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Posts Tagged ‘Journalist’

Norwegian Professor Received Death Threats From Ethiopians in Exile

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on February 11, 2021

የአረመኔው አቢይ አህመድ የሽብር ጁንታ በአዲስ አበባ፡፡ ኖርዌይ የኖቤል የሰላም ሽልማትን ለአብይ አህመድ ሰጠች አሁን ደግሞ አንዱን ዜጋዋን ለመግደል እየዛተባት ነው በተመሳሳይ መልኩ ከድህነት ያወጡትን ፣ መግበው ያሳደጉትንና አስተምረው ልክ ከሦስት ዓመታት በፊት ለስልጣን ያበቁትን የትግራይ ተወላጆችን በመጨፍጨፍ ላይ ይገኛል፡፡ “ሲኦል በምስጋናቢሶች የተሞላች ናት።” ፥ የስፔን ምሳሌ

Evil Abiy Ahmed’s Terrorist Junta in Addis. Norway gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed – now he is threatening to kill one of its citizen – the same way he is massacring Tigrayans who brought him out of poverty, fed and educate him, they even brought him to the current power exactly three years ago. “Hell is full of the ungrateful.” ― Spanish Proverb

One of the world’s leading experts on Ethiopia, professor Kjetil Tronvoll, is being harassed by Ethiopian authorities, and has received death threats from Ethiopians in exile.

Tronvoll is professor of peace and conflict studies at Bjørknes University College in Oslo and has done research on Ethiopia and Eritrea since the beginning of the 1990s.

He also has a background as a professor of human rights from the University of Oslo and has as a researcher been connected to the London School of Economics in the UK, Columbia University in the US, and Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

The ethnic and political divides are strong in Ethiopia and this isn’t the first time Tronvoll’s received harassment and threats.

However, when the Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed – who in 2019 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – launched an offensive military operation against The Tigray People’s Liberation Front in November 2020, the agitation and threats against Tronvoll reached another level.

Organized Campaign to Discredit

The Norwegian professor’s analysis of the offensive was not well received in Addis Ababa. Authorities there started what Tronvoll calls a well-organized campaign to discredit him.

The leader of the Ethiopian intelligence service INSA, Shumete Gizaw, among other things accused Tronvoll of being paid by the The Tigray People’s Liberation Front to spread disinformation about the war in The Tigray Region.

The accusations are firmly rejected by Tronvoll.

Still, they were distributed by the Ethiopian national news agency ENA, and quickly reached Ethiopians in exile, also in Norway. This unleashed a storm of threats, including death threats.

Asked Norwegian Foreign Services to Help

Toward the end of December, Tronvoll contacted the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and asked them for help.

“There’s an active coordinated campaign of hatred against me, from Ethiopian activists who are spreading false information and unfounded accusations, and which seemingly is coordinated with Ethiopian authorities,” he said.

Tronvoll asked that his case be brought up with Ethiopian authorities, and demanded that the accusation from the head of INSA was retracted.

The Norwegian MFA confirmed that they were taking the case seriously, and promised mid-January that the Norwegian embassy in Addis Ababa would address the issue “on a general basis” with Ethiopian authorities.

Hit back at Critics

The harassment against Tronvoll however didn’t cease.

“I can inform you that the formal “campaign” against me in governmental media, where unfounded accusations are being promoted, continues,” he wrote in a new letter to the Norwegian MFA.

Recent statements from prime minister Abiy Ahmed do not suggest that the Ethiopian regime will stop at their attempts to discredit researchers like Tronvoll. At the beginning of this month, the Ethiopian prime minister tweeted to Ethiopians abroad to “hit back” at those who criticize the development in the country.

Had to Cancel Event

There is little doubt that this message was well received. Few days laster Tornvoll was supposed to appear in a debate together with experts from Egypt and Somalia, organised by the Norwegian Council for Africa. The topic of the debate was the conflicts that have arisen between Ethiopia and neighbouring countries as a consequence of The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia.

News about the debate resulted in renewed death threats against Tronvoll, allegedly from Ethiopian nationalists and Amhara-activists. The Norwegian Council for Africa found it safest to cancel the event.

“We had to prioritize the safety of the participants and their experience of the situation”, says leader of the Council Aurora Nereid to the newspaper Bistandsaktuelt (link in Norwegian).

Norwegian Partner Country

“To receive threats when you analyze war and human rights abuses is an experience I have lived with for years. But that activists who are encouraged by the Government in one of Norway’s so-called partner countries manage to limit freedom of speech here in Norway, is remarkable,” Tronvoll says.

“I hope the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security will handle this issue with the level of seriousness that it demands”, he adds.

Ethiopia is one of ten countries that are deemed so-called partner countries in Norwegian development policy. They are selected as partners for long-term development cooperation with Norway, and have for the past 20 years received around 6,3 billion NOK, so close to 744 million USD, of Norwegian development funds. This is according to figures from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (link in Norwegian).

According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (link in Norwegian), Ethiopia received around 500 million NOK last year, and 700 million NOK the year before that.

A Case of Politics or Police?

The Norwegian News Agency NTB have requested to see the communication between the Norwegian embassy in Addis Ababa and Ethiopian authorities concerning the harassment and threats that Tronvoll has been subjected to. They have yet to receive an answer.

State Secretary Jens Frølich Holte writes in a general answer to Tronvoll that he should consider reporting the threats he has received to the police.

“Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, has expressed concern about hate speech and has raised the issue of respect for human rights during talks with Ethiopian authorities. We will continue to do this. Serious threats that are presented through social media is something the police should look at. Such issues should be reported to the police,” Frølich Holte says.

Tronvoll is not too happy about this response. He points to the fact that such a police case most likely ends up being suspended.

“This is why I’ve sent a note of concern to The Norwegian Police Security Service in November last year, asking them to do a risk assessment of my situation. They however declined this, as they claimed it was not within their mandate,” says Tronvoll.

The Ethiopian embassy in Sweden, which is also accredited in Norway, denies any knowledge of death threats against Tronvoll.

Source

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Ethiopia: Journalist Attacked and Threatened With Death

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on February 11, 2021

Evil Abiy Ahmed’s Terrorist Junta in Addis

Ethiopian freelance journalist Lucy Kassa was attacked at her home in Addis Ababa on 8 February by three unidentified armed men in plain clothes who threatened to kill her for her reporting. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the attack and demands the government take urgent steps to ensure her safety.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, said: “The attack on Lucy Kassa is a cowardly and deliberate attack on freedom of expression. The only intention of the attackers is to silence Lucy, so that she will not report on the horrendous atrocities that are being committed in Tigray by both government forces and the TPLF. Journalists must be allowed to do their jobs without any form of intimidation and harassment”.

I Reported On Ethiopia’s Secretive War. Then Came a Knock at My Door

Around 10:30 Monday morning, there was a knock at my door. When I answered, I saw three men I did not recognize. They barged in, knocking me to the floor.

They did not introduce themselves; they didn’t produce any kind of ID or search warrant. They began to ransack my house.

For nearly two years I have been reporting on Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, where government forces last November launched an operation to oust the regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF.

As an ethnic Tigrayan, I have roots in the region. But as a freelance journalist based in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, my motivation is to uncover the truth of a war that has gone mostly unreported because the Ethiopian government has severed communication lines and blocked media and humanitarian access to much of Tigray since the start of its offensive in November.

I had just filed a story to the Los Angeles Times about a Tigrayan woman who was gang-raped by soldiers from Eritrea, who are fighting alongside Ethiopian forces, and held captive for 15 days with almost nothing to eat. The story wasn’t published until today, but it quickly became clear that the men in my house knew about it.

They were wearing civilian clothes but carried guns. They asked me if I had relationships with the TPLF. I told them I had nothing to do with them and don’t support any political group.

In the shadow of the war, Addis Ababa is a tense place for ethnic Tigrayans these days. In Tigray itself, at least six journalists were arrested in the first week of the fighting, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Last month, unidentified gunmen shot and killed a reporter from a state-run TV station in Mekele, the regional capital. The reporter, Dawit Kebede Araya, had previously been detained by police and questioned about his coverage of the war.

The men in my home threatened to kill me if I kept digging into stories about the situation in Tigray. They also harassed me about my past coverage.

They took my laptop and a flash drive that contained pictures I had obtained from a source in the Tigrayan town of Adigrat, which showed evidence of Eritrean soldiers in several villages. Ethiopia and Eritrea officially deny that the troops are inside the country, but my reporting and many other accounts indicate otherwise. The photos I received showed uniformed Eritrean soldiers in their makeshift camps in Tigray, including some in houses they’d seized.

A few days earlier, a therapist who has been treating the rape survivor I wrote about told me that the woman had also received a threatening phone call, warning her not to identify Eritreans as her assailants. The therapist told me to take as much care as possible with the woman’s safety, and pleaded with me to reveal little of her identity in the article.

Before the men left, they warned that things would be harder for me the next time. On Thursday the Ethiopian government issued a statement saying I was not a “legally registered” journalist, an attempt to discredit my work.

I no longer feel safe here. I have only my Ethiopian passport, and leaving the country is difficult anyway because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I worry the men might return, searching for more evidence of a war Ethiopia has tried to keep quiet.

Source

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Ethiopia in Israel

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 26, 2012

The scene in the above video is taken from one of the most influential and beautiful movies, “Exodus” (1960)

After the 22 July 1946 „King David“ hotel bombing to exonerate Jewish zeal and to evoke a sense of Christian forgiveness for acts of post-Holocaust Jewish violence. In this case, ‘Dov’ Shakes off British security men by weaving in and out of Jerusalem’s Ethiopian Church and hiding behind Christian relics and clergy processions.

The Brilliant Ruth Gruber, Photojournalist (1911 – )

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman learned that the Jewish survivors in the refugee camps of the American Zone of Germany were living under appalling conditions. As one historian observed, the camps “differed from the Nazi camps only in that the inmates were not deliberately exterminated.”

Truman pressed the British to accept 100,00 Jewish refugees into Palestine. The British responded by proposing to create a joint Committee of Inquiry to visit the displaced person (DP) camps in Germany and then go to North Africa and Palestine to asses the feasibility of resettling the Jewish Dps there.

Having finished her resettlement work with the Jewish refugees at Fort Ontario, New Yourk, Ruth Gruber packed up her Camera, notebooks and typewriter and followed the Joint Committee as a correspondent for the New York Post, Gruber reported in her dispatches, the survivors greeted its members with signs like “We want to go. We must go. We will go to Palestine.” When asked why he wanted to go to Palestine, a sixteen-year-old orphan who had survived Bergen-Belsen replied, “Why? Everybody has a home. The British. The Americans. The French. The Russians. Only we Jews have no home. Don’t ask us. Ask the world.”

The committee members spent four months in Europe. Palestine and the Arab countries and another month in Switzerland digesting their experiences. At the end of their deliberations, the twelve members– six Britons and six Americans—unanimously agreed that Britain should allow 100,00 Jewish immigrants to settle in Palestine. The celebrations that followed in the camps were soon stilled, however, when the British foreign minister. Ernes Bevin, rejected this finding.

Eventually, the United Nations took up the issue. The UN appointed a Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). Like its predecessor, UNSCOP visited the camps in Germany and then went on to the Arab states and Palestine. Gruber accompanied UNSCOP as a correspondent for the New York Herald. While in Jerusalem, she learned that a former American pleasure boat, renamed the Exodus 1947, had attempted to bring 4,500 Jewish refugees to Palestine– including 600 children, mostly orphans – but had been intercepted by five British destroyers and a cruiser. Gruber left immediately for Haifa and witnessed the Exodus entering the harbor, looking, as Gruber wrote, “like a matchbox splintered by a nutcrackes.”

During the “battle,” the British had rammed the Exodus and stormed it with guns, tear gas and truncheons. The crew, mostly Jews from America and Palestine, had fought back with potatoes, sticks and cans of kosher meat. The Exodus’s second officer, Bill Bernstein of San Francisco, was clubbed to death trying to prevent a British soldier from entering the wheelhouse. Two orphans were killed, one shot in the face after he threw an orange at a soldier.

When she learned that the prisoner from the Exodus were being transferred to Cyprus, Gruber flew there overnight. While waiting for the Exodus detainees, she photographed Jewish prisoners from earlier landing attempts living behind barbed wire in steaming hot tents with almost no water or sanitary facilities. “You had to smell Cyprus to believe it,” she cabled the Herald.

The British changed their plans and sent the Exodus prisoners to Port de Bouc in southern France, where they had initially embarked. Gruber rushed there from Cyprus. When the prison ships arrived, the prisoners refused to disembark. After eighteen days in which the refugees endured the blistering heat, the British decided to send the Jews back to Germany. The world press was outraged. While hundreds of journalists descended on Port de Bouc, only Gruber was allowed by the British to accompany the Dps back to Germany.

Aboard the prison ship Runnymeade Park, Gruber photographed the refugees defiantly raising a British flag that they overpainted with a swastika. Her photo bacame Life Magazine’s “Picture of the Week.” Crushed together on the sweltering ship making their way back to Germany., the refugees sang “Hatikvah,” the Hebrew anthem of hope. Gruber’s book about the DP’s endurance would later provide Leon Uris with material for his book and screenplay Exodus, which helped turn American public opinion in favor of Israel.

In 1951, Gruber married, gave birth to two children, and suspended her journalistic travels. She wrote for Hadassah Magazine and raised funds for UJA. In the 1970s, she visited Israel, where she wrote a biography, Raquela, that won a National Jewish Book Award. In 1985, at age seventy-four, Gruber traveled to Ethiopia, where she observed the aliyah of that nation’s Jews to Israel.

Gruber’s journey to Ethiopia completed a cycle that had begun with her voyage to Italy in 1944 to bring 1,000 Jewish refugees to Fort Ontario. In 2001, a television network dramatized her life in a two-part broadcast. Today, Ruth Gruber lives in New York City; she stands as a symbol of hope for Jews in danger anywhere in the world.

(Source: Blessings of freedom: chapters in American Jewish history by Michael Feldberg)

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