Author Archive for Tadias

Master Class with Haile Gerima

Haile Gerima (photo credit: Gezaw Tesfaye)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 7th, 2022

New York (TADIAS) — A master class led by renowned Ethiopian filmmaker, Haile Gerima, will take place on Saturday, May 14 at 11:30am as part of Film at Lincoln Center Events & Talks during the 2022 New York African Film Festival. The event, which is free and open to the public will be held in the Elinor Bunin Munroe Amphitheater.

The class, titled “Cinema of Liberation: From Inception and Execution to Exhibition,” will center on the content, form, and aesthetics of liberation cinema, empowering one’s particular narrative logic and the construction of audiences for partnership in liberation.

RSVP here for the program.

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Publisher’s Message: Announcing Leave to Focus on Family Matters

I am leaving Tadias temporarily to focus on personal and family matters. As most of you know Tadias has always been a labor of love for me and very proud of the work we've done passionately over the years. Needless to say, I plan to return as soon as I can -- Liben Eabisa. (Photo: Tadias Magazine)

Publisher’s Message:

Dear Tadias Readers,

After 20 years of uninterrupted service as publisher of Tadias Magazine, I am announcing today I will be taking a temporary leave to focus on personal and family matters.

As most of you know Tadias has always been a labor of love for me and very proud of the work we’ve done passionately over the years.

Needless to say (and God willing) I plan to return as soon as I can.

In the meantime, the website will continue to be periodically updated with timely news and information that’s relevant to our global audience.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please email info@tadias.com.

Thank you and best regards!

Liben Eabisa
Co-Founder & Publisher
Tadias Magazine

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Ethiopia Reads Co-founder Jane Kurtz Receives IBBY Award For Her Work With Ethiopian Children

Jane Kurtz (right), who grew up in Ethiopia, is the Co-Founder of Ethiopia Reads, a U.S.-based non-profit that has been promoting a culture of reading in Ethiopia for more than two-decades. Since it was established in 1998 Ethiopia Reads has published hundreds of popular local children's books and English translations for Diaspora children in addition to opening over 70 libraries in every part of Ethiopia. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 25th, 2022

New York (TADIAS) — The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) has named Jane Kurtz, the Co-Founder of Ethiopia Reads, the winner of the 2022 iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award.

In a press release announcing the award IBBY said the winners “are inspiring examples of reading promoters who show us how one person can truly make a difference, especially when we work together.”

According to its website IBBY “is a non-profit organization, which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.”

Jane, who was raised in Ethiopia, co-founded Ethiopia Reads in 1998 to promote “a culture of reading in Ethiopia” and to serve as “a model for others to follow in support of the next generation of Ethiopian parents, teachers, and leaders.”

Since it was established more than two-decades ago Ethiopia Reads has published hundreds of popular local children’s books (in several Ethiopian languages) and English translations for Diaspora children in addition to opening over 70 libraries in every part of Ethiopia.

In a statement Ethiopia Reads said its proud of it’s founder’s accomplishments:

60+ years ago, a young Jane Kurtz was raised with her siblings in a far away magical place called Maji in southwest Ethiopia. She grew up to become one of the ultimate creative minds and literacy champion for Ethiopian children! We couldn’t be prouder of Ethiopia Reads’ Cofounder, longtime leader and Advisor @JaneKurtz on her award by @IBBYINT as IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reader Promoter for her 30+ years of consistent work supporting children reading in Ethiopia. We look forward to the second round of 100 Ethiopian local language books coming soon. Please support Jane’s work by checking out #ReadySetGo titles by Open Hearts Big Dreams on Amazon.”

The award announcement added:

Jane Kurtz grew up in Ethiopia and has spent the last 25 years helping to develop indigenous authors and illustrators in Ethiopia—and in multiple languages—while also establishing an infrastructure for publishing books and promoting literacy with training for teachers and librarians. Her work began in 1998 when she co-founded Ethiopia Reads and developed a strategy for starting libraries to support literacy development. In early 2016, Jane initiated a workshop in Ethiopia with artists, children and adult volunteers, which resulted in a prototype for Ready Set Go books—colourful, easy-to-read, culturally appropriate, and published in English and one local language. Jane’s work with literacy addresses the challenges of multiple official languages; lack of books reflecting Ethiopian culture, history, and landscape; obstacles in the translation, publication, and distribution process; and insufficient professional opportunities for educators and librarians. With her vision and collaboration with others, she has planted the seeds of literacy all over Ethiopia.”

For more information, about the winners and about IBBY go to www.ibby.org. And learn more about Ethiopia Reads at www.ethiopiareads.org.

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UPDATE: Ethiopia Declares ‘Humanitarian Truce’ in Tigray to Allow Aid, TPLF Agrees

The Ethiopian government on Thursday announced an “indefinite humanitarian truce” in Tigray, saying the action was necessary to allow unimpeded relief supplies into the area. The government said [TPLF] must reciprocate the truce for the situation to improve in the region. It urged TPLF “to desist from all acts of further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighboring regions." (Reuters photo)

LATEST: TPLF agrees to humanitarian truce

UPDATED March 25, 2022

BBC

Rebel forces fighting in northern Ethiopia have agreed to a government offer of a truce to allow aid deliveries to reach millions of people in urgent need of assistance…

The TPLF rebels said they would respect the ceasefire as long as aid deliveries resume “within reasonable time”

In its statement on Thursday, the government said that the truce was “indefinite” and “effective immediately”, but added that it would only improve the lives of people in the north of the country if the move was reciprocated.

It called on the Tigrayan forces to “stop further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighbouring regions”.

In response, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said it “will do everything it can do to make sure this cessation of hostilities is a success”.

Read the full article at BBC.com »

Ethiopia Declares ‘Humanitarian Truce’ in Tigray to Allow Aid

Associated Press

March 24, 2022

Ethiopia’s government on Thursday announced what it called an “indefinite humanitarian truce” in its war-ravaged Tigray region, saying the action was necessary to allow unimpeded relief supplies into the area.

“The government calls upon the donor community to redouble their generous contributions to alleviate the situation and reiterates its commitment to work in collaboration with relevant organizations to expedite the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need,” authorities said in a statement issued by the Government Communication Service.

The government statement said Tigray’s forces must reciprocate the truce for the humanitarian situation to improve in the region.

It urged fighters loyal to Tigray’s fugitive leaders “to desist from all acts of further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighboring regions…”

Although the war has subsided in several places, notably within the Tigray and Amhara regions, concerns remain in the northeastern Afar region.

Aid into the Tigray region has been severely limited under what the United Nations described as a “de facto humanitarian blockade.”

Read the full article at www.apnews.com »

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Ethiopian Airlines Confirms CEO’s Early Retirement Due to Health Issues

Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed that its CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, who is currently in the U.S. receiving medical treatment, has stepped down from his position. In a statement the airline said Mr. Tewolde, who has worked at Ethiopian for 37 years including as CEO for the past decade, "requested early retirement in order for him to focus his full attention to his medical treatment." Below is the full statement. (Getty Images)

Ethiopian Airlines Statement

March 23rd, 2022

Early Retirement of Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Group Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam has been under medical treatment in the USA for the last six months. As he needs to focus on his personal health issues, he is unable to continue leading the airline as a Group CEO, a duty which demands closer presence and full attention round the clock. Accordingly, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam requested the Board of Management of Ethiopian Airlines Group(the “Board”), for early retirement in order for him to focus his full attention to his medical treatment.

The Board, in its ordinary meeting held on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, has accepted Mr. Tewolde’s request for early retirement.

Mr. Tewolde led the Airline for over a decade with remarkable success reflected in its exceptional performance in all parameters including but not limited to exponential growth from one Billion USD annual turn-over to 4.5 Billion, from 33 airplanes to 130 airplanes and from 3 million passengers to 12 million passengers (pre-COVID).

Under his leadership, the airline group has grown by four fold in all measurements building more than USD 700 million worth of vital infrastructure like Africa’s biggest hotel, Cargo terminal, MRO hangars and shops, Aviation Academy and Full Flight Simulators. The Board, the Senior Management, employees and the whole Ethiopian Airlines family express their gratefulness for his contribution and wish him full recovery soon.

The Board will announce the new Group CEO and successor to Ato Tewolde GebreMariam shortly. Mr. Girma Wake, former CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, has been appointed recently as a new Chairman of the Board of Management of Ethiopian Airlines Group by the Ethiopian Public Enterprises Holding & Administration Agency.

Mr. Girma Wake is a highly experienced, successful and well-regarded business leader and a well-known figure in the aviation industry who previously led Ethiopian Airlines for 7 years as a CEO and laid the foundation for the fast and profitable growth of the airline. The combination of his experience, work-culture and drive makes him capable of chairing the board and take the airline to the next level. Mr. Girma’s decision-making skills are tested and well proved.”

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Art Talk: Awol Erizku Unveils New Exhibition at Gagosian Gallery in NYC

Awol Erizku, Lion (body) I, 2022. This month, the Ethiopian-American artist opened a new solo exhibition at Gagosian gallery in New York City called 'Memories of a Lost Sphinx,' an observation of the ancient mythical figure as a borderless metaphor for "riddles, wisdom and divinity." (Photo: ©Awol Erizku)

Hype Art

Awol Erizku Reflects on “Memories of a Lost Sphinx” at Gagosian

Awol Erizku is an Ethiopian-American artist whose work draws on the vast expanse of history to create a counter-narrative to the largely Western discourse on African culture. Last week, the multi-disciplinary artist unveiled a new solo exhibition at Gagosian, titled “Memories of a Lost Sphinx.”

Set against a black-painted interior, a series of six lightbox photographs and an accompanying sculpture ruminates on the fabled sphinx as a complex, cross-cultural symbol that extends between and beyond Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Asian mythologies. “My first encounter with the Great Sphinx of Giza led me to produce my own interpretation of the mystique and essence of the sphinx as a concept. The result is my interpolation of the space between my memory and imagination,” said the artist.

The constellation of images jumps from lions and falcons floating in the cosmos, a tarantula clamped against a man’s face, to the back of Kevin Durant’s head adjacent to a neighboring hyperrealistic portrait of a snake. Instead of presenting any singular narrative, Erizku uses this grouping to explore issues of identity in regards to the sphinx as a hybrid symbol that embodies riddles, wisdom, divinity, thresholds, and the transition between life and death.

Further bridging the symbols into the present, the Los Angeles-based artist illuminates the space with Nefertiti – Miles Davis (Gold) — a glowing disco ball named after the seminal musician’s 1968 album of the same name. Organized by Antwaun Sargent, “Memories of a Lost Sphinx” is on view at Gagosian New York until April 16, 2022.

Read more »

Press Release

AWOL ERIZKU: Memories of a Lost Sphinx


(Artwork ©Awol Erizku. Photo: Rob McKeever)

My first encounter with the Great Sphinx of Giza led me to produce my own interpretation of the mystique and essence of the sphinx as a concept. The result is my interpolation of the space between my memory and imagination.

—Awol Erizku

Gagosian is pleased to announce Memories of a Lost Sphinx, an exhibition of new works by Awol Erizku. Installed in a black-painted interior, a set of six lightbox photographs accompanied by a mixed-media sculpture represent the sphinx as a complex, cross-cultural symbol that extends between and beyond Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Asian mythologies. Organized by Antwaun Sargent, this is Erizku’s first exhibition at the gallery.

Erizku works in photography, film, sculpture, painting, and installation, making reference to spirituality, art history, and hip-hop; in the process, he aims to craft a new vernacular that bridges the gap between African and African American visual cultures. Further developing his “Afro-esoteric” iconography in Memories of a Lost Sphinx, Erizku explores the intersections of ancient mythology, diasporic tradition, and contemporary culture.


(Artwork ©Awol Erizku. Photo: Rob McKeever)

The sphinx is a hybrid creature with human and animal attributes: the head of a human, body of a lion, wings of a falcon, and, in some cases, a serpent-headed tail. According to Egyptian tradition, this guardian figure had a male head, whereas in Greek mythology, the sphinx was female and originated in Aethopia. The most notorious Greek sphinx was bested when Oedipus answered her riddle, “What walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three at night?”

Rather than convey any singular entity or narrative, the constellation of images presents allegories of the creature’s attributes, depicting a lion pacing before a cosmic background, a falcon landing on a gloved hand, a tightly coiled snake, and a menacing tarantula. Replacing a pharaoh’s head is a photograph of NBA star Kevin Durant.

The grouping probes issues of meaning and identity while supplanting the body with compositions that explore the conceptual framework of the sphinx as a hybrid symbol that embodies riddles, wisdom, divinity, thresholds, and the transition between life and death. The images are accompanied by Nefertiti – Miles Davis (Gold), a golden mirrored disco ball in the shape of the Egyptian queen’s iconic bust. Titled after Davis’s 1968 album, the sculpture unites visual art with music, known symbols with new forms, and antiquity with postmodernity, while dynamically illuminating the exhibition space.


(Artwork ©Awol Erizku. Photo: Rob McKeever)

Memories of a Lost Sphinx may be viewed within the gallery during operating hours, and at all times through its storefront windows, with the internally lit images and mirrored sculpture transforming the space throughout the day and night. This opportunity for public viewing of Erizku’s work extends the project of New Visions for Iris (2021), a presentation sponsored by the Public Art Fund of his backlit photographs in bus shelters across New York’s five boroughs and throughout Chicago. The lightbox format of these works also relates to the use of the format by Gregory Crewdson, with whom the artist studied while earning his MFA at Yale—while also evoking the way in which the monumental sphinx in Giza is illuminated for tourists.

Awol Erizku was born in 1988 in Gondar, Ethiopia, and lives and works in Los Angeles and New York. Erizku earned a BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, and an MFA from the Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT. Collections include FLAG Art Foundation, New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Exhibitions include New Flower | Images of the Reclining Venus, FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2015); Mystic Parallax, FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2020); and New Visions for Iris, Public Art Fund, various sites in New York and Chicago (2021). His photographs of cultural and creative leaders have been featured in the New Yorker, New York, GQ, and Vanity Fair.

If You Go:

AWOL ERIZKU
Memories of a Lost Sphinx
March 10–April 16, 2022
Gagosian Gallery
Park & 75, New York
More info at www.gagosian.com.

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Ethiopia: Aster Aweke’s ‘Mezez Alew’ Among Top 10 Best African Songs of All Time

One of the most talented female Ethiopian singers, Aster Aweke, has made a name for herself [as] one of the most popular artists on the continent...in her native country, she is a musical legend. She has been nominated for many honors and awards throughout her career and enjoys huge mainstream popularity. (Photos via Aster Aweke's Facebook page)

Punch

Top 10 Best African Songs of All Time

African songs are some of the most popular worldwide and typically have a high-pitched melody or vocal pattern with elements of traditional African rhythms and Western pop music styles. Whenever we hear them, they instantly put us in a good mood and make us want to dance the night away. The list of the best African songs of all time is very long, but this blog will showcase only the best with a brief description of each song.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the list of the Top 10 best African songs of all time!

Mezez Alew’by Aster Aweke (Ethiopian)

When it comes to African music, a group deserves special mention: the Ethiopians. They are responsible for some of the greatest music ever recorded in Africa, such as Aster Aweke’s “Mezz Alew.” One of the most talented female Ethiopian singers, Aster Aweke, has made a name for herself after releasing one song with an incredible voice, leading her to become one of the most popular artists on the continent.

Aweke may not have the notoriety of American musical icon Beyonce or international sensation Madonna. Nevertheless, in her native country, she is a musical legend. She has been nominated for many honors and awards throughout her career and enjoys huge mainstream popularity.


(Photo: Aster Aweke/Facebook)


Aster Aweke performing in Washington D.C., July 2015. (Photo via the artist’s Facebook page)

This song, Mezz Alew, is one of several that she has written. All of her songs are considered to be romantic, uplifting, and inspirational. She uses a melodious voice and rich melodies that have become a trademark in the Ethiopian music industry because they are both timeless and catchy. This song is safe for use as relationship advice even though it is from the perspective of a female looking at her life from her lover’s point of view.

The general message of this song is that if you truly love someone, you should enjoy being with them even if it means sacrificing in some way. However, it should be noted that there is a particular context to this song that is not clear to non-Ethiopians or people who are not familiar with the culture and societal norms that are generally accepted.

Mezz is Ethiopian for juice, and Alew’ means “you” in Amharic, the main language of Ethiopia. The message of this song is quite simple and it has attracted a significant amount of popularity due to the perspective on life, and the positivity spread throughout its lyrics. Listeners can find inspiration from her lyrics, and some have even used them as relationship advice.

Read more and see the full list at punchng.com »

Related:

The latest video from Aster Aweke’s YouTube Chanel:

Singer/songwriter Aster Aweke has been entertaining international audiences for over 30 years and winning the hearts and minds of world music lovers everywhere. Her songs are anthems to Ethiopian fans and throughout the Ethiopian Diaspora.

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Q&A: Naomi Girma, U.S. National Soccer Team Prospect, on Her Ethiopia Roots

Big things are expected of the rookie center back, who was selected first overall by the San Diego Wave ahead of the 2022 season. Naomi Girma was born and raised in San Jose, California, and both of her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia. She spoke about how this dual upbring influenced her. (Photo: Wave)

GOAL

USWNT prospect Girma opens up on being the top NWSL pick, training against Alex Morgan, and her Ethiopian roots

Big things are expected of the rookie center back, who was selected first overall by the San Diego Wave ahead of the 2022 season

U.S. women’s national team prospect and top NWSL draft pick Naomi Girma has spoken to GOAL about her experience with the expansion San Diego Wave, training against Alex Morgan and her Ethiopian-American upbringing, among other topics.

Girma was selected first overall by the Wave in the 2022 NWSL Draft out of Stanford University, and is now getting set to embark on her first professional season.

The 21-year-old center back, who was named the 2020 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, has starred for the USWNT at various youth levels, and has been called into camp with the senior team on two occasions.

On starting with an expansion team

Girma is expected to feature heavily for the Wave, who will enter the league in 2022 along with Southern California rivals Angel City FC.

“I think [joining an expansion team] makes it easier being a rookie, because I’m not going into a team where everything’s already set and I can help with the beginnings and figuring out how we want things to work and how we want the culture to be,” Girma said on All of US: The U.S. Women’s Soccer Show.

Working with Stoney and Morgan

The Wave have brought ex-Manchester United boss Casey Stoney in as head coach, and Girma has enjoyed working under the former England international defender.

“She’s very personable as a coach and really wants to emphasize she’s here to support us on or off the field, and wants to build relationships with us as people as well,” Girma said of Stoney.

“She’ll be like, ‘OK, center backs come with me after training’ and we’ll do a little extra work on something like defending in the box or like, really small details that you don’t always get from coaches if they don’t have such expertise in that position.”

Girma also spoke about training against USWNT star Alex Morgan, one of the Wave’s biggest acquisitions ahead of their inaugural season.

“I think it’s teaching me [to] play faster, or there are certain things that maybe you can do in college, but you can’t do at the pro level.

“The level is higher, the players are better and playing against one of the top players in the world every day – I feel extremely blessed and grateful that I have this opportunity.”

On her Ethiopian roots

Girma was born and raised in San Jose, California, and both of her parents emigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia. She spoke about how this dual upbring influenced her.

“At home… it was a lot of Ethiopian culture and then going to school, [it was] a lot of the American culture. That dual upbringing was definitely interesting and something I had to navigate when I was younger, but I’m really thankful I had that experience now,” Girma said.

“It’s shaped me as a person, my values and the emphasis on community and support. That’s a big thing in Ethiopian culture and it’s something that I highly value.”

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Art Talk: Selome Muleta’s Debut European Solo Show at Addis Fine Art, London

Selome Muleta (b. 1992) is one of the most exciting young female artists to emerge from the Ethiopian visual arts scene in recent years. Her inaugural European solo show opens on March 11th, 2022 at Addis Fine Art gallery in London. (Photo: Courtesy of the artist via Addis Fine Art)

Press Release

Addis Fine Art London

Addis Fine Art, London is pleased to present Selome Muleta’s debut European solo show, Collapsing Space. This exhibition of the artist’s latest works explores womanhood through the playful merging of portraiture and still life, and examines the relationship between the internal self and the external world.

In Collapsing Space, Selome continues her exploration of female figures captured in states of inner reflection in the midst of vibrant environments. With her chosen medium of acrylic and oil pastel on canvas, Selome’s latest body of work interrogates and celebrates the rich interior worlds of her subjects, the stillness of their external forms reverberating against the vivid patterns and blossoming plants that crawl through their backdrops.

In a similar vein to the portraits of Jennifer Packer, Selome employs translucent washes of hue and busy patterns to create a sense of contemplative unity between her subjects and their respective environments. At times, the faces of her characters are obscured or cropped, and the viewer is invited instead to focus on objects that surround them. A drooping plant, a dozing feline companion, a distant crooked framed portrait – these forms stand as both symbolic and literal entry points to the interior self.


(Courtesy of the artist via Addis Fine Art)


Selome Muleta, Collapsing Space VII, 2021. Courtesy of the artist)

Much like the bottles and bowls of Morandi and Hockney’s plant-laden vases, the flattened characters and objects born from Selome’s brush seem to hum serenely with the energy of their very existence.

Biography

Selome Muleta (b. 1992) is one of the most exciting young female artists to emerge from the Ethiopian visual arts scene in recent years. Now based in Addis Ababa, Muleta studied art formally at the Abyssinia Fine Art School (2012) and Entoto Polytechnic College (2013-2014). She has had solo exhibitions at Guramayne Art Center, Fendika Art Gallery, Alliance Ethio-Francaise (2019) and most recently, Tsedal at Addis Fine Art, Addis Ababa (2020), she has also participated in group shows including From Modern to Contemporary, CFHILL gallery, Stockholm, Sweden (2020).

If You Go:
COLLAPSING SPACE | SELOME MULETA
Addis Fine Art, London
11 March – 16 April 2022 (Private View: 10 March from 5-8PM)
More info at www.addisfineart.com

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In New York ECMAA Hosts Virtual Panel Reflecting on Adwa & Yekatit 12

Photos from past events organized by the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) in New York City. (Courtesy of ECMAA Facebook page)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 4th, 2022

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend in New York the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) will host an online panel discussion reflecting on two major defining historical events that to this day influence Ethiopia’s national approach to foreign policy, geopolitics and global affairs: Adwa & Yekatit 12.

Adwa

As historian Ayele Bekerie, who has written extensively about Ethiopia’s consequential victory at the battle of Adwa 126 years ago this month and one of the panelists at the event, explains: “Simply put, Adwa became a turning point in modern African history.”

Professor Ayele notes that not only did the victory against Italian colonial ambitions on March 1, 1896 preserve Ethiopia’s sovereignty and independence as the only Black nation that has never been colonized, but it also inspired freedom movements around the world.

But, for the current generation that’s grappling with Ethiopia’s modern vulnerability to foreign exploitation due to decades of social decay and debilitating ethnic-identity politics “the full meaning and relevance of the victory at Adwa has yet to be realized within Ethiopia,” Dr. Ayele argues in an article published in Tadias last year. “That formula of unity should be repeated now to counter the large-scale displacements and violence encountered by our fellow Ethiopians throughout the country to this date.”

Yekatit 12

Despite Ethiopia’s resounding triumph at Adwa, however, Italy was not finished as it launched a brutal second invasion of the country some four decades later, unleashing a wave of crimes against humanity in another failed attempt to terrorize Ethiopians into subjugation.

Ethiopia, who was a member of the League of Nations at the time, was all but abandoned by its European allies and left to fend for itself against a powerful foreign aggressor.

As warned by then exiled Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, during his famous speech at the League’s headquarters in Geneva the October 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, which was led by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, would eventually set the stage for World War II engulfing Europe and the rest of the globe. Among the numerous crimes against humanity the Italian occupation forces committed in Ethiopia, the massacre of Yekatit 12 remains forever seared in the country’s collective memory.

For the past several years ECMAA, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Justice, has been hosting an annual event in remembrance of Yekatit 12 and the lives lost at the Addis Ababa massacre on February 19, 1937.

According to the announcement in addition to Professor Ayele the virtual panel discussion on Sunday, March 6th will feature Professor Getachew Metaferia and will be moderated by Hanna Yesuf.

——
If You Attend:
More info and registration at ecmaany.org.

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Spotlight: Three Ethiopian Titles at the 2022 New African Film Festival in Maryland

This year's New African Film Festival features three Ethiopian films including 'A Fire Within [ፍትህ],' the groundbreaking Ethiopian-American courtroom drama executive produced by Liya Kebede, as well as two new documentaries made in Ethiopia: 'Among Us Women' & 'Stand Up My Beauty.' (Photo: @AFireWithinDoc)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 9th, 2022

New York (TADIAS) — The U.S. debut of two recently released Ethiopian documentary movies and an historic Ethiopian-American courtroom drama are part of the lineup at the 2022 New African Film Festival, which is set to kick-off this month in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Organizers announced the “American premieres of powerful Ethiopian documentaries Among us Women and Stand Up My Beauty” in a press release highlighting this year’s program that promises to showcase “the vibrancy of African filmmaking from all corners of the continent and across the diaspora to the Washington, DC, area.”

The annual festival, which celebrates its 18th anniversary this year, takes place from March 18 to 31 at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in downtown Silver Spring.

The press release added: “This year’s fully in-person festival features 28 films from 17 countries, including five U.S. or North American premieres.”

The featured films include A Fire Within [ፍትህ], the groundbreaking Ethiopian-American courtroom drama executive produced by Liya Kebede and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Chambers. Organizers note that the screening of A Fire Within will feature a Q&A with Chambers.

Below are descriptions and trailers of the Ethiopian films courtesy of AFI Silver Theatre.

A FIRE WITHIN

Special Features: Q&A with filmmaker Christopher Chambers following the March 20 screening

[ፍትህ]

After suffering through the Red Terror, a dark time in Ethiopia’s history during which many educated young people were tortured and murdered, Edgegayehu “Edge” Taye fled to the United States in 1989 as a refugee. Settling in Atlanta, she found work at a hotel, only to discover that the very man who was responsible for her torture in Ethiopia was also working there. Along with several friends who were victims of the same man and are now all living in the U.S., Taye embarks on a landmark human rights case to bring their tormentor to trial. Executive produced by Ethiopian actress and activist Liya Kebede, this incredible and chilling true crime documentary shines a light on a painful time in Ethiopia’s history and reveals the healing power of restorative justice. Winner, Audience Award, Best Documentary, 2021 Atlanta, Naples and North Dakota Human Rights film festivals. DIR/SCR/PROD Christopher Chambers; PROD Ermias Woldeamlak. U.S./Canada/Ethiopia, 2021, color, 85 min. In English and Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

No AFI Member passes accepted.

Run Time: 85 Minutes
Genre: Documentary
Opening Date: Sunday, March 20, 2022

U.S. Premiere

AMONG US WOMEN

Sat, March 26, 12:25 p.m.; Wed, March 30, 7:00 p.m.

The first feature-length documentary by German director Sarah Noa Bozenhardt and Ethiopian filmmaker Daniel Abate Tilahun follows Hulu Endeshaw, a young Ethiopian farmer who is awaiting the birth of her fourth child and finds herself caught between the modern and traditional systems of midwifery in place in her rural village of Megendi. On one hand, she regularly attends checkups at the local health center, where staff are fighting high maternal mortality rates. On the other, Hulu is apprehensive of a system in which she feels unheard and turns to the traditional midwife Endal Gedif for support and comfort. Surrounded by many varying female perspectives, Hulu wrestles with the roles she is expected to play as a mother, a wife and a woman. To unravel her personal wants and needs, she takes the film’s narrative into her own hands, exploring her burning past and her uncertain future. Both because of her fellow women and despite them, Hulu holds onto the desire to define her own path, and gradually unveils the secrets she has kept close to her chest. In English and Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

STAND UP MY BEAUTY

Special Features: North American Premiere

Nardos, an Azmari singer from Addis Ababa, dreams of telling stories about the lives of ordinary people through her music. In her search for stories for her songs, she meets Gennet, a poet who lives on the streets with her children. As Nardos puts the lives of Ethiopian women, their visions and power at the center of her creation, the documentary dives deeper and deeper into a rapidly changing country. (Note courtesy of Deckert Distribution.) Official Selection, 2021 Locarno Film Festival. DIR Heidi Specogna; PROD Heino Deckert, Rolf Schmid. Switzerland/Germany, 2021, color, 110 min. In Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Run Time: 110 Minutes
Genre: Documentary – music
Opening Date: Saturday, March 26, 2022

Learn more about the festival at AFI.com

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Q&A: Helen Amelga, US-Ethiopia Launcher at Taptap Send

"Taptap Send is an app that lets people send money back home quickly and at very low prices," says Helen Amelga, the company's US-Ethiopia Launcher. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 20th, 2022

New York (TADIAS) — In the following interview Helen Amelga, the US-Ethiopia Launcher at Taptap Send, explains the newly launched mobile money transfer service, which is considered the first app-based platform to specifically focus on remittances from the Diaspora to people back home.

Helen, whom we have previously featured in Tadias for her public service work in the Ethiopian American community, was most recently the Deputy Area Director at Office of Councilmember Kevin de Leon in Los Angeles, California.


Helen Amelga, the US-Ethiopia Launcher at Taptap Send. (Courtesy photo)

TADIAS: Helen, thank you for your time and congratulations on your new position as Taptap Send’s US representative for Ethiopia.

Helen Amelga: Hi Liben, thank you for having me back. It is always a pleasure to chat with the Tadias team.

TADIAS: How are you enjoying your transition from public service to business? What are some of the rewards and challenges?

Helen: I always try to focus my work through a lens of service. From my positions working in local government here in California, to the work I do through the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles, the focus is always on serving my community. My work as US-Ethiopia Launcher at Taptap Send is an extension of that service. Through this role I am able to apply my skill set to serve Ethiopians not only in the diaspora, but those directly on the continent as well.

The work is incredibly rewarding, through connecting people to remittance services I am able to help folks get money to loved ones back home, and beyond the individual, I get to help the larger Ethiopian economy. It’s a win win.

TADIAS: Please tell us about Taptap Send and its recently launched mobile money transfer service to Ethiopia. How does it work?

Helen: Taptap Send is an app that lets people send money back home to Africa and Asia quickly and at very low prices. Since launching in summer 2018, we’ve already moved tens of millions of dollars and reached tens of thousands of customers. We just raised $65 million in a Series B funding. We’re live in the UK, EU, US and Canada, and we support payments into Ethiopia and 21 other countries with more countries launching soon.

How it works is simple, a user in the US just needs to download the Taptap Send app from the Apple Store or Google Play, upload their bank or debit card details, then select a recipient in Ethiopia. The recipient does not need a Taptap Send account. Select a dollar amount and hit send. You’re done! The funds will be deposited directly into your loved ones account that day.

TADIAS: Taptap Send is also the first platform to specifically focus on Remittances from the Diaspora to people back home. How does it differ from other money transfer companies and what are the benefits for us here in the Diaspora?

Helen: Great question. Here at Taptap Send we believe in impact first. We exclusively pursue products and strategies that are in the interests of our customers and the communities we serve, while recognizing the tradeoffs this implies.

Direct benefits to Diaspora are that we offer a great exchange rate and same day transfers at no fee. The app provides quick and easy access to sending money quite literally at the tap of a finger. Many of us have been in a situation where a loved one has an emergency back home, whether it be medical or elsewhere, and we need to get them money fast. Taptap Send gives us the power to get that funds there quickly just by using our phone. No need to go into a bank or brick and mortar institution.

Sending money legally also grows the Ethiopian economy which has been experiencing a cash shortage for some time now.

TADIAS: What are the various financial institutions you are working with in Ethiopia?

Helen: We provide Bank transfers to Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Dashen bank. Mobile money transfers can be made to Amole and HelloCash, both of which provide cash out options at their local service centers. We will expand to include Telebirr mobile wallet in the coming weeks.

E-wallets in particular are great because the recipients can use their wallet to fund transfers, pay bills and pay diverse merchants without needing to cash out. Taptap Send in partnership with these services is revolutionizing the way we send and spend money.

TADIAS: Do people in the U.S. need an account in Ethiopia to send money?

Helen: Nope, all they need is the Taptap Send app and a debit card.

TADIAS: According to a press release from the company “the UN has set a goal for remittance pricing and commissions to be no higher for any company than 3% of the total sent. Taptap Send says that it’s the only company in the space that has publicly committed to that goal.” Please tell our audience about that goal and the various fees involved in sending and receiving money?

Helen: Our CEO put it best:

Cross-border payments are not only a large market — $540B through formal channels alone, with the informal sector estimated to be almost as large — but are also the central source of capital for low and middle income countries: remittance inflows exceeded foreign direct investment plus official development assistance by in 2020. And they’re growing quickly: more than 7x since 2000. So it should come as no surprise that the United Nations included lowering the price of remittances to 3% as a top-level indicator to “reduce inequality” among their Sustainable Development Goals. The cost of global remittances is simply that important to the reduction in inequality. We’re proud to be the only remittance company (of which we’re aware) that has publicly committed to hitting that goal.”


(Courtesy photo)

TADIAS: Given that remittance is an important source of income for Ethiopia and the limitations involved in terms of mobile wallets services outside of major cities, what are your goals in terms of expanding services to the wider population?

Helen: Excellent question. Our goal is to expand our reach to Ethiopians in every corridor. It’s all about creating access and equity. We are currently working on growing our network to partner with banks throughout Ethiopia.

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

Helen: Don’t just take my word for it, download and use the app yourself. Leave a review and let us know what you think. I am also happy to connect with folks directly and answer any questions. Helen.Amelga@taptapsend.com

TADIAS: Thank you again, Helen, and best wishes from all of us at Tadias.

Helen: Thanks Liben! It’s always a pleasure talking with you. Until next time.

You can learn more at taptapsend.com.

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Bitcoin Magazine: Why Ethiopia Should Turn to Bitcoin

As the U.S. removes Ethiopia from a critical trade program, it’s clear that the nation should focus on finding sovereign value. (Photo via lobalr2p.org)

Bitcoin Magazine

The United States’ recent decision to remove Ethiopia from the African Growth And Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade program is a significant and intentional blow to the Ethiopian people and economy.

The country exported around $3 billion worth of product in 2019 — removal from AGOA will cut out approximately half of Ethiopia’s exports to the U.S., which has been the country’s largest export market. According to a recent article in Foreign Policy, this removal will force over 200,000 people, 80% of whom are young women, to lose their jobs. Those most affected by this particular move made by the U.S. are the Ethiopian people, not the Ethiopian Government.

And the reason this is being done to Ethiopia is no secret — it is also no secret to Ethiopians why they were allowed to be a part of AGOA in the first place.

The message of many in Ethiopia to the U.S. regarding this removal has been consistent: It is still not too late to stop what you are doing and start supporting a democratically-elected government. You can reverse the AGOA sanction on Ethiopia and save thousands of people their jobs and life security. This decision also damages Ethiopia’s export market significantly, which will hurt the overall population. America can still support Ethiopia and earn back the trust of the Ethiopian people. We still believe America is capable of standing for its founding values. If this continues, however, it’s clear that America will lose the hearts of Ethiopians to other super power influences.

As Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma from the Republican Party said: Other superpowers are already in Ethiopia, clearly ready to come off as more virtuous and supportive than the U.S. As of now, we still want to believe that it’s not the U.S. as a whole that wants to divide us, but rather a small arm of the current administration which is working hard to lose its longtime friend.

Nothing says “Black Lives Matter” like enforcing the unwanted will of the U.S. onto Africans through unsympathetic and harsh foreign policy on an already impoverished continent.

ETHIOPIA SHOULD CONVERT ENERGY DIRECTLY INTO SOVEREIGN MONEY

For Ethiopia, the only solution is to live outside of the centralized economic system of the world. If, instead of choosing between which foreign superpower should influence us, we want real sovereignty, we will need real, non-fiat, internationally-respected, hard money that we can produce entirely on our own. Freedom and sovereignty isn’t possible when all of the items we seek are audited by the centralized SWIFT system for days before they are allowed or denied.

Our developmental aspirations and wants are controlled by others who say “yes” or “no” based on how it benefits them. We need money we can move when we want to, money we can use to do what we want. We need the most secure, decentralized and incredible achievement of mankind that no superpower can tamper with. We need Bitcoin now more than ever.

ETHIOPIA CAN MAKE BILLIONS FROM MINING BITCOIN WITH LOCAL RESOURCES

Ethiopia doesn’t have much that it can sell without the approval of the superpower nations. The only thing that can be sold without anyone’s approval is energy — not to a nation, but to a network. The Bitcoin network pays energy providers (“miners”) with bitcoin and Ethiopia has enough installed generation capacity to make $4 billion to $6 billion per year, just in the short term — making the damages done by AGOA sanctions seem insignificant.

Ethiopia also has about 60,000 megawatts of untapped potential energy capacity, and with only 6,000 megawatts, Project Mano has projected that bitcoin mining would yield $2 billion to $3 billion annually at $25,000 BTC prices, or more like $4.5 billion to $5 billion at today’s BTC prices. Over 4,500 megawatts of power capacity has been built to support the AGOA-based companies that are leaving. That energy could immediately be used to generate even more money than it was generating while being used by the AGOA manufacturing companies. Ethiopia flagship project, GERD, can generate 6,000 megawatts by itself and remains remote, making it very expensive for internal or external use, but perfect for Bitcoin mining.

Alex Gladstein has written the following about how Bitcoin mining can help developing nations accelerate their growth, while simultaneously increasing their foreign currency and energy access:

Billions of people in developing nations face the stranded power problem. In order for their economies to grow, they have to expand their electrical infrastructure, a capital-intensive and complex undertaking. But when they … build power plants to try and capture renewable energy in remote places, that power often has nowhere to go…

Here is where bitcoin could be an incentives game-changer. New power plants, no matter how remote, can generate immediate revenue, even with no transmission lines, by directing their energy to the Bitcoin network and turning sunlight, water or wind into money…

With bitcoin, any excess energy can be directed to mining until the communities around the plant catch up.”

This is what Ethiopia should be doing to counter the AGOA sanctions: Provide power to the Bitcoin network to generate billions of dollars to use for its own aspirations, with un-sanctionable money that can be converted to any country’s currency at any time without anyone’s approval.

All Ethiopia needs to do to generate billions of dollars is to use its already-installed generation capacity. But that’s not where its potential ends. The 60,000 megawatts of potential energy that the country has is obviously not easy to realize. If Ethiopia invites Bitcoiners around the world to help us realize our energy potential, the kindest souls will come help set up power infrastructure that the population can use, while also helping to convert the excess energy into money that is fully sovereign.

All Ethiopia has to do is open its arms and express its energy aspirations. The nuances of these agreements will matter greatly, but if planned well, all Ethiopians will benefit.

Any power source, no matter how remote, can be used to mine bitcoin. The more energy we realize, the more we will develop our economy, the faster we close our trade deficits — the more bitcoin we will mine, the more energy we will realize, the more our economy grows. And this will all be a repeating cycle.

We sincerely ask the Ethiopian government to seriously look into mining Bitcoin to solve our most challenging problems and say “no more!” to the foreign interference into our culture and economy.

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Spotlight: 6 Things You Didn’t Know About The Weeknd

“Ethiopian music was the music I grew up on,” The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) said in an interview. “Artists like Tilahun Gessesse, Aster Aweke, and Mahmoud Ahmed. These are my subconscious inspirations. ‘The Hills’ was the first time you actually heard the Ethiopian language in my music.” (Photo: @theweekend/instagram)

6ix Buzz

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye started out as a quiet mysterious artist from the 6ix, but eventually grew to become one of the greatest artists of our generations.

With multiple albums under his belt, and with his most recent album “Dawn FM” to add to the collection, the Scarborough native shows no sign of slowing down.

Here are six things you didn’t know about The Weeknd.

1. He is very proud of his Ethiopian heritage

Abel Tesfaye was born to Ethiopian immigrants in Scarborough. He was raised mostly by his mother and his grandmother, which is why the first language he learned was Amharic.

He’s shared in interviews that as he grew older, he learned that his heritage acted as subconscious inspiration.

“Ethiopian music was the music I grew up on,” he told VMan in an interview. “Artists like Tilahun Gessesse, Aster Aweke, and Mahmoud Ahmed. These are my subconscious inspirations. ‘The Hills’ was the first time you actually heard the Ethiopian language in my music.”

2. He and a few other XO members founded a creative arts incubator in Toronto

A few years ago, The Weeknd and business partners La Mar Taylor and Ahmed Ismail launched an incubator in Toronto. Their goal was to create a place that could help encourage young creatives to chase their passions, the same way they did when they were younger.

The founders are responsible for many creative advancements locally and nationally, even participating in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of $221 million to support Black business.

The positive changes made by HXOUSE don’t include the several hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, that The Weeknd has donated on the side.

Read more »

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Notable African Deaths of 2021: Ethiopia’s Alemayehu Eshete

Known as the Ethiopian Elvis, Alemayehu became an iconic figure on Ethiopia's jazz scene from the 1960s and performed right up until his last years. (Getty Images)

BBC

Notable African deaths of 2021: From ‘Ethiopia’s Elvis’ to mega pastors

As 2021 [comes] to a close, it is time to remember some of the pioneering, inspiring and controversial figures on the African continent who died this year.


Getty Images

Here is a look at 10 of those to whom we have said farewell.

MUSICIAN Alemayehu Eshete, 80

Known as the Ethiopian Elvis, Alemayehu became an iconic figure on Ethiopia’s jazz scene from the 1960s and performed right up until his last years. From his young days, he was known for his cover versions of Elvis Presley and told the Guardian in 2008 that James Brown later became a great influence.


Getty Images

“I dressed like an American, grew my hair, sang Jailhouse Rock and Teddy Bear – sometimes we would do Strangers in the Night. But the moment that I started singing Amharic songs my popularity shot up,” he said.

In its notes about one of his albums, record seller Rough Trade said “he didn’t so much sing to his audience as seduce it, working himself and his fans into a sweat-soaked frenzy”.

Read more »

Related:

International Legacy of Ethiopia’s Music Legend Alemayehu Eshete

Remembering Alemayehu Eshete: Ethiopian Music Legend Passes Away at 80

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Ethiopia’s Superstar Teddy Afro on Obama’s List of Favorite Artists of 2021

In a pleasant surprise and much-needed break from the usual gloomy portrait of Ethiopia we've come to expect from U.S. officials and media, former President Barack Obama announced that the new Ethiopian song 'Armash' አርማሽ (ቀና በል) by Ethiopia's superstar Teddy Afro is among his favorite music of 2021. (Photo: Teddy Afro at Echostage in Washington D.C, 2012/By Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: December 18th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s superstar Teddy Afro has been named one of President Barack Obama’s favorite artists.

The former U.S. President listed Teddy’s new single ‘Armash’ አርማሽ (ቀና በል) in his annual playlist released this week featuring his favorite songs of the year.

“I’ve always enjoyed listening to a wide variety of music, so it’s no surprise that I listened to a little bit of everything this year,” Obama said in a Twitter post. “I hope you find a new artist or song to add to your own playlist.”

Listen: TEDDY AFRO – አርማሽ (ቀና በል) – [New! Official Single 2021] – With Lyrics

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The Jerusalem Post: Ethiopia and the Legend of the Lost Ark

The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Ethiopia which is claimed to contain the Ark of the Covenant. A longstanding religious legend in Ethiopia describes how the Ark of the Covenant was brought there 3,000 years ago. (Image via YouTube)

The Jerusalem Post

A fascinating connection between Ethiopia and Jewish history is the belief that the Ark of the Covenant, containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments, may reside to this day in Ethiopia. While a Talmudic source relates that the ark – along with several other of the Temple’s sacred objects – was hidden just prior to the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, numerous other theories exist as to its whereabouts.

A longstanding religious legend in Ethiopia describes how the Ark of the Covenant was brought there 3,000 years ago by a man named Menelik, who, according to the legend, was the son of the Queen of Sheba and Israel’s King Solomon. The legend states that the Queen of Sheba was from Ethiopia and that she traveled to Jerusalem, where she was seduced by King Solomon, giving birth to Menelik upon her return home. Menelik later traveled to Jerusalem and studied with his father before taking the ark and bringing it to Ethiopia, where, legend has it, it still resides in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Aksum, where only “The Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant” can view it.

Others maintain that a sect of Jews driven by King Manasseh from Israel took the ark with them and transported it to Egypt, from where they eventually sailed up the Nile to Ethiopia.

Researchers who journeyed to Aksum and made their way to Mary of Zion Church were purportedly introduced to a man referred to as the guardian of the ark. This man was said to live his entire life inside a fenced-off area surrounding the church and will not leave his post until he dies, at which time he will be replaced by the next guardian. In the chapel of the church, 30 robes from 30 previous guardians are on display – and every one of those 30 professed that the object they protected was the true Ark of the Covenant.

While others dispute and debunk this legend – claiming that, at most, the ark in the church is merely a replica of the real thing – it fits neatly with the claim by Ethiopia’s former emperor Haile Selassie that he was a direct descendant of Menelik. Selassie, who ruled Ethiopia from 1930-1974, called himself “the Lion of Judah,” the 225th king descended from King David, and prominently displayed a Lion of Judah motif on the country’s flag and currency.

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History: In Geneva Ethiopia Appealed for Reason, Europe Dropped the Ball

Emperor Haile Selassie speaking at the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland in 1936. On the eve of this week's controversial EU organized UN hearing there on Ethiopia, which is unanimously opposed by African countries, the historic speech given during the second Italo-Ethiopian War is getting renewed attention in Ethiopian media and online social platforms. Below is text and video of the speech. (Photo: LC)

ETHIOPIA’s APPEAL TO THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS

Haile Selassie
June, 1936.
Geneva, Switzerland.

“I, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, am here today to claim that justice which is due to my people, and the assistance promised to it eight months ago, when fifty nations asserted that aggression had been committed in violation of international treaties.

There is no precedent for a Head of State himself speaking in this assembly. But there is also no precedent for a people being victim of such injustice and being at present threatened by abandonment to its aggressor. Also, there has never before been an example of any Government proceeding to the systematic extermination of a nation by barbarous means, in violation of the most solemn promises made by the nations of the earth that there should not be used against innocent human beings the terrible poison of harmful gases. It is to defend a people struggling for its age-old independence that the head of the Ethiopian Empire has come to Geneva to fulfil this supreme duty, after having himself fought at the head of his armies.

I pray to Almighty God that He may spare nations the terrible sufferings that have just been inflicted on my people, and of which the chiefs who accompany me here have been the horrified witnesses.

It is my duty to inform the Governments assembled in Geneva, responsible as they are for the lives of millions of men, women and children, of the deadly peril which threatens them, by describing to them the fate which has been suffered by Ethiopia. It is not only upon warriors that the Italian Government has made war. It has above all attacked populations far removed from hostilities, in order to terrorize and exterminate them.

Watch: 1936 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia Addresses League of Nations

At the beginning, towards the end of 1935, Italian aircraft hurled upon my armies bombs of tear-gas. Their effects were but slight. The soldiers learned to scatter, waiting until the wind had rapidly dispersed the poisonous gases. The Italian aircraft then resorted to mustard gas. Barrels of liquid were hurled upon armed groups. But this means also was not effective; the liquid affected only a few soldiers, and barrels upon the ground were themselves a warning to troops and to the population of the danger.

It was at the time when the operations for the encircling of Makalle were taking place that the Italian command, fearing a rout, followed the procedure which it is now my duty to denounce to the world. Special sprayers were installed on board aircraft so that they could vaporize, over vast areas of territory, a fine, death-dealing rain. Groups of nine, fifteen, eighteen aircraft followed one another so that the fog issuing from them formed a continuous sheet. It was thus that, as from the end of January, 1936, soldiers, women, children, cattle, rivers, lakes and pastures were drenched continually with this deadly rain. In order to kill off systematically all living creatures, in order to more surely to poison waters and pastures, the Italian command made its aircraft pass over and over again. That was its chief method of warfare.

Ravage and Terror

The very refinement of barbarism consisted in carrying ravage and terror into the most densely populated parts of the territory, the points farthest removed from the scene of hostilities. The object was to scatter fear and death over a great part of the Ethiopian territory. These fearful tactics succeeded. Men and animals succumbed. The deadly rain that fell from the aircraft made all those whom it touched fly shrieking with pain. All those who drank the poisoned water or ate the infected food also succumbed in dreadful suffering. In tens of thousands, the victims of the Italian mustard gas fell. It is in order to denounce to the civilized world the tortures inflicted upon the Ethiopian people that I resolved to come to Geneva. None other than myself and my brave companions in arms could bring the League of Nations the undeniable proof. The appeals of my delegates addressed to the League of Nations had remained without any answer; my delegates had not been witnesses. That is why I decided to come myself to bear witness against the crime perpetrated against my people and give Europe a warning of the doom that awaits it, if it should bow before the accomplished fact.

Is it necessary to remind the Assembly of the various stages of the Ethiopian drama? For 20 years past, either as Heir Apparent, Regent of the Empire, or as Emperor, I have never ceased to use all my efforts to bring my country the benefits of civilization, and in particular to establish relations of good neighbourliness with adjacent powers. In particular I succeeded in concluding with Italy the Treaty of Friendship of 1928, which absolutely prohibited the resort, under any pretext whatsoever, to force of arms, substituting for force and pressure the conciliation and arbitration on which civilized nations have based international order.

Country More United

In its report of October 5th 193S, the Committee of Thirteen recognized my effort and the results that I had achieved. The Governments thought that the entry of Ethiopia into the League, whilst giving that country a new guarantee for the maintenance of her territorial integrity and independence, would help her to reach a higher level of civilization. It does not seem that in Ethiopia today there is more disorder and insecurity than in 1923. On the contrary, the country is more united and the central power is better obeyed.

I should have procured still greater results for my people if obstacles of every kind had not been put in the way by the Italian Government, the Government which stirred up revolt and armed the rebels. Indeed the Rome Government, as it has today openly proclaimed, has never ceased to prepare for the conquest of Ethiopia. The Treaties of Friendship it signed with me were not sincere; their only object was to hide its real intention from me. The Italian Goverment asserts that for 14 years it has been preparing for its present conquest. It therefore recognizes today that when it supported the admission of Ethiopia to the League of Nations in 1923, when it concluded the Treaty of Friendship in 1928, when it signed the Pact of Paris outlawing war, it was deceiving the whole world. The Ethiopian Government was, in these solemn treaties, given additional guarantees of security which would enable it to achieve further progress along the specific path of reform on which it had set its feet, and to which it was devoting all its strength and all its heart.

Wal-Wal Pretext

The Wal-Wal incident, in December, 1934, came as a thunderbolt to me. The Italian provocation was obvious and I did not hesitate to appeal to the League of Nations. I invoked the provisions of the treaty of 1928, the principles of the Covenant; I urged the procedure of conciliation and arbitration. Unhappily for Ethiopia this was the time when a certain Government considered that the European situation made it imperative at all costs to obtain the friendship of Italy. The price paid was the abandonment of Ethiopian independence to the greed of the Italian Government. This secret agreement, contrary to the obligations of the Covenant, has exerted a great influence over the course of events. Ethiopia and the whole world have suffered and are still suffering today its disastrous consequences.

This first violation of the Covenant was followed by many others. Feeling itself encouraged in its policy against Ethiopia, the Rome Government feverishly made war preparations, thinking that the concerted pressure which was beginning to be exerted on the Ethiopian Government, might perhaps not overcome the resistance of my people to Italian domination. The time had to come, thus all sorts of difficulties were placed in the way with a view to breaking up the procedure; of conciliation and arbitration. All kinds of obstacles were placed in the way of that procedure. Governments tried to prevent the Ethiopian Government from finding arbitrators amongst their nationals: when once the arbitral tribunal a was set up pressure was exercised so that an award favourable to Italy should be given.

All this was in vain: the arbitrators, two of whom were Italian officials, were forced to recognize unanimously that in the Wal-Wal incident, as in the subsequent incidents, no international responsibility was to be attributed to Ethiopia.

Peace Efforts

Following on this award. the Ethiopian Government sincerely thought that an era of friendly relations might be opened with Italy. I loyally offered my hand to the Roman Government. The Assembly was informed by the report of the Committee of Thirteen, dated October 5th, 1935, of the details of the events which occurred after the month of December, 1934, and up to October 3rd, 1935.

It will be sufficient if I quote a few of the conclusions of that report Nos. 24, 25 and 26 “The Italian memorandum (containing the complaints made by Italy) was laid on the Council table on September 4th, 1935, whereas Ethiopia’s first appeal to the Council had been made on December 14th, 1934. In the interval between these two dates, the Italian Government opposed the consideration of the question by the Council on the ground that the only appropriate procedure was that provided for in the Italo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1928. Throughout the whole of that period, moreover, the despatch of Italian troops to East Africa was proceeding. These shipments of troops were represented to the Council by the Italian Government as necessary for the defense of its colonies menaced by Ethiopia’s preparations. Ethiopia, on the contrary, drew attention to the official pronouncements made in Italy which, in its opinion, left no doubt “as to the hostile intentions of the Italian Government.”

From the outset of the dispute, the Ethiopian Government has sought a settlement by peaceful means. It has appealed to the procedures of the Covenant. The Italian Government desiring to keep strictly to the procedures of the Italo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1928, the Ethiopian Government assented. It invariably stated that it would faithfully carry out the arbitral award even if the decision went against it. It agreed that the question of the ownership of Wal-Wal should not be dealt with by the arbitrators, because the Italian Government would not agree to such a course. It asked the Council to despatch neutral observers and offered to lend itself to any enquiries upon which the Council might decide.

Once the Wal-Wal dispute had been settled by arbiration, however, the Italian Govemmcnt submitted its detailed memorandum to the Council in support of its claim to liberty of action. It asserted that a case like that of Ethiopia cannot be settled by the means provided by the Covenant. It stated that, “since this question affects vital interest and is of primary importance to Italian security and civilization” it “would be failing in its most elementary duty, did it not cease once and for all to place any confidence in Ethiopia, reserving full liberty to adopt any measures that may become necessary to ensure the safety of its colonies and to safeguard its own interests.”

Covenant Violated

Those are the terms of the report of the Committee of Thirteen, The Council and the Assembly unanimously adopted the conclusion that the Italian Government had violated the Covenant and was in a state of aggression. I did not hesitate to declare that I did not wish for war, that it was imposed upon me, and I should struggle solely for the independence and integrity of my people, and that in that struggle I was the defender of the cause of all small States exposed to the greed of a powerful neighbour.

In October, 1935. the 52 nations who are listening to me today gave me an assurance that the aggressor would not triumph, that the resources of the Covenant would be employed in order to ensure the reign of right and the failure of violence.

I ask the fifty-two nations not to forget today the policy upon which they embarked eight months ago, and on faith of which I directed the resistance of my people against the aggressor whom they had denounced to the world. Despite the inferiority of my weapons, the complete lack of aircraft, artillery, munitions, hospital services, my confidence in the League was absolute. I thought it to be impossible that fifty-two nations, including the most powerful in the world, should be successfully opposed by a single aggressor. Counting on the faith due to treaties, I had made no preparation for war, and that is the case with certain small countries in Europe.

When the danger became more urgent, being aware of my responsibilities towards my people, during the first six months of 1935 I tried to acquire armaments. Many Governments proclaimed an embargo to prevent my doing so, whereas the Italian Government through the Suez Canal, was given all facilities for transporting without cessation and without protest, troops, arms, and munitions.

Forced to Mobilize

On October 3rd, 1935, the Italian troops invaded my territory. A few hours later only I decreed general mobilization. In my desire to maintain peace I had, following the example of a great country in Europe on the eve of the Great War, caused my troops to withdraw thirty kilometres so as to remove any pretext of provocation.

War then took place in the atrocious conditions which I have laid before the Assembly. In that unequal struggle between a Government commanding more than forty-two million inhabitants, having at its disposal financial, industrial and technical means which enabled it to create unlimited quantities of the most death-dealing weapons, and, on the other hand, a small people of twelve million inhabitants, without arms, without resources having on its side only the justice of its own cause and the promise of the League of Nations. What real assistance was given to Ethiopia by the fifty two nations who had declared the Rome Government guilty of a breach of the Covenant and had undertaken to prevent the triumph of the aggressor? Has each of the States Members, as it was its duty to do in virtue of its signature appended to Article 15 of the Covenant, considered the aggressor as having committed an act of war personally directed against itself? I had placed all my hopes in the execution of these undertakings. My confidence had been confirmed by the repeated declarations made in the Council to the effect that aggression must not be rewarded, and that force would end by being compelled to bow before right.

In December, 1935, the Council made it quite clear that its feelings were in harmony with those of hundreds of millions of people who, in all parts of the world, had protested against the proposal to dismember Ethiopia. It was constantly repeated that there was not merely a conflict between the Italian Government and the League of Nadons, and that is why I personally refused all proposals to my personal advantage made to me by the Italian Government, if only I would betray my people and the Covenant of the League of Nations. I was defending the cause of all small peoples who are threatened with aggression.

What of Promises?

What have become of the promises made to me as long ago as October, 1935? I noted with grief, but without surprise that three Powers considered their undertakings under the Covenant as absolutely of no value. Their connections with Italy impelled them to refuse to take any measures whatsoever in order to stop Italian aggression. On the contrary, it was a profound disappointment to me to learn the attitude of a certain Government which, whilst ever protesting its scrupulous attachment to the Covenant, has tirelessly used all its efforts to prevent its observance. As soon as any measure which was likely to be rapidly effective was proposed, various pretexts were devised in order to postpone even consideration of the measure. Did the secret agreements of January, 1935, provide for this tireless obstruction?

The Ethiopian Government never expected other Governments to shed their soldiers’ blood to defend the Covenant when their own immediately personal interests were not at stake. Ethiopian warriors asked only for means to defend themselves. On many occasions I have asked for financial assistance for the purchase of arms That assistance has been constantly refused me. What, then, in practice, is the meaning of Article 16 of the Covenant and of collective security?

The Ethiopian Government’s use of the railway from Djibouti to Addis Ababa was in practice a hazardous regards transport of arms intended for the Ethiopian forces. At the present moment this is the chief, if not the only means of supply of the Italian armies of occupation. The rules of neutrality should have prohibited transports intended for Italian forces, but there is not even neutrality since Article 16 lays upon every State Member of the League the duty not to remain a neutral but to come to the aid not of the aggressor but of the victim of aggression. Has the Covenant been respected? Is it today being respected?

Finally a statement has just been made in their Parliaments by the Governments of certain Powers, amongst them the most influential members of the League of Nations, that since the aggressor has succeeded in occupying a large part of Ethiopian territory they propose not to continue the application of any economic and financial measures that may have been decided upon against the Italian Government. These are the circumstances in which at the request of the Argentine Government, the Assembly of the League of Nations meets to consider the situation created by Italian aggression. I assert that the problem submitted to the Assembly today is a much wider one. It is not merely a question of the settlement of Italian aggression.

League Threatened

It is collective security: it is the very existence of the League of Nations. It is the confidence that each State is to place in international treaties. It is the value of promises made to small States that their integrity and their independence shall be respected and ensured. It is the principle of the equality of States on the one hand, or otherwise the obligation laid upon smail Powers to accept the bonds of vassalship. In a word, it is international morality that is at stake. Have the signatures appended to a Treaty value only in so far as the signatory Powers have a personal, direct and immediate interest involved?

No subtlety can change the problem or shift the grounds of the discussion. It is in all sincerity that I submit these considerations to the Assembly. At a time when my people are threatened with extermination, when the support of the League may ward off the final blow, may I be allowed to speak with complete frankness, without reticence, in all directness such as is demanded by the rule of equality as between all States Members of the League?

Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment.

Assistance Refused

I have heard it asserted that the inadequate sanctions already applied have not achieved their object. At no time, and under no circumstances could sanctions that were intentionally inadequate, intentionally badly applied, stop an aggressor. This is not a case of the impossibility of stopping an aggressor but of the refusal to stop an aggressor. When Ethiopia requested and requests that she should be given financial assistance, was that a measure which it was impossible to apply whereas financial assistance of the League has been granted, even in times of peace, to two countries and exactly to two countries who have refused to apply sanctions against the aggressor?

Faced by numerous violations by the Italian Government of all international treaties that prohibit resort to arms, and the use of barbarous methods of warfare, it is my painful duty to note that the initiative has today been taken with a view to raising sanctions. Does this initiative not mean in practice the abandonment of Ethiopia to the aggressor? On the very eve of the day when I was about to attempt a supreme effort in the defense of my people before this Assembly does not this initiative deprive Ethiopia of one of her last chances to succeed in obtaining the support and guarantee of States Members? Is that the guidance the League of Nations and each of the States Members are entitled to expect from the great Powers when they assert their right and their duty to guide the action of the League? Placed by the aggressor face to face with the accomplished fact, are States going to set up the terrible precendent of bowing before force?

Your Assembly will doubtless have laid before it proposals for the reform of the Covenant and for rendering more effective the guarantee of collective security. Is it the Covenant that needs reform? What undertakings can have any value if the will to keep them is lacking? It is international morality which is at stake and not the Articles of the Covenant. On behalf of the Ethiopian people, a member of the League of Nations, I request the Assembly to take all measures proper to ensure respect for the Covenant. I renew my protest against the violations of treaties of which the Ethiopian people has been the victim. I declare in the face of the whole world that the Emperor, the Government and the people of Ethiopia will not bow before force; that they maintain their claims that they will use all means in their power to ensure the triumph of right and the respect of the Covenant.

I ask the fifty-two nations, who have given the Ethiopian people a promise to help them in their resistance to the aggressor, what are they willing to do for Ethiopia? And the great Powers who have promised the guarantee of collective security to small States on whom weighs the threat that they may one day suffer the fate of Ethiopia, I ask what measures do you intend to take?

Representatives of the World I have come to Geneva to discharge in your midst the most painful of the duties of the head of a State. What reply shall I have to take back to my people?”

June, 1936. Geneva, Switzerland.

Related:

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UPDATE: At the UN Africa Stands With Ethiopia Amid EU’s Latest PR Stunt

This week at the United Nations African countries unanimously sided with Ethiopia opposing the EU-led planned special session on the internal matter with TPLF. As The East African newspaper notes: "On Tuesday, none of the continent’s 13 representatives in the 47-member body of the UN, based in Geneva, backed a proposal to have the Human Rights Council discuss Ethiopia as had been proposed by the European Union." (UN photo)

The East African

Africa backs Addis protest against UN session on Ethiopia human rights

African countries have rallied behind Ethiopia in protesting against a planned special session at the UN Human Rights Council, which is aimed at reprimanding Addis Ababa’s alleged war atrocities in Tigray region.

On Tuesday, none of the continent’s 13 representatives in the 47-member body of the UN, based in Geneva, backed a proposal to have the Human Rights Council discuss Ethiopia as had been proposed by the European Union.

The session was due to be held later on Tuesday but the suggestion lacked African support.

Those pushing for the debate were mostly Western members of the Council, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Denmark.

The revelations emerged a day after Ethiopia issued a call to members of the Council to reject what it called a “regrettable” move to have the Tigray war discussed for the possibility of creating a special team to investigate war crimes in the country.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the move had a “politically motivated objective” and accused some members of the human rights body of choosing “to advance their political agenda through the work of the Council.”

“Ethiopia therefore calls on members of the Council to categorically reject and vote against the special session and its politically motivated outcome,” it said on Monday in a statement.

“What should have been a priority for the Council instead was the urgent task of carrying out investigation into the violations of human rights and atrocities committed by the TPLF terrorist group in the Afar and Amhara regional states. It is unfortunate to witness that no such call has come forth from some in the Council.’

The proposal to discuss Ethiopia emerged last Friday, pushed by the European Union.

On Monday, EU’s Head of Delegation to the UN in Geneva, Lotte Knudsen, wrote a joint letter with Slovak Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Anita Pipan, asking for a special session “because of the importance and urgency of the situation” in Ethiopia.

They said the request had the support of both members and observer states of the Human Rights Council, such as the US (which only returned to supporting the body after President Donald Trump left power.)

As is the rule, such a move required at least a third of the members supporting and according to the letter, 17 members of the Council and 35 non-members endorsed the call to have it go on later on Tuesday.

None of Africa’s members of the Council endorsed the move and none of the non-members who support the call came from Africa.

The continent is currently represented by Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Eritrea, Libya, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Togo.

They are all serving three-year terms on the Council, although their start dates are staggered as is tradition with the Council.

The call though has been endorsed by other members, including South Korea, Fiji, Ukraine, Japan, Poland, Netherlands, Mexico and Bulgaria.

“The Human Rights Council has to stand up to its responsibilities,” Knudsen said on Monday, amplifying the call by EU High Representative Josep Borrel who had said the world has not reacted “properly to the large-scale human rights violations, mass rapes using sexual violence as a war arm, killings and concentration camps based on ethnic belonging.”

The problem though, says Ethiopia, is that discussing the country’s war problem appears to repeat what has already been done.

Earlier in August, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights conducted a joint investigation into alleged rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law and refugee law.

It found that both the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government forces and allied militia had committed atrocities, including killings, rape, forcible displacement and torture. But it did not find evidence of genocide.

Ethiopia says it has since formed a multiagency taskforce to implement some of the proposals in the report, including prosecution, rehabilitation of those who surrender, humanitarian service as well as assisting those who were sexually violated.

The problem though is that the war hasn’t stopped.

The government and the TPLF, once a ruling party and now a proscribed group, have been fighting since November last year.

The war has led to a large-scale humanitarian crisis, besides deaths of civilians, according to the UN.

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In Jamaica Pan-Africanists Rally in Defense of Ethiopia Outside US Embassy

Peaceful protesters outside the US Embassy in Jamaica this weekend. Organizers of the gathering, which included pan-Africanists, Rastafarians and Ethiopians, said they were calling out the widely panned and misguided US posture in Ethiopia's conflict with TPLF. (Photos: Jamaica Observer & Jamaica Gleaner)

Jamaica Observer

By Observer staff reporter

‘America must mind its own business’

Local Rastas march on US Embassy protesting its backing of Ethiopia rebel forces

“Leave Ethiopia alone and mind your own business.” That was the message wrapped up in the chants of scores of Rastafari, Ethiopian, and pan-Africanist representatives yesterday as they staged what they called a peaceful protest outside the US Embassy in St Andrew.

The demonstration signalled the groups’ disapproval of the USA’s backing of rebel forces in Tigray, Ethiopia, who are fighting against Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Veteran Rastafarian reggae artiste Tony Rebel, who was part of the protest, said the move was to show solidarity with their black brothers and sisters in Ethiopia.

“When His Majesty Haile Selassie came forward, he said Ethiopia and Jamaica, we are one. We are saying to the United ‘snakes’ of America that they should take their hands out of Ethiopia,” he said.

One female protester, who requested anonymity, directed her rebuke not only at the US Government, but also Western media, which she asked to “back off of Ethiopia”.

“America must mind their own business. They are promising sanctions on Ethiopia and trying to demonise the prime minister. The US has been backing the rebel forces and demonising the Ethiopian Government. We in Jamaica have always seen ourselves as Ethiopians abroad because Halie Selassie came here in 1966 and said that Ethiopians and Jamaicans are blood brothers, so when there is a crisis in Ethiopia it affects all of us,” she said.

She stated that the average Jamaican will watch news from foreign outlets and think it is a tribal war that they should not care about.

She however said it’s our business, and Jamaicans should stand up to the USA and its propaganda.

“We were sending the US a message that they should leave Ethiopian people alone and stop taking sides with a terrorist group. Last week the Ethiopians in America went to CNN headquarters telling them to stop telling lies in the media that Ethiopia is creating genocide. Nothing like genocide is happening. All the prime minister is doing is defending the sovereign rights of the people,” she said.

Rastas protest US meddling in Ethiopian conflict

The Gleaner

Inspector Earle Grant speaking with Rastafarian protesters during a demonstration in front of the United States Embassy in Liguanea, St Andrew, yesterday. The group said they were objecting to what they termed as the meddling of the United States in the yearlong conflict between the Ethiopian government and rebels.

One of the leaders of a protest staged yesterday across from the United States (US) Embassy in Liguanea, St Andrew, objecting to what is said was that country’s meddling in the current Ethiopian conflict, has declared that he would have no objection to the US yanking his visa for his stance.

There have been mounting global concern and calls for a peaceful resolution to the yearlong conflict between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and rebels, who have joined a coalition of opposition groups, threatening his hold on power.

The United States has been one of the harshest critics of the Ethiopian government during the crisis, repeatedly calling for an end to the conflict as it urges the parties to hammer out a ceasefire agreement.

The United Nations has said that all parties to the conflict had violated international humanitarian law, citing reports of massacres, gang-rapes and ethnic cleansing with most of the offences carried out by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces.

Yesterday, Haile Mikael Brissett, a deacon of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Jamaica and one of the leaders of the protest, blasted Western media for what he said was its spread of propaganda regarding the conflict as he and scores of Rastafarians gathered across from the American embassy.

“We are proud Ethiopians abroad and we stand in solidarity with what’s going on in Ethiopia. We say, ‘All for one and one for all’. Ethiopia was the only African country that wasn’t colonised. Ethiopia also is the Horn of Africa, so we here in Jamaica want the world to know that Africans at home and Africans abroad should be saying the same thing,” Brissett told The Gleaner.

“What we are doing here today is very symbolic. It’s a peaceful protest and we really appreciate the solidarity of our brothers and sisters – not just Rastafarians, but also Pan African members, Maroons; members who really want to see freedom,” said Brissett.

Some of the Rastafarians told The Gleaner that they chose to protest across from the US Embassy as a form of outcry at the position they said the US has taken, along with its allies, mainly in Europe, which are in support of the rebel forces.

The protesters said they were standing in solidarity with the people of Ethiopia in their efforts to restore law and order and to put down armed insurrection from the rebel group led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and against all forms of foreign interference in Ethiopia’s internal affairs.

Brissett, who still holds a US visa, once travelled to Ethiopia in 2012 for clergy training and he had a connecting flight from Jamaica in Washington DC before arriving in Ethiopia.

“You have to lose some things to gain some things, so if a visa is lost, no problem with that for me, personally,” he said. “So if they want to revoke my visa, Jamaica is full of so much potential, Jamaica is so rich, Jamaica has so much wealth, so if I’m to stay here for the next 20, 30, 40 years, or the rest of my life, I am good with that because Ethiopia is within me.”

Brissett’s view was shared by other members of the Rastafarian community who were protesting.

Although the permit granted by the police to the protesters outlined that they should have been located on a parcel of land across from the US Embassy and at the entrance to Standpipe, some minutes after 10 a.m., some protesters walked on to the sidewalk immediately in front of the US Embassy, with cops advising them to leave.

Inspector Earle Grant, Matilda’s Corner Police Station commander, also instructed the protesters repeatedly to go within the boundaries of the area within which they applied for 10 persons to protest, while observing social distancing, but they refused and took to the sidewalks of Liguanea with their placards, some of which read ‘United Nations and America Need to Repent’, ‘War in Tigray’, ‘Hands off Ethiopia’, and ‘Defend Ethiopia Now’.

“They were given permission to demonstrate within the perimeters of the fencing area. It was in their application to the commissioner of police, hence permission was granted for them to demonstrate within that land space and not on the outskirts,” Grant told The Gleaner.

“The police can take some action, but we don’t want to ignite the situation. We just want to have a peaceful protest with respect for the rule of law, and we ask for compliance, not to obstruct pedestrians and using the sidewalk, and not to cause a traffic congestion,” he added.

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These Stone Monoliths in Southern Ethiopia Are 1,000 Years Older Than Thought (WSU)

Published in the Journal of African Archaeology, the team applied radiocarbon dating to monoliths from the Sakaro Sodo archaeological site in the Gedeo zone.“This is one of the most understudied archaeological sites in the world, and we wanted to change that,” said Ashenafi Zena, lead author of the study and a former Washington State University doctoral researcher now at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. (WSU))

WSU

Ethiopian monoliths are 1,000 years older than previously thought

Researchers from Washington State University have suggested that the giant stone monoliths of southern Ethiopia are 1,000 years older than previously thought.

Published in the Journal of African Archaeology, the team applied radiocarbon dating to monoliths from the Sakaro Sodo archaeological site in the Gedeo zone.

Sakaro Sodo is known to have the largest number and highest concentration of megalithic stele monuments in Africa, with an estimate of more than 10,000 stelae in sixty or more clusters.

The monoliths were first studied by French researchers in the 1990’s, where they proposed a construction date of around AD 1100.

With the results obtained from the latest study, this has been revised to sometime during the first century AD.

“This is one of the most understudied archaeological sites in the world, and we wanted to change that,” said Ashenafi Zena, lead author of the study and a former WSU doctoral researcher now at the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Zena, an Ethiopian native, originally decided to conduct a study of the stones after traveling to the region with his doctoral advisor Andrew Duff, a WSU professor of anthropology, in 2013.

“It was shocking to see such a large number of monuments in such a small area,” Zena said. “Looking at the stones, many of which had fallen to the ground and some have broken into pieces, I decided to focus my dissertation work there instead of investigating cave sites in southern Ethiopia.”

In addition to pushing back the date of the earliest monoliths’ construction by a millennium, the researchers also determined where the ancient builders of the site likely quarried raw stone for the project. They also identified, for the first time, the earliest known sources of obsidian artefacts that were recovered from the Gedeo stele sites.
Surprisingly, most of the obsidian the researchers identified at Sakaro Sodo originated some 300 km away in northern Kenya, illustrating that the people at Sakaro Sodo obtained most of their obsidian raw materials through some form of exchange or trade.

While little is known about the pastoral and/or agricultural people who populated the Sakaro Sodo region of southern Ethiopia at the turn of the first millennium, the new construction dates of the stele monuments identified by Zena and Duff appear to coincide with the arrival of domesticated animals in the region and the beginnings of more complex social and economic systems.

“One of the reasons why this research is important is because it has the potential to shed new light on what the earliest people in this area were doing for a living as well as what their cultural and social practices were,” Duff said.

Existing archaeological, ethnographic, and living megalithic stele traditions in the region suggest that the oldest stele sites in Ethiopia at Sakaro Sodo and other nearby locations were likely created for two purposes: to commemorate the transfer of power from one generation to the next or to record and commemorate group achievement.

“The diversity of function of the stele in Ethiopia is really fascinating,” Duff said. “For example, we know that the more recently constructed stele monuments of Tuto Fela in the north part of Gedeo were used as burial markers. While the linear placement pattern of the earliest stones at Sakaro Sodo makes us think they may have been markers to signify the passing of generational leadership.”

While the political situation and the recent escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia make following up on the investigation in the near term difficult, the researchers have several future projects in the works that they hope to continue as soon as possible.

One project involves more additional archaeological investigations at other stele sites in the areas with colleagues at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. The other is a project led by Duff and current WSU doctoral student Addisalem Melesse who are working with the Ethiopian Department of Archaeology and Heritage Management to determine how the stele sites can be better managed to both preserve the heritage of the region and generate tourism.

“Developing a better understanding of the function of these stones and how they were erected is really useful in terms of gaining a UNESCO World Heritage designation,” Duff said. “This could in turn help generate tourism revenue, which is a major economic factor for the country.”

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Warning to Democrats: Ethiopian American Voters Ready to Bolt Over Foreign Policy

Across America Ethiopian American voters, who are traditionally a reliable democratic base, are mobilizing on social media and other platforms - as they did in Virginia this past November -- to support the Republican take over of the U.S. Congress next year. As the following report from North Carolina indicate the community at large feels deeply disappointed as well as ignored and betrayed by the Biden administration's now ridiculous approach towards Ethiopia. (Photo: Ethiopians protest in Raleigh, North Carolina/Indy week).

Indy week

Ethiopian Americans Dissatisfied with the Biden Administration’s Foreign Policy Positions Towards the African Nation Could Mean Democrats Can’t Rely on Their Votes in Next Year’s Elections

Last month, Teshale Gebremichael helped organize a protest for members of North Carolina’s Ethiopian American communities who condemned the U.S. government’s support of what they describe as a “terrorist” group that is attempting to usurp their country’s democratically elected government.

On November 21, the demonstrators assembled in front of the old state capitol grounds near the intersection of Hillsborough and Salisbury Streets at about three p.m. before marching to the front of the old Wake County Courthouse on Fayetteville Street. There, a man with a bullhorn exhorted the crowd to a call-and-response protest.

“African solutions for African problems!” he shouted into the bullhorn.

“African solutions for African problems!” his countrymen and women replied in unison.

“We are united!”

“No more! We say no more!”

“We stand with Ethiopia!”

“We stand with the Ethiopian government!”

Gebremichael, an Ethiopian American, has been living in the Triangle for over a decade.

“Why is the Biden administration standing with bad people? Why is Biden standing with gangsters?” Gebremichael asked, while speaking with the INDY last week. “And now our country is about to fall apart.”

Nearly 200 Ethiopian Americans, many of them wrapped in the red-green-and-gold flags of one of the world’s oldest nations, assembled at the old state capitol and voiced their disapproval on a day when similar protests were taking place across the globe.

The Ethiopian American protesters were joined by expatriates from neighboring Eritrea and gathered under a banner stating #NoMore to denounce what they described as the Biden administration’s “disastrous foreign policy” by way of sanctions that have hurt their country; the threat of sending U.S. ground troops into the country, and a disinformation campaign carried out by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to discredit the current government.

It’s a complicated issue.

A civil war erupted late last year between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and inhabitants of the country’s Tigray region…

That conflict is more than 8,000 miles away in the country’s northern region. The fighting and subsequent U.S. government sanctions could have dire consequences for Democratic Party candidates during the 2022 election. If President Joe Biden does not lift the sanctions, Ethiopian Americans here and across the United States are threatening to vote for Republicans next year.

Ethiopian Americans typically cast their votes for Democratic Party candidates, but they are deeply hurt by the Biden administration’s decision on September 17 to authorize sanctions that do not single out specific factions but hold the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea and the Tigray forces responsible for participating in a civil war that has left “nearly one million people living in famine-like conditions” while “millions more face acute food insecurity as a direct consequence of the violence,” according to a White House statement.

“I am appalled by the reports of mass murder, rape, and other sexual violence to terrorize civilian populations,” stated President Biden, who added that the “sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea but rather the individuals and entities perpetrating the violence and driving a humanitarian disaster.”

But Ethiopian Americans here in the Triangle, and across the globe, say the sanctions are hurting their families and neighbors back home in an impoverished country that ranks 173 out of 189 countries and territories in human development, according to the 2020 Human Development Report.

On November 2, Biden suspended Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) “for gross violations of internationally recognised human rights,” according to Reuters. Days later, officials with the global fashion giant PVH Corp. announced that the company was shutting down a manufacturing factory in Ethiopia, owing to the loss of duty-free access to the United States because of the war.

Muna Mengesha, one of the organizers of the Raleigh protest and a real estate agent and mother of two, told the INDY the factory closing has left 150,000 people without work, but according to Reuters, officials in her homeland warned the shutdown “could take away 1 million jobs, disproportionately hurting poor women, who are the majority of garment workers.”

Mengesha says that in addition to factory workers losing their jobs in Addis Ababa, the country’s suspension from AGOA is also being felt in the rural parts of the country.

“Without AGOA, small farmers can’t send what they produce to the United States tax free,” she explains. “That’s their livelihood. That’s how they send their kids to school. That’s how they provide for their family.” Raleigh’s protest organizers say there’s currently a global movement among Ethiopia expatriates to heed Prime Minister Abiy’s call to return home for the Christmas holidays with the aim of supporting their country’s economy to offset the Biden administration’s sanctions.

“It’s a big movement right now,” Gebremichael said. “I’m not going because I went back last year. But I wish I could.”

Ethiopian expatriates point to last month’s gubernatorial election in Virginia where the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, narrowly beat incumbent governor Terry McAuliffe. According to reports, a coordinated effort from Ethiopian expatriate voters helped contribute to Youngkin’s narrow margin of victory.

“That’s the plan here, too,” Mengesha said. “Personally, I don’t want to vote Republican, but at the end of the day that’s my homeland. In Virginia, people who don’t ever vote voted just because of the Biden administration and the way they handled the situation.”

Another Raleigh protest organizer, Fitsum Kedebe, 37, is a native of Ethiopia now living in Durham. During the past presidential election, Kedebe helped Democratic Party candidates by canvassing in Bull City neighborhoods.

“Donald Trump was saying things no world leader should ever say,” Kedebe, a married father of two children, told the INDY. “But I was never expecting Biden to go this extreme. I never expected him to go this far to support Tigray. Even [the U.S. government] has been saying since 1992 that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front is a terrorist group.”

Kedebe acknowledged the Sisyphean irony of casting a vote for an American political party enamored with misinformation to help bring about the downfall of a political party in his native country that also thrives in a false news ecosystem. He brushes aside the suggestion that a Republican administration may feel more comfortable with TPLF holding the reins of power in his country.

“The Democratic Party says it looks out for the poor, but it’s fractured,” he said. “It’s losing ground. The only reason Biden was elected was because of Black Lives Matter, and 79 million people still voted for Trump. We should be united. We see freedom losing.”

Read the full article at indyweek.com »

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In U.S Ethiopian American Voters Send Biden a Message, Flipping Virginia Red

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Spotlight: Marcus & Maya Expecting Daughter Grace Ethiopia

"We will be welcoming a baby girl in the new year and naming her Grace Ethiopia," the family announced in an Instagram post. "Our fellow Ethiopians have experienced such a difficult year, so it means a lot to us to honor and celebrate our country of origin through the birth of our daughter. We are sending our joy and light to you and our community." (Getty Images)

People

Marcus Samuelsson and Wife Maya Expecting Baby No. 2 — Find Out the Meaningful Name

Marcus Samuelsson is adding to his family!

The Top Chef Family Style judge, 50, took to Instagram on Friday to reveal that he and wife Maya Haile Samuelsson are expecting their second baby together, and the name they’ve chosen for their little bundle of joy has a sweet and special meaning behind it.

“Maya and I are very excited to share that Zion is going to be a big brother!” the award-winning chef captioned an adorable picture of Maya, their son and himself, who are all wearing matching white tops. The couple welcomed their son in 2016.

“We will be welcoming a baby girl in the new year and naming her Grace Ethiopia,” Marcus, whose native country is Ethiopia, continued. “Our fellow Ethiopians have experienced such a difficult year, so it means a lot to us to honor and celebrate our country of origin through the birth of our daughter. We are sending our joy and light to you and our community.”….

In September, the No Passport Required host joined the PEOPLE Every Day podcast hosted by Janine Rubenstein to talk about some of the challenges he faced as a young Black chef working in all-white kitchens.

“One of the … challenges when you’re a Black chef coming into a space and you’re very, very ambitious was finding role models,” said Samuelsson. “I worked in all-white kitchens and the chefs very upfront said to me, ‘You have to lower your ambition, because there is no Black chefs that owns restaurants like ours.’ ”

However, the lack of diversity in the kitchens he worked in only pushed Samuelsson to further challenge the status quo and be an advocate for those under-represented in the industry.

“I didn’t see a lot of women in the kitchen,” Samuelsson, who co-owns Red Rooster Harlem with chef Andrew Chapman, told Rubenstein. “I made a commitment to make sure that we have 50% women in our kitchen. Everything I did not see, I can now create.”

Read the original article on People »

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Forbes: Still Time for US to Reverse ‘Huge Mistake’ on Ethiopia AGOA Exit

Under stark review, the concept of exiting the Ethiopian AGOA partnership is possibly a huge mistake – one that probably should (and could) be reversed. (Photo: An employee at a textile factory in Hawassa, Ethiopia, on Oct. 12, 2021/by Michael Tewelde/Getty Images)

Forbes

The United States announced a plan to remove Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the first day of January – and shock waves quickly rolled through the U.S. apparel and footwear industries – like a tsunami that no one expected. Manufacturers were alerted that perhaps their good-will African investments – were made in vain, and retailers started to think about pulling out of Ethiopia.

Under stark review, the concept of exiting the Ethiopian AGOA partnership is possibly a huge mistake – one that probably should (and could) be reversed, resolved, extended, or at least peppered with exemptions. America encouraged the apparel and footwear industries to make investments in Ethiopia, and now is potentially leaving “the ask.” Plus, all things considered, an abrupt exit (with only two months’ notice) has frightened other sub-Saharan African investors. They worry that the United States won’t renew AGOA in 2025, and won’t have their back the next time that trouble breaks out.

Of course, China is watching America’s every move and they immediately pounced on the weakness. For years, they have made significant investments in Ethiopia, and the country is sometimes referred as the China of Africa. In keeping with that mindset, they immediately announced a plan to purchase $300 billion worth of goods from Africa over the next three years and invest about $10 billion dollars. China also sent their Foreign Minister Wang Yi directly to Ethiopia’s Capital City (Addis Ababa) to show support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s elected government

America, on the other hand, worked a different strategy. Sanctions were announced, followed by a 60-day notice of a planned AGOA-EXIT. The United States sent U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to nearby Kenya for negotiations, advised US citizens to leave the country, and asked for “precautionary assurances” for USA diplomats. Taking a page from the Administration’s “Diplomacy First” playbook, Secretary Blinken said that all the unrest and atrocities: “Needs to stop.”

Ethiopia’s civil war is constantly marred with accusations of humanitarian, political, and even geopolitical problems, but AGOA’s charter calls for the development of a market-based economy, observing the rule of law, political pluralism, the right to due process and reducing poverty – plus combatting corruption and protecting human rights. There is no right or wrong with considering the cessation of AGOA in Ethiopia – simply because America needs to follow the charter. However, if one takes a holistic view of sub-Sahara Africa, the announced AGOA plug-pulling may be the last straw for the struggling trade program, simply because the Ethiopian exit has reverberated well beyond the country’s borders.

Truth be told, AGOA is not the best trade program that the USA has ever created, but many developing countries have found it to be extremely helpful. For twenty-one years, the AGOA performance has been somewhat lackluster. This year’s trade volume shows little growth from the very first year that the program was created (back in 2001). One explanation is that the program is approximately divided between 55% energy and 45% non-energy sectors. In energy, there is not much duty savings, so oil is shipping to the USA because it is cheap, not because of AGOA

When looking at the results of AGOA, it is more important to focus on the non-energy sector – because that creates the most jobs and helps the most people on a humanitarian level – especially with apparel manufacturing in Kenya, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, and (of course) Ethiopia.

Non-energy shipments were $1.3 billion in 2001 and only $3.8 billion in 2019 – signifying not much growth in 18 years. But, after all this time, it was Ethiopia that finally broke the mold and achieved significant growth in the non-energy sector. That improvement provided thousands of jobs and added to Ethiopia’s growing GDP; exhibiting that the program could really be effective. Now, with America weaponizing AGOA (as a tool to resolve a country conflict), retailers are faced with another significant and growing loss of international supply. To put this in a different perspective, just a few days ago one very large and responsible USA mega-brand announced that they were closing their operations in Ethiopia. Other brands and retailers will probably follow suit.

During the last few years, modern manufacturing facilities were erected, and numerous industrial parks dotted the Ethiopian landscape. Assembled products could now be shipped back to the USA free of duty – which is a significant advantage because (for example) apparel duty rates could average around 20% or higher.

The duty-free incentive was created to offset the cost of development, and the lower worker productivity rates. By accepting the terms of AGOA, the impact on local employment was huge. Ethiopia quickly became the African model for others to follow. However, with AGOA now sitting on the chopping block (along with Mali and Guinea) retailers wonder if the investment was worth the risk, and that line of thinking creates an even bigger problem for all of Africa, because the AGOA program comes up for renewal in just a few years.

The United Nations, the African Union, the United States, and several other countries are working hard to broker a resolution to the Ethiopian conflict. News reports indicate that there is little progress – except for some notice that humanitarian aid is finally reaching the Tigray region. There are also claims that government forces have re-gained control of several key areas that had been overrun by the insurgent Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The USA, for its part, should never approve any country’s bad behavior, but there is a distinct difference in terminology – if skills are being taught and families are being fed. Investors knew that Ethiopia was risky, but they expected America to stand behind their investment. Somehow, over time , there has been a failure to distinguish between a sewing machine operator earning a living, and an insurgent fighting a battle (all within the same country)…

Most everyone hopes that AGOA doesn’t become a missed opportunity.

There is still time between now and January 1st.

Maybe, just maybe, something will change.

Read the full article at forbes.com »

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Media: Ethiopia Flipping the Script on Foreign Coverage

Although misinformation in foreign press is still abundant, following the string of victories against TPLF in the past few days it appears that some Western media outlets are trying to adjust their unbalanced coverage of the situation in Ethiopia (See below an excerpt of AFP's latest news explainer). Meanwhile, the Biden administration says its shelving its dangerous 'genocide' PR scheme against the country as its runaway policy is receiving much-needed congressional criticism and oversight. (Photo: Ethiopians protest in DC/Reuters)

AFP

Ethiopia’s military this week regained control of territory previously claimed by [TPLF] rebels, a potential validation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s decision to join soldiers to conflict-hit areas…

Just a month ago, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel group appeared to be on the offensive, claiming to have captured Dessie and Kombolcha, towns on a key highway headed towards the capital Addis Ababa.

They reportedly reached as far as Shewa Robit, around 220 kilometres (135 miles) northeast of Addis Ababa by road.

But after Abiy announced last week he would lead operations in the field, the government announced a string of victories and the rebels acknowledged making adjustments to their strategy.

State media has responded with triumphalist wall-to-wall coverage.

There’s little doubt the government can claim to have the “upper hand” in specific areas, said Awet Weldemichael, a Horn of Africa security expert at Queen’s University in Canada…

- A surprise shift -

All the while, though, the exact nature of the TPLF advance was in dispute.

“I don’t know whether we should call it an advance,” one Western security official told AFP in mid-November.

“There’s not a huge column of tanks and armoured vehicles driving down the road towards Addis. It’s more complex than that. There are foot soldiers going into the mountains, they shoot and surround certain areas” but do not seem to fully control cities and towns, the official said.

The latest battlefield shifts unfolded swiftly.

The government first claimed towns in Afar, near a critical highway bringing goods to Addis Ababa, then on Wednesday it declared victory in Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site that fell to the TPLF in August.

On Friday state media announced that towns on the road heading north towards Dessie and Kombolcha had been “liberated”.

The news could be a sign that government forces, as well as many thousands of new recruits who have enlisted in recent months, have more fight than they’ve gotten credit for.

“I was quite surprised by the latest counteroffensive by the government,” said Mehdi Labzae, a sociologist who studies land issues and mobilisation in Ethiopia.

“I have seen all the people who were mobilised… but the thing is I thought they were not trained and I thought they would just be destroyed.”

The path ahead

The African Union is trying to broker a ceasefire to avert further bloodshed, though there has been little progress so far.

The TPLF insists it will have the advantage in whatever fighting is to come…

One possibility, said Awet of Queen’s University, is that the government’s superior air power has turned the tide — at least for now.

“Drones are claimed to have played a decisive role in active combat, the full extent of which we are yet to find out,” he said.

“But so far, it appears like they have helped halt [TPLF] counterattacks and advances.”

Click here to read the full article »

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SPOTLIGHT: Ethiopia’s Lalibela, One of the Wonders of the World

Lalibela is back in the International news after Ethiopia announced a major victory this week that it has recaptured the historic town from TPLF. Home to some of Ethiopia's ancient churches Lalibela, which was designated a Unesco world heritage site in 1978, is considered one of the wonders of the world for its stunning architectural designs. Below is a Unesco description. (Photo: The Church of Saint George in Lalibela/By Chester Higgins, Jr.)

UNESCO World Heritage Centre, United Nations

Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela

The 11 medieval monolithic cave churches of this 13th-century ‘New Jerusalem’ are situated in a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia near a traditional village with circular-shaped dwellings. Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Christianity, still today a place of pilmigrage and devotion.


A pilgrimage to Lalibela’s churches. (Getty Images)


Getty Images


Getty Images

Brief synthesis

In a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia, some 645 km from Addis Ababa, eleven medieval monolithic churches were carved out of rock. Their building is attributed to King Lalibela who set out to construct in the 12th century a ‘New Jerusalem’, after Muslim conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the holy Land. Lalibela flourished after the decline of the Aksum Empire.

There are two main groups of churches – to the north of the river Jordan: Biete Medhani Alem (House of the Saviour of the World), Biete Mariam (House of Mary), Biete Maskal (House of the Cross), Biete Denagel (House of Virgins), Biete Golgotha Mikael (House of Golgotha Mikael); and to the south of the river, Biete Amanuel (House of Emmanuel), Biete Qeddus Mercoreus (House of St. Mercoreos), Biete Abba Libanos (House of Abbot Libanos), Biete Gabriel Raphael (House of Gabriel Raphael), and Biete Lehem (House of Holy Bread). The eleventh church, Biete Ghiorgis (House of St. George), is isolated from the others, but connected by a system of trenches.

The churches were not constructed in a traditional way but rather were hewn from the living rock of monolithic blocks. These blocks were further chiselled out, forming doors, windows, columns, various floors, roofs etc. This gigantic work was further completed with an extensive system of drainage ditches, trenches and ceremonial passages, some with openings to hermit caves and catacombs.

Biete Medhani Alem, with its five aisles, is believed to be the largest monolithic church in the world, while Biete Ghiorgis has a remarkable cruciform plan. Most were probably used as churches from the outset, but Biete Mercoreos and Biete Gabriel Rafael may formerly have been royal residences. Several of the interiors are decorated with mural paintings.

Near the churches, the village of Lalibela has two storey round houses, constructed of local red stone, and known as the Lasta Tukuls. These exceptional churches have been the focus of pilgrimage for Coptic Christians since the 12th century.

Criterion (i): All the eleven churches represent a unique artistic achievement, in their execution, size and the variety and boldness of their form.

Criterion (ii): The King of Lalibela set out to build a symbol of the holy land, when pilgrimages to it were rendered impossible by the historical situation. In the Church of Biet Golgotha, are replicas of the tomb of Christ, and of Adam, and the crib of the Nativity. The holy city of Lalibela became a substitute for the holy places of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and as such has had considerable influence on Ethiopian Christianity.

Criterion (iii): The whole of Lalibela offers an exceptional testimony to the medieval and post-medieval civilization of Ethiopia, including, next to the eleven churches, the extensive remains of traditional, two storey circular village houses with interior staircases and thatched roofs.

Integrity

The drainage ditches were filled up with earth for several centuries, before being cleared in the 20th century, and have been disrupted by seismic activity. This has resulted in a severe degradation of the monuments from water damage, and most of them are now considered to be in a critical condition.

Structural problems have been identified in Biet Amanuel where an imminent risk of collapse is possible, and other locations need to be monitored. Serious degradation of the paintings inside the churches has occurred over the last thirty years. Sculptures and bas-reliefs (such as at the entrance of Biet Mariam) have also been severely damaged, and their original features are hardly recognisable. All of this threatens the integrity of the property.

Temporary light-weight shelters have now been installed over some churches and these, while offering protection, impact on visual integrity.

Other threats include encroachment on the environment of the churches by new public and private construction, housing associated with the traditional village adjacent to the property, and from the infrastructure of tourism.

Authenticity

The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela are still preserved in their natural settings. The association of the rock-hewn churches and the traditional vernacular circular houses, in the surrounding area, still demonstrate evidences of the ancient village layout. The original function of the site as a pilgrimage place still persists and provides evidence of the continuity of social practices. The intangible heritages associated with church practices are still preserved.

Watch: 60 Minutes Features Lalibela: A place where faith, mystery and miracles coexist

Related:

UPDATE: Ethiopia Recaptures World Heritage Site Lalibela From TPLF

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UPDATE: Ethiopia Recaptures World Heritage Site Lalibela From TPLF

In a major victory since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed went to the front lines last week to lead the fight against TPLF Ethiopia said it has recaptured the historic city of Lalibela, a Unesco world heritage site and a popular tourist destination, that was taken by the rebels in August. Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen has taken charge of the day-to-day running of government while Mr Abiy is on the battlefield. (Getty Images)

BBC

Ethiopian troops have recaptured the historic town of Lalibela from [TPLF] rebels, the government has said.

This is the latest victory claimed by the government since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed went to the front lines last week to lead the fight-back…

Lalibela, famous for its rock-hewn churches, was captured by the rebels in August.

It is a Unesco world heritage site in Ethiopia’s Amhara region, and was a popular tourist destination before the civil war broke out in Ethiopia last year…

Earlier on Wednesday, government spokesman Legesse Tulu was quoted by state media as saying the military was also confident of retaking the strategic city of Dessie “in a short period of time”.

The TPLF captured Dessie last month…Other towns retaken from the rebels included Shewa Robit, about 220km (135 miles) from Addis Ababa, the government said.

State-linked TV aired footage of Mr Abiy on Tuesday in military jungle fatigues, scanning the horizon with binoculars.

Read the full article at BBC.com »

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History: Toast of the U.S. President at Luncheon Hosted by Ethiopia in America

There was once a friendly, cordial and respectful U.S.-Ethiopia relations going back to 1903 before it was replaced with the modern version of team Biden's duplicitous Horn of Africa diplomacy. The following is a transcript of a speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy during a luncheon hosted by Ethiopia in his honor at the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland on October 2nd, 1963. (Photos: Kennedy Library)

The American Presidency Project, UC Santa Barbara

Note: The President spoke at the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. at a luncheon given in his honor by Emperor Haile Selassie…

The Emperor, speaking before him, began by mentioning the warm and friendly relationship between his nation and the United States. He referred to the growing number of Americans who go to Ethiopia–as members of economic and military aid missions, in the Peace Corps, as businessmen, and as tourists. Such associations, the Emperor continued, cannot but help the Ethiopian and American peoples to know each other better. Mutual understanding has also been broadened, he pointed out, by the many young Ethiopian leaders who have studied in the United States. “If their number now declines,” he added, “it will be because of the new university which has, with the generous help of the people and the Government of the United States, now assumed the responsibility for providing higher education in Ethiopia.”

The Charter of Unity recently signed in his capital by African heads of state demonstrates, said Emperor Haile Selassie, the will of their peoples, inspired by America’s example past and present, to prepare for themselves a future of unity and brotherhood.

He concluded with a toast to the President and to the two peoples, who are, he said, distant in geography but proximate in friendship and in spirit.

President Kennedy’s Remarks at the Luncheon

October 02, 1963

Your Majesty:

On behalf of all of my fellow citizens, I want to express our great appreciation to you for having traveled across so many thousands of miles to visit us once again and also for the pleasure that you have brought us all in bringing with you your granddaughter, and the benefit you have brought us in bringing the members of your Government.

As you say, Ethiopia and the United States are separated not only by geography but by history and culture, but I think that they are bound together by necessity, and that is the necessity for all sovereign free countries to maintain the most intimate association.

So we are very proud to have you here because of what your country has done, what it is doing, because of the hospitality you have shown to my fellow countrymen when they have gone there to work or to visit.

Most of all, we are glad to have you here because of your own extraordinary record. Those of us who have held office for a comparatively brief time are somewhat awed to realize that you have borne the responsibility of leadership in your country for more than 45 years. For a good part of this century, with all the changes that it has brought to not only your own country but to the continent of Africa, and so much of the West during this whole period, the central thrust of burden has been borne by you. And to have borne it with such distinction in other days and to still bear it with such force-demonstrated by the fact that your capital was chosen by your fellow leaders of Africa to be the center of this great, cooperative movement which was symbolized by the summit meeting in your capital and which was made a success by your own very patient efforts–brings accord out of what could have been on occasion perhaps a disagreement.

So, looking to a long past, looking to a promising future, we want to say, Your Majesty, that we are proud to have you here, we have been honored by the visit, and I hope that this short time here in Washington will remind you once again of how strongly your place is secured in the affection of all of the people of the United States. I hope all of you will join with me in a toast to His Imperial Majesty.

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SPOTLIGHT: Meskerem Mees, Winner of The Montreux Jazz Talent Award 2021

The Ethiopia-born Belgian singer-songwriter Meskerem Mees is the winner of the 2021 Montreux Jazz Talent Award. According to organizers the up-and-coming musician was "elected unanimously by a jury that comprised both professional judges and members of the public." (Montreux Jazz Festival)

Press Release

Montreux Jazz Festival

The Montreux Jazz Talent Award 2021 has been awarded to the Belgian singer and composer Meskerem Mees. The 21-year-old artist performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival alongside eight other emerging talents selected by the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation. Meskerem Mees was elected unanimously by a jury that comprised both professional judges and members of the public, as well as an Artists Committee, including Yaron Herman, Anne Paceo, Shabaka Hutchings and Michael League.

The Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation (MJAF) invited eight artists to perform at the Montreux Jazz Talent Awards, between the 2nd and 17th of July 2021. Each candidate was carefully selected by the booking team for their diverse interpretations of jazz and soul-inspired music.

The eight artists performed during the 55th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival in front of a jury of professional judges and members of the public. Four musicians, who work closely with the MJAF, also participated in the vote: Yaron Herman, Anne Paceo, Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet) and Michael League (Snarky Puppy).

THE VOTE FOR MESKEREM MEES WAS UNANIMOUS

Beautifully composed tunes, a magnetic presence and a distinct velvet voice: Meskereem Mees was a true revelation during the competition, impressing all three juries. The 21-year-old Flemish musician says she is inspired by artists such as Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Courtney Barnett. After releasing a handful of singles including the stunning “Joe”, Meskerem Mees is set to release her highly anticipated debut album, Julius, on November 12, 2021.

“I feel very honored to be the winner of a talent award competition hosted by a festival as renowned as the Montreux Jazz Festival. I’m looking forward to learn from some of the world’s best musicians at the Montreux Jazz Academy. Thank you all, once again, for this amazing opportunity.”

— Meskerem Mees

PRIZES AND PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT

Meskerem Mees has been awarded a one-week artistic residency at La Becque on the shores of Lake Geneva. She will also perform at the Montreux Jazz Academy under the musical direction of Shabaka Hutchings, Edward Wakili-Hick and Alexander Hawkins. The 7th edition of the Montreux Jazz Academy will take place at the Autumn of Music festival, organised by the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation between the 27th and 30th of October 2021.

At a key point in their careers, they also get long-term professional support from the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation (MJAF) and the Festival’s large network of contacts. The MJAF is regularly involved in the programming of concerts in Switzerland and abroad, for instance at the Swiss cultural centres in Paris and in Rome.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia to U.S.: Stop Misinformation

Ethiopia is responding to the Biden administration's flurry of panic-inducing social media posts and press releases concerning the country -- which is usually echoed by the mainstream American media without much skepticism or context -- asking the U.S. government to refrain from disseminating "shameful fake news and defamation regarding Ethiopia." (Photo: Addis Ababa skyline, November 3, 2021/Tiksa Negeri/REUTERS)

Reuters

Ethiopia Warns US Against Spreading False Information

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s government has asked the United States to stop spreading what it considers falsehoods against the country, the state minister of communication Kebede Dessisa said Thursday, after the State Department issued an alert about potential “terrorist attacks.”

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and rebellious forces from the Tigray region in the north have been fighting for more than a year…

Kebede, the state minister of communication, was quoted by state broadcaster EBC as telling a news conference the U.S. government should refrain from disseminating “shameful fake news and defamation regarding Ethiopia.”

He referred to a statement Wednesday on Twitter by the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa that urged its citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance due to “the ongoing possibility of terrorist attacks in Ethiopia.”

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of Ethiopians lied in the capital to support the government, where they denounced the United States for alleged interference in Ethiopia’s internal affairs. Washington has urged its citizens to leave Ethiopia immediately while the security situation still permits.

On Thursday, dozens of protesters took their anger to the U.S. Embassy in the city, where they displayed banners reading “Interference is Undemocratic” and “Truth Wins.”

Read the full article at reuters.com »

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Announcement by Olympic Legends Haile & Feyisa Capture Ethiopia’s Mood

BBC: "The prospect of some of Ethiopia's most venerated sporting figures heading to the front lines to fight captures something profound and powerful about the mood in Addis Ababa and beyond." (Getty Images)

BBC

Ethiopian Olympic heroes Haile Gebrselassie and Feyisa Lilesa say they are ready to go to the front line in the war against rebel forces.

Their announcement comes after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he would go to the front to lead the war…

Earlier, Gebrselassie, 48, was quoted by state television as saying: “I am ready to do whatever is required of me, including going to the front line.”

Gebrselassie is regarded as a legend in Ethiopia…During his 25-year career as an athlete, he claimed two Olympic gold medals, eight World Championship victories and set 27 world records. He announced his retirement from competitive running in 2015.

Expressing his support for the war, Feyisa, 31, was quoted by the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation website as saying that he was ready to draw inspiration from the “gallantry of my forefathers” and go to the front line to “save my country”.

The athlete won the marathon silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He became famous for holding up his crossed wrists as if they were shackled to draw global attention to the crackdown on demonstrators demanding political reforms in Ethiopia…The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was the dominant party in government at the time. Following the protests, Mr Abiy became prime minister and the TPLF lost the grip on the country it had held for 27 years.


Feyisa Lilesa attends a news conference in Washington, DC during his exile in the United States on Sept. 13, 2016. (Reuters photo)

[TPLF] later retreated to its stronghold of Tigray, from where it launched a rebellion last November after a huge fall-out with Mr Abiy over his reforms…

The African Union is leading efforts to find a negotiated end to the fighting, but neither side has committed to talks…

The prospect of some of Ethiopia’s most venerated sporting figures heading to the front lines to fight captures something profound and powerful about the mood in Addis Ababa and beyond.

At a time of intense crisis, many Ethiopians are clearly rallying behind their flag and prime minister, and are keen to play their part in galvanising public support for a military campaign…

It is clear many people see the military threat posed by the TPLF and their assorted allies as an existential one for Ethiopia.

Added to that is a profound dislike of the TPLF itself, which stems from its decades heading an authoritarian national government.

Read the full article at BBC.com »

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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UPDATE: U.S. Reports ‘Progress’ in Ethiopia Peace Efforts

US Special Envoy Jeffrey Feltman, who spoke to reporters following his most recent trip to Ethiopia this week, said Prime Minister Ably Ahmed told him his priority is to get the TPLF out of the areas they now occupy in the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions, and “we share that objective.” ( Photo: ASHRAF SHAZLY)

The Associated Press

NAIROBI – A United States envoy said Tuesday he sees “massive progress” in talks with Ethiopia’s warring sides, but he fears it will be outpaced by “alarming” military developments in the yearlong war in Africa’s second-most populous country.

Jeffrey Feltman spoke to reporters after his latest visit to Ethiopia… Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday announced he will lead “from the battlefield”…

Feltman said the warring sides are now talking about elements they expect to see on the table in talks, but “the tragedy is” that while the elements are similar, views differ on which to tackle first.

“Unfortunately, each side is trying to achieve its goals by military force and believe they are on the cusp of winning,” he said…

The U.S. envoy said the Tigray forces must halt their advance on the capital…They “would be met with unrelenting hostility if they entered Addis today,” Feltman said.

The envoy said Ethiopia’s prime minister told him his priority is to get the Tigray forces out of the areas they now occupy in the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions, and “we share that objective.”

Read the full article at apnews.com »

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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Finally, Stolen Ethiopia Treasures Begin to Return Home From England

The return of some of the many looted treasures is being called the most important heritage restitution in Ethiopia’s history. Ethiopia's ambassador to the United Kingdom Teferi Meles said: "We couldn’t manage to bring back all of them, but this is the first time in the country’s history to bring back looted artefacts in this quantity." (Photo: Embassy of Ethiopia, London)

Reuters

After a century and a half, Ethiopian artefacts return home

ADDIS ABABA – After a century and a half hidden in private collections, 13 stolen Ethiopian artefacts have finally returned home following months of negotiations.

“Our country’s ancient civilization’s history, artefacts, fingerprints of indigenous knowledge, culture … have been looted in war and smuggled out illegally,” said Ethiopia’s tourism minister, Nasise Challa.

The items, which include an intricately latticed processional cross, a richly coloured triptych depicting Jesus’ crucifixion, and an ornate red and brass imperial shield, are part of the largest act of restitution in Ethiopia’s history, officials said.

These artefacts were taken in 1868 after the battle of Maqdala between the British and Ethiopian empires. Some of the objects had been offered in an auction in Britain in June by a private seller descended from a British soldier who fought in Maqdala.

“There are many artefacts that were looted from Maqdala,” said Teferi Meles, Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, where many of the treasures were. “We couldn’t manage to bring back all of them, but this is the first time in the country’s history to bring back looted artefacts in this quantity.”

Several of the objects were acquired by The Scheherazade Foundation, a cultural nonprofit, and handed to the Ethiopian embassy in September. They were returned to Addis Ababa this weekend and will go on display in Ethiopian museums. But the work is far from over, officials said.

“We have started negotiations with the British Museum to bring back 12 tabots,” said Teferi.

Tabots are replicas of the Ark of the Covenant that are sacred in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, one of the world’s oldest churches. The tabots were also taken after the Battle of Maqdala.

“We believe we will be successful in bringing them back and the negotiations will continue, with other artefacts abroad,” Teferi said.

The British Museum said it held “cordial discussions” with an Ethiopian delegation in September and noted “The Museum has long-standing and friendly relations with the National Museum in Addis Ababa and with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in London and in Ethiopia.”

British museums have long resisted campaigns for the return of artworks, often citing legislation that bans them from disposing of their collections.

But the debate has heated up and British Museum said last year it would loan some works from Nigeria to a new museum there due to open in 2023.

“At this moment, it is clear that our treasures are being destroyed; it is obvious our treasures are being looted and smuggled out of the country illegally,” said Teferi, without offering detail.

Ethiopia has been mired in conflict for over a year, with the federal government fighting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and cultural artefacts are believed to have been damaged in the fighting.

“If there is no treasure, it means there is no history; if there is no history, there is no nation,” Teferi said.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Foreign Powers are Intervening in Ethiopia. They May Only Make the Conflict Worse.

Photo from the huge #NoMore rally held outside the White House in Washington, DC this weekend. The rally was part of a global Ethiopian Diaspora event that took place simultaneously in major cities around the world -- including in DC, London, Los Angeles and New York City -- to denounce foreign intervention in Ethiopia. (Image via Twitter/@answercoalition)

The Washington Post

By Yohannes Woldemariam and Nic Cheeseman

Foreign powers are intervening in Ethiopia. They may only make the conflict worse.

Amid the violence in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the United States have engaged in an escalating war of words. On Nov. 12, Washington imposed fresh sanctions [on Eritrea]. The Eritrean Information Ministry responded by alleging that the “illicit and immoral sanctions” were designed to harm the Eritrean people.

It’s a useful window into just how internationalized Ethiopia’s civil war has become. Like so many conflicts in the Horn of Africa during the Cold War — when the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a series of proxy wars — the violence has domestic roots, but is shaped by foreign powers. Each foreign player presents its intervention as a constructive contribution toward Ethiopia’s future. But in reality, global competition for influence in one of Africa’s most economically and militarily significant states has become a major barrier to resolving the conflict.

Read the full article at washingtonpost.com »

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Ethiopia Struggles to Find Its Voice in Western Media Amid Misinformation

This week, in a letter to several Western Media organizations including CNN, BBC, AP and Reuters the exasperated Ethiopian Media Authority said the heavily slanted foreign press coverage of current affairs in Ethiopia has “sowed seeds of animosity among people and compromised the sovereignty” of the country. The letter comes on the heels of this shocking report that the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Samantha Power, had explored ways "to embarrass the Ethiopian government" during a policy brainstorming session with staffers. (Getty Images)

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

Ethiopia Considers Withdrawing Licenses of Foreign News Agencies

Ethiopia said it would consider revoking the licenses of CNN, the British Broadcasting Corp., the Associated Press and Thomson Reuters Corp. for alleged reportage that authorities say could endanger the interest and peaceful coexistence of the people in the Horn of Africa nation.

Stories published by these news agencies on ongoing events “sowed seeds of animosity among people and compromised the sovereignty” of the country, the Ethiopian Media Authority wrote in a letter to the media houses Friday and posted on its Twitter account. “In the absence of ethical and professional journalistic operation, the authority would be compelled to revoke the license granted to your institution to operate in Ethiopia,” it said.

Conflict has been raging in Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered an incursion into the northern Tigray region in November 2020 after forces loyal to the regional administration attacked a federal army base. The fighting has now spread to two other regions and the forces allied to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front advancing and capturing key towns in neighboring Amhara region.

The authority claims news and analysis of these media outlets assist the TPLF’s objectives.

The conflict has claimed lives of thousands of people, displaced hundreds of thousands and left millions in need of humanitarian aid. Earlier in November Ethiopia detained 16 United Nations staff and their family members as well as some 70 truck drivers contracted by the UN but most of them have since been released.

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BUSINESS: Forbes on Why Team Biden Shouldn’t Mess With US-Ethiopia Trade

In the following article Forbes magazine highlights one of the Biden administration's most irrational recent actions against Ethiopia: threatening to suspend the country's access to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) within sixty days. As Forbes points out "that action is of great concern for American retailers. The proposed “AGOA-EXIT” strategy is meeting resistance - because [it] flies in the face of USA retailers and brands who have invested in Africa and this unique action also frames America as a cut-and-run partner." (Getty Images)

Forbes

Team Biden Should Avoid Harming AGOA

As day turns to night in Ethiopia, International crisis negotiators are feverishly working to avoid an all-out civil war…

America has utilized several pressure tactics in an attempt to bring this outbreak to a resolution, but none have worked so far. The latest is to give Ethiopia a 60-day notice of withdrawal from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and that action is of great concern for American retailers. The proposed “AGOA-EXIT” strategy is meeting resistance – because a significant amount of the Ethiopia’s GDP growth is centered on the success of AGOA, and dislocation from the program could make the situation even worse for Ethiopia and perhaps for all sub-Sahara countries. On top of that, there are many American retail companies involved with manufacturing in Ethiopia and a quick withdrawal means having only a few months to wind down production – and that is simply not enough time.

The abrupt “AGOA-EXIT” plan flies in the face of USA retailers and brands who have invested in Africa and this unique action also frames America as a cut-and-run partner in a geographic area that everybody knew (going in) was fraught with risk. When the conflict finally gets resolved (and it will), losing AGOA means that thousands of Ethiopians will be put out of work, and products destined to the USA retail markets will be transferred back to more stable locations at a great cost to the investors – forcing additional price inflation back home in America.

President Biden is now being cast as the one who is delivering former President Trump’s trade messages to China and to Africa. The Biden team failed to lift Trump’s inflationary retail tariffs on China and, at the same time, inadvertently blocked the China exit doors – as retailers look for other locations to source product with fewer and fewer choices. Now that Ethiopia is suddenly coming off line, it appears that sourcing options are being eliminated faster than they are being added.

For more than a year, terror has reigned in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia…

While only 6% of the overall population, the Tigray group dominated Ethiopia politics for more than 25 years until Prime Minister Abiy came to power in 2018 using a coalition government. Since then, with the help of American and Chinese investment, Ethiopian GDP has been growing at a rapid rate and the second most populous country in Africa has been relatively stable. However, the Tigray group was marginalized from governing, and fighting broke out in the north. Forces from neighboring Eritrea also teamed up with the government against the Tigray, and the conflict accelerated from there. Humanitarian aid to Tigray has been blocked, there are serious reports of atrocities and famine in the region.

Options for U.S. Government to resolve the crisis have been limited, but the steps taken over the last year have also been ineffectual…

On November 1st the United States Trade Representative announced the 60-day “AGOA-EXIT” warning for Ethiopia, but some think it was a poor choice and not helpful for Ethiopia or for Africa. The U.S. State Department then advised that U.S. citizens should quickly leave the country.

While the USA should not extend privileges to any country that performs adversely to any trade agreement, the Ethiopian issue needs to be put in context. Over the years, it has been U.S Government practice to suggest that retailers and sourcing executives work in emerging foreign countries. The idea is that providing entry level jobs and training will create stability for the population, and it is a system that has worked well as the federal government provides a duty-free environment in return. The problem of late is that the U.S. government is not standing behind their “ask” and not helping to protect the investments that companies have make on their behalf. In this case, it would be more reasonable if they offered a time extension to manufacturers (so they can evaluate their options with regard to losing AGOA), or if they offered exemptions to industries like apparel and footwear that provide significant local employment.

This described loss of “protection” for the investments is fracturing a private-public partnership that has existed for years. Using a trade agreement (like AGOA) as a political negotiating tool, doesn’t jibe with the Ethiopian sewing machine operator who is one year into their first-ever job. The workers shouldn’t be blamed for human rights abuses in their country – when it is someone else who is abusing the power.

Multiple Industrial parks were built in Ethiopia, and thousands of Ethiopians have been employed. For the apparel sector, exports are generally consigned to the United States under the AGOA umbrella. As Team Biden starts to peel back these AGOA benefits, it punishes the investors, the employees, and adds significant turmoil to a country already in turmoil. It would be a one-off if this was only happening in Ethiopia, but lonely eyes also turn to Guinea, to Mali, to Myanmar, to Cambodia, and to Nicaragua – where similar threats against U.S. trade benefits exist.

All of this turmoil brings trade wonks to ask if the U.S. Government is working for or against investors by pulling trade benefits when the going gets tough. It appears that Uncle Sam may not have their back, and with four years left the current AGOA term, it also seems like the Trumpian ideology of individual “bi-lateral” country trade agreements will prevail, even as the AGOA folks are talking about bilateral versus unilateral – to keep the agreement from going away.

Read the full article at forbes.com »

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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

ART TALK: In Ethiopia Annual ‘Addis Calling’ Exhibition Goes on Display

This year, Addis Fine Art is proud to introduce the following artists: Eyasu Telayneh, Kerima Ahmed, Micheal Hailu, Wendimagegn Demeke, Yasmeen Abdullah and Michal Mamit Worke. (Courtesy photo: Addis Calling IV Group Show, Addis Fine Art, Addis Ababa, on view until 25 December 2021)

Press Release

Addis Fine Art

Addis Fine Art is proud to present Addis Calling IV, our regular group show featuring new works by a selection of exciting talent across Addis Ababa and the Horn of Africa. This year, Addis Fine Art is proud to introduce the following artists: Eyasu Telayneh, Kerima Ahmed, Micheal Hailu, Wendimagegn Demeke, Yasmeen Abdullah and Michal Mamit Worke.


(Courtesy of Addis Fine Art)


(Courtesy of Addis Fine Art)


(Courtesy of Addis Fine Art)

Featured Artists

Eyasu Telayneh’s paintings are scenes into the mysterious private lives of colors, breaking the rhythm of daily life and offering a fresh new view. He uses rapid cognition to absorb visual elements in his daily life, these observations serving as points of entry for his artistic practice. Telayneh is the winner of the Emerging Painters Invitational 2020 prize. His works have been shown in Alliance Ethio-Francaise, Barnard Gallery in Capetown, and Circle Gallery in Nairobi. He works as a full-time artist at his studio on Entoto mountain.

Michael Hailu’s works question the necessity of war in reaction to the outbreak of recent conflict in Ethiopia. He asks the motivation for violence, if war can be justified and if the instinct for violence is natural or through social conditioning. Michael is currently studying Art Education at Ale School of Fine Art, Addis Ababa University. His works have been exhibited at the Modern Art Museum Gebre Kristos Desta Center and other galleries in Addis Ababa.

Wendimagegn Demeke’s paintings use humor and absurdity to invite viewers to deal with complex interrelationships between technology, data privacy, capitalism, conflict, and power. Wendimagegn Demeke’s works have been shown at the National Museum of Ethiopia, Alliance Ethio-Francaise, Pop up East African artists Shanghai, and Arkane Afrika Artcop22, Morocco. He studied fine art at Entoto TVET College. He works as a studio artist, illustrator and teacher.

Symbolism and dreamscapes are hallmarks of emerging Sudanese artist Yasmeen Abdullah’s (1992) idiosyncratic paintings. The figures in her canvases possess a profound sense of interiority that radiates from their person, and shapes the settings they reside in. Inspired by the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Abdullah sees her paintings as a visualisation of his sensitive verses. Taking poetry to paintbrush, Abdullah’s works are rich with simile and symbol – a warming ray of light stands as a pictorial metaphor for hope, and ideas take the form of darting fish. The profound effect is a multi-layered world of image and meaning, which begs the viewer to gaze beneath the surface.

Kerima is a full-time studio artist based in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from the Addis Ababa University School of Fine Art and Design in Painting. Her work celebrates Ethiopian culture, drawing on the traditions of Ethiopian painting. Her works have been exhibited in a solo show at the C Art Gallery, as well as a group show in Seattle. In 2013 and 2014, Kerima’s work was featured at the Ethnic Gallery at the Municipal Tower, Columbia City Art Gallery and Tobya Art Gallery in Seattle.

Michal Mamit Worke, winner of the 2020 Lauren & Mitchell Presser Contemporary Art Grant, is figurative painter. Born in Ethiopia in 1982 she immigrated to Israel on “Moses Operation” in 1984 and currently works and lives in Tel Aviv. Worke explores scenes and people from everyday life. Worke explores the act of painting, seeking to dechipher the gaze and questions the power relations at stake. Worke studied at Shenkar College of Art and has appeared in various group and solo shows across Israel at Herzliya Museum and Eretz Israel Museum.

If You Go:

Learn more at addisfineart.com.

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In Africa, America’s Hysterical Western Media Driven Ethiopia Policy Reaches Dead End

The New York Times, which has fast become one of the least trusted Western publications among Ethiopians both at home and in the Diaspora, made a thinly veiled admission in its latest post that the belligerent U.S. policy towards Ethiopia, which is largely driven by the hysterical, one-sided Western Media coverage and propaganda, has failed. The paper noted that as the U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken arrived in Africa this week, it became apparent that his approach towards Ethiopia so far "seemed to have achieved little." (Pool photo)

The New York Times

NAIROBI, Kenya — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s first visit to sub-Saharan Africa was intended to be a grand gesture of American support for the continent. But his first day also illustrated the frustrating limits of American influence in a region…

It is an unhappy context for Mr. Blinken’s visit to Africa, where he plans to give a speech on Friday in Nigeria outlining the Biden administration’s vision for a continent…

Mr. Blinken’s team has poured much diplomatic energy into East Africa over the past year, hoping to stop the atrocity-laden war in Ethiopia and protect Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy. But as he landed in Nairobi, those efforts seemed to have achieved little.

Speaking to reporters alongside his Kenyan counterpart, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Raychelle Omamo, Mr. Blinken said the war in Ethiopia “needs to stop,” calling on both sides to enter talks without preconditions. For more than a year Mr. Abiy has been battling rebels from Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray…

For now, though, his offers appear to be falling on deaf ears.

In Ethiopia, the Biden administration has turned to increasingly coercive means…including visa restrictions on Ethiopian officials…

Read the full article at nytimes.com »

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What’s Wrong With Blinken? Goes to Africa to Talk Ethiopia, But Skips Addis & AU?

The New York Times reports that Blinken is in Africa apparently on a diplomatic mission to solve Ethiopia's domestic political problem with a five-day trip to Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal. Strangely, or unfortunately, neither Ethiopia nor the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, which has been leading local peace-finding efforts in the country, are on the list of scheduled stops for the U.S. Secretary of State. Below is an excerpt from the NYT report. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

Blinken Heads to Africa as U.S. Tries to Avert Ethiopia Disaster

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken departed early Tuesday for a five-day swing to Africa, where he will lend support for democratic principles and seek to advance diplomacy aimed at preventing Ethiopia from descending into a catastrophic civil war.

Mr. Blinken plans to begin his trip with a stop in Kenya, which borders Ethiopia and which has played a key role in diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful resolution to a conflict between the country’s central government and rebels in its northern Tigray region…

Mr. Blinken had planned to visit Africa in late summer, but postponed the trip after the sudden Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August.

The Biden administration has not articulated its vision for the continent, something Mr. Blinken was to address during a stop in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, where he planned to deliver a speech on the United States’ Africa policy. He plans to conclude his trip with a visit to the Senegalese capital of Dakar.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »

Related:

In U.S Ethiopian American Voters Send Biden a Message, Flipping Virginia Red

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In U.S Ethiopian American Voters Send Biden a Message, Flipping Virginia Red

Just as they did in 2008 when Ethiopian American voters helped to flip Virginia for the Democrats, The Washington Post reports that this year the community swung for Republican candidates sending a message to the Biden administration about its rather belligerent and failed foreign policy towards Ethiopia. (Photo: Protesters rallied outside of the White House on Nov. 8 to denounce President Biden's approach to the conflict in Ethiopia/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Why some Ethiopian voters in Virginia swung for Youngkin — and how it may spell trouble for Democrats elsewhere

Girma Makonnen had long considered himself a loyal Democrat. Since emigrating from Ethiopia and then settling in Northern Virginia more than two decades ago, he donated, phone-banked and door-knocked for a long list of liberal candidates.

Except this year, when the 52-year-old voted for Glenn Youngkin — and other Republicans down the ticket.

“The Democratic Party right now is the Biden administration, and they blindsided us on foreign policy,” said Makonnen, an engineer who lives in Ashburn. “We were Democrats because we believed in the system. But everybody in the Ethiopian community is feeling the pain of neglect.”

Like him, some Ethiopian Americans in Virginia heeded calls to cast a vote for the GOP at the polls earlier this month amid a coordinated effort to express disapproval with how President Biden has handled growing conflict in the East African nation.

Those involved in the effort support Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago but has since led the country into an escalating civil war, vowing to “bury this enemy with our blood and bones.”

Leaders of the effort say that by authorizing sanctions on Ethiopia and cutting off trade benefits, Biden has effectively empowered the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a repressive regime that led the country before Abiy.

And with seemingly no response to their concerns from the White House, organizers said, Abiy supporters in Virginia took their message to the polls — despite, or perhaps because of, the Ethiopian community’s long allegiance with Democrats.

“The government’s approach is so illogical at this point that we have to show we are disappointed in an area that can potentially hurt the Democratic Party,” said Mesfin Tegenu, chairman of the American-Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee (AEPAC).

Organizers with the group said they put out mass messaging on social media, canvassed at Ethiopian Orthodox churches and restaurants in the D.C. suburbs, and texted thousands of people in hopes of rallying community members to vote for Youngkin.

Whether it made a difference in the election is difficult, if not outright impossible, to quantify. Although the Northern Virginia suburbs are home to one of the largest Ethiopian communities in the country, there is little data on how it functions as a voting bloc — or how members of the Ethiopian diaspora voted in Youngkin’s narrow victory over former governor Terry McAuliffe (D) earlier this month.

Virginia is home to about 30,000 immigrants from Ethiopia — about 1 in 8 of all Ethiopians nationwide, according to estimates from the Migration Policy Institute. Fairfax County and Alexandria have some of the highest concentrations of Ethiopians in the country.

A look at heavily East African precincts in the area, including those in Woodbridge and West End Alexandria, does not show a strong swing to Youngkin compared with previous years or other precincts in heavily blue Northern Virginia.

Still, community leaders from across the political spectrum — including some who campaigned for McAuliffe — say it was impossible to ignore an unprecedented set of rumblings, one that may offer a warning to Democratic campaigns elsewhere.

“It was pretty widespread,” said Bert Bayou, an Ethiopian American who helped canvass for McAuliffe as the vice president of Unite Here Local 23. “Ethiopians felt betrayed by the U.S., but specifically by the party.”

Read more »

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Letesenbet Gidey Just Smashed the Half-Marathon World Record . . . by a *Lot*

Ethiopian Long-distance runner Letesenbet Gidey. It's the fourth world record now held by Gidey, joining her records in the 5K, 10K, and 15K. She also won a bronze medal in the 10K in Tokyo and has a silver world championship medal in that distance. (Popsugar)

Popsugar

Letesenbet Gidey had never run a half marathon before, but [this week], she made a debut to remember. Racing at the Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso, Gidey smashed the women’s half marathon world record by a margin of 70 seconds, coming in at 1:02:52 (pending ratification).

It’s the fourth (!) world record now held by Gidey, joining her records in the 5K, 10K, and 15K. She also won a bronze medal in the 10K in Tokyo and has a silver world championship medal in that distance.

As for the half marathon, Gidey was all confidence after her history-making run. “I knew I could run this kind of time as my training sessions in the altitude of Addis Ababa have gone very well,” she said afterward, having held a 4:48 per mile pace during the run. Ruth Chepngetich, who recently won the Chicago Marathon, set the previous half marathon record of 1:04:02 earlier in 2021.

What’s next for Gidey? After the race, she hinted that she’s “thinking of competing at the marathon distance,” though she’s not sure when she’ll debut. After adding yet another world record to her résumé, we can only assume she’ll make a splash in that distance, too.

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Haile Gerima Is Having a Hollywood Moment. It’s Left Him Conflicted

The Ethiopian American filmmaker Haile Gerima said he had “no trust in, no desire to be a part of” Hollywood. The director, an eminence of American and African indie cinema, is being recognized by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and Netflix. But he has long rejected the industry. (NYT)

The New York Times

Haile Gerima doesn’t hold back when it comes to his thoughts on Hollywood. The power games of movie producers and distributors are “anti-cinema,” he put it recently. The three-act structure is akin to “fascism” — it “numbs, makes stories toothless.” And Hollywood cinema is like the “hydrogen bomb.”

For decades, Gerima, the 75-year-old Ethiopian filmmaker, has blazed a trail outside of the Hollywood system, building a legacy that looms large over American and African independent cinema.

But as he spoke with me on a video call from his studio in Washington, D.C., Gerima found himself at an unexpected juncture: He was about to travel to Los Angeles, where he would receive the inaugural Vantage Award at the opening gala of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is also screening a retrospective of his work this month. A new 4K restoration of his 1993 classic, “Sankofa,” debuted on Netflix last month.

After 50 years, Hollywood has finally come calling. “I’m going with a lump in my throat,” Gerima said with his typical candor. “This is an industry I have no relationship with, no trust in, no desire to be a part of.”


Gerima’s ideas about self-distribution influenced Ava DuVernay and other filmmakers. (Photo: The New York Times)

Gerima tends to speak directly and without euphemism, his words propelled by the force of his conviction. The filmmaker has been at loggerheads with the American film industry since the 1970s, when he was a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. There, he was part of what came to be known as the L.A. Rebellion — a loose collective of African and African American filmmakers, including Charles Burnett (“Killer of Sheep”), Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust”), Larry Clark (“Tamu”) and others, who challenged the mainstream cinematic idiom.

Gerima’s first project in film school was a short commercial called “Death of Tarzan.” An exorcism of Hollywood’s colonial fantasies, it provoked a response from a classmate that Gerima still remembers fondly: “Thank you, Gerima, for killing that diaper-wearing imperialist!”

The eight features he has since directed bristle with the same impulse for liberation, employing nonlinear narratives and jagged audiovisual experiments to paint rousing portraits of Black and Pan-African resistance. In a phone interview, Burnett described Gerima’s work as coursing with emotion: “People have plots and things, but he has energy, real energy. That’s what characterizes his films.”

The stark, black-and-white “Bush Mama” (1975) charts the radicalization of a woman in Los Angeles as she navigates poverty and the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of welfare. “Ashes and Embers” (1982) — which opens with the protagonist driving into Los Angeles with dreams of Hollywood before being abruptly stopped by the police — traces the gradual disillusionment of a Black Vietnam War veteran. In “Sankofa,” one of Gerima’s most acclaimed films, an African American model is transported back in time to a plantation, where she’s caught up in a slave rebellion. Other films, like “Harvest: 3,000 Years” (1976) and “Teza” (2008), explore the political history of Gerima’s native Ethiopia.

For the filmmaker and his wife and producing partner, Shirikiana Aina, these visions of fierce Black independence are as much a matter of life as art. Most of Gerima’s movies have been produced and distributed by the couple’s company, Mypheduh Films, which derives its name from an ancient Ethiopian word meaning “protector of culture.” Mypheduh’s offices are housed in Sankofa, a bookstore and Pan-African cultural center across the street from Howard University, where Gerima taught filmmaking for over 40 years. This little pocket of Washington is Gerima’s empire — or his “liberated territory,” as he likes to call it.

“When I think of Haile’s cinema, I think of the cinema of the maroon,” Aboubakar Sanogo, a friend of Gerima’s and a scholar of African cinema at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, said in an interview, invoking a term for runaway slaves who formed their own independent settlements. “It’s very much a cinema of freedom. Hollywood is the plantation from which he has escaped.”

If Gerima is now ready to dance with the academy (which, incidentally, has never awarded a best director Oscar to a Black filmmaker), it’s because of the involvement of a kindred soul: Ava DuVernay.

The “Selma” filmmaker, who co-chaired the Academy Museum’s opening gala, has been the driving force behind the Haile-ssance of 2021. Array, DuVernay’s distribution and advocacy collective, spearheaded the restoration of “Sankofa.” The company also rereleased “Ashes and Embers” on Netflix in 2016, in addition to distributing “Residue,” the debut feature by Gerima’s son Merawi, last year.

Speaking by phone, DuVernay said that in collaborating with Gerima, she felt she had come full circle: Years ago, she modeled Array on the example set by Gerima and Aina’s grass-roots distribution initiatives.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »

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Spotlight: Two Ethiopia Buildings Among Africa’s 12 Iconic Architectures

Lideta Market, Ethiopia - 2017. This shopping centre was built in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, with lightweight concrete. The considered design includes a perforated façade that controls the flow of natural light and ventilation within. Moreover, the cut-out pattern decorating the building's gleaming white shell imitates a traditional Ethiopian fabric. (BBC)

BBC

Africa’s iconic architecture in 12 buildings

While the pyramids of Egypt are recognised around the world, much of Africa’s architecture remains unknown – something architects Adil Dalbai and Livingstone Mukasa hope to change.

They are part of the team that has recently published the seven-volume Architectural Guide Sub-Saharan Africa. Their in-depth study encompasses buildings from earlier eras, the colonial period – like the recently renovated railway station (above) built in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, in 1910 – to more modern masterpieces.

Here are 12 of the most innovative, historic and iconic entries:

Palace of Emperor Fasilides, Ethiopia – early 17th Century

This palace is located in Ethiopia’s northern city of Gondar, within a fortified compound known as the “Fasil Ghebbi” (Royal Enclosure).

The site includes some 20 palaces, royal buildings, elaborately decorated churches, monasteries and unique buildings.

The design of these buildings were influenced by the baroque style brought to Gondar by Jesuit missionaries.

See the full list at BBC.com »

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UK Celebrities Urge Return of Plundered Sacred Treasures Back to Ethiopia

The Guardian reports that high-profile Britons are calling for the return of sacred treasures hidden away in England for over a century back to Ethiopia. According to the report celebrities including the Ethiopian-British writer Lemn Sissay have written a letter to the country's Museum trustees urging them to return the "plundered altar tablets." (Photo: Ethiopian priests carry tabots during the Timket festival of Epiphany/Alamy)

The Guardian

They are hidden religious treasures that have been in the British Museum’s stores for more than 150 years, never on public display – with members of the public strictly forbidden from seeing them.

Now hopes have been raised that Ethiopian tabots, looted by the British after the battle of Maqdala in 1868, could finally be returned home following a new legal opinion and an appeal backed by Stephen Fry, the author Lemn Sissay and the former archbishop of Canterbury George Carey.

The wood and stone tabots are altar tablets, considered by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as the dwelling place of God on Earth and the representation of the Ark of the Covenant. They have, everyone agrees, huge spiritual and religious value for the people of Ethiopia.

A letter has been sent to British Museum trustees signed by supporters including Fry, Sissay, the actor Rupert Everett and the former British ambassador to Ethiopia Sir Harold Walker. It says the museum has acknowledged the sanctity of the tabots and has never put them on display, allowed them to be studied, copied or photographed. “Instead, they sit in the vaults, where they remain over 150 years later, unknown to the vast majority of people of this country.”

It continues: “We believe that today the British Museum has a unique opportunity to build a lasting and meaningful bridge of friendship between Britain and Ethiopia by handing the tabots back to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.”

A number of attempts have been made by Ethiopia to get the tabots returned but the museum argues it is forbidden by the British Museum Act of 1963 to restitute objects in its collection.

Campaigners sought a new legal opinion that proves, they say, that the tabots can be legally returned.

The opinion, seen by the Guardian, has been drawn up Samantha Knights QC and was commissioned by the Scheherazade Foundation. It points out that the 1963 act has a provision that allows disposal of objects “unfit to be retained” and that can be disposed “without detriment to the interests of students”.

It argues the tabots fall within this category, that they have “no apparent use or relevance to the museum”.

The website has no image of them and only the briefest of descriptions. “As such they are currently and apparently always have been in effect treated very differently to the rest of the collection and could be properly said to be ‘unfit to be retained’.”

On the question of detriment to students, no student is permitted to study them, the document says.

Eleven tabots are in the museum collection; nine can be directly linked to British looting after the Battle of Maqdala in 1868, an event that came about after the Emperor Tewodros II had taken British hostages. More than 500 Ethiopian soldiers were killed and the emperor killed himself rather than be taken prisoner.

Hundreds of objects were subsequently plundered. They are in a number of collections. The V&A, which has Maqdala treasures including a gold crown and a royal wedding dress, has floated the idea of a long-term loan.

The British Museum said in a statement: “These documents need to be reviewed and addressed with full consideration, and more time is required before this can be looked at by trustees.”

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ART TALK: Julie Mehretu’s Mid-Career Survey Opens at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis

This midcareer survey features more than 75 drawings, paintings, and prints made from 1996 to the present. (Image: Haka and Riot, 2019, Ink and Acrylic on Canvas, 144 x 180 inches. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging. © Julie Mehretu)

Press Release

WALKER ART CENTER

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and based in Harlem, New York, Julie Mehretu (b. 1970) is best known for abstract paintings layered with a variety of materials, marks, and meanings. These canvases and works on paper reference the histories of art, architecture, and past civilizations while addressing some of the most immediate conditions of our contemporary moment, including migration, revolution, climate change, global capitalism, and technology.

This midcareer survey features more than 75 drawings, paintings, and prints made from 1996 to the present. It covers a broad arc of Mehretu’s artistic evolution, revealing her early focus on drawing, graphics, and mapping and her more recent introduction of bold gestures, sweeps of saturated color, and figurative elements into her immersive, large-scale works.

Mehretu’s paintings begin with drawing; she then develops the works by incorporating techniques such as printing, digital collage, erasure, and painterly abstraction. She is inspired by a variety of sources, from cave paintings, cartography, Chinese calligraphy, and 17th-century landscape etchings to architectural renderings, graffiti, and news photography. Drawing on this vast archive, Mehretu explores how realities of the past and present can shape human consciousness. As the artist says, her visual language represents how “history is made: one layer on top of another, erasing itself, consuming itself, inventing something else from the same thing.”

Julie Mehretu is co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

If You Go:

WHEN: Oct 16, 2021–Mar 6, 2022
WHERE: Galleries 1, 2, 3, and D/Perlman Gallery
More info at https://walkerart.org/

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In Pictures: AMSALE Fall 2022 Brings Brides into a Romantic Dreamscape

AMSALE’s first major rollout since before the pandemic, today’s launch included all ranges within the bridal house. This season also represents a homecoming for AMSALE Designer Michael Cho, who previously worked closely alongside the brand’s esteemed late founder, Amsale Aberra, for more than eight years. (Courtesy photo)

Press Release

LUXURY BRIDAL HOUSE AMSALE BRINGS BRIDES INTO A ROMANTIC, NATURE-INSPIRED DREAMSCAPE WITH ITS FALL 2022 COLLECTION

NEW YORK, October 6, 2021—Lately, brides are rethinking what a wedding looks like in the modern world; and, likewise, AMSALE has once again reimagined the modern wedding gown. Fueled by optimism, the luxury design house today unveiled its Fall 2022 collections. It’s a season of rebirth, wherein pure creativity, emotion and design come together like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon.

“Our direction this season was to focus on diversification and craft, so that each gown represents the vision of a different bride,” says Chief Creative Officer Sarah Swann. “The collections feature an exciting variety of textures, silhouettes and styles.” This season also represents a homecoming for AMSALE Designer Michael Cho, who returned to the label in March. Cho previously worked closely alongside the brand’s esteemed late founder, Amsale Aberra, for more than eight years.


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For Fall 2022, Cho’s imagination was sparked by the hidden world of forest streams where life is nurtured and renewed amongst lush mossy banks. Sweeping architectural lines found in the silhouettes are reminiscent of the graceful carvings along the stream bed left by decades of gently flowing water. Branching patterns worked into the embroideries reflect the climbing flora that bloom along mossy pebbles. The lamella of rare aquatic mushroom caps inspired ribbed threadwork embellishments, while butterfly koi transform into romantic trains and skirts of pleated tulle. In contrast to the romantic natural world, Cho was also influenced by the old world of the Mediterranean region, where artistic bas relief designs carved from precious stone and sculpted from plaster adorned the architecture. “After more than a year of uncertainty and harsh realities in the wake of the pandemic, I wanted to bring to our brides a hopeful vision of renewed life and reinvigorated romance, like seedlings budding into a new world,” Cho says.


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AMSALE’s first major rollout since before the pandemic, today’s launch included all ranges within the bridal house: AMSALE, Nouvelle Amsale, Little White Dress, Amsale Bridesmaids and Amsale Evening.


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About AMSALE

Founded by Amsale Aberra and Neil Brown, The Amsale Group is one of the world’s leading luxury bridal houses, and widely credited as the inventor of the modern wedding dress. A Black-owned business headquartered in New Your City, with a salon on Madison Avenue, the collections including Amsale, Nouvelle Amsale, Amsale Bridesmaids, Little White Dress and Evening are carried in some of the finest bridal salons and specialty stores worldwide.


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Whistleblower: Facebook Fueling Violence in Ethiopia

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, who testified at a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, accused the social media platform of fueling violence in Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

CNN

During much-anticipated testimony Tuesday before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen repeatedly pointed outside of the country for examples of how the social network could be used to dangerous ends — so much so that lawmakers wondered during the hearing if they should meet to specifically discuss national security concerns.

The former product manager referenced a series of links between activity on Facebook and deadly violence in Myanmar and Ethiopia, and spying by China and Iran.

“My fear is that without action, divisive and extremist behaviors we see today are only the beginning. What we saw in Myanmar and now in Ethiopia are the opening chapters of a story so terrifying no one wants to read the end of it,” Haugen said, referring to recent bloodshed in both countries.

Facebook admitted in 2018 that it failed to do enough to prevent the spread of posts whipping up hatred against the persecuted Rohingya minority in Myanmar. It has since vowed to limit the spread of “misinformation” in the country after a military coup earlier this year.

Asked by one senator whether Facebook is used by “authoritarian or terrorist-based leaders” around the world, Haugen responded that such use of the platform is “definitely” happening, and that Facebook is “very aware” of it.

Her last role at Facebook was with the company’s counterespionage team, which she says “directly worked on tracking Chinese participation on the platform, surveilling, say, Uyghur populations around the world.”

“You could actually find the Chinese, based on them doing these kinds of things,” she said.

In March, Facebook’s security staff revealed that Chinese hackers had targeted Uyghur activists and journalists living outside the country with fake Facebook accounts and malware.

Haugen’s team also observed “the active participation of, say, the Iran government doing espionage on other state actors. This is definitely a thing that is happening,” she said.

This summer, Mike Dvilyanski, Facebook’s head of cyber espionage investigations, told CNN the company had disabled “fewer than 200 operational accounts” on its platform associated with the Iranian spying campaign, and notified a similar number of Facebook users they may have been targeted by the group.

Haugen blamed “a consistent understaffing of (Facebook’s) counterespionage information operation and terrorism team” for the ongoing proliferation of such threats however, and said she was also speaking with other parts of Congress about them.

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UPDATE: In Ethiopia Parliament Confirms Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed takes oath during a ceremony at the Parliament building in Addis Ababa, October 4, 2021. (Photo by Tiksa Negeri/REUTERS)

Reuters

By Dawit Endeshaw

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s parliament confirmed incumbent Abiy Ahmed as prime minister for a five-year term on Monday…

Abiy’s party won a landslide victory in June’s election. He was sworn in on Monday, and a ceremony was being held later in the capital Addis Ababa attended by several African heads of states.

President Sahle-Work Zewde told parliament on Monday that government priorities included easing inflation – which has hovered around 20% this year – and the cost of living, as well as reducing unemployment…

Abiy was appointed prime minister by the then-governing coalition in 2018 and promised political and economic reforms.

Within months of taking office, he lifted a ban on opposition parties, released tens of thousands of political prisoners and took steps to open up one of Africa’s last untapped markets.

Read the full article at Reuters.com »

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Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma Claims Men’s London Marathon Win

Sisay Lemma won the men's London Marathon in a time of two hours four minutes and one second after breaking away from the leading pack late in the race on Sunday. (Getty Images)

Associated Press

LONDON — Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma won the men’s London Marathon in a time of two hours four minutes and one second after breaking away from the leading pack late in the race on Sunday.

Lemma, who finished on the podium last year, crossed the line 27 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Vincent Kipchuma with Mosinet Geremew third.

Meanwhile, in the women’s race, opting for the London Marathon over the defense of her New York title next month paid off for Joyciline Jepkosgei after the Kenyan won on her debut in the British capital on Sunday.

Jepkosgei won in two hours, 17 minutes, 43 seconds — making her the seventh fastest woman in history. Degitu Azimeraw of Ethiopia was second with compatriot Ashete Bekere third.

It was the first full-scale staging of the London Marathon in more than two years due to the pandemic, with around 40,000 runners joining some of the world’s best on the the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) route from Blackheath in southeast London to The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace in the center of the city.

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UPDATE: Ethiopia Kicks Out UN Officials for ‘Meddling’ in Its Domestic Affairs

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City on Sept. 25, 2021. The foreign ministry said in a statement that it is kicking out seven United Nations officials and accuses them of "meddling in the internal affairs of the country. (AP photo)

Bloomberg

Ethiopia told seven senior United Nations staff members to leave the country within 72 hours for allegedly meddling in its internal affairs…

The government said the UN officials were going beyond their duties in the country, which has been engulfed in conflict since late last year when federal troops retaliated to an attack by regional soldiers on an army base.

“They were found engaged in activities that contradict the law and they operated out of their mandate,” Dina Mufti, spokesman for Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry, said of the UN officials, without providing details. “They know the law and they should not fail to obey it.”

Read the full article at bloombergquint.com »

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NYT on International Legacy of Ethiopia’s Music Legend Alemayehu Eshete

Alemayehu Eshete in concert at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park [in New York] in 2008. His admirers compared him to both Elvis Presley and James Brown. He became a swaggering star in the late 1960s, when Addis Ababa experienced a golden age of night life and music. Decades later, he was rediscovered. (Getty)

The New York Times

Alemayehu Eshete, a soulful Ethiopian pop singer widely known as the “Abyssinian Elvis” who became a star in the 1960s when a cultural revolution took hold of Addis Ababa, died on Sept. 2…

For years under Haile Selassie’s imperial rule, Ethiopia’s music industry was controlled by the state. Orchestras dutifully performed patriotic songs at government events, while defiant bands played Little Richard songs at night in clubs. It was forbidden to record and distribute music independently.

“All the musicians used to work for the government,” Mr. Eshete said in a 2017 documentary about the era, “Ethiopiques: Revolt of the Soul.” “When they told you to perform, you had to perform. We were treated like average workers, not like real artists.”

But in the late 1960s, as Selassie grew old and the grip of his rule loosened, Addis Ababa experienced a golden age of night life and music, and Mr. Eshete became a swaggering star of the so-called “swinging Addis” era.

The sound that dominated this period was distinct: an infectious blend of Western-imported blues and R&B with traditional Ethiopian folk music. It was typified by hypnotic saxophone lines, funky electric guitar stabs and grooving piano riffs.

As a teenager, Mr. Eshete was smitten with American rock ‘n’ roll, and his idol was Elvis Presley, so when he started singing in the clubs of Addis he imitated his hero. He sported a pompadour and wore big collared shirts as he gyrated onstage.

.“I dressed like an American, grew my hair, sang ‘Jailhouse Rock,’” he told The Guardian in 2008. “But the moment that I started singing Amharic songs, my popularity shot up.”

He was soon enlisted in the fabled Police Orchestra, a state-run band composed of Ethiopia’s finest musicians, and he began playing with the ensemble at government functions in the city. After hours, he found refuge in the underground music scene.

In 1969, the defiant act of Mr. Eshete and a young record shop owner named Amha Eshete (no relation) galvanized the scene.


The acclaimed “Éthiopiques” album series, begun in 1997, ignited international interest in Ethiopian music. Two releases in the series are devoted to Mr. Eshete’s work. (Photo: Buda Musique)

Amha Eshete decided to found a label, Amha Records, to commit to vinyl the Ethiopian pop music that bands were performing in clubs. Few musicians were willing to flout the law with him until Alemayehu Eshete stepped forward and offered to record the funky tune “Timarkialesh,” and Amha then had it manufactured as a 45 r.p.m. single in India.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »

Related:

Remembering Alemayehu Eshete: Ethiopian Music Legend Passes Away at 80

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Why is Biden Admin Killing Century-old Historic American Diplomacy in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia's Emperor Haile Selassie at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral on November 25, 1963. The Ethiopian leader was the only African head of state who attended the U.S. President's funeral. (Photograph credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

Medium

By Denton Collins (American. Lover of injera and the people in the Horn whom I’ve served)

Food Aid as a Weapon in Ethiopia, the Death of US Diplomacy and the Power of Brain Washing for State Destruction

I am old enough to intimately remember Emperor Haile Selassie as the first among world leaders at the side of JFK’s casket in on 25 November 1963. Front. And. Center.

17 September 2021, will go down in history as the death of this historic relationship dating from 1903. This compelled me to put pen to paper on a foreign policy topic for the first time in years. To my Ethiopian friends, I am with you.

How does one even begin to apologies for the Biden Administration’s humiliating foreign policy record so far? (Within the last 48 hours America has lost historic allies in Ethiopia and France — the latter recalling her ambassador. How poetic that de Gaulle and Haile Selassie are standing side by side above.)
Look at this picture and take a moment for it to sink in. Ethiopians like to say gold in your hand feels like a piece of bronze.

[On Friday, September 17th], President Biden issued an executive order imposing sanctions on warring parties in Ethiopia — which in reality is targeting the Government of Ethiopia- the most democratically elected in the history of the ancient nation.

It is not the first time that Ethiopia, a nation that has sent diplomatic mission abroad since before the United States existed, has been thrown under the bus by the West. Recall when Ethiopia — one of only a handful of African nations in the League of Nations — was allowed to be overran by the same League that it was member of AND by another League member. Double standards and colonialism have never been part of your vocabulary.

Yesterday’s Executive Order has parallels to the British and French foreign ministers at the time of the League’s decision: Sir Samuel Hoare and Pierre Laval, secretly planned to divide the country and give a piece to Mussolini (Hoare and Laval lost their jobs as a result)….

Surly coincidental, also yesterday, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) declared that of the 445 large food aids trucks sent to to Tigray province only 38 have returned. Suppress one news story with another is as old as…Ethiopia. The message from WFP characterized the missing trucks (not one or two, but several hundred in a war zone) as “concerning” — if that’s not the understatement of the century, I don’t know what is.

Read the full article at medium.com »

Related:

In an Open Letter Ethiopia Blasts Biden’s Failing East Africa Foreign Policy

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In an Open Letter Ethiopia Blasts Biden’s Failing East Africa Foreign Policy

In an open letter to U.S. President Joe Biden Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed blasted America's obviously failing East Africa foreign policy. The letter shared on social media comes on the same day as Biden's Executive Order issued on Friday, September 17th concerning the domestic political conflict in Ethiopia. You can read both documents below. (Photo via Twitter)

Press Release

By Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of Ethiopia

September 17, 2021

An Open Letter to President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Dear Mr. President,

As I write this open letter to you, it comes at a time when innocent civilians including women, children and other vulnerable groups in the Afar and Amhara regions have been violently displaced, their livelihoods disrupted, their family members killed, and their properties as well as service giving institutions destroyed intentionally by TPLF.

This letter comes at a time when our children in the Tigray region are being used as cannon fodder by remnants of an organization recently designated as ‘terrorist’ by our House of People’s Representatives. Children of a post-war generation that have held high hopes in the possibility that their lives would be distinctly different from that of their parents, whose lives have been marred by the terror of war with the DERG regime and a cross border conflict with Eritrea in the late 1990s instigated by the TPLF.

As the rest of their peers in the country pursue their studies and lives, our children of Tigray have been held hostage by a terrorist organization that attacked the State on November 3, 2020 exposing them to various vulnerabilities. While the use of children as soldiers and participation in active combat is a violation of international law, the terrorist organization TPLF has proceeded unabated in waging its aggression through the use of children and other civilians. The cries of women and children in the Amhara and Afar regions that are displaced and suffering at the hands of TPLF’s enduring ruthlessness continues under the deafening silence of the international community.

Unfortunately, while the entire world has turned its eyes onto Ethiopia and the Government for all the wrong reasons, it has failed to openly and sternly reprimand the terrorist group in the same manner it has been chastising my Government. The many efforts the Ethiopian Government has undertaken to stabilize the region and address humanitarian needs amidst a hostile environment created by the TPLF have been continuously misrepresented. The mounting and undue pressure on a developing African country, with limitless potential for prosperity, has been building up over the past months. This unwarranted pressure, characterized by double standards, has been rooted in an orchestrated distortion of events and facts on the ground as it pertains to Ethiopia’s rule of law operations in the Tigray region. As a long-time friend, strategic ally and partner in security, the United States’ recent policy against my country comes not only as a surprise to our proud nation, but evidently surpasses humanitarian concerns.

For almost three decades, Ethiopians in all corners have been subjected to pervasive human rights, civil and political rights violations under TPLF’s regime. Various identities under the Ethiopian flag were exploited by a small clique that appropriated power to benefit its small circle at the expense of millions, including the impoverished of the Tigray region. The suppression of political dissent, egregious human rights violations, displacements, suffocation of democratic rights and capture of State machinery and institutions for the aggrandizement of a small group that ran a country of millions with no accountability for 27 years has been met with little to no resistance by various Western nations, including the US.

The period 2015-2018 that marked Ethiopia’s awakening where the TPLF was deposed from power in a popular uprising, is telling of the stance that millions throughout this great country took against a criminal enterprise that subjugated Ethiopians to oppression and stripped citizens of agency. TPLF’s track record of pitting one ethnic group against the other for its own political survival did not end in 2018 when my administration took over the helms of power. It rather mutated and intensified in form, putting on the robe of victimhood, while financing elements of instability throughout the country.

Now, the destructive criminal clique, adept at propaganda and spinning international human rights and democracy machinations to its favor, cries wolf while it leaves no stone unturned in its mission to destroy a nation of more than a 3000-year history. Although this hallucination will not come to pass, history will record that the orchestrated turbulent period Ethiopia is going through at the moment is being justified by some Western policy makers and global institutions under the guise of humanitarian assistance and advancing democracy.

In a demonstration of my people’s aspiration to democratize and unprecedented in Ethiopia’s modern history, close to 40million of my country folk went out to vote on June 21, 2021 in this country’s first attempt at a free and fair election. In spite of the many challenges and shortcomings the 6th National Election may have been faced with, the resolute determination of the Ethiopian people for the democratic process was displayed in their commitment to a peaceful electoral period. Against the backdrop of previous electoral periods in which the choice of the people was snatched through rigged processes by the former regime, the 2021 elections came on the heels of the democratic reforms processes we embarked upon three years ago. The significance of our 2021 elections is in its peaceful conclusion, demonstrating Ethiopia’s new trajectory amidst the global warnings that the elections would be violent.

With the Ethiopian people having spoken and affirmed their faith in Prosperity Party to lead them through the next five years in a landslide victory, my Party and administration with this responsibility at hand, are ever more determined to unleash the potential for equitable development these lands are blessed with. We are even more resolute in granting our people the dignity, security and development they deserve within the means we have and without succumbing to various competing interests and pressures. And we will do this by confronting the threats to democracy and stability posed by any belligerent criminal enterprise.

While threats to national, regional and global security continue to be a key component of US interests in many parts of the world, it remains unanswered why your administration has not taken a strong position against the TPLF – the very organization the US Homeland Security categorized as qualifying as Tier 3 terrorist organization for their violent activities in the 1980s.

In the same manner that your predecessors led the global ‘war on terror’, my administration supported by the millions of Ethiopians thirsty and hungry for their right to peace, development and prosperity, are also leading our national ‘war on terror’ against a destructive criminal enterprise, which poses a threat to both national and Horn region stability. Ethiopia has remained the US’s staunch ally in fighting the terrorism threat of Al Shabab in the Horn. It is our expectation that the US would stand by Ethiopia as a similar terrorist organization with hostility towards the region threatens to destabilize the Horn.

Mr. President,

The American people that have supported the US government’s global interventions under the pretext of democratization would be hard-pressed to know that a small impoverished but culturally, historically and naturally rich nation in East Africa embarked on its own democratization path three years ago. However, the American people and the rest of the Western world are being misguided by the reports, narratives and data distortions of global entities many believe were driven to help impoverished countries like mine, yet have in the past months portrayed victims as oppressors and oppressors as victims through partisan narratives and bankrolled networks. History always smiles upon those who have stood for truth. And so, I am certain that truth will shine upon this proud nation Ethiopia!

Many Ethiopians and Africans looked with optimism at your ascent to the Presidency earlier this year. This optimism has been rooted in the belief that a new dispensation for Africa – US relations will materialize in 2021, and that your Presidency would usher in respect for the sovereignty of African nations and nurture partnerships based on mutual growth and in depth reading of context.

African nations that have broken free from the shackles of colonialism starting from the 1950s have continued to resist the chains of neocolonialism that is manifesting itself in various overt and covert ways. Despite escaping the yokes of colonialism, Ethiopia now struggles with its mutation. As a founding member of the United Nations and the Organization for African Unity (now African Union), Ethiopia remains a proud nation that through its sons, daughters and kinship with other African nations, is determined to meet our current challenges with the resilient and indomitable spirit that defines this great nation.

Developing nations, like Ethiopia, have been expectant that a new course in the US’s foreign policy will be charted, departing from the influence of individuals that have entrenched themselves into the politics of other nations. A foreign policy that can extricate itself from decisions made based on key policymakers and policy influencer’s friendships with belligerent terrorist groups like the TPLF and the narrative distortions of lobby groups. We have seen the consequences and aftermaths of hurried and rash decisions made by various US administrations that have left many global populations in more desolate conditions than the intervention attempted to rectify.

It is essential to point out here that Ethiopia will not succumb to consequences of pressure engineered by disgruntled individuals for whom consolidating power is more important than the well-being of millions. Our identity as Ethiopians and our identity as Africans will not let this come to pass. The humiliation our ancestors have faced throughout the continent for centuries will not be resuscitated in these lands upon which the green, gold and red colors of independence have inspired many to successfully struggle for their freedom!

God bless Ethiopia and its people!

September 17, 2021

Related:

Press Release

The White House

Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate related to the Executive Order on Imposing Sanctions on Certain Persons With Respect to the Humanitarian and Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021

Dear Madam Speaker: (Dear Madam President:)

Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order addressing the situation in and in relation to northern Ethiopia, which has been marked by activities that threaten the peace, security, and stability of Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa region. The widespread humanitarian crisis precipitated by the violent conflict in northern Ethiopia has left millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance and has placed an entire region on the brink of famine.

I have declared a national emergency to deal with the threat posed by this crisis and authorized the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for or complicit in, or who have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Ethiopia, or that have the purpose or effect of extending or expanding the crisis in northern Ethiopia or obstructing a ceasefire or a peace process; corruption or serious human rights violations; blocking the delivery or distribution of, or access to, humanitarian supplies; targeting civilians; planning, directing, or committing attacks against United Nations, African Union, or associated personnel; or actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Ethiopia or its territorial integrity.

I am enclosing a copy of the Executive Order I have issued.

Sincerely,

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

—-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The White House

September 17, 2021

Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on the Executive Order Regarding the Crisis in Ethiopia

The ongoing conflict in northern Ethiopia is a tragedy causing immense human suffering and threatens the unity of the Ethiopian state. Nearly one million people are living in famine-like conditions, and millions more face acute food insecurity as a direct consequence of the violence. Humanitarian workers have been blocked, harassed, and killed. I am appalled by the reports of mass murder, rape, and other sexual violence to terrorize civilian populations.

The United States is determined to push for a peaceful resolution of this conflict, and we will provide full support to those leading mediation efforts, including the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa Olusegun Obasanjo. We fully agree with United Nations and African Union leaders: there is no military solution to this crisis.

I join leaders from across Africa and around the world in urging the parties to the conflict to halt their military campaigns respect human rights, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and come to the negotiating table without preconditions. Eritrean forces must withdraw from Ethiopia. A different path is possible but leaders must make the choice to pursue it.

My Administration will continue to press for a negotiated ceasefire, an end to abuses of innocent civilians, and humanitarian access to those in need. The Executive Order I signed today establishes a new sanctions regime that will allow us to target those responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict in Ethiopia, obstructing humanitarian access, or preventing a ceasefire. It provides the Department of the Treasury with the necessary authority to hold accountable those in the Government of Ethiopia, Government of Eritrea, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and Amhara regional government, among others, that continue to pursue conflict over negotiations to the detriment of the Ethiopian people.

The United States remains committed to supporting the people of Ethiopia and to strengthening the historic ties between our countries.

These sanctions are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea, but rather the individuals and entities perpetrating the violence and driving a humanitarian disaster We provide Ethiopia with more humanitarian and development assistance than does any other country – benefitting all of its regions. We will continue to work with our partners to address basic needs of at-risk populations in Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa.

—-

The White House

Background Press Call By Senior Administration Officials on Ethiopia

SEPTEMBER 17, 2021

PRESS BRIEFINGS
Via Teleconference
(September 16, 2021)

12:02 P.M. EDT

MODERATOR: Thanks, and greetings to everyone. I would like to welcome you all to an on-background call to discuss Ethiopia.

Today we are joined by [senior administration officials]. This call is on background, and therefore, at this point, our speakers should be referred to as “senior administration officials.” The call contents and the materials we will send later this evening will be embargoed until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Again, we have not yet sent any materials, but we anticipate sending them this evening to those of you who have participated on the call and agreed to the ground rules. And they will be embargoed until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.

And with that, over to our first speaker.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Great, thank you. And good afternoon, everyone. We really appreciate this opportunity to update you on a major administration announcement tomorrow regarding Ethiopia.

And, first, let me say that the Biden-Harris Administration is determined to press for an end to the ongoing humanitarian and human rights crisis in northern Ethiopia. This expanding conflict is causing immense human suffering and threatening the unity of the Ethiopian state as well as regional stability.

This crisis has already sparked one of the worst humanitarian and human rights crises in the world. Over 5 million people require humanitarian assistance, and up to 900,000 are already living in famine conditions in the Tigray region alone, more than anywhere else in the world today.

Less than 10 percent of the needed humanitarian supplies, however, have reached the Tigray region over the past month due to obstruction of aid access. Let me repeat that: less than 10 percent of needed supplies.

The United Nations Secretary-General and African Union leaders have stated clearly: There is no military solution to this political crisis. And we agree.

For far too long, the parties to this conflict have ignored international calls to initiate discussions to achieve a negotiated ceasefire, and the human rights and humanitarian situations have worsened. In a moment, [senior administration official] will give you a brief update on our engagement with the parties.

But let me get to the announcement. Tomorrow, we will announce that President Biden has approved a new executive order establishing a sanctions regime to increase pressure on the parties fueling this conflict to sit down at the negotiating table and, in the case of Eritrea, withdraw forces.

This action provides the Department of Treasury, working in coordination with the Department of State, the necessary authority to impose sanctions against those in the Ethiopian government, the Eritrean government, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and the Amhara regional government if they continue to pursue military conflict over meaningful negotiations to the detriment of the Ethiopian people.

Unless the parties take concrete steps to resolve the crisis, the administration is prepared to take aggressive action under this new executive order to impose targeted sanctions against a wide range of individuals or entities.

But a different path is possible. If the government of Ethiopia and the TPLF take meaningful steps to enter into talks for a negotiated ceasefire and allow for unhindered humanitarian access, the United States is ready to help mobilize assistance for Ethiopia to recover and revitalize its economy.

And I think some people may ask: Well, what are the steps we’re asking the parties to take? Very concretely and clearly, steps towards a negotiated ceasefire could include accepting African Union-led mediation efforts, designating a negotiations team, agreeing to negotiations without preconditions, and accepting an invitation to initial talks.

Steps toward humanitarian access could include authorizing daily convoys of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to travel overland to reach at-risk populations; reducing delays for humanitarian convoys; and restoring basic services such as electricity, telecommunications, and financial services.

But I also want to be clear: These sanctions authorities are not directed at the people of Ethiopia or Eritrea. The new sanctions program is deliberately calibrated to mitigate any undue harm to those already suffering from this conflict.

In fact, Treasury will issue accompanying general licenses tomorrow to provide clear exemptions for any development, humanitarian, and other assistance efforts, as well as critical commercial activity in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The United States provides Ethiopia with more humanitarian assistance than does any other country, and we will continue to help those in Ethiopia who need our assistance. The executive order should not affect the continued provision of humanitarian and other assistance to address basic needs throughout Ethiopia.

So, with that, let me turn it over to [senior administration official] for his comments, and then we’ll be happy to take your questions.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks. And good afternoon to everybody.

As my colleague’s comments make clear, this decision — the President’s approval of this executive order was not a decision that the Biden-Harris administration or any of us in the Biden-Harris administration took lightly.

But we’ve telegraphed for months that the parties need to change course. They need to change course for the sake of Ethiopia, for the sake of Ethiopian people. And we’ve given them every chance to move toward a negotiated ceasefire to stop the human rights violations, to end the fighting to allow humanitarian deliveries.

You know, [redacted] spent an extended time in Addis, talking directly with the Prime Minister, with other senior officials, sharing our analysis of the dangers of the current approach and the implications for Ethiopia and the region. You know, [redacted] engaged the Eritreans, including President Isaias Afwerki, on the need for the Eritrean troops to withdraw. And we’ve detected no signs of any serious move by any of the parties to end the fighting.

What really strikes me after traveling to other African capitals, to the Gulf, through conversations and virtual meetings that I’ve had with Europeans and other friends, is how much our analysis — our shared analysis of the situation overlaps. Ethiopia’s neighbors and Ethiopia’s friends further away agree that there is a grave and growing risk to the stability of Ethiopia — a country of more than 110 million people — and that the current trajectory can lead to the disintegration of the state, which would be disastrous for Ethiopia, for the region, and beyond.

So there’s a widespread consensus — outside of Ethiopia, at least — that there is no military solution to this conflict. There’s widespread support for U.N. Secretary-General Guterres’s August call to, quote, “immediately end hostilities without preconditions and seize the opportunity to negotiate a lasting ceasefire.”

Unfortunately, right now, all signs seem to be pointing to dangerous escalation and expansion of the humanitarian crisis. We’re really worried that the end of the rainy season that’s upon us is going to mark an escalation of the military conflict.

Prime Minister Abiy seems determined to pursue a military approach. My guess is it’s probably in hopes that, by his October 4th swearing-in — before the new parliament that was elected in the recent elections — that he can claim some kind of military victory or military strength.

The mass mobilization that he’s provoked of the Ethiopian citizens essentially opens up a Pandora’s box in such a diverse country with so many political grievances and differences.

Eritrean troops have expanded their presence, dug down in western Tigray. For its part, the TPLF has been forging alliances with disaffected groups elsewhere in Ethiopia, which puts more of the country at risk of widespread civil conflict. The TPLF presumably has a keen interest in denying Prime Minister Abiy the ability to report to the new parliament in October that he has scored some kind of military win.

So the polarization inside Ethiopia deepens; the grievances grow.

We just can’t sit idly by. It must be clear that there are consequences for perpetuating this conflict and for denying lifesaving humanitarian assistance.

You know, in previewing this decision with Ethiopian officials and others, I’ve made the point clear — the data I mentioned earlier — which is the Biden administration believes that there is a different path. [Redacted] prepared to travel to the region to make the case and use the tools in our toolbox to encourage a different approach. I’ve spoken with former Nigerian President Obasanjo several times — as recently as yesterday, most recently — who’s been named AU envoy for the Horn, to assure him of our support for his mission. The time to pivot to a negotiated ceasefire and a way for military escalation is now.

With that, [senior administration official], back to you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Great. Thank you so much. And I think we are now going to open the floor to questions, correct?

MODERATOR: Yep. We can open it up.

Q (Audio muted) — the United Nations on this next week. Also, what makes you think that sanctions can really make a difference?

And finally, I just have a plea to make this call on the record because, you know, this is an issue that we’d like to get in the news, but I don’t understand why it’s on background.

Thank you.

MODEARTOR: Sorry, Michele, I think we did not hear the first part of your question, if you don’t mind repeating it.

Q Sure. It’s whether or not there’s going to be any action at the United Nations General Assembly next week — any particular outreach or meetings that you’re expecting.

And then secondly, what makes you think sanctions will make a difference?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I can start on that. Michele, hi. I am going up to going up to New York along, of course, with other officials. Secretary Blinken will be there. Of course, President — President Biden will be there. And there’ll be a lot of bilateral discussions on this. But there’s not going to be any kind of, sort of, side event on Ethiopia at this time. It’s going to be more folded into bilateral discussions that we’re having with various people, rather than any kind of separate session — group (inaudible) on Ethiopia.

You probably saw that, for the G7, there was quite a — there was quite a coordinated effort of the G7 countries to make sure that there was a focus on Ethiopia and the humanitarian crisis at the time. And I think that you’ll see that type of discussion, again, among the — among the leaders next week.

Michele, you know the U.N. — you know the U.N. General Assembly atmosphere as well as I do from being up there. And my expectation is that whatever the official agenda is at the General Assembly next week, this will be a key discussion in the corridors, on the margins, in the various bilateral meetings because it is, right now, one of the largest humanitarian catastrophes in the world.

On your second question: You know, we have been engaging the parties to this conflict intently for months. And we have — you know, we have been signaling to them that there are consequences, first and foremost, to Ethiopia itself, to Ethiopia’s stability — but to the bilateral relationship of taking what is clearly a destructive approach to settling political grievances inside the country.

And I just don’t think that we can ignore the fact that all the encouragement that we and the international community and their neighbors of Ethiopia have been giving the parties — to move from a military approach to a political approach — that has been ignored. We can’t simply sit by and pretend that what we’ve had so far has been working. It hasn’t. The situation has gotten worse over the last few months.
I would hope that they would see this as an opportunity that — the tool is being unveiled tomorrow — that we have this new sanctions program, but we aren’t designating anyone or any entity under it, even though there’s broad authority to do so, in hopes that this can — that this will provide additional incentives for moving away from the military approach to a political approach.

They should be doing this anyway for the sake of Ethiopia, but now this is an additional incentive.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That’s right. And just to add: Yes, while we definitely — I second everything my colleague said. We expect significant discussion on Ethiopia at UNGA next week. And I think, you know, now is the time because we have been engaging for months on this, and yet the situation has only deteriorated.

So, you know, the statements of concern from a wide range of international actors have not achieved the results we need. And now we believe it is necessary to raise the costs to parties continuing to prosecute the war.

Q Oh, hi there. Thanks for taking the question. I just wanted a little bit more detail on the nuts and bolts of the sanctions regime that’s going to be announced tomorrow. How will this work in relation to the sanctions you already announced back in May by the Secretary of State? What kind of figures are going to be coming into view this time — military, political, others? Are you going to name names?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thank you, Declan. So how this is different: What was announced previously were the Global Magnitsky sanctions, and we have already designated the Eritrean commander with that sanctions package.

But this — the EO that will be announced tomorrow is a broader scope, allowing us to sanction individuals and entities from conflict parties and others fueling the conflict.

As I mentioned at the top, we have not yet and we will not yet mention names tomorrow. We are just announcing that the President has agreed to — has signed off on this authority, allowing Treasury and the State Department to look at those who are continuing fueling the conflict if the conditions that I’ve laid out are not been — have not been met.

But, you know, this regime — the EO that will come out is broader, faster, more flexible, and more directly tied to our specific push for ceasefire talks.

And, [senior administration official], I don’t know if you have anything to add to that.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Not really, but, you know, it’s worth noting — I mentioned the former President — former Nigerian President Obasanjo has been named the AU Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, looking at Ethiopia.

There’s a real opportunity now. He’s going to be going out to Addis — it might be today or tomorrow. He’s on his way. So, there’s a real opportunity now for the government, for the other parties to show a seriousness on the political negotiations that they haven’t done so far with working with Obasanjo.

So I would hope that this flexible, comprehensive tool that my colleague describes doesn’t have to actually be used.

Q Thanks for doing the call and for taking my question. I just wanted to see if you could get a bit more specific about the destructive behavior you’re trying to change on behalf of the Ethiopian government. You know, is it fair to say that it’s government policy to deny the humanitarian access and aid?

What is the — you know, you mentioned a bit that you had been coordinating with Prime Minister Abiy. I wonder, you know, do you feel that there’s a level of honesty in those interactions, or are they basically denying any of this is taking place? Anything you could give in terms of the specific behaviors that you’re hoping this might change. Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So, just one fact: There has been no fuel and no medicines delivered to Tigray since August 16th. As my colleague said in her opening remarks, there’s only been about 10 percent of the overall supplies into Tigray since the June withdrawal of the Ethiopian forces from Tigray on June 28th.

It’s not fighting that’s preventing the movement of fuel and medicine into Tigray; it’s government decisions, government harassment, local harassment that have prevented the type of supplies going in.

You know, there’s — my colleague and I and our AID — the heroic colleagues at AID could give you a lot of details of how long and how much effort it’s taken to get any kind of shipments in. There were 150 trucks that reached Tigray from September 4th to 7th, but that’s only a drop in the bucket of what’s actually needed. There needs to be 100 trucks of food going into Tigray every day. And it’s simply not happening because of the bureaucratic obstacles that are being put in place.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That’s right. And just to add: You know, it’s — as I mentioned, we are not calling just on the Ethiopian government — right? — to take action. We’re calling on the Ethiopian government and the TPLF and any other parties — Amhara Special Forces, Eritreans — to take concrete steps to end both the humanitarian and human rights situ- — crisis, and specifically for the Ethiopian government and the TPLF to initiate discussions to achieve a negotiated ceasefire.

And again, those steps could include accepting the AU-led mediation efforts, but, you know, agreeing to negotiations without preconditions or accepting an invitation to initial proximity talks. But in order to pave the way for that negotiated ceasefire, both sides must take definitive steps to halt the ongoing offensive.

You know, we — in terms of the international community and the U.N. and steps taken there: You know, just this week, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights presented at the Human Rights Council on Monday. And those com- — in those comments, they pressed for and mentioned the continued severe human rights violations by all parties, especially the sexual violence — in the reports that we’re hearing on that.

But, you know, again, this is — this action is targeted at all parties, including TPLF.

Q Hi. Thank you for doing this. I was wondering if you could explain a bit more on why you are not imposing sanctions now. If, as you say, the current strategy of statements and warning that you would take action isn’t working, why not go ahead and take action and impose sanctions now? If you could explain that, I’d really appreciate it. Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, the reason why — and I think [senior administration official] also mentioned this as well — is because we do believe a different path is possible. This is not a decision that this administration has taken lightly.

And our preference, quite frankly, is to not to use this tool. We would prefer that the parties to the conflict work with the international community to advance discussions toward a negotiated ceasefire. We want to see a prosperous, peaceful, united Ethiopia, as well as the region in the Horn of Africa. But this ongoing protracted conflict is risking — puts all of that at risk.

So, we are communicating to the parties that a different path is possible if they take meaningful steps now to initiate discussions to achieve that ceasefire and allow for unhindered humanitarian access.

Q Thank you. Three quick questions. One, is it safe to say — you had said “Eritrean and Ethiopian government individuals” at the top, I believe. Correct me if I’m wrong. Is it safe to say that these potential sanctions will target government officials, as well as Tigrayans?

Secondly, is there a timeline that you’re going to lay out for how long you’re willing to wait until there are meaningful discussions — you know, two weeks, a month, three months?

And then finally, just on the Human Rights Watch report, which accuses the Eritreans and Tigrayans of war crimes — I’m just wondering if you have a comment on that, and will you agree with that description?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, as [senior administration official] said, and I think as I said, this tool allows us to impose sanctions on entities, on individuals — government and non-government alike — of those who are hindering the humanitarian access, those who are preventing the negotiated ceasefire, those who are blocking a shift to political process.

So, you know, you’ve got Ethiopian officials and non-officials; Eritrean officials and entities; TPLF; Amhara regional forces. It’s flexible enough that those who are taking the actions that so concern us, that so alarm us, and that put Ethiopia’s stability at risk can be sanctioned.

In terms of the — in terms of the timeline, there’s — as I said, President Obasanjo starts his negotiations this weekend. Prime Minister Abiy goes before the parliament for his new term on the beginning of October. There are opportunities, in these coming weeks, to signal a different approach than the one that has been taken over the past almost year now, unfortunately.

So, there’s no specific timeline that we have in mind, but it’s not indefinite. Unless the parties take concrete steps toward resolving the conflict and lifting the humanitarian blockade, the administration will take aggressive action, under this executive order, to impose sanctions against a broad range of individuals or entities.

I don’t think any of us — any of us were surprised to see the Human Rights Watch talking about war crimes committed by the by the Eritreans, by TPLF against the Eritrean refugees who had resident in Northern Tigray for a very, very, very, very long time. It’s another example of what — of a horrifying situation.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That’s right. Thanks. And just to add, so we are looking at weeks, not months. We don’t want to see this crisis continue to protract out even further.

And as I mentioned, yes, this EO does authorize sanctions against all parties if changes are not made.

Regarding the Human Rights Watch report: Obviously, we are very concerned about these reports, and we’re reviewing them.
Obviously, we condemn all human rights abuses in the strongest terms. And we have spoken out strongly in the past against reports of abuses by both governments and TPLF-aligned forces against Eritrean refugees.

I mean, bottom line: This must stop.

This is precisely why we need to increase our push for a ceasefire and to end the abuses.

Q Hi, thank you for this. A couple of questions. Clarifying that — you said, tomorrow, the Treasury Department’s OFAC will issue a general license allowing all humanitarian work to continue. Is that needed because there’s a chance that some of these entities down the road, that would be sanctioned if there’s no improvement, are like military units or something like that?

And you did mention that in all of your contacts regionally and with Europe, there’s a lot of overlap in your thinking in terms of the analysis of how dire the situation is. Is there any prospect of the European Union offering its own sanctions? U.N. sanctions? Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’ll take the second –I’ll take the second one first, if I may.

We have been in touch this week previewing with friends and partners in Europe and elsewhere what we’re talking about right now. And again, the overlap of our analysis of just how bad the situation is and the risk that the situation is going to get worse in the coming weeks is widely shared.

There’s still different views on what we should do about that. Everyone recognizes that our collective actions, messages, et cetera, up until now have not really changed the calculations of the party — of the parties on the ground. So, I think there’s an understanding of why the U.S. is moving — is moving in this direction.

The EU has been a very close partner with us in coordinating our positions towards the — Eritrea and the TPLF, the Amhara regional forces, and the Ethiopian government.

But as all of you know, for European sanctions to be approved, you’ve got 27 member states you’ve got to convince. So, I wouldn’t — I would not expect the EU to be able to move as quickly as we can move as a single government.

But we are in touch with them. And, certainly, the European External Action Service people, the Special — the EU Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, believes that we do need additional tools to try to bring the parties to the table.

Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks. Yeah, sorry, I was having problems muting.

And I’ll take the first part of your question regarding the general licenses. So, the general licenses that will be issued by Treasury will authorize the continued flow of food, medicine, including COVID-19-related assistance, medical devices, as well as enabling international organizations, aid organizations, and nonprofits to provide humanitarian and other critical support to the region regardless of sanctions.

And just to follow up on what [senior administration official] was saying about our allies and partners, we’ve, you know, previewed these actions, and we hope that allies and partners will take similar actions.

We expect this to be some of the discussion among senior officials at the U.N. General Assembly next week. And we have seen an increasing number of international actors speaking out for an end to military escalation and initiation of ceasefire talks regarding Tigray.

Thank you.

Q Hello, can you hear me?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes.

Q Oh, okay. Thank you.

I was wondering, you mentioned you spoke with the Horn of Africa — the former President of Nigeria, Mr. Obasanjo. I was wondering if you consulted with any other African national presidents.

And also, regarding the sanction, is this in response to Ethiopia and Turkey? Recently, the Prime Minister was in — met with President Erdoğan of Turkey last month. So is this a response to that?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks for the question. [Redacted] went to Goma a few weeks ago to see President Tshisekedi in his role as Chair of the African Union to talk about Ethiopia, given his responsibility this year as Chair of the African Union. And again, the overlap in our analysis was significant.

And [redacted] explained to him that the United States was prepared to take additional steps, to use additional tools in order to try to persuade all of the parties to move in a different direction along the lines that [senior administration official] and I have been just describing today.

[Redacted] also went to Addis and saw the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki. It’s been several weeks since [redacted] saw Moussa Faki, but, in [redacted]’s last trip to Addis, [redacted] also saw the AU Political Peace and Security Commissioner, Ambassador Bankole, to make sure that the African Union understood our analysis, understood our strategy and our approach, and understood that we would be taking additional steps if there wasn’t some progress on the ground toward the negotiated ceasefire, political process, and lifting humanitarian access.

So, yes, we have been keeping in very close touch with the African Union and have encouraged the African Union — to the Peace and Security Council, as well as bilaterally — to press the parties to this conflict on what all these African leaders have told us privately, which is there is no military solution to the conflict; they need to move toward a negotiated ceasefire and political process.

You know, we noted in the media the reports of Prime Minister Abiy’s visits not only to Turkey, where he saw President Erdoğan, but also elsewhere in Africa. And again, we’ve encouraged all those that talk to Prime Minister Abiy to talk to him about the about the risks to Ethiopia’s stability of the current trajectory.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, [senior administration official]. And let me just add, I think, to the portion of your question regarding the visit to Erdoğan: You know, we have — the United States has imposed defense trade restrictions for exports to Ethiopia amid the ongoing conflict and reported human rights abuses. And we urge other countries to implement similar measures to stop the flow of weapons to any parties to the conflict and to reinforce the futility of ongoing military operations and, again, to promote the push for a negotiated ceasefire.

But I think it’s also significant that, in terms of engaging other leaders on the continent, we are also seeing a larger number of African academics, civil society organizations, and leaders, including in Ethiopia itself, speaking out against the abuses and calling for cessation of hostilities and peace talks.

And this includes a significant letter from a coalition of civil society groups in Ethiopia last week. And we are encouraged by these voices who are speaking out and want to be supportive of African-led efforts as much as possible.

Thank you.

Q Hi, thanks for doing this. And kudos to [senior administration official] for how much you’ve been doing in the Horn of Africa. Just kind of following the conflict in Ethiopia, there was a timeframe of three weeks that was given by the Prime Minister. Then it became “after the elections, things would change.” And now there seems to be a new deadline of October 3rd, even though he’s (inaudible) essentially said that the governments would not negotiate with terrorist groups as the TPLF — that was designated by parliament.

So, there seems to be a pattern of postponing a possible end to this conflict. So, my question for you is: What makes you optimistic that this new announcement coming out tomorrow will have a different outcome, given that previous heavy-handed announcements only made the Ethiopian government kind of double down on their stance and their rhetoric?

And then just secondly, on the same: Have you been in touch with the TPLF? And have they agreed to have negotiations?

And then lastly, there have been stories of Iranian drones being used in Ethiopia. Does that complicate your work in terms of trying to bring these two factions together while Ethiopia is having sanctionable actions (inaudible)?

Thank you.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks. If I expressed optimism, I perhaps made a mistake. What I feel is that we need to try new tools because the existing tools that we’ve been deploying — whether it’s us or other countries, other interested parties — have been using haven’t changed the calculation so far.

Look, the prime minister just won an election. His party just won an election. The prime minister is going to be sworn in for another term before a new parliament that’s going to be consisting of his allies. One would hope that the prime minister is going to start putting — with the election behind him, will start putting the interests of the Ethiopian people first and foremost — and that the interests of the Ethiopian people would suggest that the current strategy is not a winning strategy.

As you as you rightly pointed out, he has given lots of timelines and reasons for delay, but now he’s going to be heading a new Cabinet before a new parliament with a electoral mandate that’s behind him.

So, this is the time, we believe, for him to start thinking about the overall needs of Ethiopia and the risk that the current approach puts to Ethiopia’s stability.

And then the other parties need to also be responding in kind — thinking about the Ethiopian people, the state of Ethiopia, rather than their own military or political grievances.

When [redacted] saw the Prime Minister when [redacted] had this extended trip to Addis recently, of course, [redacted] talked about that having increased use of weaponry is not the way that’s going to stabilize Ethiopia, that’s going to address the grievances that Ethiopians have, that’s going to lead to the type of prosperity that he himself says is his goal for Ethiopia.

So, [redacted] talked about the futility of advanced weapon systems and of reliance on an exclusively military approach to what are some legitimate political grievances in the country.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks. And just to add: Right — you know, I think you’ve laid it out very, very well. We are — we’re not optimistic about the situation on the ground. And that’s why the President authorized this executive order in order to ramp up the pressure.

But we are optimistic about the growing move by regional leaders, by the AU Envoy Obasanjo to press for a mediated solution. And we hope that we can marshal support for these efforts.

And I think, to the last part of your question, I’ll just refer to my previous answer and reemphasize: You know, again, we are urging countries to stop the flow of weapons to any parties to the conflict and promote the push for a negotiated ceasefire.

Thank you.

MODERATOR: I very much want to thank everyone — our participants, especially, for their thoughtful questions. I know we had many and many queued up, and we tried to get to as many as possible.

I would also very much like to thank our speakers. They’ve given us a very generous amount of time given their busy schedules.

As a final reminder, this call and materials that we’ll send later this evening will be embargoed until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. I can’t yet give you a time on when we’ll send the materials out, but we’ll definitely try to get them out to you this evening.

And that concludes our call. Thank you so much, everyone and goodbye.

12:43 P.M. EDT

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Q&A With Filmmaker Jessica Beshir: ‘Faya Dayi’ Screens at AFI in Silver Spring, Maryland

Next month on October 01, 2021 Jessica Beshir will participate in a Q&A session with the audience following the screening of her documentary 'Faya Dayi' by the American Film Institute at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Photo via Linkedin)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 23rd, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — One of the marks of a successful movie is the lively conversations and reactions it generates among its audience as Filmmaker Jessica Beshir’s Sundance-premiered Ethiopian film Faya Dayi continues to do on social media and other forums.

Next month Jessica Beshir will participate in a Q&A with the public following the screening of her documentary by the American Film Institute at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“A film ten years in the making, Faya Dayi was conceived by director Jessica Beshir as an act of reconnecting with the Ethiopian homeland she left at the age of sixteen, when her family fled to Mexico to escape the chaos and oppression of the Mengistu and Derg political regimes,” the announcement notes. “Later, in 2011, during one of her return trips to Ethiopia, Beshir began collecting observations and impressions of the country by shooting footage that told the stories of several Ethiopians and the social, religious, and economic forces influencing their lives.”

The press release adds: “Among those forces was the ascendency of khat [ጫት ch'at] as a national cash crop. A plant with hallucinatory properties that has been traditionally harvested and chewed for ritualistic purposes, khat was, in Beshir’s youth, one of many lucrative crops bolstering the Ethiopian economy. But in the intervening years, climate change, along with other factors, had forced farmers to grow khat to the near exclusion of all other plants, and its excessive presence in the country increased recreational khat usage among the younger generations. Climate change had also dried up lakes, while economic necessity and political tumult had forced people living in rural areas to look for new prospects overseas or in the capital city of Addis Ababa.”

In explaining her experience of cinema while growing up in Ethiopia and what led her to become a filmmaker Jessica recalls that she was raised in a military camp located adjacent to a Russian military base in Harar. “In the Russian camp, there was an open-air movie theater,” she rememberers. “Us kids dug a hole under the barbed wire and snuck through it to the movie theater.”

She continues: “We’d go there every night to watch Russian films—mostly war films that were meant to elevate the morale of the Russian soldiers stationed in Ethiopia. One of our friends was trained by the Russians to project the films. He would change the reels of the films in the back of a Land Rover, and his leverage with the other kids was that if you were nice, he would show you how he changed the reels. Before that, it never occurred to me that movies were actually made by people. Seeing something of the magic of how movies are constructed, and experiencing the communal aspect of moviegoing, made me feel less alone and transported me during a time of war and trauma. I gravitated to filmmaking in large part because of that.”

Jessica shares that after returning to Ethiopia from many years in exile it was not her original intention to make a film about ጫት ch’at. “I returned to reconnect to my family, especially my grandmother, who was getting very old. And in reconnecting with family and friends, I noticed that everything in the country now revolved around khat, which had always been around but not in such an all-encompassing way. What had changed was that all of the country’s social and economic life centered on this drug, and I wanted to ask why this was and why so many people were medicating themselves.”

Blow is the rest of the interview with Jessica Beshir courtesy of the American Film Institute and AFI Silver Theatre. Faya Dayi will open at AFI on Friday, October 01, 2021. Organizes note that proof of vaccination –or– negative Covid PCR test is required for entry. You can learn more and purchase tickets here


Faya Dayi. (Courtesy photo)

Interview With Filmmaker Jessica Beshir about ‘Faya Dayi’

What do you remember about your childhood and early adolescence in Ethiopia, and how did those memories inform the conception of Faya dayi?

I remember everything that happened up to the time I was sixteen and my family left Ethiopia. My generation reached adulthood a lot sooner than we otherwise would have because we grew up during a cold war. My father was director of a military hospital—war was ever-present, and that couldn’t help but shape our outlook.

In returning to the country many years later, I didn’t set out to make a documentary on khat. I returned to reconnect to my family, especially my grandmother, who was getting very old. And in reconnecting with family and friends, I noticed that everything in the country now revolved around khat, which had always been around but not in such an all-encompassing way. What had changed was that all of the country’s social and economic life centered on this drug, and I wanted to ask why this was and why so many people were medicating themselves.

What was clear was that the country was in a state of decay. There was new infrastructure in Harar and other cities, but mostly the country was falling apart due to the misrule of an oppressive governmental regime. And that regime had also limited freedom of speech, which led to people’s retreat into private worlds. Even after this regime faced protests and was ultimately unseated from power, there was a huge disillusionment when substantial change did not come about.

So, there was a desire for khat, due to its ability to foster a state of insularity, but then many factors influenced the rise of khat as a cash crop. Climate change altered which crops the farmers were able to cultivate, and inflation made it impossible for the farmers to cultivate coffee and other crops. Before, khat was relegated to the Harar region, but now its development had spread to the rest of the country, so my filming concentrated on the farms and land in Harar, around the area where I had grown up. I felt it was important to be very specific—there are more than eighty ethnic groups and languages in Ethiopia. The specific Oromo identity in Harar—I’d never seen that reflected on film, and I wanted to transmit the people’s intonation of language, their cadences. This was crucial to the overall tapestry of the film.

To what extent did you predetermine or spontaneously arrive at the film’s sounds and images?

When I began shooting, I had a specific intention for what I wanted—one that would allow for multiple possibilities that could reveal themselves in the editing room. And I was excited to discover those possibilities, those forms. For example, I knew I wanted to convey a sense of interiority, but through evocation rather than through a direct telling. I also wanted the locations I shot to speak through images. One was the labyrinthine space of this close walled city, Jugol; another was comprised of the vast farms. I wanted the vastness of the farms to correspond to the vastness among the experiences I shot, with different people having different experiences within the same geographical space. I thought, If voices were to emerge from these farms, what would these voices say?

In conversations with my editors, I conveyed that the film’s form should be alive, that it should have its own mode of expression. At times this form didn’t always make rational sense, but it was transmitting something—something more elliptical, perhaps. This elliptical mode was probably influenced by the oral tradition of storytelling with which I grew up. Oral tradition is about the journey and all the things you see and experience before you arrive at a narrative destination. I wanted the structure of the film to be like an octopus, where one story strand was like a tentacle, and if something occurred in that strand it would reverberate throughout the entire body of the film.

Faya dayi took ten years to make. How did that decade-long process start, and what were some of the major milestones along the road toward completing the project?

The first thing I wanted to do upon my return to Ethiopia was to spend time on the farms. My grandmother is not a farmer—she lives far away from where I filmed—but there was a certain kinship there because I was listening to her language, the Oromo language. I met most of the farmers by spending time with them at a café that was owned by a friend. That’s how I started talking with them and learning about the khat farms. I also befriended the children of these farmers, and over the years of shooting I saw and recorded the way these children became political and participated in the peaceful protests, in 2014–15, against the government. That was an invigorating leap in the filming process, in seeing these kids come of age and getting involved in what was occurring throughout the country. A major moment in the shoot was seeing the drying up of the lakes. The first time I saw this, I couldn’t take it. I was heading down in a van to Haramaya, and I asked the driver if we could stop to take a picture of this sacred lake, and when we did, it wasn’t there—grass had grown over it, cows were herding there, it was gone. There was always new information I was obtaining and through which I learned about the changes that were unfolding throughout the country.

Another one was interviewing a university professor who did his PhD on khat studies, who had spent his whole life with and around this plant. He doesn’t appear in the film, but one thing he said stuck with me, that once in a while a visiting professor from the West would teach at the university for a few months and then a while later would publish a study on khat. All of a sudden, he had to read about khat from out there. What I picked up from that was: Where’s our voice in this? I wanted to do justice to the story of the people who live here, their stories and their dignity. Khat came from a religious, ritualistic practice of imams, just like peyote for the shamans. It’s not just a plant for kids who want to get high.

What research in the areas of politics, sociology, religion, and myth informed the production of Faya dayi?

A lot of the time I spent during my return to Ethiopia involved research. My friend’s grandfather, who lived in the labyrinthine city, was the one who first spoke with me about khat’s roots in the Sufi tradition. And not just in a religious sense but also in a social sense—it was what united people coming back home from work to have lunch, since they would chew khat and then go on with their day. It provided a boost of energy for people like farmers, who performed physical labor. It was a means to an end, but now it’s become the end itself, especially for the youth.

From my friend and her grandfather, I met several Sufi imams. These imams who you see in the film, I spent a lot of time learning from them about Azurkherlaini, about whom Ethiopians have their own individual perceptions. That myth is so alive in the people’s imagination and thought process, it’s alive in the recitation and prayer of the imams. I wanted to somehow visualize the various conceptions of Azurkherlaini, and, to get to that interiority, I wanted to represent the people’s reality on the ground as opposed to casting some weird guy who looks like Azurkherlaini.

How did you achieve the film’s distinctive black-and-white cinematography?

I knew I was going to shoot in black and white, but at times I questioned myself about that, because khat is a green leaf and obviously that wouldn’t come through in black and white. But in the end, I decided to go with black and white because so many elements of the film refer to light and darkness. For example, the fable of Azurkherlaini talks about “the black” and the darkness of night—there were all of these dichotomies in that myth that could be evoked through black and white. Plus, the nature of khat and the trade of it, and many of the film’s stories, contain the sides that black-and-white photography evokes. I wanted to focus on the interiority of the people in the film instead of the potential sensationalism of the subject of khat, and so the dreaminess of the cinematography evokes the people’s frustration, dread, loneliness, impotence, resignation, and so on. •

If You Go:

For showtime and dates please visit AFI Silver Theatre.

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Spotlight: In NYC ECMAA Hosts Ethiopian Day Picnic, Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Photo: Courtesy of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 15th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — As the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, the organization announced that it will host its popular annual Ethiopian Day Picnic on September 19th in New York City — marking its first live public event since the pandemic.

In a newsletter ECMAA said the gathering this month is a symbol of our capacity to recover from difficulties and persist as a community. “Resilience and perseverance are not valued highly enough [and] we don’t celebrate managing challenges and still standing and growing,” the press release said. “We will celebrate this and ECMAA’s 40th anniversary at the annual Ethiopian Day Picnic.”

The announcement added:

In 1981, a group of refugees who felt that they could decided to gather and figure out how to help those who’ve newly arrived. In 2021, we’re Ethiopians of significantly varying backgrounds living in the tri-state area still creating a community while we rush and struggle through day to day life in New York City.

We’ll get together as a full community in this large setting for the first time since March of 2020…We celebrate still standing after many ups and downs for ECMAA from its inception, we celebrate still standing as a we face a global pandemic that forced us to separate and yet still grow stronger in support of each other, we celebrate our place of birth or heritage even as it struggles with multiple challenges that can shake us, we celebrate the flowers that still bloom, our children that still grow and our community to keeps working at being a resource to the community. We celebrate as we also mourn the losses our community and our country has sustained. We’re long-distance runners – marathoners who keep going despite the challenges that come our way. We are ECMAA and invite you to come honor our past, celebrate life and solidify our future.


(Photo: Courtesy of ECMAA)


(Photo: Courtesy of ECMAA)

The Ethiopian Day Picnic will take place on Sunday at Sakura Park in Manhattan. Organizers urge participants to be respectful and abide by current CDC guidelines in regards to COVID-19. “Although the picnic takes place outside we advise everyone to maintain social distancing and wear masks when not eating or drinking,” ECMAA said. “We all want to have fun and be safe.”

According to the program scheduled activities at the family-friendly outdoor event include fun and games featuring Sem Ena Werk quiz for adults while children “enjoy some dancing and tunes, catch up, with old friends, challenge the kids to tug-of-war, but make sure you’ve met someone you’ve not met before and have some cake.”

If You Go:

Ethiopian Day Picnic,
Sunday, September 19, at 2pm in Sakura Park in Manhattan.
More info at www.ecmaany.org

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Real Estate in Ethiopia: Q&A About KEFITA with CEO & Founder of ROCKSTONE

In the following interview with Tadias, Dietrich E. Rogge, the CEO & Founder of ROCKSTONE, a German-based developer, discusses their new state-of-the-art condominium development called KEFITA under construction in Addis Ababa. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 6th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopians in the Diaspora are receiving growing opportunities to invest in real estate in Ethiopia. Some of the new high-rise buildings — mostly in Addis Ababa (built by both local and international developers including from Asia, America and Europe) — offer international standard amenities while incorporating local architectural styles as well as easy access to shopping, transportation and other daily necessities.

In the following interview with Tadias, Dietrich E. Rogge, the CEO & Founder of ROCKSTONE, a German-based developer, discusses their new state-of-the-art condominium development called KEFITA under construction in the kebena area (officially known as the District of Signal), one of Addis Ababa’s oldest neighborhoods.

“It is our vision that KEFITA shall be a best-in-class real estate development combining international best practices while also being a genuinely Ethiopian building both in terms of design and amenities,” Dietrich told Tadias. “What we highlight with KEFITA that makes it uniquely Ethiopian is the facade.” He added: “If you look at the building closely, it mirrors the interwoven nature of the tibeb, the traditional garment of the Ethiopian cultural dress. Along with that, the building is covered with living plants indigenious to Ethiopia. Our hope is to create connectivity among both Ethiopians and international residents at KEFITA. And with that, create long-term value for all its owners.”


The KEFITA building under construction in Addis Ababa by ROCKSTONE Real Estate. (Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)

As Dietrich noted when he first traveled to Ethiopia about a decade ago, he immediately “fell in love with the country, its genuine culture, the warmth of its people and the metropolitan character of its capital, Addis Ababa.” He shares: “Until then, my own exposure to Ethiopia had been limited to meeting a very friendly Ethiopian through mutual friends while I was studying and living at MIT in the US from 2000 to 2002.”

In addition to incorporating modern international designs with Ethiopian architectural sensibilities, the KEFITA building also is set to become the first such residential building in the country to receive the green building certification.

Below is our full Q&A with Dietrich E. Rogge, CEO & Founder of ROCKSTONE Real Estate

TADIAS: Dietrich, thank you so much for your time. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background, how you were introduced to Ethiopia and what led you to work in Addis?

DR: Thank you so much for having me today Liben. I appreciate having this interview and being able to introduce myself to you as well as your audience. To give you some context, I am based in Munich Germany. I started ROCKSTONE in 2013, today we have 3 offices – Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich – in Germany, and by 2018 we expanded into Lisbon in Portugal and thereafter Madrid in Spain to diversify into other European countries. Still, I had the genuine desire to expand further internationally, and Africa was my top priority. Next to diversifying my business, the drive into other countries is on a personal level very much driven by my own fascination for travel, countries and authentic cultures. Fortunately, one of my closest friends and also now business partner in ROCKSTONE ETHIOPIA had been living and working in East Africa for over 10 years. We decided to explore real estate business opportunities in East Africa. When it came to where to start, he immediately pointed to Ethiopia. When I first arrived in Addis, I understood what he meant. I instantly fell in love with the country, its genuine culture, the warmth of its people and the metropolitan character of its capital, Addis Ababa. Until then, my own exposure to Ethiopia had been limited to meeting a very friendly Ethiopian through mutual friends while I was studying and living at MIT in the US from 2000 to 2002.


Dietrich E. Rogge, CEO & Founder of ROCKSTONE Real Estate. (Courtesy photo)

TADIAS: Please tell us about the KEFITA building project and the inspiration behind it?

DR: It is our vision that KEFITA shall be a best-in-class real estate development combining international best practices while also being a genuinely Ethiopian building both in terms of design and amenities. What we highlight with KEFITA that makes it uniquely Ethiopian is the facade. If you look at the building closely, it mirrors the interwoven nature of the tibeb, the traditional garment of the Ethiopian cultural dress. Along with that, the building is covered with living plants indigenious to Ethiopia. Our hope is to create connectivity among both Ethiopians and international residents at KEFITA. And with that, create long-term value for all its owners. On a business level it quickly became clear to me that, similar to other metropolises – i.e. Berlin, Lisbon or Los Angeles – around the world, there is also a housing crisis in Addis. That’s because each year large cities attract more new residents than they are able to build new housing along all segments of the market. There are also a couple of specific reasons why this dilemma exists in Addis, namely, lack of trust in the real estate market, lack of building quality, and lack of foreign capital. Next to addressing these specific reasons by forming a very strong team together with our local partner Bigar, and US-based private equity firm Cerberus, all of whom have a long-term interest in Ethiopia, we defined a clear strategy.

TADIAS: KEFITA is located on Embassy Row in the District of Signal, which is one of Addis Ababa’s oldest neighborhoods. How did you choose the location and what do you like most about the area?

DR: That’s a great question, and I am happy you are asking since choosing the right location is obviously a centerpiece of any real estate development and it is entirely fair to ask a foreigner his view on Addis. We initially looked at locations in Bole and Old Airport, which are the more recent traditional neighborhoods for high-end residential developments in Addis. We carefully studied how Addis is expected to develop over the coming years in terms of density, traffic, schools, retail, security and leisure. Signal is well positioned to outperform other parts of the city over the coming years in terms of its quality of life due to its proximity to the city center, great schools, improving infrastructure, and best of all, Mount Yeka with all its outdoor activities.


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)

TADIAS: In addition to incorporating modern international designs with Ethiopian architectural sensibilities, the KEFITA building also is set to become the first such residential building in the country to receive the green building certification. Can you share what that means and how it fits with the city’s long-term plans for environmentally conscious developments?

DR: Sure, and let me happily expand on that subject since it is very important to us. As we discussed earlier, integrating best practices into Kefita on all levels is one main driver of our product and development process. From the very beginning, our entire design process has been driven toward green-conscious living. Next to reducing the carbon footprint of the building, specific measures include using local materials as much as possible, minimizing electricity consumption, collecting rain water and managing waste. Among others on the building side, that includes superior structural and fire safety design and a range of Kefita specific amenities for our community. A green building also best ensures the long-term value of the investment. I would really like to emphasize this last point since return on investment and building quality go hand in hand. Next to its location, the long-term value preservation or increase in value of any real estate is driven by the longevity of its design and construction quality. If the structure has flaws or moisture permeates into the building or energy consumption is inefficient or sound insulation is not taken care of just to name a few, then these issues obviously have a negative effect on the long-term value of any real estate. Hence our building standards we believe are a very strong signal to send to the Ethiopian real estate market and will help elevate the overall standard and building quality of new buildings in the future.

TADIAS: Where are you now in terms of the construction stage and when will the building be completed?

DR: We received the building permit last year, completed the underground construction in 2020 as well, and started with the actual building construction early this year. KEFITA is on track to be completed in 2023 for all residents to move in. The completion date is very important to us since on-time completion is a huge problem in the market and it translates into a lack of trust in developers. Therefore we have created a financially very strong team, started construction only once the design was completed and the entire construction contract had been awarded. In addition, our best practices approach extends into the purchase agreement which protects buyers on various topics as well as states binding delivery dates.


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)

TADIAS: How can people in the Diaspora buy property in the building? What’s the process and requirements?

DR: From the start, the Ethiopian Diaspora had always been in our minds as a key customer segment for KEFITA. We know that we are well positioned to serve that segment. We believe that our product is a good balance between Ethiopian authenticity, a modern building in terms of quality, technology, services as well as sustainability. Last not least, it fits all rental criteria of the International community in Addis. All of these is what the Diaspora has in mind but struggles to find as an investment opportunity. The prerequisite for owning real estate in Ethiopia requires an Ethiopian Origin ID, also known as the Yellow Card. All of our Diaspora buyers will need to provide a copy of their ID as well as Passport to initiate the sales agreement. The process involves meeting and talking with one of our sales representatives, learning our different offerings for apartment types, identifying their mode for financing, either cash or through one of the Ethiopian banks, and finally signing an Apartment Purchase Agreement. If based in Ethiopia, prospective buyers can reach out to Lily Mesfin, lm@rockstonere.com. For those based in the USA and abroad, reach out to Nya Alemayhu at ny@rockstonere.com.

TADIAS: Can you tell us more about the various apartment sizes and price ranges?

DR: We have 100 apartments ranging from 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom at approximately 1,000 square feet to a full floor penthouse at 6,500 square feet. In between this range exists 2 bedrooms + 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms + 3 bathrooms, and 4 bedrooms + 4 bathrooms. Some of our 2 bedrooms are convertible to 3 bedrooms, as well as some 3 bedrooms that can be converted to 4 bedrooms. All of the apartment types aside from the 2 bedrooms + 1 bathroom are designed with a helper’s room, as is common in most Ethiopian residences. The pricing ranges from $280,000 for a 2 bedroom + 1 bathroom apartment to $2,100,000 for our crown jewel garden terrace apartment.

TADIAS: Is there a mortgage or payment plan available?

DR: We have a payment schedule that is contingent on construction progress. The initial investment is 25% and all subsequent payments are in alignment with construction progress. The payments are spread out about 3-4 months apart. If one seeks a mortgage, we can refer to a few banks based in Addis Ababa so that prospective buyers can make the best decision as to what suits them. There are nuances with financing new construction projects in Addis Ababa and also which type of currency is used. Our sales team can also help illuminate this process more deeply. For a deeper inquiry, reach out to sales@kefita.com


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)

TADIAS: What are your plans for future developments in Ethiopia?

DR: Although KEFITA is only our first project in Ethiopia, it won’t surprise you that we have a long-term plan for ROCKSTONE Ethiopia with more projects to come. These will obviously include additional residential developments but we are also looking into offices, logistics, and retail – commercial real estate. We very much believe in strong and lasting Ethiopian growth and want to happily be part of that over the coming years.

TADIAS: Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience here in the United States and beyond?

DR: On a personal level, my experience in Ethiopia has been wonderful and I am very fortunate to have come close to and made friends with Ethiopians over the past years. These relationships have evolved into great friendships. I really look forward to having more time for traveling within the country and enjoying all its treasures and beauties. Last but not least, I also hope to come to the US very soon to present KEFITA in person and likewise, I invite you all to meet our team and myself whenever you are in Addis.

TADIAS: Thanks again, Dietrich, and wishing you all the best from all of us at Tadias!

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Remembering Alemayehu Eshete: Ethiopian Music Legend Passes Away at 80

Born in 1941 Alemayehu Eshete rose to fame in the 60s, matching his Ethiopian heritage against jazz improvisation and soulful appeal...Multiple reports from Ethiopia have confirmed the passing of Alemayehu Eshete. (Getty Images)

Clash Music

Ethiopian artist Alemayehu Eshete has died, it has been reported.

Born in 1941 the singer rose to fame in the 60s, matching his Ethiopian heritage against jazz improvisation and soulful appeal.

Performing with the famed Police Orchestra in Addis Ababa, Alemayehu Eshete enjoyed his first hit ‘Seul’ in 1961 before forming his own Alem-Girma Band.

Releasing 30 singles across a 15 year period, Alemayehu Eshete became one of the defining Ethiopian artists of his era – at one point dubbed the Ethiopian Elvis.

Political shifts in the country substantively altered the cultural climate, but a new generation of crate-diggers – spurred on by the Ethiopiques compilation series – embraced his music.

Writing, recording, and touring until the very end, multiple reports from Ethiopia have confirmed the passing of Alemayehu Eshete.

Ethiopia: Popular Ethiopian Music Legend Alemayehu Eshete Dies (Allafrica)


Legendary Ethiopian singer Alemayehu Eshete, 80, died in Addis Ababa on Thursday.

Nicknamed “the Ethiopian Elvis”, the musician died of a heart attack shortly after he was admitted to hospital, bringing to an end a musical career that spanned four different political epochs in the country.

He had, five years ago, undergone a heart surgery in Italy to fix blockages in arteries. This forced him to limit his performances.

Born in 1941, the singer was one of the most popular musicians to emerge in the early 1960s. He also played modern Ethiopian music.

Eshete highly influenced Ethiopian modern music through his outstanding pieces that were loved by many. He was actively involved in Ethio-jazz music from the 1960s.

Compose songs

He was among the first Ethiopian singers to compose songs in English and other foreign languages.

“Temar Lije” or “My Son, You Had Better Learn” is one of his popular songs that motivated many to acquire modern education.

The popular song is still used by Ethiopian parents to discipline and counsel their children, and to raise awareness on the importance of education.

In 2015, the song won an award in Germany.

He also won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in Ethiopia. His stylish dress code and hairstyle made him popular among the youth in the 1960s and 1970s.

Eshete was one of the first musicians to record music to vinyl in Ethiopia.

Since his death, his colleagues and fans have continued to send messages of condolence.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said: “I’m saddened to hear that Alemayehu Eshete, a role model for many singers, has passed away.”

“Ethiopia will always be honored in his works. Those who worked for Ethiopia will not die, but will rest in glory,” the Prime Minister added.

Timeless tunes

Selam, a Swedish Independent Cultural Organisation, which has an office in Addis Ababa, also paid tribute to Eshete: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Alemayehu Eshete. Known for his best timeless tunes, ‘Temar Lije’ and ‘Addis Ababa Bete’, Eshete was one of the most popular legendary Ethiopian singers. Our most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends”

Born and raised in Jimma, Eshete who was fascinated by Hollywood films. He attempted to go to Hollywood with his friend at a younger age.

He started his journey to Hollywood with his friend with a hundred birr ($ 2) he picked from his father’s pocket. However, before he could achieve his goal, he was caught at Eritrea’s Massawa Port and sent back home. He loved Rock music.

He played much of the English vocals of American vocalists Pat Bonn, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley.

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A Local’s Guide to Ethiopia: Q&A With Anna Getaneh, Founder of African Mosaique

Former model Anna Getaneh is the founder of African Mosaique, an international fashion house based in Addis Ababa. (Photo: Anna Getaneh by Michel Temteme)

Condé Nast Traveler

Anna Getaneh worked as a model in New York and Paris before eventually settling down in Ethiopia. Now, as the founder of African Mosaique, a high-end boutique and fashion incubator set in her elegant childhood home in Addis Ababa, she’s a champion for Ethiopian textiles and craftsmanship.

This interview is part of The World Made Local, a global collaboration between the seven international editions of Condé Nast Traveler in which 100 people in 100 countries tell us why their home turf should be your next destination.

How would you describe Addis Ababa, and Ethiopia, in your own words?

Addis Ababa, surrounded by beautiful mountains, is so unique in that it’s both old and new, ancient and modern, traditional and contemporary, all interwoven in harmony. There is often the smell of fresh coffee—it’s the leading national drink, and on every corner you’ll find the finest coffee being served. Street sounds are numbed by the prayer hymns from the churches or mosques.

Tell us about your connection to Addis Ababa.

I always had this nagging sense that I would come back. I have been coming back and forth for many years; each time I came there was a sense of connection and deep attachment, and every time I left I felt deep sadness, a void. And today there is nowhere else I would rather be. It’s been great for the kids, too, to connect with their culture and learn the language.

What should we do if we had 24 hours in the city?

Kategna and Kuriftu Entoto for great local food in a modern setting. For casual dining, Five Loaves, Effoi (great pizza), Asa Bet, and Gourmet Corner. Do Fendika for music, drinks, and art; there’s always an exhibition. If you like markets, Shiro Meda is the best for textiles and traditional clothing. I recommend staying at the Hyatt Regency: They are literally in the heart of the city, by Meskel Square, with great food, ambience, and locally inspired interiors and uniforms. To relax, hit up the newly built Entoto Park, with 17 restaurants, cafés, an adventure park, camping area, biking lanes, and a spectacular view of the city. Finally, go to Addis Fine Art for great local artists, and Jazz Club at Ghion Hotel for great jazz.

A happening neighborhood to check out?

Piazza, the old city center, is always bustling, with narrow streets, small cafés, and jewelry shops. If you’re looking for big-city lights, the Edna Mall area is the happening place, with streets filled with restaurants, hotels, and bars.

Give us the elevator pitch: Why should we all travel to Ethiopia (when we’re able to)?

It’s an ancient country that has so much to offer: The new generation of Ethiopia wants to be recognized for its rich and deep-rooted culture, its unique and historic role in Africa, its wildlife, the food, the art, and the music. It should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Follow Anna Getaneh on Instagram @anna_getaneh

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UPDATE: In Ethiopia TPLF Looted American Aid Stores, U.S. Official Says

The top American aid official in Ethiopia accused [TPLF] of taking food supplies...The remarks by Sean Jones [the head of USAID in Ethiopia] reflected a notable shift in tone from senior American officials after months of withering criticism... Mr. Jones stressed his good relations with Ethiopian officials, called its government “one of our finest and most important partners,” and likened any tensions to a marital dispute. “Sometimes, like in a good marriage, we have to say what we are feeling at that moment,” he said. (NYT)

The New York Times

Ethiopian Rebels Looted American Aid Stores, U.S. Official Says

NAIROBI, Kenya — Fighters from Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region have looted food stores holding U.S. government aid as Ethiopia’s civil war spreads into new areas and hunger rises across the country, America’s top aid official there has charged.

Tigrayan fighters leading a military assault on the neighboring Amhara region have destroyed villages and emptied aid stores, Sean Jones, the head of USAID in Ethiopia, told Ethiopian state television in an interview that aired Tuesday night.

“In recent weeks, some of our warehouses have been looted and emptied by advancing T.P.L.F. troops, especially in Amhara,” said Mr. Jones, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. “I do believe T.P.L.F. has been very opportunistic.”

A spokesman for the T.P.L.F. denied the charge and blamed any looting on local groups and individuals in Amhara.

The remarks by Mr. Jones reflected a notable shift in tone from senior American officials after months of withering criticism of the behavior of Ethiopian forces and their allies inside Tigray, where a war that erupted in November has been accompanied by accusations of atrocities against civilians.

U.N. and other foreign officials have accused Ethiopian authorities of blocking vital supplies of food aid for Tigray at a time when American officials say that 900,000 Tigrayans face the prospect of a devastating famine in the coming months.

Samantha Power, who leads the USAID, last month accused the Ethiopian government of obstructing access to Tigray and said that humanitarian assistance to the northern region was “woefully insufficient.”

Ethiopian critics responded angrily to Ms. Power’s comments, accusing her of “weaponizing aid” and “supporting terrorism.”

But the interview by her subordinate in Ethiopia this week conveyed a more conciliatory tone, one that suggested the Americans were reaching out to the Ethiopians, hoping to defuse the animosity.

While acknowledging “some strain and some stress” with the United States, Mr. Jones stressed his good relations with Ethiopian officials, called its government “one of our finest and most important partners,” and likened any tensions to a marital dispute.

“Sometimes, like in a good marriage, we have to say what we are feeling at that moment,” he said.

Those remarks drew an angry response from the T.P.L.F….On Twitter, the main T.P.L.F. spokesman, Getachew Reda, lashed out at the American characterization of his fighters as opportunists, and blamed any looting in Amhara on local forces.

“While we cannot vouch for every unacceptable behavior of off-grid fighters in such matters, we have evidence that such looting is mainly orchestrated by local individuals & groups,” Mr. Reda wrote.

Amid the bickering, the war in Tigray is spreading and humanitarian needs are soaring.

The Ethiopian government says it needs help for 500,000 people in the Amhara and Afar regions, where fighting spread in July after Tigrayan fighters recaptured most of Tigray from government forces.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »

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The New Yorker: Chester Higgins’s Life in Pictures

“Morning Chores, Ethiopia,” 1992. (Photo by Chester Higgins)

The New Yorker

By Jordan Coley

All along the way, his eye is trained on moments of calm, locating an inherent grace, style, and sublime beauty in the Black everyday.

Hanging in the fourth-floor study of the renowned photojournalist Chester Higgins’s Fort Greene brownstone is a bunch of large dead leaves, fastened to a line in front of a well-stocked bookcase. Higgins grew the leaves in his window boxes, he told me, and he’s been making photographs of them for some time now. It’s a way, he said, to examine how “the spirit” manifests in all natural things.


“Ocean Spray, Accra, Ghana,” 1973.

The spirit—a transportive, deeply human, ineffable quality that graces all memorable art work—is what the seventy-four-year-old photographer has spent his entire career trying to capture in pictures. He glimpses it in the cracking veins of old foliage, but also among the countless people he’s photographed across the decades: Muhammad Ali casting a mischievous sideward glance on the set of a television show; Aretha Franklin performing at the Apollo, her brow embroidered with sweat; a young Black boy, revelling in the spray of a fire hydrant.


“Aretha Franklin at the Apollo, Harlem, New York,” 1971. “Muhammad Ali, New York City,” 1972.


A group of Black men and women in church one man carrying a fan with the photo of Martin Luther King Jr. on it. “New Brockton Church Pew, Springfield Baptist Church,” 1973.

When Higgins began making photographs for magazines and newspapers, in the late nineteen-sixties, he was one of a handful of Black photographers working in mainstream media. Much of the work produced in his thirty-nine years as a staff photographer at the Times was a concerted attempt to incorporate Black America into the world’s consciousness. “When I arrived at The New York Times in 1975, I felt the media was immune to any real comprehension of the world I knew well,” he wrote at the time of his retirement from the paper, in 2014. “I wanted to share the history and traditions of the people I grew up with.”

Read the full article and see more photos at newyorker.com »

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Spotlight: New Ethiopia Film ‘Faya Dayi’ by Jessica Beshir Screens at Lincoln Center in NYC

The two-hour documentary (Amharic, Harari, and Oromiffa with English subtitles) is a visual poetic reflection by the U.S.-based Ethiopian Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir on the ceremonies and process of consuming one of Ethiopia's most profitable farm products, khat (ጫት ch'at). (Courtesy photo).

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 31st, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — This week Jessica Beshir’s award-winning new film ‘Faya Dayi’ will open at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The two-hour documentary (Amharic, Harari, and Oromiffa with English subtitles), which was released last year to enthusiastic international reviews, is a visual poetic reflection by the U.S.-based Ethiopian Mexican filmmaker on the old ceremonies and process of consuming one of Ethiopia’s most profitable farm products, khat (ጫት ch’at), a leaf chewed for centuries for religious meditations.


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)

According to the press release Director Jessica Beshir will participate in Q&As following the film’s showing on Friday, September 3rd and Saturday, September 4th.

The announcement notes:

In her hypnotic documentary feature, Ethiopian-Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir explores the coexistence of everyday life and its mythical undercurrents. Though a deeply personal project — Beshir was forced to leave her hometown of Harar with her family as a teenager due to growing political strife — the film she returned to make about the city, its rural Oromo community of farmers, and the harvesting of the country’s most sought-after export (the euphoria-inducing khat plant) is neither a straightforward work of nostalgia nor an issue-oriented doc about a particular drug culture. Rather, she has constructed something dreamlike: a film that uses light, texture, and sound to illuminate the spiritual lives of people whose experiences often become fodder for ripped-from-the-headlines tales of migration. A Janus Films release. A New Directors/New Films 2021 selection.

For in-theater screenings, please review the Film at Lincoln Center in-theater safety and health policies here.

If You Go:

For showtime and dates please visit filmlinc.org.

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The little-known history of how Harlem fought to save Ethiopia from Italian dictator Mussolini

More than 20,000 protestors including both Blacks and sympathetic Whites  showed up in the streets of Harlem, New York on August 3, 1935, to demonstrate against Mussolini’s decision to take over Ethiopia. Some 10,000 people also demonstrated in Chicago, according to records. (Photo: Black people in Harlem volunteered to take on Italian dictator Mussolini/Image via YouTube)

Face to Face Africa

When the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, or the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, began in 1935, it raged on for seven months, ending in the military occupation of the African nation. That was Italy’s second attempt at invading Ethiopia. While the rest of Africa was under colonial rule after the infamous partition by European powers at the Berlin Conference of 1884, Ethiopia was then a sovereign nation with a formidable army and a strong monarchy.

A few years after the division of the continent, the Italian Kingdom – which had obtained Eritrea and Italian Somalia as its African territories – wanted to add Ethiopia to its kingdom on March 1, 1896. But it failed after the defeat of the Italian army in the Battle of Adwa which is also described as the First Italo-Ethiopian War. The battle fought near the northern town of Adwa in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region is the first victory by an African country over a colonial power.

It left a very sour taste in the mouth of Italy so it decided to take revenge in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War (1935 – 1939). Led by Italian leader Benito Mussolini, Italy was successful in that war but not without strong Ethiopian resistance under the leadership of Emperor Haile Selassie I. And many thousand miles away, a Black American community in the U.S. also volunteered to defend Ethiopia when no one else would.

More than 20,000 protestors including both Blacks and sympathetic Whites showed up in the streets of Harlem, New York on August 3, 1935, to demonstrate against Mussolini’s decision to take over Ethiopia. Some 10,000 people also demonstrated in Chicago, according to records. This was amid the Great Depression when it was hard for many to find work and even food. Yet, Blacks in the U.S. were ready to fight for Africa’s last sovereign nation which they saw as their true ancestral homeland and which was for them, a symbol of redemption in the diaspora.

Harlem, which would become popularly known as the Black Cultural Mecca famous for its great jazz clubs, African-American arts, culture, and heritage, was just emerging from its own Renaissance when the war in Ethiopia began. The Renaissance among other things served as a means of achieving equality and civil rights through artistic expression. When news broke that Italy was taking over Ethiopia, Blacks in Harlem, who were loud in resistance and who saw the African nation as an ancient cradle of civilization, were outraged.

Thus, they volunteered to take on Italian dictator Mussolini. Apart from protesting, thousands of them signed up to go and fight for Ethiopia. They were however stopped by the State Department, which threatened jail, adding that the U.S. should only offer medical relief.

But one brave African-American aviator was able to make it to Ethiopia. John C. Robinson, who was recruited by the Ethiopian government to lead its air force, sailed over with the cover story that he was an aircraft dealer, according to one account. Robinson would train many Ethiopians to fly and fix aircraft before returning to New York in 1936 where he was given a hero’s welcome. He later became known as the Father of the Tuskegee Airmen for his immense contributions to the aviation programs he started at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in the early 1940s.

The “Walwal Incident” in December 1934 was the reason Italian leader Mussolini decided to invade the country. Walwal, an eastern city, sat near a border, where a clash between the Kingdom of Italy and Ethiopia led to the death of 150 Ethiopians and two Italians.

On the eve of the attack, Ethiopian leader Haile Selassie I ordered men from the country to assemble and defend its lands. Although his troops outnumbered Mussolini’s, many of Selassie’s men were armed with primitive weapons and even more had no experience with military operations.

Mussolini’s forces entered Ethiopia from Eritrea, yet they did not declare war. Selassie took the crossing of borders as an affront and ordered the first of his offensive maneuvers, yet he was continually outgunned by the more experienced and well-equipped Italians.

For the next few months, many cities fell to Italy and fell under the Fascist rule of Mussolini. The Ethiopian forces were spirited, however, doing their best to pluck off enemy forces. Mussolini used chemical warfare (pictured) after Ethiopian soldiers down an Italian air pilot, sending a message to Selassie’s army.

The following May, Selassie fled to Europe in exile and did so with the blessing of the Italians who could have stopped his progress. Widespread rioting and looting took place when Selassie took leave, which was quelled by the emergence of Italian forces. Perhaps because of the fatigue of war and the lack of Ethiopian governance, a truce of sorts took place in June.

On June 1, 1936, Italy officially joined Ethiopia with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. The new state was known as Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian East Africa).

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Ethiopia to Create Local Rival to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp

The decision comes after the government accused Facebook of deleting accounts ‘disseminating the true reality about Ethiopia’. (AP photo)

Aljazeera

Ethiopia has begun developing its own social media platform to rival Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, though it does not plan to block the global services, the state communications security agency said…

The government wants its local platform to “replace” Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Zoom, the director general of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), Shumete Gizaw, said on Monday.

Shumete accused Facebook of deleting posts and user accounts which he said were “disseminating the true reality about Ethiopia”.

International human rights groups have criticised the Ethiopian government for unexplained shutdowns to social media services including Facebook and WhatsApp in the past year. The government has not commented on those shutdowns.

Facebook’s Africa spokesperson, Kezia Anim-Addo, declined to comment on Ethiopia’s plans and did not respond immediately to a query about Shumete’s accusations.

But in June, days before national elections, Facebook said it had removed a network of fake accounts in Ethiopia targeting domestic users which it linked to individuals associated with INSA, which is responsible for monitoring telecommunications and the internet.

Twitter declined to comment. Zoom did not immediately reply to a comment request.

Shumete declined to specify a timeline, budget and other details, but told Reuters news agency: “The rationale behind developing technology with local capacity is clear … Why do you think China is using WeChat?”

He said Ethiopia had the local expertise to develop the platforms and would not hire outsiders to help.

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Interview: The art of healing: Emanuel finds catharsis through creating on ‘Alt Therapy’

Canadian-Ethiopian singer-songwriter Emanuel. (Earmilk)

Earmilk

Every so often, an album comes out that feels wholly complete, timeless, and magical. Very few albums are on my list of “unskippables”, and Alt Therapy by Canadian-Ethiopian singer-songwriter Emanuel is one of them. A cathartic listening experience that is moving, intentional, and worthy of being played from cover to cover, Alt Therapy is a new album from the heart of Canada’s blossoming R&B and soul scene that every music-head from the North and beyond has their eye on.

Conceived from a basement in the outskirts of Ontario, Emanuel’s music has travelled across the globe, touching the ears and hearts of millions and even receiving a stamp of approval from prominent figures in entertainment like Kardinal Ofishall and Idris Elba. EARMILK caught up with the prodigy to discuss his creative process, the album’s reception, and his plans for taking “the damn thing worldwide”.

Emanuel took us on the biggest pilgrimage of his musical career yet: the inception his first body of work. With a release date slated for the onset of the pandemic, there were both opportunities and risks in the timing of Alt Therapy’s release. Yet, at a time when he couldn’t play any events or connect with fans on tour, Emanuel was able to create an intimate listening experience that millions of fans found solace in. His very first single, “Need You” received over 6.4 million streams on Spotify alone, propelling his talents to the front and center of playlists and billboards, and marking him as an artist who needed to be heard.

A fan of both the music and the album’s seamless rollout, I inquired about how the album came to be. “Alt Therapy was an album born in 2017 in a basement in London, Ont. From that date till the end of 2019 when I submitted the project, everything was relatively spontaneous. I am always very intentional about how I want my music to sound, I feel when creating an album, you have to plan all you can and pray lightning strikes…” Emanuel details. “I’m not sure how much you can plan for. The whole thing feels like a series of fortunate and unfortunate [events] with abounding grace that leaves me exactly where I need to be.” And it seems like Emanuel is indeed exactly where he needs to be. With the kind of reception most new artists could only dream about, Emanuel has skyrocketed from London Ont.’s best kept a secret, to one of the country’s brightest musical gems.

But the come-up was anything but hasty. Emanuel and his team have been grinding behind the scenes for years. Before “Need You”, Emanuel was building up a devoted circle of supporters, sharing moody tunes on his YouTube channel, and wooing fans at local shows with his insane runs. But Emanuel wanted his words to reach beyond the walls of concert venues, and when it came down to releasing his debut record, Emanuel decided to entrust Universal Music Canada for its official debut, explaining, “I believe it became a question of growth and being able to do what it takes to reach a larger audience. I understand that it takes a village to truly do something great. and I signed in the hope of finding that village in Universal Music Canada.” And it seems he played his cards right. Within months, Emanuel became a multi-million streaming artist who was quickly picked up in the States by Motown Records.

And yet, despite his obvious successes, the numbers and co-signs aren’t what makes Emanuel a class-act––it’s the heart behind his heart. “I want the music to mean self reflection for people,” Emanuel shares. “I want people to recognize Alt Therapy as healing music. Like some of the great musicians of recent past, I want the music [I make] to mark a positive shift in the collective consciousness of the people that listen to the music.” Like the album’s watercolor paintings, each song is handcrafted with artful mastery. Highly in tune with the emotions society has grappled with in current times, Alt Therapy’s lyrics have the power to uplift and unite. Tracks like “I Need A Doctor” embody the angst that comes with navigating life’s uncertainties, while “Black Woman” is a heartfelt ode of appreciation to Black women everywhere.

It’s one thing to take in the sonic excellence of the record and another to appreciate Emanuel’s thoughtful pen game: “My songwriting process is really simple. I love to begin a song by just listening to instrumentation or a beat live off the floor. When I find something that brings me feeling, I begin to freestyle. when I hear something I like, I track it and refine,” Emanuel shares.“I think the hardest records are the ones about subjects I might not be willing to be honest with myself about. There’s an internal struggle that ensues, and a song like “Magazines” is born.” With a remarkable gift of transporting his listeners into his world, Emanuel’s ability to tap into the universal sentiments of surrender is a rarity, and perhaps that’s the reason why so many listeners have found comfort in his music.

Alt Therapy is the perfect crafting of heart, spirit and soul. When praising artists who create with intentionality, Emanuel must be in the conversation. A true storyteller, he’s mastered the art of living and creating in bold colour, and inspiring us to do the same.

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UPDATE: Ethiopia Plans National Dialog in Bid to Defuse Tensions

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. (Getty Images)

Bloomberg

By Fasika Tadesse and Samuel Gebre

Ethiopia will begin holding a national dialog in September to address grievances that have undermined stability in the Horn of Africa nation, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said.

A roadmap for the talks will be announced this month and a structure will then be put in place to facilitate them, Billene Seyoum, Abiy’s spokeswoman, told reporters in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Friday. The discussions form part of a reform process the government embarked upon three years ago, she said, without saying who will participate.

Federal troops and militia’s have been battling dissidents from the northern Tigray region since November, fighting that’s displaced hundreds of thousands of people and left millions more facing hunger. Ethnic rivalries have also degenerated into violence in several other areas, and Abiy is facing calls to grant regional authorities greater autonomy.

On Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Ethiopia’s government and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, which controls Tigray, to end hostilities and enter into talks.

“It is time for all parties to recognize that there is no military solution and it is vital to preserve the unity and stability of Ethiopia which is critical to the region and beyond,” Guterres said, adding that his special envoy Martin Griffith met TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael to discuss the conflict.

The U.S. is also trying to broker peace, with President Joe Biden’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman making his third trip to the region to discuss how to kick-start talks. Samantha Powers, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, visited the country earlier this month.

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Ethiopia In Pictures: Portraits of Workers in Addis Ababa and Jimma – By Redeat Wondemu

(Photography by Redeat Wondemu)

The Washington Post Magazine

Text and photographs by Redeat Wondemu

Work and Purpose in Ethiopia: A photographic journey

In 1950, Irving Penn — one of the giants of 20th-century photography — began taking photos in Paris, London and New York for what would be known as the “Small Trades” series. The project consisted of portraits of people in the clothes they wore for work.

I discovered Penn when I needed direction on what kind of photographer I wanted to be. His portraits have a rich tonal range, from the whitest white to grays to the blackest black. He used natural lighting, and it usually came from one direction, giving the photos a dramatic quality.

Penn’s approach has served as inspiration for my portraits of workers in Addis Ababa and Jimma, Ethiopia. I spent much of my childhood in Addis Ababa, the capital, then moved to Chicago when I was 13; in 2019, I moved back to Addis Ababa to begin this project. I found people to photograph — professional and skilled workers, street vendors, hawkers, criers — and asked them to come to my makeshift studio as they were. At first, they were very skeptical, as you can see by their inquisitive looks. Like Penn, I wanted to separate my subjects from distracting elements, so I had them stand in front of a blank background.

Penn spent more than two decades perfecting his photos. I hope to do the same. At a time when Instagram floods us with images, studying the classics helps me stay focused. Penn’s dedication to his work inspires me to perfect my portraits instead of feeling overwhelmed by the next cool photography trend.

For now, I am excited to be sharing these images with you. As the world has finally realized the importance of essential workers, there has never been a better time to think about and celebrate the people shown here — many of whom do work that is undervalued and overlooked.


An operating room nurse.


A shoeshiner.


A veterinarian.

Read the full article and see more photos at washingtonpost.com/magazine »

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Meet Ethiopia’s MJ: Inspired by the King of Pop

A choreographer, singer and dancer, 29-year-old Sancho Gebre was born in Wolaita, Sodo, where he developed an interest in music choreography at a young age. Sancho’s dalliance with Michael Jackson started at home where he spent lots of time watching his videos during his study time without his parents’ knowledge. (The Standard)

The Standard

The late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, inspired artistes worldwide with his unique dance and stage persona. His chart-busting Thriller album has been hailed as his finest production in terms of the sheer work and talent that went into its making.

Among the MJ wannabes are his Spanish look-alike Sergio Cortes, a stunning replica of the fallen star, who was once hailed as his reincarnation, and Congolese singer Stino Mubi of Viva la Musica band.

Ethiopia has not been left behind in this craze, with musician Sancho Gebre adding to the collection of performing artistes who draw their influence from the king.

A choreographer, singer and dancer, 29-year-old Sancho was born in Wolaita, Sodo, where he developed an interest in music choreography at a young age. Sancho’s dalliance with Michael Jackson started at home where he spent lots of time watching his videos during his study time without his parents’ knowledge.

It took up a lot of his study time, but he was determined to learn the tricks that the late King of Pop employed in his videos and to make something out of it.

Like most traditional Ethiopian families, Sancho’s parents wanted him to study and pursue a ‘proper’ career. But when they realised he was hell-bent on making a career in music they supported him.


Sancho Gebre (Courtesy)

Costly affair ‘becoming MJ’

And it was a costly affair walking in the shadow of the King of Pop. For one, to impersonate him successfully, he needed to get the costumes right, which was expensive. Then he had to perfect the famous moonwalk and on top of different dance styles, he innovated in his experimentation.

Sancho’s big break came in the 2009 Ethiopian Idol show. The show, which was aired on Ethiopian National TV, ran from 2009 to 2011. It was originally held in nine regions before it moved to the capital, Addis Ababa. He competed in eight toughly-contested seasons before finally emerging winner in the Single Modern Dance category.

But he was not home and dry yet. His next big challenge was recording his own music since he needed to get out of the shadow of the king and become his own man. To do this he had to travel 300 kilometres from his home in Areka, Wolaita Zone to the capital, Addis.

In Addis, he met famed music producer Kamuzu Kassa and his brother Gildo, who helped mould his career. At the time he was still doing a lot of choreography in the music videos of other artistes, but Kamuzu and Gildo encouraged him to go to the studio to record his own music.


Sancho Gebre. (Courtesy)

Moonwalking

His debut was the 2016 hit single, Ande, which borrowed heavily from MJ’s ‘moonwalk’ dance routines. The choreography of Ande earned Sancho a solid following. His follow-up release, Atasayugn, solidified his arrival on the Addis music scene. Three other singles Tanamo, Leba and Fiyona would follow shortly.

He genre, which he describes as ‘Afrobeats’, is extremely popular on the Ethiopian club scene, borrowing from dancehall and a sampling of Ethiopian traditional music, but done in a hip and modern style.

As a choreographer Sancho is extremely experimental pushing the boundaries of what we conceive as modern dance. His strength draws from the diversity he employs in choreographing his videos.

Sancho is currently finalising work on his album.

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Watch: Emmy Nominee Mehret Mandefro (‘American Masters’ Producer) on ‘How it Feels to Be Free’

Emmy nominee Mehret Mandefro ('American Masters' producer) on 'How it Feels to Be Free' for legendary Black women. She discusses the 'groundbreaking' careers of Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Pam Grier, Abbey Lincoln and Nina Simone with Gold Derby editor Daniel Montgomery. (Gold Derby)

Gold Derby

Emmy nominee Mehret Mandefro (‘American Masters’ producer) on ‘How it Feels to Be Free’ for legendary Black women [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

All of us know a great deal about their music and the culture and the fashion and the films. But I didn’t realize how really groundbreaking they were in terms of their careers,” explains Dr. Mehret Mandefro, who is Emmy-nominated for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Series for the “American Masters” documentary “How it Feels to Be Free”; she produced it along with Michael Kantor, Lacey Schwartz Delgado, Elliott Halpern, Elizabeth Trojian, Julie Sacks and Grammy winner Alicia Keys. Based on the book of the same name by Ruth Feldstein, the film chronicles the art and activism of Lena Horne, Nina Simone, Pam Grier, Abbey Lincoln, Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson.

Watch [the] exclusive video interview with Mandefro:

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Ethiopians Headline the Women’s and Men’s Elite Fields for the Boston Marathon

Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese and Mare Dibaba are among the star international female athletes competing in the upcoming 2021 Boston Marathon, while the men's elite category also includes Ethiopians Asefa Mengstu, Lemi Berhanu Hayle and Jemal Yimer. (Getty Images)

The Boston Globe

A pair of Ethiopian runners with the fastest men’s and women’s times in the field headline the elite runner entry list for the 2021 Boston Marathon that was announced Wednesday by the Boston Athletic Association.

Because of the pandemic, the race was postponed from April and will be run Oct. 11.

Nine women who have run faster than 2:22:00 will line up in Hopkinton, including Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese, whose 2:19:36 personal best ranks fastest in the field. Melese will have some tough competition from fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.

Dibaba has broken 2:20 twice, running 2:19:52 in 2012 and 2015, but she has not run that fast since. Also, Edina Kiplagat of Kenya, a two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist who finished second at Boston in 2019, will challenge for the top spot.

American Jordan Hasay is familiar with the course, finishing third twice. She is the third-fastest US woman in history with a personal best of 2:20:57.

On the men’s side, Ethiopian Asefa Mengstu has the fastest personal best and the 23rd- fastest marathon ever at 2:04:06. Fellow Ethiopians Lemi Berhanu Hayle, the 2015 Boston champion, and Dejene Debela, who has run a sub-2:06, will join him. Berhanu’s personal best is just behind Mengstu’s at 2:04:33.

After much success over the half marathon and in cross-country, Kenya’s Leonard Barsoton and Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer will make their marathon debuts. Barsoton earned a silver medal at the World Cross-Country Championships in 2017, and Yimer owns the Ethiopian national record of 58:33 in the half marathon.

Eight of the top 12 finishers from the US Olympic marathon trials will compete in Boston, including Abdi Abdirahman, who finished 41st at the Tokyo Games last week.

In the women’s wheelchair field, course record-holder Manuela Schär of Switzerland is the favorite, but she will be challenged by five-time Boston champion Tatyana McFadden. Team USA Paralympians Susannah Scaroni and Jenna Fesemyer also will compete.

The men’s wheelchair field features four former champions: Daniel Romanchuk, Marcel Hug, Ernst van Dyk, and Josh Cassidy, who have a combined 16 Boston titles. Aaron Pike, who will compete for Team USA in the Paralympic marathon, also will be in the field.

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In DC, Helen Show Hosts Empower the Community Weekend 2021

Hosted by the Helen Show Empower the Community Weekend (ECW) is a one-day family centered event that brings together the largest East African community in the Washington DC area. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 11th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — The annual Empower the Community Weekend hosted by Helen Mesfin of the Helen Show on EBS TV takes place this weekend at the Washington Convention Center.

According to organizers the event this year will be in hybrid format including both online presentations and in-person gathering.

“We have majority of our attendees joining us virtually on our conference platform Hopin and also limited number of people with vendors attending in person at the Walter E Washington Convention Center,” Helen said, noting that people will need to register on their website in order to participate.

The announcement adds: “Empower the Community Weekend (ECW) is a one-day family centered event that brings together the largest East African community in the Washington DC area. The event focuses on helping people to thrive and to live a productive life by providing resources and empowering information. The event is filled with Exhibitors showcasing their products and services, Career Pavilion with hiring events & recruiting resources, Kids and Youth Pavilion with fun filled activities, games, college prep and internship resources, and a networking mixer.”

Topics for the 2021 main stage panel discussion include Civic Engagement, Business & Leadership as well as Young Trailblazers.


(Image courtesy of Empower CW)

Organizers note that the conference also features workshops in various timely subjects including “Minding Your Mental Health; Small Business Surviving & Thriving Post COVID; Minding Your Money-Building Wealth; Preparing for College- What You Should Know; Exploring Identity As First Generation Immigrant Children; Resiliency & Parenting Children with Special Needs.”

If You Attend:

Empower the Community Weekend 2021
AUGUST 14th, 2021
Walter E Washington Convention Center
VIRTUAL REGISTRATION & LIMITED IN-PERSON SEATING
Registration Here
More info at: www.empowercw.com

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White House Nominates Biniam Gebre as Chief of Federal Procurement Policy

Biniam Gebre, Nominee for Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget (Photographer: Official portrait of Biniam Gebre by Sammy Mayo, Jr.--HUD)

Fed Scoop

The Biden administration has nominated Biniam Gebre as the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy within the Office of Management and Budget.

If confirmed by the Senate, he will rejoin government from Accenture, where he is a senior managing director and head of management consulting for Accenture Federal Services.

The OFPP sets overall policy direction for governmentwide procurement procedures and is focused on promoting efficiency and effectiveness. Previously, it was led by Michael Wooten, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump and confirmed to the role in 2019.

Gebre has previously also worked at consulting firms Mckinsey & Co. and Oliver Wyman. He served in the Obama administration at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where his work focused on access to credit for low-income families, FHA’s financial health, and revamping public housing.

The White House

Press Release

Biniam Gebre, Nominee for Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget

Biniam Gebre is a Senior Managing Director at Accenture and Head of Management Consulting for Accenture Federal Services. He has spent the past two decades helping dozens of organizations within both the public sector and private sector address management, operational, and technology issues ranging from agriculture to banking to artificial intelligence. He served in the Obama-Biden administration at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he focused on access to credit for low-income families, FHA’s financial health, and revitalizing public housing properties.

Gebre came to the United States as a refugee at the age of nine and grew up in public housing and on government assistance. He graduated with Highest Honors from Williams College, where he earned a B.A. in Chemistry and was a Goldwater Scholar. He also earned an M.B.A in Finance and Economics from Northwestern University. Gebre sits on the Board of Pathfinder International.

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Spotlight: A New Documentary ‘Free Art Felega 5 – Disrupt’ Celebrates Ethiopian Artists

Organizers note that a virtual launch of the documentary 'Free Art Felega 5 - Disrupt' is scheduled for Sunday, August, 15th, 2021 featuring all participating artists. (Photos courtesy of Free Art Felega)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 11th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — You may remember our story last year highlighting a “positive and optimistic” art project amid the gloom of the COVID-19 era called Free Art Felega, an online space organized by German-based Ethiopian artist Yenatfenta Abate that gave Ethiopian artists, both in Ethiopia and the Diaspora, a place to gather and exhibit their work for audiences around the world.

This week organizers announced that they will release a new documentary film titled ‘Free Art Felega 5 – Disrupt showing “the result of six months of hard work from the 32 participating Ethiopian artists in times of CoVid-19, including the personal artist statements.”


Photos courtesy of Free Art Felega

The announcement added: “You will receive deeper insights into the motivations and thoughts of every participating artist and, very important, their way of finding their artistic identity.”

Organizers note that a virtual launch of the documentary is scheduled for this coming Sunday, August, 15th, featuring all participating artists.

If You Go:

A virtual launch: Documentary of Free Art Felega 5 – Disrupt
Sunday 15th August 2021 5 p.m. CET.
More info: www.freeartfelega.com

Related:

Spotlight: ‘Free Art Felega,’ A Virtual Ethiopia Exhibition by Yenatfenta Abate

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Ethiopia is Not Yugoslavia: Response to the Ridiculous Western Media Narrative

In the following letter to the editor published by the Politico website this week, Ethiopia's Ambassador to Belgium Hirut Zemene points out that "drawing a comparison between the two countries is both incorrect and dangerous." (UN photo)

Politico

BY HIRUT ZEMENE

Ethiopia is not Yugoslavia

The opinion piece “In Ethiopia, echoes of Yugoslavia” (August 2) by Baroness Arminka Helič is based on a misconstrued parallel that is both factually and conceptually incorrect.

In an attempt to draw a parallel with Yugoslavia, the author has failed to understand the sociopolitical, historical and cultural contexts of the country and its people.

To begin with, Ethiopia and its people are known for their cultural and religious tolerance and have lived in harmony for many centuries. There exists no enmity among the people of Ethiopia. Therefore, comparing the country’s current situation with the Balkans is a complete malposition.

Additionally, without properly understanding the nuances of the official Ethiopian language or statements made by our leaders with regard to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the author has misinterpreted a label aimed at the TPLF as describing our compatriots in Tigray. It appears that the author attempts to call for unwarranted interventions from the international community based on misinformed ideas. However, it must be made clear that no Ethiopian official has incited ill intentions against their own people as the piece portrayed.

The TPLF, which provoked conflict in November 2020 by attacking the national defense bases in the Tigray region, is now labeled a terrorist group by the Ethiopian Parliament. TPLF leaders who caused and led the conflict in Ethiopia must be brought to justice for their acts of war. No country would sit idly by while such an attack is committed.

As for the situation in the Tigray region, the Ethiopian Government, with the aim of resolving the conflict, has enacted a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire. The TPLF clique, rejecting this peaceful gesture, has instead opted to aggravate the situation by prolonging the fighting. The author’s view of the TPLF’s destabilizing character, expanding the conflict to neighboring provinces, demonstrates only an attempt to justify the acts of the TPLF as legitimate and, even more so, unjustifiably impose sanctions on Ethiopia.

The Embassy of Ethiopia not only rejects this erroneous opinion but would also request that as a respected official of a reputed country, the author refrain from comparing incomparable situations and calling for unwarranted action.

Ambassador Hirut Zemene
Embassy of Ethiopia, Brussels

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Spotlight: Meet Sammy Kahsai, the Ethiopia-Born Pro Soccer Player for Maryland Bobcats

Samuel Kahsai, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in the U.S., is a professional soccer player with the Maryland Bobcats, an American soccer team and academy based in Montgomery County, Maryland. (Photo: Courtesy of Goalden Generation Management)

Hyattsville Wire

Meet the Pro Soccer Player Who Grew Up in Hyattsville

Maryland Bobcats FC midfielder Sammy Kahsai got his start in Hyattsville.

Born in Ethiopia, Kahsai moved with his family to Hyattsville at age 7, playing soccer at Hyattsville Middle School and Northwestern High, where he led the team to its first county and regional title and state semifinal appearance since 1995.

“He was so talented, but there weren’t enough, or any, resources to help him elevate to the next level,” a representative for Goalden Generation Management who works with Kahsai, told the Hyattsville Wire. “So he had to take the long route using his skill and old fashioned grit, to hop from level to level.”

After graduating in 2013, Kahsai played for D.C. United’s youth academy, and broke records as a freshman at Washington Adventist University. He was named top midfielder while playing at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he graduated.

In 2019, he signed his first professional contract with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, a second tier team, and the next year he moved to the Maryland Bobcats FC, a tier three team with the National Independent Soccer Association based in Montgomery County.


SAMUEL KAHSAI. (NATIONAL INDEPENDENT SOCCER ASSOCIATION)

Goalden Generation Management, which represents Kahsai, has put together a short documentary about his pro soccer career. You can see a trailer on their Instagram here.

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UPDATE: Ethiopia to Reopen Bidding for Second Telecoms License, Officials Say

A customer holds a 3G prepaid sim card after buying the service from an Ethio-Telecom shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 12, 2019. (REUTERS/Tiksa Neger)

REUTERS

By Dawit Endeshaw

EXCLUSIVE Ethiopia to reopen bidding for second telecoms licence, officials say

ADDIS ABABA, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Ethiopia will reopen bidding for its second telecoms operator licence this month, two senior government officials said on Monday, including the right to operate mobile financial services.

The Horn-of-Africa nation sold only one of two full-service licences on offer in May, citing a lower-than-expected price for the second one, which it now wants to offer again. read more

“We have made some changes that can uplift its value, for instance mobile financial service,” Balcha Reba, director general of the Ethiopian Communication Authority, told Reuters.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, will serve as transaction adviser in the deal, said Brook Taye, a senior adviser at the ministry of finance.

The government expects prospective bidders to include firms which had expressed interest in the previous attempt to sell the licence but whose bids were deemed to be insufficient, Brook said.

“We expect to have a strong interest,” he said.

A consortium led by Kenya’s top operator, Safaricom (SCOM.NR), secured the first licence. South Africa’s MTN (MTNJ.J) had also bid in the first round but it was not awarded a licence.

Safaricom’s winning bid of $850 million could serve as a guide for the price of the remaining licence.

“At least there is a benchmark and to uplift this benchmark we are working on amending the policy,” Brook said, citing the automatic inclusion of the right to operate mobile financial services, which was not present in Safaricom’s licence.

Mobile financial services have become a significant part of African telecom operators’ businesses since Safaricom pioneered them with M-Pesa in 2007, giving people an alternative to banks.

State monopoly Ethio Telecom, which launched a new mobile financial service called Telebirr in May, snagged 4 million users within weeks, showing the potential of the market.

A separate sale of a 40% stake in Ethio is going on, part of a drive to liberalise the sector and also open up the broader economy.

The economic reforms were initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, whose troops are engaged in fighting with local forces in the northern region of Tigray, when he came to power in 2018.

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Tonight Whitney Museum of American Art Features Conversation with Marcus Samuelsson and Julie Mehretu

Both born in Ethiopia and now New York-based, Samuelsson and Mehretu have been friends for decades. Despite working in different fields, they hold each other’s work in the highest regard and have supported each other in their respective pursuits. (Whitney Museum of American Art)

Press Release

Whitney Museum of American Art

COOKING AND CONVERSATION WITH MARCUS SAMUELSSON, JULIE MEHRETU, AND RUJEKO HOCKLEY

Tuesday, August 3
6 pm

Online, via Zoom

During this special event, chef Marcus Samuelsson and painter Julie Mehretu, along with Rujeko Hockley, the Whitney’s Arnhold Associate Curator, will talk about art, food, and much more.

Both born in Ethiopia and now New York-based, Samuelsson and Mehretu have been friends for decades. Despite working in different fields, they hold each other’s work in the highest regard and have supported each other in their respective pursuits. Join us on Zoom and follow along as chef Samuelsson prepares a special recipe just for the occasion, which coincides with the final days of Mehretu’s mid-career survey at the Whitney.

Free with registration

REGISTER

This event will have automated closed captions through Zoom. Live captioning is available for public programs and events upon request with seven business days advance notice. We will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made outside of that window of time. To place a request, please contact us ataccessfeedback@whitney.org or (646) 666-5574 (voice). Relay and voice calls welcome.

Julie Mehretu
Mar 25–Aug 8, 2021

For more than two decades, Julie Mehretu (b. 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) has been engaged in a deep exploration of painting. She creates new forms and finds unexpected resonances by drawing from the histories of art and human civilization—from Babylonian stelae to architectural sketches, from European history painting to the sites and symbols of African liberation movements. Some of Mehretu’s imagery and titles hint at their representational origins, but her work remains steadfastly abstract.

Comprising approximately thirty paintings and forty works on paper dating from 1996 to the present day, this mid-career survey of Julie Mehretu presents the most comprehensive overview of her practice to date. She plays with the parameters of abstraction, architecture, landscape, scale, and, most recently, figuration. At its core, Mehretu’s art is invested in our lived experiences, and examines how forces such as migration, capitalism, and climate change impact human populations—and possibilities.

Julie Mehretu is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition is curated by Christine Y. Kim, curator of contemporary art at LACMA, with Rujeko Hockley, Arnhold Associate Curator at the Whitney.

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U.S.-Africa Policy: Does It Exist? And the Problem With Biden’s Ethiopia Approach

Patient voters during the June 21 Ethiopia election. (Photo via Lawrence Freeman Africa And The world Blog)

Lawrence Freeman Africa and the World Blog

What’s Wrong With U.S. Policy For Ethiopia and Africa?

Knowledgeable American analysts of U.S.-African relations are disturbed by the U.S. government’s treatment of Ethiopia. In the first six months of the Biden Presidency, we have witnessed a dramatic reversal of U.S. support for a long standing ally in the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia, the second largest nation in Africa, has been a regional leader, with its bold economic vision to improve the lives of its 110 million people.

Ethiopia has achieved two major accomplishments under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during June and July. First, the successful June 21st national elections, and second, the natural partial filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Regrettably, there were no robust congratulations from President Biden for either achievement. Following the freest, fairest, and most peaceful elections in Ethiopia’s history, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s only comment was: “the United States commends those who exercised their right to vote on June 21.” Unusual for elections in Africa, not one individual died in Ethiopia’s voting process. In contrast, several Americans died during the January 6th, violent protest of the U.S. electoral vote.

Equally astonishing, President Biden failed to praise the second filling of almost 14 billion cubic meters of water in the reservoir of the GERD, which will lead to production of electricity later this year. Following in the footsteps of former President Trump, the Biden administration and the Democrat controlled Congress, have tried to discourage Ethiopia from filling the GERD. Despite Ethiopia’s important role in Africa, Prime Minister Abiy’s notable reform movement, and the success of his Prosperity Party, President Biden has never talked to the Prime Minister.

America’s Agenda for Democracy

Secretary of State Blinken along with several other officials from the Obama administration are leading President Biden’s global foreign policy with their mantra: “democracy, human rights, and rule of law.” But what do these words mean other than a desire to impose their world order on other nations.

Prime Minister Abiy’s non-ethnic based Prosperity Party won overwhelmingly in a democratic election deemed fair, free of violence and intimidation, and credible. Ethiopia Election: A Vote for Peace, Unity, and Prosperity. Millions of Ethiopians approved of Prime Minister Abiy’s policies, giving him a mandate to lead for another five years. That is democracy.

Shouldn’t “human rights” include the most fundamental right; the right for human beings to live a productive and dignified life? How is that possible when Africans are suffering from abject poverty, lack of food, clean water, and electricity. It is not possible.

The solution lies in physical economic development that transforms the conditions of life. As the Ethiopians are fond of saying: “eliminate poverty, don’t manage it.” Aid is not sufficient. Building vital infrastructure is an absolute necessity, not an option. More than anything else, African nations need electricity—a thousand gigawatts at least. Africa needs a minimum of 50,000 kilometers of high speed railroads. With the billions of dollars in aid given to African nations, transformative infrastructure projects could have been built. Isn’t the right to electricity a human right?

Then, why hasn’t Ethiopia been profusely praised for building the GERD to produce 6,200 megawatts (6.2 gigawatts) of electricity. Physical economic development is the most fundamental of human rights.

Read more »

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Ethiopia Back on Top at Olympics: Selemon Barega Wins Gold in Men’s 10,000 Metres

Ethiopia's newest Olympic gold medalist Selemon Barega stood atop an all-Africa podium in the men's 10,000m final at the Tokyo Games on Friday. The 21-year-old joined Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele and Miruts Yifter in the club of Ethiopian legends to have won the Olympic 10,000-meter title. (Getty Images)

Reuters

Ethiopian Selemon Barega wins men’s 10,000 metres in all-Africa podium

Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega sprinted the last lap to beat world record holder Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and win a shock Olympic Games gold medal in the men’s 10,000 metres on Friday.

The 21-year-old Barega powered down the home straight to cross the line in 27 minutes 43.22 seconds, ahead of world champion Cheptegei in 27:43.63.

Jacob Kiplimo, the youngest ever Ugandan Olympian when he ran the 5,000 heats in Rio as a 15-year old, posted a time of 27:43.88 to secure bronze in the first athletics medal event of the Games.

Barega, the 2019 5,000m world championship silver medallist who set the second fastest 10,000 metres time of the year in June, was applauded by the Ethiopian delegation as he smiled broadly on a victory lap with his country’s flag draped around his shoulders.

Cheptegei said he was experiencing mixed emotions.

“I have two feelings. “One is that I’m very happy to have won an Olympic silver medal today,” he told reporters. “But the other side of me is really not satisfied with the result because I came here expecting to win a gold.”

Cheptegei also admitted that 2021 had been tough for him.

“This year was really a very difficult year for me in terms of racing,” he said. “It’s the year that I have lost all the focus, all the belief. There was a lot of pressure and I was feeling it in every moment.”

Uganda’s Stephen Kissa acted as the early pacemaker before dropping out a little over halfway through the race.

“We had a plan for me to go ahead to make it a fast race,” Kissa told reporters. “I thought they were going to follow me but when I looked round they were not there.”

Cheptegei led briefly before dropping back into the pack and Barega seized his chance, moving among the leaders in the last third of the race before hitting the front with a surge on the last lap to secure his surprise victory.

Related:

Ethiopia Is Back on Top As Selemon Barega Is Golden in 2020 Olympic 10K Final

Tokyo Olympics: Men’s Steeplechase Gold Medal Odds Favor Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale

Ethiopia at Tokyo Olympics: How to Watch Track and Field Live

On Twitter, Cryptocurrency Fans Cheer Ethiopia at Tokyo Olympics

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Tokyo Olympics: Men’s Steeplechase Gold Medal Odds Favor Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale

Ethiopia's Getnet Wale is favored in the men's steeplechase odds at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The 21-year-old is set to make his first Olympics appearance and set his personal best time of 8:05.21 in 2019 while running at Doha in Qatar. (Getty Images)

FanDuel

The 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games are in full swing and sports fans are able to put in wagers on a number of different events on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Men’s track & field remains one of the most exciting sports on the Olympic schedule every year. Specifically, the 3,000m steeplechase competition made its debut at the 1920 Olympics. Athletes push their bodies to the limits in order to battle at the most elite level in the world.

Olympics Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase

Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale leads all competitors with odds set at +130 to take home the gold in this event, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The 21-year-old is set to make his first Olympics appearance and set his personal best time of 8:05.21 in 2019 while running at Doha.

Soufiane El Bakkali of Morroco follows closely behind with odds set at +155.

Here’s how the rest of the Olympics men’s 3,000m steeplechase Gold Medal odds are shaping up.

Olympics Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase Gold Medal Odds

1. Getnet Wale (ETH): +130
2. Soufiane El Bakkali (MAR): +155
3. Abraham Kibiwot (KEN): +700
4. Bikila Tadese Takele (ETH): +750
5. Leonard Bett (KEN): +1100
6. Benjamin Kigen (KEN): +1300
7. Hilary Bor (USA): +1600
8. Abrham Sime (ETH): +1800
9. Mohamed Tindouft (MAR): +3400
10. Djilali Bedrani (FRA): +3400
11. Ahmed Abdelwahed (ITA): +5000
12. Fernando Carro (ESP): +6000

Related:

Ethiopia at Tokyo Olympics: How to Watch Track and Field Live

On Twitter, Cryptocurrency Fans Cheer Ethiopia at Tokyo Olympics

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American Filmmaker Ava DuVernay Launches A Masterclass On Narrative Storytelling Featuring Haile Gerima

Haile Gerima editing his upcoming documentary “Children of Adwa.” (Eurweb)

Eur Web

*A legendary filmmaker is teaching a five day workshop!

Ava DuVernay’s Peabody Award-winning arts and social impact collective ARRAY announced their inaugural masterclass with celebrated Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima. Applications are now being accepted until August 9 for the Los Angeles-based intensive workshop, being led by the legendary figure of the L.A. Rebellion film movement.

Liberated Territory: A Masterclass by Haile Gerima is a partnership between ARRAY and The Sankofa Film Academy divided into three parts: The Art and Craft of Screenplay, Cinematography, and Film Directing. Taking place at the ARRAY Creative Campus, the five-day workshop will explore the catalyst of storytelling and a story’s structure crafted from personal narrative accents. Participants will have an opportunity to dive into Gerima’s past notable work, including the ARRAY Releasing distributed title Ashes and Embers. Gerima is set to be honored by the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures with the inaugural Vantage Award as part of its opening gala in September 2021.

Applications are open to storytellers (experienced or emerging) working across all mediums, not just film. Artists who would like a deeper understanding of connecting their personal roots to narrative story development are encouraged to apply at arraynow.com/masterclass.

“Ava has always been a supporter of me and my work,” shared Gerima. “I come from a generation of filmmakers — independent filmmakers in the late 60s, early 70s – where making films about marginalized communities and people of color was not always accepted by mainstream audiences. It was important to Ava and ARRAY that this next generation of filmmakers get an opportunity to see my past work and to understand it. This Master Class is structured based on my personal practice, not only writing my own screenplays but also directing and editing my own films. Most of all, it demonstrates how editing my own films shaped my ideas of holistic filmmaking.”


Ava DuVernay (Photo: Diana King)

“Mr. Haile Gerima is the reason I was inspired to create my own film distribution company and he is, very simply, one of my heroes,” expressed DuVernay. “He disrupted the system long before anyone was willing to take notice and continues to chart his own path. Launching the ARRAY Masterclass program with Mr. Gerima is a surreal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can’t wait to watch him in action as he shares his filmmaking expertise with the next wave of disruptive filmmakers at our liberated territory, the ARRAY Creative Campus.”

“Sankofa, which is an Adinkra term for ‘going back to our past in order to go forward’ provides the best description of this full circle moment for me,” explained ARRAY Vice President of Public Programming, Mercedes Cooper. “I first visited Mr. Gerima’s legendary Sankofa Video and Bookstore in 1999 while I was a student at University of Maryland College Park. I am beyond words and honored to collaborate with master filmmaker Haile Gerima and visionary Ava DuVernay to develop ARRAY’s first masterclass.”

About Haile Gerima:

Haile Gerima is a fiercely independent filmmaker and leading member of the film movement known widely as L.A. Rebellion birthed in the late 1960s. Born and raised in Ethiopia, Gerima immigrated to the United States in 1967. Following in the footsteps of his father, a dramatist and playwright, Gerima entered UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, where his exposure to Latin American films inspired him to mine his own cultural legacy.

After completing his thesis film, the acclaimed BUSH MAMA (1975), Gerima returned to Ethiopia to film HARVEST: 3000 YEARS (1976) which won the George Sadual critics award of at the Festival de Cannes, the Grand Prize at the Locarno Film Festival and was the Official Selection As Cannes Classic in 2007 in Festival de Cannes. When Gerima’s legendary epic SANKOFA (1993, nominated for the Golden Bear of the Berlin Film-festival) was ignored by U.S. distributors, he decidedly self-distributed the film by tapping into African-American communities, resulting in sold-out screenings in independent theaters around the country. In 2016 ARRAY re-released his classic ASHES & EMBERS (1982), winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1983 Berlin International Film Festival.

In 1996, Gerima co-founded an independent film company for the production and distribution of films, which also houses the Sankofa Video and Bookstore, in Washington, D.C. Gerima continues to produce, distribute and promote his own films. He also lectures and conducts workshops in alternative screenwriting and directing both within the U.S. and internationally.

About ARRAY:

Founded in 2011 by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, ARRAY is a Peabody Award-winning multi-platform arts and social impact collective dedicated to narrative change. The organization catalyzes its work through a quartet of mission-driven entities: the film distribution arm ARRAY Releasing, the content company ARRAY Filmworks, the programming and production hub ARRAY Creative Campus and the non-profit group ARRAY Alliance.

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Spotlight: In NYC, the MET Presents Mulatu Astatke — Digital Premiere

Today in New York City The Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with World Music Institute presents a Digital Premiere featuring Ethio-jazz legend Mulatu Astatke. According to the museum the concert was recorded at the MET on September 9, 2016. The JazzTimes called it “a spirited and entrancing set that spanned his career and spotlighted his gift for shifting fluidly between intricate, sinuous melodies and airy, atmospheric grooves.” (MET)

MET Museum

Known as the father of Ethio-jazz, composer and multi-instrumentalist Mulatu Astatke rose to international fame in the 1970s and 1980s with his unique mix of American jazz and Ethiopian music, drawing comparisons to jazz giants Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. Forced off the road for a time due to the political situation in his homeland, he came roaring back in the 1990s, recording and touring as never before.

Astatke’s music begins and ends with improvisation and is the product of fearless experimentation. Experience the sounds, rhythms, and textures of this pioneer of Ethiopian jazz in The Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing in a performance recorded on September 9, 2016, that JazzTimes called “a spirited and entrancing set that spanned his career and spotlighted his gift for shifting fluidly between intricate, sinuous melodies and airy, atmospheric grooves.”

Watch on Facebook or YouTube. Note: No login required.

If You Attend:

Digital Premiere—Mulatu Astatke at the MET
TUESDAY / JULY 27
7:00–8:40 P.M.
www.metmuseum.org

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Meron Hadero Becomes 1st Ethiopian Author to Win Prestigious AKO Caine Prize

Meron Hadero's winning short story is about an Ethiopian boy called Getu, who has to navigate the fraught power dynamics of NGOs and foreign aid in Addis Ababa. It impressed the judges who found it "utterly without self-pity" and said it "turns the lens" on the usual clichés. The author was born in Ethiopia and raised in the US by parents who are both medical doctors. Her sister is the singer Meklit Hadero. (BBC News)

BBC News

AKO Caine Prize: Meron Hadero named first Ethiopian winner

“I’m absolutely thrilled, I’m in shock – being shortlisted in itself was a huge honour,” she told the BBC.

Her winning short story is about an Ethiopian boy called Getu, who has to navigate the fraught power dynamics of NGOs and foreign aid in Addis Ababa.

It impressed the judges who found it “utterly without self-pity” and said it “turns the lens” on the usual clichés.

Hadero will take home £10,000 ($13,000) in prize money.

The author was born in Ethiopia and raised in the US by parents who are both medical doctors. Her sister is the singer Meklit Hadero, whose support was “absolutely essential” to her success, Hadero says.

She says stories of “refugees, immigrants and those at risk of being displaced” are always the “entry-point emotionally” to her work.

“With The Street Sweep, he has that threat looming. He’s facing losing his ancestral home, and that’s the real driver of the story that makes him take charge and try to re-write that outcome that seems kind of inevitable,” Hadero told BBC Focus on Africa.

Much of The Street Sweep is set in Addis Ababa’s Sheraton hotel, where Getu is invited for a party.

“Looking through his eyes it’s almost a culture shock when he goes there,” Hadero said.

“I did want to paint that contrast… What does that access mean? And what does that bestow? That’s the bigger question of what those open doors represent.”

Writing short stories has been “it’s own love” for the author, who likened the form to a “contained laboratory” from which “pared down and elegant” tales can emerge.

Her next challenge is her debut novel, which “is really fun to work on in a different way.

“You’re adding and you’re exploring mess.”

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Ethiopia at Tokyo Olympics: How to Watch Track and Field Live

Local time in Japan is 13 hours ahead of Eastern time and 16 hours ahead of Pacific time in the United States. As you’ll see in the examples of our must-watch races below, the time differences will make for some early morning or late evening viewing if you want to see events live. (Getty Images)

Runners World

Plus, our picks for five must-watch races at the Games.

Watching what you want when you want might not be simple, because NBC’s coverage will be spread across several of the network’s channels and properties, including Peacock, USA, NBCSN, NBCOlympics.com, NBCSports.com, and, for good measure, the NBC Sports app.

Also, local time in Japan is 13 hours ahead of Eastern time and 16 hours ahead of Pacific time in the United States. As you’ll see in the examples of our must-watch races below, the time differences will make for some early morning or late evening viewing if you want to see events live.

Your best bet to knowing what will be shown where and when is to check NBCOlympics.com daily. The schedule there will be regularly updated.

Women’s 10,000 Meters

Final: 7:45 p.m. local, Saturday, 8/7; 6:45 a.m. Eastern/3:45 a.m. Pacific


Getty Images

We try to use the word “epic” sparingly, but it’s fair to say this race should be one of the epic match-ups in any sport of the Games. The top two contenders: Reigning world champion Sifan Hassan of Holland, who ran 29:06.82 on June 6 to break the world record, and Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, who broke Hassan’s record just two days later in 29:01.03.

The two met have met before at the distance, in the 2019 World Championships. There, Hassan seemed on another level from the rest of the world and easily handled Gidey’s attempt to break her over the final four laps. (At that meet, Hassan also won the 1500, an unprecedented double-gold haul in modern times.) But Gidey was 21 at that time, and now has another two years of international experience. Given Hassan’s prowess at 1500 meters, Gidey will likely try the same tactic as in 2019, a long drive over the last four or five laps. Hassan needed a 4:18 final mile last time to beat Gidey. Will they close even faster in Tokyo?

U.S. Trials champion Emily Sisson is unlikely to get caught up in Hassan-Gidey fireworks. But if the weather cooperates, she could threaten the American record of 30:13.17 that her occasional training partner, Molly Huddle, set while finishing sixth at the 2016 Games.

Men’s Marathon

Final: 7 a.m. local, Sunday, 8/8; 6 p.m. Eastern/3 p.m. Pacific, Saturday, 8/7


Getty Images

A day after the women’s marathon concludes—another highly-anticipated event that takes place at 6 p.m. Eastern on Friday, July 30—the men’s marathon is the final running event of the Games. This race is either one of the most predictable or most unpredictable.

On the predictable hand, there’s the defending champion, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, the most accomplished marathoner in history. Did you know that Kipchoge won a marathon in April in 2:04:30? Don’t feel bad if not—the world record-holder and only person to break 2:00 in any conditions is also the first person in history to make a 2:04 marathon unremarkable. Kipchoge has lost only two marathons since taking up the event in 2013.

On the unpredictable hand, consider: One of those losses occurred at London last October. Kipchoge not only lost, but, by his exalted standards, bombed, finishing eighth, more than a minute behind the winner. Kipchoge, age 36, suddenly seemed mortal. There’s built-in unpredictability concerning anyone’s body on marathon day—Kipchoge was undone last fall in London by a clogged ear.

Also, knowing who is in great shape is always difficult because the top marathoners race so seldom. That said, don’t be surprised to see U.S. champion and defending bronze medalist Galen Rupp vie for a medal. And most definitely keep an eye out for one or both of Kengo Suzuki and Suguru Osaka, who hope to give marathon-mad Japan hometown heroes to cheer for late in the race.

Read the full article at runnersworld.com »

Related:

On Twitter, Cryptocurrency Fans Cheer Ethiopia at Tokyo Olympics

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On Twitter, Cryptocurrency Fans Cheer Ethiopia at Tokyo Olympics

Flag bearer Abdelmalik Muktar of Team Ethiopia during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 23, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Team Ethiopia is receiving global cheers on social media that has gone viral after Twitter added Ethiopia's flag to the “ETH” hashtag in the lead-up to the Olympics. Interestingly, the support is coming from fans of the largest cryptocurrency next to Bitcoin, Ethereum. (Getty Images)

Crypto Briefing

Ethereum Community Backs Ethiopia Ahead of Olympics

The Ethereum community is rallying behind Ethiopia after Twitter added the country’s flag to the “ETH” hashtag in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Key Takeaways

  • Ethereum fans are showing their support for Ethiopia after Twitter added the country’s flag to the “ETH” hashtag in celebration of the Olympics.
  • A DAO called EthiopiaDAO has formed, while some community members have suggested sponsoring the country’s Olympic team.
  • The Olympics thanked Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and the wider crypto community for their support.

    Ethereans are voicing their support for Ethiopia.

    Ethereum Forms Ties with Ethiopia

    Ethereum fans are backing Ethiopia ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

    Members of the second-ranked blockchain’s community began showing their support for the African nation after Twitter added national flag emojis for each of the teams appearing at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The social media platform added the Ethiopia flag to the hashtag “ETH,” which coincides with the name for Ethereum’s native currency.

    Ethereum enthusiasts quickly adopted the hashtag and united in showing support for Ethiopia. Many reposted the country’s flag, similar to how Bitcoiners and other crypto believers collectively adopted “laser eyes” on their Twitter avatars earlier this year. Since the flag surfaced on Twitter, a decentralized autonomous organization called EthiopiaDAO “centered around Ethiopia and blockchain education” has formed. A member of the DAO told Crypto Briefing:

    “While there isn’t a clear vision of exactly how EthiopiaDAO can help today, we have the tools and know how to coordinate capital globally towards whatever we decide to put our efforts towards. Currently there seems to be memetic alignment between communities and we’d like to capture that momentum towards funding communal goods that could have real world benefits to Ethiopia, and the Ethereum ecosystem at large.”

    Meanwhile, several community members have suggested supporting the country in other ways. Brantly Millegan, director of operations at Ethereum Name Service, reached out to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to suggest sponsoring the country in the Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, Mike Demarais, co-founder of the Ethereum wallet rainbow, shared a similar proposal and suggested that Ethereum could “copy/paste el salvador strat but for vitalik coin.“ El Salvador made history when it adopted Bitcoin as legal tender last month, indicating that Demarais was most likely proposing a campaign to make ETH an official currency in Ethiopia.

    Jack Dorsey, Twitter and Square founder and longtime Bitcoin evangelist, also joined in with the trend by posting the hashtag in a tweet. In the crypto world, Dorsey is best known for his ardent support for Bitcoin, though he’s been less enthusiastic about Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. The official Olympics Twitter account responded to Dorsey’s post to say it was “great to see” him and the crypto community supporting Ethiopia’s athletes.

    Ethereum isn’t the only cryptocurrency project to show support for Ethiopia: earlier this year, Cardano’s IOHK partnered with the country’s government to develop a blockchain system focusing on student performance in schools. The deal will involve five million Ethiopian students having their digital identities stored on the blockchain.

    The Tokyo Olympics runs from today until Aug. 8. Representatives from the country are yet to respond to the Ethereum community, though ETH has enjoyed an overnight rise: it’s back above $2,000, up around 4%.

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  • Listen: Family, Ethiopian Roots Inspire Seattle Youth Poet Laureate’s New Book

    Bitaniya Giday is finishing her tenure at Seattle Youth Poet Laureate and publishing a book of her poetry. In the following audio Bitaniya speaks with KNKX Morning Edition about her new book and the inspiration for her poetry, and she reads one of her poems. (SEATTLE ARTS & LECTURES)

    KNKX

    Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate has just published her first book of poetry. “Motherland” is Bitaniya Giday’s exploration of Blackness, womanhood and family history as an Ethiopian-American youth.

    You might be familiar with Giday from her appearance in KNKX’s Take the Mic youth voices series, and she was part of our virtual town hall event. She was also featured in this interview with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

    Giday, who is finishing her one-year term as youth poet laureate, spoke with KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about her new book and what inspires her work. Listen to the interview and hear Giday read one of her poems.

    Read more and listen to the audio at knkx.org »

    Related:

    Seattle Arts & Lectures names Bitaniya Giday as the next Youth Poet Laureate

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    Marcus Samuelsson Sets The Record Straight About American Cuisine

    The Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised chef says the concept of American cuisine focused almost entirely on European dishes for a "long time." But that's never been the whole story. The chef said, "We know as a diverse, layered nation that there's been a huge contribution by African-Americans to the American food experience." (Mashed)

    Mashed

    Chef Marcus Samuelsson celebrates a wide array of culinary traditions that comprise what we call American cuisine. Fortunately for us, that means American cuisine is more than just burgers and apple pie. The judge of “Chopped” and host of the culinary travel show “No Passport Required” is known for touring the country to explore how immigrant communities have influenced and helped create the cuisine we know and love (via PBS). We asked the restaurateur and cookbook author during an exclusive interview with Mashed to debunk myths about American cuisine.

    Samuelsson explained the concept of American cuisine focused almost entirely on European dishes for a “long time.” But that’s never been the whole story. The chef said, “We know as a diverse, layered nation that there’s been a huge contribution by African-Americans to the American food experience.” Chefs like Samuelsson know innovation is key to the foundation of American cuisine because as he said, “There’s always a blend between immigrants and their traditions and indigenous people adding on and adding on.” Food must evolve because “as generations we evolve,” he furthered. 

    In his shows, restaurants, and cookbooks, Samuelsson explores “about four cuisines in America” that are a direct link to the African-American experience. American food is a modern umbrella term, which the Red Rooster owner said brings all these heritage flavors together “whether it’s barbecue, Southern food, Lowcountry, and Korean cooking.” The major influence of African-American techniques, ingredients, and flavors are the elements that the Season 2 “Top Chef Masters” winner wanted to highlight in his most recent cookbook, “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food” (via Eater). Samuelsson learned cooking is more than following a recipe. “I don’t think my grandmother ever shared a pure recipe with me,” Samuelsson said. “Well, ritual has been around much longer than just traditional recipes … it’s also very much word of mouth.” The chef isn’t alone, Eater reports “no-recipe recipes” are making a big comeback. 

    The Ethiopian-born and Swedish-raised chef said “every time I cook, I think about my family,” and it should be no coincidence, “especially when it’s something Ethiopian or Swedish.” Samuelsson translates those rituals to his restaurants, but it can be found in the partners he works with in New York, Miami, Bermuda, Sweden, Canada, and elsewhere. ”Nurturing rituals is key and it’s kind of the core of what makes that extended family,” he said. “Whether it’s the cooks that you work with or the restaurants you go and support.” It’s no surprise Samuelsson is a leader in American cuisine, where consistent evolution that is nothing short of inspirational.

    Read more »

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    This Royal Couple Launched a New Media Company to Tell Stories Uniting the Black Diaspora

    Prince Joel Makonnen, the great-grandson of emperor Haile Selassie, and his wife, Princess Ariana Makonnen, are on a mission to unite the Black diaspora, launching their new media company, "Old World//New World (OWNW)." "It was definitely inspired by my own life, growing up as a prince in exile," Joel says. (BOTWC)

    BOTWC

    A royal couple just launched a new media company to tell stories uniting the Black diaspora.

    Prince Joel Makonnen, the great-grandson of the last emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, and his wife, Princess Ariana Makonnen, are on a mission to unite the Black diaspora, launching their new media company, “Old World//New World (OWNW).” Inspired by their own story, the media and entertainment company is dedicated to storytelling across various forms, focused on sharing powerful stories that unite and inspire the global Black diaspora.

    The name of the couple’s Los Angeles-based media company is a homage to their wedding theme and echoes a sentiment they hope to bring to their projects.

    “Ariana coined this statement during our wedding…old-world aristocracy meets new world charm…and it stuck with us. And so we thought the concept…which represents ourselves…we [thought it would be good for] all of our projects to have that same theme, with Africa and the diaspora coming together,” Prince Joel told Because Of Them We Can.

    “We’ve always kind of thought of our relationship as a cool Old World/New world mix, taking what’s great, the history and tradition of the old world, and combining it with the innovation and freedom of the new world and we thought through a while about what we wanted to do next…and we decided that a media company would be close to our heart,” Princess Ariana added.

    The company officially launched in 2018, focusing on acquiring projects and partnerships that aligned with its mission. Their first project, a children’s book entitled “Last Gate Of The Emperor,” was co-authored by HIH Prince Joel in partnership with Kwame Mbalia. The two are both Howard University grads and came together to tell a story for young children rooted in history that also had an Afrofuturist element.

    “Last Gate Of The Emperor” follows a young 12-year-old Ethiopian boy who lives in a distant future, ultimately discovering his royal lineage, which gives him the power to save his city and his people. The story is loosely based on Prince Joel’s life, exploring themes of resilience, family, and bravery with a bit of fun and a whole lot of sci-fi.

    “It was definitely inspired by my own life, growing up as a prince in exile. When I was born, there was a really bad revolution that happened in Ethiopia, and we happened to be outside of the country, so my family just couldn’t go back. As a child, I had to struggle, understanding what that meant. My family had taught me all this great legacy, but then also it impacted life, and we just kind of had to survive. And so I wanted to share that experience but in a children’s format,” Prince Joel said.

    The book has already hit number one on Amazon’s bestsellers, and the Makonnens have no plans on slowing down. The mission of OWNW is to curate compelling stories that give new narratives to Africa and the diaspora, building a bridge to unite Black people across the globe and pushing positive Black stories to the mainstream.

    “With the company, the goal is to tell powerful Black stories… Stories that are always from an empowered place, a place of agency, and it doesn’t mean that traumatic things don’t happen or the history is not complicated, but I think there is always a way to tell a story…that you come through trauma, that you’re resilient, even if it does happen. And then jointly, to really connect the diaspora in a way that we haven’t seen before,” Princess Ariana said.

    Ideally, OWNW is looking to build inroads that help Africa feel more like home for those in the diaspora. While people are learning more and more every day, Africa still feels like a faraway concept for many Black people in the diaspora. Through these stories, the Makonnen’s are hoping to help people see themselves more and more.

    In addition to the book, more projects are coming down the pipeline, including a biopic, a television series centered around the Ethiopian monarchy, and a romantic comedy based on the Prince and Princesses’ love story.

    Currently, they’re looking to connect with all storytellers who may be interested in getting their projects out to the world.

    To purchase “Last Gate Of The Emperor,” click here. You can also learn more about “Old World//New World” via their website or follow them on Instagram.

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    Video: The Other Side of the Ethiopia Story the Western Media Bubble Doesn’t Cover

    As is usually the case with most wars in geostrategic areas of the world, there's far more to the story than is being told and a whole lot of misleading information from the mainstream [western] press. In the following video BreakThrough News make sense of what's happening in Ethiopia's Tigray region and how we got here. (BTN)

    BreakThrough News

    Crisis In Ethiopia: What the Media Isn’t Telling You About the War In Tigray

    Ethiopia has been in the headlines in recent months as the TPLF, a Tigrayan rebel group that ruled the country for three decades, violently seized the northern Ethiopian state of Tigray from the government. As of this recording, the Ethiopian government had declared a ceasefire. However, the TPLF has continued fighting to expand its control over Tigray’s border areas and threatening to push the war into neighboring countries.

    The Western media has largely cheered on the TPLF and demonized the Ethiopian government and its allies, with allegations of ethnic cleansing, intentional famine and even genocide. The US has gone so far as to place sanctions on the Ethiopian government, a longtime US ally. But, as is usually the case with most wars in geostrategic areas of the world, there’s far more to the story than is being told and a whole lot of misleading information from the mainstream press.

    To help us make sense of what’s happening and how we got here, Rania Khalek was joined by Eugene Puryear, a journalist for Breakthrough News and host of The Punch Out.

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    UPDATE: France’s Orange Submits Interest for Stake in Ethio Telecom – Official

    A woman walks past the logo of French telecom operator Orange at the company headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France. Ethiopia's ambassador to Paris Henok Teferra Shawl said in a tweet Orange had "formally submitted interest to participate in the partial privatisation of @ethiotelecom." (REUTERS)

    Reuters

    ADDIS ABABA – France’s telecom firm Orange has submitted an expression of interest to participate in the ongoing partial privatisation of Ethiopia’s Ethio Telecom firm, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Paris said on Twitter on Tuesday.

    Henok Teferra Shawl said in a tweet Orange had “formally submitted interest to participate in the partial privatisation of @ethiotelecom.”

    Priti Patel defends £54.2m payment to France in effort to reduce migrant crossings
    Last month, Ethiopia launched a tendering process for the proposed sell-off of a 40% stake in the state-owned carrier Ethio Telecom to private investors, part of the government’s broader plan to open up the Horn of Africa country’s economy.

    The telecoms business in Ethiopia, a country with a population of more than 100 million people and one of the region’s biggest economies, is considered lucrative and is expected to draw significant investor interest.

    As part of the process to open up the telecoms sector in May authorities handed out the first private operator licence to a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom, Vodafone, and Japan’s Sumitomo.

    Ethio Telecom reported an 18.4% rise in full-year revenue to end-June to 56.5 billion birr ($1.29 billion).

    (Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; Writing by Elias Biryabarema, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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    Opinion: Why US Policy on Ethiopia and Horn of Africa is Flawed

    A general view of the White House in Washington, DC., July 2021. (Reuters)

    Daily Sabah

    Despite its imperfections, the U.S. boasts one of the oldest and most successful examples of constitutional breakthroughs in the world. The U.S. Constitution emerged as a result of the historically arduous but careful compromises of its framers.

    Learning from the flaws of the country’s first founding document, i.e., the Articles of the Confederation, the current Constitution that was drafted in 1789 also led to the birth of the current U.S. system of federalism.

    As opposed to an ineffective and costly confederation that had empowered then 13 states consolidated after the American Revolutionary War, the new federal Constitution balanced political power between the national government in Washington, D.C. and that of the states and their local governments.

    Since its inception, however, the U.S. Constitution has not been immune to facing many constitutional debates or state-national tensions that have ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court’s judicial review framework and that created both good and bad legal precedents that still define federal relations in the country.

    To mention one major achievement, among others, the U.S. federal system has also ensured the implementation of what is referred to as the “national standard,” a system of direct, conditional and blocked federal grants that guaranteed more or less similar economic growth across the country’s 50 states.

    For instance, thanks to such a system, an American who hopes to move from any small town in North Dakota or Alabama to major cities like Chicago or New York would still have access to quality health care, education opportunities, immediate employment and the right to enjoy any benefits that his new state’s residents receive.

    Thanks to such a working system of governance, any impediment to the free movement of people, goods and services is also never a concern.

    The un-American approach

    Unfortunately, when it comes to what system of government and governance that the U.S. wishes for others, especially for third world countries that happen to rely on foreign economic aid, it has always been evident that its approach is mistaken.

    A recent statement by the U.S. State Department that called for keeping Ethiopia’s flawed ethnic federal arrangement is one such example.

    Unlike the U.S. federal system, Ethiopia’s ethnic federal arrangement is a failed system that illegally constituted the country’s internal borders according to ethnic and linguistic classifications.

    Such an arrangement has now been proven to be a ticking time bomb when it comes to the unity of Ethiopia’s people and the nation’s territorial integrity.

    Read more »

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    The Pan-Africa-USA International Track Meet

    One year before Ethiopian Miruts Yifter won an Olympic bronze medal in Munich, Germany, and five years before he won two golds in Moscow, he miscounted laps in a race held in Durham, North Carolina [during the Pan-Africa – U.S.A. International Track Meet] in front of 52,000 fans. He would soon earn the moniker “Yifter the Shifter” for his ability to change speeds so rapidly in races. (Fansided)

    Fansided

    50 years ago, Duke University hosted the experimental Pan-Africa – U.S.A. International Track Meet, looking to change a legacy of structural racism.

    One year before Ethiopian Miruts Yifter won an Olympic bronze medal in Munich, Germany, and five years before he won two golds in Moscow, he miscounted laps in a race held in Durham, North Carolina. As a result, American distance running icon, Steve Prefontaine, took the title at the Pan-Africa – U.S.A. International Track Meet in front of 52,000 fans. Yifter irritated his competitors, shifting between positions throughout the race, before mistakenly using his final gear in the penultimate lap. He would soon earn the moniker “Yifter the Shifter” for his ability to change speeds so rapidly in races.

    After the race, a frustrated Yifter explained that he was accustomed to hearing bells, not a gun, to signal the final lap, and did not see the lap counter. Jean Claude Ganga, a Congolese sports administrator and the selected African team manager for this particular competition, explained further, “‘In some countries, it’s a gong, gong, in others, it’s a bing, bing, bing. Here it’s a boom. He did not know this.”

    This would be one of several moments of cultural reckoning 50 years ago, when athletes from across the continent were invited to North Carolina to compete at the Wallace Wade Stadium at Duke University on July 16-17, 1971.

    As sport is positioned to do, the Pan-Africa – U.S.A. International Track Meet was meant to disseminate ideas and feelings of cultural cohesion. But for many, using the Pan-African namesake to advertise the event just a few short years after Black students occupied a central Duke Administration building to make demands in response to the racism they felt at the newly integrated University, and with several African countries still under colonial rule, cohesion seemed like an obvious ruse.

    At the competition, Pan-Africanism had two opposing connotations. For some — namely the organizers and most spectators — it simply described the structure of the meet. Athletes from across the African continent competed as one team against athletes from the U.S. For others, most notably the Black activists who attended the meet to publicize racial oppression omnipresent in the South, Pan-Africanism was an ideology focused on uniting all people of African descent within and beyond the continent. It was, and is, an anti-imperialist and anti-racist way of organizing politics in the world. And it changed how some understood the different teams on the track and in the field.

    “We decided to create this huge scoreboard and the idea was any time any Black person won points whether they were from Africa or the United States we gave those points to Africa,” civil rights activist, academic, and education reform leader, Howard Fuller, told FanSided.

    Fuller, along with other students and members of the Malcolm X Liberation University (MXLU) that he helped found knew they would need to take advantage of the large staging of such an event to make a statement and espouse the values of Pan-Africanism. The University was created mostly in response to the discrimination Black students faced in Duke’s early years of integration, and the structural racism felt in Durham and beyond.

    “When we learned about the track meet the first thing we did was we met the people from Africa when they got off the plane,” Fuller explains. “We had made up these packets telling them about the oppression of Black people in Durham and North Carolina. And then with the score card we brought drums to the meet and were drumming the whole time. So we turned an athletic event into a political event.”

    Pre-meet dynamics around Duke University

    The meet was the brainchild of Dr. LeRoy T. Walker, the head coach of North Carolina Central University (NCCU), a historically black university founded in the early 20th century. Walker coached dozens of Olympians before and after his time at NCCU, and critically forged a close relationship with Duke’s Cross Country and Track and Field Coach, Al Buehler, in order to find adequate facilities for his athletes.

    One of Walker’s athletes, Lee Calhoun, only had access to five hurdles and a poorly maintained track that could easily turn an ankle. Calhoun, who went on to win Olympic Gold Medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games, as well as other several would-be Olympians, would soon be snuck into Duke’s segregated campus to practice in safer conditions.

    Read more »

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    Ethiopian Immigrant And UBS Top Advisor Hopes To Blaze Trail For More Diversity In Wealth Management

    Araya Mesfin, Senior Vice President–Wealth Management, UBS Wealth Management (UBS)

    Forbes

    Name: Araya Mesfin

    Firm: UBS Wealth Management

    Location: Atlanta, Georgia

    AUM: $763 million

    Background: Mesfin, 45, grew up in Ethiopia and immigrated to the United States at age 14. After getting a degree in biology and physics from Berry College in Rome, Georgia he spent time as a tutor for private school students and working on fundraising with his alma mater. In his late 20s he decided he wanted a career change.

    An interview with an advisor from Merrill Lynch, where he never end up working, piqued his interest in the wealth management field. In 2008, he started at Morgan Stanley in a rookie program before heading to UBS five years later.

    Competitive Edge: For Mesfin his biggest advantage is his resourcefulness, built upon joining the industry with no resources.

    Early in his career, without a large network, he started cold calling corporations. One on of those calls, a prospect said that many of the his colleagues were close to retirement and could use financial advice. In order to try to capture that potential client base, Mesfin created a spreadsheet, and in the evenings called every extension to get client names from voicemails. He would then follow up on this homemade lead list in the morning. In his first few years of work, he estimates he was working up to 200 hours a week.

    Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenges in Mesfin’s career came early on when he faced lots of rejection, some he believes as a result of his race. With so much discussion around representation coming in the last year, he says many large firms have good intentions. However, the problem is that these conglomerates do not determine who is successful in wealth management.

    “If you’re IBM and want to diversify your workforce, you hire more people of color and women, but an advisors success isn’t dependent upon their employer, it is dependent upon Mr. and Mrs. Smith hiring them as an advisor,” Mesfin says. “People only like to work with those they trust so they look to those in their network for recommendations and that’s how the cycle works. That’s why, in my personal experience, women and minorities have a harder time.”

    Mentors: Edward Williams, the president of Baltimore-based RIA DEW Financial Management was the training manager at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney when Mesfin first met him. Mesfin credits his mentorship for setting an example that a Black man could be successful as a financial advisor.

    Lessons Learned: While acknowledging that the United States in 2021 is far from perfect, Mesfin says that hard work and perseverance can still lead to success in this country.

    “It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when your back is against the wall,” he adds. “I had to learn English. Then I had to learn how to get clients because it was a matter of survival. I don’t know that my story is possible anywhere else in the world.”

    Biggest Misunderstanding: The biggest misunderstanding Mesfin has with clients is around politics, with many people falling into the trap of allowing their political leanings to color how they view their portfolio.

    Many of his progressive clients saw scary information on MSNBC over the last four years and spent the Trump presidency worried about the market and the same thing is happening with conservative clients watching Fox News under President Biden. Mesfin says this is all a product of outsize polarization.

    Investment Outlook: Mesfin is extremely bullish on the markets, highlighting the accommodative actions of the Federal Reserve as well as pent up demand that reminds him the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918 which led directly into the roaring twenties.

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    Spotlight: In Florida Mekdelawit Messay, Ph.D. Student, is on a Mission to Study Equitable Water Sharing on the Nile

    “Like every kid in Ethiopia, I grew up hearing in songs, stories, folklore and school how the Nile — Abay is its name back home — is our greatest resource—the beauty, the grace of Ethiopia, but also how we have not been able to use it," says Mekdelawit Messay, a Ph.D. Student at Florida International University, who is studying "Equitable Water Sharing" on the Nile. "I feel like I have found my niche in life." (FIU)

    FIU News

    Ph.D. student is on a mission to study equitable water sharing on the Nile

    FIU Ph.D. student Mekdelawit Messay Deribe grew up in Ethiopia hearing about the Nile River and how it is such a crucial yet underutilized water resource.

    When life on the Nile was poised to forever change with the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in 2011, it became the source of Deribe’s inspiration to immerse herself in the water issues surrounding the river.

    “Like every kid in Ethiopia, I grew up hearing in songs, stories, folklore and school how the Nile — Abay is its name back home — is our greatest resource—the beauty, the grace of Ethiopia, but also how we have not been able to use it, how it does not have a home at its source,” Deribe says. “So, there was always this dichotomous feeling of love and adoration for the Nile, as well as anger at not using our resource.”

    Six years after the construction of the GERD began, Deribe found herself seriously researching Nile water issues and transboundary water use. She completed her master’s thesis on the subject and searched for Ph.D. programs that aligned with her passion. This is when she discovered FIU Institute of Environment and Department of Earth and Environment professor Assefa Melesse’s work on the Nile. It was a perfect fit.

    Today, Deribe studies the long-term, sustainable and equitable use of transboundary waters specifically focused on the Nile Basin.

    The Nile Basin is expected to be one of the most water-scarce areas in the world in the near future, she explains, so it is especially important to study transboundary water sharing in this area. The current situation in the basin is complex. Deribe explains further that, although the Nile is shared by 11 countries, historical water-sharing arrangements between Sudan and Egypt completely allocate the Nile water between these two countries, complicating the issue even more.

    “The way we deal with utilization of the Nile drastically needs to change in the basin if we are collectively to have a sustainable future,” Deribe says. “My research is focused on finding ways to ensure that collective better future for the Basin.”

    Deribe has been instrumental in supporting monthly, virtual Nile Talk Forums hosted by the Institute of Environment. She recently spoke on a panel at one of these forums, where she discussed the importance of transboundary collaboration in order to identify solutions for the equitable utilization of the Nile. She also presented her research at the annual FIU graduate symposium, earning third place for Outstanding Oral Presentation by a doctoral student.

    “I feel like I have found my niche area—my calling in life—with researching and working on the Nile,” she says. “The Nile Basin has a long way to go in terms of ensuring equitable, long term, sustainable and climate-proof use of the shared water for all the Nile Basin countries and citizens.

    “I believe there is a lot to be done in that avenue and I hope to contribute to that cause through my academic research and social advocacy. I love teaching, so I also hope to teach and give back to my country and people in a small way,” Deribe adds.

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    From Ethiopia to MIT: How Aspirations Become Actions for Mussie Demisse

    From Ethiopia to community college to MIT, Mussie Demisse ’21 is on a mission to use his love of learning to solve big problems. Demisse grew up in Ethiopia, where he’d been involved in the Ethiopian Space Science Society, and when he arrived in Boston after high school, that childhood passion brought him to the MIT Astrophysics Colloquia. (MIT News)

    MIT News

    Minutes before finding out he’d been accepted to MIT, Mussie Demisse ’21 was shaking Governor Charlie Baker’s hand. Demisse was at an awards ceremony at the Massachusetts State House, being honored as one of the 2018 “29 Who Shine,” a select group of graduates from the Commonwealth’s higher education system who’d made an impact at their institution and in the community. For Demisse, Bunker Hill Community College, where he’d spent the previous two years studying computer science, represented both. “I really matured there,” he says, explaining that, at one point, he’d held three jobs at the college while also serving on student government and participating in various academic clubs.

    Bunker Hill was also where Demisse got his first peek at the rigorous yet vibrant nature of an MIT classroom and began picturing himself in such an environment. In a linear algebra course, Demisse’s professor, Jie Frye, would regularly give out challenging quizzes that piqued his curiosity. “As kind of a motivator she would tell us this is the same quiz that MIT students take,” he recalls. “They’re learning the same material, so don’t beat yourself up, be proud of what you’re able to accomplish.” Demisse asked where his professor had gotten the MIT quizzes.

    The answer wasn’t a secret connection, it turned out, but something called MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW). “She was one of my favorite professors at Bunker Hill,” Demisse says. “She emphasized that it’s possible for us to pursue our dreams — which isn’t as much of a thing, I think, in community college. There’s a lot of stigma, and I feel like that sometimes keeps people from applying to things. She was very intentional about making sure that we knew we could, and we should try.”

    Demisse says OCW wasn’t the first time his interests had led him to MIT. But it was the final push he needed to apply to the school that he’d long set his heart on. Demisse grew up in Ethiopia, where he’d been involved in the Ethiopian Space Science Society, and when he arrived in Boston after high school, that childhood passion brought him to the MIT Astrophysics Colloquia. Learning that the colloquia welcomed members of the public to their weekly events, Demisse attended for a few months. Though he admits that he could understand only the first 10 minutes or so of every talk, he says, “I saw a part of MIT that was very much about advancing knowledge — done in such a supportive and cooperative way that I thought to myself, ‘Wow, it would be really cool if I could be a part of this community.’”

    After the materials on OCW showed him he had not only the drive but the aptitude to turn this dream into a reality, Demisse began researching initiatives like MIT D-Lab, the lab dedicated to designing solutions for tackling poverty, and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). “That’s when I said, it must be MIT,” he recalls.

    Demisse graduated from MIT this spring with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science. But before coming to Bunker Hill and embarking on the path that would lead him to MIT, Demisse longed for opportunities to apply himself in the ways that his linear algebra professor described — to turn his aspirations into actions.

    Growing up, Demisse had witnessed the devastating effects of global inequalities like poverty. But Ethiopia was also, he explains, where he’d learned that, when you recognize a problem, it falls upon you to do something about it. When it came time to choose his major at Bunker Hill, Demisse had no shortage of motivation. He knew it’d have to be something that would allow him to serve not only the Ethiopian community but underprivileged communities around the world that share similar challenges. Computer science struck Demisse as the perfect intersection of his goals, interests, and abilities. “It’s kind of a claim of responsibility for the issues that I’ve lived through or seen people that I care about go through,” he says.

    Through OCW, Demisse found another outlet to channel this desire to help others. “I became somewhat of an evangelist for OCW,” he says, remembering reaching out to friends in Ethiopia who were also looking for resources to make a difference in their communities.

    “I especially targeted the ones that felt like they wanted more, but couldn’t get it,” Demisse says. “And it really made me happy to do that because this is the same complaint I had when I was back home — you acknowledge the problems you know you want to invest yourself in, and you know you can build the discipline, but sometimes you feel like there’s nowhere to exert that discipline, that motivation. And I think OCW and similar platforms really allow you to build your capabilities to do what you can to solve the problem that you think is most important.”

    Demisse also credits OCW with preparing him for life as an MIT student. “I think professors at MIT have this way of highlighting how hundreds of years of knowledge was built out — this focus on intuition — in order for students to project into the future, for students to be the next discoverers,” he observes. “And in OCW I saw this. I began to grasp the importance of knowing more than just the facts. Coming to MIT, this was fostered so much more.”

    At MIT, Demisse joined the African Students Association, where he found another community to inspire him. He participated in UROP, completing a project with MIT D-Lab, the lab that Demisse had dreamed of joining years before. He’s taken an entrepreneurship class that has given him the tools to think about building social ventures in Ethiopia. Demisse also joined the MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Committee as an undergraduate representative.

    Bringing insights from his own experiences to the committee, Demisse advocates for more student involvement in the future of OCW. If the goal of OCW is to capture and share with the world as much of MIT as possible, he explains, then engaging the student community is paramount. Demisse also emphasizes the need for OCW, and MIT more broadly, to continue pioneering the open education resources movement. Now that he’s graduated he plans to continue working with OCW, focusing on increasing collaboration with community colleges and increasing access to universities in Africa.

    Ultimately, Demisse sees open education resources as a way to bring people hope — the same hope he felt when he opened the email from MIT Admissions offstage at the State House and saw the word “congratulations.”

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    UPDATE: Ethiopia Grants Final License to New Mobile Operator

    In a statement, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) said the license was issued to Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia, a freshly incorporated local telecoms operating company owned by the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE) consortium which consists of Safaricom, Vodacom, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation and CDC Group. (Mobile World Live)

    Mobile World Live

    The first private mobile operator in Ethiopia moved a step closer to launching services after the nation’s regulator issued a final license to the newly created local company run by a consortium which recently received the green light to start operations.

    In a statement, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) said the license was issued to Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia, a freshly incorporated local telecoms operating company owned by the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE) consortium which consists of Safaricom, Vodacom, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation and CDC Group.

    Effective from 9 July, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia was granted a “nationwide full-service” license with a term of 15 years and a renewal option for a further 15, subject to fulfilment of all necessary obligations.

    Commenting on the move on Twitter, Safaricom congratulated the new entrant for “going beyond and earning a final full-service nationwide telecoms license to operate in Ethiopia”.

    Earlier this month, the consortium announced the new operator will be headed by Vodacom DRC MD Anwar Soussa.

    Ethiopia commenced a process to issue two new mobile licences in November 2020, issuing one to GPE in May.

    At the time, the consortium pledged to invest $8 billion into the Ethiopian entity in the span of ten years.

    After Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia launches services, it will be the second company operating in the market alongside state-run Ethio Telecom.

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    Art From the Horn of Africa Makes Exciting Debut in Sweden

    Exhibition view: From Modern to Contemporary: Artists from the Horn of Africa and Diaspora, CFHILL, Stockholm (10 June–17 August 2021). Among them are two modern masters, and the first graduates of the Allé School of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University, the oldest art school in East Africa: Lulseged Retta and Tadesse Mesfin, who is also a long-time Allé educator. (Courtesy CFHILL and Addis Fine Art)

    Ocula Magazine

    This collaboration with London and Addis Ababa-based Addis Fine Art continues CFHILL’s commitment to offering an exhibition platform to international curators, artists, and galleries. Works by 19 artists including sculpture, painting, textiles, video, and photography are shown in five main galleries across two floors, highlighting important artists of Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Sudanese descent spanning the modern era to the present.

    A large painting hanging in a white gallery shoes figures dancing and playing trumpets. In the background, the next-door room is visible, and on it a painting of a fragmentary painting of a figure sitting on a stool.


    Left to right: Tesfaye Urgessa, Gesicht III (2019); Lulseged Retta, African Jazz (2021). Exhibition view: From Modern to Contemporary: Artists from the Horn of Africa and Diaspora, CFHILL, Stockholm (10 June–17 August 2021). Courtesy CFHILL and Addis Fine Art.

    Among them are two modern masters, and the first graduates of the Allé School of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University, the oldest art school in East Africa: Lulseged Retta and Tadesse Mesfin, who is also a long-time Allé educator.

    Founded by the artist Alle Felege Selam, the Allé School of Fine Arts and Design was the first art school in Ethiopia, and for over six decades has produced an impressive cohort, including seminal text-based painter Wosene Worke Kosrof, Elizabeth Habte Wold, and educator Bekele Mekonnen.

    Works by Retta and Mesfin are included in the first of four sections that organise the show chronologically and thematically: ‘The Modernists’, which looks at the first graduates of the Allé School of Fine Arts and Design in the 1970s.

    Retta’s figurative acrylic on canvas painting Setate (2010) shows two women cooking in rich saturated hews; and Mesfin’s Pillars of Life: Patience II (2020) is a striking portrait of Ethiopian women in the marketplace—part of an ongoing series celebrating women working as small-holder vendors in Ethiopian cities.


    Left to right: Tegene Kunbi, Red Panther (2021); Lulseged Retta, Setate (2010); Tsedaye Makonnen, Senait & Makonnen, The Peacemaker & The Comforter I (2019). Exhibition view: From Modern to Contemporary: Artists from the Horn of Africa and Diaspora, CFHILL, Stockholm (10 June–17 August 2021). Courtesy CFHILL and Addis Fine Art.

    ‘The Contemporary’ is the largest section, with mid-career artists who emerged in the 2000s, with many former students/mentees of Mesfin, including Addis Gezehagn, Merikokeb Berhanu, Tesfaye Urgessa, and Ermias Kifleyesus.

    Urgessa’s expressive paintings are rooted in his childhood and memories as a young man in Ethiopia, but also draw from his encounters with both German Neo-expressionism and the School of London through his travels abroad. Wandering Man (2019) depicts a black, partially abstracted figure contorted atop a stool, giving equal emphasis to the figure as well as the background composition’s play of colour, light, and shadow.

    Read more »

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    From Ethiopia Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week Comes to New York for Trunk Show

    According to organizers the trunk show, which will be held at Silvana in Harlem on Saturday July 17th, 2021 is "a curated marketplace featuring some of the most exciting fashion designers and brands coming out of Ethiopia." (Photo courtesy of Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Published: July 14th, 2021

    New York (TADIAS) — This week the Ethiopia-based Hub of Africa Addis Fashion Week is coming to New York City for a trunk show featuring nearly a dozen Ethiopian designers and brands.

    According to organizers the trunk show, which will be held at Silvana in Harlem on Saturday July 17th, is “a curated marketplace featuring some of the most exciting fashion designers and brands coming out of Ethiopia.”


    (Image courtesy of HAFW)

    The announcement notes that “over the past decade, HAFW has become one of the most important fashion events on the African continent, giving a platform for established and emerging fashion brands on its runways. With over 100 designers having participated at its events over the years, the organizers of HAFW hope to make this event an annual endeavor to further grow the expanding fashion industry in Ethiopia and Africa by creating linkage between brands and customers globally. Some of the exciting brands to look out for include: MAFI MAFi, Fozia Endrias, Meklit.Me, SHIMENA and Paradise Fashion.”

    If You Go:
    HAFW Trunk Show 2021
    July 17th, 10 – 6 pm
    Silvana in Harlem NYC
    300 W 116th St, New York, NY 10026
    silvana-nyc.com
    Phone: (646) 692-4935
    www.hubfashionweekafrica.com

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    Renewed Hope: How Bitcoin And Green Energy Can Save Ethiopia’s Economy

    The future headquarters of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia CBE in Addis Ababa. (Getty Images)

    Forbes

    Selamawit Girma, a mother of three living in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, is worried.

    Her monthly salary of 4,000 birr (about $91) isn’t going as far as it used to. Inflation surpassed 20% in Ethiopia last year and it’s still rising–up to 24.5% in June–as the country struggles to contain the economic fall-out of the covid-19 pandemic.

    “I am very scared of the current cost [of things],” she told The Addis Standard.

    “I am afraid of being on the streets with my children. Prices are increasing in house rent, transport, foods and non-food items … which the government seems to be doing very little about.”

    It’s not for want of trying. Ethiopia has one of the most stable and diverse economies in Africa, benefiting from a forward-looking government that has consistently met development targets for its 117 million citizens. The number of Ethiopians living below the poverty line has more than halved since 2000.

    Yet, whatever strides are taken domestically, Ethiopia exists within a global financial order that puts the US dollar–the world’s only reserve currency–at its apex.

    Supply of these dollars is determined solely by the US Federal Reserve, which has a mandate solely to protect US economic interests.

    And while printing trillions of dollars to stimulate demand seems to be helping America–in the short-term, at least–the practice is having a devastating impact on poorer nations whose currencies are directly or indirectly pegged to USD.

    “The Fed is tasked with solving US monetary problems and not [those of] other countries,” explained a spokesman for Project Mano, an Ethiopian lobby group that wants Addis Ababa to consider whether bitcoin–a decentralized cryptocurrency with a fixed supply–can break the inflationary cycle.

    “It is our problem, because we rely on another country’s monetary policy. They don’t do it out of spite or to hurt us … It’s our own choice to hold dollars.”

    Understanding how ultra-loose monetary policies in the West can hurt developing nations isn’t difficult.

    The not so almighty dollar

    The National Bank of Ethiopia currently holds about $3bn worth of foreign exchange reserves–the vast majority of which is in USD.

    These holdings don’t increase proportionally as the Fed prints more and more money, so their real value–or their purchasing power–is gradually eroded by inflation.

    At the same time, Ethiopia’s government is overseeing the steady devaluation of its own currency, the birr, in an effort to stop the country’s $12bn trade deficit from growing any larger. (Devaluing a currency makes domestically produced goods more affordable on the international stage, thereby driving exports and helping to balance the books.)

    Taken in isolation, each of these trends would be manageable.

    But when the value of a country’s domestic currency and the value of its foreign reserves fall in tandem, there is a real and present danger of economic meltdown. Ethiopia must preserve the value of its USD holdings–or an equivalent reserve currency–in order to shield itself from hyperinflation at home.

    And it’s getting much harder to do that–not just because of the Fed’s endless money-printing, but also the fact that Ethiopian Airlines, one of the country’s main earners of foreign currency, is facing an uncertain future thanks to covid-19.

    With Ethiopia’s GDP rate now growing four times slower than its inflation rate, the country is staring default down the barrel of a gun.

    So, what to do about it?

    It could simply buy more dollars. That’s China’s approach: more than half of its $3.2tr worth of foreign exchange reserves is believed to be USD, which it uses to manipulate the USD/CNY exchange rate and keep exports rolling off the shelves.

    Trouble is, developing nations like Ethiopia can’t afford to stack trillions of dollars.

    That leaves three options: hope that America will stop debasing the world’s reserve currency; find new, reliable sources of USD; or, diversify the state’s holdings beyond dollars–preferably by acquiring an asset with a fixed supply that cannot be manipulated by foreign governments. Enter bitcoin.

    “Adoption of bitcoin or cryptocurrency in general is scary for any government, but … our project mainly aims at exploring solutions to solve forex issues the government might be facing,” Project Mano asserted. “Since everything else they hold grows in supply–including gold–we are suggesting [they find] something that doesn’t grow, as an experiment.”

    Project Mano’s long-term vision encompasses three spheres: mining bitcoin; holding bitcoin; and linking bitcoin to the birr.

    The latter two would, in theory, solve the problem of a depreciating reserve currency–but only if bitcoin fulfills its promise and matures into a globally recognized asset class. That, the lobbyists admit, will be seen as a “gamble” by the government.

    A safer bet is their proposal to mine and monetize bitcoin–particularly given Ethiopia’s unique energy landscape and developmental status.

    A costly green revolution

    The East African country has abundant supplies of renewable energy: 90% of its electricity is already powered by domestic hydroelectric plants, with the remainder largely coming from wind, solar and geothermal sources.

    That’s just a fraction of its future potential. The government hopes to grow renewable generation capacity fivefold to 25,000 megawatts (MW) by 2037, of which 6,500MW will come from one flagship project: the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), situated in the Blue Nile River.

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    NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day: Lake Tana and the Ethiopian Highlands

    NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day for July 12, 2021: Lake Tana and the Ethiopian Highlands. The rugged volcanic terrain creates a temperate climate in a mostly dry place. (Photo: Appears in the Astronaut photography Collection)

    NASA Earth Observatory

    While in orbit over central Sudan, an astronaut on the International Space Station took this photograph featuring Lake Tana and the Ethiopian Highlands. The oblique angle and shadows help emphasize the rugged terrain of the Ethiopian Plateau, while Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia, appears mirror-like due to sunglint. The low-lying, tectonically active East African Rift Valley is bounded by the eastern edge of the Ethiopian Highlands.

    The Semien (or Simien) Mountains tower over the plateau. With a peak rising 4,533 meters (14,926 feet) above sea level, Ras Dashen is the highest point in Ethiopia. Much of the Ethiopian Highlands are part of a large igneous province—a region with a significant accumulation of large lava rocks. The Semien Range was formed due to volcanic activity about 31 million years ago.

    Although the highlands are surrounded by deserts, their elevation results in a temperate climate with ample rainfall. Lake Tana and its tributaries support an important fishing industry, in addition to agriculture in the surrounding wetlands. The lake also feeds the Blue Nile, which runs through northern Ethiopia and southern Sudan and delivers water to many communities. The river flows out of the south side of Lake Tana, through lower canyon areas south of the lake, and then east to ultimately join the White Nile in Sudan.

    Astronaut photograph ISS061-E-113632 was acquired on January 3, 2020, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 50 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 61 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Sara Schmidt, GeoControl Systems, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.

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    Spotlight: Meet Ethio-American Singer, Songwriter, and Producer Marian Mereba

    Marian Mereba is an Ethiopian-American singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer. (Photo: Mereba attends the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California./Getty Images)

    Tuko

    Mereba: nationality, parents, height, songs, record label, album

    Musicians get their inspiration from different things. Some are inspired by nature, the past, struggles and beauty, while others use day-to-day activities. Mereba has taken her music to a whole new level, as she can be described as an artist who thrives in discomfort.

    Marian Mereba is an Ethiopian-American singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer. She is known for her association with Spillage Village, a group formed in Atlanta with artists like Earthgang, J.I.D, and 6lack. Some of her single hits are Late Bloomer, Planet U, and Bet.

    Biography

    Mereba was born on 9th September 1990 in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. She has not any information about her parent’s names. However, her mother is an African-American born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On the other hand, her father is Ethiopian.

    Mereba gained interest in music at the age of 4. After completing her elementary studies, the singer joined Greensboro, North Carolina, for her high school education. She then enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.

    The singer transferred to Liberal Arts Women’s College Spelman in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2009. She sought to fully immerse herself in the legacy of the historically black women’s college. She graduated in 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in English and a Minor in Music.

    Career


    Mereba performs at her Album Listening Party And Performance Celebrating “The Jungle Is The Only Way Out” at Urban Outfitters Space 15 Twenty. (Getty Images)

    Mereba started writing songs while in elementary school. However, she began her professional career after graduating from Spelman. Mereba spent years performing in the Indie music scene in Atlanta. On 14th February 2013, she released her debut project, Room for Leaving, an extended play under her full name, Marian Mereba.

    In 2018, she was signed by Interscope Records, where she released the singles Black Truck and Planet U. These songs, among others, appeared on her debut album, The Jungle is the Only Way Out, released on 27th February 2019. The singer has continued to release more songs and albums as encouraged by her mentee, Stevie Wonder. Here are the highlights of her music career and various releases:

    Read more »

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