Archive for the ‘Ethiopian News’ Category

Yeshi Girma sentenced to 15 years in prison

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

LONDON — The partner of a failed suicide bomber was jailed for 15 years Thursday for not telling police about his plans to carry out an attack on the London subway system.

Judge Paul Worsley told Yeshimebet (Yeshi) Girma, 32, that it was clear she knew of plans by her partner, Hussain Osman, to set off explosions on the transit system on July 21, 2005. The bombs failed to explode fully and no one was injured.

“You could have done much more to prevent the terrorist threat to the public had you revealed what you knew,” Worsley said.

A jury in London found Girma guilty Wednesday of failing to provide information of the attempted attack, which came two weeks after four suicide bombers killed 52 subway and bus passengers in London. She was also found guilty of assisting an offender and failing to disclose information about his involvement

Girma, who has three children with Osman, said she knew little of what he was doing and claimed they they did not live together. The Crown Prosecution Service said she was his wife.

Girma’s brother, Esayas Girma, 22, and sister, Mulu Girma, 24, were jailed for ten years each for assisting an offender and failing to disclose information.

Worsley said the sentences reflected public condemnation of their actions, and were intended to deter others.

Satellites confirm destruction of villages by Woyanne forces

Thursday, June 12th, 2008
Assefa Bekele
The town of Labigah, February 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Satellite images confirm reports that the Ethiopian Woyanne military has burned towns and villages in the remote Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reported on Thursday.

Eight sites in the rocky, arid region, which borders Somalia, have clear signs of burning and other destruction, the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program said.

The commercially available images corroborate a report by Human Rights Watch, also issued on Thursday, that uses eyewitness accounts of attacks on tens of thousands of ethnic-Somali Muslims living in the area, the AAAS said.

“The Ethiopian Woyanne authorities frequently dismiss human rights reports, saying that the witnesses we interviewed are liars and rebel supporters,” Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“But it will be much more difficult for them to dismiss the evidence presented in the satellite images, as images like that don’t lie,” he said.

Ethiopia Woyanne, a key regional ally of the United States, launched its latest offensive after the Ogaden National Liberation Front attacked a Chinese-run oil field in the region in April 2007, killing more than 70 people.

Ethiopian Woyanne government officials in Addis Ababa routinely reject allegations against their counter-insurgency operations and accuse the rebels of abusing locals.

Lars Bromley, project director for the Science and Human Rights Program at AAAS, said his team analyzed several before and after satellite images of villages identified by Human Right Watch as possible locations of human rights violations.

They found eight, mostly in villages and small towns in the Wardheer, Dhagabur and Qorrahey Zones, that appeared to have been burned or destroyed recently.

For example, in the town of Labigah, 40 structures identified in a September 2005 image were gone in images taken in February 2008. In the Human Rights Watch report an eyewitness said the Ethiopian army “went into every village and set it on fire.”

Such reports are nearly impossible to corroborate because the region “may well be the most isolated place on earth, save perhaps the densest parts of the Congolese or Amazon rain forests,” Bromley said.

It is also difficult to tell what is going on in some villages, AAAS said.

“While some towns are considered permanent, they can grow and shrink over the course of a year due to fluctuations in nomadic populations, and many smaller villages will relocate altogether,” the report reads.

“To ensure the most accurate results, AAAS for the most part sought to review only permanent towns in the Ogaden, as indicated by their location along a well-defined road and by the presence of square structures with metal-sheet or brick roofing, and most often including a mosque.”

AAAS has used satellite images to support reports of widespread abuses in Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Burma, Chad and the Darfur region of Sudan.

Reporting by Maggie Fox; editing by David Wiessler

Click here for the 18-page report and photos.

Somali puppet president escapes another insurgent attack

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

(Xinhua) — Somali insurgents attacked the Mogadishu airport and the motorcade of Somali president Abdullahi Yusuf, for the third time in a month, as the president was to fly for Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, presidential spokesman confirmed to Xinhua on Thursday.

“They (insurgent fighter) fired a number of mortars as the president was at the airport to leave for Addis Ababa to attend the Annual AU conference there,” Mohamed Mohamoud Hubsired, presidential spokesman, told Xinhua.

“The president and his delegation were unharmed by the mortar shells and he flew safely,” Hubsired added.

Witnesses also told Xinhua that the presidential motorcade was attacked before on its way to the Mogadishu airport but there are no reports of any casualty.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Somali president but insurgent fighters twice attacked the President’s motorcade late last week as he was to fly to attend the now concluded UN sponsored peace talks between Somali government and one faction of the opposition Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia and when he returned home.

Usually insurgent fighters carry out attacks on the Mogadishu airport as Somali government or foreign officials depart or arrive in the restive coastal Somali capital Mogadishu.

The Somali transitional government and the opposition leaders signed a comprehensive cease-fire agreement Monday after weeks of indirect talks sponsored by the United Nations.

Hard-line members of the Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) and the Al-shabaab group rejected the results of the talks saying those who attended the meeting did not represent ARS and vowed to continue fighting the Somali and Ethiopian Woyanne troops.

The Asmara based faction threatened to sack the ARS chairman Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed for signing the peace deal with the government.

UK and USA 'complicit in Ethiopian war crimes'

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Britian is “complicit” in war crimes in Ethiopia because it is “turning a blind eye” to sustained human rights abuses carried out on civilians by the country’s armed forces, Human Rights Watch said today.

Women were raped until they were unconsciousness, children were tortured and tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes in a “scorched earth” campaign ordered by one of Britain’s closest allies in Africa, Ethiopia’s prime minister Meles Zenawi.

“There has been a wilful blindness and conspiracy of silence on the part of Ethiopia’s main donors, and a failure to condemn or even recognise these abuses,” Georgette Gagnon, the rights group’s Africa director, said in Nairobi today at the launch of a new report.

“Their silence amounts to complicity in crimes against humanity and war crimes carried out as a deliberate policy of the Ethiopian government.” Britain gives Ethiopia more than £130 million in aid annually, part of the £1 billion the country receives from major Western donors including the US and the EU.

But at the same time, Mr Meles has overseen the intensification of a military campaign against ethnic Somali rebels operating in Ethiopia’s eastern Ogaden region.

The previously low-level rebellion was met with a brutal armed response after the rebels attacked a Chinese oil installation in April last year, killing 70 Chinese and Ethiopian workers.

Since then, Human Rights Watch has documented the executions of more than 150 people, mass detentions, the widespread destruction of property and theft of livestock.

Satellite images published today show before and after pictures of villages razed to the ground.

The attacks, the rights group alleges, were carried out by the Ethiopian army in a bid to break civilian support for the Ogaden National Liberation Front, rebels who have been fighting for self-determination for Ethiopia’s ethnic Somali region for more than 20 years.

“The soldiers started beating us with thick sticks,” said one woman quoted in the 130-page report, titled Collective Punishment and released today.

“They beat me until I fell to the ground… while I was lying on the ground I was raped. I don’t know how many men raped me. Other women were raped too.

“Others were strangled with a rope but they did not die. In our group we were shot. I was hit behind the left shoulder with a bullet.” Bereket Simon, special adviser to Mr Meles, denied all allegations in the report, telling the Associated Press, “It’s not true. It’s the same old fabrication.”

British diplomats and Foreign Office officials are failing to press Ethiopia to stop the abuses, one senior Human Rights Watch researcher told The Daily Telegraph today.

“We have tried to raise this many times, but each time we are met with a very unpleasant reaction from the British,” he said.

“They just don’t want to know. They have convinced themselves that Ethiopia is the key to regional stability in the Horn of Africa, and they will stick to that line no matter what the government is actually doing to its own people.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We have seen the report and are concerned by many of the statements given and the allegations of human rights abuses in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

“We have raised human rights issues with the government of Ethiopia on a number of occasions and have pressed for an independent investigation into these allegations.”

By Mike Pflanz in Nairobi (telegraph.co.uk)

French military denies Eritrean incursion into Djibouti

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

(AP) Addis Ababa – Eritrean soldiers have crossed the border into Djibouti and begun building defences, Djiboutian officials said. “Eritrean soldiers made an incursion into Djibouti territory two or three days ago in the Ras Doumeira area,” an official who did not want to be identified said in a telephone interview.

“The situation is not clear,” he said, adding, “Top level negotiations are under way to resolve the problem.”

Another source said, “There are Eritreans in Doumeira and work is being done.”

The source said trenches had been dug on both sides of the border, with the Eritreans infringing several hundred metres (yards) on to Djiboutian territory.”

However the official said the Eritreans digging the trenches seemed to be civilian labourers and not troops.

“This region is very isolated and it was a week before Djibouti authorities realised what was going on.”

A military source said French forces based in Djibouti had carried out a reconnaissance on Thursday at the government’s request but had not been able to confirm an incursion.

Djibouti and Eritrea have clashed twice in the past over the border area situated at the southern end of Red Sea. In April 1996 they almost went to war after a Djibouti official accused Asmara of shelling the town of Ras Doumeira.

In 1999 Eritrea accused Djibouti of siding with Asmara’s arch-foe Ethiopia while Djibouti alleged its neighbour was supporting Djiboutian rebels and had designs on the Ras Doumeira region, which Eritrea denied.

Rights group accuses Ethiopian officials of war crimes

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia’s government is committing war crimes in its military campaign against rebels in the Ogaden region, a rights group charged Thursday in a report that complained the U.S. and other Western governments have remained silent about abuses.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Ethiopian troops are beating and strangling civilians, staging public executions and burning villages in Ogaden. It said the allegations were based on more than 100 eyewitness accounts.

An Ethiopian official denied the charges.

Washington looks to Ethiopia for help in the fight against Islamic extremists in East Africa, where al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 225 people. Ethiopia is helping the U.N.-backed government in neighboring Somalia against Muslim insurgents.

Ethnic Somalis have been fighting for more than a decade seeking greater autonomy in the desolate Ogaden, which is being explored for oil and gas. Ethiopian forces stepped up operations after rebels attacked a Chinese-run oil exploration field in April 2007, killing 74 people.

“The Ethiopian army’s answer to the rebels has been to viciously attack civilians in the Ogaden,” said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director for Human Rights Watch.

The group also said the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front has violated humanitarian law by conducting the oil attack and by setting land mines along roads. Ethiopia accuses the rebels of being financed by its archenemy, Eritrea.

Bereket Simon, special adviser to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, denied all allegations in the report.

“It’s not true,” he said. “It’s the same old fabrication.”

Asked whether an internal investigation was planned, he said: “How can we investigate lies and innuendoes? How can we try to disprove lies by investigating?”

Gagnon chided Ethiopia’s leading donors, including the United States, Britai and the European Union, accusing them of ignoring what is happening in Ogaden.

“These widespread and systematic atrocities amount to crimes against humanity,” she said. “Yet Ethiopia’s major donors, Washington, London and Brussels, seem to be maintaining a conspiracy of silence around the crimes.”

Gagnon said Western governments and institutions give at least $2 billion in aid to Ethiopia every year.

“Influential states use many excuses, such as lack of information and strategic priorities, to downplay the grave human rights concerns in Somali Region,” she said. “But crimes against humanity can’t be swept under the carpet.”

Ginbot 7 officials holding a series of talks with OLF

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Ethiopian Review’s Intelligence Unit has learned that Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice and Democracy is currently holding high level talks with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) that could result in a politico-military alliance.

According to ER sources in both Ginbot 7 and OLF, the talks have started several weeks ago and that they are progressing positively.

ER sources have not revealed whether other groups, such as the ONLF and EPPF are involved in the talks, but they are expected to be important partners in any possible alliance that will come out of the talks.

ER has recently recommended the creation of a joint military command under a new alliance involving Ginbot 7, OLF, ONLF, EPPF and TPDM. The army that would come under such a joint military command can assume the role of future Ethiopian National Defense Force.

The only reason the fast decaying Woyanne regime continues to plunder Ethiopia and terrorize our people is because there is no strong opposition party that can finish it off. If the leaders of these five organizations genuinely stand for the interest of their people, there is no reason in the world for not coming up with a common agenda that will enable them to quickly forge a formidable alliance that will end the Woyanne era of terror once and for all.

The common agenda that brings the organizations together should be democracy (one man, one vote). All outstanding political disagreements can be resolved through a genuinely democratic system.

ER sources in both Ginbot 7 and OLF are not ready to disclose where the secret talks are being held, but for maximum political effect, any agreement that they reach needs to be signed in Asmara. Any one who doubts the significant role the Eritrean government can play in destroying Woyanne is either politically ignorant, or a closet Woyanne sympathizer, or does not fully comprehend the severity of the crisis our country is facing. Woyannes understand the significance and are working day and night to minimize or eliminate the threat. Invading Somalia and giving away Ethiopia’s land to Sudan are some of the desperate measures Meles and Sebhat have recently taken.

Woyanne cannot easily be defeated in a conventional warfare. So the alliance should rely instead on the people of Ethiopia to rise up in a massive nation-wide civil disobedience and bring Meles and Sebhat to justice.

Once every thing is in place and targets are carefully identified, the alliance has to do only one thing to get rid of Woyanne. Tell the people of Ethiopia tenes on a specific day and week. Woyanne will be wiped out in a matter of days in a wave of uprisings — politically guided by the alliance so that no innocent civilian or foreign national would be harmed.

The list of targets should be at most a few hundred or thousand hard core Woyanne leaders and officers — along with Al Amoudi and cohorts. The rank and file members of Woyanne should be allowed to switch side and receive amnesty. Many of them in fact should be incorporated into the new national defense force after given orientation on how to be normal human beings who value human life and dignity.

First thing first: Let these organizations come up with an alliance all of us can support without unnecessary delay. Any sacrifice that is required should be paid to help the alliance succeed and go on to save our country and people from the Woyanne cancer.

Meanwhile, Ginbot 7 supporters around the world should get together, organize themselves and apply for membership to become part of the movement. Do not wait for a call from the leadership. ER has learned that already several Ethiopians are doing just that. Today, for example, the Kinijit Support Group in South Korea has decided to join Ginbot 7. A group of Ethipians in Dubai have gotten together and became a Ginbot 7 chapter this week. Others are following their example.

Tsehai Conferences Focus on Youth

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tsehai Conferences announced its third Annual Conference, which will be held at George Washington School of Law in Washington, D.C., a city renown for its vibrant yet burgeoning Ethiopian community, from June 28 to July 3, 2008.

The conference theme, “Ethiopia’s Youth, Ethiopia’s Future,” will serve as a forum to discuss new developments in Ethiopia’s social and political landscape and provide participants with the opportunity to network with leaders in diverse sectors of the Ethiopian community from around the world.

Founder of Tsehai Conferences Elias Wondimu, an exiled journalist and now Publisher, said, “as Ethiopia passed its watershed millennium mark almost one year ago, it is important to remember that the youth have arrived to claim its future.” In this spirit, Tsehai Conferences proudly announces the first conference that focuses on the youth and about the future of the youth. “The youth are frequent subjects of conversation, but in spite of their significant role, very little space has been made for them,” Wondimu said. “Tsehai Conference 2008 will lead the effort in bridging this gap,” he added.

Most importantly, the conference will remain a neutral space to ensure that the conference continues to have the most thorough and deep conversations possible, Wondimu explained. “The conference is not ideological, rather it is a medium for the exchange of thought.” The Conference also aspires to help participants gain insight into the past by featuring leaders of the 1970’s student movements and the then political leaders, and also highlights today’s young professionals and community leaders to show their vision for tomorrow.

The conference will include a film festival featuring various documentaries as well as a feature film, lectures and numerous panel discussions. The panelists will address current issues that have been at the center of discussions, past legacies, current challenges and future prospects. While helping us understand various problems Ethiopians confront, panelists will also recommend strategies for solving problems and moving ahead forward.

“Bringing the youth into the center of our conversation allows us to learn from our past mistakes without recrimination, and frees us to look into the future with an open arms towards each other” Wondimu said. “It is important for us to accept that it is impossible to undo our past mistakes, but we can do the right things today, in order for the young generation to start fresh and build the future with a new vision.”

Tsehai Publishers widely known for its books conceives of the conference as an important supplement to its contribution to knowledge production. Indeed “to many of our authors, it is an opportunity to get out of one’s desk and interact with the public, a page simply is not enough for people to truly understand the humanity behind the dialogue,” Wondimu said.

Tsehai Conference panels will provide attendees perspectives from distinguished friends and Ethiopian scholars, researchers, politicians, artists, educators, historians, social scientists, journalists, and authors who will be addressing diverse issues of importance in a format that can engage its audience into fruitful discussions. Our distinguished panelists will include Messay Kebede, Alem Hailu, Damtew Taffesse, Ayele Bekerie, Davis Shinn, Sulyman Young, Yonas Kifle, Kay Shelemay, Tseday Abera, Terrence Lyons, Pietro Toggia, Muse Clark, Belachew Yemaneh, Winta Teferi, Ellias Fullmore, Nahom Beyene, Abezash Tamrat, and more. (check the website for updated list.)

The conference is sponsored by the George Washington University, School of Law; Loyola Marymount University; Katten Muchin Resenman LLP; Howard University’s African Studies Department; PEN USA; Antioch University, Los Angeles; and George Mason University’s Center for Global Studies. The conference is also a collaborative effort, including the Ethiopian Heritage Foundation, Tsehai Publishers and Distributors, Ethiopian Institute for Nonviolence Education and Peace Studies, AGM Enterprise and the African Tribune.

For more information regarding past conferences and details regarding Tsehai Conferences 2008, visit the website at http://www.tsehaiconferences.com, or contact us via email: info@tsehaiconferences.com.

Nader Alsheikh can be reached at via email: naderalsheikh@gmail.com.

PHOTO: Torn up Ethiopian flag at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Yesterday, in its silly attempt to divert attention from the secret deal that gave away tens of thousands of square kilometers of land to Sudan by the Meles dictatorship, the foreign minister, Seyoum Mesfin, declared ‘flag day’ and handed out 600,000 flags.

The Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit today has obtained a recent photo of an Ethiopian flag in front of the Bole International Airport in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. As you see below, the flag is torn up and it seems that it has been there for a long time in total neglect. What a better way is there to show the contempt Woyanne has for Ethiopian flag than this one which is displayed at a highly visible place — an international airport?

JOKE OF THE DAY: Djibouti calls up retired police and soldiers

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Djibouti government and military are filled with khat-addicted whores at the service of the Woyanne mafia. It is a joke that they are calling up retired army and police officers. The minute real fighting starts, they would run to the French military base for cover. Ethiopians will never forget what they did to the 8 helicopter pilots 2 years ago who sought political asylum in Djibouti.

(Reuters) – Djibouti called up retired police and soldiers on Wednesday after a clash with Eritrean troops killed at least two and wounded 21 others on their shared border over looking strategic Red Sea shipping lanes.

Eritrea, without confirming or denying the clashes, dismissed Djibouti’s statements as “anti-Eritrean”.

The first fighting since 1996 between two of Africa’s smallest states broke out on Tuesday, after a nearly two-month standoff. Djibouti hosts French and U.S. military bases and is the main route to the sea for Eritrea’s arch-foe Ethiopia.

Djibouti said the clash began after Eritrean soldiers deserted and the Eritreans fired on them, prompting return fire. A second outbreak followed when Eritrean soldiers demanded their deserters back.

Fighting continued on Wednesday in the Mount Gabla area of northern Djibouti, Djibouti’s Defence Ministry said.

Police officers and soldiers who retired from 2004 to 2008 were ordered to reintegrate with their units, a government statement said.

Mount Gabla, also known as Ras Doumeira, overlooks the strategic Bab al-Mandib straits, which are a major shipping route to and from Europe and the Middle East.

Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry said it would not “get involved in an invitation of squabbles and acts of hostility”.

“(Djibouti) has been making continued futile attempts to drag the government of Eritrea into its concocted animosity,” a statement said.

A Reuters witness at a French hospital in Djibouti said helicopters had ferried in dead and wounded soldiers.

“PICKING A FIGHT”

In mid-April, Djibouti accused Eritrea of digging trenches and building fortifications on the Djiboutian side of the frontier. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told Reuters in a recent interview that was a “fabrication”.

“It’s just another case of Eritrea picking a fight and finding itself in a position of hostility towards the main Western players in the region,” said Patrick Smith, editor of the Africa Confidential newsletter.

“Eritrea is sending out a warning to Djibouti in particular saying if it chooses to go with Ethiopia then it’s opening itself up to conflict with Asmara,” he said.

Djibouti’s army says nearly 75 percent of its 11,000 troops are now along its boundary with Eritrea, which is one of Africa’s most militarised states and has more than 200,000 soldiers as part of a mandatory conscription programme.

Djibouti and Eritrea are two of Africa’s smallest nations with populations of 820,000 and 4.7 million respectively.

Djibouti hosts two foreign military bases, including one of France’s biggest overseas contingents and a U.S. counter-terrorism task force of about 2,000 soldiers — many of them elite special forces who work with Ethiopian troops.

Former colonial power France signed a mutual defence pact with Djibouti after independence in 1977.

It is also a vital route for landlocked Ethiopia, which has vowed to protect its shipping access in Djibouti if necessary.

Ethiopia blamed Eritrea for the clash.

“Ethiopia firmly believes that such unwarranted action should be stopped immediately and peaceful and diplomatic solution must be sought for the problem,” Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told Reuters.

Djibouti has turned itself into a regional shipping hub after massive investment from Dubai.

By Omar Hassan

Additional reporting by Jack Kimball in Asmara, Tsegaye Tadesse in Addis Ababa; Editing by Bryson Hull and Matthew Tostevin.

In DC, hot dogs face competition from injera, tibs and hummus

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

(Bloomberg) — The bright green “On the Fly” food cart with a large decorative wing parked in Washington’s Chinatown seems to be in the wrong city.

Offering hummus, vegetarian tacos and organic teas, the cart and its menu are in stark contrast to the aging metal-box stands nearby that sell bags of cheese popcorn, candy bars and hot dogs. A street-food revolution is under way in Washington, which has long trailed cities like Philadelphia, famous for its street-cart cheese steaks, and New York, where vendors offer everything from kebabs to crepes.

While many vendors cling to the traditional products, such as the pork and beef sausages known as half-smokes, some have begun stretching their menus. Abebe Biasmir, an Ethiopian immigrant, whose cart at 15th Street and New York Avenue is in view of the White House, now sells half-smokes and Ethiopian food such as injera, a spongy bread; tibs, a grilled meat dish; and spiced lentils.

The end of a moratorium on new licenses is giving heartburn to longtime vendors, mostly immigrants, who have protested the changes and tried to thwart competition from newcomers by calling the police on even minor violations of vending rules.

“If somebody puts his cart in the corner beside me, I lose everything,” said Yehia Ramadan, an Egyptian immigrant who operates a cart a few blocks from the White House. “We’re against On the Fly.”

About 250 vendors set up each day in Washington’s central business zone, the area around the White House and the National Mall most popular with tourists. Several hundred more operate in the district’s other neighborhoods.

‘Scared of Street Carts’

Gabe Klein, 37, outfitted the On the Fly carts and recruited a chef trained at the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia — one of the nation’s most prestigious and pricey restaurants — to develop the cuisine. A transformation in the city’s dreary street-food landscape is inevitable, he said.

“People are scared of street carts,” Klein said. “I don’t think the hot dog business will get better.”

Jordan Lichman, a former sous chef at the Inn, where meals start at $148 per person, created $2 tacos for On the Fly.

“There’s no reason why you can’t have really great, simple food, fresh, prepared well, on the street,” Lichman said. “Everywhere else in the world does it.”

Klein’s efforts to appeal to office workers with organic foods sold from environmentally friendly electric-powered carts has some longtime vendors worried that his company will soon dominate the district.

“We’re afraid he’ll be pushing us to sell him our carts or join his business,” said Salah Awadalla, a 51-year-old Egyptian immigrant who parks his cart on the edge of Chinatown. “People don’t want to lose this job.”

A moratorium on new licenses from 1998 to 2006 may have contributed to a malaise among vendors. Without competition, vendors could afford to continue serving the same food they always had. The moratorium was lifted in 2006, and tensions have risen as 400 new vendors received licenses.

“There’s a lot of fear, a lot of concerns within that vending population,” said Samuel Williams, a street sales coordinator for the district. “We’re definitely seeing a great amount of pushback from some of the longstanding vendors.”

Street vendors take in about $40,000 per year, said Michael Rupert, a spokesman for the city.

Trung Chau, 20, a Vietnamese immigrant who operates a cart with his uncle near the National Mall, sees the influx of new vendors as “very, very difficult for our business.”

Chau said established vendors retaliate against the newcomers by trying to catch them violating rules, such as parking in the wrong spot or leaving unlicensed workers to mind carts, and then call the police.

“The police take them far away,” he said, smiling.

Jared Peterson, 35, who manages the On the Fly cart at 7th and F Streets, recalled witnessing a protest by traditional vendors about a month ago. They marched and waved signs, including one that said “Vendor Gentrification,” Peterson said.

Grandfathered Vendors

The lifting of the moratorium brought some benefits for the longtime vendors. At around the same time, city officials grandfathered all vendors into a system through which they can lease their street space from the District of Columbia.

Before that system was created, no vendor held claim to a particular spot, and many would hit the streets by 5 a.m. to secure the most desirable locations. Fistfights over territory were common and female vendors were intimidated by their male counterparts.

“There are volumes of police reports of people getting beaten up,” Williams said.

Akbar Nazary, whose wholesale company supplies about 40 Washington street vendors, said he will make whatever changes are necessary if the stands change their inventory to keep up.

“If more vendors are interested in selling fruit cups, we’ll somehow have to adjust to that,” he said. “Or fresh juices. Or shish kebab.”

Traditional vendors are more afraid of competition than they are of selling new fare, he said. “They are not opposing new food,” Nazary said. “Whatever the demand is, people sell.”

By Karen Leigh, kleigh@bloomberg.net.

Woyanne official surrenders to ICU in Mogadishu

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

(Shabelle Media Network) MOGADISHU — In teleconference he held for the press, the spokesman of the Islamic Courts Union, Sheikh Mohamud Sheikh Ibrahim, has said that an Ethiopian a Woyanne military official has surrendered to ICU on Wednesday.

“He couldn’t put up with the troubles they (Woyannes) face in Somalia. So he decided to come to the Islamic Courts,” Sheik Ibrahim said.”

“We welcomed him reverentially and we will welcome if others surrender.”

He added that the surrendered officer was a deputy official.

Sheik Ibrahim has noted that ICU will make the photo so the surrendered official and statement available soon.

Following the conference, the spokesman has allowed the press to listen the voice of the Woyanne officer by phone.

Speaking to Amharic, the surrendered officer, whose name was not revealed, told that he surrendered to the Islamic Courts.

It’s the first that Ethiopian a Woyanne official surrendered to the insurgents who are fighting against the presence of Ethiopian Woyanne troops in Somalia.

Ethiopian woman convicted in boyfriend's bomb plot in London

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

(AP) LONDON — The partner of a would-be suicide bomber who attempted to attack London’s subway system was convicted Wednesday for not warning police about the plot.

A jury in London found 32-year-old Yeshi Girma guilty of failing to provide information before her partner Hussain Osman and others attempted to set off explosions on the transit system on July 21, 2005. The bombs didn’t explode fully and no one was injured.

The attempted attacks came two weeks after four suicide bombers killed 52 subway and bus passengers in London.

Mulu Girma, 24, and Esayas Girma, 22, Yeshi’s sister and brother, were also both found guilty of failing to disclose information and helping Osman.

Mulu Girma’s boyfriend Mohamed Kabashi, 25, pleaded guilty to both charges before the trial.

A date for sentencing was not set immediately. The maximum sentence for failing to inform police is five years.

Yeshi Girma, who wept as the verdict was announced, had claimed that she was not married to Osman, with whom she had three children, that she didn’t live with him, and knew little of what he was doing. Prosecutors say she is his wife.

They said she helped Osman flee the country after the attempt, and that her fingerprints had been found on tapes of extremist Islamic sermons. She allegedly also allowed Osman to take their young son to a training camp in northwestern England where he met others involved in the plot.

“Yeshi Girma had prior knowledge of the events of 21/7. She had some information about what the bombers intended to do on 21/7, but failed to bring this to the attention of the police,” prosecutor Max Hill told jurors.

“Armed with that prior knowledge of what was going to happen, Yeshi Girma could have attempted to prevent the attacks, which, but for shortcomings in the production of the explosive devices, would have killed and injured many people,” he said.

Osman was sentenced to life in prison in the case along with Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Omar and Ramzi Mohammed. Another plotter, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, was sentenced to 33 years in prison.

Five other men were also convicted and sentenced to prison for assisting the plotters.

Ethiopian circus star Sosina Wogayehu in Melbourne, June 18

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Ethiopian circus superstar Sosina Wogayehu will perform in Melbourne, Australia, this month, starting on June 18.

Those of you in Australia, please go watch this amazingly talented Ethiopian girl.

Sosina told ER that she will come to the U.S. at the end of this year. She will perform in Texas, Lousianna and other states. She wanted to perform at this year’s annual Ethiopian soccer tournament in Washington DC, but unable to do so due to schedule conflict.

Sosina currently resides in Melbourne and works with Australia’s biggest circus company, CircusOZ.

See a video of one of Sosina’s performances here.

UPCOMING SHOWS

Melbourne, Australia
Venue: Under the Big Top
Birrarung Marr, Cnr Flinders Street & Batman Avenue

Wednesday 18 June 7.30pm SOLD OUT
Thursday 19 June 7.30pm VARIETY PERFORMANCE
Friday 20 June 7.30pm SOLD OUT
Saturday 21 June 1.30 & 7.30pm
Sunday 22 June 1.30pm
Wednesday 25 June 11am & 1pm SOLD OUT
Wednesday 25 June 7.30pm
Thursday 26 June 7.30pm
Friday 27 June 7.30pm
Saturday 28 June 1.30 & 7.30pm
Sunday 29 June 1.30pm
Wednesday 2 July 1.30 & 7.30pm
Thursday 3 July 7.30pm
Friday 4 July 7.30pm
Saturday 5 July 1.30 & 7.30pm
Sunday 6 July 1.30pm
Wednesday 9 July 1.30 & 7.30pm
Thursday 10 July 7.30pm
Friday 11 July 7.30pm
Saturday 12 July 1.30 & 7.30pm
Sunday 13 July 1.30pm

Click here for more information here.

Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant, St. Louis MO

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

ST. LOUIS, MO — Among the flourishing collection of ethnic restaurants on St. Louis’s Grand Boulevard sits the comfortable and gently decorated Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant.

Meskerem is a family-owned operation that also has two restaurants in New York and one in Charlotte, N.C. The St. Louis location opened about a year ago.

I’d never eaten Ethiopian food until my pal Nate and I visited Meskerem. The restaurant offers a variety of beef, chicken, lamb and vegetarian dishes, all affordably priced; the majority of entrees are $9 to $13.

Ethiopian food is eaten without cutlery. Diners use their right hand to break off a piece of injera, a bland and spongy flatbread made from a grain called teff, then use the injera to scoop up the food.

The Ethiopian spice blend berbere (bur-ba-ree) gives the food a solid kick, although fans of vindaloo and hot curry might find it a bit tame. The blend shows up in a number of saucy dishes, including ones with chickpeas, minced collard greens and/or lentils.

Our meal began with two beef sambosas ($4), deep-fried triangles of pastry filled with chopped beef, hot green pepper, onions and garlic. This was one of the few items on the menu that is served hot. The vegetarian version uses lentils in place of beef and sells for a dollar less. The filling was tasty but a bit dry, and if we had eaten at the restaurant, we probably would have asked for a saucy condiment of some sort.

On the server’s recommendation, we sampled a second appetizer. Azifa (ah-zie-fa) ($4.95) is a light dish made of brown lentils, green peppers and onion mashed in a tangy Ethiopian mustard vinaigrette.

We also enjoyed the butecha (boo-teh-cha) ($8.95), which is milled chickpeas, onions and jalapeños sautéed in olive oil and cooked with lemon juice. The flavors reminded us of an oniony potato salad.

We shared a beef combination plate that was more than enough for two hungry men. The Meskerem combo ($12.95) includes tibs wat, which is tender thin cuts of beef sautéed in berbere. We really enjoyed the gomen besaega (bee-say-ga), beef seasoned with garlic, onion and ginger set atop some wonderful chopped collard greens (we’ll order this separately on another visit).

The combination platter was rounded out with two lentil sides. Miser alecha (a-leh-cha) is split lentils with ginger, garlic, onion and a mild curry sautéed in olive oil. Miser wat is similar to alecha, with berbere sauce instead of curry. Both lentil dishes reminded us of refried beans.

The only complaint we had about our meal was the temperature of the injera. Our order included seven or eight pieces of this bread, and each was refrigerator-cold. A call to the restaurant confirmed the injera should have been at room temperature; they offered to deliver replacements to my home, but we declined.

Sampling cuisines of the world is an adventure. We get to meet some nice people who take great pride in pleasing our palates. Meskerem did a wonderful job of introducing us to some of the foods of Ethiopia.

Meskerem is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. By Gordon McKnight, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Ethiopian refugees continue to suffer in Libyan jail

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Several Ethiopian refugees in Libya are currently being held in prison by the government of Libya. Addis Dimts host Abebe Belew spoke with them last Sunday on the phone. Click <a href=”mms://wm15.spacialnet.com/ethrev99348/addisdimts/ethiopians_in_libya_suffer_jun2008.wma”>here</a> to listen.

Cry for mother Ethiopia

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

By Yilma Bekele

The news from home is not good. We are doing it again. If I remember right this is the third or fourth time around. The first was in 1974. The whole world wept with us. Over 200,000 people died in Wollo alone. The famine sealed the fate of the Imperial regime.

The next double famine in one country was the 1984-85. There was famine in the north (Tigrai) and famine in the south (Oromia). This famine prompted the famous concert ‘Live Aid’ which raised over $100 million US.

We were faced with food shortage again in 2000. The West was happy that the ‘early warning system’ they set up worked. Our people died, but not at a higher rate they said. Our country, our people, the word ‘Ethiopia’ has become a synonym for hunger.

There are certain deficiencies one cannot overcome. Things like your location on planet earth is one. But we are lucky to be located at the confluence of civilization. We are blessed with being the cradle of civilization in its truest sense. We have a climate that is the envy of the world. You can travel from the Semen Mountains on top of the world to Danakil lowlands below sea level to the Awash Valley, the Rift Valley with beautiful Shala, Zuwai, and lovely Langano, and south to Arba Minch. We have everything going for us.

We can be the breadbasket of East Africa and Arabia. What went wrong? Why are we dying of hunger? Why are we relying on donations and good will of the West to survive? Are we so stupid and dense that they have to come from Oxford and Harvard to find out why we go hungry? What is it about food that it is such a powerful weapon?

We are hungry and destitute for variety of reasons. The single most important cause of hunger is ‘lack of sovereignty’. We are not in charge anymore. This trend did not start yesterday. We have been sliding towards this hellhole of ‘neo-colonial’ camp the last forty years or so. After assuming power the TPLF minority regime was too happy to facilitate the eventual take over of our country by the industrialized west and international bankers.

The mafia clique in charge is doing this not because they are evil, nor because they have a hidden agenda to destroy Ethiopia and liberate Tigrai. That is just a smoke screen. The people of Tigrai are made to feel insecure by waving Amhara Nationalism. The Amhara are made hostile towards all of Tigrains by overplaying the non-existent over development of the region at the expense of others. Meles and company are doing this because that is the only way they can stay in power. TPLF is not a mass based organization. In today’s Ethiopia they have no single interest group they can count on. Their main constituents are the foreigners.

On planet Earth the most vital resource is food. We all get sidetracked by this talk of oil, gold and other rare natural resources. If you think about it without food all others lose their value. Without human being the Earth will be another ball among billions in this vast wonderful universe we call home. At the moment this is the only place where life is known to exist. Without food to sustain us we will not exist. This is exactly our problem in Ethiopia. We do not have enough food to sustain us. But what happened to our food?

We are but just another victim of globalization and the new international order. The military regime, which assumed power after the ‘74 famine, was in the words of our beautiful son Teddy Afro ‘le lewte yalfeterew seltan lai seweta’ situation. The world was polarized between the West and the East and the Derg gravitated towards the Soviet Union. It was a time Russia’s power and influence was ascending and the US was on a retreat mode. The Soviets poured in arms and Cuban solders to reel us into their orbit. The illiterate and cruel Derg mowed down the most experienced older generation and the most educated new generation of our country. We became an empty shell of our former self.

We borrowed heavily from the World Bank and International bankers to purchase arms to fight internal wars. We were forced to buy food since production came to a standstill due to war on all fronts. There was EPLF, TPLF, OLF, EPRP and other LF’s all raising arms against the Fascist regime. It was inevitable. The center collapsed. The beginning of the dilution of our sovereignty was underway.

The high debt, the complete collapse of the economy and the general hopelessness permeating the nation opened the door for outside powers to rearrange society in their own interest. The TPLF that rode into Addis was indebted to foreigners more than the Ethiopian people. The World Bank, IMF and International bankers were ready with all the necessary programs and ‘economic therapy’ for the new government to sign. The clique that did not have the necessary tools or capacity to grasp the new situation was happy to oblige.

This is what Michel Chossudovsky in a wonderful research paper wrote:

‘In Ethiopia, a transitional government came into power in 1991 in the wake of a protracted and destructive civil war. After the pro-Soviet Derge regime of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam was unseated, a multi-donor financed Emergency Recovery and Reconstruction Project (ERRP) was hastily put in place to deal with an external debt of close to 9 billion dollars that had accumulated during the Mengistu government. Ethiopia’s outstanding debts with the Paris Club of official creditors were rescheduled in exchange for far-reaching macro-economic reforms. Upheld by US foreign policy, the usual doses of bitter IMF economic medicine were prescribed. Caught in the straightjacket of debt and structural adjustment, the new Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE), led by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) – largely formed from the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – had committed itself to far-reaching “free market reforms”, despite its leaders’ Marxist leanings. Washington soon tagged Ethiopia alongside Uganda as Africa’s post Cold War free market showpiece.’

The IMF and the World Bank are good at this game. They have managed to penetrate the economies of Eastern Europe and Third world countries at will. They have an age proven way of operation which no country have been able to say no to. If they were a criminal organization you can say they have a certain ‘modi operandi’ known to law enforcement. In a very simplistic way all their victims have the following in common.

· Preferably a dictatorship, a military junta or corrupt crony capitalist state.

· A seemingly growing economy.

· Local currency pegged to the dollar.

· Rampant speculation in real estate and currency trading.

· Financial institutions under heavy debt to trans national banks.

When these conditions are met the game is set. The crisis is invented. The foreign banks call the short-term loan in. The currency speculators start hitting the foreign reserve. The desperate government calls in the IMF. They are there the next day with new terms and conditions. It has happened to the following countries.

· Mexico 1994 known as the ‘Mexican Peso Crisis’ The peso fell by 35 percent against the dollar in three days. IMF approved 48billion loan to prop up the peso.

· Thailand November 1997. Bail out 3.9 billion.

· Korea December 1997. Bailout 55 billion.

· Indonesia. 1998. Bailout 43 billion

· Brazil. December 1998. Bailout 30 billion.

The G7 countries banks were protected form the effects of giving excessive loans to a poor and corrupt creditor while the those countries economy was saddled with further debt

Compared to us all these are giants. What do they want from us?

What we got today is as important as what we could be tomorrow. The trans nationals are the new colonialists. Control comes in many forms. A weak corrupt regime is a fertile ground for their operation. When they show up during a certain point in the crisis like the collapse of the Mengistu dictatorship they come with what they call ‘a policy framework paper’ (PFP) The new game plan is trade liberalization, wage freeze, open markets, hasty privatization and new labor laws among a host of changes to make it easy for the Banks and Agro-businesses to operate freely.

We know what happened in Ethiopia. State assets were sold out (transferred) to TPLF organized companies. Land that was illegally confiscated by the Derg was reconfisiscated by the new masters. New labor unions were organized for all trade and professional groups. Teachers and social workers were let go. Price subsidies to farmers was stopped. Price control was lifted. The ‘Kelel’ system was set up in the name of federalism but a Bantustan in nature. Dagmawi writes ‘the ethnic nationalism represented by Kuma Demeksa and other servile ethnic politicians is referred to as “Castrated Nationalism”. The organization of society into ethnic nations and its top down control via castrated ethnic parties was the governing strategy in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.’ Look at both of them now. So much for ‘castrated nationalism’ as a tool for self-determination.

The most important mission of neo colonialism is the control of the food system. We are number one victims of this practice. Giant Agro-business took control of our farm-based economy. It was not a physical take over. That is old fashioned. They gave grants and loan subsidies to the regime, which in turn used the capital to consolidate its hold on the peasant farmer. Seed and fertilizer came under government monopoly that in turn was controlled by trans national agro business conglomerates. According to Chossudovsky ‘Pioneer Hi-Bred positioned itself in seed distribution and marketing, Cargill Inc established itself in the markets for grain and coffee through its subsidiary Ethiopian Commodities’. This symbiotic relationship serves the two parties at the expense of the third, the peasant farmer. Three important names in this are Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill Inc. Our wheat, barley; maize, teff, sorghum and other Ethiopian seed variety have become genetically mapped and patented properties of the agri businesses. What this means is our farmers cannot save and plant or exchange the seeds without breaking the law.

The poor Ethiopian farmer is victimized from many sides. He does not own the land. He cannot raise capital. His seed has been confiscated from him. Fertilizer is out of his reach. Since the ’84 hunger more than 8 million have been locked in what is called a ‘famine zone’. There is no way out. The current ‘give away’ of land to Sudan pales in comparison to the outright robbery of our unique seed supply. We will never get it back. We can reclaim what Sudan is trying to take but the prospect of going against treaties enshrined in their World Trade Organization (WTO), Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) agreements and other neo colonialist tools is very remote.

It is not good to bite the hand that feeds you, but circumstances have to be taken into consideration. The IMF, World Bank and the trans national corporations make the existence of the corrupt mafia regime possible. The policy they formulate to benefit them selves in turn causes untold misery and pain to our people. The ruling elite they prop up to facilitate their control is destroying our identity and our home. Their callous policy towards us is the cause of famine. Are we supposed to thank them for dumping on us genetically engineered grain that is banned in Western Europe? Is it true that we are being used to ‘launder dirty grain’ in the name of aid? Why is genetically manipulated seed given out with ‘food aid’? Does this cause a further deterioration of Ethiopia’s genetic pool of indigenous seeds?

What is bizarre about the current famine is that the International Organizations and NGO’s are appealing for help while the Ethiopian government is busy denying the extent of the problem. They seem to be angry by the 8 to 12 million figure being quoted by the media. The Prime Mister himself is upset about the conspiracy by the western media to tarnish his image. Instead of ‘one hungry citizen is one too many’ the regime is setting the record straight by claiming the number should not be no more may be 75,000 children dying. I guess that is an acceptable number to perish. As far as you and I are concerned, it comes down to the same old question. What are you going to do about it?

I will leave you with a timely quotation from Indonesia in the aftermath of their ‘crisis’ in 19998.

“”It is paradoxical that the IMF is willing to dictate terms to Suharto when it comes to managing the economy but not when it comes to fundamental economic rights,” an Indonesian human rights worker and researcher using the pseudonym ‘Aryati’ told a Congressional committee… While it is apparently acceptable to the IMF that political power is monopolized, it absolutely insists that the debt be democratically distributed.”

Resources used in the preparation of this article.

*Sowing the Seeds of Famine in Ethiopia, by Michel Chossudovsky
*David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
*Dagmawi
*Anuradha Mittal, Co-Director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First, in Oakland, California.
*Shiva – The threat to third world farmers.
*IMF– Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Korea
*Sang Mok Ahn – The IMF Korea Bailout – A Korean Nationalist’s View

Woyanne gives 1,700 acres of land to flower exporters

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

EDITOR’S NOTE: These flower farms are fertilizer and water intensive, according to experts. Is it a wise policy to grow flower, instead of teff, corn and other edible crops, when millions of our people are facing death by starvation? Would a government that cares for its people do such a thing? The following is a propaganda piece by a Woyanne information outlet >>

Addis Ababa (Walta Woyanne Information Center) — Some 700 hectares of land has been granted to over 10 horticultural investors on the outskirts of Bahir Dar town during the past two months, according to Ethiopian Horticultural Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA).

Association Chairman Tsegaye Abebe told WIC that the local and foreign investors are making preparations to begin exporting produces early next year.

The Ethiopian Airports Enterprise and Ethiopian Airlines have also begun furnishing Bahir Dar International Airport with various equipment that enable to smoothly undertake the export, Tsegaye added.

The efforts underway to extend the floriculture and horticulture industry to other parts of the country would further be implemented in Diredawa and SNNP State, it was revealed.

Apart from earning foreign currency and creating jobs, the sector would help promote the positive image of the country, the chairman noted.

Ethiopia, as compared to other countries with long-years experience, has been registering encouraging results in the sector, he further said,adding that the production volume of the current Ethiopian year has shown 30 to 40 percent increase as compared to the previous years.

Ethiopia military budget increased by $50 million

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Addis Ababa – Meles Zenawi’s dictatorship in Ethiopia is to bolster its defence budget by $50-million (about 450 million birr) “for stability reasons” amid tension in the Horn of Africa region, according to a draft budget presented to parliament Tuesday by Finance Minister Sufian Ahmed.

“The defence budget for the next fiscal year (beginning in July) will be raised to four billion birr ($400-million) up from 3.5-billion ($350-million) last year,” Sufian said. “We believe that this amount is proportional.”

The budget is to be approved by the end of the month.

The Meles dictatorship is involved in a tense standoff with Eritrea over a border row that has remained unresolved despite the signing of a peace deal that ended their two-year war in 2000.

Its troops are also battling insurgents in Somalia after entering in late 2006 to bolster Somalia’s beleaguered transitional government, in a move supported by the United States.

“We have raised the amount for stability reasons as we are based in the Horn of Africa region,” the finance minister said. “We can only sustain economic development when there is stability in our region.”

IOL

Minister of foreign affairs hunds out 600,000 flags

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

What a moron! Why doesn’t he hand out some food to the starving children?

Addis Ababa (Walta Woyanne Information Center) – Foreign Affairs Minister Seyoum Mesfin said the pride obtained from the national flag could be maintained by eliminating poverty through ensuring development and good governance in Ethiopia.

Following discussions with stakeholders today, the minister said the national flag is a symbol that reflects the voluntary coexistence of nations and nationalities under a democratic order. Children and the youth should be brought up with love and respect to the country and the flag, he stressed.

According to Seyoum,a decision has been reached to celebrate Ethiopian Flag Day on July 5 so that it could involve all stakeholders. The minister further called on the public and stakeholders to take part in the celebration which would mainly be marked in educational institutions.

A draft proclamation is under preparation to annually dedicate a national flag day, he revealed.

The minister also on the occasion received flags and pins donated by Hayat Real Estate Development Enterprise Manager Ayalew Tessema and passed them to governmental and non-governmental organizations..

The minister handed out 100,000 flags to the Ministry of Defense and 500,000 flags to the Ethiopian Millennium Festival National Council Secretariat.

WFP steps up urgent food shipments to Ethiopia

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

By Peter Heinlein, VOA

The World Food Program is diverting emergency food shipments to Ethiopia, where officials expect already severe shortages to worsen over the next few months. VOA’s Peter Heinlein in Addis Ababa reports July is likely to be the most critical period, with deteriorating nutrition levels among people already living on the edge.

World Food Program Director for Ethiopia Mohammed Diab says supplies of nutrition supplements intended for elsewhere are being diverted to Ethiopia, where the estimate of people needing food aid has more than doubled, from 2.2 million to 4.5 million.

Diab told reporters the United States is making available a supply of CSB, or corn-soya blend, to ease an expected shortfall of 360,000 metric tons of food over the next three months.

“WFP normally resorts to diverting ships, if it reaches a critical situation where food is not available we ask WFP to contact our donors to ensure that if a consignment ship going elsewhere we divert it here to ensure food is available, we have managed to contact WFP headquarters and with donors to get additional CSB from U.S.,” he said.

Diab cautions that the current estimate of a 360,000 ton shortfall is optimistic. He says people in the heavily-populated Oromia region are already living on the edge. If the current rainy season fails, as the last two have, conditions could get much worse.

“The need in the southern regions and Oromia is enormous. And now the nutrition levels is deteriorating. There is a failure of production in this area, so the population are working on a very thin edge. Any deterioration or delay in rainfall can lead much more serious situation than what we are in here,” he said.

Ethiopia’s disaster prevention agency chief Simon Mechale says even with the expected aid shipments, the months before the next harvest are going to be difficult.

“Unless something is done very quickly, we are going to face a serious problem in July in terms of shortfall. I think this should be very clearly understood. Unless we are provided with sufficient resources, we cannot be blamed that people are suffering, but there is nothing being done. So this should be very clear. July is going to be the most critical month,” he said.

Simon told reporters he does not believe the current food crisis will be as bad as the famine that killed an estimated one million people in the mid-1980s. He pointed out that the 1980s famine spread over the entire country, while the current food shortages are limited mostly to southern and eastern regions.

Of the four and a half million in need of food aid now, the government estimates at least 75,000 are children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Emergency feeding centers have been set up in some regions to help the worst off, but aid workers and health professionals manning the centers say they are losing children every day.

Attack in Mogadishu after ICU leader rejects truce

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

MOGADISHU (AFP) — Insurgents on Tuesday attacked a Mogadishu police station moments after an Islamist leader rubbished a truce deal between rival factions in Djibouti, dealing a blow to the latest UN effort to bring peace to Somalia.

Witnesses said insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns raided the station in the northern Karan district, allowing prisoners to run free, the latest in a series of attacks in the seaside capital.

“The bodies of two dead policemen could be seen strewn across the street near the station while prisoners were running away after being released. Some insurgents were shouting ‘God is Great’,” said Hasan Shikshigo, a grocer.

The insurgents briefly took control of the police station and a district commissioner’s residence, said Mohamed Sheik Muridi.

The violence came a day after Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein and Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) chief Sheikh Sharif Ahmed signed agreements at UN-sponsored talks in Djibouti, including a three-month truce which is to come into force within a month.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, an influential radical cleric, has rejected the deal. The sheikh, accused of links to Al-Qaeda by the United States, argued it failed to set a clear deadline for the withdrawal from Somalia of Ethiopian troops.

“I do not believe that the outcome of this conference will have any impact on the resistance in Somalia. We shall continue fighting until we liberate our country from the enemies of Allah,” Aweys told Mogadishu-based Shabelle radio.

“The aim of the meeting was to derail the holy war in the country,” added Aweys, a member of the ARS, an opposition umbrella group dominated by Islamists and based in Eritrea.

Aweys and other hardline Islamists stayed away saying they would not take part unless Ethiopian troops backing government forces pulled out of Somalia.

According to the accord, Ethiopians Woyannes would withdraw after the UN deployed peacekeepers within 120 days of the armistice taking effect.

On May 15, the UN Security Council authorised a gradual return of UN staff to Somalia, possibly leading to the deployment of peacekeepers, but did not set a timetable.

Aweys said the new truce failed to set a deadline for the pullout of Ethiopian Woyanne troops, who deployed at the end of 2006 and knocked out Islamists from south and central Somalia. “It is not clear when they will leave,” he said.

The African Union (AU), the United States and UN chief Ban Ki-moon welcomed the agreement.

The AU “strongly urges all other relevant Somali actors to join this process and commit themselves to the peaceful and negotiated settlement of the conflict in their country,” the pan-African body said in a statement.

“We call on all Somali stakeholders, whether party to the agreement or not, to abide by its provisions and support its implementation,” US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement.

The AU has deployed some 2,600 peacekeepers in Somalia — short of the pledged 8,000 troops — but they have failed to stem violence which rights groups say has killed 6,000 civilians over the past year.

Battle-weary Mogadishu residents said the absence of insurgents still keep peace at bay.

“Do not sponsor peace talks without participation of the Shababs, otherwise it is like playing a tune that has no listeners,” said Abdi Ali Mohamed, a taxi driver. “There are still rough times and more bloodshed ahead. Peace is miles away.”

Since their ouster, the Islamists have waged a guerrilla war, which according to international rights groups and aid agencies has left at least 6,000 civilians dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.

An uninterrupted civil war has plagued Somalia since the 1991 overthrow of president Mohamed Siad Barre, defying numerous peace initiatives and truce deals.

On Monday, the Somali rivals also agreed to facilitate the passage of humanitarian supplies to around 2.6 million suffering Somalis, although a similar pledge on May 16 went unheeded.

The UN expects the figure to reach 3.5 million Somalis by year’s end due to a prolonged drought and spiralling inflation.

Discussion on Ethio-Sudan border re-demarcation – LA, June 14

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Kinijit Los Angeles has organized a public meeting to discuss the Ethiopia-Sudan border re-demarcation on Saturday June 14th 2008. Dr. Fisseha Abebe and Prof. Alemayehu Gebremariam will be guest speakers.

Click on the poster below for more details.

Britain throws its crumbs at starving Ethiopia

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

(telegraph.co.uk) — Britain will give at least £15 million in aid to fight starvation in Ethiopia as the situation in the drought-stricken country worsens, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander has said.

A team of Department for International Development officials are due to arrive in Ethiopia on Tuesday to assess the situation and the Ethiopian government is expected to launch an emergency appeal this week.


Mothers and their malnourished children wait to receive food aid and treatment in Bolossa Sore, Ethiopia

Aid groups say the crisis in Ethiopia was the worst since 1984, when a famine captured the world’s attention and killed around one million people. The current drought, in a country where more than 80 per cent of its 79 million people live off the land, has been compounded by global food price rises.

Monday night’s announcement of a £10 million contribution – in addition to a £5 million pledge last month – came as John Holmes, the United Nation’s top humanitarian official, said despite international aid, Ethiopia was again facing hunger on a mass scale.

“The World Food Programme feeds some 8 million people already, together with the other (aid agencies) in Ethiopia,” he said. “But we may need to increase that, because of drought.”

Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, warned at least 126,000 children were in need of urgent care to prevent severe malnutrition and said £25 million was needed just to meet emergency needs.

“We’re overwhelmed,” said Margaret Aguirre, a spokeswoman for the International Medical Corps, a California-based aid agency. “There’s not enough food and everyone’s starving and that’s all there is to it. Older children are starting to show the signs of malnutrition when normally they might be able to withstand shocks to the system.

“What’s particularly concerning is that the moderately malnourished are soaring. It’s increasing so much that it means those children are going to slide into severe malnutrition.”

The famine comes as Ethiopian troops fight a bloody battle Somalia, backing the government against Islamic insurgents. Somalia on Monday signed a deal with the opposition alliance, calling for an end to the violence and the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces.

The opposition sees the Ethiopian troops as an occupying force and it international rights groups and aid agencies estimate that at least 6,000 civilians have been killed in fighting over the past year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Britain’s government is partly responsible for the political and economic crises in Ethiopia by supporting the Woyanne tribal junta to stay in power. What Ethiopia needs is not frifari (crumbs). The best thing Britain can do for Ethiopia is to stop arming and financing the brutal dictatorship.

Ethiopian in Australia finds refuge in art

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — THE journey of three Ethiopian refugees from their homeland to Melbourne is the inspiration behind a city art exhibition.

Flemington’s Sutueal Bekele is one of the artists contributing to The Journey: From Ancient Ethiopia to Contemporary Melbourne, an exhibition about migration and settlement.

“The paintings represent me and my journey,” Bekele said. “It’s about my journey from Ethiopia through a few African countries that I lived in, to arriving here in Melbourne.”

Bekele, 34, left Ethiopia when he was 16 and spent time in Kenya before arriving in Australia in 1999.

“It was a long journey and it’s hard to leave your home country and your family and travel all the way here,” Bekele said. “But it was a journey with a lot of experiences, meeting people from different backgrounds and learning a lot of things every day.”

Bekele said it was hard to paint in the refugee camps.

“It was very challenging moving to a new area and it takes time to adapt but it does give you a new artistic expression,” he said.

In the late ’90s at a Kenyan refugee camp, Bekele’s work was seen by United Nations delegates and Kenyan politicians.

“They visited my studio in the refugee camp and they were quite impressed with my work,” he said. The UN commissioned a painting from Bekele which now hangs at its Geneva headquarters.

Bekele said he was grateful to settle in Melbourne.

“I don’t even look back, this is my home. I’ve got a partner and two children and now it’s all about them, the next generation,” he said.

Bekele said his artwork was important to him and a way of sharing his experiences.

“As an artist I always try to express my culture and the environment that I grew up in and share it with people,” he said.

“I’m very emotionally attached to my artwork and so I try not to sell much of it.”

By Cathy Nilbett, Moonee Valley Leader

Birtukan and colleagues need to be a step ahead of Woyanne

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Heated, but important, debates are currently raging inside the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) on the future course of the organization. There are major disagreements among the top leaders of UDJ, which is formed by leaders of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (Kinijit) after being forced by the Meles dictatorship in Ethiopia to change their name in order to be able to legally operate inside the country. Some outsiders try to characterize the disagreements as power struggle. But it is not as simple as that. According to ER sources, the debates evolve around the question of how to move the party forward, in light of its inability to freely operate inside Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Review’s recommendation to the UDJ leaders is to follow their secretary general’s lead and officially suspend all their operations inside the country. The head of finance, Dr Befekadu Degifie, has also resigned last week, since it is currently impossible to operate as a genuine opposition party in Ethiopia. Prof. Mesfin Woldemariam made it known this week that he will no longer be in the leadership of the party. More high level officials are expected to take the same measures. If the rest of UDJ leaders intend to continue to operate inside the country under the terms dictated to them by the Woyanne fascist regime, they would only be serving the interest of the Meles crime family, and not the people of Ethiopia.

Suspending operation doesn’t mean disbanding the party. The party can continue to exist, but until the Woyanne repression ends, it should suspend all its activities, as well as withdraw its application from the illegitimate Election Board. If UDJ engages in any activity, it should be trying to convince the other parties who claim to be opposition to also suspend their operation in protest of Woyanne’s repression. UDJ and the other opposition parties inside Ethiopia are not going to bring any change. Woyanne will continue to use brute force to stop them. In fact, their only use right now is to give Woyanne legitimacy. They are not serving the interest of the people they clam to stand for by giving legitimacy to the brutal dictatorship.

When Birtukan Mideksa and the other leaders of Kinijit (now named UDJ) returned to Ethiopia in September after their U.S. and European visits, they were widely popular. Right now, no body cares about what they say or do. They have not been doing much to begin with, other than holding endless meetings and begging Woyanne to give them legal status, in the process humiliating themselves and the people of Ethiopia. As a result, their popularity has now plummeted. They have expended all their political capital on a futile effort to get legal status from the Woyanne-controlled Election Board. If they think otherwise, they are only fooling themselves, not to mention insulting the intelligence of the Ethiopian people.

In addition to officially announcing their suspension of operations inside the country, the UDJ leaders need to inform their support groups abroad that all of them are free to decide what to do next. This will allow many of the Kinijit support committees around the world to rally around Ginbot 7.

Ethiopia is currently in extremely desperate situation. This is the time to think and act fast. This is the time to take drastic actions to save our country from falling apart, and her people from dying by the millions. This cannot be done without a strong and decisive political leadership.

Ethiopian Review urges all Kinijit supporters in the Diaspora who understand the extreme severity of the situation at home to join Ginbot 7 and help it become a strong force that will use any available means to remove the cancer that is eating away our country. Any thing short of doing that is failing the people of Ethiopia in this time of despair. The people of Ethiopia need a strong political leadership that will bleed and kill Woyanne, not beg and kneel down to Meles and Sebhat.

Our political leaders need to always put themselves one step ahead of Woyanne, instead of always reacting to what Woyanne does. Wzt. Birtukan and colleagues will be remembered as heroes if they outsmart Woyanne at its own game. What they are doing currently is not smart at all. If they continue on their current course, they will be totally discredited as political leaders.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Review repeats its call to Ginbot 7 to take the following steps in the fight to save our country:

1) Form a transitional government in exile with OLF, ONLF, EPPF, and TPDM as soon as possible.

2) Bring the military forces of the OLF, ONLF, TPDM and EPPF under one military command that will operate as Ethiopian National Defense Forces.

3) Establish a diplomatic relation with Asmara without any further delay, which will send shivers down Woyanne’s spine. Don’t even waste time to explain to the fools why it is necessary to take such a step. Millions of our people are dying horrible deaths at this very moment and there are some dunderheads who still want to pick and choose who to work with to save our people in this hour of despair.

Smaller political parties, the media, and civic groups, such as Tatek, Hibre Hizb, Tegbar, Gasha, Kinijit support groups, Kinijit Youth League, and others need to come under the Ginbot 7 umbrella.

This is not a time for debate. It is a time for action to save our people from holocaust.

Hopefully Birtukan and friends will make the right decision this coming Saturday when they will meet to decide their party’s — and their own — future.

DW reports about victims of Meles-Bashir secret border deal

Monday, June 9th, 2008

German Radio (DW) has extensive coverage about the displacement of Ethiopians as a result of the secret border re-demarcation agreement between Meles Zenawi’s regime of Ethiopia and al-Beshir’s Sudanese regime in exchange for railway access for the Tigray region to Port Sudan.

DW also interviews Ethiopians who were released last week after being taken away from their lands by Sudanese government troops and thrown in jail. The Ethiopians were released after paying 2 million birr.

The people whose land have been taken away by Sudan are not being attacked by Sudanese troops alone. According to the DW report, Woyanne troops using heavy weapons have attacked the local residents who resisted.

Click here to listen.

Hunger in Ethiopia now spreading to adults

Monday, June 9th, 2008

By ANITA POWELL

SHASHAMANE, Ethiopia (AP) — Like so many other victims of Ethiopia’s hunger crisis, Usheto Beriso weighs just half of what he should. He is always cold and swaddled in a blanket. His limbs are stick-thin.


Six year old malnourished Tariken
Lakamu waits for food aid , June 6,
2008 in the southern Ethiopian town
of Shashamane. This year’s food
crisis, brought on by a countrywide
drought and skyrocketing global food
prices, is far less severe, with an
estimated 4.5 million people nationwide
in need of emergency food aid.
(AP Photo/Anita Powell)

But Usheto is not the typical face of Ethiopia’s chronic food problems, the scrawny baby or the ailing toddler. At age 55, he is among a growing number of adults and older children — traditionally less-vulnerable groups — who have been stricken by severe hunger due to poor rains and recent crop failure in southern Ethiopia, health workers say.

“To see adults in this condition, it’s a very serious situation,” Mieke Steenssens, a volunteer nurse with Doctors Without Borders, told The Associated Press as she registered the 5-foot-4 Usheto’s weight at just 73 pounds.

Aid groups say the older victims suggest there is an escalation in the crisis in Ethiopia, a country that drew international attention in 1984 when a famine compounded by communist policies killed 1 million people.

This year’s crisis, brought on by a countrywide drought and skyrocketing global food prices, is far less severe. But while figures for how many adults and older children are affected are not available, at least four aid groups interviewed by the AP said they noticed a troubling increase.

“We’re overwhelmed,” said Margaret Aguirre, a spokeswoman for the International Medical Corps, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based aid agency. “There’s not enough food and everyone’s starving, and that’s all there is to it.

“Older children are starting to show the signs of malnutrition when normally they might be able to withstand shocks to the system,” she added. “What’s particularly concerning is that the moderately malnourished are soaring. It’s increasing so much that it means those children are going to slide into severe malnutrition.”

Ethiopia is not alone in suffering through the worldwide food crisis, which is threatening to push the number of hungry people in the world toward 1 billion. Last week, a U.N. summit of 181 countries pledged to reduce trade barriers and boost agricultural production to combat rising food prices.

But in Ethiopia, food production is hampered by drought, meaning the country has been hit with a double blow. Drought is especially disastrous in Ethiopia because more than 80 percent of people live off the land. Agriculture drives the economy, accounting for half of all domestic production and 85 percent of exports.

Sending more food is one solution, but there already is a global crunch as rising fuel prices drive up the cost of fertilizers, farm vehicle use and transport of food to market. Biofuels, which are made from crops such as sugar cane and corn, are another contentious issue, with critics saying they compete with food crops.

The problem is echoed across Africa, from Kenya and Somalia and farther west. Exacerbating the global rise in food prices, which has sparked protests and riots in several West African nations, is an annual decline in food reserves across the high desert-like region called the Sahel, just below the Sahara Desert.

The so-called “lean season” that begins around June is marked by near-empty grain stores, with the next harvest not due until around September. Locust invasions and poor rains in recent years have only worsened the condition, which leads to deadly malnutrition among young children.

Aid agencies in Ethiopia are issuing desperate appeals for donor funding, saying emergency intervention is not enough. Ethiopia receives more food aid than nearly every other country in the world, most of it from the United States, which has provided $300 million in emergency assistance to relief agencies in the past year.

But despite the international help, the country is again facing hunger on a mass scale. Part of the reason, according to John Holmes, the top U.N. humanitarian official, is the country’s climate, chronic drought and the large population of 78 million people.

“The World Food Program feeds some 8 million people already, together with the others in Ethiopia,” he said. “But we may need to increase that, because of drought.”

The U.N. children’s agency has characterized this year’s food shortage — in which an estimated 4.5 million people are in need of emergency food aid — as the worst since 2003, when droughts led 13.2 million people to seek such aid. In 2000, more than 10 million needed emergency food.

Studies by the International Medical Corps in southern Ethiopia — the epicenter of the crisis — show that up to one in four young mothers is showing signs of moderate malnutrition.

Ethiopia’s top disaster response official, Simon Mechale, insists that the food situation is “under control” and will be resolved within four months. But in the countryside, there are signs that drought has taken a more serious toll.

At a recent food distribution in a village some 155 miles southwest of the capital, more than 4,000 people showed up for free wheat and cooking oil, but only 1,300 rations were available.

Harried health workers picked through the impatient crowd, sorting out the sickest children. Frantic mothers proffered their withered infants, hoping the children’s poor state would earn some food for the family.

Ayelech Daka said her 6-year-old son, Tariken Lakamu, has been living on one meal a day for the past three months.

“He was very fat three months ago,” said his mother, Ayelech said. “He was normal.”

Now, he’s skin and bones; he vomits just seconds after taking a bite of a ration offered by an aid worker.

“I’m weak,” the child said. “I feel sick. I don’t get any food.”

Another mother, Ukume Dubancho, rocked a listless infant, trying to squeeze out drops of breast milk for her children, ages 4 months and 4 years, both of whom show signs of severe malnutrition.

Villagers said they simply cannot afford the food on the market. The few mature ears of corn in the market were selling for about 11 cents an ear. Last year, when the rains were good, that money would buy six or seven ears.

“I am not able to walk, even,” Ukume said. “I walk for one kilometer and I have to rest.”

Associated Press writer Ed Harris in Lagos, Nigeria and John Heilprin at the United Nations contributed to this report.

The village idiot talks to 'agricultral professionals'

Monday, June 9th, 2008

It is to be remembered that Meles Zenawi once during a meeting told Addisu Legesse, the deputy prime minister and minister of agriculture: “an illiterate peasant is more effective than you.” The following report by the Woyanne’s web site, WIC, explains why.

Deputy Premier urges agricultural professionals, leadership to fulfill obligations in efforts to make poverty history

Addis Ababa, June 9 (WIC) – Agricultural professionals and leadership in the field are entrusted with great responsibility to realize the struggle waged to make poverty history, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development underscored.

The Minister Addisu Legesse said at the celebration of May 28 by the employees of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) that agricultural experts and officials in the field shoulder huge responsibility so as achieve the goals of martyrs who scarified their lives to bring down the oppressive regime.

Though the major target of the martyrs is to depose the tyrant Derg regime, creating a prosperous and democratic nation is also their long-term mission from the outset. Promising beginnings have been witnessed in this regard over the past years, he added.

Agricultural professionals and officials in the field need to further enhance ongoing development works in the country by coordinating farmers and pastoralists as well as helping them to make use of agricultural technologies, the Deputy Prime Minister underlined.

The rising cost of living has reportedly been affecting the lives of each and every individual in the country, Addisu said further urging employees of the ministry to play a leading role for the realization of the agricultural policies and strategies.

EPRDF Joint Committee Chairman with MoARD, Dr. Berhe Gebre-Egziabher (a Woyanne who is Addisu’s puppet master), on his part urged all staff of the ministry to be in the forefront in the realization of the Business Process Reengineering (BPR) being implemented by the ministry.

Desperation as Ethiopia's hunger grows (BBC)

Monday, June 9th, 2008

… as the Meles dictatorship claims that the media is fabricating the food shortage, and instead is talking about growing plants for biofuels.

By Gavin Hewitt, BBC News

It is a strange and unsettling ride west from the Ethiopian town of Shashamene. The fields are vibrant green. There is water in the creeks. The soil is a deep rich burgundy. However, the people here speak of a “green drought”. It is the time when the land is full of new shoots but there is no food. It happens because the last rains failed and few crops were planted. You can sense the desperation when you arrive in a village.

A crowd gathers quickly. Some hold up their children. They want us to see the distended stomachs which are one sign of hunger.

What we have seen in the villages is not famine but it is a crisis – some say tens of thousands of children are at risk

Agencies fear prices and drought

The parents hope that, by seeing, we will take their children to a treatment centre.

This happened in the village of Odo. A local priest had visited last week and had taken the most severely malnourished children for emergency care.

But others had been left behind, including a 12-year-old with shrunken limbs who suffered from malaria.

Walking for hours

It is hard to know the scale of this. For several hours this morning women walked into the tiny village of Garagoto.

Ethiopian child
Parents showed children’s distended stomachs to appeal for help

Most had young children slung on their backs.

Some were carried in bundles of cloth. All were sick. Some had the bloated faces of the severely malnourished. Others were covered in flies.

One of them, eight-year-old Tareking, was starving. His eyes sunken, his head swollen.

His mother had walked for several hours to bring him to a treatment centre. We all questioned whether it was too late for Tareking.

Another mother called Muner said she had walked for four hours to get help for her son Sparku.

“I was so tired, she said, and it was very difficult getting here. The cattle are dying and there is hunger.”

Challenge ahead

For a time, Ethiopia was associated with famine. The country has come a long way since then.

What we have seen in the villages is not famine – but it is a crisis.

Aid work in Ethiopia
Aid workers have helped hundreds of ill children

Some say tens of thousands of children are at risk. I can believe that.

We travelled through five or six villages. In every one were vulnerable children who will not survive until the next harvest without emergency food aid.

One aid agency has said there is not currently enough food in the country to meet this crisis.

I met Daniel Hadgu, who works for the International Medical Corps. He was clear that, without help, 50% of the most needy children would die.

We went to an emergency centre in the village of Eddu that was run by the Missionaries of Charity.

They have already cared for more than 400 of the most seriously ill children.

The vast majority survive but a few have died. Some are so weak and vulnerable that the slightest setback can be fatal.

And here lies the challenge: what will become of so many poor, frail children in the months ahead before the next harvest in early autumn.

Famine stricken Ethiopia to grow plants for biofuels

Monday, June 9th, 2008

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia said on Monday it planned to produce biofuels to cut high oil import bills, but dismissed fears the strategy could hit food production in a country suffering a severe drought.

Some 4.5 million Ethiopians need emergency food aid due to failed rains and high food prices, reviving grim memories of the country’s 1984-1985 famine, which killed more than 1 million.

But the government also faces an annual fuel bill of up to $900 million, and aims to reduce that over time using biofuels.

“There is no shortage of agriculture land in Ethiopia for food production,” Melis Teka, coordinator of biofuel development in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, told Reuters.

“We have up to 23 million hectares which could be developed both for crops and biofuel. Biofuel plants are being developed on arid and barren land not suitable for food production.”

The government says it could make one billion litres of ethanol a year from four state-run sugar estates, and has also issued 37 licences to private investors to set up biofuel plants. The country also plans to produce biofuel from jatropha, castor beans and oil palm plantations.

“As the country accelerates its economic development, the demand for petroleum is anticipated to increase,” Melis said.

“The development of biofuel is expected to be an alternative source of energy to meet the anticipated demand.”

-Reuters
Reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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.
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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:

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'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