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  • The irony of the presence of Egyptian troops gathering on the Eritrean-Sudanese border over its objection to Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam is not lost on legal experts aware of Egypt’s direct responsibility in signing away Sudan’s and its own legal right to permanent access to the Nile river waters.

    In recent weeks, Egypt’s displeasure has turned to desperation at being unable to secure guarantees that its 80 per cent share of water would remain intact even after the dam is set to begin operating.  Together with United Arab Emirates’ assistance, Egypt has reportedly stationed troops in Eritrea’s Sana port in preparation to strike the Ethiopian Dam before a single megawatt of power can be produced.

    Although, Eritrea has denied the build-up of Egypt’s military on its soil, recent talks between Eritrean and Egyptian presidents and separately between Eritrea and UAE have taken place. In response, Sudan, renowned for its intelligence gathering capabilities, has closed its border with Eritrea and has sealed all points of entry and exit. The events are unprecedented and show no signs of de-escalating.

    Media reports of a failed Egyptian attempt to sign a unilateral agreement with Ethiopia, bypassing Sudanese involvement, was dismissed by Egyptian media as “fake news”, but has served to fuel speculation that Cairo is looking for a new deal and is prepared to seize the Sudanese share of the Nile water in the process.

    Read: The assassination of Egypt’s Nile

    However, observers have been quick to point out that a meeting held to the exclusion of Sudan between then Ethiopian President, Meles Zenawi, and Egyptian Prime Minister, Hisham El-Sherif, in May of 2011 led to the agreement to commission the Renaissance Dam in the first place.

    By the time Egypt’s and Ethiopia’s Ministers of Irrigation visited Khartoum to agree on a technical committee for the dam’s construction it was clear to Sudanese legal water expert, Dr Ahmed Al-Mufti, who later resigned from the committee overseeing the project, that the agreement was irretrievably flawed. Doubts surfaced about the project’s legal veracity; most alarmingly the question of the rightful allocation and entitlement of the shares of Nile water had been completely overlooked.

    “Despite the presence of agreements stemming from meetings held as far back as 1995 to 2007 between the eight members of the Nile Basin about sharing the Nile waters, the meeting held in Khartoum between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt completely ignored legal entitlements to the water under international law and to my horror solely focused on the technical framework and specifications of the dam,” Al-Mufti told Al Jazeera news network in December 2015.

    Moreover, Al-Mufti pointed out that the failure to agree a legal allocation of water before beginning the project meant that current and future generations of Egyptian and Sudanese citizens face the real possibility of being completely denied access to the use of the Nile – a move that threatened the lives of more than 135 million people. Sudan’s underground water supply may allow its population to access fresh drinking water, but Egypt’s population of 93 million could die of thirst!

    Read: Sudan and Egypt are one

    However, this doomsday scenario did not seem to be at the forefront of the leaders’ minds when in March 2015 the three presidents signed a tri-partisan agreement effectively giving Ethiopia legal authority over the production of the 6,400 megawatts of electricity; sovereignty over the generation of the electricity, effectively meant sovereignty over the water that produces the power!

    The signed agreement did three things that irreversibly threatens the livelihood of Sudan and Egypt: first, it effectively overrides the provisions of the 2010 Entebbe agreement, the 1959 water act and the 1947 British act, which allocated water share and protected the rights of water users; second, it made the terms of the new agreement non-binding and self-regulatory and third, it mandated that disputes between the parties could only be settled by trilateral mutual agreement.

    The effect of the agreement meant that there was no binding legal treaty on water share. The non-binding, self-regulatory nature of the accord meant that any country was free to withdraw in the future from the deal at any time and there was no legal recourse given to any party to solve disputes through arbitration or mediation of a third party.

    Read: Sudan says faces ‘threat’ on Egypt-Eritrea border

    Sudan now finds itself in the invidious position of having to separate two conflicting opposing sides while trying to safeguard its own interests. Sunday’s meeting between Ethiopian and Sudanese foreign minsters confirmed the concerns about dangers looming on the Eastern border, “Sudan doesn’t talk about a specific build-up by a specific country, but we are talking about a threat to our territories from the eastern border,” Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour told a joint news conference with his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu in Khartoum.

    The building of the dam will produce much needed electricity for the Nile Basin region but unless the 2015 Declaration of Principles is redrafted to set a legally binding allocation of the Nile waters and prevent the monopoly of the water by one country, the prospect of the dam being destroyed and the parties concerned going to war remains a highly realistic and potentially disastrous possibility.

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    • Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt among celebrities who adopted Ethiopian child.

    • Rights groups warn adoption system can easily be infiltrated by child traffickers.

    • US couple found guilty of starving and beating adopted Ethiopian girl to death

    Ethiopia has banned adoption of children by foreigners amid mounting concerns that youngsters are being abused and neglected by their new families.

    The east African country is one of the main sources for adoptions by US citizens. More than 15,000 Ethiopian children have been adopted by US parents since 1999, the BBC reported.

    Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are among celebrities who have adopted a child in Ethiopia. They adopted their second daughter, Zahara, from an orphanage in Addis Ababa in 2005.

    But adopting a child from Ethiopia is no longer an option for foreigners.

    On Tuesday (9 January), the Ethiopian parliament approved legislation banning international adoptions.

    Lawmakers said that it was introduced to shield Ethiopian children from abuse and neglect.

    The issue was thrust into the limelight in 2013 when US couple Larry and Carri Williams were found guilty of starving and beating their adopted Ethiopian daughter to death.

    Hana Williams, 13, was found dead in the backyard of their home in Washington state in 2011. The couple were also found guilty of the assault of a younger boy they had adopted from Ethiopia.

    Human rights campaigners have long argued that the adoption system in Ethiopia could easily be infiltrated and manipulated by child traffickers.

    Several Western countries have suspended adoption from Ethiopia over concerns of corruption within the system and its susceptibility to human trafficking.

    In 2016, Denmark banned adoption from Ethiopia. Denmark's social and interior minister Karen Elleman said that her government did not "have the confidence" that Ethiopian adoptions "live up to the requirements we have in regards to the adoption process".

    Several Ethiopian MPs raised concerns about the new legislation and argued that there were not enough facilities in place in Ethiopia to house and safeguard vulnerable children.

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      “ከመንግስት የሚጠበቀው አዝኛለሁ ብቻ አይደለም”
                   አቡነ ቀውስጦስ

       የሠላም ባለቤት እግዚአብሔር ነው፡፡ ለዚህም በሃገራችን ሠላም እንዲሠፍን ፈጣሪን በምህላ ፀሎት እየለመንን ነው፡፡ የኛ ትልቁ መሣሪያችን ይሄ ነው፡፡ አደራ ተሠጥቶታል የተባለው መንግስት ደግሞ ሃገሪቱን በእኩልነት መምራትና ማስተዳደር አለበት፡፡ አጥፊዎችን ለህግ እያቀረበ ስርአት ማስያዝ አለበት፡፡ ተጎጂዎቹን ደግሞ ቦታ ቦታ ማስያዝ ይገባዋል፡፡ ዝም ብሎ ከዳር ሆኖ እንደ ማንኛውም ሰው አዝኛለሁ ቢል አይሆንም፡፡ ሃላፊነትና ግዴታ አለበት፡፡ እንደ ሌላ ሃገር መንግስታት፣ እሱም አብሮ የሃዘን መግለጫ ማስተላለፍ አይጠበቅበትም። ሃዘኑ እንዳይደርስ የመከላከል ስራ መስራት ግዴታው ነው፡፡ አንድነትን ማፅናት ስራው ነው፡፡ ድሮም የተፈራው ይህ አይነቱ ግጭት እንዳይመጣ ነበር፡፡ በጎጥ መለያየት ጥሩ አይደለም፤ጥንቃቄ ይደረግበት ስንል ጮኸናል፡፡ የፈራነው ነው እየደረሰ ያለው። አሁንም ሳይስፋፋ መከላከል ያስፈልጋል፡፡ የዚህ ሃላፊነት ያለበት ደግሞ መንግስት ነው፡፡
     አዝማሚያው ከተስፋፋ ኢትዮጵያ የለችም ማለት ነው፡፡ እኔ በ1999 ስለዚህ ጉዳይ የፃፍኩት መፅሐፍ አለ፡፡ በወቅቱ አስጊ መሆኑን ተናግረናል፡፡ መንግስት ብሄርን ከብሄር የሚያጋጭ ሥራ መስራት የለበትም፡፡  አንዳንዶቹ ቤተክርስቲያናችንን እያፈረሱ ነው፡፡ ይሄ  ከፈጣሪ ጋር ያጣላናል፡፡ በጣም የሚያሳዝን ነገር ነው እየሆነ ያለው፤ እያለቀስን ነው። መንግስት ትኩረት ሊሰጥበት ይገባል፡፡
    ይሄን ስንል የተቃዋሚ ፓርቲ አባል ናቸው እንባላለን፡፡ ይሄ ደግሞ አያዋጣም፡፡ ሃገሪቱ አንድነቷ ፀንቶ፣ ልማት ሰፍኖ፣ ስደተኞች ወደ ሃገራቸው ተመልሰው ማየት ነው ምኞታችን፡፡ ስልጣን የያዘ አካል ደግሞ በሥነ ስርአት መምራት አለበት፡፡
    አጥፊዎችን ችላ እያለ፣ ህዝብን እርስ በእርስ ማፋጀት የለበትም፡

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    በሽብርተኝነት ወንጀል ተከሰው በእነ ብርጋዴን ጄኔራል ተፈራ ማሞ የክስ መዝገብ ጉዳያቸው ሲታይ የነበረው ዶ/ር ብርሃኑ ነጋ እና የአንዳርጋቸው ጽጌ የመኖሪያ ቤት በሃራጅ እንዲሸጥ ፍርድ ቤት ውሳኔ መስጠቱ ይታወሳል፡፡

    በመሆኑም የፍርድ ባለመብት የሆነው የፌደራል ዐቃቤ ህግ እና የፍርድ ባለእዳዎች በእነ ዶ/ር ብርሃኑ ነጋ መካከል ስላለው የፍርድ አፈጻጸም ጉዳይ የፌደራል የመጀመሪያ ደረጃ ፍርድ ቤት በመዝገብ ቁጥር 175740 ሰኔ 24/10/2003 ዓ.ም በዋለው ችሎት ቤታቸው በሃራጅ ተሸጦ ለፍርድ ባለመብት ይከፈል በማለት ትዕዛዝ አስተላልፏል፡፡በዚህም መሰረት የፍርድ ባለመብት የፌደራል ዐቃቤ ህግ ሲሆን የፍርድ ባለዕዳዎች ደግሞ
    1ኛ. ዶር ብርሃኑ ነጋ እና
    2ኛ.አንዳርጋቸው ጽጌ ናቸው፡፡

    በኢ.ፌ.ዴ.ሪ ጠቅላይ ፍርድ ቤት የፌዴራል ፍርድ ቤቶች የፍርድ አፈጻጸም ዳይሬክቶሬት ጥቅምት 11 ቀን 2010 ዓ.ም በአዲስ ዘመን ጋዜጣ ባወጣው የሀራጅ ሽያጭ ማስታወቂያ መሰረት በቦሌ ክፍለ ከተማ በአዲስ መንደር የቤት ስራ አክሲዮን ማህበር ውስጥ ያሉ በሽንሻኖ ቁጥር A7(ኤ ሰባት) በመባል የሚታወቅና በጅምር ላይ ያለና ግንባታው ያልተጠናቀቀ ሪል እስቴት የዶ/ር ብርሃኑ ነጋ ሲሆን የቦታው ስፋትም 613 (ስድስት መቶ አስራ ሶስት) ካሬ ሜትር ነው ተብሏል፡፡

    መኖሪያ ቤቱ ለሀራጅ ጨረታ የቀረበበት መነሻ ዋጋም 344,949 (ሶስት መቶ አርባ አራት ሺህ ዘጠኝ መቶ አርባ ዘጠኝ) ሲሆን ታህሳስ 2 ቀን 2010 ዓ.ም በተካሄደው ግልጽ የሆነ የሀራጅ ሽያጭ ጨረታ 6,380,000 (ስድስት ሚሊዮን ሶስት መቶ ሰማንያ ሺህ ) ብር ተሽጦ ለመንግስት ገቢ ሆኗል ሲል በፌዴራል ጠቅላይ ዐቃቤ ህግ የፍትሀብሄር ፍትህ አስተዳደር ዳይሬክቶሬት አስታውቋል፡፡

    ከዚሁ ጋር ተያይዞ የፌዴራል ፍርድ አፈጻጸም መምሪያ የፍርድ ባለመብት የሆነው የፌደራል ዐቃቤ ህግ በ4/02/03 ዓ.ም በተጻፈ የንብረት ዝርዝር ላይ በ1ኛ የፍርድ ባለዕዳ ስም የተመዘገቡ ንብረቶች ማለትም የተለያዩ አክሲዮኖች፣ክሊኒክ፣መኪና እና ቴሌ ሴንተር ንብረቶች በሀራጅ ተሸጠው ለመንግስት ገቢ እንደሚሆኑ የፍርድ ቤቱ ውሳኔ ያትታል፡፡

    በሌላ በኩል ደግሞ በቂርቆስ ክፍለ ከተማ የሚገኘው የአቶ አንዳርጋቸወ ጽጌ የመኖሪያ ቤት ከላይ በተጠቀሰው የሀራጅ ሽያጭ ማስታወቂያ መሰረት የሀራጅ መነሻ ዋጋ 361,999 (ሶስት መቶ ስልሳ አንድ ሺህ ዘጠኝ መቶ ዘጠና ዘጠኝ ብር) ሲሆን 73 ካሬ ሜትር እንደሆነም ታውቋል፡፡በተካሄደው የጨረታ ውድድርም በ1000,000 (በአንድ ሚሊዮን ብር) ተሸጦ ለመንግስት ገቢ እንዲሆን ተደርጓል፡፡

    በመሆኑም የሁለቱ የፍርድ ባለዕዳዎች የመኖሪያ ቤት በተደረገው የሀራጅ ሽያጭ 7,380,000 (ሰባት ሚሊዮን ሦስት መቶ ሰማኒያ ሺህ) ብር ለመንግስት ገቢ መሆኑን መረጃውን ያጠናቀረው የፌዴራል ጠቅላይ ዐቃቤ ህግ የህዝብ ግንኙነትና የኮሙኒኬሽን ጉዳዮች ዳይሬክቶሬት ዘገባ ያስረዳል።


    Source: DireTube

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    የኢህአዴግ ሥራ አስፈጻሚ ኮምቴ ትልልቅ ውሳኔዎችን ያስተላልፈበታል የተባለው ስብሰባ ላይ እንደተቀመጠ ነው። የስብሰባውን መራዘም ላስተዋለ ከመቀመጥ ይልቅ ‘መወዘፍ’ የሚለው ቃል ይበልጥ ይገልጸዋል። ስብሰባው ስለምን እየመከረ ነው? ለምንስ የተራዘመ ሆነ? ጽ

    ማህበራዊ ድረገጾች ተመልከቱ። በስብሰባው ቃልአቀባዮች ተወርሮ ታገኙታላችሁ። እንደህዝብ ስልክ ሳንቲም ሲገባባቸው የሚጮሁት አንዳንድ ብሎገር ተብዬዎች እነለማ መገርሳን እየረገሙ፣ የእነአብዲ አስተዛዛኝ፣ መግለጫ ጸሐፊና አሰራጭ ሆነዋል። ሌላኛው መሠረቱን አሜሪካና አውሮፓ ያደረገው ክንፍ እነለማ መገርሳንና ገዱ አንዳርጋቸውን አቧድኖ ‘የበለው’ መዝሙሩን እያቀነቀነ ነው። ኢህአዴግ ግን ይህ ሁሉ ሲሆን ‘ ጥሪ አይቀበልም’ ብሎ፣ በሩን ከርችሞ በግምገማ እርስበርስ እየተሞሸላለቀ ነው። ኢህአዴግ በእኔና በቤተሰቤ፣ በሀገሬ ጉዳይ በዝምታ ታጥሮ፣ ራሱን ላልተጣራ ወሬና አሉባልታ አጋልጦ ስብሰባ የመቀጠሉ ፋይዳ ግን ለሰሚው ሁሉ ግራ ነው።

    ከሁለት ሳምንት በፊት የተካሄደውን የህወሓት ስብሰባ አስታውሱ። የእነወ/ ሮ አዜብ መታገድ ጭምር አስቀድሞ የነገረን ማህበራዊ ሚድያው ነው። ያው ሰዎቹ የሚሾሙትን፣ የሚያባርሩትን…ፈጽመው ለመግለጫ አደባባይ ሲወጡ ብዙ ሰው ባረጀው ዜናቸው ስቋል። አሁንም እየሆነ፣ እየተፈጸመ ያለው ተመሳሳይ ነው።

    የኢህአዴግ የበዛ ምስጢራዊነት ከመረጃ ዘመኑ ጋር አብሮ የሚሄድ አይደለም። ወቅታዊ መረጃ ያለው ህዝብ የነቃና መነሻና መድረሻውን የሚያውቅ የመሆኑ ጉዳይ አስረጅ አያስፈልገውም።በተቃራኒው መረጃ የተነፈገና ለአሉባልታ የተጋለጠ ህዝብ ስጉና ለሽብር የተጋለጠ መሆኑ እንዲሁ።

    በቅርቡ ጠቅላይ ሚኒስትር አቶ ሀይለማርያም እንደፌስቡክ ባሉ ማህበራዊ ድረገጶች የሚጳፉ ነገሮች ሁሉ ትክክል አለመሆናቸውን፣ ሕዝብም የሚጳፈውን እንዳያምን ተማጵነው ነበር። ‘መማጰን’ ያልኩት ቢናገሩትም ሰምቷቸው ፊቱን እሳቸው ወደሚፈልጉዋቸው ሚድያዎች የሚመልስ ህዝብ እንደማይኖር አስቀድሞ የታወቀ ነበርና ነው። በዚህ ላይ ጠ/ ሚኒስትሩ ህዝብን ለፌስቡክ አሉባልተኞችና ራሳቸውን የሁሉ ጉዳይ አዋቂና ተንታኝ አድርገው የሾሙ ግለሰቦች ያጋለጠው እሳቸው የሚመሩት ግንባር መሆኑን ግን ረስተውታል። ይህ ግንባር ራሱን ሀሳብን በነጳ ለመግለጵ ነጻነት መከበር የታገለ፣ የተዋደቀ ጀግና አድርጎ ያስቀምጣል፣ ግን ምን ዋጋ አለው፤ ተግባሩ ግን ከወሬው እጅግ የዘገየ ነው።

    እርግጥ ኢህአዴግ አብሮት ባደገው በዚህ ባህርይው መረጃ ማፈኑ አዲስ ነገር የለውም። አዲሱ ነገር ሀገር እንዲህ በነውጥ በሚታመስበት፣ የነገ ሀገር ተረካቢ የሆኑ የዩኒቨርስቲ ወጣት ተማሪዎች ዘርና ጎሳ ለይተው በሚፋለሙበት አሳዛኝ ግዜ ላይ ጭምር የቀጠለ መሆኑ ነው።

    በአሁኑ የኢህአዴግ ስብሰባ እነለማ መገርሳ እና እነገዱ አንዳርጋቸው በአንድ ረድፍ፣ ህወሓቶች በሌላ ረድፍ መሰለፋቸው ተደጋግሞ እየተነገረ ነው። ኢህአዴግ ግን ስለመከፋፈሉም ሆነ አብሮ ስለመሆኑ እስካሁን ትንፍሽ አላለም። ይህ የበዛ ምስጥራዊነት ራሱ ለግንባሩም ቢሆን እየጠቀመው አለመሆኑን ማስታወስ ግን ይኖርብናል።
    ስብሰባው ሊጀመር ሰሞን የኢህአዴግ ጽ/ ቤት ሀላፊው አቶ ሽፈራው ሽጉጤ በመንግሥት መገናኛ ብዙሀን ብቅ ብለው በስብሰባው ትልልቅ ውሳኔዎች እንደሚጠበቁ ሹክ አሉና በዚያው ጠፉ። ሰውየው፤ የስብሰባው አጀንዳ ምንድነው? ስንት ቀን ይቆያል? ካለፉት ስብሰባዎች የሚለየው በምንድነው ለሚሉ ጥያቄዎች ምላሽ ስለመስጠታቸው በግሌ የሰማሁት ነገር የለም።

    እናም ዛሬም ባለን ተባራሪ መረጃ መሠረት የተራዘመ ስብሰባው ቀጥሏል። ማህበራዊ ድረገጱም አለኝ በሚለው መረጃ ትንታኔ እንደተጠመደ ነው። እናም ነገሮች ቦክተው ከተጨማለቁ በሀላ ኢህአዴግ አለሁ ቢል እንደሀገር ጥቅም የለውም። እናም ኢህአዴግ ሆይ ምስጥራዊነቱ ይብቃህ! ተከሰትና ስለክፍፍልህም ሆነ አንድነትህ ተናገር!!!


    source DireTube

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    How reconnecting with my roots gave me a greater sense of purpose!


    Izzy Bizu, Contributor
    Singer, songwriter

    Ethiopia, my beautiful chaos. Walking through colourful markets, I smell leather, brilliant white cotton, coffee and a sea of vibrant beads inspired by tribes that made our country what it is today. There is nothing like the gift of the human touch, derived from a history that boasts pure workmanship and artistry made on the side of our cobbled streets. I smile to myself when I see that our coffee has made it half way around the world, but sometimes I wonder how much our farmers are really appreciated. Do they know how much it is all worth? And do their living standards correspond to that?

    I find it interesting how we can enjoy such things as we were lucky enough to be born in the right place at the right time. We reap and thrive off the labour of others. It’s not because we are bad people but because for some of us, our eyes can be clouded when we have been canoodled in such a warm fuzzy womb. This is why it is important to me to go back and ask questions and find out what it really means to live in Ethiopia. I’m delighted to say that I have been corresponding with the Samuel Trust, I’ve been incredibly impressed with some of the jewelry the girls have been making and I look forward to meeting them all when I go to Ethiopia next month. 

    I have heard many stories passed down from my mother; some of them are beautifully comical and some are painful. She grew up in the revolution, where her innocence was stolen and she experienced loss and trauma at the same time. She worked incredibly hard, as her brothers and sisters did, and has become one of the strongest women I know. Later in life, my father signed up for the “save the children” trust. After a month or so, he came across a souvenir shop where my mother had been working and could not stop visiting her. They became good friends and would comfort one another in their struggles. She was due an arranged marriage but as an determined adolescent, had no plan to follow through once she met my father.


    That leads me to when she decided to leave to go to London with my father, and after living together for a few years they had my brother and I. Growing up, we would go on family holidays together every year to Ethiopia. What a world, I felt, as if we’d gone back in time. Vintage Volkswagens, no sign of McDonald’s and raw meet hanging on a hook in a market we passed in the car. Big brown eyes would watch me. I looked different ― little and pale ― and yet when I spoke the few words I knew “dananesh” the locals realized this was my home too.

    My brother and I were taken on our first road trip together with our with our cousins. First stop was Debroset, where we went go-karting. It was my favourite thing to do, especially with Edward. The engines where impressive, loud and we’d drift round the entire trail and slide into each other competitively.

    Next, Lake Langano, which was a good four hours away. To kill time, we would make up card games whilst listening to Shakira’s new album. I remember needing a toilet stop, and when I got out of the car the waitress pointed to a hole in the ground. That’s when I realized life was different here, but I laughed and appreciated the simplicity of it. Edward said “what were you expecting something gold plated”. I laughed and said, “of course not.” On the upside, I loved stopping to buy fruit and veg on the road side. This may have been the happiest and content I’ve ever felt.

    Happiness here was about making the most of what you had, which truly meant enjoying the present. Wishing for things you can’t have in the moment, spending your whole life chasing something that may not even be satisfying when you get it; what’s the point when you can lose yourself in music, shake your hips and shoulders inside a manmade hut, eating fruit picked from your Grandma’s tree and just loving people without any motive or expectation. Yes, they don’t have everything, but they have soul, and to me that is priceless.

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    New Rumblings In The Horn Of Africa Over Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam


    Cairo recently reiterated its longstanding position that it’s against Addis Ababa’s construction of this megaproject on the Blue Nile river through which it receives most of its water, believing that the dam would allow Ethiopia to control downstream Egypt’s access to this resource and thus place it in a strategically vulnerable position. The Horn of African state hit back at the latest criticism by stating that it won’t be thwarted in carrying out this nationally important development project, and it also refuted the rumors which claimed that Qatar was partially funding the dam. Egypt’s latest infowar campaign against Ethiopia’s initiative is thought to be fueled in part by Sudan’s strategic realignment towards Addis Ababa in this dispute and more broadly in a larger Silk Road context, which has totally changed the dynamics and correspondingly placed Cairo on the defensive.

    This simmering situation is much bigger than its trilateral format would suggest because it’s taken on contours of the Gulf Cold War over the past couple of months. Qatar worked quickly to patch up its previously rough relationship with Ethiopia ever since the Saudi-led but Emirati-orchestrated effort to “isolate” Doha on purported anti-terrorist pretexts, while at the same time its pro-Egyptian UAE former partner doubled down on its military presence in Ethiopia’s neighboring rival of Eritrea and the self-declared statelet of “Somaliland” on the pretense of using their territories to aid in the disastrous War on Yemen. Altogether, a dangerous trend is emerging whereby the Gulf Cold War is expanding to the Horn of Africa in seeing an Emirati-aligned Egypt encouraged by its GCC partners to behave more bellicosely towards a Qatari-backed Ethiopia, with the Grand Renaissance Dam becoming a transregional symbol of proxy discord.

    Egypt knows that it will forever remain dependent on Ethiopia in the event that the project is completed, which would in turn place the world’s most populous Arab state and the GCC’s top non-Gulf ally under the influence of Qatar’s allies in Addis Ababa, something which is unacceptable for both President Sisi and his monarchic sponsors so long as Doha is perceived as supporting the Muslim Brotherhood that threatens them all. Short of any formal state-to-state conflict, Egypt and the UAE could use Eritrea as a launching pad for organizing anti-government destabilization efforts against Ethiopia, something that Cairo is already suspected of doing when it comes to Addis Ababa’s concerns that they’ve been manipulating the country’s centrally positioned and most populous plurality of the Oromo to that end.

    Should proxy warfare operations heat up in the Horn of Africa, then the implications could be geopolitically profound because they could endanger China’s Silk Road railway through Djibouti to the Ethiopian capital, which could in turn offset the spread of multipolarity to this strategic region. Amidst all of this, Sudan’s crucial position between the two most directly competing parties will become all the more important as a “balancing” force, but it will more than likely take China’s discrete Great Power diplomatic involvement to alleviate interstate tensions just like it decisively did between Bangladesh and Myanmar last week.

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    Carving churches out of rock using only a hammer and chisel may seem extraordinary to us, but for those living in rural areas of Ethiopia, it’s simply an expression of faith.

    “It’s hard work … literally,” says University of Toronto Professor Michael Gervers, an expert on Ethiopian history.

    Gervers, a professor in the department of historical and cultural studies at U of T Scarborough, received a grant in 2015 from the Arcadia Fund to preserve digitally the knowledge and technique of how Ethiopia’s rock-cut churches are made. Since then, he’s travelled to Ethiopia three times and uncovered 20 modern churches across the country.

    His work has attracted the attention of descendants of Ethiopian royalty. Last week, Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, the grandson of the country’s last ruling emperor, awarded Gervers the Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia in recognition of his research.

    “I was impressed by his passion and love for the country,” Haile-Selassie says. “It exposes the richness of Ethiopia’s culture and traditions, especially in its Christian form, to the world.”

    There are hundreds of rock-cut churches scattered throughout Ethiopia, some dating as far back as the 12th century, with a few containing the finest examples of monumental stonework found anywhere in the world. The Church of St. George in Lalibela is one such example. As a world heritage site, it has long been heralded as a national treasure, but many thought the practice of carving churches from rock had all but disappeared 500 years ago. Even scholars of Ethiopian culture didn’t seem to know it was still taking place in remote areas of the country.

    “Scholars and government officials didn’t seem to know it was happening. Even some church officials seemed surprised it was taking place,” says Gervers.

    Since most of the modern rock-cut churches are being made in rural areas, the only way to find out more is to visit them. Often this involves travelling from village to village, and, once there, asking the craftsmen if they know of others that are being built, notes Gervers.

    There’s a very practical reason why churches are carved out of rock in Ethiopia: Sandstone is abundant, a legacy of the country once being entirely covered by the sea. Other building materials like wood, steel and concrete are expensive and hard to come by, especially in rural areas. If done properly, a rock-cut church can also last much longer than a church built of other materials.

    “It’s a very practical solution, especially since sandstone is relatively easy to carve compared to other types of stone,” Gervers says.

    That’s not to say carving a church out of sandstone is easy. A typical crew using only hammer and chisel will carve out 50 centimetres of rock on a good day. Carving a church 15 metres square by four metres high can take two years of non-stop work, but often progress is slowed by a lack of funds or workers.

    What’s even more remarkable is that most of the craftsmen involved have no formal training in carving churches. Many are local day labourers who work on roads or other buildings

    What unites them all in building these churches is their faith. “Most of the time you come across a priest, a monk, or even a hermit who has decided that God has called him to carve a church and they start chiselling away,” Gervers says.

    The grant has covered three seasons of fieldwork in addition to video recordings and transcriptions of interviews with the craftsmen. The material, a portion of which is already online, will be available for 20 years as part of the grant. Gervers also has an online database of Ethiopian art and culture that contains more than 65,000 images he’s collected over decades of research.

    As for what continues to motivate him most about his research, he says it’s as much the physical as the intellectual challenges that come along with it.

    “You don’t go to one of these churches in Ethiopia without breaking a sweat,” he says.

    Most of the churches are carved into the side of hills or mountains. Gervers has even had to scale down a sheer cliff on a rope to access a church.

    “It’s a challenge, but I’m perfectly happy in that environment,” he says. “Other than basic food and water, I don’t crave much in life. What motivates me most is seeing this project through.”

    Source: University of Toronto

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    “Ethiopia is prepared to share Abbay (the Blue Nile) with its neighbors in a fair and equitable manner. Ethiopia’s primary responsibility is to use it for the service of its growing population and economy.”  Emperor Haile Selassie, 1964

    The continued assertion by Egypt that it has “a historical and natural right” to exercise hegemony over the waters of the Nile is arrogant, unwise, unfair and very dangerous for Africa.  Egypt fails to appreciate the notion that the era of colonialism is long gone. Ethiopia and the rest of Sub-Saharan African nations have the right to use their water resources in order to modernize their respective economies and to achieve food security for their growing populations. Their positions are supported by international conventions.

    Ethiopia’s historical and natural rights to use its water resources in support of its growing economy and to ensure the food security of its 105 million people is indisputable. This right is supported by the UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1994. The Nile Basin Initiative to which Ethiopia is a party supports its legitimate rights.

    More specifically, this Convention states clearly that “Watercourse States shall in their respective territories utilize an international watercourse in an equitable and reasonable manner.” Egypt built the Aswan Dam to support its economy and ensure its food security needs. It harnessed the waters of the Nile to feed its growing population and supported its industries, including its cotton production and textile factories etc.

    On the other hand and for and for decades, the primary sources of Nile waters, especially Ethiopia, asserted their legal rights to use the waters within their own or respective territories. However, they lacked the political will and the capacity to build major hydroelectric or irrigation dams. Against this background, Egypt enjoyed absolute monopoly over Nile waters and claimed incontestable “historical and natural rights” on natural resources over which it had no legitimacy. The colonial system was on its side. Sub-Saharan African countries with legitimacy over their waters began to claim their rightful place only in the last two decades. The emerging Sub-Saharan Africa that Egypt fails to recognize and accept is a reality with which Egyptian authorities have to deal. Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda are among riparian countries with strategic stakes in the Nile River.

    I acknowledge the Egyptian contention that access to Nile waters is a matter of “life and death.” Equally, future modernization and food security for Ethiopia is a matter of “life and death” and a must for its national security. Looking ahead, population sizes and economic potential and output of Ethiopia and other Sub-Saharan African countries that have vital stakes in Nile waters far exceed that of Egypt. The lives and wellbeing of the people of these courtiers matter as much as the lives of the Egyptian people. Parity is therefore vital for all concerned. Continued hegemony by Egypt is not the same as equitable use and parity. No Sub-Saharan African government worthy of its name will accept the gross disparity imposed by Egypt and its colonial masters.

    Egypt needs to recognize that its economy has grown at a faster pace than Ethiopia and other Sub-Saharan African countries in part due to its agricultural productivity. Nile waters offered it a gift of waters and fertile soils to produce wheat, rice, cotton, corn, beans, fruits and vegetables, sheep, goats and cattle. A bulk of these waters and soils come from the Ethiopian highlands. Therefore, the contemplation of war against Ethiopia or any other Sub-Saharan riparian state would, in the long term, is self-defeating. It undermine Egypt’s national interests. Riparian states have the potential to divert waters from rivers and streams for irrigated farming over which Egypt would have no control. It can’t possibly occupy Ethiopia militarily.

    I pointed out in a series of five commentaries on the subject that, Ethiopia has an unquestionable right to use its water resources for the betterment of its population. Ethiopia’s future food security and the prosperity of its population will depend on its ability to harness its water resources for irrigated farming as well as for generating electricity primarily for domestic use. The conception of building hydroelectric and irrigation dams is nothing new. Studies were conducted and options for building dams were conceived under Emperor Haile Selassie. The conception for the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) began during this period. The Derg tried its best to realize this objective. The regime was conflict-ridden. It also lacked the political will as well as the requisite capital to undertake a major hydroelectric of irrigation dam on the Abbay River.

    Emperor Haile Selassie’s assertion in 1964 is therefore the fundamental foreign policy principle that guides Ethiopia’s claims to use the Abbay River. Regardless of regime change in Ethiopia, this fundamental principle remains sacrosanct and incontestable. Article 5 (2) of the UN Convention provides the legal framework for equitable use.” This provision contradicts Egypt’s recurrent and unreasonable claim of “historical and natural” rights under which Egypt consumes enormous quantities of water at the expense of Ethiopia and other Sub-Saharan African counties.

    Egypt and the Sudan assumed the bulk of Nile waters at the exclusion of Ethiopia and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. On November 19, 2017, Mohammed Nabil Helmi quoted President Abdul Fattah al Sisi (see Asharq Al-Awsat) that Egypt’s share of Nile water was “a matter of life or death.” He meant that no one will affect Egypt’s long-standing national position of preeminence over Nile water. At the heart of his assertion is Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam that is more than 60 percent complete.

    The “life and death” assertion was made at a development event on the Nile, where Egypt inaugurated the largest fish farm in the Middle East. “The water of Egypt is not a subject for discussion, and I assure you, no one can touch Egypt’s water” said President Sisi. This utterance is exactly the same as the one voiced by the former President of Egypt, Morsi. He too feared that the construction of the GERD will affect the flow of waters to Egypt.

    The completion of the GERD is inevitable; and the fear that water levels to Egypt will decrease substantially not backed by technical analysis. The dam generates electric power. It would have a devastating effect on Egypt if used for massive irrigation in Ethiopia. In any event, and in the   long-term, Ethiopia cannot afford to commit itself to a national policy of no dams for irrigation. Such a position will be suicidal; and the Ethiopian people won’t declare “war on their survival” just because Egypt is used to a massive share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of waters to sustain its agricultural sector including fish farming. So, the issue goes beyond the completion of the GERD.

    Egypt must tame its voracious appetite for waters that it does not own or produce on its own spaces.  It must scale back its use and must negotiate terms and conditions that are fair and equitable. The option of war is not the solution. Nor is Egyptian interference in the internal affairs of Ethiopia or any other Sub-Saharan African country. The realistic and sustainable option is to negotiate fair and equitable deals with upstream riparian countries.

    To my knowledge, Egypt did not stipulate during talks in March 2015, that Ethiopia is obliged to cease the construction of the GERD. Egypt’s persistence and insistence to adhere to old colonial rules under the frightful utterance of “life and death” while using a disproportionate amount of waters is unreasonable and unjust.

    I find it quite ironic that President Sisi intends to support Ethiopia’s development efforts while strangulating it economic life line. He may as well declare that “Ethiopia’s sustainable and equitable development” that relies heavily on agricultural modernization and industrialization is a “matter of life and death” too. The 1959 one sided agreement that granted 55.5 billion cubic meters of waters to Egypt is no longer acceptable. Neither Ethiopia nor other Sub-Saharan African riparian nations are bound by this outdated policy. These Sub-Saharan African countries must stand together in defense of their national interests.

    In summary and as I commented in a March 2015 commentary on the subject, Ethiopia must not accept any foreign interference in its national projects. Regardless of how I and other Ethiopians feel about the current repressive and oppressive government in power in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s rights to its water resources is a matter of “life and death” for 105 million Ethiopians.  

    The government of the United States to which Egypt protested must be careful and cautious that it does not lose sight of the fundamental principle that Ethiopians have as much right to defend their sovereign rights as much as Egypt; and that the only reasonable way out of the impasse is diplomacy and not the drum of war.

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    Spike Lee’s revamp of his 1986 cult classic film, She’s Gotta Have It, dropped on Thanksgiving and we’re obsessed.

    Lee reintroduces Nola Darling, an artist who tries to stay true to her sexual liberation as she juggles three lovers. As we watched the series, we run into, Opal Gilstrap, Nola’s former lover who she eventually runs back to when she takes a break from her triangle of men.

    Opal is one of the few characters in the series who’s a breath of fresh air. She keeps it all the way real with Nola and isn’t afraid to call her out on her selfishness and how it impacts the people she’s intimate with.

    Ilfenesh Hadera is the Ethiopian-American actor who plays Opal so well in the series. You might have seen Hadera star alongside The Rock in the film Baywatch, Lee’s controversial film Chi-Raq, as well as in the TV series Master of None and Billions.

    The New York-native is the daughter of an Ethiopian refugee and an American acupuncturist.

    “I identify as half Ethiopian, half white. I’m equal parts,” she says in an interview with Time. “I hear so many biracial people say, ‘I didn’t know where I fit in.’ But I grew up in Harlem and went to school on the Upper West Side, where half the students looked like me. I consider myself lucky to have lived in this bubble.”

    Before Hadera had her big break, she was on the grind as a waitress for 10 years.

    “You pay your dues. You meet some great people, and it teaches you how to deal with long hours and grump[y] people,” she says in an interview with Coveteur. “It is definitely not glamorous work. I was the low man on the totem pole at The Standard for a year, so I was closing every night that I worked. The things people would say to me if turned away…I can’t even repeat. You take a real bashing.”

    Hadera also identifies strongly with her Ethiopian heritage, and understands the importance of giving back. Soon after her father, Asfaha Hadera, arrived to the U.S. in the late 1970s, he started the African Services Committee, an organization that helps displaced refugees with legal services and community building.

    “I had my first summer job there doing paperwork,” she continues to Time. “You meet the clients and you hear the stories. So, I know how vital the work has been to the lives of thousands of people over the years. We’ve got to look out for one another.”

    We can’t wait to see what’s next for Hadera—she’s definitely an actor to watch.

    Source: OkayAfrica

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