Statement by the Coordinating Committee of Four Oromo Organizations
We the undersigned four Oromo liberation organizations, strongly condemn the land-grab and ethnic-cleansing policy in Oromia region of Ethiopia in general and Hararghe, Bale and in Borana-Guji zones in particular. This is the result of the narrow ethnically-based Ethiopian government which, since 1991, is controlled and dominated by the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) representing about six percent of the population of Ethiopia. The TPLF leadership hates Oromo numerical asset as they are the single largest national group in Ethiopia. For that purpose the TPLF adopted a secret policy of reducing the size of the Oromo population and grabbing their land. The policy was exposed when the regime announced the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan, a ruinous social engineering project driven by TPLF leaders' rancor and greed. At the heart of the plan is a scheme to forcibly uproot Oromo farmers from their ancestral land, reducing them to abject poverty, loss of culture and ruination of their way of life. Destruction of any people's livelihood, culture and identity is ethnocide, which is a crime against humanity.
The removal of our people from their lands led to a massive peaceful mass demonstrations throughout Oromia and Ethiopia, calling for human and democratic rights and for establishment of the rule of law. The regime responded with brute force by killing more than three thousand people, maiming thousands, and detaining at least seventy thousand people and forcing into exile thousands of Oromo nationals. Incapable of any positive response to meet peoples’ legitimate demands, the regime persisted in using brute force under Emergency Measures leading to more killings, detention of thousands more. Sadly, the TPLF has recently extended violent land-grab and ethnic-cleansing in Hararghe, Bale and Borana-Guji zones of Oromia.
The continuation of this criminal program is made even more sinister than on previous occasion, as it is pursued with more extreme violence by deploying the extralegal armed bands dubbed Special Police. The lawless Special Police is under the so-called 'federal' secret service command, although it is deceptively strutted as being under the office of head of Somali regional state. Claiming connection with officials of the Somali regional administration quite simply aims branding a brash criminal enterprise the TPLF itself concocted as a conflict between Oromo and Somali peoples, which is simply untrue.
There is no animosity or unsolvable difference between Somali and Oromo peoples who lived together for countless generations, and share strong linguistic bond and rich cultural heritage. The two peoples are entitled to and absolutely capable to sort out any differences peaceably. And, even by the TPLF written but often flouted laws, differences between neighboring federal states need to be resolved peacefully and there is clearly no ground for violence.
The Special Police is not part of Somali region's police force or even have any legality under federal or regional laws. Its initial purpose was apparently to protect foreign workers searching for gas in Ogaden against the wishes of the local inhabitants, and in the operation areas of Ogaden national resistance. It has clearly failed in its original objective, as overt searches in Ogaden have been stalled. This outfit has since been used as an auxiliary to the notorious army unit called Agazi, under direct TPLF warlords' command and deployed to intimidate, harass, execute or disappear, and force into exile political opponents in the Somali region and elsewhere. This outfit has also been used in the Amhara region for carrying out covert operations some of them against Tigrayan residents that were later blamed on the local Amhara population.
In Oromia, the Special Police is routinely used to incite fake conflict by carrying out raids from Somali areas into adjacent Oromo settlements, uprooting numerous Oromo villagers in the process. The TPLF organized and guided raids are then presented as inter-ethnic conflict, so the TPLF would step in as arbiters, something the TPLF can have absolutely no moral or political ground to claim.
The Special Police actions are indeed part of desperate political maneuvers to justify the lawless TPLF regime hanging on to power. The overriding objective of this criminal exercise is diverting attention away from peaceful protests in Oromia in the past few years, calling for respect for basic human and democratic rights and rule of law, thus speaking for and inspiring people in all corners of Ethiopia. Short on positive reply to meet peoples’ legitimate grievances, deployment of the Special Police unravels TPLF leaders' unrequited brutality and political obduracy, a toxic blend that can steadily take the whole country down along with the regime.
We are certain that TPLF machinations will not set the Oromo and Somali peoples against one another but will in fact be used as a wake-up call to foil its criminal designs. So, we call on brotherly peoples of Oromia and Ogaden as well as all other population groups in Ethiopia to resolve any real or contrived differences peacefully using time-honored traditional institutions and thereby frustrate TPLF divisive aims.
We use this opportunity to call for intervention of members of the international community to press the TPLF regime to abandon its dangerous schemes of inciting troubles, lift the notorious emergency measures, free political prisoners, open up dialogue with opposition parties, and arrange for free and fair elections to set the country on the road to peace and democracy.
We especially call on members of the UN Security Council the UN Secretary General to take note of the TPLF reign of terror and to press the regime to seek peaceful resolution of problems stifling the country, free political prisoners and open talks with them to organize fair and free elections with the UN material support and expertise.
We also call on the African Union as well as individual leaders not to ignore the deteriorating situation in Ethiopia and to use their influences to encourage the regime to stop making the dire situation get even worse, press them to free political prisoners, to open talks with all opposition parties with a view to organize fair and free elections as a prelude to a peaceful and democratic future.
We trust that the combined struggles and sacrifices being paid in the peaceful resistance by Oromo and other peoples in all corners of Ethiopia will in the end prevail over the TPLF tyranny. We shall continue to stand with the masses of our people bearing the brunt of TPLF brutality and shall do all we can to hasten the dawn of victory and peace.Oromo Democratic Front (ODF)
Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
Oromo Liberation Front - United (OLF-U)Front for Independence of Oromia (FIO)
The struggle for peace, democracy, freedom, human dignity and the rule of law shall prevail!
Finally, we wish to renew our call on the TPLF leaders if they abandon brute force in favor of peaceful way out of political and economic morass their selfish and shortsighted policies plunged the country to, we shall remain open for peaceful dialogue to establish the rule of law, freedom, democracy and peace.
Dr Merera Gudina, leading opposition figure in Ethiopia and Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), has finally been charged with terrorism by Ethiopian prosecutors.
Gudina is accused of meeting anti-government elements during a European tour last year. He was twice denied bail by the courts as the police continued to gather evidence for charges.
The privately run Addis Standard news portal reported that the opposition chief was charged along with two others. Jawar Mohammed a popular Oromo activist and Executive Director of the Oromia Media network and Berhanu Nega, were also charged with terrorism.
Gudina, during his last appearance in court vehemently denied any terrorism allegations and said that he had spent his life teaching against the ideals of violence and terrorism.
The charge of terrorism as brought by police prosecutors varies from the government’s position which said he was arrested for flouting sections of the current state of emergency imposed in October 2016.
Ethiopian security forces arrested the Gudina shortly after his arrival in the capital Addis Ababa on December 1 from Belgium. Together with other activists and the Olympic athlete Feyisa Lelisa – he met with Members of the European Parliament on 9 November 2016.
Ethiopia is currently under a six-month state of emergency imposed to quell spreading anti-government protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions of the country. The protests which started in November last year continued into this year.
Since January 2016 the human rights situation in Ethiopia has not improved at all. Human Rights Watch reports that security forces have killed more than 500 people during protests over the course of 2016.
The government reported mass arrests of persons believed to be behind the protests, some are to be released whiles others will be arraigned before the courts on offences of destroying private and public property.
The Command Post administering the curfew says relative peace has returned to the country. There are issues also surrounding communication access with slow internet in most parts of the country. Some European countries have lifted their travel advice for Ethiopia with the ‘return to peace.’
This is my book “Freedom Letter” on internet, which was published in 2015. It was written in three languages: Afaan Oromoo, Amharic, and English. I couldn’t publish it in mass, as well as distribute to Ethiopia and many different countries, but many people are asking me about it. On the other hand, many issues that I raised in my book last time are becoming to Ethiopian current issues. Therefore, I have uploaded the “Freedom Letter” on the Internet.
Kun kitaaba Kiyyaa “Xalayaa Bilisummaa” afaan sadiin: Afaan Oromoo, Afaan Amaaraatiifi Afaan Ingiliziitiin barreessee waggaa lama dura maxxanseedha. Kitaaba kana, namoonni hedduunis waan na gaafachaa jirtaniif, akkasuma dhimmoonni ani keessatti barreesse hedduun yeroo amma haala wayitawaa ammaa ta’aa waan jiraniif PDF dhaan online interneetii irratti gadi dhiiseera.
ይህ ከሁለት ዓመት በፊት በሶስት ቋንቋ ማለትም በኦሮምኛ፣ በአማሪኛና በእንግሊዘኛ ያሳተምኩት “የነጻነት ደብዳቤ” የምለው መጽሃፌ ነው። በመጽሃፌ ውስጥ የጠቀስካቸው ብዙ ነገሮች አሁን ወቅታዊ ሁኔታ እየሆኑ ናቸው። ፕ/ር ሃይሌ ላሬቦ በቅርብ ጊዜ ያመጣ አስቂኝ ታሪክና የመሰሎቹ ኋለ ቀር ምኞት እንድሁም በኢትዮጵያ ጥላ ስር የምቆመር ቁማሪ እንዳልቀረና መቅረት እንዳለበት እንስቻለሁኝ። መጽሃፉን ለብዙ ጠያቂዎች ለማድረስ ስላልቻልኩ በፕድኤፍ መልኩ በእንቴርኔት ላይ ለቅቻለሁኝ።
1. Land Ownership and Cancellation of the Addis Ababa Master plan
The government claims it has canceled the Finfinee (Addis Ababa) master plan. However, there is no guarantee that it would not continue some other time. No action has been taken to show that the government has permanently forgone that plan. The institution is not abolished and it is not legally repealed. The policy of expansion is still there.
The Ethiopian masses want to be the owners of their land. When people oppose land grabs, they are claiming land ownership. As Birhanemeskel stated in his post, "The land ownership and use laws should be repealed in a way that recognizes the private and communal land ownership tradition of the Oromo common law." He continues, "As we speak, there are more than 15 proclamations that are in place to evict and expropriate the Oromo of their land. These laws should be repealed. There are more than a dozen federal government institutions including the so-called ‘Industrial Park Development Corporation,’ Ministries of Agriculture, Investment, Trade, Federal Affairs, Urban Development, and ‘Federal Land Banks’ that are evicting and expropriating the lands of the Oromo farmers at will."
The Ethiopian government must not only reinstate the evicted Oromo farmers’ lands but also repeal these laws and abolish these institutions of land grab permanently.
2. Quest for the Respect for Human Rights, Freedom of Expression and Democracy
"Stop the killing!" "Respect our rights for peaceful demonstration!" "Respect our right to freedom of speech!" were some of the mottos in the ongoing protests. However, more killings have been carried out, journalists continue to be arrested and freedom of expression is banned under the state of emergency.
3. Free All Political Prisoners
Instead of releasing those who are in detention, more opposition leaders have been arrested, including the OFC chairman, Dr. Merera Gudina. While there were some prisoners who were released, nowhere near all political prisoners are free. Those who were detained in different military camps in concentration centers were released recently. In December 2016, about 11,000 prisoners were released. In February 2017, 12,500 more were released. However, many more have been detained and taken to prison. Journalists and opposition leaders are still behind bars. In particular, the arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina, a leading Oromo opposition political figure, illustrates that this intoxicated regime is taking Ethiopia to a place of no return.
4. Quest for Genuine Federalism and Self-Administration
Nothing has been done to address this quest so far.
The Oromo people are looking for genuine federalism in Ethiopia. Oromo people’s right to self-administration under the system of genuine federalism is one of the key demands of #OromoProtests. "Oromiyaan Kan Oromoo ti" and "Abbaan biyyaa Oromoo dha" are mottos for self-rule and real federalism.
Oromia now is more of a vassal state under the control of others. The Oromo people want an immediate end of this state of affairs. This is an extremely self-evident truth that does not need any explanation. EPRDF has the responsibility to implement genuine federalism in Ethiopia.
The regime could have addressed these demands by negotiating with the opposition groups or by conducting re-elections. Neither of these has happened so far. Nothing has been done to address this demand of the #OromoProtests.
5. Making Afaan Oromoo A Federal Working Language
Making Afaan Oromo a federal working language was one of the quests of the #OromoProtests. Birhanemeskel expressed this demand as follows: "The federal government must make a policy decision to change this policy and replace it with bilingual language policy to make Afaan Oromo federal working language on equal footing with Amharic."
He further elaborated, "Unless this monolingual language policy changes, Afaan Oromo speakers have no hope of either participating in the economic, political and social life of Ethiopia or even getting the services of the federal government." The Ethiopian government must urgently make Afaan Oromo a federal working language on equal footing with Amharic as demanded by the #OromoProtests.
6. Addressing the "Special Interest of Oromia Regional State" in Addis Ababa
This question is a perennial question Oromo people have been demanding since Addis Ababa was separated from Oromia by Proclamation No.7/1992. Many have died for this very cause since then, and continue to die for it. As far as the Oromo people are concerned, the decision of the federal government to separate Addis Ababa from the surrounding Oromia region is null and void. The Oromo people need real power which includes taxing and policy-making. This is a vital issue that needs to be addressed.
It is an open secret that the government in power continues to exclude and marginalize the Oromo from Ethiopia’s economic, political and urban life systematically, mainly through the monolingual language policy and other related institutional mechanisms. Clear national and regional policies need to be put in place to remedy the past injustices perpetrated on the Oromo people in these areas and end the ongoing systemic marginalization of the Oromo and other Ethiopian nations and nationalities.
The government talks about good governance and corruption. It recognized the #OromoProtests by saying, “The people have legitimate grievances.” But it tried to address them by reshuffling the cabinet of ministers, appointing new ministers and new ministerial positions. The issue is much too critical to be addressed by mere talk about corruption and good governance or appointing new ministers. It is a real issue that needs legal, structural and policy reform. The Oromo people cannot continue with the current state of exclusion and marginalization. The Oromo protests show the Oromo people have had enough. It wants the government in power to address these issues head on. Otherwise, the Oromo people will take the law into their own hands and take their land and rights back. There is a possibility that we would lose everything. The country is in unchartered and troubled waters with an intoxicated and paranoid captain who could sink it at any moment! Therefore, all Ethiopians should be united and stand for their country and their very survival as a people and as a nation. #OromoRevolution #AmharaResistance #Ethiopia
It is sometimes important to evaluate a person not by his titles but his deeds must be the yardstick of what the individual is. Individuals with degree that reflects their achievements in the academic world may not sound like their achievements in political world. Sometimes individuals may have inborn inferiority complex morally failing in the eyes of others or appear subhuman psychological suffering from inferiority complex forcefully injected into their minds by colonial propaganda or oppressive environment they are raised in blight their rightful judgments. It is one of these two chronic problems that people could be dehumanized by and serve what they do not believe in. Dr. Haile Larebo might have been turned into a house Negro of Abyssinian ruling elites because of these two problems which are his troubles. No human being is subhuman by birth but what makes a person subhuman is his poverty of honesty and fear of his masters than fear of distorting truth. Dr. Larebo is social subhuman because of his opportunistic character.
Larebo is teaching history at the famous Morehouse College in Georgia. I hope he will not confuse American kids like he erroneously confused Abyssinian audience in Diaspora with his interview on ESAT TV by his fictitious historical account about Oromo. It is no matter how a human being can be truthful or dishonest. When one is not at peace in his inner soul or enslaved by outside influence his ability to stand for his integrity diminishes. It is cultural values in which one raise that strengthens his stamina and inborn character that refrains one from being an opportunity, dishonest, and a sale out renegade. If honestly Dr. Larebo has a capacity to interpret history in its true nature he would have not referred to King Tewodros as a unifier of Ethiopia. I do not go into crimes committed by King Tewodros since it is not the subject of our discussion.
If Dr. Larebo was truly a historian he would have understood, intellectually examined what the true meaning of the Amharic Qinnee that goes like this “Atse Tewodros ijig tewaredu yeshewan mekuanint ijji nestwe hedu” If really he is intelligent, honest and self-respecting historian this simple statement would have opened his eye that Atse Tewodros was a butcher and refrained him from making grand historical blunder by calling him unifier. Wouldn’t this test the intellectual quality of Larebo? Yes, it does. However, his character is so feeble thus he ended up in shaming himself presenting his personality in form of mercenary.
History cannot be rewritten on ground of individual sentiments.it is a record of nations act in production relation, it is a struggle of people between the haves and the have not it neither work of king note their oppressive system but struggle against it. Ethiopia though Larebo claims that it has history six thousand years in fact it does not have history of the people but of self-aggrandizing record of war lords and kings written by people with similar character of Larebo, the fairytales of the kings. Dr.Larebo’s ignorance of history was exposed when he said “wellegawoch Oromo mehon kefelegu Ke harere Oromo gar Gininyunet yinorachew neber.Aytewawekum” I see here Larebo is just reflecting the mind set of his Abyssinian masters. First as a historian he would have had clue in which socio economic formation mobility of people is high. Secondly he would have considered the challenge of communication in a back ward feudal country infested with wars between feudal lords and their shackled system in particular in a country that Larebo claims one among four great countries in history. Third, I could not figure out the difference between Wallaga Oromo and those of Harare. Is it way of dressing? If it is did he consider the difference in weather? Third, is it religion? Did he ever note his own religion is alien to Kamabat people? Regardless of the modification in marriage due to religion what made him conclude Oromo of Wallaga region is different to that of Harar? Nothing, but what he was trying to propagate is the usual divide and rule propaganda of Abyssinians in which he was born, schooled and raised- the myth of Abyssinian smear propaganda that they have history and others do not. Did he ever note that colonialism maintains tribalism, religion to subjugate people and always capitalize on ethnic internal contention and humiliation? To the best of historical fact both Kambata and Oromo are victims of Abyssinian colonialism. But what should be considered here is there are intellectuals who easily sell their integrity for a piece of bread or for sake being accepted among the ruling elites though they know that the acceptance is halfhearted and there is a finger pointing behind his back.
The Oromo in Wallaga region are majority Christians only because of imposition of the colonizers practice their old faith might have been dented while in Harar the old faith is fully consumed by a new religion of Islam just like in Kambata. But one thing stand tall about the Wallaga Oromo they stand taller than any Abyssinian colonized national group in the south. They are proud of their culture, language, history like the rest of their Oromo brothers in other regions. Even this communality of culture between Western Oromo and others was not part of his concept interpreting history by Dr. Larebo. In word of Karl marks Larebo is suffering from “poverty of philosophy” to understand historical oneness of the people. If larebo understand history how come he could not question the wretchedness of his own community? Why he did not ever mention why Kambata language is not a written language? Or he has willfully accepted the ideology of his masters that all other languages are inferior and Amharic is the language of superior race? Is it because as he said Kings “care” about the people or Kings do not care but impose their own ethnic ill devised will?
Larebo’s interview is contradicting a sentence after a sentence. He said the Oromos came from somewhere from northern Kenya, well no matter if the Oromos came from northern Kenya that is still Africa but where did his masters- the Abyssinians came from? Aren’t they from Arabian Peninsula? Is not their language half Arabic? E.g. Ahaad, Hizb, Kibre, Haqi, ayin and many thousand words which their root is Arabic and altered to Amharic. Larebo disagree that the right name of Oromo people is Galla. The Oromos claim that this name is a derogatory. Just like Kambats hate to be called Gudella or Walaitas do not like to be called Walamo. Walamo is a derogatory term coined for Walaita people by Minlik Woy lamo (which actually means wow the cows). Thus if Kambatas are unhappy to be called Gudella why Larebo is unhappy when Oromo hate the derogatory term Galla? This indicates that Larebo is a mouth piece of Abyssinian colonizers. What else can he be? Most importantly the most annoying part is the ESAT role. ESAT portrayed itself as democratic media serving the entire people of Ethiopia but in its true soul it is another instrument of Neo fascist mouth piece of the oppressors. We have observed on many occasions when ESAT aired anti Oromo propaganda. From what ESAT is doing Oromos must learn a good lesson. A snake cannot produce a baby sheep and Abyssinian cannot be democrat even if the sun stops setting. Thus, the Amhara hatred against Oromo for now is heavily camouflage and it is a volcano that can erupt and time when they feel their interest is threatened.Read more
Pagak/Juba, February 3, 2017 (SSNA) — The military command of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) has accused Egyptian air force of carrying out air attacks on its bases in Kaka town, saying Cairo dropped at least nine bombs and explosions.
Rebel military spokesperson Colonel William Gatjiath Deng, who declined to offer more details, warned that the involvement of JEM, the SPLM-North, and Egypt in the ongoing civil war could provoke a regional war.
“The continuous involvement of the Sudanese rebels and the escalation of the Egyptian participation in the ongoing war in South Sudan are clear indications to the people of South Sudan, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and the international community that the Juba regime is provoking the region and tilting South Sudan for a regional war,” he said.
Col. Deng also claimed two Sudanese rebel groups: Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the SPLM-North sneaked into South Sudan Thursday from their northern base called Angathna in the Blue Nile and that their intention is to attack and retake Mustakbal, Wadekona, and Detang from the armed opposition.
He further asserted in a statement that combined forces of government and Sudanese rebels launched a coordinated attack on SPLA-IO positions in Detang today, which he said resulted in a shocking defeat to Lelo, adding rebel forces inflicted heavy losses on the enemies forcing them to flee to areas in Renk, Malakal, and Paloch.
He added the SPLA-IO captured 43 PKMs and 300 AK-47s in good condition.
The rebel spokesman further explained that Juba-backed forces were also repulsed in Booth and Mayom of Unity State. He claimed SPLA-IO Special Division captured nine government soldiers and that they are being treated as Prisoners of War.
South Sudanese rebels have increasingly become suspicious of recent bilateral agreements Cairo strucked with Juba.
In January, the SPLM/A-IO accused South Sudan and Egypt of striking a “dirty deal,” saying the agreement would allow Kiir to receive lethal weapons and ammunition from Egypt to wage a full-scale war against the armed opposition.
“There is a dirty deal going between Kiir and El-Sisi. the issue of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is one of the main deals being finalized in Cairo. Our intelligence sources in Kampala and Juba confirmed that Egypt wants South Sudan and Uganda to be her regional allies so that she can advance its covert sabotage campaign against the Ethiopian Dam. The man [Kiir] is a double agent; he will cause many problems for the entire East Africa region,” a senior rebel official told the South Sudan News Agency last month.
The official added that Egyptian military experts and engineers have been in Juba for months and that the entire secret military deal between Juba and Cairo was orchestrated by Kampala last year.
Col. Deng calls on the AU, UN, and the international community to investigate Egypt’s involvement in South Sudan civil war.
ዋዜማ ራዲዮ-ለሦስት ተከታታይ ጊዜያት ያህል ከተራዘመ በኋላ በመጪው ፋሲካ እንደሚለቀቅ በስፋት እየተነገረለት የሚገኘው የቴዲ አፍሮ አዲስ አልበም ለገበያ የሚቀርበው የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጁ እስካልተራዘመ ድረስ ብቻ መሆኑን ለድምጻዊው ቅርበት ያላቸው ምንጮች ገለጹ፡፡ ቴዲ አገሪቱ ወደ ሙሉ መረጋጋት ሳትመለስ ሙዚቃውን የመልቀቅ ፍላጎቱ እምብዛምም ነው ተብሏል፡፡
ምንም እንኳ የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጁ በመጪው መጋቢት 28 6ኛ ወር ቢሞላውም አዋጁ በአንድ ሆነ በሌላ አጋጣሚ የሚራዘምበት እድል ካለ የአልበሙ መውጫ ጊዜም ሊራዘም እንደሚችል የድምጻዊው የቅርብ ሰዎች ፍንጭ ሰጥተዋል፡፡
የቴዲ አዲስ አልበሙ ከተጠናቀቀ ዘለግ ያለ ጊዜን ቢያስቆጥርም አገር ዉስጥ ያለው ፖለቲካዊ ድባብና የሕዝብ ስሜት መልካም ሳይሆን በመቆየቱ ሙዚቃውን ለሕዝብ ለማቅረብ አለመሻቱን ወዳጆቹ ይናገራሉ፡፡ “ አገር በችግር ዉስጥ ኾና ሙዚቃዬን መልቀቅ ሕዝብን አለማክበር ነው የሚሆንብኝ” የሚለው ቴዲ ይህ ሥራው እንዲደመጥለት ባልተለመደ ሁኔታ ከፍተኛ ጉጉት አሳይቷል ተብሏል፡፡ “እስከ ዛሬ ከሠራኋቸው ሥራዎች ይህ ለኔ ልዩ ነው” በማለት በተደጋጋሚ እንደሚናገርም ዋዜማ ያነገረቻቸው ወዳጆቹ ይመሰክራሉ፡፡
አገራዊ አንድነትን አብዝተው በሚሰብኩና ኢትዮጵያዊ ብሔርተኛነት ባጠቃቸው ስንኞች የተሞላው ይህ አዲሱ አልበም ይፋዊ ርዕሱ ጦቢያ ወይም ኢትዮጵያ ሊሆን እንደሚችልና መጠሪያው እስከአሁንም እንዳልተወሰነ ታውቋል፡፡ ኾኖም አዲስ ከሠራቸው 16 የሚኾኑ ሙዚቃዎች ኢትዮጵያ የተሰኘ ድንቅ ዜማ እንደሚገኝበትና ይህም የአልበሙ ርዕስ የመሆን እድሉ ከፍተኛ እንደሆነ ተነግሯል፡፡ ወደ 24 የሚሆኑ ዜማዎች መሰራታቸውን እንደሚያውቅና ሆኖም ቴዲ በዚህ አልበሙ ምን ያህሉን ሊያካትት እንደሚችል መተንበያ አስቸጋሪ እንደሆነበት ይኸው ወዳጁ ይናገራል፡፡ ቴዲ በጉዳዩ ላይ ይፋ ያደረገው ነገር ባይኖርም ይህ ኢትዮጵያ የተሰኘው ሙዚቃ በመልዕክትም በዉበትም ገኖ የመውጣት እድሉ አጠያያቂ አይደለም ብሏል፡፡ ብዙዎቹ የቅርብ ወዳጆቹ እንደሚስማሙት ቴዲ አፍሮ ሙዚቃዎቹን ደጋግሞ የመከለስና አለቀ የተባለ ሥራውን አፍርሶ የመስራት፣ እንዲሁም በሥራው ያለመርካት ባሕሪ ይስተዋልበታል፡፡
ቴዲ አፍሮ ከዚህ ገናና እንደሚሆን ከሚጠበቀው ኢትዮጰያ ከሚለው ሙዚቃው ባሻገር ስለ ኤርታሌና ስለ ባሮ ወንዝ ማቀንቀኑ ተሰምቷል፡፡
በዚህ አልበሙ የቴዲን አነጋጋሪነትና የፈጠራ ሰው መሆኑን ዳግም ይመሰክርሉታል ተብለው ከሚጠበቁት ሙዚቃዎቹ ዉስጥ በዋናነት በሐዲስ ዓለማየሁ ዝነኛ ረዥም ልቦለድ ‹‹ፍቅር እስከ መቃብር›› ላይ ተንተርሶ ያዜመው ሥራው ሊሆን እንደሚችል ሙዚቃውን ካቀናበሩለት ሰዎች ዋዜማ ያገኘችው መረጃ ይጠቁማል፡፡
ቴዲ አፍሮ ከባለፈው ሳምንት ጀምሮ ኤርታሌ ለተሰኘው ሙዚቃው አጃቢ ተንቀሳቃሽ ምስል በማሰናዳት ላይ መጠመዱንና ብዙ ደክሞበታል የተባለውን አልበሙን ለሽያጭ በማቅረብ በኩል ደግሞ ባለቤቱ ወይዘሮ አምሰለሰት ሙጬና የሙዚቀኛው የረዥም ጊዜ አማካሪው አቶ ጌታቸው ማንጉዳይ ከተለያዩ ድርጅቶች ጋር እየተደራደሩ እንደሚገኙ ታውቋል፡፡ ኾኖም አልበሙ እስከ 10 ሚሊዮን ብር ሊያወጣ ይችላል ተብሎ ቅድመ ግምት ተሰጥቶታል፡፡
እነዚህ የዋዜማ ምንጮች አልበሙ ከ5 እስከ 8 ሚሊዮን ብር ተሸጧል ተብሎ በአገር ቤት ሚዲያዎች መዘገቡ ትክክለኛ መረጃ አይደለም ሲሉ መረጃዉን አጣጥለውታል፡፡ እስከአሁንም ድርድር እንጂ ሽያጭ አልተከናወነም ተብሏል፡፡
ቴዲ አፍሮ አቡጊዳ የተሰኘውን የበኩር አልበሙን በ1993 ለሕዝብ ካቀረበ በኋላ ፣ ጃ ያስተሰርያል አልበመሙን ከአራት ዓመት በኋላ በ (1997)፣ እንዲሁም ጥቁር ሰው የተሰኘ አልበሙን ከአምስት ዓመት በፊት በ2004 ዓ.ም ለሕዝብ አድርሷል፡፡
ከዚህ ዉጭ በርካታ የዉጭ አገር የኮንሰርት ጥያቄዎች በተደጋጋሚ የሚቀርቡለት ሲሆን በአንዳንዶቹ ላይ ካልሆነ እምብዛምም ከአገር ቤት መራቅ አይሻም፤ የኮንሰርት ሥራ ለማቅረብም ፍላጎቱ የተገደበ ነው፡፡ በተቃራኒው ለአገር ቤት ተመልካች ኮንሰርት ለማቅረብ ከፍተኛ ፍላጎት እንዳለው ይነገራል፡፡ ኾኖም የመንግሥት ሹማምንት ይህ እንዲሆን መልካም ፍቃድ ሳይሰጡ ቆይተዋል፡፡
የአገር ቤት ኮንሰርቱ እንዲከወን ካለመፍቀድም በላይ ድምጻዊው ለዉጭ ሥራ በሚጓዝበት ወቅት የደኅንነት ሰዎች እንግልትና ወከባ እንደሚያደርሱበት ይነገራል፡፡ ከስድስት ጊዜ በላይ ፖስፖርቱን በኢሜግሬሽን ሰዎች እንደተነጠቀና ጉዞዎቹ እንደተሰረዙበት፣ ይህ ለምን እንደሚሆን ሲጠይቅም በቂ መልስ እንደማይሰጠው የቅርብ ወዳጆቹ ይናገራሉ፡፡
“የደኅንነት ሰዎች የእርሱን ጉዞ በአንድም ሆነ በሌላ ምክንያት ለማስተጓጎል ይፈልጋሉ፣ ምናልባት የልጁን ሞራል ለመንካት ፈልገው ሊሆን ይችላል” ይላል፣ የቅርብ ወዳጁ፡፡
ቴዲ በአሁኑ ሰዓት ለገጣፎ ካንትሪ ከለብ ሪልስቴት ግቢ ባለ አንድ ፎቅ ቤት ተከራይቶ የሚኖር ሲኾን በቀኑ ክፍለ ጊዜ እምብዛምም ከቤት የመውጣት ልምድ የለውም፡፡ ድምጻዊው አሁን በኪራይ ቤት ይሁን እንጂ በዚያው የለገጣፎ ካንትሪ ክለብ እያስገነባው የሚገኘውን ቪላውን በሚመጣው ዓመት መጨረሻ ይረከባል፡፡
ከአመታት በፊት ካንትሪ ክለብ ሪልስቴት ሥራ ሲጀምር ሙዚቀኛው ቴዲ ማስታወቂያ እንዲሠራላቸውና በምትኩ አንድ ቪላ ቤት በነጻ ገንብተው እንደሚሰጡት የሥራ ግብዣ አቅርበውለት እንደነበረና ቴዲ ሐሳቡን ሳይቀበል እንደቀረ፣ ከዚያ ይልቅ በራሱ ወጪ በዚያው ግቢ ቤት ማሠራት እንደመረጠ የቅርብ ወዳጆቹ ያስታውሳሉ፡፡
በሚዲያ ላይ በሚሰጣቸው አስተያየቶች ቁጥብነት የሚታይበት ቴዲ አፍሮ የሙዚቃ ባለሞያዎችም እርሱን ለመተቸት ድፍረቱ እንደሌላቸው ይነገራል፡፡ ይህም የሚሆነው በርሱ ላይ አሉታዊ አስተያየት መሰንዘር በአድናቂዎቹ ከፍተኛ ዉግዘትን እንደሚያስከትል ከመረዳት የሚመነጭ ነው፡፡
የቴዲ አፍሮ ልዩ ክህሎትና ድክመት ምን እንደሆነ በአንድ ወቅት በፎርቹን ጋዜጣ የተጠየቀው የሙዚቃ ተመራማሪው ሰርጸ ፍሬስብሀት ቴዲ አሰልቺ ሊሆን ተቃርቦ የነበረውን የኢትዮጵያ የፖፕ ሙዚቃ ዘዬ አዲስ ፎርም ፈጥሮ ነፍስ ዘርቶበታል፡፡ ኾኖም ድምጻዊው በተለያየ ሬንጅ መዝፈን የሚችልና በርካታ የድምፅ ቴክኒኮች አፈራርቆ መጠቀም የሚችል አይደለም፡፡ ጠንካራ ግጥሞቹንና ሳቢ ዜማውን የሚሰፋው ለራሱ በሚመቸው ምጣኔ መሆኑ የቴክኒክ ድክመቱ ጎልቶ እንዳይወጣ አስችሎታል በሚል አስተያየቱን ሰጥቶ ነበር፡፡
የቴዲ በዓለማቀፍ ሙዚቃ ዉስጥ ሰብሮ ለምን እስከዛሬ ሊገባ እንዳልቻለ ለጋዜጣው ያብራራው አቶ ሰርፀፍሬ ስብሐት “ምዕራቡ የራስህ የሆነ ልዩ ቀለም፣ ማንነትና ቱባ (ኦሪጅናል) የሙዚቃ ባህል ይዘህ ስትመጣ ያከብርሀል፡፡ የእነርሱ የሚመስል የዜማ ቅርጽና ፎርም ይዘህ ልባቸውን ማሸነፍ የሚሞከር አይደለም፡፡ የቴዲ ዜማ የሚመተር፣ የሚገመት ነው፡፡ አሁን ዓለም የሚፈለገው የማይመተር፣ የማይገመትና እጅግ ወጣ ያለ የዜማ ቅርጽ (Irregular shape) ያለውን ነገር ነው፡፡ ቴዲ የዓለም አቀፍ ገበያ ዉስጥ የመግባት እድሉ ጠባብ የሆነውም ለዚሁ ይመስለኛል” ይላል፡፡
ሰርጸፍሬ ስብሐት በተጨማሪም በወቅቱ በሰጠው አስተያየት ቴዲ ከእስር ሲፈታ ወደ ድምጽ ትምህርት ቤት ይገባል የሚል ተስፋ እንደነበረው ለጋዜጣው ተናግሮ ነበር፡፡ “ትምህርት ቤት የመግባት ድፍረቱ ሊኖረው ይገባል፤ ታሪክ ፍልስፍናና ቋንቋ ኮርሶችን ቢወስድ አቅሙን ይበልጥ ማጎልበት ይችላል ብዬ አስባለሁ” ሲል ሐሳቡን አጋርቶ ነበር፡፡Read more
The odaa tree is the symbol of Oromo democracy, justice, and popular participation. The five human heads around the tree represent the five fundaments of Oromo primary classification system originating with the Oromo creation myth, yayyaa shanan (five utterances). In this image, they also represent the five gadaa classes of sons, and the five gadaa classes of fathers. At the same time, they represent the five pairs of Oromo sub-moieties: Sabboo-Goonaa, Macca-Tuulama, Raayya-Aseebuu, Siikko-Mandoo, and Ituu-Humbana. The image shows the heads holding hands and lifting up the tree. This symbolizes Oromo determination to protect their democratic heritage and proudly looking forward to a bright future.
The green foundation has two bands that are in fact the same object, only seprarted by thin line. This represents the two main Oromo moieties of Boorana and Bareentuu, who are united in the green color. In addition, the green foundation is symbol of Oromo finna which in turn signifies fertility, regeneration and renewal. The green Oromo resources and Oromo commitment to earth care is the foundation of Oromo development (dagagina). Together, the gadaa and finna support and sustain the sun burst.
The sunburst glows for all to see, deriving energy from the unity of the Boorana and Bareentuu who together hold their gadaa democracy high and derive their energy from the fertility of Oromoland and Oromo peoples tradition of caring for creation. The eleven rays represent the full circle of gadaa classes, including the gadamoojii.
Together, the gadaa and finna produce light that appears to have conquered all darkness. It means the Oromo people have defeated the darkness of tyrrany that, for years, had oppressed the Oromo people. The light is unencumbered by any counter force, suggesting Oromo has become victorious and nagaa reigns supreme.
There are two sets of colors in the logo. The first set (black, red and white), represents the three primary colors of Oromo tradition: the black symbolizes the inscrutable Waaqa, the red signifies humans under the Creator, and the white represents earth and all of creation. In the gadaa system, the colors represent people. White represent those yet to enter active life; red those who are in active life and black those who had passed through all stages of active life and have become masters of knowledge about Oromo society.
The second set (the green, red and yellow) is ancient colors of the Oromo. The tricolor epitomizes prosperity (green), hope for a new season of freedom and equality (yellow), and sacrifice and heroism (red). In the past, those colors have been used as the banner of Oromo liberation fronts at different times. Today, the colors are a symbol of defiance, heroism and hope for a bright and prosperous future for Oromos.
Taken together, the images and colors bring forth themes of Oromo unity around the Oromo systems of gadaa, finna and nagaa. The traditional colors are unified with the colors identified with the present generation that has made the Oromo nation proud through its heroism and willingness to sacrifices for the Oromo nation’s achievement of democracy, prosperity and peace.
As the OLC symbol, the logo allows all Oromosto be inspired by the Oromo heritage and work for repeating the glories of the Oromo past in the present and into the future.
ፕሮፌሰር ሕዝቅኤል በኦ.ኤም.ኤን የአማርኛ ፕሮግራም ላይ በአማርኛ ፦ “ልጆቼን አማርኛ እንዳይሰሙ አድርጌ በጥሩ ሁኔታ ነው ያሳደግኳቸው” ብሎ ተናገረ አሉ። ይህን በማለቱም ቅር የተሰኙ ወንድምና እህቶቻችን እዚህ ሰፈር ቅሬታቸውን በስፋት ሲገልጹ እያዬኹ ነው።
እውነቱን ለመናገር እኔ በዚህ አነጋገር ቅር አልተሰኘኹም። ቅር ያልተኘኹበት አንድኛው ምክንያት ይህ አመለካከት የራሱ የፕሮፌሰር ሕዝቅኤል፣ ምናልባት ጥቂት እናስፋው ከተባለም በአጠገቡ ያሉ የጥቂት ጓደኞቹ እንጂ በአማርኛ የተራቀቁበትንና የነገሱበትን የነ ጸጋዬ ገብረመድህንን፣ የነ ይልማ ዴሬሳን፣ የነ ሰሎሞን ዴሬሳን ..... እና አሁን አጠገባችን ያሉ የብዙሀኑን ኦሮሞ ወንድሞቻችንን ልጆች እንደማይመለከት ስለሚገባኝ ነው።
ሌለኛው ምክንያቴ ፕሮፌሰር ሕዝቅኤል ልጆቻችን አማርኛ መማር የለባቸውም አለ እንጂ- አማርኛ ተናጋሪዎች ኦሮሚኛ እንዳንማር አልከለከለንም። ስለዚህ የፕርፌሰር ሕዝቅ ኤል ልጆች አማርኛ ባይማሩም እኛ ልጆቻችንን በተቻለን መጠን ኦሮሚኛ በማስተማር አብረው እየተጫዎቱ እንዲያድጉ ጥረት እናደርጋለን።በዚያውም ልጆቻችን ተጨማሪ ሀገርኛ ቋንቋ በማወቅ አትራፊ ይሆናሉ።በቃ ይኸው ነው የተሰማኝ።
ወዳጆቼና ለኔ በጎ አስተሳሰብ ያላቸው ማንነቴን ከሞላ ጎደል ስለሚያውቁ የቀጣፊ ሰለባ ይሆናሉ ብዬ አልሰጋሁም። ከሩቅ የሚያውቁኝ እንኩዋን የራሳቸውን ዳንኝነት መስጠት ይችላሉ። እየሰጡም ነው። ፈቃደ ሸዋቀና ጀምሮታል። አመሰግነዋለሁ። ለማንኛውም እንኩዋን በሕይወት ያሉ በኢትዮጵያ ትምህርት ቤቶች የተማሩ ወንድሞቼና እህቶቼ ይቅሩና ቅደመ አያቴም አማርኛ አቀላጥፈው ይናገሩ ነበር። ይፅፉም ነበር። ፅሁፎቹ አሁንም ድረስ አሉ። እኔ ከቋንቋ ሆነ ከሰዉ ጋር ችግር የለኝም። ከሥርዓት ጋር እንጂ።
እኔን ያስገረመኝ ሃሜተኛው አይደለም። ጋዜጠኞችም በዚህ የቀጣፊ ሠረገላ ተፈናጥተው የሐስት ዘመቻ አራማጆች ሆነው ማየቴ ነው። እንዲህ ከሆነ ይህች ባቄላ ካደረች አትቆረጠምም ብዬ አስተያየት ለመስጠት ፈለግሁ።
አቶ ደረጀ ሀብተወልድ የኢሳት ጋዜጠኛ ናቸው። ለኔ እንደሚገባኝ ጋዜጠኝነት ሙያ ቢሆንም የሕዝብ ባለአደራነት (public trust) ያለበት ሙያ ነው። ባለሙያው በግል ሕይወቱ እንኩዋን እንደሌላው ሰው ሁሉ የመሰለዉን ሁሉ ማነብነብ አይገባዉም። በግል ጊዜዉም ቢሆን ውሸት እንዳያስተጋባ መጠንቀቅ አለበት። ምክንያቱም የመንደር ወሬ አባራሪ ከሆነ በህዝብ ዘንድ ያለው አመኔታ ይጎድላል። ጋዜጠኛ የሆነዉን በማስረጃ ሳያረጋግጥ በህዝብ ፊት ወጥቶ እንደመጣለት የሚናገር ከሆነ የሙያውን ጠባይ አያውቅም ማለት ነው። ለጋዜጠኝነት የሚመች ስብዕናም ባህርይም የለዉም። የህዝብ ባለአደራ መሆኑን አልተረዳም ማለት ነው። ጋዜጠኛ ሳይሆን ቆርጦ ቀጥል፣ ወሬ አመላላሽ፣ አሉቡዋልተኛ፣ ዉሸት ቸርቻሪ ይሆናል። ይህ ዕውነት ካልሆነ አቶ ደረጀ ሕዝቅኤል ብሎታል ያለዉን ማስረጃዉን ማቅረብ አለበት።
በነግራችን ላይ እኔና አቶ ደረጀ በአየር ላይ እንኩዋን ተገናኝተን አናውቅም። እኔ አቶ ፀጋዬ ገብረመድህንን አቶ ሰሎሞንን ደሬሳ እና አቶ ይልማ ደሬሳ በግሌ ልወቃቸው አልወቃቸው ምንም የሚያውቀው ነገር የለም። የኔን ሃሳብ ይጋሩ አይጋሩ ከነርሱ ጠይቆ የተረዳው ነገር እንደሌለ እኔ በዉል አውቃለሁ።ለማመዛዘን ይረዳው ዘንድ የአቶ ፀጋዬን "አዋሽ" የሚለውን ግጥም ጋብዤዋለሁ። ፀጋዬ ስለወንዝ ነው የገጠመው እንደሚለኝ እርግጠኛ ነኝ። ይህችን መስመር ይዞ ሌላ ክርክር ለመክፈትም ይቃጣው ይሆናል። እርሱን ሌላ ጊዜ። እውነት ካለህ ማስረጃ አቅርብ። ካልሆነ እኔ የኢሳት አስተዳዳሪ ብሆን እንደ ደረጀ ያለ ለእዉነት አክብሮት የሌለውን ጋዜጠኛ ቶሎ ብዬ ነወ የማሰናብተው።
Haile Larebo, is a highly experienced Oxford educated Ethiopian professor of history teaching in Morehouse College, USA. Recently, he appeared on two Ethiopian Diaspora media outlets, ESAT and another voice chat room, ECADF and spoke extensively about Ethiopian history.
He spoke from his perspective and based on his research works. Initially, one may assume that since Haile hails from the Southern region of Ethiopia, he would serve as an impartial and unbiased source of history and could not be labelled by anyone because the groups that often clash about Ethiopia’s history are the largest ethnic groups of the North, Central and peripheries of Ethiopia. However, his take on Ethiopian history was immediately attacked groups mainly by Oromo activists in the Diaspora as soon as his interviews were aired.
This Oromo ethnonationalist Website, which was very offended of all, called the media outlet that aired the interview to apologize. The website said the fact that Haile used the G**** word (although he said it in a reported speech) and refereed to the 16th Century Oromo migrants as “nomadic pastoralists” was offensive (in fact he said “herdsmen”). The Website goes on to refer to the Professor, the media and some audiences as “Ethiopianists”, “Right Wing” and so forth, terms which could not be applied to an Ethiopian or African context.
Although Haile released another video explaining himself and clearing the air, an online petition calling for the Professor’s “dismissal” was launched by two individuals namely Bizuayehu Haile & A Keto saying “we the initiators of this petition request that Professor Haile Larebo be displined for distorting history and using derogatory terms. ”
The petition targets 1000 signatures and has been signed by 900 people so far.
On the other hand, people who supported Haile’s analysis and “freedom of expression” have started their own petition with a goal of collecting 2000 signatures and have so far reached 1330 signatures. The group on its part argues:
we are outraged and stunned by the baseless accusations and the hate campaign orchestrated by radical tribal groups who wish to defame Professor Haile Larebo’s reputation by branding him as racist for his teachings on history and interethnic understanding in Ethiopia.
Therefore, the petition calls on the College ” to take appropriate steps toward protecting Professor Haile Larebo’s integrity and well earned reputation and to honor him for his continuing effort on advancement peaceful coexistence across ethnic groups in Ethiopia and across the globe.”
Ethiopia’s history, like many other countries is so complex and driven by various interest and political groups. While it is possible to solve misunderstandings and miscommunications through discussions, it is unfortunate that it is becoming a culture to campaign, smear and boycott individuals such as Haile Larebo and musician Teddy Afro for merely speaking their own truths.
A bit of tolerance, patience and listening could probably save us.
The government of Ethiopia has vowed to crush all threats to its economic model and insists it is succeeding in restoring order as it grapples with the most serious threat to its 26-year hold on power.
Negeri Lencho, the communications minister, told the Financial Times that a state of emergency imposed in October had succeeded in quashing a wave of nationwide anti-government protests that left hundreds of people dead. He insisted that Addis Ababa would not “give opportunity to any party to block the fast-growing economy and the attempt or efforts of the Ethiopian government to change the lives of the people”.
But in an apparent acknowledgment of the failings of the government’s state-driven development model, he admitted that anger over high unemployment was a factor behind the unrest.
“The government educated the youth and there was not enough employment,” Mr Lencho said. “So the extremists used this fertile ground to incite violence.”
More than 500 people have been killed and tens of thousands detained over the past 18 months as anti-government protests spread across the country. The violence, which also targeted foreign-owned business, and the autocratic government’s response, has rattled investors.
The unrest has also called into question the sustainability of Addis Ababa’s economic model, which has helped drive some of the world’s fastest growth rates and lured billions of dollars of foreign investment to the Horn of Africa nation.
The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, a Marxist-Leninist coalition that has ruled with an iron grip since taking power in 1991, has concentrated on state-led infrastructure and industrialisation projects rather than opening up the private sector as it has sought to develop the impoverished country.
The model has been widely lauded in development circles, but the government has been accused of taking repressive measures and committing human rights abuses.
Mr Lencho said authorities had detained more than 20,000 people for “training” on the constitution since the protests erupted — initially over land disputes — in 2015.
The minister refused to speculate on how long the state of emergency, imposed for six months, would last.
He said “armed groups” and “terrorist organisations” bent on regime change, most of which were overseas, and which he did not identify, were no longer able to incite violence because of the restrictions on demonstrating and access to, and use of, social media. But he gave few specifics, apart from the creation of a “forum” of political organisations, about how the government was addressing people’s underlying frustrations to ensure the protests did not re-erupt.
The grievances, which he accepted were largely justified, were a lack of “good governance, justice, fairness [and] equity in benefiting from development”.
Pro-democracy activists and foreign diplomats have dismissed the forum as being a sham because it comprises few credible opposition figures. They say it is indicative of the government’s refusal to countenance meaningful reform. Ethiopia’s political opposition has been severely weakened, and the EPRDF and its allies control all the seats in parliament.
“They’re worried that if they give an inch they won’t be able to control the fallout,” a diplomat said.
Activists say Ethiopians flocked to the demonstrations because the government had steadily curtailed democratic freedoms since post-election protests in 2005 were ruthlessly crushed.
Protests flared periodically thereafter, but began in earnest in November 2015 when the government sought to extend the capital Addis Ababa into Oromia. This plan was eventually shelved but because of the authorities’ repressive response the demonstrations spread and became increasingly violent.
Hailemariam Desalegn, the prime minister, has admitted that about 500 people might have died while human rights groups and activists believe the toll is much higher.
Mass arrests followed, which Mr Lencho said fell into two categories: protesters who needed “training” for a few months and people considered more hardened criminals.
Initially about 11,000 people underwent “training”, of whom more than 8,000 have been released. A further 12,500 have been incarcerated for training in a second wave of detentions, he added.
No figures have been given for the total number of arrests but activists believe it is more than 50,000.
(INDEPENDENT) — The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has temporarily halted trips by staff to interview refugees abroad as it prepares for a likely shakeup of refugee policy by President Donald Trump, two sources with knowledge of the decision have said.
The decision effectively amounts to a pause in future refugee admissions, given that the interviews are a crucial step in an often years-long process.
The DHS leadership’s decision to halt the interview trips was communicated to those involved in the US refugee admission process on Wednesday, one of the sources said.
It means that though Trump has not yet ordered a temporary halt to the refugee programme, future admissions are likely to be delayed.
Trump is expected to sign an executive order that would include a temporary ban on all refugees, and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday that Trump could sign several executive orders on Friday, but that the nature of those had not been decided yet.
Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project at the New York-based Urban Justice Center, said she was informed of the decision to halt the overseas interviews by several people in and outside of government.
Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security and which conducts the interviews, said the agency had delayed “a number of upcoming trips” but that they had not been “officially canceled.”
DHS officers regularly visit countries such as Jordan, Malaysia, El Salvador, Kenya and Ethiopia to interview refugees seeking to enter the United States. It is usually one of the last steps in the refugee resettlement process.
Heller said the decision to halt the overseas interviews would cause delays in refugee processing even if Trump decides to maintain the refugee programme or re-start it after a temporary closure.
“In the past, when we’ve frozen the refugee programme to re-examine security issues, it’s been really important to continue processing even if you can’t admit people, because processing times in this programme can be two to three years,” Heller said.
During the election campaign, Trump decried former President Barack Obama’s decision to increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States over fears that those fleeing the country’s civil war would carry out attacks.