Showcasing Ethiopia’s ancient, vibrant culture (Video produced by Whole Foods Market at the Ethiopian Heritage Annual Ethiopian Festival in Washington DC – 2011)
Showcasing Ethiopia’s ancient, vibrant culture (Video produced by Whole Foods Market at the Ethiopian Heritage Annual Ethiopian Festival in Washington DC – 2011)
By Alemayehu G. Mariam
When the going gets tough…
When the going gets tough, the tough go looking for distractions and diversions.
The past few weeks have been tough going for dictator Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia. Secret cables released by Wikileaks provided stunning revelations on Zenawi’s secret world. The U.S. believes Zenawi’s security forces staged a bomb explosion in 2008 and blamed an opposition group for committing terrorism. Zenawi made a thinly-veiled solicitation to the Americans to “remove the Bashir regime” in the Sudan. The Americans knew Zenawi was cooking the economic numbers to show economic development unseen anywhere in the world. They called his claims “mythic economic growth”. Torture is routinely practiced in Zenawi’s prisons; and the list of horrors goes on and on. Famine is spreading throughout Ethiopia and the Horn according to the recent U.S. Senate testimony of one high level American official. The Ethiopian economy is in shambles, according to a secret International Monetary Fund report which Zenawi has requested not be made public. Inflation is no longer galloping; it is flying high in the Ethiopian stratosphere. Bad news for Zenawi all around.
When the going gets tough, Zenawi always finds something to distract the people’s attention and show that he is still in total control. Last week, he paraded out two Swedish journalists and charged them with terrorism. He also arrested dozens of imaginary opponents. To put icing on the cake, he even jailed Debebe Eshetu (first jailed after the 2005 elections), one of the greatest and much-loved Ethiopian stage and screen actors of all time. Nice try but…
What happened to a “large chunk” of Ethiopian territory” in 2008?
Some of my readers may recall that in July 2008 I gave a long speech challenging Zenawi’s factual basis and the legality of the secret giveaway of Ethiopian land to the Sudan. I argued: “Zenawi’s defiant refusal to be transparent and open in making public an ‘Agreement’ (treaty) that gives away a large chunk of Ethiopian territory to another country is a monumental breach of constitutional duty for which he should be held accountable.”
Wikileaks now provides confirmation to the widely-held belief that Zenawi had secretly handed over Ethiopian land to the Sudan. According to highly placed sources briefing American officials, in a move to deal with “on-going tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan”, Zenawi had turned over land to the Sudan “which has cost the Amhara region a large chunk of territory” and tried to “sweep the issue under the rug.”
This revelation is solid confirmation of the slow and methodical dismemberment of Ethiopia. First, the Port of Assab was given away in the mid-1990s; Ethiopia became a landlocked nation. In 1998, Badme in northern Ethiopia was invaded; and after 80,000 Ethiopians sacrificed their lives and repelled the invaders, Zenawi delivered Badme to the same invaders in international arbitration. In the last several years, Indian, Middle Eastern and other “investors” have been handed free land without even asking for it. Then there is the insidious “ethnic federalism” which has created the equivalent of Bantustans (ethnic homelands) for the Ethiopian people.
On May 11, 2008, Zenawi issued a statement which categorically denied the transfer of any Ethiopian land to the Sudan. That statement accused the “media” and “irresponsible” elements outside the country for creating fear and alarm over something that did not happen. When Sudanese officials publicly announced acquisition of territory from Ethiopia in mid-May, Zenawi’s officials started backpedalling on the initial story. They said only preliminary work on border demarcation had been done, but nothing had been finalized. Within days, they changed the story once more and announced that they were merely “implementing prior agreements” concluded by the imperial/Derg regimes with the Sudan.
As the Ethio-Sudan Border Affairs Committee began to aggressively investigate what was really happening on the ground in the western border areas, Ethiopians victimized by land giveaway began giving interviews to the Voice of America and other international media outlets. They complained bitterly that they had been driven out of their ancestral lands by occupying Sudanese forces. Their farm machinery and tools had been confiscated and scores of Ethiopians had been arrested and detained in Sudanese jails. The victims also reported that they were attacked by helicopter gunships of Zenawi’s regime for defending their homes, farms and towns. At that point, Zenawi had no choice but to “fess” up; and on May 21, Zenawi publicly described his agreement with al-Bashir of the Sudan:
We, Ethiopia and Sudan, have signed an agreement not to displace any single individual from both sides to whom the demarcation benefits… We have given back this land, which was occupied in 1996. This land before 1996 belonged to Sudanese farmers. There is no single individual displaced at the border as it is being reported by some media.
Zenawi insisted on keeping the actual agreement secret, but his public statement provided important clues on the basic terms and nature of the secret agreement. Zenawi’s statement provided solid confirmation of the existence of an actual “Agreement” that has been “signed” either by Zenawi or someone authorized by him. While the detailed terms and conditions of the land giveaway remained secret, Zenawi put on the record the nature of the subject matter in the Agreement which included: 1) the question of non-displacement of persons in the giveaway territories, 2) the preservation of benefits of all persons affected by border demarcation, 3) restoration of land rights to Sudanese farmers on land supposedly occupied illegally by Ethiopian farmers, and 4) cession of lands (“give back of land”) “occupied” by Ethiopia “in 1996” back to the Sudan.
It is important to underscore the fact that “The Agreement” Zenawi “signed” with al-Bashir, by his own description, has nothing to do with the so-called Gwen line (setting the “frontier between Ethiopia and Sudan”) of 1902. It also has nothing to do with any other agreements drafted or concluded by the imperial government prior to 1974, or the Derg between 1975 and 1991 for border demarcation or settlement. Zenawi’s agreement, by his own public statement, deals exclusively with border matters and related issues beginning in 1996, when presumably the alleged occupation of Sudanese land took place under his watch.
Where is the Agreement?
Why has Zenawi kept the actual text of “The Agreement” secret from the public and the “Council of Representatives” in violation of Art. 55 (12) of the Ethiopian Constitution? Zenawi as a “public official” has an affirmative constitutional duty to perform his official responsibilities in an open and transparent manner. This duty is unambiguously mandated under Article 12 of the Ethiopian Constitution which provides, “The activities of government shall be undertaken in a manner which is open and transparent to the public… Any public official or elected representative shall be made accountable for breach of his official duties.” Article 12 applies to ALL “activities of government” and to ALL government officials. It makes no exceptions for secret deals by “prime ministers”. Transparency and openness in government is a mandatory constitutional duty of ALL public officials, not an optional or discretionary one. The refusal to make public an agreement that gives away a large chunk of Ethiopian territory to another country is a monumental breach and evasion of constitutional duty.
There is one question that needs to be answered now that the world knows the truth: Why does Zenawi keep secret and refuse to make public an Agreement that gave a “large chunk” of Ethiopian territory to the Sudan?
Previous commentaries by the author are available at: www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/ and http://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/
Most Ethiopians mark our New Year with sadness, while hoping that the the coming year, 2004, will bring an end to the long national misery that has been inflicted on the country by a ravenous ethnic apartheid junta.
Enjoy this New Year song by Teddy Afro. Ethiopia shall rise up.
Woyanne-controlled ETV reported that prominent Ethiopian artiste Debebe Eshetu has been arrested today and charged with terrorism. Watch the report below:
Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator continues to throw wild accusations of terrorism against journalists and critics even as Wikileaks is exposing (read here) that the regime has been orchestrating bombings and blaming them on others.
Yesterday, Meles Zenawi’s injustice minister announced that it is filing terrorism charges against two Swedish journalists, Ethiopian Review editor, Awramba Times deputy editor, and others. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalist described the accusations as ridiculous.
The following is how the Woyanne-controlled ETV and ENA reported the charges.
Federal Prosecutor Files Charges Against Terror Suspects
Addis Ababa, September 7, 2011 (ENA) – The Federal Prosecutor has filed charges against persons suspected of terrorists act including two Swedish journalists who were arrested during a fight with Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Ministry of Justice said.
In a news conference he gave here on Wednesday, State Minister for Dispute Affairs with the Ministry of Justice, Berhanu Tsegaye said the Federal Prosecutor filed charges against the suspects under the file, Elias Kifle.
It has also filed suit against two Swedish journalists who were arrested during the fight with ONLF under the file, Abdiwoli Mohammed Ismael, he added.
According to Berhanu, the Federal Prosecutor has charged the suspects of attempting to dismantle the constitutional system through organized armed group.
He said the Prosecutor charged the members of the group operating under the mastermind, Elias Kifle, in collaboration with five organizations which are regarded as terrorist groups, and the Government of Eritrea with attempting to commit terror acts.
Berhanu said the suspects, who were organized in underground terror group in 2003 EC, were also charged with an attempt of destroying electricity and telephone as well as fiber networks existing in Addis Ababa City, Dessie, Woldiya, Harar, Hawassa, Assosa, Wollega, Jijiga and Gondar by collaborating with foreign terror groups.
The suspects include Elias Kifle, Zerihun Gebreegziabher Tadesse, Woubshet Taye Abebe and Hirut Kifle Woldeyes.
According to Berhanu, the defendants were accused on four counts of charges.
The charges include involving in terror act, commit terrorist act and using fraudulent money for terror act and extending financial support to terrorist acts.
Berhanu said the suspects, Elias Kifle and Hirut Kifle, were also found guilty of committing terror acts previously.
He said the Federal Prosecutor has also filed charges on members of ONLF and two Swedish journalists arrested during the fight with ONLF.
The Swedish journalists were charged with advancing and supporting ONLF’s subversive acts and participating in terrorist organization and violating the sovereignty of the nation.
According to the State Minister, the government has concrete evidence for the charges.
The Federal High Court, which received the suits, has adjourned the case for October 17 2011.
Due to Tropical Rain Lee, DC Cookout has been rescheduled. The new date will be announced shortly.
This family oriented festival will be held on:
September 10, 2011
Time: from 12 to 6pm
Place: 4100 S Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington, VA 22206
FREE OF CHARGE TO ALL OUR GUESTS.
Please come and celebrate this Ethiopian Holiday with us !!
For more information please call: 703 395 6067 or 571 274 9420
ETHIOPIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA
Ethiopian Review and other media have been blaming Ethiopia’s khat-addicted dictator and his Woyanne junta for the so-called “terrorist bombings” in Addis Ababa (read here). From its jungle days, Woyanne is known for exploding bombs in civilians areas and blaming the action on its opponents. Now the U.S. diplomats have confirmed Ethiopian Review’s claim that the Addis Ababa bombings were carried out by the Meles regime’s security forces. Ambassador Vicki Huddleston wrote in a secret memo:
A series of explosions were reported in Addis Ababa on September 16, killing three individuals. The GoE announced that the bombs went off while being assembled, and that the three dead were terrorists from the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) with links to the Oromo National Congress (ONC). An embassy source, as well as clandestine reporting, suggests that the bombing may have in fact been the work of GoE security forces.
So who is the real terrorist?
This revelation may come as shocking for some, but not for most Ethiopians who know about the evil nature of the Woyanne terrorist regime. Read the full report below:
DE RUEHDS #2708 2790853
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 060853Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2771
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
S E C R E T ADDIS ABABA 002708
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2016
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV ET ER
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: RECENT BOMBINGS BLAMED ON OROMOS
POSSIBLY THE WORK OF GOE
Classified By: CHARGE VICKI HUDDLESTON FOR REASONS 1.4(b)AND(d).
¶1. (S) SUMMARY A series of explosions were reported in Addis
Ababa on September 16, killing three individuals. The GoE
announced that the bombs went off while being assembled, and
that the three dead were terrorists from the outlawed Oromo
Liberation Front (OLF) with links to the Oromo National
Congress (ONC). An embassy source, as well as clandestine
reporting, suggests that the bombing may have in fact been
the work of GoE security forces. END SUMMARY
¶2. (U) On September 16, three bomb explosions were reported
in the Kara Kore area of Addis Ababa. The explosions were
heard at 4:45 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and 10:00 a.m. The National
Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), together with the
Federal Police Anti-terror Task Force later reported that the
bombs were “part of a coordinated terror attack by the OLF
and Sha’abiya (Eritrea) aimed at disrupting democratic
development.” The NISS said that the intended terror plot
had failed and the bombs had mistakenly gone off while the
suspects were preparing them while hiding out at an illegally
built house. Two of the suspects died immediately, while
another died on the way to the hospital. One other is in
critical condition. The police task force reported having
others in custody related to the plot and that evidence shows
the terrorists had ties to Oromo groups – the Mecha and
Tulema Association (MTA) and the ONC. They also said that
the bombs used contained parts sourced from Eritrea and were
consistent with bombs used in previous terrorist attacks.
¶3. (S) On September 20, Dr. Merera Gudina (strictly protect),
the former leader of the ONC (and a typically reliable
information source), contacted Post to report that the
deceased had not died not while constructing a bomb, but
rather at the hands of GoE cadres. Dr. Merera said that the
men had been picked up by police a week prior, kept in
detention and tortured. He said police then left the men in
a house and detonated explosives nearby, killing 3 of them.
He did not indicate whether the men were ONC or OLF
¶4. (S) Clandestine reporting indicates that the bombs did not
explode inside the structure, but rather appear to have been
placed outside and detonated.
[Ambassador Vicki] HUDDLESTON
EDITOR’S NOTE: Meles and his propaganda chief Bereket fabricate any thing, come up with all kinds of wild charges to silence independent information sources. It’s a regime that compares the Voice of America (VOA) to Rwanda’s Radio Télévision Libre Mille-Collines (RTLMC). That’s how silly and outrageous they are.
By William Davison | Bloomberg
Ethiopia’s regime charged two Swedish journalists with terrorism after detaining them in July with rebels in the Ogaden region, State Minister of Communications Shimeles Kemal said.
Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye appeared in court yesterday, Shimeles said in a telephone interview from Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, today. Prosecutors have a video showing the journalists handling guns, he said.
“They have entered the country with a bunch of terrorists,” the minister said. “They have even taken weapons training. Their activity is a bit more than mere journalistic activity.”
The journalists will be tried for engaging in terrorism, assisting a terrorist organization and entering the country illegally, Shimeles said. They were detained with members of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which has been fighting since 1984 for self-determination of Ogaden, located in a province that borders Somalia.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry hasn’t received official notification of the charges, Teo Zetterman, a spokesman for the department, said in a telephone interview from Stockholm today.
Ethiopia also brought terrorism charges against two ONLF members and three other journalists, including Elias Kifle, who runs the Washington-based Ethiopian Review website and Woubshet Taye, the deputy editor of the Addis Ababa-based Awramba Times.
“He is innocent, everybody is innocent, it is clear,” Awramba Times’s editor, Dawit Kebede, said in a phone interview today. “I believe it’s a systematic way to put pressure on our newspaper.”
Ethiopian Heritage Society of North America (EHSNA) Announces Second Executive Committee Election Results, Releases Community Agenda
EHSNA Election Results
The Ethiopian Heritage Society of North America (EHSNA) recently held an election for members of its executive committee for the second time in its history. EHSNA’s primary mission and vision is to promote and preserve the rich heritage and traditions of Ethiopian culture. The elections were held for seven committee offices: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Public Relations Director, Business Manager, and Events Coordinator. The results:
• President. Shakespear Feyissa was elected to his second term as president.
• Vice President. Fifi Derso was elected to her first term as vice president.
• Secretary. Yeshitila Araya was elected for his first term as secretary
• Public Relations. Abebe Hailu will be his first term as public relations director.
• Treasurer. Iskeinder Eyob was elected as treasurer for the second time.
• Business Manager. Haile Tefera was elected to his second term as business manager.
• Events Coordinator. Yared Eshete will be working as events coordinator for the first time.
On September 1, 2011 these individuals assumed their respective posts as the preceding executive committee officers handed over responsibilities as necessary. EHSNA board members, associate members, supporters and other members of the various Ethiopian communities extend congratulations and best wishes to the recently elected committee officers.
Goals of EHSNA
Entering its second year of operation, EHSNA has an ambitious primary goal. The Society, a 501(c)(3) organization, has a vision and mission to promote and preserve the rich heritage and traditions of the Ethiopian culture and its progenitors. Through its efforts it hopes to establish a strong link between that heritage and the new generation of Ethiopians born and raised in the Diaspora. The Society also wants to share that historical and cultural heritage with the other citizens of North America and contribute even more to the wide diversity that the North American nations already celebrate.
Recent EHSNA Activities
As part of that effort, the Society held its First Annual Ethiopian Heritage Festival, themed as “Celebrate and Discover Ethiopia,” this past July 1-3 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The festival showcased the historical, cultural, artistic, athletic, and culinary treasures, creativity, and talent from the Ethiopian community for the enjoyment and education of the public at large. The Society will seek to hold a similar festival annually during the first week of every following July.
Aside from the annual festival, the Society will work toward its mission by the sponsorship of a lecture series, as well as stage productions, art exhibits, sporting events, and the recognition of past and new achievements of individuals and groups within the Ethiopian community, including those in the Diaspora as well as those in the nation of Ethiopia itself.
Uniting the Ethiopian Communities of North America
EHSNA hopes to bring together Ethiopians from all walks of life residing in North America in such a way as to amplify exposure of others to the rich culture and increase its impact on the diversity of the North American societal mainstream. This hope is being realized by the recent and forthcoming activities of the various North American Ethiopian communities:
• Los Angeles, California. Little Ethiopia, an Ethiopian Diaspora community in L.A., held its annual celebration on September 4. It reached out to Ethiopians and Ethiopian-Americans as they celebrated the heritage they share.
• Houston, Texas. On September 10, the Houston Ethiopian communities will celebrate the Ethiopian New Year.
• Toronto, Canada. On September 10-11, the Ethiopian Diaspora communities in Toronto will have a two-day celebration of the Ethiopian New Year.
• Baltimore, Maryland. EHSNA will participate in a fund raiser for the benefit of the Baltimore Black Lion Soccer Team to be held on September 11.
• Arlington, Virginia/ Washington, D.C. In an event solely organized by EHSNA, on September 10, the Society will hold an Ethiopian New Year Celebration at Barcroft Park 4100 S. Four Mile Run Dr in Arlington, Virginia (a community near D.C.).
Ethiopian Communities Reach Out
Members of the Ethiopian Diaspora enjoy the peace and prosperity that comes with living in the various North America communities, but they also cherish the remembrance of their lives in Ethiopia, of the families and friends still there, and the way of life still extant in the Horn of Africa. The activities of the various Ethiopian communities and their organizations are meant to be a source of strength to all of Ethiopian heritage and an outreach of friendship to their adopted fellow citizens.
The Ethiopian Heritage Society of North America (EHSNA)