Click Here for EthioPolitics NEWS

New! EthioPolitics presents "ARTIST OF THE DAY"
where we feature artists from all over the world who have
contributed significantly to the world of music.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A piece of World-Cup History

A brief break from Politics!

It would be criminal and somewhat sacrilegious if we failed to bring up the topic of football (or "soccer" as our American friends call it), in this most hallowed of seasons for the sport’s fans all over the world. Especially in a country like our own, people have this one-month to escape the poverty, injustice and misfortunes of their reality in the ecstasy that is - the world cup.

And when Discussing the world cup, it would be blasphemous, as Ethiopians, if we fail to remember Mr.Yidnekachew Tessema (Father of African sports). If it were not for this pioneering individual Africa would still be sending only two teams to the world cup.

Yidnekachew's football career began in his teens. In the mid 1930s, he was one of the founding members of the St. George soccer club. As a post-war government-appointed sport official, Yidnekachew helped promote soccer as a popular national pastime by helping found new teams and arranging matches in different parts of the country. His efforts paid off in 1953 with FIFA's acceptance of Ethiopia as its fourth African member after Egypt (1923), Sudan (1948) and South Africa (1952).Having represented his country at the CAF formation conference in Sudan, in 1961 Yidnekachew was chosen as the organization's vice president. A decade later, he replaced the Egyptian Abdel Aziz Salem as CAF's president, a position he held until his death in August 1987. (Fikru Gebrekidan, Seleda)

The Nigerian Olu Amadasun, writer of the book , History of Football in Africa comments, "It would not be immodest to say that apart from being one of the founding fathers of CAF, he (Yidnekachew) has been the author of all the African proposals submitted to the FIFA congress several of which have meant modification of the statutes, Yidnekachew, championed tirelessly Africa's interest especially that which compelled FIFA to grant Africa an additional spot in the 1982 World Cup."

Major organizations with which Yidnekachew was closely associated included the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Union of African Sports Olympic Committees Association and the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa. Yidnekachew's contribution to the development of sports in Africa has earned him international awards and recognition. In 1978, the newly introduced African Youth Championship Cup was named in his honor: Tesemma Cup. Other tributes, according to Amadasun, included an honorary medal by the African Union of Sports Journalists and a sport merit medal by the Zairian government. He was also conferred knighthood by the Ivorian government, a perfect irony for a citizen whose Marxist government espoused the gospel of universal proletarianism. (Fikru Gebrekidan, Seleda)

Yidnekachew passed away on August 20, 1987, after a long battle with cancer. Yidnekachew’s death was a major loss not only for Ethiopia but for the entire continent of Africa as well.

Rest in Peace.


Continuing on this theme of the World cup,

We have for you today a video of Diego Armando Maradona, arguably the most talented football Player to ever walk this planet.

The Mexico 86’ world cup showcased Maradona’s ability to an astounded world, and produced many memorable matches still highlights in world cup history. The match between Argentina and England was one such moment. This match is remembered for two reasons, “The hand of God” and “The Greatest Goal in FIFA World Cup History”.

The first is Maradona’s controversial (dare we say artistic?) illegal Hand goal. And the second, a moment of pure magic, in which Maradona demonstrated his unparalleled dribbling skill. FIFA voted this goal in 2002 as “the goal of the century”. Nine minutes into the second half, Enrique passed the ball to Maradona some ten meters inside his own half. Maradona then began his 60 meter, 10 second dash towards the English goal, dodging five English outfield players as well as goalkeeper Peter Shilton to make the score 2-0 to Argentina. English striker Gary Lineker later said "[it was] probably the one and only time in my whole career I felt like applauding the opposition scoring a goal." A statue of Maradona immortalizing the moment has been erected outside the stadium.


Watch in slow-motion


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Elegy to the Underground Children of Addis

(By Tewodros Abebe)
For more poems visit Tewodros Abebe’s website

“Blink and you will miss the underground children in Ethiopia's capital city. They live in tunnels, sewers and drainage holes, hidden beneath Addis Ababa's teeming streets. They move from one makeshift shelter to the next, chased away by police or the rivers of water and refuse that flow when the rains come. Growing up amidst the traffic, they learn to hustle at a young age seeking change or selling small items to drivers at traffic lights.” - BBC

This recent report by the BBC prompted poet Tewodros Abebe to write this touching elegy.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

From another Shimagile

(By Dr.Yonnas Gondemo, Ethiopian Politics Contributor)
Reply to Donald N. Levine’s “Reply to a citizen's letter”
First, I would like to begin by stating my admiration and respect for Professor Levine. I have no doubt that he has the utmost love and genuine goodwill for Ethiopia and its people.

But, like the previous writer, I too was very perplexed by what I perceived to be a radical shift in Dr. Levine’s attitude soon after his visit to Addis Ababa. Upon reading his explanations for his “shimagile” stance, I am compelled to share my views.

Dear Professor Levine,
You have stated that you “felt obliged to search for ways to resolve Ethiopia's political crisis”. I am very grateful that you care enough to devote your time and energy to bring a solution to this impasse. However, we Ethiopians have had to suffer the consequences of many similar attempts in the past which may start out with good intentions but usually end up creating more problems. It is my prayer that your efforts and good intentions are rewarded with enduring success for the sake of the Ethiopian people.
Professor Levine, most things in life are gray. We have to consider the pros and cons, weigh the different alternatives and take the slightly better choice when arriving at a solution. But there are also choices with no shades of gray, a solid black or a solid white, simply right or wrong, just or unjust, true or false. I do not belong to any political party, but I do know that there are no gray areas when it comes to intimidation and killings. Some of us were in Addis at the time, in the early summer of 2005, as eyewitnesses; while the rest of us heard the personal accounts of citizens who were terrorized into submission by a regime that feared its days of supremacy were coming to an end.

Dr. Levine you have said: “I learned, PM Meles worked hard to get the CUD MPs to enter Parliament, and he advised them that if they did not they would lose immunity from criminal charges”

If by “working hard” you mean intimidate, then you are right. Mr. Zenawi has on several occasions threatened the elected parliamentarians; he has not made a secrete of this. On a speech televised by ETV, which all Ethiopians with access to a television witnessed, Mr. Zenawi presented the choices left before the elected CUDP members’ days before they were put in jail. “You have four choices,” he said: “one: exile, two: pick up arms and engage in armed struggle, three: submit and live quietly or four: Languish in detention for the rest of your lives.”

And let me make another point here. The CUDP leaders did not refuse to join parliament. They unanimously agreed to join parliament upon acceptance of their 8 point preconditions by the ruling party ( Holding an election every five years does not mean EPRDF is committed to building a democracy, Saddam Hussein held regular elections as did Mengistu Hailemariam. An election in and of itself does not constitute a democracy. EPRDF’s acceptance of the 8 point preconditions would have signified its dedication to building a free society. But the government decided to reject this compromise that would have broken the deadlock and instead, chose to reply with mass detentions. It is true that the opposition gained significant amount of seats according to the “official” results but the government made sure this seats were useless by passing a new law days after the election. Under the new law a party must have 51% of the vote to put an agenda for discussion. This new edict made sure that the elected MP’s would have no significant contributions.

I, like most Ethiopians, have nothing personal against Mr. Zenawi. God knows I have prayed and hoped that he would be the one to lead our people in the right direction. But that seems not to be the case. The dismantlement of the free press, the recent blockage of critical websites along with the documents smuggled out of an Ethiopian embassy detailing methods of silencing website administrators, bloggers and critics in the diaspora are clear indicators that EPRDF is bent on stifling all voices of dissent.

The final paragraph of your response, Professor Levine, I must completely disagree with. Work within the system, you said, Patience is essential, do not forget the main problems of hunger and poverty. Dr Levine, that’s precisely the reason why we do not have anymore patience left. Hunger and poverty are direct results of the megalomaniacs who ruled Ethiopia with an iron fist for decades, not caring for the sufferings and aguish of our people. Democracy is the solution to these problems, and we can not afford to be patient any longer. The lives of our people depend on it.

I’m sure you are not under the assumption that the struggle for democracy started in 2005; it has taken many lives and decades while being fine-tuned. We have been very patient for too long. My generation prayed and fought for democracy but was not fortunate enough to experience it. We lived in fear and had to flee to foreign countries to escape the terror. And my generation, in unison, has made a vow that this will not be the fate of our children, we can not allow for another Ethiopian generation to be raised in an atmosphere of intimidation, praying for the day he/she gets a chance to leave his/her country to experience freedom and opportunity in a foreign land.

Professor Levine, I hope your “shimagile” stance proves fruitful; but, what Ethiopians need right now, even more than a “shimagile”, is a friend and an advocate.

Yours truly,

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

International Political leadership (CUDP)

Click to enlarge
Click here to read in pdf format

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yager Fikir Likift – Dr. Hailu Araya

Throughout Mengistu hailemariam’s reign of terror; shengo meetings were simply political rallies of the faithful. When Mengistu took the podium of this semi-parliamentary body, an eerie quiet of the graveyard dropped on the 835 delegates. They simply listened, clapped hands, applauded and rubber stamped the resolutions of Mengistu's central committee politburo. No single protest was ever raised. (Paulos Milkias, ER, February 1994)

This was true until 1991 when two daring individuals braved personal risk to do the unthinkable, Confront colonel Mengistu on live TV. The first was a priest who brought the Shengo to a screeching halt with the now famous prophetic speech referring to the colonel as “Menge” and telling Mengistu of the two choices left before him: “to run like a coward or drink from the chalice of Tewodros”. History, the priest said, will forever remember the choice he (Mengistu) was about to make.

The second person to confront colonel Mengistu in public was Dr Hailu Araya (video clip available below), now imprisoned for doing the very same thing he did back then, stand up for what is right. He was an academic by profession, editor of the highly acclaimed press digest, winner of the parliamentary elections of 2005 and a spokesperson for the CUDP. He has sacrificed his entire life persisting through three regimes for the cause of democracy, justice, and peace in Ethiopia.

Below is an excerpt from Dr. Hailu's poem entitled “YAGER FIKIR LIKIFT” first published in the former monthly magazine – TOBIA:

Click here to Read the poem in its entirety.
(Audio)Poem narrated by Tiringo (Ethio-view)

Here is a video clip of Dr. Hailu admonishing Mengistu for his failures.(mahder)

Readers below the age of thirty may not fully comprehend the implications of this defiance, but for those of us who witnessed the event transpire live, it continues to be a shining example of an unbending principle and of personal courage.

Free Dr. Hailu Araya!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Interview with HE Major Yoseph Yazew Chairman of CUDP USA Support Committee

(Interviewer - Paulos Dandego, Ethiopian Politics Contributor)

The recent alliance between the various opposition groups has stirred quite a bit of controversy. Ethiopian Politics recently had the chance to pose key questions to someone present at the alliance meetings representing the CUDP. HE Major Yoseph Yazew Chairman of CUDP USA Support Committee gave us a candid interview and shared his views on the formation of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD).

We would like to thank Kinijit USA - in particular Major Yoseph Yazew and Dr. Seyoum Solomon (Head of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations Kinijit, North America) for their forthcoming cooperation.


Addis Voice summarised the interview saying:

"Chairman of the North American CUDP Chapter, Major Yoseph Yazew, said the formation of AFD became fruitful after long and relentless efforts. In An interview with Ethiopian Politics blog, he explained that AFD created a great opportunity to fill the gulf of division intently created by the Meles regime. The alliance is primarily focused on seeking peaceful resolutions to the complicated political crisis in Ethiopia, according to Major Yoseph. He believes that AFD will help consolidate the unity of Ethiopians who have divergent political stands. He cautioned that the TPLF is desperately trying to abort the alliance and some people, who claim to represent the views of Kinijit and OLF, should desist from helping TPLF's sinister endeavours to break up AFD. Major Yoseph praised the leaders of the OLF for taking such a bold measure in joining the alliance that was made possible by a "good spirit of trust."

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ethiopian Government Bars Chair of the European Federation of Journalists from Entering the Country

“.........The IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) says that the decision to refuse an entry visa to Arne König, Chair of the European Federation of Journalists, Europe's largest journalists' group, was inexplicable and "smacks of political spite............König, a Swedish citizen, was due to join an IFJ mission that visited Ethiopia two weeks ago.........The mission comes after a far-reaching crackdown on the independent press in November last year, when the authorities detained more than a dozen journalists, issued a wanted list of editors and publishers, and threatened to charge journalists with treason, which is an offence punishable by death. Dozens of journalists went into hiding during the crackdown. The government published a list of those it planned to prosecute, including 17 editors and publishers from eight private newspapers, as well as Kifle Mulat, president of the IFJ-affiliated Ethiopian Free Press Journalists' Association (EFJA), who is now in exile.” (More...)