” Yet, securing Zenawi’s position as de facto emperor has called for more than a domestic clampdown; international concerns pose an equally destabilizing threat. Backed by the United States, with its anti al-Qaeda agenda, Ethiopia has, thus far, managed to keep intractable Eritrea and lawless Somalia at bay.

And still, food insecurity, like Zenawi’s reign, extends unchecked. It was the great famine of 1972, in fact, that led to Emperor Haile Selassie’s downfall. Selassie, a direct descendant of King Solomon of Israel, was as much renowned for fending off European occupation of Ethiopia as for his deification by Jamaican Rastafarians. He succumbed, some would say, to “the will of god” when, after 44 years in power, a global oil crisis coincided with climate change to turn his people against him.

Zenawi’s reign began with drought, and nearly two decades later, this same scourge dictates his country’s economic policy. The U.S. State Department believes Ethiopia has the potential to be both self-sufficient in grains and an exporter of numerous agricultural products, but “undeveloped water resources, and poor transport infrastructure”, among other things, have made it reliant on food aid. Far from restricted to withering crops, the current drought has caused whole herds of cattle and sheep, those “chewers of the cud” who’ve grazed East African plains for millennia, to drop dead. This, reports the Economist, will only increase tensions among feuding tribes in southern Ethiopia, while, in the east, secessionists of Somali ancestry are also expected to intensify their struggle. Within Somalia, where food aid is often used “to control the people”, Islamist militants will win even more recruits.

According to Oxfam, the international relief agency, drought doesn’t have to lead to famine. If a government invests in irrigation, grain warehouses, and wells, people will survive no matter how long the clouds withhold their precious supply of rain. But Ethiopia will not put to rest the threat of famine till it addresses its underlying causes. A report by Action Aid, entitled Who’s really fighting hunger?, states 1 billion people are unjustifiably going hungry in the world today. The report goes on to explain that hunger is a choice people make, and “not a force of nature.” Although hunger has its roots in inequalities between rich and poor, says the aid agency, it is exacerbated by policies that commoditize food instead of treating it as a right. “It is because of these policies that most developing countries no longer grow enough to feed themselves, and that their farmers are among the hungriest and poorest people in the world. Meanwhile, the rich world battles growing obesity.”

Meles Zenawi’s solution is to ask for more food aid, which, incidentally, is an industry in itself, one monopolized by Western companies. He also expects $40 billion a year in compensation to Africa for foreign-induced climate change, reports the Economist, and has openly blamed Europe for making the 1984 famine worse than it had to be. Zenawi will be representing Africa at the much-anticipated climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December, and one can only expect him to negotiate further concessions. His decision to appeal for aid on the 25th anniversary of the 1984 famine proves that he’s either a shameless opportunist, or that, after years of helping himself to the country’s dwindling supply of khat, is delusional enough to think the brokering of such deals with the West, without the consent of his people, can continue indefinitely. It will take more khat than he can chew to ever make that dream a reality, and more coffee than he can consume to keep him awake that long.

Ethiopians in the Diaspora overestimate U.S. leverage in Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By David H. Shinn

As a reader during the past 25 years of political commentary by the Ethiopian diaspora and based on my own contacts with that community, I am struck by the prevailing belief that the U.S. government has the ability to change Ethiopian polices and alter the fundamental direction of events in Ethiopia. This view is misguided.

The policy conundrum came to my attention again recently as I read an opinion piece in The Hill by Mesfin Mekonnen.

Ato Mesfin begins by urging a hastened review of U.S. policy towards Ethiopia. This is a reasonable request. Every new American administration should review its policy with counties that are as important as Ethiopia and where there is controversy about the nature of the bilateral relationship. The opinion piece goes on to state that “Congress should hold hearings and enact legislation to help Ethiopians create the conditions that are necessary to ensure that food aid is never needed again.” The implication is that the U.S. government can resolve Ethiopia’s governmental, demographic, political and social issues.

I beg to differ.

The United States can impact the situation on the margins, but it does not have the power to force fundamental change even if there was agreement on what that change should be.

While the United States does have influence in Ethiopia, in fact, more than most countries, there are distinct limits to that influence. Not only is Ethiopia a sovereign state but it interacts with dozens of other important countries and organizations.

Those in the Ethiopian diaspora who oppose the Ethiopian government usually suggest that American assistance to Ethiopia can and should serve as the leverage for forcing change in the country. The level of U.S. assistance in recent years has been impressive. In fiscal year 2007, it was about $474 million and in fiscal year 2008 about $456 million. It is important, however, to look more closely at this assistance.

In an essay in the November/December 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs, three former administrators of USAID — J. Brian Atwood, Peter M. McPherson and Andrew Natsios — wrote that in fiscal year 2007 about 50 percent of U.S. assistance to Ethiopia went to HIV/AIDS prevention, 38 percent to emergency food relief and 7 percent to child survival, family planning and malaria prevention and treatment. Only 1.5 percent went to agriculture, 1.5 percent to economic growth, 1.5 percent to education and 1 percent for improving governance.

In fiscal year 2008, by my calculations, 73 percent of USAID’s budget for Ethiopia went to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, 12 percent to child survival and health, 9 percent to development assistance, 5 percent for food aid and less than 1 percent for a combination of foreign military financing (FMF) and international military education and training (IMET). The amount for FMF was $843,000 and for IMET $620,000.

This is not an assistance program that has significant political leverage. In 2007, almost 95 percent of the assistance program went to HIV/AIDS, emergency food aid and child survival. In 2008, the figure was about 90 percent for these programs.

There are very few members of Congress and even fewer in the Executive Branch who are interested in cutting funding for HIV/AIDS, child survival and emergency food aid in an effort to change governmental policies in Ethiopia.

While Ethiopian officials also listen to the United States for reasons unrelated to foreign aid, the fact is that U.S. leverage is much more limited than most in the Ethiopian diaspora believe.

(Amb. David H. Shinn is an adjunct professor of international affairs at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Amb. Shinn, who received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from GW, is a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia (1996-99) and to Burkina Faso (1987-90).)

4 Ethiopian women killed themselves in Lebanon

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Hayeon Lee |NowLebanon

Over the last two weeks, four Ethiopian women in Lebanon were found dead, probably from suicide.

From the moment she arrived in Lebanon, Martha (not her real name), an Ethiopian woman in her twenties, was subjected to abuse by her employer and her three children – a 9-year-old and two teenagers. They beat her ceaselessly, verbally abused her, locked her in the house, and bolted the fridge door. “Imagine a 9-year-old child beating you. I cried,” said Martha. Two months into her ‘contract’, she escaped to the Ethiopian consulate where she was followed by her employer, with children in tow, who tried to publically beat her. The consulate protected her and let her leave with an apparently apologetic member of the employment agency that had brought Martha to Lebanon.

Surprisingly, Martha was sent back to the same family and the brutal regime from which she had fled. “I tried to kill myself by drinking some cleaning liquid, but only my mouth burned. I did not try again,” Martha smiled sadly. In fact, Martha lasted a year and escaped when her employer asked her to go out and buy a broom. “As soon as I was outside, I started to run.”

Martha survived, but many other women who come to this country as maids, only find themselves hostages to brutality that ends up taking their lives. In the past two weeks, four Ethiopian women have died in Lebanon as a result of either suspected or confirmed suicide. Three – Matente Kebede Zeditu (26), Saneet Mariam (30), and Tezeta Yalmiya (26) – were reported in the media. Although Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) figure of more than one death out of around 200,000 domestic workers per week created waves when it was released in August 2008, the Lebanese government has taken no substantial action, and maids keep dying needlessly.

“These deaths are the tip of the iceberg,” says Nadim Houry, senior researcher at HRW. “It is only the most dramatic manifestation of a number of violations [of basic human rights] such as ill-treatment, and isolation of these workers.”

For example, it is standard practice for Lebanese employers to ‘retain’ the domestic worker’s passport, while many do not let them go out for years at a time. Verbal abuse is common as is the withholding of salaries.

Although most of these “standard practices” are illegal under the Lebanese constitution and the overwhelming majority of Lebanese, who employ domestic staff treat them fairly, the problem is that there is no law enforcement body to protect the most basic human rights of foreign maids and prosecute abusive employers.

As a result, many choose to end their lives. But even then, the suffering continues with the repatriation of the body. A Nepali woman who died at the end of August is still in the morgue.  “There are some cases where a body is left in the fridge for a long time, and neither the insurance nor the employer wants to pay for the trip home,” says Houry. The best way to stop these deaths, he says, is to hold the Lebanese government accountable. “What would be required are concrete measures by the government that would reduce the isolation that these workers feel.”

Official police sources said that the Ethiopian woman who committed suicide by jumping from the seventh floor in Gemmayze, did so because of a soured relationship with her sister. Nevertheless, Broukti*, an Ethiopian domestic worker, who has worked for more than a decade in Lebanon and is also a local community organizer, is skeptical. “I don’t believe it. If it was in Ethiopia, nobody would kill herself because she fought with her sister.”

In fact, according to the deaths recorded by HRW, much more than half of all deaths are those of Ethiopian women who make up less than a quarter of the workforce. Broukti has two explanations. Firstly, the problem is that many of the women from her country come from rural areas and pay hundreds of dollars to smugglers believing they will work in white-collar jobs abroad. When they arrive in Lebanon, they find their situation unbearable. The Ethiopian government’s ban on Ethiopians coming to Lebanon since last year has only exacerbated the problem.

Furthermore, for many of these women, the treatment as second-class human beings without family, friends, culture and humanity is insufferable.  “We are Ethiopians with a history. We have never been colonized. We colonized until the border of Saudi Arabia. We’re a very proud nation,” Broukti says.

Women worked to death in Lebanon

By Dalila Mahdawi | Guardian

They mop floors, take out the rubbish, walk the dog, buy groceries and care for the children, the elderly or disabled. Many a well-to-do and lower middle class Lebanese family relies on migrant domestic workers to take care of their household, but when it comes to providing for these women, not all return the favour.

Migrant domestic workers – women who work as live-in or freelance housekeepers, cooks, and nannies – form a vital presence in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East, where women’s increased participation in the workforce has not been accompanied by state-backed social or childcare services.

There are thought to be about 200,000 women, mostly from the Philippines, Ethiopia and Sri Lanka, in Lebanon alone. But although they are becoming an intrinsic part of the country’s social fabric, their contribution is often overlooked. While many Lebanese people are careful to ensure their housekeepers are well treated, a significant number abuse them. In extreme cases, migrant domestic workers are killed or kill themselves.

The spate of suicides has become so bad in recent weeks it prompted Lebanese blogger Wissam to launch the grimly named Ethiopian Suicides blog. The website is dedicated to monitoring media reports on the deaths of foreign migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. “I have a dream,” Wissam says. “That migrant domestic workers will be treated humanely in Lebanon and will stop trying to commit or commit[ting] suicide.”

In the last three weeks alone, Wissam notes, four Ethiopian women have died. Lebanese police say the deaths of Kassaye Atsegenet, 24, Saneet Mariam, 30, Matente Kebede Zeditu, 26, Tezeta Yalmiya, 26 were probably suicides. But as human rights activists here will testify, the truth about what happened to them may never be known because police usually only take into account the employer’s testimony. Migrants who survive abuse or suicide attempts are not usually provided with a translator, meaning their version of events often does not get registered with officials.

Sadly, violations against such workers occur throughout the region and in some cases the women end up in slave-like conditions.

Reflecting the concern of sender countries for the wellbeing of their citizens, Ethiopia and the Philippines have placed bans on working in Lebanon and Jordan, but this has not stemmed the flow of illegal migrants smuggled in through third countries. Without the necessary work papers and embassy support, migrant women become even more vulnerable to human rights abuses.

One reason the women are driven to the edge is that, in Lebanon at least, they are not given protection under the country’s labour law. Such exclusion means that those who withhold salaries, confiscate passports, confine their employees to the house or otherwise abuse them, can literally get away with murder. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that five months after parliamentary elections, a Lebanese government is only now being formed.

The campaign to grant migrant domestic workers greater rights in the region has been led by Human Rights Watch. This summer, it contacted Lebanese beach resorts and found that 17 out of 27 private facilities practised some form of discrimination against such women by prohibiting them from swimming in the pool or even the Mediterranean sea.

A study conducted by the organisation last year found that more than one migrant domestic worker was dying in Lebanon each week – mostly from suspected suicide or by falling off a balcony while trying to escape abusive employers. The numbers sent ripples throughout the rights community and resulted in far more sustained local media coverage on the issue of domestic migrant workers. Judging by Wissam’s recent statistics, however, this does not appear to have persuaded the authorities to take sufficient measures to protect their rights.

The embassies of countries that supply migrant workers have a duty to protect their citizens. They could start by offering amnesty and assistance to all illegal workers, increasing their legal protection capabilities and properly informing women at home of their rights and responsibilities while working abroad. Many countries, such as Nepal or Madagascar, which are sending women to the Middle East in increasing numbers, would do well to increase their diplomatic representation from consular level to embassies.

Many migrant workers come to the Middle East seeking a better life for the families they left behind. The Lebanese themselves have a long history of migration and hardship, and should know first-hand the difficulties of living and working in a foreign country. Just as many Lebanese abroad work hard with the hopes of eventually returning home, the Lebanese should ensure that these women get to go back to their countries – alive and well, not in body bags.

American man suing FBI over wrongful detention in Ethiopia

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

NEW JERSEY (BBC) — An American man residing in New Jersey is suing the FBI for mistreatment while he was held in jail in Kenya and Ethiopia in 2007.

Amir Meshal was arrested on the Kenyan border as he fled Somalia after the ousting of the Islamist administration.

According to the lawsuit, FBI agents interrogated him there, saying he had received al-Qaeda training in Somalia.

Mr Meshal says he was then returned to Somalia and sent on to Ethiopia for three months where US agents threatened him with torture and death.

He repeatedly denied the allegations and was released in May 2007 and returned to the United States after media inquiries and protests from human rights groups.

The US State Department said it formally protested at the time about Mr Meshal’s removal from Kenya to Ethiopia, the Associated Press news agency reports.

In April 2007, the Ethiopia government admitted that it had detained 41 “terror suspects” captured in neighbouring Somalia.

It defended the action as part of the “global war on terror”, but denied the detainees had been held incommunicado or were mistreated.

An FBI spokesman has said officials will not comment on the case.

In September, an Egyptian man received a $250,000 payout from the FBI because of the way he was treated following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Mr Meshal’s lawsuit has been filed on his behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“American citizens abroad who seek refuge from hostilities deserve the assistance of their government in getting home safely,” AP quotes ACLU lawyer Nusrat Choudhury as saying.