Search Results for 'ethiopian'

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

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

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 25th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The award announcement added:

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

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

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

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

Ethiopian Airlines Statement

March 23rd, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 9th, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

A FIRE WITHIN

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

[ፍትህ]

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

No AFI Member passes accepted.

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

U.S. Premiere

AMONG US WOMEN

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

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

STAND UP MY BEAUTY

Special Features: North American Premiere

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

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

Learn more about the festival at AFI.com

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

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

Indy week

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

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

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

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

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

“We are united!”

“No more! We say no more!”

“We stand with Ethiopia!”

“We stand with the Ethiopian government!”

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

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

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

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

It’s a complicated issue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article at indyweek.com »

Related:

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

Asia Times: US hands China a victory in Ethiopia

Pictures: The Wall Street Journal on Ethiopia’s volunteer ‘citizens’ army.’

Media: Ethiopia Flipping the Script on Foreign Coverage

Watch: PM Abiy’s press secretary Billene Seyoum on Fox News


US policies on Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Covid in Africa come under fire in Congress

UPDATE: Ethiopia Recaptures World Heritage Site Lalibela From TPLF

China’s Top Diplomat Visits Addis, Takes a Jab at Foreign Interference in Ethiopia’s ‘Domestic Affairs’

US halts decision on genocide designation to pursue diplomacy in Ethiopia

Ethiopia to U.S.: Stop Misinformation

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

US reports Ethiopia ‘progress

In Diaspora protestors call out Joe Biden’s foreign policy in Ethiopia

Ethiopia Struggles to Find Its Voice in Western Media Amid Misinformation

Yale hosts Ethiopia conference amid social media controversy, disinvites speaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Washington Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more »

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Spotlight: In NYC ECMAA Hosts Ethiopian Day Picnic, Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Photo: Courtesy of the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: September 15th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — As the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA) celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, the organization announced that it will host its popular annual Ethiopian Day Picnic on September 19th in New York City — marking its first live public event since the pandemic.

In a newsletter ECMAA said the gathering this month is a symbol of our capacity to recover from difficulties and persist as a community. “Resilience and perseverance are not valued highly enough [and] we don’t celebrate managing challenges and still standing and growing,” the press release said. “We will celebrate this and ECMAA’s 40th anniversary at the annual Ethiopian Day Picnic.”

The announcement added:

In 1981, a group of refugees who felt that they could decided to gather and figure out how to help those who’ve newly arrived. In 2021, we’re Ethiopians of significantly varying backgrounds living in the tri-state area still creating a community while we rush and struggle through day to day life in New York City.

We’ll get together as a full community in this large setting for the first time since March of 2020…We celebrate still standing after many ups and downs for ECMAA from its inception, we celebrate still standing as a we face a global pandemic that forced us to separate and yet still grow stronger in support of each other, we celebrate our place of birth or heritage even as it struggles with multiple challenges that can shake us, we celebrate the flowers that still bloom, our children that still grow and our community to keeps working at being a resource to the community. We celebrate as we also mourn the losses our community and our country has sustained. We’re long-distance runners – marathoners who keep going despite the challenges that come our way. We are ECMAA and invite you to come honor our past, celebrate life and solidify our future.


(Photo: Courtesy of ECMAA)


(Photo: Courtesy of ECMAA)

The Ethiopian Day Picnic will take place on Sunday at Sakura Park in Manhattan. Organizers urge participants to be respectful and abide by current CDC guidelines in regards to COVID-19. “Although the picnic takes place outside we advise everyone to maintain social distancing and wear masks when not eating or drinking,” ECMAA said. “We all want to have fun and be safe.”

According to the program scheduled activities at the family-friendly outdoor event include fun and games featuring Sem Ena Werk quiz for adults while children “enjoy some dancing and tunes, catch up, with old friends, challenge the kids to tug-of-war, but make sure you’ve met someone you’ve not met before and have some cake.”

If You Go:

Ethiopian Day Picnic,
Sunday, September 19, at 2pm in Sakura Park in Manhattan.
More info at www.ecmaany.org

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Remembering Alemayehu Eshete: Ethiopian Music Legend Passes Away at 80

Born in 1941 Alemayehu Eshete rose to fame in the 60s, matching his Ethiopian heritage against jazz improvisation and soulful appeal...Multiple reports from Ethiopia have confirmed the passing of Alemayehu Eshete. (Getty Images)

Clash Music

Ethiopian artist Alemayehu Eshete has died, it has been reported.

Born in 1941 the singer rose to fame in the 60s, matching his Ethiopian heritage against jazz improvisation and soulful appeal.

Performing with the famed Police Orchestra in Addis Ababa, Alemayehu Eshete enjoyed his first hit ‘Seul’ in 1961 before forming his own Alem-Girma Band.

Releasing 30 singles across a 15 year period, Alemayehu Eshete became one of the defining Ethiopian artists of his era – at one point dubbed the Ethiopian Elvis.

Political shifts in the country substantively altered the cultural climate, but a new generation of crate-diggers – spurred on by the Ethiopiques compilation series – embraced his music.

Writing, recording, and touring until the very end, multiple reports from Ethiopia have confirmed the passing of Alemayehu Eshete.

Ethiopia: Popular Ethiopian Music Legend Alemayehu Eshete Dies (Allafrica)


Legendary Ethiopian singer Alemayehu Eshete, 80, died in Addis Ababa on Thursday.

Nicknamed “the Ethiopian Elvis”, the musician died of a heart attack shortly after he was admitted to hospital, bringing to an end a musical career that spanned four different political epochs in the country.

He had, five years ago, undergone a heart surgery in Italy to fix blockages in arteries. This forced him to limit his performances.

Born in 1941, the singer was one of the most popular musicians to emerge in the early 1960s. He also played modern Ethiopian music.

Eshete highly influenced Ethiopian modern music through his outstanding pieces that were loved by many. He was actively involved in Ethio-jazz music from the 1960s.

Compose songs

He was among the first Ethiopian singers to compose songs in English and other foreign languages.

“Temar Lije” or “My Son, You Had Better Learn” is one of his popular songs that motivated many to acquire modern education.

The popular song is still used by Ethiopian parents to discipline and counsel their children, and to raise awareness on the importance of education.

In 2015, the song won an award in Germany.

He also won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in Ethiopia. His stylish dress code and hairstyle made him popular among the youth in the 1960s and 1970s.

Eshete was one of the first musicians to record music to vinyl in Ethiopia.

Since his death, his colleagues and fans have continued to send messages of condolence.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said: “I’m saddened to hear that Alemayehu Eshete, a role model for many singers, has passed away.”

“Ethiopia will always be honored in his works. Those who worked for Ethiopia will not die, but will rest in glory,” the Prime Minister added.

Timeless tunes

Selam, a Swedish Independent Cultural Organisation, which has an office in Addis Ababa, also paid tribute to Eshete: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Alemayehu Eshete. Known for his best timeless tunes, ‘Temar Lije’ and ‘Addis Ababa Bete’, Eshete was one of the most popular legendary Ethiopian singers. Our most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends”

Born and raised in Jimma, Eshete who was fascinated by Hollywood films. He attempted to go to Hollywood with his friend at a younger age.

He started his journey to Hollywood with his friend with a hundred birr ($ 2) he picked from his father’s pocket. However, before he could achieve his goal, he was caught at Eritrea’s Massawa Port and sent back home. He loved Rock music.

He played much of the English vocals of American vocalists Pat Bonn, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley.

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Ethiopians Headline the Women’s and Men’s Elite Fields for the Boston Marathon

Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese and Mare Dibaba are among the star international female athletes competing in the upcoming 2021 Boston Marathon, while the men's elite category also includes Ethiopians Asefa Mengstu, Lemi Berhanu Hayle and Jemal Yimer. (Getty Images)

The Boston Globe

A pair of Ethiopian runners with the fastest men’s and women’s times in the field headline the elite runner entry list for the 2021 Boston Marathon that was announced Wednesday by the Boston Athletic Association.

Because of the pandemic, the race was postponed from April and will be run Oct. 11.

Nine women who have run faster than 2:22:00 will line up in Hopkinton, including Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese, whose 2:19:36 personal best ranks fastest in the field. Melese will have some tough competition from fellow Ethiopian Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist.

Dibaba has broken 2:20 twice, running 2:19:52 in 2012 and 2015, but she has not run that fast since. Also, Edina Kiplagat of Kenya, a two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist who finished second at Boston in 2019, will challenge for the top spot.

American Jordan Hasay is familiar with the course, finishing third twice. She is the third-fastest US woman in history with a personal best of 2:20:57.

On the men’s side, Ethiopian Asefa Mengstu has the fastest personal best and the 23rd- fastest marathon ever at 2:04:06. Fellow Ethiopians Lemi Berhanu Hayle, the 2015 Boston champion, and Dejene Debela, who has run a sub-2:06, will join him. Berhanu’s personal best is just behind Mengstu’s at 2:04:33.

After much success over the half marathon and in cross-country, Kenya’s Leonard Barsoton and Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer will make their marathon debuts. Barsoton earned a silver medal at the World Cross-Country Championships in 2017, and Yimer owns the Ethiopian national record of 58:33 in the half marathon.

Eight of the top 12 finishers from the US Olympic marathon trials will compete in Boston, including Abdi Abdirahman, who finished 41st at the Tokyo Games last week.

In the women’s wheelchair field, course record-holder Manuela Schär of Switzerland is the favorite, but she will be challenged by five-time Boston champion Tatyana McFadden. Team USA Paralympians Susannah Scaroni and Jenna Fesemyer also will compete.

The men’s wheelchair field features four former champions: Daniel Romanchuk, Marcel Hug, Ernst van Dyk, and Josh Cassidy, who have a combined 16 Boston titles. Aaron Pike, who will compete for Team USA in the Paralympic marathon, also will be in the field.

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Spotlight: A New Documentary ‘Free Art Felega 5 – Disrupt’ Celebrates Ethiopian Artists

Organizers note that a virtual launch of the documentary 'Free Art Felega 5 - Disrupt' is scheduled for Sunday, August, 15th, 2021 featuring all participating artists. (Photos courtesy of Free Art Felega)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: August 11th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — You may remember our story last year highlighting a “positive and optimistic” art project amid the gloom of the COVID-19 era called Free Art Felega, an online space organized by German-based Ethiopian artist Yenatfenta Abate that gave Ethiopian artists, both in Ethiopia and the Diaspora, a place to gather and exhibit their work for audiences around the world.

This week organizers announced that they will release a new documentary film titled ‘Free Art Felega 5 – Disrupt showing “the result of six months of hard work from the 32 participating Ethiopian artists in times of CoVid-19, including the personal artist statements.”


Photos courtesy of Free Art Felega

The announcement added: “You will receive deeper insights into the motivations and thoughts of every participating artist and, very important, their way of finding their artistic identity.”

Organizers note that a virtual launch of the documentary is scheduled for this coming Sunday, August, 15th, featuring all participating artists.

If You Go:

A virtual launch: Documentary of Free Art Felega 5 – Disrupt
Sunday 15th August 2021 5 p.m. CET.
More info: www.freeartfelega.com

Related:

Spotlight: ‘Free Art Felega,’ A Virtual Ethiopia Exhibition by Yenatfenta Abate

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Meron Hadero Becomes 1st Ethiopian Author to Win Prestigious AKO Caine Prize

Meron Hadero's winning short story is about an Ethiopian boy called Getu, who has to navigate the fraught power dynamics of NGOs and foreign aid in Addis Ababa. It impressed the judges who found it "utterly without self-pity" and said it "turns the lens" on the usual clichés. The author was born in Ethiopia and raised in the US by parents who are both medical doctors. Her sister is the singer Meklit Hadero. (BBC News)

BBC News

AKO Caine Prize: Meron Hadero named first Ethiopian winner

“I’m absolutely thrilled, I’m in shock – being shortlisted in itself was a huge honour,” she told the BBC.

Her winning short story is about an Ethiopian boy called Getu, who has to navigate the fraught power dynamics of NGOs and foreign aid in Addis Ababa.

It impressed the judges who found it “utterly without self-pity” and said it “turns the lens” on the usual clichés.

Hadero will take home £10,000 ($13,000) in prize money.

The author was born in Ethiopia and raised in the US by parents who are both medical doctors. Her sister is the singer Meklit Hadero, whose support was “absolutely essential” to her success, Hadero says.

She says stories of “refugees, immigrants and those at risk of being displaced” are always the “entry-point emotionally” to her work.

“With The Street Sweep, he has that threat looming. He’s facing losing his ancestral home, and that’s the real driver of the story that makes him take charge and try to re-write that outcome that seems kind of inevitable,” Hadero told BBC Focus on Africa.

Much of The Street Sweep is set in Addis Ababa’s Sheraton hotel, where Getu is invited for a party.

“Looking through his eyes it’s almost a culture shock when he goes there,” Hadero said.

“I did want to paint that contrast… What does that access mean? And what does that bestow? That’s the bigger question of what those open doors represent.”

Writing short stories has been “it’s own love” for the author, who likened the form to a “contained laboratory” from which “pared down and elegant” tales can emerge.

Her next challenge is her debut novel, which “is really fun to work on in a different way.

“You’re adding and you’re exploring mess.”

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Listen: Family, Ethiopian Roots Inspire Seattle Youth Poet Laureate’s New Book

Bitaniya Giday is finishing her tenure at Seattle Youth Poet Laureate and publishing a book of her poetry. In the following audio Bitaniya speaks with KNKX Morning Edition about her new book and the inspiration for her poetry, and she reads one of her poems. (SEATTLE ARTS & LECTURES)

KNKX

Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate has just published her first book of poetry. “Motherland” is Bitaniya Giday’s exploration of Blackness, womanhood and family history as an Ethiopian-American youth.

You might be familiar with Giday from her appearance in KNKX’s Take the Mic youth voices series, and she was part of our virtual town hall event. She was also featured in this interview with Seattle Arts & Lectures.

Giday, who is finishing her one-year term as youth poet laureate, spoke with KNKX Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick about her new book and what inspires her work. Listen to the interview and hear Giday read one of her poems.

Read more and listen to the audio at knkx.org »

Related:

Seattle Arts & Lectures names Bitaniya Giday as the next Youth Poet Laureate

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Ethiopian Immigrant And UBS Top Advisor Hopes To Blaze Trail For More Diversity In Wealth Management

Araya Mesfin, Senior Vice President–Wealth Management, UBS Wealth Management (UBS)

Forbes

Name: Araya Mesfin

Firm: UBS Wealth Management

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

AUM: $763 million

Background: Mesfin, 45, grew up in Ethiopia and immigrated to the United States at age 14. After getting a degree in biology and physics from Berry College in Rome, Georgia he spent time as a tutor for private school students and working on fundraising with his alma mater. In his late 20s he decided he wanted a career change.

An interview with an advisor from Merrill Lynch, where he never end up working, piqued his interest in the wealth management field. In 2008, he started at Morgan Stanley in a rookie program before heading to UBS five years later.

Competitive Edge: For Mesfin his biggest advantage is his resourcefulness, built upon joining the industry with no resources.

Early in his career, without a large network, he started cold calling corporations. One on of those calls, a prospect said that many of the his colleagues were close to retirement and could use financial advice. In order to try to capture that potential client base, Mesfin created a spreadsheet, and in the evenings called every extension to get client names from voicemails. He would then follow up on this homemade lead list in the morning. In his first few years of work, he estimates he was working up to 200 hours a week.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenges in Mesfin’s career came early on when he faced lots of rejection, some he believes as a result of his race. With so much discussion around representation coming in the last year, he says many large firms have good intentions. However, the problem is that these conglomerates do not determine who is successful in wealth management.

“If you’re IBM and want to diversify your workforce, you hire more people of color and women, but an advisors success isn’t dependent upon their employer, it is dependent upon Mr. and Mrs. Smith hiring them as an advisor,” Mesfin says. “People only like to work with those they trust so they look to those in their network for recommendations and that’s how the cycle works. That’s why, in my personal experience, women and minorities have a harder time.”

Mentors: Edward Williams, the president of Baltimore-based RIA DEW Financial Management was the training manager at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney when Mesfin first met him. Mesfin credits his mentorship for setting an example that a Black man could be successful as a financial advisor.

Lessons Learned: While acknowledging that the United States in 2021 is far from perfect, Mesfin says that hard work and perseverance can still lead to success in this country.

“It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when your back is against the wall,” he adds. “I had to learn English. Then I had to learn how to get clients because it was a matter of survival. I don’t know that my story is possible anywhere else in the world.”

Biggest Misunderstanding: The biggest misunderstanding Mesfin has with clients is around politics, with many people falling into the trap of allowing their political leanings to color how they view their portfolio.

Many of his progressive clients saw scary information on MSNBC over the last four years and spent the Trump presidency worried about the market and the same thing is happening with conservative clients watching Fox News under President Biden. Mesfin says this is all a product of outsize polarization.

Investment Outlook: Mesfin is extremely bullish on the markets, highlighting the accommodative actions of the Federal Reserve as well as pent up demand that reminds him the Spanish Flu Pandemic in 1918 which led directly into the roaring twenties.

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NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day: Lake Tana and the Ethiopian Highlands

NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day for July 12, 2021: Lake Tana and the Ethiopian Highlands. The rugged volcanic terrain creates a temperate climate in a mostly dry place. (Photo: Appears in the Astronaut photography Collection)

NASA Earth Observatory

While in orbit over central Sudan, an astronaut on the International Space Station took this photograph featuring Lake Tana and the Ethiopian Highlands. The oblique angle and shadows help emphasize the rugged terrain of the Ethiopian Plateau, while Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia, appears mirror-like due to sunglint. The low-lying, tectonically active East African Rift Valley is bounded by the eastern edge of the Ethiopian Highlands.

The Semien (or Simien) Mountains tower over the plateau. With a peak rising 4,533 meters (14,926 feet) above sea level, Ras Dashen is the highest point in Ethiopia. Much of the Ethiopian Highlands are part of a large igneous province—a region with a significant accumulation of large lava rocks. The Semien Range was formed due to volcanic activity about 31 million years ago.

Although the highlands are surrounded by deserts, their elevation results in a temperate climate with ample rainfall. Lake Tana and its tributaries support an important fishing industry, in addition to agriculture in the surrounding wetlands. The lake also feeds the Blue Nile, which runs through northern Ethiopia and southern Sudan and delivers water to many communities. The river flows out of the south side of Lake Tana, through lower canyon areas south of the lake, and then east to ultimately join the White Nile in Sudan.

Astronaut photograph ISS061-E-113632 was acquired on January 3, 2020, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 50 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 61 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Sara Schmidt, GeoControl Systems, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.

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643 Ethiopian Peacekeepers Receive Prestigious UN Medals for Service

86 women were among the 643 peacekeepers recently honored with the prestigious United Nations Medal for their service in South Sudan. (Photo by Mach Samuel/UNMISS)

UNITED NATIONS

643 ETHIOPIAN PEACEKEEPERS RECEIVE UNITED NATIONS MEDALS FOR THEIR SERVICE IN SOUTH SUDAN

“I have left my two young sons at home and have been serving as a Blue Helmet with UNMISS for almost two years,” says Major Wondimagegn Araya, a peacekeeper from Ethiopia who is deployed to conflict-ridden Jonglei in the world’s newest nation, South Sudan.

Prior to becoming a United Nations peacekeeper, Major Araya has served in different military units as part of his country’s army for 20 years.

In his current role, he often spends days and nights in remote areas trying to overcome near-impassable road conditions to reach villages where local communities need protection or humanitarian aid.

Yesterday, Major Araya, along with 642 of his brave colleagues, including 86 women, received the prestigious UN medal honouring their service to the cause of peace in a colourful ceremony attended by senior UNMISS officials and state dignitaries.

For Major Araya, it was a day to remember. “The conditions we serve in as peacekeepers are harsh; we are often in the forefront of armed hostilities, but we try and fulfil our mandate to protect civilians with happiness. This UN medal acknowledges the hardships we go through but, more significantly, it is a reminder that peace and security always necessitate sacrifice,” he states poignantly.

Since their initial deployment to UNMISS, Ethiopian peacekeepers have contributed immeasurably to the mission’s mandate by reducing intercommunal conflict; preventing revenge attacks due to cattle rustling; building community trust and confidence; and ensuring safe, speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance to people who need it the most.

“It hasn’t been an easy deployment for all of you in Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area—the terrain is tough, weather conditions arduous and it is a hotspot for conflict, all of which has been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Main Ullah Chowdhury, Deputy Force Commander, UNMISS, while commending awardees at the medal ceremony.

“However, for the past 18 months you have been the lynchpin for the mission to achieve its mandated tasks here.”

As geographical neighbours with longstanding cordial relations, Ethiopia has also been at the forefront of the ongoing political engagement by international and regional stakeholders for a sustainable peace across South Sudan.

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Ethiopians Deserve a Future They Can Be Proud of – Commentary on Current Affairs

(Getty Images)

THE FINANCIAL TIMES

By Zeinab Badawi

Ethiopians constantly tell me how much they detest being seen as a conflict and famine-ridden country. Parts of the nation, together with Eritrea, once made up the kingdom of Axum, which has been described as one of the four greatest civilisations of the ancient world. Ethiopia has a written language and coinage dating back nearly 2,000 years. Its history is full of glory, heroism and victories against foreign invaders.

It is also the only country in Africa that has never been colonised. In 1963, the capital, Addis Ababa, was chosen as the headquarters of the Organisation of African Unity, today’s African Union. Ethiopia hosts the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and is an international hub. The palpable pride Ethiopians have in their past transcends different ethnic backgrounds. Indeed, the country’s heritage of independence is a source of great esteem for many Africans, including those in the diaspora. 

My great-grandmother was Ethiopian, though my family are Sudanese. Orphaned during a raid on the Ethiopian Sudanese border, she was adopted by an Egyptian merchant. My mother recalls her concern during the second world war when Ethiopia was occupied by the Italians. Unable to read Arabic, she would ask her grandchildren to scan the newspapers and update her about the Ethiopians’ resistance efforts.

Ethiopia’s descent today into a spiral of conflict and suffering in the northern Tigray state make depressing reading. Five million people need emergency assistance with 400,000 at risk of starvation. Thousands have been killed, nearly two million displaced and accounts of severe human rights abuses are widespread.

The conflict between the government and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which began last November, was initially described by prime minister Abiy Ahmed as a “law enforcement operation” after an attack on a federal army base. The war has since led to numerous accusations and counteraccusations. Federal forces recently withdrew from Mekelle, the Tigrayan capital, leaving it once again in the hands of the TPLF. Their conditions for a ceasefire suggest they may even be heading towards independence as their ultimate goal.

Last week the UN Security Council held its first open session on the crisis, calling on all sides to commit to an indefinite ceasefire and allow humanitarian access to the region. This was critical and long overdue. But the international community must also focus on the wider challenges in Ethiopia: namely that there are several other opposition forces which could become radicalised.

The Tigrayans account for 6 per cent of Ethiopia’s 112m people. Instrumental in ousting the dictator Mengistu in 1991, they subsequently dominated the coalition government for nearly 30 years. But the Oromo, who make up 35 per cent of the population, also have a century’s long conflict with the central government. If not dealt with promptly, this too could provoke the disintegration of Ethiopia. And among the Amhara, who account for 27 per cent of the population, factions and militias blame the government for intensifying oppression and are growing extremely restless. Abiy has so far failed to put a lid on any of these tensions.

The twice-delayed elections to choose 547 federal parliament members have either been boycotted or postponed in parts of Oromia and Amhara and put off indefinitely in Tigray. Given the lack of a credible opposition, the result of June’s poll in due course will almost certainly deliver victory to the prime minister’s Prosperity Party, securing his position as head of government. Abiy should use this as a platform to stop the fighting and call for round-table discussions with all his opponents. He must pursue a path to genuine power-sharing and inclusive development, so that no group feels marginalised politically or economically. His recent comments that Ethiopia needs peace to develop provide a glimmer of hope. 

As the international community considers how to respond to the tragedy in Tigray, it should also apply pressure to each of Ethiopia’s warring parties in order to get them to come to the table. It must be made clear that there can be no military solution to the country’s challenges.

Sadly, Ethiopia is once again becoming synonymous with war and suffering. Its people need a present and future of which they can be as proud as they are of their past. I wonder what my great-grandmother would think if she could see that the conflict raging in her country today is not between Ethiopians and their would-be European subjugators but between her own compatriots. 

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Ethiopian Airlines Leads Africa in Passenger Traffic During the COVID Crisis

Ethiopian Airlines topped the list with the highest passenger traffic transported through Addis Ababa Bole Airport [in 2020]. A total of 5.5 million passengers have been transported through the airport. Of this traffic, Ethiopian transported 5.2 million passengers. - Travel Daily News. (Photo via @flyethiopian/Twitter)

Travel Daily News

Ethiopian continues to lead Africa in passenger traffic during the COVID crisis

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Airlines Group has become Africa’s top airline in passenger traffic retaining its leadership position in the continent. According to the African Airlines Association’s (AFRAA) report, Ethiopian has been ranked first by passenger and cargo traffic in 2020.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam said, “We are honoured to continue our leadership even during the Global Pandemic Crisis which has devastated the aviation industry. This is a manifestation of our resilience and agility. We are excited about the role we played in the fight against the pandemic by continuing our much-needed air connectivity within Africa and with the rest of the world without any flight suspension. We are saving lives through air transport of medical supplies and vaccines.”

Ethiopian Airlines topped the list with the highest passenger traffic transported through Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. A total of 5.5 million passengers have been transported through the airport. Of this traffic, Ethiopian transported 5.2 million passengers and the remaining passengers were transported by other airlines. Ethiopia also topped the list in the most connected countries in Africa due to Ethiopian Airlines’ large number of direct flights within the continent.

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A Mother’s Hope: Ethiopian Woman Returns to San Francisco to Seek her Lost Son

Photos of Maereg Tafesse and his mother Legawork Assefa. (Photo of Tafesse courtesy of Assefa / Photo of Assefa by David Mamaril Horowitz)

Mission Local

The 57-year-old mother from Ethiopia sat across from me on a recent June day. She was in San Francisco, she said, to again search for the son she last heard from in March, 2018.

This is her second visit to the Mission District, one of the last places, she explains, that someone remembered seeing him. One of the last places that gave her some hope.

“I lost all the meanings that I have for life,” said Legawork Assefa, a thin woman who shares her son’s photos. “You can’t imagine what it feels like, looking for your son in the streets of the U.S., where you don’t even know which street takes you where and how to come back to where you have started.”

But she refuses to give up, using savings from her job at an NGO in Ethiopia to cover the costs of three trips to the United States, hire private detectives and slowly piece together the story of her son, Maereg Tafesse. He was 24 when he went missing in early 2018.

An engineering degree and a desire to work with the homeless

Less than two years before disappearing, the 6-foot-2 young man pictured on the flyer in Assefa’s hand graduated from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.

His mother is accustomed to describing him, and the photo confirms her memory: He is skinny with a receding hairline. He has tattoos of flying birds on his left wrist and a tattoo of some sort of box on his right.

His family and friends describe him as intelligent and kind-hearted — precisely the sort of young man who would earn a B.A. in mechanical engineering and then volunteer to serve homeless residents in Los Angeles.

“He’s always been consistent, in the sense that he didn’t just want to get a job and do the whole capitalism thing,” said Zuhair Sras, his close friend from college. “He said he’d want to join the Christian anarchists group in Los Angeles.”

He joined a group of volunteers at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, which operates hospice care for the dying, a hospitality house for the homeless, publishes a bi-monthly newspaper and generally opposes war-making and systemic injustice.

Members live together in a commune setting, with volunteer work covering room and board and bringing in a stipend of $15 to $25 a week. Tafeesse worked in the soup kitchen.

Jed Poole, an associate director who lived in the room next to Tafesse, said the young volunteer was like others who graduate and aren’t ready to jump into traditional work.

He stayed from September, 2016, to September, 2017, his mother said. Poole said that timeframe sounded about right.

Next, in October, 2017, Tafesse moved to the Seattle area, where he volunteered at Left Bank Books, which “specialize(s) in anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles,” according to its website. At one point he also volunteered at the Green Tortoise Hostel in return for shelter, Assefa said.

When he last emailed with his mother in March, 2018, Tafesse wrote about leaving the country, but five months later, Assefa confirmed that he had never left.

So, in September 2018, she flew to Seattle to find him. But instead, she only found small clues: that her son had checked out of the the Green Tortoise Hostel in February, 2018, and that he had texted Adrian Lambert, a worker at the bookstore, the day before he went missing to say that he was going to Sacramento and might return to Seattle again in the summer.

Assefa reported her son missing to the police department in Seattle, and detectives there said that they found Tafesse had been in Sacramento in 2018, a fact confirmed by Seattle Police Detective Patrick Michaud. Tafesse’s case as a missing person remains open, Michaud said.

Unable to locate her son, Assefa returned home to Ethiopia, but traveled back to the United States a year later, in October, 2019, to visit Sacramento and to canvas its homeless shelters. At a Salvation Army homeless shelter, she met Lee, who is homeless. He recognized Tafesse’s photo and reported seeing him at the nearby light rail station around a month before Assefa arrived.

The man wore clothes of Ethiopian style, Lee said. Like Tafesse, the man also also had a tattoo on his wrist.

Assefa’s search in 2019 next took her to San Francisco because a private detective told her that Tafesse bought a bus ticket from Sacramento to San Francisco on March 8, 2018. Sras, Tafesse’s college friend, also reported that Tafesse had talked about the possibility of moving to San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Assefa visited homeless shelters — flyers and photos in hand. One of the nonprofits she visited was Dolores Street Community Services.

Three workers there recognized her son, including then-receptionist Barbara Torres. She told Assefa in 2019 that, a week prior, someone who looked “similar” had made a landline call, asked for a shower and was later seen down the street.

Torres, the receptionist, confirmed this month that she and two others at the nonprofit had also remembered seeing Tafesse in the area in 2019. She added, however, that the man she saw looked “rougher” and “more rugged” than the one in the photos Assefa showed them, as if he had been homeless.

In March and April this year, two workers in Sacramento shelters also reported seeing a man who resembled Tafesse, according to Brittany Stevens, an investigator with Sacramento’s Gumshoe Detective Agency.

Why does someone disappear?

Tafesse’s mother, family members and friends are unclear why the young college graduate dropped out of sight. There was no history of mental instability earlier in his life, they said.

Allison McGillivray and her husband Sam Yergler met Tafesse when they were working at Los Angeles Catholic Worker. They said that, a month before he went missing, Tafesse visited them in Eugene, Ore., where they now live.

He took the bus and stayed for several nights to reconnect, McGillivray said. They parted on good terms, and have no idea why he would have gone missing.

Tafesse also regularly spoke to his uncle, Atlabachew Assefa, who lives in Dallas, and is the family member closest to him in the United States. A week or perhaps only days before he disappeared, they talked for 10 minutes and spoke of meeting in April or May of that year.

“I’ll call you next week,” Tafesse promised.

Shortly after, on March 3, 2018, Tafesse stopped communicating with everyone.

“I just don’t have anything. Really. I really don’t,” his uncle said. “I just want to say that anybody who’s seen him, anybody who has any information about this … the family is suffering.”

“We don’t have any clue, even if he’s alive or dead,” Atlabachew Assefa added. “We just need to know what happened to Maerag. That’s all. So, we beg everybody, ask everybody.”

June 2021

When she visits the city her son might have been in, Assefa always finds herself walking.

She tries to get a good view of people’s faces, especially those who are homeless.

Assefa suspects her son could be volunteering again or living on the streets, so she often visits and distributes his information at homeless shelters and community nonprofits wherever he’s lived or been reported in.

“Every time I see someone, I see him in them,” she said.

The San Francisco Police Department found no reports of Tafesse in its system. The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing declined to confirm the presence of Tafesse in its system due to privacy concerns. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said it has no reports of Tafesse in its system.

Assefa asks that anyone who may have information relating to the whereabouts of her son contact her at legaworka@gmail.com or on Whatsapp at +251911231194.

The Seattle Police Department said that information on missing people should be reported to (206) 625-5011.

You can alternatively contact the San Francisco Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit at (415) 734-3070 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or (415) 553-0123 outside of those hours.

You can also contact the reporter, who will forward your message to Assefa, at david@missionlocal.com.

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U.S. Arrests Ethiopian Man for Fraudulently Obtaining Citizenship

According to the indictment, which was unsealed following the arrest, Mezemr Abebe Belayneh, 65, of Snellville, Georgia [east of Atlanta] served as a civilian interrogator at a makeshift prison in Dilla, Ethiopia, during a period in the late 1970s known as the Red Terror, [which he failed to disclose] (DOJ)

Press Release

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Naturalized U.S. Citizen from Ethiopia Arrested on Charge of Fraudulently Obtaining Citizenship

Indictment Alleges Lies During the Naturalization Process, Including Failure to Disclose Participation in Persecution During the Ethiopian Red Terror

A Georgia man has been arrested on criminal charges related to allegations that he lied to obtain U.S. citizenship.

According to the indictment, which was unsealed following the arrest, Mezemr Abebe Belayneh, 65, of Snellville, served as a civilian interrogator at a makeshift prison in Dilla, Ethiopia, during a period in the late 1970s known as the Red Terror. At the prison, Abebe ordered and participated in the severe physical abuse and interrogation of prisoners held on the basis of their political beliefs. The indictment alleges that Abebe unlawfully procured U.S. citizenship, to which he was not entitled, by concealing his involvement in the Red Terror when he falsely claimed that he had not persecuted anyone because of their political opinions and had never committed a crime for which he had not been arrested.

“Human rights violators have no home in the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “No matter how much time has passed, the Department of Justice will find and prosecute individuals who committed atrocities in their home countries and covered them up to gain entry to the United States.”

“The laws of the United States are designed to provide refuge for the victims of human rights violation and to exclude those who commit them,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine for the Northern District of Georgia. “The defendant’s alleged lies through his immigration and naturalization process subverted this system. We commend our law enforcement partners at the Department of Homeland Security and the dedicated team at the Department of Justice who work tirelessly to assure that individuals such as the defendant do not have a safe haven in our communities.”

“Abebe’s lies and horrible past deeds have thankfully come back to haunt him,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Now he will be held accountable. Thanks to some great work from the agents and officers involved in this case as well as our law enforcement partners, justice will be served.”

Abebe is charged with two counts of unlawful procurement of naturalization. The maximum sentence for each count is 10 years in prison. If convicted, a federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. A conviction would also result in automatic revocation of Abebe’s U.S. citizenship.

Homeland Security Investigations’ Atlanta Field Office is investigating the case, and coordination was provided by the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC). Established in 2009, the HRVWCC furthers the government’s efforts to identify, locate and prosecute human rights abusers in the United States, including those who are known or suspected to have participated in persecution, war crimes, genocide, torture, extrajudicial killings, female genital mutilation, and the use or recruitment of child soldiers.

Trial Attorneys Jamie Perry and Patrick Jasperse of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Morris of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia are prosecuting the case, with assistance from HRSP Senior Historian Dr. Christopher Hayden.

Members of the public who have information about former human rights violators in the United States are urged to contact U.S. law enforcement through the HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) or its online tip form at www.ice.gov/tips.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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In Louisville, Kentucky Family of Slain Ethiopian Store Owner Devastated His American Dream Came to Tragic End

The shooting happened around noon Monday...when police arrived, they found a man, now identified as Dimtsu Haileselassie, 62, of Louisville, shot to death inside the store. His niece Hilena Haileselassie and nephew Amanuel Abay said they didn't know who would do this to their uncle. (WLKY)

WLKY

Family of slain Louisville liquor store owner devastated his American dream came to tragic end

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The family of a Taylor Berry liquor store owner shot to death inside the store is asking for the public’s help in identifying his killer.

The shooting happened around noon Monday at a store in the 3200 block of Taylor Boulevard, which is just blocks away from Churchill Downs.

When police arrived, they found a man, now identified as Dimtsu Haileselassie, 62, of Louisville, shot to death inside the store.

His niece Hilena Haileselassie and nephew Amanuel Abay said they didn’t know who would do this to their uncle.

“What am I going to say to the person who took our everything?” Haileselassie asked. “Someone chose on a Monday morning to come and take his life and it’s devastating. His wife found him. His nephew [Abay] found him.”

The store was a venture by Haileselassie and his wife to start a new chapter when they moved from Louisville to Atlanta. Haileselassie owned the store for two years before tragedy struck a family already experiencing loss in their home country.

“I feel like I lost a thousand people,” Abay said. “We’re already losing a lot of people in Tigray, Ethiopia. Our family are dying there. Again, here, to happen, this to us. It’s unreal, another death.”

Abay recalled the conversations he had with his uncle about staying safe in a city now plagued by violence.

“He kept saying as long as you’re nice to people, they will never kill you,” Abay said. “He never thought somebody would come and kill him.”

Part of the shock for the family is knowing how much Haileselassie himself survived as a young man. The family said he fled his home country of Ethiopia through Sudan and arrived in America in search of a better life.

“To say Dimtsu Haileselassie was the epitome of the American Dream is not an understatement,” niece Hilena Haileselassie said. “Pulling himself up, pulling his family up with him, pulling the community up with him. Even having gone through all of that, he was the brightest face in the room. That’s his legacy. The kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. My stomach was sick just to know his blood was spilled here.”

A communal room next door to the store where he was killed is being used to celebrate his life. As the family begins their Ethiopian mourning tradition, they’re calling out to the community Dimtsu Haileselassie had so much faith in to honor him and help bring his killer to justice.

“We need some form of closure,” Hilena Haileselassie said. “It’s not going to bring Dimtsu back. But it can’t end like this so please, please call the anonymous tip line.”

LMPD has not yet made an arrest in his shooting, but released photos Tuesday of a suspect:

Suspect in liquor store homicideWANTED: LMPD releases photos of suspect in fatal shooting of liquor store employee
Anyone with information is asked to call the anonymous tip line at 502-574-LMPD.

Read the full story and watch video at wlky.com »

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Spotlight: Review of Mimi’s Ethiopian BBQ in DC

Mimi’s is named for Siham Mohammed (bottom left), whose mother used to call her “Mimi” as a child. [Siham] is an entrepreneur, just like her parents were back in Gondar. Her restaurant Mimi’s Ethiopian BBQ is located on Pennsylvania Avenue SE in Wahington, DC. (The Washington Post)

The Washington Post

Mimi’s Ethiopian BBQ brings a delicious taste of East African cooking to a new audience

A woman tends to a small portable grill she has placed atop a picnic table at Anacostia Park, just steps from a pirate ship that has, for the moment, separated children from their phones long enough to explore every inch of the three-masted playground. From my own picnic table, I can’t tell what she is cooking, but it has the unmistakable aroma of meat charred and caramelized on a hot grill.

Of course, I have my own platter of grilled meat, which I had bought minutes earlier at Mimi’s Ethiopian BBQ, just up the way on Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Long, ropy lengths of beef are coiled and tangled on a bed of injera, each strip slathered with awaze red-pepper paste and blackened from a brief stay on the grill. Some sections have this sublime crustiness, which forms best, I think, when thickly marinated meats hit a superhot grate. To be honest, I can’t tell who’s enjoying their afternoon more: the children on the pirate ship or me with my zilzil tibs.

Mimi’s is named for Siham Mohammed, whose mother used to call her “Mimi” as a child. Mohammed is an entrepreneur, just like her parents were back in Gondar, in the northern reaches of Ethiopia. Aside from Mimi’s, Mohammed also owns the supermarket a few doors down where, according to the signage, you can get groceries, accessories and your checks cashed. To my mind, the sign doesn’t begin to cover the vast array of foods, services and household goods found in Mohammed’s store.

Mimi’s, by contrast, has only a few offerings. It has even fewer workers. Its principal employee is Hikmah Tasew, older sister to Mohammed. Tasew serves as prep cook, baker, chef, dishwasher, cashier, you name it. She arrives early in the morning and leaves late at night, six days a week. She’s a crew of one, layered in clothes from top to bottom, from her floor-length striped dress to her tawny-colored headscarf. The only visible parts of her body are her hands and her face, which radiates kindness.

“It breaks my heart seeing her working hard, to be honest with you,” says Mohammed. “She makes everything on a daily basis. She doesn’t make anything for the next day. … She makes everything fresh, just like at her house.”

Read more »

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The Concept of “Culture” in Modern Ethiopian Context: By Ayele Bekerie

"Culture provides context with regard to people to people interactions. Cultural understanding is key to peaceful co existence. It is by making space to learn and understand people’s cultures that communication and interaction among people will have positive outcome." -- Ayele Bekerie. (Photo: Dagi pictures)

Tadias Magazine

By Ayele Bekerie, PhD

Published: June 3rd, 2021

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Human beings are defined by cultures they created, nurtured and embraced. Culture names people, for it is people who make and use culture. It defines and projects their identities within themselves and in relation to others. Culture offers them a sense of belongingness, also a sense to embolden human to human relations. That is, they will have a sense of direction and purpose. It allows them to have and nurture a safe space, a safe space to sing, cry, laugh and even do nothing. Culture provides a certain degree of protection from negative stereotypes or negative judgements of others. One is judged within one’s own cultural community means that the judgement will be fact-based and may serve as a tool for growth and improvement.

It is through culture that people constitute family and community and beyond that may be able to acquire the ability to establish lasting institutions to produce and utilize knowledge or develop characteristics and to be able to passing experiences from one generation to another. Each generation will have the opportunity to leave behind their cultural signatures.

Culture is about what is learned, shared, and symbolized. It is integrated and dynamic. It is subject to evolution and innovation, from time to time, facing critical evaluation. Culture is not about blood or DNA. It is not fixed and is, as a rule, subject to change. Culture provides a framework to human development. Humans acquire attributes of life and living through cultural initiations. The skills of mastering a profession or acquiring knowledge is
rooted in the cultural tradition one is very familiar with.

Culture provides context with regard to people to people interactions. Cultural understanding is key to peaceful co existence. It is by making space to learn and understand people’s cultures that communication and interaction among people will have positive outcome. It is also the acknowledgement of the presence of diverse cultures that will enable people to address misunderstandings and disagreements, in a peaceful and dialogic manner.

Traditional culture is often recognized through arts, music, choreography, story-telling, theatre, and poetry. People often ritualize traditional culture and celebrate them within their own time calendar. Festivities, ceremonies and other time-based activities provide opportunities to maintain and advance the tradition. It also offers an occasion for others to be introduced to the tradition.

It is a phenomenon which is characteristically collective. As the saying goes, I am because we are and we are because I am. Individuals will be able to shine first and foremost in the context of their own cultures. Talents are first tested in one’s safe space. Some talents may attract universal attention thereby transforming the talented individual to global recognition and fame. Culinary traditions of the Chinese or the Mexicans or the Ethiopians have achieved worldwide appreciation. Chinatowns are present in almost all the major cities of the world. Interactions through food pave the way to intercultural understanding. Food diplomacy may be one way to ease political tensions.

In a multiethnic society such as ours, culture is not only collective, but it is normally expressed with nuances and overlapping tendencies. What people share or what they have in common overrides singular features. Multiethnicity appears to have both distinct and cross-cultural features. It is therefore paramount for our society to recognize the impure nature of our cultures.

In other words, given our long history and the tendency of people to move from place to place, cultures flourish in a setting that there are other cultures nearby or in interaction with one another.

Moral and social values, behaviors, beliefs, languages, occupation are often recognized as realms of culture. Even if these expressions are marked with distinctiveness, the practitioners assume multilayered cultural identities. The more features one acquires both from within and without, the more open-minded the person becomes. Tolerance and respect are key words that often guide the day to day activities of a broad-minded person.

It is fair to state that culture is dynamic. That means, it is subject to change, growth and development. Culture is local, but it has the capacity to turn into a universal phenomenon. While culture possesses its own fingerprints to mark people’s identity and way of life, it is also capable of crossing boundaries.

Culture is a source of free space. It is a comfort zone for members of a particular cultural attribute and people’s ability to express themselves fully, free of inhibition, lies in cultural reference point.

Institutions often serve as permanent homes of culture. Educational, political, economic, social and religious institutions are libraries of culture. In these institutions, knowledge is produced and propagated. Categories are useful tools that allow the systematic organization and utilization of cultural attributes.

We may not have universally agreed upon definition of culture, but human beings are capable of recognizing cultural phenomena often expressed in the form of arts, music, aesthetics or festivities. Culinary traditions, for instance, are people-specific. The culinary traditions of the Chinese are distinct and as such recognized by non-Chinese.

Culture is often marked or celebrated in the form of festivals. Rituals are sources of cultural manifestations. Human beings affirm their sense of culture by participating in cultural activities, be it religious or non-religious.

The retention of cultural values will be stronger if a specific cultural event is practiced on a regular basis by people. Cultural activities may be practiced both at home and in public squares.

Cultural development is governed by internal forces, such as natural resources, occupation, beliefs and knowledge production. Culture is also capable of absorbing practices from outside sources. There are no rigid boundaries among cultures. However, it is always important to advance the non-hierarchical nature of culture. That was not the case, however, in the world we live in. Cultural supremacy has been deployed to effectuate colonialism. Languages of the colonizer were imposed among the colonial subjects. In other words, hegemony and supremacy are hostile to distinct local cultures. They stunt their normal development. External intervention to impose alien culture often threatens the healthy development and advancement of a particular culture.

For instance, among the Oromo people’s cultural attributes are mogassa and gudificha. Mogassa refers to fostering children from within and without the community, while gudificha refers to adoption of children from non-Oromo communities. These cultural attributes represent the learned nature of culture. It also affirms that culture is not about blood or biology nor it is about purity.

The notion of blood tie or the push for purity are mere ideological and political posturing often used to cover up the active mission of land grabbing and to engage in displacing people who are labeled impure. Millions of people have been displaced and pushed out of their birthplaces under the cover of purity and lack of blood relations. Since blood or biology is a false base for a person’s identity, its use is an excuse to fascistically remove people from the land of their birth.

In most instances, blood is used as a false tool to claim identity and also to bypass the fact that
the non-Oromos might be speaking the language of their new homeland.

To conclude, culture is a trademark of human beings. Human beings flourish if they have access to cultures they relate and are in a position to actively participate in them. Intercultural interactions lead to peaceful co-existence of different cultures, provided that there are no hierarchies among cultures. By adopting tolerance, respect and understanding to cultures, human beings will be in a position to create and embrace a peaceful world.

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Ethni & Serene Amsale: 17 Year-old Ethiopian American Twin Sisters Reflect on Their Culture

In the following essay twin sisters Ethni & Serene Amsale reflect on their Ethiopian culture. Born and raised in the U.S. the college bound sisters -- who live in Middletown, Delaware -- are set to graduate from high school this month. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Ethni Amsale

Updated: June 7th, 2021

Middletown, Delaware — My name is Ethni Amsale. I am 17 and a first generation, Ethiopian American. My twin sister, Serene and I were raised by our beautiful single mother. Our lives have been nothing short of full and bright. Throughout my lifetime, I have been blessed to have been exposed to my Ethiopian culture and background. I believe all should be judged by their character and how they treat others rather than their ethnic or economic background. This is most important.


Ethni and Serene Amsale at their home in Middletown, Delaware. (Courtesy photo)

However, I often remember feeling proud of my ethnic background when I went on car rides with my family listening to Ethiopian music. My mother would explain the lyrics to my sister and I, unveiling the message behind each tune. One song stands out to me Tikur Sew or “Black Man” by Teddy Afro was its title. The song is a tribute to Emperor Melenik II’s victory of a united Ethiopia against an Italian invasion specifically in the Battle of Adwa. It highlighted the role women played in the Ethiopian military, celebrating our success in resisting European colonialism. My mom tells us to listen for the lyrics ourselves and that this is one of the many reasons we feel honored to be Ethiopian. As I get older, I become increasingly exposed to a variety of literature, music, art, food, and dance representative of Ethiopia and I fall more in love with it. As a student in the American school system, I learn about history and become increasingly aware of the racial divide that exists. Although I do not fully understand it, I make an effort to research and analyze the reasons behind the socioeconomic disparity between African Americans and Whites that we witness today. The majority of African Americans who arrived in America hundreds of years ago through the transatlantic slave trade have been systematically disconnected from their roots. Many generations were born without the cognizance of their ethnic language, customs, social institutions, and achievements. They were forced to carry the name and surname given to them by their slave masters with nothing else to hold on to but the color of their skin and folktales. Unfortunately, this disconnect has caused an understandable frustration and a version of identity crisis in the Black community.


Ethni and Serene Amsale with their mother, Meseret Tamirie, at their home in Middletown, Delaware. Ethni is also pictured on the right. (Courtesy photo)


Ethni & Serene Amsale attending church in New York City with their mother and grandmother. (Courtesy photo)

I am grateful for the connection I have to my ancestors birthplace and its rich history. I accredit this to my upbringing and my eagerness to continue to learn in a system that would otherwise see me fail. Currently, I am a high school senior planning on studying Animal Science and Biology on a Pre-Veterinary Track. I have been accepted to several accredited colleges and am in the process of making a decision. I am also an aspiring model and hope to one day have the platform to advocate for environmental policies that would positively impact the ecosystem and animal rights. I am appreciative of the opportunities I have and look forward to serving Ethiopia and the global community. Ethiopia enate tinur le zelalem.

‘Ethiopian music as the soundtrack to my life’ By Serene Amsale


Serene Amsale. (Courtesy photo)

By Serene Amsale

I can imagine myself opening and closing my eyes, the light of the sun, or the highway flooding my pupils and then disappearing as my eyelids met each other. I was on a car ride, when my mother, Meseret or “Mimi” and my twin sister, Ethni would go on family trips. My Ethiopian, specifically, gurage mother would put on music, with a wide variety of Ethiopian artists. From Mohamood Ahmed to Gigi, to Teddy Afro. Ever since our first days on Earth, even if I couldn’t recall, I can hear Ethiopian music in the background of old home movies with us as babies.

Staring out of the window, looking at landscapes, cities, and eventually crossing states, with Ethiopian music as the soundtrack to these road trips, and essentially my life. I was able to pick up on words and use my mother as a human dictionary. “Ehe mindinew?”, I would say, pointing to a lamb or cow on a local farm. It is important to note that I am passionate about animals. Ever since I was little, I aspired to be a veterinarian or wildlife biologist.

At the age of 6, my sister and I decided in unison to become vegetarian, which my lovely, single mother fully supported. I would love learning what animals would translate to in the Amharic language. Soon after, I noticed myself understanding the language more, and the conversations my mom would have with relatives on the phone. I was able to articulate myself, which was very apparent to me on our most recent trip to Ethiopia in the summer of 2018. While I enjoyed reconnecting with family and friends, I also got a glimpse into the experience of animals in Ethiopia, particularly cattle and domesticated animals.


Serene and Ethni Amsale with their mother, Meseret Tamirie, pictured before their Prom night at their home in Middletown, Delaware. (Courtesy photo)


(Courtesy photo)

I noticed some were used in the prime of their lives and then deemed no longer valuable. They were left emaciated and lifeless on the streets of Addis Ababa and Hawassa, and everywhere in between, where we traveled. I am pursuing a higher education in biology and environmental policy. I will be majoring in those fields in the beginning of this fall semester. I will focus on veterinary medicine. I am confident I can rely on my knowledge thus far, and solid upbringing in my 17 years of life that being a human being is extraordinary but being Ethiopian is a true privilege.

I take great pride in being able to call Ethiopia my country of origin. It is a strong and determined lion, “anbessa” in a pride of lost ones, remaining independent through two Italian invasions, thus becoming the only uncolonized African country in history. Accordingly, the only African country with its own indigenous alphabet, “fidel” and diverse subcultures, breaking into over 80 dialects. The land is home to impressive geographic locations, from the Danakil Depression, the hottest point on planet Earth to the Great Rift Valley and Simien Mountains- by the way I loved doing a report on them in 5th grade- The mountains helped coin the phrase “The roof of Africa” for the nation. Retrospectively, notice our flag colors, green, yellow, and red, and countries across the continent, subsequently adopt them throughout history. The first, Ghana, in 1957, then, Mali, Cameroon, Benin, and Senegal, consecutively after that. These are not simply colors, but a symbol of indepence, peace, and a real possibility of freedom, not just hope. I aspire to emulate my mother’s principles, her open-heartedness, and ability to lead with the heart, and to be present, and accessible, non-judgement towards others, belief in herself, and strong-willed, graceful, and magnetic nature. Similarly, these are all elements of the wonderful nation where our roots lie, and leading with any one of those traits will surely lead one to a bright future. I am excited to embark on my life’s adventure, and eager to affect change in a meaningful way.

If you would like to share a similar story please send your submssion to info@tadias.com.

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ART TALK: In A Thrilling Retrospective, Ethiopian-American Artist Julie Mehretu Maps A Radical New Path For Geopolitics

"The extraordinary vitality of these works is achieved by Mehretu’s artistic talent for abstraction, through which she channels her interests in political forces including globalism and migration. (The latter is tinged with personal experience. Her family fled political instability in Ethiopia, moving from Addis Ababa to East Lansing, Michigan, when the artist was a child.)- Forbes. (© Julie Mehretu)

Forbes

In A Thrilling Whitney Retrospective, Ethiopian-American Artist Julie Mehretu Maps A Radical New Path For Geopolitics

Before the world was home to Africans, Asians, Europeans, Australians, and North and South Americans, all lands were massed in a single supercontinent called Pangaea. And before Pangaea, the landmasses were conjoined to make the supercontinent of Gondwana. At the time, some five hundred million years ago, there were no humans, and the dinosaurs that were alive to watch the tectonic shifts leading to Gondwana’s breakup – a multi-million-year process – left no record of what they witnessed. Geologists have only recently mapped Gondwana by simulating plate tectonics in reverse. The artist Julie Mehretu has also charted Gondwana. Her version takes the form of a mural-scale painting currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a highlight of her impressive mid-career retrospective.

Mehretu is best known for paintings that have the superficial appearance of cartography yet are deeply disorienting. Since the 1990s, she has combined rigorous systems of geometry with symbols of her own imagination, often highly gestural, which articulate specific spatial relationships between unknown reference points. Titles such as Black City and Back to Gondwanaland sometimes hint at a subject being mapped or explored, but any modicum of certainty is undermined by other titles applied to similar canvases, such as Mumbo Jumbo.


Julie Mehretu, Retopistics: A Renegade Excavation, 2001. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 101 ½ × 208 ½ inches (257.81 × 529.59 cm). Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas 2013.28. © Julie Mehretu

The extraordinary vitality of these works is achieved by Mehretu’s artistic talent for abstraction, through which she channels her interests in political forces including globalism and migration. (The latter is tinged with personal experience. Her family fled political instability in Ethiopia, moving from Addis Ababa to East Lansing, Michigan, when the artist was a child.) Mehretu has creatively embraced the tension between abstract tradition and political engagement by evoking the ambiguous ways in which geopolitics maps onto the intercontinental landscape.

One of the most extreme instances of this technique can be seen in a mural she created for Goldman Sachs in 2009. Mehretu intended Mural to represent “a spatial history of global capitalism”, an ambition she set out to achieve by layering abstractions of global trade routes, historical stock exchange architecture, and corporate logos. The result is unintelligible in the sense of being irreducible, and thereby evocative of the irreducible complexity of the marketplace. Capitalism is depicted as a self-perpetuating system that repels reform through its inconceivable internal logic.

Taking a commission from Goldman Sachs to create this painting may be viewed as cynical opportunism – a shrewd way to make a buck on the wages of sin – or more charitably can be seen as a gesture of optimism: Situating the mural in the lobby of one of the world’s most powerful investment banking firms, where financiers would see it daily, might provide just the kind of unmooring required to awaken the need to reorient global wealth distribution.

Read more »

Related:

ART TALK: Julie Mehretu – A Decade of Printmaking at Gemini G.E.L. in NYC

Watch: Checkerboard Film Foundation presents “Julie Mehretu: Mid-Career Survey”

ART TALK: Julie Mehretu Makes Art Big Enough to Get Lost In

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

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)

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OBITUARY: Influential Ethiopian Producer Amha Eshèté Dies at 74

Amha Eshete, the Founder of Amha Records -the pioneering record company whose work from the "golden era" of Ethiopian music is now enshrined in the world-famous éthiopiques CD series - has died at the age of 74. “The Amha Records catalog includes more than 100 vinyl references, released between 1969 and 1975. (Courtesy photo)

World Music Central

Amha Eshèté, a highly influential Ethiopian music producer and founder of Amha Records, died on April 30, 2021. The Amha Records label released iconic recordings of Ethiojazz and Ethiopop rooted in traditional music. These releases captured the golden era of Ethiopian music. The Amha recordings were licensed to French world music label Buda Musique and received worldwide distribution and critical acclaim as part of the successful Ethiopiques series.

Gilles Fruchaux (Buda Musique) and Francis Falceto (collections éthiopiques & ethioSonic) issued a press release: “The departure of our friend Amha Eshèté (Amha Records) from Ethiopia’s great modern music scene follows five weeks after the death of Ali Tango (Kaifa Records).

“A music lover through and through, a lone pioneer of record production in his country, a daring young entrepreneur, an alternative activist before his time (and something of a combative dude), a gentleman outlaw, Amha managed to circumvent Emperor Haile-Selassie’s state monopoly which did not publish any modern music and banned the importation and production of records. Amha Eshèté said «I had a gut feeling that it was the thing to do. I thought, nobody’s going to kill me for that. At most I might land in jail for a while. »

“The Amha Records catalog includes more than 100 vinyl references, released between 1969 and 1975. The very essence of Ethiopian pop golden oldies. Nearly all of them have been reissued in the Éthiopiques series. Ethiopian pop is now firmly established, everywhere.

“Without Amha Records and Kaifa Records, there would have been no Ethiopiques.

“Thank you Amha. Thank you Ali. Rest in peace.”

Related:

TADIAS Interview: Amha Eshete & Contribution of Amha Records to Modern Ethiopian Music

How Ethiopian Music Went Global: Interview with Francis Falceto

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Spotlight: In Colorado, Governor Visits Konjo Ethiopian in Edgewater

Yoseph Assefa and Fetien Gebre-Michael of Konjo Ethiopian [the first Ethiopian food truck in Colorado serving the Denver metro area] meet with Colorado Governor Jared Polis at the Edgewater Public Market on Friday, April 30, 2021. (Photo: Oh Hey Creative)

Edgewater Echo

This past Friday (April 30, 2021) Colorado Governor Jared Polis visited Edgewater and had lunch with the owners and operators of Konjo Ethiopian, Yoseph Assefa and Fetien Gebre-Michael, at the Edgewater Public Market. Governor Polis spent the day touring small businesses throughout the Denver area.

Here’s our interview with Fetien Gebre-Michael of Konjo Ethiopian about the visit.

How did you hear the Governor would be stopping by Konjo?

We received a call from the Governor’s office wanting to confirm a time in the next 2 days for him to stop by Konjo. Ummm, let’s rewind a bit here. Yes, we would love to have the Governor stop by, but why Konjo? So, Konjo is a part of the SBDC and back in 2018 we particpated in Trout Tank, a pitch accelerator. We ended up winning for our pitch of a fast-casual Ethiopian restaurant. One of the judges at the time, China, who is now the director of the SBDC, threw Konjo’s name in the hat. How cool is that?? Full circle.

What was the message you wanted to the Governor to hear?

We wanted the Governor to know that even though we barely made it through the pandemic, our struggles as a small business are not over yet. Yes, people are getting vaccinated and starting to come out more and more, but no one in our industry has enough staff. We are all struggling to keep up with the overnight demand and lack of staff has been a big issue. Our co-founder Yoseph suggested some sort of incentive to try to get more folks back into the service industry by way of a signing bonus funded by the state or a way that small businesses can draw potential employees back with help from the state level.

What makes you hopeful for the future?

Business is already starting to pick up exponentially. This will be a busy summer across the board. People are antsy to get out and they have money saved up from staying home for so long. They want to be around other people and start socializing again. Failure wasn’t an option for Konjo. We’ve worked too hard to get to where we are. We diversified and did what we could to stay afloat. If we can make it through Covid, we can make it through anything.

Related:

Video: The Ethiopian Food Truck In Denver

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UPDATE: Ethiopian Airlines Launches COVID-19 Digital Health Passport

Ethiopian Airlines is now the first African carrier to use the International Air Transport Association's COVID-19 test mobile app. The IATA Travel Pass, which will help verify the authenticity of test information presented by travelers, will be used by the airline on two flights out of Addis Ababa: Washington D.C. and Toronto. (Photo: Airbus)

Simple Flying

Ethiopian Airlines Launches IATA Travel Pass Trials

Yet another airline is announcing that it will be trialing IATA’s Travel Pass – a digital health passport that will make the verification of COVID-19 tests and vaccinations easier for the carrier. Ethiopian Airlines is now the first African carrier to run through a test of the mobile app, joining other airlines such as Emirates, SWISS, Singapore Airlines, and more.

“Ethiopian has gone digital in all of its operations to avoid physical contact and combat the spread of the pandemic and now, embarks on this initiative which will allow passengers to relish unparalleled flight experience.”

-Ethiopian Airlines official statement

Where is the trial taking place?

The IATA Travel Pass, which will help verify the authenticity of test information presented by travelers, will be used by Ethiopian Airlines on two flights out of Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD):

Washington D.C. – Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
Toronto – Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

For flights to Addis Ababa, two airports will participate in this trial:

London Heathrow (LHR)
Toronto – Lester B. Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

The airline notes that this was effective as of April 25th, 2021, meaning that the trial is already underway.


A visualization of the airports participating in this trial. Ethiopian flights to Toronto and Washington include technical stops, but this has not been included in the map to reduce confusion. (Photo: GCMap.com)

Solving problems through digital technology

Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, says that digital technology is vital to solving many of the problems that arise from the pandemic. Saying:

“We are glad that we are offering new digital opportunities to our passengers so as to fully and safely restart air travel. Our customers will enjoy efficient, contactless and safer travel experience with their travel pass digital passport. As a safety first airline, we have become the first African airline to trail IATA’s travel pass initiative to facilitate travel.”

For those still unfamiliar with IATA’s Travel Pass, the mobile app is designed to be a digital health passport of sorts, which will receive test and vaccination certificates and verify that they are sufficient for the traveler’s specific route.


Ethiopian has 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in its fleet. These are a mix of the -9 and shorter -8 variants. (Photo: byeangel via Wikimedia Commons)

The app will share testing or vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities to facilitate travel. “The digital travel app will also avoid fraudulent documentation and make air travel more convenient,” the airline’s official messaging adds.

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In Virginia No Bail for Accused Ethiopian Man in 70-pound Marijuana Plot

Samson Desalegne Alemu, 31, of Springfield, was one of four people arrested April 14 as Christiansburg police ended weeks of surveillance and swooped in on an operation that investigators said connected a Northern Virginia supply chain to drug sales in two town neighborhoods. The trigger was Alemu’s arrival in a red 2019 Ford Escape that officers secretly equipped with a tracer. (Photo: Christiansburg Police Dept.)

The Roanoke Times

No bail for accused driver in 70-pound marijuana plot in Montgomery County

HRISTIANSBURG — An Ethiopian man accused of delivering 70 pounds of marijuana to a suspected dealer in Christiansburg will not be allowed free on bond, a Montgomery County judge said Thursday.

Samson Desalegne Alemu, 31, of Springfield, was one of four people arrested April 14 as Christiansburg police ended weeks of surveillance and swooped in on an operation that investigators said connected a Northern Virginia supply chain to drug sales in two town neighborhoods. The trigger was Alemu’s arrival in a red 2019 Ford Escape that officers secretly equipped with a tracer – Alemu was tracked electronically as he drove south, with officers falling in behind him as he passed Roanoke, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Wolz said at Thursday’s bond hearing.

Police seized 66 pounds of suspected marijuana from the vehicle Alemu drove and another four pounds from the townhouse in the 300 block of Oak Tree Boulevard where his trip ended, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt said.

Another pound of suspected marijuana was found at an apartment in the Christiansburg Bluff complex in the 500 block of Republic Road that allegedly also was used by accused drug seller Tomas [Alemayehu] Keno, 29, of Radford, a search warrant said.

Alemu and Keno each were charged with conspiring to distribute or to possess with the intent to distribute more than five pounds of marijuana, and with distributing or possessing with the intent to distribute more than five pounds of marijuana.

Also arrested was Kayla Lynn Raines, 28, of Christiansburg, on the same two charges, and Natnael Kifle Yilma, 20, of Herndon, who was charged with the same conspiracy count and with having a firearm while involved in selling a pound of marijuana.

Keno and Yilma had already been denied bail at earlier hearings, and Raines released on a $25,000 secured bond, when Alemu appeared by a video link from the county jail Thursday in Montgomery County General District Court.

Attorney Chris Anderson of Roanoke, who represented Alemu, said his client, an Ethiopian citizen, was needed at home in Springfield, where the youngest of his two children was undergoing cancer treatment and his fianceé was recovering from her own cancer care.

“There is a substantial need for Mr. Alemu’s presence there,” Anderson said.

Alemu also has a more local community tie, with a sister living in Christiansburg, Anderson added.

Wolz countered that the scale and alleged ongoing nature of the marijuana operation argued against setting a bond, as did a 2014 conviction that Alemu had for failing to appear for a Radford court hearing.

Judge Gerald Mabe agreed with Wolz’ argument, saying that Alemu’s earlier failure to appear concerned him and the nature of the case left him unsure if Alemu would not commit other offenses if set free. Mabe said Alemu would have to remain in jail at least until his preliminary hearing, now set for Sept. 13, or he could appeal to Circuit Court and try to convince a judge there to set bail.

According to Wolz, investigators had been looking at Keno as a regional marijuana seller since March and thought that Alemu was his source. Raines is Keno’s girlfriend, and she told investigators that she stayed at the Oak Tree Boulevard townhouse and Keno helped her with expenses, Wolz said.

When officers raided the townhouse, they found more than $30,000 in cash. Much of the money was in a nightstand and Raines said it had not been there that morning, Wolz said. Among the money was $200 in marked bills that had been used in an earlier police undercover drug buy from Keno, Wolz said.

A tipster had told police that several times per week, someone was bringing 10 to 20 pounds of marijuana from Keno’s address, Wolz said.

Alemu told officers that the contraband found in the Ford Escape and in the townhouse was all his, Wolz said.

When Alemu drove to Christiansburg, he was followed by a white 2014 Ford Fusion driven by Yilma, Wolz said. Among the items in the Fusion were five bags of spice, or synthetic marijuana, Wolz said.

In an email after the hearing, Pettitt drew a sharp distinction between the alleged marijuana operation in Christiansburg and the legalization that Virginia is about to enact.

“Beginning July 1st, adults 21 years of age or older may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use and may grow up to four plants per household,” Pettitt wrote. “However, it will be illegal to use marijuana in public or while driving. In addition distribution or sharing of marijuana in any amount over 1 ounce will continue to be illegal and a felony. We will continue to pursue distribution of marijuana cases when the amounts involved exceeds the 1 ounce authorized by the Legislature.

“In this case, the quantity involved is over 1,100 ounces and the street value is approaching $200,000.”

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Spotlight: “A Fire Within” A New Historical Ethiopian American Documentary Premiers at Atlanta Film Festival

A new documentary film, A Fire Within, will premiere at the 45th Atlanta Film Festival with a special event outdoor “Drive-In” screening on April 30th at 8:00pm at the Plaza Theatre Atlanta. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: April 28th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — This week A Fire Within, which is executive produced by Liya Kebede and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Chambers, is set to make it’s world premiere at the 45th Atlanta Film Festival with a special event outdoor “Drive-In” screening on April 30th at 8:00pm at the Plaza Theatre Atlanta. In addition, the film will also be available for viewing online.

The new documentary A Fire Within brings to life the dramatic and widely reported story of three Ethiopian women in the U.S. that played out in an Altanta courtroom in the 1990′s when one of the women Hirute Abebe-Jira sued a former Ethiopian police official named Kelbessa Negewo as the person who tortured her in prison during the ″Red Terror″ era in Ethiopia.

At the time the Associated Press reported that “the suit was filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act, which allows aliens to seek relief in federal court for human rights violations in other countries. According to the suit, Negewo commanded police forces in part of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa” during that period.

As the press release notes:

“A FIRE WITHIN recounts the remarkable coincidence when Edjegayehu “Edge” Taye, Elizabeth Demissie, and Hirut Abebe-Jiri, three Ethiopian women who immigrate to the United States after surviving torture in their home country, discover the man responsible for their torture is living in America and working at the same restaurant as Edge in midtown Atlanta’s Colony Square Hotel. In Ethiopia, Kelbessa Negewo was a government official who tortured and executed scores of civilians during “The Red Terror”. At the Colony Square Hotel, he was the dish washer.

After confirming Negewo’s identity, the women vowed to find a way to bring him to justice. Atlanta-based lawyers Miles Alexander, Laurel Lucey and Michael Tyler at Kilpatrick Townsend law firm, along with ACLU Director Paul Hoffman, took the women’s case pro bono. Their legal strategy would hinge on the Alien Tort Statute of 1789, a section from America’s first Judiciary Act. Since 1979 (Filártiga v. Peña-Irala), American human rights lawyers have used the Alien Tort Statute to bring cases against human rights violators. The film documents the women’s harrowing journey to justice, bringing them face to face with their own torturer in what became a historic trial in modern American human rights law.

“Making this film has been a powerful, humbling experience,” said Chistopher Chambers, director. “The resilience of these three women, refusing to be intimidated into silence by their abuser, relentlessly pursuing justice, while struggling to start new lives as immigrants and refugees, is nothing less than heroic. These women represent the best of what “American values” can and should be.”

A FIRE WITHIN is executive produced by Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede. Kebede is also an award-winning actress, former World Health Organization (WHO) Ambassador, women’s rights activist, and founder and creative director of lemlem fashion brand.

I was so touched and moved by this story,” said Kebede. “We don’t often get to hear about such stories — the “other” stories. The stories that do not get told. It is very rewarding to be a part of this film and to bring the story of these courageous women to light.”

A FIRE WITHIN was filmed using interviews, archival footage and narrative recreations in 10 cities across the globe, including Atlanta, Georgia; Ottawa, Canada; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, narrative recreations were filmed with a locally-hired, all-Ethiopian cast and crew.

You can learn more about the film and screening at www.facebook.com/AFireWithinDoc

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Conversation With Ethiopian-born, New York-based Actor Antu Yacob at JCTC

Ethiopian-born, New York-based actor, producer, and playwright Antu Yacob will be featured for the final edition of Black Space by the Jersey City Theater Center on Sunday April 25. Antu was born in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia and raised in California and Minnesota. Her work is focused on women of the African Diaspora. (NJ.com)

NJ.com

Last month, the Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) began its new talk series, “Black Space,” an ongoing series of intimate and candid conversations exploring the experiences of black artists in the world today led by Ashley Nicole Baptiste, JCTC’s associate artistic director.

On Sunday April 25, Baptiste will initiate an in-depth conversation with actor, producer, and playwright Antu Yacob. Yacob is an Ethiopian-born, New York-based actor and has also worked extensively in the Bay Area and the Twin Cities. The talk takes place at 2 p.m. EST on Facebook Live and as a Zoom webinar.

“As our city gentrifies while retaining its diversity, and indeed as the world is changing in fundamental ways, being right in the middle of these conversations is essential,” says JCTC’s artistic director, Olga Levina. “For us as a theatre company dedicated to sparking conversations that lead to deeper respect and understanding, we know we need to create a safe place to listen and learn and collaborate.”

Yacob’s work focuses on women of the African diaspora. On the acting faculty of Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, her short film “Love in Submission” tells the story of two Muslim women from different backgrounds who meet for the first time when their worlds collide through a mutual third party. You can follow Yacob on Instagram @antuyacob and Twitter @AntuAbdi for updates.

Past talks for Black Space included Jersey City visual artist K. Brown, who talked about her love for art and Jersey City; and a discussion with nine black artists in different fields and different cities including Portland, Jersey City, New York, and London.

“I want to create an intentional safe space where black artists from around the world can come together and have a human-to-human exchange about art, race and life,” says Baptiste, an actor and a veteran youth theatre educator with the JCTC Youth Theatre and the Stories of Greenville initiative. “This series is about expansion, and pushing past pre-conceived notions of blackness.”

Related:

In Pictures: Antu Yacob Performs “In the Gray” at United Solo Theatre Festival

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

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In Harlem Ethiopian Church Faces Eviction In City’s Affordable Housing Deal

Board members Atsede Elegba (left) and Almaz Kebede outside the Beaata Le Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Church on March 28, 2021. The church is set to be evicted from its home on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. due to a city deal with a local nonprofit. (Photo: Patch)

Patch

A celebrated deal to create permanently affordable housing in Harlem will leave the neighborhood’s last Ethiopian Orthodox church homeless.

HARLEM, NY — When leaders of the Beaata Le Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church received an eviction notice in 2019, displacing them from their longtime home, they assumed their landlord had reached a deal with some private developer to construct a new set of condominiums or a luxury tower.

“We thought it was some huge corporate structure who was just wanting to buy the building to make money,” said Atsede Elegba, a church board member.

It was not until March of this year that the church learned the more complicated truth: their landlord, the city’s Housing Preservation Department, had reached a much-heralded deal to give their building to a neighborhood nonprofit, which will convert it into permanently affordable housing.

Now, members of the church — the last remaining Ethiopian Orthodox institution in Harlem — are packing up icons and incense at their home on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard and West 121st Street ahead of their May 28 eviction date.


In this pre-pandemic photo, crowds gathered inside Beaata Le Mariam for a bishop’s visit in 2019. (Courtesy of Atsede Elegba)

They are also contending with internal disagreements over how to find a new home, and conflicted feelings about the group that is displacing them.

“I’m very sad,” said Mezgebu Zikarge, the church’s head priest and administrator. “I cry to God.”

“People from all over”

Behind Beaata Le Mariam’s modest corner storefront, about two dozen people were gathered on a recent Sunday after finishing that day’s services. Families sipped coffee and tea and tore off chunks of dabo bread; women wearing traditional netela scarves spoke in English and Amharic as children ran between rooms.

In the inner sanctuary, Zikarge pointed at portraits of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Jesus’s crucifixion as the smell of incense wafted in. The church, which welcomed up to 100 congregants on past Sundays, has continued holding smaller, socially-distanced services during the pandemic.


Mezgebu Zikarge, priest head and administrator of Beaata Le Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, inside the church sanctuary on March 28, 2021. (Nick Garber/Patch)

The Ethiopian Orthodox church first made inroads in Harlem in the 1950s, arriving at the request of Black Americans who were drawn to it as one of the few Christian churches in Africa that predated colonialism.

Today, Beaata Le Mariam is “a rare combination of Western-born and Ethiopian-born parishioners,” said Elegba, whose family were early converts to the faith in the 1960s. Starting in the 1970s, Black American and Caribbean congregants were joined by native Ethiopians and Eritreans immigrating to Harlem during those countries’ civil war.

Over the years, fellow churches around Harlem have shut their doors as parishioners moved to other boroughs and the suburbs. Beaata Le Mariam opened in 2003 in Lower Manhattan, sharing space with an Armenian orthodox church before moving into its Harlem home in 2006.

“We have a lot of people from all over,” said board chair Almaz Kebede, citing congregants who travel from the Bronx, New Jersey and Connecticut to attend weekly services.

A historic housing deal

For more than a decade, Beaata Le Mariam paid just $1,267 per month to occupy the ground floor of the five-story brick building at 2020 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard.

Despite repeatedly asking for a permanent lease, the church was kept on a month-to-month basis by HPD, which the agency says is standard practice as it works to convert its properties into affordable housing.

Then, in April 2019, came the eviction notice.

Since December 2019, the church has been allowed to pay no rent, and was granted an extension on its eviction through June 2020 after negotiating with the city. Due to the pandemic, the deadline was extended into 2021, before the firm May 28 deadline was handed down earlier this year.


Congregants celebrated Easter inside Beaata Le Mariam in 2013. (Courtesy of Atsede Elegba)

It was only through media reports this spring that church leaders learned what had happened: their building had been transferred to the nonprofit East Harlem El Barrio Community Land Trust (EHEBCLT), in a historic agreement announced last fall and hailed by housing advocates.

In the deal, the EHEBCLT purchased four HPD-owned buildings for $1 each, promising to renovate them and turn them into housing that would be kept affordable in perpetuity.

“In anticipation of this property’s substantial renovation as part of the East Harlem El Barrio Community Land Trust (EHEBCLT) project, the former commercial tenant was issued a standard 30 day vacate notice,” HPD spokesperson Jeremy House said.

“We don’t have the money”

As the deadline nears, congregants are split roughly in half between those who want to find a way to stay, and others who see the eviction as a chance to start fresh elsewhere, Elegba said.

But as church leaders hunt for a new home in Harlem, they are facing a stark reality: few spaces are available with rents as low as what they are used to paying.

“We don’t have the money to rent a market-rate facility,” Elegba said. “It just seemed as though we were disregarded.”


Congregants served food at Beaata Le Mariam for a 2013 celebration. (Courtesy of Atsede Elegba)

Now, elders are moving the church’s possessions into a storage locker in the Bronx, after outreach to the mayor’s faith-based pandemic advisory council and City Councilmember Bill Perkins’s office failed to yield any relief.

Reached for comment, Athena Bernkopf, a project coordinator for the EHEBCLT, said the group could not comment on legal proceedings, but has “always been open to being in conversation with community members regarding community land.”

Members of Beaata Le Mariam were hesitant to draw attention to their eviction, Elegba said, in part because they support the land trust’s mission of creating affordable housing.

But the desire to find a new home for the church outweighed their reluctance, Elegba said.

“A part of me hopes that if someone writes about it, maybe someone else will have the heart to say, ‘Maybe you can move here.”


The storefront home of Beaata Le Mariam Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard and West 121st Street, March 28, 2021. (Nick Garber/Patch)

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Ethiopian Airlines Celebrates 75 Years Of Flights

As Ethiopian Airlines announced [this week] April 8th, 2021 marked the 75th anniversary of the carrier’s first-ever commercial flight. This inaugural service flew from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to its Egyptian counterpart, Cairo. (Photo: Ethiopian was the first African airline to order the Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner.’/Getty Images)

Simple Flying

Yesterday marked a significant anniversary in the airline industry, as Ethiopian Airlines marked 75 years since its inaugural commercial flight. In the three-quarters of a century since then, the carrier has become the largest in Africa. Let’s take a look at the airline’s history, and how it has celebrated this special anniversary this week.

How did it all start?

As Ethiopian Airlines announced yesterday, April 8th, 2021 marked the 75th anniversary of the carrier’s first-ever commercial flight. This inaugural service flew from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to its Egyptian counterpart, Cairo.

The flight was operated by a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and flew via the Eritrean capital of Asmara. Ethiopian’s initial fleet consisted of five C-47s acquired from the US government. These previously served as military transport aircraft, and were a development of Douglas’s popular DC-3. Ethiopian’s C-47s had a mixed configuration, carrying passengers and cargo.

In the 75 years that have followed, Ethiopian has experienced impressive and consistent growth. According to Planespotters.net, its fleet today consists of 127 aircraft. These include some of the most modern and efficient twinjets in the skies, namely the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. With this fleet, Ethiopian serves the fourth-largest number of countries of any airline.


Ethiopian eventually operated the popular Douglas DC-3 as well as its military counterpart, the C-47. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Anniversary celebrations

The ongoing coronavirus is continuing to significantly impact the world of commercial aviation. As such, Ethiopian’s 75th birthday probably did not play out how the airline might previously have imagined. Nonetheless, the carrier was able to mark the occasion with a special event on a flight to Cairo. As established, this was Ethiopian’s first commercial route.

Read more »

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Spotlight: Ethiopian American Ainae Nielsen, Howard University Student Competing on ‘The Voice’

Ainae Nielsen, a Washington, D.C., native and Silver Spring, Maryland, resident, made it onto Team Kelly in the final blind audition last week. She grew up in an Ethiopian American family that loves music. She said she's always known she wanted to be a singer. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that she began to make her dream a reality. (Photo: Ainae Nielsen on stage during season 20 of “The Voice”/NBC)

NBC Washington

‘You Got This’: Howard University Student Competing on ‘The Voice’

A 21-year-old Howard University student is competing on “The Voice” and may advance Monday night.

Ainae Nielsen, a Washington, D.C., native and Silver Spring, Maryland, resident, sang her own arrangement of “Best Part” by H.E.R. and Daniel Caesar and made it onto judge Kelly Clarkson’s team last week in the final blind audition.

Nielsen told News4 she could hardly believe her eyes as she saw Clarkson’s chair begin to turn to see her.

“The whole time, I was saying to myself, ‘You got this, you got this,’” she said. “I was nervous, but I was confident that all that practice that I did would come through in that moment.”

Nielsen majors in business marketing at Howard and is set to graduate this spring. She grew up in an Ethiopian American family that loves music. She said she’s always known she wanted to be a singer. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that she began to make her dream a reality.

Nielsen said a casting director from “The Voice” asked her to audition. She took it as a “sign,” as she had been dreaming of moving to California to pursue a music career.

Nielsen’s advice to others who may want to audition for a singing competition was to “know yourself” and “be confident.”
“Now that I’m here, I know this is the road I’m supposed to be going on,” she said.

After the blind audition, Clarkson said Nielsen is “a competitor” and “different from anyone else in the show.” Clarkson said she believes Nielsen is ready to take on the challenge.

Nielsen said she has had a great experience on the show so far.

“The amount of growth that I’ve had within a week is insane,” she said.

Nielsen’s advice to others who may want to audition for a singing competition was to “know yourself” and “be confident.”

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Three Ethiopian Films Featured at New African Film Festival in U.S.

According to organizers the annual film festival, which is usually held at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, will be held online this year (April 1–18) highlighting 33 films from 26 Countries including Ethiopian movies "Running Against The Wind, Finding Sally and Min Alesh [ምን አለሽ. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 30th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s U.S.-based New African Film Festival features three award-winning Ethiopian films including the 2020 Oscar Selection Running Against The Wind; filmmaker Tamara Dawit’s timely documentary Finding Sally and the inspiring new film Min Alesh [ምን አለሽ], a story set in Merkato about a young woman who overcomes adversity through athletics.

According to organizers the annual film festival, which is usually held at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, will be held online this year (April 1–18) highlighting 33 films from 26 Countries.

The 2021 New African Film Festival “showcases the vibrancy of African filmmaking from all corners of the
continent and across the diaspora,” the announcement stated. “This year, for its 17th edition, the festival goes virtual, presenting a lineup of outstanding contemporary African cinema online for audiences in the Washington, DC, area and beyond.”

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

Special Presentation

2020 Oscar® Selection, Ethiopia

RUNNING AGAINST THE WIND

Available starting Friday, April 2

Ethiopia’s 2020 Oscar® submission traces the lives of two brothers pursuing big dreams along very different paths. As children, Abdi (Ashenafi Nigusu) wants to become a long-distance runner, while Solomon (Mikias Wolde) desires nothing more than to become a professional photographer. Early in their childhood, the brothers part ways. Solomon escapes his remote hometown to seek his fortune as a photographer in Addis Ababa, eventually ending up on the streets in the city’s vast slums. Abdi remains in his village, training to become an Olympian in the hopes of following in the footsteps of Ethiopian legend and gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie (who has a cameo in the film). When fate reunites the brothers as adults in Addis Ababa, can the distance that has grown between them be bridged? DIR/SCR/PROD Jan Philipp Weyl; SCR Michael Wogh; PROD Samerawit Seid Kekebo, Chris Naumann, Andreas Seck. Ethiopia/Germany, 2019, color, 116 min. In Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation

FINDING SALLY

Available starting Thursday, April 8

Followed by a recorded Q&A with filmmaker Tamara Mariam Dawit

FINDING SALLY tells the incredible story of a 23-year-old woman from an upper-class family who became a communist rebel with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party in the 1970s. Idealistic and in love, Sally got caught up in her country’s revolutionary fervor and landed on the military government’s most wanted list. She went underground and her family never saw her again. Four decades after Sally’s disappearance, filmmaker Tamara Mariam Dawit pieces together the mysterious life of her aunt Sally. She revisits the Ethiopian Revolution and the terrible massacre that followed, which resulted in nearly every Ethiopian family losing a loved one. Her quest leads her to question notions of belonging, personal convictions and political ideals at a time when Ethiopia is going through important political changes once again. (Note adapted from Catbird Productions.) Official Selection, 2020 Göteborg Film Festival, African Diaspora International Film Festival and Film Africa; 2021 Pan African Film Festival. DIR/SCR Tamara Mariam Dawit; PROD Isabelle Couture. Canada, 2020, color, 78 min. In English and Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

MIN ALESH? [ምን አለሽ]

Available starting Thursday, April 8

Set in Merkato, a sprawling, open-air market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, MIN ALESH? tells the inspiring story of 21-year-old Selam (Amleset Muchie, who also wrote and directed), whose perseverance transforms her life for the better. Having grown up amid poverty and hardships, Selam is determined to change her own and her family’s circumstances through her passion for running. An international race offers her a chance to achieve her dream. (Note adapted from New York African Film Festival.) DIR/SCR Amleset Muchie; PROD Selamawit Mare. Ethiopia, 2019, color, 84 min. In Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Learn more at AFI.com and get festival access at https://naff.eventive.org/.

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Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund Announces Board Vacancy and Request for Proposal

The Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund is a U.S.-based non-profit organization established to mobilize the Ethiopian Diaspora to raise funds and support Ethiopian projects at home. (Courtesy image)

Press Release

Board Vacancy at the Friends of EDTF (FEDTF)

We are excited to invite you to apply or nominate to be a member of the Board of the Friends of Ethiopia Diaspora Trust Fund (FEDTF). FEDTF is a US incorporated non-profit entity with the primary mission of mobilizing resources from the Diaspora and channel them to projects that promote inclusive development of Ethiopia and impact livelihoods. It is governed by the Board of Directors in conformity to best governance practices under US laws.

More info at ethiopiatrustfund.org »

Request for Proposal

Operations and Management at Friends of EDTF, INC.

Issued by: Friends of EDTF, INC.
Submissions to be sent to: Lulite Ejigu (Email: Board@EthiopiaTrustFund.org)

Introduction & Background

Friends of EDTF, INC. a non-profit organization organized to mobilize the Ethiopian Diaspora to raise funds and support Ethiopian projects at home. As part of the FEDTF’s renewed organizational initiative to be more visible, responsive and transparent and to increase its operational capability, it is looking to hire a management and operations support team. To this end it is issuing a Request for Proposal (“RFP”).

We invite and encourage qualified persons or firms who can provide high quality support in fundraising, administration, and other general day-to-day management of the organization to apply.

This management and operations support would help implement FEDTF’s enhanced vision and strategy to raise more funds to have meaningful impact in the lives of our brothers’ and sisters’ back in Ethiopia. In response to this RFP, qualified applicants must be capable to provide the following:

1. Develop a fundraising strategy engaging the diverse Ethiopian Diaspora Communities, including milestones and a timeline for targeted growth for FEDTF;
2. Develop a grant strategy to raise funds from national and global grant giving organizations
3. Develop a strategy to raise funds from corporations as part of their CSR programs
4. Develop a timely and transparent communication plan to reach out to its donors and all stakeholders and manage donor relationships effectively
5. Increase its fundraising dollars as well as develop a global core of strategic partners and donors
6. Propose, organize, and implement fundraising events including assisting EDTF chapters across the globe;
7. Manage and Oversee the execution of new large scale multi-million dollar development projects on the ground in Ethiopia.

The objective of this RFP is to identify and select a candidate that will provide the best overall value – both financial and programmatic, to the Foundation. While cost is a significant factor, other criteria will also be considered as the basis of the award decision, as fully described in the Evaluation Factors section below.

Submission Guidelines & Requirements

The following submission guidelines & requirements apply to this RFP:

1. Only qualified individuals or firms with prior experience in the required activities listed above.
2. Potential bidders must notify the Foundation with a letter of intent no later than March 26, 2021.
3. Bidders should have experience working on the African continent and/or have experience running projects with stakeholders across the globe.
4. Bidders should be able to highlight how they have mobilized both volunteers and fundraised resources for projects of similar scale.
5. Bidders must list projects that are substantially similar to this project as part of their response. Examples of work and references will be requested if chosen.
6. A technical proposal must be provided that doesn’t exceed four pages. This technical
proposal must provide an overview of the proposed solution including, milestones and
time tables as applicable.
7. A cost breakdown must be provided on a separate sheet, not more than one page. This should indicate the overall fixed cost for the project as well as any potential variable costs.
8. Proposals must be signed by the applicant or, if for a company, by a representative that is authorized to commit company.
9. If you have a standard set of terms and conditions, please submit them with your proposal.
10. Proposals must be received on or before March 31, 2021 to be considered.
11. Proposals and financial quotations must remain valid for a period of 60 days.
12. Friends of EDTF, INC. would select the winner of the awards after completing its in depth discussions and negotiations with bidders.

Project Description

The purpose of this project is as follows:

The purpose of this project is to improve our management and operations efficiency and productivity so that we can expand our capabilities to implement our mission to connect the large Ethiopian diaspora community from across the globe fulfill its desire to support socio-economic development projects in Ethiopia.

The description of the project is as follows:

To manage the day-to-day operations overseeing grant management, administration activities, and improve fundraising efforts; including identifying and soliciting new strategic partners and expanding the donor base.

The criteria set forth below should be met to achieve successful completion of the RFP:

1. Strategic Plan for (2021-2025)
2. Expansion of donor base including significant strategic partners
3. Refinement of grant & fundraising management as well as reporting processes, including enhancing reporting with key data elements to highlight performance
4. Enhanced operations procedures based on strategic plan assessment

Acceptance of the work is contingent on the following acceptance criteria:

1. Effective action plan that is adopted by the Board of Directors
2. Updated and adopted operations procedures by the Board of Directors

RFP & Project Timelines

The Contract period shall commence as soon as practicable following the date of award. The minimum length of the contract is until December 31, 2021. The Board of Directors, at its sole discretion, may elect to extend for an additional four (4) one (1) year option periods.

Evaluation Factors

Friends of EDTF, Inc. will rate proposals based on the following factors, with cost being the most important factor:

1. Responsiveness to the requirements set forth in this RFP
2. Relevant past performance/experience
3. Cost, including an assessment of total cost of ownership
4. Technical expertise/experience of bidder and bidder’s staff

Friends of EDTF, Inc. reserves the right to award to the bidder that presents the best value to Friends of EDTF, INC. as determined solely by Friends of EDTF, INC. in its absolute discretion.

The FEDTF Board of Directors also reserves the right to cancel this RFP, in whole or in part, at its own discretion

Learn more at ethiopiatrustfund.org »

Related:

EDTF Launches Emergency COVID19 Fund

Update: EDTF procures $1.173 Million medical supplies for campaign against COVID-19 in Ethiopia

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

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 at https://www.ethiopiatrustfund.org/

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Meet Hana Getachew: The Textile Designer Bringing Ethiopian Craft to New Audience

NYC-based Textile designer and owner of Bolé Road Textiles Hana Getachew collaborates with artisans living and working in Ethiopia. (Courtesy of Bolé Road Textiles)

Business of Home

The textile designer bringing Ethiopian craft to a new audience

It might not seem ideal to split a small business across two continents—but for textile designer Hana Getachew it’s essential. To produce her collections of ethically sourced handwoven pillows, throws and linens, the Kingston, New York–based owner of Bolé Road Textiles collaborates with artisans living and working in Ethiopia. For Getachew, the thread has always been there.

Her family left their home in Ethiopia when she was 3, relocating first to Canada for a few years before settling in New York. It wasn’t until Getachew was in college that she returned to her home country to visit family and experienced a deeper cultural immersion. “It ended up being this pretty powerful homecoming that I didn’t anticipate,” she tells Business of Home. “It was seeing all that in its original form, in its undiluted and un-Americanized form, that was really powerful—to go to the source.”

After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in interior design, Getachew spent 11 years at an architecture firm designing commercial interiors and office spaces. Still, she couldn’t shake the impression her trip to Ethiopia had made on her. In 2014, she quit her job and took the plunge—traveling down Bolé Road in her birthplace of Addis Ababa, she hit the pavement to find the partners with whom she would launch her textile business.

“Here I am, I don’t have any credentials, I don’t have a business, and I don’t have a lot of funds. … In retrospect, it’s kind of comical,” she says. “I stuck with the people who were curious and interested and didn’t brush me away.”

Those same artisans and vendors Getachew encountered on that trip are still working with Bolé Road Textiles today. The decision to partner with artisans based in Ethiopia was partly a matter of quality—the weaving looms there differ from those commonly used in the West, requiring a high skill level to create the intricate geometric patterns featured on many of the brand’s pillows. Plus, there’s no formal training for this method—the weavers and artisans, who are predominantly male, are taught by their fathers and grandfathers. Women more frequently serve as the business owners of textile workshops, many of which are formed as collectives that divide labor and share profits equally—including Bolé Road’s partner company.

In most cases, Getachew’s design process begins with a place. Take, for example, the Harar collection, inspired by a city in eastern Ethiopia. The vibrancy of the town’s bustling markets and colorful dress is juxtaposed with the centuries-old walls surrounding it. “How would I create a collection that tells the story of Harar?” says Getachew. “It became these geometric forms from the rigid architecture, to a lot of bold, bright colors from the streetscape.” The result is a striking collection of textiles in vibrant, deeply saturated hues—think fuchsia, cobalt and maroon—marked with lively patterns of intersecting lines.

Since Bolé Road made its debut at the Brooklyn Designs show in 2015, the company’s growth has varied from year to year. However, according to Getachew, that changed this summer—largely due to the push to support Black-owned businesses in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the racial reckoning that followed. She experienced such an outpouring of press inquiries, orders, and requests for partnerships beginning in June 2020 that she began to have frank conversations with those reaching out to her about issues of equity and representation.

“My response has evolved,” she says. “At first, I was just overwhelmed. I came to the conclusion that it will start to feel manageable and digestible if the cards were out on the table—if we were more transparent [in] talking about the bigger context about why this person was across the screen from me.”


Textile designer Hana Getachew in her studio. (Courtesy of Bolé Road Textiles)

Getachew also began to reflect on her own experiences—including the lack of representation during her early years in corporate architecture. She called some of her old colleagues and clients and began a series of conversations that would form the basis of the International Interior Design Association of New York’s newly founded Equity Council, whose mission is “to achieve equity and accountability toward increased diversity and inclusion in the design industry.” Though still in its early stages, the group recently brought on consultants from Racial Equity Partners. It also plans to distribute a pledge later this year, which Getachew says will borrow inspiration from the 15 Percent Pledge (a commitment by retailers to buy 15 percent of their merchandise from Black-owned businesses), while also including steps companies can take to create a more equitable workplace.

Read more »

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Spotlight: Ethiopian-Canadian R&B/Neo-Soul Artist Liza

Born and raised in Toronto, Liza grew up in a traditional Ethiopian household immersed with the Ethiopian musical culture. (Photo: Liza © Zachary Zewudia)

Atwood Magazine

TODAY’S SONG: LIZA’S “DONE IS DONE” BRINGS SOULFUL NEW MEANING TO DESOLATION

R&B and Neo-Soul artist Liza tells the story of love fading away and how much of it is worth saving in her hauntingly cathartic single, “DONE IS DONE.”

For artists who leave trails of their talent behind in bright, lively, feel-good music, a venture into the world of melancholy songs can sometimes be surprising. However, when the song comes from Ethiopian-Canadian R&B/Neo-Soul artist Liza, it is far from shocking. Liza is a voice for the R&B sound today, blending rhythm with soul, no matter what stage of living her soul might be in. From her first few singles off February 29 (2017) to her latest 2021 release, “ROLLA,” it’s always been evident that the writing, the sound, and the music that go into Liza’s tracks are authentic, and for the first time, so is her new haunting, desolate single, “DONE IS DONE.”


DONE IS DONE – Liza

Her switch from upbeat R&B songs to a track like “DONE IS DONE” isn’t surprising because of the artist’s truthfulness in her art. With enchanting vocals, melodic trills, and captivating, soul-soothing melodies, the song is a pathway to Liza’s up-and-coming eclectic sound. “Just like the words said / They can’t be unsaid / Tears can’t be unshed,” Liza sings. As a listener, it is easy to follow her story, whether she’s singing of a newfound romance or a love that’s dying out. “DONE IS DONE,” is the sequel to the artist’s previous single, “ROLLA.” Where “ROLLA” narrates the excitement of falling in love, her newest single tells of the yearning for closure after a broken heart is left behind.

Produced by Akeel Henry (Jeremih, dvsn, and Ty Dolla $ign) and Kofo (Wizkid and Kaash Paige), Liza’s soulful vocals paired with harmonies from vocalist Nevon Sinclair bring the sound of heartache drowned in R&B to light on the track. Initially writing “DONE IS DONE” as a poem, Liza has since been able to eloquently articulate her feelings in retrospect. Drawing from her upbringing in Toronto, Canada where a mix of different cultures inspired her sound, artists like Brandy, Sade, Aster Aweke, and traditional Ethiopian sounds can often be found in a lot of the artist’s music. On “DONE IS DONE,” you’ll hear a perfect blend of all of the above where Liza’s open lyricism and questions of where love went wrong are synced to the song’s wandering, heartfelt sound.


Liza © Zachary Zewudia

“I find that sometimes I have a hard time learning to let go of things, and people. I tend to let good memories overshadow the present reality of a given situation and, as a result, I don’t immediately recognize when something is no longer working. When I wrote this song, I initially wrote it as a poem and I was going through many life transitions at the time – dealing with the end of some really important relationships. It was months later where Nevon read my poem and told me that it should be a song. We worked together to bring it to what it is now and it was a really deep and beautiful experience. Through the making of this song, I realized and accepted that even though relationships may come to an end, that doesn’t mean that it didn’t serve its purpose.”

“Dead roses don’t come back to life,” she sings. The magic of hearing an artist embrace something like the sadness you’re left wondering “When did we go down?” especially after a discography of light, carefree songs is in the fact that they’re embracing every emotional part of the human experience. “DONE IS DONE” showcases Liza’s darker, more sorrowful side, and it’s something that listeners will be able to relate to, just as much as they relate to her songs about giving up everything for the one you love. Her artistry is versatile and entering a new phase, one that shows how soul – as a genre and as a human experience – has a place in every kind of music.

Liza has been most recently featured on Daniel Caesar‘s latest project, CASE STUDY 01 as well as Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Official Spotify Playlist. Her original music serves as the soundtracks for hit TV shows like “Twenties” on BET and “Grown-ish” on ABC. Her plans to release more new music are forthcoming in the Spring of 2021. In the meantime, stream “DONE IS DONE,” and keep up to date with all things Liza by following her socials below!

Stream: “DONE IS DONE” – Liza

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Business: Ethiopian Economy Regaining Momentum in 2021

Based on data from the African Development Bank and IMF "comparatively speaking Ethiopia is doing better than most African countries [and regaining its momentum]," Chairman of the U.S.-based Fairfax Africa Fund Zemedeneh Negatu tells CNBC. (Image via CNBC Africa)

CNBC Africa

Fairfax Africa Fund Chair, Negatu sees Ethiopian economy regaining momentum in 2021

Ethiopia’s economy saw a slowdown in the fourth quarter of 2020 despite the country having some of the laxest COVID-19 measures in the region.

“Overall considering what’s going on around the world and in Africa and based on data from the African Development Bank and IMF comparatively speaking Ethiopia is doing better than most African countries [and regaining its momentum],” says Chairman of the U.S.-based Fairfax Africa Fund Zemedeneh Negatu.

Read more and watch the video at cnbcafrica.com »

Related:

African Development Bank: African Economic Outlook 2021

Recent macroeconomic and financial developments in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s economy grew by 6.1% in 2020, down from 8.4% in 2019, largely because of the COVID–19 pandemic. Growth was led by the services and industry sectors, whereas the hospitability, transport, and communications sectors were adversely affected by the pandemic and the associated containment measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The fiscal deficit, including grants, increased slightly during 2020, financed mainly by treasury bills. Tax revenue increased by 16%, but the tax-to-GDP ratio declined to 9.2% in 2020 from 10% in 2019 due to delayed implementation of tax reforms. Total public spending remained stable, in line with the country’s fiscal consolidation strategy.

In 2020 inflation reached 20.6%, well above the 8% target, due to pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions and expansionary monetary policy. In November 2020, the official exchange rate was devalued by about 8% to 35.0 birr per US dollar. Export revenues increased by 12% in 2020, as exports of gold, flowers, coffee, and chat increased while imports declined by 8.1%. This helped narrow the current account deficit to 4.4% in 2020 from 5.3% in 2019. Service sector exports declined by about 6%, mostly because of lower revenue from Ethiopian Airlines. Foreign direct investment (FDI) fell 20% to 2.2% of GDP, and personal remittances declined by 10% to 5.3% of GDP. Poverty was projected to decline from 23.5% in 2016 to 19% by end of 2020. But pandemic-driven job losses, estimated at as many as 2.5 million, will impede poverty reduction.

Outlook and risks

The medium-term economic outlook is contingent on the resolution of the COVID–19 crisis, the pace of the economic recovery, and such other shocks as civil strife and climate change. Real GDP growth in 2021 is projected to fall to 2%, then recover to about 8% in 2022, led by a rebound in industry and services. Monetary policy is expected to remain flexible in response to the government’s financing requirements. Increased use of open-market operations is expected to reduce inflation gradually. The fiscal deficit is projected to increase as tax policy reforms are delayed due to COVID–19. The current account is likely to deteriorate in 2021 before improving in 2022 as service exports gradually pick up. The key downside risks to the economic outlook include low investor confidence, in part due to sporadic domestic conflicts, weakness in global growth, and climate change.

Financing issues and options

Ethiopia’s financing requirements are significant given its large physical and social infrastructure needs and low tax-to-GDP ratio, which averaged 10% from 2017 to 2020. The primary deficit plus debt service was estimated at nearly 4% of GDP. As of June 2020, total public debt was about 57% of GDP, slightly more than half of which was external. Since 2017, Ethiopia has been classified at high risk of public debt distress due to weak export performance coupled with increased import-intensive public infrastructure investments. The International Monetary Fund’s 2019 debt sustainability analysis estimated the net present value of debt-to-exports at 247.6% and debt service-to-exports at 24.6%; the highest sustainable levels are 180% and 15%, respectively. Ethiopia benefited from the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, and the government is taking measures to contain the debt burden as part of the so-called Home-Grown Economic Reform agenda, which includes fiscal consolidation, expanding public financing sources, a moratorium on nonconcessional borrowing, harnessing grants and concessional loans, and debt restructuring. Gross reserves amounted to $3.1 billion in 2020, or 2.5 months of imports and are unlikely to provide an alternative source of development financing in the short term. Expansion of public debt in the context of large public expenditure requirements could constrict the fiscal space and lead to repayment risks, especially since $1 billion in eurobonds come due in December 2024. Further reforms in public finance and investment management are needed to improve the efficiency of public expenditures.

Read the full report »

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Senior U.S. Commerce Official Discusses Trade and Entrepreneurship With American & Ethiopian Businesswomen

The U.S. Department of Commerce office building in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)

Press Release

U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia

Senior U.S. Commerce Official Discusses Trade and Entrepreneurship with U.S. and Ethiopian Businesswomen, and Encourages Prosperity through Mutually Beneficial Commercial Engagement

Addis Ababa – U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) of Commerce for Middle East and Africa Global Markets Camille Richardson participated in a Women’s Empowerment Through Trade Initiative Coffee Chat Series (“The Series”) on March 9. The event occurred during Women’s History Month. The virtual meeting featured speakers and panelists from the private sector and government from Ethiopia and the United States.

The panel featured two Ethiopian female entrepreneurs, Felekeche Biratu and Sara Yirga, and Business Development Specialist at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EX-IM) LaTaunya Darden. Felekeche Biratu is the co-founder of the Yenae Collection and a member of the Association of Women in Boldness/Business. Sara Yirga is the founder of Ya Coffee Roasters and Ethiopian Women in Coffee. Both shared valuable perspectives on opportunities in Ethiopia, female entrepreneurship, and potential for business relations between women-led businesses in the United States and Ethiopia. LaTaunya Darden outlined the important role that EX-IM can play in supporting U.S. exporters.

The Ethiopia Coffee Chat was the second of ten such engagements planned throughout the year by the Office of Middle East and Africa at the U.S. Department of Commerce. “The Series” is one component of the Women’s Empowerment Through Trade Initiative, which will include another webinar on March 31, 2021 organized in conjunction with the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, and which will focus on women’s entrepreneurship throughout the African continent. “The Series” will culminate in a multi-region event in Dubai in conjunction with Trade Winds Dubai, in March 2022, that will coincide with International Women’s Day 2022.

This Ethiopia Coffee Chat reflects the high priority that the U.S. Department of Commerce places on the commercial relationship between the United States and Ethiopia. The U.S. International Trade Administration also maintains a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. This MOU was signed in 2018 and is intended to facilitate information-sharing and collaboration on commercial opportunities in priority sectors.

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UPDATE: Ethiopian 737 MAX Crash Families Set to Obtain Key Documents

At a memorial service for the crew of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 at the Ethiopian Pilots Association in Addis Ababa. The Boeing 737 Max crashed near Ethiopia's capital on 10 March 2019 killing all 157 on board. (Photo by Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

Reuters

Updated: March 12th, 2021

Ethiopian 737 MAX crash families set to obtain key Boeing documents

Families of victims of the deadly 2019 Ethiopian Airlines jet crash may obtain as soon as Thursday Boeing’s reports to U.S. regulators that helped keep its 737 MAX flying after a prior disaster with the same jet in Indonesia five months earlier.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent U.S. government investigative agency, told Boeing Co in a letter on Monday it should turn over nearly 2,000 documents to lawyers representing families who want to determine what the company knew about its flight systems after the Indonesian crash on Lion Air.

The agency said international rules mandate the release of the documents after two years from the crash date, even though Ethiopia has yet to produce a final crash report which the agency cited in blocking the documents until now, according to the letter reviewed by Reuters.

Boeing said it plans to produce the investigation-related information to the plaintiffs beginning today following the NTSB guidance that, at the second anniversary of the Ethiopian accident, the restrictions would be lifted.

The plaintiffs lawyers said they expect the papers to show what Boeing executives knew of defects in the flight system of the newly designed aircraft following the Indonesian crash. An automated flight-control system called MCAS has been implicated in both crashes, which together killed 346 people.

The plane continued to fly until the Ethiopian crash prompted a global grounding.

“What we want to see are the documents upon which Boeing resisted the grounding of the airplane and based its assertion to its customers that the airplane was safe,” plaintiffs’ attorney Justin Green told Reuters.

Related:

UPDATE: Ethiopia to Release Final Boeing Max Report in ‘Near Future’

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

Updated: March 10th, 2021

(Bloomberg) — The Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau said Wednesday it plans to release a final report on the fatal crash of the Boeing Co. jet in the “near future” after lockdowns to contain the Covid-19 pandemic hampered the investigation.

The work is in the final stages, the Transport Ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page Wednesday, without giving a publication date. The update coincided with the two-year anniversary of the Ethiopian Airlines jet disaster outside Addis Ababa, which killed all 157 people on board.

The incident followed another fatal Max crash in Indonesia the previous year and led to regulators grounding the model worldwide, plunging Boeing into crisis. The U.S. planemaker has since made revisions to the model and addressed safety concerns, and the jet was cleared to return to the skies in its home market late last year.

While regulators in the European Union, U.K., U.A.E. and others have since followed suit, others are more circumspect. China, a major market for Boeing, still has safety concerns and said this month it’s awaiting conclusions from the Ethiopia probe.

Ethiopia’s final report will build on interim findings released a year ago. Investigators had then planned to say Boeing’s design and inadequate pilot training led to the crash, but those conclusions were dropped after push back from the U.S. and France, Bloomberg reported at the time.

The interim conclusions did highlight the role of a malfunctioning safety feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, to which Boeing has since made several changes.

Meanwhile, families of the crash victims are planning a series of events to commemorate the second anniversary. Representatives are planning to meet with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in Washington, protest outside a Boeing office in nearby Virginia and hold an hour-long vigil outside the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration offices.

Related:

UPDATE: In Court Filing Ethiopia 737 MAX Crash Lawyers ask Boeing CEO to Testify


Families have called for testimony from Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, his predecessor [Dennis Muilenburg, pictured above] and other current and former employees as part of their legal case in Chicago, court documents show. (Reuters)

Reuters

Updated: February 27th, 2021

Relatives of victims of a Boeing Co 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia that occurred five months after an Indonesian Lion Air disaster are stepping up pressure on the American planemaker and the federal government, according to a court filing and a letter to U.S. lawmakers.

Families have called for testimony from Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, his predecessor and other current and former employees as part of their legal case in Chicago, court documents show.

Separately, the families urged lawmakers in letter to demand that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration turn over internal emails and documents spanning the Lion Air crash and one month after the Ethiopian crash. Together, 346 people died.

The letter was sent to members of the House and Senate transportation committees on Friday, including committee head Representative Peter DeFazio and aviation subcommittee chair Representative Rick Larsen.

A Congressional official said: “I can confirm that this week Chairs DeFazio and Larsen re-upped their request to DOT (Department of Transportation) for FAA records that have gone unfulfilled to date.”

A Senate report in December detailed lapses in aviation safety oversight and failed leadership in the FAA. It found that FAA leaders obstructed that report as well as a DOT watchdog review of the regulator’s oversight, the results of which were released on Wednesday.

“There is serious unfinished business,” the families said in the letter, reviewed by Reuters.

Boeing has mostly settled civil litigation stemming from the Lion Air crash, but still faces over 100 lawsuits in Chicago federal court related to the second crash.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers are focusing on what Boeing knew about the causes of the first crash and why the plane continued to fly. They want to schedule depositions of Calhoun and Muilenburg between May 3 and June 18.

Those victims’ families also want to know what FAA management, which in November lifted a 20-month safety ban of the MAX, understood about the first crash.

Boeing’s board faces a separate investor lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court, where a complaint unsealed this month alleged breach of fiduciary duties and gross negligence by failing “to monitor the safety of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplanes.”

Last month, Boeing reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department over the 737 MAX crashes, including a $243.6 million fine.

Related:

Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement in 737 MAX Crashes in Ethiopia & Indonesia


Ethiopian officials deliver the Black Box for Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, France on March 14, 2019. As NPR reports the families of the passengers who died in the crash will be compensated from a fund of $500 million. (Reuters photo)

NPR

Updated: January 7th, 2021

Boeing To Pay $2.5 Billion Over 737 Max Fraud, Faces No Other Charges

Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it repeatedly concealed and lied about the 737 Max’s engineering problems that led to two catastrophic crashes claiming hundreds of lives.

The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of the deferred prosecution agreement announced on Thursday and will face no further charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception,” Acting Assistant Attorney General David Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, wrote in a statement.

Boeing, which is the country’s second-biggest defense contractor behind Lockheed Martin, will pay the DOJ a criminal penalty of $243.6 million.

The families and legal beneficiaries of the 346 passenger victims who died in the Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Ethiopia five months later will be paid from a fund of $500 million. If split equally among them, that amounts to a little over $1.4 million for each family.

The vast majority of the settlement is allocated for airline companies that had purchased the faulty 737 Max aircraft and were subsequently forced to ground the planes following the crashes. Together they will receive $1.77 billion in compensation for their financial losses, according to the DOJ.

“The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers,” Burns added in the statement.

In both cases, the crashes were caused by changes to the jet’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System that forced the nose of the 737 Max toward the ground and left pilots unable to control the planes.

In a note to employees, Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun said, “I firmly believe that entering into this resolution is the right thing for us to do—a step that appropriately acknowledges how we fell short of our values and expectations.”

He added: “This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations.”

Internal Boeing documents revealed during a U.S.House panel’s inquiry showed that engineers notified the company of the MCAS “egregious” problems as early as 2016.

Related:

Ethiopian Report Blames Boeing for 737 MAX Plane Crash

Boeing to Stop 737 Max Production (AP)

Internal FAA review saw high risk of 737 MAX crashes

Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report

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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COVID-19: Ethiopian Airlines Delivers First Batches Of Vaccine In Ethiopia

Ethiopian Airlines conducted a major service this week amid progress with the vaccination program in Ethiopia. The airline delivered over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the country. (Getty Images)

Simple Flying

[This week] marked a milestone moment for Ethiopia and its flag carrier. The country received 2.184 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing initiative. These doses were brought in by Ethiopian Airlines.

Getting the ball rolling

In December, Ethiopian Airlines struck a deal with Cainiao Network, which is the logistics branch of the Alibaba Group. This agreement formed an international cold chain from China for the supply of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines. Subsequently, temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals are being delivered twice a week from Shenzhen, China, to Africa and beyond, via hubs in Dubai, UAE, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Following this progress, millions of doses of the vaccine landed in Ethiopia today. Ethiopian Airlines shared the following about the delivery on its Twitter.

“We have transported and delivered the first batch of COVID-19 Vaccines to Ethiopia. The shipment has arrived today and delivered to the Ethiopian MoH in a ceremony held in our cargo terminal. We will keep on providing this mission-critical service to save lives”

A vital service

WHO Ethiopia also tweeted how the delivery was a landmark event. The group confirmed the product that arrived is the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. It added that this move is a big step towards ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines amid the pandemic.

Today, Ethiopian Airlines’ leadership said that the company is prepared to take a lead role in transporting vaccines across the globe. The airline’s cargo division expects demand for these operations to last for up to three years.

Fitsum Abadi, the managing director of Ethiopian Cargo, told Reuters the following:

“We have aircrafts converted from passengers by removing their seats, 16 of them, which are very wide aircrafts converted to transport vaccines.”


The airline has been supporting its cargo department by utilizing otherwise dormant passenger aircraft amid the pandemic. (Getty Images)

Rising to the task

Altogether, Ethiopian’s cargo division has been scaling up services amid the global health crisis. Shipping has been a lifeline for carriers amid the severe downturn in passenger activity, and Ethiopian recognizes the potential.

The airline swirly adapting its operations amid the rise of new opportunities. Early on in the pandemic, the operator took seats out of 25 of its passenger planes to increase capacity for cargo. As the world becomes more reliant on the delivery of products, the carrier is prepared to take on the challenge.

Simple Flying reached out to Ethiopian Airlines for further comment on this landmark delivery this weekend. We will update the article with any further updates from the carrier.

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Video: The Ethiopian Food Truck In Denver

Established in 2015, The Ethiopian Food Truck is the first Ethiopian Food Truck in Colorado serving the Denver-Metro area. (Photo: konjoethiopianfood.com)

KWGN-TV

Yoseph Assefa and Fetien Gebre-Michale created the Ethiopian Food Truck back in 2015 and it was the first Ethiopian food truck in Colorado serving traditional recipes fresh and quick all over the Denver metro area.

The colorful menu features some of the mos popular Ethiopian vegetarian dishes alongside chicken and beef options.

You can find out where the Ethiopian Food Truck is by following them on their website at konjoethiopianfood.com/food-truck.

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Fire Kills Ethiopian Migrants at Yemen Detention Center

The majority of those held in the immigration holding facility “were Ethiopian so we can assume that the dead are mostly of that nationality,” said an official with the International Organization for Migration. (Photo: Ethiopian migrants in the Yemeni capital, Sana last year/Getty Images)

Bloomberg

By Samuel Gebre

Fire in Yemen Migrant Detention Center Kills 8 and Injures 170

At least eight people, mainly of Ethiopian origin, died in a fire in detention center for migrants in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, on Sunday.

There were more than 350 migrants in a hanger near the main building of the center at the time the blaze broke out and at least 170 of them were injured, with many still in critical condition, the International Organization for Migration said in an emailed statement.

“While the cause of the fire is still unconfirmed, its impact is clearly horrific,” said Carmela Godeau, IOM’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

The majority of those held in the immigration holding facility “were Ethiopian so we can assume that the dead are mostly of that nationality,” another IOM official said, adding that the death toll could climb much higher.

Most of the migrants were arrested in Yemen, while trying to cross to Saudi Arabia. More than 170,000 migrants have crossed from the Horn of Africa to Yemen since 2019, according to IOM data.

Last week, at least 20 people drowned after smugglers threw them into the sea while on a journey from Djibouti to Yemen. Similar incidents claimed 50 lives in October last year. More migrants are waiting to cross, and thousands of migrants are stranded in Yemen, according to IOM.

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Q&A: Amen Temesgen, Founder of BeNu Foods, on His Ethiopian Startup Business

Ethiopian company BeNu Foods, founded in 2018, produces nutritious biscuits from local raw materials. Founder Amen Temesgen (27) answers our questions. (How We Made It in Africa)

How We Made It in Africa

High-protein biscuits: Ethiopian food startup founder gives snapshot of his business

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

BeNu Foods is a startup that aims to tackle malnutrition in Ethiopia by manufacturingnutritious, high-protein BeNu biscuits for kids.

Ethiopia severely lacks affordable protein-rich products. Two out of five children in Ethiopia are undernourished and the country loses a staggering 17% of its GDP due to malnutrition. BeNu aims to tackle this problem with an integrated approach that brings together different stakeholders in the food sector.

2. How did you finance your startup?

My co-founder and I initially put in a small amount of money. Although access to finance has remained a great challenge, we raised funds from different organisations and individuals like Reach for Change Ethiopia.

3. If you were given $1 million to invest in your company now, where would it go?

Part of it would go towards R&D facilities where we could develop, design and manufacture on a small scale to test our products. Part of it would go to establishing a distribution chain and a small portion would help strengthen the digital platform we are developing to revitalise and enable different stakeholders in the food sector to work in partnership.

4. What risks does your business face?

Our sector is a low-risk one. But what has been a challenge is the unpredictable inflation of raw materials. It makes it harder to determine prices and to have a stable operation.


BeNu Foods’ biscuits

5. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

Word of mouth. Our pilot project was on a Melka Oba School feeding programme with an American donor and we recorded tremendous results like illness reduction, improvement in academic performance and class attendance. The fact that we had a proven pilot project enabled us to receive interest from places we didn’t even expect like Nicaragua.

6. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

Just days ago, we received a confirmation of the caloric content of our product. Before this, our claims were from our own analysis. According to recent results from a top laboratory, we learnt our product is 548Kcal/100g with 25% protein content. To put things into perspective, a child would get their protein requirement for an entire day. This is crucial information for me and those we need to reach out to in the future.

7. Tell us about your biggest mistake and what you’ve learnt from it?

Eighteen months ago, we received an urgent order and didn’t have the manufacturing capacity. We approached an accomplished manufacturer who informed us that with his baking machine, he could meet our production needs. We went ahead and scheduled production without checking his machine or organising the delivery logistics beforehand.

Our delivery was supposed to be on a Tuesday and the manufacturer seemed confident he would meet the delivery timelines but by the Sunday, it was clear it was not going to happen. We had to find another manufacturing facility in our neighbourhood and do the production overnight.

We learnt to ensure any business is formalised and we always do our due diligence before we go ahead with orders.

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UPDATE: Ethiopian Employees of International Media Held in Tigray Released

“All journalists and translators have been released without charges,” Abebe Gebrehiwot Yihdego, deputy head of Tigray’s interim administration, told Reuters. (Getty Images)

Reuters

By Reuters Staff

Ethiopia frees workers with foreign media detained in Tigray, official says

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Four Ethiopians working with foreign journalists in the northern Tigray region have been released without charges, an official and media outlets said on Wednesday.

A reporter for the BBC’s Tigrinya language service, Girmay Gebru, two translators with Agence France-Presse and the Financial Times, and a journalist working with the New York Times were detained in recent days, their outlets said.

“All journalists and translators have been released without charges,” Abebe Gebrehiwot Yihdego, deputy head of Tigray’s interim administration, told Reuters.

The BBC confirmed Girmay’s release in a tweet, while AFP and the New York Times also confirmed in emails to Reuters that those working with them had been freed.

“We are pleased that the local journalist we had worked with was released and that no charges were filed,” said the New York Times’ communications vice-president Danielle Rhoades Ha.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has overseen sweeping reforms since taking office in 2018, including the unbanning of more than 250 media outlets and release of dozens of journalists.

However, rights groups say press freedom has suffered during outbreaks of violence including in Tigray, where thousands have died in fighting since last year between federal troops and the former local ruling party.

Watchdogs reported the arrests of at least 13 journalists in Ethiopia last year, including Reuters cameraman Kumerra Gemechu who was held without charge for 12 days.

Abiy’s government declared victory over the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after its forces withdrew from major cities and towns at the end of November.

However, low-level fighting has continued in parts.

UPDATE: U.S. Deploys Diaster Response Team to Tigray, Urges End of Hostilities


The USAID team will lead the U.S. Government’s humanitarian response. The press release said: “The team includes disaster experts who are assessing the situation, identifying priority needs to scale up assistance, and working with partners to provide urgently needed assistance to communities affected by the conflict.” The U.S. is the largest humanitarian donor in Ethiopia, having given more than $652 million last year alone. (Photo: USAID Headquarters in D.C./Shutterstock.com)

Press Release

Office of Press Relations: press@usaid.gov

USAID DEPLOYS DISASTER ASSISTANCE RESPONSE TEAM TO RESPOND TO HUMANITARIAN NEEDS IN TIGRAY, ETHIOPIA

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is deploying a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to respond to growing humanitarian needs stemming from conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. After nearly four months of fighting between armed groups, hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes and more than four million people are in need of food assistance.

USAID’s DART will lead the U.S. Government’s humanitarian response. The team includes disaster experts who are assessing the situation, identifying priority needs to scale up assistance, and working with partners to provide urgently needed assistance to communities affected by the conflict.

Since the outbreak of conflict, USAID’s partners have been pivoting existing programs to provide life-saving assistance in the few areas of Tigray that can be reached. While USAID has been working with partners to overcome many access challenges, an estimated 80 percent of Tigray remains cut off from assistance.

The United States remains committed to supporting the people of Ethiopia and is the largest humanitarian donor in Ethiopia. In FY 2020, the U.S. provided more than $652 million in humanitarian assistance to respond to acute food needs, conflict-driven displacement, flooding, a desert locust infestation, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Urges Ethiopia to End Hostilities in Tigray

By Reuters

Published March 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Tuesday pressed the leader od Ethiopia to end hostilities in the northern Tigray region, citing a “growing number of credible reports of atrocities and human rights violations and abuses.”

In a phone call with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Mr. Blinken pushed for Ethiopia to withdraw outside forces from Tigray, and for an immediate end to the violence, according to a State Department spokesman, Ned Price.

The Biden administration is seeking an end to what it describes as a deepening humanitarian crisis. It was the second time in less than a week that Mr. Blinken cited reports of atrocities in the region.

“The secretary urged the Ethiopian government to take immediate, concrete steps to protect civilians, including refugees, and to prevent further violence,” Mr. Price said in a statement Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters, he said, “We strongly condemn the killings, the forced removals and displacement, the sexual assaults, and other human rights violations and abuses by several parties that multiple organizations have now reported.”

Mr. Blinken also asked that Mr. Abiy allow independent international investigations.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Abiy, Billene Seyoum, pointed to a statement made late last month in which Ethiopia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry called American attempts to intervene in its internal affairs “regrettable.”

The statement said that Ethiopia’s government took its responsibility for the safety, security, and well-being of all citizens “very seriously” and that it was “fully committed to undertake thorough investigations” into reports of abused.

But it added the government had a duty to hold the nation together in the face of “treasonous and divisive forces.”

The Ethiopians military ousted the former local ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, from the regional capital in November, after what it described as a surprise assault on its forces in Tigray.

Thousands of people have died, hundreds of thousands have been forced from homes and there are shortages of food, water and medicine around the region of more than five million people.

Related:

UPDATE: Ethiopia Responds to U.S. Criticism Over Tigray


People receive services from a mobile health and nutrition clinic in Freweyni town, north of Mekele, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (Zerihun Sewunet/UNICEF via AP)

The Associated Press

Ethiopia rebuffs US call to pull outside forces from Tigray

Ethiopia’s government is rebuffing calls by the United States to withdraw troops from the embattled Tigray region.

In response to U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s call for Ethiopia to immediately withdraw troops from Tigray, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said that it is an issue to be decided by the Addis Ababa government, not a foreign power.

“It should be clear that such matters are the sole responsibility of the Ethiopian government,” Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said in a statement issued Sunday. “The Ethiopian government, like any government of a sovereign nation, has in place various organizing principles in its federal and regional structures which are solely accountable only to the Ethiopian people.”

No foreign country should try to “dictate a sovereign nation’s internal affairs,” said the Ethiopian statement.

Alarm is growing over the fate of Tigray’s 6 million people as fierce fighting reportedly continues between Ethiopian and allied forces and those supporting the now-fugitive Tigray leaders who once dominated Ethiopia’s government.

The United Nations in its latest humanitarian report on the situation in Tigray says the “humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate” as fighting intensifies across the northern region.

“Aid workers on the ground have reported hearing gunshots from the main cities, including in Mekelle and Shire,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on Sunday. “Residents and aid workers on the ground continue reporting incidents of house searches and indiscriminate looting, including of household items, farming equipment, ambulances and office vehicles, allegedly by various armed actors.”

No one knows how many thousands of civilians have been killed. Humanitarian officials have warned that a growing number of people might be starving to death in Tigray.

Accounts of atrocities by Ethiopian and allied forces against residents of Tigray were detailed in reports by The Associated Press and by Amnesty International. Ethiopia’s federal government and regional officials in Tigray both believe that each other’s governments are illegitimate after the pandemic disrupted elections.

Related:

Ethiopia slams US for urging pullout of Amhara forces


The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “The Ethiopian government, like any government of a sovereign nation, has in place various organizing principles in its Federal and Regional structures which are solely accountable only to the Ethiopian people.” (Anadolu Agency)

AA

Addis Getachew Tadesse

Forces from Amhara region were on frontlines of law enforcement operations against Tigray rebels last November

ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian government on Monday lashed out at the US for demanding the withdrawal of forces from the region of Amhara in the country’s northernmost Tigray region.

Force from the Amhara region were on the frontlines of law enforcement operations launched against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) last November after the group’s deadly attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken issued a statement saying that Amhara and the neighboring country of Eritrea need to pull their troops out of the Tigray region.

The US remarks followed a report by Amnesty International that hundreds of civilians were shot dead in the town of Axum in Tigray — a report that alleged the involvement of Eritrean forces in the killings, which, if proved, could amount to crimes against humanity.

“[The] attempt by the US to make pronouncements on Ethiopia’s internal affairs and specifically the reference to the Amhara regional forces’ redeployment is regrettable,” the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“It should be clear that such matters are the sole responsibility of the Ethiopian government, which, as a sovereign nation, is responsible to deploy the necessary security structures and means available in ensuring the rule of law within all corners of its borders,” it said.

It added: “The Ethiopian government, like any government of a sovereign nation, has in place various organizing principles in its Federal and Regional structures which are solely accountable only to the Ethiopian people.”

The Horn of Africa country said it would investigate the alleged killings and other human rights abuses in Tigray.

Ethiopia’s War Leads to Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray Region, U.S. Report Says


Children playing in front a house in the Tigray region that was damaged in fighting in December. (Getty Images)

The New York Times

Updated: Feb. 27, 2021

An internal U.S. government report found that people in Tigray are being driven from their homes in a war begun by Ethiopia, an American ally — posing President Biden’s first major test in Africa.

Ethiopian officials and allied militia fighters are leading a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing in Tigray, the war-torn region in northern Ethiopia, according to an internal United States government report obtained by The New York Times.

The report, written earlier this month, documents in stark terms a land of looted houses and deserted villages where tens of thousands of people are unaccounted for…

On Friday afternoon, in response to the Amnesty International report, Mr. Abiy’s office said it was ready to collaborate in an international investigation into atrocities in Tigray. The government “reiterates its commitment to enabling a stable and peaceful region,” it said in a statement.

Read the full article at nytimes.com »

Related:

UPDATE: In Ethiopia Premier Launches Campaign to Support Tigray


“In an online meeting held this afternoon [Thursday, February 18th 2021], Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the regional presidents, and city administrators launched a solidarity initiative for the Tigray Regional Provisional Administration and the people of the region,” said a statement by the office of the prime minister. (AA)

AA

By Addis Getachew

Updated: February 18th 2021

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The Ethiopian prime minister and regional authorities have launched a campaign to support the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the restive Tigray region.

“In an online meeting held this [Thursday] afternoon, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the regional presidents, and city administrators launched a solidarity initiative for the Tigray Regional Provisional Administration and the people of the region,” said a statement by the office of the prime minister.

“The solidarity initiative aims at mobilizing the contribution of regions and federal institutions as well as other stakeholders in supporting humanitarian efforts underway, in addition to food and non-food items to be directed to the people of Tigray,” it said.

It added that “the regional presidents also pledged direct support to strengthen the provisional administration to carry out public service delivery duties.”

Vehicles, various equipment, input seeds for farmers, ambulances, medicines, and monetary support were pledged by each region and would be handed over to the provisional administration within the coming days.

“Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed further called upon all sections of society to make whatever contributions they can towards the #RebuildTigray solidarity initiative,” the statement noted.

On Nov. 3, 2020, the now-outlawed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its special forces attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces, killing soldiers and looting military hardware.

The following day, the federal government launched what has been dubbed as a large-scale law enforcement operation in Tigray in which the TPLF was largely defeated and some of its top leaders and fighters were either neutralized or captured.

Although the prime minister declared the military operations were over on Nov. 28, there have been sporadic clashes between the government forces and fighters loyal to TPLF.

More than 60,000 Ethiopians fled the fighting to neighboring Sudan while international organizations have been calling for scaled-up humanitarian assistance in the region for civilians affected by the conflict.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have also been reported to have become internally displaced and in dire need of emergency assistance.

The international media have been kept out of the scene, making it difficult to give total pictures of the humanitarian tribulations and suffering in an objective and impartial manner.

An Addis Ababa resident with relatives living in Tigray told Anadolu Agency, asking to remain anonymous, that humanitarian assistance in support of suffering civilians has not been sufficient.

Last week, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission revealed that 108 rape cases were reported in two months across the region.

Related:

UPDATE: UN Ethiopia Tweeted ‘Progress’ on Humanitarian Front in Tigray

UN, Ethiopia Strike a Deal Over Aid Workers’ Access to Tigray

ANALYSIS: In Ethiopia’s Digital Battle Over the Tigray Region, Facts Are Casualties

UPDATE: PM Abiy Ahmed’s Message to the World on the Situation in Ethiopia

Doctors Without Borders on the Humanitarian Crisis

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Virginia Furniture with Ethiopian Roots: Garden & Gun Magazine on Jomo Tariku

Raised in Ethiopia, Jomo Tariku came to the United States in 1987. After studying industrial design at the University of Kansas, he eventually moved to the suburbs of D.C., where he works as a data scientist. He based his earliest furniture designs on the three-legged Jimma stools of Ethiopia that he remembered from childhood. (Garden & Gun Magazine)

Garden & Gun Magazine

Two and a half hours south of Washington, D.C., outside of Columbia, Virginia, in a former three-car garage on the north side of the James River, the designer Jomo Tariku and the woodworker David Bohnhoff are redefining contemporary African furniture. In the studio, African mahogany shavings cover a section of the floor as they collaborate on museum-worthy chairs and stools, and the smell the wood casts off as the day heats up permeates the space.

Born in Kenya and raised in Ethiopia, Tariku came to the United States in 1987. After studying industrial design at the University of Kansas, he eventually moved to the suburbs of D.C., where he works as a data scientist. He based his earliest furniture designs on the three-legged Jimma stools of Ethiopia that he remembered from childhood. All of his pieces tie back to the African diaspora in some way, and many center on his East African upbringing. “When people define African art,” he says, “they think of masks and handcrafts, and old things. There is no space for people like me.”

Tariku bucks against the modern definition of African furniture, usually relegated to pieces with a Eurocentric aesthetic with a twist, such as colorful batik upholstery. Instead, the large spiral horns of the male mountain antelope found in Ethiopia’s Bale region, for instance, inspired his Nyala chair. Highly sculptural in nature, the curving wooden back of the chair seems to defy gravity, serving as a functional marvel. And his MeQuamya chair riffs on the T-shaped prayer staffs used in Ethiopian Orthodox ceremonies, found in rock-hewn churches in the region that date back to the sixteenth century. “I love history,” Tariku explains. “Ethiopia is the only African country that was never colonized. So, my perspective is a little different. Our religious art is still there. So are our old manuscripts in our language, in our handwriting. All of that informs my ideas.”

Tariku had all of these designs in his mind but could not find someone with the skills to build them—he had trouble bringing them to fruition with his own hands. For several years, he sent out emails, hundreds of them, to woodworkers up and down the East Coast, searching for someone to collaborate with who had the talent to build the graceful, elegant minimalist designs that have become his signature. In 2017, Bohnhoff, a regionally renowned furniture maker and woodworker based in Columbia, received Tariku’s email, and the pair decided to meet at a furniture show in Richmond.

When Bohnhoff saw Tariku’s sketch of the Nyala chair, he knew he had to try to build it. Quickly, Tariku saw that Bohnhoff understood the intentions behind his designs, and could take them from two-dimensional renderings to pieces that fine furniture lovers would be proud to have in their living rooms. “I saw the challenge in it,” Bohnhoff says. “I saw the beauty in it. I’m always pulling from nautical culture in my work, and every region has its own seafaring aesthetic. I appreciate learning the details of Jomo’s culture and how it helps him generate ideas.”

Bohnhoff’s own creative journey began at a potter’s wheel in middle school. Struggling with academics, he found solace in using his hands to create beautiful and unusual shapes. When he finished high school, he took to boatbuilding, eventually earning a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and started a career as a boatbuilder, working in shipyards along the way from Maine to North Carolina, studying the art of the curve. Eventually he returned to Virginia, intent on transferring his skills to furniture, freeing complicated pieces from cherry, mahogany, and ash. In his workshop, maple burl logs become masterpieces. The draketail hull of a boat inspired a chair. The interior framework of a canoe transformed into a steam-bent throne.

Designers like Tariku need highly skilled craftsmen like Bohnhoff. The designer works with a few others on certain furniture pieces, but boatbuilding gave Bohnhoff an intimate knowledge of a variety of wood species, and how to bend them to his will without breaking. That technical skill serves him well as his artisanship dovetails with Tariku’s more intricate, curving chair designs, and as they go back and forth on prototypes to refine until form and function perfectly align. While COVID-19 has halted Tariku’s access to furniture shows and showrooms, the duo is currently making each chair to order for interested clients and interior designers—who can inquire at jomofurniture.com—and Tariku is preparing new designs for 2021.

A change in the tide—what they see as the younger generation’s lack of access to apprenticeships and opportunities—has both men worried that relationships like theirs, forged out of mutual admiration for art and a respect for technical skills, are fading. For now, they find solace in creating heirlooms that tell a global story—of Ethiopia, of the Atlantic, and of Virginia. —

Related:

Spotlight: New York Times Features Jomo Tariku

Opening the Doors of Design (The New York Times)

Contemporary Design Africa Book Features Jomo Tariku’s Ethiopia Furniture

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

Spotlight: Ethiopian Startup Gebeya Launches New Mobile App To Connect Freelancers To Employers

Ethiopia's tech startup Gebeya Inc., an online marketplace for jobs, has announced the launch of its latest mobile App called Gebeya Talent, a new platform through which it is expanding access to its network across Africa and around the globe. (Photo: Gebeya Inc)

Digital Times Africa

Gebeya, an Ethiopian startup has launched its new app, Gebeya Talent, a portal through which it is expanding access to its network across the continent and around the globe.

Gebeya is an online talent marketplace focused on cultivating the potentials of African youth, training them with technical skills, and helping them find jobs.

The app bridges the gap between African talents and employers through its easy application process, automatic matching, and a no-bidding process where they get paid.

“We strive to be the most-referenced freelance African talent company. Having fast, reliable, seamless digital tools at the heart of our marketplace is a must,” said Amadou Daffe, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Gebeya.

“Currently, the process for talents wanting to join our marketplace takes anywhere from one to two weeks. Our objective is that, with the Gebeya Talent app, we will be able to onboard a talent within 24 hours after they submit their application.”

Founded in 2016, the startup formerly leveraged on manual processes but has now scaled to automation and improved processes. Gebeya says it would be adding new features to the platform and further optimize the process throughout the year.

Ethiopia’s Gebeya launches app to help freelancers access work opportunities


(Image courtesy of Gebeya Talent)

Disrupt Africa

Ethiopian startup Gebeya, a pan-African online talent marketplace, has launched Gebeya Talent, a new app through which it is expanding access to its network across the continent and around the globe.

Gebeya focuses on cultivating the untapped tech potential of African youth to prepare them for the demands of the global market, training young people with technical skills and helping them find jobs.

Its new app, Gebeya Talent, provides African talent seeking their next freelance work opportunity with access to a quick and easy application process, automatic matching, and a no-bidding process where they get paid at rates that represent their capabilities and experience.

Prior to the release of the Gebeya Talent app, the process to apply to join Gebeya’s talent network was largely manual, requiring intensive human involvement. Now, leveraging improved processes and automation, the process has greatly improved, and Gebeya said it will be adding additional features to streamline and further optimise the process throughout the year.

“We strive to be the most-referenced freelance African talent company. Having fast, reliable, seamless digital tools at the heart of our marketplace is a must,” said Amadou Daffe, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Gebeya.

“Currently, the process for talents wanting to join our marketplace takes anywhere from one to two weeks. Our objective is that, with the Gebeya Talent app, we will be able to onboard a talent within 24 hours after they submit their application.”

Below is the full press release from Gebeya Inc. shared on linkedin by Becky Tsadik, Director of Marketing at Gebeya Inc: “I’m so excited to share that Gebeya Inc. has just launched a mobile app that will transform the landscape for freelance talent in Africa. Our development team has been hard at work building a sleek, sophisticated app to connect talent with opportunities on the continent and beyond.”

Gebeya Inc. Launches Gebeya Talent App to Transform African Talent Acquisition

Gebeya Inc. announced today the launch of its new app: Gebeya Talent. With this, the Pan-African online talent marketplace will expand access to its network across the continent and around the globe.

African talent seeking their next freelance work opportunity will now have access to these features:

  • A quick and easy application process
  • Save time with automatic matching with exciting projects inline with their skill sets
  • No bidding; get paid at rates that represent their capabilities and experience level; get paid in multiple currencies
  • Being part of an engaging, growing community with exclusive professional networking, events, free upskilling, and mentorship
  • Showcase their best work via custom portfolio and profile


    Gebeya team members. (Photo: Gebeya Inc.)

    Prior to the release of the Gebeya Talent app, the process to apply to join our talent network was largely manual, requiring intensive human involvement.

    Now, leveraging improved processes and automation, the process has greatly improved. Throughout the year, additional features will be added to streamline and further optimize the process, and leverage the full power of artificial intelligence and automation. From application, to testing, from interview to onboarding, potential candidates can expect to enjoy a seamless experience.

    “We strive to be THE most-referenced freelance African Talent company. Having fast, reliable, seamless digital tools at the heart of our marketplace is a MUST,” said Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-founder of Gebeya. “Currently, the process for talents wanting to join our marketplace takes anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. “Our objective is that, with the Gebeya Talent app, we will be able to onboard a talent within 24 hours after they submit their application.”

    The year 2020 was abuzz with phrases like “future of work,” “gig economy,” and “remote work.” The release of the Gebeya Talent app proves that this bold, new future predicted has arrived. Access to opportunities for talent has expanded, as they are no longer restricted to their immediate geographic location; we follow a remote-first work model. And: anyone can download the app.

    “This is only the beginning,” said Thierno Niang, Chief Platform Officer at Gebeya. “We launched a mobile app before a web application, because all of our talent have access to a phone. As we add features to the product, we will also expand to include a web app.”

    The most in-demand talent for startups and corporations include: software development, graphics & design, project management, digital marketing, product management, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. But, as market needs evolve, so will the Gebeya Talent pool.

    The Gebeya Talent app grants access for talented professionals in Africa and its diaspora to join a community built with them in mind. Rather than bid against millions of freelancers in an anonymous pool of talent, they can be assured that every opportunity caters to their skill set and agreed-upon rate. No more underbidding, missed payments, or ghosted clients. Because Gebeya manages the entire process of matching, plus administrative and finance processes, talents are ensured timely and fair delivery of payment in exchange for their work.

    Within the next three-to-five years, we anticipate identifying and vetting the top 100,000 talent. From that, we expect to onboard the top 20,000 best. If you’re a talent from Africa or of African descent, seeking to join a community that will care about you, download the Gebeya Talent app and apply today.

    A web-based application to connect clients of all sizes, including individual entrepreneurs, startups, and large enterprises with talent, will launch later this month. This will be for clients that are seeking to: diversify their workforce, augment their existing team, or expand into new markets without the hassle of opening a physical office. Our goal is that clients will be matched with talent within seconds, and within 24-to-48 hours of contract-signing, begin the work.

  • Related:

    Spotlight: Ethiopia’s Debo Engineering, A Jimma Based Agritech Startup


    Boaz Berhanu and Jermia Bayisa are founders of Debo Engineering, part of a burgeoning technology startup scene in Ethiopia that’s blazing a trail in various fields. Debo Engineering has announced that it has developed an app that automatically detects and classifies plant disease through image detection. (Courtesy photo)

    Tech in Africa

    Ethiopia Agritech startup develops an App that detects plant disease

    Debo Engineering, a startup based in Jimma has developed an app that automatically detects then classifies plant diseases through image detection once it runs the image through an algorithm.

    Debo engineering designs and develops smart engineering solutions for the agricultural sector. The startup banks on applied engineering centering on newly evolved technologies such as ML, artificial intelligence, IoT, image processing, mobile computing, and big data.

    Debo has a desktop application connecting commercial farms and research institutes in making farm analysis and drone rental services in the case of large rental farms. Most of the startup’s customers are urban farmers operating in Jimma city. Debo served over 300 customers in the last year.

    Boaz Berhanu and Jermia Bayisa are founders of Debo Engineering. They both have engineering backgrounds and have received several recognitions to date. The team clinched the Green Innovation and Agritech Slam 2019 Business Competition and MEST Africa’s Ethiopia Competition. This has helped them raise initial funding to begin the implementation of their business ideas.

    Meet This Jimma Based Agritech Startup That Developed An App That Detects Plant Disease

    Shega

    Debo Engineering, A Jimma based agritech startup, developed an algorithm that automatically detects and classifies plant disease through image detection.

    Debo engineering is a startup that design and develop smart business applications solution in the agriculture sector. The startup uses applied engineering discipline centered on newly evolving technologies such as artificial intelligence, ML, IOT, image processing, big data, and mobile computing.

    Debo developed an algorithm that automatically detects and classifies plant disease through image detection. The solution is available via a monthly subscription on the web and mobile application. It provides a recommendation to be taken for the user after detect plant disease.

    Debo also provides a desktop application that helps commercials farms and research institutes to make farm analysis as well as drone renting services for large commercial farms.

    Even though most of their customers are urban farmers that operate in Jimma city and nearby, Debo has been able to serve more than 300 customers last year.

    Boaz Berhanu and Jermia Bayisa are founders of Debo Engineering. They both have engineering backgrounds. The startup has received many recognitions so far. The team was the winner of the Green Innovation and Agritech Slam 2019 business competition and MEST Africa’s Ethiopia Competition.

    These recognitions have helped them in raising the initial fund to start implementing their business idea.

    Debo plans to add more features and use wireless sensor networks and the Internet of Things (IoT) that can be easily deployed in farm fields and continuously send data.

    Related:

    Spotlight: Ethiopia’s Qene Tech, Creators of Kukulu & Gebeta Video Games


    Dawit Abraham, Qene Technologies Co-founder and CEO. (Photo: Qene Tech)

    Ventures Africa

    DAWIT ABRAHAM AND HIRUY AMANUEL DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF AWARD-WINNING MOBILE GAMING STUDIO, QENE GAMES

    As one of the top gaming studios in Africa, Qene Games already has a 2018 Apps Africa Award for Best Media and Entertainment App under its belt, along with a bright future ahead.

    A part of this Ethiopian company’s vision is to incorporate African roots into the games created. Qene Games launched its first mobile 3D game in 2018 called Kukulu. The firm then spent almost a year problem-solving to establish a global friendly African game brand for the international market. The original African game set expectations high after winning the 2018 Apps Africa Award for Best Media and Entertainment App and Qene Games is set to launch the iOS version in 2021 behind their latest release of Gebeta.

    Kukulu is a 3D runner game similar to the global hit Subway Surfers but has a plot twist of African culture integrated into the game as it takes place in a fairy-tale land type of setting. Kukulu is the name of the main character in the game, a brave chicken that finds freedom from her farmer. Gamers are taken through the African terrain as they help Kukulu journey and run for her life through levels and challenging obstacles.

    Recently, Qene Games proudly entered into a global, multi-year partnership with Carry1st. These two companies worked together to publish Gebeta, a free-to-play mobile board game that is a modern take on the traditional African and South Asian game of mancala. The game’s features include new mechanics, boosters, and tricks as it is intended to make the game more engaging with modern players as they grow in mastery.

    Qene Games also has plans to launch another addition to its ever-growing portfolio with the launch of Feta slated for 2021. Feta is a puzzle slider game with fun and challenging characteristics. Ethiopian culture is highlighted in the game, along with the country’s tradition and food. The game is a way for all audiences who play to see the beauty that Ethiopian culture brings to the world.

    Qene Games will launch the App Store version of the Kukulu game, as it is currently only available on Google Play. The company also plans to launch “Feta” and eventually become its own game publisher after closing a quiet pre-seed round of $250,000 in 2021 said the company CEO and co-founder, Dawit Abraham.

    “The software development firm, Qene Games, is excited for what the next few years and beyond holds after being the leader in raising the bar and popularity of African gaming in the technology industry. Experts at the company are generating more global content to add to future game releases,” said Hiruy Amanuel.

    About Hiruy Amanuel

    Hiruy Amanuel is a dedicated philanthropist who has invested in several educational and technological initiatives in East Africa. By increasing access to quality education and technological resources, he hopes to drive the rapid development of groundbreaking technologies throughout the Horn of Africa.

    About Dawit Abraham

    Dawit is a Senior game developer and co-founder of Qene Games which is a gaming company creating premium African mobile games for the international market. Dawit believes that Africa has a strong capacity to compete with international software industries and his goal is to make Qene Technologies one of the leading gaming companies in Africa, and eventually, the world.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    In Aurora, Colorado An Ethiopian Church Becomes A Trusted COVID Vaccination Site

    A woman receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine during an equity clinic held at Saint Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Aurora, Colorado on Feb. 13, 2021. (Photo: KUNC)

    KUNC

    For months, the halls of Saint Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church have stood mostly empty.

    COVID-19 restrictions prevent the congregation from sharing meals. Services are mainly held online. Holidays come and go without the usual mass celebrations.

    But on a recent, chilly morning, the church’s cafeteria was once again buzzing with activity. On the menu: 300 COVID-19 vaccines specifically reserved for congregants and other immigrant and refugee residents from the community.

    “I’m very happy,” said Mergersa Edeye, a longtime member of the congregation, after getting his vaccine. “Many of us wouldn’t have this opportunity otherwise.”

    The church partnered with Democratic state Rep. Naquetta Ricks and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to become an equity clinic — one of dozens taking place across the state. The pop-up vaccine distribution sites are designed to help quash racial disparities emerging in the rollout.


    Congregants walk through the parking lot of Saint Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Aurora. (KUNC)


    A man exits the front door of Saint Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Aurora. (KUNC)

    For church leaders, the decision to host the clinic was easy.

    Girma Tilahun, vice chair of the church’s board, said many congregants have encountered language or transportation barriers when trying to make appointments elsewhere. Having the clinic on site eliminates excuses not to get vaccinated.

    “We educate everyone that the vaccine is important for them, just like masks,” Tilahun said. “They all know that (they need to get vaccinated) if they want to come back to the church. If they don’t take the vaccine, they’ll have to stay home.”

    Still, hesitancy has been an issue. A husband and wife recently came to Tilahun and said they were suspicious of the 15-minute wait period required for all patients.

    Tilahun, along with a nurse in the congregation, were able to explain it was just a safety precaution. Feeling assured, the couple went ahead with getting their doses, Tilahun said.

    “It’s a small percentage (of those who don’t want it),” he said. “Most of our members do.”

    Yohannes Feye, one of Saint Mary’s priests, thought getting the vaccine would be a bigger deal. But when he rolled up his sleeve during the church’s equity clinic, he was shocked.

    “It’s like a regular flu vaccination,” Feye said. “I didn’t feel anything.”

    Feye said the pandemic has hit his congregation hard. A lot of people have gotten sick with COVID-19. A few have died.

    He wanted to get vaccinated to encourage others to do the same.

    “It’s good for the community. It’s good for the country. It’s good for a lot of people’s health so we stop transmitting the virus to each other,” Feye said. ‘So I will advocate as much as I can.”

    Read the full article at kunc.org »

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    In New York, Ethiopian Community Hosts Online Yekatit 12 Program February 21

    Guest speakers include Jeff Pearce, Toronto-based Canadian journalist and author, whose famous book 'Prevail' features profiles of Ethiopian heroes from the second Italian-Ethiopian war including Jagama Kello, Ambassador Imru Zelleke, Lekelash Bayan, Lorenzo Taezaz and African-American pilot John Robinson. (Photo: ECMAA)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: February 18th, 2021

    New York (TADIAS) — The Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association, in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Justice, will host an online event this weekend in remembrance of Yekatit 12 and the Ethiopian lives lost at the Addis Ababa massacre on February 19, 1937.

    Guest speakers include Jeff Pearce, Toronto-based Canadian journalist and author, whose famous book Prevail features profiles of Ethiopian heroes from the second Italian-Ethiopian war including Jagama Kello, Ambassador Imru Zelleke, Lekelash Bayan, Lorenzo Taezaz and African-American pilot John Robinson.

    The announcement adds that Mr. Nicola A. DeMarco, an Italian-American human rights activist who served in the Axum Obelisk Return Committee, will also be featured as a guest speaker.

    Per wiki:

    Yekatit 12 (Amharic: የካቲት ፲፪) is a date in the Ethiopian calendar which refers to the massacre and imprisonment of Ethiopians by the Italian occupation forces following an attempted assassination of Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, Marquis of Negele, Viceroy of Italian East Africa, on February 19, 1937. Graziani had led the Italian forces to victory over the Ethiopians in the Second Italian invasion of Ethiopia and was supreme governor of Italian East Africa. This has been described as the worst massacre in Ethiopian history.

    Estimates vary on the number of people killed in the three days that followed the attempt on Graziani’s life. Ethiopian sources estimated that 30,000 people were killed by the Italians, while Italian sources claimed that only a few hundred were killed. A 2017 history of the massacre estimated that 19,200 people were killed, 20 percent of the population of Addis Ababa. Over the following week, numerous Ethiopians suspected of opposing Italian rule were rounded up and executed, including members of the Black Lions and other members of the aristocracy. Emperor Haile Selassie had sent 125 men abroad to receive college education, but most of them were killed. Many more were imprisoned, even collaborators such as Ras Gebre Haywot, the son of Ras Mikael of Wollo, Brehane Markos, and Ayale Gebre, who had helped the Italians identify the two men who made the attempt on Graziani’s life.

    ——
    If You Attend:
    Yekatit 12: An Online Commemoration
    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 3PM ET
    Click here to register
    More info at ecmaany.org.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Spotlight: Ethiopian-American Artist Awol Erizku’s Photo of Poet Amanda Gorman on TIME Magazine‘s New Cover

    TIME Magazine‘s new cover features American poet Amanda Gorman, photographed by Ethiopian-American artist Awol Erizku. (Photo of ​Awol Erizku by Jeff Vespa)

    Fad Magazine

    AMANDA GORMAN, PHOTOGRAPHED BY ARTIST AWOL ERIZKU FOR TIME COVER.

    TIME Magazine‘s new cover features American poet Amanda Gorman, photographed by Ethiopian-American artist Awol Erizku. Erizku is quickly becoming one of the most iconic photographers of our time.

    Erizku is a multidisciplinary artist working in photography, film, sculpture and installation, creating a new vernacular that bridges the gap between African and African American visual culture, referencing art history, hip hop and spirituality, amongst other subjects, in his work.

    “I was interested in allowing her to own the space that she’s in right now,” Erizku says. “We were going for timelessness, something that felt classical” and tied in to the “resurgence of a Black renaissance.”

    It was a special moment for him, too. “Like many who witnessed the recent presidential Inauguration, I was captivated by her poem and her exquisite delivery,” says Erizku, who is based in Los Angeles and has exhibited at institutions including New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. “For TIME, I wanted to extricate her from the political dimension and immerse it in a more cosmic atmosphere to add to the weight of her words.”

    In a separate image featured inside the magazine, Gorman holds a white birdcage in a nod to the birdcage ring she wore on inauguration day. (That ring was a gift from Oprah, referring to previous inauguration poet Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”)

    “It needed a layer of depth that only poetry can explain,” Erizku says of the image.

    A team of Black creative professionals prepared Gorman for the portraits: Jason Bolden styled her, Autumn Moultrie did her makeup, Khiry provided jewellery and the dress was from Greta Constantine.

    The issue features Michelle Obama in conversation with American poet Amanda Gorman, whose poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ read at Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony touched hearts and minds all over the world. The article, which covers issues such as the role of art in activism and the pressures Black women face in the spotlight, is also accompanied by a video shot and directed by Erizku.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Spotlight: UK’s Medics Academy & Ethiopian Medical Women’s Association Aim for More Women Leaders in Medicine

    As part of the collaboration Medics Academy will be investing £250,000 GBP (over 12 million Ethiopian Birr) in building a new learning community to provide digital access to training and support a target of 70% of female physicians in Ethiopia over the next 5 years – identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the 57 countries in the world with a chronic shortage of health workers. (Life Science Newswire)

    Life Science Newswire

    Medics Academy and Ethiopian Medical Women’s Association to address health worker shortfall and strengthen women physician leaders across Ethiopia

    London/Addis Ababa Life Science Newswire – Medics.Academy – a revolutionary UK company delivering global access to world-leading medical education and the Ethiopian Medical Women’s Association (EMeWA) have signed a partnership agreement to help women physicians in Ethiopia.

    The project will help EMeWA – an organisation established by female physicians in Ethiopia – to fulfil its vision to establish an excellence center for women physicians through one of its main thematic areas of professional development.

    As part of the collaboration Medics Academy will be investing £250,000 GBP (over 12 million Ethiopian Birr) in building a new learning community to provide digital access to training and support a target of 70% of female physicians in Ethiopia over the next 5 years – identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the 57 countries in the world with a chronic shortage of health workers.

    The unique collaboration has been endorsed by the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and, by championing access to online education, aims to drive digital transformation to help address the country’s health workforce needs, promote professional development and achieve greater representation and leadership of women in medicine.

    Globally, the COVID-19 crisis has led to a significant shift to digital adoption that will likely persist post-pandemic. While there has been high growth in the adoption of education technology in recent years, this move has been deeply accelerated by COVID-19. Remote learning has become a vital part of education delivery and all across the world has been enrolled into the ‘new normal’.

    Dr Alastair McPhail CMG OBE, UK Ambassador to Ethiopia, said: “We are very proud of the partnerships between the UK and Ethiopia on health. The coronavirus pandemic has stretched health systems and healthcare workers to their limits.”

    “I hope that this new partnership will inspire and upskill female doctors across Ethiopia, directly contributing to high quality, equitable health services and ending the avoidable deaths of mothers and children.”

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    Video: Another Ethiopian Victory at World Indoor Tour As Getnet Wale Wins 3000m

    Ethiopia's Getnet Wale wins the 3000m race at the 2021 World Indoor Tour in Lievin, France on Tuesday. Although he missed the world record by .08. seconds, Getnet's time was the fastest in the world, indoors or out, in over 21 years. (Photo: FloTrack YouTube)

    Lets Run

    Getnet Wale of Ethiopia, best known before today as the 2019 Diamond League steeplechase champion, ripped a 7:24.98 in the 3000m, and missed the world record by .08. In the process, he led four men under 7:30 for the first time ever indoors. Wale’s time was the fastest in the world, indoors or out, in over 21 years. Only Daniel Komen (7:20.67) and Hicham El Guerrouj (7:23.09) have ever gone faster under any conditions.

    Video: Getnet Wale of Ethiopia wins 3000m | 2021 World Indoor Tour Lievin, France


    Getnet Wale ran a 7:24​.98 in the 3000m, and missed the world record by only .08 seconds and four men broke 7:30​ for the first time ever indoors at the 2021 World Athletics Indoor Tour Lievin meeting. (FloTrack)

    WATCH: Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay Smashes 1500m World Record


    Gudaf Tsegay (left) celebrates winning the women’s 1500m in Liévin, France and setting an indoor world record time of 3min 53.09sec. The 24-year-old’s time not only broke the previous best set by Genzebe Dibaba in 2014 but – understandably – the resolve of Britain’s Laura Muir. (Reuters photo)

    The Guardian

    Ethiopian records 3min 53.09sec to shatter record

    Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia demolished the women’s 1500m indoor world record by more than two seconds on an astonishing night that will fuel yet more talk about how new track spike technology has become a gamechanger for the sport.

    The 24-year-old’s time of 3min 53.09sec at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Liévin, France not only broke the previous best set by Genzebe Dibaba in 2014 but – understandably – the resolve of Britain’s Laura Muir.

    Muir is one of the world’s finest middle-distance runners, but she was unable to keep up with Tsegay as the pacemaker led the field through the first 400m in a lightning quick 58.97.

    The gap only grew and Muir could do little as she finished more than six seconds back in 3:59.58. Her time was still good enough to break the British record.

    “My training did that,” said Tsegay, the 2019 world bronze medallist, who was running in new Adidas spikes. “The pace is my friend. I have been training really hard and I am so happy.”

    Two world records that have stood for a generation almost fell during an incredible two hours. The 20-year-old Ethiopian Getnet Wale – who is better known as a steeplechaser – produced an astonishing final kilometre to come within 0.31sec of the indoor 3,000m record that has been held by Daniel Komen since 1998.

    Read more »

    Watch: Guduf Tsegay Sets WORLD RECORD 1500m 3:53.09

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    Ethiopian-Born D.C. Businessman, Yimaj “Steve” Kalifa, Helps Howard University Fight The Pandemic

    Ethiopian-American businessman Yimaj “Steve” Kalifa has built a personal wealth estimated at $100 million. As the Jacksonville Free Press notes: "Now at a time when COVID-19 has struck nearly 38,000 residents of [Washington,D.C.] and killed more than 900, Kalifa is paying back to the community that helped him build his fortune." (The Jacksonville Free Press)

    Jacksonville Free Press

    As an immigrant from Ethiopia, Washington, D.C., businessman Yimaj “Steve” Kalifa is living the American Dream, having built a personal wealth estimated at $100 million. Now at a time when COVID-19 has struck nearly 38,000 residents of the District and killed more than 900, Kalifa is paying back to the community that helped him build his fortune.

    At the urging of a friend with connections to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, one of Kalifa’s companies, Capital Medical Supply Inc., donated 30,000 pieces of personal protection equipment to a Howard University virus testing center.

    The friend was Armstrong Williams, political commentator and chief executive officer of Howard Stirk Holdings.

    “It’s really sad what’s going on, so I really wanted to do something for the community that’s given so much to me,” said Kalifa, 53. “So, Armstrong called me and said, ‘Let’s buy these masks.’ He reached out to the city, which reached out to Howard’s Unity Clinic, and that’s how it happened.”

    With a $1 million grant awarded in 2020, Howard University launched a testing site in the impoverished neighborhood of Benning Road Northeast, whose residents are disproportionately affected by pre-existing health conditions that make them susceptible to the novel coronavirus.

    The site, which offers free testing four days a week to walk-ins, was impacted by a citywide shortage of personal protective equipment.

    “The donation was very helpful at a time when the use of masks was critical to helping to curb the spread of the virus, especially in the minority community,” said Hugh E. Mighty, M.D., dean of the Howard University College of Medicine and vice president for clinical affairs. “We are grateful to Mr. Kalifa and Mr. Williams for their generous donations and support of the community.”

    The site is now providing COVID-19 vaccinations, and will extend the program as more vaccine doses become available, Mighty said. Citywide, 83,125 doses have been delivered, with 62,219 administered as of the end of January, according to a monthly COVID-19 situational report released by Bowser’s office.

    An additional 10,975 doses are expected to be delivered this week.

    Although he incurred a personal cost of about $100,000, Kalifa said it was Williams’ connection to the mayor that made the personal protective equipment donation possible.

    “I don’t have her cellphone number; he does,” Kalifa said. “So, he definitely gets credit for that.”

    Building his empire

    A self-described serial entrepreneur, Kalifa entered the business world in 2006, traveling to more than 20 states opening branches of a home health care company owned by three doctors and based in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles.

    “On one trip, I went to Allentown, Pennsylvania, when the property owner offered to sell me the whole building for $30,000,” Kalifa said. “Coming from LA, that was a great price. That was the first property I purchased. But, from that point, in every state that I purchased a property, I leased it back to the three doctors. It was a lot of work starting out on my own, but that was the start of Capital View General Construction Inc.”

    CVGC (doing business as Mitchell Heating and Cooling) is now a multimillion-dollar company specializing in commercial construction, road construction, residential construction and renovation projects in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Washington, D.C.

    CVGC and Mechanical Solutions Inc., a Denver-based heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, make up the bulk of Kalifa’s business portfolio. He also operates Capitol Medical Supply Inc., a durable medical equipment company in the District, and Source Cuisine, which, in 2019, outbid the former owner of Taylor Gourmet in a bankruptcy auction to reopen four locations of the popular D.C. sandwich shop.

    Medical staff at Howard University give a Covid-19 vaccination dose. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
    Opposites attract

    Williams, 59, a black conservative commentator and owner of several television stations through his company, is known for a brand of rhetoric that often runs counter to voices on the American left. He met Kalifa about 10 years ago at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner. He acknowledges that he and Kalifa agree on little besides a mutual interest in building their respective business holdings.

    “We have opposing views, but we have a civil discourse,” said Williams. “We agree on business, and we learn from each other. But, if everybody agreed with everybody, somebody’s not necessary.

    “My first impression on meeting Steve was that he is very free, he’s truly free. We can agree on legal, moral and ethical things; I respect that. He’s built the $100 million health care and real estate portfolio around the world that he always wanted to. Steve’s a great guy; he’s my brother.”

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    Spotlight: Webinar on COVID19 Vaccine Hosted by Ethiopian Diaspora

    The online conference, which takes place via Zoom on Saturday, February 6, will focus on "plans, preparation and strategies for COVID-19 vaccine introduction in Ethiopia." (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: February 3rd, 2021

    New York (TADIAS) – This weekend People to People & Ethiopian Diaspora Advisory Council on COVID-19 are hosting a timely webinar titled “Addressing Fear and Hope – COVID-19 Vaccines.”

    According to the announcement the online conference, which takes place via Zoom on Saturday, February 6, will focus on “plans, preparation and strategies for COVID-19 vaccine introduction in Ethiopia.”

    Featured guests include Ethiopia’s Minister of Health Dr. Lia Tadesse and Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Fitsum Arega who are scheduled to deliver opening remarks as well as Dr. Ebba Abate, Director General of the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI).

    The keynote speaker is Prof. Tilahun Yilma, Distinguished Professor of Virology at the University of California, Davis, whose presentation covers “the safety and efficacy of available vaccines for COVID-19.”

    Other speakers are Dr. Gebeyehu Teferi, Chief of Infectious Disease at Unity Health Care in Washington DC; Dr. Muluken Yohannes, Special Advisor to Anglophone Africa at GAVI board; Prof. Yonas Geda, Psychiatrist and Behavioral Neurologist; and Dr. Zelalem Mekuria of Ohio State’s Global One Health initiative (GOHI).

    The program notes that Webinar topics include “COVID19 vaccine diplomacy” (Ambassador Fitsum Arega), “COVID19 epidemiology and public health measures in Ethiopia” (Dr. Ebba Abate), “COVID-19 vaccine introduction, planning and strategies” (Dr. Muluken Yohannes), SARS COV2 variants of concern (Dr. Zelalem Mekuria), “Discipline: the missing link between public health measures and ‘being caught by Corona’” (Prof. Yonas Geda).

    The event will be moderated by Prof. Demissie Alemayehu of Columbia University’s Department of Statistics. Welcoming remarks will be delivered by Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, President of P2P & Chair of EDAC-C, while closing remarks will be made by Dr. Kebede Begna, Hematologist/Oncologist at Mayo Clinic.

    If You Attend:

    Click here to resgister.

    Related:

    The Latest: Ethiopia Coronavirus Update

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    Review: How the Pandemic Has Changed Ethiopian Dining in DC Area, For Now

    From left, Admassu Mekonnen, Wubeshet Mehari, Milka Tesfaye and Deriba Reba share lunch at Nazret Ethiopian Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia. (The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    Ethiopian dining is as much about community as food. The pandemic has changed that, for now.

    A businessman from Addis Ababa has dined on occasion during the pandemic at Nazret Ethiopia Restaurant (3821 S George Mason Dr. D, Falls Church, 703-347-9911; nazretethiopiarestaurant.com). The man — who is quite wealthy, says chef-owner Endalkachew Mekonnen — usually requests a spot in the corner of the dining room and politely asks the proprietor to keep the tables around him clear of other customers. He tries to eat early in the evening, or later at night, to avoid what passes for a crowd during the coronavirus pandemic.

    “He tells me I can charge him any amount but usually we don’t charge him” for the special accommodation, Mekonnen says. Instead, the businessman tips well, frequently handing the owner a C-note for his troubles.

    Say what you want about the entitlement of the rich and their ability to bend the world to their will with the flash of a little cash. But when it comes to the warmth, culture and exchange of the Ethiopian table, this businessman is as bereft as the rest of us. The pandemic has cast its shadow over our lives for almost a year now, and it has been particularly cruel to the restaurant industry. I’d argue, though, that few cuisines have suffered as much as the one from East Africa — the one that’s so prominent on the streets of Washington and in many of its suburbs.


    Chef-owner Endalkachew Mekonnen at Nazret. (The Washington Post)

    Read more »

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    France Suspends Ethiopian Airlines Flights For Four Days Due to COVID-19 Violation

    "Several shortcomings were noted on the arrival in France of flights of the Ethiopian Airlines company," the French transport ministry said in a statement. "It is up to the company to check that each passenger on board has a document showing a negative PCR (Covid-19) test," it added. (Photo via Twitter @flyethiopian)

    AFP

    The French government is suspending Ethiopian Airlines for four days over a failure to ensure passengers have had negative coronavirus tests, the transport ministry announced Wednesday.

    “Several shortcomings were noted on the arrival in France of flights of the Ethiopian Airlines company,” the ministry said in a statement.

    “It is up to the company to check that each passenger on board has a document showing a negative PCR (Covid-19) test,” it added.

    France warned the Ethiopian flag carrier on Tuesday but, after fresh shortcomings on Wednesday, it “decided to suspend flights by the company from Thursday January 28 to Sunday January 31 inclusive,” the statement said.

    French government spokesman Gabriel Attal had earlier Wednesday said Paris wants to consider a Europe-wide “strengthening of border rules” and “sanctions against airlines” outside the European Union which do not ensure the necessary virus checks on passengers.

    Such sanctions could lead to “a temporary or definitive ban” on landing or taking off at French airports, he added.

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    Spotlight: How Ethiopian Soccer Referee Lidya Tafesse Made African History

    Ethiopian Soccer Referee Lidya Tafesse Abebe. (Getty Images)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: January 29th, 2021

    New York (TADIAS) — Last week Ethiopian Soccer Referee Lidya Tafesse Abebe made African history when she led the first ever all-female officiating team refereeing the men’s African Nations Championship quarter-finals game in Cameroon between Namibia and Tanzania.

    Lidya, who is a former professional basketball player, “gave a flawless performance as Tanzania edged Namibia 1-0 in Cameroon city Limbe,” AFP reported, noting that Lidya was joined by her assistants, Malawian Bernadettar Kwimbira and Nigerian Mimisen Iyorhe, during the landmark match that was fully controlled by women referees.


    Lidya Tafesse was also the first ever woman FIFA centre referee from Ethiopia. (Photo via cafonline)

    According to AFP:

    Tafesse exuded confidence in every decision she made, was extremely fit and tolerated no foul play as she yellow-carded three Tanzanians within 10 minutes during the second half.

    African male footballers often dispute decisions against them, but most accepted without hesitation the rulings of Tafesse at the Stade Omnisport in the southwestern coastal resort.

    CAF referees manager Eddy Maillet from the Seychelles was overjoyed as the trio created history eight days into the sixth edition of the Nations Championship.

    Below is a profile of Lidya Tafesse courtesy of CAFOnline.com, the official website of the governing body of African Soccer, Confederation of African Football:

    From basketball to top level refereeing


    “It was very difficult when I started because sometimes, some people would ask why I decided to go into refereeing as a woman when there were no any other women doing the same” — Lidya Tafesse (cafonline)

    Starting off as a professional basketball player, not many thought Lidya Tafesse Abebe would trade the rims and bounces for the whistle, and not in basketball, but football. The 40-year old has been on a 20 -year journey of refereeing, becoming the first ever woman to officiate a men’s top flight game in Ethiopia.

    She was also the first ever woman FIFA centre referee in the East African nation.

    “I started off in Jimma while still playing basketball. I played football in school but basketball was my first sport. I was interested when I met one of the instructors doing some courses and some of us from the basketball team were invited. I liked how he was teaching and I got interested more,” Tafesse says.

    The seed planted in her soul by the FIFA/CAF instructor Shiferaw Eshetu continued to germinate and grow as the days went on.

    When she moved to the capital Addis Ababa to continue her basketball career and pursue a course in Pharmacy, the interest continued and soon, she started building on with more courses and when it became apparent that she had found some new love, dumped the old one; basketball.

    “I was part of the female referees project and I started off by doing the Under-15, 17 games, the local tournaments as well as some Federation tournaments. I got more certification and I started doing the Men’s Premier League as an assistant referee and in 2005, I became a centre referee,” narrates Tafesse.

    The journey, though satisfying hasn’t been easy for the mother of one. When she started, there were no women referees and when she officiated men’s games, there was even more difficulty.

    But her resilience and desire to make a mark in Ethiopian football drover her passion.

    “It was very difficult when I started because sometimes, some people would ask why I decided to go into refereeing as a woman when there were no any other women doing the same. But my family supported me and I am grateful for them,”

    “Also, I came from a sports background and the fact that while playing basketball we trained and played against some men teams gave me confidence and it wasn’t so difficult for me at times, even when I did men’s games,” explains Tafesse.


    Lidya Tafesse (cafonline)

    She also remains grateful to the Ethiopian Football Federation who gave her and her colleagues confidence to continue and even handed them Premier League matches to boost their confidence. She vividly remembers the influence former vice president Tihaye Egziaber had on her.

    “He would talk to us as women referees and really encouraged us. He gave us so much support,” she states.

    Her impressive performances earned her a first ever international assignment in 2006 when she officiated an Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and Liberia in Abuja and that opened the floodgates for her to grow.

    “I will not forget that match because it was so different. The stadium was bigger than what we are used to here in Ethiopia, the crowd was amazing and the level was definitely good,” Tafesse remembers.


    (cafonline)

    She has gone on to progress, doing the All Africa Games in 2007 and 2011, before going on to do the Total Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) four times in a row in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

    On top of that, she has officiated at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 and 2019, did the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2016 as well as the Under-20 in 2018.

    But in between all those wonderful assignments, she faced a challenge that nearly slowed down her sailing career. In 2013, she conceived her first born child who will be turning seven years old in October. But, the aftermath of her return seven months later was full of challenges.

    “Physiologically as women, we have so many body changes after pregnancy and I was not different. I gained so much weight and I had to work very hard to get back in shape. I worked a lot and eventually I was better and in 2014, I got a chance to go for the Cup of Nations,”

    “But while training there, I got injured and in my mind, it was all over for me. I tried to do some tests and see whether I could go on but I had decided I would go home. However, the director came and told me ‘Lydia you are not going. Just try and see whether you can recover’. I started treating the sprain on my ankle everyday and ultimately, I got better,”

    “I did a match in the semi-final, Cameroon vs Côte d’Ivoire which went up to extra time. Surprisingly, I was stronger and fitter than both teams when the game went to 120 minutes. I was so pleased,” Tafesse remembers.

    This is one of her most memorable matches. The other one was in 2012 when she officiated another semi-final pitting Nigeria and South Africa, a match that the Banyana Banyana won 1-0.

    “It was such a great game to officiate because both of them are brilliant teams. Also, it was very hot and I remembered hoping it would not go to extra time,” jokes Tafesse.


    (cafonline)

    Despite the stoppages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Tafesse has continued to train on her own and has also use the time off competitions to give back to the community.

    She is using her background as a pharmacist and knowledge in medicine to raise awareness on the virus and help the community keep themselves safe from contracting and spreading the virus.

    “I have been doing education on social media and in radio and TV stations just trying to tell people on the dangers of the virus. I also go to the communities and teach them how to wash hands and keep hygiene. Also, I have been giving back to the community by helping the vulnerable who have not had a chance to get food and basic commodities,” she states.

    On her training, Tafesse admits that it has been tough but notes she has not had a reason to put the feet off the gas. “I train outside three times a week and also indoors where I have tried to put up my own small gym. We have a system where we have to make reports daily as well as GPS trackers to ensure we are training.”


    Lidya Tafesse (cafonline)

    As a woman, Tafesse says it has been great balancing between her family and refereeing, a career she has given her full attention to. The support from her husband and the motivation of her seven-year old keeps her going, Tafesse says.

    And now, she hopes she can influence the next generation of women referees in Ethiopia and the continent at large to take up the career. She hopes that after her active years, apart from continuing with her profession as a pharmacist, she will switch to become an instructor as she looks to get more and more following her path.

    Her hopes to continue getting high profile games and getting the chance to officiate at a CAF men’s tournament for the first time finally became true in the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN), Cameroon 2020.

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    Watch: In New York Activists Rally to Save Ethiopian Coffee Shop in Bronx

    The owners of Buunni Coffee say they will have to close by the end of January because they can't meet their landlord's rent demands. Activists are calling on state and city lawmakers to pass already proposed legislation to help businesses like Buunni survive. (Courtesy photo)

    ABC 7 News

    Activists Rally to Save Ethiopian Coffee Shop in Bronx

    RIVERDALE, Bronx (WABC) — An Ethiopian coffee shop in the Bronx has become the center of a cry for help to save small businesses in danger of closing amid the pandemic.

    The owners of Buunni Coffee say they will have to close by the end of January because they can’t meet their landlord’s rent demands.

    Activists are calling on state and city lawmakers to pass already proposed legislation to help businesses like Buunni survive.

    “Small businesses faced serious problems before COVID, and now the pandemic has brought us to a breaking point,” Sarina Prabasi, co-founder of Buunni Coffee, said. “This is not about any one business. It’s beyond time to create bold, comprehensive support for the smallest of businesses and our workers. We have an opportunity to address long-standing inequities, to level the playing field and to invest in our neighborhoods for the long term. But this will take courage and political will from our elected representatives.”

    Those at the rally said Buunni has been a vital part of the neighborhood, a center for local activism, art, and music for the past three years.

    “Immigrant-owned small businesses, such as Buunni Coffee, have become one of the biggest casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic with them closing at an alarming rate all across the City, including The Bronx,” Sen. Gustavo Rivera said. “The federal government’s inaction has left hard working businesses owners such as Ms. Prabasi at risk of losing their livelihoods and our borough in danger of a deeper economic crisis. I join local leaders and Riverdale residents in calling on our local government to fill the void left by Washington and enact legislation that will help businesses like Buunni Coffee to remain open and successfully recover from this unprecedented crisis.”

    Related:

    From the Birthplace of Coffee Cafe Buunni Serves Ethiopian Organic Specialty Coffee

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Lawyers Advise Ethiopian Airlines Against ‘Financially Disastrous’ Settlement Offer by Boeing Over 737 MAX Crash

    In an urgently worded letter sent Sunday, the Chicago-based attorneys warned Ethiopian CEO Tewolde GebreMariam that the offer falls “grossly short” of what the airline could win before a U.S. jury — particularly since Boeing recently accepted responsibility for criminal fraud during the plane’s certification by regulators. (AP photo by Mulugeta Ayene)

    Seattle Times

    American attorneys for Ethiopian Airlines, which lost 157 passengers and crew in the second fatal crash of a Boeing 737 MAX in early 2019, have advised the carrier not to accept a settlement Boeing has offered but instead to sue the manufacturer for punitive damages in the U.S.

    In an urgently worded letter sent Sunday, the Chicago-based attorneys warned Ethiopian CEO Tewolde GebreMariam that the offer falls “grossly short” of what the airline could win before a U.S. jury — particularly since Boeing recently accepted responsibility for criminal fraud during the plane’s certification by regulators.

    The settlement Boeing has offered is “a mere fraction” of the actual damage, the lawyers told Tewolde, and accepting it “will inevitably leave substantial money on the table and would be a tremendous political and financial mistake for Ethiopian Airlines.”

    Yet like many airlines, Ethiopian is now desperate for cash.

    Before the 2019 crash of Flight ET302, state-owned Ethiopian was the largest and most successful airline in Africa. It lost business after the tragedy and the subsequent grounding of the MAX fleet. Then last year its revenue plummeted further when the COVID-19 pandemic paralyzed air travel.

    The letter conveys the attorneys’ concern that direct settlement negotiations between Boeing and the airline’s management are close to done and that a “financially disastrous” deal may be imminent.

    A person familiar with developments in the private negotiations shared details from the letter with The Seattle Times.

    It offers a rare look inside what are normally secret negotiations. And with the MAX back in the air and the second anniversary of the second crash approaching, it highlights a Boeing push to conclude customer compensation discussions and put the MAX crisis behind it.

    The letter from law firm DiCello Levitt Gutzler, which Ethiopian hired to provide advice on its claims against Boeing, is signed by co-founding partner Adam Levitt.

    Boeing declined to comment on discussions with its customer. Ethiopian Airlines did not respond to an emailed request for comment. Levitt did not return a call seeking an interview.

    Levitt’s letter argues that Boeing’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier this month provides Ethiopian new legal leverage because of “Boeing’s admission of its criminal conduct.”

    The DOJ settlement staves off a criminal fraud charge against Boeing with a relatively light $244 million penalty.

    It also explicitly exonerates senior management while pinning the fraud on two Boeing technical pilots who misrepresented to airlines the details of new flight control software on the MAX — the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) — that was a key contributing factor in both crashes.

    However, Boeing admitted in the deferred prosecution agreement that the accusations of fraud involving the two pilots were “true and accurate” and acknowledged that the company is responsible for criminal acts by its employees.

    Read more »

    Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement in 737 MAX Crashes in Ethiopia & Indonesia


    Ethiopian officials deliver the Black Box for Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, France on March 14, 2019. As NPR reports the families of the passengers who died in the crash will be compensated from a fund of $500 million. (Reuters photo)

    NPR

    Updated: January 7th, 2021

    Boeing To Pay $2.5 Billion Over 737 Max Fraud, Faces No Other Charges

    Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it repeatedly concealed and lied about the 737 Max’s engineering problems that led to two catastrophic crashes claiming hundreds of lives.

    The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of the deferred prosecution agreement announced on Thursday and will face no further charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

    “Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception,” Acting Assistant Attorney General David Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, wrote in a statement.

    Boeing, which is the country’s second-biggest defense contractor behind Lockheed Martin, will pay the DOJ a criminal penalty of $243.6 million.

    The families and legal beneficiaries of the 346 passenger victims who died in the Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Ethiopia five months later will be paid from a fund of $500 million. If split equally among them, that amounts to a little over $1.4 million for each family.

    The vast majority of the settlement is allocated for airline companies that had purchased the faulty 737 Max aircraft and were subsequently forced to ground the planes following the crashes. Together they will receive $1.77 billion in compensation for their financial losses, according to the DOJ.

    “The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers,” Burns added in the statement.

    In both cases, the crashes were caused by changes to the jet’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System that forced the nose of the 737 Max toward the ground and left pilots unable to control the planes.

    In a note to employees, Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun said, “I firmly believe that entering into this resolution is the right thing for us to do—a step that appropriately acknowledges how we fell short of our values and expectations.”

    He added: “This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations.”

    Internal Boeing documents revealed during a U.S.House panel’s inquiry showed that engineers notified the company of the MCAS “egregious” problems as early as 2016.

    Related:

    Ethiopian Report Blames Boeing for 737 MAX Plane Crash

    Boeing to Stop 737 Max Production (AP)

    Internal FAA review saw high risk of 737 MAX crashes

    Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report

    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

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Yene Damtew: Meet the Ethiopian Woman Behind Michelle Obama’s Famous Hairstyles

    Yene Damtew has been Michelle Obama's hairstylist since 2008. Regarding the former first lady's recent look at Joe Biden's inauguration this week that has attracted international attention, Yene says: “I personally loved her look and was very happy to see how it came together, but did not expect it to resonate with viewers the way it has." (Photos: Courtesy of Yene Damtew and Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    The woman behind Michelle Obama’s instantly iconic hair

    It was a moment watch parties and group chats are made for: former first lady Michelle Obama, hand in hand with former President Barack Obama, emerging from the U.S. Capitol in a regal, floor-length plum coat and statement belt, her voluminous curls bouncing with each step.

    The monochromatic pantsuit designed by Sergio Hudson was striking, but the star of the show was Obama’s hair: a silk press so perfect, it launched thousands of social media shares. In the middle of the inauguration ceremony, “laid” — a reference to the flawlessness of Obama’s hair — began trending.

    Obama’s coif came courtesy of her longtime hairstylist, Yene Damtew, who has been part of the former first lady’s glam squad since 2008. For her, Wednesday began as a “typical day at work.” It wasn’t until a client tagged her in a tweet about Obama’s hair that she got a sense of how much the style had resonated with people, particularly Black women.

    “I personally loved her look and was very happy to see how it came together, but did not expect it to resonate with viewers the way it has,” Damtew wrote in an email.

    She has helped craft memorable looks for Obama before.

    Damtew picked up her passion for hair from watching her mother get ready for church, enamored with her hot rollers and the full, bouncy hair they produced. As a teenager, she became the go-to person in her Orange County, Calif., neighborhood when someone wanted their hair done.

    “I did everyone’s hair from football players to the kids, and then my high school classmates,” she told Allure.

    At 21, she began working alongside Obama’s hairstylist Johnny Wright, whom she met while completing an assignment for cosmetology school. Damtew started doing Malia and Sasha Obama’s hair, as well as styling Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, when Obama delivered her famous “When they go low, we go high” line, Damtew was behind Obama’s striking, chestnut brown color that she custom-created and hand-painted onto Obama’s hair, according to Elle. In 2017, when Damtew opened her own business, Aesthetics salon in Arlington, Va., Obama attended the opening.

    To create Obama’s inauguration look, Damtew consulted with Obama’s wardrobe stylist Meredith Koop and makeup artist Carl Ray. Since Obama was going for a monochromatic look, Damtew says she knew “the hair would stand out a lot on its own.”

    “As I thought about the hairstyle that would complement her outfit and suit the weather, these bouncy curls came to life,” she said.

    But Damtew couldn’t predict just how much life they would give to viewers of the inauguration, many of whom wanted to know who was behind the look. Within hours of Damtew revealing herself as Obama’s hairstylist on Twitter, thousands of compliments and requests for tips starting pouring in.

    “The support of Black Women Twitter has been amazing,” said Damtew, who is Ethiopian American. “As a salon owner who caters to women with textured hair, I know the importance that hair holds, particularly to Black women and the crowns that they wear. Black women hold their hair in high regard.”

    She noted that it was important to continue showing versatility with Obama’s looks because “representation matters.” To celebrate her 57th birthday this week, Obama posted a selfie rocking her natural hair.

    But Obama’s hair was about more than just serving a look. It was celebratory, “showing out” hair — a stark contrast not just to the modest bun Obama wore at Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony four years ago, but to the scenes at the Capitol earlier this month. During an inauguration ceremony that needed to acknowledge the deep divisions that remain in this country, as well as the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to the coronavirus in the United States, being able to gush over a coat or a blowout felt like a brief respite.

    This is not lost on Damtew.

    “The truth is we are still very much in a hard time in this nation,” she said. “But if, for a few minutes, people found joy in seeing a former first lady supporting her friends and wearing a beautiful coat and bouncy curls — I’m OK with that. We all need something to give us hope and make us smile.”

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Q&A: Ethiopian-American Novelist Dinaw Mengestu

    Dinaw Mengestu is an Ethiopian-American novelist, freelance journalist and professor of creative writing. This week Dinaw was the keynote speaker at MLK commemorative event held via Zoom at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The following is a Q&A with Dinaw by the University's main student newspaper The Vanderbilt Hustler. (Getty Images)

    The Vanderbilt Hustler

    Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu speaks to The Hustler about his experiences as a writer and immigrant

    Vanderbilt Hustler: Your novels tell very unique immigrant narratives, how do you intend for your novels to speak to your readers?

    Dinaw Mengestu: I do not know who my readers are, and I never want to underestimate them. Your readers are always a slightly-amorphous body of people. The audience that I am most concerned with, strangely enough, are my fictional characters. I feel the most obligation to my characters. That obligation can be thought of as a respect for them and their desire for the complexity and depth of experience that I think people deserve.

    I am never thinking about the characters under any category or label, but I am definitely thinking about them as people who have lost a lot. As immigrants, they are people who have lost their homes, their families and in many cases, are struggling to rebuild their lives in America.

    That movement away from the things they had to leave behind to the construction of a new identity, a new home, trying to make sure that experience isn’t defamiliarized and contains as many layers of meaning as I have seen in my own families and witnessed in my own life—that is the kind of experience I hope will be born out of the page.

    The reader on the other end of it is hopefully present and engaged by it. Hopefully, they feel that they are reading an experience that actually is complicated. I think they can connect to the complexity because the person they are reading about is actually fully alive. It is not because it is familiar to their own experiences, but because it actually has the emotional complexity of a real, living person.

    How do you think underrepresented voices in fiction can be more widely represented?

    I think there are a lot of systemic problems, and I think one is making sure underrepresented voices actually feel and believe that there is a world that will represent them accurately. I think so many potential artists and voices actually count themselves out of that conversation long before anything else even happens.

    Once we get a number of South Asian writers or African American or Black writers, then we have diverse writers. Why do we need another one? We have Toni Morrison—how many more of those voices do we need? There is a sense that we only need to occupy so much space. We only need to give so much room to those voices because those voices are important, but they are not really valued. They are important in the way in which they can be pointed to and signified, so we need to move further still in a cultural embrace of what it means to have a real diversity of voices.

    It is not about making sure we have that experience checked off, which is oftentimes where we still are. We want to make sure that we have certain narrative trends blocked off, and once we have them blocked off, it is really easy to feel that that work is done. I think that the creators of those stories, especially the younger generations, are aware of that.

    I remember the first time I tried writing my first novel, being told no one is going to care about a bunch of African immigrants in Washington D.C. I think that sense is still pervasive. I think people still feel like there is not much attention or care about who they are. So, I think we need to make sure that we are actively encouraging and inviting people to start making stories and know that there is a world of people who care about them and those narratives.

    What does the American Dream mean to you?

    America is very distinct in that it is the only country that has this espoused Dream. I remember writing my first novel, and people thought I was being critical of the American Dream. The characters in it do not acquire the usual trapping of American success. There is this idea that if your characters are not going around declaring how wonderful it is to be an American, they are opposed to this American Dream or this American value system. That is kind of ridiculous.

    I think that this American Dream is being honest about what America is while still believing you can be a part of it. That is the radical nature of that Dream. We were talking about Dr. Martin Luther King’s Dream speech on the Capitol. The fact that MLK still continued to believe in the possibility of this fight, having experienced this full-scale American violence and oppression—to still believe in something positive and better on the other side is something remarkable and a radical notion.

    It is not one that is connected or tied to a material wealth. It is tied to the possibility of worth and collectively to somewhere other than where we are right now. That is a remarkable thing to believe in.

    I think it is why immigrants continue to come to America. They do not believe that America is going to be a wonderful, perfect land. This idea that immigrants arrive in America delusional about the nature of America is ridiculous. They arrive fully aware of how problematic America is and yet still persist in coming and bringing their children, raising their children here and pushing America a bit forward, toward something fuller and more complicated than what it already is. That is the Dream for me. The ability to believe in it when it is giving you so many reasons not to.

    What insights do you have about the turbulent events of this past week?

    As people have noted, this isn’t a surprise. What we have witnessed is actually just a punctuation of four years. It is like the groundwork has been laid for years for us to get to this point. My curiosity has been: how has this been possible, and how have they created this narrative of this movement and these supporters as being somehow decent and law-abiding people? How have they managed to get away with that rhetoric when clearly what we witnessed is the exact opposite?

    It is violent and unfair. But the ability to continue to present themselves as this party of law and order, of people who believe in the Constitution and are supporting democracy—that is the thing that I am most fascinated by because it is the construction of a narrative, and it is a narrative that has a lot of political power and weight. It is a narrative that to some degree exists far more on the right in its ability to assert that whatever they do is good.

    Read the full interview at vanderbilthustler.com »

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    Hana Getachew, the Ethiopian-American Founder of Bolé Road Textiles

    Hana Getachew, founder of the Brooklyn-based Bolé Road Textiles that sells home linens, fabric, pillows, and more, all hand-woven in Ethiopia. (Photo via Refinery29)

    Refinery29

    For Hana Getachew, the Ethiopian-American founder of Bolé Road Textiles, a love of textiles can be traced back to childhood, stemming from one garment in particular: her mother’s dress for the Mels, an Ethiopian tradition that takes place during a wedding ceremony. She remembers it in excruciating detail — from the olive green shade and the waist-cinching A-line silhouette, right down to the gilded threadwork and golden daisies.

    “We’d always take it out and play with it. We were obsessed with it,” Getachew says. There were others, too, that she loved: dresses from friends and family, brought when they visited from Ethiopia. “In Ethiopia, weavers would come up with non-traditional syncopated patterns, with elements of symmetry and diamond designs. That has stayed with me, and I put a lot of it into my work today.”

    Getachew speaks about her career as two different lives: her life as an interior designer (before she launched Bolé Road), and her life after. It’s the latter — as the mastermind behind the home decor brand inspired by her own connections to family and the African diaspora — that has granted her the liberty to experiment and express herself genuinely through a world enriched in color, shapes, textures, and patterns.
    “I knew I was a good interior designer, but I felt like anyone could do it. It wasn’t unique to me; I wanted to find something that is essential to my soul,” she says about working at an architecture firm for almost 11 years, decorating commercial interiors and offices. “One day, my coworker told me her friend quit her full-time job to work on her pillow business. And I was like, Yes, that’s what I’m gonna do.”


    Bolé Road Textiles


    Bolé Road Textiles

    The concept for Bolé Road lived in her mind for almost eight years before she found the courage to execute it. In 2008, the same year Getachew’s ideas were growing, everyone around her was losing their jobs, which led many of them to dream-chase and become entrepreneurs. “The maker movement,” she proclaims. “I’m very risk-averse, which is not a good trait as an entrepreneur. That’s why I didn’t leap into this, but when I saw a whole movement happening, I thought maybe I could do this too.”
    ADVERTISEMENT

    Getachew left her career in interior design in 2014, but spent years prior to that preparing for the transition. She took free business classes at NYC Small Business Services and scouted artisans through word of mouth, the internet, and asking around in Ethiopia. A year later, she officially launched her brand on the same day as the Brooklyn Designs annual show. (The best piece of advice she received: “Just start, don’t overthink it.”)

    “It was an amazing event, and it was an incredible way to launch, rather than hit publish on a website and wait,” she says, likening the experience to a graduation, being surrounded by family, friends, and former coworkers. “Those kinds of events are really great for understanding how people respond to [your product] and getting your first round of feedback.”

    Everything about Bolé Road revolves around intention, identity, and gratitude to the heritage and community that supported Getachew most, from the colors and patterns inspired by Ethiopian landscapes to the name of the company.

    Read more »

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    WATCH: An Ethiopian Immigrant’s Perspective on Chaos at US Capitol

    While most Americans have never seen anything like what happened at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, the scene was sadly familiar for some immigrants and refugees. “What just happened today in the Capitol, just kind of reminds me of what our parents went through... in the 70s,” said Endale Getahun, who immigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. in the early 1980s, when he was 10 years old [and now] runs an immigrant and refugee-focused community radio station in Aurora, Colorado. (ABC News)

    Channel 13, ABC News Now

    AURORA, Colo. — Immigrants who came to America fleeing political upheaval and violence in their home countries saw political violence on American soil Wednesday.

    For many, it was shocking.

    “What just happened today in the Capitol, just kind of reminds me of what our parents went through… in the 70s,” said Endale Getahun, who immigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. in the early 1980s, when he was 10 years old.

    Getahun describes that as a time of political upheaval and conflict in his home country. Conflict continues today, with recent violence between the country’s government and the region of Tigray.

    Like so many other immigrants, Getahun’s family came to America looking for peace and stability. Watching images of chaos on Wednesday was unsettling.

    “I think it’s very shocking, to happen in this world, in a democratic country, which welcomes everyone to be safe from chaos – not just from Ethiopia but all over the world. The United States is a symbol of democracy, freedom, a dream to achieve,” he said.

    Getahun runs an immigrant and refugee-focused community radio station in Aurora, KETO FM. He said Wednesday, the conversation covered the U.S. Capitol takeover.

    Getahun can offer an immigrant’s perspective on those developments.

    “The other side of the world has experienced this kind of chaotic government takeover and the U.S. was the one that comes back and helps those countries,” he said. “So I think this is a very testing moment for all of us, including the American citizens as well.”

    Getahun said it’s up to U.S. leaders, specifically President Donald Trump, to calm the country and ensure people are safe.

    “Words matter,” he said.

    —-

    The Latest:

    Updated: January 7th, 2021

  • After chaos, calls for Trump’s removal as top officials resign
  • Congress affirms Biden’s presidential win following riot at U.S. Capitol
  • The grand finale of the Trump show: America watches farce devolve to horror
  • Explainer: How could Trump be removed from office before his term ends on Jan. 20?
  • Social platforms flex their power, lock down Trump accounts

    World Watches US Chaos with Shock, Dismay and Some Mockery

    The Associated Press

    PARIS (AP) — As the world watched American institutions shaken to the core by an angry mob, officials and ordinary citizens wondered: How fragile is democracy, and how much stress could their own political systems withstand?

    “If it can happen in the U.S., it can happen anywhere,” said Gunjan Chhibber, a 39-year-old who works for an American tech company in India, the world’s largest democracy. She stayed up all night, watching and worrying at her home in Delhi as the chaos unfolded many time zones away.

    In Germany, whose modern system of governance was nurtured by successive American administrations, Chancellor Angela Merkel was unusually blunt Thursday, drawing a direct line from President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede his election defeat to the atmosphere that made the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters possible.

    “A fundamental rule of democracy is that, after elections, there are winners and losers. Both have to play their role with decency and responsibility so that democracy itself remains the winner,” Merkel said.

    Eva Sakschewska, a German who followed the news closely, said the events in Washington were almost inconceivable.

    “You can only fear how far this can go when populists come to power and do such things,” she said. “You know that in the U.S., democracy has a long history and that it comes to something like that – yes one is afraid.”

    Even the United Nations offered up the kind of statement usually reserved for fragile democracies, expressing sadness and calling on unidentified political leaders to foster respect for “democratic processes and the rule of law.”

    In Iraq, where the violent U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 led to years of sectarian conflict and a deeply flawed democracy, many watched and marveled at the scenes unfolding in Congress.

    Iraqis have suffered for years under power-sharing arrangements among competing elites divided along sectarian lines. Backroom deals are common to avoid political paralysis, and democratic ideals have been tainted by an entrenched system of patronage through which state jobs are doled out in exchange for support. Political parties also have affiliated militias that wield significant power on the street. From afar, the violence in Washington had a contemptible familiarity.

    “Iraq calls on the U.S. regime to respect the principles of democracy, or it will intervene militarily to bring down the dictator,” said Mustafa Habib, a well-known Iraqi analyst and researcher, in a tweet that mocked Washington’s actions abroad.

    Venezuela, which is under U.S. sanctions, said the events showed that the U.S. “is suffering what it has generated in other countries with its politics of aggression.”

    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has survived U.S.-backed opposition efforts to oust him despite accusations of human rights abuses, civil unrest and a humanitarian crisis that has forced millions to flee the oil-rich country.

    “We exported so much democracy that we don’t have any left,” American-Palestinian scholar Yousef Monayyer wrote on Twitter, the social network favored by Trump until he was locked out of it late Wednesday.

    His comment joined the growing strain of sarcasm bordering on schadenfreude from those who have long resented the perceived American tendency to chastise other countries for less-than-perfect adherence to democratic ideals.

    This time, however, it was an attempt by Americans to stop a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden after a democratic election in a country that many around the world have looked at as a model for democratic governance.

    In China, which has had constant friction with Washington over trade, as well as military and political issues, people were scathing in their criticism of Trump and his supporters, citing both the coronavirus pandemic and the mob action.

    Communist-ruled China has long accused the U.S. of hypocrisy in its efforts to promote democracy and advocate for human rights overseas.

    The Communist Youth League ran a photo montage of the Capitol violence on its Twitter-like Weibo microblog with the caption: “On the sixth, the U.S. Congress, a most beautiful site to behold.” That appeared to mock House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her June 2019 comments in praise of sometimes- violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

    “The U.S. is not as safe as China, right? I think Trump is a self-righteous and selfish person,” said financial adviser Yang Ming.

    Iran, which faces routine U.S. criticism over violations of human rights and democratic values, jumped on the chaos as proof of American hypocrisy.

    The semiofficial Fars news agency called the United States a “fragmented democracy,” while Iran’s pro-government Twitter accounts gloated, circulating photos of the mobs with hashtags that included #DownfalloftheUS.

    The events tarnished the American insistence that it is a bastion of democracy for countries that have only in recent decades, in some cases, given up autocratic or military-controlled forms of government.

    “The beauty of democracy?” with a shrug emoji was the reaction tweeted by Bashir Ahmad, a personal assistant to the president of Nigeria, which has seen several coups since independence — including one led decades ago by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected to office in 2015.

    Some legislatures in Asia — South Korea and Taiwan, for instance — have at times been marred by brawls and screaming matches, but democracies throughout the region are normally staid versions of European and American lawmaking models.

    “This is shocking. I hope this will serve as chance for the Americans to review their democracy,” said Na HyunPil at the Korean House for International Solidarity, a Seoul-based NGO. “Trump is entirely responsible for this incident. After his four-year rule, the Americans find it difficult to tell other countries that their country is a good model for democracy.”

    Several countries, both U.S. allies and antagonists, issued travel warnings to their citizens, although with coronavirus infections soaring in the United States, arrivals from abroad are down to a trickle.

    Ally after ally expressed shock, followed by affirmations that U.S. democratic institutions would withstand the turmoil.

    “All my life, America has stood for some very important things: an idea of freedom and an idea of democracy,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “Insofar as he encouraged people to storm the Capitol, and insofar as the president has consistently cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election, I believe that was completely wrong.”

    But some, like European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, warned that the attempt to halt a peaceful transition in what many consider the world’s oldest democracy showed that no place is immune and that backsliding is reversed only with difficulty.

    “Democracy is never self-evident. It has to be worked on each and every day. It has to be won anew every day. And that applies to all democracies,” she told German news outlets. And that’s why we know that it starts as a very small thing.”

    For others, less friendly, it was portrayed as a last gasp and one that belonged solely to Americans themselves.

    “American democracy is obviously limping on both feet,” said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament. “I say this without a shadow of gloating. America no longer charts a course and therefore has lost all rights to set it — and even more so to impose it on others.”

    ‘Moment of Shame’: Former US Presidents Condemn The Violent Mob Spectacle in DC


    Obama, Bush, Clinton, Carter all condemn the Trump supporter riots. (Photos: AP and Getty Images)

    Politico

    Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on Wednesday each condemned the mob of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol — and lawmakers who sought to delegitimize the presidential election results beforehand.

    “It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” Bush said in a statement. “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.”

    Obama said the insurrection, in which at least one person died, will be remembered as “a moment of great dishonor and shame” and that his successor, President Donald Trump, is culpable. He also faulted the Republican Party and the right-wing media ecosystem for the role they played in casting doubt on the integrity of recent elections.

    “Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments,” Obama said in a statement. “Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.”

    Bush similarly said the rioters who breached the building and remained there for hours were “inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.”

    “I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement,” the 43rd president said.

    Clinton said the seizure of parts of the Capitol was the disastrous result of “poison politics” and the proliferation of misinformation. But he said it did not shake his fundamental belief in the decency of the American people.

    “If that’s who we really are, we must reject today’s violence, turn the page, and move forward together—honoring our Constitution, remaining committed to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Clinton said.

    Bush also urged people upset about the recent elections to stand down for the sake of American democracy.

    “Our country is more important than the politics of the moment,” Bush said. “Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety.”

    Carter denounced the day’s events as a “national tragedy” and “not who we are as a nation.” In a statement released by the Carter Center, the former president said he and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter were troubled by the violence and hoped for Americans to come together to resolve the conflict.

    Carter’s statement notably did not assign blame for the Capitol riots.

    “Having observed elections worldwide, I know that we the people can unite to walk back from this precipice to peacefully uphold the laws of our nation, and we must,” the statement said. “We join our fellow citizens in praying for a peaceful resolution so our nation can heal and complete the transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.”

    The mass of rioters began to breach the Capitol earlier Wednesday, disrupting the vote certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump and further delaying what was already expected to become a days-long affair after Republican members of Congress challenged Biden’s win in several states. The building was cleared by the evening and Congress has returned to continue its duties.

    However, Bush and Carter did not mention Trump — who has promoted false claims of rampant election fraud and embraced anti-democratic attempts stay in power — or anyone else by name in their dispatch. Bush, the most recent Republican president prior to Trump, has largely been careful not to publicly criticize the party’s present standard-bearer.

    Obama and Clinton, both Democrats, were far more explicit in faulting Trump for his role in instigating the unrest.

    “The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost,” Obama said. “The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates.”

    Trump has continued to speak favorably of the rioters, calling them “very special” and “great patriots” in several tweets that have since been removed by Twitter.

    “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote on Twitter in one such message. “Remember this day forever!”

    Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, with one woman killed and tear gas fired

    The Washington Post

    As President Trump told a sprawling crowd outside the White House that they should never accept defeat, hundreds of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in what amounted to an attempted coup that they hoped would overturn the election he lost. In the chaos, law enforcement officials said, one woman was shot and killed by police.

    The violent scene — much of it incited by the president’s incendiary language — was like no other in modern American history, bringing to a sudden halt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

    With poles bearing blue Trump flags, a mob that would eventually grow into the thousands bashed through Capitol doors and windows, forcing their way past police officers unprepared for the onslaught. Lawmakers were evacuated shortly before an armed standoff at the House chamber’s entrance. The woman who was shot was rushed to an ambulance, police said, and later died. Canisters of tear gas were fired across the Rotunda’s white marble floor, and on the steps outside the building, rioters flew Confederate flags.

    The Senate stopped its proceedings, and the House doors were closed. In a notification, U.S. Capitol Police said no one would be allowed to come or go from the building as they struggled to regain control. “Stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover,” police warned.

    All 1,100 members of the D.C. National Guard were activated, and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) imposed a citywide curfew. From 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, Bowser said, no one other than essential personnel would be allowed outdoors in the city.

    The mob had arrived hours earlier, charging past the metal barricades on the property’s outer edge. Hundreds, then thousands followed them. Some scaled the Capitol’s walls to reach entrances; others climbed over one another.

    On the building’s east side, police initially pushed the pro-Trump demonstrators back but soon gave up and fell back to the foot of the main steps. Within a half-hour, fights broke out again, and police retreated to the top of the stairs as screaming Trump supporters surged closer. After police perimeters were breached, the elated crowd began to sing the national anthem.

    For an hour, they banged on the doors, chanting, “Let us in! Let us in!” Police inside fired pepper balls and smoke bombs into the crowd but failed to turn them away. After each volley, the rioters, who were mostly White men, would cluster around the doors again, yelling, arguing, pledging revolution.

    Sometime after 2:10 p.m., a man used a clear plastic riot shield to break through the windows on a first floor to the south side of the building, then hopped in with a few others. Once inside, police suspect, rioters opened doors to let in more of their compatriots.

    A police officer yelled from a higher stairway at the intruders, ordering them to stop, but when they didn’t, the officer fired at a man coming at him, two law enforcement officials said. Amid shouts and people rushing to get away from the sound of gunfire, rioters saw a woman in their group collapse. Police believe she was unarmed, a law enforcement official said, but the officer who shot her did not know that. Capitol Police had already been warned by D.C. police that many in the crowds were secretly carrying weapons.

    “They shot a girl!” someone yelled as a group of Trump supporters ran out of the southeast entrance.

    A team of paramedics with a gurney soon arrived and a Capitol Police officer stepped aside to let them pass. “White female, shot in the shoulder,” the officer said as they hurried past. They emerged minutes later.

    On the gurney was a woman in jeans, gazing vacantly to one side, her torso and face covered in blood. As the gurney was loaded into the back of the ambulance, pro-Trump rioters swarmed around it, screaming, “Murderers!”

    Capitol Police officers with long guns pushed them back, and the ambulance drove off.

    Inside, where the lawmakers had donned gas masks kept under their chairs, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) could only think of his family as he and other lawmakers hid from the mob. Reeling from the loss of his 25-year-old son last week, Raskin had taken one of his daughters and his son-in-law to the Capitol to watch the debates unfold over certification of Biden’s election, he said, “because we wanted to be together.” Raskin was helping lead Democrats’ arguments against Republican objectors.

    “I thought I could show them the peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America,” Raskin told C-SPAN earlier. “What was really going through my mind was their safety because they were not with me in the chamber, and I just wanted us all to get back together.”

    Read more »

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  • The Weeknd: “My Natural Singing Voice Was Inspired, Shaped By Ethiopian Music”

    Ethio-Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, known professionally as The Weeknd, shares that his “natural singing voice was inspired" and "shaped by Ethiopian Music”. In a recent interview with the music and culture magazine TMRW discussing his upcoming album, the artist added: "The older I got, I was exposed to more music, and my voice became a chameleon going into different characters." (The Weeknd/ Instagram)

    Koimoi

    Singer The Weeknd says his next album will be inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and Covid-19 pandemic.

    In an interview with TMRW, the singer, whose After Hours tour was postponed due to the pandemic, shared what to expect in his new album, reports billboard.com.

    “I have been more inspired and creative during the pandemic than I might normally be while on the road…The pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the tensions of the election have mostly created a sense of gratitude for what I have and closeness with the people near me,” The Weeknd said.

    “I was laser focused back then and I’m laser focused right now. This has been the story of my 20s. I feel like I spent the last 10 years creating a sound and most of my career, I’ve either been running away from it or duplicating it. After Hours was the perfect piece of art for me to show my tenure in the industry, said The Weeknd.

    Talking about his musical journey, The Weeknd said: “My natural singing voice was inspired and shaped by Ethiopian music. The older I got, I was exposed to more music, and my voice became a chameleon going into different characters with each album. By following my own path and breaking industry norms, it seems to be influencing others.”

    Take a sneak peek at tmrw x the Weeknd: a special edition 100-page zine all about the Canadian superstar.


    Since the Weeknd’s emergence into the ever-changing world of R&B he has pioneered his own sound, defying the restrictions of genre by fusing pop, hip hop and the sultriness of R&B together. (TMRW)

    In 2012, the Scarborough-raised singer Abel Tesfaye, famously known as the Weeknd, released Trilogy. Quickly this debut LP became a platinum-selling record with critics identifying him as being a pivotal artist who changed the landscape of R&B. Fast forward to 2020 – a tumultuous year for music and the rest of the world – and the Weeknd has delivered the globally renowned After Hours featuring arguably the biggest song of the year ‘Blinding Lights’.

    Over the 10 years of creating, the Canadian icon has barely sat still: whether heading off on mega world tours or releasing forty records in under a decade, the Weeknd has transformed himself and the music industry with his unique sound, aesthetic and performances.

    Whenever I try to describe the Weeknd’s sound, the first adjective that comes to mind is ‘cinematic’, whether it is Starboy being the perfect score to a sci-fi heist film or his debut album Trilogy being layered over a fast-paced action romance. The Weeknd has definitely mastered the sound and art of orchestrated suspense. The artist’s vocal range was notably inspired by the music of his heritage and cultural roots, heavily influenced by his immigrant parents coming to Canada from Ethiopia.

    “My natural singing voice was inspired and shaped by Ethiopian music. The older I got, I was exposed to more music, and my voice became a chameleon going into different characters with each album. By following my own path and breaking industry norms, it seems to be influencing others.”

    On the eve of his first mixtape’s tenth anniversary, tmrw has joined forces with the Weeknd on a limited edition zine. Here he opens up to us about how it feels to be a meteoric star, what it means to be creative during a pandemic, and pulls back the curtain on the origin of his distinctive, honey-sweet vocal style. Featuring 100+ pages of interview, images, quotes and more on premium paper, this is not to be missed so get a copy for yourself here now and have a sneak preview below…

    Read more »


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    UPDATE: Tributes Paid to Agitu Gudeta: The Ethiopian Farm Owner Killed in Italy

    Agitu Ideo Gudeta, who was killed on Wednesday, used abandoned land to start a goat farming project employing migrants and refugees in Italy. She started with just 15 goats, increasing the herd to 180 in just a few years. She produced organic milk and cheese using environmentally friendly methods. Agitu was attacked and killed, allegedly by a former employee, on her farm in Trentino. (Photo: Reuters)

    The Guardian

    Tributes paid to Ethiopian refugee farmer who championed integration in Italy

    Tributes have been paid to a 42-year-old Ethiopian refugee and farmer who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home.

    Agitu Ideo Gudeta was attacked and killed, allegedly by a former employee, on her farm in Trentino on Wednesday.

    Gudeta had left Addis Ababa in 2010 after angering the authorities by taking part in protests against “land grabbing”. Once in Italy, she tenaciously followed and realised her ambition to move to the mountains and start her own farm. Taking advantage of permits that give farmers access to abandoned public land in depopulated areas, she reclaimed 11 hectares (27 acres) around an old barn in the Mòcheni valley, where she founded her La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat) enterprise.

    Gudeta started with a herd of 15 goats, quickly rising to 180 in a few years, producing organic milk and cheese using environmentally friendly methods and hiring migrants and refugees.

    “I created my space and made myself known, there was no resistance to me,” she told Reuters news agency that year.

    “Agitu brought to Italy the dream she was unable to realise in Ethiopia, in part because of land grabbing,” Gabriella Ghermandi, singer, performer, novelist and friend of Gudeta, told the Guardian. “Her farm was successful because she applied what she had learned from her grandparents in the countryside.

    “In Italy, many people have described her enterprise as a model of integration. But Agitu’s dream was to create an environmentally sustainable farm that was more than just a business; for her it also symbolised struggle against class divisions and the conviction that living in harmony with nature was possible. And above all she carried out her work with love. She had given a name to each one of her goats.”

    In a climate where hostility toward migrants was increasing, led by far-right political leaders, her success story was reported by numerous media outlets as an example of how integration can benefit communities.

    “The most rewarding satisfaction is when people tell me how much they love my cheeses because they’re good and taste different,” she said in an interview with Internazionale in 2017. “It compensates for all the hard work and the prejudices I’ve had to overcome as a woman and an immigrant.”

    Two years ago she received death threats and was the target of racist attacks, which she reported to police, recounting them on her social media posts.

    But police said a man who has confessed to the rape and murder of the farmer was an ex-employee who, they said, allegedly acted for “economic reasons”.

    The UN refugee agency said it was “pained” by Gudeta’s death, and that her entrepreneurial spirit “demonstrated how refugees can contribute to the societies that host them”.

    “Despite her tragic end, the UNHCR hopes that Agitu Ideo Gudeta will be remembered and celebrated as a model of success and integration and inspire refugees that struggle to rebuild their lives,” the agency said.

    “We spoke on the phone last week’’, said Ghermandi. “We spent two hours speaking about Ethiopia. We had plans to get together in the spring. Agitu considered Italy her home. She used to say that she had suffered too much in Ethiopia. Now Agitu is gone, but her work mustn’t die. We will soon begin a fundraising campaign to follow her plan for expanding the business so that her dream will live on.”

    Gudeta would have turned 43 on New Year’s Day.

    The Tragedy of Agitu Gudeta: An Ethiopian Immigrant Killed on Her Farm in Italy


    Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, an Ethiopian migrant who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday. Agitu had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land. (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Ethiopian migrant who became symbol of integration in Italy killed on her goat farm

    ROME (Reuters) – An Ethiopian migrant who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday.

    A Ghanaian employee on her farm in the northern Italian region of Trentino has admitted to killing Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, with a hammer and raping her, Italian news agency Ansa reported. The report could not immediately be confirmed.

    Gudeta had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land.

    Her story was reported by numerous international media, including Reuters , as an example of a migrant success story in Italy at a time of rising hostility towards immigrants, fueled by the right-wing League party.

    Gudeta escaped from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in 2010 after her participation in protests against ‘land-grabbing’ angered local authorities. Activists accused the authorities of setting aside large swathes of farmland for foreign investors.

    On reaching Italy she was able to use common land in the northern mountains to build her new enterprise, taking advantage of permits that give farmers access to public land to prevent local territory from being reclaimed by wild nature.

    Starting off with 15 goats, she had 180 by 2018 when she became a well-known figure.

    “I created my space and made myself known, there was no resistance to me,” she told Reuters in a story that year.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Tragedy of Agitu Gudeta: An Ethiopian Immigrant Killed on Her Farm in Italy

    Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, an Ethiopian migrant who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday. Agitu had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land. (Reuters)

    Reuters

    Ethiopian migrant who became symbol of integration in Italy killed on her goat farm

    ROME (Reuters) – An Ethiopian migrant who became a symbol of integration in Italy, her adopted home, has been killed on her farm where she raised goats for her cheese business, police said on Wednesday.

    A Ghanaian employee on her farm in the northern Italian region of Trentino has admitted to killing Agitu Ideo Gudeta, 42, with a hammer and raping her, Italian news agency Ansa reported. The report could not immediately be confirmed.

    Gudeta had made her home in the mountains of Trentino’s Valle dei Mocheni, making goat’s cheese and beauty products in her farm La Capra Felice (The Happy Goat), which was built on previously abandoned land.

    Her story was reported by numerous international media, including Reuters , as an example of a migrant success story in Italy at a time of rising hostility towards immigrants, fueled by the right-wing League party.

    Gudeta escaped from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in 2010 after her participation in protests against ‘land-grabbing’ angered local authorities. Activists accused the authorities of setting aside large swathes of farmland for foreign investors.

    On reaching Italy she was able to use common land in the northern mountains to build her new enterprise, taking advantage of permits that give farmers access to public land to prevent local territory from being reclaimed by wild nature.

    Starting off with 15 goats, she had 180 by 2018 when she became a well-known figure.

    “I created my space and made myself known, there was no resistance to me,” she told Reuters in a story that year.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    SPOTLIGHT: D.C. Honors Ethiopian Community With ‘Little Ethiopia’ Resolution

    The ceremonial resolution, which was sponsored by Council member Brandon T. Todd and unanimously approved by the D.C. Council this month, recognizes "the Ethiopian community’s heritage and culture, outstanding leadership and contributions to the District of Columbia’s economy and the 9th and U Street business corridor located in the Shaw neighborhood, and its partnership with the African American community in the fight for social justice and civil rights." (Photo: Facebook)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: December 24th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) – The D.C. Council has approved a ‘Little Ethiopia’ ceremonial resolution to honor the business and cultural contributions of the Ethiopian community in the U.S. capital.

    The resolution, which was sponsored by Council member Brandon T. Todd and unanimously approved by the D.C. Council this month, recognizes “the Ethiopian community’s heritage and culture, outstanding leadership and contributions to the District of Columbia’s economy and the 9th and U Street business corridor located in the Shaw neighborhood, and its partnership with the African American community in the fight for social justice and civil rights.”

    The resolution notes that “more than 300,000 Ethiopian descendants reside in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, one of the largest populations of Ethiopians in the United States. The region has a multitude of Ethiopian business owners, doctors, professors, entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists, and families.”

    In addition the ceremonial resolution points out that “Ethiopian immigrants initially settled in Adams Morgan, then along 9th Street NW in the historical African American Shaw neighborhood, where the 9th Street corridor between 9th and 11th Streets NW is fondly known as “Little Ethiopia.”

    The resolution adds:

    During the 1990’s, Ethiopian business owners selected the Shaw community as a central location and hub to establish new businesses that led to a vibrant flourishing business enclave that was largely responsible for revitalizing the community following the riots in the mid 1960’s, and returned it to a thriving corridor established by African American business owners prior to the riots;

    Ethiopian entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to the business community and have been outstanding leaders in Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas particularly retail strips where their strategy to establish a concentrated group of businesses has contributed to sustainability, and attracted members of both the Ethiopian community and local residents, ultimately enriching the cultural fabric of our international city and tax revenue.

    The full resolution is posted below.

    A CEREMONIAL RESOLUTION
    ____________

    COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
    ______________

    District of Columbia’s Ethiopian Business and Cultural Community ‘Little Ethiopia’ Ceremonial Recognition Resolution of 2020

    To recognize the Ethiopian community’s heritage and culture, outstanding leadership and contributions to the District of Columbia’s economy and the 9th and U Street business corridor located in the Shaw neighborhood, and its partnership with the African America community in the fight for social justice and civil rights.

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia is an independent African country that has never been colonized and stands as a symbol for all African peoples in their struggle for freedom, dignity and respect;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia defended itself from Italian invasion on March 1, 1896 at the Battle of ADWA. The Ethiopia’s landmark victory unified the country and marked the first defeat of a European power by an African Country;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia is widely recognized as a pioneering nation in the decades long struggle against colonialism and an inspiration to people across the Diaspora, and other nations around the world;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia’s root can be traced to the origins of civilization and is home to the remains of the first human ancestors found in the bones of Ardi dating back to 4.2 million years ago, and Lucy dating back to 3.5 million years ago;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia is also home to the great Axumite Kingdom that rivals Rome, Persia, and China;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia is the birthplace of Queen of Sheba and the enduring Solomonic dynasty;

    WHEREAS, there are nine United Nations World Cultural sites in Ethiopia including the eleven 13th century cave churches in Lalibela “New Jerusalem”, and the 16 41 th Century fortress42 city of Fasilades surround by a 900-meter long wall;

    WHEREAS, on December 27, 1903 Ethiopia’s Emperor Menelik II and President Theodore Roosevelt established diplomatic relations with the signing of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce;

    WHEREAS, the Ethiopian community has a long relationship with the African American community anchored by the historical spiritual struggle for liberation reflected in the Abyssinian Christian Churches;

    WHEREAS, a significant milestone in the longstanding relationship with the Ethiopian and African American communities took place in 1808 when Ethiopian seamen and African American parishioners left the First Baptist Church of New York, and founded the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York in protest of segregated seating arrangements;

    WHEREAS, the Abyssinian Baptist Church was inspired by the ancient name of Ethiopia, Abyssinia;

    WHEREAS, the relationship was enhanced through an education exchange that encompassed the training of pilots, teachers, and medical personnel at Howard University; and a cultural exchange of musical and artistic performances that together deepened the ties that connect Ethiopia with the United States;

    WHEREAS, the first African Studies Department in the United States was started at Howard University by Dr. William Leo Hansberry, who with the first Ethiopian medical school graduate Dr. Melaku Beyan, founded the famed Ethiopian Research Council. The department was founded for the unique purpose of disseminating information on the history, culture, civilization, and diplomatic relations of Ethiopia in ancient and modern times;

    WHEREAS, the first African American Rhodes Scholar and Howard Professor Dr. Alain Locke encouraged his students to recognize and incorporate their African Heritage in their work;

    WHEREAS, the great African American poet and District resident Paul Laurence Dunbar in “Ode to Ethiopia” promotes African Americans to look to Ethiopia for pride;

    WHEREAS, District native and jazz musician extraordinaire Duke Ellington traveled and performed in Ethiopia and received Ethiopia’s Medal of Honor in 1973, Ethiopia’s highest prize from Emperor Haile Selassie I;

    WHEREAS, it was Dr. Alain Locke and others at Howard that provided the intellectual inspiration for the Harlem Renaissance and U Street’s portrayal as Black Broadway;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopia inspired Pan African movements that gave hope to those seeking justice in the eyes of God and the world;

    WHEREAS, writers, artists, and activists such as W.E.B. Dubois, Frederick Douglas, Martin Delaney, Langston Hughes, Joseph Harris, Marcus Garvey and Edward Blyden built on these traditions culminating in the US Civil Rights Movement and African Independence Movements;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopians first began migrating to the United States in the 1970’s because of political persecution by the military junta that overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie I;

    WHEREAS, more than 300,000 Ethiopian descendants reside in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, one of the largest populations of Ethiopians in the United States. The region has a multitude of Ethiopian business owners, doctors, professors, entrepreneurs, community leaders, artists, and families;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopian immigrants initially settled in Adams Morgan, then along 9th Street NW in the historical African American Shaw neighborhood, where the 9th Street corridor between 9th and 11 102 th Streets NW is fondly known as “Little Ethiopia”;

    WHEREAS, during the 1990’s, Ethiopian business owners selected the Shaw community as a central location and hub to establish new businesses that led to a vibrant flourishing business enclave that was largely responsible for revitalizing the community following the riots in the mid 1960’s, and returned it to a thriving corridor established by African American business owners prior to the riots;

    WHEREAS, Ethiopian entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to the business community and have been outstanding leaders in Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas particularly retail strips where their strategy to establish a concentrated group of businesses has contributed to sustainability, and attracted members of both the Ethiopian community and local residents, ultimately enriching the cultural fabric of our international city and tax revenue;

    WHEREAS, in 2019 the District of Columbia under Mayor Muriel Bowser’s leadership, renewed its Sister City Agreement between Addis Ababa and Washington, D.C. to create lasting partnerships and cooperation on economic development, public health, culture, tourism and education;

    WHEREAS, the Sister City agreement confirms that the two cities will promote collaboration, information exchange, and joint ventures, with a special focus on the growth and development of business investment, trade and tourism and public-private partnerships;

    WHEREAS, the Sister City agreement shares best practices in the areas of government operations including public works, transportation, technology, infrastructure and housing; health polices to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of prevention and treatment programs; sustainable environment, including energy conservation and the green economy; and promote the development of programs in the areas of culture, arts and education;

    WHEREAS, the 2019 Sister City Agreement was the culmination of first-hand efforts by a delegation to Addis Ababa of Washington, D.C. leaders, under the auspices, direction, and stewardship of Henok Tesfaye, a prominent and long-standing Washington, D.C. entrepreneur, civic leader, and humanitarian;

    WHEREAS, during the mission, the Mayor of Addis Ababa, Takele Uma Banti, unveiled a newly-named street, “Mayor Muriel Bowser Street,” and announced the renaming of Gazebo Roundabout to “Washington, D.C. Square”, an historic honor, as part of the signing ceremony for the renewal of the Sister City agreement between the District and Addis Ababa;

    WHEREAS, Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed July 28, 2018 as “Ethiopia Day in DC” in honor of the visit of Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali to Washington, D.C.;

    WHEREAS, the Ethiopian communities’ contributions to arts, culture, and education in the District encompass four annual events to commemorate the fight for freedom by the resilient and the patriotic people of Ethiopia against Italian invasion and the annual holiday celebration;

    WHEREAS, the four annual events include the victory of Adwa on March 1, 1896, the Addis Ababa Massacre and Yekatit 12 on February 19, 1937; the liberation of Addis Ababa and Miazia 27 on May 5,1941; and Kwanzaa and Early celebration of Genna on December 26, 2004;

    WHEREAS, the Ethiopian community also commemorates Adwa and Miazia by placing a wreath with the colors of the Ethiopian flag in front of the African American Civil War Memorial in March and May of each year;

    WHEREAS, June 4, 2015 Mayor Muriel Bowser declared “Ethiopian International Food Day “where 47,000 students in over 100 schools were served Ethiopian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The event was held at Walker Jones Education Campus;

    WHEREAS, the program was planned by DC Mayor Bowser’s Office of the Secretary, Executive Office of the Mayor in collaboration with District of Columbia Public Schools, the Little Ethiopia DC organization, and an advisory group of ten Ethiopian chefs and restaurateurs guided food preparations for the event including the prominent Ethiopian Chef “Etete” Tiwaltengus Sheenegelgn; and

    WHEREAS, the Ethiopian community continues to make exceptional contributions to the District of Columbia.

    RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, that this resolution may be cited as the “District of Columbia’s Ethiopian Business and Cultural Community ‘Little Ethiopia’ Ceremonial Recognition Resolution of 2020”.

    Sec. 2. The Council of the District of Columbia recognizes the long history between the United States and Ethiopia, and congratulates the Ethiopian community for over seventy years of collaborative work in the areas of economic development, entrepreneurship, arts, culture, education, and government collaboration in the District of Columbia.

    Sec. 3. This resolution shall take effect immediately upon the first date of publication in the District of Columbia Register.

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    SPOTLIGHT: Eden Amare, Ethiopian-Israeli Rhodes Scholar Bound for Oxford

    Eden Amare Yitbarek, one of two Israeli winners of the prestigious 2021 Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. (Courtesy Eden Amare Yitbarek)

    The Times of Israel

    Eden Amare: Ethiopian-Israeli one of 2 Rhodes scholars bound for Oxford University

    Eden Amare Yitbarek, 23, studied at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya as part of special program sponsoring Ethiopian-Israeli youngsters with leadership potential for BA degrees

    An Israeli of Ethiopian background is one of two Israeli students — and the first from her community — to win a prestigious Rhodes scholarship to the University of Oxford this year.

    The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award established in 1903 with the fortune of British businessman Cecil Rhodes. Among its most famous recipients are Bill Clinton, Cory Booker, Kris Kristofferson, Dean Rusk and Edwin Hubble.

    Eden Amare Yitbarek served in the IDF as a truck and emergency vehicle driver before enrolling at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, within the framework of Israel at Heart — an IDC program that gives Ethiopian-Israeli youngsters with high leadership potential the chance to earn an undergraduate degree at the institution. Eden studied Government, Diplomacy and Strategy.

    The 23-year-old from the southern Red Sea city of Eilat received two Dean’s List awards for outstanding students and worked as a research assistant in the American Public Opinion toward Israel (APOI) lab at the IDC’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, which studies the relationship between the US and Israel. In her final year at IDC, she was accepted to the Argov Fellows Program in Leadership and Diplomacy, which aims to prepare around 20 exceptional IDC students in their final year of BA studies for future leadership positions in Israel and in the Jewish world.

    Eden, who wants to study international development at Oxford, has volunteered as a teacher and mentor for refugee and migrant children in Tel Aviv.

    She is currently working in Tel Aviv for Eagle Point Funding, an international consulting firm that helps to match US federal support with American high-tech start-ups and companies seeking support for R&D and business development.

    Much of the Ethiopian Israeli community has had a hard time integrating into Israeli society, suffering from poverty, educational gaps and racism. Furthermore, many families have been split between those who managed to immigrate to Israel and those still waiting to do so in Gondar and Addis Ababa.

    Out of 100 Rhodes scholarships given annually worldwide, two are given to outstanding Israelis.

    The other Israeli Rhodes Scholar for next year is Eli Zuzovsky, 25, from Tel Aviv, who studies English and filmmaking at Harvard with a secondary field in theater.

    The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a stipend to cover necessary expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and takes care of transportation to and from England. The total value of the scholarship averages approximately $70,000 per year, and up to as much as approximately $250,000 for scholars who remain at Oxford for four years in certain departments.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Q&A: Meet Semhal Guesh, Ethiopian Architect-Turned-Manufacturer Produces Leather Bags for Export Market

    Semhal Guesh, CEO of Kabana Leather, an Ethiopian company that produces a variety of handmade leather products. (How We Made It In Africa)

    How We Made It In Africa

    We speak to Semhal Guesh, CEO of Kabana Leather, an Ethiopian company that produces a variety of handmade leather products.

    1. How did you come up with the idea to start Kabana Leather?

    The concept was born while I was making hand bracelets from leather waste while at university. After two or three failed attempts at running other businesses, I established Kabana in 2017.

    Initially, it was just a hobby. I am an architect by profession and love designing. My passion for design led me to make leather bags. My hobby became a business when I employed someone and saw the impact it made on their life. I quit my job at an architectural firm to run Kabana full-time.

    We produce products under our own brand Kabana and also have a contract manufacturing division which makes items for international labels. We used to be 100% focused on the export market until Covid-19 hit and it tested us economically. Afterwards, our target market partially shifted towards the local market. Our customers are people and corporates who source ethically produced goods.

    2. Give us an overview of your product range.

    We have tote bags, gym bags, wallets and work bags.

    We are currently also producing PPE products, such as face masks and scrubs, with support from the Mastercard Foundation, but this is temporary.

    3. Where do you source your raw materials?

    Close to 92% of our raw materials are locally sourced; these include leather from sheep and goats, textiles and canvas. The remaining 8% of raw materials are imported from Egypt, the US and Taiwan, including zippers, buckles and accessory hardware. We source leather directly from the factories and produce it according to our colour and texture specifications. We choose these factories based on our requirements regarding their sustainability, environmental footprint and zero child labour practices.


    Employees at the Kabana Leather production facility. (Kabana Leather)

    4. Describe your product development process.

    For our Kabana brand, we try to have launches twice a year. Design starts with a mood board with colours, material concepts and design. Usually, I work with my team to develop patterns and designs. We make samples and get feedback on these. We then manufacture our selection for the launches.

    On the outsourced manufacturing side, we obtain designs from buyers who want products made in Ethiopia. We make samples using their designs with potential alternatives. The approval process usually takes several iterations and discussions; once they approve a sample, we go ahead and manufacture based on purchase orders.

    5. Where do you sell your products?

    Currently, the bulk of our sales are to the US and we send small consignments to Europe but that has not expanded as much as we’d like. We also sell small quantities to Rwanda and South Africa.

    Read the full Q&A at howwemadeitinafrica.com »

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: Two Ethiopians, Adom Getachew & Elizabeth Giorgis, Win African Studies Book Prize

    The award-- which was announced on Saturday, November 21st, 2020 during the African Studies Association's virtual annual meeting -- "recognizes the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English and distributed in the United States during the preceding year." (Photos: Elizabeth W. Giorgis/@AsiaArtArchive & Adom Getachew/Princeton University Press)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 23rd, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Adom Getachew and Elizabeth W. Giorgis were declared winners in separate categories of the 2020 African Studies Association (ASA) book prize on Saturday during the organization’s virtual annual meeting.

    Adom, the author of Worldmaking after Empire, was awarded the ASA Best Book Prize, while Elizabeth, the writer of Modernist Art in Ethiopia, was given the East African Bethwell A. Ogot Book Prize, which recognizes the best book on East African studies published in the previous calendar.

    “Thank you to everyone who attended the ASA 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting,” ASA said in a press release noting “it was an invigorating experience filled with brilliant presentations and astounding scholarship.”

    According to its website: “Established in 1957, the African Studies Association is the flagship membership organization devoted to enhancing the exchange of information about Africa. With almost 2,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, the African Studies Association encourages the production and dissemination of knowledge about Africa, past and present. Based in the United States, the ASA supports understanding of an entire continent in each facet of its political, economic, social, cultural, artistic, scientific, and environmental landscape..[and] members include scholars, students, teachers, activists, development professionals, policymakers and donors.”

    In her book entitled Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination that was published by Princeton University Press in 2019, Adom Getachew shows how prominent Black scholars and leaders of the twentieth century such as W.E.B Du Bois, George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, Eric Williams, Michael Manley, Julius Nyerere and others had aimed to reshape the international paradigm in respect to race-relations globally beyond post-colonial self-determination and nation-building. The Princeton University Press notes: “Using archival sources from Barbados, Trinidad, Ghana, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, Worldmaking after Empire recasts the history of decolonization, reconsiders the failure of anticolonial nationalism, and offers a new perspective on debates about today’s international order.”

    And Elizabeth Giorgis’ book Modernist Art in Ethiopia, “explores the varied precedents of the country’s political and intellectual history to understand the ways in which the import and range of visual narratives were mediated across different moments, and to reveal the conditions that account for the extraordinary dynamism of the visual arts in Ethiopia,” states the Ohio University Press, which published the book last year. “In locating its arguments at the intersection of visual culture and literary and performance studies, Modernist Art in Ethiopia details how innovations in visual art intersected with shifts in philosophical and ideological narratives of modernity. The result is profoundly innovative work—a bold intellectual, cultural, and political history of Ethiopia, with art as its centerpiece.”

    In addition to Adom and Elizabeth the finalists for the 2020 ASA Book Prize included Kamari Maxine Clarke, Affective Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Pan-Africanist Pushback, Duke University Press, 2019; Adeline Masquelier, Fada: Boredom and Belonging in Niger, University of Chicago Press, 2019; and Ndubueze Mbah, Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age, Ohio University Press, 2019.

    SPOTLIGHT: Two Ethiopians, Adom Getachew & Elizabeth Giorgis, Named Finalists for African Studies Book Prize

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 21st, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Adom Getachew, the author of Worldmaking after Empire, and Elizabeth W. Giorgis, the writer of Modernist Art in Ethiopia, have been named finalists for this year’s African Studies Association (ASA) book prize.

    The organization said the award — which will be formally announced on November 21st during its virtual annual meeting — “recognizes the most important scholarly work in African studies published in English and distributed in the United States during the preceding year. The ASA began awarding the prize in 1965.”

    In her book entitled Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination that was published by Princeton University Press in 2019, Adom Getachew shows how prominent Black scholars and leaders of the twentieth century such as W.E.B Du Bois, George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, Eric Williams, Michael Manley, Julius Nyerere and others had aimed to reshape the international paradigm in respect to race-relations globally beyond post-colonial self-determination and nation-building. The Princeton University Press notes: “Using archival sources from Barbados, Trinidad, Ghana, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, Worldmaking after Empire recasts the history of decolonization, reconsiders the failure of anticolonial nationalism, and offers a new perspective on debates about today’s international order.”

    And Elizabeth Giorgis’ book Modernist Art in Ethiopia, “explores the varied precedents of the country’s political and intellectual history to understand the ways in which the import and range of visual narratives were mediated across different moments, and to reveal the conditions that account for the extraordinary dynamism of the visual arts in Ethiopia,” states the Ohio University Press, which published the book last year. “In locating its arguments at the intersection of visual culture and literary and performance studies, Modernist Art in Ethiopia details how innovations in visual art intersected with shifts in philosophical and ideological narratives of modernity. The result is profoundly innovative work—a bold intellectual, cultural, and political history of Ethiopia, with art as its centerpiece.”

    Additional finalists for the 2020 ASA Book Prize include Kamari Maxine Clarke, Affective Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Pan-Africanist Pushback, Duke University Press, 2019; Adeline Masquelier, Fada: Boredom and Belonging in Niger, University of Chicago Press, 2019; and Ndubueze Mbah, Emergent Masculinities: Gendered Power and Social Change in the Biafran Atlantic Age, Ohio University Press, 2019.

    According to its website: “Established in 1957, the African Studies Association is the flagship membership organization devoted to enhancing the exchange of information about Africa. With almost 2,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, the African Studies Association encourages the production and dissemination of knowledge about Africa, past and present. Based in the United States, the ASA supports understanding of an entire continent in each facet of its political, economic, social, cultural, artistic, scientific, and environmental landscape..[and] members include scholars, students, teachers, activists, development professionals, policymakers and donors.”

    You can learn more about the association at africanstudies.org.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Meet The Trailblazing Ethiopian American Office Holders in U.S.

    The highly competitive 2020 U.S. election saw not only an active participation by Ethiopian American voters across the country, but also the growing political power of the community as more Ethiopians were elected into office, including Samra Brouk of New York and Oballa Oballa of Austin, Minnesota. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 13th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — As Ethiopian Americans we can all breathe a sigh of relief now that the 2020 U.S. election is behind us. This year’s highly competitive election saw not only an active participation by Ethiopian American voters across the country, but also the growing political power of the community as more Ethiopians were elected into office including Samra Brouk, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, who won a seat in the New York State Senate and Oballa Oballa, a refugee from Gambella, Ethiopia who captured a City Council seat in Austin, Minnesota.

    Samra and Oballa — who both became the first Black candidates to win their respective races — follow in the footsteps of other trailblazers such as Assemblyman Alexander Assefa of Nevada who two years ago became the first Ethiopian American to be elected into a statewide office; Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term this year; and Girmay Zahilay, a Councilman in King County, Washington, as well as the late Mike Mekonnen who served as Councilor for the city of Chelsea, Massachusetts for more than a decade.

    Below are the bios of the current Ethiopian American office holders in the United States:

    Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson


    Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson has served as a Leon County Judge in Tallahassee, Florida since 2008. (Photo: Tallahassee Democrat)

    Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States, was re-elected to a third term in 2020. Born in Ethiopia, Nina came to the U.S. as a young girl. She was raised by her late father Professor Ashenafi Kebede, the renowned Ethiopian composer and musicologist, who was the Founder and first Director of the Saint Yared School of Music in Ethiopia. According to her bio: “Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson has served as a Leon County Judge in Tallahassee, Florida since 2008. Prior to her election, she spent the majority of her career representing teachers and university faculty as in-house counsel with the Florida Education Association and as adjunct faculty at Barry University’s Tallahassee campus. She has distinguished herself as a first in many categories, including as the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States and the first African-American elected president of the Tallahassee Women Lawyers and the Tallahassee Bar Association. She is also a former president of the William H. Stafford American Inn of Court. The Conference of County Court Judges of Florida awarded her the Distinguished Leadership Award in 2016, and she was also the recipient of the Florida Bar’s 2019 Distinguished Judicial Service Award.”

    Assemblyman Alexander Assefa


    Assemblyman Alexander Assefa was elected to the Nevada state Assembly, where he has been representing the 42nd district since November 7, 2018. (Courtesy photo)

    Assemblyman Alexander Assefa is the first Ethiopian-American elected to a state-wide office in the United States and the first African immigrant to serve in elected office in the State of Nevada. According to his bio: “Alex was born and grew up in Ethiopia. While still a teenager, he was subject to life as a refugee in Kenya. In Nairobi, he had the opportunity to root himself in the Christian faith while he lived where refugees are not always welcomed, often faced persecution and intolerance. Harbored in his church family, he avidly studied the bible. He then went on to serve his fellow refugees in various roles in the church, including in the choir, as audio/video technician and a bible study leader at several locations in Nairobi. In the year 2000, Alex immigrated to the United States and was resettled in Alexandria, VA. He learned English as his third language and attended TC Williams High School. Alex attended flight school at Averett University in Danville, VA and became a pilot. He continued his education to earn a Political Science degree. He moved and permanently settled in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2006.”

    Girmay Zahilay, a Councilman in King County, Washington


    Girmay Hadish Zahilay, born May 6, 1987, is an Ethiopian-American attorney who serves as a member of the King County Council in Seattle, Washington. He was elected in 2019. (Photo: The Daily)

    Girmay Zahilay is a Councilman in King County, Washington. Per his bio: “The son of Ethiopian refugees, Zahilay moved from Sudan to South Seattle at the age of three. His family spent some time in a Union Gospel Mission homeless shelter before bouncing between a number of Seattle’s public housing projects. He graduated from Stanford University and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Later on, he interned at the White House during the Obama administration, worked for the Congressional Hunger Center in Washington D.C. and at a corporate law firm in New York, and founded Rising Leaders, a nonprofit that partners with middle schools across the nation to give underserved students access to mentorship opportunities and leadership training.” He was elected in 2019 as a member of the King County Council from District 2 in Seattle, Washington.

    Samra Brouk, New York State Senator-elect


    Samra Brouk was elected in 2020 to represent NYS 55th district in the New York State Senate. (Courtesy photo)

    Samra Brouk was elected as a New York State Senator representing the 55th district, one of 63 districts in the New York State Senate, during the 2020 election. Samra, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, is the first Black woman to win her seat. According to her bio: “Samra was born in Rochester, New York and raised in the suburbs of Monroe County. After serving in the Peace Corps, she worked for organizations that protect the environment, help seniors age in place, and address education inequities.” Samra who credits her parents for her decision to go into public service says her father “fled his home country of Ethiopia during the civil war, overcoming major cultural and financial barriers to earn his degrees in math and engineering here in Western New York. She adds: “From my parents, I learned the importance of education, hard work, and the need to be resourceful when faced with obstacles.”

    Oballa Oballa, newly elected city council member in Austin, Minnesota.


    Oballa Oballa, who fled genocide in Gambella, Ethiopia 17 years ago, is a newly elected city council member in Austin, Minnesota. (Photo: Courtesy of Oballa Oballa)

    Oballa Oballa, a refugee from Gambella, Ethiopia, is the first Black city council member in Austin, Minnesota. He won his seat during the 2020 U.S. election. According to the website Africans in America, Oballa who became a naturalized citizen less than one year ago, made history this election by winning a city council seat in southeast Minnesota. On the campaign trail and in interviews, Oballa described a dramatic personal history. His family fled Gambella, Ethiopia, in 2003, following what he describes as a genocidal attack on his community. They spent the next 10 years living in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp. In 2013, the family moved to the U.S., and by 2015, Oballa had settled in Austin.”

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Oballa Oballa: Ethiopian Refugee Wins City Council Election in Austin, Minnesota

    Soon after moving to Austin, Minnesota, Oballa Oballa [whose family fled Gambella, Ethiopia, in 2003] walked into the mayor’s office and asked if there was anything he could do for the city. He just became Austin’s first Black city council member. (Photo: Courtesy of Oballa Oballa)

    Sahan Journal

    Oballa Oballa, a refugee from Ethiopia, wins historic city council election in Austin; becomes city’s first Black elected official.

    Oballa Oballa, a former refugee from Ethiopia who became a naturalized citizen less than one year ago, made history this election by winning a city council seat in the southeast Minnesota city of Austin.

    As of Wednesday afternoon, Oballa, 27, held a 14 percent lead over candidate Helen Jahr and declared victory. Oballa, who had been campaigning for the seat since the beginning of the year, said he is the first person of color to win elected office in Austin.

    On the campaign trail and in interviews, Oballa described a dramatic personal history. His family fled Gambella, Ethiopia, in 2003, following what he describes as a genocidal attack on his community. They spent the next 10 years living in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp. In 2013, the family moved to the U.S., and by 2015, Oballa had settled in Austin.

    Oballa is just one example of how immigrant communities are shaping Minnesota politics well beyond the Twin Cities, and are now starting to win seats for public office. Oballa said his record of civic engagement earned him voters’ support.

    “This makes me feel great, it makes me feel really happy and proud,” he said. “My work, I think, will still give hope to refugees who think the American dream is dead.”

    He added, “Just seven years ago, [I] was living in a refugee camp and now am officially elected. I think that will give them hope that one day, when they come to America here, they will accomplish whatever they put their mind to.”

    Read more »

    Ethio-American Samra Brouk Wins New York’s 55th Senate District


    Samra Brouk, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, defeated Republican Christopher Missick becoming the first Black woman to win the seat that’s currently held by New York State Senator Rich Funke, who announced last year that he wouldn’t run for another term. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 8th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Democrat Samra Brouk has won the race for the New York State Senate’s 55th district, one of 63 districts in the New York State Senate.

    Samra, a daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, defeated Republican Christopher Missick becoming the first Black woman to win the seat that’s currently held by New York State Senator Rich Funke, who announced last year that he wouldn’t run for another term.

    The nonprofit organization New American Leaders, which recruits people of immigrant heritage to run for elected office in the United States, highlighted Samra in a social media post noting that “With Kamala Harris’ victory and the wins of hundreds of down-ballot New American candidates like Samra Brouk in New York, Marvin Lim in Georgia and Nida Allam in North Carolina, people like us have broken the mold of what it looks like to run, win, and lead.”

    Samra who was born and raised in Rochester New York credits her parents — a public school teacher and a civil engineer — for her decision to go into public service. “My father fled his home country of Ethiopia during the civil war, overcoming major cultural and financial barriers to earn his degrees in math and engineering here in Western New York,” Samra states on her campaign website. “From my parents, I learned the importance of education, hard work, and the need to be resourceful when faced with obstacles.”

    She adds:

    As a high school student, I spoke out against unfair testing practices. While at Williams College, where I worked three jobs to pay my tuition, I organized a group volunteer trip to Biloxi, Mississippi. We did everything from removing mold from homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina to helping community clinics navigate FEMA in order to rebuild.

    After graduating from Williams College with a Bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Spanish, I joined the U.S. Peace Corps where I volunteered in rural Guatemala as a health education specialist for two years. Upon returning home, like many of our young people, I was faced with limited job prospects. I was given an opportunity to help the Town of Brookhaven adopt a recycling education program for their population of nearly 500,000 people. I spent the following four years partnering with mayors and municipal leaders across the Northeast to adopt recycling education programs.

    Following that, I joined the largest global member organization for young people, DoSomething.org, to mobilize millions of young people as social change advocates. Later, I helped start Umbrella, a start-up that used technology to keep seniors safe in their homes by connecting them with affordable and community-driven home care. Most recently, I drove fundraising efforts for Chalkbeat, the fastest growing grassroots journalism organization, supporting their work reporting on inequities in the public school system.

    I currently live in Rochester, NY with my husband, Brian, who works with court-involved young people.

    New York’s 55th Senate District is a sprawling geography–starting down in the Finger Lakes, up through Rush, Mendon, Pittsford, Perinton, Fairport, Penfield, East Rochester, Irondequoit, and the East Side of the City of Rochester.

    My experiences around the state and the country have given me a broad perspective on what’s possible for our region. Now it’s time to bring all that I’ve learned and the relationships I’ve built to the community I love and call home.

    Together we can create a more just, sustainable and inclusive community. Western New York is my forever home. It deserves real leadership.

    Let’s do this!

    Congratulations to Samra Brouk!

    Ethiopia Congratulates President-elect Joe Biden & VP-elect Kamala Harris (UPDATE)


    In a Twitter post on Saturday Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed joined other world leaders in expressing his good wishes for the newly elected leadership in the United States. (Getty Images)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: November 8th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopia has congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their landmark U.S. election victory.

    In a Twitter post on Saturday Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed joined other world leaders in expressing his good wishes for the newly elected leadership in the United States.

    “My congratulations to US President-elect Joe Biden and and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on your historic election win,” PM Abiy wrote. “Ethiopia looks forward to working closely with you.”

    Ethiopia’s ambassador to U.S. Fitsum Arega added: “Congratulations US for being a shining example of democracy in action to the world. We should all learn in Africa that in genuine democracy every vote counts, every voice must be heard!”

    As USA Today noted: “International messages of congratulation started rolling in Saturday for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden after he was projected the winner of the presidential election over President Donald Trump. International allies contemplated a new White House that has raised the prospect of resuming a form of business as usual: a more fact-driven, multilateralist American presidency that wants to build bridges, not burn them.”

    Related: ‘Welcome back, America’: World congratulates Joe Biden »

    Watch: President-elect Joe Biden’s full acceptance speech

    —-

    BIDEN DEFEATS TRUMP! USA CELEBRATES

    The Washington Post

    Joe Biden triumphs over Trump, prompting celebration across the U.S. and congratulations from abroad

    Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected the nation’s 46th president Saturday in a repudiation of President Trump powered by legions of women and minority voters who rejected his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his divisive, bullying conduct in office.

    Biden’s victory, the culmination of four years of struggle for Democrats, came after a hotly contested election in which it took four days for a winner to be declared after the former vice president was projected to win a series of battleground states, the latest of which was the state where he was born, Pennsylvania.

    Voters also made history in electing as vice president Kamala Devi Harris, 56, a senator from California and daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants who will become the country’s first woman, first Black person and first Asian American to hold the No. 2 job.


    Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States after a victory in the state where he was born (Pennsylvania) put him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. In New York City, spontaneous block parties broke out. People ran out of their buildings, banging on pots. They danced and high-fived with strangers amid honking horns. (AP photo)

    In a statement released Saturday, Biden said he is “honored and humbled” to be the victor in an election in which “a record number of Americans voted.” He said he and Harris looked forward to working on the nation’s many challenges.

    “With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” Biden said in the statement, in which his campaign referred to him as “President-elect Joe Biden” for the first time. “It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”

    WATCH LIVE: Biden’s win sparks street celebrations around the country

    Harris, in a tweet sent after the result was announced, said the election was about more than the Democratic team.

    “It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it,” she said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”

    Read more »

    Related:

    Video: Tadias Panel Discussion on Civic Engagement and Voter Mobilization


    On Sunday, October 25th, Tadias Magazine hosted a timely virtual panel discussion on civic engagement and voter mobilization featuring a new generation of Ethiopian American leaders from various professions. You can watch the video below. (Photos: Tadias Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 28th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — The U.S. presidential election is only one week away and Tadias hosted a timely and lively discussion on building political power through civic engagement and voter mobilization on Sunday, October 25th featuring a new generation of Ethiopian American leaders from various professions. You can watch the video below.

    Panelists included Henock Dory, who currently serves as Special Assistant to former President Barack Obama; Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO; Selam Mulugeta Washington, a former Field Organizer with Obama for America, Helen Mesfin from the Helen Show DC, Dr. Menna Demessie, Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles (moderator) as well as Bemnet Meshesha and Helen Eshete of the Habeshas Vote initiative. The event opened with poetry reading by Bitaniya Giday, the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate.

    Ethiopian Americans are as diverse as mainstream America when it comes to our perspectives on various social and political issues, but despite our differences we are all united when it comes to the need to
    empower ourselves and participate in the democratic process through our citizenship rights to vote and run for office.

    So vote on November 3rd.

    Related:

    ‘Habeshas Vote’ Phone Banking Event This Week Aims Outreach to Ethio-Americans


    (Photo courtesy of Habesha Networks)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Published: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — We are now almost two weeks away from the November 3rd U.S. presidential election. This week the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks in partnership with Tadias Magazine and Abbay Media will host their first virtual phone banking event to reach out to the Ethiopian American community.

    The online event, which is set to take place on Thursday, October 22nd from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT, will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    Organizers note that there will be a brief training on phone banking as well as “some amazing prizes” for those that call and text the most voters.

    If You Attend:

    Click here to lean more and RSVP.

    —-

    Related:

    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris Hosts Virtual Conversation


    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris is a volunteer-led group that supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — As the highly anticipated 2020 U.S. presidential election fast approaches on November 3rd, various Ethiopian American associations are organizing voter turnout and education events across the country.

    The latest to announce such an event is the newly formed, volunteer-led group, Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris, which supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris and will be hosting an online conversation next week Friday, October 23 at 6:00 PM EDT/3:00 PM PDT.

    “As one of the largest African Diaspora groups in the United States, the community has historically supported causes championed by the Democratic Party, including but not limited to, immigration reform, healthcare reform, promotion of democracy, human rights and improved trade and investment between the United States and Ethiopia,” the group states in its press release. “Ethiopian-Americans believe that a Biden-Harris Administration will champion equitable access and opportunity for all Americans, restore mutually beneficial relationships with Ethiopia and improve America’s standing among the community of nations.”


    (Courtesy photo)

    The virtual event, which will be moderated by Dr. Menna Demessie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, features Congresswoman Karen Bass, who has represented California’s 37th congressional district since 2013; Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas; Gayle Smith, president and CEO of the One Campaign and the former administrator of the United States Agency for International Development; and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) leading the firm’s Africa practice. Thomas-Greenfield was also the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the United States Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs from 2013 to 2017.

    Ethiopian American speakers include Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian-American elected to public office in the United States and the first African immigrant to serve in elected office in the State of Nevada; Addisu Demissie, who served as Senior Advisor to U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, and was responsible for organizing the nominating convention for the Democratic Party this past summer; Marcus Samuelsson, an award-winning chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, philanthropist and food activist; Mimi Alemayehou, a development finance executive who has served as Executive Vice President of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and as United States Executive Director of the African Development Bank.

    If You Attend

    Click here to RSVP now staring $25.

    Learn more at www.ethiopiansforbidenharris.com.

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans: Election is Approaching, Let’s Make Sure our Voices are Heard


    In this OP-ED Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles, urges Ethiopian Americans to participate in the upcoming U.S. election that will directly impact our lives for many years to come, and shares resources to help our community to get involved in the democratic process. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Helen Amelga

    Updated: October 16th, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — How many people of Ethiopian descent live in the United States? 300,000? 400,000? 500,000? We don’t really know for sure. But with the 2020 census, we will for the first time have the opportunity to get a truly accurate count. If you haven’t done so already, go to 2020cencus.gov and complete your census today.

    While the exact numbers are yet to be determined, it is clear that there is a significant Ethiopian-American population in the United States. Why is it then that we do not have a strong political presence?

    We know our community can organize. We have Iqub (እቁብ), mahbers (ማህበር), business associations, and our faith based groups are extremely organized. We need to use those same skills to mobilize politically.

    We must equip ourselves with the knowledge of political systems, major policies and voter rights, not only to serve as advocates for our community, but so that we ourselves can occupy positions of power and authority to be the decision makers who shape the society and world we want to live in.

    We know it’s possible because we already have trailblazers such as Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body as well as Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term his year.

    We cannot afford to give our vote away to candidates who are not serving our needs. We are ready to spring into action when there is a problem in our community, but it is not enough to go to our elected officials once we have a problem and try to convince them to help us. We need to be proactive.

    We must purposefully engage to get the right people elected in the first place. We must identify candidates who align with and will fight for our values. Then, we must do everything we can to make sure those candidates are elected.

    Here are a few steps you can take to get involved:

    1. Register to vote

    2. Request a vote by mail ballot today

    3. Reach out to 5 friends and make sure they’re registered to vote

    4. Research your candidates & ballot measures

    5. Volunteers to phone bank for a campaign

    6. Sign up to be a poll worker on election day

    The November 3rd general election is fast approaching. Let’s make sure our voices are heard.

    Related:

    Interview: Helen Amelga, Founder of Ethiopian Democratic Club of LA

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team


    Related:

    Election 2020 – The Youth Vote Event In Seattle


    Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Bitaniya is one of the young interviewers in a timely upcoming Zoom event on October 14th titled “The Youth Vote: A conversation about leadership, ethics and values and how they factor into choosing a candidate.” (KNKX PUBLIC RADIO)

    KNKX PUBLIC RADIO

    Young people make up a projected 37% of the 2020 electorate, yet historically they vote less than other age groups. Will it be different this time? The pandemic crisis and the call for racial justice and institutional changes are top concerns as we move closer to this high stakes election. Ethics and values also underpin our decisions. This virtual event aims to bring together first-time and new voters with older adults with a track record of civic leadership to discuss a number of issues through the lens of beliefs and values, touching on things like:

    What does it mean to be a leader?
    In thorny situations, how do you speak for a community?
    If there are three important issues facing your community and you only have enough resources to address one, how would you choose?

    Because this is leading up to the general election, we want to frame this conversation around the power to change systems for the greater good and how that ties in with being an informed voter.

    The six young interviewers will ask the four speakers questions relating to the themes of conflict/failure, challenges, accountability, transparency, priorities and representation, with the speakers drawing on their personal and professional experiences; and offering examples of how they have faced challenging situations and how that speaks to leadership and community building.

    Young Interviewers

    Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Her writing explores the nuances of womanhood and blackness, as she reflects upon her family’s path of immigration across the world. She hopes to restore and safeguard the past, present, and future histories of her people through traditional storytelling and poetry.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans Hold Virtual Town Hall Ahead of November Election


    The nationwide town hall event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 plans to emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process. The gathering will feature panel discussions, PSAs, and cultural engagements. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 23rd, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Americans are holding a virtual town hall this week ahead of the November 3rd U.S. election.

    The nationwide event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, will emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process.

    According to organizers the town hall — put together by the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks — will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    “We intend on discussing various subject matters related to civic engagement issues affecting our community at the moment,” the announcement notes, highlighting that by the end of the conference “participants will be able to understand the importance of taking ownership of our local communities, learn more about the voting process and gain a better [appreciation] of why we should all care about voting.”

    Speakers include Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles; Dr. Menna Demissie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body; Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term this year; and Girmay Zahilay, Councilman in King County, Washington.


    (Courtesy photos)

    Additional presenters include: Andom Ghebreghiorgis. former Congressional candidate from New York; Samuel Gebru, former candidate for City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and current managing director of Black Lion Strategies; as well as Hannah Joy Gebresilassie, journalist and community advocate; and Debbie Almraw, writer and poet.

    Entertainment will be provided by Elias Aragaw, the artist behind @TheFunkIsReal, and DJ Sammy Sam.

    The announcement notes that “voting is a core principle of being American, but to exercise this basic right we must be registered to vote! That’s why Habesha Networks and Habeshas Vote are proud partners of When We All Vote and supporters of National Voter Registration Day.”

    Watch: Students Interview Kamala Harris (U.S. ELECTION UPDATE)


    Fana R. Haileselassie, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, asks Sen. Kamala Harris a question during a virtual Q&A hosted by BET featuring the Democratic nominee for Vice President and students discussing the interests of millennial voters. (Photo: BETNetworks)

    BET News Special

    HBCU Students Interview Kamala Harris

    A virtual Q&A hosted by Terrence J featuring Democratic nominee for Vice President Sen. Kamala Harris and HBCU students discussing the interests of millennial voters.

    Watch: Sen. Kamala Harris Answers HBCU Students’ Questions About Voting, Student Loan Debt & More

    Related:

    Virginia’s Era as a Swing State Appears to be Over


    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave after a campaign event in May 2012 in Richmond. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 18th, 2020

    No TV ads, no presidential visits: Virginia’s era as a swing state appears to be over

    Barack Obama held the very last rally of his 2008 campaign in Virginia, the longtime Republican stronghold he flipped on his way to the White House.

    Four years later, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney made more visits and aired more television ads here than nearly anywhere else. And in 2016, Donald Trump staged rally after rally in the Old Dominion while Hillary Clinton picked a Virginian as her running mate.

    But Virginia isn’t getting the swing-state treatment this time around. As in-person early voting got underway Friday, President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden were dark on broadcast television. Super PACs were clogging somebody else’s airwaves. Even as Trump and Biden have resumed limited travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, neither has stumped in the Old Dominion.

    There’s really no discussion about the state being in play,” said Amy Walter, national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “If you’re Ohio or New Hampshire, or Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, you’ve always been in that spotlight. Virginia got it for such a short period of time.”

    The last time presidential candidates stayed out of Virginia and off its airwaves was 2004. The state was reliably red then, having backed Republicans for the White House every year since 1968. Now Virginia seems to be getting the cold shoulder because it’s considered solidly blue.

    “Virginia was the belle of the ball in 2008, and again in 2012, and still once more in 2016, but in 2020, the commonwealth is a wall flower,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Virginians come out in force to cast ballots on the first day of early voting

    Mike Bloomberg to spend at least $100 million in Florida to benefit Joe Biden


    Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million to help elect Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 13th, 2020

    Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million in Florida to help elect Democrat Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest in a costly toss-up state central to President Trump’s reelection hopes.

    Bloomberg made the decision to focus his final election spending on Florida last week, after news reports that Trump had considered spending as much as $100 million of his own money in the final weeks of the campaign, Bloomberg’s advisers said. Presented with several options on how to make good on an earlier promise to help elect Biden, Bloomberg decided that a narrow focus on Florida was the best use of his money.

    The president’s campaign has long treated the state, which Trump now calls home, as a top priority, and his advisers remain confident in his chances given strong turnout in 2016 and 2018 that gave Republicans narrow winning margins in statewide contests.

    Watch: Former 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg slammed Trump during his Democratic National Convention speech on Aug. 20.

    Bloomberg’s aim is to prompt enough early voting that a pro-Biden result would be evident soon after the polls close.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania (ELECTION UPDATE)


    In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump. (Reuters photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 9, 2020

    Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania, Poll Finds

    Joe Biden leads President Trump by nine percentage points among likely voters in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that Trump narrowly won four years ago, according to a new NBC News-Marist poll.

    In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump.

    In 2016, Trump carried Pennsylvania by less than one percentage point over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    The NBC-Marist poll shows Biden getting a boost from suburban voters, who side with him by nearly 20 percentage points, 58 percent to 39 percent. In 2016, Trump won suburban voters in Pennsylvania by about eight points, according to exit polls.


    Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stand outside the AFL-CIO headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., on Monday. (Getty Images)

    The poll also finds the candidates are tied at 49 percent among white voters in Pennsylvania, a group that Trump won by double digits in 2016. Biden leads Trump among nonwhite voters, 75 percent to 19 percent.

    Pennsylvania has been a frequent destination for both campaigns in recent weeks. Vice President Pence has events scheduled there on Wednesday.

    Kamala D. Harris Goes Viral — for Her Shoe Choice


    Sporting Chuck Taylor sneakers, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) greets supporters Monday in Milwaukee. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 8, 2020

    It took roughly eight seconds of on-the-ground campaigning for the first Black woman to be nominated on a major party’s ticket to go viral.

    At first glance, little seemed noteworthy as Sen. Kamala D. Harris deplaned in Milwaukee on Monday. She was wearing a mask. She didn’t trip. Instead, what sent video pinging around the Internet was what was on her feet: her black, low-rise Chuck Taylor All-Stars, the classic Converse shoe that has long been associated more closely with cultural cool than carefully managed high-profile candidacies.

    By Tuesday morning, videos by two reporters witnessing her arrival had been viewed nearly 8 million times on Twitter — for comparison’s sake, more than four times the attention the campaign’s biggest planned video event, a conversation between Joe Biden and Barack Obama, had received on both Twitter and YouTube combined.

    Harris’s sister, Maya, tweeted Monday that Chuck Taylors are, indeed, her sister’s “go-to.” A few hours later, Harris’s official campaign account tweeted the video with the caption “laced up and ready to win.”

    Read more »

    81 American Nobel Laureates Endorse Biden for Next U.S. President


    The Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and medicine “wholeheartedly” endorsed the Democratic nominee in an open letter released Wednesday. “At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy,” they said. (Courtesy photo)

    Press Release

    Nobel Laureates endorse Joe Biden

    81 American Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine have signed this letter to express their support for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election for President of the United States.

    At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy. During his long record of public service, Joe Biden has consistently demonstrated his willingness to listen to experts, his understanding of the value of international collaboration in research, and his respect for the contribution that immigrants make to the intellectual life of our country.

    As American citizens and as scientists, we wholeheartedly endorse Joe Biden for President.

    Name, Category, Prize Year:

    Peter Agre Chemistry 2003
    Sidney Altman Chemistry 1989
    Frances H. Arnold Chemistry 2018
    Paul Berg Chemistry 1980
    Thomas R. Cech Chemistry 1989
    Martin Chalfie Chemistry 2008
    Elias James Corey Chemistry 1990
    Joachim Frank Chemistry 2017
    Walter Gilbert Chemistry 1980
    John B. Goodenough Chemistry 2019
    Alan Heeger Chemistry 2000
    Dudley R. Herschbach Chemistry 1986
    Roald Hoffmann Chemistry 1981
    Brian K. Kobilka Chemistry 2012
    Roger D. Kornberg Chemistry 2006
    Robert J. Lefkowitz Chemistry 2012
    Roderick MacKinnon Chemistry 2003
    Paul L. Modrich Chemistry 2015
    William E. Moerner Chemistry 2014
    Mario J. Molina Chemistry 1995
    Richard R. Schrock Chemistry 2005
    K. Barry Sharpless Chemistry 2001
    Sir James Fraser Stoddart Chemistry 2016
    M. Stanley Whittingham Chemistry 2019
    James P. Allison Medicine 2018
    Richard Axel Medicine 2004
    David Baltimore Medicine 1975
    J. Michael Bishop Medicine 1989
    Elizabeth H. Blackburn Medicine 2009
    Michael S. Brown Medicine 1985
    Linda B. Buck Medicine 2004
    Mario R. Capecchi Medicine 2007
    Edmond H. Fischer Medicine 1992
    Joseph L. Goldstein Medicine 1985
    Carol W. Greider Medicine 2009
    Jeffrey Connor Hall Medicine 2017
    Leland H. Hartwell Medicine 2001
    H. Robert Horvitz Medicine 2002
    Louis J. Ignarro Medicine 1998
    William G. Kaelin Jr. Medicine 2019
    Eric R. Kandel Medicine 2000
    Craig C. Mello Medicine 2006
    John O’Keefe Medicine 2014
    Michael Rosbash Medicine 2017
    James E. Rothman Medicine 2013
    Randy W. Schekman Medicine 2013
    Gregg L. Semenza Medicine 2019
    Hamilton O. Smith Medicine 1978
    Thomas C. Sudhof Medicine 2013
    Jack W. Szostak Medicine 2009
    Susumu Tonegawa Medicine 1987
    Harold E. Varmus Medicine 1989
    Eric F. Wieschaus Medicine 1995
    Torsten N. Wiesel Medicine 1981
    Michael W. Young Medicine 2017
    Barry Clark Barish Physics 2017
    Steven Chu Physics 1997
    Jerome I. Friedman Physics 1990
    Sheldon Glashow Physics 1979
    David J. Gross Physics 2004
    John L. Hall Physics 2005
    Wolfgang Ketterle Physics 2001
    J. Michael Kosterlitz Physics 2016
    Herbert Kroemer Physics 2000
    Robert B. Laughlin Physics 1998
    Anthony J. Leggett Physics 2003
    John C. Mather Physics 2006
    Shuji Nakamura Physics 2014
    Douglas D. Osheroff Physics 1996
    James Peebles Physics 2019
    Arno Penzias Physics 1978
    Saul Perlmutter Physics 2011
    H. David Politzer Physics 2004
    Brian P. Schmidt Physics 2011
    Joseph H. Taylor Jr. Physics 1993
    Kip Stephen Thorne Physics 2017
    Daniel C. Tsui Physics 1998
    Rainer Weiss Physics 2017
    Frank Wilczek Physics 2004
    Robert Woodrow Wilson Physics 1978
    David J. Wineland Physics 2012

    Related

    Biden Calls Trump ‘a Toxic Presence’ Who is Encouraging Violence in America


    “Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? (Photo: Joe Biden speaks Monday in Pittsburgh/Reuters)

    The Washington Post

    Joe Biden excoriated President Trump on Monday as a threat to the safety of all Americans, saying he has encouraged violence in the nation’s streets even as he has faltered in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

    For his most extensive remarks since violent protests have escalated across the country in recent days, Biden traveled to Pittsburgh and struck a centrist note, condemning both the destruction in the streets and Trump for creating a culture that he said has exacerbated it.

    “I want to be very clear about all of this: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting,” Biden said. “It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted.”

    The former vice president also rejected the caricature that Trump and his allies have painted of him as someone who holds extremist views and has helped fuel the anger in urban centers across the country.

    “You know me. You know my heart. You know my story, my family’s story,” Biden said. “Ask yourself: Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”

    While the speech was delivered amid heightened tensions over race and police conduct, Biden did not outline new policies, instead focusing on making a broader condemnation of Trump.

    He called the president a danger to those suffering from the coronavirus, to anyone in search of a job or struggling to pay rent, to voters worried about Russian interference in the upcoming election and to those worried about their own safety amid unrest.

    “Donald Trump wants to ask the question: Who will keep you safer as president? Let’s answer that question,” Biden said. “When I was vice president, violent crime fell 15 percent in this country. We did it without chaos and disorder.”

    Pointing to a nationwide homicide rate rising 26 percent this year, Biden asked, “Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?”

    “If I were president today, the country would be safer,” Biden said. “And we’d be seeing a lot less violence.”

    It was a marked shift for Biden from his convention speech less than two weeks ago, in which he never named Trump in his remarks. During his speech Monday, he mentioned Trump’s name 32 times.

    “Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? Or will we make it a permanent part of our nation’s character?”

    Read more »

    Spotlight: The Unravelling of the Social Fabric in Ethiopia and the U.S.


    As Ethiopian Americans we are increasingly concerned about the decline of civil discourse and the unravelling of the social fabric not only in Ethiopia, but also here in the United States where in the era of Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic politics has also become more and more violent. Below are excerpts and links to two recent articles from The Intercept and The Guardian focusing on the timely topic. (AP photo)

    The Intercept

    August, 29th, 2020

    The Social Fabric of the U.S. Is Fraying Severely, if Not Unravelling: Why, in the world’s richest country, is every metric of mental health pathology rapidly worsening?

    THE YEAR 2020 has been one of the most tumultuous in modern American history. To find events remotely as destabilizing and transformative, one has to go back to the 2008 financial crisis and the 9/11 and anthrax attacks of 2001, though those systemic shocks, profound as they were, were isolated (one a national security crisis, the other a financial crisis) and thus more limited in scope than the multicrisis instability now shaping U.S. politics and culture.

    Since the end of World War II, the only close competitor to the current moment is the multipronged unrest of the 1960s and early 1970s: serial assassinations of political leaders, mass civil rights and anti-war protests, sustained riots, fury over a heinous war in Indochina, and the resignation of a corruption-plagued president.

    But those events unfolded and built upon one another over the course of a decade. By crucial contrast, the current confluence of crises, each of historic significance in their own right — a global pandemic, an economic and social shutdown, mass unemployment, an enduring protest movement provoking increasing levels of violence and volatility, and a presidential election centrally focused on one of the most divisive political figures the U.S. has known who happens to be the incumbent president — are happening simultaneously, having exploded one on top of the other in a matter of a few months.

    Lurking beneath the headlines justifiably devoted to these major stories of 2020 are very troubling data that reflect intensifying pathologies in the U.S. population — not moral or allegorical sicknesses but mental, emotional, psychological and scientifically proven sickness. Many people fortunate enough to have survived this pandemic with their physical health intact know anecdotally — from observing others and themselves — that these political and social crises have spawned emotional difficulties and psychological challenges…

    Much attention is devoted to lamenting the toxicity of our discourse, the hate-driven polarization of our politics, and the fragmentation of our culture. But it is difficult to imagine any other outcome in a society that is breeding so much psychological and emotional pathology by denying to its members the things they most need to live fulfilling lives.

    Read the full article at theintercept.com »

    Ethiopia falls into violence a year after leader’s Nobel peace prize win


    Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, centre, arrives at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in July. Photograph: AP

    By Jason Burke and Zecharias Zelalem in Addis Ababa

    Sat 29 Aug 2020

    Abiy Ahmed came to power promising radical reform, but 180 people have died amid ethnic unrest in Oromia state

    Ethiopia faces a dangerous cycle of intensifying internal political dissent, ethnic unrest and security crackdowns, observers have warned, after a series of protests in recent weeks highlighted growing discontent with the government of Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel peace prize winner.

    Many western powers welcomed the new approach of Abiy, who took power in 2018 and promised a programme of radical reform after decades of repressive one-party rule, hoping for swift changes in an emerging economic power that plays a key strategic role in a region increasingly contested by Middle Eastern powers and China. He won the peace prize in 2019 for ending a conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

    The most vocal unrest was in the state of Oromia, where there have been waves of protests since the killing last month of a popular Oromo artist and activist, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, in Addis Ababa, the capital. An estimated 180 people have died in the violence, some murdered by mobs, others shot by security forces. Houses, factories, businesses, hotels, cars and government offices were set alight or damaged and several thousand people, including opposition leaders, were arrested.

    Further protests last week prompted a new wave of repression and left at least 11 dead. “Oromia is still reeling from the grim weight of tragic killings this year. These grave patterns of abuse should never be allowed to continue,” said Aaron Maasho, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

    Read more »

    Related:

    ‘How Dare We Not Vote?’ Black Voters Organize After DC March


    People rally at Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Friday Aug. 28, 2020, on the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it.” (AP Photos)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 29th, 2020

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Tears streamed down Brooke Moreland’s face as she watched tens of thousands gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to decry systemic racism and demand racial justice in the wake of several police killings of Black Americans.

    But for the Indianapolis mother of three, the fiery speeches delivered Friday at the commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also gave way to one central message: Vote and demand change at the ballot box in November.

    “As Black people, a lot of the people who look like us died for us to be able to sit in public, to vote, to go to school and to be able to walk around freely and live our lives,” the 31-year-old Moreland said. “Every election is an opportunity, so how dare we not vote after our ancestors fought for us to be here?”

    That determination could prove critical in a presidential election where race is emerging as a flashpoint. President Donald Trump, at this past week’s Republican National Convention, emphasized a “law and order” message aimed at his largely white base of supporters. His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has expressed empathy with Black victims of police brutality and is counting on strong turnout from African Americans to win critical states such as North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

    “If we do not vote in numbers that we’ve never ever seen before and allow this administration to continue what it is doing, we are headed on a course for serious destruction,” Martin Luther King III, told The Associated Press before his rousing remarks, delivered 57 years after his father’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. “I’m going to do all that I can to encourage, promote, to mobilize and what’s at stake is the future of our nation, our planet. What’s at stake is the future of our children.”

    As the campaign enters its latter stages, there’s an intensifying effort among African Americans to transform frustration over police brutality, systemic racism and the disproportionate toll of the coronavirus into political power. Organizers and participants said Friday’s march delivered a much needed rallying cry to mobilize.

    As speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it,” the march came on the heels of yet another shooting by a white police officer of a Black man – 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday — sparking demonstrations and violence that left two dead.

    “We need a new conversation … you act like it’s no trouble to shoot us in the back,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said. “Our vote is dipped in blood. We’re going to vote for a nation that stops the George Floyds, that stops the Breonna Taylors.”

    Navy veteran Alonzo Jones- Goss, who traveled to Washington from Boston, said he plans to vote for Biden because the nation has seen far too many tragic events that have claimed the lives of Black Americans and other people of color.

    “I supported and defended the Constitution and I support the members that continue to do it today, but the injustice and the people that are losing their lives, that needs to end,” Jones-Goss, 28, said. “It’s been 57 years since Dr. King stood over there and delivered his speech. But what is unfortunate is what was happening 57 years ago is still happening today.”

    Drawing comparisons to the original 1963 march, where participants then were protesting many of the same issues that have endured, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said it’s clear why this year’s election will be pivotal for Black Americans.

    “We are about reminding people and educating people on how important it is to translate the power of protest into the power of politics and public policy change,” said Morial, who spoke Friday. “So we want to be deliberate about making the connection between protesting and voting.”

    Nadia Brown, a Purdue University political science professor, agreed there are similarities between the situation in 1963 and the issues that resonate among Black Americans today. She said the political pressure that was applied then led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other powerful pieces of legislation that transformed the lives of African Americans. She’s hopeful this could happen again in November and beyond.

    “There’s already a host of organizations that are mobilizing in the face of daunting things,” Brown said. “Bur these same groups that are most marginalized are saying it’s not enough to just vote, it’s not enough for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to ask me for my vote. I’m going to hold these elected officials that are in office now accountable and I’m going to vote in November and hold those same people accountable. And for me, that is the most uplifting and rewarding part — to see those kind of similarities.”

    But Brown noted that while Friday’s march resonated with many, it’s unclear whether it will translate into action among younger voters, whose lack of enthusiasm could become a vulnerability for Biden.

    “I think there is already a momentum among younger folks who are saying not in my America, that this is not the place where they want to live, but will this turn into electoral gains? That I’m less clear on because a lot of the polling numbers show that pretty overwhelmingly, younger people, millennials and Gen Z’s are more progressive and that they are reluctantly turning to this pragmatic side of politics,” Brown said.

    That was clear as the Movement for Black Lives also marked its own historic event Friday — a virtual Black National Convention that featured several speakers discussing pressing issues such as climate change, economic empowerment and the need for electoral justice.

    “I don’t necessarily see elections as achieving justice per se because I view the existing system itself as being fundamentally unjust in many ways and it is the existing system that we are trying to fundamentally transform,” said Bree Newsome Bass, an activist and civil rights organizer, during the convention’s panel about electoral justice. “I do think voting and recognizing what an election should be is a way to kind of exercise that muscle.”


    Biden, Harris Prepare to Travel More as Campaign Heats Up (Election Update)


    Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. (AP Photos)

    The Associated Press

    August 28th, 2020

    WASHINGTON (AP) — After spending a pandemic spring and summer tethered almost entirely to his Delaware home, Joe Biden plans to take his presidential campaign to battleground states after Labor Day in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.

    No itinerary is set, according to the Democratic nominee’s campaign, but the former vice president and his allies say his plan is to highlight contrasts with Trump, from policy arguments tailored to specific audiences to the strict public health guidelines the Biden campaign says its events will follow amid COVID-19.

    That’s a notable difference from a president who on Thursday delivered his nomination acceptance on the White House lawn to more than 1,000 people seated side-by-side, most of them without masks, even as the U.S. death toll surpassed 180,000.

    “He will go wherever he needs to go,” said Biden’s campaign co-chairman Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana congressman. “And we will do it in a way the health experts would be happy” with and “not the absolutely irresponsible manner you saw at the White House.”

    Richmond said it was “always the plan” for Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris to travel more extensively after Labor Day, the traditional mark of the campaign’s home stretch when more casual voters begin to pay close attention.


    Biden supporters hold banners near the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday evening, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington, while Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech from the nearby White House South Lawn.(AP Photo)

    Biden has conducted online fundraisers, campaign events and television interviews from his home, but traveled only sparingly for speeches and roundtables with a smattering of media or supporters. His only confirmed plane travel was to Houston, where he met with the family of George Floyd, the Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, sparking nationwide protests. Even some Democrats worried quietly that Biden was ceding too much of the spotlight to Trump. But Biden aides have defended their approach. “We will never make any choices that put our staff or voters in harm’s way,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in May.

    Throughout his unusual home-based campaign, Biden blasted Trump as incompetent and irresponsible for downplaying the pandemic and publicly disputing the government’s infectious disease experts. Richmond said that won’t change as Biden ramps up travel.

    “We won’t beat this pandemic, which means we can’t restore the economy and get people’s lives back home, unless we exercise some discipline and lead by example,” Richmond said, adding that Trump is “incapable of doing it.”

    As exhibited by his acceptance speech Thursday, Trump is insistent on as much normalcy as possible, even as he’s pulled back from his signature indoor rallies after drawing a disappointing crowd in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. Trump casts Biden as wanting to “shut down” the economy to combat the virus. “Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender,” Trump declared on the White House lawn. Biden, in fact, has not proposed shutting down the economy. He’s said only that he would be willing to make such a move as president if public health experts advise it. The Democrat also has called for a national mask mandate, calling it a necessary move for Americans to protect each other. Harris on Friday talked about the idea in slightly different terms than Biden, acknowledging that a mandate would be difficult to enforce.

    “It’s really a standard. I mean, nobody’s gonna be punished. Come on,” the California senator said, laughing off a question about how to enforce such a rule during an interview that aired Friday on “Today.” “Nobody likes to wear a mask. This is a universal feeling. Right? So that’s not the point, ’Hey, let’s enjoy wearing masks.′ No.”


    Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (AP Photo)

    Harris suggested that, instead, the rule would be about “what we — as responsible people who love our neighbor — we have to just do that right now.”

    “God willing, it won’t be forever,” she added.

    Biden and Harris have worn protective face masks in public and stayed socially distanced from each other when appearing together at campaign events. Both have said for weeks that a rule requiring all Americans to wear them could save 40,000 lives in just a three-month period. While such an order may be difficult to impose at the federal level, Biden has called on every governor in the country to order mask-wearing in their states, which would likely achieve the same goal.

    Trump has urged Americans to wear masks but opposes a national requirement and personally declined to do so for months. He has worn a mask occasionally more recently, but not at any point Thursday at the Republican National Convention’s closing event, which violated the District of Columbia’s guidelines prohibiting large gatherings.

    Related:

    Joe Biden Claims the Democratic Presidential Nomination


    Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden accepted the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday evening during the last day of the historic Democratic National Convention, August 20, 2020. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 21st, 2020

    Biden speaks about ‘battle for the soul of this nation,’ decries Trump’s leadership

    Joe Biden accepted his party’s presidential nomination, delivering a speech that directly criticized the leadership of Trump on matters of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and racial justice.

    “Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden said, calling on Americans to come together to “overcome this season of darkness.”

    The night featured tributes to civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis, who died in July, as well as to Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s son who died in 2015.


    Kamala Harris Accepts Historic Nomination for Vice President of the United States


    Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) accepted her party’s historic nomination to be its vice-presidential candidate in the 2020 U.S. election on Wednesday evening during the third day of the Democratic National Convention. (Reuters photo)

    Reuters

    Updated: August 20th, 2020

    Kamala Harris makes U.S. history, accepts Democrats’ vice presidential nod

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday, imploring the country to elect Joe Biden president and accusing Donald Trump of failed leadership that had cost lives and livelihoods.

    The first Black woman and Asian-American on a major U.S. presidential ticket, Harris summarized her life story as emblematic of the American dream on the third day of the Democratic National Convention.

    “Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” Harris said.

    Former U.S. President Barack Obama told the convention Trump’s failures as his successor had led to 170,000 people dead from the coronavirus, millions of lost jobs and America’s reputation badly diminished in the world.

    The evening featured a crush of women headliners, moderators and speakers, with Harris pressing the case against Trump, speaking directly to millions of women, young Americans and voters of color, constituencies Democrats need if Biden is to defeat the Republican Trump.

    “The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: we can do better and deserve so much more,” she said.

    “Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose,” she said, speaking from an austere hotel ballroom in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

    Biden leads Trump in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, bolstered by a big lead among women voters. Throughout the convention, Democrats have appealed directly to those women voters, highlighting Biden’s co-sponsorship of the landmark Violence Against Woman Act of 1994 and his proposals to bolster childcare and protect family healthcare provisions.

    Obama, whose vice president was Biden from 2009-2017, said he had hoped that Trump would take the job seriously, come to feel the weight of the office, and discover a reverence for American democracy.

    Obama on Trump: ‘Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t’

    “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said in unusually blunt criticism from an ex-president.

    “Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before,” Obama said.

    The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden, 77, who would be the oldest person to become president if he is elected. His age has led to speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024.

    Biden named Harris, 55, as his running mate last week to face incumbents Trump, 74, and Vice President Mike Pence, 61.

    Former first lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee who lost to Trump, told the convention she constantly hears from voters who regret backing Trump or not voting at all.

    “This can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.” Clinton said. “No matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”

    Clinton, who won the popular vote against Trump but lost in the Electoral College, said Biden needs to win overwhelmingly, warning he could win the popular vote but still lose the White House.

    “Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose,” Clinton said. “Take it from me. So we need numbers overwhelming so Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”


    U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination during an acceptance speech delivered for 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 19, 2020. (Getty Images)

    Democrats have been alarmed by Trump’s frequent criticism of mail-in voting, and by cost-cutting changes at the U.S. Postal Service instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump supporter, that could delay mail during the election crunch. DeJoy said recently he would delay those changes until after the election.

    Democrats also broadcast videos highlighting Trump’s crackdown on immigration, opposition to gun restrictions and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

    ‘DISRESPECT’ FOR FACTS, FOR WOMEN

    Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, told the convention she had seen firsthand Trump’s “disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular – disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct. But we know what he doesn’t: that when women succeed, America succeeds.”

    U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a leading progressive who ran against Biden in the 2020 primary, spoke to the convention from a childcare center in Massachusetts and cited Biden’s proposal to make childcare more affordable as a vital part of his agenda to help working Americans.

    “It’s time to recognize that childcare is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation — it’s infrastructure for families,” she said. “Joe and Kamala will make high-quality childcare affordable for every family, make preschool universal, and raise the wages for every childcare worker.”

    In her speech later, Harris will have an opportunity to outline her background as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica who as a district attorney, state attorney general, U.S. senator from California and now vice-presidential candidate shattered gender and racial barriers.

    She gained prominence in the Senate for her exacting interrogations of Trump nominees, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General Bill Barr.

    The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week.

    Democrats Officially Nominate Joe Biden to Become the Next U.S. President


    It’s official: Joe Biden is now formally a candidate to become the next President of the United States. Democrats officially nominated Biden as their 2020 candidate on Tuesday with a roll-call vote of delegates representing all states in the country during the second day of party’s historic virtual convention. (Photo: Courtesy of the Biden campaign)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 19th, 2020

    Democrats make it official, nominate Biden to take on Trump

    NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden as their 2020 presidential nominee Tuesday night, as party officials and activists from across the nation gave the former vice president their overwhelming support during his party’s all-virtual national convention.

    The moment marked a political high point for Biden, who had sought the presidency twice before and is now cemented as the embodiment of Democrats’ desperate desire to defeat President Donald Trump this fall.

    The roll call of convention delegates formalized what has been clear for months since Biden took the lead in the primary elections’ chase for the nomination. It came as he worked to demonstrate the breadth of his coalition for a second consecutive night, this time blending support from his party’s elders and fresher faces to make the case that he has the experience and energy to repair chaos that Trump has created at home and abroad.

    Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry — and former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell — were among the heavy hitters on a schedule that emphasized a simple theme: Leadership matters. Former President Jimmy Carter, now 95 years old, also made an appearance.

    “Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple,” Clinton said. “At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos.”


    In this image from video, former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, center, and others, speak during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

    Biden formally captured his party’s presidential nomination Tuesday night after being nominated by three people, including two Delaware lawmakers and 31-year-old African American security guard who became a viral sensation after blurting out “I love you” to Biden in a New York City elevator.

    Delegates from across the country then pledged their support for Biden in a video montage that featured Democrats in places like Alabama’s Edmund Pettis Bridge, a beach in Hawaii and the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

    In the opening of the convention’s second night, a collection of younger Democrats, including former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were given a few minutes to shine.

    “In a democracy, we do not elect saviors. We cast our ballots for those who see our struggles and pledge to serve,” said Abrams, 46, who emerged as a national player during her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 and was among those considered to be Biden’s running mate.

    She added: “Faced with a president of cowardice, Joe Biden is a man of proven courage.”

    On a night that Biden was formally receiving his party’s presidential nomination, the convention was also introducing his wife, Jill Biden, to the nation as the prospective first lady.


    In this image from video, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, and members of the Biden family, celebrate after the roll call during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

    Biden is fighting unprecedented logistical challenges to deliver his message during an all-virtual convention this week as the coronavirus epidemic continues to claim hundreds of American lives each day and wreaks havoc on the economy.

    The former vice president was becoming his party’s nominee as a prerecorded roll call vote from delegates in all 50 states airs, and the four-day convention will culminate on Thursday when he accepts that nomination. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman of color to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday.

    Until then, Biden is presenting what he sees as the best of his sprawling coalition to the American electorate in a format unlike any other in history.

    For a second night, the Democrats featured Republicans.

    Powell, who served as secretary of state under George W. Bush and appeared at multiple Republican conventions in years past, was endorsing the Democratic candidate. In a video released ahead of his speech, he said, “Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family. For Joe Biden, that doesn’t need teaching.”

    Powell joins the widow of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, Cindy McCain, who was expected to stop short of a formal endorsement but talk about the mutual respect and friendship her husband and Biden shared.

    While there have been individual members of the opposing party featured at presidential conventions before, a half dozen Republicans, including the former two-term governor of Ohio, have now spoken for Democrat Biden.

    No one on the program Tuesday night has a stronger connection to the Democratic nominee than his wife, Jill Biden, a longtime teacher, was speaking from her former classroom at Brandywine High School near the family home in Wilmington, Delaware.

    “You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There’s no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors,” she said of the school in excerpts of her speech before turning to the nation’s challenges at home. “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding—and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith.”

    The Democrats’ party elders played a prominent role throughout the night.

    Clinton, who turns 74 on Tuesday, hasn’t held office in two decades. Kerry, 76, was the Democratic presidential nominee back in 2004 when the youngest voters this fall were still in diapers. And Carter is 95 years old.

    Clinton, a fixture of Democratic conventions for nearly three decades, addressed voters for roughly five minutes in a speech recorded at his home in Chappaqua, New York.

    In addition to railing against Trump’s leadership, Clinton calls Biden “a go-to-work president.” Biden, Clinton continued, is “a man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide.”…

    Kerry said in an excerpt of his remarks, “Joe understands that none of the issues of this world — not nuclear weapons, not the challenge of building back better after COVID, not terrorism and certainly not the climate crisis — none can be resolved without bringing nations together.”

    Democrats Kick Off Convention as Poll Show Biden, Harris With Double-Digit Lead


    Democrats kicked off their historic virtual convention on Monday with the keynote speaker former first lady Michelle Obama assailing the current president as unfit and warning Americans not to reelect him for a second term. Meanwhile new poll show Biden, Harris with double-digit lead over Trump. (Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 18th, 2020

    Michelle Obama assails Trump as Democrats open convention

    NEW YORK (AP) — Michelle Obama delivered a passionate broadside against President Donald Trump during Monday’s opening night of the Democratic National Convention, assailing the Republican president as unfit for the job and warning that the nation’s mounting crises would only get worse if he’s reelected.

    The former first lady issued an emotional call to the coalition that sent her husband to the White House, declaring that strong feelings must be translated into votes.

    “Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she declared. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”

    Obama added: “If you think things possibly can’t get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we don’t make a change in this election.”

    The comments came as Joe Biden introduced the breadth of his political coalition to a nation in crisis Monday night at the convention, giving voice to victims of the coronavirus pandemic, the related economic downturn and police violence and featuring both progressive Democrats and Republicans united against Trump’s reelection.


    Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The DNC released excerpts of her speech ahead of the convention start. (Democratic National Convention)

    The ideological range of Biden’s many messengers was demonstrated by former presidential contenders from opposing parties: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who championed a multi-trillion-dollar universal health care plan, and Ohio’s former Republican Gov. John Kasich, an anti-abortion conservative who spent decades fighting to cut government spending.

    The former vice president won’t deliver his formal remarks until Thursday night, but he made his first appearance just half an hour into Monday’s event as he moderated a panel on racial justice, a theme throughout the night, as was concern about the Postal Service. The Democrats accuse Trump of interfering with the nation’s mail in order to throw blocks in front of mail-in voting.

    “My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake,” Sanders declared.

    Kasich said his status as a lifelong Republican “holds second place to my responsibility to my country.”

    “In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” he said of his participation at the Democrats’ convention. He added: “Many of us can’t imagine four more years going down this path.”

    Read more »

    Post-ABC poll shows Biden, Harris hold double-digit lead over Trump, Pence

    The race for the White House tilts toward the Democrats, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a double-digit lead nationally over President Trump amid continuing disapproval of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Democrats [kicked] off their convention on Monday in a mood of cautious optimism, with Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), leading Trump and Vice President Pence by 53 percent to 41 percent among registered voters. The findings are identical among a larger sample of all voting-age adults.

    Biden’s current national margin over Trump among voters is slightly smaller than the 15-point margin in a poll taken last month and slightly larger than a survey in May when he led by 10 points. In late March, as the pandemic was taking hold in the United States, Biden and Trump were separated by just two points, with the former vice president holding a statistically insignificant advantage.

    Today, Biden and Harris lead by 54 percent to 43 percent among those who say they are absolutely certain to vote and who also report voting in 2016. A month ago, Biden’s lead of 15 points overall had narrowed to seven points among similarly committed 2016 voters. Biden now also leads by low double-digits among those who say they are following the election most closely.

    Read more »

    Team Joe Announces Convention Speakers


    Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy Photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: August 17th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Joe Biden’s campaign has announced its speaker lineup for the Democratic National Convention that’s set to open on Monday, August 17th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Below are the list of speakers that will be featured “across all four nights of the Convention which will air live August 17-20 from 9:00-11:00 PM Eastern each night.”

    Related:

    ‘ሴቷ ኦባማ?’: Kamala Harris Faces Culture of Sexism & Misogyny in Ethiopian Media

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    The Ethiopian American Vote and the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

    The Ethiopian community in the United States is proving itself to be a solid voting block and a strong advocate for the 117 years U.S. - Ethiopian relations. (Image courtesy of Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris)

    By Fiqir Taye

    Published: November 2nd, 2020

    Los Angeles, California — With just hours remaining until the final votes are counted, a collective anxiety flows throughout the country. The 2020 presidential election has been one of the most controversial to date, circling issues ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the current state of rampant domestic racism, both of which have infected the nation. This election is monumental in many ways, as it is the first to call so strongly upon the action of the Ethiopian community. As a video surfaced just days before the closing election day, Ethiopian-Americans and Ethiopians across the world were shocked and disgusted as they heard Trump’s insidious words in a conversation with the Sudanese and Israeli Prime Ministers. This video captures President Trump suggesting that Egypt will bomb the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, after the United States has already backtracked millions of dollars worth of aid that were intended to go towards Ethiopia. Many view these claims as a threat of war, and as this message plays on the background of countless anti-African acts on behalf of the current administration, the Ethiopian community is experiencing an unparalleled level of political activism and mobilization.

    The last three and a half years have been filled with injustice and violence perpetrated by the hands of the state. Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, an Ethiopian-American serving as the Democratic representative of the 42nd district of Nevada, called upon the administration’s actions of family separation and biased deportation in his own district. This serves as a devastating example of exactly why citizens need to vote now more than ever, as he points out that “[voting] is a responsibility bestowed upon us by those who paid so much sacrifice to build this amazing democracy that we enjoy, that is literally being torn apart”. Other influential leaders in the Ethiopian-American community such as Dr. Menna Demessie, the senior vice president of Policy Analysis and Research of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, have also directly addressed Ethiopians and African Americans at large to get active, underscoring that “On a humanitarian level of respecting our democracy, this [election] could not be more important.”

    In a recent public forum, Mimi Alemayehou, former Vice President of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation as appointed by Barack Obama, took the time to remind voters what is at stake for the next coming years. She delineated that this election covers questions of women’s rights, affordable health care and education, and criminal justice and immigration reform. When a number of votes is what stands between access to such essential human rights,the Ethiopian community has stepped up to the plate in terms of fulfilling their civic duty, and will hopefully continue to do so until the ballots close this Tuesday night. Addisu Demissie himself, as the Senior advisor of the 2020 Democratic Convention, has also addressed his fellow Ethiopian-Americans, saying that they “[should] not underestimate your power and our power as a community as people of Ethiopian descent”, as the Ethiopian voting bloc has the numbers to change the outcome of this election. This powerful sentiment is carried on by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas representative, who spoke of the Ethiopians in her state, saying that “they are a part of this election, and a part of the victory, we count on them”.

    With the strength of the Ethiopian vote, the success of a Biden-Harris administration has implications far greater than our community here in the United States. Congresswoman Karen Bass, the current Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, describes that under a Biden presidency, “Africa will become a priority and become the partner that it should be.” The participation of Ethiopian-Americans and the various communities of the African diaspora can be the ticket to an America that focuses on our needs domestically, and is able to foster political and economic harmony with the African continent at large. This unique opportunity could not be better summarized than with the words of Amb. Daniel Yohannes, the first Ethiopian-American to be appointed as high official in the U.S. as former President Obama selected him to serve as the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation and later as the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. Reflecting on this election, he reminds Ethiopians that “it is in our hands to take action in this election and propel the result we want to see. Our vote represents our voice, and through a united Ethiopian front, we have the power to change the next 4 years and American history”.

    The Ethiopian community in the United States is proving itself to be a solid voting block and a strong advocate for the 117 years U.S. – Ethiopian relations.

    About the Author: Fiqir Taye is a TSEHAI Media fellow. She earned her B.A. in Political Science with a Concentration in International Relations from Santa Clara University in California.

    Related:

    Video: Tadias Panel Discussion on Civic Engagement and Voter Mobilization


    On Sunday, October 25th, Tadias Magazine hosted a timely virtual panel discussion on civic engagement and voter mobilization featuring a new generation of Ethiopian American leaders from various professions. You can watch the video below. (Photos: Tadias Magazine)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 28th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — The U.S. presidential election is only one week away and Tadias hosted a timely and lively discussion on building political power through civic engagement and voter mobilization on Sunday, October 25th featuring a new generation of Ethiopian American leaders from various professions. You can watch the video below.

    Panelists included Henock Dory, who currently serves as Special Assistant to former President Barack Obama; Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO; Selam Mulugeta Washington, a former Field Organizer with Obama for America, Helen Mesfin from the Helen Show DC, Dr. Menna Demessie, Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles (moderator) as well as Bemnet Meshesha and Helen Eshete of the Habeshas Vote initiative. The event opened with poetry reading by Bitaniya Giday, the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate.

    Ethiopian Americans are as diverse as mainstream America when it comes to our perspectives on various social and political issues, but despite our differences we are all united when it comes to the need to
    empower ourselves and participate in the democratic process through our citizenship rights to vote and run for office.

    So vote on November 3rd.

    Related:

    ‘Habeshas Vote’ Phone Banking Event This Week Aims Outreach to Ethio-Americans


    (Photo courtesy of Habesha Networks)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Published: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — We are now almost two weeks away from the November 3rd U.S. presidential election. This week the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks in partnership with Tadias Magazine and Abbay Media will host their first virtual phone banking event to reach out to the Ethiopian American community.

    The online event, which is set to take place on Thursday, October 22nd from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT, will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    Organizers note that there will be a brief training on phone banking as well as “some amazing prizes” for those that call and text the most voters.

    If You Attend:

    Click here to lean more and RSVP.

    —-

    Related:

    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris Hosts Virtual Conversation


    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris is a volunteer-led group that supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — As the highly anticipated 2020 U.S. presidential election fast approaches on November 3rd, various Ethiopian American associations are organizing voter turnout and education events across the country.

    The latest to announce such an event is the newly formed, volunteer-led group, Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris, which supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris and will be hosting an online conversation next week Friday, October 23 at 6:00 PM EDT/3:00 PM PDT.

    “As one of the largest African Diaspora groups in the United States, the community has historically supported causes championed by the Democratic Party, including but not limited to, immigration reform, healthcare reform, promotion of democracy, human rights and improved trade and investment between the United States and Ethiopia,” the group states in its press release. “Ethiopian-Americans believe that a Biden-Harris Administration will champion equitable access and opportunity for all Americans, restore mutually beneficial relationships with Ethiopia and improve America’s standing among the community of nations.”


    (Courtesy photo)

    The virtual event, which will be moderated by Dr. Menna Demessie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, features Congresswoman Karen Bass, who has represented California’s 37th congressional district since 2013; Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas; Gayle Smith, president and CEO of the One Campaign and the former administrator of the United States Agency for International Development; and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) leading the firm’s Africa practice. Thomas-Greenfield was also the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the United States Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs from 2013 to 2017.

    Ethiopian American speakers include Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian-American elected to public office in the United States and the first African immigrant to serve in elected office in the State of Nevada; Addisu Demissie, who served as Senior Advisor to U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, and was responsible for organizing the nominating convention for the Democratic Party this past summer; Marcus Samuelsson, an award-winning chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, philanthropist and food activist; Mimi Alemayehou, a development finance executive who has served as Executive Vice President of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and as United States Executive Director of the African Development Bank.

    If You Attend

    Click here to RSVP now staring $25.

    Learn more at www.ethiopiansforbidenharris.com.

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans: Election is Approaching, Let’s Make Sure our Voices are Heard


    In this OP-ED Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles, urges Ethiopian Americans to participate in the upcoming U.S. election that will directly impact our lives for many years to come, and shares resources to help our community to get involved in the democratic process. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Helen Amelga

    Updated: October 16th, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — How many people of Ethiopian descent live in the United States? 300,000? 400,000? 500,000? We don’t really know for sure. But with the 2020 census, we will for the first time have the opportunity to get a truly accurate count. If you haven’t done so already, go to 2020cencus.gov and complete your census today.

    While the exact numbers are yet to be determined, it is clear that there is a significant Ethiopian-American population in the United States. Why is it then that we do not have a strong political presence?

    We know our community can organize. We have Iqub (እቁብ), mahbers (ማህበር), business associations, and our faith based groups are extremely organized. We need to use those same skills to mobilize politically.

    We must equip ourselves with the knowledge of political systems, major policies and voter rights, not only to serve as advocates for our community, but so that we ourselves can occupy positions of power and authority to be the decision makers who shape the society and world we want to live in.

    We know it’s possible because we already have trailblazers such as Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body as well as Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term his year.

    We cannot afford to give our vote away to candidates who are not serving our needs. We are ready to spring into action when there is a problem in our community, but it is not enough to go to our elected officials once we have a problem and try to convince them to help us. We need to be proactive.

    We must purposefully engage to get the right people elected in the first place. We must identify candidates who align with and will fight for our values. Then, we must do everything we can to make sure those candidates are elected.

    Here are a few steps you can take to get involved:

    1. Register to vote

    2. Request a vote by mail ballot today

    3. Reach out to 5 friends and make sure they’re registered to vote

    4. Research your candidates & ballot measures

    5. Volunteers to phone bank for a campaign

    6. Sign up to be a poll worker on election day

    The November 3rd general election is fast approaching. Let’s make sure our voices are heard.

    Related:

    Interview: Helen Amelga, Founder of Ethiopian Democratic Club of LA

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team


    Related:

    Election 2020 – The Youth Vote Event In Seattle


    Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Bitaniya is one of the young interviewers in a timely upcoming Zoom event on October 14th titled “The Youth Vote: A conversation about leadership, ethics and values and how they factor into choosing a candidate.” (KNKX PUBLIC RADIO)

    KNKX PUBLIC RADIO

    Young people make up a projected 37% of the 2020 electorate, yet historically they vote less than other age groups. Will it be different this time? The pandemic crisis and the call for racial justice and institutional changes are top concerns as we move closer to this high stakes election. Ethics and values also underpin our decisions. This virtual event aims to bring together first-time and new voters with older adults with a track record of civic leadership to discuss a number of issues through the lens of beliefs and values, touching on things like:

    What does it mean to be a leader?
    In thorny situations, how do you speak for a community?
    If there are three important issues facing your community and you only have enough resources to address one, how would you choose?

    Because this is leading up to the general election, we want to frame this conversation around the power to change systems for the greater good and how that ties in with being an informed voter.

    The six young interviewers will ask the four speakers questions relating to the themes of conflict/failure, challenges, accountability, transparency, priorities and representation, with the speakers drawing on their personal and professional experiences; and offering examples of how they have faced challenging situations and how that speaks to leadership and community building.

    Young Interviewers

    Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Her writing explores the nuances of womanhood and blackness, as she reflects upon her family’s path of immigration across the world. She hopes to restore and safeguard the past, present, and future histories of her people through traditional storytelling and poetry.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans Hold Virtual Town Hall Ahead of November Election


    The nationwide town hall event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 plans to emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process. The gathering will feature panel discussions, PSAs, and cultural engagements. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 23rd, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Americans are holding a virtual town hall this week ahead of the November 3rd U.S. election.

    The nationwide event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, will emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process.

    According to organizers the town hall — put together by the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks — will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    “We intend on discussing various subject matters related to civic engagement issues affecting our community at the moment,” the announcement notes, highlighting that by the end of the conference “participants will be able to understand the importance of taking ownership of our local communities, learn more about the voting process and gain a better [appreciation] of why we should all care about voting.”

    Speakers include Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles; Dr. Menna Demissie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body; Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term this year; and Girmay Zahilay, Councilman in King County, Washington.


    (Courtesy photos)

    Additional presenters include: Andom Ghebreghiorgis. former Congressional candidate from New York; Samuel Gebru, former candidate for City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and current managing director of Black Lion Strategies; as well as Hannah Joy Gebresilassie, journalist and community advocate; and Debbie Almraw, writer and poet.

    Entertainment will be provided by Elias Aragaw, the artist behind @TheFunkIsReal, and DJ Sammy Sam.

    The announcement notes that “voting is a core principle of being American, but to exercise this basic right we must be registered to vote! That’s why Habesha Networks and Habeshas Vote are proud partners of When We All Vote and supporters of National Voter Registration Day.”

    Watch: Students Interview Kamala Harris (U.S. ELECTION UPDATE)


    Fana R. Haileselassie, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, asks Sen. Kamala Harris a question during a virtual Q&A hosted by BET featuring the Democratic nominee for Vice President and students discussing the interests of millennial voters. (Photo: BETNetworks)

    BET News Special

    HBCU Students Interview Kamala Harris

    A virtual Q&A hosted by Terrence J featuring Democratic nominee for Vice President Sen. Kamala Harris and HBCU students discussing the interests of millennial voters.

    Watch: Sen. Kamala Harris Answers HBCU Students’ Questions About Voting, Student Loan Debt & More

    Related:

    Virginia’s Era as a Swing State Appears to be Over


    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave after a campaign event in May 2012 in Richmond. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 18th, 2020

    No TV ads, no presidential visits: Virginia’s era as a swing state appears to be over

    Barack Obama held the very last rally of his 2008 campaign in Virginia, the longtime Republican stronghold he flipped on his way to the White House.

    Four years later, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney made more visits and aired more television ads here than nearly anywhere else. And in 2016, Donald Trump staged rally after rally in the Old Dominion while Hillary Clinton picked a Virginian as her running mate.

    But Virginia isn’t getting the swing-state treatment this time around. As in-person early voting got underway Friday, President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden were dark on broadcast television. Super PACs were clogging somebody else’s airwaves. Even as Trump and Biden have resumed limited travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, neither has stumped in the Old Dominion.

    There’s really no discussion about the state being in play,” said Amy Walter, national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “If you’re Ohio or New Hampshire, or Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, you’ve always been in that spotlight. Virginia got it for such a short period of time.”

    The last time presidential candidates stayed out of Virginia and off its airwaves was 2004. The state was reliably red then, having backed Republicans for the White House every year since 1968. Now Virginia seems to be getting the cold shoulder because it’s considered solidly blue.

    “Virginia was the belle of the ball in 2008, and again in 2012, and still once more in 2016, but in 2020, the commonwealth is a wall flower,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Virginians come out in force to cast ballots on the first day of early voting

    Mike Bloomberg to spend at least $100 million in Florida to benefit Joe Biden


    Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million to help elect Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 13th, 2020

    Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million in Florida to help elect Democrat Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest in a costly toss-up state central to President Trump’s reelection hopes.

    Bloomberg made the decision to focus his final election spending on Florida last week, after news reports that Trump had considered spending as much as $100 million of his own money in the final weeks of the campaign, Bloomberg’s advisers said. Presented with several options on how to make good on an earlier promise to help elect Biden, Bloomberg decided that a narrow focus on Florida was the best use of his money.

    The president’s campaign has long treated the state, which Trump now calls home, as a top priority, and his advisers remain confident in his chances given strong turnout in 2016 and 2018 that gave Republicans narrow winning margins in statewide contests.

    Watch: Former 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg slammed Trump during his Democratic National Convention speech on Aug. 20.

    Bloomberg’s aim is to prompt enough early voting that a pro-Biden result would be evident soon after the polls close.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania (ELECTION UPDATE)


    In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump. (Reuters photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 9, 2020

    Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania, Poll Finds

    Joe Biden leads President Trump by nine percentage points among likely voters in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that Trump narrowly won four years ago, according to a new NBC News-Marist poll.

    In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump.

    In 2016, Trump carried Pennsylvania by less than one percentage point over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    The NBC-Marist poll shows Biden getting a boost from suburban voters, who side with him by nearly 20 percentage points, 58 percent to 39 percent. In 2016, Trump won suburban voters in Pennsylvania by about eight points, according to exit polls.


    Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stand outside the AFL-CIO headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., on Monday. (Getty Images)

    The poll also finds the candidates are tied at 49 percent among white voters in Pennsylvania, a group that Trump won by double digits in 2016. Biden leads Trump among nonwhite voters, 75 percent to 19 percent.

    Pennsylvania has been a frequent destination for both campaigns in recent weeks. Vice President Pence has events scheduled there on Wednesday.

    Kamala D. Harris Goes Viral — for Her Shoe Choice


    Sporting Chuck Taylor sneakers, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) greets supporters Monday in Milwaukee. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 8, 2020

    It took roughly eight seconds of on-the-ground campaigning for the first Black woman to be nominated on a major party’s ticket to go viral.

    At first glance, little seemed noteworthy as Sen. Kamala D. Harris deplaned in Milwaukee on Monday. She was wearing a mask. She didn’t trip. Instead, what sent video pinging around the Internet was what was on her feet: her black, low-rise Chuck Taylor All-Stars, the classic Converse shoe that has long been associated more closely with cultural cool than carefully managed high-profile candidacies.

    By Tuesday morning, videos by two reporters witnessing her arrival had been viewed nearly 8 million times on Twitter — for comparison’s sake, more than four times the attention the campaign’s biggest planned video event, a conversation between Joe Biden and Barack Obama, had received on both Twitter and YouTube combined.

    Harris’s sister, Maya, tweeted Monday that Chuck Taylors are, indeed, her sister’s “go-to.” A few hours later, Harris’s official campaign account tweeted the video with the caption “laced up and ready to win.”

    Read more »

    81 American Nobel Laureates Endorse Biden for Next U.S. President


    The Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and medicine “wholeheartedly” endorsed the Democratic nominee in an open letter released Wednesday. “At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy,” they said. (Courtesy photo)

    Press Release

    Nobel Laureates endorse Joe Biden

    81 American Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine have signed this letter to express their support for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election for President of the United States.

    At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy. During his long record of public service, Joe Biden has consistently demonstrated his willingness to listen to experts, his understanding of the value of international collaboration in research, and his respect for the contribution that immigrants make to the intellectual life of our country.

    As American citizens and as scientists, we wholeheartedly endorse Joe Biden for President.

    Name, Category, Prize Year:

    Peter Agre Chemistry 2003
    Sidney Altman Chemistry 1989
    Frances H. Arnold Chemistry 2018
    Paul Berg Chemistry 1980
    Thomas R. Cech Chemistry 1989
    Martin Chalfie Chemistry 2008
    Elias James Corey Chemistry 1990
    Joachim Frank Chemistry 2017
    Walter Gilbert Chemistry 1980
    John B. Goodenough Chemistry 2019
    Alan Heeger Chemistry 2000
    Dudley R. Herschbach Chemistry 1986
    Roald Hoffmann Chemistry 1981
    Brian K. Kobilka Chemistry 2012
    Roger D. Kornberg Chemistry 2006
    Robert J. Lefkowitz Chemistry 2012
    Roderick MacKinnon Chemistry 2003
    Paul L. Modrich Chemistry 2015
    William E. Moerner Chemistry 2014
    Mario J. Molina Chemistry 1995
    Richard R. Schrock Chemistry 2005
    K. Barry Sharpless Chemistry 2001
    Sir James Fraser Stoddart Chemistry 2016
    M. Stanley Whittingham Chemistry 2019
    James P. Allison Medicine 2018
    Richard Axel Medicine 2004
    David Baltimore Medicine 1975
    J. Michael Bishop Medicine 1989
    Elizabeth H. Blackburn Medicine 2009
    Michael S. Brown Medicine 1985
    Linda B. Buck Medicine 2004
    Mario R. Capecchi Medicine 2007
    Edmond H. Fischer Medicine 1992
    Joseph L. Goldstein Medicine 1985
    Carol W. Greider Medicine 2009
    Jeffrey Connor Hall Medicine 2017
    Leland H. Hartwell Medicine 2001
    H. Robert Horvitz Medicine 2002
    Louis J. Ignarro Medicine 1998
    William G. Kaelin Jr. Medicine 2019
    Eric R. Kandel Medicine 2000
    Craig C. Mello Medicine 2006
    John O’Keefe Medicine 2014
    Michael Rosbash Medicine 2017
    James E. Rothman Medicine 2013
    Randy W. Schekman Medicine 2013
    Gregg L. Semenza Medicine 2019
    Hamilton O. Smith Medicine 1978
    Thomas C. Sudhof Medicine 2013
    Jack W. Szostak Medicine 2009
    Susumu Tonegawa Medicine 1987
    Harold E. Varmus Medicine 1989
    Eric F. Wieschaus Medicine 1995
    Torsten N. Wiesel Medicine 1981
    Michael W. Young Medicine 2017
    Barry Clark Barish Physics 2017
    Steven Chu Physics 1997
    Jerome I. Friedman Physics 1990
    Sheldon Glashow Physics 1979
    David J. Gross Physics 2004
    John L. Hall Physics 2005
    Wolfgang Ketterle Physics 2001
    J. Michael Kosterlitz Physics 2016
    Herbert Kroemer Physics 2000
    Robert B. Laughlin Physics 1998
    Anthony J. Leggett Physics 2003
    John C. Mather Physics 2006
    Shuji Nakamura Physics 2014
    Douglas D. Osheroff Physics 1996
    James Peebles Physics 2019
    Arno Penzias Physics 1978
    Saul Perlmutter Physics 2011
    H. David Politzer Physics 2004
    Brian P. Schmidt Physics 2011
    Joseph H. Taylor Jr. Physics 1993
    Kip Stephen Thorne Physics 2017
    Daniel C. Tsui Physics 1998
    Rainer Weiss Physics 2017
    Frank Wilczek Physics 2004
    Robert Woodrow Wilson Physics 1978
    David J. Wineland Physics 2012

    Related

    Biden Calls Trump ‘a Toxic Presence’ Who is Encouraging Violence in America


    “Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? (Photo: Joe Biden speaks Monday in Pittsburgh/Reuters)

    The Washington Post

    Joe Biden excoriated President Trump on Monday as a threat to the safety of all Americans, saying he has encouraged violence in the nation’s streets even as he has faltered in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

    For his most extensive remarks since violent protests have escalated across the country in recent days, Biden traveled to Pittsburgh and struck a centrist note, condemning both the destruction in the streets and Trump for creating a culture that he said has exacerbated it.

    “I want to be very clear about all of this: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting,” Biden said. “It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted.”

    The former vice president also rejected the caricature that Trump and his allies have painted of him as someone who holds extremist views and has helped fuel the anger in urban centers across the country.

    “You know me. You know my heart. You know my story, my family’s story,” Biden said. “Ask yourself: Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”

    While the speech was delivered amid heightened tensions over race and police conduct, Biden did not outline new policies, instead focusing on making a broader condemnation of Trump.

    He called the president a danger to those suffering from the coronavirus, to anyone in search of a job or struggling to pay rent, to voters worried about Russian interference in the upcoming election and to those worried about their own safety amid unrest.

    “Donald Trump wants to ask the question: Who will keep you safer as president? Let’s answer that question,” Biden said. “When I was vice president, violent crime fell 15 percent in this country. We did it without chaos and disorder.”

    Pointing to a nationwide homicide rate rising 26 percent this year, Biden asked, “Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?”

    “If I were president today, the country would be safer,” Biden said. “And we’d be seeing a lot less violence.”

    It was a marked shift for Biden from his convention speech less than two weeks ago, in which he never named Trump in his remarks. During his speech Monday, he mentioned Trump’s name 32 times.

    “Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? Or will we make it a permanent part of our nation’s character?”

    Read more »

    Spotlight: The Unravelling of the Social Fabric in Ethiopia and the U.S.


    As Ethiopian Americans we are increasingly concerned about the decline of civil discourse and the unravelling of the social fabric not only in Ethiopia, but also here in the United States where in the era of Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic politics has also become more and more violent. Below are excerpts and links to two recent articles from The Intercept and The Guardian focusing on the timely topic. (AP photo)

    The Intercept

    August, 29th, 2020

    The Social Fabric of the U.S. Is Fraying Severely, if Not Unravelling: Why, in the world’s richest country, is every metric of mental health pathology rapidly worsening?

    THE YEAR 2020 has been one of the most tumultuous in modern American history. To find events remotely as destabilizing and transformative, one has to go back to the 2008 financial crisis and the 9/11 and anthrax attacks of 2001, though those systemic shocks, profound as they were, were isolated (one a national security crisis, the other a financial crisis) and thus more limited in scope than the multicrisis instability now shaping U.S. politics and culture.

    Since the end of World War II, the only close competitor to the current moment is the multipronged unrest of the 1960s and early 1970s: serial assassinations of political leaders, mass civil rights and anti-war protests, sustained riots, fury over a heinous war in Indochina, and the resignation of a corruption-plagued president.

    But those events unfolded and built upon one another over the course of a decade. By crucial contrast, the current confluence of crises, each of historic significance in their own right — a global pandemic, an economic and social shutdown, mass unemployment, an enduring protest movement provoking increasing levels of violence and volatility, and a presidential election centrally focused on one of the most divisive political figures the U.S. has known who happens to be the incumbent president — are happening simultaneously, having exploded one on top of the other in a matter of a few months.

    Lurking beneath the headlines justifiably devoted to these major stories of 2020 are very troubling data that reflect intensifying pathologies in the U.S. population — not moral or allegorical sicknesses but mental, emotional, psychological and scientifically proven sickness. Many people fortunate enough to have survived this pandemic with their physical health intact know anecdotally — from observing others and themselves — that these political and social crises have spawned emotional difficulties and psychological challenges…

    Much attention is devoted to lamenting the toxicity of our discourse, the hate-driven polarization of our politics, and the fragmentation of our culture. But it is difficult to imagine any other outcome in a society that is breeding so much psychological and emotional pathology by denying to its members the things they most need to live fulfilling lives.

    Read the full article at theintercept.com »

    Ethiopia falls into violence a year after leader’s Nobel peace prize win


    Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, centre, arrives at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in July. Photograph: AP

    By Jason Burke and Zecharias Zelalem in Addis Ababa

    Sat 29 Aug 2020

    Abiy Ahmed came to power promising radical reform, but 180 people have died amid ethnic unrest in Oromia state

    Ethiopia faces a dangerous cycle of intensifying internal political dissent, ethnic unrest and security crackdowns, observers have warned, after a series of protests in recent weeks highlighted growing discontent with the government of Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel peace prize winner.

    Many western powers welcomed the new approach of Abiy, who took power in 2018 and promised a programme of radical reform after decades of repressive one-party rule, hoping for swift changes in an emerging economic power that plays a key strategic role in a region increasingly contested by Middle Eastern powers and China. He won the peace prize in 2019 for ending a conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

    The most vocal unrest was in the state of Oromia, where there have been waves of protests since the killing last month of a popular Oromo artist and activist, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, in Addis Ababa, the capital. An estimated 180 people have died in the violence, some murdered by mobs, others shot by security forces. Houses, factories, businesses, hotels, cars and government offices were set alight or damaged and several thousand people, including opposition leaders, were arrested.

    Further protests last week prompted a new wave of repression and left at least 11 dead. “Oromia is still reeling from the grim weight of tragic killings this year. These grave patterns of abuse should never be allowed to continue,” said Aaron Maasho, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

    Read more »

    Related:

    ‘How Dare We Not Vote?’ Black Voters Organize After DC March


    People rally at Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Friday Aug. 28, 2020, on the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it.” (AP Photos)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 29th, 2020

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Tears streamed down Brooke Moreland’s face as she watched tens of thousands gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to decry systemic racism and demand racial justice in the wake of several police killings of Black Americans.

    But for the Indianapolis mother of three, the fiery speeches delivered Friday at the commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also gave way to one central message: Vote and demand change at the ballot box in November.

    “As Black people, a lot of the people who look like us died for us to be able to sit in public, to vote, to go to school and to be able to walk around freely and live our lives,” the 31-year-old Moreland said. “Every election is an opportunity, so how dare we not vote after our ancestors fought for us to be here?”

    That determination could prove critical in a presidential election where race is emerging as a flashpoint. President Donald Trump, at this past week’s Republican National Convention, emphasized a “law and order” message aimed at his largely white base of supporters. His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has expressed empathy with Black victims of police brutality and is counting on strong turnout from African Americans to win critical states such as North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

    “If we do not vote in numbers that we’ve never ever seen before and allow this administration to continue what it is doing, we are headed on a course for serious destruction,” Martin Luther King III, told The Associated Press before his rousing remarks, delivered 57 years after his father’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. “I’m going to do all that I can to encourage, promote, to mobilize and what’s at stake is the future of our nation, our planet. What’s at stake is the future of our children.”

    As the campaign enters its latter stages, there’s an intensifying effort among African Americans to transform frustration over police brutality, systemic racism and the disproportionate toll of the coronavirus into political power. Organizers and participants said Friday’s march delivered a much needed rallying cry to mobilize.

    As speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it,” the march came on the heels of yet another shooting by a white police officer of a Black man – 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday — sparking demonstrations and violence that left two dead.

    “We need a new conversation … you act like it’s no trouble to shoot us in the back,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said. “Our vote is dipped in blood. We’re going to vote for a nation that stops the George Floyds, that stops the Breonna Taylors.”

    Navy veteran Alonzo Jones- Goss, who traveled to Washington from Boston, said he plans to vote for Biden because the nation has seen far too many tragic events that have claimed the lives of Black Americans and other people of color.

    “I supported and defended the Constitution and I support the members that continue to do it today, but the injustice and the people that are losing their lives, that needs to end,” Jones-Goss, 28, said. “It’s been 57 years since Dr. King stood over there and delivered his speech. But what is unfortunate is what was happening 57 years ago is still happening today.”

    Drawing comparisons to the original 1963 march, where participants then were protesting many of the same issues that have endured, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said it’s clear why this year’s election will be pivotal for Black Americans.

    “We are about reminding people and educating people on how important it is to translate the power of protest into the power of politics and public policy change,” said Morial, who spoke Friday. “So we want to be deliberate about making the connection between protesting and voting.”

    Nadia Brown, a Purdue University political science professor, agreed there are similarities between the situation in 1963 and the issues that resonate among Black Americans today. She said the political pressure that was applied then led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other powerful pieces of legislation that transformed the lives of African Americans. She’s hopeful this could happen again in November and beyond.

    “There’s already a host of organizations that are mobilizing in the face of daunting things,” Brown said. “Bur these same groups that are most marginalized are saying it’s not enough to just vote, it’s not enough for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to ask me for my vote. I’m going to hold these elected officials that are in office now accountable and I’m going to vote in November and hold those same people accountable. And for me, that is the most uplifting and rewarding part — to see those kind of similarities.”

    But Brown noted that while Friday’s march resonated with many, it’s unclear whether it will translate into action among younger voters, whose lack of enthusiasm could become a vulnerability for Biden.

    “I think there is already a momentum among younger folks who are saying not in my America, that this is not the place where they want to live, but will this turn into electoral gains? That I’m less clear on because a lot of the polling numbers show that pretty overwhelmingly, younger people, millennials and Gen Z’s are more progressive and that they are reluctantly turning to this pragmatic side of politics,” Brown said.

    That was clear as the Movement for Black Lives also marked its own historic event Friday — a virtual Black National Convention that featured several speakers discussing pressing issues such as climate change, economic empowerment and the need for electoral justice.

    “I don’t necessarily see elections as achieving justice per se because I view the existing system itself as being fundamentally unjust in many ways and it is the existing system that we are trying to fundamentally transform,” said Bree Newsome Bass, an activist and civil rights organizer, during the convention’s panel about electoral justice. “I do think voting and recognizing what an election should be is a way to kind of exercise that muscle.”


    Biden, Harris Prepare to Travel More as Campaign Heats Up (Election Update)


    Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. (AP Photos)

    The Associated Press

    August 28th, 2020

    WASHINGTON (AP) — After spending a pandemic spring and summer tethered almost entirely to his Delaware home, Joe Biden plans to take his presidential campaign to battleground states after Labor Day in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.

    No itinerary is set, according to the Democratic nominee’s campaign, but the former vice president and his allies say his plan is to highlight contrasts with Trump, from policy arguments tailored to specific audiences to the strict public health guidelines the Biden campaign says its events will follow amid COVID-19.

    That’s a notable difference from a president who on Thursday delivered his nomination acceptance on the White House lawn to more than 1,000 people seated side-by-side, most of them without masks, even as the U.S. death toll surpassed 180,000.

    “He will go wherever he needs to go,” said Biden’s campaign co-chairman Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana congressman. “And we will do it in a way the health experts would be happy” with and “not the absolutely irresponsible manner you saw at the White House.”

    Richmond said it was “always the plan” for Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris to travel more extensively after Labor Day, the traditional mark of the campaign’s home stretch when more casual voters begin to pay close attention.


    Biden supporters hold banners near the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday evening, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington, while Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech from the nearby White House South Lawn.(AP Photo)

    Biden has conducted online fundraisers, campaign events and television interviews from his home, but traveled only sparingly for speeches and roundtables with a smattering of media or supporters. His only confirmed plane travel was to Houston, where he met with the family of George Floyd, the Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, sparking nationwide protests. Even some Democrats worried quietly that Biden was ceding too much of the spotlight to Trump. But Biden aides have defended their approach. “We will never make any choices that put our staff or voters in harm’s way,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in May.

    Throughout his unusual home-based campaign, Biden blasted Trump as incompetent and irresponsible for downplaying the pandemic and publicly disputing the government’s infectious disease experts. Richmond said that won’t change as Biden ramps up travel.

    “We won’t beat this pandemic, which means we can’t restore the economy and get people’s lives back home, unless we exercise some discipline and lead by example,” Richmond said, adding that Trump is “incapable of doing it.”

    As exhibited by his acceptance speech Thursday, Trump is insistent on as much normalcy as possible, even as he’s pulled back from his signature indoor rallies after drawing a disappointing crowd in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. Trump casts Biden as wanting to “shut down” the economy to combat the virus. “Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender,” Trump declared on the White House lawn. Biden, in fact, has not proposed shutting down the economy. He’s said only that he would be willing to make such a move as president if public health experts advise it. The Democrat also has called for a national mask mandate, calling it a necessary move for Americans to protect each other. Harris on Friday talked about the idea in slightly different terms than Biden, acknowledging that a mandate would be difficult to enforce.

    “It’s really a standard. I mean, nobody’s gonna be punished. Come on,” the California senator said, laughing off a question about how to enforce such a rule during an interview that aired Friday on “Today.” “Nobody likes to wear a mask. This is a universal feeling. Right? So that’s not the point, ’Hey, let’s enjoy wearing masks.′ No.”


    Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (AP Photo)

    Harris suggested that, instead, the rule would be about “what we — as responsible people who love our neighbor — we have to just do that right now.”

    “God willing, it won’t be forever,” she added.

    Biden and Harris have worn protective face masks in public and stayed socially distanced from each other when appearing together at campaign events. Both have said for weeks that a rule requiring all Americans to wear them could save 40,000 lives in just a three-month period. While such an order may be difficult to impose at the federal level, Biden has called on every governor in the country to order mask-wearing in their states, which would likely achieve the same goal.

    Trump has urged Americans to wear masks but opposes a national requirement and personally declined to do so for months. He has worn a mask occasionally more recently, but not at any point Thursday at the Republican National Convention’s closing event, which violated the District of Columbia’s guidelines prohibiting large gatherings.

    Related:

    Joe Biden Claims the Democratic Presidential Nomination


    Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden accepted the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday evening during the last day of the historic Democratic National Convention, August 20, 2020. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 21st, 2020

    Biden speaks about ‘battle for the soul of this nation,’ decries Trump’s leadership

    Joe Biden accepted his party’s presidential nomination, delivering a speech that directly criticized the leadership of Trump on matters of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and racial justice.

    “Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden said, calling on Americans to come together to “overcome this season of darkness.”

    The night featured tributes to civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis, who died in July, as well as to Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s son who died in 2015.


    Kamala Harris Accepts Historic Nomination for Vice President of the United States


    Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) accepted her party’s historic nomination to be its vice-presidential candidate in the 2020 U.S. election on Wednesday evening during the third day of the Democratic National Convention. (Reuters photo)

    Reuters

    Updated: August 20th, 2020

    Kamala Harris makes U.S. history, accepts Democrats’ vice presidential nod

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday, imploring the country to elect Joe Biden president and accusing Donald Trump of failed leadership that had cost lives and livelihoods.

    The first Black woman and Asian-American on a major U.S. presidential ticket, Harris summarized her life story as emblematic of the American dream on the third day of the Democratic National Convention.

    “Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” Harris said.

    Former U.S. President Barack Obama told the convention Trump’s failures as his successor had led to 170,000 people dead from the coronavirus, millions of lost jobs and America’s reputation badly diminished in the world.

    The evening featured a crush of women headliners, moderators and speakers, with Harris pressing the case against Trump, speaking directly to millions of women, young Americans and voters of color, constituencies Democrats need if Biden is to defeat the Republican Trump.

    “The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: we can do better and deserve so much more,” she said.

    “Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose,” she said, speaking from an austere hotel ballroom in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

    Biden leads Trump in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, bolstered by a big lead among women voters. Throughout the convention, Democrats have appealed directly to those women voters, highlighting Biden’s co-sponsorship of the landmark Violence Against Woman Act of 1994 and his proposals to bolster childcare and protect family healthcare provisions.

    Obama, whose vice president was Biden from 2009-2017, said he had hoped that Trump would take the job seriously, come to feel the weight of the office, and discover a reverence for American democracy.

    Obama on Trump: ‘Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t’

    “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said in unusually blunt criticism from an ex-president.

    “Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before,” Obama said.

    The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden, 77, who would be the oldest person to become president if he is elected. His age has led to speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024.

    Biden named Harris, 55, as his running mate last week to face incumbents Trump, 74, and Vice President Mike Pence, 61.

    Former first lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee who lost to Trump, told the convention she constantly hears from voters who regret backing Trump or not voting at all.

    “This can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.” Clinton said. “No matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”

    Clinton, who won the popular vote against Trump but lost in the Electoral College, said Biden needs to win overwhelmingly, warning he could win the popular vote but still lose the White House.

    “Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose,” Clinton said. “Take it from me. So we need numbers overwhelming so Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”


    U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination during an acceptance speech delivered for 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 19, 2020. (Getty Images)

    Democrats have been alarmed by Trump’s frequent criticism of mail-in voting, and by cost-cutting changes at the U.S. Postal Service instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump supporter, that could delay mail during the election crunch. DeJoy said recently he would delay those changes until after the election.

    Democrats also broadcast videos highlighting Trump’s crackdown on immigration, opposition to gun restrictions and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

    ‘DISRESPECT’ FOR FACTS, FOR WOMEN

    Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, told the convention she had seen firsthand Trump’s “disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular – disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct. But we know what he doesn’t: that when women succeed, America succeeds.”

    U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a leading progressive who ran against Biden in the 2020 primary, spoke to the convention from a childcare center in Massachusetts and cited Biden’s proposal to make childcare more affordable as a vital part of his agenda to help working Americans.

    “It’s time to recognize that childcare is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation — it’s infrastructure for families,” she said. “Joe and Kamala will make high-quality childcare affordable for every family, make preschool universal, and raise the wages for every childcare worker.”

    In her speech later, Harris will have an opportunity to outline her background as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica who as a district attorney, state attorney general, U.S. senator from California and now vice-presidential candidate shattered gender and racial barriers.

    She gained prominence in the Senate for her exacting interrogations of Trump nominees, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General Bill Barr.

    The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week.

    Democrats Officially Nominate Joe Biden to Become the Next U.S. President


    It’s official: Joe Biden is now formally a candidate to become the next President of the United States. Democrats officially nominated Biden as their 2020 candidate on Tuesday with a roll-call vote of delegates representing all states in the country during the second day of party’s historic virtual convention. (Photo: Courtesy of the Biden campaign)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 19th, 2020

    Democrats make it official, nominate Biden to take on Trump

    NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden as their 2020 presidential nominee Tuesday night, as party officials and activists from across the nation gave the former vice president their overwhelming support during his party’s all-virtual national convention.

    The moment marked a political high point for Biden, who had sought the presidency twice before and is now cemented as the embodiment of Democrats’ desperate desire to defeat President Donald Trump this fall.

    The roll call of convention delegates formalized what has been clear for months since Biden took the lead in the primary elections’ chase for the nomination. It came as he worked to demonstrate the breadth of his coalition for a second consecutive night, this time blending support from his party’s elders and fresher faces to make the case that he has the experience and energy to repair chaos that Trump has created at home and abroad.

    Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry — and former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell — were among the heavy hitters on a schedule that emphasized a simple theme: Leadership matters. Former President Jimmy Carter, now 95 years old, also made an appearance.

    “Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple,” Clinton said. “At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos.”


    In this image from video, former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, center, and others, speak during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

    Biden formally captured his party’s presidential nomination Tuesday night after being nominated by three people, including two Delaware lawmakers and 31-year-old African American security guard who became a viral sensation after blurting out “I love you” to Biden in a New York City elevator.

    Delegates from across the country then pledged their support for Biden in a video montage that featured Democrats in places like Alabama’s Edmund Pettis Bridge, a beach in Hawaii and the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

    In the opening of the convention’s second night, a collection of younger Democrats, including former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were given a few minutes to shine.

    “In a democracy, we do not elect saviors. We cast our ballots for those who see our struggles and pledge to serve,” said Abrams, 46, who emerged as a national player during her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 and was among those considered to be Biden’s running mate.

    She added: “Faced with a president of cowardice, Joe Biden is a man of proven courage.”

    On a night that Biden was formally receiving his party’s presidential nomination, the convention was also introducing his wife, Jill Biden, to the nation as the prospective first lady.


    In this image from video, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, and members of the Biden family, celebrate after the roll call during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

    Biden is fighting unprecedented logistical challenges to deliver his message during an all-virtual convention this week as the coronavirus epidemic continues to claim hundreds of American lives each day and wreaks havoc on the economy.

    The former vice president was becoming his party’s nominee as a prerecorded roll call vote from delegates in all 50 states airs, and the four-day convention will culminate on Thursday when he accepts that nomination. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman of color to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday.

    Until then, Biden is presenting what he sees as the best of his sprawling coalition to the American electorate in a format unlike any other in history.

    For a second night, the Democrats featured Republicans.

    Powell, who served as secretary of state under George W. Bush and appeared at multiple Republican conventions in years past, was endorsing the Democratic candidate. In a video released ahead of his speech, he said, “Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family. For Joe Biden, that doesn’t need teaching.”

    Powell joins the widow of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, Cindy McCain, who was expected to stop short of a formal endorsement but talk about the mutual respect and friendship her husband and Biden shared.

    While there have been individual members of the opposing party featured at presidential conventions before, a half dozen Republicans, including the former two-term governor of Ohio, have now spoken for Democrat Biden.

    No one on the program Tuesday night has a stronger connection to the Democratic nominee than his wife, Jill Biden, a longtime teacher, was speaking from her former classroom at Brandywine High School near the family home in Wilmington, Delaware.

    “You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There’s no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors,” she said of the school in excerpts of her speech before turning to the nation’s challenges at home. “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding—and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith.”

    The Democrats’ party elders played a prominent role throughout the night.

    Clinton, who turns 74 on Tuesday, hasn’t held office in two decades. Kerry, 76, was the Democratic presidential nominee back in 2004 when the youngest voters this fall were still in diapers. And Carter is 95 years old.

    Clinton, a fixture of Democratic conventions for nearly three decades, addressed voters for roughly five minutes in a speech recorded at his home in Chappaqua, New York.

    In addition to railing against Trump’s leadership, Clinton calls Biden “a go-to-work president.” Biden, Clinton continued, is “a man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide.”…

    Kerry said in an excerpt of his remarks, “Joe understands that none of the issues of this world — not nuclear weapons, not the challenge of building back better after COVID, not terrorism and certainly not the climate crisis — none can be resolved without bringing nations together.”

    Democrats Kick Off Convention as Poll Show Biden, Harris With Double-Digit Lead


    Democrats kicked off their historic virtual convention on Monday with the keynote speaker former first lady Michelle Obama assailing the current president as unfit and warning Americans not to reelect him for a second term. Meanwhile new poll show Biden, Harris with double-digit lead over Trump. (Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 18th, 2020

    Michelle Obama assails Trump as Democrats open convention

    NEW YORK (AP) — Michelle Obama delivered a passionate broadside against President Donald Trump during Monday’s opening night of the Democratic National Convention, assailing the Republican president as unfit for the job and warning that the nation’s mounting crises would only get worse if he’s reelected.

    The former first lady issued an emotional call to the coalition that sent her husband to the White House, declaring that strong feelings must be translated into votes.

    “Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she declared. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”

    Obama added: “If you think things possibly can’t get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we don’t make a change in this election.”

    The comments came as Joe Biden introduced the breadth of his political coalition to a nation in crisis Monday night at the convention, giving voice to victims of the coronavirus pandemic, the related economic downturn and police violence and featuring both progressive Democrats and Republicans united against Trump’s reelection.


    Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The DNC released excerpts of her speech ahead of the convention start. (Democratic National Convention)

    The ideological range of Biden’s many messengers was demonstrated by former presidential contenders from opposing parties: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who championed a multi-trillion-dollar universal health care plan, and Ohio’s former Republican Gov. John Kasich, an anti-abortion conservative who spent decades fighting to cut government spending.

    The former vice president won’t deliver his formal remarks until Thursday night, but he made his first appearance just half an hour into Monday’s event as he moderated a panel on racial justice, a theme throughout the night, as was concern about the Postal Service. The Democrats accuse Trump of interfering with the nation’s mail in order to throw blocks in front of mail-in voting.

    “My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake,” Sanders declared.

    Kasich said his status as a lifelong Republican “holds second place to my responsibility to my country.”

    “In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” he said of his participation at the Democrats’ convention. He added: “Many of us can’t imagine four more years going down this path.”

    Read more »

    Post-ABC poll shows Biden, Harris hold double-digit lead over Trump, Pence

    The race for the White House tilts toward the Democrats, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a double-digit lead nationally over President Trump amid continuing disapproval of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Democrats [kicked] off their convention on Monday in a mood of cautious optimism, with Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), leading Trump and Vice President Pence by 53 percent to 41 percent among registered voters. The findings are identical among a larger sample of all voting-age adults.

    Biden’s current national margin over Trump among voters is slightly smaller than the 15-point margin in a poll taken last month and slightly larger than a survey in May when he led by 10 points. In late March, as the pandemic was taking hold in the United States, Biden and Trump were separated by just two points, with the former vice president holding a statistically insignificant advantage.

    Today, Biden and Harris lead by 54 percent to 43 percent among those who say they are absolutely certain to vote and who also report voting in 2016. A month ago, Biden’s lead of 15 points overall had narrowed to seven points among similarly committed 2016 voters. Biden now also leads by low double-digits among those who say they are following the election most closely.

    Read more »

    Team Joe Announces Convention Speakers


    Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy Photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: August 17th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Joe Biden’s campaign has announced its speaker lineup for the Democratic National Convention that’s set to open on Monday, August 17th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Below are the list of speakers that will be featured “across all four nights of the Convention which will air live August 17-20 from 9:00-11:00 PM Eastern each night.”

    Related:

    ‘ሴቷ ኦባማ?’: Kamala Harris Faces Culture of Sexism & Misogyny in Ethiopian Media

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    TOP 100 Ethiopian Restaurants in US: Yelp

    Yelp states: "We identified businesses in the Ethiopian category, then ranked those spots using a number of factors including the total volume and ratings of reviews between January 1, 2015 and July 20, 2020. When available, all businesses on this list have a passing health score as of July 2020." (Photo: Yelp)

    Yelp

    By Helina Wolde Medhin, Senior Community Director II, Yelp Los Angeles

    Ethiopia. Birthplace of coffee. Source of the (Blue) Nile. Home to ancient archaeological treasures. There are so many unique aspects that make up the rich culture and history of this diverse, never-colonized East African nation. But perhaps the most universally celebrated feature that connects Ethiopia to the world is its deliciously distinctive colorful cuisine.

    Top 100 Ethiopian Restaurants in the U.S. According to Yelp Methodology:

    We identified businesses in the Ethiopian category, then ranked those spots using a number of factors including the total volume and ratings of reviews between January 1, 2015 and July 20, 2020. When available, all businesses on this list have a passing health score as of July 2020.


    Shebelle Ethiopian Cuisine & Bar (Dallas, TX) – Shebelle E

    1. GS Cafe and Ethiopian Cuisine (Covina, CA)
    2. Selam Ethiopian & Eritrean Cuisine (Orlando, FL)
    3. Enat Ethiopian Restaurant (Charlotte, NC)
    4. St Yared Ethiopian Restaurant (Indianapolis, IN)
    5. Abugida Ethiopian Cafe & Restaurant (Charlotte, NC)
    6. Shewhat Addis Restaurant (Oakland, CA)
    7. Addis Restaurant (San Diego, CA)
    8. Derae Restaurant (Memphis, TN)
    9. Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge (Houston, TX)
    10. Enatye Ethiopian Restaurant (Herndon, VA)

    Read the full list at blog.yelp.com »


    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    WALIA & ADA’s: New Jersey Ethiopian Restaurants Crowned Among Best In U.S.

    Walia, located in South Orange, New Jersey is a family-owned restaurant that opened in 2013 and Ada's, located in Asbury Park, New Jersey combines Dominican and Ethiopian flavors. (Daily Voice)

    Daily Voice

    Updated: October 27th, 2020

    A pair of New Jersey Ethiopian restaurants were named two of the best in America.

    Yelp’s 100-restaurant rundown includes Ada’s Gojjo in Asbury Park and Walia Ethiopian Restaurant in South Orange.

    Ada’s came in at No. 27 and Walia at No. 35.

    Ada’s combines Dominican and Ethiopian flavors, and offers an array of classic dishes including daily specials. The chef, Adanech Asghedom, “is driven by her passion for good food, though she became a cook quite unintentionally as a young girl in Addis Ababa,” the website says.

    “Legend has it that one weekend, when it was her family’s turn to prepare the communal meal shared amongst neighbors, Ada’s mother became ill, and was unable to do the cooking. Ada was summoned by her father, who looked at her, said, ‘You do it, Ada,’ … and she did.”

    That was when Ada was only 14 years old. Years later, “the fire still burns,” the restaurant’s website says.

    Walia is a family-owned restaurant that opened in 2013, and is named after an endangered species of the ibex family, found only in Ethiopia, its website explains…

    Yelp identified businesses in the Ethiopian category, then ranked them according to total volume or ratings and review between Jan. 1 2015 and July 20, 2020. All businesses on the list have a passing health score as of last July when available, the website said.


    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris Hosts Virtual Conversation

    Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris is a volunteer-led group that supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: October 19th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — As the highly anticipated 2020 U.S. presidential election fast approaches on November 3rd, various Ethiopian American associations are organizing voter turnout and education events across the country.

    The latest to announce such an event is the newly formed, volunteer-led group, Ethiopian-Americans for Biden-Harris, which supports the candidacy of Former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris and will be hosting an online conversation this week Friday, October 23 at 6:00 PM EDT/3:00 PM PDT.

    “As one of the largest African Diaspora groups in the United States, the community has historically supported causes championed by the Democratic Party, including but not limited to, immigration reform, healthcare reform, promotion of democracy, human rights and improved trade and investment between the United States and Ethiopia,” the group states in its press release. “Ethiopian-Americans believe that a Biden-Harris Administration will champion equitable access and opportunity for all Americans, restore mutually beneficial relationships with Ethiopia and improve America’s standing among the community of nations.”


    (Courtesy photo)

    The virtual event, which will be moderated by Dr. Menna Demessie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, features Congresswoman Karen Bass, who has represented California’s 37th congressional district since 2013; Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas; Gayle Smith, president and CEO of the One Campaign and the former administrator of the United States Agency for International Development; and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) leading the firm’s Africa practice. Thomas-Greenfield was also the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the United States Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs from 2013 to 2017.

    Ethiopian American speakers include Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian-American elected to public office in the United States and the first African immigrant to serve in elected office in the State of Nevada; Addisu Demissie, who served as Senior Advisor to U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, and was responsible for organizing the nominating convention for the Democratic Party this past summer; Marcus Samuelsson, an award-winning chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, philanthropist and food activist; Mimi Alemayehou, a development finance executive who has served as Executive Vice President of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and as United States Executive Director of the African Development Bank.

    If You Attend

    Click here to RSVP now staring $25.

    Learn more at www.ethiopiansforbidenharris.com.

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans: Election is Approaching, Let’s Make Sure our Voices are Heard


    In this OP-ED Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles, urges Ethiopian Americans to participate in the upcoming U.S. election that will directly impact our lives for many years to come, and shares resources to help our community to get involved in the democratic process. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Helen Amelga

    Updated: October 16th, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — How many people of Ethiopian descent live in the United States? 300,000? 400,000? 500,000? We don’t really know for sure. But with the 2020 census, we will for the first time have the opportunity to get a truly accurate count. If you haven’t done so already, go to 2020cencus.gov and complete your census today.

    While the exact numbers are yet to be determined, it is clear that there is a significant Ethiopian-American population in the United States. Why is it then that we do not have a strong political presence?

    We know our community can organize. We have Iqub (እቁብ), mahbers (ማህበር), business associations, and our faith based groups are extremely organized. We need to use those same skills to mobilize politically.

    We must equip ourselves with the knowledge of political systems, major policies and voter rights, not only to serve as advocates for our community, but so that we ourselves can occupy positions of power and authority to be the decision makers who shape the society and world we want to live in.

    We know it’s possible because we already have trailblazers such as Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body as well as Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term his year.

    We cannot afford to give our vote away to candidates who are not serving our needs. We are ready to spring into action when there is a problem in our community, but it is not enough to go to our elected officials once we have a problem and try to convince them to help us. We need to be proactive.

    We must purposefully engage to get the right people elected in the first place. We must identify candidates who align with and will fight for our values. Then, we must do everything we can to make sure those candidates are elected.

    Here are a few steps you can take to get involved:

    1. Register to vote

    2. Request a vote by mail ballot today

    3. Reach out to 5 friends and make sure they’re registered to vote

    4. Research your candidates & ballot measures

    5. Volunteers to phone bank for a campaign

    6. Sign up to be a poll worker on election day

    The November 3rd general election is fast approaching. Let’s make sure our voices are heard.

    Related:

    Interview: Helen Amelga, Founder of Ethiopian Democratic Club of LA

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team


    Related:

    Election 2020 – The Youth Vote Event In Seattle


    Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Bitaniya is one of the young interviewers in a timely upcoming Zoom event on October 14th titled “The Youth Vote: A conversation about leadership, ethics and values and how they factor into choosing a candidate.” (KNKX PUBLIC RADIO)

    KNKX PUBLIC RADIO

    Young people make up a projected 37% of the 2020 electorate, yet historically they vote less than other age groups. Will it be different this time? The pandemic crisis and the call for racial justice and institutional changes are top concerns as we move closer to this high stakes election. Ethics and values also underpin our decisions. This virtual event aims to bring together first-time and new voters with older adults with a track record of civic leadership to discuss a number of issues through the lens of beliefs and values, touching on things like:

    What does it mean to be a leader?
    In thorny situations, how do you speak for a community?
    If there are three important issues facing your community and you only have enough resources to address one, how would you choose?

    Because this is leading up to the general election, we want to frame this conversation around the power to change systems for the greater good and how that ties in with being an informed voter.

    The six young interviewers will ask the four speakers questions relating to the themes of conflict/failure, challenges, accountability, transparency, priorities and representation, with the speakers drawing on their personal and professional experiences; and offering examples of how they have faced challenging situations and how that speaks to leadership and community building.

    Young Interviewers

    Bitaniya Giday, age 17, is the 2020-2021 Seattle Youth Poet Laureate. She is a first-generation Ethiopian American residing in Seattle. Her writing explores the nuances of womanhood and blackness, as she reflects upon her family’s path of immigration across the world. She hopes to restore and safeguard the past, present, and future histories of her people through traditional storytelling and poetry.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans Hold Virtual Town Hall Ahead of November Election


    The nationwide town hall event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 plans to emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process. The gathering will feature panel discussions, PSAs, and cultural engagements. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 23rd, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Americans are holding a virtual town hall this week ahead of the November 3rd U.S. election.

    The nationwide event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, will emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process.

    According to organizers the town hall — put together by the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks — will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    “We intend on discussing various subject matters related to civic engagement issues affecting our community at the moment,” the announcement notes, highlighting that by the end of the conference “participants will be able to understand the importance of taking ownership of our local communities, learn more about the voting process and gain a better [appreciation] of why we should all care about voting.”

    Speakers include Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles; Dr. Menna Demissie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body; Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term this year; and Girmay Zahilay, Councilman in King County, Washington.


    (Courtesy photos)

    Additional presenters include: Andom Ghebreghiorgis. former Congressional candidate from New York; Samuel Gebru, former candidate for City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and current managing director of Black Lion Strategies; as well as Hannah Joy Gebresilassie, journalist and community advocate; and Debbie Almraw, writer and poet.

    Entertainment will be provided by Elias Aragaw, the artist behind @TheFunkIsReal, and DJ Sammy Sam.

    The announcement notes that “voting is a core principle of being American, but to exercise this basic right we must be registered to vote! That’s why Habesha Networks and Habeshas Vote are proud partners of When We All Vote and supporters of National Voter Registration Day.”

    Watch: Students Interview Kamala Harris (U.S. ELECTION UPDATE)


    Fana R. Haileselassie, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, asks Sen. Kamala Harris a question during a virtual Q&A hosted by BET featuring the Democratic nominee for Vice President and students discussing the interests of millennial voters. (Photo: BETNetworks)

    BET News Special

    HBCU Students Interview Kamala Harris

    A virtual Q&A hosted by Terrence J featuring Democratic nominee for Vice President Sen. Kamala Harris and HBCU students discussing the interests of millennial voters.

    Watch: Sen. Kamala Harris Answers HBCU Students’ Questions About Voting, Student Loan Debt & More

    Related:

    Virginia’s Era as a Swing State Appears to be Over


    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wave after a campaign event in May 2012 in Richmond. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 18th, 2020

    No TV ads, no presidential visits: Virginia’s era as a swing state appears to be over

    Barack Obama held the very last rally of his 2008 campaign in Virginia, the longtime Republican stronghold he flipped on his way to the White House.

    Four years later, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney made more visits and aired more television ads here than nearly anywhere else. And in 2016, Donald Trump staged rally after rally in the Old Dominion while Hillary Clinton picked a Virginian as her running mate.

    But Virginia isn’t getting the swing-state treatment this time around. As in-person early voting got underway Friday, President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden were dark on broadcast television. Super PACs were clogging somebody else’s airwaves. Even as Trump and Biden have resumed limited travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, neither has stumped in the Old Dominion.

    There’s really no discussion about the state being in play,” said Amy Walter, national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “If you’re Ohio or New Hampshire, or Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, you’ve always been in that spotlight. Virginia got it for such a short period of time.”

    The last time presidential candidates stayed out of Virginia and off its airwaves was 2004. The state was reliably red then, having backed Republicans for the White House every year since 1968. Now Virginia seems to be getting the cold shoulder because it’s considered solidly blue.

    “Virginia was the belle of the ball in 2008, and again in 2012, and still once more in 2016, but in 2020, the commonwealth is a wall flower,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Virginians come out in force to cast ballots on the first day of early voting

    Mike Bloomberg to spend at least $100 million in Florida to benefit Joe Biden


    Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million to help elect Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest. (Getty Images)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 13th, 2020

    Former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg plans to spend at least $100 million in Florida to help elect Democrat Joe Biden, a massive late-stage infusion of cash that could reshape the presidential contest in a costly toss-up state central to President Trump’s reelection hopes.

    Bloomberg made the decision to focus his final election spending on Florida last week, after news reports that Trump had considered spending as much as $100 million of his own money in the final weeks of the campaign, Bloomberg’s advisers said. Presented with several options on how to make good on an earlier promise to help elect Biden, Bloomberg decided that a narrow focus on Florida was the best use of his money.

    The president’s campaign has long treated the state, which Trump now calls home, as a top priority, and his advisers remain confident in his chances given strong turnout in 2016 and 2018 that gave Republicans narrow winning margins in statewide contests.

    Watch: Former 2020 presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg slammed Trump during his Democratic National Convention speech on Aug. 20.

    Bloomberg’s aim is to prompt enough early voting that a pro-Biden result would be evident soon after the polls close.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania (ELECTION UPDATE)


    In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump. (Reuters photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 9, 2020

    Biden Leads by 9 Percentage Points in Pennsylvania, Poll Finds

    Joe Biden leads President Trump by nine percentage points among likely voters in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that Trump narrowly won four years ago, according to a new NBC News-Marist poll.

    In the survey, Biden, who was born in the state, draws the support of 53 percent of likely voters, compared to 44 percent who back Trump.

    In 2016, Trump carried Pennsylvania by less than one percentage point over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

    The NBC-Marist poll shows Biden getting a boost from suburban voters, who side with him by nearly 20 percentage points, 58 percent to 39 percent. In 2016, Trump won suburban voters in Pennsylvania by about eight points, according to exit polls.


    Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden stand outside the AFL-CIO headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa., on Monday. (Getty Images)

    The poll also finds the candidates are tied at 49 percent among white voters in Pennsylvania, a group that Trump won by double digits in 2016. Biden leads Trump among nonwhite voters, 75 percent to 19 percent.

    Pennsylvania has been a frequent destination for both campaigns in recent weeks. Vice President Pence has events scheduled there on Wednesday.

    Kamala D. Harris Goes Viral — for Her Shoe Choice


    Sporting Chuck Taylor sneakers, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) greets supporters Monday in Milwaukee. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: September 8, 2020

    It took roughly eight seconds of on-the-ground campaigning for the first Black woman to be nominated on a major party’s ticket to go viral.

    At first glance, little seemed noteworthy as Sen. Kamala D. Harris deplaned in Milwaukee on Monday. She was wearing a mask. She didn’t trip. Instead, what sent video pinging around the Internet was what was on her feet: her black, low-rise Chuck Taylor All-Stars, the classic Converse shoe that has long been associated more closely with cultural cool than carefully managed high-profile candidacies.

    By Tuesday morning, videos by two reporters witnessing her arrival had been viewed nearly 8 million times on Twitter — for comparison’s sake, more than four times the attention the campaign’s biggest planned video event, a conversation between Joe Biden and Barack Obama, had received on both Twitter and YouTube combined.

    Harris’s sister, Maya, tweeted Monday that Chuck Taylors are, indeed, her sister’s “go-to.” A few hours later, Harris’s official campaign account tweeted the video with the caption “laced up and ready to win.”

    Read more »

    81 American Nobel Laureates Endorse Biden for Next U.S. President


    The Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and medicine “wholeheartedly” endorsed the Democratic nominee in an open letter released Wednesday. “At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy,” they said. (Courtesy photo)

    Press Release

    Nobel Laureates endorse Joe Biden

    81 American Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, and Medicine have signed this letter to express their support for former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election for President of the United States.

    At no time in our nation’s history has there been a greater need for our leaders to appreciate the value of science in formulating public policy. During his long record of public service, Joe Biden has consistently demonstrated his willingness to listen to experts, his understanding of the value of international collaboration in research, and his respect for the contribution that immigrants make to the intellectual life of our country.

    As American citizens and as scientists, we wholeheartedly endorse Joe Biden for President.

    Name, Category, Prize Year:

    Peter Agre Chemistry 2003
    Sidney Altman Chemistry 1989
    Frances H. Arnold Chemistry 2018
    Paul Berg Chemistry 1980
    Thomas R. Cech Chemistry 1989
    Martin Chalfie Chemistry 2008
    Elias James Corey Chemistry 1990
    Joachim Frank Chemistry 2017
    Walter Gilbert Chemistry 1980
    John B. Goodenough Chemistry 2019
    Alan Heeger Chemistry 2000
    Dudley R. Herschbach Chemistry 1986
    Roald Hoffmann Chemistry 1981
    Brian K. Kobilka Chemistry 2012
    Roger D. Kornberg Chemistry 2006
    Robert J. Lefkowitz Chemistry 2012
    Roderick MacKinnon Chemistry 2003
    Paul L. Modrich Chemistry 2015
    William E. Moerner Chemistry 2014
    Mario J. Molina Chemistry 1995
    Richard R. Schrock Chemistry 2005
    K. Barry Sharpless Chemistry 2001
    Sir James Fraser Stoddart Chemistry 2016
    M. Stanley Whittingham Chemistry 2019
    James P. Allison Medicine 2018
    Richard Axel Medicine 2004
    David Baltimore Medicine 1975
    J. Michael Bishop Medicine 1989
    Elizabeth H. Blackburn Medicine 2009
    Michael S. Brown Medicine 1985
    Linda B. Buck Medicine 2004
    Mario R. Capecchi Medicine 2007
    Edmond H. Fischer Medicine 1992
    Joseph L. Goldstein Medicine 1985
    Carol W. Greider Medicine 2009
    Jeffrey Connor Hall Medicine 2017
    Leland H. Hartwell Medicine 2001
    H. Robert Horvitz Medicine 2002
    Louis J. Ignarro Medicine 1998
    William G. Kaelin Jr. Medicine 2019
    Eric R. Kandel Medicine 2000
    Craig C. Mello Medicine 2006
    John O’Keefe Medicine 2014
    Michael Rosbash Medicine 2017
    James E. Rothman Medicine 2013
    Randy W. Schekman Medicine 2013
    Gregg L. Semenza Medicine 2019
    Hamilton O. Smith Medicine 1978
    Thomas C. Sudhof Medicine 2013
    Jack W. Szostak Medicine 2009
    Susumu Tonegawa Medicine 1987
    Harold E. Varmus Medicine 1989
    Eric F. Wieschaus Medicine 1995
    Torsten N. Wiesel Medicine 1981
    Michael W. Young Medicine 2017
    Barry Clark Barish Physics 2017
    Steven Chu Physics 1997
    Jerome I. Friedman Physics 1990
    Sheldon Glashow Physics 1979
    David J. Gross Physics 2004
    John L. Hall Physics 2005
    Wolfgang Ketterle Physics 2001
    J. Michael Kosterlitz Physics 2016
    Herbert Kroemer Physics 2000
    Robert B. Laughlin Physics 1998
    Anthony J. Leggett Physics 2003
    John C. Mather Physics 2006
    Shuji Nakamura Physics 2014
    Douglas D. Osheroff Physics 1996
    James Peebles Physics 2019
    Arno Penzias Physics 1978
    Saul Perlmutter Physics 2011
    H. David Politzer Physics 2004
    Brian P. Schmidt Physics 2011
    Joseph H. Taylor Jr. Physics 1993
    Kip Stephen Thorne Physics 2017
    Daniel C. Tsui Physics 1998
    Rainer Weiss Physics 2017
    Frank Wilczek Physics 2004
    Robert Woodrow Wilson Physics 1978
    David J. Wineland Physics 2012

    Related

    Biden Calls Trump ‘a Toxic Presence’ Who is Encouraging Violence in America


    “Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? (Photo: Joe Biden speaks Monday in Pittsburgh/Reuters)

    The Washington Post

    Joe Biden excoriated President Trump on Monday as a threat to the safety of all Americans, saying he has encouraged violence in the nation’s streets even as he has faltered in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

    For his most extensive remarks since violent protests have escalated across the country in recent days, Biden traveled to Pittsburgh and struck a centrist note, condemning both the destruction in the streets and Trump for creating a culture that he said has exacerbated it.

    “I want to be very clear about all of this: Rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. Setting fires is not protesting,” Biden said. “It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it should be prosecuted.”

    The former vice president also rejected the caricature that Trump and his allies have painted of him as someone who holds extremist views and has helped fuel the anger in urban centers across the country.

    “You know me. You know my heart. You know my story, my family’s story,” Biden said. “Ask yourself: Do I look like a radical socialist with a soft spot for rioters? Really?”

    While the speech was delivered amid heightened tensions over race and police conduct, Biden did not outline new policies, instead focusing on making a broader condemnation of Trump.

    He called the president a danger to those suffering from the coronavirus, to anyone in search of a job or struggling to pay rent, to voters worried about Russian interference in the upcoming election and to those worried about their own safety amid unrest.

    “Donald Trump wants to ask the question: Who will keep you safer as president? Let’s answer that question,” Biden said. “When I was vice president, violent crime fell 15 percent in this country. We did it without chaos and disorder.”

    Pointing to a nationwide homicide rate rising 26 percent this year, Biden asked, “Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?”

    “If I were president today, the country would be safer,” Biden said. “And we’d be seeing a lot less violence.”

    It was a marked shift for Biden from his convention speech less than two weeks ago, in which he never named Trump in his remarks. During his speech Monday, he mentioned Trump’s name 32 times.

    “Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” Biden said. “Will we rid ourselves of this toxin? Or will we make it a permanent part of our nation’s character?”

    Read more »

    Spotlight: The Unravelling of the Social Fabric in Ethiopia and the U.S.


    As Ethiopian Americans we are increasingly concerned about the decline of civil discourse and the unravelling of the social fabric not only in Ethiopia, but also here in the United States where in the era of Trump and the COVID-19 pandemic politics has also become more and more violent. Below are excerpts and links to two recent articles from The Intercept and The Guardian focusing on the timely topic. (AP photo)

    The Intercept

    August, 29th, 2020

    The Social Fabric of the U.S. Is Fraying Severely, if Not Unravelling: Why, in the world’s richest country, is every metric of mental health pathology rapidly worsening?

    THE YEAR 2020 has been one of the most tumultuous in modern American history. To find events remotely as destabilizing and transformative, one has to go back to the 2008 financial crisis and the 9/11 and anthrax attacks of 2001, though those systemic shocks, profound as they were, were isolated (one a national security crisis, the other a financial crisis) and thus more limited in scope than the multicrisis instability now shaping U.S. politics and culture.

    Since the end of World War II, the only close competitor to the current moment is the multipronged unrest of the 1960s and early 1970s: serial assassinations of political leaders, mass civil rights and anti-war protests, sustained riots, fury over a heinous war in Indochina, and the resignation of a corruption-plagued president.

    But those events unfolded and built upon one another over the course of a decade. By crucial contrast, the current confluence of crises, each of historic significance in their own right — a global pandemic, an economic and social shutdown, mass unemployment, an enduring protest movement provoking increasing levels of violence and volatility, and a presidential election centrally focused on one of the most divisive political figures the U.S. has known who happens to be the incumbent president — are happening simultaneously, having exploded one on top of the other in a matter of a few months.

    Lurking beneath the headlines justifiably devoted to these major stories of 2020 are very troubling data that reflect intensifying pathologies in the U.S. population — not moral or allegorical sicknesses but mental, emotional, psychological and scientifically proven sickness. Many people fortunate enough to have survived this pandemic with their physical health intact know anecdotally — from observing others and themselves — that these political and social crises have spawned emotional difficulties and psychological challenges…

    Much attention is devoted to lamenting the toxicity of our discourse, the hate-driven polarization of our politics, and the fragmentation of our culture. But it is difficult to imagine any other outcome in a society that is breeding so much psychological and emotional pathology by denying to its members the things they most need to live fulfilling lives.

    Read the full article at theintercept.com »

    Ethiopia falls into violence a year after leader’s Nobel peace prize win


    Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, centre, arrives at an African Union summit in Addis Ababa in July. Photograph: AP

    By Jason Burke and Zecharias Zelalem in Addis Ababa

    Sat 29 Aug 2020

    Abiy Ahmed came to power promising radical reform, but 180 people have died amid ethnic unrest in Oromia state

    Ethiopia faces a dangerous cycle of intensifying internal political dissent, ethnic unrest and security crackdowns, observers have warned, after a series of protests in recent weeks highlighted growing discontent with the government of Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel peace prize winner.

    Many western powers welcomed the new approach of Abiy, who took power in 2018 and promised a programme of radical reform after decades of repressive one-party rule, hoping for swift changes in an emerging economic power that plays a key strategic role in a region increasingly contested by Middle Eastern powers and China. He won the peace prize in 2019 for ending a conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.

    The most vocal unrest was in the state of Oromia, where there have been waves of protests since the killing last month of a popular Oromo artist and activist, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, in Addis Ababa, the capital. An estimated 180 people have died in the violence, some murdered by mobs, others shot by security forces. Houses, factories, businesses, hotels, cars and government offices were set alight or damaged and several thousand people, including opposition leaders, were arrested.

    Further protests last week prompted a new wave of repression and left at least 11 dead. “Oromia is still reeling from the grim weight of tragic killings this year. These grave patterns of abuse should never be allowed to continue,” said Aaron Maasho, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission.

    Read more »

    Related:

    ‘How Dare We Not Vote?’ Black Voters Organize After DC March


    People rally at Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Friday Aug. 28, 2020, on the 57th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it.” (AP Photos)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 29th, 2020

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Tears streamed down Brooke Moreland’s face as she watched tens of thousands gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to decry systemic racism and demand racial justice in the wake of several police killings of Black Americans.

    But for the Indianapolis mother of three, the fiery speeches delivered Friday at the commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also gave way to one central message: Vote and demand change at the ballot box in November.

    “As Black people, a lot of the people who look like us died for us to be able to sit in public, to vote, to go to school and to be able to walk around freely and live our lives,” the 31-year-old Moreland said. “Every election is an opportunity, so how dare we not vote after our ancestors fought for us to be here?”

    That determination could prove critical in a presidential election where race is emerging as a flashpoint. President Donald Trump, at this past week’s Republican National Convention, emphasized a “law and order” message aimed at his largely white base of supporters. His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has expressed empathy with Black victims of police brutality and is counting on strong turnout from African Americans to win critical states such as North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

    “If we do not vote in numbers that we’ve never ever seen before and allow this administration to continue what it is doing, we are headed on a course for serious destruction,” Martin Luther King III, told The Associated Press before his rousing remarks, delivered 57 years after his father’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. “I’m going to do all that I can to encourage, promote, to mobilize and what’s at stake is the future of our nation, our planet. What’s at stake is the future of our children.”

    As the campaign enters its latter stages, there’s an intensifying effort among African Americans to transform frustration over police brutality, systemic racism and the disproportionate toll of the coronavirus into political power. Organizers and participants said Friday’s march delivered a much needed rallying cry to mobilize.

    As speakers implored attendees to “vote as if our lives depend on it,” the march came on the heels of yet another shooting by a white police officer of a Black man – 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday — sparking demonstrations and violence that left two dead.

    “We need a new conversation … you act like it’s no trouble to shoot us in the back,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said. “Our vote is dipped in blood. We’re going to vote for a nation that stops the George Floyds, that stops the Breonna Taylors.”

    Navy veteran Alonzo Jones- Goss, who traveled to Washington from Boston, said he plans to vote for Biden because the nation has seen far too many tragic events that have claimed the lives of Black Americans and other people of color.

    “I supported and defended the Constitution and I support the members that continue to do it today, but the injustice and the people that are losing their lives, that needs to end,” Jones-Goss, 28, said. “It’s been 57 years since Dr. King stood over there and delivered his speech. But what is unfortunate is what was happening 57 years ago is still happening today.”

    Drawing comparisons to the original 1963 march, where participants then were protesting many of the same issues that have endured, National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial said it’s clear why this year’s election will be pivotal for Black Americans.

    “We are about reminding people and educating people on how important it is to translate the power of protest into the power of politics and public policy change,” said Morial, who spoke Friday. “So we want to be deliberate about making the connection between protesting and voting.”

    Nadia Brown, a Purdue University political science professor, agreed there are similarities between the situation in 1963 and the issues that resonate among Black Americans today. She said the political pressure that was applied then led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other powerful pieces of legislation that transformed the lives of African Americans. She’s hopeful this could happen again in November and beyond.

    “There’s already a host of organizations that are mobilizing in the face of daunting things,” Brown said. “Bur these same groups that are most marginalized are saying it’s not enough to just vote, it’s not enough for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to ask me for my vote. I’m going to hold these elected officials that are in office now accountable and I’m going to vote in November and hold those same people accountable. And for me, that is the most uplifting and rewarding part — to see those kind of similarities.”

    But Brown noted that while Friday’s march resonated with many, it’s unclear whether it will translate into action among younger voters, whose lack of enthusiasm could become a vulnerability for Biden.

    “I think there is already a momentum among younger folks who are saying not in my America, that this is not the place where they want to live, but will this turn into electoral gains? That I’m less clear on because a lot of the polling numbers show that pretty overwhelmingly, younger people, millennials and Gen Z’s are more progressive and that they are reluctantly turning to this pragmatic side of politics,” Brown said.

    That was clear as the Movement for Black Lives also marked its own historic event Friday — a virtual Black National Convention that featured several speakers discussing pressing issues such as climate change, economic empowerment and the need for electoral justice.

    “I don’t necessarily see elections as achieving justice per se because I view the existing system itself as being fundamentally unjust in many ways and it is the existing system that we are trying to fundamentally transform,” said Bree Newsome Bass, an activist and civil rights organizer, during the convention’s panel about electoral justice. “I do think voting and recognizing what an election should be is a way to kind of exercise that muscle.”


    Biden, Harris Prepare to Travel More as Campaign Heats Up (Election Update)


    Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris. (AP Photos)

    The Associated Press

    August 28th, 2020

    WASHINGTON (AP) — After spending a pandemic spring and summer tethered almost entirely to his Delaware home, Joe Biden plans to take his presidential campaign to battleground states after Labor Day in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump.

    No itinerary is set, according to the Democratic nominee’s campaign, but the former vice president and his allies say his plan is to highlight contrasts with Trump, from policy arguments tailored to specific audiences to the strict public health guidelines the Biden campaign says its events will follow amid COVID-19.

    That’s a notable difference from a president who on Thursday delivered his nomination acceptance on the White House lawn to more than 1,000 people seated side-by-side, most of them without masks, even as the U.S. death toll surpassed 180,000.

    “He will go wherever he needs to go,” said Biden’s campaign co-chairman Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana congressman. “And we will do it in a way the health experts would be happy” with and “not the absolutely irresponsible manner you saw at the White House.”

    Richmond said it was “always the plan” for Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris to travel more extensively after Labor Day, the traditional mark of the campaign’s home stretch when more casual voters begin to pay close attention.


    Biden supporters hold banners near the White House on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention, Thursday evening, Aug. 27, 2020, in Washington, while Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech from the nearby White House South Lawn.(AP Photo)

    Biden has conducted online fundraisers, campaign events and television interviews from his home, but traveled only sparingly for speeches and roundtables with a smattering of media or supporters. His only confirmed plane travel was to Houston, where he met with the family of George Floyd, the Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, sparking nationwide protests. Even some Democrats worried quietly that Biden was ceding too much of the spotlight to Trump. But Biden aides have defended their approach. “We will never make any choices that put our staff or voters in harm’s way,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in May.

    Throughout his unusual home-based campaign, Biden blasted Trump as incompetent and irresponsible for downplaying the pandemic and publicly disputing the government’s infectious disease experts. Richmond said that won’t change as Biden ramps up travel.

    “We won’t beat this pandemic, which means we can’t restore the economy and get people’s lives back home, unless we exercise some discipline and lead by example,” Richmond said, adding that Trump is “incapable of doing it.”

    As exhibited by his acceptance speech Thursday, Trump is insistent on as much normalcy as possible, even as he’s pulled back from his signature indoor rallies after drawing a disappointing crowd in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. Trump casts Biden as wanting to “shut down” the economy to combat the virus. “Joe Biden’s plan is not a solution to the virus, but rather a surrender,” Trump declared on the White House lawn. Biden, in fact, has not proposed shutting down the economy. He’s said only that he would be willing to make such a move as president if public health experts advise it. The Democrat also has called for a national mask mandate, calling it a necessary move for Americans to protect each other. Harris on Friday talked about the idea in slightly different terms than Biden, acknowledging that a mandate would be difficult to enforce.

    “It’s really a standard. I mean, nobody’s gonna be punished. Come on,” the California senator said, laughing off a question about how to enforce such a rule during an interview that aired Friday on “Today.” “Nobody likes to wear a mask. This is a universal feeling. Right? So that’s not the point, ’Hey, let’s enjoy wearing masks.′ No.”


    Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. (AP Photo)

    Harris suggested that, instead, the rule would be about “what we — as responsible people who love our neighbor — we have to just do that right now.”

    “God willing, it won’t be forever,” she added.

    Biden and Harris have worn protective face masks in public and stayed socially distanced from each other when appearing together at campaign events. Both have said for weeks that a rule requiring all Americans to wear them could save 40,000 lives in just a three-month period. While such an order may be difficult to impose at the federal level, Biden has called on every governor in the country to order mask-wearing in their states, which would likely achieve the same goal.

    Trump has urged Americans to wear masks but opposes a national requirement and personally declined to do so for months. He has worn a mask occasionally more recently, but not at any point Thursday at the Republican National Convention’s closing event, which violated the District of Columbia’s guidelines prohibiting large gatherings.

    Related:

    Joe Biden Claims the Democratic Presidential Nomination


    Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden accepted the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday evening during the last day of the historic Democratic National Convention, August 20, 2020. (AP photo)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 21st, 2020

    Biden speaks about ‘battle for the soul of this nation,’ decries Trump’s leadership

    Joe Biden accepted his party’s presidential nomination, delivering a speech that directly criticized the leadership of Trump on matters of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy and racial justice.

    “Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” Biden said, calling on Americans to come together to “overcome this season of darkness.”

    The night featured tributes to civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis, who died in July, as well as to Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s son who died in 2015.


    Kamala Harris Accepts Historic Nomination for Vice President of the United States


    Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) accepted her party’s historic nomination to be its vice-presidential candidate in the 2020 U.S. election on Wednesday evening during the third day of the Democratic National Convention. (Reuters photo)

    Reuters

    Updated: August 20th, 2020

    Kamala Harris makes U.S. history, accepts Democrats’ vice presidential nod

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday, imploring the country to elect Joe Biden president and accusing Donald Trump of failed leadership that had cost lives and livelihoods.

    The first Black woman and Asian-American on a major U.S. presidential ticket, Harris summarized her life story as emblematic of the American dream on the third day of the Democratic National Convention.

    “Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods,” Harris said.

    Former U.S. President Barack Obama told the convention Trump’s failures as his successor had led to 170,000 people dead from the coronavirus, millions of lost jobs and America’s reputation badly diminished in the world.

    The evening featured a crush of women headliners, moderators and speakers, with Harris pressing the case against Trump, speaking directly to millions of women, young Americans and voters of color, constituencies Democrats need if Biden is to defeat the Republican Trump.

    “The constant chaos leaves us adrift, the incompetence makes us feel afraid, the callousness makes us feel alone. It’s a lot. And here’s the thing: we can do better and deserve so much more,” she said.

    “Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose,” she said, speaking from an austere hotel ballroom in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.

    Biden leads Trump in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, bolstered by a big lead among women voters. Throughout the convention, Democrats have appealed directly to those women voters, highlighting Biden’s co-sponsorship of the landmark Violence Against Woman Act of 1994 and his proposals to bolster childcare and protect family healthcare provisions.

    Obama, whose vice president was Biden from 2009-2017, said he had hoped that Trump would take the job seriously, come to feel the weight of the office, and discover a reverence for American democracy.

    Obama on Trump: ‘Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t’

    “Donald Trump hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t. And the consequences of that failure are severe,” Obama said in unusually blunt criticism from an ex-president.

    “Millions of jobs gone. Our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished, and our democratic institutions threatened like never before,” Obama said.

    The choice of a running mate has added significance for Biden, 77, who would be the oldest person to become president if he is elected. His age has led to speculation he will serve only one term, making Harris a potential top contender for the nomination in 2024.

    Biden named Harris, 55, as his running mate last week to face incumbents Trump, 74, and Vice President Mike Pence, 61.

    Former first lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee who lost to Trump, told the convention she constantly hears from voters who regret backing Trump or not voting at all.

    “This can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election.” Clinton said. “No matter what, vote. Vote like our lives and livelihoods are on the line, because they are.”

    Clinton, who won the popular vote against Trump but lost in the Electoral College, said Biden needs to win overwhelmingly, warning he could win the popular vote but still lose the White House.

    “Joe and Kamala can win by 3 million votes and still lose,” Clinton said. “Take it from me. So we need numbers overwhelming so Trump can’t sneak or steal his way to victory.”


    U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) accepts the Democratic vice presidential nomination during an acceptance speech delivered for 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 19, 2020. (Getty Images)

    Democrats have been alarmed by Trump’s frequent criticism of mail-in voting, and by cost-cutting changes at the U.S. Postal Service instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump supporter, that could delay mail during the election crunch. DeJoy said recently he would delay those changes until after the election.

    Democrats also broadcast videos highlighting Trump’s crackdown on immigration, opposition to gun restrictions and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

    ‘DISRESPECT’ FOR FACTS, FOR WOMEN

    Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, told the convention she had seen firsthand Trump’s “disrespect for facts, for working families, and for women in particular – disrespect written into his policies toward our health and our rights, not just his conduct. But we know what he doesn’t: that when women succeed, America succeeds.”

    U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a leading progressive who ran against Biden in the 2020 primary, spoke to the convention from a childcare center in Massachusetts and cited Biden’s proposal to make childcare more affordable as a vital part of his agenda to help working Americans.

    “It’s time to recognize that childcare is part of the basic infrastructure of this nation — it’s infrastructure for families,” she said. “Joe and Kamala will make high-quality childcare affordable for every family, make preschool universal, and raise the wages for every childcare worker.”

    In her speech later, Harris will have an opportunity to outline her background as a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica who as a district attorney, state attorney general, U.S. senator from California and now vice-presidential candidate shattered gender and racial barriers.

    She gained prominence in the Senate for her exacting interrogations of Trump nominees, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Attorney General Bill Barr.

    The Republican National Convention, also largely virtual, takes place next week.

    Democrats Officially Nominate Joe Biden to Become the Next U.S. President


    It’s official: Joe Biden is now formally a candidate to become the next President of the United States. Democrats officially nominated Biden as their 2020 candidate on Tuesday with a roll-call vote of delegates representing all states in the country during the second day of party’s historic virtual convention. (Photo: Courtesy of the Biden campaign)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 19th, 2020

    Democrats make it official, nominate Biden to take on Trump

    NEW YORK (AP) — Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden as their 2020 presidential nominee Tuesday night, as party officials and activists from across the nation gave the former vice president their overwhelming support during his party’s all-virtual national convention.

    The moment marked a political high point for Biden, who had sought the presidency twice before and is now cemented as the embodiment of Democrats’ desperate desire to defeat President Donald Trump this fall.

    The roll call of convention delegates formalized what has been clear for months since Biden took the lead in the primary elections’ chase for the nomination. It came as he worked to demonstrate the breadth of his coalition for a second consecutive night, this time blending support from his party’s elders and fresher faces to make the case that he has the experience and energy to repair chaos that Trump has created at home and abroad.

    Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry — and former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell — were among the heavy hitters on a schedule that emphasized a simple theme: Leadership matters. Former President Jimmy Carter, now 95 years old, also made an appearance.

    “Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple,” Clinton said. “At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos.”


    In this image from video, former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams, center, and others, speak during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

    Biden formally captured his party’s presidential nomination Tuesday night after being nominated by three people, including two Delaware lawmakers and 31-year-old African American security guard who became a viral sensation after blurting out “I love you” to Biden in a New York City elevator.

    Delegates from across the country then pledged their support for Biden in a video montage that featured Democrats in places like Alabama’s Edmund Pettis Bridge, a beach in Hawaii and the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

    In the opening of the convention’s second night, a collection of younger Democrats, including former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were given a few minutes to shine.

    “In a democracy, we do not elect saviors. We cast our ballots for those who see our struggles and pledge to serve,” said Abrams, 46, who emerged as a national player during her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 and was among those considered to be Biden’s running mate.

    She added: “Faced with a president of cowardice, Joe Biden is a man of proven courage.”

    On a night that Biden was formally receiving his party’s presidential nomination, the convention was also introducing his wife, Jill Biden, to the nation as the prospective first lady.


    In this image from video, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, and members of the Biden family, celebrate after the roll call during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)

    Biden is fighting unprecedented logistical challenges to deliver his message during an all-virtual convention this week as the coronavirus epidemic continues to claim hundreds of American lives each day and wreaks havoc on the economy.

    The former vice president was becoming his party’s nominee as a prerecorded roll call vote from delegates in all 50 states airs, and the four-day convention will culminate on Thursday when he accepts that nomination. His running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman of color to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination on Wednesday.

    Until then, Biden is presenting what he sees as the best of his sprawling coalition to the American electorate in a format unlike any other in history.

    For a second night, the Democrats featured Republicans.

    Powell, who served as secretary of state under George W. Bush and appeared at multiple Republican conventions in years past, was endorsing the Democratic candidate. In a video released ahead of his speech, he said, “Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family. For Joe Biden, that doesn’t need teaching.”

    Powell joins the widow of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, Cindy McCain, who was expected to stop short of a formal endorsement but talk about the mutual respect and friendship her husband and Biden shared.

    While there have been individual members of the opposing party featured at presidential conventions before, a half dozen Republicans, including the former two-term governor of Ohio, have now spoken for Democrat Biden.

    No one on the program Tuesday night has a stronger connection to the Democratic nominee than his wife, Jill Biden, a longtime teacher, was speaking from her former classroom at Brandywine High School near the family home in Wilmington, Delaware.

    “You can hear the anxiety that echoes down empty hallways. There’s no scent of new notebooks or freshly waxed floors,” she said of the school in excerpts of her speech before turning to the nation’s challenges at home. “How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole. With love and understanding—and with small acts of compassion. With bravery. With unwavering faith.”

    The Democrats’ party elders played a prominent role throughout the night.

    Clinton, who turns 74 on Tuesday, hasn’t held office in two decades. Kerry, 76, was the Democratic presidential nominee back in 2004 when the youngest voters this fall were still in diapers. And Carter is 95 years old.

    Clinton, a fixture of Democratic conventions for nearly three decades, addressed voters for roughly five minutes in a speech recorded at his home in Chappaqua, New York.

    In addition to railing against Trump’s leadership, Clinton calls Biden “a go-to-work president.” Biden, Clinton continued, is “a man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide.”…

    Kerry said in an excerpt of his remarks, “Joe understands that none of the issues of this world — not nuclear weapons, not the challenge of building back better after COVID, not terrorism and certainly not the climate crisis — none can be resolved without bringing nations together.”

    Democrats Kick Off Convention as Poll Show Biden, Harris With Double-Digit Lead


    Democrats kicked off their historic virtual convention on Monday with the keynote speaker former first lady Michelle Obama assailing the current president as unfit and warning Americans not to reelect him for a second term. Meanwhile new poll show Biden, Harris with double-digit lead over Trump. (Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    Updated: August 18th, 2020

    Michelle Obama assails Trump as Democrats open convention

    NEW YORK (AP) — Michelle Obama delivered a passionate broadside against President Donald Trump during Monday’s opening night of the Democratic National Convention, assailing the Republican president as unfit for the job and warning that the nation’s mounting crises would only get worse if he’s reelected.

    The former first lady issued an emotional call to the coalition that sent her husband to the White House, declaring that strong feelings must be translated into votes.

    “Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country,” she declared. “He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.”

    Obama added: “If you think things possibly can’t get worse, trust me, they can and they will if we don’t make a change in this election.”

    The comments came as Joe Biden introduced the breadth of his political coalition to a nation in crisis Monday night at the convention, giving voice to victims of the coronavirus pandemic, the related economic downturn and police violence and featuring both progressive Democrats and Republicans united against Trump’s reelection.


    Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The DNC released excerpts of her speech ahead of the convention start. (Democratic National Convention)

    The ideological range of Biden’s many messengers was demonstrated by former presidential contenders from opposing parties: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who championed a multi-trillion-dollar universal health care plan, and Ohio’s former Republican Gov. John Kasich, an anti-abortion conservative who spent decades fighting to cut government spending.

    The former vice president won’t deliver his formal remarks until Thursday night, but he made his first appearance just half an hour into Monday’s event as he moderated a panel on racial justice, a theme throughout the night, as was concern about the Postal Service. The Democrats accuse Trump of interfering with the nation’s mail in order to throw blocks in front of mail-in voting.

    “My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake,” Sanders declared.

    Kasich said his status as a lifelong Republican “holds second place to my responsibility to my country.”

    “In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times,” he said of his participation at the Democrats’ convention. He added: “Many of us can’t imagine four more years going down this path.”

    Read more »

    Post-ABC poll shows Biden, Harris hold double-digit lead over Trump, Pence

    The race for the White House tilts toward the Democrats, with former vice president Joe Biden holding a double-digit lead nationally over President Trump amid continuing disapproval of the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Democrats [kicked] off their convention on Monday in a mood of cautious optimism, with Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), leading Trump and Vice President Pence by 53 percent to 41 percent among registered voters. The findings are identical among a larger sample of all voting-age adults.

    Biden’s current national margin over Trump among voters is slightly smaller than the 15-point margin in a poll taken last month and slightly larger than a survey in May when he led by 10 points. In late March, as the pandemic was taking hold in the United States, Biden and Trump were separated by just two points, with the former vice president holding a statistically insignificant advantage.

    Today, Biden and Harris lead by 54 percent to 43 percent among those who say they are absolutely certain to vote and who also report voting in 2016. A month ago, Biden’s lead of 15 points overall had narrowed to seven points among similarly committed 2016 voters. Biden now also leads by low double-digits among those who say they are following the election most closely.

    Read more »

    Team Joe Announces Convention Speakers


    Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris. (Courtesy Photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: August 17th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Joe Biden’s campaign has announced its speaker lineup for the Democratic National Convention that’s set to open on Monday, August 17th in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Below are the list of speakers that will be featured “across all four nights of the Convention which will air live August 17-20 from 9:00-11:00 PM Eastern each night.”

    Related:

    ‘ሴቷ ኦባማ?’: Kamala Harris Faces Culture of Sexism & Misogyny in Ethiopian Media

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Spotlight: Wegene Ethiopian Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Virtual Celebration

    The Wegene Ethiopian Foundation will be holding its "20th Anniversary Virtual Gala of Gratitude" on October 17, 2020 (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Published: October 16, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — The Wegene Ethiopian Foundation will celebrate its 20th Anniversary this weekend. Led by Ethiopian American social entrepreneur Nini Legesse, the nonprofit organization, which was founded in 2000 in the Washington, D.C. area, provides financial assistance to youth and focuses on education-related projects in various parts of Ethiopia.

    The foundation announced that its “20th Anniversary Virtual Gala of Gratitude” will be held on October 17, 2020 from 2:00PM – 4:00PM.

    “COVID-19 has affected everyone globally and the impact to the Wegene Ethiopian Foundation has been drastic,” the organization noted in a press release. “While our commitment to sponsored families remains active, we are cognizant that the need to support the Wegene families during the pandemic has increased dramatically. Ultimately, a number of disruptions have created a financial strain on our beloved organization.”

    Despite the challenges the organization said it has put together “a fun packed” event for this weekend that includes special guests from Ethiopia such as musicians Betty G and Abegaz Kibrework Shiota, Senselet as well as actress Mestawet Aragaw and opera singer Megnot Toggia for Wegene Ethiopian Foundation’s largest annual event.

    The announcement notes that this year’s guest speaker is Dr. Senait Fisseha, Director of Global Programs at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and Chief Advisor to the World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom.

    “Above all, the Wegene sponsored families and children are ready to shower you with their heartfelt “Thank You” video messages for all you have done for them over the last 20 years,” the press release stated. “Our Wegene families will also attend the live streaming of the virtual gala from Addis Ababa.”

    If You Attend:

    Wegene’s 20th Anniversary Virtual Gala of Gratitude
    October 17, 2020 from 2:00PM – 4:00PM EST
    Please click here for tickets
    Click here to purchase Wegene product

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook

    12th Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education

    Organized by People to People Inc. (P2P) and the Network of African Diaspora Healthcare Professionals, the virtual gathering is set to be held on Saturday, October 17th, 2020 from 8:30 A.M. to 2:30 PM. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    October 16th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — This year, the annual Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care & Medical Education is aptly focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic as “a health, social, and economic crisis.”

    Organized by People to People Inc. (P2P) and the Network of African Diaspora Healthcare Professionals, the virtual gathering is scheduled to be held on Saturday, October 17th from 8:30am to 2:30pm.

    Guest speakers include Ethiopia’s Minister of Health Dr. Lia Tadesse, who will deliver the keynote address as well as Ambassador Fitsum Arega who will give the opening remark.

    The program starts with a panel titled “COVID-19: Where did we start and where are we heading?” that will be moderated by Dr. Demissie Alemayehu and featuring physicians Dr. Assefa Jejaw and Dr. Gebeyehu Teferi.

    Additional sessions in the conference include a panel discussion on “triangular partnership” with presentations by Dr. Kebede Begna (moderator), Dr. Elias Siraj, Keneni Dibaba and Obse Tesfu.

    The final event on the agenda titled “Equity and Fairness in the Era of COVID-19″ will be moderated by Dr. Egbe Osifo-Dawodu featuring panelists Dr. Kechi Achebe, Dr. Confidence Moloko and Ms. Bukayo Hanidu.

    The conference is free and pre-registration required.

    If You Attend:

    12th GLOBAL ETHIOPIAN DIASPORA CONFERENCE ON HEALTH CARE AND MEDICAL EDUCATION
    Date & Time: Saturday, October 17th, 2020 8:30AM to 2:00 PM EST
    Registration: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_4FRAZ2SBTmebtP_Bmxe36A
    Click here for more info

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    Ethiopian-American Artist Julie Mehretu’s First Career Survey to Open in Atlanta

    The Ethiopian-American artist’s first career survey arrives at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art this month, before traveling to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York next year. (Photo: Julie Mehretu’s Mogamma [A Painting in Four Parts], 2012 © JULIE MEHRETU, PHOTOGRAPH BY RYSZARD KASIEWICZ, COURTESY OF THE ARTIST, MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK, AND WHITE CUBE.

    Harper’s BAZAAR

    JULIE MEHRETU AT THE HIGH MUSEUM OF ART
    (OPENING OCTOBER 24)

    Julie Mehretu’s richly layered paintings, often formed through the accretion of colorful lines and brushstrokes over architectural plans and drawings, have explored themes such as race, history, migration, revolution, global capitalism, and technology for more than two decades.

    Now, the Ethiopian-American artist’s first career survey arrives at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art this month, before traveling to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York next year. It showcases the evolution of Mehretu’s abstract style through a selection of works, including a reunited cycle of monumental ink-and-acrylic canvases from 2012 called “Mogamma (A Painting in Four Parts),” each of which stands 15 feet tall.

    Read more »

    Related:

    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)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Interview: Ruth B., Canadian-Ethiopian Singer-Songwriter Plans to Write & Produce Her Own Album

    RUTH B: "Both my parents immigrated from Ethiopia to Edmonton about 30 years ago. Definitely a big part of my life growing up, they’re pretty adamant on making sure that my brother and I retained the culture. I grew up listening to a lot of Ethiopian music, that's definitely played its way into my songwriting." (Flaunt Magazine)

    Flaunt Magazine

    RUTH B / CANADIAN-ETHIOPIAN SINGER-SONGWRITER PLANS TO WRITE & PRODUCE HER OWN ALBUM

    The Canadian singer-songwriter exploded onto the scene with her 2015 single “Lost Boy,” which became an instant smash on the social media app Vine (rest in peace). Not only did fans instantly eat up the single, but they fell in love with Ruth’s both inner and outer beauty. The lyrics boast honesty, vulnerability, tranquility, and a level of humanness that the masses can relate to all around the world.

    Since the viral moment, the 25-year-old has racked in over 1.5 million accumulated streams and continues to deliver heartwarming ballads for people of all different walks of life. With a sound that transcends genre barriers including pop, R&B, alternative, and soul, Ruth carries a voice that you can’t help but fall in love with.

    Following the release of “If I Have A Son” in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. Ruth drops off her highly-anticipated new single titled “Dirty Nikes.” Flaunt caught up with Ruth B via Zoom, who was located in Edmonton, Alberta. Read below as we discuss her upbringing in Canada, coming up on Vine, “Lost Boy” going viral, new record “Dirty Nikes,” goals, and more!

    Being from Canada, what was the household like growing up for you?

    We’re a family of 4: my mom, my brother, and my dad. A really loving family, always together. Everybody here loves music so that was always nice, it connected us for sure.

    Biggest influences coming up?

    Definitely my family, my parents definitely inspired me a lot. My friends, then different musicians that I love growing up. I love Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys.

    Talk about being Ethiopian too and how that plays into your life and your music.

    Both my parents immigrated from Ethiopia to Edmonton about 30 years ago. Definitely a big part of my life growing up, they’re pretty adamant on making sure that my brother and I retained the culture. I grew up listening to a lot of Ethiopian music, that’s definitely played its way into my songwriting.

    How would you describe your sound?

    Honest, raw, and real. I usually like to keep it pretty simple. Over the past little bit, I’ve definitely done some evolving as a musician and ventured more into R&B. For the most part, I say it’s organic.

    At what point did you realize that you could do music for a living?

    Probably a few years ago after I started posting my original music online through an app called Vine, that’s where I got my start and posted original music. Everyone was super supportive and wanted to hear my original music, that’s definitely what inspired me to pursue it.

    What was your favorite part about the app Vine?

    I love the app, I thought it was so fun. I liked how it was only 6 seconds and that you had such a small amount of time to make a mark. That’s what made it so fun, especially for the creators on there. You had to be uber creative to get people to listen to you.

    What’s the role social media has played in your career?

    Social media is so huge! Right now especially if you’re a musician like me, I always felt very overwhelmed by the fact that I’m from Edmonton, Alberta. How are people going to hear about me? Social media is so good at making you available to everyone and anyone. Anyone can really hear your music, that’s dope.

    Read the full interview at flaunt.com »

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Boeing Must Never Disrespect Ethiopian Airlines Again

    Last week saw Ethiopian Airlines make headlines for all the right reasons: It opened the world’s first contactless airport terminal and the US Congress vindicated the airline concerning the 737-MAX 8 that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on March 10th, 2019 killing all 157 on board. (Photo: ANA)

    Independent Online

    Ethiopian Airlines (ET) made another noteworthy headline last week. It opened the world’s first contactless airport terminal, which was completed during the pandemic when airlines were closing operations.

    The $300 million (about R5 billion) project is part of Terminal 2 of the bigger Bole International Airport project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

    This headline coincided with another historic announcement involving ET. The US Congress vindicated ET in ways nobody imagined, especially Boeing – the American manufacturer of the four-month old 737-MAX 8 jet that crashed on March 10, last year, just outside Addis Ababa.

    What made the crash of flight ET 302 spectacular was not only the death of 150 or so passengers and crew, but the arrogance with which Boeing initially handled everything.

    Instead of waiting for an investigation, the company dismissively said: “Safety is Boeing’s number one priority and we have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX.”

    Although the crash was the second involving the 737 MAX 8 in less than five months, the other having been the October 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, Boeing – a $101billion Fortune 500 company – displayed disdain and insensitivity towards African life, by shirking responsibility.

    Now, the US Congress has found that the reason for the crash had nothing to do with the pilot or management of ET. The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure says: “The facts laid out in this report document a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments made by Boeing. It also illuminates numerous oversight lapses and accountability gaps by the FAA that played a significant role in the … crashes”.

    The report commended ET for having “flourished over the past two decades as it has capitalised on a strategy to connect primary and secondary markets across the African continent with North American, European, and Asian destinations”, adding its “pilot training programs and facilities have garnered praise from seasoned American pilots”.

    As Boeing prepares to return about 700 of its 737s to the skies in the gradual reopening of international air travel it will do so while eating humble pie. It hopefully has learnt to duly respect ET – one of its major customers.

    The bottom line remains that the 737 MAX 8 had a technical fault due to the aircraft design. The design improvement was intended to make the jet travel longer distances and carry more passengers. The new bigger 737 MAX 8 shape shifted the engine of the aircraft forward, without any major redesign of the 737 fuselage – which apparently has not changed in five decades.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Boeing to Stop 737 Max Production (AP)

    Internal FAA review saw high risk of 737 MAX crashes

    Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report

    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

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    In Pictures: Ethiopians Celebrate Meskel

    The lighting of the traditional Demera bonfire on the eve of Meskel Festival, which is part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, took place at Meskel square in Addis Ababa on Saturday, September 26th, 2020. (Photo: @fanatelevision/Twitter)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 27th, 2020

    WASHINGTON, DC (TADIAS) — Ethiopians celebrated the colorful annual Meskel festival on Saturday with the lighting of the traditional Demera bonfire.

    The main event, which is part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, took place at Meskel square in Addis Ababa in “the presence of Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, President Sahle-Work Zewde and Adanech Abiebie, deputy mayor of Addis Ababa,” the state affiliated Fana Broadcasting reported. “On the occasion, Abune Mathias called on political parties to sit down together and find solution for their differences and the youth to refrain from destructive activities.”


    The patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Abune Mathias speaking during the celebration in Addis Ababa on Saturday, September 26th, 2020. (Photo: @fanatelevision/Twitter)

    On Twitter, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed relief that the event in the capital had taken place without violence — underscoring one of the major issues the country is currently grappling with in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Thank you to all who enabled the Meskel Demera celebrations to pass peacefully,” the PM wrote. “The efforts of the security sector together with the discipline & commitment to peace shown by youth is exemplary.” He added: Let us continue building on this collaborative & concerted effort to guard our peace.”

    According to Fana: “Adanech Abiebie, deputy mayor of Addis Ababa city, for her part stressed the need to stand together and strengthen unity to beat poverty. She also called on the haves to share with the have-nots during the festival.”


    (Photo: @fanatelevision/Twitter)


    (Photo: @fanatelevision/Twitter)


    (Photo: @fanatelevision/Twitter)


    (Photo: @fanatelevision/Twitter)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopian Americans Hold Virtual Town Hall Ahead of November Election

    The nationwide town hall event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 plans to emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process. The gathering will feature panel discussions, PSAs, and cultural engagements. (Courtesy photos)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 23rd, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — Ethiopian Americans are holding a virtual town hall this week ahead of the November 3rd U.S. election.

    The nationwide event, which will be held on Thursday, September 24th, will emphasize the importance of exercising our citizenship right to vote and to participate in the U.S. democratic process.

    According to organizers the town hall — put together by the ‘Habeshas Vote’ initiative and the non-profit organization Habesha Networks — will feature various panel discussions, public service announcements and cultural engagements.

    “We intend on discussing various subject matters related to civic engagement issues affecting our community at the moment,” the announcement notes, highlighting that by the end of the conference “participants will be able to understand the importance of taking ownership of our local communities, learn more about the voting process and gain a better [appreciation] of why we should all care about voting.”

    Speakers include Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles; Dr. Menna Demissie, Senior Vice President of Policy Analysis & Research at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body; Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term this year; and Girmay Zahilay, Councilman in King County, Washington.


    (Courtesy photos)

    Additional presenters include: Andom Ghebreghiorgis. former Congressional candidate from New York; Samuel Gebru, former candidate for City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and current managing director of Black Lion Strategies; as well as Hannah Joy Gebresilassie, journalist and community advocate; and Debbie Almraw, writer and poet.

    Entertainment will be provided by Elias Aragaw, the artist behind @TheFunkIsReal, and DJ Sammy Sam.

    The announcement notes that “voting is a core principle of being American, but to exercise this basic right we must be registered to vote! That’s why Habesha Networks and Habeshas Vote are proud partners of When We All Vote and supporters of National Voter Registration Day.”

    If You Attend:

    Click here to learn more and register for the Virtual Town Hall .

    Related:

    Ethiopian Americans: Election is Approaching, Let’s Make Sure our Voices are Heard

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Interview: Helen Amelga, Founder of Ethiopian Democratic Club of LA

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Q&A: Prof. Zenebe Beyene on Ethiopian Election and Regional Tensions

    Professor Zenebe Beyene, coordinator of international programs at University of Mississippi, speaks about Ethiopia at European Institute of Peace event. His presentation focused on “Ethiopian Election and Regional Tensions: The Need for an Inclusive and Participatory National Dialogue.” (Courtesy photo)

    UM School of Journalism and New Media

    UM professor speaks about Ethiopia at European Institute of Peace event

    On Aug. 31, 2020, professor Zenebe Beyene, assistant professor and coordinator of international programs, participated in an event organized by the European Institute of Peace and was one of the three panelists. His presentation focused on “Ethiopian Election and Regional Tensions: The Need for an Inclusive and Participatory National Dialogue.”

    Q. Can you tell me a little about the EIP program? Why was the program held?

    A. The program was to discuss the Ethiopian election, regional tensions, and the implications for regional peace and stability. Ethiopia has become one of the most polarized countries in the region. The polarization has been compounded by the competing, conflicting, and toxic narratives that some politicians and activists irresponsibly disseminate via various platforms.

    The danger of these narratives to the integrity of Ethiopia as a nation and the most immediate consequences of mutual destruction could not be overstated. But, this danger may not be limited to Ethiopia, as the political spillover effects of a destabilized Ethiopia will have unpredictable destabilization implications for the horn of Africa as well. As you all know, for the longest time, from the eastern-most nation of Somalia to the western-most nation of Senegal, Ethiopia was and is one of the very few countries that have been stable. If Ethiopia loses its stability, the odds are that the region will face the same fate.

    Indeed, maintaining Ethiopia’s stability has important regional implications. Currently, Ethiopian troops participate in peacekeeping missions in Somalia and South Sudan/Sudan. Ethiopia also serves as home for one of the largest refugee camps in the region. Given Ethiopia’s contributions to regional peace and stability, it is in the best interest of the international community to support peace initiatives. It is here the media’s role in promoting peace and reconciliation comes in.

    Q. Can you tell me a little about your presentation for those who were not able to see or hear it? What ideas did you share with others involved in the program?

    A. My presentation focused on the regional tension, its immediate consequences and the way forward. As part of this topic, I emphasized the importance of an inclusive and participatory national dialogue. I believe national dialogue will lay the foundation for lasting peace in Ethiopia. It will also help us change the focus from politics to people. Focusing more on people than on politics will help people build and promote mutual understanding.


    Zenebe Beyene Ph.D. (courtesy photo)

    This approach may also help liberate people from deep-rooted hate. Like many other societies, Ethiopians have suffered injustices in the hands of successive leaders. Addressing those injustices and promoting accountability is long overdue. Promoting national dialogue will liberate people from hate, and finding commonality in humanity will help heal the wounds and pains that many are suffering from. The latter two goals are just as important as addressing historical injustices.

    Healing the fractured political culture in Ethiopia should be the priority, and that can be done through a genuine national dialogue. People should be convinced that it is in their best interest to stand together against extremism and hostility. National dialogue should not be considered a party issue; it is about promoting national unity and the much-needed healing. The sooner we embark on national dialogue, the better the outcome for the region.

    While the discussion focuses on Ethiopia and the horn of Africa, it has important global implications. First, the horn of Africa is a hot-spot, and any instability in the region will create a safe-haven for extremist groups. Second, the issue of promoting peace through an inclusive national dialogue and finding common-ground among various stakeholders is a much-needed intervention in many places around the world including the U.S.

    Related:

    Ethiopia Braces for Election Amid COVID-19

    Abiy Ahmed on the Threats to Ethiopia’s Democratic Transition (The Economist)

    UPDATE: At Least 120 Killed in Ethiopian Ethnic Clashes This Month (Bloomberg)

    Inclusive National Dialogue is a Priority for Ethiopia (INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES)

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopian-American Author Maaza Mengiste on Booker Prize Shortlist

    The prize committee announced this week that the New York-based writer is among the six authors shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize for her acclaimed new novel 'The Shadow King.' (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 18th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Ethiopian-American author Maaza Mengiste has been named one of the final candidates for the prestigious Booker Prize.

    The prize committee announced this week that the New York-based writer is among the six authors shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize for her acclaimed new novel The Shadow King.

    The shortlist was chosen out of 162 books by a panel of five judges: Margaret Busby (chair), editor, literary critic and former publisher; Lee Child, author; Sameer Rahim, author and critic; Lemn Sissay, writer and broadcaster; and Emily Wilson, classicist and translator.

    “As judges we read 162 books, many of them conveying important, sometimes uncannily similar and prescient messages,” the announcement said. “The best novels often prepare our societies for valuable conversations, and not just about the inequities and dilemmas of the world − whether in connection with climate change, forgotten communities, old age, racism, or revolution when necessary − but also about how magnificent the interior life of the mind, imagination and spirit is, in spite of circumstance.”

    The press release notes that “Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Fulbright Scholar and professor in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation programme at Queens College, she is the author of The Shadow King and Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, named one of the Guardian’s Ten Best Contemporary African Books. Her work can be found in the New Yorker, Granta, and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in New York City.”

    This year’s winner will be unveiled on November 17th during a virtual event that will be broadcast live on BBC from London.

    Related:

    Maaza Mengiste on the untold story of Ethiopia’s women warriors during Italian occupation


    Ethopian-American writer Maaza Mengiste, author of the novels Beneath the Lion’s Gaze and The Shadow King, spoke with Eleanor Wachtel in 2020. (Nina Subin)

    CBC

    In her new novel, The Shadow King, Maaza Mengiste draws on surprising discoveries about the role of women during Italy’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia — a conflict that many consider to be the start of the Second World War.

    The story revolves around Hirut, a young Ethiopian woman who takes up arms to join the fight against Mussolini’s brutal occupation. In the course of writing the book, Mengiste discovered that her own great-grandmother had been on the front lines. The novel also features a sensitive portrait of Emperor Haile Selassie, who ruled Ethiopia for more than 40 years.

    Ambitious and epic in sweep, The Shadow King is an unflinching exploration of history and memory, class and gender, and the perspectives of women and girls during war. Marlon James has described it as “beautiful and devastating,” while Salmon Rushdie proclaimed it “a brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth.”

    Born in Addis Ababa in 1971, Mengiste fled the country with her family during the Ethiopian Revolution, moving to Nigeria and Kenya before being sent alone to the United States at age seven. She now makes her home in New York.

    She spoke to Eleanor Wachtel from the CBC’s London studio.

    These legends carried me through

    “I grew up with the stories of a poorly equipped Ethiopian military confronting one of the most technologically advanced militaries in the world at that time.

    “For a child, this was a story that felt epic. It was mythic. We were not supposed to win — and yet we did. I grew up imagining these heroic figures. I carried those figures with me when I moved from Ethiopia eventually to settle in the United States.

    “They helped me understand what it meant to be Ethiopian, what it meant to have a history.

    “These stories, the myths and the legends: my images of those soldiers, I really think, carried me through some difficult times as an immigrant and as a young girl who was black in a town that didn’t understand her.”

    Women and warfare

    “I had no idea [about my own great-grandmother's experience in the war]. I wrote this book, did my research and searched for women who were fighting in this war — without any sense of my own great-grandmother’s story. When the book was almost done, I visited Ethiopia on a last-minute research trip while I was in the process of editing the book.

    “My mother went with me on this trip, as she has done on several other research excursions I’ve made to Ethiopia. In conversation with her, I told her about a photograph I found of a woman in uniform, and how excited I was about that.

    “It confirmed what I had always thought, which was that these women really existed — and she casually said, ‘Well, what about your great-grandmother?’

    “It was almost as if she had spoken in a foreign language. My brain couldn’t conceive it. I turned to her and said, ‘What did you say?’

    “She told me the story of my great-grandmother, who had enlisted to fight in the war — and who had taken her father before the village elders and demanded the gun that was his and would eventually be passed down to her. But she wanted it right then: she went to war and I had never heard this story before in all the years of working on this book.

    “I heard the stories of men in my grandfather’s generation who fought. I heard the stories of the ways that women took care of the wounded, buried the dead and collected water. I heard the stories of people in very traditional roles of warfare. But I had no sense that women did much more in that war.

    “I had no sense that those stories also were running in my own family.”


    An undated picture of Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, reviewing troops in Addis Ababa. (AFP via Getty Images)

    A point of pride

    “The confrontation with Italy — both the first one in the late 1800s and then the one in 1935 — helped establish a narrative of Ethiopian history. It established Ethiopia as a place, a country that other Africans, other African-Americans could look toward with pride. It helped Ethiopians figure out a way to define themselves.

    “[These were] people who were supposed to be conquered, and yet were not. It established a way to think about the country and the people. I grew up with some of that rhetoric, that legend, the myths. It’s something that went beyond Ethiopia as well.

    “It helped define a way of blackness, a way of being African, which was something that was very different from the stories of colonialism, of being enslaved. These were people who fought against colonizing forces, who fought against Europeans, who fought against the white men and won.

    “That was a source of pride for people across the world — from Harlem all the way into Nigeria and Ghana.”

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    UPDATE: At Least 120 Killed in Ethiopian Ethnic Clashes This Month (Bloomberg)

    Ethiopia has been rocked by deadly clashes as a push by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for reforms fueled political tensions. The looming changes have partly stocked regional factionalism and awakened previously suppressed rivalries among ethnic communities. (Getty Images)

    Bloomberg

    By Simon Marks and Samuel Gebre

    Updated: September 17, 2020

    Opposition National Movement of Amhara reports killings

    Prime Minister Abiy starts ‘operation’ against perpetrators

    Intercommunal fighting in Ethiopia left at least 120 people dead this month and forced hundreds more to flee their homes, according to the opposition National Movement of Amhara.

    The killings in Ethiopia’s western region of Benishangul-Gumuz started on Sept. 6 and followed similar attacks by militiamen over the past months, Dessalegn Chanie, a spokesman of the NaMA party, said by phone on Thursday. Some victims were forcefully taken to a school and shot, while others were attacked with spears, Dessalegn said, citing a hospitalized survivor.

    The Ethiopia Human Rights Commission said in a statement it was “deeply concerned” by the security situation in the region. The regional authorities should open investigations into the killings, it said.

    Ethiopia has been rocked by deadly clashes as a push by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for reforms fueled political tensions. The looming changes have partly stocked regional factionalism and awakened previously suppressed rivalries among ethnic communities.

    The “sporadic security incidents” are “perpetrated by groups aimed at overturning the reforms journey,” Abiy said Thursday on his Twitter account. “A special operation will be activated to hold accountable all perpetrators with the oversight of the Attorney General.”

    The violence comes after deadly protests in June, following the killing of prominent singer Hachalu Hundessa in June. About 200 people were killed and the government has since arrested 9,000 people, according to the nation’s rights commission.

    Related:

    Abiy Ahmed on the Threats to Ethiopia’s Democratic Transition (The Economist)

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    U.S. Effort to Block Ethiopian Dam Recalls Legacy of British Colonialism (IDN)

    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde in Addis Ababa on February 18, 2020. (State Department Photo)

    IDN

    Updated: September 14th, 2020

    NEW YORK (IDN) – Based on guidance from President Trump, the State Department is suspending $130 million in security-related aid to Ethiopia over a nearly-completed dam that would lift Ethiopia from poverty and end the shadow of British colonialism that favoured Egypt.

    Programs on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, congressional aides said. The cuts would not impact U.S. funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, they said.

    When fully completed, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam – Africa’s largest hydroelectric project – would be a game-changer for Ethiopia where some 65 million Ethiopians, comprising 40-45% of the population, have no access to electricity. Plus, it would contribute to transforming neighbouring South Sudan, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia and Tanzania with desperately needed electrical power.

    The U.S. move has sparked outrage over its apparent interference in Ethiopia’s development strategy. “This action … is more than an outrageous encroachment of Ethiopia’s sovereignty,” wrote economic analyst Lawrence Freeman. “It is an assault on the right of emerging nations to take actions to improve the living conditions of their people.”

    Egypt insists that a 1959 Anglo-Egyptian agreement – when both Egypt and Sudan were British colonies – is the legal framework for control of the Nile. That treaty granted Egypt sole veto power over construction projects on the Nile or any of its tributaries which might interfere with Nile waters.

    By 2013, Egyptians at a secret meeting were caught on a hot mike proposing to simply destroy the dam altogether.

    Officials in Addis Ababa deny that the Renaissance Dam will choke off water to Egypt, saying the dam will benefit countries in the region, including as a source of affordable electric power.

    Even the Rev. Jesse Jackson weighed in on the matter. He cited hydro-politics dominated by Egyptian hegemony to control and own the Nile rather than regulate or cooperate.

    “The dam was built without help from the World Bank,” he wrote, “but with the pennies and dinars of shoe shiners and poor farmers. They saw the hydroelectric generating juggernaut as a source of Ethiopian independence and pride. Above all, they saw it as the centrepiece of their bid in their fight against poverty.”

    Jackson concluded: “All people of conscience and justice around the world need to condemn the neo-colonial treaty that the US government and the World Bank are imposing on Ethiopia, a peaceful nation whose only desire is to harness its natural resources to elevate its people out of poverty.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 14 September 2020]

    U.S. – ETHIOPIA Relations Take A Wrong Turn: By Ambassador Johnnie Carson


    Johnnie Carson, who served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa from 2009 to 2012 during the first Obama administration, is a senior adviser at the United States Institute of Peace. A career diplomat, he served as U.S. ambassador to Uganda, Zimbabwe and Kenya. (Photo: AllAfrica)

    AllAfrica

    By Ambassador Johnnie Carson

    Updated: September 10th, 2020

    The Trump administration’s decision to suspend and delay development assistance to Ethiopia over the filling of the new Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) is misguided and shortsighted. The move will undermine Washington’s relations and influence in one of Africa’s most significant states.

    The decision taken in late August was intended to push Ethiopia into accepting a negotiated solution favored by Egypt. At issue is a timetable for filling the new dam and an agreement on how water from the dam will be allocated to Egypt and Sudan.

    Although the announcement to suspend Ethiopia’s assistance was confirmed to reporters by officials at the State Department, the impetus behind this decision came from the Treasury Department, which has managed this issue for the administration, mostly to the total exclusion of the State Department and its Africa Bureau, which is led by a former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia is one of the most widely respected countries in Africa. Headquarters of the African Union, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous state, a strong U.S. counterterrorism partner in the Horn of Africa and – in recent years – the fastest growing economy in Africa.

    The government unlikely to bow to U.S. pressure over the dam, which enjoys broad support.

    Construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam has been a central pillar in the Ethiopian government’s continuing effort to accelerate the country’s economic growth. When completed, the dam is expected to increase Ethiopia’s electrical generation, expand agricultural production and lift millions of Ethiopians out of poverty.

    Amid internal regional, religious and political differences, construction of the GERD is one of the few things that all Ethiopians support. For domestic political reasons, the Ethiopian government is likely not to bow quickly or at all to American political pressure on the dam.

    The aid suspension is also coming at a very critical moment in Ethiopia’s domestic politics. For the past eighteen months, Ethiopia has been engaged in a sensitive and complicated political transition that could have boosted the country’s potential democratic trajectory. However, national elections that were scheduled for August 2020 were postponed because of the threat of Covid 19, and the evolution of the transition has now been thrown seriously off track by civil unrest, political assassinations and a systematic closing of political space.

    As political unrest has increased, Prime Minister Abiy Amed’s popularity has declined and his political control has been challenged. Leaders in Ethiopia’s nine regional states are seriously divided on the shape that Ethiopia’s new democratic transition should take, and Abiy – who won a Nobel Peace prize for ending a long running dispute with Eritrea – is struggling to mend relations between different leaders and ethnic groups in his own country.

    The prime minister – once admired country wide – has lost the support of many in his own Oromo community, largely because of the arrest and detention of some the region’s most popular opposition political figures.

    Suspension of aid seriously reduces U.S. influence at a time when Ethiopian democracy is threatened

    Ethiopia’s political transition and long-term stability are under threat, and the United States should be focused on Ethiopia’s cascading domestic and economic problems, not on leveraging assistance to push Ethiopia into supporting Egypt’s position on the GERD.

    The potential for serious unrest and civil war could increase in coming days. Elections are taking place in Tigray province this week, in spite of a central government ban. Tigray, the home of Ethiopia’s once-dominant leadership class, has been operating independently and in open defiance of Prime Minister Abiy for the past two years.


    The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd), under construction since 2011, began holding back water after the the Blue Nile swelled during heavy rains in July. (Photo: ENA)

    U.S. efforts should be focused on keeping Ethiopia from descending into a long period of authoritarian rule, intrastate conflict and instability.

    More broadly, the Trump administration’s actions threaten to generate problems across the region. The suspension of aid and a downturn in relations could open the door wider for China and others to expand their influence in Addis and increase the government’s current authoritarian tendencies.

    Washington’s actions could also embolden domestic opposition groups to take a more belligerent stand against the Abiy government, resulting in an upsurge in fighting in Ethiopia and a large outflow of refugees into neighboring states.

    If Ethiopia becomes distracted by internal conflict, al Shabaab terrorists in neighboring Somalia could expand their activities in Ethiopia’s large Somali region. And Eritrea, which has a history of regional conflict and covert interventionism, could take advantage of the situation to destabilize Ethiopia and increase its regional influence.

    Ethiopia’s democratic transition is now stalled, and what happens over the coming months could determine whether it falters and fails. Having suspended development assistance and angered the Ethiopian leadership, the ability of the U.S. to engage on Ethiopia’s democratic, human rights and domestic security issues has been diminished.

    Thoughtful action is required now. The United States needs to act fast to salvage its relationship with Ethiopia and find a way to stop the downward spiral in Ethiopia’s increasingly fissiparous and fractious domestic politics.

    It needs to turn over responsibility for handling Ethiopian issues to the State Department, where experienced Africanists and regional experts can provide more informed policy guidance on how to move forward and manage Ethiopia ties. It needs to prioritize support for Ethiopia’s political transition – hopefully towards greater democracy – above resolution of the GERD issue.

    Regional concerns about equitable use of the Nile waters, while important, will be of minor relevance if Ethiopia becomes engulfed in civil strife and begins to fracture like Yugoslavia did in the 1970s.

    Build back relations by boosting diplomatic outreach and increasing assistance

    Among the steps that should be taken is to keep the current ambassador in his post for another year. Michael Raynor is a skilled diplomat who knows Ethiopia and its current leadership. This is not the time to change leadership in the Addis embassy.

    Also, the administration should dispatch Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Tibor Nagy to discuss U.S.-Ethiopia relations and the GERD issue and seek a face-saving way to pull back the suspension of development assistance. To help put bilateral relations back on track, there needs to be an increase in U.S. assistance to support democratic political change and for development programs and for boosting commercial interactions.

    Finally, Washington should work with its European and African partners to build a “Friends of Ethiopia” coalition to strengthen diplomatic dialogue and coordinate greater assistance to one of Africa’s most important states.

    The Ethiopians may not say it bluntly or loudly, but the suspension of assistance has tarnished relations with Washington. By acting wisely and skillfully, the U.S. can probably still prevent the damage from being deeper and more enduring.

    Related:

    Jesse Jackson Calls on Congress to ‘Restore Funding for Ethiopia’ and to ‘Investigate’ the Trump Administration


    Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson is urging U.S. Congress: “to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.” (Photo: Rev. Jesse Jackson/Facebook page)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Taias Staff

    Updated: September 4th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling for Congress to reinstate the recently suspended U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and to investigate the Trump administration for linking the surprising decision to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

    Jackson made the appeal Thursday in a press release shared by his organization Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

    Jackson said he urges the “US Congress to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.”

    The Trump administration confirmed this week that it has cut aid to Ethiopia over GERD. According to the Associated Press “it was an unusual example of Trump’s direct intervention on an issue in Africa, a continent he hasn’t visited as president and rarely mentions publicly.”

    AP added: “On the guidance of President Trump, the State Department said Wednesday that the United States was suspending some aid to Ethiopia over the “lack of progress” in the country’s talks with Egypt and Sudan over a disputed dam project it is completing on the Nile River…A State Department spokesperson told The Associated Press the decision to “temporarily pause” some aid to a key regional security ally “reflects our concern about Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to begin to fill the dam before an agreement and all necessary dam safety measures were in place.”

    In his press release Jackson said: “This is unfortunate and unjust, and the U.S. Congress must intervene, investigate and fully restore aid to Ethiopia.”

    Below is the full press release courtesy of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition:

    REV. JESSE L. JACKSON, SR. CONDEMNED THE APPROVED PLAN TO STOP US FOREIGN AID TO ETHIOPIA AND CALLED ON CONGRESS TO INTERVENE.

    September 3rd, 2020 | Release

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Thursday, September 3, 2020

    Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. condemned the approved plan to stop US Foreign Aid to Ethiopia and called on Congress to Intervene.

    News reports that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to stop $100 million in U.S. foreign aid to Ethiopia, because of the country’s ongoing dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD), finally confirmed what we all knew from the beginning, that the U.S. has never been an impartial mediator in this conflict and instead fully supportive of Egypt.

    With this action, the Trump administration, under the leadership of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (not the State Department), has fulfilled the request made last year by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, in essence, urging President Trump to assist them. This is unfortunate and unjust, and the U.S. Congress must intervene, investigate and fully restore aid to Ethiopia.

    Cross boundary water-sharing agreements are thorny issues that are not easily sorted out. It takes good faith and cooperation from all sides to eek out a win-win solution. The conflict between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan has been exacerbated by external interventions, especially the U.S. government.

    This is a conflict mainly between two founding members of the African Union (AU), Ethiopia and Egypt. The AU has a Peace and Security Council that serves as “the standing decision-making organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts and is the key pillar of the African Peace and Security Architecture that is the framework for promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.” This U.S. action is aimed at undermining the ongoing negotiations under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and the current AU Chairperson.

    To top it off, in a tweet a few months ago, the World Bank President David R. Malpass let it be known that he has spoken “with Ethiopian PM @AbiyAhmedAli on recent @WorldBank financing approvals important to unifying Ethiopia and its neighbor’s ability to sustain constructive dialogue + cooperation on water sharing.” To my knowledge, no statement was issued to tie the World Bank’s financial support to Egypt with its cooperation (or lack thereof) on water sharing with Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia is a reliable and very stable democratic ally of the U.S. on many vital fronts and should be treated with respect and dignity.

    History will judge the U.S. government and the World Bank’s unjust intervention to deny 110 million Ethiopians an “equitable and reasonable” share of the Nile River for their development needs. This is nothing short of condemning a black African nation and her population to abject and perpetual poverty. No one should condemn Egypt to suffer unduly, considering that 97 percent of its population depends on the Nile River. Justice requires treating both nations and their over 200 million people fairly with justice the result on both sides.

    Looking at the World Bank data on electric power consumption (kilowatt per capita) shows how much Ethiopia needs the GERD. In 2014, the most recent year for which World Bank data is available, the average for the world per capita electric power consumption is 3133 kilowatts. The figure for Egypt is 1683. For Ethiopia it is a mere 69 (sixty-nine). A former World Bank Deputy Global Manager, Yonas Biru, wondered how Ethiopia could survive with next to nothing-electric power, in a recent article in Addis Fortune.

    His answer was as revealing as it is saddening. “The nation rides on the shoulders and backs of women. From cradle to grave, women carry Ethiopia on their back, literally. Girls are condemned to fetching water from miles away rather than going to school. Their mothers travel just as far and spend just as much time collecting firewood.”

    The GERD, Biru said, signifies “the emancipation of Ethiopian women. The interventions by Egypt, the Arab League, the World Bank and the U.S. to delay and scale back the GERD is a setback for women. It is a revocation of the emancipation of Ethiopian girls and women.”

    Ethiopia, one of the poorest black African nations, is standing alone against the mighty forces of the U.S. and the World Bank. Befitting of its history, Ethiopia remains unflinching with its indomitable sovereignty and unwavering spirit with its trust in what its people call “Ethiopia’s God.”

    The World Bank’s professed dream is “A World Free of Poverty.” It behooves me to ask if Ethiopia, too, is in the Bank’s dream. The World Bank board of directors need to explain to over 50 million girls and women in Ethiopia why the World Bank stands against their economic emancipation.

    As to the US government, I call upon the US Congress: (1) to fully restore the funding for Ethiopia; and (2) to investigate and demand information regarding the justification for halting aid to Ethiopia from both the State Department and Treasury Department.

    Related:

    Cutting Aid to Ethiopia Haunts Trump in Election


    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said. (Image: Tulsa World)

    AA

    Addis Getachew | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

    Updated: September 2nd, 2020

    Ethiopian-Americans against US cutting $130M aid to Ethiopia to enforce Egypt friendly agreement on sharing Nile waters

    The US has now formally stepped in, to support Egypt and punish Ethiopia over the river water sharing dispute between the two African countries.

    Last week, the Trump administration announced blocking a $130 million aid that had been earmarked to support Ethiopia’s defense and anti-terrorism efforts.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the cut in aid, ostensibly to build pressure on Ethiopia, a rugged landlocked country in the Horn of Africa.

    While it is not clear to what extent the US decision will affect Ethiopia, but it has united everyone in the country and the diaspora.

    “We have officially requested the US administration that they give us an explanation,” said Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Washington Fitsum Arega, while taking to Twitter.

    David Shinn, a former US envoy to Ethiopia said playing political hardball with Ethiopia will not only fail to obtain the desired result but will probably ensure that the Ethiopian diaspora in the US will rally against Trump and spoil his chances in the close contest. “There are sizeable Ethiopian-American communities in key states such as Georgia, Texas, and Virginia,” he said.

    Ethiopian government led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had earlier rejected an agreement brokered by the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in February related to the filling and operation of the $5billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia said the US proposal was heavily tilted towards Egypt.

    Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa have strained over recent times, over the filling and operation of the dam that has come upon the Blue Nile, one of the tributaries of the River Nile.

    Since June, the African Union has been mediating now to evolve a win-win formula between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt.

    The AU has entrusted its Bureau of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government including South Africa, Kenya, Mali, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to prevent any escalation between these countries. The European Union, the World Bank, and the US continue as observers in the group.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Mike Pompeo is the Worst U.S. Secretary of State in History


    Mike Pompeo’s handing of the Trump administration’s foreign policy “has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies,” writes The Washington Post’s Deputy editorial page editor and columnist Jackson Diehl. (Photo: The Washington Post)

    The Washington Post

    Updated: August 30, 2020

    As secretary of state, Mike Pompeo has presided over the collapse of negotiations with North Korea, the failure of a pressure campaign against Iran and an abortive attempt to oust Venezuela’s authoritarian regime. On his watch, China has carried out genocide in its Xinjiang region and the suppression of Hong Kong’s freedoms without resistance from Washington until it was too late.

    Pompeo has failed to fill dozens of senior positions at the State Department, and hundreds of career diplomats have left or been driven out in political purges. Morale is at a historic low: In staff surveys, there has been a 34 percent increase between 2016 and 2019 in those who say the State Department’s senior leaders “did not maintain high levels of honesty and integrity.” Maybe that’s because Pompeo himself has defied legal mandates from Congress, skirted a law restricting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, tasked staffers with carrying out errands for himself and his wife, and fired the inspector general who was investigating his violations.

    Last week, Pompeo crossed yet another ethical line by speaking before the Republican National Convention, thereby disregarding the State Department’s explicit legal guidance against such appearances. The speech he delivered was weak and littered with false or simply ludicrous claims, such as that the recent diplomatic accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is “a deal that our grandchildren will read about in their history books.” Maybe if they major in Middle Eastern affairs.

    With his ambitions likely fixed on a presidential candidacy in 2024, Pompeo is undoubtedly hoping most of the diplomatic disasters will ultimately be blamed on President Trump, especially if Trump loses the November election. But the former Kansas congressman should not get off so easy. Yes, it’s Trump’s foreign policy. But Pompeo’s steering of it has led to some of the worst diplomatic damage the United States has suffered in decades — especially in relations with its closest allies.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Pompeo approves plans to halt aid to Ethiopia over Nile dam dispute


    Getty Images

    The Hill

    08/28/20

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved plans to halt some U.S. aid to Ethiopia, Foreign Policy reported on Friday.

    The halt in aid comes as the U.S. mediates a dispute over a dam on the Nile River that’s pitted Ethiopia against Egypt and Sudan, according to Foreign Policy. The decision could impact up to $130 million of assistance to programs including security, counter-terrorism and anti-human trafficking.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” a U.S. official told the magazine. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

    Ethiopia and Egypt are at a standstill in negotiations over how the dam on a tributary of the Nile will be managed.

    Egypt and Sudan, which depend on the Nile for much of their fresh water, are opposed to any development they say will impact the flow downstream, including the 6,000-megawatt power plant Ethiopia hopes to develop at the dam.

    Is the Trump Administration Using Aid to Bully Ethiopia Over Nile Dam?


    It’s too bad that the U.S. has decided to take the wrong side in a local African dispute regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. As the following FP article reports the Trump administration is cutting off “some foreign assistance” to Ethiopia over GERD. The scheme may be intended to tip the scale in Egypt’s favor, but if history is any indication this kind of foreign intimidation does not work in Ethiopia. It’s also worth mentioning that the dam, a $4.5 billion hydroelectric project, is being fully funded by the Ethiopian people. (Getty Images)

    Foreign Policy

    U.S. Halts Some Foreign Assistance Funding to Ethiopia Over Dam Dispute with Egypt, Sudan, Some U.S. officials fear the move will harm Washington’s relationship with Addis Ababa.

    Updated: AUGUST 27, 2020

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved a plan to halt U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia as the Trump administration attempts to mediate a dispute with Egypt and Sudan over the East African country’s construction of a massive dam on the Nile River.

    The decision, made this week, could affect up to nearly $130 million in U.S. foreign assistance to Ethiopia and fuel new tensions in the relationship between Washington and Addis Ababa as it carries out plans to fill the dam, according to U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the matter. Officials cautioned that the details of the cuts are not yet set in stone and the finalized number could amount to less than $130 million.

    Programs that are on the chopping block include security assistance, counterterrorism and military education and training, anti-human trafficking programs, and broader development assistance funding, officials and congressional aides said. The cuts would not impact U.S. funding for emergency humanitarian relief, food assistance, or health programs aimed at addressing COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, officials said.

    The move is meant to address the standoff between Ethiopia and other countries that rely on the Nile River downstream that have opposed the construction of the massive dam project, called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt sees the dam’s construction as a core security issue given the country’s heavy reliance on the river for fresh water and agriculture, and in the past Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has hinted his country could use military force to halt the dam’s construction.

    Some Ethiopian officials have said they believe the Trump administration is taking Egypt’s side in the dispute. President Donald Trump has shown a fondness for Sisi, reportedly calling him his “favorite dictator” during a G-7 summit last year. Officials familiar with negotiations said the Trump administration has not approved parallel cuts in foreign assistance to Egypt.

    Administration officials have repeatedly assured all sides that Washington is an impartial mediator in the negotiations, which mark one of the few diplomatic initiatives in Africa that the president has played a personal and active role in. These officials pointed out that Egypt has accused the United States of taking Ethiopia’s side in the dispute as well.

    “There’s still progress being made, we still see a viable path forward here,” said one U.S. official. “The U.S. role is to do everything it can to help facilitate an agreement between the three countries that balance their interests. At the end of the day it has to be an agreement that works for these three countries.”

    But the move is likely to face sharp pushback on Capitol Hill, according to Congressional aides familiar with the matter. State Department officials briefed Congressional staff on the decision on Thursday, the aides said, and during the briefing insisted that the U.S.-Ethiopia relationship would remain strong despite a cutback in aid because the United States can have tough conversations “with friends.”

    “This is a really fucking illogical way to show a ‘friend’ you really care,” one Congressional aide told Foreign Policy in response.

    Read more »

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    UPDATE: The Ethiopians Detained in Saudi

    Images published recently by Human Rights Watch showed shirtless and scrawny men huddled together in windowless cells. (AFP)

    Telegraph

    By Zecharias Zelalem and Will Brown

    Updated: September 15th, 2020

    About 16,000 migrants being held in just one Saudi centre, Ethiopian official reveals: Numbers being held in appalling conditions may be far greater than first thought

    Details are beginning to emerge showing that the sheer scale of Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on African migrants is far greater than anyone imagined.

    Last month a Sunday Telegraph investigation found that hundreds if not thousands of mainly Ethiopian migrants are being kept in appalling conditions in centres across the Gulf Kingdom as part of a drive to stop the spread of coronavirus.

    Using smuggled phones detainees detailed horrific accounts of disease, beatings and suicide.

    But recent statements from Abdo Yassin, Ethiopia’s Consul General in Jeddah suggest that the centres highlighted by the Telegraph are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Last week, Mr Yassin said that dozens of prisons are housing Ethiopians and that about 16,000 Ethiopian migrants are being held at just one detention centre at Al Shumasi, near the holy city of Mecca.

    “Jeddah has over 53 prisons. Ethiopians are held in every one of them,” Mr Yassin told the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. “If you take the one at Al Shumaisi…located around 60km from Jeddah, there are about 16,000 Ethiopians kept in the prison and the holding cells.”

    Last month, the Telegraph was able to communicate with migrants at the centres at both Al Shumasi and Jazan, a port city on the border in Yemen. It is unclear how many people are being held at the detention centre at Jazan.

    However, satellite images of the Jazan centre show more than a dozen buildings there. There are believed to be several other centres across the Kingdom. Earlier this month, under international pressure from human rights groups, Western politicians and the United Nations, Saudi Arabia said it would investigate all of its detention centres.

    However, migrants told the Telegraph that since news of their plight went around the world, they have been beaten brutally by prison guards who scoured the rooms for smuggled phones. They say they were stripped naked and that some of them were put in handcuffs during the searches.

    The Ethiopian government in Addis Ababa has come under mounting pressure at home to repatriate the migrants stuck in the centres after the Telegraph revealed that officials tried to stop the migrants communicating with the outside world, most probably to avoid a diplomatic fall out with oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

    Last week, nearly 150 women and children were repatriated to Ethiopia from Saudi Arabia. This was initially greeted as good news.

    However, an Ethiopian government document from August shows that their repatriation was part of an arrangement between Saudi and Ethiopian authorities, which required migrants to purchase their own one-way tickets home from Ethiopian Airlines: something that the vast majority of impoverished migrants cannot do.

    To make matters worse, Ethiopia’s embassy in Riyadh announced on Monday that Saudi immigration authorities had voided the agreement, leaving Ethiopian migrants with no remaining avenues to escape the Kingdom.

    “It is shocking to hear that up to 16,000 Ethiopian migrants might be languishing in detention in the Al Shumaisi facility. Human Rights Watch and the Telegraph documented horrific conditions in two other centres in Jazan Saudi Arabia where thousands more Ethiopian migrants may also reside,” said Nadia Hardman, a researcher at the NGO Human Rights Watch.

    “We repeat our call on Saudi Arabia to immediately release the most vulnerable and improve the miserable conditions for the thousands that remain.”

    ‘Living hell’: Ethiopians detained in Saudi call for help

    AFP

    September 11, 2020

    Using a smuggled-in mobile phone, a detained Ethiopian migrant pleaded for help as he described harrowing conditions in a Saudi detention centre — overcrowded and disease-ridden cells, food scarcity and rising suicides.

    Campaigners have called on Saudi Arabia to investigate allegations of the abusive and unsanitary conditions confronting migrants after some began talking to activists and international media using contraband cell phones.

    “It’s a living hell,” a 23-year-old Ethiopian migrant told AFP from a detention centre in southern Jizan province along the Yemen border.

    Images published recently by Human Rights Watch showed shirtless and scrawny men huddled together in windowless cells.

    Although the exact numbers of detainees is unknown, the pictures triggered global shock, shining a rare spotlight on tightly guarded Saudi detention centres that have long remained out of public view.

    Last week, Saudi officials launched a crackdown to seize the cellphones in a bid to prevent further leaks. And visiting Ethiopian diplomats warned detainees to stop speaking out, three migrants locked up in two facilities in the kingdom told AFP.

    Held for more than five months, the impoverished migrants who originally escaped Ethiopia for a better life in Saudi Arabia are scraping by with barely enough food and water, the three said.

    Clogged toilets are overflowing, and many migrants have developed skin infections and other diseases.

    “There’s no medical care in prison and they don’t go out,” Ethiopian activist Lema Zelalem Birhane told AFP, speaking from Addis Ababa.

    “People have been staying in that prison for more than five months, they didn’t see any sunlight for five months.”

    He is in contact with the detainees and corroborated claims by the migrants to AFP that many people have taken their own lives.

    Saudi Arabia’s media ministry, the country’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) as well as the Ethiopian embassy in Riyadh have not responded to AFP’s requests for comment.

    - ‘Dire conditions’ -

    The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) identified three main detention facilities frequently cited by migrants — two in Jizan and another close to the western city of Jeddah.

    The International Organization of Migration (IOM) voiced concern over the facilities’ “dire conditions”.

    “IOM has been following up closely on the extremely difficult conditions facing Ethiopian migrants in centres in Saudi Arabia,” the UN agency told AFP, adding it was in contact with the Saudi HRC, which is conducting an “internal inquiry on the conditions”.

    Using people smugglers and rickety boats, hundreds of thousands of poor Ethiopians have undertaken perilous journeys over the past decade from the Horn of Africa to the oil-rich kingdom in search of jobs as domestic helpers, construction workers and animal herders.

    Their journey takes them through war-torn Yemen, where Huthi rebels in April forcibly expelled thousands of Ethiopians, accusing them of being “coronavirus carriers”, according to migrants and HRW.

    The rebels “killed dozens” as the migrants were pushed towards the Saudi border, HRW said. “Saudi border guards then fired on the fleeing migrants, killing dozens more,” it added.

    As many headed to a mountainous border region, hundreds were eventually allowed to enter the kingdom and placed in detention.

    - ‘Silence the migrants’ -

    Separately, the IOM says Saudi Arabia has deported roughly 10,000 Ethiopians per month since 2017 as it cracked down on undocumented migrants.

    The pace slowed earlier this year when Addis Ababa requested a moratorium amid concern the migrants were returning with coronavirus.

    “Hundreds if not thousands of Ethiopian migrants are now languishing in squalid detention centres in Saudi Arabia,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Nadia Hardman, calling their incarceration “arbitrary and abusive”.

    Earlier this month, Ethiopia’s foreign ministry acknowledged it was “not doing enough” to assist the migrants, while praising Riyadh’s “outstanding support” to its citizens.

    Addis Ababa appears careful not to antagonise Saudi Arabia, a key investor and source of foreign remittances in Ethiopia.

    “We migrated from our country to change our lives,” said the 23-year-old migrant, who survived the carnage at the border in April.

    “We asked the Saudi prison guards to send us back to our country, but they say ‘your government does not want you’.”

    His 21-year-old-wife is locked up in another detention facility near Jeddah along with their one-year-old infant son.

    Contacted by AFP, she said pregnant Ethiopian migrants had given birth in unsanitary conditions at her facility as she voiced fears of being cut off from her husband if her phone is impounded.

    Activist Birhane confirmed phones were being confiscated, saying the move was “to silence the migrants.”


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    Pictures: Ethiopians Mark the Start of a New Year After ‘God’s Wrath’ (AP)

    A girl wears a face mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus as she attends a prayer ceremony to mark the holiday of "Enkutatash", the first day of the new year in the Ethiopian calendar, at Bole Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopians on Friday welcomed what many people around the world might like to see: the beginning of a new year.

    Following a calendar seven years behind the Gregorian one used by much of the world, Ethiopians marked the beginning of 2013.

    “The 2012 Ethiopian calendar is a year where we went through a lot. There was a big punishment as a result of (God’s) wrath,” said Emkulu Yiheyis, an Ethiopian Orthodox priest. “But it was not as big as we thought it would be, because of God’s will it was easier, and we are here now.

    “We were largely protected from going through the horror we saw elsewhere.”

    Coronavirus cases only in recent weeks have begun to rise rapidly in Africa’s second most populous country. Ethiopia had more than 62,000 confirmed cases as of Friday, including nearly 1,000 deaths. The government let a state of emergency expire over the weekend, opening the way for more public gatherings.


    A young boy wearing a face mask to curb the spread of the coronavirus runs at a prayer ceremony to mark the holiday of “Enkutatash”, the first day of the new year in the Ethiopian calendar, at Bole Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    Traders carry baskets of vegetables through muddy pathways in Atkilt Tera, the largest open-air vegetable market in Addis Ababa, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    Ethiopian Orthodox faithful attend a prayer ceremony to mark the holiday of “Enkutatash”, the first day of the new year in the Ethiopian calendar at Bole Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)


    A prayer ceremony to mark the holiday of “Enkutatash”, the first day of the new year in the Ethiopian calendar at Bole Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

    On Friday, people prayed and sang at Bole Medhane Alem Church in the capital, Addis Ababa.

    “The coronavirus is a huge challenge not only to our less developed nation but also to all around the world,” said one churchgoer, Girma Megenta. “In order to protect ourselves, all of us need to work together. So that our country is out of this bad situation, we need to teach others to raise awareness and take care of ourselves.”

    Church services were more subdued than usual, but in the busy open-air markets of the capital, many people were going about their lives as before. Some went without face masks.

    “What we are seeing here is very puzzling,” said one shopper, Yohannes Adane. “I say this because the virus is spreading and its victims are piling up. … But around this area, protections against the disease are low. I advise for people to be very careful and to keep their distance. But as you can see, people are acting as if there is no coronavirus.”

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    Spotlight: Ethiopian Sports Journalist Fekrou Kidane Reflects on 60th Anniversary of Abebe Bikila’s Rome Victory

    Abebe Bikila celebrating after his historic victory at the Summer Olympics in Rome on September 10th, 1960. (Photo: Wikimedia)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 10th, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — This week marks the 60th anniversary of Abebe Bikila’s legendary victory at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome where the Ethiopian athletics icon became the first African Olympic gold medalist.

    “The day was Saturday, September 10th, the eve of Enqutatash (Ethiopian New Year),” recalls veteran journalist Fekrou Kidane — the first Ethiopian sports reporter who started his career in 1957 and who now lives in Paris. “The Ethiopian marathon team included Abebe Bikila and Abebe Wakgira who finished seventh.”

    Fekrou vividly remembers the sentiment from spectators and the international media who, as far as they were concerned, had perceived the African athletes as an afterthought. “Nobody noticed their presence until about 20 kilometers into the competition when Abebe Bikila and the Moroccan long-distance runner Rhadi Ben Abdesselam, who finished second, emerged as frontrunners.”

    “To make things even more interesting Abebe was running barefoot, further astounding the audience,” Fekrou shares in a recent letter he wrote to Tadias, reflecting on the 60th anniversary of Abebe Bikila’s Rome victory.

    “When the runners reached Piazza di Porta Capena and Abebe noticed the Axum Obelisk, that was looted from Ethiopia by Mussolini’s troops less than two decades earlier during world War II, something hit him and he just bolted leaving everyone behind.” The rest is history.

    According to the World Athletics Federation Abebe’s milestone victory “remains, arguably, one of the most significant landmark moments in [sports]. When Abebe Bikila – running barefoot – became the first black African to win an Olympic marathon gold medal on the streets of Rome it was without doubt one of the most iconic moments of the 1960 Games.”


    Ethiopian journalist Fekrou Kidane, who is affectionately known as Gashe Fekrou, is pictured at his home in Paris, France. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ethiopian Sports Journalists Association (ESJA) in 2018. (Photo by Arefe via AIPS media)

    As Fekrou recalls, the following day was Enqutatash and Abebe’s historic victory gave Ethiopia a double celebration — a new year and a hero’s welcome home that culminated with a parade and the Order of the Star of Ethiopia awarded to Abebe by Emperor Haile Selassie among other gifts.

    Abebe Bikila passed away on October 25th, 1973 at the young age of 41 following deteriorating health from a car accident a few years prior, but his place in history as the first African Olympian gold medalist continues to inspire generations of runners from his native country and beyond.

    Watch: Abebe Bikila’s victory at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome on September 10th, 1960 (IOC)

    https://youtu.be/zvCDJL1Php0

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    Spotlight: ሲመት – New Film Streaming on Habeshaview for Ethiopian New Year

    Simet is an Ethiopian movie about betrayal, courage and sacrifice. The movie is set in the Era of the Princess, mid-18th to 19th century. The country was divided and ruled by local warlords, and Gondar was the capital city of Ethiopia. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: September 10th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) – This week as Ethiopians usher in a new year a timely new movie is set to stream on the online platform habeshaview to mark the holiday.

    The movie called SIMET (ሲመት) is “an epic Ethiopian drama about betrayal, courage and sacrifice,” the press release states. “The movie is set in the Era of the Princess, mid-18th to 19th century. The country was divided and ruled by local warlords, and Gondar was the capital city of Ethiopia.”


    (Courtesy photo)

    The press release adds: “The movie Simet is about an elderly king who is fragile and on the verge of dying. He lost his heir in an unfortunate and deceptive situation. Seeking revenge of the killer, he orders his two younger sons to find the man who killed the heir. Whichever son succeeds, will take the throne. ”

    Watch the trailer here:

    Habeshaview presents this movie to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year.

    You can learn more and watch the film at www.habeshaview.com. The movie can be streamed through the habeshaview-app and be enjoyed on mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and smart tv’s.

    Related:

    Spotlight on ‘Enkopa’: New Ethiopian Movie Based on True Story of a Young Migrant

    WATCH: Q&A with Cast and Crew of “Enchained (ቁራኛዬ) Live From Ethiopia

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    Meet Ethiopian-Born Israeli Singer, Gili Yalo

    Spoke with Yalo from his home in Jaffa. We discussed his lifelong musical journey, how music is a gateway to identity and self-discovery, some of the particulars of Ethiopian melody and groove, and why music from the Jewish diaspora is suddenly hip with modern Israelis. (Aish.com)

    Aish.com

    Gili Yalo has been singing his entire life. He sang as a small boy as his family fled Ethiopia in 1984, and sang, sitting on his father’s shoulders, as they made their way to Israel. He sang as a member of Pirhei Yerushalaim, a choir for religious boys, and, as a youngster, did multiple tours of Europe with the group as a chorister and soloist.

    He sang in the IDF, and served in one of the army’s musical troops. He sang in cover bands for about a decade after his discharge. He sang, starting in the late 2000s, as the lead singer for the Israeli reggae group, Zvuloon Dub System. He’s still singing, and launched his solo career in 2015, and, given his background, that all-encompassing, holistic relationship to music and song makes sense.

    “Music in Ethiopia is a way of living,” Yalo says. “It’s not about playing on stages, or the dream of being a big star. It is a way of life. To make the money at the end of the day – to make the most money – and keep doing the same thing tomorrow. There are those Azmaris [popular folk singers or storytellers whose improvised lyrics are often about members of their audience] who go to a big city and perform on stage, but most of Ethiopia is not cities. It is mountains and small villages, and there are no roads even in most of Ethiopia.”

    Yalo grew up with Ethiopian music, although he didn’t incorporate it into his work until later in life. “Racism happens in Israel sometimes, like everywhere else in the world,” he says in our interview below. “You ask yourself, ‘Do I really belong here?’ If you don’t belong here, and you don’t know where you belong, it is a problem. There is no one who can take your side, or help you with power, so you are hopeless. I decided, ‘Alright, I am from Ethiopia, I was born in Ethiopia. Generations of my family are from Ethiopia. I have Ethiopian blood running through my veins. Ethiopian skin color. Ethiopian food. What about that? Why am I trying to escape from that?’”

    Yalo’s music fuses the scales and grooves of Ethiopian’s rich musical tradition together with Western feels like ska, reggae, and funk. He released his eponymous debut in 2017, and followed that with an EP, Made in Amharica, in spring 2019. He also starred in an Israeli play, Gently, and has a few new projects up his sleeve as well.

    “I am working on an EP in Hebrew,” he says. “Then I am going to release a more international EP, in English and Amharic. I have a lot of ideas. I am writing a script with my friends right now, a feature movie, which is wonderful.”

    I spoke with Yalo from his home in Jaffa. We discussed his lifelong musical journey, how music is a gateway to identity and self-discovery, some of the particulars of Ethiopian melody and groove, and why music from the Jewish diaspora is suddenly hip with modern Israelis.

    Read more »

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    Ethiopian Lawmakers Call Region’s Vote Unconstitutional (AP)

    Regional officials in Tigray have opposed the year-long postponement of Ethiopia’s general election, once planned for August, and the continuation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s mandate beyond term limits. They have organized their own election for Sept. 9. The federal government has said the postponement relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and should be respected. (Getty Images)

    The Associated Press

    By ELIAS MESERET

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Ethiopia’s upper house of parliament on Saturday called elections planned next week in the northern Tigray region unconstitutional, amid a confrontation between the federal government and regional officials who have warned that any intervention amounts to a “declaration of war.”

    “The decision by the House of Federation treats the act of the Tigray regional state as void from the very beginning,” legal expert Kiya Tsegaye told The Associated Press. “This makes the election unconstitutional and illegitimate. I think this decision will be the base for the next legal action by the federal government.”

    Regional officials in Tigray have opposed the year-long postponement of Ethiopia’s general election, once planned for August, and the continuation of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s mandate beyond term limits. They have organized their own election for Sept. 9. The federal government has said the postponement relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and should be respected.

    Members of the upper house of parliament from the Tigray region boycotted its meeting Saturday.

    The Sept. 9 vote will elect members of the regional parliament, which in turn will elect the region’s cabinet and administrators.

    Ethiopia’s prime minister has ruled out a military intervention to deal with the confrontation, but there are fears that any punitive measures by the federal government could escalate tensions further.

    The standoff with Ethiopia’s northern region is just the latest challenge to the administration of Abiy, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year in part for the sweeping political reforms since he took office in early 2018.

    The loosening of the former government’s repressive measures, however, have opened the way for certain long-held grievances and requests by some regions for more autonomy. The former government was largely led by people from the Tigray region, exacerbating the tensions.

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    Ethiopian Prime Minister Calls for Unity Amid Crises (UPDATE)

    (Photo: Tadias Magazine archive)

    AA

    By Addis Getachew | ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

    Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday urged his countrymen to remain united in the wake of various crises, ranging from the armed insurgency in Western Oromia, Tiger province defying the federal government, and unemployment among youth.

    In July, riots broke out in the country killing an unspecified number of people damaging property following the killing of Oromo singer and activist Hatchalu Hundessa.

    Last week, the Tigray regional state government in Northern Ethiopia went ahead to register voters breaching COVID-19 emergency guidelines. The elections in the country were originally scheduled in August. But the term of the current government has been extended by another 11 months due to pandemic.

    Armed insurgency in Western Oromia, the most populous region in the country, has reared its head again, as a splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) – an outlawed party – has been battling the government. The group had been allowed to return to the country as part of reconciliation adopted by Prime Minister Abiy soon after he came to power in 2018.

    “As a nation, we should have a common objective and goal. Polarized political ideas and moves should come to the center for the country to succeed in achieving its development objectives and prosperity,” he tweeted.

    He said the hardline ideas will only lead to a situation where time, resources and energy will be laid to waste.

    Related:

    Inclusive National Dialogue is a Priority for Ethiopia


    An all-inclusive genuine national dialogue should start urgently. This could help bring consensus on some critical and controversial political issues. These include: governing a post-September Ethiopia; ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections and fixing their timing; cultivating trust in public institutions; incorporating the visions of all stakeholders into a new constitution; and shaping an accommodative political destiny for Ethiopia. (Photo: National Geographic)

    INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES

    The aftershocks of Hachalu Hundessa’s murder underline the challenges facing Ethiopia’s transition to democracy.

    The 29 June murder of popular Ethiopian singer Hachalu Hundessa from the Oromo ethnic group has reignited ethnic violence in the country. Over 200 people have died and businesses and personal property have been destroyed mainly due to mob attacks with largely ethnic overtones. The government has arrested several opposition leaders, accusing them of fuelling unrest. Political divisions have also escalated.

    These political and security developments following Hundessa’s murder have amplified existing fundamental problems facing Ethiopia’s democratic transition. In a presentation in March, Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Senior Researcher Semir Yusuf highlighted three major challenges: the contradictory nature of the Ethiopian state; the fragility of opposition parties and civil society organisations; and increased competition between nationalist groupings.

    First is the contradictory nature of the Ethiopian state. Historically governance structures have been both unusually strong, while also having weaknesses. On the one hand, successive regimes have built a robust state machinery that could repress and control citizens. Coercive local government apparatuses have also been used to mobilise people into wars of unprecedented levels.

    On the other hand, the state has also experienced a legitimacy crisis, where its very existence has been questioned, especially by some ethno-nationalist detractors. More recently, the state, once known for its internal coherence and autonomy, lost some of both.

    State fragility continues to hamper attempts to achieve political stability and effective rule of law
    Among other things, informal groups in certain regions infiltrated administrative and security structures, leading in the latter to a broken or loose chain of command and control. According to informants, the divided loyalties of officials threatened the legitimacy and stability of the political system, leading to the complicity of state personnel in creating conflict.

    Internal disputes among government and party officials have contributed to incoherent state and party structures. The ruling party has been reconstituted as the new Prosperity Party, but a fully coherent and stable party structure is yet to be achieved.

    Both international human rights groups and many in the opposition have accused state agents of frequently violating citizens’ human rights, making a smooth transition difficult. Such concerns have increased over the past two years. Since the arrest of major opposition activists and politicians, and in the unrest following Hundessa’s death, the number of allegations has spiked.

    At the same time, state fragility continues to hamper attempts to achieve political stability and effective rule of law. Diverse reports document the lack of police action in the face of impending ethnic violence after Hundessa’s murder, as has been the case in several conflict situations before. Even the government has acknowledged the inaction or complicity of its officials and security personnel.

    Both excessive and insufficient police and military action coexist in Ethiopia

    Informants say that when people asked the police to stop the violence, some officers claimed they weren’t given orders to do so. This suggests the lack of a centralised and effective national security system. So both excessive and insufficient police and military action coexist in Ethiopia.

    Restraints facing the state are also evident in the challenge the Tigray Region poses to the power of the federal government. After political disputes between the two, their relationship has deteriorated to a new low with the Tigray Regional Council’s (TRC) declaration to hold regional elections before its five-year term ends.

    The declaration negates the House of Federation’s (HoF) ruling in June to extend the terms of the federal and regional governments, postponing all preparations for national and regional elections until COVID-19 is deemed under control. The TRC’s decision has infuriated the ruling party.

    The extension of the ruling party’s term has also sparked opposition countrywide, mostly in Tigray, whose ruling elites and some opposition parties consider it against the spirit and letter of the constitution. Tigray’s sense of autonomy is fast advancing, constituting a clear affront to the juridical and political order the federal government wants to impose nationally.

    The fragility or recklessness of opposition parties is also a major challenge to Ethiopia’s smooth transition

    The fragility or recklessness of opposition parties typifies a second major challenge to a smooth transition. Responding to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s call for national forgiveness, political reform and opening of the civic space, opposition parties re-entered the political scene in 2018. Several had clear deficiencies, partly of their own making, and partly a legacy of past government repression. Most were organisationally weak, with vague positions on various issues.

    COVID-19 and the state of emergency put in place to contain it have further diminished their power. The weak parties have mustered the capacity to incite popular agitations, most recently based on disagreement about the HoF’s decision regarding governing Ethiopia after September. But they haven’t developed the capacity to communicate clear political goals or coordinate opposition movements. And so activists and opportunistic elites are organising protests that lead to more disorderly and chaotic protests.

    The third major challenge is the increased polarisation of nationalist politics in the country since 2018. Contending nationalisms have been a hallmark of Ethiopian politics for five decades, but the degree of competition has peaked in recent years.

    Rivalry between nationalist groups over control of land, self-administration, security concerns and other issues have led to violence. The latest surge in ethnic clashes in Oromia is partly a continuation of this trend, intensified by Hundessa’s death. It is also a trigger for further divisions along ethno-nationalist lines.

    Bringing the troubled transition back on track requires government efforts to enforce the rule of law while professionalising and depoliticising the justice system and security apparatus. To ensure effective law enforcement, the ruling party needs to establish a negotiated vision and plan. Strong command and control within the security sector also needs to be restored.

    An all-inclusive genuine national dialogue should start urgently. This could help bring consensus on some critical and controversial political issues. These include: governing a post-September Ethiopia; ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections and fixing their timing; cultivating trust in public institutions; incorporating the visions of all stakeholders into a new constitution; and shaping an accommodative political destiny for Ethiopia.

    The national dialogue process would also symbolise inclusivity in the transition process. This could help generate trust in the approach to democratisation and help give it the wide political legitimacy it needs.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    IN CANADA, A Coronavirus Outbreak Reported at Ethiopian Church (UPDATE)

    Kidanemhret Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Calgary, Canada. (Google Maps)

    DH News

    Coronavirus outbreak reported at Ethiopian Orthodox church in Calgary

    Alberta’s top doctor announced a new coronavirus outbreak tied to a church in Calgary on Monday.

    Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 57 cases so far have been linked to the Kidanemhret Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

    She asked anyone who attended service at the church in the last two weeks to stay home and watch for symptoms until 14 days from the last time they visited the religious centre.

    She also asked children who attended church to stay home from school for at least 14 days as a precaution.

    “The case numbers we have seen to date are raising concerns that there could be more cases,” Hinshaw said.

    Canada signs agreement for 76 million doses of potential coronavirus vaccine
    She added that coronavirus outbreaks can happen anywhere, and reminded members to treat those affected with compassion.

    “It is critical as always that members of this church be supported and not targeted or stigmatized,” she said.

    She added the church is working with public health to help with contact tracing to stop the virus from spreading further.

    Hinshaw made the announcement the same day she revealed Alberta discovered more than 400 coronavirus cases over the weekend.

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    In DC, End of an Era as Ethiopian-Owned Twins Jazz Closes Permanently

    Twin sisters Kelly and Maze Tesfaye, owners of Twins Jazz in Washington, D.C., announced they are permanently closing their popular U Street lounge of more than twenty years due to "the harsh economic circumstances brought on by the ongoing pandemic." (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: August 31st, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — It was only three years go this past Spring that The Washington Post highlighted the Ethiopian American owned Twins Jazz club as one of the few surviving jazz institutions in the U.S. capital city.

    But this week, the owners announced that they are permanently shutting down their popular U Street lounge of more than two decades due to the current economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

    “It is with profound sadness and sincere regrets for the impacts on all of you that we must announce that, owing to the harsh economic circumstances brought on by the ongoing pandemic, Twins Jazz has been forced to close its physical location at 1344 U Street NW Washington DC,” said Kelly and Maze Tesfaye in a statement. “As members and beneficiaries of a greater artistic community in DC and the National Capital Region, we hope to remain engaged with the local creative music scene in other ways, but despite concerted efforts over the past five months (to which some of you have kindly contributed), it has proved infeasible for Twins to remain in operation as a brick-and-mortar business.”


    Kelly, left, and Maze Tesfaye came to the United States on a student visa in 1972. After opening a restaurant, they found themselves hosting jazz acts. Now, at its second location, on U Street, Twins Jazz has survived while other lounges have closed. (The Washington Post)

    The Tesfaye sisters first launched their business in 1986 in a different location before re-opening in 2000 as Twins Jazz Club in the U Street neighborhood that’s famously referred to as the Black Broadway of the 1960s.

    The statement added:

    It has been an honor and privilege to serve the Jazz community in Washington, DC for 33 years,” “We came to this country from Ethiopia with a dream of owning our own business and we have done more than we could have ever imagined. The decision to close was very difficult, however we knew the safety of our patrons, musicians and staff was our top priority and given the uncertainty of when we could safely open our doors, we decided to close our location permanently.

    On behalf of our entire family we would like to thank the amazing musicians and our dedicated staff who created an irreplaceable experience for our patrons. Thank you to our beloved city for supporting our establishment. To all of our supporters – local and abroad, THANK YOU.

    We are taking this time to reimagine how we can continue to serve the DC jazz community in a new and innovative way that provides musicians with a platform to perform and continues the legacy that Twins Jazz has established in Washington, DC over the past three decades. Please remain tuned in to our social channels to learn more about ways to collaborate and support.”


    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Spotlight: Liverpool Signs Ethiopian Striker Melkamu Frauendorf From Germany

    Melkamu Frauendorf, an Ethiopia-born German national, has confirmed that he has been recruited to join UK's famous Liverpool soccer team. Melkamu confirmed the news Wednesday on social media. (Getty Images)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: August 26th, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — UK’s world-renowned soccer team Liverpool Football Club have signed an exciting up-and-coming talent by the name of Melkamu Frauendorf from Germany.

    Melkamu, who was born in Ethiopia, first confirmed the news on Wednesday by changing his Instagram profile to indicate that he is headed to Liverpool, generating a social media buzz among soccer fans around the world.

    According to The Liverpool Echo the team “have completed the signing of 16-year-old German youth international from Hoffenheim. The ECHO understands a deal was approved by the Football Association and Premier League inside the last two weeks. And the attacking midfielder has now penned a scholarship agreement at Anfield.”


    Melkamu Frauendorf. (Getty Images)

    The soccer news website HITC noted: Melkamu “was born in Ethiopia but represents Germany, with six caps to his name at Under-15 and Under-16 levels. Primarily an attacking midfielder, [Melkamu] has been backed for a bright future, and it seems that the teenager will now be calling Anfield home.”

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Burke Girma: A Week in the Life of a 16-year-old Ethiopian Student Athlete

    Burke Girma is a 16-year-old student who lives in Bekoji, Ethiopia with her mother, sister and three brothers. She is an Athletic Scholar with the Girls Gotta Run Foundation. (Photo: Courtesy of Sosi Moss)

    Assembly — The Malala Fund newsletter

    Assembly’s Game Changers series features female athletes around the world who defy convention on and off the field.

    BURKE GIRMA WRITES ABOUT TRAINING WITH THE GIRLS GOTTA RUN FOUNDATION AND HELPING HER MOTHER OUT AT THE MARKET.

    MONDAY

    Today was a normal day. I woke up and washed my face and hands and changed my clothes to get ready for school. I made breakfast for my siblings and me. We had tea and bread. I walked to school and studied with my friends. It takes me about an hour to walk from my house to Bekoji High School. We have half days of school and each month it changes whether they are in the morning or afternoon. This month we have school in the morning and next month we will have school in the afternoon. After school I had lunch with my teammates. Girls Gotta Run Foundation (GGRF) provides lunch for our team every school day. In the afternoon I went to athletics training and walked back home to study.

    TUESDAY

    Tuesday is market day in Bekoji. My family and I live on a small farm just outside of the town of Bekoji. We started to raise animals on our farm and trade goods at the market twice a week. On market days, I wake up early to help my mother bring items to the market to sell before I go to school. We take a garee (a horse-drawn carriage) to town because we have heavy goods to bring. We usually sell eggs, produce, traditional homemade alcohol and sometimes livestock. The market can be really busy but it’s a nice time to see my mom’s friends and other families. I help my mom set up her little shop and then I go to school. After lunch, I return to help her sell any final items before the market closes. Then I go to running practice and head home. It’s been a long day but market days are usually the longest.


    (Courtesy of Sosi Moss)

    WEDNESDAY

    We had a fun practice today at the track. We do our trainings in different locations: the track, the forest, a large field. I enjoy the variety. Our track practice today included some speed drills and a few games that I enjoy. It makes me feel strong when we do speed drills, I can see the improvement I am making. I really love training with Coach Fatia. Our coach is female and she is like our second mother. We have a good relationship with her and I have learned a lot from her. Our team is all girls. It’s the first of its kind in Bekoji and it makes me proud to be part of a team like this. We play together and eat together and even study together after school. I have made many friends by being part of this program.

    Read more »

    Related:

    Ethiopia: Girls Gotta Run Foundation Announces New Leadership

    In Sodo & Bekoji, New GGRF Athletic Scholarship Keeps Girls in School

    Why Girls Gotta Run: Tadias Interview with Dr. Patricia E. Ortman

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopian American Dr. Wuleta Lemma Among Top 20 Africa’s Business Heroes

    Dr. Wuleta Lemma is the CEO and Founder of Lalibela Global-Networks, an Ethiopia-based startup "leading the digital transformation of the health sector in Africa." (Photo: BIA)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Tadias Staff

    Updated: August 22nd, 2020

    New York (TADIAS) — Dr. Wuleta Lemma, an Ethiopian American health care entrepreneur representing Ethiopia, is among the top 20 Africa’s Business Heroes announced this week by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative.

    The announcement states that Dr Wuleta, who is the CEO and Founder of Lalibela Global-Networks — an Ethiopia-based startup “leading the digital transformation of the health sector in Africa’ – was chosen from a pool of 22,000 candidates across the continent.

    “Congrats to the top 20 Africa’s Business Heroes finalists! Selected from 22k+ applications across all 54 African countries, these entrepreneurs are from 14 countries & 11 industries, and more than 50% are women,” said philanthropist, entrepreneur and Founder of Alibaba Group Jack Ma on social media. “I can’t wait to meet them!”

    The press release notes that the final cut of ten individuals will share a $1.5 million prize.


    Image: courtesy of the Jack Ma Foundation

    Dr. Wuleta is also an Honorary Associate Professor at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at Wello University in Ethiopia. She was a Clinical Associate Professor and the Director of Center for Global Health Equity (CGHE), School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    According to her bio: “Dr. Wuleta is a Tropical Medicine expert working for the last 25 years mostly on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, MNCH and Communicable Diseases. In the last number of years, Dr. Lemma has been involved in health projects in more than 20 countries in Africa, The Caribbean and Europe. During the past couple years, She had conducted research/evaluations on endemic health problems, Human Resource for Health (HRH), Innovative Medical Education, Behavioral Surveillance on high risk populations in a number of countries; contributed to research on Health outcomes of countries of the Horn of Africa and Health System Strengthen in Ethiopia.”

    Business Insider adds: “Dr Wuleta Lemma has always had a deep love for Africa. Born in Ethiopia, she pursued degrees in medicine, epidemiology and international health abroad, but decided to build her career back home. She wanted to work with vaccines, but was disturbed to discover that many of Ethiopia’s healthcare information systems were still paper-based, out of date and inaccurate. In a country with a population of over [100 million], this had a significant impact on the quality of local healthcare. That’s when she started Lalibela Global-Networks to serve Africa by providing innovative Patient Centered Connected Health solutions.”

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Ethiopian Americans: Election is Approaching, Let’s Make Sure our Voices are Heard

    In this OP-ED Helen Amelga, President of the Ethiopian Democratic Club of Los Angeles, urges Ethiopian Americans to participate in the upcoming U.S. election that will directly impact our lives for many years to come, and shares resources to help our community to get involved in the democratic process. (Courtesy photo)

    Tadias Magazine

    By Helen Amelga

    Updated: October 16th, 2020

    Los Angeles (TADIAS) — How many people of Ethiopian descent live in the United States? 300,000? 400,000? 500,000? We don’t really know for sure. But with the 2020 census, we will for the first time have the opportunity to get a truly accurate count. If you haven’t done so already, go to 2020cencus.gov and complete your census today.

    While the exact numbers are yet to be determined, it is clear that there is a significant Ethiopian-American population in the United States. Why is it then that we do not have a strong political presence?

    We know our community can organize. We have Iqub (እቁብ), mahbers (ማህበር), business associations, and our faith based groups are extremely organized. We need to use those same skills to mobilize politically.

    We must equip ourselves with the knowledge of political systems, major policies and voter rights, not only to serve as advocates for our community, but so that we ourselves can occupy positions of power and authority to be the decision makers who shape the society and world we want to live in.

    We know it’s possible because we already have trailblazers such as Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, the first Ethiopian American to be elected into office in the Nevada Legislature and the first Ethiopian American ever elected in the U.S. to a state-wide governing body as well as Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson of Florida, who is the first Ethiopian-American judge in the United States who was re-elected to a third term his year.

    We cannot afford to give our vote away to candidates who are not serving our needs. We are ready to spring into action when there is a problem in our community, but it is not enough to go to our elected officials once we have a problem and try to convince them to help us. We need to be proactive.

    We must purposefully engage to get the right people elected in the first place. We must identify candidates who align with and will fight for our values. Then, we must do everything we can to make sure those candidates are elected.

    Here are a few steps you can take to get involved:

    1. Register to vote

    2. Request a vote by mail ballot today

    3. Reach out to 5 friends and make sure they’re registered to vote

    4. Research your candidates & ballot measures

    5. Volunteers to phone bank for a campaign

    6. Sign up to be a poll worker on election day

    The November 3rd general election is fast approaching. Let’s make sure our voices are heard.

    Related:

    Interview: Helen Amelga, Founder of Ethiopian Democratic Club of LA

    Interview With Addisu Demissie: Senior Adviser to Joe Biden

    Biden Selects Yohannes Abraham as Member of Transition Team

    Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.

    Meet QWANQWA: The Ethiopian Supergroup Drawn From the Baddest Ensembles of Addis Ababa

    QWANQWA is a five-piece ensemble based in Addis Ababa, dedicated to exploring and furthering Ethiopia’s unique string traditions. The group draws inspiration from the regional sounds of Ethiopia, East Africa, and beyond. (Courtesy Photo)

    Press Release

    QWANQWA RETURNS IN 2020 WITH QWANQWA VOLUME 3

    QWANQWA is a five-piece ensemble based in Addis Ababa, dedicated to furthering Ethiopia’s unique string traditions. Inspired by a shared passion for Ethiopian music, the group brings together some of the most accomplished traditional players in the country; creating a space to explore new sounds and break the rules in a very traditional musical culture.

    Since their 2012 debut, QWANQWA has merged the richness and diversity of rooted tradition with a modern, experimental sensibility, inspired improvisation, and a mission to transcend genres and blur boundaries. Their third studio album, Volume 3, will be released internationally on vinyl, CD, and digital platforms on September 11th, 2020, at midnight, just in time for Ethiopian New Years (2013 on the Ethiopian Calendar).

    In keeping with the inclusive spirit of QWANQWA’s previous two albums, Volume 3 reaches deep into Ethiopia’s regional traditions and beyond its borders, taking inspiration from the country’s diverse ethnic population and neighbors to the North, West, and East. Recorded in Addis Ababa over the course of a long weekend in February 2017, the album is a snapshot of a dynamic band in evolution.

    A long time in the making, QWANQWA Volume 3 features the band’s pre-2018 repertoire and lineup — Endris Hassen on one-string mesenko fiddle, Mesele Asmamaw on vocals and electric krar lyre, Kaethe Hostetter on five string electric violin, Bubu Teklemariam on bass krar, Selamnesh Zemene (vocalist), and Misale Leggesse on kebero.

    “The music on this album reflects the repertoire we were working with at the time,” says QWANQWA bandleader Katehe Hostetter. “The material was sourced from regions beyond Ethiopia’s borders, including an Eritrean tribal chant transformed by our arrangement, and a Somali pop song. We were inspired by the infinite musical variety of Ethiopia and its neighbors, and dove deep into the traditions beyond the five most well known ethnic groups. Thanks to our band members’ Endris Hassen and Misale Legesse’s encyclopedic knowledge, we were able to spotlight these tiny pockets of overlooked musical traditions.”

    “Since the recording of this album,” Kaethe adds, “Addis Ababa has dipped in and out of a State of Emergency due to ethnic tensions, but we’ve stayed resilient and creative, and our message of one unified Ethiopia, that celebrates and includes all 84 official ethnic groups, has never felt more poignant.”

    The first track, “Ago”, welcomes the listener into the evocative world of QWANQWA, with a trio arrangement of a melody from the Northern people, in which you’ll hear the violin evoking the simple Shepard’s flute. “Blen“ is based on an Eritrean melody of the Blen tribe, that’s traditionally accompanied by a circle of dancing young men, dressed in white and spinning like dervishes. “Somali” is a cover of a Dur Dur Band tune, with an extended section where Mesele and Kaethe trade melody and soloing. “Serg” is a 20 minute wedding song medley that is meant to invoke the trance-like experience of an Amhara wedding.

    “This album was originally meant to support our Fall 2020 North American tour debut — 48 U.S. dates backed by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, anchored by a special collaboration with with Tomeka Reid and Chicago’s Hyde Park Jazz Festival. Thanks to COVID-19, our tour is postponed until next year, but the album was still ready to go, so we decided to release anyway. We’re just thrilled to finally see this album out in the world and connect with our fans even if we can’t do it live!”


    (QWANQWA, left to right: Bubu Teklemariam, Endris Hassen, Selamnesh Zemene, Misale Legesse, Kaethe Hostetter)

    ABOUT QWANQWA

    QWANQWA is a five-piece ensemble based in Addis Ababa, dedicated to exploring and furthering Ethiopia’s unique string traditions. The group draws inspiration from the regional sounds of Ethiopia, East Africa, and beyond. Delving deep into traditional beats and moods, QWANQWA’s music is characterized by tight arrangements and inspired improvisation punctuated by extended experimental moments.

    “QWANQWA is a project where master instrumentalists can open up and improvise,” says founder Kaethe Hostetter. “It’s about creating a space to explore new sounds and allow players to break the rules in a very traditional musical culture.” The group takes its name from the Amharic word for “language,” is dedicated to creating musical dialogues between cultures, and the proposition that music is the universal language that transcends borders and boundaries.

    QWANQWA’s singular sound is built on an array of Ethiopia’s unique traditional instruments: Swirling mesenko, punk krar solos (electric lyre), wah-wah-violin, bass krar boom, and the unstoppable rhythm of heavy kebero beats, punctuated by a Western 5-string electric fiddle. With this lineup and the group’s stunning new vocalist, QWANQWA has enchanted audiences at home and abroad.

    The ensemble was founded in 2012 by American violinist Kaethe Hostetter, who first worked in Ethiopian music as a founding member of critically acclaimed Debo Band. Since relocating to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, in 2009, she’s honed her sound and dived deep into the culture, playing in numerous exploratory and professional projects. As part of her immersion in Ethiopian music and culture, Hostetter brought together some of the most accomplished players in Addis Ababa’s music scene.

    “QWANQWA originally started as a purposefully instrumental ensemble, defiantly the only one of its kind in Addis,” says Kaethe. “We spotlighted the virtuosity of the instrumentalists that often got lost behind the singers. We spent years performing and strengthening as a quartet, until we invited singer Selamnesh Zemene to join as our front woman in 2018. Over the course of eight years of performing and touring, we’ve grown into a tight-knit band, rooted in deep friendship and shared experience, and Selamnesh fit right in, taking us to the next level.”

    QWANQWA is Endris Hassen (mesenko), Kaethe Hostetter (violin), Bubu Teklemariam (bass krar), Selamnesh Zemene (vocalist), and Misale Legesse (kebero).

    Misale Legesse has been active in Ethiopian music for over twenty years. He was born in Addis Ababa’s Sidist Kilo neighborhood where he started playing percussion as a child – using pails and empty cardboard boxes as his instruments. He honed his skills to become Addis’s go-to percussionist on both conga and the traditional kebero drum. He’s released several original albums, and toured internationally, performing with such legends as Mahmoud Ahmed and Aster Aweke, and joined experimental projects with such partners as The EX and Paal Nilssen-Love.

    Endris Hassen is arguably the most sought after masinqo player in Addis. An in-demand studio musician who has guested on over two thousand albums, Endris is also founding member of several key groups, including Fendika, Nile Project, Ethiocolor, Atse Teodros, and more.

    Selamnesh Zemene is a powerhouse vocalist and one of Ethiopia’s rising divas. She hails from the Azmari bloodline of griot-like musicians. Selamnesh joined the band as lead vocalist in 2018, just in time for two European tours, where she received much critical acclaim as one of the dual front-women of the group.

    Anteneh (Bubu) Teklemariam fell in love with the sound of the kraar at an early age, taking lessons at a local NGO from the age of 16. Soon after he joined his first band, and has been playing ever since — performing on countless recordings with many of the leading Ethiopian traditional bands and Orthodox Koptic Christian artists. A composer as well as a musician, Bubu is a prolific songwriter, whose music and lyrics often contain spiritual and socially conscious messages on environmental issues or Ethiopian identity.

    Together these musical adventurers honed a fresh, new sound that’s rooted in centuries old traditions, yet exploratory, open and future-facing. Since their founding in 2012, QWANQWA has emerged as an integral and constant presence in Addis Ababa nightlife scene, and has released two critically-acclaimed albums, Volume One (2014) and Volume Two (2015); with Volume Three due for release in September, 2020.

    They’ve taken their sound international, too, rocking audiences on two major European tours with knockout shows at the Roskilde and WOMEX festivals in 2016 and 2017. Members of QWANQWA have also appeared internationally with some of the biggest names in Ethiopian music and beyond: Getachew Mekuria, The EX, Thurston Moore, Fred Frith, Butch Morris, Debo Band, Nile Project, Paal Nilsson-Love, Fendika, Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatke, Addis Acoustic, Ethiocolor, Atse Teodros, Mohammed “Jimmy” Mohammed, and Imperial Tiger Orchestra, and have played stages from Lincoln Center to Bonnaroo, Jazzfest (New Orleans), Moers Festival, Roskilde, WOMEX, WOMAD and more.

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