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

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Ethiopia: Heroes of the Storm that is Coming

Ethiopia: Heroes of the StormDecember 16, 2014

by Masresha Tilahun
I once met Laureate Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin during a 3 days and closed door meeting between top opposition leaders of 15 political organizations from inside and outside of Ethiopia in Alexandria, Virginia. Despite his deteriorating health, Laureate Tsegaye attended the most anticipated meeting of the opposition group as an observer. Representing the youth, I was also in the meeting as an observer.

I was also observing Laureate Tsegaye across the boardroom while he was quietly listening to the discussions and rhetoric of the so called leaders of the opposition. Laureate Tsegaye had to leave before the completion of the 3 days meeting for his scheduled medical treatment and gave his wise and heartbreaking advice to the leaders. After a year or so this wise and good man passed away.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

“We Shall Persevere, Ethiopia!”

Eskinder Nega, the imprisoned and preeminent defender and hero of press freedom

December 28, 2014
“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.

I shall persevere!” wrote Eskinder Nega, the imprisoned and preeminent defender andhero 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,

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Ethiopian pilot defects to Eritrea in helicopter (Reuters)

Ethiopian pilot defects to EritreaDecember 23, 2014

(Reuters) – An Ethiopian air force pilot has defected to Eritrea, flying a helicopter across the border with his co-pilot and a technician, Ethiopian state-run media said on Tuesday.

The three men had been missing since Friday morning soon after leaving their base on a routine training session, Ethiopian Television reported.
Eritrea and Ethiopia have been locked in a border dispute for years and routinely accuse each other of backing rebels trying to destabilize and topple the other’s government – a legacy from the two-year war they fought in the late 1990s.
“The military helicopter landed in Eritrea, flown by a traitor pilot who forced both his co-pilot and a technician while they took part in a training exercise,” the report said, citing a defense ministry statement.
It did not give further details.

“Freedom for Free and Fair Election!” is About Breaking the Vicious Cycle

Ethiopian national electionDecember 27, 2014

by T.Goshu
1. We are about five months away from the “national election” expected to take place in May of this year. Whether we
 will keep doing the same way of doing politics and oddly wait for things to happen by themselves (if there is such happening in real life), or we should play a dynamic political game and make things happen in favor of freedom and justice is still a very tough challenge to face. I do not think the issue is really our shortcomings in theorizing – explaining the importance of election and how to do it. For that matter, the current constitution (“the supreme law of the country”) does not have serious deficiency in out lining the basic values and principles in this regard. The very deep and serious

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Saving the ICC from African Thugtators

International Criminal Court Prosecutor throws in the towelDecember 15, 2014
International Criminal Court Prosecutor throws in the towel
It is a dark and gloomy month on the “Dark Continent”! It is the worst of times in Africa when a man in the highest political office accused of egregious crimes against humanity waltzes out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) grinning like a Cheshire cat and flipping the bird to Lady Justice. It’s a good thing she is blindfolded!

On March 8, 2011, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, son of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s founding father and first president, was charged by the ICC Prosecutor with five counts of crimes against humanity in connection with the post-election violence that occurred in Kenya in late December 2007. According to the ICC indictment, Kenyatta, at the time a government minister, planned, financed, and coordinated the violence perpetrated against ethnic opponents of his ruling party.  Kenyatta is accused of using the “Mungiki organization” (“Kenyan mafia”)

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

Remembering that the December 13 Massacre of the Anuak is Going On Throughout Ethiopia!December 15, 2014

(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.

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.

Ethiopia: Heroes of the Storm that is Coming

Ethiopia: Heroes of the Storm

December 16, 2014

by Masresha Tilahun
I once met Laureate Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin during a 3 days and closed door meeting between top opposition leaders of 15 political organizations from inside and outside of Ethiopia in Alexandria, Virginia. Despite his deteriorating health, Laureate Tsegaye attended the most anticipated meeting of the opposition group as an observer. Representing the youth, I was also in the meeting as an observer.
I was also observing Laureate Tsegaye across the boardroom while he was quietly listening to the discussions and rhetoric of the so called leaders of the opposition.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Rethinking Thanksgiving By Dr. Maulana Karenga

Beyond Big Turkeys and Small Talk
Dr. Maulana Karenga
The histories and holidays of the oppressed, colonized and enslaved are, of necessity, different from the history and holidays of the oppressor, the colonizer and the enslaver. Likewise, their interpretations of those histories and holidays also differ, for they are lived and learned from different standpoints. Thus, the Palestinians call the conquest and colonization of Palestine, the Nakba—the Great Catastrophe, and the Israelis call it the war of independence. The Native Americans call the conquest and colonization of their land and the decimation of their people genocide and holocaust. The Europeans call it “discovery,” “the move westward,” “reaching the promised land,” and other self-sanitizing words and phrases.
During the Holocaust of enslavement, Frederick Douglass, asked to speak on the meaning of the 4th of July, seen as Independence Day for Whites, told his White audience, “This Fourth of July is yours not mine. You may rejoice. I must mourn.” For it is for the enslaved African “a day which reveals to him more than any other day of the year the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim.” Indeed, he goes on to say that for the enslaved African, “Your celebration is a sham,” and a repulsive mixture of vanity, heartlessness, mockery and hypocrisy. And “your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings with all your religious parade and solemnity are, to him, mere bombast,

Ethiopia: Release protestors, stop crushing political opposition (Amnesty International)

December 11, 2014
Amnesty International(Amnesty International) On 5 and 6 December, security services in Addis Ababa arrested an estimated 90 people during attempts to stage a demonstration by a coalition of nine opposition political parties. The arrests are the latest manifestation of the authorities’ hostility towards the political opposition ahead of the general election scheduled for May 2015. The Ethiopian authorities must ensure the immediate and unconditional release of those arrested for peaceful participation in, or the organization of, the demonstration, and all others imprisoned in Ethiopia for the peaceful expression of their political opinion.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ethiopia’s Internet Status Remain “Not Free”: Freedom House, Freedom on the Net 2014

Ethiopia continues to have one of the lowest rates of internetDecember 7, 2014

  • Telecom services worsened, characterized by frequently dropped phone calls, prolonged internet service interruptions, and slow response times to service failures
  • Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and CNN were inaccessible for 12 hours in July 2013, while the number of permanently blocked webpages also increased
  • A law enacted in November 2013 gives the Information Network Security Agency (INSA) carte blanche to inspect private online activities without oversight
  • The government launched sophisticated surveillance malware against several online journalists in the Ethiopian diaspora and dissidents in exile
  • Six bloggers of the prominent Zone9 blogging collective were arrested in April 2014 on charges of terrorism
Ethiopia continues to have one of the lowest rates of internet and mobile phone connectivity in the world, as meager infrastructure, government monopoly over the telecommunications sector,

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Human Rights in Polarized Ethiopia: the need for collaboration

Ethnic-federalism (the kilil system) is an instrument of disenfranchisement
Aklog Birara, PhD

December 4, 2014

Presentation at the SHENGO DC Forum on Human Rights
Aklog Birara (DR), November 30, 2014 (Part one of three)

This series is intended for the benefit of those who did not attend the forum.
Why are human rights essential?
If we respect ourselves as people and want the world community to respect us and support our causes, we must face up to the demanding responsibility of owning and leading the struggle for human dignity, rights, the rule of law and representative governance ourselves. No one will do it for us. In terms of justice, rights, fair distribution of incomes and access to opportunities, sustainable and equitable development and the like the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) controlled and led government of Ethiopia has failed. This is one part of the story. The other is what the rest of us are doing to redress the situation. Blaming others, including the repressive regime is easy. Offering a compelling alternative is hard.

Roundtable Discussion held on Human Rights issues for Ethiopian migrant workers in the Middle East

The Round Table Discussion on Ethiopians migrant human rights issuesDecember 8, 2014

by Berhane Tadese
The Round Table Discussion on Ethiopians migrant human rights issues was held on December 6, 2014, of the State office building in New York City. The discussion was organized by the Humanitarian Organization for Ethiopians in Need of NY & NJ and the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association of New York (ECMAA). The Humanitarian Organization for Ethiopian in Need was has been doing an advocacy for the migrant workers’ rights of Ethiopians in Middle East countries. On the other hand, ECMAA is serving Ethiopian residents living in metro NY, NJ, and CT who need help in the area of Education/Information, Emergency, out reaches services, networking / partnering etc.
The discussion was moderated by Ms. Makda Amare the Chairperson of Human

Who Polices the Police in America?

Eric GarnerDecember 8, 2014

Our government… teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

The tip of the iceberg: Not isolated cases

On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, a 43 year-old African American, was approached by at least four New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers who suspected him of  selling contraband (“loosies”) cigarettes outside of a store. In a cell phone video of the incident, Garner denies doing anything wrong and that he is constantly harassed by police. He protests to the officer:

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Great Ethiopian Famine of 1984 Remembered (by Alemayehu G. Mariam)

There is famine in Ethiopia in 2014

October 27, 2014
by Alemayehu G. Mariam*
There is famine in Ethiopia in 2014, but it is known by other fancy names
Famine in Ethiopia is a topic that horrifies me. Over the years, I have written long commentaries on the subject often challenging with incontrovertible facts the fabricated and false claims of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front and its late leader Meles Zenawi that there has been no famine in Ethiopia since they took power in 1991. Of course, there has been famine in Ethiopia every year since 1991. They just don’t call famine, famine. They have fancy names for it like “extreme malnutrition”, “severe under-nutrition”, “extreme food shortage”, “catastrophic food shortages” and other clever misnomers. However, famine in Ethiopia sugarcoated with fancy words and phrases is still famine!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Amb. Girma Birru and Solomon Tadesse: Two Sides of a Coin

I was deeply ashamed by the Ambassadors repeated and relentless argument

October 10, 2014
by Mihret Feleke
This article is made possible after I heard the interviews given by the EPRDF Ambassador to the US Girma Birru who defended the actions and acclaimed the actions of his embassy staff Solomon Tadesse who shot fired at unarmed protestors in broad day light outside the embassy premises. I am not writing this article to dwell on what happened and deal with what should have been done. Rather, I was deeply ashamed by the Ambassadors repeated and relentless argument in the interview he gave afterwards that regarded the action of the gunman as proper and right while to the mind of all sane people it is none but an outrageous and illegal act never seen in the real world before.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Shame On Me For Being Proud of President Obama!

Shame On Me For Being Proud of President ObamaSeptember 29, 2014

I used to be proud of President Barack Obama
First, I am never proud of politicians. Second, I am never ashamed of politicians. I am often dismayed and even angry over things they did (said) or did not do (say). Mostly, I am critical of politicians on some issue of accountability or lack of transparency. I often rage against their corruption, hypocrisy, duplicity, cynicism, amorality and immorality. Perhaps I should not let them get my goat that way. After all, politicians and members of the world’s oldest profession share one thing in common.  They are shameless. I can’t help shaming shameless politicians. The question for me is not whether to shame or not to shame a politician but whether I should be ashamed of myself for being proud of a shameless politician.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Ethiopia/Eritrea-Anatomy of love/hate relationship

Map of Ethiopia and Eritrea

September 24, 2014
by Yilma Bekele
This issue of Eritrea has been with us for more than I can remember. In fact it is fair to say like most of you I have lived all my life being affected by the problem with our relatives to the North. Considering the life expectancy in our ancient land it would not be farfetched to conclude for the vast majority of our people the Eritrean question has been like an albatross hanging our neck stopping us from thinking in a straight and rational manner.
I am not a historian by training thus I would not attempt to explain what exactly happened a thousand years back not even as recent as a hundred year ago.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Imprisoning, Spying, Killing: What it takes to stay in power in Ethiopia

Brutality in Ethiopia's OgadenSeptember 7th, 2014

Suppression of the innocent inside Ethiopia

by Graham Peebles | Dissidentvocie.com
September 4th, 2014
Wrapped in dishonesty, arrogance and paranoia, Ethiopia’s ruling regime (as all such brutal brigades), are following a nationwide policy of violent suppression and constitutional vandalism.
It was the 24th June – midsummer’s day – in the adopted homeland of Andargachew Tsige, when he was detained by ‘Yemeni officials’ (State heavies in suits) whilst transiting through Sana’a to Eritrea. The British citizen and leading Ethiopian political activist was quickly and quietly extradited to Addis Ababa where he was imprisoned on spurious charges of treason or some such trumped up, paranoid twaddle.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Getting to know me better

Tuesday was a very important day for us marginalized Ethiopians.August 29, 2014

by Yilma Bekele
I am in the process of weaning myself from my daily dose of reading about the madness of Woyane. It is not easy. After over two decades of being visually, mentally and spiritually assaulted regarding the evil nature of the Tigray peoples liberation front I am desperately trying to go cold turkey. There was no one spared from informing me everything about the all-powerful, omnipotent Woyane and its evil ways. Even the ‘venerable’ VOA was caught spinning.

Monday, 25 August 2014

The Long, Long Way to a More Perfect Union in America

April 10, 1957, 28 year-old Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK)August 25, 2014
On April 10, 1957, 28 year-old Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) gave a speech at the St. Louis Freedom Rally in St. Louis, MO

 entitled, “A Realistic Look at the Question of Progress in the Area of Race Relations”. In his speech, MLK commended St. Louis for  integrating its schools in a “quiet and dignified manner”. He said St. Louis could teach the country much about improving race relations: “The Deep South have a great deal to learn from a city like St. Louis. It proves that integration can be brought into being without a lot of trouble, that it can be done smoothly and peacefully.” But MLK’s principal aim was to “grapple with a question that continually comes to [him]. And it is a question on the lips of men and women all over this nation. People all over are wondering about the question of progress in race relations. And they are asking, ‘Are we really making any progress?’” 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The VOA-Amharic Program Needs To Get It’s Act Together

Henok Semaegzer pro-TPLF journalist of VOAAugust 14, 2014

by Fanta Kiros
The main objective of the VOA, according to the US government, is to promote freedom and democracy, and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication. It aims to accomplish its objective by disseminating accurate, objective, and balanced news, information and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Viva the triumphant demo in Washington DC

Huge Ethiopians demonstration in Washington D.C.August 7, 2014

by Robele Ababya
I watched the amazing demo with one of those rare moments of extraordinary elation that words cannot explain. The demo in tile by heroic Ethiopians enlightened my soul, lifted my moral beyond measure and enhanced my spirit to a new height so that I shall never relent in the fight for the freedom of individuals and the independence of their country, Ethiopia, in a political environment eternally characterized by genuine democracy, unity with equality, prosperity, tolerance, and social justice – all under the supreme rule of law.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

A call for protest in Greater Houston of Texas against Ethiopian dictator

 Hailemariam DesalegnEthiopians in Greater Houston of Texas

The Ethiopian community in Houston is outraged to learn that the City of Houston and thee Greater Houston Partnership are hosting the Ethiopian dictator, Hailemariam Desalegn next week.
Press Release

                               Hailemariam Desalegn
Ethiopia is a gross human rights violator, a totalitarian state, where people are deprived of their liberty and property rights by the regime. There is no freedom of the press, consequently most journalists are in prison or fled the country.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the UN, the U.S. Department of State, and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have documented gross human rights violations committed by the incumbent criminal regime in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hailemariam humiliated as university withdraws honor

By Abebe Gellaw
(AV) Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn faced a stinging humiliation as Azusa Pacific University (APU), whose motto is “God First”, has withdrawn an honor it had already bestowed on him.  The university administration had to reverse its decision to honor Mr. Desalegn in light of gross human rights violations in Ethiopia being perpetrated by the regime he serves.
The administration of the American evangelical university made the decision in an emergency meeting last Friday after this reporter raised a number of critical questions on whether honoring a human rights violator was consistent with APU’s core values and motto. The Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians (GARE) also wrote a letter highlighting gross human rights violations being perpetrated by Mr. Desalegn and the TPLF-led regime he is serving.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Ethiopian Bloggers, Journalists Charged with 'Terrorism' .....AFP

Addis Ababa:  A group of Ethiopian bloggers and journalists detained for nearly three months have been charged with terrorism for having links to an outlawed group and for planning attacks, a judge said Friday.

The seven members of the blogging collective Zone Nine and three journalists were arrested in April, prompting an outcry from rights groups who said the case was an assault on press freedom.

The group is accused of planning attacks in Ethiopia and working in collusion with the US-based opposition group Ginbot 7, labelled by Ethiopian authorities as a terrorist organisation.

"They took training in how to make explosives and planned to train others," Judge Tareke Alemayehu told the court.

The Zone Nine website, proclaiming "we blog because we care!" features mostly social and political commentary, often critical of the government.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Ethiopia: UK Aid Should Respect Rights

Ruling Permits Review of Development Agency’s Compliance
JULY 14, 2014

(London) – A UK High Court ruling allowing judicial review of the UK aid agency’s compliance with its own human rights policies in Ethiopia is an important step toward greater accountability in development assistance.

In its decision of July 14, 2014, the High Court ruled that allegations that the UK Department for International Development (DFID) did not adequately assess evidence of human rights violations in Ethiopia deserve a full judicial review.

“The UK high court ruling is just a first step, but it should be a wake-up call for the government and other donors that they need rigorous monitoring to make sure their development programs are upholding their commitments to human rights,”

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Great Honor of Being Andargachew Tsige

July 10, 2014

Andargachew in Amharic means ‘unite them’.
by Alem Mamo
The path of struggle for justice, democracy, and freedom has been and always will be tough and full of up and downs. This is simply because those who want to remain at the helm of power will never relinquish their brutal machinery of oppression voluntarily. In fact, they will do whatever they can to continue torturing, killing, pillaging, and looting their country. These are bandits turned into ‘governments’; there is no discernable difference between them and organized crime or mafia. They kidnap, murder, torture, and steal. The only difference is that they have self-serving laws and kangaroo courts where they can display some kind of political drama to play the fictional act of ‘national security’ or, in the language of TPLF/”E” PRDF, ‘anti-peace forces’.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The illegal abduction of Andargachew Tisge: Ginbot7 Europe Network

The illegal abduction of Andargachew TisgeJuly 6, 2014

Call to the International Community on Andargachew Tisge

by Ginbot7 Europe Network
The illegal abduction of Andargachew Tisge, Secretary General of Ginbot7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy and his extradition by Yemen Security forces to the brutal totalitarian regime in Ethiopia violates international law and principle of Non-refoulement. The people of Ethiopia indeed considers the illegal actions of Yemen Security forces on detaining and transferring Mr. Andargachew to the dictatorial regime in Ethiopia as direct attack on its long aspiration and struggle for genuine democracy in the nation.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Why is Ethiopia the second poorest country on the planet? By Prof. Al Mariam

ethiopia poverty
Recently, a well-known correspondent for one of the major American media outlets stationed in Ethiopia sent me an email grousing about my article urging boycott of Coca Cola in Ethiopia. He wrote, “I’m sorry to be blunt, but I don’t understand the thrust of this article [on boycotting Coca Cola]. You seem intent on misleading at least some of your ‘millions’ of readers that Ethiopian politics is simply evil regime vs angelic (and united) opponents.”

My response to the befuddled foreign correspondent was terse, swift and unapologetic. “It is. Deal with it! I am not sorry to be blunt. It is your right to mindlessly parrot the regime’s line!!!” When one’s journalistic accreditation and privileged existence in Ethiopia depends on one’s choice of words and reportorial insipidity, timidity masquerading as integrity and neutrality becomes a journalistic virtue.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

No Country for Ethiopian Human Rights Abusers

June 23, 2014

The U.S. Justice Department encourages Ethiopians to report human-rights abusers hiding in plain view in America
They are hidden in plain view. They have been hiding in plain view in the U.S. for over 30 years. They have been hiding in plain view in the U.S. for just three years.
They skulk around most of the major urban centers from New York City to Los Angeles. They swagger about in public places and places of worship in designer suits with an air of untouchability. They slither in and out of popular coffee shops.