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  • Bullied, Cowed: the Nation’s Singers Shun New Year Festivities

    It started as a social media campaign, with a number of posts said to emerge mainly on Facebook, calling for a boycott on a number of concerts to be held by singers for Ethiopian New Year. The campaign rationalised its boycott to the current unrest in some parts of the Amhara and Oromia states, where “many” civilians are said to have been killed and arrested by security forces.

    So, the Facebook boycott campaigners argue that it is immoral to have a music festival in such a situation. Some of the singers, who spoke with Fortune on the basis on anonymity, say the campaign has affected them.

    This campaign has in fact forced many performers in and outside the country to cancel their concerts. It has cost promoters, music bands and the individual singers millions. Close to seven concerts in and outside the capital were cancelled – not to mention those in Europe, the US and the Middle East.

    “It is not like everyone who is cancelling their concert believes in the above argument,” said an industry source also affected because of the cancellation of their concert.

    He, whose name is withheld upon request, said that his band, which was to host a major concert in the capital, has lost close to 100,000Br.

    “It doesn’t make any difference whatever rationale they put out,” said the same source. “This is our job.”

    Some of the artists have also decided to cancel their concert so as not to collide with the Diaspora community, as they believe that the push is coming from them.

    Another big concert that is said to have been cancelled is the one at Ghion Hotel. The concert, organised by Eyoha Promotion, was planned to host Beruktawit Getahun aka Betty G, and Abdu Kiar. The promotion company behind the concert has been promoting the concert through a number of outlets, including billboards.

    Abdu Kiar, as a performer, has also suffered from another cancellation of a concert that was planned to be held in Israel, on September 15, 2016.

    Sources close to the organising of the concert told Fortune that the two singers were to be paid between 150,000 to 200,000Br.

    Another singer, who wants to remain anonymous, estimated that the bigger concerts, like the one organised by Eyoha, would briny at least 300,000 Br lose.

    He shared an experience where he himself was forced to cancel a small music show along with other performers.

    “Ours was not that big,” he said. “We lost around 70,000Br due to the cancellation.”

    This loss does not include advance payments for the performers.

    “It all started from threats, insults and bullying made as comments on Facebook,” he explains. “So, we fear that this might erode our reputation as a performer.”

    Eyoha Promotion is also know for its involvement in organising a number of entertainment activities, including exhibitions.

    Another concert that was targeted by the bullying mob on social media was the one organised by Aurora Productions. The concert was supposed to host four internationally acclaimed singers, as well as Lej Michael, a raising Ethiopian musician. Later, Lej Michael withdrew himself from the concert because of the same reason as many of the artists.

    “Most of them fear being singled out from the crowd and fear for their reputation,” Shewit Betew, CEO of Aurora, told Fortune.

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  • Ethiopia to Make Gay Sex a Non-Pardonable Offence

    homosexuality in ethiopia

    Lawmakers in Ethiopia are expected to pass into law a bill that would make same-sex acts a non-pardonable offense.

    Other anti-gay actions and measures in Ethiopia are inducing a climate of fear and panic among the country's LGBT community.

    Ethiopia's Council of Ministers endorsed the bill last week with parliament expected, according to local activists, to vote it into law as early as next week.

    The bill aims to curb the president's power to pardon prisoners who committed certain "crimes," including those imprisoned for homosexuality acts. Other offenses included in the list are corruption, human-trafficking, smuggling, rape and terrorism.

    Ethiopia's Minister of State Getachew Bedane urged a quick vote.

    26 year-old Bereket, an Ethiopian gay rights blogger commented on the move: "The decision to include homosexuality in this bill is simply pure ignorance on the part of the government.

    "The rest of the world is decriminalizing homosexuality not because it wants to or it is the fashionable thing to do, but because it is now being realized that sexual orientation is a basic human right too.

    "It's deeply troubling to see Ethiopia opting out of this global consciousness."

    Ethiopian authorities have, however, signaled that more anti LGBT measures and "gay-bashing rhetoric" are on the way, in preparation to "the run up to the election next year," reported Daniel Berhane of the Horn Affairs blog.

    According to the Ethiopian Reporter, the Addis Ababa Youth Forum, a group linked to the ruling party in Ethiopia, in collaboration with Weyneye Abune Teklehaimanot, an Ethiopian Orthodox Church association, is planning a mass anti-gay demonstration in the capital against what they called the "sodomite violence that is being committed against minors."

    The group is awaiting a final permission from the Addis Ababa City Administration and is expected to go ahead with the planned rally within the next few weeks.

    The mass demonstration is reportedly backed by government institutions such as "the Addis Ababa City Culture and Tourism Bureau, Addis Ababa Labor and Social Affairs Bureau, Women, Youth and Children Affairs Bureau and the Addis Ababa Police Commission," according to the Chairman of Addis Ababa Youth Forum.

    Ahead of the rally, Weyneye Abune Teklehaimanot has recently produced a video alleging same-sex acts are linked to the advent of the anti-Christ and "the end of the world".

    In addition, Addis Ababa municipality officers are planning to provide anti-LGBT seminars to youth across the capital to provide "awareness" on "the dangers posed to children by homosexuality."

    The linkage of LGBT issues to pedophilia has been recently stepped up in Ethiopia's press that frequently publishes interviews with Evangelical anti-gay preacher, Dr. Antonious Seyoum.

    In Ethiopia, same-sex acts are illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

    In addition, under its anti-terrorism law anyone who states what the government deems terrorism (which can include human rights criticism) can be imprisoned for 20 years, without a warrant.

    Ethiopia's anti-advocacy law bars charities and nongovernmental organizations that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from abroad from participating in activities that advance human rights and the promotion of equality.

    Collectively, the laws create a dangerous environment for LGBT Ethiopians to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity.

    "Ethiopia has already very harsh anti-LGBT laws, including a 25 year imprisonment for anyone infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts.

    "The situation, however, is getting worse as it seems the government is trying to its emulate Nigeria's and Uganda's anti-gay laws," said a spokesperson for the advocacy group Rainbow Ethiopia, who could not be identified for fear of his family's safety.

    "LGBT people are already denied access to health services, even those funded directly by the US government.

    "But the impact of such a law coupled with the strong anti-gay public sentiment that is being intentionally stirred up makes it likely that HIV infection rates will go further up.

    "LGBT people are now terrified even to approach underground health services, and now live in a climate of fear and persecution."

    source: huffingtonpost


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  • Ethiopia Workers Return From Saudi Arabia Telling of Abuse

    Teklai Hagos says he watched in horror as Saudi Arabian police beat Ethiopian migrants protesting against the alleged kidnapping and rapes of Ethiopian women by young Saudi men.

    “When we said stop, then the police started hitting us,” the 30-year-old former pipe-factory worker in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, recalled in an interview in Addis Ababa.

    Teklai is among more than 100,000 Ethiopians repatriated from Saudi Arabia since the kingdom began deporting illegal migrants in November. It’s a crackdown Teklai and New York-based Human Rights Watch say involved beatings by Saudi police and rape and murder by vigilantes. Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman General Mansour al-Turki denied the claims.

    The Arab world’s biggest economy has taken action against illegal workers as it pushes to create more jobs for Saudi citizens and stave off the unrest that has toppled leaders across the Middle East since 2011.

    At least 115,465 Ethiopians have been repatriated, according to the International Organization for Migration, or IOM. Hundreds of thousands of Asian migrants are also being deported from the oil-producing nation, which was home to about 9 million foreign workers in a population of 29.9 million, according to Saudi government statistics.

    Ethiopia’s government said three nationals were killed in clashes with police in Riyadh that started Nov. 9. Ejected workers say rioting occurred after Ethiopians were angered by the rape of Ethiopian women at apartments in the Manfouha district.

    Read more from Bloomberg

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  • Message from Ethiopian plane hijacker co-pilot Hailemedin’s Sister

    በመጀመሪያ ይህን ጽሁፍ የምታነቡ ሰዎች በሙሉ የተዝረከረከ ከሆነባችሁ ይቅርታ እጠይቃለሁ። ከትናንት ከሰዐት በኋላ ጀምሮ እስካሁን ኢንተርኔትና ቴለቪዥን ላይ ያለማቋረጥ ተተክየ ስለቆየሁና በጥልቅ ሃዘን ስለተመታሁ አይምሮየ ትክክል ላይሆን ይችላል።

    ‘የኢትዮጵያ አየር መንገድን ወደ ሮም ይጓዝ የነበረ አውሮፕላን ጠልፎ ጄነቫ ላይ ያሳረፈው ረዳት አብራሪ እጁን ለስዊዝ ስጠ። ምክንያቱም ስዊዘርላንድ ውስጥ ጥገኝነት ለመጠየቅ ነው ብሏል።’ የሚለውን ዜና በርካታ የዜና ማሰራጫዎች ከየፊናቸው አስተያየት ጋር አቅርበውታል። የዜና ማሰራጫዎች ብቻ ሳይሆኑ የተለያዩ ወገኖች ያሻቸውን ብለዋል። የፖለቲካ ድርጅቶች የሰብዐዊ መብት ተሟጋቾችና እንደ አቤ ቶኪቻው ያሉ ቀልደኞች የየራሳቸውን ሃሳብ ለማስተላለፍ ተጠቅመውበታል። በጣም አሳዝኝ ነገር ነው። ሁሉም የየራሱን እምነት ለማስተላለፍ እንጂ እሱስ ምን ሆኖ ይሆን ብሎ አለማሰቡ ልብ ይሰብራል።

    ወንድሜ ሃይለመድህን አበራ የሰዎችን ደህንነት አደጋ ላይ ለመጣል አይደለም እንስሳትን ለመጉዳት የሚፈልግ ሰው አይደልም። ደግሞም ያንን የጨነቀውን ያክል ከፈራው ነገር ለመሸሽ ሞከረ እንጂ ማንንም ባለመጉዳቱና ሃሳብ እንኳ እንዳልነበረው ምንም አይነት ማጥቂያ መሳርያ ባለመታጠቁ አሳይቷል። በሁሉም ዘንድ የሚታወቀው ለተቸገሩ በመድረስና ባዛኝነቱ ነው። ካገር ውጪ ሄዶ ለመኖር የሚፈልግ ሰው ቢሆን ለሱ በጣም ቀላል ነገር ነው። ከጥቂት ወራት በፊትንኳ ዩኤስ ኤ ሄዶ ነበር። ከ አስር ቀናት በላይንኳ መቆየት አልፈለገም። ዝም ብሎ ካገር መውጣት ቢፈልግ ከዛ የተሻለ አጋጣሚ አልነበረም። ደግሞም በኑሮ ደረጃ ውጪ ቢኖር ያን ያክል የሚያሻሽለው ነገር አይደለም። ምክንያቱም የገንዘብ ችግር የለበትም። ከራሱም አልፎ ለብዙ ሰዎች የሚተርፍ ገቢ ነበረው።

    ከልጅነቱ ጀምሮ ጎበዝ ሳይሆን እጅግ በጣም ጎበዝ ጭንቅላት ያለው ወጣት ነው። አብዛኛዎቹን ክፍሎች ሁለት ሁለት እያለፈ አስራ ሰባት አመት ሳይሞላው ሀይስኩል ሲያጠናቅቅ የ አስራሁለተኛ መልቀቂያ ውጤቱ ሁሉም ኤ ነበር። የጀመረውን የ አርክቴክቸር ትምህርት ትቶ ወደ ፓይለትነት የገባው ለሙያው ካለው ፍቅር የተነሳ ነው። ለኢትዮጵያ አየር መንገድም የተለየ ክብር አለው።

    ሃይለመድህን ሁሉንም አስታዋሽ ቤተሰቡን የሚወድና ተጫዋች ሰው ነበር እስከ ቅርብ ጊዜ። ከቅርብ ጊዜ ወዲህ ግን ለኛ ያለውን ፍቅር ደህነታችንን በማረጋገጥና የሚያስፈልገንን ሁሉ በመታዘዝ ቢገልጽም ከዘመድ ወዳጆቹ ጋር መገናኘትና አቆመ። የወትሮው ጨዋታና ደስተኝነቱ ቀርቶ ብቸኝነትን የሚወድ ዝምተኛ ሆነ። ህይወቱ ደስታ የራቀው መሰለ። በሁኔታው ተደናግጠን ደጋግመን በመጠየቅ ያወቅነው ሊያጠቁት የሚከታተሉት ጠላቶች እንዳሉ እንደሚያምን ነው። ስልኩን እንደጠለፉት ያስባል፤ በላፕቶፑ ካሜራ ሳይቀር ያዩኛል ብሎ ስለሚሰጋ ካሜራውን ሳይሸፍን አይከፍተውም፤ ወጥቶ እስኪገባ ቤቱን ሲበረብሩ የቆዩ ስለሚመስለው ካሜራ ጠምዶ መሄድ ሁሉ ጀምሮ ነበር። ባጠቃላይ በታላቅ የመንፈስ ጭንቀት እየተሰቃየ ነው። የሚያሳዝነው ደግሞ ይህንን ጉዳቱን ለኛ ለቤተሰቡንኳ አብራርቶ አለመናገሩ ነው። ወንድሜ ለሰዎች እርዳታ ለመድረስና የሌሎች አዳኝ ለመሆን የማይታክት ሰውንጂ እንዲህ በሚያንገበግብ ስቃይ ውስጥንኳ ለራሱ አስቦ እርዳታን የሚጠይቅ ሰው አይደለም። ሁኔታውን በደበስባሳው በታወቀበት ጊዜንኳ የሚያስፈልገውን የህክምና በማቅረብ ስላልረዳነው ቤተሰቡ ሁሉ እንደግር ሳት ይከነክነዋል።እሱ ግን እንዲህ ባለ ጥልቅ የመንፈስ ጭንቀት ውስጥንኳ ለኛ አንድም ቀን ሳያስብ ቀርቶ አያውቅም።

    ይህን የምታነቡ ወገኖች ሁሉ ዛሬ እኔ ይሄን ከምጽፍ እግዚአብሄር ምስክሬ ነው እሱ ወደነበረበት ጤናና ሁኔታ ተመልሶ እኔ ሞቼ ቢሆን እመርጣለሁ። ውሸት ከሆነ ይህንን በማድረግ የውሸቴን መልስ እንዲያሳየኝ አምላኬን እለምነዋለሁ። በኛ አገር መስሪያ ቤቶች የሰዎችን እውቀት ብቃትና ቁመና ሳይቀር ሲመዝኑ የዐይምሮ ጤንነት ሁኔታን አለመከታተላቸው እጅግ የሚያሳዝን ነገር ነው።

    ወንድሜ ትናንት አውሮፕላኑ ውስጥ ከመግባቱ በፊት ምን አጋጥሞት ይሆን እነዛ የሚላቸው ሰዎች ሲመለስ ጠብቀው እንደሚገሉት ዝተውበት ያንን ፈርቶ ይሆን ወይም ፓይለቱ ከጠላቶቹ ጋር በመተባበር ሊይጠቃው እንደሚችል ብማመን ሰግቶ ይሆን ሲወጣ ራሱን ለመከላከል በሩን የዘጋው ከሁለቱ አንዱ ወይም ሁለቱም እንደሆነ አምናለሁ። አስቡት በዛች ቅጽበት አለሙን በሙሉ ሊያናጋ የሚችል ምንም አይነት ራሱን ሊከላከልበት የሚችል መሳርያ ሳይዝ ይህንን ድርጊት የሚያስፈጽም ምን ነገር ሊኖር ይችላል ስዊዘርላንድ ገነት አይደለችም። የዐይምሮ ህመም ሰለባ የሆኑ ሰዎችን ለዚያውም በማንም ላይ ምንም ጉዳት ባልፈጸሙበትና ሊፈጽሙም ባላሰቡበት ሁኔታ ወደስር ቤት እንዲወረወሩ ህግ የሚፈቅድ አይመስለኝም። ሃይለመድህን ለህይወቱ ሰግቶ ነበር። የሰው ልጅ ሊቋቋመው በማይችል የመንፈስ ጭንቀት ገሃዱና ሃሳባዊው አለም በተዘበራረቀበት የስቃይ አለም ውስጥ ብቻውን ሲሰቃይ ነው የቆየው። በተስተካከለ የዐይምሮ ጤንነት ላይ የሚገኝ ሰው ላይገባው ይችላል። እኔ ግን የሱን ግማሽ ባያክልም የተወሰነ ይህንን መሰል ችግር ስላለብኝ ህመሙን አውቀዋለሁ። ሁሌም በሳት እየተጠበሱ መኖር ማለት ነው

    ወገኖች መልዕክቴን አንብባችሁ በምትችሉት ሁሉ ረዳት ፓይለት ሃይለመድህን አበራ ፍትህ አግኝቶ ወደ ነበረበት እንዲመለስ በመጣር እንድትተባበሩን መላ ቤተሰቡ በምታምኑት ሁሉ እንለምናችኋለን! እኛም የሚያስፈልገውን የህክምና እርዳታ አግኝቶ ወደ ቀድሞው ጤናው ከተመለሰ በኋላ ለዚች አገር ባለው አቅም ሁሉ እንዲያገለግል በማድረግ እንክሳለን!

    እባካችሁ ይህን መልእክት በማስተላለፍ ተባበሩን!


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  • Ethiopia: Marathoner has nothing to fear after Olympic protest - CNN

    (CNN) Olympic marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa has nothing to fear because of a protest gesture he displayed as he crossed the finish line, Ethiopia's communication minister said Monday.

    Lilesa won a silver medal Sunday with his arms crossed over his head in a sign of solidarity for Oromo-protest in Ethiopia.

    Lilesa said he wanted to draw attention to the government's ongoing persecution of the Oromos, but he feared that his protest had put himself into such danger that he can't go home.

    Ethiopia's Communications Minister Getachew Reda described Lilesa as "an Ethiopian hero," saying he "shouldn't at all be worried" to return.

    Lilesa said he feared he would be killed or imprisoned. Some of his family members are already in prison, he said, and he said he's worried about the safety of his wife and two children.

    In response, Reda told CNN in it's "a bit of a stretch to assume that your loved ones will be at risk because you have made one gesture or another. I can assure you nothing is going to happen to his family nothing is going to happen to him."

    Before Reda's response, Lilesa said he may stay in Brazil or go to Kenya or the United States, depending on whether he can obtain a visa for those moves.

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