"The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being." - Lech Walesa

Saturday, 1 June 2013

ሰበር ዜና: በካይሮ ኢትዮጵያ ኤምባሲ በር ላይ ከፍተኛ ተቃውሞ ተቀሰቀሰ

Protest outside Ethiopia’Cairo embassy about Blue Nile dam move
Limited demonstration erupts outside Ethiopian embassy in Cairo as activists protest perceived infringement on Egypt’s traditional share of Nile water
Dozens of Egyptian protestersgathered outside the Ethiopian embassy in Cairo on Friday to protest Addis Ababa’s decision earlier this week to temporarily divert the course of the Blue Nile as part of a project to build a series of dams on the river.
Protesters held banners aloft reading, “We reject attempts to take our Nile Water.” Others chanted: “We are the source of the Nile Basin.”
“After Ethiopia’s surprising decision, bilateral relations have now been put to the test,” according to a statement by the ‘Copts without Borders’ group, one of the protests’ main organisers.

Egypt politician threatens to block Suez Canal for ships used by countries that are financing the Nile dam project

Admas | May 30th, 2013

(Ahram Online) – Egypt could close the Suez Canal to ships from countries that help Ethiopia build a controversial dam on the Blue Nile in the event that the dam threatens Egypt’s supply of Nile water, Egyptian Popular Current leader Hamdeen Sabbahi said Wednesday.
"The state is capable of holding talks with the countries financing Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam project, especially China and Italy," Sabbahi said.
He went on to assert that Egypt was capable of prohibiting ships from those countries from transiting the Suez Canal "until they stop harming Egypt’s interests."
He also said that Ethiopia’s decision to go ahead with the project – only days after President Mohamed Morsi’s state visit to the country – was "extremely humiliating to Egyptians."
In comments reported by Al-Ahram Arabic news website, Sabbahi also called on Egyptians to support the government in its dispute with Ethiopia over the dam.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia began diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, as part of its ‘Renaissance Dam’ project for electricity production, a move that raised concerns in Egypt and Sudan that the flow of water could be disrupted.
A final report on the impact of the planned dam by a joint committee of Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian representatives is expected within days.
"We will not accept any pressure when it comes to our water supply," Sabbahi said. "Solutions must be presented to avoid conflict."
If Ethiopia continues with projects that harm Egypt, the nation will unite to deter an attack on its interests, he added.
Sabbahi said that while he fully supports Ethiopia’s right to increase its energy production, Egypt would not accept any reductions in its annual water supply.
If matters escalate, he said, a drop of water would exceed a drop of blood in value. The best way to avoid conflict is to open new initiatives for strategic cooperation in the Nile Basin, he added.
During the 21st African Union summit, President Morsi said Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam had vowed to consider Egypt’s interests regarding the dam.
Egypt’s ambassador in Addis Ababa, Mohamed Idris, said Ethiopia’s intention to divert the Blue Nile had been known since November 2012.
According to the state-run National Planning Institute, Egypt will require an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050 – on top of its current annual quota of 55 billion metres – to meet the needs of a projected population of some 150 million.

Meles Zenawi and our money

by Yilma Bekele

Meles Zenawi in the company of other billionaires The last seven years or so I have been writing opinion pieces on the political situation in our homeland. Naturally I have discussed the late Prime Minter Meles Zenawi and his central role in charting the direction our country should follow on the road he envisioned to improve the life of our people. Prime Minter Zenawi ruled over our country for twenty one years. One can say from 1991 when the TPLF took over to 2001 when the split within the party took place in the aftermath of the Eritrean Conflict the TPLF operated in a primitive semi democratic group type of leadership which they brought over from their days fighting the Derg.
The split that took place in 2001 changed the dynamic of the ethnic based outfit. It did not take long for Meles Zenawi to assert his position as the Capo di tutti capi (boss of all bosses) in the Mafia outfit that was masquerading as a political party until his death in 2013. The 2005 General election was another defining moment in the relationship between the TPLF Party and Meles Zenawi on one hand and the people of Ethiopia on the other.

Egyptians up in arms as Ethiopia builds giant hydro dam on Nile River; minister rules out war Associated Press

Egypt in the past has threatened to go to war over its "historic rights" to Nile River water but diplomats from both countries this week played down the potential for conflict.
"A military solution for the Nile River crisis is ruled out," Egypt's irrigation and water resources minister, Mohammed Baheddin, said Thursday amid newspaper reports recalling the threats of war from Egypt's two previous leaders, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak.

Ethiopia on Tuesday started diverting the flow of the Blue Nile for construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Eighty-five percent of Nile waters originate in Ethiopia yet the East African nation whose name has become synonymous with famine thus far utilizes very little of those waters.

And Ethiopia's unilateral action seems to ignore the 10-nation Nile Basin Initiative to promote cooperation.
Ethiopia is leading five nations threatening to sign a new cooperation agreement without Egypt and Sudan, effectively taking control from Egypt of the Nile, which serves some 238 million people.

Ethiopia dam is ‘declaration of war’: Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya

Ethiopia dam is ‘declaration of war’: Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya
Sheikh Abdel-Akher Hammad calls on Egypt to defend its honour and oppose construction of Ethiopian dam
Ahram Online, Thursday 30 May 2013
Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam and the diversion of the Blue Nile is a declaration of war on Egypt, Sheikh Abdel-Akher Hammad of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Ethiopia began diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, as part of its project to build a dam for electricity production.
Speaking on Al-Arabiya satellite channel, Hammad claimed the move would reduce Egypt’s water supply and damage national security.
“If such a war is forged against us, we are ready to fight and we will embark on it with all our strength to defend our honour,” asserted Hammad.
Diplomatic negotiations should be the first step, he added.
Hammad went on to say the crisis should have been dealt with by the Mubarak regime.
The Blue Nile provides Egypt with the lion’s share of its annual 55 billion cubic metres of river water.
According to the state-run National Planning Institute, Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050 – on top of its current quota of 55 billion metres – to meet the needs of a projected population of 150 million.

Reporter arrested after covering evictions in Ethiopia dam region – CPJ

New York, May 30, 2012-Ethiopian authorities have detained since Friday a reporter who sought to interview people evicted from their homes in a region where the government is building a contentious hydro-electric dam on the Blue Nile, according to a news report and the reporter’s editor. The Committee to Protect Journalists said today that the case highlights authorities’ disregard for the rule of law and its systematic efforts to suppress news critical of government officials.
Muluken Tesfahun, a reporter for the private weekly Ethio-Mehedar, is being held in a prison in the town of Asosa, capital of the Benishangul-Gumuz region, Getachew Worku, the paper’s editor-in-chief, told CPJ. Muluken has not been formally charged or presented in court, Getachew said. The detention appears to run counter to constitutional guarantees that a person be brought to court within 48 hours of arrest.
“By arresting journalist Muluken Tesfahun for gathering information from the victims of forced relocation, Ethiopia is once again criminalizing independent journalism,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “Ethiopia should make good on its obligation as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council to uphold citizens’ rights by releasing Muluken immediately.”

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Ethiopia’s lasting legacy of famine – The Telegraph

People queue at an emergency feeding tent during Ethiopia's famine
At an international hunger summit in London next month, experts will seek to tackle the long-term impact of childhood malnutrition and its consequences for struggling nations
By Roger Thurow – 27 May 2013
In the first-year classroom of Shemena Godo Primary School, in Boricha, Ethiopia, three dozen children study the alphabet. On a black chalkboard, teacher Chome Muse highlights the letter B and writes the combination with each vowel. Ba, be, bi, bo, bu.
The pupils, crowded two or three to a desk, listen to the sounds. I am watching one boy in particular, Hagirso, who sits at the back of the room. He copies the letters in his tattered notebook and proudly shows me his first attempts at writing, a triumphant milestone in early childhood development.

UK foreign aid, the final insult: Ethiopian sues Britain after claiming our £1.3billion programme supports ‘Stalinist’ regime that sent him to world’s biggest refugee camp

Dadaab refugee camp
  • Four million people forced off their land by security forces while their homes and farms are sold to foreign investors
  • ‘Mr O’ said by suing British Department for International Development he fights on behalf of Ethiopian people who are being relocated
  • Questions raised about British role in atrocities as annual payouts continue
  • When he refused to leave his land, he was taken to military barricks and tortured
  • Refugee camp over Kenyan border overflowing with Ethiopians is now largest in the world
Mail Online

It is hard to think of many more blessed spots on Earth than the Gambella region of Ethiopia, with its fertile soil, lush vegetation and flowing rivers – so different to the usual famine-struck images of barren terrain and starving infants we see from that country.
There are even rich seams of gold running under the verdant fields of fruit and vegetables, panned for centuries by the tribes that lived in the area.
As my bearded companion describes his homeland to me in his deep voice, he whips out his mobile phone to show me pictures that remind me of the more bucolic parts of Britain.

Ethiopia Shall Rise!

Ethiopia Rising!

H.I.M. Haile Selassie and bronze statue of Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah
by Alemayehu G. Mariam
H.I.M. Haile Selassie and bronze statue of Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah
The Organization of African Unity (OAU)/African Union (AU replaced OAU in 2002) began celebrating its Golden Jubilee in Addis Ababa this past week. In May 1963 when the OAU was founded, Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah accentuated his closing remarks by reciting a poem he had specially commissioned as a crowning tribute to an ascendant Ethiopia. AddressingH.I.M. Haile Selassie, President Nkrumah said, “It only remains for me, Your Majesty, on behalf of my colleagues and myself, to convey to the Government and people of Ethiopia especially to His Imperial Majesty, my sincere expression of gratitude for a happy and memorable stay in Addis Ababa…” With confident cadence, Nkrumah recited a poem of such exquisite eloquence and grace that my eyes well up every time I read it. These were Nkruma’s own words.

A Message from His Holiness Abune Merkorios, Patriarch The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church-in-Exile

A Message from His Holiness Abune Merkorios

His Holiness Abune Merkorios, Patriarch
The Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church-in-Exile

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets
Matthew 7:12.
The Head Office of the Patriarchate of the Legitimate Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) in North America deeply laments and pleads to the Almighty God that He give His blessings and mercy to our people in Ethiopia, who are undergoing through a tremendous hardship, suffering, and despair, stemming from both political tyranny and economic injustice, and more importantly, from ethnically-motivated displacement of selected population groups from their homes and communities around the country. Even the most sacred of our religious sites, such as venerated statues and monasteries, have not been immune from government intrusion. It is against this backdrop, unfortunately, that we were observing The Great Lent (Abye Tsome) of fasting and praying— in the great tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church— as a remembrance of the 40 days and nights of fasting of our Lord Christ after His baptism. Surely, our usual upbeat celebration of this epic Orthodox Tewahedo tradition has been tempered this year by the grim reality of the many misfortunes afflicting our people back in Ethiopia.

Courageous and Encouraging Move for Political Freedom and Human Rights Cause

by T.Goshu, May 2013

Blue (Semayawi) Party vibrant forceI am not and should not be in some sort of illusion that an extraordinary change for political freedom and respect for human rights is happening or is going to happen in our country. My very intention is to reflect my observation about relatively smart and courageous political developments that are becoming visibly encouraging in the political arena of our country. When I say smart, it is to mean relatively wise/systematic/responsible and rightfully aggressive. They are wise / systematic/responsible in a sense that those political actors are trying to advance the very just cause they stand for in such a way that the tyrannical ruling circle could not have any ugly excuse to mess with their peaceful and legitimate struggle for the realization of genuine democracy, justice, civil rights and shared prosperity. They are rightfully or legitimately aggressive in a sense that they look very determined that respect for political freedom and all other fundamental human rights are not something to be given by a bunch of individuals or groups in a political power as privileges. Those freedoms and human dignities are inherently related with the rights of the people as enshrined in a constitution that governs the relationship between the people (the governed) and government (the governing political entity).

Sunday, 26 May 2013

African Union: Is meeting the needs of ordinary Africans?

African Union: Is meeting the needs of ordinary Africans?Addis Ababa, Aljazeera – The African Union headquarters complex in the capital Addis Ababa stands in stark contrast to its immediate surroundings.
The wide planetarium-like structure sitting comfortably attached to a $100m lightly glazed tower dominates the city’s skyline. Inside, the combined leadership of 54 nations gather in state of the art conference rooms to contemplate Africa’s future.
Outside the complex, taxi cabs jostle for parking space and pedestrians are questioned by security guards, while local residents navigate the grime and dust of urban life walking along narrow alleys.
The continental bloc might be celebrating 50 years on Saturday, but there is an unmistakable cynicism surrounding the nature and value of the union in meeting the needs of ordinary Africans.
The AU plans to host commemorative celebrations at a reported cost of $1.3m, despite ongoing conflicts and insecurity in five countries across the continent, including Sudan, the eastern DRC and Mali.
Disarray still reigns in Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic and Madagascar. Moreover, despite recent economic growth across the continent, living conditions remain abysmal for many average people, with the UN’s signature index suggesting that 24 of the 25 countries at the bottom of the human development index are African.

Ethiopian “sacred forests” sold to Indian tea producer

Stop the Clearing of Forest in Ethiopia
Native forests of Ethiopia’s Gambella region
Afrol News, 18 February – Despite opposition from Ethiopia’s President and environmental authorities, a rainforest area providing livelihood to an indigenous people has been leased out to make tea plantations.
In a seldom move, the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE) has been able to acquire government documents describing the struggle of the Mazenger and other indigenous people to protect their ancient forest-covered lands along tributaries to the White Nile.
According to Obang Metho, who has read the Amharic-language documents, “the letters reads like a drama; showing a game of double-talk, manipulation and intimidation being played by this regime with the land, lives and future of the people.”
The indigenous Mazenger people of Gambella only in early 2010 were made aware that their ancient lands and “secret forests” were to be leased to the Indian company Verdanta Harvests, who plans to clear their land and use it for a tea and spice plantation; destined for export. The Mazenger depend on the forests for everything; including hunting, gathering and beekeeping.