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

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: