Egyptian General Sisi warns Ethiopia of military action over Dam

August 25, 2013  — General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces and the Egyptian Ministry of Defense, has warned the Ethiopian regime of military action if they continue to build the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, according to local Ethiopian newspapers.

In a brief telephone call made on Saturday, General Sisi reiterated his country can not afford to lose even one drop of Nile water and warned Ethiopian officials that his military is prepared to use force if they did not abandon their plans for the controversial dam.

Egypt, which receives the fewest annual rainfall in Africa,  is concerned that the dam project would damage its ability to deliver drinking water to its over 85 million population. But Ethiopian officials have cemented their position of late and refuse to consider Egypt's dire water shortages.

“The Renaissance Dam is here to stay. It is advisable for all actors of the political establishment in Egypt to come to terms with this reality,” said Getachew Reda, a spokesman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Adding more sense of urgency for Egypt, Ethiopia announced a few weeks ago that it had begun the process of diverting the course of the Blue Nile River to its dam, raising fears over Egypt’s long term water security and stability.

General Abdel Sisi, Commander of the Egyptian military 

Addis Ababa: A city stuck in the dark ages

Addis Ababa returns to the Dark Ages. The city goes a 4th day without power and 3rd day without running water

Addis Ababa: A city stuck in the Dark Ages

It seems many tourists and journalists are complaining Addis Ababa is becoming unbearable to visit. And it's not only the regime's draconian repression or its misguided policies to blame, either. It appears the city residents have adopted a culture of prejudice and rude behavior towards visitors, too.

Recently, Nick Ashdown, a journalist and photographer working in Addis Ababa, tweeted a number of complaints about Addis. Among them that bothered him the most was the electricity and water — two basic components needed to govern a city — have been out for three and two days, respectively.

Since Nick lives and works in Addis, it is understandable this "Ferengi" (white visitor) would seek a companion. However, his descriptions of walking around with an Ethiopian ("Habesha") woman in the city is eerily similar to how black men dating white women were treated in 1920s United States. Among other names, Addis residents called his girlfriend a "slut" and a "traitor".

Due to the failed economic policies of the opressive regime, one out of twelve women in Addis (150,000) have turned to prostitution; a staggering figure that has dubbed Addis the "Bangkok of Africa". Yet, according to Nick, even these ladies of the night are treated better than an Ethiopian woman seen with a white man.

Nick, who formerly lived in Russia for two years, concludes his complaints on Twitter by comparing Addis' citizens' rudeness to Moscow's residents, which according to him, is "the meanest city on Earth."

Over 5,500 Ethiopian Refugees entered Eritrea in July

Ethiopian refugees from Mek'elle inside Eritrea

August 11, 2013  — More than 5,500 Ethiopian refugees have poured across the border into neighboring Eritrea in the month of July, among them families with small children, Ethiopian opposition sources in Asmara have disclosed by phone.

Around 180 Ethiopian refugees have been entering Eritrea each day; with most being under the age of 30. Sources in Asmara have said many of the refugees are coming from Western and Southern Tigray, as well as Gonder.

"We fled a regime that oppresses its people," said Girmay Habte, a 23-year-old engineering student from Mekelle. "All I have is the clothes on my back and my health. I have no future in Ethiopia; it's a giant prison for me."

On average, around 350,000 people flee the country each year, making Ethiopia the biggest producer of refugees on the continent. Despite the large number of people fleeing, little international attention has been shed on the plight of Ethiopian refugees.

Ethiopian refugees crossing into Eritrea
Ethiopian refugees inside Eritrea

Reuter's Aaron Maasho is an Ethiopian regime propagandist

It seems many Ethiopians, Eritreans and Somalis have been complaining about Reuters' Aaron Maasho of late. In a country with no independent media and hundreds of journalists languishing in prisons or forced to flee into exile, people are starting to question whether Aaron's neutrality has been compromised. Indeed, his articles tend to read as if the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry had wrote it himself.  So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Mohammed Ademo, a U.S.-based Ethiopian journalist, writes about Aaron's biases in covering the Ethiopian Muslim demonstrations.

"...I am getting incredibly irritated by his one-sided reports about Ethiopian Muslims‬. I am generally annoyed by ‪AddisAbaba‬-based foreign correspondents, who seem to be afraid to leave the capital, even when there are big stories like the death of over a dozen protesters in Kofele last week or the displacement of hundreds in Benishangul Gumuz, etc. The people of Ethiopia deserve better. Your global audience deserve better. Stop "covering" the entire country as if there are no stories "fit to print" if you did not quote Shimeles Kemal or Bereket Simon. Worse remember there are so many stories, outside of Addis Ababa and federal government, that are waiting to be told. Millions of voices yearning to be heard. After all how is yours different from parachute journalism them? It would be unfair here if I did not mention Bloomberg's William Davison who has gone to the Gumuz region more than once this year and even Kofele most recently.

I am totally fine with official statements, I would quote it too if I were in Aaron's position because I understand the rationale especially given the difficulty of acquiring information in Ethiopia but dear Reuters why devote the entire article to rewriting government talking points in this case? Where is balance? Where is the voice of the protesters? Eyewitness accounts? It seems like Aaron was at Addis Ababa stadium this morning to observe a heavy military presence but why didn't he ask the protesters for comment?

On Kofele, Aaron writes, "government officials said Muslims wielding machetes and arms clashed with police, killing police officers and civilians" – omg should we all be concerned?! These machete wielding monsters are killing police officers? Is that the point, Aaron?! How about doing a simple due diligence and taking the bus down to Kofele? It's a half day trip. Do you need phone numbers for locals, including the family of a child and mother shot by police - with a gun, not machete?"

Ethiopian regime kills 25 peaceful protesters and arrest 1,500 civilians

Picture reportedly taken from the incident

August 3, 2013 - Ethiopian government forces open fire on unarmed demonstrators throughout the country,  killing 25 and injuring dozens more, according to Ethiopian activists who took part in the demonstrations.

One witness says at least one child was among the dead. He also stated government security forces arrested over 1,500 protesters on Friday.

For over a year, Ethiopian Muslims have been holding peaceful protests and mosque sit-ins over the regime's human rights abuses against their community and interference in their religion.

Although the 2007 census claims Muslims make up only 34% of the country's population, one diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity with reporter Simon Allison, said these numbers are skewed to hide the fact that Muslims now make up the majority.