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

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

The Associated Press

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


Text: Abiy Ahmed Ali – Nobel Lecture

© THE NOBEL FOUNDATION

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

“Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles.

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

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

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

I have seen brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield.

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

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

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

War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men.

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

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

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

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

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

I think of their families too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I believed peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea was within reach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are reaping our peace dividends.

Families separated for over two decades are now united.

Diplomatic relations are fully restored.

Air and telecommunication services have been reestablished.

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, we must cherish and nurture it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

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

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

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

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

We were each other’s keepers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The beauty of our Ethiopia is its extraordinary diversity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a global community, we must invest in peace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our accord hangs in the balance of inclusive politics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ሰላም ለሁላችንም፤ ለሰላም አርበኖች እንዲሁም ለሰላም ወዳጆች።

I thank you!


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

WATCH LIVE: 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2019

Announcement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: December 6th, 2019

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

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

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

Below is our Q & A with Dr. Bisrat:

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

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

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

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

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

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

TADIAS: What are some of your current challenges?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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NYT: Addis Fine Art Gallery Enriches a Global Art Conversation

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

The New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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

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

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

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

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

The Guardian

Updated: December 4th, 2019

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

Trump provides extreme example of impeachable conduct – witnesses

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

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

Democrats lay out impeachment road map

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

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

The road ahead

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

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

Read more »


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

THE TRUMP-UKRAINE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY REPORT

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

December 3, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the full report »

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

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

The Washington Post

Dec. 2, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article at washingtonpost.com »


Related:

Updated: November 23, 2019

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

Impeachment hearings shine spotlight on stories of immigrants

The Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


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

The Associated Press

November 21st, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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

November 20th, 2019

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

The Associated Press

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

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

Gordon Sondland is testifying Wednesday publicly.

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

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

Sondland said: “It was no secret.”

___

9:20 a.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press

Impeachment hearings takeaways: Firsthand witnesses appear

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

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

Some takeaways from Tuesday’s testimony:

‘CONCERNED BY THE CALL’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


Related:

Democrats invite Trump to testify in impeachment inquiry

Updates from last week: Trump accused of witness intimidation

The Associated Press

Ousted ambassador says she felt intimidated by Trump attacks

Updated: November 15th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, Nov. 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

“It’s very intimidating.”

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

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

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

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

John Roberts

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

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

Read more at theguardian.com »


Ousted ambassador testifies ouster helped ‘shady interests’


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

The Associated Press

Updated: November 15th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com »


The Associated Press

Diplomats accuse Trump as impeachment hits Americans’ TVs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both sides tried to distill it into soundbites.

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

Read more »


Related Videos:

New testimony ties Trump more directly to Ukraine pressure

LIVE UPDATES

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

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

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

Read more at www.washingtonpost.com »

The Associated Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »


Related:

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

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Spotlight: Movie from Ethiopia ‘Enchained’ to Make U.S. Premier in NYC & DC

The film entitled ‘Enchained', which is is set to make its U.S. debut in New York City during NY African Diaspora International Film Festival on December 11th and December 15th, will also be screened at Landmark Theatres in Washington, D.C. on December 12th. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: December 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This month, the award-winning new film from Ethiopia, Enchained (ቁራኛዬ) is coming to the United States. The U.S. screenings follow the film’s successful international premier in London this past October.

The film will make its U.S. debut in New York City during the NY African Diaspora International Film Festival on December 11th and December 15th, and will also be screened in Washington, D.C. on December 12th.

A review by Filmuforia notes: “Combining breath-taking landscapes with superb performances piqued by humour and irony,” Enchained “takes the audience by storm in a tense and moving ethnological drama suffused with passion, jealousy and bitter anger of the traditional Ethiopian establishment.”

Set in 1916 Enchained reflects on the age-old human behavior when it comes to love, sex, violence and the desire for vigilante justice, while also contemplating on Ethiopia’s judicial system of the day informed by local customs, values and traditions adjudicating conflict situations.

One of the film’s main characters “Gobeze is a timid, peace-loving, young man of 25; a brilliant student who dedicates his whole life to Sem Ina Werq (riddles with dual meaning),” explains the synopsis. “He spends seven years searching for his young love, Aleme, kidnapped from his arms. Finally finding her, two young lovers are caught by Gonite, her husband and a wealthy old landlord. Following the old Ethiopian tradition, both men’s clothes are bind together and the rivals set off on a long journey to the royal court to stand trial.”


Written and directed by Moges Tafesse, the film’s cast include Zerihun Mulatu as Gobeze, Yimisirach Girma as Aleme and Frehiwot Kelkilew as Queen Zewditu. (Screen shot)


(Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)

The film’s director, Moges Tafesse, will be present for a Q & A session on December 15th during the New York screening that will be held at Columbia University’s Teachers College, as well as at the D.C. event at Landmark Theatres on December 12th.

If You Go
‘Enchained’ NY African Diaspora International Film Festival.
Teachers College, Columbia University
Wed Dec 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Sun Dec 15, 2019 at 4:00 pm
525 W 120th St, New York, NY 10027
Click here for more info and to buy tickets
Habesha View TV in collaboration with African Diaspora Film Festival’ is offering a 15% discount for the NYC screenings. Use this promo code: ‘habesha view.’ ‘Habesha View, which provides an IPTV service with contents focused on the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities worldwide, is the international distributor for Enchained film.

Washington D.C.
‘Enchained’ at Landmark Theatres / E Street Cinema
Thu Dec 12, 2019 at 6:30 pm
555 11th Street NW,
Entrance on E Street between 10th & 11th Streets
NW, Washington D.C., 20004
Click here for more info and to buy tickets

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60 Minutes Features Historic Lalibela

CBS News' 60 Minutes explores Ethiopia's historic Lalibela churches. (CBS)

CBS

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church says the churches were made by angels, but no one knows exactly who made them or why. The 11 churches rose out of a plateau in Ethiopia 800 years ago. They were excavated, meticulously carved out of one huge piece of rock, by people called the Zagwe around 1,200 AD. The King of the Zagwe, Lalibela, from whom the site gets its name, is said to have ordered its construction to replace Jerusalem after the city was conquered by Islam. And pilgrims today continue to make their way there on foot for Christmas as they have for centuries. All of which makes for a fascinating and fitting 60 Minutes report for the holiday season. Scott Pelley made the trip in time for the Christmas vigil and tells the story Sunday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS.

Fasil Giorghis, an Ethiopian architect and historian, knows the stories and the churches as well as anyone. He tells Pelley the legend of King Lalibela, who is supposed to have traveled 1,600 miles to Jerusalem. “And [Lalibela] came back with an ambitious idea, a vision of creating an African Jerusalem, a black Jerusalem here in the highlands of Ethiopia.”

60 Minutes cameras capture the spectacle of nearly 200,000 Christians massing on the 62-acre site, many holding candles, on Christmas Eve. “This is considered to be a holy place,” says Giorghis. “Coming here as a devout Christian is a very strong sign of their belief… some people travel hundreds of kilometers here on foot and they have been doing it for several centuries,” he tells Pelley.

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


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Sidama People Vote to Create State

The National Election Board on Saturday said 98.5% of people voted for regional statehood while just 1.48% voted to remain within the Southern regional state. Official results show voter turnout was 99.8%. The Sidama make up about 4% of Ethiopia’s population. (Photo: Voting has been peaceful in Sidama's main city, Hawassa/Getty Images)

AP

By ELIAS MESERET

Updated: November 23, 2019

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian authorities say the Sidama people in the south have voted overwhelmingly in favor of regional statehood. The vote could inspire others and cause further fragmentation of ethnic groups in Africa’s second most populous country while its Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader urges national unity.

The National Election Board on Saturday said 98.5% of people voted for regional statehood while just 1.48% voted to remain within the Southern regional state. Official results show voter turnout was 99.8%.

The Sidama make up about 4% of Ethiopia’s population.

A consortium of civil society organizations described Wednesday’s referendum as peaceful, but it alleged some polling stations weren’t transparent.

Some voters told The Associated Press those in the “remain” camp were intimidated. They spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for their safety.


Related:

Referendum Tests Ethiopia’s Ability for Peaceful Elections (Bloomberg)

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Spotlight: The Shadow King is on Time’s 2019 List of 100 Must Read Books

Time magazine has released its list of the top books of 2019 that includes 'The Shadow King,' the new novel by Ethiopian-American author Maaza Mengiste. (Image: Time.com)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: November 17th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Maaza Mengiste’s acclaimed new novel The Shadow King has been selected by the editors of Time magazine as one of their 2019 list of 100 must read books.

Maaza’s book narrates the rarely explored and heroic participation of female warriors in Ethiopia’s legendary victory against fascist occupation forces during World War II. The movie rights to the novel was also recently acquired by the film production company Atlas Entertainment.

Time notes: “Ethiopian-American novelist Maaza Mengiste tells an unforgettable story steeped in the history of her home country. Hirut, an orphan, works as a maid subjected to the oppressive impulses of men — until she steps up to become a war hero, helping to defend Ethiopia against Mussolini’s invasion in 1935, a precursor to World War II. The Shadow King is a propulsive read that captures a historical moment from a fresh perspective, speaking to timeless themes about women’s power and oppression and the cost of war.”

Buy now: The Shadow King


Related:
Atlas Acquires Maaza Mengiste’s Novel ‘The Shadow King’
Spotlight: Three Great Reviews of Maaza Mengiste’s New Book by NYT, WSJ & NPR
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste


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Marcus Samuelsson’s PBS Show ‘No Passport Required’ Returns for 2nd Season

Marcus Samuelsson's popular PBS TV show 'No Passport Required' is set to return for a new season in January 2020. (Photo courtesy: Eater.com)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: November 15th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Marcus Samuelsson’s popular TV show, No Passport Required, is scheduled to return for a second season in January 2020 highlighting diverse American cities such as Los Angeles, California — home to Little Ethiopia, which is the only neignhrhood in the United States officially named after an African country.

In the upcoming episodes Marcus will travel to six major cities exploring international flavors, sounds and tastes. The featured cities include “Houston, home to one of the highest numbers of West African expatriates of any U.S. city; the Filipino American community in Seattle, who are part of the city’s longstanding Asian Pacific American heritage; Los Angeles, where the world’s second-largest Armenian community resides; and Boston, where Marcus explores Portuguese-speaking cultures and cuisines from three different locales: Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal. Other episodes focus on the Chinese American community in Las Vegas, which has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and Philadelphia, where Italian Americans have thrived for generations. In each city, he’ll visit local restaurants, markets and family homes, learning about each community’s cuisine and heritage.”

PBS added: “An immigrant himself — born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, now a celebrated chef, restaurateur, author and resident of Harlem — Marcus Samuelsson is passionate about sharing and celebrating the food of America’s vibrant communities. Each episode shows how important food can be in bringing Americans — old and new — together around the table.”

For Marcus, a new season of No Passport Required means that “we have only begun to scratch the surface of the amazing range of immigrant cultures and cuisines found in the U.S.” He adds: “It’s exciting to go on this journey once again and bring attention to these diverse communities that contribute so much to our nation.”

The finale segment of the previous season was brodcast this past August 14th and featured Ethiopian food and culture in Washington D.C. The episode highlighted the inspiring stories of Ethiopian entrepreneurs, eskista dancing, as well as how to make traditional dishes such as kitfo and ful.

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), one of the largest television program distributors in the United States, premiered No Passport Required, which was produced in collaboration with Vox Media, on July 10th, 2018.

“NO PASSPORT REQUIRED was one of our freshest and most popular new shows last year,” says Pamela A. Aguilar, Senior Director, PBS Programming. “It included new perspectives and provided a unique lens that brought younger audiences to PBS, who connected with Marcus and the culture and cuisine of these diverse communities. We’re delighted to present a new season of this inclusive series that is part of the PBS commitment to provide programming that is reflective of all Americans.”

“We are thrilled to be working with PBS and Marcus to continue capturing these authentic stories focusing on the communities that make this nation so rich and dynamic,” said Marty Moe, President, Vox Media. “Serving both the PBS and Eater audiences with premium nonfiction television inspired by great journalism, next generation talent and a collective deep curiosity about the world is a priority for Vox Entertainment.”


Related:

Season 2 of NO PASSPORT REQUIRED with Marcus Samuelsson to Air Jan. 20 (Broadway World)

Watch a preview of the DC Ethiopian community episode of ‘No Passport Required’:

PBS and VOX Media Announce New Series Hosted by Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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U.S. Invests in Ethiopia Health System

(Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Ethiopia)

Press Release

U.S. Invests in Digital Solutions to Modernize Ethiopia Health System

November 14, 2019

Addis Ababa – The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Ministry of Health, announced the launch of the new USAID Digital Health Activity to continue investments in digital information solutions to further strengthen the country’s health system and improve the quality of services. USAID Mission Director Sean Jones and Minister of Health Dr. Amir Aman inaugurated the new activity, which builds on U.S.-Ethiopian efforts to create a modernized health information system that ensures the entire sector has the data, analytics, and skills necessary to improve the health and well-being of all Ethiopians.

The five-year USD $63 million USAID Digital Health Activity will train end-users including doctors, nurses, health extension workers, and policy-makers at all levels of the health system to utilize technology more effectively and enable them to better serve patients and families across the country. USAID will also partner with local universities to introduce courses that develop competencies in health innovations and electronic solutions, and establish career paths that empower young Ethiopians to drive digital solutions across the sector. The Digital Health Activity will also create opportunities for entrepreneurs and youth-led tech organizations to utilize their expertise in providing support to health centers.

“In addition to simply expanding digital health systems and strengthening the skills of today’s medical professionals, we are also increasing our focus on developing the leaders of tomorrow to drive health innovations far into the future,” said USAID Mission Director Sean Jones.

USAID’s Digital Health Activity is implemented by JSI and a consortium of partners. The United States is the largest bilateral provider of support to Ethiopia’s health sector, with approximately $150 million per year in funding for tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS; malaria; maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; and water, sanitation and hygiene. Overall, the United States has provided approximately $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia over the past five years.


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The Young Ethiopians Working for Peace

The group call themselves “peace ambassadors”, and they are leading the way in putting a fractured and traumatised society back together again. (Photo: Imnet Irba, a 25 year old recent school graduate, leads monthly peace trainings in Gedeo zone/ Tom Gardner/TNH)

The New Humanitarian

BULE HORA, ETHIOPIA

In a hotel dining room in the southern Ethiopian town of Bule Hora, a group of young Ethiopians pin drawings of trees to the wall. Each tree, they explain, represents one of them – some of them ethnic Gedeos, the rest Guji Oromos – and together they make up a forest, symbolising their multi-ethnic society.

The group call themselves “peace ambassadors”, and they are leading the way in putting a fractured and traumatised society back together again.

“The forest represents our unity,” says one, a murmur of assent rippling through the room.

But fostering reconciliation and rebuilding peace, when memories of violence remain so fresh, will take more than well-meaning workshops.

It is now more than a year since, according to official estimates, up to one million Gujis and Gedeos were left homeless after ethnic violence broke out. Reconciliation, despite the deep blood and cultural ties between the two communities, is proving a long and fraught process.

Whole families, the majority of them Gedeo, were chased from their lands by armed gangs who torched farms, looted properties, and beat, raped, and murdered civilians.

It was the largest single displacement in a year in which nearly three million people nationwide were forced from their homes, as ethnic and land-fuelled conflicts exploded across the country following the softening of the ruling party’s authoritarianism when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power last April.

Six months ago, the Ethiopian government sent almost all of these internally displaced persons (IDPs) back to their old villages, despite fears for their safety, as part of a massive campaign to reduce the IDP caseload. Today, it claims that less than 100,000 remain throughout Ethiopia – though aid workers have questioned those figures.

In Kercha, the West Guji district where the bulk of the violence occurred, the conflict’s scars are still visible. Makeshift shelters with tarpaulin roofs mark the spots where, according to the government, at least 21,000 houses were burnt or torn down.

A heavy presence of local militia and special police patrol the streets, and many locals, as well as returnees, still rely on food handouts as much of last year’s harvest was abandoned or destroyed.

‘Everyone is regretting what they did’

But there are welcome signs of progress, too.

About 130 peace ambassadors are now dotted across 13 districts along the border between Gedeo and Oromia’s West Guji. These young men and women, all volunteers, hold meetings and workshops in their villages, hoping to restore trust between the two communities.

“I teach them the values of living together, values which were degraded or lost during the conflict,” said Dubi Lema, who works at the Environment, Climate Change, and Forest Authority in Kercha Town, and in his free time helps reconcile his neighbours.

“Now relations are so good – everyone is regretting what they did,” she told The New Humanitarian. “It’s very peaceful.”


Gelgelo Genee, Teremaj Belachew, Ibsa Ware, left to right, are “peace ambassadors” in Kercha, West Guji. (Tom Gardner/TNH)

Ambassadors like Dubi and Imnet are helping to support the work of local officials, who for the last few months have been organising regular peace meetings between the two ethnic groups.

They are supported and trained by the Catholic Relief Services, an international NGO, which, like other aid groups, was prohibited from engaging in reconciliation work until after Abiy took office last year.

“In our zone, there is no peace problem now,” said Abera Buno, the top official in West Guji. “The IDPs have come home, and they are rebuilding their lives.”

He told TNH that the local government is planning to build a “peace training centre” on land at the border between Gedeo and West Guji.

Meanwhile, local elders known as Abba Gadas are setting up “peace committees” in each kebele or village district. Some of the young ambassadors are organising football teams or church choirs of mixed ethnicities, and Dembela Muleta, head of the disaster risk management office in Bule Hore, said the government is introducing “peace clubs” in schools.

Almost all those interviewed by TNH on both sides of the Gedeo-Guji border, in districts which have long been multiethnic, said children were back to attending the same schools and people were once again socialising with neighbours from the other ethnic group, drinking coffee and eating meals together as they had done in the past.

The approach to peace and reconciliation is notable for its emphasis on traditional institutions common to both groups, such as the Abba Gadas, and on forgiveness before accountability.

“Now we have peace, there is no need to revisit the past – we advise people to move forward and to forgive whatever happened before,” said Takele Sereka, an Abba Gada in Kercha Town.


Takele Sereka (left) an Gedecha Wako (right), two Tom Gardner/TNH

Limits to reconciliation

Publicly, the government says it is holding people to account for the violence. In April, Abiy said 300 people had been arrested for their suspected involvement. Around the same time, the West Guji police chief said 89 people had been given prison sentences for instigating killings and evictions.

But, on the ground, the reality seems different.

Buno, the top West Guji official, said those arrested had not yet been sentenced.

The head of the local militia in Magala village, Ebisa Elema, said nobody in his badly affected district had been arrested for involvement in ethnic violence, and none of the returnees interviewed by TNH said they were aware of any arrests or prosecutions in their neighborhoods, either.

“The government advised us to excuse everybody and to forget about the past,” said Atnafu Bali, a Gedeo returnee near Kercha town.

Some believe this approach is sensible in a society where formal state institutions are not widely trusted, and where violence is often politically motivated as well as simply criminal.

“Court litigation is a kind of win-lose approach,” said Gelchu Jarso of Bule Hora University, who is helping lead the peace process. “Reconciliation through indigenous institutions is much better.”

But relying on traditional institutions, such as the Abbas Gadas, has not always proven effective.

In the months after the conflict first broke out in 2018, the government organised several high-level peace meetings led by Abbas Gadas. Violence resumed shortly afterwards.

“These days, the youth do not listen to the elderly people,” said Dagne Shibru, an expert on Gedeo-Guji relations at nearby Hawassa University.

He also noted that reconciliation customs shared by the two communities in times of conflict have been weakened in recent years by the rapid spread of Pentecostal churches, and that the Gada system had itself been undermined by perceptions that it was “politicised”.

“Abba Gadas are often members of the ruling party,” Dagne noted.

Takele, the Abba Gada in Kercha, admitted that once the conflict started the Guji youth simply stopped obeying their elders. “They said to us: ‘No, we cannot tolerate this again’.”

A fragile peace

There are other signs that, beneath the surface, the peace here is a fragile one.

One is ongoing land disputes, the root cause of the conflict.

“It is known that the Gedeos are claiming land,” said Gedecha Wako, another Abba Gada in Kercha, before his colleague Takele asked him to drop the subject. “The issue started with Gedeos claiming the area – they said the land belongs to their region.”

As violence escalated, many land certificates were either lost or destroyed as houses were burnt. And, for some returnees, proving ownership can be difficult since many lacked documentation in the first place, including personal identification cards.

The local government has set up legal aid clinics and a working group to support people who do not have documentation, which it said had dealt with roughly 10 percent of more than 500 cases so far.

But in some villages officials demanded high fees for reissuance of documents. In one it was reported by returnees that their land had been sold by local authorities without their knowledge.

Daniel Robe in Magala village told TNH privately over the phone – after first being interviewed in front of some neighbours – that he had returned to find his land occupied. He took his neighbour to court but still not all of it has been returned to him.

Italem Demsew, a 25-year-old peace ambassador from Gedeo zone, said that when some of her relatives returned to West Guji they were told they had to pay their neighbours, who had been living in their home, a “protection” fee to have it back again.

Incidents like these were relatively common, according to humanitarian organisations working in the area.

“I don’t think anything has changed in terms of how the two perceive each other,” said an aid worker with international NGO, who asked to remain anonymous. “Remember: they lived together for decades and then this happened overnight.”

Another concern among aid workers is that in most districts on the West Guji side, Gedeos are no longer represented in local kebele governments or militias.

But Gelgelo Genene, a peace ambassador, was – like all his colleagues – guardedly optimistic about prospects for lasting peace between the two communities.

He pointed out that his father has three wives – two Gedeos and one Guji – and 30 children.

“We can’t separate even if we wanted to,” he said.


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Even in Times of Social Discord, Ethiopian-Israelis Proudly Celebrate

Members of Fendika band from Ethiopia performing at Sigdyada Festival, an annual celebration of Ethiopian and Ethiopian-Israeli culture, in Tel Aviv on November 7th, 2019. (Tara Kavaler)

The Media Line

Following the police killings of young men, the community hopes national exposure to the colorful Sigdyada Festival can improve their integration

The shooting of Solomon Tokah by an Israeli police officer last July led to several days and nights of rioting by mostly young Ethiopian Israelis feeling an increasing sense of alienation. Yet one member of the community believes that things can improve with the help of cultural bridges.

“I believe we live in a very dangerous time,” Shai Ferdo tells The Media Line. “I want to be that guy who builds those bridges.”

Ferdo is the creator of the two-day Sigdyada Festival, an annual celebration of Ethiopian and Ethiopian-Israeli culture. It is held just before the Sigd, a day of prayer, fasting and introspection aimed at recalling the yearning for Zion by previous generations.

The Sigdyada’s explosion of music, dance, comedy and, of course, food, attracts people like Mina Fiat, an Israeli who divides her time between Tel Aviv and Chicago.

“I am interested in every culture I do not know about, especially because it’s a Jewish culture,” she said, adding that Ethiopian Israelis are an authentic part of Israel. “They go to the army and do everything” that other Israelis do.

This year’s Sigdyada, the eighth, got under way on November 7 at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv with speeches that hinted at the overriding issues facing Israel’s Ethiopian immigrants.

“As a society, we haven’t always listened to people who speak a different language, who have different customs or a different color,” President Reuven Rivlin told festival-goers. “Today, we’re a giving a place of honor to the tradition of Ethiopian Jewry as part of the present [and] of the future of Israeli culture overall.”

Joey Low, founder of Israel at Heart, an NGO that seeks to foster better awareness of Israel by the rest of the world, said: “The government specifically, but in general the country, does not appreciate and understand what the [Ethiopian-Israeli] community can give…. Israel will be a better society when it includes everyone.”

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, Ethiopian Israelis are more likely to be low-wage earners than other demographic groups in the country, and less likely to pursue a post-high school education. The disparity is heightened even more by police treatment, with the death of Tokah following that of Yehuda Biadga in January, and longtime claims that authorities tend to use more profiling with members of the community, and exhibit less patience.

“There is a lot of anger… about the killings, and I’m also very angry,” Messeret Woldemichael, a 2014 finalist in MasterChef Israel, told The Media Line. “However, we still need to push ourselves and our culture for better exposure. The struggle will always be better if people know who they have in front of them.”

The sense conflict and discord felt by Ethiopian-Israelis has clearly reached a level that politicians and other prominent members of society could not ignore at the community’s first major gathering since the July killing and resulting rioting.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, an ex-fighter pilot and the son of kibbutz founders, urged patience.

“There were always tensions with new immigrants in Israel,” he told The Media Line. “It takes time.”

Yet Ethiopia-born Shula Mola, an educator who chairs the Association of Ethiopian Jews, has heard this before.

“Veteran Israelis repeatedly told us: Be patient; every wave of immigration to Israel has had to struggle for its place in Israeli society,” she told The Media Line. “And yet, unlike previous waves of immigration, this simple truth remains: Our skin color sets us apart.”

Mehereta Baruch-Ron, a former Tel Aviv city councilor who, like Mola, was born in Ethiopia, lauds Israel for having brought Ethiopian Jews to the country.

“There is no other country in the world that voluntarily brought Africans to be part of its society. In many ways, Israel did a wonderful thing,” she told The Media Line. “Having said that, there’s a lot more to do to integrate Ethiopian Israelis into Israeli society.”

Baruch-Ron argues that the government should take a stand against discrimination by penalizing offenders. She also says it should provide Ethiopian Israelis the tools they need to succeed, particularly by earmarking more funds to their neighborhoods.

“In many ways, some of the schools and some of the neighborhoods in which these young Ethiopians live are disadvantaged. There is a gap between an Ethiopian family that came… from a Third World country and Israelis who were born here or came from Europe,” she said. “We have to put more [resources] into these communities.”

She recommends that Ethiopian-Israeli history and culture should be more widely included in the school curriculum, starting in kindergarten, something that has been stymied in part by costs.

“The government should decide it’s very important regarding our Jewish history, that we cannot be a country that discriminates against other communities just because they are different,” she said.

With the Sigdyada being a pre-Sigd celebration – the holiday will be marked this year on November 27 – Baruch-Ron was also reflective.

“Back in Ethiopia, I remember we expressed our longing for Jerusalem during this holiday,” she said. “Now, when we are here, we can say that the physical journey is over, but we still have some ways to go.”

Not to be forgotten in the midst of the tensions is that the heart of the festival is a celebration of the heritage of Ethiopian-Israeli society.

“The festival is to ensure the continuity of the Ethiopian culture and show people that Ethiopians have… a lot to contribute, and that they’re very talented,” Howard Rypp, co-producer of the Sigdyada, told The Media Line.

According to the organizers, festival-goers throughout the years have been almost evenly split, indicating it is indeed a place for non-Ethiopian Israelis to absorb the sights, sounds and aromas of the community, perhaps leading to its more thorough integration.

Woldemichael, the chef, agrees.

“I am very persistent,” she proclaims, “in my display of my beautiful culture.”


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DC Mayor Bowser Takes Delegation Of 70 To Ethiopia

Bowser’s trip to Ethiopia comes a year after Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed came to D.C. gave a talk to members of the Ethiopian community at the convention center in July 2018. Bowser joined Abiy on stage and announced July 28 as “Ethiopia Day in D.C.” (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

DCist

By Selam Berhea

On Friday morning, Mayor Muriel Bowser left for a five-day diplomatic and trade mission to Ethiopia.

Bowser has a delegation of 70 people in tow, including Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and city government representatives.

The idea behind the trip is to establish trade relations with different industries in Ethiopia. Bowser will meet with local leaders and government officials in Addis Ababa, the capital city, and Lalibela, a northern city about 531 miles away.

Bowser will also visit with President H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, Ethiopia’s first female president, and Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, who recently won a Nobel Peace Prize.

“We are continuing our efforts to reach beyond the borders of Washington, D.C. and establish relationships around the world,” said Bowser in a press release on Friday. “We particularly value our special relationship with Ethiopia, which has been strengthened by the substantial Ethiopian population in our city and region.”

The D.C. metropolitan region has the largest Ethiopian-born community in the U.S.—more than 30,000 Ethiopians have settled in parts of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Their influence is apparent at coffee shops in Silver Spring, Ethiopian restaurants on 18th St. or along U St, and in the many Ethiopian churches in the area.

According to WAMU, Ethiopians started coming to D.C. in the 1950s and 1960s as students and visitors. After a military takeover over in 1974, more Ethiopians came to the U.S. Laws like the Refugee Act of 1980 and Diversity Visa Act of 1990 immigration made it easier for those wanting to leave Ethiopia to move stateside. Many people decided to go where there was already a blossoming Ethiopian community established—the D.C. region.

Bowser’s trip to Ethiopia comes a year after Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed came to D.C. gave a talk to members of the Ethiopian community at the convention center in July 2018. Bowser joined Abiy on stage and announced July 28 as “Ethiopia Day in D.C.”

During this trip, Bowser will renew D.C.’s Sister City Agreement with Addis Ababa. The sister city agreement is a promise of friendship and an opportunity for different cities to learn about each other, per Bowser’s office. Including Addis Ababa, D.C. currently has 15 sister cities, according to the D.C. Office of the Secretary website. Then-Mayor Vincent Gray signed the first Sister City Agreement with Addis Ababa in 2013.

“Our Sister City agreements with capital cities around the world play a key role in breaking down barriers and building international relationships that allow us to improve the lives of people in D.C. and abroad.” Bowser wrote in her newsletter.

Bowser has traveled internationally throughout her mayoral tenure, including to El Salvador, Israel, and multiple trips to China. The trips to China each had budgets in the range of tens of thousands of dollars, according to the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.


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Spotlight: Tightrope, The First Major Traveling Museum Exhibition of Elias Sime

Artist Elias Sime’s first major traveling museum survey exhibition entitled “Tightrope”, and comprising of work from the last decade, is being presented by the Wellin Museum of Art through December 8, 2O19. (Photo credit: Brett Moen. Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York)

Tadias Magazine

By Hasabie Kidanu

Monday, November 4th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – “My art is a reflection of who I am as a human being without borders, labels, and imposed identity. There is a sense of unity and cooperation that I reflect through my art. At the root of all of it is love and passion. With this exhibition, including many years of my work, I hope the students and other visitors will share my feelings expressed on the arts.” Elias Sime.

Artist Elias Sime’s first major traveling museum survey exhibition entitled “Tightrope”, and comprising of work from the last decade, is being presented by the Wellin Museum of Art.

The prolific and multi-disciplinary artist works primarily within the language of architecture, sculpture, and collage. Sime’s works are created from repurposing objects often carefully sourced from Merkato — Addis’ sprawling open air market. Sime often collects discarded electrical components that have travelled from around the globe to his hometown. Through a meticulous hand, the salvaged materials are cut, layered, collaged, woven. The end result renews refuse into a new form – large colorful and lyrical compositions, pointing to the universal human struggle as a ‘balancing act’ of our relationship to technological progress, waste, resourcefulness, and environmental sustainability.

As the director of the Wellin Museum and curator of the exhibition Tracy L. Adler notes, “Elias Sime is one of the most significant artists working today. He is both critical and embracing of the world we live in, and brings a truly global sensibility to his work without losing any of its authenticity and authorship. While technology has in many ways changed our lives for the better and facilitated international communication and partnership, it has resulted in detrimental byproducts both materially in terms of its refuse, and socially and culturally, in that we look more to our devices than to each other.”

The notion of revival is a pillar of Sime’s work in Addis as well. This year, the city celebrated the public opening of ZOMA, a 25-year in the making institution. This ever-evolving project houses exhibition spaces, vegetable gardens, animal quarters, library, children’s center, elementary school, and has become an oasis for locals. Along with ZOMA co-founder and curator Meskerem Assegued, Sime has been appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to design and build a public garden for the Menelik Palace, expanding the project of innovative architecture and art into a different part of the city. Elias Sime is also a recent recipient of the African Art Awards from the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C.

On view from September 7 through December 8, 2019 at the Wellin Museum of Art, the exhibition will travel to the Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio (February 29 through May 24, 2020), the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri (June 11 through September 13, 2020), and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada (December 12, 2020 through April 18, 2021).

About the Author:
Hasabie Kidanu received her MFA at Yale School of Art in 2017. Her film Mal-Fekata was most recently screened at the 48th Rotterdam International Film Festival as part of the Bright Future program. She has been a member of the Blackburn Printmaking Studio in New York since 2013. She was most recently a guest lecturer at Addis Ababa University. Since 2014, she is an Arts and Culture writer for TADIAS Magazine.

Related:
Elias Sime Set for Major U.S. Museum Shows in NY, Ohio and Kansas
Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

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Spotlight: Julie Mehretu’s Mid-Career Survey at LA County Museum of Art

Julie Mehretu – Stadia II, 2004. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 108 x 144 in. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, gift of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund 2004.50. © Julie Mehretu, photograph courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 31st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This weekend the highly anticipated traveling exhibition — featuring a mid-career survey of Ethiopian-American artist Julie Mehretu’s work dating back to 1996 to the present — will open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in California.

“The first-ever comprehensive retrospective of Mehretu’s career, it covers over two decades of her examination of history, colonialism, capitalism, geopolitics, war, global uprising, diaspora, and displacement through the artistic strategies of abstraction, architecture, landscape, movement, and, most recently, figuration. Mehretu’s play with scale, as evident in her intimate drawings and large canvases and complex techniques in printmaking, will be explored in depth,” LACMA stated in its announcement, noting that the show brings together about “40 works on paper with 35 paintings along with a print by Rembrandt and a film on Mehretu by the artist Tacita Dean.”

The traveling exhibition, which is co-organized by the LACMA and The Whitney Museum of American Art, will subsequently come to New York for a display at the Whitney from June 26th to September 20, 2020, before moving to Atlanta at the High Museum of Art from October 24th 2020 to January 31, 2021, and finally the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from March 13–July 11, 2021.

Julie lives and works in New York. She was born in Addis Ababa in 1970 and immigrated to the United States with her family in 1977. As LACMA notes: “Mehretu received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and, among many awards and honors, is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” (2005) and a U.S. State Department National Medal of Arts (2015).”


Julie Mehretu, Untitled 2, 2001, ink and acrylic on canvas, 60 × 84 in., private collection, courtesy of Salon 94, New York, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging. (Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art)


Julie Mehretu, Black City, 2007, ink and acrylic on canvas, 120 × 192 in., Pinault Collection, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tim Thayer. (Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art)


Julie Mehretu, Haka (and Riot), 2019, ink and acrylic on canvas, 144 × 180 in., courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging.


Related:
Julie Mehretu’s Mid-Career Survey To Open at LACMA

Julie Mehretu at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), November 3, 2019 – March 22, 2020 (Level 1) and May 17, 2020 (Level 3)

More info at lacma.org.

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U.S. House Confronts Boeing CEO with New Documents on 737 Max (UPDATE)

Those documents included an email in which a Boeing engineer questioned in 2015 whether the Max was vulnerable to the failure of a single sensor — the scenario that led to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. (Photo: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg testifies before a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, October 29, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)

The Washington Post

Oct. 30, 2019

House Committee Confronts Boeing CEO with New Documents on 737 Max Safety

House Democrats on Wednesday revealed key documents from their investigation into the deadly crashes of two 737 Max jets, pressing Boeing’s chief executive for more answers as he returned to Capitol Hill for a second day of hearings.

Those documents included an email in which a Boeing engineer questioned in 2015 whether the Max was vulnerable to the failure of a single sensor — the scenario that led to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

“This was raised by one of your engineers,” Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) said to Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg, and John Hamilton, chief engineer of the company’s commercial airplanes division.

DeFazio, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was reading from a December 2015 email sent while the Max was in the middle of its safety certification process with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The critical sensors, known as angle of attack (AOA) indicators, are supposed to give pilots, and airplane systems, reliable information to help understand how the aircraft’s nose is pointed in relation to oncoming wind.

But in both crashes, faulty data from a single sensor caused an automated feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, to fire by mistake, repeatedly forcing the planes’ noses down as pilots struggled to regain control. Boeing’s decision to have MCAS rely on just one sensor, and not both of them, has been a key question in the crash investigations.

Read more »


Boeing CEO grilled at U.S. hearing: ‘We’ve made mistakes’

REUTERS

Oct. 29, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg was pressed by U.S. lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday over what the company knew about its MCAS stall-prevention system linked to two deadly crashes, and about delays in turning over internal 2016 messages that described erratic behavior of the software in a simulator.

Muilenburg acknowledged errors in failing to give pilots more information on MCAS before the crashes, as well as for taking months to disclose that it had made optional an alarm that alerts pilots to a mismatch of flight data on the 737 MAX.

“We’ve made mistakes and we got some things wrong. We’re improving and we’re learning,” he said.

The hearing, the highest-profile congressional scrutiny of commercial aviation safety in years, heaps pressure on a newly rejigged Boeing senior management team fighting to repair trust with airline customers and passengers shaken by an eight-month safety ban on its 737 MAX following the crashes, which killed 346 people.

Taking turns to grill Muilenburg during his first appearance at a hearing on Capitol Hill in the year since the first crash in Indonesia, senators suggested Boeing had not been completely honest and expressed dismay that the 2016 instant messages did not prompt an immediate reaction from the company.

“You have told this committee and you have told me half-truths over and over again,” Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, where Boeing is headquartered, said at one point.

Later in the hearing, Senator Jon Tester of Montana said: “I would walk before I would get on a 737 MAX … You shouldn’t be cutting corners.”

For months, Boeing had largely failed to acknowledge blame, instead vowing to make a “safe plane safer.” Tuesday’s hearing represents Boeing’s broadest acceptance of responsibility that it made mistakes, though Muilenburg and senior engineering executive John Hamilton stopped short of a game-changing display of contrition.

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, questioned Muilenburg over the company’s delay in releasing internal messages. In those messages, a former test pilot described erratic behavior of a simulator version of the same software now linked to the crashes, and also mentioned “Jedi-mind tricking” regulators over training requirements.

Wicker said those messages revealed a “disturbing level of casualness and flippancy.”

Muilenburg said he apologized to the FAA administrator for the delay in turning over the messages, and said additional documents would likely be provided over time.

“We will cooperate fully,” he added.

In his opening remarks, Muilenburg walked the committee through software upgrades to limit the authority of the stall-prevention system that has been linked to both crashes. He also listed changes at the company and its board of directors to improve safety oversight and transparency.

During one particularly tense exchange, Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington grilled Muilenburg and Hamilton over the extent of testing on the MCAS system. Cantwell asked Hamilton whether it was a mistake for Boeing not to test a failure mode similar to the scenarios faced by pilots in the crashes.

“In hindsight, senator, yes”, Hamilton said. Both he and Muilenburg, however, pointed to extensive testing by engineers and pilots during the certification process that lasted years.

Muilenburg also acknowledged a “mistake on that implementation” for failing to tell the FAA for 13 months that it inadvertently made a so-called angle of attack disagree alert optional on the 737 MAX, instead of standard as on earlier 737s. The company insisted the missing display represented no safety risk.

“We got the implementation wrong,” Muilenburg said, referring to the angle of attack disagree alert.

He added: “One of the things we’ve learned … is we need to provide additional information on MCAS to pilots.”

At one point, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut referred to the 737 MAX as “flying coffins.”

Asked ahead of the hearing if he would resign, Muilenburg said that was “not where my focus is.” He also declined to say if he or the board were considering his resignation after the plane returns to service.

Boeing on Tuesday ran full-page advertisements in major newspapers expressing condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed in the crashes.

“These two accidents occurred on my watch and I have a keen sense of responsibility,” Muilenburg, who was stripped of his title as Boeing chairman by the board earlier this month, told reporters.

Family members, holding photos of victims of the crash, were seated just three rows behind Muilenburg during his testimony.

Wicker addressed the families, saying: “I promise to their loved ones that we will find out what went wrong and work to prevent future tragedies.”

Indonesian investigators reported on Friday that Boeing, acting without adequate oversight from U.S. regulators, failed to grasp risks in the design of cockpit software on the 737 MAX, sowing the seeds for the Oct. 29, 2018, crash of Lion Air Flight 610.

On Tuesday, Muilenburg denied that Boeing’s initial statements about the investigative findings from the Lion Air crash sought to shift blame onto pilots.

Muilenburg also rejected a characterization of Boeing’s “coziness with the FAA,” though he said the certification process “can be improved.”

Muilenburg was then asked why Boeing had not grounded the plane in the wake of Lion Air Crash. “If we could go back, we would make a different decision,” he said.


Related:
2 Years Before Deadly Ethiopia Crash, Boeing Staff Knew of 737 Max Problems
Boeing CEO Apologizes to Victims of Ethiopia, Indonesia Crashes
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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Spotlight: Antu Yacob Promotes New Short Film ‘Love in Submission’

Actor and writer Antu Yacob is one of the producers of an upcoming short film entitled 'Love in Submission.' (Photo: Antu Yacob pictured here with producer Tara Gadomski/Facebook).

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — “I grew up watching television and film in a time when no one really looked like me on the screen,” says Antu Yacob who is one of the producers of an upcoming short film entitled Love in Submission. “That’s starting to change now, which is a wonderful thing. We are acknowledging that representation really does matter.”

Antu, who teaches Acting at Rutgers University and Baruch College, has been at the forefront of taking on characters both in film and theatre that highlight her immigrant roots as well as her upbringing in the United States. Her works include her memorable 2016 performance in her one person Ethio-American play In the Gray that was staged in New York City, as part of the Women in Theatre Festival. In the play Antu plays several engaging characters including herself, her son, as well as her Oromo Muslim mother who lives in Minnesota. Antu was also invited to perform the play at the 2017 United Solo, which is the world’s largest solo theatre festival held annually in New York City.

“I also feel that we need to expand the lens in which we present women of African descent as well as women who practice Islam,” Antu says in a video announcement regarding her latest movie project. “And that’s what our short film is tackling.” She adds: “The two main characters are strong female characters who practice the same faith, but they are very different from one another, they have nuances and they are multi-dimensional, which is very important to me as a storyteller, and important to our production team.”

The announcement states that Love in Submission “is an intimate and compelling short film following two Muslim women meeting each other for the first time.” (Screenplay by Munirah Bishop & Antu Yacob; Directed by Lande Yoosuf, Starring Kianne Muschett & Antu Yacob; Producers: Tara Gadomski, Cirenia Reyes, Adrian Luke Sinclair, Antu Yacob).


You can learn more and support the film at https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/love-in-submission.

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Spotlight: US Premiere of Critically Acclaimed Ethiopian Film ‘Fig Tree’ in DC

Director Alamork Davidian's new film 'Fig Tree' will make its US Theatrical Premiere during the Washington Jewish film Festival in DC from November 1st to 14th, 2019. (Credit: Palm Springs Film Festival)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: October 25th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — When a country is at war with itself, like Ethiopia was for most of the past century, the impact on the generation of youth who grow up in the middle of a civil war is tremendous, and often the scars last a lifetime. So it’s significant that the critically acclaimed new Ethiopian film entitled ‘Fig Tree’ — which is scheduled to make its U.S. theatrical premiere during the Washington Jewish Film Festival next week — explores this subject as told by the Ethiopian-Israeli filmmaker Alamork Davidian, who herself grew up during the tumultuous 1980s in Ethiopia.

“In her loosely autobiographical feature debut, a teenager facing similar circumstances — an escape to safety amid the nation’s civl war — becomes frantic with worry over loved ones who may not have the option of flight,” Variety magazine noted in a review earlier this year. “Like the deceptive calm before a gathering storm, and with elements of lyricism and typical adolescent coming-of-age intrigue, “Fig Tree” is a fine drama whose seemingly casual progress only heightens its ultimate impact. The universal appeal of this Israeli and European co-production figures to earn it the kind of arthouse exposure too seldom enjoyed by African features.”

The film’s synopsis adds: “Sixteen-year-old Mina is poised to flee Ethiopia with her grandmother to be reunited with her mother in Israel; however, she is reluctant to leave her Christian boyfriend Eli, who lives in the woods in order to avoid forcible conscription by the military. Grounded by remarkable performances, “Fig Tree” is a moving coming-of-age story and an auspicious feature film debut.”

The filmmaker Alamork was recently awarded the prestigious Audentia Award at the Toronto International Film Festival for Best Female Filmmaker.

Organizers of the Washington Jewish Film Festival note that Alamork will be present for a Q&A during the first three days of its U.S. premiere. The screening will take place in the brand new, state-of-the-art Cafritz Hall within the DC Jewish Community Center in Dupont Circle from November 1st to 14th.


If You Go:
Friday, November 1 1:00 PM Q&A
Saturday, November 2 6:00 PM Q&A and 8:35 PM Q&A
Sunday, November 3 12:00 PM Q&A and 6:50 PM Q&A
Tuesday, November 5 7:00 PM
Wednesday, November 6 7:00 PM
Friday, November 8 1:00 PM
Saturday, November 9 6:00 PM and 8:10 PM
Sunday, November 10 12:45 PM
Tuesday, November 12 7:00 PM
Wednesday, November 13 7:00 PM
Thursday, November 14 7:00 PM
Tickets $13 | The Cafritz Hall, EDCJCC
1529 16th St. NW Washington DC 20036
Tickets available online or at the EDCJCC Arts Ticket Office 202-777-3210 | for group sale discounts contact carolynh@edcjcc.org 202-777-3241

Watch: Fig Tree – Official Trailer

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Ethiopia’s Young People Launch SEWF 2019 With Music and Dancing

The 2019 Social Enterprise World Forum is being held in Addis Ababa this week with over 1,200 delegates representing 70 countries attending the gathering at the UN Conference Centre. (Pioneers Post)

Pioneers Post

Young people launched the Social Enterprise World Forum 2019 in Ethiopia with an energetic blast of music, food and dancing as the SEWF Youth Week began on Sunday afternoon.

Youth Week is just one of the many events running alongside the main programme of the Social Enterprise World Forum which kicks off this afternoon at Addis Ababa’s UN Conference Centre.

The focus of Youth Week is on “creating opportunities and enabling young people to fulfil their potential, resilience and networks”, said Tigist Zerihum, the British Council in Ethiopia’s youth project manager.


Pioneers Post


Pioneers Post

During Monday and Tuesday dozens of SEWF delegates also took the opportunity to visit social enterprises around Addis Ababa, including Tebita Ambulance, Selam Children’s Village, textile enterprise Sabahar and Shega Crafts.

Read the full article at pioneerspost.com »


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Atlas Acquires Maaza Mengiste’s Novel ‘The Shadow King’

Atlas Entertainment, an American film financing and production company, has acquired Maaza Mengiste's new book ‘The Shadow King’, Deadline Hollywood reports. The book narrates the "untold story of WWII resistance by Ethiopian female warriors against Mussolini." (Images: Atlas logo and cover of the Shadow King’)

Deadline Hollywood

EXCLUSIVE: Atlas Entertainment has acquired rights to Maaza Mengiste’s historical novel The Shadow King. Set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King revolves around the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who’ve been left out of the historical record.

Published on September 24 by W.W. Norton & Company, The Shadow King is set in 1935. Mussolini’s army invades Ethiopia and moves towards an easy victory. Aster, the wife of a commander in Haile Selassie’s overwhelmed army, and her household servant Hirut long to do more than only care for the wounded and bury the dead. Together, they offer a plan to maintain morale among Ethiopians, eventually becoming warriors and inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians.

“Maaza Mengiste has written a brilliantly crafted character study in an epic, sprawling, cinematic time and place,” Roven and Suckle said. “She breathes life into complicated characters and offers the reader an indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman against the backdrop of war. It’s a compelling storytelling that Atlas is thrilled to bring to the screen.”

Read the full article at deadline.com »


Related:
Spotlight: Three Great Reviews of Maaza Mengiste’s New Book by NYT, WSJ & NPR
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste


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Stanford Students Take STEM to Ethiopia

This past summer, engineering graduate students Loza Tadesse and Tim Abate returned to their home country of Ethiopia to teach local college students about science research and educational opportunities. (Photo: Abate, professor Manu Prakash of the Stanford Bioengineering Department, and Tadesse with a foldscope, a $1 microscope developed by Prakash and other Stanford scientists/Image credit: Trever Tachis)

Stanford News

Loza Tadesse and Iwnetim “Tim” Abate may have left their home country of Ethiopia to pursue engineering studies, but they haven’t forgotten their roots. The Stanford engineering PhD students returned home this past summer to share their expertise with college students and expose them to science research and education.

Tadesse and Abate convened a team of 13 scientists and graduate students from Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, Pepperdine University, the University of Chicago, the University of Akron and the University of Toronto. Together, they traveled to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to lead a five-day summer school for some of Ethiopia’s most promising undergraduates in STEM fields. The program was organized in partnership with the Ethiopian Physical Society in North America, where Tadesse and Abate are executive committee members.

“Our goal was to motivate college students back home to pursue higher education – Master of Science degrees and PhDs – and research,” Abate said. “Our summer program was focused on teaching them about the current trends in different fields, how to apply to graduate school, how to apply to internships and find research opportunities.”

Abate and Tadesse reached out to local universities to recruit their best students in STEM fields for the summer school, which was hosted at Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa Science and Technology University and the University of Gondar. They sought 40 students for the program, but due to the amount of interest, they ended up with 50.

Science as accessible

Each day of the program, students attended classes in science and engineering disciplines – physics; computer science; materials; biological, mechanical and chemical engineering – that were related to the research conducted by the instructors. For instance, Tadesse, a PhD candidate in bioengineering, taught classes related to her Stanford research on improving medical devices for infection diagnostics and bio-inspired engineering design, while Abate, a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering, taught classes about his research on improving lithium ion batteries.

Read more »


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Spotlight: Africology’s ‘Royalty Pack’ Playing Cards Celebrate Ethiopia

Designed by Ethiopian American artist Maro Haile, the 'Royalty Pack' collection was released this month by Africology, a music and entertainment company co-founded by entrepreneurs Sirak Getachew and Kalab Berhane, and Jamhuri Wear. (Photo Credit: @melketsadek)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 17th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Now here is a great gift for your friends, family and loved ones during the upcoming holiday season both here in the U.S. and Ethiopia: a beautiful new deck of playing cards dubbed ‘Royalty Pack’ featuring Ethiopian letters, symbols and characters.

Designed by Ethiopian American artist Maro Haile, the ‘Royalty Pack’ playing card collection was released this month by Africology, a music and entertainment company co-founded by entrepreneurs Sirak Getachew and Kalab Berhane, and Jamhuri Wear.

“Royalty Pack is a collection of playing cards and T-shirts that reflect an authentic representation of the rich and diverse heritage of Africa’s many cultures,” the announcement notes. “Inspired by the beautiful vintage playing cards produced by major airlines in the 60s – particularly by those made by Ethiopian Airlines – this renewed initiative was conceived by Africology, a media company that represents the music, lifestyle and culture of Africa and the Diaspora, and Jamhuri Wear, a clothing line that embodies Pan African art and design.”


(Photo: @melketsadek)

“For this launch, we partnered with Maro Haile, an independent designer and the creative behind Deseta Design, and whose work is directly influenced by her Ethiopian roots,” state the Africology Co-Founders. “Collaborating with independent designers in Africa and the Diaspora creates unity amongst creative and empowers us to tell our own story and control our own narrative.”

The press release added: “Each deck of cards celebrates the unique artistic style of a specific country from the Continent. This is our very first deck and we are proud to launch it with the spotlight on Ethiopia, the country that inspired this project with its original vintage playing cards, and whose history is defined by its long line of Kings and Queens who defeated attempts at colonization by the invaders and maintained their own written language.”


You can learn more and purchase the cards and t-shirts at africologymedia.com, jamhuriwear.com, and deseta.net.

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Why I Nominated Abiy Ahmed for the Nobel Peace Prize

A picture of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, is displayed at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, October 11, 2019. The prize not only acknowledges the Ethiopian prime minister's commitment to peace, but encourages him to do more. (Photo: Reuters)

Aljazeera

by Awol K Allo

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 100th Nobel Peace Prize to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali, for “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation” and for his “decisive initiative” to end the long-running military stalemate with neighbouring Eritrea.

I was one of the people who nominated Abiy Ahmed – not just for his remarkable achievements, but also for his profound commitment to the cause of peace and friendly relations among nations in the Horn of Africa and beyond.

In the nomination letter, I wrote: “By saving a nation of 108 million people from the precipice of an economic and political explosion, he captured the imagination of his own people and people across the African continent as an embodiment of hope … and his messages of peace, tolerance, and love and understanding are being felt far beyond Ethiopia.”

When I submitted the nomination in January 2019, Abiy had only been in office for nine months, and Ethiopia was still in the grip of Abiymania. The new prime minister had surprised Ethiopians by taking actions no one had thought possible: he opened up the political space, released thousands of political prisoners, invited members of political groups previously designated as “terrorist organisations” back home, lifted the state of emergency, removed from office intelligence and army officers seen as complicit in the oppressive practices of the previous regime, sealed a peace deal with Eritrea, appointed a gender-balanced cabinet, and took many other progressive steps.

In addition, Abiy made sustainable peace at home and in the region one of his central domestic and foreign policy objectives. He argued that a stable, peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia is inconceivable without the peace, stability and development of the wider Horn of Africa region. He often preached about peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, unity, synergy and understanding. He even established a cabinet-level ministry with a mandate to build peace and national consensus and to oversee federal law enforcement organs, including the country’s security and intelligence agencies.

At the regional level, he initiated an economic integration plan, a programme that aims to link the Horn of Africa region through joint investment in infrastructure and economically vital strategic assets with the aim of making nations and communities in the region frontline stakeholders in peace and stability.

In the process, he captured the imagination of Ethiopians and other people in the region.

While his domestic achievements were an important part of the picture, Abiy won the prize, in the words of the Nobel Committee, “for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.

Read more »


Related:

PM Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize is deserved, but he still has work to do (WaPo Editorial)

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PM Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s two-decade border conflict with Eritrea. Nobel Institute director Olav Njoelstad, said he had been in touch by phone with Abiy, who “showed great humility and was overwhelmed.” (AP photo)

The Associated Press

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s two-decade border conflict with Eritrea.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute on Friday also praised the “important reforms” that Abiy, Ethiopia’s leader since April 2018, has launched at home. The prize comes as Abiy faces pressure to uphold the sweeping freedoms he introduced, and critics warn that his ability to deal with rising domestic unrest may be slipping.

The Nobel committee said some people may consider it too early to give him the prize, but “it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts need recognition and deserve encouragement.”

The award reflects the committee’s taste for trying to encourage works in progress.

“We are proud as a nation!!!” Abiy’s office said in a tweet.

Nobel Institute director Olav Njoelstad, said he had been in touch by phone with Abiy, who “showed great humility and was overwhelmed.”

Abiy, 43, took office after widespread protests pressured the longtime ruling coalition and hurt one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Africa’s youngest leader quickly announced dramatic reforms and “Abiymania” began.

On taking office, Abiy surprised people by fully accepting a peace deal ending a 20-year border war between the two East African nations that saw tens of thousands of people killed. Ethiopia and Eritrea had not had diplomatic ties since the war began in 1998, with Abiy himself once fighting in a town that remained contested at the time of his announcement last year.

Within weeks, the visibly moved Eritrean president, Isaias Afwerki, visited Addis Ababa and communications and transport links were restored. For the first time in two decades, long-divided families made tearful reunions.

The improving relations led to the lifting of United Nations sanctions on Eritrea, one of the world’s most reclusive nations. But Ethiopia’s reforms do not appear to have inspired any in Eritrea, which has since closed border posts with its neighbor.

The Nobel committee also pointed to Abiy’s other efforts toward reconciliation in the region — between Eritrea and Djibouti, between Kenya and Somalia, and in Sudan.

The Nobel committee acknowledged that “peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone.”

It said that when Abiy “reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalize the peace process between the two countries.”

It added that it “hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.”

There was no immediate comment on the award from Eritrea, which under its longtime ruler remains one of the world’s most closed-off nations.

At home, Abiy offered one political surprise after another. He released tens of thousands of prisoners, welcomed home once-banned opposition groups and acknowledged past abuses. People expressed themselves freely on social media, and he announced that Ethiopia would hold free and fair elections in 2020. The country has one of the world’s few “gender-balanced” Cabinets and a female president, a rarity in Africa.

And for the first time Ethiopia had no journalists in prison, media groups noted last year.

The new prime minister also announced the opening-up of Ethiopia’s tightly controlled economy, saying private investment would be welcome in major state-owned sectors — a process that continues slowly.

But while Abiy became a global darling, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, troubles arose at home.

A grenade was thrown at him during an appearance in the capital. A large group of soldiers confronted him in his office in what he called an attempt to derail his reforms. In a display of the brio that has won Abiy widespread admiration, the former military officer defused the situation by dropping to the floor and joining the troops in pushups.

More troubling these days are Ethiopia’s rising ethnic tensions, as people once stifled by repression now act on long-held grievances. Some 1,200 people have been killed and some 1.2 million displaced in the greatest challenge yet to Abiy’s rule. Some observers warn that the unrest will grow ahead of next year’s election.

The Nobel committee acknowledged that “many challenges remain unresolved.”

Abiy had been among the favorites for this year’s prize in the run-up to Friday’s announcement, though winners are notoriously hard to predict. The Nobel committee doesn’t reveal the names of candidates or nominations for 50 years.

The committee has in the past used its prestigious award to nudge a peace process forward and Friday’s recognition of Abiy falls into that line of thinking.

“The committee want to be actors. They want to make decisive interventions because the world listens to their opinion, Nobel historian Oeivind Stenersen said. “There have been laureates such as (Jose Ramos) Horta in East Timor who have said that the prize was crucial in the process. The committee will hope to emulate that.”

Since 1901, 99 Nobel Peace Prizes have been handed out, to individuals and 24 organizations. While the other prizes are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

So far this week, 11 Nobel laureates have been named. The others received their awards for their achievements in medicine , physics , chemistry and literature .

With the glory comes a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma. Even though the peace prize is awarded in Norway, the amount is denominated in Swedish kronor.

___

Related:

Abiy Ahmed’s Nobel Peace Prize is deserved, but he still has work to do (WaPo Editorial)

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Ethiopia Film ‘Enchained’ (Quragaye) Makes International Premiere in London

Written and directed by Moges Tafesse, the film's cast include Zerihun Mulatu as Gobeze, Yimisirach Girma as Aleme and Frehiwot Kelkilew as Queen Zewditu. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: October 8th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The award-winning new Ethiopian film entitled ‘Enchained’ (Quragaye) will make its international premiere in London this month.

According to the film’s synopsis: “In Ethiopia, kolo temari (wandering student) Gobeze is caught red-handed and in bed with Aleme, the wife of the temperamental landlord Gonite. Neighbors halt the ensuing fight and an elder binds together the two men’s clothes, symbolically chaining them together in the traditional judicial process of Atse Sirat, and tells them to stand trial in the queen’s court. Meanwhile, with the sudden death of the Emperor Minilik his daughter Zewditu Minilik, is crowned queen.”

Written and directed by Moges Tafesse, the film’s cast include Zerihun Mulatu as Gobeze, Yimisirach Girma as Aleme and Frehiwot Kelkilew as Queen Zewditu.

The synopsis adds: “Enchained during their long journey, the two men traverse a number of challenges including keeping each other safe so that the experienced litigator Gonite and the inexperienced student Gobeze can stand trial before the new ruler, Queen Zewditu, and be vindicated.”

The film focuses on age-old human behavior when it comes to love, sex, violence and the desire for vigilante justice while also reflecting on Ethiopia’s past traditional justice system that is informed by local customs, and values adjudicating conflict situations in addition to administering punishment fit for a crime.

The filmmakers note that the movie “attempts to illustrate the rift between the old oral all-encompassing system (which includes not just legal process but also social life, culture and politics) and modus operandi of law and the current confusion of law and justice within the current generation.” In other words, understanding the past is the key to shaping the future.

The premiere in London, which is set to open on Saturday, October 19th at Rich Mix Cinema, promises to be a star-studded, red carpet event hosted by Habeshaview TV and includes a Q&A with film Director Moges Tafesse and leading actor Zerihun Mulatu.


If You Go:
International Premiere of ‘Enchained’ (Quragaye) a Moges Tafesse Film.
Saturday 19th October 2019
Red Carpet Arrivals: 6:30pm – Drinks Reception, Meet & Greet Stars
Screening: 8:00pm – Followed by Q&A with film Director Moges Tafesse and leading actor Zerihun Mulatu, Drinks & Canape – £20 (18+)

Followed by subsequent screenings

Sunday, 20th October 2019
14:00 – £12.95 Adults | Children £6 + BF (12+)

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019
20:00 – £12.95 Adults | Children £6 + BF (12 +)

WHERE:
Rich Mix Cinema London 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA
Click here to purchase Tickets
More info at: events@habeshaview.com

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Lelisa Desisa Wins World Championship Marathon

Lelisa Desisa became just the second Ethiopian man to win a global marathon crown and became the first man in history to win the Boston, New York City and world championships marathons during a career. (Photo: AFP/MUSTAFA ABUMUNES)

LetsRun

Lelisa Desisa Wins World Championship Marathon to Go With His Boston and NY Crowns

Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa ran a flawless marathon tonight on the Corniche in Doha to capture his first global title on the penultimate day of the IAAF World Athletics Championships. The 29 year-old Ethiopian, twice the Boston Marathon winner and the reigning TCS New York City Marathon champion, became just the second Ethiopian man to win a global marathon crown and became the first man in history to win the Boston, New York City and world championships marathons during a career.

“This is a great medal for me and for Ethiopia,” Desisa told IAAF interviewers after crossing the finish line in 2:10:40. “It is the first for us for a long time. I am very happy to bring Ethiopia this title after so long.”

The race played out perfectly for the race-savvy Desisa who performs best in championships-style races where official pacemakers are not permitted. Throughout the race, which began at 11:59 p.m., he carefully assessed his position and his energy stores and didn’t waste a single step while some of his rivals put in needless surges.

For the first half of the race, Desisa ran well behind the unlikely leader, Derlys Ayala of Paraguay, who had run a marathon just 12 days before in Buenos Aires. Running alone in a red and white striped uniform, Ayala built up a 62-second lead through 15 kilometers, but the top players for the medals, including Desisa, hardly cared. A pack of six serious contenders –Desisa, Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, Geoffrey Kirui and Amos Kipruto of Kenya, Stephen Mokoka of South Africa, and Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia– ran earnestly behind the South American and bided their time.

By the 20-kilometer point, Ayala’s lead had dwindled to just six seconds, and just before the half-marathon point (1:05:56) Ayala was caught. He would drop out about two minutes later, just one of 18 athletes from the 73-man field who would fail to finish.

Tadese, five times the world road running/half-marathon champion, did most of the leading from there. There were a few surges by Tadese and Mokoka, but through 30 kilometers (1:33:13) the pack of six was still intact. Desisa would sometimes drift back during the surges, but he always regained contact.

“I controlled everybody and I saved my power,” Desisa explained.

Read more »


Related:

In Berlin, Kenenisa Bekele Makes A Comeback With 2nd Fastest Marathon Ever

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Liya Kebede Among 22 Most Stylish Supermodels of All Time (Harper’s Bazaar)

Liya Kebede. (Harper's Bazaar)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

October 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar has named Liya Kebede among 22 most stylish supermodels of all time.

“By and far, models are known for other people’s fashion, not their own,” the monthly publication states. “But, of course, there are those special few who have not only conquered modeling itself but also gained acclaim for their own personal style.” The magazine noted that Liya Kebede is “able to swing from cool-girl athleisure to red-carpet glam,” and added: “Kebede always makes an impact.”

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Liya launched her modeling career in Paris in the late 1990′s soon after graduating from Lycée Guebre Mariam high school, and gained international prominence in 2003 when she was selected by Estée Lauder to become the first black model to represent the global cosmetics brand.

As The Business of Fashion website — that covers the global fashion industry — shared: “Although Kebede still models for the likes of Tom Ford, Donna Karan and Roberto Cavalli , she is now focused on philanthropic ventures. These include Lemlem, a clothing line founded to protect traditional Ethiopian weaving techniques and support women, which is sold at Barney’s, J Crew, Net-a-Porter and numerous boutique shops. Kebede has also been a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health division since 2005. In 2013, Kebede was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year for her philanthropic work through her Liya Kebede Foundation. She has two children and resides in New York.”


Related:

THE 22 MOST STYLISH SUPERMODELS OF ALL TIME (Harper’s Bazaar)

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Looted Ethiopian Crown Resurfaces in the Netherlands — NYT

Sirak Asfaw, left, and Arthur Brand say they are waiting for the Ethiopian government to get in touch. (BBC)

The New York Times

Oct. 3, 2019

AMSTERDAM — In 1998, Sirak Asfaw, a Dutch civil servant who was born in Ethiopia, noticed something shiny in the suitcase of a guest who was staying at his house. Curious, he opened the case to find a glittering gilded crown inside.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Mr. Sirak, who moved to the Netherlands a political refugee in the 1970s, said in a recent interview in Amsterdam. “I felt betrayed. Using my house to smuggle cultural heritage from Ethiopia? I knew it had something to do with Ethiopian history, the Ethiopian kingdom. I knew this is not good.”

Mr. Sirak said that he felt he couldn’t return the crown to the Ethiopian authorities, because he suspected that the government might have been complicit in the theft, and he feared that it would be stolen again.

He also didn’t want to hand it over to the Dutch authorities, because he worried that a museum would keep the crown forever rather than returning it when a new Ethiopian government was in place.

So Mr. Sirak locked the visitor out of his house, he said, and removed the crown from the suitcase. He did not identify the smuggler to The New York Times for fear of his safety, and said he didn’t know how his guest had acquired it.

For 21 years, he hid it in his home. “When I saw it, I always felt very emotional,” he said. “I knew it shouldn’t be here, not in my house, not in the Netherlands.”

Read more »


Related:

Ethiopian 18th Century Crown to Return Home From Netherlands (BBC)

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Painter Julie Mehretu’s Intellectual Ambitions — Wall Street Journal

A new retrospective in November at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art traces Julie Mehretu’s career creating epic, lyrical works that are literally ripped from the headlines. (Photo: Julie Mehretu in her Chelsea, New York, studio in front of Of Other Planes of There (S.R.), 2018–2019. PHOTO: CLEMENT PASCAL FOR WSJ)

The Wall Street Journal

There are few artists who follow the news as closely as the painter Julie Mehretu does, and fewer still who directly mine it for their work. But not all viewers of her immense abstract pieces realize it.

“Usually it’ll be something like an earworm—it doesn’t leave you alone,” says Mehretu, 48, of the events that infuse her canvases. The California fires of 2017, for instance, formed the foundation of the bright-orange work Hineni (E. 3:4) (2018), a canvas that, like many of her works, is densely packed with shapes, forms and marks.

Mehretu works with her assistants to digitally manipulate news photos of these scenes. Then an assistant airbrushes the heavily distorted image onto a canvas as a beginning gesture—Mehretu calls it “melting” the image onto the canvas.

Read more »


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In Berlin, Kenenisa Bekele Makes A Comeback With 2nd Fastest Marathon Ever

Former Olympic and world champion Kenenisa Bekele staged a thrilling comeback to win the Berlin marathon on Sunday, recording the second fastest time ever - Reuters. (Photo: Kenenisa Bekele high fives a spectator as he approaches the finish line in the men’s elite race in Berlin on Sunday, September 29, 2019/Reuters)

IAAF

Kenenisa Bekele scorched to a stunning 2:01:41 victory at the BMW Berlin Marathon today (29), the second fastest performance of the all-time.

The victory capped a sensational comeback for the 37-year-old star, who had been struggling with knee and hamstring injuries in recent years. Bekele missed the world record by six seconds when winning at the IAAF Gold Label road race in 2016, and this time came up just two seconds short of the 2:01:39 record set by Eliud Kipchoge last year. But the Ethiopian, who has held the world records over 5000 and 10,000m since 2004 and 2005, respectively, hadn’t finished a marathon since April of last year, suggesting his best days over the distance were already behind him.

Bekele lost ground on compatriots Birhanu Legese and Sisay Lemma after the half, at one stage falling 13 seconds behind. But propelled by a long sustained surge, he began to work on the deficit by the 35th kilometre. He passed Legese in the 38th kilometre as he fought his way back on world record pace, reaching kilometre 40 in 1:55:30, two seconds better than Kipchoge last year. Their furious sprints towards the German capital’s iconic Brandenburg Gate proved to be the difference.

Coming so close, Bekele said, is more encouraging that frustrating. “I know I can still run a very good marathon and I won’t give up.” That was amply illustrated by a 1:00:36 second half.

Legesse was second in 2:02:48 to become the third fastest of all-time. Lemma finished third in 2:03:36 to end the day at No. 10 on the all-time list.

The women’s contest was much closer, which came down to a sprint over the final few hundred metres. That was when Ashete Bekere unleashed her sprint to pull away from fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba to win 2:20:14 to 2:20:21.

Kenya’s Sally Chepyego was third, clocking 2:21:06.

Further back, German fans were pleased with Melat Kejeta, who finished sixth in her debut over the distance in 2:23:57.

Three-time winner Gladys Cherono was never a factor, and dropped out at around the 30th kilometre.


Reuters: Bekele wins Berlin marathon, misses record by two seconds


Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele wins the men’s elite race REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) – Former Olympic and world champion Kenenisa Bekele staged a thrilling comeback to win the Berlin marathon on Sunday, dramatically missing out on the world record by two seconds after recording the second fastest time ever.

Ethiopian Bekele, winner in Berlin in 2016 and world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000 metres, finished in two hours, one minute and 41 seconds, agonisingly close to Eliud Kipchoge’s world record time despite a full sprint in the final 400 metres.

Kipchoge, who set the world’s best mark in Berlin last year, was absent to prepare for his renewed sub-two hour marathon attempt in Vienna on Oct. 12.

“I felt a little pain in the beginning so I dropped behind,” Bekele told reporters. “After a few kilometres I started relaxing so I tied to push a little bit.

“I am very sorry. I am not lucky. I am very happy running my personal best. But I still can do this (world record). I don’t give up. It is encouraging for the future.”

Bekele was part of a group, including fellow countrymen Birhanu Legese and Sisay Lemma, that quickly broke from the pack with a quick pace.

Read more »


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Spotlight: Three Great Reviews of Maaza Mengiste’s New Book by NYT, WSJ & NPR

Maaza Mengiste's latest novel, 'The Shadow King,' has been released. Below is a highlight of three recent reviews of the book by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR. (Photo by Nina Subin)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 26th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Maaza Mengiste’s new book the The Shadow King was released this month to well-deserved praises in national U.S. media. In The New York Times Book Review published today, Namwali Serpell recalls the broader absence of the stories of women warriors and asks “Is that a profound truth or a blind spot?” To her and many of us in the industry Maaza Mengiste’s latest novel breaks the loud silence. “She doesn’t seek a narrow path between the straits of these artistic and ethical questions,” adds Serpell. “Instead, she encompasses them in all their contradiction, laying them out in breathtakingly skillful juxtaposition.”

NPR calls Maaza’s new novel “a gorgeous meditation on memory, war and violence” emphasizing that “the star of the novel, however, is Maaza’s writing, “which makes The Shadow King nearly impossible to put down.”

The idea for the story morphed out of Maaza’s trip to Italy as a Fulbright Fellow where she was able to research documents focusing on the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

Maaza’s book is a “work of reclamation in a number of ways,” notes the Wall Street Journal in their review published last week. “For one thing, the story, which dramatizes the invasion and the tenacious Ethiopian resistance, shines a light on a conflict that has often been forgotten behind the battles of the world war that followed it.” WSJ adds: “Ms. Mengiste furthermore centers on the Ethiopian women who played a vital but almost completely unrecognized role in the insurgency. But most important, “The Shadow King” is not a story about helpless victims of colonial conquest. Against the odds, it is written in a key of pride and exaltation, and its characters have the outsize form of national heroes.”

Maaza’s first novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze was chosen as one of 10 best contemporary African books by The Guardian, and her writing has been featured in several publications including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New Times, Granta and Guernica. In 2018 Maaza won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and was a former Fulbright Fellow. She received the Puterbaugh Fellowship in 2013 and was also nominated as a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2011. As a writer Maaza worked on the documentary features Girl Rising and The Invisible City: Kakuma. Maaza currently serves as a Board member for the non-profit organizations Words Without Borders and Warscapes.

The Shadow King starts and ends with Hirut, the book’s main character, at a train station in Addis Ababa carrying a metal box. The year was 1974, four decades after the end of the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. “She’s traveled here, the reader is told, ‘to rid herself of the horror that staggers back unbidden,” NPR points out. “She has come to give up the ghosts and drive them away.” She’s awaiting the box’s owner, an Italian photographer she hasn’t seen in decades. “It has taken so long to get here,” Mengiste writes. “It has taken almost forty years of another life to begin to remember who she had once been.”

“Mengiste has a real gift for language; her writing is powerful but never florid, gripping the reader and refusing to let go,” NPR enthused. “And this, combined with her excellent sense of pacing, makes the book one of the most beautiful novels of the year.”

Below are links to the reviews:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/26/books/review/maaza-mengiste-the-shadow-king.html

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/25/763907282/the-shadow-king-is-a-gorgeous-meditation-on-memory-war-and-violence

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fiction-review-theforgottenwomenwarriors-of-abyssinia-11568990238


IF YOU GO:

Book Talk with Maaza Mengiste and Uzodinma Iweala: The Shadow King
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 at 7:30pm
The Africa Center (1280 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029)
https://www.theafricacenter.org/event-shadow-king

Maaza Mengiste: The Shadow King (w/ Kate Tuttle)
Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 at 7:30pm
Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway at 12th Street, New York, NY 10003
https://www.strandbooks.com/event/the-shadow-king

You can learn more about ‘The Shadow King’ and order your copy at amazon.com.

Related:
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste


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Awol Erizku: Ethiopian American Among New Generation of Fashion Photographers

​Awol Erizku. (photo by Jeff Vespa via moca.org)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 25th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian American Photographer Awol Erizku is one of 15 international artists featured in the upcoming U.S. exhibition titled The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion.

The show, which is set to open at Aperture Foundation Gallery in New York City next month, is based on a new book of the same name highlighting a new generation of artists who are redefining the way the African Diaspora is portrayed through photography. It “presents fifteen artists, whose vibrant portraits and conceptual images fuse the genres of art and fashion photography in ways that break down long-established boundaries,” the Aperture Foundation announced. “Their work has been widely consumed in traditional lifestyle magazines, ad campaigns, and museums, as well as on their individual social-media channels, reinfusing the contemporary visual vocabulary around beauty and the body with new vitality and substance.”

Awol who was born in Ethiopia and grew up in New York City, is a graduate of The Cooper Union and Yale University. Last year Forbes Magazine featured Erizku on their list of up-and-coming young artists noting that “he produced one of his best-known pieces while he was an undergrad at Cooper-Union: “Girl With a Bamboo Earring,” a photo of his sister that recalls the classic portrait by Vermeer. Based in Los Angeles, he’s had solo shows in New York, London, Brussels, L.A. and Miami and his films and photos have screened at MoMA in New York.”

An article published in The Guardian this week previewing the upcoming show, recalls that “when Ethiopian-American photographer Awol Erizku shot Beyoncé displaying her pregnant belly in front of a wall of flowers in 2017, the set of Botticelli-like images were released solely on her Instagram account, circumventing traditional media altogether. The maternity announcement became the most liked image on the site that year.” In The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion Erizku describes his work as “trying to create a new vernacular, black art as universal.”

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/sep/21/beyonce-vogue-indie-magazines-new-generation-black-fashion-photographers


If you Go:

The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion, Curated by Antwaun Sargent
October 24, 2019 – January 18, 2020. More info at aperture.org.

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Spotlight: New American Festival in NYC

Marcus Samuelsson is one of the featured speakers at the New American Festival in New York City this weekend highlighting "immigrant contributions to American comedy, art, food, film, fashion and music." (Photo: Marcus Samuelsson)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 14th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Among the headliners at this weekend’s inaugural New American Festival in New York City includes the award winning chef, author and restauranteur Marcus Samuelsson. Organized by the bipartisan research and advocacy organization New American Economy ((NAE), the Festival celebrates “immigrant contributions to American comedy, art, food, film, fashion and music.”

NAE’s press release notes that a “recent analysis of the 2017 American Community Survey” shows that “more than 400,000 immigrants are working in creative or artistic occupations, helping support the nearly $1 trillion creative industry sector in the United States.”

As Time Out New York points out: “New York City is the most culturally diverse city in the world, when people say that America is a melting pot they are talking about our fair city. The New American Festival was put together to celebrate the diversity and vibrancy that immigrants bring to our culture. Over the span of two days an extensive lineup of panels, performances and art exhibitions will showcase the importance of immigrants to our society.”

In addition to Marcus the program includes author Min Jin Lee (Pachinko, Free Food for Millionaires); Author, Broadcaster and Chef Yasmin Khan; Big Friendship Co-Author and Call Your Girlfriend Podcaster Aminatou Sow. The announcement notes that Comedy Central is the official partner for the festival’s comedy programming. NAE added: “This festival highlights how so much of American culture is shaped by immigrants, and how diversity has electrified creativity in America — giving the country its cultural breadth, dynamism, and vitality.

The festival is taking place at NeueHouse (Madison Square – 110 East 25th Street) in NYC on September 14th and 15th. NAE plans to take the New American Festival to other U.S. cities in the future including to “Anchorage, Boston, Kansas City, Nashville, Houston, and Oakland, among others.”


If You Go:
Learn more and buy tickets at www.newamericanfestival.com.

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Ethiopia at 2019 World Championships

A team of 37 athletes will represent Ethiopia at this year's IAAF World Athletics Championships, which will be held in Doha, Qatar from September 27th – October 6th, 2019. (Photo: Yomif Kejelcha in action at the IAAF World Championships/Getty Images)

IAAF

Two defending champions and a newly crowned Diamond League champion feature on Ethiopia’s team for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, which will be held from 27 September until 6 October.

Muktar Edris will defend his 5000m title while Almaz Ayana will aim to retain her 10,000m title. Getnet Wale, winner of the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels, also features on the team.

World leaders Samuel Tefera, Selemon Barega, Telahun Haile, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Letesenbet Gidey have also been selected, so too have world record-holders Yomif Kejelcha and Genzebe Dibaba.

ETHIOPIAN TEAM FOR DOHA (INCLUDING RESERVES)

MEN
1500m: Teddese Lemi, Samuel Tefera
5000m: Selemon Barega, Muktar Edris, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Abadi Hadis, Telahun Haile
10,000m: Selemon Barega, Andamlak Belihu, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Yomif Kejelcha
3000m steeplechase: Chala Beyo, Lemecha Girma, Takele Nigate, Getnet Wale
Marathon: Lelisa Desisa, Mosinet Geremew, Shura Kitata, Mule Wasihun

WOMEN
800m: Gudaf Tsegay, Diribe Welteji
1500m: Genzebe Dibaba, Axumawit Embaye, Lemlem Hailu, Gudaf Tsegay
5000m: Hawi Feysa, Tsehay Gemechu, Letesenbet Gidey, Fantu Worku
10,000m: Almaz Ayana, Tsehay Gemechu, Letesenbet Gidey, Netsanet Gudeta, Senbere Teferi
3000m steeplechase: Mekides Abebe, Agrie Belachew, Lomi Tefera, Zerfe Wondemagegn
Marathon: Ruti Aga, Shure Demise, Roza Dereje
20km race walk: Yehualye Beletew


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For Ethiopian New Year, World Music Institute Features Girma Bèyènè

World Music Institute (WMI) celebrates Ethiopian New Year with a documentary screening of Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul on September 11th at the National Jazz Museum, and an NYC debut show by legendary artist Girma Bèyènè and Akalé Wubé on September 12, 2019 at (Le) Poisson Rouge. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: September 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — In celebration of Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year) this month the World Music Institute (WMI) in New York City is hosting a special concert on September 12th featuring the NYC debut of legendary artist Girma Bèyènè and French band Akalé Wubé at (Le) Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan). Girma is also featured in the documentary film Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul, which will be screened at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem on September 11th.

“Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul is a film about the rise, fall and redemption of a group of spectacular Ethiopian jazz musicians who in the swinging 60’s ignited an explosive cultural revolution in Addis Ababa (“Swinging Addis”),” the announcement notes. “Their music was sublime but this golden era was brought to an end by the military regime that took over the country and forced the musicians into exile and jail. Now, after many years, they are back on a world stage, making up for lost time and still swinging.”

Girma Bèyènè’s show on September 12th accompanied by the french band Akalé Wubé, is a segment of WMI’s Masters of African Music series.

“Born in Addis Ababa, Girma Bèyènè is a composer, arranger, performer, bandleader, and a true legend of Ethiopian music,” WMI shared in the press release. “A contemporary of fellow musicians Mulatu Astatke, Mahmoud Ahmed, and Hailu Mergia, Girma is credited for arranging over 60 tracks in the 1960s and 70s in “Swinging Addis” during the Golden Era of Ethiopian music.”

WMI noted that Girma Bèyènè’s collaboration with Akalé Wubé also resulted in “the critically-acclaimed album Ethiopiques 30: Mistakes on Purpose,” which was Girma’s “first recording in 25 years.” This album was produced by Francis Falceto, who is known for creating the timeless Ethiopique album series.


If You Go
World Music Institute Presents:
Girma Bèyènè and Akalé Wubé – Celebrating Ethiopian New Year’s Day
Thursday September 12th, 2019
7:30PM
Doors Open: 6:30PM
Show Time: 7:30PM
Event Ticket: $40 / $30 / $25
Day of Show: $35
Click here to buy tickets

Screening of Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
National Jazz Museum in Harlem
58 W 129th St, Manhattan
(212) 348-8300
Click here to buy tickets

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Spotlight: Dinaw Mengestu’s Novel on Obama’s 2019 Summer Reading List

President Barack Obama's 2019 summer reading list includes the novel "How to Read the Air” by Ethiopian-American author Dinaw Mengestu. (Photo: President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shop for books at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C./by Pete Souza)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: August 21st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This year President Barack Obama is spending part of his summer holiday reading Dinaw Mengestu’s novel How to Read the Air.

In a recent instagram post the former U.S. President shared his current reading list.

“It’s August, so I wanted to let you know about a few books I’ve been reading this summer,” wrote Obama recommending the collected works of Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison along with 10 other selections, one of which was the book entitled “How to Read the Air” by Ethiopian-American author and 2012 MacArthur Fellowship recipient Dinaw Mengestu.

“How to Read the Air” is Dinaw’s second novel published in 2010 featuring an Ethiopian American narrator, Jonas Woldemariam, as he reflects on both his own marriage as well as his parents’ immigration journey from Ethiopia to the U.S. and how they subsequently built to their lives in a new land.

Dinaw’s first novel entitled “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears” was selected earlier this year by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs as part of their 2019 NEA Big Reads Program, which was likewise focused on an Ethiopian immigrant struggling to find his place in Washington D.C. while experiencing the gentrification of a neighborhood he called home.

Read more about Obama’s summer reading list and Dinaw Mengestu’s novels below:

https://time.com/5652277/barack-obama-2019-summer-reading-list/


Related:

https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2010/10/28/dinaw-mengestu/

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Helen Show Hosts 3rd Annual Empower the Community Event at DC Convention Center

Empower the Community is hosted by the Helen Show and will take place this weekend on Saturday, August 10th in DC

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

August 8th, 2018

New York (TADIAS) — Now in its third year, the annual Empower the Community event hosted by the Helen Show will take place this weekend on Saturday, August 10th at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. and includes civic leader speakers Rep. Ilan Omar from the U.S. House of Representatives; Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of AFL/CIO; and Tebabu Assefa, Co-Founder of the Annual Ethiopian Festivals.

Bringing together leaders from various sectors including business & finace, health & wellness, and education the annual Empower the Community was launched in 2017 by the producers of the Helen Show as a day-long program that includes panel discussions, entertainment, information on community resources as well as family-friendly events.

As a lifestyle show in its 16th seaon, Helen Show is a top-rated program on ebs tv reaching over 30 million viewers weekly in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian diaspora around the world. The show addresses a wide range of topics from business and health to family and self-help issues.

Below is a summary of the program for August 10th at the DC Convention Center.

POWER PANEL DISCUSSIONS
 
The Power of Civic Engagement:
Representative Ilhan Omar
Tefere Gebere, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO
Tebabu Assefa, Community Leader, Social Entrepreneur

Business Leaders Panel:
Josh Ghaim, Ph.D. is the Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies.
Liben Hailu is the Chief Innovation Officer and Head of New Business Development and Brand Licensing for The Duracell Company
Ambaw Bellet, President, Photocure Inc
Lydia Gobena, Partner Fross Zelnick
 
Creative Panel:
Gelila Bekele, Model, Social Activist and Documentary Film Maker
Kelela Mizanekristos, Singer, Song Writer

Young Trailblazers:
Melat Bekele, Founder Habesha Networks
Dan Gebremedhin, Partner at Flare Capital Partners
Matheos Mesfin, Executive Director IEA Councils
Bofta Yimam , Emmy Award Winning Journalist & Motivational Speaker
 
 
PAVILION INFORMATION
 
Health & Fitness Pavilion:
Free Health Screenings provided by Kaiser Permanente,  Med Star Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles Dental – BMI, Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, Dental Screening, Fitness Consultants, Marshal Arts, Yoga, Resources for Families with Special Needs, Giveaways and much more. Our partner organizations and sponsors are Kaiser Permanente, Ethiopian American Nurses Association, Silver Spring Smiles & Pearl Smiles as well as Ethiopian American doctors.

Career Pavilion:
Job Fair
Career Resources in the Community
Hear high energy career motivational speakers
Learn Career Advancement tips
Participate in Informational Interviews
Receive mini career coaching
Assess your career aptitudes
Partner Organizations: 21st Century Community, Five Guys, Alexandria Workforce Development and American Job Center
 
Finance Pavilion:
Workshop for Small Businesses and Personal Finance

Kids’ Corner:
Reading Time/Games/Fun Exercises/ Art

ADDITIONAL SESSIONS

* Immigration and Legal Issues with Attorneys
* Warrior Moms- Special Needs Parenting
* Minding Your Relationships
* Beauty – Trends in Hair & Make Up 

Vendors will also be selling various artisan merchandise

EBS TV is the premiere media sponsor of the event

event-image


If You Go:
Saturday August 10th, 2018
11am – 8pm
Walter E Washington Convention Center
801 Mt. Vernon Place, NW
Washington DC 20001
www.empowercw.com

Tickets can be purchased here

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Ethiopian Taye Gonfa Becomes Doctor in Greensboro After Decade as Refugee

With a stipend of $50 a month as a volunteer at an infirmary in a refugee camp Taye Gonfa spent a decade chasing his dream to become a doctor. (Photo credit: Khadejeh Nikouyeh -AP)

The Herald

By Nancy McLaughlin (Greensboro News & Record)

As a young boy, Taye Gonfa wanted to fly the planes that he often spotted above the family’s hut in Ethiopia.His aspirations were only as far as he could see, which was a world otherwise steeped in poverty. But there was his mom — unschooled and very pregnant with him when her husband drowned in a flooded river trying to get home from work — wanting so much more for him. She would be the first of many whose guidance would eventually lead him down the sterile hallways of Moses Cone Hospital — with “Dr. Taye Gonfa” on his badge.


He’s been very fortunate to have some doors open up for him,” said Dr. Bill Hensel, who was on the selection committee that offered Gonfa a residency at the hospital. “But don’t underestimate the fact that he has made his own luck and run through those doors.”

Gonfa, who arrived in the United States a decade ago and turns 38 this year, hopes he is leaving footprints for his two children and other refugees, especially, to follow. “I got to this point,” he said, “because I did not stop chasing my dream.”

The first time Gonfa would be on one of those planes he had seen as a boy was the flight to New York and then Greensboro as part of the United Nations refugee resettlement program.

The journey getting there began in high school, when he saw classmates signing up for one of the 60 competitive spots for medical school. As in some other foreign countries, medical school is a seven-year track starting in high school.

“I figured, ‘Why not?’” said the quick-witted and affable Gonfa, who speaks English with African and British influences. In 2000, during his second year in the program, he joined hundreds of other students in a massive protest against the government that erupted in the capital city of Addis Ababa, and spread throughout the country.

“The next day,” he said, “I went to my college library and tore the Ethiopian and Kenyan maps out of the world atlas.”Gonfa and some of the other students used them to flee to nearby Kenya where the rebels had settled.

Soon after crossing the border, he was arrested, turned over to a United Nations official and taken to a refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. In the camp, where Gonfa would be confined for the next eight years, he had shelter — and a ration of grain. “There was never enough food,” he said.

One day while taking a friend to the camp’s infirmary, he mentioned to the physician on duty from Doctors Without Borders about having started his second year in medical school before joining the rebellion. As the two continued to talk, the doctor suggested he apply as a volunteer in the infirmary, which came with a stipend of $50 a month.

“That was huge,” Gonfa recalled.

Gonfa was a marvel in the infirmary where most of the medical support staff had elementary or middle school education at best. Soon, he was delivering babies.

“You watch what the doctors do and then you do it,” Gonfa explained. He was just 19.

You can read more about Taye Gonfa’s journey in The Herald article here.


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Spotlight: Maaza Mengiste’s New Novel

Maaza Mengiste at BookExpo in New York City, May 2019. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 23rd, 2019

Spotlight: Maaza Mengiste’s New Novel ‘The Shadow King’

New York (TADIAS) — One of our favorite Ethiopian American writers, Maaza Mengiste, is set to release her latest novel, The Shadow King, in September 2019.

Maaza, who is also the author of the award-winning book Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, “again brings heart and authenticity to a slice of Ethiopian history, this time focusing on the Italian invasion of her birth country in 1935,” notes Publishers Weekly in a recent great review of The Shadow King.

“While Hirut, a servant girl, and her trajectory to becoming a fierce soldier defending her country are the nexus of the story, the author elucidates the landscape of war by focusing on individuals — offering the viewpoints (among others) of Carlo Fucelli, a sadistic colonel in Mussolini’s army; Ettore Navarra, a Jewish Venetian photographer/soldier tasked with documenting war atrocities; and Haile Selassie, the emperor bearing the weight of his country’s devastation at the hand of the Italians.”

The review adds: “In Hirut, Mengiste depicts both a servant girl’s low status and the ferocity of her spirit — inspired by the author’s great-grandmother who sued her father for his gun so she could enlist in the Ethiopian army — which allows her to survive betrayal by the married couple she serves and her eventual imprisonment by Fucelli, captured with horrifying detail by Navarra’s camera. Mengiste breaks new ground in this evocative, mesmerizing account of the role of women during wartime—not just as caregivers, but as bold warriors defending their country.”

Maaza, who is currently a lecturer in Creative Writing at Princeton University, will hold a book talk and signing event here in her hometown of New York City at Strand bookstore on October 3rd.

“In this extraordinary, beautifully told epic, Hirut overcomes rape, violence, and imprisonment, finding the strength to fight for her country’s freedom and her own,” the Strand announcement states. “Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a searing story of ordinary women and the advanced army they courageously opposed. Set against the first real conflict of World War II, The Shadow King is a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.”

The idea for Maaza’s new novel morphed out of her trip to Italy as a Fulbright Fellow where she was able to research documents focusing on the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia during World War II.

“Working with these documents that had been kept through Mussolini’s era, I quickly realized I was reading a history that had been approved by censors,” Maaza recalls. “And all of these things—the newspaper accounts, the photographs that were taken—were part of a propaganda machine.”

As Publishers Weekly noted in a previous highlight:

“Mengiste started combing through journals, letters, and photo albums at flea markets to find personal photographs taken by soldiers and other records of the past not approved by officials. She found a photograph of an Ethiopian woman with a rifle. “I’d heard of these women,” Mengiste says, “but it wasn’t part of my consciousness. I started looking through old newspapers, and I suddenly found a line in an article about an Ethiopian woman who picked up her husband’s gun during battle and led his army. That inspired Mengiste to write about women’s role during wartime against the backdrop of the hardships faced in Ethiopia during WWII. “I want to reshift the masculine perspective on war,” she says, “so that we can begin to reframe women at the center of world history. After Mengiste started writing the novel, she mentioned her discoveries to her mother. “My mother said, ‘Don’t you know about your great-grandmother?’ It turns out that as a young girl, my great-grandmother, who was wed to a man much older than her — she was much too young to be married — sued her father for his rifle so she could go off to war, as opposed to her husband whom she didn’t know very well and didn’t like.” So coincidentally, the very sort of woman who inspired her novel was actually part of her own heritage.

Maaza’s first novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze was chosen as one of 10 best contemporary African books by The Guardian, and her writing has been featured in several publications including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New Times, Granta and Guernica. In 2018 Maaza won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and was a former Fulbright Fellow. She received the Puterbaugh Fellowship in 2013 and was also nominated as a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2011. As a writer Maaza worked on the documentary features Girl Rising and The Invisible City: Kakuma. Maaza currently serves as a Board member for the non-profit organizations Words Without Borders and Warscapes.


‘The Shadow King’ will be released on September 24th, 2019. You can learn more and order your copy at amazon.com.

Related:
Maaza Mengiste’s Outstanding New Essay on Refugees
Tadias Q & A With Maaza Mengiste

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Hagos Gebrhiwet and Letesenbet Gidey Take 10000m Titles at Ethiopian Trials in Hengelo, Netherlands

Hagos Gebrhiwet celebrates his victory in Hengelo, Netherlands on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 during the official Ethiopian trial races for the IAAF World Athletics Championships. (Photo: Jean-Pierre Durand)

IAAF

HENGELO, NETHERLANDS

Twelve days after his lap-counting error in the 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Hagos Gebrhiwet made no mistakes in Hengelo on Wednesday (17), winning the men’s 10,000m in a world-leading 26:48.95.

The races doubled as the official Ethiopian trial races for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019. And, based on tonight’s results, Ethiopia will field two strong trios for the men’s and women’s 10,000m in Doha.

In a race of staggering quality – the best ever in terms of depth for one nation – the top six men finished inside 27 minutes with the first three finishing inside 26:50.

The women’s 10,000m, won by Letesenbet Gidey, was of a similarly high standard with the first 10 women – nine of whom are from Ethiopia – finishing inside 31:00.

On a still night with temperatures around 19C, the men’s race set off at a steady pace with the first 2000m covered in 5:25 and 3000m reached in 8:07. The large lead pack of about 14 men was strung out but all appeared to be running comfortably.

After passing through half way in 13:31 – just outside 27-minute pace for the full distance – Kenya’s Vincent Kiprotich Kibet moved into the lead, tracked by Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu, Guye Adola and Abadi Hadis.

Belihu and Kiprotich were still at the front through 6000m while Yomif Kejelcha was positioned near the back of the lead pack. Hadis then took a turn at the front and, followed by Jemal Yimer Mekonnen, pushed the pace.

Eight men remained in the leading pack with 2000m remaining as Hadis still led while Kejelcha was still ominously biding his time. Selemon Barega and Gebrhiwet moved closer to Hadis with three laps to go, then Belihu hit the front of the pack – now down to six men – with 800 metres remaining.

Read more »


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Medical Education and the Ethiopian Exodus of Talent — Inside Higher Ed

This is the second essay on government policy in Ethiopia directed at developing and retaining talent. Last week's post addressed the challenge of improving research productivity. (Photo: St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College in Addis Ababa/Facebook)

Inside Higher Ed

By Wondwosen Tamrat

A 2012 study at Addis Ababa University showed that around 53 percent of medical students hoped to emigrate upon graduating, particularly to the United States and Europe.

This is the second essay on government policy in Ethiopia directed at developing and retaining talent. Last week’s post addressed the challenge of improving research productivity.

On May 3rd 2019, the Prime Minister (PM) of Ethiopia held a meeting with 3 thousand health professionals from all over the country to discuss the state of health services and the challenges health workers are facing. Although the Prime Minister declared that the meeting was “key for policymaking” the health professionals appeared to be unsatisfied with the way he addressed their predicament. In spite of the concessions and the many promises made, a wave of strikes continued across the whole country.

While the solution to this particular turmoil might be the immediate concern of the government, there is general recognition that the sector’s challenges extend far beyond the current standoff and need structural and systemic changes. The government vows to make additional efforts and changes with the involvement of relevant stakeholders at national and regional levels. One challenge that needs to be addressed is the migration of health professionals, especially physicians, a tendency that has seen little change over the years.

Healthcare and medical education in Ethiopia

At a global level Sub-Saharan Africa is known for the lowest density of healthcare workers. According to the World Health Organization, Ethiopia has a health workforce ratio of 0.7 against the recommended ratio of 2.3 per 1000 population that is considered to be imperative for health coverage and making meaningful health interventions. Ethiopia’s physician-to-population ratio of 1: 21,000 is also regarded as one of the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 1994 the government’s health development programs have had important impact on the sector’s growth. According to the Ministry of Health (2016) there has been a significant increase in health posts, health centers, hospitals and personnel including officers, nurses, midwives and health extension workers. The number of schools and colleges providing health education training has increased; the graduation output of public and private schools including higher education institutions has also grown more than 16-fold since 1999/2000. According to the Ministry of Education (2018) there are currently more than 80,000 undergraduate students who pursue studies in medicine and health sciences both in public and private higher education institutions.

Despite the efforts towards improving the healthcare system that have produced quantitative gains, many challenges remain. The system is still deficient in infrastructure and resources, quality of education, internal quality assurance systems, performance assessment and retention, skill distribution, regional disparities that result in poor motivation to work in rural areas, little inclination to specialize in disciplines where there are skill shortages and more.

In order to respond to these multi-faceted challenges, the Ministry of Health has devised several strategies including its popular “flood and retain initiative” designed to bring meaningful change to the number of available health workers at all levels. While some improvements have resulted through such interventions, it has not been possible to solve the various challenges of the sector in a fundamental way, including the migration of physicians who continue to leave the public sector and Ethiopia for greener pastures inside the country and elsewhere.

Read more »


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Ethiopian Israeli Musicians Use Stage to Promote Struggles

Ethiopian Israeli musician Yael Mentesnot gives an interview to The Associated Press, in her house in Tel Aviv, Israel on Sunday, July 7, 2019. A wave of Ethiopian Israeli artists have burst onto Israel's vibrant hip-hop scene, using the stage to promote their community's struggle against discrimination and police violence. (AP)

The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — In his song “Handcuffed,” rapper Teddy Neguse addresses police brutality against young Israeli men of Ethiopian descent.

Although the song came out in 2017, it has reached new heights in the wake of street protests across the country following the killing of an Ethiopian Israeli teen by an off-duty police officer last month. This week the 23-year-old artist was invited to perform his song live on the popular news website Ynet.

“They want me trapped with handcuffs on my hands/they watch me with ten thousand eyes/they only see my skin color so they push me to the fringe,” he rapped.

Neguse said the lyrics are relevant all the time, but they carry extra meaning for him in the current circumstances.

“I felt that at that moment in the TV studio, that this is exactly the place for this song, the time for this song.”

Neguse’s appearance on Ynet illustrates the growing Ethiopian Israeli presence in the local music scene. But its theme also reflects the ongoing struggles against alleged racism and discrimination, some three decades after Ethiopian Jews began arriving in Israel.

Neguse and other young Ethiopian artists are using the stage to tell the public about their community’s experiences — in particular what they say is unchecked and widespread police brutality.

Large numbers of Ethiopian Jews began arriving in Israel via secret airlifts in the 1980s. The new arrivals from a rural, developing African country struggled to find their footing in an increasingly high-tech Israel.

Throughout the decades, Ethiopians have suffered discrimination. In the late 1990s, it was discovered that Israel’s health services were throwing out Ethiopian blood donations over fears of diseases contracted in Africa. Accusations have also been raised that Israel has deliberately tried to curb Israeli Ethiopian birth rates.

Today, Israel’s Ethiopian community numbers about 150,000 people, some 2% of its 9 million citizens. While some Israelis of Ethiopian descent have made gains in areas like the military, the police force and politics, the community continues to struggle with a lack of opportunity and high poverty rate.

Against this backdrop, Israeli artists of Ethiopian heritage are breaking out in the entertainment world, especially in the growing hip hop and dancehall scenes.

Adam Rotbard, the owner of Kolot Me Africa, a group that promotes African music in Israel, said a “wave of young Ethiopian musicians” has burst onto the music scene in the last year.

“They are not really in the mainstream so to speak, but they are building substantial fan bases through social media and the internet,” he said. Rotbard said issues like racism and routine police mistreatment are addressed in their music.

In his music video for “Handcuffed,” Neguse is dressed up as a soldier, riding a bicycle, when he encounters two policemen. The officers then, seemingly unprovoked, beat him up. The music video depicts a 2015 incident in which two policemen were filmed beating a uniformed Ethiopian Israeli soldier, sparking mass protests.

The most recent demonstrations erupted after the unarmed Solomon Teka, 18, was fatally shot by a police officer in a Haifa suburb on June 30.

At the height of the unrest, protesters angrily swore at police officers, hurled firebombs, vandalized vehicles and set a car ablaze in the heart of Tel Aviv. Police say over 110 officers were wounded in the protests, and at least 150 protesters were arrested.

The officer in question, who has claimed the youth was accidentally hit by a warning shot he had fired at the ground, is being investigated by internal affairs and remains under protective custody.

“This time the protests feel more spontaneous,” said Efrat Yerday, chairwoman of the Association of Ethiopian Jews.

Yerday said the demonstrators’ anger and despair is long in the making, with a widespread feeling that police violence is not properly investigated.

“All of these people that attacked the youngsters unprovoked, they are exonerated, it’s astonishing,” she said.

The demonstrators are demanding greater police accountability. After the 2015 protests, the government established a committee to tackle racism against Ethiopian Israelis. It recommended that police wear body cameras. Since 2017 Israeli patrol and traffic police in some districts wear them.

But Yerday said the implementation of the body cameras has been slow. “The ones who beat up our kids don’t have them,” she said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that more officers will be equipped with body cameras in the future.

At a meeting called to discuss the matter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Teka’s death a “big tragedy” and said “lessons will be learned.” But he also harshly criticized the demonstrations for turning violent.

Yael Mentesnot, 26, another up-and-coming Ethiopian Israeli musician, said that in the past, the community has been “restrained” and “we end up coming off a bit naive.”

This time, “the community has begun to really feel the despair,” she said.

“All the protests, they are not orchestrated, nothing there was organized,” she said. “Everyone went to the streets frustrated and released their anger.”

While most of Mentesnot’s young solo career has been filled with upbeat party songs, she said the recent events have inspired her to address the Ethiopian Israelis’ struggle.

“Our whole life is a struggle, we face challenges, and we overcome them,” she said. “I want the public to see it. To understand what we feel.”

Neguse said he is pleased that Ethiopian musicians are on the rise, but said the recent protests should be seen as “a call for help, a cry of an entire community.”

“I believe that everyone here has at least one Ethiopian artist on their playlist,” he said. “But there is still racism, so there is a kind of dissonance.”


Related:
Healing Ethiopian Anger – Jerusalem Post

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Spotlight: R&B Singer Mélat Kassa

Mélat Kassa. (Photo: The Austin Monthly)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 12th, 2019

In Austin, Texas, R&B singer Mélat Kassa is Homegrown Star

New York (TADIAS) — R&B singer Mélat Kassa loves her hometown, Austin, Texas and Austin loves her back. Her feature in Austin Monthly magazine highlighting her latest album notes that “the homegrown singer’s journey to the forefront of Austin’s burgeoning soul scene is fascinating and personal. Whether on the radio, at South by Southwest, or on the city calendar (Mayor Adler proclaimed December 14, 2017 as Mélat Day), it’s all but impossible to avoid Mélat Kassa’s music around town these days. With stirring vocals that exhibit an alluring dichotomy of vulnerability and confidence, the native Austinite has become a staple on city streets.” The album is scheduled to be released later this month.

Mélat, who is a first-generation Ethiopian American, has also been dubbed “Austin’s Soul Priestess” by the Austin Chronicle. While reflecting on her background the daughter of Ethiopian émigrés told the newspaper: “As a first-generation kid I have to create a brand-new culture.”

Create a culture she did as can be seen in her newest music video titled After All, which was first released exclusively on billboard.com last April. When asked about her artistic influences during her formative years Mélat points out that she grew up listening to a lot of Ethiopian music at home. “We listened to classic artists like Tilahun Gessese and Aster Aweke, but my mom was a big lover of Donna Summer and Diana Ross,” she told Billboard. “When my dad first came to the States in the ‘80s, the first concert he ever went to was Kool & the Gang. I remember he would play their CDs almost every weekend!”

In Mélat’s new video “the summery visuals represents Austin to the core — but not in the way that most people would expect,” Billboard notes. “The singer collaborated with local creatives that she felt deserved more visibility: Ethiopian-Eritrean director B.B. Araya, Austin’s Luxe Apothetique that contributed to wardrobe, and historic venue La Zona Rosa that was used as the video’s backdrop.”

This week Mélat tweeted: “It gives me chills thinking about how the visual feel of After All is the product of some of Austin’s most dope black creatives,” and we’re thrilled to share her creative work on Tadias.

You can read more about Mélat’s journey in The Austin Monthly article here.


Related:
R&B Singer Mélat Talks Black Girl Magic Inspiration Behind ‘After All’ Video: Exclusive (Billboard)

A New World Opens Up for Austin’s Soul Priestess Mélat (The Austin Chronicle)

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Spotlight: Vogue on Rising Singer Mereba

"Dawit and I wanted to capture the black elegance we've seen in our Ethiopian families throughout our lives," the rising Ethiopian-American singer Mereba tells Vogue about her new music video directed by Brooklyn-based Dawit N.M. "We incorporated these regal east African elements with colors and jewels." (Photo: Courtesy of Interscope Records)

Vogue

Rising Singer Mereba Serves Up Regal Beauty in Her New “Sandstorm” Music Video

Mereba has the kind of soft, hypnotizing vocals that can lull you into a meditative state no matter the subject. In “Sandstorm,” the second to last track on her self-produced debut album The Jungle is the Only Way Out, the rising Ethiopian-American singer laments the inevitable end of a relationship with deep—and hauntingly beautiful—introspection. “We were low, we were high, Jekyll, Hyde,” she coos in the opening lines of the slow groove breakup ballad, which also features a more tender side of her fellow Atlanta native, rapper J.I.D. “I let go of something that was comfortable in hopes of making space for something that was actually meant for me,” she explains of a longterm relationship that unraveled as she was finishing the album. “I’m a Virgo and we love really hard, but we ended up in this cycle, a lot like a sandstorm, that neither of us were happy in, so I jumped out of the eye of the storm.”

Tapping Brooklyn-based director Dawit N.M. to explore the song’s visual narrative, the music video illustrates the exquisite pain of an on-off relationship cycle. Inside a sprawling midcentury modern house in the West Hollywood hills, Mereba and her lover oscillate between silence and bursts of fleeting joy through a black and white filter. She only appears in vivid color during a series of interspersed close-up shots alongside J.I.D., her natural beauty radiating with dewy, strobed skin and a glossy chocolate brown lip, as well as washes of metallic ruby red shadow on the eyes to play off her crimson gem-encrusted neckpiece. “Dawit and I wanted to capture the black elegance we’ve seen in our Ethiopian families throughout our lives,” she explains of conceptualizing her beauty looks for the film. “We incorporated these regal east African elements with colors and jewels.”

Read more »


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Why Are Ethiopia’s Treasures in London?

A crown seized by British troops at the battle of Maqdala in 1868 in Ethiopia is pictured at an exhibition, “Maqdala 1868: A Reflection on the 1868 Siege and Battle at Maqdala," at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Ethiopia wants treasures like this to be returned, part of a growing call for the restitution of treasures taken by European countries during the imperial age. (Getty Images)

The Atlantic

LONDON—In a storeroom of the British Museum here sits a collection of 11 wood and stone tablets that nobody is allowed to see. They are Christian plaques, or tabots, that represent the Ark of the Covenant, and they belong—though belong in this case is a contested term—to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which believes only its priests should view them.

The tabots were seized, along with hundreds of other precious items—processional crosses, gold and silver jewelry, illustrated manuscripts—by the British army in 1868, after it defeated Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros II at the battle of Maqdala. There is hardly a clearer case of officially sanctioned plunder: When Tewodros committed suicide, soldiers ransacked his treasury, then auctioned off their finds among their entourage to pay for the expedition. They had even brought along an expert from the British Museum to bid for some of the choicest items. The majority of the artifacts, some of which first passed through the hands of private owners, now sit in the collections of leading U.K. museums and libraries, even though Ethiopia has repeatedly asked for them back over the past century and a half.

Today, Ethiopia is asking once again, yet even in the case of the tabots—which are of limited use to the U.K., since literally nobody is allowed to see them—the answer is no. The British Museum’s best offer, made last month, was that it would consider the possibility of a long-term loan.

For many Ethiopians, the items seized at Maqdala are of vital importance—“a fundamental part of the existential fabric of Ethiopia and its people,” according to Hirut Kassaw, the country’s culture minister, who visited the U.K. in March and requested their return. To Britain, as with many of the objects gathered for its museums during the era of imperial expansion, the tabots mean relatively little by themselves—until, that is, someone asks for them back.

Requests for the permanent return of items taken without their owners’ consent, known as restitution, have gathered pace in recent years.

Read more »


Related:
UK Kidnapped this Ethiopian Prince in 1868, Still Refuses to Return His Remains

The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures Heats Up

Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years

150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II

UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?

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Spotlight: The Legacy of Haile Selassie Celebration at Ethiopian Embassy in DC

The event on July 23rd, 2019 marks the first time the former Emperor is being honored at an Ethiopian embassy compound since 1974. (Photo: Emperor Haile Selassie saluting as the National Anthems are played at the White House in Washington DC, February 18th 1967/Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: July 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The legacy of Ethiopia’s last Emperor, Haile Selassie, will be celebrated at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. this month.

The event, which is scheduled to take place on July 23rd (Haile Selassie’s birthday), marks the first time the former Emperor is being honored at an Ethiopian embassy compound since he was overthrown by a communist military junta in 1974 and assassinated a year later while in custody.

According to organizers the gathering is part of a larger diaspora community engagement commemorating “African heritage” and paying homage to “pan-African leaders.”

The keynote speakers include the Mayor of D.C. Mauriel Bowser, the African Union Ambassador to the United States Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao and Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S Fitsum Arega.

The preliminary program shared with Tadias also highlights presentations featuring scholars, business professionals, diaspora associations, and corporate & non-profit leaders.

Among the listed guest speakers are Dr. Frank Smith, the Founder and CEO of the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum, who will be addressing “the importance of preserving history and culture.”


If You Go:
TUESDAY, JULY 23, 2019
EMBASSY OF ETHIOPIA
WASHINGTON DC, 20008
For more info Contact info@nfspro.org
202-344-5480

Related:
In Ethiopia AU Inaugurates Majestic New Statue Honoring Emperor Haile Selassie

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In Pictures: DC Event Featuring ZAAF Fashion Photos Taken in Afar, Ethiopia

The event hosted by the Ethiopian fashion brand ZAAF took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 4th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Ethiopian leather fashion brand ZAAF hosted a photo exhibition and a documentary presentation of its latest collection shot in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression — known as one of the hottest places on earth. The event took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C. on Monday, July 1st.


Related:

In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Zaaf Brand Opens First US Store in DC

Video: CNN African Voices Feature on ZAFF

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Spotlight: Tommy T’s newest Single ‘Anchin’ Featuring Mahmoud Ahmed

Cover of Tommy T’s newest single 'Anchin' featuring Mahmoud Ahmed. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Four years go Tommy T (Thomas Gobena) — the Ethiopian-born bass player for the American punk band, Gogol Bordello — met up with legendary Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed at a Stephen Marley concert in Washington D.C. where Mahmoud was performing a song for the opening. That same evening Tommy pitched a song idea to Mahmoud, which turned into a new single Anchin released online on Tuesday, July 2nd.

“I had a chance to share with him a concept of a song that I had worked on a while back, and he eventually agreed to collaborate,” Tommy told Tadias. “Out of the collaboration on this song I also got a chance to direct my first music video for this single.”

Anchin (Amharic for ‘you’ in feminine pronoun), is a follow up to Thomas’ first solo album entitled The Prestor John Sessions issued in 2009.

Tommy shares that the new single, Anchin, “fuses roots reggae with the very familiar sound of Ethiopia’s musical golden era, delivered by the incomparable booming voice of Mahmoud Ahmed.”

The self-released single launched on Tommy’s new platform, Afroxoid, “is a continuation of his work in exploring the vast world of afro-rhythms combined with an Ethiopian melody, and will guide the listener on a cross-cultural musical journey,” states the press release. “Amplified by the unmistakable voice of Mahmoud Ahmed and a universal message of LOVE, Anchin is sure to capture the imagination of audiences young and old worldwide.”

Tommy T, who was appointed as a UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia in 2015, said he continues to serve in that capacity. “I have done several PSAs and visited schools doing advocacy work,” he told us. “More recently, I also worked on a song to highlight the work done by University of Alberta and St. Paul Hospital on midwife training.” He added: “The emphasis was to get the word out about how crucial it was for pregnant women to receive access to healthcare (or visit healthcare centers), which could cut maternal deaths by 50%. I produced a song with Zeritu and Tadele on vocals as well as worked with my brother Henock Temesgen who is also a musician. The project is scheduled to be released soon.

Tommy has also produced another full album for Abdi Nuressa who sings in Oromifa, which hopefully be out soon as well.

Anchin is now available on all digital platforms.

Watch: Tommy T featuring Mahmoud Ahmed – ANCHIN አንቺን


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In DC Sankofa’s Tax Break Wins Approval

The Washington, DC bookstore owned by Ethiopian-American filmmaker Haile Gerima and his wife Shirikiana Gerima, has won an approval of a ten-year tax break from the D.C. City Council. (DCist)

DCist

Sankofa’s Tax Break Wins Approval From The D.C. Council

A decades-old District institution on Georgia Avenue NW looks like it’s slated for a 10-year tax abatement, after the black-owned bookstore lobbied for relief from the city.

The D.C. Council was unanimous on Tuesday in its approval of a tax break for Sankofa Video Books & Cafe. Like all permanent legislation, the bill requires another vote at the council before heading to the mayor’s desk. There’s no date set for the second vote, though it could come as soon as July 9, according to the office of Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who introduced the legislation.

While the city has long used tax breaks and other incentives to entice corporations and developers, it has less frequently directed those tools towards retaining small businesses.

“I hope that the Sankofa example is a spark for protections to be put in place for small black businesses,” says Sankofa co-owner Shirikiana Gerima. “Legacy businesses who’ve been here through crack, through, in some cases, the riots, through gentrification—the latest devastation, they need to be supported in really, really concrete ways.”

As written, the bill exempts Sankofa from taxation for the coming decade, as growing property values in Pleasant Plains have left the business with a rising tax bill. This year, Sankofa owes $30,000 in property taxes, a 25 percent increase over the past decade, according to Gerima’s testimony to the D.C. Council. That number is projected to rise to $36,000 by 2022, according to D.C.’s chief financial officer. The CFO valued the abatement at $415,346 over a 10-year period, and determined that the business could survive without it.

But Gerima says that Sankofa is more than bookstore—it’s a community meeting place for “people who are thirsty to know about their culture and history.” She says all of the people who signed a petition and lined up to testify at the D.C. Council on Sankofa’s behalf earlier this June are a testament to that mission. “We’ve been out here working hard for a long time and the sustenance has been the growth of people around us and ourselves, too,” she says.

The shop sits just down the street from Howard University and a few blocks from the Metro PCS store in Shaw, which have been at the center of recent conflicts over who has a right to space in the city.

Gerima thinks the city needs to be involved in these discussions. “The government is a gatekeeper and they have a responsibility to look out for D.C. residents old and new,” she says.

In exchange for the tax break, the legislation requires that more than half of Sankofa’s employees live in D.C., with more than 30 percent of them living in Ward 1. Gerima says this measure won’t be a problem.

Read more »


Related:
In DC Haile Gerima’s Bookstore Sankofa Takes Tax Fight to City Council

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Ethiopia Coup Attempt Heightens Risk of Violent Balkan-style Split

There are strong parallels with Yugoslavia in the 1990s, where a federal state organised along ethnic lines broke up over similar tensions...In an ethno-federal state like Ethiopia is and like Yugoslavia was, power is very much claimed along ethnic lines...Ethnic parties, many of them with an openly chauvinistic message, have mushroomed. It would not take much to tip it over the edge. (Photo: A mourner holds the photo of Amhara president Mekonnen during a funeral ceremony in the town of Bahir Dar/REUTERS)

The Telegraph

Warnings over ‘Africa’s Yugoslavia’ as Ethiopia coup attempt heightens risk of violent Balkan-style split

The meeting was meant to have been top-secret. The men gathered inside the room were the most powerful in northern Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

The agenda before them was incendiary: the removal of Asamnew Tsige, the regional security chief whose shadowy ambitions had chilled the Ethiopia establishment.

But somehow Mr Asamnew had got wind of what was afoot.

Unknown to the participants, a convoy of his loyalists, armed and dressed in unfamiliar camouflage, was advancing towards them along the palm-lined avenues of Bahir Dar, Amhara’s capital.

Moments after they entered Amhara’s regional headquarters, the meeting room would be splattered in blood and gore. The region’s president and his chief aide lay dead.

Survivors emerging from under tables ripped curtains off their hooks in a vain attempt to staunch the wounds of Amhara’s dying attorney-general. Events were only just getting underway.

Elsewhere in Bahir Dar, Asamnew loyalists reportedly attempted to storm the city’s police headquarters and state media building.

Hours later came more killings, the most startling of them all, as Ethiopia’s powerful army chief, Seare Mekonnen, and a visiting retired general were shot dead while they ate their dinner in the country’s capital Addis Ababa, 300 miles to the south.

The motivation for last weekend’s attacks, and whether they were even connected, remains unclear…

Whatever the truth, the assassinations have laid bare the profoundly disturbing dangers facing Ethiopia.

Under its dynamic young prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia has been held up over the past year as one of Africa’s most promising states.

But beneath the exciting reforms, much of the country is seething. Some 3.2m people have fled communal violence that has erupted in pockets across the country in the past 18 months, more than in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia combined, leading to warnings of a humanitarian disaster.

Read more »


Related:
Internet Being Restored in Ethiopia

The Biggest Displacement Crisis That Almost No One Is Talking About

Ethiopian Diplomat: ‘Power in Ethiopia to Come Through Voting, Not Violence’

Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Internet Being Restored in Ethiopia

Press Secretary Billene Seyoum (L) and spokesperson of the Primer Minister Negussu Tilaaun, speak during a press conference, in Addis Ababa last week. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Internet service is being slowly restored in Ethiopia after several days of blackout following last weekend’s deadly political drama.

According to network measurement data shared by the civil society group, NetBlocks, connectivity is currently “at 85% and rising toward levels observed prior to the total disruption with wifi hotspots coming online, although mobile data remains unavailable.”

NetBlocks also reports that social media and messaging apps are not yet fully accessible: “Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp web and CDN and some VPN sites are now restricted, with Telegram and YouTube also intermittently down.”

Attempted coup d’état

The Internet has been shut down across Ethiopia in the aftermath of the attempted military takeover of a civilian government in the ethnically delineated Amhara and Benishangul Gumuz regions last Saturday and Sunday.

The attempted coup, the scale of which has not been seen in Ethiopia since the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie by a military junta in 1974, claimed the lives of several officials including Ethiopia’s army chief who was assassinated by his bodyguard at his home in Addis Ababa. Other victims included the governor and the attorney-general of the Amhara state, as well as at least 37 other individuals in Benishangul. The Prime Minster’s office said the violent campaign was led by a formerly imprisoned general who was killed amid a fire fight with federal security forces near Bahir Dar on Monday. Since then hundreds have been arrested in a nationwide security crackdown and the director of the country’s spy agency has been named the new head of the national army.

‘Thankfully Prime Minister Abiy escaped’


(PM Abiy Ahmed. Tadias photo)

For many Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia around the world, the tragic turn of events came out of nowhere in light of the hopeful democratic reforms being carried out by the popular new PM Abiy Ahmed who had issued amnesty to thousands of political prisoners last year including the renegade general behind the failed coup.

It was a “shock, but it could have turned out so much worse,” Tibor Nagy, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, told reporters while traveling in South Africa this week. “Thankfully, Prime Minister Abiy escaped this attempt, because there are many, many more people in Ethiopia who support his reforms than those who are opposed to them.” The American diplomat added: “I wish I could say that this is will be the last of these attempts, but no one can be certain.”

‘Internet is back, let the conspiracy theory begin’

“Internet users living abroad rejoiced hearing from friends and relatives for the first time in days,” NetBlocks noted citing Twitter conversations.

“So good to finally get WhatsApp messages from my family and friends in Ethiopia,” one user Kalkidan Mulugeta @Kalkidafrique declared. “No internet in 2019 cannot be the way forward.” She added: “Welcome back though, apparently only WiFi is turned on but we’ll take that.”

Another user Ruhama @ruhama_m_belay deadpanned: “Internet is back, let the conspiracy theory begin #Ethiopia.”


Related:
Ethiopian Diplomat: ‘Power in Ethiopia to Come Through Voting, Not Violence’

Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Ethiopia Crash Victims Refuse to Settle

Boeing 737 MAX fallout continues: The families of some victims of the crash on Ethiopian Airlines in March are not ready to settle, their lawyers told a Chicago judge on Thursday. (Reuters)

Reuters

737 MAX fallout continues as some Ethiopia crash victims refuse to settle

Boeing is grappling with the fallout of two deadly crashes of its 737 MAX jet within five months, which prompted a worldwide grounding in March and a string of litigation.

The families of some victims of a second crash on Ethiopian Airlines in March are not ready to settle, their lawyers told a Chicago judge on Thursday.

American Airlines and United Airlines, which also operate the MAX in the United States, have pulled the planes from their schedules into early September.


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Ethiopian Voted Best Airline in Africa
Boeing’s Mea Culpa Wins Over Ethiopian Airlines
Boeing CEO Calls Handling of 737 Max Crashes a ‘Mistake,’ Vows Improvements (USA Today)
In U.S. Fellowship Being Created in Name of Victim of Ethiopia Crash (AP)
U.S. House to Hold Second Hearing on 737 Max (The Washington Post)
Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report
Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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Q&A: The Current Ethiopia Situation

A man reads the Reporter depicting the portraits of Ambachew Mekonnen, the president of the country’s Ahmara region, and of Gen. Seare Mekonnen, the chief of staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, in Addis Ababa on June 24. (GETTY IMAGES)

Foreign Policy

Ethiopia Is at a ‘Very Critical Juncture’: After high-level assassinations, the country may still be in danger, says Human Rights Watch expert Felix Horne.

Ethiopia marked a national day of mourning on Monday after four government officials, including the governor of the Amhara region and the chief of the army, were assassinated over the weekend in dual attacks in Addis Ababa and Amhara’s capital city, Bahir Dar. State forces shot and killed Brig. Gen. Asaminew Tsige, a former political prisoner, who is allegedly responsible for the attacks, in Amhara state on Monday. Tsige was said to be resentful of perceived maltreatment by the central government, but there remains some confusion about the nature and precise planning of the attacks.

Amid an internet blackout that has forced many Ethiopians offline and restrictions on cell phone use, the country is still working to make sense of the consequences. Foreign Policy spoke to Felix Horne, an Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch, about the country’s regional politics, the record of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and what to look out for as Ethiopia confronts a volatile moment.

Foreign Policy: How do the events of the weekend fit into Ethiopia’s broader political landscape?

Felix Horne: Under Abiy’s leadership there’s been a lot of very positive human rights reforms, but one of the ongoing concerns has been the breakdown in security across wide parts of the country. And I think so far that insecurity has manifested itself in a lot of ethnic violence. At present, Ethiopia has over 3 million internally displaced people. Over this weekend, we saw a slightly different manifestation of that breakdown. While Abiy has earned a lot of praise for his human rights reforms, I think it’s clear that some of those actors that are not supportive of the regime have made their mark.

FP: What do we know about Brig. Gen. Asaminew Tsige? What is his relationship to Ethiopia’s broader politics?

FH: He was in the army. He was one of the individuals behind an alleged coup attempt in 2009, and he was released along with many political prisoners in 2018, and then he was quickly appointed to be the regional security head of the Amhara region.

FP: What should we know about the regional politics at play here?

FH: The dynamics of the Amhara region are interesting because on one hand you have the ruling party, so the Amhara Democratic Party who are part of the ruling coalition, and who are closely connected to Abiy. But at the same time you have the rise of Amhara nationalism, which has been very pronounced the last couple of years. So a lot of people ascertain that the appointment of Asaminew to his position as head of the peace and security bureau in the Amhara region was to appease the rising Amhara nationalists, and as part of an effort to make the ADP more appealing to a broader swath of the population. Now over the last couple of months, he has been engaging in a lot of really strong rhetoric, saying that Amharas need to arm themselves—that they are facing a lot of threats. There’s been a lot of negativity toward the federal government. He’s also been actively recruiting people to join local militias. Lots of rhetoric against the Tigrayan government of the neighboring region—there is a lot of tension along those borders. So he’s very much been a divisive figure. So he’s very much at odds with the ADP and with Abiy’s broader reform agenda, and I think the events of this weekend need to be seen in that context.

FP: Do you think that anything like this was on Abiy’s radar, and how do you think his response could shift the situation?

Read more »


Related:
Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia<

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed, 182 Others Arrested


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Killings & Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, center, attends a state ceremony for assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen, at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa Tuesday, June 25, 2019. The Prime Minister sobbed openly at the service Tuesday for the military chief who was assassinated by his own bodyguard over the weekend. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Economist

Killings and Claims of an Attempted Coup Rock Ethiopia

A YEAR AGO, on June 23rd 2018, Ethiopia’s newly-inaugurated prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, took to the podium wearing a bright green T-shirt. Smiling and waving he offered hope to the tens of thousands of people who had flocked to a rally in the capital, Addis Ababa, in support of his promise to bring democracy to a country that has seen precious little of it.

Almost to the day a year later he again addressed the nation, this time on national television wearing army uniform to declare, stony faced, that his government had just thwarted a coup. It was a sharp reminder of the fragility of his democratic revolution.

Read more »


Related:
An Emotional Memorial for Slain Military Chief in Ethiopia


The coffin of assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen is taken away for burial after a state ceremony at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET and ANDREW MELDRUM

UPDATED: JUNE 25TH, 2019

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sobbed openly at a service Tuesday for the country’s military chief who was assassinated by his bodyguard over the weekend.

Abiy’s sweeping reforms since his election last year have been threatened by two violent attacks on Saturday in which the army chief and a retired general were killed in Addis Ababa and three regional officials were killed in Amhara province, north of the capital.

Brig. Birhanu Jelan, the deputy army chief, speaking at the service Tuesday in Millennium Hall in the capital, said Ethiopia’s security forces will fight to maintain the country’s unity and stability.

In the wake of the killings Abiy has ordered a security crackdown in which the general accused of leading the plot was killed Monday and more than 180 have been arrested.

The internet has been shut down since Sunday.

Eskinder Nega, a prominent rights activist, told The Associated Press that several members of his Baladera Council group have been detained in a wave of arrests by the security forces since Saturday’s killings.

Widespread arrests are taking place in Bahir Dar, the regional capital of Amhara, according to residents, who spoke on condition of anonymity for their security.

Abiy’s visible distress at the service is understandable, according to experts on Ethiopia’s politics.


Members of the military shed a tear during a state ceremony for assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen, at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


Members of the military shed a tear during a state ceremony for assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen, at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa Tuesday, June 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


The coffin of assassinated army chief Gen. Seare Mekonnen rests in state during a state ceremony at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sobbed openly at the service Tuesday for the military chief who was assassinated by his own bodyguard over the weekend. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

“The assassinations were a severe setback to Abiy and a wake-up call showing the fragility of his reform plans,” said Alex Vines, head of the Africa Program at Chatham House in London.

“Abiy has shown tremendous bravery in his reform agenda and in trying to dismantle the military and security regime that had run Ethiopia. These attacks show that some of those threatened by his reforms are striking back. The danger is that Abiy will respond to this by becoming more authoritarian himself.”

The weekend assassinations in Addis Ababa and Amhara were “a blow to Abiy’s democratization agenda and may well worsen Ethiopia’s political and security crisis if key issues are not urgently tackled,” said William Davison, senior analyst on Ethiopia for the International Crisis Group.

“Abiy’s challenges include divisions within the ruling EPRDF party that are exacerbated by opposition challengers, including strong ethno-nationalist movements,” said Davison. “The consequent dysfunction of an until recently all-powerful ruling coalition is reducing government effectiveness and contributing to the insecurity. Unless this situation improves, then it will be difficult to create a conducive environment for the planned competitive elections next year.”


Related:

UPDATE: Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed, 182 Others Arrested


The PM’s spokeswoman gives details of army chief’s assassination

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)


Officials say the coup attempt occurred in Bahir Dar in northern Ethiopia. (Google map)

CNN

Ethiopian officials say a coup attempt on Saturday against the Amhara regional government has failed.

“We confirm there has been a coup attempt against the leadership of the Amhara regional state,” said Ethiopian Press Secretary Negussu Tilahun.

He said the coup attempt in Bahir Dar, the regional capital, had failed.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a tweet that federal police have been authorized to “take action on the instigators.”

It was not immediately known who was behind the failed coup.

Separately, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a security alert saying it is aware of shots being fired in the capital, as well as violence in and around Bahir Dar.

Read more »


Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

In US, Las Vegas Gives Warm Welcome to Ethiopia Embassy Delegation – Photos

Ethiopia's Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega in Las Vegas meeting with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Assemblyman Alexander Assefa last week. (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 24th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – In Las Vegas last week Assemblyman Alexander Assefa — who is the first Ethiopian American lawmaker elected to the Nevada State Assembly — was among the local elected officials who met with Ethiopia’s new Ambassador to the U.S., Fitsum Arega. The Ambassador’s trip to Las Vegas on June 18th was part of his ongoing engagement with the Ethiopian Diaspora in the United States.

Ambassador Fitsum also met with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman in addition to holding a public forum with the Ethiopian community similar to his earlier visit to California. An announcement was also shared on Twitter that the Ambassador discussed the potential launching of an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Las Vegas in his discussion with Mayor Goodman.

“I thank City of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman for meeting us and offer to facilitate Ethiopian opening service to Las Vegas,” Ambassador Fitsum said on Twitter. He also thanked members of the Ethiopian Diaspora as well as organizers of the town hall meeting:

Below are photos from the event shared on social media by Ambassador Fitsum Arega:


(Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


Related:
In the West Coast, Ethiopia Appeals to Diaspora, African Americans to Invest
In Pictures: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed

Ethiopians follow the news on television at a cafe in Addis Ababa, Sunday, June 23, 2019. Ethiopia's government foiled a coup attempt in a region north of the capital and the country's military chief was shot dead, the prime minister Abiy Ahmed said Sunday in a TV announcement. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The Associated Press

By ELIAS MESERET and ANDREW MELDRUM

UPDATED: JUNE 24TH, 2019

Plotter of Failed Ethiopia Coup Killed, 182 Others Arrested

ADDIS ABABA — The Ethiopian army general accused of leading a failed coup in a restive northern region was killed Monday in a firefight with security forces amid a security crackdown in which more than 180 others have been arrested.

Brig. Gen. Asamnew Tsige was killed on the outskirts of Bahir Dar, capital of the northern Amhara region, Nigussu Tilahun, a spokesman in the prime minister’s office, told The Associated Press.

Ethiopian forces had been hunting down Asamnew since he and soldiers loyal to him attacked a meeting of the Amhara government in the regional capital Saturday, killing the regional governor and his adviser. The region’s attorney-general died of his wounds on Monday, according to local media reports.

The attack Saturday was followed hours later by the assassination in the national capital, Addis Ababa, of the chief of Ethiopia’s military and a retired army general by a bodyguard.

The killings were widely seen as an attack on Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has pushed through sweeping reforms since his election last year.

Asamnew, the renegade general blamed for the violence, had been pardoned by Abiy after being jailed by the previous government for allegedly plotting a coup. He had recently used social media posts to incite a rebellion in Amhara, according to reports in the Ethiopian media.

The shootout in which Asamnew was killed comes as the government roots out others suspected of supporting the rebellion. Four high-ranking officials in Amhara, including the deputy head of security there, were taken into custody Monday, according to Abere Adamu, chief of the Amhara police commission. Another 178 people have also been arrested on suspicion of taking part in violence in the region, he said.

An internet shutdown has been in force across Ethiopia since Saturday’s killings.

Flags flew at half-mast throughout Ethiopia on Monday, which was declared a day of national mourning following Saturday’s violence. Addis Ababa was peaceful as soldiers stood guard in Meskel Square and manned roadblocks throughout the capital.


Security forces stand guard in Meskel Square in central Addis Ababa Sunday, June 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

The 42-year-old Abiy has initiated sweeping political and economic reforms, including the surprise acceptance of a peace agreement with neighboring Eritrea, the opening of major state-owned sectors to private investment and the release of thousands of political prisoners, including opposition figures once sentenced to death.

Although Abiy’s reforms are widely popular, some members of the previous regime are unhappy with the changes and the prime minister has survived a number of threats.

Last June, a grenade meant for Abiy killed two people and wounded many others at a big rally. Nine police officials were arrested, state media reported. In October, rebellious soldiers protesting over salaries invaded Abiy’s office, but the prime minister was able to defuse the situation.

Ethiopia is a key regional ally of the U.S. in the restive Horn of Africa region.

Tibor Nagy, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Africa, said the latest violence was a “shock, but it could have turned out so much worse.”

“Thankfully Prime Minister Abiy escaped this attempt, because there are many, many more people in Ethiopia who support his reforms than those who are opposed to them,” he told reporters Sunday in Pretoria, South Africa.

Adding that “there are vestiges of the old regime” who are opposed to Abiy, Nagy said: “I wish I could say that this is will be the last of these attempts, but no one can be certain.”


Abiy Ahmed announced a failed coup attempt during a public address on TV Sunday, June 23, 2019, allegedly led by a high-ranking military official and others in the Amhara region. (ETV via AP)


Related:

Watch: Government says rebellion quashed

Ethiopia’s army chief, 3 other officials killed in renegade general’s coup attempt (The Washington Post)

Ethiopia says coup attempt thwarted, military chief killed (AP)

Ethiopia says coup attempt in Amhara region has failed (CNN)


Officials say the coup attempt occurred in Bahir Dar in northern Ethiopia. (Google map)

CNN

Ethiopian officials say a coup attempt on Saturday against the Amhara regional government has failed.

“We confirm there has been a coup attempt against the leadership of the Amhara regional state,” said Ethiopian Press Secretary Negussu Tilahun.

He said the coup attempt in Bahir Dar, the regional capital, had failed.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a tweet that federal police have been authorized to “take action on the instigators.”

It was not immediately known who was behind the failed coup.

Separately, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a security alert saying it is aware of shots being fired in the capital, as well as violence in and around Bahir Dar.

Read more »


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She Married Emperor Haile Selassie’s Great-Grandson: Ariana Makonnen Tells Her Love Story

In an article published this week by Town & Country Magazine Ariana Makonnen shares how she and her husband, Joel Dawit Makonnen, met in Washington, D.C. (Photo: ANTWON MAXWELL)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 23rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – You may remember this great love story between a young American woman and an Ethiopian prince who met in a DC nightclub a few years ago. Their wedding celebration in 2017 had received international media attention.

In a recent personal essay published by Town & Country Magazine Ariana Makonnen, who is married to Joel Dawit Makonnen — the great-grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie — tells her story of how she met her future husband who happens to be a member of Ethiopia’s former royal family and “the oldest monarchy in the world” that traces its roots to “the biblical King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.”

The year was 2005 and Ariana had just quit a Ph.D. program in English and got a job in a clothing boutique in Washington, D.C.

“Little did I know, that decision would not just change my career and my education, but the direction of my entire life,” Ariana shares. “I grew up in a close, ethnically mixed, fun-loving family with my two sisters and brother. My father is a writer, former sociology professor, and foundation executive from Kentucky, and my mother is an executive in the world of arts and humanities from Guyana. We were steeped in the arts, passionate about education, and oriented toward service and social justice. We believed in offering the world more than you took, making it better than when you arrived.”

Love at first sight

One night that same year Ariana was out having fun with friends at a nightclub in D.C. when “a man approached us and told my friend and me that we looked like a “Bombay Sapphire ad,” a line that’s now famous in our families. He had this open, playful energy and he was really handsome. We connected right away, talking easily and laughing,” she recalls in the Town & Country article. “He told me that his name was Joel and that he was finishing his last semester of college at American University, completing a double degree in international business — one part at his “home” college in Nice, France, and then this second portion in America.” Ariana adds: “From that first encounter on the dance floor, we were instantly drawn together. He was so cosmopolitan, charming — born in Rome, he had attended boarding school in Switzerland, lived in Ethiopia, and was fluent in several languages. We talked about our families: He told me that his mother worked at the United Nations and that his father, who’d passed away, had been a captain in the Ethiopian Imperial Army.”

But Ariana did not learn Joel’s family background until after they started dating and when a friend causally mentioned it: “He jokingly said you know you’re dating a prince, right?” I looked at Joel. He nodded and smiled. I reacted with a bit of shock and a bit of awe. “Really?” I said. Finally, he said “Yeah,” but not much more. I was definitely curious, but we didn’t discuss it further then, because he made it seem like not that big of a deal, and because I could tell he didn’t want to delve much deeper.”

Haile Selassie


QUEEN ELIZABETH, EMPEROR HAILE SELASSIE I OF ETHIOPIA AND PRINCE PHILIP AT A DINNER DURING THE QUEEN’S OFFICIAL VISIT ON FEBRUARY 2, 1965 TO ETHIOPIA. (KEYSTONE-FRANCE)

“Even before I met Joel, I knew about his great-grandfather, Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia,” Ariana says. “Many West Indians, like my mother’s family, hold him in their greatest esteem.”

You can read Ariana Makonnen’s full article at townandcountrymag.


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Ethiopian Voted Best Airline in Africa

Ethiopian Airlines has been honored as the ‘Best Airline in Africa’ for the third consecutive year at the 2019 World Airlines Awards held in Paris on June 18th, 2019. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 21st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – For the third year in a row, Ethiopian Airlines has been voted the Best Airline in Africa at the 2019 World Airline Awards.

Presented during the Paris Air Show this week the award is considered one of the most prestigious recognitions in the global airline industry.

Ethiopian Airlines also received the top awards for ‘Best Business Class in Africa’ and ‘Best Economy Class in Africa’ at the event held on Tuesday, June 18th and hosted by Skytrax, the leading airline review and ranking website.

“I would like to sincerely thank first and foremost our global customers for the strong and consistent vote of confidence,” said the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam in a statement, noting that the airline services “more than 120 destinations worldwide with 115 ultra-modern fleet, offering excellent connectivity with one of the best travel experiences that helped us become the best airline in Africa and one of the frontrunners in the world.”

In a press release the company added: “While much has evolved in the industry, Ethiopian has stood the test of time and achieved most of its overarching goals, going halfway through its projected 15 year plan, Vision 2025. Ethiopian is now expanding its footprint to underserved global destinations and is serving global travelers with its signature Africa’s flavored Ethiopian hospitality onboard and in the air. True to form, the airline has also continued pushing the frontiers of aviation technology with the 21st century new generation fleet.”


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In the West Coast, Ethiopia Appeals to Diaspora, African Americans to Invest

Ethiopia’s L.A. Consul General Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni and Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega hold town-hall meeting in San Diego on June 16th, 2019 as apart of their current campaign to engage the diaspora. (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – This past week Ethiopia’s new Ambassador to the United States, Fitsum Arega, visited Southern California where he met with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora as well as local elected officials in Los Angeles. He also made stops in San Diego (June 16th) and Las Vegas (June 18th), and is expected to travel to San Francisco Bay area on June 22nd as well as to Houston on June 23rd.

Ambassador Fitsum’s call for African American investors to engage in business ventures in Ethiopia got the attention of The Los Angeles Sentinel, “an African American-owned and operated newspaper that puts emphasis on issues concerning the African American community and its readers.”

The Sentinel enthused about Ethiopia’s outreach in its headline titled “Opportunities Abound in Ethiopia for African Americans” and highlighted the California trip by officials from the Ethiopian embassy.

“The government of Ethiopia is rolling out the welcome mat to African Americans to explore business opportunities and tourist destinations throughout the historic nation,” the publication noted.

“During a visit to Los Angeles on June 14, Ethiopian Ambassador Fitsum Arega outlined the many prospects for investors, companies and entrepreneurs to benefit by engaging with the country, which is experiencing an economic upswing under the administration of Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.”

Ambassador Fitsum shared that the U.S. company PVH — which owns brands including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, and is the second biggest African trader — is partnering with the Ethiopian government for the first textile operation in Africa. “We have 53 factories in one place,” Ambassador Fitsum said.

Through his twitter account Fitsum also shared his meeting with the Mayor of LA Eric Garcetti:

The Sentinel added: “While Arega promoted Ethiopian business opportunities, he also encouraged investment possibilities in Africa.”

Several Chinese corporations are already involved with infrastructure and economic development projects throughout the African continent, and the Sentinel noted that “Ambassador Fitsum recommended that both African American and American firms do likewise.”

Fitsum’s visit to California also included a town hall gathering for the Ethiopian Diaspora in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Below are photos and tweets:


Ethiopian diaspora hold town-hall in L.A. on June 15th, 2019. (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


Ethiopia’s L.A. Consul General Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni and Ethiopian Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega hold town-hall meeting with the Ethiopian Diaspora in Los Angeles on June 15th, 2019. (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


(Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


Town-hall in San Diego on June 16th, 2019 (Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


(Photo: @fitsumaregaa/twitter)


Related:
In Pictures: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

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Summer Previews of Ethiopian Art in the Diaspora – Media Roundup

The Addis Fine Art gallery, which was established in 2016 by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, has been cited by Artsy among the 27 rising galleries from around the world that are "shifting the global conversation around contemporary art." (Portrait of Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile courtesy of Addis Fine Art)

Tadias Magazine

By Liben Eabisa

Published: June 17th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — From New York to Chicago and London this summer has seen the opening of several exhibitions and global news coverage profiling Ethiopian artists. Below are a few highlights:

Elias Sime

Elias Sime’s current New York exhibition, Noiseless, at James Cohan gallery continues to receive rave reviews before it closes on June 29th. Most recently Sime’s exhibit was featured in Brooklyn-based online arts magazine Hyperallergic, which notes that the Ethiopian artist “makes wall sculptures from castoff computer parts that evoke the toxic dumping of these materials around the world.” In the review titled “Mosaics of Motherboards, Keyboards, and Wire” the writer John Yau says that Sime’s ‘Tightrope: I BURNED IT’ piece is among his favorite and shares that “it is made of hundreds of tiles covered in different hues of red, white, blue, and green insulated wire, woven into patterns and abstract configurations that are unique to each piece” adding “I don’t remember ever seeing Simes do anything like this before. He is always methodical and meticulous, but when he is pictorial and uses the computer components toward pictorial ends, he begins to lose me…This disruption infuses the work with staying power, as it pulls us into the realm of speculation and reflection.”


“Elias Sime: NOISELESS” at James Cohan Gallery, Chelsea, installation view: left: “Tightrope: Noiseless 23” (2019); center: “Tightrope: Noiseless 10” (2019)

As Tadias magazine reported a few weeks ago Elias is also gearing up for his first traveling U.S. museum exhibition later this year. The inaugural show will take place at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College from September 7 through December 8, 2019 and will feature a collection of his work created in the past ten years. According to organizers the exhibit entitled Elias Sime: Tightrope includes “a large outdoor site-specific sculpture, created out of repurposed computer parts, electrical wires, bronze and clay.”

Aida Muluneh

In its June issue The Atlantic magazine features an insightful piece by journalist Hannah Giorgis, who covers culture for the American publication, titled “The Photographer Fighting Visual Clichés of Africa,” and highlighting Aida Muluneh as “one of Ethiopia’s reigning image-makers.” Aida, who is a former Washington Post photojournalist and a New Yorker tells Hannah: “You can’t fantasize about making an impact in Ethiopia by being in New York or somewhere else…You have to actually be on the ground.” Hannah adds that “Muluneh’s vibrant acuity, as disorienting as it is alluring, has the power to evoke a place—Africa—and at the same time subvert conventional ideas about it.”


Denkinesh/Part One. (Aïda Muluneh)

You can read Hannah’s full article at theatlantic.com.

Merid Tafese

The work of Ethiopian artist Merid Tafese and his solo exhibit at Gallery Guichard in Chicago was also featured in Rollingout Magazine, which covers music, politics and culture with a focus on the African American community.

“For Merid Tafese his fondest memories are of his father’s extensive book collection, which would play a major role in him becoming an artist” the article notes. Merid’s exhibition is called “A Stream of Consciousness,” and as he told the magazine this is the first time in his two-decade career as a contemporary artist that he is represented by a gallery. “And the fact that the gallery is a Black-owned gallery makes it even more special,” Merid says. Merid’s work in this exhibit includes “a collection of easily five years work and change of medium, thought, mood.”


Artist Merid Tafese (Photo credit: Tony Binns for Steed Media)

Reflecting on the influence of his father’s international book collection on his work as an artist Merid — who is the sixth generation direct descendant of King Sahle Selassie — notes that “[At] a time of fear, terror and being disconnected from the rest of the planet, the collection of books was my scope to look beyond what was happening in my beloved country in the Dergue military junta time. [In] the same way, my art was my outlet and the only free space to be creative and say anything I want. So both the books and my creative process of doing art worked hand-in-hand contributed to my development as an artist.”

You can read Rollingout’s full interview with Merid Tafese here.

Julie Mehretu, Kebedech Tekleab and Mezgebu Tesema

The Wallace Art Gallery at Columbia University in NYC also has group show exhibiting the work of ten international artists including three who are Ethiopian: Julie Mehretu, Kebedech Tekleab and Mezgebu Tesema. The exhibit, which opened on Friday, June 14th is titled ‘After the End: Timing Socialism in Contemporary African Art’ and focuses on “how temporality shapes new forms of politics, history, subjectivity and the turn to neoliberal global politics.” According to the gallery “It features artists looking at countries including Angola, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. Less than thirty years since independence from colonialism, the end of the Cold War brought down socialist governments and sparked a wave of upheaval among young African nations. The need to reimagine national narratives gave rise to a generation of artists that seek to make sense of the dramatic shifts witnessed by their countries.” The show is on view through October 13th, 2019.

Addis Fine Art’s Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile


Founders of Addis Fine Art Mesai Haileleul & Rakeb Sile. (Photo: Addis Fine Art)

Last, but not least, the Addis Fine Art gallery, which was established only three years ago by Mesai Haileleul and Rakeb Sile, has been cited by Artsy – the online art collection and education platform — as being among the 27 rising galleries from around the world that are “shifting the global conversation around contemporary art.”

Addis Fine Art is Ethiopia’s first gallery to focus on contemporary art from Ethiopia and its Diaspora. Artsy notes: “It took an art dealer in Los Angeles and a business consultant in London to create Ethiopia’s most exciting young gallery. After attending the 1-54 African Art Fair in London, Rakeb Sile wondered why there weren’t more Ethiopian artists who were globally known. She discovered Mesai Haileleul, a gallery owner who had been in L.A. for 30 years selling Ethiopian art, and had not returned to his home country in decades. Sile went to L.A. to find him and lured him back to Africa, convincing him to dive into the local art market. The two opened a gallery in Addis Ababa, and it quickly became the go-to place for Ethiopian art, especially after opening a sister space in London to connect the artists with collectors in European markets.”

You can read the Q&A with Mesai and Rakeb at artsy.net.


Related:
Art Talk: Photojournalist Michael Tsegaye’s U.S. Exhibit ‘Crooked River’
In Pictures: Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC
Spotlight: ZAAF Fashion Photos Shot in Afar, Ethiopia at Smithsonian in DC

Liben Eabisa is Co-Founder & Publisher of Tadias.

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Art Talk: Photojournalist Michael Tsegaye’s U.S. Exhibit ‘Crooked River’

(Image by Michael Tsegaye)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: June 15th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – When asked in a 2011 Tadias interview about what good photography is, Michael Tsegaye — whose upcoming U.S. exhibition ‘Crooked River’ is set to open at Cleveland Print Room in Cleveland, Ohio this month — had quoted the French art critic Jacques Leenhardt saying: “Photography is best when it emulates poetry,” portraying “not only the complex and problematic reality of the outside world, but also the way a person’s eye has seen it. It shows a person’s self-expression, a person becoming the poet we all have within us.”

“I think this is a very true statement,” Michael added.

In his own right, for the past several years, the Ethiopian photojournalist has been creating lyrical images inspired by his surroundings in Ethiopia and elsewhere, documenting whatever captures his eye at a given moment and exhibiting his work at numerous venues both locally and internationally while leaving the reactions and imaginations to the rest of us.

Many transformational events have taken place in Ethiopia since Michael Tsegaye shared his artistic philosophy with us in a Q&A eight years ago. The New York Times followed up with him in 2014 noting that “He captures sweeping panoramas, of markets springing up along newly built roads, or small details, like the cracked images on gravestones being moved to make way for development, or the rapidly disappearing communities in Addis Ababa that have been gentrified with new high-rises.” At the time Michael had astutely said: “I know the city is going to be different in 10 years. It’s going to be a memory for me, these pictures. You know the saying, ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?’ That was in my mind when I took these pictures. I tried to work with that.”

‘Crooked River’

For his show in Cleveland, which is scheduled to open on June 21st and remain on display through August 3rd, the Cleveland Print Room Gallery has announced that Michael, who is currently their Creative Fusion International Artist-in-Residence, “will transform the gallery into the Cuyahoga River and its crooked bends from aerial photos and photographs from the riverbed.”

The Cuyahoga River in Ohio is best known for helping to launch the environmental movement in the United States in the late 1960s after the water shockingly “caught fire” due to high levels of pollution. According to the announcement: “As part of the lead up to the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River catching fire on June 22, 1969, the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion: Waterways to Waterways Edition will bring together a group of international and local artists to focus on projects that connect the regenerative efforts for the Cuyahoga to global waterways.”

Below is a brief bio of Michael Tsegaye from his website:

“Born in 1975, Michael Tsegaye lives and works in Addis Ababa. He received his diploma in painting from Addis Ababa University’s School of Fine Arts and Design in 2002, but soon gave up painting after he developed an allergy to oil paint. He subsequently found his real passion in photography and has made of it not only a profession, but a way of expressing a very particular voice.”

“As a photographer I try as much as possible to escape being pigeonholed. I place myself among my peers (photographers and painters) across the world,” Michael says. “While the spirit of my culture — its traditions in music, poetry and literature — informs my photography, my goal is that of any artist: to understand my life and standpoint in the 21st century, and express these through art.”


If You Go
CROOKED RIVER, AN EXHIBITION BY MICHAEL TSEGAYE
FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2019
5:00 PM 9:00 PM
CLEVELAND PRINT ROOM
(MAP)
www.clevelandprintroom.com

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Spotlight: Éthiopiques Revolt of the Soul Screens in Amherst, Massachusetts

The new documentary film, Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul, will screen at Amherst Cinema in Amherst, Massachusetts on July 17, 2019. (Image: IDFA)

The Advocate

Amherst Cinema will screen Éthiopiques: Revolt of the Soul as part of its Sound & Vision film series focused on music in cinema this summer. The 70-minute 2018 documentary film in English and Amharic (with subtitles), was directed by Maciej Bochniak and focuses on the rich musical history of Ethiopia. In 1997, the Western world was first introduced to the country’s musical lineage and culture through the Éthiopiques CD series, created in a collaboration between French music journalist Francis Falceto and producer Amha Eshete who between 1969 and 1975 made 120 singles and 14 albums of Ethiopian musicians. The music was created by Eshete during a period of less repressive times when Emperor Haile Selassie tolerated African music influenced by Western genres such as soul, funk, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz.

But that all changed with a military coup in 1974, which lasted until 1991, according to the film’s synopsis on Amherst Cinema’s website. Eshete, who lived in exile in the United States for many years, speaks about the music of Ethiopia on the Éthiopiques CD series as does Ethiopian musician Girma Beyene, pianist and arranger for the Walias Band, and others. The film features animations, live performances, and recordings for Mistakes on Purpose, the 30th album in the CD series.


Related:
New Film ‘Ethiopiques–Revolt of the Soul’ Makes North American Premiere

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Beautiful Harar in Photos

Harar, which is home to 82 mosques and over 100 shrines, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006. (Photo: One of the holiest places in the city is the tomb of Sheikh Abadir, one of the city's founder. (DW)

DW

Considered as the fourth holiest Muslim city in the world, Harar is the center of Islam in Ethiopia.

A mosque for the women

The Jami Mosque is the only one where women are allowed to pray in the same building as the men. They enter through this small door on the right of the building, but it is also common to see them pray outside.


(DW)

City of peace

There are two churches within the city’s walls, the Medhane Alem church being the only Orthodox one. Residents of Harar are proud that their town welcomes all religions. In 2003, the city received the UNESCO Peace Prize for the peaceful cohabitation of many ethnic and religious groups. In recent years, however, there has been some tension around land issues and political representation.


(DW)

Shopping for fabric

Harar’s economy is also boosted by its fabric market. This street is called “makina girgir” because of the sound of sewing machines. It is often packed with women from the rural areas. They bargain for new fabric and then let the tailors – all men – prepare their new colorful dresses or headscarves.


(DW)

Bargaining for camels

About 40km (24.8 miles) from Harar, a famous camel market takes place twice a week. Up to 200 camels are sold within one morning, starting at about €500 ($565) per camel. The traders are usually Somali nomads. The camels are used both for transport and consumption.


(DW)

Read more and see photos at dw.com »


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In Pictures: Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC

Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in NYC on Sunday, June 2nd, 2019. (Photo: CMA)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: June 7th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Below is a slideshow of photos from last week’s Ethiopian Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York City.

The well-attended event organized by the CMA in collaboration with the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) and the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC) was held on Sunday, June 2nd and included Ethiopian music, Eskista dance, a coffee ceremony and an interactive arts workshop inspired by artists from Ethiopia such as Ezra Wube, Addis Gezehagn, Elias Sime, Afewerk Tekle as well as singer and songwriter Gigi.

ECMAA is also hosting an outdoor family friendly spring fair this weekend at the Riverbank State Park in Manhattan (See details below).

Here are images from Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York courtesy of the museum:


If You Go:
ECMAA SPRING FAIR
Sunday, Jun 9th, 2 pm to 6 pm
Riverbank State Park
New York, New York 01002
Click here to get tickets

Related:
In NYC ECMAA Expands Program to Include Community Soccer Games

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River Spirit in Nile Magazine: From Ethiopia to Egypt Photos by Chester Higgins

The following article and photos are published here with permission of the photographer, Chester Higgins, Jr. See below for detailed explanations. (Right: in Yebelo, Ethiopia: Left: The Valley of the Kings in Egypt/© Chester Higgins)

Nile Magazine

Betsy Kissam with photography by Chester Higgins

Ethiopians speak of “children of the river” — yewenz lejoch in Amharic, the country’s official language. This phrase characterises people living near and relying on the water of a river for travel and nourishment, whether for their own needs or for the crops and livestock they depend on. The Blue Nile, Ethiopia’s most celebrated river, rises in the northern highlands and then journeys down into the deserts of Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. The depth and originality of the cultural legacy threading through the ancient cultures that flourished along this river challenges the imagination and awaits comprehensive analysis.

Roughly 200 years have passed since the study of the ancient Egyptian civilization began as a discipline. More recently, Egyptologists and archaeologists, in conjunction with efforts in Egypt, are concentrating on what’s buried beneath the sands of Nubia (in Egypt and Sudan) and Kush (Sudan). And in Ethiopia, archaeology is expanding under East African archaeologists and others from abroad.

Today, most Egyptologists recognize Egyptian culture as an African invention. In his 2010 book, The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, Toby Wilkinson writes “The origins and early development of civilization in Egypt can be traced back to at least two thousand years before the pyramids, to the country’s remote prehistoric past.”

New York photographer Chester Higgins sees the Nile as a cultural thread; for the past four decades, he has been visually documenting Blue Nile cultures and seeking connections between the ancient people who made up the empires of Aksum (modern Ethiopia), Kush (Sudan) and Kemet (Egypt). Along this river, ancient excavators crafted sacred stone houses of worship out of solid mountains by chiseling away rock—rather than erecting a structure block by block.

At the source and mouth of the Nile River are found the only monumental stone monoliths in Africa—phara-
onic and Aksumite obelisks. Images on Egyptian and Nubian tomb and temple walls bring to life symbols and the accouterments of early spiritual practice; when photographs of these are juxtaposed with those of rituals enacted in Ethiopia today, they focus links between “children of the river” in Egypt and Sudan—and farther south in the highlands of Ethiopia, the source of the Blue Nile.

Similarities in Higgins’s photographs, illustrate cultural connections up and down the river.

Much of the belief expressed today in our Abrahamic religions is rife with comparisons predicated on shared iconography and philosophy introduced millennia ago by people who honed their faith along the Nile River.


Ancient people left messages in stone, and skilled stone masons created precise structures from rock in situ along the Nile River. This is the exterior of the monolithic stone Church of St. George, in Lalibela, Ethiopia. The church was painstakingly fashioned out of solid volcanic rock in a cruciform structure, approximately 12 metres high, and standing in a 25 x 25 metre wide pit. The town of Lalibela is around 640 km north of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and today cares for 11 monolithic, rock-cut churches, which were erected in and around the year 1200. The buildings today are a living place of worship; they are home to a community of priests and monks, as well as being a place of pilgrimage for members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. (© Chester Higgins)


The monumental stone Temple of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel [in the Egyptian part of Nubia] has been dropping jaws since it was first hewn from a Kushite mountain some 3,300 years ago. Stepping into the temple’s Great Hall, the visitor is met by eight statue-pillars of Ramesses II portrayed as Osiris, god of resurrection. At the very back, the temple’s Sanctuary, which is illuminated by the rejuvenating rays of the rising sun twice a year. (© Chester Higgins)

There is something mystical, even supernatural, about the Blue Nile. When Herodotus identified Egypt as “the gift of the Nile” in the 5th century b.c., he had no knowledge of the source of the Blue Nile in the highlands of contemporary Ethiopia — 6,000 feet above sea level. But anyone who has witnessed the watery turmoil created by the Ethiopian summer rains can appreciate the otherworldly beauty of the frothing reddish volcanic soil in this water and its menace as it hurtles down mountainsides, tracking through ancient gullies and joining to form swift flowing streams, tributaries and then the impressive Blue Nile River.

The might of this river slices gorges through volcanic rock, creating sheer canyon walls, some more than 4,000 feet deep. Twisting and turning, juxtaposing broad sweeps with tight curves, the water turns north and drops down into the deserts of Sudan and Egypt. By the time the river reaches the desert at Khartoum in Sudan, where it commingles with the White Nile to form the Nile River, its elevation is 1250 feet having fallen nearly 5,000 feet in 900 miles. By the time the Nile reaches the Giza pyramids, its elevation is barely 64 feet. Before modern dams interrupted the flow, the Blue Nile carried about 80% of the water and fertile silt that transformed Egypt’s parched desert plains: surely the “gift” that Herodotus recognized.

The Nile’s water rises at a time when other rivers are lessening. Unsuccessful at working out an explanation for this phenomenon, Herodotus wrote “I was particularly anxious to learn from [the Egyptian priests] why the Nile, at the commencement of the summer solstice, begins to rise, and continues to increase for a hundred days—and why, as soon as that number is past, it forthwith retires and contracts its stream. . . .”

In the 1st century b.c., 400 years after Herodotus, Diodorus recorded “the Ethiopians. . . say, that the Egyptians are a colony drawn out from them by Osiris; and that Egypt was. . . made land by the river Nile, which brought down slime and mud out of Ethiopia.”

The boundaries of Ethiopia today on the Horn of Africa are not the designation accepted by the ancients that referred vaguely to the home of black people living south of the Mediterranean Sea.


Left: The deity Thoth in the Tomb of Ramesses V (KV 9) that was later extended by his nephew Ramesses VI, in the Valley of the Kings [in Egypt]. Thoth holds a was sceptre (staff of authority), and sports a bull’s tail attached to the back of his kilt. Right: A Waka priest displays a staff of authority in Yebelo, Ethiopia. Contemporary Ethiopians, who honour the sacredness of nature, worship the sky deity Waka. The staffs of both the current Ethiopian example, and the ancient Egyptian version, end in distinctive curved forks. (© Chester Higgins)

The Blue Nile remained an ongoing siren song for the Greeks, Romans and other Europeans into the 15th, 16th, up to the 20th century — even after 16th and 17th-century Portuguese and Spanish Jesuits, accompanied by Ethiopian Emperors, visited and “discovered” the source of the Blue Nile, which they recorded in their travelogues published in Europe. In the 18th century, Scottish explorer James Bruce detailed his own version in his 1790 book, Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile.

Even with the source of the Blue Nile revealed and the Ethiopian rains recognized in Europe as the cause of its flooding, the river still guarded its mystery. For parts of its journey, narrow canyons protect the waters from everyone but the hardiest explorers, concealing much of the river’s exquisite beauty from all eyes except those of local highlanders, who themselves, it is said, rarely descend to the riverbed when it passes through gorges choked by volcanic rock, crocodiles and often malaria.

As late as 1925, the British Consul for Northwest Ethiopia, Major R. E. Cheesman, upon arriving in the country, was astounded to discover that “the latest maps showed the course of the Blue Nile as a series of dotted lines” — a substantial challenge for this 20th-century European as it had been for earlier travelers.


Stone obelisks are found along the Nile in Ethiopia and Egypt. In Aksum, Ethiopia, this 20-metre-high monolith stands tall in a field of such obelisks, which served as royal tomb markers. Aksum was a wealthy trading empire. At the Aksumite royal necropolis, false, or spirit doors were often placed at the base of the largest obelisks and above the entrances to tombs. This false door, featuring a finely carved ring pull door handle, was placed at the base (formerly southern face) of the now-fallen Obelisk #1—thought to have been the largest obelisk ever attempted to be erected: 32.6 meters long, and weighing 517 tons. (© Chester Higgins)


Obelisks in Egypt, erected in pairs in front of temples and topped with pyramidions, appear to function like billboards advertising a pharaoh’s accomplishments, and are dated by the pharaoh’s reign. Less well understood, Aksumite obelisks have been dated anywhere from around the 5th century b.c. to early a.d.; without inscriptions from rulers, the dates are open to conjecture. False doors in Egypt were placed outside tombs, within tomb chapels and in royal memorial temples, providing a focus for offerings to sustain the ka (divine essence) of the deceased. Like many elements of Egyptian funerary practice, they also served to emphasise the conspicuous wealth and social status of the tomb owner. This false door is in the tomb chapel of the mastaba of Khenu, near the top of the causeway of King Unas at Saqqara. Khenu was a 6th-Dynasty official who served the cult of Unas, the last ruler of the Old Kingdom’s 5th Dynasty (ca. 2375–2345 b.c.). © CHESTER HIGGINS

Many scholars believe that 18th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Hatshepsut’s famous expedition to Punt, portrayed on her temple walls at Deir el-Bahari, situates Punt on the southern coast of the Red Sea
placing it in the proximity of contemporary Ethiopia. It is known the Egyptians built boats that were able to be deconstructed and reassembled in order to carry the boats around the Nile’s treacherous cataracts and sail the Red Sea. Other trade references to Punt were recorded by pharaohs as early as the 5th Egyptian dynasty.


A papyrus ferry on Lake Tana at the headwaters of the Blue Nile, in the Ethiopian highlands. This sort of craft seems to have barely changed since ancient times. (© Chester Higgins)


The pageantry of Timkat, the Ethiopian Epiphany Day—a celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ—is celebrated by Orthodox Christians throughout Ethiopia. It echoes the joyous festival of Opet, recorded on Luxor Temple walls in Egypt, below. (© Chester Higgins)


Renewal is a strong theme for both rituals. Opet priests honor the Holy Family of Waset (Thebes/Luxor): they celebrate the union of the supreme deity Amen with his companion/wife Mut, and their son Khonsu, by bringing the sacred statues of the three deities from their shrines at Karnak Temple to visit the Temple of Luxor. Images on the wall of Luxor Temple show priests carrying the statues on their shoulders through crowded streets, and then by boat on the river. For Timkat, the high priests transport on their heads the churches’ sacred tabots (a replica of the Ark of the Covenant) through streets teeming with revelers, to join other tabots at a water source. (© Chester Higgins)


(© Chester Higgins)


(© Chester Higgins)


Left: Abu Haggag Mosque at Luxor Temple, Egypt. The mosque sits atop part of the ruins of Luxor Temple. It was built as a shine to a local saint, Sheikh Yusuf al-Haggag, who is credited for introducing Islam to Luxor. Sacred places often remain hallowed to successive faiths, and the mosque here stands on the site of an earlier Christian church. Right: An altarpiece from the Moon Temple at Yeha, Ethiopia. Around a.d. 330, Aksum’s Emperor Ezana made Aksum into one of the earliest Christian states, which saw the replacement of the Aksumite crescent and disk religious symbols with the Christian cross. On this site today, next to the Yeha Temple is an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church monastery. (© Chester Higgins)

Much later, in the 4th century a.d., Ethiopia became a Christian country after Aksumite King Ezana converted to Christianity. Bound by this faith, the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church entered into relations with the Coptic Church in Egypt, although these ties were often interrupted and conflicted. But the selection of Abunas, or Ethiopian Popes, came out of Egyptian monasteries until the 20th century when this link was severed by Emperor Haile Selassie.

Egyptologist Wallis Budge documented communication between Egyptian rulers and Ethiopian kings, foreshadowing the tension between the two countries today over down stream access to Nile water. In his 1928 book, A History of Ethiopia, Nubia and Abyssinia, Budge wrote about a seven-year famine in 11th-century Egypt: “it is said that the Khalifah Mustansir-b-Illah, thinking that the Abyssinians had turned the Nile out of its course, sent an embassy loaded with rich gifts to the king of Abyssinia, and asked him to let the Nile return to its old bed.”


A priest of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church with two deacons at the Blue Nile Falls, near the city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The “tails” on the vestments are an enigma, although they resemble the leopard pelts worn by the ancient Egyptian priests who presided over funerary rites, called sem priests. Depictions in Egyptian temples and tombs suggest that priests wore actual pelts, but nearly all of the rare surviving examples are made of painted linen. (© Chester Higgins)

Budge further recorded the words of an 18th century Ethiopian King, in the midst of a diplomatic disturbance, “the Nile would be sufficient to punish you, since God hath put into our power his fountain, his outlet, and his increase, and that we can dispose of the same to do you harm. . . .”

It seems there was interface among children of the river. But it is too early to know how much and whether this shared cultural legacy along the Nile dates back millennia or centuries, and if influence traveled upriver or down — or in both directions.



Left: BETSY KISSAM is a freelance writer and member of ARCE – NY. For the past four decades, she has been traveling with photographer Chester Higgins along the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Currently she is working with Higgins on a book project about the sacred passage of faith along the River Nile. Right: CHESTER HIGGINS is the author of eight books of his photography. Most recently he co-authored the book, Ancient Nubia: African Kingdoms on the Nile. For additional info see chesterhiggins.com and #chesterhiggins12.

Related:
Photos: Chester Higgins Honored by Ethiopian School Readiness Initiative

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Poorly Mapped: Dinaw Mengestu’s Essay in The New Yorker

Inside my family’s home, I could lay full claim to being an Ethiopian; on the streets of Addis Ababa, however, I had to contend with the obvious facts. - Dinaw Mengestu (Photo: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

The New Yorker

On my first day in Ethiopia, my aunt Aster asked me not to leave the house. “Stay home,” she said. “Don’t go outside alone.” Her father, my grandfather, had built the house forty years earlier, shortly after his eighth and final child was born. I had lived there for the first two years of my life, before my mother, my sister, and I left to join my father, who had migrated to America in 1978, in the wake of Ethiopia’s Communist revolution. It had been twenty-five years since I or anyone in my immediate family had been back to Ethiopia. My aunt, whom I met for the first time when I landed in Addis Ababa, told me that in the years since we had left practically nothing had changed in the bedroom that my mother, my sister, and I had shared. “Everything is the same,” she told me. “Even your mother’s shoes are still there.”

My aunt lived in the house with her teen-age daughter. She assured me that it had everything I needed to fill my day until she came home from work: satellite television, an Internet connection, and American food that she had bought especially for me.

There was no explanation for my aunt’s determination that I stay home, nor did I ask her for one. Before my arrival, in the fall of 2005, contested elections had led to protests and mass arrests, which my aunt shrugged off as benign affairs that were more frightening to us in the West than to the people who lived through them. “You have to understand,” she said. “We’re fine. We go to work. We live our lives.”

I didn’t tell my aunt that I had come to Ethiopia with what looked to be a hand-drawn map of central Addis Ababa, the best one I could find on the Internet. That map was vital to an idea that I had formed as a teen-ager—that I could recover everything that had been lost in migration if I found my way back to Ethiopia and walked the streets of Addis Ababa, visited the graves of relatives I couldn’t remember, and stood in front of the palace where Emperor Haile Selassie had been arrested.

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President Sahle-Work Zewde Speaks at 2019 Women Deliver Conference in Canada

President Sahle-Work Zewde. (Photo: WD2019 website)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Published: June 3rd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – This week in Vancouver, Canada more than 8,000 civil society leaders, academics, activists and journalists are gathering for the Women Deliver 2019 Conference,” the world’s largest international convention focusing on today’s most pressing issues dealing with gender equality. Among the main speakers featured include Ethiopia’s first female President, Sahle-Work Zewde, who is set to address the global gathering during the event’s kick-off program on Monday, June 3rd along with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

According to the organizers the President of Ethiopia will participate in a high-level panel moderated by BBC News journalist Lyse Doucet with participants that include Environmental Activist Farwiza Farhan, Women’s Rights Advocate Natasha Mwansa, Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau, and the United Nations High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth Dr. Alaa Murabit.

The Women Deliver 2019 Conference is taking place in Vancouver, Canada from Monday, June 3rd to Thursday, June 6th.

It is “the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women in the 21st century,” notes the event’s website. “It will serve as a catalyst for advocates working to achieve a more gender equal world. The conference will present new knowledge, promote world-class solutions, and engage a broad spectrum of voices. It will focus on several issues from health, nutrition, education, economic and political empowerment to human rights, good governance, and girls’ and women’s agency and equality.”

Below is a brief bio of President Sahle-Work Zewde as provided by the conference organizers:

SAHLE-WORK ZEWDE

Sahle-Work Zewde was elected as the fourth and first woman President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018.

She spent her first professional years in the Ministry of Education. She later joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1988 and started her long diplomatic carrier as ambassador to Senegal with accreditation to Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and the Gambia. She served in Djibouti and IGAD- Inter Governmental Authority on Development for 10 years before moving as ambassador of Ethiopia to France, Tunisia and Morocco and Permanent Representative to UNESCO. After her return to Ethiopia she was appointed Permanent Representative to the African Union and Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.

President Sahle-Work Zewde joined the United Nations in 2009 and served as Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General/SRSG/ and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) thus becoming the first African woman to become an SRSG.

In 2011, she was appointed as the first dedicated Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) at the level of Under-Secretary-General. In June 2018, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Ms. Zewde as his Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU). She was the first woman to hold these three positions at the United Nations.

Ms. Zewde is a mother of two boys. She speaks Amharic, French and English fluently.


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Lemn Sissay Wins the PEN Pinter Prize

Poet and Playwright Lemn Sissay Wins the PEN Pinter Prize. Lemn Sissay said: ‘What I like about this award is that it is from a great writer and a great organisation.’ (Photo: Lemn Sissay photographed in Canterbury Cathedral/The Observer)

The Guardian

Judges laud ability to forge beautiful words from sorrows as he sees it as sign to continue

Lemn Sissay has won the PEN Pinter prize, set up in memory of playwright Harold Pinter. Sissay, 52, who was an official poet for the London 2012 Olympics, grew up in care and has spoken about how he was imprisoned, bullied and physically abused by staff. He later made documentaries about the search for his family.

Writer Maureen Freely, one of the judges, said: ‘In his every work, Lemn Sissay returns to the underworld he inhabited as an unclaimed child. From his sorrows, he forges beautiful words and a thousand reasons to live and love.”

Sissay, who was FA Cup poet in 2015, said: “I met Harold Pinter when I was 36. We were on stage at the Royal Court. I was too intimidated or self-conscious to speak to him. And so I will now. ‘Thank you’.

“What I like about this award is that it is from a great writer and a great organisation. I accept it as a sign that I should continue.”

Lemn Sissay: ‘A childhood in care almost broke me – I needed to shine a light on it’

The poet, performer playwright, artist and broadcaster will receive the award at a ceremony at the British Library on 10 October.

Read more »


Related:

My Name Is Why: New Book by LEMN SISSAY

In Pictures: Tadias Salon Series in NYC Featuring Poet & Author Lemn Sissay

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Ethiopia’s Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi Meets U.S. Supreme Court Judge Stephen Breyer — In Pictures

Ethiopia's Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi meeting with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 31st, 2019. (Photo: Fitsum Arega @fitsumaregaa/Twitter)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: June 1st, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – The President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court Meaza Ashenafi is currently visiting the United States and has met with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer as part of her working trip.

Appointed by the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last fall Meaza, who is a women’s rights activist, is Ethiopia’s first female Chief Justice. She rose to international prominence in the late 1990s following her successful court case in Ethiopia that resulted in an end to the tradition of kidnapping girls for marriage. That case was the subject of the award-winning 2013 film Difret.

Meaza and Breyer met at the judge’s office in Washington D.C on Friday accompanied by Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Fitsum Arega.

“Justice Breyer emphasized the importance of rule of law and the independence of the judiciary to ensure peace and development,” Fitsum shared on social media after the meeting.

Below are photos:


Ethiopia’s Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 31st, 2019. (Photo: Fitsum Arega @fitsumaregaa/Twitter)


(Photo: Fitsum Arega @fitsumaregaa/Twitter)


Related:
Tadias Interview with Meaza Ashenafi & Aberash Bekele about ‘Difret’ Movie: 2015 in NYC

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PM Abiy’s VOA Interview Annotated

File photo: PM Abiy Ahmed at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C., July 26th, 2018. (Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

VOA News

PM Abiy: ‘All of My Intention and Action Is Aimed at Elevating Ethiopia’

WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gave his first interview to a Western news organization when he spoke to the Voice of America’s Horn of Africa service reporter Eskinder Firew, in Addis Ababa, in Amharic. These highlights from their conversation have been edited for brevity and clarity.

For the past year, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has led Ethiopia through dramatic changes. Entrenched ethnic tensions and complex regional conflicts have posed ongoing challenges to the young leader’s reform agenda, but he remains resolute in his desire to make the most of his time in office. Abiy spoke to VOA’s Eskinder Firew about Ethiopia’s relationship with neighbor Eritrea, judicial reforms and the imprint he hopes to leave.

Eskinder Firew: On the occasion of your first anniversary as prime minister, you said, “I am only planning to elevate Ethiopia to high standards, awaken the public and lift up a country that is hanging its head. I don’t have any other ill intentions other than that.” What did you mean by that?

Abiy Ahmed: I don’t believe that it’s proper to stay in power for long periods of time. And as long as I have power, I believe that I should use that to change people’s lives. But within my efforts working to bring change, there may be errors — but all of my intention and action is aimed at elevating Ethiopia.

My agenda is not to use certain groups. To attack certain groups. Or to push specific groups or oppress people. What I am working on is work that elevates Ethiopians. That’s what I want, and that is what I do.

I can confidently say that I will not be involved in killing people or benefiting by illegal means by taking away from other people’s pockets as long as I am in a position of leadership.

Firew: In your message to the government and people of Eritrea on the occasion of Eritrea’s Independence Day, you expressed Ethiopia’s readiness to remain committed to jointly addressing all outstanding issues the countries face. What are these “outstanding issues”?

Abiy: If we take the problem between Somalia and Kenya, we want Eritrea and South Sudan, along with Ethiopia, to help one another and provide support to solve these issues. We know that any problem between Somalia and Kenya can spill over toward us. Because of this, we would like to work together to solve it.

There is a wide-ranging issue as it relates to South Sudan. We don’t think that Ethiopia alone can solve the problem, and the same when it comes to the problem between us and Eritrea.

And there are also problems between Eritrea and other countries, too. So this is a region that has a lot of problems. But additionally, this is also a region that wants to move in the direction of integration.

Firew: The border closing between the two countries (Eritrea and Ethiopia) has continued until today. What is the situation currently?

Abiy: ​When the peace process started between the two sides, we saw the borders were widely opened on both sides. We can say that people were moving to and from — not like foreign countries, but movement similar to what happens within a country. There weren’t strict controls. And many people came from there to here, and from here to there. But that was not the only thing. Ethiopian opposition members who were based in Eritrea returned to Ethiopia, and Eritrean opposition members based in Ethiopia returned to Eritrea.

There needs to be a system where there is control and a custom-check system. And we need that capacity so that it would be possible to know what people are bringing in and out. There is a concern that if we leave the borders opened uncontrolled, that it would be difficult to prevent problems. We want to ensure that, if people are going from Ethiopia to Eritrea or from Eritrea to Ethiopia, it has to be for peace, development and tourism.

Firew: Regarding change in Ethiopia and legal reforms, some people say that, if the measures taken are enough, we would see the results. But because the measures taken aren’t enough, we see continuation of some things. What’s your response?

Abiy: ​Everyone should get equal treatment in the face of the law. It should never be used as a tool for revenge. When we respect the rule of law, it should be in accordance to that. So, when a government takes action, there are some who say that this decision was made by someone from my ethnic group or my community. But unless this thinking is gone or is depleted, it threatens the possibility of protecting the rule of law.

Within just this past year, there are so many people that could be jailed or face detention. Thousands are in prison charged with national security, corruption and displacement, etc. There is no need to put so many people in such a situation, because we want to reduce crime and not add prisoners. But we still have people undergoing these legal processes through the federal and regional levels. But this is not because we are not taking action, it is because we are in the process of focusing on clamping down on crimes that are serious. On the other hand, if we don’t think that the law doesn’t apply to all equally, we can’t have a sustainable future.


Related:
From Ethiopia With Love: PM Abiy Pens Open Letter to Diaspora Youth

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In DC Haile Gerima’s Bookstore Sankofa Takes Tax Fight to City Council

Ethiopian-American filmmaker and professor Haile Gerima's bookstore Sankofa that's located near Howard University in Washington, DC has been an oasis of Pan-African culture since it opened more than twenty years ago. But now as gentrification threatens its existence the small business is fighting back with a tax abatement bill scheduled for a public hearing on June 3rd, 2019. (Photo: Facebook)

WUSA9

DC gentrification threatens black-owned bookstore, cafe near Howard University

Sankofa was founded in 1998 and named after the famous film by its owners Haile and Gerima.

“Being in D.C. has been a lot of work in terms of our relationship with the city,” Gerima said. “Now with gentrification, the relationship has become more hostile so that the taxes we have to pay each year – $30,000 – is completely outrageous.”

The owners have taken their fight to the D.C. Council where a bill would free that tax burden for the next 10 years.

“What we’re facing now with gentrification is what we’ve been facing since we’ve been here,” Gerima said. “On steroids.”

It’s a move they hope will keep the culture they’ve worked so hard to preserve for the last two decades.

“It’s all about the Benjamins, my sista (sp), it’s all about the Benjamins,” Yilma said.

Sankofa is home for many, including those looking to learn about the African experience.

“There’s a lot of history to learn here at Sankofa,” Sampson Meskel said.

“We are quite proud of what we have here,” co-owner Shirikiana Gerima said.

“When everybody benefits when everybody co-exists it’s good,” Yilma, a customer, said.

The owners want supporters to show up and show out. The tax abatement bill to save Sankofa is scheduled for a public hearing at the Wilson Building Monday, June 3 at 10 a.m.

“I don’t want the city to feel like they’re doing me a favor,” Gerima said. “They should be saying ‘thank you Lordy’ because businesses like this have contributed to the strength of the city.”


You can learn more and help Sankofa stay open at http://support.sankofa.com.

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From Ethiopia With Love: PM Abiy Pens Open Letter to Diaspora Youth

(Photo by Matt Andrea for Tadias Magazine)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 26th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has written an open letter addressed to young people in the Diaspora reminding the next generation that Ethiopia also belongs to them and they should take direct stake in its future.

“I am writing this letter to you as an eternal reminder that this country is your home and that you will always be a part of Ethiopia,” PM Abiy said in his letter. “On my various travels around the world, I have seen the hope that you embrace for your country, and the type of humane society that you hope Ethiopians would live in.” He added: “As Ethiopian youth and children in the Diaspora, Ethiopia also belongs to you as the next caretaker generation.”

In the letter — which has been already shared hundreds of times on social media since it was released on Saturday, May 25th — the Prime Minister emphasized five key areas of how Ethiopians around the world can be engaged in activities over the summer including organizing volunteer work in Ethiopia, participating in discussion forums in their adopted countries, and thinking about “knowledge transfer” such as collecting books, computers and other resources for the upcoming Addis Ababa City library.

“Generate ideas and solutions and share them with us,” he said. “I have paid and continue to pay keen attention to your economic abilities and contributions. We must work together to narrate the story of the present and set in stone the guiding principles for the future.”

Below is the full text of the letter:

From Abiy Ahmed: Message to Ethiopian Youth and Children in the Diaspora

Dear Ethiopian Youth and Children in the Diaspora,

I am writing this letter to you as an eternal reminder that this country is your home and that you will always be a part of Ethiopia. On my various bilateral-centered travels around the world, I have seen the hope that you embrace for your country, and the type of humane society that you hope Ethiopians would live in. You understand ‘Medemer’ and always have sought ways to be unified as one. Your sensitivity to the needs of others and the immediate action you take to help is at the core of Ethiopia – the New Horizon of Hope. A place of mystical wonders, cultures, rich traditions with a colorful mosaic of people whose faiths are as strong as her people.

Today, Ethiopia is experiencing a resurrection of hope. Hope that you have fought for from a distance. Hope that you and your parents, near and far, have prayed for. Hope that you held on to even when at times it seemed impossible. You held an enduring love and an unwavering faith in the possibilities of Ethiopia being a great nation. You never lost sight of light that leads to hope. As such, you dressed up and flaunted your Ethiopian identity at your school’s international day celebration; you hosted Ethiopian day and, proactively engaged in policies of your host nations that may concern the betterment of Ethiopia. You proudly held up Ethiopia’s flag wherever you could and defended your country’s glorious history. It is my wish you continue sharing in your various spheres of influence all that makes Ethiopia great.

It is also my wish that you seize the current prevailing opportunities and good will to contribute to your country when it needs you most. Alongside our greatness, we also shoulder as a country, many challenges and responsibilities that requires our concerted efforts as Ethiopians. As you know the rainy season in Ethiopia is upon us and schools are closed. Similarly, where most of you reside, the summer break is also ahead of you. I hope during the period you will take time to think about your country and the ways in which you can act in its favor. Many of the pleasures and conveniences you enjoy in the respective countries you live in have all been built on solid foundation. The roads you drive on, the playgrounds and parks you play in, the libraries in which you study – those that came before you planted these seeds, watered them and nurtured them until they bloomed.

As Ethiopian youth and children in the Diaspora, Ethiopia also belongs to you as the next caretaker generation. While my administration and I work tirelessly to build a democratic country, I welcome you to come home during the rainy season and to take part in the new experiences, be a part of the tangible and sustainable developments being made in every corner and direction, teach us to do things differently and better with your immeasurable knowledge, and to simply enjoy the various tourism attractions and destinations Ethiopia, your home country, has to offer.

While the needs are plenty and the opportunities to contribute even greater, I call upon you to at least engage in the following five things during the Ethiopian rainy season and your respective summer breaks:

1. Do not lose hope on your country. Focus your energy and drive on the seedlings of hope for they will soon flourish into reality with our collective efforts. Believe that we have the capacity to change; to act and to make history. Let not temporary obstacles be a defining factor.

2. Be a vehicle for knowledge transfer to Ethiopia. Introduce novel ways of doing things. Collect books, computers, medical equipment and other technologies where you are so that you may change the lives of your brothers and sisters here that need you. Develop digital libraries and enable students in Ethiopia to have free access to resources. Come and volunteer to teach skills and courses in schools here.

3. More importantly, you must organize yourselves to collect catalogues of books and other print materials in as many languages as possible for the newly announced library that is to be constructed in Addis Ababa as to ensure Ethiopia’s next-generation leaders, doctors, scientist, educators and interest of all fields do not leave Ethiopia to research any topic of interest whether it is for graduate, undergraduate, masters or PhD programs.

4. Come and volunteer your time in various establishments throughout the country and share your knowledge and skills of modern and innovative service delivery. Ethiopia calls on the diaspora community to serve your home country through various types of volunteer activities such as the #EveryDayWeCleanEthiopia cleaning and cleansing initiative and the four billion tree planting project.

5. Organize various youth discussion platforms in which you can share ideas on current challenges in the country and opportunities for overcoming them. Present study papers and discuss among yourselves; generate ideas and solutions and share them with us.

I have paid and continue to pay keen attention to your economic abilities and contributions. We must work together to narrate the story of the present and set in stone the guiding principles for the future. With the rapid changes, Ethiopia’s societal needs are insurmountable and evident. The resources that are at the disposal of the diaspora community are immeasurable. Our collective efforts are paramount in stabilizing the paradigm shift and one of the key ways to do so is through philanthropic endeavors and volunteerism.

Similarly, I want to remind us all about our the most important sector that the Ethiopian diaspora can make a meaningful contribution in which will have an almost immediate impact – the tourism sector. Ethiopia boasts a total of nine UNESCO Heritage sites with eight of the nine sites being cultural sites with one natural site. While tourism has lagged in the past, Ethiopia has introduced many reforms making tourism one of the key priority sectors for investment. It is no secret; tourism has compounded impact. Tourism contributes to local small and medium scale businesses, generates profits at every level of the sector, creates sustainable jobs. Ethiopia will benefit from the tax revenues generated and income across all regions will increase. Tourism, by far, creates the most direct effect within the sector specially in lodging, restaurants, transportation, museums and retail.

Here is where the diaspora community support is important for tourism by being the ambassadors of all things Ethiopia, encouraging global destination management agencies to turn their face towards Ethiopia and even, chaperoning groups to visit Ethiopia. It goes without saying that the diaspora holds many of the pertinent keys that will accelerate the growth and sustainable development of this country.

While Ethiopia was built to be a great nation, I write this letter to affirm that you are needed in strengthening the pillars of Ethiopia as part of the elaborate mosaic of diverse people that comprise it. Greatness is only achieved when Medemer is our collective cause; a strong, unified Ethiopia that is filled with endless possibilities for her children today, tomorrow and generations to come.

Welcome home to Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed Ali

Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia


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Meet the Ethiopian-American Candidate Running for City Council in Idaho

Ethiopian-American Tecle Gebremichael, who serves as a petroleum supply specialist in the United States Army Reserves, is running for a City Council seat in Boise, Idaho. Tecle told the Idaho Statesman newspaper that his goal is to bring a new perspective to the council as a West Boisean and a new American.

Idaho Statesman

A new candidate entered the race for Boise City Council on Thursday, marking the fourth person running for seats on the council.

Tecle Gebremichael, an Ethiopian refugee who came to Boise in 2012 and became an American citizen in 2017, said in a phone interview that his goal is to bring a new perspective to the council as a West Boisean and a new American.

“I think my campaign started from gratitude,” he said. “I came here with a couple of pairs of shoes, and this country was able to provide everything I need.”

Gebremichael serves as a petroleum supply specialist in the United States Army Reserves. He is working on a degree in political science from Boise State University and will graduate in a few semesters, he said.

He is also a nationally accredited language-service provider and a soccer coach for Nations United under Idaho Rush Soccer Club. His past jobs include a role as a computer lab monitor at College of Western Idaho and as a legislative intern in the Idaho Statehouse. The Idaho Office for Refugees awarded him with the Refugee Success and Integration Award in 2014.

Three of the six council seats are up for grabs every two years. In November, Boise voters will choose candidates for Seats 1, 3 and 5. Boise has at-large council elections, and the numbers don’t represent any seniority or privilege. In a release announcing his candidacy, Gebremichael said he had not yet made a choice on which seat he would seek.

Seats 1 and 3 are open. Council President Lauren McLean, who announced her bid for mayor on Monday, is in Seat 1, while Councilmember Scot Ludwig, who said he would not run again, is in Seat 3. Council President Pro Tem Elaine Clegg is in Seat 5. She has not announced whether she will run again.

Decisions on specific seats do not need to be made until the filing deadline of Sept. 6.

Others running for council includes Brady Fuller, Jimmy Hallyburton and Debbie Lombard-Bloom. Fuller announced he would run for Seat 1, while Hallyburton and Lombard-Bloom have said their intention is to run for Seat 3.

The election is Nov. 5.


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From Rural Ethiopia to UC Berkeley

Lelisa Bera is graduating on Wednesday, May 22, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. (Photo: UC Berkeley)

UC Berkeley

From Farming in Rural Ethiopia to Graduating from UC Berkeley

Growing up in rural Ethiopia, Lelisa Bera knew that getting an education wasn’t a given. It was a privilege that many parents couldn’t afford to give their children.

He was born in a village in the Oromia Region called Dawo Saden, where his mom and dad worked as farmers. They spent long hours in the fields harvesting vegetables and grains, and tending to cattle and goats. By age 5, Lelisa began to help his parents with the labor.

“There was not much to inspire you to go to school,” he says. “I would see one student going to school from one area, another from a different area. But for most kids, their families needed them to stay home and help at the farm. There’s a very high illiteracy rate.”

When Lelisa turned 7, his mom decided that he would go to school. It was a long walk — three hours, round trip — and Lelisa didn’t own a pair of shoes. But his mom hoped education would be a worthwhile investment, so she pushed her son to make the daily trek.

On Wednesday, May 22, Bera, now 32, will receive his bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Berkeley. It’s an accomplishment that he sees not as an ending, but as a launching-off point for sharing what he’s learned at Berkeley with the world.

And without a teacher who gently encouraged him to think bigger, he might never have made it to where he is today.

Read more »

Watch: UC Berkeley students long journey to graduation started in Ethiopia (abc7news)


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UPDATE: Pics From ZAAF Fashion Photo Show at Smithsonian in DC

The event hosted by the Ethiopian fashion brand ZAAF took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: July 4th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — This week the Ethiopian leather fashion brand ZAAF hosted a photo exhibition and a documentary presentation of its latest collection shot in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression — known as one of the hottest places on earth. The event took place at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C. on Monday, July 1st.


Related:

In Pictures: Ethiopia’s Zaaf Brand Opens First US Store in DC

Video: CNN African Voices Feature on ZAFF

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In New York Ethiopian Cultural Festival at the Children’s Museum of the Arts

Photo: Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association event in New York City. (Tadias archive)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: May 20th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Next month an interactive arts workshop inspired by artists from Ethiopia including Ezra Wube, Addis Gezehagn, Elias Sime, Afewerk Tekle as well as singer and songwriter Gigi is set to take place at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York City.

The event organized by the CMA in collaboration with the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) and the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee (ESAC) will be held on Sunday, June 2nd from 10am to 5pm. Organizers note that the cultural festival will also feature traditional dancing (Eskista) and a coffee ceremony.

Below are brief descriptions of the art workshops:

Collaborative Subway Mural inspired by Ezra Wube in Fine Arts:

Ezra Wube is an Ethiopian New Yorker telling stories about NYC through animation and vivid imagery. Wube’s work reflects on the movement of the city. You can see his piece at the Fulton Street Station called Fulton Street Flow! How would you use art to beautify a subway station? Join us in creating a collaborative subway mural integrating our many cultures!

Dreamy Cityscapes inspired by Addis Gezehagn in Fine Arts:

Addis Gezehagn paints dreamlike deconstructed and layered renderings of urban landscapes rising above the ground. Each patch of color he uses represents buildings and doors. At the program young artists can use cutouts of color, paintings, magazine pages, and even their own colored drawings to layer squares to construct a cityscape.

Recycled Topographies inspired by Elias Sime in the Gallery:

Elias Sime is an Ethiopian artist using recycled materials to create relief sculptures and assemblages that look like looks like topographical maps or aerial views of complex city systems. We will use recycled materials as well as decorative materials like beads and pom poms to create our own relief sculptures inspired by Sime’s work and Ethiopia.

Afewerk Tekle Windows in the Clay Bar:

Using the artist Afewerk Tekle’s stained glass pieces as inspiration, design your own stylized clay tab, in a fractured stained glass visual!

Building Stained Glass Windows with Afewerk Tekle in the Media Lab:

Using either the stained glass style slab from Clay Bar, or found materials in the Media Lab, add motion to your stained glass pieces!

Sounds of Gigi in the Sound Booth:

Using melodies inspired by the famous Ethiopian singer Gigi, create your own songs layered over her fusion of contemporary and traditional soundscapes!


If You Go:
Ethiopian Cultural Festival
Sunday, Jun 02, 10 am to 5 pm
At CMA, 103 Charlton Street, New York
Click here to get tickets

Related:
In NYC ECMAA Expands Program to Include Community Soccer Games

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In Pictures: DC Event on Ethiopia’s Digital Economy

Ethiopia's Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega (right) at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC on Thursday, May 16, 2019 during an event highlighting Ethiopia’s Digital and Creative Economy hosted by Your Ethiopian Professionals Network (YEP) in partnership with Africa Technology Foundation (ATF), U.S. State Department, and Ethiopians in Tech (EIT). (Photo by Matt Andrea)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 17th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Yesterday a forum was held in Washington, DC titled “Deep Dive on Ethiopia’s Digital and Creative Economy,” which was hosted by YEP, in collaboration with Africa Technology Foundation (ATF), U.S. State Department, and Ethiopians in Tech (EIT).

The YEP event was in addition to the “Ethiopia Partnership Forum” that was hosted by the U.S. State Department in DC on Thursday.

The ‘Deep Dive’ discussion was held at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and featured presentations on Ethiopia’s startup economy exploring the innovative and burgeoning IT sector as well as emerging creative industries including film, fashion and the arts.

Below are photos from the event:


Related:
U.S. State Department hosts “Ethiopia Partnership Forum”

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Why There Is A Need For A Long-Term Investment Model In Ethiopia – Forbes

An aerial view of a new industrial park built in Hawassa, Ethiopia. (GOOGLE)

Forbes

In the last several years, a growing number of global apparel companies have begun having their products manufactured in Ethiopia. For these firms, Ethiopia has become the new low-wage frontier. The East African country now competes with Bangladesh, Vietnam and other South and East Asian nations for a share of the massive volume of global garment production. In this competition, Ethiopia has the dubious distinction of offering the lowest pay anywhere in the worldwide clothing supply chain—and that’s the main reason the big brands are drawn there.

But increasingly it has become clear that these firms need to invest more resources into Ethiopia both to make their make production profitable and sustainable over time, and to ensure that Ethiopians are better off because of their presence. Among the steps they will need to take are to increase wages, enhance training, and help provide housing and other basic necessities to the young women who come from around the country to work in the clothing factories. The challenge these firms face in Ethiopia is to balance the pressures to reduce the costs of production with the realization that to succeed over the longer term, they will need to invest more money. This longer-term view is in tension with what many Wall Street investors and analysts are expecting them to do, driven in part by a mistaken understanding of directors’ legal duties to shareholders.

For the last half-century, most analysts and investors have embraced an antiquated investment model that focuses heavily on maximizing short-term shareholder returns. They have focused on these short-term returns at the expense of longer-term wealth creation for corporations and society at large. This focus took shape in the 1970s, when economist Milton Friedman and then others asserted that corporate CEOs are merely agents of shareholders, responsible for conducting business in accordance with shareholders’ core interest: maximizing stock prices. In an often-quoted 1970 article in The New York Times Magazine, Friedman wrote that corporate executives have a fiduciary duty to conduct business in accordance with the desires of shareholders, which he defined as making “as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society, both those embodied in law and those embodied in ethical custom.”

Read more »


Related:
Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid (AP)
Made in Ethiopia: Changes in Garment Industry’s New Frontier (NYU)

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Leaked Audio: Before Ethiopia Crash Pilots ‘Raised Boeing Safety Fears’

In a closed door meeting with Boeing executives last November, which was secretly recorded, American Airlines' pilots can be heard expressing concerns about the safety of MCAS. They urged swift action after the first deadly 737 Max crash off Indonesia in October, according to audio obtained by CBS and the New York Times. But this had not been rolled out when an Ethiopian Airlines' 737 Max crashed four months later, killing 157 people. (Getty Images)

BBC

American Airlines pilots confronted Boeing about potential safety issues in its 737 Max planes in a meeting last November, US media are reporting.

They urged swift action after the first deadly 737 Max crash off Indonesia in October, according to audio obtained by CBS and the New York Times.

Boeing reportedly resisted their calls but promised a software fix.

But this had not been rolled out when an Ethiopian Airlines’ 737 Max crashed four months later, killing 157 people.

Currently 737 Max planes are grounded worldwide amid concerns that an anti-stall system may have contributed to both crashes.

Boeing is in the process of updating the system, known as MCAS, but denies it was solely to blame for the disasters.

In a closed door meeting with Boeing executives last November, which was secretly recorded, American Airlines’ pilots can be heard expressing concerns about the safety of MCAS.

Boeing vice-president Mike Sinnett told the pilots: “No one has yet to conclude that the sole cause of this was this function on the airplane.”

Later in the meeting, he added: “The worst thing that can ever happen is a tragedy like this, and the even worse thing would be another one.”

Boeing declined to comment on the November meeting, saying: “We are focused on working with pilots, airlines and global regulators to certify the updates on the Max and provide additional training and education to safely return the planes to flight.”

Read more »


Related:

Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Ethiopian CEO on Future of 737 Max (NBC)

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam speaks out about whether or not his airline will ever fly a Boeing 737 Max 8 again following the deadly crash in March that left 157 dead. "This should not happen again to any airline, even a single life should not be put at risk," Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said. (NBC News)

NBC News

Ethiopian Airlines CEO wants rigorous review of Boeing 737-MAX planes following fatal crash

Two months after Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed, killing all 157 people on board, the CEO of the airline said his crews and passengers have lost confidence in the Boeing 737-MAX and he wants the company to conduct a more thorough review of the plane.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News on Monday, Tewolde Gebremariam said that the airline doesn’t yet know if it will fly the Boeing 737-MAX planes again. But he said, “At this stage I cannot, I cannot fully say that the airplane will fly back on Ethiopian Airlines. It may, if we are fully convinced and if we are able to convince our pilots, if we are ever to convince our traveling public.”

However, he also said that if the planes were back in service, Ethiopian Airlines would be “the last airline to fly them again.” “We have not got a time to discuss on the return to service and we have made it very clear on several occasions we would not be the first one to return their airplane back to air.”

Gebremariam said it’s not enough for Boeing to only review the “MCAS” anti-stall system believed responsible for the fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. He wants a much more rigorous review of the plane.

“We strongly believe that entire flight control system needs to be reviewed,” he said.

“It’s very abnormal for a new airplane to have two accidents, fatal accidents in a span of five months,” he said. “These are brand new airplanes.”

Read more »


Related:
Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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UK Kidnapped this Ethiopian Prince in 1868, Still Refuses to Return His Remains

British soldiers kidnapped Prince Alemayehu in 1868 after they stormed and looted his father’s mountain-top palace in Ethiopia following the Battle of Maqdala. 150 years later UK is still rejecting Ethiopia's request to return his remains so he can properly be reburied at home. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 12th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia’s request to repatriate the remains of Prince Alemayehu is once again being rebuffed by England.

The young Prince was kidnapped by British soldiers following the Battle of Maqdala 150 years ago and transported to England along with tons of stolen Ethiopian treasures.

“The Queen has sparked a diplomatic row after refusing to allow the bones of a ‘stolen’ Ethiopian prince buried in the grounds of Windsor Castle to be repatriated,” the Daily Mail reported.

“Prince Alemayehu was brought to England after his father, Emperor Tewodros II, killed himself as British forces stormed his mountain-top palace in northern Ethiopia in 1868.”

Prince Alemayehu, who died at the age of 18, eleven years after his kidnapping ordeal, is buried next to St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

The Daily Mail notes that “the Ethiopian government demanded the return of his remains 12 years ago and has grown increasingly frustrated at being rebuffed by Buckingham Palace.” The report added: “Last night Fesseha Shawel Gebre, Ethiopia’s ambassador to London, urged the Queen to consider how she would feel if one of her deceased relatives was buried in a foreign land. ‘Would she happily lie in bed every day, go to sleep, having one of her Royal Family members buried somewhere, taken as prisoner of war?’ he asked. ‘I think she wouldn’t.’”

The Ethiopian government has emphasized that they would stick to their request to return Prince Alemayehu’s remains at every opportunity they have to meet with members of the British government.


Related:
The Battle Over Ethiopia’s Meqdela Treasures Heats Up
Ethiopians Urge Britain to Return Remains of Prince Alemayehu After 150 Years
150 Years After His Death Ethiopia Commemorates Life of Tewodros II
UK Museum Wants to Loan Ethiopia Looted Ethiopian Treasures. Why Not Return It?

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A CNN Hero, A Midwife, MeTooEthiopia: 3 Great News Stories You May Have Missed

(Photos: CNN Hero Freweini Mebrahtu, midwife Selamawit Lake and image from Shades of Injera Instagram)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 10th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – A CNN Hero from Ethiopia, an award-wining midwife, and the burgeoning #MeTooEthiopia movement that began as an Instagram post launched by an Ethiopian American activist in the Diaspora are among the timely human-interest stories that have received international coverage this week, but unfortunately has garnered very little media attention in our community.

Below are brief summaries and links to each story:

CNN Hero Freweini Mebrahtu

CNN celebrated Freweini Mebrahtu, a U.S.-educated chemical engineer and owner of the Mariam Seba Sanitary Products factory in Ethiopia — that produces its own patented reusable menstrual pad — as its 2019 CNN Hero for her efforts in creating public awareness about women’s health in the country and dispelling the traditionally negative perception surrounding menstruation.

“More than 80% of the pads she manufactures are sold to non-governmental organizations that distribute them for free,” CNN notes. “Mebrahtu, also worked for years to end the stigma around this issue by speaking to students at schools.”

As Freweini told CNN: “The whole goal was not only making the pads, but also attacking the cultural baggage to it.”

Read more »

Award-wining Midwife Selamawit Lake Fenta

NPR featured a Q&A session with Ethiopian Midwife Selamawit Lake Fenta who was named one of this year’s five champions by the International Confederation of Midwives.

According to NPR, “the group picked the five from nominations submitted by members from 122 countries. The goal was to honor midwives who’ve made an impact in their community. Fenta, 30, works at the Tibebe Ghion Hospital in Bahir Dar City in Ethiopia and is the department head and a lecturer of midwifery at Bahir Dar University.”

NPR also noted that eight year ago, when Selamawit was just 22-years-old, she led a crusade for higher pay for midwives in Ethiopia, where a majority of her colleagues earn about $56 to $84 a month. “We are not paid fairly,” Selamawit said.

Read more »

#MeTooEthiopia: ‘Assault is a crime, not a culture’

Public Radio International (PRI) recently highlighted the growing online campaign under the hashtag #MeTooEthiopia, which started out on the Instagram page called “Shades of Injera” in 2014 before it was transformed into a global platform for the rights of Ethiopian women a few months ago following the release of the explosive documentary ‘Surviving R. Kelly.’

Describing efforts to promote #MeTooEthiopia PRI noted that: “on International Women’s Day this year the page featured the face of the country’s first female president photoshopped onto an image of Rosie the Riveter.”

PRI spoke with one of the Ethiopian Americans running the Instagram page who declined to share her real name — and goes by ‘S’ in the interview “because she wants to continue to post questions and speak freely about sensitive topics” and “has received threats over things she’s posted.”

PRI adds: “S. says the R. Kelly documentary made her ask, “Who are the men in their own Ethiopian community who prey on younger women?” Within days, hundreds of women and some men began sharing their own stories of sexual assault. “Everyone was saying, ‘I’ve actually never shared this before. This is my first time saying it,’” says S. “People were desperate to do something and, you know, get their story out.” The response was so overwhelming that they created a separate website called #MeTooEthiopia with the tagline, “assault is a crime, not a culture.”


Related:
Spotlight: #MeTooEthiopia “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture”

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Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report

Boeing knew about 737 Max safety problems two years before the deadly Ethiopia and Indonesia crashes, according to a statement released by the company this week. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max aircraft/Boeing)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 8th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – Boeing was aware of the software problem with its 737 Max aircraft as far back as 2017, long before the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10th of this year that killed all 157 on board as well as the prior Indonesian Lion Air accident that took the lives of 189 passengers.

Boeing made the stunning admission in a press release this past weekend noting that it discovered a software related issue with the 737 Max two years ago, but it deemed the now globally grounded airplane safe after an internal examination.

“In 2017, within several months after beginning 737 MAX deliveries, engineers at Boeing identified that the 737 MAX display system software did not correctly meet the AOA Disagree alert requirements,” the statement said. “When the discrepancy between the requirements and the software was identified, Boeing followed its standard process for determining the appropriate resolution of such issues.” The press release added: “That review, which involved multiple company subject matter experts, determined that the absence of the AOA Disagree alert did not adversely impact airplane safety or operation. Accordingly, the review concluded, the existing functionality was acceptable until the alert and the indicator could be delinked in the next planned display system software update. Senior company leadership was not involved in the review and first became aware of this issue in the aftermath of the Lion Air accident.”

In the case of the Ethiopia crash, investigators have preliminarily ruled that a malfunctioning software flight data sensor was to blame for the accident and that the pilots performed all the procedures recommended by Boeing but could not control the plane.

The Boing revelation also comes on the heels of a recent Times article entitled “Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet” listing complaints of poor-quality manufacturing at one of its plants that raises more questions about Boeing’s overall credibility on the matter.

“Boeing is issuing a display system software update, to implement the AOA Disagree alert as a standard, standalone feature before the MAX returns to service,” the press release added.

But a recently released study shows that the public is skeptical. “In a survey of 1,765 fliers conducted by Barclays Investment Bank, 44 percent of respondents said they would wait a year or more before flying the 737 Max, compared with 39 percent who said they would do so within a few months of its reentry into service,” The Washington Post reported yesterday. “Only 20 percent said they would fly on a Max as soon as the grounding order is lifted, and 52 percent said they would rather fly on another type of aircraft.”


Related:
Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

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Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid

According to a new study released this week by the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights "Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide," AP reports. (Photo: Global Apparel Forum)

The Associated Press

Correction: Ethiopia-Garment Workers’ Pay story

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — In a story May 7 about (topic), The Associated Press reported erroneously that the apparel retailer Gap sources clothing made in Ethiopia. Gap does not source clothing made in Ethiopia and the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights regrets its error in identifying Gap in its report about labor in Ethiopia.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Report: Ethiopia’s garment workers are world’s lowest paid

Report: Ethiopia’s garment workers are the world’s lowest paid at $26 a month

By ELIAS MESERET

Associated Press

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopian garment factory workers are now, on average, the lowest paid in any major garment-producing company worldwide, a new report says.

The report by the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights comes as Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, pursues a bold economic experiment by inviting the global garment industry to set up shop in its mushrooming industrial parks.

“The government’s eagerness to attract foreign investment led it to promote the lowest base wage in any garment-producing country — now set at the equivalent of $26 a month,” according to the authors of the report, Paul M. Barrett and Dorothée Baumann-Pauly.

In comparison, Chinese garment workers earn $340 a month, those in Kenya earn $207 and those in Bangladesh earn $95.

Drawn by the newly built industrial parks and a range of financial incentives, manufacturers for many international brands employ tens of thousands of Ethiopian workers in a sector the government predicts will one day have billions of dollars in sales.

The new report is based on a visit earlier this year to the flagship Hawassa Industrial Park that opened in June 2017 in southern Ethiopia and currently employs 25,000 people. Ethiopian leaders often show off the industrial park, 140 miles (225 kilometers) south of Addis Ababa, to visiting foreign dignitaries.

According to the report, most young Ethiopian workers are hardly able to get by to the end of the month and are not able to support family members. “I’m left with nothing at the end of the month,” one factory worker, Ayelech Geletu, 21, told The Associated Press last year.

The minimum monthly living wage in Ethiopia is about $110), according to Ayele Gelan, a research economist at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.

“Given relatively little training, restive employees have protested by stopping work or quitting altogether. Productivity in the Hawassa factories typically is low, while worker disillusionment and attrition are high,” the report says.

Ethiopian politics are also unexpectedly disrupting factory operations. “The Ethiopian government should address ethnic tension in Hawassa and elsewhere,” the report says.

It calls on the government to implement a long-term economic plan for strengthening the apparel industry and establish a minimum wage that ensures decent living conditions.

Abebe Abebayehu, head of Ethiopia’s Investment Commission, told the AP that most garment and apparel factories prefer to locate in places with low labor costs.

“If that was not the case, Chinese companies wouldn’t have come to Ethiopia,” Abebe said. He also questioned the report’s monthly pay figure of $26 per month: “That is a basic salary but in Ethiopia the factories also provide a workplace meal and other services.”

___
Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

Related:
Made in Ethiopia: Changes in Garment Industry’s New Frontier (NYU)

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Spotlight: VOA’s Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia

Negussie Mengesha who began his journalism career in the U.S. as an Amharic reporter at Voice of America in the 1980's is now the head of VOA’s Africa Division overseeing the agency’s nearly 125 hours of weekly programming in 16 languages on radio, television, and digital platforms to the African continent - reaching nearly 51 million people weekly. (Photo: VOA)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: May 5th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Voice of America (VOA) has been a voice for the voiceless in Ethiopia for many decades, and one of the main people behind this effort is Negussie Mengesha, who started out as young reporter then became an editor, Amharic Chief and is now the Director of the Africa division for VOA.

In the following video Negussie explains how he fled Ethiopia in the 1970s and became a refugee in Sudan before relocating to the U.S. all because he was unable to practice his profession as a journalist in his home country due to the repressive government at the time.

Thanks to the current reforms underway in Ethiopia Negussie was able to return to Ethiopia for the first time in four decades last October. In addition to an emotional visit to his parents’ burial grounds, Negussie said one of the highlights of his trip was meeting with PM Abiy Ahmed.

“I thanked him for opening up the political space and for allowing the media to operate freely,” Negussie said. “That meeting for me was very, very important.” He added: “Freedom of the press is close to my heart. I have seen journalists killed because they wrote freely, because they exposed corruption, mismanagement or also injustice.”

As to VOA he said: “This place is more than a workplace for me, it’s like my family. I started out as reporter, then became a senior editor, then became the Amharic Chief.”

Negussie says VOA is planing to strengthen its presence in Ethiopia and added: “Hopefully one day we will have a VOA 24/7.”

Watch: Negussie Mengesha on New Media Freedoms in Ethiopia


Related:
Freedom of Expression: Newly Vocal Ethiopians Debate an Uncertain Future
After years of repression, Ethiopia’s media is free — and fanning the flames of ethnic tension
World Press Freedom Day events raise alarm on fake news (AP)
Ethiopian Selected as Official Carrier for 2019 World Press Freedom Day
Tadias Reflection on PM Abiy’s One Year in Office

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Mulatu Astatke Coming to Chicago

Mulatu Astatke is coming to Chicago this month for a sold-out concert at Garfield Park Conservatory on May 14th, 2019. (Photo: Alexis Maryon (C) 2013 for Harmonia Mundi)

Chicago Reader

Mulatu Astatke continues his Ethio-jazz evolution

Vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke has a seamless way of fusing the music of his native Ethiopia with jazz and Latin music (and you can hear a little bit of R&B in that mix too). On paper this esoteric brew might seem like an acquired taste, but in reality it’s just one worldly step away from Lonnie Liston Smith, Atlantic-era Les McCann, or any other 70s musician who tweaked jazz to follow popular tastes without watering down their sounds. On Astatke’s 1966 debut album, Afro-Latin Soul, he blended Ethiopian melodies with Latin jazz so skillfully that an inexperienced listener would never know either genre had been altered, but Astatke was bringing a different spice to the table. He recorded that album and its follow-up, Afro-Latin Soul Vol. 2, while living in New York, but though his work at the time reflected the musical culture of his adopted city, he never forgot the sounds of his homeland—and in the early 70s, he brought his hybrid style back to Africa, becoming one of the founders of the Ethio-jazz movement.

Read more »


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Elias Sime Set for Major U.S. Museum Shows in NY, Ohio and Kansas

Elias Sime. (Photo by Mekbib Tadesse)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 30th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Sime is set for his first major traveling U.S. museum exhibition this year starting at Wellin Museum of Art in New York in the fall followed by shows at Akron Art Museum in Ohio, the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.

According to organizers the first exhibition at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College will be held from September 7 through December 8, 2019 and will feature work by the Ethiopian artist spanning over a decade. The exhibit entitled Elias Sime: Tightrope includes “a large outdoor site-specific sculpture, created out of repurposed computer parts, electrical wires, bronze and clay.”

Elias’ latest body of work titled Noiseless is also currently on display at the James Cohan Gallery in New York City.

As the Wellin Museum notes “Elias Sime (b. 1968 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in Addis Ababa. He is highly regarded as an artist and as the co-founder of the ZOMA Museum, the only contemporary art museum in Addis Ababa, with curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued.”

Below is an overview of the exhibition courtesy of Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College:

“The exhibition Elias Sime: Tightrope marks the first major museum show to focus on the work of contemporary Ethiopian artist Elias Sime (b. 1968). Sime’s brightly-colored tableaux and sculptural assemblages feature found objects including thread, buttons, bottle caps, electrical wires, and computer detritus. The exhibition highlights the artist’s work from the last decade, much of which comprises the series entitled “Tightrope,” alongside a selection of early works critical to the artist’s development. Repurposing salvaged electronic components, such as circuits and keyboards, Sime incorporates the refuse that results from technological advancement, and points to the urgency of and different approaches to sustainability. A post consumerist critique, the artist’s work is a commentary on the fact that countries in Africa are often the repositories of e-waste imported from elsewhere in the world. The work also incorporates redundant technologies from the former Soviet Union and the the West, highlighting Ethiopia’s complex political past. The resulting abstractions reference landscape and the figure, and often employ patterning drawn from traditional Ethiopian textiles. The title “Tightrope” refers to the precarious balance between the progress technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment. Featuring over 20 works of art of varying scales, including new work created by the artist to debut in this exhibition, Elias Sime: Tightrope explores the breath of Sime’s work which focuses on interconnectedness as both a literal and conceptual practice.”

Elias Sime: Tightrope will be accompanied by the first monograph focusing on the work of Elias Sime and features contributions by Tracy L. Adler; Meskerem Assegued, anthropologist, curator and founder of the Zoma Museum; Karen Milbourne, Curator of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution; and Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, Curator of African Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This book will be co-published by the Wellin Museum of Art and Delmonico Books • Prestel.”

Additional dates for Sime’s other museum exhibitions are as follows:

Akron Art Museum in Akron, Ohio – February 29 – May 24, 2020

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri – June 11 – September 13, 2020

Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada – December 12, 2020 – April 18, 2021


You can learn more about the Wellin Museum of Art at www.hamilton.edu/wellin

Related:
Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

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Noiseless: Elias Sime’s New Exhibition Opens in NYC

ELIAS SIME, Tightrope: Noiseless, 2019. Reclaimed electrical wires and components on panel. (James Cohan Gallery)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Updated: April 28th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Elias Sime is back in New York City with a new exhibition called Noiseless that opened at James Cohan gallery on Saturday and remains on display through June 29th. This is the Ethiopian artist’s third solo multidisciplinary exhibition at the gallery.

“Elias Sime creates intricate, wall-mounted works on a monumental scale from discarded technological components—including salvaged motherboards and electrical wires—that have traveled from far-reaching locations across the globe to his hometown of Addis Ababa,” the press release stated. “Sime meticulously weaves, layers and assembles these found materials into abstract compositions. Sometimes his idea dictates the material, while other times the material dictates the idea. Sime titles this body of work “Tightropes,” in reference to the precision and discipline required to walk across a tightrope, as well as the tenuous balance between the progress technology has made possible and its detrimental impact on the environment.”

The press release continued: “NOISELESS features ten new large scale works from Sime’s “Tightrope” series, which demonstrate the breadth and dexterity of the artist’s practice. The exhibition’s title is a reference to the creative space of free association engendered by silence. As the artist notes, “Noise is often associated with unpleasant sounds. Noise can also seem to create words, or words can be part of noise. Words channel our thinking along familiar paths towards realistic images. The absence of noise allows our minds to create unfamiliar and abstract images. The works in NOISELESS “aim to reflect the unfamiliar and abstract images created in the mind in the absence of noise.” I BURNED IT, 2019, is one of the largest and most prominent pieces presented in NOISELESS. After years of weaving the colorful wires on the small panels that make up the piece, Sime burned the surface, exposing the copper behind the colorful insulation. He remarks: “Nature is full of vibrant colors, which we humans not only enjoy, but often expect to see. I burned the surface of the painstakingly created colorful piece to invoke a dialogue about the identity of colors.”


ELIAS SIME Tightrope: Noiseless 11, 2019. Reclaimed electrical wires and components on panel. (James Cohan Gallery)

Elias Sime’s bio courtesy of James Cohan gallery:

Elias Sime (b. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) has exhibited extensively around the world. Working with his long-time collaborator, curator and anthropologist Meskerem Assegued, Sime co-founded and designed the Zoma Museum in Addis Ababa, an international art center described by the New York Times in 2009 as “a voluptuous dream, a swirl of ancient technique and ecstatic imagination.” Zoma Museum celebrated its grand opening in its new location in March of this year. Sime’s work has been shown internationally at the Dak’Art Biennale in Dakar, Senegal; the New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Austria; and in the United States at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and a survey exhibition that traveled from the Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, to the North Dakota Museum of Art. The artist designed various costumes, props and set-pieces for Peter Sellars’ production of Stravinsky’s opera Oedipus Rex, performed at the Sydney Opera House as well as in Los Angeles, Aix-en-Provence, London and Stockholm.

Elias Sime’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Newark Museum, NJ; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Toledo Museum of Art, OH; Perez Museum of Art, Miami; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; North Dakota Museum of Art; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, NH; and the Carl and Marilynn Thoma Foundation, Chicago, IL.


If You Go:
Elias Sime
NOISELESS | APR 27 – JUN 29
James Cohan gallery
533 W26 ST
New York
www.jamescohan.com

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Africa Youth Forum in Ethiopia Eyes Continental Demographic Shift

In Ethiopia 41% of the population is under the age of 15. (Photo: Young teenager with two girls in the village of Berhale, Afar Region/alamy)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 24th, 2019

Pan African Youth Forum Kicks Off in Ethiopia With an Eye on Continental Demographic Shift

New York (TADIAS) — Currently, an estimated 75% of Africa’s population is under the age of 35. And in Ethiopia — where the 2nd Annual Pan African Youth Forum got underway today at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa — the median age is 18 with 60% of the population below the age of 25. More than 40% of Ethiopia’s population is under the age of 15.

This could either be an opportunity or a problem depending on how well each country on the continent is preparing its youth for the future. According to World Population Review “with a 2019 population of approximately 110.14 million, if Ethiopia follows its current rate of growth, its population will double in the next 30 years, hitting 210 million by 2060. Most of the world’s population growth in the next 40-50 years is expected to come from Africa, and Ethiopia will be a large part of the growth.”

“From a demographic point of view, this calls for a paradigm shift towards the recognition and support of the youth to harness their potential by building capacity for quality education and skills improvement, health and well-being, good governance, human rights and accountability, employment opportunities, leadership skills, empowerment and entrepreneurship,” notes The African Union Commission, which is hosting the forum in Ethiopia this week.

The press release adds that Moussa Faki Mahamet, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), will be launching the “1 million by 2021 Initiative”, focusing on investing in employment, entrepreneurship, engagement, and education opportunities for African youth across the continent “while leveraging partnerships and private sector opportunities.” This initiative is scheduled to be launched via a Pan African Youth Forum under the theme “Africa Unite for Youth: Bridging the Gap and Reaching African Youth.”

The African Union Commission says “Twelve pathways have been identified as drivers for the 4Es that will facilitate the expansion of opportunities in youth development: models for teacher development; mobilizing and catalyzing capital growth for youth-led start-ups; nurture start-ups; skills transfer hubs; internships and apprenticeships; digital skills; job centers; digital skills; leadership programs and exchange programmes. The initiative will bring together key continental players in the development space and the private sector to pool together resources and opportunities, within a sustainable ecosystem built along collaborative and Pan-African lines.”


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Addis Abeba’s Vision of New City Library

Addis Ababa. (Photo via CNN)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 23rd, 2019

Addis Abeba’s City Administration Shares Vision of New City Library

New York (TADIAS) — Addis Abeba’s City Administration just shared its new vision for a city library and it’s impressive. In a recent tweet by Addis Standard, a brief video of the library plan reveals the project as scheduled to be built across from the Parliament building and situated on approximately 38,000 square meters of land. The city library is slated to have theater halls and meeting spaces as well as include an adult and children’s library sections.

Currently there are several children’s library initiatives including through the non-profit organizations Ethiopia Reads and Whiz Kids Workshop. To date Ethiopia Reads has launched over 80 public school and mobile libraries across the country, which serves over 100,000 children per year. Ethiopia Reads has also trained 150 librarians to date. The award-winning television series, Tsehai Loves Learning, launched by Whiz Kids Workshop has also expanded to include a classroom library project that provides children’s story books, flash cards, and 32 episodes of the TV series on DVD to enhance early childhood literacy skills.

For adult readers, a brief compilation of public and academic libraries in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Abeba, which was published in Against the Grain (Vol 20, Issue 1) by Marie Paiva lists Addis Ababa University as housing a multi-branch academic library with over 500,000 items as well as the Addis Ababa Public Library that is accessible for all residents, which holds mostly text collections in English. There is still a great need for more libraries and related resources in the city as well as greater opportunities for librarian training. Addis Abeba’s new city library project is a positive step in the right direction, and we hope will include texts and content that are multi-lingual and extensively diverse in subject matters.


Related:
Spotlight: Ahmedin Mohamed Nasser’s Library Foundation For Ethiopia

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Music: Dexter Story’s ‘Bahir’ Featuring Hamelmal Abate is Tribute to Ethiopia

Dexter Story's new album features mesmerizing collaborations with diverse artists including Kibrom Birhane, Sudan Archives, Haile Supreme, Hamelmal Abate and Endeguena Mulu. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 22nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — One of the most captivating songs on Dexter Story’s latest album Bahir is called Shuruba, which is performed by the award-winning Ethiopian singer Hamelmal Abate.

“The songs are informed by my recent graduate studies on Africa and Ethnomusicology, and they feature vocalists and musicians whom I deeply respect and admire,” says Dexter who is a student at UCLA. In a recent interview with Afropunk the American musician also named Tilahun Gessesse, Bezunesh Bekele, Asnaketch Worku and Mahmoud Ahmed as some of his artistic influences.

“In light of the recent plane fatalities in Ethiopia and our nation’s focus building walls as opposed to bridges, I hope that Bahir touches hearts and brings a small measure of peace and healing to these challenging times,” Dexter added. “I am humbled by the positive response it has gotten and am grateful to everyone who has taken a moment to listen.”

In his interview with Afropunk Dexter shared that he initially saw Hamelmal perform live in L.A. during an Enkutatash celebration a few years back. “I watched her work the band and the audience into an incredibly high energy, while maintaining her poise and intonation to perfection,” he said. “She is from the beautiful multi-ethnic Eastern city of Harar and is considered one of the queens of Ethiopian music. I feel incredibly lucky that she is on Bahir.”

The other songs on Dexter’s new album include Techawit, Bila (featuring Kibrom Birhane), Gold (Sudan Archives), Ras (Haile Supreme), Mamdooh, Buna Be Chow (Jimetta Rose), Electric Gurage, Jijiga Jijiya (Marie Daulne), Chemin De Fer, Desta’s Groove, Shuruba Song (Hamelmal Abate), Bahir (Endeguena Mulu),
Abebaye (Marie Daulne).

As Afropunk notes: “Since beginning to record under his own name in 2012, Story has favored a kind of pan-African jazz/funk sound, drawing upon both the great LA music community and his ethnographic studies for inspiration and musical muscle. And the one sound that he’s taken to more than others, is the music of Ethiopia.”


You can learn more about Dexter Story and his new powerful album at https://dexterstory.bandcamp.com.

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Spotlight: #MeTooEthiopia “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture”

(Illustration: #MeTooEthiopia)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 16th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Selemawit Tefera Kelbessa — a former Ethiopian Airlines hostess who had moved to the U.S. three years ago — was the victim of a heinous acid attack by one of her roommates in Maryland in 2018, and this past week she killed herself after having been hospitalized for nearly a year. This heartbreaking news reveals the pervasive gender-based violence that remains underreported by media outlets both in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Diaspora. However, a new and bold movement fueled by young grassroots activists has created an online platform under the hashtag “MeTooEthiopia” along with the unequivocal tagline: “Assault is a Crime, not a Culture.”

Accompanied with poignant photos and illustrations on its website the #MeTooEthiopia movement collects and shares witness testimonials that narrate the gut-wrenching processes of dealing with life-long trauma as a result of experiencing gender-based violence. The hope in this work is to break the silence around gender-based violence and prevent similar tragedies moving forward.

“Due to the severity and prevalence of such crimes, we see fit to stand on behalf of victims and bring attention to this issue,” the MeTooEthiopia organizers state on their website, emphasizing that the mission is to create awareness about “gender violence, childhood marriage and acid attack among Ethiopians around the globe” and “to provide a safe platform for victims and survivors to speak, and to connect victims with resources that can help them heal and take action.”

As BuzzFeed News highlighted in a feature last month “the spread of hashtags and testimonies across social media are forcing communities in Ethiopia and across the diaspora to confront a topic that has routinely been ignored. Created by Ethiopian American women in light of an explosive documentary about R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of minors, #MeTooEthiopia has shown hundreds of Ethiopian women and men that they are not the only ones carrying trauma as victims from sexual violence.”

BuzzFeed adds that “#MeTooEthiopia acknowledges the specific cultural barriers women face when it comes to speaking up about sexual violence: the shame surrounding it, and the difficulty of empowering women in a society that denounces feminism as a Western product that has no place in Ethiopian culture.”

While the current political climate in Ethiopia has included a new wave of female participation in top posts in the political sector, including appointing a female head of the Supreme Court, a female president, as well as having half the Cabinet positions filled by women politicians, there is plenty of work left to do to protect the rights of women and girls. Describing Ethiopia’s new leader in this era, PM Abiy Ahmed, BuzzFeed notes that “many believe he could be the first modern-day leader to actively champion women’s rights in the country. But movements like #MeTooEthiopia want to send a message loud and clear to Abiy and his cabinet: Gender parity in the government is not enough if women are still getting abused.”


Selemawit Tefera. (Photo: Facebook)

Describing Selamawit’s horrific attack #MeTooEthiopia shared that “in 2018, Selemawit lived with four Ethiopian male roommates in Hyattsville, Maryland. After finishing her shift on a Saturday evening, Selamawit returned to her house. She then entered the kitchen, where she came across one of her roomates: Bekre Abdela. Abdela was holding a container of sulfuric acid. He splashed the acid on her face and body. She stayed in a hospital for several months after suffering second and third-degree burns. Before Selamawit took her own life on April 12th, 2019, she was hospitalized for nearly a year and had undergone numerous skin grafts. She had permanently lost sight in her right eye. Her left eye had a chance of recovering, restoring parts of her vision, which was a good news for her as she planned to study Information Technology. She was planning to have reconstructive surgery, however, the funds were hard to come by. That was, until people began to raise funds for that, her living expenses and other medical bills.”

In a petition hosted on the Change.org website and addressed to PM Abiy, the group also stated: “We believe this matter deserves immediate and intensified action on all levels. From education to bringing cultural evolution to providing services and resources for the victims and ensuring those who inflict such harm be held accountable for these crimes.” So far, the petition has received over 3,000 signatures.

Despite the deep sadness felt in reading the testimonials on the #MeTooEthiopia site, there is an undercurrent of perseverance, dedication and willpower that is strongly present. It is time to bring this discussion to the forefront and #MeTooEthiopia sums up this spirit with this Instagram post: “We Can Do It!”

And we should!


You can learn more about #MeTooEthiopia at metooethiopia.com and sign the petition at www.change.org.

Related:
Setaweet: Addis Ababa is Home to a Burgeoning Women’s Movement

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Worknesh Degefa Wins Boston Marathon

Worknesh Degefa breaks the tape to win the women's division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo)

The Associated Press

Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa cruises to Boston Marathon title

BOSTON (AP) — Worknesh Degefa had never set foot on the Boston Marathon course before she toed the start line in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on Monday morning.

It didn’t stop the 28-year-old Ethiopian from conquering it on her first trip down the famed route.

Degefa broke away from the rest of the field early and ran alone for the last 20 miles to win the women’s Boston Marathon.

Degefa crossed the finish line in Boston’s Back Bay in a time of 2 hours, 23 minutes, 31 seconds.

She is the eighth Ethiopian woman to win the race, and the third in seven years. Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat was second, coming in at 2:24:13. American Jordan Hasay was third, crossing the line in 2:25:20. Defending champion Des Linden, who represented the United States in the marathon at the past two Summer Olympics, finished fifth in 2:27:00.

“Winning the Boston Marathon is super special to me,” Degefa said. “Even though I’d never seen the course before, last year I watched all the marathon coverage. I kept that in my mind.”

And for most of the race she kept the rest of the field far behind her.


Worknesh Degefa wins the women’s division of the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo)

It was Degefa’s first major marathon victory. She won the Dubai Marathon in 2017, setting an Ethiopian national record.

Linden took advantage of a rainy and windy course with temperatures in the 30s to claim last year’s title in the slowest time for a women’s winner in Boston since 1978.

A heavy band of rain moved through Hopkinton at the start line about 6:30 a.m. but tapered to a drizzle and then stopped before the women’s race began. It didn’t rain during the race, allowing the Ethiopian and Kenyan contingents to push the pace.

A half marathon specialist, Degefa took her first lead after Mile 4 headed into Framingham, followed by Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba and Kenya’s Sharon Cherop. Degefa increased the margin between Mile 5 and 6 and opened a 20-second advantage by Mile 7.

“I knew that I had some speed, so I pushed myself after Mile 5,” Degefa said.

Degefa’s pace slowed in the final three miles and she looked behind her a few times to try to glimpse one of her fellow competitors.

Kiplagat became visible again in the distance around Mile 25, but there was no time for her to close the sizeable gap.

Despite not being able to get on the podium for a second straight year, Linden had a lot of support on the course. The crowd serenaded her with loud cheers when she was introduced. At the finish, a young girl held a sign that read “Des 4 Prez.”

On a day in which the marathon fell on April 15 for the first time since the April 15, 2013 bombings, Linden said it had lots of significance for the city and for herself.

“That run down Boylston was very special to me,” Linden said. “I feel like I’ve built a name for myself in this community with these fans and they really appreciate what I’ve done over the years.

“It’s also a sign that I’m pretty old that they actually know me now.”


Related:
Ethiopia Runners Sweep Paris Marathon

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In Pictures: Amsale Spring 2020 Bridal Runway Show

Amsale released four Spring 2020 collections during Bridal Fashion Week in NYC on Friday, April 12th, 2019. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 14th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Amsale New York unveiled its Spring 2020 collections during Bridal Fashion Week on Friday, April 12th in New York City. The wedding brand that was launched by the late Ethiopian-American fashion designer Amsale Aberra, who passed away last year, also announced the launch of its new ecommerce website as well as the Amsale Retailer Partner Program and the incorporation of 3-D technology into its design and development process.

“The newly debuted program is a revolutionary app-driven initiative to reward brick-and-mortar retailers with their fair share of ecommerce revenue and align the interest of the stores, the bride and the brand to ensure that the consumer has a seamless and convenient shopping experience,” the company said in a press release.

The Amsale x You collection was among the latest designs featured at the Spring 2020 runway show as well as online.

“Amsale was an early adopter of CAD design tools in its development process, endowing it with
a digital database of 32 years of perfected couture design patterns. Amsale’s most celebrated couture
dress designs from its library are now accessible and have empowered brides to choose, using a simple
interactive tool, the elements that best reflect their personal style,” added the press release. “With Amsale x You, we virtually invite the bride into our design room, to peruse our library and empower her to design her own bespoke wedding dress,” said Sarah Swann, Chief Creative Officer of Amsale New York.

Additional Amasale collections that were revealed at the fashion show included Amsale, Nouvelle Amsale and Little White Dress.

Below are photos from the Amsale Spring 2020 Bridal Runway Show held in New York City on Friday, April 12th:


Related:
Tribute to Legacy of Amsale Aberra

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Ethiopia Runners Sweep Paris Marathon

All smiles - Gelete Burka after winning the Paris Marathon (Getty Images)

IAAF

Abrha Milaw and Gelete Burka Take Paris Marathon Titles

Ethiopia’s Abrha Milaw and Gelete Burka prevailed at the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, whose 43rd edition took place on Sunday (14).

Milaw clocked 2:07:05 for a comfortable 20-second victory over compatriot Asefa Mengistu while Burka crossed the line in 2:22:47, five seconds clear of another Ethiopian, Azmera Gebru.

With his victory, Milaw put an end to Paul Lonyangata’s dominance in Paris, the 26-year-old Kenyan who was looking for a third successive victory in the French capital, a would-be record. Lonyangata had picked up a slight injury last week when he slipped and fell in training, but it wasn’t a big enough setback to keep him from the start line…


Abrha Milaw after his victory at the Paris Marathon (Getty Images)

Milaw made a big surge with three kilometres remaining, building a four-second gap on Lonyangata and Mengistu, and nine on Gachaga, at 40km, hit in 2:00:30.

He forged on unchallenged to secure the 2:07:05 victory, clipping 20 seconds from his previous best and sealing a second successive French road success after his win at the Nice-Cannes Marathon last November.

“The conditions were tough,” Milaw simply said.

Mengistu, a past winner in Seoul, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, came home second in 2:07:25, well outside his personal best, while Lonyangata rounded the podium in 2:07:29, 1:19 slower than the time he clocked last year.

Morhad Amdouni, the European 10,000m champion, was the first Frenchman, finishing eighth in 2:09:14 in his debut over the distance.

Burka impresses with blistering kick

The women’s race was as fierce as expected…Burka, who was the fastest woman in the field, lived up to her favourite’s role to capture her second marathon victory in 2:22:47. Grebu finished five seconds in arrears as Abreha came home third in 2:23:35, six seconds ahead of Calvin whose 2:23:41 performance broke the French national record.

Read the full article at IAAF.org »


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Spotlight: Mehret Mandefro’s ‘The Loving Generation’ up for Webby Award

Mehret Mandefro is the co-Director and co- Producer of the documentary 'The Loving Generation' that has been nominated for the 2019 Webby People’s Voice Award. (Getty Images)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 11th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — The last time we featured Mehret Mandefro in Tadias she was promoting the award-winning film Difret at a screening in New York, which was attended by the movie’s real-life inspirations Aberash Bekele as well as her lawyer Meaza Ashenafi who is now the head of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court.

In prior years we had also selected Mehret as part of our 2012 women’s history month profile and highlighted her background as a physician, filmmaker, anthropologist and social change activist as well as a former White House Fellow during the Obama administration.

In her latest film project The Loving Generation — which she co-directed and produced with Lacey Schwartz — Mehret who is now based in Ethiopia and works as an Executive Producer and Social Impact Director for Kana Television, tackles the still archaic view of race here in the U.S.

The press release about the documentary notes that “The Loving Generation tells the story of how a generation of Americans born to one black and one white parent experience race and identity in a divided United States.” The film takes its title from the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, that struck down anti-miscegenation laws across the country, and focuses on people born between 1965 and 1985. The documentary is the “first series of its kind to train a lens on this particular generation of Americans, many of whom have become recognized leaders in their respective fields.”

Mehret shares that The Loving Generation has been nominated for The Webby People’s Voice Award and voting by the public is currently underway. According to its website the award, which the New York Times has dubbed “The Internet’s highest honor,” recognizes 7 categories of media projects including websites, video, apps, games, and podcasts. “Members of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) select the nominees for both awards in each category, as well as the winners of The Webby Awards,” states the award website. “In the spirit of the open Web, The Webby People’s Voice is awarded by the voting public. Each year, The Webby People’s Voice Awards garners millions of votes from all over the world.”


You can learn more and vote for ‘The Loving Generation’ at https://vote.webbyawards.com.

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Diaspora & Migration: A Reading List

The Pen America reading list includes Maaza Mengiste's novel 'Beneath the Lion’s Gaze.' (Photo: Pen)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 9th, 2019

Diaspora & Migration: A Reading List By PEN America

New York (TADIAS) — PEN America has released a great reading list, which includes Maaza Mengiste’s novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, in preparation for its upcoming book talk highlighting a new anthology on refugee lives. The anthology titled The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives features a collection of writings by 17 refugee writers compiled by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and includes a submission by Ethiopian American author Maaza Mengeste.

According to PEN: “As a response to President Trump’s 2017 action of closing borders from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Viet Thanh Nguyen edited a collection of eclectic refugee voices to refute stereotypes. With essential voices from around the globe, this clamorous assortment of essays reminds readers of our cosmopolitan society and the need to maintain empathy with our global neighbors.”

Beneath the Lion’s Gaze: A Novel, Maaza Mengiste

“This historical fiction shines light on the Ethiopian revolution of the 1970s—a moment often glossed over in the Western world—while crafting a gripping original story. Mengiste contrasts mellifluous, emotive language with grandiose, often grotesque, depictions of civil war. A tribute to the importance of love and family even in the grimmest times, this novel is a testament to human resilience.”


Maaza Mengiste. (Photo: M.M.LaFleur)

Maaza, whose upcoming second novel The Shadow King is scheduled to be released in September 2019, was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. Maaza is also the “writer for the Ethiopia segment of GIRL RISING,” a feature film that tells the stories of 10 extraordinary girls from 10 developing countries around the world. Maaza’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio, The Granta Anthology of the African Short Story, and Lettre International.


If You Go:
PEN Out Loud: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Maaza Mengiste
Friday, April 26, 2019 at 7:00PM
Strand Book Store
Rare Book Room, 3rd Floor
828 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
Click here to buy tickets

Related:
Timely New Book ‘The Coffeehouse Resistance’ by Owner of Buunni Cafe

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Q&A: Ethiopia’s First Female Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi

Human rights defender and women’s rights activist Meaza Ashenafi became President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court in November 2018. (Photo: by Papillon pierre)

African Arguments

Meaza Ashenafi was appointed President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court in November 2018. How is she faring?

As Meaza Ashenafi was introduced to the stage at the LSE Africa Summit last month, the audience went wild with rapturous woops and applause. Here she was! The first ever woman to be Ethiopia’s Chief Justice! The founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association! The architect of Ethiopia’s first women’s bank! The justice crusader whose defense of a 14-year-old child bride was immortalized in the critically-quite-liked Angelina-Jolie-executive-produced 2014 film Difret!

As Ashenafi adjusted the mic, a smile on her face, the spectators settled down. A few looked at one another in giddy anticipation at hearing this giant of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s brave new Ethiopia speak. And then she started…quietly at first, and then a little louder, and then quieter again.

The short address that followed contained little that was provocative or controversial. Ashenafi responded to her rock-star entrance by performing a gentle pan-flute-solo of a speech about the importance of rule of law and Africa’s untapped potential. Rather than exuding charismatic authority, the hugely accomplished 55-year-old was quietly measured, calm and compassionate. In other words, she exhibited the qualities one should probably look for in an arbiter of justice.

African Arguments caught up briefly with the Chief Justice after her speech to hear more about her first five months in the job.

You are now the ultimate guardian of justice in your country, but that is a very abstract concept. How would you define justice in concrete terms in the context of Ethiopia?

Justice is applying and interpreting the law, but not only that. It is also about making sure justice is served. We have to make sure trials are fair and speedy and that due process is followed. We will be satisfied in terms of delivering justice when people have access to courts, physically as well as financially, and when we have impartial and competent judges in place. Justice will be served when people can lose a case, but be comforted that the process was followed.

Read the full interview at africanarguments.org »


Related:
Tadias Interview with Meaza Ashenafi & Aberash Bekele about ‘Difret’ Movie: 2015 in NYC

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Ethiopian Selected as Official Carrier for 2019 World Press Freedom Day

Ethiopian Airlines has been chosen as the Official Carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day Global Conference to be held in Addis Ababa from May 1-3, 2019. (Photo: Ethiopian Airlines)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 6th, 2019

New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Airlines has been selected as the official carrier for the 2019 World Press Freedom Day conference that will take place in Addis Ababa next month. This year’s conference will mark the first time in the event’s 26-year history that it will be held in Ethiopia.

According to UNESCO — the organizer of the annual international conference collaborating jointly with the Ethiopian Government and the African Union Commission — the theme of this year’s gathering is aptly titled Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.

UNESCO has announced that the two-day conference will be held at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa from May 2-3, 2019.

UNESCO notes that the event “will serve as an opportunity to explore and discuss new issues and obstacles facing the press in electoral times, as well as the media’s capacity to help build a culture of peace and reconciliation. The Day will also examine concerns such as the safety of journalists (both online and offline), and how we can better push back against a growing climate of disinformation.”

Ethiopian Airlines, the event’s designated carrier, anticipates providing transport service for more than a thousand guests from around the world who are traveling to Addis for the meeting. “We are honored to have been chosen to serve as the official carrier for this year’s World Press Freedom Day Global Conference,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “We are all the more delighted to be part of this noble cause which seeks to advance press freedom around the world.”

The announcement from UNESCO adds that “the main celebration in Addis Ababa will feature two plenaries, various breakout sessions, a youth newsroom, a photo exhibition, a cartoon exhibition, and a film screening. In addition, UNESCO in collaboration with a local university is organizing its annual Academic Conference on the safety of journalists.” There will also be pre-conference events organized by partner organizations on May 1st, 2019. As the World Press Freedom Day conference is underway in Addis Ababa UNESCO says that there will also be simultaneous events held across the globe.

For Ethiopia the conference signifies a remarkable change in just over 12 months, from having a reputation of being one of the “worst jailers of journalists in the world” to hosting World Press Freedom Day. It is worth emphasizing that at the present moment there are no journalists in prison in Ethiopia.


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Addis Fine Art Exhibit Puts Focus on New Generation of Ethiopian Photographers

(Photo by Girma Berta)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: April 2nd, 2019

New York (TADIAS) – A new generation of Ethiopian photographers are redefining the way people perceive Ethiopia both at home and internationally. Among them are Girma Berta and Eyerusalem Jiregna whose latest works are set to go on display at Addis Fine Art Gallery in Addis Ababa, from April 9th through May 25th, 2019, in an exhibition titled From Our Perspective: Young Ethiopian Photographers Changing the Gaze.

“They represent the new voices in contemporary Ethiopian photography, pushing the boundaries of the medium and questioning the definitions of documentary photography,” the gallery stated in a press release. “Their works have been exhibited internationally and selected to adorn Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new public and private offices.”

Girma Berta (b.1990) is the winner of the 2016 Getty Images Instagram grant. As Getty Images noted: “Berta uses his iPhone to photograph vibrant, gritty street life in Addis Ababa, crossing street photography with fine art by isolating his subjects against backdrops of rich color.” Addis Fine arts adds: “As one of the first photographers to travel to Eritrea once the blockage was lifted in June 2018, his new Asmara series documents Eritrea’s capital frozen in time. Berta, who is self-taught, uses a combination of street photography and graphic design to create images of passers-by with a painterly quality. Berta’s use of digital media, to produce and present his artworks, is in itself a commentary on the digital revolution underway across Africa. He represents the vibrancy of the millennial African.”

Eyerusalem Jirenga

“Eyerusalem Jirenga (b.1993) is an exciting emerging artist and fashion designer based in Addis Ababa,” the press release shares: “Shot in the walled city of Harar, her series titled The City of Saints, documents a living history.”

“Informed by her experience in design, Jirenga specialises in evocatively bright and discerning portraits, enliven with distinctive and striking colour detail,” states the Addis Fine Art press release. “Her use of rich textures and colours plays against the crisp focus of her photographs, enhancing their warm, visually stimulating effect. Eyerusalem Jirenga has received considerable acclaim for her work both within Ethiopia and internationally. She has exhibited in the New York photography festival Photoville 2016 and participated in the New York Times Portfolio Review 2016.” Eyerusalem has also participated in solo and group shows in Johannesburg, Cape Town and New York City.


If You Go:
More info at https://addisfineart.com.

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