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”
Posts Tagged ‘ethiopia’
Woyanne propaganda video on Andargachew Tsige
Ethiopians in Washington DC and around the world express their anger over the abduction of Andargachew Tsige – photosTuesday, July 8th, 2014
Today in Washington DC and other cities
Listen to ENTC radio program – July 7 Listen here (mp3) To listen by phone – 213-992-4363
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:
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.
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 […]
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.
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 arrestFriday, 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
(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.
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."
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.
UK accused of failing to act to prevent the extradition to Ethiopia of an opposition leader facing the death penaltyFriday, July 4th, 2014
The UK Guardian newspaper on the kidnapping of Ethiopian opposition leader Andargachew Tsige in Yemen:
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:
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
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.
Member of the European Parliament
Eritrea threatened Yemen with breaking off diplomatic relations over the abduction of Ethiopian opposition leaderThursday, July 3rd, 2014
Addis Ababa City Administration evicted several residents from its condominiums for failing to pay rentWednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Addis Ababa City rental condo whose tenants have been evicted by police
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 !!
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.
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 released a statement denouncing the detention of Ato Andargachew Tsege and calls for his immediate release. Read the statement here (pdf)
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 with a big fanfare in western Ethiopia
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 […]
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.”
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.”
Rich Saudi laugh and cackle as dogs eat a live goat
This happened today at the Israeli border. Please help translate what they are arguing about.
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 […]
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
Contact: 973-669-7385 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ethiopian Christianity – BBC documentary
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.
(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."
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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!
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!
(The author, Dr Getachew Begashaw, can be reached at email@example.com)
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.
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.
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
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 […]
On air fight between Tahrir TV host Rania Badawy and Ethiopian ambassador Mahmoud Dardir
“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.
NSA assists Ethiopia’s dictatorship to conduct mass surveillance against Ethiopian residents in the U.S. – reportSaturday, 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 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:
Saudi man savagely attacks an immigrant
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
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.”
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.
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
Road from Gondar to Dabat
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.
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.
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.
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/
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. 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:
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. 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.”
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.
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.
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) ———- GDP Per Capita
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
- 1. Ansar, A., Flyvbjerg, B., Budizer, A., and Lunn, D. (2014). Should we build more large dams? The actual costs of hydropower megaproject development. Energy Policy. Volume 69, Pages 43–56
2. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1 … 3019746140
3. http://journal.probeinternational.org/2 … am-fiasco/
5. https://www.newsday.co.zw/2014/03/20/ka … -collapse/
6. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/21/magaz … d=all&_r=0
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co … P_(nominal)
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co … P_(nominal)_per_capita
9. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-1 … onomy.html
10. http://gadaa.com/oduu/20303/2013/06/19/ … r-6000-mw/
11. http://www.scidev.net/global/water/edit … wable.html
(The author, Dr Getachew Begashaw, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 […]
Zion Circus is founded in 2008 by the former Ethiopian Circus coach Taye Adane.
Driving from Gonder to Aksum
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.
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 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."
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
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.”
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.
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 FreedomMonday, June 9th, 2014
“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.
Filmed using the GoPro Hero 3+ in Lalibela, Ethiopia.
Ethiopian woman throws herself over a bridge in Jeddah suicide attempt
****************Google Translation from Arabic****************
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
Yemeni Authorities Found the Bodies of Ethiopian Migrants Tortured to Death & Thrown in Garbage Dump
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.
More Than 160,000 South Sudanese Refugees Cross Into Ethiopia
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
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.
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 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.
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
ከፕሮፌሰር አለማየሁ ገብረማርያም ትርጉም በነጻነት ለሀገሬ በየጊዜው ተስፋቢስነቷ እየጨመረ የመጣው የአፍሪካ የወደፊት ዕጣ ፈንታአወዛጋቢ ሁኔታን ፈጥሯል፡፡ አንዳንዶቹ ጨለምተኝነትን በሚያንጸባርቅ መልኩ በሙስና በተዘፈቁ መሪዎቿ እና ሥር በሰደደው ጥልቅ ድህነት ሳቢያ በመጥፎ ሁኔታ ላይ ተንጠልጥላ ያለች ዕድለቢስ አህጉር በማለት ሲፈርጇት ሌሎቹ ብሩህ ተስፋ የሚታያቸው ሰዎች ደግሞ በአህጉሩ ለውጥ ለማምጣት ተስፋቸውን በወጣቱ የህብረተሰብ ክፍል ላይ ጥለዋል፡፡ (የጸሐፊው ማስታወሻ፡ ይህ ትችት የአፍሪካ አህጉር ዕጣ ፈንታ በያዝነው ምዕተ ዓመት አጋማሽ ምን እንደሚመስል ለመገምገም ተዘጋጅቶ በፓምባዙካ […]
(Author’s note: This commentary appeared on Pambazuka.org on May 29, 2014 as part of a mid-century outlook on possible scenarios in Africa. I make my “predictions” debating myself as a political scientist and a defense lawyer.) Is there light at the end of the tunnel for the “Dark Continent”? “Making predictions is hard. Especially about the […]
Aden Abiye has earned a Masters of Science in Accounting with a focus in Internal Auditing. Originally from Ethiopia, Aden emigrated to the United States with her family.
Seble Tadesse – ደማማዬ Demamaye
Tersit Agonafer, my older sister, was a beautiful, smart and caring person. Her family was everything to her – her two children, parents, siblings and extended family. As a daughter, she was dedicated to her mother and took great care of her until she passed away. I have many great memories of her. As youngsters, […]
Discussion on the give away of Ethiopian land to Sudan (video annoucement)
German Radio DW special on the exodus of Ethiopian youth (audio)
Mary Armide of Yeju Wollo 1923-1981 is also one of the long forgotten and the none acknowledged marvels artist of her time, her mesmerizing deep voice, her ability to play Kerar and to compose poems right away while she sings is a matchless talent. on the other hand her tireless contribution is unlisted plus the true story of her life and time has been recorded based on assumption.
Who was Mary Armdie? Do you know any thing about her? According to my research, There are several websites over the internet posting her songs but none of them seemed to be sure of exactly what Artist Mary has meant to our society.
My source enlightened me that in her last days, the late Queen of Kerar has lived around Gedame sefer, bedridden, unnoticed, left behind by the whole world that she once entertained and inspired, then died alone shortly there after.
Who was Mary Armedy? Now here I am shouting out her name as loud as I can but not just for acknowledgment, rather to remind you that no one deserves to be forgotten.
The plight of a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl in Saudi Arabia
IT’S a volcano, but not as we know it. This cerulean eruption takes place in the Danakil Depression, a low-lying plain in Ethiopia. The volcano’s lava is the usual orange-red – the blue comes from flames produced when escaping sulphuric gases burn.
French photographer Olivier Grunewald creates such images without using colour filters or digital enhancement, which is no simple task. To get this shot he had to wait until dusk, when the electric blue flames were visible, but before all the daylight had ebbed away. Then the wind had to be blowing away from him so he could get close enough. Photographing the similarly sulphurous Kawah Ijen volcano in Indonesia, where he worked inside the crater, was even more treacherous. "We have to take care when the winds push the flames close to us," he says. "In Danakil it is easier to escape as the land is flat."
Grunewald works in a gas mask to avoid breathing in the deadly fumes – but photographing Kawah Ijen still left him with peeling skin and clothes smelling of rotten eggs for weeks afterwards.
Another drawback of Grunewald’s subject matter is that the acidic gases don’t agree with his cameras. But it’s worth it, he says. "The phenomenon is so uncommon – we really feel like we are on another planet."
Ethiopians held at Yemeni 'Torture Camps' (video)
By Jen and Josh, Peace Corps Volunteers in Ambo
Friday, April 25th, the protests began in Ambo. We heard the sounds of a big crowd gathering at the university, walking east, yelling and chanting. The single paved road in town was barricaded, and traffic was diverted around the outskirts of town.
“What is going on?” we asked a group of high school boys.
“Oh, the students are angry. They have some problem,” they responded.
We called some friends at the university, who were able to explain further. Apparently, there are expansion plans for Addis Ababa, which would displace poor Oromo farmers and considerably shrink the size of the Oromia region. Justifiably, many Oromo people were upset. The Ethiopian Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech, press, and assembly, so demonstrations started across Oromia, mainly in towns with universities. Some of the protests turned violent.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were quiet, somewhat normal days in the town of Ambo. However, in other parts of Ethiopia, journalists and bloggers were arrested and thrown in jail.
Tuesday morning, the protests resumed. Friends in town called us to warn us not to go into work and not to leave our compound. Apparently there were protests at the preparatory school and the federal police were in town. We stayed home all day, listening to the sounds of the protests, denying to ourselves that the ‘pop, pop, pop’ we heard in the afternoon was gunfire. That night, the government-run news station reported that there was a misunderstanding between Oromo university students and the government. Other online reports said that the protestors were defending the Oromo’s right to their land.
Wednesday morning, the protests resumed, and our friends emphasized NOT to leave the house and NOT to answer our front gate. This time, we heard sirens. Ambo only has one ambulance – no police cars or fire trucks – and it wasn’t the normal noise. Again, we heard the ‘pop, pop, pop,’ every few minutes. We poked our heads out of the compound gate and talked to our neighbor, who confirmed that they were, in fact, gun shots. Neighbors said the federal police had already shot and killed demonstrators who were participating in the protest. As we were finishing our conversation, a group of at least 30 adults ran past, glancing nervously behind themselves as they ran.
“Maalif fiigtu? (Why are you running?)” I shouted.
“Poliisii as dhufu! (The police are coming here!)” a man responded, ducking behind a corner.
An hour later, we headed to the nearest store to stock up on phone cards so we could put minutes on our cell phones and data on our internet device. The storekeeper is a tough older lady who doesn’t tolerate any nonsense.
“Maal taate? (What happened?)” we asked.
She paused, looking down at her hands, her eyes welling with tears.
“Hara’aa….sirrii miti, (Today…..is not right)” she said, fighting back tears.
Ironically, as we sat at home, listening to gunshots all day long, John Kerry was visiting Ethiopia, a mere 2 hours away in Addis Ababa, to encourage democratic development.
Around 3pm, while the sounds of the protests were far on the east side of town, we heard gunshots so close to our house that we both ducked reflexively. An hour later, we talked to a young man who said, numbly, “I carried their bodies from their compound to the clinic.” Our two young neighbors – university students – had been hunted down by the federal police and killed in their home while the protest was on the opposite side of town.
Other friends told us other violent stories of what was going on in town, including an incident at a bank. Apparently, students attempted to enter the bank, and one was shot by the police. Not being armed with weapons, protesters retaliated against the shooter by hanging him.
Another friend told us about 2 students who were shot and killed by the federal police in front of a primary school…again, far away from the protest.
Wednesday night, we slept fitfully, listening to the sounds of the federal police coming around our neighborhood. They were yelling over a bullhorn in Amharic, which we didn’t understand, but was later translated for us: “Stay inside your compound tonight and tomorrow.”
Thursday, the bus station was closed and there weren’t any cars on the roads. That morning, a Peace Corps driver finally came to get us, looking terrified as he pulled up quickly to our house. We had to stop at the police station to get permission to leave town. While waiting at the station, we saw at least 50 people brought into the station at gunpoint, some from the backs of military trucks and many from a bus. Inside the police compound, there were hundreds of demonstrators overflowing the capacity of the prison, many of them visibly beaten and injured. After the U.S. Embassy requested our release, we headed out of town. The entire east side of town, starting from the bus station, was damaged. A bank, hotel, café, and many cars were damaged or burned. Our driver swerved to avoid the charred remains of vehicles sitting in the middle of the street.
We couldn’t help but shed tears at the sight of our beloved, damaged town.
Disclaimer: We are no longer Peace Corps Volunteers, and the following is a personal story, not a news report, and does not reflect the views of the U.S. Government, the Peace Corps, the Ethiopian Government, or the people of Ambo.
The Journey to a New Vision Obang Metho was among the honorees recognized at the annual gala of the Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED) held on May 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. Below is Obang’s acceptance speech. …. I was told that this award was in appreciation for the work done […]
Fire engulfs a dormitory at Wolkite University, Wolkite Woreda, Guraghe Zone on May 26, 2014. The school doesn’t deserve to be called a university. It has less resources and less qualified teachers than a small kindergarten.
ከፕሮፌሰር አለማየሁ ገብረማርያም ትርጉም በነጻነት ለሀገሬ እ.ኤ.አ ሜይ 2/2014 ቢቢሲ/BBC እንደዘገበው በኢትዮጵያ በስልጣን ላይ እንደመዥገር ተጣብቆ የሚገኘው ገዥ አካል የጸጥታ ኃይሎች ከመናገሻ ከተማዋ ከአዲስ አበባ በስተምዕራብ በኩል በ80 ማይሎች ርቀት ላይ በምትገኘው የአምቦ ከተማ ላይ ቢያንስ 47 የዩኒቨርስቲ እና የሁለተኛ ደረጃ ትምህርት ቤቶች ተማሪዎችን በአሰቃቂ ሁኔታ በጥይት ኢሰብአዊ በሆነ መንገድ ረሽነዋል፡፡ ስብዕናው በውሸት እና በሀሰት […]
Egyptian citizen Hamdy Al-Anany was deported from Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, an incident which prompted the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to express “deep regrets”, in a statement on Sunday, and demand an explanation.
Al-Anany, who served as the Ethiopia director of the Egypt’s official state-run news agency, the Middle East News Agency (MENA), was detained by Ethiopian authorities before his deportation.
Spokesman of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry Badr Abdelatty said that the Egyptian foreign ministry demanded in an official memo that the Ethiopian foreign ministry provide “explanations and clarifications” on the reasons behind Al-Anany’s deportation and the failure to notify the Egyptian Embassy once he was detained.
MENA, which describes itself as the largest and oldest African news agency, expressed condemnation at the position of the Ethiopian authorities and said that the deportation came without “justification or warning”. It condemned Al-Anany’s “mistreatment” and said that it conflicts with all international norms and conventions for the protection of journalists working abroad.
It added that Al-Anany is accredited by both the Ethiopian Authorities and the African Union Commission. MENA demanded an explanation to this “strange behaviour” and that Ethiopian authorities correct their position and guarantee correspondents’ freedom to exercise their duties.
MENA also demanded that the African Union, the Federation of African Journalists and the Egyptian Press Syndicate “bear their responsibilities” towards guaranteeing the protection of the work of journalists and correspondents and securing their lives and property.
Ethiopian-Egyptian ties have been strained since Ethiopia began construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in April 2011. In May 2013, Ethiopia began diverting waters from one of the Nile’s main tributaries, the Blue Nile. Egypt fears that the dam will affect its lion’s share of Nile Water, which is guaranteed to Egypt by agreements, signed in the absence of Ethiopia.
The latest round of bilateral talks in February failed, although both sides have expressed an interest in engaging in negotiations since.
On May 2, 2014, BBC reported that the security forces of the regime in Ethiopia had massacred at least 47 university and high school students in the town of Ambo 80 miles west of the capital Addis Ababa. The regime dismissed the massacre and tried to sweep it under the rug claiming that a “few anti-peace forces incited […]
The building, which is located at CMC Mikael in Addis Ababa, is partially rented for 500,000 birr per month to several Chinese companies, one bank and one restaurant on the first floor. The building is registered under his wife Ansha Seid.
Those Ethiopians who are not part of the ruling class are forced to seek jobs in Arab countries:
Government troops conduct house-to-house search in Gimbi, terrorizing residents of the western Ethiopian town.
Ethiopian exodus to Arab countries: The legacy of Woyanne rule
ከፕሮፌሰር አለማየሁ ገብረማርያም ትርጉም በነጻነት ለሀገሬ የኦባማ አስተዳደር የሰብአዊ መብት አያያዝ ፖሊሲ “አስቂኝ የመድረክ ትወና ነውን”? የዩናይትድ ስቴትስ የመንግስት መምሪያ ጸሐፊ የሆኑት ጆን ኬሪ ባለፈው ሳምንት የሶሪያን ፕሬዚዳንት ባሽር አላሳድን “አሸባሪ” ወንጀለኛ ናቸው ብለው ከፈረጁ በኋላ የአላሳድ የቀጣዩ ዓመት የምርጫ ዕቅድም “አስቂኝ የመድረክ ትወና” ነው ብለው ተችተው ነበር፡፡ ኬሪ በመቀጠልም እንዲህ በማለት ሀሳባቸውን አጠናክረው ነበር፣ […]
Residents of Gimbi town mourn the death of their loved ones who were massacred by Ethiopian regime troops over the past few days.
By Matt O’Brien
OAKLAND — Bishops from one of the world’s oldest Christian churches gathered in the Oakland hills for a four-day summit last week, hoping to sort out their differences as they shepherd an East African denomination to new lands.
The gathering was "to talk about the next generation, the one in the United States, what we have to do for them," said Palo Alto resident Benyam Mulugeta, president of the board of Oakland’s Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Mekane Selam Medhane Alem Cathedral. "We don’t want to lose the next generation."
Exiled Patriarch Abune Merkorios was scheduled to preside over the convening of the Holy Synod, but the elder church leader fell ill shortly before his flight to the Bay Area.
Merkorios was dethroned and replaced amid Ethiopia’s political turmoil of the 1990s, but he still has a worldwide following of Ethiopian emigrants who consider him the true spiritual leader of an institution that dates back to the 4th century.
Merkorios lives in New Jersey. A rival patriarch and institution continue to be seated in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
Clergy from Australia, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Sweden and across the United States gathered at the Mountain Boulevard cathedral from Wednesday through Saturday.
Ethiopian Orthodox Christians say they hope to establish the kind of American footprint that Greek and Russian Orthodox churches began more than a century ago, building their own churches and monasteries and appealing to younger, U.S.-born congregants who grow up speaking English.
Hosting the convention was 90-year-old Abune Melketsedek, who heads the Oakland cathedral and is also the general secretary for the exiled church. Bishops and congregants were seen tearfully hugging on Friday after resolving some internal disputes over church policies.
"It’s one of the big events of our church," Mulugeta said of the meeting.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 08, 2014
Remarks by the President at DNC Reception — San Jose, CA
Fairmont San Jose
San Jose, California
7:50 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hello, California!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back! It is good to be back in San Jose. (Applause.) I think one of the times I came here I started singing the Dionne Warwick song — did I do that? (Laughter.) It was pretty good.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Do it again!
THE PRESIDENT: No, I’m not going to do it tonight. (Laughter.) Maybe after the midterms. Maybe I’ll sing it to you separately. (Laughter.)
A couple of people I want to thank — first of all, our outstanding co-hosts, Sam and Marissa. Please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) We’ve got your own State Assemblywoman, Nora Campos, here. (Applause.) Way to go, Nora! There she is. And we have our outstanding DNC Finance Chair Henry Muñoz here. (Applause.) And all of you are here. (Applause.) Yay!
I am thrilled to see all of you. Some of you are old friends who have been working with me since I was a U.S. senator and nobody could pronounce my name. Some of you have been knowing me since I was a state senator. (Applause.) Exactly. See, you’ve got an Illinois guy here.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: North Side.
THE PRESIDENT: We’ve got a Chicago guy. All right, I can’t name all the places you guys are from. (Laughter.) A lot of you worked on the campaign and on OFA — (applause) — and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. And I want to give you a little update about where we are.
We came into office at a time when America was in dire straits, and we have made enormous progress over the last five-something years. We’ve created 9.2 million jobs. (Applause.) Auto industry has come roaring back. (Applause.) We have reduced our oil imports. We are producing more clean energy than ever before. We have seen college attendance go up; we’ve seen high school dropouts go down. And there are millions of Americans all across the country, including right here in California, who finally have the financial and emotional security of affordable health care. (Applause.) That has all happened over the last five and a half years.
But for all that we’ve done, for the war in Iraq that we’ve ended and the war in Afghanistan that we’re bringing to an honorable close — (applause) — for all the work we’re doing on climate change and making sure that we bequeath to our children and our grandchildren the kind of planet that allows them to thrive and prosper — for all those efforts, we know that we’ve got more work to do.
We know that despite economic growth and close to record corporate profits, despite the fact that folks at the very top are doing better than ever, that there are too many families all across the country who are still struggling to get by, who work hard every day but have trouble making ends meet at the end of the month. We know that people still feel insecure about their future, about the possibilities of retirement. We know that there are folks who work hard every day and are still in poverty. We know that there are folks who work hard every day, but are still living in the shadows because of a broken immigration system. (Applause.)
We know that the investments that we need to make sure that every child in America — not just my kid or your kid, but every child in America — has an opportunity to get a world-class education — that those investments have not yet been fully forthcoming. We know that. (Applause.)
And that’s why November is so important. The Republicans who run the House of Representatives right now and want to take over the Senate –
AUDIENCE: Booo –
THE PRESIDENT: Don’t boo –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Vote!
THE PRESIDENT: — vote! Work! (Applause.)
But they have said no to every proposal that we know could make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans. They’ve said no to proposals that would rebuild our infrastructure. They’ve said no to proposals that would increase basic research that drives the innovation that has made this region the envy of the world. They have said no to equal pay for equal work. In fact, they’ve denied that there’s even a problem.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Really?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m just saying. (Laughter.)
They said no to increasing the minimum wage. They’ve said no to helping kids afford college. They even shut down the government and almost created another global financial catastrophe because they wanted to get their way.
Now, to be fair, they did say yes to their own budget, except when you look at the budget, what they’re saying yes to are cuts in Medicaid, cuts in education, cuts in basic research. But what they do preserve are tax breaks for folks who don’t need them, that aren’t going to grow the economy.
And, look, Republicans are patriots. They love their country. They love their families. They want America to thrive. But they are operating on a theory that time and again has proven to be wrong. It’s a theory that says you’re on your own. It’s a theory that says if we just reward folks at the very top, then everybody else is going to do just fine. It’s a theory that discounts the possibility of common action in order to make sure that opportunity is real for every American, and not just some. (Applause.) They have a different theory about how America moves forward. And so they just keep on offering again and again the same failed theories that have been punishing the middle class and failing America for decades now.
And so, when I think about what’s at stake in this election, it’s not just a matter of a seat here or a seat there. It’s about competing visions of how America moves forward. And I believe that America moves forward when we recognize that we’re all in it together. I believe in an America where we rise together, where the economy is built from the bottom up and the middle out.
I believe in an America where we are investing in innovation and where, although the private sector is driving our growth, it is based on an acknowledgment that when we’ve got skilled people and we’ve got outstanding teachers, and we are honoring our researchers and our universities, that’s the dynamism that has always put us at the forefront. That’s what’s at stake. That’s what I believe.
And so the question is, what are we going to do about it in this midterm? The choices couldn’t be clearer. The choices could not be clearer. As Democrats, I believe that we should be fighting for equal pay for equal work; they do not. That’s a choice. (Applause.) As a Democrat, I believe that opportunity for all means that if you work full-time, you should not be in poverty. We should increase the minimum wage. It’s the right thing to do. (Applause.)
As a Democrat, I believe in investing in early childhood education. We know it works. We want to give every child the best chance possible to succeed. (Applause.)
They have a different view. As a Democrat, I believe that we should make college affordable for every young person who’s got the energy and drive to succeed — every child, not just some. (Applause.) They’ve got a different view.
So I know what we stand for. And sometimes, I’ve got to say, that when you look at reporting of what’s happening in Washington — and let’s face it, Washington is not working the way it’s supposed to — then sometimes you’d get the impression that, yeah, both parties are just bickering and arguing and that’s why things don’t work.
Now, I’ve got a confession to make — the Democratic Party is not perfect. (Laughter.) I know that’s crazy to say at a DNC event. (Laughter.) But there are times where folks make mistakes. There are some elected officials who don’t show the courage of their convictions. There are times where I get frustrated. And we have to be self-critical and make sure that we’re constantly asking ourselves are we serving the folks who sent us here as well as we should. But on the big issues, on our core convictions, we’re on the right side of the issues. (Applause.)
On immigration, we believe in comprehensive immigration reform that gives people a chance and that would improve our economy. (Applause.) On climate change, we believe in science
– (applause) — and we think it’s important for us to take action, and that if we invest in clean energy, we can create jobs and opportunity here in the United States at the same time as we’re making sure that we’ve got an environment that is what we want for our children and our grandchildren. We’re on the right side of that. The other side isn’t. That’s just the bottom line.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Amen.
THE PRESIDENT: When it comes to education, when it comes to the minimum wage, when it comes to equal pay, when it comes to making investments in infrastructure, when it comes to basic research — when it comes to the things that would help drive this economy right now, we’re on the right side of the issues. And the reason that we’ve got gridlock right now is you’ve got another party that has been captured by folks who are on the wrong side of the issue.
Now, that’s on inevitable. I come from Illinois — (laughter) — and that’s the Land of Lincoln, a great Republican President. Those of you who care about the environment — probably our greatest environmental President — Teddy Roosevelt, Republican. So it’s not inevitable, this does not have to be how it is. But it is how it is right now. And if we are serious about solving the problems that matter for future generations, if we are serious about making sure that there are good jobs out there that pay a living wage, if we’re serious about fixing a broken immigration system, if we are serious about investing in our schools, if we are serious about making college affordable, if we are serious about making sure that our veterans are properly cared for — (applause) — if we are serious about a clean-energy economy, if we’re serious about innovation, then we’ve got to fix Congress.
And the way we’re going to fix Congress is not just to get cynical and sit back and complain and grouse and say, a plague on both your houses. The way to fix Congress is to take a look at who stands for the things you care about and who doesn’t, and get the folks who don’t out of the way so we can make progress in America. And that’s what this midterm election is all about. (Applause.)
I mean, what exactly are the plans of the other side right now?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Nothing!
THE PRESIDENT: No, that’s not true. They’ve got one plan. They’ve taken 50 votes to repeal Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, and I guess they’re going to try to take 50 more — because that’s all they talk about. And let me tell you something. You’ve got 8 million people who signed up on these exchanges, you’ve got millions more who are benefiting from expanded Medicaid. (Applause.) You’ve got 3 million young people who are able to stay on their parents’ plan. Millions of people across the country –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Need it.
THE PRESIDENT: — are better off. I meet them every day. And I can’t explain to you why it is that they are so obsessed with making sure those folks don’t have health insurance. But we’re on the right side of history on that issue. (Applause.) And if that’s all they’ve got -– if that’s all they’ve got, then they shouldn’t be running either chamber. They shouldn’t be running the House and they sure should not be running the Senate. And they sure shouldn’t be making appointments to the Supreme Court.
THE PRESIDENT: And they shouldn’t be blocking mine. (Applause.)
Now, I know I’m preaching to the choir. (Laughter.) But we’re just kind of getting started here on this campaign season and I want to kind of get us warmed up. You’ve got to get the vocal chords are working. (Laughter.)
There’s one problem we’ve got. Our problem is not that the public doesn’t agree with us. If you look on the issues that we’re fighting for, the majority of the American public is on our side. The majority believes in raising the minimum wage. The majority of Americans believe in equal pay for equal work. The majority of Americans want to see us invest in education and job training and apprenticeships. The majority of Americans think we should be putting people back to work rebuilding our infrastructure. A majority of Americans think that it’s the right thing to do to develop a clean-energy economy. A majority of Americans want immigration reform. So what’s the problem?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Not voting.
THE PRESIDENT: Say that again.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: They’re not voting!
THE PRESIDENT: They’re not voting. And in particular, Democrats have a congenital defect when it comes to our politics, and that is we like voting during presidential years and during the midterms we don’t vote. And so you already have lower voting totals during the midterms, and it’s our folks that stay home.
And maybe in normal times that’s okay — although I don’t think it’s ever okay for us not to vote. But in this midterm, with the stakes as high as they are, with the progress that needs to be made, with families out there who are desperate to see a Washington that is on their side — we’re going to have to make sure that we are coming out with the same urgency and the same enthusiasm that we typically show during presidential years. (Applause.) That’s what we’re going to need.
And that’s where all of you come in. It’s not enough that you’re going to vote. You’re going to have to grab your mom, dad, cousins, uncles, co-workers, friends, family, and you are going to have to explain to them the stakes involved in this election.
And that’s what the DNC is about. The contributions you make today are to ensure that we’ve got the infrastructure, the architecture, so that an army of young people and not-so-young people but young at heart, young in spirit are out there working in precincts and in neighborhoods, delivering a message about what the stakes are in this election and making sure that people know they need to come out and vote.
Now, I know that we live in a time where cynicism too often passes off as wisdom. And this country has been through a lot over these last five years. But I want to close by just letting you know this: I travel around the world a lot; I study global trends; I speak to world leaders and prominent businesses who operate in every corner of the Earth. And I will tell you that the assessment outside of the United States is that we’ve got all the best cards. We still have the most innovative, dynamic economy in the world. We still have the best universities in the world. We still have the most productive workers in the world.
We have this incredible opportunity to develop a clean energy economy — even as traditional sources of energy, we’ve got more than most advanced countries. We have this incredible vibrancy that is on display right here in this community — people from all around the world coming here, hungry, striving, ready to innovate. There’s no other country that looks like us. It’s a huge gift. The problem is that we’ll waste that gift if we don’t make the right choices.
So what I want everybody to know is, is that for all the challenges we have and for all the legitimate reasons why people get discouraged, our future is bright if we make the right choices. Our future is bright if people shake off whatever is holding them back and they go to the polls. Our future is bright if people understand the stakes involved. Our future is bright if you and I, we’re all out there working together to make sure that folks know that the decisions we make right now are going to matter to that young man and that young lady, and our kids and our grandkids. And we don’t have time to wait.
So I don’t have patience for cynicism right now. I think it’s too easy. I think it’s an excuse. The future is there for us to seize — but we’ve got to seize it. And if we do, then we guarantee you –
AUDIENCE MEMBER: President Obama! Freedom for Ethiopia! Freedom! Freedom for Ethiopia, sir!
THE PRESIDENT: Hold on. I agree with you, although why don’t I talk about it later because I’m just about to finish. (Laughter.) You and me, we’ll talk about it. I’m going to be coming around.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible)–
THE PRESIDENT: There you go.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible) –
THE PRESIDENT: I agree with you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: I want to hear from you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. You kind of screwed up my ending, but that’s okay. (Laughter and applause.) That’s okay. And we’ve got free speech in this country — (applause) — which is great, too.
So, bottom line is this — bottom line is this: This is not the end; this is just the beginning. I’m going to need every one of you to sign up to make sure that you are going to continue to work with the DNC. I am going to be, I guarantee you, back in California sometime before November. (Applause.) And when I come back, I expect everybody here to report back to me that you have been out there working to make sure that we are having a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House. (Applause.)
Are you with me? (Applause.) Are you fired up? (Applause.) You ready to go? (Applause.)
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. Thank you. (Applause.)
8:12 P.M. PDT