አዲስ አበባ ሬዲዮ ቢላል ግንቦት 13/2005
1. በሐረር ኢማን መስጂድ በተነሳው ግጭት የተከሰሱ ወጣቶች ላይ ሰባት ፖሊሶች የዓቃቢ ህግ ምስክር መሆናቸውን ገለፁ
2. አንድ ወጣት የሚፈለገውን የምስክርነት ቃል አልሰጠህም በማለት መታሰሩ ተጠቆመ
በሐረር ኢማን መስጂድ በተነሳው ግጭት የተከሰሱ ወጣቶች ላይ ሰባት ፖሊሶች የዓቃቢ ህግ ምስክር መሆናቸውን ገለፁ
ህዝበ ሙስሊሙ የመብታችን ይከበር ጥያቄ ማቅረብ የጀመረበትን 1ኛ ዓመት በማሰብ ተክቢራ ሲያደርግ ከፀጥታ ሃይሎች ጋር በተነሳው ግጭት ታስረው የነበሩ ወጣቶች ላይ ሰባት ፖሊሶች የዓቃቢ ህግ ምስክር ሆነው መቅረባቸውን ምንጫችን ከስፍራው በላኩት መረጃ አስረድተዋል፡፡
ታህሳስ ሃያ ስድስት ከጁምዓ ሰላት በኋላ በተነሳው ግጭት አንድ የሰባት ዓመት ህፃን በጥይት ተመትቶ መሞቱን በመግለፅ ለህፃኑ ሞት ተጠያቂው ሪድዋን የሚባለው ተከሳሽ ነው ብለው ሰባት ፖሊሶች መመስከራቸው ታውቋል፡፡
መጀመሪያ ታስረው ከነበሩት 19 ወጣቶች በሐረር ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት በእነ ዙበይር ፋይል የተከሰሱት ስምንት ወጣቶች ሲሆኑ ከትላንት ጀምሮ መሰማት የጀመረው የአቃቢ ህግ ምስክርነት ፍቃደኛ ያልሆኑ ወጣቶች እንዳልናችሁ አልመሰከራችሁም ተብለው መታሰራቸውንም ምንጮች ጠቁመዋል፡፡
ዛሬ ከሰዓት በኋላ ፍርድ ቤት የቀረቡት ስምንት ተከሳሾች ለግንቦት 28 -29 እና ለሰኔ 3 በድጋሚ መቀጠራቸውን የገለፁት ምንጫችን ታሳሪዎቹ ወደ ሐረር ወህኒ ቤት መወሰዳቸውንም አክሎ ገልጿል፡፡
አንድ ወጣት የሚፈለገውን የምስክርነት ቃል አልሰጠህም በማለት መታሰሩ ተጠቆመ
በሐረር ኢማን መስጂድ የተያዙት ወጣቶች በትላንትናው ዕለት ፍርድ ቤት በቀረቡበት ወቅት ለምስክር ከቀረቡት ሰዎች ውስጥ ቃል አሚን የተባለ ወጣት አንድ ተጠርጣሪ ላይ የምስክር ቃሉን ሲሰጥ ያጠፋው ነገር የለም በማለት በመመስከሩ በቁጥጥር ስር መዋሉን የአካባቢው ምንጫችን ገለፀ፡፡
እንደ ምንጫችን ገለፃ ወጣቱ ለምስክርነት ሲጠየቅ ላልዋሽ በእጄ ቁርዓን ይዣለሁ የማውቀውን ነገር ቢኖር ተከሳሹ በኢማን መስጂድ ዳዕዋ ሲያደርግ ህዝበ ሙስሊሙ የጠየቃቸውን 3 ህገ መንግስታዊ ጥያቄዎችን ከመናገር ውጪ ምንም ጥፋት አላየሁበትም በማለት ለፍርድ ቤቱ ተናግሯል፡፡
ወጣቱ ይህን በማለቱ በቁጥጥር ስር ውሎ በሐረር ማረሚያ ቤት እንደሚገኝና በዛሬው ዕለትም ክስ ይመሰረታል ተብሎ እንደሚጠበቅ ምንጫችን አስረድቷል ፡፡
በተያያዘ ዜና በትላንትናው ዕለት በሐረር ከፍተኛ ፍርድ ቤት ለዓቃቢ ህግ ለምስክርነት ቀርቦ የነበረውና ስለ ጉዳዩ ምንም የማውቀው ነገር የለም በማለት ለፍርድ ቤት ቃሉን የሰጠው ግለሰብ በዛሬው ዕለት በፖሊሶች መያዙን ከምንጫችን የደረሰን መረጃ ያመለክታል፡፡
አዲስ አበባ ሬዲዮ ቢላል ግንቦት 12/2005
በጅማ ከተማ የመስጂድ ኢማሞችንና ሽማግሌዎችን ነጥሎ ለማናገር የተዘጋጀው ስብሰባ መክሸፉን የሬዲዮ ቢላል ምንጮች ገለፁ
በትላንትናው ዕለት በጅማ ከተማ መድረሰተል ኼይሪያ የመስጅድ ኢማሞችንና ሽማግሌዎችን ብቻ በመጥራት ለመሰብሰብ የተደረገው ጥረት በአካባቢው ሙስሊም ወጣቶች መክሸፉን በሥፍራው የነበሩ ምንጮቻችን ለሬዲዮ ቢላል ገለፁ፡፡
የስብሰባውን መኖር ሰምተው ወደ መድረሣው በብዛት የሄዱት ወጣቶች ግቢውን ለቀው እንዲወጡና ስብሰባው እነርሱን የማይመለከት መሆኑ ቢነገራቸውም ሙስሊም በመሆናቸውና የሙስሊም ጉዳይ እንደሚመለከታቸው በመግለፅ በተወሰነ መጠንም ቢሆን ለመግባት መቻላቸው ታውቋል፡፡
የፀጥታ ሀይሎችን ችግር እንደተፈጠረ አድርጎ በመጥራት ሲቪል የለበሱ የፀጥታ ሠራተኞች ከወጣቶቹ ጋር አተካሮ ውስጥ ገብተው የነበረ ቢሆንም ምንም ችግር ያልተፈጠረ መሆኑን ምንጮቻችን አረጋግጠዋል ፡፡
የስብሰባውን መጠናቀቅ ከግቢ ውጪ ሆነው ሲጠባበቁ የነበሩ ቁጥራቸው የበዛ ወጣቶች የዳዕዋና የትምህርት ማዕከል ሃላፊው እንዲጠራላቸው አድርገው ያነጋገራቸው ሲሆን ሙስሊሙን ነጣጥሎ በመሰብሰብ የሚመጣ ለውጥ እንደሌለ በማስረዳት በተክቢራ የታጀበ ተቃውሞ በማሰማት ቅሬታቸውን ገልፀዋል፡፡
ትምህርት ሚኒስቴር፣የባህር ዳር ዪኒቨርስቲና የዩኒቨርስቲው ፕሬዝዳንት ህገ ደንቡን እንዲሽሩ ማስጠንቀቂያ ተፃፈላቸው
ባለፈው ጥር ወር የባህር ዳር ዪኒቨርስቲ ተማሪዎች ከትምህርት ገበታቸው እንዲስተጓጉሉ ምክንያት የሆነውን ህገ ደንብ እንዲሽሩ የተማሪዎቹ ጠበቆች ለትምህርት ሚኒስቴር ፣ለባህር ዳር ዪኒቨርስቲና ለዪኒቨርስቲው ፕሬዝዳንት ደብዳቤ መላካቸውን አስታወቁ ፡፡
የተማሪዎቹ ጠበቆች አቶ ተማም አባቡልጉና ዶክተር ያዕቆብ ሀይለማርያም ደብዳቤውን የላኩት ተማሪዎች በህብረት መስገድንና በትምህርት ቤት ውስጥ ኒቃብ መልበስን የሚከለክለው ህገ ደንብ እንዲሻር በህግ ከመጠየቃቸው በፊት ቅድመ ማስጠንቀቂያ ነው፡፡
ኢህአዴግ አዲስ አበባን በሚመሩ ሠዎች ምልመላ ላይ ተወጥሯል
አዲስ አበባ ግንቦት 12/2005
ከፍተኛ ባለ ስልጣናትን ለመስተዳደሩ ምክር ቤት በብዛት ያሣተፈው ገዢው ፓርቲ መካከለኛ አመራሮችን በመመልመል ሥራ መጠመዱን አንዳንድ የዜና ምንጮች ገለፁ፡፡
በቅርቡ የስልጣን ዘመናቸው የሚያበቃው ከንቲባ ኩማ ደመቅሣና ምክትላቸው አቶ ስጦታውን ጨምሮ የአዲስ አበባ ኢህአዴግ ቢሮ ሃላፊ አቶ ተወልደ ገብረፃድቃን በመካከለኛ ደረጃ የሚሾሙት ላይ ትኩረት አድርገው እየመለመሉ እንደሆነ ታውቋል፡፡
በአዲስ አበባ ኢህአዴግ ፅህፈት ቤት አማካኝነት እየተካሄደ ያለው የመካከለኛ አመራሮች ምልመላ ለአዲሱ ካቢኔ የሚቀርብ ሲሆን የምልመላው ውጤት በአዲሱ ካቢኔ ተቀባይነት ካገኘ ፀድቆ ወደ ሥራ እንደሚገባ ታውቋል ፡፡
በእስካሁኑ ሂደት የከተማው ቀጣዩን ከንቲባ ማነው የሚለው ጥያቄ ባለፈው ጊዜ የአዲስ አበባ ማዘጋጃ ቤትንና የከተማው አስተዳደር ያሠራውን የጉለሌ እፅዋት ማዕከልን መጎብኘት ተከትሎ የወይዘሮ አዜብ ከንቲባነት ግምት ከፍ ይበል እንጂ አቶ ድሪባም ሊሆኑ እንደሚችሉ ግምት መኖሩ ታውቋል፡፡
ባለፈው ሚያዚያ ኢህአዴግ በተወዳደረበት የከተማው አስተዳደር ምክር ቤት ምርጫ የፓርቲው ከፍተኛ አመራሮችና የመንግስት ባለሥልጣናት መወዳደራቸው ይታወሣል፡፡
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President Barack Obama preparing to address Ghana's parliament, Accra, Ghana, July 11, 2009
America’s new drone base in the West African city of Niamey, Niger, announced by the White House on Friday, further expands our counter-terrorism activity in Africa. It’s also consistent with the militaristic emphasis of the Obama administration’s engagement with the continent. This may help contain the spread of jihadist violence in specific cases, but by failing to address persistent abuses of human rights by our African military allies, America is also undermining its own development investments that are intended to lift millions of people out of poverty and ensure the continent’s peace, stability, and economic growth.
The administration’s neglect of human rights in Africa is a great disappointment, since the president began his first term by laying out ambitious new goals for the continent. In July 2009, when his presidency was only six months old, Barack Obama delivered a powerful speech at Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, the point from which millions of African slaves were shipped across the Atlantic. He called on African countries to end the tyranny of corruption that affects so many of their populations, and to build strong institutions that serve the people and hold leaders accountable. The speech seemed to extend the message of his much-discussed Cairo address a month earlier, in which he called for a new beginning for Muslim relations with the West, based on non-violence and mutual respect. Many thought that the policies of the new president, himself of Kenyan descent, would depart from those of the Bush administration, which provided a great deal of development aid to Africa, but paid scant attention to human rights.
After more than four years in office, however, Obama has done little to advance the idealistic goals of his Ghana speech. The US finally suspended military aid to Rwanda last year, after it was forced to accept evidence of Rwandan support for the brutal Congolese rebel group M23, but has otherwise ignored the highly problematic human rights situation in that country. In Uganda, the US looked on for years as President Yoweri Museveni’s cabinet ministers gorged themselves on American and other foreign aid intended for impoverished farmers, war victims, roads, and health care. US diplomats have recently begun expressing support for Uganda’s many oppressed civil society groups, but one wonders what took them so long. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Uganda is a vital US military ally in Somalia, where Ugandan troops helped oust the Islamic militant group al-Shabbab from Mogadishu last year.
Meanwhile, Kenya, another important US ally in Somalia that is soon to be receiving drones from the Pentagon, is preparing for national elections on March 4. But some observers say the country is more violent now than it was in 2007, when post-election ethnic clashes left 1000 people dead and caused economic chaos across East Africa. Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto have both been indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes connected with those events. It’s not clear what the US will do if Kenyatta wins, but it often seems as if Obama will work with any African leader who furthers America’s military aims, regardless of how that leader treats his own people.
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Ethiopian Muslims protesting in Addis Ababa, October, 2012
And then there is Ethiopia. Today, Western nations give $3.5 billion a year in aid to Ethiopia, most of it for health care projects, food aid, and other development programs. Of this, the US alone provides roughly $700 million—an amount that has quintupled in the past decade, even as the nation’s human rights record has deteriorated to the point that Freedom House now designates it one of the least free countries in the world. The Ethiopian government has rigged elections, taken control of the economy, and outlawed virtually all independent media and human rights activity in the country—including work related to women and children’s rights, good governance, and conflict resolution. Thousands of political prisoners languish behind bars and dozens of editors, journalists, judges, lawyers, and academics have been forced into exile.
But when Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died last summer, then-US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice praised him as a personal friend and a “talented and vital leader.” When she remarked that “he had little patience for fools, or ‘idiots,’ as he liked to call them,” some in the opposition believed she was referring to them—and approving Meles’s sentiments. Rice’s support for authoritarian leaders in Africa was highlighted by critics who opposed—and ultimately derailed—her nomination to be secretary of state.
Perhaps most worrying of all is the unwillingness of Obama and other Western leaders to say or do anything to support the hundreds of thousands of Muslim Ethiopians who have been demonstrating peacefully against government interference in their religious affairs for more than a year. (The Ethiopian government claims the country has a Christian majority, but Muslims may account for up to one half of the population.) You’d think a nonviolent Islamic movement would be just the kind of thing the Obama administration would want to showcase to the world. It has no hint of terrorist influence, and its leaders are calling for a secular government under the slogan “We have a cause worth dying for, but not worth killing for.” Indeed, the Ethiopian protesters may be leading Africa’s most promising and important nonviolent human rights campaign since the anti-apartheid struggle.
Yet the United States, along with other major donors to Ethiopia’s government, including Britain, has stood by as women and men have been hideously beaten by police, hundreds have been arrested, eight people have been killed, mosques have been raided by security forces, and twenty-nine Muslim leaders, including lawyers, professors, and businessmen, remain in jail, charged with trying to use violent means to create an Islamic state.
The demonstrations started in late 2011, after the government began forcing Imams to adopt an imported version of Islam. The Ethiopian government has a long history of trying to control civil society groups, including religious orders, by taking over their leadership. In 1992, Meles replaced the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church with a party insider. Many Christians still resent this. In 1995, he replaced the leader of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, also known as the “Majlis,” again with someone from his party. Muslims grumbled about this, but did little more.
Then in 2011, on the pretext that the Islamic community was being radicalized by fundamentalist groups, Meles invited a Lebanese Islamic sect known as “Ahbash” to Ethiopia. The group, which was founded in Beirut by an Ethiopian exile in 1983, preaches obedience to government and opposes politicization of religion. All of Ethiopia’s Imams were required to go to meetings to listen to these newcomers, and were threatened with imprisonment if they refused. In the meetings, government officials were invariably present, and would lecture the imams about “Revolutionary Democracy,” the ruling party’s particularly rigid political doctrine. Most Ethiopian imams are volunteers, who work mainly as farmers, teachers, or in other trades to support themselves. But those who resisted taking part in the meetings and refused to preach the “Ahbash” version of Islam soon found themselves replaced by government-appointed, salaried adherents of the new official religion. The imams and their defenders began organizing nonviolent demonstrations that have since spread across the country.
In response, the Ethiopian government has attempted to portray the protesters as jihadists, most recently claiming in a government TV documentary that they are under the influence of Salafist extremists from Saudi Arabia. When a lawyer for the jailed movement leaders told a Voice of America journalist that the documentary undermined the presumption of innocence of his clients, he too was threatened with arrest. If this fear-mongering has been intended to send a message to the US, which supports Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism activities along the border with Somalia, it seems to have worked. Last year, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn praised the Ethiopian reaction to the demonstrations, telling Reuters, “The government has done a pretty good job over the years in ameliorating religious differences where there are potentially serious conflicts.”
Ethiopian Muslims and Christians have long coexisted more or less in peace, as they do in Tanzania, Uganda, and other countries in the region. But since the demonstrations started, government officials have tried to infiltrate them and provoke violence among Muslim groups and between Muslims and Christians. It hasn’t worked. In recent months, Christians and secular human rights defenders have even joined in support of the Muslims, and the demonstrations have grown. The demonstrators use Facebook and secure Internet sites to outsmart government censors, and warn people to stay home when they learn that the government intends to plant violent hecklers among them to discredit the movement. When Abubakar Ahmed, the movement’s leader and history professor who had been detained with other protesters (he is one of the twenty-nine awaiting trial), was paraded in chains before TV cameras, protesters showed up at the next demonstration with his picture on their T-shirts, and stood in a phalanx before the police with their wrists crossed, as if they too were in chains.
The Ethiopian protests began around the time of the Arab Spring, when it seemed the Obama administration might finally begin taking human rights in Africa seriously. In late 2011, for example, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined British Prime Minister David Cameron in declaring that their governments would consider penalizing foreign aid recipients, including several African countries, that cracked down on the rights of homosexuals. This rallying to the cause of gay rights would be heartening, if it weren’t for the fact that Cameron and Clinton have done so little to protect everyone else’s rights. Such official statements could even undermine sympathy for the gay rights cause in Africa.
For years, observers have wondered what the US administration’s policy toward Africa really is. Then, three years into Obama’s first term, the White House finally released its first Africa strategy document. It states that the US will “promote strong democratic norms” and “support civil society actors who are creating vibrant democratic models….” But as the situations in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda make clear, little has been done to further these aims. While continuing most of the development and public health initiatives of the Bush Administration, the Obama administration has given priority to US military aims.
Failing to challenge government corruption and repression undermines economic growth and social development throughout East Africa and beyond, as well the prospects for long term peace and stability. Even our direct military interventions have had dubious results. Experts continue to debate the wisdom of intervening in Libya, but there is no arguing with the fact that it helped rally—and arm—al-Qaeda supporters, who have spread terror to Mali and Algeria and perhaps other West African countries; impoverished Niger agreed to host the new US drone base in part out of growing fear of the jihadism that has spread from Libya.
More than half a century of post-independence African history has shown that focusing on stability, security and development while ignoring democracy and human rights is self-defeating, because it undermines those very goals. The US and other Western donors to Africa must do more to use the many instruments at their disposal to promote the reforms necessary to protect basic freedoms and uphold the rule of law. This will pose diplomatic challenges, but they could start by not turning their backs on peaceful protesters, just when our moral support—at the very least—is most urgently needed. As Czech playwright, dissident, and former president Vaclav Havel put it during the depths of Cold War, “The ‘dissident’ movements do not shy away from the idea of violent political overthrow because the idea seems too radical, but on the contrary, because it does not seem radical enough.” At the time, Western leaders rushed to support Havel and other non-violent activists throughout Europe. Now that Africans are calling for the same thing, why don’t today’s leaders do the same for them?
February 25, 2013, 5:53 p.m
አዲስ አበባ ሬድዮ ቢላል ግንቦት 11/2005
በአዳማ በተደረገው የህዝበ ሙስሊሙ ተቃውሞ ታስረው የነበሩ ሁለት ወጣቶች የአምስት ወራት ዕስራት ተፈረደባቸው
በአዳማ ጥር 7/2005 የጁምዐ ሰላት ተከትሎ በተደረገው ተቃውሞ ሳቢያ በዕለቱ ታስረው ከነበሩ ከስልሳ በላይ ወጣቶች መካክል ሌሎቹ ተለቀው ሁለቱ የአምስት ወር ዕስራት እንደተፈረደባቸው ከስፍራው የደረሰን ዘገባ ይገልፃል ፡፡
ሁከት በመቀስቀስና ለሽብር በማነሳሳት በሚል ክስ ወረዳ ፍርድ ቤት ቀርበው ፍርድ ቤቱ ይህንን ከባድ ክስ አላስተናግድም በማለቱ ወደ ኦሮሚያ ጠቅላይ ፍርድ ቤት ተወሰዱ የሚሉን ምንጮች ፓሊስ ያቀረበው መረጃ በቂ ባለመሆኑ በዋስ ለቋቸዋል ብሏል፡፡
የኦሮሚያ ጠቅላይ ፍርድ ቤት ያሰማራቸው መርማሪዎች ሃያ አራቱን እስረኞች በማስቀረት ሁከት በማነሰሳት ክስ በድጋሚ ወደ ወረዳ እንዲወሰዱ ተደርገዋል፡፡
ከወራቶች በፊት ክሱን ማየት የጀመረው ፍርድ ቤት ሃያ ሁለቱን በማሰናበት በአንድ ወንድና አንዲት ሴት እስረኛ ላይ ባለፈው ሐሙስ የአምስት ወር እስራት መወሰኑ ታውቋል፡፡
በወይዘሮ አዜብ ላይ የፃፈው ጋዜጠኛ ፍሬው አበበ በፖሊስ ተይዞ በአምስት ሺህ ብር ዋስ ተለቀቀ
አዲስ አበባ ግንቦት 11/2005
የሰንደቅ ጋዜጣ ዋና አዘጋጅ የሆነው ፍሬው አበበ የቀድሞው ጠቅላይ ሚሊስትር መለስ ዜናዊ ባለቤት ወይዘሮ አዜብ መስፍን ከቤተ መንግስት አለመውጣታቸውን በተመለከተ በፃፍከው ዜና ስም አጥፍተሀል ተብሎ ማዕከላዊ ተጠርቶ እንደነበር ታወቀ፡፡
ረቡዕ ግንቦት 5 ቀን 2005 በስልክ ጥሪ ማዕከላዊ እንዲቀርብና ከአምስት ሰዓታሰት ቆይታ በኋላ በአምስት ሺህ ብር ዋስ መለቀቁን የገለፀው ጋዜጠኛ ፍሬው ከሣሹ ማን እንደሆነም ያለማወቁን አክሎ ገልፆል፡፡
ጋዜጠኛ ፍሬው አበበ ጉዳዩን አስመልክቶ ባሰፈረው ፅሑፍ ጋዜጣችን ይህንን ዜና ይዞ ለአደባባይ የበቃው መስከረም 30/2005 ቢሆንም የተከሰስኩት ግን ከ8 ወር በኋላ ነው ብሏል፡፡
ማን እንደከሰሰኝ የማወቅ መብቴ ሳይከበርልኝ ቀርቷል የሚለው ፍሬው አበበ በደፈናው ከሳሽ ፓሊስም ሊሆን ይችላል የሚል ምላሽ ተሰጥቶኛል ብሏል፡፡
ቢላል ኮሚኒኬሽን የደስታ መግለጫ መልክቶች እየጎረፈለት ነው
አዲስ አበባ ሬድዮ ቢላል ታህሳስ 01/2005
በኦስትርያ ቬና በጣልያ ሮምቦ በአውስትራሊያ ሜል ቦርን የሚገኙ የኢትዮጵያ ሙስሊም ኮሚኒቲ አባላት ቢላል ኮሚኔኬሽን የተመሰረተበትን አራተኛ አመት ምክንያት በማድረግ የድጋፍ መልህክታቸውን አስተላልፈዋል ፡፡
በቬና ፣ በሮምቦ ፣በሜልቦርን ነዋሪ የሆኑ የኢትዮጵያን የቢላል ደጋፊ አባላት ቢላል ኮሚኒኬሽን ባለፉት አራት ዓመታት ያጋጠመውን ችግሮች ተቋቁሞ የሬድዮ የቴሌቨዥን ፕሮግራሙን በተሳካ መንገድ ማካሄዱ ጥንካሬውን ያሳያል ብለዋል፡፡
ቢላል ኮሚኒኬሽን ባኡኑ ወቅት ብቸኛው የሙስሊሞች የመረጃ ምንጭ መሆኑን ጠቅሰው ድጋፋቸውን የላኩት የቬና የሜልቦርን ነዋሪ ኢትዮጲያውያን ቢላል ኮሚኒኬሽን ከዚህ የበለጠ ይሰራ ዘንድ የበኩላችንን ድጋፍ ለማድረግ መዘጋጀታቸውን አክለው ገልፀዋል፡፡
አዲስ አበባ ሬድዮ ቢላል ግንባት 7/2005
በቻግኒ የራህማን መስጂድ የታሸገበትን ምክንያት ለማጣራት ከንቲባው ስብሰባ ጠራ
በቻግኒ ከተማ ከታሸገ ሶስት ቀናትን ያስቆጠረው ራህማን መስጂድ ጉዳዩን እልባት ለመስጠት የከተማው ከንቲባ የሚመለከታቸውን አካላት ስብሰባ በዛሬው እለት መጥራቱን የከተማው ምክትል ከንቲባ አቶ ሙሉአለም ለሬዲዮ ቢላል ገለፁ፡፡
እንደ ከንቲባው ገለፃ መስጂዱን ያሸጉት የወረዳው እስልምና ምክር ቤት አባላት በምን ምክንያት እንዳሸጉት ለማጣራት በተደጋጋሚ ቢጠሯቸውም ሊቀርቡ እንደማይችሉ በመጥቀስ በዛሬው እለት ጉዳዩን ከእልባት ለማድረስ ቀጠሮ እንደያዙ አስረድተዋል፡፡
ችግሩን ለመፍታት አፋጣኝ ምላሽ አልሰጣችሁም ተብለው ከንቲባው ከሬዲዮ ቢላል ለቀረበላቸው ጥያቄ ችግሩን ለማጣራት አስፈላጊውን ጊዜ ተጠቅመናል ብለዋል ፤ ነዋሪዎቹ በበኩላቸው ጉዳዩን ለከንቲባው ፅህፈት ቤት ስናቀርብ በከተማው እየተካሄደ ያለው ባዛር እስኪጠናቀቅ ጠብቁን የሚል ምላሽ እንደሰጧቸው ይናገራሉ፡፡
የቻግኒ ከተማ ሙስሊም ነዋሪዎች በበኩላቸው ለመስጂዱ መዘጋት በቂ ምክንያት መጅሊሱ ሊያቀርብ እንደማይችል በመጠቆም የከተማዋ ሙስሊሞች በመስጂድ በብዛት መስገዳቸው የመጅሊስ አመራሮች ሳያሰጋቸው እንዳልቀረ ይገልፃሉ፡፡
የቻግኒ ከተማ ሙስሊሞች መስጂዱን አሳሽገውብናል ብለው የሚያስቧቸው የመስጂድ ኮሚቴዎች መስጂዱን ለምን አዘጋችሁት ተብለው ከሬዲዮ ቢላል ለቀረበላቸው ጥያቄ የመስጂዱ ማይክራፎን ሌሎችን እየረበሸ ይገኛል ፣ አብዛኛው ሙስሊም ወደ መስጂዱ እየሔደ ነው በመስጂድ የሚሰግዱት ምዕመናን አክራሪዎች ናቸው፣ መንግስት የሰጣቸውን እድል በአግባቡ መጠቀም የማይፈልጉ ናቸው በማለት የመስጂዱ ኮሚቴ የሆኑት ሼህ ዩሱፍ ይማም ለሬዲዮ ቢላል ገለፁ፡፡
እንደ ሼህ ዩሱፍ ገለፃ በቀጥታ መስጂዱን ያዘጋው የመስጂዱ ኮሚቴ ሳይሆን የወረዳው እስልምና ጉዳይ ነው የሚል ሀሳብ ሰጥተዋል፡፡
ሬዲዮ ቢላል የወረዳውን እስልምና ጉዳዮች ለማግኘት ባደረገው ሙከራ ተንቀሳቃሽ ስልካቸው ዝግ በመሆኑ ለማቅረብ አለመቻላችን ለመጥቀስ እንወዳለን፡፡
የመፍትሔ አፈላላጊ ኮሚቴ ቤተሰቦች የእስረኞችን ቁሰቁስ እንዲወስዱ ታዘዙ
በቃሊቲ ማረሚያ ቤት የሚገኙ ህዝበ ሙስሊሙ የወከላቸውን የመፍትሔ አፈላላጊ ኮሚቴዎች ቂሊንጦ ወደተባለ በአቃቂ አካባቢ ወደሚገኝ ማረሚያ ቤት ሊዘዋወሩ እንደሆነ የታሳሪ ቤተሰቦች ለሬዲዮ ቢላል ገለፁ፡፡
ከትላንት በስቲያ ማታ በደረሳቸው መልዕክት የታሳሪዎችን የግል መገልገያ ቁሳቁሶችን እንዲወስዱ መታዘዛቸውን የታሳሪዎቹ ቤተሰቦች ገልፀዋል፡፡
ቂሊንጦ ማረሚያ ቤት ለትራንስፖርት አመች ባልሆነ ስፍራና ከመሃል አዲስ አበባ በርቀት ሥለሚገኝ የታሳሪዎችን ቤተሰቦች ለእንግልት እንደሚያዳርጋቸው አያይዘው ገልፀዋል፡፡
ዛሬ ከሰዓት በኋላ ይሄዳሉ ተብሎ ቢነገርም ይህ ዜና እስከተጠናቀረበት ድረስ የደረሰን መረጃ የለም ፡፡
በታሳሪዎች ላይ ምስክር የመስማቱ ሂደት ትላንትናን ጨምሮ ዛሬም እንደቀጠለ ተያይዞ የደረሰን መረጃ ያስረዳል፡፡
•ኢትዮጵያ አባይ ላይ ተጨማሪ ግድቦችን ልትገድብ ነው
አዲስ አበባ ሬድዮ ቢላል ህዳር 25/2005
ግብፃውያን አባይ ግድብ ላይ ያላቸውን የተዛባ አስተሳሰብ ለመለወጥ በሚል ማክንያት ከተለያዩ የህብረተሰብ ክፍሎች የተወጣጡ የህዝብ ዲፕሎማሲ አባላት ወደ ግብፅ ሊያደርጉት የነበረው ጉዞ መሰረዙ አንድ የዜና ምነጭ አስታወቀ፡፡
ከተለያዩ የሃይማኖት ተቋማት፣ በታሪክ ሊቃውንት ፣ከታወቂ ግለሰቦች ፣ ከስነ ጥበብ ባለሙዮች ፣ከፖለቲካ ፓርቲዎችና ከሊሎች የህብረተሰብ ክፍሎች የተወጣጡት ታወቂ ሰዎች የጉዞአቸው መሰረዝ ምክንያት በግልፅ ባይታወቅም አሁን በግብፅ ያለው ሁኔታ ጥሩ ያለመሆኑ እንደሆነ አንዳንዶች ግምታቸውን ገፀዋል ፡፡
ግብፃውያን ዘንድ የአባይ ግድብ ግንባታ በጥሩ አይን እየታየ አለመሆኑን የመለክታል የህም የዚሁ ምንጭ አስተሳሰብ ለመለወጥ ለጉዞ የተነሳሳው የዲፕሎማሲ ቡድን በግብፅ በተነሳው አዲስ ብጥብጥ ጉዞው እነረደዘገየ ከመነገሩ በስተቀር ጉዞው ለመቼ እንደተቀየረ የታወቀ ነገር እንደሌለ አመልክቷል፡፡
Asselamualeykum Werahmetullahi Webarakatuhu, Dear Respected Ethiopian Muslims in Diaspora, It is to be remembered that the historical May 31, 2012’s world wide demonstration by Ethiopian Muslims all over has positively impacted and greatly contributed to Ethio-Mulims’ ongoing peaceful civic movement for Justice and Equality. Besides, it was one of the rare opportunities we had used to demonstrate how united we stand for the just cause of Ethiopian Muslims, putting aside insignificant differences we may naturally have, if any. However, as we all know despite a number of achievements registered by such movement, the core goal of achieving Justice and Equality has yet not been materialized.Rather, the government preferred to intensify its brutal crackdown on such a peaceful movement at psychological, physical, cultural, political, economical and educational levels. Hence, we should keep on pilling up the pressure on such brutal government and sophisticate our peaceful movement. Remember, the Diaspora Muslims are the only ones capable disclosing the ongoing atrocities against our exemplarily peaceful movement to the International Community. History should repeat it self. Therefore, all Ethiopian Muslims in Diaspora should converge on Main Squares in their respective cities during rush-hour/following Juma’a prayer and demonstrate in front of Ethiopian Embassy and Office of Foreign Ministry of respective Countries, Offices of AU, EU, UN, Arab League, OIC headquarters/representative on Friday May 31, 2013. It’s also suggested that May 31/2013 be commemorated as a unity day of Ethiopian Muslims. NB: Each community is expected to lobby media outlets, specially the mainstream ones including Al-Jazeera (English/America & Arabic), Al-Arabia, BBC, CNN and others. Also remember to record the event by renting professional photographer &/or Camera Person or citizen journalism. Victory for Ethiopian Muslims and the oppressed! Coordinators DIMTSACHIN YISEMA INTERNATIONAL
Ethiopia 'blocks' Al Jazeera websites
Al Jazeera’s English and Arabic websites are reported to have been blocked in Ethiopia, raising fresh fears that the government is continuing its efforts to silence the media.
Though the authorities in Addis Ababa have refused to comment on the reported censorship, Google Analytics data accessed by Al Jazeera shows that traffic from Ethiopia to the English website had plummeted from 50,000 hits in July 2012 to just 114 in September.
Traffic data revealed a similar drop for the Arabic website, with visits to the site dropping to 2 in September from 5,371 in July.
A blogger, who cannot be identified for his own safety, said Ethiopian censors had been targeting Al Jazeera since the Qatar-based network began airing coverage of ongoing protests against the way in which spiritual leaders are elected in the Horn of African nation.
The steep decline in web traffic began on August 2 last year, the same day that Al Jazeera Mubasher aired a forum with guests denouncing the government's "interference" with Muslim religious affairs, and three days after Al Jazeera English published an article detailing deadly ethnic clashes between two of the country's southern tribes.
Attempts by Al Jazeera to get an official response from authorities failed.
Poor track record
Ethiopia is ranked 137 out of 179 surveyed nations on the latest Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international advocacy group for press rights.
Both RSF and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have tied Ethiopia's deteriorating media environment, in part, to a 2009 anti-terrorism law that has been used to jail 11 journalists since its ratification.
"The usage and practice of this law is illegal. It has a clause that makes whoever writes about so-called terrorist groups, which are mostly normal opposition groups, a terrorist," CPJ's East Africa Consultant Thom Rhodes told Al Jazeera.
"Now it's got to the point that the law is being used to label those in the Muslim community conducting peaceful protests to defend their right to choose their spiritual leaders as terrorists. It's a sad state of affairs."
CPJ says Ethiopia is the second-highest jailer of journalists in Africa after neighbouring Eritrea, were seven journalists are currently detained.
Both the RSF and CPJ have expressed concern over reports that the country has begun using much more sophisticated online censorship systems over the last year, including ones that can identify specific internet protocols and block them.
Since Ethiopia's government owns the sole telecommunications provider in the country, Ethio Telecom, it allows authorities to tightly control internet freedom.
From Somalian anarchy to Eritrean and Sudanese tyranny and civil strife, the Horn of Africa has long been a turbulent region. A notable exception has been the nation of Ethiopia.
That might be changing.
From December 15 through December 19 of last year, I was in Addis Ababa heading a delegation from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). We met with a wide range of people, from the American ambassador to Ethiopian government officials, religious leaders and nongovernmental human rights and interfaith representatives.
Prior to our trip, we had seen reports about violations against Muslims, especially since July 2011. This was when the Addis Ababa government first sought to change how Islam was practiced in Ethiopia and began to punish those resisting its new policy. Our findings confirmed the assaults on religious liberty and their negative impact—both as a human rights issue and a potential security matter.
Until July 2011, Ethiopia’s government largely respected the religious freedom of its people, including Muslims, who are mostly Sufis and comprise one-third of the population. Article 27 of Ethiopia’s constitution guarantees religious freedom and “the independence of the state from religion.”
Four factors have fueled a shift away from honoring this right. First, in neighboring Somalia and Sudan, violent religious extremists pose a security threat. Second, within its own borders, Wahhabism—imported from Saudi Arabia—also poses a danger. Third, Ethiopia’s policies have undermined civil society. Its government has imposed draconian limits on foreign funding for human rights, democracy promotion and conflict mitigation, leaving many NGOs with stark choices. They can work with the government—foregoing their independent status and drastically curtailing their activities—or they can close up shop. Consequently, there are no independent groups in Ethiopia that can monitor religious freedom or undertake interfaith cooperation or intra-faith conflict resolution activities. Finally, Ethiopia’s government is perpetrating religious repression, purportedly in response to Wahhabist threats.
Starting in July 2011, Ethiopia’s government decided that the way to fight the Wahhabism of some Muslims was by limiting the freedom of all Muslims. It imported imams from Lebanon representing the al-Ahbash movement within Islam and compelled Ethiopia’s imams and Islamic educators to embrace and mirror their teachings. The government began dismissing dissenters by firing imams and closing their schools. This effort was conducted not only through Ethiopia’s government but also through the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council (EIASC).
When it was launched, EIASC’s members had been appointed by the government rather than elected by the community, thus depriving Muslims of a recognized, independent voice. By December, the attempts to impose al-Ahbash triggered protests outside of mosques.
In the spring of 2012, an Arbitration Committee of 17 Islamic scholars was created by the protesters to negotiate with the government about respecting religious freedom guarantees such as ending the imposition of al-Ahbash, reopening schools and restoring dismissed imams and administrators. The Committee also asked for new EIASC elections.
By the end of July, negotiations had failed, protests increased and the government began conducting house-to-house searches. The government arrested 1,000 protestors, along with all 17 Committee members, eight of whom it later released.
In October, the government charged 29 protestors, including the nine Committee members it was still holding, with terrorism and attempting to establish an Islamic state. Thus far, it has offered no evidence that these people are terrorists.
We met with attorneys for 28 of the 29 who reported that their clients were tortured and that they’ve had trouble meeting with those imprisoned. The government prevented us from meeting with any of the prisoners directly.
Meanwhile, officials denied any role in the al-Ahbash trainings, rejected our concerns about foisting a particular belief onto a religious community, insisted that they do not meddle in religious affairs unless “red lines” are crossed—a which term they neglected to define—and blamed the EIASC alone for the al-Ahbash trainings, even though EIASC members were initially government appointees and remain entirely sympathetic to the government.
In our meeting with newly elected EIASC members, they reiterated the government’s talking points supporting separation of religion and state while labeling the demonstrators “terrorists,” even though some of its members had joined in protesting. Members kept deferring to the Council’s vice president, whom we learned is close to Ethiopia’s ruling party. We also learned that the Council’s president previously served in senior governmental postings. Finally, the EIASC members ominously said there would be no divisions within Ethiopia’s Muslim community and that dissenters would be “brought into the fold.”
What does this all mean?
While Ethiopia’s government fears violent religious extremism from Somalia and Sudan and the influence of Wahhabism, the way to counter religious extremism is not with religious repression but through religious freedom. It is not by manipulating outcomes in the marketplace of ideas, but supporting a marketplace that encompasses all ideas, including religious ideas. It is by trusting in the common sense of its people, believing that most will reject not just government repression but religious extremism and the totalitarian control it seeks over them and their families.
Indeed, across the world, study after study affirms that where there is religious freedom, there is stability, harmony and prosperity, and where religious liberty is lacking, so are these blessings.
Thus, the only way the radicals can win is if governments, in the name of fighting these extremists, repeatedly abuse their people’s freedom.
In Ethiopia, as elsewhere, freedom, not just for the sake of human rights but for peace and security as well, is the antidote to extremism.
M. Zuhdi Jasser serves as a Commissioner at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Posted On : March 9th, 2013 | Updated On : March 10th, 2013
Alemu Tafesse Academic and Political Analyst
The fourteen-month old Muslim civil rights movement in Ethiopia has so far had some spectacular implications for the development of democracy and democratic political culture in the country. It has affected both the cultural as well as the institutional dynamics of the country’s political situation. In the following lines, I will examine just three very inter-related, but immensely broad, points where the Muslim activism has left great impacts on the contours of the current and future democratic possibilities of Ethiopia. I will deliberately be sketchy and short, as I don’t intend to render this piece of writing a journal article.
1) Forced a deceptive government show its true nature more than any other time
Many 20th and 21th century dictators pose a modicum of conundrum to anyone who studies the nature of their power. They belie any traditional categorization of regime type. On the one hand, they style themselves as democratic and constitutional. They conduct elections, draft democratic constitutions, establish “human rights” institutions, and tirelessly speak of the need for and their commitment to democracy. On the other hand, they rig elections, embezzle public funds and intimidate, round up, torture and kill their opponents unconstrained by any notion of the rule of law. Such governments strive to have it both ways at the same time: they wish to get the benefits of holding two apparently opposite faces.
The EPRDF has been akin to this type of rule, a master of this Janus-faced game (it isn’t a game for the victims, of course). On its “democratic” face, it has deafened us with its rant of the need for the rule of law; enshrined a more or less democratic constitution; conducted several elections, and installed a parliamentary system. On its autocratic face, however, it defiled the constitutional system and the rule of law by violating the basic political and natural rights of citizens with impunity. By any standards, it has never been serving the law and the state. In fact, it has been the state and the law.
How have the two faces of the EPRDF gone along together? They have been meant to deliver certain political functions internal and external to the state. And in principle, they are supposed to be exploited in their proper places, times, and context, and hence are not expected to be contradictory. But in practice, their relationship has usually been precarious, and tense at times. The democratic face has been used to garner “democratic” legitimacy from those who have been expected to have had any voluntary reason to side by the government. Moreover, this face has also helped these supporters to gratify themselves about the “democratic” cause they have been helping being fulfilled in Ethiopia. Finally, it has helped these same people to self-boost their moral status while engaging in a heated debate with the detractors of the regime.
But the most important function of the democratic face has had to do with the international community (to be precise, major international powers). For the sake of obtaining either diplomatic or economic or military assistance or all, building such an image has always been crucial for any regime in the world that has grabbed state power since 1991. The EPRDF has not been an exception, and it has maximally used—and in many cases succeeded—in styling itself as a pioneer of democracy in this otherwise troubled region of the world we call the Horn of Africa.
But democracy and “EPRDF-cracy” do not by nature go well with each other. As a minority –based party, the EPRDF can’t afford to genuinely liberalize the country and still stay in power. Here comes the need for the second face, which has been at the heart of the persistence of the party’s reign since 1991 well into the 2010s. It has to mortify the psyche, inflict fear in the mind, torment the body, and take life in order to ensure its survival. These mechanisms have been pushed through on those who have refused to be socialized into the regime’s propaganda. The same mechanism has also been applied to those who trusted the regime’s propaganda and, taking it at its words, plunged themselves into public contestation with it. When they appeared threatening, they received the strong message–physical or otherwise–that they should back down.
But the crucial thing in assessing the Janus-faced political order of things is the one related to the balance of the two faces. The balance is very delicate, and with any disturbance, it may lead to either near regime collapse or full-blown regime brutality. When the democratic side is allowed to thrive more than the autocratic one, the EPRDF regime is bound to lose power. However, if the autocratic tactics are put in place with more severity or duration, then the benefits of appearing to be democratic withers away. Hence, striking a balance between those two apparently contradictory aspects of the regime’s image has been of phenomenal significance for ensuring its political longevity.
The regime’s capacity in maintaining this balance has been put to test many times. It has emerged successful few times, but failed in many others. Especially at the international level, the EPRDF has managed, at least in the first couple of years after its cling on to state power, to make an effective use of its “democratic” credentials in order to get multi-faceted support from the major powers of the world. But the internal dimension has quite frequently oscillated from one extreme to another.
The challenge from the numerous oppositions has largely forced the regime to emerge more brutal than democratic, although the trend has not been quite linear. The regime has expectedly turned more autocratic as challenges have mounted and gotten threatening, and it has resumed its democratic discourse when they have subsided. As a minority-based party, the ruling party could not defeat the ethnic or the Ethiopian nationalist oppositions on a peaceful political stage. The need to secure its regime at all odds has repeatedly led the party to use force or the threat of using it to silence its oppositions, something that has seriously damaged its democratic credentials. But at least in one occasion, the ruling party also oscillated in the opposite direction. In 2005, it opened up the political system, and wished to stage a more credible democracy-like contestation from which the new rulers could emerge. The results went rather disastrous to the political life of the EPRDF. It learned the lesson—which it had assumed for long—that democracy is its nemesis. Exposing too much of the democratic face might lead to the replacement of the very body of which the face is a part. As a result, the reversion to brutality has been effected once again in the aftermath of the election.
But this brutality had to wait for yet another—undoubtedly the most significant –phenomenon to emerge as the only pillar of regime survival and to appear in its darkest, most unambiguous, form than ever before. This most significant challenge that has impacted most on the image of the government is the Muslim civil rights movement that has been going on since December 2011. All the developments leading up to the challenge and the form of government response to it have most severely weakened the democratic status of the regime, and laid bare its true unbridled authoritarian nature. The rights movement has altogether shattered the ever-strong desire of the government to be seen as democratic and forced it to discard its hypocritical behaviour. With the looming danger of a critical mass awakening, and the speed at which it has been spreading, the ruling party could not help but throw away its “nicey” grab and take up its most merciless stick.
True, this is not the first time the EPRDF is being challenged, and it is not the first time it responds to challenges with impunity. Right from its contentions with the Oromo Liberation Front, to the most recent threat it sensed from Ethiopian nationalist forces, the government has responded violently. Tons of innocent people—including journalists– have been unfairly victimized, according to a plenty of independent sources. But the regime had never been, I argue, so much involved in the amount of hooliganism that it has been involved in for the last one or so year. Hence, I submit that the rights movement’s one great achievement is that it has brought to a serious end the little possibility that the EPRDF had had of running the politics of hypocrisy.
In the first few responses to the simmering Muslim opposition to its anti-secularist policies, the government tried to play it legal. It acknowledged that the Majlis (Ethiopian Islamic Supreme Council) problem was a legitimate concern and also was willing to negotiate with the committee that was representing the angry crowd. It praised the demands of the representatives, and declared that an election would be held to form a new Majlis. It was true, however, that genuine democracy and the full realization of any kind of right is against the controlling behavior of the EPRDF. Hence, the apparent opening needed to be neutralized by other means. Accordingly, it was soon announced that the Majlis election was to be held in an obviously highly controlled environment (the ulama council, a Majlis affiliate, in charge of the elections, which in turn were to be conducted in the government-controlled kebeles—both contrary to the demands of the protesting masses).
These were the kinds of government responses we’ve been used to since 1991, and there is nothing surprising about them. There have been, however, some other turn of events—some happening quite early, others very recently– that would seal the record of the ruling party as a democracy-free, totalitarian-to-the-core, group of gangs. It all had begun shortly before the Muslim activism set in and actually had led to its break out. A new chapter in the history of Ethiopian state repression began with the state-orchestrated religious indoctrination and forceful imposition of a highly controversial, arguably foreign, religious doctrine on Ethiopian Muslims. A deliberate state imposition of religious outlook on its people was I think the first of its kind among the many anti-democratic deeds of the EPRDF. It was not only deeply anti-democratic, anti-secular and totalitarian, but also incredibly rude, unintelligibly ambitious and utterly perplexing. It was an unprecedentedly bizarre experiment.
But the emergence of the unique forms of totalitarianism of the EPRDF never stopped there. Some of its reactions to the attendant activism have been most strikingly brutal as well. That some people in Harar and Asasa were shot and killed; that people in the thousands have been constantly intimidated, detained and tortured; that the whole movement is denigrated as terrorist and Islamist etc—all these are not quite staggering. But unprecedentedly staggering are, for example, the most recent developments like the state-devised night-time house break-ins and blatant robbery. Many Muslims have by now confirmed that masked thugs accompanied by security officers have broken into their houses without search warrants, intimidating them, searching for materials and taking away some of their valuables. Unconfirmed but numerous reports of highway robbery by government-sponsored thugs especially targeting Muslims with laptops have also been reported.
It is also quite odd for security officers to break into places of worship and desecrate them beyond imagination. Although this is not without precedent (think of the first Anwar incident in the early 90’s, for example), the scale of what has happened this time around and the severity with which it has happened is quite unique. It has been reported by different sources, for instance, that people were preparing food for a Sadaqa session when tons of security officers barged into the Awoliya compound in one night of July 2012, fired tear gas on the people who took refuge in the mosque, rushed into the mosque shoe clad, and deliberately messed up the praying precinct and hurled the Holy scriptures inside it. Since then, other similar incidents have been reliably reported to have occurred in other Addis Ababa mosques, too.
Moreover, security officers have also forcefully prevented the Sadaqa gatherings– that brought together people from diverse backgrounds (and sometimes even faith groups) for sharing food and sending across messages of peace, unity and the protection of citizens’ rights– from taking place. Some of the measures taken by the Police to this end have been both simply outrageous and/or ludicrous. In some occasions, they have confiscated the animal to be slaughtered, and the food ingredients to be used, for cooking. In other occasions, commercial cooks have been impeded from conducting their daily business of selling food items to the Sadaqa organizers. Still in other instances, grand mosques have been unusually closed in the morning hours for fear that Sadaqa sessions would be conducted in them. Finally, and perhaps most outrageously, many intercity busses have been stopped and “Muslim-looking” people have been forced out of the busses by security officers. The reason given: they might be travelling to attend a Sadaqa session in another town!
Also, unprecedentedly, the government, in perhaps the most glaring instance of the breach of the rule of law, has unilaterally revoked a court-issued decree to ban the broadcast of a documentary on the government-owned Ethiopian Television (ETV). The lawyers of the detained Muslim committee members had demanded that the documentary that would allegedly violate the presumption of innocence of the defendants be taken off the air, a demand that the court endorsed and issued a ban on the broadcast. According to the lawyers, however, soon after the letter from the court reached the ETV, the President of the Supreme Court unilaterally reversed the court injunction and the documentary was accordingly released at prime time on Feb 5, 2013. With utter shock and disgust, the lawyers then demanded that the ETV representatives appear in court and expound their decision to release the film in contravention to the court-issued ban. The TV station officials have never felt obliged to appear in court, though.
What do all these examples tell us about the capability of the regime in maintaining a two-forked, ambivalent image (of the kind mentioned above)? They tell us that in this particular sense, the government has been getting remarkably weak in the face of the impending Muslim opposition to its policies. It has failed—and miserably so– to put an end to it without losing the delicate, albeit much-needed, balance between its two faces. The challenge has been so strong and so persistent that it has been forcing the government to come out in what is left of its hither-to hidden authoritarian skin—all naked. The ever-flimsy attempt at justifying the EPRDF’s rule from the point of all those rosy stuffs we have been deafened with—group rights, individual rights, democracy, equality —has now been permanently laid to rest. In short, although we have always known the ruling party to be brutal, the Muslim movement (its immediate causes as well as the government reactions to it) has helped us know what the brutality looks like when it reaches its limit—completely deprived of its “humane” cover. Part 2. HERE
On February 5, 2013, Ethiopia's only and publicly funded Television Station, ETV, aired a controversial documentary during prime time in violation of an outstanding court injunction. Oddly subtitled "Boko Haram in Ethiopia", Jihadawi Harekat - Arabic for "jihadi movement" - denounces leaders of Ethiopia's year-long protest movement for alleged links to foreign terrorists. Muslims in Ethiopia have been protesting the government's control of the Supreme Islamic Council and its imposition of al-Ahbash, an unknown Islamic sect across mosques in Ethiopia. In a press statement last year, the bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom said: "The Ethiopian government has sought to force a change in the sect of Islam practiced nationwide and has punished clergy and laity who have resisted." Elected to represent the movement, the accused Muslim leaders were arrested and charged under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law when negotiations with the government failed last July.
A joint production of the Ethiopian National Security Agency, the Federal Police and ETV, the film draws a parallel between a local protest movement recognised for its peaceful acts of resistance with Africa's most notorious terrorist groups such as Nigeria's Boko Haram, Mali's Ansar Din and Somalia's al-Shabaab.
With dozens of journalists, politicians and activists already charged or convicted under its vague and broad anti-terrorism law that criminalises all forms of dissent, the fight against terrorism has become the primary juridical framework within which to legitimise and justify war against political foes. It is the new legal ideology in which these political motives are institutionalised to provide long-standing relationships of domination some legal pretext. In Ethiopia today, America's "war on terror" is used to short-circuit both the constitution and international criticism.
Making fiction intelligible
Made to portray the Muslim community's struggle for religious freedom as a terrorist ploy designed to "establish an Islamic state", Jihadawi Harekat is less about what it describes so much as the alternative reality that it depicts and crystallises. By drawing politically explosive parallels between groups with radically different political presuppositions, the film dramatises and escalates the gravity of the threat. It replays deeply held narratives of the past and accentuates the "evil" embodied by the committee in its attempts to frame them as "public enemies" working towards a common goal with groups that inhabit an entirely different political universe.
To amplify this new reality, that is, the cinematic production of new subjects of terrorism, the film appropriates pre-existing frames of reference that sociologists call "processes of signification". To augment the parallel, it situates the protest movement in the context of terrorism - a discourse whose antecedent is always Islamic and "whose stereotypical characteristics are already part of socially available knowledge".
"The film is designed to portray the Muslim community's struggle for religious freedom as a terrorist ploy to 'establish an Islamic state'."
Just because the protest movement shares the antecedent "Islam" with al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, the signification equates a peaceful movement that operates within the framework of Ethiopia's own constitution with violent groups on the sole basis of their imputed common denominator. The exemplar images of violence embodied by al-Shabaab and Boko Haram are situated within the geopolitical context and cultural idiosyncrasies of Ethiopia to essentialise the association and ultimately render its absurd collocation socially intelligible.
There are temporal, spatial, material and editorial questions that the film cannot account for. By connecting events that took place from East Africa to West Africa, from North Africa to the Middle East, by gathering actors of differing ideological persuasions into unity, by reducing complex and contingent historic and political issues into self-evident mathematical varieties, Jihadawi Harekat inadvertently slips into a crisis it cannot contain or suppress.
One excellent example is a hinge the film uses to connect the leaders of the protest movement to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. In an unedited interrogation clip wrongly broadcasted after the film, the interrogators coerce Abubakar Ahmed - the chairman of the committee chosen to be representative of the Muslim community - into accepting their conclusion that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis have the ultimate goal of establishing an Islamic world under Sharia law.
While the reduction of such complex and contingent issues of historical and theoretical specificity into an either-or binary is emblematic of the logic through which the film establishes its central thesis, I am interested in the logic used to connect the ideologies of the Brotherhood in the Middle East to the protest leaders in Ethiopia. This pivot is a distinguished Qatari public intellectual, Jassim Sultan whose teachings two members of the protest leaders were said to have attended.
In an article that examined the increasing role of Qatar in the politics of the Middle East, The Economist holds up Sultan as an exemplary figure known for his "middle-of-the road" politics, not the extremism depicted in Jihadawi Harekat. Sultan, whom the film accuses of being a middle man between the "extreme ideological orientations" of the Brotherhood and Ethiopia's "jihadists", was praised by The Economist as, "a renowned Qatari intellectual, [who] strikes a chord by rejecting the Brotherhood's demand for strict obedience... derides its slogan, 'Islam is the solution', as facile".
By editing conversations about conversations, copy-pasting interrogations about different spatial, temporal and material co-ordinates into a coherent Ethiopian story, the film seeks to transform the most basic demands for freedom of religion into a joint criminal enterprise with terror groups near and far. Nowhere else is the conjuncture between words and images, facts and fictions, times and spaces, persons and events manifestly absurd as in Jihadawi Harekat.
Instead of generating a moral panic that serves as the material fabric for social control, the film generated consequences that are destabilising the regime. In a statement to the press, a coalition of 33 political parties emphatically denounced the film as yet another spectacle that epitomises the ruling party's contempt for the constitution and the rule of law.
The film, along with the ongoing trial, offers an important window into the cleavage that divides the old Ethiopian Muslim subjectivity from the new. Thanks to the government that never ceases to generate crisis and mobilise the law and its court system to cement this crisis, these events have opened up a space for critical cultural-political awareness.
Muslims in Ethiopia, who conceive their religious subjectivity as apolitical and go about their lives, have begun to realise that their religious identity can be a potent site of subjectification and domination. As one of 20th century's prescient political thinkers, Hannah Arendt formulates this point; an attack against a specific identity creates spontaneous moment of political self-awareness. "If one is attacked as a Jew," Arendt said, "One must defend oneself as a Jew. Not as a German, not as a world-citizen, not as an upholder of the Rights of Man."
Because of the events of last year, there emerged a critical space in which a society that rarely, if at all, engages in questions of law and politics, protested the usurpation of its constitutional guarantees. In their struggle, Muslims in Ethiopia began to see unfair closures and systematic subjections taking place at sites and moments they could not have seen before. The government's uncanny response to basic demands of religious freedom has created a rare opportunity for a decisive break with a docile political past and for the formation of a new collective consciousness.
Awol K Allo, is the Lord Kelvin Adam Smith scholar at the University of Glasgow Law School, UK. Previously, he was a lecturer in law at St Mary's University College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
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