በምድራችን ሴቶች እንዳያሽከረክሩ በመከልከል ብቸኛዋ ሃገር የነበረችው ሳዑዲ አረቢያ ከንጉሱ በመጣ ትዕዛዝ ዕገዳው በዚህ ሳምንት እንዲነሳ እና ከሚመጣው ሰኔ ጀምሮ እንዲተገበር አድርጋለች። ምንም እንኳ ሃገሪቱ ይህን ውሳኔ ብታስተላልፍም አሁንም የሳዑዲ ሴቶች በርካታ ነገሮችን በራሳቸው ከማድረግ የታገዱ ናቸው። Continue reading “የሳዑዲ ሴቶች ማድረግ የማይፈቅድላቸው ነገሮች”
Following a number of murders and other crimes, attempts by some housemaids to kill children and the recent riots in Manfuha in Riyadh and Siteen St. in Jeddah, a large number of Saudi citizens have become wary of the Ethiopian community here. Most Ethiopians are peaceful and law-abiding but the repeated stories about violent acts by Ethiopians have made us wary of them.
The security forces have nabbed more than 60,000 Ethiopian violators in various parts of the Kingdom who were handed over to the department concerned with detaining and deporting expatriates which now belongs to the Directorate General of Prisons. So far, about 30,000 illegal Ethiopians have been deported. The department continues to receive illegal Ethiopians including women and children. It is providing them with food, water and medical care.
Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has operated 21 flights since the start of the crackdown campaign to transport illegal Ethiopians to their country. The airline said that13 flights were made from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah while eight flights were made from King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh.
This is all good news which should have pacified Saudis but in fact it did not. The Ethiopian phobia is still very much alive in Saudi society. This phobia may not be imaginary as it has been reported that a number of security men who were asked by the criminal evidence department to fingerprint Ethiopians accommodated in an old building of Princess Nora University in Riyadh were attacked. The security men had to escape through the openings for air conditioners. They tired to pacify the angry Ethiopians but when they failed they had to run for their lives. Many of them were hurt while attempting to escape.
The ongoing deportation of illegal Ethiopians should relieve Saudis of their fears but in fact it has not done so. The Ethiopian phobia may be with us for quite some time.
In repressive Ethiopia, new ‘Blue Party’ struggles to offer a choice
With 1,000 Ethiopian laborers being sent home daily from Saudi Arabia, the opposition party is channeling popular outrage.
By William Davison, Correspondent / November 21, 2013
Source: Christian Science Monitor
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA
Ethiopia is a definite success story in expert opinion about post-cold war Africa. The civil strife that wreaked havoc and made headlines in the 1980s has disappeared. Investments in roads, health, education, and water have improved the daily life of millions.
Yet Ethiopia’s ruling coalition seems intent on maintaining a tight grip on power until its project to transform Africa’s second-most populous nation into a middle-income country is complete.
That authoritarian control makes any opposition difficult – though of late a group called the Blue Party, made up of young Ethiopians who describe themselves as progressive, have attempted to move, if not shake, the nation’s politics in ways not seen here for a decade or more.
Last week the Blue Party tried to organize a protest outside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Addis Ababa, feeding off widespread public outcry over the treatment of Ethiopian migrants and laborers in the Saudi kingdom. Some 1,000 Ethiopians a day are being deported back home and migrant clashes with police in Riyadh are hitting social media here.
Still, instead of allowing Ethiopians to demonstrate their anger, the government forcefully broke up the protest, upsetting even those normally supportive of the government.
What remains unclear is how much repression the rising educated middle class in cities is willing to ignore in the Horn of Africa regime.
Ethiopia enacted a liberal constitution in 1994 that promised a free press, autonomy for some 80 ethnic groups, and multi-party politics. Yet dissenting journalists have still been jailed, minority groups complain of oppression, and elections are uncompetitive.
In the last vote in 2010, out of 547 seats in parliament, the opposition won one.
Ethiopia has been governed by the multi-ethnic Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front since 1991, when rebel groups overthrew a military regime.
In 2005, the opposition, led by a group called the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, won 173 seats in the first competitive election. But months later some 200 people were killed by police when the opposition protested the outcome was rigged. Opposition leaders were jailed en masse.
But now there is some resurgence of opposition against the ruling (EPRDF) coalition.
The Blue Party held the first large demonstration by a political party since 2005 in July, when several thousand supporters marched in downtown Addis Ababa. They demanded the release of jailed politicians and journalists, as well as action against corruption, unemployment and inflation.
Another more established opposition group peeking its head out of the bunker is the Unity for Democracy and Justice. UDJ held a moderately successful demonstration in the capital as part of a “Million Voices for Freedom” campaign. They demanded the release of “political prisoners” and the repeal of the anti-terrorism law used to convict them.
With new voices now emerging the government is taking a two-track approach: Last month Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said that multi-party democracy is constitutionally protected and that his administration wants a “constructive, progressive, opposition.”
Yet he issued a warning: If opposition parties mix with banned groups, they will be prosecuted. “Anyone who plays with the fire, then that fire will burn them,” Mr. Hailemariam said.
And there is evidence little has actually changed: Both the Blue Party and UDJ complain of harassment, with offices raided, members arrested and police arbitrarily preventing activities such as distributing leaflets.
Still, Blue Party leader Yilkal Getnet, in his thirties, believes his party will win a majority of the vote in 2015. He is counting on young people that want more freedom and want to move past the divisive ethnic politics of the past and embrace national unity. Mr. Yilkal also thinks another bleary and non-competitive election will lead to increased frustration and instability.
Merera Gudina is a leading member of the Oromo Federalist Congress. The Oromo are Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group and frequently allege that they have remained excluded from power under EPRDF rule.
Mr. Merera has raised funds in the US but thinks the Blue Party optimism is misplaced. He digs out a cardboard box from beneath his desk at Addis Ababa University, where he is a political scientist, and shows an uncounted ballot from 2010 elections. He says that thousands of votes for the opposition were discarded by the ruling party cadres.
But Merera allows that if the ruling coalition does a fair election they may suffer a shock greater than 2005.
“If they open up they are going to lose easily in less than one month of campaigning,” he says.
There are latent frustrations brewing in the current dynamic in Ethiopia, analysts feel, where construction profits are accruing to a corrupt elite tied to the ruling party — while the cost of living for the masses rises.
“Even if they open a small window they know there’s going to be a repeat of 2005,” one senior analyst who could not be named, argues.
Merera says Ethiopia’s political stagnation is also due to divided challengers that can’t agree on a “common agenda,” a analysis detailed in book “Ethiopia: From Autocracy to Revolutionary Democracy, 1960s to 2011.”
In Ethiopia, parties only emerged after the downfall of absolute monarch Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974 and they have primarily been vehicles either for rivalry between traditional ethnic elites, or among different Marxist revolutionaries. “Sectarianism, conspiracy and political intrigues have become the hallmark of the Ethiopian political parties and their leaders,” leading to public disillusion, Merera writes.
Ethnicity is a key fault-line among the nascent opposition. Oromo activists argue that in practice, the focus on national unity or universal values by the likes of the Blue Party will bring more of the exploitation that Ethiopia’s minorities historically experienced at the hands of traditional rulers.
With Ethiopians, we have a long history together Last updated: Sunday, November 17, 2013 6:17 PM
We have all seen the recent tragic events unfolding in the neighborhood of Manfuhah in Riyadh with illegal overstayers rioting and terrorizing people on the streets. They smashed cars and trashed public properties.
The scenes of riots, blocking roads, trashing cars and terrorizing pedestrians and residents, are actions many Saudis and expatriates living here in the Kingdom have not been subjected to as they are a rare occurrence.
What triggered these riots that started in Riyadh and spread to Jeddah, in Al-Sharafiya district, and Makkah, in Al-Mansour street, is the police crackdown on neighborhoods that housed illegal expatriates in large numbers. This is the official statement given by authorities. Sadly, however, Ethiopian nationals are once again in the news as the main nationality behind these riots.
I had written an article some months ago urging people not to encourage Ethiopia-phobia and once again today, I urge people to differentiate between the people who are residing in the Kingdom as respected legal Ethiopian expatriates and those who sneaked in through the borders.
The riotous behavior is from a minority that sparked violence against people and police and blame must be limited to those who started it. Other Ethiopians, legally residing here, had nothing to do with the action of a small section of Ethiopians. The rioters represent no one but themselves only.
Many of the people that I have spoken to in Riyadh and Jeddah asked where the police and passport department officials were from the beginning? Why was the number of illegal overstayers, from any nationalities, allowed to grow to such a large extent? Where were the raids earlier? What is happening on our borders and why was it not monitored strongly in order to deter illegals from coming through?
Yet it is not too late for authorities to act now and they must act within the boundaries of law and humanity to target infiltrators who entered the country without a visa. It is within the country’s right to deport illegals. The security of the country, citizens and legal expatriates living peacefully in the Kingdom is a red line.
One thing I criticize here is the action of some citizens who interfered in the police action. Whatever the reasons, citizens should not get involved for more than one reason. They are not trained, they will put their lives and others’ lives in danger and will make the police’s job more difficult.
We have seen in video clips that have been circulating online and in media the level of violence from some ‘normal’ people carrying stones, bricks and iron and wooden bars. They beat the illegals, who too were carrying light weapons and butcher knives.
There were stories from Saudis in Manfuhah saying their homes have been attacked and illegals were terrorizing them with butcher knives and because of them the were out of control.
Police issued more than one statement urging people not to interfere and that their role was only to alert authorities for troublemakers.
The Ethiopian ambassador, speaking to a Saudi private TV channel, said that Ethiopians in Manfuhah were targeted by Saudis and they suffered most of the injuries. He said that though the illegals had some demands and were seeking their rights, the manner in which they were sought was wrong.
He blamed both sides for the riotous behavior. Authorities should examine whether there were genuine demands or was the Ethiopian community triggered to react violently to some violent acts.
Another video circulating was that of illegals in Riyadh seen throwing rocks at cars and then beating up a poor Pakistani who happened to be passing through the troubled area on a bicycle. Someone from the top of a building in the neighborhood taped the sequence of incidents.
It is known that these illegal residents, from all nationalities, have been working in the construction sector and contributing to the nation’s development. Fine, then the passport department and Labor Ministry should force the contracting and construction companies to hire all those working illegals and provide them with iqamas in order to finish their projects.
The same way Saudis contributed to the visa problem and this current mess in the first place, they have also contributed to this problem directly by renting apartments to illegals. Authorities should punish the Saudi building owners and the real estate offices that rented housing units to illegal expatriates.
The punishment should include seizing the house. Authorities should also strengthen the role of the neighborhood mayor and give him more power. Everyone in the neighborhood should be accounted for, of course for security reasons.
The same way as local banks freeze the accounts of people who do not update their information, authorities should force building owners not to renew contracts until the tenant’s information with the neighborhood mayor office is updated. It is about time we put an end to this practice of renting out apartments without legal papers for money.
At the end of the day, violators are not criminals. Dealing with violators should be done within the boundaries of law that protect their dignity and humanity. The majority of them came to the Kingdom because of need and not to spread crime and violate law. As for Ethiopians, we have a long history together. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) asked his companions to migrate to Ethiopia because there was a king that was just, fair and merciful.
– Mahmoud Ahmad can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org