FREEDOM 4 ALL ETHIOPIANS

FREEDOM,DEMOCRACY.JUSTICE.AND UNITY FOR ALL ETHIOPIANS …by DANIEL TESFAYE

Archive for the month “December, 2014”

Ethiopia: Trafficking Beyond Borders

December 30, 2014

by Lulama Moyo

Human trafficking is a huge issue that plagues Ethiopian communities. But trafficking beyond the country’s borders has added more complexity to this issue. Many women, men, and children from Ethiopia have been subjected to forced labor and exploitation of all kinds. They are taken from Ethiopia and are brought to countries mainly in the Middle East as well as countries like Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. Countries in the Middle East have have been found to have a large percent of Ethiopian females enslaved there. According the research thesis by Elias Ashene called, “Trafficking of Ethiopian Women and Girls to the Middle East”, there is early evidence of illegal movement of Ethiopian women. Ashene has found that that between 1996 and 1998 there were 2,247 legal immigrants from Ethiopia in Middle Eastern countries. But by 1999 there were 17,000 Ethiopians found in Lebanon alone and by 2003 there were 25,000. Ashene concludes that this large increase in numbers is due to illegal means. As human trafficking and modern slavery in Ethiopia grow in impact, so does the Ethiopian governments denial. According to an article in the Ethiopian Press Herald entitled, “Ethiopian Human Trafficking Victims Predicament”, the government would rather claim that all movement of Ethiopian people to the Middle East is voluntary even with the evidence that it isn’t.

The main reason Ethiopian women have been lured into domestic slave jobs

The main reason Ethiopian women have been lured into domestic slave jobs is by looking for better jobs under false pretenses. There is a frequent circuit of trafficking through the Ethio-Sudan border. Women are continually misled by promise of legitimate housekeeping jobs with wealth Sudanese businessmen. A woman who returned from being trafficked in Dubai revealed that she knew of women who were forced to work in Sudan after being told they were in transit to Bahrain (IOM, Endeshaw). The route that traffickers bring people from Ethiopia is through the Sinai Desert. Many of the trafficked women are taken to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Narrative from an interviewed woman who barely escaped death from trafficking is quoted saying this about her experience:

“When I left my village, I was confident I would reach Khartoum safe and find a very good job…I was thinking just how hard I would work and help my poor parents who were in problem to cover their basic expenses. I was dreaming about the successful and joyful life I expected in my new country.”

“They said ‘take off your coloth!…I said ‘No – so they beat me up severely and forced me to have sex with them.”

“When he asked me: give me the money in your pocket? I said no…So he beat me on my face with iron pipe and dragged me away. I don’t know what then happened. When I opened my eyes I found myself in a hospital taking a medical treatment. And the doctor told me that I was even stapped with knife.”

– Workie Endalkachew narrating for Betre Yacob’s article, “A Shocking Tragedy Behind Human Trafficking in Ethiopia: One Woman’s Horrific Story”.

Workie’s words illustrate the gruesome reality that many trafficked people face. As I have found more information on cross-border human trafficking, I learn that migration plays a huge role. Besides people choosing to leave Ethiopia to seek better opportunities, many are forced to do this as refugees and forced migrants. As Ethiopians journey to different countries with the hopes of starting a new life they are taken for ransom and/or trafficked. An example of this is the migration of Ethiopian to Saudi Arabia via Yemen. Ethiopians are smuggled by small boats to Yemen where they believe they will continue their journey to Saudi Arabia. But as revealed in Human Trafficking of Ethiopians to Yemen, smugglers often turn on Ethiopian travelers and rob them of their money. If they don’t have money they are held for ransom. If their families are unable to pay the ransom they are taken to torture camps where they are beaten, raped, blinded, and often murdered. Because of the tremendously high corruption, lack of solid government, and large rate of gangs, trafficking is easily done in Yemen. Accounts from young girls that are featured in the YouTube clip reveal that Yemeni military are responsible for some of the trafficking that goes on. The military sold women to gangs, rapists, and torture camps, and sometimes raped women themselves.

The human trafficking of Ethiopians

The human trafficking of Ethiopians to different countries is a devastating realty. It adds a different dimension of how to understand trafficking in the country. Because people leave Ethiopia under so many different circumstances it’s hard to develop statistics and create data of the trafficking. Having found out that Ethiopia’s government has little to no policies about trafficking, I am frustrated. It’s vital that they acknowledge how much human trafficking, kidnapping, and slavery is ravaging their communities. If policies end up being created it will be important for the government to not one consider the issues that are going on in Ethiopia, but they will need to consider the cross-border trafficking. In this post I have uncovered what it means for Ethiopians to be trafficked in different countries. You will receive a more in-depth look at the experiences of children and women that are trafficked from my blog-mates.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

“We Shall Persevere, Ethiopia!”

December 29, 2014

by Alemayehu G. Mariam

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”, decreed Maya Angelou, the great African American author, poet, dancer, actress and singer.Eskinder Nega, the imprisoned and preeminent defender and hero of press freedom

I shall persevere!” wrote Eskinder Nega, the imprisoned and preeminent defender and hero of press freedom in Ethiopia, in a letter smuggled out of the infamous Meles Zenawi Prison in Kality, a few kilometers outside the Ethiopian capital  Addis Ababa.

Eskinder was not merely writing about himself when he declared, “I shall persevere!”. He was also writing on behalf of his fellow imprisoned journalists, bloggers, human rights advocates and other political prisoners.  After all, no prisoner of conscience, no political prisoner, can persevere alone.  I would venture to say Eskinder was indeed writing about the quiet perseverance of ninety million of his fellow Ethiopians held captive in an open air prison that Ethiopia has become under the thumbs of a malignant thugtatorship called the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Ethiopia shall persevere and prevail!

I want to ring out 2014 by celebrating my personal hero Eskinder Nega and she-ro Reeyot Alemu, and through them all of the other Ethiopian heroes and she-roes — the prisoners of conscience in the war on press freedom in Ethiopia and the political prisoners held captive in defending freedom, the cause of free and fair elections, democratic governance and human rights advocates. In celebrating them, I proudly declare, “You have persevered as political prisoners!  We have persevered!  Ethiopia has persevered as one nation under the Almighty. We shall persevere until those who have coerced us into persevering can no longer persevere. Victory is guaranteed to those who persevere!”

Shakespeare wrote, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.”  I think the same can be said of heroes and she-roes. Citizens like Eskinder and Reeyot (symbolically representing all of the other prisoners of conscience in Ethiopia)  have become heroes and she-roes because heroism was thrust upon them by extreme circumstances. When they met the defining moment of their lives, unlike most of us, they did not flinch or cringe. They did not grovel or beg. They did not offer to sell their souls for a few pieces of silver. They did not cut and run; they did not back down. They stood their ground. They chose to live free in prison than live in an open air prison under the rule of bush thugs.

Eskinder and Reeyot were offered their freedom if they got down on their knees, bowed down their heads, apologized and admitted their “crimes”,  licked the boots of their captors and begged to be “pardoned”.  It was the same “pardon” offered to so many others before them by the late Meles Zenawi and his disciples. It is the same “pardon” offered to Swedish journalists Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye who were sentenced to eleven years on bogus charges of “terrorism”.

A public confession of false guilt was the ultimate humiliation Meles exacted on his victims. He did it with the dozens of opposition leaders he jailed following the 2005 election. He did it twice to Birtukan Midekssa, the first woman political party leader in Ethiopian history. He had a cadre of pardon peddlers who went around prisons convincing innocent victims into admitting crimes they did not commit and beg Meles’ pardon. Public humiliation of his adversaries gave Meles the ultimate high; it nurtured his sadistic soul wallowed in it. The offer of “pardon” for Eskinder and Reeyot still stands today. But they don’t want it. In turning down the “pardon” offer, they sent a clear message: “You can’t pardon an innocent man or woman… Take your pardon and shove it…!”

Christopher Reeve, Hollywood’s “Superman” who became a quadriplegic in an accident said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Eskinder, Reeyot and the others were ordinary citizens who found the strength to persevere and endure despite overwhelming obstacles. That’s why Eskinder, Reeyot and all Ethiopian political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are heroes and she-roes to me. They have all persevered and endured.

Courage is the stuff of which heroes and she-roes are made.  Robert F. Kennedy once said, “moral courage is… the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu and all of the other hero and she-ro political prisoners had true moral courage. They stood up for ideas of press freedom and free expression; for democracy and human rights. They stood up for the principle of the rule of law. They stood up to TPLF thugs. They persevered and in the process sent tiny ripples of hope to 90 million of their compatriots.

As we ring out 2014 and usher in 2015, I want all my readers to join me in celebrating, honoring and thanking  Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye, Andualem Aragie, Bekele Gerba, Abubekar Ahmed, the “Zone Nine Bloggers” including  Atnaf Berahane, Zelalem Kibret, Befeqadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, Tesfalem Waldyes and Edom Kassaye.  Let it be known that these heroes and she-roes are only the public faces of the tens of thousands of unnamed, unknown, unsung and unbowed heroes and she-roes of the Ethiopian struggle for equality, justice and dignity languishing in prisons ranked as among the absolute worst in the world.  I salute them all as they persevere in the infamous Meles Zenawi Prison in Kality and other branch locations throughout Ethiopia.

I celebrate and salute Reeyot Alemu, the 36 year-old undisputed she-ro of Ethiopian press freedom condemned to 14 years in prison by the late Meles Zenawi. Reeyot has been internationally recognized as  “Ethiopia’s Jailed Truth Teller.”  The Committee to Protect Journalists reported Reeyot was jailed for telling the truth, for writing a  “scathing critique of the ruling political party’s fundraising methods for a national dam project, and for drawing  “parallels between the late Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi and Meles Zenawi.”

I celebrate my hero Woubshet Taye, a journalist and editor, who is condemned to 14 years in prison for standing his ground and using his newspaper as a watchdog over the TPLF’s abuses of power and  empire of corruption.  The innocent words of Woubshet’s five year-old son Fiteh (meaning “justice”) keep ringing in my mind, “When I grow up will I go to jail like my dad?”

I celebrate and salute Andualem Aragie, who prior to his imprisonment, was rising opposition leader.  Andualem is among a new breed of young Ethiopian political leaders, journalists and civil society advocates who are widely respected and accepted. In the months leading up to the May 2010 “election” in which Meles Zenawi claimed a 99.6 percent victory, Andualem demonstrated his unflinching commitment to democracy and the rule of law. With breathtaking clarity of thought, razor-sharp intellect, incredible courage, mesmerizing eloquence, piercing logic, stinging wit, masterful command of the facts and steadfast adherence to the truth, Andualem made mincemeat out of Meles Zenawi’s vacuous lackeys in several televised pre-“election” debates.  It was truly a sight to behold!

I celebrate and salute Abraha Desta, the young, fearless and extraordinary Ethiopian blogger. In his very last Facebook post on July 7, 2014, before being jailed by the TPLF, Abraha vigorously defended the freedom of expression of the TPLF itself on his own Facebook page! “The reason I do not unfriend or block TPLF cadres on my Facebook is because I believe it is important for us to know the intellectual depravity and bankruptcy of the TPLF. We assess a person’s capacity to think and reason by listening to what they have to say. By reading what they write. Therefore, let the cadres write. Let them reveal who and what they are. Let us also read. Let us know them well. To defeat them, it is necessary for us to know them. It is valuable to know your adversary. It is so!” Abraha is in prison with little to eat, but has he left us a harvest of food for thought?!  

I celebrate my young heroes and she-roes, the “Zone Nine Bloggers”. These young Ethiopians armed with computer keyboards and inspired by ideas of freedom have struck terror in the very heart of darkness, the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front. “Hiding behind an abusive anti-terrorism law to prosecute bloggers and journalists doing their job is an affront to the constitution and international protection for free expression,” declared Human Rights Watch in its demand for the “immediate” dismissal of charges against the young bloggers. I celebrate and salute Atnaf Berahane, Zelalem Kibret, Befeqadu Hailu, Abel Wabela, Mahlet Fantahun, Natnael Feleke, Asmamaw Hailegeorgis, Tesfalem Waldyes  and Edom Kassaye.

I celebrate and salute my heroes Bekele Gerba, Abubekar Ahmed and so many others who are suffering the slings and arrows of the vicious TPLF because they stood up to defend the liberty of religion and conscience, the right to assembly and association and the right to free expression.

Bekele Gerba is deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement and taught English at Addis Ababa University.  He was arrested for belonging to a “terrorist” organization and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Bekele criticized the TPLF as a retrograde regime without the capacity to govern. He argued there are four classes of citizens under the TPLF regime: “the first-class citizens are those who are in power to give away land; the second-class citizens are those who receive land; the third-class are those who are reduced to observer-roles of such illicit transactions; the fourth-class are those whose land is taken away from them by force.”  The day before his arrest, Bekele told Amnesty  International representatives that he was being framed by the TPLF on bogus terrorism charges.

Abubaker Ahmed is a strong advocate of religious freedom. In articulating his demands, Abubaker proved his adherence to the rule of law: “We are not opposed to any administration. All we are asking for is that the Constitution be respected. All we are saying is those bodies that say they respect the Constitution actually respect the Constitution.”

Above all, I celebrate and salute all of the tens of thousands Ethiopian political prisoners – the unnamed, the unknown, the unaccounted for and the unsung heroes and she-roes – for standing up for the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in Ethiopia.

They shall all persevere and endure!

“I shall persevere!”, declared Eskinder Nega defiantly

In May 2013, my brother and esteemed friend Eskinder Nega wrote a letter entitled, “I shall persevere!”. That letter was smuggled out the infamous  Meles Zenawi Prison in Kality.

“I Shall Persevere!” is only 7 simple paragraphs long, but its message could last for seven, and even seventy, long years. “I Shall Persevere!” is a defiant letter. It is a hopeful letter. It is an inspiring letter. It is a prophetic letter. It is a letter written from the heart. It is a letter written with cerebral power. It is a letter addressed to his family, his wife and son. It is a letter addressed to the people of Ethiopia. It is a letter addressed to the Diaspora Ethiopians. It is a letter addressed and time-capsuled for delivery to future generations of Ethiopians. It is a plea for freedom and human dignity. It is a letter about one man’s yearning for freedom, the right to be free to raise his child, to be free with his wife and family.  It is a letter about individual freedom and the individual’s right to practice one’s chosen profession. Ultimately, “I shall persevere!” can be reduced to one thing: The truth. To persevere is to stand up for the Truth for the Truth shall make one free.

Allow me to digress for a moment and be personal. I have read “I shall persevere!” many times over. I have read it when I felt creeping doubts gnawing my mind. My doubts vanished; I persevered. I have read it when I was on the verge of losing heart over the thought that the road to freedom is too long, too winding and too tiresome. I persevered in my absolute conviction that no walk for freedom is too long. I have read Eskinder’s Letter when I was at a loss for words, “I am fresh out of topics for Monday Commentaries. I have nothing to say.” Instantly, I am overwhelmed and overflowing with ideas till my cup runneth over.  Every time I feel down for the count, I read Eskinder’s letter and I am up and about. Eskinder’s voice may be the sound of silence to those who have ears but have willfully become deaf-mutes. To me his silenced voice resonates with me everyday, “I shall persevere! I Shall Persevere! I SHALL PERSEVERE!”

What did Eskinder mean when he proclaimed, “I shall persevere!”? Did he mean he will simply persevere — just survive day to day — chained in the dungeons of Meles Zenawi Prison in Kality?  What does it mean to “persevere” for someone like Eskinder, Reeyot and the others?

I don’t think I need to speak to Eskinder to figure what he meant when he wrote, “I shall persevere!”.  His words speak to me loud and clear. He meant exactly what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meant by “persevere”. Over one-half century ago, people used to ask Dr. King, “How long can we persevere? How long must we wait to be free?” (Of course, the people had a more earthy way of asking that question: “How much longer do we have to put up with this bullcrap?”) Dr. King told them, “not long”:

I know you are asking today, “How long will it take?”….
I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because truth crushed to earth will rise again.
How long?  Not long, because no lie can live forever.
How long? Not long, because you shall reap what you sow….
How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

How long must Eskinder, Reeyot and the rest persevere? How long must Ethiopia persevere? Not long, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long because the TPLF shall reap what it sowed. Victory is guaranteed to those who persevere.

Eskinder wrote in his Letter, “Individuals can be penalized, made to suffer (Oh, how I miss my child) and even killed. But democracy is a destiny of humanity which cannot be averted. It can be delayed but not defeated.”

Justice can be delayed, but not defeated. Criminals against humanity may sneer, thumb their noses and flip their middle fingers at Lady Justice, but they should beware what Lady Justice has in the hand not holding the scales. The end point of human history, the destiny of humanity, is freedom and democracy: freedom from oppression, freedom from the tyranny of ignorant thugs, freedom to enjoy one’s divinely ordained human rights, freedom to think, to create, to be free.

Eskinder pines for his son. “Oh, how I miss my child” he agonized. His son’s name is Nafkot, which means “to miss someone by separation”. How ironic and prophetic!  Nafkot was born in Meles Zenawi Prison in Kality in 2005 when his parents were jailed there without cause and acquitted of all charges sixteen months later. The cruel and wicked Meles Zenawi personally ordered Nafkot be denied medical care as a “premie” (premature baby). The evidence of Meles’ involvement is incontrovertible.  Meles was hell-bent on exacting revenge on Eskinder and Serkalem by causing the death of their days-old infant son.  Meles wanted to see Eskinder and Serkalem totally crushed by witnessing the death of their child in prison. Meles was a sadist who enjoyed not only publicly humiliating his adversaries in public but also in inflicting extreme pain and suffering on them out of sight of the public. Those who knew him closely will testify to that. Eskinder and Sekalem later wrote their son Nafkot’s survival could only be explained as a divine miracle.

When the late Meles Zenawi was scheduled to speak at Columbia University in New York City in September 2010, Eskinder and his wife Serkalem (a renowned journalist in her own right and recipeint of  Women’s Media Foundation 2012 Courage in Journalism Award) sent a letter to the university president in protest. They explained their opposition:

Severely underweight at birth because Serkalem’s physical and psychological privation in one of Africa’s worst prisons, an incubator was deemed life-saving to the new-born child by prison doctors; which was, in an act of incomprehensible vindictiveness, denied by the authorities. (The child nevertheless survived miraculously. Thanks to God.)

Shakespeare wrote, “The evil that men do lives after them…” One of innumerable evil deeds done by Meles lives to this day over two years after his death in the depraved inhumanity he showed to Eskinder, Serkalem and Nafkot.  In his death, Meles remains the apotheosis of EVIL, a man who would stoop lower than a snake’s belly to destroy his opponents and get his personal revenge.

Eskinder and his family persevered by the grace of God. Meles did not escape the wrath of God. I am sure Eskinder would say, “Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” It is written the wrath of  God will be visited on the decaying  and crumbling  Meles empire.  I have no doubts Eskinder will reunite with his family, God willing.

Eskinder wrote in his Letter, “No less significant, absent trials and tribulations, democracy would be devoid of the soul that endows it with character and vitality. I accept my fate, even embrace it as serendipitous. I sleep in peace, even if only in the company of lice, behind bars. The same could not be said of my incarcerator though they sleep in warm beds, next to their wives, in their home.”

That was exactly how Nelson Mandela accepted his fate and   persevered for 27 years in apartheid prisons. Like Mandela, Eskinder  felt in free and at peace in prison. Eskinder, like Mandela, showed he has an unconquerable soul. Like Mandela, Eskinder’s head has been bloodied but is still unbowed. Eskinder is unafraid. Eskinder is the master of his own fate. Eskinder perseveres, as did Mandela, inspired by William Ernest Henley poem, “Invictus”:

Out of the night that covers me, /Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be/ For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance / I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance / My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears / Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years / Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, / How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul.

Vivat, ESKINDER, INVICTUS!

Eskinder wrote in his Letter, “The government has been able to lie in a court of law effortlessly as a function of the moral paucity of our politics. All the great crimes of history, lest we forget, have their genesis in the moral wilderness of their times.”

I know exactly what Eskinder is writing about. In my very first critique of the TPLF kangaroo justice system in 2006, I wrote a 32-page analysis titled, “Keystone Cops, Prosecutors and Judges in a Police State.” That piece was intended to be a critical analysis of the trial of the so-called Kality Defendants consisting of some 130 or so major opposition leaders, human rights advocates, civic society activists, journalists and others in the aftermath of the 2005 election. That TPLF show-trial was little more than a third-rate theatrical production staged to dupe the international community.  That “court” was an elaborate hoax, a make-believe tribunal complete with hand-picked judges, trumped up charges, witless prosecutors, no procedures and predetermined outcomes set up to produce only one thing: a  monumental miscarriage of justice.” The TPLF’s kangaroo/monkey court has not changed to this day. 

That was what Eskinder meant when he wrote, “The government has been able to lie in a court of law…” A government of lies on the bench in kangaroo/monkey courts stringing Truth on the scaffold and human rights trashed by a government of wrongs, that is the  present crisis in Ethiopia. In James Russell Lowell’s poem “The Present Crisis”, the Lie sits on the bench and Wrong on the throne:

When a deed is done for Freedom, through the broad earth’s aching breast
Runs a thrill of joy prophetic, trembling on from east to west,

Careless seems the great Avenger; history’s pages but record
One death-grapple in the darkness ‘twixt old systems and the Word;
Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

Thugs on the throne forever? Never!

Eskinder wrote in his Letter, “The mundane details of the case offer nothing substantive but what Christopher Hitchens once described as ‘a vortex of irrationality and nastiness.’  Suffice to say, that this is Ethiopia’s Dreyfus Affair. Only this time, the despondency of withering tyranny, not smutty bigotry, is at play.”

Eskinder was referring to Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a French Army General Staff officer who was falsely accused and found guilty of treason in a secret military court-martial in 1894. Émile Zola, the famed French author penned his famous open letter “J’accuse”, accusing the President of France and the French government of falsely convicting Dreyfus motivated by anti-Semitism. Dreyfus persevered and in the end was fully exonerated.

In time, Eskinder, like Captain Dreyfus, will also be exonerated. It will be shown that Eskinder was falsely convicted of treason by a “withering tyranny” choking on its own crimes against humanity.

Eskinder perseveres!   J’accuse!

Eskinder wrote in his Letter, “… Stalinism in the [19]30s  tortured you not to force you to reveal a secret, but to collude you in a fiction. This is also the basic rationale of the unfolding human rights crisis in Ethiopia. And the same 30s bravado that show-trials can somehow vindicate banal injustice pervades official thinking—wont to unlearn from history, we aptly repeat even its most brazen mistakes.”

Stalin once said the death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions, a statistic. But Stalin did not kill millions of his people just by himself. Evil cannot occur without millions in silent or active collusion. Those who face Evil and say, “It’s none of my business”, are in collusion with Evil. Those who say business and the politics of justice don’t mix are in collusion with Evil. Those who are in denial of Evil are in collusion with Evil. Those who apologize for and justify evil are in collusion with Evil. Those who are willfully ignorant of Evil are in collusion with Evil. Those who live by the principle, “See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil” are in collusion with EVIL.

Eskinder wrote in his Letter, “Why should the rest of the world care? Horace said it best: mutate nomine detefabula narrator. ‘Change only the name and this story is also about you.’  Whenever justice suffers our common humanity suffers, too.”

Eskinder quotes Horace [Quintus Horatius Flaccus], one of the greatest Roman poets known for the audacity of his words. Eskinder echoes Pastor Martin Niemöller who expressed his outrage over the silence of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power. Niemoller asked the same question. Why should anyone care? Because YOU are next!

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Eskinder asks, “Why should the rest of the world care?” I ask, “Why should Ethiopians care about Eskinder, Reeyot and all of the other political prisoners?” Is there anyone left to speak for Eskinder, Reeyot and all of the political prisoners in the Meles Zenawi Prison Complex system?

I point my index finger at Ethiopian intellectuals for their silence, and some for their complicity and collusion, in the TPLF’s rise to power. J’accuse!

The heroes and she-roes long walk to freedom

Eskinder wrote in his Letter, “I will live to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may or may not be a long wait. Whichever way events may go, I shall persevere!”

Prof. Joseph Campbell, the famed author of “The Power of Myth” and other original works, described the hero’s journey from light into darkness and back to light. It is an arduous journey of perseverance and endurance. The hero inhabits the ordinary world until he is beckoned  to undertake a challenge, an adventure in an alien and uncharted world of mysterious  powers and events. If the hero accepts the call, he is set to face trials and tribulations alone or with others in the mysterious world. He will face extreme challenges in his journey that tests his inner core. If the hero survives the challenge, he is rewarded with a great gift, a “boon”, of enlightenment and self-knowledge. The hero must then decide whether to return with this “boon” to the ordinary world. He will face many more challenges on the return journey. If the hero succeeds, he will have the opportunity to use the “boon” gifted to him to improve the world. Thus, Campbell wrote, “We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”

Such is the journey, the adventure,  that Eskinder, Reeyot and the others are taking in the underworld of Meles Zenawi Prison. They will persevere and return to the world of light from the world of darkness with their bountiful “boon” to share with the rest of us. Perseverance is one of the “boons” they have sent to us ahead of their arrival from inside the belly of  the beast known as Meles Zenawi Prison.

“I will live to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Eskinder declared.  Eskinder and his fellow prisoners of conscience will complete their long and arduous journey out of the world of darkness  into a world of light. That is the foreordained destiny of all heroes and she-roes.

The TPLF’s war on Ethiopian journalists and bloggers is a war on truth itself. For the past 23 years, the TPLF has been the victor in all of the battles and skirmishes. But there will be a final decisive war between thugs who swing swords and brandish AK47s and enlightened journalists and bloggers who wield pens and computer keyboards. That war is and will continue to be waged in the hearts and minds of the Ethiopian people. I have no doubts whatsoever that the outcome of that war is foreordained. In fact, I believe that war has already been won. For as Edward Bulwer-Lytton penned in his verse, in the war between sword holders and pen holders, final victory always goes to the pen holders:

‘True, This! –
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! – itself a nothing! –
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyze the Caesars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! – Take away the sword –
States can be saved without it!’

What perseverance means to me

I know many of my Ethiopian brothers and sisters are asking themselves, “How long must we struggle before we see the fruits of our labor?” I have asked myself, “How long…?” Others have asked me, “How long will you continue to write and speak truth to power and those who abuse power? Don’t you ever get tired?

There may be some in the Ethiopian human rights struggle who are ready to throw in the towel. They feel they are spinning their wheels. But I tell them, “Hold on! Hold on just a little while longer.” I tell them the struggle for freedom and democracy and against tyranny is a 26-mile marathon run, not a 100-meter sprint. In May 2011, I wrote a commentary entitled, “The Great Ethiopian Run to Freedom”. In that commentary, I tried to argue that Ethiopian human rights advocates and activists, opposition elements and others should develop the perseverance and endurance of our invincible long distance and marathon runners:

… The 10-kilometer run is just a down payment for a long and difficult Marathon for Freedom. That is why each one of us must develop the defining quality of the marathon runner: Endurance. As she pounds the pavement for miles, the distance runner knows the route to the finish line is long, grueling and hard. But she is prepared to give it her best and endure for the long haul. The marathon runner does not say, ‘It is too long, too difficult… I could never do it.’ He maintains a winner’s state of mind and never gives into self-pity and defeatism. He does not use his energy in bursts of speed, but in sustained steps and calculated spurts. The marathon runner has a plan to win and paces his every step along the way to achieve his goal. The distance runner does not allow herself to be overwhelmed by the miles she has yet to cover. She is committed and focused on the next milestone, the next hill and the next bend in the road until she reaches the finish line. Some of us would much prefer the race to be a quick sprint to the 10-kilometer finish line. We are discouraged and dispirited by the very thought of a long distance run. We are tired and ready to give up before taking the first step. But the Marathon to Freedom does not have a finish line. As Mandela said, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

That is what perseverance means to me, running the marathon and climbing one great hill only to find there are many more great hills to climb!  We must keep on climbing until there are no more hills, no more mountains left to climb!

We won’t back down and WE WILL  PERSEVERE!   WE SHALL PREVAIL. WE SHALL OVERCOME!

My heart aches and breaks for my heroes and she-roes languishing in Meles Zenawi Prison.  It breaks my heart thinking  that Eskinder will face the  menace of 18 years in prison in Meles Zenawi Prison. But I am heartened because Eskinder is unafraid; his head is unbowed. My heart aches at the thought of Reeyot spending her days and nights in place of wrath and tears known as the Meles Zenawi Prison. But I am uplifted by the thought that she would rather face whatever punishment her captors can dish out than surrender her dignity.

I celebrate and salute all the hero and she-ro political prisoners in Ethiopia. I celebrate them and thank them for their sacrifices; for inspiring me to persevere. They have strengthened my resolve; and they have and continue to revitalize me as I persevere to imitate their sacrifices. I can only imitate their courage, audacity, endurance, grit and fortitude. I can only aspire to their perseverance. I celebrate and salute them from the bottom of my aching and broken heart.

Eskinder wrote, “I shall persevere!” in deep philosophical tone. When I break it down into everyday language, I believe Eskinder meant exactly what Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers sang in their defiant lyrics in “I won’t back down”:

Well, I won’t back down/ No, I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell/But I won’t back down
No, I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down…

We won’t back down! We Will Stand Our Ground! WE SHALL PERSEVERE! WE SHALL PREVAIL! WE SHALL OVERCOME!

Wishing all of my readers throughout the world a Happy and Prosperous New Year…  May the Force be with you in 2015!

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH ETHIOPIAN POLITICAL PRISONERS!

Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

posted by Daniel tesfaye

በሰላማዊ ሰልፈኛ ላይ ዱላ መሰንዘር ሽንፈት ነው›› እስክንድር ነጋ

Dec18,2014

ሰማያዊ ፓርቲ እና ሌሎች በትብብሩ ውስጥ የታቀፉ ፓርቲዎች በጠሩት የአዳር ሰልፍ ላይ የወጡ ሰላማዊ ሰልፈኞች ላይ የተወሰደውን አሳፋሪ እርምጃ ሰምቻለሁ፡፡ እርምጃው ሁለት ነገሮችን በጉልህ ያሳዬ ነበር፡፡ አንደኛ የኢህአዴግ መራሹ መንግስት ሽንፍትን ያሳየ ነው፤ ሁለተኛው ደግሞ ሰላማዊ ትግሉ እየተጠናከረ መምጣቱን ያመላከተ ነው፡፡

አንተ ባዶ እጅህን መብትህን ለመጠየቅ ስትንቀሳቀስ፣ መሳሪያ ወደታጠቀ አካል በሰላም ስትገሰግስ ባለመሳሪያው ዱላውን ከሰነዘረብህ አሸናፊው አንተ ሰላማዊው ታጋይ ነህ፡፡ በትብብሩ ሰልፍ ላይ የሆነው ይኸው ነው፡፡ አሁን ሰላማዊ ትግሉ ፍጹም ሰላማዊነቱን እንደጠበቀ መጠናከር ነው ያለበት፡…፡ ሰላማዊ ትግል ላይ ልብ ማለት ያለብን ነገር አለ፤ እሱም ሰላማዊ ሆኖ መዝለቅ የሚለው ጉዳይ ነው፡፡
Eskinder_Nega_5.fw
ሰላማዊ ታጋይ ይሰደባል፣ ይደበደባል፣ ይሞታልም፡፡ ግን ደግሞ ሰላማዊ ታጋይ አይሳደብም፣ አይደባደብም፣ አይገድልም፡፡ ይህ ከሆነ ሰላማዊ ትግል ያሸንፋል፡፡ አምባገነኖች ሰላማዊ ታጋዮችን በተለያየ መንገድ ከሰላማዊነታቸው እንዲወጡ ሊገፋፏቸው ይሞክራሉ፤ ስሜት ውስጥ በመክተትም የኃይል በትራቸውን ለማሳረፍ ይቋምጣሉ፡፡ ይህ ሴራ ሰላማዊ ታጋዮችን ሊያዘናጋቸው አይገባም፡፡
በቀደም በተደረገው ሰልፍ ላይ ድብደባው በሰላማዊ ሰዎች ላይ መፈጸሙ ለተደብዳቢዎቹ ሳይሆን ሽንፈቱ ለደብዳቢዎቹ ነው፡፡ በደረሰው ድብደባ ባፍርም፣ ባዝንም በውጤቱ ግን ደስተኛ ነኝ፤ ምክንያቱም ሰላማዊ ሰልፈኞች ሰላማዊነታቸውን አሳይተዋልና! በሰልፉ ወቅት ድብዳባ እና እስር የደረሰባቸውን የመብት ጠያቂዎች ሁሉ በርቱ ልላቸው እፈልጋለሁ፡፡ ባደረጉት ሰላማዊ እንቅስቃሴ በጣም ኮርቻለሁ፡፡ሰላማዊና ህጋዊ ትግላችሁን ቀጥሉ ማለትም እፈልጋለሁ!
‹‹አሸናፊው ህዝብ ነው›› አንዱዓለም አራጌ
ግለሰቦች የለውጥ ሐዋርያ ሊሆኑ ይችላሉ፤ በዚያው ልክ የሚሳሳቱትም ግለሰቦች ናቸው፡፡ የግለሰቦች አስተሳሰብ ህዝባዊ ከሆነ ግን በአሸናፊው ህዝብ ዘንድ ተቀባይነት ይኖራቸዋል፡፡ ምክንያቱም አሸናፊው ህዝብ ነው፤ አሸናፊው ሀገር ነው፡፡ የሁላችንም አሸናፊነት የሚገለጸው ሀገር ከፍ ከፍ ስትል ነው፡፡ ስለዚህ ስራችን ሁሉ ሀገርን ከፍ ለማድረግ መሆን አለበት፡፡
በትብብሩ ፓርቲዎች በተጠራው ሰልፍ ላይ የሆነውን ሰምቻለሁ፡፡ በሆነው ነገር አዝኛለሁም፤ ኮርቻለሁም፡፡ ያዘንኩት በደረሰው ድብደባ እና እስር ነው፡፡ የኮራሁት ደግሞ መብታቸውን በሰላማዊ መንገድ ሊጠይቁ በድፍረት አደባባይ በወጡት ታጋዮች ነው፡፡ በእነዚህ ታጋዮች የእውነት ኮርቻለሁ፡፡
በቀጣይ ፓርቲዎች በአጋርነት መስራት አለባቸው ብዬ አምናለሁ፡፡ በተለይ በቀጣዩ ምርጫ ለመሳተፍ የሚፈልጉ ፓርቲዎች ከእጩ አቀራረብ ጀምሮ ተቀራርበው መስራት ይኖርባቸዋል፡፡ በተለይ ሰማያዊ እና አንድነት ተቀራርበው ቢሰሩ የበለጠ ውጤታማ የሚሆኑ ይመስለኛል፡፡ በተረፈ ግን በትብብሩ ሰልፍ ወቅት ጉዳት ለደረሰባቸው ሁሉ ጥንካሬን እንዲሰጣቸው እመኛለሁ፡፡ ትግላቸውንም አጠናክረው እንዲቀጥሉ አደራ እላለሁ፡፡
‹‹ቃላችሁን ጠብቃችኋልና ክብር ይገባችኋል፣ ኮርቸባችኋለሁም!›› የሺዋስ አሰፋ
ሰማያዊ ፓርቲ መርህ አለው፡፡ ያመነበትን ነገር ህጋዊና ሰላማዊነቱን ጠብቆ እንደሚፈጽም አውቃለሁ፡፡ ትብብሩ በጠራው ሰልፍ ላይም የሰማያዊ ወጣቶችና ሌሎችም ቃላቸውን ጠብቀው ሰልፍ ወጥተዋል፡፡ በእውነት በጣም ኮርቸባቸዋለሁ፡፡ እንደሁሌውም ቃላቸውን ጠብቀው ለህዝቡ መብት መቆማቸውን አይቼ ደስ ብሎኛል፡፡ እኔ በእስር ላይ ብሆንም ሌሎች የትግል ጓዶቼ ባደረጉት ነገር በጣም ነው ደስ የተሰኘሁት፡፡
ድብደባውና እስሩ የፈሪ ዱላ ነው፡፡ ኢህአዴግ በህዝብ ፊት ኪሳራን ነው ያተረፈው፡፡ ሰላምን እና ህግን ማስጠበቅ የሚቻለው በልምምጥ ሳይሆን ትክክለኛ መስመርን በመከተል ነው፡፡ በዚህ መሰረት የትግል ጓዶቼ ትክክለኛ መስመር ላይ እንደሆኑ ይገባኛል፡፡ በርቱልኝ ማለት እፈልጋለሁ፡፡ በዚህ መሰል ሰላማዊነት ነው አምባገነኖችን ማሸነፍ የሚቻለው፡
posted by daniel tesfaye

Gang rape spurs calls for reform in Ethiopia – Al Jazeera

Dec 17,2014

Al Jazeera - Gang rape spurs calls for reform in Ethiopia
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  Inside a gated home on the western outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, a picture of Hanna Lalango is framed in a wreath of flowers just beginning to wilt around the edges.

The 16-year-old girl died on November 1, about a month after she entered a public mini-bus and was gang-raped by the strangers on board.

Hanna’s story is strikingly similar to a tragedy that took place in India two years ago, when another young woman boarded a bus, was raped by the passengers, and died from her injuries. That incident spawned a mass movement calling for an end to violence against women and impunity for perpetrators, making international headlines and sparking protests across the world’s most populous democracy.

But in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country, the reaction to Hanna’s death has so far been subdued.

Ethiopia’s economy has grown rapidly in recent years, and the country has made major progress on health and poverty initiatives over the past two decades.

But violence against women remains an entrenched and often taboo issue. Eighty percent of Ethiopians live in rural areas, where patriarchal customs often effectively turn women into second-class citizens.

In cities and towns, Ethiopian and foreign women alike complain of constant sexual harassment on the streets. According to the UN, Ethiopia ranked 121st out of 187 countries in terms of gender equality in 2013.

Hanna’s case was flying under the radar until Blen Sahilu, a young university lecturer and women’s rights activist, stumbled across a brief report on the attack buried in a local newspaper.

“I saw that the case was written off as something really simple,” Blen said. “I was shocked and first I called friends and asked, ‘Did you hear about this case?’ And no one had.”

Blen began raising awareness through The Yellow Movement, an activist group she leads at Addis Ababa University. Her followers on social media networks connected Blen with Hanna’s family, and soon she had posted enough information to make more people take notice.

Brutal assault

The day of Hanna’s disappearance began like any other. “On that morning, she was doing chores as usual: making breakfast, cleaning the house,” said Hanna’s father, Lalango Hayesso. “I told her to go to school so she wouldn’t be late.”

Hanna was a good student – not stellar, but studious – who had promised her father that she would become a doctor one day.

Lalango waited for his daughter to come home at 4pm, but she never arrived. “We went to the police station. Then we prayed a lot. There was nothing else we could do.”

Eleven days later, Hanna finally called. “Where are you?” she asked when her father answered the phone. He asked her the same question. Family members tracked her down, bloodied and abandoned outside of a church, and rushed her to a hospital.

After a series of transfers from one healthcare facility to another, Hanna ended up at Zewditu Hospital in central Addis Ababa. The doctors did all they could, but after 22 days in treatment, she succumbed to her injuries.

“She came to us very late,” said Dr Abiye Gurmessa, a surgeon at Zewditu whose team worked around the clock to treat her genital injuries. “The wound area was deep and very much infected.”

During her final days, Hanna told her family she boarded a public taxi after school, and the men inside had taken her to one of their homes and raped her for several days before leaving her on the street.

The ensuing police investigation eventually brought some suspects to her hospital room. Lalango said she pointed out three of the alleged perpetrators, which led investigators to find two more. Five men are now in police custody, and investigations are ongoing.

Shadowing shame

Had his daughter survived, Lalango said he would not have made this case public, as the shame would have shadowed Hanna for the rest of her life. Women’s rights activists suspect this impulse to keep sexual assaults secret has caused gender-based violence to often go unreported.

“I’ve been working on these issues, so I thought I knew them. But I learned a lot of new things,” said Blen.

“Male friends started telling stories about them growing up as teenagers, and how common it was for guys to do this. There are euphemisms to describe it; they don’t call it gang rape. But they know it’s not consensual.”

On paper, Ethiopia can point to a number of initiatives to improve women’s rights. The constitution itself guarantees gender equality. New family laws passed in 2000 raised the legal age of marriage to 18 and gave wives greater control over marital property. And last year, Ethiopia launched a campaign in partnership with the UN to combat violence against women across the country.

Government spokesman Redwan Hussein said he does not foresee any policy changes resulting from Hanna’s case, and the government intends to stay the course. “Education must be going on, development must continue, and those who commit these crimes must be brought to court,” he said. “I think we are on the right track.”

Limited information

But if policy changes are necessary, it would be hard to prove, given the lack of research documenting gender-based violence in Ethiopia. Past studies have painted a dreary picture, but limited sample sizes leave many questions unanswered.

Blen said she hopes Hanna’s case will spur interest in undertaking more research. “The long-term purpose should be to push for a comprehensive national study, so that’s what we are going to push for,” she said.

Zenaye Tadesse, director of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association, said her group is working on a survey of its own.

“We’ve been thinking about undertaking different types of assessments on violence against women, but we have not been able to fund them,” she said.

Projects such as these are hampered by Ethiopia’s Charities and Societies Proclamation of 2009, which states without government permission, only organisations that receive less than 10 percent of their funding from abroad can work on human rights and gender-equality issues.

But Hanna’s story has shed new light on the plight of Ethiopia’s women. Civil society groups – underfunded though they are – are doing their best to build on that momentum.

‘Doesn’t happen again’

At a November 24 press conference on the case, audience members wept as Lalango described his daughter’s ordeal, and again when Zenaye recounted stories of past cases: A father who abused his young daughters for years, and a woman who died after her rapist penetrated her with electric tools.

Women in attendance shared stories of discrimination, and men called on each other to treat their female friends with respect. Attendees signed a petition to the government calling for better legislation on gender equality.

Lalango, a deeply religious Christian, is not as concerned with the political effects of Hanna’s tragedy. He said he only hopes other families won’t suffer as his has. Lalango has grown protective of his four daughters and young granddaughter, calling to check on them whenever he can.

“In our culture, it’s not like this. It’s not the right thing,” he said. “Maybe this was God’s message, a warning for other people – not only for Ethiopia, but for the whole world – so this doesn’t happen again.”

posted by daniel tesfaye

11 Year Anniversary of Anuak Massacre of 2003 will be Remembered by Many Ethiopian Anuak Living in Refugee Camps After Being Forcibly Uprooted from their Indigenous Land

December 16, 2014

PRESS RELEASE. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Vancouver, BC, Canada) December 13, 2014 will mark the 11-year anniversary of the horrific massacre of 424 Ethiopians of Anuak ethnicity in Gambella, Ethiopia. Even though it has been over a decade, it still seems like yesterday to the Anuak, especially to those who lost members of their families. Some of the victims remain in unmarked mass graves. The Anuak as well as the other people in the region have never really recovered from this traumatic tragedy, let alone the fact that no justice has been done.Remembering that the December 13 Massacre of the Anuak is Going On Throughout Ethiopia!

Part of the reason for this is that the lives and livelihoods of the people surviving the tragedy have been in turmoil ever since. Seventy-eight thousand Anuak and others in Gambella have been forcibly evicted from their ancestral land in order to lease the land to foreign investors and TPLF/EPRDF regime cronies. The Anuak have never been consulted or compensated as would be done in a country where there was a rule of law.

Those who survived the 2003 massacre and the following three years of destruction, harassment, and human rights abuses, only had temporary relief before the TPLF/EPRDF began a master plan to remove them from their homes and land. Those that resisted quickly discovered that their lives were in danger. Those that complied, found it nearly impossible to survive in the resettlement sites designated to them by the regime due to inferior land, difficult access to water and absent services. Many were forced to leave Ethiopia in order to save their lives. They are now living in refugee camps in South Sudan and Kenya. Yet the ethnic apartheid regime of the TPLF/EPRDF continues to round up Anuak men in Gambella who are now in prison in Addis Ababa. With all of these actions, these past eleven years have been some of the most painful for the Anuak.

Today, December 13, 2014 these Anuak refugees and other Anuaks throughout the world, namely in Europe, United States of America, Canada and Australia will be holding a memorial service to commemorate this tragedy. As they remember what took place at mid-day eleven years ago and as they reflect on the needless loss of the lives of their loved ones, it will rekindle much emotion.

Widows will try to describe what fathers, brothers, sisters, or other relatives were like to their now grown children and try to explain how a regime that is supposed to protect its citizens could do such a horrible thing to their own people. It is difficult enough when you are in a stable environment, but it is all the more difficult being in a refugee camp, trying to find ways to move on with such few resources.

In the midst of this darkness, out of the hearts of the Ethiopian community in the greater Houston Area, has come an unexpected source of hope and encouragement—a large monetary gift to help the Anuak who have been displaced. In their letter of explanation they say: “We would like to kindly request that this small token be allocated to our fellow Ethiopians that have been uprooted from their land and homes by some greedy land grabbers who have little to no regard to their fellow mankind.”

The funds will be divided between Anuak in refugee camps in South Sudan and Kenya and Anuak in Gambella. The Anuak Justice Council (AJC) has chosen to distribute the funds to both refugee camps in conjunction with the December 13th memorial gatherings in both camps; but in Gambella, no commemoration is allowed, other than privately, so we are still working out the best way to distribute the funds.

Mr. Ochalla Abulla, Chairman of the Anuak Justice Council (AJC) was very moved by this generosity, “This gift has been a tremendous encouragement to the people in the camps, but what these Ethiopians did when they reached out to the Anuak should now be an example to all of us, including the Anuak, to reach out to others beyond their ethnic groups. The impact of this could be huge and could inspire us as a nation to help our people—not only those from our own groups. There are some other examples of Ethiopians who are already doing this. Some Ethiopians have formed small groups of five members who all contribute $20 a month to support the family of some of our Ethiopian political prisoners who used to be the breadwinners of their families.”

AJC Vice Chairman, Mr. Ojulu Lero, added his thoughts, “This gesture is reconciliation in itself! These people have reached out to the Anuak and now the Anuak can reach out to other people like the Majangir or the Oromo who can reach out to the Amhara or Tigray who can reach out to the Southerners or the Afar and so forth. It reminds me of the recent SMNE forum in Washington D.C. that encourages us to talk to each other rather than about each other. In this case, these Ethiopians from Houston helped others rather than only helping themselves. If we all follow this model of action, it will be another way to unify the Ethiopian people. Once the people are unified, the leaders will be more unified.”
As the Anuak in South Sudan and Kenya come together on December 13, 2014, they will know they are not alone. They will be thinking of those fellow Ethiopians far away who have torn down a wall of isolation through their gift of love. These funds will be put to good use, but the impact of it will live on as building blocks to a New Ethiopia. The power of love can break the walls of hostility and division like nothing else.

May the actions of these and other Ethiopians like them, inspire our people to reach out to others with love, humility, and generosity. May God deeply comfort the Anuak during this time of remembrance of the massacre of December 13-15, 2003 as well as all Ethiopians who have lost loved ones over these past years at the hands of the TPLF/EPRDF. May He also bring freedom to all political prisoners from every region throughout the country who are locked up simply for trying to bring justice and freedom to Ethiopia

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Mr. Ochala Abulla, Chairman of the Anuak Justice Council (AJC): Phone: +1 (604) 520-6848 E-mail: Ochala@anuakjustice.org

posted by daniel tesfaye

የፈሪ ዱላ ነፃነትን አያስቀርም !

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Dec15,2014

ህወሃቶች ኢትዮጵያን “ለመምራት” ያላቸው አቅም ተሟጦ አልቋል። ፍርሃት አቅላቸውን አስቷቸዋል። ፍርሃታቸው ጭካኔን ወልዷል። ይህ ጭካኔያቸው ወሰን አጥቷል። ልጥ ባዩ ግዜ እባብ እየመሰላቸው ልጡን በቆመጥ ሲደበድቡ ውለው ያድራሉ። ፍርሃት ያ ደካማ ማሰቢያቸውን ጥርቅም አድርጎ ዘግቶታል። የፈሪ ዓይን ማየት እንደማይችል፤ ጆሮውም መስማት እንደተሳነው ከህወሃቶች ተርድተናል።

እኛ ግን እንዲህ እንላለን ህወሃቶች ዓይናችው እያየ፤ ጆሮዋቸውም እየሰማ የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ነፃነቱን ይቀዳጃል። እውነት እውነት እንላችኋለን የነፃነቱ ግዜ እሩቅ አይደለም። ህወሃቶች ከነፍርሃታቸው ወደ መረጡት መቃብራቸው መውረዳቸው እንደማይቀር ቅንጣት ታክል ጥርጣሬ የለንም።

የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ምርጫ ነፃነት ነው።ይህን ነፃነት ከህወሃቶች እጅ ለምነን የምናገኘው አይደለም። ነፃነታችንን ታግለንና አሸነፈን የምንቀዳጀው ንፁህ ሃብታችን ነው። ይህን ንፁህ ሃብታችንን በቀማኞች አስነጥቀን ዝም ብንል እርግማን ይሁንብን ያሉ ኢትዮጵያዊያን እያደረጉ ያሉት ትግል ተስፋ ሰጪ ነው። በተለይም ወጣቶች እምቢ ለክብሬ፤ እምቢ ለነፃነቴ እምቢ ለማያውቁን ህወሃቶች ማለታቸውን ስናይ ተስፋችን ከመቸውም ግዜ በላይ ለምልሟል።

ህወሃቶች ኃላፊነት የሚሰማቸው ቢሆኑ ኑሮ “በሃሳባችሁ ባንስማም ልዩነታችሁን መግለፅ የምትችሉበትን መብት ለማስከበር እሰከ ሞት ድረስ እንቆማለን” ይሉ ነበር። አለመታደል ሁኖ ህወሃቶች አገር፤ ህዝብ፤ ወገን የሚባል ቋንቋ በውስጣቸው የለም። ኢትዮጵያም አገራቸው አትመስላቸውም፤ ህዝቡም ወገናቸው እንደሆነ አይሰማቸውም። ህወሃቶች በወንድምና እህቶቻቸው አጥንት ላይ ቁመው ለኢትዮጵያና ለህዝቧ ጠላት መሆንን መርጠዋል። ለነፃነት ብለው በትግል ሜዳ የተሰው ጓዶቻቸውን ሞትም ከንቱ ሞት አድርገው አስቀርተውታል። ይሄ እርግማን ነው።ይሄ እርግማን ደግሞ አሁን ባሉት ህወሃቶች ብቻ የሚቆም ሳይሆን ወደ ልጅ ልጆቻቸው እንደሚሸጋገር ህወሃቶች ለማሰብ አቅቷቸዋል።

ህወሃት የስለጠነ ፖለቲካ አያውቅም። የነፃነትንም ትርጉም ሳያውቅ ነፃ አውጪ ነኝ ይላል። በአገሪቷ ጫንቃ ላይ መቆየት ብቻ የህልውናየ መሠረት ነው ብሎ ካመነም ቆይቷል። ይህን የህልውናየን መሠረት የሚነካ ሁኔታ ከተፈጠረም ጠመንጃየ መመኪያ ጉልበቴ ነው የሚል የማይናወፅ አቋምም ይዟል። ይህ አቋሙ አገሪቷ ከተጋረጡባት አደጋዎች መካከል አንዱ ሁኖ ይታየናል። የዚህ አቋም መዘዙ አሁን ባለው ትውልድ ብቻ የሚያበቃ አይደለም። ወደ ቀጣዩ ትውልድ ተሸጋግሮ የአገሪቷ ዜጎች በሠላም አብረው የሚኖሩበትን እድል እንደሚያበላሸው ህወሃቶች አያውቁም ማለት አይቻልም። ተደጋግሞ እንደተነገረው በህወሃቶች ዘንድ ትውልድ የሚባል ቋንቋ እንዲጠፋ በመደረጉ ለመጪው ትውልድ የሚተርፍ ቂም ትተው ለማለፍ ሳያቅማሙ እየሰሩ ይገኛሉ።

የኢኮኖሚ መዋቅሩ በእነርሱ ብቻ መያዙ ነገ ለእነርሱ ልጆች የደም እንጀራን እንደሚያተርፍላቸው እንዲገነዘቡ ማድረግ ተገቢ ይመስለናል።በህወሃቶች አስተሳሰብ ሌላውን የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ድሃ አድርገን ከያዝነው ከዕለት ጉርሱ አልፎ ሂዶ ነፃነትን ይጠይቀናል ለነፃነት የሚከፍለውንም ዋጋ ለመክፈል አቅም አይኖረውም የሚል ሙት ፍልስፍና መመሪያቸው ሁኗል። እኛ ብቻ በኢኮኖሚ ጎልበትን ሌሎቹን የእኛ ጥገኛ ካደረግን ለዘላለም ከነ ልጅ ልጆቻችን ነግሰን እንኖራለን የሚል ቅዥት ውስጥ ሁነው አገሪቷን ወደ ትርምስ እየወሰዷት እንደሆነ እያየነው ነው።ህወሃቶች ከእህል ውሃ የዘለለ ራዕይ እንደሌላቸው የሚታወቅ ነው። ራዕይ አልባዎች ተደራጅተው አገር መምራት ሲጀምሩ አገሪቷና ህዝቧ በሙሉ ራዕይ አልባ ይሆናሉ። መፅሃፍ እንደሚነግረን ደግሞ “ራዕይ አልባ አገር ይጠፋል” ይላል። የህወሃቶች ምኞት ይሄው ነው። እኛ ከሌለን ኢትዮጵያ አትኖርም የሚል ክፉ ምኞት።

ኢትዮጵያዊያን ሆይ !

ህወሃት የጭለማን መንገድ መርጧል። ይሄ መንገዱም አገሪቷንና ህዝቧን ወደ መቀመቅ እየጨመራት ነው። አገሪቷን አስይዞ ከግል ኩባንያዎች ብድር እስከ መለመን ደርሷል። ቀጣዩ ትውልድ ከሚወርሰው ቂምና በቀል በተጨማሪ በእዳ የተያዘ ትውልድ ይሆናል። በቀላል አነጋገር ትውልዱ የባዕድ ተገዢ እንዲሆን ተፈርዶበታል። ህወሃቶች ለመጪው ትውልድ የሚሰጡት ስጦታ ባርነትን እንዲሁም ቂምና በቀልን እንጂ ነፃነትንና አብሮ መኖርን አይደለም።

እንግዲህ ህወሃቶችን አደብ ማስያዝ የዚህ ትውልዱ ግዴታ ይሆናል። ህወሃት ከኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ውሳኔ ሰጪነት ካልተወገደ በቀር በኢትዮጵያ መረጋጋት አይኖርም። ችጋርም አይጠፋም። የንፁህ ሰው ደም ከመፍሰስ አይቆምም። አገሪቷም በእዳ ላይ እዳ ከመጨመር አትመለስም።

ይህ ሁኔታ መቆም እንደሚኖርበት አሁን ሁሉም ተገንዝቧል። ይህ ሁኔታ ግን እንዲሁ በከንቱ የሚቆም አይሆንም። ለዚህ የሚከፈል የደም መሥዋዕትነት የግድ ሁኖብናል። ፍትህ፤ እኩልነት እና ነፃነት የደም ውጤቶች ናቸው። ያለ መሠዋዕትነት የሚመሠረት ፍትህ አይኖርም፤እኩልነትም ቢሆን የብዙዎችን መስዋዕትነት ይጠይቃል፤ የነፃነት ቀንዲል የሚለኮሰው በደም አቀጣጣይነት ነው። ህወሃቶች መሽቶ በነጋ ቁጥር የንፁህ ደም ያፈሳሉ። ዝም ያሉትም ሞት አልቀረላቸውም፤ የተናገሩትም የውርደት የሞት ፅዋቸውን እየተጎነጩ ነው፤ ሌሎቹም ከሞት በባሰ ሁኔታ በየማጎሪያ ቤቱ የመከራ ፅዋቸውን እየተጋቱ ነው። ይሄ የውርደት ታሪክ መቀየር ይኖርበታል።

የሠማያዊ ፓርቲ ፅ/ቤት ጥበቃ ሠራተኛ የ72 ዓመቱ አቶ ቀኖ አባጆቢርን ለእስር የዳረገ አገዛዝ ነው ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ያለው።የ72 ዓመት ኢትዮጵያዊ ሽማግሌን አንኳ የሚፈራ ቡድን ነው አገሪቷን የተቆጣጠራት። አቶ ቀኖ የእለት ጉርሳቸውን ለመሸፈን ደመወዝ ተቆርጦላቸው የጥበቃ ሥራ የሚሰሩ እንጂ የፓሪት አባል አልነበሩም ሆኖም ግን ታፍነው ለእስር ተዳርገዋል። የህወሃቶች ግፍ ማብቂያ እና ወሰን አጥቷል።እነዚህ ቡድኖች እየፈፀሙ ያሉት ግፍ ጥላቻን እየወለደ፤ ቂምን እየተከለ ቀጥሏል። የህዝቡ ቂም እንደ ተዳፈነ እሳት የሚቀጣጠልበትን ግዜ እየጠበቀ ነው።ይህ ግዜ የመጣ ቀን ህወሃቶች እና አሸከሮቻቸው ወየውላቸው።ያ ግዜ ደግሞ ያለ ጥርጥር በእርግጠኝነት ይመጣል።ፈጥኖ እንዲመጣ በእኛ በኩል የሚቻለንን ሁሉ እያደረግን ነው።

ከህወቶች በተጨማሪ በዚያች አገር ታሪክ ውስጥ ፌዴራል ፖሊስ ተብለው የተደራጁት እና ከሰው መፈጠራቸውን የረሱ ቡድኖች መኖር በብርቱ ያሳስበናል። የፌዴራል ፖሊስ አባላት እየፈፀሙ ያሉት ጭካኔ አስገራሚ ነው። የዝህ ጦር አባላት ሰው ሁነው መፈጠራቸውን እስክንጠራጠር ድረስ አስገርመውናል። እንግዲህ የፌዴራል ፖሊስ አባላት ብዙ ግዜ ማሳሰቢያ ልከንላችኋል። አሁንም በተጨማሪ እንነግራችኋለን። ነገራችንንም ለታሪክ ይቆይ ዘንድ በመዝገብ እናኖረዋለን። አሁን የጭካኔ ሰይፋቸሁን መዛችሁ እንደ ፈለጋችሁ የምትገሏቸው ዜጎች ወገኖቻችሁ መሆናችሁን አትርሱ። ነገ ቢርባችሁ የሚያበሏችሁ፤ ብትወድቁ የሚያንሷችሁ፤ ብትጠሙ የሚያጠጧችሁ ዛሬ በያዛችሁት ጠመንጃ የምትገድሏችው ወገኖች ናቸው። እናንተ ግን ይሄን እውነት ለማየት አዚም የተደረገባችሁ ይመስላል።

ፌዴራል ፖሊሶች ታዝዤ ገደልኩ በማለት የምታመልጡ እንዳይመስላችሁ። ታዝዤ ገደልኩ ማለት ሥራየ መግደል ነው ማለት ነው። ሥራው መግደል የሆነ ማንም ይሁን ማን ወንጀለኛ ነው። ወንጀለኛ ደግሞ ተመጣጣኝ የሆነ ቅጣት መቀጣቱ አይቀርም። ስለሆነም የፌዴራል ፖሊስ አባላት በሰላማዊ መንገድ ኑሮ ተወወደብኝ የሚለውን ወንድማችሁን በቆመጥ ደብድቡ ስትባሉ አይ ሠላማዊ ሰውን እጠበቅ ዘንድ እንጂ እደበድብ ዘንድ ህግ አይፈቅድልኝም ማለት ስትችሉ ያገኛችሁትን ሁሉ እየሰበራችሁ መኖራችሁን እያየነው ነው። ይሄ በምንም መሥፈርት ትክክል አይደለም። አንዱ ታዝዤ ወንድምህን ወይም ልጅህን ወይም ደግሞ አባትህን ገደልኩ ቢልህ ምንድ ነው የሚሰማህ? መቸስ ታዘህ ነው እንግዲህ ምን ይደረጋል እንደማትል እርግጠኞች ነን። እኛ ሁላችን አንተ የፌዴራል ፖሊስ አባል በምትፈፅመው ጭካኔ በእጅጉ ተጎድተናል።የያዘከው ጠመንጃ የሸንበቆ ምርኩዝ የሚሆንበት ግዜ ወደ አንተ ፈጥኖ እየመጣ ነው። አሁን የያዝከው ቆመጥ ተሰብሮ ይወጋሃል በተወጋህ ግዜ ግን ዞር መግቢያ እንዳታጣ ለራስህ ተጠንቀቅ። አዛዦችህ እንደሆነ የአገሪቷን ንብረት ዘርፈው ወደ ውጭ አገር አሽሽተዋል፤ የቀረውንም በዘመድ አዝማዶቻቸው ሥም ብዙ ህንፃዎችን አሰርተው እየተዘባነኑበት ነው። አንተ ግን ከቀሪው ወገንህ ጋር ደም ትቃባለህ። ነገ ሌላ የተለየ አዲስ ቀን ነው። አዲስ ቀን በሆነ ግዜ መግቢያ እንዳታጣ አሁኑኑ ራስህን ከዘረኞች፤ ከዘራፊዎችና ከግፈኞች ጎን አግልለህ ከኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ጎን እንድትሰለፍ ደግመን ደጋግመን እንመክርሃለን። ይሄን ምክር አልስማ ካልክ ግን የሚመክርህ መከራ በደጅህ ፈጥኖ ይመጣል።

በመጨረሻም ህወሃቶችን ለማስወገድ የሚደረገው ትግል ተፈፍሞ መቀጠል የኖርበታል። ሁሉም በሚችለውና በሚያምነበት መንገድ ሳያቅማማ ይታገል። በሁሉም መንገድ የሚደረገው ትግል ፍሬ አፍርቶ በነፃነት እንደሚቋጭ ባለ ሙሉ ተስፋ ነን። እኛ የጀመርነውን ሁለ-ገብ ትግል አጠናክረን ተያይዘነዋል። ዕለት ዕለት እየጎለበትን እየሄድን ነው። አደረጃጀታችንም መሠረት ይዟል። ካሁን ወዲያ ትግላችንን የሚያቆም ምድራዊ ኃይል የለም። ነፃነታችንን ሳንቀዳጀ የጀመርነውን ትግል አናቆምም።

ድል ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ !

posted by Daniel tesfaye

Human Rights Violations in Polarized Ethiopia: Time for a shift in paradigm of thinking

December 15, 2014

Part II of presentation at the Shengo Forum, Washington, DC, November 30, 2014

by Aklog Birara (DR)

TPLF Inc. survives through repression and not public trust

For members and supporters of the TPLF/EPRDF within and outside Ethiopia, and equally for the donor and diplomatic community that continues to shore-up one of the most repressive and oppressive governments on the planet, the last two weeks must have sent shivers. UNCTAD disclosed that Ethiopia’s famed growth that I had disputed in terms of social efficacy, has not changed the fundamentals impediments that would lift millions from abject poverty and destitution. The vast majority of Ethiopians including the hardworking middle class are poor and getting poorer; and the poorest of the poor are trapped in a cycle of destitution. This condition emanated directly from poor and exclusionary governance and a regulatory framework that is not pro-poor and pro-Ethiopian. The condition of food insecurity and dependency on food aid says it all. Experts tell us that Ethiopia is the first country in Africa that pioneered settled agriculture and food production. In ancient times, this was considered a technological breakthrough. There is no innovation, change and technological advancement without food. But this noble tradition has been stalled by lack of empowering policies and technological inputs that would boost smallholder food and other related productivity. Unlike countries such as India where the government and the donor community revolutionized agriculture, the Ethiopian government controls the peasantry and owns the land. Smallholders and farmlands are hostages to single party and ethnic elite monopoly.

The past two weeks after our forum on human rights on November 30, 2014 showed four events that suggest the urgent needs for radical political, social and economic reforms and the vital role of solidarity in Ethiopia. The only way that these reforms in politics, social systems and economics can occur is if millions of Ethiopians rise up in unison and claim their rights. It critical to note, despite enormous hurdles, opposition leaders, members and supporters are showing fierce and genuine determination to bring the TPLF/EPRDF to the conference table. Recurring protests are most likely to make the country ungovernable. They must occur without let up and peacefully. Those of us who live in the Diaspora and wish for a better alternative must welcome this determination and persistence. Those in the forefront of the peaceful struggle for justice, the rule of law, genuine equality and representative governance must be admires. They are today’s agents of change. The Diaspora must support them in earnest. We have a responsibility to do our part by approaching and urging the donor and diplomatic community to reconsider its stand. We must persuade these groups and more important skeptical Ethiopians the struggle for good governance is theirs too. The pains must be shared by all stakeholders. Read more…

posted by Daniel tesfaye

SMNE Calls on Donor Countries to Condemn the Recent Crackdown on Ethiopian Peaceful Protesters

December 11, 2014

SMNE CALLS ON DONOR COUNTRIES TO CONDEMN THE RECENT CRACKDOWN ON ETHIOPIAN PEACEFUL PROTESTERS AND CLOSING OF ALL POLITICAL SPACE, FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, AND FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION IN ETHIOPIA

PRESS RELEASE

The SMNE condemns the recent crackdown on Ethiopian opposition leaders and protesters. An alliance of eight opposition parties planned a campaign of peaceful protest in response to the lack of political space in Ethiopia leading up to the May 2015 national election. The ruling one-party, ethnic-based TPLF/EPRDF clearly proved the underlying rationale for the protest—that there is zero tolerance for anyone other than themselves. This was a peaceful protest, allowed under Ethiopian Constitutional law; however, it was blocked at every point by the regime. It is now illegal to simply point out the need for electoral choices.Obang Metho, Executive Director SMNE

The Alliance tried to do it all by the book, making sure they were within their rights as per the law of the land, but they quickly found out that the TPLF/EPRDF was not even going to pretend they were going to hold a democratic election. The TPLF/EPRDF—seen as weakening at the same time as the opposition is gaining strength—may see it as far too dangerous a risk to take due to the rising level of discontent among Ethiopians in general. As a result, small and contained protests that may have been useful as propaganda tools in the past will no longer be allowed. Instead, as seen from the recent arrests of the organizers of the Freedom for Fair Election campaign, some arrests of which occurred prior to the protest, even planning for a peaceful protest is now considered as incitement to the overthrow of the government and an act of terrorism, punishable by beatings, arrests and serious charges.

According to inside information received, organizers attempted to hold several activities during the months of November and December, culminating with a 24-hour protest at Mesquel Square on December 6-7, following all the proper legal procedures; however, they were denied permission all along the way.

On December 5, as members attempted to promote the rally or as organizers were returning home or still working in their offices, some of them were arrested. On the same day, the ruling party announced to the public on national TV and radio programs that the protest was illegal and warned the public not to participate.

According to this report, leaders and members of the 8-party alliance decided to go forward anyway in a peaceful and legal manner. As the numbers of participants increased, the Federal Police began arresting the people. As some approached the police, who were blocking access to the roads, the police “started beating everyone viciously without any dialogue or warning.”

The report also states, “From a distance, it was very visible, some of the protesters fall on the ground, many were bending and crying out loud in pain. Namely, Yilkal Getnet, Abel Ephram, Brhanu T/Yared, some women, and several others.” Nearly 400 were arrested and removed by police pickup trucks and four buses to Addis Ababa Police (Sostegna), Lazarist and Cherkos Popolarai Police Station.

Thirty minutes after the arrests, a phone call was received from within the police station: “All we heard was shouting and moaning…some call names in fear, ‘Abel!’ ‘O God Abel’…we heard insults and reactions of whipping. It goes like that for about 5 minutes; then someone said, ‘give me the phone’ and the last thing we heard was a sound of a slap.”

Police had surrounded Semayawi headquarters for a week prior to the scheduled protest and “after the chaos… the office was still surrounded by spies and police; no one could go out or come in.” Many of those arrested are being held without any notice to family members of their whereabouts.

As many have feared, the Ethiopian government is increasing its repression of freedom in anticipation of the upcoming election. This should be worrisome to the donor countries that support Ethiopia. For the second year, the US House passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill on December 9, 2015. The bill puts pressure on Ethiopia for greater transparency and accountability in regards to human rights violations or forced evictions that could be linked to funds received.

One part of the 2014 law applies in this particular case in that it links the receipt of aid to the Ethiopian government’s implementation of policies to: (i) protect judicial independence; freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion; the right of political opposition parties, civil society organizations, and journalists to operate without harassment or interference; and due process of law;

The TPLF/EPRDF will attempt to claim they were countering regional terrorism, an obviously absurd argument; however, the 2014 US Omnibus law requires some action in response. We also call on all donor countries to condemn what has happened and to re-examine their positions on continuing to provide support unless meaningful changes are implemented, including the release of all political prisoners, opening up political space, giving independence to the judicial system, holding perpetrators of human rights crimes accountable, and rescinding the Anti-terrorism Law and the Charities and Societies Proclamation law that has decimated civil society. These violations may require an independent investigation prior to the allocation of future funds.

From what we have heard, these peaceful protesters have been charged with baseless crimes, like 1) protesting without a license, 2) incitement to mobilize the public to overthrow the government, and 3) vandalizing property—despite lack of evidence to any of this. Some of the opposition leaders were arrested and eventually charged with these crimes before the protest ever began—that they never even had opportunity to commit. This is an example of a regime that is afraid of its own citizens.

We also call on human rights groups, the International Red Cross and others to assess the condition of those in detention who have been injured by security agents and document the details as to what has happened.

We call on all Ethiopians of all ethnic, religious, political, regional, and organizational backgrounds to stand together in unity for what is right, just and moral.

We call on citizens who have witnessed illegal acts or who have knowledge of crimes committed by security agents, federal police, government agents, or any other authorities to document it as best possible and to contact us, submit information online to http://www.masreja.com, who are doing an excellent job of compiling information on individuals, including members of the TPLF/EPRDF, who have committed crimes or corruption.

It is needed for documentation should there be future charges. This should also include government officials and judges who have been complicit in violating the rule of law because when this regime ends, these people will be held accountable. Along with pertinent details, those with information should also include names, dates, times, pictures, videos, locations, official titles, connections and other related information.

Be on alert and document any who are committing these crimes.

We call on people to rise to the moral challenges of the times. Even if you have been part of the system or even if you have wrongly participated in some of these acts yourself; it is not too late to distance yourselves from a regime that pressures you to violate your conscience. It is too great a cost.

May God help Ethiopians to see how dishonoring and wrong this is to support a government that hurts its own citizens, especially those brave Ethiopians who are trying to call for justice, freedom, morality and the well being of all.

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For more information, contact Mr. Obang Metho, Executive Director of the SMNE. Email: Obang@solidaritymovement.org

posted by Daniel tesfaye

On its Independence Day, Finland honors contributions of Ethiopian-Finnish agricultural scientist

December 10, 2014

by Keffyalew Gebremedhin – Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

A grateful nation never bats an eye; it proudly acknowledges and rewards the services its children render it in their areas of competence or expertise, irrespective of their background or origin.

Therefore, on December 6, 2014 on the occasion of its 97th independence anniversary of 1917 from Russia, Finland smiled on Dr. Yeshitila Degefu, an agricultural scientist of Ethiopian origin. It conferred on him the 2014 Isänmaan Hyväksi Award – the nation’s Cross of Merit of The Order of The White Rose. It is an acknowledgement of the services the scientist has provided “For the Well-Being of the Fatherland”.

Dr. Yeshitila Degefu

Accordingly, on that day Dr. Yeshitila received his award from President Sauli Ninistö in recognition of the high impact research and development work he has carried out in modern molecular diagnostics of plant pathogens of potato. This work is done, he says, via processes safeguarding the high-grade seed potato production from emerging diseases, which in the past had been threat to food security.

In other words, a grateful nation has seen it fit to acknowledge the success of Dr. Yeshitila Degefu’s outstanding contributions to the stock of food in Finland and also prosperity of the country’s seed potato industry.

The Cross of Merit of The Order of The White Rose is sixth, out of Finland’s eight honors that can be granted for military as well as civilian merit, according to the Office of the Republic’s President.

Since he left Ethiopia about 23 years ago, the focus of Yeshitila’s research has rested on trying to understand the mechanisms of how plant pathogens attack plants and how plants defend themselves against such attacks.

In that context, he observes, “Over the last decade I have been more focused in the development of technology to detect pathogens in seeds and planting materials before they increase in number or are able to cause infection and damage.”

“This information is very crucial for farmers,” he pauses to stress and adds, “in order to evaluate their risks and avoid disease and crop losses and thereby avoid heavy use of agricultural chemicals, which is damaging to human health and the environment.”

Dr. Yeshitila at work in the lab with his colleagues

The making of a scientist

Dr. Yeshitila Degefu was born in 1958 in Ethiopia. As a graduate of the once famous and reputable Alemaya College of Agriculture, he taught for a while at Addis Abeba University as senior lecturer, in a country he left 23 years ago.

His love of higher education began at the Alemaya College, which by the time he graduated from there with BSc Degree in Plant Sciences in 1982 was already 30-year old institution. Alemaya College’s origin was in US-funded project and was for decade and a half “recipient of major institutional development assistance from Oklahoma State University”, to enable it offer its students B.S. and M.S. degrees.

Hungry for further education, Yeshtila came to Finland in 1983 to continue his MSc studies. With completion in 1986 of his MSc degree, he returned to Ethiopia to his teaching and research post only to return to Finland in 1991 to pursue his doctoral studies.

Yeshitila completed his PhD degree with distinction in molecular plant pathology and biotechnology in 2003 from the University of Helsinki, Finland.

His PhD dissertation dealt with the molecular mechanism of pathogenicity of the fungus causing serious disease of maize in Ethiopia and other maize growing parts of the world.

At the Helsinki University, Dr. Yeshitila Degefu continued his engagement in research work and teaching through 2004, following which he assumed the post of Senior Research Scientist at Agrifood Research Finland, connected with Oulu University in north Finland.

Summing up his successes in research work, Dr. Yeshitila Degefu notes:

“I have cloned the genes encoding the enzymes (natural weapons) the fungus uses to dissolve the natural external barriers of the maize plant and developed the genetic system for the analysis of the molecular cross talk between the fungus-and the maize plant. That work opened new understanding and knowledge, filling the existing knowledge gap in the field and provided a roadmap and new insight for future plant disease research geared towards sustainable disease management. It served as a model system for other pathogen-plant interactions.”

PhD degree with distinction in molecular plant pathology & biotechnology – the ultimate key to Yeshitila’s succes

Awards, honors and affiliations

  • In addition to The Cross of Merit of The Order of The White Rose of Finland Medal, he has also received:
  • Best Doctoral thesis of the year award, University of Helsinki (2003)

Doctor primus (honor of Highest Ranked Doctor) on the occasion of the 2008 Solemn Conferment of Doctor’s Degrees (Promotion of Doctors), Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki

Dr. Yeshitila Degefu is a member of several consortium of scientists worldwide. He is also the Chief Editor of the Ethiopian Journal for Research and Innovation Foresight (Ee-JRIF)

posted by Daniel tesfaye

በሰላማዊ ተቃዋሚዎች ላይ የደረሰውን ጥቃት እናወግዛለን !!!

26351fb59e29fb0a1375427042

Dec 9,2014

በአብዛኛው በወጣት ወንዶችና ሴቶች የተገነባው ሰማያዊ ፓርቲ አባል የሆነበት የዘጠኝ ፓርቲዎች ኅበረት፣ “ነፃነት ለፍትሃዊ ምርጫ” የተሰኘ የአንድ ወር መርሀ ግብር አውጥቶ፤ ችግሮችን ተጋፍጦ አብዛኛውን ተግባራዊ አድርጓል። የመርሀ ግብሩ አቢይ አካል የነበረውና በህዳር 27 እና 28 ሊከናወን ታድቆ የነበረው የ24 ሰዓት የአደባባይ ተቃውሞ ግን በአገዛዙ የኃይል እርምጃ ምክንያት በታቀደው መንገድ ሊከናውን አልቻለም። የህወሓት ቅልብ የሆኑት ሲቪል የለበሱ ሰላዮችና የፌደራል ፓሊስ በተቃውሞው ተሳታፊዎች ላይ ኢሰብዓዊ የሆነ ጥቃት ፈጽመዋል።

ከጅምሩ፣ የፓርቲዎቹ ኅበረት የተቃውሞ ማሳወቂያ ደብዳቤውን ለአዲስ አበባ ከተማ አስተዳደር ለማስገባት የገጠመው ችግር የህወሓት አገዛዝ የመንግሥትን መዋቅር ለፓርቲ ሥራ፤ የመንግሥት ተቀጣሪዎችን ደግሞ እንደ ህወሓት አገልጋዮች የሚጠቀምባቸው መሆኑ አንዱ ማሳያ ሆኗል። ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ እንደሚያደርጉ ማሳወቅ የፈለጉት ፓርቲዎች ህወሓት የዘረጋውን አፋኝ ሥርዓት የሚታገሉ በመሆናቸው ብቻ ደብዳቤዓቸውን የሚቀበል እንኳን አጥተው ተጉላልተዋል። ለሰልፉ ቅስቀሳ ማድረግም በራሱ እንደ ወንጀል ተቆጥሮ ወጣቶች ተንገላተዋል፣ ተደብድበዋል፣ ታስረዋል። ያም ሆኖ ውጣ ውረዶች ታልፈው ቅዳሜ ህዳር 27 ቀን 2007 ዓ. ም. ደረሰ።

የኅበረቱ አመራሮች፣ አባላት፣ ደጋፊዎችና ጥሪውን የሰማ ሕዝብ ወደ መስቀል አደባባይ ማምራት ሲጀምር ሲቪል የለበሱ የአገዛዙ ታጣቂዎች እና ፌደራል ፓሊሶች ከሰንደቅ ዓላማዎችና መፈክሮች ባለፈ አንዳች ነገር ያልያዙትን እድሜያቸው ከሃያዎች ያልዘለሉ ውድ የኢትዮጵያ ልጆችን ደብድበዋል፤ ብዙዎቹም አፍነው በአሰቃቂ ሁኔታ እያንገላቱ ወደ እስር ቤቶች ወስደዋል። ወጣቶች ተወልደው ባደጉበት አገር፤ ስሜታቸውን በነፃነት ለመግለጽ በመድፈራቸው ብቻ በጭካኔ ተረግጠዋል፤ ተፈንክተዋል፤ እጅና እግሮቻቸው ተሰብሯል።

ግንቦት 7: የፍትህ፣ የነፃነትና የዲሞክራሲ ንቅናቄ ይህ የህወሓትን ፋሺስታዊ እርምጃ አጥብቆ ይቃወማል። ግንቦት 7፣ ህወሓት ከስልጣን እስካልተወገደ ድረስ እንዲህ ዓይነቱን ፋሺስታዊ ተግባር መፈፀሙን የማይተው እኩይ ኃይል እንደሆነ ያውቃል፤ በዚህም ምክንያት የትግላችን ግብ ህወሓትን ማስወገድና በምትኩ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ይሁንታ ያገኘ መንግሥት መመሥረት መሆን ይኖርበታል ብሎ ያምናል፤ ለዚህም ይታገላል።

ግንቦት 7፣ ህዳር 27 ቀን 2007 ዓ.ም. “መብቶቻችንን በህወሓት ዘረኛ አምባገነኖች አናስነጥቅም” በማለት አደባባይ የወጡ ወጣቶችን ጽናት ያደንቃል። ህወሓት የሚለውን ሳይሆን የይስሙላ ህጉ የፈቀደላቸውን ለማድረግ በመድፈራቸው በህወሓት የህግ ማዕቀፍ ውስጥ ሆኖ የሚደረገውን ትግል አንድ እርምጃ ወደፊት አራምደውታል።

እያንዳንዱ የፓለቲካ ድርጅት ከዚህ ኩነት የሚወስዳቸው ተጨማሪ ትምህርቶች ቢኖሩም የሚከተሉትን ነጥቦች ብዙዎችን ያስማማሉ ብለን እናምናለን።

1. ህወሓት በምንም ዓይነት ቢሆን የያዘውን ስልጣን ለሕዝብ ፈቃድ ማስገዛት አይፈልግም፤

2. ህወሓት አገራችን ወደ ትርምስ እየገፋት እንደሆነ ግልጽ እየሆነ መጥቷል፤

3. ስልጣኑን የሚያሳጣው ከመሰለው እና አቅሙ እስካለው ድረስ ዘግናኝ እርምጃዎችን ከመውሰድ አይመለስም፤

ከህወሓት አገዛዝ መገላገል የሚቻለው ተገዶ ሲወገድ ብቻ ነው። ህወሓት እንዲወገድ ደግሞ የመጨቆኛ አቅሙ መዳከም ይኖርበታል። ህወሓትን የማስወገጃ አማራጭ መንገዶች ብዙ ሲሆኑ ተቀናጅተው ቢሠሩ የበለጠ ውጤታማ ይሆናሉ ብለን እናምናለን፤ “ሁለገብ ትግል” የምንለው የትግል ስልት ጭብጥ ይህ ነው። “እምቢ ለነፃነቴ” ብሎ የተነሳ ሕዝብ ህወሓትን ምን ያህል እንደሚያስደነግጥ በተደጋጋሚ ታይቷል። ህዳር 27ን መንደርደሪያ አድርገን በመውሰድ ከዚህ በተሻለ ለተደራጀ ሕዝባዊ እምቢተኝነትና አመጽ ራሳችን እናዘጋጅ።

በዚህ አጋጣሚ ግንቦት 7፣ ለመከላከያ ሠራዊት እና ፓሊስ አባላት ተደጋጋሚ ጥሪዎችን ማድረግ ይሻል። የመከላከያ ሠራዊት እና ፓሊስ አባላት እንደማንኛውም የኢትዮጵያ ዜጋ በህወሓት ዘረኛና አምባገነን አገዛዝ የተበደላችሁ መሆኑን እናውቃለን። የህወሓት ሹማምንት ከሆኑ አዛዦቻችሁ መላቀቅና ራሳችሁን ነፃ የማውጣት ኃላፊነት የወደቀው በእናንተው በራሳችሁ ላይ ነው። ሠራዊቱ ራሱን በራሱ ነፃ ማውጣት ይኖርበታል። የጊዜ ጉዳይ ካልሆነ በስተቀር ህወሓት መወገዱ የማይቀር በመሆኑ ሠራዊቱ ራሱን ነፃ አውጥቶ ከሕዝብ ጋር ካልወገደ እጣ ፈንታው የተሸነፈ ሠራዊት መሆን ነው። ከዚህ በላይ የሠራዊቱ አባል እየደበደበ ያለው የራሱን ልጅ፣ ወንድሙን ወይም እህቱን እንደሆነ ይወቅ። ይህ ወሳኝ ጊዜ ነው እያንዳንዱ የሠራዊቱ አባል በግል ኃላፊነት ያለበት መሆኑ ሊሰማው ይገባል።

በሁሉም ዓይነት የትግል ዘርፎች የኢትዮጵያ ወጣቶች በስፋት እየተቀላቀሉ መሆኑ ተስፋ ሰጪ ነው። ጊዜው የለውጥ ነው። የተለያዩ ስትራቴጂዎች ተደጋግፈው እንዲሄዱ መደረግ ያለበት ወቅት ላይ ነን። በህዳር 27 ቀን በህወሓት ቅልብ ሰላዮችና የፌደራል ፓሊሶች አማካይነት የደረሰው ጉዳትና የፈሰሰው ደም ለፍትህና ለነፃነት የተከፈለ ዋጋ ነው። ህመማችሁ ህመማችን፤ ትግላችሁ ትግላችን ነው። የተለያዩ መንገዶች ወደ ነፃነት አደባባይ እያመሩ ነው።

ድል ለኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ!

posted by Daniel tesfaye

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