Author Archive for Tadias

Chicago Man Raises $11.7K for Michelle Obama Mural He Copied from Ethiopian Art Student Gelila Mesfin

This portrait of Michelle Obama as an Egyptian queen was painted by Gelila Mesfin, an Ethiopian art student in New York. (@thick_east_african_girl/Instagram)

CBC Radio

When Gelila Mesfin first saw that her portrait of Michelle Obama had been made into a mural on Chicago’s south side, she was flattered.

“I thought it was pretty cool. I didn’t know anyone had taken credit for it. I figured someone was just inspired and put it up there,” Mesfin, a New York art student from Ethiopia, told As It Happens host Carol Off. “It was kinda cool to see your art work displayed in such a huge manner.”

The mural of Obama decked out as an Egyptian queen was unveiled Friday two blocks from the former first lady’s childhood home.

It bears a striking resemblance to a digital portrait that Mesfin made and shared on her own Instagram account in October 2016, based on a photograph by the New York Times’ Collier Schorr, whom Mesfin credits in her post.

“I just wanted to portray her as a queen,” Mesfin said. “She was just such a class act and she inspired a lot of black women, black girls, and women in general to be strong, be educated and to stand their ground, and you know, to fight for what they love.”

But her feelings of flattery quickly wore off when she read an article about the mural on the website DNA Info, in which the man who painted it appears to take credit for the concept.

“I wanted to present her as what I think she is, so she’s clothed as an Egyptian queen. I thought that was appropriate,” Chris Devins, a city planner known for his Chicago portrait-style murals, told DNA Info on Friday.

What’s more, she learned Devins had crowdfunded more than $11,700 US to make the mural, and offered up signed prints to donors.

“I realized that, ‘Wait a minute, this person is not giving me credit,’” Mesfin said. “I was very disheartened and I just felt like it was disrespectful.”

So Mesfin went back on Instagram to call Devins out. “How can you just steal someone’s artwork,” she wrote in a post that has since been liked more than 5,000 times.


Portrait of Michelle Obama by Gelila Mesfin. (Instagram)

Read more »


Related:
‘So, What’s Been Going On While I’ve Been Gone?’ Jokes Obama at 1st Public Event as Former President

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Eskinder Nega Named IPI Press Freedom Hero

IPI, which is a global network of journalists, editors and media executives, has named Ethiopia’s Eskinder Nega the 2017 Press Freedom Hero. (Image: IPI)

International Press Institute

Ethiopian journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who has been imprisoned since 2011 after criticising his country’s abuse of anti-terror laws to silence the press, has been named the International Press Institute (IPI)’s 69th World Press Freedom Hero.

IPI also announced today the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee as the recipient of the 2017 Free Media Pioneer Award in recognition of the group’s courageous and trailblazing work to prevent, combat and monitor attacks on journalists in one of the world’s most dangerous media environments.

Both awards, which for the past three years have been given in partnership with Copenhagen-based International Media Support (IMS), will be presented during a special ceremony on May 18 in Hamburg, Germany during IPI’s annual World Congress and General Assembly.

Press Freedom Hero

IPI’s World Press Freedom Hero Award honours journalists who have made significant contributions to the promotion of press freedom, particularly in the face of great personal risk.

Nega has spent over 2,000 days behind bars since his arrest on Sept. 14, 2011, when Ethiopian authorities accused him of “leading a plan to throw the country into serious political chaos through a series of terrorist acts” and linked him to a banned opposition group. His jailing came shortly after Nega, a persistent critic of Ethiopia’s former long-time ruler and then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, published a column questioning the government’s abuse of anti-terror laws to punish journalistic scrutiny.

Nega’s comments were preceded by a wave of detentions under Ethiopia’s broad 2009 anti-terror law, including those of journalists Woubshet Taye and Reeyot Alemu – the 2013 recipient of the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize – as well as Swedish correspondents Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson.

An Ethiopian court convicted Nega in June 2012 of “participation in a terrorist organization” and “planning, preparation, conspiracy, incitement and attempt of (a) terrorist act”. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison the following month, a decision the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention later said violated international law.

IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said the award was a recognition of Nega’s “unflinching dedication to the free exchange of ideas and information and his determination – at the expense of his freedom and separation from his family – not to remain silent in the face of the Ethiopian government’s cynical attempt to use the fight against terrorism to crush legitimate dissent”.

She continued: “This award sends the message that Eskinder Nega’s bravery in relentlessly scrutinising power despite years of intense retaliation has not been forgotten. We renew our call on Ethiopia to free Eskinder and all journalists jailed for doing their jobs or expressing their opinions, and we urge the international community not to ignore Ethiopia’s continued flouting of its international human rights obligations”.

Nega faced frequent official pressure and harassment due to his writing beginning in the early 1990s. In 2005, he and his wife, journalist Serkalem Fasil, were jailed on treason charges for their coverage of a mass government crackdown on popular protests following disputed parliamentary elections won by Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Fasil would later give birth to a son behind bars. Authorities released the couple in April 2007 but shuttered their publishing company and banned Nega from practicing journalism.

Fasil, who now lives in exile in the United States with their son, said of IPI and IMS’ recognition of her husband that it was “absolutely heart-warming to know that all his sacrifices and valuable contribution to press freedom are not wasted in vain, but continue to shine a spotlight [on his plight] on the global stage”.

She added: ”Although, it remains a bittersweet moment for me (knowing where he is now), it is important to uphold such recognition for the tremendous impact it’s having to those who aspire to follow in his footsteps. … I truly hope it also expedites his release from imprisonment and brings an end to his suffering.”

IPI and its members have previously called for Nega’s release, including during a November 2013 joint mission to Ethiopia with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The Ethiopian government on that occasion denied IPI and WAN-IFRA’s requests to visit Nega and other jailed journalists.

The following year, WAN-IFRA honoured Nega with its Golden Pen of Freedom Award. In 2012, he also received the PEN American Center/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award.

In early September 2011, commenting on the arrests of Taye and Alemu, and just days before his own detention, Nega wrote to IPI: “Their arrest has more to do with calculated cultivation of fear. Fear is what dictatorships ultimately rely on to survive.”

Free Media Pioneer

The annual Free Media Pioneer Award was established by IPI in 1996 to recognise news or media organisations that have made innovations that have promoted news access or quality, or benefitted journalists and the media community, thereby ensuring freer and more independent media in their country or region.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora Announces 2017 Honorees

From top: Mahamoud Ahmed, Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro), Ted Alemayehu, Dr. Zaki Sherif, Lemn Sissay, Abba Kefyalew Abera, Dr. Ambachew Woreta and Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw. (Photos courtesy of SEED)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED) marks its 25th anniversary this year with its annual awards dinners ceremony scheduled to take place in Hyattsville, Maryland on May 28th. The line-up of the 2017 honorees include social entrepreneurs, physicians and celebrity artists.

The U.S.-based non-profit organization, which aims to empower the Ethiopian American Diaspora in the areas of “academic excellence, professional development, and community service,” announced that its 25th anniversary award recipients include Ted Alemayehu, Founder and Chairman of U.S Doctors for Africa (USDFA); physicians Dr. Ambachew Woreta and Dr. Zaki Sherif, author and poet Lemn Sissay, as well as the founder of Sewasewe Genet Charity and Development Organization (SGCDO), Abba Kefyalew Abera, and musicians Mahamoud Ahmed and Tewodros Kassahun (Teddy Afro).

In addition SEED said it will posthumously recognize the late Dr. Maigenet Shiferaw, founder of the Ethiopian women for Peace, Democracy and Development (EWPD) and co-founder and President of the Center for The Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), “as a distinguished scholar, author and our venerated teacher; in appreciation of her lifelong dedication and struggle for human rights and women’s rights; in acknowledgement of the rich and positive contributions she has made in the Diaspora Community and legacy she has left behind by exemplifying the highest ideals and standards of our community; in recognition of her inspiring academic excellence and many other positive attributes.”

The 2017 SEED Student Honorees are Kirubel Aklilu, Rackeb D. Mered, Teferi D. Tadesse, Yeabesiera D. Tadesse and Ms. Rahel Boghossian (Harvard Law School, Harvard University, Class of 2017).


If You Go:
25th ANNUAL SEED AWARDS DINNER
Date: May 28, 2017
College Park Marriot Hotel
3501 University Blvd. E.
Hyattsville, MD 20783
​301-985-7300
www.ethioseed.com

Video: Tilahun Gessesse SEED Award Acceptance Speech — May 28, 2000

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Spotlight: NYC Designer Hana Getachew’s Bolé Road Textiles

Hana Getachew, whose family left Addis Ababa when she was three years old, had an inspiring homecoming 18 years later. (Photo by Steve Koepp)

The Bridge

Bolé Road Textiles weaves modern ideas with traditional craftsmanship, to vibrant effect

After more than a decade at a major architectural firm, designer Hana Getachew knew that she wanted to break out on her own. The turning point came in planning her wedding in 2014. “I wanted to have an element of Ethiopian design for my table linens” to reflect the vibrant patterns and colors of her native land. Her family had left Ethiopia when she was a child, but she still felt intensely connected to the culture. Her journey back home to source her table linens became the spark for a new business.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital, Getachew went looking for weavers. “I went to one location where one of my family friends sent me. I showed them my designs. It was kind of hilarious because I didn’t know about weaving, and they said it couldn’t be done. It took me a while to understand,” she said, that their traditional looms had their limitations. But the weavers offered their own version of her design that was even more pleasing, in such colors as pink, red, and fuchsia. The linens were a success. “The napkins were beige, with fuchsia and red diamond-shape patterning all around.”

What started with wedding planning is now Getachew’s own housewares firm, Bolé Road Textiles, based in Brooklyn and named after a bustling thoroughfare near her childhood home in Addis Ababa. Getachew designs the patterns in her home studio, then turns them into textiles for pillows, rugs, curtains, towels, and other products in a running conversation with master artisans in Addis Ababa. She sells about half her merchandise through e-commerce on her website and the rest through retailers, including Home of the Brave in Greenpoint and Collyer’s Mansion in Brooklyn Heights.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Africa’s House of Cards: Ethiopia Enters Its Seventh Month of Emergency Rule

(Getty Images)

The Economist

The old model persists: development now, democracy later

AMBO — THE three-hour bus-ride to Ambo from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, offers a glimpse into the country’s future. The road is well paved; irrigation ditches and polytunnels criss-cross commercial farmland; electricity lines leap over forested hills. The signal granting access to mobile internet is clear and constant. As the bus pulls into Ambo, a trading centre in Oromia, the largest and most populous of Ethiopia’s nine ethnically based regions, the street is bustling.

But there are signs, too, that not all is well. An army truck rolls down the main road. Federal police surround the entrance to the local university. Unemployed young men playing snooker in bar point at a building across the road: it used to be a bank, but it was burnt down. Three years ago 17 local boys were shot dead by security guards as they protested on the doorstep, the young men say.

Ambo has a reputation for dissent. It was on these streets that protests against authoritarian rule started in 2014 before sweeping across the country. They culminated in the declaration of a six-month state of emergency on October 9th last year.

Students from Ambo University led the charge in opposing a since-shelved plan to expand the capital city into surrounding farmland. Oromo identity is especially powerful here: locals speak angrily about being pushed aside by ethnic Tigrayans, who they say dominate the government despite making up less than 6% of the population.

The country’s leading opposition politician, Merera Gudina—who was charged with inciting terrorism in February and was scheduled to appear in the dock on April 24th—comes from this area. When the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) extended the emergency law for another four months (albeit after watering down its most draconian provisions) on March 30th, it was because of places like Ambo. Hundreds of its citizens have been arrested and subjected to months of “re-education” in military camps. Although stability has more or less returned to Ethiopia there are still young men across Oromia and Amhara, the second-largest region, who talk of protesting once more when the state of emergency is eventually lifted.

Not everyone feels this way. There may have been plenty of raised eyebrows when the prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, told Parliament on March 15th that 82% of Ethiopians wanted the state of emergency extended.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

‘So, What’s Been Going On?’ Jokes Obama at 1st Public Event as Former President

In his first public event since leaving the White House former President Barack Obama held a conversation with young leaders at the University of Chicago on Monday, April 24th, 2017. (Photo: CNN video)

The Hill

Former President Barack Obama on Monday kicked off his first public appearance since leaving office by jokingly asking if he’s missed anything important.

“So uh, what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?” Obama asked with a smile.

“It is wonderful to be home, it is wonderful to be at the University of Chicago, it is wonderful to be on the South Side of Chicago and it is wonderful to be with these young people here.”

Obama has kept a low profile since leaving office earlier this year. His appearance Monday comes as President Trump approaches his 100th day in office.

On Sunday, the former president met with at-risk youth in Chicago ahead of his first post-presidency speech.

He joined a group of young men and boys for a discussion sponsored by the Cred program in the same South Side Chicago neighborhood where he started as a community organizer.

Obama “listened to the young men’s stories and shared some of the challenges that he faced growing up,” spokesman Kevin Lewis said in a release.

“He expressed that he was optimistic about their potential to positively contribute to their communities and support their families because of the services provided in the program.”

Watch: Obama ‘What’s been going on while I’ve been gone’


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Meklit to Release New Album ‘When The People Move, The Music Moves Too’

Meklit Hadero. (Photo: @meklitmusic/Twitter) )

Broadway Music world

Ethiopian-American artist Meklit will release her new album When the People Move, the Music Moves Too on June 23rd with Six Degrees Records. The record was produced by Dan Wilson, whose previous work with artists including Adele, Taylor Swift and John Legend – as well as fronting the band Semisonic – has earned multiple Grammy awards. The album also includes Andrew Bird on violin and whistling, as well as New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band horns. A vibrant and inspired mix of Ethio-Jazz roots along with American pop, R&B and folk influences, Meklit’s upcoming record crosses both musical and generational borders to create a unified artistic vision, united behind her unique and unmistakable voice.

When the People Move, the Music Moves Too is the result of a fateful encounter Meklit experienced in Addis Ababa with the legendary vibraphonist/composer Mulatu Astatke, who helped spark Ethiopia’s 1960s musical renaissance. She was deeply engaged with his music at the time, but he pushed her to think about how to bring her own experiences into her songs. “He was very pointed with me, saying several times ‘You keep innovating!’” she recalls. “He took me to task and he tasked me. It took me a while to digest that. It’s a big thing to have someone like that say that to you. I sat with it for a couple of years.”

Meklit has embodied multiplicity since she first started performing at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House in the mid-2000′s. Born in Ethiopia, she moved with her family to Iowa at the age of two, and spent much of her adolescence in Brooklyn, soaking up the sounds of hip hop on the street. After studying political science at Yale she spent several years in Seattle before moving to San Francisco, looking to immerse herself in the city’s thriving arts scene.

“I’m always thinking about America and Ethiopia, about how the hybridization is going to work in both places,” she observes. The lapidary orchestrations on her new record were created by Meklit herself, with the help of her bassist Sam Bevan. But Meklit is quick to credit Dan Wilson’s lithe musical mind with a major role in shaping the ultimate sound of the record, in addition to his contribution of co-writing two songs. A prolific songwriter, arranger and producer, Wilson seemed to know exactly which player to place where to accentuate Meklit’s sound. He brought in Ethio-Cali’s tenor saxophonist Randall Fisher, who plays a perfectly calibrated Ethio-jazz intro on “You Got Me.” And Ethiopian-born, LA-based keyboardist Kibrome Birhane’s spare piano work levitates “Yesterday is a Tizita.” Meklit describes how Wilson’s songwriting precision, and razor sharp, generous feedback helped to weave a remarkable clarity into the music, enhancing Meklit’s already vivid hues.

Read more


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Family Seeks Answers in Police Shooting of Young Ethiopian Engineer in LA

Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu, who was shot and killed by police in LA last week, came to the US 8-years-ago on a scholarship to University of Idaho, and worked as an engineer for the California Public Utilities Commission.

OkayAfrica

Last Wednesday, 28-year-old Ethiopian engineer, Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu was shot and killed by police in Los Angeles, California.

The details of his death are conveniently murky. According to the LAPD, officers were responding to a burglary when they found Ewnetu sitting in his car. Officers approached him after smelling marijuana coming from his vehicle. He reportedly refused to exit his car when asked. Authorities say that when they tried to remove him from the car, Ewnetu brandished a gun and aimed it at the officers.

The deputies then fired at Ewentu, shooting him in the torso and killing him on-site.

A statement from the victim’s family, says that the initial account of the incident varied from what’s been reported by authorities. Following the shooting, the detective on the case, mentioned that they gun was found in the back seat, says the press statement. A photo of the vehicle, published in the LA Times, shows what appears to be two bullet holes in the back windshield.

Cases like this are, sadly, all too familiar and the varying accounts of what took place, certainly raise suspicion. Ewentu’s family is currently seeking answer and have started a Gofundme to help with funeral and attorney costs.

Ewnetu came to the United States eight years ago on a scholarship to the University of Idaho, and worked as an engineer for the California Public Utilities Commission.


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Unrest Killed 669: Report

(Photo: Reuters)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA — A total of 669 people were killed in unrest that gripped Ethiopia for several months until authorities imposed a state of emergency last October, according to an investigation report presented to parliament on Tuesday.

The Horn of Africa country declared six months of emergency rule after more than a year of violent protests in its Oromiya, Amhara and SNNP regions. Demonstrators in the three areas say the government has trampled on their political rights.

Ethiopia has faced criticism from abroad as well as at home over its authoritarian approach to economic development, though the government has also presided over stellar rates of growth.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission – a body mandated by parliament to investigate the violence – presented its findings on Tuesday and acknowledged that security forces had taken disproportionate measures in some areas.

The report said 462 protesters and 33 security personnel had been killed in the unrest that engulfed 91 towns in the Oromiya region alone. The protesters opposed having their land incorporated into the boundaries of the capital Addis Ababa.

Commission head Addisu Gebregziabher told parliament that security forces had been “negligent” when firing teargas at protesters during a religious festival, triggering a stampede that killed scores.

In the Amhara region, 110 demonstrators and 30 security officials were killed in clashes sparked by the arrest of activists campaigning over disputed territory, the report said.

Tensions there have simmered for around 25 years over the status of Wolkayt district, which the protesters say was illegally incorporated into the neighboring Tigray region to the north.

That dispute is particularly sensitive because it runs counter to a division of Ethiopia along ethnic and linguistic lines, imposed by the core of the current ruling EPRDF coalition when it came to power in 1991.

The report said another 34 people died in the SNNP region which lies to the south of Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is an important Western ally against Islamist militants in neighboring Somalia as well as an increasingly important economic player in a fragile region.

In October Ethiopia accused “elements” in neighboring Eritrea, in Egypt and elsewhere of being behind the wave of disturbances. It has since extended the nationwide state of emergency by four months.


Related:
Ethiopia rejects UN investigation over protest deaths (BBC)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia’s 93-year-old Singing Nun

She sang for Haile Selassie then retreated from the world, living barefoot in a hilltop monastery, perfecting her bluesy, freewheeling sound. (Photograph: Gali Tibbon)

The Guardian

The Extraordinary Life of Ethiopia’s 93-year-old Singing Nun

I’m no great singer, but Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou only really trusted me after I had sung to her. “Something from your country,” she instructed. So I found myself in the tiny bedroom of this 93-year-old Ethiopian composer-pianist-nun, croaking my way through the verses of a Robert Burns song.

Given she does not agree to most interviews, I felt I should do what I was told. The room, at the Ethiopian Orthodox church in Jerusalem, was cramped and sweltering. In it was a small bed, an upright piano draped in Ethiopian flags, stacks of reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, and a jumble of handwritten manuscripts. On the walls were portraits of Emperor Haile Selassie – Emahoy knew him in the 1930s – and her own paintings of religious icons. The door was propped open and, from the courtyard, came smells of food and the sound of monks chanting.

Emahoy is fluent in seven languages, but when I finished the Burns song (Ae Fond Kiss) she admitted the old Scots lyrics had been tricky to decipher. I gave her a potted translation – lovers meet, lovers part, lovers feel brokenhearted – and she gripped my arm and fixed me with one of her deep stares. “We can’t always choose what life brings,” she said. “But we can choose how to respond.”

If anyone is qualified to dish out such wisdom, it’s a woman whose choices were determined by religious self-exile, maverick gender struggles and Ethiopia’s dramatic 20th-century political history – and who became a singular artist in the process.

Most people familiar with Emahoy’s music come across it via her solo piano album released in 2006, as part of the Éthiopiques collection. That series put her poised, bluesy, freewheeling waltzes together with the Ethio-jazz that emerged out of Addis Ababa in the 1960s – and although she smiles fondly at the mention of fellow Éthiopiques musicians such as Mulatu Astatke and Alemayehu Eshete, she insists she’s not a jazz artist. Her training is purely western classical; her inspiration comes from the ancient modal chants of the Orthodox church. It’s a unique fusion and it sounds like nothing else.

Read more »


Related:
TADIAS Interview With Hanna M. Kebbede, CEO of Emahoy Music Foundation
From Jerusalem with Love: The Ethiopian Nun Pianist

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Watch: Ethiopian Food Truck Helps Adopted Ethiopian-Americans to Give Back

Pay it Forward Ethiopia food truck in Green Bay, Wisconsin is run by adopted Ethiopian-Americans. (WBAY)

WBAY

GREEN BAY, Wis. – A food truck that makes stops around the Green Bay area is on a mission to help kids in Ethiopia.

A dad, his kids, and some friends pair Ethiopian slow cooking and exotic spices with familiar American dishes for a Taste of Ethiopia. The food has rave reviews on Facebook.

Tesfaye Joyce lived in Ethiopia most of his life. While in an orphanage, he met some people involved in the project called Pay It Forward Ethiopia.

“My hope for this to collect, especially Ethiopian Americans that came in through adoption, to be able to come together and pretty much give back the help the people back home, they need,” Joyce says.

Joyce say he’s grateful for his life in Wisconsin.

“We’re here because someone helped us, and we want to give back,” Joyce says.

Tesfaye, his brother, and his sister live with their adoptive father, Pat Joyce.

“As they are growing up, they’re–we’re realizing how important it is to keep their cultural connection, so they’re starting to go back to Ethiopia, and rekindle some of the long-lost relationships they’ve had,” says Pat Joyce.

Read more »

Watch: Taste of Ethiopia Food Truck funding mission to help kids


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Instead of a Wall, an Open Door: Why Ethiopia Welcomes an Enemy’s Refugees

Cultural similarities have helped Ethiopia absorb more than 160,000 refugees from Eritrea, despite a still-bitter border dispute. But it's also a strategy at a time when other countries are doing the opposite. (CSM)

CS Monitor

BADME, ALONG THE ERITREAN-ETHIOPIAN BORDER —When Yordanos and her two young children slipped safely across the Mereb riverbed between Eritrea and Ethiopia late one recent night, they thought the worst of their journey into exile was over. The smuggler had done his job, and they were safely over the border.

Then they heard the hyenas.

Yordanos and her children began to yell for help, their panicked calls fading into the solid darkness. Suddenly, she saw a group of Ethiopian soldiers coming towards them. The men comforted the young families, and then escorted them to the nearby town of Badme. “They were like brothers to us,” says Yordanos, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of reprisals from the Eritrean government against her relatives at home.

In some regards, Ethiopia – and in particular this sliver of Ethiopia’s arid north – is the last place you might expect an Eritrean refugee like Yordanos to receive a warm welcome. In 1998, after all, an Eritrean invasion of this sleepy border town touched off a two-year war between the two countries that cost tens of thousands of lives and more than $4.5 billion, along with destroying most of the then-flourishing network of trade between the two countries. And before that conflict, Eritreans fought a 30-year civil war for independence from Ethiopia, which ended only in 1991.

Even today, the ashes of those conflicts still smolder. The internationally-brokered peace settlement ending the 1998-2000 war decreed that Ethiopia should give this region of the country back to Eritrea, which claims it as historical land. But Ethiopia never did, and border clashes between the two countries’ militaries continue into the present.

Still, Yordanos’ story is not uncommon. Fleeing enforced, indefinite military service, illegal imprisonment, and torture, about 165,000 Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers currently live in Ethiopia, according to the United Nations. Upon arrival and registration, they are automatically granted refugee status, and the country continues to welcome more. In February of this year alone, 3,367 new Eritrean refugees arrived in the country, according to Ethiopia’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Buzunesh Deba Inherits 2014 Boston Win, But Not the Prize

Buzunesh Deba during a Boston Marathon media availability Friday, April 14, 2017. (AP Photo)

AP

BOSTON – Buzunesh Deba will leave the Boston Marathon with one champion’s medal this week.
She would like to make it two.

The 29-year-old Ethiopian inherited the 2014 title this December when Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo was stripped of her victory for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Jeptoo joins Rosie Ruiz, who was caught cutting the course in 1980, as the only people to be disqualified from the Boston Marathon after breaking the tape on Boylston Street.

“She took my chance,” Deba said this week after returning to Boston, where she has also finished third and seventh. “I lost so many things.”

When Ruiz took a shortcut to the finish line, she deprived Jacqueline Gareau of the thrill of breaking the tape , being crowned with the traditional olive wreath and hearing the Canadian national anthem waft over Copley Square. Race officials, who were immediately skeptical of the unknown and unseen Ruiz, made it up to Gareau with a substitute victory ceremony and even had her cross the finish line again – this time in street clothes.

But Gareau’s victory was in the race’s amateur era, so there was no cash to recover.

Jeptoo, whose 2006 and 2013 victories remain unchallenged, claimed $150,000 for the victory and an additional $25,000 for setting a course record. Both legally belong to Deba, whose time of 2 hours, 19 minutes, 59 seconds remains the fastest in Boston Marathon history, but the Boston Athletic Association would have to claw it back from Jeptoo.

“We are trying,” CEO Tom Grilk said.

In the year after the finish line explosions that killed three people and wounded hundreds more, Jeptoo herself was already an afterthought, coming in just minutes before Meb Keflezighi claimed the first American victory in the men’s race since 1983 . As “The Star-Spangled Banner” played over Boylston Street, Jeptoo’s third win – even in a course-record time – drew less attention than normal.

But for Deba, it was costly. All the after-the-fact ceremonies, medals and even the prize money – if she ever gets it – wouldn’t make up for the opportunities lost when she wasn’t able to capitalize on being a returning champion.

“When you are the champion, the next year, the appearance fees, the contracts, everything” is more lucrative, the two-time New York City Marathon runner-up said this week. “My happiness is that day. But she took it from me.”

Deba’s husband and coach, Worku Beyi, said they are talking to B.A.A. officials about the prize money, “but it is not 100 percent.” They are hoping Jeptoo will return the money.

“She knows herself she is not champion,” Beyi said.

Deba has a chance to steal back the spotlight on Monday, when she joins a field of more than 30,000 in Hopkinton for the 121st edition of the race. Among them are defending champion Atsede Baysa of Ethiopia; Kenya’s Gladys Cherono, who has the fastest time in the field; and two-time Olympian Desi Linden, who is trying to become the first American woman to win in Boston since 1985.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia’s Lemi Berhanu Hayle Seeks a Boston Marathon Repeat

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia’s Berhanu Hayle Seeks a Boston Marathon Repeat

Berhanu Hayle of Ethiopia pictured during the 2016 Rio Olympics final Men's Marathon in Brazil. (REUTERS)

Reuters

BOSTON — Ethiopian runner Lemi Berhanu Hayle will defend his Boston Marathon title in a wide open race on Monday against a men’s field that includes the first American champion in three decades and no clear favorite.

Berhanu Hayle won last year’s race in two hours 12 minutes 44 seconds after pulling away from twice champion and countryman Lelisa Desisa, who is not competing this year.

The last men’s repeat winner was five-time champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya, who completed a triple in 2008.

An Ethiopian woman, Atsede Baysa, will also be defending her title after winning in 2:29:19.

Berhanu Hayle’s main challengers will include countryman Sisay Lemma, who ran 2:05:16 in Dubai last year, and Kenyans Geoffrey Kirui who ran 2:06:27 in Amsterdam last year and Emmanuel Mutai, who was second in New York and Chicago, and has the field’s fastest personal best of 2:03:13.

The hilly Boston course usually leads to slower times than other major marathons.

“Any move (Berhanu Hayle) makes will be taken seriously by the others,” said Scott Douglas, a contributing editor at Runner’s World. “With no clear standouts this year, Boston will be a very interesting race to watch.”

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Spotlight: Genet Lakew Sets Up Scholarship for Diaspora Students

Meet Genet Lakew, founder of the Mekonnen Family Scholarship for Diaspora students. (Photo: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Genet Lakew knows first hand the value of scholarships when it comes to completing your higher education in the United States. The Ethiopian-American student finished her undergraduate studies at Howard University in Journalism and a master’s degree from New York University focusing on Africana-Studies without incurring any debt. The 27-year-old who now works for the National Urban League as a digital communications professional has launched a personal initiative to establish the Mekonnen Family Scholarship that she says “will benefit college-bound students at Washington-Lee High School (W-L), a public high school in Arlington, Virginia,” her alma mater.

“I’m an Ethiopian American millennial woman passionate about empowering the next generation of changemakers,” Genet says on her online campaign page, explaining the purpose of the funds. “The scholarship is named in honor of the humble, hardworking immigrant family I come from, who poured their hopes and dreams into me. I want the names and memories of the souls who are no longer on earth to live on through this scholarship.”

Genet adds: “My working class Ethiopian immigrant mother emphasized education as a gateway to opportunity and success. But she did not have the economic and social access to help me apply to colleges, visit campuses, pay for application fees, tuition, and housing. And that’s where my community stepped in. The Minority Achievement Coordinator at W-L (Mr. James Sample) sent scholarships my way and I was able to start my freshman year at Howard University with a total of $8,000 in scholarships.”

Genet’s efforts are also attracting national media attention. In a recent interview with Vibe magazine Genet explained what inspired her to set up the scholarship. “I actually had this idea for a few years now. I’ve been out of college for six years this May,” she said. “So I’m kind of going through these milestones; I’m in my late twenties, and I was reflecting on my educational journey.” She added: “But it wasn’t something I really thought I could pursue. I just realized how lucky I am to not have that financial burden. So I kind of felt it was my responsibility to give back in any way that I can. I felt this was a great time to offer something that shows support to immigrant students, and their families — to let them know not only do you belong in this country, but there is support out there for you to make sure that you have a good quality of life.”

Click here to learn more and support the Mekonnen Family Scholarship »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Curated by Henone Girma Art in FLUX Harlem Exhibition Opens April 19th

Liberty on Ice, Ben Ponté, Oil and mixed media on paper, 2015, 25” x 30”. (Courtesy of Art in FLUX Harlem)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 13th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week an Art in FLUX exhibition, curated by Henone Girma, will open at ALOFT Harlem as part of the New York organization’s mentoring initiative. The exhibition entitled Woe-nderland features five NYC-based artists including emerging Ethiopian American artist Tariku Shiferaw whose work we highlighted here last year. Additional participants include Belinda James, Ben Ponté, Elan Ferguson and JaSon Auguste. Tariku’s work is currently part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial.

The show, which opens on Wednesday, April 19th, “presents works that evoke a collective feeling of world-weariness that saturates the current climate and paints an honest picture of lamentation apt for recent events,” states Art in FLUX.

According to the press release “the title Woe-nderland takes as its point of departure the 1996 single ‘If I Ruled the World’ by recording artist Nas that begins with “Life, I wonder, will it take me under, I don’t know” – a simultaneous testimony to the ills of society and contemplation of its potentials.”

The press release adds: The exhibition offers a rather satirical lens through which we may reimagine our current social construct – this perhaps creating a timely opportunity for relating and purging.

About the Curator:

Henone Girma has been a gallery assistant at Art in FLUX since September 2016. She also works as a Research Associate for the Arts of Global Africa department at Newark Museum in New Jersey. She is a recent graduate from New York University with an MA in Visual Arts Administration. Henone wrote her final thesis on contemporary Ethiopian art as it relates to the art market. She hopes Woe-nderland will be the first of many exhibitions she will have the opportunity to curate as she continues her career as an arts advocate and professional.


If You Go:
Exhibition: Woe-nderland
Artists: Tariku Shiferaw, Belinda James, Ben Ponté, Elan Ferguson, and JaSon Auguste
Opening: Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
Dates: April 19 through August 31, 2017
Location: Aloft Harlem, 2296 Frederick Douglass Blvd. between 123 and 124th Streets, NYC
Hours: Daily 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Info: www.artinfluxharlem.com

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

He Took Beyoncé’s Pregnancy Photos, Now Awol Erizku Takes on Trump Era

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Awol Erizku grew up in the South Bronx, New York. (The New York Times)

The New York Times

Beyoncé’s Pregnancy Photographer Is Opening an ‘Anti-Trump’ Art Show

LOS ANGELES — By one measure of success, the 28-year-old artist Awol Erizku has possibly already peaked. In February he was revealed to be the photographer behind Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement, which quickly became the most popular Instagram post ever with over 10 million likes.

The image shows her kneeling in front of a floral wreath so large it looks like a throne.

But Mr. Erizku, who landed his first New York gallery show before he earned his M.F.A. from Yale, said that sort of record-breaking is not the attention he craves.

“It would have meant so much more if I had gotten recognition from the Whitney this year,” he said, speaking of the Whitney Biennial — “this thing that every great artist I admire has had.”

This is just one sign of how thoroughly the artist operates within the traditional biennial-obsessed art world, even as he manages through social media and other platforms to reach a much broader public. He D.J.s here and there and makes mixtapes to play during gallery shows to “make my peers feel welcome.” At his Los Angeles studio recently, Mr. Erizku showed his new artwork while listening to Jim James, Future and Kodak Black.

That new work is heading to Europe for his first gallery exhibitions there: His defiantly anti-Trump show “Make America Great Again,” at Ben Brown Fine Arts in London, opens on April 20, and his more playful “Purple Reign,” at Stems in Brussels, opens a day later…

You can also see a Trump-era development: the image of a black panther, which he has lifted straight from the logo of the Black Panther Party, now roams throughout his work, climbing an American flag or clawing a bed of roses. It also appears atop the slogan “Make America Great Again” on a red baseball cap that the artist is selling “to have something affordable in the show.”


Works for Awol Erizku’s coming exhibitions in his studio. (The New York Times)

As for the use of the panther image, “I don’t want to take something so powerful and cheapen it by using it too much, like wallpaper. I want to give it more power,” said Mr. Erizku, who speaks rapidly, enthusiastically. “I’m putting it out there because I’m black and I’m Muslim and this is everything Trump has tried to stand against.”

“I don’t think this show is anti-American, but it is definitely anti-Trump,” he added. “All the people he’s hating on do make America great.”

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:
Shaken & Stirred by Beauty: Review of Awol Erizku’s New Flower (Addis Ababa) Exhibit (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Zekarias Mesfin’s New Film Tells His Refugee Journey From Ethiopia to Canada

Zekarias Mesfin's biographical documentary "Ewir Amora Kelabi" will premieres at the 2017 African Film Festival in New York City next month. (Photo: Metro News Canada)

Metro News

Like many new immigrants, Zekarias Mesfin came to Canada with hope for a better life.

But the road to get here was long, and included violence, hunger, but hope too, he said. So this year he travelled back to his native Ethiopia, where he partnered with a film company to create Ewir Amora Kelabi, a new film getting some high profile attention.

Mesfin wrote, produced and stared the film, which premieres next month at the African Film Festival in New York City.

Mesfin’s story of resilience is not that uncommon among fellow refugees—he left Ethopia as an orphaned 14 year-old boy, he said, and crossed the Sahara Desert to Sudan on foot. He eventually made it to Egypt, where he said spent two years in prison for illegal border crossing.

Finally, he made it to Canada nearly a decade ago, arriving in Vancouver first become moving to Edmonton.

But what is unique is Mesfin’s determination to archive his journey, along with the struggle for survival faced by thousands of fellow African migrants.

“My dream has come true, and now the cup is overflowing,” said 32-year-old Mesfin, now married with two young sons, Christian, 2, and Yeab, four months, and working at a barber shop on 118 Ave.

The entire family will attend the prestigious U.S. festival, “with hotel, limousine, meals—it’s unbelievable,” he said.

“I made this film because it’s important for the new generation of Africans to know what is happening, and for my children and the world to know too.

Read more at Metronews.ca »


Related
Watch: Ethiopian Canadian Movie Ewir Amora Kelabi Trailer
Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopia Short Film ‘Hairat’ and 2 New Releases

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Spotlight on Ethiopia’s Jano Band

The Jano band -- a rare rock band in Ethiopia -- has been playing locally and touring in Europe for the past five years. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

Ethiopian band wins fans by melding rock with African sounds

At a hotel in Addis Ababa well-known for hosting jazz greats, thousands of fans lined up on a Saturday night to headbang along with what is still a rarity in Ethiopia’s diverse music scene — a rock band.

Jano, named after a popular item of traditional clothing, has made a name for itself in Africa’s second most populous country, as well as abroad, by blending local styles of music with Western rock and roll.

“We’re trying to make something very, very different,” said Hailu Amerga, one of four vocalists in the eight-piece, mixed ensemble, that also features a drummer, keyboard player, guitarist and bassist.

Read more »


Related:
Watch: JANO Band performing at Howard Theatre in DC on July 4th, 2013 (TADIAS Interview)

Watch: The Ethiopian Rock Band Jano – Interview with Producer Bill Laswell (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Hero Gen. Jagama Kello Who Fought Fascism Dies at 96

Jagama Kello, middle, left home at just 15 to fight Italian invaders. (Photo via BBC News)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) – General Jagama Kello, who passed away this week at the age of 96, was among the Ethiopian heroes whose unimaginable bravery and resistance helped to defeat the second Italian invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

His daughter Yetmwork Jagema Kello made the announcement on Facebook Friday noting that her father will be laid to rest at the Kidist Selassie Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo cathedral in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Jagama Kello’s remarkable story, which has been shared by various Ethiopian media outlets as well as through national literary works, was also featured in the 2009 BBC documentary entitled Africa’s Forgotten Soldiers highlighting “firsthand account of African troops including the Ethiopian guerrilla forces, known as the Patriots (Arbegnoch).”

“Jagama Kello, was at that time no more than a young man. He was the son of a wealthy landlord, who owned 900 acres of farms with his uncle, in [Ginchi], not far from Addis Ababa,” writes Journalist Martin Plaut who worked on the documentary. “Jagama had heard tales of his brave ancestors as a boy and hoped to emulate them. When the Italian invasion took place Jagama saw his chance. With his elder brother and uncle, he took to the bush, determined to resist. At first he had no gun – only his elder brother had one. But they ambushed Italian troops and gradually armed themselves. Peasants joined the struggle and by the end of the war they had over 3,000 fighters under their command.”

Jagama remembers the battle at Seyoum Mariam in the outskirts of Addis Ababa as the biggest of his many deadly encounters with Mussolini’s ‘blackshirts,’ as they were called. Jagama told Plaut “they were told by a woman fighter where to find the Italians and in a surprise attack broke through their lines. They killed 72 Italians in the engagement, capturing some 3,000 rifles.”


Jagama Kello as a Colonel (left) and Jagama and his brother. (Martinplaut.files.wordpress)


General Jagama Kello. (Photo: Facebook)

According to Plaut: “On 5th May 1941, after years in exile in Britain, the Emperor Haile Selassie returned to his capital. Jagama, who had received no British help during the 5 years of the war, refused to go to Addis Ababa for the ceremony. In the end the Emperor came to [Ginchi]. Jagama says he put his 3,500 troops on parade, to greet Haile Selassie. He was then driven in the Emperor’s own car to his palace, where he was awarded a gabardine coat and a gold watch. But the war was not yet over. Jimma was still under Italian control. The Emperor asked Jagama for help and he says he led his forces into battle. Reports suggest the area was ‘swarming with Patriots’ – many of whom may have been loyal to Jagama. He told the BBC that his forces captured some 500 Italian soldiers, whom he handed over to the British.”


Related:
Book Review: ‘Prevail’: Personal Stories From Mussolini’s Invasion of Ethiopia

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

George W. Bush: PEPFAR Saves Millions of Lives in Africa. Keep it Fully Funded.

Former president George W. Bush greets children at a school in Gaborone, Botswana. (Reuters)

The Washington Post

By George W. Bush

George W. Bush served as 43rd president of the United States and founded the George W. Bush Institute in Dallas.

Last week in Gaborone, Botswana, Laura and I sat in a small room in Tlokweng Main Clinic, a facility that recently started screening and treating women for cervical cancer. Seated with us was Leithailwe Wale, a 40-year-old woman who was diagnosed with the disease. Thanks to early detection and access to treatment, she told us, today she is alive, healthy and able to raise her son.

Good news like Leithailwe’s is becoming increasingly common in five African countries where Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon is operating. Since leaving the White House, Laura and I have been heartbroken to learn that because women with HIV are more likely to have cervical cancer, people who had been saved from AIDS were needlessly dying from another treatable, preventable disease. So at the Bush Institute, we formed this global public-private partnership to fight women’s cancers.

In the past six years, more than 370,000 women have been screened for cervical cancer and 24,000 for breast cancer through Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon. More than 119,000 girls have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical and other cancers. Nearly 1,000 health workers have been trained. With the proper resources and international commitment, we could end cervical cancer deaths on the continent in 30 years.

Critical to this effort is our Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partner, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). My administration launched PEPFAR in 2003 to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatened to wipe out an entire generation on the continent of Africa…As the executive and legislative branches review the federal budget, they will have vigorous debates about how best to spend taxpayers’ money — and they should. Some will argue that we have enough problems at home and shouldn’t spend money overseas. I argue that we shouldn’t spend money on programs that don’t work, whether at home or abroad. But they should fully fund programs that have proven to be efficient, effective and results-oriented. Saving nearly 12 million lives is proof that PEPFAR works, and I urge our government to fully fund it. We are on the verge of an AIDS-free generation, but the people of Africa still need our help. The American people deserve credit for this tremendous success and should keep going until the job is done.

Read the full article at The Washington Post »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Do the Right Thing, Drop All Prosecution of Zone 9 Bloggers (CPJ)

(Photo: Zoneniners.com)

CPJ

Court says two Zone 9 bloggers should face incitement charges

New York — Ethiopia’s Supreme Court today ruled that two bloggers from the Zone 9 collective, previously acquitted of terrorism charges, should be tried instead on charges of inciting violence through their writing. If convicted of the charge, Atnaf Berhane and Natnail Feleke would face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, according to the Addis Standard newspaper.

The court upheld the lower court’s acquittal of two other Zone 9 bloggers, Soleyana S Gebremichael and Abel Wabella. Today’s actions by the Supreme Court were a response to prosecutors’ appeal of the October 2015 acquittal of all four.

“We urge Ethiopian authorities to do the right thing and drop any further prosecution of Atnaf Behane and Natnail Feleke on charges relating to their work,” said Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “Today’s acquittal of two Zone 9 bloggers is a positive step, but there can be no celebration until this exhibition of legal harassment ends once and for all.”

Ethiopia ranked fourth on CPJ’s 2015 list of the 10 Most Censored Countries and is the fifth worst jailer of journalists worldwide, according to CPJ’s 2016 prison census. CPJ awarded Zone 9 an International Press Freedom Award in 2015.

For more data and analysis on Ethiopia, visit CPJ’s Ethiopia page.


Related:
Zone 9 Bloggers Honored with International Press Freedom Awards

Audio: Interview With Zone 9 Bloggers Soleyana S. Gebremichael & Endalk Chala

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago Marks 33 Years of Service

(Photo: Courtesy of the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago - ECAC)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 5th, 2017

Chicago (TADIAS) — The Chicago area is home to one of the earliest Ethiopian immigrant communities in North America. And so is the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), which marks its 33rd anniversary next month, as one of the oldest Ethiopian American organizations in the country “serving as a cultural anchor of the Chicago-area Ethiopian community” for more than three decades.

The non-profit was established after “the tragedy of a car accident in 1984 which took the life of an Ethiopian immigrant in Chicago,” which “sparked ECAC’s founding members to establish the association.”


(Photo: Courtesy of ECAC)

Since 1984 ECAC has also served as an “open door for refugee populations” including from Asia, Middle East, and Eastern European nations “seeking its services in areas of advocacy, education, employment, healthcare, and community outreach.” Today ECAC is also home to the only Ethiopian museum in North America “with more than two thousand Ethiopian artifacts in its collection – made possible by the generous donation of the late musician, composer, choreographer, conductor and cultural expert, Tesfaye Lemma. This one-of-a-kind collection has not only impressed but educated hundreds of visitors on Ethiopian culture, history, and tradition.”

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago will host its 33rd Anniversary Benefit Dinner on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at ECAC’s Community Center (1730 E Greenleaf Ave). Organizers share that the festivities will feature guest speakers, live entertainment and an Ethiopian dinner.


If You Go:

More info at www.ecachicago.org

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Is it Worth the Money? The Economist Looks at Ethiopia’s Space Program

Reaching for the sky: Why Ethiopia is building a space program and why critics think it an odd use of scarce resources. (Getty Images)

The Economist

THE ancient holy town of Lalibela, perched some 2,500 metres above sea-level in Ethiopia’s northern highlands, boasts some of the clearest night skies imaginable. Ethiopian stargazers dream that the mountains around Lalibela may one day host a world-class observatory to rival the big ones in Chile and Hawaii. And in time Ethiopia hopes to do more than just gaze at the stars. It would like to launch its own satellites, too.

In January the government said it would launch a Chinese-built civilian satellite from an overseas rocket pad within the next five years. It would be designed to Ethiopian specifications and used to monitor crops and the weather, and doubtless to spy on neighbours, too. The government also wants to reduce reliance on foreign telecoms by launching its own communications satellite.

In putting its own satellites into orbit Ethiopia would join the select club of African nations that have already done so. Nigeria has paid for the launch of five since 2003, some of which it says have helped fight terrorism. South Africa has also put several home-built satellites into space. Egypt launched two earth-observation ones, both of which have since failed; a private company, Nilesat, successfully operates communications ones. Kenya, Angola and Ghana are eager to join them.

Being able to beam communications or take photos from space offers some economic benefits. Ethiopia’s government hopes that mapping the country to help resolve land disputes, for instance, could boost agricultural productivity. And it could help with planning cities better. Investment in space science might also help speed up industrialisation, the government hopes.

Read more at Economist.com »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Attempt to Escape: Sadly Ethiopian Maid’s Horrifying Kuwait Video is Not the First

A female employer and her children are accompanied by their domestic worker, back right, as they walk through The Avenues, an indoor luxury shopping center in Kuwait City. (Magnum Photos)

HRW

Last week, a horrifying video of an Ethiopian domestic worker falling from what media report as the seventh floor of an apartment building in Kuwait went viral. The video appears to have been filmed by the worker’s employer inside the flat with the woman dangling outside the window. The employer tells the woman to come back inside. The panicked woman calls out for her to grab her, but within 12 seconds of the recording starting, the dangling woman loses her grip and falls.

The Kuwaiti daily al-Seyassah reported that the domestic worker is being treated at a hospital for a broken hand, as well as nose and ear bleeding. Al-Seyassah also reported that the authorities arrested her employer, on Wednesday, and charged her for failing to assist her worker. The employer contends she tried to help. Another daily, Kuwait Times, reported on Saturday that members of the Ethiopian embassy visited the worker at the hospital.

This is not the first time a domestic worker – someone hired to clean, cook, and care for a household – attempted a dangerous escape or suicide. The Kuwaiti press often report such stories as “attempted suicides,” as with this recent incident. They don’t usually question whether these were suicide attempts or, rather, attempts to escape. In 2009, Human Rights Watch spoke to eight women who were reported as having “attempted suicide,” but who said they had really fallen from buildings trying to escape abuse or were pushed by their employers. No one has suggested that the employer in this incident was responsible for such abuse.

I have interviewed hundreds of domestic workers in the Gulf region. Many said their employers locked them inside, forced them to work excessive hours, and beat them. Some scrambled down or jumped off buildings to escape.

In 2015, Kuwait took steps to provide migrant domestic workers with labor rights, but it has not reformed the notorious kafala system, under which migrant workers cannot leave or change their employer without the employer’s permission. As a result, while domestic workers now have rights to a weekly day off, daily limits to their working hours, and overtime compensation – they can still be arrested for “absconding” if they escape from their employers, even abusive ones.

Kuwaiti authorities should investigate the working conditions that lead to all such attempted escapes or suicides and refrain from charging employees with “absconding.” No one should have to resort to climbing out of tall buildings to escape their workplace.


Related:
Kuwaiti woman ‘investigated over Ethiopian maid’s window fall’ (BBC)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Rome, Ethiopian Runners Rule Marathon

The 2017 Rome marathon was won by Ethiopia's Shura Kitata Tola on Sunday in record time, while the women's race was also won by his compatriot Rahma Tusa who finished in 2hr 27min 21sec. (Photos: IAAF)

International Association of Athletics Federations

Shura Kitata clocks second-fastest time in Rome while Rahma Tusa retains title

Shura Kitata recorded the second-fastest time ever witnessed at the Acea Rome Marathon while fellow Ethiopian and training partner Rahma Tusa successfully defended her title at the IAAF Silver Label Road Race on Sunday (2).

With rain falling heavily in the Italian capital, the men’s race set off at a quick pace. A quartet of pacemakers led the field through 5km in 14:49, 10km in 29:39 and 15km in 44:47 with the splits suggesting a sub-2:06 finishing time.

Seven men, not including the pacemakers, went through the half-way point in 1:03:25 and it appeared as though they still had a good chance of breaking the course record of 2:07:17 set in 2009 by Benjamin Kiptoo.

But the pace slipped after the last of the pacemakers dropped out at 30km. Four men – Kitata, fellow Ethiopians Werkunesh Seyoum and Solomon Lema, plus Kenya’s Dominic Ruto – were left in the lead pack at that point.

Lema was the next to drop behind while the three other men ran together for another five kilometres and reached 35km in 1:46:03, 2:07:51 pace. Kitata knew that if he was to break the course record, he couldn’t hang around any longer.

The 21-year-old Ethiopian pushed the pace and dropped his two remaining rivals, opening a gap of almost one minute over the course of five kilometres. Kitata saw the course record figures come and go on the clock before he reached the finish line but he still finished strongly to win in 2:07:30, taking more than a minute off the PB he set on his marathon debut in Shanghai in 2015.

“I am very happy with this victory, I was well trained and confident,” said Kitata, who trains alongside world marathon champion Mare Dibaba. “My coach Haji Adilo had told me that I could even run under 2:07, but my manager Hussein Makke told me that it was important to win…The pace was very fast until after the first half, then it is a bit slow,” he added. “At one point I decided to accelerate and it went well. In the end I tried to run as fast as possible to achieve the best time. It was not easy running in the rain.”

Read more at IAAF.org »


Related:

LEADING RESULTS
Men
1 Shura Kitata (ETH) 2:07:30
2 Dominic Ruto (KEN) 2:09:10
3 Benjamin Bitok (KEN) 2:09:16
4 Mathew Kisaat (KEN) 2:09:19
5 Werkunesh Seyoum (ETH) 2:09:27
6 Solomon Lema (ETH) 2:12:18
7 Ahmed Nasef (ITA) 2:16:42
8 Carmine Buccilli (ITA) 2:19:35

Women
1 Rahma Tusa (ETH) 2:27:23
2 Mestawot Tadesse (ETH) 2:31:41
3 Abebe Tekulu (ETH) 2:32:08
4 Beatrice Cherop (KEN) 2:32:21
5 Halima Hussen (ETH) 2:35:01
6 Konjit Tilahun (ETH) 2:35:38
7 Wude Ayalew (ETH) 2:36:04
8 Meskerem Abera (ETH) 2:37:56


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

BBC Radio on Haile Selassie’s Life & Legacy With Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate

BBC interviews political analyst and author Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate about the life and legacy of his great-uncle Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia. (Getty Images)

BBC

Sun 2 Apr 2017

Emperor Haile Selassie was the last in the line of Ethiopia’s ancient monarchy. During his long rule he was revered as an international statesman and reformer, demonised as a dictator, and even worshipped as a God incarnate by the Rastafarians of Jamaica. He was without doubt a controversial figure, but achieved a status in the global arena previously unheard of for an African ruler.

Bridget Kendall discusses Haile Selassie’s life and legacy with Prince Asfa-Wossen Asserate, political analyst and author of ‘King of Kings: The Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia’, who is also the great-nephew of Haile Selassie; Gerard Prunier, Independent Consultant on Eastern and Central African affairs, and former Director of the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Addis-Ababa; and Laura Hammond, an anthropologist specialising in Ethiopia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Read more and listen to the program at BBC.com »


Related:
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie
Interview With Prince Ermias S. Selassie
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Letter on Why US Should Review Its Foreign Aid to Ethiopia

The letter was written by U.S. Representative Mike Coffman of Denver, Colorado on behalf of his Ethiopian American constituents to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. (Photo: Facebook)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: April 2nd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This week in a letter to the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Program, Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, whose district includes the vibrant Denver-area Ethiopian community, urged his colleagues to review the more than $500 million American taxpayers dollars for Fiscal Year 2017 in US aid program to Ethiopia. The letter comes the same week as the Ethiopian government announced the four-month extension of its strict emergency ban.

“I write to you today at the request of many of the Ethiopian-Americans whom I represent in Congress,” Coffman said in the March 30th, 2017 letter addressed to the subcommittee’s Chairman and Ranking member, Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Rep. Nita Lowey of New York. “These constituents have brought to my attention what they view as an ongoing campaign of human rights violations in their homeland of Ethiopia.” The Congressman continued: “They are convinced that these serious human rights violations are the result of an organized and concerted effort perpetrated by the Ethiopian government.”

The letter, which was shared with us by members of the Ethiopian American community, goes on to highlight the arrest and detention of journalists, students, activists and political leaders. Congressman Coffman noted that currently the amount of money that the United States gives to Ethiopia annually totals $514 million most of it allocated for “economic development, humanitarian assistance, health, education and social services.” Congressman Coffman pointed out: “While the goal of this aid is noble, numerous constituents and experts on the Sub-Saharan region tell me that this assistance may not be reaching those in Ethiopia who needed most, and maybe providing support and legitimacy to this regime”

“In light of these abuses and the United States’ stated strategy of strengthening democratic institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa, I believe it is important for you to review the current aid program to Ethiopia to ensure that the aid provided is not subsidizing a government apparently committed to the systematic abuse of its own citizens and reduction of the democratic space within its borders,” the letter said. “I respectfully request that the subcommittee include language ensuring the suspension of appropriations FY2018 foreign assistance for Ethiopia pending its government’s implementation of real, concrete and measurable humanitarian reforms as outlined in H.Res. 128.” Rep. Coffman added: I believe that doing so will communicate to the Ethiopian government how seriously the United States views these human rights violations.”

Click here to read the letter »


Related:
Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopia Short Film ‘Hairat’ and 2 New Releases

Directed by Jessica Beshir the film 'Hairat" documents one man's nightly ritual in Harar. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — In her short film Hairat, Jessica Beshir goes back to Ethiopia to the city of her childhood “to tell the story of one man’s extraordinary ritual that unfolds nightly in the outskirts of the walled city of Harar.”

Hairat, which was screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival this past January, will make its NYC premiere at the Lincoln Center as part of this year’s New York African Film Festival in May. The film was also shown this month at the Dallas International film Festival in Texas and the Rincon International film Festival in Puerto Rico. Hairat will premiere at the upcoming Arizona International Film Festival and the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, France later this month.

“An Imam in Harar spoke to me about the meaning of Hairat at length, but in short it means, ‘You are where you need to be,’” Jessica says.

Trailer | HAIRAT from Jessica Beshir on Vimeo.

In addition to Hairat Jessica also has two additional short films, Heroin and He Who Dances on Wood , premiering at various festivals across the U.S.

In Heroin, which make its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 20th & 21st, Jessica grapples with the question of free will as she “explores the creative process, inspiration and alternative reality of an artist.”

The short film He Who Dances on Wood highlights tap dancer Fred Nelson. BRIC TV describes it as “one man’s search for joy..culminated in a constant experience of rhythm in the world around him. Something so simple, yet beautiful, found its way into Fred’s life in the form of dancing on an old piece of wood.” He Who Dances on Wood will make its NY premiere at BAM’s New Voices in Black Cinema series on April 30th, and its international premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto taking place in early May.

Watch: ‘He Who Dances on Woods’ — A short film by Jessica Beshir trailer

He Who Dances on Wood (TRAILER) from BRIC TV on Vimeo.


Related:
Ethiopia: Director Jessica Beshir’s ‘Hairat’ Selected for Sundance Film Festival 2017

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Tribute Concert and Photo Exhibition Honors Getatchew Mekuria

Getatchew Mekuria. (Photo: The Ex Band)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 30th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — It was almost a year ago that the legendary Ethiopian jazz saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria passed away at the age of 81 leaving behind a jewel of more than six decades of musical legacy.

The memories of Getatchew Mekuria’s life and work will come alive next week in Ethiopia’s capital during a tribute concert by Ethiopian and international musicians as well as a photo exhibition and a presentation of a 170-page photography book dedicated to his career.

The tribute to Getachew — organized by his longtime music partners, The Ex band from the Netherlands — is scheduled to take place on April 4th at the Alliance Francaise in Addis Ababa, which also features a performance by the Norwegian big band Large Unit.


The book is entitled ‘Getatchew Mekuria (1935 – 2016) – A Lifelong History in Photos.’

“The photobook is the result of what appears to be an unlikely collaboration between Dutch ‘underground’ band The Ex and Ethiopian saxophone legend Getatchew Mekuria,” the press release said. “The Ex fell in love with an old Getatchew cassette from 1972, and in 2004 they wanted to invite him for their 25th Anniversary Festival. The result was a fruitful 10-year collaboration with more than a 100 concerts worldwide, plenty of enthusiastic press and two beautiful CD/LP’s.”

According to the Ex band, “In 2014, because of diabetes, he developed serious problems with his legs and couldn’t travel anymore. The Ex at that point decided to organize a ‘Celebration of Getatchew Mekuria’ concert series in Ethiopia, at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa. It was sold out. 1500 people came and there was a standing ovation. A truly honorable farewell to a great musician. Getatchew passed away on April 4, 2016 at the age of 81 after a musical career of more than 68 years.”

Audio: Getatchew Mekuria – “Almaz Yèharèwa”


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Tsion & Zoma Bring Taste of Ethiopia to Harlem EatUp Festival

(Photo of Tsion Cafe in New York via Taste Africa USA website)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 29th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Tsion Cafe and Zoma restaurant are set to showcase their delicious Ethiopian cuisine at the 2017 Harlem EatUp Food Festival.

Co-founded by Marcus Samuelsson three years ago the popular annual fair highlights the eclectic mix of dining places found in New York City’s uptown neighborhood. The 2017 Harlem EatUp Food Festival is scheduled to take place from May 15th to 21st.

This week Tsion Cafe won the qualifier contest sponsored by Citi Bank (@citi Market Challenge) to participate in this year’s Harlem EatUp Festival “offering an exciting sampling of Harlem’s sights, flavors and sounds, from artists of the kitchen, canvas, stage and streets.”

“Today we came to showcase our rich Ethiopian food and we made a good representation of our cuisine and we won the challenge,” said Beejhy Barhany, owner of Tsion cafe, in an interview with the local Fox5 TV station following the contest on Tuesday, March 28th.

Zoma restaurant:

Also featured at the 3rd annual Harlem EatUp Festival is Zoma restaurant, which has been around for more than a decade. “Henock Kejela is an Ethiopian-born restaurateur,” notes the announcement. “His restaurant Zoma was opened in 2006 in Harlem, New York.”


Zoma is located at 2084 Frederick Douglass Blvd (8th Ave) Corner of 113th st. New York. (ZomaNYC.com)

In addition, this year the festival includes an homage to Billie Holiday at the Apollo kick-off concert, as well as The Harlem Stroll – an outdoor event described as a “feast of a tasting presenting a collection of Harlem’s favorite restaurants in an all-you-can-eat format.” The EatUp! Main Stage, sponsored by Macy’s, will also feature “live culinary demos and performances featuring Harlem’s chefs, musicians and dancers alongside guests from NYC and beyond.”

Watch: Welcome to Harlem EatUp


If You Go:
More info and tickets at harlemeatup.com.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Exploring Ethiopia’s Past and Future Through Body Painting

(Photos by Aida Muluneh)

New York Times (blog)

Aida Muluneh spent a peripatetic childhood in Yemen, England, Cyprus, Canada and the United States before settling in the States to study and become a photojournalist. She returned to Ethiopia, the land of her birth, about a decade ago, where her work addresses issues of women, African identity and the connection between heritage and homeland. Her photos feature decorative body paintings that reflect Ethiopian culture or traditional fabrics and baskets and reflect her own life’s journey.

“We exist between the anxiety of the unknown future and the nostalgia of the familiar past,” Ms. Muluneh said. “We bear the burden of our duality.”

She is among the artists in “Afriques Capitales,” which is on view from March 29 to May 28 in Paris, before it travels to Lille, near the French boarder with Belgium. The show — a subset of the “100% Afriques” festival — is a sampler of the continent’s contemporary artists, from Akinbode Akinbiyi to Hassan Hajjaj to William Kentridge. The works are exhibited within the iron-and-glass cultural center in the Parc de la Villette — once the site of a slaughterhouse — and outside, in the park itself.

Ms. Muluneh was born in in Ethiopia in 1974, but her mother soon took them out of the country after the ouster of Emperor Haile Selassie. They moved often in search of a beter place to live to provide a good education for Ms. Muluneh. At 18 years of age, Ms. Muluneh moved to the U.S. to study film at Howard University and, later, worked at The Washington Post. She moved to Addis Ababa a decade ago – fulfilling a wish of her mother’s – and led the biennial Addis Foto Fest in 2010. She is currently the managing director at Developing and Educating Society Through Art for Africa, which fosters cultural partnerships.

“It took me a long time to understand that culture is soft power,” she said. “Looking at activities in my city, the same issues that we deal with here echo across the continent, and at times across the world.”

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:

Video: TADIAS Interview with Aida Muluneh

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Politics Aside, Spotlight on the Amazing Almaz Ayana

Almaz Ayana Eba holds the 10,000 metres world athletics record, which she set when winning gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro breaking the previous time set in the event in 1993. (Photo: IAAF)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Almaz Ayana, who was named “Female World Athlete of the Year” this past December for her spectacular performance at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, is featured in the current episode of IAAF’s Inside Athletics exclusive interview series released this week.

The 25-year-old long distance runner won gold in the 10,000 metres during the Olympics setting a new international record and earning Ethiopia its only gold medal at the competition.

“Last year the Ethiopian distance runner broke the long-standing world record in the 10,000m on her way to winning the Olympic title in her event,” IAAF notes. “She went on to take the bronze medal in Rio over 5000m, the event at which she is also the world champion.”

“IAAF Inside Athletics is hosted by Trinidad and Tobago’s 1997 world 200m champion Ato Boldon. To watch episodes of IAAF Inside Athletics as soon as they are released, follow the IAAF World Athletics Club Facebook page.

Click here to watch the interview with Almaz Ayana »


Related:
In Pictures: Almaz Ayana 2016 Female World Athlete of the Year

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopian Community & Nurses Group Hosts Healthcare Conference in San Jose

(Photo: Courtesy of Ethiopian Community Services in San Jose, California)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week two Ethiopian American organizations are collaborating to host a timely healthcare conference in San Jose, California focusing on the prevention of diabetes, one of the top chronic diseases in the United States, which also affects many individuals in our community.

Presented by Ethiopian Community Services and the Ethiopian Nurses Association of California, the 3rd Annual Health & Wellness Conference features speakers from Stanford Health Care, Kaiser Permanente and Santa Clara County Valley Medical Center.

The Ethiopian Nurses Association of California (ENAC) is a non-profit organization that “aims to provide health education and awareness to the Ethiopian Community in the greater San Francisco Bay Area,” while Ethiopian Community Services (ECS) is a 20-year-old non-profit organization that is “committed to providing culturally-based adjustment and long-term services that enhance productivity and self-sufficiency within the Ethiopian Community in Santa Clara County (SCC).”

“Please join us as we come together to learn about diabetes prevention and management, and how we can empower ourselves to live happier, healthier lives,” organizers announced.

Sponsored by Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager & The Health Trust the event is scheduled to be held on April 8th at the Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium in San Jose.


If You Go:
Free admission! Food! Giveaways! Health Fair!
Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM (PDT)
Please RSVP by 4/1/17
For more information:
Phone: 408-681-8910
Email: info@ecssanjose.org

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In US African Summit Held Without Africans is Baffling Everyone

Organizers said participants from Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Angola and Sierra Leone were denied visa to the U.S. to attend the summit at the University of Southern California.

NPR

The African Global Economic and Development Summit took place at the University of Southern California from March 16th to 18th.

None of the approximately 60 invited guests from Africa were able to attend.

The problem was that none of the African delegates were able to get U.S. visas…

The conference was first held in 2013 and seeks to strengthen business ties between U.S. investors and African companies, says summit chairwoman Mary Flowers.

Visa problems have been an issue before, she says. In the past, she says roughly 40 percent of African invitees are unable to get the papers they need to attend, mainly due to a combination of red tape and bureaucracy.

“This year we were thinking there are going to be some rejections but some will still come,” she says. “But it was 100 percent blocked across the board.”

It’s hard to find out exactly why…A State Department official on background tells NPR that they can’t comment on any individual visa applications but says all applications are screened on a case-by-case basis. And the eligibility requirements for getting a visa haven’t changed.

Some of the African delegates to the summit say their visa applications were denied because they didn’t show a compelling reason why they would return home after the event.

Audio: What If You Held An African Summit And No Africans Could Come? (NPR)

Read the full article at NPR.org »


Related:
Highly Cited – No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California (The Guardian)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Abaynesh Asrat’s Vision for Ethiopia Solar Energy

Abaynesh Asrat, Founder & President of NNN, speaking at a training on solar energy at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at Addis Ababa University on February 21st, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 24th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — What better place is there than Ethiopia, which advertises itself as the land of 13 months of sunshine, to utilize solar energy for basic household needs including cooking, boiling water and even charging your cellphone? A workshop held last month in Ethiopia — hosted by the U.S.-based organization Nation to Nation Networking (NNN) in collaboration with Addis Ababa University — demonstrated this untapped potential of abundant, clean energy with a long term goal of decreasing women’s backbreaking daily task of fetching firewood and coal for fuel. The solar energy program was led by NNN founder Abaynesh Asrat whose prior work included working to eradicate fistula, promoting youth ambassadors for health, and providing diversity leadership training programs.

“Themed ‘The way Ahead with Renewable Energy: A Role for Ethiopia,’ the recent training focused on the utilization of solar energy, solar cooking and water pasteurization,” Addis Ababa University shared on its website. “Nation to Nation Networking organized the training in collaboration with the College of Natural & Computational sciences of the AAU.”

In an interview with the Ethiopian Herald, Abaynesh noted that “solar energy helps families preserve food, saving scarce resources and keeping them healthy” adding the potential of dramatic improvements for the majority of the rural population in her native homeland.

“Young Ethiopians are working diligently to change their fate. Their enthusiasms tells me that Ethiopians have entrepreneurial acumen,” Abaynesh tells the Ethiopian Herald, stressing her hope that the training provided could be expanded as young engineers in the country join the effort and assist in the assembly of the necessary materials.


NNN’s Solar Energy workshop put together in partnership with Addis Ababa University was held from February 21-27th, 2017 at the College of Natural and Computational Sciences of the AAU. (Courtesy photo)

Abaynesh, who was among the 2014 honorees of the People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards, knows a thing or two about positively impacting disadvantaged populations. As a long-time board member of Hamlin Fistula USA foundation Abaynesh was at the forefront of the campaign to treat and prevent fistula, which is a childbirth-related injury affecting thousands of women in Ethiopia as well as various countries around the world. As the National Fundraiser Chair for the ‘Tesfa Ineste’ campaign Abaynesh successfully mobilized the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States to contribute toward the building of a regional hospital, the Harar Hamlin Fistula Center, in 2009.

Likewise during her latest visit to Ethiopia in February, 2017 Abaynesh challenged Ethiopian scientists to think out of the box about solar energy and empower the new generation to improve their lives.

Abaynesh says she appreciates the assistance she received from Dr. Shibiru Temesgen, Dean of the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at AAU as well as the director of Office of External Relations, Partnerships and Communication of Addis Ababa University, Dr. Zenebe Beyene, in setting up the week-long joint workshop.

“I have lived in the USA for about 48 years,” Abaynesh told the program participants hailing from across Ethiopia. “I decided to come to Ethiopia to do something,” she added. “Moving beyond the rhetoric, improving the health of society supported by science and technology thereby creating jobs.. I hope fellow citizens second this.”


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The Unlikely Winner of the Trump Presidency? Art Supply Stores

Protesters outside the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Washington, DC, Women’s March. (Artnet)

News Artnet

Depending on how you see it, there is one silver lining that comes with Donald Trump’s still-nascent presidency: “Setting political views aside, the women’s movement has positively influenced the sales of office supplies,” wrote the market research firm NPD Group in a recent blog post.

Of the estimated 3.3 to 4.6 million protesters who took to the streets around the country on the Women’s March on January 21, many carried handmade signs denouncing the new administration and its policies. But just how much have sales for poster board and other related art supplies gone up since Trump took office?

According to NPD Group, 2.7 million poster and foam boards were sold in the US in the week leading up to the post-Inauguration march. That’s 33 percent more poster board that was sold during the same time period in 2016!

For foam board, sales were up 42 percent.

Altogether, a total of $4.1 million in poster and foam board sales were logged in that week alone. For the entire month of January, more than 6.5 million poster boards were sold. Poster-hungry protests continued on International Women’s Day on March 8.

There were also considerable increases in sales of various types of markers and glue/adhesives, as well as scissors and fabric paint, used to personalize t-shirts for the march.

Read more »


Related:
Trump Proposes to End All Arts Funding

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Update: Friends in Nashville Mourn Ibex Ethiopian Restaurant Owner’s Death

Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot about midnight last Saturday as he was preparing to close his business. (Photo: News Channel5)

AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Members of Nashville’s Ethiopian community remain puzzled as to why someone would kill a beloved restaurant owner who was shot to death last weekend.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2nLCR5B ) that friends of Gitem Demissie were still grappling with his violent death. Those who knew him described him as a good man and a hardworking immigrant.

Demissie was the owner of Ibex Ethiopian Bar & Restaurant in south Nashville.

Authorities have said that the 41-year-old was preparing to close his restaurant about midnight Saturday night when he was shot. Police say a masked gunman wearing a long-sleeved black shirt and black jeans approached Demissie and shot him multiple times. Investigators have called it a targeted killing but are still searching for a motive as well as the gunman.


Related:
In Nashville, Ethiopian Restaurant Owner Killed In Targeted Shooting

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

WSJ on Trump’s Dishonest Presidency

"If he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President," say editors of Wall Street Journal arguing that Trump’s lies are eroding public trust at home and abroad. (Getty)

The Hill

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board on Tuesday harshly criticized President Trump for damaging his own credibility and undermining his presidency with “his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”

The conservative editorial board said Trump’s repeated accusations that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower will make people second-guess whether he is speaking the truth if something serious happens during his administration.

“If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him?” the editorial stated.

“We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.”
The attack from the Journal’s editorial board is notable at a time when Trump is struggling to win over voters for legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare. While it is far from unusual for the conservative page to criticize a Republican, the attack on Trump was notable for its language.

“Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President,” it said.

It criticized Trump for refusing to apologize for the accusation about Obama, which lawmakers in both parties and the director of the FBI have said is baseless.

The publication also knocked Trump for repeating an unsubstantiated assertion by a Fox News commentator that a British intelligence agency had helped Obama with wiretaps, while expressing wonder that he would stick to his position.

“Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims,” the editors write. “[White House press secretary] Sean Spicer — who doesn’t deserve this treatment — was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.”


Related:
FBI Debunks Trump’s Fake Claims Against Obama, Confirms Russia-Trump Probe

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Addis Trash Disaster: Survivors Ask Why

A funeral service last week for victims of a garbage landslide in Addis Ababa. At least 113 people were killed in the March 11 collapse, according to the government. (Photo: Associated Press)

The New York Times

As Trash Avalanche Toll Rises in Ethiopia, Survivors Ask Why

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — At the moment when she lost her home and family, Hanna Tsegaye was spending her Saturday night with a neighborhood friend.

Around 8 p.m. on March 11, Ms. Hanna, 16, heard a strange sound, like rushing wind, and felt the ground shake beneath her feet. She rushed outside and saw that an enormous pile of garbage at a nearby landfill had collapsed.

Her home, which had been a couple of hundred yards from the trash heap, was buried. So were her parents and two siblings.

At least 113 people, according to the latest government estimate, were killed when part of the Repi landfill, in the southwest of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, collapsed. In the days since, grieving survivors have been tormented by a pressing question: Could this tragedy have been prevented?

“We don’t know how such a thing could happen,” a weeping Ms. Hanna said. “Hopefully, someone can tell us and find a solution for the future. I hope this can be a lesson for the government, and that they remember us.”

Read more »


Related:
Desperate Choice of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor: Run or Die
What’s Wrong in Ethiopia? It’s Land, Stupid
In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Between Yosef Salamsa & Martin Luther King: The Ethiopian Jewish Struggle in Comparative Perspective

Talk and Q&A at American Jewish Historical Society: The Ethiopian Jewish Struggle in Comparative Perspective featuring Ethiopian-Israeli writer, scholar, editor and activist Efrat Yerday. (Photo by Gideon Agaza)

American Jewish Historical Society

Press release

Talk and Q&A with Efrat Yerday in partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace

New York — Join us for a talk by Efrat Yerday on the contemporary parallel struggles of Ethiopian Jews in Israel/Palestine and Black Lives Matter in the US and on the struggles of black people against racism from a transnational perspective. In recent years, Ethiopian Jewish activists have begun to gradually perceive their struggle in universal terms, adopting global anti-racist strategies on the one hand, but often without giving up their precarious privilege as Jews. More specifically, they have drawn from the Black Lives Matter movement, invoking practices and language that transcend the local so as to garner universal legitimation. African American leaders such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King are quoted frequently in demonstrations and on social media by Ethiopian activists; the clashes in Baltimore, Fergusson and Missouri are linked to the clashes in Rabin square in Tel Aviv. Efrat Yerday is a writer, scholar, editor, and activist. In 2010–2011 she served as the spokesperson for the Israeli Association for Ethiopian Jews and published opinion pieces on racism in general and institutionalized racism in particular. Over the years she has also published reviews of nonfiction dealing with Ethiopian history and the absorption of Ethiopians in Israel. In 2010 she established the Young Ethiopian Students blog, inviting critical thinking and challenging the establishment and academic narrative of the immigration and absorption of Ethiopian Jews. Yerday teaches at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev and writes regularly for Hamakom hakhi kham begehinom (The Hottest Place in Hell) and for other media outlets.


If You Go:
Mar 27 2017 7:00PM
Center for Jewish History Chapel
15 West 16th Street
New York , New York 10011
Between 5th & 6th Aves.
Click here to buy Tickets

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Tale of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor

A garbage dump landslide on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa killed hundreds of people last week. (Photo: AFP)

AFP

Desperate Choice of Ethiopia Landslide Survivor: Run or Die

Addis Ababa – One minute, Zemed Derib stood negotiating with her precocious siblings who had locked themselves inside their uncle’s home as a prank.

The next, the playful scene gave way to horror as the hillside of the rubbish dump above them collapsed.

With terrified screams of neighbours filling the air, Zemed abandoned her doomed sisters and took to her heels, outrunning the torrent of fetid dirt that swallowed homes and killed at least 113 people in Africa’s second most-populous country, Ethiopia.

“I ran away, but finally, when I turn my face, nothing was there. Everything changed into black,” Zemed said as she sat clutching a portrait of her mother Yeshi Beyene, one of the victims of the disaster at Koshe, the country’s largest rubbish dump situated on the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa.

On Saturday, a week after the tragedy, men in face masks and rubber aprons waited for excavators to move aside the waste to carry out their search for the dead.

Zemed, wearing all black, is mourning the loss of seven relatives, including her three younger sisters and a baby girl born days earlier who had not yet been named.

Zemed’s family lived among a community of hundreds who had built homes on the side of Koshe’s main slope and spent their days scavenging for valuable rubbish trucked in from neighbourhoods around this city of about four million people.

- Accident waiting to happen? -

The settlement is now buried under a wall of black muck and the landslide left a jagged, crescent-shaped cut in the side of the landfill’s rise.

Read more »


Related:
What’s Wrong in Ethiopia? It’s Land, Stupid
In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

FBI Debunks Trump’s Fake Claims Against Obama, Confirms Russia-Trump Probe

The Director of the FBI James B. Comey told the U.S. Congress on Monday that his agency is investigating possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in the 2016 US election. (Photo: Reuters)

The Associated Press

Comey Says FBI probing Trump-Russia links, wiretap claims bogus

WASHINGTON — The FBI is investigating whether Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats.

In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.

Read more »

WATCH: FBI says no evidence to backup Trump’s wiretapping tweets


(Photo: Reuters)

The Washington Post

FBI Director confirms probe of Russian meddling in election, possible links to Trump associates

FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged on Monday the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and said that probe extends to the nature of any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government.

Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said the investigation is also exploring whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin, and “whether any crimes were committed.”

The acknowledgment was an unusual move, given that the FBI’s practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. “But in unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest,” Comey said, “it may be appropriate to do so.”

Comey said he had been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm the wide-ranging probe’s existence.

He spoke at the first intelligence committee public hearing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with National Security Agency head Michael S. Rogers.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
FBI Sees No Evidence of Trump Wiretap, Director Confirms Inquiry Into Russian Election Meddling (NY Times)
FBI Says Trump campaign, Russia ties investigated, no wiretap evidence found (CNN)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Antu Yacob’s Play “In the Gray” Featured at 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival

Antu Yacob. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Antu Yacob has been selected to perform her one-person Ethiopian-American play entitled In the Gray next Fall at the 2017 United Solo, which is the world’s largest solo theatre festival annually held in New York City.

“It’s hard to put Antu into words. It’s even harder to put her in a box,” states the announcement. “Quirky, awkward, sometimes hot, sometimes lukewarm, this Ethiopian American woman, actor, daughter and mother explores her experience of being an outsider from deep within.”

Antu, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Rutgers University in New Jersey, grew up in San Francisco and Minnesota. Her acting career includes roles in NBC’s Law & Order: SVU and the soon to be released Netflix series Gypsy. She played the lead roles in films Eminent Domain (DeepFreeze Media) and Walking In Circles (NYU Film/Elegance Bratton) and supporting roles in Conjure (TerraLuke Media) and Fine Art (Shannon Ousley/Zoe Munlyn). Her play entitled Mourning Sun, set in Ethiopia and New York, was performed at the West End Theatre in Manhattan in 2015 and at the 2016 Kampala International Theatre Festival in Uganda this past Winter.

“I knew that I wanted to write about my experience not only as an actor, but also as an Ethio-American professional in the entertainment industry,” Antu told Tadias in an interview last Summer. “It’s a point of view that I don’t see reflected in mainstream media, but it is something that I live with.”

Antu’s parents immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia when she was about five years old. “I constantly have this experience of being between two cultures,” Antu shared. “That’s why I call it In The Gray, because a lot of things are not black and white for me. I wrote it so that people who watch it and relate to it can feel they are not alone.”

As a playwright Antu says “she tries to experiment with social and political activism in an entertaining way” noting that “America is made up of so many different cultures, and there is room to honor that diversity without sacrificing the beauty of who we are as a people. As Ethiopian Americans we make up a part of the larger American experience.” She adds: “The best thing about In the Gray is that you don’t necessarily have to be Ethiopian to appreciate the play because it’s an American story. It’s for everyone.”

Antu’s show is directed by Celestine Rae with lighting & set design by Matthew Fick, show image by Anthony Artis and executive produced by Tadias Magazine.


If You Go
IN THE GRAY BUY TICKETS

Performed by Antu Yacob, ETHIOPIA
Sun 9/17 2:00pm
drama, comedy, storytelling, movement, performance art, 75 min.

All shows are staged at Theatre Row: 410 West 42nd Street, New York City. TICKETS, with a price of $35 (plus a $2.25 Theatre Restoration Charge) are available at the Theatre Row Box Office and online through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com. You may also call Telecharge at 212-239-6200. When placing your reservation, please provide: the FESTIVAL name (United Solo Theatre Festival), the name of THEATRE (Theatre Row – The Studio Theatre), and the specific DAY and TIME of SHOW you would like to see.

Click here to buy tickets

Related:
In the Gray: A One Person Ethio-American Show by Playwright Antu Yacob

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

US: Ethiopian Restaurant Owner Killed

Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot this past weekend as he was preparing to close his business. (Photo: News Channel5)

News Channel5

In Nashville, Ethiopian Restaurant Owner Killed In Targeted Shooting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Family and friends gathered to mourn the loss of their loved one after he was killed in a targeted shooting inside a business he owned.

South Nashville restaurant owner Gitem Demissie, age 41, was fatally shot overnight as he was preparing to close his business.

Metro Police responded to Ibex Ethiopian Restaurant in the 2500 block of Murfreesboro Pike after midnight, early Sunday morning, where they discovered Demissie who had been shot multiple times.

First responders transported him to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

“We were really broken,” said Father Mesfin Tesemma, who leads the Ethiopian church where Demissie was an active member. “We didn’t expect this to happen to him. He doesn’t deserve to die like this. He is a very nice person.”

Tesemma said Demissie was a hard-working businessman who was well-known in the area. Tesemma said he sometimes put in 16 or 17 hours a day at his businesses.

Demissie had lived in Nashville for more than ten years. He first opened Ibex Mart on Bell Road, selling Ethiopian groceries, including spices, fresh meat, and vegetables.

According to Tesemma, Ibex Mart was the only Ethiopian grocery store in Nashville, meaning a lot of people knew Demissie and relied on his business.

In January 2015, Demissie opened a second business, the restaurant and bar, where he was shot and killed early Sunday morning.

Friends said Demissie had been working hard to sell his bar in hopes of taking time to travel home to Ethiopia to see his parents. His death has left many in the Ethiopian community fearing for their safety.

“What happened to him means a lot for everybody. So are we safe here?” Tesemma said. “Those are the kinds of questions it raises in the minds of a lot of Ethiopians.”

Detectives remained on scene until sunrise collecting interviews and evidence.

The shooter was described as a masked gunman wearing a black long sleeve shirt and black jeans. A witness said the suspect went up to Demissie, shot him multiple times, and fled from the building. The witness added the man had light skin and a thin build, and he stood around 5’7’’ tall.

Anyone with information on this fatal shooting has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.

Read more and watch video at News Channel5 »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Time to End Mass Detentions

President Mulatu Teshome addresses Parliament about the declaration of the state of emergency, in Addis Ababa, October 10, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

HRW

Ethiopia Lifts Some State of Emergency Restrictions: Time to End Mass Arbitrary Detentions

Ethiopia announced this week that some of the restrictions around its five-month-old state of emergency have been lifted. The government announced that the command post, charged with enforcing the country’s state of emergency in the wake of unprecedented mass protests against government policies, would no longer be able to arbitrarily arrest people or conduct property searches without warrants. Further, curfews and some restrictions on media reporting will end.

The government says that it has detained more than 20,000 people in “rehabilitation camps” – one of its long-standing approaches to obstructing protests and expressions of dissent – during the state of emergency. Detaining tens of thousands of people without charge in horrible conditions in order to indoctrinate them on government polices is not only unlawful, but unlikely to deter future protests. Human Rights Watch has interviewed many people who were detained in these camps, and they all say the experience only served to increase their anger and frustration with the government.

The announcement that arbitrary detentions – long a significant and underreported problem in rural Ethiopia – are no longer permissible under the state of emergency is welcome news. The government hasn’t permitted the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to investigate allegations despite requests from the UN body in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015.

Human Rights Watch and other groups have documented the Ethiopian government’s use of arbitrary detention, especially outside of Addis Ababa, over many years – in police stations, prisons, military camps, and unknown places of detention. There is a lack of due process, mistreatment and torture are common, and most detainees never face trial. A Human Rights Watch report last year detailing the brutal crackdown against protesters in Oromia region highlighted the problem of mass arbitrary detention. Just two of the 46 people we interviewed who had been detained outside of Addis Ababa had been brought to court.

As part of Ethiopia’s “deep reform” process, it should send a clear message to its security forces that they cannot arrest people for lawfully protesting government policies, for being members of legal opposition parties, or for other peaceful forms of dissent. Now is the time for Ethiopia to give the UN Working Group access, and stop hiding its rights record from scrutiny.


Related:
Ethiopia Lifts Some Restrictions Imposed During State of Emergency (Reuters)
Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Trump Proposes to End All Arts Funding

(Image: National Endowment for the Arts website)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 16th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — It’s unfortunate that the Trump administration’s budget proposal for 2018, submitted for approval to the U.S. Congress this week, eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) from the entire US federal spending. The Washington Post points out, however that “many of Trump’s budget proposals are likely to run into stiff resistance from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, even from Republicans, whose support is crucial because they must vote to authorize government appropriations.”

The Post adds: “Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II.”

The arts news site, Artnet, likewise notes that Trump’s budget cuts would “have a serious impact on cultural production, and the artists, musicians, writers, and scholars who rely on it.”

Trump’s budget proposal, which was presented to Capitol Hill on Thursday (March 16th), is part of the White House expenditure goals for next year that seeks large cutback in spending for science, culture, diplomacy, and much more. Budget cuts can also affect the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds national public radio stations.


Related:
Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Annual Human Rights Presentation
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Addis Calling II: Ethiopia Exhibition Featuring Contemporary Artists

Artwork by Addis Gezahegn, 2017 Floating City I , Acrylic on Cavas. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 15th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The second installment of the Addis Calling group exhibition curated by Addis Fine Art Gallery will open in Ethiopia’s capital city on March 25th. The exhibition promotes the works of contemporary Ethiopian artists and will remain on display until May 20th, 2017.

“Representing a new selection of local talent engaged in a diverse range of artistic expression, the exhibition is an exciting mix of painting, glass mono-prints and photography,” the gallery announced in a press release.

Artists featured in Addis Calling II include Addis Gezahegn, Mulugeta Kassa, Abiy Solomon and Bezawit Wondwossen.

Below are bios of each artist courtesy of Addis Fine Art gallery:

Addis Gezahegn

Addis Gezahegn (b.1978), a long-time artistic presence in Addis Ababa, is known for portraying the multifaceted characteristics of the city’s residents by detailing the external facades of their homes,” His signature piece in the exhibition, from his series Floating City, features a vast, dramatic night sky—a black expanse that towers above a shimmering horizon of urban homes that mostly appear rootless, blurred, and ephemeral. Over the years, he has taken an increasingly reductive approach to his work, rendering entire cityscapes as a flat patchwork of colorful doors and gates. Gezahegn is a 2011 graduate of Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Art and Design.

Mulugeta Kassa


Paintings by Mulugeta Kassa, UNTITLED III, 2012, Glass Mono Print, 40 × 30 cm and UNTITLED I, 2012
Glass Mono Print 40 × 30 cm. (Courtesy photos)

Mulugeta Kassa (b.1973), co-founder of the experimental collective Netsa Art Village, considers the singular nature of conception and fertility through his glass mono-prints. Embryo and phallus-like structures float by in a sea of neutral grays, greens, and browns. One of these is tweaked to reveal the outline of a woman carrying a mountain-like bundle of sticks on her back. Kassa graduated from the Addis Ababa School of Fine Arts and Design in 2003.

Photographer Abiy Solomon


Photo by Abiy Solomon, LALIBELA IV, 2014, Digital Archival Print, 47 x 70.5cm, Edition of 7 + 1AP.

Abiy Solomon (b.1983), is a photographer and one of the most prominent graphic designers in Addis Ababa. In his photography series, Primordial Modernity: The Raw Spirit of Lalibela, he offers a meditation on spirituality and the profound interiority of faith, as he photographs monks in Lalibela exiting and entering the hushed, dark spaces within the ancient rock-hewn churches. Offset by the bright sunlight that pours in through the open windows and doorways, the images are imbued with a reverent feeling: a contemplation of light and darkness, as well as the inner and outer manifestations of religiosity. Solomon holds a degree in Animation and Visual Effects from Maac University in India (2008). He is the founder and Creative Director at Orangeswitch, a design company, and Partner at Africology Media.

Bezawit Wondwossen


Painting by By Bezawit Wondwosen, Untitled X, 2016. (Courtesy photograph)

Bezawit Wondwossen (b.1987) uses bold, thick strokes of blues, oranges, and browns to create an abstract yet vigorous cityscape, against which splashes of black silhouette. The black forms a meditative core—seemingly haphazard, yet controlled; ornamental, yet integral to the logic of the works. It pulls viewers in to contemplate its various weights, and the sense of angst it evokes—a feeling Bezawit, a 2003 graduate of the Abyssinia School of Fine Arts, ascribes to the travails of womanhood.


If You Go:
Addis Calling II Exhibit
March 25th through May 20th, 2017.
Addis Fine Art gallery
(3rd Floor, Red Building Behind Mafi City Mall)
Bole Medhane Alem
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 913 426553
www.addisfineart.com

Related:
Addis Fine Art Opens New Gallery With Inaugural Exhibition

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

What’s Wrong in Ethiopia? Land, Stupid

In Ethiopia land dispute led to protests and many deaths outside Addis Ababa last year. (Getty Images)

ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE – LONDON

FAILING TO SPOT THAT THE PROBLEM WITH ETHIOPIA IS…[LAND]

Things are not going well in Ethiopia, this we know. Riots and protests erupt. This is not a good sign for a society. It’s also very much a pity – not just for the usual reasons that violence is a pity – because Ethiopia is one of those places discovering the joys of the early stages of a lift off into the Industrial Revolution. They’re taking those first baby steps to getting rich, that thing that we’ve all done and which has escaped all too much of the world until very recently.

What’s happening is that those living on a piece of land, working it perhaps, are being thrown off it in favour of those doing something else with it. But why?

The Guardian tells us what is happening but doesn’t quite manage to grasp that cause, even though they mention it:

All land is theoretically owned by the government, merely leased by tenants, and when the government says go, you have to go.

This is the problem that private property solves. OK, sure, you can construct a very rickety indeed case that all land is still owned by the Crown (it isn’t, but) and that compulsory purchase equates to this. But that’s not so – compulsory purchase means that you get paid at the market rate for having to move and then only in favour of a project which contributes to the public, not private, good.

But in a system where the government really does own all the land, and can allocate usage without reference to current occupiers, the end result is what we see in Ethiopia. Who gets to use the land depends upon access to the political system and those excluded riot as a result.

It might even be true that no one made the land so there’s no reason why anyone should own it exclusively. Except that, as with democracy, all other systems are worse.

Read more »


Related:
In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Reuters: Ethiopia Lifts Some Restrictions Imposed During State of Emergency

Demonstrators during a march in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, October 2016. (Photo: REUTERS)

Reuters

ADDIS ABABA — The Ethiopian government has lifted some restrictions imposed during a state of emergency declared last year following deadly protests, state-run media quoted the defence minister as saying on Wednesday.

Minister Siraj Fegessa ended powers granted to security services to stop and search suspects and to search homes without court authorisation.

Siraj, who chairs the government’s body overseeing the state of emergency, also revoked a dusk-to-dawn curfew on access to economic installations, some infrastructure and factories for unauthorised people.

“These measures were lifted because it is our belief that the ordinary security arrangements are sufficient enough to maintain calm,” the state-run Ethiopian News Agency quoted Siraj as saying in a news conference for local journalists.

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in October following months of deadly protests that killed around 500 people. Anger over a development scheme for the capital sparked broader anti-government demonstrations over politics and human rights abuses.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Father Imprisoned for Genital Cutting Is Deported to Ethiopia

Khalid Adem in 2006. (Photo: GWINNETT DAILY POST via The Associated Press)

The New York Times

A man who in 2006 became the first person in the United States to be convicted of female genital cutting was deported on Monday to his home country, Ethiopia, after serving 10 years in prison, federal authorities said.

The man, Khalid Adem, 41, used scissors to remove the clitoris of his 2-year-old daughter in his family’s Atlanta-area apartment in 2001, prosecutors in Gwinnett County, Ga., said. He was convicted of aggravated battery and cruelty to children.

The case led to a state law prohibiting the practice, which was already prohibited by a federal law and is a common social ritual in parts of the world but is broadly condemned.

“A young girl’s life has been forever scarred by this horrible crime,” Sean W. Gallagher, a field office director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The elimination of female genital mutilation/cutting has broad implications for the health and human rights of women and girls, as well as societies at large.”

The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 200 million girls and women have been cut in 30 countries, mostly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The procedure, which involves the removal of parts of the genitalia, is typically performed on girls before they turn 15 and leads to a wide range of lifelong health consequences, including chronic infection, childbirth complications, psychological trauma and pain during urination, menstruation and intercourse.

The practice is far from unheard-of in the United States. Though it is illegal under federal law, about half a million women have undergone the procedure or are likely to be subjected to it, according to a 2012 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Spotlight: Wayna’s Facebook Video in Honor of Women’s History Month

Wayna (full name Woyneab Miraf Wondwossen) is a grammy nominated R&B/soul singer and songwriter who was born in Ethiopia and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

March 14th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — As Wayna prepares a public tribute to Ethiopian music legend Bezunesh Bekele this coming summer, the Grammy nominated Ethiopian American singer and songwriter has just released a new music video on Facebook in honor of Women’s History Month. The video entitled You’re Not Alone (Live) features images of Ethiopian women by photographer Aida Muluneh as well as photos of women that she encountered at the Women’s March on Washington this past January.

The new song shows solidarity with “women and girls in my native Ethiopia, for reproductive rights, for equal pay, and to put an end to violence against women and girls everywhere” says Wayna via Facebook. “Today, I say to all my sisters, mothers and daughters: You are NOT alone.”

You’re Not Alone (Live) is performed by Wayna and Eli Staples; Written by Nicholas Zork, Mixed by Awthentik, and Directed by E-hab Abasaeed. Photos in Ethiopia were taken by Aida Muluneh and Photos of the Women’s March are by E-hab Abasaeed. Styling done by Alison Carney.

Click here to watch the video on Facebook


Wayna Releases New Music Video ‘Amazing’ Filmed in Ethiopia

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Journalist Anania Sorri Freed

Journalist Anania Sorri. (Image: Fana TV via Youtube)

CPJ

March 13, 2017

New York — Authorities responsible for overseeing implementation of Ethiopian’s state of emergency today released Ethiopian commentator Anania Sorri.

Anania told CPJ he was released unconditionally today, four months after his November 17, 2016, detention without charge under a state of emergency the government declared the month prior. He told CPJ that he planned to continue writing. Anania posts critical commentary on a public Facebook page followed by some 11,000 people.

“Today’s release of Anania Sorri is welcome news,” CPJ Africa Coordinator Angela Quintal said. “We urge Ethiopian authorities to free all other journalists and bloggers still imprisoned simply for doing their jobs.”

After Seyoum Teshome and Befekadu Hailu, Anania was the third Ethiopian journalist to be released since December 1, 2016, when CPJ last conducted its annual census of journalists jailed around the world.

—-
Related:
Wife of Ethio Reporter Anania Sorri Says US & UK Could Help Free Her Husband
Audio: NPR on the brave Ethiopian reporter Anania Sorri


NPR’s East Africa correspondent, tells the story of a brave Ethiopian reporter, Anania Sorri,
who asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry one very serious question that was seriously misunderstood.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Ethiopia, Landslide at Garbage Dump Near Addis Ababa Kills at Least 46

Police officers secured the perimeter around a garbage dump landslide on the outskirts of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday as excavators helped the rescue efforts. (Photo: Elias Meseret/AP)

Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET

46 killed, dozens missing in Ethiopia garbage dump landslide

ADDIS ABABA — A mountain of trash gave way in a massive garbage dump on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital, killing at least 46 people and leaving several dozen missing, residents said, as officials vowed to relocate those who called the landfill home.

Addis Ababa city spokeswoman Dagmawit Moges said most of the 46 dead were women and children, and more bodies were expected to be found in the coming hours.

It was not immediately clear what caused Saturday night’s collapse at the Koshe Garbage Landfill, which buried several makeshift homes and concrete buildings. The landfill has been a dumping ground for the capital’s garbage for more than 50 years.

About 150 people were there when the landslide occurred, resident Assefa Teklemahimanot told The Associated Press. Addis Ababa Mayor Diriba Kuma said 37 people had been rescued and were receiving medical treatment. Dagmawit said two had serious injuries.

Many people at the landfill had been scavenging items to make a living, but others live there because renting homes, largely built of mud and sticks, is relatively inexpensive.

An AP reporter saw four bodies taken away by ambulances after being pulled from the debris. Elderly women cried, and others stood anxiously waiting for news of loved ones. Six excavators dug through the ruins.

“My house was right inside there,” said a shaken Tebeju Asres, pointing to where one of the excavators was digging in deep, black mud. “My mother and three of my sisters were there when the landslide happened. Now I don’t know the fate of all of them.”

The resumption of garbage dumping at the site in recent months likely caused the landslide, Assefa said. The dumping had stopped in recent years, but it resumed after farmers in a nearby restive region where a new garbage landfill complex was being built blocked dumping in their area.

Smaller collapses have occurred at Koshe — or “dirty” in the local Amharic language — in the past two years but only two or three people were killed, Assefa said.

“In the long run, we will conduct a resettling program to relocate people who live in and around the landfill,” the Addis Ababa mayor said.

Around 500 waste-pickers are believed to work at the landfill every day, sorting through the debris from the capital’s estimated 4 million residents. City officials say close to 300,000 tons of waste are collected each year from the capital, most of it dumped at the landfill.

Since 2010, city officials have warned that the landfill was running out of room and was being closed in by nearby housing and schools.

City officials in recent years have been trying to turn the garbage into a source of clean energy with a $120 million investment. The Koshe waste-to-energy facility, which has been under construction since 2013, is expected to generate 50 megawatts of electricity upon completion.

Ethiopia, which has one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, is under a state of emergency imposed in October after several months of sometimes deadly protests demanding wider political freedoms.


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Excerpts From US Congress Hearing on Ethiopia March 9, 2017

On Thursday March 9, 2017, in front of a large crowd of Ethiopians, US congressman Chris Smith convened a hearing on the current situation in Ethiopia entitled 'Democracy Under Threat in Ethiopia.' (AP file photo)

US House Foreign Affairs Committee

Excerpts from Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04)

Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations

March 9, 2017

As we begin today’s hearing to examine the troubling conditions for democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, let us stipulate that this East Africa government is a prime U.S. ally on the continent. Ethiopia is the primary troop contributor to peacekeeping operations such as UNISFA along the Sudan-South Sudan border, UNMISS in South Sudan and AMISOM in Somalia. Ethiopia joined the UN Security Council in January and is one of three African members on the Council, along with Senegal and Egypt.

During a series of private negotiations in the last months of the previous Administration, Ethiopian officials acknowledged that the tense situation in their country is at least partly their government’s fault. There have been discussions with opposition parties and consideration of changing the electoral system to use proportional representation, which could increase the chances of opposition parties winning Parliamentary and local races. Late last year, the government released an estimated 10,000 prisoners despite maintaining a state of emergency.

However, there are at least 10,000 more people held in jail who are considered political prisoners, and the government continues to arrest and imprison critics of its actions. In January, two journalists from the faith-based station Radio Bilal, Khalid Mohamed and Darsema Sori, were sentenced to 5 and 4 year prison terms respectively for inciting extremist ideology and planning to overthrow the government through their coverage of Muslim protests about government interference in religious affairs. The journalists were arrested in February 2015 and convicted in December under the 2009 anti-terrorism law alongside 18 other defendants.

In late February, Ethiopian prosecutors charged Dr. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (a registered opposition party) with rendering support to terrorism and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order.” Merera had been arrested upon his return to Ethiopia after testifying in November at a European parliament hearing about the crisis in his country, Dr. Merera had testified alongside exiled opposition leader Prof. Berhanu Nega (sentenced to death on terrorism charges in 2009) and Olympic medal winner Feyisa Lilesa. Other senior OFC leaders, including OFC deputy chairman Bekele Gerba, have been imprisoned on terrorism charges for more than a year. Both are viewed by many as moderate voices among Ethiopia’s opposition.

According to the State Department’s newly released Human Rights Report on Ethiopia, security forces killed “hundreds” in the context of using excessive force against protestors in 2016. “At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained,” according to the report. Many have not been provided due process. The government has denied the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights access to the Oromia and Amhara regions.

The lack of due process in Ethiopian courts also affects foreigners. Israeli businessman Menasche Levy has been in jail for nearly a year and a half on financial crimes charges. The government officials accused of being involved with Levy in illegal activities have had their charges dropped and have been released from jail. Yet Levy’s next court proceeding won’t be for several more months. We cannot determine his guilt or innocence of the charges, but it is clear that he has been denied a trial in a reasonable time frame and has been beaten in jail by other prisoners and denied proper medical care. These circumstances unfortunately apply to all-too-many people who come in contact with the Ethiopian court system.

My staff and I have discussed with the Government of Ethiopia the possibility of working cooperatively to find ways to end the repression without creating a chaotic transition. Officials in Addis and Ambassador to the U.S. Girma Birru have been very positive in their response. The previous Administration found the Ethiopian government similarly willing to be cooperative.

Unfortunately, there is a significant variance in how that government sees its actions and how the rest of the world sees them. That is why I and several of my colleagues have introduced House Resolution 128 – to present as true a picture of the situation in Ethiopia as possible. It is also why we have convened today’s hearing.

In our first panel, we have witnesses who will provide an overview of the current state of democracy and human rights in Ethiopia. They will present the facts as the rest of the world sees them. Our second panel consists of four Ethiopians representing various ethnic groups and organizations created to help the Ethiopian people. We have no opposition parties appearing before us today, despite the tendency of the government and its supporters to see anyone who disagrees with them and their actions as supporting terrorists seeking to overthrow the government.

It is my belief that, until the Government of Ethiopia can squarely face the consequences of its actions, there will not be the genuine reform it has promised. Forexample, government officials say we are mistaken to state that the ruling coalition holds 100 percent of the legislative seats. We have said the coalition holds all the seats, whether in the name of the coalition itself or as affiliate parties. If the government cannot be honest with us or itself in such an obvious matter, it is unlikely that the conditions for reform can exist.

The government does appear to realize its precarious position. We have discussed the frustrations it creates by not fully allowing its citizens to exercise their rights of speech, assembly and association. In a June 20, 2013, hearing of this subcommittee, Berhanu Nega said the government has created a situation in which there is no legitimate means of redress of grievances. Although the government jailed him after he won the 2005 race to become Mayor of Addis Ababa, he was not known to have begun his campaign of armed resistance until after that time.

The recent increased protests in Oromo and Amhara regions have alarmed the government, but if it can’t find a way to relent in its refusal to allow genuine competition for political power and to respond to the cries of its people for the services they deserve, there will be more Berhanu Negas.

But this is preventable. Rather than spend hundreds of thousands on consultants to try to mislead Members of Congress on the facts and inciting e-mail form letter campaigns by supporters, the Government of Ethiopia can acknowledge their challenges and work with the U.S. government and others in the international community to seek reasonable solutions. We are prepared to help once they are ready to face the ugly truth of what has happened and what continues to happen in Ethiopia today.

Chairman Smith on the hearing: “Ethiopia has long been an important ally, providing effective peacekeepers and collaborating in the War on Terror. However, increasingly repressive policies have diminished political space and threaten to radicalize not only the political opposition but also civil society by frustrating their ability to exercise their rights under law. This hearing will examine the current situation in Ethiopia with an eye toward developing policies to help this nation to reverse an increasingly tense situation in the troubled Horn of Africa.”

Witnesses
Panel I
Terrence Lyons, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
George Mason University
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Felix Horne
Senior Researcher
Horn of Africa
Human Rights Watch
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Panel II
Ms. Seenaa Jimjimo
President
Coalition of Oromo Advocates for Human Rights and Democracy
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Tewodrose Tirfe
Co-Founder
Amhara Association of America
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Guya Abaguya Deki
Representative
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Yoseph Tafari
Co-Founder
Ethiopian Drought Relief Aid of Colorado
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]


Related:
Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Human Rights Presentation
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The Story of American Immigrants from An Ethiopian Perspective

Ethiopian American heart surgeon and entrepreneur Dr. Lishan Aklog, with his wife (R) as well as his mother, son and sister (L) rings the opening bell for his company's Nasdaq IPO, April 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 9th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Who knew that when Dr. Lishan Aklog, CEO and co-founder of the publicly traded company PAVmed Inc., fled a brutal communist regime at age 13 and immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia nearly four decades ago along with his teenage sister he would one day become the youngest heart surgeon ever to join the faculty at Harvard University (his alma mater), or ring the opening bell in honor of his company’s Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO).

Like many of their peers in our community Lishan and his sister sought refuge as they ran away from a government sponsored deadly campaign called “red terror” in Ethiopia. Their father Dr. Aklog Habte-Michael was the first Ethiopian cardiologist serving in Ethiopia, while their mother Professor Almaz Eshete, who also attended Harvard, was Ethiopia’s first woman to receive a graduate degree.

Reflecting on his mother’s journey as a foreign graduate student in 1956 Lishan tells the women’s health website EmpowHER.com that “you can imagine what some of the issues in this country were to have this petite little African woman from the small, poor country in Boston and at Harvard to get a graduate eduction.” He adds: “I think about that and I am just absolutely amazed at what she has accomplished over the years, going back home and being again, the first woman to have her graduate education and to be one of the first professors at the university. She really became an international figure in child development..It’s an amazing inspiration for us.”

Regarding his father Dr. Lishan said: He “came from a very humble background. Earned his way through western school..just sheer work and brains and ended up getting a medical degree..and then he did his residency in the U.S. and then went back [to Ethiopia] and became one of the leading physicians for, you know, 40 years.”

In an article published this week in the Wall Street Journal, Lishan reflected on his immigrant experience in the United States amid the current backlash against refugees and immigrants in the Trump era. “Among the torrent of images in January after President Trump signed his first executive order on immigration, one photo resonated with me. It was a joyful scene: volunteers from a synagogue in Glencoe, Ill., cheerily welcoming a family of Syrian refugees — one of the last to be accepted — at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport,” Lishan wrote. “Thirty-eight years ago, a nearly identical scene played out at the same airport, perhaps in the same terminal. Pastor Gerald Nelson and congregants of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill., welcomed two teenagers fleeing violence: my sister and me.”

Lishan added: “Two days earlier in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, dozens of members of a proud extended family had gathered at the airport as our parents, Prof. Almaz Eshete and Dr. Aklog Habte-Michael, tearfully told us farewell. Our family had suffered greatly under the Red Terror of the Soviet-backed tyrant, Mengistu Haile-Mariam. Fathers were imprisoned, sons were ‘disappeared’ or summarily executed, and children were roused from their bed by soldiers. Our parents had found a way to send us to a life of freedom in America… we arrived to a joyful welcome at O’Hare. Soon we were enjoying apple pie at Poppin’ Fresh Pies on the way to our new families. That’s how my American journey began — with a slice of apple pie.”

“After a rewarding career as an academic heart surgeon, I caught the entrepreneurial bug,” Lishan explained. “Two friends (descendants of Irish, East European and Filipino immigrants) and I founded five medical-device companies. Last April, that immigrant boy who peered out of the jet rang the Nasdaq opening bell with his immigrant family and colleagues at his side. Minutes later, we stood in Times Square, filled with awe and humility as images of our new company streamed on the sides of skyscrapers. I had just one thought: “This is our America.”


Dr. Lishan Aklog is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PAVmed Inc. (Nasdaq: PAVMU), a multi-product medical device company bringing innovative medical technologies from concept to commercialization with unprecedented speed and capital efficiency. (Courtesy photo)


Dr. Lishan poses for a photo with his family and colleagues in Times Square, NYC, after he rang the opening bell in honor of his company’s Nasdaq initial public offering (IPO) on April 28, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

In addition to Dr. Lishan, PAVmed was founded and is led by two other successful medical device entrepreneurs: Dr. Brian deGuzman, a prominent Harvard-trained cardiothoracic surgeon and a leader in medical device innovation, and Michael Glennon a medical device industry veteran and former senior executive in outsourced medical device manufacturing.

Per Bloomberg: “Dr. Aklog has received numerous awards and is a perennial honoree in Castle Connolly’s, America’s Top Doctors. Dr. Aklog has taken a keen interest in health care policy and medical device innovation. As a member of President Obama’s National Finance Committee and Speaker Pelosi’s Speaker’s Cabinet, he has the opportunity to advise members of Congress on health care policy, focusing on cost effective, quality delivery of high-cost, high-technology therapies.”

—-
Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Yohannes Abraham Named Senior Adviser to the Obama Foundation

Former President Barack Obama has named Yohannes Abraham as a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation. (Photo via Medium)

Politico

Obama adds former White House staffer Yohannes Abraham as foundation adviser

Barack Obama is continuing to staff his post-presidency with top aides from his presidency, adding Yohannes Abraham as a senior adviser to the Obama Foundation.

He’s coming on for what’s expected to be an at least six-month stint as the top deputy to foundation chief executive officer David Simas, Obama’s former White House political director.

According to a foundation official, Abraham will help run day-to-day operations, focusing on building the structure and then recruiting and managing the staff. He’ll also work closely with foundation executive director Robbin Cohen, who previously worked for former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s private real estate interests.

Abraham was chief of staff to top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett running the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. He also served as a senior adviser to the National Economic Council.

“We always asked Yohannes to take on our toughest, most important projects, and he always always exceeded our expectations,” said Jarrett. “That’s why it’s no surprise that President Obama asked him to help lay the groundwork for his foundation. I have no doubt Yohannes will tackle this with his characteristic intellect, work ethic, sound judgment, and commitment to excellence.”

Abraham’s time with Obama goes back to the 2008 campaign.

Read more »


Related:
Tadias Interview with Yohannes Abraham
Overview of White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing
White House Ethiopian American Policy Briefing and Civic Engagement

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: US Top Diplomat Misses Annual Human Rights Presentation

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson skips annual U.S. human rights presentation, while possible budget cuts to foreign aid faces bipartisan opposition in Congress. (Photo: © Greg Nash/The Hill)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: March 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — The new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson failed to attend the State Department’s yearly release of its human rights report on Friday drawing condemnation from lawmakers and activists alike.

Regarding Ethiopia the U.S. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” highlights that “security forces used excessive force against protesters throughout the year, killing hundreds and injuring many more. The protests were mainly in Oromia and Amhara regions. At year’s end more than 10,000 persons were believed still to be detained. This included persons detained under the government-declared state of emergency, effective October 8. Many were never brought before a court, provided access to legal counsel, or formally charged with a crime.” The report adds: “The most significant human rights problems were security forces’ use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest in response to the protests, politically motivated prosecutions, and continued restrictions on activities of civil society and NGOs…Impunity was a problem. The government generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption.”

For his absence the top U.S. Diplomat “drew fire from some members of Congress and advocates who said his decision not to personally unveil the report suggested the Trump administration places a low priority on advancing human rights,” The Washington Post reported. Human Rights Watch Washington Director, Sarah Margon, adds that Tillerson’s non-involvement “makes it much easier for other governments to ignore its findings.”

Meanwhile, in a related story, U.S. lawmakers from both parties say any proposal to cut funding for the State Department and foreign aid will not see the day of light in Congress. “It’s dead on arrival,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said in an interview with NBC. “It’s not gonna happen. It would be a disaster.”

“If you take soft power off the table then you’re never going to win the war,” Graham continued in the NBC interview. “What’s most disturbing about the cut in the State Department’s budget is it shows a lack of understanding of what it takes to win the war.”

New York Senator and Minority Leader Charles Schumer added: “Democrats and Republicans are both going to run away,” from the Trump budget proposal. “His proposals are falling apart everywhere,” Schumer said.


Related:
Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Here We Go Again: Ethiopia & Eritrea Blame Each Other Over Alleged Attack

Construction workers are seen in a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Newsweek

ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA TRADE ACCUSATIONS OVER GRAND DAM ‘ATTACK’

Eritrea has denied any involvement in an alleged plan to attack an under-construction Ethiopian dam, which is set to become the biggest hydropower dam in Africa.

Ethiopia’s deputy government spokesman, Zadig Abrha, told the state-run Fana Broadcasting Corporation that 20 members of an Eritrean rebel movement—known as the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement—had been apprehended while attempting to attack the site of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Abrha said that Ethiopian security forces killed 13 of the rebels, while seven fled into neighboring Sudan. But the Ethiopian government spokesman said that Sudan had handed the rebels over and they were now in Ethiopian custody.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel told Bloomberg News that the accusation that his country sponsored the group “is preposterous and peddled for some sinister reason.” Gebremeskel added that he had “never heard of this group.”

Ethiopia and Eritrea have a history of tense relations. Eritrea only seceded from Ethiopia in 1991 after a 30-year independence war, and the two countries have regularly clashed on the boundaries of their borders. Tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides were killed in a border war focused on the town of Badme between 1998 and 2000.

Ethiopia has also accused Eritrea of sponsoring anti-government protests, led by the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, which have been occurring regularly since November 2015. Eritrea has denied the allegation.

Read more at Newsweek.com »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Will Oprah Run Against Trump in 2020?

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey discussed the possibility of her running for US President, which at this point is not totally out of the question. (Photo: Bloomberg News video)

Bloomberg

Oprah 2020? Winfrey Hints at Presidential Run Against Trump

Oprah Winfrey discusses whether she would run for president and reveals her surprise at the election of President Donald Trump with David Rubenstein in the season two premiere of “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations”

Watch: Oprah Realizes You Don’t Need Experience to Be US President:


Related:
Oprah 2020? Winfrey Hints at Presidential Run Against Trump (NBC)
The Serious Case for Oprah 2020 (Politico)
WATCH: President Trump’s worst nightmare? Oprah plots 2020 presidential run (Salon)
Oprah Winfrey considers 2020 Presidential run in wake of Donald Trump’s win (Independent UK)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Pictures: DC Awards Dinner Celebrates Ethiopia’s Adwa Victory

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie hosts the 2017 Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner in Washington, DC. (Photo: Tsehai)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This year marks the 121st anniversary of Ethiopia’s victory at the Battle of Adwa, which took place on March 1st 1896. This past weekend in Washington, D.C., Ethiopian guests and friends of Ethiopia from across the U.S. came together for the 6th Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner — a black tie affair hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie. The program was held both in celebration of Adwa as well as to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through their dedicated contribution to Ethiopian society at large.

Below are photos from the event:

.;

—-
Related:
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
119 Years Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at the Battle of Adwa on March 1st, 1896
Reflection on 118th Anniversary of Ethiopia’s Victory at Adwa
The Significance of the 1896 Battle of Adwa
Call for the Registry of Adwa as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Free Dr. Merera Gudina

Dr. Merera Gudina briefing the European parliament about the crisis in Ethiopia on November 9, 2016. (Photo: Facebook)

HRW

Politically Motivated Charges Against Ethiopian Opposition Leader

Three months after Ethiopian security forces arrested opposition leader Dr. Merera Gudina upon his return to Ethiopia, following his participation in a hearing at the European parliament about the crisis in his home country, prosecutors on Thursday charged the prominent 60-year-old politician with rendering support to terrorism and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order.” Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lelisa and the head of the banned opposition group Ginbot 7, Dr. Berhanu Nega, had also participated in the hearing that had been hosted by Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes, and which was to inform delegates about the protests that have swept through Ethiopia since November 2015. Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands detained since these protests began. Merera is now at Maekelawi, a prison where mistreatment and torture are commonplace.

Merera is the chair of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a legally registered political opposition party. He joins many other senior OFC leaders facing terrorism charges over the last 18 months. Among those presently standing trial is OFC deputy chairman Bekele Gerba. Prosecutors included as evidence of his crimes a video of Bekele at an August 2016 conference in Washington, DC, where he spoke of the importance of nonviolence and commitment to the electoral process. Like Merera, he has been a moderate voice of dissent in a highly polarized political landscape.

Merera and Bekele join a long list of opposition politicians, journalists, and protesters charged under the 2009 anti-terrorism law, regularly used to stifle critical views of governance in Ethiopia. Acquittals are rare, credible evidence is often not presented, and trials are marred by numerous due process concerns.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Wife of Ethio Reporter Anania Sorri Says US & UK Could Help Free Her Husband

Bezawit Hailegiorgis, wife of the detained blogger and journalist Anania Sorri. (Photo: The Guardian)

The Guardian

Ethiopian journalist’s wife urges UK and US to call for his release

The wife of a blogger and journalist detained in Ethiopia has called on the international community to pressure local authorities to release her husband, who is among tens of thousands held since a state of emergency was declared in the emerging east African power last year.

Anania Sorri, a 34-year-old writer and intellectual, was arrested in November on his way to a meeting at the US embassy in Addis Ababa. He is being held in a high security prison in the Ethiopian capital and has not yet been formally charged with any offence.

Bezawit Hailegiorgis, 29, his wife, said his sole crime had been “to express his thoughts honestly”.

“His crime is his determination to speak out. He is a brilliant political journalist. He was critical but always constructive … but being imprisoned is part of the job description of being a journalist here. It’s a zero-sum game, where someone has to lose, and at the moment they are not losing,” she told the Guardian.

Read more »


Related:
Audio: NPR on the brave Ethiopian reporter Anania Sorri


NPR’s East Africa correspondent, tells the story of a brave Ethiopian reporter, Anania Sorri,
who asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry one very serious question that was seriously misunderstood.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

UCLA Archaeologists Enlist Community to Preserve Cultural Heritage in Ethiopia

UCLA professor Willeke Wendrich talks to school children in northern Ethiopia. (Photo: UCLA)

UCLA Newsroom

Near the small village of Mai Adrasha in Ethiopia, UCLA archaeologists found themselves digging into more than dirt. They were also diving into another role, serving as ambassadors of history to help the local community understand that there is wealth not only in the natural gold-rich soil that encloses long-buried ancient ruins, but also in preservation of cultural heritage.

“We decided it was really worthwhile to keep this site so we spent a lot of time this season talking to people who live around Mai Adrasha,” said Willeke Wendrich, director of the Cotsen Institute and professor of Egyptian archaeology and digital humanities, who has led digs in the area for the last two years.

The results of their efforts were heartening — for archaeology as a whole and for the UCLA team in particular.

Wendrich, her co-director and graduate student Rachel Moy and their team recently returned from their second excavation near Mai Adrasha, in the region of northern Ethiopia called Shire. With several active trenches, they are looking for evidence from the pre-Aksumite era (before 300 B.C.), a period that remains something of an archaeological mystery, partially because the remains of it are disappearing as a result of humans hunting for gold.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

AT the Oscars Ruth Negga Shows Support to American Civil Liberties Union

Ruth Negga wearing a blue American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) ribbon during the Academy Awards ceremony in L.A. on Sunday, February 26th, 2017. (Photo: NYT)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, February 27th, 2017

New York (TADIAS)– Ruth Negga the first Ethiopian-born actress to be nominated for an Oscar made her presence felt during the 89th Academy Awards ceremony held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California on Sunday evening, arriving with a stylish red Valentino dress decorated with an ACLU ribbon.

The 35-years-old Ethiopian-Irish actress earned the Oscar nomination for her highly acclaimed performance in the American civil rights movie Loving, which depicts the 1967 historic U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in a case called “Loving v. Virginia.”

According to The New York Times “The A.C.L.U. took up the case and brought it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which struck down miscegenation laws — those that enforced segregation in intimate relationships — in 1967.”


Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga. (Getty Images)

Ruth was born in Addis Ababa in 1982 to an Ethiopian father (a medical doctor) and an Irish mother (a nurse) and lived in Ethiopia until the age of four when she moved to Ireland with her parents. Ruth’s father died three years later in a car accident when she was only seven years old. Ruth grew up in Limerick, Ireland and has resided in London for the past ten years.


Related:
Ruth Negga: One of the Best Film Stars of Our Time
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Spotlight: Ethiopia Habtemariam Honored for Black History Month

Ethiopia Habtemariam is President of Motown Records, President of Universal Music Group’s urban music division, and co-head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group. (Photograph: Universal Music Group)

Radio Facts

The #New28 Honors Ethiopia Habtemariam, Chance the Rapper, and More

The #New28, a power dinner and ceremony, presented and sponsored by Walgreens and African Pride, recognized 28 influencers during Black History Month who are bold, brave, and brilliant in their approach at changing the world through their art.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia Habtemariam: Women In Music 2014
Motown Founder Salutes Ethiopia Habtemariam at Heroes & Legends Awards
Ethiopia Habtemariam to be Honored at the 2014 Heroes & Legends Awards
Ethiopia Habtemariam Named President of Motown
Barry Weiss Steps Down as Island Def Jam Motown Reorganizes (The Hollywood Reporter)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Debating Pros & Cons of US Foreign Aid

Let’s begin by getting the facts straight: US foreign assistance represents less than 1 percent of the federal budget -- tiny category of discretionary spending, experts say. (Getty Images)

The Washington Post

‘America first’ shouldn’t mean cutting foreign aid

We have entered the era of “America first” with only a vague understanding of its meaning. President Trump’s inaugural address signaled an ambitious nationalist reimagining of the post-World War II international order. Trump’s foreign policy team, in contrast, seems to spring from that order. The resulting uncertainty is global and dangerous. Vacuums of leadership are not generally filled by the good guys.

The administration’s policy shift is most evident so far in the areas of trade and refugees — Trump prefers less of both. Given a narrowed conception of national interest and the president’s discomfort with the idea of “nation building,” foreign assistance would seem a natural next target. Persistent rumors that the administration is mulling major cuts at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have heightened this speculation.

Although Trump hasn’t spoken much on this topic, some of his comments have reflected an inclination to pull back…Yet Trump has also added notes of ambiguity. In August, he told the Miami Herald that Congress should increase funding to fight the Zika virus abroad. In September, he underlined the importance of ensuring clean water for everyone in the world. In October, he stated that “we’re going to lead the way” on AIDS relief.

In this case, Trump’s better angels would do more to serve the country than his budget-cutters. Putting foreign assistance on the chopping block would be a serious mistake, by any definition of the national interest.

***

Let’s begin by getting the facts straight. Surveys have shown that many Americans assume the country spends upwards of 20 percent of the federal budget on foreign aid. In reality, nonmilitary foreign assistance — including all of America’s work on international development and global health — represents less than 1 percent of the federal budget. Slashing this tiny category of discretionary spending for the sake of budget control would be a form of deception — a sideshow to avoid truly important (and unpopular) budgetary choices.

For less than 1 percent of the federal budget, the United States led a global coalition to fight HIV/AIDS when the disease threatened to devastate and destabilize much of the African continent . Battling another of the world’s most lethal killers, malaria, U.S.-led global programs have saved more than 6 million lives, mainly children under 5 years old. America also led a global effort to support agriculture when the food, fuel and financial crisis of 2008 pushed nearly 100 million people back into a state of chronic hunger and extreme poverty. As of 2015, that effort had directly benefited nearly 19 million rural households and reached more than 12 million children with nutrition programs. And America led a global partnership to bring power to half a billion people in Africa who have too often lived, worked, studied and given birth in the dark.

Read more »


Related:
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Pen America Town Hall with Dinaw Mengestu: Role of the Writer in Trump Era

Award-winning Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu. (Photo: The MacArthur Foundation)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Next week in New York City Ethiopian-American novelist and writer Dinaw Mengestu will be one of the featured speakers at a Pen America town hall meeting entitled “The Role of the Writer in Trump’s America.”

“The role of the writer is being tested in an era of new and intensified attacks on the First Amendment, the discrediting of the press and journalists and efforts to obscure and distort the truth,” Pen America stated in a press release. “Writers have been at the vanguard of chronicling, interpreting and helping shape responses to fast-breaking developments that have the potential to remake essential aspects of our politics and society.”

In addition to Dinaw Mengestu scheduled speakers include Daniel Alarcón, Masha Gessen, Salman Rushdie, and Andrew Solomon.

Pen America added: “The last few months have seen so-called fake news and “alternative facts” challenge the authority of legitimate news sources, expertise and scientific knowledge discredited, and the value of arts and culture questioned. At the same time, millions of Americans are finding new ways to express their views in protest. These developments pose important questions for the role of the writer: Do writers have any unique obligations that derived from the political challenges of the day? Should the roles of writer, artist, citizen, and activist converge? How can the breadth and diversity of the literary community be reflected without detracting from unified efforts? What obligations exist within and amongst the literary community and its sub-cultures? Does the literary community need to evolve to meet the challenges of this moment, and how?”


TOWN HALL MEETING: The Role of the Writer in Trump’s America Opening remarks from Daniel Alarcón , Masha Gessen, Dinaw Mengestu, Salman Rushdie, Andrew Solomon, and more to be announced. (Pen America)

Following remarks from the featured writers an open mike discussion will be held among members of PEN America.


If You Go:
Wed, March 8, 2017
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
Frederick P. Rose Auditorium
41 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10008
Click here to register

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Photos: Feyisa Lilesa’s New Life in Arizona

Feyisa Lilesa, who has not been back to Ethiopia since his protest at the marathon finish in the Rio Olympics last August, on a training run in Sedona, Ariz., not far from his new home in Flagstaff. (Photo: NYT)

The New York Times

Feyisa Lilesa, Marathoner in Exile, Finds Refuge in Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The young boy was getting reacquainted with his father after an absence of six months and climbed on him as if he were a tree. The boy kissed his father and hugged him and clambered onto his shoulders. Then, when a protest video streamed on television, the boy grabbed a stick, and the lid of a pot to serve as a shield, and began to mimic a dance of dissent in the living room.

There is much joy and relief, but also continued political complication, in the modest apartment of Feyisa Lilesa, the Ethiopian marathon runner who won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and gained international attention when he crossed his arms above his head at the finish line in a defiant gesture against the East African nation’s repressive government.

Afraid to return home, fearing he would be jailed, killed or no longer allowed to travel, Lilesa, 27, remained in Brazil after the Summer Games, then came to the United States in early September. He has received a green card as a permanent resident in a category for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and sports.

On Valentine’s Day, his wife, Iftu Mulisa, 26; daughter, Soko, 5; and son, Sora, 3, were reunited with him, first in Miami and then in Flagstaff, where Lilesa is training at altitude for the London Marathon in April. Their immigrant visas are valid until July, but they also hope to receive green cards.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related
Feyisa Lilesa Reunites with Family
In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
Washington Post Interview With Feyisa Lilesa
From Rio to America: Olympian Feyisa Lilesa’s Washington Post Op-Ed
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Arrives in the U.S.
In Seattle, African Athletics Org Renames 5k Race ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run’
Over $100000 Raised For Ethiopian Olympian Runner
Medallist Feyisa Lilesa fails to return to Ethiopia after Olympics protest
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games
Ethiopia Says Protesting Marathoner to Be Welcomed as Hero, But Does He Want to Go?
Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games »
Ethiopia Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Protests Government With Marathon Medal
Ethiopian Marathoner’s Protest Puts Him at Odds With His Government
Ethiopian runner makes protest sign as he crosses line in Rio
Rio 2016 Olympics: Genzebe Dibaba Takes Silver Medal in the Women’s 1,500 Meters
Rio 2016 Olympics: Etenesh Diro Advances to 3,000-Meter Steeplechase With 1 Shoe
Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record
Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism
All Eyes on Brazil as 2016 Olympics Starts

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Is Fashion Made in Africa Sustainable? Look at Liya’s Ethiopia Brand Lemlem

Brands like Lemlem have proven that scaling in some corners of the continent is possible. But is it sustainable? (Photo: Lemlem)

Business of Fashion

Can You Build a Fashion Business With a Manufacturing Base in Africa?

NEW YORK, United States — Liya Kebede made her first Lemlem garment in 2007 as a way to give back to Ethiopia, where the successful model was born and raised; a crucial stop before starring in Tom Ford campaigns and walking Miuccia Prada’s runway. She found a group in Addis Ababa, her hometown and the sub-Saharan African country’s largest city, to produce garments handwoven in the traditional technique, with the gauzy white cotton she wore growing up but had since been replaced by more Western-style (and often second-hand Western) garments.

“When I created Lemlem it was about trying to create a solution to a problem,” Kebede says, smiling from behind her desk in a sunny office located in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighbourhood. “The market of the weaving had gone down a lot and there were all these artisans that were looking for jobs and not finding any. What can I do to help move the needle a little bit along?”

Kebede modernised the silhouettes and instructed the artisans to weave in stripes of fluo-coloured yarn, which soon became Lemlem’s signature. In that first year, she manufactured 200 units and secured three points of sale. Collaborations with the likes of J.Crew — including a successful kid’s line — followed.

In 2017, production will exceed 25,000 units, with 300 points of distribution across six continents. She now employs 250 weavers and craftspeople in Ethiopia, with salaries increasing five-fold in the past decade. In recent years, Kebede has expanded parts of her production to Kenya — where she produces trend-driven fashion items — and sources materials in Rwanda, Madagascar and Mali.

The success of the line has compelled Kebede to change her namesake non-profit to Lemlem Foundation, which has expanded its mission of promoting maternal health in Africa to supporting the economic empowerment of African women. (The for-profit business donates 5 percent of all of its direct sales and proceeds from one-off collaborations to the foundation.)

While Kebede declined to disclose annual revenue figures, her 2017 goal for Lemlem — other than to expand the label’s fashion offerings, with plans to host its first-ever live presentation during the Resort 2018 season this spring — is to raise capital in order to scale further. And she plans to do so in Africa, where she has managed to achieve success.

And yet — expansive production, especially at the higher end of the market — still seems extraordinarily difficult to accomplish on the continent — if not impossible — with commonly known challenges such as unstable infrastructure, the bog of bureaucracy and a lack of information on how exactly to do it.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

How Trump is Emboldening Autocrats, Damaging Press Freedom in U.S. & Abroad

(Image: New York Daily News Twitter@NYDailyNews)

The New York Times

Updated: FEB. 25, 2017

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday, President Trump took his anti-media rhetoric to a new level, doubling down on his description of journalists as “the enemy of the people” and calling for an end to the use of anonymous sources. This on a day when his press secretary Sean Spicer barred reporters from The New York Times, BBC, BuzzFeed News, CNN, Politico, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post from his daily White House press briefing.

The unrelenting attacks on the news media damage American democracy. They appear to be part of a deliberate strategy to undermine public confidence and trust by sowing confusion and uncertainty about what is true. But they do even greater damage outside the United States, where America’s standing as a global beacon of press freedom is being drastically eroded.

This is not just a matter of United States prestige. At a time when journalists around the world are being killed and imprisoned in record numbers, Mr. Trump’s relentless tirades against “fake news” are emboldening autocrats and depriving threatened and endangered journalists of one of their strongest supporters — the United States government.

Of course the United States’ record on press freedom is far from perfect. During the Obama administration, aggressive leak investigations — including a record number of prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act — regularly ensnared the press. But the United States has had tremendous moral influence when it spoke out about press freedom violations, and not just because of the commitment to the First Amendment. The fact that United States political leaders regularly withstood relentless criticism in the press gave them legitimacy when they called for the protection of critical voices in repressive societies.

For example, the Obama administration, through public statements and behind-the-scenes diplomacy, helped win the release of imprisoned journalists in Ethiopia and Vietnam. President George W. Bush regularly spoke out about press freedom violations, in places like Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Earlier this month, the Venezuelan government suspended CNN’s Spanish language network following accusations by President Nicolás Maduro that the network manipulates the news. President Trump was silent. Really, what could he say?

Read more »


Related:
Trump Era America: US Journos Barred From White House Briefing


Reporters gather after being denied access to an informal White House press secretary briefing. (AFP)

CPJ

February 24, 2017

New York –The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the decision today to bar nine news outlets from an informal briefing known as “a gaggle” by President Donald Trump’s White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Separately, at the Conservative Party Action Conference in Maryland today, Trump said that journalists should not be allowed to use anonymous sources, and accused the press of producing “fake news,” according to reports.

“President Trump’s calls for an end to anonymous sources was alarming. It is not the job of political leaders to determine how journalists should conduct their work, and sets a terrible example for the rest of the world, where sources often must remain anonymous to preserve their own lives,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We are concerned by the decision to bar reporters from a press secretary briefing. The U.S. should be promoting press freedom and access to information.”

Aides to the press secretary denied access to reporters from CNN, The New York Times, Politico, The Hill, the BBC, the Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, the Los Angeles Times, and New York Daily News, saying that only those previously confirmed could attend the briefing, The New York Times reported. An administration spokesperson said in a statement that a press pool was in place for the informal briefing, which was taking in a smaller office that the regular briefings. Reporters from The Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the briefing in solidarity with their colleagues.

Read more »

Here’s the audio from the White House briefing that blocked CNN, New York Times


Related:
Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Why Ethiopia’s Lalibela is Among Africa’s Great Civilizations

The Church of Saint George hewn into the rocky hills of Lalibela. (Photo by Chester Higgins, Jr.)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Long before the invention of photography and other media tools international visitors to Ethiopia had difficulty describing to the outside world the spectacular beauty of the ancient Lalibela church architectures in the event that their words might be interpreted as an exaggeration. “I weary of writing more about these buildings, because it seems to me that I shall not be believed if I write more,” declared a member of the Portuguese Ambassador’s delegation to Ethiopia, Francisco Álvares, in the 1520s.

Nearly 500 hundred years later African-American scholar and Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr traveled to Lalibela with a documentary film crew at hand for a close look at the amazing 12 churches carved into and out of the historic town’s rocky highlands. The program will air on February 27th at 9/8c on PBS as Professor Gates takes “a voyage through 200,000 years of human civilization.”

Watch: Lalibela | Africa’s Great Civilizations (PBS Trailer)

Lalibela was built almost 1000 years ago and is said to symbolize a new Jerusalem. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Lalibela a World Heritage Site in 1978 stating “Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Christianity, still today a place of devotion.”

UNESCO adds: King 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 Bete 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. The Jerusalem theme is important. The rock churches, although connected to one another by maze-like tunnels, are physically separated by a small river which the Ethiopians named the Jordan. Churches on one side of the Jordan represent the earthly Jerusalem; whereas those on the other side represent the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of jewels and golden sidewalks alluded to in the Bible.”

Watch: Africa’s Great Civilizations | Official Trailer

According to PBS: “In his six-hour series, Africa’s Great Civilizations, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes a look at the history of Africa, from the birth of humankind to the dawn of the 20th century. This is a breathtaking and personal journey through two hundred thousand years of history, from the origins, on the African continent, of art, writing and civilization itself, through the millennia in which Africa and Africans shaped not only their own rich civilizations, but also the wider world.”


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

2017 Africa Policy Breakfast Kickoff: U.S. Contracting Opportunities

A topic routinely requested as a topic for Africa Policy Breakfasts is a discussion on contracting opportunities with the U.S. Government, says U.S. representative Karen Bass. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass who is the Ranking Member of the House Africa Subcommittee will host the 2017 Africa policy breakfast kickoff event next week in Washington, D.C. focusing on how to win contracting opportunities with the U.S. Government.

“Getting the correct information and details on this process is often thought of as complex and difficult,” said the email announcement from Rep. Bass who represents California’s 37th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. “This event will feature experienced contracting experts with years of experience in the U.S. public and/or private sector to help us kick off the 2017 series of Africa Policy Breakfasts.”

The panel will be moderated by the Honorable Lauri J. Fitz-Pegado, a Partner at The Livingston Group. “Appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Fitz-Pegado served in the Department of Commerce, under the late Secretary Ronald H. Brown and Secretaries Mickey Kantor and William Daley, as the Assistant Secretary and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.”

Guest speaker includes Dr. Sharon T. Freeman, President of All American Small Business Exporters Association, as well as expert panelists Eugene Cornelius, Deputy Assistant Administrator for International Trade, Small Business Administration; Mahmoud Bah, Acting Vice President of Administration and Financing and Chief Financial Officer, Millennium Challenge Corporation and Kimberly Ball, Deputy Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged business Utilization, U.S. Agency for International Development.


If You Go:
2017 Africa Policy Breakfast Kickoff:
Contracting Opportunities with the U.S. Government
Monday, February 27, 2017
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
2044 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Click here to RSVP

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Spotlight: SoleRebels Founder Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu’s New Coffee Brand

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu's new Garden of Coffee roastery and café in Addis Ababa. (Courtesy photo)

Daily Coffee News

Garden of Coffee Cultivating Ethiopian Coffee Experience for Global Growth

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu — the pioneering and enterprising creator of the SoleRebels footwear brand — believes the future of a truly sustainable specialty coffee market can be found in coffee’s birthplace, her native Ethiopia.

After more than a decade of building SoleRebels into a global footwear and leather goods brand that combines traditional Ethiopian craftsmanship and materials with fresh new designs while also paying top dollar throughout the supply chain, Alemu late last year launched an equally ambitious coffee venture called Garden of Coffee.

The company has just opened its first branded roastery café in the Bole area of Addis Ababa, occupying approximately 10,000 square feet that serve as something of an immersive shrine to Ethiopian coffee culture and craft. Alemu described the facility as far more than merely a new retail storefront; her company’s goal is to completely redefine the seed-to-cup coffee journey by promoting what she calls “Origin Trade.”


Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. (Courtesy photo)

“It goes way beyond commodity pricing , Fair Trade or direct trade. It’s a total realignment of the value chain,” Alemu told Daily Coffee News. “If ever there was a category ripe for a radical realignment and, yes, disruption, the coffee market is it. Does it make sense for Ethiopia, the producer and in fact the originator of the finest, most legendary Arabicas on the planet, to ship our magical raw green beans thousands of miles for roasting when we can produce the absolute finest roasts right here using our own talented roasting artisans? We think everyone would agree it does not.”

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In DC, Diaspora Ethiopians Receive Royal Medals at Adwa Celebration

(Photo: Courtesy of Negarit)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, February 20th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This coming weekend at the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square in Washington, D.C., Ethiopian guests will gather for a black tie event hosted by Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, the grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie and head of The Crown Council of Ethiopia. The event is both a celebration of Ethiopia’s historic victory at Adwa as well as to give out honorary medals to selected individuals who have distinguished themselves through their dedicated contribution to Ethiopian society at large.

This year the most prestigious award the “Grand Officer of the Imperial Order of Emperor Menelik II,” which was founded in 1924 during the reign of Empress Zauditu, will be bestowed on Elias Wondimu, the Editorial Director & Founder of Tsehai Publishers in Los Angeles, California. In a statement Prince Ermias shared that Elias is being honored for preserving “the national identity of Ethiopians and Africans, and contributing to a greater understanding of Ethiopia and Africa by people outside the continent.”

In addition Denver, Colorado-based businessman Mel Tewahade, among others, will be given the “Grand Officer of the Order of the Star of Honor” (GOSE) during the private ceremony to be held on February 25,2017 at the Annual Victory of Adwa Commemorative Dinner, according to Gregory Copley, a Strategic Advisor to the Crown Council of Ethiopia.

The newspaper Negarit — The Journal of The International Society for the Imperial Ethiopian Orders — notes that the annual event, now in its sixth year, commemorates the victory of Emperor Menelik II over invading Italian forces at the Battle of Adwa on March 1, 1896.

—-
Related:
Adwa: Genesis of Unscrambled Africa
Interview With Prince Ermias S. Selassie
In Pictures: 50th Anniversary of Emperor Haile Selassie’s Historic Visit to Jamaica (TADIAS)

Haile Selassie’s visit was a momentous occasion (Jamaica Observer)
Under Pressure from Family Christie’s Skips Auction of Haile Selassie’s Watch
New Book on Triumph & Tragedy of Ethiopia’s Last Emperor Haile Selassie (TADIAS)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest To Armed Uprising – OpEd

People protest against an earlier security force attack on a student rally in central and southern Ethiopia during a demonstration organized by the opposition in Addis Ababa, May 2014. (Reuters)

EURASIA REVIEW

What began as a regional protest movement in November 2015, is in danger of becoming a fully-fledged armed uprising in Ethiopia.

Angered and exasperated by the government’s intransigence and duplicity, small guerrilla groups made up of local armed people have formed in Amhara and elsewhere, and are conducting hit and run attacks on security forces. Fighting at the beginning of January in the North West region of Benishangul Gumuz saw 51 regime soldiers killed, ESAT News reported, and in the Amhara region a spate of incidents has occurred, notably a grenade attack on a hotel in Gondar and an explosion in Bahir-Dar.

In what appears to be an escalation in violence, in Belesa, an area north of Gondar, a firefight between ‘freedom fighters’, as they are calling themselves, and the military resulted in deaths on both sides. There have also been incidents in Afar, where people are suffering the effects of drought; two people were recently killed by security personnel, others arrested. The Afar Human Rights Organization told ESAT that the government has stationed up to 6000 troops in the region, which has heightened tensions and fuelled resentment.

Given the government’s obduracy, the troubling turn of events was perhaps to be expected. However, such developments do not bode well for stability in the country or the wider region, and enable the ruling regime to slander opposition groups as ‘terrorists’, and implement more extreme measures to clamp down on public assembly in the name of ‘national security’.

Until recently those calling for change had done so in a peaceful manner; security in the country – the security of the people – is threatened not by opposition groups demanding human rights be observed and the constitution be upheld, but by acts of State Terrorism, the real and pervasive menace in Ethiopia.

Oppressive State of Emergency

The regime’s response has been consistently violent and has fuelled more protests, motivated more people to take part, and brought supressed anger towards the ruling EPRDF to the surface…Unwilling to enter into dialogue with opposition groups, and unable to contain the movement that swept through the country, in October 2016 the government imposed a six-month ‘State of Emergency’…The directive places stifling restrictions of basic human rights, and as Human Rights Watch (HRW) states, goes “far beyond what is permissible under international law and signals an increased militarized response to the situation.”

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Breaking the Anti-Immigrant Fever in US

The Times Sunday Review | EDITORIAL. (Image: By João Fazenda)

The New York Times

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Americans have been watching the Trump administration unfold for almost a month now, in all its malevolent incompetence. From morning tweets to daytime news to late-night comedy, many watch and fret and mock, and then sleep, sometimes fitfully.

Others, a large minority, lie awake, thinking about losing their families, jobs and homes. They have been vilified by the president as criminals, though they are not. They have tried to build honest lives here and suddenly are as fearful as fugitives. They await the fists pounding on the door, the agents in black, the cuffs, the van ride, the cell. They are terrified that the United States government will find them, or their parents or their children, demand their papers, and take them away.

About 11 million people are living in this country outside the law. Suddenly, by presidential decree, all are deportation priorities, all are supposed criminals, all are threatened with broken lives, along with members of their families. The end could come for them any time.

This is not an abstract or fanciful depiction. It is not fake news. It’s the United States of today, this month, this morning…

This vision is the one Donald Trump began outlining at the start of his campaign, when he slandered an entire country, Mexico, as an exporter of rapists and drug criminals, and an entire faith, Islam, as a global nest of murderers. This is the currency of the Trump aides Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, who have brought the world of the alt-right, with its white nationalist strain, into the White House.

Read more at NYTimes.com »


Related:
US Federal Appeals Court Rules 3 to 0 Against Trump on Travel Ban
Former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia One of US Judges Reviewing Trump’s Ban
In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia: In Memory of Historian Richard Pankhurst

Richard Pankhurst, pictured above at his home in Addis Ababa, has died at age 89. The British Embassy in Ethiopia said Pankhurst had died on Thursday, February 16th, 2017. (Photo by Kristin Fellows)

Reuters

Historian Richard Pankhurst dies, Ethiopia mourns

Richard Pankhurst, the son of the British women’s rights campaigner Sylvia Pankhurst who became one of the world’s leading experts on Ethiopian history and culture, has died aged 89.

He first came into contact with Ethiopia through his mother, a ‘suffragette’ who also campaigned against the invasion of the Horn of Africa nation by Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italian troops in 1935.

He moved to Addis Ababa with her after World War Two and started teaching at Addis Ababa University, going on to write more than 20 books and thousands of articles.

He also inherited an activist streak from his mother and his grandmother, Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the suffragette movement, which helped secure the right for British women to vote.

Richard campaigned with his wife Rita for the return of piles of plunder taken from Ethiopia by invading British troops in 1868, and of a giant obelisk taken from the ancient city of Axum by Mussolini’s forces. Both were there in Axum to watch as Italy returned the obelisk in 2005.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry called him a “doyen of historians and scholars of Ethiopia”.

“Pankhurst was one of Ethiopia’s greatest friends during his long and productive life, and his scholarship and understanding for Ethiopia will be sorely missed,” it said in a statement.

Author and photographer Maaza Mengiste told BBC Africa: “I’ve discovered things about my country, just sometimes stumbling upon something that he’s written … a whole other window opens for me on how I understand my own history.”

One Ethiopian, Wondwosen Gelan, tweeted simply: “He was our history archive. We miss him so much.”

Related:
Tea with Richard and Rita Pankhurst


Richard Pankhurst (in the pink shirt) attending an event at ASNI in Addis Ababa. (Photo by Kristin Fellows)

The Red Moon Letters

I have my doubts as to whether or not I could ever make it as a journalist.

I love to interview people, listen to their stories, and ask them the questions that open them up their lives to me like unfolding origami or blooming flowers. I am genuinely interested in what they have to say, but I am often shy about intruding on people’s time for information or interviews.

One person I greatly admired and had wanted to meet with while in Addis was Richard Pankhurst, the eminent Ethiopian historian, the founding director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, a former professor at the University of Addis Ababa, and the son of Sylvia Pankhurst.

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopians call for state funeral as Richard Pankhurst, champion of Ethiopian culture, dies aged 89

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Feyisa Lilesa Reunites with Family

Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa, of Ethiopia, hugs his wife Iftu Mulia, his daughter Soko, 5, and son Sora, 3, while picking up his family at Miami International Airport on Tuesday. (AP)

Associated Press

February 14, 2017

The Ethiopian marathoner crouched down low in the hallway at the Miami airport as he carried a bouquet of red roses.

Feyisa Lilesa’s daughter spotted him first and ran in for a hug. Then, his young son and lastly his wife.

On Valentine’s Day, the Olympic silver medalist who became an international figure when he crossed his wrists in protest at the finish line in Rio de Janeiro finally reunited with his family. He was a little late (traffic), but what’s a few extra minutes when he’s already waited six long months to see them.

As he made his way out of the airport, his daughter rode on the luggage and his son perched on his shoulders, carrying the flowers he brought as a gift.


2016 Rio Olympics – Athletics – Final – Men’s Marathon – Sambodromo – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 21/08/2016. Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) of Ethiopia celebrates as he wins silver. (Photo: REUTERS)

Read more »


Related:
In Pictures: Feyisa Lilesa’s Daring Protest Reminiscent of 1968 Olympics
Washington Post Interview With Feyisa Lilesa
From Rio to America: Olympian Feyisa Lilesa’s Washington Post Op-Ed
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Arrives in the U.S.
In Seattle, African Athletics Org Renames 5k Race ‘Feyisa Lilesa Heroic Run’
Over $100000 Raised For Ethiopian Olympian Runner
Medallist Feyisa Lilesa fails to return to Ethiopia after Olympics protest
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games
Ethiopia Says Protesting Marathoner to Be Welcomed as Hero, But Does He Want to Go?
Ethiopia ‘hero’ runner gets asylum donations after Oromo protest sign
Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Shows Solidarity With Protesters in Ethiopia at Rio Games »
Ethiopia Olympian Feyisa Lilesa Protests Government With Marathon Medal
Ethiopian Marathoner’s Protest Puts Him at Odds With His Government
Ethiopian runner makes protest sign as he crosses line in Rio
Rio 2016 Olympics: Genzebe Dibaba Takes Silver Medal in the Women’s 1,500 Meters
Rio 2016 Olympics: Etenesh Diro Advances to 3,000-Meter Steeplechase With 1 Shoe
Ethiopia’s First Gold at Rio Olympics: Almaz Ayana Smashes 10,000m Record
Ethiopia’s Olympic Swimmer Robel Kiros: Body Shaming & Questions of Nepotism
All Eyes on Brazil as 2016 Olympics Starts

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

How Should the US React to Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia?

The US capitol building. (Photo: Shutterstock)

CNA

One member of Congress is hoping for a “serious policy review” by the Trump administration of the United States’ relationship with Ethiopia, citing human rights abuses by the government there.

“To truly stop violence abroad, Ethiopia must stop violence at home,” Rep. Chris Smith, chair of the House subcommittee on Africa and global human rights, stated at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday.

“Since 2005, untold thousands of students have been jailed, have been shot during demonstrations or have simply disappeared in the last 11 years,” Smith stated Feb. 15. “Ethiopia’s next generation is being taught that the rights that democracy normally bestows on a country’s citizens don’t apply in their country.”

Smith and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced a House resolution (H. Res. 128) Wednesday “highlighting the crisis in Ethiopia due to government violations of the human rights of its citizens,” Smith stated.

“With this resolution, we are showing that the United States remains committed to universal respect for human rights, and that we will not tolerate continued abuse of those human rights by Ethiopian security forces,” Coffman said.

There has been a “steady erosion” of democracy in Ethiopia since 2005, the congressmen maintained.

Government dissidents have been jailed, citizens have been tortured and killed by the government’s security forces, and freedom of the press has been infringed upon. Ethnic groups have been the victims of violence perpetrated by the government.

Peaceful protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the country were met with hundreds of killings and tens of thousands of arrests by security forces in 2016, Human Rights Watch said in its recent report on the country. Citizens released from jail claimed they were tortured while in custody.

“Instead of addressing the numerous calls for reform in 2016, the Ethiopian government used excessive and unnecessary lethal force to suppress largely peaceful protests,” Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, stated in the report released in January.

One protest in the Oromia region resulted in the police using tear gas, rubber bullets, and rounds fired into the air to break it up, claiming that the crowd was getting out of hand. An ensuing stampede killed 50. The Inter-religious Council of Ethiopia, on which Catholic leaders sit, called for prayer and peace amid the protests and asked government leaders to listen to the people.

The recent protests in the Amhara region of the country have showed a sense of “identity” on the part of embattled citizens, and their “need to survive,” Tewodrose Tirfe of the Amhara Association of America, a refugee who came to the U.S. in 1982, noted.

“The U.S. and the West cannot sympathize with a government that kills people,” Seenaa Jimjimo, a human rights advocate who was born and grew up in Ethiopia, insisted in her statement at Wednesday’s press conference.

Amidst protests, a state of emergency was declared by the state in October and is “being used as a method to crack down even further on basic human freedoms,” Coffman said.

Thus, the resolution is the “first step by our representatives to let the Ethiopian government know that the U.S. policy is changing, that their continued human rights violations on innocent civilians will not be tolerated,” Tirfe stated.

“We invoke the Global Magnitsky Act,” Gregory Simpkins, staff director of the House subcommittee on Africa, said on Wednesday of the law which enables sanctions against specific “entities and persons who violate the human rights of people.”

Ethiopia has acted as a key ally in fighting international terrorism, Smith noted, but if it fails to protect human rights at home then extremism could fester within its own borders.

“What Congressman Smith and I are asking is for the Congress of the United States to join together and pass this resolution condemning the Ethopian government for its human rights abuses,” Coffman stated.

“And I think it’s important for all Americans to care about human rights to encourage their member of Congress to co-sponsor this resolution so that we can pass it in the Congress.”

—-
Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Spain Genzebe Dibaba Breaks the World 2000m Record

Genzebe Dibaba celebrates her victory (Getty Images)

IAAF

World 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba added to her growing list of record-breaking achievements by breaking the world 2000m record* at the Miting Internacional de Catalunya in the Spanish city of Sabadell on Tuesday (7).

The three-time world indoor champion overtook the pacemaker just before the half-way mark, which was reached in 2:42.65, and continued to extend her lead over her younger sister Anna and Morocco’s Siham Hilali.

She went on to stop the clock at 5:23.75, taking almost seven seconds off the world indoor best set by Gabriela Szabo in 1998. Although the 2000m isn’t an official world record event indoors, Dibaba’s performance – pending ratification – can be classed as an outright world record as it is faster than Sonia O’Sullivan’s outdoor mark of 5:25.36.

As well as the outdoor 1500m world record, Dibaba now owns the fastest ever recorded times indoors for the 1500m, mile, 2000m, 3000m, two miles and 5000m.

Elsewhere in Sabadell, European champion Adam Kszczot won the 800m in 1:46.31 with Spanish record-holder Kevin Lopez taking second place in 1:46.58.

European 5000m silver medallist Adel Mechaal was a convincing winner of the 3000m, clocking 7:48.39 to finish more than two seconds ahead of Italy’s Marouan Razine.


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

US Federal Appeals Court Rules 3 to 0 Against Trump on Travel Ban

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling suspending President Trump’s controversial immigration order barring refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. on Feb. 9.

The Washington Post

A federal appeals panel has maintained the freeze on President Trump’s controversial immigration order, meaning previously barred refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries can continue entering the United States.

In a unanimous 29-page opinion, three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit flatly rejected the government’s argument that suspension of the order should be lifted immediately for national security reasons, and they forcefully asserted their ability to serve as a check on the president’s power.

The judges wrote that any suggestion that they could not “runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

The judges did not declare outright that the ban was meant to disfavor Muslims — essentially saying it was too early for them to render a judgment on that question. But their ruling is undeniably a blow to the government and means the travel ban will remain off for the foreseeable future.

Read more »


Related:
Former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia One of US Judges Reviewing Trump’s Ban
In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Former Peace Corps Director in Ethiopia One of US Judges Reviewing Trump’s Ban

Judge William Canby Jr., who is one of the three US federal appeals court judges reviewing President Donald Trump’s travel ban, was an Associate Director of the Peace Corps for Ethiopia from 1962 to 1963. (ASU)

Heavy

William Canby Jr. is one of three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who on Tuesday [heard] oral arguments in the challenge to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Here’s what you need to know about William Canby Jr.

According to the Arizona State University College of Law, William Canby in 1962 helped establish the Peace Corps in Africa with his wife, Jane.

Canby joined the Peace Corps that year after spending some time working in private practice. He would go on to serve as associate director of the Peace Corps for Ethiopia, and then deputy director for the Peace Corps for Ethiopia. After that, he became the director of the Peace Corps for Uganda for two years.

He returned to the United States in the late ’60s to teach law at Arizona State University, but he returned to Ethiopia in 1999 to help achieve peace in the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Here’s an early look at how questioning went in the appeals court review of Trump’s immigration ban


From left: Judge Richard R. Clifton, shown in 2002; Judge William Canby, shown in 2015; and Judge Michelle T. Friedland, shown in 2014. (Associated Press)

LA Times

A federal appeals court panel reviewing President Trump’s controversial limits on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries appeared skeptical Tuesday of the administration’s arguments seeking to reinstate his order.

In a hearing that lasted more than an hour, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals appeared to dismiss the administration’s arguments that neither the states nor the courts have the authority to challenge the executive order, which seeks to bar travelers from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa to protect the United States from terrorists.

The fight over the travel moratorium is being viewed as a test of whether the new and unconventional president, who has never before held public office, will be reined in by the courts as he tries to implement his controversial campaign promises.

Read more »

Audio: State of Washington v. Donald J. Trump


Related:
In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Four Generations of Black Women Artists in California: Exhibition by Alitash Kebede

Kenturah-Davis. (Courtesy of The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — As part of the month-long nationwide celebration of Black History Month, Ethiopian American Alitash Kebede, owner of Alitash Kebede Arts, is the exhibition consultant for a show entitled “Enduring in Vision and Linked in Tradition: Selected Works by Four Generations of African American Women Artists,” which is being displayed at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) at California State University, San Bernardino. The exhibition will run from Feb. 11th – April 8th, 2017 with an opening reception on Thursday, Feb. 9th, 7-9 p.m.

The show is “an intimate yet captivating exhibition featuring works by thirteen highly accomplished artists representing four generations of African-American women in the art world from the first half of the twentieth century to the present,” the museum said in a press release. “The exhibition features two renowned Los Angeles artists, the city’s native Betye Saar and New Orleans-born, Samella Lewis. Highly regarded, celebrated and influential, both artists still live and work in Los Angeles today; during the second half of the previous century both were major force in the city’s vibrant art scene.”


If You Go:
CSUSB Art Museum
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407-2397
Phone: (909) 537-7373
E-mail: raffma@csusb.edu
http://raffma.csusb.edu.
The museum is open Monday – Wednesday and Saturday, 10am-5pm, Thursday 11am-7pm and is closed
Friday and Sunday.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In Divided America, US History Has Become Weapon for Trump Fans & Critics

Clockwise from top left: Richard Nixon, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass are among the historic figures who have been deployed by pro- and anti-Trump partisans. (Photos: WaPo)

The Washington Post

America’s past has become a weapon for Trump’s fans and critics

On social networks and talk radio, in classrooms and at kitchen tables, the country’s past is suddenly inescapable. Many, many people — as President Trump would put it — are sharing stories about key moments and figures in American history to support or oppose one controversial White House executive order after another.

Andrew Jackson and Huey Long are alive in Facebook feeds. Twitter is afire with 140-character bursts of historical moments — the St. Louis steaming toward Miami in 1939 with Jewish refugees fleeing Germany’s Third Reich, or the “Saturday Night Massacre,” President Richard Nixon’s firing of a special prosecutor in 1973 during the Watergate scandal.

Trump may or may not make America great again, but he has certainly revived interest in U.S. history. It has been a long time since Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony were in the news, not to mention import taxes, the Revolutionary War, Japanese internment camps and the Immigration Act of 1917.

“I’ve never seen so many people desperate to refer to historical examples,” said David Bell, a Princeton University history professor who last month moderated a panel on Trump at the American Historical Association’s annual conference. “Everyone seems to have an example.”

While Barack Obama’s election renewed discussion of the nation’s tortured racial history and Hillary Clinton’s would have spawned a look back at women’s rights, historians say the speed and breadth of Trump’s policy pronouncements have prompted the electorate to deploy history as an offensive or defensive rhetorical weapon.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Related:
US Foreign-policy: Why Trump Has Already Blown It
Judge Stops Trump’s Travel Ban Nationwide
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

The Guardian on How Diaspora is Helping to Build Modern Ethiopia

Entrepreneurs educated overseas are returning home. (Photo: A family at a restaurant in Addis Ababa/Alamy)

The Guardian

From chefs to musicians, talented ‘re-pats’ come back to build a modern Ethiopia

His dream is to show the world the glories of Ethiopian cuisine, to preserve its rich traditions and to make even his poorest fellow citizens eat better. That Yohanis Gebreyesus Hailemariam’s ambition recalls the aims of a slightly better known chef is no coincidence.

“I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver. Many years back, my mum and I used to watch his shows,” he says. The 30-year-old is one of thousands of talented young Ethiopians who have chosen to return to their homeland after being educated or growing up overseas…Hailemariam grew up in Addis Ababa but spent years training with Paul Bocuse, an internationally renowned French chef, in Lyon before working at top restaurants in California. One of the highest profile Ethiopian re-pats, he has successfully tapped into a growing interest in cooking and gastronomy among an emerging urban middle class. His primetime TV show has an audience of millions, producers say. A key feature of every episode is a recipe specific to each region of the nation of 94 million.

One motive, he says, was to preserve traditions that are being lost as Ethiopia, the second most populous nation in Africa, develops. “I was working in California when I saw my chef using an Ethiopian spice. It struck me that as an Ethiopian I should know and use this product. I should know this … kind of craft, this art, that is being lost in an increasingly rapid and industrialised world,” he says.

“I wanted to come back to Ethiopia. I knew it would be a challenge to come from the diaspora and be seen as an Ethiopian chef. So I travelled all over the country looking to use knowledge that has a global appeal. And I noticed that Ethiopia has so much to offer. Because of globalisation, we are forgetting to look inside our own country.”


Yohanis Gebreyesus Hailemariam.

Read more at The Guardian »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Judge Stops Trump’s Ban Nationwide

A passenger is greeted by friends in Boston on Friday after he cleared U.S. customs. (Photo: Reuters)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Saturday, February 4th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — A U.S. federal judge in Seattle, Washington has ruled to put a nationwide temporary hold on President Donald Trump’s immigration order and allowing stranded passengers at several airports across the country entry into the United States.

A State Department official confirmed on Saturday that individuals with valid visas are once again being welcomed into the US. “We have reversed the provisional revocation of visas under Executive Order 13769. Those individuals with visas that were not physically cancelled may now travel if the visa is otherwise valid,” the official told VOA. “We are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and our legal teams.”

In announcing his decision on Friday U.S. District Judge James L. Robart declared that the judicial branch “must intervene to fulfill its constitutional role in our tripart government.” And Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson added that the ruling “the first of its kind..shuts down the executive order immediately.”

The Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Omar Jadwat, said: “This ruling is another stinging rejection of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban. We will keep fighting to permanently dismantle this un-American executive order.”

Watch: U.S. borders reopen to valid visa holders; Trump files appeal


On Friday, Judge James Robart of Federal District Court in Seattle stopped the ban.

Meanwhile, prior to the new court decision, Reuters reports that nine Yemeni nationals were sent to Ethiopia and eventually to Djibouti. Ethiopian government spokesman Negeri Lencho told the news agency that “The only reason they came to Addis Ababa was because Ethiopian Airlines has flights from Addis Ababa to Washington.”


Related:
State Dept. reverses visa revocations, allows banned travelers to enter U.S.
To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America
A Jarring New Level of Confrontation Hits Washington
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Boston Concert Honors Ethiopia-Armenia Connection

Nerses Nalbandian was an Ethiopian musician and educator of Armenian descent. He gained Ethiopian nationality in 1959. (Photo: MoA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Friday, February 3rd , 2017

New York (TADIAS) – One of the oldest immigrant communities in Ethiopia, Armenians, were welcomed to Ethiopia in the early 1900s after they escaped genocide carried out by the Ottoman empire. In addition to thriving as goldsmiths, carpenters, teachers and carpet makers, Armenian-Ethiopians have also greatly contributed to the emergence of modern music in Ethiopia. Kevork Nalbandian was an Armenian who composed the first national anthem for Ethiopia as well as served as the musical director of Arba Lijoch. His nephew Nerses Nalbandian was involved in the founding of the historic Yared Music School in Addis Ababa as well as led the Municipality Orchestra.

Nerses Nalbandian will be honored this month with a tribute concert entitled The Emperor, the Nalbandians and the Dawn of Western Music in Ethiopia, on Sunday, February 19, 2017 in Watertown, Massachusetts. The concert, which is organized by The Friends of Armenian Culture Society (FACS), features Boston’s world renowned and the Grammy-nominated Ethio jazz band the Either/Orchestra and multilingual cast of guest vocalists including Debo band’s Bruck Tesfaye.

“Born in 1915 in Aintab, Ottoman Empire, Nerses Nalbandian settled in Aleppo, Syria after his family escaped the genocide,” FACS said in a press release. “He worked as a music teacher and choir master at the Armenian Orthodox Church in Syria, before moving to Ethiopia in 1938 at the invitation of his uncle Kevork Nalbandian.”

The press release adds: “The program will include music Nalbandian composed and arranged during his tenure as Music Director of the Haile Selassie National Theater (1956-74). The event also celebrates the release of the E/O’s CD Ethiopiques 32: Nalbandian the Ethiopian, for which the E/O has reconstructed and interpreted Nalbandian’s music in live and studio recordings made in Ethiopia, the US and Canada. The E/O’s previous Ethiopiques release, Live in Addis (2005), was called “astonishing…monumental…the best live album of the year in any genre” by Paul Olsen, AllAboutJazz.com. Armenian scholar Dr. Boris Adjemian, the director of the AGBU Nubar Library in Paris, will deliver a short pre-concert talk.”


If You Go:
FACS presents:
A Tribute to Ethiopian Music Legend Nerses Nalbandian
Featuring Either/Orchestra; Russ Gershon, Music Director, & Bruck Tesfaye, vocalist.
Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 7:00 PM
The Mosesian Center for the Arts [map]
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
Click here for tickets

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

YEP Presents Dr. Menna Demissie of CBC

Menna Demissie, VP of Policy and Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in DC. (Photo: YEP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: Feb. 1st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Menna Demissie, who is Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, is the featured presenter at this week’s YEP guest speakers series in DC hosted by Young Ethiopian Professionals.

Menna who also teaches at the University of California, Washington Center specializes in public policy issues relevant to African Americans. Before joining the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Menna was an assistant to Congresswoman Barbara Lee and worked on unemployment legislation, poverty, and foreign policy. Menna “holds a joint doctorate in Public Policy and Political Science as well as a Master of Arts in Political Science and Certificate in African American, African and Black Transnational Studies from the University of Michigan” notes the CBC Foundation website. “She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Law and Society from Oberlin College. She has been interviewed on NPR and other media outlets and currently serves on the Alumni board for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, on the advisory board of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), and has served as National Youth Coordinator for the Society of Ethiopians Established in the Diaspora (SEED) since 2000.”

At the upcoming YEP program Menna “will share her journey from leading the CBC foundation’s policy initiatives in the areas of education, economic opportunity, and healthcare as it affects the global black community to serving as an adjunct professor at the University of California Washington Center where she teaches courses on U.S.- Africa Foreign Policy, Race and Ethnic Politics, and American Government.”

If You Go:
YEP Presents Dr. Menna Demissie
“Career Opportunities in Government and Public Policy”
Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST)
Washington Marriott Marquis
George Washington University Room
901 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
Click here to RSVP

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

To the World Trump’s Immigration Ban is Contrary to the Idea of America

Statue of Liberty. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — Our stories are depicted in novels, movies, memoirs, articles and plays retelling the brave and diverse lives of millions of immigrant Americans, including many in our community, that had crossed oceans against all odds fleeing imminent danger elsewhere only to find ourselves anew and make it again here in America.

That was what made the U.S. exceptional and unique for people around the globe until last week’s disastrous roll out of a White House travel ban directive, which the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights simply described as being “mean-spirited” and without strong legal merit.

The reaction from the American public has been swift and very loud from coast to coast. And several U.S. federal judges have quickly moved to block parts of the new immigration rule that was ordered by President Donald Trump last Friday, while at least 16 state attorney general have said they will mount a lawsuit challenging Trump’s executive order as unconstitutional and in violation of The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which outlawed such discrimination on national origin.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright — who herself came to the U.S. as a refugee when she was a little girl fleeing communist Czechoslovakia– is among the voices leading the resistance against the new order. “I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and seeing the Statue of Liberty when I came here as a child,” Albright recalled in an email sent today to members of Organizing for Action email distribution list. “It proclaims ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, and today she is weeping.”

In another astutely upfront article warning patriotic Republican lawmakers to distance themselves from Trump’s mounting historical errors, conservative columnist David Brooks points out that this U.S. presidency is an anomaly in every sense of the word. “In the first place, the Trump administration is not a Republican administration; it is an ethnic nationalist administration,” Brooks states. “The Bannonites are utterly crushing the Republican regulars when it comes to actual policy-making.”

Even in the age of ‘alternative facts’ (whatever that means), as Albright says “The truth is that America can simultaneously protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain our country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to turn. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are the obligation of a country built by immigrants.”


Related:
A Jarring New Level of Confrontation Hits Washington
State Dept. Dissent Cable on Trump’s Ban Draws 1,000 Signatures

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

How British Tabloids Helped Kill a Women’s Aid Program in Ethiopia

Members of the Yegna band greet fans in the capital Addis Ababa. (Photo: Noni Rossini/Girl Effect)

The Washington Post

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The headline in Britain’s Daily Mail couldn’t have been more triumphant: “Aid: Now they’re listening,” it shouted in huge letters.

The conservative paper was celebrating the withdrawal of British funding for an aid project in Ethiopia it has dubbed “the Ethiopian Spice Girls.” These “girls” are a five-member all-female band known as Yegna, or “Ours.” It was founded three years ago and produces a radio drama and music videos aimed at helping girls through the perils of adolescence in Ethiopia.

The Daily Mail attacked the project for years with a string of vitriolic articles, calling Yegna “the most wasteful, ludicrous and patronizing” aid project in Africa. That coverage apparently convinced Britain’s Department for International Development to withdraw its funding on Jan. 6.

Yet the aid agency had previously given the program high marks, presenting it as an innovative way to empower Ethiopia’s young women. And while Ethiopia is the second largest recipient of British aid, getting $470 million a year, Yegna received only $6.4 million in total from the British government from 2015 to 2018.

Aid workers and activists say the rush to scapegoat Britain’s aid policy not only hurt a program that is helping adolescent girls but unfairly attacks the idea of using media for social change, a method development workers say is getting good results around the world.

Read more at The Washington Post »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Meet Lina Getachew Ayenew, Author of First Chinese-Amharic Language Guide

Lina Getachew Ayenew's inspiration for her guide, "Dalu: Introduction to Chinese for Amharic Speakers," came while teaching medical English in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province in south-east China. (FT)

The Financial Times

The Ethiopian woman helping to bring Chinese to her homeland

Beijing’s skyline wowed Lina Getachew Ayenew when she arrived in the Chinese capital five years ago, but she was surprised to find the pedestrian bridges looked just like those in her native Addis Ababa.

It turns out the building materials used in Ethiopia’s capital were imported from China — one of many signs of the country’s impact on Africa’s developing economies. Ayenew has been building bridges herself, by creating the first Amharic-Mandarin language guide.

“I had this stereotype [of China] growing up, so this level of development is a part of China I discovered after I came here,” says 29-year old Ayenew, who was raised in Ethiopia, gained undergraduate and masters degrees at Yale University in the US, and moved to China in 2011 to teach medical English. “I don’t know how many Americans know the scale at which China has developed.”

Her fellow Ethiopians do, though. Hundreds of them now live in China, either on government scholarships or because their families pay for Chinese studies. A Chinese education is more attainable than going to the US and, for many, more useful.

Chinese investment in Africa has soared, reaching $26bn as of 2013, with another $60bn pledged in late 2015. Ethiopia’s educated workforce and leather industry have attracted Chinese manufacturing and textile investment.

At a welcoming party for 70 Ethiopian students in Beijing last year, Ayenew “noticed this collective thinking we need to bring knowledge back to our country. China has so much to teach us. There was a collective admiration of China that bounced from speaker to speaker.”

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Trump’s Immigration Ban is Illegal

Protesters near the White House on Wednesday. (Photo: The New York Times)

The New York Times

The Opinion Pages

President Trump signed an executive order on Friday that purports to bar for at least 90 days almost all permanent immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Syria and Iraq, and asserts the power to extend the ban indefinitely.

But the order is illegal. More than 50 years ago, Congress outlawed such discrimination against immigrants based on national origin.

That decision came after a long and shameful history in this country of barring immigrants based on where they came from. Starting in the late 19th century, laws excluded all Chinese, almost all Japanese, then all Asians in the so-called Asiatic Barred Zone. Finally, in 1924, Congress created a comprehensive “national-origins system,” skewing immigration quotas to benefit Western Europeans and to exclude most Eastern Europeans, almost all Asians, and Africans.

Mr. Trump appears to want to reinstate a new type of Asiatic Barred Zone by executive order, but there is just one problem: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin, replacing the old prejudicial system and giving each country an equal shot at the quotas. In signing the new law, President Lyndon B. Johnson said that “the harsh injustice” of the national-origins quota system had been “abolished.”

Mr. Trump may want to revive discrimination based on national origin by asserting a distinction between “the issuance of a visa” and the “entry” of the immigrant. But this is nonsense. Immigrants cannot legally be issued a visa if they are barred from entry. Thus, all orders under the 1952 law apply equally to entry and visa issuance, as his executive order acknowledges.

Read more »

Watch: AS PROTESTS GROW, TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION BAN PROVOKES CRISIS


Related:
Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Is Cowardly and Dangerous
Donald Trump’s Un-American Refugee Policy
Trump’s Order Blocks Immigrants at Airports, Stoking Fear Around Globe

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In DC Gerima & Higgins Talk Visuals to Build Constructive Africa-Diaspora Bridge

(Photo credit: Melketsadek)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Thursday, January 26th, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend in Washington, D.C. renown photographer Chester Higgins, Jr. (formerly with the New York Times) and acclaimed filmmaker and professor Haile Gerima will hold a timely public conversation on the need to produce images that positively impact the connection between continental Africans and those residing in the Diaspora. The event is part of an upcoming documentary film on the life and work of Chester Higgens, Jr. by one of Gerima’s former students, director Patrick Yussuf.

Parts of this conversation, which takes place on Saturday, January 28th at Sankofa Book Store & Cafe, will find its way into the film.

“The discussion is on how the use of conscious visuals of Continental Africans are important for building constructive bridges to Western-born African people,” Higgins told Tadias.

“Chester Higgins Jr. has traveled to Africa every year since 1971 as a way to meditate, disconnect and examine his life,” The New York Times wrote in a feature entitled “Chester Higgins’ Homage to Ethiopia,” which highlighted his work from Ethiopia that was on exhibit in 2015 at Skoto Gallery in New York City. “Through the experience of photographing new people and places, his art both shapes and reflects his narrative. And nowhere is that truer for him than in Ethiopia, a place that has long enchanted him.”


If You Go
Photographer Chester Higgins in Conversation with Filmmaker Haile Gerima
Saturday January 28th, 2017
From 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Sankofa Video & Books, 2714 Georgia Ave, NW
Washington D.C. 20001
Located across from Howard University
Contact: 202-234-4755 or sankofa@gmail.com
www.sankofa.com


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Oscars 2017: Ruth Negga Nominated for Best Actress Award

Ethiopian-born actress Ruth Negga has been nominated for Oscars 2017 best actress award. (Irish Times)

Irish Mirror

Ruth Negga has been nominated in the Best Actress category at the 2017 Academy Awards.

The Irish-Ethiopian actress was short-listed for her role in Loving as the Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday afternoon.

Read more »


Related:
Oscars 2017: Ruth Negga nominated for best actress award (Irish Times)
Ruth Negga: One of Best Film Stars of 2016
Ethiopian-born Actress Ruth Negga Gets Thumbs-up for Lead Role in ‘Loving’

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Focus on Ethiopia: A Look at the New ‘America First’ Foreign Policy

(Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Monday, January 23rd, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — What does the new “America First” foreign policy mean vis-à-vis Ethiopia-U.S. diplomatic, military and economic ties? No one really knows, but according to Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of A World in Disarray, this kind of approach to international relations comes with a double-edged sword: “A narrow America First posture will prompt other countries to pursue an equally narrow, independent foreign policy, which will diminish U.S. influence and detract from global prosperity.”

Mr. Haass shared his concerns in an interview with the New York Times following President Donald J. Trump’s inaugural speech last Friday in which he “cast America’s new role in the world as one of an aggrieved superpower, not a power intent on changing the globe. There was no condemnation of authoritarianism or fascism, no clarion call to defend human rights around the world — one of the commitments that John F. Kennedy made in his famed address, delivered 56 years ago to the day.”

But there is a silver lining of sorts for opponents of past American policy in a sense that the new U.S. government may not have the political appetite to continue taxpayer sponsored USAID “development projects,” which critics say helps more to prop-up non-transparent and corrupt regimes than bring actual change.

Instead, Trump may favor a more business approach primarily aimed at winning against China. “How does U.S. business compete with other nations in Africa? Are we losing out to the Chinese? asks one of the first questions in a four-page document containing Africa-related questions reportedly sent to the State Department and Pentagon officials last week.

In terms of promotion of civil society, human rights and good governance the Trump administration has indicated that it will not necessarily follow the long U.S. precedent articulated in “Kennedy’s most famous line: that America would ‘bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.’” As NYT points out: “The America that elected Mr. Trump had concluded that it was no longer willing to bear that burden — or even to make the spread of democracy the mission of the nation.”

“Mr. Trump views American democracy as a fine import for those who like it,” states the New York Times.


During his inaugural address, President Donald J. Trump laid out a vision for the
United States that focused on benefiting “American workers and American families.”
(Publish Date January 20, 2017/NYT)

“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone,” Trump said in his inaugural address, “but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”

The recently relaunched White House website further explains that “The Trump Administration is committed to a foreign policy focused on American interests and American national security.” The website adds: “Peace through strength will be at the center of that foreign policy. This principle will make possible a stable, more peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground.”

Regarding Africa, however, there is talk that one of the early collateral damages of the new era could be AGOA. “While its benefits have been uneven, the legislation has served as a key framework for U.S.-African relations,” says Witney Schneidman at the Brookings Institution’s. “It has led to trade and investment being at the forefront of U.S. policy in the region.” Schneidman adds: “AGOA has encouraged African women in trade and led to the creation of the African Trade Hubs (rebranded as Trade and Investment Hubs under Obama) to help African companies access AGOA. More recently, the Obama administration has been working to develop a new trade architecture based on reciprocity that would ultimately replace AGOA’s unilateral preference regime.”

And from the African perspective in an article entitled “It might not be the end of the world if Africa drops off Donald Trump’s map,” Qartz Africa notes the continent might just as well choose to turn off the U.S. and look inwards. “It’s worth remembering uncertainty isn’t all just about downside,” argues Yinka Adegoke, the Africa Editor for Quartz. “Less trade with the U.S. could force African countries to put more effort into developing stronger trade links with each other. And young Africans dissuaded from moving to the U.S. comes with one potential advantage: decades of brain drain can be stalled and Africa’s brightest can focus on problems at home.”


Related:
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Pictures: Women’s March in DC & Beyond

The biggest US rally was in Washington, DC, which was attended by more than 500,000 people. (Photo: NYT)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Saturday, January 21st, 2017

New York (TADIAS) — On Saturday, January 21st, in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, millions of people in major cities around the world from New York to Nairobi staged a protest in support of American women.

Below are some photos and links:

Women’s Marches: Millions of protesters around the country vow to resist Donald Trump

Washington Post highlights that “millions of women gathered in Washington and cities around the country Saturday to mount a roaring rejoinder to the inauguration of Donald Trump one day earlier. The historic protests of a new president packed cities large and small — from Los Angeles to Boston to Park City, Utah, where celebrities from the Sundance Film Festival joined a march on the snowy streets. In Chicago, the demonstration was overwhelmed by its own size, forcing officials to curtail its planned march when the crowd threatened to swamp the planned route.”

Read more »

Pictures From Women’s Marches Around the World (The New York Times)


Protestors walk down 42nd Street near Grand Central Terminal during the Women’s March in New York City. (Photo: The New York Times)

Read more »

Lawmakers Show Solidarity With Women’s March On Washington (The Huffington Post)

Huffington Post notes: “Several lawmakers turned out for the Women’s March on Washington Saturday. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) showed up to support the estimated half a million women in the nation’s capital.”


Huffington Post adds: “Some members of Congress shared the personal reasons why they marched, including Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Co.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who marched with women from their districts. Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.) marched with his sister, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, the first Mexican-American congresswoman, said she marched for “all women..Others sent messages of solidarity to the marchers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).”

Read more »

Donald Trump protests attract millions across US and world (BBC News)

BBC writes: “Millions of protesters have taken to the streets of cities in the US and around the globe to rally against the new US President Donald Trump..Larger numbers of demonstrators than expected turned out for more than 600 rallies worldwide.The aim was principally to highlight women’s rights, which activists believe to be under threat from the new administration.”

Read more »


Related:
Trump Sworn in as US President
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Is US Returning to Its Tribalism Past?

President Trump after his speech during the presidential inauguration. (Associated Press photo)

The Washington Post

January 20, 2017

Trump’s dark promise to return to a mythical past

A green lawn, a white picket fence, a shining sun. Small children walk home from school; their mother, clad in an apron, waves to greet them. Father comes home in the evening from his well-paid job, the same one he has had all of his life. He greets the neighbors cheerfully — they are all men and women who look and talk like he does — and sits down to watch the 6 o’clock news while his wife makes dinner. The sun sets. Everyone sleeps well, knowing that the next day will bring no surprises.

In the back of their minds, all Americans know this picture. We’ve seen this halcyon vision in movies, we’ve heard it evoked in speeches and songs. We also know, at some level, what it conceals. There are no black people in the picture — they didn’t live in those kinds of neighborhoods in the 1940s or 1950s — and the Mexican migrants who picked the tomatoes for the family dinner are invisible, too. We don’t see the wife popping Valium in the powder room. We don’t see the postwar devastation in Europe and Asia that made U.S. industry so dominant, and U.S. power so central. We don’t see half the world is dominated by totalitarian regimes. We don’t see the technological changes that are about to arrive and transform the picture.

We also know, at some level, that this vision of a simpler America — before civil rights, feminism, the rise of other nations, the Internet, globalization, free trade — can never be recovered, not least because it never really existed. But even if we know this, that doesn’t mean that the vision has no power.

Over the past few days, multiple polls have shown that Trump is the least popular new president in recent memory. He received 3 million fewer votes than his opponent. He won with the aid of a massive Russian intelligence operation, and by propagating lies about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But don’t let any of this fool you: Do not underestimate the appeal of his nostalgic vision. His call for America to “start winning again,” his denunciation of the “crime and gangs and drugs” of the present, these are so powerful that he has triumphed despite his dishonesty, his vulgarity, his addiction to social media, his lack of religious faith, his many wives, all of the elements of his character and personal history that seemed to disqualify him. Surrounded by the trappings of the White House, its appeal may well increase.

Read more »


Related:
In DC, Pomp and Chaos Collide as Trump Becomes President

Inauguration Protesters and Police Clash on Washington’s Streets

Trump Sworn in as US President
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Trump Sworn in as US President

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama talk, as they pause on the steps of the East Front of the U.S. Capitol as the Obama's depart, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo)

The New York Times

Jan. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — Donald John Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, ushering in a new and more unpredictable era in which he vowed to shatter the established order and restore American greatness.

From the West Front of the Capitol, overlooking a crowd of hundreds of thousands as rain began to fall, Mr. Trump presented a dark vision of a nation afflicted by division and dislocation, exploited and forgotten by a group of Washington elites and diminished around the world. His arrival, he promised, would finally turn it around.

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he declared in a forceful 16-minute Inaugural Address.

“The time for empty talk is over,” he added later. “Now arrives the hour for action. Do not allow anyone to tell you it cannot be done.”

He said the inauguration represented not just the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another. “We are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you the people,” he said.

Read more at NYTimes.com »

Promises, pomp and protests as Trump sworn in (AP)

The Associated Press

Jan. 20, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pledging to empower America’s “forgotten men and women,” Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a deeply divided nation and ushering in an unpredictable era in Washington. His victory gives Republicans control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

Looking out over the crowd sprawled across the National Mall, Trump painted a bleak picture of the nation he now leads, lamenting “American carnage,” shuttered factories and depleted U.S. leadership. President Barack Obama, the man he replaced, sat behind him stoically.

Trump’s address lasted just 16 minutes. While his inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.


President Donald Trump waves after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo)

Demonstrations unfolded at various security checkpoints near the Capitol as police helped ticket-holders get through. After the swearing-in, more protesters registered their rage in the streets of Washington. Police in riot gear deployed pepper spray and made numerous arrests after protesters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, denouncing capitalism and Trump.

The new president’s first words as commander in chief were an unapologetic reprisal of the economic populism and nationalism that fueled his improbable campaign. He vowed to stir “new national pride,” bring jobs back to the United States, and “eradicate completely” Islamic terrorism.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only, ‘America First,’” Trump said.

His address lasted just 16 minutes. While Trump’s inauguration did draw crowds to the nation’s capital, the numbers appeared smaller than for past celebrations.

In a remarkable scene, Trump ripped into Washington’s longtime leaders as he stood among them at the U.S. Capitol. For too long, he said, “a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”

For Republicans eager to be back in the White House, there was little mention of the party’s bedrock principles: small government, social conservativism and robust American leadership around the world. Trump, who is taking office as one of the most unpopular incoming presidents in modern history, made only oblique references to those who may be infuriated and fearful of his presidency.

“To all Americans in every city near and far, small and large from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again,” he said.

The new president was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, reciting the 35-word oath with his hand placed upon two Bibles, one used by his family and another during President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration.

Trump and wife, Melania, bid Obama and outgoing first lady Michelle Obama farewell as they departed the Capitol grounds in a government helicopter. Trump and Obama’s political paths have been linked in remarkable ways. Before running for the White House, the billionaire businessman led efforts to promote falsehoods about the 44th president’s citizenship and claim on the office.

Obama addressed a staff gathering at Joint Base Andrews before departing for a vacation in California. “You proved the power of hope,” he said.

Read more »


Related
Ethiopia: Looking Beyond Obama, Here is What Trump’s Team is Asking
U.S.-Africa Policy in 2017: What Trump Should Do
Ethiopia: US-Africa Relations in Trump Era

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

A Boom in Qat in Ethiopia and Kenya

(Getty Images)

The Economist

Will this burgeoning green business turn to bust?

“THIS is qat,” explains Teklu Kaimo, gesturing to the wooded field behind him. He started growing it in 1976, and over the years its soft, green leaves have brought him a measure of prosperity. He has a modest plot of land, 11 children and money to pay their way through school.

A short walk down the hill, the central marketplace of this part of southern Ethiopia comes alive with farmers, merchants and salesmen as the sun sets. Young men sprint down streets with bundles of fresh qat leaves on their shoulders, as traders call out prices and haul the bags aboard lorries. They are bound for Addis Ababa, the capital, where the following morning they will be sold to qat-chewers in the city, or packed onto planes bound for neighbouring Djibouti and Somaliland.

Ethiopia’s trade in qat, a mild stimulant native to this part of Africa, is booming. Where once cultivation and consumption were restricted to the Muslim lowlands towards the country’s east, today it is grown and masticated throughout the country. Nearly half a million hectares of land are thought to be devoted to it, some two-and-half times more than was grown 15 years ago. Many of those cultivating it have switched from coffee, Ethiopia’s biggest export, to one that offers juicier and more stable returns. Qat is now the country’s second-largest source of foreign currency, and, with prices rising, a handy source of government revenue.

The industry’s growth is partly due to increased consumption. Qat kiosks are dotted around all main towns; young men chewing on street corners or in university libraries have become a ubiquitous feature of Ethiopian life. For many, its spread is a symbol of national decline. “It is getting worse by the day,” says Fitsum Zeab, a businessmen in Addis Ababa.

Read more at Economist.com »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Archives

Categories


Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.