Possible Link Between Land-grabbing and Human Trafficking in Ethiopia

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Al Amoudi’s chief human trafficker in Ethiopia identified

It’s been suspected that Saudi agent Mohammed Al Amoudi is behind the planned “export” of 45,000 Ethiopian women per month from the Amhara and Oromo regions of Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia. The women, most of whom are teenage girls, will be working in slave-like conditions, often subjected to beatings and other kinds of abuses. Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit has now confirmed Al Amoudi’s involvement in this massive human trafficking, and also we have been able to identified the person whom he has put in charge of the operation.

His name is Jemal Ahmed. He is an Ethiopian, resides in Addis Ababa, and frequently travels to Saudi Arabia and other Arab counties as an employee of Al Amoudi.

Jemal’s responsibilities extend beyond human trafficking. He is also in charge of Horizon Plantations, one of Al Amoudi’s companies that is engaged in destructive commercial farms that are used for growing and exporting cash crops. In 2009, the Woyanne gave Al Amoudi 250,000 hectares of land in southern and western Ethiopia, in many cases forcibly removing local farmers from their lands. Because of excessive use of chemical fertilizers, the land will be totally useless in just a few years. The ground water will also be unusable for Jemal and other partners of Al Amoudi who are pillaging and plundering Ethiopia, and selling our women as slaves to Arab countries, must be stopped. Share this information and take the necessary action.

We Ethiopians currently have no government to protect us. So let’s protect each other and fight to save our country.

via FaceBook

The land grab in Ethiopia is not limited to “investors” from China, India, and Saudi Arabia. In fact, TPLF members are grabbing more fertile land in southern and western Ethiopia than China, India and Saudi combined, according to Ethiopian Review sources.

In investigating land grab by the TPLF members, Ethiopian Review Intelligence Unit has stumbled upon a particular evidence that shows how a person named Dr Te’ame Hadgu Embaye took over a land almost half the size of Washington DC for a monthly rent of about $8 per square kilometers, the first payment to be paid after 3 years of signing the contract. (Click here to read the agreement ) http://www.ethiopianreview.com/2012/tpl … hiopia.pdf

The massive land was given to Dr Teame Hadgu Embaye, who resides in Minneapolis (USA), to grow cotton and peanut for export to the Middle East. Because of the heavy use of chemical fertilizers, the land will be rendered useless within a few years, i.e., before Dr Teame starts paying rent for the land. The people of South Omo, whose land Dr Teame is profiting from, will receive little or no benefit. They will be left with a destroyed, barren land.

While we focus on land grab by China and Saudi Arabia, we seem to have ignored the equally devastating land grab by the TPLF mafia that is displacing local farmers and residents.
It is also important to note that TPLF members heavily invest in companies such as Karturi, the king of Indian land grabbers, but their names are kept off the books.

via Ethiopian Intelligence Review

Old Khatami pic the only excitement of Iran's 2012 earliamentary election so far

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Round 1

I am fairly sure there will be a second round of run-off voting in a few weeks. There were run-offs in 2008 and that was before the June 2009 Presidential election exploded into a crisis. The crackdown on protests and dissidents since 2009 is a political drama still playing out now in prison exercise periods, on social media, and in private conversations.

Khatami Votes in 2008 2nd Round Parliamentary Elections

Khatami Votes in 2008 2nd Round Parliamentary Elections

Reports from always-unreliable Iran state media that a reformist and former presidential candidate from 2009 – Khatami – has voted, has produced a wave of outrage inside and outside the country. The image I saw being used is from the second round run-offs in 2008. While there is a chance he may have voted, and has an excuse to explain his reasons for ignoring the reformist call to boycott, using an old image doesn’t lend any credibility to these reports.  I am consigning them to the rumor mill for now. UPDATE: Saham news is reporting that Khatami did in fact vote, and that other leading figures Hashemi Rafsanjani and Hassan Khomeini voted, too. I [still] feel very sad for the upset and arguments this news is generating.

Real World Revolutionaries: Yassine Ayari – Tunisia

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Yassine Ayari

Yassine Ayari

Yassine Ayari is another great activist from Tunisia, like Slim Amamou. What rock stars. I love them for their honesty, enthusiasm, energy and determination.

“When I see Western democratic countries having seminars and conferences about the “Arab Spring” and “Democratic Uprisings in in the Middle East” it’s like a conference about virginity, sponsored by Durex.
You are democracies. You vote for your governments. So when I think about Western countries supporting Ben Ali and his regime for 20 years, I don’t blame the government. I blame you. So please, stop trying to tell us what we should do. If you want to tell us, show us. Go out on your streets, have a revolution, then we will see.”

via Yassine Ayari: Page officielle on FacedBook

Ayari Yassine: Network & Security Engineer Tunisian blogger,activist fighting for internet freedom and against censorship ! Supporting GNU and OpenSource Contributor.

The Repeating Pattern of Protest

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we're all greeksI was invited to a FaceBook event, a day of solidarity with the people of Greece, who are being steamrollered into pay cuts and other austerity measures by a government they didn’t elect. The response from the people has been dramatic and destructive. The  blog post complains that they are suffering in silence. I can’t say I agree since I have seen plenty of news coverage, but it’s the trend these days to complain that no one is paying attention, while ignoring those who are. I am not sure what it is people mean when they say thy are being ignored. What will satisfy them, an hour-long slot on CNN? My reaction is usually: try being a protester somewhere like Iraq, Mauritania or Saudi Arabia for a day, then see if you still want to complain about being ignored.

I scanned the post for information about the goal of this day of unity, to understand what we are supposed to achieve. I know the austerity measures are unpopular, so what is being demanded in their place? I found nothing, and that was a disappointment. If the goal of a protest movement is only to protest, it is too easy to become part of the problem, or even to become a bigger problem.

Where Is My Vote?

Where Is My Vote?

When people in Iran took to the streets to demand their stolen votes, they wanted a fair and transparent recount. It wasn’t long before they got sidetracked into being a protest movement with less tangible goals. With the benefit of hindsight, there are now seemingly-obvious traces of external manipulation, evident from the very start. For example, see the image on the right, of Iranians holding their English-language posters demanding “Where Is My Vote?”. Score one extra point to the Greeks for having the common sense to use Greek as their primary language before offering us translations. English wording on posters might have made a vague kind of sense in the first week, before the international press were expelled, but even that reason risked losing some validity since we heard about the US “democratic outreach” programmes. Given the current assertions from some quarters that the Israeli MOSSAD is supposedly tag-teaming with with the exiled Iranian terrorist MKO / PMOI cult, in fact it makes a kind of sense; though one which makes my flesh crawl. The slogans of June 2009 morphed into “Where Is My Friend?” as the arrests and disappearances spiralled alarmingly in the face of continued protests. They were supposed to scrap the recount idea and demand regime overthrow, or for Khamenei to step down. But it just didn’t work out that way, and most media coverage of the Iranian Green Opposition Movement these days tagged by “Dead or Alive?“.  Worse, Iranian people remain under semi-permanent lockdown, thousands are still in prison, arrests and repression continue, and they’ve lived under the threat since May 2011 of their already heavily filtered internet being replaced by an interNOT.

This is the pattern I see in countries across the Middle East and beyond:

  • Stage 1: People are angry, frustrated, they want change, they go out on the streets to demand it. They get attacked.
  • Stage 2: As the attacks intensify, the demands begin to shift into the impossible blame game where people focus on one person or group (Ben Ali, Mubarak, Gadaffi, SCAF, al Assad, etc)
  • Stage 3:  The dictator or the state responds by saying that the people are a security threat. Resistance is eroded with deaths, arrests, intimidation, smear campaigns, infiltrators, diversionary tactics, etc.
  • Stage 4: Whatever horrors then ensue, after the dust begins to settle, and even if the side-tracked demand has been met, opportunists have seized an advantage and are profiting from the upheaval and carnage.

I’ve only been watching for the past two and a half years, since the Iran election in June 2009, but I assume this is a common pattern among civil protest movements that anyone else could detect without difficulty.

Adbusters OWS Flag

Adbusters OWS Flag

In America, when the “Occupy Wall Street” protests began, I detected an unwillingness to identify with the similar protests that had already happened in Europe, including Greece and most notably in Spain with ¡Democracia real YA! Perhaps because the Europeans demanded “real democracy”, or perhaps because OWS started out as a social media exercise devised by the Adbusters team in Canada, I have never been entirely sure. It requires certain personality traits to drive a successful protest movement, and these types may feel protective of what they regard as their idea, and unwilling to share credit or look as though that they are “jumping on a bandwagon”. If that is the case, I find it oddly undemocratic but completely human. It is also in complete contrast to the Arab uprisings, each often heard proudly claiming to be inspired by the other – with a bit of nudging from media: they do love a good hook.

Lacking a defined austerity package to protest, the Americans skipped the first phase and jumped off at Stage 2: protesting against a group – the 1% – with justifiable anger, but to begin with, no alternative solutions.  It is worth mentioning that the Occupy Movement, in contrast to all other movements I am aware of, was in receipt of significant funds and material donations from an early stage, yet having money does not seem to have advanced the cause. The authorities were happy to oblige with Stage 3, state-sponsored violence against protesters and the entire panoply of tactics (such as infiltration) to erode resistance. I suspect an opportunistic bounce off the springboard of chaos to push through unwelcome legislation while simultaneously fielding the most pathetic, uninspiring, bunch of 2013 presidential candidates imaginable, is only part of the Stage 4 response.

Tunisia – One Year Later

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Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution only exploded after of years of pain and suffering. Their years-long struggle is usually romanticized by attributing the suicide of one young man as the spark that lit a new flame of bravery and courage. The struggle for Tunisians and their neighbours is far from over, and this week, thousands in Tunisia protested against the political rise of conservative Islam. Immolations have reportedly increased across the Arab world; though we don’t know if it only seems that way now because, prior to Mohammed Bouazizi, hardly anyone was looking. A year of the Arab Spring has seen hundreds of thousands more seeking a new life away from harsh economic and social conditions receive an increasingly hostile, unwelcoming reception in Europe or farther afield. Here is a summary of posts about Tunisia: one year later.

Tunisia: A Revolutionary Model?

A year after the Jasmine Revolution, can the country’s new government fix the vast social injustices that triggered it?

One year ago, Tunisia overthrew decades of oppression and dictatorship. Its revolution rocked the Middle East and inspired the ‘Arab Spring’.Now, Tunisia has adopted an interim constitution, held free and fair elections, and is becoming a modern democratic state. But does the recent electoral success of the Islamists herald a return to narrow, sectarian rule or consensual leadership?Will the interim president, Moncef Marzouki, be able to bridge the divide between secular, democratic principles and more extreme views?And perhaps the biggest question of all is can the new government fix the ailing economy and vast social injustices that triggered the Tunisian revolution in the first place?

by Al Jazeera English 28 Jan, 2012 posted with vodpod

Tunisian media: One year after the revolution

By Fahem Boukadous for CPJ 23 Jan, 2012

The doses of freedom that the Tunisian revolution injected into national media have not been sufficient to revive it after decades of systematic destruction. It is not surprising that our evaluation of media one year after the tyrant fell reveals more negativity and pessimism.

Public media remains unchanged. The ministry of the interior and the Carthage Palace are no longer the source of instructions, leaving this role to [Prime Minister's spokesman] Moez Sinaoui, who firmly prevented media and political figures from appearing on TV for being radical critics of the interim authorities. He banned discussion of heated topics such as post-revolution torture cases, the involvement of public figures in corruption, and criticism of the government of Beji Caid El-Sebsi. Nonetheless, some journalists attempted to address these topics, and as a result they have been marginalized and intimidated by the administration, which has preserved all characteristics of the former regime. Continue reading