Author Archive for Tadias

Full Text of PM Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Speech

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaking during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo City Hall, Norway, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019. (Scanpix via AP)

PM Abiy Ahmed – Nobel Lecture

THE NOBEL FOUNDATION

Nobel Lecture given by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2019 Abiy Ahmed Ali, Oslo, 10 December 2019.

“Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa”

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses,
Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Fellow Ethiopians, Fellow Africans, Citizens of the World
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be here with you, and deeply grateful to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for recognizing and encouraging my contribution to a peaceful resolution of the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I accept this award on behalf of Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace.

Likewise, I accept this award on behalf of my partner, and comrade-in-peace, President Isaias Afeworki, whose goodwill, trust, and commitment were vital in ending the two-decade deadlock between our countries.

I also accept this award on behalf of Africans and citizens of the world for whom the dream of peace has often turned into a nightmare of war.

Today, I stand here in front of you talking about peace because of fate.

I crawled my way to peace through the dusty trenches of war years ago.

I was a young soldier when war broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles.

There are those who have never seen war but glorify and romanticize it.

They have not seen the fear,
They have not seen the fatigue,
They have not seen the destruction or heartbreak,
Nor have they felt the mournful emptiness of war after the carnage.

War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back.

I have seen brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield.

I have seen older men, women, and children trembling in terror under the deadly shower of bullets and artillery shells.

You see, I was not only a combatant in war.

I was also a witness to its cruelty and what it can do to people.

War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men.

Twenty years ago, I was a radio operator attached to an Ethiopian army unit in the border town of Badme.

The town was the flashpoint of the war between the two countries.

I briefly left the foxhole in the hopes of getting a good antenna reception.

It took only but a few minutes. Yet, upon my return, I was horrified to discover that my entire unit had been wiped out in an artillery attack.

I still remember my young comrades-in-arms who died on that ill-fated day.

I think of their families too.

During the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, an estimated one hundred thousand soldiers and civilians lost their lives.

The aftermath of the war also left untold numbers of families broken. It also permanently shattered communities on both sides.

Massive destruction of infrastructure further amplified the post-war economic burden.

Socially, the war resulted in mass displacements, loss of livelihoods, deportation and denationalization of citizens.

Following the end of active armed conflict in June 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea remained deadlocked in a stalemate of no-war, no-peace for two decades.

During this period, family units were split over borders, unable to see or talk to each other for years to come.

Tens of thousands of troops remained stationed along both sides of the border. They remained on edge, as did the rest of the country and region.

All were worried that any small border clash would flare into a full-blown war once again.

As it was, the war and the stalemate that followed were a threat for regional peace, with fears that a resumption of active combat between Ethiopia and Eritrea would destabilize the entire Horn region.

And so, when I became Prime Minister about 18 months ago, I felt in my heart that ending the uncertainty was necessary.

I believed peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea was within reach.

I was convinced that the imaginary wall separating our two countries for much too long needed to be torn down.

And in its place, a bridge of friendship, collaboration and goodwill has to be built to last for ages.

That is how I approached the task of building a peace bridge with my partner President Isaias Afeworki.

We were both ready to allow peace to flourish and shine through.

We resolved to turn our “swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks” for the progress and prosperity of our people.

We understood our nations are not the enemies. Instead, we were victims of the common enemy called poverty.

We recognized that while our two nations were stuck on old grievances, the world was shifting rapidly and leaving us behind.

We agreed we must work cooperatively for the prosperity of our people and our region.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are reaping our peace dividends.

Families separated for over two decades are now united.

Diplomatic relations are fully restored.

Air and telecommunication services have been reestablished.

And our focus has now shifted to developing joint infrastructure projects that will be a critical lever in our economic ambitions.

Our commitment to peace between our two countries is iron-clad.

One may wonder, how it is that a conflict extending over twenty years, can come to an amicable resolution.

Allow me to share with you a little about the beliefs that guide my actions for peace.

I believe that peace is an affair of the heart. Peace is a labor of love.
Sustaining peace is hard work.

Yet, we must cherish and nurture it.

It takes a few to make war, but it takes a village and a nation to build peace.

For me, nurturing peace is like planting and growing trees.

Just like trees need water and good soil to grow, peace requires unwavering commitment, infinite patience, and goodwill to cultivate and harvest its dividends.

Peace requires good faith to blossom into prosperity, security, and opportunity.

In the same manner that trees absorb carbon dioxide to give us life and oxygen, peace has the capacity to absorb the suspicion and doubt that may cloud our relationships.
In return, it gives back hope for the future, confidence in ourselves, and faith in humanity.

This humanity I speak of, is within all of us.

We can cultivate and share it with others if we choose to remove our masks of pride and arrogance.

When our love for humanity outgrows our appreciation of human vanity then the world will know peace.

Ultimately, peace requires an enduring vision. And my vision of peace is rooted in the philosophy of Medemer.

Medemer, an Amharic word, signifies synergy, convergence, and teamwork for a common destiny.

Medemer is a homegrown idea that is reflected in our political, social, and economic life.

I like to think of “Medemer” as a social compact for Ethiopians to build a just, egalitarian, democratic, and humane society by pulling together our resources for our collective survival and prosperity.

In practice, Medemer is about using the best of our past to build a new society and a new civic culture that thrives on tolerance, understanding, and civility.

At its core, Medemer is a covenant of peace that seeks unity in our common humanity.

It pursues peace by practicing the values of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and inclusion.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come from a small town called Beshasha, located in the Oromia region of Western Ethiopia.

It is in Beshasha that the seeds of Medemer began to sprout.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me and my siblings, an abiding faith in humanity.

Medemer resonates with the proverb, “I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.”

In my little town, we had no running water, electricity, or paved roads. But we had a lot of love to light up our lives.

We were each other’s keepers.

Faith, humility, integrity, patience, gratitude, tenacity, and cooperation coursed like a mighty stream.

And we traveled together on three country roads called love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

In the Medemer idea, there is no “Us and Them.”

There is only “US” for “We” are all bound by a shared destiny of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

For the people in the “Land of Origins” and “The 13 Months of Sunshine,” Medemer has always been second nature.

Ethiopians maintained peaceful coexistence between the followers of the two great religions because we always came together in faith and worship.

We, Ethiopians, remained independent for thousands of years because we came together to defend our homeland.

The beauty of our Ethiopia is its extraordinary diversity.

The inclusiveness of Medemer ensures no one is left behind in our big extended family.

It has also been said, “No man is an island.”

Just the same, no nation is an island. Ethiopia’s Medemer-inspired foreign policy pursues peace through multilateral cooperation and good neighborliness.

We have an old saying:
“በሰላም እንድታድር ጎረቤትህ ሰላም ይደር”
“yoo ollaan nagayaan bule, nagaan bulanni.”

It is a saying shared in many African languages, which means, “For you to have a peaceful night, your neighbor shall have a peaceful night as well.”

The essence of this proverb guides the strengthening of relations in the region. We now strive to live with our neighbors in peace and harmony.

The Horn of Africa today is a region of strategic significance.

The global military superpowers are expanding their military presence in the area. Terrorist and extremist groups also seek to establish a foothold.

We do not want the Horn to be a battleground for superpowers nor a hideout for the merchants of terror and brokers of despair and misery.

We want the Horn of Africa to become a treasury of peace and progress.

Indeed, we want the Horn of Africa to become the Horn of Plenty for the rest of the continent.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a global community, we must invest in peace.

Over the past few months, Ethiopia has made historic investments in peace, the returns of which we will see in years to come.

We have released all political prisoners. We have shut down detention facilities where torture and vile human rights abuses took place.

Today, Ethiopia is highly regarded for press freedom. It is no more a “jailor of journalists”.

Opposition leaders of all political stripes are free to engage in peaceful political activity.

We are creating an Ethiopia that is second to none in its guarantee of freedoms of expression.

We have laid the groundwork for genuine multiparty democracy, and we will soon hold a free and fair election.

I truly believe peace is a way of life. War, a form of death and destruction.

Peacemakers must teach peace breakers to choose the way of life.
To that end, we must help build a world culture of peace.

But before there is peace in the world, there must be peace in the heart and mind.

There must be peace in the family, in the neighborhood, in the village, and the towns and cities. There must be peace in and among nations.

Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen:
There is a big price for enduring peace.

A famous protest slogan that proclaims, “No justice, no peace,” calls to mind that peace thrives and bears fruit when planted in the soil of justice.

The disregard for human rights has been the source of much strife and conflict in the world. The same holds in our continent, Africa.

It is estimated that some 70 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 30.

Our young men and women are crying out for social and economic justice. They demand equality of opportunity and an end to organized corruption.

The youth insist on good governance based on accountability and transparency. If we deny our youth justice, they will reject peace.

Standing on this world stage today, I would like to call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands and help build a country that offers equal justice, equal rights, and equal opportunities for all its citizens.

I would like to especially express that we should avoid the path of extremism and division, powered by politics of exclusion.

Our accord hangs in the balance of inclusive politics.

The evangelists of hate and division are wreaking havoc in our society using social media.

They are preaching the gospel of revenge and retribution on the airwaves.

Together, we must neutralize the toxin of hatred by creating a civic culture of consensus-based democracy, inclusivity, civility, and tolerance based on Medemer principles.

The art of building peace is a synergistic process to change hearts, minds, beliefs and attitudes, that never ceases.

It is like the work of struggling farmers in my beloved Ethiopia. Each season they prepare the soil, sow seeds, pull weeds, and control pests.

They work the fields from dawn to dusk in good and bad weather.

The seasons change, but their work never ends. In the end, they harvest the abundance of their fields.

Before we can harvest peace dividends, we must plant seeds of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of our citizens.

We must pull out the weeds of discord, hate, and misunderstanding and toil every day during good and bad days too.

I am inspired by a Biblical Scripture which reads:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

Equally I am also inspired by a Holy Quran verse which reads:
“Humanity is but a single Brotherhood. So, make peace with your Brethren.”

I am committed to toil for peace every single day and in all seasons.

I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper too.

I have promises to keep before I sleep. I have miles to go on the road of peace.

As I conclude, I call upon the international community to join me and my fellow Ethiopians in our Medemer inspired efforts of building enduring peace and prosperity in the Horn of Africa.

ሰላም ለሁላችንም፤ ለሰላም አርበኖች እንዲሁም ለሰላም ወዳጆች።

I thank you!


Related:

PM Abiy Ahmed Becomes First Ethiopian to Receive Nobel Prize (In Pictures)

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PM Abiy Ahmed Becomes First Ethiopian to Receive Nobel Prize (In Pictures)

2019 Peace Prize Laureate Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of Ethiopia since April 2018, is the first Ethiopian to be awarded a Nobel Prize. This year's prize is also the 100th Nobel Peace Prize. (Image: Nobel Media)

The Associated Press

Nobel winner Abiy says ‘hell’ of war fueled desire for peace

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize says his horrifying experiences as a young Ethiopian soldier informed his determination to seek the end of a long conflict with a neighboring country.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spoke at Oslo City Hall during the ceremony in Norway’s capital where he received his Nobel on Tuesday, saying: “War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I was there and back.”

Abiy won the prize, in part, for making peace with Eritrea after one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. Abiy served in the army during the war.

“Twenty years ago, I was a radio operator attached to an Ethiopian army unit in the border town of Badame,” he recalled. “I briefly left the foxhole in the hopes of getting a good antenna reception….It only took but a few minutes. Yet upon my return I was horrified to discover that my entire unit had been wiped out in an artillery attack.”


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is presented by the Chair of the Nobel Committee Berit Reiss-Andersen, left, during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo City Hall, Norway, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019. (NTB Scanpix via AP)


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed makes a speech during the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony in Oslo City Hall, Norway, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019. (Scanpix via AP)


Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed poses for the media after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize during the award ceremony in Oslo City Hall, Norway, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019. (NTB Scanpix via AP)


Norway’s King Harald, Queen Sonja, left, Crown Prince Haakon, second right, and Crown Princess Mette-Marit poses for the media with 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Abiy Ahmed in the Royal Palace in Oslo, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2019, ahead of the award ceremony. NTB Scanpix via AP)


Text: Abiy Ahmed Ali – Nobel Lecture

© THE NOBEL FOUNDATION

Nobel Lecture given by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2019 Abiy Ahmed Ali, Oslo, 10 December 2019.

“Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa”

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses,
Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Fellow Ethiopians, Fellow Africans, Citizens of the World
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be here with you, and deeply grateful to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for recognizing and encouraging my contribution to a peaceful resolution of the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I accept this award on behalf of Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace.

Likewise, I accept this award on behalf of my partner, and comrade-in-peace, President Isaias Afeworki, whose goodwill, trust, and commitment were vital in ending the two-decade deadlock between our countries.

I also accept this award on behalf of Africans and citizens of the world for whom the dream of peace has often turned into a nightmare of war.

Today, I stand here in front of you talking about peace because of fate.

I crawled my way to peace through the dusty trenches of war years ago.

I was a young soldier when war broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles.

There are those who have never seen war but glorify and romanticize it.

They have not seen the fear,
They have not seen the fatigue,
They have not seen the destruction or heartbreak,
Nor have they felt the mournful emptiness of war after the carnage.

War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back.

I have seen brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield.

I have seen older men, women, and children trembling in terror under the deadly shower of bullets and artillery shells.

You see, I was not only a combatant in war.

I was also a witness to its cruelty and what it can do to people.

War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men.

Twenty years ago, I was a radio operator attached to an Ethiopian army unit in the border town of Badme.

The town was the flashpoint of the war between the two countries.

I briefly left the foxhole in the hopes of getting a good antenna reception.

It took only but a few minutes. Yet, upon my return, I was horrified to discover that my entire unit had been wiped out in an artillery attack.

I still remember my young comrades-in-arms who died on that ill-fated day.

I think of their families too.

During the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, an estimated one hundred thousand soldiers and civilians lost their lives.

The aftermath of the war also left untold numbers of families broken. It also permanently shattered communities on both sides.

Massive destruction of infrastructure further amplified the post-war economic burden.

Socially, the war resulted in mass displacements, loss of livelihoods, deportation and denationalization of citizens.

Following the end of active armed conflict in June 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea remained deadlocked in a stalemate of no-war, no-peace for two decades.

During this period, family units were split over borders, unable to see or talk to each other for years to come.

Tens of thousands of troops remained stationed along both sides of the border. They remained on edge, as did the rest of the country and region.

All were worried that any small border clash would flare into a full-blown war once again.

As it was, the war and the stalemate that followed were a threat for regional peace, with fears that a resumption of active combat between Ethiopia and Eritrea would destabilize the entire Horn region.

And so, when I became Prime Minister about 18 months ago, I felt in my heart that ending the uncertainty was necessary.

I believed peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea was within reach.

I was convinced that the imaginary wall separating our two countries for much too long needed to be torn down.

And in its place, a bridge of friendship, collaboration and goodwill has to be built to last for ages.

That is how I approached the task of building a peace bridge with my partner President Isaias Afeworki.

We were both ready to allow peace to flourish and shine through.

We resolved to turn our “swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks” for the progress and prosperity of our people.

We understood our nations are not the enemies. Instead, we were victims of the common enemy called poverty.

We recognized that while our two nations were stuck on old grievances, the world was shifting rapidly and leaving us behind.

We agreed we must work cooperatively for the prosperity of our people and our region.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are reaping our peace dividends.

Families separated for over two decades are now united.

Diplomatic relations are fully restored.

Air and telecommunication services have been reestablished.

And our focus has now shifted to developing joint infrastructure projects that will be a critical lever in our economic ambitions.

Our commitment to peace between our two countries is iron-clad.

One may wonder, how it is that a conflict extending over twenty years, can come to an amicable resolution.

Allow me to share with you a little about the beliefs that guide my actions for peace.

I believe that peace is an affair of the heart. Peace is a labor of love.
Sustaining peace is hard work.

Yet, we must cherish and nurture it.

It takes a few to make war, but it takes a village and a nation to build peace.

For me, nurturing peace is like planting and growing trees.

Just like trees need water and good soil to grow, peace requires unwavering commitment, infinite patience, and goodwill to cultivate and harvest its dividends.

Peace requires good faith to blossom into prosperity, security, and opportunity.

In the same manner that trees absorb carbon dioxide to give us life and oxygen, peace has the capacity to absorb the suspicion and doubt that may cloud our relationships.
In return, it gives back hope for the future, confidence in ourselves, and faith in humanity.

This humanity I speak of, is within all of us.

We can cultivate and share it with others if we choose to remove our masks of pride and arrogance.

When our love for humanity outgrows our appreciation of human vanity then the world will know peace.

Ultimately, peace requires an enduring vision. And my vision of peace is rooted in the philosophy of Medemer.

Medemer, an Amharic word, signifies synergy, convergence, and teamwork for a common destiny.

Medemer is a homegrown idea that is reflected in our political, social, and economic life.

I like to think of “Medemer” as a social compact for Ethiopians to build a just, egalitarian, democratic, and humane society by pulling together our resources for our collective survival and prosperity.

In practice, Medemer is about using the best of our past to build a new society and a new civic culture that thrives on tolerance, understanding, and civility.

At its core, Medemer is a covenant of peace that seeks unity in our common humanity.

It pursues peace by practicing the values of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and inclusion.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come from a small town called Beshasha, located in the Oromia region of Western Ethiopia.

It is in Beshasha that the seeds of Medemer began to sprout.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me and my siblings, an abiding faith in humanity.

Medemer resonates with the proverb, “I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.”

In my little town, we had no running water, electricity, or paved roads. But we had a lot of love to light up our lives.

We were each other’s keepers.

Faith, humility, integrity, patience, gratitude, tenacity, and cooperation coursed like a mighty stream.

And we traveled together on three country roads called love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

In the Medemer idea, there is no “Us and Them.”

There is only “US” for “We” are all bound by a shared destiny of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

For the people in the “Land of Origins” and “The 13 Months of Sunshine,” Medemer has always been second nature.

Ethiopians maintained peaceful coexistence between the followers of the two great religions because we always came together in faith and worship.

We, Ethiopians, remained independent for thousands of years because we came together to defend our homeland.

The beauty of our Ethiopia is its extraordinary diversity.

The inclusiveness of Medemer ensures no one is left behind in our big extended family.

It has also been said, “No man is an island.”

Just the same, no nation is an island. Ethiopia’s Medemer-inspired foreign policy pursues peace through multilateral cooperation and good neighborliness.

We have an old saying:
“በሰላም እንድታድር ጎረቤትህ ሰላም ይደር”
“yoo ollaan nagayaan bule, nagaan bulanni.”

It is a saying shared in many African languages, which means, “For you to have a peaceful night, your neighbor shall have a peaceful night as well.”

The essence of this proverb guides the strengthening of relations in the region. We now strive to live with our neighbors in peace and harmony.

The Horn of Africa today is a region of strategic significance.

The global military superpowers are expanding their military presence in the area. Terrorist and extremist groups also seek to establish a foothold.

We do not want the Horn to be a battleground for superpowers nor a hideout for the merchants of terror and brokers of despair and misery.

We want the Horn of Africa to become a treasury of peace and progress.

Indeed, we want the Horn of Africa to become the Horn of Plenty for the rest of the continent.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a global community, we must invest in peace.

Over the past few months, Ethiopia has made historic investments in peace, the returns of which we will see in years to come.

We have released all political prisoners. We have shut down detention facilities where torture and vile human rights abuses took place.

Today, Ethiopia is highly regarded for press freedom. It is no more a “jailor of journalists”.

Opposition leaders of all political stripes are free to engage in peaceful political activity.

We are creating an Ethiopia that is second to none in its guarantee of freedoms of expression.

We have laid the groundwork for genuine multiparty democracy, and we will soon hold a free and fair election.

I truly believe peace is a way of life. War, a form of death and destruction.

Peacemakers must teach peace breakers to choose the way of life.
To that end, we must help build a world culture of peace.

But before there is peace in the world, there must be peace in the heart and mind.

There must be peace in the family, in the neighborhood, in the village, and the towns and cities. There must be peace in and among nations.

Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen:
There is a big price for enduring peace.

A famous protest slogan that proclaims, “No justice, no peace,” calls to mind that peace thrives and bears fruit when planted in the soil of justice.

The disregard for human rights has been the source of much strife and conflict in the world. The same holds in our continent, Africa.

It is estimated that some 70 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 30.

Our young men and women are crying out for social and economic justice. They demand equality of opportunity and an end to organized corruption.

The youth insist on good governance based on accountability and transparency. If we deny our youth justice, they will reject peace.

Standing on this world stage today, I would like to call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands and help build a country that offers equal justice, equal rights, and equal opportunities for all its citizens.

I would like to especially express that we should avoid the path of extremism and division, powered by politics of exclusion.

Our accord hangs in the balance of inclusive politics.

The evangelists of hate and division are wreaking havoc in our society using social media.

They are preaching the gospel of revenge and retribution on the airwaves.

Together, we must neutralize the toxin of hatred by creating a civic culture of consensus-based democracy, inclusivity, civility, and tolerance based on Medemer principles.

The art of building peace is a synergistic process to change hearts, minds, beliefs and attitudes, that never ceases.

It is like the work of struggling farmers in my beloved Ethiopia. Each season they prepare the soil, sow seeds, pull weeds, and control pests.

They work the fields from dawn to dusk in good and bad weather.

The seasons change, but their work never ends. In the end, they harvest the abundance of their fields.

Before we can harvest peace dividends, we must plant seeds of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of our citizens.

We must pull out the weeds of discord, hate, and misunderstanding and toil every day during good and bad days too.

I am inspired by a Biblical Scripture which reads:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

Equally I am also inspired by a Holy Quran verse which reads:
“Humanity is but a single Brotherhood. So, make peace with your Brethren.”

I am committed to toil for peace every single day and in all seasons.

I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper too.

I have promises to keep before I sleep. I have miles to go on the road of peace.

As I conclude, I call upon the international community to join me and my fellow Ethiopians in our Medemer inspired efforts of building enduring peace and prosperity in the Horn of Africa.

ሰላም ለሁላችንም፤ ለሰላም አርበኖች እንዲሁም ለሰላም ወዳጆች።

I thank you!


The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony is underway in Oslo, Norway. The main highlight of the event is the lecture by this year’s Nobel Laureate PM Abiy Ahmed, who is the first Ethiopian to receive the prestigious international award.

WATCH LIVE: 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2019

Announcement

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea. The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.

When Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April 2018, he made it clear that he wished to resume peace talks with Eritrea. In close cooperation with Isaias Afwerki, the President of Eritrea, Abiy Ahmed quickly worked out the principles of a peace agreement to end the long “no peace, no war” stalemate between the two countries. These principles are set out in the declarations that Prime Minister Abiy and President Afwerki signed in Asmara and Jeddah last July and September. An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed’s unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002.

Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone. When Prime Minister Abiy reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalise the peace process between the two countries. The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In Ethiopia, even if much work remains, Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future. He spent his first 100 days as Prime Minister lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.

In the wake of the peace process with Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy has engaged in other peace and reconciliation processes in East and Northeast Africa. In September 2018 he and his government contributed actively to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti after many years of political hostility. Additionally, Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict. In Sudan, the military regime and the opposition have returned to the negotiating table. On the 17th of August, they released a joint draft of a new constitution intended to secure a peaceful transition to civil rule in the country. Prime Minister Abiy played a key role in the process that led to the agreement.

Ethiopia is a country of many different languages and peoples. Lately, old ethnic rivalries have flared up. According to international observers, up to three million Ethiopians may be internally displaced. That is in addition to the million or so refugees and asylum seekers from neighbouring countries. As Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice. However, many challenges remain unresolved. Ethnic strife continues to escalate, and we have seen troubling examples of this in recent weeks and months. No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early. The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region. With the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will firmly in mind, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sees Abiy Ahmed as the person who in the preceding year has done the most to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019.


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BREAKING: U.S. House Unveils 2 Articles of Impeachment (LIVE UPDATE)

In a historic move Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against Donald Trump for abuse of his presidential powers and obstruction of Congress. The announcement sets the stage for an upcoming landmark vote in the House Judiciary Committee (only for the fourth time in American history) formally charging the president of committing 'high crimes and misdemeanors' and corrupting his Office. (AP photo )

House Democrats charge Trump with ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ in two articles of impeachment

House Democrats unveil two articles of impeachment against Trump

The Washington Post

Updated December 10th, 2019

House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday, saying he had abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress in its investigation of his conduct regarding Ukraine.

“We must be clear: No one, not even the president, is above the law,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference where he was flanked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House leaders.

At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Read more »


Lawyer for Democrats calls Trump ‘a clear and present danger’ as he argues case for removal

The Washington Post

December 9th, 2019

A lawyer for Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee called President Trump “a clear and present danger” as he summarized the party’s case for impeaching him for having abused his power and obstructed a congressional investigation into his conduct in Ukraine.

The testimony from Daniel S. Goldman came amid a contentious hearing at which lawyers for both Democrats and Republicans are making cases for and against impeachment. Stephen R. Castor, a lawyer for Republicans, called impeachment “baloney” and said Democrats had failed to make a compelling case.

At the heart of the Democrats’ case is the allegation that Trump tried to leverage a White House meeting and military aid, sought by Ukraine to combat Russian military aggression, to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, as well as a probe of an unfounded theory that Kyiv conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Read more »


Related:

House impeachment report looks at abuse, bribery, corruption (AP)

The Associated Press

Updated: December 7th, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — Previewing potential articles of impeachment, the House Democrats on Saturday issued a lengthy report drawing on history and the Founding Fathers to lay out the legal argument over the case against President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

The findings from the House Judiciary Committee do not spell out the formal charges against the president, which are being drafted ahead of votes, possibly as soon as next week. Instead, the report refutes Trump’s criticism of the impeachment proceedings, arguing that the Constitution created impeachment as a “safety valve” so Americans would not have to wait for the next election to remove a president. It refers to the writings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others to link Trump’s actions in his July phone call with Ukraine’s president seeking political investigations of his rivals to the kind of behavior that would “horrify” the framers.

“Where the President uses his foreign affairs power in ways that betray the national interest for his own benefit, or harm national security for equally corrupt reasons, he is subject to impeachment by the House,” the Democrats wrote. “Indeed, foreign interference in the American political system was among the gravest dangers feared by the Founders of our Nation and the Framers of our Constitution.”

Democrats are working through the weekend as articles are being drafted and committee members are preparing for a hearing Monday. Democrats say Trump abused his power in the July 25 phone call when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor and engaged in bribery by withholding nearly $400 million in military aide that Ukraine depends on to counter Russian aggression.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it’s part of a troubling pattern of behavior from Trump that benefits Russia and not the U.S.

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong. “Witch Hunt!”the president tweeted Saturday morning.

The articles of impeachment are likely to encompass two major themes — abuse of office and obstruction — as Democrats strive to reach the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.″

In releasing his report Saturday, Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the president’s actions are the framers’ “worst nightmare.”

“President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment,” Nadler said in a statement. “The safety and security of our nation, our democracy, and future generations hang in the balance if we do not address this misconduct. In America, no one is above the law, not even the President.”

The report released Saturday is an update of similar reports issued during the Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton impeachments and lays out the justification for articles under consideration, including abuse of power, bribery and obstruction.

It does not lay out the facts of the Ukraine case, but it hints at potential articles of impeachment and explains the thinking behind Democrats’ decision to draft them. Without frequently mentioning Trump, it alludes to his requests that Ukraine investigate Democrats, a move he believed would benefit him politically, by saying a president who “perverts his role as chief diplomat to serve private rather than public ends” has unquestionably engaged in the high crimes and misdemeanors laid out in the Constitution. That is true “especially” if he invited rather than opposed foreign interference, the report says.

The report examines treason, bribery, serious abuse of power, betrayal of the national interest through foreign entanglements and corruption of office and elections. Democrats have been focused on an overall abuse of power article, with the possibility of breaking out a separate, related article on bribery. They are also expected to draft at least one article on obstruction of Congress, or obstruction of justice.

In laying out the grounds for impeachable offenses, the report directly refutes several of the president’s claims in a section called “fallacies about impeachment,” including that the inquiry is based on secondhand evidence, that a president can do what he wants to do, and that Democrats’ motives are corrupt.

“The President’s honesty in an impeachment inquiry, or his lack thereof, can thus shed light on the underlying issue,” the report says.

In pushing ahead with the impeachment inquiry, Democrats are bringing the focus back to Russia.

Pelosi is connecting the dots — “all roads lead to Putin,” she says — and making the argument that Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine was not an isolated incident but part of a troubling bond with the Russian president reaching back to special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on the 2016 election interference.

“This isn’t about Ukraine,” she explained a day earlier. ”’It’s about Russia. Who benefited by our withholding of that military assistance? Russia.”

It’s an attempt to explain why Americans should care that Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate rival Joe Biden while withholding the military aid that Congress had approved.

At the same time, by tracing the arc of Trump’s behavior from the 2016 campaign to the present, it stitches it all together. And that helps the speaker balance her left-flank liberals, who want more charges brought against Trump, including from Mueller’s report, and centrist Democrats who prefer to keep the argument more narrowly focused on Ukraine.

Pelosi and her team are trying to convey a message that impeachment is indeed about Ukraine, but also about a pattern of behavior that could stoke renewed concern about his attitude toward Russia ahead of the 2020 election.

Trump pushed back on the Democrats’ message. “The people see that it’s just a continuation of this three-year witch hunt,” he told reporters as he left the White House on a trip to Florida.

Late Friday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone informed the Judiciary Committee that the administration would not be participating in upcoming hearings, decrying the proceedings as “completely baseless.”

And Trump’s campaign announced new rallies taking the case directly to voters — as well as a new email fundraising pitch that claims the Democrats have “gone absolutely insane.”

“The Democrats have NO impeachment case and are demeaning our great Country at YOUR expense,” Trump wrote in the email to supporters. “It’s US against THEM.”

Impeachment articles could include obstruction of Congress, as the White House ordered officials not to comply with House subpoenas for testimony or documents in the inquiry. They could also include obstruction of justice, based on Mueller’s report on the original Trump-Russia investigation.

There is still robust internal debate among House Democrats over how many articles to write and how much to include — and particularly whether there should be specific mention of Mueller’s findings from his two-year investigation into Trump’s possible role in Russia’s 2016 election interference.

The special counsel could not determine that Trump’s campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia. However, Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump of obstructing justice in the probe and left it for Congress to determine.


A historic day for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Updated: December 6th, 2019

The House is proceeding with articles of impeachment. Here’s what happens next.

CNN

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that she’s asked the House to move forward with articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Here’s what we know will happen next:

Monday: The House Judiciary Committee will hold its next impeachment hearing, where it will hear evidence from the staff counsels of both the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees.

After that timing, it gets a little unclear, but here’s a general sense of how the impeachment process will work:

Now: The House Judiciary Committee — which has authority to write articles of impeachment — will begin drafting them.

Committee vote: After articles are complete, the committee will vote on whether to refer them to the full House. We’re not sure when this will happen, but it could happen sometime next week.

House vote: If they’re approved, the articles will go to the House floor, where a simple majority is needed to formally impeach Trump. This vote could happen the week of Dec. 16.

More than 500 law professors say Trump committed ‘impeachable conduct’ (The Washington Post)

More than 500 legal scholars have signed an open letter asserting that Trump committed “impeachable conduct” and that lawmakers would be acting well within their rights if they ultimately voted to remove him from office.

The signers are law professors and other academics from universities across the country, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan and many others. The open letter was published online Friday by the nonprofit advocacy group Protect Democracy.

“There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress,” the group of professors wrote. “His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution.”


Pelosi announces House moving forward with articles of impeachment

The Associated Press

December 5th, 2019

House will draft Trump impeachment articles, Pelosi says

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

’’Our democracy is what is at stake,” Pelosi said. “The president leaves us no choice but to act.”

Pelosi delivered the historic announcement as Democrats push toward a vote, possibly before Christmas.

With somber tones, drawing on the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, Pelosi stood at the speaker’s office at the Capitol and said she was authorizing the drafting of formal charges “sadly but with confidence and humility.”

“The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said. “He is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.

“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment,” she said.

At the heart of the impeachment probe is a July call with the president of Ukraine, in which Trump pressed the leader to investigate Democrats and political rival Joe Biden as Trump was withholding military aid to the country.

Trump tweeted that if Democrats “are going to impeach me, do it now, fast.” He said he wants to get on to a “fair trial” in the Senate. The president also said that Democrats have “gone crazy.”

At the White House, press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted that Pelosi and the Democrats “should be ashamed, then she, too, looked past the likely impeachment in the Democratic-controlled House to trial in the Republican-majority Senate.

The chairmen of the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry will begin drafting the articles, and some lawmakers are expecting to remain in Washington over the weekend.

On Wednesday, Pelosi met behind closed doors with her Democratic caucus, asking, ”Äre you ready?”

The answer was a resounding yes, according to those in the room.

Democrats are charging toward a vote on removing the 45th president, a situation Pelosi hoped to avoid but which now seems inevitable.

Three leading legal scholars testified Wednesday to the House Judiciary Committee that Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine investigate Democratic rivals are grounds for impeachment, bolstering the Democrats’ case.

A fourth expert called by Republicans warned against rushing the process, arguing this would be the shortest of impeachment proceedings, with the “thinnest” record of evidence in modern times, setting a worrisome standard.

Trump is alleged to have abused the power of his office by putting personal political gain over national security interests, engaging in bribery by withholding $400 million in military aid Congress had approved for Ukraine, and then obstructing Congress by stonewalling the investigation.

Democrats in the House say the inquiry is a duty. Republican representatives say it’s a sham. And quietly senators of both parties conferred on Wednesday, preparing for an eventual Trump trial.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chair of the Judiciary panel, which would draw up the articles of impeachment, said Trump’s phone call seeking a “favor” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wasn’t the first time he had sought foreign help to influence an American election, noting Russian interference in 2016. He warned against inaction with a new campaign underway.

“We cannot wait for the election,” he said. “ If we do not act to hold him in check, now, President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain.”

Read more »


Related:

In DC, as Impeachment Heats Up Legal Experts Explain High Crimes (WATCH)

Law professor said Trump’s actions toward Ukraine meet constitutional definition of bribery


UPDATE: U.S. Impeachment Panel Finds Trump Abused His Office for Personal Gain

THE TRUMP-UKRAINE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY REPORT

Report of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in Consultation with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

December 3, 2019

In his farewell address, President George Washington warned of a moment when “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

The Framers of the Constitution well understood that an individual could one day occupy the Office of the President who would place his personal or political interests above those of the nation. Having just won hard-fought independence from a King with unbridled authority, they were attuned to the dangers of an executive who lacked fealty to the law and the Constitution.

In response, the Framers adopted a tool used by the British Parliament for several hundred years to constrain the Crown—the power of impeachment. Unlike in Britain, where impeachment was typically reserved for inferior officers but not the King himself, impeachment in our untested democracy was specifically intended to serve as the ultimate form of accountability for a duly-elected President. Rather than a mechanism to overturn an election, impeachment was explicitly contemplated as a remedy of last resort for a president who fails to faithfully execute his oath of office “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Accordingly, the Constitution confers the power to impeach the president on Congress, stating that the president shall be removed from office upon conviction for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While the Constitutional standard for removal from office is justly a high one, it is nonetheless an essential check and balance on the authority of the occupant of the Office of the President, particularly when that occupant represents a continuing threat to our fundamental democratic norms, values, and laws.

Alexander Hamilton explained that impeachment was not designed to cover only criminal violations, but also crimes against the American people. “The subjects of its jurisdiction,” Hamilton wrote, “are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

Similarly, future Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court James Wilson, a delegate from Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention, distinguished impeachable offenses from those that reside “within the sphere of ordinary jurisprudence.” As he noted, “impeachments are confined to political characters, to political crimes and misdemeanors, and to political punishments.”

* * *
As this report details, the impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection. In furtherance of this scheme, President Trump conditioned official acts on a public announcement by the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, of politically-motivated investigations, including one into President Trump’s domestic political opponent. In pressuring President Zelensky to carry out his demand, President Trump withheld a White House meeting desperately sought by the Ukrainian President, and critical U.S. military assistance to fight Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage. In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.

At the center of this investigation is the memorandum prepared following President Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukraine’s President, which the White House declassified and released under significant public pressure. The call record alone is stark evidence of misconduct; a demonstration of the President’s prioritization of his personal political benefit over the national interest. In response to President Zelensky’s appreciation for vital U.S. military assistance, which President Trump froze without explanation, President Trump asked for “a favor though”: two specific investigations designed to assist his reelection efforts.

Our investigation determined that this telephone call was neither the start nor the end of President Trump’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for his personal gain. Rather, it was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Acting Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Energy, and others were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.

The investigation revealed the nature and extent of the President’s misconduct, notwithstanding an unprecedented campaign of obstruction by the President and his Administration to prevent the Committees from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony. A dozen witnesses followed President Trump’s orders, defying voluntary requests and lawful subpoenas, and refusing to testify. The White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, Office of Management and Budget, and Department of Energy refused to produce a single document in response to our subpoenas.

Ultimately, this sweeping effort to stonewall the House of Representatives’ “sole Power of Impeachment” under the Constitution failed because witnesses courageously came forward and testified in response to lawful process. The report that follows was only possible because of their sense of duty and devotion to their country and its Constitution.

Nevertheless, there remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the Judiciary Committee. Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts. The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began.

The damage the President has done to our relationship with a key strategic partner will be remedied over time, and Ukraine continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress. But the damage to our system of checks and balances, and to the balance of power within our three branches of government, will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the President’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked. Any future President will feel empowered to resist an investigation into their own wrongdoing, malfeasance, or corruption, and the result will be a nation at far greater risk of all three.

* * *

The decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry is not one we took lightly. Under the best of circumstances, impeachment is a wrenching process for the nation…The alarming events and actions detailed in this report, however, left us with no choice but to proceed.

In making the decision to move forward, we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized…

By doubling down on his misconduct and declaring that his July 25 call with President Zelensky was “perfect,” President Trump has shown a continued willingness to use the power of his office to seek foreign intervention in our next election. His Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, in the course of admitting that the President had linked security assistance to Ukraine to the announcement of one of his desired investigations, told the American people to “get over it.” In these statements and actions, the President became the author of his own impeachment inquiry. The question presented by the set of facts enumerated in this report may be as simple as that posed by the President and his chief of staff’s brazenness: is the remedy of impeachment warranted for a president who would use the power of his office to coerce foreign interference in a U.S. election, or is that now a mere perk of the office that Americans must simply “get over”?

* * *

Those watching the impeachment hearings might have been struck by how little discrepancy there was between the witnesses called by the Majority and Minority. Indeed, most of the facts presented in the pages that follow are uncontested. The broad outlines as well as many of the details of the President’s scheme have been presented by the witnesses with remarkable consistency. There will always be some variation in the testimony of multiple people witnessing the same events, but few of the differences here go to the heart of the matter. And so, it may have been all the more surprising to the public to see very disparate reactions to the testimony by the Members of Congress from each party.

If there was one ill the Founding Founders feared as much as that of an unfit president, it may have been that of excessive factionalism. Although the Framers viewed parties as necessary, they also endeavored to structure the new government in such a way as to minimize the “violence of faction.” As George Washington warned in his farewell address, “the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Today, we may be witnessing a collision between the power of a remedy meant to curb presidential misconduct and the power of faction determined to defend against the use of that remedy on a president of the same party. But perhaps even more corrosive to our democratic system of governance, the President and his allies are making a comprehensive attack on the very idea of fact and truth. How can a democracy survive without acceptance of a common set of experiences?

America remains the beacon of democracy and opportunity for freedom-loving people around the world. From their homes and their jail cells, from their public squares and their refugee camps, from their waking hours until their last breath, individuals fighting human rights abuses, journalists uncovering and exposing corruption, persecuted minorities struggling to survive and preserve their faith, and countless others around the globe just hoping for a better life look to America. What we do will determine what they see, and whether America remains a nation committed to the rule of law.

As Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention, he was asked, “what have we got? A Republic or a Monarchy?” He responded simply: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Click here to read the full report »

For only the fourth time in American history, the U.S. House began historic public impeachment hearings last month setting the stage for Donald Trump’s possible removal from office for bribery, extortion and abuse of power

‘Tis a new season in the impeachment inquiry: Actual impeachment

The Washington Post

Dec. 2, 2019

House Democrats want to vote on whether to impeach President Trump by Christmas, which means they have about three weeks to write up articles of impeachment, debate them and vote on them.

This next phase comes after two months of an inquiry into whether Trump should be impeached, which culminated in a blitz of public hearings before Thanksgiving…

There’s no standard timeline for impeachment; this is only the fourth time Congress has formally considered impeaching a president…

Once the House votes on whether to impeach Trump, we’re through only the first half of the process.

Here’s an outline of what we can expect next.

First week of December: The handover from the House Intelligence Committee to the House Judiciary Committee

House impeachment investigators are expected to release a report Monday to members of the House Intelligence Committee about what wrongdoing was uncovered during their two-month impeachment inquiry. The Intelligence Committee will vote on whether to approve it by Tuesday evening, after which the report could get released publicly.

The Judiciary Committee…will have its first public hearing Wednesday. Constitutional experts will explain what impeachment is and what the Constitution says about impeachment.

Read the full article at washingtonpost.com »


Related:

Updated: November 23, 2019

Highlights from Dramatic Final Day of This Week’s Landmark U.S. Impeachment Hearings (NBC News)

Impeachment hearings shine spotlight on stories of immigrants

The Washington Post

One surprising aspect of the impeachment hearings is that they have shone a spotlight on the stories of officials who were born elsewhere and immigrated to the United States in search of a better life.

Three of the officials who have testified so far — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council expert on Ukraine; former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch; and Hill — are naturalized U.S. citizens.

Vindman was born in Ukraine, when it was still part of the Soviet Union. He immigrated to the U.S. as a child. Yovanovitch is the Canadian-born daughter of Russians who fled the Soviet Union.

And Hill came to the U.S. from northeast England, where her poor background and working-class accent were obstacles to her advancement. In her testimony Thursday morning, she described herself as “an American by choice.”

“I grew up poor, with a very distinctive working-class accent,” she said. “In England in the 1980s and 1990s, this would have impeded my professional advancement. This background has never set me back in America.”

Read more »


The Latest: Former Trump adviser undercuts GOP impeachment defenses (Day 5)

The Associated Press

November 21st, 2019

A former White House official said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s top European envoy was sent on a “domestic political errand” seeking investigations of Democrats, stunning testimony that dismantled a main line of the president’s defense in the impeachment inquiry.

In a riveting appearance on Capitol Hill, Fiona Hill also implored Republican lawmakers — and implicitly Trump himself — to stop peddling a “fictional narrative” at the center of the impeachment probe. She said baseless suggestions that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election bolster Russia as it seeks to sow political divisions in the United States.

Testimony from Hill and David Holmes, a State Department adviser in Kyiv, capped an intense week in the historic inquiry and reinforced the central complaint: that Trump used his leverage over Ukraine, a young Eastern European democracy facing Russian aggression, to pursue political investigations. His alleged actions set off alarms across the U.S. national security and foreign policy apparatus.

Hill had a front row seat to some of Trump’s pursuits with Ukraine during her tenure at the White House. She testified in detail about her interactions with Gordon Sondland, saying she initially suspected the U.S. ambassador to the European Union was overstating his authority to push Ukraine to launch investigations into Democrats. But she says she now understands he was acting on instructions Trump sent through his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

“He was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security foreign policy,” she testified in a daylong encounter with lawmakers. “And those two things had just diverged.”

It was just one instance in which Hill, as well as Holmes, undercut the arguments being made by Republicans and the White House. Both told House investigators it was abundantly clear Giuliani was seeking political investigations of Democrats and Joe Biden in Ukraine, knocking down assertions from earlier witnesses who said they didn’t realize the purpose of the lawyer’s pursuits. Trump has also said he was simply focused on rooting out corruption in Ukraine.

Giuliani “was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would, you know, probably come back to haunt us and in fact,” Hill testified. “I think that’s where we are today.”

Hill also defended Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Army officer who testified earlier and whom Trump’s allies tried to discredit. A previous witness said Hill raised concerns about Vindman, but she said those worries centered only on whether he had the “political antenna” for the situation at the White House.

The landmark House impeachment inquiry was sparked by a July 25 phone call, in which Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for investigations into Biden and the Democratic National Committee. A still-anonymous whistleblower’s official government complaint about that call led the House to launch the current probe.

After two weeks of public testimony, many Democrats believe they have enough evidence to begin writing articles of impeachment. Working under the assumption that Trump will be impeached by the House, White House officials and a small group of GOP senators met Thursday to discuss the possibility of a two week Senate trial.

There still remain questions about whether there will be additional House testimony, either in public session or behind closed doors, including from high-profile officials such as former Trump national security adviser John Bolton.

In what was seen as a nudge to Bolton, her former boss, Hill said those with information have a “moral obligation to provide it.”

She recounted one vivid incident at the White House where Bolton told her he didn’t want to be involved in any “drug deal” that Sondland and Trump’s acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney were cooking up over the Ukrainian investigations Trump wanted. Hill said she conveyed similar concerns directly to Sondland.

“And I did say to him, ‘Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, I think this is all going to blow up,’” she said. “And here we are.”

Read more »

Impeachment Bombshell: US Envoy Says ‘We followed the president’s orders’ (Day 4)

November 20th, 2019

US Envoy Says ‘We followed the president’s orders’

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Was there a “quid pro quo?”

The ambassador entangled in an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is telling House lawmakers: “Yes.”

Gordon Sondland is testifying Wednesday publicly.

Sondland says “we all understood” that a meeting at the White House for Ukraine’s president and a phone call with Trump would happen only if President Volodymyr Zelenskiy agreed to an investigation into the 2016 U.S. election and the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

He says he sent an email on July 19, just days before the July 25 call at the center of the impeachment inquiry, where he laid out the issue in detail to members of the State and Energy departments and White House staff.

Sondland said: “It was no secret.”

___

9:20 a.m.

A key witness in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump says that Vice President Mike Pence was informed about concerns that military aid to Ukraine had been held up because of the investigations.

Ambassador Gordon Sondland is testifying Wednesday publicly. He already appeared behind closed doors.

The wealthy hotelier and Trump donor has emerged as a central figure in an intense week with nine witnesses testifying over three days. He has told lawmakers the White House has records of the July 26 call, despite the fact that Trump has said he doesn’t recall the conversation.

The ambassador’s account of the recently revealed call supports the testimony of multiple witnesses who have spoken to impeachment investigators over the past week.

Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats as he was withholding military aid to the East European nation is at the center of the impeachment probe that imperils his presidency.

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U.S. Impeachment Highlights From Day 3 (Video)

Top aides call Trump’s Ukraine call ‘unusual’ and ‘inappropriate’ in impeachment hearing

The Associated Press

Impeachment hearings takeaways: Firsthand witnesses appear

There were attacks on the credibility of a witness in uniform, and hand-wringing by another witness on all that he knows now that he says he didn’t know then. Vice President Mike Pence was name-dropped, and lawmakers heard expressions of concern about the July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader.

The third day of impeachment hearings was the longest yet, bringing to the forefront four witnesses in two separate hearings. All were steeped in national security and foreign affairs.

Some takeaways from Tuesday’s testimony:

‘CONCERNED BY THE CALL’

Republicans consistently criticize the House impeachment inquiry by saying witnesses didn’t have firsthand knowledge of Trump’s role in trying to persuade Ukraine to investigate a chief political rival.

On Day 3 of the proceedings, that posture became more difficult to maintain.

The two witnesses in Tuesday morning’s hearing each listened to the July 25 phone call in which Trump prodded his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Democrat Joe Biden.

Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Pence, said she considered the call “unusual” since it “involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.”

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who arrived for the hearing in military uniform adorned with medals, went even further. He considered it “improper,” and, acting out of “duty,” reported his alarm to a lawyer for the National Security Council.

“My intent was to raise these concerns because they had significant national security implications for our country,” Vindman said. “I never thought that I’d be sitting here testifying in front of this committee and the American public about my actions.”

For his part, Tim Morrison, who recently left his National Security Council post, said he did not believe that anything illegal occurred on the call but was worried about the political ramifications if the contents leaked.

Read more »


Related:

Democrats invite Trump to testify in impeachment inquiry

Updates from last week: Trump accused of witness intimidation

The Associated Press

Ousted ambassador says she felt intimidated by Trump attacks

Updated: November 15th, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — In chilling detail, ousted U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch described to Trump impeachment investigators Friday how she felt threatened upon learning that President Donald Trump had promised Ukraine’s leader she was “going to go through some things.”

Trump was unwilling to stay silent during Yovanovitch’s testimony, focusing even greater national attention on the House hearing by becoming a participant. He tweeted fresh criticism of her, saying that things “turned bad” everywhere she served before he fired her — a comment that quickly was displayed on a video screen in the hearing room.

Rather than distract from the career diplomat’s testimony, Trump’s interference could provide more evidence against him in the probe. Democrat Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Trump’s attacks were intimidation, “part of a pattern to obstruct justice.” Others said they could be part of an article of impeachment.

The former ambassador was testifying on the second day of public impeachment hearings, just the fourth time in American history that the House of Representatives has launched such proceedings. The investigation centers on whether Trump’s push for Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals amounted to an abuse of power, a charge he and Republicans vigorously deny.

Yovanovitch, asked about the potential effect of a presidential threat on other officials or witnesses, replied, “Well, it’s very intimidating.”

When she saw in print what the president had said about her, she said, a friend told her all the color drained from her face. She was “shocked, appalled, devastated” at what was happening after a distinguished 30-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Unabashed, Trump said when asked about it later, “I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech.”

But not all Republicans thought it was wise. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming said Trump’s live tweeting at the ambassador was wrong. She said, “I don’t think the president should have done that.”

More hearings are coming, with back-to-back sessions next week and lawmakers interviewing new witnesses behind closed doors.

Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who served for decades under both Republican and Democratic presidents and was first appointed by Ronald Reagan, was pushed from her post in Kyiv earlier this year amid intense criticism from Trump allies.

During a long day of testimony, she relayed her striking story of being “kneecapped,” recalled from Kyiv by Trump in a swiftly developing series of events that sounded alarms about a White House shadow foreign policy.

She described a “smear campaign” against her by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others, including the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., before her firing.

The daughter of immigrants who fled the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, her career included three tours as an ambassador to some of the world’s tougher postings, before arriving in Ukraine in 2016. She was forced out last May.

In particular, Yovanovitch described Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, as leading what William Taylor, now the top diplomat in Ukraine who testified earlier in the inquiry, called an “irregular channel” outside the diplomatic mainstream of U.S.-Ukraine relations.

“These events should concern everyone in this room,” Yovanovitch testified in opening remarks.

She said her sudden removal had played into the hands of “shady interests the world over” with dangerous intentions toward the United States. They have learned, she said, “how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.”

After Trump’s tweets pulled attention away from her statement, Schiff read the president’s comments aloud, said that “as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter,” and asked if that was a tactic to intimidate.

“I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidated,” she said.

Said Schiff, “Well, I want to let you know, Ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

Later Friday, the panel in closed-door session heard from David Holmes, a political adviser in Kyiv, who overheard Trump asking about the investigations the day after the president’s July 25 phone conversation with new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Holmes was at dinner with Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, when Sondland called up Trump. The conversation was apparently loud enough to be overheard.

In Trump’s phone call with Zelenskiy, he asked for a “favor,” according to an account provided by the White House. He wanted an investigation of Democrats and 2020 rival Joe Biden. Later it was revealed that the administration was withholding military aid from Ukraine at the time.

Democrats are relying on the testimony of officials close to the Ukraine matter to make their case as they consider whether the president’s behavior was impeachable.

Yovanovitch provides a key element, Schiff said, as someone whom Trump and Giuliani wanted out of the way for others more favorable to their interests in Ukraine, an energy-rich country that has long struggled with corruption.

It became clear, he said, “President Trump wanted her gone.”

The top Republican on the panel, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, bemoaned the hearings as a “daylong TV spectacle.”

Republicans complained that the ambassador, like other witnesses, can offer only hearsay testimony and only knows of Trump’s actions secondhand. They note that Yovanovitch had left her position before the July phone call.

Nunes also pressed to hear from the still anonymous government whistleblower who first alerted officials about Trump’s phone call with Ukraine that is in question. “These hearings should not be occurring at all,” he said.

Just as the hearing was opening, the White House released its rough transcript of a still-earlier Trump call with Zelenskiy that was largely congratulatory.

Nunes read that transcript aloud. In it, Trump mentioned his experience with the Miss Universe pageant in Ukraine and invited Zelenskiy to the White House. He closed with, “See you very soon.”

Under questioning from Republicans, Yovanovitch acknowledged that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, serving on the board of a gas company in Ukraine could have created the appearance of a conflict of interest. But she testified the former vice president acted in accordance with official U.S. policy.

She denied allegations against her, including that she favored Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in the 2016 election, and she rejected the notion that Ukraine tried to interfere in the election, as Trump claims, counter to mainstream U.S. intelligence findings that it was Russia.

The White House has instructed officials not to comply with the probe, and most have been issued subpoenas to appear.

An administration budget official will meet privately with the panel privately Saturday. Part of the impeachment inquiry concerns the contention that military aid for Ukraine, which borders a hostile Russia, was being withheld through the White House budget office, pending Ukrainian agreement to investigate Biden and the 2016 U.S. election.

LIVE | Day 2 of public Trump impeachment hearings: Marie Yovanovitch testifies

Friday, Nov. 15, 2019

Representative Eric Swalwell, one of the Democratic members of the House intelligence committee, said that witness intimidation “will be considered” for one of the articles of impeachment against Trump after the president sent a disparaging tweet about Maria Yovanovitch as the longtime diplomat testified.

One of Swalwell’s fellow Democrats on the panel, Andre Carson, similarly said the committee would “look into” whether Trump engaged in witness intimidation.

After Trump smears Yovanovitch, Schiff says witness intimidation is taken ‘very, very seriously’ – live

After reading Trump’s tweet attacking the reputation of Maria Yovanovitch, Adam Schiff asked the longtime diplomat whether she thought the tweet was meant to intimidate her as she testified at the impeachment hearing.

“It’s very intimidating.”

Schiff rejoined: “The president is attacking you in real time… Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

Presidential candidate Kamala Harris weighed in on Trump’s tweet smearing Maria Yovanovitch’s reputation as the longtime diplomat testified, accusing the president of witness intimidation.

Fox News anchors described the testimony of Maria Yovanovitch as a “turning point” in the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Anchor Bret Baier predicted that Trump’s tweet smearing Yovanovitch’s reputation as the longtime diplomat testified would lead to a new article of impeachment against the president.

John Roberts

@johnrobertsFox
Wow….this is really unprecedented. @realDonaldTrump and Amb Yovanovitch are talking to each other in real time through @Twitter and Television… Something I never thought I would ever see.

Chris Wallace on Fox News: “If you were not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, you don’t have a pulse.”

Read more at theguardian.com »


Ousted ambassador testifies ouster helped ‘shady interests’


Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, right, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. At left is attorney Lawrence Robbins. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Associated Press

Updated: November 15th, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — WASHINGTON (AP) — Former U.S. Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch opened the second day of Trump impeachment hearings Friday declaring that her abrupt removal by President Donald Trump’s administration played into the hands of “shady interests the world over” with dangerous intentions toward the United States.

Yovanovitch told the House Intelligence Committee of a concerted “smear” campaign against her by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others. Her removal is one of several events at the center of the impeachment effort.

“These events should concern everyone in this room,” the career diplomat testified in opening remarks. “Shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.”

The daughter of immigrants who fled the former Soviet Union and Nazi German, she described a 33-year career, including three tours as an ambassador to some of the world’s tougher postings, before arriving in Ukraine in 2016. She was forced out in April 2019.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the panel, opened day’s hearing praising Yovanovitch, saying she was “too tough on corruption for some, and her principled stance made her enemies.”

Pelosi calls Trump’s actions ‘bribery’ as Democrats sharpen case for impeachment

The Washington Post

Escalating her case for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused President Trump of committing bribery by seeking to use U.S. military aid as leverage to persuade the Ukrainian government to conduct investigations that could politically benefit Trump.

The shift toward bribery as an impeachable offense, one of only two crimes specifically cited in the Constitution, comes after nearly two months of debate over whether Trump’s conduct amounted to a “quid pro quo” — a lawyerly Latin term describing an exchange of things of value.

Wednesday’s public testimony from two senior diplomats, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.”

Bribery, she suggested, amounted to a translation of quid pro quo that would stand to be more accessible to Americans: “Talking Latin around here: E pluribus unum — from many, one. Quid pro quo — bribery. And that is in the Constitution, attached to the impeachment proceedings.”

Article II of the Constitution holds that the president and other civil federal officials “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Pelosi’s remarks came a day after William B. Taylor Jr., the top American envoy in the Ukrainian capital, and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state overseeing Ukraine policy, told lawmakers in the House’s first public impeachment hearing since 1998 that they were deeply troubled by an apparent perversion of U.S. policy, done at what seemed to be the behest of Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and Trump himself.

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com »


The Associated Press

Diplomats accuse Trump as impeachment hits Americans’ TVs

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, the Democrats’ case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment streamed from Americans’ TVs Wednesday, including a new contention that he was overheard asking about political “investigations” that he demanded from Ukraine in trade for military aid.

On Day One of extraordinary public U.S. House hearings — only the fourth formal impeachment effort in U.S. history — career diplomats testified in the open after weeks of closed-door interviews aimed at removing the nation’s 45th president.

The account they delivered was a striking though complicated one that Democrats say reveals a president abusing his office, and the power of American foreign policy, for personal political gain.

“The matter is as simple and as terrible as that,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee, as he opened the daylong hearing. “Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself.”

Career diplomat William Taylor, the charge d’affaires in Kyiv, offered new testimony that Trump was overheard asking on the phone about “the investigations” of Democrats that he wanted Ukraine to pursue that are central to the impeachment inquiry.

Trump said he was too busy to watch on Wednesday and denied having the phone call. “First I’ve heard of it,” he said when asked.

All day, the diplomats testified about how an ambassador was fired, the new Ukraine government was confused and they discovered an “irregular channel” — a shadow U.S. foreign policy orchestrated by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that raised alarms in diplomatic and national security circles.

The hearing, playing out on live television and in the partisan silos of social media, provided the nation and the world a close-up look at the investigation.

At its core, the inquiry stems from Trump’s July 25 phone call when he asked Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, for “a favor.”

Trump wanted the Ukraine government to investigate Democrats’ activities in the 2016 election and his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden — all while the administration was withholding military aid for the Eastern European ally that is confronting an aggressive neighbor, Russia.

Both sides tried to distill it into soundbites.

Democrats said Trump was engaged in “bribery” and “extortion.” Republicans said nothing really happened — the military aid was ultimately released after Congress complained.

Read more »


Related Videos:

New testimony ties Trump more directly to Ukraine pressure

LIVE UPDATES

A top diplomat on Wednesday tied President Trump more directly to the effort to pressure Ukraine to probe his political opponents, describing a phone call in which Trump sought information about the status of the investigations he had asked Ukraine to launch one day earlier.

William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told lawmakers that the phone conversation between the president and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in Kyiv was overheard by one of his aides. Afterward, Sondland told the aide that Trump cared more about investigations of former vice president Joe Biden than other issues in Ukraine, Taylor said.

The startling testimony revealed a new example of Trump’s personal involvement in the Ukraine pressure campaign that touched off the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com »

The Associated Press

Impeachment hearings go live on TV: Witness says Trump asked about Ukraine probes

For the first time a top diplomat testified Wednesday that President Donald Trump was overheard asking about “the investigations” he wanted Ukraine to pursue that are central to the impeachment inquiry.

William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, revealed the new information as the House Intelligence Committee opened extraordinary hearings on whether the 45th president of the United States should be removed from office.

Taylor said his staff recently told him they overheard Trump when they were meeting with another diplomat, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, at a restaurant the day after Trump’s July 25 phone call with the new leader of Ukraine that sparked the impeachment investigation.

The staff explained that Sondland had called the president and they could hear Trump on the phone asking about “the investigations.” The ambassador told the president the Ukrainians were ready to move forward, Taylor testified.

Not inappropriate, let alone impeachable, countered the intelligence panel’s top Republican, Devin Nunes of California.

Trump “would have a perfectly good reason for wanting to find out what happened” if there were indications that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election, he said.

National security officials have told Congress they don’t believe Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

The hearing Wednesday was the first public session of the impeachment inquiry, a remarkable moment, even for a White House full of them.

It’s the first chance for America, and the rest of the world, to see and hear for themselves about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine and consider whether they are, in fact, impeachable offenses.

An anonymous whistleblower’s complaint to the intelligence community’s inspector general — including that Trump had pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic foe Joe Biden and Bidens’ son and was holding up U.S. military aid — ignited the rare inquiry now unfolding in Congress.

The country has been here only three times before, and never against the 21st century backdrop of real-time commentary, including from the Republican president himself. The proceedings were being broadcast live, and on social media, from a packed hearing room on Capitol Hill.

Read more »


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Watch: U.S. Public impeachment hearings to begin this week

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As Abiy Prepares to Accept Peace Prize, A Look Back at Obama’s Nobel Lecture

Left: Abiy Ahmed, PM of Ethiopia, will accept the Nobel Peace Prize on Tuesday, December 10th, 2019 in Oslo, Norway. Right: Barack H. Obama delivered his Nobel Lecture on 10 December 2009 at the Oslo City Hall, Norway. (Photos: Tadias and Nobel Media)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: December 8th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Like PM Abiy Ahmed’s dilemma, as he gets ready to accept the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo this week, President Obama faced similar controversy ten years ago this month given that his award also came early in his presidency in recognition and encouragement of his vision for peace. The humility, elegance and confidence in which President Obama accepted the prize amid the swirling public debate including this media interview could be instructive to PM Abiy.

As we have noted before Abiy has more than earned the peace prize with what he accomplished when he brought to an end the border conflict with Eritrea. In announcing the award this past October the Nobel Institute praised the “important reforms” that Abiy has initiated and implemented in Ethiopia in the last year and half since he came to power. “The prize comes as Abiy faces pressure to uphold the sweeping freedoms he introduced, and critics warn that his ability to deal with rising domestic unrest may be slipping,” AP reported. “The Nobel committee said some people may consider it too early to give him the prize, but “it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts need recognition and deserve encouragement. The award reflects the committee’s taste for trying to encourage works in progress.”

As we speak Abiy is moving forward with the challenge of addressing the entrenched ethnic politics and federalism in Ethiopia as the country prepares for a major election in the new year.

Below is the video and text of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture by Barack Obama:

Text: Nobel Lecture by Barack H. Obama, Oslo, 10 December 2009.

A Just and Lasting Peace

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, citizens of America, and citizens of the world:

I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations – that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.

And yet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who’ve received this prize – Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela – my accomplishments are slight. And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women – some known, some obscure to all but those they help – to be far more deserving of this honor than I.

But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is winding down. The other is a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by 42 other countries – including Norway – in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks.

Still, we are at war, and I’m responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill, and some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the costs of armed conflict – filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.

Now these questions are not new. War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease – the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences.

And over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers and clerics and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a “just war” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when certain conditions were met: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.

Of course, we know that for most of history, this concept of “just war” was rarely observed. The capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity to exempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God. Wars between armies gave way to wars between nations – total wars in which the distinction between combatant and civilian became blurred. In the span of 30 years, such carnage would twice engulf this continent. And while it’s hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the Axis powers, World War II was a conflict in which the total number of civilians who died exceeded the number of soldiers who perished.

In the wake of such destruction, and with the advent of the nuclear age, it became clear to victor and vanquished alike that the world needed institutions to prevent another world war. And so, a quarter century after the United States Senate rejected the League of Nations – an idea for which Woodrow Wilson received this prize – America led the world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace: a Marshall Plan and a United Nations, mechanisms to govern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide, restrict the most dangerous weapons.

In many ways, these efforts succeeded. Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocities committed. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilant crowds dismantling a wall. Commerce has stitched much of the world together. Billions have been lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty and self-determination, equality and the rule of law have haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past, and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud.

And yet, a decade into a new century, this old architecture is buckling under the weight of new threats. The world may no longer shudder at the prospect of war between two nuclear superpowers, but proliferation may increase the risk of catastrophe. Terrorism has long been a tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale.

Moreover, wars between nations have increasingly given way to wars within nations. The resurgence of ethnic or sectarian conflicts; the growth of secessionist movements, insurgencies, and failed states – all these things have increasingly trapped civilians in unending chaos. In today’s wars, many more civilians are killed than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict are sown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, children scarred.

I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war. What I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work, and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago. And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace.

We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.

I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King Jr. said in this same ceremony years ago: “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there’s nothing weak – nothing passive – nothing naïve – in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.

But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.

But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions – not just treaties and declarations – that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest – because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.

So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet this truth must coexist with another – that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldier’s courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause, to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious, and we must never trumpet it as such.

So part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly inreconcilable truths – that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly. Concretely, we must direct our effort to the task that President Kennedy called for long ago. “Let us focus,” he said, “on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.” A gradual evolution of human institutions.

What might this evolution look like? What might these practical steps be?

To begin with, I believe that all nations – strong and weak alike – must adhere to standards that govern the use of force. I – like any head of state – reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation. Nevertheless, I am convinced that adhering to standards, international standards, strengthens those who do, and isolates and weakens those who don’t.

The world rallied around America after the 9/11 attacks, and continues to support our efforts in Afghanistan, because of the horror of those senseless attacks and the recognized principle of self-defense. Likewise, the world recognized the need to confront Saddam Hussein when he invaded Kuwait – a consensus that sent a clear message to all about the cost of aggression.

Furthermore, America – in fact, no nation – can insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse to follow them ourselves. For when we don’t, our actions appear arbitrary and undercut the legitimacy of future interventions, no matter how justified.

And this becomes particularly important when the purpose of military action extends beyond self-defense or the defense of one nation against an aggressor. More and more, we all confront difficult questions about how to prevent the slaughter of civilians by their own government, or to stop a civil war whose violence and suffering can engulf an entire region.

I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That’s why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.

America’s commitment to global security will never waver. But in a world in which threats are more diffuse, and missions more complex, America cannot act alone. America alone cannot secure the peace. This is true in Afghanistan. This is true in failed states like Somalia, where terrorism and piracy is joined by famine and human suffering. And sadly, it will continue to be true in unstable regions for years to come.

The leaders and soldiers of NATO countries, and other friends and allies, demonstrate this truth through the capacity and courage they’ve shown in Afghanistan. But in many countries, there is a disconnect between the efforts of those who serve and the ambivalence of the broader public. I understand why war is not popular, but I also know this: The belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it. Peace requires responsibility. Peace entails sacrifice. That’s why NATO continues to be indispensable. That’s why we must strengthen U.N. and regional peacekeeping, and not leave the task to a few countries. That’s why we honor those who return home from peacekeeping and training abroad to Oslo and Rome; to Ottawa and Sydney; to Dhaka and Kigali – we honor them not as makers of war, but of wagers – but as wagers of peace.

Let me make one final point about the use of force. Even as we make difficult decisions about going to war, we must also think clearly about how we fight it. The Nobel Committee recognized this truth in awarding its first prize for peace to Henry Dunant – the founder of the Red Cross, and a driving force behind the Geneva Conventions.

Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor – we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it’s easy, but when it is hard.

I have spoken at some length to the question that must weigh on our minds and our hearts as we choose to wage war. But let me now turn to our effort to avoid such tragic choices, and speak of three ways that we can build a just and lasting peace.

First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to actually change behavior – for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price. Intransigence must be met with increased pressure – and such pressure exists only when the world stands together as one.

One urgent example is the effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and to seek a world without them. In the middle of the last century, nations agreed to be bound by a treaty whose bargain is clear: All will have access to peaceful nuclear power; those without nuclear weapons will forsake them; and those with nuclear weapons will work towards disarmament. I am committed to upholding this treaty. It is a centerpiece of my foreign policy. And I’m working with President Medvedev to reduce America and Russia’s nuclear stockpiles.

But it is also incumbent upon all of us to insist that nations like Iran and North Korea do not game the system. Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war.

The same principle applies to those who violate international laws by brutalizing their own people. When there is genocide in Darfur, systematic rape in Congo, repression in Burma – there must be consequences. Yes, there will be engagement; yes, there will be diplomacy – but there must be consequences when those things fail. And the closer we stand together, the less likely we will be faced with the choice between armed intervention and complicity in oppression.

This brings me to a second point – the nature of the peace that we seek. For peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based on the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting.

It was this insight that drove drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after the Second World War. In the wake of devastation, they recognized that if human rights are not protected, peace is a hollow promise.

And yet too often, these words are ignored. For some countries, the failure to uphold human rights is excused by the false suggestion that these are somehow Western principles, foreign to local cultures or stages of a nation’s development. And within America, there has long been a tension between those who describe themselves as realists or idealists – a tension that suggests a stark choice between the narrow pursuit of interests or an endless campaign to impose our values around the world.

I reject these choices. I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speak freely or worship as they please; choose their own leaders or assemble without fear. Pent-up grievances fester, and the suppression of tribal and religious identity can lead to violence. We also know that the opposite is true. Only when Europe became free did it finally find peace. America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends are governments that protect the rights of their citizens. No matter how callously defined, neither America’s interests – nor the world’s – are served by the denial of human aspirations.

So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal. We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran. It is telling that the leaders of these governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation. And it is the responsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear that these movements – these movements of hope and history – they have us on their side.

Let me also say this: The promotion of human rights cannot be about exhortation alone. At times, it must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy. I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation. But I also know that sanctions without outreach – condemnation without discussion – can carry forward only a crippling status quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door.

In light of the Cultural Revolution’s horrors, Nixon’s meeting with Mao appeared inexcusable – and yet it surely helped set China on a path where millions of its citizens have been lifted from poverty and connected to open societies. Pope John Paul’s engagement with Poland created space not just for the Catholic Church, but for labor leaders like Lech Walesa. Ronald Reagan’s efforts on arms control and embrace of perestroika not only improved relations with the Soviet Union, but empowered dissidents throughout Eastern Europe. There’s no simple formula here. But we must try as best we can to balance isolation and engagement, pressure and incentives, so that human rights and dignity are advanced over time.

Third, a just peace includes not only civil and political rights – it must encompass economic security and opportunity. For true peace is not just freedom from fear, but freedom from want.

It is undoubtedly true that development rarely takes root without security; it is also true that security does not exist where human beings do not have access to enough food, or clean water, or the medicine and shelter they need to survive. It does not exist where children can’t aspire to a decent education or a job that supports a family. The absence of hope can rot a society from within.

And that’s why helping farmers feed their own people – or nations educate their children and care for the sick – is not mere charity. It’s also why the world must come together to confront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will face more drought, more famine, more mass displacement – all of which will fuel more conflict for decades. For this reason, it is not merely scientists and environmental activists who call for swift and forceful action – it’s military leaders in my own country and others who understand our common security hangs in the balance.

Agreements among nations. Strong institutions. Support for human rights. Investments in development. All these are vital ingredients in bringing about the evolution that President Kennedy spoke about. And yet, I do not believe that we will have the will, the determination, the staying power, to complete this work without something more – and that’s the continued expansion of our moral imagination; an insistence that there’s something irreducible that we all share.

As the world grows smaller, you might think it would be easier for human beings to recognize how similar we are; to understand that we’re all basically seeking the same things; that we all hope for the chance to live out our lives with some measure of happiness and fulfillment for ourselves and our families.

And yet somehow, given the dizzying pace of globalization, the cultural leveling of modernity, it perhaps comes as no surprise that people fear the loss of what they cherish in their particular identities – their race, their tribe, and perhaps most powerfully their religion. In some places, this fear has led to conflict. At times, it even feels like we’re moving backwards. We see it in the Middle East, as the conflict between Arabs and Jews seems to harden. We see it in nations that are torn asunder by tribal lines.

And most dangerously, we see it in the way that religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked my country from Afghanistan. These extremists are not the first to kill in the name of God; the cruelties of the Crusades are amply recorded. But they remind us that no Holy War can ever be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint – no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or the Red Cross worker, or even a person of one’s own faith. Such a warped view of religion is not just incompatible with the concept of peace, but I believe it’s incompatible with the very purpose of faith – for the one rule that lies at the heart of every major religion is that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Adhering to this law of love has always been the core struggle of human nature. For we are fallible. We make mistakes, and fall victim to the temptations of pride, and power, and sometimes evil. Even those of us with the best of intentions will at times fail to right the wrongs before us.

But we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached – their fundamental faith in human progress – that must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey.

For if we lose that faith – if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace – then we lose what’s best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.

Like generations have before us, we must reject that future. As Dr. King said at this occasion so many years ago, “I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man’s present condition makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him.”

Let us reach for the world that ought to be – that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.

Somewhere today, in the here and now, in the world as it is, a soldier sees he’s outgunned, but stands firm to keep the peace. Somewhere today, in this world, a young protestor awaits the brutality of her government, but has the courage to march on. Somewhere today, a mother facing punishing poverty still takes the time to teach her child, scrapes together what few coins she has to send that child to school – because she believes that a cruel world still has a place for that child’s dreams.

Let us live by their example. We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us, and still strive for justice. We can admit the intractability of depravation, and still strive for dignity. Clear-eyed, we can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that – for that is the story of human progress; that’s the hope of all the world; and at this moment of challenge, that must be our work here on Earth.

Thank you very much.


Related:

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: Inside the mind of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner (BBC)

In Collecting Nobel Prize, Ethiopia’s Leader Plans to Sidestep Media (NYT)

Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed won’t be answering any questions when he receives his Nobel Prize (WaPo)

Nobel peace prize winner Abiy Ahmed embroiled in media row (The Guardian)

PM Abiy Should Talk to Media When Collecting Peace Prize: Nobel Committee (Reuters)

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Update on Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund: Q&A with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu

Dr. Bisrat Aklilu is a member of the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund's Advisory Council. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: December 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – It was a year ago this month that we had participated in a press conference held by the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund (EDTF) at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. where the fund’s advisory council members briefed the media on their organization’s objectives, fundraising status as well as future plans to engage the larger Ethiopian Diaspora community.

We also published interviews with EDTF advisory council members including Dr. Bisrat Aklilu and Professor Lemma Senbet, and reported on major updates such as the naming of the EDTF Board of Directors who oversee the organization’s projects in Ethiopia.

More recently, we followed up with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu regarding the current status of EDTF’s fundraising efforts, challenges and their plans moving forward.

Below is our Q & A with Dr. Bisrat:

TADIAS: Can you tell us some of the main developments and milestones achieved by EDTF since our last last interview a year ago?

Dr. Bisrat: A lot has happened since our last Tadias interview in November 2018, which was one month after the start of the EDTF online donation. Since then, EDTF mobilized about 26,000 Ethiopian diaspora members in 93 countries and received about US$5.2 million.

In March 2019, a highly qualified small Secretariat team was engaged in Addis Ababa thanks to a generous two-year funding EDTF received from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP’s funding is a vote of confidence on the integrity of the EDTF mechanism.

In May 2019, EDTF appointed an eleven member Board of Directors, with five members representing the Ethiopian Diaspora (in North America, Europe, Africa and Middle East); three members representing the Ethiopian Civil Society (women, youth and the public at large); and three members from the Government.

By July 2019 we launched a rigorous ‘Call for Project Proposals” which resulted in the receipt of over 400 project proposals by the due date of 16 September covering the various EDTF eligible project areas.

In September 2019, EDTF received from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a 501c3 tax exempt status, as a public charity organization, making donations to EDTF tax exempt as of 27 September 2018.

TADIAS: What are some of your current challenges?

Dr. Bisrat: The first challenge we faced was, and still is to some extent, making our donors understand that EDTF is a completely independent non-governmental, non-profit organization governed by its own “Terms of Reference” totally outside of Ethiopian Government control. EDTF strives to promote dignity, freedom, equality and economic opportunity and national unity based on peaceful cooperation among Ethiopia’s diverse communities without regard to ethnicity, religion or other sectarian considerations.

The second challenge is to explain to our diaspora donors and the public why reasonable time is needed to mobilize funds and receive, vet and fund projects. Learning from the past, we are determined to maintain thoroughness in the project funding process to ensure proper use and accountability of the donated funds.

The third challenge is to satisfy the needs of the disadvantaged people and communities in Ethiopia that EDTF is established to address. The projects so far received will require at least 10 times more funds, i.e. $50 to $70 million, compared to the present $5 million available. We need significantly more donations than what we have received to-date. As part of such an effort, the Advisory Council will hold an EDTF Fundraising dinner on 12 December 2019 in Springfield, Virginia, in the suburb of Washington D.C.. We are encouraging all our 46 EDTF Chapters in the US and around the world to hold similar fundraising but combined with community engagement events in the coming months.

TADIAS: We understand that EDTF is now accepting project proposals for funding in Ethiopia. Please give us an update. How does the process work?

Dr. Bisrat: At the end of the ‘Call for Project Proposal’ period on 16 September 2019, EDTF received about 400 projects. Subsequently, about 300 were found eligible for further review having met the submission requirements. In line with the EDTF policy of transparency and accountability, these projects are currently being reviewed by 75 volunteer Ethiopian and Diaspora volunteer professionals organized in teams of three, with each project reviewed independently by three professionals. By 23 December, the shortlisted projects will be announced to the public. This will be followed by presentation to the Board in late January 2020 of projects that have been vetted for their proper institutional capacity. A summarized indicative timetable of the project review and approval process is posted on the EDTF website www.ethiopiatrustfund.org.

TADIAS: Can you tell us a bit more about your network of volunteers and their contributions?

Dr. Bisrat: Unlike other similar non-governmental organizations(NGOs), EDTF is a totally volunteer driven organization that utilizes 100% of its donations for projects it will finance. No other NGO does that. In fact during the EDTF legal incorporation and subsequent submission to IRS for our 501c3 tax exempt status, we were asked repeatedly how EDTF can operate without using part of its donations to cover operational and administrative costs. In the EDTF, starting from the Advisory Council to the Board and the countless diaspora volunteers organized in various functional teams such as Donors Support, Chapters Support, Website Management, Communications, Volunteers Engagement, Graphics Design and Finance and Audit and recently Project Review, all work on a pro bono basis sacrificing their time. EDTF volunteers are located in different cities and countries and yet work seamlessly as a team on different tasks.

TADIAS: Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?

Dr. Bisrat: I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 26,000 Ethiopian diaspora for responding to the call for assistance of our disadvantaged Ethiopian sisters and brothers. My deepest thanks goes to the EDTF unsung heroes, the EDTF Secretariat and the many EDTF volunteers, that work day and night to ensure the transparent and accountable operation of the EDTF. EDTF is a labor of love for many of us. There is nothing as gratifying as working together with so many committed volunteers on such a noble cause, with no sectarian consideration, for the sole purpose of ‘giving back a little’.


Related:
EDTF Ethiopia Board Announced
Ways to Boost Donor Participation for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
Few Takeaways From EDTF Press Conference at Ethiopian Embassy in DC
Interview: Dr. Lemma Senbet on the Diaspora Trust Fund & Chapter Formation
Interview with Dr. Bisrat Aklilu About the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund
A Diaspora Trust Fund for Ethiopia (Tadias Editorial/July 10th, 2018)

You can learn more about the fund at ethiopiatrustfund.org.

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Stand With Ethiopian Churches as They Are Attacked – WaPo Letter to the Editor

Father Assefa, 64, has climbed a 1,000-foot cliff to reach the Abuna Yemata Guh church every day for 50 years. (Max Bearak/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

By Letters to the Editor

The Dec. 2 article and photographs “Climbing to the church in the sky” [The World] gave a glimpse of Ethiopia’s long Christian history and its unique sites of worship. The 100-plus rock-hewn churches in the northern part of the country are truly fascinating for their style, spirituality, artworks and treasures. Century after century, and despite numerous challenges that included foreign military invasions, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has preserved the integrity of most of its historic holy sites.

Churches such as Abuna Yemata Guh and similar religious sites around the world are part of the global human heritage whose preservation and well-being should be the concern of all nations. Lately, however, there were shocking acts of violence against Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia that claimed many lives. Several churches were burned down along with their treasures. The unprovoked attacks, although confined to a few regions, should not be ignored. Those who instigated and carried out the attacks should face the law for their unspeakable acts of crime. Sadly, the prime minister of Ethiopia, who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, and his government showed disturbing indifference toward the blatant violence and tragic losses.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has made significant contributions to Christianity, global history, knowledge and literature. Innocent civilians who were attacked only for being Christians deserve justice. I hope and trust that all fair-minded and peace-loving people will stand with the church and its followers during these challenging times.

Tewodros Abebe, Accokeek

Read more letters to the editor.


Related:

60 Minutes Features Historic Lalibela

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9th Annual U.S.-Ethiopia Defense Meeting

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Pete Marocco and Ethiopian Defense Minister Lemma Megersa co-chaired the 9th annual U.S.-Ethiopia Bilateral Defense Committee meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Dec. 4, 2019. (DoD photo)

Press Release

U.S. Dept of Defense

U.S., Ethiopian Defense Officials Meet at Pentagon

During the visit, the defense leaders shared views on regional security, peacekeeping, intelligence and military relations, with the goal of strengthening their security partnership, a defense official said in a readout following the meeting.

Both nations reaffirmed their commitment to the bilateral relationship and highlighted the significant increase in security cooperation between the two countries over the last 18 months, the official said.

The Ethiopian delegation also met at the Pentagon with James Anderson, who is performing the duties of the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, and Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan. Anderson thanked Ethiopia for their leadership and military contributions throughout the region and commended Lemma for the ongoing security sector reforms his nation is undertaking.

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor said he was very grateful to Ethiopia’s civilian and military leaders for traveling to the U.S. for the event, and ”for the close partnership that exists between us; and for Ethiopia’s commitment to building our collaboration even further in the days ahead.”

The Bilateral Defense Committee enables the U.S. and Ethiopia to identify new opportunities for collaboration in areas such as counterterrorism and intelligence, which enhances an already robust partnership between the two countries, the defense official said, and helps bring peace and security to East Africa.

Ethiopia plays a critical and significant leadership role in East Africa, the official said. ”Its willingness and capability to develop security throughout the region furthers our mutual goals and shared security interests,” the defense official added.

Ethiopia has the third-largest military in Africa and is the world’s largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions, the official said.

The nation plays a vital role in the African Union Mission in Somalia, the defense official said, and in peacekeeping efforts in Sudan and South Sudan. ”The Department of Defense applauds these efforts and looks to help strengthen Ethiopia’s ability to further promote peace and stability in the region,” the official said.

Ethiopia was a top recipient of International Military Education and Training funds over the last year. More than 300 ENDF officers and noncommissioned officers took part in U.S. funded training last year.

In July, Ethiopia hosted U.S. Africa Command’s Justified Accord exercise — a regional multi-actor military exercise that allowed regional leaders to discuss common practices and challenges related to AMISOM. This exercise hosted the largest training contingent of U.S. military personnel in Ethiopia in the past 30 years, the defense official noted.


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PM Abiy Should Talk to Media When Collecting Peace Prize: Nobel Committee

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during a media conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 29, 2018. (Pool photo via REUTERS)

Reuters

OSLO/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will not talk to the news media when he is in Oslo next week to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, drawing rare criticism from the award committee, which says a free and independent press is vital.

The Ethiopian leader won the prize in October for his peacemaking efforts which ended two decades of hostility with longtime enemy Eritrea.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates traditionally hold a news conference a day before the official ceremony on Dec. 10. But Abiy has told the Norwegian Nobel Committee he will not do so.

Neither will Abiy take questions from reporters after his meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, nor will he participate at an event with children celebrating peace held every year at the Nobel Peace Center, a museum.

That drew rare criticism from the secretive award committee, composed of Norwegian politicians and academics, which tends to refrain from commenting on past laureates.

Asked whether it was problematic that Abiy was not holding a news conference, Olav Njoelstad, Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said: “Yes, we would very much have wanted him to engage with the press during his stay in Oslo.”

“We strongly believe that freedom of expression and a free and independent press are vital components of peace,” he told Reuters.

“Moreover, some former Nobel Peace Prize laureates have received the prize in recognition of their efforts in favor of these very rights and freedoms,” said Njoelstad.

He added that the committee’s position had been made “very clear to the Prime Minister and his staff”.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have attended the ceremony but not given a news conference include U.S. President Barack Obama, when he received the award in 2009.

Abiy will still meet Prime Minister Erna Solberg, as well as King Harald V, and visit the Norwegian Parliament.

He will also deliver the Nobel lecture at Oslo City Hall on Dec. 10, the day of the ceremony and the anniversary of the death of the Nobel Prizes founder, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.

Abiy’s spokeswoman said the PM had to make priorities given the “extensive program” and his responsibilities back home.

“It is quite challenging for a sitting Head of State to dedicate that many days, particularly where domestic issues are pressing and warrant attention,” Billene Seyoum told Reuters.

“Therefore, the Prime Minister will be attending essential and prioritized programs, agreed upon in consultation with the Nobel Institute, to honor and respect the Nobel tradition.”

“At a personal level, the humble disposition of the Prime Minister rooted in our cultural context is not in alignment with the very public nature of the Nobel award,” she added.


Related

Nobel peace prize winner Abiy Ahmed embroiled in media row (The Guardian)

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Ethiopia Election 2020: Plan to Dissolve Ruling Party Prompts Internal Criticism

VOA reports that the latest expression of disapproval to PM Abiy Ahmed's efforts to reorganize and rebrand the ruling coalition in advance of next year's election is coming from senior government officials including Defense Minister Lemma Megerssa, who is "currently visiting the U.S. with a delegation aiming to strengthen the two countries’ defense partnerships." (Reuters photo)

VOA News

By Salem Solomon

Efforts to End Ethiopia’s Ruling Party Draw Criticism from Within

WASHINGTON – A decision by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to dissolve the ruling party months ahead of the 2020 national election has prompted criticism from the upper echelons of his own government.

In an interview with VOA’s Afaan Oromo Service, Minister of Defense Lemma Megerssa said unrest in the country means it is the wrong time to create a new political party.

“Merging this party is not timely as there are many dangers. We are in a transition,” he said, speaking in Afaan Oromo. “This is borrowed time; it is not ours. We are facing several problems from different places during this borrowed time.”

Lemma is currently visiting the U.S. with a delegation aiming to strengthen the two countries’ defense partnerships.

In November, Abiy announced that the country’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF, would dissolve and become one unified party called the Prosperity Party.

Tagesse Chafo Speaker of House of Representative, left, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, right, leaving the parliament…

The decision came after a vote by coalition members in support of the change. On December 1, the prime minister held a ceremony in the capital celebrating the new party and saying it “has also prepared a clear program and bylaws as well as a 10-year plan that leads Ethiopia to prosperity,” state-media reported. Previously the EPRDF had been a coalition of four ethnically based parties.

VOA Report

But the decision has prompted a backlash. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) refused to take part in the vote to form the new party. Debretsion Gebremichael, the TPLF chairman and acting regional president, told reporters in a press briefing that the move “weakens the federal system and takes away the rights of people to self-administration. The drive to form a united party does not consider the existing situations in the country.”

And though the Oromo Democratic Party, formerly the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization, voted in favor of the change, prominent Oromo leaders have voiced displeasure. Lemma, who is from the Oromo ethnic group, said the party has not yet delivered on its promises to its people and therefore should continue to exist. “The [Oromo Party] leaders have promised to answer some of the big questions the Oromo people have entrusted us with,” he said. “Doing this without answering questions is not right, and it’s failing to deliver on the promises we made.”

Over the last three to four years, Oromo people have protested what they view as unfair treatment over a host of issues, including land rights in and around the capital city, Addis Ababa. Protests in late October over an alleged threat to the safety of Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed led to the deaths of 86 people.

Lemma and others argue that a change now will do little to quell the ethnic violence spreading in Ethiopia. “It’s not the time to come up with something new, but a time to solve problems that we should be focused on,” he said. “We should focus on maintaining peace and stability and focus on macroeconomics, especially people’s struggle with the rising cost of living.”

But Fekadu Tessema, a spokesman for Abiy’s governing coalition, said the change was not a hasty decision. “We don’t think that the process has been sped up. It has been in the works for a year and a half, and the change has to be led with a clear flow chart and vision,” he said.

He also said the unified party is in line with Abiy’s guiding philosophy known as “medemer,” or “addition.” The philosophy seeks to erase the division between people and create a nation that is greater than the sum of its parts.

“What ‘medemer’ means is to highlight our knowledge, our thinking, and putting all the good attributes in one place,” Fekadu said. “And things like hate, violation of human rights, the question of injustice, and the issues of lack of democracy and lack of freedom and other issues that people have been pointing out, and issues that were seen during the time of EPRDF, have to be corrected.”

This story is based on interviews that originated in the Horn of Africa Service. VOA Afaan Oromo service’s Jalene Gemeda conducted the interview with Minister of Defense Lemma Megerssa in Afaan Oromo, and Tizita Belachew translated the interview in Amharic. Muktar Jemal interviewed Fekadu Tessema, a spokesman for Abiy’s governing coalition, in Amharic.


Related:

Ethiopia braces for highly-anticipated parliamentary election in May 2020

Ruling Coalition Seeks to Further Unite Ahead of Vote

Prominent Abiy Critic Says to Stand in Ethiopia Election (AFP)

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NYT: Addis Fine Art Gallery Enriches a Global Art Conversation

Mesai Haileleul, left, and Rakeb Sile in front of works by Merikokeb Berhanu.Credit...Addis Fine Art

The New York Times

With a trip to the Untitled fair in Miami, Addis Fine Art adds to the connections it’s building between Ethiopian artists and the rest of the world.

LONDON — How Addis Fine Art got off the ground is a tale of happenstance built on the back of good timing.

Rakeb Sile, 39, who was born in Philadelphia and raised in London, had always been interested in the arts, having even flirted with the idea of working in the music industry before settling on a career in management consulting.

But whenever she traveled back to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she had lived for most of her early childhood until her family moved to Britain because of political unrest in the early 1990s, she spent time investigating the city’s growing but globally undiscovered contemporary art scene. She started collecting paintings and sometimes bought works directly from the artists because there was no professional gallery scene in terms of artist development and infrastructure.

Art became her passion, and in 2012 she took a six-month sabbatical in part because she was not sure if she wanted to stay in her career. “And I wanted to make sense of what I had collected,” she said, “to see where is the narrative.”

One of the people she was keen to meet was Mesai Haileleul, an Ethiopian art historian and a Los-Angeles-based gallery owner who had fled Ethiopia during the early days of the military junta in 1974. A mutual friend connected them when Ms. Sile was in Los Angeles, and over the span of a week, they talked about Ethiopia’s rich art history, the growing international conversations around African contemporary art and the idea of working together to promote what was happening on the ground artistically in Addis Ababa.

Read more »


Related:
Spotlight: Addis Ababa Among Six Dynamic Emerging Art Capitals in Africa
Summer Previews of Ethiopian Art in the Diaspora – Media Roundup
Addis Fine Art Exhibit Puts Focus on New Generation of Ethiopian Photographers
Addis Fine Art Opens New Gallery With Inaugural Exhibition

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In DC, as Impeachment Heats Up Legal Experts Explain High Crimes (WATCH)

In a sweeping and historic impeachment report released Tuesday the U.S. House Committee on Intelligence accused Donald Trump of abusing his presidential powers and U.S. foreign policy for personal domestic political gain, as well as obstructing the panel's investigation. Below is an excerpt and a link to the full report. (Photo: For only the fourth time in American history, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is currently conducting historic public impeachment hearings setting the stage for Donald Trump's possible removal from office for bribery, obstruction and abuse of power/AP )

Law professor said Trump’s actions toward Ukraine meet constitutional definition of bribery

Public impeachment hearings moved on Wednesday to the House judiciary committee, where four constitutional law experts testified about whether alleged misconduct by Donald Trump investigated in previous impeachment hearings rises to the level of impeachable offenses.

The Guardian

Updated: December 4th, 2019

Here are five key takeaways from this next step of the process:

Trump provides extreme example of impeachable conduct – witnesses

Three witnesses called by Democrats said that the president’s use of official acts for personal gain in defiance of US national security interests was clearly an impeachable offense.

“If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” said witness Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor. “If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning and, along with that, our constitution’s carefully crafted safeguards against the establishment of a king on American soil.”

Democrats lay out impeachment road map

The Democrats outlined three alleged offenses that could form the basis for formal articles of impeachment that the full House would vote on. The three offenses were: abuse of power and bribery; obstruction of Congress; and obstruction of justice.

“Never before has a president engaged in a course of conduct that included all the acts that most concerned the framers,” said the committee’s chairman, Jerry Nadler.

The road ahead

While the judiciary committee has not announced additional hearings, the White House has until Friday 6 December to notify the committee whether lawyers for Trump wish to participate in the proceedings. The White House declined to participate in the hearing on Wednesday.

If the judiciary committee forges ahead with drafting formal articles of impeachment, Democratic party leaders expect a committee vote on them as soon as next week. By this timeline, the full House could vote on impeaching Trump near the end of the year, although there is no set calendar. If he is impeached, Trump’s trial would be held in the Republican-controlled Senate early next year.

Read more »


UPDATE: U.S. Impeachment Panel Finds Trump Abused His Office for Personal Gain

THE TRUMP-UKRAINE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY REPORT

Report of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in Consultation with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

December 3, 2019

In his farewell address, President George Washington warned of a moment when “cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

The Framers of the Constitution well understood that an individual could one day occupy the Office of the President who would place his personal or political interests above those of the nation. Having just won hard-fought independence from a King with unbridled authority, they were attuned to the dangers of an executive who lacked fealty to the law and the Constitution.

In response, the Framers adopted a tool used by the British Parliament for several hundred years to constrain the Crown—the power of impeachment. Unlike in Britain, where impeachment was typically reserved for inferior officers but not the King himself, impeachment in our untested democracy was specifically intended to serve as the ultimate form of accountability for a duly-elected President. Rather than a mechanism to overturn an election, impeachment was explicitly contemplated as a remedy of last resort for a president who fails to faithfully execute his oath of office “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Accordingly, the Constitution confers the power to impeach the president on Congress, stating that the president shall be removed from office upon conviction for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While the Constitutional standard for removal from office is justly a high one, it is nonetheless an essential check and balance on the authority of the occupant of the Office of the President, particularly when that occupant represents a continuing threat to our fundamental democratic norms, values, and laws.

Alexander Hamilton explained that impeachment was not designed to cover only criminal violations, but also crimes against the American people. “The subjects of its jurisdiction,” Hamilton wrote, “are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

Similarly, future Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court James Wilson, a delegate from Pennsylvania at the Constitutional Convention, distinguished impeachable offenses from those that reside “within the sphere of ordinary jurisprudence.” As he noted, “impeachments are confined to political characters, to political crimes and misdemeanors, and to political punishments.”

* * *
As this report details, the impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection. In furtherance of this scheme, President Trump conditioned official acts on a public announcement by the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, of politically-motivated investigations, including one into President Trump’s domestic political opponent. In pressuring President Zelensky to carry out his demand, President Trump withheld a White House meeting desperately sought by the Ukrainian President, and critical U.S. military assistance to fight Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage. In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security.

At the center of this investigation is the memorandum prepared following President Trump’s July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukraine’s President, which the White House declassified and released under significant public pressure. The call record alone is stark evidence of misconduct; a demonstration of the President’s prioritization of his personal political benefit over the national interest. In response to President Zelensky’s appreciation for vital U.S. military assistance, which President Trump froze without explanation, President Trump asked for “a favor though”: two specific investigations designed to assist his reelection efforts.

Our investigation determined that this telephone call was neither the start nor the end of President Trump’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for his personal gain. Rather, it was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Acting Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Energy, and others were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President.

The investigation revealed the nature and extent of the President’s misconduct, notwithstanding an unprecedented campaign of obstruction by the President and his Administration to prevent the Committees from obtaining documentary evidence and testimony. A dozen witnesses followed President Trump’s orders, defying voluntary requests and lawful subpoenas, and refusing to testify. The White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, Office of Management and Budget, and Department of Energy refused to produce a single document in response to our subpoenas.

Ultimately, this sweeping effort to stonewall the House of Representatives’ “sole Power of Impeachment” under the Constitution failed because witnesses courageously came forward and testified in response to lawful process. The report that follows was only possible because of their sense of duty and devotion to their country and its Constitution.

Nevertheless, there remain unanswered questions, and our investigation must continue, even as we transmit our report to the Judiciary Committee. Given the proximate threat of further presidential attempts to solicit foreign interference in our next election, we cannot wait to make a referral until our efforts to obtain additional testimony and documents wind their way through the courts. The evidence of the President’s misconduct is overwhelming, and so too is the evidence of his obstruction of Congress. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine a stronger or more complete case of obstruction than that demonstrated by the President since the inquiry began.

The damage the President has done to our relationship with a key strategic partner will be remedied over time, and Ukraine continues to enjoy strong bipartisan support in Congress. But the damage to our system of checks and balances, and to the balance of power within our three branches of government, will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the President’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked. Any future President will feel empowered to resist an investigation into their own wrongdoing, malfeasance, or corruption, and the result will be a nation at far greater risk of all three.

* * *

The decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry is not one we took lightly. Under the best of circumstances, impeachment is a wrenching process for the nation…The alarming events and actions detailed in this report, however, left us with no choice but to proceed.

In making the decision to move forward, we were struck by the fact that the President’s misconduct was not an isolated occurrence, nor was it the product of a naïve president. Instead, the efforts to involve Ukraine in our 2020 presidential election were undertaken by a President who himself was elected in 2016 with the benefit of an unprecedented and sweeping campaign of election interference undertaken by Russia in his favor, and which the President welcomed and utilized…

By doubling down on his misconduct and declaring that his July 25 call with President Zelensky was “perfect,” President Trump has shown a continued willingness to use the power of his office to seek foreign intervention in our next election. His Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, in the course of admitting that the President had linked security assistance to Ukraine to the announcement of one of his desired investigations, told the American people to “get over it.” In these statements and actions, the President became the author of his own impeachment inquiry. The question presented by the set of facts enumerated in this report may be as simple as that posed by the President and his chief of staff’s brazenness: is the remedy of impeachment warranted for a president who would use the power of his office to coerce foreign interference in a U.S. election, or is that now a mere perk of the office that Americans must simply “get over”?

* * *

Those watching the impeachment hearings might have been struck by how little discrepancy there was between the witnesses called by the Majority and Minority. Indeed, most of the facts presented in the pages that follow are uncontested. The broad outlines as well as many of the details of the President’s scheme have been presented by the witnesses with remarkable consistency. There will always be some variation in the testimony of multiple people witnessing the same events, but few of the differences here go to the heart of the matter. And so, it may have been all the more surprising to the public to see very disparate reactions to the testimony by the Members of Congress from each party.

If there was one ill the Founding Founders feared as much as that of an unfit president, it may have been that of excessive factionalism. Although the Framers viewed parties as necessary, they also endeavored to structure the new government in such a way as to minimize the “violence of faction.” As George Washington warned in his farewell address, “the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.”

Today, we may be witnessing a collision between the power of a remedy meant to curb presidential misconduct and the power of faction determined to defend against the use of that remedy on a president of the same party. But perhaps even more corrosive to our democratic system of governance, the President and his allies are making a comprehensive attack on the very idea of fact and truth. How can a democracy survive without acceptance of a common set of experiences?

America remains the beacon of democracy and opportunity for freedom-loving people around the world. From their homes and their jail cells, from their public squares and their refugee camps, from their waking hours until their last breath, individuals fighting human rights abuses, journalists uncovering and exposing corruption, persecuted minorities struggling to survive and preserve their faith, and countless others around the globe just hoping for a better life look to America. What we do will determine what they see, and whether America remains a nation committed to the rule of law.

As Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention, he was asked, “what have we got? A Republic or a Monarchy?” He responded simply: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Click here to read the full report »

For only the fourth time in American history, the U.S. House began historic public impeachment hearings last month setting the stage for Donald Trump’s possible removal from office for bribery, extortion and abuse of power

‘Tis a new season in the impeachment inquiry: Actual impeachment

The Washington Post

Dec. 2, 2019

House Democrats want to vote on whether to impeach President Trump by Christmas, which means they have about three weeks to write up articles of impeachment, debate them and vote on them.

This next phase comes after two months of an inquiry into whether Trump should be impeached, which culminated in a blitz of public hearings before Thanksgiving…

There’s no standard timeline for impeachment; this is only the fourth time Congress has formally considered impeaching a president…

Once the House votes on whether to impeach Trump, we’re through only the first half of the process.

Here’s an outline of what we can expect next.

First week of December: The handover from the House Intelligence Committee to the House Judiciary Committee

House impeachment investigators are expected to release a report Monday to members of the House Intelligence Committee about what wrongdoing was uncovered during their two-month impeachment inquiry. The Intelligence Committee will vote on whether to approve it by Tuesday evening, after which the report could get released publicly.

The Judiciary Committee…will have its first public hearing Wednesday. Constitutional experts will explain what impeachment is and what the Constitution says about impeachment.

Read the full article at washingtonpost.com »


Related:

Updated: November 23, 2019

Highlights from Dramatic Final Day of This Week’s Landmark U.S. Impeachment Hearings (NBC News)

Impeachment hearings shine spotlight on stories of immigrants

The Washington Post

One surprising aspect of the impeachment hearings is that they have shone a spotlight on the stories of officials who were born elsewhere and immigrated to the United States in search of a better life.

Three of the officials who have testified so far — Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council expert on Ukraine; former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch; and Hill — are naturalized U.S. citizens.

Vindman was born in Ukraine, when it was still part of the Soviet Union. He immigrated to the U.S. as a child. Yovanovitch is the Canadian-born daughter of Russians who fled the Soviet Union.

And Hill came to the U.S. from northeast England, where her poor background and working-class accent were obstacles to her advancement. In her testimony Thursday morning, she described herself as “an American by choice.”

“I grew up poor, with a very distinctive working-class accent,” she said. “In England in the 1980s and 1990s, this would have impeded my professional advancement. This background has never set me back in America.”

Read more »


The Latest: Former Trump adviser undercuts GOP impeachment defenses (Day 5)

The Associated Press

November 21st, 2019

A former White House official said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s top European envoy was sent on a “domestic political errand” seeking investigations of Democrats, stunning testimony that dismantled a main line of the president’s defense in the impeachment inquiry.

In a riveting appearance on Capitol Hill, Fiona Hill also implored Republican lawmakers — and implicitly Trump himself — to stop peddling a “fictional narrative” at the center of the impeachment probe. She said baseless suggestions that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election bolster Russia as it seeks to sow political divisions in the United States.

Testimony from Hill and David Holmes, a State Department adviser in Kyiv, capped an intense week in the historic inquiry and reinforced the central complaint: that Trump used his leverage over Ukraine, a young Eastern European democracy facing Russian aggression, to pursue political investigations. His alleged actions set off alarms across the U.S. national security and foreign policy apparatus.

Hill had a front row seat to some of Trump’s pursuits with Ukraine during her tenure at the White House. She testified in detail about her interactions with Gordon Sondland, saying she initially suspected the U.S. ambassador to the European Union was overstating his authority to push Ukraine to launch investigations into Democrats. But she says she now understands he was acting on instructions Trump sent through his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

“He was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security foreign policy,” she testified in a daylong encounter with lawmakers. “And those two things had just diverged.”

It was just one instance in which Hill, as well as Holmes, undercut the arguments being made by Republicans and the White House. Both told House investigators it was abundantly clear Giuliani was seeking political investigations of Democrats and Joe Biden in Ukraine, knocking down assertions from earlier witnesses who said they didn’t realize the purpose of the lawyer’s pursuits. Trump has also said he was simply focused on rooting out corruption in Ukraine.

Giuliani “was clearly pushing forward issues and ideas that would, you know, probably come back to haunt us and in fact,” Hill testified. “I think that’s where we are today.”

Hill also defended Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Army officer who testified earlier and whom Trump’s allies tried to discredit. A previous witness said Hill raised concerns about Vindman, but she said those worries centered only on whether he had the “political antenna” for the situation at the White House.

The landmark House impeachment inquiry was sparked by a July 25 phone call, in which Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for investigations into Biden and the Democratic National Committee. A still-anonymous whistleblower’s official government complaint about that call led the House to launch the current probe.

After two weeks of public testimony, many Democrats believe they have enough evidence to begin writing articles of impeachment. Working under the assumption that Trump will be impeached by the House, White House officials and a small group of GOP senators met Thursday to discuss the possibility of a two week Senate trial.

There still remain questions about whether there will be additional House testimony, either in public session or behind closed doors, including from high-profile officials such as former Trump national security adviser John Bolton.

In what was seen as a nudge to Bolton, her former boss, Hill said those with information have a “moral obligation to provide it.”

She recounted one vivid incident at the White House where Bolton told her he didn’t want to be involved in any “drug deal” that Sondland and Trump’s acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney were cooking up over the Ukrainian investigations Trump wanted. Hill said she conveyed similar concerns directly to Sondland.

“And I did say to him, ‘Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, I think this is all going to blow up,’” she said. “And here we are.”

Read more »

Impeachment Bombshell: US Envoy Says ‘We followed the president’s orders’ (Day 4)

November 20th, 2019

US Envoy Says ‘We followed the president’s orders’

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Was there a “quid pro quo?”

The ambassador entangled in an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is telling House lawmakers: “Yes.”

Gordon Sondland is testifying Wednesday publicly.

Sondland says “we all understood” that a meeting at the White House for Ukraine’s president and a phone call with Trump would happen only if President Volodymyr Zelenskiy agreed to an investigation into the 2016 U.S. election and the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.

He says he sent an email on July 19, just days before the July 25 call at the center of the impeachment inquiry, where he laid out the issue in detail to members of the State and Energy departments and White House staff.

Sondland said: “It was no secret.”

___

9:20 a.m.

A key witness in the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump says that Vice President Mike Pence was informed about concerns that military aid to Ukraine had been held up because of the investigations.

Ambassador Gordon Sondland is testifying Wednesday publicly. He already appeared behind closed doors.

The wealthy hotelier and Trump donor has emerged as a central figure in an intense week with nine witnesses testifying over three days. He has told lawmakers the White House has records of the July 26 call, despite the fact that Trump has said he doesn’t recall the conversation.

The ambassador’s account of the recently revealed call supports the testimony of multiple witnesses who have spoken to impeachment investigators over the past week.

Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats as he was withholding military aid to the East European nation is at the center of the impeachment probe that imperils his presidency.

—-
U.S. Impeachment Highlights From Day 3 (Video)

Top aides call Trump’s Ukraine call ‘unusual’ and ‘inappropriate’ in impeachment hearing

The Associated Press

Impeachment hearings takeaways: Firsthand witnesses appear

There were attacks on the credibility of a witness in uniform, and hand-wringing by another witness on all that he knows now that he says he didn’t know then. Vice President Mike Pence was name-dropped, and lawmakers heard expressions of concern about the July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader.

The third day of impeachment hearings was the longest yet, bringing to the forefront four witnesses in two separate hearings. All were steeped in national security and foreign affairs.

Some takeaways from Tuesday’s testimony:

‘CONCERNED BY THE CALL’

Republicans consistently criticize the House impeachment inquiry by saying witnesses didn’t have firsthand knowledge of Trump’s role in trying to persuade Ukraine to investigate a chief political rival.

On Day 3 of the proceedings, that posture became more difficult to maintain.

The two witnesses in Tuesday morning’s hearing each listened to the July 25 phone call in which Trump prodded his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Democrat Joe Biden.

Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Pence, said she considered the call “unusual” since it “involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.”

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who arrived for the hearing in military uniform adorned with medals, went even further. He considered it “improper,” and, acting out of “duty,” reported his alarm to a lawyer for the National Security Council.

“My intent was to raise these concerns because they had significant national security implications for our country,” Vindman said. “I never thought that I’d be sitting here testifying in front of this committee and the American public about my actions.”

For his part, Tim Morrison, who recently left his National Security Council post, said he did not believe that anything illegal occurred on the call but was worried about the political ramifications if the contents leaked.

Read more »


Related:

Democrats invite Trump to testify in impeachment inquiry

Updates from last week: Trump accused of witness intimidation

The Associated Press

Ousted ambassador says she felt intimidated by Trump attacks

Updated: November 15th, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — In chilling detail, ousted U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch described to Trump impeachment investigators Friday how she felt threatened upon learning that President Donald Trump had promised Ukraine’s leader she was “going to go through some things.”

Trump was unwilling to stay silent during Yovanovitch’s testimony, focusing even greater national attention on the House hearing by becoming a participant. He tweeted fresh criticism of her, saying that things “turned bad” everywhere she served before he fired her — a comment that quickly was displayed on a video screen in the hearing room.

Rather than distract from the career diplomat’s testimony, Trump’s interference could provide more evidence against him in the probe. Democrat Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Trump’s attacks were intimidation, “part of a pattern to obstruct justice.” Others said they could be part of an article of impeachment.

The former ambassador was testifying on the second day of public impeachment hearings, just the fourth time in American history that the House of Representatives has launched such proceedings. The investigation centers on whether Trump’s push for Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals amounted to an abuse of power, a charge he and Republicans vigorously deny.

Yovanovitch, asked about the potential effect of a presidential threat on other officials or witnesses, replied, “Well, it’s very intimidating.”

When she saw in print what the president had said about her, she said, a friend told her all the color drained from her face. She was “shocked, appalled, devastated” at what was happening after a distinguished 30-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Unabashed, Trump said when asked about it later, “I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech.”

But not all Republicans thought it was wise. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming said Trump’s live tweeting at the ambassador was wrong. She said, “I don’t think the president should have done that.”

More hearings are coming, with back-to-back sessions next week and lawmakers interviewing new witnesses behind closed doors.

Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who served for decades under both Republican and Democratic presidents and was first appointed by Ronald Reagan, was pushed from her post in Kyiv earlier this year amid intense criticism from Trump allies.

During a long day of testimony, she relayed her striking story of being “kneecapped,” recalled from Kyiv by Trump in a swiftly developing series of events that sounded alarms about a White House shadow foreign policy.

She described a “smear campaign” against her by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others, including the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., before her firing.

The daughter of immigrants who fled the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, her career included three tours as an ambassador to some of the world’s tougher postings, before arriving in Ukraine in 2016. She was forced out last May.

In particular, Yovanovitch described Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, as leading what William Taylor, now the top diplomat in Ukraine who testified earlier in the inquiry, called an “irregular channel” outside the diplomatic mainstream of U.S.-Ukraine relations.

“These events should concern everyone in this room,” Yovanovitch testified in opening remarks.

She said her sudden removal had played into the hands of “shady interests the world over” with dangerous intentions toward the United States. They have learned, she said, “how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.”

After Trump’s tweets pulled attention away from her statement, Schiff read the president’s comments aloud, said that “as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter,” and asked if that was a tactic to intimidate.

“I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidated,” she said.

Said Schiff, “Well, I want to let you know, Ambassador, that some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

Later Friday, the panel in closed-door session heard from David Holmes, a political adviser in Kyiv, who overheard Trump asking about the investigations the day after the president’s July 25 phone conversation with new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Holmes was at dinner with Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, when Sondland called up Trump. The conversation was apparently loud enough to be overheard.

In Trump’s phone call with Zelenskiy, he asked for a “favor,” according to an account provided by the White House. He wanted an investigation of Democrats and 2020 rival Joe Biden. Later it was revealed that the administration was withholding military aid from Ukraine at the time.

Democrats are relying on the testimony of officials close to the Ukraine matter to make their case as they consider whether the president’s behavior was impeachable.

Yovanovitch provides a key element, Schiff said, as someone whom Trump and Giuliani wanted out of the way for others more favorable to their interests in Ukraine, an energy-rich country that has long struggled with corruption.

It became clear, he said, “President Trump wanted her gone.”

The top Republican on the panel, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, bemoaned the hearings as a “daylong TV spectacle.”

Republicans complained that the ambassador, like other witnesses, can offer only hearsay testimony and only knows of Trump’s actions secondhand. They note that Yovanovitch had left her position before the July phone call.

Nunes also pressed to hear from the still anonymous government whistleblower who first alerted officials about Trump’s phone call with Ukraine that is in question. “These hearings should not be occurring at all,” he said.

Just as the hearing was opening, the White House released its rough transcript of a still-earlier Trump call with Zelenskiy that was largely congratulatory.

Nunes read that transcript aloud. In it, Trump mentioned his experience with the Miss Universe pageant in Ukraine and invited Zelenskiy to the White House. He closed with, “See you very soon.”

Under questioning from Republicans, Yovanovitch acknowledged that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, serving on the board of a gas company in Ukraine could have created the appearance of a conflict of interest. But she testified the former vice president acted in accordance with official U.S. policy.

She denied allegations against her, including that she favored Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in the 2016 election, and she rejected the notion that Ukraine tried to interfere in the election, as Trump claims, counter to mainstream U.S. intelligence findings that it was Russia.

The White House has instructed officials not to comply with the probe, and most have been issued subpoenas to appear.

An administration budget official will meet privately with the panel privately Saturday. Part of the impeachment inquiry concerns the contention that military aid for Ukraine, which borders a hostile Russia, was being withheld through the White House budget office, pending Ukrainian agreement to investigate Biden and the 2016 U.S. election.

LIVE | Day 2 of public Trump impeachment hearings: Marie Yovanovitch testifies

Friday, Nov. 15, 2019

Representative Eric Swalwell, one of the Democratic members of the House intelligence committee, said that witness intimidation “will be considered” for one of the articles of impeachment against Trump after the president sent a disparaging tweet about Maria Yovanovitch as the longtime diplomat testified.

One of Swalwell’s fellow Democrats on the panel, Andre Carson, similarly said the committee would “look into” whether Trump engaged in witness intimidation.

After Trump smears Yovanovitch, Schiff says witness intimidation is taken ‘very, very seriously’ – live

After reading Trump’s tweet attacking the reputation of Maria Yovanovitch, Adam Schiff asked the longtime diplomat whether she thought the tweet was meant to intimidate her as she testified at the impeachment hearing.

“It’s very intimidating.”

Schiff rejoined: “The president is attacking you in real time… Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.”

Presidential candidate Kamala Harris weighed in on Trump’s tweet smearing Maria Yovanovitch’s reputation as the longtime diplomat testified, accusing the president of witness intimidation.

Fox News anchors described the testimony of Maria Yovanovitch as a “turning point” in the impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Anchor Bret Baier predicted that Trump’s tweet smearing Yovanovitch’s reputation as the longtime diplomat testified would lead to a new article of impeachment against the president.

John Roberts

@johnrobertsFox
Wow….this is really unprecedented. @realDonaldTrump and Amb Yovanovitch are talking to each other in real time through @Twitter and Television… Something I never thought I would ever see.

Chris Wallace on Fox News: “If you were not moved by the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, you don’t have a pulse.”

Read more at theguardian.com »


Ousted ambassador testifies ouster helped ‘shady interests’


Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, right, arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump’s efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. At left is attorney Lawrence Robbins. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Associated Press

Updated: November 15th, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — WASHINGTON (AP) — Former U.S. Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch opened the second day of Trump impeachment hearings Friday declaring that her abrupt removal by President Donald Trump’s administration played into the hands of “shady interests the world over” with dangerous intentions toward the United States.

Yovanovitch told the House Intelligence Committee of a concerted “smear” campaign against her by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others. Her removal is one of several events at the center of the impeachment effort.

“These events should concern everyone in this room,” the career diplomat testified in opening remarks. “Shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.”

The daughter of immigrants who fled the former Soviet Union and Nazi German, she described a 33-year career, including three tours as an ambassador to some of the world’s tougher postings, before arriving in Ukraine in 2016. She was forced out in April 2019.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the panel, opened day’s hearing praising Yovanovitch, saying she was “too tough on corruption for some, and her principled stance made her enemies.”

Pelosi calls Trump’s actions ‘bribery’ as Democrats sharpen case for impeachment

The Washington Post

Escalating her case for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused President Trump of committing bribery by seeking to use U.S. military aid as leverage to persuade the Ukrainian government to conduct investigations that could politically benefit Trump.

The shift toward bribery as an impeachable offense, one of only two crimes specifically cited in the Constitution, comes after nearly two months of debate over whether Trump’s conduct amounted to a “quid pro quo” — a lawyerly Latin term describing an exchange of things of value.

Wednesday’s public testimony from two senior diplomats, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival.”

Bribery, she suggested, amounted to a translation of quid pro quo that would stand to be more accessible to Americans: “Talking Latin around here: E pluribus unum — from many, one. Quid pro quo — bribery. And that is in the Constitution, attached to the impeachment proceedings.”

Article II of the Constitution holds that the president and other civil federal officials “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Pelosi’s remarks came a day after William B. Taylor Jr., the top American envoy in the Ukrainian capital, and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state overseeing Ukraine policy, told lawmakers in the House’s first public impeachment hearing since 1998 that they were deeply troubled by an apparent perversion of U.S. policy, done at what seemed to be the behest of Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and Trump himself.

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com »


The Associated Press

Diplomats accuse Trump as impeachment hits Americans’ TVs

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time, the Democrats’ case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment streamed from Americans’ TVs Wednesday, including a new contention that he was overheard asking about political “investigations” that he demanded from Ukraine in trade for military aid.

On Day One of extraordinary public U.S. House hearings — only the fourth formal impeachment effort in U.S. history — career diplomats testified in the open after weeks of closed-door interviews aimed at removing the nation’s 45th president.

The account they delivered was a striking though complicated one that Democrats say reveals a president abusing his office, and the power of American foreign policy, for personal political gain.

“The matter is as simple and as terrible as that,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee, as he opened the daylong hearing. “Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself.”

Career diplomat William Taylor, the charge d’affaires in Kyiv, offered new testimony that Trump was overheard asking on the phone about “the investigations” of Democrats that he wanted Ukraine to pursue that are central to the impeachment inquiry.

Trump said he was too busy to watch on Wednesday and denied having the phone call. “First I’ve heard of it,” he said when asked.

All day, the diplomats testified about how an ambassador was fired, the new Ukraine government was confused and they discovered an “irregular channel” — a shadow U.S. foreign policy orchestrated by the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, that raised alarms in diplomatic and national security circles.

The hearing, playing out on live television and in the partisan silos of social media, provided the nation and the world a close-up look at the investigation.

At its core, the inquiry stems from Trump’s July 25 phone call when he asked Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, for “a favor.”

Trump wanted the Ukraine government to investigate Democrats’ activities in the 2016 election and his potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden — all while the administration was withholding military aid for the Eastern European ally that is confronting an aggressive neighbor, Russia.

Both sides tried to distill it into soundbites.

Democrats said Trump was engaged in “bribery” and “extortion.” Republicans said nothing really happened — the military aid was ultimately released after Congress complained.

Read more »


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New testimony ties Trump more directly to Ukraine pressure

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A top diplomat on Wednesday tied President Trump more directly to the effort to pressure Ukraine to probe his political opponents, describing a phone call in which Trump sought information about the status of the investigations he had asked Ukraine to launch one day earlier.

William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told lawmakers that the phone conversation between the president and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in Kyiv was overheard by one of his aides. Afterward, Sondland told the aide that Trump cared more about investigations of former vice president Joe Biden than other issues in Ukraine, Taylor said.

The startling testimony revealed a new example of Trump’s personal involvement in the Ukraine pressure campaign that touched off the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com »

The Associated Press

Impeachment hearings go live on TV: Witness says Trump asked about Ukraine probes

For the first time a top diplomat testified Wednesday that President Donald Trump was overheard asking about “the investigations” he wanted Ukraine to pursue that are central to the impeachment inquiry.

William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, revealed the new information as the House Intelligence Committee opened extraordinary hearings on whether the 45th president of the United States should be removed from office.

Taylor said his staff recently told him they overheard Trump when they were meeting with another diplomat, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, at a restaurant the day after Trump’s July 25 phone call with the new leader of Ukraine that sparked the impeachment investigation.

The staff explained that Sondland had called the president and they could hear Trump on the phone asking about “the investigations.” The ambassador told the president the Ukrainians were ready to move forward, Taylor testified.

Not inappropriate, let alone impeachable, countered the intelligence panel’s top Republican, Devin Nunes of California.

Trump “would have a perfectly good reason for wanting to find out what happened” if there were indications that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election, he said.

National security officials have told Congress they don’t believe Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

The hearing Wednesday was the first public session of the impeachment inquiry, a remarkable moment, even for a White House full of them.

It’s the first chance for America, and the rest of the world, to see and hear for themselves about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine and consider whether they are, in fact, impeachable offenses.

An anonymous whistleblower’s complaint to the intelligence community’s inspector general — including that Trump had pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic foe Joe Biden and Bidens’ son and was holding up U.S. military aid — ignited the rare inquiry now unfolding in Congress.

The country has been here only three times before, and never against the 21st century backdrop of real-time commentary, including from the Republican president himself. The proceedings were being broadcast live, and on social media, from a packed hearing room on Capitol Hill.

Read more »


Related:

Watch: U.S. Public impeachment hearings to begin this week

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Spotlight: Movie from Ethiopia ‘Enchained’ to Make U.S. Premier in NYC & DC

The film entitled ‘Enchained', which is is set to make its U.S. debut in New York City during NY African Diaspora International Film Festival on December 11th and December 15th, will also be screened at Landmark Theatres in Washington, D.C. on December 12th. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: December 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This month, the award-winning new film from Ethiopia, Enchained (ቁራኛዬ) is coming to the United States. The U.S. screenings follow the film’s successful international premier in London this past October.

The film will make its U.S. debut in New York City during the NY African Diaspora International Film Festival on December 11th and December 15th, and will also be screened in Washington, D.C. on December 12th.

A review by Filmuforia notes: “Combining breath-taking landscapes with superb performances piqued by humour and irony,” Enchained “takes the audience by storm in a tense and moving ethnological drama suffused with passion, jealousy and bitter anger of the traditional Ethiopian establishment.”

Set in 1916 Enchained reflects on the age-old human behavior when it comes to love, sex, violence and the desire for vigilante justice, while also contemplating on Ethiopia’s judicial system of the day informed by local customs, values and traditions adjudicating conflict situations.

One of the film’s main characters “Gobeze is a timid, peace-loving, young man of 25; a brilliant student who dedicates his whole life to Sem Ina Werq (riddles with dual meaning),” explains the synopsis. “He spends seven years searching for his young love, Aleme, kidnapped from his arms. Finally finding her, two young lovers are caught by Gonite, her husband and a wealthy old landlord. Following the old Ethiopian tradition, both men’s clothes are bind together and the rivals set off on a long journey to the royal court to stand trial.”


Written and directed by Moges Tafesse, the film’s cast include Zerihun Mulatu as Gobeze, Yimisirach Girma as Aleme and Frehiwot Kelkilew as Queen Zewditu. (Screen shot)


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)

The film’s director, Moges Tafesse, will be present for a Q & A session on December 15th during the New York screening that will be held at Columbia University’s Teachers College, as well as at the D.C. event at Landmark Theatres on December 12th.

If You Go
‘Enchained’ NY African Diaspora International Film Festival.
Teachers College, Columbia University
Wed Dec 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 4:00 pm
525 W 120th St, New York, NY 10027
Click here for more info and to buy tickets
Habesha View TV in collaboration with African Diaspora Film Festival’ is offering a 15% discount for the NYC screenings. Use this promo code: ‘habesha view.’ ‘Habesha View, which provides an IPTV service with contents focused on the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities worldwide, is the international distributor for Enchained film.

Washington D.C.
‘Enchained’ at Landmark Theatres / E Street Cinema
Thu Dec 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm
555 11th Street NW,
Entrance on E Street between 10th & 11th Streets
NW, Washington D.C., 20004
Click here for more info and to buy tickets

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Germany Grants Ethiopia $388 Million for Reforms / Ethiopia to Keep Control of Banks as Sectors Open Up (Bloomberg)

Market sellers in Harar. (Getty Images)

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

Germany granted Ethiopia 352.5 million euros ($388 million) to support reforms that will promote private investment and sustainable economic development, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

The agreement was signed with Germany’s ministers for economic cooperation and labor and social affairs, who are in Ethiopia on a state visit. Ethiopia initiated economic reforms when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in April 2018, which are opening the Horn of Africa nation to more foreign capital.

Read more »

Related:
Ethiopia to Keep Control of Its Banks as Other Sectors Open Up

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60 Minutes Features Historic Lalibela

CBS News' 60 Minutes explores Ethiopia's historic Lalibela churches. (CBS)

CBS

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church says the churches were made by angels, but no one knows exactly who made them or why. The 11 churches rose out of a plateau in Ethiopia 800 years ago. They were excavated, meticulously carved out of one huge piece of rock, by people called the Zagwe around 1,200 AD. The King of the Zagwe, Lalibela, from whom the site gets its name, is said to have ordered its construction to replace Jerusalem after the city was conquered by Islam. And pilgrims today continue to make their way there on foot for Christmas as they have for centuries. All of which makes for a fascinating and fitting 60 Minutes report for the holiday season. Scott Pelley made the trip in time for the Christmas vigil and tells the story Sunday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS.

Fasil Giorghis, an Ethiopian architect and historian, knows the stories and the churches as well as anyone. He tells Pelley the legend of King Lalibela, who is supposed to have traveled 1,600 miles to Jerusalem. “And [Lalibela] came back with an ambitious idea, a vision of creating an African Jerusalem, a black Jerusalem here in the highlands of Ethiopia.”

60 Minutes cameras capture the spectacle of nearly 200,000 Christians massing on the 62-acre site, many holding candles, on Christmas Eve. “This is considered to be a holy place,” says Giorghis. “Coming here as a devout Christian is a very strong sign of their belief… some people travel hundreds of kilometers here on foot and they have been doing it for several centuries,” he tells Pelley.

Watch: Lalibela: A place where faith, mystery and miracles coexist


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In U.S., Waiting for Obama as 2020 Nears

In the following timely article, Politico magazine reflects on the upcoming 2020 U.S. election and the influential and behind-the-scenes role of former President Barack Obama, who has emerged during the tumultuous Trump era as one of the most beloved and globally admired American presidents in history. (POLITICO Illustration/AP, Getty Images)

POLITICO

The Democratic establishment is counting on him to stop Trump and, perhaps, stave off Bernie as well. But can his cerebral politics still galvanize voters in an age of extremes?

Today, almost every Democratic presidential campaign starts with what one close adviser to Barack Obama calls “The Pilgrimage”: the journey to the West End to meet the former president.

The West End of Washington, D.C., sandwiched between the better-known districts of Georgetown and Dupont Circle, is known as a neighborhood that people travel through, not to. For elite Democrats, that changed four years ago when Obama set up his personal office here. You wouldn’t know from outside that one of its bland concrete and glass building houses the man whom polls rank as the most popular Democrat in America, and who, according to one global survey, is the second-most admired man in the world.

The first presidential pilgrims started in early 2018, and they continued to trickle through this summer. Not every declared candidate has met with Obama—Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard were notable no-shows—but he let it be known he was available to anyone seeking advice. As a rule of thumb, the closer one is to Obama personally, the less important the West End summit is. Joe Biden, one of only two candidates who Obama knows at a familial, rather than strictly professional level, was an “exception,” said an Obama adviser, who had a rolling series of conversations about 2020, the most recent of which was backstage at the funeral for Elijah Cummings in Baltimore on October 25. Deval Patrick, a close Obama pal and board member at the Obama Foundation who parachuted into the race last week, checked in with a phone call before announcing.

For the others—Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Steve Bullock, and more—the meeting was as important as planning their kickoff rally or first campaign ad…

Ostensibly the meetings are for the aspiring candidates to gain some wisdom from the last Democrat to win an open presidential primary and the presidency, but they also allow Obama to collect his own intelligence about what he and his closest advisers have made clear is all that matters to him: who can beat Donald Trump.

Read the full article at politico.com »


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Ethiopia to Launch Satellite for Agro, Mining & Environmental Protection

Ethiopia’s Innovation and Technology Minister Getahun Mekuria on Friday told reporters the satellite will be used for agricultural, mining, environmental protection and earth observatory purposes. (Image: Satellite composite courtesy of The Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute )

The Associated Press

Ethiopia says its 1st satellite will launch next month

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian officials say the country will launch its first ever satellite next month.

It is the latest example of space ambitions by several African nations.

The satellite was built in China and will be launched from a site there.

Ethiopia’s Innovation and Technology Minister Getahun Mekuria on Friday told reporters the satellite will be used for agricultural, mining, environmental protection and earth observatory purposes.

The minister said Ethiopian engineers took part in the satellite’s construction.

A control center has been set up on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.


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Your Ethiopian Professionals Network (YEP) Celebrates its 9th Anniversary

YEP’s nine year anniversary celebration will be held at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia on Saturday, November 23, 2019. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

November 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend in Alexandria, Virginia Your Ethiopian Professionals Network (YEP) celebrates its 9th year anniversary on Saturday, November 23rd.

“The black-tie event will be held at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and will feature notable community figures, influencers, traditional Ethiopian food and music, and an award ceremony,” YEP announced noting that the theme this year is Leading with Purpose. More than 300 professionals from a wide range of industries and sectors will be in attendance.”

Founded in 2010 YEP’s mission is “to inspire, educate and empower the Ethiopian professional community to make a positive impact in the world and envisions a strong community that shares ideas, skills and resources to enrich lives.” Through the years YEP has hosted educational and networking sessions as well as various inspirational speakers.

The announcement adds that YEP’s award ceremony will honor individuals and organizations “who are doing a great job in their sector and our community.”


If You Go:
YEP Nine Year Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, November 23, 2019 from 6:00 PM to midnight
US Patent and Trademark Office
600 Dulany Street
Madison Auditorium
Alexandria, VA 22304
Click here to buy tickets
More info at www.yepnetwork.org

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Sidama People Vote to Create State

The National Election Board on Saturday said 98.5% of people voted for regional statehood while just 1.48% voted to remain within the Southern regional state. Official results show voter turnout was 99.8%. The Sidama make up about 4% of Ethiopia’s population. (Photo: Voting has been peaceful in Sidama's main city, Hawassa/Getty Images)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

Updated: November 23, 2019

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian authorities say the Sidama people in the south have voted overwhelmingly in favor of regional statehood. The vote could inspire others and cause further fragmentation of ethnic groups in Africa’s second most populous country while its Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader urges national unity.

The National Election Board on Saturday said 98.5% of people voted for regional statehood while just 1.48% voted to remain within the Southern regional state. Official results show voter turnout was 99.8%.

The Sidama make up about 4% of Ethiopia’s population.

A consortium of civil society organizations described Wednesday’s referendum as peaceful, but it alleged some polling stations weren’t transparent.

Some voters told The Associated Press those in the “remain” camp were intimidated. They spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for their safety.


Related:

Referendum Tests Ethiopia’s Ability for Peaceful Elections (Bloomberg)

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Ethiopian Human Rights Boss Battles Scant Resources (Reuters)

Daniel Bekele, former political prisoner and Africa director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, now heading the government's human rights commission, speaks during a Reuters interview in Addis Ababa, November 15, 2019. (REUTERS)

REUTERS

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – When Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a former political prisoner in July as head of the state-funded human rights commission, supporters hailed it as a sign the country might finally tackle abuses by security forces and move to break a cycle of bloody ethnic feuds.

Daniel Bekele, former political prisoner and Africa director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, now heading the government’s human rights commission, speaks during a Reuters interview in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Giulia Paravicini
Daniel Bekele left a high-ranking position at watchdog Human Rights Watch in New York to come home and take up the post.

Now reality has hit. He has one investigator for every million Ethiopians, and low salaries make it impossible to attract and retain talent, he told Reuters in an interview on Friday. His own salary after tax is equivalent to $270 per month, common for civil servants.

Parliament, which he reports to, approves the commission’s budget, equivalent to $3 million annually, but the finance ministry approves all spending, curbing the commission’s autonomy.

Even if funds were adequate, he said, bureaucracy prevents the quick deployment of researchers to investigate ethnic clashes around the country that have killed hundreds of people in the past few months alone.

The commission was established 15 years ago but was largely ineffective. Security forces committed widespread abuses against civilians but the commission rarely documented them.

After three years of protests, the ruling coalition bowed to pressure and appointed Abiy in April 2018 to drive reforms. His peacemaking efforts with longtime foe and neighbor Eritrea won him the Nobel Peace Prize last month. He has appointed former dissidents like Bekele to senior roles in the justice sector, raising hopes that abuses will not go unpunished.

Ethiopia must push harder if it wants to break the cycle of violence, Bekele said.


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Spotlight: The Shadow King is on Time’s 2019 List of 100 Must Read Books

Time magazine has released its list of the top books of 2019 that includes 'The Shadow King,' the new novel by Ethiopian-American author Maaza Mengiste. (Image: Time.com)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: November 17th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Maaza Mengiste’s acclaimed new novel The Shadow King has been selected by the editors of Time magazine as one of their 2019 list of 100 must read books.

Maaza’s book narrates the rarely explored and heroic participation of female warriors in Ethiopia’s legendary victory against fascist occupation forces during World War II. The movie rights to the novel was also recently acquired by the film production company Atlas Entertainment.

Time notes: “Ethiopian-American novelist Maaza Mengiste tells an unforgettable story steeped in the history of her home country. Hirut, an orphan, works as a maid subjected to the oppressive impulses of men — until she steps up to become a war hero, helping to defend Ethiopia against Mussolini’s invasion in 1935, a precursor to World War II. The Shadow King is a propulsive read that captures a historical moment from a fresh perspective, speaking to timeless themes about women’s power and oppression and the cost of war.”

Buy now: The Shadow King


Related:
Atlas Acquires Maaza Mengiste’s Novel ‘The Shadow King’
Spotlight: Three Great Reviews of Maaza Mengiste’s New Book by NYT, WSJ & NPR
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste


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Ethiopia Election 2020: Ruling Coalition Seeks to Further Unite Ahead of Vote

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Getty Images)

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition took a step closer to the creation of a national unity party as Africa’s second most-populous nation prepares for elections.

The executive committee of the alliance voted for the merger of the four parties, Fikadu Tessema, a committee member, said in an interview with the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp.

The move will include a fair representation of the ethnic groups in the alliance, Tessema told the national broadcaster. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front or EPRDF, a former rebel movement that’s made up of four regional parties, will wait for the final confirmation from the coalition’s 180-member council. The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) faction of the party opposed the merger.


Related:

Prominent Abiy Critic Says to Stand in Ethiopia Election (AFP)

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Ethiopia Election 2020: Prominent Abiy Critic Says to Stand in Election (AFP)

Mired in controversy, Jawar Mohammed says he is running for office (AFP Photo/STRINGER)

AFP

Prominent Abiy Critic Says to Stand in Ethiopia Election

Addis Ababa (AFP) – Jawar Mohammed, a former ally turned foe of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, told AFP on Saturday he would join the race for a 2020 election to ensure that it is “free and fair”.

Jawar, a media mogul and activist who was at the centre of last month’s deadly protests in Addis Ababa, is credited with helping to sweep Abiy to power but has recently criticised some of the premier’s policies.

Jawar told an audience in the US state of Minnesota that he would run in next year’s vote, a decision he confirmed to AFP by phone.

“I’ve not decided which position or which party. What I’ve decided is to run,” he said.

“The purpose is to help to ensure the election is free and fair. I want to add my voice and my influence to ensure the election is free and fair. And I want to make sure the federalist voices are given enough space in the debate.”

Both Abiy, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Jawar are from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia’s largest, and their feud highlights divisions within the Oromo support base that could complicate the prime minister’s bid for a five-year term.

Ethiopian-born Jawar said he would have to give up his current US citizenship and reclaim Ethiopian citizenship to be able to enter the contest, in which he said he could run for the Oromia regional parliament or the national assembly.

Jawar, who has 1.7 million followers on Facebook, said he would return to Ethiopia within 10 days to start the paperwork needed for his candidacy.

Ethiopia’s general election is scheduled for May 2020, but many observers expect the vote to be delayed as preparations are already running behind schedule.


Related:

Ruling Coalition Seeks to Further Unite Ahead of Vote

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Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS Show ‘No Passport Required’ Returns for 2nd Season

Marcus Samuelsson's popular PBS TV show 'No Passport Required' is set to return for a new season in January 2020. (Photo courtesy: Eater.com)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: November 15th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Marcus Samuelsson’s popular TV show, No Passport Required, is scheduled to return for a second season in January 2020 highlighting diverse American cities such as Los Angeles, California — home to Little Ethiopia, which is the only neignhrhood in the United States officially named after an African country.

In the upcoming episodes Marcus will travel to six major cities exploring international flavors, sounds and tastes. The featured cities include “Houston, home to one of the highest numbers of West African expatriates of any U.S. city; the Filipino American community in Seattle, who are part of the city’s longstanding Asian Pacific American heritage; Los Angeles, where the world’s second-largest Armenian community resides; and Boston, where Marcus explores Portuguese-speaking cultures and cuisines from three different locales: Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal. Other episodes focus on the Chinese American community in Las Vegas, which has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and Philadelphia, where Italian Americans have thrived for generations. In each city, he’ll visit local restaurants, markets and family homes, learning about each community’s cuisine and heritage.”

PBS added: “An immigrant himself — born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, now a celebrated chef, restaurateur, author and resident of Harlem — Marcus Samuelsson is passionate about sharing and celebrating the food of America’s vibrant communities. Each episode shows how important food can be in bringing Americans — old and new — together around the table.”

For Marcus, a new season of No Passport Required means that “we have only begun to scratch the surface of the amazing range of immigrant cultures and cuisines found in the U.S.” He adds: “It’s exciting to go on this journey once again and bring attention to these diverse communities that contribute so much to our nation.”

The finale segment of the previous season was brodcast this past August 14th and featured Ethiopian food and culture in Washington D.C. The episode highlighted the inspiring stories of Ethiopian entrepreneurs, eskista dancing, as well as how to make traditional dishes such as kitfo and ful.

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), one of the largest television program distributors in the United States, premiered No Passport Required, which was produced in collaboration with Vox Media, on July 10th, 2018.

“NO PASSPORT REQUIRED was one of our freshest and most popular new shows last year,” says Pamela A. Aguilar, Senior Director, PBS Programming. “It included new perspectives and provided a unique lens that brought younger audiences to PBS, who connected with Marcus and the culture and cuisine of these diverse communities. We’re delighted to present a new season of this inclusive series that is part of the PBS commitment to provide programming that is reflective of all Americans.”

“We are thrilled to be working with PBS and Marcus to continue capturing these authentic stories focusing on the communities that make this nation so rich and dynamic,” said Marty Moe, President, Vox Media. “Serving both the PBS and Eater audiences with premium nonfiction television inspired by great journalism, next generation talent and a collective deep curiosity about the world is a priority for Vox Entertainment.”


Related:

Season 2 of NO PASSPORT REQUIRED with Marcus Samuelsson to Air Jan. 20 (Broadway World)

Watch a preview of the DC Ethiopian community episode of ‘No Passport Required’:

PBS and VOX Media Announce New Series Hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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After Ethiopia Trip, Bowser Touts Renewed Bond with Homeland of Many DC Residents

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), center, in Ethi­o­pia. Bowser led a 70-member delegation that toured Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, where officials renewed a sister-city agreement. (Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser)

The Washington Post

She met with the president and the prime minister, talked transportation and health care with local officials, visited an orphanage and an ancient church, and smiled broadly as a street was christened for her more than 7,000 miles from her hometown.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), back from a five-day diplomatic and trade mission to Ethiopia, described the trip on Thursday as a way to solidify ties with a country where an estimated 30,000 Ethiopians have relocated to the District.

“We are promoting our D.C. values of inclusivity around the world,” the mayor said when asked about the trip’s benefits for District residents. “Letting the world know that we are Washingtonians, not just who you see in the White House, and that has been increasingly important in the last two and a half years.”

On her visit to Ethi­o­pia, her fifth international trip since her 2014 election, Bowser led a 70-member delegation that toured Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, where they renewed a sister-city agreement, met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde, and sampled lamb stew, enjera and other local delicacies.

After a one-hour flight to the town of Lalibela, they toured underground cathedrals and a school that was modernized by a Bowser donor who was on the trip. Before returning home, the mayor also accepted congratulations when Addis Ababa’s mayor, Takele Uma Banti, dedicated Mayor Muriel Bowser Street. The mayor’s office announced the designation in a press release that also reported that another location in Addis Ababa had been renamed Washington D.C. Square.

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com »


Related:

UPDATE: Addis Ababa Unveils DC Square in Honor of Mayor Bowser’s Visit

DC Mayor Bowser Takes Delegation Of 70 To Ethiopia

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World Needs More Ethiopia & Less Exxon

Ethiopia's Nobel Peace Prize winning Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, planting a tree in Addis Ababa. (Image: Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia)

Corporate Knights

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali won the Nobel Peace Prize this year for ending a multi-decade war with Eritrea. Equally notable, he made one of the boldest moves of any world leader yet to end the war on nature. On a single day on July 29, he led a blitz to plant 353 million trees (part of a larger program to plant 4 billion), for an estimated cost of US$548 million, representing almost 1% of Ethiopia’s gross domestic product.

To put that number in perspective, if a rich country like Canada were to invest 1% of its GDP planting new trees over a period of just eight years, it could remove up to half of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs) that have been deposited by humankind in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution.

Former ExxonMobil scientist Dr. M. Stanley Whittingham also won a Nobel prize this year for his pioneering work in the development of the lithium-ion battery for the company in the 1970s. In its citation for the prize, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said: “This light-weight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. It can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society.”

For whatever reason, after Whittingham’s initial breakthrough, Exxon put the rechargeable battery project on ice, citing high manufacturing costs and safety concerns.

That wasn’t the only time Exxon scientists developed potential breakthrough technologies to decarbonize the global economy. Exxon holds more low-carbon patents than any company on the planet, according to a Chatham House report.

Exxon’s annual sales are more than triple Ethiopia’s GDP. One wonders how different the world would be had the company invested its vast resources in a better future rather than holding it back. Exxon’s shareholders should be asking this question too. Over the past 10 years, Exxon’s stock has been a dog, returning just one dollar for every six generated by an equivalent investment in the broader U.S. stock market.

The reason for this is the best news possible: economics. The low-carbon way is now the better, cheaper way. This is true across a host of critical technologies from electric vehicles to renewable power and storage.

To wit: A recent report by BNP Paribas Asset Management (which has US$469 billion in assets under management) found that oil needs a long-term breakeven price of $10–$20 per barrel to remain competitive in mobility, which accounts for more than a third of demand for crude oil. The report concludes the “economics of oil for gasoline and diesel vehicles versus wind- and solar-powered electric vehicles are now in relentless and irreversible decline, with far-reaching implications for both policymakers and the oil majors.”

It’s good news that investors are waking up to the greatest threat to humanity, and even better news that it is for economic reasons, as that suggests the possibility of a massive scale-down of financing of climate problems in favour of climate solutions. But it’s not happening fast enough.

It’s as if our house is on fire and we are waiting for the boxing day sale on sprinklers.

We need to turn the firehose on. For decades, dealing with climate change (now a climate emergency) has been a massive collective action problem with little incentive to be a first mover, because it has been viewed as an environmental problem. Any single actor (with the exception of China or the U.S.) could not hope to make more than a dent on their own, and the benefits would not be reaped for decades into the future.

But when viewed through the lens of economics, the first mover disadvantage becomes an advantage. Those who lead the race to the rising low carbon economy stand to reap the biggest gains.

Which brings us to Canada, eh. With our energy industry on the ropes and struggling to remain relevant in what Shell CEO Ben van Beurden describes as a “lower forever” oil price world, the sooner we change our mindset to see the low-carbon economy as something to fight for rather than against the better.

Ditto for the rest of our economy — from the beleaguered internal combustion auto sector and energy-inefficient heavy industry to buildings and the balkanized electrical grid — embracing the opportunities of a low-carbon economy could bring our country together instead of driving it apart.

But it will take a serious chunk of change: about $300 billion over the next six years, according to The Capital Plan for Clean Prosperity, a Corporate Knights report for the Council for Clean Capitalism.

The simplest most effective way to move Canada to the front of the global low-carbon economic expansion would be for the federal government to initiate a large clean stimulus package backed by an annual $50 billion green bond program that would provide grants for businesses to deploy climate solutions.

As the global economy enters a period of contraction, the timing for such a stimulus could not be better.

Using the best models available, such a bold move could add as many as 900,000 jobs and $700 billion of GDP growth over six years.

Unlike Ethiopia we have abundant means to do this. A $300 billion pot of free money would focus the imagination of Canadian businesses. We should not underestimate our ability to capitalize on the awesome low-carbon growth opportunity.


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U.S. Invests in Ethiopia Health System

(Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Ethiopia)

Press Release

U.S. Invests in Digital Solutions to Modernize Ethiopia Health System

November 14, 2019

Addis Ababa – The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Ministry of Health, announced the launch of the new USAID Digital Health Activity to continue investments in digital information solutions to further strengthen the country’s health system and improve the quality of services. USAID Mission Director Sean Jones and Minister of Health Dr. Amir Aman inaugurated the new activity, which builds on U.S.-Ethiopian efforts to create a modernized health information system that ensures the entire sector has the data, analytics, and skills necessary to improve the health and well-being of all Ethiopians.

The five-year USD $63 million USAID Digital Health Activity will train end-users including doctors, nurses, health extension workers, and policy-makers at all levels of the health system to utilize technology more effectively and enable them to better serve patients and families across the country. USAID will also partner with local universities to introduce courses that develop competencies in health innovations and electronic solutions, and establish career paths that empower young Ethiopians to drive digital solutions across the sector. The Digital Health Activity will also create opportunities for entrepreneurs and youth-led tech organizations to utilize their expertise in providing support to health centers.

“In addition to simply expanding digital health systems and strengthening the skills of today’s medical professionals, we are also increasing our focus on developing the leaders of tomorrow to drive health innovations far into the future,” said USAID Mission Director Sean Jones.

USAID’s Digital Health Activity is implemented by JSI and a consortium of partners. The United States is the largest bilateral provider of support to Ethiopia’s health sector, with approximately $150 million per year in funding for tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS; malaria; maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Overall, the United States has provided approximately $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia over the past five years.


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Clashes on Ethiopian Campuses Kill 3 (AP)

Two students at Woldia University in the Amhara region and one student at Dembi Dollo University in the Oromia region died in days of unrest largely along ethnic lines, AP reports. (Photo Dambi Dollo University Facebook)

The Associated Press

Clashes on Ethiopian Campuses Kill 3 University Students

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian authorities say three university students have died in days of unrest largely along ethnic lines, and students say security forces have entered campuses to restore order.

Clashes in the Amhara region began Saturday and in the Oromia region Monday and some students have been evacuated.

Education ministry official Samuel Kifle said Wednesday some people behind the unrest had fake student IDs and arrests were underway.

Two students at Woldia University in the Amhara region and one student at Dembi Dollo University in the Oromia region died.

Ethnic conflicts have posed a major challenge to Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Also Wednesday, the attorney general said 68 people who took part in a June attack that killed Ethiopia’s army chief and others will be charged this week.


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UPDATE: Addis Ababa Unveils DC Square in Honor of Mayor Bowser’s Visit

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s trip to Ethiopia comes a year after Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed came to D.C. gave a talk to members of the Ethiopian community at the convention center in July 2018. Bowser joined Abiy on stage and announced July 28 as “Ethiopia Day in D.C.” (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Press Release

Office of the DC Mayor

City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Honors Mayor Bowser and Washington, DC with Street Naming

Celebration Part of Renewal of Sister City Agreement that Establishes Cooperative Relationship in Areas of Economic Development, Public Health, Sustainability, Education, and Government Collaboration

(ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA) – Today, representing the 704,000 residents of Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated the renaming of an Addis Ababa street in honor of the collaborative relationship between the two capital cities. The Mayor of Addis Ababa, Takele Uma Banti, unveiled a newly-named street, “Mayor Muriel Bowser Street,” and announced the renaming of Gazebo Roundabout to “Washington DC Square” as part of the signing ceremony for the renewal of the Sister City agreement between the District and Addis Ababa. The agreement establishes a cooperative relationship to further the areas of economic development, public health, sustainability, culture, education, and government collaboration in both cities.

“I am delighted to accept this historic honor on behalf of all of the residents of Washington, DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “The DC region is proud to boast one of the largest populations of Ethiopians in the US, and this Sister City agreement is an effort to ensure we continue to collaborate and develop solutions that support the residents in both of our communities. Addis Ababa holds a special place in the hearts of Washingtonians, and now all Washingtonians have a place to call home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”

Home to more than 30,000 Ethiopians, the DC region has a multitude of Ethiopian business owners, families, entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists, and more. The Sister City agreement signing ceremony was part of a five-day mission led by Mayor Bowser.

“Today, we renewed our Sister City Agreement with Washington, DC to create lasting partnerships and cooperation on economic development, public health, culture, tourism and education. We are the capital to two great nations and there is so much we can learn from each other,” said Addis Ababa Mayor Takele Uma Banti. “To Ethiopians in DC, we need your passion, knowledge, expertise, creativity and the values that allowed you to be outstanding citizens and entrepreneurs in DC. As we lay down the cornerstone for this new road in honor of our partnership, I’ve no doubt that we’re cementing a moment in history to highlight the place of DC and its residents in Addis.”

The agreement confirms the two cities will, in short:

    Promote collaboration, information exchange, and joint ventures, with a special focus on the growth and development of business investment, trade and tourism and public-private partnerships
    Share information on best practices in the areas of government operation; including public works, transportation, technology, infrastructure and housing
    Share information on health polices and best practices to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of prevention and treatment programs
    Promote the development of programs in the areas of culture, arts and education
    Share information and best practices the support a sustainable environment, including energy conservation and the green economy.

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Mike Raynor attended the re-signing ceremony, as well as the inauguration of the Washington DC Roundabout and Muriel Bowser Street. At a reception held earlier in the day at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ambassador Raynor welcomed Mayor Bowser and her delegation saying, “…your visit embodies so many of the attributes that mark the long and rich relationship between the United States and Ethiopia: friendship, dynamism, good will, and the pursuit of partnerships that serve the best interests of both our countries and our peoples.”

Mayor Bowser also met Ethiopian leaders, including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who recently received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, and President H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, the first woman to be elected president.


DC Mayor Bowser Takes Delegation Of 70 To Ethiopia

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The Young Ethiopians Working for Peace

The group call themselves “peace ambassadors”, and they are leading the way in putting a fractured and traumatised society back together again. (Photo: Imnet Irba, a 25 year old recent school graduate, leads monthly peace trainings in Gedeo zone/ Tom Gardner/TNH)

The New Humanitarian

BULE HORA, ETHIOPIA

In a hotel dining room in the southern Ethiopian town of Bule Hora, a group of young Ethiopians pin drawings of trees to the wall. Each tree, they explain, represents one of them – some of them ethnic Gedeos, the rest Guji Oromos – and together they make up a forest, symbolising their multi-ethnic society.

The group call themselves “peace ambassadors”, and they are leading the way in putting a fractured and traumatised society back together again.

“The forest represents our unity,” says one, a murmur of assent rippling through the room.

But fostering reconciliation and rebuilding peace, when memories of violence remain so fresh, will take more than well-meaning workshops.

It is now more than a year since, according to official estimates, up to one million Gujis and Gedeos were left homeless after ethnic violence broke out. Reconciliation, despite the deep blood and cultural ties between the two communities, is proving a long and fraught process.

Whole families, the majority of them Gedeo, were chased from their lands by armed gangs who torched farms, looted properties, and beat, raped, and murdered civilians.

It was the largest single displacement in a year in which nearly three million people nationwide were forced from their homes, as ethnic and land-fuelled conflicts exploded across the country following the softening of the ruling party’s authoritarianism when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power last April.

Six months ago, the Ethiopian government sent almost all of these internally displaced persons (IDPs) back to their old villages, despite fears for their safety, as part of a massive campaign to reduce the IDP caseload. Today, it claims that less than 100,000 remain throughout Ethiopia – though aid workers have questioned those figures.

In Kercha, the West Guji district where the bulk of the violence occurred, the conflict’s scars are still visible. Makeshift shelters with tarpaulin roofs mark the spots where, according to the government, at least 21,000 houses were burnt or torn down.

A heavy presence of local militia and special police patrol the streets, and many locals, as well as returnees, still rely on food handouts as much of last year’s harvest was abandoned or destroyed.

‘Everyone is regretting what they did’

But there are welcome signs of progress, too.

About 130 peace ambassadors are now dotted across 13 districts along the border between Gedeo and Oromia’s West Guji. These young men and women, all volunteers, hold meetings and workshops in their villages, hoping to restore trust between the two communities.

“I teach them the values of living together, values which were degraded or lost during the conflict,” said Dubi Lema, who works at the Environment, Climate Change, and Forest Authority in Kercha Town, and in his free time helps reconcile his neighbours.

“Now relations are so good – everyone is regretting what they did,” she told The New Humanitarian. “It’s very peaceful.”


Gelgelo Genee, Teremaj Belachew, Ibsa Ware, left to right, are “peace ambassadors” in Kercha, West Guji. (Tom Gardner/TNH)

Ambassadors like Dubi and Imnet are helping to support the work of local officials, who for the last few months have been organising regular peace meetings between the two ethnic groups.

They are supported and trained by the Catholic Relief Services, an international NGO, which, like other aid groups, was prohibited from engaging in reconciliation work until after Abiy took office last year.

“In our zone, there is no peace problem now,” said Abera Buno, the top official in West Guji. “The IDPs have come home, and they are rebuilding their lives.”

He told TNH that the local government is planning to build a “peace training centre” on land at the border between Gedeo and West Guji.

Meanwhile, local elders known as Abba Gadas are setting up “peace committees” in each kebele or village district. Some of the young ambassadors are organising football teams or church choirs of mixed ethnicities, and Dembela Muleta, head of the disaster risk management office in Bule Hore, said the government is introducing “peace clubs” in schools.

Almost all those interviewed by TNH on both sides of the Gedeo-Guji border, in districts which have long been multiethnic, said children were back to attending the same schools and people were once again socialising with neighbours from the other ethnic group, drinking coffee and eating meals together as they had done in the past.

The approach to peace and reconciliation is notable for its emphasis on traditional institutions common to both groups, such as the Abba Gadas, and on forgiveness before accountability.

“Now we have peace, there is no need to revisit the past – we advise people to move forward and to forgive whatever happened before,” said Takele Sereka, an Abba Gada in Kercha Town.


Takele Sereka (left) an Gedecha Wako (right), two Tom Gardner/TNH

Limits to reconciliation

Publicly, the government says it is holding people to account for the violence. In April, Abiy said 300 people had been arrested for their suspected involvement. Around the same time, the West Guji police chief said 89 people had been given prison sentences for instigating killings and evictions.

But, on the ground, the reality seems different.

Buno, the top West Guji official, said those arrested had not yet been sentenced.

The head of the local militia in Magala village, Ebisa Elema, said nobody in his badly affected district had been arrested for involvement in ethnic violence, and none of the returnees interviewed by TNH said they were aware of any arrests or prosecutions in their neighborhoods, either.

“The government advised us to excuse everybody and to forget about the past,” said Atnafu Bali, a Gedeo returnee near Kercha town.

Some believe this approach is sensible in a society where formal state institutions are not widely trusted, and where violence is often politically motivated as well as simply criminal.

“Court litigation is a kind of win-lose approach,” said Gelchu Jarso of Bule Hora University, who is helping lead the peace process. “Reconciliation through indigenous institutions is much better.”

But relying on traditional institutions, such as the Abbas Gadas, has not always proven effective.

In the months after the conflict first broke out in 2018, the government organised several high-level peace meetings led by Abbas Gadas. Violence resumed shortly afterwards.

“These days, the youth do not listen to the elderly people,” said Dagne Shibru, an expert on Gedeo-Guji relations at nearby Hawassa University.

He also noted that reconciliation customs shared by the two communities in times of conflict have been weakened in recent years by the rapid spread of Pentecostal churches, and that the Gada system had itself been undermined by perceptions that it was “politicised”.

“Abba Gadas are often members of the ruling party,” Dagne noted.

Takele, the Abba Gada in Kercha, admitted that once the conflict started the Guji youth simply stopped obeying their elders. “They said to us: ‘No, we cannot tolerate this again’.”

A fragile peace

There are other signs that, beneath the surface, the peace here is a fragile one.

One is ongoing land disputes, the root cause of the conflict.

“It is known that the Gedeos are claiming land,” said Gedecha Wako, another Abba Gada in Kercha, before his colleague Takele asked him to drop the subject. “The issue started with Gedeos claiming the area – they said the land belongs to their region.”

As violence escalated, many land certificates were either lost or destroyed as houses were burnt. And, for some returnees, proving ownership can be difficult since many lacked documentation in the first place, including personal identification cards.

The local government has set up legal aid clinics and a working group to support people who do not have documentation, which it said had dealt with roughly 10 percent of more than 500 cases so far.

But in some villages officials demanded high fees for reissuance of documents. In one it was reported by returnees that their land had been sold by local authorities without their knowledge.

Daniel Robe in Magala village told TNH privately over the phone – after first being interviewed in front of some neighbours – that he had returned to find his land occupied. He took his neighbour to court but still not all of it has been returned to him.

Italem Demsew, a 25-year-old peace ambassador from Gedeo zone, said that when some of her relatives returned to West Guji they were told they had to pay their neighbours, who had been living in their home, a “protection” fee to have it back again.

Incidents like these were relatively common, according to humanitarian organisations working in the area.

“I don’t think anything has changed in terms of how the two perceive each other,” said an aid worker with international NGO, who asked to remain anonymous. “Remember: they lived together for decades and then this happened overnight.”

Another concern among aid workers is that in most districts on the West Guji side, Gedeos are no longer represented in local kebele governments or militias.

But Gelgelo Genene, a peace ambassador, was – like all his colleagues – guardedly optimistic about prospects for lasting peace between the two communities.

He pointed out that his father has three wives – two Gedeos and one Guji – and 30 children.

“We can’t separate even if we wanted to,” he said.


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Even in Times of Social Discord, Ethiopian-Israelis Proudly Celebrate

Members of Fendika band from Ethiopia performing at Sigdyada Festival, an annual celebration of Ethiopian and Ethiopian-Israeli culture, in Tel Aviv on November 7th, 2019. (Tara Kavaler)

The Media Line

Following the police killings of young men, the community hopes national exposure to the colorful Sigdyada Festival can improve their integration

The shooting of Solomon Tokah by an Israeli police officer last July led to several days and nights of rioting by mostly young Ethiopian Israelis feeling an increasing sense of alienation. Yet one member of the community believes that things can improve with the help of cultural bridges.

“I believe we live in a very dangerous time,” Shai Ferdo tells The Media Line. “I want to be that guy who builds those bridges.”

Ferdo is the creator of the two-day Sigdyada Festival, an annual celebration of Ethiopian and Ethiopian-Israeli culture. It is held just before the Sigd, a day of prayer, fasting and introspection aimed at recalling the yearning for Zion by previous generations.

The Sigdyada’s explosion of music, dance, comedy and, of course, food, attracts people like Mina Fiat, an Israeli who divides her time between Tel Aviv and Chicago.

“I am interested in every culture I do not know about, especially because it’s a Jewish culture,” she said, adding that Ethiopian Israelis are an authentic part of Israel. “They go to the army and do everything” that other Israelis do.

This year’s Sigdyada, the eighth, got under way on November 7 at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv with speeches that hinted at the overriding issues facing Israel’s Ethiopian immigrants.

“As a society, we haven’t always listened to people who speak a different language, who have different customs or a different color,” President Reuven Rivlin told festival-goers. “Today, we’re a giving a place of honor to the tradition of Ethiopian Jewry as part of the present [and] of the future of Israeli culture overall.”

Joey Low, founder of Israel at Heart, an NGO that seeks to foster better awareness of Israel by the rest of the world, said: “The government specifically, but in general the country, does not appreciate and understand what the [Ethiopian-Israeli] community can give…. Israel will be a better society when it includes everyone.”

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, Ethiopian Israelis are more likely to be low-wage earners than other demographic groups in the country, and less likely to pursue a post-high school education. The disparity is heightened even more by police treatment, with the death of Tokah following that of Yehuda Biadga in January, and longtime claims that authorities tend to use more profiling with members of the community, and exhibit less patience.

“There is a lot of anger… about the killings, and I’m also very angry,” Messeret Woldemichael, a 2014 finalist in MasterChef Israel, told The Media Line. “However, we still need to push ourselves and our culture for better exposure. The struggle will always be better if people know who they have in front of them.”

The sense conflict and discord felt by Ethiopian-Israelis has clearly reached a level that politicians and other prominent members of society could not ignore at the community’s first major gathering since the July killing and resulting rioting.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, an ex-fighter pilot and the son of kibbutz founders, urged patience.

“There were always tensions with new immigrants in Israel,” he told The Media Line. “It takes time.”

Yet Ethiopia-born Shula Mola, an educator who chairs the Association of Ethiopian Jews, has heard this before.

“Veteran Israelis repeatedly told us: Be patient; every wave of immigration to Israel has had to struggle for its place in Israeli society,” she told The Media Line. “And yet, unlike previous waves of immigration, this simple truth remains: Our skin color sets us apart.”

Mehereta Baruch-Ron, a former Tel Aviv city councilor who, like Mola, was born in Ethiopia, lauds Israel for having brought Ethiopian Jews to the country.

“There is no other country in the world that voluntarily brought Africans to be part of its society. In many ways, Israel did a wonderful thing,” she told The Media Line. “Having said that, there’s a lot more to do to integrate Ethiopian Israelis into Israeli society.”

Baruch-Ron argues that the government should take a stand against discrimination by penalizing offenders. She also says it should provide Ethiopian Israelis the tools they need to succeed, particularly by earmarking more funds to their neighborhoods.

“In many ways, some of the schools and some of the neighborhoods in which these young Ethiopians live are disadvantaged. There is a gap between an Ethiopian family that came… from a Third World country and Israelis who were born here or came from Europe,” she said. “We have to put more [resources] into these communities.”

She recommends that Ethiopian-Israeli history and culture should be more widely included in the school curriculum, starting in kindergarten, something that has been stymied in part by costs.

“The government should decide it’s very important regarding our Jewish history, that we cannot be a country that discriminates against other communities just because they are different,” she said.

With the Sigdyada being a pre-Sigd celebration – the holiday will be marked this year on November 27 – Baruch-Ron was also reflective.

“Back in Ethiopia, I remember we expressed our longing for Jerusalem during this holiday,” she said. “Now, when we are here, we can say that the physical journey is over, but we still have some ways to go.”

Not to be forgotten in the midst of the tensions is that the heart of the festival is a celebration of the heritage of Ethiopian-Israeli society.

“The festival is to ensure the continuity of the Ethiopian culture and show people that Ethiopians have… a lot to contribute, and that they’re very talented,” Howard Rypp, co-producer of the Sigdyada, told The Media Line.

According to the organizers, festival-goers throughout the years have been almost evenly split, indicating it is indeed a place for non-Ethiopian Israelis to absorb the sights, sounds and aromas of the community, perhaps leading to its more thorough integration.

Woldemichael, the chef, agrees.

“I am very persistent,” she proclaims, “in my display of my beautiful culture.”


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DC Mayor Bowser Takes Delegation Of 70 To Ethiopia

Bowser’s trip to Ethiopia comes a year after Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed came to D.C. gave a talk to members of the Ethiopian community at the convention center in July 2018. Bowser joined Abiy on stage and announced July 28 as “Ethiopia Day in D.C.” (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

DCist

By Selam Berhea

On Friday morning, Mayor Muriel Bowser left for a five-day diplomatic and trade mission to Ethiopia.

Bowser has a delegation of 70 people in tow, including Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and city government representatives.

The idea behind the trip is to establish trade relations with different industries in Ethiopia. Bowser will meet with local leaders and government officials in Addis Ababa, the capital city, and Lalibela, a northern city about 531 miles away.

Bowser will also visit with President H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia’s first female president, and Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, who recently won a Nobel Peace Prize.

“We are continuing our efforts to reach beyond the borders of Washington, D.C. and establish relationships around the world,” said Bowser in a press release on Friday. “We particularly value our special relationship with Ethiopia, which has been strengthened by the substantial Ethiopian population in our city and region.”

The D.C. metropolitan region has the largest Ethiopian-born community in the U.S.—more than 30,000 Ethiopians have settled in parts of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Their influence is apparent at coffee shops in Silver Spring, Ethiopian restaurants on 18th St. or along U St, and in the many Ethiopian churches in the area.

According to WAMU, Ethiopians started coming to D.C. in the 1950s and 1960s as students and visitors. After a military takeover over in 1974, more Ethiopians came to the U.S. Laws like the Refugee Act of 1980 and Diversity Visa Act of 1990 immigration made it easier for those wanting to leave Ethiopia to move stateside. Many people decided to go where there was already a blossoming Ethiopian community established—the D.C. region.

Bowser’s trip to Ethiopia comes a year after Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed came to D.C. gave a talk to members of the Ethiopian community at the convention center in July 2018. Bowser joined Abiy on stage and announced July 28 as “Ethiopia Day in D.C.”

During this trip, Bowser will renew D.C.’s Sister City Agreement with Addis Ababa. The sister city agreement is a promise of friendship and an opportunity for different cities to learn about each other, per Bowser’s office. Including Addis Ababa, D.C. currently has 15 sister cities, according to the D.C. Office of the Secretary website. Then-Mayor Vincent Gray signed the first Sister City Agreement with Addis Ababa in 2013.

“Our Sister City agreements with capital cities around the world play a key role in breaking down barriers and building international relationships that allow us to improve the lives of people in D.C. and abroad.” Bowser wrote in her newsletter.

Bowser has traveled internationally throughout her mayoral tenure, including to El Salvador, Israel, and multiple trips to China. The trips to China each had budgets in the range of tens of thousands of dollars, according to the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.


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FP on Tragic & Volatile Nature of Ethnic Politics in Ethiopia

In the following article published Friday by Foreign Policy magazine Addisu Lashitew, a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, argues that Ethiopia "must find a way to avoid repeating the perilous history of previous experiments in ethnic federalism in countries such as Yugoslavia... The root causes of the current political crisis come from a system that awkwardly weds ethnicity to electoral politics." (GETTY IMAGES)

Foreign Policy

BY ADDISU LASHITEW | NOVEMBER 8, 2019

Ethiopia Will Explode if It Doesn’t Move Beyond Ethnic-Based Politics

In Oct. 11, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize for ending the long stalemate with neighboring Eritrea. Paradoxically, Abiy enjoys only fragmented and diminishing popular support in his own country. Even in his home region of Oromia, his leadership is seriously contested by the ethnonationalist forces represented by the social media activist Jawar Mohammed.

This became painfully evident on Oct. 23, when the Oromia region was shaken by a deadly wave of violence following a series of Facebook posts from Jawar. The activist, who also heads a TV channel called Oromia Media Network, announced that the police were about to detain him, an allegation that was later denied by the government. Around 70 civilians were killed when his angry supporters took to the streets, setting off an intercommunal conflict that took on an ethnic and religious dimension.

This tragic incident is emblematic of the volatile nature of ethnic politics in Ethiopia, which has started to crack the foundations of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition. The EPRDF, which has ruled the country since 1991, is a coalition of four parties that represented the country’s major ethnic groups (Amhara, Oromo, Tigrayan, and southern groups) of which the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front was the most dominant party until recently.

Read more »


Related:
PM Abiy Says Death Toll Rises to 86
Ethiopia Update: Nobel Prize, Deadly Protests, Calls for Calm & Talk of Election

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Reflection on Legacy of Ethiopian Activist Dr. Bogaletch Gebre

Bogaletch Gebre passed away in Los Angeles, California on November 2nd, 2019. Her organization KMG announced that her family plans to take her body to Ethiopia for burial. (Photo: KMG Ethiopia)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

November 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — “What is good for women is good for the community,” Ethiopian social entrepreneur and community activist Dr. Bogaletch Gebre had declared in a profile interview with Tadias Magazine published sixteen years ago this Fall highlighting her non-profit organization, KMG (The Kembatti Mentti Gezzima). “What I discovered in our work,” she told us, “is not changing the whole society at once, but to change one person at a time. And it works.”

Dr. Bogaletch passed away this week at the age of 59 here in the U.S.

“The former scientist and marathon runner’s quiet revolution saved tens of thousands of girls from potential injury or death in Ethiopia, which has the second highest number of women living with FGM globally, data from anti-FGM charity 28TooMany shows,” Reuters points out, adding that “Bogaletch was determined to stop female cutting in Ethiopia after it killed her sister and nearly claimed her own life.”

In 2013 after being awarded the King Baudouin Prize in Belgium for confronting “culturally entrenched taboo subjects,” Dr. Bogaletch explained her simple message to the community elders in Ethiopia who defend the harmful tradition: “Daddy, you lived your time. This is our period, our children’s period. We don’t want to kill our children. I hope you are wise enough to accept that.”

BBC noted: “She helped reduce cases of FGM from 100% of newborn girls to less than 3% in parts of Ethiopia,” and described FGM in Africa and the Middle East as being “seen as a traditional rite of passage and is used culturally to ensure virginity and to make a woman marriageable. It typically involves removing the clitoris, and can lead to bleeding, infections and childbirth problems.”

Dr. Bogaletch ran marathon races in Los Angeles, California to raise funds for her projects in Ethiopia, which included efforts to create awareness on a wide ranging issues — in addition to FGM — that are detrimental to women’s health, livelihood, education and environment informed by her upbringing in rural Ethiopia. The literal translation of her non-profit, The Kembatti Mentti Gezzima, means “Women of Kembatta pooling their efforts to work together.”

Per the Tadias profile:

Daughter of a farmer, Bogaletch was taught how to read and write by a relative; she would study by the campfire at night after completing her daily house chores and responsibilities. In a village where the education of girls was rarely encouraged, Bogaletch’s father was reluctant to allow his daughter to continue with her primary school education. Occasionally, she was given permission and she would willingly make the six-mile run to and from school. “I would never dream of complaining,” she says, “I felt fortunate; one of the chosen few.” “Demands at home kept me away from school for weeks, sometimes months,” she continues, “but still I skipped grades, completing four levels in three years.” She became the first girl in her village to be educated beyond the fourth grade. By the time she was nine she was reading and translating court documents for her father, a task he had previously paid others to do for him. She helped people in her community write their court applications free of charge. “As a sign of respect in Kambatta tradition, a father is called after his first-born son, and a mother after her first-born daughter,” she explains, “Imagine his surprise when my father’s peers started calling him Father of Bogaletch.” With her father now won over by her diligence and perseverance Bogaletch was allowed to attend the one and only women’s boarding school in Addis Ababa on a government scholarship. She then went on to attend Hebrew University in Jerusalem on a full scholarship. Saving her stipend money with great effort she demonstrated her appreciation to her father by building him a new house with a corrugated tin roof‚ the only one of its kind in Zato. “People came from miles to see what a woman could do. Now I wanted to do more,” she confessed. Once people in her village saw what women could achieve with education they were willing to let their daughters become educated too and a ripple-effect ensued. Bogaletch continued her education securing a Fulbright scholarship to the University of Massachusetts and later completing a PhD program in Epidemiology at UCLA. Returning to Ethiopia after 13 years she realized the disparities in education opportunities in her hometown and began to conceive of a way to give back to her community.


Dr. Bogaletch Gebre. (From Tadias Magazine print issue 2003)

Speaking about the legacy of Dr. Bogaletch, the Africa director of the advocacy group Equality Now, Faiza Mohamed, told Reuters: “It was most impressive how she empowered the youth to reject the practice; it is a wave of hope and change into the community. It’s critical to involve the youth, have a dynamic partnership and engage with them.”


Related:
‘Wave of hope’ to end FGM in Ethiopia as activist pioneer dies (Reuters)
Bogaletch Gebre: Talking Female Circumcision Out of Existence (NYT)
Women’s Rights Activists Bogaletch Gebre wins King Baudouin Prize (BBC News)
Fulbright Scholar & Community Activist Uplifting Women (TADIAS)

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The New York Society Library Presents Maaza Mengiste, The Shadow King: A Novel

The New York Society Library Presents: Maaza Mengiste, The Shadow King: A Novel on Thursday, November 7, 2019. The event is open to the public. (Photo by Nina Subin)

Press Release

Maaza Mengiste, The Shadow King: A Novel

A gripping novel set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King takes us back to the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record.

With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid in Kidane and his wife Aster’s household. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilize his strongest men before the Italians invade. His initial kindness to Hirut shifts into a flinty cruelty when she resists his advances, and Hirut finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and overwhelming rage. Meanwhile, Mussolini’s technologically advanced army prepares for an easy victory. Hundreds of thousands of Italians – Jewish photographer Ettore among them – march on Ethiopia seeking adventure.

As the war begins in earnest, Hirut, Aster, and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. When Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale. She helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians. But how could she have predicted her own personal war as a prisoner of one of Italy’s most vicious officers, who will force her to pose before Ettore’s camera?

What follows is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, with Hirut as the fierce, original, and brilliant voice at its heart. In incandescent, lyrical prose, Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Fulbright Scholar and professor in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation program at Queens College, she is also the author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, named one of the Guardian’s Ten Best Contemporary African Books. Her work can be found in the New Yorker, Granta, and the New York Times, among other publications.


If You Go:
Thursday, November 7, 2019 – 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM | Members’ Room | open to the public | $15 per person | advance registration required
THE NEW YORK
SOCIETY LIBRARY
53 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075
212.288.6900
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Related:
Atlas Acquires Maaza Mengiste’s Novel ‘The Shadow King’
Spotlight: Three Great Reviews of Maaza Mengiste’s New Book by NYT, WSJ & NPR
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste


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Spotlight: Tightrope, The First Major Traveling Museum Exhibition of Elias Sime

Artist Elias Sime’s first major traveling museum survey exhibition entitled “Tightrope”, and comprising of work from the last decade, is being presented by the Wellin Museum of Art through December 8, 2O19. (Photo credit: Brett Moen. Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York)

Tadias Magazine

By Hasabie Kidanu

Monday, November 4th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – “My art is a reflection of who I am as a human being without borders, labels, and imposed identity. There is a sense of unity and cooperation that I reflect through my art. At the root of all of it is love and passion. With this exhibition, including many years of my work, I hope the students and other visitors will share my feelings expressed on the arts.” Elias Sime.

Artist Elias Sime’s first major traveling museum survey exhibition entitled “Tightrope”, and comprising of work from the last decade, is being presented by the Wellin Museum of Art.

The prolific and multi-disciplinary artist works primarily within the language of architecture, sculpture, and collage. Sime’s works are created from repurposing objects often carefully sourced from Merkato — Addis’ sprawling open air market. Sime often collects discarded electrical components that have travelled from around the globe to his hometown. Through a meticulous hand, the salvaged materials are cut, layered, collaged, woven. The end result renews refuse into a new form – large colorful and lyrical compositions, pointing to the universal human struggle as a ‘balancing act’ of our relationship to technological progress, waste, resourcefulness, and environmental sustainability.

As the director of the Wellin Museum and curator of the exhibition Tracy L. Adler notes, “Elias Sime is one of the most significant artists working today. He is both critical and embracing of the world we live in, and brings a truly global sensibility to his work without losing any of its authenticity and authorship. While technology has in many ways changed our lives for the better and facilitated international communication and partnership, it has resulted in detrimental byproducts both materially in terms of its refuse, and socially and culturally, in that we look more to our devices than to each other.”

The notion of revival is a pillar of Sime’s work in Addis as well. This year, the city celebrated the public opening of ZOMA, a 25-year in the making institution. This ever-evolving project houses exhibition spaces, vegetable gardens, animal quarters, library, children’s center, elementary school, and has become an oasis for locals. Along with ZOMA co-founder and curator Meskerem Assegued, Sime has been appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to design and build a public garden for the Menelik Palace, expanding the project of innovative architecture and art into a different part of the city. Elias Sime is also a recent recipient of the African Art Awards from the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C.

On view from September 7 through December 8, 2019 at the Wellin Museum of Art, the exhibition will travel to the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio (February 29 through May 24, 2020), the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri (June 11 through September 13, 2020), and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada (December 12, 2020 through April 18, 2021).

About the Author:
Hasabie Kidanu received her MFA at Yale School of Art in 2017. Her film Mal-Fekata was most recently screened at the 48th Rotterdam International Film Festival as part of the Bright Future program. She has been a member of the Blackburn Printmaking Studio in New York since 2013. She was most recently a guest lecturer at Addis Ababa University. Since 2014, she is an Arts and Culture writer for TADIAS Magazine.

Related:
Elias Sime Set for Major U.S. Museum Shows in NY, Ohio and Kansas
Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

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PM Abiy Says Death Toll Rises to 86

PM Abiy says death toll from recent protests rises to 86. “We have to stop those forces who are trying to pull us two steps back while we are going one step forward,” Abiy told a news conference. Most were from the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups and victims included both Muslims and Christians, he said. (Photo: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Sunday the death toll from protests last month had risen to 86 and urged citizens to resist forces threatening to impede the country’s progress.

“We have to stop those forces who are trying pull us two steps back while we are going one step forward,” Abiy told a news conference with local news organizations broadcast by state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting.

Supporters of activist Jawar Mohammed took to the streets on Oct. 23 and 24 to protest after he said police had surrounded his home in the capital Addis Ababa and tried to withdraw his government security detail.

The latest death toll, which the government late last week had put at 78, included 82 men and four women, Abiy said. Most were from the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups and victims included both Muslims and Christians, he said.

There were also protests last month in several cities in Oromiya, Ethiopia’s most populous province, underscoring the specter of ethnic violence which the United Nations  says has already left more than 2 million people internally displaced.

“I ask you to pray for all the victims of violence in that land,” Pope Francis said during his weekly Sunday address at the Vatican.

Ahead of elections in 2020, Abiy must walk a delicate line between increasing political freedoms and reigning in strongmen building ethnic powerbases by demanding more access to land, power and resources for their groups.

Since his appointment in 2018, he has initiated political reforms which have won him international praise but also lifted the lid on long-repressed tensions among the many ethnic groups in Africa’s second most populous nation with a population of more than 100 million.

Abiy won the Nobel peace prize last month for his peacemaking efforts which ended two decades of hostility with longtime enemy Eritrea.


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Spotlight: Julie Mehretu’s Mid-Career Survey at LA County Museum of Art

Julie Mehretu – Stadia II, 2004. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 108 x 144 in. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, gift of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund 2004.50. © Julie Mehretu, photograph courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 31st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend the highly anticipated traveling exhibition — featuring a mid-career survey of Ethiopian-American artist Julie Mehretu’s work dating back to 1996 to the present — will open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in California.

“The first-ever comprehensive retrospective of Mehretu’s career, it covers over two decades of her examination of history, colonialism, capitalism, geopolitics, war, global uprising, diaspora, and displacement through the artistic strategies of abstraction, architecture, landscape, movement, and, most recently, figuration. Mehretu’s play with scale, as evident in her intimate drawings and large canvases and complex techniques in printmaking, will be explored in depth,” LACMA stated in its announcement, noting that the show brings together about “40 works on paper with 35 paintings along with a print by Rembrandt and a film on Mehretu by the artist Tacita Dean.”

The traveling exhibition, which is co-organized by the LACMA and The Whitney Museum of American Art, will subsequently come to New York for a display at the Whitney from June 26th to September 20, 2020, before moving to Atlanta at the High Museum of Art from October 24th 2020 to January 31, 2021, and finally the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from March 13–July 11, 2021.

Julie lives and works in New York. She was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977. As LACMA notes: “Mehretu received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and, among many awards and honors, is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” (2005) and a U.S. State Department National Medal of Arts (2015).”


Julie Mehretu, Untitled 2, 2001, ink and acrylic on canvas, 60 × 84 in., private collection, courtesy of Salon 94, New York, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging. (Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art)


Julie Mehretu, Black City, 2007, ink and acrylic on canvas, 120 × 192 in., Pinault Collection, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tim Thayer. (Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art)


Julie Mehretu, Haka (and Riot), 2019, ink and acrylic on canvas, 144 × 180 in., courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging.


Related:
Julie Mehretu’s Mid-Career Survey To Open at LACMA

Julie Mehretu at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), November 3, 2019 – March 22, 2020 (Level 1) and May 17, 2020 (Level 3)

More info at lacma.org.

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Al Jazeera on Ethiopia’s Confused Scene of Activism & Media

"The problem now is that so many individuals are mixing up the roles of activist and media when they shouldn't go together - media is meant to have its own ethics and rules," Abel Wabella, managing editor of the Addis Ababa-based newspaper Addis Zebye, said during an October 19 media forum in the capital to discuss the challenges faced by the media, and its role, in the country. "You have people running media who are calling for protests - it's totally absurd." (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera

The challenges of navigating Ethiopia’s new media landscape

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Nobel committee earlier this month praised his “discontinuing media censorship” among a series of achievements during his first 100 days in power in 2018.

These included the lifting of the country’s state of emergency, the release of thousands of political prisoners, the legalisation of outlawed opposition groups, the tackling of corruption and the promotion of women in politics.

The freeing of detained journalists and bloggers, along with an end to the blocking of more than 260 websites and the restoration of access to media outlets forced to work in exile, resulted in Ethiopia jumping 40 places in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders – from 150 out of 180 countries to 110, the largest leap by any country.

But the outbreak in Ethiopia of violent protests last week – more than 60 are estimated killed in clashes across the Oromia region, and in the cities of Dire Dawa and Harar in eastern Ethiopia – is fuelling ongoing questions about whether such new media freedoms are being abused to stoke ethnic tensions.

Read more »


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U.S. House Confronts Boeing CEO with New Documents on 737 Max (UPDATE)

Those documents included an email in which a Boeing engineer questioned in 2015 whether the Max was vulnerable to the failure of a single sensor — the scenario that led to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. (Photo: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg testifies before a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 29, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)

The Washington Post

Oct. 30, 2019

House Committee Confronts Boeing CEO with New Documents on 737 Max Safety

House Democrats on Wednesday revealed key documents from their investigation into the deadly crashes of two 737 Max jets, pressing Boeing’s chief executive for more answers as he returned to Capitol Hill for a second day of hearings.

Those documents included an email in which a Boeing engineer questioned in 2015 whether the Max was vulnerable to the failure of a single sensor — the scenario that led to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

“This was raised by one of your engineers,” Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) said to Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg, and John Hamilton, chief engineer of the company’s commercial airplanes division.

DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was reading from a December 2015 email sent while the Max was in the middle of its safety certification process with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The critical sensors, known as angle of attack (AOA) indicators, are supposed to give pilots, and airplane systems, reliable information to help understand how the aircraft’s nose is pointed in relation to oncoming wind.

But in both crashes, faulty data from a single sensor caused an automated feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, to fire by mistake, repeatedly forcing the planes’ noses down as pilots struggled to regain control. Boeing’s decision to have MCAS rely on just one sensor, and not both of them, has been a key question in the crash investigations.

Read more »


Boeing CEO grilled at U.S. hearing: ‘We’ve made mistakes’

REUTERS

Oct. 29, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg was pressed by U.S. lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday over what the company knew about its MCAS stall-prevention system linked to two deadly crashes, and about delays in turning over internal 2016 messages that described erratic behavior of the software in a simulator.

Muilenburg acknowledged errors in failing to give pilots more information on MCAS before the crashes, as well as for taking months to disclose that it had made optional an alarm that alerts pilots to a mismatch of flight data on the 737 MAX.

“We’ve made mistakes and we got some things wrong. We’re improving and we’re learning,” he said.

The hearing, the highest-profile congressional scrutiny of commercial aviation safety in years, heaps pressure on a newly rejigged Boeing senior management team fighting to repair trust with airline customers and passengers shaken by an eight-month safety ban on its 737 MAX following the crashes, which killed 346 people.

Taking turns to grill Muilenburg during his first appearance at a hearing on Capitol Hill in the year since the first crash in Indonesia, senators suggested Boeing had not been completely honest and expressed dismay that the 2016 instant messages did not prompt an immediate reaction from the company.

“You have told this committee and you have told me half-truths over and over again,” Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, where Boeing is headquartered, said at one point.

Later in the hearing, Senator Jon Tester of Montana said: “I would walk before I would get on a 737 MAX … You shouldn’t be cutting corners.”

For months, Boeing had largely failed to acknowledge blame, instead vowing to make a “safe plane safer.” Tuesday’s hearing represents Boeing’s broadest acceptance of responsibility that it made mistakes, though Muilenburg and senior engineering executive John Hamilton stopped short of a game-changing display of contrition.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, questioned Muilenburg over the company’s delay in releasing internal messages. In those messages, a former test pilot described erratic behavior of a simulator version of the same software now linked to the crashes, and also mentioned “Jedi-mind tricking” regulators over training requirements.

Wicker said those messages revealed a “disturbing level of casualness and flippancy.”

Muilenburg said he apologized to the FAA administrator for the delay in turning over the messages, and said additional documents would likely be provided over time.

“We will cooperate fully,” he added.

In his opening remarks, Muilenburg walked the committee through software upgrades to limit the authority of the stall-prevention system that has been linked to both crashes. He also listed changes at the company and its board of directors to improve safety oversight and transparency.

During one particularly tense exchange, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington grilled Muilenburg and Hamilton over the extent of testing on the MCAS system. Cantwell asked Hamilton whether it was a mistake for Boeing not to test a failure mode similar to the scenarios faced by pilots in the crashes.

“In hindsight, senator, yes”, Hamilton said. Both he and Muilenburg, however, pointed to extensive testing by engineers and pilots during the certification process that lasted years.

Muilenburg also acknowledged a “mistake on that implementation” for failing to tell the FAA for 13 months that it inadvertently made a so-called angle of attack disagree alert optional on the 737 MAX, instead of standard as on earlier 737s. The company insisted the missing display represented no safety risk.

“We got the implementation wrong,” Muilenburg said, referring to the angle of attack disagree alert.

He added: “One of the things we’ve learned … is we need to provide additional information on MCAS to pilots.”

At one point, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut referred to the 737 MAX as “flying coffins.”

Asked ahead of the hearing if he would resign, Muilenburg said that was “not where my focus is.” He also declined to say if he or the board were considering his resignation after the plane returns to service.

Boeing on Tuesday ran full-page advertisements in major newspapers expressing condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the crashes.

“These two accidents occurred on my watch and I have a keen sense of responsibility,” Muilenburg, who was stripped of his title as Boeing chairman by the board earlier this month, told reporters.

Family members, holding photos of victims of the crash, were seated just three rows behind Muilenburg during his testimony.

Wicker addressed the families, saying: “I promise to their loved ones that we will find out what went wrong and work to prevent future tragedies.”

Indonesian investigators reported on Friday that Boeing, acting without adequate oversight from U.S. regulators, failed to grasp risks in the design of cockpit software on the 737 MAX, sowing the seeds for the Oct. 29, 2018, crash of Lion Air Flight 610.

On Tuesday, Muilenburg denied that Boeing’s initial statements about the investigative findings from the Lion Air crash sought to shift blame onto pilots.

Muilenburg also rejected a characterization of Boeing’s “coziness with the FAA,” though he said the certification process “can be improved.”

Muilenburg was then asked why Boeing had not grounded the plane in the wake of Lion Air Crash. “If we could go back, we would make a different decision,” he said.


Related:
2 Years Before Deadly Ethiopia Crash, Boeing Staff Knew of 737 Max Problems
Boeing CEO Apologizes to Victims of Ethiopia, Indonesia Crashes
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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Spotlight: Antu Yacob Promotes New Short Film ‘Love in Submission’

Actor and writer Antu Yacob is one of the producers of an upcoming short film entitled 'Love in Submission.' (Photo: Antu Yacob pictured here with producer Tara Gadomski/Facebook).

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — “I grew up watching television and film in a time when no one really looked like me on the screen,” says Antu Yacob who is one of the producers of an upcoming short film entitled Love in Submission. “That’s starting to change now, which is a wonderful thing. We are acknowledging that representation really does matter.”

Antu, who teaches Acting at Rutgers University and Baruch College, has been at the forefront of taking on characters both in film and theatre that highlight her immigrant roots as well as her upbringing in the United States. Her works include her memorable 2016 performance in her one person Ethio-American play In the Gray that was staged in New York City, as part of the Women in Theatre Festival. In the play Antu plays several engaging characters including herself, her son, as well as her Oromo Muslim mother who lives in Minnesota. Antu was also invited to perform the play at the 2017 United Solo, which is the world’s largest solo theatre festival held annually in New York City.

“I also feel that we need to expand the lens in which we present women of African descent as well as women who practice Islam,” Antu says in a video announcement regarding her latest movie project. “And that’s what our short film is tackling.” She adds: “The two main characters are strong female characters who practice the same faith, but they are very different from one another, they have nuances and they are multi-dimensional, which is very important to me as a storyteller, and important to our production team.”

The announcement states that Love in Submission “is an intimate and compelling short film following two Muslim women meeting each other for the first time.” (Screenplay by Munirah Bishop & Antu Yacob; Directed by Lande Yoosuf, Starring Kianne Muschett & Antu Yacob; Producers: Tara Gadomski, Cirenia Reyes, Adrian Luke Sinclair, Antu Yacob).


You can learn more and support the film at https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/love-in-submission.

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Spotlight: US Premiere of Critically Acclaimed Ethiopian Film ‘Fig Tree’ in DC

Director Alamork Davidian's new film 'Fig Tree' will make its US Theatrical Premiere during the Washington Jewish film Festival in DC from November 1st to 14th, 2019. (Credit: Palm Springs Film Festival)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: October 25th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — When a country is at war with itself, like Ethiopia was for most of the past century, the impact on the generation of youth who grow up in the middle of a civil war is tremendous, and often the scars last a lifetime. So it’s significant that the critically acclaimed new Ethiopian film entitled ‘Fig Tree’ — which is scheduled to make its U.S. theatrical premiere during the Washington Jewish Film Festival next week — explores this subject as told by the Ethiopian-Israeli filmmaker Alamork Davidian, who herself grew up during the tumultuous 1980s in Ethiopia.

“In her loosely autobiographical feature debut, a teenager facing similar circumstances — an escape to safety amid the nation’s civl war — becomes frantic with worry over loved ones who may not have the option of flight,” Variety magazine noted in a review earlier this year. “Like the deceptive calm before a gathering storm, and with elements of lyricism and typical adolescent coming-of-age intrigue, “Fig Tree” is a fine drama whose seemingly casual progress only heightens its ultimate impact. The universal appeal of this Israeli and European co-production figures to earn it the kind of arthouse exposure too seldom enjoyed by African features.”

The film’s synopsis adds: “Sixteen-year-old Mina is poised to flee Ethiopia with her grandmother to be reunited with her mother in Israel; however, she is reluctant to leave her Christian boyfriend Eli, who lives in the woods in order to avoid forcible conscription by the military. Grounded by remarkable performances, “Fig Tree” is a moving coming-of-age story and an auspicious feature film debut.”

The filmmaker Alamork was recently awarded the prestigious Audentia Award at the Toronto International Film Festival for Best Female Filmmaker.

Organizers of the Washington Jewish Film Festival note that Alamork will be present for a Q&A during the first three days of its U.S. premiere. The screening will take place in the brand new, state-of-the-art Cafritz Hall within the DC Jewish Community Center in Dupont Circle from November 1st to 14th.


If You Go:
Friday, November 1 1:00 PM Q&A
Saturday, November 2 6:00 PM Q&A and 8:35 PM Q&A
Sunday, November 3 12:00 PM Q&A and 6:50 PM Q&A
Tuesday, November 5 7:00 PM
Wednesday, November 6 7:00 PM
Friday, November 8 1:00 PM
Saturday, November 9 6:00 PM and 8:10 PM
Sunday, November 10 12:45 PM
Tuesday, November 12 7:00 PM
Wednesday, November 13 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 14 7:00 PM
Tickets $13 | The Cafritz Hall, EDCJCC
1529 16th St. NW Washington DC 20036
Tickets available online or at the EDCJCC Arts Ticket Office 202-777-3210 | for group sale discounts contact carolynh@edcjcc.org 202-777-3241

Watch: Fig Tree – Official Trailer

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Ethiopia Update: Nobel Prize, Deadly Protests, Calls for Calm & Talk of Election

Amid the ongoing deadly confrontation between his supporters and police in Addis Ababa and other cities, Jawar Mohammed, founder of OMN, suggests in an interview with The Associated Press that he might enter next year’s election race to challenge Abiy to become Prime Minister. (AP photo Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Deadly Ethiopia Unrest Poses Fresh Challenge to Nobel Winner

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed faced the most serious political challenge of his short rule Thursday as officials said dozens of people might be dead in two days of unrest caused by tensions between security forces and the country’s most prominent activist.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Jawar Mohammed hinted he might raise the stakes by entering next year’s election, but he warned that holding the vote amid current conditions “is the most dangerous thing Ethiopia can do.”

Not two weeks have passed since Abiy was named the Nobel winner for his sweeping reforms that included welcoming home from exile Mohammed and other critics and opposition figures who had been considered terrorists by the previous government. Abiy called it opening up the political space after he took office last year, and Ethiopians were surprised but jubilant.

Now Ethiopia’s largest regional state is engulfed in protests sparked by apparent friction between security forces and Jawar, a media entrepreneur who many say played a key role from afar in mobilizing months of widespread protests that led the previous prime minister to resign.

Some Ethiopians fear protests could emerge again as long-held grievances are aired after the loosening of repressive controls in a country with scores of ethnic groups. Officials recently expressed disgust with some media outlets that they called unprofessional and too ethnic-centered.

Last year, Abiy welcomed Jawar home. On Tuesday, however, in remarks to parliament Abiy warned unnamed people “who don’t even have an Ethiopian passport” that “if you threaten our peace and security, we will take measures.”

Many Ethiopians saw it as a warning to Jawar, a U.S. passport holder, who said he woke up the next morning to find attempts being made to remove his government-provided security detail in the capital, Addis Ababa.

“The order to remove my security was a strange one. It was attempted in the middle of the night,” Jawar said. “Later on I found out the plot was to remove the security and then unleash a mob attack on my house and accuse some other rival groups.”

He alerted the public on social media, and hundreds of his supporters began to arrive. Some camped outside and chanted slogans against the prime minister: “Down, down, Abiy!” Some remained on Thursday, while Jawar appealed for calm.

The unrest ignited in cities across the Oromia region that is home to many of Jawar’s supporters.

At least six people were killed on Wednesday, regional officials in Oromia told local media outlets.

But the real death toll could be in the “dozens,” a local official in the regional capital, Adama, told the AP on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Several Oromia residents told the AP that non-Oromos had been attacked, with their properties looted and burned.


Related:

Prominent activist won’t rule out election challenge to Ethiopia PM (Reuters)

Ethiopian activist calls for calm after 16 die in Ethiopia during clashes (Reuters)

Ethiopian Police Deny Claims of Plot to Harm Leading Activist (Bloomberg)

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WATCH: Obama, Clintons Eulogize Elijah Cummings in Final Farewell (UPDATE)

“Elijah Cummings was a man of noble and good heart,” said former president Barack Obama, who sat in the front row of New Psalmist Baptist Church with Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the congressman’s widow; Bill and Hillary Clinton; and former vice president Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate. “And it now falls on us to continue his work.” (Photo: Reuters)

The Washington Post

Obama, Clintons hail Cummings as an inspiration and a friend at funeral

BALTIMORE — In a vast church sanctuary filled with powerful people, Elijah Eugene Cummings was remembered Friday as a man who strove to protect American democracy but still made time to cherish his daughters, attend 7:15 a.m. Sunday worship each week and stop on the side of the road to help a motorist change a tire.

For nearly four hours, 4,000 people, including two former U.S. presidents, mourned the longtime Democratic lawmaker, the son of sharecroppers who rose from South Baltimore to Congress.

“Elijah Cummings was a man of noble and good heart,” said former president Barack Obama, who sat in the front row of New Psalmist Baptist Church with Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the congressman’s widow; Bill and Hillary Clinton; and former vice president Joe Biden, a 2020 presidential candidate. “And it now falls on us to continue his work.”

The service — sometimes joyous, sometimes solemn and sometimes funny — offered up a noble vision of public service, in which elected officials collaborate and compromise to serve the public good. With political figures of both parties in attendance…

Obama, the last politician to speak, pointed out the massive video screens flanking the stage, which heralded “The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings.”

“This is a title that we confer on all kinds of people who get elected to public office,” Obama said, drawing out some laughter. “But Elijah Cummings was honorable before he was elected to Congress. . . . As president, I could always count on Elijah being honorable and doing the right thing.”

Mourners began lining up at New Psalmist hours before the funeral and a viewing that preceded it. By 7 a.m., traffic was backed up a half-mile.

Read the full article at washingtonpost.com »


Related:

Elijah Cummings Was Our North Star: By Nancy Pelosi

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Ethiopia’s Young People Launch SEWF 2019 With Music and Dancing

The 2019 Social Enterprise World Forum is being held in Addis Ababa this week with over 1,200 delegates representing 70 countries attending the gathering at the UN Conference Centre. (Pioneers Post)

Pioneers Post

Young people launched the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 in Ethiopia with an energetic blast of music, food and dancing as the SEWF Youth Week began on Sunday afternoon.

Youth Week is just one of the many events running alongside the main programme of the Social Enterprise World Forum which kicks off this afternoon at Addis Ababa’s UN Conference Centre.

The focus of Youth Week is on “creating opportunities and enabling young people to fulfil their potential, resilience and networks”, said Tigist Zerihum, the British Council in Ethiopia’s youth project manager.


Pioneers Post


Pioneers Post

During Monday and Tuesday dozens of SEWF delegates also took the opportunity to visit social enterprises around Addis Ababa, including Tebita Ambulance, Selam Children’s Village, textile enterprise Sabahar and Shega Crafts.

Read the full article at pioneerspost.com »


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In Ethiopia PM Abiy Pushes Back Against Divisive Ethnic Politics Sparking Protests

Jawar Mohammed, who is a U.S. citizen and founder of the media network OMN, returned to Ethiopia from the United States last year after Abiy came to power and the two have been photographed repeatedly together since. On Tuesday Abiy issued a warning in a speech before parliament: “Those media owners who don’t have Ethiopian passports are playing both ways,” he said. “When there is peace you are playing here, and when we are in trouble you're not here." (Photo: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

Protests spread after stand-off at Ethiopian activist’s home

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Police fired gunshots and teargas as thousands protested in Ethiopia on Wednesday over the treatment of a prominent activist, residents said, in a sign that the country’s Nobel Prize-winning prime minister might be losing support among his powerbase.

More than a thousand supporters gathered in Addis Ababa outside the house of Jawar Mohammed, a media entrepreneur who organized protests that brought Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power last year, after police surrounded the building.

Protests quickly spread to the cities of Adama, Ambo and Jimma, residents said. Four people were reported to have been shot in Ambo.

On Tuesday, Abiy had warned against media owners “fomenting unrest”. That night, security forces surrounded Jawar’s house and the government attempted to withdraw his security detail, Jawar told Reuters.

The next morning, a Reuters witness saw at least 400 young men from the Oromo ethnic group chanting support for Jawar and against Abiy, the winner of this year’s Nobel peace prize. Around two dozen police officers stood nearby.

Abiy has won international praise for his sweeping political reforms but greater freedoms have lifted the lid on long-repressed tensions between Ethiopia’s many ethnic groups.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopian Police Deny Claims of Plot to Harm Leading Activist (Bloomberg)

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Atlas Acquires Maaza Mengiste’s Novel ‘The Shadow King’

Atlas Entertainment, an American film financing and production company, has acquired Maaza Mengiste's new book ‘The Shadow King’, Deadline Hollywood reports. The book narrates the "untold story of WWII resistance by Ethiopian female warriors against Mussolini." (Images: Atlas logo and cover of the Shadow King’)

Deadline Hollywood

EXCLUSIVE: Atlas Entertainment has acquired rights to Maaza Mengiste’s historical novel The Shadow King. Set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King revolves around the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who’ve been left out of the historical record.

Published on September 24 by W.W. Norton & Company, The Shadow King is set in 1935. Mussolini’s army invades Ethiopia and moves towards an easy victory. Aster, the wife of a commander in Haile Selassie’s overwhelmed army, and her household servant Hirut long to do more than only care for the wounded and bury the dead. Together, they offer a plan to maintain morale among Ethiopians, eventually becoming warriors and inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians.

“Maaza Mengiste has written a brilliantly crafted character study in an epic, sprawling, cinematic time and place,” Roven and Suckle said. “She breathes life into complicated characters and offers the reader an indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman against the backdrop of war. It’s a compelling storytelling that Atlas is thrilled to bring to the screen.”

Read the full article at deadline.com »


Related:
Spotlight: Three Great Reviews of Maaza Mengiste’s New Book by NYT, WSJ & NPR
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste


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A Night of Inspiration at Wegene Ethiopian Foundation Annual Event in Springfield, VA

The Wegene Ethiopian Foundation will hold its 19th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at the Waterford Reception Center in Springfield, Virginia. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: October 21st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — “A night filled with philanthropy; music by the legendary Selamino of SELAMINO TRIO and a Chase The Dream’s Star Awardee; and the electrifying DJ Mess,” the Wegene Ethiopian Foundation announced highlighting its 19th Year Anniversary Gala and happy hour scheduled on October 26th at the Waterford in Springfield, Virginia. “There will be delicious food, art, an auction, dance, unique craft items, and much more.”

The Ethiopian American nonprofit organization, which was founded in 2000 by a group of like-minded individuals in the Washington, D.C. area, provides financial assistance to youth and focuses on education-related projects in various parts of Ethiopia. Nini Legesse, President of Wegene Foundation, is one of fourteen civil society leaders from the East African Diaspora who was selected as a “Champions of Change” by the Obama administration in 2012. A statement from the White House at the time noted that the work of Wegene and other honorees helped “to mobilize networks across borders to address global challenges.” Nini’s organization provided, among other services, financial support to build an elementary school in Jimma, Ethiopia.

“Our mission is to improve the daily lives of the less fortunate and disadvantaged children and their families in Ethiopia by overcoming three critical barriers in the seemingly unbreakable poverty cycle,” the organization states on its website. “Rebuilding families, one child at a time.”

“The word ‘Wegene’ in Amharic means “empowering my community or my people.” Wegene is a grassroots, community-based organization designed to sponsor and support Ethiopian families in their home setting,” notes the organization’s website. “Wegene is unique in that it supports impoverished families via collaborations with local residents – possibly neighbors, friends, and others who are a part of the community.”


If You Go:
Wegene Ethiopian Foundation’s 19th Year Anniversary
Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 6pm – 1am.
Networking/happy hour is from 6-7 pm and dinner will be served at 7pm.
The Waterford Reception Center
6715 Commerce Street
Springfield, VA 22150
www.wegene.org

WEF 19th Anniversary Gala Promotion Video (Amharic)

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Stanford Students Take STEM to Ethiopia

This past summer, engineering graduate students Loza Tadesse and Tim Abate returned to their home country of Ethiopia to teach local college students about science research and educational opportunities. (Photo: Abate, professor Manu Prakash of the Stanford Bioengineering Department, and Tadesse with a foldscope, a $1 microscope developed by Prakash and other Stanford scientists/Image credit: Trever Tachis)

Stanford News

Loza Tadesse and Iwnetim “Tim” Abate may have left their home country of Ethiopia to pursue engineering studies, but they haven’t forgotten their roots. The Stanford engineering PhD students returned home this past summer to share their expertise with college students and expose them to science research and education.

Tadesse and Abate convened a team of 13 scientists and graduate students from Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, Pepperdine University, the University of Chicago, the University of Akron and the University of Toronto. Together, they traveled to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to lead a five-day summer school for some of Ethiopia’s most promising undergraduates in STEM fields. The program was organized in partnership with the Ethiopian Physical Society in North America, where Tadesse and Abate are executive committee members.

“Our goal was to motivate college students back home to pursue higher education – Master of Science degrees and PhDs – and research,” Abate said. “Our summer program was focused on teaching them about the current trends in different fields, how to apply to graduate school, how to apply to internships and find research opportunities.”

Abate and Tadesse reached out to local universities to recruit their best students in STEM fields for the summer school, which was hosted at Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa Science and Technology University and the University of Gondar. They sought 40 students for the program, but due to the amount of interest, they ended up with 50.

Science as accessible

Each day of the program, students attended classes in science and engineering disciplines – physics; computer science; materials; biological, mechanical and chemical engineering – that were related to the research conducted by the instructors. For instance, Tadesse, a PhD candidate in bioengineering, taught classes related to her Stanford research on improving medical devices for infection diagnostics and bio-inspired engineering design, while Abate, a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering, taught classes about his research on improving lithium ion batteries.

Read more »


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Dr. Abiy Releases New Book ‘Medemer’

A man reads a new book by Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed on MEDEMER (synergy) after it was launched Saturday Oct. 19, 2019, at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

Ethiopia’s Nobel-winning leader launches million-copy book

ADDIS ABABA (AP) — Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister is launching a book of his ideology, with one million copies already printed.

Saturday’s launch again raised concerns among some in the East African nation that a cult of personality could spring up around Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who announced sweeping political reforms after taking office last year.

The book called “Medemer” aims at inclusivity and consensus in a country with scores of ethnic groups and a rising problem of ethnic unrest.

The book comes as the country faces a national election next year that Abiy has pledged will be free and fair.

Exhibitors in the capital, Addis Ababa, told The Associated Press they were forced out of a conference hall for the launch. “We were told to evacuate,” said Bethlehem Bahran, a communications director for the event.

Abiy’s book is launching both in Ethiopia and the United States, which has a large diaspora community.

The press secretary for the prime minister’s office, Nigussu Tilahun, told the AP no state money was involved in promoting the book.

“And all proceeds from the book will be used to build schools across Ethiopia,” he said.

The Nobel committee awarded the 43-year-old Abiy the prize for making peace with neighboring Eritrea and ending one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts, and for his political reforms.

“No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early,” the Nobel committee said. But “it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.”

Human rights groups and others have urged the prime minister to continue with reforms and resist the urge to return to repressive controls of the past such as widespread arrests and internet shutdowns.


Related:

Watch: Dr Abiy Ahmed Book launching speech (Amharic)

Why I Nominated Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize

PM Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize is deserved, but he still has work to do (WaPo Editorial)

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2 Years Before Deadly Ethiopia Crash, Boeing Staff Knew of 737 Max Problems

Messages show Boeing employees knew in 2016 of problems that turned deadly on the 737 Max. The messages, between two top pilots, were about an automated feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that investigators say repeatedly — and in error — forced down the noses of planes that crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people. (Photo: Reuters)

The Washington Post

Instant messages between two high-level Boeing employees in 2016 indicate the company was aware of major problems with an automated feature on the 737 Max jet that has been implicated in two deadly crashes.

The messages, between two top pilots, were about an automated feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that investigators say repeatedly — and in error — forced down the noses of planes that crashed in Indonesia and Ethi­o­pia, killing 346 people.

In the messages, Mark A. Forkner, then chief technical pilot for Boeing’s 737, wrote to technical pilot Patrik Gustavsson that the MCAS was engaging “itself like craxy,” calling the problem “egregious.”

Forkner, who had a major role in the Max, also indicated that the Boeing employees misled the Federal Aviation Administration. “So I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),” he wrote.

“It wasn’t a lie, no one told us that was the case,” Gustavsson replied.

Boeing and FAA faulted in oversight breakdowns that contributed to 737 Max failure

The messages show the company experts had identified critical safety concerns with the Max years ago, even as Boeing executives have publicly argued since the crashes on Oct. 29 and March 10 that the company had followed the same internal practices and FAA certification procedures that have long produced safe airplanes.

Boeing did not turn the messages over to the Transportation Department until Thursday, federal officials said. The document “containing statements by a former Boeing employee” was given to Congress on Friday, Boeing said in a statement.

In a letter to Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg on Friday, FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson said: “I expect your explanation immediately.”

Read more »


Related:
Boeing CEO Apologizes to Victims of Ethiopia, Indonesia Crashes
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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Elijah Cummings Was Our North Star: By Nancy Pelosi

Elijah E. Cummings, a powerful congressman from Baltimore, Maryland "who gained national attention for his principled stands on politically charged issues in the House, his calming effect on anti-police riots in Baltimore, and his forceful opposition to the presidency of Donald Trump, died Oct. 17 at a hospice center in Baltimore. He was 68." - WaPo. (AP photo)

The Washington Post

By Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi is speaker of the House of Representatives.

This week, the people of Baltimore, the Congress and the United States lost a voice of unsurpassed moral clarity and truth: our beloved Chairman Elijah E. Cummings.

In the House, Elijah was our North Star. He was a leader of towering character and integrity, who pushed the Congress and country always to rise to a higher purpose, reminding us why we are here. As he said whenever he saw that we were not living up to our Founders’ vision for America and meeting the needs of our children for the future: “We are better than this.”

Elijah’s story was the story of the United States: A son of sharecroppers who became Baptist preachers, he dedicated his life to advancing justice, liberty, fairness and human dignity. He believed in the promise of America because he had lived it. As chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, he used his gavel to restore integrity, accountability and honesty to Washington so that government would be a force for good for working people, ensuring that all could experience the American Dream as he did.

Firm in his principles, Elijah was also a peacemaker and a bridge-builder: passionate about what he believed in, dispassionate in his judgments about how to proceed. His clarion voice would cut through conflict, calming the waters and reaching out across the aisle, no matter how rough and tumble the debate.

He was a generous leader. He always shared credit and took the time to mentor younger members, both on his committee and throughout our caucus. This year, during the first weeks of the new Congress, when members were being added to his highly coveted committee, he said to me, “Send me as many freshmen as you can.” He wanted to help them succeed — and he wanted to learn from them, too.

Read more »

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11th Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education

The 2019 Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education will be held in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday, October 19th. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 18th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The 11th annual Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education will take place this weekend in Arlington, Virginia.

Hosted by People to People Inc. (P2P) and the Network of Ethiopian Diaspora Healthcare Professionals, the yearly gathering attracts a diverse group of health practitioners across the country including physicians as well as medical and allied health students. The theme for this year’s conference is “End Stage Renal Disease in Resource Malaligned Countries – Issues of Ethics and Equity.”

Guest speakers for the program include the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States, Fistum Arega, and several distinguished medical professionals covering a wide array of presentation topics such as enhancing the availability and affordability of pharmaceuticals in Ethiopia as well as promoting “Partnerships in Health; Diaspora Professionals as the link between Ethiopian and US Institutions.”

The event is scheduled to be held on Saturday October 19th at the Residence Inn Arlington, Pentagon City with sponsors including the Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development (MCSCPD).

Below are some of the speakers listed on the program courtesy of P2P:

Alodia Gabre-Kidan, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Alodia Gabre-Kidan is an assistant professor of surgery specializing in colorectal surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She earned her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a masters of public health degree from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She completed general surgery residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia Campus and a colorectal surgery fellowship at Cleveland Clinic Florida. She performs a variety of colorectal surgical procedures including minimally invasive options

Getachew Begashaw, PhD

Getachew Begashaw was born and raised in Ethiopia. He completed his undergraduate studies in History at Haile Selassie I University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Economics at University of California, Santa Cruz. He did both his Masters and Ph.D in Economics and Agricultural Economics at Michigan State University. He is the founder and President of Vision Ethiopia. Dr. Begashaw’s area of studies and research, beside general theories of economics, are primarily focused in public service expenditures, international trade, and economics of development.

Fasika Tedla, M.D.

Dr. Fasika M. Tedla is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Associate Medical Director of the Kidney Transplant Program at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. After graduating from Jimma University Faculty of Medicine, he completed his residency in internal medicine at a teaching affiliate of New York Medical College (formerly Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center) and his nephrology, transplant nephrology, and interventional nephrology training at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. He also has graduate training and board certification in clinical informatics.

Maaza Sophia Abdi, M.D.

Dr. Maaza Abdi is a gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She received her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed her Internal Medicine residency and fellowship at MedStar Georgetown University Medical Center. She worked in a private practice setting for ten years before joining Johns Hopkins, where she currently works as a GI hospitalist caring for patients with a variety of gastrointestinal disorders at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Momina Ahmed, M.D.

After training as an ISN Fellow at the University of Witwatersrand Hospital in 2011 and through a growing collaboration with the University of Michigan, Dr. Momina Ahmed established nephrology programs at SPHMMC to cater for more kidney transplants and treat acute kidney injury.

Tigist Hailu, M.D.

Dr. Tigist Hailu is a general cardiologist in the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute of the Division of Medicine. She received her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. She completed her medical residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and pursued a fellowship in cardiology at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Campus.She practiced in a private cardiology group for 4 years before joining Johns Hopkins in 2009. In addition to practicing clinical cardiology, she is expert is cardiac imaging including echocardiography and nuclear cardiology.

Sosena Kebede, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Sosena Kebede is an Internal Medicine physician with over 17 years of combined clinical, public health, and quality improvement experience with a committing to finding solutions to health system challenges in the US and abroad. She completed her medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Internal Medicine residency at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. She obtained a masters of public health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She specializes in the areas of population health, and health service delivery improvement and has several years of domestic and global experience in scientific research and health workforce training.

Merfake Semret, MD

Dr. Merfake Semret is practicing Nephrology at Peninsula Kidney Associates, in Hampton/Newport news/Williamsburg, Virginia. He received medical degree from Addis Ababa University Medical Faculty (Black Lion) and MPH from Royal Tropical Institute, the Netherlands. He then proceeded to serve as Public Health consultant in different parts of SNNPR(Ethipia). Dr. Semret immigrated to the U.S. in 2002 and completed Internal Medicine residency at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan and Nephrology fellowship at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Currently he is practicing Nephrology at Peninsula Kidney Associates, in Hampton/Newport news/Williamsburg, Virginia

Ergeba Sheferaw, M.D.,M.P.H

Dr. Ergeba Sheferaw is a radiologist at Advanced Radiology in Baltimore, MD. She specializes in breast imaging and completed her fellowship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. She is interested in improving breast cancer care in Ethiopia and recently worked with the first breast imaging fellows at St. Paul Millenium College Hospital. She has been an active member of People to People and now serves as a board member and assistant editor of the newsletter. She completed her medical degree and Master of Public Health from University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill.

Yewondwossen Tadesse Mengistu, M.D.

Yewondwossen Tadesse Mengistu is a Consultant Nephrologist and an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the School of Medicine of Addis Ababa University (AAU), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yewondwossen did his undergraduate medical studies at the School of Medicine, Addis Ababa University graduating as an MD in 1984. He did his internal medicine residency training in the same school and completed a fellowship training in Nephrology at the University of Kwazulu Natal, Durban, South Africa, 1999-2000. He has served as the head of the renal Unit in the department of Internal Medicine of the School of Medicine, AAU and the Tikur Anbessa Hospital, Addis Ababa for nearly two decades. He has also served two terms as head of the department of Internal Medicine. Yewondwossen’s research interest is in the epidemiology of kidney diseases and other non-communicable diseases. He is a Past President of the Ethiopian Medical Association and serves in the Council of the African Association of Nephrology (AFRAN). Yewondwossen is a member of the Africa Board of the International Society of Nephrology (ISN) as well as the Continuing Medical Education Committee of the ISN.

Micheas Zemedkun, M.D.

Dr. Zemedkun received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School. His residency in internal medicine form New York medical College, fellowship in cardiovascular medicine form MedStar Washington Hospital Center. He is board certified internist and cardiologist from American Board of Internal medicine, and currently practicing around the metropolitan Washington DC area.

Wudneh M. Temesgen, MD

Dr. Wudneh Temesgen is a surgeon who practices general surgery with a focus on minimally invasive surgery. He obtained his medical degree from Gondar College of Medical Sciences. He completed his general surgery residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and his fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery at Brown University. He is currently practicing general surgery in the Maryland and DC area.

Demissie Alemayehu, PhD

Demissie Alemayehu, PhD, is Vice President and Head of the Statistical Research & Data Science Center at Pfizer Inc, and holds a joint appointment with Columbia University, where he is also Director of Graduate Studies (MA) in the Statistics Department. Dr. Alemayehu obtained his first degree from Addis Ababa University, where he was the recipient of the 1980 Science Faculty Gold Medal. Subsequently, he earned a PhD degree in Statistics from the University of California at Berkeley. In the United States, Dr. Alemayehu has received numerous accolades, including election as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association in recognition of his superlative achievements in original research, teaching and service to the profession. Dr Alemayehu is an active member of various professional societies and institutions, and serves on advisory boards in major universities, including Stevens Institute of Technology and RUSIS at Oregon State University. He has served as a reviewer for and on the editorial boards of major scientific journals. He has published extensively on statistical methodology and applications in medical research and has coauthored at least two monographs. Dr Alemayehu’s research interest spans diverse topics ranging from asymptotic theory in mathematical statistics to leveraging modern machine learning tools in drug development. More recently, Dr Alemayehu has been interested in exploring the potential of the digital revolution to influence decision making in such developing countries as Ethiopia, with emphasis on the advancement of good governance and protection of natural and cultural heritage.

Anteneh Habte, MD

Dr. Anteneh Habte is currently serving as Chairman of People to People’s (P2P) Board of Directors. He is the Medical Director of the Community Living Center at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV and clinical faculty at both the West Virginia School of Medicine and the Lewisburg School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Anteneh is a diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and a certified educator of palliative and end-of-life care (EPEC). He coordinates People to People (P2P)’s effort to promote the training of medical personnel and provision of clinical services in hospice and palliative care in Ethiopia. Dr. Anteneh is one of the editors of a series of web based modules in Hospice and Palliative Care for Ethiopia prepared under the auspices of the Mayo Clinic Global HIV Initiative. He is also a contributor to P2P’s recently published ‘Triangular Partnership’ manuscript.

Dawd S. Siraj, M.D., MPH&TM, FIDSA

Dr. Dawd S. Siraj is a Professor of Medicine, and an infectious disease physician at the University of Wisconsin. He received his medical degree from Jimma University in Ethiopia. He completed his internal medicine residency training at St. Barnabas Hospital Bronx, NY. He subsequently completed an Infectious Diseases fellowship and a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, at Tulane University,in New Orleans, Louisiana.. He currently serves as the Vice President and Board Member of Ethio-American Doctors Group, Inc and People to People (P2P. He has actively participated in numerous Infectious Diseases and HIV activities in Ethiopia,

Enawgaw Mehari, MD.

Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, Adjunct Professor in Clinical Neurolgy is a Neurologist at Kings Daughter Medical Center in Kentucky and founder of People to People USA (P2P). He founded P2P at the end of his residency training and has since expanded the services of P2P, including opening the People’s Free Clinic in Morehead, KY, in 2005 for the working poor who have no health insurance.

Melaku Demede M.D., MHSc, FACC, FSCAI

Dr. Melaku Demede graduated from AAU faculty of Medicine in 1995 and completed internship, residency and fellowship from SUNY Downstate Health Science Center Brooklyn, NY. Had done Post graduation from Victoria University of Manchester in MHSc Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Currently, He is Chief of Cardiology and Medical Director of Cardiac Cath Lab in ARH Beckley, WV. Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine West Virginia University School of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine UK community Faculty, WVU DO School and Lincoln Memorial University School of Medicine. Board Certified in Intervention Cardiology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Internal Medicine, Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology.

Kebede H. Begna, M.D., Msc.

Dr. Kebede H. Begna an Associate Professor and consultant haematologist, practicing at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He received his medical degree from Gondar University in Ethiopia. He finished internal medicine residency at St. Vincent Medical College, an affiliate of New York Medical College, where he was the Chief Resident. He completed hematology and medical oncology fellowship and obtained Masters in clinical research at the University of Minnesota, and later joined the Mayo Clinic, Division of Hematology in Rochester, Minnesota. He authored and co-authored many publications and book chapter. He currently serves on the board of Ethio-American Doctors Group, Inc.

Fasika A. Woreta, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Fasika A. Woreta is an assistant professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her medical degree, internship, and residency at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She performed a fellowship in cornea and refractive surgery at the Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami and a cataract fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, UK. She is the director of the eye trauma center and program director of the ophthalmology residency program at Johns Hopkins. She specializes in corneal and external eye diseases, including cataracts, ocular trauma, and refractive surgery.

Tinsay A. Woreta, M.D., M.P.H

Dr. Tinsay A. Woreta is an assistant professor of medicine and a gastroenterologist/hepatologist at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine.. She received her medical degree, internal medicine residency, and gastroenterology/transplant hepatology fellowship from Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in acute and chronic liver diseases, and has authored many publications and book chapters.

Yonas E. Geda, M.D.

Dr. Yonas E. Geda is a Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry. He is a Consultant in the Department of Psychiatry & Psychology, and Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic. Following a formal search process, Dr. Geda was recently named Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion for all the 5 colleges/ schools at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Dr. Geda earned his doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree from Addis Ababa (Haile Selassie) University, and subsequently pursued his trainings in Psychiatry, Behavioral Neurology, and a Master’s of Science (MSc) degree in biomedical sciences at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His research examines the impact of lifestyle factors and neuropsychiatric symptoms on brain aging and mild cognitive impairment. He has published over 115 peer reviewed papers in major journals including in Neurology, JAMA Neurology, JAMA Psychiatry and American Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Geda has several institutional, national and international leadership roles. He is a member of the Science Committee of the French Alzheimer’s research group (Groupe de Recherche sur la maladie d’Alzheimer; GRAL). He is the current chair of the award committee of the Neuropsychiatric syndromes professional interest area (PIA) of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). He is a recipient of many awards, including a medal from the City of Marseille, France in 2003, and from the City of La Ciotat, France in 2016 for his contributions to the field of Alzheimer’s research. As a resident, he won the prestigious Mayo Brother’s Distinguished Fellowship Award.

Keith Martin, M.D

Dr. Keith Martin is the founding Executive Director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) based in Washington, DC. The Consortium is a rapidly growing organization of over 170 academic institutions from around the world. It harnesses the capabilities of these institutions across research, education, advocacy and service to address global challenges. It is particularly focused on improving health outcomes for the global poor and strengthening academic global health programs. Dr. Martin is the author of more than 150 editorial pieces published in Canada’s major newspapers and has appeared frequently as a political and social commentator on television and radio. He is currently a board member of the Jane Goodall Institute, editorial board member for the Annals of Global Health and an advisor for the International Cancer Expert Corps. He has contributed to the Lancet Commission on the Global Surgery Deficit, is a current commissioner on the Lancet-ISMMS Commission on Pollution, Health and Development and is a member of the Global Sepsis Alliance.


If You Go:

Saturday, October 19th, 2019
Time: 7:30AM – 5:45PM
Residence Inn Arlington Pentagon City
550 Army Navy Drive Arlington, VA 22202

Registration Fees
Physicians and professionals: $150(all day); $100 (half day)

Allied Health Professionals, residents and fellows:
$100(all day); $75(half day)
Medical and allied health students: free (with ID)

(Fee will also covers cost of food and refreshments)

Click here to Register

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Rewriting NYT’s Ethiopia Headline on PM Abiy’s Nobel Peace Prize

Below is an excerpt from an opinion article published this week by The New York Times reviewing PM Abiy Ahmed's Nobel Peace Prize. The piece titled "Abiy Ahmed Won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now He Needs to Earn It," is very reflective and fair but we would only argue that Abiy has more than earned the peace prize with what he accomplished when he took over and stopped the massive uprising from becoming an ethnocentric nightmare. The title could have been - "Abiy Ahmed Won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now He Needs to Keep It!" By moving forward with the single most difficulty - addressing ethnic federalism (something we saw come into existence in our generation and utterly dangerous). Abiy didn't create these issues and it's up to the entire nation to help see his vision of multicultural co-existence come true. Abiy embodies it. It's time we all should. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

Some honors come too late; others too early. Others still risk scuttling the efforts they are rewarding.

Last week Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for, the Nobel committee said, “his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea” and starting “important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future.”

Since coming to power in April 2018, Mr. Abiy has taken Ethiopia on a political roller coaster. His administration started rapprochement with Eritrea after nearly two decades of stalemate — following a vicious war from 1998 to 2000 and a peace treaty — which some have called a state of “no war–no peace.” He has had tens of thousands of political prisoners released, has invited back banned political parties and armed groups, has apologized for human rights violations, has revoked repressive laws, has started to open up the economy and has appointed women to leading positions in government.

One could argue that not since Mikhail Gorbachev — another Nobel Peace Prize laureate — introduced glasnost to the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s has any country embarked on such radical reforms. But a lot more needs to happen before Mr. Abiy can deliver on his pledges, and for ordinary Ethiopians his efforts so far have been a white-knuckle ride.

Read more »


Related:

Why I Nominated Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize

PM Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize is deserved, but he still has work to do (WaPo Editorial)

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Spotlight: Africology’s ‘Royalty Pack’ Playing Cards Celebrate Ethiopia

Designed by Ethiopian American artist Maro Haile, the 'Royalty Pack' collection was released this month by Africology, a music and entertainment company co-founded by entrepreneurs Sirak Getachew and Kalab Berhane, and Jamhuri Wear. (Photo Credit: @melketsadek)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 17th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Now here is a great gift for your friends, family and loved ones during the upcoming holiday season both here in the U.S. and Ethiopia: a beautiful new deck of playing cards dubbed ‘Royalty Pack’ featuring Ethiopian letters, symbols and characters.

Designed by Ethiopian American artist Maro Haile, the ‘Royalty Pack’ playing card collection was released this month by Africology, a music and entertainment company co-founded by entrepreneurs Sirak Getachew and Kalab Berhane, and Jamhuri Wear.

“Royalty Pack is a collection of playing cards and T-shirts that reflect an authentic representation of the rich and diverse heritage of Africa’s many cultures,” the announcement notes. “Inspired by the beautiful vintage playing cards produced by major airlines in the 60s – particularly by those made by Ethiopian Airlines – this renewed initiative was conceived by Africology, a media company that represents the music, lifestyle and culture of Africa and the Diaspora, and Jamhuri Wear, a clothing line that embodies Pan African art and design.”


(Photo: @melketsadek)

“For this launch, we partnered with Maro Haile, an independent designer and the creative behind Deseta Design, and whose work is directly influenced by her Ethiopian roots,” state the Africology Co-Founders. “Collaborating with independent designers in Africa and the Diaspora creates unity amongst creative and empowers us to tell our own story and control our own narrative.”

The press release added: “Each deck of cards celebrates the unique artistic style of a specific country from the Continent. This is our very first deck and we are proud to launch it with the spotlight on Ethiopia, the country that inspired this project with its original vintage playing cards, and whose history is defined by its long line of Kings and Queens who defeated attempts at colonization by the invaders and maintained their own written language.”


You can learn more and purchase the cards and t-shirts at africologymedia.com, jamhuriwear.com, and deseta.net.

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Son & Father Reunited Under Nobel Winner Abiy’s Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Deal

Samson Berhane, 27, reads a previous month's Ethiopian Business Review, featuring Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, at his office in Addis Ababa, October 12, 2019. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)

Reuters

A Son and Father Reunited, Like Many Under Nobel Winner Abiy’s Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Deal

The 27-year old journalist credits Abiy’s peace deal with Eritrea last year for reuniting him with his father. Like thousands of other families they had been separated by two decades of hostility with Ethiopia’s longtime enemy.

Abiy, Africa’s youngest leader, was awarded the prestigious prize on Friday for his efforts that ended the border conflict.

“When I first heard that Abiy won the prize, I was doubting the trustworthiness of the news. I felt so happy confirming it,” Samson told Reuters in an interview.

While Samson is Ethiopian, his father was originally from Eritrea.

Samson’s office in Addis Ababa is filled with books on Eritrea’s history that he began reading to discover his roots after he first met his father.

After the peace deal, thousands of families were reunited for the first time since 1998, the year the war broke out.

“He (Abiy) made history by making peace, which is more valuable than anything. He reunited the two brotherly people,” Samson said.

YEARS OF SILENCE

Samson’s father, Berhane Ashmelash, left for Eritrea in 1997 to attend mandatory military service. Samson was five years old.

The father had planned to return to Ethiopia after having served but never made it back as the war broke out a year later.

His family did not hear from him for years as communications between the two countries were cut off. They thought he had died.

After the peace deal, direct international telephone connection and flights between the two countries were restored, enabling people to communicate and travel.

Samson decided in 2018 to fly to the Eritrean capital Asmara and look for his father. He went to the Ministry of Defence, which keeps a database on all those who served in the military, to seek information.

Together with the workplace and phone number of his father, Samson found out that he had seven half siblings as his father had remarried in Eritrea.

“It was a mind blowing moment,” he said.

Read more »


Related:

Why I Nominated Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize

PM Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize is deserved, but he still has work to do (WaPo Editorial)

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Why I Nominated Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize

A picture of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, is displayed at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, October 11, 2019. The prize not only acknowledges the Ethiopian prime minister's commitment to peace, but encourages him to do more. (Photo: Reuters)

Aljazeera

by Awol K Allo

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 100th Nobel Peace Prize to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali, for “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation” and for his “decisive initiative” to end the long-running military stalemate with neighbouring Eritrea.

I was one of the people who nominated Abiy Ahmed – not just for his remarkable achievements, but also for his profound commitment to the cause of peace and friendly relations among nations in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

In the nomination letter, I wrote: “By saving a nation of 108 million people from the precipice of an economic and political explosion, he captured the imagination of his own people and people across the African continent as an embodiment of hope … and his messages of peace, tolerance, and love and understanding are being felt far beyond Ethiopia.”

When I submitted the nomination in January 2019, Abiy had only been in office for nine months, and Ethiopia was still in the grip of Abiymania. The new prime minister had surprised Ethiopians by taking actions no one had thought possible: he opened up the political space, released thousands of political prisoners, invited members of political groups previously designated as “terrorist organisations” back home, lifted the state of emergency, removed from office intelligence and army officers seen as complicit in the oppressive practices of the previous regime, sealed a peace deal with Eritrea, appointed a gender-balanced cabinet, and took many other progressive steps.

In addition, Abiy made sustainable peace at home and in the region one of his central domestic and foreign policy objectives. He argued that a stable, peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia is inconceivable without the peace, stability and development of the wider Horn of Africa region. He often preached about peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, unity, synergy and understanding. He even established a cabinet-level ministry with a mandate to build peace and national consensus and to oversee federal law enforcement organs, including the country’s security and intelligence agencies.

At the regional level, he initiated an economic integration plan, a programme that aims to link the Horn of Africa region through joint investment in infrastructure and economically vital strategic assets with the aim of making nations and communities in the region frontline stakeholders in peace and stability.

In the process, he captured the imagination of Ethiopians and other people in the region.

While his domestic achievements were an important part of the picture, Abiy won the prize, in the words of the Nobel Committee, “for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.

Read more »


Related:

PM Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize is deserved, but he still has work to do (WaPo Editorial)

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WATCH: Things You Didn’t Know About Ambassador Susan Rice

Ambassador Susan E. Rice talks to theGrio about her new memoir, “Tough Love: My story of the Things Worth Fighting For.” (Photography by Christopher Patey)

Ambassador Susan Rice Reflects on Impeaching Trump, Raising a Republican Son, and Her New Memoir, ‘Tough Love’

One of the most refreshing aspects of President Barack Obama‘s legacy is the fact that he surrounded himself with intelligent, thoughtful women who possess some of the most strategic minds in our government’s history. No one fits that paradigm more than Obama’s former National Security Advisor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice.

Throughout her years at the White House, Rice set the tone for national security as a serious defender of American democracy and an ardent champion of Democratic politics. In her 500-page memoir, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For” (Simon & Schuster) the 54-year diplomat, wife, daughter, sister, and mother of two, carefully details what it was like being a Black woman working in foreign policy as well as providing insight into some of the most pivotal moments of her personal life that led up to enormous professional accomplishments. She also talks about the bewildered haze that the Obama administration embodied as they turned over the White House to the Trump administration.

Click here to watch: Ambassador Susan Rice reflects on impeaching Trump, raising a Republican son, and her new memoir, ‘Tough Love’ (theGrio)


Related:

Susan Rice Has Spent Her Career Fighting off Detractors: ‘I inadvertently intimidate some people, especially certain men’ (WaPo on Her Memoir)


Former national security adviser Susan Rice at her Washington home last month. Her memoir, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” is being published this week. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

October 8th, 2019

Susan Rice has spent her career fighting off detractors: ‘I inadvertently intimidate some people, especially certain men’

She should have listened to her mother.

“Why do you have to go on the shows?” Lois Dickson Rice asked her daughter, Susan, in September 2012 “Where is Hillary?”

Susan Rice was then the United States ambassador to the United Nations, equipped with a gold-standard Washington résumé — Stanford, Rhodes scholar, Oxford doctorate, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs. She explained that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “wiped after a brutal week.” The Obama White House asked Rice to appear “in her stead” on all five Sunday news programs.

It was days after attacks in Libya killed four U.S. officials.

“I smell a rat,” said her mother, a lauded education policy expert. “This is not a good idea. Can’t you get out of it?”

“Mom, don’t be ridiculous,” Rice said. “I’ve done the shows. It will be fine.”

Well, no, it was not.

Benghazi became the millstone in Rice’s stellar career. It stopped her from succeeding Clinton.

Criticism of Rice was relentless… The scrutiny lasted through multiple congressional investigations.

The aftermath took a punishing toll on Rice’s family and professional reputation, she reveals in her frank new memoir, “Tough Love.” The book also explores how, despite Rice’s many accomplishments during two administrations, she attracted criticism for her brusque manner. And Rice faces an extra challenge — she’s been forced to grapple with whether any of this adversity was somehow a result of her race and gender.

“The combination — being a confident black woman who is not seeking permission or affirmation from others — I now suspect accounts for why I inadvertently intimidate some people, especially certain men,” she writes, “and perhaps also why I have long inspired motivated detractors who simply can’t deal with me.”

Read the full article at www.washingtonpost.com »


Related:

What My Father Thought Me About Race: By Susan Rice


Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser from 2013 to 2017 and a former United States ambassador to the United Nations, is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is the author of the forthcoming memoir, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” from which this essay is adapted. (Photo: Susan Rice with her father Emmett J. Rice, right, and the Federal Reserve chairman, William Miller, in 1979. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

By Susan E. Rice

My father, Emmett Rice, was drafted into military service at the height of World War II and spent four and a half years in uniform, first as an enlisted man and ultimately as an officer with the rank of captain. Called up by the Army Air Force, he was sent to a two-part officer training program, which began in Miami and was completed at Harvard Business School — where he learned “statistical control” and “quantitative management,” a specialized form of accounting in an unusual program designed to build on his business background.

Emmett eventually was deployed to Tuskegee, Ala., where he joined the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first black fighter pilot unit, which distinguished itself in combat in Europe. Though he learned to fly, my father was not a fighter pilot, but a staff officer who ran the newly created Statistics Office, which performed management analyses for commanding officers. He earlier served a stint at Godman Field adjacent to Fort Knox, Ky. There, he was denied access to the white officers’ club. To add insult to injury, he saw German prisoners of war being served at restaurants restricted to blacks. Both in the military and the confines of off-base life, his time in Kentucky was a searing reintroduction to the Southern segregation he had experienced as a child in South Carolina.


Susan and Emmett Rice in 1996. (Credit Ian Cameron)

Still, socially and intellectually, dad’s Tuskegee years were formative. He met an elite cadre of African-American men who would later be disproportionately represented in America’s postwar black professional class, among them my mother’s brothers, Leon and David Dickson. Dad’s Tuskegee friends and acquaintances formed a network he maintained throughout his life. What was it, I have often wondered, about those Tuskegee Airmen and support personnel that seemingly enabled them to become a vanguard of black achievement? Perhaps the military preselected unusually well-educated and capable men for Tuskegee, or some aspect of their service experience propelled them as a group to succeed. To my lasting regret, I failed to take the opportunity to study this topic in depth before almost all those heroes passed away.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »


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Writers Lemn Sissay & Zone 9′s Befeqadu Hailu Share 2019 PEN Pinter Prize

Poet Lemn Sissay (right) has named writer and activist Befeqadu Hailu (left), who is a co-founder of the blogging platform Zone 9, as this year’s ‘international writer of courage’ (Composite: PR/Hollie Fernando)

The Guardian

The poet Lemn Sissay has won the PEN Pinter award alongside the Ethiopian writer Befeqadu Hailu, who dedicated his award “to all those who use their voices for the voiceless”.

Hailu, a writer, activist and co-founder of the blogging platform Zone 9, has been jailed four times for his work, although never convicted of the charges brought against him. Under the motto “we blog because we care”, Zone 9 sets out to create a space for freedom of expression, where individuals can speak out against human rights violations in Ethiopia.

Sissay chose Hailu as the PEN Pinter international writer of courage, calling him “a man who stands by his word and whose words stood in the face of prison and arose far, far above to declaim in the name of humanity”.

“When I was considering him, I spoke to many Ethiopians in Ethiopia about him,” Sissay said. “He is loved by his people and the younger generation: He is a 21st-century hero. It was obvious that the writer of courage had to be him. He is my hero.”

Speaking in Amharic at the British Library event, Hailu thanked Sissay for choosing him to share the award. Hailu said he had wasted “596 days of his life in prison as a result of his writing”, as well as being “a victim of surveillance, intimidation, beatings and insults”.

“But I can say confidently that I have gained rather than lost by writing,” he said. “My wish is to use my voice for the service of the suppressed, those who are victimised because of sexual orientation, creed, religion or political opinion. My dream will come true. My wish is to give my voice to the service of the voiceless, who spoke for me when I could not. I pay it back only when I write to become a voice for the voiceless, the unheard.”

The PEN Pinter award goes to a writer who is deemed to, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, cast an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world, and show a “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies”. Sissay, who was announced as recipient in June, was described by judges as “an Orpheus who never stops singing”, who in every work “returns to the underworld he inhabited as an unclaimed child”, and “from his sorrows … forges beautiful words and a thousand reasons to live and love”. Sissay grew up in foster care in Wigan and his childhood was scarred by racist bullying.

The prize is shared with an international writer of courage who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.

Read more »


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PM Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s two-decade border conflict with Eritrea. Nobel Institute director Olav Njoelstad, said he had been in touch by phone with Abiy, who “showed great humility and was overwhelmed.” (AP photo)

The Associated Press

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s two-decade border conflict with Eritrea.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute on Friday also praised the “important reforms” that Abiy, Ethiopia’s leader since April 2018, has launched at home. The prize comes as Abiy faces pressure to uphold the sweeping freedoms he introduced, and critics warn that his ability to deal with rising domestic unrest may be slipping.

The Nobel committee said some people may consider it too early to give him the prize, but “it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts need recognition and deserve encouragement.”

The award reflects the committee’s taste for trying to encourage works in progress.

“We are proud as a nation!!!” Abiy’s office said in a tweet.

Nobel Institute director Olav Njoelstad, said he had been in touch by phone with Abiy, who “showed great humility and was overwhelmed.”

Abiy, 43, took office after widespread protests pressured the longtime ruling coalition and hurt one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Africa’s youngest leader quickly announced dramatic reforms and “Abiymania” began.

On taking office, Abiy surprised people by fully accepting a peace deal ending a 20-year border war between the two East African nations that saw tens of thousands of people killed. Ethiopia and Eritrea had not had diplomatic ties since the war began in 1998, with Abiy himself once fighting in a town that remained contested at the time of his announcement last year.

Within weeks, the visibly moved Eritrean president, Isaias Afwerki, visited Addis Ababa and communications and transport links were restored. For the first time in two decades, long-divided families made tearful reunions.

The improving relations led to the lifting of United Nations sanctions on Eritrea, one of the world’s most reclusive nations. But Ethiopia’s reforms do not appear to have inspired any in Eritrea, which has since closed border posts with its neighbor.

The Nobel committee also pointed to Abiy’s other efforts toward reconciliation in the region — between Eritrea and Djibouti, between Kenya and Somalia, and in Sudan.

The Nobel committee acknowledged that “peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone.”

It said that when Abiy “reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalize the peace process between the two countries.”

It added that it “hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.”

There was no immediate comment on the award from Eritrea, which under its longtime ruler remains one of the world’s most closed-off nations.

At home, Abiy offered one political surprise after another. He released tens of thousands of prisoners, welcomed home once-banned opposition groups and acknowledged past abuses. People expressed themselves freely on social media, and he announced that Ethiopia would hold free and fair elections in 2020. The country has one of the world’s few “gender-balanced” Cabinets and a female president, a rarity in Africa.

And for the first time Ethiopia had no journalists in prison, media groups noted last year.

The new prime minister also announced the opening-up of Ethiopia’s tightly controlled economy, saying private investment would be welcome in major state-owned sectors — a process that continues slowly.

But while Abiy became a global darling, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, troubles arose at home.

A grenade was thrown at him during an appearance in the capital. A large group of soldiers confronted him in his office in what he called an attempt to derail his reforms. In a display of the brio that has won Abiy widespread admiration, the former military officer defused the situation by dropping to the floor and joining the troops in pushups.

More troubling these days are Ethiopia’s rising ethnic tensions, as people once stifled by repression now act on long-held grievances. Some 1,200 people have been killed and some 1.2 million displaced in the greatest challenge yet to Abiy’s rule. Some observers warn that the unrest will grow ahead of next year’s election.

The Nobel committee acknowledged that “many challenges remain unresolved.”

Abiy had been among the favorites for this year’s prize in the run-up to Friday’s announcement, though winners are notoriously hard to predict. The Nobel committee doesn’t reveal the names of candidates or nominations for 50 years.

The committee has in the past used its prestigious award to nudge a peace process forward and Friday’s recognition of Abiy falls into that line of thinking.

“The committee want to be actors. They want to make decisive interventions because the world listens to their opinion, Nobel historian Oeivind Stenersen said. “There have been laureates such as (Jose Ramos) Horta in East Timor who have said that the prize was crucial in the process. The committee will hope to emulate that.”

Since 1901, 99 Nobel Peace Prizes have been handed out, to individuals and 24 organizations. While the other prizes are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

So far this week, 11 Nobel laureates have been named. The others received their awards for their achievements in medicine , physics , chemistry and literature .

With the glory comes a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma. Even though the peace prize is awarded in Norway, the amount is denominated in Swedish kronor.

___

Related:

Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize is deserved, but he still has work to do (WaPo Editorial)

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Spotlight: Addis Ababa Among Six Dynamic Emerging Art Capitals in Africa

Tadesse Mesfin, Pillars of Life: Market Day (2018). Courtesy Addis Fine Art.

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: October 9th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In a feature published this week, highlighting the growing African art scene in the global market, Artnet News website lists Addis Ababa among six dynamic emerging art capitals on the African continent.

Art institutions in Addis Ababa mentioned in the publication as leading this renaissance include “Alle School of Fine Art & Design (Ethiopia’s most important art school..founded in 1958, during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie, and has educated the country’s preeminent painters, sculptors, printmakers, and designers); Addis Fine Art (The most notable commercial gallery in the capital and its first white-cube art space, Addis regularly showcases graduates from the Alle School, and will open a new location in London’s Cromwell Place gallery hub in 2020); Guramane Art Center (A gallery dedicated to emerging Ethiopian artists, it represents the vanguard of the country’s art scene); and Zoma (this sprawling museum, founded by artist Elias Sime and curator Meskerem Assegued, opened in April 2019 and shows contemporary art from East Africa and abroad).”

The other art capitals featured in the Artnet News article include Accra, Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, and Marrakech.

“Today, Africa’s art market has plenty of room to grow. Fewer than 1,000 works were sold at auction on the continent in the first six months of 2019, according to the artnet Price Database,” Artnet News notes, and adds: “Unlike Asia, where Hong Kong has emerged as a hub for the trade, Africa lacks a preeminent art-market capital. And while the continent’s local collector base is growing steadily—Sotheby’s fourth dedicated auction of Modern and contemporary African art in April was dominated by African buyers and generated a total of $3 million, above its presale high estimate of $2.7 million— it is still nascent compared with the U.S., China, and Europe.”

Artnet quotes Hannah O’Leary, Head of Modern and Contemporary African Art at Sotheby’s who shares that “we are seeing lots of raw talent, but we need more of a market structure in order to support their careers.’”

Regarding Addis Ababa as an art capital, Artnet states:

Coptic art, shaped by the 1,500-year history of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, is one of the country’s major artistic influences and continues to be practiced by numerous artisans. But the 20th century also witnessed three distinct artistic movements that remained popular until the Ethiopian Revolution of 1974: a realistic, or “naïve,” style used to depict glamorous Ethiopian society; abstraction, which incorporated influences from Western Expressionism and Surrealism; and social realism, which was political in subject matter and focused largely on urban scenes and the struggling masses.

Home to more than 112 million people, Ethiopia is the second-most populous country on the continent. According to the International Monetary Fund, Ethiopia’s economy is expected to grow 8.5 percent this fiscal year, making it the fastest-growing economy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Despite the difficulty in obtaining art materials, which must be either imported from abroad or made at home, today’s artists work largely in paint, together with photography and sculpture using found objects. “A lot of people use art for commercial or propaganda purposes, and I hope that our government understands the power of supporting our artists and preserving our culture,” says Melaku Belay, founder of the Fendika Cultural Center. “We need to think of the past if we want to go to the future.”

See the full list at news.artnet.com »


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Ethiopia Film ‘Enchained’ (Quragaye) Makes International Premiere in London

Written and directed by Moges Tafesse, the film's cast include Zerihun Mulatu as Gobeze, Yimisirach Girma as Aleme and Frehiwot Kelkilew as Queen Zewditu. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: October 8th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The award-winning new Ethiopian film entitled ‘Enchained’ (Quragaye) will make its international premiere in London this month.

According to the film’s synopsis: “In Ethiopia, kolo temari (wandering student) Gobeze is caught red-handed and in bed with Aleme, the wife of the temperamental landlord Gonite. Neighbors halt the ensuing fight and an elder binds together the two men’s clothes, symbolically chaining them together in the traditional judicial process of Atse Sirat, and tells them to stand trial in the queen’s court. Meanwhile, with the sudden death of the Emperor Minilik his daughter Zewditu Minilik, is crowned queen.”

Written and directed by Moges Tafesse, the film’s cast include Zerihun Mulatu as Gobeze, Yimisirach Girma as Aleme and Frehiwot Kelkilew as Queen Zewditu.

The synopsis adds: “Enchained during their long journey, the two men traverse a number of challenges including keeping each other safe so that the experienced litigator Gonite and the inexperienced student Gobeze can stand trial before the new ruler, Queen Zewditu, and be vindicated.”

The film focuses on age-old human behavior when it comes to love, sex, violence and the desire for vigilante justice while also reflecting on Ethiopia’s past traditional justice system that is informed by local customs, and values adjudicating conflict situations in addition to administering punishment fit for a crime.

The filmmakers note that the movie “attempts to illustrate the rift between the old oral all-encompassing system (which includes not just legal process but also social life, culture and politics) and modus operandi of law and the current confusion of law and justice within the current generation.” In other words, understanding the past is the key to shaping the future.

The premiere in London, which is set to open on Saturday, October 19th at Rich Mix Cinema, promises to be a star-studded, red carpet event hosted by Habeshaview TV and includes a Q&A with film Director Moges Tafesse and leading actor Zerihun Mulatu.


If You Go:
International Premiere of ‘Enchained’ (Quragaye) a Moges Tafesse Film.
Saturday 19th October 2019
Red Carpet Arrivals: 6:30pm – Drinks Reception, Meet & Greet Stars
Screening: 8:00pm – Followed by Q&A with film Director Moges Tafesse and leading actor Zerihun Mulatu, Drinks & Canape – £20 (18+)

Followed by subsequent screenings

Sunday, 20th October 2019
14:00 – £12.95 Adults | Children £6 + BF (12+)

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019
20:00 – £12.95 Adults | Children £6 + BF (12 +)

WHERE:
Rich Mix Cinema London 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA
Click here to purchase Tickets
More info at: events@habeshaview.com

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Ethiopia Mourns Elias Melka

Musician and composer Elias Melka died on 4 October. (Music in Africa)

Music in Africa

The news of his death was made public by Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC)… FBC said Milka was receiving treatment for diabetes and kidney complications at a hospital in the country’s capital.

Several prominent Ethiopians have shared their fondest memories of the musician, while others have spoken about what his music means to them.

“Saddened to learn the passing of renowned lyricist and composer, Elias Melka. We lost a talented and influential figure in the music industry. My condolences to his family and fans,” Addis Ababa mayor Takele Uma Banti said.

Radio and TV journalist Berhane Negussie said: “What heartbreaking news. Elias Melka was a musical genius of our generation This is a loss to the Ethiopian music industry. Not only as a musician, but he was also an amazing and extremely kind as a person. Rest in heaven, my brother.

Ethiopian political analyst Esayas Girmay wrote: “Farewell to a legend! Elias transformed modern Ethiopian music like no other. His influence on traditional Amharic music was also something to remember him by. Tigrigna, Oromifa, Kunama and Guragigna have also benefited from his amazing talent and creativity.”

Melka began his career in the 1990s after graduating from Yared Music School where he majored in cello, piano and the krar.

Melka’s discography includes more than 40 albums, which mainly contain socially conscious songs. His songs touched on topics such as HIV/AIDS, road accidents, African unity and minorities. In 2003, he composed ‘Negarit’ (War Drum), which highlighted the plight of about 13 million people facing starvation in the country.

The award-winning musician composed music for prominent Ethiopian artists, most notably activist Teddy Afro, Gossaye Tesfaye, Zeritu Kebede, Haile Roots, Mikia Behailu, Eyob Mekonnen, Michael Belayneh, Aster Girma, Abush Zeleke, Berry, Gedion Daniel and Dan Admassu.

He will be remembered for being one of the first musicians to introduce the one-man band studio production concept in Ethiopia and for being part of the team that launched the Awtar Music App this year.

Before his death, he was one of the judges on the Fana Lamrot talent show, which airs on FBC.


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Man Seeking U.S. Asylum Claims Ethiopian Airlines Changed Records After Crash

Yonas Yeshanew, a former employee of Ethiopian Airlines who is currently applying for asylum in the U.S., has claimed — in a whistleblower complaint filed with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration — that Ethiopian Airlines changed records on a Boeing 737 Max jet following the tragic crash earlier this year. Investigators had preliminarily ruled that a defective software flight data sensor known as MCAS was to blame for the accident. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Engineer: Ethiopian Airlines went into records after crash

SEATTLE (AP) — Ethiopian Airlines’ former chief engineer says in a whistleblower complaint filed with regulators that the carrier went into the maintenance records on a Boeing 737 Max jet a day after it crashed this year, a breach he contends was part of a pattern of corruption that included fabricating documents, signing off on shoddy repairs and even beating those who got out of line.

Yonas Yeshanew, who resigned this summer and is seeking asylum in the U.S., said that while it is unclear what, if anything, in the records was altered, the decision to go into them at all when they should have been sealed reflects a government-owned airline with few boundaries and plenty to hide.

“The brutal fact shall be exposed … Ethiopian Airlines is pursuing the vision of expansion, growth and profitability by compromising safety,” Yeshanew said in his report, which he gave to The Associated Press after sending it last month to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other international air safety agencies…

Ethiopian Airlines portrayed Yeshanew as a disgruntled former employee and categorically denied his allegations…

Read the full article at apnews.com »


Related:
Boeing CEO Apologizes to Victims of Ethiopia, Indonesia Crashes
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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Lelisa Desisa Wins World Championship Marathon

Lelisa Desisa became just the second Ethiopian man to win a global marathon crown and became the first man in history to win the Boston, New York City and world championships marathons during a career. (Photo: AFP/MUSTAFA ABUMUNES)

LetsRun

Lelisa Desisa Wins World Championship Marathon to Go With His Boston and NY Crowns

Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa ran a flawless marathon tonight on the Corniche in Doha to capture his first global title on the penultimate day of the IAAF World Athletics Championships. The 29 year-old Ethiopian, twice the Boston Marathon winner and the reigning TCS New York City Marathon champion, became just the second Ethiopian man to win a global marathon crown and became the first man in history to win the Boston, New York City and world championships marathons during a career.

“This is a great medal for me and for Ethiopia,” Desisa told IAAF interviewers after crossing the finish line in 2:10:40. “It is the first for us for a long time. I am very happy to bring Ethiopia this title after so long.”

The race played out perfectly for the race-savvy Desisa who performs best in championships-style races where official pacemakers are not permitted. Throughout the race, which began at 11:59 p.m., he carefully assessed his position and his energy stores and didn’t waste a single step while some of his rivals put in needless surges.

For the first half of the race, Desisa ran well behind the unlikely leader, Derlys Ayala of Paraguay, who had run a marathon just 12 days before in Buenos Aires. Running alone in a red and white striped uniform, Ayala built up a 62-second lead through 15 kilometers, but the top players for the medals, including Desisa, hardly cared. A pack of six serious contenders –Desisa, Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, Geoffrey Kirui and Amos Kipruto of Kenya, Stephen Mokoka of South Africa, and Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia– ran earnestly behind the South American and bided their time.

By the 20-kilometer point, Ayala’s lead had dwindled to just six seconds, and just before the half-marathon point (1:05:56) Ayala was caught. He would drop out about two minutes later, just one of 18 athletes from the 73-man field who would fail to finish.

Tadese, five times the world road running/half-marathon champion, did most of the leading from there. There were a few surges by Tadese and Mokoka, but through 30 kilometers (1:33:13) the pack of six was still intact. Desisa would sometimes drift back during the surges, but he always regained contact.

“I controlled everybody and I saved my power,” Desisa explained.

Read more »


Related:

In Berlin, Kenenisa Bekele Makes A Comeback With 2nd Fastest Marathon Ever

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Majority of Americans Support Impeachment Inquiry into Trump (UPDATE)

The survey shows how public sentiment has moved amid the unfolding scandal over Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. (ILLUSTRATION: HUFFPOST; PHOTOS: GETTY)

CNBC

Updated: TUE, OCT 8 2019

Most Americans — including 1 in 5 Republicans — now back an impeachment inquiry or already believe Congress should remove President Donald Trump from office, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

The survey shows how public sentiment has moved amid the unfolding scandal over Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate his potential 2020 rival Joe Biden. The share of Americans who say Congress should let Trump complete his term has dipped to 39%, from 50% in July.

At the same time, the proportion who say Congress should move to impeachment and removal has ticked up to 24% from 21%, while those who support an impeachment inquiry have swelled to 31% from 27%. Taken together, that 55% majority backing an impeachment inquiry at minimum is the highest the NBC/WSJ poll has shown this year.

That represents a gradual, not dramatic, shift in opinion. But it shows that, after the political hazards of the Trump-Russia investigation appeared to dissipate during the summer, the president faces new and potentially more-threatening trouble over Ukraine.

“What we’re seeing in this poll is an openness and willingness to listen to new information,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff. His Democratic counterpart Peter Hart added, “There’s not a scintilla of good news for Donald Trump in this survey.”


2nd Whistleblower Adds to Impeachment Peril at White House (AP)


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has initiated an impeachment proceedings against President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution in seeking help from a foreign leader to damage a political opponent. AP reports that this week a second whistleblower has come forward “adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House.” (AP photo)

The Associated Press

Updated: October 7th, 2019

A second whistleblower has come forward with information about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, adding to the impeachment peril engulfing the White House and potentially providing new leads to Democrats in their unfurling investigation of Trump’s conduct.

Attorney Mark Zaid, who represents both whistleblowers, said in a text message to The Associated Press that the second person has spoken to the intelligence community’s internal watchdog and can corroborate information in the original whistleblower complaint. That document alleged that Trump pushed Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s family, prompting a White House cover-up. Crucially, the new whistleblower works in the intelligence field and has “firsthand knowledge” of key events, Zaid said.

The emergence of the second whistleblower threatened to undermine arguments from Trump and his allies to discredit the original complaint. They have called it politically motivated, claimed it was filed improperly and dismissed it as unreliable because it was based on secondhand or thirdhand information.

A rough transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, released by the White House, has already corroborated the complaint’s central claim that Trump sought to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The push came even though there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Text messages from State Department officials revealed other details, including that Ukraine was promised a visit with Trump if the government would agree to investigate the 2016 election and Ukrainian gas company Burisma — the outline of a potential quid pro quo.

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said word of a second whistleblower indicates a larger shift inside the government.

“The president’s real problem is that his behavior has finally gotten to a place where people are saying, ‘Enough,’” Himes said.

Democrats have zeroed in on the State Department in the opening phase of their impeachment investigation. The Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees have already interviewed Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine who provided the text messages. At least two other witnesses are set for depositions this week: Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly ousted as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May.

Trump and his supporters deny that he did anything improper, but the White House has struggled to come up with a unified response. No administration officials appeared on the Sunday news shows to defend the president, while other Republicans focused mainly on attacking Democrats. A few Republicans suggested that Trump was only joking this past week when he publicly called on China to investigate the Bidens.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump’s most vocal backers, provided perhaps the strongest defense of the president. He said there was nothing wrong with Trump’s July conversation with Zelenskiy and that the accusation look like a “political setup.”

As for Trump, rather than visiting his nearby golf course in Sterling, Virginia, for a second day, he stayed at White House, where he tweeted and retweeted, with the Bidens a main target.

“The great Scam is being revealed!” Trump wrote at one point, continuing to paint himself as the victim of a “deep state” and hostile Democrats.

As the president often does when he feels under attack, he trumpeted his strong support among Republican voters. He kept lashing out at Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, one of the few Republicans who has publicly questioned Trump’s conduct.

“The Democrats are lucky that they don’t have any Mitt Romney types,” Trump wrote, painting the 2012 GOP presidential nominee as a traitor to his party. Romney tweeted recently that Trump’s “brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine” for an investigation of Biden is “wrong and appalling.”

The July call raised questions about whether Trump held back near $400 million in critical American military aid to Ukraine as leverage for a Burisma investigation. Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Ukraine. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

A leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Biden wrote in The Washington Post that he had a message for Trump and “those who facilitate his abuses of power. … Please know that I’m not going anywhere. You won’t destroy me, and you won’t destroy my family.”

Additional details about the origins of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelenskiy emerged over the weekend.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry had encouraged Trump to speak with the Ukrainian leader, but on energy and economic issues, according to Perry spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes. She said Perry’s interest in Ukraine is part of U.S. efforts to boost Western energy ties to Eastern Europe.

Trump, who has repeatedly described his conversation with Zelenskiy as “perfect,” told House Republicans on Friday night that it was Perry who teed up the July call, according to a person familiar with Trump’s comments who was granted anonymity to discuss them. The person said Trump did not suggest that Perry had anything to do with the pressure to investigate the Bidens.

As the furor over Trump’s phone call and the House’s subsequent impeachment inquiry escalated, two Republicans challenging Trump for the GOP presidential nomination engaged in a heated on-air debate over what should happen to the president. The exchange between former Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Joe Walsh of Illinois was notable, given the refusal of all but three Republican senators to criticize Trump’s conduct.

Walsh said the president deserves to be impeached. Sanford tried to make the case that moving forward with impeachment in the Democratic-run House if the Republican-controlled Senate doesn’t have the votes to convict would be counter-productive.

“This president needs to be impeached, just based on what he himself has said,” Walsh said. “And Republicans better get behind that.”

Himes appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” while Walsh was on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Graham spoke on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

___

Related:

U.S. House Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. The dramatic development follows the recent revelation that Trump may have abused his presidential powers by seeking help from a foreign government to undermine his potential 2020 election opponent, former vice president Joe Biden, and help his own reelection campaign. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry, says Trump’s courting of foreign political help is a ‘betrayal of national security’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step Tuesday of initiating impeachment proceedings against President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution in seeking help from a foreign leader to damage a political opponent.

Pelosi’s move came after Trump acknowledged that he urged the Ukrainian president to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination who holds a wide lead over Trump, polls show, in a potential general election matchup. The revelation prompted a rush of moderate House Democrats to call for an impeachment inquiry into Trump, a step they had resisted for months. On Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) relented as well.

“The actions of the Trump presidency have revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi said in a brief statement before a backdrop of American flags, repeatedly invoking the nation’s founders. “Therefore, today, I am announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.”

Read more »


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Susan Rice Has Spent Her Career Fighting off Detractors: WaPo on Her Memoir

Former national security adviser Susan Rice at her Washington home last month. Her memoir, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” is being published this week. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Susan Rice has spent her career fighting off detractors: ‘I inadvertently intimidate some people, especially certain men’

She should have listened to her mother.

“Why do you have to go on the shows?” Lois Dickson Rice asked her daughter, Susan, in September 2012 “Where is Hillary?”

Susan Rice was then the United States ambassador to the United Nations, equipped with a gold-standard Washington résumé — Stanford, Rhodes scholar, Oxford doctorate, former assistant secretary of state for African affairs. She explained that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “wiped after a brutal week.” The Obama White House asked Rice to appear “in her stead” on all five Sunday news programs.

It was days after attacks in Libya killed four U.S. officials.

“I smell a rat,” said her mother, a lauded education policy expert. “This is not a good idea. Can’t you get out of it?”

“Mom, don’t be ridiculous,” Rice said. “I’ve done the shows. It will be fine.”

Well, no, it was not.

Benghazi became the millstone in Rice’s stellar career. It stopped her from succeeding Clinton.

Criticism of Rice was relentless… The scrutiny lasted through multiple congressional investigations.

The aftermath took a punishing toll on Rice’s family and professional reputation, she reveals in her frank new memoir, “Tough Love.” The book also explores how, despite Rice’s many accomplishments during two administrations, she attracted criticism for her brusque manner. And Rice faces an extra challenge — she’s been forced to grapple with whether any of this adversity was somehow a result of her race and gender.

“The combination — being a confident black woman who is not seeking permission or affirmation from others — I now suspect accounts for why I inadvertently intimidate some people, especially certain men,” she writes, “and perhaps also why I have long inspired motivated detractors who simply can’t deal with me.”

Read the full article at www.washingtonpost.com »


Related:

What My Father Thought Me About Race: By Susan Rice


Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser from 2013 to 2017 and a former United States ambassador to the United Nations, is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. She is the author of the forthcoming memoir, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” from which this essay is adapted. (Photo: Susan Rice with her father Emmett J. Rice, right, and the Federal Reserve chairman, William Miller, in 1979. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

By Susan E. Rice

My father, Emmett Rice, was drafted into military service at the height of World War II and spent four and a half years in uniform, first as an enlisted man and ultimately as an officer with the rank of captain. Called up by the Army Air Force, he was sent to a two-part officer training program, which began in Miami and was completed at Harvard Business School — where he learned “statistical control” and “quantitative management,” a specialized form of accounting in an unusual program designed to build on his business background.

Emmett eventually was deployed to Tuskegee, Ala., where he joined the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first black fighter pilot unit, which distinguished itself in combat in Europe. Though he learned to fly, my father was not a fighter pilot, but a staff officer who ran the newly created Statistics Office, which performed management analyses for commanding officers. He earlier served a stint at Godman Field adjacent to Fort Knox, Ky. There, he was denied access to the white officers’ club. To add insult to injury, he saw German prisoners of war being served at restaurants restricted to blacks. Both in the military and the confines of off-base life, his time in Kentucky was a searing reintroduction to the Southern segregation he had experienced as a child in South Carolina.


Susan and Emmett Rice in 1996. (Credit Ian Cameron)

Still, socially and intellectually, dad’s Tuskegee years were formative. He met an elite cadre of African-American men who would later be disproportionately represented in America’s postwar black professional class, among them my mother’s brothers, Leon and David Dickson. Dad’s Tuskegee friends and acquaintances formed a network he maintained throughout his life. What was it, I have often wondered, about those Tuskegee Airmen and support personnel that seemingly enabled them to become a vanguard of black achievement? Perhaps the military preselected unusually well-educated and capable men for Tuskegee, or some aspect of their service experience propelled them as a group to succeed. To my lasting regret, I failed to take the opportunity to study this topic in depth before almost all those heroes passed away.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »


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How This Ethiopian Entrepreneur Came Up with Idea of Growing Teff in California

Zion Taddese owns the Queen Sheba Ethiopian restaurant in Sacramento. (Sacramento Business Journal)

Sacramento Business Journal

Restaurateur wants to grow more of this Ethiopian superfood

Lunchtime at the Queen Sheba Ethiopian restaurant on Broadway in Sacramento is filled with flavorful aromas, colors and steaming stews of beans and vegetables…

“We eat injera in Ethiopia every day,” she said. “For breakfast, for lunch, for dinner.”

Lately, however, Taddese has begun making the injera a little differently. She adds barley to the mixture of teff flour, which serves as the basis for the injera dough. Teff, a grain native to Ethiopia, has gotten more and more expensive. Since Taddese opened the restaurant 15 years ago, the price she pays for teff has risen from around $15 per 20 pounds to $60. For comparison, the barley she mixes with the teff to make injera is $10 per 20 pounds.

“There’s not enough supply,” she said. “That’s why it’s so expensive.”

And that’s when she can get it at all. Taddese gets the teff from one of the only U.S. sources — a grower in Idaho.

“You have to order six months in advance because they run out of it so fast,” Taddese said.

So Taddese came up with the idea of growing teff in California. She also wants to expand her restaurant and build a new company, Sheba Farms, which will process, mill and package teff flour.

These are ambitious plans, but Taddese has taken on big challenges before.

She grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city. She left for England when she was 16, and while she was in college in London, worked in her aunt’s Ethiopian restaurant.

Read the full article at bizjournals.com »


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Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week

The 2019 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Addis Ababa from October 9-12th. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: October 4th, 2019

Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week Set to Kick-off on October 9th

New York (TADIAS) – The 2019 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week is set to kick-off on October 9th at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Addis Ababa.

The runway show, which marks its 9th anniversary this year, features both local and international designers from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa.

“The British Council will serve as the facilitator of a “Made in Ethiopia” event, which will feature producers of textile, leather, manufacturing and other sectors of the industry,” Mahlet Teklemariam, Founder of the Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week, announced in a press statement.

The press release notes that “fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry of which Africa only has a minute share,” adding that the annual Fashion Week in Ethiopia’s capital “seeks to remedy this and has worked diligently towards this growth.”

According to the organizers past participants of Hub of Africa Fashion Week have go on to present at New York African Fashion Week as well as Berlin Fashion Week and received international media coverage including on CNN, Vogue Italia, Fashion TV, and BBC.


If You Go:

The 2019 Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Addis Ababa from October 9-12th. For full list of programs please visit the event’s website at www.hubfashionweekafrica.com.

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Liya Kebede Among 22 Most Stylish Supermodels of All Time (Harper’s Bazaar)

Liya Kebede. (Harper's Bazaar)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar has named Liya Kebede among 22 most stylish supermodels of all time.

“By and far, models are known for other people’s fashion, not their own,” the monthly publication states. “But, of course, there are those special few who have not only conquered modeling itself but also gained acclaim for their own personal style.” The magazine noted that Liya Kebede is “able to swing from cool-girl athleisure to red-carpet glam,” and added: “Kebede always makes an impact.”

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Liya launched her modeling career in Paris in the late 1990′s soon after graduating from Lycée Guebre Mariam high school, and gained international prominence in 2003 when she was selected by Estée Lauder to become the first black model to represent the global cosmetics brand.

As The Business of Fashion website — that covers the global fashion industry — shared: “Although Kebede still models for the likes of Tom Ford, Donna Karan and Roberto Cavalli , she is now focused on philanthropic ventures. These include Lemlem, a clothing line founded to protect traditional Ethiopian weaving techniques and support women, which is sold at Barney’s, J Crew, Net-a-Porter and numerous boutique shops. Kebede has also been a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health division since 2005. In 2013, Kebede was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year for her philanthropic work through her Liya Kebede Foundation. She has two children and resides in New York.”


Related:

THE 22 MOST STYLISH SUPERMODELS OF ALL TIME (Harper’s Bazaar)

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Spotlight: Mahmoud Ahmed & Eritrean Singer Issac Simon Live in NYC

Mahmoud Ahmed and Issac Simon will perform live in New York City on October 12th, 2019. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian music icon Mahmoud Ahmed will perform live in New York City this month along with Eritrean Singer Issac Simon.

Presented by Queen of Sheba restaurant and Dj Mehari the concert, which is set to take place on October 12th, will mark the first time that Mahmoud Ahmed will perform live in NYC since his historic debut at Carnegie Hall three years ago.

As Carnegie had noted: Mahmoud’s “body of work — including landmark recordings..released on Éthiopiques series — have become an essential benchmark of Ethiopia’s musical history and cultural heritage, earning him the prestigious BBC World Music Award in 2007.”


Poster courtesy of the organizers. (Photo: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)


If You Go:
Mahmoud Ahmed and Isaac Simon Live in NYC
Sat, Oct 12, 2019, 6:00 PM
630 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Entrance: $50
For table service/vip ticket: 347-828-1285
Tickets are available at Queen of Sheba, Abissinia and Massawa restaurants.
More info: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mahmoud-ahmed-and-isaac-simon-tickets-74901188471

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Looted Ethiopian Crown Resurfaces in the Netherlands — NYT

Sirak Asfaw, left, and Arthur Brand say they are waiting for the Ethiopian government to get in touch. (BBC)

The New York Times

Oct. 3, 2019

AMSTERDAM — In 1998, Sirak Asfaw, a Dutch civil servant who was born in Ethiopia, noticed something shiny in the suitcase of a guest who was staying at his house. Curious, he opened the case to find a glittering gilded crown inside.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Mr. Sirak, who moved to the Netherlands a political refugee in the 1970s, said in a recent interview in Amsterdam. “I felt betrayed. Using my house to smuggle cultural heritage from Ethiopia? I knew it had something to do with Ethiopian history, the Ethiopian kingdom. I knew this is not good.”

Mr. Sirak said that he felt he couldn’t return the crown to the Ethiopian authorities, because he suspected that the government might have been complicit in the theft, and he feared that it would be stolen again.

He also didn’t want to hand it over to the Dutch authorities, because he worried that a museum would keep the crown forever rather than returning it when a new Ethiopian government was in place.

So Mr. Sirak locked the visitor out of his house, he said, and removed the crown from the suitcase. He did not identify the smuggler to The New York Times for fear of his safety, and said he didn’t know how his guest had acquired it.

For 21 years, he hid it in his home. “When I saw it, I always felt very emotional,” he said. “I knew it shouldn’t be here, not in my house, not in the Netherlands.”

Read more »


Related:

Ethiopian 18th Century Crown to Return Home From Netherlands (BBC)

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Painter Julie Mehretu’s Intellectual Ambitions — Wall Street Journal

A new retrospective in November at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art traces Julie Mehretu’s career creating epic, lyrical works that are literally ripped from the headlines. (Photo: Julie Mehretu in her Chelsea, New York, studio in front of Of Other Planes of There (S.R.), 2018–2019. PHOTO: CLEMENT PASCAL FOR WSJ)

The Wall Street Journal

There are few artists who follow the news as closely as the painter Julie Mehretu does, and fewer still who directly mine it for their work. But not all viewers of her immense abstract pieces realize it.

“Usually it’ll be something like an earworm—it doesn’t leave you alone,” says Mehretu, 48, of the events that infuse her canvases. The California fires of 2017, for instance, formed the foundation of the bright-orange work Hineni (E. 3:4) (2018), a canvas that, like many of her works, is densely packed with shapes, forms and marks.

Mehretu works with her assistants to digitally manipulate news photos of these scenes. Then an assistant airbrushes the heavily distorted image onto a canvas as a beginning gesture—Mehretu calls it “melting” the image onto the canvas.

Read more »


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PM Abiy Commissions Artist Elias Sime for New Public Garden at National Palace

Elias Sime’s garden under construction. (COURTESY JAMES COHAN GALLERY)

ARTNEWS

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Commissions Artist Elias Sime for New Public Garden at Historically Off-Limits National Palace

Elias Sime, an Ethiopian artist well known at home and ascendant internationally for works involving intricately woven tangles of reclaimed electrical wires and other materials that come to look like paintings from afar, is building a large public garden for the Grand National Palace in Addis Ababa that once served as the home of emperor Haile Selassie. The project came to fruition after Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed visited Zoma, an ambitious complex of buildings and gardens in the city devoted to exhibitions of contemporary art and indigenous-architectural education as imagined by Sime and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued.

As James Cohan, whose New York–based gallery represents Sime, recalled of the prime minister, “Once he saw it, literally the next day he called Elias up and said, ‘You need to come to the grounds of the royal palace, which I’m going to open to the public for the first time since 1976. It will become our national pride, and you need to build a garden for us.’”

That visit some three months ago led to work that has continued around the clock on a 30,000-square-foot garden expected to be completed in six months. “They’re carving pieces of stone with wavelike rhythmic forms,” Cohan said, “and he’s carving stone for the walls.” More than 300 workers are involved, and “the prime minister visits on a daily basis and has brought numerous visiting international diplomats and dignitaries to see progress,” Cohan added.

In a written statement, Sime—who is working on the project with his partner in Zoma—told ARTnews, “Anyone can be commissioned to build, but being trusted by the Prime Minster, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, with love to build our dream in one of the most prestigious places is special. What Meskerem Assegued and I are building is meant to give love to anyone as much as we loved building it.”

Read more »


Related:

Elias Sime Set for Major U.S. Museum Shows in NY, Ohio and Kansas (TADIAS)

Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

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In Berlin, Kenenisa Bekele Makes A Comeback With 2nd Fastest Marathon Ever

Former Olympic and world champion Kenenisa Bekele staged a thrilling comeback to win the Berlin marathon on Sunday, recording the second fastest time ever - Reuters. (Photo: Kenenisa Bekele high fives a spectator as he approaches the finish line in the men’s elite race in Berlin on Sunday, September 29, 2019/Reuters)

IAAF

Kenenisa Bekele scorched to a stunning 2:01:41 victory at the BMW Berlin Marathon today (29), the second fastest performance of the all-time.

The victory capped a sensational comeback for the 37-year-old star, who had been struggling with knee and hamstring injuries in recent years. Bekele missed the world record by six seconds when winning at the IAAF Gold Label road race in 2016, and this time came up just two seconds short of the 2:01:39 record set by Eliud Kipchoge last year. But the Ethiopian, who has held the world records over 5000 and 10,000m since 2004 and 2005, respectively, hadn’t finished a marathon since April of last year, suggesting his best days over the distance were already behind him.

Bekele lost ground on compatriots Birhanu Legese and Sisay Lemma after the half, at one stage falling 13 seconds behind. But propelled by a long sustained surge, he began to work on the deficit by the 35th kilometre. He passed Legese in the 38th kilometre as he fought his way back on world record pace, reaching kilometre 40 in 1:55:30, two seconds better than Kipchoge last year. Their furious sprints towards the German capital’s iconic Brandenburg Gate proved to be the difference.

Coming so close, Bekele said, is more encouraging that frustrating. “I know I can still run a very good marathon and I won’t give up.” That was amply illustrated by a 1:00:36 second half.

Legesse was second in 2:02:48 to become the third fastest of all-time. Lemma finished third in 2:03:36 to end the day at No. 10 on the all-time list.

The women’s contest was much closer, which came down to a sprint over the final few hundred metres. That was when Ashete Bekere unleashed her sprint to pull away from fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba to win 2:20:14 to 2:20:21.

Kenya’s Sally Chepyego was third, clocking 2:21:06.

Further back, German fans were pleased with Melat Kejeta, who finished sixth in her debut over the distance in 2:23:57.

Three-time winner Gladys Cherono was never a factor, and dropped out at around the 30th kilometre.


Reuters: Bekele wins Berlin marathon, misses record by two seconds


Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele wins the men’s elite race REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) – Former Olympic and world champion Kenenisa Bekele staged a thrilling comeback to win the Berlin marathon on Sunday, dramatically missing out on the world record by two seconds after recording the second fastest time ever.

Ethiopian Bekele, winner in Berlin in 2016 and world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 metres, finished in two hours, one minute and 41 seconds, agonisingly close to Eliud Kipchoge’s world record time despite a full sprint in the final 400 metres.

Kipchoge, who set the world’s best mark in Berlin last year, was absent to prepare for his renewed sub-two hour marathon attempt in Vienna on Oct. 12.

“I felt a little pain in the beginning so I dropped behind,” Bekele told reporters. “After a few kilometres I started relaxing so I tied to push a little bit.

“I am very sorry. I am not lucky. I am very happy running my personal best. But I still can do this (world record). I don’t give up. It is encouraging for the future.”

Bekele was part of a group, including fellow countrymen Birhanu Legese and Sisay Lemma, that quickly broke from the pack with a quick pace.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Day Picnic in NYC This Weekend

Photo courtesy of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) .

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

September 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend the annual Ethiopian Day picnic is set to take place at Sakura Park in New York City.

Organized by the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) the family friendly event includes fun outdoor activities and entrainment both for children and adults.

“Bring your favorite games, picnic tables, chairs, mat and music,” the announcement notes. “Refreshments will be served.”

ECMAA was founded in 1981 to serve the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Ethiopian Diaspora community. In addition to regularly hosting social, educational and networking events they also help “individuals to find ways to give back to their community by sharing their skills and experiences or by assisting financially.” Recently launched ECMAA programs also include weekend Amharic classes for children.


You can learn more and contact the organizers at http://www.ecmaany.org.

Related:
In Pictures: Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC
In NYC ECMAA Expands Program to Include Community Soccer Games

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Spotlight: Three Great Reviews of Maaza Mengiste’s New Book by NYT, WSJ & NPR

Maaza Mengiste's latest novel, 'The Shadow King,' has been released. Below is a highlight of three recent reviews of the book by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR. (Photo by Nina Subin)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 26th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Maaza Mengiste’s new book the The Shadow King was released this month to well-deserved praises in national U.S. media. In The New York Times Book Review published today, Namwali Serpell recalls the broader absence of the stories of women warriors and asks “Is that a profound truth or a blind spot?” To her and many of us in the industry Maaza Mengiste’s latest novel breaks the loud silence. “She doesn’t seek a narrow path between the straits of these artistic and ethical questions,” adds Serpell. “Instead, she encompasses them in all their contradiction, laying them out in breathtakingly skillful juxtaposition.”

NPR calls Maaza’s new novel “a gorgeous meditation on memory, war and violence” emphasizing that “the star of the novel, however, is Maaza’s writing, “which makes The Shadow King nearly impossible to put down.”

The idea for the story morphed out of Maaza’s trip to Italy as a Fulbright Fellow where she was able to research documents focusing on the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

Maaza’s book is a “work of reclamation in a number of ways,” notes the Wall Street Journal in their review published last week. “For one thing, the story, which dramatizes the invasion and the tenacious Ethiopian resistance, shines a light on a conflict that has often been forgotten behind the battles of the world war that followed it.” WSJ adds: “Ms. Mengiste furthermore centers on the Ethiopian women who played a vital but almost completely unrecognized role in the insurgency. But most important, “The Shadow King” is not a story about helpless victims of colonial conquest. Against the odds, it is written in a key of pride and exaltation, and its characters have the outsize form of national heroes.”

Maaza’s first novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze was chosen as one of 10 best contemporary African books by The Guardian, and her writing has been featured in several publications including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New Times, Granta and Guernica. In 2018 Maaza won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and was a former Fulbright Fellow. She received the Puterbaugh Fellowship in 2013 and was also nominated as a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2011. As a writer Maaza worked on the documentary features Girl Rising and The Invisible City: Kakuma. Maaza currently serves as a Board member for the non-profit organizations Words Without Borders and Warscapes.

The Shadow King starts and ends with Hirut, the book’s main character, at a train station in Addis Ababa carrying a metal box. The year was 1974, four decades after the end of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. “She’s traveled here, the reader is told, ‘to rid herself of the horror that staggers back unbidden,” NPR points out. “She has come to give up the ghosts and drive them away.” She’s awaiting the box’s owner, an Italian photographer she hasn’t seen in decades. “It has taken so long to get here,” Mengiste writes. “It has taken almost forty years of another life to begin to remember who she had once been.”

“Mengiste has a real gift for language; her writing is powerful but never florid, gripping the reader and refusing to let go,” NPR enthused. “And this, combined with her excellent sense of pacing, makes the book one of the most beautiful novels of the year.”

Below are links to the reviews:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/26/books/review/maaza-mengiste-the-shadow-king.html

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/25/763907282/the-shadow-king-is-a-gorgeous-meditation-on-memory-war-and-violence

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fiction-review-theforgottenwomenwarriors-of-abyssinia-11568990238


IF YOU GO:

Book Talk with Maaza Mengiste and Uzodinma Iweala: The Shadow King
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 at 7:30pm
The Africa Center (1280 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029)
https://www.theafricacenter.org/event-shadow-king

Maaza Mengiste: The Shadow King (w/ Kate Tuttle)
Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 at 7:30pm
Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway at 12th Street, New York, NY 10003
https://www.strandbooks.com/event/the-shadow-king

You can learn more about ‘The Shadow King’ and order your copy at amazon.com.

Related:
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste


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Awol Erizku: Ethiopian American Among New Generation of Fashion Photographers

​Awol Erizku. (photo by Jeff Vespa via moca.org)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 25th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American Photographer Awol Erizku is one of 15 international artists featured in the upcoming U.S. exhibition titled The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion.

The show, which is set to open at Aperture Foundation Gallery in New York City next month, is based on a new book of the same name highlighting a new generation of artists who are redefining the way the African Diaspora is portrayed through photography. It “presents fifteen artists, whose vibrant portraits and conceptual images fuse the genres of art and fashion photography in ways that break down long-established boundaries,” the Aperture Foundation announced. “Their work has been widely consumed in traditional lifestyle magazines, ad campaigns, and museums, as well as on their individual social-media channels, reinfusing the contemporary visual vocabulary around beauty and the body with new vitality and substance.”

Awol who was born in Ethiopia and grew up in New York City, is a graduate of The Cooper Union and Yale University. Last year Forbes Magazine featured Erizku on their list of up-and-coming young artists noting that “he produced one of his best-known pieces while he was an undergrad at Cooper-Union: “Girl With a Bamboo Earring,” a photo of his sister that recalls the classic portrait by Vermeer. Based in Los Angeles, he’s had solo shows in New York, London, Brussels, L.A. and Miami and his films and photos have screened at MoMA in New York.”

An article published in The Guardian this week previewing the upcoming show, recalls that “when Ethiopian-American photographer Awol Erizku shot Beyoncé displaying her pregnant belly in front of a wall of flowers in 2017, the set of Botticelli-like images were released solely on her Instagram account, circumventing traditional media altogether. The maternity announcement became the most liked image on the site that year.” In The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion Erizku describes his work as “trying to create a new vernacular, black art as universal.”

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/sep/21/beyonce-vogue-indie-magazines-new-generation-black-fashion-photographers


If you Go:

The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, Curated by Antwaun Sargent
October 24, 2019 – January 18, 2020. More info at aperture.org.

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In Oklahoma, Ethiopian Woman Receives OU’s International Water Prize

OU Interim Vice President Jane Irungu, left, presents the hand-blown glass trophy in the shape of a water droplet with a world map overlaid to Martha Gebeyehu, the 2019 International Water Prize winner. The World Health Organization estimates 800 million people do not have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people lack adequate sanitation. (The Transcript)

The Transcript

An Ethiopian woman who helps coordinate government workers and private, self-help groups to promote clean water and sanitation formally received the 2019 University of Oklahoma International Water Prize at a banquet Tuesday evening.

Martha Gebeyehu received the $25,000 cash prize and hand-blown glass trophy shaped like a water droplet at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the end of the OU WaTER Center’s two-day conference.

Gebeyehu, who was chosen the winner by five jurors in 2018, said much of her country does not have access to adequate drinking water. Ninety four percent of the population drinks untreated water and nearly that many do not have access to basic sanitation.

Read more »


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Spotlight: New American Festival in NYC

Marcus Samuelsson is one of the featured speakers at the New American Festival in New York City this weekend highlighting "immigrant contributions to American comedy, art, food, film, fashion and music." (Photo: Marcus Samuelsson)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 14th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Among the headliners at this weekend’s inaugural New American Festival in New York City includes the award winning chef, author and restauranteur Marcus Samuelsson. Organized by the bipartisan research and advocacy organization New American Economy ((NAE), the Festival celebrates “immigrant contributions to American comedy, art, food, film, fashion and music.”

NAE’s press release notes that a “recent analysis of the 2017 American Community Survey” shows that “more than 400,000 immigrants are working in creative or artistic occupations, helping support the nearly $1 trillion creative industry sector in the United States.”

As Time Out New York points out: “New York City is the most culturally diverse city in the world, when people say that America is a melting pot they are talking about our fair city. The New American Festival was put together to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy that immigrants bring to our culture. Over the span of two days an extensive lineup of panels, performances and art exhibitions will showcase the importance of immigrants to our society.”

In addition to Marcus the program includes author Min Jin Lee (Pachinko, Free Food for Millionaires); Author, Broadcaster and Chef Yasmin Khan; Big Friendship Co-Author and Call Your Girlfriend Podcaster Aminatou Sow. The announcement notes that Comedy Central is the official partner for the festival’s comedy programming. NAE added: “This festival highlights how so much of American culture is shaped by immigrants, and how diversity has electrified creativity in America — giving the country its cultural breadth, dynamism, and vitality.

The festival is taking place at NeueHouse (Madison Square – 110 East 25th Street) in NYC on September 14th and 15th. NAE plans to take the New American Festival to other U.S. cities in the future including to “Anchorage, Boston, Kansas City, Nashville, Houston, and Oakland, among others.”


If You Go:
Learn more and buy tickets at www.newamericanfestival.com.

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Ethiopia at 2019 World Championships

A team of 37 athletes will represent Ethiopia at this year's IAAF World Athletics Championships, which will be held in Doha, Qatar from September 27th – October 6th, 2019. (Photo: Yomif Kejelcha in action at the IAAF World Championships/Getty Images)

IAAF

Two defending champions and a newly crowned Diamond League champion feature on Ethiopia’s team for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, which will be held from 27 September until 6 October.

Muktar Edris will defend his 5000m title while Almaz Ayana will aim to retain her 10,000m title. Getnet Wale, winner of the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, also features on the team.

World leaders Samuel Tefera, Selemon Barega, Telahun Haile, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Letesenbet Gidey have also been selected, so too have world record-holders Yomif Kejelcha and Genzebe Dibaba.

ETHIOPIAN TEAM FOR DOHA (INCLUDING RESERVES)

MEN
1500m: Teddese Lemi, Samuel Tefera
5000m: Selemon Barega, Muktar Edris, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Abadi Hadis, Telahun Haile
10,000m: Selemon Barega, Andamlak Belihu, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Yomif Kejelcha
3000m steeplechase: Chala Beyo, Lemecha Girma, Takele Nigate, Getnet Wale
Marathon: Lelisa Desisa, Mosinet Geremew, Shura Kitata, Mule Wasihun

WOMEN
800m: Gudaf Tsegay, Diribe Welteji
1500m: Genzebe Dibaba, Axumawit Embaye, Lemlem Hailu, Gudaf Tsegay
5000m: Hawi Feysa, Tsehay Gemechu, Letesenbet Gidey, Fantu Worku
10,000m: Almaz Ayana, Tsehay Gemechu, Letesenbet Gidey, Netsanet Gudeta, Senbere Teferi
3000m steeplechase: Mekides Abebe, Agrie Belachew, Lomi Tefera, Zerfe Wondemagegn
Marathon: Ruti Aga, Shure Demise, Roza Dereje
20km race walk: Yehualye Beletew


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Spotlight: Meskel Festival in New Jersey

Ethiopia's Meskel Festival is listed by UNESCO as one the world's "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity." (Photo: Flickr)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 10th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Members of the Ethiopian community in New York and New Jersey are preparing this month for what is expected to be the largest ever Meskel (Demera) festival in the area.

According to the announcement, the event that is set to take place on Saturday, September 28th at Bisrate Gebriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Newark will mark the first time that all the Ethiopian churches in and around the two states are gathering to celebrate the holiday together.

The day-long colorful festival, which culminates with the lighting of a bonfire (Demera) before sunset commemorates the discovery of the True Cross by Empress Helena (Eleni) in the fourth century. As the BBC noted in its coverage of Meskel celebrations in Ethiopia last year, “It was in Jerusalem, the story goes, that St Helena was advised to light a fire that would show her where to look. The smoke from that fire pointed to the place where the cross was buried. St Helena is then said to have given pieces of the cross to all the churches, and the Ethiopian Church still claims to have its own piece.”

“This historical event is of great interest, not only for the Ethiopian church, but also for all Christians throughout the world,” said Melakegenet Gezahegn Kristos, General Manager of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Archdiocese of New York in a letter announcing the upcoming festival in New Jersey. “Meskel is one of the holiday festivals recorded in UNESCO and has been declared as one of the intangible heritages of humanity.”

The church program begins in the morning at 8am and will continue with Demera (procession of bonfire) in the afternoon at 3pm.


If You Go:
Meskel celebration
Saturday September 28th, 2019
From 8AM to 6PM
Bisrate Gebrieal E.O.T.C
1046 S. Orange Ave
Newark, NJ 07106
For info: 571-310-7645

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Behailu Wase: Ethiopia’s Cafe Society

Exploring the making of a political satire show offers insight into the growing pains of Ethiopia's new democracy. (Aljazeera)

Aljazeera

Filmmaker: Brian Tilley

In a compound on the edge of Addis Ababa – next to a cluster of houses and a busy primary school – is a large corrugated iron shack.

Inside is a cafe. Not an ordinary cafe, but the set of Ethiopia’s first political satire show to be broadcast on state television – Min Litazez, which translates to “How may I serve you?”.

“This is our mini Ethiopia,” says creator and director Behailu Wase, who grew up in the same compound from where he now airs his popular show. “A lot of ideas are discussed here.”

In the three seasons it has been on air, Min Litazez has built an enthusiastic and loyal audience among a population starved for political commentary and a new kind of comedy after almost 27 years of dictatorship during which such things would have been unthinkable.

We’re not just trying to make people laugh, but raise awareness because we want to create a better country.

But after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, he instituted a number of political and economic reforms, including loosening restrictions on the media and freedom of speech.

The sitcom-satire is set in a cafe, meant to be a metaphor of the country as a whole. In each episode, the cafe owner’s life tries to mirror and reflect the challenges faced by the country’s new leadership.

Past episodes have dealt with issues like government inefficiency, ethnic nationalism and authoritarianism – despite attempts to censor some of the content and, at times, even temporary suspension of the show itself.

“We’re not just trying to make people laugh, but raise awareness because we want to create a better country,” Behailu says.

Read more »


Related:

Watch: Meaza Ashenafi on Restoring Public Trust in Ethiopia’s Justice System

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At Settepani in Harlem, A New Year Celebration with a Purpose

The Medhen Social Center in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of the Medhen Orphan Relief Effort (M.O.R.E.)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian New Year is fast approaching next week and among the various celebrations taking place here in New York and in the larger Diaspora community across the U.S. includes a timely fundraiser at Settepani in Harlem on September 11th to support the Medhen Orphan Relief Effort. The organization, which is known by its acronym M.O.R.E., is a U.S.-based non-profit at the forefront of battling the orphan crisis in Ethiopia.

According to UNICEF there are over 4 million children in Ethiopia under the age of 18 that are growing into adulthood without a parent, making the country home to one of the largest orphan populations in the world. As the International Journal of Management and Social Sciences Research pointed out in a 2014 study “reliable statistics are difficult to find” and “even the sources often list only estimates, and street children are rarely included.”

On its website M.O.R.E. states that the organization is “the primary sponsor of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Orphans and Vulnerable Youth (OVY) Programs administered by the Medhen Social Center, just outside the Addis Ababa city center. Under the vision and stewardship of Sister Senkenesh, and with M.O.R.E. underwriting the costs, these programs deliver a vast array of essential health, nutritional, and educational related services to those most in need.”

The New Year fundraiser on Wednesday, September 11th is hosted by the owner of Settepani, Leah Abraham, who is an Executive Board member of M.O.R.E. along with Board members Yodit Amaha and Jennifer Baxter.

Organizers share that the event includes live Ethiopian music, an art show and Ethiopia-inspired hors d’oeuvres.


If You Go:
Wednesday, September 11th, 2019
6:00 to 9:00 PM
Settepani
196 LENOX AVENUE,NY, 10026,
$50 per person, $25 for students
www.morechildren.org

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Preview: Ethiopia Day Festival in Texas

Thousands are expected to attend the annual Ethiopian Cultural Festival, also called Ethiopia Day. It’s organized by the Mutual Assistance Association for Ethiopian Community (MAAEC). The North Texas Ethiopian community has grown to around 40,000 people. - KERA News. (Photo: MAAEC)

KERA News

Ethiopian New Year is next week, and the Ethiopian community in North Texas will start celebrating this weekend at a festival in Garland.

Thousands are expected to attend the annual Ethiopian Cultural Festival, also called Ethiopia Day. It’s organized by the Mutual Assistance Association for Ethiopian Community (MAAEC).

The events feature singers from Ethiopia, traditional food and a coffee ceremony — Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of the coffee plant.

The North Texas Ethiopian community has grown to around 40,000 people. And with that, Ethiopians have created spaces for themselves, like restaurants, grocery stores and churches, and this weekend’s festival.

The festival is happening from 2 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, and from 2 p.m. Sunday to 12 a.m. Monday at the Genesis Event Center in Garland.

Read more and listen to the story at keranews.org »


Related:

At Settepani in Harlem, A New Year Celebration with a Purpose

For Ethiopian New Year, World Music Institute Features Legendary Artist Girma Bèyènè

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For Ethiopian New Year, World Music Institute Features Girma Bèyènè

World Music Institute (WMI) celebrates Ethiopian New Year with a documentary screening of Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul on September 11th at the National Jazz Museum, and an NYC debut show by legendary artist Girma Bèyènè and Akalé Wubé on September 12, 2019 at (Le) Poisson Rouge. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In celebration of Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year) this month the World Music Institute (WMI) in New York City is hosting a special concert on September 12th featuring the NYC debut of legendary artist Girma Bèyènè and French band Akalé Wubé at (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan). Girma is also featured in the documentary film Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul, which will be screened at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem on September 11th.

“Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul is a film about the rise, fall and redemption of a group of spectacular Ethiopian jazz musicians who in the swinging 60’s ignited an explosive cultural revolution in Addis Ababa (“Swinging Addis”),” the announcement notes. “Their music was sublime but this golden era was brought to an end by the military regime that took over the country and forced the musicians into exile and jail. Now, after many years, they are back on a world stage, making up for lost time and still swinging.”

Girma Bèyènè’s show on September 12th accompanied by the french band Akalé Wubé, is a segment of WMI’s Masters of African Music series.

“Born in Addis Ababa, Girma Bèyènè is a composer, arranger, performer, bandleader, and a true legend of Ethiopian music,” WMI shared in the press release. “A contemporary of fellow musicians Mulatu Astatke, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Hailu Mergia, Girma is credited for arranging over 60 tracks in the 1960s and 70s in “Swinging Addis” during the Golden Era of Ethiopian music.”

WMI noted that Girma Bèyènè’s collaboration with Akalé Wubé also resulted in “the critically-acclaimed album Ethiopiques 30: Mistakes on Purpose,” which was Girma’s “first recording in 25 years.” This album was produced by Francis Falceto, who is known for creating the timeless Ethiopique album series.


If You Go
World Music Institute Presents:
Girma Bèyènè and Akalé Wubé – Celebrating Ethiopian New Year’s Day
Thursday September 12th, 2019
7:30PM
Doors Open: 6:30PM
Show Time: 7:30PM
Event Ticket: $40 / $30 / $25
Day of Show: $35
Click here to buy tickets

Screening of Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
National Jazz Museum in Harlem
58 W 129th St, Manhattan
(212) 348-8300
Click here to buy tickets

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Watch: Meaza Ashenafi on Restoring Public Trust in Ethiopia’s Justice System

In the following video Aljazeera follows Ethiopia's chief justice Meaza Ashenafi "as she meets judges and government officials to discuss current cases and reform efforts, visits some of Ethiopia's infamous prisons, and shares her dreams and aspirations for the future of her homeland." (Aljazeera)

Aljazeera

Meaza Ashenafi: Judging Ethiopia’s Future

Meaza Ashenafi, Ethiopia’s first female president of the Federal Supreme Court, is determined to restore public trust in her country’s justice system.

Appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in November 2018, the chief justice is tasked to reform her country’s entire judicial system.

“I always believed that promoting justice is my duty … I decided to take up this position to restore public trust in the judiciary,” Meaza says. “I knew it’s going to be a difficult assignment. There is a lot of expectation from the judiciary. The history of the judiciary [in Ethiopia] … has not been beautiful and people expect this to be corrected and they want that change not tomorrow, they want it today.”

Read more »


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Dashen, Only Ethiopian Restaurant in Central NJ, Holds Grand Reopening

Dashen Ethiopian restaurant in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The family owned restaurant is operated by husband and wife team Tsigereda Lemlemayehu and Alemayehu Hailu. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Dashen Ethiopian Cuisine, which is located in New Brunswick, has been highlighted as one of the “10 hotest restaurants” in New Jersey by NJ.com. It is also the only Ethiopian restaurant in Central New Jersey since the closing of Makeda (the state’s first Ethiopian restaurant) a few years back.

“The void of Ethiopian cuisine in New Brunswick was deliciously filled by Dashen,” NJ.com had noted in a feature published soon after the eatery opened four years ago. Located on Albany Street the restaurant had originally opened under the name Desta. Now re-named as Dashen it is set to hold a grand re-opening this weekend (Saturday, August 24th) to inaugurate its newly expanded space.

The family owned restaurant is operated by husband and wife team Tsigereda Lemlemayehu and Alemayehu Hailu who are long-time residents of Central Jersey and are best known for their homemade injera favored by local Ethiopians.

Below are a few photos of the restaurant:


If You Go:
Dashen’s Grand re-opening in New Brunswick, New Jersey
Saturday, August 24th, 2019
88 Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone number (732) 249-0494
www.dashenethiopiannj.com

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Spotlight: Dinaw Mengestu’s Novel on Obama’s 2019 Summer Reading List

President Barack Obama's 2019 summer reading list includes the novel "How to Read the Air” by Ethiopian-American author Dinaw Mengestu. (Photo: President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shop for books at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C./by Pete Souza)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: August 21st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This year President Barack Obama is spending part of his summer holiday reading Dinaw Mengestu’s novel How to Read the Air.

In a recent instagram post the former U.S. President shared his current reading list.

“It’s August, so I wanted to let you know about a few books I’ve been reading this summer,” wrote Obama recommending the collected works of Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison along with 10 other selections, one of which was the book entitled “How to Read the Air” by Ethiopian-American author and 2012 MacArthur Fellowship recipient Dinaw Mengestu.

“How to Read the Air” is Dinaw’s second novel published in 2010 featuring an Ethiopian American narrator, Jonas Woldemariam, as he reflects on both his own marriage as well as his parents’ immigration journey from Ethiopia to the U.S. and how they subsequently built to their lives in a new land.

Dinaw’s first novel entitled “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears” was selected earlier this year by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs as part of their 2019 NEA Big Reads Program, which was likewise focused on an Ethiopian immigrant struggling to find his place in Washington D.C. while experiencing the gentrification of a neighborhood he called home.

Read more about Obama’s summer reading list and Dinaw Mengestu’s novels below:

https://time.com/5652277/barack-obama-2019-summer-reading-list/


Related:

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2010/10/28/dinaw-mengestu/

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Helen Show Hosts 3rd Annual Empower the Community Event at DC Convention Center

Empower the Community is hosted by the Helen Show and will take place this weekend on Saturday, August 10th in DC

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 8th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Now in its third year, the annual Empower the Community event hosted by the Helen Show will take place this weekend on Saturday, August 10th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. and includes civic leader speakers Rep. Ilan Omar from the U.S. House of Representatives; Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of AFL/CIO; and Tebabu Assefa, Co-Founder of the Annual Ethiopian Festivals.

Bringing together leaders from various sectors including business & finace, health & wellness, and education the annual Empower the Community was launched in 2017 by the producers of the Helen Show as a day-long program that includes panel discussions, entertainment, information on community resources as well as family-friendly events.

As a lifestyle show in its 16th seaon, Helen Show is a top-rated program on ebs tv reaching over 30 million viewers weekly in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian diaspora around the world. The show addresses a wide range of topics from business and health to family and self-help issues.

Below is a summary of the program for August 10th at the DC Convention Center.

POWER PANEL DISCUSSIONS
 
The Power of Civic Engagement:
Representative Ilhan Omar
Tefere Gebere, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO
Tebabu Assefa, Community Leader, Social Entrepreneur

Business Leaders Panel:
Josh Ghaim, Ph.D. is the Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies.
Liben Hailu is the Chief Innovation Officer and Head of New Business Development and Brand Licensing for The Duracell Company
Ambaw Bellet, President, Photocure Inc
Lydia Gobena, Partner Fross Zelnick
 
Creative Panel:
Gelila Bekele, Model, Social Activist and Documentary Film Maker
Kelela Mizanekristos, Singer, Song Writer

Young Trailblazers:
Melat Bekele, Founder Habesha Networks
Dan Gebremedhin, Partner at Flare Capital Partners
Matheos Mesfin, Executive Director IEA Councils
Bofta Yimam , Emmy Award Winning Journalist & Motivational Speaker
 
 
PAVILION INFORMATION
 
Health & Fitness Pavilion:
Free Health Screenings provided by Kaiser Permanente,  Med Star Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles Dental – BMI, Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, Dental Screening, Fitness Consultants, Marshal Arts, Yoga, Resources for Families with Special Needs, Giveaways and much more. Our partner organizations and sponsors are Kaiser Permanente, Ethiopian American Nurses Association, Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles as well as Ethiopian American doctors.

Career Pavilion:
Job Fair
Career Resources in the Community
Hear high energy career motivational speakers
Learn Career Advancement tips
Participate in Informational Interviews
Receive mini career coaching
Assess your career aptitudes
Partner Organizations: 21st Century Community, Five Guys, Alexandria Workforce Development and American Job Center
 
Finance Pavilion:
Workshop for Small Businesses and Personal Finance

Kids’ Corner:
Reading Time/Games/Fun Exercises/ Art

ADDITIONAL SESSIONS

* Immigration and Legal Issues with Attorneys
* Warrior Moms- Special Needs Parenting
* Minding Your Relationships
* Beauty – Trends in Hair & Make Up 

Vendors will also be selling various artisan merchandise

EBS TV is the premiere media sponsor of the event

event-image


If You Go:
Saturday August 10th, 2018
11am – 8pm
Walter E Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW
Washington DC 20001
www.empowercw.com

Tickets can be purchased here

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Ethiopian Taye Gonfa Becomes Doctor in Greensboro After Decade as Refugee

With a stipend of $50 a month as a volunteer at an infirmary in a refugee camp Taye Gonfa spent a decade chasing his dream to become a doctor. (Photo credit: Khadejeh Nikouyeh -AP)

The Herald

By Nancy McLaughlin (Greensboro News & Record)

As a young boy, Taye Gonfa wanted to fly the planes that he often spotted above the family’s hut in Ethiopia.His aspirations were only as far as he could see, which was a world otherwise steeped in poverty. But there was his mom — unschooled and very pregnant with him when her husband drowned in a flooded river trying to get home from work — wanting so much more for him. She would be the first of many whose guidance would eventually lead him down the sterile hallways of Moses Cone Hospital — with “Dr. Taye Gonfa” on his badge.


He’s been very fortunate to have some doors open up for him,” said Dr. Bill Hensel, who was on the selection committee that offered Gonfa a residency at the hospital. “But don’t underestimate the fact that he has made his own luck and run through those doors.”

Gonfa, who arrived in the United States a decade ago and turns 38 this year, hopes he is leaving footprints for his two children and other refugees, especially, to follow. “I got to this point,” he said, “because I did not stop chasing my dream.”

The first time Gonfa would be on one of those planes he had seen as a boy was the flight to New York and then Greensboro as part of the United Nations refugee resettlement program.

The journey getting there began in high school, when he saw classmates signing up for one of the 60 competitive spots for medical school. As in some other foreign countries, medical school is a seven-year track starting in high school.

“I figured, ‘Why not?’” said the quick-witted and affable Gonfa, who speaks English with African and British influences. In 2000, during his second year in the program, he joined hundreds of other students in a massive protest against the government that erupted in the capital city of Addis Ababa, and spread throughout the country.

“The next day,” he said, “I went to my college library and tore the Ethiopian and Kenyan maps out of the world atlas.”Gonfa and some of the other students used them to flee to nearby Kenya where the rebels had settled.

Soon after crossing the border, he was arrested, turned over to a United Nations official and taken to a refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. In the camp, where Gonfa would be confined for the next eight years, he had shelter — and a ration of grain. “There was never enough food,” he said.

One day while taking a friend to the camp’s infirmary, he mentioned to the physician on duty from Doctors Without Borders about having started his second year in medical school before joining the rebellion. As the two continued to talk, the doctor suggested he apply as a volunteer in the infirmary, which came with a stipend of $50 a month.

“That was huge,” Gonfa recalled.

Gonfa was a marvel in the infirmary where most of the medical support staff had elementary or middle school education at best. Soon, he was delivering babies.

“You watch what the doctors do and then you do it,” Gonfa explained. He was just 19.

You can read more about Taye Gonfa’s journey in The Herald article here.


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Spotlight: Maaza Mengiste’s New Novel

Maaza Mengiste at BookExpo in New York City, May 2019. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 23rd, 2019

Spotlight: Maaza Mengiste’s New Novel ‘The Shadow King’

New York (TADIAS) — One of our favorite Ethiopian American writers, Maaza Mengiste, is set to release her latest novel, The Shadow King, in September 2019.

Maaza, who is also the author of the award-winning book Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, “again brings heart and authenticity to a slice of Ethiopian history, this time focusing on the Italian invasion of her birth country in 1935,” notes Publishers Weekly in a recent great review of The Shadow King.

“While Hirut, a servant girl, and her trajectory to becoming a fierce soldier defending her country are the nexus of the story, the author elucidates the landscape of war by focusing on individuals — offering the viewpoints (among others) of Carlo Fucelli, a sadistic colonel in Mussolini’s army; Ettore Navarra, a Jewish Venetian photographer/soldier tasked with documenting war atrocities; and Haile Selassie, the emperor bearing the weight of his country’s devastation at the hand of the Italians.”

The review adds: “In Hirut, Mengiste depicts both a servant girl’s low status and the ferocity of her spirit — inspired by the author’s great-grandmother who sued her father for his gun so she could enlist in the Ethiopian army — which allows her to survive betrayal by the married couple she serves and her eventual imprisonment by Fucelli, captured with horrifying detail by Navarra’s camera. Mengiste breaks new ground in this evocative, mesmerizing account of the role of women during wartime—not just as caregivers, but as bold warriors defending their country.”

Maaza, who is currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at Princeton University, will hold a book talk and signing event here in her hometown of New York City at Strand bookstore on October 3rd.

“In this extraordinary, beautifully told epic, Hirut overcomes rape, violence, and imprisonment, finding the strength to fight for her country’s freedom and her own,” the Strand announcement states. “Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a searing story of ordinary women and the advanced army they courageously opposed. Set against the first real conflict of World War II, The Shadow King is a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.”

The idea for Maaza’s new novel morphed out of her trip to Italy as a Fulbright Fellow where she was able to research documents focusing on the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

“Working with these documents that had been kept through Mussolini’s era, I quickly realized I was reading a history that had been approved by censors,” Maaza recalls. “And all of these things—the newspaper accounts, the photographs that were taken—were part of a propaganda machine.”

As Publishers Weekly noted in a previous highlight:

“Mengiste started combing through journals, letters, and photo albums at flea markets to find personal photographs taken by soldiers and other records of the past not approved by officials. She found a photograph of an Ethiopian woman with a rifle. “I’d heard of these women,” Mengiste says, “but it wasn’t part of my consciousness. I started looking through old newspapers, and I suddenly found a line in an article about an Ethiopian woman who picked up her husband’s gun during battle and led his army. That inspired Mengiste to write about women’s role during wartime against the backdrop of the hardships faced in Ethiopia during WWII. “I want to reshift the masculine perspective on war,” she says, “so that we can begin to reframe women at the center of world history. After Mengiste started writing the novel, she mentioned her discoveries to her mother. “My mother said, ‘Don’t you know about your great-grandmother?’ It turns out that as a young girl, my great-grandmother, who was wed to a man much older than her — she was much too young to be married — sued her father for his rifle so she could go off to war, as opposed to her husband whom she didn’t know very well and didn’t like.” So coincidentally, the very sort of woman who inspired her novel was actually part of her own heritage.

Maaza’s first novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze was chosen as one of 10 best contemporary African books by The Guardian, and her writing has been featured in several publications including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New Times, Granta and Guernica. In 2018 Maaza won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and was a former Fulbright Fellow. She received the Puterbaugh Fellowship in 2013 and was also nominated as a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2011. As a writer Maaza worked on the documentary features Girl Rising and The Invisible City: Kakuma. Maaza currently serves as a Board member for the non-profit organizations Words Without Borders and Warscapes.


‘The Shadow King’ will be released on September 24th, 2019. You can learn more and order your copy at amazon.com.

Related:
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste

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Olympian Derartu Tulu Joins the Bikila Barefoot Challenge in Toronto

The annual Bikila Barefoot Challenge hosted by the Bikila Award organization in Toronto, Canada is held in support of the establishment of an Ethiopian Studies Program at the University of Toronto.

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 25th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The annual Bikila Barefoot Challenge is set to take place at the University of Toronto in Canada this coming weekend.

Organizers share that the honorary guest is no other than the celebrated long-distance athlete Derartu Tulu, whom like her male counterpart the legendary marathoner Abebe Bikila, is the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

Derartu Tulu who is currently visiting the U.S. also took part in the 1st Annual Grand African Run in DC on Sunday.

The annual Bikila Barefoot Challenge hosted by the Bikila Award organization in Toronto, Canada is held in support of the establishment of an Ethiopian Studies Program at the University of Toronto.


If You Go:
Bikila Barefoot Challenge and Family Fun Event at Varsity Stadium (U of T), 299 Bloor Street West (Bloor and St. George) (Map), Saturday, July 27, 2019, starts at 3:00pm.

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UPDATE: Dozens killed in Sidama Clashes

Reports from activists and opposition groups cite a higher death toll with fatalities as high as 60, but the local acting security head, Andinet Ashenafi, warns against what he called exaggerated numbers, reports the BBC's Kalkidan Yibeltal from Addis Ababa. (BBC)

BBC

Updated: July 22nd, 2019

At least 25 people have died in clashes between Ethiopian security forces and activists in southern Ethiopia, hospital officials have told the BBC.

The officials said security forces fired bullets during the protests across the Sidama region.

Activists from the Sidama ethnic group were set to declare their own federal state on Thursday.

They accused the government of failing to hold a promised referendum on the issue.

The Sidama are Ethiopia’s fifth biggest ethnic group, making up 4% of the population and are mainly based in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state.

The four bigger communities all have their own regions within Ethiopia’s ethnically based federal system.

Reports from activists and opposition groups cite a higher death toll with fatalities as high as 60, but the local acting security head, Andinet Ashenafi, warns against what he called exaggerated numbers, reports the BBC’s Kalkidan Yibeltal from Addis Ababa.

Mr Andinet confirmed to the BBC that four people had been killed in the city of Awassa and 26 others sustained wounds.

Members of other ethnic groups were also killed after being attacked by angry mobs.

Local media reported that protesters had attacked a tourist lodge, leading to 12 tourists being escorted out by troops.

The internet has been blocked in parts of the south of the country since Thursday, including the main city of Awassa.

Read more »


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FAA Has No Timeline for 737 Max Return

The attempt to adapt the software on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been identified as a factor in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, has been slower than was initially predicted. (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

FAA Has No Timeline for Lifting Grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max

U.S. aviation regulators have no timeline for returning Boeing Co.’s grounded 737 Max to service and won’t act until they are sure it is safe, the nation’s top transportation official said Thursday.

The Federal Aviation Administration has to be assured that a fix being developed by Boeing in the wake of two fatal crashes will prevent any future accidents, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a speech in Washington.

“The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when it is deemed safe to do so,” Chao said. “That is the bottom line: There is no timeline.”

Chao was speaking before the Air Line Pilots Association’s Air Safety Forum. ALPA is the largest pilot’s union in North America.

Boeing is altering software on the plane that had malfunctioned in both accidents, pushing each plane’s nose down without pilot input. The crews weren’t able to counter the plane and they lost control…

The attempt to adapt the software on the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been identified as a factor in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, has been slower than was initially predicted.

Read more »


Related:
737 MAX fallout continues as some Ethiopia crash victims refuse to settle
Ethiopian Voted Best Airline in Africa
Boeing’s Mea Culpa Wins Over Ethiopian Airlines
Boeing CEO Calls Handling of 737 Max Crashes a ‘Mistake,’ Vows Improvements (USA Today)
In U.S. Fellowship Being Created in Name of Victim of Ethiopia Crash (AP)
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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Hagos Gebrhiwet and Letesenbet Gidey Take 10000m Titles at Ethiopian Trials in Hengelo, Netherlands

Hagos Gebrhiwet celebrates his victory in Hengelo, Netherlands on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 during the official Ethiopian trial races for the IAAF World Athletics Championships. (Photo: Jean-Pierre Durand)

IAAF

HENGELO, NETHERLANDS

Twelve days after his lap-counting error in the 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Hagos Gebrhiwet made no mistakes in Hengelo on Wednesday (17), winning the men’s 10,000m in a world-leading 26:48.95.

The races doubled as the official Ethiopian trial races for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. And, based on tonight’s results, Ethiopia will field two strong trios for the men’s and women’s 10,000m in Doha.

In a race of staggering quality – the best ever in terms of depth for one nation – the top six men finished inside 27 minutes with the first three finishing inside 26:50.

The women’s 10,000m, won by Letesenbet Gidey, was of a similarly high standard with the first 10 women – nine of whom are from Ethiopia – finishing inside 31:00.

On a still night with temperatures around 19C, the men’s race set off at a steady pace with the first 2000m covered in 5:25 and 3000m reached in 8:07. The large lead pack of about 14 men was strung out but all appeared to be running comfortably.

After passing through half way in 13:31 – just outside 27-minute pace for the full distance – Kenya’s Vincent Kiprotich Kibet moved into the lead, tracked by Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu, Guye Adola and Abadi Hadis.

Belihu and Kiprotich were still at the front through 6000m while Yomif Kejelcha was positioned near the back of the lead pack. Hadis then took a turn at the front and, followed by Jemal Yimer Mekonnen, pushed the pace.

Eight men remained in the leading pack with 2000m remaining as Hadis still led while Kejelcha was still ominously biding his time. Selemon Barega and Gebrhiwet moved closer to Hadis with three laps to go, then Belihu hit the front of the pack – now down to six men – with 800 metres remaining.

Read more »


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Meet the ‘Squad’: The 4 Female U.S. Lawmakers Shaking Up Old Politics in DC

They were elected to Congress last November with a promise to shake up old politics in Washington, DC. This week they garnered international press attention for doing just that when they rattled the White House with their own unabashed social stand and world view. Below is a Boston Globe profile of the freshman American lawmakers who are pushing back against Trump's ethnocentric politics. (Photo Clockwise from top left: Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. Photos from the Associated Press/Getty Images)

Boston Globe

Meet the ‘Squad’: Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib

So who exactly are the four trailblazers that comprise the “Squad”?

Pressley posted a photo in November, shortly after her election to the House, of herself, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar at the orientation for new members of Congress.

The four represent among the most progressive districts in the House, according to the Cook Political Report and that profile appeared to be part of the basis for Trump’s weekend attacks, where he referred to them as “ ‘Progressive’ Democratic Congresswomen.”

Pressley replied Monday by saying “our squad is big.”

Here’s a brief refresher on the four Democratic woman challenging the president and facing his ire.

Read more »


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Medical Education and the Ethiopian Exodus of Talent — Inside Higher Ed

This is the second essay on government policy in Ethiopia directed at developing and retaining talent. Last week's post addressed the challenge of improving research productivity. (Photo: St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa/Facebook)

Inside Higher Ed

By Wondwosen Tamrat

A 2012 study at Addis Ababa University showed that around 53 percent of medical students hoped to emigrate upon graduating, particularly to the United States and Europe.

This is the second essay on government policy in Ethiopia directed at developing and retaining talent. Last week’s post addressed the challenge of improving research productivity.

On May 3rd 2019, the Prime Minister (PM) of Ethiopia held a meeting with 3 thousand health professionals from all over the country to discuss the state of health services and the challenges health workers are facing. Although the Prime Minister declared that the meeting was “key for policymaking” the health professionals appeared to be unsatisfied with the way he addressed their predicament. In spite of the concessions and the many promises made, a wave of strikes continued across the whole country.

While the solution to this particular turmoil might be the immediate concern of the government, there is general recognition that the sector’s challenges extend far beyond the current standoff and need structural and systemic changes. The government vows to make additional efforts and changes with the involvement of relevant stakeholders at national and regional levels. One challenge that needs to be addressed is the migration of health professionals, especially physicians, a tendency that has seen little change over the years.

Healthcare and medical education in Ethiopia

At a global level Sub-Saharan Africa is known for the lowest density of healthcare workers. According to the World Health Organization, Ethiopia has a health workforce ratio of 0.7 against the recommended ratio of 2.3 per 1000 population that is considered to be imperative for health coverage and making meaningful health interventions. Ethiopia’s physician-to-population ratio of 1: 21,000 is also regarded as one of the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 1994 the government’s health development programs have had important impact on the sector’s growth. According to the Ministry of Health (2016) there has been a significant increase in health posts, health centers, hospitals and personnel including officers, nurses, midwives and health extension workers. The number of schools and colleges providing health education training has increased; the graduation output of public and private schools including higher education institutions has also grown more than 16-fold since 1999/2000. According to the Ministry of Education (2018) there are currently more than 80,000 undergraduate students who pursue studies in medicine and health sciences both in public and private higher education institutions.

Despite the efforts towards improving the healthcare system that have produced quantitative gains, many challenges remain. The system is still deficient in infrastructure and resources, quality of education, internal quality assurance systems, performance assessment and retention, skill distribution, regional disparities that result in poor motivation to work in rural areas, little inclination to specialize in disciplines where there are skill shortages and more.

In order to respond to these multi-faceted challenges, the Ministry of Health has devised several strategies including its popular “flood and retain initiative” designed to bring meaningful change to the number of available health workers at all levels. While some improvements have resulted through such interventions, it has not been possible to solve the various challenges of the sector in a fundamental way, including the migration of physicians who continue to leave the public sector and Ethiopia for greener pastures inside the country and elsewhere.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Israeli Musicians Use Stage to Promote Struggles

Ethiopian Israeli musician Yael Mentesnot gives an interview to The Associated Press, in her house in Tel Aviv, Israel on Sunday, July 7, 2019. A wave of Ethiopian Israeli artists have burst onto Israel's vibrant hip-hop scene, using the stage to promote their community's struggle against discrimination and police violence. (AP)

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — In his song “Handcuffed,” rapper Teddy Neguse addresses police brutality against young Israeli men of Ethiopian descent.

Although the song came out in 2017, it has reached new heights in the wake of street protests across the country following the killing of an Ethiopian Israeli teen by an off-duty police officer last month. This week the 23-year-old artist was invited to perform his song live on the popular news website Ynet.

“They want me trapped with handcuffs on my hands/they watch me with ten thousand eyes/they only see my skin color so they push me to the fringe,” he rapped.

Neguse said the lyrics are relevant all the time, but they carry extra meaning for him in the current circumstances.

“I felt that at that moment in the TV studio, that this is exactly the place for this song, the time for this song.”

Neguse’s appearance on Ynet illustrates the growing Ethiopian Israeli presence in the local music scene. But its theme also reflects the ongoing struggles against alleged racism and discrimination, some three decades after Ethiopian Jews began arriving in Israel.

Neguse and other young Ethiopian artists are using the stage to tell the public about their community’s experiences — in particular what they say is unchecked and widespread police brutality.

Large numbers of Ethiopian Jews began arriving in Israel via secret airlifts in the 1980s. The new arrivals from a rural, developing African country struggled to find their footing in an increasingly high-tech Israel.

Throughout the decades, Ethiopians have suffered discrimination. In the late 1990s, it was discovered that Israel’s health services were throwing out Ethiopian blood donations over fears of diseases contracted in Africa. Accusations have also been raised that Israel has deliberately tried to curb Israeli Ethiopian birth rates.

Today, Israel’s Ethiopian community numbers about 150,000 people, some 2% of its 9 million citizens. While some Israelis of Ethiopian descent have made gains in areas like the military, the police force and politics, the community continues to struggle with a lack of opportunity and high poverty rate.

Against this backdrop, Israeli artists of Ethiopian heritage are breaking out in the entertainment world, especially in the growing hip hop and dancehall scenes.

Adam Rotbard, the owner of Kolot Me Africa, a group that promotes African music in Israel, said a “wave of young Ethiopian musicians” has burst onto the music scene in the last year.

“They are not really in the mainstream so to speak, but they are building substantial fan bases through social media and the internet,” he said. Rotbard said issues like racism and routine police mistreatment are addressed in their music.

In his music video for “Handcuffed,” Neguse is dressed up as a soldier, riding a bicycle, when he encounters two policemen. The officers then, seemingly unprovoked, beat him up. The music video depicts a 2015 incident in which two policemen were filmed beating a uniformed Ethiopian Israeli soldier, sparking mass protests.

The most recent demonstrations erupted after the unarmed Solomon Teka, 18, was fatally shot by a police officer in a Haifa suburb on June 30.

At the height of the unrest, protesters angrily swore at police officers, hurled firebombs, vandalized vehicles and set a car ablaze in the heart of Tel Aviv. Police say over 110 officers were wounded in the protests, and at least 150 protesters were arrested.

The officer in question, who has claimed the youth was accidentally hit by a warning shot he had fired at the ground, is being investigated by internal affairs and remains under protective custody.

“This time the protests feel more spontaneous,” said Efrat Yerday, chairwoman of the Association of Ethiopian Jews.

Yerday said the demonstrators’ anger and despair is long in the making, with a widespread feeling that police violence is not properly investigated.

“All of these people that attacked the youngsters unprovoked, they are exonerated, it’s astonishing,” she said.

The demonstrators are demanding greater police accountability. After the 2015 protests, the government established a committee to tackle racism against Ethiopian Israelis. It recommended that police wear body cameras. Since 2017 Israeli patrol and traffic police in some districts wear them.

But Yerday said the implementation of the body cameras has been slow. “The ones who beat up our kids don’t have them,” she said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that more officers will be equipped with body cameras in the future.

At a meeting called to discuss the matter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Teka’s death a “big tragedy” and said “lessons will be learned.” But he also harshly criticized the demonstrations for turning violent.

Yael Mentesnot, 26, another up-and-coming Ethiopian Israeli musician, said that in the past, the community has been “restrained” and “we end up coming off a bit naive.”

This time, “the community has begun to really feel the despair,” she said.

“All the protests, they are not orchestrated, nothing there was organized,” she said. “Everyone went to the streets frustrated and released their anger.”

While most of Mentesnot’s young solo career has been filled with upbeat party songs, she said the recent events have inspired her to address the Ethiopian Israelis’ struggle.

“Our whole life is a struggle, we face challenges, and we overcome them,” she said. “I want the public to see it. To understand what we feel.”

Neguse said he is pleased that Ethiopian musicians are on the rise, but said the recent protests should be seen as “a call for help, a cry of an entire community.”

“I believe that everyone here has at least one Ethiopian artist on their playlist,” he said. “But there is still racism, so there is a kind of dissonance.”


Related:
Healing Ethiopian Anger – Jerusalem Post

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The American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia Report on U.S.-Ethio Business

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia launched its inaugural report on U.S. investment in Ethiopia during an event held at the Sheraton hotel in Addis Ababa on Thursday, July 11, 2019. (Photo: @AmchamET/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia has released a report featuring how U.S. investments in Ethiopia are having an impact on the ground. The report showcases “the contribution our members are making towards advancing inclusive economic growth in Ethiopia,” the non-profit organization announced in a Twitter post on Friday. “Case studies in the report cover education, skills development, health, and environment.”

It was announced previously that the American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia was founded in 2016 “to strengthen the century‐old partnership economic ties that have existed between the United States and Ethiopia,” and counts former Director General of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, Fitsum Arega, among its Board members. Mr. Arega is now Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S.

“The AmCham can play an important role in building a conducive environment for private sector growth, share experiences, and facilitate business capacity building in Ethiopia,” the press release adds.

The Twitter announcement notes that the current report was released during a forum held at the Sheraton hotel in Addis Ababa on Thursday, July 11th where “a delegation from US Chamber met with Ethiopian President SahleWork Zewde to discuss linking the private sectors of the two countries & also underscored its long-term commitment to Ethiopia, focusing on deep & sustainable engagement.”

In addition to the forum the American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia also hosted a panel discussion focusing on youth employment and featuring the head of Ethiopia’s Jobs Creation Commission Ephrem T. Lemango as well as a representative from Coca Cola Africa, which recently had announced its intention to create 2700 new jobs through a construction of a new factory in Sebeta as their biggest plant in Ethiopia.


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Spotlight: R&B Singer Mélat Kassa

Mélat Kassa. (Photo: The Austin Monthly)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 12th, 2019

In Austin, Texas, R&B singer Mélat Kassa is Homegrown Star

New York (TADIAS) — R&B singer Mélat Kassa loves her hometown, Austin, Texas and Austin loves her back. Her feature in Austin Monthly magazine highlighting her latest album notes that “the homegrown singer’s journey to the forefront of Austin’s burgeoning soul scene is fascinating and personal. Whether on the radio, at South by Southwest, or on the city calendar (Mayor Adler proclaimed December 14, 2017 as Mélat Day), it’s all but impossible to avoid Mélat Kassa’s music around town these days. With stirring vocals that exhibit an alluring dichotomy of vulnerability and confidence, the native Austinite has become a staple on city streets.” The album is scheduled to be released later this month.

Mélat, who is a first-generation Ethiopian American, has also been dubbed “Austin’s Soul Priestess” by the Austin Chronicle. While reflecting on her background the daughter of Ethiopian émigrés told the newspaper: “As a first-generation kid I have to create a brand-new culture.”

Create a culture she did as can be seen in her newest music video titled After All, which was first released exclusively on billboard.com last April. When asked about her artistic influences during her formative years Mélat points out that she grew up listening to a lot of Ethiopian music at home. “We listened to classic artists like Tilahun Gessese and Aster Aweke, but my mom was a big lover of Donna Summer and Diana Ross,” she told Billboard. “When my dad first came to the States in the ‘80s, the first concert he ever went to was Kool & the Gang. I remember he would play their CDs almost every weekend!”

In Mélat’s new video “the summery visuals represents Austin to the core — but not in the way that most people would expect,” Billboard notes. “The singer collaborated with local creatives that she felt deserved more visibility: Ethiopian-Eritrean director B.B. Araya, Austin’s Luxe Apothetique that contributed to wardrobe, and historic venue La Zona Rosa that was used as the video’s backdrop.”

This week Mélat tweeted: “It gives me chills thinking about how the visual feel of After All is the product of some of Austin’s most dope black creatives,” and we’re thrilled to share her creative work on Tadias.

You can read more about Mélat’s journey in The Austin Monthly article here.


Related:
R&B Singer Mélat Talks Black Girl Magic Inspiration Behind ‘After All’ Video: Exclusive (Billboard)

A New World Opens Up for Austin’s Soul Priestess Mélat (The Austin Chronicle)

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