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Tuesday, 26 June 2007

What happened to Kinijit's spirit?

Tedla Asfaw

Am I confused? Not at all and most of the Diaspora are not members of any organization and we are not responsible for the battle for Kinijit since our elected leaders have been in jail for almost two years.

The battle is now looking like the battle for Nakfa in the 1989s when the Ethiopian army was close to breaking the backbone of Eritrean Liberation Front/Shabia and with all the tricks of Mengistu Hailemariam it faliled.

Here in the safe and sunny summer in North America the master of all these infighting is none other than Melese Zenawi’s TPLF and the battle ground is not the Nakfa Mountain rather the plain fields of Kaliti.

After Melese/TPLF wisely circulating the release of jailed leaders in th Diaspora to sabotage the US congress bill we heard the formation of the new Kinijit called Kinijit International Council(KIC) chaired by Dr, Taye declaring victory on Andargatche/Mewa’s KIL and preparing itself as the only Kinijit who can give flower to the eventual “work or exile” trip to Europe and North America by the soon to be freed leaders of Kinijit most probably after the celebration of Ethiopian millennium.

Do not worry the travel schedule will be kept secret to avoid KIL showing up with bunch of flowers and have photo opportunity with our heroes/heroines and convince some of them to join its camp..

This is not the Kinijit spirit and it is rather what we call blind “ kitiket ” and for the safety of the elected leaders we the majority of Ethiopians have to avoid the warring groups and organize a rally by known civil activists who have been tirelessly organizing protests for their release.

We can start a welcoming ceremony independent of Kinijit/”Kiteket” like the millions in Ethiopia who will celebrate their representatives release free from this foreign born Kinijit/ “Kitiket” viruses.

Friday, 22 June 2007

ONLF's reply to Seyoum Mesfin

Tedla Asfaw
The June 20, 2007 ONLF letter to Seyum Mesfin’s June19, 2007 letter is farsighted and covers all human right violations, abuses and killing in Ogaden and the rest of Ethiopia.

For some of us who know the Ogaden we did not hesitate to expose the economical, cultural and political neglect of this proud people for centuries and wait until foreign journalists like the NYT(June, 2007)article that angered Seyum Mesfin. Similar articles some in fact more critical were written by many Ethiopians and Somalis which the government ignored and boasting as the first to bring ethnic harmony by its famous article 39 of the Ethiopian constitution.

Our generation knowledge of Ogaden is limited to the wars fought between Siad Barre and previous Somalia dictators and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie and dictator Mengistu of Ethiopia which sow the seed of suspicion between Somalis and others and made many of shy away to tell the story from Ethiopian Somali side.

After the fall of Mengistu the Ogaden Somalis aspiration of self rule got another chance and like OLF and other nationalist movements join the transitional government and what they got is TPLF’s wing of Somalis and Oromos and the so called article 39 is just ruling by proxies.

The ONLF aspiration to improve the lives of its region by exploiting its natural resources if not economic freedom and then what and giving away their land for foreign companies with objections from the inhabitants led to the death of locals and foreign nationals and the ongoing detention and killing of many Ogaden Somalis.

The ONLF has also reached to other Ethiopian opposition movements and formed an alliance called AFD and coordinating military actions with OLF against the security forces of TPLF who are terrorizing their regions and also active in the struggle for the elected leaders of Kinijit and other parties to be released without preconditions immediately and start the national reconciliation.

ONLF believes in a democratic process open to all groups including the regime in power and however it will not kneel down by any brute force and neither believes to dominate its region by military force.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Happy father's day to our jailed fathers

Tedla Asfaw

While we celebrated Father’s Day here in USA back home in Ethiopia many fathers who led the May 15, 2005 peaceful revolution have been confined to jail for the last two years with fabricated charges and last week a political decision was made by Melese Zenawi to separate them from their families and millions who voted for them indefinitely.

Fathers like Hailu Shawel, Birhanu Nega, Yacob Hailemarian, Hailu Araya and others are fathers not only for their families but also hope for our country thousands of fatherless children so called “ “Dangerous Bozenes” who are roaming the streets of Addis Ababa and other cities with no hope for their future.

I have no doubt in my mind that a City like Addis Ababa was denied not only a mayor but also a good father who would have made a big difference in the lives of thousands of hopeless youths in Addis Ababa by creating jobs working together with local business and international agencies who are located in Addis Ababa and who will also benefit from such projects.

On this Father’s Day we have to remember the families of these brave fathers in Ethiopian jail and commit ourselves to put pressure on USA and UK Administrations who are the staunch supporters of the regime for the immediate release of our fathers of the May 15 peaceful revolution without any precondition.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

The next step after June 11

Tedla Asfaw
We know very well that TPLF is not to let our leaders go and have tried to divide them for the last two years in prison by sending so called negotiators foreign and home and to bow on Melese’s shoes and ask forgiveness to satisfy his Emperor’s ego.

Melese could not find a single person to bow and if they had wanted they could have joined his sleepy parliament and make fun of themselves and insult the millions of Ethiopians who voted for them in May 2005 and asked them for their vote to be counted.

Our heroes showed us courage and it is up to us to follow them and take our freedom from a regime that will never give us without fight and yesterday June 11 the regime officially declared the fight by convicting our thirty nine brave leaders..

The fight have been going on in the Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia and I urge Alliance for Political Freedom and Equality (AFD) to mobilize the Diaspora and raise money to support the liberation of our country from the hands of TPLF. Hibret supporters are urged to put pressure on their leaders and join the alliance even if they have reservation and if they do not join I ask them to stop attacking AFD verbally and continue their own struggle to remove TPLF from all parts of Ethiopia once and for all.

This week resolve of the crisis in Kinijit is a good sign and it will now play its role in AFD efficiently and I urge platform with OLF and ONLF supporters in the Diaspora to start understanding and develop trust which will isolate TPLF and its very few supporters in the Diaspora.

Like the May( Miazia 30) demonstration two years ago in Addis which sealed the fate of TPLF we here in the Diaspora have to organize similar multiethnic Ethiopian demonstration which will send a signal to USA and UK leadership that they have to abandon Melese before it is too late.

I will conclude by appealing to my fellow country people who are planning to travel to celebrate our millennium (HULETESHE AMETE) in Ethiopia to postponed this trip out of respect of the millions who voted for our jailed leaders.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Kangarooo court finds Kinijit leaders guilty

Ethiopian protest leaders guilty A court in Ethiopia has found 38 senior opposition figures guilty of charges connected to mass protests after disputed elections two years ago.
The charges ranged from armed rebellion to "outrage against the constitution".
Sentencing is next month and they could face the death penalty, says the BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Ethiopia.
Hundreds of thousands took part in demonstrations complaining of fraud and vote-rigging by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government in the 2005 polls.
Almost 200 people died in two waves of protests.
The opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy blamed the deaths on the security forces but Mr Meles accused the opposition of starting the violent protests.
His government also points out that it introduced multi-party elections to Ethiopia after years of military rule.
In the elections, the opposition made huge gains but says it was cheated out of victory.
Two months ago a judge threw out controversial charges of attempted genocide and treason against 111 people arrested after the election protests.
The violence and the charges of election fraud have tarnished Mr Meles' image as a favourite of Western donors and one of a new wave of reforming African leaders.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

There is no reconciliation

Tedla Asfaw
I heard Ato Aboye Sibhate’s long interview and what struck me is his statement that there is no “reconciliation between his TPLF/EPRDF and opposition parties because he said you cannot reconcile “dust” with “gold” and rather we might forgive but never reconcile.

What is he saying that you have to submit to his rule and ask forgiveness and follow their lead and do not challenge and if he believes that he found new convert to his camp I am afraid most of his supporters are disappointed by his ultimatum.

Aboye Sibhate’s group will be there to rule and if they are threatened he might be using his “constitutional’ right and formed his own republic and others will follow suit and this is nothing new but these days the TPLF/EPRDF officials are not afraid of saying it is because they believe that Ethiopians who will not accept the partition of their country will follow them believing that for the sake of Ethiopian “unity” they should not anger TPLF.

Sadly the division and mistrust between nationalist movements like OLF, ONLF and others multinational movements like EPRP which Aboye Sibahte characterized as also “nationalists” is making our predicament intractable and all efforts to reconcile until now have been frutiless.

The article 39 of the constitution is opposed by multinethnic and the nationalist groups accepted it and accused the TPLF regime for using it to dominate their regions politically and economically by organizing pro TPLF Oromo, Amhara , Somali and others and destroy them.

Multiethnic organizations like EPRP/Hibret will not seat with any one who support article 39 and that means TPLF/EPRDF leader like Aboye Sibhat assertion there is no reconciliation between “dirt” and “gold” might be correct and that only helps the regime in Ethiopia to stay in power as far as he can and if not he will make his own golden republic and other nationalist movements will follow its example.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Zenawi in shock trip to Somalia

(BBC) Ethiopia's prime minister has made a surprise visit to Somalia - the first since his troops helped to oust Islamists from the capital, Mogadishu.
Meles Zenawi is holding talks with President Abdullahi Yusuf, said Somali government spokesman Abdi Haji Gobdon.
The presence of thousands of Ethiopian troops in Somalia is unpopular with many Mogadishu residents.
Despite the defeat of the Islamists, Ethiopian and government troops are often the target of bombings.
Over the weekend, at least six people died in an attack on the house of the Somali prime minister.
Three more were killed after Ethiopian and government troops opened fire after they were grenades were thrown at them.
Anti-Ethiopia alliance
Last month, Ethiopia re-opened its embassy in Mogadishu after a break of 30 years.
Ethiopia and Somalia have fought two bitter wars in the past - the last in 1977.
Somali Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and former Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Aideed have formed an alliance opposed to Ethiopia.
The alliance, which is based in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, was launched after recent fighting in Mogadishu that killed some 1,600 people.
Ethiopia and the US accuse Eritrea of supporting insurgents opposed to the transitional government in Mogadishu - a claim Eritrea denies.
Mr Meles says he wants to withdraw his troops from Somalia but only after they are replaced by African Union peacekeepers.
Some 1,600 Ugandan troops have been sent as the vanguard of the proposed 8,000-strong force.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Americans flock to Ethiopia for cheaper adoptions


ST. PAUL, Minn. – Ethiopia was not on Mark and Vera Westrum-Ostrom’s list when they first visited Children’s Home Society & Family Services here to explore an international adoption.
Ukraine was first, because of their family heritage, until the couple discovered that the adoption system there was chaotic, with inaccurate information about orphans’ health and availability.
Vietnam was second, after they saw videos of well-run orphanages. But the wait would be at least a year and a half.
Then they learned about Ethiopia’s model centers for orphans, run by American agencies, with an efficient adoption system that made it possible for them to file paperwork on Labor Day and claim 2-year-old Tariku, a boy with almond eyes and a halo of ringlets, at Christmas.
From Addis Ababa, the capital city, they traveled to the countryside to meet the boy’s birth mother, an opportunity rare in international adoption. And the process was affordable compared to adoptions in other countries, and free of bribes, which are common in some countries.
It is no wonder, given these advantages, that Ethiopia – a country more often associated by Americans with drought, famine and conflict – has become a hot spot for international adoption. Even before the actress Angelina Jolie put adoption in Ethiopia on the cover of People magazine in 2005, it was growing.
The number of adoptions there by Americans is still small – 732 children in 2006, out of a total of 20,632 foreign adoptions. But the growth curve, up from 82 children in 1997, is the steepest adoption officials have ever seen. Ethiopia now ranks fifth among countries for adoption by Americans, up from 16th in 2000. In the same time period, the number of American agencies licensed to operate there has grown from one to 22.
The growing interest in Ethiopia comes at a time when the leading countries for international adoption – China, Guatemala and Russia – are, respectively, tightening eligibility requirements, under scrutiny for corruption in its adoption system, or closing the borders to American agencies.
Ethiopia’s sudden popularity comes with risks, say government officials in both countries.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to handle it,” said Haddush Halefom, an official at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which oversees adoption. “We don’t have the capacity to handle all these new agencies and we have to monitor the quality, not just the quantity.”
Capping the number of agencies is one solution. And that is what some international adoption officials in the United States are now urging the Ethiopian government to do.
In May, the talk of the Ethiopian adoption chat rooms was Christian World Adoption, an established agency that gave three children to the wrong families.
That case prompted inquiries by the U.S. State Department and the nonprofit Joint Council on International Children’s Services in Virginia, a child welfare and advocacy organization, and the adoption agency itself, Thomas DiFilipo, president of the joint council, said.
Officials at Christian World Adoption did not reply to e-mail messages or telephone calls. But DiFilipo said the agency is reviewing its procedures and has hired immigration attorneys to reverse adoptions if that is what the families wish.
Two elements distinguish Ethiopia’s adoption system, according to dozens of experts. One is the existence of transitional homes for orphans, in the countryside and in the capital, that are paid for by American agencies. These provide services and staffing rare in the developing world.
Not long ago, Sandra Iverson, a nurse practitioner from the nation’s first international adoption clinic, at the University of Minnesota, was invited to visit the Children’s Home Society’s Ethiopian centers
The other signature of Ethiopian adoption is that adopting families are encouraged to meet birth families and visit the villages where the children were raised

The false patriotism of a dying regime

(AV) The figurehead of the divisive regime, “President” Girma Woldegiorgis, has sent a letter to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain demanding the return of Prince Alemayehu’s bones to Ethiopia for reburial. The Prince, the son of the unifier Emperor Theodros, died in 1879 at the age of 18 in Britain and was buried at Windsor Castle.

What makes the demand quite astonishing is the fact that the Meles regime, which has been methodically fracturing Ethiopia apart and dividing its people, has proved itself to be oppressor of the living, killing, maiming, torturing and detaining patriotic Ethiopians en mass. It is now telling the world that it would “preserve” and dignify the bones of a dead Prince. Had Prince Alemayehu been alive, he would have fled the country like millions of his compatriots abhorred with the crimes of a dying regime which doesn’t know how to treat its people with dignity and fairness.

Human dignity can only be meaningful to the living, not the dead. Though we are not against the idea of reburying the remains of the late Prince in Ethiopia, the task should only be undertaken by a government which respects the people as well as the history of Ethiopia. As we all know, millions of Ethiopians in and outside of the country, as well as the bones of thousands of people killed in cold blood, are crying for justice.

One of the leaders of the ludicrous scheme, Mulugetta Asrate Kassa, told Reuters: "The prince was a prisoner of war. His return would ease the minds of lots of Ethiopians who believe his rightful resting place should be here with his father." He says that the bones should arrive in Ethiopia for the ridiculous millennium party being organized for the pleasure of the oligarchy. In a country where thousands of innocent prisoners of conscience languish in jails, Mulugetta tells us that the return of the bones would ease the minds of lots of Ethiopians. This is sycophancy of the worst kind. Who has appointed Mulugetta as a bone collector?

Let us not put the cart before the horse for the sake of the false patriotism of a dying regime. Until Ethiopia is liberated from the tentacles of tyranny, Prince Alemaheyu’s bones remain much safer in exile than at the hands of a destructive tyrant in an empire of injustice.