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Subcomandante Marcos, the Zapatista rebel leader, at a press  conference, Mexico City, October 1st 2007

Subcomandante Marcos, Mexico’s masked rebel figure who was one of the frontmen  Zapatista uprising in the Mexican state of Chiapas in 1994, is famous for always wearing a black ski mask.

The aim of the mask, allegedly, was anonymity, and an expression of the principle that “todos somos Marcos” — which translates as “we’re all Marcos.” But if it was anonymity he was after, the use of the mask has achieved quite the opposite effect, turning Marcos into a rebel icon for many, at home and abroad.

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Imagine a person who comes from an urban culture. One of the world’s biggest cities, with a university education, accustomed to city life. It’s like landing on another planet. The language, the surroundings are new. You’re seen as an alien from outer space. Everything tells you: “Leave. This is a mistake. You don’t belong in this place.” And it’s said in a foreign tongue. But they let you know, the people, the way they act; the weather, the way it rains; the sunshine; the earth, the way it turns to mud; the diseases; the insects; homesickness. You’re being told. “You don’t belong here.” If that’s not a nightmare, what is?” Marcos

The nickname Marcos is taken from the name of a friend who was killed at a military checkpoint in the road.[1] It is not, as is sometimes presumed, an acrostic combining the names of the communities where the EZLN first rose in arms: Las Margaritas, Amatenango del Valle, La Realidad, Comitán, Ocosingo, and San Cristóbal.

Subcomandante Marcos, also known as Insurgente Marcos and Delegado Cero, is the anonymous spokesperson of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, based in Chiapas, Mexico. The name Subcomandante Marcos is believed to be an acronym that makes reference to some of the first locations where the army started their fight. Subcomandante Marcos has made clear in different occasions that he is not the leader of the Zapatistas, but rather a supporter. The army, consisting mainly of indigenous Mayans, also counts with the support of white rural workers and sympathizers who understand the plight of the locals .

Subcomandante Marcos has never revealed his true identity, but the Mexican government believes his real name is Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente. Guillén was an active member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party while he was teaching Philosophy at Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) in Mexico City, which would go along with Subcomandante Marcos’s speech that the “Zapatista movement is more about ideas than bullets.”

The Zapatistas believe in non-violent protest, and make active use of peace marches and the Internet to share their message. They oppose globalization and fight for the autonomy of the native population of Mexico. Subcomandante Marcos has also widely campaigned against the World Trade Organization and the economic sanctions imposed by the United States on worldwide markets.

Since 1996, Subcomandante Marcos has written 21 books, some of which have gone on to be printed in numerous editions and translated into several languages. La Historia de los Colores / The Story of Colors, a bilingual edition of one of his most famous books, is actually a retelling of an old Mayan children’s fable that speaks of tolerance and solidarity. Subcomandante Marcos is also an avid correspondent, having written more than 250 stories and essays directed to newspapers and magazines, or used as press releases.

In 2005, Subcomandante Marcos announced a two-part plan called “The Other Campaign.” While the creation of the plan coincided with Mexico’s presidential election the following year, the aim of the Zapatistas is not to back any particular candidates. Instead, they request a new national constitution that emphasizes equality and guarantees that public resources will not be sold to private powers. Since the beginning of “The Other Campaign,” Subcomandante Marcos has been traveling Mexico in search of supporters while addressing the issue of poverty and oppression.

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25 Mexicans: Subcomandante Marcos, spokesman

Of all the Mexicans one might have recognized prior to arriving here, Subcomandante Marcos – or Delegado Cero as he now prefers to be known – is definitely one of them. His image abroad as the mask-wearing, pipe-smoking mestizo who fights for the indigenous cause rivals that of another Latin American icon, Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

That it is hard to nail down the facts about Marcos adds to his enigma. It’s generally accepted that he is (or was) Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, born in Mexico to Spanish immigrants and educated in a Jesuit school in Tampico, Tamaulipas. Marcos denies this.

Guillén, a middle-class academic who graduated from the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM), went on to earn a master’s degree in philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he worked briefly as a professor before, allegedly, leaving Mexico City to embrace the indigenous cause.

The seductive persona of the jungle-dwelling revolutionary clad in combats and battered brown cap lends itself to the romantic idolatry often favored by Latin America. His abilities as both speechmaker and raconteur are legendary. This verbosity has resulted in stacks of both children’s books and ‘adult’ novels.

In a recent interview with British newspaper The Guardian, Marcos confessed to occasionally letting the fame go to his head. But those who know him say his intelligence and sense of humor keep his ego in check.

Some say his mask is a strategy for anonymity though it has achieved something of the opposite. “Todos Somos Marcos” – the Zapatista slogan – signals the sense of solidarity generated within the movement; behind their masks the Zapatistas are no one and everyone.

But the powerful image may exaggerate Marcos’ relevance, which is a matter of opinion and debate. His importance is rumored to be waning.

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Our Word Is Our Weapon

by Subcomandante Marcos, Juana Ponce de Leon

Our Word Is Our Weapon is the first authoritative compendium of the writings of Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, the masked voice of the indigenous human rights fighters in the South-East Mexican state of Chiapas who has become an icon of the worldwide anti-globalisation movement. The evolution of the work of the Zapatistas and Marcos from its first revolt against the government in 1994, as detailed in this remarkable collection is, as its editor, Juana Ponce de León writes, “a testimony to the power of the word”. These writings have secretly been passed from hand to hand, out from the mountainous Lacandon jungle, across miles, until via the Internet, they have been disseminated to the global village. In depicting the conflict in Chiapas fuelled by the indigenous struggle for human rights, which is portrayed in words and paradoxically through the masked anonymity of its spokesperson as the fight against invisibility, Marcos creates a mirror in which we can recognise “the features of our own concerns” with “neoliberalism”. The three parts of Our Word is Our Weapon respectively cover Marcos’ commentary upon the social, economic, and political situation in Mexico and its implications in “Unveiling Mexico”; “Beneath the Mask” contains the “Sup’s” philosophical reflections on the world as he fashions himself in his isolated jungle hideouts as a servant of the revolution, partly through references and letters to other writers and thinkers such as Fernando Pessoa , Jorge Luis Borges, and John Berger; and, in the final part, “Creating Memory”, Marcos’ playful inventiveness comes to the fore in the folk tales he fashions from the forces that shape the Zapatistas’ revolutionary project. As well as showcasing Marcos’ extraordinary literary and political gifts, Our Word Is Our Weapon opens out another forum for a deeply personal and distinct voice that manages at the same time to be a collective one, in the face of which the Mexican government seems powerless. Our Word Is Our Weapon is an inspirational case in point for those who enjoyed Naomi Klein’s No Logo, and belongs in your cultural revolutionary backpack somewhere between Che Guevara’s manual of Guerilla Warfare and the poetry of Pablo Neruda. —Fiona Buckland

Leftist Noir

By ANDREY SLIVKA
Published: November 19, 2006

This peculiar stunt of a detective novel is a collaboration between the Spanish-born Mexican writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II and, of all people, the Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos, that pseudonymous rebel luminary whose rakish pipe juts in photographs from what must be Earth’s most fashionable balaclava.

Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

THE UNCOMFORTABLE DEAD

(What’s Missing Is Missing).

By Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Subcomandante Marcos. Translated by Carlos Lopez.

268 pp. Akashic Books. Paper, $15.95.

Readers’ Opinions

Forum: Book News and Reviews

Taibo is, among other things, the proprietor of a long-running detective fiction series starring a soulful, one-eyed Mexico City investigator named Héctor Belascoarán Shayne. “The Uncomfortable Dead” is a Belascoarán novel that Taibo and Marcos wrote in alternating chapters, whipsawing the manuscript between, presumably, Mexico City, where Taibo lives, and Marcos’s rather more nebulous Chiapas mountain address.

The book tells two converging stories. In the first, written by Marcos, a Zapatista bumpkin named Elías Contreras travels to Mexico City; he is following up leads about what will turn out to be a plot to privatize and sell off a valuable piece of southern Mexican territory that was seized from its indigenous inhabitants. In the second, written by Taibo, eerie phone messages are left for one of Belascoarán’s clients. They purport to be from a leftist activist who was murdered, supposedly by a government agent, in 1971. Contreras and Belascoarán, a man who likes his cigarettes and Coca-Cola, buddy up in the process of confounding the seizure of land and identifying the killer.

This kind of material — evoking the legacy of the Mexican government’s “dirty war” against its leftist opponents — might have generated interesting genre fiction. But “The Uncomfortable Dead” reads like a gimmick. The problem is mostly with Marcos, whose chapters ramble on at almost twice the length of Taibo’s. The subcomandante, who isn’t a first-time author — his other books include some political volumes and a children’s book called “The Story of Colors” — is simply not a talented fiction writer; it’s sometimes hard even to know what his sentences mean. Marcos does manage to write some lyrical and intelligent passages. But his prose, in this translation by Carlos Lopez, can be hyperactive; he’s like a sophomore impressed by his own facility.

This is a shame, because Taibo’s chapters are written with skill and wit. He does his best to evoke what he calls the “jungle” of Mexico City, that polluted sprawl haunted by history’s phantoms. But Marcos, the aggressive politician, takes control of the novel. It’s like watching Thelonious Monk being shoved off the stool by a thumping fellow in a mask.

Taibo should have known better. It’s one thing to write fiction informed by your own supple leftism. It’s another to use the conventions of noir — that morally opaque genre trafficking in an all-pervasive turpitude — in the service of a cut-and-dried worldview. “The Uncomfortable Dead” is thoroughly overdetermined. Of course it was agents of the Mexican establishment who killed the activist in question. A familiarity with Mexican history makes that certain. So does the fact that the novel was partly written by a leftist insurgent. Given the context, who else might have done it? The West German Greens?

Andrey Slivka, a writer based in Kiev, has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and other publications.

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The slaves of money – and our rebellion

Brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world, who are gathered in Cancun in a mobilisation against neo-liberalism, greetings from the men, women, children and elderly of the Zapatista National Liberation Army. It is an honour for us that, amid your meetings, agreements and mobilisations, you have found time and place to hear our words.The world movement against the globalisation of death and destruction is experiencing one of its brightest moments in Cancun today. Not far from where you are meeting, a handful of slaves to money are negotiating the ways and means of continuing the crime of globalisation.

The difference between them and all of us is not in the pockets of one or the other, although their pockets overflow with money while ours overflow with hope.

No, the difference is not in the wallet, but in the heart. You and we have in our hearts a future to build. They only have the past which they want to repeat eternally. We have hope. They have death. We have liberty. They want to enslave us.

This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that the people who think themselves the owners of the planet have had to hide behind high walls and their pathetic security forces in order to put their plans in place.

As if at war, the high command of the multinational army that wants to conquer the world in the only way possible, that is to say, to destroy it, meets behind a system of security that is as large as their fear.

Before, the powerful met behind the backs of the world to scheme their future wars and displacements. Today they have to do it in front of thousands in Cancun and millions around the world.

That is what this is all about. It is war. A war against humanity. The globalization of those who are above us is nothing more than a global machine that feeds on blood and defecates in dollars.

In the complex equation that turns death into money, there is a group of humans who command a very low price in the global slaughterhouse. We are the indigenous, the young, the women, the children, the elderly, the homosexuals, the migrants, all those who are different. That is to say, the immense majority of humanity.

This is a world war of the powerful who want to turn the planet into a private club that reserves the right to refuse admission. The exclusive luxury zone where they meet is a microcosm of their project for the planet, a complex of hotels, restaurants, and recreation zones protected by armies and police forces.

All of us are given the option of being inside this zone, but only as servants. Or we can remain outside of the world, outside life. But we have no reason to obey and accept this choice between living as servants or dying. We can build a new path, one where living means life with dignity and freedom. To build this alternative is possible and necessary. It is necessary because on it depends the future of humanity.

This future is up for grabs in every corner of each of the five continents. This alternative is possible because around the world people know that liberty is a word which is often used as an excuse for cynicism.

Brothers and sisters, there is dissent over the projects of globalisation all over the world. Those above, who globalise conformism, cynicism, stupidity, war, destruction and death. And those below who globalise rebellion, hope, creativity, intelligence, imagination, life, memory and the construction of a world that we can all fit in, a world with democracy, liberty and justice.

We hope the death train of the World Trade Organization will be derailed in Cancun and everywhere else.

Subcomandante Marcos is the leading voice of the Zapatista movement, which fights for the rights of Mexico’s 10 million indigenous people. This is the transcript of a message – Marcos’s first international communiqué for four years – delivered on Wednesday to the anti-globalization conference taking place alongside the WTO global trade negotiations in Cancun

Yemen & Djibouti made once camp with Somalia in the Arab league against Eritrea demanding more sanctions Melese Zenawie is retrieving

Yemeni ambassador calls for additional pressure on Eritrea

Monday, 29 March 2010
Dirham A. Noman

Addis Ababa, March 29 (WIC) –The newly assigned Yemeni ambassador to Ethiopia Dirham A. Noman said the international community should put additional pressure on Eritrea over its destabilizing role in the Horn of Africa.

In an exclusive interview with WIC, ambassador Noman said the recent sanctions imposed on Eritrea  by the Security Council over its role in Somalia and refusal to withdraw troops from Djibouti were appropriate.

He said the international community should put effective pressure on Eritrea as it has chosen to continue with its role as a spoiler of peace in the region.

The ambassador further said Ethiopia and Yemen are working more closely with the international community to restore peace in Somalia and bring about rapid economic growth at the entire Horn of Africa.

Commending the recent peace agreement reached between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and opposition groups, ambassador Noman said Somalis themselves need to work for the success of the peace process in their country.

He further said Yemen would continue to work with Ethiopia and other peace loving countries in order to create a stable and safe Somalia as well as Horn of Africa.

The ambassador further said in addition to hosting Somali refugees, his government is training the Somali police force as well as providing financial and other support to stabilize the country.

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American Chronicle | Eritrea has no links with Somalia’s Al Shabbab18 Mar 2010  On 23 December 2009, Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the United Nations,  Just because the US accuses Eritrea of supplying arms to groups in Somalia from power by Ethiopian troops supporting Somalia’s weak transitional  making shipments difficult to track…boats often came from Yemen ´with 

Sudan stalling Arab League resolution condemning Eritrea | Farajat
By farajat
The Sudanese government has rejected a draft resolution by the Arab League foreign ministers condemning
Eritrea for occupying parts of Djibouti prompting a…

Eritrea appeals for Arab sympathy

DefenceWeb (press release) – ‎1 hour ago‎
With his brinkmanship diplomacy facing a dead-end, Eritrea’s strong man, Isaias Afwerki, is approaching members of the League of Arab States (“Arab League”)

HOMOSEXUALITY ‘AGAINST ERITREAN VALUES’ – GOVT OFFICIALS –

Brunei News, Brunei Headlines from Brunei fm

Sat, 03/27/2010 – 00:01
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2012 doomsday Shelter Vivo & HAARP of Earth Quake

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Vivos shelter system set to save a select few on 2012 doomsday

It’s the end of the world as we know but those at Vivos will survive. That’s the plan of founder Robert Vicino whose network of underground shelters are posed to save the human race with about 3,000 members.
Del Mar, United States – There’s 1000 days until the end of the world for those that believe Mayan and Hopi Indians. One California company is cashing in on doomsday with a network of underground shelters. The $200 million project has been named Vivos, the Latin word for to live. “The Vivos complexes are deep-underground, airtight, fully self-contained blast proof shelters, designed to survive virtually any catastrophe or threat scenario including: natural disasters, a nuclear blast, chemical and biological weapons, or even widespread social anarchy.” Each facility costs more than $10 million. Each shelter will house 172 to 200 people for up to a year. Members who are also co-owners, will reside in furnished living quarters, with semi-private bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. Don’t worry if you’re one of those living below about getting bored with the menu abundant supply of gourmet foods for 1 year. That includes gourmet coffee. Unlike Noah’s Ark animals aren’t the main focus, but there is a DNA depository available for every living species on Earth in Vivos refrigerated vaults. The shelters should be finished by mid-2011 giving plenty of time for the Mayan deadline of life in 2012. Vicino is selecting people of all ages, ethnicities, religious beliefs, professions and skills to populate the shelters, designed for long-term comfort during the end of days. Those lucky enough to be selected won’t have to be bored as the rest of the world perishes instead they can catch a movie or hit the gym. “Disasters are rare and unexpected, but on any sort of long timeline, they’re inevitable. Where else would you go with just a few days’ notice?” Vicino concluded in a press release.
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Evidence of previous pole shift and wandering poles on Earth. The Earth’s past is recorded in its Geology and Folklore, Mythology. Immanuel Velikovsky, Zecharia Sitchin, Anunnaki Sumerian Sumer Mayan Maya Inca Aztec Egypt Egyptian Pyramid ancient mutation extinction 2012 prophecy Doomsday prediction polar solar sun alignment Planet X Nibiru
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httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR6O3kJTqaI@Nibiru 2012 Pole Shift and Galactic Alignment is possible scientists say!!!!! Pole Shift and Galactic Alignment Obama Martial Law Beast Mark 666 paranormal supernatural spirit demon giant horror hell ghost scary antichrist death war exorcism heaven tribulation revelation apocalypse Armageddon catholic secret nwo 2010 Swine Flu New World Order Super Volcanoes Alien UFO Planet X Nibiru 2012 Doomsday Magnetic Storms Exposed prophecy end time meteorite impact rapture.

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Dictator Melese Zenawie loses his sense and criticizes US legitimate defense to September 11 terrorist act :- Melese graps mistakes rather than learn from them :- Genocide from Rewanda Guantanamo from US

2009 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia

2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
March 11, 2010

Ethiopia blasts US for report on rights record

Sudan Tribune: Ethiopia blasts US for report on rights record28March 2010


Ethiopia Denounces US State Department Report

March 27, 2010 — The Ethiopian government denounced the 2009 US State Department Human Rights Report on Ethiopia, according to ENA. The government says it was compiled in collaboration with Neo-liberal extremist forces and it is groundless and unacceptable.

In a press statement it issued on Friday the government said it exhaustively examined the 2009 US State Department Human Rights Report with the previous report issued by same department.

“76 percent of 2009 report is a carbon copy of 2008 similar report while 21 percent of it is slightly modified newly fabricated allegations. Some 14 percent of the report is seemingly new issues.”

The funny side of the report is naming the Oromo National Liberation Front (ONLF) members who killed 65 Ethiopians and eight Chinese innocent civilians at Ogaden area as political prisoners.

“In paradox, the US government has not named as political prisoners the suspects who engaged in the terrorist attack on Sept. 11 detained at Guantanamo without due court process.”

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“The Office said the ill-fated report consciously narrated that members of Ginbot 7 terrorist group were stayed long in prison with out charging file by court and as if they were deprived of family visits. ”

“The report even did not try the very elementary step to verify the hearsays and allegations from the Ethiopian government rather incorporated information from terrorist sects like ONLF, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ginbot 7 Group.”
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Source: ENA

Stable Ethiopia now needs international and local support

Published Date: 29 March 2010
By Charles Tannock

TWO decades ago, Ethiopia was a Cold War battlefield. On the ideological map of the world, it was Soviet territory, a land of famine, dictatorship and civil war. But, with the overthrow of Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Marxist-Leninist dictatorship in 1991, Ethiopia began to transform itself. Today, it ranks among the five fastest-growing economies in the world and is a bastion of regional stability.

That stability matters, because the Horn of Africa is becoming a security headache once again. If the region is to be stabilised, Ethiopia will need to play a key part.

Besides the never-ending anarchy of neighbouring Somalia, the regional challenges facing Ethiopia and its long-serving prime minister, Meles Zenawi, are daunting. The country remains on a war footing with Eritrea over the disputed border village of Badme. The peace deal between the government and the former rebel SPLM is unravelling fast in neighbouring Sudan, where a scheduled referendum in the south in January 2011 on secession and independence – part of the 2005 peace deal – may provoke a return to all-out war.

Further south, Kenya remains scarred by the aftermath of post-election violence, and its constitutional review process could lead to yet more bloodshed. Moreover, Ethiopia’s proximity to strife-torn Yemen just across the Red Sea is complicating the country’s foreign policy because of its role in working to keep Somalia out of Islamist control.

Despite these myriad problems – or perhaps because of them – Ethiopia has an opportunity to emerge as the undisputed regional leader. Though landlocked, Ethiopia is comparatively well endowed with natural resources, not least its fertile farmland. A final settlement of the lengthy dispute with Egypt over the waters of the Blue Nile appears to be in sight, and could have a powerful impact on economic growth.

But, despite Ethiopia’s progress, the international community has been reluctant to view the country as a strategic partner. Of course, Ethiopia has its problems, but these should be seen in an African context. The human-rights situation could undoubtedly be improved – in particular, the treatment of the political opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa – but Isaias Afwerki’s regime in Eritrea is far worse.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has created what amounts to a one-party state during his 24 years in power, yet he is feted in the West as one of Africa’s visionary leaders.

If Zenawi consolidates his hold on power in the parliamentary elections due this May, the world should expect the stability that he has brought to take deeper root. Whether it will ripple throughout the region is another question. That is why, regardless of the electoral result, Ethiopia needs international backing.

It is interesting to contrast the likely consequences of the election in Ethiopia with the expected fallout from the presidential election scheduled in Sudan at around the same time. If Omar al-Bashir retains Sudan’s presidency, as expected, he will be emboldened to step up his hostility to the country’s restless regions. His bloody campaign in Darfur, the world should need no reminding, has led to his indictment by the International Criminal Court.

Bashir will also no doubt try to stop the oil-rich devolved region of South Sudan from declaring independence. The people of South Sudan are likely to favour secession – not least because of decades of war and the deeply resented imposition of Sharia law by Bashir’s government.

Many now believe that Bashir will seek to prevent the referendum from taking place, or to use its result as a pretext to return to war with the south – with devastating consequences across the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia’s diplomacy will be vital to minimising the potential for such violence to spread, but Ethiopia can fulfil this role only if it receives strong strategic backing from the West.

Regional rivalries and past history mean that Ethiopia has few natural allies in the region. One such ally could be Somaliland, the former British protectorate, which broke away from Somalia in 1991 and lies to the north-east of Ethiopia.

Somaliland is, like Ethiopia, relatively stable. It also has a lengthy coastline and a deepwater port, Berbera, which could help land-locked Ethiopia. The moderate Islam practiced in Somaliland could not be farther removed from the barbarity of the Al-Shabab in Somalia. If Ethiopia were to recognise Somaliland as sovereign, other African Union countries would probably follow – and, perhaps, the US and EU states.

Ethiopia’s leadership throughout the Horn of Africa could bring change in a part of the world that has largely been written off. It is time to give Ethiopia the diplomatic tools it needs.

• Charles Tannock is ECR foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament.

International Brigade against the dictator 74th anniversary (March1936 – March 2010). Least we forget we are more lenient today to dictators like Melese Zenawie…

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Franco &  Hitler supported Mussolini’s  Genocide in Abyssinia

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In August 1936 Harry Pollitt arranged forTom Wintringham to go to Spain to represent the CPGB during the Civil War. While in Barcelona he developed the idea of a volunteer international legion to fight on the side of theRepublican Army. He wrote: “You have to treat the building of an army as a political problem, a question of propaganda, of ideas soaking in.”

On 10th September 1936 Wintringham wrote to Harry Pollitt that he had arranged for Nat Cohen, a Jewish clothing worker from Stepney, to establish “a Tom Mann centuria which will include 10 or 12 English and can accommodate as many likely lads as you can send out… I believe that full political value can only be got from it (and that’s a lot) if its English contingent becomes stronger. 50 is not too many.”

Maurice Thorez, theFrench Communist Party leader, also had the idea of an international force of volunteers to fight for the Republic. Joseph Stalinagreed and in September 1936 theComintern began organising the formation of International Brigades. An internatinal recruiting centre was set up in Paris and a training base at Albacete in Spain.

Battalions estblished included the Abraham Lincoln BattalionBritish BattalionConnolly ColumnDajakovich BattalionDimitrov BattalionMackenzie-Papineau BattalionGeorge Washington BattalionMickiewicz Battalion and Thaelmann Battalion.

A total of 59,380 volunteers from fifty-five countries served during the Spanish Civil War. This included the following: French (10,000), German (5,000), Polish (5,000), Italian (3,350), American (2,800), British (2,000), Canadian (1,000), Yugoslavian (1,500), Czech (1,500), Canadian (1,000), Hungarian (1,000) and Scandinavian (1,000). These men were organized into the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of the Mixed Brigades.

Men who fought with the Republican Army included George Orwell, André Marty, Christopher Caudwell, Jack Jones, Len Crome, Oliver Law, Tom Winteringham, Joe Garber, Lou Kenton, Bill Alexander, David Marshall, Alfred Sherman, William Aalto, Hans Amlie, Bill Bailey, Robert Merriman, Fred Copeman, Tom Murray, Steve Nelson, Walter Grant, Alvah Bessie, Joe Dallet, David Doran, John Gates, Harry Haywood, Oliver Law, Edwin Rolfe, Milton Wolff, Hans Beimler, Frank Ryan, Emilo Kléber, Ludwig Renn, Gustav Regler, Ralph Fox, Sam Wild and John Cornford.

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Women were active supporters of the International Brigades. A large number of women volunteered to serve in Medical Units in Spain during the war. This included Annie Murray, Thora Silverthorne, Salaria Kea, Mildred Rackley, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Mary Valentine Ackland, Lillian Urmston and Penny Phelps.

Volunteers came from a variety of left-wing groups but the brigades were always led by Communists. This created problems with other Republican groups such as the Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) and the Anarchists.

The International Brigades played an important role in the defence of Madrid in November 1936. They also suffered heavy losses at Jarama (February 1937), Brunete (July, 1937), Teruel (December 1937) and Ebro (July-August 1938).

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Spanish Civil War.

Introduction:

1936 to 1939: A military rising originating in Morocco, headed by General Francisco Franco, spreads rapidly all over the country, thus starting the Spanish Civil War.

After a number of bloody battles in which fortunes changed from one side to the other, the ‘nacionales’ finally prevailed and made a victorious entry into Madrid (March 28th, 1939).

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Significant Events:

1936: The tragic death of Calvo Sotelo had the effect of accelerating a military coup that had been under preparation for a long time. Actually, the conspirators had been awaiting General Franco’s decision to begin the uprising. On July 18th it spread to other garrisons in metropolitan Spain and the following day Franco took command of the army in Morocco. The rising was succesful in Seville (directed by General Queipo de Llano), the Balearic Islands (General Goded), the Canary Islands and Morocco (Franco), Navarra (Mola), Burgos and Saragossa. General Yague advanced through Extremadura and Mola took Irun. By the end of 1936 the Nationalist troops controlled the greater part of Andalucia, Extremadura, Toledo, Avila, Segovia, Valladolid, Burgos, Leon, Galicia, a part of Asturias, Vitoria, San Sebastian, Navarra and Aragon, as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands with the exception of Menorca. Castilla la Nueva, Catalunya, Valencia, Murcia, Almeria, Gijon and Bilbao remained in Republican hands.

The Republican government formed a coalition Cabinet headed by Giralt which was succeeded by another one under Largo Caballero. It brought the CNT (Confederacion Nacional de Trabajo, the anarcho-syndicalist union) into the Cabinet and moved to Valencia. On September 29, the Junta de Defensa Nacional named Franco head of the government and commander of the armed forces. To offset these circumstances, the Republican government created a Popular army and militarized the militia. Both sides were soon receiving aid from abroad: the International Brigades were supporting Republican Spain and Italian and German troops, Nationalist Spain.

Jarama, Brunete, Quinto, Belchite, Fuentes de Ebro, Teruel, The Retreats and The Ebro are the battlegrounds of the Spanish Civil War in which over twelve hundred Canadian soldiers supporting Republican Spain took part. These men created the most unique military unit in the history of Canada: the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion of the XVth International Brigade of the Spanish Republican Army: ‘the Mac-Paps.’

1937: The year 1937 was characterized by fighting in the north of the country: Guernica was bombed in April, Bilbao taken in June, Santander in August, and Gijon in October. The reaction of the Republicans was to open fronts in Guadalajara (March),Brunete (July), and Belchite (August). The Battle of Teruel was launched at the end of the year.

1938: The Nationalist transferred their efforts to Aragon, recovered Teruel and divided the Republican zone in two parts after entering Castellon in July 1938. The government replied with the so-called Battle of the Ebro (July-November 1938) which ended with a Republican defeat and 70,000 casualties.

1939: Once government resistance was exhausted, the Republican exile began with many Spaniards fleeing accross the border into France. Catalunya fell on February 10, 1939. Madrid was the only city still resisting, and the proposals of peace made by its Junta de Defensa (headed by Casado and Besteiro) were useless. Nationalist forces occupied the capital on March 28, 1939, and on April 1, General Franco officially ended the war.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAYgpMQTHKY

Time Line

1936 February Popular Front won national elections and Azana was appointed president of Spain. March The right wing Falange Party was banned. March to May Street riots; strikes and general anarchy in some parts of Spain. July Military uprisings in Spanish Morocco and some parts of mainland Spain. The government dissolves the regular army. July 19th, Franco arrives to take command of the army in Morocco.

Hitler agreed to help out the Nationalists. Stalin agreed to help the Republicans. German and Italian planes airlift Franco’s army to the Spanish mainland. August First International Brigade volunteers arrived in Spain. September A military junta named Franco as head of state and c-in-c of the armed forces of Spain. October The first aid from Russia arrives for the Republicans November Germany and Italy recognise Franco as head of Spain’s government. 1937 February Nationalists started a major offensive against Madrid. International Brigade played an important part in resisting this offensive. March Battle of Guadalajara. Italian “volunteers” defeated. This led to Franco abandoning any attempt to take Madrid. April Guernica destroyed by aerial bombing. May Republican groups in Barcelona fell out causing serious weaknesses in the city. June The strategic city of Bilboa fell to the Nationalists. August The Vatican recognised Franco’s regime. 1938 April Republican Spain was split in two by the Nationalists. May Franco declared that the Republicans had to unconditionally surrender. July Start of the collapse of the Republican army after the Battle of the Ebro. October International Brigade left Spain. 1939 January Barcelona fell to Franco February Britain and France recognised the legitimacy of Franco’s government. March Madrid surrendered to Franco April Republicans surrendered unconditionally to Franco.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSrs6qlaAA8

Genocide in preparation in Ethiopian Tactonic Dams for over 1/2 Million Omotic Ethiopians & Kenyans are endangered

[slideshow id=1]

The  Ethiopian Rift valley  extending from the Afar Vally down to the Omo river  passing to the Lake Turkna ( Rudelf)  up unto lake Victoria. This is a tectonic  plate separation point breaking the Horn of Africa from the rest of the continent. One  cannot build a Dams  (Gebe I Gebe II Gebe III) connecting these  breaking  plates. Recently the Gebe II dam’s tunnel of 26 kilometer collapsed from this movement. The government of Ethiopia is continuing its project and throwing money in these futile project and destroying the lives of over half a million Ethiopians & Kenyans down the river . The dam could collapse any time with these unexpected movement endangering over half a million lives .

Ethiopia map of dam surroundings at present

Dramatic Geologic Activity in East Africa

A New Ocean Will Eventually Form as Tectonic Plates Split Apart

Feb 26, 2010 Terrie Schultz

The splitting apart of the African Plate in the East African Rift Valley shows how continents change and oceans are created through the process of plate tectonics.

The huge, brittle tectonic plates that make up Earth’s crust normally move only a few centimeters per year, not fast enough to be noticeable in a human lifetime. However, in the East African Rift Valley, this tectonic motion is happening with remarkable speed.

The East African Rift System

The East African Rift System is the most extensive continental rift zone on Earth, as well as one of the most active geologic regions. Stretching more than 6,000 km (3,700 miles), it begins in Lebanon and Syria to the north, proceeds along the Red Sea where it marks the boundary between the African and Arabian Plates, and continues through to Mozambique in the south.

The area of east Africa is defined by extremes. Volcanic activity along the Great Rift Valley has produced some of the world’s highest mountains, including Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, while the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is one of the lowest points on the planet.

The Afar Triangle, which includes north-eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti and the southern Red Sea region of Eritrea, is the location of a tectonic triple junction where three tectonic plates meet. These three plates are moving away from each other due to an upwelling of magma from the mantle, which melts the crust and causes it to thin and pull apart. The phenomenon is similar to that which occurs at the mid-ocean ridges, where hot magma rises up and pushes the oceanic crust out to each side in the process of seafloor spreading, but it is rarely observed on Earth’s surface.

The African Plate is Tearing Apart, Forming a New Plate and Ocean Basin

Recent tectonic activity in the East African Rift Valley has created vast fissures where the African Plate is being split into two parts. The Nubian Plate that comprises most of the African continent, and the Somalian Plate, on the eastern coast, are moving in opposite directions at what is known as a divergent plate boundary. As the plates pull apart, a new ocean will eventually form, and the Horn of Africa will separate from the rest of the continent, becoming an island.

Lake Turkana

The dam may affect the people who live around Lake Turkana



Web campaign against Ethiopia Gibe III dam

BBC

age last updated at 14:48 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A group of international campaigners has launched an online petition against Ethiopia’s huge Gibe III dam project.

The group wants to put pressure on Western donors and banks not to fund the dam, saying it would destroy the livelihoods of some 500,000 people.

The dam is on the Omo River, which flows from southern Ethiopia into Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.

Ethiopia’s government says the dam is needed to generate enough electricity for its population and to sell abroad.

Construction work is under way on the dam, which would be Africa’s second largest hydro-electric dam, providing some 1,800 megawatts of electricity.

‘Very sensible’

But one of the groups, International Rivers, says the government still needs about $1.4bn (£930m) to finish it.

“Gibe III is the most destructive dam under construction in Africa. The project will condemn half a million of the region’s most vulnerable people to hunger and conflict,” said Terri Hathaway, director of International Rivers’ Africa programme.

The dam would flood a huge area, creating a 150km-long lake and preventing people from planting their crops on the river’s flood plains, as they have done for many generations.

Campaigners also fear that the dam would reduce the flow of water into Lake Turkana, which some 300,000 people depend on.

However, Ethiopia’s government disputes that the overall amount of water would change – they say it would just be a more regular flow throughout the year.

Tewolde Gebre Egziabher, head of Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority, told the BBC the project was “very sensible”.

“The advantages for the whole country, the local communities around, even for our neighbouring countries – including Kenya -so much more outweigh the small problems that will be caused on an immediate basis but are not long-lasting.”

FLOODING EFFECT OF DAM ON OMO RIVER

Choose a view:


Using newly gathered seismic data from 2005, researchers reconstructed the event to show the rift tore open along its entire 35-mile length in just days. Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift, erupted first, then magma pushed up through the middle of the rift area and began “unzipping” the rift in both directions, the researchers explained in a statement today.

“We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this,” said Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochesterand co-author of the study.

@@@@Fissures have opened in the Earth's surface in Afar as the Arabian and Nubian tectonic plates pull apart. Scientists say the process is the same as that which created the Atlantic. Photograph: Xan Rice

The Horn of Africa is Becoming an Ocean

A new ocean is appearing between the Arabian and the African plate. This ocean is appearing faster than previously geological thought. A series of more than one-hundred sixty two earthquakes in
two weeks were the
For the first time – humans were able to witness the birth of an ocean. Geologist Dereje Ayalew and his colleagues from Addis Ababa were the first to witness this up-to-the-minute experience. With a shake of the earth as soon as they arrived they were tempted to run back to the helicopter that had brought them there but in moments they were able to witness this horrific yet fascinating event. After a few moments, a dense crack in the earth appeared – an event that usually takes a lifetime to occur. This would be an amazing experience to view in a lifetime, it has been recently added to my “things to see in my lifetime” list.
“In north-eastern Africa’s Afar Triangle, though, recent months have seen hundreds of crevices splitting the desert floor and the ground has slumped by as much as 100 meters (328 feet). At the same time, scientists have observed magma rising from deep below as it begins to form what will eventually become a basalt ocean floor.”
“The process happening here is identical to that which created the Atlantic Ocean,” Parts of the region have sunk to nearly one-hundred meters below sea level.
The red sea will soon flood this crevice, and the scientists are able to unearth what is to be the floor of the newly forming ocean. The African and the Arabian plates meet at the Afar triangle and are considered to be the largest natural construction site on the planet. The event witnessed was the first visual proof of the formation. Now, this would have been something to witness.
Locals visit the site regularly and notice new cracks forming constantly. Also, fumes as hot as 400 degrees arising from the area accompanied by magma and sulfur. This is evident in the recent volcanic activity within the area. It won’t be a very long time until this area is flooded by the current red sea and becomes the youngest ocean.
Schematic map of Africa's most active volcanoes

Giant dam to devastate 200,000 tribal people in Ethiopia 23 March


A massive hydroelectric dam project on Ethiopia’s Omo River will devastate at least 200,000 tribal people, Survival said today.

Survival is launching an urgent campaign calling on the Ethiopian government to halt the dam (known as Gibe III), and urging potential international funders, including the Africa Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank and the Italian government not to support the project.

Italian company Salini Costruttori, has been contracted to build the dam. The same company built the smaller Gibe II dam, part of which collapsed 10 days after it was opened in January.

The dam will end the Omo’s natural flood, which deposits fertile silt on the river banks, where the tribes cultivate crops when the waters recede. In a region where drought is commonplace, this will have devastating consequences for the tribes’ food supplies.

The tiny hunter-gatherer Kwegu tribe, for example, will be pushed to the brink as fish stocks will be reduced. Six Kwegu, including two children, recently died of hunger because the rains and flood failed.

The Ethiopian government plans to lease huge tracts of tribal land in the Omo Valley to foreign companies and governments for large-scale production of crops, including biofuels, which will be fed by water from the dam.

Most of the tribal people who will be affected by the dam know nothing about the project. The Ethiopian government is clamping down on tribal organizations, and last year closed down 41 local ‘community associations’, making it impossible for communities to hold meetings about the dam.

The Omo River is the primary source of Kenya’s famous Lake Turkana, which supports the lives of 300,000 people who pasture their cattle on its banks and fish there. The dam will threaten their survival too. Both the Lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘The Gibe III dam will be a disaster of cataclysmic proportions for the tribes of the Omo valley. Their land and livelihoods will be destroyed, yet few have any idea what lies ahead. The government has violated Ethiopia’s constitution and international law in the procurement process. No respectable outside body should be funding this atrocious project.’

Survival together with the the Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank, Counter Balance coalition, Friends of Lake Turkana and International Rivers have launched a petition to stop the dam.

Sign the Petition

Some facts on Gibe 3 dam:

1. The dam wall will be 240 metres high – the tallest dam in Africa

2. The lake formed by the reservoir will be 150 kms long

3. Estimated Cost: 1.4 billion Euros (US $1.7 billion at start of dam construction)

4. Construction started in 2006 and is due to be completed in 2012

5. The dam will provide 1,800 megawatts of electricity

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httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa5tTu4_D6s

The Lower Omo River in south west Ethiopia is home to eight different tribes whose population is about 200,000. They have lived there for centuries.

However the future of these tribes lies in the balance. A massive hydro-electric dam, Gibe III, is under construction on the Omo. When completed it will destroy a fragile environment and the livelihoods of the tribes, which are closely linked to the river and its annual flood.

Hamar girls display their ornate hair and adornments.
Hamar girls display their ornate hair and adornments.
© Eric Lafforgue/Survival

Salini Costruttori, an Italian company, started construction work on the Gibe III dam at the end of 2006, and has already built a third of it.

Soon, both the African Development Bank and the Italian government will decide whether to fund the dam project as requested by the Ethiopian government.

Survival and various regional and international organisations believe that the Gibe III Dam will have catastrophic consequences for the tribes of the Omo River, who already live close to the margins of life in this dry and challenging area.

We are calling on the African Development Bank and other potential funders not to support this project until a complete and independent social and environmental impact study is carried out and the tribal peop

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httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hpLlt0agt8

‘Open the dam and let the water flow’ – desperate plea from Omo Valley 25 February

A Kwegu boy outside his hut. The Omo Valley tribes are finding it hard to feed their children in these times of drought.
A Kwegu boy outside his hut. The Omo Valley tribes are finding it hard to feed their children in these times of drought. ©Survival

Many tribal people in the Lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia are starving as the region is in the grip of a drought and the river’s annual flood has failed.

The Kwegu, a small hunter-gatherer tribe, have been badly hit. Survival has received reports that two Kwegu children and four adults died from hunger in November.

A Kwegu man sent this message: ‘Go and give this news to your elders, we Kwegu people are hungry. Other tribes have cattle, they can drink milk and blood. We don’t have cattle; we eat from the Omo River. We depend on the fish, they are like our cattle. If the Omo floods are gone we will die.’

The rains have not fallen properly for three years in the Omo Valley, home to eight different tribes and around 200,000 people. The annual flood of the Omo River, a lifeline for the region, has decreased in recent years, and in 2009 it failed completely.

A Mun tribesman said, ‘Before the flood waters would come and we would have big cultivation sites. Now, all the cultivation sites … have got no water.’

It is not clear why the rains have stopped, or why the flood failed. What is clear, is that the Gibe cascade – a series of five dams planned for the Omo River – is likely to stretch an already strained region, and its people, to breaking point.

Some Kwegu blame the dam. One said, ‘Our land has become bad. They closed the water off tight and we know hunger. Open the dam and let the water flow.’

Gibe I is already complete, damming one of the tributaries of the Omo River. The Gibe II dam blocks the same river, and recently was a major source of embarrassment for the Ethiopian government and Italian firm Salini Construttori, after part of it collapsed just ten days after opening.

The Gibe III dam is about one third complete. A 50 meter cofferdam was recently built as part of the ongoing dam construction. Some believe it may have contributed to the lack of the annual flood.

If completed, Gibe III will be the second largest hydroelectric dam in Africa.

Experts warn it will irrevocably devastate the Omo River’s flood cycle, which is crucial to the Omo Valley tribes’ livelihood and survival.

The Ethiopian government claims Gibe III, aside from generating enough electricity to power the country several times over, will increase the safety of the downstream tribes by stopping giant floods from sweeping away livestock and people. But the tribes are clear – without the annual flood, they cannot survive.

A Mun tribesman said, ‘Now that the floods are gone we have a big problem. We are afraid of death. The rainy season hasn’t come for three years. Why haven’t the rains been working all this time? Did the sky not sign his work papers? Did he forget to work?’

‘There is no singing and dancing all along the Omo River now. The people are too hungry. The kids are quiet.’

‘The big rains have been gone for three years and now, we come to the Omo and there is no water.’

Ethiopia's dam project could kill Kenya's Lake Turkana

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Uncontacted tribes threatened by ‘thousands of explosions’ 22 March

A Nahua man shortly after first contact in 1984. More than 50% of the Nahua died following contact.
A Nahua man shortly after first contact in 1984. More than 50% of the Nahua died following contact.
© Survival

A pioneer scientific study has revealed how some of the world’s last uncontacted tribes are threatened by ‘the detonation of thousands of seismic explosives’ on their land.

The study says that seventeen large areas in the Peruvian Amazon where oil and gas companies can work include land inhabited by uncontacted Indians.

The potential impacts on the tribes and their land are ‘severe and extensive’, says the study. These impacts include: ‘hundreds of heliports’, ‘the cutting of hundreds of kilometres of seismic lines’, ‘the detonation of thousands of seismic explosives’, oil spills and leaks, new roads, and the ‘unique potential of advancing the agricultural, cattle and logging frontiers’, all of which could be disastrous for the tribes ‘whose lack of resistance or immunity make them extremely vulnerable to illnesses brought by outsiders.’

‘More of the Peruvian Amazon has been leased to oil and gas companies over the past four years than at any other time on record,’ says the study, published in ‘Environmental Research Letters’.

The study cites drilling in northern Peru by a British company as ‘extremely controversial’, although it does not mention the company, Perenco, by name. Perenco, which has recently revealed plans to build a pipeline into the region, is working ‘within a mega-diverse and largely intact section of the Amazon (where) there is strong anthropological evidence (of) uncontacted indigenous peoples.’

The study says that a massive 72% of the entire Peruvian Amazon is now open for exploration and drilling. Survival is campaigning against exploration in parts of the Peruvian Amazon inhabited by uncontacted tribes.

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EUROPE:

Aid for Ethiopian Dam Challenged
David Cronin

BRUSSELS, Jan 26 (IPS) – Financial support has been requested from the European Union for a controversial energy project in Ethiopia that could drive thousands of farmers from their land.

With a projected cost of 1.7 billion dollars, the Gilgel Gibe 3 dam is the single largest infrastructural work being undertaken in Ethiopia. At a launch ceremony Jan. 24, Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis predicted that the hydroelectricity scheme will boost efforts to reduce poverty.

Yet his upbeat assessment is disputed by environmental and social policy activists.

They predict the dam will have adverse consequences for the ecology of the Gibe-Obo river system. Although 400 nomadic pastoralists are likely to lose access to grazing lands as a result of it, locals have not been formally consulted about its effects.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has confirmed that it has received a request to loan money to the dam.

In a letter, seen by IPS, senior bank official Yvonne Berghorst said that “in order to qualify for funding, the EIB’s normal thorough project appraisal procedure would need to demonstrate that the project meets the EIB’s requirements on environmental and social standards, is technically, economically and financially viable and complies with relevant practices and standards regarding procurement.”

Doubts have been cast on whether the project would comply with international tendering rules. Salini, an Italian construction firm, was awarded a contract for the project by the Addis Ababa government, without any competition.

An EIB spokesman said that because the contract had been granted in this way, the bank would “only be able to finance things that might be subcontracted” to other companies.

“We will be looking very carefully at the project’s affordability,” the spokesman added. “Does the project make sense for the Ethiopian economy? We will look at what positive effects it will have to make a balanced decision.”

Campaigners have declined to accept this reassurance.

Magda Stockczkiewicz from Friends of the Earth’s Brussels office pointed out that the EIB had previously financed earlier phases of the dam’s construction between 1998 and 2005, even though similar problems had been observed in the awarding of contracts. A loan of more than 44 million euros (65 million dollars) was allocated to phase two, for example.

“It is in keeping with the classic EIB approach that it is not going to provide finance to all of a monster but that it is happy to finance the birth of a monster,” said Stockczkiewicz.

Set up by the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the EIB is an official EU body, which approved loans totalling more than 53 billion euros (78 billion dollars) in 2006.

Although the bank raises its capital from international markets, its mandate requires that it adheres to the Union’s policies. Under the Cotonou Agreement, a treaty signed in 2000 that lays down the legal basis for the EU’s relationship with Africa, it is obliged to ensure that any work it supports in Africa helps reduce poverty.

Gilgel Gibe 3 is considered pivotal to an Ethiopian five-year plan to generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity. Almost half that energy is to come from the project.

But the question of whether the domestic population will benefit as a result is fiercely contested, given that much of its power could be exported to Kenya.

Caterina Amicucci from the Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank in Rome said that just 6 percent of Ethiopia’s 73 million inhabitants are connected to the national electricity grid. It would be preferable, she added, to invest in improving domestic capacity than to support schemes designed to export energy.

As alternatives to Gilgel Gibe 3, campaigners are advocating a major effort to increase the supply of cooking fuels to rural communities.

Ethiopia has also been identified as having vast potential for the generation of geothermal energy – from heat stored beneath the earth’s surface – particularly in the Rift Valley.

Despite being a critic of the World Bank, Amicucci argued that the Washington-based institution is “much more advanced” than the EIB. After sustained campaigning by a wide variety of organisations, the World Bank has become more transparent and has begun insisting that correct procedures are followed before it releases money.

“Because of the procurement issue (with Gilgel Gibe 3), the World Bank’s offices in Addis Ababa have told us they can’t support this project,” Amicucci added.

Another concern being raised is that Ethiopia could struggle to pay back a large-scale loan.

In a report on Ethiopia issued last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that the granting of commercial loans to public enterprises has a “sizeable effect” on debt sustainability.

The World Bank and IMF consider the external debt of a country as sustainable when it is around 150 percent of its yearly export revenues.

According to the latest data published by the World Bank, Ethiopia has an external debt of 6 billion dollars, equivalent to one-fifth of national income.

Some 40 percent of Ethiopians live below the poverty line.

“Loans have to be paid back,” said Stockczkiewicz. “Our belief is that in such a situation, the responsibility on the donor is even greater. If they don’t look through all the pros and cons of a project before giving a loan, at the end of the day it is the country’s people that will have to pay the price.”

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European bank withdraws funding from Ethiopia’s dam


afrol News, – The European Investment Bank has decided to pull back its funding for Ethiopia’s hydropower dam following pressure calls by environmentalists that the Gibe 3 Dam threatens the food security and local economies that support more than half a million people in Southwest Ethiopia.

According to the banks statement, the Euro 1.55 billion hydropower dam would devastate the ecosystems of Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley and Kenya’s Lake Turkana.

The dam which is expected to be Africa’s tallest dam with the height of 240 meters and Ethiopia’s biggest investment, drew criticisms from environmentalists saying the construction will wreak havoc on the Omo River’s natural flood cycle.

The Bank’s statement further said in March 2009, Friends of Lake Turkana, a group of affected people in Kenya, urged the EIB not to fund the Gibe 3 because the affected communities could not withstand any more pressure on the little resources along the lake.

The coordinator of Friends of Lake Turkana, Ikal Angelei, said Gibe 3 Dam would lead to the ecological and economic collapse around Lake Turkana, adding that it would also fuel tension in the volatile east African region.

The African Development Bank will be the next financier to consider funding for the project. Friends of Lake Turkana and International Rivers Network submitted complaints to the AfDB in March and April.

International Rivers’ Africa director Terri Hathaway said the Gibe 3 Dam violates the AfDB’s policies on environmental and social assessment, poverty reduction, resettlement, public disclosure, and trans-boundary water management.

“Donors should not fund through the AfDB what they are not prepared to fund through the EIB,” the official said.

The Gibe 3 Dam which resumed construction in 2006 was awarded without competition to an Italian construction giant Salini, raising serious questions about the project’s integrity. The project’s impact assessment reports were also published long after construction began and are said to disregard the project’s most serious consequences.

The European Investment Bank financed the Gibe and Gibe 2 dams, conducted a pre-assessment of the Gibe 3 Dam, and contribued funds to the project’s Economic, Financial and Technical Assessment.

The environmentalists have argued that the construction of Gibe 3 dam would leave the Lake Turkana and its inhabitants devastated as the lake could start drying up when its main source, the Omo River, is depleted by a huge dam in Ethiopia.

“There is no question that Ethiopia needs power. But the irony of the Gibe III dam is that while it threatens the economy of the Turkana region, a large share of its electricity will be sold to consumers in other parts of Kenya,” the environmentalists has said.

Although Kenya and Ethiopia have reportedly signed the power purchase agreement outlining the terms of electricity sales in 2006, no bilateral agreements on the use of the Omo-Turkana waterway and the dam’s downstream effects to Kenya are publicly known.

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Kenyan indigenous groups file complaint with AfDB on Ethiopian dam

2 March 2009

Requestors argue that the Gibe III Dam is set to deplete Lake Turkana with dramatic impacts on downstream communities in Kenya, and in the absence of public consultation.

On February 4, Friends of Lake Turkana, a Kenyan organization representing indigenous groups in northwestern Kenya whose livelihoods are linked to Lake Turkana, filed a formal request with the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Compliance Review & Mediation Unit (CRMU) – the AfDB’s internal accountability mechanism – to investigate and intervene in the Bank’s plans to finance the Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric project in Ethiopia.

Gilgel Gibe III (known as “Gibe”) is part of a continuing series of projects on the Omo River and its tributaries in southwestern Ethiopia. Construction on the third portion of the project began in 2006, but the request for funding to the AfDB was only made recently. The project has become problematic for public funders because the Ethiopian government did not follow standard procedures in awarding the main contract to an Italian firm, Salini, without any bidding procedure. The World Bank has declined to offer financing because of this flaw, as has the Italian government. The European Investment Bank also seems to be leaning against any funding, on the same grounds. The AfDB’s procurement guidelines likewise prohibit it from funding the main contract, but the loan currently under consideration uses a loophole – financing through a sub-contract – to evade the rules.

With so many potential public funders turning away from the project, and with private financiers like J.P. Morgan Chase withdrawing support because of the financial crisis, the AfDB’s contribution becomes more important – even vital – if the project is to be completed.

Unfortunately, judgments about whether procurement rules have been violated do not fall within the CRMU’s mandate. The request filed by FoLT instead focuses on the impact of the project on Lake Turkana. The Omo River supplies roughly 80 percent of the water in the lake, which is the world’s largest permanent desert lake. The contemplated impact of the dam could reduce the lake’s depth, it is estimated, by between 7 and 10 meters. Such an impact would have serious repercussions on the chemical balance of the lake, which is highly alkaline, and therefore on the biodiversity supported by the lake. Lake Turkana hosts the world’s largest group of Nile crocodiles – over 20,000 – as well as many other species of fish, bird, hippopotamus, etc.

A serious impact on the lake would also have a serious impact on the riverine forest and the lands around the lake used for flood-recession agriculture. Most of the peoples living in the area are pastoralists who supplement their diet with seasonal cultivation; a damaged lake would seriously compromise their food security and way of life.

The Ethiopian government approved its Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) on the project in July 2008, nearly two years after construction began, in a blatant violation of Ethiopian law. The ESIA barely acknowledges any impact on Lake Turkana, and provides unrealistically rosy scenarios to claim that the project will actually improve conditions at the lake, such as by “reducing evaporation” – indeed, if there is less water, there is less evaporation. Little effort has been made to consult with affected peoples, and no effort whatsoever has been made on the Kenyan side of the border.

Northwestern Kenya is one of the most arid and resource-deprived parts of Kenya, and conflict among its various people has been chronic. The impact of the Gibe Dam on Lake Turkana would very likely lead to increased violent conflict.

Although Ethiopia is chronically short of power, most of the power produced by this project would, ironically, be sold to Kenya. That power would be very unlikely, however, to benefit the peoples of northwestern Kenya, but instead go to the metropolitan areas such as Nairobi, further south. The arrangements between the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments have not been transparent, and there is now jostling in Parliament and the Kenyan coalition government to ascertain what has been agreed to and whether the interests of the people around Lake Turkana have been taken into account.

Friends of Lake Turkana is careful to acknowledge that while they are fighting for the interests of the people on the Kenyan side of the border, there are hundreds of thousands in Ethiopia who stand to suffer even more disruptive impacts. The Omo River Valley is populated by a very diverse assortment of indigenous groups, also prone to conflict over scarce resources. Consultations with them have been minimal. But the Ethiopian government’s record of repression, and new laws it has recently passed to further limit the activities of civil society groups, have effectively discouraged groups in Ethiopia from organizing explicit opposition. Nonetheless, expatriate Ethiopian groups, together with NGOs with an interest in the region, plan to file a request to supplement FoLT’s in the coming weeks that will outline in more detail the potential problems in Ethiopia.

The AfDB board was originally scheduled to discuss the project on February 25, but that date was delayed shortly after FoLT’s request was filed. There is now no indication when the project will be formally considered, but efforts are being made within the Bank, both through the CRMU and through other contacts, to slow down the process and make sure that adequate consultations and studies are done before any decision is made.

——————

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oBAbD8bhoM

Kenya, Ethiopia cautioned on power project RESOURCES by the UN  (20/03/2010

BY SARAH WAMBUI

Ethiopia Round 4 Election Human Right Abuses increases according Human right Watch …

The government says Human Rights Watch has got it wrong. Really?

INDEPENDENT voices in Ethiopia are finding it ever harder to be heard. Suffocated by an irascible government, the country’s newspapers are now the least informative in east Africa. Journalists deemed critical of the prime minister, Meles Zenawi, are pilloried. And they are not alone.

Foreign aid people and diplomats say a law pushed through parliament last month will curtail the activities of local human-rights workers. The new law means that independent local outfits that get more than 10% of their income from abroad will be classified as foreign. Once designated as such, they will not be allowed to engage in anything to do with democracy, justice or human rights. Real foreigners are already banned from doing so. As few home-grown charities and non-governmental organisations can stand on their own feet in a country as poor as Ethiopia, the government will be able to control domestic dissent more tightly.

The task of raising human-rights issues now increasingly falls to foreigners. A particularly bitter tussle is under way over allegations of atrocities by Ethiopian soldiers in the country’s south-eastern Ogaden region. This area abuts the border with turbulent Somalia and is populated mainly by ethnic Somalis traditionally hostile to the government in Addis Ababa, the capital.

Human Rights Watch, a pressure group, accuses Ethiopia of war crimes and crimes against humanity there. It says that Ethiopian troops burned down villages and killed, raped and tortured civilians in a counter-insurgency campaign against the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front after its fighters had killed 74 Ethiopian and Chinese oil-exploration workers in 2007. Ethiopia’s government was so incensed by the description of “systematic atrocities” in the Ogaden that it commissioned a report of its own that dismissed Human Rights Watch’s allegations as hearsay and its methods as slapdash.

The government report found “no trace” of serious human-rights violations. People reported to have been killed or tortured were said to have been found alive and well. Villages marked down as torched were said to be unscathed. The sole admitted instance of torture was said to have resulted in a court-martial. According to the Ethiopian report, Human Rights Watch was one-sided, since it failed to document the guerrillas’ thuggery. Perhaps unwittingly, said the Ethiopians, it had made itself a propaganda tool of the separatists.

The Ethiopian investigation did not, however, examine all of Human Rights Watch’s accusations. Some executions listed by the group go unchallenged or are blamed unconvincingly on the guerrillas. The report skims over the Ogaden’s humanitarian emergency, which Médecins Sans Frontières, a French-based charity, lists as one of the world’s ten worst. The Ethiopian report flatly denies that the government blockaded separatist strongholds during a famine, thus starving civilians. The Ethiopians also lambast Human Rights Watch for not visiting the Ogaden, knowing that it was they who blocked the visit. They claim that the Ogaden has been open to anyone, yet most independent journalists have been banned from travelling there freely. Several aid organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, have been kicked out. Aid workers there speak only anonymously, for fear of expulsion.

The government has a general election to win next year. A wave of arrests of political dissenters, including a prominent opposition leader, Birtukan Mideksa, suggests the government wants to keep all its opponents in check.

A simple way for it to win confirmation of its claim that Human Rights Watch’s accusations are false would be to let independent journalists, both foreign and Ethiopian, visit the Ogaden and see for themselves.

———-Debate 4 ———–
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Fear over Ethiopia poll media law

2010-03-23 22:15

Addis Ababa – A new media code that sets guidelines for coverage of Ethiopia’s elections in May has drawn fire from embattled media staff, who face fines and jail time if found guilty of violations.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia approved the framework two weeks ago, ahead of the May 23 polls, but journalists are already voicing their disapproval and fears over its restrictions.

The code bans journalists from carrying out interviews of voters, candidates and observers during election day, while it also prohibits predictions ahead of the announcement of results.

Transgressors face one year in jail for reporting on the latter.

“We stand against every article that is stipulated in the law. It simply puts an unreasonable amount of burden on any journalist,” Anteneh Abraham, head of the Ethiopian National Journalists Union, told AFP.

‘Rebellion and terrorism’

“We simply can’t work under those conditions. The strict restrictions have instilled fear in all media workers,” he added.

Further restrictions have also been placed on coverage from inside polling stations during the same day, in particular the limited access granted for photography and video footage.

However, an article on security has sparked the most concern due to what is seen as ambiguity.

“Media workers must refrain from reports that may incite rebellion and terrorism,” according to the article.

It bans the “preparation, publishing and distribution of reports that foment political instability and chaos along ethnic, religious, linguistic … lines.”

“It’s way too dangerous for anyone,” a reporter told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“I will simply avoid covering the elections as it is not worth the potential trouble,” he added.

Anteneh said he doubted the legality of the government’s decision to allow an electoral board to come up with a media law, and slammed its authorities for adopting the code “in secret” without consulting all stakeholders.

– SAPA

Human Rights Watch Report

Ethiopia is on a deteriorating human rights trajectory as parliamentary elections approach in 2010. These will be the first national elections since 2005, when post-election protests resulted in the deaths of at least 200 protesters, many of them victims of excessive use of force by the police. Broad patterns of government repression have prevented the emergence of organized opposition in most of the country. In December 2008 the government re-imprisoned opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa for life after she made remarks that allegedly violated the terms of an earlier pardon.

In 2009 the government passed two pieces of legislation that codify some of the worst aspects of the slide towards deeper repression and political intolerance. A civil society law passed in January is one of the most restrictive of its kind, and its provisions will make most independent human rights work impossible. A new counterterrorism law passed in July permits the government and security forces to prosecute political protesters and non-violent expressions of dissent as acts of terrorism.

Political Repression and the 2010 Elections

As Ethiopia heads toward nationwide elections, the government continues to clamp down on the already limited space for dissent or independent political activity. Ordinary citizens who criticize government policies or officials frequently face arrest on trumped-up accusations of belonging to illegal “anti-peace” groups, including armed opposition movements. Officials sometimes bring criminal cases in a manner that appears to selectively target government critics, as when in June 2009 prominent human rights activist Abebe Worke was charged with illegal importation of radio equipment and ultimately fled the country. In the countryside government-supplied (and donor-funded) agricultural assistance and other resources are often used as leverage to punish and prevent dissent, or to compel individuals into joining the ruling party.

The opposition is in disarray, but the government has shown little willingness to tolerate potential challengers. In December 2008 the security forces re-arrested Birtukan Midekssa, leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, which had begun to build a grassroots following in the capital. The government announced that Birtukan would be jailed for life because she had made public remarks that violated the terms of an earlier pardon for alleged acts of treason surrounding the 2005 elections. The authorities stated that there was no need for a trial as the move was a mere legal technicality.

In July the Ethiopian government passed a new anti-terrorism law. The law provides broad powers to the police, and harsh criminal penalties can be applied to political protesters and others who engage in acts of nonviolent political dissent. Some of its provisions appear tailored less toward addressing terrorism and more toward allowing for a heavy-handed response to mass public unrest, like that which followed Ethiopia’s 2005 elections.

Civil Society Activism and Media Freedom

The space for independent civil society activity in Ethiopia, already extremely narrow, shrank dramatically in 2009. In January the government passed a new civil society law whose provisions are among the most restrictive of any comparable law anywhere in the world. The law makes any work that touches on human rights or governance issues illegal if carried out by foreign non-governmental organizations, and labels any Ethiopian organization that receives more than 10 percent of its funding from sources outside of Ethiopia as “foreign.” The law makes most independent human rights work virtually impossible, and human rights work deemed illegal under the law is punishable as a criminal offense.

Ethiopia passed a new media law in 2008 that improved upon several repressive aspects of the previous legal regime. The space for independent media activity in Ethiopia remains severely constrained, however. In August two journalists were jailed on charges derived partly from Ethiopia’s old, and now defunct, press proclamation. Ethiopia’s new anti-terror law contains provisions that will impact the media by making journalists and editors potential accomplices in acts of terrorism if they publish statements seen as encouraging or supporting terrorist acts, or even, simply, political protest.

Pretrial Detention and Torture

The Ethiopian government continues its longstanding practice of using lengthy periods of pretrial and pre-charge detention to punish critics and opposition activists, even where no criminal charges are ultimately pursued. Numerous prominent ethnic Oromo Ethiopians have been detained in recent years on charges of providing support to the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF); in almost none of these cases have charges been pursued, but the accused, including opposition activists, have remained in detention for long periods. Canadian national Bashir Makhtal was convicted on charges of supporting the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in July, after a trial that was widely criticized as unfair; he was in detention for two-and-a-half years before his sentence was handed down, and he was unable to access legal counsel and consular representatives for much of that period.

Not only are periods of pretrial detention punitively long, but detainees and convicted prisoners alike face torture and other ill-treatment. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented consistent patterns of torture in police and military custody for many years. The Ethiopian government regularly responds that these abuses do not exist, but even the government’s own Human Rights Commission acknowledged in its 2009 annual report that torture and other abuses had taken place in several detention facilities, including in Ambo and Nekemte.

Impunity for Military Abuses

The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) has committed serious abuses, in some cases amounting to war crimes or crimes against humanity, in several different conflicts in recent years. Human Rights Watch is not aware of any meaningful efforts to hold the officers or government officials most responsible for those abuses to account. The only government response to crimes against humanity and other serious abuses committed by the military during a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in Gambella in late 2003 and 2004 was an inquiry that prosecuted a handful of junior personnel for deliberate and widespread patterns of abuse. No one has been investigated or held to account for war crimes and other widespread violations of the laws of war during Ethiopia’s bloody military intervention in neighboring Somalia from 2006 to 2008.

In August 2008 the Ethiopian government did purport to launch an inquiry into allegations of serious crimes in Somali Regional State, where the armed forces have been fighting a campaign against the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front for many years. The inquiry was sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, lacked independence, and concluded that no serious abuses took place. To date the government continues to restrict access of independent investigators into the area.

Relations in the Horn of Africa

In August the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission issued its final rulings on monetary damages stemming from the bloody 1998-2000 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Nonetheless the two countries remain locked in an intractable dispute about the demarcation of the heavily militarized frontier. Eritrea continues to play a destabilizing role throughout the Horn of Africa through its efforts to undermine and attack the government of Ethiopia wherever possible. The government of President Isayas Afewerki hosts and materially supports fighters from Ethiopian rebel movements, including the Oromo Liberation Front. Eritrea has also pursued a policy of supporting armed opposition groups in Somalia as a way of undermining Ethiopia’s support for the country’s weak Transitional Federal Government.

Key International Actors

Ethiopia is one of the most aid-dependant countries in the world and received more than US$2 billion in 2009, but its major donors have been unwilling to confront the government over its worsening human rights record. Even as the country slides deeper into repression, the Ethiopian government uses development aid funding as leverage against the donors who provide it-many donors fear that the government would discontinue or scale back their aid programs should they speak out on human rights concerns. This trend is perhaps best exemplified by the United Kingdom, whose government has consistently chosen to remain silent in order to protect its annual £130 million worth of bilateral aid and development programs.

Donors are also fearful of jeopardizing access for humanitarian organizations to respond to the drought and worsening food crisis. Millions of Ethiopians depend on food aid, and the government has sought to minimize the scale of the crisis and restrict access for independent surveys and response.

While Ethiopia’s government puts in place measures to control the elections in 2010, many donors have ignored the larger trends and focused instead on negotiating with the government to allow them to send election observers.

A significant shift in donor policy toward Ethiopia would likely have to be led by the US government, Ethiopia’s largest donor and most important political ally on the world stage. But President Barack Obama’s administration has yet to depart from the policies of the Bush administration, which consistently refused to speak out against abuses in Ethiopia. While the reasons may be different-the current government is not as narrowly focused on security cooperation with Ethiopia as was the Bush administration- thus far the practical results have been the same. The events described above attracted little public protest from the US government in 2009.

—————-

Afrik.com

Ethiopia: Repression Rising Ahead of May Elections

Human Rights Watch is pleased to invite you to the launch of a new report, “’One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia,” to be held in Nairobi on Wednesday, March 24, 2010.

I
n May 2010, Ethiopia will hold its first national election since the controversial polls in 2005. Using firsthand testimony and documentation collected over the past decade, ?One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure? examines the shrinking space for opposition parties, independent civil society, and the media, and assesses the potential impact of human rights abuses on the electoral process in 2010. In the report, Human Rights Watch calls on the Ethiopian government to take urgent steps to improve the electoral environment by immediately releasing political prisoners; supporting independent efforts to investigate and publicly report on abuses, including by international electoral observers; and ceasing attacks and intimidation on political opposition, independent civil society, and the media.

What: Human Rights Watch report release

“’One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia”

Who: Georgette Gagnon, Africa director, Human Rights Watch

When: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.

Where: Chester House, 1st Floor, Room 4, Koinange Street, Nairobi, Kenya

Source: Human Right Watch (HRW)

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Fears over Ethiopia’s press code for poll coverage (By Aaron Maasho (AFP))

Southern Sudan Independence or Desperation

John Garang

“John Garang was a government army officer sent to quell a mutiny of 500 southern troops who were resisting orders to be shipped north. It took him 22 years to come back”

He was one of the few senior southerners who really believed in the concept of a united Sudan”

Peter Moszynski BBC  August 2005


Don’t Break Away From Sudan, West Tells South

Michael Wakabi

22 March 2010


Southern Sudan Could Open ‘Corridor of Terror’, Says West

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAwPJSrHrFI

Nairobi — Donor circles want Southern Sudan to drop its bid for independence in the referendum next January, as concerns grow that a rushed secession could trigger turmoil and instability beyond Sudanese borders.

In 2005, President Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, led by the late Dr John Garang signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended 22 years of war between the North and South.

That CPA left the door open for the South to break away from the union if 60 per cent of voters decide so in the 2011 plebiscite.

Although the United States, which is considered to have a vested interest in the outcome of Sudan’s peace process says it “takes no position on what the outcome of that referendum should be,”

The EastAfrican has separately learned that key Western democracies and institutions, fearing that independence for the South in its present state could see the area slide into anarchy, have quietly urged President Salva Kiir’s government to go slow on secession.

“Independence for the South should be put off for a few more years primarily because of lack of capacity in the South to run a stable and secure state,” said a source privy to Western analysis of the evolving situation in Sudan.

He added: “There is no institutional infrastructure to support a state, so there is a high chance that the country will degenerate into a Somalia-like situation. This would open a ‘corridor of terror’ across the region that could be infiltrated by Al Qaeda and its associates to create instability that would run counter to Western interests.”

The West is spooked by the prospect of sudden independence for a fragile state — with a corrupt and fractious national leadership, a nearly non-existent civil service, a poorly established local police and professional military — immediately disintegrating into a civil war.

This could draw the international community into a costly intervention to rebuild a state that few countries want to underwrite in the current economic climate.

With new discoveries of oil in both Uganda and Sudan and the likelihood of further discoveries in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, peace in the region is essential to the exploitation of these resources.

Western strategists believe that even under the best of circumstances, the absence of institutional infrastructure in the South and independent communication links to the outside world mean Juba would remain hostage to Khartoum, making it difficult to get energy and other exports to outside markets.

Such a scenario would deny the infant state the resources to deliver to the population the promised benefits of independence, leading to high levels of discontent that could result in a breakdown of law and order, said one analyst.

Other fears revolve around the fact that the South is far from homogenous and united, with a real risk that it could spiral into uncontrolled violence as the different regions jostle over resources.

Apparently, the West would like to see some slack factored into the timeline for Juba’s independence ambitions, while the shaky alliance between the SPLM and al-Bashir — who has largely been “contained” by the ICC warrants against him — is propped up until such a time that institutional capacity and critical infrastructure have been developed in the South.

Apparently, Kenya and Uganda, which have separately announced plans to build key road and railway links to Juba, are partly implementing this strategy.

While it denies any direct interest in the outcome of the referendum, the United States says it is concerned about peace and stability in Southern Sudan and is working with both the SPLM and the NCP to “prepare for the 2011 referendum, and working with the parties to ensure that the process is fair and credible and that the will of the people, as expressed through the referendum, is respected peacefully.”

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUQgNjxJv0o

Lagging behind


Responding to enquiries by this newspaper, Joann M Lockard, public affairs officer at the US embassy in Kampala, said, “The United States is concerned about peace and stability in South Sudan. The parties in Sudan are behind in the implementation of the most contentious provisions of the CPA, which is why we have worked so hard in 2009 and will double our efforts in 2010 to implement the agreement before it expires in 2011.”

For their part, while officially professing the position of the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (Igad), which is to encourage the parties in Sudan to make unity as attractive as possible, Kenya and Uganda are pursuing a two-track strategy.

On one track, fearing to set a precedent that could lead to a ripple effect with sections of their own populations agitating for secession, Uganda and Kenya are not officially breaking ranks with proponents of a unified Sudan.

Uganda is still wary of what a split of Sudan would mean for its restive north, while Kenya has for years kept a wary eye on its northeastern regions bordering Somalia.

“In international law, it is very rare to find a country openly calling for the partition of another country because it sets a precedent that could come back to haunt them; in the case of Uganda, you must have heard Norbert Mao (chairman of Gulu District Local Council in northern Uganda) suggest that the north should break away from Uganda,” said Uganda’s Junior Minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem.

According to independent sources however, Uganda and its EAC partners believe that despite the challenges the South faces, Juba is better off breaking away from its unproductive marriage with Khartoum.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqcV4X3bBms

If Oromos are Ethiopians and Ethiopians are Oromos too Why “Exclude” ?

Gadaa.com

P.O Box 32391 – Fridley, MN 55432
www.OromoStudies.org

March 19, 2010

Mr. Johnnie Carson
Assistant Secretary – Bureau of African Affairs,
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW – Washington, DC 20520
202-647-4000 – carsonj@state.gov

Dear Assistant Secretary Carson:

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association (OSA), a scholarly, multi-disciplinary, non-profit international organization, established to promote studies on and relevant to the Oromo people residing in East Africa, mainly in Ethiopia with a population close to 50 million. The Executive Committee of OSA is very excited to learn that the Bureau of African Affairs in the US State Department is organizing a seminar/ conference on Ethiopia on April 5, 2010. OSA is following the issue of this conference with a great deal of interest, because Ethiopia is at the crossroads due to the upcoming election in May of 2010.

We were even more excited when we learned that Professor Asafa Jalata, a renowned Oromo-American scholar, was invited to participate on this historic seminar and make a presentation on the current Ethiopian situation from the Oromo perspective. However, our excitement had soon changed to sadness and depression when we learned that he was later on told that he could not participate in this seminar because he was an Oromo. We further learned that some of the peace-loving organizers of the April 5, 2010 seminar walked out from the process, protesting that debarring Oromo experts from participating in this seminar was a discriminatory action by itself. To make the situation even worse, when asked why Professor Jalata was prevented from participating on the conference, the lead organizer of this seminar declared that “the seminar has been canceled.” But then we learned that, this was in fact not true and the preparation for the planned conference was proceeding as scheduled. We believe that this is a clear indication of making undemocratic decisions behind closed doors, because the assertion that “the seminar was canceled” was simply a cover-up. Change and transparency are the motto of our current President Barack Obama, and it is our strong conviction that the State Department should function under the same motto.

Dear Sir,

The Oromos, who constitute about 50% of the current population of Ethiopia, have lived under discriminatory and minority rule for over a century now. First, by the Amhara minority ruling class (from Menelik II (1889) to Mengistu Hailemariam (1991)), and now, by another minority Tigrean ruling class led by Meles Zenawi and his TPLF (Tigrean People’s Liberation Front) party, all this time by strong support and endorsement of Western powers, mainly the United States. The current minority TPLF leadership has received support and endorsement in 1991 at the so called “London Conference” by the then US Assistant Secretary of African Affairs Herman Cohen. The regime continues enjoying US support since then at the expense of marginalization, discrimination, and humiliation of the entire non-Tigrean population of Ethiopia, mainly the Oromo population.
We Oromos believe that we are (and have been) seen as second class citizens by the successive Ethiopian regimes and their cliques and our brothers and sisters at home continue to live under humanitarian harassment, economic exploitation, discrimination and humiliation. It truly hurts our feelings when we learn that, the same discrimination is, not only endorsed on us (Oromos), but in deed applied to us by the leadership of this great country of ours, the United States of America.

Dear Sir,

If justice were to be served, because majority of the Ethiopian population are Oromos, it goes without saying that most of the participants of the seminar should be Oromo experts based on majority democratic principles. We believe that such an important conference will be successful when and only when all the stakeholders are proportionally represented and when all voices are heard. Therefore, we ask your genuine interaction with Ms. Rachel Warner to enable her to welcome Oromo experts to participate in the April 5, 2010, seminar/conference on Ethiopia. OSA believes that democracy, human rights, security, stability, and development in Oromia and in Ethiopia cannot be promoted without the free participation of the Oromo people, the largest ethnonational group in Ethiopia.

Thank you for your democratic leadership, and we hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Haile Hirpa, PhD
OSA President

CC:
President Barack Obama
White House
info@barackobama.com

Madam Secretary Hilary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
websitecomments@state.org
2201 C Street NW – Washington DC 20520
Telephones: (202) 647-4000/ (202) 647-6575

Rep. Donald M. Payne
Elected Board Chair of the Board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
2310 Rayburn House Office Building – Washington DC 20515
Fax: (202) 225-4160 – Phone: (202) 225-3436

Senator Russ Feingold
wcontact@feingold.senate.gov
Fax: (202) 224-2725 – Phone: (202) 224-5323

—————–

Oromo: If United, We Can Make a Difference Even in the Horn!

March 22, 2010 at 12:34 am · Gadaa.com

By Fayyis Oromia*

The conference prepared by OACC in Minessota has initiated a very good discussion among different parts of Oromo community, including those who support the obsolete mindedxeqilaigizat-federalists (x-federalists), those serving the Weyane fascist fake-federalists (f-federalists) and those promoting the foresighted killil-federalists (k-federalists). It is crystal clear that these Oromo groups can decide on the future situation in the empire like answering the question, who should take power from the fascist fake-federalists in the coming “election” 2010: the kilil-federalists or the xeqilaigizat-federalists?

Thanks to the Oromo people and to Rabbi/Waaqayyoo, every political group in the empire nowadays claims to be a federalist. They no more brag and preach about a unitary imiye Ethiopia or about Abbay Tigray. The unitarists who untiringly cry about the imiye could now know that, without the rhetoric of federation, they can win no single vote of Oromo. The hegemonist Weyanes changed their program of Abbay Tigrai just as they had come to Oromia.

But now, it seems their power base is shaking. The next question seems to be: who will take power in the coming “election” from the Weyane fascist fake-federalists (from the FFF, who are almost similar to the KKK of USAmerica)? The k-federalists led by MEDREK or the the “anti-Killilistan” forces, who are x-federalists and led by MEAD aka AEUP? Time will show us which one of them will succeed. The best remedy against the fascists would have been the further conversion of the unitarists from their present position of supporting x-federation to the position of supporting k-federation. That means recognizing the right of Oromia to exist and the right of the Oromo nation to self-determination, instead of still trying to dismantle Oromia with the pretext of struggling for the x-federalism (for geography-based federalism).

Then, we, anti-Weyane forces in the empire, would have only ONE strong force against fascists instead of being divided into two opposition camps (k-federalists and x-federalists). Well, the die-hard unitarsts bragged about their unitary position during the “election” in 2005. Today in this time of 2010 “election”, they do brag about their “NEW form” of federation. But, surely in the next “election” of 2015, they will be part and parcel of k-federation. We have observed that they are learning slowly, but surely. Looking at the political organizations in the empire, the current three political camps, in which Oromo is participating are:

– Xeqilaigizat-federalist (x-federalists) parties like AEUP, EDP, EPPF and, EPRP (*note that the position of G-7/UDJ is ambiguous*).

– Fascist fake-federalists (f-federalists) of TPLF and its slaves like ANDM, OPDO, SEDM and SPDP.

– Killil-federalist (k-federalist) parties like ATSD (Arena), OFC, SDAF (Somali) and UEDF (* the liberation fronts like OLF, ONLF and SLF as well as the ambiguous G-7/UDJ do seem to endorse this camp*)

No question that the fascist f-federalists will die a natural death inthe near future. The only question to be answered is: who will take over? The k-federalists or the x-federalists? Or will the fascist f-federalists survive further by playing the “divide and rule” game using k-Federalists vs. x-federalists? The best solution would have been that x-federalists give up their obsolete xeqilaigizat view and join the k-federalists by accepting and respecting the God-given right of Oromo to have Oromian autonomy in the Ethiopian context and by acknowledging the same right to other nations and nationalities of the empire, so that we can have only ONE very strong k-Federalist camp against the fascist f-federalists. Unfortunately, the leader of MEAD opposed to join MEDREK and signed the Code of Conduct with the leader of the fascist f-federalists, and with that he gave Weyane the chance not to lose power in this coming “election”.

That is why, specially Oromo rallying behind the x-federalists and the fascist f-federalists should decide now which way to go. They better ask themselves: what is next for their own people (the Oromo people), just like Oromo in Minnesota did. The politically-conscious nationalist Oromo seems to have decided that the next step for the Oromo people must be the securing of the true k-federation. They started to say: let us talk and walk now the k-federation. The time (the phase of the liberation journey) is in reality the time to struggle for true federation.

The question asked to be solved in the panel discussion of Minnesota was “What is Next for the Oromo People?”, and the answer suggested was mostly, “the next is a move to a true federation (true Oromian autonomy). That means the next measure to be taken for our people is to engage our coordinated words and works to promote our move towards the next step of our liberation journey, i.e. a move to a true k-federation and then ask again “What is Next for Our People?”. This question will be asked further till Oromo people decide per referendum (self-determination) and declare that “we have achieved our objective.” Without such determination of our public regarding our destination, the simple assertion of individuals or organizations that “we have already achieved our objective” does not work.

According to the hitherto discussion, in short, “regional walfaanummaa of free nations after national walabummaa of Oromia and other nations” can be a common END-kaayyoo of the liberation journey, not only for Oromo nationalists, but even for all nationalists of the nations in the Horn of Africa, including the genuine Amhara and Tegaru nationalists (of course, excluding the imperialist Abyssinian hegemonists like Weyane). It will be nice if all of them can agree on this, giving up their effort until now, which they used to make one of the following four goals they do seem to pursue, respectively, as their END-kaayyoo. For instance:

– Amhara f-federalists’ end-kayyoo of a unitary Ethiopia now modified to be a “NEW form” of federation (geography-based federation),

– Tegaru hegemonists’ end-kaayyoo of the status quo, i.e. maintaining the fake-federation,

– Oromo federalists’ overt end-kaayyoo of only Oromian autonomy, disregarding the further move to Oromian independence, and

– Oromo liberators’ end-kaayyoo of only isolated Oromian independence, without taking into consideration the possible further move to a union of independent nations.

Actually, the best and the beneficial common END can only be the voluntary union of independent nations aka regional walfaanummaa with/after national walabummaa based on self-determination of the partaking nations of the region. Even though self-determination is the generalkaayyoo for the nation concerned, the political organizations struggling for the right of their nations must be able to formulate a concrete kaayyoo they think should be the outcome of the self-determination. To make it clear, I do want to try to describe here, that the concepts bilisummaa(liberation), abbaabiyyummaa (sovereignty) and hire-murtefannaa (self-determination) can not serve as a concrete kaayyoo (concrete outcome of the national self-determination) for the Oromo liberation fronts and for the Oromo political parties.

I think the whole “confusion” about our kaayyoo is firstly for we could not differentiate the GENERAL kaayyoo-Oromo from the SPECIFIC kaayyoo of the respective fronts/parties, which they set and advocate to be the best outcome of the self-determination. Also, the “confusion” is because of the fact that the following concepts were used without defining them operationally as akaayyoo of Oromo political organizations at different times by different groups:

– Abbaabiyyummaa: which is not per se a concrete kaayyoo to be used by the political groups for we can claim to be abbaabiyyaa in all the three possible outcomes of our self-determination, that means abbaabiyyaa in a form of only Oromian autonomy or in a form of only Oromian independence or in a from of a union of independent nations.

– Bilisummaa: which is the common denominator for all our liberation fronts/parties who do struggle against the status quo (against garbummaa Oromo). So we can also claim to have bilisummaa in all the above three outcomes of our self-determination (the Oromian autonomy, the Oromian independence or the union of independent nations), that means it also cannot be a concrete goal to be advocated by our specific fronts/parties, so that the public decides for/against it in a referendum. Actually, it is the virtue, which all political organizations want to achieve before we do have a chance to exercise a referendum.

– Hiree-murteefannaa: which is obviously the general goal of the Oromo people, but it can not serve as a concrete goal of the specific Oromian liberation front or Oromian political party for it includes all the hitherto mentioned three terms (the short-term Oromian autonomy, the middle-term Oromian independence and the long-term union of independent nations) as a possible outcomes. It seems here is the “ambiguity” of Oromo nationalists in OLF-SG, if their rhetoric about this unspecific kaayyoo is not only tactical.

– Walabummaa (independence): this is one of the concepts which can be taken as a concrete goal of the liberation fronts/political parties for it is one of the concrete three outcomes of the Oromo self-determination, which can be advocated by the groups supporting it, regardless of the position of the Oromo majority which will be determined during the required referendum. It seems this is the reason why those who do advocate this “Kaayyoo-ganama” usually sound to be arrogant and self-righteous, whenever they talk that they are the “only ones on the right track.”

– Walfaanummaa (union): which has got also a double meaning (firstly, walfaanummaabefore/without walabummaa. i.e. federation and, secondly, walfaanummaa after/withwalabummaa, i.e. the union of independent nations). These are two of the three specific outcomes of the Oromo self-determination, so that any liberation front or political party claiming to struggle for walfaanummaa should concretely tell which of the twowalfaanumma’s it means. For instance, OFC clearly seems to struggle for walfaanummaawithout walabummaa, but which front/party is for walfaanummaa with walabummaa? The alliance AFD and with that the front OLF-SG? It is then better to describe the two concepts as walfaanummaa Ethiopia before walabummaa (Ethiopian union before national independence), and walfaanummaa Sabootaa after walabummaa (the union of nations after independence), respectively.

Simply put, Oromo people’s kaayyoo, in general, can include all the above mentioned five concepts, but Oromo liberation fronts and Oromo political parties should be as clear and as concrete as possible, when they tell us their desired goal or when they advocate the type of the outcome of the process (outcome of the self-determination) for the Oromo people.

If the three concepts (bilisummaaabbaabiyyummaa and hire-murteffannaa) are unspecific to serve as a kaayyoo of the Oromo liberation organizations, then only the two concepts (walabummaa biyyaa and walfaanummaa sabootaa) are good to be concrete and to be used by the organizations. Based on the combination of these two concepts, the concrete kaayyoo’s of Oromo liberation organizations can only be one of the following three:

– regional walfaanummaa sabootaa (walfaanummaa Ethiopia) without nationalwalabummaa (without walabummaa Oromia); for instance, the position of OFC.

– national walabummaa biyyaa without regional walfaanummaa sabootaa, e.g. the supposed position of OLF-QC.

– national walabummaa biyyaa WITH regional walfaanummaa saboota walabaa, which seems to be the position of AFD.

Looking at these three options, the third one could be the beneficial, common and concrete END-kaayyoo for all Oromo liberation fronts. The other two options can be used as the two stops (Diredhawa and Adaama), respectively, on the route of our liberation journey from Djibouti (garbummaa) to Finfinnee (beneficial bilisummaa). What makes then specially our liberation fronts (rebel fronts) not to agree on the above possible common and concrete END-kaayyoo? I can understand when our democratic federalists (opposition parties) like OFC under Weyane’s gunpoint refrain from talking about such END-goal and overtly declare that they do struggle for Oromian autonomy in the Ethiopian context. But where is the hindrance of the liberation fronts not to agree?

As a conclusion, from all the discussions done till now, we can say that Oromo nationalists serving the x-federalists and the fascist f-federalists should give up their irrationality and start to struggle for the minimal sort of sovereignty (Oromian autonomy in Ethiopian context) for their own people, Oromo. That means, they should now start to support the federalists in OFC. Other Oromo federalists, who do try to rally behind the mini-organizations registered for the “election” like AOPDP, GSAP, OALF, OLUF and ONC should also reconsider their stand, converge the vote of all Oromo people to one direction and elect the competent Oromo federalist party (OFC) instead of dispersing Oromo vote in futility.

Last but not least, we could see during the last discussions during and after the OACC conference that there is no any significant ideological difference of kaayyoo among the different Oromo liberation fronts, which can hinder them not to forge unity and make them not to work together. They only need to be ruled by the Oromo tradition of ilaa fi ilaame and discuss on the way forward for the Oromo people. Then, the cooperation and coordination of the Oromo federalist movement with the Oromo liberation movement is the optimal condition to determine our fate in the NEXT step of our liberation journey and to plan a further move to the END. If united and empowered in such sense, we Oromo can make a difference not only in the empire, but even in the whole Horn. So let’s foster tokkummaa of kaayyoo/”unity of purpose”, and move together forward!

Galatoomaa!

Fayyis Oromia can be reached at fayyis@yahoo.de.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDEKNqPYu40

Bikila 500 for 50 : Abebe honored by 500 Yards after 50 years in Rome Marthon

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vca1QGVAshM-

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQmqEIYI-GU

Ethiopia’s Gena wins Rome Marathon

ESPN.com news services
ROME — Siraj Gena of Ethiopia paid tribute to an Olympic hero in winning the Rome marathon on Sunday, running barefoot while outsprinting two Kenyan rivals to the finish.
Gena took off his shoes with about 500 yards left and then outkicked Benson Barus and Nixon Machichim to finish the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 39 seconds.
Gena was paying homage to Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome after running the entire course without shoes.
“I felt I had to do something to honor Bikila,” Gena told the ANSA news agency. “For me he will always be an enormous inspiration and today I wanted to see what it would be like to cross the line in Rome barefooted like he once did.”
In the women’s race, Firehiwot Dado led an Ethiopian sweep of the podium in 2:25:28.
Kebebush Haile was second in 2:25.31 and Mare Dibaba third with 2:25.38.
Former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi of Italy won the men’s handcycle category, boosting his hopes of competing at the London 2012 Paralympics.
“Now London 2012 is no longer a dream, it has become a realistic possibility,” he said.
Zanardi had both legs amputated above the knee after he crashed during a race in 2001.
About 15,000 runners took part in Sunday’s race.
In Seoul, South Korea, Sylvester Teimet ran a personal best to break the course record and lead a Kenyan sweep at the Seoul International Marathon.
Teimet pulled ahead at the end to win the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 49 seconds on Sunday. He lowered his personal record by 3:04 and beat South African Gert Thys’ 2004 course record of 2:07:06.
Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa was 10 seconds back and Paul Kiprop Kirui was third.
Amane Gobena of Ethiopia won the women’s race in 2:24:13 ahead of Chunxiu Zhou of China and Caroline Cheptanui Kilel of Kenya.
A 62-year-old South Korean man collapsed and died while running the Seoul marathon, according to race organizers. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Ethiopia’s Gena wins Rome MarathonEmailPrintComments0Share42retweet2ESPN.com news services
ROME — Siraj Gena of Ethiopia paid tribute to an Olympic hero in winning the Rome marathon on Sunday, running barefoot while outsprinting two Kenyan rivals to the finish.
Gena took off his shoes with about 500 yards left and then outkicked Benson Barus and Nixon Machichim to finish the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 39 seconds.
Gena was paying homage to Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome after running the entire course without shoes.
“I felt I had to do something to honor Bikila,” Gena told the ANSA news agency. “For me he will always be an enormous inspiration and today I wanted to see what it would be like to cross the line in Rome barefooted like he once did.”
In the women’s race, Firehiwot Dado led an Ethiopian sweep of the podium in 2:25:28.
Kebebush Haile was second in 2:25.31 and Mare Dibaba third with 2:25.38.
Former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi of Italy won the men’s handcycle category, boosting his hopes of competing at the London 2012 Paralympics.
“Now London 2012 is no longer a dream, it has become a realistic possibility,” he said.
Zanardi had both legs amputated above the knee after he crashed during a race in 2001.
About 15,000 runners took part in Sunday’s race.
In Seoul, South Korea, Sylvester Teimet ran a personal best to break the course record and lead a Kenyan sweep at the Seoul International Marathon.
Teimet pulled ahead at the end to win the 26.2-mile race in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 49 seconds on Sunday. He lowered his personal record by 3:04 and beat South African Gert Thys’ 2004 course record of 2:07:06.
Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa was 10 seconds back and Paul Kiprop Kirui was third.
Amane Gobena of Ethiopia won the women’s race in 2:24:13 ahead of Chunxiu Zhou of China and Caroline Cheptanui Kilel of Kenya.
A 62-year-old South Korean man collapsed and died while running the Seoul marathon, according to race organizers. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajGwbZpO1_E

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI_l2lIMBEI

Haile G. beating world Record on the Foot step of  Abebe Bikila

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOnAm4X9Ic8

Silent Cry is being heard by EU’s Anna Gomes:- Genocide in Ogaden will be deciding factor to take Melese to IC

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3fDtpV82Ss&feature=player_embedded

Ethiopia: Zenawi Govt calls EU MP Ana Gomes “Stupid” for a hearing on Ogaden conflict

Ms. Ana Gomes has reappeared, not unexpectedly. She was the highly controversial head of the EU Electoral Observer Mission to Ethiopia in 2005 whose behavior and less than balanced relationship with opposition leaders and parties led to a formal complaint by the Government. Ms. Gomes has been active on a number of occasions in recent years on behalf of violent opposition movements in the Diaspora, particularly Ginbot 7. Now with the election coming up she is looking for the limelight again. This week, as a European Member of Parliament, she was hosting and opening a “hearing” on “Human Rights and the Security Situation in the Ogaden”, in collaboration with the Organization of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples, a collaboration which, by definition, demonstrates Ms. Gomes’ ignorance of the political situation in Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State where Ogaden Somalis are represented and participate in government. This week Ms. Gomes has been in London where she addressed a meeting organized by Third World Solidarity. It appears that Ms. Gomes and the Eritrean Government have something of a common agenda. Whether they are working together as some allege, is beside the point. Most of those at the meeting were former Derg members or supporters guilty of crimes against the people of Ethiopia. The organizers claimed the meeting would be attended by MPs but none of those listed actually attended. One person who did attend was a lady who is persona non grata in Ethiopia because of the dubious disposal of property from the Russian Embassy in Ethiopia in the early nineties. In a few weeks time, in early April, Ms. Gomes apparently plans to be in Washington to deliver a “keynote speech” at an opposition organized conference on Governance, Peace and Security and Development. No doubt Ms. Gomes will also surface at other meetings before the election on May 23rd. It would be difficult enough to accept this sort of deliberate effort to interfere in the electoral process by an outsider even if Ms. Gomes actually knew anything about the reality of politics in Ethiopia. Ms. Gomes, however, does not as she comprehensively demonstrated by her naïve, and frankly stupid, performance as head of the EU Electoral Observation Mission in 2005. Her recent efforts show she has not become any more sensible, or knowledgeable.” SOURCE: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us4y4BSDRHw

Ana Gomes hosts EU hearing on Ogaden, Ethiopia crisis

Human Rights and Security in Ogaden: European Parliament Film screening (excerpts): Silent Cry Ms. Ana-Maria Gomes, MEP Mr. Marino Busdachin, UNPO Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed, African Rights Monitor Ms. Xasan Ruqiyo, Ogaden Communities & Civil Society Association The hearing, whose topic is “Human Rights and Security Situation in Ogaden,” will be opened by Ms Ana Gomes MEP, who is chairing the event, and Mr. Marino Busdachin, General Secretary of UNPO.  Mr. Abdullahi Mohamed, from African Rights Monitor, and Ms. Xasan Ruqiyo from the Ogaden Communities & Civil Society Association will be speaking on behalf of Ogaden. There will also excerpts from a film, Silent Cry, a grassroots documentary produced by British students, reporting the lives of Somali refugees from Ogaden. These stories were discovered accidentally when the students, visiting Nairobi on vacation, met Omar, a taxi driver who shared with them his personal tragic story. The students then went to the Ifo Refugee Camp, in Northern Kenya, where they interviewed several refugees, including victims of rape and torture. Ogaden is a region in eastern Ethiopia with a majority population of Somalis.  The Ethiopian government has waged a long-term war against the Ogaden, suppressing the region and its people.  Years of neglect and war have left Ogaden in a state of turmoil, and human rights abuses by the Ethiopian government are commonplace.  There is limited infrastructure, and due to Ethiopia’s corrupted federal structure, no political power on the part of the people of Ogaden to develop the area. The hearing is sponsored by Ms Ana Gomes, MEP from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu) of the European Parliament in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by5zlfiNcto
An Open Letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Justice Navanathem Pillay
Petitions Team
Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNOG-OHCHR
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Dear Madame High Commissioner,
Advocates of justice around the world are thrilled at the strong action the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court has taken in issuing a warrant for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir of the Sudan, resulting in
finally holding him accountable for the atrocities being committed in Darfur over the last six years. Under
al-Bashir’s leadership, millions of Sudanese from Darfur, as well as from Southern Sudan, have suffered
inconceivable harm, injustice and hardship.
The action that the International Criminal Court has taken in this situation has restored hope to peace and
justice loving people, affirming that international human rights law not only exists on paper, but in reality.
It also sends an important message to perpetrators throughout the world that impunity for their crimes is not
assured forever; which may be a primary reason that one of the first leaders to defend Omar al-Bashir and
condemn the warrant was Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, whose government has also been
implicated in a pattern of widespread perpetration of serious human rights atrocities in Ethiopia and in
Somalia. He and those within his government may be keenly aware of their own vulnerability to similar
actions by the ICC in the future that could upend a deeply entrenched system of government-supported
impunity that has protected perpetrators from any accountability.
I first became knowledgeable regarding the abhorrent human rights situation in Ethiopia when Genocide
Watch and Survivors Rights International were called by the head of the Anuak Justice Council, Obang
Metho, (now the leader of the newly formed Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia) to investigate the
brutal massacre of 424 Anuak carried out in Gambella, Ethiopia in December of 2003. The Anuak are a
tiny, dark-skinned ethnic group who live in a remote section of southeastern Ethiopia.
Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and civilian militia groups from another ethnic group utilized a
prepared list to target Anuak leaders, many of whom were opposed to the government’s plan to exclude
them from any involvement in the drilling for oil on their indigenous land. As militia groups chanted,
“Today is the day for killing Anuak,” both the military and militias used machetes, axes and guns to kill the
unarmed victims, frequently raping the women while chanting, “Now there will be no more Anuak
children.”
Extra-judicial killings, rape, disappearances, destruction of livelihood and the displacement of thousands of
Anuak continued into late 2005 before finally subsiding when the same Ethiopian National Defense Forces
were moved to the Ogaden area of southeastern Ethiopia and into Somalia where similar atrocities were
and still are being committed. A subsequent investigation of the Anuak massacre by Genocide Watch and
Survivors Rights International to determine who was behind the human rights crimes, documented the
existence of a plan called “Operation Sunny Mountain,” that could be traced to originating at the highest
levels within the central government of Ethiopia.
As a result of our investigation and based on our experience in international law and genocide, we
concluded that the killing of the Anuak in Gambella, Ethiopia, fit the definitions of genocide and crimes
against humanity. Human Rights Watch also conducted two investigations of their own and determined that
the crimes against the Anuak meet the stringent definition of crimes against humanity.
Most of the perpetrators in their report and in ours have never been brought to justice under the Ethiopian
justice system due to the failings and corruption of that system. Despite the violation of international law,
not only has no one has been held accountable for these crimes which occurred over five years ago, but
worse than that, such crimes continue in other places in the country.
Only some of these cases have been investigated by respected international human rights organizations, but
where they have, findings consistently point to the involvement of the Ethiopian government in the inciting,
the empowerment or the perpetration of crimes against humanity, war crimes and even genocide, often
justified by them as “counter-insurgency.”
In light of these facts, I would strongly urge you to initiate an investigation of the situation in
Ethiopia based on your proprio motu powers as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
We believe that your investigation is justified due to the culture of impunity that exists within Ethiopia.
Extensive documentation is available to examine the violations, most of which has been compiled in
independent investigative reports completed by international human rights organizations. We also believe
that the Ethiopian people have been waiting long enough for genuine justice and relief from the harsh
oppression and brutal tactics committed by a government that purports to be a partner in the War on Terror,
while terrorizing their own people. Addressing the EPRDF regime, friendly to Omar al-Bashir, may bring
greater stability to the entire Horn of Africa.
We are willing to provide assistance to you in carrying out this task because we, in Genocide Watch, and
other human rights organizations are determined to pursue justice, even long after violations have occurred,
as part of our mission. Investigative reports, contacts and other information can be provided should you
need them.
I thank you for the excellent work you are doing in combating impunity, the enemy of justice. Perpetrators
of crimes against humanity must not be allowed to walk free. Genocide Watch will continue to do its part,
collaborating with others, in pursuing additional ways to make such crimes carry a heavy penalty. One way
is to work with domestic governments to make sure that those Ethiopians who have committed these crimes
do not gain access to entry into western countries, something that is now supported through new legislation
in many of the western countries. Additionally, in Canada, Europe and in the US, there are now laws giving
authority to these governments to prosecute human rights perpetrators found within their new countries of
residence should admissible evidence be found to charge them. The western countries should no longer act
as a haven for such criminals.
Thank you for your consideration of this request for the initiation of an investigation of genocide, crimes
against humanity and war crimes in Ethiopia. We look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely yours,
GHStanton
Dr. Gregory Stanton,
President of Genocide Watch
————–

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWmQJiuSrxg&feature=player_embedded

Ogaden civilians fight back Woyanne death squads

Posted by SaveOgaden On January – 24 – 2010

(Ogaden Online) — Reports reaching the Ogaden Online service desk from the city of Diridhaba in the province of Shiniile confirm the existence of a recent pitched battle that took place between the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) troops stationed in the area and the local population.

It is reported that towards the end of last week, the civilians held an area-wide demonstration to protest the recent confiscation by the Woyanne militia of a fertile agricultural land estimated at 60,000 hectares. Reliable sources within the TPLF and in Addis Ababa intimated that the land was clandestinely sold to a Chinese consortium

Eyewitnesses reported that the TPLF troops, instead of letting the citizens vent their bent up anger and frustration through the peaceful demonstration, started shooting everyone on sight. Ogaden civilians, once they realized what was going on, immediately dispersed. However, Ogaden Online reporters in the area confirmed that instead of waiting out the TPLF troops to return to their barracks, as used to be the norm, the residents, many of whom were nomads who have firearms for protecting their livestock from wild animals in the area, went back to their homes and came back armed and ready to fight the TPLF gangs.

Eyewitnesses reported that the TPLF troops were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of armed civilians from all corners of the city. As a result, the TPLF troops were quickly overrun by the local civilians. It is reported that the TPLF militias left five of their dead in the area and went back to their barracks. The casualty figured from the Woyanne side is unknown.

The civilians were said to have lost one, but there are many injuries sustained by the civilian side. The city is still tense. There are reports that the TPLF militias have consulted with their bosses inAddis Ababa on what to do next. It is said they are awaiting further instructions. Many of the civilians are said to have sworn that rather than vacate their fertile land, they would die facing off the TPLF militias and any other group that attempts to confiscate their land.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1ZbV1suIaQ

Melese Zenawie Needs Eritrea to save him from the Election Storm…”Frère ennemie” …he acts like they never fought before?


“Frère  ennemie”

Ethiopia PM willing to meet long-time Eritrean enemy

Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:09am GMT

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said he is willing to meet Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki despite more than 10 years of bitter words and a bloody border war.

Eritrea last month accused Ethiopia of blocking its participation in African Union (AU) summits in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa — seat of the 53-nation body.

Responding to questions, Meles denied the claims and said Isaias was welcome in Ethiopia.

“If the Eritrean government is eager to send any person, whether the president himself or any person, and participate in meetings they will be treated exactly like any other delegation,” Meles told reporters late on Thursday.

Meles said it was Addis Ababa’s obligation as AU headquarters.

The 1998-2000 war between two of the world’s poorest countries killed at least 70,000 people. An independent border commission in 2002 awarded the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea but Ethiopia still occupies the territory.

“I am prepared to talk to anybody on matters that help peace in the neighbourhood,” Meles said. “So as I have made it very clear on many occasions we are ready to talk to them at any level, at any time, any place.”

Meles did not say whether he was willing to discuss the border issue.

“I have no obligation to meet him at the airport,” Meles added.

In December, the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Eritrea, accusing it of backing rebel groups in Somalia, where at least 21,000 people have been killed in violence since the beginning of 2007.

The sanctions, adopted in December and backed by 13 of the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council, include an arms embargo, travel restrictions and asset freezes for some of the country’s top officials.

Asmara says the Security Council is a proxy for the United States and says the multi-state body continues to ignore the fact that their territory is being occupied by Ethiopia, Washington’s strongest ally in the Horn of Africa.

“I have no obligation to meet him at the airport,” Meles added.

In December, the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on Eritrea, accusing it of backing rebel groups in Somalia, where at least 21,000 people have been killed in violence since the beginning of 2007.

The sanctions, adopted in December and backed by 13 of the 15 members of the U.N. Security Council, include an arms embargo, travel restrictions and asset freezes for some of the country’s top officials.

Asmara says the Security Council is a proxy for the United States and says the multi-state body continues to ignore the fact that their territory is being occupied by Ethiopia, Washington’s strongest ally in the Horn of Africa.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_QPdvDyygo&feature=player_embedded

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IJENRhyiUk&feature=player_embedded

Eritrean Air force unit escapes country

Sudan Tribune

Saturday 20 March 2010

March 18, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – 15 Eritrean air force members have reportedly fled Eritrea, seeking political asylum to an undisclosed government.

An exiled opposition website – assenna.com recently claimed receiving details of the Air force group including list of their names, however declined to publicize details for safety reasons.

“Although loyalty is one of the several criterions to join the Eritrean air force, many of them had already defected the PFDJ regime in a similar manner. The repeated mass defection of its skilled officers has undermined the young Eritrean Air force significantly.’’ It Said.

There is no an immediate comment from officials in Eritrea and the report can’t independently be verified at this point.

The Eritrean Air Force was established shortly after Eritrean War of Independence in 1994. The make-up of the original force was composed of aircraft that were abandoned by the then defeated armed forces of the Derg regime.

Expansion of the Eritrean Air Force (ERAF) did not occur until the Eritrean-Ethiopian War in which the two air forces fought for superiority. In a sort of arms race, Eritrea responded to Ethiopia’s purchase of Su-27s with a purchase of MiG-29s.

In 2000 the ERAF bought eight Su-25s from Georgia, and six more MiG-29’s from Moldavia. In 2003 Eritrea also acquired several Su-27s.

The Eritrean Air Force is a smaller branch of the Eritrean Defence Forces. If confirmed, the latest report would be a big blow to President Issayas Afeworki-led government who repeatedly denied the worsening fleeing away of citizens to neighboring countries.

In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, President Issayas denied any knowledge to the defection of the country’s national football team in December last year in Kenya, Instead he said it was a “fresh news” to him. However it was then confirmed by the ministry of information.

Eritrean borders are heavily patrolled by border guards and thousands of Eritreans risk their life attempting to cross to neighboring countries.

Eritrean refugees who recently made it to Ethiopia told Sudan Tribune that a shot to kill policy is intensified along the border.

Wegahta radio this week reported the killing of 12 Eritrean refugees (all from Asmara’s Mai-temenai sub-city) by border guards up on attempt to cross to Sudan.

The UNHCR recently reported from Sudan that the exodus out of Eritrea is reaching alarming stages.

In protest to country’s mandatory military service, tens of thousands of young Eritreans find eastern Sudan as their main transit to cross to Europe or Israel for better life.

In Ethiopia alone, there are nearly 50,000 Eritrean refugees in three camps, a-third of them being members of the Eritrean military.

According to Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), the current influx of Eritreans to Ethiopia stands at 1,800 a month.

Ethiopian dictator is wining before the Vote and promised to jail the opposition soon after ..

It is My Election !

I am the Election itself !

I am the winner !

How can I lose since it is My own Election !

And  I will  Never Ever Lose !

Do you Understand ??? That is it what I call “Electoral Democracy”.

They Lost thus   Jail  is  a Must !!!

Listen to Me Now … my puppets I made You I am Your Bose ..I have hand picked you…

Do you understand?  Yes this is  “Parliamentary Democracy”  my  makings …

We are there for another 30 years …hahaha !!!!

We do not need observers and their Radios

Now Let us  jam it call Bob Marley Please …

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc7_RaJh8rY

I do not Need Observer at my own election.

Let them observe their own.

They never  invite me to observe their sham dumped  election ? Look What they say about my election of  2005:_

It is time the EU and US realise that the current regime in Ethiopia is repressing the people because it lacks democratic legitimacy “

Ana Gomes

EU election observer_

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Marquee Ethiopia Election Matchup Pits PM vs Former Comrade

VOA Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa 17 March 2010

Ethiopia’s May 23 elections for parliament have produced some interesting match-ups, with several prominent government officials facing stiff competition.  One contest pits Prime Minister Meles Zenawi against a former comrade in arms, Aregash Adane.
Aregash Adane seems an unlikely challenger to one of Africa’s most respected leaders. Invited for an interview about her bid to unseat the prime minister, she arrives on foot. No aides, no driver, no car.
“I’m only a few kilometers away,” she explains, “and I like to walk”.
Aregash Adane knows Meles Zenawi well. They are both from Adwa, in the northern Tigray region. The legislative seat they are contesting represents the town. She is three years older than the 54-year-old prime minister, but says they have close family ties.
“Adwa is both his home and my home. His family and my family are very close. They are friends. We are neighbors,” she added.
Mr. Meles and Ms. Aregash began their political careers as comrades in a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  They fought together to overthrow the murderous Dergue regime led by the Communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.  When the Dergue collapsed in 1991, the TPLF seized power.
Mr. Meles became leader of both the TPLF and the new ruling coalition called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).  Ms. Aregash was the senior female member of the decision-making central committee.
But in 2001, a power struggle split the TPLF.  Mr. Meles crushed his opponents.  The rival faction, including Aregash Adane, was banished to the political wilderness.
Ms. Aregash says since then, Mr. Meles has followed Leninist principles, establishing himself as the head of a one-party Revolutionary Democratic state.
“It’s a dictatorship,” she noted.  “Revolutionary Democracy is a philosophy of communism or socialism. It was designed by Lenin to create a certain period where they could develop and transit to socialism, so the ideology itself is very dictatorial.”
Ms. Aregash says her challenge to the prime minister is not personal, but policy-driven.  She argues that after 19 years in power, the EPRDF’s promise of democratic socialism has failed to materialize.  She calls Revolutionary Democracy an ideology of the past.
“The EPRDF government has failed in the sense that it didn’t build or create democratic institutions in the country,” she explained.  “There is no era of socialism, at least in the immediate future, so the ideology which Meles is still following is, I believe wrong, so I challenge him.”
The former guerrilla fighter says voters in Adwa are responding to her message, but she doubts Mr. Meles and the ruling party will give up power through the ballot box.  She says Ethiopia’s elections are stage-managed affairs designed to produce a desired outcome while giving the impression of multi-party democracy.
“If people voted against EPRDF, they are not ready to accept it, so they have to create an environment where the opposition couldn’t get a majority,” she said.  “The only thing it’s trying to do is portray he’s creating an environment where the election has been held democratically.”
The May 23 election will be the first parliamentary poll since the disputed 2005 vote, which gave the ruling party a solid majority. Allegations of fraud led to violent demonstrations in which nearly 200 protestors were killed. Scores of opposition leaders were tried and sentenced to life in prison for their part in the protests, but later pardoned.
Ethiopia’s most recent elections, the 2008 local council polls, also gave the ruling party an overwhelming victory. After most opposition parties boycotted, the EPRDF and its allies won all but three of 3.6 million seats being contested

Ethiopia’s May 23 elections for parliament have produced some interesting match-ups, with several prominent government officials facing stiff competition.  One contest pits Prime Minister Meles Zenawi against a former comrade in arms, Aregash Adane.
Aregash Adane seems an unlikely challenger to one of Africa’s most respected leaders. Invited for an interview about her bid to unseat the prime minister, she arrives on foot. No aides, no driver, no car.
“I’m only a few kilometers away,” she explains, “and I like to walk”.
Aregash Adane knows Meles Zenawi well. They are both from Adwa, in the northern Tigray region. The legislative seat they are contesting represents the town. She is three years older than the 54-year-old prime minister, but says they have close family ties.
“Adwa is both his home and my home. His family and my family are very close. They are friends. We are neighbors,” she added.
Mr. Meles and Ms. Aregash began their political careers as comrades in a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  They fought together to overthrow the murderous Dergue regime led by the Communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.  When the Dergue collapsed in 1991, the TPLF seized power.
Mr. Meles became leader of both the TPLF and the new ruling coalition called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).  Ms. Aregash was the senior female member of the decision-making central committee.
But in 2001, a power struggle split the TPLF.  Mr. Meles crushed his opponents.  The rival faction, including Aregash Adane, was banished to the political wilderness.
Ms. Aregash says since then, Mr. Meles has followed Leninist principles, establishing himself as the head of a one-party Revolutionary Democratic state.
“It’s a dictatorship,” she noted.  “Revolutionary Democracy is a philosophy of communism or socialism. It was designed by Lenin to create a certain period where they could develop and transit to socialism, so the ideology itself is very dictatorial.”
Ms. Aregash says her challenge to the prime minister is not personal, but policy-driven.  She argues that after 19 years in power, the EPRDF’s promise of democratic socialism has failed to materialize.  She calls Revolutionary Democracy an ideology of the past.
“The EPRDF government has failed in the sense that it didn’t build or create democratic institutions in the country,” she explained.  “There is no era of socialism, at least in the immediate future, so the ideology which Meles is still following is, I believe wrong, so I challenge him.”
The former guerrilla fighter says voters in Adwa are responding to her message, but she doubts Mr. Meles and the ruling party will give up power through the ballot box.  She says Ethiopia’s elections are stage-managed affairs designed to produce a desired outcome while giving the impression of multi-party democracy.
“If people voted against EPRDF, they are not ready to accept it, so they have to create an environment where the opposition couldn’t get a majority,” she said.  “The only thing it’s trying to do is portray he’s creating an environment where the election has been held democratically.”  The May 23 election will be the first parliamentary poll since the disputed 2005 vote, which gave the ruling party a solid majority. Allegations of fraud led to violent demonstrations in which nearly 200 protestors were killed. Scores of opposition leaders were tried and sentenced to life in prison for their part in the protests, but later pardoned.
Ethiopia’s most recent elections, the 2008 local council polls, also gave the ruling party an overwhelming victory. After most opposition parties boycotted, the EPRDF and its allies won all but three of 3.6 million seats being contested

————–

US criticizes Ethiopia’s “jamming” of Voice of America

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The United States condemned Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles’ decision to jam Voice of America’s Amharic Service, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

The U.S. also condemned Meles’ comparison of their programming to Radio Mille Collines, a radio station that projected racist propaganda and hate during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

“Comparing a respected and professional news service to a group that called for genocide in Rwanda is a baseless and inflammatory accusation that seeks only to deflect attention away from the core issue,” said State Department acting spokesman Gordon Duguid.

“The Prime Minister may disagree with news carried in Voice of America’s Amharic Service broadcasts; however, a decision to jam VOA broadcasts contradicts the Government of Ethiopia’s frequent public commitments to freedom of the press,” Duguid added.

The U.S. said the Ethiopian Constitution states that all citizens have the right to freedom of expression “without any interference” and that this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, “regardless of frontiers.”

Buganda Revolution in Uganda



His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II 36th King of Buganda

In Ethiopia the Historical  over  thousand of  years Zege Church burned recently  by the regime No body moved a finger. The Great Buganda people has just declared revolution while the Ethiopians are sleeping . The Ethiopians must learn from Uganda and defend their cultural identity.  Imagine a Mosque is just touched what will happen? Where is the justice…? Where are the defender of international cultural Identity ? Where are the  so called Christan world ?  Specially The orthodox World  Russia ,  Greek 8 Eastern Churhes   etc… Where are our brothers the  Muslims defender of a true faith no word in their site about this great church ? Where is our ecumenism.  Where is UNESCO in Ethiopia ?

The Buganda kings like  Toree’s  kings claim their descendants from Ethiopian Kings they gave the name to the country what is called today  the post colonial Uganda. Uganda is off time konwn as the  Perle of Africa.

Buganda is a kingdom located on Lake Victoria; Over time it expanded by means of conquest; in the 19th century it covered a large part of what is Uganda today, including the site which was to become Uganda’s capital, Kampala. It has an old relation with the Abyssinian kingdom. it was interpreted by the Scramble of Africa  and the coming of the European powers in the region.

In the 19th century, Buganda was visited by western travelers : J.H. SPEKE (1862), HENRY MORTON STANLEY (1876). Their reports picture a state of considerable size and authority, the capital at LUBAGA HILL a town of 40,000, the armed forces consisting of 125,000 troops and a ‘navy’ of 230 war canoes.
Anglican missionaries arrived in 1877; Catholic missionaries in 1879; soon, protestant (Anglican), catholic and islamic groups intrigued against each other at Buganda’s court. Clashes between rival factions resulted in massacres; as political leaders frequently changed, so did the victimized communities; in 1885, Kabaka Mwanga ordered the execution of 1 Anglican missionary and of 30 Catholic converts..

Brief Description

The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi constitute a site embracing almost 30 ha of hillside within Kampala district. Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods. At its core on the hilltop is the former palace of the Kabakas of Buganda, built in 1882 and converted into the royal burial ground in 1884. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity.

The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi constitute a site embracing almost 30 ha of hillside within Kampala district. Most of the site is agricultural, farmed by traditional methods. At its core on the hilltop is the former palace of the Kabakas of Buganda, built in 1882 and converted into the royal burial ground in 1884. Four royal tombs now lie within the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga, the main building, which is circular and surmounted by a dome. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials, principally wood, thatch, reed, wattle and daub. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity.


Njagala-Kasayi or Kasaba’s wife’s hut in the main courtyard | Sébastien Moriset © UNESCO
Date of Inscription: 2001
Criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Property : 26.8000 ha
Kampala District
N0 20 55 E32 33 5
Ref: 1022

Brief Description

Statement of Significance

Criterion i The Kasubi Tombs site is a masterpiece of human creativity both in its conception and its execution. Criterion iii The Kasubi Tombs site bears eloquent witness to the living cultural traditions of the Baganda. Criterion iv The spatial organization of the Kasubi Tombs site represents the best extant example of a Baganda palace/architectural ensemble. Built in the finest traditions of Ganda architecture and palace design, it reflects technical achievements developed over many centuries. Criterion vi The built and natural elements of the Kasubi Tombs site are charged with historical, traditional, and spiritual values. It is a major spiritual centre for the Baganda and is the most active religious place in the kingdom.

Thousands of people in Uganda belonging to the Baganda kingdom have held a riot at the tombs of their late kings, which caught fire last night.

The grass thatched building which contained the five tombs of late kings, all the kings to have ruled Buganda kingdom in the last 100 years, caught fire last night. According to a police officer at a police post near the tombs, Chris Sali, the tombs caught fire at 8.30 but there are different versions about the cause of fire.

“Some people say that they saw someone setting fire on the tombs. They say he fled in a vehicle. Others say that young men who smoke opium near the tombs were responsible for setting the fire on the tombs,” Sali said.

Meanwhile, some people in the Buganda kingdom have accused the Ugandan government of setting the fire on the tombs. The government has vehemently denied the allegations.

Thousands of angry people stormed the tombs after the fire and started mourning. They fought with the police who had been deployed to contain law and order. Four people have been admitted to hospital (Mulago) in Kampala after having sustained severe injuries.



President Museveni

The angry mob blocked Uganda’s president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni from visiting the tombs. The President later canceled his visit.

Although President Yoweri Museveni restored Ugandan Kingdoms in 1993 — albeit establishing them as non-political cultural institutions — after they were abolished in 1967 by President Obote, the Baganda believe that the President has tried to limit the influence of the Buganda Kabaka (King).

Last September, clashes erupted in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, following a planned visit by King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi of the Buganda kingdom to the central district of Kayunga. About 20 people were killed.

Kayunga, which is part of the Buganda kingdom, is believed to be inhabited by mostly non-Baganda. The riots were sparked when the minority community in the largely Buganda populated area opposed the King’s trip.

The Kayungas who opposed the visit of the King said they had seceded from the Buganda Kingdom, while insisting that the Kabaka’s visit was politically motivated. A detail that is prohibited by the 1993 deal that restored the kingdoms.

Constitutional powers

The Baganda have been advocating for constitutional powers for Kings through the restoration of a federal administration that would formally recognize the political power of their King.

Buganda is the largest and most politically powerful kingdom with about 20 per cent of the total Ugandan population and constituting the largest single ethnic group in the country.

The Kingdom is strategically located in the central region along the shores of Lake Victoria and houses the nation’s capital, Kampala.

The Baganda have an estimated population of about five million people.

During the colonial era, Buganda became the most influential kingdom in Uganda when the British rewarded it for its collaboration by giving it territories that belonged to the western kingdom of Bunyoro.

Many Baganda have, for several years, unsuccessfully lobbied the government to introduce a federal form of government that would give some autonomy to the regions.

________________

The Uganda Record

Wednesday, 17th March 2010

Who burnt the Kasubi Tombs?

The royal Buganda tombs at Kasubi on July 19, 2009.

The Buganda royal site, the Tombs at Kasubi, have been razed to the ground in a fire that swept through the premises shortly after 9:00p.m. on Tuesday night, March 16, 2010.

Witnesses at the scene at the time of the fire said it had started without warning or build up and appears to have been the work of an arsonist.

Hundreds of distressed and wailing Baganda gathered at the burning building and tried desperately to extinguish the fire but were reduced to tears and helplessly watching the grass-thatched complex go up in flames.

When the police arrived, it too failed to put out the fire and when the crowd got rowdy, gunshots and teargas were fired in the air, further angering the crowd.

WBS television and NTV aired segments of the inferno, while NBS television and Record TV run extensive video footage of the scenes of chaos, anger and the burning premises.

As gleaned from the TV footage, the anger of the crowd gathered at the tombs appeared to be directed at President Museveni, with many voices caught on camera angrily declaring that no matter what, one day he would perish in a fire too.

SMS text messages flying about in Kampala mentioned the fire and usually pointed the finger at Museveni.

The Katikiiro of Buganda, J.B. Walusimbi, Prince Kassim Nakibinge, and Buganda Information minister Medard S. Lubega were among the senior kingdom officials first at the scene.

The tombs, listed as one of hundreds of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO, were one of the most visited historic sites in Uganda.

Built just over 100 years ago, they are the traditional burial ground of Buganda’s kings, as well as the repository of some of the most valuable and irreplaceable cultural artifacts in Buganda.

Who set the royal tombs on fire?

The Daily Monitor newspaper, in its edition of Wednesday March 17, 2010, quoted eye witnesses as saying that a white pickup without number plates was at the scene.

A woman spoke of seeing a white box left at the tombs, then a loud explosion just before the historic site burst into flames.

When nearby motorcycle riders tried to block the pickup, now speeding off the scene, somebody inside or seated on the outside of the vehicle fired in the air to disperse the motorcycle riders.

“[T]he fleeing man shot in the air to scare away riders in his pursuit,” the Daily Monitor reported.

This, clearly, was an act of arson and sabotage. Whoever lit that fire knows what the Kasubi Tombs mean to Buganda. It is like setting fire to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Westminster Abbey in London, historic burial site of some of England’s most revered figures.

The purpose of burning Kasubi Tombs would have been two fold.

From the point of view of one trying to cause the Museveni government to lose any remaining support in Buganda, it would have been to trigger off riots or deep and boiling anger among the Baganda.

From the point of view of a state actor, to set the tombs on fire and destroy them would achieve the goal of creating conditions of such unrest and insecurity as to warrant the proclamation of a state of emergency in Buganda.

Whatever the truth, this was an act of supreme political sabotage, not mere arson. The only act that would exceed this would be to assassinate the Kabaka of Buganda or to burn down one of his palaces.

The fact of a loud explosion preceding the break out of a fire was the hallmark of the fires that struck Budo Junior School and several others schools in and outside Kampala in 2008 and the Park Yard Market near Nakivubo Stadium in 2009. Explosives were used.

What makes the Kasubi fire even more suspicious was the reported firing in the air by the getaway car. Had the tombs been set on fire by an ordinary arsonist, he would have made it his top priority to flee the scene as quietly and inconspicuously as possible. To fire gunshots in the air could only attract attention.

More importantly, to have the audacity to fire gunshots in the air suggests the confidence of an arsonist with some measure of state protection, or membership in the official state security and military apparatus.

In its reporting and discussion of the fire on Wednesday morning, NBS television kept receiving SMS text messages from viewers mentioning their belief that it was the government.

As the fire raged on Tuesday night, the Catholic Church-run radio station, Radio Maria, kept receiving phone calls by listeners accusing the government of being behind the fire and had to discontinue the discussion for fear of being accused of inciting the public.

It was noticeable, on Wednesday morning, that most FM radio stations in Kampala avoided discussing the fire during their breakfast shows, mindful of what live phone calls from listeners would say and knowing the risk they run in having their operating licenses withdrawn.

The caution taken by the radio stations not to discuss the fire in itself reflects the widespread anger among the public and their belief that this was a state-orchestrated attack on Buganda.

Watch Joseph Koney and His kids  Army

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30 years since the fall of the Amin regime
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Earth is changing Polarity is moving :- Eclipses, Earth-quack, Tsunami ends up in polarity change…2012

This solution was discovered by Albert Einstein and his colleague Nathan Rosen, who first published the result in 1935. However, in 1962 John A. Wheeler and Robert W. Fuller published a paper showing that this type of wormhole is unstable, and that it will pinch off instantly as soon as it forms, preventing even light from making it through.


——————————

A pole shift refers to the Earth’s magnetic field reversing its polarity. If a magnetic reversal occurred today, compasses would point south rather than north.

In the past 15 million years scientists found pole shifts occurred four times every 1 million years. Though this averages out to once every 250,000 years, switches do not occur at regular intervals. During one period in the Cretaceous, polarity remained constant for as long as 30 million years, though this is believed to be an anomaly. The last pole shift took place 790,000 years ago; causing some scientists to believe we’re due, while others speculate a reversal is already underway.

Dynamic processes taking place deep inside the planet generate Earth’s magnetic field. A core of molten iron surrounds the inner core of solid iron, each rotating at different rates. Their interaction, and perhaps other geophysical processes not yet understood, creates what scientists call a “hydromagnetic dynamo.” This self-perpetuating electric field acts in some ways like a gigantic bar magnet. The Earth’s magnetic field extends into space for tens of thousands of miles from the planet’s poles. It not only protects the Earth from solar radiation but plays a fundamental role in overall climate, weather patterns, and migratory habits of animals. If the poles were to reverse instantly, destruction would be global, from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to melting of Arctic ice and vast flooding. However, evidence suggests pole shifts happen gradually taking anywhere from 1,000 — 28,000 years. The last four flip-flops took about 7,000 years each.

Evidence for pole shifts came unexpectedly in the 1950s while exploring seafloor spreading along the mid-Atlantic ridge. Here molten material wells up, cools and hardens, creating new sea crust, pushing the old crust outwards. Magnetic particles or iron oxides in the lava act like tiny compass needles, aligning themselves with the magnetic field, leaving a permanent record of the Earth’s polarity at the time the crust is created. By reading the orientation of the oxides at various distances out from the point of welling, scientists can “look back in time.” What they found was striping or alternating bands — periods of reversal throughout history.

Some researchers believe a pole shift is underway today because the magnetic field has decreased in intensity as much as 10% – 15% over the last 150 years, with the rate of decay increasing more significantly in recent years. If this trend continues, the magnetic field will be gone in 1000-2000 years. A weakening magnetic field is a precursor to pole shifts, though it’s acknowledged the current decay might also be attributable to other unknown causes, or might reverse itself. In the case of a pole shift, once the magnetic field weakens enough, the field directions undergo a near-180 degree switch before strengthening and stabilizing in the new orientation. However, scientists don’t really know how long this process takes. What is known is that it takes twice as long at the poles as at the equator. So while compasses at the mid-latitudes might point south after a 3,000-year transition, compasses at the poles would continue to point north for another 3,000 years.

The actual mechanisms behind a pole shift are still unknown. Some theories suggest comet impacts might play a role; others, that the magnetic field is inherently prone to flip-flops. Conclusive answers await a better understanding of the dynamics of this very fascinating geophysical phenomenon.

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Earth loses its magnetism
 

 

  

By Molly Bentley
in San Francisco
 
 
 
 

 

Scientists have known for some time that the Earth’s magnetic field is fading.

Earth magnet, BBC
The field is mainly dipolar – but there are anomalies

Like a Kryptonite-challenged Superman, its strength has steadily and mysteriously waned, leaving parts of the planet vulnerable to increased radiation from space.

Some satellites already feel the effects.

What is uncertain is whether the weakened field is on the way to a complete collapse and a reversal that would flip the North and South Poles.

Compasses pointing North would then point South.

It is not a matter of whether it will happen, but when, said scientists who presented the latest research on the subject at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

But when is hard to pinpoint. The dipole reversal pattern is erratic.

“We can have periods without reversals for many millions of years, and we can have four or five reversals within one million years,” said Yves Gallet, from Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France, who studies the palaeomagnetic record and estimates that the current decay started 2,000 years ago.

Flip or flop

Over the last century and a half, since monitoring began, scientists have measured a 10% decline in the dipole.

At the current rate of decline it would take 1,500 to 2,000 years to disappear.

SEAFLOOR RECORDER
Seafloor spreading, BBC
As molten rock rises, spreads out and cools, magnetised minerals record field direction
Over millions of years, the seafloor rocks retain a ‘barcode’ of pole reversals
These pole reversal events may take perhaps 10,000 years to complete
The last major pole flip appears to have been about 780,000 years ago

A particular weakness in the field has been observed off the coast of Brazil in the so-called Southern Atlantic Anomaly. Here, eccentricities in the Earth’s core have caused a “dip” in the field, leaving it 30% weaker than elsewhere.

The extra dose of radiation creates electronic glitches in satellites and spacecraft that fly through it. Even the Hubble telescope has been affected.

Magnetic reversals were always preceded by weakened magnetic fields, said Dr Gallet, but not all weakened fields bring on a flip-flop.

The Earth’s invisible shield could also grow back in strength. “Then sometime, maybe 10,000 years from now, the dipole will decay again and that will lead to a reversal,” said Harvard physicist Jeremy Bloxham.

The theme was recently taken up by Hollywood in the movie The Core, in which the Earth’s core mysteriously stops spinning, effectively turning off the electromagnetic field.

The movie is nonsense, scientists told BBC News Online, except that the Earth’s magnetic field is generated by activity deep inside it.

Iron record

The heat of the solid inner core keeps the molten cocktail of nickel and iron churning in the outer core, which generates a magnetic field.

It is not known how the core behaves exactly, but scientists have a general understanding of how electrical and fluid currents and magnetic field lines all interact to produce the field we experience outside Earth.

If we had the equivalent of a space probe that went into the core and made measurements for us, that would tell us a tremendous amount
Jeremy Bloxham, Harvard

Imagine the magnetic field lines within the core “twisting like spaghetti,” said Peter L Olson, geophysics professor at Johns Hopkins University.

As they wind and kink around each other, their interaction can accentuate the magnetic field or diminish it.

“Depending on how it’s kinked,” he said, “it can be helpful or harmful.”

The last time the field lines kinked into a dipole reversal was 780,000 years ago.

By studying seafloor sediment and lava flows, scientists can reconstruct the magnetic field patterns of the past. Iron in lava, for example, points in the direction of the then-existing field and is frozen in that orientation as the lava cools and hardens.

According to Dr Gallet, the oldest reversal that has been studied by lava flows comes from Greenland, dated at 16 million years. The time between reversals varies from a thousand to millions of years.

Global light show

So is the Earth about to flip? The safe bet may disappoint screenplay writers everywhere.

“Chances are we’re not,” said Dr Bloxham. “Reversals are rare events.”

And they would certainly not threaten life on Earth as they do in science fiction. Although there would be extra radiation exposure to satellites and some airplanes, there would also be enough of a residual field to provide protection to people, and certainly no more radiation than what is observed at the poles, where the field lines currently dip.

Simulation, Los Alamos
Supercomputers have modelled the pole flipping process (Image: Los Alamos Nat Lab)

But there would be some bizarre readjustment. Prior to Earth’s poles re-establishing themselves, a period of disorder would produce multiple poles, according to Dr Bloxham, which may make backwoods camping tricky.

“Getting around using a magnetic compass would be a more complicated endeavour,” he said.

A collapse would also produce a great increase in auroral activity – the beautiful display of lights generated by solar particles that follow the magnetic field lines down into the atmosphere.

And there would be plenty to time to grab a camera – the reversal is gradual.

This would give animals which use the magnetic field for navigation, such as some birds, turtles and bees, time to reorient themselves.

“They’d go through many generations in the period in which the field was entering the phase of reversal,” said Dr Bloxham. “Presumably they would learn new behaviour patterns to accommodate it.”

Space within

As for the ozone layer – which was thought to be vulnerable without a protective shield – the effects would be negligible unless there was a super-solar proton event, said Charles H Jackman, an atmospheric physicist at the US space agency’s Goddard Flight Center, referring to the high-energy radiation that can accompany solar flares.

The charged particles zinging down to Earth, said Dr Jackman, break apart molecules of nitrogen, whose atoms go on to form nitric oxide, which devours up ozone.

This happens all the time, but the effects would be increased during a magnetic reversal or diminished magnetic field.

Total field strength, IGRF
Fluctuations and movement of field strength across the globe are recorded

But he said scientists saw no significant change in ozone depletion due to the Southern Atlantic Anomaly. In any case, the ozone layer would bounce back quickly from the heavy solar bombardment, healing itself in just two to three years, according to Dr Jackman.

This is not the timeline associated with anthropogenic chlorofluorocarbons.

“Chlorofluorocarbons have a much longer lifetime in the atmosphere than does the nitric oxide and its associated constituents,” he said.

But all these scenarios are of an indeterminate future. The Earth’s interior will remain unexplored for a long time to come – only in science fiction can humans or their equipment survive the 5,500 Celsius temperature in the core to study its activity.

“If we had the equivalent of a space probe that went into the core and made measurements for us, that would tell us a tremendous amount,” said Dr Bloxham. “Hollywood may be able to do these things, but we can’t.”

 .