Posts Tagged ‘ethio’

Ethiopians in Houston ready to confront Andargachew Tsige’s kidnappers on July 29

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Ethiopians residing in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana will head to Houston on July 29 to confront PM Hailemariam Desalegn, Ambassador Girma Biru and other representatives of the ethnic apartheid regime in Ethiopia that has abducted Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige last month, recently massacred Oromo students, savagely attacked peaceful Muslim protesters, thrown in jail journalists and opposition leaders, committed genocide in Ogaden and Gambella, conducted ethnic cleansing against Amhara farmers in southern Ethiopia, to mention just a few of their recent atrocities. Come join us and give voice to the voiceless.

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A U.S. university cancels an event honoring Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

(AddisVoice) –

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn faced a stinging humiliation as Azusa Pacific University (APU), whose motto is “God First”, has withdrawn an honor it had already bestowed on him. The university administration had to reverse its decision to honor Mr. Desalegn in light of gross human rights violations in Ethiopia being perpetrated by the regime he serves.

The administration of the American evangelical university made the decision in an emergency meeting last Friday after this reporter raised a number of critical questions on whether honoring a human rights violator was consistent with APU’s core values and motto. The Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians (GARE) also wrote a letter highlighting gross human rights violations being perpetrated by Mr. Desalegn and the TPLF-led regime he is serving.

The honoring ceremony, which was slated for July 31 at the university’s Los Angeles campus, was expected to be attended by the PM and his family, foreign diplomats, the university faculty, senior U.S. and Ethiopian government officials including Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom and other ministers.

Rachel White, APU’s Assistant Director of External Relations, confirmed exclusively to this reporter that the university has withdrawn the honor and cancelled the ceremony which was planned to honor him at APU’s Los Angeles campus.

“I can confirm that the event has been cancelled. The university evaluated current developments in Ethiopia including the latest U.S State Department Human Rights Report,” she said. She also indicated that the recent high court decision to file terrorism charges against Zone9 bloggers and journalists was also one of the factors considered for the cancellation of the event to honor Mr. Desalegn.

“Nothing is as important as our motto God First. Any decisions we make have to be consistent with our motto and core values,” White noted. She also pointed out that respect for human rights is very important for the university. It is now confirmed that he cancelled his trip to Los Angeles after the university communicated to him its decision to cancel the honoring ceremony.

According to a university source, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to give a statement on behalf of the university, APU’s administration unanimously agreed to withdraw the honor for Mr.Desalegn, whom it found to be an unsuitable honoree after evaluating not only the disturbing human rights situation in Ethiopia but also the potential negative publicity that the event was likely to generate. “It was a wise and timely decision, as the university was likely to face backlash if it publicly honored a human rights violator,” the source said.

Exiled journalist Serkalem Fasil, who was forced to give birth in jail, commended the university for correcting its mistake in good time. “I think this university did not know who Hailemariam Desalegn was. They should have known that Ethiopian government officials like him do not deserve honor but facing justice for the crimes they are committing against humanity.

Serkalem said Azusa Pacific corrected its mistake in an exemplary manner. “I am glad the university listened to the truth and its God First motto,” she said. Her husband, the award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega, is serving an 18-year sentence in Ethiopia after he and a number of journalists and activists were labelled “terrorists” by a Kangaroo court.

Abebe Belew, a Washington D.C.-based activist and community radio broadcaster, who was also convicted of “terrorism” offenses because of his critical views towards the repressive policies of the Ethiopian government, also praised the university for its decisive measure.

“This university is a truly Christian university. It made a bad decision but realized soon enough that honoring an ungodly human rights violator contradicted its Christian values. I appreciate the university’s administration for taking such a strong stand based on its God First motto,” he said.

“Hailemariam should also learn from the humiliating experience. He pretends to be a protestant Christian but what he is doing completely contradicts all the tenets of the bible.

“As APU has clearly demonstrated, he doesn’t deserve any honor as a human rights violator destroying the lives of so many people. I hope he and and members of this oppressive tyranny will face trial sooner rather than later. That is the kind of honor they really deserve,” Abebe added.

Chinese manufacturer unprofitable and unhappy in Ethiopia

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

By Kevin Hamlin, Ilya Gridneff and William Davison

Ethiopian workers strolling through the parking lot of Huajian Shoes’ factory outside Addis Ababa last month chose the wrong day to leave their shirts untucked.

Company President Zhang Huarong, just arrived on a visit from China, spotted them through the window, sprang up and ran outside. The former People’s Liberation Army soldier harangued them loudly in Chinese, tugging at one man’s aqua polo shirt and forcing another’s shirt into his pants. Nonplussed, the workers stood silently until the eruption subsided.

Shaping up a handful of employees is one small part of Zhang’s quest to profit from Huajian’s factory wages of about $40 a month -– less than 10 percent the level in China.

“Ethiopia is exactly like China 30 years ago,” said Zhang, 55, who quit the military in 1982 to make shoes from his home in Jiangxi province with three sewing machines and now supplies such brands as Nine West and Guess?. “The poor transportation infrastructure, lots of jobless people.”

Almost three years after Zhang began his Ethiopian adventure at the invitation of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, he says he’s unhappy with profits at the Dongguan Huajian Shoes Industry Co. unit, frustrated by “widespread inefficiency” in the local bureaucracy and struggling to raise factory productivity from a level he says is about a third of China’s.

Four Tongues

Transportation and logistics that cost as much as four times those in China are prompting Huajian to set up its own trucking company. And the use of four languages in the plant — Ethiopia’s national language, Amharic; the local tongue, Oromo; English and Chinese — further complicates operations, Zhang says.

It takes two hours to drive 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the Huajian factory from the capital along the country’s main artery, illustrating the challenges. Oil tankers and trucks scream along the bumpy, potholed and, at times, unpaved road. Goats, donkeys and cows wander along the roadside and occasionally into bumper-to-bumper traffic. Minibuses and dented taxis, mostly blueLadas from the country’s past as a Soviet ally, weave through oncoming traffic coughing a smoggy exhaust.

Huajian is nonetheless becoming a case study of Ethiopia’s emerging potential as a production center for labor-intensive products from shoes to T-shirts to handbags. In a country where 80 percent of the labor force is in agriculture, manufacturers don’t have to worry about finding new workers. Its population of about 96 million is Africa’s second-largest after Nigeria’s.

Seeking Investment

A combination of cheap labor and electricity and a government striving to attract foreign investment makes Ethiopia more attractive than many other African nations, said Deborah Brautigam, author of “The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa” and a professor of international development and comparative politics at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.

“They are trying to establish conditions for transformation,” Brautigam said in a telephone interview. “It could become the China of Africa.”

Huajian’s 3,500 workers in Ethiopia produced 2 million pairs of shoes last year. Located in one of the country’s first government-supported industrial zones, the factory began operating in January 2012, only three months after Zhang decided to invest. It became profitable in its first year and now earns $100,000 to $200,000 a month, he said, calling it an insufficient return that will rise as workers become better trained.

Fleeing China

Under bright fluorescent lights, amid the drone of machines, workers cut, glue, stitch and sew Marc Fisher brown leather boots bound for the U.S. Meanwhile, supervisors monitor quotas on whiteboards, giving small cash rewards to winning teams and criticism to those falling short.

China, Africa and global retailers all have stakes in whether Ethiopia and such countries as Tanzania, Rwanda and Senegal become viable production bases for labor-intensive products. Promoting trade, boosting employment and spurring investment are among the topics that will be discussed on August 4-6 at the first White House U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington.

African nations have a compelling opportunity to seize a share of the about 80 million jobs that China will export as its manufacturers lose competitiveness, according to Justin Lin, a former World Bank chief economist who now is a professor of economics at Peking University.

‘Manufacturing Powerhouse’

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who met on May 4, backed the move of Chinese industries to Ethiopia. China is “supporting Ethiopia’s great vision to become Africa’s manufacturing powerhouse,” Hailemariam told reporters at a joint press conference in Addis Ababa.

Weaker consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe after the financial crisis prompted global retailers to hasten their search for lower-cost producers, said Helen Hai, head of China Africa Consulting Ltd. in Addis Ababa. She ran Huajian’s Ethiopia factory until July of last year.

While China’s inland regions offered manufacturers a cheaper alternative to the export-linked coastal areas, rising costs and a limited pool of available workers now are undermining that appeal.

Average factory pay in Henan, about 800 kilometers from the coast, rose 103 percent in the five years ended in September and 80 percent in Chongqing, 1,700 kilometers up the Yangtze River. In the same period, salaries rose 82.5 percent inGuangdong, where Huajian has its base in the city of Dongguan.

‘Great Potential’

Cost inflation in countries including China has prompted Hennes & Mauritz AB, Europe’s second-biggest clothing retailer, to work with three suppliers in Ethiopia. The nation has “great potential” for production, H&M head of sustainability Helma Helmersson said in an April interview.

China’s average manufacturing wage is 3,469 yuan ($560) per month. Pay at the Huajian factory ranges from the basic after-tax minimum of $30 a month to about twice that for supervisors. By contrast, average manufacturing wages in South Africa, Africa’s biggest manufacturer, are about $1,200.

The duty-free and quota-free access that Sub-Saharan Africa enjoys for the U.S. and EU markets gives additional savings thanks to the African Growth and Opportunity Act for the U.S. and the EU’s Everything But Arms accord for the poorest countries. Import tariffs on shoes made in China range from 6 percent to as much as 36 percent, Zhang said.

Past-Future Business

A spokeswoman for Guess? confirmed that a licensee has done business with the Huajian Ethiopia factory in the past and may do so in the future.

A spokesman for Sycamore Partners, which owns Nine West, declined to comment on its business relationships and whether it has a relationship with Dongguan Huajian Shoes Industry Co. Marc Fisher Footwear is making shoes in the Ethiopia factory, Jaclyn Weissman, a spokeswoman for the company, wrote in an e-mail.

Signs of Ethiopia’s allure include factories outside Addis Ababa set up by leather goods maker Pittards Plc of the U.K. and Turkish textile manufacturer Ayka Tekstil. Foreign direct investment in the nation surged almost 250 percent to $953 million last year from the year before, according to estimates by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Zhang spends about half his time in Ethiopia, he says. During the visit last month, he spoke to about 200 uniformed Huajian supervisors, a mix of Ethiopians and Chinese, gathered in the parking lot. A giant plasma screen mirrored the crowd as Zhang hurried onto the stage.

Chant, March

He berated those assembled for a lack of efficiency, then praised them for their loyalty to Huajian, his words translated into Amharic and Oromo. He ordered them to march on the spot, to turn left and to turn right, all chanting together in Chinese.

“One two one,” they chanted. “One two three four,” as they marched in step. Slogans followed: “Unite as one.” “Improvement together.” “Civilized and efficient.”

They sang the “Song of Huajian,” whose words urged “We Huajian people” to bravely move forward, to hold the banner of Huajian high and to “keep our business forever.” Chinese supervisors led the song, their Ethiopian colleagues stumbling over some words and struggling to keep up.

Later, Zhang explained that he can’t be as tough on the staff as he would like.

“Here the management cannot be too strong as there will be a problem with the culture,” he said via a translator. “In China you can be strong, but not here. The conditions here mean we have to show respect. On one hand we have to have strict requirements; on the other hand we have to take care of them. They have their own dignity. They may be poor but we have to respect their dignity.”

Labor Demands

About 200 of the workers rebelled in early 2013, going on strike for two days after demanding a share of profits following a period in which Huajian’s orders surged, said Hai. The incident was resolved with the help of Ethiopian labor officials, she said.

Five workers interviewed at the factory on July 10 described a workplace of strict standards, with rewards for good results and penalties such as docked pay for ruined shoes.

Taddelech Teshome, 24, said her day starts at 7:20 a.m. after her Chinese employers provide employees with a breakfast of bread and tea. When her morning shift ferrying shoes from the factory floor to the warehouse is over, she gets fed the national staple, sour bread, for lunch. After work, a Huajian bus takes her to nearby Debre Zeit, a town where she rents a room with her sister for $18 a month.

Following Sister

She came to Huajian just over a year ago from her home 165 kilometers away in Arsi region after her sister started at the factory.

“The work is good because I pay my rent and I can look after myself,” she said, wearing an aqua Huajian polo shirt. “It’s transformed my life.” Taddelech said she wants to work for two more years at the plant and become a supervisor. She eventually aspires to build her own house.

With inflation at 8 percent — down from 40 percent in July 2011 -– saving cash is tough. Mohammed al-Jaber, who earns $30 a month for gluing shoe linings eight hours a day six days a week, said he can add to his pay with perfect attendance each month — a $7.50 bonus — and overtime. Any extra gets sent home to his family in the Arsi region.

Once famine-plagued Ethiopia, run by former rebels since they overthrew a socialist military junta in 1991, is seeking investment to support a growth rate that’s expected to fall to 7.5 percent this year from 9.7 percent in 2013. The population is expanding annually by 2.9 percent, at a time when the urban unemployment rate is 17.5 percent.

Economic Transformation

Ethiopia aims “to transform the economy” via industrialization by attracting foreign investors to zones where key public services will be concentrated, State Minister Of Finance Ahmed Shide said in an interview in Addis Ababa.

One appeal for China: Ethiopia follows a similar tightly controlled, state-heavy economic model. Opposition parties won only one out of 547 parliamentary seats at the last election in 2010.

Ties are strong between the Communist Party of China and the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front: On July 10, Central Committee Political Bureau member Guo Jinlong visited Ethiopia and met with Prime Minister Hailemariam. The two pledged to enhance cooperation, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Key Bottlenecks

Ethiopia’s heavy public investment in infrastructure using credit from Chinese state banks promises to relieve some key bottlenecks. The Export-Import Bank of China is funding a railway from Addis Ababa to landlocked Ethiopia’s main port in neighboring Djibouti. Ethiopia lost its coastline when Eritrea became independent in 1993.

The Chinese and Ethiopian governments also are investing in hydroelectric plants — including what will be Africa’s largest, the domestically funded Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile — that should increase Ethiopia’s power supply five-fold by 2020.

That may help overcome obstacles including the supply of electricity and cumbersome customs and tax procedures. In May, a World Bank team went to visit a textile factory in the Eastern Industrial Zone, where the Huajian plant is located, and found they are faced with daily power outages lasting for hours, Ethiopia country director Guang Zhe Chen said.

Sustainable Power

“There’s a big issue if you can’t ensure sustainable power supply for industrial zones,” he said.

While countries like Ethiopia have the potential to host Asian manufacturers, a “surge” hasn’t occurred, in part because of trade logistics constraints. “Getting things in and out of Ethiopia is very expensive and time consuming.”

Ethiopia slipped one place to 125th in the World Bank’s 2014 Doing Business rankings for 189 economies. It was behind China, at 96th, and ahead of competitor Bangladesh, which ranked 130th, the Washington-based lender said on its website.

It’s easy to forget that China’s infrastructure also was rudimentary at a similar stage of development, said Lin. He recalls that the first time he made the 96-mile trip between Shenzhen and Guangzhou in southern China in the early 1980s it took more than 12 hours, including long waits for ferries to cross rivers. The same trip now can be done in two hours.

“There were no bridges,” Lin said in an interview.

Nor were workers accustomed to modern production techniques. When auto-parts maker Asimco Technologies Ltd. began manufacturing in China in the 1990s, workers weren’t responsive to training, said Tim Clissold, former president of the Beijing-based company and author of a memoir, “Mr. China.”

Smiling Politely

“It was very difficult to deliver improvements at individual factories,” he said. “You could do training, and everyone smiles politely and then continues doing what they were doing before.”

Now, rising Chinese wages that Zhang calls “an inevitable trend” are pushing Huajian to try to increase its workforce in Ethiopia to as many as 50,000 within eight years.

A model of a planned new plant at the edge of Addis Ababa is displayed at the factory. The 126-hectare (341-acre) complex, partly financed by more than $300 million from Huajian, will include apartments for workers, a “forest resort” district and a technical university.

At the gathering in the parking lot, after supervisors sang Huajian’s company song, Zhang dismissed the Ethiopian contingent. Then he continued haranguing the Chinese managers. To make his point that structure was needed to keep employees in focus, he thrust a broomstick toward them repeatedly, then toward the remote camera that was feeding to the plasma screen, the image blurring with each prod.

Then he left the stage, laughing and raising a triumphant fist.


William Davison, Bloomberg News
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

An Ethiopian was sentenced to 7 months in jail for trafficking khat to China

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

An Ethiopian was sentenced to seven months in jail for trafficking khat to China, marking the first such case in the country, which classed the plant as an illegal drug this year.

The verdict was handed down earlier this month by the Intermediate People’s Court of Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province.

The defendant, Ibrahim Abdulsemed Abdosh, was also fined 30,000 yuan (about $4,878), the judge in the case, Liu Yun, told Xinhua Tuesday.

Chinese customs officers at the Hangzhou International Airport found0.63 kilograms of khat carried by the man, who had flown there from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on January 13, Liu said.

She said the man was aware of China’s ban on khat, a leafy plant chewed as a stimulant, but attempted to escape the immigration inspection.

The plant is widely consumed in Africa but uncommon in China, she said.

The World Health Organization has listed khat as a drug of abuse that can create psychological dependence.
http://www.ecns.cn/2014/07-22/125537.shtml

30 days since the abduction and disappearance of Andargachew Tsige

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
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ENTC weekly radio program – July 21

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – July 21 News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

TPLF Federal Police opened fire on residents in the town of Alem Ketema, northern Ethiopia

Monday, July 21st, 2014

TPLF Federal Police opened fire on the residents Alem Ketema, a town located 140 kms north of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, during a disagreement over an electric transformer. An eyewitness told Ethiopian Review that several people were rushed to a clinic after they were hit with bullets.

During the past few days, Alem Ketema residents and representatives of the TPLF junta were arguing over one of the two electric transformers that are powering the town. When the town representatives prevented EELPA workers to remove the transformer to another town, the TPLF junta brought in heavily armed Federal Police troops, turning a simple disagreement into a bloody clash.

One of the wounded residents in Alem Ketema receiving treatment at a local clinic:
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Alem Ketema (file photo)
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US and UK collude with the rogue regime in Ethiopia to trample on international law

Monday, July 21st, 2014

This piece is prompted by the recent unlawful arrest of an Ethiopian born British citizen in Sanaa, capital of Yemen while on a transit flight from Dubai to Asmara, capital of Eritrea. The arrested person named Andaragachew Tsige was handed over by Yemeni officials to the security agents of the Ethiopian regime who whisked him away to his country of origin in order to subject him to a grueling torture.

Andargachew was one of the founder and top leader of a group called Ginbot 7 named after the May 15, 2005 polling day that saw unprecedented voter turnout. The results of that election were blatantly rigged by the ruling party which subsequently gunned down hundreds of civilians in broad daylight. Thousands were rounded up throughout the country and were confined in various detention centers and concentration like camps. A considerable number of them were subjected to torture and inhumane treatment. Among the victims, was Andargachew Tsige who had been beaten up badly to the extent of losing one of his eye sights.

Like the majority of Ethiopians, Andargachew too became disillusioned with the idea of contesting the repressive regime through a ballot box. Unlike the majority of his fellow countrymen,however,he not only remained disillusioned.Thus,he chose a different path to make a difference in Ethiopia whereby he founded Ginbot 7 that embraced all means available to dislodge the current rulers who hailed from a minority ethnic group called Tigre under the guise of liberating it.

Although, Andargachew’s Ginbot 7 never achieved a level of posing a mortal dread to the regime in Ethiopia, the rulers know very well how determined and committed Andargachew is to bring Ginbot 7 to that level no matter how long it takes.Hence, to them he was not an individual but an institution to be demolished at all costs.They even arrested his octogenarian father who suffers from a serious cardiac condition in 2009 to make Andargachew desist from the activism he carries out from abroad.

That is Andargachew Tsige, the high profile activist whom apparently the Ethiopian regime goes to great length to incarcerate and even eliminate.

Is the Ethiopian regime, however, only confined to targeting high profile dissidents wherever they are? Is it only preoccupied with those who claimed to have espoused armed struggle to unseat it from the throne the regime itself occupied and sought to sustain by gun?

For answer to this question, I refer you to regional and global human rights watchdogs’ incessant reports wherein the unabated human rights violations and growing culture of impunity is documented ever since this regime took the mantle of power in 1991.

Assassination, deportation & rendition; to be grateful to Uganda or not

Up until the fateful 2005 election, the Ethiopian regime’s target of repression focused only on dissidents living in Ethiopia. Except badmouthing Ethiopians living abroad, for their criticism of its divisive ethnic politics and tyranny in the name of democracy, the regime had never dared to harm Ethiopians living abroad.

That changed drastically and officially with the advent of trumped up charges leveled against Ethiopian/Americans working for Voice of America and some individuals who run critical websites from abroad. They were charged in absentia alongside Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) opposition party leaders who won the 2005 election. The trumped up charge called for death penalty. The regime also found an opportune moment globally to extend its instrument of repression abroad with impunity. It did so by ingratiating itself with Washington and the entire West as an ally in the so-called war on terror. Its monopoly on the country’s natural resources and key economic sectors also enabled it to cut deals with regional greedy powers who do not hesitate to hand over Ethiopian asylum seekers and refugees in violation of the international law.Djibouti,Sudan,Yemen and Kenya are notorious in this.

In July 2005, the government of Djibouti handed over two Ethiopian Air force pilots named Behailu Gebre and Abiyot Mangudai.They defected with the assault helicopter they were flying as conscientious objectors against the regime that uses lethal weapon on civilians. Last time I checked, these asylum seekers who were unlawfully returned were kept incommunicado at the Air force Headquarter and had been subjected to torture that might have caused their death. Taking advantage of the rotten Police Force in Kenya, the Ethiopian regime has been using the Kenyan territory as its backyard to abduct and assassinate Ethiopian dissidents who sought asylum. Notable among the Ethiopian refugees who were arrested by Kenyan authorities and handed over to the Ethiopian regime around 2009 were two young Engineers named Mesfin Abebe Abdissa and Tesfahun Chemeda Gurmessa.At the time the duo sought asylum, they were sentenced by a Kangaroo court in absentia to life imprisonment and death. As a result of their forcible repatriation, they were subjected to severe torture which ultimately caused the death of Tesfahun while Mesfin is still languishing in death row. He was the one who had been sentenced to death.

In a bid to give unlawful repatriation of asylum seekers and refugees as well as extraordinary rendition of other individuals a legal cloak, these banana republics of Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region later signed a sort of extradition treaty under the auspices of IGAD.Since the Ethiopian regime is almost the sole beneficiary of that extradition treaty, it was initiated by its diabolic architects of repression.

Despite hosting a considerable number of Ethiopian refugees since the early 1990s, Uganda by contrast had never exposed Ethiopian exiles to the regime they fled from. On top of having reliable information as to how Ugandan officials resisted and even rejected requests of deportation of certain Ethiopian refugees, I myself, as a former refugee in Uganda until recently survived a deportation request alongside two fellow refugees.

In November 2013, my exiled journalist friend and I received a strange summon by phone from the Internal Affairs and Immigration Office of Uganda. To cut a long story short, both my friend and I went to the office. After being received politely, we were asked questions, separately, about our exile life such as how we came to Uganda, what we do and used to do for a living, etc.Both of us find it very odd, that we were summoned to the Immigration office to be asked for these information which we already availed when we lodged our asylum requests. We also couldn’t accept the fact that four officials, out of whom three, came from another office outside of the Immigration compound, to simply waste their valuable time on information already obtained and available on the public domain.

Refusing to believe the cock and bull story they gave us for our summons and the line of questioning; as well as refusing to be lulled by the polite and civilized way they talked to us, we contacted our source to find out the meaning of the summons.

Surprise! Surprise! Our source revealed to us that the Ethiopian regime requested for our hand despite our being the most insignificant and ineffectual exiled dissidents. But the biggest element of surprise came from the reason the Ethiopian security agents requested their Ugandan counterparts for our hand. They accused us of being attached with Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) which made me doubt the accuracy of our source. While I came from a diverse background, ethnically and religiously and was born and grew up in Addis Ababa as a cosmopolitan Ethiopian with little knowledge of Oromiffa, Girma Tesfaw, my friend who were summoned with me and who was Addis Neger’s deputy editor came from what you call a predominantly Amharic speaking ethnic background.Yet, we’ve been informed that the “logic” of the Ethiopian regime illogically linked us with OLF. A few days after this unusual encounter which we reported to all human rights groups and agencies working on refugee issues, I received a call from another fellow refugee from Ethiopia. He told me that he received a call from the same gentleman who summoned us to Internal Affairs and Immigration Office. Unlike us this refugee named Mulatu Aberra is from Oromo ethnic group. He was arrested twice and severely tortured by the Ethiopian régime. I translated his harrowing testimony for the benefit of Amnesty International and UNHCR.Mulatu’s traumatic experience of torture had been published by Amnesty International in 2009.Now that the Ethiopian regime leveled one of its most farfetched trumped up charge against Zone9 Bloggers as OLF among other things, I regret for doubting the reliability of our Ugandan source.

On the other hand, despite being shielded by Ugandan officials from deportation, I found myself in a dilemma as to whether be grateful to the government of Uganda or not. Because I know fully well if and when Uganda finds it “geopolitically” compelling to hand over Ethiopian refugees like it does Rwandan refugees, it will not blink an eye over a higher principle of “non-refoulment”meant to protect pathetic refugees like me from forcible repatriation.Already, some elements from the Ugandan regime had started making life very hard for Ethiopian refugees who wanted to form a refugee association. I have reliable information that Ugandan Police guided by Ethiopian security agents in Kampala prevented the refugees from holding their meeting in hotels. And so it’s a matter of time for Ethiopian refugees to meet the same fate like Rwandan refugees who run the risk of mass deportation to targeted forcible repatriation and even assassination like Charles Ingabire, a Rwandan exiled journalist who was gunned down in Kampala in 2011.Of course, Ugandan officials can cynically defend their inability to protect the Rwandan journalist by equating it with the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian dissident who turned a British citizen.

Meanwhile, rogue regimes like the Ethiopian one continue to expand their impunity beyond their borders like they demonstrated recently in Yemen with the abduction of the Ethiopian born British national, Andargachew Tsige.That carrying impunity to an international level is the motto of the Ethiopian regime is also evidenced in Alexander Betts excellent book “Survival Migration; Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement.” In a chapter sub titled “Yemen” on page 166, Alex, the author, tells us that when he puts allegations of kidnappings and even assassinations of Ethiopian migrants to Minelik Alemu, Attorney-General for International Law and Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was simply told that “we reserve the right to pursue people we deem to be criminals, both within and beyond the boundaries of the state.”And so, with devil advocates like this, the regime will not only confine itself to targeting poor asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. It also goes for those Ethiopians who adopted foreign nationality like it did on Mr.Okello Akoy the Ethiopian born Norwegian citizen and others to be followed.

Conclusion

In order to show why banana republics such as Ethiopia dare to taunt the First World that props it up, by jailing citizens of Sweden, Norway, Canada, Britain, USA etc, Prof. Alemeyahu Gebremariam asked a simple question “war on terror or war on international law?” Thereby demonstrating how United States and its Western cohort’s double standard on international law emboldened regimes like Ethiopia not only to do the same but to take advantage of the situation and stamp out all legitimate dissent. Recently in an interview on BBC, even Hailemariam Desalegn made a mockery of Britain by claiming that Ethiopia sends dissidents to jail according to anti-terror bill copied from Britain. He also threatened the BBC journalist with imprisonment if he doesn’t stop questioning about jailed dissidents.

A case of unequal concern for citizens of the First World whose safety is jeopardized at the hands of rogue states such as Ethiopia is also clearly being seen. One seriously doubt that a British government who went out of its way to have Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist, released from his captivity in Gaza by meeting a Hamas member for the first time, will do the same for Andargachew Tsige, a naturalized British citizen.

Also when one expects that the United States government will express outrage against the Ethiopian regime upon receiving information on the latter’s plan to “stop, arrest and detain “all Somali origin American citizens traveling to Ethiopia for “an extended period of time with no charges” by saying “you mess with my citizens, you mess with my sovereignty “or “you disrespect my citizen, you disrespect me as a nation, “the United States merely released a statement of warning to its “citizens” who originated from Somalia. So such is the state of the world where the so-called big democracies and outright dictatorships colluded to trample on human rights and international law.

Kiflu Hussain, an Ethiopian Social & Political Commentator stretching in exile from Uganda to United States

Ethiopia in the Twilight Zone (9) of Fear

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

(Author’s note: In this commentary, I take a literary approach to reflect on the counter-productive and self-defeating actions the regime in Ethiopia has taken recently to punish its perceived opponents and critics. I am both amused and perplexed by the regime’s comedy of errors (bungling and incompetence) and tragedy of commons (scrapping the greater good […]

Ethiopians in Houston prepare to confront Hailemariam Desalegn at US-Ethiopia Investment Summit on July 29

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Patriotic Ethiopians in Houston, Texas, are preparing to confront a TPLF regime delegation led by Hailemariam Desalegn on July 29, 2014. The following is an invitation that was sent out to Woyanne supporters:

Private Reception for Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
July 29, 2014
You are cordially invited to join the Greater Houston Partnership and His Excellency Girma Birru, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic of Ethiopia, and The Honorable Gezahgen Kebede, Honorary Consul of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, to a private reception to welcome His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian delegation to Houston.

WHEN: Tuesday, July 29 | 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa | 111 North Post Oak Lane, Houston, Texas 77024
COST: Attendance is complimentary.
RSVP: Victoria Faz, vfaz@houston.org, 713-844-3692

TPLF police gun-down peaceful Muslim protesters – photos

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) police gun down peaceful Muslim protesters on Friday and yesterday.

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The savage beating of Woynishet Molla – Tigray People Liberation Front in action (photo)

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Woynishet Molla is a young Ethiopian and a human rights activists in Addis Ababa. Yesterday, when the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) police attacked peaceful Ethiopian Muslim protesters, she was observing the situation from a distance. Suddenly, a TPLF intelligence officer grabbed her and started punching her and hitting her with a stick. Her friend observed helplessly as she was being beaten up mercilessly for no good reason. Guns from other TPLF police were pointed at her friend. Woynishet was then taken away and when she showed up today in court, she was covered with bandages. Woynishet was armed with only her mobile phone.

TPLF police attack and round up peaceful Muslim protesters in house-to-house search (video)

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 18, 2014

TPLF police attack Muslims who are praying at Anwar Mesgid (photos and videos)

Friday, July 18th, 2014

The TPLF junta police have savagely attacked Ethiopian Muslims who were peacefully praying at Anwar Mesgid in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this morning. The attack is continuing.

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TPLF sends thousands of Oromo students to concentration camps

Friday, July 18th, 2014

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Ethiopian Review has received additional reports from Addis Ababa, Ambo and other towns that the number of Oromo high-school and college students who have been arrested and sent to concentration camps now exceeds 40,000. The students have been rounded up following the recent riots where TPLF-controlled banks and stores were set on fire.

To cover up the campaign of suppression against the Oromo youth, earlier this month TPLF fired from state media 20 Oromo journalists who are suspected of leaking information to websites and social media.

TPLF is sending the Oromo students to Afar region and other remote and extremely inhospitable areas of Ethiopia claiming that they are homeless. Even if they are homeless, it is not necessary to send them to areas of the country that are known for their extreme weather conditions.

But the above photo that was leaked to Ethiopian Review and social media (despite the TPLF propaganda machine’s attempt to create a false story around it) tells a different story. It clearly indicates that the 3,000 young Ethiopians shown are high-school and college students. Most of the homeless in Addis Ababa are teenagers and elderly people, as the photos below show:

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ኢትዮጵያውያን የኦሮሞ ተወላጆች በአፋር ማጎሪያ ካምፕ እንደገቡ ከአፋር ባለስልጣናት ማረጋገጫ ተገኘ።

የወያኔ ቴሌቭዥንና አጋር ሚዲያዎቹ ጎዳና ተዳዳሪ ለማስመሰል አፋር ክልል በመሔድ ፊልም አቀናብረዋል።

በቅርቡ 3000 የሚሆኑ ኢትዮጵያውያን የኦሮሞ ተወላጆች ከተለያዩ ዩንቨርስቲዎች ትምህርት ቤቶች እንዲሁም ከመንገድ ታፍሰው ጸጉራቸውን በመላጨት አፋር ክልል በሚገኘው የማጎሪያ ካምፕ ውስጥ መግባታቸው ከአፋር ባለስልጣናት የተገኘ መረጃ አመልክቷል። በሙሉ የኦሮሚኛን ቋንቋን አቀላጥፈው የሚናገሩ እን የተማሩ ናቸው ያሉት የአፋር ባለስልጣናት የጎዳና ተዳዳሪዎች ወደ ክልላችን አልመጡም ሃሰት ነው ሲሉ በመንግስት የሚደገፉ ጋዜጦች የነዙት ሃሰት ፕሮፓጋንዳ ነው ሲሉ በተለቀቀው ምስል ዙሪያ ማስረጃዎችን አጣቅሰው ተናግረዋል።

በዚህ ሰሞን በወያኔው ጁንታ የሚደገፉ ጋዜጦች እና የሚዲያ ሰዎች የለቀቁትን ምስል አስመልክቶ ከፍተኛ ውዝግብ ውስጥ ህዝቡ ገብቶ የነበረ መሆኑን የገለጹት የአፋር ባለስልጣናት እውንታው ግን የታሰሩት የኦሮሞ ክልል ተውላጆች ናቸው በማለት በገሃድ ወያኔን አጋልጠውታል።የወያኒ ቴሌቭዝን እና አጋር ሚዲያዎቹ በአንድ አውቶብስ የተጫኑ እና ጸጉራቸውን የተላጩ ካድሬዎችን ይዘው አፋር ክልል በመድረስ አስፍላጊውን ቀረጻ አድርገው ታሳሪዎችን የጎዳና ተዳዳሪ ሙያ ተማሪዎች ለማሰኘት ፊልም ሰርተው መሄዳቸውን ባለስልታናቱ አልሸሸጉም።

እነዚህ ክታች ምስላቸው የሚታየው 3000 የኦሮሞ ወጣቶች የጎዳና ተዳዳሪዎች ናቸው በማለት ወያኔ የለመደውን ውሸት ለማደናበር ቢጠቀምበት ሁኔታውን በአንክሮ ለማጣራት በተደረገው ጥረት ጸጉራቸውን ተላጭተው ወደ አፋር ክልል የተላኩት ያለፈውን ተቃውሞ ተከትሎ የታፈሱ የኦሮሞ ተማሪዎች መሆናቸው ታውቋል። በተለያዩ የማጎሪያ ካምፖች ይበተናሉ ተብለው የሚገመቱ ከ25 ሺህ በላይ የኦሮሞ ተወላጆች በየ እስር ቤቱ ታስረው ይገኛሉ።

Woyanne rounded up 3,000 Oromo students in Addis Ababa, shaved their heads and sent them to a concentration camp in Afar region (photo)

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

The Woyanne junta claims that the 3000 shaved young Ethiopians shown in the photo below are street children, but according to Ethiopian Review sources, they are actually Oromo students who were rounded up from Addis Ababa University and other schools following the recent protests. The number of Oromo students who have been rounded up from Ambo and other towns and currently detained in concentration camps exceeds 30,000, witnesses say.

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This July marks second anniversary of dictator Meles Zenawi’s disappearance

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

This month marks the second year of Meles Zenawi’s death and the attempted blatant cover up by the TPLF junta. When we reported about his terminal sickness in May and June 2012, and his death a few weeks later, the Woyanne junta had lied to the people of Ethiopia that the tyrant was on vacation and that he will return to work after the Ethiopian new year. The Woyanne robots were hurling insults against us for reporting the truth. Those Woyanne robots, instead of disappearing in shame, are still here and continue to fabricate lies on a daily basis. Ethiopian Review, on the other hand, deserves Pulitzer Prize for the accuracy of its investigative reporting.

The following is the timeline of the khat-addicted dictator’s sickness and death as reported here:

Dictator Meles Zenawi receives treatment for blood cancer | July 8th, 2012
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/index/39341

Treatment takes its toll on Meles Zenawi’s body | July 17th, 2012
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/index/39606

Meles Zenawi is said to be dead | July 19th, 2012
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/index/39689

Meles Zenawi’s 21-year tyrannical rule comes to a screeching halt (Abebe Gellaw) | July 31st, 2012
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/index/40022

Day 58 since Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi disappeared | August 18th, 2012
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/index/40516

Day 60 of Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi’s disappearance | August 20th, 2012
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/index/40579

Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi is dead – ETV | August 21st, 2012
http://www.ethiopianreview.com/index/40632

Eritrea Started Issuing Eritrean Diplomatic Passport to Key Ethiopian Opposition Figures

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

The illegal abduction of Andargachew Tsigie by Yemeni officials in Sana’a airport has triggered a grim situation for Ethiopian opposition figures holding American or other Western nation passport as they could be next victims during their travel — specially passing through neighboring Arab and IGAD member countries.

The statement issued by British government after the abduction is a glaring indication that Andargachew was abducted with full knowledge of the British government operatives. How on earth would a country ask another country that abducted its citizen that you could detain him as long as you will not carry out the death penalty?

Here it has to be clear that at the time of his transit through Yemen, Mr. Andargachew Tsegie was a British citizen with good standing. The British government reaction to the abduction should have been stated "immediate and unconditional release" of its citizen and also threaten to take the issue to international court if Ethiopia didn’t positively respond to its request. However, to the dismay of all, the British government just added insult to the injury by asking the Ethiopian government to do anything it pleases with him as long as it doesn’t carry out the death penalty passed on him in abstentia.

Now due to the furious reaction from Ethiopians worldwide, the British government placed itself in scandalous and embarrassing situation as it is part of the illegal abduction of its own citizen by Yemeni and Ethiopian security agencies!

Given the looming danger of further abductions, Eritrean government is issuing Eritrean diplomatic passports to principal Ethiopian opposition figures as abducting any one holding Eritrean diplomatic passport by Yemen, Sudan or Kenya would put those nations in direct diplomatic collision course with Eritrean government.

The problem holding US and other Western passport is becoming less safe as US and Western nations are giving a green light for the arrest of Africans and Middle Eastern origins holding their passports.

The UK and US governments have been getting away with those types actions mainly on Somalians and others with middle eastern origins who were accused of “terrorist” activities. However, this time they made a wrong move because they touched a loved Ethiopian opposition icon and now the Britons are regretting their irresponsible actions. If the Ethiopians keep their demonstrations in tandem of waging formidable legal fight, the British government will shoulder all the responsibility of any harm inflicted on Andargachew Tsegie. Diaspora Ethiopians should continue their demonstrations with no let up!

Andargachew Tsige transferred to a secret location outside Addis Ababa

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

ENTC weekly radio – July 14

Monday, July 14th, 2014

  Listen to ENTC radio program – July 14   News, Interviews, entertainment, etc Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

ENTC Statement July 14

Monday, July 14th, 2014

ENTC has sent letters to the British Prime Minister, The British Parliament, British Labour Party, United Nations, International Red Cross and The Church of England to apply pressure on the TPLF regime and also ensure the safety and immediate release of the abducted G7 Secretary General Ato Andargachew Tsege, recently jailed opposition leaders Ato Abraha […]

Ethiopia: The Crime of Extraordinary Rendition

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Last week, the regime in Ethiopia announced its abduction of Andaragatchew Tsgie, General Secretary of the Ethiopian opposition group known as Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy, with smug delight. According to the regime, the “Ethiopian national security service coordinating with its Yemeni counterpart had detained and transferred to Ethiopia [Andaragatchew Tsgie] as […]

20 Ethiopia state journalists dismissed, in hiding

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

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People demonstrate in Addis Ababa on May 24 against security forces who shot at students at a peaceful rally weeks eearlier in Oromia state. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

"If they cannot indoctrinate you into their thinking, they fire you," said one former staff member of the state-run Oromia Radio and Television Organization (ORTO), who was dismissed from work last month after six years of service. "Now we are in hiding since we fear they will find excuses to arrest us soon," the journalist, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, told CPJ.

On June 25, 20 journalists from the state broadcaster in Oromia, the largest state in terms of area and population in Ethiopia, were denied entry to their station’s headquarters, according to news reports. No letters of termination or explanations were presented, local journalists told CPJ; ORTO’s management simply said the dismissals were orders given by the government. "Apparently this has become common practice when firing state employees in connection with politics," U.S.-based Ethiopian researcher Jawar Mohammed said in an email to CPJ. "The government seems to want to leave no documented trace."

The journalists, some of whom had worked for the state broadcaster for over five years, can only speculate on the reason for their dismissals. Two of them told CPJ they believe it is linked to student protests earlier in the year.

On April 25, students at Ambo University, Oromia State, protested the government’s "Master Plan" to cede parts of Oromia State to the capital, Addis Ababa, a federal region, according to news reports. The state claimed in a statement that eight people died in violent protests in Ambo over a plan designed to provide urban services to rural areas. Oromo citizens say that many more died in Ambo at the hands of security forces for demonstrating against a proposal they fear will lead to the federal government grabbing their land and reducing local autonomy, news reports said. More student and civil society protests ensued soon after the Ambo University demonstrations and authorities were determined to quell any reporting on the unrest.

But the Oromo state broadcaster, listened to by millions of Oromo citizens, hardly covered the protests, according to local journalists. ORTO only discussed the protests after they had concluded, dismissing one of the region’s largest social actions as an illegal initiative conducted by violent elements, one journalist said.

Prior to the protests, however, TV Oromia aired a short segment where ruling party members criticized the plan to cede parts of Oromia State to the capital, local journalists told me. Many were surprised by the critical coverage coming from the state broadcaster, the same sources said. Senior members of Ethiopia’s ruling party may also have been surprised.

Last month, senior ruling party members such as former Communications Minister Bereket Simon and the pro-government Director of Fana Broadcasting, Waldu Yemasel, led an indoctrination program called "gimgama" (meaning "re-evaluation") for the ORTO staff at the station’s headquarters in Adama, journalists who attended the program told me.

"The main purpose of the training was not to build the skill and profession of the journalists, but rather to identify the political positions of the staff," said one of the journalists in attendance. The 180 staff members were divided into 12 groups with two ruling party cadres in charge of evaluating the staff within each respective group, the journalist told me. Some of the ORTO staffers suspect the government decided to rid the broadcaster of staff who sympathized with the protesters. The management told one source that the government was not pleased with them for not producing "developmental journalism," a term local journalists define as "positive reporting on government projects."

The fear of being imprisoned next is not unfounded. Ethiopia is the second worst jailer of journalists in Africa, trailing only Eritrea, with 17 journalists currently behind bars. They are all imprisoned on trumped-up charges or none at all, according to CPJ research. Under such conditions, local journalists told CPJ, many resort to fleeing the country to evade arrest. CPJ has assisted 41 Ethiopian journalists in exile since 2009.

New employees, Jawar said, now fill the 20 positions and it is business as usual at the state broadcaster. Following this purge, the Oromo–Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group with around 27 million people–will likely hear even less about civil society’s concerns in the future.
http://www.cpj.org/blog/2014/07/twenty- … in-hid.php

Hailemariam Desalegn did not lie about Andargachew Tsige’s abduction

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

The kidnapping of Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige at Sana’a international airport in Yemen was carried out entirely by the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) and Yemeni intelligence without the knowledge of any one else in Ethiopia, according to Ethiopian Review sources. When Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his spokesperson told the press that they don’t know where Ato Andargachew is, they were not lying. Even though as the prime minister Hailemariam is officially the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the TPLF secret police led by Getachew Assefa and Debretsion Gebremichael did not bother to inform him about the abduction, because they consider him as their donkey, not their boss.

There is also a growing belief that the British intelligence is the one that provided the TPLF secret police with Ato Andargachew’s itinerary. It is highly unlikely that Yemeni intelligence would kidnap a British passport holder at their international airport without a green-light from the British Government.

London’s Ethiopian community expresses solidarity with kidnapped opposition leader

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

By Martin Plaut

Members of the Ethiopian community living in London turned out to show their support for the jailed secretary-general of Ginbot 7, Andargachew Tsige. Today (Tuesday) the British government put out a statement saying that Mr Andargachew was being held in Addis Ababa after being extradited from Yemen.

These images show the demonstration calling for his release, outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London.

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Meanwhile, Amnesty International has issued this statement.

Amnesty International UK
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TUESDAY 8 JULY 2014

GOVERNMENT WARNED ‘THE CLOCK IS TICKING’ FOR BRITISH MAN AT RISK OF TORTURE IN ETHIOPIA

Amnesty International has called on the UK Government to ensure the safety of British man who is at risk of torture after being forcibly returned to Ethiopia.

Andargachew Tsige, a British national of Ethiopian origin and Secretary General of the outlawed Ethiopian opposition group Ginbot 7, disappeared at Sana’a airport in Yemen on 24 June while he was en route to Eritrea.

He had previously been tried in absentia in Ethiopia and sentenced to death for involvement in an alleged coup attempt.

For the following week there were no official statements released by either the Yemeni or Ethiopian authorities about Mr Tsige’s whereabouts. However, human rights activists in Yemen told Amnesty that he was forcibly returned to Ethiopia the same day he landed, after being detained at Sana’a airport, in violation of international law. Today a Foreign Office Spokesperson confirmed that Mr Tsige is in Ethiopia, though his specific location remains unknown.

Amnesty is concerned that Mr Tsige is at acute risk of torture, given that political detainees in Ethiopia are frequently tortured in order to extract information and confessions. Mr Tsige is being detained ‘incommunicado’ – in an unknown location with no access to legal or consular representatives or family members – which severely exacerbates this risk.

Amnesty is urgently appealing to the UK Government to ensure that all possible efforts are made to immediately identify the whereabouts of Mr Tsige and to gain consular access to him.

Amnesty International UK’s Head of Policy and Government Affairs Allan Hogarth said:

“Swift action to locate and ensure the safety of Andargachew Tsige must be a top priority for the UK Government.

“Given that Mr Tsige is a political activist who has been tried and sentenced to death in his absence, and given the regularity with which political opponents are tortured, there is a real danger that Mr Tsige’s life could be at risk.

“The longer he remains incommunicado, the more precarious his situation. The clock is ticking.

“The Ethiopian authorities must immediately reveal Mr Tsige’s whereabouts, and ensure he has access to British consulate staff, lawyers and relatives.

“In addition to insisting on assurances that the death penalty will not be carried out, the UK Government should also seek immediate guarantees that Mr Tsige will not be subject to torture.”

In 2009, Mr Tsige was tried in absentia in Ethiopia and sentenced to death for involvement in an alleged coup attempt. In 2011 Ethiopia’s Parliament banned Ginbot 7, deeming it a Ethiopians at FCO 1terrorist organisation.

Following this, in 2012, the authorities again prosecuted Mr Tsige in absentia on terrorism charges, alongside a number of opposition members, journalists and others. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Amnesty believes he is at serious risk of being imprisoned based on a conviction for charges against which he was not able to present a defence.

Yemen’s transfer of Mr Tsige to Ethiopia is in violation of international law. Under the international Convention against Torture, to which Yemen is a party, a state may not “expel, return (‘refouler’) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”

UK accused of complicity in torture of British citizen by Ethiopian secret police

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
The Independent has seen a report written by the British embassy in Addis Ababa and sent to the Ethiopian government which raises the UK’s “grave concern” about his detention.

The document, written by officials at the embassy, names the Ethiopian senior police officer alleged to have carried out the torture. It says: “The British government takes all allegations of torture of British nationals very seriously. The treatment alleged is prohibited under international human rights treaties.”

The report adds that the failure of the Ethiopian authorities to inform the embassy of his detention is of “grave concern to the British government”. It says that he alleges he has been “handcuffed for long periods”, was “hooded and then beaten” and “was electrocuted”

Read More: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho … 93165.html

Woyanne propaganda video on Andargachew Tsige

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Woyanne propaganda video on Andargachew Tsige

Ethiopians in Washington DC and around the world express their anger over the abduction of Andargachew Tsige – photos

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Today in Washington DC and other cities

Washington DC
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Germany

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ENTC weekly radio – July 7

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Listen to ENTC radio program – July 7 Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363

“I am Andargachew” protest rally at Washington DC Yemen Embassy – today July 8 at 9 AM

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

DC Joint Task Force to Free Andargachew Tsige has called a protest demonstration in Washington DC in front of Yemen Embassy on Tuesday, July 8 at 9 AM. Details below:

Yemeni president was not informed about the abduction of Andargachew Tsige

Monday, July 7th, 2014

An assistant to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi privately told a British official that the President was not informed about the abduction of Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige, Ethiopian Review learned.

The abduction was carried out by a few senior Yemeni intelligence officers who were paid $1 million USD by the Woyanne secret police to kidnap Ato Andargachew while he was in a transit flight through Yemen, according to our sources.

When Ato Andargachew arrived in Sana’a on a Yemenia Airlines flight on June 22, at least 7 Woyanne agents, along with Yemeni secret police were waiting for him at the airport. He was then flown to Addis Ababa on a military aircraft and detained in a nondescript house where "high-value" political prisoners are tortured and interrogated by Getachew Assefa and crew.

The Moral Bankruptcy of Failed African States

Monday, July 7th, 2014

 Are crimes against children crimes against humanity? According to the latest Failed States Index, 6 out of the top 10 and 18 out of the top 25 “most failed states on earth” are found in Africa. This commentary is not about beating the dead hyena of the failed African “state”. Nor is it about the failure […]

Nigerian comentator Adeola takes UK gov’t to task over the kidnapping of Andargachew Tsige – video

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

 

 

 

Andargachew Tsige is detained at a nondescript house in the Old Airport area of Addis Ababa

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

The kidnapped senior Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige is currently being held at a nondescript house in the Old Airport area of Addis Ababa, according to Ethiopian Review sources.

Ato Andargachew, who was traveling on a British passport, had been abducted by Yemeni secret police and Woyanne agents at Sana’a International Airport on June 22, 2014, while en route to Asmara. He was then taken to Ethiopia a couple of days later.

However, the Woyanne junta spokesperson told VOA yesterday that Andargachew is not in Ethiopia and does not know his whereabouts, in an apparent attempt to avoid requests from the British government and the Red Cross to visit him. The British officials would discover that Andargachew has been savagely tortured by Getachew Assefa and his secret police.

Following Andargachew’s abduction, for the next two days his Gmail and Skype were showing online, indicating that the Woyanne agents were in control of his laptop and having access to his soon after he was detained.

Ethiopia: a leadership in disarray – René Lefort

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

By René Lefort It may be that, in Ethiopia, history is so powerful that the past permeates the present, and it repeats itself. In this case, what we see today is simply another interregnum between two powerful men. “Can you tell me who is in charge in the government?”, asks Tamrat Gebregiorgis, publisher Addis Fortune, at […]

With the abduction of Andargachew Tsige, every Woyanne official should be a target for citizen arrest

Friday, July 4th, 2014

The abduction of Andargachew Tsige at an international airport by Yemeni and Woyanne secret police is a blatant violation of international law. Their idiotic and illegal action should be condemned by all civilized countries around the world. Otherwise, it will expose all government officials and senior political figures to similar kidnappings by rogue regimes such as those in Yemen and Ethiopia.

Patriotic Ethiopians can also take the following measures:

1. Boycott of Ethiopian Airlines, a cash cow for the Woyanne junta. Stop feeding the beast.
2. A lawsuit by Andargachew’s family against Yemeni government.
3. Name and shame the British Government for not acting to protect Andargachew, who is a holder of British passport.
4. Next time the ethnic apartheid junta in Ethiopia sends its senior officials any where in the world, it is within the right of Ethiopians to make citizen arrests and hand them over to local law enforcement officials to charge them with kidnappings, torture and murder. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen%27s_arrest).
5. Destroy Woyanne-owned properties in Ethiopia as part of a peaceful civil disobedience campaign.

Ginbot 7 leadership needs to also examine its reaction to Andargachew’s abduction. Why did it take them 10 days to inform Ethiopians about such a dastardly crime against its senior leader? Ginbot 7′s response so far has been timid and deplorable, to say the least. Hopefully they will regroup and lead a worldwide campaign to secure Andargachew’s release.

VOA update on Andargachew Tsige kidnapping – 4 July 2014

Friday, July 4th, 2014

VOA update on Andargachew Tsige kidnapping – 4 July 2014

British officials informed Andargachew Tsige’s family he is handed over to Ethiopia’s regime – BBC

Friday, July 4th, 2014

(BBC) – An Ethiopian opposition leader, who was sentenced to death while in exile for plotting a coup, has been extradited from Yemen to Ethiopia, his group says.

Andargachew Tsege, who is also a British national, is secretary-general of the banned Ginbot 7 movement.

The Ethiopian government allegedly requested his extradition after he was arrested in Yemen last month.

European MEP Ana Gomes told the BBC the UK needed to use its political leverage to ensure his release.

The Ethiopian government has not commented on the alleged extradition.

‘Deep concerns’
US-based Ginbot 7 spokesman Ephrem Madebo told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that Mr Andargachew had been on his way from the United Arab Emirates to Eritrea when he was detained during a stopover at Sanaa airport.

Mr Ephrem said that he had spoken to Mr Andargachew’s family who had been contacted by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Thursday.

British officials told the family that the Yemeni ambassador to the UK had informed them that Mr Andargachew had been handed over to Ethiopia, Mr Ephrem said.

In a statement the UK Foreign Office said it was aware that Mr Andargachew had been missing in Yemen since 24 June.

"Since then UK officials have pressed the Yemeni authorities at senior levels to establish his whereabouts, including meeting with the Yemeni ambassador in London this week," a Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.

"We are aware of reports that he may now be in Ethiopia and we are urgently seeking confirmation from the relevant authorities given our deep concerns about the case. We are continuing to provide consular assistance to his family."

‘Major donor’
Ms Gomes, who led the European Union observer mission to Ethiopia during the 2005 elections, said she had written to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague about the case.

"If the British government is not complicit with this kidnapping and this rendition of Mr Andargachew Tsigue to the Ethiopian regime – [which] will obviously torture him, accuse him of all sorts of things and eventually kill him – then the British government has to get immediately the release of Mr Andargachew," she told BBC Focus on Africa.

"If there is a country that is extremely influential in Ethiopia, it is Britain – it’s a major donor and it’s a major political backer of the regime in Ethiopia."

Mr Ephrem said that the UK government should have intervened in the case earlier.

"The UK government looks like a collaborator because the UK government never acted," he said, adding that it was ridiculous to consider Mr Andergachew a terrorist.

"To the Ethiopian government even bloggers are terrorists [and] journalists are terrorists," he said.

Ginbot 7 (15 May) was named after the date of the 2005 elections, which were marred by protests over alleged fraud that led to the deaths of about 200 people.

In 2009, the year before the last elections, Mr Andergachew was among a group of Ginbot 7 leaders sentenced to death in absentia for planning to assassinate government officials; they denied the charges.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28167007?SThisFB

UK accused of failing to act to prevent the extradition to Ethiopia of an opposition leader facing the death penalty

Friday, July 4th, 2014

The UK Guardian newspaper on the kidnapping of Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige in Yemen:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/j … chew-tsige

MP Ana Gomes confirms Yemen handed over Andargachew Tsige to Woyanne

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

In a letter to the U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs William Hague, European Member of Parliament Ana Gomes has said that Ato Andargachew Tsige has been handed over to the regime in Ethiopia. The following is the full text of Ana Gomes’ letter:

William Hague
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
United Kingdom

Strasbourg, July 3rd 2014

Subject: Extradiction of Andargachew Tsege from Yemen to Ethiopia

Dear Mr. Hague,

An Ethiopian activist who is currently based in London and is a holder of a British Passport has been detained in Sana’a onMonday, June 22nd. His name is Andargachew Tsege, he is a major Ethiopian opposition leader, and he was traveling from Dubai to Asmara, Eritreia, in Yemenia Airways which was transiting through Sana’a.

From the information I got, the Yemeni authorities have detained him at the airport and is whereabouts were unknown for days. I was informed that the British Embassy was aware of the detention and I believe that Yemeni authorities acted at the request of the Ethiopian authorities. Today, I have received information that Mr. Tsege was extradited to Ethiopia, which means that his life and physical integrity are in great danger and that he will be wrongfully accused of crimes he did not commit.

I am shocked with this blatant violation of the principle of non-refoulement by Yemeni authorities and seriously disappointed with the lack of visible action on the part of the British authorities, to secure the protection of Mr. Tsege.

I urge you, now, to do the utmost to ensure the release and the highest possible protection of Mr. Tsege in Ethiopia and his return to the United Kingdom as soon as possible.

Best regards,
Ana Gomes
Member of the European Parliament

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Eritrea threatened Yemen with breaking off diplomatic relations over the abduction of Ethiopian opposition leader

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Andargachew Tsige may already be in Addis Ababa

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Addis Ababa City Administration evicted several residents from its condominiums for failing to pay rent

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Addis Ababa City rental condo whose tenants have been evicted by police
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Eritrean Government threatened to suspend Yemeni Airlines

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Eritrean government threatened to cancel the right of Yemeni airlines to land in Eritrea unless it can issue assurances for the safety of passengers destined to Eritrea. If Yemeni airlines can not issue positive response for this request, it will suffer from loss of revenue as a result of suspension of services to Eritrea.
Yemeni airlines has been earning substantial business from Eritrean diaspora after the cancellation of services by Lufthansa.
The action of Yemeni security organs in abducting an Ethiopian opposition figure holding British citizenship is also believed that it might put strains on Eritrea- Yemeni relations unless Yemeni authorities reverse their intent to extradite the abducted Ethiopian opposition figure to Ethiopia.The issue will have far reaching ramification as the abducted person is a british citizen. Have Yemeni security agents acquired a green light from British Inteligence Service(SIS) to carry out the abduction? The Ethiopian opposition figure who was using his british passport to travel to and from Eritrea is immune from any Yemeni-Ethiopian bi-lateral security agreement !!

Yemen seizes a boat carrying Ethiopian refugees

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

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SANAA (AFP) – The Yemeni coast guard has seized a boat in the Gulf of Aden carrying 42 illegal migrants from Africa, the authorities said Tuesday.

The coast guard intercepted the boat in Yemeni territorial waters, arresting three crew members and the owner of the vessel, which had come from the Horn of Africa.

The migrants were to be handed over to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees "to be returned to the country from which they embarked," the authorities said without specifying which country.

Would-be migrants from Africa, mainly Ethiopians and Somalis fleeing poverty or violence, frequently set sail for Yemen in the hope of reaching oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

On May 31, 60 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia along with two Yemeni crew members drowned in the worst such tragedy off the coast of Yemen this year, according to the UNHCR.

In the past five years, more than 500,000 people – mostly Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis – have reached Yemen via the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea following treacherous journeys on vessels that are often overloaded.

Yemen is home to up to two million migrants, mostly illegals who entered from other countries of the Arabian Peninsula, according to unofficial estimates commonly cited by experts and humanitarian organizations.

Free Andargachew Tsege Worldwide Campaign

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

We call on all Ethiopians and democratic forces worldwide to urgently focus on the most important task of the moment, that of saving Ato Andargachew.  The single purpose of the first phase of our global campaign should be very clear to all concerned. The worldwide campaign aims to put all the pressure on the Government […]

ENTC calls for the immedate release of Ato Andargachew Tsege

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

ENTC released a statement denouncing the detention of Ato Andargachew Tsege and calls for his immediate release. Read the statement here (pdf)

Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige detained in Yemen

Monday, June 30th, 2014
press statement that was issued today.

According to the press statement, Ato Andargachew was on a transit flight en route to another country when he made a stop in Yemen.

Meles Zenawi Memorial University opened in western Ethiopia (video)

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Meles Zenawi Memorial University opened with a big fanfare in western Ethiopia

Why is Ethiopia the second poorest country on the planet?

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Recently, a well-known correspondent for one of the major American media outlets stationed in Ethiopia sent me an email grousing about my article urging boycott of Coca Cola in Ethiopia. He wrote, “I’m sorry to be blunt, but I don’t understand the thrust of this article [on boycotting Coca Cola]. You seem intent on misleading […]

Kuwaiti local media and authorities criminalize Ethiopian immigrants

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Kuwait’s low-income migrants endure daily discrimination but local media and authorities tend to particularly criminalize Ethiopian domestic workers. The March 2014 murder of a Kuwaiti woman by an Ethiopian domestic worker most recently inflamed rhetoric against Ethiopian migrants and incited national panic against domestic workers; state officials and local media fueled racist hysteria in the aftermath of the murder, a response typical to any kind of crime committed by Ethiopians and domestic workers. The same race-based ‘explanations,’ of violence are recycled following every incident, conveniently shifting accountability away from recruitment practices or employment conditions. Instead, fictitious cultural practices or inherent characteristics and behaviors are cited to justify expanding control over workers and minimizing their rights.

A number of fear-mongering tropes prevalent in Kuwaiti media and elite narratives, particularly following crimes committed by Ethiopian domestic workers, include:

“Sorcerers for Virgin Women!”

Shortly after the murder of his daughter, Kuwaiti official Humood Flatih spoke to a conference organized by the al-Awqaf ministry entitled “The National Project to Spread Awareness among Newly-Arrived Domestic Workers.” Flatih mentioned that his daughter was kind to the worker and “had bought her a phone card the day before the incident to help her call her family.” He claimed she was killed because the domestic worker held “abnormal religious beliefs that demand her to sacrifice a virgin woman on a certain day.” He requested the government mandate psychological evaluations for domestic workers prior to recruitment.

Though it’s impossible to speculate about the specific circumstances of this case, it’s necessary to highlight the strong influence of working conditions on the behavior or actions of domestic workers. Kuwaitis often express concern about the mental wellbeing of workers prior to recruitment, refusing to acknowledge the psychological harm that occurs because of distance from family members, constrained communication with family, general isolation in the employers’ house, as well as actual psychological or physical abuse. Displacing accountability for the treatment of domestic workers is detrimental to both workers and employers.

In a panel organized by al-Anba’a newspaper, Major General Mustafa Juma’a called on Kuwaiti households to respect their housemaids by paying them on time and treating them well. He also suggested mandatory pre-employment training programs. But Juma’a then advised Kuwaiti families to install cameras in their houses to monitor the behaviour of domestic workers at home, unnecessarily stoking employers’ anxieties and inviting invasions of workers’ right to privacy. He furthermore argued that deportation procedures need to be rushed to penalize workers and serve as a warning

Juma’a and other panel participants exemplify the elite voices who fuel the ongoing national-panic against domestic workers.

“Criminals in the Home”

In a typical attempt to externalize societal ills, Kuwait university professor and head of the Family Center for Counseling Amthal al-Huwaila claimed crimes in Kuwait are “as old as the migrant population.” Al-Huwaila blamed all crimes on a “cultural crisis happening inside the family” after the arrival of a foreign worker to the household. Al-Huwaila furthermore argued the cause of domestic workers’ crimes can be “genetic, temporary, or caused by the surrounding environment,” in addition to “feelings of hate and envy” towards Kuwaitis’ wealth and comfort. The professor of psychology suggested the creation of shared database between GCC countries to help fight migrant crimes, “as some leave a country, change their passports, and head to another GCC country.” Al-Huwaila warned Kuwaiti mothers as she had witnessed “cases of Kuwaiti kids mumbling words in a foreign language and it turned out the kid was imitating their Filipina housemaid. There are also cases of Kuwaiti men who refuse marrying other than Filipina women because they were raised by Filipina housemaids.”

Al-Huwaila’s claims reflect the tendency to blame migrant workers for their mere existence, for filling demands in Kuwait’s economy. Authorities also scapegoat migrants to absolve themselves of accountability for crime and employment rates, maneuvering this propaganda to justify mass detentions and deportations.

“Ban and Deport the Psychopaths!”

At the same panel, parliament member Mohammed Tana blamed domestic worker crimes on recruitment agencies that “are run by Asian expats.” Tana demanded that Kuwaitis take over these agencies because the position requires “a patriotic sense of responsibility.” Popular narratives hold that absconded workers conspire with agencies to fleece employers of their investments. These accusations fail to acknowledge that agencies are more likely to swindle migrant workers, who have fewer legal protections and much less access to redress than Kuwaiti employers.

The politician also demanded that migrant workers take mental and physical tests on a regular basis; he cited the case of 400 Ethiopians in Kuwait’s Psychological Medicine Hospital whom “the state takes care of until their sponsors deport them or sell them to other sponsors.“ It’s important to recognize the popularity of regularly psychological evaluations for workers, whilst the notion of regular monitoring of workers conditions, even through meetings with embassy representatives, is widely ridiculed.

Tana added “[he] heard that some Ethiopian tribes kill virgin women as a sacrifice, so we need to ban Ethiopians to completely solve this problem.”

“Hang them all!”

Lawyer and feminist activist Kawthar al-Joa’an claimed these workers “come from poor and far villages, from ignorant societies, to an opened-up society.” She also blamed Kuwaiti embassies for failing to report on the ‘kind’ of workers brought to Kuwait. Similarly, young Kuwaiti columnist Abdulaziz al-Essa held in his article “Killers in our Homes” that domestic workers are mostly well-treated by Kuwaiti families and that workers who committed murders “would be hung in Naif Square, instead of leaving them eating in Kuwaiti jails.”

A TV interview widely circulated in Kuwait featured an Ethiopian-Kuwaiti woman who spoke against Ethiopian domestic workers. The naturalized woman called “Um Muhammad” is married to a Kuwaiti man. She warned Kuwaitis from recruiting Ethiopians domestic workers because they are not obedient and practice witchcraft. Seeming to have internalized myths of Arab superiority, Um Muhammad claimed Ethiopian domestic workers are tempered and that she herself learned from Kuwaitis how to control her temper.

These narratives also reflect the state’s wider approach to migrant workers, which regularly fails to individually adjudicate migrant cases, instead arbitrarily detaining or summarily deporting migrants en-masse; In March, Kuwait banned the recruitment of all Ethiopian workers and deported more than 13,000 domestic workers within few days. Several politicians also called for a boycott of Ethiopian domestic workers, and many workers were consequently ‘returned’ to recruitment agencies; an unnamed official from Kuwait’s Interior ministry stated “the popular campaign against these housemaids aims to get the ministry to get rid of these workers by deporting them and not renewing their residencies.”

Counter-Narratives

Although positive voices are often marginalized, there are a number of Kuwaitis working to counter racist narratives on migrants and crimes. Hassan al-Mousawi of al-Jarida newspaper challenged the logic of those demanding severe, blanket punishments. In a recent article, he wrote “there are many families who mistreat and torture their housemaids but no one demanded a collective punishment against citizens.”

Echoing these criticisms, columnist Ahmad al-Sarraf urged Kuwait should not follow in the steps of authoritarian regimes who posit collective punishments as legitimate solutions. He also demanded that all responsibilities pertaining to domestic workers be transferred from the ministry of interior affairs to the ministry of labor.

Head of Kuwait Psychological Medicine Hospital Adel al-Zayid also disputed allegations that depict Ethiopian domestic workers as psychologically-troubled; he held that the number of Ethiopian domestic workers serviced at the hospital is proportionate with other nationalities and added “there is no connection between crimes happening and psychological disorders. In fact, nothing proves that those who committed crimes have had psychological problems.”

Source: http://www.migrant-rights.org/2014/06/k … c-workers/

Rich Saudis enjoy torturing a goat (video)

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Rich Saudi laugh and cackle as dogs eat a live goat

Eritrea’s shame (video)

Friday, June 27th, 2014

This happened today at the Israeli border. Please help translate what they are arguing about.

phpBB [video]

DLA Piper charges Al Amoudi and cohorts $5,000 for 8 hours of “work”

Friday, June 27th, 2014

DLA Piper, the notorious law firm that represents blood thirsty dictators around the world, has been after me for the past several years. So far they have filed 3 lawsuits against me on behalf of Al Amoudi, the Woyanne junta, and their gang of criminals. Today they sent me a file that shows how much […]

Daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, Israel’s “first lady of soul” to perform in New Jersey

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

When Israeli singer Ester Rada performs on July 1 at the Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center in West Orange, she will combine influences ranging from folk songs of her Ethiopian heritage to the jazz versatility of Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, to the reggae beat of Bob Marley, and the lyrical compositions of Stevie Wonder.

Rada is the first performer in OSPAC’s “Roots and Ribs Festival,” a series of multi-cultural musical events planned for the summer.

She is the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants who grew up in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. Rada began performing at the age of six as a member of a choir led by Israeli singer-songwriter Shlomo Gronich.

“But at the age of 10, I discovered MTV, and it changed my life,” she told NJ Jewish News in an e-mail interview. “Before that all I knew was religious, Israeli, and Ethiopian music.”

Rada, who now lives in Tel Aviv, has been called “Israel’s first lady of soul.”

“I believe in God,” she wrote in her e-mail. “I believe in love. I believe we are all great and we are all one. My message is to all people, to love everyone as yourself.”

Asked her views about the controversial settlements on the West Bank, including the one where she was raised, Rada wrote that “people should not fight for a piece of land. We lost too many good people.

“I don’t like politics,” she said. “I believe in music and love. I don’t believe in borders. I believe everyone should live wherever they want and [the land] belongs to everyone.”

When: Tuesday, July 1, 7 p.m.
Where: Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center, West Orange, New Jersey
Cost: $20
Contact: 973-669-7385 or info@njai.org

Source: http://njjewishnews.com/article/23496/i … m-at-ospac

Ethiopian Christianity – BBC documentary (video)

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Ethiopian Christianity – BBC documentary

Saudi Arabia an UAE receive 90% of Ethiopian livestock and meat exports

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Ethiopia eyes to earn 47.48 million USD from meat and animal exports to the Middle East countries, which will observe the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan next week.

According to the Ethiopian Trade Ministry’s Live Animals, Hides and Skins Department Deputy Head, Kelifa Hussein the rising demand for meat during the month of Ramadan has been a business opportunity to Ethiopia for a long time.

"We export both animals and meat to Somalia, Egypt, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and export meat to Turkey and Hong Kong," he said.

The Ethiopian revenues will exceed the planned 21 million USD, he added.

Ethiopia earned 176 million USD from export of live animals during the last eleven months.

Secretary-General of Ethiopian Association for Meat Producers and Exporters Abebaw Mekonnen said Ethiopia anticipates earning $26.48 million from export of 5405 tons of meat to different countries during Ramadan.

"Saudi Arabia and UAE are target markets for 90 percent of our products.We export the remaining 10 percent to Kuwait, Oman and Egypt," he said.

"The country earned $66.8 million from meat exports during the last 11 months. The revenue is estimated to increase to $70 million during the month of Ramadan," he said.

Previously, the Ethiopian Airlines used to transport only 24 tons of meat per flight.

Now, Mekonnen said, there is a plan to increase the amount to 60 tons per flight.

Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa with 53.8 million heads of cattle, 25.51 million sheep, 22.79 million goats, 2.17 million camels and 49.3 million poultry, according to the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201406241492.html

Khat banned in England

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

(Press Association) – Possessing, selling and importing khat – a plant used as a stimulant by Ethiopian and Somalian communities – is illegal in the U.K. starting this week.

Khat, which makes its users feel more alert, happy and talkative when chewed, is now banned as a class C drug despite advice from the Government’s official advisers that it should not be classified.

Around 2,560 tonnes of khat, which is also favoured by Yemeni and Ethiopian communities, worth £13.8 million was imported to the UK in 2011/12, bringing in £2.8 million of tax revenues.

Drug experts and policy campaigners have condemned the ban as it came into force.

Danny Kushlick, director of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said: "Yet again the Government has ignored the advice of its experts and prohibited another drug.

"As ever, it will serve to create a new income stream for organised crime and that insurgents could profit from.

"At the same time it will unnecessarily criminalise a minority group of Somalis and Yemenis, and deprive producers overseas of much needed legitimate revenue.

"It is high time that the legal regulation option was considered, not only for khat, but for other prohibited drugs."

In a written statement earlier this year, Theresa May said despite the recommendation of the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) not to ban khat, the body acknowledged that there was an absence of robust evidence in a number of areas.

The Home Secretary said the whole of northern Europe, most recently the Netherlands, and the majority of other EU member states have banned khat, as well as most of the G8 countries including Canada and the USA.

Mrs May said failure to take action in the UK would place the country at serious risk of becoming a single hub for the illegal onward trafficking of khat to countries where it is banned.

Chief Constable Andy Bliss, national policing lead for drugs, said: "Enforcement of the khat ban will be firm but proportionate.

"Officers will take into account the nature of the offence and its severity, using a tiered approach towards offences relating to possession for personal use.

"The police are working with Home Office colleagues, healthcare providers and community leaders to ensure that people in localities where khat use is prevalent are aware of the change in law and the police approach, as well as the support available to them."

37 Ethiopians arrested in Zimbabwe

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Zimbabwe police intercepted 37 illegal Ethiopian immigrants as they made their way to South Africa through an illegal entry point along the Limpopo River.

The police officer commanding Beitbridge district Chief Superintend Patrick Majuta last Friday said the group was intercepted on Thursday afternoon aboard a Sharon Transport bus en route to South Africa.

He said the gang was arrested following a tip-off. Chief Supt Majuta said the Ethiopians had since been charged for contravening a section of the Immigration Act.

“The group had been in Zimbabwe illegally for two days pending their skipping the border to South Africa.

“When we intercepted them they had no valid travel documents

“We are yet to establish the port of entry they used,” he said.

He said the suspects had since been taken to Beitbridge Magistrates’ Court where they were remanded in custody to July 4 for trial due to technical challenges.

“They were not tried yesterday due to the unavailability of an Amharic interpreter,” he said.
Chief Supt Majuta said the police were on high alert for illegal immigrants from the Horn of Africa.

Of late there has been an increase in immigrants from Pakistan, Ethiopia, DRC and Somalia who enter the country illegally and try to skip the border to South Africa.

These are reportedly entering the country through Harare International Airport, Nyamapanda, Chirundu and Forbes border posts with the assistance of human trafficking syndicates operating in both South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Recently the Department of Immigration intercepted 18 Pakistan nationals who were en route to South Africa illegally.

It is understood that there is not much synchronisation of the movement control system at the country’s ports of entry which would help reduce irregular migration.

The assistant regional immigration officer in charge of compliance, Mr Francis Mabika, said recently that these migrants were entering the country through other ports of entry were there were minimal physical demarcations.

“You will note that we intercept these people at Beitbridge border where we have the Limpopo River,” he said.

Source: http://www.herald.co.zw/37-illegal-ethi … ts-nabbed/

The case for a more thoughtful approach to building dams on Blue Nile (Part III)

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

In the first two parts of this series, we presented a focused analysis of the GERD, based on evidentiary information that is available in the public domain. We argued objectively and cogently that the social, economic, environmental and ecological adverse impacts of the GERD could be incalculable, and that the imminent danger that the GERD poses to the long-term interest of that poor nation could be irreparably devastating. As the construction of the dam proceeds at a dazzling speed, we called upon all genuine Ethiopians to evaluate the hard facts surrounding the project, without succumbing to the mind numbing TPLF propaganda, and to take appropriate measures before the damage is completely irremediable.

In this last section, we present a summary of the recently leaked report of the International Panel of Experts (IPOE), by way of elucidating further the insidious reason why the TPLF desperately wants to construct the GERD, and irrevocably conclude that the GERD is but a part of one grand wicked scheme that the TPLF regime and its deceased leader have long designed to permanently destroy the notion of a united Ethiopia, drain her natural resources and to plant interminable hostilities among its inhabitants who have lived for centuries in peace and harmony.

The IPOE Document
It is recognized that in the absence of reliable data on important aspects of the design, construction and maintenance of the dam, it is futile to attempt to have a meaningful discussion on the topic. Unsurprisingly, the secretive government in power did not involve or inform the public in the planning and designing of the dam, or has been not willing to share any relevant information to this day about the decision-making process that led to the construction of the dam. In this regard, it was fortuitous that we now have access to an important document, which was prepared by the IPOE and recently leaked to the public. The document is impartially compiled by an independent party, and gives a wealth of information about the project that has previously been inaccessible.

Below, we highlight a few essential elements of the document, as summarized by the International Rivers, a non-governmental civic group with an impeccable record of standing with the Ethiopian people in their fight against the continued abuse and brutalization by the TPLF regime.[1] More specifically, the document indicates:

1. The present design criteria are “quite general, and do not include project- and site-specific conditions. The project’s main design report is outdated and does not reflect numerous and significant design changes to the project”.

2. The stability of the main dam and other main structures should be verified under consideration of additional geological and geotechnical findings. Structural measures might be needed to stabilize the foundation to achieve the required safety against sliding.

3. The project did not assess its sensitivity to climate change. A project of this scale and with such heavy reliance on rainfall patterns requires a better understanding of future hydrologic conditions to ensure the highest degree of flexibility and resiliency in its design and operation. The panel recommends a study that looks at the potential influence of climate change on the flow regime at GERD and further downstream.

4. The project did not include an analysis of sediment deposition in the reservoir (a troublesome issue for dams on the muddy Nile). The panel notes that sediment flows downstream of the dam will be substantially reduced, with implications for floodplain farming productivity, navigation, riverbank erosion, and biodiversity. The panel also recommends additional studies on water quality changes from the project, particularly on methane gas production and the depletion of dissolved oxygen levels in water releases that could harm fisheries and biodiversity downstream.

5. Very little information on how the dam will be operated was given. At a basic level, both present and future needs for “peaking power versus base power needs to be assessed in more detail,” and “needs to be taken into account in (project) planning and sizing.” The report requests verification of the 6,000MW installed capacity. The panel writes that "it is not clear whether the present design considers (capacity, functionality) the minimum mean flows of the dry months release to the downstream countries” without use of power generation facilities or the spillway.

Despite the above shortcomings and other technical, environmental, social and ecological problems, construction on the project is proceeding on “an aggressively accelerated schedule” with little room for adjusting key elements of dam design to reduce harm or prevent problems.

The TPLF dictators consider treasonous any attempt to question the integrity or viability of the project, thereby effectively discouraging credible intellectual discourse to better understand the issues surrounding the dam and to seek mitigating measures.

TPLF’s Real Motive to Construct the GERD

To understand the wicked motive why the TPLF regime has embarked on the construction of a mega dam, it is important to put in perspective the issue relative to the horrendous track record of the ethnic-based group since its inception as a terrorist organization with a deviant ideology of hate, anti-Ethiopianism and inter-ethnic animosity. As outlined below, the damage it has caused against Ethiopia is so abominable it has no parallel in the annals of Ethiopian history.

a) In an uncanny departure from the time-honored duties of all known governments in human history who pledge to defend the sovereignty of the lands they rule, the TPLF regime, under the leadership of the late Meles Zenawi, made a purposeful and conscious decision to dismember Ethiopia and make it the only landlocked country in the world with a large population that has no access to the sea. As reported elsewhere, the loss in revenue as a consequence of land-lockedness far outweighs any benefit even from the most profitable dam imaginable.

b) In a contemptible pursuit of a policy of divide-and-rule, the TPLF leaders wickedly divided Ethiopians along ethnic lines and have sown the seed of extremism that is now manifesting itself in genocidal episodes among people that have lived for centuries in relative harmony. As gruesomely depicted in a recent documentary (see, e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjkSzZZh93U) the poisonous ethnic agenda of Meles Zenawi and his TPLF party is already leading the country to a path of unimaginable destruction and complete disintegration. No government with a genuine intention of building a dam to benefit its people will at the same time promote a policy of genocide and extremism as a means of consolidating power.

c) In a brazen defiance of Ethiopian patriotism, the TPLF government and its former leader desecrated the flag of the nation, and have selfishly and callously parceled out fertile agricultural lands to foreigners, in the process forcefully dislocating the poor and defenseless people from their ancestral homes without any compensation. To the chagrin of the millions of Ethiopians who are helplessly watching as their country is being auctioned, these ruthless dictators have shamelessly ceded to Sudan, as down payment for support against any future threat by oppressed people, the country’s cherished territory that our forefathers had protected for centuries with blood and sweat. No government that builds a dam with a true intention of promoting the long-term interest of the country it rules would sell to foreigners ancestral lands at dirt cheap prices or give away territory to neighboring countries to protect it against its own people.

d) Following the May 2005 elections, in which the people overwhelmingly rejected the TPLF and its vile policies, the regime unabashedly transformed itself into a police state, unseen since the fall of the Iron Curtain, and viciously denied Ethiopians their basic human rights. It controls every aspect of life in the nation through an iron fist and enormously expensive security apparatus, and has clamped down on any credible opposition to its domination. It keeps behind bars journalists in the likes Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu; incarcerates and harasses peaceful human rights activists and political leaders, including Andualem Andargie and Bekele Garba; and ruthlessly massacres innocent civilians in every part of the country.

It is beyond rational limits of tolerance and naiveté to deny the veracity of the above and attempt to give these deceitful dictators the benefit of the doubt about their hidden agenda surrounding the dam. The TPLF, besides the political gains it is drawing from this project, is purely interested in the GERD for a starkly clear economic boon it will be enjoying from the dam during and after its shoddy completion.

As is widely reported, all the major sub-contractors of the GERD are TPLF owned or business enterprises affiliated with the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), including Mesfin Industrial Engineering (MIE), SUR Construction PLC, and Messebo Building Materials Production PLC — the three largest domestic companies that are supplying most of the construction materials including metal, cement and labor.

SUR Construction PLC is established by EFFORT in 1992 with an initial capital of Birr 108 million as a General Contractor. Since its establishment, the company has been awarded more than 31 road projects, over 44 various building contracts, as well as 2 airfield and 2 hydropower projects. The total worth of those projects to date is more than Birr 8 billion, and the company reportedly owns about 1,100 heavy and light duty pieces of construction machinery and plants with over 2,200 permanent and contract employees and about 6,000 daily laborers. SUR has its own six storey head office building in Addis Ababa and a modern workshop and training center at the branch office in Mekelle. Currently, SUR is executing 7 projects all over the country worth in excess of Birr 7 billion and has achieved an annual turnover of more than Birr 1 Billion.[1] Messebo Building Material Production PLC (MBMP PLC) is one of the EFFORT group companies, located in Mekelle, and has an investment capital of about Birr 2 billion.[3] The third company, Mesfin Industrial Engineering PLC (MIE), also affiliated with the TPLF, is the leading equipment manufacturing company in East Africa. A wide range of products is manufactured at its industrial complex, which is fully equipped with the state-of-the art machinery. It designs, manufactures and installs equipment and components for the energy, mining, manufacturing, construction, mining and agricultural sectors.[4]

These are but three of the TPLF companies, established by the money stolen from the coffers of Ethiopia, that are the ultimate beneficiaries of the GERD and that will continue to pilfer the hard earned money of the people.

Even in the unlikely scenario that the economic, social, environmental, ecological and technical shortcomings of the GERD are mitigated, and the dam turns out to be profitable, there is no uncertainty that it is the same corrupt group that will collect, control and disburse the money, and use it either to deposit in foreign bank accounts or to strengthen its grip on power. The people of Ethiopia have never had any means of controlling the activities of this illegitimate regime ever since it came to power in 1991, or to hold it transparent and accountable in its handling of the money and resources of the nation. To this day, the government has not even responded to a report of the Global Financial Integrity which uncovered that the leaders have illicitly taken over US $12 billion out of the country!

Concluding Remarks
As elucidated in this piece, the TPLF regime does not have the track record or the moral eminence to be trusted with a project of the magnitude, national symbolism and economic significance of the GERD. A regime that is guided by a philosophy of anti-Ethiopian unity, inter-ethnic animosity, corruption and repression, cannot embark on a project with the long-term interest of the nation at heart. This is a group that has much blood of innocent people on its hands; dehumanized Ethiopians and dishonored their pride in their heritage; and pauperized the people and subjected them to untold misery, poverty and hopelessness. It is an aberrant variety of despotism that has poisoned the political climate, and created a future very much imbued with uncertainty and tribulation.

Ironically, a country that has been defended heroically by its valiant sons and daughters against waves of external aggressors over the centuries, has now, for the first time in its illustrious history, found itself vulnerable and unable to repel the insidious assault on its survival by internal enemies. As the government in power promotes genocidal policies, tearing apart the national fabric, the seeds of extremism and ethnic clashes are chillingly sprouting across the land.

Sadly, intellectuals and professionals who have the sacred duty of standing on the side of justice for the oppressed and challenging the disastrous schemes of the illegitimate regime, instead appear to be succumbing to the allure of the TPLF propaganda machinery and becoming instruments of repression. Health professionals in the Diaspora, who were educated at the expense of the lowly poor back home, are seen as they nauseatingly compete amongst each other, notwithstanding the hippocratic oath of do-no-harm they solemnly vowed, to curry favor with the regime. Professors of all disciplines from major learning institutions are observed as they insolently flock to Mekele and other visible places to get the attentions of the repressive rulers. Avaricious businessmen and entrepreneurs too eager to have a share in a proportion of the loot that trickles down to lackeys, flagrantly kowtow to the will of conniving TPLF cadres, contributing to the repressive machinery with kickbacks and bribes.

Indubitably, the GERD is but a smokescreen for the continuation of the discredited agenda of the TPLF and Meles Zenawi to destroy Ethiopia as a nation, and, hence, should be relentlessly and vehemently scrutinized, and its oversight and operation immediately handed to independent Ethiopian experts in the profession. This is a generation that has the most sacrosanct responsibility to stand up to TPLF’s aggression against Ethiopia’s survival, and ensure passing to posterity the glorious heritage handed to it by our forefathers. Therefore, as I conclude my piece on the GERD, I leave my fellow countrymen and erudite citizens back home and in the Diaspora, who refuse to see the crimes being committed by the TPLF regime in power, with the following immortal words of Mahatma Gandhi:

There are Seven Deadly Social Sins:
Politics without principle.
Wealth without work.
Commerce without morality.
Pleasure without conscience.
Education without character.
Science without humility.
Worship without sacrifice.

And, to the TPLF leaders who are blinded with a false sense of invincibility, may the foreboding words of Frederick Douglass serve as a wake-up call:

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.

Ethiopia shall prevail!

NOTES
[1] http://www.internationalrivers.org/gerd … ons-remain
[2] http://www.sur.com.et/CompanyProfile01.html
[3] http://www.messebocement.com/backgroundinfo.aspx
[4] http://www.mie.com.et/index2.html

(The author, Dr Getachew Begashaw, can be reached at getachew.begashaw@yahoo.com)

Step Ethiopians can take to protect themselves from government spying

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

BY JESSICA MCKENZIE

The Ethiopian government has at their disposal a formidable collection of surveillance technologies, and can intrusively monitor writers and activists at home and abroad. In late April the government arrested six independent bloggers and a journalist. More than 50 days later they are still being held in custody, and yet no formal charges have been filed. In March Human Rights Watch published a lengthy and detailed report warning that surveillance in Ethiopia could get even worse if the government gains the human capacity necessary to fully leverage the available technologies.

One of the most invasive and potentially life-threatening things that can happen to an Ethiopian blogger, journalist, activist or dissident is to unwittingly download malware that allows the government to monitor keystrokes and passwords, to remotely turn on a computer’s microphone or camera and start recording, and to extract data from the hard drive. The simplest step Ethiopians can take to protect themselves is to limit the number of documents they download from the Internet. One way to do this is by opening documents as Google Docs.

Until recently, however, Google Docs did not support the Ethiopian language Amharic. Now that they do (and it seems a simple and easy thing to add), Ethiopians have a powerful tool with which to protect themselves from unlawful and intrusive government surveillance.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an excellent post explaining how to enable Amharic in Google products, and why Ethiopians should use it (namely, if they are worried about their own government’s surveillance but not concerned that Google will supply their data to US court orders).

I have previously written for techPresident about Angolan investigative journalist Rafael Marques, who discovered intrusive malware on his computer with help from hacker and activist Jacob Appelbaum. Months after the discovery Marques was arrested and beaten.

One of the most relevant points Marques makes is that the malware doesn’t need to be sophisticated because the authorities know or anticipate that he does not have the resources to buy a new, clean computer and to thoroughly protect it.

Is the Google Doc trick infallible? Almost certainly not, but it is a free, easy way for Ethiopians to protect themselves. Think of it like wearing a seatbelt in cyberspace.

Source: http://techpresident.com/news/wegov/251 … rveillance

A protest rally organized by UDJ in Awassa blocked by armed Woyanne thugs (photos)

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The scheduled demonstration in the southern Ethiopian town of Awassa was called off after Woyanne troops blocked streets. On Sunday, June 22, 2014, more than 30 UDJ organizers in the town were arrested.

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Sudanese woman on death row for apostasy was ordered released by a Khartoum court

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

A Sudanese woman on death row for apostasy had her sentence canceled and was ordered released by a Khartoum court on Monday, the country’s official news agency reported.

SUNA said the Court of Cassation canceled the death sentence against 27-year-old Meriam Ibrahim after defense lawyers presented their case. The court ordered her release.

Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but who was raised by her Christian mother, was convicted of apostasy for marrying a Christian. Sudan’s penal code criminalizes the conversion of Muslims to other religions, a crime punishable by death.

Read More : http://betinews.com/?p=1326

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No Country for Ethiopian Human Rights Abusers

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

The U.S. Justice Department encourages Ethiopians to report human-rights abusers hiding in plain view in America They are hidden in plain view. They have been hiding in plain view in the U.S. for over 30 years. They have been hiding in plain view in the U.S. for just three years. They skulk around most of […]

Egyptian TV journalist suspended for slamming phone on Woyanne ambassador

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

On air fight between Tahrir TV host Rania Badawy and Ethiopian ambassador Mahmoud Dardir

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“Why do you insist on building the dam with the current specifications?” Rania Badawy asked Ethiopian Ambassador in Cairo Mahmoud Dardir.

Ambassador Dardir told her that she did not understand the construction of dams and their specification and that she was speaking arrogantly.

Things went madder starting from that point.

Rania: "Mr. Ambassador you crossed the line with me, I ask the questions of the Egyptian people!"

Then she continues: From diplomacy and the protocol that you answer the question or leave it without comment. Hanging up the line on air, the TV host said the ambassador crossed the line.

Source: http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.com/ … matic.html

NSA assists Ethiopia’s dictatorship to conduct mass surveillance against Ethiopian residents in the U.S. – report

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

A new release of Snowden’s leaked NSA docs detail RAMPART-A, through which the NSA gives foreign governments the ability to conduct mass surveillance against their own populations in exchange for NSA access to their communications. RAMPART-A, is spread across 13 sites, accesses three terabytes/second from 70 cables and networks. It cost US taxpayers $170M between 2011 and 2013, allocated through the NSA’s "black budget."

The NSA makes its foreign partners promise not to spy on the USA using its equipment and in return, agrees not to spy on its partners’ populations (with "exceptions"). However, as was documented in Glenn Greenwald’s indispensable No Place to Hide, the NSA has a simple trick for circumventing any promises not to spy on its partners’ populations.

"No Place to Hide" revealed a list of 33 "third party" countries that assist the NSA in conducting mass surveillance, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Singapore, Ethiopia, and 15 EU member states. These countries do not allow the NSA to spy on their own countries, but the NSA exploits a loophole to conduct this surveillance anyway: it will strike an agreement with Country A, on one end of a high-speed cable not to spy on it population, and with Country B, on the other end of the cable, not to spy on its population, but will conduct mass surveillance of Country A’s communications from Country B and vice-versa. [...] READ MORE >> http://boingboing.net/2014/06/19/nsa-he … ments.html

The Amazing Art Of Ethiopian Monasteries (photos)

Friday, June 20th, 2014

The way Ethiopian religious paintings are preserved and the stories they tell are an inevitable proof that Ethiopians are not only strongly attached to their beliefs but also foster their traditions. Below some amazing examples of the breathtaking paintings from Ethiopia:

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Source: http://one-penny-trip.com/africa/the-am … es-photos/

Saudi man savagely attacks an immigrant (video)

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Saudi man savagely attacks an immigrant

World Cup 2014 too unpredictable

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Two of the best teams, Spain and England, have been kicked out early. And Brazil is performing less than expected. If USA defeats Portugal on Sunday, it will be another shocker.

The latest on where the teams stand: http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/groups/index.html

Swedish Journalist: Political Prisoners in Ethiopia Packed in Cells Like “Slaves”

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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Golden Pen

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The 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom Award Winner Eskinder Nega of Ethiopia

SKETCHES By Ana Marie Pamintuan (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 11, 2014 – 12:00am

TURIN – In the darkened auditorium in this Italian city, some forum participants could be seen dabbing at their eyes while others could be heard blowing their nose.

It wasn’t anything in the air in the 90-year-old former Fiat automobile plant that is now the Lingotto Conference Center that made the delegates misty-eyed the other day. What touched the audience was the speech by a Swedish journalist who spent time in an Ethiopian prison for “terrorism.”

I have attended several of the annual gatherings of the World Editors Forum, where a Golden Pen of Freedom is traditionally awarded to a journalist who embodies the continuing struggle for press freedom around the world.

The typical participants in this forum are senior journalists who tend to be hardened and even jaded to suffering. Monday’s event was the first time that I saw anyone moved to tears by a colleague’s story.

“The first screams were always the worst,” Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye began his personal story of life in Addis Ababa’s notorious Kaliti prison. He would never be free of those screams, he said.

He described regular beatings, of inmates being hanged upside down. In the detention cells they were packed “like slaves” and had to sleep on their side. “Once a month an inmate leaves with his feet first,” he narrated.
Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

More than the torture and disease, Schibbye recalled, the hardest part was “the fear of speaking.”

“It’s not the guard towers with machine guns that keep the prison population calm. It is the geography of fear. People who speak politics are taken away. They disappear,” Schibbye recounted. “It went under my skin… I would wake up wondering if I had said something against the government in my sleep.”

The Ethiopian government continues to toss critical journalists in jail for “treason” and “terrorism.” Schibbye served only 14 months of his 11-year sentence. He and his photographer Johan Persson were pardoned and freed in September 2012. But Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega, on whose behalf Schibbye accepted the Golden Pen of Freedom, has been in prison since his arrest in 2011 and may have to serve his full 18-year sentence.

Nega was initially joined in prison by his wife, who in her 17 months of incarceration gave birth to their son. She at least has been freed and is currently seeking asylum in the United States.

“They will never break him,” Schibbye said after reading a letter written by the Ethiopian to an older son.

Even if they have robbed Nega of almost all his freedoms including “the freedom to drink or eat, and even to [deleted],” what they can’t take away from him is the freedom to be what he wants to be, Schibbye said: “Eskinder is a journalist. And every day that he wakes up in the Kaliti prison is just another day at the office.”

“It’s not us that are fighting for his freedom,” Schibbye said as he concluded his speech, “but rather he who is fighting for ours. Ayzoh Eskinder! Ayzoh!” (The Ethiopian word means “be strong, chin up.”)

Most Filipinos have forgotten the systematic torture of political dissidents during the Marcos dictatorship and may not care what happens in Ethiopia, seen as a hopelessly failed state.

Unfortunately for us, however, instead of being detained and tortured, Filipino journalists are simply killed.

Journalism in the Philippines, as in other countries, also faces new threats that have emerged as technology allows states, private groups and crime gangs to monitor digital communication, and as governments invoke national security to clamp down on press freedom.

* * *

Journalists are facing traditional threats in delivering the news in places where civil liberties are currently being curtailed, such as Thailand and Ukraine. But because of the war on terrorism and because states are increasingly equipped to increase surveillance of individuals, press freedom is under threat even in its traditional bastions: the United States, the UK and other Western European nations.

At one of the sessions here, Associated Press president and CEO Gary Pruitt narrated how the American wire agency cooperated with their government in May 2012 and deferred publication of a foiled al-Qaeda bomb plot in Yemen because, AP was told, certain individuals could be compromised and lives could be placed at risk.

Later it was learned that the US government had secretly seized AP phone records including text messages to find out who leaked the story.

Aghast over what Pruitt described as one of the worst intrusions in its 168-year history, AP asked the US Justice Department to safeguard the records and strengthen their rules governing such cases. The US government agreed and promised that no journalist would be prosecuted for doing his job.

It was good to know no one would be sent to jail “for committing journalism,” Pruitt said, but the incident “created a very real chilling effect” on AP’s sources.

The British press, for its part, has not yet recovered from the phone hacking scandal, which has paved the way for UK officials to impose rules that tend to curtail press freedom.

“We have gone from hero to zero,” said Guy Black, executive director of the UK’s Telegraph Media Group. “Where once we could draw on our history of free speech, now we are held as a shining example that we are shackling the press.”

Why are trends in the US and UK worrisome? As Claudio Paolillo of Uruguay noted, Latin American journalists used to look up to the American and British media as models of press freedom. “Not anymore,” he said.

Worse, Paolillo said, the moves of the US and British governments to curtail press freedom in the name of national security were inspiring despots. The attitude, he said, is, “If the US can do it, I can do it too.”

* * *

I know prominent Filipinos who think the Philippine press could use tighter regulation, but government intrusions on journalists’ work can quickly get out of hand.

Borrowing a line from Winston Churchill, Pruitt reminded the audience, “The media is the worst check on government except for all the others. It’s all we’ve got.”

What can journalists do in the face of increasing government surveillance even in Western democracies? Panel moderator Kai Strittmatter of Germany urged the audience: “Let’s not start getting used to this. Let’s not find some of these things normal.”

“All our freedoms stem from (press freedom),” Black said. “We have to fight.”

Eskinder Nega is doing just that, in the worst conditions. He is showing, Schibbye said, “that they can jail journalists but they can never succeed in jailing journalism.”

http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2014/06 … golden-pen

South Sudan’s president writes protest letter to PM Hailemariam Desalegn for being called “stupid”

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

JUBA – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir has written to the East African regional bloc (IGAD) demanding an apology over remarks allegedly made by one of its officials.

The letter, foreign affairs minister Benjamin Marial said, was delivered by a government minister to Ethiopia’s prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, who is the current IGAD chairperson.

IGAD’s executive secretary Mahboub Maalim allegedly described president Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar as “stupid” for pursuing military means instead of peace talks the ongoing conflict.

Marial said statements attributed to Mahboub was “unfortunate", given the regional body’s mediation role.

“The government, specially our president, has sent an envoy to with a letter to prime minister of Ethipia with regards to the unfortunate statement which was said by executive secretary of the IGAD in the press,” Marial told reporters in Juba Tuesday.

He declined to further reveal the content of the letter or what the government expected in response.

The presidential spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny, however, said that the government needed an apology.

“It is clear that [IGAD Executive Secretary] Mahboub has insulted the Head of State and what we wan is an apology,” Ateny told Sudan Tribune Tuesday.

The peace talks between government and opposition led by Machar has been postponed as government delegation demanded response from IGAD.

South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei told the SSTV on Monday the IGAD official’s comment was “inappropriate” and put to question the mediators’ abilities to over see the talks.

Meanwhile, cabinet affairs minister, Elias Lomoro said Mahboub visited Juba on Monday, but was denied access to meet president Kiir over comment he allegedly uttered.

Source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article51375

Chinese smartphone comes preloaded with spyware

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

A cheap brand of Chinese-made smartphones carried by major online retailers comes preinstalled with espionage software, a German security firm said Tuesday.

G Data Software said it found malicious code hidden deep in the propriety software of the Star N9500 when it ordered the handset from a website late last month. The find is the latest in a series of incidents where smartphones have appeared preloaded with malicious software.

READ MORE http://betinews.com/?p=1053

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Driving in Gonder, Ethiopia (video)

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Road from Gondar to Dabat

Ethiopian student designs advanced generation aerial robots

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Doctoral candidate Abeje Yenehun Mersha designed novel human-in-the-loop control architectures for this new and advanced generation of aerial service robots. Mr. Mersha is affiliated with the CTIT research institute of the University of Twente, in The Netherlands. He is due to obtain his doctoral degree on Friday June 13th. The need for robots able to carry out high-risk service tasks, such as the inspection of power plants and the cleaning of skyscrapers, is growing. Robots that actively interact with the environment without being constrained on the ground are extremely well suited to such tasks.

Abeje Yenehun Mersha’s research focuses mainly on the teleoperation of aerial service robots. These types of robots are poised to be fundamental parts of tomorrow’s service applications for their low-cost, safety, and efficiency. These robots support humans in performing various tasks that require the ability to actively interact with remote environments while staying airborne.

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Mersha developed different teleoperation control architectures that allow an operator to remotely supervise an aerial service robot while performing a complex service task. Mersha explains: "The human operator does not need be a trained pilot to operate the aerial robot, but an expert in the required service task. The aerial robot can be seen as an extension of the operator’s own hand, which is being remotely controlled in a cluttered environment by using a haptic device." Mersha continues: "The overall teleoperation control architecture should guarantee a stable behavior both during the free-flight of the aerial robot and during the interaction with the remote environment, while guaranteeing a good level of transparency even in the presence of time-delays and other network-induced imperfections".

Control strategies that rely upon a cooperative and adaptive interaction between the on-board automatic control of the aerial robot and the human operator, are essential for the accomplishment of service tasks. In the case of traditional aerial robots, the operator becomes aware of the states of the autonomous aerial robot through camera images (visual feedback). However, due to the complexity of the service tasks, this form of feedback alone might not be adequate. Through a haptic device, used to bilaterally interact with the remotely controlled aerial robot, operators are now able to actually feel how the task is progressing. So, for example, if the robot interacts with the environment and is no longer able to move forward, the operator feels a resistance in the form of an opposing force via the haptic interface. As such, the operator feels like he is actually interacting with the remote environment directly. Moreover, having received this force feedback, together with other feedbacks, such as vision and vibro-tactile information, the awareness of the operator significantly increases. This helps the operator to make a better decision in order to accomplish the task effectively and efficiently.

Mersha carried out a variety of simulations and experiments in order to test the theory in practice. Among others, he carried out the longest intercontinental haptic teleoperation of aerial robots in cooperation with the Australian National University to assess his solution for dealing with time delays and other network-induced imperfections. The experiment involved an operator located in Enschede, The Netherlands, flying an aerial service robot in Canberra, Australia, that performs a maneuvering task in cluttered environment while avoiding obstacles. The short film shows the experiment.

Source: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-aerial-rob … s.html#jCp

54 Days in Prison and Counting for Ethiopian Bloggers

Monday, June 16th, 2014

It has been 54 days since six members of the Zone Nine blogging collective [am] and three journalists believed to be associated with the group were arrested in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The group formed in 2012 in an effort to report on and increase public discussion about political and social issues affecting a diverse cross-section of Ethiopian society.

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On their Facebook page, they describes themselves as young Ethiopians seeking to use fact-based reporting and analysis to create a new, more nuanced narrative of life in Ethiopia today:

Zone9 is an informal group of young Ethiopian bloggers working together to create an alternative independent narration of the socio-political conditions in Ethiopia and thereby foster public discourse that will result in emergence of ideas for the betterment of the Nation

The bloggers have appeared in court at four times since their arrest on April 25, 2014 — their next court date has been set for July 12, 2014. Each time, police have asked for more time to carry out their investigation of the group. Although they have been informally accused of “working with foreign organizations that claim to be human rights activists and agreeing in idea and receiving finance to incite public violence through social media,” they have been issued no formal charges as of yet. Close friends and allies of the group fear that they will be charged with terrorism, similar to journalists Eskinder Nega and Reeyot Alemu, both Ethiopian journalists who have been in prison since 2011.

Following their arrest, Global Voices Online released a statement calling for their release, invited supporters to join the #FreeZone9Bloggers campaign through letter-writing and online efforts, and organised the FreeZone9Bloggers Tweetathon on May 14, 2014. READ MORE >> https://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/06/ … -bloggers/

The case for a more thoughtful approach to building dams on Blue Nile (Part II)

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Part II: A Critical assessment of building large dams

In Part I of this piece, we highlighted the requirements for an appropriately planned, designed, constructed and operated dam on Abay, the Blue Nile, and why it is in the national interest to do so, provided it is executed not for a short-term political and economic purpose, as is conceived by the ethnic-based rulers of the country, but with the long-term economic and security of the people in mind.

We stressed how the dictatorial and treacherous TPLF rulers and their sympathizers have used Abay, a natural resource of tremendous national pride and heritage, for their vile propaganda, portraying those who question their misguided policies as unpatriotic opponents of building a dam on the treasured river. As a matter of urgency, we underscored the need to elucidate the secrecy under which the project was conceived, and reiterated the level and seriousness of the government’s corruption and its effect on the construction and operation of the dam. In particular, we called upon all genuine scholars to address the economic hardship the dam has inflicted, and will continue to do so, on the vast majority of the people of Ethiopia; and to relentlessly shed light on the imminent environmental havoc the ill-conceived dam is destined to cause.

In the following, we argue, using publicly available evidence that the GERD is fraught with economic, social, political and environmental problems of far-reaching consequences; and infer that, in the long-term, its benefit will be dwarfed by the indescribable adverse effects it will have on that poor nation and its people. Our analysis will lead to the ominous conclusion that the dam, as conceived by the illegitimate and non-representative government in power, is not only detrimental for Ethiopia’s long-term interest, but might even be a debacle waiting to happen.

Economic and Environmental Realities

A major question pertaining to the construction of the GERD all along has been how much it will cost to build, and who will pay for it. According to some sources, the cost was initially estimated at US$4.8 billion, a relatively huge figure that is about 60% of the national budget! We may all recall the reactions of seasoned economists when the late Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, with his usual arrogance declared: “… it will not be impossible for 80 million people to contribute 80 billion Birr”. In a country where the vast majority of the people live below subsistence level, the declaration of the dictator was, of course, preposterous, even if the original estimates of cost and duration of construction were to be trusted. In reality, given the notoriously egregious dam construction experience in Ethiopia, as well as the experiences of other countries that embarked on the construction of large dams, it is beyond the realm of possibility to imagine that the GERD would be completed as planned, within the allotted budget and the estimated timeframe.

According to a new study conducted by Oxford University, for example, the vast majority of mega-dams around the globe are unprofitable undertakings as a result of high cost overruns. The report, which was highly comprehensive and analyzed a total of 245 dam projects in 65 countries, is the largest economic analysis of large dams ever undertaken, covering all large dams built during the period from 1934 to 2007 for which sufficient documentation is available.[1] Among other striking results, the study found that actual costs on large dams on the average exceeded original estimates by around 96%! In particular, the authors remarked: “We find that even before accounting for negative impacts on human society and environment, the actual construction costs of large dams are too high to yield a positive return.” Most notably, in a commentary in the Wall Street Journal, the authors specifically questioned the official cost estimates for the GERD, and noted[2]:

Brazil’s Itaipu Dam was built in the 1970s. It cost nearly $20 billion, 240% more in real terms than predicted and it impaired Brazil’s public finances for three decades. Despite producing much-needed electricity, Itaipu is unlikely to ever pay back its capital and debt costs. More recently, Ethiopia’s $4.8 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile, which began construction in 2011, will likely cost $10 billion before its projected completion in 2017—nearly a quarter of Ethiopia’s GDP. Instead of helping Ethiopia grow, the dam could drown the country’s fragile economy in debt.”

In a recent article intended to tout the GERD, the TPLF propaganda machine and some credulous Ethiopians used the Chinese Three Gorges Dam as an example of a successful case of mega dams, while presenting an incomplete picture of the world’s most controversial hydropower project. In fact, even the Chinese government officials are on the record of admitting that, unless preventive measures were taken, “there could be an environmental collapse” as a consequence of the many, massive changes caused by the dam to the Yangtze River. As reported in the May 19, 2012 issue of The New York Times, for example, China’s State Council had to acknowledge that the “Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project and a symbol of China’s confidence in risky technological solutions, is troubled by urgent pollution and geologic problems”. While the official figure for the bill of the project is $23 billion, outside experts estimate it may have cost double that amount. It is common knowledge that the government has fallen far short of its goals of helping to resettle the 1.4 million people displaced by the dam. Further, the problem has been compounded by the need to resettle additionally more people in order to relieve the pressure on the slopes of the 410-mile-long reservoir, where the sheer weight of water backing up has increased the danger of earthquakes and landslides.

The experience of one of Ethiopia’s neighbors, Uganda, is also illuminating. In a recent UN-sponsored forum on water conflict issues, Henry Bazira, who is an Executive Director at the Water Governance Institute in Uganda, commented:

My real concern is the apparent lack of long-term planning and preparation in most African countries that frequently causes them to rush into doing something (crisis management) at the detriment of the regular citizens, the environment, economies and politics. If there had been long-term planning and preparation, such large-scale infrastructure(s) would have been envisaged in advance and preparation of the affected people(s) for the upcoming projects would have been more protracted, effective and easily appreciated. It is relatively easy to project the energy needs and options of a country over a long period of time and plan and prepare for them. Therefore, there is no justification for a rush.

It is sad that the GERD has proceeded in a rush and that there has not been sufficient attention given to the social, economic, environmental and political effects/impacts that the dam is likely to have. What I see in the GERD is a repeat of some of the mistakes that were done when constructing the Bujagali dam in Uganda such as failure to address the cumulative impact(s) of a cascade of dams along the river; inadequate compensation and resettlement of project-affected people; loss of peoples’ livelihoods; causing the project-affected people to indirectly, unwillingly and unknowingly bear part of the cost of the dam; and the project’s inability to produce design capacity of electricity because of poor projections in the hydrology and recharge capacity of the Nile; among other problems. It is evident that the GERD project may proceed ignoring such problems, but these does not mean that the problems have gone away. There will be need for Ethiopia to be mindful of these and other problems and try to address them going forward. The Nile riparian countries (with the assistance of the NBI) should address the salient issues related with the Nile.”

Restricting attention to our own experience, much could be discerned from recent failures in dam construction within Ethiopia. One case in point is the overly long-delayed Tekeze hydroelectric project that ran more than $136 million over budget. The contract for this dam was awarded in 2002, to be completed in 2007. In the course of the construction of the dam, it was recognized that the ground on which the dam was being built was rather weak, leading to landslides and other problems, a fact that was not known in advance thanks to the shoddy feasibility and engineering studies on the basis of which the project was justified. As a result, the project was considerably delayed, and completed two years late in 2009.[3] Another project, Gilgel Gibe 2, with a price tag of 374 million Euros, (more than US $505 million), was awarded to Salini without the benefit of competitive bidding or adequate feasibility studies, a common practice in the corrupt TPLF regime. The construction started without the legally required environmental permit, and was supposed to be completed in December of 2007. As reported elsewhere: “Deficient geological studies had overlooked sandy soils and aquifers in the rock. The tunnel boring equipment got stuck in the mud, and the engineers had to redesign the tunnel’s path. … The aqueduct collapsed only 12 days after its inauguration, nine kilometers inside the mountain.”[4]

In addition to the price tag associated with the construction of dams, the cost of maintaining them is nontrivial and the consequence of suboptimal maintenance catastrophic. This is best illustrated with the situation of one of Africa’s biggest dams, the Kariba dam on the Zambezi River. According to a report by the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia, the dam is said to be near collapse, and in need of over $250 million in repairs. If the dam collapsed, millions living downstream would be at risk of a catastrophic flood that would do untold destruction.[5]

In terms of fiscal reality, large dams are known to be poor investments. Thanks to new developments in environmental science, our knowledge about the devastating impacts of large dams has been growing. For example, it is abundantly clear now that even in developed countries, large dams are facing serious problems and challenges. This is the case, for example, with the Hoover dam in the United States, where after many years of mega-drought, the water level is so low that is feared that the dam may not be able to produce electricity in the near future.[6]

Further, dealing with the adverse effects of large dams requires a stable and robust economic environment and good governance. In this respect, it is worthwhile to understand the place of Ethiopia in the economic ladder compared to countries with large dams (Table 1). The world’s 10 largest hydroelectric dams are located mostly in relatively developed countries, with 2 in China (Three Gorges and Longtan); 2 in Brazil (Itaipu and Tucurui), 2 in Russia (Krasnoyarsk and Bratsk), 2 in Canada (Robert-Bourassa and Churchill Falls), 1 in Venezuela (Guri) and 1 in the US (Grand Coulee). These hydroelectric dams have capacities ranging from 4,500 – 22,500 MW. According to the GERD plan and design, Ethiopia will soon join this exclusive club, owning a dam with an almost three-fold capacity of the Aswan Dam of Egypt (which generates 2,100 MW). However, Ethiopia, as a dismally poor country, does not have the economic capacity or the requisite democratic governance to put her in a position to build, maintain and properly operate a dam of the scale and complexity of the GERD.

Nominal GDP and GDP Per Capita of Countries with the 10 Largest Hydroelectric Dams (2013)

Country ———- GDP (trillions)[7] ———- GDP Per Capita[8]
US ——————— 16.3 —————————– 53,101
China —————— 8.4 ——————————- 6,747
Brazil —————— 2.3 —————————— 11,310
Russia —————– 2.1 —————————— 14,818
Canada —————–1.8 —————————— 51,982
Venezuela ————- 0.4 —————————— 12,472
Ethiopia —————- 0.04 ——————————– 541

In addition to the direct costs discussed above, there is the opportunity cost that must be taken into consideration in any evaluation of the net benefits of the GERD. With reference to the tremendous economic risks the country is taking on a project of such colossal magnitude, Jan Mikkelsen, the IMF country representative, recently counseled: “I think there’s a need to rethink some of those projects a little bit to make sure that they don’t absorb all domestic financing just for that project. If you [deleted] in all domestic financing to just a few projects that money will be used for this and not for normal trade and normal business.”[9]

Several Ethiopian scholars who have intimate knowledge of the dam have also expressed profound concern about the economic and technical soundness of the project. Asfaw Beyene, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University, is one such an expert on the matter who believes that the dam is not only unable to produce as much power as is claimed, but is also 300% over-sized! According to Beyene, more than half of the turbines will be rarely used, and the GERD’s available power output, based on the average of river flow throughout the year and the dam height, is at most 2,000 megawatts, much less than the advertized amount of 6,000 megawatts. While there is little doubt that the system may have been designed for a peak flow rate that only happens during the 2-3 months of the rainy season, there is no sound economic basis to justify this scheme. Beyene affirms that that the issue is so highly politicized that “it seems to suppress legitimate engineering inputs and environmental discussions.”[10]

Recently, Sci Dev Net, a group trying to bring science and development together through news and analysis, has published interesting articles questioning the veracity of labeling large hydropower dams as renewable when the electricity produced is not for local needs, but for export. In reference to the Belo Monte Dam and its devastating effect on the Xingu rainforest in Brazil, it’s editorial commented: “…. when hydropower energy generation moves from being a necessity that answers pressing energy needs to being a commodity to trade [as is the TPLF plan for the GERD] and where it has a massive impact on the local ecosystem, questions need to be raised about whether it should enjoy the positive, feel-good connotations of the term renewable.” In a related piece concerning Malaysia’s proposed dam on the Baram River in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, the group also revealed that the electricity from the dam is intended for export, and drew attention to the loss of biodiversity, forest and cultivated land that construction would cause. Like many other perceptive observers, the group advocates the strategy of building ‘mini-hydros’ on smaller tributaries as a more acceptable alternative, since they are likely to interfere less with the river ecosystem and generate power for local use rather than as a commodity for export.[11]

Notwithstanding the claims of certain supporters of the dam that “the financial and social cost-benefit preliminary analysis of the GERD on upstream and downstream countries are favorable,” the secretive TPLF rulers did not share, with the public or other relevant groups like the International Panel of Experts (IPOE), many key project documents, including the critical geotechnical assessments for the main and saddle dams and project cost-benefit analyses, which still remain confidential. Based on the little known, the recently leaked IPOE document alarmingly reveals: “… the (hydrological study) is very basic, and not yet at a level of detail, sophistication and reliability that would befit a development of this magnitude, importance and with such regional impact as GERD.” Summary of the key findings stated in the IPOE document and other insights will be presented in a forthcoming Part III of this piece.

Those genuine Ethiopians who unwittingly and unconditionally support the construction of the GERD as currently planned, designed and executed should reevaluate whether Ethiopia could really afford the accompanying economic, social, geological and environmental problems, and the cost overruns that could almost double the bill, with the inevitable long delays. Given that almost all contracts in Ethiopia are dubious, and that dam projects are almost always directly negotiated with only one company, as was the case with the Tekeze, Gilgel Gibe 2 and Gibe 3 dams, and now with the GERD, it is plausible to assume that the secretive deals are marred by kickback incentives. Neither is it beyond the realm of possibility to surmise that, because of the sweet deals and cozy relationships between contractors and top officials, contracts are drawn without the usual requirements to hold contractors accountable for any form of economic, technical, social, geological or other risks that result from their actions.

Ethiopians have no mechanism or recourse by which they could uncover or control the unbridled level of corruption of this government that is pervasive from top to bottom. While the poor people will ultimately assume the responsibility of paying the overly burdensome cost of the dam, they are completely powerless to stop the illicit fund outflow that is fattening the accounts of the TPLF oligarchy in foreign banks. The people have no confidence in their repressive government to undertake this project without destroying the environment, in light of the notorious environmental records of the regime, especially in the south and south-western Ethiopia where it has parceled out ancestral lands at dirt cheap prices through its evil land grab policy and dealings.

It is, therefore, suggested that all concerned Ethiopians join hands to force the government to be transparent about the known shortcomings of the dam, and hand over the oversight of the project to independent Ethiopian experts. A non-representative government should not be trusted with a project of the magnitude of the GERD that will have considerable adverse economic, environmental, ecological and social impacts for generations to come.

In light of the aforementioned deficiencies and problems of the dam, it behooves on all genuine Ethiopians to do soul searching about potential measures that must be taken to mitigate the inevitable adverse impacts. Given the paucity of information about the dam, and the stage the construction has reached, this may be a tall order. By all indications, construction on the project is proceeding on “an aggressively accelerated schedule” with little room for adjusting key elements of dam design to reduce harm or prevent problems. The dictators in power continue to brazenly criminalize any attempts to question the design of the project or to discuss openly aspects of the project that may adversely impact the future of the country and its people. However, given the gravity of the situation, silence should not be an option. Ethiopians of every stripe should ask and get answers to questions on:

    * The short- and long-term safety of the dam, relative to known international standards
    * The impact on the ecology and biodiversity of the area

The technical integrity of the dam, including the region’s seismicity, whether the dam has the potential to be overwhelmed by flooding, or how it may in the long-term be affected by siltation
And, most importantly, who will benefit from its revenues, if any, and who will be responsible for its losses and prohibitively expensive maintenance and financing costs.

In a final and forthcoming Part III of this piece, we will revisit some of these questions; present a summary of the IPOE document, which impartially and objectively unveils the critical deficiencies of the GERD, revealing some of the economic incentives that have driven the kleptocratic TPLF oligarchy to embark on the project; and conclude with some pointers to fellow Ethiopians to resist the malevolent propaganda of the ethnocentric, dictatorial regime, and work in unity to save the country from the impending catastrophe that would otherwise devastate her.

NOTES:

(The author, Dr Getachew Begashaw, can be reached at getachew.begashaw@yahoo.com)

Why I am boycotting Ȼoca Ȼola

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Coca Cola is NOT the real thing Diaspora Ethiopians are expressing their outrage on social and online media and calling for a boycott of Coca Cola Company for its unethical, arbitrary and unfair dealings with Ethiopia’s pop music superstar Teodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro). They say the Coca Cola Company singled out Teddy and maliciously targeted […]

Amazing performance by Zion Circus Ethiopia (video)

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Zion Circus is founded in 2008 by the former Ethiopian Circus coach Taye Adane.

Driving to Aksum (video)

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Driving from Gonder to Aksum

The case for a more thoughtful approach to building dams on Nile River

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Most Ethiopians agree that appropriately planned, designed, constructed, and operated dams on Abay (the Blue Nile) are economic necessities that should be supported to ensure the long-term economic development of the country and the well-being of its people.

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It is an incontrovertible fact that Abay is Ethiopia’s natural resource. It originates from Ethiopia and runs 800 kilometers inside Ethiopia out of its total length of 1,450 kilometers when it joins with White Nile in Omdurman, adjacent to Khartoum. Further, there is no evidence to suggest that a legitimate government in Ethiopia has ever entered into any kind of bi-lateral or multi-lateral agreements with any foreign government concerning Abay.

More than its economic and geo-political significance, Abay also has a special place in the Ethiopian consciousness. To most Ethiopians, it is a source of pride, nationalism, patriotism and cultural inspiration. So close to the hearts and souls of generations of Ethiopians, it has been celebrated in songs, literature, folklore, painting and other artistic endeavors.

For a number of reasons, building a dam is not a casual decision one will undertake for short-term political or economic expediency. Nor should it be a project one embarks on to show the world that it is one’s sovereign right to do so. When conceived by a representative government that works for the long-term interest and sovereignty of the country, building a dam is primarily an economic decision, which ascertains that the total benefit obtained from the dam operation exceeds the total cost incurred by building and maintaining the dam. That, in a nutshell, is the simple truth of the matter that Ethiopians should concern themselves with. Paradoxically, some articles have recently been published, both in Amharic and English, that generously, and uncritically to a large extent, support the current dam construction on Abay, despite our collective lack of understanding about whether this project will be an economic boondoggle or a strong performer.

The TPLF rulers and supporters try to give the impression that there are external legal constraints, unfairly imposed on Ethiopia, by the international community. However, there is no publicly available evidence suggesting such legal constraints ever existed. Even the browbeating and intransigency of Egypt have no international backing or legal legitimacy whatsoever.

The ethnic-based TPLF rulers are also busy spreading their spiteful propaganda that those who question their ill-advised policies are unpatriotic opponents of dam building. The truth is there can be no genuine Ethiopian who holds the view that we should not build any dam on Abay; who questions Ethiopia’s sovereign rights to build dams on Abay; or who argues that Ethiopia must sacrifice its national interest in favor of the downstream riparian states, Sudan and Egypt. On the contrary, the prevailing argument among genuine Ethiopians has been the need for manageable, sustainable, environmentally friendly and multi-purpose dams that are in tune with Ethiopia’s economic needs and capacity, rather than a hastily hatched single-purpose mega dam borne out of political urgency and expediency by an ethnic-based dictatorial regime that has repeatedly demonstrated its indisposition to Ethiopia’s territorial integrity, long-term security, and unity of its people.

Under no circumstance should it be construed as unpatriotic to ask questions about the biggest dam ever built in Ethiopia. With a project of this scale and cost, we need much greater transparency and openness of dialogue than the dictatorial regime has been willing to demonstrate. Without transparency and the ability to review the project’s ultimate costs and benefits, there is no way for anyone to say if this project is justified or not. On a megaproject of this scale, and especially in a country like Ethiopia where the development needs are great and available funds for addressing our needs limited, it is imperative to end the secrecy and allow an open look at the project from every angle.

As history has testified, time and again, Ethiopians will pay the ultimate price to protect their independence and defend their national sovereignty. Therefore, the issue at hand (amongst Ethiopians) is not whether Ethiopia has the historical and/or legal rights to conduct any project that will advance its national interest on Abay or Ethiopia will have to consult and secure permission from anybody to do what it desires on Abay within the bounds of international rules of trans-boundary waters. It is rather about what kind of feasible, sustainable, and manageable projects (a mega-dam in this case) Ethiopia should undertake on Abay. Of course, because Abay is an international water, it is prudent, and even wise, to have some sort of international understanding by way of clarification where an injured party, for real or perceived reasons, lodges concerns and complaints.

In a debate I had with Egyptian scholars at a forum convened by the Women’s National Democratic Club, April 1, 2014, in Washington, DC, I made it clear that there is a national consensus among Ethiopians that Ethiopia has the sovereign rights to use Abay fairly and equitably for its own economic development in accordance to international rules of trans-boundary waters, and that Egypt must not misunderstand the internal engagement Ethiopians are having on how best to use Abay as a disagreement on using Abay. And this is exactly how I want my Ethiopian colleagues also to frame the issue when they are contributing to the ongoing dialogues and exchanges.

That is to say, we must not confound and obfuscate the discussion on two separate issues: defending Ethiopia’s sovereign rights over Abay on the one hand, and how best Ethiopia can use Abay (including support for the GERD) on the other. It is my sincere hope that we all understand the fact that opposing the construction of the GERD as planned, designed, and executed does not mean opposing Ethiopia’s sovereign rights to make use of the river or build dams on Abay. Conversely, defending Ethiopia’s sovereign rights over Abay doesn’t mean blanket support for the GERD. They are two distinct issues where the first is a given fact of Ethiopia’s inalienable and unassailable rights on Abay, and the latter is an issue needing a thorough and rigorous scientific inquiry and respectable benefit/cost analysis and debates.

Putting all understandable patriotic fervors aside, it is quite appropriate to ask whether the GERD is good for Ethiopia. As will be explained in Part II of this piece, there is considerable evidence to suggest that many of the big dams, especially those in the developing world, are fraught with pernicious economic, social, political, and environmental problems. Therefore, it is abundantly evident that the GERD is not beneficial for Ethiopia, and it could even be argued that it is a debacle waiting to happen.

It’s unclear exactly how irreversible the project is at this point. As part of the construction plan, the course of the flow of Abay has already been altered. The secretive and corrupt government in power has not come forward publicly with its plan, if any, how to mitigate the adverse impacts of the dam. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all genuine Ethiopians to press the dictatorial regime in power to uncover all known and perceived dangers associated with the construction of the dam and let the people of Ethiopia take an active role in finding safeguard mechanisms that should be in place.

This view is further strengthened by two new developments. First, regarding the changing position of Cairo, the Egyptian reporter, Ayah Aman of Al-Monitor, wrote:

“…the Egyptian government is leaning toward adopting new policies aimed at resolving its dispute with Ethiopia concerning its Renaissance Dam project… In statements made to the press on May 11, 2014, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb said that Ethiopia’s construction of the Renaissance Dam had become a fait accompli and must be dealt with in the context of safeguarding mutual interests, thus guaranteeing that Egypt receives its water and Ethiopia generates its energy… Egypt’s conciliatory tone is Cairo’s attempt to extract whatever benefits it can from a dam that it seemingly cannot prevent from being built”

Second, there is greater US-EU involvement in resolving the dispute. It is reported in the World Bulletin News Desk of 21 May 2014 that diplomats from the U.S. and E.U. are shuttling between Ethiopia and Egypt in hopes of persuading the two countries to restart tripartite talks to assess the dam’s possible environmental, economic and social effects on downstream countries Egypt and Sudan. According to the Ethiopian Boundary and Trans-boundary Rivers Director at the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Energy and Irrigation EU-US effort is to help peace in the region;… to facilitate discussion on topics including ways of restarting tripartite consultations among Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan… and implementation of the Nile Basin Initiative, particularly that of the Eastern Nile Subsidiary Action Program (ENSAP). May be the scheduled visit of the newly elected Egyptian President, former army general Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, to Addis Ababa could be an outcome of this effort.

While it is unclear what the EU-US positions or proposals are, it is unmistakable that Egypt will do everything in its power to promote its own interest. Regrettably, Ethiopians are now faced with two unfavorable challenges. On the one side, they have to contend with an illegitimate government at home that cannot be trusted to resist outside pressure that would permanently compromise the country’s future interests. On the other hand, they are faced with dubious international players, who have a notoriously painful track record of betraying Ethiopia. All genuine Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora are called upon to demand the ethnic-based government to be transparent, accountable, and accommodating to divergent views relating to the dam, and not to compromise Ethiopia’s long-term interest for short –term economic and political gain.

We call upon Ethiopian scholars to contribute to the real issues at hand, rather than echoing the newly manufactured TPLF’s propaganda about Ethiopia’s sovereign rights on Abay. Any discussion on whether a dam should be constructed is superfluous, in the face of the progress made on the ground. What is of essence now is the need to reveal the secrecy under which the project was planned, designed, and constructed; and the level and seriousness of the government’s corruption and its effect on the construction and operation of the dam. Genuine scholars should address the economic hardship the dam has inflicted on the vast majority of Ethiopians and the nation; as well as the environmental/echo system disruption it will inevitably cause. Above all, no scholarly work on the issue would be complete without addressing the kind of political climate that would be necessary to undertake such a massive national project with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Any Ethiopian scholar who is serious about Ethiopia’s sovereign rights on Abay would consider the state of the political stability in the country and the protection of the rights of its citizens. In this respect, recent publications that devoted considerable energy on whether a dam should be built, after the fact, in my view, have missed the target and are not of much value to advance the dialogue on this national question of supremely critical nature.

The Battle of Metema

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

The Battle of Metemma (also called the Battle of Gallabat) was fought 9–10 March 1889 between the Mahdist Sudanese and Ethiopian forces. It is a critical event in Ethiopian history because Nəgusä Nägäst (Emperor) Yohannes IV was killed in this battle. The fighting occurred at the site of the twin settlements of Gallabat (in modern Sudan) and Metemma (in modern Ethiopia), so both names are commonly used and either can be argued to be correct.

When the Mahdists rebelled against the Egyptians, many Egyptian garrisons found themselves isolated in Sudan. As a result the British, who had taken over the government of Egypt, negotiated the Treaty of Adwa with Emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia on 3 June 1884 whereby the Egyptian garrisons were allowed to evacuate to Massawa through Ethiopian territory. After that, the Mahdist Khalifa, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad considered the Ethiopians as his enemies and sent his forces to attack them.

The twin communities of Gallabat and Metemma were located on the trade route from the Nile to Gonder, the old Imperial capital; the Mahdists used these communities as their base for attacks on Ethiopia. These raids led to a Mahdist defeat by Ras Alula on 23 September 1885 at Kufit.

Sack of Gondar

A few years later, the negus of Gojjam, TekleHaimanot (a vassal of Emperor Yohannes) attacked the Mahdists at Metemma in January 1887, and sacked the town. In response, that next year the Mahdists under Abu Anga campaigned out of Metemma into Ethiopia; their objective was the town of Gondar. TekleHaymanot confronted him at Sar Weha on 18 January 1888, but was badly defeated. The Mahdists proceeded to Gondar, and set about ransacking the town. Churches were pillaged and burnt, and many inhabitants were carried away into slavery.

Despite this damage to the historic capital, Emperor Yohannes held back from a counterattack due to his suspicions of Menelik II, then only the ruler of Shewa. He wanted to campaign against Menelik, but the clergy and his senior officers pressed him to handle the Mahdist threat first. The Abyssinians under Ras Gobena Dacche did defeat the Mahdists in the Battle of Guté Dili in the province of Wellega on 14 October 1888. Following this victory the Emperor accepted the advice of his people, and according to Aleqa Lemlem, concluded: "if I come back I can fight Shoa later on when I return. And if I die at Matemma in the hands of the heathens I shall go to heaven."

Battle

In late January 1889, Yohannes mustered a huge army of 130,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry in Dembiya. The Sudanese gathered an army of 85,000 and fortified themselves in Gallabat, surrounding the town with a huge zariba, a barrier made of entwined thorn bushes, replicating the effect of barbed wire.

On 8 March 1889 the Ethiopian army arrived within sight of Gallabat, and the attack began in earnest the next day. The wings were commanded by the Emperor’s nephews, Ras Haile Maryam Gugsa over the left wing and Ras Mengesha the right. The Ethiopians managed to set the zariba alight, and, by concentrating their attack against one part of the defense managed to break through the Mahdist lines into the town. The defenders suffered heavy losses and were about to break down completely, when the battle turned unexpectedly in their favour.

The Emperor Yohannes, who led his army from the front, had shrugged off one bullet wound to his hand, but a second lodged in his chest, fatally wounding him. He was carried back to his tent, where he died that night; before he died, Yohannes commanded his nobles to recognize his natural son, Ras Mengesha, as his successor. The Ethiopians, demoralized by the death of their ruler, began to melt away, leaving the field—and victory—to the Mahdists.

According to David L. Lewis, the Mahdists were unaware of the Emperor’s death until "stench from the rapidly decaying imperial corpse alerted a spy, and the nearly beaten Sudanese thundered out of their zariba to scatter the downcast Ethiopians like starlings." A few days later (12 March) the forces of the Mahdist commander, Zeki Tummal, overtook Rasses Mangasha and Alula and their remaining followers near the Atbara River, who were escorting the Emperor’s body to safety. The Mahdists inflicted heavy losses upon the Ethiopians and captured the body of the dead Emperor, whose head they cut off and sent back to Omdurman as a trophy.

Aftermath

The death of the Emperor caused a period of political turmoil in Ethiopia. Although Yohannes on his deathbed named his son Ras Mengesha as his heir, and begged Ras Alula and his other nobles to support him, within a matter of weeks Menelik II was recognized throughout Ethiopia as the new emperor.

For the Mahdists the consequences were severe, as many of their best soldiers had perished in the battle, seriously weakening their military strength. The Khalifa prudently decided to stop offensive actions against Ethiopia and the conflict dwindled to small-scale cross-border raiding.
Notes

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gallabat

Ethiopia’s regime causes havoc for satellite companies Arabsat and Eutelsat

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

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A week ago it was Arabsat that was very publicly naming Ethiopia as the source of multiple jamming sessions to its broadcast channels. Now Eutelsat is piling on the pressure, also naming that Ethiopia is guilty of deliberate jamming, and of ramping up the signal jamming so that in 2013 it accounted for some 15 per cent of the operator’s problems.

Eutelsat said the jamming is coming from northeast Ethiopia. Eutelsat says it is taking its complaints, via the French National Frequencies Agency, to the International Telecommunications Union, and to the Ethiopian government.

The jamming is especially damaging in that it focuses not just on this or that channel – which would be bad enough – but on the entire transponder, and this affects dozens of perfectly innocent channels. Eutelsat officials strongly hint that the Ethiopean government is behind the problem, and that the interference is targeting the Oromia Media Network, of Minneapolis, USA, which provides a channel for the Oromia region of the country.

Eutelsat says the jammers are using sophisticated high-powered antennas to disrupt programming on its satellites at 7 degrees West and 21 degrees East.

http://advanced-television.com/2014/06/ … t-jammers/

ነጻነትነታችን እንደ ዕርዳታ እህል ከምዕራባውያን የሚለገሰን አይደለም — አቶ ኦባንግ ሜቶ

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

ለአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ የጋራ ንቅናቄ በኢትዮጵያ ለሚገኙ የፖለቲካ መሪዎች ያስተላለፈው ግልጽ መልዕክት የተወደዳችሁ በኢትዮጵያ የምትገኙ የፖለቲካ ፓርቲ መሪዎች፤ በቅድሚያ ለአዲሲቷ ኢትዮጵያ የጋራ ንቅናቄ (አኢጋን) የአክብሮት ሰላምታ በማቅረብ በትግሉ መስክ የምትከፍሉትን መስዋዕትነት የሚያደንቅ መሆኑን ይገልጻል፡፡ በተለይ በአሁኑ ጊዜ የፖለቲካ ምህዳሩ እጅግ ጠብቦ የለም የሚባልበት ደረጃ በደረሰበት ወቅት በምታገኙት ስንጥቅ ሁሉ እየተጠቀማችሁ ለህዝባችሁ የብርሃን ጭላንጭል ስለምትፈነጥቁ አኢጋን ሥራችሁን […]

Privileged Woyanne kids in a drunken brawl (video)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
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The 1875-76 battle for the control of the Nile basin (From the diary of Col. Henry Clay Derrick)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Ismael Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1863 to 1879, sought to conquer the entire Nile basin and put it under Egyptian rule. He sent military expeditions to Ethiopia as far south as Lake Victoria. In 1875 Egyptian troops, led by European and American officers, advanced into the mountainous regions around Adwa. There, Ethiopian forces led by Emperor Yohannes (Kassa Mercha) soundly defeated the Egyptians at the Battle of Gundet.

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Angered by the defeat of his army, the Khedive sent another, larger military expedition under the command of Prince Ratib Pasha into Ethiopia. The invading army was composed of Egyptian soldiers and a mixture of commanders including veterans of the American Civil War, European mercenaries, and high-ranking Egyptians. With the help of the Ethiopian governor of Hamasein (a province where present day Asmara is located), who switched sides to fight for the Egyptians, the Khedive’s troops advanced to Goura 40 miles to the south and built a fort. On March 7, 1876, Emperor Yohannes’ forces en-gaged the Egyptians in battle for three days. In the end, Ethiopian forces stormed the fort killing many and taking large numbers of prisoners. That defeat ended the Khedive’s ambition to invade Ethiopia. A young Ethiopian warrior, Alula Engida, displayed such val-or in the battles at Gundet and Goura that he was given the title Ras (General). Ras Alula later would be an acclaimed hero at the Battle of Adwa.

The diary of Lt. Colonel Henry Clay Derrick, a former Confederate Army officer during the American Civil War who later served as an engineer in the Egyptian Army, describes the battle that started at the Kayakhor encampment and ended with the storming of Fort Goura. (G. Adugna/T. Vestal)

Tuesday March 7th, 1876
I was ordered to place a Battalion on the hill to hold a point on our line. I went ahead towards Kiya-Khor, and the fight soon opened with artillery. The right gave way and the men fell back, firing as they went. Soon the retreat towards the Fort became general, and though the men were several times partially rallied and formed, they were as often broken again by the mad rush of the Cavalry to the rear. Finding it hopeless to strive anymore against the rout, I joined the retreating columns and made my way with others to the Fort. Our loss is unknown: many of the wounded have been coming in all evening. A black day for the Egyptian Army; but if the men will only stand firm they can hold this Fort.”

[The following entry has no date but is believed to have been written later in March, 1876]
“In vain our shells and rockets ploughed through their dense masses, making frightful carcasses of what were before lithe and active savages; twice or thrice repulsed by the withering fire on their front they again press on. The wild hordes drove back the brave men who held the right and victory and entering by the rear butchered the cannoneers at the guns. Pursued by the horde of elated savages, the retreat soon became a rout and then a butchery…”

“Wednesday, March 8th.
A good many Ethiopians came to our old deserted camp to plunder and steal tents; but I must confess that they displayed great bravery and coolness under fire. Several sorties were made on them, which drove them off. Heard from K. Khor by signal that the enemy made two attacks there today and were repulsed each time: also heard from wounded men who came in, that several Battalions had gone to the mountains instead of coming to the Fort, and forming square fought until their ammunition was expended when they surrendered. In this way we must have lost of the men who are missing –say 5000. A shameful termination to what might have been so easily been rendered a glorious victory by an ordinary amount of firmness and discipline in the troops and efficiency in the officers and Commander. If the troops from K.K. had come last night we might this morning, by attacking the King’s camp at daybreak have redeemed the honor of the Army lost on yesterday.”

“Thursday, March 9th.
The enemy only fired 5 or 6 shots with his cannon today and none since. Why? Is he saving his artillery ammunition for the defense of Adwa? …”

Friday, March 10th.
We went to the old camp of King John to see if we could find any of our missing friends. The sight there were dreadful beyond the power of language to describe. The whole plain was covered with the dead and dying victim of Kassa’s brutality, stripped and violated with every conceivable indignity; their bodies burned with fire, and stoned and clubbed and hacked with swords and pierced with lances. The supplicating cries of the wounded for water and for succor were enough to appall the stoutest heart.”

March 17th
My opinions upon the consequences resulting from the late engagement and the course to be pursued in the future.

I think it is impossible to continue the campaign aggressively because we have lost heavily in men, ammunition, arms, guns, and means of transportation; and our troops are thoroughly demoralized.
Having allowed the enemy to escape, what remains for us to do? To hold our ground, let the frontier line be selected, making Goura to Kiya-Khor one point; therein immediately erect strong forts and hold the country they embrace. The Ethiopians cannot take them if defended; and behind the walls of a good fort our soldiers will fight if anywhere.

Source: Derrick, Henry C. Diary. Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Photos: Battle of Fort Gura (1884) from Travelers in the Middle East Archive (TIMEA).http://hdl.handle.net/1911/21526; Plan of Northern Abyssinia from Egypt and Abyssinia. By W.M. Dye.1988.

Amazing soccer moves by an “old man” (video)

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Soccer Freestyle World Champion Sean Garnier posing as an old man.

Ethiopian journalist branded a ‘terrorist’ and locked up for 18 years wins 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom

Monday, June 9th, 2014

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“This Golden Pen is more important than food, medicine and water. It materializes the support and shows that he is not forgotten. That he is one of us. That an attack on one journalist is an attack on us all and that jailing a journalist is a crime against humanity,” Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye says, accepting the 2014 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), on behalf of imprisoned Ethiopian publisher, journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega.

The honour is formally bestowed on Nega in a ceremony at the 66th World Newspaper Congress, under way in the Italian city of Torino this week, where more than 1,000 media industry representatives have gathered.

Nega is serving an 18-year jail sentence in Addis Ababa’s notorious Kaliti prison, convicted on trumped-up terrorism charges after daring to wonder in print whether the Arab Spring could reach Ethiopia, and for criticising the very anti-terrorism legislation under which he was charged. Arrested in 2011, he was sentenced on 23 January 2012 and denounced as belonging to a terrorist organisation.

Imprisoned at least seven times in the past decade for committing fearless acts of journalism, Nega is a celebrated intellectual and a relentless fighter for freedom of expression. “Eskinder Nega has become an emblem of Ethiopia’s recent struggle for democracy,” World Editors Forum President Erik Bjerager says, delivering the Golden Pen during the opening ceremony of the World Newspaper Congress and the World Editors Forum in Torino. “No stranger to prison, he is also an unforgettable warning to every working Ethiopian journalist and editor that the quest to create a just, free society comes with a heavy price,” Bjerager says.

Nega’s former prisonmate, Swedish journalist Martin Schibbye, accepts the award on the jailed journalist’s behalf, at the invitation of Nega’s family. He paints a dark picture of life inside Kaliti Prison. “The rooms are more like barns with concrete floors, and it is so crowded that you have to sleep on your side,” he says. “Prisoners are packed likes slaves on a slaveship. Once a month an inmate leaves with his feet first.”

But disease and torture are not the hardest part of life inside Kaliti, according to Schibbye. “It (is) the fear of speaking. It’s not the guard towers with machine guns that keep the prison population calm. It is the geography of fear. People who speak politics are taken away. They disappear.” Schibbye is a freelance journalist who was jailed for 14 months in Kaliti Prison, along with his photographer Johan Persson. They were pardoned and released in September 2012.

“In (Kaliti), fearless people like Eskinder Nega helped the whole prison population to keep their dignity. By still writing. Protesting. Not giving up. He helped us all maintain our humanity. But there is one thing I know that even Eskinder fears. That is to be forgotten,” Schibbye says.

“When you’re locked up as a prisoner of conscience, this is the greatest fear, and the support from the outside is what keeps you going. This Golden Pen Award will not set him free tomorrow, but it will ease his day today. He will go with his head high knowing that he is there for a good cause. That the pain and suffering has a meaning.”

WEF President Erik Bjerager tells the ceremony that the world needs to watch the creeping threat of anti-terrorism legislation being used to target journalists. “Ethiopia continues to resort to anti-terrorism legislation to silence opposition and shackle the press. Alarmingly, beyond Ethiopia, countless states around the world are misusing anti-terrorism legislation to muzzle journalists, bloggers and freedom of expression advocates," Bjerager says. "Research suggests that over half of the more than 200 journalists in jail last year were being held on ‘anti-state’ charges. Let me be clear: Journalism is not terrorism. Politicians should not abuse the notion of national security to protect the government, powerful interests or particular ideologies, or to prevent the exposure of wrongdoing or incompetence.”

Schibbye concludes his acceptance speech, reading from a moving letter penned by Nega to his eight-year-old son. It was smuggled out of Kaliti prison: “The pain is almost physical. But in this plight of our family is embedded hope of a long suffering people. There is no greater honour. We must bear any pain, travel any distance, climb any mountain, cross any ocean to complete this journey to freedom. Anything less is impoverishment of our soul. God bless you, my son. You will always be in my prayers.”

Schibbye tells a tearful audience: "When I read these words by Eskinder I know that they will never break him. Because he is in peace with himself. He knows that even though he is chained, robbed of his physical freedom, the freedom to talk or to be silent, the freedom to drink or eat, and even to [deleted]. He knows, as do all prisoners of conscience, that you have it in you to keep the most valuable, the freedom that nobody can take from you, the freedom to determine who you want to be. Eskinder is a journalist. And every day he wakes up in the Kaliti prison is just another day at the office."

Nine more journalists were jailed in the past month in Ethiopia, as the election campaign started. "The crackdown was a flashing alarm to the world that no one is safe. That there is a hunting season for journalists in Addis Abeba. But despite this difficult situation there is light," Schibbye says.

"Eskinder Nega’s courage has turned out to be contagious; a new generation is stepping up. A generation of young cheetahs have been taking enormous risks writing, tweeting and speaking truth to power, demanding the jailed to be released. It is hopeful. It shows that they can jail journalists but they can never succeed in jailing journalism. Words led Eskinder Nega to the Kaliti prison. And in the end it must also be words that set him free," Schibbye tells a clearly emotional audience.

"When I see this Golden Pen of his, I look back, and think of Eskinder who is left behind in the chaos, on the concrete floor, between walls of corrugated steel I feel sick to the stomach. But then I remember his smile and his strength and I think that at the end of the day, it’s not us that are fighting for his freedom – but rather he who is fighting for ours. Ayzoh Eskinder! Ayzoh! (translation: be strong, chin up).”

Note: The Golden Pen of Freedom is an annual award made by WAN-IFRA to recognise the outstanding action, in writing or deed, of an individual, a group or an institution in the cause of press freedom. Established in 1961, the Golden Pen of Freedom is presented annually and is amongst the most prestigious awards of its kind throughout the world. Behind the names of the laureates lie stories of extraordinary personal courage and self-sacrifice, stories of jail, beatings, bombings, censorship, exile and murder. One of the objectives of the Golden Pen is to turn the spotlight of public attention on repressive governments and journalists who fight them. Often, the laureate is still engaged in the struggle for freedom of expression and the Pen has, on several occasions, secured the release of a publisher or journalist from jail or afforded him or her a degree of protection against further persecution.

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Lalibela, Ethiopia (Filmed with HD GoPro video camera)

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Filmed using the GoPro Hero 3+ in Lalibela, Ethiopia.

Ethiopian woman in Saudi Arabia throws herself off a bridge

Monday, June 9th, 2014

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Ethiopian woman throws herself over a bridge in Jeddah suicide attempt

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****************Google Translation from Arabic****************
News 2408/06/2014

An Ethiopian maid attempted suicide by throwing herself from the top of a bridge on the road to King Abdullah in Jeddah, today (Sunday). The victim survived the fall with several injuries and was rushed to the Hospital.

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A media spokesman for the Red Crescent in Mecca that the operations room of the Red Crescent in Jeddah received a report stating the fall of Ethiopian maid nationality of one of the bridges accidentally King Abdullah, which resulted in her injuries and fractures in the limbs and face.

He pointed to some passers-by hurrying covered until the arrival of Red Crescent teams, which took her to hospital for treatment.

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http://akhbaar24.argaam.com/article/detail/176807

Who is afraid of the E(thiopian) bloggers?

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

 Who is afraid of  Eskinder Nega, Reeyout Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Zone Nine bloggers…? The “dean” of independent Ethiopian journalists and blogger extraordinaire, Eskinder Nega, is serving an 18 year sentence for blogging. The late Meles Zenawi personally ordered Eskinder’s arrest and even determined his sentence. Meles Zenawi feared and hated Eskinder Nega more than any […]

Benjamin Carson for President

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

I am not sure if after the Obama presidency debacle Americans will have an appetite to elect another black man any time soon, but I am impressed by Dr Carson and I hope he gets an opportunity to lead the U.S. He will be a great president, may be comparable to Reagan. Watch a speech by Ben Carson in the video below.

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UDJ protest march in Debre Markos and Nazret – update with photos and videos

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

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Yemeni Authorities Found Bodies of Ethiopian Migrants Tortured to Death

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

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Yemeni Authorities Found the Bodies of Ethiopian Migrants Tortured to Death & Thrown in Garbage Dump

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Sana’a (Anatolia)
Saturday, June 7th, 2014 – 19:04

*****Google Translation From Arabic*****
The Ministry of the Interior of Yemen, said on Saturday that security forces found the bodies of Ethiopians in the region bordering Saudi Arabia north of the country.

The interior, in a statement on its website, "The police in the area incited the province of argument found (did not specify the date) on the bodies of two Ethiopians in a garbage dump .. and Forensic Medicine confirmed being beaten and tortured to death."

She added that the police carried out a screening proved the involvement of a number of people in detention Africans in the backyard of their homes, a number of them were seized during the raid, while others managed to escape.

She Yemeni Interior that "district police instigated also freed 55 Africa, including 41 women, from dual Ethiopian and Somali smugglers detained in the backyard of their homes, they want to sneak into Saudi Arabia."

The statement concluded that "the police opened lecturer collection inferences in the case to adjust the offense involved in the detention, torture and blackmail African infiltrators".

And transit countries of the Horn of Africa to Yemen is one of the paths of illegal immigration marine most dangerous in the world, and the Gulf of Aden is one of the most widely used marine those tracks in the world in terms of immigration, and the most dangerous.

And annually, crosses thousands of African migrants from the Horn of African flights risky to reach Yemen and beyond, and are risking their lives to escape conflict, poverty and recurrent drought, in the hope of getting a better life.

http://www1.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=1711808

More Than 160,000 South Sudanese Refugees Cross Into Ethiopia (video)

Friday, June 6th, 2014

More Than 160,000 South Sudanese Refugees Cross Into Ethiopia

The Tragedy of Ethiopian Emperor Libne-Dingil

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

By Reidulf K. Molvaer

Emperor Libne-Dingil is one of the emperors of Ethiopia about whom only a very brief royal chronicle was written or preserved, unlike most rulers of Ethiopia from Amde-Siyon (1314-1344) to Empress Zewditu (1916-1930). In the following, I report what two "traditional" Ethiopian historians have written about Libne-Dingil and his times. Much of what they write concerns the devastation wrought by "Gragn," the left-handed, i.e., Ahmed Ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi. Click below to continue reading:

The tragedy of Ethiopian Emperor Libne Dingil.pdf
Portrait of Emperor Libne Dingil sketched by Christofano Alttisimo of Italy
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Australian man savagely attacks Ethiopian immigrant in Sydney; sentenced to 9 years jail

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

On June 5, 2014, Timothy Williams was sentenced to nine years jail over the brutal attack that occurred outside Wollongong train station, south of Sydney, Australia, in October 2013.

 

 

Several Ethiopians found dead in Yemen

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Yemeni security official and witnesses say the bodies of dozens of immigrants, mostly from Ethiopia and Somalia, have been found on western beaches after their boat capsized in the Red Sea.

Witnesses said Monday that about 50 bodies were found starting Friday and buried near the town of Zoubab.

Mohammed Yahia, who witnessed the burial, says that residents brought a bulldozer and buried them in a mass grave.

The official, who could not be named in accordance with Yemeni practice, says the immigrants’ boat capsized. A second boat loaded with 45 migrants was seized and those aboard were arrested.

The immigrants were headed for Saudi Arabia.

Virginia highway accident on Tuesday claims the lives of 3 Ethiopians

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

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Virginia State Police have released the names of the three people killed in a crash on Interstate 81 in Washington County, Virginia Tuesday evening.

The Toyota’s male driver, Abenezer D. Thewdros, 19, of Arlington, Va., and two male passengers, Abel N. Ayele, 19, of Arlington, Va., and Alemu S. Ameha, 25, of Alexandria, Va., all died at the scene. A third male passenger, Arketsadik Yilma, 19, of Alexandria, Va., was flown by Virginia State Police Med-Flight helicopter to Bristol Regional Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.

Officers said the crash happened when a Toyota car struck a tractor trailer in the shoulder of the southbound lanes.

The tractor trailer was parked due to a flat tire.

Source: http://www.wcyb.com/news/update-victims … R.facebook

Tigrean Opposition to the TPLF

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Despite the TPLF’s view of itself as the model of representation of ethnic interests and well-being, the growth of disenchantment is perceptible in Tigray. The proof is that non-violent Tigrean opposition to the TPLF is no longer negligible. Despite a tight control and continuous harassments, the movement known as ARENA is stepping up its criticisms […]

Driving from Dire Dawa to Harar, eastern Ethiopia (video)

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Driving from Dire Dawa to Harar, eastern Ethiopia