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VOA: U.S. Concern Over Ethiopia September 26, 2016

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The United States is very concerned over the situation in Ethiopia, particularly the instability in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

The United States is very concerned over the situation in Ethiopia, particularly the instability in the Oromia and Amhara regions, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview. Speaking in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield called the response by the government to protests an “intense and somewhat harsh crackdown:”

“We have had discussions with the Ethiopian government encouraging that they have dialogue, and that they open the possibly for press freedom, civil society’s ability to function, and that many of the people who have been put in jail be released.”

In Oromia anti-government protests began in November 2015, and they have also occurred in the northern Amhara region.

Assistant Secretary Thomas-Greenfield said the United States believes that the situation in the country could deteriorate and that the Ethiopian government is aware of that possibility as well.

“We’ve met with Prime Minister Hailemariam [Desalegn] in New York, and we have encouraged him to look at how the government is addressing this situation.”

“We think,” she said, “it could get worse if it’s not addressed – sooner rather than later.”

Athletic Nation Report: In Solidarity with the Oromo Protests athlete Hirut Guangul makes powerful gesture in 4-peat. #OromoProtests September 26, 2016

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stop-killing-oromo-peopleStop killing Oromo Studentstplf-stop-killing-the-konso-people

as-hirut-guangul-of-ethiopia-crossed-the-quad-cities-marathon-finish-line-as-the-first-woman-overall-for-the-fourth-consecutive-year-she-crossed-her-arms-above-her-head-in-an-x

Athlete Hirut Guangul joined the brave movement as she won the women’s marathon with a time of 2:44.25.

as-hirut-guangul-of-ethiopia-crossed-the-quad-cities-marathon-finish-line-as-the-first-woman-overall-for-the-fourth-consecutive-year-she-crossed-her-arms-above-her-head-in-an-x-p2


 


Ethiopian Guangul makes powerful gesture in 4-peat


By Drake Lansman, 25 September 2016

MOLINE — As Hirut Guangul, of Ethiopia, crossed the Quad Cities Marathon finish line as the first woman overall for the fourth consecutive year, she crossed her arms above her head in an “X”.

Guanhul became the first QCM four-time champion, but the moment became larger than just her athletic achievement on Sunday morning.

“I like this race,” said Guanhul. “Four-time champion. I’m very, very happy.”

After the race, the 24-year-old said the “X” is a way of protesting the human rights abuses that are taking place in Ethiopia. Guanhul’s simple action is a brave and powerful one that bypasses any language barrier.

Hundreds of peaceful Ethiopian protesters have been killed or arrested by the Ethiopian military this year. Protesters have demanded equality for the country’s Oromo people, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group that has felt marginalized by the government as it pushes them off their land before selling it.

Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa held up an “X” with his arms as he won silver in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. The gesture has been used as a symbol of strength and peaceful resistance.

Lilesa says he likely will not be able to return home after making the gesture of solidarity. The Oromos also have used the “X” as a sign of their protest.

“The Ethiopian government is killing my people, so I stand with all protests anywhere, as Oromo is my tribe,” Lilesa said at an Olympic press conference. “My relatives are in prison, and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed.”

Guangul joined the brave movement as she won the women’s marathon with a time of 2:44.25.

She won her first QC Marathon in 2012, when she set the women’s open course record of 2:35.07. Guangul’s 2016 win earned her $3,000 in prize money.

Guangul says she enjoys the Quad Cities Marathon, and is happy to be back at the race.


 

The Top 10 Poorest Countries in Africa:  With one of the lowest GDP Per Capita ($505) on the continent, Ethiopia making  the 9th poorest country. September 26, 2016

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Shoppers and vendors make their way down a flooded street in Merkato, one of Africa's largest market areas, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, commonly known as Ethiopia, is the continent’s ninth poorest country. Its 100 million citizens make it the most populous landlocked nation in the world, and the second most populous on the continent after Nigeria.

Surprisingly, the economic situation in Ethiopia only worsened as recent as 2008, when the country’s inflation rose to double digits due to it’s a myriad of factors including its loose monetary policy, high food prices, and a huge civil service wage bill. Thus, the economic problems in the country are considered structural issues in governance, which are gradually being addressed by the government. The country’s best performing sector is agriculture.

Nevertheless, the country’s GDP remains to be one of the lowest on the continent, making it the 9th poorest nation.

The ten poorests countries are:

10. Guinea-Conakry

9. Ethiopia

8. The Gambia

7. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

6. Madagascar-

5. Liberia

4. Niger

3. Central African Republic (CAR)

2. Burundi

1. Malawi


9. Ethiopia- GDP per capita: $505.00.

Shoppers and vendors make their way down a flooded street in Merkato, one of Africa's largest market areas, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Shoppers and vendors make their way down a flooded street in Merkato, one of Africa’s largest market areas, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

 

Source: The Top 10 Poorest Countries in Africa

AS: ETHIOPIA: THE GOVERNMENT IS HARVESTING WHAT IT SOWED; NOW IT MUST ACKNOWLEDGE IT! #OromoProtests September 26, 2016

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The truth is that Ethiopians are revolting in the clearest of terms. One need not look beyond what has evolved in Oromia and Amhara regional states over the last ten months where simple, constitutional and even by the ruling party’s lexicon ‘legitimate’ requests by the people of Ethiopia was turned by the government into unimaginable horror.

For a government that deprived the people of Ethiopia any other means to either humble it or talk back to it, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is harvesting what it sowed and the least it can do is admit that its way of being a government is not working. If this means dissolving itself, so be it!

 


THE GOVERNMENT IS HARVESTING WHAT IT SOWED; NOW IT MUST ACKNOWLEDGE IT!


Addis Standard,  26 September 2016


 

When news of a 100% victory by the ruling EPRDF came out shortly after the May 2015 general elections, everyone scorned the result; it was too stupid to be true. After all, democratic elections in a multinational state home to a near 100 million odd, which Ethiopia is one, were not supposed to be like this. So, the world was right to scorn the results because nowhere in it would similar experiences go down history books unchallenged.  

Alas, the ruling party in Ethiopia was not only intoxicated by the victory to see what was in the offing, but it was so sure to get away with it, as it did get away with many lapses of political orders in the last quarter a century.

The reason why the world – not the government in Ethiopia – looked at the results of that fateful election with a sheer horror is because the latter is the author, director and main character of the tragic political drama which eventually dragged Ethiopia to the verge of crisis, yet again. And that election was the straw that broke the Camel’s back.  From north to south and left and right Ethiopians are on the streets screaming their ultimate rejection of a government which claimed to have won a 100% of their votes.

Damage from within and outside

There is damage to be sustained when a rebel-turned-government spoils its political capital to become a bullying dictatorship. In all measures, that is what happened in Ethiopia since the advent of May 1991. A federated state tutored by party manifesto; alternative political parties decimated from inside out with their leading members often jailed, harassed and in some cases killed or simply made to disappear from the face of earth; independent media and civil society organizations persecuted in equal terms as terrorists; and academic institutions and religious establishments coerced to dance to the music of the ruling party. Regrettably, that is Ethiopia as we know it since it was declared the ‘democratic republic of Ethiopia,’ although some would discount the first 10 years as a semi-successful democratic experiment.

The result is that military violence has now become the new language in which the government is using to talk back to the people of Ethiopia.  Judging by the look of events it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that Ethiopians are betrayed by their own government which has no misgivings to turn into the military to answer their questions and control their dissenting voices.

But there is also damage to be sustained from outside when western allies of a dictatorship sugarcoat their terms of reference to declare a dictatorship “democratic” and continue to engage with it business as usual. (See story here).

Such blunders by the west are driven by several factors. Leaving aside the cliché, this magazine posits two of the often neglected factors.

The first is the burning ambition by Ethiopia’s western allies to showcase how the aid business turned a once poster child of famine into a successful budding state with a seemingly soaring economy. Calls by rights organizations, and most importantly, the people of Ethiopia for the west to use constructive diplomatic leverages to tame the government often fell on deaf ears. Ethiopia’s western allies repeatedly opted to hold their nose about the smelly human rights record and the government’s unbridled control of both the political and civic spaces in Ethiopia. But at the same time they continued pumping taxpayers’ money in the name of aid and lavish a repressive state with undeserved international legitimacy.

The second is the concept of not wanting to face the task of opening the Pandora’s Box during what’s often a constitutionally limited term in office practiced by most western governments. President Barak Obama is leaving office and he was under no illusion that speaking truth to the world that Ethiopia was going down the nasty way was going to do him more harm than good.

The result is that there remains no discourse and platform where Ethiopia’s western allies can use to discipline a government they themselves enabled to grow out of control.

True, Ethiopia is a sovereign state whose independence should not be tampered with but there are international laws, for example, that Ethiopia itself is a signatory to. Sadly no western ally is daring to speak out loud when Ethiopian officials use and abuse these laws the same way they use and abuse local laws. The recent flagrant dismissal by the government in Ethiopia of the kind reminder by the UN Human Rights Commission of the need to allow access to UN monitors to investigate recent killings and rights abuses in Ethiopia is one classic example.

This means it should now be up to the ruling party to stop playing illusory for the sake of PR consumption by the west and propaganda for Ethiopians and start facing the inevitable. That means the ruling EPRDF should admit that the country is really on the verge of crisis and that it and only it is responsible for it.

The truth is that Ethiopians are revolting in the clearest of terms. One need not look beyond what has evolved in Oromia and Amhara regional states over the last ten months where simple, constitutional and even by the ruling party’s lexicon ‘legitimate’ requests by the people of Ethiopia was turned by the government into unimaginable horror.

For a government that deprived the people of Ethiopia any other means to either humble it or talk back to it, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is harvesting what it sowed and the least it can do is admit that its way of being a government is not working. If this means dissolving itself, so be it!