Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News’ Category

VIDEO: Kenenisa and Meseret tear up Hayward Field in Oregon

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Watch video below.

EUGENE — Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the man widely regarded as the best runner of all-time, thrilled a morning crowd of about 4,000 spectators with a world-record attempt in the 10,000 meters that was a mere eight seconds short.

Running in an outdoor meet in the United States for the first time, Bekele settled for the fourth-fastest time in history — 26 minutes, 25.97 seconds — and the fastest ever on U.S. soil by an astonishing 38 seconds.

“I’m satisfied,” said the soft-spoken Bekele after the race. “It was OK.” Just OK?

Watching from the stands, University of Oregon senior track team members Joaquin Chapa and Michael McGrath spoke on behalf of an appreciative crowd. Most had only seen Bekele run on television or YouTube.

“That’s what it’s supposed to look like,” Chapa said. “You hear of things he’s done but they’re always happening in a far off place so they don’t always seem real. To see him in person is amazing.”

Bekele went through the halfway point in 13:09 — two seconds off the Hayward Field record for 5,000 meters. Bekele, led by pacesetters that ushered him through 5,000 meters, stuck to a mind-bending pace for the remainder of the 25-lap (6.2 miles) race.

He said the pace got a little too slow around four kilometers and it was tough to get back on record pace.

“I did my best,” he said. “Around lap 18, 19, I was getting tired.”

Bekele’s effort made instant fans at Hayward Field and he enjoyed the reception he received.

“They were very nice. I want to thank them,” he said.

Bekele turns 26 on Friday. He has already won every major championship, including indoors and cross country, and owns the world record in the 5,000 as well. He said he simply wants to get better.

Eugene running fans can now decide for themselves whether he is the best.

“He is the Michael Jordan of distance running,” McGrath said.

The image of Bekele’s steadfast pace, simultaneously effortless and powerful, seemed to set off a torrent of inspired performances.

Although Ethiopian star Meseret Defar fell off the pace needed to put the 5,000-meter record for women into play, her time of 14:38.73 demolished the Hayward Field record of 15:06.53 set by Mary Decker-Slaney in 1985.

Defar was unimpressed with her own performance, particularly with early pace-setting that spoiled her chance to reclaim the world record she lost on Friday to Tirunesh Dibaba (14:11.15), her Ethiopian rival and teammate in Oslo, Norway.

Kara Goucher of Portland was third in 14:58.10, less than three seconds from her personal best but a strong gauge of her fitness leading up to the U.S. Olympic Trials later this month in Eugene.

“I’m pleased to run well. It was a good solid race and the fans here are amazing,” said Goucher, the 2007 bronze medalist at the World Championships. “But I would have liked to have run three or four seconds faster.”

Goucher, who has stated her goal of beating the U.S. record (14:44.80), was on an airplane to Portland when Dibaba’s world record happened. When she landed, her phone contained messages from people yelling about 14:11.

“(Defar and Dibaba are) amazing athletes and they make women’s running better and better and better and they keep raising the bar to where we stop putting boundaries on our minds,” Goucher said. “When a girl can run 14:11 and then say she can run faster, it’s a whole new day.”

After Bekele and Defar demonstrated their talents in the first two races of the day, hours before the televised portion of the Classic on NBC, eight developmental races filled the gap in the schedule.

Two Oregon high school runners used the opportunity to run in fast fields of older competitors.

Taylor Wallace of Klamath Falls’ Henley High School, a junior, ran the fastest 1,500 meters in 23 years by an Oregon prep: 4:28.79. She was ninth all-time in state history.

Lake Oswego junior Elijah Greer improved upon his 800-meter best, finishing second in his race in 1:50.31 — fourth all-time and a junior class record.

Later, the Hayward Field record in the 800 fell. Alfred Kirwa Yego of Kenya ran 1:44.01 to take down a facility record on the books since the 1972 Olympic Trials.

Oregon recruit Luke Puskedra, a high school runner from Utah, finished last in the men’s two-mile in 8:46.41 — a time that ranks 14th all-time among preps nationally. Up front, world championships gold medalist Bernard Lagat defeated a star-studded international field that included Kenyan Paul Koech and Australian Craig Mottram.

“Overwhelming,” Puskedra said. “Being with all the pros was definitely surreal.”

By Doug Binder, The Oregonian
Doug Binder: 503-221-8161; dougbinder@news.oregonian.com

Watch the video below >>

Oklahoma State Senate passed Resolution on Ethiopia

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Press Release from Coalition for H.R. 2003

Oklahoma State Senate unanimously passed Resolution on Ethiopia. All Republicans came on board. As you may know, Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma personally tried to intervene and kill the Resolution as he is still trying to kill HR 2003.

The passage of the Resolution unanimously by the higher legislative chamber (State Senate), despite Sen. Inhofe’s effort, could prove problematic as he is running for reelection in November 2008.

Our Oklahoma colleagues deserve a special recognition for the extraordinary achievement.

Read the Resolution here.

Another needed investiment in Ethiopia – wine

Monday, June 9th, 2008

By Jane Anson, decanter.com

BORDEAUX, FRANCE — The Castel Group, France’s largest wine producer, is starting wine production in Ethiopia.

The group is planting grapes on 125ha of farmland in Zewey, 200km south of the capital Addis Ababa. A further 175ha is available for further planting in the future.

The land has been acquired from the Ethiopian state which, as Castel communications director Franck Crouset told decanter.com, ‘invited us to produce locally-grown, quality wines, to help revitalise their wine industry.’

Castel expects to invest around US$4.2m in planting the vines this year, and the same amount again in constructing a winery and vinification facilities in 2009.

The trading name will be Castel Winery Private Ltd Company.

The grapes are all international varieties: 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 10% Chardonnay. Over 750,000 vines will be planted.

The first of Castel’s Ethiopian wines are expected to be released by 2011, and will target the local market as well as neighbouring African states such as Uganda, Sudan and Kenya, with expected exports of around 50% of production.

Castel’s decision to open in Ethiopia came about following president Pierre Castel’s meeting with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi during a visit to the country in January 2007.

The project should create permanent employment for several hundred local people. There is a history of wine production in Ethiopia, but the industry entered a period of decline after wineries were nationalised by the military regime and production facilities not upgraded.

Crouzet added, ‘We hope to revitalise the local wine production, as well as cementing our own presence in the highly important African market.’

Currently, the Castel Group owns 1500ha of vineyards across Africa, with 240ha in Tunisia and 1,500ha in Morocco.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week, it was beer, and now wine. Is investment on alcoholic beverages what Ethiopia needs at this moment when close to 10 million of her people are dying of starvation? What kind of callous, moronic people are these investors who are using scarce water and fertile lands to grow crops and grapes for producing beer and wine? They are not thinking, or may be they don’t care any more than Addisu Legesse, the dummy who is in charge of the government’s agriculture policy in Ethiopia.

Top Woyanne commander killed in Somalia

Monday, June 9th, 2008

(PressTV) — Top commander of Ethiopian Woyanne forces in Somalia has been gunned down by unidentified insurgents in the war-torn country’s capital Mogadishu.

The Ethiopian Woyanne military leader was shot in the head by unknown gunmen from a building in the vicinity of the Bakara market in central Mogadishu, a government official told Press TV on Sunday.

The riled Ethiopian Woyanne troops leveled the building to the ground. Whether any of the insurgents have been killed remains unknown.

Ethiopian Woyanne troops are said to be in a state of shock and confusion over their leader’s death.

The report added that more than 50 Ethiopian Woyannen soldiers have also been killed in clashes with heavily armed rebels near the Somali Presidential Palace on the same day.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Hassan Haad, the chairman of the Hawiye clan — the largest and most powerful clan in Somalia — condemned Sunday’s Bakara market attack which left 40 civilians dead and 123 others critically wounded, blaming the Ethiopian troops and Somali government forces for the tragic event.

“Hostility actions from the Ethiopian Woyanne and the so-called Somali government soldiers are not acceptable,” Haad said.

“The Ethiopians Woyannes have killed uncountable number of civilians and they are the daily problem of Somalis. They are committing genocide and the Hwiye clan cannot accept that,” he stressed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What a great news to start the week with.

More from VOA about Woyanne’s attack on Bakara Market >>

12 Killed in Mogadishu Clashes, Mostly Civilians

(VOA News) — Witnesses in Somalia’s capital say at least 12 people have been killed in artillery battles between Ethiopian Woyanne-backed government troops and Islamist insurgents.

Residents say the fighting began Sunday after insurgents attacked Ethiopian Woyanne and Somali government soldiers as they tried to conduct raids in Mogadishu’s Bakara Market.

Witnesses say most of the dead were civilians, killed by Ethiopian Woyanne mortar shells fired into the market.

The French news agency quotes a man as saying he saw the bodies of three Somali soldiers and one insurgent in the nearby Hararyale neighborhood.

Bakara has been the scene of many battles during the 17-month insurgency.

The fighting has killed thousands of Somalis and driven more than a million from their homes.

The insurgency began in early 2007, soon after government and Ethiopian Woyanne troops pushed an Islamist movement from power in Mogadishu and other Somali cities.

The United Nations recently initiated peace talks in Djibouti between the government and exiled insurgent leaders. But a key opposition group has ruled out holding direct talks with the government until it sets a timetable for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops.

Kenenisa Bekele runs fastest 10,000 on American soil

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

EUGENE, Oregon (AFP) — Kenenisa Bekele, of Ethiopia, fell short in his bid to break his own world record but still managed to run the fastest 10,000 metres ever on American soil at Sunday’s Prefontaine Classic.

Bekele, who was competing in his first outdoor race in the United States, finished in 26 minutes, 25.97 seconds, becoming the first runner to break 27:00 in the United States.

The previous mark was held by Abraham Chebii who ran 27:04.20 seven years ago.

Organizers moved the 10,000m up to an early morning time slot in order to boost the three-time World Champion’s chances of breaking his record.

Bekele, who also holds the 5,000m world mark of 12:37.35, was cheered on by a crowd of about 5,000 at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

He ran alone for the majority of the race after lead runner Abreham Feleke dropped out halfway through the race which featured eight Ethiopians and five Kenyans.

Bekele and Defar fail in world record bids
By Steven Mills, June 8th 2008

Ethiopian stars fall short of world records at the Prefontaine Classic, Eugene

KENENISA BEKELE narrowly missed breaking his 10000m world record at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene today. The three-time world champion was three seconds off world record pace at 4km, passing through in 10:33 and an opening 5km split of 13:10 meant that the Ethiopian would need to run negative splits for the record.

But with the rabbits gone, the task was to prove too great for Bekele and despite a spirited effort in the final kilometre, the 25-year-old could not break his three-year-old 26:17.53 record but today’s clocking of 26:25.97 was an American all-comers record.

Ibrahim Jeilan (27:13.85) and Maregu Zewdie (27:14.13) were second and third for Ethiopia respectively.

In the 5000m, Meseret Defar was never on the sort of pace to regain her world record, which she lost on Friday night to Tirunesh Dibaba. The world record always looked unlikely from the outset and passing through 4km in 11:44.8, Defar was a long way short of her PB pace.

However, the world and Olympic 5000m champion was a clear first, clocking 14:38.74 to finish more than 100m clear of Vivian Cheruiyot (14:57.43) and Kara Goucher (14:58.10).

– – – – – –

Ethiopian stars fall short of world records at the Prefontaine Classic, Eugene

(Athletics Weekly) — KENENISA BEKELE narrowly missed breaking his 10000m world record at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene today. The three-time world champion was three seconds off world record pace at 4km, passing through in 10:33 and an opening 5km split of 13:10 meant that the Ethiopian would need to run negative splits for the record.

But with the rabbits gone, the task was to prove too great for Bekele and despite a spirited effort in the final kilometre, the 25-year-old could not break his three-year-old 26:17.53 record but today’s clocking of 26:25.97 was an American all-comers record.

Ibrahim Jeilan (27:13.85) and Maregu Zewdie (27:14.13) were second and third for Ethiopia respectively.

In the 5000m, Meseret Defar was never on the sort of pace to regain her world record, which she lost on Friday night to Tirunesh Dibaba. The world record always looked unlikely from the outset and passing through 4km in 11:44.8, Defar was a long way short of her PB pace.

However, the world and Olympic 5000m champion was a clear first, clocking 14:38.74 to finish more than 100m clear of Vivian Cheruiyot (14:57.43) and Kara Goucher (14:58.10).

Governor of Gambella denied a visa to enter Canada

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Anuak Justice Council
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mr. Omot Obang Olum, the Gambella Region Governor who was appointed to his position following his suspected collaboration with the EPRDF regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in the massacre of 424 Anuak leaders in Gambella in December of 2003, has had his visa application for entry into Canada denied by Canadian government officials late on Friday, June 6, 2008.

Mr. Olum was scheduled to speak at a meeting in Calgary to Canadian Ethiopians from the Gambella region on Saturday, June 7, but now will not make it. In an earlier meeting held in Minnesota on May 31, many attendees were dissatisfied with Olum’s emphasis on developing the region while appearing to evade questions or flatly deny his own alleged part in the human rights crimes going on in the region before, during and after the killings. Mr. Omot Olum failed to publicly take the higher ground and admit to his wrongdoing. Anuak would love to be so surprised—if it were deemed honest and sincere.

Efforts to deny his entry into the United States were unsuccessful even though we have learned from anonymous sources that United States officials had detained Olum for questioning after he arrived in the states on May 30, 2008, but that he was later released, allegedly, because he held a diplomatic visa that gave him special privileges and greater immunity against possible action.

Regardless, Canada has now taken a stand against an alleged perpetrator of genocide and human rights crimes. This is all the more significant to the family of these victims as Olum and other legitimate suspects all the way up to the federal offices in Addis Ababa, have never been held accountable for these actions within Ethiopia. Way to go, Canada! No longer do we want western countries to be used as safe havens for those who have committed gross human rights abuses.

Mr. Olum, who was the chief of security for the region at the time of the massacre, had been identified in testimony from witnesses given to human rights investigators from Genocide Watch, Survivors Rights’ International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) as the individual responsible for compiling and handing over the list of Anuak leaders who were later targeted and killed.

Mr. Olum later was appointed as governor of the Gambella region in a suspected payoff for his loyalty to the EPRDF government of Ethiopian unelected Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. To date, no one has been held accountable for the massacre of the Anuak. Neither has anyone been held accountable for the over 200 Ethiopians killed in protests following the hijacking of the Ethiopian National Election of 2005 or for the gross human rights crimes being perpetrated in the Ogaden and into Somalia as well as for the countless other human rights abuses committed throughout Ethiopia.

In a comment made to the Calgary Herald, Karen Shadd, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, was quoted in their June 6, 2008 article as saying that “the department takes public safety seriously even though she could not comment on the visa.” We now see the proof that her statement had substance to it.

Canadian government figures show that there are over 800 war criminals or human rights abusers currently living in Canada. In 2000, Canada passed a new law that the Canadian courts have jurisdiction to hear cases in court of those found to be in the country—even one related to individuals visiting on a visa who are suspected of committing a human rights crime such as Omot Olum. Should he have been allowed to enter the country, this law could have taken effect on his case.

However, the current denial of Olum’s visa is the best first step and Canadians have taken it. This is the kind of action that is needed to bring to an end the human rights abuses and the repression of freedom and democracy in Ethiopia being carried out by the regime of Meles Zenawi.

We are hoping that this action is an indication of a new level of commitment to upholding the principles of freedom and democracy in Third World countries that western countries like Canada and the United States hold so dear.

The West’s War on Terror has contributed to the willingness of donor countries such as Canada and the United States to turn a blind eye to the horrific violations of human rights and oppression in countries such as Ethiopia whose partnership in the War on Terror has given them impunity. Yet, on the home front, the prime minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, is terrorizing his own people.

Canada’s partnership with Meles Zenawi, also seen by many Ethiopians as complicity with a dictator, is putting Canada’s own future relationship with Ethiopians in jeopardy. If Canadians in leadership and in the media fail to acknowledge how our support of this dictator is a means to perpetuate human rights abuses, the sabotage of the democratic process and the repression of the press, we will end up compromising not only our moral principles as a free country, but we will be putting our own future national interests at greater risk as these average Ethiopians become hostile to us in the west due to our silence and self-interest. Please do something to change the course of these events!

If there is a group interested in further pursuing this, please contact us for more information.

Mr. Obang Metho,
Director of International Advocacy
Anuak Justice Council

E-mail: Obang@anuakjustice.org
Website: http://www.anuakjustice.org

Sudanese authorities release 26 Ethiopians they detained

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issues Committee reports that 26 Ethiopians who were detained by Sudanese authorities have been released.

Click here to read more [pdf, Amharic]

Woyanne official banned from entering Canada

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

CALGARY – Ethiopian ex-pats waiting to ask tough questions of an Ethiopian governor of the Gambella region did not get the opportunity here Saturday afternoon after the official was a no-show, having been denied entry into the country a day earlier.

Omot Obang Olom was set to appear at the First Church of the Nazarene and was expected to talk about the new economic opportunities in the Gambella region of Ethiopia.

Olom has been accused by some human rights advocates of involvement in a 2003 massacre by government troops which left 400 people of Anuak ethnicity dead. However, supporters say Omot had no involvement and he has said he tried to stop the killings.

Members of the media were told by organizers Olom would not be making an appearance after he was denied entry into Canada Friday morning.

“The Canadian government did not give us a reason and we do not know why he is not allowed in the country,” said organizer Gatkuoth Bim.

Opponents of Olom’s visit were pleased by the development.

“He has no right to come to talk to Ethiopian people in Canada when he has been accused of human rights violations,” said Obang Metho, director of international advocacy with the Anuak Justice Council.

Ojulu Didumo, who travelled from Edmonton early Saturday morning to attend, said he was disappointed at the cancellation and was looking forward to asking questions about what happened in 2003.

“We have family members who have been affected by what’s going on in the country and I think we are owed some answers,” he said.

Canadian Border Services could not be reached for comment.

By Michelle Butterfield, The Calgary Herald
mbutterfield@theherald.canwest.com

EDITOR’S NOTE: Great job Obang Metho and friends. You succeeded in chasing away the monstrous criminal from Canada. Shame on the U.S. Government for allowing this guy, who slaughtered hundreds of Ethiopians in cold blood, to enter the United State. It is the work of that a heartless witch,Jendayi Frazier, who is in charge of U.S. policy on Africa.

VIDEO: Zeritu Kebede – Athidibegn

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Athidibegn (አትሂድብኝ) – Amharic song by young Ethiopian artist Zeritu Kebede, nicknamed ‘Baby’.

Berhanu Nega embarks on European tour

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Berhanu Nega, the leader of Ginbot 7 Movement for Democracy and Justice in Ethiopia, has arrived in London today where he was warmly received by several supporters.

Dr Berhanu will speak at a public meeting tomorrow afternoon in London and heads to several other European cities to meet with Ethiopians, as well as officials of European governments.

Berhanu Nega will not face supporters only during his tour. Retired communists associated with a defunct political group named EPRP are getting organized to hold protest demonstrations against Dr Berhanu. The commies, who are led by the son-in-law of Ethiopia’s President Girma, have also started spreading misinformation through their trashy web sites that the public meeting in London Sunday has been canceled. All scheduled public meetings will go on as scheduled. If there is any change of schedule, it will be posted on ginbot7.org.

According to Ginbot 7 Press Office, Dr Berhanu’s European tour is as follows?

Sunday 08/June – London, public meeting
Thursday 12/June – The Netherlands, meeting with supporters
Friday 13/June – Nuremburg, meeting with Germany government officials
Saturday 14/June – Nuremburg, public meeting
Sunday 15/June – Frankfurt, Meeting with government officials
Monday 16/June – Norway Meeting with government officials
Thursday 19/June – Sweden, meeting with diplomats
Tuesday 24/June – Belgium, meeting with supporters
Thurs 26/June – Depart for Washington DC

Ethiopian politician linked to genocide to speak in Calgary

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

CALGARY – An African human rights group is calling on Ottawa to refuse entry to an Ethiopian politician linked to a 2003 massacre.

Omot Obang Olom, governor of Gambella province in Ethiopia, is scheduled to give a speech in Calgary this weekend, encouraging expatriates from Gambella to return to the east African country.

Some human rights groups accuse him of being involved in the 2003 massacre by government troops of more than 400 people of Anuak ethnicity.

Olom’s visit is sparking a sharp rebuke from a Saskatoon-based organization, which accuses the governor of human rights abuses.

Obang Metho, director of international advocacy with the Anuak Justice Council, said Olom’s speech should be boycotted and argues Canada should refuse the governor entry to this country.

“This is a criminal,” Metho said of Olom.

Olom has denied he ever had a hand in the massacre. He reiterated his innocence in Minnesota last week, where he spoke to members of the Anuak diaspora there, saying he tried to stop the bloodshed.

At the time of the massacre, Olom was in charge of security in Gambella. He later became governor.

While he’s not accused of killing anyone, several human rights groups allege he helped draw up a list of targets.

A Human Rights Watch report says Olom, while head of security, took “an exceptionally hardline approach to stamping out the threat to regional security posed by Anuak (rebels).”

The report accuses Olom of responding to human rights complaints in 2004 with threats of more violence.

Calgarian Gatkuoth Bim is one of the organizers facilitating Olom’s visit to this city.

He believes the allegations against the governor are false rumours spread by those who want power in Ethiopia.

He also points out Olom is an ethnic Anuak, the same group targeted by the military in 2003.

“That killing happened,” Bim said. “But it does not mean (Olom) was the architect of the killing. He did not do anything, he has nothing to do with it.”

Bim said there are a “good number” of people from Gambella living in Calgary, most of whom welcome the governor’s visit.

He said Olom will speak about new economic opportunities in Gambella in an effort to convince people to return and invest in the region.

The governor is scheduled to speak Saturday at Calgary’s First Church of the Nazarene.

Meanwhile, Metho suggested Olom has been granted an entry visa to Canada and is due to fly from Washington D.C., to Ottawa Friday. He’s then scheduled to travel to Calgary.

The fact that Olom may be granted a visa to Canada is “most disturbing,” said Dan McTeague, the federal Liberal critic for Consular Services.

“I would find it of considerable concern for most Canadians to learn that Canada’s prepared to accept somebody who has a checkered past, particularly in violation of human rights, is granted open access to our country,” he said.

McTeague also points to the case of Bashir Maktal, a Canadian citizen originally from Ethiopia. The man has been held without charge in Ethiopia for 18 months.

“It’s to me ironic, and in fact contradictory, that Canada would be granting (Olom) any type of visa, when we can’t get in to see a Canadian citizen who’s been held incommunicado for almost two years,” McTeague said.

A spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the department takes public safety seriously.

Karen Shadd said she couldn’t say for privacy reasons if Olom had obtained an entry visa.

Richard Cuthbertson, Canwest News Service

Info Minister says reports of food shortage fabricated by media

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

ADDIS ABABA (Xinhua) — Ethiopia’s [Ministry of Misinformation] on Saturday refuted some foreign media and humanitarian organizations for their exaggerated reports on the current food shortage in pocket areas of the country.

“It is ridiculous and unethical that some media outlets are reporting as if food grain price hike is typical of Ethiopia, though it is known that the existing global price hike is a result of soaring price of oil and ever-increasing demand of food grain among the developing countries,” the Ministry of Information said in a statement.

Such fabricated reports can not undermine Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth registered during the last successive years, said the ministry.

“The rapid national economic growth cannot be undermined by exaggerating minor problems,” it said.

Recent reports from some foreign media said a severe drought in Ethiopia threatens up to 6 million children.

“The reporting of some media is very much exaggerated and far from the truth,” it said.

The government and the public have been striving to ensure the double-digit economic growth the nation registered during the last five consecutive years in order to extricate the country out of poverty, it said.

Though the irregular rainfall witnessed during the last Belg (small rain) season created temporal food shortage in some parts of the country, the government and farmers are striving to boost agricultural production during the remaining time of the current crop season, it added.

The statement said the government is doing its level best toward resolving the existing food shortage witnessed in pocket areas of the nation.

“The problem cannot be out of control,” said the ministry.

Ethiopians for Obama: Gatekeepers to Virginia

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

By Ethiopians for Obama

Senator Obama’s rally at the Nissan Pavilion was truly astounding. In the baking sun on a Thursday afternoon, thousands upon thousands of Virginians came out in full force seeking a change. After eight years of a foreign policy and economic disaster, Americans are ready to turn the page on the Bush administration. Nowhere was this hunger for change more evident than the Commonwealth of Virginia . Once a deep red state that voted continuously for the Republican Party, Senator Obama promises to turn this once conservative bastion into the forefront of a new day in America .

It was with this hunger for change that Ethiopians for Obama arrived at the Nissan Pavilion ready to work hard and dedicate their efforts to getting Senator Obama elected. Symbolically, the Ethiopians for Obama platoon was tasked with manning the entrance gates. Inspite of the scortching heat, Ethiopians for Obama worked tirelessly to ensure that rally attendees entered in an orderly manner. This act of volunteerism was rife with symbolism, members of Ethiopians for Obama were a significant part of the gatekeepers to the rally.

After they completed their efforts at the entrance gates, the Ethiopians for Obama crew were able to view Obama’s great speech as they stood directly in front of the stage. The number of Ethiopians who turned out to the event was astounding; young, old, men, women, and children took it upon themselves to view history in the making. This is how change happens in our community; by being inspired and inspiring others, we have the ability to move out of the shadows of this great country and take our place as an important constituency in American politics and policies.

Just as Ethiopians for Obama were gatekeepers at the rally, Ethiopian-Americans could be the voice that act as the gatekeepers to the presidential election. There are untold thousands of Ethiopian-Americans who reside in the Commonwealth of Virginia . We hold in our hands the ability to elect the next President of the United States . Our ability to organize and encourage every Ethiopian-American we know to vote is vital. As the Ethiopians for Obama who worked hard at today’s rally remind us, we all have the responsibility of reaching out to Ethiopians everywhere to encourage them to register. Continue to reach out to your friends and family and encourage them to register and to join the Ethiopians for Obama group.

Join Ethiopians for Obama at: http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/ethiopians forobama/

Ethiopian-style spices add complex flavor to common dishes

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

The pressures of weeknight cooking make it easy to fall into ruts, especially in the spice cabinet.

Most cooks reach for the same seasonings (Italian blend, anyone?) over and over. Yet herbs and spices offer some of the easiest and cheapest ways to overhaul your kitchen repertoire.

One way is to look for cuisines that use familiar spices in unfamiliar ways. Much of Africa and the Middle East, for example, prepare savory foods with what Americans consider sweet spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.

Even easier is to turn to the many spice blends available from around the world (even if they’re not always totally authentic).

For example, a skillet chicken dish to which you normally add Italian seasonings such as basil or oregano, can become a completely different dish by substituting curry powder for the herbs.

This recipe for doro wat, a staple of Ethiopian cooking, gets its key flavors from nutmeg and cardamom. It also relies on the traditional Ethiopian spice blend berbere, a bright red mixture of garlic, red pepper, cardamom, coriander and fenugreek, commonly used in soups and stews. Its flavors are warm, but not hot.

As adapted here, doro wat is a great example of using seasonings to turn otherwise common ingredients — chicken breasts and diced onions — into something different.

This recipe is easily adaptable. Any firm white fish (or even shrimp) could be used instead of chicken (cooking time will be shorter). And tomato sauce could be substituted for the wine.

Doro wat traditionally is served with flatbread, which is used instead of silverware to pick up the morsels of chicken and to soak up the sauce. Sour cream or plain yogurt is a nice complement.

All of the seasonings called for in this recipe should be available at larger grocers, ethnic markets or online.

DORO WAT CHICKEN

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks

Juice of 1 lemon

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons ghee or butter

2 medium yellow onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons berbere

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup red wine

3/4 cup water

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the chicken on a large plate and drizzle with lemon juice, then sprinkle with salt. Set aside.

In a medium Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the ghee. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, fenugreek, cardamom, nutmeg, berbere and smoked paprika. Saute until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and water, mixing well, and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken, turning to coat, and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Uncover and simmer another 2 to 3 minutes to reduce the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

By J.M. HIRSCH, Associated Press

Carter tells Obama not to pick Hillary as running mate

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Barack Obama should not pick Hillary Clinton as his vice-presidential nominee, former president Jimmy Carter has told the Guardian.

“I think it would be the worst mistake that could be made,” said Carter. “That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates.”

Carter, who formally endorsed the Illinois senator last night, cited opinion polls showing 50% of US voters with a negative view of Clinton.

In terms that might discomfort the Obama camp, he said: “If you take that 50% who just don’t want to vote for Clinton and add it to whatever element there might be who don’t think Obama is white enough or old enough or experienced enough or because he’s got a middle name that sounds Arab, you could have the worst of both worlds.”

Carter, who insisted that he would have been equally against an Obama-Clinton pairing if the former first lady had won the nomination, made the remarks in an interview with the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, to be published on Saturday. The interview was conducted before the final round of voting last night confirmed Obama as the party’s presumptive nominee.

The intervention of the former president – regarded as the senior elder of the Democratic party by some, and as a walking reminder of electoral failure by others – comes just as speculation of a joint Obama-Clinton ticket is building in the US. Lanny Davis, a close Clinton adviser and friend, has launched a petition drive and website – and written directly to Obama – urging him to appoint his defeated rival.

Meanwhile, Bob Johnson, the Clinton backer and founder of Black Entertainment Television, has announced that he hopes to persuade the Congressional Black Caucus – the umbrella group for African-American members of Congress – to lobby for an Obama-Clinton partnership.

Carter’s remarks could slow that momentum, as they come from the only living Democrat to have won more than 50% of the popular vote in a presidential election, even though the former president, who left office in 1981, insisted he was “on the outside” and no longer had any role in internal Democratic affairs.

His comments are likely to be seized on by those Democrats who privately argue that the combination of a black man and a woman on a ticket will represent more change than the US electorate can swallow in one go. This camp believes Obama needs to pick an experienced, white and probably southern man to “balance” the ticket.

The former president said: “What he needs more than a southerner is a person who can compensate for his obvious potential defects, his youthfulness and his lack of long experience in military and international affairs.”

For that reason, Carter says he favours Sam Nunn, the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who hails from his own state of Georgia. “That would be my preference, but there are other senior Democrats who would have similar credentials to Sam Nunn,” he said.

Gambellan governor's U.S. visit draws attention to his crimes

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Gambellan Governor’s Visit Brings International Publicity to Genocide Despite Attempts to Evict Press

By Obang Metho

Thanks to the visit from the government-appointed governor of Gambella, Omot Obang Olum, himself a suspected genocide collaborator, the story of the genocide of the Anuak on December 13-15, 2003 has reached an international audience through the Associated Press’ story that is now circulating in thousands newspapers throughout the world. The Anuak Justice Council counts this a great victory for unveiling the truth about the heinous crimes committed by the EPRDF military and government-incited militia groups against the Anuak.

On May 31, 2008, the Anuak Community Association of North America (ACANA), hosted a meeting in Minneapolis where Omot Obang Olum, accompanied by five other Gambella government officials, was invited to meet with the Anuak community for the first time following the genocide. Many Anuak objected to the meeting and some boycotted it as the wrong way to address the man they hold responsible for the massacre of 424 of their relatives, friends and community members.

The head of the community, Akway Cham, voiced his stance that ACANA was simply providing a place where Anuak could ask the hard questions, hoping that it would aid Anuak in dealing with this loss so that they could better help the community back home.

But, the Ethiopian government officials had a different goal. Evasion, denial, deceit and illusion reigned. At one point, Akway Cham felt pressed to confront Omot Olum and the other members of the panel for evasive answers and asked them to give more direct answers, but most felt that the lies, deceit, manipulation of the facts and outrageous denials of what everyone knew to be the truth, continued anyway.

Signs of this were apparent even before the meeting when the long arms of Mr. Meles Zenawi attempted to reach across the world to exert its TPLF-style repression of the press at the Four Points Sheraton in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They wanted to make sure that they maintained perfect control of information and therefore, they did not want the press there, of which there were six present. Among them was one of the best friends the Anuak have in the press, Doug McGill. Who did they choose to harass? None other than McGill!

Doug McGill was a previous reporter for the New York Times, a bureau chief for Bloomberg News in Tokyo, London and Hong Kong. He is also a teacher and an independent journalist. When the Anuak massacre occurred, his Anuak friend enlisted his support and he became the voice of the Anuak even traveling to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and to the refugee camp in Pochalla, Sudan to investigate and report on the human rights crimes. However, before the meeting, one non-Anuak Ethiopian—probably a representative of the Meles regime—warned McGill that he was “not invited to this meeting” and told him that “this is not for you!”

As the meeting was supposed to start, McGill was sitting with an Anuak translator and other press when this same man came with the hotel manager and a few others of similar mindset to shamelessly force McGill out of the meeting. As they attempted to evict McGill, McGill warned him that it would be in violation to the Bill of Rights providing freedom of the press and that he would get a lawyer and sue for this infringement of those rights. At least one of those Anuak in charge said privately, “This is America and we follow the laws of this country. He should stay!”

Akway Cham intervened and told McGill that he could stay and asked him to agree to not ask any questions. He told him he would give him an opportunity for a private meeting following the larger meeting. McGill agreed to this. However, it appeared that the decision to allow him to stay created a reaction from the Ethiopian Embassy headquarters in Washington D.C. as there was some advice to then cancel the meeting. The whole decision process further delayed the beginning of the meeting significantly due to some alleged division between decision makers. Finally, nearly an hour later, it was decided to hold the meeting.

However, as the meeting began, it became apparent that language was going to be used to obstruct communication—to the obvious advantage of the Meles government. The audience was told that it would not be in English—a common language to most after living in the US for so long—but instead, it would be conducted in Amharic, Anuak and Nuer rather than in English, Anuak and Nuer. Many of the Anuak are not very proficient in Amharic and have not spoken the language since they came to the United States. Some Anuak have no understanding of it at all having grown up in Sudan. Regardless, even the governor, Omot Olum, spoke Amharic rather than his indigenous language, Anuak.

When Anuak opposed this, he refused to change to the Anuak language. Some hours later into the meeting, he finally did. Some were suspecting that this was a tactic used to create one more impediment to the press, as fewer Anuak could interpret it or even understand it. Additionally, it was seen as a possible tactic by those non-Anuak government officials to monitor closely what was being said. Regardless, the Anuak interpreter for the McGill, the Associate Press and others was very proficient in both languages.

The reception of these Gambella leaders by the Anuak was diverse, but heroes of the day emerged. To start with, some boycotted the meeting, refusing to enter into a dialogue under these tightly controlled conditions with a “criminal”—someone they believed was directly responsible for the killing of the Anuak. These are people who stood up for their principles. In doing so, they stood up for truth and justice and against political propaganda, especially given through the mouth of a suspected “perpetrator of genocide.” They were convinced that lies and enticements from the government would be laid out to entrap the Anuak into coming back to invest their money so that they would forget about the horrors of what happened to their loved ones.

Some others decided to attend the meeting, most giving the delegation a cool but civil reception. A number of these showed determination and courage as they asked hard questions, convinced that they wanted to stand up to face this man to hold him accountable for what he had done. Many were frustrated that they never had a chance to ask their questions. Some even spoke out at the meeting that they were being deliberately screened from asking questions because they would not be favorable to Omot Olum.

Of those given the chance to ask the questions—about twenty—only about five of those questions were not directly related to the genocide. These questions directly confronted Omot Olum with the hard facts that contradicted the elusive answers and denials he continued to present to the listeners.

The Anuak all knew that Olum had been the Chief of Security for the region at the time and that he had been the one who most believed had provided the names of the over 400 Anuak leaders who were later targeted and killed during the massacre. Only an Anuak who knew the Anuak community and knew those among them who would be the greatest threat to the government control of regional affairs could have provided that list.

The beliefs were corroborated by reports from Genocide Watch, Human Rights Watch and others where testimony from witnesses all concurred that Omot Olum was the one to come up with the list even though Olum denied there was any list, calling it “misinformation.” Omot Olum, never answered, “No, I did not do it,” or “Yes, I did,” but instead kept asking rhetorical questions like, “Why would I give the names of my own people?” Or, “Would I forget Ethiopian law?” Or, “I didn’t have the right under God to do it.” However, many of the victims’ in Gambella, even knew what number their loved one was on that list!

In a “Meles-style” disclaimer, he never acknowledged the Ethiopian military’s deep involvement in the killing, blaming other groups in the region for them. He then minimized the importance of determining even an estimate of the number of Anuak killed and pointed most of the blame for why it happened on the “weak governance” of the former governor, Okello Akway. He gave himself credit for taking charge of the situation after Akway fled the country. Yet, as one Anuak woman angrily pointed out, the human rights crimes never stopped under his charge and continued on under his leadership— why?

Even though Omot Olum publicly accused Okello Akway for leaving the country because he was fearful, we know that Okello was the real hero. One Anuak man asked Omot Olum at the meeting why he never died during the massacre of the Anuak leaders. However, most know the answer to that question—that he did not die, nor did he have to “run for his life” because obviously, as a government collaborator, he was never in any danger from the perpetrators of the genocide—the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and the government with which he remains close friends. The only ones he had to fear were Anuak who might want to revenge the deaths of their loved ones who died under his watch—perhaps that is why he discharged his Anuak bodyguards and replaced them with the TPLF.

On the other hand, Okello Akway was the real hero who refused to conform to the EPRDF government directives out of his principles, breaking all his ties to them as he stood up for the truth. This was a man of courage who was ready to give his life.

Omot Olum was the one in fear who caved in to the pressure from this regime of death. By adopting the foundational principles of Meles—lying and deceit—he was rewarded for selling out on his people by his subsequent appointment as the un-elected governor. He did not need to flee for his life, because he was now initiated into the ranks of loyal collaborators. On the other hand, Okello Akway became a prime target of the EPRDF fury and had to flee for his life. He had seen Omot Olum hand over the list of the Anuak to be killed, something that could later on indict Omot Olum and others.

There were many other men and women—including Nuer, Highlanders, and others whose acts of courage should be lifted up in memory as the real heroes of Gambella who protected the Anuak from death. They saw their friends and neighbors as human beings, upholding the principles of God our Creator in caring about the lives of His creation.

The meeting lasted six hours. Doug McGill stayed through to the end in order to conduct the promised private interview with Omot Olum; however, even though Akway Cham attempted to hold up his end of the deal, Olum had no such intention. As Doug asked him for that interview, he was surrounded by “bodyguards” and quickly left the room.
In response to McGill’s persistence, he simply said, “Later,” but there was no “later.” One of the bodyguards physically shoved McGill away and the group “disappeared” into a private location. What is really wrong with Ethiopia came to the Four Points Sheraton on that day. Even the little bit we saw was too much. Imagine what it is like where there are no restraints!

Back in Gambella, the people fear Olum and hope that Anuak here, living in a free country, will not trade in development for justice. They hope that the people will not forget about them but will unite and speak out in their behalf with a loud voice because they can only speak in whispers. One Anuak said, “Since the killing, Omot Olum has never went to the Anuak elders, traveling throughout the region to talk to the people. I am wondering why he is traveling thousands of miles away to talk to the Anuak in North America when we, the real victims, are right here?” The only reason we can think of is that he has been sent there by his boss, Meles Zenawi, in order to silence the Anuak in the Diaspora as they have done it here!”

During Omot Olum’s talk, he told the Minnesota Anuak: “We need you in Gambella. You need to become part of the democratic Gambella. Now, there is peace in Gambella and the Ethiopian government is wanting you to come back to invest in helping develop your region. We need the Anuak to come back home to build up the region. Without Anuak from America coming back, there will not be progress. We especially need the educated Anuak.”

One of the Anuak from Kansas responded privately by saying, “Omot should start by exhuming the bodies of those in the mass graves first before he offers the living to come back and possibly killed them like the others!”

We expect the same when Omot Olum visits Canada this weekend. He is planning to meet with the Gambella people on Saturday morning, June 7, 2008. Location First Church of the Nazarene, 65 Richard Way S.W. Calgary Alberta. There will be some Anuak who will boycott the meeting and others who will want to confront him. The blood of their fellow Anuak cries out for real answers!

Let us keep up our battle until justice comes not just to Gambella, but to all nine regions of Ethiopia! May God lead and help us as we fight for truth, justice and freedom!

—————–
For more information please contact Mr. Obang Metho, by email at: Obang@anuakjustice.org

Canadian citizen held in Ethiopia faces death penalty

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

(CBC News) — A Canadian citizen who has been imprisoned in Ethiopia for more than a year has been charged with terrorism-related activities and could face the death penalty, CBC News has learned.

The Ethiopian Embassy in Canada confirmed the charges against Bashir Ahmed Makhtal, a self-described used clothing dealer.

It’s the first time any Ethiopian officials have spoken about the case of the Toronto man, who was arrested in December 2006 at the Kenyan border after fleeing Somalia in the wake of that country’s civil war.

Speaking to CBC’s The Current, an official at the Canadian Embassy in Addis Ababa said Makhtal had appeared in court twice so far this year in connection with his arrest. The official had no other details.

In a letter smuggled out of prison more than a year ago, Makhtal described being arrested and interrogated by Ethiopian troops while in Kenyan jails before being sent to Ethiopia in late January 2007.

As he was brought to a plane bound for the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, he said he screamed he was a Canadian citizen and asked to be deported to Canada.

Makhtal’s lawyers and family have said they fear for his safety in Ethiopian hands. He’s originally from the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, an ethnic Somali enclave where his grandfather founded a rebel separatist movement.

His cousin, Said Makhtal, who lives in Hamilton, Ont., said this latest development is the worst possible news.

“I was actually devastated. I had to stop the car I was driving,” he said after hearing about the charges.

He also said the Canadian government has not done enough to help his cousin.

Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, travelled to Ethiopia in March and was given assurances that Makhtal was alive and well.

Ethiopia has a large military presence in Somalia, after providing the muscle that enabled a weak secular government to defeat Islamist forces formerly in control of much of the country.

Tirunesh Dibaba breaks women's 5,000-meter mark

Friday, June 6th, 2008


Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba celebrates after winning the women’s 10,000m at the 2007 IAAF World Athletics Championships, in Osaka. (Adrian Dennis/Getty Images)

(CBC) — Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba set a new world 5,000m record at the Bislett Games Golden League Meet in Oslo Friday.

Her time of 14:11.15 smashed her fellow Ethiopian Meseret Defar’s mark of 14:16.63 on a night with perfect running conditions. Lucy Wangui of Kenya finished a distant second in 14:33.39 while Dibaba’s older sister Ejegayehu claimed 3rd in 14:36.78

Dibaba, who turned 23 on June 1, followed the early pacemaking of Russia’s Anna Alminova and her sister through 3km, which she reached in 8:38.83. That is faster than the world leading time for the distance of 8:42.96 set by Russia’s Gulnara Samitova- Galkina. Dibaba broke away shortly after that point to shatter the world record.

Earlier this year, Dibaba captured the IAAF world cross country title in Edinburgh and was the 2007 IAAF world champion at 10,000m.

Megan Metcalfe of Edmonton finished a disappointing 14th in 15:26.82, well off the Olympic A standard of 15:09.00. This was her fourth 5,000m race of the season and clearly a fine opportunity to achieve the standard as a rash of personal bests were set. She has until July 6 to achieve the mark.

Defar has set up a world record attempt at Sunday’s Pre Classic in Eugene, Oregon.

Other Canadian athletes chasing Olympic standards came up short.

Adam Kunkel, a finalist at the 2007 IAAF World Championships, finished 7th in the 400m hurdles in a mediocre time of 50.99 seconds. A year ago he set the Canadian record with a time of 48.24 in winning the Pan American games. Since he was in the world’s top-eight last year he need only run the Olympic B standard of 49.50.

The race was won by Bershawn Jackson of the United States in a time of 48.15 seconds, the second fastest in the world this year. Jamaica’s Danny McFarlane finished in 48.58 seconds to take second, with L.J. Van Zeyl of South Africa also dipping under 49 seconds in a time of 48.84.

“I am a little bit disappointed I had a few delays with my flights this week but I didn’t think the jet lag would bug me,” said Kunkel afterwards. “All in all I was lacking power over the last 150 metres. I couldn’t hold onto my momentum.

“I am running in Spain and then in Prague. I will try to take it a little more conservatively. I ran pretty aggressive tonight, I went out darn near my Canadian record pace and I ultimately paid for it.”

Nicole Forrester cleared 1.90m to finish 8th in the women’s high jump. After winning a world class meet in Hengelo last month with 1.93m she has been in search of the Olympic A+ standard of 1.95m. Tonight she missed three times at 1.94m.

The Canadian record of 1.98m held by Debbie Brill has stood since 1984.

Blanka Vlasic of Croatia continues her streak of super performances, winning the event in a season best of 2.04m. The world record of 2.09m is held by Stefka Kostadinova of Bulgaria.

Ariane Friedrich of Germany finished 2nd with a jump of 1.98m. There was a tie for 3rd place as Spain’s Ruth Beitia and Ariane Friedrich of the Ukraine both cleared 1.94m.

Though she won the silver medal at the 2006 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Forrester has yet to make either a world championship or Olympic games final.

Sudan’s reigning world indoor 800m champion, Abubaker Kaki, beat the African champion David Rudisha of Kenya to win the 800m in a stunning world junior record of 1:42.69.

The 18 year old had hoped to run below 1:43 some time this season. This was his first 800m since capturing Sudan’s first ever world championship gold medal in Valencia, Spain in March.

Rudisha ran 1:43.72 for second while Mbulaena Mulaudzi of South Africa, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist, finished 3rd in 1:44.04.

Five days after a shocking loss to 2007 IAAF world championship silver medalist LaShawn Merritt, Jeremy Wariner, the reigning Olympic and world champion, destroyed the Oslo field to win in a world leading time of 43.98 seconds.

Chris Brown of the Bahamas, who was runner-up to Canada’s Tyler Christopher at the 2008 World Indoor Championships last March, finished 2nd in 44.40 seconds.

Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas, The 2007 IAAF World Championships 100m silver medalist, won the men’s 100m in a time of 9.98 seconds ahead of Michael Rodgers of the U.S. who was timed at 10.04.

Marc Burns of Trinidad was 3rd in 10.07. The runners were aided by a tail wind of +2.3 m/s, slightly over the legal limit of +2.0 m/s. The times therefore won’t be counted in world rankings.

New vs. old style of leadership in Ethiopian politics

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Statement from Tegbar.org

Lack of organization and the absence of competent and qualified political leaders who can organize and lead the struggle for freedom in Ethiopia have contributed to prolonging Woyanne’s rule. Today it is becoming more clear who is responsible for the multitude of political crises facing our country and who is capable of leading Ethiopians to freedom.

One of the main causes of lack of strong political organizations is the old-style politicians. These are individuals who like to be in the spotlights, who like to be seen on stages (usually embarrassing themselves), who claim to be highly educated, but in reality have the analytical skills and leadership abilities of a 1st grader. They even have shown themselves to be dumber than the Dedebit educated Woyannes.

The coward and reactionary wing of EPRPs, and the dumb and foolish remnants of the now defunct AEUP are good examples of old style politicians. These old clowns cannot and will not have a place in the future of Ethiopian politics. These individuals are stuck in the 1960-70s politics and now are rightfully called old-style politicians.

We Ethiopians should not let our hearts be troubled. We have a new generation of leadership that is replacing the failed and bankrupt old style organizations. EPPF, OLF, Genbot 7, ONLF and TPDM are emerging as potent forces that are capable of bringing change in Ethiopia.

When the world is against Ethiopia and supporting Woyanne, a new generation of leaders with clear goals and ideas are making Woyanne sleepless. Thanks to new strategies that are being deployed by these leaders, Woyanne, despite Western and Chinese backing, is today weaker than it has ever been.

Currently, Woyanne is fighting wars within Ethiopia from all corners. It is forced to go into Somalia to prove that it is a loyal servant of the U.S. It is giving away Ethiopian land just to stay in power. It is begging for mercy from Eritrea with its top officials openly saying that they will die for Eritrea before their own ‘beloved’ Tigray region.

In order to defeat the Woyanne regime and liberate our country, freedom fighters such as Ginbot 7, EPPF, OLF, TPDM, ONLF and others need to continue cleansing themselves from the old style politicians.

We at Tegbar for the first time in a long time are encouraged with the progress we are seeing in the fight for freedom in our country.

It is now clear who is who. Let us take a moment to reflect on the past and join the movement for freedom.

Out with the old and In with the New style of leadership

Stop the Struggle! Join the Fight

Tegbar.org

VIDEO: Ethiopian lawyer confronts Jendayi Frazer in Seattle

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Prominent Ethiopian lawyer Shakespear Feyissa had confronted U.S. top diplomat for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, with tough questions about her support for Africa’s dictators at a public meeting in Seattle last week.

Ato Shakespear asked the ambassador about her close friendship with and strong support for mass murderers like Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia who are terrorizing their people. Watch the video below.

Berhanu Nega meets with Ethiopians in London Sunday

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Dr Berhanu Nega, former senior leader of Ethiopia’s major opposition party, Kinijit, and Mayor-Elect of Addis Ababa, is heading to the U.K. today to meet with Ethiopians in London.

The public meeting, which is being organized by Kinijit supporters in the U.K., will be held on Sunday at Priory Community Center starting at 2:00 PM local time.

Dr Admassu Gebeyehu, former vice chairman of Kinijit, who is currently residing in Sweden, will join Dr Berhanu at the meeting.

Dr Berhanu Nega is currently leading a newly formed political organization named ‘Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice and Democracy.’

Ginbot 7 was formed on May 15 last month by Dr Berhanu, Ato Andargachew Tsege and other former senior leaders of Kinijit who have reached the conclusion that it is impossible to wage a peaceful political struggle inside Ethiopia against the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front led by Meles Zenawi, who is also known as the Butcher of Addis Ababa and Mogadishu.

Place: Priory Community Centre, Acton Lane, London W3
Date/Time: Sunday, June 8, 2007, from 1400-1900 PM
Fore more info click here

Aba Kewstos is asked to come clean

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Concerned Ethiopians in Washington DC have written an open letter to Aba Kewstos asking him to provide report about the funds he had collected for repairing Ethiopian monasteries in Jerusalem, Israel, that are said to be falling apart.

A few months ago, Aba Kewstos had been collecting money from Ethiopian Orthodox Christians residing in the Washington DC area saying that the monasteries are in need of urgent repair, or else they would be permanently lost.

However, many of those who had contributed money for the purpose of repairing these monasteries are now asking questions after hearing that the monasteries are still not being repaired. In fact, not a penny has been spent so far for repair.

The Ethiopian monasteries in Jerusalem are Ethiopia’s national treasures, on top of their religious significance, but they are totally neglected by the so-called “patriarch” in Ethiopia who has just finished building another rental property for his personal use in Addis Ababa. A few years ago he had built a golden palace for his residence.

Aba Kewstos is said to have been sent to Washington DC from Ethiopia by this fake patriarch, Aba Gebremedhin (formerly Aba Paulos), a Woyanne cadre and a thief who should be in jail for numerous crimes, including the murder of innocent civilians.

Read the open letter to Aba Kewstos here [pdf, Amharic]

Ethiopian mother of 3-year old in Virginia killed by husband

Friday, June 6th, 2008

The Ethiopian community in northern Virginia is in shock today after learning about the killing of Metsihet Belete, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, who is originally from Ethiopia.

Arlington Police have arrested Metsihet’s husband, Sirak Gebeyehu, 27, who is suspected of choking her to death.

Metsihet was pronounced dead Thursday afternoon after the effort by doctors to revive her for the past two days has failed.

Metsihet, 24, had been in the U.S. for the past two years. Six months ago, she had succeeded in bringing to the U.S. her husband, Sirak, and their 3-year old son Ezra, from Ethiopia, after saving enough money working as a waitress.

Metsihet had been working at Lalibela Restaurant in Arlington VA ever since she came to the U.S.

Police are investigating the motive for her killing.

Secret land deal with Sudan causes anger in Ethiopia

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Residents and community leaders in western Ethiopia say thousands of people in several border regions have been displaced by Sudanese troops in recent weeks, following what they describe as a secret, illegal deal between the governments in Addis Ababa and Khartoum. Critics say the secret deal to demarcate the border gives Sudan the right to occupy areas Ethiopians historically consider sacrosanct. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu has details from our East Africa Bureau in Nairobi.

A former regional official in the southwestern Gambella region, Omod Oman Obono, tells VOA that as many as 2,000 people have been displaced there in recent weeks in on-going clashes between residents and Sudanese soldiers.

Omod says troops from Sudan have built military camps in Gambella and in other areas north to protect territory handed over to Khartoum by the Ethiopian government sometime last year. He says Sudanese soldiers in Gambella are chasing away local people and inviting people on the Sudanese side of the border to settle in Ethiopian villages.

Last month in the Gondar region of western Ethiopia, the Sudanese army reportedly set fire to two dozen Ethiopian farms and imprisoned 34 people. Residents say 28 are still being held in Sudan.

The deal to demarcate the 1,600-kilometer-long border was not announced. But rumors that a deal had been struck began to spread early last month after high-level officials in Khartoum confirmed that farmers in eastern Sudan were reclaiming disputed lands from Ethiopia. On May 21, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi publicly denied that any Ethiopian had been displaced as a result of what he termed the acquisition of a portion of Ethiopian land by Sudan.

The news of a boundary settlement shocked many Ethiopians, who consider the ceded Ethiopian land to be historically and culturally theirs. The existing border between the two countries was drawn up more than a century ago when Sudan was under British colonial rule.

A U.S.-based advocacy group called the Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issue Committee accuses Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of illegally ceding territory without the consent of the Ethiopian people.

Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issue Committee chairman Fiseha Abebe tells VOA that his group will try to nullify the boundary settlement through the courts. He warns that Ethiopians will never accept what Mr. Meles has done.

“He did not even mention what he was doing until we exposed him,” said
Abebe. “In some places, they have given up about 50 miles inside Ethiopia and in other places, about 30 miles. There is going to be a big backlash. This is going to be impossible for any Ethiopian to accept this type of situation.”

The Ethiopian government has not said why it decided to demarcate the border with Sudan at this time.

Both governments in Ethiopia and Sudan are embroiled in complicated domestic and regional conflicts, stretching from Sudan’s western Darfur region to Somalia.

By Alisha Ryu, VOA
Listen the report here

Obama's victory in Democratic Party primary has Africa in a spin

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Until he started making news as a possible contender for the US presidency, Barack Obama, who this week won the Democratic ticket in the White House race, was almost unknown in Ethiopia. Now, he has a huge fan club in the country, with one of his greatest fans being Ms Birtukan Mideksa, former deputy chair of Ethiopia’s opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) party.

Mideksa, who was jailed by the government of Meles Zenawi for two years for “treason and inciting genocide” said that George W. Bush’s administration backed the Zenawi government despite its “betrayal of Ethiopia’s democratisation effort in 2005”.

Mideksa is inspired by Obama’s promise of change and hopes that, if Obama becomes president, the US will be more willing to nudge Mr Zenawi in a more liberal political direction.

“Senator Obama is an agent of change. I am sure he would restore basic civil rights, which many are being denied in the name of war on terror all over the world,” she said. “I am highly impressed by his determination, courage and wisdom. He is my role model and I have fallen in love with his philosophy of change.”

She said she hoped African leaders would learn from Obama how to win the hearts of their people and also respect their rivals instead of fomenting hatred and confrontation.

Meanwhile, Abreham Kumela, a young NGO worker, has been nicknamed “Obama” because of his strong support for the Illinois senator.

“He is not a politician; he advocates tolerance. He teaches us all how to effect change,” Kumela said, explaining his admiration for Obama.

He pointed out that, although Ethiopians at home will not vote in the American elections, he is campaigning among the thousands of Ethiopians in the US, who are also raising funds for Obama, to vote for Obama.

“Obama is bigger than just an politician with African roots; he is a symbol of tolerance and multiculturalism,” Kumela said.

Equally hopeful, but on for different reasons, was Dr Costentinos Berhe, former UN adviser to Nigeria. He believes that, if elected president, Obama might just solve the complex situation in the Horn of Africa.

“The war on terror should not just be a military project,” said Berhe. “It should also address the cultural, social and political changes in this part of the world. “I hope that, because of his African heritage, Senator Obama realises that this change is necessary.”

Human rights

When Obama spent a day in Ethiopia during his African tour in 2006, many Ethiopians realised that he did not support the actions of the current Ethiopian regime. His support for the Bill accusing Ethiopia of having a poor human rights record and proposing serious sanctions, including aid cuts, helped strengthen that view.

Indeed, Dr Rewodros Kiros, an Ethiopian lecturer at Harvard University, US, argues that Obama’s victory might be disastrous for régimes like Ethiopia’s, which do not respect human rights.

Evne in Uganda, where the British Premier football league is a must-watch for many, Obama is as recognisable as the premiership superstars.

“I support Obama for ethnic reasons,” said a university lecturer. He is a black man doing something extraordinary.

In the capital, Kampala, Obama merchandise is highly visible, from locally made T-shirts bearing the senator’s picture and the words “Change you can believe in”, to bumper stickers.

Masaka town, 130 kilometres Kampala, has even named a road after the US Presidential candidate.

“Obama Boulevard”, though not a boulevard in the ordinary sense of the word, was the brainchild of a local businessman, Frank Gashumba, who together with his neighbours, decided to bestow the honour on the Illinois senator.

“Obama has shown us all that you can come from a humble background and give the entire world hope. He makes you proud [to be] black,” the businessman said.

Meteoric rise

Younger educated Ugandans have formed an Obama fan club. And their name, Ugandans for Obama, gives a notable ring to the senator’s meteoric rise in American politics. The founder, Bernard Sabiti, said he was inspired to form the group when he found people in a bar asking, “How is a Kenyan going to rule America?” The group mainly comprises university students with access to the Internet, where they campaign for him.

Another group, the Obama Support Group, says it admires Obama because of his oratorical skills and inspiration. Their aim is to lobby Ugandan-Americans as well as US citizens in Uganda to vote for Obama. Excitement about Obama’s candidature is also evident in neighbouring Tanzania, where many people view him as one of their own. After all, his father was a Luo from Kenya, but Luos are also found in Tanzania, some argue. The Obama-mania cuts across the different sectors of society, with many city commuter taxis now having the name “Obama” emblazoned on them.

As news of Obama’s victory in the Democratic party nomination spread in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es Salaam, a local fan, Ave-Maria given remarked: “At least America can have a president who is one of our own!”

Peter Tumaini-Mungu, a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, gave a somewhat philosophical explanation for his support for Obama.

“Being a person of African origin might not be that important,” he said. “Obama’s policies towards Africa are ambitious, and he has a keen interest in the continent. That is something a person of any origin can have.”

The lecturer, who has attended several Obama campaign in the US, says Obama is a passionate and visionary whom the world needs to make it a better place.

“Obama articulates his policies in favour of the poor and the marginalised, something both Africa and Tanzania need,” he said.

And in West Africa, The Lagos State House of Assembly in Nigeria in April this year launched a website to popularise the Illinois senator and campaign for his White House bid.

During the launch, Lagos was turned into an “Obama state”, with taxis draped with banners bearing the senator’s pictures. Their Vote Obama Initiative website explains their stand thus: “Though without a voting right in the ongoing party primaries of the Democrats in the USA, like everybody around the world, we are very much involved because of the global implications the outcome of the elections would have on the world.

“We are particularly thrilled by Obama’s feat because, for the very first time in the history of the US, he has successfully broken the colour bar. We are even more thrilled that white voters can rally forcefully behind this charismatic black man in his quest to become the first black president in the most powerful nation on earth.

Like Martin Luther King Jr said, today he is no longer being judged by the colour of his skin, but by the content of his character, which has propelled him from near obscurity to international limelight.

In Barack Obama, the agitations of early black nationalists such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and so many others found concrete expressions as he attains leverage in the political calculation of the US that would no longer ignore Afro-Americans and their electoral strength. To us, this is a feat worthy of celebration as the dawn of a new era.”

Obama spell

So potent is the Obama spell that a group of militant youths in Nigeria’s Niger Delta were taken in by the tricks of a creative-minded security agent who, left with no answer to the fire power of the militiamen, decided to send them a message they could not ignore. He simply sent an e-mail purportedly from Obama, in which he asked that the militants stop the war in the area.

Surprisingly, the militants agreed and announced to the world that Obama had been requested to observe a ceasefire by a person they could not defy!

World oil prices were just starting to fall when the real Obama denied that he was the one who asked for a ceasefire. The young men of Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta returned to their trenches immediately.

Obama also enjoys huge support in Ghana, where Godwin Yaw Agboka, a columnist, tried to explain his appeal thus: “Obama appears to have a magic wand that appeals to the youth, independents, and liberals. For the first tim, in many decades, the expectations among voters, are reaching boiling point — call it a crescendo. Voters seem to want things to change in Washington. Obama represents the change they want. Forget about the fact that he is black. Obama has transcended race. He talks about hope, and believes that ‘there is nothing false about hope’. He knows how to say the right things at the right time”.

African initiative

With Obama now the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, one can expect the African Initiative for Obama group to swing into action – selling posters, caps, and other merchandise, all to support him.

The group has affiliates across West Africa, and plans to spread throughout the continent.

On Tuesday, its chairman and continental coordinator, Elvis Agukwe, told Daily Nation in Abuja that in about a week, they will approach church leaders and Imams to ask their congregations to begin special prayers for God to guide Americans in their choice of president.

Beyond the buzz, however, Obama has clearly touched something profound among many Africans. As Patricia Jebbah Wesley, a Liberian poet, puts it, “It is a good thing that I am alive to see all of this, and it is a good thing that you are reading this ,and you too, are alive to record this for your children”.

By NationMedia.com, Kenya

Africa Insight is an initiative of the Nation Media Group’s Africa Media Network Project

Israeli-Ethiopians forced to give up teff

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

The crisis that has sent food costs spiraling upward around the globe is causing Ethiopian Jews now living in Israel to give up something priceless: a piece of their culture.

Tens of thousands of the expatriates are being forced to abandon their traditional diets because of the skyrocketing cost of teff grain.

Teff, a nutritious and hardy cereal domesticated in Ethiopia thousands of years ago, is the primary ingredient in injera, a round flatbread that accompanies most Ethiopian meals.

A drastic shortage has caused the price of teff to jump by some 300 percent over the past year.

A 110-pound (50-kilogram) sack now runs at least 600 New Israeli shekels (about U.S. $179).

The price increases hit Israel’s Ethiopian community particularly hard, as it is a struggling group with about three-quarters living below the poverty line, according to official figures.

“It just seems foolish to me. It doesn’t seem logical to throw away so much money just to eat the same food that I ate in Ethiopia,” said Ayelet Inbaram, an Ethiopian living in Bat Yam.

“We can get along fine with bread, pitas, spaghetti, rice,” she said. “The preservation of our heritage is very important to me. I prepare injera and eat from one plate with my children.

“[But] I tell them how we lived, where we came from, how we walked to Israel … There are ways to remain connected without throwing money away.”

Drought and Trade

In the early 1980s, for a variety of social and religious reasons, tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews began walking toward Israel. Up to half of them died or were killed during the months-long desert treks to refugee camps in Sudan.

The survivors were transported into Israel during covert operations by the Israeli military and intelligence agencies. Emigration continued, and some 100,000 now live in Israel, home to the world’s second-largest Ethiopian expatriate community after the United States.

These Ethiopian-Israelis adhere largely to a traditional diet of injera served with meat, chicken, fish, or vegetables. Teff is also used to produce beverages, and its straw is used to feed cattle and even for construction purposes.

But the Israeli climate is not suited to growing teff, so consumers are entirely dependent upon imports from Ethiopia—and these have shriveled away in recent months due to a variety of factors.

A drought year caused teff production to drop in the rain-dependent country, even as its population continued to increase. In response, Ethiopian officials have reduced exports to a bare minimum to keep most of the grain for domestic use.

In the absence of official trade ties between Israel and Ethiopia, merchants have been illegally transporting teff from Ethiopia via Djibouti and other laborious—and costly—routes.

In addition, the popularity of teff among non-Ethiopian Israelis seeking a healthier grain has driven up the cost, according to Shlomo Molla, the only Ethiopian member of Israel’s parliament.

Molla said he is working to secure an Israel-Ethiopia trade agreement that would allow regulated imports of teff.

“Unfortunately, I am the only one in the government confronting this situation,” Molla said. “Our Ministry of Industry and Trade also has to intervene and set fixed prices for teff.”

Almost Gone?

Meanwhile, many Ethiopian-Israelis can no longer afford to eat their traditional food, and others are actively refusing to buy teff to protest the high cost and the government policies that have contributed to the shortage.

Inbaram, the Bat Yam resident, said the Israeli government should regulate the price of teff, just as it does with other staples such as flour, bread, and dairy products. Meanwhile, she hopes a boycott will force teff merchants to lower prices.

But Ronen Sanbate, an Ethiopian-Israeli teff merchant from Rishon Letzion, said Ethiopian export restrictions have created a situation in which no new teff is arriving in Israel.

He and fellow merchants are now selling off their current stock and—unless the situation changes—Israel’s supply will run out.

“If Ethiopia doesn’t start to release teff, I will be out of work,” Sanbate said.

“We grew up on teff,” he added. “When it runs out, we’ll have no choice—we’ll have to get used to rice.”

By Mati Milstein in Bat Yam, Israel for National Geographic News

Kinijit secretary general Muluneh Eyoel calls it quits

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Secretary General of Ethiopia’s major opposition party, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (Kinijit), has resigned this week saying that he is unable to carry out his responsibilities because of the worsening political climate in the country.

Ato Muluneh told ER sources that as of this week he is a private citizens and that he will not be involved in any type of political activity in Ethiopia until the political repression by the ruling Tigrean People Liberation Front (Woyanne) stops.

A few months ago, Woyanne has forced Kinijit to change its name in order to ‘legally’ operate in Ethiopia. Woyanne also gave the name “Kinijit” to an individual named Ayele Chamiso, a low-ranking former staff member of the party to humiliate the leaders and millions of Kinijit supporters. As a favor, the Meles regime, in collaboration with the American embassy, allowed all family members of Ayele Chamiso, including his wife, two children, a brother and others, to settle in Washington DC as political refugees, even though they have not been persecuted in Ethiopia. The American embassy in Addis Ababa may have thus violated the U.S. laws by knowingly collaborating in fabricating claims of persecution by Woyanne and Ayele Chamiso. Ethiopian Review has also gathered reliable information that Ayele Chamiso is asking and receiving thousands of dollars from Ethiopian families in the U.S. who want to bring their relatives to the U.S. claiming that he can help them get U.S. visa. Ethiopian Review is willing to share this information, including evidences of bank transactions, with the U.S. law enforcement officials.

Ayele Chamiso currently also receives a 4,000-birr monthly salary and is given a large house free of rent in Addis Ababa.

This is just one evidence of how the American embassy in Addis Ababa is an active player in the corruption of Ethiopian politics.

Back to Kinijit …

After the Kinijit leaders have complied with the demand by the Meles regime to change their party’s name, the election board, which is controlled by Meles, has continued to ignore their request for legal status, effectively blocking them from engaging in any type of political activity in the country.

The only thing for Kinijit, which is now named Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ), left to do is to stop all their political activities in the country after formally announcing that they are reclaiming their original name — Kinijit.

It is expected that other high-level officials of Kinijit-UDJ will follow Ato Muluneh’s lead and quit in protest in the next few days.

Meanwhile, Kinijit-UDJ leader Birtukan Mideksa has decided to travel to the U.S. next month to consult with her supporters in the Diaspora. It is not clear yet who among the top leadership will join her in the trip.

ONLF killed, wounded 104 Woyanne thugs

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

The Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) has caused heavy damages to Woyanne troops stationed in the Ogaden region, south eastern Ethiopia, during battles that were waged from May 12 – May 17 last month.

ONLF’s coordinated attacks in Kebridhar, Nusradik, Absala, Abola and Dabo Alai resulted in the killing of 57 Woyanes and 47 injured.

ONLF rebuffed Woyanne leader Meles Zenawi’s claim in parliament of destroying ONLF for good.

This and other news are part of this week’s broadcast by ERiTV. Watch below.

Ethiopian-Somali girl – America's Next Top Model

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

“Fatima!” screamed one girl from a passing school bus on Hyde Park Avenue.

“You go Fatima!” hollered a motorist on the same Boston street.

“Can I have a hug?” gushed a starstruck girl who posed for a photo with Fatima Siad, a finalist from the latest season of the popular reality show “America’s Next Top Model.”

Siad didn’t walk away with the wordy title (she came in third), but to her hometown fans here, she’s the next big thing.

“This is crazy!” said Siad, 22, of her brush with fame one recent afternoon.

As she strolled her Hyde Park neighborhood, Siad said she was relieved the show’s over. She wants to forge ahead with her plans: The political science major has one semester left at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She plans to finish after moving this summer to New York with two other models from The CW reality show. Siad’s determined to pursue a career in an industry she stumbled upon last summer when a friend urged her to attend a Boston casting call.

Siad also wants to raise awareness about the dangers of female genital circumcision, a procedure she underwent when she was 7 years old in her native Somalia.

On her first episode, Siad broke down in tears before show host Tyra Banks and the other judges as she explained how the practice is a positive ritual among African women who have all or part of their external genitalia removed. The tradition is believed to promote chastity and cleanliness.

“Yes, I got circumcised. Yes, I am not sad about it. It happened to me, but I am going to try and do something to raise awareness,” Siad says.

Siad was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, to an Ethiopian father and Somali mother. As a young girl, Siad enjoyed playing with her friends on red-hued dunes that dot the shores of the Indian Ocean. But when the country erupted in civil war in 1991, violence and civil unrest gripped the capital.

“When she was 5 years old, the civil war started in my country, and she never had the opportunity to go to school,” says Halima Musse, Siad’s mother, who taught her at home. “People were fighting and killing each other. It was horrible.”

Just as Musse prepared to leave the country with Siad and her two sisters, ages 8 and 10, militiamen stormed their home and fatally shot the two younger sisters, Siad recalls.

“I love my country, but when I was living there, it was hard,” says Siad, whose mother applied for political asylum in the United States. Her father remained behind. “My mother basically wanted a better life for me.”

In 1998, mother and daughter, then 13, fled to Boston, where they had to adapt to a new culture and language. Their first year here, they lived in the YMCA on Huntington Avenue.

Siad learned English within a few months and worked hard to hide her accent. In eighth grade, she became part of the Boston Area Health Education Center, a city program designed to groom minority students for careers in health care. Siad had an interest in medicine.

“She’s always been that person who picks a goal and strives for it and succeeds,” says Keith Gross-Hill, a friend who was also in the program. At Brighton High, Siad took part in Upward Bound, a college prep program for low-income Boston high school students who take summer classes at Boston University.

After high school, Siad won a scholarship to Bryn Mawr College. She later transferred to New York University for her junior year.

Then, as she was almost done with college, she tried out for “America’s Next Top Model.” When the show’s producers told her that she would be one of the 13 women chosen to live in a New York City loft for the competition, Siad decided to drop out of school for a semester. The show was taped last November and December and began airing in February.

Immediately, Siad stood out because of her energy and her classic features, which Banks and others compared to Iman, the famous Somali supermodel. That’s a comparison Siad has mixed feelings about.

“[The other contestants] kept calling me Baby Iman,” Siad says sternly. “First of all, I don’t look anything like Iman. She is beautiful and amazing, and she is such a wonderful woman, and I wish I could be like her. But just because we are from Somalia doesn’t mean we look alike. I want to be known as Fatima.”

The show thrust Siad into the fast-paced world of high fashion. At times, photo shoots were anything but glamorous. One shoot involved contestants wearing slabs of meat as couture. Another involved colorful paint dripping down their faces.

“It was so intense,” she says of the show’s schedule. “It’s not as glamorous as it looks, not even close to it. We were working constantly. . . . The hardest part for me was taking the pictures. I didn’t know what I was doing.”

But now she does, as she strikes casual poses for a photographer and little girls who stop her in Hyde Park, where her mother lives in a triple-decker.

Between takes, Siad reflects on the competition. She doesn’t feel bad that she didn’t strut away with the $100,000 modeling contract or the coveted spread in Seventeen magazine. Siad says she won in so many other ways.

“I found the show to be so therapeutic for me,” she says. “I shared my life. I learned about modeling. It was definitely one of the most amazing journeys of my life and therefore, I don’t need someone to say ‘You’re a winner.’ This is the highlight of my life.”

Johnny Diaz, The Boston Globe
jodiaz@globe.com

Woyannes says food crisis in Ethiopia is exaggerated

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: Who is to be believed? Woyanne or the international media and humanitarian organizations on the ground providing assistance to the famine victims?

– – – – – –

Officials in Ethiopia have refuted reports by international media on the current food crisis as bogus and exaggerated. A government statement today, which is backed by UN agencies operating in Addis Ababa, said it was a misrepresentation that Ethiopia was in need of supplementary feeding for its six million children facing acute malnutrition.

“The number of children with severe and acute malnutrition problem is estimated to be 75,000 all over the country,” said Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) Director General Mr Simon Mechale.

He explained there was a total relief requirement of 300,000 metric tones of food, of which he said the agency had already distributed more than 81,000 metric tones across the nation, adding that some 4.5 million people were in need of emergency food assistance, excluding those people who are beneficiaries of safety-net program.

Referring to children, Mr Mechale said considerable efforts were being made by both the Ethiopian government and humanitarian partners to address prevailing situation in areas where children are affected.

This was reiterated by Minister of Health Dr. Tewodros Adhanom, saying government was aggressively expanding health extension program by deploying extension workers in every village. Some 82% of the work had already been achieved, according to the minister.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Fidele Sarassoro also said there was a good working relations between the Ethiopian government and humanitarian community in meeting the challenges faced by the country, noting government had taken steps to strengthen the coordination of emergency response at all levels to meet the challenges faced in the area of food, nutrition, health and water.

The UN has been providing solid assistance to help Ethiopia address the challenge. The Horn of African country has a history of the world’s worst drought that killed a million Ethiopians in October 1984.

– Afrol News

Arrested, sexually assaulted in Ethiopia, she fled to the U.S.

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

ARRESTED, JAILED, and SEXUALLY ASSAULTED IN ETHIOPIA, SHE FLED TO THE U.S. where she was detained and abused all over again. That is the story Zena Asfaw will tell a hearing chaired by California Democrat Zoe Lofgren, called to investigate problems with immigration detainee medical care.

Asfaw will tell Congress that she was arrested by Ethiopian government forces following the May 2005 elections. She was accused of being part of the opposition because there were messages on her cell phone from friends who strongly opposed the government. Held for 12 days, SHE WAS BEATEN AND SEXUALLY ASSAULTED, and even though she was eventually released, she feared for her life when police began rounding up and throwing people in jail after new riots broke out a few months later. It was then that she fled, traveling through 17 countries in 13 months to reach the United States where she applied for asylum.

Immigration officials welcomed her to the U.S. with a trip to jail.

There, while a judge pondered whether she deserved asylum, she got very sick and a nurse gave her seven pills to take. When Zena Asfaw questioned the nurse, the nurse became very angry and instructed the guards to check her mouth to make sure she swallowed each and every one of them. “Immediately my body started shaking…” Within minutes she suffered a SEIZURE, and fell off the bed. Other detainees yelled for the guards who took her to the detention center medical unit where she was given four more pills. Later that day she would VOMIT VIOLENTLY, BLEED FROM THE MOUTH and FAINT before finally being taken to a hospital.

Zena Asfaw was lucky. She survived BOTH a jail in Ethiopia and an ICE DETENTION CENTER IN THE U.S. Five months later, she got her asylum.

By Tom Shine, Politics As Usual, ABC News

Axum obelisk put up at original site

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

AXUM, Ethiopia (AFP) — Ethiopia on Wednesday began work to relocate the famed Axum obelisk at its original site, seven decades after the 1,700-year-old treasure was removed by Italian troops, a UN expert said.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has overseen a multi-million-dollar operation to restore the obelisk in Axum in northern Ethiopia, where it once stood alongside around 100 other stelae.

The obelisk along with the Axum and Lalibela crosses figure among Ethiopia’s top national treasures and symbols.

“Engineers arrived today and completed the verifying work. The first block will be linked with the foundation tomorrow through cables and cranes,” Nada Al Hassan, UNESCO’s project head, told AFP.

The 150-ton stela, which returned in three pieces to Axum, a listed World Heritage Site in 2005, is expected to be fully re-erected and inaugurated by September this year.

“It’s a delicate object and we are trying to avoid any obstacles. The second and third blocks are scheduled to be reinstalled in the middle and end of July but the inauguration will take place on September 10 this year,” Hassan added.

Italian soldiers carted away the 24-meter (78-foot) third-century AD granite funeral stela in 1937 on the orders of then-dictator Benito Mussolini during his attempt to colonise Ethiopia.

Despite a 1947 agreement to return the obelisk, it remained in Italy until 2005, standing outside the Rome headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Axum was the capital of the Axumite kingdom that flourished as a major trading centre from the fifth century BC to the 10th century AD. At its height, the kingdom extended across what are today Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

Government officials say many Ethiopians attah great significance to the obelisk as it symbolises the country’s long and rich past.

“It is a very important part of the heritage of Ethiopia. It was very hurtful that we couldn’t defend it at the time,” member of parliament Netsanet Asfaw told AFP.

“It is a reminder to us of the war; of the suffering; of the plunder; and of fascist cruelty to our people. Now we are healing as a result of its return,” she added.

British historian Richard Pankhurst joined the chorus of cheers for the obelisk’s return.

“The return of the obelisk is a return of Ethiopia’s historical culture. It shows the entire people that Mussolini was in fact guilty of war crimes and invasion without justification,” he said.

Pankhurst also called for the return of hundreds of manuscripts and crosses looted by British soldiers during an expedition against the Horn of Africa nation’s then-emperor Tewodros in 1855.

His mother, Sylvia Pankhurst, was a prominent British feminist who became a tireless pro-Ethiopian campaigner and virulently opposed Italy’s invasion. She later moved to Ethiopia and was given a state funeral there in 1960.

Want gasoline prices to come down? Must read

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

By Phillip Hollsworth

This makes MUCH MORE SENSE than the ‘don’t buy gas on a certain day’ campaign that was going around last April or May! It’s worth your consideration. Join the resistance!!!!

I hear we are going to hit close to $ 4.20 a gallon by summer and it might go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down?

We need to take some intelligent, united action. The oil companies and OPEC just laughed at that because they knew we wouldn’t continue to ‘hurt’ ourselves by refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them.

BUT, whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can Really work. Please read on and join with us!

By now you’re probably thinking gasoline priced at about $2.00 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently $3.69 for regular unleaded in my town.

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at $1.50 – $1.75, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace… not sellers.

With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action.

The only way we are going to see the price of gas come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not! purchasing their gas! And, we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves.

How? Since we all rely on our cars, we can’t just stop buying gas.

But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if we all act together to force a price war.

Here’s the idea: For the rest of this year, DON’T purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies (which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL.

If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.

But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon and Mobil gas buyers. It’s really simple to do! Now, don’t wimp out on me at this point… keep reading and I’ll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!

I am sending this note to 30 people. If each of us send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)… and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000)… and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth group of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers.

If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted!

If it goes one level further, you guessed it… THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!!!

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. That’s all!

(If you don’t understand how we can reach 300 million and all you have to do is send this to 10 people… Well, let’s face it, you just aren’t a mathematician. But I am… so trust me on this one.

How long would all that take? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more people within one day of receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next 8 days!!!

I’ll bet you didn’t think you and I had that much potential, did you!

Acting together we can make a difference.

If this makes sense to you, please pass this message on. I suggest that we not buy from EXXON/MOBIL UNTIL THEY LOWER THEIR PRICES TO THE $2.00 RANGE AND KEEP THEM DOWN. THIS CAN REALLY WORK.

Gov't of Canada is pressing Ethiopia on Canadian prisoner

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

A Canadian citizen who has been imprisoned in Ethiopia for 18 months without being formally charged is being treated humanely and is in “good health”, says the parliamentary secretary to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was in Ethiopia earlier this year.

But if there isn’t any action on the case soon, Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai says he will return to Ethiopia this summer to press officials again.

Obhrai flew to Ethiopia this spring to meet with the government to try to lobby for consular access to Bashir Makhtal, a former Torontonian who was arrested in late December 2006 on the Kenya-Somalia border, held in Kenya and then deported to Somalia and on to Ethiopia in late January 2007. Makhtal – who has been held incommunicado by the Ethiopian government since he was rendered there – is originally from the Ogaden, a part of Ethiopia where his grandfather started a rebel separatist movement.

Obhrai was in Kenya in March on Canadian government business when he flew to Ethiopia to meet with the state secretary for foreign affairs to ask for consular access for Makhtal. During his visit, Obhrai said, he met with Dr. Takeda Alemu and expressed the government’s concern over the case.

But for Said Maktal, Bashir’s cousin, these latest moves by Obhrai are not enough. Nor does he believe the Canadian government has been forceful enough in intervening with the Ethiopian government on his cousin’s behalf.

“The government of Canada is not doing enough for this case,” Maktal said today in an interview with the Star. “After all, the person sitting behind bars is my cousin – who is not getting any (consular) access from his own embassy, not getting access for a lawyer and not being treated, to me, as a human being.”

Maktal also believes that his cousin isn’t getting the same kind of treatment as other Canadians who have been imprisoned in foreign countries, pointing to the case of Brenda Martin. “I would love the Canadian government to pressure the Ethiopian government more. I’d like the Prime Minister, Mr. Stephen Harper, to talk to the government of Ethiopia.”

Obhrai said in his meeting in March he urged the Ethiopian government to follow due process and protect Makhtal’s human rights. Before he left the meeting he hand-delivered a letter from Helena Guergis, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The letter, he said, also urged the Ethiopian government to provide consular access to Makhtal and to protect his human rights.

“We had a frank discussion on the issue that Mr. Makhtal was a Canadian citizen and why it is important for us to have consular access,” said Obhrai. “He assured me that Mr. Makhtal has been treated humanely and he would convey the message to his government. He also assured me Bashir was in good health.”

Obhrai also urged the Ethiopian government to proceed with due process – either charge Makhtal or release him.

On April 23, Obhrai telephoned the Ethiopian state secretary for foreign affairs to press the case again, repeating his concern on consular access for Makhtal, the parliamentary secretary said. But there still has been no action and Makhtal has not had any consular access, nor has he been charged or allowed access to a lawyer.

The Calgary MP said he is now waiting for word from the Canadian ambassador in Ethiopia – who is on top of the file – before he proceeds any further. But he does plan to phone the Ethiopian state secretary for foreign affairs again – to plead the Canadian government’s case.

“We have asked the ambassador what the Ethiopians are doing and I plan to go later this summer,” he said. “We are waiting for them to move forward. They’ve assured us they will. I shall be making another trip to Ethiopia pending what the ambassador says and how it is moving.”

By Debra Black, TheStar.com

Hillary to suspend campaign Saturday

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Hillary Clinton on Saturday will officially suspend her campaign for the presidency and “express her support for Senator Obama and party unity,” her campaign said Wednesday.

The Clinton campaign said she will make the announcement at “an event in Washington, D.C.,” where she will also thank her supporters.

Obama and Clinton were in Washington on Wednesday to each address the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The candidates ran into each other at the AIPAC conference and had a brief chat, Obama spokeswoman Linda Douglass said.

“She’s an extraordinary leader of the Democratic Party and has made history alongside me over the last 16 months. I’m very proud to have competed against her,” Obama told the Israel lobbying group.

Obama became his party’s presumptive nominee Tuesday and will be looking to unite Democrats divided by the long and contentious primary season.

“I am very confident how unified the Democratic Party is going to be to win in November,” he said in a Senate hallway Wednesday. iReport.com: Obama/Clinton — dream team or nightmare?

Some say that putting Clinton on the ticket might fit the bill for uniting Democrats.

Clinton lavished her opponent with praise Tuesday, saying he ran an “extraordinary race” and made politics more palatable for many. Video Watch how the primary played out »

Prominent Clinton backer Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, thinks the New York senator could have been “far more generous” during her speech Tuesday night after it was clear that Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination.

Rangel, the senior member of the New York congressional delegation and an early supporter of Clinton’s presidential campaign, said Wednesday that Clinton should have been more clear about what her plans are.

“I would agree that after the math was in before her speech, that she could have been far more generous in terms of being more specific and saying that she wants a Democratic victory,” Rangel said on MSNBC.

“I don’t see what they’re talking about in prolonging this,” Rangel added. “There’s nothing to prolong if you’re not going to take the fight to the convention floor. … I don’t know why she could not have been more open in terms of doing up front what she intends to do later.”

But with some Democrats clamoring for her to join Obama on the ticket, and with the Democratic National Convention — and thus, the official anointment — still more than two months out, the senator from New York gave no hint as to her plans. See VP prospects’ pros, cons »

She again invoked the popular vote, saying she snared “more votes than any primary candidate in history,” but primaries come down to delegates, and according to CNN calculations, Obama has her beaten, 2,156 to 1,923.

Even the White House seemed convinced of Obama’s victory. White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday that President Bush congratulated Obama on becoming the first black nominee from a major party. She said his win shows that the United States “has come a long way.”

Clinton vowed to keep fighting for an end to the war in Iraq, for universal health care, for a stronger economy and better energy policy, but she didn’t indicate in what capacity she would wage these battles. That, she said, would be up to her supporters and the party brass. See what lies in store this fall »

The party’s best interests were high on the minds of party leaders Wednesday, as Sen. Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin and DNC Chairman Howard Dean called on Democrats to focus on the general election.

“To that end, we are urging all remaining uncommitted superdelegates to make their decisions known by Friday of this week so that our party can stand united and begin our march toward reversing the eight years of failed Bush/McCain policies that have weakened our country,” said a statement from the four.

Billionaire businessman Bob Johnson, a close Clinton adviser and friend, said on CNN’s “American Morning” on Wednesday that Obama could best forge party unity by offering Clinton the vice presidential slot.

A day after the final two primaries in South Dakota and Montana, Johnson sent a letter to House Majority Whip James Clyburn to lobby the Congressional Black Caucus to endorse Clinton as Obama’s running mate.

Saying Clinton would “entertain the idea if it’s offered,” Johnson said, “This is Sen. Obama’s decision. If the Congress members can come together and agree as I do that it would be in the best interest of the party to have Sen. Clinton on the ticket, they carry that petition to Sen. Obama.” Video Watch how the world reacted to Obama’s win »

“This is not a pressure. This is elected officials giving their best judgment,” said Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television.

Johnson’s letter to Clyburn says, “You know as well as I the deep affection that millions of African-Americans hold for both Senator Clinton and President Clinton.”

It continues, “But most important, we need to have the certainty of winning; and, I believe, without question, that Barack Obama as president and Hillary Clinton as vice president bring that certainty to the ticket.” Video Watch Johnson urge Obama to pick Clinton »

Johnson is one of many influential Clinton supporters who have raised the prospect of her joining Obama on the ticket. They say she has solid credentials and wide appeal, exemplified by her popular support in states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, which will be crucial to a Democratic victory in the fall.

Obama and Clinton spoke by phone for a few minutes Wednesday. He told her he wants to “sit down when it makes sense” for her, said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Clinton said that would happen soon, Gibbs said, but he also said Obama did not raise the issue of the vice presidency. Clinton campaign Chairman Terry McAuliffe confirmed that there had been “absolutely zero discussions” on the matter.

The Clinton campaign issued a statement saying she was open to becoming vice president.

“She would do whatever she could to ensure that Democrats take the White House back and defeat John McCain,” the statement said.

– – – – –
More from The New York Times >>

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will endorse Senator Barack Obama on Saturday, bringing a close to her 17-month campaign for the White House, aides said. Her decision came after Democrats urged her Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to coalesce around Mr. Obama.

Howard Wolfson, one of Mrs. Clinton’s chief strategists, and other aides said she would express support for Mr. Obama and party unity at an event in Washington that day. One adviser said Mrs. Clinton would concede defeat, congratulate Mr. Obama and proclaim him the party’s nominee, while pledging to do what was needed to assure his victory in November.

Her decision came after a day of conversations with supporters on Capitol Hill about her future now that Mr. Obama had clinched the nomination. Mrs. Clinton had, in a speech after Tuesday night’s primaries, suggested she wanted to wait before deciding about her future, but in conversations Wednesday, her aides said, she was urged to step aside.

“We pledged to support her to the end,” Representative Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has been a patron of Mrs. Clinton since she first ran for the Senate, said in an interview. “Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.”

Mrs. Clinton’s decision came as some of her most prominent supporters — including former Vice President Walter F. Mondale — announced they were now backing Mr. Obama. “I was for Hillary — I wasn’t against Obama, who I think is very talented,” Mr. Mondale said. “I’m glad we made a decision and I hope we can unite our party and move forward.”

One of Mrs. Clinton’s aides said they were told that except for her senior advisers, there was no reason to report to work after Friday, and that they were invited to Mrs. Clinton’s house for a farewell celebration. The announcement from Mrs. Clinton was moved to Saturday to accommodate more supporters who wanted to attend, aides said.

“Senator Clinton will be hosting an event in Washington, D.C., to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity,” Mr. Wolfson said.

Mr. Obama, not waiting for a formal concession from Mrs. Clinton, announced a three-member vice-presidential selection committee that will include Caroline Kennedy, who has become a close personal adviser since endorsing him four months ago.

With some Democrats promoting Mrs. Clinton as Mr. Obama’s No. 2, his aides said they would move slowly in the search, allowing passions from the bruising primary battles to cool.

“Now that the interfamily squabble is done,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday evening at a Manhattan fund-raiser, “all of us can focus on what needs to be done in November.” Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton crossed paths briefly in Washington. As he left the Capitol, Mr. Obama told reporters, “We’re going to have a conversation in the coming weeks.”

Mr. Obama appeared before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, where, tacking to the right, he described a far tougher series of sanctions he would be willing to impose on Iran than he had outlined heretofore.

Mrs. Clinton, in a later appearance before the group, moved to reassure an audience clearly nervous about Mr. Obama’s views on Israeli security. “I know that Senator Obama will be a good friend to Israel,” she said.

Turning to the general election, Senator John McCain of Arizona, Mr. Obama’s likely opponent, and Mr. Obama both said they were interested in holding a series of debates this summer.

Aides to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton said that at least some of Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raisers would move to join the Obama campaign. Still, with the realization of defeat still settling in, it appeared that most of her major financial backers were holding back until they got a clearer signal from Mrs. Clinton of her intentions.

“I’m being aggressively courted by folks in the Obama campaign,” said Mark Aronchick, a Philadelphia lawyer, who is a national finance co-chairman. “I’ve told them all, ‘Everybody relax. Take a deep breath. There’s time enough here.’ ”

On Thursday, Mr. Obama planned to head to the southwestern tip of Virginia, in Appalachia, to begin courting voters in a state that traditionally goes Republican but could be a battleground in the fall. Then, he intends to take a few days to strategize privately about the general-election campaign.

Mrs. Clinton’s decision to suspend her campaign, which was first reported by ABC News, was a bow to the emerging political reality. No one in her campaign — including by all reports Mrs. Clinton herself — saw a viable road to the nomination. A suspension of the campaign allows her to continue raising money and pay off millions of dollars in debt.

The party’s desire for Mrs. Clinton to leave the race was signaled, politely, as four top Democratic leaders issued an early morning statement asking all uncommitted delegates to make their decisions by Friday. The statement from the Democratic chairman, Howard Dean, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and Gov. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, stopped short of endorsing Mr. Obama, but aides said they were likely to move in that direction if Mrs. Clinton lingered in the race.

“The voters have spoken,” they said in a joint statement released before 7 a.m., timed to set the tone for the day after the last primaries. “Democrats must now turn our full attention to the general election.”

Representative Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Democrat with close ties to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, and who had kept studiously neutral throughout the fight, said in an interview that he was “coming out from hiding under my desk” to endorse Mr. Obama. “The fact is that he is the nominee,” Mr. Emanuel said

He seemed quizzical at the slowness of Mrs. Clinton’s decision not to acknowledge this.

“You don’t answer about whether you want to be about vice president unless there’s no doubt in your mind that he is the nominee,” he said, referring to Mrs. Clinton’s initial reluctance to congratulate Mr. Obama, noting that she told supporters she would be open to be his running mate if he wanted her.

As Mrs. Clinton began tying up the loose ends of her campaign, Mr. Obama turned to his future — including the choice of a running mate. Some of Mrs. Clinton’s top supporters have been urging Mr. Obama to choose her, saying an Obama-Clinton slate would be a ticket to victory in November.

Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television and a leading contributor to Mrs. Clinton, urged members of the Congressional Black Caucus to lobby Mr. Obama to pick Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Johnson said he had spoken to Mrs. Clinton and was speaking with her permission.

“We need to have the certainty of winning,” Mr. Johnson wrote in the letter on Wednesday. “And I believe, without question, that Barack Obama as president and Hillary Clinton as vice president bring that certainty to the ticket.”

David Plouffe, campaign manager for Mr. Obama, said the senator felt no pressure to swiftly name a vice presidential candidate either to tamp down the speculation about Mrs. Clinton’s future or allay her dejected supporters. The passage of time, Mr. Plouffe said, would close the fissures and soothe the hard feelings that developed during the primary fight.

Mr. Obama’s decision to announce his vice-presidential search committee on Wednesday was intended to mute the speculation about Mrs. Clinton’s interest in the position. In addition to Ms. Kennedy, Mr. Obama also tapped Eric Holder, a deputy attorney general from the Clinton administration, and James A. Johnson, who has overseen similar committees in 1984 and 2004 presidential campaigns.

At the same time, Mr. Mondale — who in his career has served as a vice president, and picked one — suggested that Mrs. Clinton and her supporters pull back from even appearance of campaigning for the No. 2 spot, suggesting it could complicate a critical decision by Mr. Obama.

“I think it’s best he just be left alone,” Mr. Mondale said.

– – – – – –
Carl Hulse contributed reporting from Washington, and Michael Luo from New York City.

Court tells Teddy Afro to return to filthy jail till next month

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Popular Ethiopian singer Teddy Afro is ordered to come back to court in one month again because the prosecutor did not bring with him supporting evidences for some of his allegations at the hearing that was held in Addis Ababa today. When the defense argued that if the prosecutor doesn’t have evidence, the court should dismiss the case, the judge told him to sit down and shut up. Read more in Amharic here from sources in Ethiopia.

የቴዲ አፍሮ ጉዳይ እንደገና ለአንድ ወር ተቀጠረ

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

ልደታ የሚገኘው የፌደራል ከፍተኛ ፍረድ ቤት መግቢያ በር ላይ ከጠዋቱ ሁለት ሰዓት ላይ ጀምሮ የነበረውን ሰልፍ ላየ የቴዲ አፍሮ ችሎት እንደሆነ ለመገመት አያስቸግርም፡፡

በፌደራል ፖሊሶች የሚደረገውን ጠንካራ ፍተሻ ታልፎ ወደውስጥ ሲገባ በርካታ የፖሊስ ሃይል የደህንነት ሰራተኞችና ኮማንደሮች በሩን ግጥም አድርገው ይዘውት ለአንድ ሰአት ያህል ካሰለፉን በኋላ ወደ ውስጥ እንድንገባ ተደረገ፡፡

ችሎቱ በዳኛ ልኡል ገብረ ማርያም ተሰይሞ ስራውን ሲጀምር ዓቃቤህግ አቅርብ የተባለውን የሰነድ ማስረጃ ዝርዝር መግለጫ በንባብ ማሰማት ጀመረ፡፡

ያቀረባቸው ማስረጃዎች የቴዲ አፍሮ መኪና ከቤተመንግስት አካባቢ እየበረረ ሲመጣ ሟች ደጉ ይበልጣልን ከሩቅ አይቶት ማዳን እየቻለ መግጨቱን የሚያስረዳለት የፕላን ማስረጃ ማቅረቡን፣ መኪናዋ ትራፊክ ጽህፈት ቤት እንደቆመች የተነሳ ፎቶ ግራፍ፣ ሟች ከሞተ በኋላ የተነሳው ፎቶ ግራፍ፣ በመኪና ተገጭቶ ስለመሞቱ የሚያስረዳ የምንሊክ ሆስፒታል ማስረጃ እና የሰው ምስክር ማቅረቡን ገልጾ ያቀረበው ማስረጃ ታይቶለት ብይን እንዲጥ ጠይቋል፡፡

የቴዲ አፍሮ ጠበቃ አቶ ሚሊዮን አሰፋ በበኩሉ የቀረበው የሚኒሊክ ሆስፒታል የሰነድ ማስረጃ በዶክተሮች ያልተፈረመበትና እውነትነቱ የሚያጠራጥር እንደሆነ ሌላውም የአቃቤ ህግ ማስረጃ ቢሆን ተከሳሹ በመኪና ሰው ስለመግጨቱ የሚያስረዳ አንድም ማስረጃ ያልቀረበበት በመሆኑ ከክሱ በነፃ እንዲሰናበት ጠይቋል፡፡

ዳኛው አጠራጣሪ ነው የተባለውን የሚንሊክ ሆሰፒታል ማስረጃ አቃቤ ህጉ እንዲያቀርብ ሲጠይቅ የለኝም ቢልም ቀጠሮ እንሰጥሃለን አምጣ በማለቱ የለኝም ዕያለ ባለው መወሰን ሲገባው እንዴት እንደገና አምጣ ይባላል ብሎ ጠበቃው ቢከራከርም በዳኛው ግሳጼ ዝም እንዲል ተደርጓል፡፡

አቃቤ ህጉ በተባለው መሰረት በፍርድ ቤቱ ጽህፈት ቤት በኩል እንደሚያስገባ የገለጸ በመሆኑ ፍርድ ቤቱ ጉዳዩን መርምሮ ውሳኔ ለመስጠት ለአንድ ወር ቀጥሯል፡፡

በቀጠሮው እለት ቴዲ ወይ በነጻ ይሰናበታል አሊያም ድርጊቱን ስለመፈጸምህ አጠራጣሪ ሆኖ ስለተገኘ ተከላከል ይባላል፡፡

Police charged man over murder of Arsema Dawit

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

By James Orr, guardian.co.uk

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) today announced it was launching an investigation into the police handling of death threats to a teenager who was stabbed to death on Monday.

Arsema Dawit was repeatedly knifed in a lift in Matheson Lang House, the block of flats in Waterloo, south London, where she lived with her family.

Thomas Nugusse, 21, a student from Ilford, Essex was tonight charged with her murder. He will appear at Greenwich magistrates court tomorrow, Scotland Yard said tonight.

Members of the family said they had earlier told police that the 15-year-old had been assaulted by an obsessive man.

Yesterday, Scotland Yard confirmed that on April 30 police received a complaint that a man, aged 29 or 30, had assaulted her in a McDonald’s restaurant on April 16, making threats to kill her.

An officer spoke to Arsema at her school on May 12, but she claimed to have “no knowledge” of the incident.

Police contacted the teenager’s mother a week later, and the investigation was still ongoing when she was murdered.

Today’s announcement of came after Scotland Yard said senior officers would also examine the handling of the case.

In a statement released this afternoon the Met confirmed it too had commissioned an “internal review of our investigation into the crime allegation made by Arsema Dawit and her family on 30 April this year”.

It said this investigation would be overseen by the violent crime directorate and the directorate of professional standards.

Police arrested a man in connection with the killing on a footbridge over the river Thames as he threatened to kill himself shortly after the teenager was attacked, officers said.

Earlier, detectives were granted more time to question a 21-year-old man who was arrested over Arsema’s death.

The man was arrested on a footbridge over the River Thames as he threatened to kill himself shortly after the teenager was attacked, police said.

An IPCC statement said it had asked the Metropolitan police for the investigation to be referred to the commission.

“The family complained to the Metropolitan police that Arsema … was assaulted on April 30, five weeks before her murder,” the statement said.

“The IPCC awaits the referral, whereupon [it] will assess how the investigation should be carried out.”

A source close to the police inquiry said officers were not aware of a wider campaign of harassment against Arsema.

She was the 16th teenager to be killed in the capital this year, and the first female victim.

The attack came days after the Scotland Yard commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, vowed to do everything in his power to combat knife crime.

2 traffic lights have been repaired on Debre Zeit Road

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

BREAKING NEWS

Walta Information Center (WIC) reports that 2 traffic lights have been repaired on Debre Zeit Road in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa today. His Excellency Girma Woldegiorgis, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, has visited the job site to congratulate the workers for a job well done. Each worker who participated in this important project has received “Patriot of Development Award” from his excellency. After the award ceremony, His Excellency President Girma invited managers of the project for lunch at his residence.

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[This is to show how the Woyanne-controlled media are desperately reporting every minor activity by government departments to show that the fast decaying regime is doing a good job of governing. Many of the reported activities, however, are lies. Millions of people have nothing to eat. How could things be any worse than this?]

Exports fall 20% on lower shipments of coffee

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Ethiopia’s exports fell 20 percent last month as shipments of coffee and oilseeds dropped, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.

The Horn of Africa country’s exports declined to $139.7 million in the 30 days to May 8, which corresponds with the 10th month of the Ethiopian calendar, from $173.7 million a month earlier, the ministry said in an e-mailed report from the capital, Addis Ababa.

By Jason McLure, Bloomberg
To contact the reporter on this story: Jason McLure in Addis Ababa via the Johannesburg bureau at abolleurs@bloomberg.net.

Misinformation and disinformation

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

By Yilma bekele

There are two special slang words that have been assimilated by the English language. They happen to explain certain circumstances in such a vivid way there is no need for further clarification. I am referring to ‘cojones’ and ‘chutzpah’. One is borrowed from Spanish and the other is Yiddish in origin.

Chutzpah is used to explain unashamed or insolent person. A good example is ‘having the quality of being able to murder both your parents, and then plead the court for mercy on the grounds that you’re an orphan.’ Cojones is a term meaning having balls, not scared. A perfect example is for someone to come home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass and having the balls to say, “You’re next.” You can say he has got cojones.

The current regime in Ethiopia is a serial practitioner of both these traits. In this futile attempt to present itself as a functioning ‘Sovereign Nation’ it gets plenty of ‘solicited’ help from the World Bank, IMF and US ambassadors in Addis.

It was only a month ago that the IMF declared ‘“Ethiopia has recorded impressive growth during the past few years—the fastest for a non-oil exporting country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth has been supported by structural reforms and infrastructure development, as well as favorable agricultural conditions.’ Well and good. May be we thought wrong. There really is progress and some how we just don’t see it. Sorry we were blinded by the 12 million starving, the high unemployment among the youth and the migration of the youngest and brightest.

Unfortunately we were correct. The World Bank has the ‘Chutzpah’ to backtrack and declare all to be an illusion. Now they say we are almost broke. The new report claims ‘Ethiopia is close to exhausting its foreign-currency reserves and may need a loan of $1 billion to fund food and fuel imports to avoid economic growth from slowing.’

Have you ever heard of such double talk? Aren’t we broke because we did not create a real growing economy? They are loaning us money so we don’t slow down? Our economy is supposedly growing double digits but we need an advance to feed ourselves. Just great! Thus we are going to borrow one billion to stay afloat. Don’t even think of the interest on a billion dollar. Believe me it is murder. You see in the realm of banking nothing is free. The idea is to squeeze every penny from the customer but all done legally. Ethiopia must have a bad rating. Being poor and on welfare does not help. We have no leverage. We are a very high-risk borrower. We are a candidate for a sub-prime loan or the IMF as a lender will dictate the direction of the economy. They call it ‘structural adjustment’.

The IMF will be either the lender or they will guarantee that the loan will be paid. The money will be used to buy oil and food. Oil from the Middle East and food from Europe and America. There will be no forward progress. After paying principal and interest we will have no money left for education, health infrastructure investment and other needs. They loan you money to buy stuff from them at inflated price. I bet you they even charge fees for ‘structuring’ the loan.

Never mind all that. The real ‘Chutzpah’ is that they are giving the loan to the same guys who caused the ‘melt down ‘ in the first place. They must know something we don’t know. What is for sure is the loan will be paid by Ethiopia. It looks like the WB and IMF view of Ethiopia does not extend beyond the balcony of the Sheraton.

Voice of America reported that Zimbabwe and Ethiopia have offered to evacuate nationals wanting to escape the anti-foreigner attacks in South Africa. You can say these two dictators have cojones. It also takes some chutzpah to ask a citizen you have exiled because of your failed policies to return to an empty house. So you travel thousands of miles crossing rivers and streams, hostile tribes, corrupt police and border guards, guides from hell, hunger, cold and unbearable heat to find work and they are offering to take you back!

Walta the government news service wrote ‘the government of Ethiopia launched here on Thursday its first-ever National Nutrition Strategy (NNS), which will ensure that all Ethiopians secure an adequate nutritional status.’ The regime does not lack cojones. In a country where there are 12 million starving citizens, the TPLF folks are swindling the ferengis to fight malnutrition.

On April 5, 2005, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced a plan to have Universal Internet Access in Ethiopia in 3 years. The Prime Minister was quoted as saying then “information technology lay at the heart of transforming the impoverished country where millions are dependent on foreign aid.” He continued “We plan to ensure universal access and Internet connectivity to all the tens of thousands of rural kebeles (districts) of our country over the next two to three years.” For a leader authorizing investment in highly specialized computer software to block websites it requires chutzpah to promise universal access. It is like buying a book with so many of the pages cutout.

In February 2007 Sudan Tribune on its web site reported ‘Ethiopia has an ambitious multibillion-dollar (-euro) plan to provide all its citizens with electricity within eight years…we already have plans in place to begin supplying power, hopefully, to Sudan and Djibouti by 2009, and Kenya by 2010,” Mihret said. Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation a government monopoly and a cash cow can only supply electricity to a little over 20% of the population. I believe it requires big cojones to promise 80% increase in production in eight years. It definitely calls for double cojones to sell power to neighbors who are producing double amount today. Here is a comparison of four African countries.

Country

Ethiopia

Kenya

Sudan

Ghana

Population

76 Million

36.9 Million

39.3

22Million

Electricity Production

2.86 Billion Kwh

5.502 Billion Kwh

3.94 Billion Kwh

6.64 Billion Kwh

Telephone – Land

725,000

293,000

636,000

356,000

Telephone – Cellular

866,700

6.48Million

4.68Million

5.20Million

Internet Hosts

89

2120

21

2899

Internet Users

164,000

2.77Million

3.5Million

609,800

Radio AM

8

24

12

0

Radio FM

1

18

1

86

Radio Short Wave

1

6

1

3

TV Stations

1

8

3

7

It is highly unlikely that we will be selling electricity to our neighbors. It we have the money it might be cheaper to buy it rather than investing billions on power plants. We can spend the billions on education and train future scientists to come up with new sources of energy.
‘U.S Ambassador to Ethiopia said that the successive economic growth being registered in Ethiopia as well as the stable political system are of paramount importance for the peace and stability in the Horn of Africa. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto told the Ethiopian government news service WIC recently that the presence of stable political, economic and social conditions in Ethiopia help the country play crucial role towards ensuring peace and order in the region as well as in the fight against terrorism.’
Ambassador Donald Yamamoto is correct in one out of five important tasks he mentioned. There is no stable political system in a one party state, it is called dictatorship. The economic condition is in a state of melt down with 12 million starving. Social conditions are abysmal in this environment. The neighborhood is very unstable because of us and the correct description will be war and disorder. When he said we are helping the fight against ‘terrorism’ he is correct. We are nothing but hired hands. But the problem is we don’t have terrorists threatening us. No one who is capable of doing us harm. Today, or in the near future. We have a choice to feed our people or to go to war. Our government has chosen war.
His predecessor Charges d’ Affaires Vicky Huddleston is remembered for telling Dr. Berhanu Nega to ‘abrogate his elected position and tell the public to accept as Mayor the person appointed by the regime. Her predecessor Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal, a black lady is famous for telling us that ‘democracy is a process and it takes time.’
I have no idea if these individuals have the chutzpah or they have the cojones. You be the judge. Mr. Obama, the Democratic Party nominee for the presidency in his victory speech said ‘the President of the United States isn’t afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for.’ It is music to our ears. It is a notice to those who can hear. The business card Ato Meles printed which says ‘Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister, #1 terrorist fighter will have no currency in the next US administration. We Believe!!

Hillary demands what seems to be a 'coalition government'

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

By Dick Morris

Putting Hillary Clinton on the ticket for vice president creates a ménage-à-trois. Bill will be the unexpected roommate. Even if a President Obama can discipline Hillary and get her to play second fiddle, there is not the remotest chance that he can get the former president to accept such rules. Even if Bill Clinton wanted to rein in his newly prolific public expressions of rage and frustration, there is doubt that he is any longer capable of doing so.

Hillary, who likely desperately wants to be tapped for vice president, is going about it in exactly the wrong way. She seems to be demanding a kind of coalition government between herself and Obama, a definition of the vice presidency not likely to appeal to the president. It reminds me of 1980 when there were discussions of a ticket with Reagan as the presidential nominee and former President Gerald Ford as the vice president in a coalition government where the VP would have extraordinary powers.

Intended to reassure voters who were panicked by Reagan’s “extreme” conservatism, the arrangement never came to fruition, a development which gave us the House of Bush.

Instead of conceding defeat and campaigning for Obama, auditioning for the spot of loyal teammate, Hillary insists on keeping her options open and vies for the spotlight with Obama, exactly what you do not want a vice president to do.

Last night, when Obama went over the top in delegates and could claim the nomination as his, Hillary organized a rally of all of her supporters, directly competing for airtime with the newly minted nominee.

Adding Hillary to the ticket would not bring Obama a single vote (except possibly for Bill’s). Her supporters are divided into two distinct categories. The original Clintonistas were strong Democrats, party faithful, pro-choice, middle-aged and up, largely female and all white. But Hillary’s recent backers have been downscale whites of both genders who were turned off by Obama’s pastor, wife and other associates and were afraid he might be a Muslim in disguise. Unhappy about voting for a woman, they never really liked Hillary but turned to her when the alternative was Obama.

If Hillary had won the Democratic nomination, these latent backers of Hillary in the primaries might still have voted for McCain in the general. Their support of Hillary is purely linked to her opposition to Obama. Were she to join the ticket, they would vote for McCain anyway. After all, Obama will still be black and the Rev. Wright will still be nuts.

But adding Hillary to the ticket brings, along with her, Bill.

The public Bill Clinton has morphed over the past few months from a statesman and philanthropist to a petulant, angry, cursing, spoiled narcissist, accusing everyone of being sleazy and biased and in so doing fashioning himself as a foil for Obama. This unattractive image is not the right one for the bottom of a ticket in a presidential race. And make no mistake, Bill comes along with Hillary.

But the more serious problem is the public record that Todd Purdum, an excellent journalist, laid out in his Vanity Fair piece. Bill’s relationships with billionaires, his pursuit of financial gain, his alliance with the emir of Dubai, and his acceptance of speaking fees and income from some of the least savory of types is not what you need to carry around with you in a presidential race. To put Hillary on the ticket is to confront nagging questions about donors to the Clinton Library and Bill’s refusal to release them. It would be to inherit a load of baggage that Obama does not need as he tries to position himself as the candidate of change, antithetical to the corrupt and corrupting ways of Washington.

On her own, Hillary would be no bargain as vice president. She would never accept direction and never sublimate her ambition or agenda to Obama’s. But with Bill in tow, her candidacy becomes even more fraught with peril should Obama be inclined to bow to pressure and put her on the ticket.
– – – – – – –
Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of “Outrage.” To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to dickmorris.com.

15-year old Arsema Dawit stabbed to death in London

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

By Adam Fresco, Fiona Hamilton and Rajeev Syal
Times Online

Only four days ago Arsema Dawit was surrounded by those she loved most – her friends, her younger brother and sister and her mother – as she blew out 15 candles on her birthday cake. Yesterday those same friends streamed into the family’s neat three-bedroom flat in Waterloo, South London, struggling to explain why this sweet-natured choirgirl has become the latest victim of London’s knife crime.

Some chose to criticise the Metropolitan Police, which they say failed to take seriously a complaint that her alleged murderer had harassed and assaulted her in the weeks leading up to her death. But most were too overcome with grief to speak. Women covered their heads with white shawls out of respect for the family, some wailing as they entered the building. Arsema’s mother, Tsehay, surrounded by women, sat in one room of the flat with her son Robel, 13, and daughter Feruz, 12.

She was too distraught to speak to visitors, able only to acknowledge them with a nod. Berekati Asfeday, a family friend, said that Arsema’s mother was so upset that she “can’t talk, just cry, cry, cry, non-stop cry”.

The men sat in a separate room of the family home, which was was decorated with religious icons. “Everyone is so upset. It is a deep grief,” one male visitor said.

Those who had the strength to talk described a happy and deeply religious teenager who had fought against the odds since arriving in Britain from Eritrea more than four years ago.

The family had moved to at least three homes across South London before settling within sight of the Houses of Parliament. Friends said that the children’s father had not lived with the family for some time.

Arsema had learnt English and was busy preparing for her GCSEs at the nearby Harris Academy, with dreams of university and a career.

Simon Tesfaghiorgish, a family friend, said: “Arsema’s life was maths, history, reading and reading the Bible.”

She was determined not to forget her African heritage and was an enthusiastic member of the Eritrean community church, singing in its 20-strong choir. Most members of the congregation at St Michael’s Community Church in Camberwell were Eritreans fleeing the fighting against Ethiopian Woyanne soldiers in the East African region.

Father Yohannes Sibhatu, the parish priest, said: “She worshipped in this church and used to sing in the choir. She used to be very active, but in the last two years, for some reason, she was quite quiet.

“She was a nice girl, very likeable, and she may have had quite a few friends in the church. I am really shocked and really sorry for the family that this has happened. As a priest and as a member of the community – like everyone else – I am feeling very sad.”

One schoolfriend said: “She loved her church, and she doted over her brother and sister. She was loved, and loved others. We cannot believe it.”

Tragically, it appears that the church was at the centre of the cycle of events that led to Arsema’s death. Friends said that an older male worshipper had begun to take an unhealthy interest in her and as a result she had missed three recent Sunday services.

Mr Tesfaghiorgish said: “He wanted to marry her – he wanted her. But the family were not interested.”

Arsema and her mother complained to the police about the man on April 30. But 12 days later, when police tried to interview Arsema, she apparently failed to substantiate the accusations.

Mr Tesfaghiorgish said that he could not believe that the police had failed to act sooner after complaints had been filed. “The mother and the girl told the police a number of times that he had been harassing her. The police said they couldn’t take any action,” he said. “We are going to complain about this.”

Wayne Fort, a neighbour, said that he had seen a man arguing with one of Arsema’s female relatives two months ago. He said that the woman had been warning him to stay away.

“There was a chap who seemed to be infatuated with her. He seemed to have met her at the church,” he said. “I could see from the efforts of the elders of the family they were trying to get rid of the man.”

On Monday afternoon Arsema, dressed in her school uniform, stepped into the lift of her block of flats. It is believed that her attacker had lain in wait until she returned home from school.

Another neighbour, Cosima Paniza, heard Arsema arguing with a man on the staircase. “I went to put my rubbish in the chute and I heard the man and the girl arguing. I couldn’t get the words of the girl because she was shouting so loud. It sounded like he was threatening her,” she said.

Mr Fort’s partner and daughter found the teenager’s body. He said that his daughter had called him, screaming: “Daddy, Daddy, quick, come! The girl’s in the lift, she’s on the floor, there’s lots of blood.”

A blade was still sticking out of her side. The attack was so violent that part of the handle had snapped off.

An hour later officers arrested a man on suspicion of murder on the pedestrianised Hungerford Bridge in London, about half a mile from the crime scene. He had been spotted previously by passers-by apparently washing blood from his hands in a public lavatory next to the County Hall hotel.

He was later seen on the bridge, clinging to its side and talking into a mobile phone. He was arrested by two plainclothes officers wearing stab vests.

Yesterday, as postmortem examination on the schoolgirl took place, her fellow pupils were told of her death at a series of special assemblies. Many were left in tears at the announcement that their classmate was the 16th teenager to be murdered in London this year.

One schoolfriend said: “She was a very bubbly person. Almost kind of an angel. She was smiling all the time. I’ve heard a lot of things from different people but I don’t think she had a boyfriend. I never saw her with anyone.”

Cathy Loxton, the principal at Arsema’s school, the Harris Academy in Bermondsey, said “Arsema was a popular, friendly and well-behaved girl who had much to contribute to our school community.”

Arsema’s future had been considered so bright that to help to fulfil her potential she was being helped by a school mentor. Tirzah Bright, 22, overcome with emotion, could only say: “She was a very hard worker – she worked very hard. She was a nice girl. She didn’t deserve this to happen to her.”

12 day wait for police after complaint about stalker

Arsema had to wait 12 days for police to make contact after complaining that an alleged stalker had threatened to kill her.

Scotland Yard yesterday ordered an internal investigation into the actions of officers in the weeks leading up to the stabbing of the schoolgirl as she returned home on Monday.

The inquiry will focus on whether officers could have saved Arsema, who was found stabbed to death in a lift at the flats where she lived near Waterloo station, Central London.

The Times has learnt that Arsema and her mother gave police the name of a suspect who had assaulted and threatened to kill her, although it is not known whether she gave them the correct one.

The teenager, who sang in the choir at her local Eritrean church and celebrated her 15th birthday on Saturday, described the suspect as being aged 29 or 30. A man was arrested shortly after the killing in “an agitated state”. Although he is 21, police are confident that he is the suspect from the original inquiry.

The schoolgirl had gone to Kennington police station with her mother on April 30. She told officers that a man had assaulted her and threatened to kill her at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant on April 16.

The matter should have been dealt with quickly because it involved a young person, categorised by the police as being vulnerable.

The case was given to Southwark CID but it was not until May 12 that a Safer Schools officer spoke to the victim at her school, Harris Academy. However, Arsema denied any knowledge of the incident. A week later police contacted her mother and the inquiry was continuing when Arsema was killed.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “The victim was unaware of the incident and had no knowledge of it. Despite this we continued to investigate the circumstances of the incident and Arsema’s mother was subsequently contacted on May 19.

“The investigation was being progressed when Arsema was tragically killed.”

He added: “It has been established that Arsema and the suspect knew each other but the exact nature of their relationship is unclear at this stage.”

Detectives from the Territorial Policing Violent Crime Directorate have started an internal review and part of their investigation will focus on what officers were doing for the 12 days before they visited the schoolgirl.

A source told The Times: “They will want to know what officers did and when. If they were given a name of a suspect, what did they do to try to trace him?”

It may be that officers went to the suspect’s address but he was not there or they did nothing. Investigators will want to know if the fact that the alleged victim was not cooperating influenced their actions.

A police officer said: “If it was an older man involved in the complaint you would hope that it would have raised flags with officers – he could have been a predatory paedophile.

“If officers knew where he was I would have hoped that they had gone round to speak to him. If they have not I would say they have been negligent in their duty of care to the victim.”

Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode, of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, is investigating what happened in the weeks before Arsema was killed.

She said: “I am trying to establish the true nature of the relationship between Arsema and the man in custody. We are speaking to her family and friends to help to build a picture of events leading up to the murder.”

Study Shows Amara and Tigre gave world 1st written language

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

A new study shows that Amara and Tigre merchants founded the ancient civilization of Gebts 5100 years ago and as a result developed the world’s first written language of business and trade.

Gebts represented a prime location to sell their goods and products, which Amara and Tigre merchants appear to have done in the area since 6000 years ago. But the key to establishing the ancient civilization that we all know about was when the Amara and Tigre merchants moved their farms and production into Gebts. Once they did, they needed to develop a way to document workers, wages, productions and sales.

Evidence is found in the word for “writing” in ancient Gebts, “matet”, which of course means, “give a report,” in Amarigna (“mehtat” in Tigrigna).

Using drawn-out objects to represent vowels and consonants, the Amara and Tigre developed a written language that could be used with both Amarigna and Tigrigna. Each vowel or consonant was taken from an object that contained it. Thus a drawing of a leg (“bat”) represented the consonant “b” and a closed lock (“zege”) was drawn for the consonant “z.”

Moving Amara and Tigre farming production into Gebts meant the local Gebts population could be employed as the farming and production labor. This allowed the merchants to generate an economy that never existed before.

But also, moving into the new region stimulated the economy with export sales, since new international markets could more easily and quickly be reached from the north-facing ports of Gebts at the Mediterranean Sea. This was an important opportunity for both Amara and Tigre merchants, as prior to this, Amara had to rely on the Nile River and Tigre had previously done trade primarily through the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf to the south.

As a part of the administration of Gebts by the Amara and Tigre, Amarigna and Tigrigna represented a unique 2-language national written language system.

Surprisingly, the study reveals that Amarigna and Tigrigna were not recently split from each other, as it is commonly believed, and were already distinct languages 5100 years ago. The study also shows that Amara and Tigre culture has remained very much unchanged from 5100 years ago; we use the same words, eat the same food, and share the same beliefs 5100 years ago as we do now.

To view a list of 250 words from the ancient Gebts writings, visit ancientgebts.org

VIDEO: 'Islands in the Stream' by Zeritu Kebede

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

“Islands in the Stream” was a 1983 hit country music by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, written by the Bee Gees. Ethiopian singers Zeritu Kebede and Henock Mehari sing it beautifully at a concert in Addis Ababa.

Obama clinches nomination (CNN)

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic nomination for president, according to CNN estimates, making him the first African-American in U.S. history to lead a major-party ticket.

Obama picked up a slew of superdelegate endorsements on Tuesday. Those endorsements, combined with the delegates he’s projected to receive from South Dakota’s primary, will put him past the 2,118 threshold, according to CNN estimates.

Obama will claim victory during a speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.

“Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States,” he’s expected to say.

His remaining rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, does not plan to concede the race Tuesday night, campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe told CNN — but one of her leading supporters said “a moment of truth” was at hand.

“I think a decision has to be made about whether keeping this nomination wide open is in the best interest of winning in November,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

“I do not believe that it is, and I’m a very strong supporter of Hillary being placed on ticket as a vice presidential candidate.”

Two New York lawmakers told CNN on Tuesday that Clinton expressed willingness during a conference call to serve as Obama’s running mate in November.

One of the lawmakers said Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, has been pushing the idea privately for several weeks. And earlier, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, told CNN, “I have reason to believe she is open to the V.P. slot.”

But in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, her campaign said there was nothing new in her remarks.

“Today on a conference call with New York legislators, Sen. Clinton was asked whether she was open to the idea of running as vice president and repeated what she has said before: She would do whatever she could to ensure that Democrats take the White House back and defeat John McCain,” the former first lady’s campaign said in a written statement Tuesday afternoon.

Even though she discussed being Obama’s running mate, McAuliffe earlier in the day said Clinton was “absolutely not” prepared to concede the race after the polls close tonight in Montana and South Dakota, the final two contests on the primary calendar.

McAuliffe rejected as “100 percent” incorrect an Associated Press report that Clinton is preparing to acknowledge Obama has the delegates to win the nomination Tuesday night as the five-month Democratic primary process comes to a close.

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the House and the highest ranking African-American in Congress, were two of the most prominent superdelegate endorsements that Obama picked up.

“I came to that decision because I do believe that he has elevated this campaign,” Clyburn said. “He has energized our constituents. He is redrawing an electoral map for Democrats.”

Obama is holding a rally at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the same arena which will house the 2008 Republican National Convention in September. Clinton will spend the evening at a campaign event in New York City. iReport.com: See what cartoonists think of the interminable race

Obama is looking more and more toward a likely general election matchup with John McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Obama has started looking at Clinton as less of a rival and more as an important ally who can help him win in November.

“We’re getting very close to the number that will, that will give us the nomination and if we’ve hit that number on Tuesday night, then we will. We will announce that and I think even if we don’t, this is the end of the primary season, and I think it’s very important for us to focus on the clear contrast that’s going to exist between Democrats and Republicans in this election,” Obama said this weekend while campaigning in South Dakota.

“Sen. Clinton is an outstanding public servant, she has worked tirelessly on this campaign, she has been a great senator for the state of New York and she is going to be a great asset when we go into November to make sure that we defeat the Republicans,” Obama said on the campaign trail Sunday in South Dakota, adding Monday in Michigan that “she and I will be working together.”

Ethiopian-U.S. investors plan $37 milliion brewery

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, more beer is what the people of Ethiopia need now. What a bunch of idiots.

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – A newly established Ethiopian-U.S. investment group said on Tuesday it was building a $37 million brewery at Maichew, in the northern Tigray region.

Michael Gebre Mariam, chairman of the Ethio-American Investment Group, told reporters production would start by the end of 2010, and that the facility would have the capacity to produce 30 million litres of “Raya Beer” every year.

He said the site had been chosen because of a suitable water source nearby, and that the company planned to grow barley on 15 hectares of land it bought adjacent to the brewery.

The Ethio-American Investment Group, which has its headquarters in Duluth, Georgia, was set up this year by 25 Americans of Ethiopian origin, he said.

ER reports fake asylum requests to Homeland Security Dept.

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

TO:
Jonathan Scharfen
Director, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services
Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, DC 20528

Dear Mr Scharfen,

It has come to my attention that thousands of members of the Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that is currently ruling Ethiopia, are applying for and being granted political asylum in the United States. Many of these ‘political refugees’ are close family members of the TPLF (also call themselves Woyannes, meaning ‘bandits’) regime officials. Officials of the Ethiopian government manufacture evidences for them claiming that they are members of opposition parties. Some of these asylum seekers have been directly involved in the torture and murder of Ethiopian civilians.

I believe that it is a gross injustice to grant political asylum in the United States to these criminals whose organization is terrorizing the people of Ethiopia, and who are the main reason that hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians fleeing their country, including myself.

I am willing to provide any assistance you need to track down, identify and take legal action against these members and supporters of the TPLF regime who are violating the laws of the United States by filing false claims of persecution.

I am one of the victims of the TPLF regime. I have been convicted by the regime’s kangaroo court of treason and sentenced to life in prison after the prosecutor demanded that I get a death penalty. My only crime is publishing a journal named Ethiopian Review that has been banned from Ethiopia since 1995.

If you need further assistance, I can be reached at eliaskifle@gmail.com.

Regards,

Elias Kifle
Publisher, EthiopianReview.com

Poisoned cooking oil kills 8 in Ethiopia

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

ADDIS ABABA – Authorities closed 16 cooking oil factories in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday after eight people were killed and scores sickened by food cooked with contaminated oil.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said 94 people were in hospital with suspected poisoning, and urged the public to only buy cooking oil marked with government safety stamps.

“Study indicated that a highly toxic oily fruit, unfit for human consumption, had been mixed with other ingredients by the factories processing edible oil,” the statement said.

Investigations into work practices at the 16 shuttered businesses were continuing, government officials said.

Reuters
Reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse; Editing by Daniel Wallis

Hillary prepares to end presidential bid

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Thomas B. Edsall, The Huffington Post

Hillary Clinton has summoned top donors and backers to attend her New York speech tomorrow night in an unusual move that is being widely interpreted to mean she plans to soon suspend her campaign and endorse Barack Obama — not tomorrow night but within a day or two.

Obama and Clinton spoke Sunday night and agreed that their staffs should begin negotiations over post-primary activities, according to reliable sources. In addition to seeking Obama’s help in raising money to pay off some $20 million-plus in debts, Clinton is known to want Obama to assist black officials who endorsed her and who are now taking constituent heat, including, in some cases, primary challenges from pro-Obama politicians.

“This has never happened before,” one donor said, referring to the personalized request by email to attend the event in New York Tuesday night.

Obama is expected to claim enough delegates to put him over the top that night at a separate event in St. Paul.

In an afternoon conference call today with about two dozen top fundraisers, Clinton strategist Harold Ickes spoke in very conciliatory terms about Obama, in contrast to his tougher rhetoric in public and on television, according to sources. He told the participants that Clinton wants to “significantly” help Obama, but he did not go so far as saying that she will announce withdrawal — that is the prerogative of the candidate.

Ickes told the group to “take a deep breath” and let Clinton proceed in her own fashion.

Earlier in the day it was reported that Clinton staffers were being urged by the campaign’s finance department “to turn in their outstanding expense receipts by the end of the week,” another sign that the run at the White House was nearing an end. In addition, Politico wrote that members of Clinton’s advance staff had received calls and emails Sunday night, summoning them to New York City and telling them their roles on the campaign are ending.

Sheba Exploration says drilling begins in northern Ethiopia

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

>компютриON (Thomson Financial) – Sheba Exploration (UK) Plc. said four percussion holes, ranging in depth between 40 metres and 52 metres, were drilled into gold geochemical targets at Shehagne EEL in northern Ethiopia from May 16-22, 2008.

All holes penetrated disseminated sulphide mineralisation, the group said. It added the drill holes penetrated pale grey felsic volcanic rocks carrying disseminated pyrite, which gives rise to an orange-red (limonitic) alteration zone at surface.

The alteration zone is usually associated with gold-bearing quartz veinlets, the company said. The average of all 27 quartz veinlets sampled in the area was 5.5 grams per tonne of gold.

Gold assays from the drill chippings will be carried out in due course. Further drilling may continue after the close of the rainy season in October, the company added.

TFN.newsdesk@thomsonreuters.com npr/slm

Remembering the June 2005 massacre

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Kinijit Washington DC Chapter will hold a Grand Public Meeting in remmembering June 8 2005 Massacre by Meles Zenawi’s Agazi/Fascists troops. We should never forget the Martyrs, the true sons and daughters of Ethiopia who were gunned down by Woyanee troops. As we commemorate this historical day in our history, we need to also take this opportunity to stand up for freedom, democracy and justice which our compatriots died for.

Date/Time: June 8, 2008, 2:00 PM
Place: Unification Church, 1610 Columbia Road NW, Washington DC

Kinijit Washington DC Chapter

Maryland synagogue partners with group to support Ethiopian Jews

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

By ERIN SHEA, HometownAnnapolis.com

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND — Ethiopian Jews have long been trying to assimilate into Israeli society to little avail but now Annapolis’ Kol Ami congregation is here to help.

The Bestgate Road-area synagogue is the first in the United States to partner with the Family Education Initiative to support Ethiopian Jews.

For that help, the congregation received a fundraising visit last week from Rabbi Yafet Alemu, an Ethiopian who has overcome the difficulties of immigrating and now wants to help his countrymen.

The majority of the Ethiopian Jewish population came to Israel in the mid-1980s and early 1990s following persecution in Ethiopia, where Christianity is the most prominent religion. Since then, according to Rabbi Alemu, many have had difficulty adjusting to Israel’s more advanced society.

“There must be a bridge to help them to transfer,” Rabbi Alemu said.

This need led Rabbi Alemu, 47, to found the Equal Opportunity for Ethiopian Jews in Israel in 2004, of which FEI is a part.

FEI has tutoring programs, designed to help the struggling population that in 2004 had a high school dropout rate of 40 percent, which according to Rabbi Alemu happened because Israel’s population is generally better educated than the Ethiopian immigrant population. That inequity carries over to economics, with most Ethiopians significantly poorer than the average Israeli.

The program also has mentoring programs designed to curb the community’s domestic violence problem. Rabbi Alemu estimated that 25 percent of women killed by their spouses in Israel are Ethiopians, although Ethiopians only make up about 2 percent of Israel’s population.

There are other programs aimed at improving the lives of Ethiopians in Israel, but these programs, according to the FEI, focus on the children rather than the entire family. Adults, therefore, are left without the necessary skills to succeed in Israel.

Their inability in many cases to be good role models for their children has led to drug and alcohol abuse among the population as well as high rates of violence and crime, which Rabbi Alemu said was not typical of their community back in Ethiopia.

FEI “helps [family members to understand each other” in order to help repair strained family relations that are common among Ethiopian immigrants, Rabbi Alemu said. “The program is prepared by [Ethiopians using our culture,” Rabbi Alemu said, adding that he thinks that factors into the program’s success.

The program currently serves about 9,000 people, Rabbi Alemu said.

“We have a choice,” he said, “To leave it as it is or take responsibility.”

The Kol Ami congregation began donating to FEI this year.

Since they started donating, about 25 other Jewish congregations in the United States have decided to follow suit, he said.

Rabbi Alemu immigrated to Israel in 1983, spending 28 days crossing Ethiopia into Sudan, where he received political asylum and was transported to Israel by the International Red Cross.

He left Ethiopia because he was facing prison time for trying to go to Israel.

He felt he would certainly be killed in prison, and so he prayed, and decided he had to try to escape Ethiopia.

“I cried to God as a child cries to his father,” Rabbi Alemu said, “God covered me from being exposed [during my escape .”

After coming to Israel, Rabbi Alemu received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Tel Aviv University and then enrolled in rabbinic school, becoming the first Ethiopian to be ordained in Conservative Judaism, also known as Masorti Judaism, in Israel.

He also specialized in community education at the Mandel Educational Leadership School before founding EOEJ.

FEI now has partnered with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which is an organization of synagogues that practice Conservative Judaism in the United States and Canada. FEI is run on a donor matching program, which means it relies on fundraising to continue its programs.

Rabbi Alemu said he is optimistic about the new partnership.

“Together we can do something very strong,” Rabbi Alemu said.

Eritreans react positively to ER publisher's interview with ETN

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

The interview Ethiopian Review publisher Elias Kifle gave to ETN on May 24 is being received positively by the Eritrean community. Click here to read some of the comments.

IOYA condemns massacre of the Oromos in Western Oromia

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

International Oromo Youth Association
PO Box 14668, Minneapolis, MN 55414
ioyapress@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Continuing its Nazi style agenda, the TPLF government has introduced its next tactical chapter on systematic massacre of Oromo civilians. The trained commandos of the Ethiopian government, who are backed by bombs, AK 47s and other heavy artillery, have continued their massacre of Oromo civilians killing mothers, burning children alive in locked houses, amputating those they could catch alive and destroying their properties, in Western Oromia, Eastern part of Wollega.

In this area of Western Oromia, Oromos have lived side by side with the Gumuz people peacefully until recently. The TPLF regime has systematically and maliciously turned the Gumuz against Oromos. Specifically on May 17, 2008 marked the beginning of13 days and counting of violence that claimed the lives of more than 400 people in its first two days. The Gumuz militia backed by TPLF regime, attacked unarmed civilian Oromos burning down their houses while cutting open pregnant mothers’ wombs, amputating elders and children and forcing thousands to flee their homes. There have been more deaths and injuries as the issue has escalated and no attempts were made by the government to contain it.

Hospitals can only accept those who are on the verge of dying while those who are severely injured are being turned down. Thousands of people are living in an open soccer field, away from the center of the conflict areas, where they hope to seek refuge, with no money or food to survive. Most have been forced to beg on street for daily survival.

The TPLF regime trained and armed Gumuz militia with AK-47 and heavy machine-guns and ordered them to commit indiscriminate killings of unarmed Oromo civilians of East Wallagaa. The worst part of the story is the fact that the Oromos were not allowed to bear arms and those who possessed firearms in the past were forced to disarm prior to the staged incident. The Gumuz militia is said to be so heavily armed that the local police could not hold them off using their sticks and police uniform.

Ever since it came to power, the TPLF/EPRDF regime has applied the outdated ‘divide and rule’ policy to weaken peoples’ struggles for freedom and justice by sowing seeds of disharmony among friendly neighboring peoples. The TPLF regime’s track record of the past 17 years of tyrannical rule is full of such evil intrigues that instigated bloody conflicts among people of Ethiopia. It has become a common living situation for Oromos to be terrorized by the government for being nothing other than Oromos.
It was just about a year ago when the government sponsored a daylight killing in Easter Oromia, in a place called Gaara Suufii, where civilians were indiscriminately massacred and their dead bodies were fed to hyenas. Who could forget the daylight killings of Oromo refugees in Kenya by the Ethiopian government agents to suppress the opposing voices that fled their homeland and live in refugee camps to start over life?

Fresh in our memories is also are the outrageous story of the heinous crimes committed against Oromo refugees in Puntland’s Bosasso city of Somalia on February 5, 2008, where 65 Oromo refugees were bombed to death in daylight, while over 100 were also wounded, sponsored by no one other than Ethiopian government.

From time to time, over the last 17 years, the TPLF regime instigated a series of disputes between Oromos and Sidamas, Oromos and Somalis, Oromos and Gedaos, Anywaks and Nuers, Oromos and Amharas, Oromos and Oromos, now Oromos and Gumuzis.

The International Oromo Youth Association (IOYA) deeply condemns the massacre of Oromo civilians by the TPLF backed Gumuz militia.

Therefore IOYA:

1. Calls on International community to pressure the Ethiopian government to help stop the massacre of civilians and bring to justice those who are responsible

2. Calls on the International Red cross and other humanitarian agencies to provide food and shelter for those who have been displaced as a result of the conflict

3. Calls on Ethiopian government to allow the Oromos to arm themselves in order to defend themselves and keep their families safe

4. Calls on all Oromos and friends from around the world to come together and join hands in an effort to support the devastated communities overcome this ongoing nightmare

Justice for the Oromo People
Justice for All
International Oromo Youth Association

Letter to President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

June 2, 2008

FROM:
Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issue Committee
P.O. Box 656 Tucker, GA 30085; e-mail:leethiopia@yahoo.com

TO:
President Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir
President of the Republic of the Sudan
Khartoum, Sudan

Your Excellency:

We, the representatives of Ethiopian political, professional, civic, social and cultural organizations, would like to bring to Your Excellency’s attention worrisome developments concerning the demarcation of the common boundary between Ethiopia and the Sudan. We are gravely concerned that this important subject which affects the lives and welfare of millions of Ethiopians has been approached, at least on the part of the purported representatives of Ethiopia, in total secrecy and in complete disregard of relevant treaties and the historical rights of Ethiopia.

We wish to register our protest in the strongest possible terms that any attempted boundary settlement your government reaches with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), will neither bind the rest of the country, nor achieve a stable or durable settlement of whatever outstanding differences might exist between our countries regarding the location of our common boundary. On the contrary, any such settlement is bound to be a continuing source of friction and an unnecessary obstacle to furthering and deepening the economic cooperation and cultural exchanges that currently exist between our two countries.

Lest our concern about the cession of Ethiopian territory appear unfounded, we wish to refer your Excellency to the pages of The Sudan Tribune (May 9, 2008) wherein it is reported that highly placed officials of your government have stated, without contradiction from any other source, that farmers in Eastern Sudan have “got[ten] back disputed lands from Ethiopia.” We have no reason to doubt the veracity of this statement. In fact, we have confirmed its truthfulness from the very farmers in the area who have been forcibly evicted from their farms as well as those who have been illegally taken across the border into the custody of your government. We have confirmed as well that these individuals are now languishing in Sudanese prisons under conditions that violate internationally accepted human rights norms. By what right can your government justify the abduction of the citizens of another country from their homes and farms?

The sole basis for this outrageous conduct and your government’s tenuous assertion of jurisdiction over Ethiopian territory is the Prime Minister’s collusion with your government to permanently alienate our ancestral land. If indeed this is your sole justification for seeking to exercise sovereignty over our territory, please be forewarned that any deal you make with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi concerning cession of Ethiopia’s territory cannot stand. Simply stated, the territory ceded is not the Prime Minister’s to give nor does Ethiopia recognize the validity of any claims Sudan may lay against Ethiopian territory. As your Excellency is well aware, the Prime Minister avowedly represents only the Tigray people (if, indeed, that).

Your Excellency knows too that the ceded territory has always been an integral part of Ethiopia historically, culturally and economically until the Prime Minister decided to barter it away in exchange for certain sectarian and shortsighted advantages inuring to the sole benefit of the TPLF. Although these advantages have not yet been made public, they are not difficult to fathom.

The history of relations between Ethiopia and Sudan reveals that there has never been any serious border or territorial dispute between the two countries. We are, of course, keenly aware that Ethiopian and Sudanese governments have reached agreements in principle in the past to demarcate the common boundary between their two countries. But an agreement in principle to demarcate the boundary is a far cry from a decision to give away what is legitimately ours on the basis of a colonial-era and imaginary line that Ethiopia has never accepted as a legitimate basis for drawing the common boundary. We also find it surprising and disconcerting that the Republic of the Sudan, which after all is the biggest country in Africa, and which has a highly favorable land: man ratio, seeks territorial aggrandizement at Ethiopia’s expense.

Your Excellency, we wish to reiterate to you that Meles has no power and authority to cede sovereign Ethiopian territory without the consent of the people of Ethiopia. Nowhere does even the tailor-made constitution imposed by the TPLF on the Ethiopian people give Meles the authority to cede sovereignty. Neither the national parliament nor the affected states of the federation have debated or ratified his decision to cede our lands. As a matter of fact, the whole process of territorial cession was guarded with the utmost secrecy by Meles until the inhabitants of the affected region were one day forcibly removed from their farms and their homes, and their farming equipment and their crops were vandalized by Sudanese troops. This is certainly no way to demarcate an international boundary. It is a process we have witnessed before in the context of the Eritrea-Ethiopia boundary dispute. Both reveal the same flawed process at work, one that is so tainted with fraud and so devoid of legitimacy that it could never yield a valid, stable and durable settlement of a contested international boundary.

Equally egregious is the treatment of Ethiopian refugees in the Sudan. The Republic of the Sudan is party to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 U.N. Protocol Governing the Status of Refugees, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and the Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa. Yet, in violation of all these international instruments, Ethiopian refugees who were granted political asylum by the Sudanese Government, and who had lived in the Sudan for many years, were mistreated, imprisoned and tortured and eventually handed over to the Ethiopian regime, where they are now languishing in prison. We now can see that this was done as a prelude to and as part of the border deal. Apparently, the TPLF considered it expedient to secure the custody of those individuals whom it regarded as likely to raise a national hue and cry over the alienation of Ethiopia’s territory. Some of these individuals hail from the disputed area, are very familiar with the historical boundary, and would not accept any unilateral modification without stiff resistance.

We therefore urge the Government of the Sudan to:
Withdraw its army, police and security forces from Ethiopian soil;
Respect Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity;
Release all our citizens who have been forcefully abducted and taken to the Sudan;
Pay reparation for all the loss and destruction suffered by our citizens as a consequence of its unlawful actions; and
Offer a formal apology for its actions.

Sincerely,

Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issue Committee

CC:

US Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

US House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

United Nations Secretary General
1st Avenue, 46 Street
New York, NY 10017

President of the Security Council
United Nations
1st Avenue, 46 Street
New York, NY 10017

Embassy of the African Union
1875 I Street NW
Suite 572
Washington, DC 20006

Delegation of the European Commission
2300 M Street NW,
Washington, DC 20037

The League of Arab States
1100 17th Street NW
Suite 602,
Washington, DC 20006

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 2008

Embassy of Kenya
2249 R Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

Embassy of the United republic of Tanzania
2139 R Street, NW
Washington, DC 2008

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
3519 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Ghana Embassy
3512 International Dr. N.W
Washington, DC 20008

The Embassy of the Republic of Zambia
2419 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Embassy of the Republic of Mozambique
1525 New Hampshire Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20036

Embassy of the Republic of Uganda
5911 16th Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20011

Embassy of the Russian Federation
2660 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20007

Embassy of Japan
2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008

Embassy of Canada
501 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC, 20001

Embassy the Republic of India
2536 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

Embassy of the Republic of Israel
3514 International Dr. NW
Washington, DC 20008

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
1775 K Street, NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006

'13 Months of Sunshine' to premiere June 5 in Los Angeles

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Perky coffee drama is one of the most anticipated films to target Ethiopian-Americans, but also reaches home audiences through language of love and the American Dream.

LOS ANGELES – The highly anticipated independent Ethiopian-American drama “13 Months of Sunshine” will premiere in Culver City (suburb of Los Angeles), on June 5, 2008 at 6:00pm at the Culver Plaza Theater located at 9919 Washington Blvd., directly across from Sony Pictures Studios. The red-carpet event will feature stars of the film and producers in pre-show interviews, as well as leaders in the Ethiopian business, political, and religious community.

Ethiopian director and writer Yehdego Abeselom and award-winning producers Jeremiah Lewis and Jeff Bartsch (2005 Progeny Festival Best Director, “Zero Sum,” 2004 Progeny Festival Third Place, “Mosquito
Man,” 2008 168 Festival, Best Film, “Stained”) have already seen “13 Months”–their first feature film–premiere to critical success in Ethiopian capital city Addis Ababa, setting a record for being the first Ethiopian film to play alongside such Hollywood blockbusters as “I Am Legend,” “Hitman,” “The Game Plan,” and “Enchanted.”

Set in and filmed on location in Los Angeles, Abeselom “skillfully teases out the subtle differences between the new and the old immigrant community and socially untouchable taboos in the Ethiopian community in this brilliantly shot film,” says The Ethiopian American.

Starring Sammy Amare as Solomon and Tsion Fikreselassie as Hanna, the story revolves around the two entering a false marriage lasting a year and a month. During that time, their relationship goes from casual to serious as they learn to live with each other, but find that outside influences threaten to tear them apart.

The film is in Amharic accompanied by English subtitles, runs 102 minutes, with original music composed by Jason Solowsky and a relevant mix of hit Ethiopian artists such as Rehaset, Burntface, Bole2Harlem,
and Besu.

“13 Months of Sunshine” undergoes a limited release in theaters beginning June 6.

CONTACT:
Jeremiah Lewis, 540-239-8721
jeremiah.lewis@gmail.com
info@13monthsofsunhine.com
www.13monthsofsunshine.com

U.S. Ambassador says Ethiopia is on the right track

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: What a cruel and heartless person the ambassador must be to suggest that Ethiopia’s economy is on the right track, while at this very moment millions of children are facing horrific famine? On the other hand, it is hard to criticize the ambassador, since our own ‘leaders’ in the ‘opposition camp’ have little to say.

– – – – – – –

ADDIS ABABA — U.S Ambassador to Ethiopia said that the successive economic growth being registered in Ethiopia as well as the stable political system are of paramount importance for the peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.

Ambassador Donald Yamamoto told the pro Ethiopian government news service WIC recently that the presence of stable political, economic and social conditions in Ethiopia help the country play crucial role towards ensuring peace and order in the region as well as in the fight against terrorism.

The contribution of peacekeeping troops in various African nations is also a visible manifestation of the country’s commitment for the prevalence of peace in the continent, the Ambassador indicated.

The deployment of peacekeepers to the Sudan, Darfur and the assistance the country has been extending to the transitional government of Somalia show the significant role the country has been playing to restore peace in the region, Yamamoto further noted.

Ethiopia has recorded a high economic growth among the sub-Saharan countries and this also contributes for the prevalence of peace in the region.

The governments as well as the peoples of the two nations have long standing relations; he indicated adding that further enhancing the relations in various sectors could also benefit the region apart from the two parties.

Source: Sudan Tribune

More shocking video of starving Ethiopian children

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Millions of Ethiopian children are facing severe starvation. Many are dying every day while the Meles vampire regime is spending millions of dollars per day to build prisons in Ethiopia, jam radio stations, occupy a neighboring country… The stupid so-called ‘opposition leaders’ inside the country are too busy with the assignment Woyanne gave them to even utter one word demanding immediate intervention to save the children. Meanwhile, massive quantities of food carried on hundreds of trucks continue to be shipped to the Tigray region where food is handed out to members and supporters of the ruling Tigray People Liberation Front (Woyanne). [Note: Woyanne doesn’t mean the people of Tigray. Majority of the people in Tigray are as much the victims of Woyanne as any other Ethiopian.] Those of you who seat comfortably at home and say to be patient in demanding change, or engage in an endless, idiotic analysis of the problems in Ethiopia, please watch this video and tell us that to be “patient.” To save the people of Ethiopia from such horror there is one solution — destroy Woyanne as soon as possible. The parents of those starving babies need to grab any weapon they can find, march to Arat Kilo and hung Meles, Azeb, Girma, Sebhat, Berkeket … upside down. Click here to watch the video.

Ethiopians who died on trek to Israel commemorated

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Four thousand Ethiopian Jews who perished en route to Israel in the 1980s were honored Monday in a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, organized by the Immigrant Absorption Ministry.

President Shimon Peres addressed the huge crowd, emphasizing the difficulties Ethiopian immigrants had faced and the “dream of Jerusalem in their hearts.” The annual ceremony is held on Jerusalem Day to emphasize the community’s love for the capital.

After fleeing their homes and trekking through the deserts of Sudan, the survivors of the journey were flown to Israel.

“The story of their bravery, the courage in their hearts and their sacrifice, are engraved in the great chapters of glory of the gathering of exiles and the return to Zion,” Peres said.

“Tens of thousands moved to the command of their hearts and the vision, and rose up – families, groups, and bold individuals – and set their footsteps toward the state of Israel.”

Peres said that now, years after the large wave of Ethiopian immigration, Ethiopians could be found in all fields, including academia, professions, culture and art, as well as in command positions in the army.

By Stephanie Rubenstein, THE JERUSALEM POST

Ethiopian Ex-Mossad agents claim Israel abandoned them

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Dozens of Ethiopian Jews who assisted Israel’s Mossad during Operation Moses, which brought thousands of Ethiopians to Israel via Sudan in 1984-85, are claiming that they have received little official recognition for the often dangerous work they did and that the state has all but forgotten about them, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

“I am very angry with the government,” Tsegaye Dawit, who was 16 years old in 1983 when he was recruited by the Mossad to help with the secret mission, told the Post Monday. “Without my help, Operation Moses might not have happened, and now they refuse to give me anything.”

Dawit said that his role was to meet Jewish families at Khartoum’s central bus station twice a day and escort them to a secret Israeli-run compound where they were fed, re-clothed and processed before the trip to Israel.

“I was young and they [the Mossad] took advantage of me,” said Dawit, who worked with the Israeli government for more than two years. “They did not pay me a salary, only some money to take the bus and buy food for those families that were arriving in Khartoum.”

Towards the end of his time helping the Mossad, Dawit said, he was arrested, thrown into jail and tortured by the Sudanese authorities, who were attempting to find out information about Israel’s secret operation.

After Operation Moses ended, Dawit chose to move to Canada instead of Israel in order to get an education.

“I managed to find constant work there and stayed,” said the now-41-year-old, who eventually made aliya in 2001 and despite arriving with a university degree in mathematics, currently works for minimum wage as a security guard in Netanya.

Dawit said his plan was to become a math teacher but that he does not have sufficient funds to pay for the two-year teacher training course and while he has turned to various organizations for financial assistance, because he is over 40, no one is willing to sponsor him.

“I have asked for help from the authorities but they tell me there is nothing they can do,” he said dejectedly, adding: “Because I made aliya from Canada, I do not get the full benefits of an Ethiopian immigrant.”

Dawit is only one of several dozen former Mossad helpers from Operation Moses who feel abandoned by the government, claims Tel Aviv-based lawyer Ari Syrquin, who has been providing some of them with pro-bono legal services in an attempt to raise awareness to their plight and gain for them some financial compensation.

“There was the Pressler Committee [headed by former army general Yigal Pressler], which was appointed by the government in 2000 to look into the matter,” explained Syrquin. “The committee did recognize their work and even awarded some of them – including Dawit – NIS 30,000 compensation.”

“However, the committee was supposed to follow up on the issue. It was meant to determine what other assistance these people needed but nothing was done and the committee has now been disbanded,” Pressler continued.

A spokeswoman for the Immigrant Absorption Ministry responded that more than 400 Ethiopians considered Prisoners of Zion – i.e. those who spent time in Sudanese or Ethiopian jails – were receiving financial aid from the ministry via the National Insurance Institute.

By RUTH EGLASH , Jerusalem Post

Woyanne official gets hostile reception in Minneapolis

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

By MARTIGA LOHN, Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Only five questions were allowed, but that was enough for exiled members of Ethiopia’s Anuak minority to put Omot Obang Olom on the spot.

Omot went to the community meeting Saturday hosted by an Anuak organization in Minneapolis to urge emigrants to return home and help develop the Gambella region, where he heads the regional government.

But most of the 125 Anuak community members who turned out had a more pressing issue on their minds: the Dec. 13, 2003, massacre that Human Rights Watch says killed more than 400 of their kin. Omot was then in charge of security for the regional government, and many in Minnesota’s Anuak exile community believe he played a role in the attack.

“We are supposed to talk about peace before we talk about development,” said Ojoye Akane, a 31-year-old Anuak student who clutched an open notebook during his turn at the microphone. “You can’t talk about development before you talk about peace.”

Ojoye said that his sister’s 15-year-old son was shot and killed shortly before the massacre, and that the government has done nothing to help his sister. He and others listened intently as Omot responded to their questions and accusations, first in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language, and then in Anuak. Like most of the audience members, Omot is Anuak.

“We could not stop those killings,” Omot said, according to translator Magn Nyang, a 33-year-old Anuak who lives in Spring Lake Park and was openly skeptical of much of
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what Omot said.

Omot blamed the killings on weak regional leadership in Gambella at the time and said he tried to stop the bloodshed. He said allegations that he gave up names of Anuak to be targeted were an unfounded rumor.

Omot appealed to the Anuak diaspora to return to Gambella. He said conditions in southwestern Ethiopia region have improved.

Some Anuak community members boycotted the event because they say that Omot should be brought to justice, and that they did not expect an open dialogue at the meeting.

The Anuak Justice Council in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has been pushing U.S. and Canadian authorities to arrest and try Omot for war crimes. He is expected to continue on to Canada next week. But advocates haven’t been able to confirm whether he’s traveling on a diplomatic visa that would grant him wide-ranging immunity.

State Department spokesman Bill Strassberger confirmed that Omot received a visa, but said that because visa records are confidential, he could not discuss the application. He also declined to discuss whether Omot had a role in the 2003 killings.

A message left Saturday for officials at the Ethiopian embassy in Washington was not immediately returned.

Human Rights Watch detailed a campaign of killings, rape, torture and displacement against the Anuak by government soldiers and members of other ethnic groups, beginning with attack in Gambella in southwestern Ethiopia. Thousands fled, some to southern Sudan.

Young Ethiopian woman reportedly commits suicide in UAE

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

FUJAIRAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Police in Fujairah are investigating the apparent suicide of a 21-year-old Ethiopian maid working for a family in Mirbeh.

The lifeless body of S.K.D. was found dangling from an air conditioner by a curtain string tied around her neck at her employers’ house on Sunday, according to a police source.

Her body was taken to Fujairah Hospital for a post-mortem examination and police are investigating possible motives behind the suicide.

According to the well-placed police source, early leads in the police investigation revealed that, prior to her death, the maid had mentioned that her son was involved in a traffic accident back in her home country.

By Fuad Ali, Gulf News

Miscarriage of justice (Judge Woldemichael Meshesha)

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Judge Woldemichael Meshesha writes about the gross miscarriage of justice in Ethiopia, including the injustice against Teddy Afro, in this article written in Amharic.

Click here for pdf.


“አሁንም በፍትህ ስም ለይቅርታ?!”


ዳኛ ወልደሚካኤል መሸሻ

ወዳሰፈርኩት ርዕስ በቀጥታ ከመግባቴ በፊት፣ በዳኝነት በፌዴራል ፍ/ቤትች ውስጥ በነበርኩበት ጊዜ ከነበሩት አንድንድ ገጠመኝ አሰራሮችን ጠቀስቀስ አድርጌ አልፋለሁ።

የባህል ዕሴቶቻችን፣

ኢትዮጵያ ዕንቁ የሆኑ የባህል ዕሴቶች ያሉባት አገር መሆኗን እኛ ብቻ ሳንሆን የዓለም ማህበረሰቡ የሚመስክረው ነው። ከነዚህም መካከል በሽምግልና ጉባኤ የሚሰጠው ፍትህ ዋነኛው ነው። ወንድም ከወንድሙ፣ እህት ከወንድሟ፣ እህት ለእህት፣ ባል ከሚስቱ በዘመዳሞች፣ ወይም በአጠቃላይ በኢትዮጵያዊያን መካከል ቅራኔ ሲፈጠር የሽምግልና ጉባኤ ይመሰረትና አንተም ተው፣ አንችም ተይ በማለት ይቅር ለእግዚአብሔር አስብለውና በዳዩ ለተበዳዩ እንዲክስ አድርገው ሰላም አውርደው ይመለሳሉ። የግድያ ወንጀል በተፈጸመ ጊዜም የጉማ የሽምግልና ጉባኤ ወዲያውኑ ከአካባቢው ማህበረሰብ ይመረጥና ገዳይን ከሟች ቤተሰብ ይቅርታ አሰጥቶ ያስታርቃል፤ ገዳይም ለሟች ቤተሰብ ጉማ(ካሳ) እንዲከፍል ያደርጋል። በዚህም በሁለቱ ቤተሰብ መካከል ተረግዞ የነበረው ብቀላ ከእንጭጩ ይቀጭና ሰላም ይወርዳል። መቆየት ደግ ነው ሆነና ዛሬ፣ ዛሬ ደግሞ የተገላብጦሽ ሆኖ የሽምግልና ሥራ በፍ/ቤት ተገን፣ በፍትህ ስም ተበዳይ በዳይን ይቅርታ እንዲጠይቅ ወደ ማድረግ ተሸጋግሮአል፣ ያውም ‘የሕዝብ ጠባቂ’ በሆነው መንግሥት።

የሰብአዊ መብት ጥሰት፣

እንደሚታወቀው፣ ወያኔ(ኢህአዴግ) በመንግሥትነት በኢትዮጵያ በትረ-ሥልጣን ከያዘበት ጊዜ ጀምሮ በሚያስተዳድረው ሕዝብ ላይ የሚፈጽመውን የሰብአዊ መብት ጥሰት፣ ግድያና ሽብር ከቀን ወደ ቀን ከጊዜ ወደ ጊዜ ቅርጹንና ስልቱን እየለዋወጠ ቀጥሎአል። ሥልጣኑን በያዘ ሰሞን ራሱ እየገደለ፣ ለይምሰል እገሌ የሚባል ሰው ባልታወቀ ሰው መገደሉን፣ ፖሊስም ምርመራውን እያጣራ መሆኑን በሚቆጣጠሯቸው ሚዲያዎች ያስነገራል። ከቀናት በኋላ ነገሩ ቄሱም ዝም መጽሓፉም ዝም ይሆናል። ከዚያም ደሙ ደመከልብ ሆኖ እንዳይቀር ፖሊስን እባካችሁ እያለ የሚጨቅጭቀው ቤተሰብ ይሆናል። ግን ከከንቱ ጩኸት አያልፍም። ጠበቃውና የመስተዋት መጽሔት አዘጋጅ በነበረው በተስፋዬ ታደሰ ላይ የተፈጸመው ግድያ፣ በመምህራን ማህበር ዋና ጸሐፊ በነበረው በአሰፋ ማሩ ላይ በጠራራ ፀሐይ የተፈጸመው ግድያ በአጭሩ የተጠቀሰውን እዉነታ ለማሳየት በቂ ነው። እነዚህ በከተማው በግላጭ በሚታይበት፣ ይብዛም ይነስ የሕዝብ ጩኸት የሚሰማበት ሆኖ ነው እንጂ በየገጠሩ የሕዝብ ጩኸት በማይሰማበት የሚፈጸመውን መሰል ግፎችን እንዲያው ቤት ይቁጠረው ነው። በወንጀል ሰበብ እየተያዙና እየተወገሩ ወደ ዘብጥያ ወርደው አስተዋሽ አጥተው፣ ፍርድ ቤት እንኳ የማያውቃቸውን ሰዎች ቤት ይቁጠረው፤ በዚያም እንዳሉ ለአንዴና ለመጨረሻ ያሸለቡትን ቤት ይቁጠረው ከማለት ባለፈ በእንዲህ ባለ አገር ሌላ ምን ሊባል ይቻላል?

ይህ አሰራራቸው ሲነቃባቸው፣ ሲደረስባቸው የሽረባ መንገዳቸውን ይለወጡና የማይደረስባቸው መስሏቸው፣ ጅራፍ ራሱ ገርፎ ራሱ የጮሃል እንዲሉ፣ ገድለው፣ ጨፍጭፈው በሌሎች ላይ ማላከክ፤ ለገደልኋቸው ተጠያቂዎች ናቸው እንደማለት ዓይነት ያገጠጠና ያፈጠጠ ክስ በተቀናቃኞች ላይ ማቅረብ ሆኖአል ሥራቸው። ለነገሩ እነርሱ አላወቁትም እንጂ ሕዝቡ እንኳን አይደለም ሰርተው፣ እንኳን አይደለም ፈጽመው፣ በአንድ ወቅት ምን ለመሥራት እንዳሰቡ እያወቀባቸው መጥቶአል። እነርሱም ሕዝቡ እንደነቃባቸው አውቀውታል፤ ግን የተያያዙት አንደ ያዶቀነ ሰይጣን ሳያቀስ አይለቀም አይነት ሆነው ቀጥለውበታል። ተቀናቃኝ ነው፣ ጠንከር ያለ ተቃዋሚ ነው ያለውን ወደ ዘብጥያ ያወርደውና ሐሰተኛ ማስረጃዎችን የሰውና የሰነድ ማስረጃዎችን ከራሳቸውና ከሆዳቸው በስተቀር፣ ስለምንም ደንታ በሌላቸው ሰዎች ድጋፍ ለመከላከልም አስቸጋሪ በሆነ መልኩ ማዘጋጀትና ማሰማት። ለዚህም ዓይነተኛ ምሳሌ አድርገን የፕሮፌሰር አሥራት ወልደየስን፣ የቅንጅት መሪዎችና አባሎች እንዲሁም ሰብአዊ መብት ታጋዮችን ጋዜጠኞች ጉዳዮችን ልንወስድ እንችላለን። በውዱ የንጹሐን ደም ተበቃይ፣ የቁርጥ ቀን ልጅ በፕሮፌሰር አሥራት ወልደየስ ላይ የተፈጸመው በዚህ ዓይነት እንደነበረ በወቅቱ በምርመራው ላይ ነበርኩኝ ያለው ፖሊስ እውጭ በወጣበት ወቅት በሚዲያዎች ያጋለጠው ተደምጦአል። አብሯቸው ይሰሩ የነበሩት ናቸው የዚያን የጀግና ሰው ፊርማ ያለበትን ሰነድ አውጥተው ለፖሊስ ሰጥተው ለመንግሥት እኩይ ተግባር የተባበሯቸው። ጀግናና ወገንን አሳልፎ መስጠት ከክህደቶች ሁሉ የከፋ ክህደት ነው። ከአገር መሸጥ ተለይቶ የማይታይ ነው። ታዲያም እንዲህ ዓይነት ሰዎች አሉ፤ ይኖራሉም፤ ሳይሞቱ በቁም የሞቱ፣ ሳያሳድዷቸው የሚሸሹና የሚሮጡ፣ ጥላቸውን የማያምኑ ሆነው እንደቃዡ እድሜያቸውን ይጨርሳሉ። ከእንዲህስ ዓይነት ባህርይ፣ ከእንዲህስ ዓይነት ኑሮ አድነኝ ማለት ትልቅ ጸሎት ነው። አበው ጌታዬ አሟሟቴን አሳምርልኝ የሚሉትስ ለዚሁ አይደል?

የቅንጅት አመራርና የተቀነባበረው ክስ፣

የቅንጅት አመራርና ከምርጫ 97 ጋር በተያያዘ ወያኔ ያሰራቸውና የተቀነባበረ ክስ ባቀረበባቸው ጀግኖች ላይ የጥፋተኝነት ውሳኔ አሰጥቶ የእድሜ ልክ ካስፈረደባቸው በኋላ ይቅርታ አስጠይቆ የፈታቸው መሆኑ ይታወቃል። በምንም ምንም የማያውቁ በገንዘብ ኃይል ተገዝተው የቀረቡት እንደተጠበቀ ሆኖ፣ በማስረጃነት እንደሰማሁት በአብዘኛ የተቆጠሩት የቅንጅት አባል የነበሩትና ደጋፊ የተባሉ ናቸው። በምርጫ 97 የሆነውን ከሞላ ጎደል ሁሉም ኢትዮጵያው ያውቀዋል። የዘረኛ ፖለቲካ፣ የከፋፋይ ፖለቲካ ብሎም የሰው መብት ረገጣ ፖለቲካ ይዞ የገባው የወያኔ(ኢህአዴግ) መንግሥት ለይስሙላ ያህል ዓለም አቀፍ የሰብአዊ መብት መርሆችን በሕገ መንግሥቱ ላይ በማስፈር ከእኔ በለይ ሰብአዊ መብት አስከባሪ፣ የዲሞክራሲ አባት የለም የለም ሲል የነበረ፣ ያለመታደለ ሆኖ ጠንካራና እርሱን የሚቋቋም ፓርቲ ያለመፈጠሩን፣ ቢፈጠር ግማሽ መንገድ ሄዶ እንደሚቀበል እስከ ግንቦት 1997 ዓ.ም ድረስ ሲያላዝን መቆየቱ የቅርብ ጊዜ ትዝታ ነው። ታዲያ በግንቦት 97 አገር-አቀፍ ምርጫ ደረሰና እንደ ጎርፍና እንደማዕበል ከኋላው አገር ወዳዱን፣ ኢትዮጵያዊነት ናፋቂውን ሰብአዊ መብቴን በምርጫ ማስከበር አለብኝ ብሎ የተነሳውን ሕዝብ አሰልፈው ሕብረትና ቅንጅት ብቅ አሉ። ልቡ በቁጭት እየነደደ የቆየውና ነጻነቱን፣ አንደበቱን፣ በአጠቃላይ ሰብአዊ መብቱን በምርጫ በዲሞክራሲ ጎዳና መሪውን ለመወሰን ከዳር እስከ ዳር የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ታጥቆ ተነሳ። ይህንኑ ተናፋቂው ግንቦት 7 ደርሶ ህዝቡ በነጻነቱ እንዴትና ማንን መምረጥ እንደሚችል የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ወያኔን እንዳሳየ ይታወቃል። እንደዚያ ጠንካራ ፓርቲ ከመጣ ግማሽ መንገድ እንቀበላለን ሲል የነበረው የወያኔ ቁንጮ በምርጫው ማግሥት የወሰደው ርምጃ፣ በዚያ ሰበብ እስረኞች ሳይቀሩ የተወሰደው የፍጅትና የእሥራት ርምጃ፣ የሰብአዊ መብት ጥሰት የቅርብ ጊዜ ትዝታ ነው። እነዚያ በምርጫው መንግሥትን ለመመሥረት የሚያበቃቸውን ድምጽ አግኝቶአል ተብሎ የተነገረለት የቅንጅት ፓርቲ መሪዎች ሕዝቡ ድምጻችን ተሰርቆአልና ወደ ፓርላማ እንዳትገቡ ያሏቸውን ተቀብለው አንገባም ስላሉ ብቻ እንደ ወንጀለኛ ተቆጥረው ወደ ዘብጥያ መወርወራቸውን እናስታውሳለን። ቀጥሎም የወንጀል ዓይነቶች እየተለቀሙ ተመሰረተባቸው። በተለይ ሁኔታውን በቅርብ ይከታተሉ የነበሩት አዋቂዎች፣ የሕግ ሰዎች ክሱንስ ይመስርቱ ግን ምን ማስረጃ ሊያቀርቡቧቸው ይሆን? እያሉ ነበር በአግራሞት። በሌላም ደግሞ ወያኔ ማለት ሃይል ማለት ነው፤ ወያኔ ማለት ጡንቻ ማለት ነው። እናም ማስረጃ ማቅረብ ምን ይሳነዋል አንዳንዶቻችን እንል ነበር። እንዳየነውም የሆነውን አድርገውታል።

በነገራችን ላይ የዚያ ክስ አመሰራረት፣ የችሎቱን ዐቃቤ ሕግ ከመሰየም ጀምሮ ፍጹም በየትኛውም ዓለም ጥንትም ዛሬም ታይቶ በማይታወቅ ሁኔታ የተፈጸመ እንደነበር ይታወቃል። ሺመልስ ከማል ወያኔ ሥልጣን እንደያዘ የማዕከላዊ ፍ/ቤት የከፍተኛ ፍ/ቤት ዳኛ የነበረ፣ ሕገ መንግሥቱ ታውጆ ፌዴራል ፍ/ቤቶች ሲመሠረት የተቀነሰ፣ የጥብቅና ገበያው አላዋጣ ሲለው ወደ ግል ጋዜጣ(ምኒልክ) አዘጋጅነት ዞሮ የነበረ፣ ይህም አላስኬደው ሲል ወደ ወያኔ(ኢህአዴግ) በአባልነት ጥልቅ ያለ፣ ከዚያም የዜና አገልግሎት ድርጅት(Broadcast Agency) ተብሎ በኢትዮጵያ ሚዲያዎችን እንደ ራዲዮኖችና ቴሌቪዥኖች ሲቋቋሙ ፈቃድ ለመስጠትና ለመቆጣጠር የሚያስችል ሥልጣን የሚያሰጥ የብሮድ ካስት አዋጅ ወደ 1989 ዓ.ም አካባቢ ሲታወጅ፣ የዚሁ ድርጅት ሥራ አስኪያጅ ሆኖ ተሾመ። ድርጅቱ ግን እስከአሁን ድረስ በተግባር ላይ ያልታየ ነው። ልክ የቅንጅት መሪዎችና በተመሳሳይ በምርጫ 97 ምክንያት ወደ እሥር የተወረወሩት ጉዳይ ሲከሰት እንደሙስና አዋጁ በአንድ ሌሊት ሺመልስ የዐቃቤ ሕግ ሰራተኛ ሆኖ በቅንብር የተዘጋጀውን ክስ ይዞ ወደ ፍ/ቤት ብቅ ማለቱ የቅርብ ጊዜ ትዝታ ነው። ከማል ከዚያ ከነበረበት መ/ቤት በአንድ ሌሊት በተደረገ ጥቆማ ተሹሞ ወደዐቃቤ ሕግነት የዞረው። የዐቃቤ ሕግ ምሥሪያ ቤት በፍትህ ሚኒስተር ሥር ሲሆን፣ ብሮድ ካስት የዜና አገልጎሎት ድርጅት እንደማቋቋሚያው አዋጅ ራሱን የቻለ መሥሪያ ቤት ነው። ልክ የሆነው እነ ብርቱካን በስዬ አብርሃ ጉዳይ የዋስትና መብቱ እንዲከበርለት በሰጡት ትዕዛዝ ምክንያት በሙስና የተጠረጠረን ሰው ሁሉ የዋስትና መብት የሚነፍግ አዋጅ በአንድ ሌሊት እንደ ወጣ ዓይነት ነው የከማል ሹመት። ሌላው አስገራሚው ደግሞ ረዳት ሆኖ የቀረበው ሁሴን መሐመድ ከፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ፍ/ቤት ዳኝነቱ በዳኞች አስተዳደር ጉባኤ ውሳኔ በሙስና ወንጀል የተባረረው መሆኑ ነው። ይጠበቅ የነበረው በዚህ ሰው ላይ ክስ ይመሰረትበታል ተብሎ እንደነበር ነው። በወቅቱ የሽመልስ እንደዚያ መተተታጠፍ እየገረማቸው፣ በተለይም የሕግ ሰዎች የዘመኑ የሕግ ሰው ካታሊስት ይሉት እንደነበር ትዝ ይለኛል።

በወቅቱ ብዙ ልምድ ያላቸው ዐቃቤ ሕጋውያን እያሉ የሺመልስ ከማል በእንዲህ ወደ ዐቃቤ ሕግነት መምጣቱ፣ ወንጀለኛ ተብሎ ከፍርድ ቤት የወጣው የሁሴን መሐመድ መጨመሩ ለምን ይሆን? ከሚል ጥያቄ ተነስተን ምናልባትም፣ እዚያው ፍትህ ሚኒስተር ያሉ ዐቃቤ ሕጎች ክሱን ለማዘጋጀት ፈቃደኛ ሳይሆኑ ቀርተው ይሆን? እያልን ግራ ቀኙን እንዳስስ ነበር። ለጥርጣሬያችንም መሠረቱ፣ አልፎ አልፎ በሰዎች ላይ የሚቀርበው ውንጀላና ክስ በሕግ አግባብ አይደለም በማለት በተናጠል ለሰለጠኑበት ሙያ ዘብ የሚቆሙ ዐቃቤ ሕጎች አልጠፉም፤ አይጠፉምም። ለምሳሌ እንደ አለማየሁ ዘመድኩን የመሳሰሉት። አለማየሁ ዘመድኩን በአሁኑ ጊዜ በስደት አሜሪካን አገር የሚኖር ሲሆን፣ ስደት ከመውጣቱ በፊት በፍትህ ሚኒስተር የአንድ መምሪያ ሃላፊ ነበር። መንግሥት በበለጠ በቅንጅት መሪዎች ላይ ጫና ለማሳደር በዚያ ከምርጫው በኋላ በተደረገው ሕዝባዊ እንቅስቃሴ ምክንያት ለወደመው ንብረት በሃላፊነት እንዲጠየቁ ክስ እንዲመሰረትባቸው ሲታዘዝ ፈቃደኛ ባለመሆን አገር ጥሎ በመውጣት ሊያጋልጥ ችሎአል። ሌሎችም በመሳሰሉት ጉዳዮች ላይ ሲጠየቁ ፈቃደኛ ያልሆኑ ግን ምንም አይነት ሥራ እንዳይሰሩ እንደዕቃ እንዲቀመጡ የሚደረጉ፣ ወይም በሁለት መስመር ትዕዛዝ ከሥራ የሚባረሩ አሉ። ታዲያም የተገላቢጦሽ ሆነና አንድ ሰው ወንጀል ሰርቶአል በሚል ጥቆማ ሲደርሰው፣ ያለ አግባብ እንዳይያዝ፣ ችግር እንዳይደርስበት፣ ሰብአዊ መብቱና ስብዕናው እንዳይነካ ከዳኛ በፊት የሚታገለው፣ መብቱን የሚያስከብረው የዐቃቤ ሕግ መሥሪያ ቤትና ዐቃቤ ሕጉ ነው። ይህ አለም አቀፍ መርህ ነው። በተለየም በኢትዮጵያ የወንጀለኛ መቅጫ ሥነ-ሥርዓት ሕጉ ላይ በግልጽ ተደንግጎአል። ያለ መታደል ሆኖ ገዢዎቻችን እጃቸውንና እግራቸውን ጥልቅ እያደረጉበት የሕጉ መሰረታዊ መርሆዎች ደብዛቸው እየጠፋ ሂዶ አሁን ወዳለንበት ደርሷል። ሁሉም ለዳኛው ነው የሚወረወረው። መቼም ሕሊና ያለው ሰው፣ ያ ከምርጫው በኋላ በመንግሥት ሕዝቡ ላይ እንደዚያ ሲፈጸም ያየ ሰው፣ ክሱም የፈጠራ መሆኑ ይታወቃል። እንደዚያ ዓይነት ክስ ተዘጋጅቶ ደረቱን ነፍቶ ወደ ፍ/ቤት ይዞ ይወጣል ብሎ መገመት በእጅጉ አስቸጋሪ ይሆናል። ግን ሽመልስ አይኑን በጨው ታጥቦ የሞት ፍርድ ካልተሰጠባቸው በማለት ተከራክሮአል።

ከፍ/ቤት ገጠመኞች፣

አንዳንድ ዐቃቤ ሕጋውያን አንዳንድ የማያምኑባቸውን ጉዳዮች ሲሰጣቸው ተቃውሞ ቢያቀርቡም፣ ምን አገባህ? ዳኛ ይበለው፣ አንተ ብቻ አቅርብ እየተባለ በጭንቀት ይዞ ወደ ፍ/ቤት የሚወጡ አሉ። ለዚህም በፍ/ቤት በነበርኩበት ወቅት ካጋጠሙኝ ሁለት ጉዳዮች ምክንያት ጉዳዮቹን ይዘው ቀርበው የነበሩት ዐቃበ-ሕጋዊያን የመለሱልኝ ቃል አስረጅ ይሆናል ብዬ አስባለሁ። እ.ኢ.አ በ1993 ዓ.ም ይመስለኛል ጠበቆችን ለመቆጣጠር በሚል በአብዘኛው የቆዩና በዳኝነትና በጥብቅናው መስክ የብዙ ጊዜ ልምድ ያላቸውን ከገበያው የሚያስወጣ አዋጅ በፍትህ ሚኒስተር አማካይነት መንግሥት አዋጅ ያወጣል። በአዋጅ መሠረት በሚል ወዲያውኑ ከጥቂት የአዋጁን መስፈርት ያሟላሉ ከሚሏቸው በስተቀር፣ የአብዘኛዎቹ የጥብቅና ፈቃዳቸው ይታገዳል። ወያኔ የሚያስፈራኝ ክፍል ነው ወይም አካል ነው፣ወይም ሰው ነው ካለ፣ ያለ ምንም ርኅራኄ እንዴት እስከ ግል ሕይወት ድረስ እንደሚገባ ይህ ሁኔታ እውነታውን ቁልጭ አድርጎ የሚያሳይ መስተዋት ነው ብዬ እገምታለሁ። ለምን በጠበቆች ላይ? በአዕምሮአችሁ ሳይጫር እንዳልቀረ እገምታለሁ። ነገሩ ባጭሩ እንዲህ ነው እላለሁ። በተለይ በአዲስ አበባ ታዋቂ ጠበቆች፣ ፕሮፌሰር አሥራት ሲታሰሩ፣ ዶ/ር ታዬ ሲታሰር በነጻ ያለክፍያ ለመከራከር በአብዘኛው ተሰልፈው እንደነበር አስታውሳለሁ። ለነገሩ ከአዋጁ በኋላ ሆነ እንጂ፣ በቅንጅት ጉዳይ ላይ እኔ፣ እኔ ተባብለው በሽሚያ በእሰረኞቹ ውሳኔ እስከተሰናበቱ ድረስ፣ ከሰባ በላይ ጠበቆች በነጻ ለመከራከር ተሰልፈው እንደነበር የቅርብ ጊዜ ትዝታ ነው። እናም ወያኔ-ኢህ አዴግ አገሪቱን በመንግሥትነት ከተቆጣጠረበት ጊዜ አንስቶ ጠበቆች በተገኘው ቀዳዳ እየገቡ ለመንግሥት ነቀርሳ ከመሆን እንዳልተቆጠቡ አውቃለሁ። እናም፣ ለአዋጁ መንደርደሪያ ሆኖ የቀረበው የጠበቆች ሙስና ውስጥ መዘፈቅ የሚል ይሁን እንጂ፣ ዋናውና ድብቅ ምክንያቱ ይህ አድራጎታቸው እንደሆነ ሕሊና ለነበረው ሰው መገመቱ አስቸጋሪ አልነበረም። በአውጁ ንድፍ(draft) ላይ ውይይት ሲደረግ የተገኘነው ዳኞች በወቅቱ በከፍተኛ ስሜት ተቃውመን ነበር። ሰው ጤፉ የሆነው መንግሥት ሁሌ እንዲህ ዓይነት ሕጎችን ካስቀረጸ በኋላ ለውይይት የሚያቀርበው ገንቢ አሳቦችን ለመቀበል ሳይሆን ሕዝቡን አወያይቻለሁ፤ ሕዝቡም የዲሞክራሲ መብቱን ተጠቅሞ አዋጁ ወይም ሕጉ እንዲወጣ ወስኖአል ለማሰኘት ነው።

ታዲያም እነዚያ የታገዱት ጠበቆች እግዱ እንዲነሳ ክስ በፌዴራል ከፍተኛ ፍ/ቤት በፍትህ ሚኒስተር ላይ ክስ ይመሰረታሉ። ክሱ የፍትሐብሄር እንደመሆኑ መጠን፣ ጉዳዩ እልባት እስከሚሰጠው ድረስ በፈቃዳቸው ላይ የተደረገው የእገዳው ትዕዛዝ እንዲታገድላቸው ያቀረቡትን አቤቱተ ፍ/ቤቱ ተቀብሎ እግዱ ለጊዜው እንዲነሳ ትዕዛዝ ይሰጣል። በዚህ ላይ ቅር ተሰኝቻለሁ በማለት ለፌዴራል ጠቅላይ ፍ/ቤት ይግባኝ ያቀርባሉ። በፌዴራል ጠቅላይ ፍ/ቤት ጉዳዩን በአቶ ሐጎስ ወልዱ ሰብሳቢነት ያየው ችሎት የከፍተኛውን ፍ/ቤት ትዕዛዝ ይሽራል። ጠቅላይ ፍ/ቤቱ ትዛዙን ሲሽር መሠረታዊ የሆነ የሕግ ስህተት ፈጽሞአልና ይታረምልን በማለት አቤቱታቸውን ጠበቆቹ በጠቅላይ ፍ/ቤቱ ለሰበር ችሎት(court of cessation) ያቀርባሉ። በወቅቱ እኔ በዚሁ ችሎት ከመሥራቴም በላይ እያጠናሁ የማቀርበው እኔ ነበርሁ። የዚህ ችሎቱ ሰብሳቢ የፌዴራል ጠቅላይ ፍ/ቤት ፕሬዚዳንት ወይም ም/ፕሬዚዳንት ነው። አቤቱታው ያስቀርባል አያስቀርብም ለማለት ከሰብሳቢዎች ጋር ሦስት ዳኞች ነን የምንቀመጠው። አዋጁ በጣም አስቀያሚ አዋጅ ነበር። በሙሉ ሲነበብ ትርጉም የሚሰጥ አንድ የመሸጋገሪያ ድንጋጌ አገኘሁ። ከሌሎች ድንጋጌዎች ጋር በማገናዘብ ቢያንስ በመጀመሪያ ደረጃ ጥብቅና መብት ለማስገኘት የሚያበቃ። መጀመሪያ በዳኝነት የብዙ ጊዜ ልምድ ያለው አብዱልቃድር መሐመድ የሚባል ዳኛን ማሳመን እንደሚገባኝ ዘየድሁ። እርሱ ባለቤቱ በጠና ታማበት በሆስፒታል አስታማሚው እርሱ ስለነበር በሳምንት ሁለት ቀን ብቅ እያለ ነበር የሚሰራው በወቅቱ። ሁሉን ነገርሁት፣ የአዋጁን አተረጓገሙንም አሳየሁት፣ ተስማማን። ምክትል ፕሬዚዳንቱን አቶ መንበረፀሐይን እንዴት አድርገን እንደምናሳምን ተነጋገርን። ይዘን ወደ ቢሮው ሄድንና እንዴት አድርገን የአንድ ሚኒስተርን አስተዳዳራዊ ውሳኔን እንሽራለንና የመሳሰሉት ነጥቦችን እያነሳ ቢያስቸግረንም፣ እኛም ፍ/ቤት በሕግ አግባብ ያልሆነን ጉዳይ ካላረመ ሕጋዊነት ከቶ እንዴት ሊኖር ይችላል? ዋናው ነገር እኛ አዋጁን ተረጎምን እንጂ አዋጁን አልሻርነውም በሚሉትና በመሳሰሉት ተከራክረን ተቀበለን። እናም አቤቱታው ያስቀርባል በማለት ትዕዛዝ ከሰጠን በኋላ የጠቅላይ ፍ/ቤቱን ውሳኔ አገድነው። በኋላም ዋናው ጉዳይ እንደዚሁ በተመሳሳይ ሁኔታ ሲመጣ ለመወሰን የተደረገው እጅግ እልህ አስጨራሽና ፈተና ነበር። ሆኖም በመጨረሻ ተሳክቶልን እነዚያ ጠበቆች ይነስም፣ ይብለጥ ጾም ከቤተሰቦቻቸው ጋር እንዳያድሩ አድርገናል።

በነገራችን ላይ ይህን ሕግ ነድፎ በማውጣት ያስወሰነውና በጠበቆች ጥርስ ገብቶ የነበረው፣ በነፕሮፌሰር አሥራት ላይ፣ በዶ/ር ታዬ ላይና በታምራት ላይ ክሶቹን መስርቶና ተከራክሮ ያስወስን የነበረውና በኋላም ወደ ፍትሕ ሚኒስተር ም/ሚኒስትር ያደገው መስፍን ግርማ እንደነበር ይታወቃል። በእንዲህ ካሰሩት በኋላም በሙስና ሰበብ በአንድ መስመር ጽሑፍ ከሥራው እንዳባረሩት ይታወቃል። የጥብቅና ፈቃድ አውጥቶ ወደ ፍ/ቤት ሲቀርብ እነዚያ አዋጁ የወጣባቸው ጠበቆችች መላወሻ መድረሻ አሳጥተውት፣ በጨረሻም እዚያው ከፍተኛ ፍ/ቤት አጠገብ ወደ 1992 ዓ.ም አካባቢ እሁድ ዕለት ጸጉሩን ለመስተካከል ደሴ ሆቴል አጥገብ ወዳለ ጸጉር አስተካካይ ለመግባት ትንሽ ሲቀረው፣ በመንገድ ዳር የቆመች የትራፊክ ምልክት የያዘች ብረት በመኪና ተገጭታ ጭንቅላቱን መታችውና ከሰአታት በኋላ ነፍሱ ሊያልፍ ችሎአል። እንደሰማሁት፣ በዚያ ትልቅ ሰው መሳይ ቀብር ላይ የተገኘ ሰው ከሰባት ያልበለጠ እንደነበር ነው። ፣ የሕዝብ ዓይን በስውር ይወጋል። ጊዜው ይዘገይ እንጂ በክፉዎች ላይ የኢትዮጵያ አምላክ ፍርዱን ይሰጣል። በደርግ ሥልጣናትም ላይ ያየነውና እያየን ያለነው መሰል እውነታ ነው። ብቻ ችግሩ አይነጋ መስሏት… ዓይነት እየሆነ መሄዱ ላይ ነው።

በሌላም ታምራት ላይኔ ከአላሙዲን በሙስና መልክ 16ሚሊዮን ብር መውሰዱ በማስረጃ ተረጋግጦበታል በሚል ተወስኖበት፣ ሼህ አላሙድን ገንዘቡ እንዲመለስለት በጠቅላይ ፍ/ቤቱ ለሰበር ችሎቱ አቤቱታ በአንድ በኩል ሲያቀርብ፣ መንግስትም በፍትህ ሚኒስተር አማካይነት ገንዘቡ ወንጀል ነክ በመሆኑ ለእኔ ይገባኛል በማለት የራሱ አቤቱታ አቅርቦ ነበር። በወቅቱ የፍ/ቤቱን ውሳኔ እንደተመለከትነው፣ አላሙዲን የኢትዮጵያ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስተርነት ቦታ የነበረው ታምራት ላይኔ አገራችን እዳዋን የምትከፍልበት አጥታ ችግር ውስጥ ገብታለችና ወደፊት ቡና ተሰጥቶህ ይመለስልሃል ተብሎ ነው ገንዘቡን የሰጠው። በወቅቱ ሼህ አላሙዲን ለታምራት ገንዘቡን የሰጠውም አንድም ተታሎ ነው ወይም ፈርቶ ተገዶ ነው የሚል ግምት ኖሮናል። ያም ሆነ ይህ፣ በወንጀሉ ፍርድ መሰረት ገንዘቡ ከአላሙዲን የተወሰደው ያለአግባብ ተብሎ ነው። እንዲህ ከሆነ ደግሞ ገንዘቡ መመለስ ያለበት ለሼህ አላሙዲን እንጂ ለመንግሥት ያለመሆኑን በመተንተን ወሰንን።

ይህን ጉዳይና የነዚያን የጠበቆችን ጉዳይ ይዘው የቀረቡት በፍትህ ሚኒስተር የብዙ ጊዜ ልምድ ያላቸው ሁለት ዐቃቤ ሕጋውያን ነበሩና ከወጡ በኋላ ጠርቻቸው ኧረ ለመሆኑ እናንተ እንደዚህ ዓይነት ክርክሮችን የምታደርጉት አምናችሁበት ነው? ብዬ ጠየቋቸው። አይ አቶ ወልደሚካኤል አለኝ አንደኛው ዐቃቤ ሕግ! በቃ እኔ አሁን፣ አሁንስ ሕግን ለመማር የወሰንኩባትን ቀን እየረገምኋት ነው አለኝ። በኛ አገር በፍጹም ሕግ መማር አያስፈልግም አለኝ። ልጆቼ ወደ ሕግ ትምህርት ቤት ለመግባት እንዳያስቡ እያደርግሁ ነኝ። የምንሰራው የሕግ ሳይሆን፣ የተላላኪነት ነው አለኝ። ግን የምንሰራው አእምሮአችን እየቆሰለ ነው። ዛሬ ለምን እንደደፈርሁ አልገባኝም? በቃ የሆዴን ተነፈስሁልህ እንዳለኝ ሁለቱም ከቢሮዬ ተያይዘው ወጡ።

የሕግ ሰው በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የተላላኪነት ሥራ እንዲሰራ ተደርጎ መታየቱን ነገረ-ፈጅ በነበርኩበት ወቅት ጠንቅቄ አውቃለሁ። አንድም አስመርሮኝ ወደ ፍ/ቤት ያስገባኝ ይኸው ነበር። የኛ አገር መሪዎች ሁሉን ነገር አዋቂዎች ናቸው። ለሙያ ክብር አይሰጡም። ወያኔ-ኢህአዴግ ደግሞ ይብሳል። ራሱ ያወጣውን ሕግንም ይጥሳልና። በፍ/ቤቶች የመንግሥት ጣልቃ ገብነትን ለመቀነስ በሕገ-ምንግሥቱ ላይ የፍ/ቤቶችና የዳኞች ነጻነት ተደንግጎአል። በእንዲህ ቢደነገግም፣ የይስሙላ ሆኖ ይገኛል። ይህን በሕግ የተሰጠውን መብት የማስከበር ትልቁ ሥልጣንና ሃላፊነት የተጣለው በፍ/ቤቶች መሪዎች ላይ ነው። የኛ ፍ/ቤቶች መሪዎች በተለይም የፌዴራል ፍ/ቤቶች በተቃራኒው ነው የተሰለፉት። እናም፣ በፍ/ቤቶቹ የፍትህ መዛባት፣ መሞትና መውደቅ ከተጠያቂነት የሚያመልጡ አይሆኑም። ለነገሩማ በሕግ እንደኛ ሰፍሮ ሳይሆን፣ በልማድ ዳኛንና ፍ/ቤትን ማክበር ሁሉም አፍሪካ አገሮች እንደሰለጠኑት አገሮች ባህል አድርገውታ። ይህንኑ አንድ ጊዜ በአፍሪካ ለእንግሊዝኛ ተናጋሪ አገሮች ዳኞች በሲዋዚላንድ በተዘጋጀው የአእምሮአዊ ሀብት(Intellectual property) ስምፖዚየም ላይ ተገኝቼ ከየአገሮቹ ዳኞች አረጋግጫለሁ። ያለመታደል ሆኖ እንዲህ ያለው ነጻነት በኛ አገር በሕግም ተቀርጾ ይብሱን እየተሽመደመደ ሄዷል።

ከሕግ በላይ ምንም የለም እንላለን። እንዲህ ከተባለ ደግሞ ይህንኑ ለማስፈጸም መሳሪያ የሆነውን ፍ/ቤት ማክበር ከሁሉም ቅድሚያ ሊሰጠው ይገባል። ስለሰላም ሲጠቀስ፣ ስለደህንነት ሲጠቀስ፣ ስለመናገርና መጻፍ፣ ስለፍትህና ስለዲሞክራሲ ሲጠቀስ፣ ብሎም ስለሰብአዊ መብት ሲጠቀስ፣ ከበስተኋላው ፍ/ቤት አለ። የመጨረሻው ገላጋይ ነውና። አንድ የድሮ ዳኛ አብሪያቸው በከፍተኛ ፍ/ቤት ስሰራ፣ አንዳንድ በችሎቱ የሚያስቸግሩ ተጠርጣሪዎችን ሲያስጠነቅቁ ዋ! ይህ ፍ/ቤት ነው፤ ሰይፍ ነው፤ ይቆርጣል ይሉ ነበር። አካሄዳቸው ትክክል ባለመሆኑ ልናስለውጣቸው ብንችልም፣ ግን በሌላ ጎኑ አባባላቸው ሲወሰድ ፍ/ቤት ክቡር ነው፣ ከሁሉም በላይና የማይደፈር ነው የሚያሰኝ እንደምታ ያለው ነው።

ከፍ ሲል በዐቃቤ ሕግነታቸውና ምለው በገቡት ቃል መሠረት ምንም ዓይነት ጫና ከአለቆቻቸው ቢደርስም፣ እምቢ አሻፈረኝ ባዮች እንደመኖራቸውም ከዳኞችም እንዲሁ አሉ። ከፍ ሲል የጠቃቀስኳቸው ሁለት ጉዳዮች የኔ ታላቅ ተግባር ለመግለጽ ሳይሆን እገረ መንገዴን የአንዳንድ ጉዳዮችን ሁኔታ በምሳሌነት ለማስታወስ ነው። በአገራችን የዳኝነት ተቋሙ ተከላካይ አጥቶ እየሞተ ይሂድ እንጂ ቆራጥ ዳኞችንም ፍ/ቤቶቹ አላጡም። ቀደም ሲል ኢህአዴግ በትረሥልጣኑን እነደያዘ በተነደፈው ቻርተር(መሰል ሕገመንግሥት) መሠረት የተቋቋመው ማዕከላዊ ፍ/ቤቶች፣ ከአሁን ሕገመንግሥት በኋላ በፌዴራል ፍ/ቤቶች የተተካው በሥራ ላይ በነበረ ጊዜ የነ መንግሥቱ ኃይለማሪያም ጉዳይን የጊዜ ቀጠሮ የሚያየው ማዕከላዊ ከፍተኛ ፍ/ቤት እንደነበር፣ በተለይም የእንዳለ ተሰማን የሐቤስ ኮርፐስ(habeas corpus) ወይም የተያዘው ሰው በአካል ፍ/ቤት ቀርቦ ጉዳዩ በሕግ የእንዲታይ ጥያቄ ያስተናግድ የነበረው ችሎት ልዩ ዐቃቤ ሕግ እንዳለ ተሰማን የያዘበትን ምክንያት ቀርቦ በማስረጃ እንዲያስረዳ በታዘዘ ጊዜ ቀርቦ ባለማስረዳቱ በወ/መ/ሥ/ሥ/ሕጉ መሰረት ከእስር ይለቁታል። ልክ እነ ብሩቱካን ሥዬ አብርሃን በለቀቁበት ጊዜ እንደተፈጸመው ዓይነት እንዳለ ተሰማ የተያዘው በር ላይ እንደነበረ አስታውሳለሁ። ከችሎቱ ዳኞች አንዱአሁን በጥብቅና ሥራ ላይ የሚገኘው ጥበቡ ምህረቴን አስታውሳለሁ። በሙሉ የፌዴራል ፍ/ቤቶች ሲቋቋሙ እንዚህም ዳኞች የመባረር ዕጣ አጋጥሟቸዋል። እንግዲህ ወያኔ እጁን ወደ ፍ/ቤት ያስገባው በዚህን ጊዜ ነበር። ከዚህ በኋላ ዳኞች በዓይነ-ቁራኛ ይታዩ ጀመር። በያለበት በዳኞች ላይ ዘመቻ መካሄድ እንደተጀመረ አስታውሳለሁ። ዳኛ እያስቻለ እያለ እስከነካባው ከችሎት እየተወሰደ ወደ እስር ቤት ይወረወር እንደነበር የቅርብ ጊዜ ትዝታ ነው። ብዙ ዳኞች ሥራቸውን እየለቀቁ ወደ አዲስ አበባ ፈለሱ። በተለይም በደቡብ ክልል፣ በቤንሻንጉል፣ በጋንቤላ፣ በአፋርና ሱማሌ በመሳሰሉት ክልሎች በዳኞች ላይ ብዙ ግፎች እንደተፈጸመባቸው ከየአካባቢው ይመጡ የነበሩት ይነግሩን እንደነበር አስታውሳለሁ።

በመሰረቱ በወቅቱ ኢህአዴግ የደርግ ሹሞችን እየያዙ ወደ ዘብጥያ ሲያወርዱ ቤተሰብ የሐቤስ ኮርፐስ ጥያቄ ይዞ ወደ ፍ/ቤት ይቀርባል። ዳኞችም ዐቃቤ ሕግ ሰውዬው ለተያዘበት ብቁ ማስረጃ ካላቀረበ በነጻ ይለቁታል። ታዲያ ይኸው እየቀጠለ ሲሄድ ዳኞች ለመንግስት ወገንነታቸውን ፍጹም አያሳዩም ማለት ተጀመረ። በዚህም በዳኞች ላይ የሚደረገው ዘመቻ በያለበት ተጧጧፈ። በተለይም በክልሎች ይብስ ነበር። ከሁሉ፣ ከሁሉ በደቡብ አዋሳ ዙሪያ ወረዳ አካባቢ ይመስለኛል በአንድ ዳኛ ላይ ተፈጽሞአል ተብሎ የተነገረው ለሰሚው እጅግ አሰቃቂ እንደነበር ነው። በወቅቱ ማቆጥቆጥ በጀመሩት የግል ጋዜጦች ላይ ዜናው ወጥቶ ማየቴም ትዝ ይለኛል። ባልሳሳት የአዋሳ ዙሪያ ወረዳ አስተዳዳሪው ትዕዛዝ አንድ ሰው ይታሰራል። ዳኛው ጉዳዩን ካየ በኋላ ሰውየውን በነጻ ይለቀዋል። ከዚያ ችሎት ዳኛው ሳይነሳ ካባውን እንደለበሰ ከችሎቱ ተነስቶ ወደ እስር ቤት እንዲወርድ ይደረጋል። እንዲታሰር ያደረጉት ደግሞ በጋዜጣው ላይ እንደተገለጸው እርሱ ከፈረደባቸው ፍርደኞች ጋር እንደነበረ፣ እነዚያም ይህን ዳኛ ሽንት ቤት ወስደው በፊቱ ላይ እየሸኑበት እንዳሰቃዩት መስማቴና ከጋዜጣውም ማንበቤ ትዝ ይለኛል። ይህ የወረዳው አስተዳዳሪ የነበረው በኋላ የመጀመሪያው ፓርለማ ሲቋቋም ከክልሉ በግል ተመርጦ ወደ ፓርለማ ገብቶ፣ በዳኞች የእሙንቲ ወይም እንደማንኛውም ሰው ያለመከሰስ መብት ላይ ውይይት በምክር ቤቱ ላይ ሲደረግ ከመለስ ተቀብሎ ዳኛ ምንድነው? ከማን ይለያል? የምን እሙንቲ ነው? በሚል በአጽንዖት ተከራክሮ እንዲከሽፍ ካደረጉት አንዱ ሰው በስተመጨረሻም የቅንጅት አባል ሆኖ ታስሮአል። ይህም አቶ እጅጉ የሚባል መሆኑ ተነግሮኝ ሰውየውንም አይቼዋለሁ። እናም ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር መለስ ፍ/ቤቶች ላይ በክፉኛ ዓይናቸውን የተከሉት ዛሬ ሳይሆን ቀደም ብለው ቢሆንም፣ የአሳ ግማቱ ከአናቱ እንዲሉ ከአናት ዳኝነቱ ወርዶ እየተቀበረ ቢሆንም፤ አሁንም ለሙያቸው፣ ምለው ተግዝተው ለገቡት ቃል በተናጠል በልበ-ሙሉነት የሚቆሙ ዳኞች አሉ። ችግሩ ከመንግሥት ጋር የተያያዘ ጉዳይ ሲቀርብ፣ አሁን አሁንማ ወደ አንድ ውስን ችሎት ሳይሆን ጉዳዩ የሚመራው፣ በጣም ታማኝ ናቸው የተባሉ ዳኞች ይመረጡና አዲስ ችሎት በመንበረፀሐይ ትዕዛዝ መሰየሙ ነው። በቅንጅት መሪዎችና መሰል ተከሳሾች ጉዳይ ላይ የተፈጸመው በዚህ መልኩ ነው። በስበዕናቸው፣ በአቋማቸው ጠንካራ የሆኑ፣ ግን በብሔረሰብ ስብጥራቸው ምክንያት ኢህአዴግን የማይደግፉ ናቸው በሚል ምክንያት ለሹመት ያልታደሉ ዳኞች በፌዴራል ከፍተኛና የመጀመሪያ ደረጃ ፍ/ቤቶች እንደሚገኙ እስከወጣሁበት ጊዜ ድረስ አውቃለሁ።

የቅንጅት መሪዎችና አባሎች እንዲሁም አብሯቸው የተከሰሱት የሕሊና እስረኞች መሆናቸውን ገልጸው የማይከራከሩ መሆኑን ለፍ/ቤቱ ነግረው እስከመጨረሻው ያለመከራከራቸው ይታወቃል። ይሁንና እንዲህ በሆነ ጊዜ ጉዳዩን የሚያየው ፍ/ቤት ለፍትህ ሲል ሕግ ያስገድዳልና የክሱን አቀራረብን በሚመለከት ማለትም ያስከስስ አያስከስስ እንደሆነ በወ.መ.ሥ.ሥ.ሕግ ቁጥር ከ117_119 ባሉት ድንጋጌዎች መሠረት ማጣራት፣ በኋላም በማስረጃዎቹ ብቃት ላይ እውነቱ ነጥሮ እንዲወጣና እንዲታይ በማጣሪያ ጥያቄዎች መጠቀም ይኖርባቸዋል። የቅንጅት መሪዎችና ሌሎች ተይዘው የታሰሩበት በይፋ እንደሚታወቀው በመራጩ ጥያቄ ምክር ቤት አንገባም ስላሉ እንደሆነ የአደባባይ ምስጢር ነው። በመሠረቱ በማስረጃ አቀራረብ ከሁሉ የሚቀድመው የአይን ምስክር ነው። የጽሑፍና የመሳሰሉት ብቻ የሚቀርቡት የዓይን ማስረጃ በታጣ ጊዜ፣ ወይም ለዓይን ማስረጃ በደጋፊነት ነው። በቅንጅት ላይ የተሠራው በተቃራኒው ነው። በመጀመሪያ በልበ-ሙሉነት ዐቃቤ ሕግ ያስረዳልኛል ብሎ ያቀረበባቸው ማስረጃ በአብዘኛው ከምርጫው በፊት ፓርቲው ለምርጫ ቅስቀሳ ያደረጋቸውን ንግግሮች የያዙ ሰነዶች፣ የኤሌክትሮንክስ መሳሪያዎችና የመሳሰሉ ነበሩ። የኋላ ኋላ የማስረጃዎቹ ባዶነት በሚያሳፍር ደረጃ ላይ መድረሱን ሲያዩት ደግሞ፣ ለሆዳቸው ያደሩ፣ ሕሊናቸውን የሸጡ ሰዎችን በማስጠናት አምርተው እንዳቀረቡ ምስጢር አልሆነም። ምንም እንኳ ውጤቱ ይለወጣል ተብሎ ላይገመት ቢችልም፣ እንደዳንኤልና ነጻነት ሌሎቹ ተከራክረው ቢሆኑ ኖሮ፣ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ብቻ አይደለም፣ የአለሙ ማህረሰብ፣ ጉዳዩን እንደጉዳያቸው አድርገው የሚከታተለው ሁሉ ፍጹም ድራማ፣ ታይቶ የማይታወቅ ድራማ በፍትህ መድረክ ያዩ፣ ይሰሙ ነበር እላለሁ። ያም ሆኖ ግን፣ ከእስራቱ ጀምሮ እስከ ተፈቱ ድረስ በቅንጅት ላይ የተሰራው ድራማ ግልጽ ድራማ የፍ/ቤቱን ሥራና አካሄድ፣ ከድጥ ወደ ማጥ የከተተ፣ የመንግሥትን ጣልቃገብነት ከመቼውም ጊዜ ያጎላ እንደነበር ማየት ተችሎአል። ለዚህም ማስገንዘቢያ ሌላ ሳያስፈልግ፣ መከላከያዎችን ለማቅረብ ይፈልጉ አይፈልጉ እንደሆነ ፈቃዳቸውን እስረኞቹ ተጠይቀው ለማሰብ ጊዜ እንዲሰጣቸው በመጠየቅ መልስ ሲሰጡ፣ ፍ/ቤቱ ለአሥር ደቂቃ ያህል ጠብቁን ብለው ወደ ጽ/ቤታቸው ገቡ። ከአሁን አሁን ይመጣሉ እያሉ ሲጠብቁ፣ ደቂቃዎችም እያለፉ ሄደው፣ እስከ ሶስት ሰዓት ድረስ ቆይተው ዳኞቹ ይዘው ወደ ችሎቱ ብቅ ያሉት ትዕዛዝ ሳይሆን ውሳኔ፣ ያውም በመሪዎቹ ላይ የዕድሜ ልክ እስራት የሚያሰጥ። ይህን ስሰማ ትዝ ያለኝ በግንቦት ኩደታ ተካፍለዋል ተብለው በጦር ፍ/ቤት ላይ የተከሰሱት እነዚያ እኔ እስከአሁንም፣ ጀግኖች በምላቸው ምርጥ የኢትዮጵያ ልጆች በነበሩት ላይ የተሰየመው ፍ/ቤት ሳይወስን ራሱ መንግሥቱ ተቀብሎ በመወሰን ወዲያውኑ እንዲረሸኑ ማድረጉ ነው። የሁለቱ ልዩነት ከጦርና ከስቪል ፍ/ቤት ባሻገር፣ መለስ ፍ/ቤትንና ዳኛን ተንተርሶ ማስወሰኑና መንግሥቱ ደግሞ ፍ/ቤቱንና ሕጉን ነጥቆ በራሱ ወስኖ ርምጃ ማስወሰዱ ነው።

አንድ ዳኛ ውሳኔ የሚሰጠው ለውሳኔ ቀጥሮ የግራ ቀኙን ማስረጃዎችን ከክሱና ከሕጉ ጋር አመዛዝኖ፣ ጊዜ ወስዶ ተጨንቆበት፣ ተጠቦበት ነው። የኢትዮጵያን ሕግ ብቻ ሳይሆን የተመሳሳይ አገር ሕጎችንና ጁሪስፕሩደንሶችን ማለትም የሕግ ሳይንሶችን አምብቦና መርምሮ ነው። በተለይ ከሞት ወይም ዕድሜ ልክ እስራት በሚሆንበት ወቅት በተከሰሰው ሰው ላይ መጠነኛ የሆነ ጉዳት ያለአግባብ እንዳይደርስበት በእጅጉ ተጨንቆ ነው ወደ ውሳኔ የሚደርሰው። መጨረሻም ላይ ሲደርስም በዚህም ወጣን፣ በዚያም ወረድን፣ ከዚህ ውጭ የቀረቡበት ማስረጃዎች ሊያሳዩኝ አልቻሉም፣ በመሆኑም በሕግ አግባብ የሞት ወይም የእድሜ ልክ እስራት ቅጣት ሊወሰንበት ይገባል እስከማለት መድረስ አለበት። ሰው ክቡር ፍጡር ነው። ከአምላክ በተሰጠው ጸጋ ዓለምን የሚለውጥ ነው። የዚህ ዓይነቱ ፍጡር ቀርቶ የማንኛውም ነፍስ ያለአግባብ መጥፋት የለበትም። እንኳንስ ሞት አይደለም፣ እንኳንስ ዕድሜ ልክ አይደለም፣ በአንዳንዱ ላይ ከአምስት ዓመት በላይ ቅጣት መወሰን ለአንድ ሕግን በአግባቡ ለሚተረጉመው ዳኛ ምጥ ነው። በኛ አገር ዳኞች በወንጀል አድራጊው ላይ የሞት ቅጣት ባሳረፉ ጊዜ በችሎት ላይ ውሳኔው የሚነበበው ዳኞችና በችሎቱ የሚከታተሉት ሁሉም ቆመው ነው። ይህም እንግዲህ የሰው ልጅ ክብር በፍ/ቤቶቻችን እንዴት እንደሚታይ ነው። ቅንጅት ላይ እነሓይሉ ሻውል በሚለው መዝገብ ላይ የተሰጠውን ውሳኔ ስናይ፣ ዳኞቹ ውሳኔውን የጻፉት ከችሎቱ ወደ ጽሕፈት ክፍላቸው ወዲያውኑ እንደገቡ መሆኑ ነው ሁኔታዎች ያሳዩን የነበሩት። ይህም የሚያሳየን ዳኞቹ ማን ላይ ምን እንዲወስኑ ይነገራቸው እንደነበር ነው። ለዚህም ተያያዥነት ያለውን ምሳሌ መጥቀስ ይቻላል። በመሠረቱ፣ በአንድነት የተከሰሱ ሰዎች ላይ የሚሰጥ ውሳኔ በአንድ ቀን መጠናቀቅ ሲኖርበት፣ ለሳምንት ያህል መጓዙ ነው። ይህም ያሳየን የነበረው በአንድ በኩል ፍ/ቤቱ በወቅቱ ውሳኔ ለመስጠት ያልተዘጋጀ መሆኑን፣ በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ ዳኞቹ በቀረቡት ማስረጃዎች ላይ ተመርኩዘው በራሳቸው ነጻ ሕሊና ሳይሆን፣ አንድ በአንድ ከላይ ትዕዛዝ እየወረደላቸው እዚያው እችሎቱ ጽ/ቤት ቅጽበታዊ በሆነ መልኩ መወሰናቸውን ነው።

በእኔ ግምት በወቅቱ ለዚህ ቅጽበታዊ ድርጊት መንግሥት የተነሳሳው፣ በተለይም እዚህ ሳይበሩ ያለው ኢትዮጵያዊ በየመንግሥታቱ ደጃፍ እየሄደ፣ በኤዎሮፓ ዪኒየን፣ በአሜሪካ ኮንግረስ ጭምር በሚያደርገው ጫና እንዲሁም የገለልተኛ አጣሪ ኮሚሽን የደረሰበት ውጤትና የውጤቱ መታፈን ይፋ ሆኖ ሲጋለጥ በየቦታው ሁሉ እንቅስቃሴው እየጨመረ በመሄዱ፣ ከዚህም በመነሳት የኤዎርፓ ዩኒየን ፓርላማና ልዩ ልዩ ክፍሎች፣ በአሜሪካ በኮንግረስ ማን በሆነው ዶናልድ ፔየን የተዘጋጀው ስምፖዚየም መከፈቱ፣ ኤች.አር 2003 በአዲስ መልክ በነ ፕሮፌሰር አለማየሁ ገ/ማርያምና በሌሎቹ ተዘጋጅቶ ወደ አሜሪካን ኮንግረስ መቅረቡ ስላሰጋቸው ከወዲሁ ለማምለጥ ነው። ከውሳኔው ለጥቆ የመጣው መለስ አስቀድሞ ባደራጃቸው ሽምግልና ጉባኤ እነዚያን ይህንኑም ፈጽሞ ሲያበቃ መንግሥት አስቀድሞ በፍርድ ቤትና በፍትህ ስም ለመሸወድ ባዘጋጀውና በቀመረው፣ “የአገሩ በሬ በአገሩ ሰርዶ” በሚል መሰሪ ወጥመድ ውስጥ በማስገባት፣ የአገር ሽማግሌዎችን አዘጋጅቶ ያለ ችግር አብረው ለመሥራት እንድሚቻል፣ እንደቀድሟቸው ሊንቀሳቀሱ እንደሚችሉ በሽማግሌዎች አማካይነት ቃል ገብቶ እንደነበር፣ ለመፈታት ግን ይቅርታ እንዲጠይቁ በማድረግ፣ ከእስር የቅንጅት መሪዎችን እንደለቀቃቸው ሰምተናል፤ አይተናልም። በተለይም መሪዎቹ ከተለቀቁ በኋላ የሆነውን ደግሞ ሁላችንም አይተናል።

ዳንኤልና ነጻነት፣

ዳንኤልና ነጻነት ከመጀመሪያው ጀምሮ እየተከራከሩ የዐቃቤ ሕግ ማስረጃዎችን አፈር ድሜ እያስገቡ ቢሄዱም፣ በድምጽ ብልጫ እንዲከላከሉ ተበየነባቸው። ከዚያም የቀረበባቸውን ክስ ብቁ በሆነ ማስረጃ ቢከላከሉም በነዚያ ዳኞች ተወስኖባቸአል። ግን ለዓለም ማህረሰብ የቀረበባቸው ክስ ባዶነት በግልጽ አሳይተዋል። ሆኖም፣ እነርሱም ይቅርታ እንዲጠይቁ ተደርገው አናደርገውም ብለው ቢቆዩም፣ በወንጀለኛ መቅጫ ሕጉ መሠረት ከተፈረደበት ቅጣት ሁለት ሦስተኛውን ከፈጸመ ለማንም የሚፈቀደውን በአመክሮ የመለቀቅ መብታቸውን ተከለከሉ። ከዚህም በተጨማሪ በቀረበባቸው ይግባኝም አስፈራሯቸው። በዚህም ላይም የመለስ ሽማግሌዎች አስጨነቋቸውና የፍትህ ጀግንነታቸውን አሳይተው ይቅርታቸውን ፈጽመው ወጡ።

ወጣቱ አርቲስት ቴዎድሮስ ካሣን ክስ በሚመለከትል፦

እኔ ለአንዳንድ ግንዛቤዎች አህል እግረመንገዴን አንዳንድ ነገሮችን ከፍትህ ዙሪያ ያሉትን፣ የነበሩትን ነካ ነካ አድርጌ ለማለፍ ሞከርሁ እንጂ ዋና አነሳሴ በፍርድ ቤት ስም በፍርድ ስም በመንግሥት አሁን፣ አሁን ስለተያዘው ይቅርታ የማስጠየቅ አባዜ ለቴድም ይታደል ይሆን? በሚለው መነሻ ላይ የቴድን ጉዳይና ጉዳዩን የያዘውን ችሎት አካሄድ ላይ የታየኝን አንዳንድ አካሄዶችና ውሎች ላይ የራሴን ግምገማ ለማሳየት ነው።

ቴዎድሮስ ካሣ ጥቅምት 23 ቀን 1999 ዓ.ም ከሌሊቱ 7፡10 ላይ ፊት በር ላይ የጎዳና ተዳዳሪ የሆነውን ሰው ገጭቶ እርዳታ ሳያደርግለት አምልጦአል የሚል አቤቱታ ቀርቦበት፣ በጊዜ ቀጠሮ ፍ/ቤት ቀርቦ የዋስ መብቱ ተጠብቆለት ከእስር መለቀቁ ይታወሳል። ከዓመት ቆይታ በኋላ በጉዳዩ ላይ ዐቃቤ ሕግ ክስ እንደመሠረተበትና እንደገና ወደ ዘብጥያ እንዳወረደው፣ የዋስትና መብቱን እንዲያጣ መደረጉም ተስተውሎአል። በመሠረቱ፣ አንድ ሰው የወንጀል ድርጊት ፈጽሞአል ተብሎ ምርመራ ከተካደበት በኋላ በይርጋ ክሱ እስካልተቋረጠ ድረስ፣ ዐቃቤ ሕግ ጉዳዩ የሚያስከስስ ሆኖ ሲያገኘው ክሱን በማናቸውም ጊዜ አዘጋጅቶ ለፍ/ቤት ሊያቀርብ ይችላል። በመሆኑም፣ ከፍ ሲል ከጠቃቀስኳቸው ጋር በተያያዥነት ላተኩርበት የፈልግሁት ክሱ ዓመት ቆይቶ መቅረቡ ላይ ሳይሆን፣ ክሱ በቀረበበት ወቅት፣ በክሱ የአዘገጃጀት ቅንብርና በተሰማው ማስረጃ ላይ ነው። ይህንኑ በሚከተለው ዓይነት ለማሳየት እሞክራለሁ።

ክሱ የቀረበበት ሁኔታና ጊዜ፦ ቴዎድሮስ በተለይም የወያኔ መንግሥት ከሚያደርገው የበቀል አካሄድ ራሱን ዞር ብሎ አይቶ ከሕዝቡ ጋር እንዲታረቅ በጥዑመ-ዜማዎቹና ግጥሞቹ ገና ከጧት የወጣትነ ዕድሜው በሕዝቡ አይን የገባ ብርቅና ውድ አርቲስት ሆኖአል። “ያስተሰሪያልና ዳህላክ ነው ቤቴ” ወያኔ-ኢህአዴግ ሥልጣን ከያዘ ጀምሮ ከወዲያ ወዲህ የሚንጓለለውን የሕዝባችንን ብሶት ሜዳ ላይ በማውጣት በመጠኑም ቢሆን የቆሰለው አንጀቱ እንዲርስ አድርጎአል። እነዚህ ዜማዎች እኔ ከአገር እስከወጣሁ ድረስ በመንግሥት ሚዲያዎች አልተሰሙም። በዚህና በመሳሰሉት ዜማዎች የታዳሚውን ቀልብ በቅጡ የገዛ፣ ግን ለከፋፋዩ መንግሥታችን የጎን ላይ ውጋት ሆኖባቸው ሰነባበተ። በዚያ በንጉሡ የመጨረሻ ዘመን ላይ ልክ እንዳሁኑ እንደቴዲ የወጣቱን ቀልብ ግዝቶ የነበረው ታውቂው አርቲስት አለማየሁ እሸቴ “በስቀሽ አታስቂኝና እኔስ አልረባሽም” ዜማው የጊዜውን ብሶት ቁልጭ አድርጎ በማሳየት በተለይም ወጣቱን አታግሎአል። በተለይም ስቀሽ አታስቂኝ ዜማ የተፈታችው ያ ጠባሳ ታሪክ ትቶ የሞተው የ66 አብዮት እንደፈነዳ መሆኑ ትዝ ይለኛል። እናም በዕድሜዬ ቴዲ ሁለተኛው አርቲስትና ሙዚቀኛ መሆኑ ነው ዘፈኑ በመንግሥት ሚዲያ ሲታሰር። ልዩነታቸው እንዲህ እንደአሁኑ ያ መንግሥት በቀለኛ ያለመሆን ነው። ወያኔ በየትኛው ዘመን ከነበሩት መንግሥታት አረሳስቶና ቀን ጠብቆ በመበቀል ተወዳዳሪ የሌለው በቀለኛ ነው። ቴድን በዚህ መልኩ ነው አጥምዶ ሊበቀለው ወደ ዘብጥያ ያወረደው። ቴዲ የዋስትና መብቱ ተረጋግጦለት ከእስር ወጥቶ ለአንድ ዓመት እውጭ መቆየቱ ይታወሳል። ጥያቄው ዓመት በመሙላቱ ላይ ሳይሆን፣ የቀረበበት ሁኔታና ጊዜ ላይ ነው። በዚህ ላይ የኔ ግምት የወጣቱ ታዳሚ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ከገመተው የሚርቅ አይሆንም። የዛችን አገር ሰላምና አንድነት ለማየት በሙያዬ ምንም አደርጋለሁ ብሎ የተነሳው ወጣቱ አርቲስት ቴዎድሮስ ካሣሁን፣ ከአምላክ ምስጋና ዝማሪ ጋር ኢትዮጵያን ጠብቃት የሚል አነጋገር አክሎ ነጠላ ዜማ የኢትዮጵያ ትንሳኤ(ፋሲካ) አካባቢ አወጣ። እነርሱ ቀድሞውን ቢሆን ኢትዮጵያና ኢትዮጵያዊነት አለርጂካቸው ነውና ይኸው ዝማሪና የግጥሙ ይዘት ስለው ባስቀመጡት ቢለዋ ካፎት ውስጥ ገባላቸው። የፋሲካንም በዓል እንኳ እቤቱ እንዳይውል አድርገው በፋሲካ ሰሞን ቀበተቱት። የበቀሎች በቀል አይደለም ትላላችሁ? ታዲያም ወያኔ-ኢህአዴግ ለዚህች ነጠላ ዜማ ብቻ አይመስለኝም ቴዲን በእንዲህ ተቻኩሎ ለእስር ያዳረገው። ሌላም የባሰ እንዳይስከትል ከወዲሁ በንዲህ ዘዴ ለመቆጣጠርና ለማፈን ነው የሚልም ጥርጣሬም አድሮብኛል። እናንተስ? የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ በዘር ተከፋፍሎ አንድነቱ እየታጣ እንዲሄድ በሚደረግበት በአሁኑ ሰዓት፣ ሕዝቡ በአስተዳዳሪው መንግሥት የበደል፣ የጭቆና፣ ፣ የመገደል፣ ስብዕናውን የመነካት፣ ብሎም የሰብአዊ መብት መደፈር እየደረሰበት የሃይማኖት መሪዎች እያዩ፣ እያስተዋሉ አፋቸውን እንደተሸበቡ ዓይነት ዝምታን በመረጡበት በዚህ ወቅት በሃይማኖቱ ቋንቋና ዝማሪ ብቅ ብሎ ፈጣሪ ኢትዮጵያን እንዲታደጋት በድምጹ የጮኸው ኧረ ተው ያላቸው ቴዲ አንበሳው ነው። ለነገሩ ታዲያ እንዴት አድርገው ይተኙለት?

ክሱን የአዘገጃጀትና የዋስትና መብት የመከልከሉ ቅንብር፦ የዋስትና መብቱ ተጠብቆለት የተለቀቀ ተጠርጣሪ ወንጀለኛ ሌላ ተጨማሪ ወንጀል ካልፈጸመ በስተቀር ወይም የተሰጠው ዋስትና በይግባኝ እስካልተሻረ ድረስ፣ ዋናው ክስ በተመሰረተ ጊዜ የዋስትና መብቱን የሚነፈግበት ምክንያት አይኖርም። ቴዲ ግን ይግባኝም ተጠይቆ ሳይሻር፣ ወይም ሌላ የወንጀል ድርጊት ሳይፈጽም ተሰጥቶት የነበረውን የዋስትና መብቱን ተነፍጎታል። ለመንፈግም የተደረገው ቅንብር ቀደም ሲል ፖሊስ ምርመራውን አጠናቅቆ ፍ/ቤቱ የዋስትና መብቱን በሚጠብቅለት ወቅት፣ ያልተጠቀሰ ወንጀል መንጃ ፈቃድ ሳይኖር መኪና ማሽከርከር የሚል ተጨምሮበት፣ በአዲሱ የወንጀለኛ መቅጫ ሕግ መሠረት ቅጣቱን ወደ 15 ዓመታት ከፍ ያደርገዋል። በወንጀለኛ መቅጫ ሥነ-ሥ ዓት ሕግ ቁጥር 63 መሠረት ደግሞ የተፈጸሙ ወንጀሎቹ 15 ዓመትና በላይ የሚያስቀጡ ከሆነ የዋስትና መብት አያሰጡም። ስለዚህም ዋስትናውን የሚነፍገው ፍ/ቤቱ ሳይሆን፣ ራሱ የተጠቀሰበት የሕግ ድንጋጌ ይሆናል ማለት ነው። እንግዲህ ቴዲ ዋስትናውን የተነጠቀው በዚህ ዓይነቱ ሽረባ ነው።

በቴዲ የቀረበውን ማስረጃ በሚመለከት፦ ዐቃቤ ሕግ በቴዲ ላይ ያቀረባቸውን የዳበሳ ክሶቹን ያስረዱልኛል በማለት ሦስት የሰው ማስረጃዎችንና ሁለት የጽሁፍ ማስረጃዎችን አቅርቦ አሰምቶአል። በአጭሩ የቀረበውን የምስክሮችን ቃል ከዌብ ሳይቶች ላይ እንደተመለከትነው፣ በፍጹም ያለምንም ጥርጥር ምስክሮቹ በጥናት የቀረቡ ለመሆናቸው እንኳንስ አይደለም ለሕግ ሰው ፣ እንኳንስ አይደለም ለዳኛ ፣ ፊደል ለቆጠረ ለማንም ቁልጭ ብሎ የተቀመጠ ነው። ይህንኑ በሚከተለው መልክ እናያለን።

1. በዋናነት ቴዲ በሚያሽከረክረው መኪና በክሱ ላይ የተጠቀሰውን ሰው ገጭቶ ለመግደሉ ይመስክርልኛል ብሎ ያቀረበውኮንስታብል ከበደ ወየሳ የሰጠውን ቃል በመጀመሪያ እንመልከት። ኮንስታብል ከበደ፣ ጥቅምት 23 ቀን 2000 ዓ.ም ከሌሊቱ 7፡10 ላይ ግራና ቀኝ በላዳ ታክሲዎች የታጀበችው አረንጓዴ የቤት መኪና በፊት በር አካባቢ በፍጥነት እየበረረች ስትሄድ በሀያ ሜትር ላይ ሆኖ መመልከቱን፣ በዚህን ወቅት ፊት ለፊት ካለው ቀበሌ በኩል አንድ ሰው ከቀኝ ወደ ግራ ሲቋርጥ መመልከቱን፣ ይኸው ሰው አስፋልቱ ላይ ሲወድቅ ይህችዋ አረንጓዴ መኪና ገጭታው አምልጣ መሄዷን፣ መኪኗ ወደ ሄደችበት አቅጣጫ ደርሶ የሰሌዳ ቁጥሯን ጽፎ መመለሱን፣ ሲመለስም በአካባቢው የነበረውን ጓደኛውን ይዞት ወደ ተገጭቶአል ወደ ተባለው ሰው መሄዳቸውን፣ ሰውዬውን ሲያዩት ሕይወት እንደነበረው፣ ሲያሸቱትም የመጠጥ መንፈስ እንደነበረበት፣ ከአምስት ደቂቃም በኋላ ሕይወቱ ማለፉን፣ ስለሁኔታውም ለሚመለከተው የፖሊስ ክፍል በወቅቱ ማስታወቁን ነው የመሰከረው።

ለነገሩ ድርጊቱ ተፈጽሞአል ተብሎ ክሱ ላይ የተጠቀሰው፣ ጥቅምት 23 ቀን 1999 ዓ.ም ሲሆን፣ በምስክሩ ቃል ላይ ግን የተጻፈው በ2000 ዓ.ም ተብሎ ተጠቅሶአል። ይህ የዌብሳይቱ(ኢትዮጵያ ዛሬ) ስህተት ካልሆነ በስተቀር ምስክሩ ገና ከጧቱ ነው ያጠናው የጠፋበት ማለት ይቻላል። እውነት ያልሆነና የሰሚ ወይም የጥናት ነገር እያደር መትነኑ አይቀርምና። በመሠረቱ ፊት በር ላይ መንገዱ ሰፊ ነው። ከአራት ኪሎ ወደ ካዛንችስ ወይም ሸራተን ሲወረድ መንገድ ግራና ቀኝ ሁለት መኪኖችን ሊያስሽከረክር ሲችል፣ ከካዛንችስ ወደ አራት ኪሎ በተጨማሪ በቤተመንግሥቱ በኩል አንድ መኪና ያስሽከረክራል። ስለዚህም እንደኮንስታብል ከበደ ቃል መሠረት ሦስቱ መኪኖች ጎን ለጎን መሽከርከራቸውን ምሽት ነውና እንቀበለው። እንደቃሉ ከሆነ ምስክሩ ቆሞ ገጪውን መኪና መልክ ከሦስቱ የለየው ከሀያ ሜትር ርቀት ላይ ነው። ጥያቄው በዚህ ርቀት ላይ የነበረ ሰው በዓይኑ ብቻ የመኪኖችን ቀለም ለይቶ በርግጠኝነት መናገር ይችላል ወይ? ነው። እንኳንስ በምሽት በዚያን ሰዓት፣ በዚህ ርቀት፣ በዚያን ግማሽ ክብ በሚመስል መንገድ ያውም እየበረረ የሚሄድን መኪና መልክ ከሀያ ሜትር ርቅት ላይ ሊለይ ቀርቶ፣ በዚያ ርቀት ላይ የቆመ ሰው በቀንም ሊለይ አይችልም። ንጹህ አዕምሮ ያለው፣ አስተውሎት ያለው ሰውም እለያለሁ ብሎ ለመናገር አይደፍርም እላለሁ። ከእንዲህ ያህል ርቀት ላይ ቡና፣ ቀይ፣ ጥቁርና አረንጓዴ መኪኖችን መለየት እጅግ አስቸጋሪ ነው የሚሆነው፣ ተመሳስለው ስለሚገኙ ነው። እንደቃሉ ደግሞ መኪናው በከፍተኛ ፍጥነት መብረሩ በእይታ አንድ ነው የሚሆነው። ምናልባትም እንደዚያ መለየት የሚቻለው፣ ኮንስታብሉ ከርቀት የሚያሳይ አጉሊ መነጽር ያዞ ቢሆን ነበር። ለመያዙ ደግሞ የገለጸው ነገር የለም። እናም፣ አመስካከሩ ጤነኛ አዕምሮ ያለው ሰው በማናቸውም መልክ ቢሆን በእውነተኛነቱ የሚቀበለው አይሆንም።

ሌላው ይህ ሰው አስቀድሞ በአስፋልቱ ላይ ወድቆአል እንደምስክሩ አባባል። እንዲህ ከሆነም መባል ያለበት ሰውዬው ተገጨ ሳይሆን ተደፈጠጠ፣ ወይም ተጨፈለቀ ወይም በላዩ ላይ ተነዳበት ነው እንደእኔ ከሆነ። በወደቀ ሰው ላይ መኪና በዚያ ምስክሩ በተናገረው ፍጥነት ቀርቶ በመሀከለኛ ፍጥነትንም ቢሽከረከር፣ በተዓምር ካልሆነ በስተቀር ሟቹ ተጨፈላልቆ አጥንቱ ነው የሚለቀመው። አይመስላቹም? ከምስክሩ ቃል እንደተረዳነው ግን፣ እርሱ መኪናውን በሩጫ ተከታትሎት ሂዶ መዝግቦ እስከሚመለስ ድረስ የሟቹ ሕይወት እንዳላለፈ ነው። ይህ የምስክሩ ቃል እንግዲህ እንዴት ተብሎ ነው ትክክለኛ አዕምሮ ባለው ሰው ሊታመን የሚችለው? ራሱ ምስክሩ በእንዲህ የሰጠውን ቃል መልሶ መላልሶ ቢያዳምጠና ቢያስተውለው እስከ ዕለተ ሞቱ ድረስ የሚያስበረግገውና የዕድሜ ልክ ነቀርሳ እንደሚሆንበት ጥርጣሬ የለኝም። ዋሽቶ ሰውን ለመከራ፣ ለስቃይ ብሎም ለሞት ማዳረግን የመሰለ ነቀርሳ የለምና።

እኔ ዳኛ ሆኜ እንዲህ የጥናት ማስረጃዎችን በማቅረብ ይታወቁ የነበሩት አንዳንድ እሰረኞች ናቸው፤ የመከላከያ ማስረጃዎችን ለማቅረብ የማይችሉ። ከሰሩት ወንጀል ለማምለጥ ሲሉ እዚያው አብሯቸው የታሰሩትን ጓደኛቸውን አስጠንተው እየቀረቡ አንዳንድ ጊዜ ሲነቃባቸው አውቃለሁ። ዛሬ ደግሞ የጉድ ዘመን ላይ ደረስንና፣ ያለወንጀላቸው ወንጀለኛ ለማሰኘትና ሰርትፊኬት ለማሳወጅ በሚያስተዳድራቸውና በሚጠረጥራቸው ዜጎች ላይ ዓይኑን ጨፍኖ፣ በተደጋገመ የጥናት ምስክሮችን ሲያቀርብ አየን። ዕድሜ መስተዋት ነው ልበል ወይስ…?

ሌላው የምስክሩ አስገራሚ ቃል፣ ከሀያ ሜትር ርቀት ተነስቶ እየበረረ ያውም ወደ ሸራተን በኩል ቅልቁለት የሚወርድን መኪና ደርሶበት የሰሌዳ ቁጥሩን መዝግቦ መመለሱ ነው። መጀመሪያውኑ መኪናውን የመለየቱ አጥራጣሪነት ከላይ እንዳልሁት እንደተጠበቀ ሆኖ፣ በትክክለኛ አዕምሮ አስተሳሰብ በዚያ ምሽት ምናልባትም በአይሮፕላን ካልሆነ በስተቀር ከሀያ ሜትር ተነስቶ በመኪና እንኳን ቢከታተል ሊደርስበት አይችልም። ያለዚያም መኪናው ወደ ሸራተን እንደወረደ ቆሞ መጠበቅ አለበት። ይህ ደግሞ በምስክሩ አልተነገረም። በዚህ ላይ መገንዘብ ያለብን፣ ገጭቶ የሚያመልጥ መኪና የበለጠ ፍጥነቱን ይጨምራል እንጂ ይቀንሳል ተብሎ አይገመትም። ይህም የምስክሩን ቃል ሐሰተኛነት ያጎላል።

2. ሁለተኛውና የዓይን ምስክር ሆኖ የቀረበው ኮንስታብል ታምራት ዱላ አደጋው ደርሶአል በተባለበት ዕለት የመሰከረው፣ የመኪናውን መልክ፣ ፍጥነቱን በአንደኛው ምስክር ተጠርቶ ሂዶ ተገጨ የተባለው ሰው ከመሞቱ ከአምስት ደቂቃ በፊት ደርሶ ማየቱንና የመጠጥ ሽታ እንዳለበት መለየቱን ብቻ ነው። በመኪናው ሰው ሲገጭ ግን አላየም።

ይህ ምስክር ባለአረንጓዴ ቀለም መኪና በሁለት የላዳ ታክሲዎች ታጅባ በፍጥነት እርሱ በሥራ ላይ በነበረበት ግንብ ተብሎ በሚጠራው አካባቢ በኩል ስታልፍ ፍጥነቱን እንዲቀንስ ፊሽካ መንፋቱን ገልጾ፣ ስለሆነው ነገር ግን የሰማውና የተለመከተው በአንደኛው ምስክር አማካይነት መሆኑን ነው ለፍ/ቤቱ ያስረዳው። በመሆኑም ምስክሩ የአይን ሳይሆን ደጋፊ ወይም አካባቢያዊ ማስረጃ(collaborative evidence) ሆኖ ነው ሊወሰድ የሚገባው። እርሱ የቀረበው የመኪነዋን ወለምና በወቅቱ የነበራትን ፍጥነት ለማስረዳት ብቻ ነው። ይህም የመኪነዋ ፍጥነት በተጨማሪ በዚህ ምስክር መነገሩ ሟቹን በርግጥም ገጭቶ ያመለጠው ይኸው አረንጓዴ መልክ ያለው የቴዲ መኪና ለመሆኑ የአንደኛ ምስክሩን ቃል ለማጠናከርና የበለጠ ግንዛቤ በፍ/ቤቱ ላይ ለማሳደር ሆን ተብሎ የተቀነባበረ ነው። ሆኖም ከላይ በአጭሩ ለማብራራት እንደሞከርሁት የመኪነዋን ቀለም ከሦስቱ አረንጓዴ መሆኗን ከዚያ ርቀት የመለየቱ አስቸጋሪነት እንደተጠበቀ ሆኖ፣ ፍ/ቤቱ ከዚህ ላይ ለትክክለኛ ፍትህ የሚጓዝ ከሆነ ሦስት መሠረታዊ ነጥቦች ላይ አትኩሮት ሊጥልባቸው ይገባል።

1. በሁለቱም የምስክሮች ቃል ላይ ገጭዋ መኪና በግራና ቀኝ በታክሲዎች ታጅባና ነው ስትበር የነበረችው። ይህ ከሆነ ደግሞ ሦስቱም መኪኖች በእኩል ፍጥነት ይበሩ እንደነበሩ፣ እና
2. ሦስቱ አንዱ ላይ ጎን ለጎን እኩል የሚበሩ ከሆነ ደግሞ እንዴትስ በትክክል የተባለችው አረንጓዴዋ መኪና መግጨቷ ሊለይ እንደተቻለ፣ እና
3. ሁለተኛው ምስክር የመኪኗን ሰሌዳ ቁጥር እስካልያዘ ድረስና ሌላ አረንጓዴ ቀለም ያለው የቤት መኪና በከተማው ውስጥ ያለምኖሩ እስካልተረጋገጠ ድረስ፣ የተባለችው አረንጓዴ መኪና የቴዲ መሆኗን እንዴት ሁለተኛው ምስክር እንደቻለ በተባሉት ላይ።

የሦስተኛውን ምስክር ቃል ስናጤን ደግሞ ምስክሩ የመኪና ግጭት ፕላን አንሽ ባለሙያ ነው። የሰጠውም ምስክርነት የባለሙያ ነው። ከቃሉም እንደተደመጠው፣ ምስክሩ ፕላኑን በሚያነሳበት ወቅት የሟቹ ሬሳ ጭንቅላቱ ወደ ካዛንችስ አቅጣጫ፣ እግሩ ወደ አራት ኪሎ አቅጣጫ እንደነበር ነው። ይህ እንግዲ የሚያረጋግጥልን ሟቹ ደጉ ይበልጣል የሞተው የመደፈጠጥ ወይም የመጨፈለቅ ጉዳት ሳደርስበት ነው። ከዚህ በተለየ እንዳይባል የሬሳ ምርመራ ውጤቱ ለመቅረቡ የተጠቀሰ ነገር የለም። ከዚህ ተነስተን ደጉ የሞተው በወደቀበት ቦታ በመኪና ተገጭቶ ሳይሆን፣ እየሄደ ባለበት ወቅት ሰክሮ ተሸንፎ በዚያ አስፋልት ላይ ወድቆ መሆን አለበት፤ ወይም እውነትም በመኪና ተገጭቶ ከሆነ መኪናው ወደ ጎን ገፍትሮ ጥሎት አስፋልቱ ተቀብሎት ለሞት ተዳርጎ ይሆናል ወደሚል መደምደሚያ እንደርሳለን። እናም ከፍ ሲል በአንደኛው ምስክር ላይ እንደሰጠሁት ትንተና፣ መኪናው በወደቀ ሰው ላይ ከተሽከረከረ፣ መኪናው ሄዶበት ወይም ጨፍልቆት ሞተ ነው ሊባል የሚችለው እንጂ ተገጭቶ ሊባል አይችልም። በተባለው ፍጥነት ደግሞ መኪና በወደቀ ሰው ላይ ያውም አስፋልት ላይ ከሄደበት ቀሪ የአካላቱን ክፍል ከተለያየ ቦታ ስለማግኘቱ ነው አንድ ምስክር መናገር የሚችለው እንጂ እንደ ፕላን አንሽው የሟቹን ሙሉ አካል የተጋደመበትን አቅጣጭ ሊናገር የሚችልበት ሁኔታ አይኖርም። የዚህን ምስክር ቃል በእንዲህ ከታየ ደግሞ፣ የአንደኛውን ምስክርነት ቃል በበለጠ ጥርጣሬ ላይ እንደሚጥለው መገንዘብ ይቻላል።

አራተኛው ማስረጃ ያልተገኘው ሰው ለፖሊስ የሰጠው ቃል ነው። ይህም በወ/መ/ሕ/ሥ/ሥ ቁጥር 143 መሠረት መሆኑ ነው። በዚህ ሥነ-ሥር ዓት ድንጋጌ መሠረት የእንዲህ ያለ ምስክርነት ቃል ቀርቦ በማስረጃነት እንዲያያዝለት ዐቃቤ ሕግ ሊጠይቅ ይችላል። ከሌላው ወገን ተቃዉሞ ቀረበ አልቀረብ ካመነበት ፍ/ቤቱ ሊቀበለው ይችላል። ቁም ነገሩ መቀበል ያለመቀበሉ ላይ ሳይሆን፣ ምዘናው ላይ ነው። ለፖሊስ የሚሰጥ የምስክርነት ቃል በራሱ ተአማኒነት የለውምና። ምክንያቱም ተከሳሹ ኖሮ መስቀለኛ ጥያቄ እያቀረበ ቃሉን የሚያፈርስበት ሁኔታ አይኖርምና ነው። ከሌሎች ላይ በማዳበሪነቱ ነው ሊያገለግል የሚችለው። ከላይ የሌሎችን ቃል እንደተመለከት ነው እርስበርስ የሚጋጭ በማናቸውም መልክ ቢታይ ሊታመን የማይችል ሆኖ ይታያል።

መቼም አንድ ለፍትህ የቆመ ዳኛ፣ ወገናዊነት የሌለው ዳኛ እንካውንስ እንደዚህ ያፈጠጠ አጠራጣሪ ማስረጃዎች ቀርበው ቀርቶ፣ መጠነኛ ምክንያታዊ ጥርጣሬ የዐቃቤ ሕግ ማስረጃ ካሳየ፣ ተጠርጣሪውን ተከሳሽ ከክሱ በነጻ ሊለቀው ይገባል። ምክንያቱም ዐቃቤ ሕግ ክሱን ምክንያታዊ ከሆነው ጥርጣሬ(beyond reasonable doubt) ውጭ ማስረዳት መቻል አለበትና። ይህ ዓለም አቀፍ መርህ ነው።

ለነገሩ ዳኛው ልዑል ገ/ማሪያም ነው። እንደምናስታውሰው ልዑል በቅንጅት ጉዳይ የቀኝ ዳኛ የነበረ ነው። በሕግ ያለውም የእውቀት ደረጃው በአማርኛ በሕግ ት/ቤት የሚሰጠው ዲፕሎማ ድረስ ነው። በእንዲህ ያለ ጉዳይ አንድ የከፍተኛ ፍ/ቤት ዳኛ የተለያዩ የውጭ የህግ መጽሐፎችን፣ መጽሄቶችን አምብቦ የሚረዳ መሆን አለበት። ይህን ደግሞ ልዑል ሊያሟላ የሚችል አይደለም። ስለሆነም፣ ል ዑል ለእንዲህና ለመሳሰሉ ጉዳዮች የሚመረጠው ባለው በዳኝነት ዕውቀቱ ሳይሆን፣ በትክክለኛ ፈራጅነቱ ሳይሆን፣ በወገናዊነቱ ነው ለማለት ይቻላል። እናም፣ የምስክሮቹ ቃል እውነታው እንደዚያ ቁልጭ ብሎ የሚታይ ቢሆንም፣ ዳኛው ልዑል እንደመሆኑ መጠን የዐቃቤ ሕግ ማስረጃነትን በብቁነት ተቀብሎ እንዲከላከል ብይን ከመስጠት ወደኋላ የሚል አይመስለኝም። ቢከላከልም፣ በመጨረሻ የጥፋተኝነት ውሳኔ ከመስጠት ወደኋላ የሚል ሰው አይደለም። እናም፣ አሁንም በፍትህ ስም ቴዲን ለይቅርታ? የሚል ጥርጣሬ ታይቶኛል። እናንተስ? ወገኖቼ! የጊዜው የወያኔ ቫይሬስ ነውና።

ድምዳሜ

ይህ በቴዲ ላይ የደረሰው በትር፣ “መተማን አረሱት፣ አርማጮን አረሱት….ከኛ ሰው ሲታጣ….” በሚለው ዜማው ብቅ ብሎ ተንፍሶ ያስተነፈሰውን ፋሲልና ሌሎች በዚህ በኩል ብቅ፣ ብቅ የሚሉትን ወጣት ሙዚቀኞችን ለማስጠንቀቅና ወኔያቸውን ለመስለብ ሆን ተብሎ የተቀነባበረ የሂደት ጅምር ነው። ነገ ደግሞ ሌላ ማየታችን አይቀርም። የቴድ ጉዳይ እንደአየነው፣ ሊበሏት ያሰቧትን ወፍ ጅግራ ይሏታል ዓይነት ነው።

ታዲያ እኛ እንደዚህ በተናጠልና በጅምላ በሕዝባችን ላይ የእሥራት፣ የግድያና የአፈና ሰቆቃ፣ የሰብአዊ መብት ረገጣው እየደረሰባቸውና እየሰፋ ሂዶ በማን አለብኝነት የኢትዮጵያን መሬት ተቆርሶ በተሰጠበት በአሁኑ ወቅት፣ እኛ ደግሞ እየበረታን ያለነው የራሱ የወያኔ ሳያንስ የወገን ማህበሮችን፣ ድርጅቶችን በማፍረስ፣ በማጠላለፍና ስም በማጥፋት ላይ ተሰልፈናል። ይህ መቼ ነው የሚቆመው? የድርጊታችንን አስከፊነት ቆም ብለን ተመልክተን ራሳችንን በሕሊና መነጽራችን መቼ ይሆን የምናየው? መቼ ነው አንዳንዶቻችን በአንድነት ስም፣ በኢትዮጵያዊነት ስም መነገዳችንን የምናቆመው? አንዳንዶቻችን ከፍርሃትና ከአድርባይነት ዋሻ መቼ ነው የምንወጣው? እናም እናስብበት። ዛሬ ነው ጊዜ ያለን፤ ከተጠያቂነት የምናመልጠው ዛሬ ነው፤ ነገ ሌላ ነውና። እናም፣ ዛሬ በቁርጠኝነት ለአንድነት እንነሳ። አንድነት ኃይል ነውና። አንድ ከሆንን አገራችንን ከገባችበት ማጥ እናወጣታለን። ድር ቢያብር አንበሳ ያስር ያባል የለ!!

Jendayi Frazer faced angry audience in Seattle

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Muluneh Yohannes, Ethiomedia Staff Writer

Jendayi Frazer, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, delivered a lecture on “The Future of Africa and U.S. Foreign Policy” at the Seattle based University of Washington Campus on May 29th 2008.

The Bureau of African Affairs and its involvement in Africa

Under the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of African Affairs is in charge of the broader Sub-Saharan Africa region. The Bureau identified three key challenges to African leaders in the years ahead: consolidating democratic gains, expanding economic growth, and stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS. According to the information from the State Department, American Foreign Policy towards Africa focuses on the following fields of cooperation: African Education Initiative, African Growth and Opportunity Act, Malaria Initiative, HIV/AIDS Initiative, Women’s Justice and Empowerment Initiative, Confidence and Security Building Measures.

Ambassador Frazer’s speech

The Assistant Secretary delivered a 15 to 20 minutes speech. The Ambassador highlighted that the U.S. is committed in building institutions and further strengthening strategic partnership with Africa. She specifically identified four major U.S. Foreign Policy priorities in Africa.

* The first one is the broader collaboration with the people of Africa on mutual interests.
* The second priority is Expansion of Economic Growth. The Ambassador stressed that the Bush Administration is committed for Debt Cancellation; pending endorsement from congress, 3.8 billion loans signed for health and education investment; 90 % duty free for African products of the AGOA agreement (African Growth and Opportunity Act) with fourteen Nations resulted in the current 11 trillion dollars trade exchange between the U.S. and Africa. Moreover, America targets to help the African Financial Market in the form of 100% Debt Relief amounting 42 billion dollars.
* The third area of cooperation dwells in the Fight Against Disease. Assistant Secretary Frazer quoted President Bush as saying “A baby should not die just because of the bite of a mosquito”. Accordingly, the Bush administration set a 15 billion dollars five year’s budget to tackle HIV/AIDS and a further 30 billion dollars is requested in 2007. Another 3.5 billion dollars is under utilization to tackle the deadly malaria epidemic.
* The last major area of cooperation of the U.S. with Africa is Peace Initiatives. The Assistant Secretary recalls the prime role of the U.S. in peace negotiations in Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sera Leon, and the North-South Sudan conflict. Jendayi was upfront with the huge task left in conflict management and resolution. She did not hide her frustration on the highly volatile Horn of Africa situation.

Challenge surfaced on the question and answer session

There were about 200 attendees of the lecture comprising students and staff members of the campus. However, the majority of the audience was the Diaspora community from Africa, specifically from Horn of Africa. Ambassador Frazer was bombarded with emotional pleas and questions from Ethiopians, Somalis, Eritreans, Sudanese, and from the self proclaimed Independent Somali Landers. The long time friend and old classmate of Dr. Jendayi, Dr. Sanjeev Khagram moderated the Q&A session with huge difficulty and in a protective way of his guest. Two days before the event, Ethiomedia requested to have an interview with the Assistant Secretary. Our request was pushed away and communicated to us through the same Dr. Sanjeev. The following are some of the highlights of the Q&A period.

When asked about the U.S. role in the Horn of Africa crisis engulfing Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, the Ambassador explained the region as a “very, very, very hot region for current and future U.S. administrations”. The majority of the audience was from the Horn of Africa region and undoubtedly, brought burning questions. Shakespear Feyissa, an Ethiopian-American Lawyer confronted Frazer on why the U.S. has done little or nothing about the mass killings and arrests of innocent civilians, imprisonment of elected opposition officials and civic society leaders following the 2005 controversial Ethiopian election. The lawyer specifically asked why the Assistant Secretary herself and her administration ignored the dictatorial actions of Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia. As soon as Shakespear finished his high-toned question, the room was erupted with an overwhelming noise of support. The moderator seemed to panic and ordered the house not ask questions about Ethiopia. Frazer attempted to address the question and differed with Shakespear on the level of American response. She argued that they pressured Meles on the release of the prisoners and related matters.

Dr. Frazer was also asked about the policy of the U.S. on the Ethio-Eritrea border conflict. The Ambassador was frank to argue that her personal belief and stand was not to involve in this matter. However, she said that she had to do the job as instructed by her boss. According to Dr. Jendayi, President Issayas of Eritrea further complicated the matter when he chose not to deal with America. She clarified that her office and Secretary Rice have been attempting to reach Issayas with no success at all simply because the “President of Eritrea does not return our phone calls”. When she gave reasons on why President Issayas is unfriendly towards the U.S. she indicated one turning point. According to the Ambassador, President Issayas was offended when the U.S. put Ethiopia along Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya as one of the four major Strategic Countries to America. Eritrea directly asked America to remove Ethiopia from the list and Eritrea itself to take the place. Frazer mentioned that Eritrea offered an Island base for the U.S. military and it was declined because it was not needed. That also angered Issayas Afeworki. Subsequently, there is no meaningful diplomatic relationship and the Ambassador stressed that the U.S. has limited leverage over Eritrea. However, she was not short of warning the tiny Horn of Africa Nation for serving as a base for Islamic extremists. Dr. Jendayi believes that Eritrea’s support to extremists is not because of Ideological conformity, but rather Issayas is focused so much in deposing the Meles Zenawi regime in Ethiopia.

On the Somali crisis, she made it clear that the U.S. expects Ethiopia to leave Somali after making sure of the uncertainty of power vacuum. She expressed her concern on the slow African Union response. Dr. Jendayi was also asked how America handles the different Somali faction groups. She argued that the U.S. has no enemy in Africa and openly or otherwise we dialogue with all Somali Faction leaders including the extremists.

Dr. Jendayi recognized the fast paced China involvement in Africa and she mentioned that Africa would become one of the new power centers because of the hugely untapped human and natural resources. The Ambassador confessed that her African Bureau is full of junior diplomats with limited or no experience to deal with high stake issues in Africa.

Another audience asked if there is a chance for the U.S. to settle the Ethio-Eritrea dispute. Jendayi Frazer, with a tone of frustration, labeled Meles and Isayas as the twin “stubborn leaders”.

Note: information from the U.S. Department of State used for this report.

The writer can be reached at muluneh@ethiomedia.com

Ethiopians in Washington DC oppose secret border agreement

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Ethiopians in the Washington DC Metro area held protest rallied today in front of the Sudanese Embassy and Woyanne-occupied Ethiopian Embassy to express their opposition to the secret border re-demarcation agreement between Meles Zenawi and and al-Beshir. The secret agreement gave tens of thousands of square kilometers of Ethiopian land to Sudan, in return for Sudan allowing access for a railway from the Tigray region to Port Sudan. The protest rallies were organized by Ethiopia and Sudan Border Issues Committee, in collaboration with other Ethiopian groups.

Ginbot 7 has less than 6 months to prove itself

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

In light of the rapidly worsening conditions in Ethiopia, the recently formed Ginbot 7 Movement for Democracy and Justice has a very short time (may be less than 6 months) to prove to the people of Ethiopia that it is serious about getting rid of the Woyanne dictatorship.

ER believes that Ginbot 7 can carry out some concrete actions in the next few weeks and months that could create a great deal of pressure on the Woyanne dictatorship. Some of these actions include:

1) Establishing a shadow government (a government-in-waiting – ተጠባባቂ መንግስት). This is perhaps the most critical step that should be taken by Ginbot 7 if it is serious about saving Ethiopia from the ongoing calamities. Ethiopia’s very survival is now under threat, and the people of Ethiopia are hungry for strong leadership. Unless Ginbot 7 leaders do not have the confidence in themselves that they are ready to take over government, jointly with other parties — or by themselves if necessary — they should not be taken as serious political leaders. (Read more about shadow government here).

2) Initiating dialog with opposition parties such as the Oromo Liberation Front, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, and Ethiopian People’s Patriotic Front that will lead to the formation of a transitional coalition government in exile (TCG). Members of the Ginbot 7 shadow government (government-in-waiting) would play a major role in helping setup the various branches of the TCG, but ministerial portfolios need to be divided up based on agreements reached among the parties that agree to form the TCG. The TCG’s term should not exceed two years, and one of its primary responsibilities should be preparing the country for general elections.

3) While the formation of Ginbot 7’s government-in-waiting and the TCG is underway, Gibot 7, in collaboration with the other opposition parties (if possible), need to call on the people of Ethiopia to prepare for massive nationwide civil disobedience campaigns to pressure the Woyanne junta to lay down its weapons and come to the negotiation table. Once this message gets out, the people will start organizing themselves at the grass root level in small groups, among friends and family members, etc. The fact that Gibot 7 is making such a call to the people would by itself unnerve the already paranoid Woyanne leaders and build up the pressure on them.

4) Ginbot 7, in collaboration with the other opposition parties, need to send a series of messages and warnings to the Woyanne armed forces to turn their back on the Woyanne leaders and start siding with the people. Depending on how well this is done, it could create more pressure on the Meles-Sebhat regime.

5) Ginbot 7, in collaboration with the other opposition parties (if possible), need to setup a tribunal in exile that would prepare the ground work for prosecuting Woyanne leaders, military officers, heads of security services and bureaucrats who are committing crimes against the people of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Members of the tribunal could include Judge Woldemichael Meshesha and others who had investigated the 2005 post-elections massacres in Ethiopia. Ginbot 7 can easily raise the necessary funds for the setting up of the tribunal in exile. Ethiopian Review hereby pledges $1,000 for such a project in the name of Shibre Desalegn.

6) Launch an aggressive diplomatic campaign to convince the governments of the United States, Western Europe, and others to stop their support to the Woyanne fascist regime. But in order to succeed, setting up the transitional coalition government in exile is a must. It is necessary to present to these governments, and the international community, in general, that there is a better alternative to Woyanne.

7) The Eritrean government can play a critical role in the removal of the Woyanne cancer from the region. Ginbot 7 needs to establish, without further delay, a formal diplomatic relation with the Eritrean government and setup offices in Asmara.

The above are just some of the steps Ginbot 7 can take in a matter of few days. We Ethiopians want to save our country from the Woyanne reign of terror and destruction. Are Ginbot 7 leaders ready to step up to the plate?

Sudan bans activities of Eritrean opposition

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

(KHARTOUM) — Sudan has banned the activities of the Eritrean opposition in the country after years of support. The move indicates the level of good relations between Asmara and Khartoum.

The Sudanese government officially notified the representative of the Eritrean opposition in the Khartoum to stop political activities against Asmara government and close their venues.

According to Islam Today website, which is well informed about Islamist movements in the Horn of Africa, the Sudanese government also ordered the Eritrean groups to render houses and vehicles granted by the Sudanese security service.

In 1994 Eritrea severed bilateral ties accused the Islamist led government in Khartoum of harbouring the Eritrean opposition and particularly the Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement. The two countries repaired relations at the end of 2000 thanks to Qatari mediation.

However, Eritrea continued to accuse Sudan of embracing “terrorist groups” while it maintained its support to the Sudanese opposition parties settled in Asmara since 1996.

Following the signing of Comprehensive Peace Agreement by the Sudanese government and the former rebel SPLM in January 2005, Sudan and Eritrea started a timid rapprochement under the initiative of the former ally of Asmara, the SPLM. The Eritrean mediation to end the eastern Sudan conflict in October 2007 strengthened the bilateral ties between the two countries.

Since the closure of the opposition radio station, Al-Sharq in November 2006, Eritrean opposition forces moved its activities to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Actually, Sudan since 2005 refused to allow it to hold a conference in Khartoum.

However, an analyst who required anonymity said this move could mean that Sudan wants more decisive Eritrean action against the rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement who are still have some presence in Asmara.

He further said that the arrest of Abdel-Aziz Abu Ashr, the head of JEM intelligence and half brother of its chairman Khalil Ibrahim, in eastern Sudan while he was preparing to cross the border to Eritrea has a big significance for Sudanese authorities.

The opposition Eritrean Democratic Alliance consists of thirteen parties including two Islamist organizations, Eritrean Islamic Party for Justice and Development, and Eritrean Islamic Congress. The opposition alliance in its conference held in Addis Ababa last May elected Ould Cyprslasi Chairman of the Executive Office, Abdullah Mahmoud head of the Office of the leading opposition coalition.

Source: Sudan Tribune

Watchdog group investigates ESFNA

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

A watchdog group has been formed to investigate corruption inside the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA). According to the group, which calls itself ‘ESFNA Watch’, board members of ESFNA are accused of underreporting earnings, exaggerating deductions and exemptions, and participating in questionable tax shelters. For details, click the groups web site, esfnawatch.com

Ethnicity and restructuring of the state in Ethiopia

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

By Berhanu Gutema Balcha

At the political level, there have been ethnic organizations in the name of various ethnic groups such as Afar, Oromo, Somali, Sidama, and Tigrayan since the 1970s. At present due to the policy of ethnic restructuring and ethnic entitlement since 1991 there are nearly hundred ethnic organizations that are legally registered in Ethiopia (National Election Board of Ethiopia 2005). Although a detail study is not carried out on the nature and conviction of these ethnic organizations, it is plausible to claim that in many cases that the major inspirational forces for these ethnic organizations are the attainment of social, political and economic objective rather than primordial or atavistic drives. In almost all cases, the claims for ethnic mobilization and solidarity have been made in the context of redressing ‘injustices of the past’, reclaiming of dignified existence and self-administration, developing of culture and usage of languages which were ignored and barred in the past. These claims are more of a demand for social status, political power and economic benefits (instrumental) rather than preserving or nurturing relationships that make a bond from generation to generation or recognising the overpowering and coercive congruities of blood, speech, custom, and so on (primordial). However, putative generational bond or primordial attachment has been exploited to advance these social, political and economic objectives and this has inclined to create a ‘permanent’ cleavage that could widen and has opened a venue for further exclusion, discrimination and hostilities… Read more >>

Ethiopians in the Washington DC Metro area register to vote

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Ethiopians for Obama kicked-off a “Project Yechalal” Virginia voter registration drive at St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Volunteers were deployed at the church and registered voters on a non-partisan basis. The excitement from the Ethiopian-American congregation was overwhelming.

“I was excited to see Ethiopians registering other Ethiopians.” stated Nadew Hailu. “I was looking for a way to become involved and to register to vote. When I saw the registration drive, I instantly felt a part of the process”

Nadew’s efforts were amazing. He took on the responsibility of letting others in the church know about the registration drive and guided Ethiopians to the table in droves. His enthusiasm was contagious, his excitement was unbelievable.

The excitement did not end with Nadew. Ethiopian-Americans from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC were elated to have the opportunity to register. This is something new in the Ethiopian-American community; few have witnessed this level of effort to make sure that Ethiopian-Americans take part in the political process. This is truly the beginning of a new era, Ethiopian-Americans are motivated and excited to vote unlike any election in recent memory.

Alemseged Gelmariam is a registered voter; he took note of the Ethiopians for Obama volunteers and their dedication. Alemseged understands the value of voting, he said that most Ethiopians don’t think their vote makes a difference. However, he knows full well that Ethiopian-Americans have a responsibility—if not a duty—to vote.

“It does not matter who you support because voting is a responsibility that we should all take seriously”, stated Alemseged. “I was so encouraged by seeing Ethiopians take it upon themselves to organize and register other Ethiopians.”

There seems to be a hesitancy to be a register to vote amongst many in the Ethiopian-American community. Some explain this phenomenon as one borne out of fear—political involvement has not always been an encouraged activity amongst the Ethiopian community. In fact, out of the many people who stopped by to find out about the Ethiopians for Obama effort, over 70% were not registered.

Genene Tufer became a citizen only a few months ago. He understands fully the value of voting, he knows that there are millions who wait every year to become a citizen—voting is a right that should not be taken for granted. He always followed politics on CNN and C-SPAN and has a passionate belief in the electoral process. He is a big supporter of Senator Obama, he believes that Obama is the best person for the job in an critical time. Genene believes that Obama is the one person who can fix the mess that eight years of Bush has created.

“I can’t wait to vote this year, I waited for years to become a citizen,” said Genene. “I finally have a chance to vote and I get to vote for a man of honor and principle.”

Regardless of whom one supports, it is vital that Ethiopian-Americans register to vote. The policies that are enacted in the United States has impacts throughout the world. As citizens of the United States, Ethiopian-Americans cannot take for granted the precious right to vote that countless others do not enjoy elsewhere. It is easy to criticize or to complain from the sideline, but the vote is the one powerful tool that all citizens can exercise to deliver change. America is our country, as citizens, we have a duty to vote—our actions today will have an influence of the lives our children live tomorrow.

Source: Ethiopians for Obama

Possible solution to Ethiopia's multidimensional ills

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

By H. Menelik

As one of the least developed countries, Ethiopia has many political, economic, social and cultural ills.The economy is stagnant. Population explosion is high, the endemic AIDS is still rampant, famine and starvation are real, tension in the hinterland, war with neighboring countries are both real and imminent. In this article I argue that if the country can adopt Liberal Democracy sooner than later, a radical shift can be made in the political system of the country that paves the way for rapid all-round development.

The Current Situation

There is confusion and inertia in Ethiopia’s political system. The confusion stems from the fact that the country is still under a revolution, ‘Revolutionary Democracy,’ a remnant of Maoism. After having undergone through a revolution, a Socialist system under the military dictatorship, the country should have made a smooth transition to Liberal Democracy, the logical subsequent political system, as has been done by the former East European Socialist countries.

Because of the confusion in the political system, 18 years have already elapsed and the leaders of the country still lack a political road map that can transform the country to Liberal Democracy, the best political system in the present day.

Stating the development of Liberal Democracy across the globe, after the Socialist system proved a failure in the Soviet Union, the rising star academician of our time, Professor Francis Fukuyama, in his famous book, The End of History and the Last Man, stressed the need to adopt this political system by all countries without exception. He even considered Liberal Democracy as the Last political system of human kind. That is why he termed the transformation as the end of history, but he later on corrected his hypothesis and concluded that the End of History will come about when the progress of science and technology make a halt. He loves the system that he propagates, underlining its inevitability once more in his latest book, ‘State-Building and Governance in the 21st Century’.

Indeed, Liberal Democracy, with all its deficiencies, is the best political system human kind has achieved so far. It affords mankind a unique opportunity by providing both individuals and groups freedom and democratic rights, unlike the Socialist System which deprives freedom and democratic rights. All of us Ethiopians know very well the effects of political and economic deprivations when we were under the yoke of the military regime which lasted 17 years. There was no freedom of conscience,freedom of religion,the right to assembly, peaceful demonstration etc.

Measured against this background, it is doubtless that now there is no a better political system than Liberal Democracy. That is why all the former Socialist countries including Russia, the champion of the old system are now buckling down to the task of rearranging the political system to suit to the parameters of Liberal Democracy. The former East European Socialist countries are also busy now clearing their houses and developing their all-round relations with the EU and NATO.

In a similar vein, China, since the time of the reformist Deng Xiaoping, is changing fast specially with regard to the the development of the economy. Unfortunately, China didn’t make a parallel change in its political system, its human rights record is one of the worst in the world. Suffice it to mention here the recent crackdown made by its authorities against Tibetans who are making a strenuous struggle to gain autonomy.

In Cuba, both the politics and the economy have stagnated. The average income in Cuba per month now is only 60 US dollars. It is funny also that Cubans were allowed to have mobile phones a few weeks ago. This simply shows the Socialist system for which Fidel Castro and his friends paid heavy sacrifice in the hay days of the student movement of the 1960s doesn’t work now. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the present Cuban leadership to make the necessary change at the right time.

The former Socialist countries in Africa, with the exception of Ethiopia, are streamlining both their political and economic systems. Why not Ethiopia, a country with three thousand years of history, a country which effectively resisted colonialism, a beacon of freedom and hope for the entire black race?

Ethiopia was a champion in the establishment of the Organization of African Unity which significantly contributed to the decolonization of Africa. South African’s first black president Nelson Madella took military training in Addis Ababa. The veteran African statesman in his autobiography paid tribute to the Ethiopian government for the training that he received. However, the veteran leader didn’t come to Ethiopia after he assumed political power. Can any one guess? My guess is that he was displeased by the current Ethiopian leadership in their role of dismembering the country which was a beacon of freedom.

Why the retrogression to tribal politics now? The reason is mainly lack of knowledge and experience. The present leaders of the country are all former leftist university students who have still the lingering effects of leftist political ideas of the Student Movement of the 1960s and 70s. All the leaders, specially Meles Zenawi, who claims to be the chief architect of the political system, most often, mentions the name of Wallelegn Mekonen, a revolutionary university student who advocated the equality of all nationalities in Ethiopia, as an acknowledged political scholar, his taught as a guide for present-day politics in Ethiopia. The problem, however, is that the world-wide student movement of 1968-1974 (in the case of Ethiopia) was a short lived one, the political experience of Wallelegn and Co was limited. Wallelegne and his friends who hijacked a passenger plane to Algiers had no exposure of Europe or North America where they could see what democracy is. Praising Cheguvera and Hochimin or Fidel Castro was the fad of the day. But no more after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

It is an indisputable fact that Wallelegn played a major role as a source of inspiration to the student movement but his ideas don’t serve for present-day Ethiopian politics. Now we are at globalization age, where the 192 member countries of the UN are busy connecting themselves to each other in trade, investment, economy, military alliances, cultural exchanges, scientific and technology cooperation — all of which demand dynamic leadership, not static political ideology that goes back to the student movement of the late 1960s.

What Professor Fukuyama stated in his latest book mentioned above, about sub-Saharan African countries holds also true to the current situation in Ethiopia. He characterized the present sub-Saharan African countries as “neopatrimonial” — that is, with political power used to service a cliantelistic network of supporters of the country’s leaders. Leaders who embezzle the finance of the country are described as having a predatory behavior, while the others who stand for the benefit of their ethnic groups, like Meles Zenawi, exercise rent-seeking –that is, use of the public sector to reallocate property rights to the benefit of a particular interest, that is directed to a single family, tribe, region or ethnic groups.

It would telling the obvious to try to retell the story of power abuse, nepotism, corruption, naked partiality to the region of Tigrai under the current government. Using the state power as an exclusive domain, the regime of Meles Zenawi, established an extensive economic empire, no less than 50 in number for Tigrai, not for the other regions of Ethiopia. The article which was posted in a web site by the officials of the region, specially Dr. Solomon Enquaoi, clearly demonstrates the extent of the uneven development made by the regime in favor of their region. Meles repeated what Mobutu did in his birth place. Mobutu, it was reported, made infrastructural development in his birth place depriving other regions same opportunity.

Meles gets mad when somebody tries to speak against such injustice, unfair economic development in Tigrai region. A former MP who denounced the unbalanced development in the same region at the rubber-stamp parliament some years ago, was severely rebuked by the brutal dictator, and fled the country after receiving a death threat by the security agents. Meles labeled the out-spoken MP as a deadly enemy of the people of Tigrai. Even now, if someone speaks any thing against Tigrai and Meles, he is liable to be categorized as genocidal, Interhamwee, and even risks his life.

Ethiopia has also become a country of nepotism par excellence. The so-called freedom fighters, who are mostly from the same region have virtually dominated the military and the public service. They call this an affirmative action, to give it a democratic color. However, it is an outrageous tribalism modeled after Ziad Barre’s Merihan-style of domination. It behooves, therefore, that Ethiopian politicians make a radical but peaceful change by transforming the country to Liberal Democracy to undo the imbalances and to open a level field for all citizens of the country.

The Prospect of Liberal Democracy In Ethiopia

Before coming to raise the possibilities of Liberal Democracy in Ethiopia, I would like to make a highlight on the development of democracy throughout the world in the past two decades. Studies made in this regard indicate that since 1974-1986 democracy has expanded throughout the world embracing Greece, Spain, in nine Latin American countries, Philippines, Korea, Taiwan. By 1987, the third wave of democratization had spread to the point where about two of every five states in the world were democracies: all of Western Europe, much of Asia, and most of Latin America. But that still left gap in Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East. Democracy was still a regional phenomenons situation has changed dramatically with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and then the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. By 1990,most of the states of Eastern Europe and even poor and isolated Mongolia held competitive elections and began to institutionalize democracy.

In February 1990 two seminal events launched a new wave of democratic transitions in Africa. In Benin, a coalition of forces in civil society, organized in a “sovereign national conference,” claimed governing authority and launched a transition to democracy. In South Africa, the apartheid regime released Nelson Mandela from prison and launched a process of political duologue and normalization that gave birth to democracy in 1994. When these two events occurred, there were only three democratic countries in Africa — the Gambia, Botswana, and Mauritius. But starting in 1990, Africa experienced a rolling tide of democratic change. Under heavy pressure from international donors as well as their own peoples, most African states by 1997 had at least legalized opposition parties, opened space in civil society, and held multi- party elections. Many of these openings were largely a facade, marred by continued repression and blatant rigging of the vote. But well over a dozen met the minimum conditions of democracy, and in several cases, long-ruling incumbent parties were defeated.

As democracy spread to Eastern Europe, a few states in the former Soviet Union, and a number in Africa, while extending deeper into Asia and Latin America, it came during the 1990s to be a global phenomenon, the predominant form of government, and the only broadly legitimate form of government in the world. Today, about three-fifths of all the world’s states (by the count of Freedom House, 121 of 193) are democracies. There are no global rivals to democracy as a broad model of government. Communism is dead. Military rule everywhere lacks appeal and normative justification. One-party states have largely disappeared, for what single party — in this day and age — can credibly claim the wisdom and moral righteousness to rule indefinitely and without criticism or challenge? Only the vague model of an Islamic state has any moral and ideological appeal as an alternative form of government.

If democracy can emerge and persist in an extremely poor, landlocked, overwhelmingly Muslim country like Mali — in which the majority of adults are illiterate and live in absolute poverty and the life expectancy is 44 years — then there is no reason in principle why democracy cannot develop in most other very poor countries. In fact, if we examine the 36 countries that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) classifies as having “Low Human Development,” 11 are democracies today. If we widen our scope to look at the bottom third of states classified by the UNDP, the percentage of democracies rises from nearly a third to 41 percent. About a dozen of these have been democracies for a decade or longer. That there should be so many democracies among the world’s least developed countries is a phenomenon at least as noteworthy as the overall predominance of democracy in the world, and one profoundly in defiance of established social science theories.

Empirically, the implication that authoritarian and conflict-ridden states should emphasize the rule of law rather than democracy is viable only as a transitional strategy. In reality, democracy and freedom are closely related in the world. Even if we forget about the wealthy countries of the West — all liberal democracies — and examine only the developing and post -communist countries, we find that the countries where civil liberties and the rule of law are best respected are democracies, and the human rights (and humanitarian) emergencies are invariably to be found in non-democracies.

Each year Freedom House rates each country from 1 to 7 along two scales, political rights (basically to participate and compete democratically) and civil liberties, with 1 being most free and 7 most repressive. There are only two countries in the world that are not democracies and yet have a civil-liberties score below the midpoint on the seven-point scale: Tonga, and Antigua and Barbuda. One can hardly advance a general theory of political development based on these two micro states. To be sure, there are some pretty illiberal democracies in the world, with serious problems of human rights and the rule of law, but the only countries that give their citizens extensive civic freedom and a thorough rule of law are democracies.

In one respect, democracy is still not quite a global phenomenon. In every region of the world — except for one — at least a third of the states are democracies. Thirty of the 33 states in Latin America and the Caribbean are democracies, and about half of them are now fairly liberal in terms of their levels of freedom. Two-thirds of the former communist countries, half of the Asian states, and even about two-fifths of the African states are now democracies. Only in the Middle East is democracy virtually absent. In fact, among the 16 Arab countries, there is not a single democracy and, with the exception of Lebanon.

Most dictatorships in the world survive for a simple reason. Their leaders enjoy having unchallenged power as well as having the ability that power confers to accumulate great personal wealth. It is just not possible to look at the evidence from the ground (and from the public opinion surveys) in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and argue that their peoples don’t mind living under dictatorship. Of course, no one could maintain that the majority of people in every country want a fully democratic system or that all peoples understand all the institutions of liberal democracy. But most people do want freedom. Given the choice, they would like to be able to constrain the arbitrary power of government, to replace bad and corrupt leaders, to have a predictable and secure life under some kind of just rule of law. When one assembles these basic political preferences, it begins to look an awful lot like democracy, even if the word may have different (or unsure) meanings in many places.

There is a lot of work to be done around the world to build the culture of democracy — the understanding of its rules, possibilities, obligations, and limits, the norms of tolerance, civility, participation, and mutual respect. Some of this cultural change happens with economic development, increasing education, and exposure to the global environment. Much of it can and should happen through deliberate programs of civic education and civil society construction. External democracy promotion programs and domestic civil society efforts have made some progress toward these goals. Much more remains to be done.

But the principal obstacle to the expansion of democracy in the world is not the people of the remaining authoritarian states. The problem is the ruling elites who have hijacked the structures of state power and barricaded themselves inside. As long as these rulers can corner a sufficient flow of resources to feed their apparatus of political predation and domination, they can survive.

That is where the international environment enters in. Predatory authoritarian regimes do not generate resources organically from within their own societies very well. Rather, they inhibit domestic investment, innovation, entrepreneurship, and hence economic growth by violating property rights and other individual freedoms. Such arbitrary rule also discourages foreign investment — except in the enclave economy of oil or other natural resource extraction.

This characterizes well the present situation in Ethiopia where a predatory authoritarian regime held in check the ownership of private properties, political freedoms of individuals. It has reversed the democratic aspirations of the 74 million people of Ethiopia. Though the scenario for the introduction of Liberal Democracy seems to be bleak, all Ethiopians living in the country or abroad have the duty to liberate themselves from the shackles of the tribal regime.

Alemayehu Shumye wins 'Run for Peace' marathon in Beirut

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

BEIRUT: Thousands of people ran through Beirut on Sunday morning as part of the HSBC Vivicitta Run for Peace, amid a positive atmosphere still clinging to the city after the presidential election and the Qatari-mediated end to the nation’s 18-month political crisis.

Smiling faces peppered a sea of white t-shirts and red baseball caps as the crowd waited to run for peace. Family members waved from behind a uniformed marching band as their children mingled among international athletes and enthusiastic volunteers. Clowns towered over the crowd on stilts, clapping along with the music that blared from loudspeakers. A small child waved a large Lebanese flag.

A line of athletes stood hand-in-hand at the front of the crowd, already sweating under the morning sun. At the sound of the horn they were off, with hundreds of children swarming behind them.

When they returned to the finish line, young women with colorful plastic pom-poms cheered as they passed. First came the athletes, shooting by as if in the Olympics, one of them jumping to touch the finish line banner. The rest of the crowd arrived a few minutes later, led by children who clearly hoped to one day wear the jerseys of the athletes they so closely followed. The spectators included a man with his daughter sitting on his shoulders and a smiling soldier leaning against the barricades.

Roughly 7,500 people took part in two events, a 5-kilometer run and a 21-kilometer race.

The winner of the 21-kilometer race, which involved an international selection of star athletes, was Ethiopian runner Alemayehu Shumye Tafere.

“We have here all religions and races,” said Jinan Mantash, an 18-year-old participant in the 5-kilometer race who won her age bracket. “Because children and youth are the new generations, now that they have united in this event they will learn when they grow up that a united Lebanon is a must. It feels great to work for Lebanon.”

“The students are from many schools in Lebanon. They are running from all Lebanon, and we can run hand in hand,” said volunteer Patrick Rizkallah, who helped coordinate schools and universities to participate in the event.

According to Rizkallah, about 7,000 students were recruited.

Edgar Abou Rizk from the Teachers’ Syndicate of Lebanon said he expected the event to reflect that stability had returned to Lebanon following recent events. “Outside Lebanon when they are going to see through the news that all the Lebanese are gathered together, this will bring peace and tourists again to the country and we hope that this race will be the pioneer program for this summer to bring a peaceful situation to our country,” he said.

For this year’s race the Beirut Marathon Association focused on bringing children from across the country to the event. Beirut Marathon Association director May al-Khalil said children participating were also asked to draw pictures and write about their visions of peace.

Khalil said that the Beirut Marathon Association (BMA) has signed an agreement with the Unione Italiana Sport Per tutti to continue doing the 21-kilometer as well as the 5-kilometer race. With this in mind, she said she hoped that the event would become more popular in the coming years.

“I believe this year was the first attempt for the Beirut Marathon Association and our partners to work together, but I have the feeling that next year the number you see today is going to be – if not twice – [then] triple next year,” she said.

“Everybody is supporting us – the government and the opposition,” said Ziad Shaaban, a volunteer at the event. Shaaban has volunteered for the BMA for five years, since the first race.

Shaaban said that this year’s run for peace event benefited from better organization than the year before.

“We learned from our mistakes,” he added. There were some “incidents” the previous year, when the location of key points in the run led to some confusion among those taking part.

Volunteer Tony Hajj said he joined the event to serve a good cause and gain organizational experience to add to his resume. He said the size of the run was smaller than the year before, in part due to the fact that income and tourism had suffered from the conflict earlier this month.

Howard Miller, a tourist from London, said he had decided to participate in the marathon after arriving in Beirut 10 days ago. Miller, who is traveling across the Middle East, learned of the event from posters in the city.

“I think it’s a fascinating time to be here,” he said. “It’s amazing to see people kind of relaxing, because I get the sense there was a lot of energy built up in two weeks when they just weren’t doing anything.”

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Amine Daouk, president of the humanitarian non-profit organization Makassed. “It’s what Lebanese, especially young people want: They want peace; they are all here as one.”

By Eugene Yukin and Jay Heisler, The Daily Star

Imported Chinese mini-buses begin operation in Addis

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (satire)

Stalemate takes toll on Eritreans and Ethiopians of Eritrean origin

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Maureen Lynch and Katherine Southwick, Refugees International

Despite strong historic and ethnic ties, relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia have rarely been smooth. As a result, and particularly over the past decade, nationality rights of residents of both countries have been at risk.

After Eritrea’s 30-year struggle for independence, the country peacefully became a state in 1993 through a referendum in which Eritreans in Ethiopia also voted. Since the 1998-2000 border conflict during which both countries deported thousands of people – Ethiopians from Eritrea and Eritreans from Ethiopia – relations have remained bitter, with both sides stationing troops along the border. Weak enforcement of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s decision awarding Eritrea the disputed town of Badme has left the conflict unresolved. International reluctance to persuade Ethiopia to uphold the decision has also signaled that human rights abuses in that county will not face meaningful scrutiny. Political and religious persecution has compelled citizens of both countries to become refugees around the world. Ethiopia welcomes Eritrean refugees, but Eritreans living in Ethiopian society still face marginalization.

Challenges to Uphold Nationality Rights in Ethiopia Remain

During the 1998-2000 conflict, Ethiopia denationalized individuals of Eritrean origin, claiming that they were a security risk or that they had renounced their citizenship by voting in the 1993 referendum on Eritrean independence. An estimated 75,000 individuals were deported to Eritrea, ripping families apart and forcing those left behind to hide their identities. Without citizenship, Eritreans in Ethiopia faced restrictions on work, travel, education, and access to social services. Compensation has not been offered for confiscated property.

Sources suggest that many, perhaps most, Eritreans living in Ethiopia reacquired citizenship under a nationality proclamation enacted in 2003. But as one person related, “People are still afraid to talk though their position has improved.” Some interviewees reported problems obtaining national identification cards, including 3-year delays and interrogation by immigration officials. RI observed national IDs showing “previous nationality” as Eritrean. Eritreans with Ethiopian citizenship said they still feel compelled to conceal their background, even among close friends. They rarely congregate as a community, nor are they politically engaged. Some spoke of employment discrimination. An Ethiopian in a third country said, “They made us feel nothing for that country. My kids in Eritrea are not in a good life. Those in Ethiopia are treated as foreigners. They get work permits but must not bring attention to themselves.” A woman in Addis Ababa said she is afraid to open a bank account because her family lost a lot of property during the conflict.

Although the nationality proclamation states that “no Ethiopian may be deprived of his nationality” unless he renounces his citizenship or acquires another nationality, interviewees were uncertain about their status in the event of renewed conflict. Similar ambiguity appears in the Directive to Determine the Residence Status of Eritrean Nationals Residing in Ethiopia, which states that a residence permit may be canceled “where the bearer . . . is found to be an undesirable foreigner.” In the event of renewed conflict, individuals of Eritrean origin are unsure of their fate. As one man from Asmara observed, “the gap between law and implementation is like the space between the sun and the moon, and no one knows how to close it.”

Family Separation Continues

Nearly everyone RI interviewed told a story of ongoing separation from loved ones, exacting a considerable personal and psychological toll. Travel between Eritrea and Ethiopia is prohibited, there is no interstate phone system, and Ethiopians have reportedly been jailed for communicating with persons in Eritrea via the internet. “Family separation is the problem,” one man said. “I am a nation-less person. Eritrea does not consider me as Eritrean. Ethiopia does not consider me as Ethiopian. My brother tried to go to Sudan but was caught and jailed. My sister is in Kenya. I’ve had no news from her in 5 years.”

A woman in Addis Ababa met her father in a third country for the first time ten years after he had been deported to Eritrea. She said, “I was very close to my father, and every time I saw his name, I would cry.” An Eritrean in Kenya said, “My two brothers went to Eritrea with my mom. We’ve had no communication for 10 years. My father and sister are in the U.S.” An elderly widow lamented that at the time of her husband’s death last year they had been apart for nine years. She is unable to visit his grave in Asmara.

Current Conditions in Eritrea Force Exodus

Refugees International was unable to secure visas to enter Eritrea, but former residents who now reside in third countries explained that the government has become more repressive over the past decade. RI was told, “People leave by the hundreds to Sudan, South Africa, and Dubai. Everyone would like to come out if they could.” One person reported, “There is no economic growth. After 9/11 clergy were arrested and newspapers were closed down. People are traumatized, but they don’t know their rights or what to do. Some people gravitate to the churches, but Eritrea is facing a massive flight of people out of the country.” Young people also flee the country to avoid hard labor in military service, risking death and knowing their families will face a 50,000 Nakfa (US $3,330) fine.

Seeking Refuge in Ethiopia and Beyond

Some observers used the expression “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” to rationalize Ethiopia’s motivation to host Eritrean refugees. Whether hosting refugees for political or humanitarian reasons, Shimelba Camp, close to the Eritrean border, has nearly reached its 18,000 person capacity, and another camp is being developed to house the new arrivals numbering up to 600 a month. “Camp is not a solution to have a normal life,” one refugee stated. “Residents are not able to work and support themselves.” The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its implementing partner, the Ethiopian Administration for Refugee/Returnee Affairs (ARRA), grapple with issues residents face, such as insufficient food rations, restricted mobility, presence of Eritrean opposition groups, and limited access to education and mental health services.

About 75 percent of camp residents are young males, many university-educated, who fled conscription or political persecution, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is a widespread problem. Often arriving without Eritrean identity documents, women and children may be even more vulnerable when seeking reunification with a husband or father, only to find that individual has moved on. Others expressed concern about the small size and gender composition of police patrols. Refugees with relatives or resources have recently been permitted to live outside the camp. Others find their way as self-supporting city dwellers. Some refugees attempt crossing to Sudan or Kenya. Eritreans who head to urban areas in Kenya, a country with a camp-only policy, are not recognized as refugees. Passage to Europe, depending on the route, costs $4,000-$5,000.

Resolving the costly stalemate between the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia will be difficult. But doing so is critical to upholding human rights and to improving security throughout the Horn of Africa.

Policy Recommendations

* Ethiopia should promote full integration and equity in employment for persons of Eritrean origin and ensure effective access to documents supporting an individual’s chosen nationality.
* Ethiopia and Eritrea should reunite families by re-establishing interstate travel and communications.
* Consistent with the determinations of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, both countries should devise plans to compensate victims of the 1998-2000 conflict.
* Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya should retain open borders and take steps to increase protection as well as to ensure full freedom of movement and access to durable solutions for Eritrean refugees.
* Ethiopia and Eritrea should become party to UN Statelessness Conventions and work with UNHCR and the domestic legal community to monitor and remedy statelessness.

Senior Advocate for Stateless Initiatives Maureen Lynch and Bernstein Fellow Katherine Southwick assessed the situation of Eritreans in Ethiopia in April 2008, visiting Addis Ababa and the Tigray region in the north of the country.

Download a .pdf of this policy recommendation.

Ethiopians for Obama is kicking off 'Project Yechalal' Virginia

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Press Release by Ethiopians for Obama

Ethiopians for Obama is kicking off Project Yechalal Virginia. Our goal is to identify, database, and register 10,000 Ethiopian-Americans who live in the great state of Virginia . Virginia is home to the largest community of Ethiopians outside of Ethiopia . Our ability to register and vote presents a tremendous opportunity for us to be a significant voting bloc in the coming and future elections. Those who don’t vote don’t count—Ethiopians for Obama is encouraging every Ethiopian-American to be involved and register to vote.

Ethiopians for Obama will start a registration drive this weekend. We will be fanning out to various locations where Ethiopians have a robust presence. In addition to voting, we encourage as many Ethiopians to join our group so that we can be successful in our ongoing efforts.

If you would like additional information on our voter registration efforts or would like to join Ethiopians for Obama, you can email theodorefikre@yahoo.com You can also join our yahoo group so that you get up to date information and event notifications.

You can join Ethiopians for Obama at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ethiopiansforobama/

Our emphasis on Virginia does not mean that registration efforts in other states are not important. To the contrary, Ethiopians for Obama has members in almost every state where the Ethiopian community is vibrant. We are a large network of Ethiopian-Americans who are working together—united by our common hopes—to elect Senator Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States. Wherever you are located, it is vital that you register to vote and take part in the political process.

Beirut's 'Run for Peace' marathon features Ethiopian favourites

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Beirut – The city of Beirut on Sunday hosted a marathon for peace aimed at showing the world that Lebanon is hopeful that last week’s election of a new president will bring much-awaited stability in the capital. The Beirut Marathon Association (BMA) and the Italian-inspired Vivicitta movement staged two events Sunday: an international half- marathon and a five-kilometre Run for Peace.

The half-marathon was sponsored by banking roup HSBC and featured Ethiopian favourites Dereje Tadesse Girma in the men’s race and Mare Dibaba in the women’s race.

The course took the athletes on a tour of east and west Beirut, along the famous Corniche, passing along the ‘green line’ that once separated the two sides of a warring nation.

The events finished in the iconic reconstructed downtown centre of bustling and modern Beirut.

BMA President May el-Khalil said the “HSBC Vivicitta Run for Peace is unique and its timing perfect in celebrating a new peace in Lebanon, and in sending out a message of hope through sports for all Lebanese.”

Beirut streets were lined with soldiers and armoured vehicles as the Lebanese army and police deployed en masse to assure security for the event on Sunday.

The marathon, with the slogan “Run for peace,” kicked off under a flurry of balloons and some runners wearing Red Cross T-shirts bearing the word “peace.”

A festive atmosphere prevailed, despite the high security, with some joggers running hand-in-hand with children along the route and street performers exchanging banter with soldiers.

More than 20,000 people had registered for the two races that were won by two young people from Ethiopia.

The election of former army commander Michel Suleiman as president on May 25 gave Lebanese hope that the country will head towards stability.

Suleiman called for unity in Lebanon after he was sworn in to replace Emile Lahoud whose post had stood vacant for six months amid political disputes, a boycott by the opposition and 19 failed attempts at convening a parliamentary session to elect a president.

The country passed through a difficult month in May, when six days of clashes between Hezbollah, which leads the opposition, and followers of parliament’s majority claimed 82 lives. Hezbollah managed to take control of large parts of Beirut in the fighting.

Lebanese had feared that a civil war similar to the 1975-90 civil war would erupt. But on May 21, rival political leaders managed to broker a deal to end the violence and elect a president at an Arab League meeting in Doha, Qatar.

Middle East World News

Flash floods kill 19 children in Jijiga, a town in eastern Ethiopia

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Nineteen of 25 people killed by flash floods in Ethiopia’s eastern town of Jijiga this week were children, a regional official said on Saturday.

The region is prone to droughts and flooding. Last year, scores of people died after weeks of heavy rain.

“The force of the flash flood that hit Jijiga town on Thursday night swept away 200 houses, killing 25 people of whom 19 were children,” Nur Abdi Mohammed, spokesman for the Somali region, told Reuters.

Forty-five people were receiving hospital treatment, he said.

Nur said the flood occurred without warning after heavy rain around Chinaksen, 50 km (31 miles) north of Jijiga, and there had been no rain in the town itself on the day.

About 250 people whose houses were destroyed were receiving emergency assistance, he said.

(Reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse, editing by Wangui Kanina)

Chris Tucker to make a movie in Ethiopia

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

(ENA) — The famous American Actor, Chris Tucker is thinking to do a movie in Ethiopia, his favorite African country where he considers as “a second home”.

Chris Tucker
Chris Tucker [eonline.com]

The actor who was among more than 200 delegates who paid a two-day visit to Ethiopia before heading to Arusha, Tanzania, for the 8th summit of Leon H. Sullivan Foundation transplanted tree in Ethiopia on Friday.

Chris Tucker told ENA on the spot that “Hopefully, I can come back and do a movie. I have to figure out.”

He said “I love Ethiopia. It is my favorite African country. Because of the history… it is just beautiful and the people are beautiful and nice.”

He said “I am happy to be here, this is like my second home.”

“Hopefully I can come back in a year or two …and just show that Ethiopia has so much beautiful greenery. This is a great, great flourishing land.”

“This is my second time (to be in Ethiopia). I am looking forward to coming back. On my first time, I didn’t go out the countryside. Today we went out a little further out. And see beautiful trees and hills. That was really nice,” he said.

Another member of the delegation, CB Hackworth, is also planning to come back to Ethiopia on a film documentary project on Ethiopia.

He said he wanted to stopover before heading to Arusha for a number of reasons, one of which is because he “…wanted to have some meeting here to discuss the possibility of doing a film here in Ethiopia.”

“What we do … is we tell positive stories about Africa,” he said.

According to him, what people outside of Africa know about the continent is what they are told by the media. Mostly, he said, the international media make Africa look a bad place, which he observed is not the true story of Africa.

“People in the US don’t realize they can visit a beautiful city like Addis that there are wonderful hotels and it is peaceful, that they are safe, if people come to know this then they will visit. And it will increase tourism and help the economy. So that is what we are trying to do with the film.”

“We are trying to find positive stories,” he said adding, the initiative of Ethiopia to replenish its lost forest resources in connection with its millennium celebration, which he considers as a wonderful way of marking the millennium, is a positive story.

He said “… News is something happening. For large news organizations, they don’t rush out and spend money and resources to report good things are happening. They rush out and spend money and resources to tell you about a war or a famine. If things are going good they generally don’t consider that news. We are trying to bring some balance to that and say there is more to the world. There is more to Africa.”

“Ethiopia is very civilized. Ethiopia also fought against colonialism. So unlike a lot of parts of Africa, Ethiopia really was able to put its own imprint on its own country. So a lot of your developments are from Ethiopians. So I think that is unique, I think that is something that people who visit will find very interesting,” he said

Somali puppet president escapes assassination attempt

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

(CNN) — Suspected insurgents fired mortar rounds at a plane carrying Somalia’s transitional president, but no one — including Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed — was harmed, a presidential spokesman said.

The attack happened while the plane was about to take off from Mogadishu’s airport Sunday around 11 a.m. local time, spokesman Hussien Mohammed Huubsireb said.

“Al-Shaabab has actually tried to harm the president, but thank God nobody was hurt,” Huubsireb said.

Sunday’s mortar attack is the second assassination attempt on Ahmed. The president survived a car bombing in September 2006 outside Somalia’s parliament in Baidoa that killed at least eight others.

Somalia’s Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi has been more frequently targeted by the insurgents seeking to destabilize the government.

– – – – – –

(Reuters) — Insurgents have fired mortars at a plane that was due to take Somalia’s president to Djibouti, but he was unharmed and travelled to a meeting with a UN security council delegation, officials and residents said.

President Abdullahi Yusuf was due to meet the delegation in Djibouti, where his interim government and opposition exiles living in Eritrea are participating in UN-backed peace talks. He was not due to take part in the talks, which started a day late on Sunday (local time).

“The president and delegates have left … the Islamists failed to achieve their goal and the mortars did not damage the plane,” presidential spokesman Hussein Mohamed Mohamud said.

An airport staff member said the mortars were aimed at a plane arriving to take Mr Yusuf to the talks in Djibouti.

“Around five mortars landed in the airport and people ran into the concrete building,” the staff member said.

Militants behind near-daily ambushes and roadside bombs targeting government troops and their Ethiopian allies are the remnants of an Islamist movement that was ousted at the start of last year.

The hardline opposition figures, including Islamist insurgent leaders in Somalia, say mediation efforts will go nowhere until Ethiopian Woyanne troops backing the government leave.

UN officials met the government and Islamist delegations separately, witnesses in Djibouti said.

A UN Security Council team touring troubled spots in Africa this week plan to visit Djibouti and meet the transitional government leaders, including Mr Yusuf.

Analysts say a meaningful peace pact looks impossible given opposition divisions and the presence of Ethiopian Woyanne troops in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been without central governance since the 1991 toppling of a dictator.

Ethiopia is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since 2003

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Aid agencies in Shashamina have been inundated with people suffering from malnutrition.

BBC’s Wendy Urquhart reports. Click here to watch.

Government faulted as Ethiopian kids go hungry

By Shashank Bengali, McClatchy Newspapers

SHASHEMENE, Ethiopia — Nine-month-old Alfiya Galeto weighed just 10 lbs. when she arrived at the makeshift clinic here, her eyes dull and her arms as thin as drinking straws. There was no food in their village, her mother said, and for weeks she had been fed nothing but breast milk.

In the week after this clinic was opened by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders, nearly 300 children like Alfiya were admitted for severe malnutrition. In the poor farming villages around Shashemene, in drought-ravaged southern Ethiopia, aid workers believe that hundreds and perhaps thousands more children are starving.

A serious drought and the worldwide surge in food prices are fueling one of Ethiopia’s gravest hunger crises in years, with 6 million children younger than five urgently needing food, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF. Relief workers say scores of children already have died.

But international humanitarian groups say the Ethiopian government Woyanne regime has been slow to respond. Prime Minister Dictator Meles Zenawi’s government hasn’t publicly declared an emergency and, the agencies say, has downplayed their estimates of the severity of the situation.

Arid, overpopulated and chronically hungry, Ethiopia receives more food aid than all but a handful of countries worldwide — most of it from the United States, which has provided $300 million in emergency assistance to relief agencies in the past year. U.S. officials defend Ethiopia, a key regional ally, arguing that the government was caught off-guard by the extent of the drought and by how quickly malnutrition rates rose in recent months.

But there were warning signs.

A U.S. humanitarian assessment mission warned in January that humanitarian conditions “could significantly deteriorate” in the impoverished southeastern Somali region. By February — as rainfall remained scant, maize and other staple crops failed and inflation soared — international aid workers reported that malnourished children were showing up at hospitals in southern Ethiopia.

In an address to parliament on March 18, Meles said reports of drought-related deaths were “false.” It wasn’t until late May that a delegation of Ethiopian emergency relief officials toured Shashemene and other parts of the drought-ravaged south. According to humanitarian officials who were briefed on the visit, the Ethiopians were “shocked” by the conditions and pledged to respond.

“It is absolutely critical at this stage that the government of Ethiopia recognizes the depth of its problem, and works to ensure that its children survive this crisis,” said one senior international aid official who, like several interviewed for this story, requested anonymity for fear of angering Ethiopian officials.

The head of another international relief group said: “Is it a lack of information or is it denial? The government needs to recognize this is an emergency, to convene donors and to facilitate the arrival of assistance in the country.”

Ethiopian Woyanne officials weren’t available for comment. But the inability to feed itself is at odds with the image that the government wants to project: that of a country on the rise, with annual economic growth of around 10 percent, fresh off a massive coming-out celebration last year to mark the year 2000 on the Ethiopian calendar.

At the Doctors Without Borders clinic in Shashemene, 150 miles south of Addis Ababa, 277 children were admitted in the first eight days. Hundreds more are in outpatient care in far-flung clinics in the countryside. In Seraro, a remote town about two hours from here, aid workers reported that 55 had died by mid-May.

The children in Shashemene are faring slightly better. Four have died, but the vast majority are slowly putting on weight thanks to a steady diet of fortified milk and Plumpy’nut — a protein-enriched, peanut butter-like paste often used in famine relief.

On a recent afternoon, a group of mothers smiled as 12-month-old Hirwot, who had been admitted a week earlier with persistent diarrhea, weighed in at 3 pounds heavier and was transferred out of the ward reserved for the most serious cases.

Alfiya, the 9-month-old, looked in awful shape when her mother brought her in from their village 50 miles away. Her limp body was swallowed by a pale green sweater and flies buzzed about her head, which was scabbed with sores.

But Veronique DeClerck, a Belgian midwife who inspected the child, pronounced that she would survive.

“Now that she’s here, she gets treatment and she’ll make it,” DeClerck said. “But the problem is when they go home, and there’s still no food.”

Relief agencies say they badly need more Plumpy’nut, vitamin-enriched milk, antibiotics and other treatments.

Some agencies complain that the government continues to impose heavy import duties on emergency supplements like Plumpy’nut, which is taxed at about 50 percent.

Of $50 million needed for life-saving food and medical care, UNICEF says donor countries have chipped in only $6 million.

“We are far from knowing the magnitude of the situation,” said Francois Calas, country coordinator for the Belgian arm of Doctors Without Borders. “We can expect the coming months to be very difficult as well.”

VIDEO: Ethiopian Review publisher on ETN

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Ethiopian Television Network interviews Ethiopian Review publisher Elias Kifle. The interview was conducted on May 24, 2008, at the ETN studio in Alexandria, Virginia.

MUSIC VIDEO: 'Egnalaye' by Abby Lakew

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Amharic version of Bee Gee’s Stayn’ Alive by Abby Lakew of Ethiopia

14 soldiers desert the Woyanne military

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

The TV report also includes: Lies exposed when Meles Zenawi told his fake parliament that there was no land given to Sudan: CNN reports Ethiopians dire starvation situation; Roads in Ethiopia still in bad condition considering over 25 billion dollars has been invested by donors; Dr Abebe Yirgaw questions Woyane’s claim of 11% growth while people are starving in Ethiopia; A conflict started and enflamed by Woyane pits Benshangul and Oromo ethnic groups in the South; ONLF’s attacks in the last 3 months prove that Woyane’s accusation of wiping them out as baseless; 20 fully equipped Woyanne troops have disappeared leading to a belief that they have joined freedom fighters opposed to Woyane regime… Click below to watch >>

Ethiopian man shot dead, 2 wounded in Washington DC

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia living in Missouri and Kansas are shocked to learn that their friend Berhanu Taye was shot to death on May 24 while on a visit in Washington DC. Police is investigating the crime. Berhanu, who moved to DC about one year ago, is survived by this children and ex-wife Beletu Desta. The family can be reached through the Ethiopian Community Kansas City, Tel: 816 682 8088 (Contact person: Ato Solomon Reta).

More from NBC >>

WASHINGTON — D.C. police are investigating a shooting that left one man dead and two others injured in the city’s busy Shaw neighborhood.

Detectives spent hours searching for clues at the scene of the 2 a.m. incident near 9th and T streets.

Police said someone opened fire on the victim, striking him multiple times. Two others suffered graze wounds. They were expected to be fine.

A resident who lives nearby said he heard about 10 gunshots in a row.

The shooting happened in the city’s Shaw neighborhood, near a section of the popular U Street corridor that has seen deadly violence before.

Last June, a man was shot and killed inside a restaurant. And in January 2007, 17-year-old Talisha Ford was fatally shot inside a club.

Her death prompted the city to install police cameras in the area.

A business owner whose flower shop is right next to the shooting scene said police have increased their presence since those earlier shootings. But he would like to see more officers on the streets.

“It’s not like Georgetown or Adams Morgan,” he said. “We’re not getting the same attention but we pay the same taxes.”

City officials said the police camera on 9th Street may show part of the crime, or at least some of the people involved.

Police have not released the victim’s name.

Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call D.C. police at 1-800-673-2777.

Watch video.

VIDEO: British link in the Somalia tragedy (must watch)

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

This is a must watch report by DISPATCHES, an investigative program produced by the U.K.-based Channel 4 TV. The report describes the link between U.K. and the ongoing state of terror in Somalia that is currently occupied by the Western-backed regime of Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi.

Ethiopians prepare to confront Woyanne official in Minneapolis

Friday, May 30th, 2008

St. Paul, Minneapolis — (AP) – Being in the same Minneapolis hotel building is about as close as Peter Omot wants to get to Omot Obang Olom, the Ethiopian official he holds responsible for the massacre of more than 400 of his ethnic kin.

Peter Omot, 35, a member of the Anuak ethnic minority, says he won’t enter the room where Omot, the governor of the country’s western Gambella region, will speak to the local community-in-exile on Saturday.

Gov. Omot was in charge of security when, according to human rights groups, Ethiopian troops attacked the local Anuak population in December 2003.

“He prepared the ground,” Peter Omot, who lives in Savage, Minn., said Friday.

The regional governor’s appearance at the community meeting has set off debate in the Anuak diaspora over whether it’s appropriate even to be in the same room as Omot, who is Anuak himself.

The Anuak Justice Council in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has been pushing U.S. and Canadian authorities to arrest and try Omot for war crimes. He is expected to continue on to Canada next week.

But advocates haven’t been able to confirm whether he’s traveling on a diplomatic visa that would grant him wide-ranging immunity.

“He should not be meeting the Anuak in a town hall meeting. He should be meeting the Anuak in chambers — you know, in a court of law,” said Obang Metho, an advocate with the Anuak Justice Council in Saskatoon who is boycotting the meeting.

He added: “He has blood on his hands.”

State Department spokesman Bill Strassberger confirmed that Omot received a visa, but said that because visa records are confidential, he could not discuss the visa application. He also declined to discuss whether Omot had a role in the 2003 killings.

Human rights groups have detailed a campaign of killings, rape, torture and displacement against the Anuak by government soldiers and members of other ethnic groups.

Wholesale attacks started on Dec. 13, 2003, in Gambella town in southwestern Ethiopia. Thousands fled, some to southern Sudan.

An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 Anuak live in Minnesota, in what is thought to be the largest concentration outside Africa, said Akway Cham, who heads the Minneapolis-based Anywaa Community Association in North America.

Obang, the advocate in Canada, said he expects Omot to try to get exiled Anuak to move back and help develop their region, and will say that the region has become safe and democratic.

Akway is at the center of the furor over Omot’s visit because he’s the facilitator of Saturday’s forum. He planned to collect Omot and other Ethiopian officials at the airport Friday.

He acknowledged the stir the visit is creating but said he hopes people will come away with answers to their questions. He said the meeting will focus on the 2003 killings after a similar meeting in April with other government officials left many in the community dissatisfied.

“This guy is the governor, and he was there when the things happened, and people are expecting that he should be able to give some clear answers,” he said.

By Martiga Lohn, and Fred Frommer, Associated Press

Ethiopian Teachers Association fighting for its very existence

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Press Release
Ethiopian Teachers Association

For fifteen years the Ethiopian Teachers Association has fought to retain its right to organise as an independent trade union. Its members have faced beatings, sacking, imprisonment, torture and death whether gunned down in the street, dying in prison or being disappeared. Now it is involved in a battle for its very survival.

Only the fighting determination of ordinary union members and the support of international trade unionists have kept the union from being completely smashed. In February of this year an Ethiopian court declared the union illegal, a judgment currently being contested partly through the support of international trade unions, particularly the British NUT and Dutch AOb.

The government has set up a rival union also called the ETA, sequestrated the funds of the legitimate ETA and banned it from operating. Currently the union offices are being occupied by activists in a tense stand-off.

Gemoraw Kassa, General Secretary of the ETA, explains:

“According to this unpopular verdict of the Supreme Court delivered .., the authentic ETA is made to lose not only of its bank assets and properties altogether but also is deprived of its legal status to act as an independent professional association of its one hundred and seventeen thousand members. As of this date, the government sponsored (surrogate) ETA is supposed to be the sole teachers’ “legitimate union” in Ethiopia . This is the real interest of the government aimed at getting rid of an independent ETA (by replacing it by the fake one) from the scene under the cover of court ruling.

We are quite ready to face all in the manner it may come. As to the consequence, you will be kept informed by myself or somebody else.

Finally, we would desperately like to urge EI and its affiliated organizations to continue their support for ETA and exert pressure to all concerned to use their influence on the Ethiopian Government to meet its national and international obligations particularly to respect teachers’ rights to an independent association and freedom of collective bargaining. We believe that your solidarity will make a difference.
Please accept our many thanks for your past and present solidarity without which the viability of the original ETA would have been culminated some 15 years ago.

We need your suppoort now more than ever.”

For further information see Education International

Ethiopia may deplete its foreign currency reserves, IMF Says

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Ethiopia is close to exhausting its foreign-currency reserves and may need a loan of $1 billion to fund food and fuel imports to avoid economic growth from slowing, an economist for the International Monetary Fund said.

Ethiopia, Africa’s largest coffee producer, has enough foreign currency to cover less than two months of imports, Muche Netsere, an economist with the IMF, said in a telephone interview from the capital Addis Ababa. Ethiopian imports totaled $1.6 billion in the three months to Jan. 8, the nation’s fiscal second quarter.

Without $1 billion in bridge financing, Ethiopia’s growth may fall to an estimated 6 percent from 7 percent by the end of next year and to 6.5 percent by 2010 from 7.5 percent, Netsere said.

Getachew Admassu, spokesman for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, couldn’t be reached for comment when his office was contacted today. Alemayehu Kebede, spokesman for the National Bank of Ethiopia, didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone.

By Jason McLure, (Bloomberg)

Security agents rounded up more journalists in Ethiopia

Friday, May 30th, 2008

EMF reports that at least two newspaper journalists and one editor have been arrested today by security agents of Meles Zenawi’s dictatorship in Ethiopia. The detained journalists, Mesfin Negash, Girma Tesfaw, and Tsion Tsion Aklilu were taken to the central investigation bureau, according to EMF sources.

Joint UN Team on AIDS in Ethiopia conducts review and planning

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Joint Review and Planning Workshop Conducted in Mekele-May 6-10 2008

Following the launching of the Multisectoral Plan for Universal Access to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support 2007-2010, federal HAPCO has embarked on a joint review mechanism that brings together all the major stakeholders of the national AIDS response under one forum to discuss progress, identify challenges, and chart next steps in implementing the Multisectoral Plan. A third-quarter joint review of the Ethiopian fiscal year 2000 plan and review of a draft plan of the EFY 2001 (July 2008-June 2009) was held in Mekele from May 6-10 2008.

The meting was attended by about 150 participants from federal and regional level HAPCOs, sector ministries and bureaus, civil society representatives, and development partners including PEPFAR and its partners, Global Fund, bilateral organizations and UN agencies. The first two days were dedicated to the nine months progress review of the 2000 EFY plan. The review was a continuation of the second joint review held in Adama in January 2008 and it also benefited from a joint supportive supervision conducted in April involving HAPCO, partners, the national network of PLHIV associations (NEP+) and others. Participants raised the major issues that were identified in the Adama review as areas for improvement, as well as new issues identified in the latest round of supportive supervision and in the reports by regional HAPCOs and federal HAPCO… Read more [pdf]

OLF denies responsibility for bomb blast in Addis Abeba

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Oromo Liberation Front Statement on the TPLF Regime’s accusation

On May 26, 2008, the Ethiopian Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) dominated regime issued a fabricated statement regarding a minibus blast that occurred on May 20, 2008, in Finfinnee aka Addis Ababa. It stated that:” Some of suspects of the bombing last Tuesday in Addis Ababa of a taxi minibus killing six passengers and injuring seven others have been put under custody. …Terrorists including those now arrested planted the explosive in the minibus full with commuters heading to Lagar from Arat Kilo on 20 May 2008. Evidences indicate that this act of terror was also coordinated by the Eritrean regime and perpetrated by its stooge, the self-styled Oromo Liberation Front.”

From the outset, we would like to make it clear to all concerned that the accusation labeled against the OLF is baseless. The OLF has nothing to do with the blast. The OLF has never and will never target civilian population nor does it condone any such acts.

The OLF is an independent political organization, formed in 1973, that struggles for the realization of the Oromo people’s right to national self-determination. The OLF is struggling for the protection of the Oromo people’s political, economic, social and cultural rights. The OLF is accountable to the Oromo people and has never been a lackey of any other Government or organization. The TPLF knows this more than any other.

The OLF has never targeted civilian population or their properties in its military operations ever since its formation either against the imperial, the now defunct junta and the incumbent minority tyrannical regime of the TPLF.

It is imperative to recall that the OLF had struggled against the feudal imperial regime and the Marxist Military regime of Ethiopia. It also is important to remember that after the downfall of the military regime, the OLF was a member of the Coalition that formed the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, among others with TPLF, in 1991. The OLF joined the coalition and formed the Transitional Government with the TPLF and others, in good faith and it was committed to peacefully and democratically pursue its political objectives. To the contrary, the TPLF joined the coalition as a tactical move. The truth was the TPLF formed the coalition with a commitment of forming a one-party TPLF tyrannical rule and that was why it forced out the OLF, the only independent organization in the coalition, from the political process. The TPLF made sure that no independent political organization participated in the country’s political process. To deceive the external world /donor governments, it created several satellite/dependent organizations and appeared to have installed a multi-party system. It is a public knowledge that the OLF resorted to armed struggle, as a means of last resort, after the tyrannical TPLF minority regime closed all avenues to peacefully and democratically pursue its political objectives.

Soon after the OLF was forced by the TPLF to withdraw from the Transitional Government, the TPLF Leaders wishfully declared to the whole world that it has annihilated the OLF. The TPLF regime could not and cannot annihilate the OLF because the OLF is an embodiment of the Oromo people’s political expression and, therefore, enjoys their overwhelming support. This had been publicly expressed during the Transitional Period.

Having terribly failed to deprive the OLF of the unflinching support of the Oromo people, the TPLF maliciously and opportunistically labeled it as a “terrorist organization” and embarked on the defamation of the OLF. The target was to undermine the objectives of the Oromo people’s struggle for self-determination, which has the goal of justice, freedom, democracy and progress. The TPLF regime’s objective of labeling the OLF is to tarnish the international image and standing of the OLF and to isolate the legitimate cause of the Oromo people’s struggle. For the project of defaming and isolating the OLF, the TPLF has allocated a huge budget and has assigned a full time staff of several hundreds of agents, including highly paid lobbyists. To date, the TPLF regime’s wicked effort to defame the OLF did not succeed.

The TPLF regimes’ accusation of the OLF makes sense only to its leaders and lackeys. The TPLF never had internal legitimacy. The overwhelming majority of the people in Ethiopia lend no credence to what the TPLF Regime says. Therefore, international community, in general, and donor Governments in particular, are the targets of the manipulation malicious and trumped-up charges against the OLF.

There is a pattern of timing in TPLF regime’s malicious accusation of the OLF. In general the TPLF regime accuses the OLF to either deflect the people’s attention or to gain the donors’ attention. It accuses the OLF when it believes it is internationally conducive to make such labeling stick or when the regime’s internal/domestic political challenges soar or crisis worsens. These days, the TPLF regime is engulfed in crises. The country’s economy is ailing of a sky rocketing inflation and the largest majority of the people are hardly making ends meet. The imperialistic and adventurous aggression and occupation of Somalia has become a quagmire to the TPLF army and it appears that there is no strategy for victory or exit. The Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, continuous making contradictory and confused statements in this regard. The secret boundary demarcation agreement or deal that the TPLF regime made with the Government of Sudan is facing a strong opposition from the Ethiopian People. The undemocratic April 2008 local and by-election have transformed the TPLF regime from the de facto one-party to a de jure one-party- TPLF/EPRDF tyrannical rule. Now, Emperor Meles Zenawi is more naked.

Hence, the regime started orchestrating bomb blasts and blaming it on the OLF to harness sympathy from concerned corners as a victim of terrorism. For all who know the history of the TPLF regime’s leaders, such an orchestration of bomb blasts, at the cost of human lives and limbs, to make a political point, does not come as a surprise. TPLF has no regard for human life. It killed thousands, including its own base people of Tigray, on its way to power; it started killing unarmed civilians as soon as it won the political power of the country from the military junta, and it is perpetuating its tyrannical rule by killing the civilian population opposed to its dictatorship.

The OLF has all reasons to believe that the minibus blast of May 20, 2008 that happened in Finfinne/Addis Ababa was organized and carried out by the TPLF Security Agents, as usual, for the purpose of blaming it on the OLF. It is not a coincidence that the TPLF Security Agents planted the explosive on a minibus on which an American citizen of Israeli origin was a passenger. We believe that they carried this out to make it appear that the OLF targets the US and Israeli citizens, security and national interests. This action, in their calculation, will corroborate their standing effort to put the OLF on the US list of terrorist organizations. The OLF would like to unequivocally state that its objectives, struggle or operations are in no way directed at the security and interests of the US, Israel, or any other state or the well being of their citizens, or any civilian population for that matter.

It is also worthy of note that it is a practice and custom of all Ethiopian regimes to label, mischaracterize and defame all political forces opposed to their tyrannical rule. It is a known fact that the predecessor of the incumbent regime had labeled TPLF and its leaders, among others, Meles Zenawi, “terrorist and mercenaries of the Arab Countries.” One, therefore, should not give credence to or be surprised by the TPLF regime following in the footsteps of its predecessors and labeling, mischaracterizing and diabolizing the OLF. Finally, we would like to reiterate, emphasize and put to rest this issue that the OLF is neither a terrorist organization, as labeled by the tyrannical regime of Ethiopia, nor does it endorse terrorism as a means of political struggle. The OLF expresses and struggles for the legitimate political aspiration of the more than thirty million people of the Oromo nation. The fabricated and repeated accusations of the tyrannical TPLF regime against OLF is hollow and, hence, cannot depreciate the good name/record of the OLF or the legitimate struggle of the Oromo people for self-determination, liberation, justice, democracy, peace, economic, social and cultural development.

Last, but not least, when we were about to dispatch this Statement, AP reported the following news: “A Somali group called Islamic Guerrillas claimed responsibility for the Tuesday’s [May 27, 2008] bombings in Nagele, 560 kilometers (347 miles) south of Capital.” The AP further reported that, “Ethiopian Government Spokesperson Zemedkun Tekle previously said that the bombings were probably the work of the OLF group.” We added this AP report to the Statement because it corroborates all what we have been saying about the minority TPLF tyrannical regime’s accusations of the OLF. This is a vindication for the OLF. The charlatan Leaders of the TPLF tyrannical regime will be further exposed.

Victory to the Oromo People!
Oromo Liberation Front
May 29, 2008

Gambella Governor: Truth and Justice First!

Friday, May 30th, 2008

The Anuak Justice Council has learned that Omot Obang Olum, the governor of the Gambella region of Ethiopia, is coming to Minnesota on May 30th and Canada on June 4th for the purpose of meeting with the Anuak.

Who is Omot Obang Olum? We Anuak know him to be a loyal collaborator with the EPRDF government of Meles Zenawi. He has paid dearly for his favored relationship with the Woyane with our Anuak blood. Official reports back this up.

According to investigative reports completed by such human rights organizations
Expedia.com
as Human Rights Watch and Survivors Rights, he was a pro-EPRDF government official of Anuak ethnicity who collaborated in the genocide of his own people carried out by Ethiopian National Defense Forces on December 13-15, 2003. These reports allege that he, as head of security, compiled a list of Anuak leaders who were later killed.

Those targeted were Anuak who were educated, who were against federal control of regional interests, who were opposed to the oil explorations being planned for their region by the federal government without local involvement or who were a threat in some other way, like Pastor Okwier, the pastor of a growing church.

As early as 2002, Omot Obang Olum allegedly was responsible for the imprisonment of 45 Anuak intellectuals, who were seen as possible threats to government control in the area. These individuals were released four to five years later, with no charges.

Following the massacre of 2003, many more Anuak were victims of human rights crimes, including extra-judicial killings, torture, false imprisonment, rape and the destruction of property. He later received his post as governor—a possible payoff for his faithful complicity in these horrendous crimes against humanity.

A month ago, on April 26, delegates from Gambella came to meet with the Anuak in Minnesota and the AJC made a statement following that meeting that the meetings failed to meet the expectations of the Anuak. Those delegates avoided the topic of the genocide; yet, because they individually, were not believed to be personally responsible for it, like Omot Obang Olum, Anuak were willing to listen. However, Omot Obang Olum is different. He is seen as carrying major responsibility for the deaths, torture, rape and imprisonment of family members and friends of those in the Anuak community here in the United States of America and Canada.

Many in the Anuak community here and in Canada, where he is expected to go after this destination, oppose his coming even though some in the Anuak Community Association of North America (ACANA) are hosting him. It is questionable whether those in ACANA really support his coming leaving some questions of who is the driving force in this.

The AJC position is clear. We are strongly opposed to his visit as he is someone who has committed crimes against humanity as reported in the reports by Genocide Watch and Human Rights Watch. Any meeting should be taking place under some other venue—a legal hearing in a court, a truth and reconciliation hearing or at least an Anuak traditional approach where there is accountability for what one has done and where establishing the truth is held in high regard. Any meeting that does not address the loss of Anuak lives ends up devaluing those lives and the lives of those who loved them. Yes, people will need to forgive, but forgiveness is not the same thing as accountability. Perpetrators must still be held accountable.

Additionally, forgiving someone does not mean pretending these egregious acts never occurred. The fact is, they did occur! No amount of repressing the truth will take away the facts of what happened. Yet, what most perpetrators want from their victims is for them to just “move on.”

In an oppressive society like in Gambella and across all of Ethiopia, if citizens speak out, they might be imprisoned, tortured, killed or punished in some other way. Ethiopians have become fearful and the companion of fear is silence. However, we are in America. What we need from the Anuak community is not more silence or more fear. Yes, many are good-hearted people who want to genuinely help their people back home, but can we not find ways to do so without falling into the trap of Woyane who believe they can entice good people to invest, develop Gambella and divert us from holding them accountable?

We should be the voices of those we loved who are now gone. If the Woyane government had changed their ways, it might be at least somewhat more acceptable, but they have not. They have become more repressive instead of less. They should be upholding the rights and dignity of the people more instead of the reality that Woyane abuses of the people are widespread across the country. We should be the voices of those now suffering under the human rights atrocities still being perpetrated by EPRDF in other regions of the country like in the Ogaden, in Oromia and into Somalia.

We believe that the purpose of this meeting, if it follows the lines of the last meeting, is exactly opposite of what needs to happen.

Acknowledging the truth of what happened is essential as a first step, followed by admissions of wrongdoing if there is to be any healing and reconciliation. Any meeting that avoids truth and accountability is simply another way to prolong injustice.

As most people know, the Anuak Justice Council was created as an organization following the massacre of the Anuak with the goals of advocating for the respect of their human rights and in order to see the perpetrators brought to justice. The Anuak in Gambella are not the only ones affected but the Anuak Sudanese and the Anuak who live in the Diaspora have also been greatly impacted by what happened.

The pain felt by those in Gambella is the same pain being felt by Anuak worldwide. It has never gone away because those who have committed crimes against humanity have never been brought to justice or even admitted to the crimes. Not only that, many, especially the children, are still traumatized by the terror they witnessed when they saw their fathers or brothers hacked to death and executed in front of them. The widows of many of the slain still do not know the location of the mass graves of their husbands.

No one has explained why the Anuak were killed and who gave the orders from the top. Most of the people believe, including the former governor who was there, that the current government of Meles was responsible or his troops, but no one has been brought to justice other than a few that we all know are being scapegoated.

For instance, where are the two Ethiopian commanders who were in charge of Gambella who allegedly were the ones who ordered the troops to kill? They later disappeared as documented in the Human Rights Watch and Genocide Watch investigative reports. Other perpetrators within the military and security forces who were accused by the witnesses have never brought to justice and now you never hear about them anymore.

We in the AJC say that anyone who has been accused of being involved in the massacre, should be brought to justice regardless of who he is and whether or not he is an Anuak. Much evidence exists that Omot Obang Olum has betrayed his people over time.

• Consistently, investigations completed by Human Rights Watch, Genocide Watch, Survivors’ Rights and other witness statements give evidence that Omot Obang Olum provided the names of those Anuak to be killed and was involved in other aspects of the planning.
• In October of 2005, many believe he was responsible for the arrest of former Governor Mr. Okello Negllo and for forty-five other Anuak who were then imprisoned in Addis Ababa for five years.
• He is believed to be responsible for the arrest, detention and torture of many other Anuak leading up to the massacre and in the many months following.
• While governor, countless extra-judicial killings, rapes and beatings were carried out by the ENDF with impunity in the Gambella region.
• Many Anuak are still languishing in jails, detention centers and prisons in the region.
• He appears to be highly trusted by the Woyane government and continues to be feared by the Anuak. Because of his acts against the Anuak, at one time, he discharged his Anuak bodyguards and replaced them with TPLF fighters.

All of this evidence points to the conclusion that he is guilty; however, he deserves a genuine trial in a fair and just court of law regarding his many suspected crimes. It would also be his chance to attempt to provide any evidence to the contrary before his accusers, but it is unlikely any real justice will be carried out in Gambella or elsewhere in Ethiopia. Regardless, Omot Obang Olum is not the right ambassador to come to the Anuak until justice is served.

This man cannot sweep all of this under the carpet. He is not the one to talk about development and this is not the time. What the Anuak have been waiting for since the massacre is to find out the truth regarding (1) who killed the Anuak, (2) who ordered the killing, (3) why were they killed and (4) why their killers have never been brought to justice. These are the issues that the Anuak should be talking about and if he comes, these are the topics he should address.

We are not surprised with his intent to tempt Anuak to forget about the genocide and to “work with this government.” That is what the government propaganda reported after the last meeting, that the Anuak wanted to work with the government. This is his intent to make it look like the Anuak are ready to be quiet about their pain and losses and to act as if everything is now okay in Gambella. If he cared about the Anuak, he should be meeting the Anuak in Sudan, in Kenya and in Gambella or exploring ways to give adequate reparations. He should care about the Anuak who are still suffering in the region.

For him to look at the Anuak in the Diaspora for a solution when he should first be dealing with those close by appears to be another diversionary tactic by the EPRDF. We won’t fall for this game. The priority should not be to come to Minnesota, but if here, the priority should not be development and investment but he should talk about the injustices committed, apologize and then offer what he and the Woyane government will do about it—not only for the Anuak, but also for others in the region and in the country. Anything less is not enough.

As we have said it before, we stand for justice, whether now or later. The AJC is working for the justice for all Ethiopians because we believe justice will not come to the Anuak or others in Gambella, until it comes to all. We call others to stand with the Anuak who oppose the coming of this man. Divide and conquer politics of single, isolated groups dealing with only their own issues with the Woyane, must end for they will not bring a sustainable justice.

We are speaking against him and call others to stand with us until all the killers of the innocent are brought to justice. We will never rest unless justice comes to all Ethiopians whose precious lives have been taken away and whose blood has been split for no other reason than for speaking up for their God given rights. We will never rest until those people who are still in prison, guilty of nothing but the hunger for a country where there is freedom, peace, stability and prosperity. Until they are freed, we are not going to rest.

We call Anuak and all Ethiopians from east to west and from the north to the south. May the blood of those people who died unify us as one while together we fight to free our country. May their blood be the rain that creates fertile ground so that new life can emerge. May their deaths help us to stand together as one to create a new Ethiopia where we are proud of our ethnicity but most of all, we are connected by our humanity

This is a moral stand for truth and justice. Let us put aside all that might separate or distract us and stand together as one. May God empower and guide us!

For more information please contact Mr. Obang Metho, by email at: Obang@anuakjustice.org

Ethiopian asylum seeker in U.K. drowned in a river

Friday, May 30th, 2008

SHEFFIELD, UK — An ETHIOPIAN man who had sought asylum in Sheffield drowned in the River Don after a night out in the city centre. Efrem Woldemichael, who was in the process of appealing the Home Office’s decision refusing him the right to stay, was found near Effingham Street behind The Wicker, four weeks after he disappeared.

The 33-year-old had been out in Ethiopian restaurant Ethio Cubano in Arundel Gate on December 1 last year, when he was said to be drunk but his usual self.

Restaurant owner Davit Asmelash told a Sheffield inquest Efrem was a regular customer who never caused any trouble.

He said: “He was very decent, responsible and friendly. He was drunk that night but there was no trouble – he was not that kind of person.”

Mr Asmelash said Efrem had arrived around midnight and eaten his usual meal before going downstairs to join in the dancing.

He saw Efrem “unbalanced on his feet” and suggested to one of his pals that he go home – and even took £10 out of the till to pay for his taxi fare.

Freshwa Beranu, who was also drinking and dancing in the restaurant that night, said he had gone outside for a cigarette and helped Efrem into a black cab at around 4am.

He said he saw that the driver was Asian but couldn’t identify him further, and heard Efrem, of Fox Street, Pitsmoor, say to the driver that if he took him to Burngreave he would be able to find his way home.

His body was found 27 days later on December 28 by a member of the public.

Det Con Robert Whiteman told the court Efrem had been reported missing on December 8 and checks were made on his mobile phone and bank activity.

His phone had not been used since he went missing and the wages from his cleaning job had not been withdrawn from his account.

DC Whiteman said appeals were made in The Star and on South Yorkshire Police’s website to trace the taxi driver but they had come to nothing, and CCTV footage could not reveal images in enough detail.

He added the driver’s probable route from Arundel Gate to Burngreave – when roadworks were still taking place on the inner relief road – would have been down Corporation Street and then up to the junction with Rock Street in Burngreave.

He said if Efrem had got out of the cab there he would have been very close to the River Don, and, if he had fallen in, the water would have carried him in the direction of Effingham Street.

Pathologist Dr Christopher Milroy said a post-mortem examination suggested a “long period of immersion” in water. He gave the cause of death as drowning.

Toxicology reports from Dr Stephen Morley also found Efrem had more than twice the legal amount of alcohol in his blood for driving.

Assistant deputy coroner Donald Coutts-Wood recorded a narrative verdict and added: “Putting together the lack of use of his phone, with the fact that within seven days he was paid but never withdrew the cash as he normally did, it does seem to me he was probably in the River Don shortly after his taxi journey home.”

By Sarah Dunn, Sheffield Telegraph

Asrat Woldeyes 80th Birthday Commemorative Symposium

Friday, May 30th, 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT

The Asrat Woldeyes Commemorative 80th Birthday Symposium

On behalf of the Organizing Committee We are pleased to announce the Asrat Woldeyes Altaye (AWA) 80th Birthday Commemorative Symposium to be held at:

Howard University School of Medicine
Washington D.C., USA on Saturday, 28 June 2008
From 10am -5pm

Speakers are from various medical/academic institutions, family and friends of Prof Asrat Woldeyes and include:

Dr. Ahmed Moen, Howard University, Washington D.C.
Dr. Assefa Negash, Netherland, Holland
Ato Youm Fesseha, Philadelphia, PA
Dr. Wendy Belcher, Princeton, NJ
Dr. Getachew Haile, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Prof. Nebiat Tafari, Cleveland, Ohio
Ato Wondayehu Kassa

Poetry: Ato Assefa Gebremariam

Music: Artist Teshome Metiku and friends

If you’re interested to submit relevant papers or video for the Asrat Woldeyes Symposium please contact the organizing committee by e-mail: organizers@asratwoldeyes.org

For additional information please visit the website: www.asratwoldeyes.org

Organizing Committee
The Family of Professor Asrat Woldeyes

Professor Asrat Woldeyes (June 20, 1928 – May 14, 1999) was an Ethiopian surgeon, a Professor of Medicine at Addis Ababa University, and the founder and leader of the All-Amhara People’s Organization (AAPO), as well as a political figure who was jailed by the Derg and later by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Professor Asrat was the founding member of the Ethiopian Medical Association (EMA), Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCS Edinburgh) and FRCS (England), member of the British Medical Association (BMA), the East African Surgical Association (EASA) and International College of Surgeons (USA). (Source: wikipedia.org)

World Bank approved $80 million for the Meles dictatorship

Friday, May 30th, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: World Bank, the best friend of dictators and the primary source of Africa’s misery, approves more money to be given to the terrorist regime in Ethiopia led by tribal dictator Meles Zenawi. If and when a government that stands for the interest of Ethiopians comes to power, one of the first things it needs to do is to kick out the World Bank and IMF out of the country.

– – – – – –

World Bank Press Release No:2008/342/AFR

Washington, May 29, 2008 – The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank today approved US$ 80 million International Development Association financing (of which US$56.6 million as grant and US$23.4 million as a credit) to the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) in support of the second phase of the Pastoral Community Development Project.

The project will be implemented in pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in 57 woredas of the Afar, Somali, SNNPs and Oromya Regions. About 600,000 rural households or approximately 45% of pastoral and agro-pastoral woredas in Ethiopia will benefit from the PCDPII project.

The objective of the Pastoralist Community Development Project II is to enable pastoralists to better withstand external shocks and to improve the livelihoods of targeted communities. The project will empower local communities by increasing their engagement in woreda processes and local development decision making. It will also provide them increased access to social services; and better access to support for savings and credit activities. In addition, the project seeks to improve and expand the pastoral early warning system and the responsiveness of the disaster mitigation and contingency funds.

‘PCDP II represents a great opportunity for the Government of Ethiopia to realize its commitment to decentralized development in pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Ethiopia,’ said Ingo Wiederhofer, World Bank Task Team Leader for this project. According to him, the Project will support an approach to local development in which citizens are empowered to determine and implement their social and economic priorities. It will also help to expand and institutionalize systems that will enable the country to better identify and manage disaster risks in these fragile areas in a proactive manner adapted to pastoral livelihood systems.

The project has the following four components:

The Sustainable Livelihoods Enhancement component will further strengthen decentralized and participatory planning at the community/ kebele and woreda levels. Women and men in pastoral communities will identify, prioritize, design, and implement micro-projects that reflect their local development priorities. The Community Investment Fund (CIF) subcomponent will finance micro-projects related to water supply, micro-scale irrigation, health care, education, rangeland management, etc. The Rural Livelihoods Program (RLP) sub-component will finance income generating activities identified by beneficiary community groups, and will help to extend savings and credit cooperatives systems to pastoral areas.

The Pastoral Risk Management component will support the expansion of the participatory Early Warning and Response Program to all pastoral and agro-pastoral communities. The system will provide information to trigger early non-food responses to declines in the welfare of pastoralist communities using the proven Household Economy Approach. In addition, technical assistance and staff capacity building will be provided to support the development of regional Disaster Preparedness Strategy and Investment Programs in four regions.

The Knowledge Management and Participatory Learning component will support Participatory Action Learning pilots in selected woredas to develop methodologies for demand-driven approaches to participatory knowledge generation and innovation development. In addition knowledge management and information exchange will be supported at federal and regional levels.

The last component will support overall Project Management.

The World Bank will support the Pastoral Community Development Project II in partnership with the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD). Implementation of the project will be overseen by the Federal Project Coordination Unit of the Ministry of Federal Affairs, with regional governments playing a key role.

For more information on the World Bank in sub-Saharan Africa visit: www.worldbank.org/afr

For more information on the World Bank in Ethiopia visit: www.worldbank.org/ethiopia

For more information about this project click here.
Contacts:

In Washington: Aby Toure +1 (202) 473 8302
akonate@worldbank.org
In Addis Ababa : Gelila Woodeneh (251-1) 662 77 00
gwoodeneh@worldbank.org

Woyanne offers to evacuate Ethiopians from South Africa

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

The Ethiopian embassy in South Africa that is currently occupied by the Tigrean People Liberation Front (Woyanne) has told Ethiopians in South Africa that it can help with evacuation if they wish to escape the anti-immigrant violence that is sweeping the country. But Ethiopian refugees went to South Africa in the first place because the Woyanne fascist regime made it impossible for them to live in their own country.

Thousands of Ethiopians, Somalis, Zimbabweans and other Africans are currently being savagely attacked by South Africans who are blaming the immigrants for their economic woes. The South African government has made half-hearted effort to stop this shameful act by its citizens.

Read more from IOM >>

Ethiopian embassy is ready to evacuate nationals from South Africa following anti-immigrant violence there which has killed 56 people, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

“The embassy in South Africa has announced its readiness to work together with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) if Ethiopians want to return home,” it said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of mainly Zimbabwean and Mozambican immigrants have been forced out of their homes since the onset of xenophobic violence.

Foreigners in the continental powerhouse South Africa, many of whom have fled economic meltdown in neighbouring Zimbabwe, are being blamed for sky-high crime rates and depriving locals of jobs.

18 east African illegal immigrants caught at U.S.-Mexico border

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

HIDALGO (U.S.-Mexico border) — U.S. Border Patrol agents Sunday detained 18 people from the horn of Africa – an uncommon but not unheard of origin for illegal migrants to the United States, officials said.

The east African immigrants – 13 from Eritrea and five from Ethiopia – were walking along a road in Hidalgo on Sunday when they were spotted, said local Border Patrol spokesman Daniel Doty.

Agents peacefully took the illegal immigrants into custody, Doty said. None of them was carrying drugs or firearms.

Doty said illegal immigrants who come from countries other than Mexico either face an expedited deportation hearing or can request political asylum in the United States. Illegal immigrants are typically deported from the country within 14 days, he said.

It is less common for a group of illegal immigrants to come to the United States from nations other than

By Jared Taylor, The Monitor

'Nova' visits with Ethiopian women at the fistula hospital

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

By Maureen Ryan | Chicago Tribune

A Walk to Beautiful may be the most moving documentary of the year. I spent parts of this hourlong Nova installment wiping away tears, contemplating the suffering and resilience of the young Ethiopian women profiled.

A Walk to Beautiful, which aired earlier this month on PBS stations and encores at 1:30 a.m. tonight on WLRN-Ch. 17, lets the women and the doctors who treat them at Addis Ababa’s Fistula Hospital tell their own stories. But sometimes words are not necessary. The look on the face of one woman, Aheyu, as she boards a bus and leaks urine on to the floor, tells how wretched she feels.

Like millions of women in developing countries, childbirth caused major damage to her underdeveloped body. The process punched a hole between Aheyu’s birth canal and bladder. As a result of her incontinence, her community shuns her.

A friend tells her of the fistula hospital, where free operations can fix the damage. “How can they bring you back to life?” Aheyu nervously asks of the surgery. But the fact is, these operations bring these women back to life in any number of ways.

For the Ethiopian women, being shunned by their families and villages is crushing to their spirits. Aheyu’s own mother speaks matter-of-factly about making her daughter live in a rough shelter outside the main house. But in an almost wordless scene, the mother weeps and presses scarce money in her daughter’s hand as she heads off to the hospital.

Finding sympathy and a community of other women with fistula is a revelation for women such as Wubete. “They are not revolted by me here,” says the 17-year-old patient, who talks of being married off by age 11.

This poignant film follows three women’s cases and captures daily life at the hospital, which is supported by charity. Wubete’s journey ends in an unlikely place, and the smile on Aheyu’s face after surgery is heart-piercing. Seeing women like her go from contemplating suicide to choosing colorful new clothes for their trip home is, indeed, beautiful.

Ethiopian women in Dubai struggles to recover from a fall

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

DUBAI — The Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department (DNRD) has come to the rescue of an Ethiopian housemaid who plunged from the second-floor balcony of her sponsor’s villa while cleaning.

Bizuwork Girma
The housemaid suffered fractures and will need
medical treatment for at least six months
[Photo: Bassma Al Jandaly/Gulf News]

Senior DNRD officials are negotiating with her sponsor, whom it is alleged has not paid her since she started working for him, and who has threatened to deport her even though she requires medical attention.

Bizuwork Girma, the 33-year-old housemaid is currently being treated in Rashid Hospital and has severe injuries. Major General Mohammad Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of Dubai DNRD told Gulf News it was the responsibility of sponsors to provide medical treatment at their own expense if domestic helpers are injured at work.

“The UAE domestic helpers’ work contract makes it obligatory for sponsors to give all necessary medical treatment for their employees. If it is proved that the sponsor is ignoring the law he will face punishment,” he said.

Full support will be given to Bizuwork, Major General Al Merri added.

Bizuwork, a mother of a four-year-old boy back in her home country, came to work in Dubai in November last year as a housemaid for a British man, his Lebanese wife and their three children.

According to a social worker from the Ethiopian Consulate Bizuwork’s sponsor told them he had sent the money to her sister but her sister said she has not received any money.

“We asked the sponsor to check with the exchange company why the money did not reach the family but the sponsor said he was too busy for such things,” the social worker told Gulf News.

Bizuwork told Gulf News that on the day of the accident she was cleaning her sponsor’s house when she fell off the villa’s second-floor balcony while she was putting a blanket out to air.

Doctors at the hospital said that Bizuwork was suffering from fractures to her back and would need medical treatment for a while.

They said she will be discharged from the hospital in a week’s time. But she has to come back for follow-up treatment for at least six months.

If she does not receive proper treatment she could be permanently paralysed, the doctor said.

According to the consulate’s social worker Bizuwork’s sponsor will not allow her to stay in the UAE for her follow-up treatment and will try to send her back to her home country as soon as she is discharged from the hospital.

Bizuwork tearfully said that she was from a very poor family who live in a small city in Ethiopia. Her father died a long time ago. She left her young son with her mother and came to the UAE in order to be able to work and support them.

Bizuwork said her life would not be easy if she went back to her country while she was in such a poor physical condition. “I will die. I cannot afford to go to hospital,” said Bizuwork.

By Bassma Al Jandaly, Gulf News