Author Archive for Tadias

Ethiopia: Game Over, Or Not, PM’s Resignation Has Altered the Conversation

For those who follow the ins and outs of Ethiopian politics on a regular basis the recent sudden resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on February 15th might have arrived a bit earlier than they anticipated, and less as a surprise, but for most of the general public it was a shocker and wake-up call that has refocused the conversation on what may await Ethiopia in the near future. Below is the latest news update about the controversial proposed state of emergency and other related links. (Photo: AFP)

BBC News

Why has Ethiopia imposed a state of emergency?

Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa and one which has seen a booming economy recently, has been shaken up in the past week.

First Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly resigned after five years in power.

Then a national state of emergency was declared the next day.

A statement by the state broadcaster said the move was necessary to stem a wave of anti-government protests.

Hundreds of people have died in three years of unrest, and this is the second time since 2016 that a state of emergency has been declared.

What does the state of emergency prevent?

  • Preparing, printing or circulating any information that could cause disturbance or
    suspicion

  • Displaying or publicising signs that could stir up violence
  • Protests and any form of group assembly
  • The halting of public services by anti-government protesters
  • The closing of businesses by anti-government protesters

    The government also retains the freedom to shut down the media and impose a public curfew, details of which have not been released.

    Under the conditions of the state of emergency, any person shutting down businesses or public services will face court action.

    Why was a state of emergency declared?

    The government gave three key reasons:

  • To ensure peace and political stability
  • To respond to the resignation of the prime minister
  • To facilitate a peaceful transition of power

    However, some analysts say the order lacks legal basis and that claims about instability are not true. Instead they view the state of emergency as a warning to those who might try and cause trouble when a new prime minister is appointed.

    Local activists are worried that another government measure might be aimed at further quelling dissent.

    In January, officials released more than 3,000 political activists and journalists from prison including opposition leaders Bekele Gerba, Merera Gudina and Andualem Arage.

    Opposition leader Merera Gudina is the highest profile prisoner to have been released so far
    Activists say that the government might be releasing prisoners now to make space for others later.

    But the authorities say the pardons are part of a move to create a national consensus and widen democratic participation.

    The state of emergency, opponents say, contradicts that.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia’s Great Rift (Foreign Policy Magazine)
    U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency
    Ethiopia Vows No Military Takeover Amid Latest Emergency (AP)
    UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Hailu Mergia: An African Funk Pioneer Gets a Second Chance on a Global Stage

    Hailu Mergia, an Ethiopian piano luminary, has been working as a Washington cabby, but now he’s releasing “Lala Belu,” his first collection of new music in two decades. (Photo: NYT)

    The New York Times

    FORT WASHINGTON, MD. — When Hailu Mergia releases his album “Lala Belu” on Friday, it will be this Ethiopian piano luminary’s first collection of new music in two decades. And it will be his first ever aimed largely at a worldwide audience.

    Until recently, Mr. Mergia, 71, was hardly known outside of his home country, where he is seen as a musical pioneer. For most of the past 20 years, he has lived in the Washington area and driven a taxi, picking up passengers at Dulles Airport and toting an electric keyboard in his trunk. He still drives the cab for extra cash. In idle moments, he hauls out the keyboard and sits alone in the back seat, his eyes closed, improvising.

    Mr. Mergia had long given up performing publicly when the 2013 reissue of “Hailu Mergia and His Classical Instrument,” a mostly forgotten gem from 1985, turned him into a cult celebrity among music obsessives across the globe, and set him off on tours of the United States and Europe. He has kept up a consistent schedule of international performances ever since.

    On a recent Saturday, Mr. Mergia sat in an easy chair at his home here, describing how he relates to the audience he’s garnered in the past few years. “The idea of ‘Lala Belu’ is, it’s a composition you can sing with everybody,” he said, referring to the new album’s title track. “It’s simple. No Amharic lyrics, no English lyrics. Just ‘lala.’ Whenever we have a show, we just play that song, and everybody’s singing with us.”


    In the 1960s and ’70s, Mr. Mergia, foreground, led the Walias Band, which gave Ethiopian music a more electrified sound. The group held a residency at the Hilton for approximately 10 years.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Vice Magazine Features Hailu Mergia

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    LA Pictures: The Return of Ayelew Mesfin

    Ayelew Mesfin with Debo Band at Echoplex in Los Angeles, CA on February 13th, 2018. (Photo Farah Sosa)

    Grimy Goods — LA Music Blog

    The music of Los Angeles is a reflection of its people. Men and women from all parts of the world reflecting different heritage but coming together in the spirit of music. In this occasion, the Echoplex was packed for Ethiopia to be the center of attention with the return of Ayalew Mesfin.

    Ayalew Mesfin is a legendary Ethiopian funk artist from the 70’s. Back then, his music was oppressed by a dictatorship and now, it comes out to light, strong as ever in times of greater freedom. Most of his songs revolve around social issues and political protest. Ayalew is on tour with Debo Band lead by Ethiopian American musicians that blend their traditional scales and vocal styles with American soul and funk rhythms. Although the Ethiopian Funk God could not perform for their entire set due to mourning recent deaths in his country, he shared his political views and performed one song of protest, “Hasabe” (My Worries). This was enough for the very respectful crowd that continued enjoying the night. His music has been released once again by record label Now-Again x Vinyl Me.

    The night was strong beginning to end. Los Angeles ethio-jazz bands Wondem and Ethio Cali started up the night with their own magic, exchanging musicians and providing sounds with unique and separate identities. Wondem was joined by the delicately fierce Sudan Archives while Ethio Cali delivered a scorching hot performance, one of the best one of the best ones I have experienced.

    Click here to read more and see photos »


    Related:
    Ayaléw Mèsfin, a lost voice from Ethiopia’s Golden Age (Berkeleyside)
    Spotlight: The Revived Ethio-Groove Of Ayalew Mesfin and His U.S. Tour (TADIAS)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia’s Great Rift (Foreign Policy Mag)

    Will a power struggle within the ruling party lead to reform — or more repression? (Photo: Anti-government protesters demonstrate in Bishoftu, Ethiopia on Oct. 1, 2017. (Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images)

    Foreign Policy

    DDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — On the day that Bekele Gerba, a prominent Ethiopian opposition leader, was released from prison, thousands of people took to the streets in celebration. It was a scene unlike any other in Ethiopia over the last quarter century, during which the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has kept a tight lid on dissent. On Feb. 13, jubilant crowds thronged into the streets and over soccer pitches, waving political flags and chanting Bekele’s name. Two days later, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn abruptly resigned. After nearly three years of sporadic anti-government protests, demonstrators in Ethiopia’s disaffected Oromia and Amhara regions finally appeared to have gained the upper hand. Then on Feb. 16, the tide seemed to turn against them once again, as the government announced the imposition of a national state of emergency, the second of its kind in as many years.

    Bekele’s release was the culmination of a three-day standoff between the government, which had previously announced its intention to release some of its many thousands of political prisoners, and the protesters, who had grown impatient with the slow pace of the promised amnesties. For nearly a month, the wind has seemed to be at the protesters’ backs: More than 6,000 political prisoners have been freed since January, meeting one of the demonstrators’ most central demands. “Within a month, the political environment has completely changed,” says Hallelujah Lulie, a political consultant based in Addis Ababa.

    But a newly announced state of emergency, which will mean federal troops patrolling towns across Oromia and a curfew in parts of the country for the next six months, threatens to stall momentum for reform.

    Behind the drama of the last week lies a radical shift in Ethiopia’s political landscape, one that has the potential to lead to genuine reforms.

    Read more »


    Related:
    U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency
    Ethiopia Vows No Military Takeover Amid Latest Emergency (AP)
    UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia: Hold Early General Elections

    In the wake of last week's bombshell departure announcement by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, there could be no doubt that the movement for political change in Ethiopia has reached the point of no return. But it remains to be seen if the protesters and the leaders (on all sides) will rise to the occasion and channel the popular anger into a more positive energy to bring about lasting peace and democracy through free and fair elections, as soon as possible. Building real democracy, however, also requires shading our culture of zero-sum politics and learning the art of give and take. The following is an excerpt from a thoughtful article on the subject by Rene Lefort published today by the Open Democracy website. (Photo: Xinhua)

    Open Democracy

    Crisis in Ethiopia: elections, and fast!

    Excerpt

    The crisis in Ethiopia has suddenly gained momentum and reached a tipping point. Things could go either way. The country could dig itself even deeper, with consequences that don’t bear thinking about. Or there could be a broad realisation that Ethiopia is “at the precipice”, bringing a surge of realism and pragmatism that would finally start a process of political rebuilding on solid, inclusive and lasting foundations.

    This will require compromise, an attitude that is, to say the least, somewhat unfamiliar in traditional Ethiopian culture. All the actors will have to find a balance between what they would like to get and what they can get, between the short-term and the long-term. But time is short, numbered in weeks, maybe days.

    Capsizing

    The system of government introduced in 1991…is irremediably dead. The snap resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn on February 15 marked the serving of the official death certificate…Hailemariam probably did not want to be held responsible in the event that it should capsize. He may also have hoped that his departure would back the ruling coalition into a corner and leave it with no other alternative than to set a course out of the storm and form a new crew capable of following it…

    Ethnic clashes and nationalist hysteria

    “Ethnic clashes” are proliferating. In some cases the regional or local security forces do nothing to stop them. A symptom of this odious climate: on websites accessible in Ethiopia , especially in the comments sections, overtly racist interethnic attacks, which would be an offense anywhere else, are flourishing as never before.

    Early general elections

    First, they would clarify the political landscape. Each force would be required to present voters with its flagship measures for rebuilding the system of political, economic, military or security power. The goal would not simply be a change of regime. It would include the distribution of powers and resources within the federation, hence the famous “nationalities question” that lies at the heart of the current crisis and for almost two centuries has undermined the capacity of Ethiopians to live together.

    Click here to read the full article »


    Related:
    Ethiopia’s Great Rift (Foreign Policy Magazine)
    U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency
    Ethiopia Vows No Military Takeover Amid Latest Emergency (AP)
    UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Global Lessons of Peaceful Change at Crucial Time for Ethiopia

    “Nonviolence is an intensely active force when properly understood and used,” says Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi whose nonviolent civil disobedience inspired many international civil rights movements and leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. Today, as the world watches whether Ethiopians can pull off a major political transformation or not without repeating our tragic history of civil war and the mistakes of the 1970's and 80's, which still reverberate to this day, we share this timely piece from the Global Citizen website highlighting five powerful examples of peaceful protests from around the globe that led to positive social, and political changes. (AP Photo: Students protesting in Addis Ababa, September 1974)

    Global Citizen

    5 Peaceful Protests That Led to Change

    Peaceful stances against unequal civil rights have been successful throughout history and nonviolent movements can lead to meaningful systemic change. Reflecting back on several landmark moments can act as a guide for action in these tumultuous times to gain equality for all lives in society.

    Here are five peaceful protests which led to positive social, and political changes.

    The Salt March

    During the transition between the wet to dry season of 1930 Mahatma (Mohandas) Gandhi led a peaceful protest against Britain’s imposed law dictating no Indian could collect or sell salt in the country. Followed by dozens, Gandhi walked over 240 miles leading protesters to the Arabian Sea to pick up a small handful of salt out of the muddy waters of the sea. Seventeen years later, after this peaceful yet defiant act, India gained independence from Britain.

    Suffrage Parade

    This message, “To ask for freedom is not a crime,” still holds true today. Peaceful protests like the 1913 Suffrage Parade shared the voices of over 5,000 courageous women speaking out for the right to equal political participation. This protest can remind us peaceful acts have the power to change the system. “We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers.” – Emmeline Pankhurst

    Singing Revolution

    Music and social activism have long been “partners in [nonviolent] crime.” During the Singing Revolution, Estonia literally sang its way out of the rule under the Soviet Union. In 1988, more than 100,000 Estonians gathered for five nights to protest Soviet rule. This was known as the Singing Revolution. For Estonians, music and singing acted as a way to preserve culture while the small but fierce country held it’s own during invasion from Germany, Sweden, Denmark and others. In 1991, after decades of Soviet rule, a country with just 1.5 million people regained it’s independence.

    Click here to read the full article at globalcitizen.org »


    Related:
    Ethiopia Vows No Military Takeover Amid Latest Emergency (AP)
    U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency
    UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    CREW Announces 2018 MSF Research Grant on Topics Affecting Ethiopian Women

    The academic fellowship is dedicated to Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw (right), the former President of Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women. (Photo by Matt Andrea: Dr. Maigenet Shifferaw speaking at a Tadias roundtable event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on December 14, 2013)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    February 19th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The Maigenet Shifferraw Fellowship (MSF) announced that it’s now accepting research proposals from around the world on topics affecting Ethiopia women internationally.

    The annual academic fellowship, which is managed by the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), “provides short-term financial compensation for those conducting research on girls or women [as well as] community organizations striving to empower or improve the situation of Ethiopian girls and women in Ethiopia,” the announcement said.”

    The fellowship was established two years ago to honor the late Ethiopian researcher and activist Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, who was the founding President of CREW. Describing its guiding principles, MSF’s media statement reads: “First, the experience of Ethiopian women and girls, like in other parts of the world, needs to be researched and documented so that we all can gain some knowledge and serve humanity better. Second, those who strive to protect women and girls’ rights and improve their situation need to be recognized and encouraged.”

    CREW states that it encourages applicants to submit their proposal by March 10, 2018.


    Learn more about the fellowship at centerforethiopianwomen.org.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia Vows No Military Takeover Amid Latest Emergency (AP)

    (AP file photo by Mulugeata Ayene)

    The Associated Press

    By Elias Meseret 

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s defense minister on Saturday ruled out a military takeover a day after the East African nation declared a new state of emergency amid the worst anti-government protests in a quarter-century.

    The United States said it “strongly disagrees” with the new declaration that effectively bans protests, with a U.S. Embassy statement saying the answer to Ethiopia’s sometimes violent unrest is “greater freedom, not less.”

    The state of emergency will last for six months with a possible four-month extension, similar to one lifted in August, Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa said.

    He also ruled out a transitional government. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn remains in the post for now after making the surprise announcement Thursday that he had submitted a resignation letter to help planned political reforms in one of Africa’s best-performing economies succeed.

    The state of emergency will be presented for lawmakers’ approval within 15 days, Siraj said. Security forces have been instructed to take “measures” against those disturbing the country’s functioning, with a new special court established to try them.

    Ethiopia’s cabinet on Friday cited deaths, ethnic attacks and mass displacement as reasons for the latest state of emergency. The announcement followed crippling protests in towns across the restive Oromia region on Monday and Tuesday that called for the release of political prisoners and urged the government to carry out rapid reforms.

    Similar protests have taken place across Ethiopia since late 2015, leading the government to declare a state of emergency in October 2016 after hundreds of people reportedly had been killed. A stampede at a religious event southeast of the capital, Addis Ababa, that month claimed the lives of several dozen people.

    That state of emergency led to the arrest of more than 22,000 people and severely affected business.

    Read more »


    Related:
    U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency
    UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reconsider State of Emergency

    People celebrating Bekele Gerba's release in Adama on February 14, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    February 17th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The latest suspension of basic rights in Ethiopia came following Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise resignation on Thursday following his decision to release thousands of opposition prisoners. Hailemariam had said: “I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.”

    The United States is now urging its close ally Ethiopia to reconsider the newly imposed state of emergency, but Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa said on Saturday that the current state of emergency will last for six months and includes “a ban on protests and publications that incite violence.” The U.S. said the state of emergency erodes confidence in “recent positive steps toward creating a more inclusive political space, including the release of thousands of prisoners.”

    “We strongly disagree with the Ethiopian government’s decision to impose a state of emergency that includes restrictions on fundamental rights such as assembly and expression,” the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia said in a press statement. “We recognize and share concerns expressed by the government about incidents of violence and loss of life, but firmly believe that the answer is greater freedom, not less.”

    The press release added: “The challenges facing Ethiopia, whether to democratic reform, economic growth, or lasting stability, are best addressed through inclusive discourse and political processes, rather than through the imposition of restrictions…We strongly urge the government to rethink this approach and identify other means to protect lives and property while preserving, and indeed expanding, the space for meaningful dialogue and political participation that can pave the way to a lasting democracy.”


    Related:
    UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Brief History of Latest Twist in Ethiopia’s Current Political Drama

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced Thursday that he has submitted a resignation letter. (AP)

    The Washington post

    In the latest twist in Ethiopia’s current political dramas, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn formally submitted his resignation from his position as the nation’s premier and as chairman of the ruling EPRDF coalition.

    That’s a dramatic development — and no one knows where it will lead. Dessalegn was elected as a compromise candidate who could balance the interests of various factions within the ruling coalition and maintain the status quo. He appeared to manage this well — until recently.

    So how did autocratic Ethiopia, a U.S. ally and Africa’s second most populous country, end up in its current tumult? Here’s what you need to know.

    Read more »


    Related:
    UPDATE: Ethiopia Says State of Emergency Will Last Six Months
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia Back Under State of Emergency

    Demonstrators celebrate the release of political prisoners in Adama. (Photo: Reuters)

    Reuters

    Updated: February 17, 2018

    Ethiopia says state of emergency will last six months

    ADDIS ABABA – A state of emergency imposed in Ethiopia a day after the prime minister resigned will last for six months, the defence minister said on Saturday, as authorities sought to tamp down unrest in Africa’s second most populous nation.

    Outbreaks of violence had continued in parts of the country and the government was banning protests, along with the preparation and dissemination of publications “that could incite and sow discord”, Siraj Fegessa told journalists.

    “The government has previously made several efforts to curtail violence, but lives have continued to be lost, many have been displaced and economic infrastructure has been damaged.”

    Further measures would be announced later in the day, he said.

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his surprise resignation in a televised speech on Thursday, the first time in modern Ethiopian history that a sitting prime minister had quit. He said he wanted to smooth the way for reforms.

    A day later, the government imposed the state of emergency. Parliament – where the four-party ruling coalition controls all 547 seats – is expected to ratify it within two weeks.

    Ethiopia is East Africa’s biggest and fastest-growing economy and a Western ally in the fight against Islamist militancy. But rights groups have often criticised the government for clamping down on political opponents and the media.

    Since January, Ethiopia has released more than 6,000 prisoners charged with taking part in mass protests and, in some cases, offences against the state. It has also closed down a jail where activists alleged torture took place.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    U.S. Charges 13 Russians With 2016 U.S. Election Tampering to Boost Trump

    The office of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted more than a dozen Russians for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election campaign with the aim of supporting Donald Trump, the prosecutor charged. (Reuters)

    Reuters

    U.S. charges Russians with 2016 U.S. election tampering to boost Trump

    WASHINGTON – A Russian Internet agency oversaw a criminal and espionage conspiracy to tamper in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to support Donald Trump and disparage Hillary Clinton, said an indictment released on Friday that revealed more details than previously known about Moscow’s purported effort to interfere.

    The office of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies. The court document said those accused “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

    The indictment said Russians adopted false online personas to push divisive messages; traveled to the United States to collect intelligence; and staged political rallies while posing as Americans. In one case, it said, the Russians paid an unidentified person to build a cage aboard a flatbed truck and another to wear a costume “portraying Clinton in a prison uniform.”

    The surprise 37-page indictment could alter the divisive U.S. domestic debate over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, undercutting some Republicans who, along with Trump, have attacked Mueller’s probe.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Read the Indictment: PDF

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)

    (Photo by Girma Berta/Instagram)

    Tadias Magazine
    Editorial

    Updated: February 16th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — On Thursday, February 15th, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation, following his recent promise to release political prisoners, which has set off a historic moment in Ethiopia for a peaceful social and political reform.

    In his televised speech Hailemariam said: “Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many. I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy.”

    Now, the question is where does the country go from here?

    As Reuters reported: “Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa. The unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.”

    While we welcome the release of thousands of prisoners who were unfairly incarcerated including journalists Eskinder Nega, Woubshet Taye, and the dropping of charges against Zone 9 bloggers and other prominent political opposition figures, we also caution that building a true democracy requires transparency, a responsible and free press, and the maturity to think about the common good, beyond our own selves and group interests, both at the grassroots and leadership levels.

    We hope the future of a new Ethiopia will also include a robust participation by existing (and or yet to be formed) political parties that are organized based on ideas and not necessarily by ethnic affiliation.

    For better or worse Ethiopia is at a crossroads and it is high time for this generation to seize the moment and assure the continuity of the country’s long history as well as our shared and sovereign culture.


    Related:
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Ethiopia drops charges against Zone 9 bloggers
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced on Thursday that he is stepping down from his position as Ethiopia's chief executive in order to accelerate the political reform that he set in motion last month when he offered to release political prisoners. (Photo: Reuters)

    Reuters

    Ethiopia’s PM offers resignation to help reforms after mass unrest

    ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Thursday he had submitted his resignation as both premier and the chairman of the ruling coalition in an effort to facilitate reforms following a period of mass unrest.

    Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked initially by an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa. The unrest spread in 2015 and 2016 as demonstrations against political restrictions and human rights abuses broke out.

    “Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many,” Hailemariam said in a televised address to the nation.

    “… I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy,” he said.

    Hailemariam said he would stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the country’s parliament accepted his resignation and named a new premier.

    Click here for updated version of this story »


    Related:
    Ethiopia: Seize the Moment (Editorial)
    Ethiopia Declares State of Emergency After Premier Resigns (Bloomberg)
    Ethiopia PM Hailemariam Desalegn in surprise resignation (BBC)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison

    Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega was released on February 14, 2018, after serving nearly seven years in prison. (Photo: Befekadu Hailu)

    The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

    February 14, 2018

    New York — The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes news that Ethiopian journalists Eskinder Nega and Woubshet Taye are free from prison after each served nearly seven years.

    “We are pleased that Eskinder Nega and Woubshet Taye are finally free since their arrests and convictions were shameful miscarriages of justice,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “We now urge the Ethiopian government to drop charges against other journalists and to implement the reforms needed for a free press to flourish.”

    Woubshet and Eskinder were both arrested in 2011 and convicted in 2012 in unrelated cases. CPJ research shows that the terror-related charges the journalists faced were fabricated in retaliation for their critical reporting.

    Eskinder, a prominent columnist and editor of now-shuttered newspapers, and Woubshet, a former editor with Awramba Times, were among 746 prisoners that the Ethiopian government last week announced would be pardoned, according to news reports.


    Related:
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Andualem Arage Decline to Sign Prison Release Forms
    Ethiopia to Release Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Exiled Athlete Demssew T. Abebe Reunites With Family in U.S. on Valentine’s Day

    Exiled Ethiopian marathoner Demssew Tsega Abebe, his wife Nigat Teferi Mulat, and their children, Dagmawi, 5, and Soliyana, 2. (Family photo)

    The Washington Post

    Elite runner who was tortured and fled Ethiopia reunites with his family in the U.S. — on Valentine’s Day

    Demssew Tsega Abebe was a famous marathon runner in Ethiopia and was expected to be on his country’s Olympic team. But his career was cut short when he was tortured for peacefully protesting his government’s policies. His heels and feet were so severely lashed he could not run for more than a year.

    He fled to the Washington area in 2016, and he has been trying to bring his wife and two children to the United States ever since, in part to get medical care for his 5-year-old son, Dagmawi, who cannot speak. Until today, Abebe had never met his 2-year-old daughter, Soliyana, as his wife was pregnant with her when he fled.

    Last week, Abebe learned that his family had won a humanitarian immigration petition to join him. Fittingly, they arrived early Valentine’s Day morning at Dulles International Airport. He held his daughter for the first time.

    “Exceptional feeling,” he said in a text from the airport. “So thrilled, so happy.”

    Yesterday, before they arrived, his voice broke with emotion as he thought about the moment he would see them. “I miss my family, my children. My son, he knows he waits a long time, but I am coming back to him.”

    He said Valentine’s Day isn’t much of a holiday in Ethiopia, but he said he is proud to be reuniting with his family on a day that celebrates love, in a nation where he is free to express himself.

    “I am so happy, I thank God,” said Abebe, 29, who lives in Silver Spring.

    Read more »


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    UPDATE: Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Strike

    Bekele Gerba was released from prison on Tuesday after the authorities dismissed all charges against him. Bekele’s release came amid a three-day strike across Oromiya province as well as a mass pardoning of dissidents by the government aimed at reducing unrest that has simmered since 2015. (Photograph: Bekele Gerba at the NPR office in D.C., August 2015/NPR)

    Reuters

    Ethiopia frees opposition leader amid protests

    By Aaron Maasho

    ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia released a senior opposition leader from prison on Tuesday and dropped all charges against him, a day after demonstrators blocked roads and staged rallies in several towns to protest against his incarceration.

    Bekele Gerba, secretary general of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), was arrested in December 2015 after mass protests broke out in the Oromiya region over accusations that farmers were being forced to sell land with scant compensation.

    He had been held initially on terrorism charges, which were later reduced to charges of incitement to violence.

    “He just walked out of prison. We have confirmed that all charges against him have been dropped,” Mulatu Gemechu, a member of the OFC’s leadership told Reuters.

    State-affiliated media confirmed that Bekele had been freed along with seven other opposition figures, and that the charges against him had been dropped. Ethiopia’s information minister was not available for comment.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Andualem Arage Decline to Sign Prison Release Forms
    Ethiopia to Release Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Iconic Obama Portraits Unveiled in DC

    This week the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. unveiled the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama. President Obama is one of the most important cultural and political icons in U.S. history as America's first and only black president. (National Gallery)

    Slate Magazine

    Why the Obamas’ New Paintings Are a Milestone in Black Portraiture

    At first glance, the recently unveiled portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama appear as their occupancy of the White House did—a dazzling and elegant streak of light and color. President Obama is set against a riot of greenery that, according to the artist, charts “his path on Earth through those plants.” Michelle Obama, famous arms on display, is rendered in grayscale against a backdrop of blue as cool as Obama herself. In aesthetics, if not always in politics, the Obamas presented a bright and lovely contrast to the stately whiteness of the highest office of our country, and the portraits presented Monday by the National Portrait Gallery capture their joint vivacity.

    The portraits are extraordinary for a myriad of reasons, not least of which is both artists the Obamas chose—Kehinde Wiley for the former president and Amy Sherald for the former first lady—are black.

    To place the pieces in their artistic and political context, I spoke to Richard J. Powell, a professor of art and art history at Duke University and an expert in the history of black portraiture.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Two iconic portraits for the iconic Obama presidency

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    US ‘All Hat and No Cattle’ in Ethiopia as Protests Flare Up Again

    As the cowboy saying goes it's "all hat and no cattle" when it comes to the Trump administration's influence on human right in Ethiopia, which seems to be limited to issuing periodic press releases and travel warnings. Below is the most recent travel advisory from the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa amid the ongoing strike and deadly protests in Oromia and Amhara regions. (Photo: At least 4 people were killed and 11 others were injured on Sunday February 11, 2018 during fresh demonstrations near the city of Harar/Addis Standard)

    Security Alert – U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Event: A “stay at home” strike is underway throughout the Oromia and Amhara regions and is expected to last through February 15. There have been reports of protestors in both regions engaging public transport buses with rocks and rioting. There are also reports of road blocks along the border between Addis Ababa and Oromia.

    Actions to Take:

  • Postpone travel to these regions until the strike concludes.
  • If you are currently in Oromia or Amhara, you should shelter in place.
  • Employ sound security practices.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings, including local events.
  • Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations; monitor local news stations; and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Remember that the security environment in Ethiopia is fluid and can deteriorate without warning.


    Related:
    AT LEAST FOUR PEOPLE KILLED, SEVERAL INJURED WHEN SECURITY FORCES OPEN FIRE AT IDP CAMP IN EASTERN ETHIOPIA; STAY AT HOME BOYCOTT HAPPENING IN VARIOUS CITIES IN OROMIA (AS)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future

    (Photo: Pixabay)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: February 12th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — A timely and healthy debate appears to be finally emerging online both in Ethiopia and abroad as Ethiopians grapple with the political future of their country.

    In a recent article published by the Washington Post U.S.-based Ethiopian academic Yohannes Y. Gedamu, who teaches political science at Georgia Gwinnett College, asked a fitting question: Ethiopia just pardoned political prisoners. Could that signal a shift to real democracy?

    As Yohannes points out: “Some observers were cautiously optimistic after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprising Jan. 3 announcement that the government would release some political prisoners, including opposition leader Merera Gudina [who has since been freed along with many others]. That release, however, was partial. The government is still holding thousands of other opposition figures and protesters, along with journalists who have reported critically on the regime.”

    Yohannes who is also writing a book called Ethnic Federalism and Authoritarian Survival in Ethiopia adds: “Ethiopia adopted a constitution that established ethnic federalism, in which regions’ boundaries were drawn according to ethnic and linguistic classifications. Implemented in 1995, the new constitution was ostensibly designed to promote group’s rights. But the ethnic federal model hasn’t ended ethnic inequality. Rather, it has created winners and losers.”

    In another piece published by the Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS) James Jeffrey’s article entitled Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia Stoked by Social Media from U.S. may be pushing inaccurate assertions as the percentage of individuals with access to the Internet in Ethiopia is recorded as low as 4.2 percent by Internet Live Stats and as high as only 15% by Internet World Stats. Nonetheless Jeffrey makes the point that “since 1995, Ethiopia has applied a distinct political model of ethnically based federalism to the country’s heterogeneous masses — about 100 million people speaking more than 80 dialects.”

    These articles follow on the heels of an AFP report released this month, which cites UN data showing that approximately one million people have been displaced in Ethiopia due to ethnic violence.


    Related:
    PM Hailemariam Desalegn Resigns (Reuters)
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Woubshet Taye Released From Prison
    Bekele Gerba Freed Amid Protests
    Signs of Hopeful Debate Emerge Online as Ethiopia Grapples with Future
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia: Review of Aida Edemariam’s New Book ‘The Wife’s Tale’

    In this indelible memoir that recalls the life of her remarkable ninety-five-year old grandmother, Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam tells the story of modern Ethiopia. (Harper)

    New Statesman

    The Wife’s Tale: Aida Edemariam’s vivid portrait of her 95-year-old Ethiopian grandmother

    When Aida Edemariam was a tiny child in Ethiopia, her grandmother shoved her and a cousin into a cupboard and stood protectively in front of it while the children crouched “among soft white dresses that smelled of incense and wood smoke and limes”. The country was at war, a tornado was roaring outside, and among the sheets of corrugated iron, hurtling “like dark leaves of paper through the tarnished sky”, were volleys of machine-gun bullets. Panicky teenaged soldiers were trying to kill “the devil in the wind”.

    Lethal modern weaponry juxtaposed with ancient superstition, the fragrance of luxuries the first Ethiopian Christians would have enjoyed, harsh weather, a narrative full of sensuous detail and poetic imagery – the vignette, one of scores of comparable ones, encapsulates the character of this remarkable book. It tells the life story of that grandmother, Yetemegnu. The narrative begins in 1916 with her wedding, when she was eight years old. When the groom came to fetch her from her family’s house in the once-imperial city of Gondar, disease was killing people in the marketplace. While she sat silent in the hut where, if she’d been a little older, the marriage would have been consummated, on the other side of the compound the guests feasted on food that had taken months to prepare. There was dancing, and ululations, and a minstrel “tossed rhymes like spears into the crowd”. Only when the festivities ended, days later, did Yetemegnu lift her veil and see the man she’d married, and murmur astonished to the groomsman: “When I have children they’re going to look like that!’

    She had nine children, five of whom predeceased her. That husband, Tsega, was a lowly priest when they married but, although a curse laid upon him by his father prevented him from writing, he was master of the oral art of qinè (sacred poetry). He went to Addis Ababa. After two years, he was invited to one of the empress’s banquets. She noticed he was fasting and, approving, invited him to speak. He declaimed his poem of praise. It found favour. “What can I do for you?” said the empress. He asked for Gondar’s venerable church of Ba’ata (destroyed by Islamists in the 1880s) and the wherewithal to rebuild it. “Of course,” said the empress. She awarded him an embroidered tunic, a gold-trimmed cape, mules loaded with Maria Theresa silver, and the title of aléqa (leader of the church). With the suddenness of magical transformation, Yetemegnu, still barely in her teens, found herself the wife of a “big man”.

    Read more »


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    This DC Taxi Driver Was a Superstar in Ethiopia: Vice Mag Features Hailu Mergia

    Left: Photo collage by a fan (unknown) at the Hilton Hotel, late 1960s. Right: Hailu Mergia today. (Vice)

    Vice

    This DC Taxi Driver Was a Superstar in Ethiopia

    As a young man living in Addis Ababa during the swinging 60s, Hailu Mergia was a superstar. The Ethiopian capital city was a bustling cosmopolis where art and culture flourished amid the country’s uneasy quest for independence.

    His jazz and funk band, the Walias, performed for the domestic and international elite at the then-prestigious Hilton Hotel’s music club, which granted residencies to Ethiopia’s hottest bands. Crowds of dignitaries and foreign diplomats, Hollywood movie stars, famous musicians like Duke Ellington and Alice Coltrane, and important African figures like Manu Dibango would flock to the hotel to dance and jam until sunrise.

    “When we played in the Hilton Hotel, the audience was full of people from around the world, so everybody had requests for different kinds of music. Sometimes we’d play Indian melodies, sometimes we’d play Arabic music. We’d pick up American soul, blues, and jazz melodies and then improvise on them in our own music,” Mergia remembers.

    Read more »


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    Helen Kassa’s Ethio-Australian Film ‘Found in a Dream’ Premieres at PAFF 2018 in LA

    'Found in a Dream' by independent filmmaker Helen Kassa will screen at the 26th Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, California on February 15th and February 17th, 2018. (Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    February 10th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — This month the newly released film entitled Found in a Dream by Australia-based Ethiopian filmmaker Helen Kassa is set to premiere at the 2018 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.

    The feature was shot in Ethiopia and Australia and is “a story about community issues around young, migrant African men set in Melbourne, Australia,” explains Helen Kassa who wrote, directed and produced the film. “Namely, issues of feeling alone and a sense of not belonging that leads young immigrants to struggle with relationships, education and work.” It explores these themes through Abeselom, a hardened drug dealer. Luckily, Abeselom’s life takes a positive turn when he discovers true intimacy and deep affection after starting a relationship with a beautiful woman named Nesanet. The romantic drama “Found in a Dream is about love, culture, and ultimately, finding comfort within each other.”

    The movie’s Ethiopian cast include Netsanet Tefera (who plays Netsanet who works as nurse), Adiam Tefera (Abeselom’s mother), Aminadab Yoseph (young Abeselom) as well as Mekonen Laeake and Genet Nigatu.

    The 26th Pan African Film Festival kicked off in Los Angeles on February 8th and will run through February 19th. Found in a Dream is scheduled to be screened on Thursday, February 15th and Saturday, February 17th.


    If You Go:
    More information and tickets at www.paff.org.

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    9 Short Stories on Migrants in Canada by Ethiopian Author Djamila Ibrahim

    Djamila Ibrahim, author of 'Things Are Good Now,' has lived the migrant experience herself. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she moved to Canada in 1990. (The Toronto Star)

    The Toronto Star

    Djamila Ibrahim’s Things Are Good Now explores the hidden struggles for migrants

    Those of us who have never fled a war-torn homeland may assume that for those who have, moving to a peaceable country like Canada marks the end of their troubles.

    What we might not realize is new, personal battles may just be beginning. That’s the territory Toronto author Djamila Ibrahim explores in Things Are Good Now, a collection of nine fictional short stories of East African migrants.

    Ibrahim has lived the migrant experience herself. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she moved to Canada with her family in 1990; she has also worked as an adviser for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

    The opener, “Little Copper Bullets,” follows the intense Aisha, a former Eritrean soldier who for years led troops on the battlefield, an AK-47 slung over her shoulder. After the war, demobilized and seeing new jobs go to the men, she moves to Canada but can only find work cleaning public toilets and doing hospital laundry. To complicate matters, her boyfriend, Adam, is from Ethiopia, Eritrea’s longtime enemy. When war breaks out there again, Aisha must decide where her loyalties lie.

    In “Not a Small Thing,” intellectual activist Selam chooses to don the hijab and is then assaulted because of it. Her best friend, who had tried to talk her out of wearing it, must process a complex array of emotions.

    The titular story, “You Made Me Do This” focuses on grieving mother Mariam, who almost died to bring her family to Ottawa, only to have her son Ismail fall in with the wrong crowd and get killed. Dazed, Mariam struggles to make sense of the tragedy, even confronting her own role. “At least, where she grew up, people clearly knew they were at war,” Ibrahim writes.

    Read more »


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    Book: The Abba Garima Manuscripts of Ethiopia’s Ancient Christian Civilization

    The Abba Garima Ge'ez manuscripts are among the world's oldest illustrated Bible stories. (Photo: Monk holding Abba Garima II-III bound together in embossed silver covers, ca. 2000. Courtesy of Michael Gervers)

    Marginalia — Los Angeles Review of Books

    It’s not every day that scholars discover new Bible manuscripts from the ancient world. It’s even rarer to discover ones endowed with luxurious painted images. Yet this is precisely what has happened over the past decade thanks to groundbreaking research into three ancient codices from Ethiopia, the earliest surviving copies of the Gospels in Ethiopic.

    The manuscripts, which were produced and are still housed at the Monastery of Abba Garima in Ethiopia’s northern highlands, were not completely unknown to experts before, having been published for the first time in the 1960s. But recent work by Judith McKenzie and Francis Watson—published in a spectacular new book—has led to a radical reassessment of their dates and significance. Through radio-carbon testing and fresh analysis of their iconography and texts, we now know that the three Abba Garima Gospels were copied not in the tenth or eleventh centuries, as once thought, but between the fifth and seventh centuries at the zenith of Ethiopia’s ancient Christian civilization. For anyone interested in the history of the Bible, late antiquity, or Ethiopia itself, this is very big news.


    The Abba Garima manuscripts. (Photo courtesy of Michael Gervers)

    To put the discovery in perspective, the Abba Garima manuscripts are among the very oldest illustrated Gospels in the world. When it comes to firmly dated parallels, only the Syriac Rabbula Gospels, produced near Antioch in 586, is earlier. The Abba Garima Gospels are also older than several of the greatest monuments of Western manuscript illumination, including the Codex Amiatinus, the Lindisfarne Gospels, and the Book of Kells, all of which were copied in the British Isles between the eighth and ninth centuries. Then, as today, Ethiopia lay far, far away from Syria and Ireland. Despite this, the manuscripts show striking similarities to the art of other ancient Christian cultures outside of Africa. Indeed, they are a testament to the deep connections between Ethiopia and the wider late antique world.

    Read more »


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    Is Ethiopia Opening — Ever So Slightly — to Democracy? By Yohannes Gedamu

    "The ethnic federal model hasn’t ended ethnic inequality. Rather, it has created winners and losers," writes Yohannes Gedamu in today's issue of The Washington Post. Yohannes, who is a lecturer in political science at Georgia Gwinnett College, is working on a book titled “Ethnic Federalism and Authoritarian Survival in Ethiopia."

    The Washington Post

    By Yohannes Y. Gedamu

    Ethiopia just pardoned political prisoners. Could that signal a shift to real democracy?

    Is Ethiopia opening — ever so slightly — to democracy?

    Some observers were cautiously optimistic after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprising Jan. 3 announcement that the government would release some political prisoners, including opposition leader Merera Gudina. Starting in mid-January, Gudina and hundreds of Ethiopians detained during a 2016 wave of anti-government protests were released from a federal prison.

    That release, however, was partial. The government is still holding thousands of other opposition figures and protesters, along with journalists who have reported critically on the regime.

    On Thursday the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported that 417 people serving sentences for terrorism, inciting violence and similar offenses to be freed.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    The ruling party installed and promotes ethnic federalism — which has stoked interethnic competition and violence

    In 1991, the previous communist dictatorship fell after years of civil war. Since then, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), an ethno-nationalist militia movement, has dominated Ethiopian politics, despite the fact that the Tigrayan ethnic group makes up less than 7 percent of the country’s population. Four parties make up the ruling political coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), but its elites essentially function as members of one political party. As the strongest of the four, the TPLF has controlled party agendas and dominated coalition’s policy, along with the security apparatus of the state.

    Under TPLF/ERPDF rule, Ethiopia adopted a constitution that established ethnic federalism, in which regions’ boundaries were drawn according to ethnic and linguistic classifications. Implemented in 1995, the new constitution was ostensibly designed to promote groups’ rights. But the ethnic federal model hasn’t ended ethnic inequality. Rather, it has created winners and losers.

    Read more »


    Related:
    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Andualem Arage Decline to Sign Prison Release Forms
    Ethiopia to Release Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage
    Ethiopia’s Crisis of Ethnic Politics Taking Toll on Poor People
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: Eskinder Nega & Andualem Arage Decline to Sign Prison Release Forms

    Eskinder's wife, Serkalem Facil, told VOA that her husband declined to sign the letter of pardon because it states he was a member of Ginbot 7. Meanwhile the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the development saying it was an attempt to "compel Eskinder to sign a false confession before releasing him under a presidential pardon." (Photo: Andualem Arage and Eskinder Nega/VOA )

    VOA News

    BY Tsion Taddese

    Updated: February 9th, 2018

    Ethiopian journalist Eskinder Nega and two prominent opposition figures have refused to sign letters of pardon from the government, holding up their planned release from prison.

    Eskinder and opposition leaders Andualem Arage and Abebe Kesto — all critics of the government — are among 746 prisoners set for release following an announcement Thursday by Ethiopia’s attorney general.

    But Eskinder’s wife, Serkalem Facil, has told VOA’s Horn of Africa Service that her husband declined to sign the letter of pardon because it states he was a member of Ginbot 7, a political organization banned in Ethiopia.

    “Eskinder, Andualem and others were summoned by prison officers. They were asked to sign a form saying they are members of the Ginbot 7 movement as a precondition for their release,” Serkalem said. “Eskinder refused to sign the form, saying that he is not a member of the organization. So, I know there is no deal.”

    Fantu Aragie, the sister of Andualem Arage, said her brother and Abebe Kesto also refused to sign the pardon letter.

    “The three of them refused to ask the government for a pardon. In fact, they informed them that the government should ask them for a pardon,” she said.

    All three men remained in prison Friday.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Eskinder Nega & Andualem Arage to be Freed (AFP)


    Eskinder Nega and Andualem Arage. (Image: Amnesty International)

    AFP

    February 08, 2018

    ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Ethiopia’s attorney general ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners on Thursday, state media reported, including journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega and opposition leader Andualem Arage whose jailings drew international condemnation.

    The pair are the latest high-profile detainees to be freed since Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced last month that Ethiopia would allow an unspecified number of detained “politicians” to leave jail.

    “The Federal Attorney General today pardoned a total of 746 suspects and prisoners, including Eskindr (sic) Naga and Andualem Arage,” state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate said.

    “About 417 of the pardoned inmates are federal prisoners jailed on terrorism, inciting violence, religious extremism and other related convictions,” Fana added.

    The prisoners will be released after undergoing “rehabilitation training” and receiving approval from Ethiopia’s president, the broadcaster reported.

    Eskinder had been jailed for 18 years and Andualem for life…

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Interview: Jano Band Talks New Album

    Jano Band became the first Ethiopian band to feature on Coke Studio Africa last year when they collaborated with South African singer Shekhinah in Nairobi, Kenya. Jano band launched their second album on February 1st, 2018. (Photo: Jano Band)

    Music in Africa

    The band – which consists of two female vocalists, two male lead vocalists and six musicians who play bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, keyboards and a drum – was brought together by its former manager Addis Gessesse in 2011.

    Since the release of Ertale in 2012, the group has collaborated and worked with the industries finest including American producer Bill Laswell who helped the group sparkle in the international arena.

    In September last year, news broke that the band was on the verge of a break up. The band disputed the reports through its current manager Sammy Tefera who went on and announced that the band would be launching its second album early this year. Music In Africa caught up with one of the band’s lead vocalists Dibekulu Tafesse to talk about their 16 track album released on 1 February.

    MUSIC IN AFRICA: What was the inspiration behind the album title Lerasih New?

    DIBEKULU TAFESSE: We named the album Lerasih New because it is a commonly used word which translates to “For Yourself”. Our songs carry different themes that our fans relate to and in this album, we choose to urge our fans to be conscious of their actions. As human beings we ocassionally do things without thinking about the consequences. So in this album we are pushing for self awareness because no one should intentionally hurt themselves or ruin their lives simply because they made the wrong choice.

    Was the album produced in Ethiopia?

    The assembling of the music which is normally the first stage of recording was done in Ethiopia but the engineering process was done in Italy at the BluMusica Studio in Turin and the final mastering done at Lurseen Mastering Studio in Los Angeles, Califonia.

    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)

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    Debo Band’s Celebration of Ayalew Mesfin

    Ayalew Mesfin. (Courtesy photo)

    Press Release

    Vinyl Me, Please Magazine

    A Celebration of Ayalew Mesfin w/ Debo Band: Mourning, Protest & Hope

    UPDATE: Recently in the Ethiopian town of Waldiya (the hometown of Ayalew Mesfin) seven civilians were killed by government military (including a 9yr old child) and as many as 15 were injured while celebrating the second day of Epiphany. This tragedy is another gruesome chapter in what has been a violent period in Ethiopian history as demonstrators have been calling for political and economic reforms and an end to state corruption and human rights abuses. In total, 13 people have died and over 50 people have been injured in similar incidents over the past several weeks. It is customary in Ethiopia after a tragedy to abstain from singing or celebration as people mourn.

    Ayalew’s heart was broken by this recent news and he has struggled to find an appropriate response that honors his cultural traditions, but also highlights to the world what is going on in his home country. With this in mind he has chosen to limit his role in the upcoming performances [in Los Angeles, Berkeley and Denver] as he mourns with his countrymen & women. Ayalew will join Debo band to sing a song of mourning for his people, followed by a full set by Debo band who will celebrate the music of Ayalew in what promises to be an incredible cultural moment of both mourning, protest & hope for a better future for Ethiopia.

    Click here to learn more.


    Related:
    Ayaléw Mèsfin, a lost voice from Ethiopia’s Golden Age (Berkeleyside)
    Spotlight: The Revived Ethio-Groove Of Ayalew Mesfin and His U.S. Tour (TADIAS)

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    Ethiopian Airlines Launches Direct Flight From Addis Ababa to Chicago

    (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    February 6th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines is launching a direct flight from Addis Ababa to Chicago later this year making America’s “Windy City” its fourth destination in the United States after Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, California and Newark, New Jersey.

    “West-bound, Passengers from the entire continent of Africa will connect to Chicago and beyond through our Addis Ababa hub in the late evenings; likewise, east-bound travelers from the USA will also connect to all over Africa in the morning through Addis,” the airline announced in a press release. “In both cases, the connectivity is designed in such a way that we are able to avail one of the shortest total travel times for our customers.”

    The airline said the flight from Addis Ababa to Chicago will commence effective as of June 9th, 2018.


    (Photo: Ethiopianairlines.com)

    Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebre-Mariam noted that Chicago, which is the third biggest city in the U.S., is “one of the most important global aviation hubs. We will be filling a critical air connectivity vacuum as our flights will be the only direct service between Chicago and Africa.”

    Tewolde added: “Chicago is the main hub of our Star Alliance partner, United Airlines and the flight will be operated together with United to avail the best product for travelers from all over the U.S. connecting to more than 55 destinations in Africa.”


    (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines Facebook)

    Ethiopian Airlines is the largest Aviation Holding Company in Africa and a SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline.


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    10 Best Things To Do in Addis Ababa (CNN)

    Addis Ababa's arts scene is thriving. Makush Art Gallery is a popular draw. (Photo by James Jeffrey)

    CNN

    Rambunctious, manic, beguiling, exciting — it’s hard to accurately describe Addis Ababa.

    Ethiopia’s capital, which translates as “New Flower” in the country’s Amharic language, shows little sign of losing its youthful, lusty edge and is the pulsing heart of this eclectic nation’s resurgence as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

    “Addis,” as it’s often simply known, is the world’s third-highest capital city at 2,400 meters, and has worn its heart on its sleeve since it was founded by Ethiopian Emperor Menelik about 1892.

    Life is lived very much outdoors on its bustling streets thanks to comfortable temperate weather boosted by months of nonstop sunshine.

    “Perhaps the highest praise one can direct at this chaotic, contradictory and compelling city is this: Addis Ababa does feel exactly as the Ethiopia capital should feel — singularly and unmistakably Ethiopian,” says travel writer Philip Briggs.

    Here’s 10 of the best things to check out when you travel to Addis.

    Read more and see photos at CNN.com »


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    The Australian Features Dr. Catherine Hamlin, Honorary Citizen of Ethiopia

    Australian doctor Catherine Hamlin, who has lived in Ethiopia since 1959, is the founder of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. Ethiopia conferred an honorary citizenship on Dr. Hamlin in 2012. (Courtesy photo)

    The Australian Magazine

    Almost 60 years ago, two Australian doctors and their young son arrived in Ethiopia on a three-year contract to work as obstetrician-gynaecologists and establish a midwifery school. “The fistula patients will break your heart,” a colleague warned them, and he was right. Thousands of young women had suffered serious internal injuries during childbirth that left them incontinent and shunned by families and villagers.

    Little or no treatment was available, prompting Reg and Catherine Hamlin to refine a surgical technique to repair these women, giving them back their lives. In the face of civil war and famine, they went on to revolutionise maternal healthcare in Ethiopia, building hospitals, training doctors and repairing more than 50,000 women. At 94, Catherine is still going, having lost Reg to cancer 25 years ago. She tells journalist Sue Williams: “All I can do is to carry on with this work.’’ A more remarkable woman you will not meet.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia Honors Dr. Catherine Hamlin with Honorary Citizenship

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    Yekatit 12 Event in Harlem Remembers Fascist War Crimes in Ethiopia

    The Yekatit 12 monument in Addis Ababa. (Photo: Wikimedia)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    February 2nd, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — It was 81 years ago this month that the invading Fascist Italian troops went on a killing rampage in Ethiopia that claimed over a million lives including at least 30,000 within a 3-day period who were murdered in Addis Ababa. In addition many churches and homes were burned. The violent campaign was waged in retaliation for the attempted assassination of Rodolfo Graziani, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s top Ethiopia enforcer, by Abrham Deboch and Moges Asgedom.

    Ethiopians eventually won the war, but not before the war criminal Graziani left a permanent mark with his wanton brutality now remembered by Ethiopians as the Yekatit 12 massacre.

    “The Vatican blessed the Italian invasion as if it were a holy mission,” says the announcement from the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA), which is co-sponsoring an upcoming event in New York marking the 81st anniversary of Yekatit 12th. “This historically forgotten genocide perpetrated against Ethiopians took place during 1935-41.”

    The event is scheduled to be held on February 18th at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in Harlem. ECMAA says the gathering will feature speakers including Professor Getatchew Haile and Dr. Habtamu Tegegne as well as selected Amharic poetry readings.

    ECMAA adds that its demanding: “The payment of adequate reparations by the Italian Government to Ethiopia; a Vatican apology to the Ethiopian people for its complicity with Fascist Italy; Restitution of looted Ethiopian properties by the Italian and Vatican Governments; Inclusion in the United Nations records of the Fascist war crimes in Ethiopia; and the dismantlement of the Graziani monument inaugurated at Affile in the presence of a Vatican representative.”


    If You Go:
    The 81st Anniversary of “Yekatit 12th”
    February 18, 2018
    from 3:00PM-7:00PM
    Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
    163 West 125th Street, 2nd floor
    New York, New York 10027
    (Near 2,3,A,B,C,D subway lines)
    Co-sponsored by: Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association

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    Expansion of Ethiopia’s First Industrial Park Reopens Old Wounds

    Dukem, Ethiopia. (Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Tom Gardner)

    Reuters

    DUKEM, Ethiopia – The scenic road from Addis Ababa to the small town of Dukem is peppered with signs of industry: warehouses and factories, garages and gas stations, newly-built rail tracks and a freshly paved highway.

    Dukem, just a short drive south of the capital, is home to Ethiopia’s first industrial park, the Chinese-owned Eastern Industrial Zone (EIZ), and some of the country’s most fertile land.

    For more than a decade, it has been on the frontline of a government-led push to turn the still overwhelmingly agricultural country into Africa’s manufacturing hub.

    Chinese companies are constructing five industrial zones, while the government plans to have 15 industrial parks nationwide by June 2018.

    Last year, the EIZ, which hosts companies ranging from shoe manufacturers and steelmakers to leather processors and car assemblers, embarked on a new expansion phase.

    The move, which means expropriating an additional 167 hectares of rural land around Dukem and the relocation of around 300 farmers, has sparked anger among locals and reopened old wounds.

    “We were the first,” Shewangizaw, a middle-aged farmer who lost his fields to an Ethiopian-owned factory back in 2006, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation bitterly.

    He and around 40 other farmers were relocated – without fair compensation, they argue – when some of the first factories arrived in the area a decade or so ago.

    “I don’t have any land now,” said his 72 year-old neighbor, Bashada, who lost nearly five hectares of farmland then and now rents one hectare from an older neighbor for 10,000 birr ($367) a year.

    The group is campaigning to have its case heard by the federal government.

    “It’s not fair,” said Shewangizaw. “Our families were just destroyed. At the time compensation paid to us was so, so cheap. And we don’t have any land to farm or live on now.”

    ANGRY ONCE MORE

    Muhammed Tilahun, vice-head of the Dukem Land Development and Management Office, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the local government was now addressing the concerns of farmers.

    That includes 190 farmers and their children who lost their land back in 2007 and are now being given additional land to support them, he said.

    Yet the anger expressed by Shewangizaw and his fellow farmers is echoed across much of central Ethiopia, which has experienced rapid urbanization and fledgling industrialization over the past decade.

    Read more »


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    AU Says China Hacking Its Headquarters

    The African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, which was built by China as a $200 million gift was opened nearly six years ago. But now AU says Beijing has been hacking the complex ever since it was inaugurated in 2012. China denies the allegation. (Getty Images)

    Financial Times

    African Union accuses China of hacking headquarters

    African Union officials have accused China of hacking its headquarters’ computer systems every night for five years and downloading confidential data. Beijing funded the AU’s $200m building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, while a Chinese state-owned company built it.

    Analysts said the fact that the hack remained secret for a year after being discovered and that the AU was not commenting publicly demonstrated China’s dominant relationships with African states.

    The data theft was exposed by French newspaper Le Monde Afrique and confirmed to the Financial Times on Monday. China denied the accusation.

    The hack underscores the risk African nations take in allowing Chinese technology companies such prominent roles in developing their telecoms backbones, despite the US placing restrictions on investment by Huawei and ZTE.

    The two companies have “built most of Africa’s telecoms infrastructure”, according to a McKinsey report on Chinese investment in Africa published last year.

    Le Monde reported that data transfer activity was at a peak every night between midnight and 2am from January 2012, when the building was inaugurated, to January 2017.

    AU technicians discovered the organisation’s secrets were being copied on to servers in Shanghai, according to the article.

    The AU has now acquired its own servers and all electronic communication is now encrypted and no longer passes through Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s state-run operator. Other enhanced security features have also been installed.

    Read more »


    Related:
    China denies bugging African Union headquarters it built in Ethiopia (CNN)
    China rejects claim it bugged headquarters it built for African Union (The Guardian)

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    Grammys 2018: The Weeknd Wins Best Urban Contemporary Album

    The Weeknd. (WireImage)

    Pitchfork

    The Weeknd has won Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. His 2016 record Starboy took home the award over Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!”, SZA’s Ctrl, Khalid’s American Teen, and 6LACK’s FREE 6LACK. Best Urban Contemporary Album was the Weeknd’s sole nomination at the 2018 Grammys. Recently, Abel Tesfaye announced that he and Marvel are developing a “Starboy” comic book series that’s planned for release this year.

    Read more »


    Related:
    The Weeknd: Abel Tesfaye A Rising Starboy (Video)
    Inside The Weeknd’s $92 Million Year–And The New Streaming Economy Behind It
    2016: The Weeknd Wins Two Grammys

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    Spotlight: New Film Reflects on Obama-era U.S. International Relations (Video)

    America's former UN Ambassador Samantha Power (center), a former journalist, is one of the fascinating U.S. diplomats highlighted in the new documentary "The Final Year" released this month by Magnolia Pictures. (Illustration by Adam Maida/The New Yorker)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 29th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — The last time we featured news on our website about Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Barack Obama, she was expressing “grave concerns” on behalf of her country about “excessive use of force against protesters in Ethiopia.”

    Ambassador Power, who is a former journalist, is one of the main characters in the new documentary The Final Year, reflecting on President Obama’s last year in the White House through the eyes of his top international diplomats. As the Associated Press notes the film, which is produced by Magnolia Pictures, is “a behind-the-scenes look at President Barack Obama’s globe-trotting foreign policy team…[including] Secretary of State John Kerry and longtime Obama aide Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. Obama himself speaks occasionally to the cameras, as does National Security Adviser Susan Rice.”

    In his director’s statement the filmmaker Greg Barker says looking back he was indeed witnessing a fast-disappearing moment in history. “In retrospect, what our cameras captured was more than just high-ranking government officials at work, as fascinating and informative as that may be,” Barker writes. “We captured a worldview, an attitude, an approach to international affairs that—we now know — was fleeting, unique to a particular moment.”

    At the end, as the New Yorker reminds us “it’s impossible, in 2018, to view “The Final Year” except through the crazy prism of what happened next.”


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    Ethiopian American Community Bank to Open in DC

    An Ethiopian American Community bank called Marathon International is in the process of opening in Washington, DC. (Photo: Shutterstock)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 27th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Plans are under way to open a bank in the Washington, D.C. area that will cater to the Ethiopian American community in the United States. Ethiopians are one of the largest, most educated and affluent African immigrant populations in America.

    According to American Banker, a resource for the U.S. banking and financial services industry, an application was recently submitted to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to establish a bank called Marathon International in Washington D.C.

    “While Marathon would offer loan and deposit products to a broad range of individuals, along with small and midsize businesses, it will have a particular emphasis on serving the banking needs of U.S. residents of Ethiopian origin,” states the news release by American Banker citing Marathon International’s application. The report also notes that Ethiopian-American banker Zekarias Tamrat, who previously worked at PNC and Bank of America, will serve as the bank’s first president.

    The American Banker also reports that “Several prominent Ethiopian-Americans are expected to serve on Marathon’s board, including Tekalign Gedamu, a retired economist and former managing director of the Development Bank of Ethiopia who is set to serve as chairman,” “The bank plans to raise $22 million to $25 million by selling common stock. It has already posted a job listing looking for people who are fluent in Amharic.”

    The announcement adds: “Organizers also plan to market to Ethiopian-Americans through targeted advertising, referrals, affinity relationships and sponsoring local Ethiopian-focused events, the application said. Marathon will also offer an education program that will target underbanked or underserved Ethiopians to bring them into the banking system.”

    “Marathon International Bank is an Ethiopian American Community bank with a wide shareholder base capable of guiding the bank’s operations, growth, and its long term trajectory,” Zekarias Tamrat describes the venture on his Linkedin page.


    Zekarias Tamrat, is set to be become President of Marathon International Bank. (Photo: Linkedin)

    “Our vision is to help transform the Ethiopian community into a far more economically engaged, creative and vibrant member of the wider and diverse US community,” Zekarias says. “To become a differentiated provider of financial services by leveraging our understanding of the unique financial needs of the Ethiopian American Community.”

    Steven Lanter, the lawyer who is handling the application for Marathon, told American Banker that “The organizers’ passion for this application and proposed bank is unmatched. For some of the organizers, to create an insured financial institution that caters to the Ethiopian-American community, and the broader market, will be a dream come true.”


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    Ethiopians Sweep Dubai Marathon Again

    Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2018 winners Mosinet Geremew and Roza Dereje of Ethiopia. Mosinet Geremew broke the course record to emerge as the new champion of the Dubai Marathon 2018. (Gulf News)

    Gulf News

    Men, women winners break course records as Ethiopians dominate

    Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia broke the course record to emerge as the new champion of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2018 with a time of 2:04:00. The previous record was held by 2017 Dubai Marathon winner Tamirat Tola Adere from Ethiopia who finished in 2:04:11.

    Roza Dereje of Ethiopia too broke the course record in the women race with a timing of 2:19:17. Dereje broke the course record held by 2012 Dubai Marathon winner Aselefech Mergia, also from Ethiopia with a timing of 2:19:31.

    It was a clean sweep again by the Ethiopian runners with all the first ten finishes in the men’s race being swept away by the Ethiopians. In the women’s race the first seven finishes were by the Ethiopian women.

    Results:

    Men’s race: (All Ethiopians)
    1. Mosinet Geremew 2:04:00
    2. Leul Gebresilase 2:04:02
    3. Tamirat Tola 2:04:06
    4. Asefa Mengstu 2:04:06
    5. Sisay Lemma 2:04:08

    Women’s race (All Ethiopians)
    1. Roza Dereje 2:19:17
    2. Feyse Tadese 2:19:30
    3. Yebrg Melese Arage 2:19:36.

    Read more »


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    Ethiopia: 2,300 More Prisoners Pardoned

    An additional 2,300 political prisoners were pardoned this week in Ethiopia following the release of prominent opposition leader Merera Gudina on January 17th, 2018. (Photo via Africa News)

    The Associated Press

    Ethiopia region pardons more than 2,300 prisoners

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A restive region in Ethiopia says it has pardoned 2,345 prisoners as part of the government’s recent pledge to release jailed politicians and others after the most serious anti-government protests in a quarter-century.

    Oromia region spokesman Addisu Arega says in a Facebook post that more than 1,500 of the prisoners had been convicted, while the rest had been under investigation. They were accused of taking part in violent protests.

    The government says those pardoned are expected to be released in “a few days” after taking rehabilitation courses.

    The East African nation this month released a leading opposition figure and 115 others. The government has said it wants to “widen the democratic space for all,” but some critics have expressed concern it could be a ruling party tactic to buy time.


    Related:
    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (The Economist)
    At Least 7 Killed by Police at Timket Celebrations in Woldiya, Ethiopia (AP)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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    Ethiopia: U.S. Embassy Announces “Solve IT!” – A Nationwide Innovation Competition

    (Image: Courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa)

    Press Release

    The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is sponsoring a nationwide innovation competition, “Solve IT!” for Ethiopian youth. “Solve IT!” promotes STEAM, entrepreneurship and encourages a new generation of young Ethiopians to solve problems in their communities using technology, software and hardware. The competition is implemented by the U.S. Embassy in collaboration with partners iCog Labs and Humanity plus.

    Solve IT! will involve nine city hubs in seven regional states and two city administrations: Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Jimma, Bahir Dar, Mekelle, Gambela, Semera, Hawassa and Jigjiga are the selected cities.

    Ethiopians, between the ages of 18 and 28, will work for nine months to develop products that they believe will tackle key problems faced by their communities through developing mobile phone applications to hardware solutions. Training will be given in nine cities, including product development, technical support, marketing and business planning. Winners at the regional level will advance to the National Round, a week-long competition with elimination rounds and presentations before a jury of industry experts.


    Solve IT! is currently accepting registrations from individuals and teams. More information about the competition and registration can be found at http://www.icog-labs.com/solveit/.

    Related:
    Spotlight: ‘Our Ethiopia’ Video Contest Promoting Tolerance Through Dialogue

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    Spotlight: Addis Gezehagn’s Art Show ‘Floating Cities/Detached Perceptions’

    Artwork by Addis Gezehagn , Floating City IX, 2017. (Photo: Addis Fine Art)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 26th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Addis Gezahegn’s work “depict dreamlike deconstructed and layered renderings of urban landscapes rising above the ground,” states the announcement from Addis Fine Art Gallery where his most recent paintings will be displayed in a solo exhibition in Addis Ababa from January 30th through March 31st, 2018.

    “These compositions blend the boundaries of fantasy and reality of urban life, blurring the lines between the past, present and future.”

    Born in 1978 Addis Gezehagn graduated from Addis Ababa University’s Alle School of Fine Art in 2011.

    “A long-time artistic presence in Addis Ababa, [Addis Gezehagn] is known for portraying the multifaceted characteristics of the city’s residents by detailing the external facades of their homes,” Addis Fine Art notes. “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…These works are a documentation of the increasingly changing landscape of Addis Ababa and the communities that reside in neighborhood such as Kasanchis, Piassa and Arat Kilo. These works urge us to think beyond homes as functional entities and offer commentary on the socio-economic context urban life.”


    If You Go:
    SOLO EXHIBITION BY ADDIS GEZEHAGN
    30 JANUARY – 31 MARCH 2018
    Addis Fine Art
    Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
    www.addisfineart.com

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Conversation on the Asosa Gold Mine

    Residents of Asosa in Ethiopia pan for gold in local streams. (Photo by Owen Morgan)

    The Conversation

    Ethiopia could be sitting on one of world’s great untapped gold deposits

    To the west of Ethiopia near the Sudanese border lies a place called the Asosa zone. This may be the location of the oldest gold mine in the world. Dating back some 6,000 years, it provided a key source of gold to the ancient Egyptian empire, whose great wealth was famous throughout the known world. It may even have supplied the Queen of Sheba with her lavish gifts of gold when she visited King Solomon of Israel almost 3,000 years ago.

    The excitement in this part of the world is more about the future, however. Some local inhabitants already make a living from prospecting, and several mining companies have been active in the area in recent years, too.

    But what comes next could be on a much bigger scale: I have just co-published with my colleague, Owen Morgan, new geological research that suggests that much more treasure might be buried under the surface of this east African country than was previously thought.

    Treasure trail

    The Asosa zone is made up of flatlands, rugged valleys, mountainous ridges, streams and rivers. It is densely vegetated by bamboo and incense trees, with remnants of tropical rainforests along the river valleys. The zone, which is part of Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region, is spotted with archaeological sites containing clues to how people lived here thousands of years ago, together with ancient mining pits and trenches.

    Local inhabitants have long taken advantage of these riches. They pan for gold in Asosa’s streams and also extract the precious metal directly from outcropping rocks.

    More substantial exploitation of the region’s riches dates back to the Italian invasion of the 1930s. The Italians explored the Welega gold district in West Welega, south-east of Asosa.

    Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, believed the country had the potential to become a global leader in gold. But when the revolutionary Derg government deposed him and the country plunged into civil war, gold mining disappeared off the agenda for a decade and a half. It took until the early 2000s before the government started awarding exploration licences.

    Several mines are up and running, neither of them in Asosa. One is at Lega Dembi slightly to the east, owned by Saudi interests. The other, at Tigray in the north of the country, is owned by American mining giant Newmont, and just started production late last year.

    More is already on the way: the beneficiary of the Italian efforts from the 1930s in Welega is the Tulu Kapi gold prospect, containing 48 tonnes of gold. This was most recently acquired in 2013 by Cyprus-based mining group KEFI Minerals (market value: roughly US$2.3 billion (£1.7 billion)).

    As for Asosa, the Egyptian company ASCOM made a significant gold discovery in the zone in 2016. It published a maiden resource statement that claimed the presence of – curiously the same number – 48 tonnes of gold. Yet this only looks like the beginning.

    Read more »


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    Interview: Merera Gudina Calls for Dialogue

    The recently released opposition leader Merera Gudina says "real national dialogue" is the only way forward for Ethiopia. (Photo: Merera Gudina poses for a photo after an interview with AFP at his home in Burayu/AFP)

    AFP

    Burayu – Ethiopia’s government needs to hold negotiations with the country’s most-popular opposition parties or risk the return of destabilising protests, veteran dissident Merera Gudina said in an interview, days after leaving prison.

    A cause celebre for opponents of Ethiopia’s government during his time behind bars, Merera is the only prominent opposition politician to be freed since Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced earlier this month that his administration would release an unspecified number of the many dissidents jailed in the country.

    The announcement came amid continuing anti-government unrest in Ethiopia despite authorities ending a 10-month state of emergency last year and ongoing dialogue between the government and some opposition groups.

    In an interview with AFP on Tuesday, Merera said the dialogue holds little promise because the opposition parties involved are unpopular, while the prime minister’s goal for the prisoner amnesty to “improve the national consensus and widen the democratic platform” will not be met if more prisoners are not released.

    “I think [for] the ruling party, it is time to rethink, and stop these piecemeal things and lead this country to a real national dialogue and a national consensus. That’s the only way out,” Merera, 61, who chairs the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, said at his home in the town of Burayu west of the capital Addis Ababa.

    Merera was detained in December 2016 shortly after the state of emergency declaration, which followed months of anti-government protests. Hundreds died and tens of thousands were arrested.

    Those protests started the previous year when the country’s largest ethnic group the Oromos denounced a plan to expand the capital Addis Ababa into their federal region Oromia.

    The unrest later spread to another region populated by Ethiopia’s second-largest ethnic group, the Amharas.

    The demonstrations represented one of the biggest challenges ever to the unchecked power of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which has led the country since 1991 and currently controls with its allies every single seat in parliament.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Dissent in Addis (The Economist)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopia: Is This the Start of Reforms or Just a Pause in Repression? (Economist)

    “If the government means what it says, then it has a chance to write a new chapter in Ethiopian history,” says Merera Gudina [who was freed last week along with hundreds of other prisoners]. Since his release thousands have come to see him, some bringing oxen to slaughter in the festivities. (AP photo)

    The Economist

    Dissent in Addis: Ethiopia’s regime flirts with letting dissidents speak without locking them up

    LIFE in Maekelawi, a prison in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, had a predictable rhythm. Three times a day, Atnaf Berhane and Befekadu Hailu were hauled from the dank, dark cell they nicknamed “Siberia” for three hours of interrogation and beating. Mr Hailu was flogged across his bare feet with an electric cable. Mr Berhane escaped this particular cruelty. “I was lucky,” he says.

    The two Ethiopian activists, members of a blogging group known as Zone 9, were arrested in 2014. After three months in Maekelawi they were charged with terrorism. After 18 months behind bars those charges were dropped, though both are still accused of the lesser crime of inciting violence. Ethio Trial Tracker, a website, claims that 923 Ethiopians are in prison on terrorism charges. Human Rights Watch, a pressure group, counts thousands more detained for their political opinions.

    The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has a habit, always denied, of jailing its political opponents. So many observers were surprised when, on January 3rd, the government announced plans to release some political prisoners, turn Maekelawi into a museum and “widen the democratic space”. On January 17th it freed Merera Gudina, the country’s most prominent opposition leader, along with 527 other prisoners. The attorney-general said more prisoners would be released in the coming months, including some of those convicted of terrorist offences. “If the government means what it says, then it has a chance to write a new chapter in Ethiopian history,” says Mr Merera. Since his release thousands have come to see him, some bringing oxen to slaughter in the festivities.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia’s leading opposition figure warns of unrest if dialogue fails (AFP)
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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    Spotlight: The Revived Ethio-Groove Of Ayalew Mesfin and His U.S. Tour

    Ayalew Mesfin's first vinyl compilation, Hasabe (My Worries), was released online on January 23rd, 2018 and featured by record of the month club, Vinyl Me Please. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 24th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — One of the great voices of Ethiopia’s golden age of music, Ayalew Mesfin, has been revived with the release of his first vinyl compilation entitled Hasabe (My Worries).

    Ayalew Mesfin’s record was released on Tuesday with the help of Vinyl Me, Please and Now Again records.

    “Ayalew Mesfin Chufa [who is originally from the historical Wollo region], professionally known as Ayalew Mesfin, is an Ethiopian musician of the highest caliber. His voice is as pliable and emotive as those of the country’s ‘70s stars, like Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete and Tilahoun Gessesse, three singers who came to prominence shortly before he did, but who are now considered his peers,” the record company Vinyl Me, Please, which issued the album in partnership with Now Again records, said in an announcement.”

    “The music he forged with his Black Lion Band is amongst the funkiest to arise from Addis Ababa; his recording career, captured in nearly two dozen 7” singles and numerous reel-to-reel tapes, shows the strata of the most fertile decade in Ethiopia’s 20th century recording industry, when records were pressed constantly by both independent upstarts and corporate behemoths, even if they were only distributed within the confines of this unconquerable East African nation.”

    Ayalew will be accompanied by the Ethiopian American group, Debo Band, as he launches his U.S. West Coast tour in February 2018 with stops in Los Angeles and Berkeley in California, and his now hometown of Denver, Colorado.


    Ayalew Mesfin (Courtesy photos)


    (Courtesy photo)

    The majority of Ayalew Mesfin’s albums were recored between 1975 and 1977. “This was the era when Mesfin founded the Black Lion Band and succeeded in creating one of the greatest discographies of Ethiopia’s 1970s,” the press release notes. “His is the last bastion of unheard Ethio-groove, and the culmination of decades of modernization in Ethiopian music.”

    Eothen Alapatt, Founder of Now-Again Records says: “With “Hasabe: My Worries,” we make the case that Ayalew’s music deserves to be in the canon of Ethiopias 70s greats, from Mulatu Astatke to Mahmoud Ahmed to Alemeayehu Eshete. And we attempt to show how a century of political tumult and musical revolution came together in this unconquerable East African nation to make some of the most compelling music of the latter half of the 20th century: Ethio-Groove, still thrilling and vibrant when heard as new, today. ”


    Related:
    The Oppressed And Now Revived Ethio-Groove Of Ayalew Mesfin: Read An Exclusive Excerpt From The Liner Notes To ‘Hasabe’ (My Worries)

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    In Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains, BBC Features Beekeepers of the Harenna Forest

    In Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains, beehives sit high atop the tree canopies – and reaching them can be a dangerous business. (BBC)

    BBC News

    The last beekeepers of Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest

    The sun was beginning its evening dip as I set off into the Harenna Forest. Strange tubular shapes glowed in the treetops, catching the pale golden light.

    Wedged between branches, they looked like elongated wine barrels or giant cocoons.

    I was en route to witness a unique honey harvest in the forest. Here, on the southern slopes of Bale Mountains National Park in south-east Ethiopia, hand-carved beehives are placed high in the tree canopies. Reaching them to retrieve the sweet, sticky nectar is arduous – and often dangerous.

    Local guide Ziyad and I followed beekeeper Said over a flower-strewn meadow before being swallowed into a tangle of trees.


    Residents of Ethiopia’s Harenna Forest practice an ancient form of beekeeping (Photo: Alamy)


    Using a rope, beekeeper Said scales the trees to harvest honey from hives 20m above the ground (Credit: Ella Buchan)

    Read more and see photos at BBC.com »


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    Ethiopian-American Startup Stackshare Raises 5.2 Million in Venture Capital

    Ethiopian-American Yonas Beshawred who is from Maryland is the founder and CEO of Stackshare, a developer-only community of engineers from some of the world's top startups and companies. Stackshare recently raised $5.2 million in first significant round of venture capital financing. (Photo: Techcrunch.com)

    Black Enterprise

    StackShare, a company that helps developers and engineers discover and compare software tools, recently closed $5.2 million in a Series A led by e.Ventures. Other investors included Cervin Ventures and angels Nick Rockwell, Aston Motes, Dave Johnson, and Bill Smith according to Tech Crunch.

    In the beginning, the platform was slow to grow but founder Yonas Beshawred saw an opportunity and specifically focused on data after StackShare ramped up its user base. “When we look at it, it is professionals finding and communicating with each other.”

    It’s in essence peer learning for technologists. Instead of creating their code from scratch, they are crowdsourcing it with other developers. “When your boss asks you for a new data pipeline, you don’t open a text editor, you do research,” Beshawred said in a statement.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Interview with Yonas Beshawred, Founder & CEO of Stackshare (Tech Crunch)

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    Book Review of ‘Struggle From Afar’: Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw Interviews Ethiopian Women Activists

    Cover of the new book 'Struggle From Afar' by Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw. (Courtesy of Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 22nd, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — In her newly published book Struggle From Afar the late educator and social justice activist Dr. Maigenet Shifferraw, who passed way two years ago, left behind a gem for future researchers by meticulously documenting the history of Ethiopian women grassroots activism in the Diaspora.

    In Struggle From Afar Dr. Maigenet also debunks the myth that Ethiopian female millennials are not as passionate about human rights issues as their parents’ generation or their male counterparts. “It would be unfair to say that, unlike our generation, all young Ethiopians are disinterested in social justice movements,” she writes, emphasizing that as one young Ethiopian woman told her that today they simply follow a “different platform.” Dr. Maigenet explains that a “different platform” meant “focus on the humanitarian component of social activism.”

    Women activists interviewed and featured in the book include former opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa as well as the acclaimed actress and playwright Alemtsehay Wedajo. In addition, Dr. Maigenet also highlights intimate conversations with several women across various fields including Abeba Fekade, Berhane Ras-Work, Fekerte Gebremariam, Lemlem Tsegaw, Mary Tadesse, Meqdes Mesfin, Meron Ahadu, Tsehai Berhane-Selassie and Wessenyelesh Debela.

    “When I interviewed the women activists for this book their political views was not my primary interest,” Dr. Maigenet states. “I was only interested in what motivated them to become activists to work on peace, democracy and human rights issues.” She adds: “I was also interested, for those who were political activists, what challenges they had in participating in the male-dominated arena of political activism.”

    Moreover, Dr. Maigenet cites American civil rights hero Rosa Parks as an international role model of the power of nonviolent noncooperation and resistance by individual citizens that changed the course of history in their own countries and beyond.

    Another remarkable person mentioned in the book is British suffragette leader Sylvia Pankurst (1882-1960), who became a lifelong advocate for Ethiopia because of her strong opposition to fascism during World War II. “She marched, spoke in conferences, and argued with members of the British Parliament against Italian fascism and the invasion of Ethiopia,” Dr. Maigenet points out. “She founded the New Times and Ethiopia News, which was published in London in the 1930′s. She later turned the paper into the Ethiopia Observer, published in Addis Ababa, after the end of the Italian occupation.” Sylvia Pankurst eventually moved to Ethiopia where she lived until her death on September 27th, 1960 and was buried in Addis Ababa with great honor. Dr. Maigenet noted: “This is an exemplary example of disciplined and sustained peaceful resistance.”

    Dr. Maigenet passed away at the age of 68 on February 24th 2016. She was an Associate Professor in adult education at the University of the District of Columbia for 20 years. She also worked as an education consultant at the World Bank and the U.S. Department of Education.

    The book Struggle From Afar is published by Fanos Books (a TSEHAI imprint) for the Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW), which Dr. Maigenet helped establish and served as its President at the time of her passing, and with a foreword by her husband Professor Getachew Metaferia.

    CREW will be hosting a book release event this coming weekend in Silver Spring, Maryland.


    If You Go:
    Book release: ‘Struggle From Afar’
    Saturday, January 27th, 2018
    Doors open at 4PM
    Silver Spring Civic Center
    Silver Spring, Maryland
    centerforethiopianwomen.org

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    At Least 7 Killed by Police at Timket Celebrations in Woldiya, Ethiopia (AP)

    Woldiya is a located in the Semien Wollo Zone in northern Ethiopia north of Dessie and southeast of Lalibela in the Amhara Region. (Photo: CC image)

    Associated Press

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopian police in the restive Amhara region in the north confirmed Sunday that seven people were killed when worshippers celebrating the Epiphany holiday clashed with security forces.

    The killings on Saturday in the town of Woldiya, 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of the capital Addis Ababa, happened on the second day of the colorful Epiphany celebrations in this East African nation.

    Amare Goshu, a police official in the region, told the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation that seven people died, including one security officer, during the confrontation. He said that the security forces responded with force when youths in the town tried to attack officers who were patrolling the holiday procession areas. “More than 15 citizens and 2 police officers were also injured and are now receiving treatment,” he said.


    Related:
    UN rights chief “concerned” over Ethiopia killings (AFP)
    Weekend clashes during Ethiopia religious festival leave seven dead (Reuters)

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    Kenenisa Bekele to Race London Marathon

    Kenenisa Bekele in London in 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

    Reuters

    Ethiopia’s triple Olympic track champion Kenenisa Bekele will race the London Marathon in April and line up alongside Briton Mo Farah and Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge for what promises to be a mouth-watering contest.

    Bekele, 35, regarded by many as the greatest distance runner of all time and holder of the 5,000m and 10,000m world records, finished second in London last year and was third in 2016.

    A pre-race favorite last year, Bekele had hoped to break Dennis Kimetto’s men’s world record of 2:02.57 but had trouble with blisters on his feet and crossed the finish line behind Kenya’s Daniel Wanjiru.

    “I am thrilled to be returning to London for the third year in a row and would love to go one better than last year and win the race,” Bekele said in a statement.

    “Once again London has brought the best distance runners in the world together so I know it will not be easy… I have been training very hard with the aim of arriving in London in April in the best possible condition.”

    The trio of Bekele, Farah and Kipchoge have a combined total of eight Olympic gold medals and 12 world championship gold medals between them.

    “This is a mouth-watering prospect,” said event director Hugh Brasher. “Sir Mo, Eliud and Kenenisa could all put forward a persuasive case for being the greatest of all time and now they meet for the first time over the marathon distance.”

    The London Marathon will be held on April 22.


    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Spotlight: ‘Our Ethiopia’ Video Contest Promoting Tolerance Through Dialogue

    (Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 20th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — A timely video contest is underway in Ethiopia giving young people a chance to imagine a more tolerant and peaceful future country.

    Open to all Ethiopians and sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa the short film competition entitled “Our Ethiopia” challenges both established and up-and-coming filmmakers to produce a video up to 3 minutes in length that “depicts the importance of respect for diversity, tolerance, and finding common understanding in Ethiopia.” The submission guideline states the “videos may describe the challenges to, solutions for, and benefits of tolerance and mutual respect.”

    In a press statement the Embassy said the contest is part of its “ongoing efforts to highlight the importance of tolerance and diversity through open and constructive communication.”

    “In a globalized world, tolerance is important for creating a society in which people feel valued and respected, and in which there is room for every person, each with their own ideas and dreams,” the press release added. “This video challenge is intended to promote these values.”

    The first place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 80,000; the second place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 50,000; and the third place winner will receive a prize valued at ETB 30,000.


    All videos must be done in Amharic with English sub-titles. The deadline for submission of videos is midnight on February 18th, 2018. Interested contestants can submit their video either by uploading to YouTube or sending to the U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Section (OurEthiopia Video Challenge), P.O. Box 1014 in a CD or DVD. The video submission can be uploaded in any format accepted by YouTube and after uploading the hashtagged video, send a link to your video submission to AddisVideochallenge@state.gov. You can find the details of the competition through the link: et.usembassy.gov/ourethiopia-video-challenge-guideline.

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    Africa: U.S. Congress Passes AGOA

    The following is an update from Congresswoman Karen Bass, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa, about the recent unanimous vote in the U.S. Congress approving the "African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Millennium Challenge Act (MCA) Modernization Act." (Photo: Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles, California advocating for the legislation on the House Floor/C-SPAN)

    Press Release

    Karen Bass, Member of Congress

    In light of recent remarks made by Trump in reference to Haiti and some African countries last week, I wanted to share some positive news coming out of Washington, DC regarding our country’s relationship with Africa.

    This week, Congress passed the “African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Millennium Challenge Act (MCA) Modernization Act” by a unanimous voice vote on the House Floor.

    The bill, which I introduced with my colleague, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), will make AGOA more effective by directing the President to establish a website with information regarding AGOA and by encouraging embassies in chosen countries to promote export opportunities to the United States.

    The bill also includes a piece of legislation I introduced in 2015, which would enable eligible countries with Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compacts to simultaneously enter one additional compact if the country is making considerable and demonstrable progress in implementing the terms of the existing compact. This would promote and develop a stronger economic relationship between sub-Saharan Africa and the United States.

    As you know, for well over a decade, AGOA has served as the key foundation to U.S.-Africa trade and investment. The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act hopes to build on and improve this successful law. AGOA and the MCC have proven track records of spurring economic development. Expanding these programs advances our position as international leaders, strengthens our domestic job market and economy, while protecting our national security interests. It is in our economic and political interest to expand our relationships with the nations of Africa and this legislation strengthens key laws in that effort.


    You can watch the full remarks by Congresswoman Karen Bass advocating for Congress to pass the AGOA legislation here.

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    In Pictures: Ethiopia Celebrates Timket

    Timket celebration at Jan Meda in Addis Ababa, January 19, 2018. ( Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu)

    AA

    By Addis Getachew

    ADDIS ABABA — Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox faith on Friday celebrated Timket — also called the Epiphany — a holiday commemorating Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River.

    To mark the day, tents called Tabots were pitched to house tablets bearing the Ten Commandments from all churches.

    Hundreds of thousands gathered at Jan Meda, the largest open field in the capital Addis Ababa, where 11 Tabots were placed in tents for the Timket celebration.


    Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Abune Mathias (C) attends the celebrations at Meyazia 27 Square in Addis Ababa on January 18, 2018. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu)


    (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu)

    Read more and see photos »


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    SEED Honors Ethiopia’s Universal Impact on the Pan-African World

    Ethiopia has never been colonized & has been an inspiration for the Pan-African world. (Photos from top: Emperor Haile Selassie, Emperor Menelik, Emperor Tewodros, Emperor Yohannes IV, Empress Zewditu/ Wikimedia)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 18th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that doesn’t have “Independence Day” on its calendar because it has never been colonized.

    The universal impact of Ethiopia’s ancient and independent history on the Pan-African world will be the subject of an upcoming event in Washington, D.C. hosted by The Society of Ethiopians Established in Diaspora (SEED).

    SEED announced that their 26th Annual Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 27, 2018 will posthumously honor the past five Emperors of Ethiopia including Emperor Tewodros II (1818 – 1868), Emperor Yohannes IV (1837 – 1889), Emperor Menelik II (1844 – 1913), Empress Zewditu (1876 – 1930), and Emperor Haile Selassie I (1892 – 1975).

    The press release also notes “a special feature program for the last emperor, H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, in an effort to uplift and recognize Ethiopia’s universal and unique impact in the Pan African movement, black freedom struggles around the world, the civil rights movement in the United States, and in Ethiopia.”

    “Ethiopian history is so rich and its role in the black liberation movement and around the world goes without saying,” said SEED Chairman, Dr. Melaku Lakew. “Nelson Mandela, Rep. Ron Dellums, and others have spoken about Ethiopia’s impact, but it is rare that we, as Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia, get the opportunity to create a platform to recognize not only the impact they made in Ethiopia, but the influence they had on the rest of the world as well.”


    If You Go:
    The event takes place on May 27, 2018 at College Park Marriott Hotel Conference Center 3501 University Boulevard E. Hyattsville, Maryland. More info at www.ethioseed.org.

    Related:
    African American and Ethiopian Relations
    The Case of Melaku E. Bayen and John Robinson: Ethiopia, U.S. and the Pan-African Movement

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    African U.N. Envoys Suggest Trump Meet Leaders in Ethiopia After ‘shithole’ Remark

    The African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa. (Photo by Zhai Jianlan)

    Reuters

    UNITED NATIONS – African U.N. envoys suggested on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump meet with African leaders in Ethiopia this month after he was reported to have described some immigrants from Africa and Haiti as coming from “shithole” countries.

    African ambassadors met with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who told them she regretted the political drama around what was said a week ago at a White House meeting on immigration, according to diplomats at the U.N. meeting.

    The diplomats said that South African U.N. Ambassador Jerry Matjila, who spoke on behalf of the group, told Haley that “it could be useful” for Trump to address African leaders directly when they meet in Addis Ababa at the African Union.

    That meeting is due to take place on Jan. 28-29, according to the African Union website.

    Haley told the ambassadors she did not know what had been said in last week’s White House meeting and promised to convey the African ambassadors’ message to Trump when she meets with him in Washington on Friday, according to the diplomats.

    Trump has denied using such derogatory language.

    The U.S. mission to the United Nations declined to comment on the U.N. meeting beyond a tweet it posted, which read: “Thank you to the Africa Group for meeting today. We discussed our long relationship and history of combating HIV, fighting terrorism, and committing to peace throughout the region.”

    African U.N. ambassadors issued a statement last Friday that said they were “extremely appalled at, and strongly condemned the outrageous, racist, xenophobic remarks attributed to the president of the United States.”

    They demanded Trump retract his remarks and apologize.

    According to diplomats at the U.N. meeting on Thursday, Haley also spoke about the billions of dollars that the United States had invested in the fight against HIV/Aids and terrorism in Africa and in humanitarian aid for South Sudan.

    Haley traveled to Ethiopia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo in late October.


    Related:
    Obama Staffer’s Tweet Sets Social Media Ablaze After Trump’s Africa Debacle
    African immigrants are more educated than most — including people born in U.S. (LA Times)
    ‘Visit Shithole Zambia’: Trump’s Comments Inspire Tourism AD (Newsweek)
    The President of Ghana Responds to Trump’s ‘shithole’ Comment (Washington Post)
    President Trump: I am no racist (Ghana News – Citi FM)
    Africa calls Trump racist after ‘shithole’ remark (Reuters)
    African countries and Haiti react to Trump’s remark (Washington Post)
    South Africa, Ghana summon US diplomats after Trump remark (CNN)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    3rd Annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium in Silicon Valley

    Organized by the African Diaspora Network Leadership the 3rd Annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium will be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, January 26 and 27, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

    Press Release

    By African Diaspora Network Leadership: Almaz Negash

    Building Africa’s Future: Magnifying What is Within

    This Silicon Valley-based symposium is a catalyst for diaspora-driven initiatives and investment with the potential to shape the Continent’s future. The 2016 and 2017 gatherings drew over 430 invitation-only participants from communities in Africa (30%), Europe (10%),Canada (2%), and the United States (60%). Discussions and workshops included African angel investing bootcamp, emerging investment opportunities, Fintech, energy, and Africa’s changing investment landscape.

    African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2018 shall examine the crossroads between human capital, natural resources, technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, and investment in Africa. Through these sectors, our expert speakers will explore bold policies, innovative business models, and technologies that are shaping Continent’s future.

    Our 2018 theme, “Building Africa’s Future: Magnifying What is Within,” seeks to amplify the changemakers and leaders shaping the Continent’s future. Experts, panelists, and participants will engage in fruitful dialogue to examine the crossroads between human capital, natural resources, investment, entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology in Africa.

    This two-day conference will provide networking, community-building, and knowledge-sharing with symposium attendees as we celebrate a spirit of abundance and unearth the richness of the Continent’s resources, as well as the talents and contributions of Africans, friends of Africa, and Diasporans.

    Keynote Speakers

    Josh Ghaim, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies

    Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI)

    Jim Shelton, President of Education, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s, and former Deputy Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama.


    If You Go:
    January 26-27, 2018 | Computer History Museum | Mountain View, CA

    More info at EVENTBRITE or ADN Platform and enter the discount code: PADIS18 to get 25% off. You may check out the remarkable speakers at 2018 symposium and Watch ADIS-ADN Video.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Obama Staffer’s Tweet Sets Social Media Ablaze After Trump’s Africa Debacle

    In the aftermath of President Trump's reportedly profane outburst about Africa and its people last week during a heated White House meeting on immigration, a tweet by former Obama staffer Gary Lee (seen above) has gone viral creating a comparison between Trump and his more globally admired predecessor who was famous for his calm, cool, collected and generous presidential manners. Below is a CNN interview with Gary Lee. (Photo by Former White House photographer Pete Souza)

    CNN

    Former Obama staffer’s viral tweet a message to Trump on immigration

    Former White House staffer Gary Lee’s very first tweet went viral amid the fallout over President Donald Trump making disparaging comments about immigration from African countries and Haiti.

    Over the weekend, the son of Korean immigrants tweeted a picture with his then boss, President Barack Obama, welcoming him into the Oval Office with his arms outstretched. Former White House photographer Pete Souza captured the moment.

    Lee spoke to Don Lemon on “CNN Tonight” on Monday about the contrast between Trump and Obama. Lee said that while he found Trump’s comments around immigration upsetting, he believed Obama taught his staff “we could celebrate our diversities and that made us so much stronger.”

    Lee left the Obama White House as a staffer in 2011 for a Fulbright Scholarship in Korea where he would study his parent’s language and culture. The viral photo with Obama was taken on Lee’s last day at the White House. The former President greeted Lee in Korean.


    Watch the interview on CNN.com »


    Related:
    African immigrants are more educated than most — including people born in U.S. (LA Times)
    ‘Visit Shithole Zambia’: Trump’s Comments Inspire Tourism AD (Newsweek)
    The President of Ghana Responds to Trump’s ‘shithole’ Comment (Washington Post)
    President Trump: I am no racist (Ghana News – Citi FM)
    Africa calls Trump racist after ‘shithole’ remark (Reuters)
    African countries and Haiti react to Trump’s remark (Washington Post)
    South Africa, Ghana summon US diplomats after Trump remark (CNN)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    ETHIOPIA UPDATE: Merera Gudina Freed

    Opposition leader Merara Gudina, center, walks with his supporters after his release, in Burayu, Ethiopia, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (AP photo)

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    By ELIAS MESERET

    Updated: January 17th, 2018

    BURAYU, Ethiopia — Ethiopia’s top opposition figure and hundreds of others were released from prison on Wednesday as part of the government’s recent pledge to free detained politicians and “widen the democratic space for all” after the worst anti-government protests in a quarter-century.

    Merara Gudina led the Oromo Federalist Congress party and was arrested a year ago under the country’s state of emergency after he returned from Europe, where he had briefed lawmakers on widespread and sometimes deadly anti-government protests in the East African nation.

    Merara was released along with 115 others from a federal prison on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa. He was met by thousands of youths in his adopted hometown of Burayu outside the capital, with some chanting anti-government slogans.

    “If the government is genuine about dialogue, then we will consider it,” Merara told The Associated Press.

    Another 361 detainees were freed Wednesday across southern Ethiopia, and several hundred others across the country are expected to be released in the coming months.

    The releases come after Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn’s surprise announcement earlier this month that the government planned to release imprisoned politicians and close the notorious Maekelawi prison camp.

    His comments came after the most serious anti-government protests since the current government came to power in 1991. The demonstrations demanding wider freedoms began in late 2015 and engulfed much of the restive Oromia and Amhara regions before spreading into other parts of the country, leading to a months-long state of emergency that has since been lifted.

    Tens of thousands of people were arrested, and reportedly hundreds were killed, while one of Africa’s fastest growing economies was disrupted.

    The U.S. Embassy said in a statement it was “encouraged” by the new releases. “We are aware that reviews of additional cases are underway and hope they will be conducted in the same spirit. We understand these efforts as part of the government’s decision to accelerate democratic progress.”

    “The release of opposition politician Merara Gudina and hundreds of other detainees in Ethiopia today must only be a first step toward freedom for all prisoners of conscience in the East African country,” Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s research and advocacy director for Africa, said in a statement. “Hundreds of prisoners of conscience continue to languish in jail, accused or prosecuted for legitimate exercise of their freedom of expression or simply for standing up for human rights.”

    Ethiopia’s government has long been accused of arresting critical journalists and opposition leaders. Rights organizations and opposition groups have called for their release, saying they were arrested on trumped-up charges and punished for their points of view.


    Related:
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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    Exhibit by Photographer Gediyon Kifle Honors Martin Luther King Jr

    The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Gediyon Kifle)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 15th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — This month an exhibition by Washington, DC-based Ethiopian American photographer Gediyon Kifle opens at East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum honoring the legendary U.S. civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    The exhibition entitled Finite Disappointment/Infinite Hope is “composed of three elements – photography, sound and architectural installation – that Gediyon Kifle says are meant to inspire viewers by reflecting King’s principles of love, justice, democracy and hope,” states the announcement.

    The show’s title is derived from a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

    Gediyon, who is a graduate of East Tennessee State University (ETSU), is the official photographer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

    We featured Gediyon’s photography work of Dr. King’s Memorial in Washington DC in an interview six years ago this month. By then Gediyon had worked on the project for more than a decade “photographing everything from the design competition to the dedication by President Obama,” he told Tadias.

    “I was initially hired to document the submitted design competitions — that’s how my relationship with the foundation started” Gediyon added. “It has been a great privilege to witness the process with my own eyes through three presidents including President Clinton and President Bush.”

    Gediyon who was born in Ethiopia came to the United States with his family when he was 10 years old. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and later attended ETSU where he earned his degree in Mass Communication with a minor in photography. The announcement notes that “while at ETSU, he was the first recipient of the university’s Student/Faculty Collaborative Research Grant and worked as a photographer in the Office of University Relations. A portfolio of his study on interracial relationships in the Tri-Cities is among the collections in the Archives of Appalachia in ETSU’s Center for Appalachian Studies and Services.”

    Gediyon says Finite Disappointment/Infinite Hope is “a journey through my eyes as a photographer.”

    Watch: Gediyon Kifle discusses his exhibition with WJHL News Channel 11

    —-
    If You Go:
    An opening reception and curator’s talk by Gediyon Kifle will be held Thursday, Jan. 18, from 5-7 p.m. at Reece Museum. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. Regular Reece Museum hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The show will be on display through March 23, 2018. For more information, call the museum at 423-439-4392 or visit www.etsu.edu/reece.

    Related:
    Photographer Gediyon Kifle’s Tribute to Nelson Mandela
    Boxing Legend Muhammad Ali: Reflection by Photographer Gediyon Kifle

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    African Immigrants are More Educated Than Most — Including People Born in U.S.

    Drawing from U.S. surveys and Census Bureau data, the majority [of immigrants from Africa] come from five countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa [and] many are highly skilled professionals. (Photo: Somali immigrant Khadar Ducaale, left, helps Ahmed Omar look for a job in Fort Morgan, Colorado. Ducaale runs a small business that caters to new immigrant arrivals/Denver Post)

    Los Angeles Times

    Lots of the news from sub-Saharan Africa is about war, famine, poverty or political upheaval. So it’s understandable if many Americans think most Africans who immigrate to the United States are poorly educated and desperate.

    That’s the impression that President Trump left with his comments to members of Congress opposing admission of immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa and elsewhere.

    But research tells another story.

    While many are refugees, large numbers are beneficiaries of the “diversity visa program” aimed at boosting immigration from underrepresented nations. And on average, African immigrants are better educated that people born in the U.S. or the immigrant population as a whole.

    “It’s a population that’s very diverse in its educational, economic and English proficiency profile,” said Jeanne Batalova, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute think tank in Washington and coauthor of a report last year on sub-Saharan African immigrants in the U.S. “People came for a variety of reasons and at various times.”

    Overall, their numbers are small compared with other immigrant groups but have risen significantly in recent years. The U.S. immigrant population from sub-Saharan Africa (49 countries with a total population of more than 1.1 billion) grew from 723,000 to more than 1.7 million between 2010 and 2015, according to a new report by New American Economy, a Washington-based research and advocacy group. Still, they make up just half a percent of the U.S. population.

    Drawing from U.S. surveys and Census Bureau data, the report found that the majority come from five countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.

    The Pew Research Center reported that African immigrants are most likely to settle in the South or Northeast, and that the largest numbers — at least 100,000 — are found in Texas, New York, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia. Many African refugees have also relocated to or have been resettled in states such as Minnesota and South Dakota.

    The Refugee Act of 1980 made it easier for people fleeing war zones to resettle in the U.S., and today there are tens of thousand of refugees from Somalia, Sudan and Congo. About 22% of African immigrants are refugees, according to Andrew Lim, associate director of research at New American Economy.

    At the same time, the diversity visa program — also known as the visa lottery — has opened the door to immigrants from more peaceful places. Of the sub-Saharan immigrants who have become legal permanent residents, 17% came through the program, compared with 5% of the total U.S. immigrant population, according to Batalova.

    Applicants to the program must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. high school education or have at least two years of recent experience in any number of occupations, including accountant, computer support specialist, orthodontist and dancer.

    As a result, the influx includes many immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa who are highly skilled professionals.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Obama Staffer’s Tweet Sets Social Media Ablaze After Trump’s Africa Debacle
    ‘Visit Shithole Zambia’: Trump’s Comments Inspire Tourism AD (Newsweek)
    The President of Ghana Responds to Trump’s ‘shithole’ Comment (Washington Post)
    President Trump: I am no racist (Ghana News – Citi FM)
    Africa calls Trump racist after ‘shithole’ remark (Reuters)
    African countries and Haiti react to Trump’s remark (Washington Post)
    South Africa, Ghana summon US diplomats after Trump remark (CNN)

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    Ethiopians Win 2018 Houston Marathon

    Biruktayit Degefa from Ethiopia won the Women's field at the 2018 Houston Marathon on Sunday, January 14th, while fellow Ethiopian Bazu Worku was the victor in the men's competition. (Photo: Twitter @HoustonMarathon)

    Associated Press

    HOUSTON — Bazu Worku held up three fingers as he headed down the final stretch of the Houston Marathon.

    Worku, trailing Ethiopian countryman Yitayal Atnafu by 23 seconds with about two miles left, turned on the jets Sunday to win the event for the third straight time.

    “Yitayal, my competitor, we train together,” Worku said through a translator. “I know that he is a very strong person and trains very well . When he put so much into his pace after 25 kilometers, then I realized he cannot finish with that pace. Then I applied my strategy.”

    Biruktayit Degefa won the women’s race and two-time Olympian Molly Huddle broke the record for the fastest half-marathon by an American woman.

    It was 34 degrees for the start of the race and Worku won with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 30 seconds. With victories in 2013 and 2014, he became the third runner to win the race three times, joining David Cheruiyot of Kenya and Stephen Ndungu of Ethiopia.


    2018 Houston Marathon Men’s Winner: Bazu Worku from Ethiopia. (Photo: Twitter @HoustonMarathon)

    “It was exhilarating,” Worku said.

    This is the third straight year Atnafu finished second at the Houston Marathon.

    Degefa captured her second women’s title at the Houston Marathon, finishing with a time of 2:24:51. She has competed in this race five years in a row.

    “When I come to Houston I feel a special joy,” Degefa said. “I consider Houston as my hometown. As if I’m coming to a family. These five years, I know Houston very well. I come very prepared and I knew I would win today.”


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    Stanford Names Ethiopian American Dr. Electron Kebebew Chief of General Surgery

    The Stanford University Department of Surgery has announced that Dr. Electron Kebebew will be the next chief of general surgery effective March 1, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 13th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — This coming Spring Ethiopian American Dr. Electron Kebebew will assume his new post as Chief of General Surgery at Stanford University’s Department of Surgery in Palo Alto, California.

    Stanford is one of the top universities in America and one of the world’s leading teaching and research institutions.

    In a statement the Chair of the University’s Department of Surgery Dr. Mary Hawn said: “I’m thrilled to have Dr. Kebebew join Stanford Surgery in this important leadership role as chief of general surgery. Dr. Kebebew is an internationally-renowned endocrine surgeon whose research has changed the way we treat patients with endocrine cancers. He is the consummate surgeon, scientist and leader and will bring our program to new heights.”

    The press release notes that “Kebebew received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in chemical engineering. He completed his medical training, surgical residency and NCI T32 surgical oncology basic science fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Since 2012, he has served as inaugural chief of newly-established endocrine oncology branch at the National Cancer Institute.”

    “This is a great opportunity to be part of a dynamic surgical department,” said Kebebew. “I am excited to make Stanford’s division a world leader in general surgery subspecialty care and research that impacts patient care.”

    According to Stanford: “Kebebew has published more than 300 articles, chapters and textbooks and has received awards from the American Cancer Society, American Association for Cancer Research, American Thyroid Association, American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, and International Association of Endocrine Surgeons. His current research focuses on the genetic/genomic changes associated with endocrine cancers with the ultimate goal of identifying therapeutic targets and novel anticancer agents for endocrine cancers, and diagnostic and prognostic markers for endocrine tumors.”

    Kebebew succeeds Dr. Jeffrey Norton, who has led the Division of General Surgery since 2006.

    “Dr. Kebebew is perfect fit for this position because of his prior experience as leader of a very successful branch at the [National Cancer Institute], his record of cutting-edge research in endocrine oncology and his plan for programmatic development in endocrine oncology in the Cancer Center here at Stanford,” said Norton. “He is an extremely bright, accomplished surgeon and a true leader in surgery.”


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    On Twitter, Ethiopians Roast Trump as ‘Gegema’ President for ‘Shithole’ Comment

    'Gegema' is one of the many colorful Amharic words Ethiopians are using to roast Donald Trump on social media about his recent “shithole" comment in reference to African countries. Meanwhile, below is a roundup of how TV comedians in the U.S. are handling the unfortunate matter as well as a link to a story from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by The Washington Post, titled 'Here is what my #shithole looks like,' documenting reactions from the continent. (Photo: US-based South African late-night host Trevor Noah/ COMEDY CENTRAL)

    The Washington Post

    In comments that seemed ripped right from a late-night comedy sketch, President Trump ignited the news cycle Thursday when The Washington Post reported he had referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries” and expressed a preference for immigrants from Norway in talks with lawmakers.

    On Thursday night, late-night comedy hosts were eager to weigh in.

    “Guys,” “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah said. “I don’t know how to break this to you, but I think the president might be racist. Hear me out, I know I sound crazy.”

    Noah, who is from South Africa, used his own nationality as a springboard. “Personally, as someone from South Shithole, I’m offended, Mr. President,” the host said. “Because not only does he think brown countries are shitholes, he thinks, what, we’re never going to know what he said? I mean, don’t get me wrong, it might take a few weeks, but once the news donkey reaches our village, we’ll be so mad.”

    Read more »


    Related:
    ‘Here is what my #shithole looks like’: African countries and Haiti react to Trump’s remark
    Watch: Why America is Talking About Oprah for President
    New Study on Trump Administration’s Impact on U.S.-Africa Relations

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    In Special Time Issue of ‘The Optimists’: The Future of Food by Marcus Samuelsson

    The following article by Marcus Samuelsson appears in the special Time magazine issue, “The Optimists,” (currently on newsstands) that's guest-edited by philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. (Getty)

    TIME

    I was born into improper nutrition in Ethiopia. For my first couple of years, I didn’t get what I needed. We were extremely poor. We didn’t have enough milk, enough food. At 2½ years old, I weighed just 22 lb. It affects you.

    After my sister and I moved to Sweden as children, I learned that my teeth were wrong. And no kid wants to grow up being different. I could not eat enough. You always feel like you’re catching up. It took me all the way to age 16 or 17 to do so.

    What I felt then and know deeply now–as a chef, an activist and a father of a young son–is that when it comes to food, we are always looking at one another, starting with peeking in each other’s lunch boxes. We are also learning from one another–and that that can make us healthier, our climate more secure and our meals more delicious.

    It’s not just the developing world looking to us, either. Just as we look to it for spiritual practices like yoga, we should and do–especially through the Internet–look to it for food. Take places such as Ethiopia, which traditionally has no sugar in its meals. Or Indian food, which is just delicious. There, we can find ways of getting nutrition through vegetables and proteins like chickpeas and lentils, instead of animal proteins that contribute to carbon emissions.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Time Profiles Ethiopian Scientist Segenet Kelemu, Director General of ICIPE
    Marcus Samuelsson to Host New PBS Show Celebrating Food, Art, Culture & Immigrants in America

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    Ethiopia: Bekele Gerba Jailed for Singing Protest Song in Court

    Opposition leader Bekele Gerba and other political prisoners are said to have broken into a protest song during a court proceeding after the judge rejected an earlier court order calling on PM Hailemariam Desalegn to appear as a defense witness. (Photo: Bekele Gerba pictured at the NPR office in D.C., August 2015/NPR)

    Associated Press

    Ethiopia top opposition figure gets prison time for contempt

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — One of Ethiopia’s most prominent opposition politicians has been sentenced to six months in prison for contempt of court along with three others after they sang a protest song during proceedings.

    Bekele Gerba, former deputy head of the Oromo Federalist Congress party, protested after the court withdrew a previous ruling requiring Ethiopia’s prime minister to appear as a defense witness. The state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate says Bekele and the other defendants “wreaked havoc.”

    Bekele had been arrested in December 2015 after anti-government protests erupted in parts of the East African country. He was charged with terrorism offenses that later were changed to criminal charges.

    He was among the opposition figures expected to be released as part of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s recent announcement to free some imprisoned politicians.


    Related:
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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    WB 2018 Economy Forecast for Ethiopia

    (Photo via africanews.com)

    Africa News

    Ethiopia to remain East Africa’s fastest growing economy – 2018 World Bank forecast

    The Ethiopian economy will maintain its growth lead for the East African region according to the latest World Bank report.

    The economy, however, dropped a step in growth forecast in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region, falling behind Ghana. In June 2017, the WB forecast Ethiopia as the most expansive in SSA pegging growth at 8.3%.

    The latest forecast puts Ethiopia at a percentage point behind Ghana. The West African nation is forecast to grow at 8.3% as against Ethiopia’s 8.2%.

    Among East African countries, Ethiopia is likely to remain the fastest growing economy, but growth is expected to soften as it takes measures to stabilize government debt.

    The report said: “Among East African countries, Ethiopia is likely to remain the fastest growing economy, but growth is expected to soften as it takes measures to stabilize government debt. Growth is expected to recover in Kenya, as inflation eases, and to firm in Tanzania on strengthening investment growth.”

    Other 2018 forecasts for the East African region’s economic giants are: Kenya (5.5%), Tanzania (6.8%), Uganda (5.1%) and Rwanda (5.9%). Ethiopia beat Kenya last year to become economic giant of the region according to the IMF.

    The WB’s Global Economic Prospects report released on January 10, 2018 said there was a modest recovery underway in Sub-Saharan Africa buoyed by an improvement in commodity prices.

    “Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is estimated to have rebounded to 2.4 percent in 2017, after slowing sharply to 1.3 percent in 2016, as commodity prices recovered, global financing conditions remained favorable, and slowing inflation lifted household demand,” the WB said.

    Read more »


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    Spotlight: Hamelmal Abate in New York

    (Photo: Courtesy of Africology)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 10th, 2018

    Ethiopian Gold Series Featuring Hamelmal Abate in NYC Hosted by Africology

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian music star Hamelmal Abate, who won the best traditional music prize at the 2017 All African Music Awards this past November, will be performing live in New York City this week.

    Hamelmal is being hosted by Africology as part their Ethiopian Gold Series with the concert taking place at the new Yeresso lounge in Harlem on Friday, January 12th.


    Hamelmal Abate. (Photo: Facebook)

    “Fresh from winning The AFRIMA Awards in Nigeria, the Ethiopian musical icon Hamelmal joins us in Harlem, New York City to celebrate the holidays and pay homage to the local musical legends who paved the way,” the announcement says.

    “Hamelmal is currently working on her 9th studio album with Africology’s DJ Sirak.”


    If You Go:
    Ethiopian Gold Series Featuring: HAMELMAL ABATE
    Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 9:00 PM –
    Sat, Jan 13, 2018, 4:00 AM EST
    YERESSO LOUNGE
    2400 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard (7th Ave)
    (140th and 141st Streets)
    New York City, NY 10030
    Click here to buy tickets

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    Ethiopia Bans Foreign Adoptions (BBC)

    Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter from Ethiopia in 2005. (Getty Images)

    BBC News

    Ethiopia has banned the adoption of children by foreigners amid concerns they face abuse and neglect abroad.

    Ethiopia is one of the biggest source countries for international adoptions by US citizens, accounting for about 20% of the total.

    Celebrities Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are among those who have adopted children from Ethiopia.

    However, in 2013, a US couple were convicted of killing an adopted Ethiopian girl.

    That case triggered a debate about foreign adoption, the BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa says.

    The adoption process in Ethiopia has also faced serious questions with rights groups saying that it was prone to abuse by human traffickers who saw it as lucrative market.

    Two years ago, Denmark stopped the adoption of children from Ethiopia.

    Lawmakers now say orphans and other vulnerable children should be cared for under locally available support mechanisms in order to protect them.

    But some MPs said that the country has insufficient local services to cater for vulnerable children.

    Read more »


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    Ethiopia: Ancient Churches, Mysterious Towers and Lucy (AP)

    Gonder, which was founded by Emperor Fasilides (Fasil) around 1635, was the capital of Ethiopia in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Photo: Crowds gather at the Fasilides' Bath in Gonder to celebrate Timket. (Photo: Wikimedia)

    AP

    January 9th, 2018

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The bones of humankind’s most famous ancestor, Lucy, were discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. At more than 3 million years old, she is perhaps Ethiopia’s oldest claim on human history.

    But there are many other connections here that go back mere centuries, from the 17th and 18th century palaces of Gondar to the magical 12th century churches of Lalibela, carved from soft volcanic rock.

    The country’s mythology also includes claiming ownership of the Ark of the Covenant, along with remnants of the mysterious, long-vanished kingdom of Axum (or Aksum) in northern Ethiopia, a junction of early Christian, Muslim and Jewish civilization in the Horn of Africa.


    Related:
    Harar: Ethiopia’s City of Saints the Best Place in the World to Visit in 2018

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    Revisiting the Works of Ethiopia’s 17th-Century Philosopher Zera Yacob

    Near Lalibela, the location of Zera Yacob’s cave. (Photo: Magnum)

    Aeon Media

    The African Enlightenment: The highest ideals of Locke, Hume and Kant were first proposed more than a century earlier by an Ethiopian in a cave

    The ideals of the Enlightenment are the basis of our democracies and universities in the 21st century: belief in reason, science, skepticism, secularism, and equality. In fact, no other era compares with the Age of Enlightenment. Classical Antiquity is inspiring, but a world away from our modern societies. The Middle Ages was more reasonable than its reputation, but still medieval. The Renaissance was glorious, but largely because of its result: the Enlightenment. The Romantic era was a reaction to the Age of Reason – but the ideals of today’s modern states are seldom expressed in terms of romanticism and emotion. Immanuel Kant’s argument in the essay ‘Perpetual Peace’ (1795) that ‘the human race’ should work for ‘a cosmopolitan constitution’ can be seen as a precursor for the United Nations.

    As the story usually goes, the Enlightenment began with René Descartes’s Discourse on the Method (1637), continuing on through John Locke, Isaac Newton, David Hume, Voltaire and Kant for around one and a half centuries, and ending with the French Revolution of 1789, or perhaps with the Reign of Terror in 1793. By the time that Thomas Paine published The Age of Reason in 1794, that era had reached its twilight. Napoleon was on the rise.

    But what if this story is wrong? What if the Enlightenment can be found in places and thinkers that we often overlook? Such questions have haunted me since I stumbled upon the work of the 17th-century Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yacob (1599-1692), also spelled Zära Yaqob.

    Yacob was born on 28 August 1599 into a rather poor family on a farm outside Axum, the legendary former capital in northern Ethiopia. At school he impressed his teachers, and was sent to a new school to learn rhetoric (siwasiw in Geéz, the local language), poetry and critical thinking (qiné) for four years. Then he went to another school to study the Bible for 10 years, learning the teachings of the Catholics and the Copts, as well as the country’s mainstream Orthodox tradition. (Ethiopia has been Christian since the early 4th century, rivalling Armenia as the world’s oldest Christian nation.)

    In the 1620s, a Portuguese Jesuit convinced King Susenyos to convert to Catholicism, which soon became Ethiopia’s official religion. Persecution of free thinkers followed suit, intensifying from 1630. Yacob, who was teaching in the Axum region, had declared that no religion was more right than any other, and his enemies brought charges against him to the king.

    Yacob fled at night, taking with him only some gold and the Psalms of David. He headed south to the region of Shewa, where he came upon the Tekezé River. There he found an uninhabited area with a ‘beautiful cave’ at the foot of a valley. Yacob built a fence of stones, and lived in the wilderness to ‘front only the essential facts of life’, as Henry David Thoreau was to describe a similar solitary life a couple of centuries later in Walden (1854).

    For two years, until the death of the king in September 1632, Yacob remained in the cave as a hermit, visiting only the nearby market to get food. In the cave, he developed his new, rationalist philosophy. He believed in the supremacy of reason, and that all humans – male and female – are created equal. He argued against slavery, critiqued all established religions and doctrines, and combined these views with a personal belief in a theistic Creator, reasoning that the world’s order makes that the most rational option.

    In short: many of the highest ideals of the later European Enlightenment had been conceived and summarised by one man, working in an Ethiopian cave from 1630 to 1632. Yacob’s reason-based philosophy is presented in his main work, Hatäta (meaning ‘the enquiry’). The book was written down in 1667 on the insistence of his student, Walda Heywat, who himself wrote a more practically oriented Hatäta. Today, 350 years later, it’s hard to find a copy of Yacob’s book. The only translation into English was done in 1976, by the Canadian professor and priest Claude Sumner. He published it as part of a five-volume work on Ethiopian philosophy, with the far-from-commercial Commercial Printing Press in Addis Ababa. The book has been translated into German, and last year into Norwegian, but an English version is still basically unavailable.

    Read more »


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    The Untimely Death of an Exiled Ethiopian Journalist

    The late Ethiopian journalist Ibrahim Shafi. (Photo: Facebook)

    Global Voices

    By Endalk Chala

    In one of his last public comments, Ethiopian journalist Ibrahim Shafi wrote on his Facebook page: “Wake me up when I have a state.”

    Not two weeks later, Shafi died in Nairobi, Kenya. His comment shed light on the deep personal toll of Ethiopia’s enduring political crisis that has swept the country over the last three years that sent Ibrahim into exile.

    Ibrahim had worked as journalist covering sports and politics for nearly a decade, until he he no choice but to flee in 2014. Ibrahim, who was 40 at the time of his death, was not alone. He left for Nairobi, Kenya in June 2014, on a path taken by hundreds of Ethiopian journalists over the last twenty years.

    According to data from Committee to Protect Journalists, Ethiopia’s government has driven more journalists out of the country than any other nation in Africa.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

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    Watch: Why America is Talking About Oprah for President

    Oprah Winfrey delivered an inspiring speech that captivated Americans this week after receiving the Cecile B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globes on Sunday, January 7th in Beverly Hills, California. (Getty images)

    The Washington Post

    From Hollywood to Iowa, a sudden wave of enthusiasm for Oprah Winfrey as a potential presidential candidate swept through the Democratic Party on Monday, beginning as a social-media sensation after her rousing remarks at Sunday night’s Golden Globes ceremony and escalating nationally as party officials and activists earnestly considered the possibility.

    The calls for Winfrey, a cultural icon and friend of former president Barack Obama’s, to look hard at entering the 2020 race against President Trump revealed a longing among Democrats for a global celebrity of their own who could emerge as their standard-bearer and his foil.

    The clamor also exposed how the crowded class of Democrats mulling over bids for the White House so far lacks a front-runner or someone who could easily unite the party’s key coalitions of women, minorities and working-class voters.

    “Lord, we need passion and excitement,” said state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a prominent Demo­crat in South Carolina, one of the early-voting states in the race for the nomination. “I know it’s conjecture right now, but I’d ask her to give it serious consideration. If anybody could bring us together, it’s her.”

    Winfrey’s inner circle did little Monday to tamp down the frenzy. Her spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment, but several people close to Winfrey said she was keeping tabs on the news coverage and appreciated the response.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Oprah for President? Why Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes Stump Speech Just Changed Everything

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    DC Abuzz About the 25th Amendment

    A public debate was ignited last week on the topic following the publication of the controversial book “Fire and Fury,” by New York media journalist Michael Wolff. Below is a recent article explaining the 25th Amendment of the U.S. constitution. (Photo: Wikimedia)

    Politico

    25th Amendment unlikely to be invoked over Trump’s mental health

    Donald Trump’s description of himself as a “very stable genius” sparked new debate this weekend about the 25th Amendment, but invoking the provision to remove a president from office is so difficult that it’s highly unlikely to come into play over concerns about Trump’s mental health, a half-dozen lawyers with expertise on the measure said.

    The amendment’s language on what could lead a president to be involuntarily removed from office is spare, saying simply that the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could take such a step when “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

    “I think it’s both its strength and its weakness,” said Jay Berman, a former chief of staff to Sen. Birch Bayh (D-Ind.), who helped craft the amendment in the 1960s. “The answer is not provided in the 25th Amendment…It just does not provide that certainty or specificity. That might be easier in the context of physical incapacity, but it would be a lot harder in the case of mental incapacity.”

    The galvanizing event behind the 25th Amendment has always been clear: President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the ensuing realization that the nation had no obvious recourse if Kennedy had survived but been unable to fully function. The amendment has drawn attention only occasionally in the intervening years, and no one has ever made a serious attempt to use it to remove a president.

    But the 25th Amendment became a subject of intensified speculation in Washington after author Michael Wolff reported in his new book that White House aides had expressed concerns about Trump’s mental health. POLITICO also reported that more than a dozen lawmakers — all Democrats but one — spoke on Capitol Hill last month with a Yale psychiatrist who has delivered grave warnings that the president was unraveling.

    Lawyers and scholars of the amendment say the bar for invoking it is meant to be high. While impeachment requires only a majority of the House to set in motion, followed by a two-thirds Senate vote to convict, the 25th Amendment says two-thirds of both houses must agree to remove a president against his or her will. Any involuntary attempt to oust the president through the 25th Amendment also needs the vice president’s assent.

    Read more »


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    Time Profiles Ethiopian Scientist Segenet Kelemu, Director General of ICIPE

    Dr. Segenet Kelemu is the Director General of the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) Nairobi, Kenya. The Ethiopian native is the fourth Chief Executive Officer, and the first woman to lead icipe. (Image. Time.com)

    TIME

    This Ethiopian Scientist Is Saving Lives by Studying Insects

    Segenet Kelemu has always been a discoverer. As a scientist, she would achieve breakthroughs–“Crack the constraints,” as she puts it–and feel euphoric. But she came to a realization: “So you do research, you publish the paper–and then what?”

    Having constructed an international network of biotechnology laboratories in Africa and now serving as director general of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology–a research facility in Nairobi that solves problems posed by insects to public health–Kelemu ensures that research reaches people.

    Thanks to improved seed and farming technology, the ICIPE has been able to control grain pests and improve soil, now reaching at least 20,000 Ethiopian farmers.

    Read more at Time.com »


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    Ethiopia: Media Roundup of Reactions to Announced Release of Political Prisoners

    The news was a major triumph for youth protesters across Ethiopia who have been demanding political reform for the past couple of years. But the question remains: Will the ruling party follow through on its latest promise? (Reuters photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 6th, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — This week Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stunned Ethiopians around the globe when he announced plans to free political prisoners at a press conference in Addis Ababa on Wednesday in order to facilitate political dialogue. Hailemariam also declared the shutting down of the country’s atrocious Ma’ekelawi detention center.

    The news was a major triumph for youth protesters across Ethiopia who have been demanding political reform for the past couple of years. But the question remains: Will the ruling party follow through on its latest promise?

    As Yacob Hailemariam, an attorney based in Addis Ababa who was a former senior prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, told the New York Times: “It was absolutely not clear what the Prime Minister was saying. The whole thing is filled with vague statements and vague promises. He was very equivocal, and we will have to wait to see what he really meant.”

    U.S.-based organization Human Rights Watch was also cautiously optimistic stating in a press release that “While the government did not say how and when this would occur, doing so would be an important step toward ending longstanding political repression and human rights abuse in the country.”

    HRW added: “Numerous questions remain regarding timelines for implementation, who qualifies as a “political prisoner,” and how many detainees will be freed. Will the release only include well-known figures like Bekele Gerba, an ethnic Oromo politician detained since December 2015? Or will the thousands of ordinary detainees held in military camps and police stations, often without charge, for peacefully protesting against government policies also be freed? What, if any, conditions will be placed on those released?”

    In regards to the closure of the Ma’ekelawi center, which has been used as torture chamber by successive Ethiopian regimes including the current one, former Zone9 blogger Soleyana Gebremichael who is now with the Ethiopia Human Rights Project says: “That’s very symbolic — whenever you think of torture, you think of Maekelawi. It might not mean torture is not going to happen in Ethiopia anymore, but it by itself is symbolic.”

    In its coverage The Washington Post quotes an apt editorial by Addis Standard from last year describing Ma’ekelawi, as “a time defying institution which has been around for more than half a century, and has been used (and abused) for the same purpose: to detain, without due legal process, people alleged to have committed grave crimes against the state, the people and the constitution.”

    Moreover, as Human Rights Watch points out: “Does the government’s announcement signal a new approach to dissent in Ethiopia? Will people be allowed to protest peacefully, without fear of arrest, intimidation, or politically motivated charges?”

    We hope the next steps will include allowing the formation of a truly multi-party federal system in Ethiopia.


    Related:
    Is 2018 the year Ethiopia’s great quest for peace pays off? (The London Economic)
    Ethiopia: Closure of “torture chamber” could signal new chapter for human rights (Amnesty)
    Ethiopia to release political prisoners, says prime minister (BBC)
    Ethiopia Says It Will Close Notorious Prison and Free Some Inmates (NYT)
    Ethiopia to Release Political Prisoners in Attempt to Ease Unrest (The Wall Street Journal)
    Ethiopia to Consider Pardoning Some Members of Opposition Parties (VOA)

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    William Hershey: How We Sided With Change in Ethiopia Long Ago (Opinion)

    William Hershey, who is a former Washington correspondent and Columbus bureau chief for the Beacon Journal in Ohio, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia during Haile Selassie's time. In the following commentary he recalls how Americans quietly sympathized with the "desire for change" in Ethiopia when he lived there in the late 1960s, while offering a timely advise to the current U.S. President regarding the protests in Iran. Hershey says: "President Trump could try a more indirect or even behind-the-scenes approach than nasty tweets to show support for the Iranian protesters." (Image: screen shot)

    Ohio.com

    By William Hershey

    COLUMBUS: President Donald Trump’s outspoken support for the protesters in Iran brought back memories of half a century ago when hundreds of Peace Corps teachers in Ethiopia, including me, were confronted with a dilemma.

    For Trump, the concern is that the president’s bellicose tweets could backfire and give Iranian authorities an excuse to blame the protests on the Americans, still regarded as evil even by some critics of the regime.

    In Ethiopia, the challenge was whether to stick to our assigned tasks — mostly teaching English, a key to further education and jobs — or also to provide our students with a vision of a society that could provide more freedom and opportunities than theirs.

    I was the only foreigner on the faculty and mostly stuck to teaching but also pulled off a dirty clothes subterfuge. More about that later.

    When we landed in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in 1968, we were transported back in time to a feudal regime ruled by Emperor Haile Selassie, King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah.

    The emperor’s picture was everywhere, in public buildings, bars and restaurants. He was not just Haile Selassie, but His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie.

    The Ethiopian government had a veneer of democracy, including an elected parliament. Haile Selassie, a hero to many around the world for his country’s resistance to Italy in World War II, had initiated efforts at modernization, including providing education to a largely illiterate populace.

    Still, the emperor and his allies lived lives of unbelievable luxury in a country where many people struggled to survive.

    Our guidance from Peace Corps officials was clear. We were guests of the Ethiopian government, feudal or not, and encouraged to keep political opinions to ourselves.

    The Cold War was also a factor.

    Ethiopia was an American ally in a region where other nations supported communism and the Soviet Union. No reason for a bunch of foreign do-gooders to upset a friend.

    There had been protests by Ethiopian university students, but they had been met with strong resistance. In our small, traditional town, located about 500 miles from Addis Ababa, a student who objected to the way things were would have had his or her education ended promptly.

    Still, even in this pre-internet era, short-wave radio brought news of the outside world, including stories of political upheavals.

    The students and especially the teachers wanted to learn all they could about what was going on outside Ethiopia.

    The Ethiopian teachers and I sometimes discussed how things were in Ethiopia and how they would like them to be. They were especially interested in a book, Ethiopia: A New Political History. It detailed a failed 1960 coup aimed at toppling Haile Selassie and replacing imperial rule with a more representative government.

    The book had been banned in Ethiopia, but the teachers knew about it and were eager to get their hands on a copy.

    That’s where the dirty clothes subterfuge came in. During a vacation to the East Africa nations of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, I bought several copies of the book for the teachers.

    The Ethiopian authorities were on the outlook for such seditious material. To evade customs inspectors, I hid the books among my dirty clothes when I returned to Ethiopia, and they went undetected.

    The teachers got their books, and I hope that I signaled that I sympathized with their desire for change.

    President Trump could try a more indirect or even behind-the-scenes approach than nasty tweets to show support for the Iranian protesters.

    That, of course, is not the preferred approach for somebody who likes to say “you’re fired.”

    If he tries, the ayatollahs won’t pay much attention.


    William Hershey can be reached at hershey_william@hotmail.com.

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    Who is Vying for Control of the Ethiopia Football Federation?

    Four candidates are Vying to become the next president of the Ethiopian Football Federation including the Federation's current head Juneidin Basha (right) as well as Dr Ashebir Woldegiorgis (center) who is hoping to return as president of the national association and Teka Assefaw (left), a former vice-president of the organization. (BBC News)

    BBC Sport

    By Omna Taddele

    Who is vying for control of the Ethiopia Football Federation?

    Addis Ababa — On 13 January five men vie to become the next president of the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF).

    Despite its place as one of the founding members of the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and former Africa Cup of Nations winners Ethiopian football has struggled in recent years.

    The five men hoping to change that are incumbent Juneidin Basha, former president Dr Ashebir Woldegiorgis, Teka Assefaw, Dagim Melashen and Esayas Jira.

    The elections, which will also see a new executive voted in, had been due to take place on 10 November but were postponed in order for the candidates to be properly vetted.

    Two former national team coaches, Sewnet Beshaw and Asrat Haile, are bidding for places on the executive committee.

    Read more »


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    Ethiopia to Free Political Prisoners (BBC)

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. (Getty Images)

    BBC

    In a surprise move, Ethiopia’s prime minister has announced the release of political prisoners and the closure of a notorious detention centre, allegedly used as a torture chamber.

    Hailemariam Desalegn told a press conference the move was designed to allow political dialogue.

    But it is unclear exactly who will be released – or when it will take place.

    Ethiopia, a staunch ally of the West, is accused by rights groups of using mass arrests to stifle opposition.

    Amnesty International welcomed Mr Hailemariam’s announcement, saying it could signal “the end of an era of bloody repression in Ethiopia” – although warned the closure of Maekelawi detention centre should not be used to “whitewash” the “horrifying” events which took place under its roof.

    Rights groups have previously accused the government of using anti-terrorism laws to jail its critics.

    Who are the political prisoners?

    Those held in jails across the country include opposition activists from the Amhara and Oromia regions, which were at the centre of anti-government protests in 2015 and 2016, as well as the Southern Nations and Nationalities Peoples Region, and journalists who have criticised the government, says BBC Ethiopia correspondent Emmanuel Igunza.

    The prisoners also include UK citizen Andargachew Tsege, who was seized in 2014 when changing planes in Yemen and forced to go to Ethiopia, where he had been sentenced to death in absentia for his political activities against the state.

    It is difficult to know exactly how many “political prisoners” there are, but our correspondent estimates there are about 1,000 held under the country’s anti-terrorism proclamation, including high profile leaders from the opposition.

    However, there are another 5,000 cases still pending, made up of those arrested after a state of emergency was declared in October 2016, he adds.

    Will they actually be released?

    The government has given no timeline on the release of the prisoners – including those still awaiting trial – or explained exactly who is considered “political” and who is not.

    Read more »


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    Time to Update Africa’s Green Revolution

    The initiatives of the Green Revolution served a purpose, but it's past time to update them for a new era. (Getty Images)

    Pacific Standard Magazine

    AFRICA NEEDS A NEW APPROACH IN ITS BATTLE AGAINST HUNGER

    A quarter of the world’s hungry people are in sub-Saharan Africa and the numbers are growing. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of hungry—those in distress and unable to access enough calories for a healthy and productive life—grew from 20.8 percent to 22.7 percent. The number of undernourished rose from 200 million to 224 million out of a total population of 1.2 billion.

    Conflict, poverty, environmental disruptions, and a growing population all contribute to the region’s inability to feed itself.

    To tackle hunger, the continent needs to find new, integrated approaches. These approaches—discussed at a recent Harvard University conference—must increase crop yield, enhance the nutritional content of people’s diets, improve people’s health, and promote sustainability.

    This may sound like a mammoth, perhaps insurmountable task. But Africa can learn from the experiences of the Green Revolution, set into motion by the United States in the 1960s. The initiative was launched in response to major famines and food crises in the 1940s and ’50s. It was a complex exercise that demonstrates the power of science, technology, and entrepreneurship in solving global challenges.

    The Green Revolution is estimated to have saved up to one billion people from starvation. Africa needs to stage its own version if its to help save its people from hunger. Its lessons are instructive because of the need to approach the hunger crisis as a complex problem—and not just to raise crop yields or aggregate food production.

    Geopolitics was the biggest impetus for the Green Revolution. The U.S. and the Soviet Union were locked in the Cold War. The Soviets championed a model of collectivized agriculture; the U.S. dreamed up and implemented the Green Revolution.

    Read more »


    Related:
    An Africa Update From U.S. Rep. Bass
    Africa: Trump for Human Rights? Really?
    Meet Trump’s Top Africa Official, Former Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto
    New Study on Trump Administration’s Impact on U.S.-Africa Relations

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    An Africa Update From U.S. Rep. Bass

    U.S. Representative Karen Bass of Los Angeles, California is a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs where she is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Africa. Below is her latest update on the resolution that she recently introduced condemning the ongoing auction of migrants and refugees in Libya. (Courtesy photo)

    Press Release

    Karen Bass, Member of Congress

    I wanted to provide you with an update regarding my work in reaction to the video of a slave auction in Libya, which was released by CNN in November.

    Put simply, slavery is a crime against humanity. Congress cannot sit idly by as this travesty occurs. In order to combat this, I have introduced House Resolution 644, which would strongly condemn the slave auctions of migrants and refugees in Libya. This resolution calls for a comprehensive response, both domestically and internationally, to this report, which is what we’ll need going forward to take an effective stand against this tragedy. You can read more about the resolution here. To follow up on the introduction of the resolution, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and I called a meeting with Libyan Ambassador Wafa Bughaighis. You can read more about the meeting here. We agreed that the country must end the slave auctions and forced labor immediately and the CBC will continue to monitor the situation regularly.

    Late last month, I hosted my last Africa policy forum of the year, which focused on the Sahel region of Africa. The current social, political, and economic situation has placed security concerns at the front and center of policy however it is essential to address the root causes of contemporary security challenges. Now, we are faced with the pressing evaluation of policy. In the absence of clear direction from the current administration, it’s incredibly important for us listen to the ideas expressed in forums like these. You can watch the forum here.

    To follow up on both the introduction of the resolution and the forum, the Congressional Black Caucus and I called a meeting with Libyan Ambassador Wafa Bughaighis out of the profound concern that in this day and age, people are being sold as property. You can read more about the meeting here. The international community must operate on the assumption that we don’t need further proof of the slave trade, what we need to do is stop it.

    This year, we plan to continue to expand our work on Africa.


    You can stay in contact with my office and up to date on this initiative on my website .

    Related:
    Africa: Time to Update the Green Revolution
    Africa: Trump for Human Rights? Really?
    Meet Trump’s Top Africa Official, Former Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto
    New Study on Trump Administration’s Impact on U.S.-Africa Relations

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Abel Tilahun’s Exhibit ‘Vital Signs’ Curated by Meskerem Assegued Opens in DC

    Artist Abel Tilahun splits his time between his Addis Ababa studio and Washington, DC, where he has taught as an adjunct professor at American University and Marymount University. (Photo: Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    January 1st, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Abel Tilahun’s upcoming exhibition entitled Vital Signs will open at the American University Museum in Washington, D.C. on January 27th, 2018 featuring the artist’s multidisciplinary interest in sculptural installation, video art, drawing, and painting.

    The event’s press release notes “intellectually fresh and moving, Abel’s work represents an unwavering voice of his generation.” Abel, who currently divides his time between his Addis Ababa studio and Washington D.C., was one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Financial Times OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices award for visual art. The Vital Signs exhibit is curated by Ethiopian Anthropologist and Co-Founding Director of Zoma Contemporary Art Center (ZCAC), Meskerem Assegued.


    Abel Tilahun’s artwork. (Courtesy images)

    Abel’s new exhibit “explores universal human experience through the manifold meanings we associate with the human body, its parts, its sustenance, and its loftiest ambitions” the announcement adds. “At the heart of [Abel's] work are traces of both the cutting edge and the long arc of history. His art considers both the distant realms of an almost forsaken planet in ‘Solo,’ and the microscopic realm of the beating heart in ‘Heart of Gold.’ With this zooming in and out, however, there is no whiplash. The common thread is the way in which Abel’s work foregrounds the value of the human experience within widely divergent contexts.”


    Abel Tilahun, Whirlwind, 2014. Print on archival paper, 44” x 84.” (Courtesy of the artist)

    Abel has shown solo exhibitions Odyssey? (2017) at Alliance Ethio-Francaise (AEF) in Addis Ababa, Interface Effect (2014) at AEF, A Generation Projected (2010) at ASU’s Cloyde Snook Gallery, and Blueprint (2007) at AEF. Abel’s notable group shows include Curvature of Events, curated by Meskerem Assegued at the New Master’s Gallery of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in Germany (2014-2015), which traveled to the National Museum of Ethiopia in 2015. Abel has presented artist lectures at Independent Curators International in NYC, Zoma Contemporary Art Center in Addis Ababa, the National Museum of Ethiopia, AEF, ASU, and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, among others.”


    If You Go:
    VITAL SIGNS
    Artist: Abel Tilahun
    Curator: Meskerem Assegued
    January 27- March 11, 2018
    Jan 27: Gallery Talk 5–6 pm, Opening 6–9 pm
    American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center
    4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20016
    (202) 885-1300
    www.american.edu/museum

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    Harar: Ethiopia’s City of Saints the Best Place in the World to Visit in 2018

    In Ethiopia, Harar’s old town is a maze of alleys lined with colorful walls. (National Geographic)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: January 1st, 2018

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s beautiful ancient city of Harar has been selected by the editors of National Geographic magazine as among the best places in the world to visit in 2018.

    Harar — a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized in 2006 for its cultural heritage — is home to many mosques some of which date back to the 10th century as well as over a hundred shrines for saints. Harar’s historical architectures include the famous five gates of the city, the Medhane Alem Cathedral, Jami Mosque built in the 16th century, and the residence of Haile Selassie’s father, Ras Mekonnen who served as Governor.

    Ethiopia’s colorful and ancient city of Harar is also considered the fourth holiest city in Islam and known as the City of Saints. “From the late 16th century to the 19th century Harar was an important trade centre between the coast and the interior highlands and a location for Islamic learning” UNESCO states. The city’s “townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar’s cultural heritage. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town’s building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness.”

    Along with the city of Harar, National Geographic recommended Sydney, Australia; Oaxaca, Mexico; Vienna, Austria; Hawaii, USA; Dublin, Ireland; Cleveland, Ohio, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania and San Antonio, Texas as top places to visit in 2018.

    “Tourists in northern Ethiopia rarely travel to the laid-back east, anchored by the enchantingly contradictory city of Harar,” the National Geographic notes. “The ‘City of Saints’ boasts 82 mosques, as well as Ethiopia’s best beer, strongest khat (an ubiquitous narcotic plant), and highest quality coffee.”

    Read the list at nationalgeographic.com »


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    Africa: Trump for Human Rights? Really?

    US President Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled National Security Strategy makes only a single reference to human rights in its 55 pages. This was an exceptionally low figure compared to Barack Obama’s mention of human rights 16 times in a 29-page strategy document his administration issued in 2015 [the year Ethiopia released several journalists and bloggers due to U.S. diplomacy.] (Business Daily Africa)

    Business Daily Africa

    Trump shifts US Africa policy away from human rights

    US President Donald Trump’s newly-unveiled National Security Strategy has shifted America’s engagement with Africa away from human rights, good governance, trade and development to one that merely sees the continent as a market for US goods and services.

    Mr Trump also depicts Africa as a competitive arena in which US interests are pitted against those of China.

    “Africa contains many of the world’s fastest growing economies, which represent potential new markets for US goods and services,” the Trump plan states in the slightly more than one page it devotes to Africa.

    “The demand for quality American exports is high and will likely grow as Africa’s population and prosperity increase,” the paper adds.

    The Trump team’s global strategy outline, which can be viewed as a roadmap for US foreign policy in the coming years, makes only a single reference to human rights in its 55 pages.

    This was an exceptionally low figure compared to Barack Obama’s mention of human rights 16 times in a 29-page strategy document his administration issued in 2015.

    Mr Trump’s America-first approach to global trade involves an explicit determination to outpace China, which the president regards as the US’ top economic rival.

    This worldview comes into focus in the Africa chapter of the national security strategy, which sees China as expanding its economic and military presence in Africa, “growing from a small investor in the continent two decades ago into Africa’s largest trading partner today.”

    “Some Chinese practices undermine Africa’s long-term development by corrupting elites, dominating extractive industries, and locking countries into unsustainable and opaque debts and commitments,” the strategy document says.

    It also frames an envisioned US shift from “assistance to partnerships” in Africa as an altruistic alternative to what it sees as China’s self-serving aims.

    “We will offer American goods and services, both because it is profitable for us and because it serves as an alternative to China’s often extractive economic footprint on the continent,” the Trump strategy declares.

    This newly formulated Africa policy blueprint paraphrases the business-centred comments Mr Trump made in an address in September to a group of African heads of state [including Ethiopia] attending the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.

    Citing Africa’s “tremendous business potential,” Mr Trump told that audience that he had “so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they’re spending a lot of money.”

    Terrorism and migration are also cited as key US concerns in the strategy document’s Africa section. “Improved governance in these states supports economic development and opportunities, diminishes the attraction of illegal migration, and reduces vulnerability to extremists, thereby reducing instability,” the outline states.


    Related:
    Meet Trump’s Top Africa Official, Former Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto
    New Study on Trump Administration’s Impact on U.S.-Africa Relations
    What Key 19-Year Timeline of U.S. Human Rights Reports on Ethiopia Show

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    Obama’s BBC Interview With Prince Harry

    The interview with Prince Harry, which was broadcasted this week on BBC Radio 4’s popular “Today” program, was the first media appearance that former President Barack Obama has granted since leaving the White House nearly a year ago. The interview was taped in September in Toronto, Canada. (Photo: Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Prince Harry share a joke as they watch wheelchair basketball on Day 7 of the Invictus Games 2017, in Toronto, Ontario, on September 29/ Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    In Interview With Prince Harry, Obama Says Leaders Shouldn’t Use Social Media to Divide

    LONDON — In his first interview since leaving office, former president Barack Obama didn’t mention President Trump by name, but he really didn’t have to: He told his host, Prince Harry, that leaders shouldn’t use social media to stoke division.

    “All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the Internet,” Obama said.

    The interview took the form of a warm chat between the 44th U.S. president and Prince Harry, who was serving as guest host on BBC Radio 4’s popular “Today” program.

    “One of the dangers of the Internet is that people can have entirely different realities. They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases,” Obama said. “It is harder to be as obnoxious and cruel in person as people can be anonymously on the Internet.”

    He continued, “The question is, how do we harness this technology that allows a multiplicity of voices, a diversity of views but does not lead to a Balkanization of our society but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground?”

    The interview was recorded in September in Toronto, when Obama was in Canada to attend the Invictus Games, a charity and sporting event created by Harry to honor wounded soldiers.

    As a radio host, Harry provided a sympathetic ear for a back-and-forth between two global celebrities. The royal didn’t really grill, and mostly he kept his opinions to himself, but he did ask questions that might be on a listener’s mind.

    Read more »


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    The 10 Best Tadias Arts & Culture Stories of 2017 in Pictures

    Beteseb Painting Session at the Smithsonian African Art Museum in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2017. (Photo by Victor Mayeya Odori)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: December 26th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — As we close 2017 and wish our readers a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year, we also look forward to celebrating our 15th anniversary in 2018 with you.

    The first issue of Tadias Magazine was launched in 2003 with the purpose of creating a platform that connects the Ethiopian American community and chronicling both the successes and challenges of the Ethiopian experience worldwide. Looking back we are happy to say that as documented in the rich archives of our publication Ethiopian Americans of all generations have risen to new heights in various fields and disciplines including in the sciences, arts, business, as well as serving as advisors to the President of the United States and as global cultural icons.

    Below are the ten most popular stories that we featured this past year:

    Beteseb Painting Session at Smithsonian in DC

    In June 2017, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. hosted an evening of painting and Ethiopian Jazz “under the summer skies” with Beteseb Center and Feedel Band. We featured the Beteseb art program when it was first launched two years ago as a weekly Saturday painting session for amateur artists in a rental space on 18th street in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. We are delighted to see the program is still going strong.

    Antu Yacob Performs “In the Gray” at United Solo Theatre Festival in New York

    Antu Yacob’s Ethio-American play “In the Gray” was featured at the 2017 United Solo Theatre festival in New York City this past September. Antu was the first Ethiopian American to have a play staged at the festival, which is the largest solo theatre festival in the world. The 75-minute storytelling and performance art narrates Antu’s personal experience while growing up in the United States as she forms and re-negotiates her Ethiopian-American identity first as a teenager and later an adult pursuing a career in the theatre and film industry. In the Gray features Antu playing several engaging characters including herself, her 8-year-old son, as well as her muslim and Oromo activist mother who lives in Minnesota.

    Four Ethiopians on 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List


    From top left: Tsion Gurmu, Legal Fellow at African Services Committee, Saron Tesfalul, Vice President, Bain Capital; Lilly Workneh, Senior editor, Black Voices, HuffPost; and Awol Erizku, Artist. (Photos: Forbes)

    In November Forbes Magazine released its influential annual list of 600 young trailblazers in 20 different industries. The 2018 list features four Ethiopian American professionals in their twenties working in finance, media, art & style as well as law & policy. The Ethiopian Americans highlighted in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list include Tsion Gurmu, Legal Fellow at African Services Committee in New York City; Saron Tesfalul, Vice President at Bain Capital in Boston; Lilly Workneh, Senior Editor, Black Voices, HuffPost in New York; and Awol Erizku, Artist, also from NYC.

    Scientist Sossina Haile Honored With GE Grand Central Video Installation


    Ethiopian American Scientist Sossina Haile honored with a GE video installation on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017. (Courtesy photo)

    Professor Sossina Haile, an expert in materials science and fuel cells research, was one of 12 female scientists who were honored in September with a spectacular video installation, projected on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, as part of a display called “Unseen Stars” recognizing “outstanding women in science.”

    Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School Names Yohannes Abraham 2017 Fellow


    Former White House advisor Yohannes Abraham. (Courtesy Photo).

    Yohannes Abraham was a 2017 Fellow at the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School this Fall. “Yohannes Abraham has not only had a front row seat, but was an active participant in the complex process of shaping national and international policy [under President Obama],” said Cong. Bill Delahunt, Acting Director of the prestigious institution. “His willingness to share his White House experience with students will provide them a rare first-hand perspective on the challenges of governing.” Yohannes served as Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Engagement & Intergovernmental Affairs and Senior Advisor to the National Economic Council during the Obama administration. He is currently Senior Advisor to the Obama Foundation.

    New “Deseta Emojis” App on iTunes Celebrate Everything Ethiopian


    (Courtesy of Deseta Design)

    In your next text message you may now include Deseta Emojis to express yourself with Ethiopian humor. The digital icons often used to communicate ideas and emotions comes courtesy of Deseta Design. Announcing that its keyboard app contains over 200 small emojis Deseta Design says that the current collection is available for download on the App Store (Android version coming soon). Deseta emojis include icons of injera, buna, jebena and goursha. The images “celebrate everything Ethiopian in all of its glory,” says Maro Haile, owner of Deseta Design, an NYC-based online creative venture.

    Long Distance Runner Almaz Ayana: 2017 World Athlete of the Year Finalist


    Almaz Ayana. (AP photo)

    Our highlight of Olympic champion and world 10,000m titleholder Almaz Ayana’s second nomination for the World Athlete of the Year award last month was one of the most viewed stories of the year on the Tadias website. Almaz was the winner of last year’s Female World Athlete of the Year prize given by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). We wish Almaz Ayana continued success as she represents Ethiopia in future world events.

    In New Release Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz

    This year musician Meklit Hadero released one of her best albums yet. The CD entitled When The People Move, The Music Moves Too includes a beautiful tribute to Meklit’s own musical role models hailing from Ethiopia and the United States in a song called I Want to Sing for Them All (watch the video above). As Vibe magazine points out: “I Want to Sing For Them All is her musical manifesto, and how she intertwines both of the music of American and Ethiopian heritages.” Meklit adds: “We came to this country when I was about two. I am an immigrant, so I guess you could say this is immigrant music. But I would not be who I am without Jazz, and Blues and Hip-Hop and Soul. This music is Ethio-American, just like me. I find joy in the bigness of that space.”

    Gebisa Ejeta Receives $5M Grant for Grain Research


    Gebisa Ejeta is an Ethiopian American plant breeder, geneticist and Professor at Purdue University. In 2009, he won the World Food Prize for his major contributions in the production of sorghum. (Photo: Purdue)

    Per AP: “Gebisa Ejeta received the four-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Journal and Courier reported. “It is the second foundation that has donated to the cause. It’s very helpful a grant such as this for the kind of programs that they support in developing countries because it allows us to engage beyond the normal boundaries we operate,” Ejeta said. Ejeta developed a hybrid sorghum seed that’s drought-tolerant and resistant to striga, which strips food sources from its nutrients. Ejeta is credited with helping feed hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa with his work developments.”

    Marcus Samuelsson to Host New PBS Show Celebrating Food, Art, Culture & Immigrants in America


    Marcus Samuelsson, pictured outside his Red Rooster Harlem, will travel across the United States from DC to the Bay Area in California to spotlight the cuisine in local immigrant communities. (Photo: by Matt Dutile)

    Next year Marcus Samuelsson is set to Host a New PBS show, tentatively titled No Passport Required that highlights food, art and culture from the vibrant Ethiopian restaurant scene in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to Little Kabul in Fremont, California and the Vietnamese shrimpers in Louisiana. “No Passport Required will celebrate America’s diverse cultural mosaic as Samuelsson travels to under-explored parts of American cities to showcase the people, places and culinary flavors of immigrant communities,” PBS announced, noting that the series will premiere in 2018.


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    Ten Arts and Culture Stories of 2013
    Tadias Year in Review: 2015 in Pictures
    Tadias Year in Review: 2014 in Pictures
    Tadias Year in Review: 2013 in Pictures
    Top 10 Stories of 2013

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    Entrepreneur Bethlehem Alemu Nominated African Female Leader of the Year

    Bethlehem T. Alemu whose boundless entrepreneurial energy and creativity epitomizes the fearless spirit of Ethiopia's new generation has been nominated as African Female Leader of the Year, this time by African Leadership Magazine. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    December 24th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — Eight years ago when we first featured an interview with entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, we found her to be just as driven and fearless as she is today. “I’m thinking you might enjoy hearing a grassroots perspective on eco ethical fashion from Ethiopia,” she wrote to Tadias in 2009, bringing to our attention her up-and-coming footwear company. “It is my great pleasure to introduce our firm, SoleRebels to you.”

    Since then we’ve witnessed SoleRebels become a global brand with locations spanning four continents including Europe, Asia and North America. And Bethlehem, who was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders in 2011, has risen to be an admired and respected business leader with Forbes Magazine declaring her a year later as one of Africa’s Most Successful Women. Subsequently Bethlehem’s inspiring story was shared by CNN, BBC, VOA and many other international news outlets.

    In a recent article highlighting Bethlehem’s diversifying portfolio CNN Money noted “Ethiopian shoe designer hopes for repeat success with coffee, while Daily Coffee News added: Ethiopia’s Garden of Coffee Blooms Again with New Addis Roastery.

    This year the African Leadership Magazine has nominated the trailblazing Ethiopian businesswoman as African Female Leader of the Year. “This recognition is open to an African woman who has defied the odds, risen above the patriarchal systems in the continent to positively affect the continent or influence women to aspire for excellence in various fields,” the publication announced, stating the winner will be decided thorough an open online vote that’s currently underway on its website.

    “I love the fact that the winner will be determined by peoples vote – you and me and everyone,” says Bethlehem.


    You can learn more and support Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu at www.africanleadership.co.uk.

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    Ethiopian Woman in California Helps Domestic Violence Victim From Ethiopia

    Menbere Aklilu of Richmond, California helped bring to the U.S. 23-year-old domestic violence victim Messy Negussie whose face was burned when her ex-fiancé threw acid on her. Menbere and Messy are from the same town in Ethiopia. (Photo: KTVU)

    KTVU

    Bonded by tragedy, Richmond woman houses Ethiopian domestic violence victim

    RICHMOND, Calif. – To hear her story, you’d be surprised to see that 23-year-old Meserep Negussie, or Messy, can have a smile on her face.

    Richmond’s Menbere Aklilu, or Memby, says she saw Messy’s harrowing story on Facebook. Visible scars on Messy’s face tell a painful tale from when her ex-fiancé threw acid on her.

    “When I met her she was crying day and night,” said Aklilu. “But now she realizes there’s a light.”

    Messy arrived from Ethiopia two months ago. She said everybody there was afraid and that the people don’t like to see her face.

    The acid burned her face, chest and arms. She and Memby are from the same village in Ethiopia. Memby says when she heard of the brutal attack she had to help. First, sending money, and then flying 22 hours to meet the young woman she’d only heard of online.

    But the two had a shared story. When Memby was pregnant she too was a victim of domestic violence from her then husband.

    “He burned me with a cigarette and after that he gave me three days to pull my own teeth,” Aklilu said.

    Memby says she was lucky and able to get away, and that’s why it’s important that she helps this young woman get back on her feet. She’s opened up her home to a total stranger and is paying it forward, arranging medical treatment and operations, helping to make messy whole again.

    She tells Memby that seeing her face in the mirror doesn’t scare her anymore.

    Messy is a trained cook in Ethiopia, and is now mastering her craft and helping out at Memby’s restaurant – Salute in Richmond. And you may think this is a great present for messy, as it surely is, but the true gift is for Memby.

    “It’s Christmas and she’s here with me and my house is more warm,” Aklilu said. “And it’s a Christmas gift for me.”

    “I want to keep her here. I will do some paper work. I will ask for help and she will stay.”



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    In Ethiopia S. Sudan Cease-fire Signed (AP)

    South Sudan’s warring factions have signed a new agreement to cease hostilities and protect civilians in the latest effort to calm a devastating civil war. The cease-fire is set to begin first thing Sunday morning, or Christmas Eve. (AP file photo)

    Associated Press

    By Elias Meseret

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — South Sudan’s warring factions on Thursday signed a new agreement to cease hostilities and protect civilians in the latest effort to calm a devastating civil war, as diplomatic observers issued sharp warnings against allowing yet another peace deal to fail.

    The cease-fire is set to begin first thing Sunday morning, or Christmas Eve.

    The warring sides also agreed to grant badly needed humanitarian access to conflict-affected areas after days of talks in neighboring Ethiopia brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development regional bloc.

    South Sudan is entering its fifth year of civil war, and no one knows how many tens of thousands of people have been killed in the world’s youngest nation. Parts of the East African country are on the brink of famine, and well over a million people have fled abroad, creating the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.

    The U.S. called the deal “the last chance for the implementation of the peace process.” Past attempts at peace deals have stumbled amid renewed violence. The new deal is an effort to salvage a 2015 peace agreement.

    South Sudan’s government is under growing pressure to find an end to the civil war as the U.S. and others threaten further sanctions.

    “This is a gift to South Sudanese people to celebrate their Christmas and New Year. This is the most precious gift of all time,” Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Workineh Gebeyehu, said during the signing ceremony. “But as past experience has showed, implementation is the longer and more difficult aspect many critical issues lie ahead.”

    A spokesman for South Sudan’s opposition, Lam Paul Gabriel, told The Associated Press that they will respect the agreement but said the rebels were ready to defend themselves of the government did not.

    “I doubt if it will hold but we will abide by it as we have always done,” he said.

    The agreement also calls on the warring sides to release prisoners of war, political prisoners and abducted women and children, who have been victims of widespread sexual violence and recruitment as child soldiers.

    “Everyone is tired of the war in South Sudan,” the chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, told the gathering.

    Ethiopia’s leader called the deal a “final alternative” and said failing to adhere to it will bring consequences and the rest of Africa and the world “will not sit idly by.” Earlier this month, the U.N. Security Council warned of “costs or consequences” for South Sudan’s government and opposition if they undermine efforts to implement the 2015 peace deal.

    South Sudan President Salva Kiir was not present at the signing. The government’s lead delegate to the talks, cabinet affairs minister Martin Elias Lomoro, told the AP that rebel leader Riek Machar didn’t take part because he wasn’t deemed helpful.

    The country plunged into ethnic violence in December 2013, just two years after a long-fought-for independence from Sudan, when forces loyal to Kiir, a Dinka, started battling those loyal to his former vice president, Machar, a Nuer.

    The U.N. and others have warned against ethnic violence and other abuses.


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    A Rare Victory for Ethiopia’s Victims (HRW)

    A court sketch shows Dutch citizen and former Ethiopian government official Eshetu Alemu attending his trial for war crimes in The Hague, The Netherlands on October 31, 2017. © 2017 Getty Image

    Human Rights Watch

    The many victims of the brutal communist military dictatorship that ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1991, known as the Derg, had a rare victory this week. On December 15, former Ethiopian government official Eshetu Alemu was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to life in prison by a Dutch court for his role in ordering the executions of 75 people, including children under 18, in the 1970s.

    Over 150,000 students, academics, and political opponents were killed during the Derg’s “Red Terror” campaign. Countless others were disappeared, arrested, or tortured. Senior Derg officials, including Chairman Mengistu Haile Mariam, were convicted of genocide in absentia in 2006 after a 12-year trial in Ethiopia’s courts. They were sentenced to life in prison. Eshetu, the Derg’s senior representative in Gojam province at the time of his crimes, had been sentenced to death in absentia by an earlier Ethiopian court. In 1991 when the Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF) overthrew the dictatorship, Mengistu fled to Zimbabwe where he was afforded protection by then-president Robert Mugabe. Eshetu fled to the Netherlands.

    Eshetu’s conviction should send a powerful message that officials can and will be held to account for atrocities, and that the passage of time is no guarantee of impunity. This message is especially important in Ethiopia, where the TPLF, who has been in power since the Derg’s overthrow, has also committed serious abuses with impunity. These include its military’s murder, rape, and torture of Anuak civilians in Gambella in 2003 and 2004, and war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Somali Region in 2007. Additionally, a brutal crackdown by government security forces against protesters beginning in 2015 left over a thousand dead. The government has not permitted independent investigations into any of these events and Ethiopia has strongly resisted calls for an international investigation. Justice and accountability for Ethiopia’s many victims in the last 50 years, has been all too rare.

    For families of Ethiopia’s many victims of torture, killings, and other serious abuses, Eshetu’s conviction should give them hope that those responsible will one day be held to account.


    Related:
    Dutch Court Jails Ethiopia ‘Red Terror’ Aide Eshetu Alemu for War Crimes (BBC)

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    Meet the Top US Africa Diplomat, Former Amb. to Ethiopia Yamamoto

    Donald Yamamoto, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia from 2006 to 2009, is the top Trump Administration diplomat in the U.S. State Department's Bureau of African Affairs. Ambassador Yamamoto assumed his current post as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Africa on Sept. 5, 2017. He previously served in the same position under the Obama Administration in 2013 and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary from 2009-2013. (Photo: U.S. Embassy, Ethiopia)

    AllAfrica

    PRESS CONFERENCE

    The current U.S. administration’s top diplomat on African affairs, Acting Assistant Secretary Don Yamamoto, recently completed a 10-day trip to Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda which included talks on a wide range of issues with the African Union. Upon his return to Washington, D.C., he was questioned by African journalists in a telephone news conference. Excerpts:

    [Questions on Ethiopia]

    First of all is going back to the question on the IGAD process. Ethiopia really is a critical partner and leader. As you know, Ethiopia is in the chair for IGAD, leading the high-level discussions in South Sudan. But more importantly is that Ethiopia contributes troops to peacekeeping operations in Southern Sudan as well as Sudan. And Ethiopia is one of our largest troop-contributing countries for peacekeeping operations in Africa, and that is really a very important point to highlight.

    The second point is, yes, we did note and we did discuss with the government about a lot of the challenges, not only the efforts of Ethiopian troops to stabilize Somalia, prevent terrorism and elements from Shabab and ISIS coming into Ethiopia, but also the internal domestic challenges that you face in Ethiopia and the Somalia area, based not only on ethnic divides, land tenure problems, obviously procedures, government procedures, local practices, etc. but it’s an issue that the government is fully focused on, but it’s an issue also that we as very close partners with the government and the people of Ethiopia will work cooperatively to address and resolve.

    The reason why Ethiopia is so critical, if you look again, just like Kenya, Ethiopia has one of our largest missions. Ethiopia is a pillar country for Africa. It has an 8% economic growth rate, it is addressing really fundamental challenges of food and security and shortage, and over the years through partnerships with USAID and what we know as the Fuse Net Network, which is the early warning system, we’ve been able to mitigate and address a lot of the food security in Ethiopia, which has now become really a model for how you address food and security in other parts of not only Africa but the world.

    So we will continue to work with Ethiopia on a wide range of issues, and it’s a close partnership. We’re gonna have differences. We’re gonna be arguing on issues. But at the end of the day it’s a very close partnership. What we discussed with the Prime Minister and the government, you know, I defer to them because those are very private, secure conversations, but let me just say that those discussions were very warm, cooperative, but what’s more important is we share a lot of issues and that we really do need Ethiopia as we do Kenya, as we look toward the 22nd century, because we’re gonna have high population growth rates and we’re gonna really need to address how you address those issues of job creation, economic development.

    Ethiopia has some good ideas; Ethiopia has some great practices. And so we’re going to take those lessons learned and join them with other countries, and then hopefully have a strategy that will benefit all of Africa. And then correct issues that are not helping and not working, and that’s a very good relationship if everyone’s very open to discussion and if they’re willing to continue to bolster that….”

    Read the full excerpt from the press conference with Ambassador Yamamoto at AllAfrica.com »


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    Ethiopia: Poet Lemn Sissay Announces UK Scholarship For Exceptional Students

    The writer Lemn Sissay, chancellor of the University of Manchester. (Photo: The University of Manchester)

    Press Release

    The University of Manchester

    The University of Manchester’s Chancellor, Lemn Sissay, has attended a special event in Addis Ababa to officially extend a transformational student scholarship to Ethiopia.

    Talented candidates from Ethiopia will now be able to apply for places through the University’s Equity and Merit Scholarships, which currently fund students from Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to take a postgraduate course that isn’t available in their home country.

    Now into its eleventh year, Equity and Merit has helped more than 200 students who have a desire to learn skills that will transform their home countries, build their careers and implement projects which have benefitted thousands of local people.

    Lemn Sissay MBE is a poet with Ethiopian heritage who regularly visits the country. In his role as Chancellor, he is the ceremonial head of The University of Manchester and has been supportive of a number of new initiatives such as a scholarship for black male law students. He said: “I am very happy that during my time as the University’s Chancellor the Equity and Merit Scholarships have been extended to Ethiopia, a country that I know well and love. I have seen first-hand what a difference these scholarships make to people.”

    Lemn launched the scholarships at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa last night (20 December) alongside senior representatives from the Ministry of Education and local universities and Dr Alula Pankhurst from the University of Addis Ababa.

    Dr Pankhurst is an alumnus of the University of Manchester, where he obtained his PhD in Social Anthropology. His links to Manchester don’t end there however, as he is also the grandson of Sylvia Pankhurst, the suffragette who was also a staunch champion of Ethiopia during World War II, and was born in the city in 1882.

    The Equity and Merit Scholarships announced at the event are now open for applications from exceptional individuals who can demonstrate both academic excellence and a commitment to the economic or social development of their home communities.

    The scholarships are jointly funded by the University and its donors. The University covers the tuition fee in full and the generosity of donors covers students’ living costs, flights to the UK and visas.

    In the past the students have used their newly gained knowledge to fight diseases such as malaria, build low-cost housing for slum dwellers or bring electricity to remote communities. In many cases the scholarships have not just transformed the students’ lives but those of their people living in their home towns or cities.

    Joanne Jacobs, from the University’s International Office, oversees the Equity and Merit Scholarships. She said: “Equity and Merit scholarships really do change lives. The students we’ve had over the last ten years have all been exceptional and have made a genuine contribution to the development of their countries.

    “Ethiopia has close links to The University of Manchester through our alumni and our Chancellor, and we are really happy that there has been such support at the event tonight.”

    One of the University’s current Ethiopian students is Eyob Balcha Gebremariam, a PhD student in Development Policy and Management. He said: “Manchester is a great place of academic excellence, diversity and also socio-economic and political history.

    “I would say to my fellow Ethiopians try your best to join The University of Manchester and have an amazing opportunity of reigniting your academic and non-academic career.”


    Equity and Merit applications for Ethiopia open on 20 December and close on 31 January 2018. Visit the dedicated web page for more information and to apply.

    Related:
    In Pictures: Tadias Salon Series Featuring Poet & Author Lemn Sissay in NYC

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    EU Urges Probe in Ethiopia Clashes (AFP)

    There have been a string of recent clashes over the border between the two ethnically demarcated Somali and Oromia federal regions in Ethiopia. (Photo by Zacharias Abubeker/AFP)

    AFP

    The European Union called Wednesday for an independent probe into clashes between two of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic groups, which officials say left at least 61 dead last week alone.

    There have been a string of recent clashes over the border between the two ethnically demarcated Somali and Oromia federal regions, “causing many casualties and the destruction of properties”, said the EU.

    The cause of the latest violence is not clear but it has raised concerns of growing ethnic divisions in Africa’s second most-populous country.

    In a statement the EU called for “independent investigations (into) all acts of violence.”

    On Thursday and Friday last week, scores lost their lives in the West Hararghe region near the border between the Somali and Oromia states — with both sides giving different death tolls.

    On Sunday, the spokesman for the Oromia state government Addisu Arega Kitessa said armed men had attacked Oromos on Thursday, killing 29 people and burning down hundreds of homes.

    A day later 32 Somalis living nearby were killed in retaliation, he wrote on his personal Facebook account.

    An open letter from Somali elders to the government and international rights groups mentioned “200 killed” on Friday in an “ethnic cleansing campaign” which they say has been under way since 2004, but has intensified in the past three years.

    The letter recalled that the “Ethiopian Somali community… traditionally lived in western Hararghe of Ethiopia for many centuries. Because of this, more than 90 percent of us speak Oromia and not the Somali language.”

    Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn addressed the nation on state television on Sunday, offering his condolences for what he referred to as a “mass killing”.

    Read more »


    Related:
    UPDATE: Dozens Die in Clash Between Ethiopian Somalis and Oromos (BBC)

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    Meklit’s New CD Among KQED’s 10 Best Albums of 2017

    Meklit Hadero's latest album ‘When the People Move the Music Moves Too,' which was taped in Ethiopia and the U.S. receives a big thumbs up among the 10 Best Albums of 2017 by the San Francisco Bay Area television station KQED. (Photo: Instagram)

    KQED

    The 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2017: Meklit, ‘When the People Move the Music Moves Too’

    Oakland singer-songwriter Meklit has belted out funk with James Brown’s saxophonist, covered indie rock hits with sweet soulman Quinn DeVeaux, and collaborated with musicians from across Northeast Africa for the Nile Project, a visionary NGO she co-founded. Her translucent voice finds a cozy home in every far-flung setting, but she’s never sounded as free and grounded as on When the People Move the Music Moves Too, which was released this past June on Six Degrees Records.

    A creative breakthrough born out of bandstand experimentation, the album weaves together Meklit’s Ethiopian roots with a propulsive menagerie of African-diaspora grooves. As the album’s title suggests, Meklit captures the way culture and beats evolve as people move across regions and continents. Her lyrics evoke the love and ache for worlds left behind, but tracks like the soaring opener “This Was Made Here” also speak to the ecstatic power of self-reinvention.

    Recorded in Addis Ababa, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and San Francisco, the album is a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning LA songwriter and producer Dan Wilson, renowned for his work with Adele, the Dixie Chicks, and Taylor Swift. Rather than trying to fit the uncategorizable Meklit into a neat, pop niche, he expands her textural palette with guest artists Andrew Bird (on violin and whistling), the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and top-shelf session players from LA.

    Seminal Ethiopian vibraphonist-composer Mulatu Astatke once instructed Meklit to find her own voice beyond Ethio-jazz. With When the People Move, she’s clearly risen to the challenge…

    Read more »

    Watch: Meklit Pays Homage To Ethio-Jazz


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    Bloomberg: Ethiopia Eyes US Rose Market

    Workers collect roses at Roshanara Roses flower farm in Debre Zeit, Oromia, Ethiopia. (Photographer: Jose Cendon/Bloomberg)

    Bloomberg

    Ethiopia’s burgeoning flower-growing industry is setting its sights on the U.S. in a bid to break the dominance of Latin American producers in supplying roses and other blooms to the world’s largest economy.

    State-owned Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise is evaluating freighter flights through Miami — the main entry point for U.S. flower imports — Los Angeles or New York, regional manager Girum Abebe said in an interview. The company currently transports stems there only in the bellies of passenger jets.

    Ethiopia has become a major force in global floriculture in the past two decades, exploiting a tropical high-altitude climate that provides year-round natural light combined with hot days and cold nights perfect for bringing plants into bloom. The conditions mirror those found in the Andes, where growers in Ecuador and Colombia currently dominate flower exports to the U.S.

    “Ten or 15 years ago Ethiopia was not exporting a single rose, but now we have earned our position in the world market,” Girum said. “North America has been the major importer of horticulture products from other parts of the world, so we want to have part of that.”

    Ethiopian flower exports are currently focused on Europe, and have made the country Africa’s second-biggest producer after Kenya and fourth-equal worldwide, according to Rabobank research based on 2015 figures. About 80 percent of Ethiopian production is flown to the Netherlands, the center of the global flower trade, and re-exported from there.

    Read more »


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    UPDATED: Conversation on Decolonization of Ethiopian Knowledge — Addis Standard

    This opinion article has been updated with links to new comments at the bottom. (Photo from the Addis Abeba Ethnographic Museum)

    Addis Standard

    By Abadir Ibrahim

    QUESTIONS, CONCERNS AND A CRITIQUE ON THE DECOLONIZATION OF ETHIOPIAN KNOWLEDGE

    Addis Abeba – In an opinion piece published on a previous issue of Addis Standard, Hewan Semon proposed a conversation on the decolonization of Ethiopian studies. As much as I would have liked to take this conversation into my areas of interest (human rights, democracy and the modern Ethiopian/African state) I will stay closer to Hewan’s framing for now. I will only ask further questions, raise some concerns and bring up one critique hoping to spur conversations into my fields of interest.

    Colonialism: in the Rearview Mirror?

    As an outsider to Ethiopian studies reading a critical take on the field, my first question was whether we needed the field in the first place. Hewan’s call for decolonization suggests that Ethiopian studies, or African studies in general, have and still are growing on colonial roots. Rather than grafting Ethiopian branches on the field, wouldn’t it make sense to simply find other, for example thematic, ways of organizing the study of Ethiopia?

    The author’s protest against colonial scholarship is that it constructs Africans in simplified and caricatured ways that make colonization palatable or even necessary. One could assume that such a gross misrepresentation of Africans/Ethiopians did not occur merely due to methodological errors. The colonial roots of Ethiopian/African studies, in all probability, emerged from a complex set of corporate, military, academic and bureaucratic interests that found, sustain and benefit from the systematic and by no means inexpensive study of Ethiopia/Africa. Given how the author expresses frustration over Ethiopian studies taking place in English and French, because scholars would not find (foreign!) funding if they used local languages, the question remains as to whether the field is still a foreign endeavor to study Ethiopia.

    More follow-up questions arise when you open up the topic of decolonization beyond the humanities and social sciences. The article alludes to how Ethiopians uncritically jumped on the [colonial] bandwagons of modernization, human rights, ethnicity, development and nationalism. One could ask whether, or to what extent, any of these should also be decolonized.

    Read more »


    Related:
    A FRESH START TO UP THE ANTE: THE DECOLONIZING DEBATE
    ON DECOLONIZING ETHIOPIAN STUDIES: METHODOLOGICAL NATIONALISM AS BAD AS EUROCENTRISM
    ON DECOLONIZING ETHIOPIAN STUDIES: DECOLONIZE THE DECOLONIZERS FIRST

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    Kudos to US: Young African Leaders Initiative Camp Successful in Ethiopia

    With all due respect to our self-quoting "scholars" and civil war mongering "human rights advocates" in the Diaspora below is an update from the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia about the recently held Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Connect Camp, a legacy of former President Barack Obama. (Photo: U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor with Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni at the closing event in Addis last week)

    Press Release

    By U.S. Embassy Ethiopia

    The 15th YALI Connect Camp in Ethiopia Workshop Successfully Concluded

    The 15th Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Connect Camp successfully concluded in Addis Ababa. The regional workshop was held December 10-15, 2017 for Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni and their mentees to learn about facilitating innovation for social change.

    The seventeen participants from East and Central Africa developed their leadership and mentoring skills, facilitated collaborative projects, and learned how to design community-oriented enterprises.. This is the first YALI Connect Camp to be held in Ethiopia, and the participants were from Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Sudan.

    At the closing ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor said, “It is impossible to overstate the important role that you and other African youth need to play in building a better future. From job creation, to good governance, to building inclusive societies, there are many challenges to be overcome. We have confidence in your ability to achieve those goals.”

    YALI Connect Camps are funded by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in the U.S. Department of State, administered by Ohio University’s Institute for International Journalism (IIJ), and assisted by the U.S. Embassy to Ethiopia.

    The purpose of YALI is to invest in the next generation of African leaders through training in facilitative leadership, mentorship, networking, and professional development opportunities for social change.”


    Related:
    2017 Mandela Washington Fellows Tell Their Stories
    Meet the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
    Meet the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellows from Ethiopia
    Meet the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows From Ethiopia

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    Spotlight: Addis Video Art Festival

    Photo from previous Addis Video Art Festival. (Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine
    By Tadias Staff

    December 17th, 2017

    New York (TADIAS) — This month the second Addis Video Art Festival takes place at various locations in Ethiopia’s fast-changing capital exploring the notion of “love triangle” and featuring works by a diverse group of international artists interpreting unique personal vantage points formed as a result of constant mobility, forced or otherwise.

    The festival, which will be held from December 24th, 2017 to January 03, 2018 “presents works that translate new positions that are created from the experience of moving or changing between place, time and or identity,” the press release states, adding that love triangle “implies a connection and ties between three entities; the subject and two objects. Due to a surge in development, many residents of the city of Addis Ababa will be relocating to new neighborhoods. For those who move their sense of belonging is no longer singular, instead they are tied between yesterday and today, here and there.”

    The video presentations are scheduled to be screened at Alle School of Arts and Design at both the opening and closing reception, as well as at Addis Fine Arts, Addis Ababa Museum, the National Gallery, British Council, Fendika Cultural Center. A public screening is also scheduled at various locations including Merkato, Sidist Kilo, Arat Kilo, Biherawi and supermarkets in Bole.

    In explaining their selections for this year’s festival organizers note that:

    The theme of love triangle appears in many manifestations from the intimately personal to the socio-political-environmental to the cosmic. While the mechanics of triangulation has uses in politics, psychology, social sciences, and in the interpersonal politics of love, the essential method is always the same: by converging measurements taken from two distinct points, a more confident result is found, validating the data, be it time, space, or people, from the perspective of multiple observers. In this way, the complexity of the human experience is portrayed more accurately. However, triangulation also points out absences as space is filled from all sides in a balancing act that correlates to the other sides, one can easily find what is not contributing to the whole.

    The press release adds:

    One video work surveys the aesthetics of demolished sites around Ethiopia and questions the ideology they represent, an ideology that does not value the culture, identity, and social morals of the region. Another video work takes us to India where the landscape becomes a political conversation in which different perspectives of history and mythology are explored, from a riverbed of trash to a 28th story rooftop. The video works show us that this triangulation can also be a disgusting and seemingly infinite loop of economics and human labor in which vulnerable people are currency.

    Some of the highlighted Ethiopian artists include Mulugeta Gebrekidan, Martha Haile, Helina Metaferia and Yacob Bizuneh.

    ADDIS VIDEO ART FESTIVAL 1st Edition from Addis Video Art Festival on Vimeo.


    If You Go:
    You can learn more about the festival at www.addisvideoartfestival.net.

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    UPDATE: Dozens Die in Clash Between Ethiopian Somalis and Oromos (BBC)

    (A map of Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions via VOA)

    BBC

    Updated: 18 December 2017

    At least 61 people have been killed in clashes between different ethnic groups in Ethiopia’s Oromia region since Thursday, officials said.

    It is not clear what caused the latest violence between ethnic Somalis and Oromos.
    But it comes after soldiers shot dead 16 ethnic Oromos at a protest on Tuesday, reports Reuters news agency.

    Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions share a long internal border and in the past have fought over grazing land.

    Oromia government’s spokesperson, Adisu Arega, announced the deaths on his Facebook page.

    He said 29 ethnic Oromos were killed between 14 and 17 December and 32 ethnic Somali Ethiopians were killed in revenge attacks.

    He added that the clashes happened in the region’s Hawi Gudina and Daro Lebu districts.

    What is behind the long-running conflict?

    Read more »


    Related:
    Hundreds of thousands of displaced Ethiopians are caught between ethnic violence and shadowy politics (PRI)
    Ethiopia’s Contradiction: Ethnofederalism or Federalism?

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    Dutch Court Jails Ethiopia ‘Red Terror’ Aide Eshetu Alemu for War Crimes (BBC)

    Eshetu Alemu is accused of ordering the execution of 75 people during Ethiopia's "Red Terror"

    BBC News

    Ethiopia ‘Red Terror’ aide Alemu jailed for war crimes

    A Dutch court has sentenced an aide to Ethiopia’s former communist ruler to life imprisonment for war crimes.

    Eshetu Alemu, 63, was found guilty of crimes including the execution of 75 people during Ethiopia’s “Red Terror” purges in the late 1970s.

    The dual Ethiopian-Dutch national and former aide to then-ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam denied all the charges against him.

    More than 300 victims were named in four war crimes charges.

    Ethiopia has already sentenced him to death in absentia.

    Prosecutors said that Alemu was a henchman for Mengistu in the north-west Gojjam province.

    The case was tried under Dutch universal jurisdiction laws at the district court in The Hague.

    Presiding judge Mariette Renckens told the court that Alemu was “guilty of war crimes and treated his fellow citizens in a cold and calculating manner… including robbing them of their right to life”.

    Families of victims applauded the sentence, but neither Alemu nor his lawyers were present in court.

    Read more »


    Related:
    Dutch court convicts 63-year-old of war crimes in Ethiopia (AP)

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