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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ethiopia - bizarre news of the day

The EPRDF (Ethiopian Govt.) has assembled a team of people with a task to edit and change wikipedia entries regarding Ethiopia. The first target was Amnesty International. The EPRDF introduced an entry about Amnesty international's involvement in helping the "extremist" private media in Ethiopia in Wikipedia.(...More from EZ)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ethiopia - A Moment With...Haile Gerima

What struggles do independent filmmakers face in bringing projects to fruition? Filmmaker Haile Gerima talks about these issues and his film 'Sankofa,' a widely acclaimed movie about slavery. He also describes the influence of his Ethiopian heritage on his work.

Ethiopians die in Somali port blast

An explosion killed at least 20 people and wounded a hundred more in a northern Somali port where immigrants often try to cross to Yemen.

Ethiopia - HR2003 revisited

An American law professor, teaching at the Ethiopian Ministry of Education’s Mekelle University in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, had her contract terminated last week by university officials.

The administration claims “incompetence” was the reason for her termination. But Professor Abigail Salisbury claims that her public voicing of alternative views on the U.S. House of Representative’s Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007 (HR2003) got her fired.

After failing to convince the university’s academic commission that her contract should not be terminated, Professor Salisbury is planning to depart Ethiopia. The firing quickly followed an article she published in “The Jurist,” the online University of Pittsburgh law review journal, in which she described candidly her participation in a Mekelle University Law Faculty forum on HR 2003.

Taking one stance, Professor Salisbury writes, “Listening to the Ethiopians talk about the bill’s various points during the discussion forum, I… wonder[ed] if America hadn’t done something foolish…by asserting its right to determine the domestic affairs of a foreign nation.” She also points out that the factual findings section of HR2003 must be updated to reflect current human rights progress in Ethiopia.

But based on the passionate testimonies of her own international human rights law students at Mekelle, conveyed to her within mid-term essays she assigned, Salisbury reached an alternative conclusion – that HR2003 should be seen as an attempt by American foreign policy makers not to threaten Ethiopian sovereignty, but to improve the lives of poor Ethiopians who are truly suffering under a government with a firm grip on freedom of speech.

“I had been very careful in wording my assignment. I asked the students to select a human rights issue in Ethiopia…and find another country dealing with that same situation. They were required to then compare the actions of the two nations,” Salisbury writes. According to her, a number of students wrote that they would never give their real opinions to an Ethiopian professor, for fear of “being turned in to the government and punished.”

According to Professor Salisbury, the terms of her contract make it clear that in the case of premature termination, she should receive three months’ pay. Claiming they have an alternative interpretation, University officials have decided not to honor this clause. But Salisbury is more disappointed by the failure of the university’s professors and officials to honor freedom of speech. “The dean [of Mekelle Law School] told me never to be afraid to write anything,” the young American law professor recalled for SSI.

HR2003 was passed in October 2007 by the US House of Representatives and is now being debated by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It proposes to withdraw “nonessential” assistance from Ethiopia until the federal government meets human rights obligations outlined in the Act.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Many years ago, I remember listening a story on Deutche Weille (German Radio). The story was about a German who once visited Ethiopia. He traveled to two neighboring villages which were not in good terms.When he arrived in the first village he received a warm welcome. Elders showed him an excellent Ethiopian hospitality.(More...)

Monday, February 04, 2008

ETHIOPIA - National Bank bought Fake Gold

Five senior executives from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) and three chemists from the Ethiopian Geological Survey were arrested last week for their alleged involvement in a gold fraud scandal.(VIDEO and more)