Friday, August 10, 2007

Millennial Challenges: Re-inventing the Classical Ethiopian Elder's Council in Diaspora!

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity-;

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Ethiopia

Breaking the Silence, Now and Forever- by Re-inventing the Elder's Council of Negotiation, Dialogue, Mediation and Pardon via the "Atonement" process.

Re: Re-inventing the "Elder's Council of Pardon and Mediation" in the Diaspora!

The Ethiopian Jewish experience is one of the sad saga of the outcomes of an idiotic experimentation with revolution in Ethiopia that left millions homeless, displaced and scattered all over the world outside their sacred cultural and traditional home of the Blue Nile Basin the fountain of Ethiopian and Egyptian Civilizations.

A group of young misguided high school and university students supported by junior army officers brought a dangerous beast called the "Revolution" on the Ethiopian people that consumed the value, culture and livelihood of this ancient land; from the cities to the villages; from the Emperor in the Palace, to the Jewish villages in Gondar, and then to the beginning of a new Diaspora Ethiopians in the Sudan, Israel, Europe, and North America and now scattered in every corner of the earth.

The current controversial visit of Lucy the earliest human remain on earth to Texas, USA is the completion of this sad and yet very challenging experience of the Ethiopian people. Perhaps, when Lucy returns home she will take back the sad memories of many of the Diaspora with her allowing a new beginning and a new relationship with the past and the future.

The new experience of reviving the Classical Elder's Council in Ethiopia for reconciliation and pardon that initiated a new national pardon and reconciliation has to take place in the Diaspora Communities across the world as well. Professor Ephrem Isac, an Ethiopian Jew has galvanized this ancient custom of pardon to a new level and he might consider undertaking similar Classical Elder's Council across thw world for healing to come to our nation and our people scattered all over the world.

The current rather disappointing performance of the Diaspora that is reflected in the cyber world as well as the new communication channels such as you tube, pal talk and websites as well as the unceasing demonstrations in front of Ethiopian Embassies and international institutions, in general is the outcome of a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) gone wild without appropriate therapy and reconciliation for far too long.

Many Diaspora Ethiopians, and those at home, remember painful stories such as the one expressed here by our Jewish Ethiopians who were raped and abused by their own and apparently sympathetic Samaritans (Jewish and Americans, etc). This experience is shared by many Ethiopian refugees and in Diaspora all over the world and especially among those in highest concentrations such as Sudan, Israel, England, Canada and USA. When a new breed of criminals got access to the guns and media, they abused their values and culture and most importantly the human rights that was protected by a series of highly complex social custom and traditions.

When the revolutionaries, which in effect were hooligans posing as messengers of change came, they broke every known human and social values, custom, rules and traditions. The elderly like Emperor Haile Sellassie at 84 and then youth and women became their victims. There message was simple: LIE, ACCUSE, ABUSE and Promise the Sky! Call it a revolution so that no one is accountable, then rape, steal, murder and destroy. That is what happened for the last 30 years in Ethiopia and among Ethiopians.

Breaking the Silence is the outcome of such prolonged abuse for over 30 years within and outside Ethiopia. Does the story of the attached Ancient Fossil remain in the East African Rift Valley tell a true anthropological story, or behavioural justification for the physical disparity between the sexes the source of current series of inequality between the sexes across global communities; or is it an excuse for the existing disproportionate abuse of women and children that is rampant in our societies. It is interesting that sharing the fossils with the new world is considered as prostitution, whereas the abuse of our female citizens by neighboring and the new home the Diaspora population is not considered slavery as they were never consulted or paid for the abuse.

Even the famed Leaky is not involved in the controversy. It is ironic that when the West attracts the international community for tourism, it is not called prostitution of the natural resources, but each time the West is asked to pay either for visiting the wild in Africa; or when challenged about commericializing the natural resources such as: Elephant tusks and hides of exotic animals; or Illicit trade of illegal Diamonds in Brussels, London or New York; and precious metals such as Uranium from Niger, it is called every thing else but prostitution.

This exorbitant exploitation of African resources needs another look at the New Millennium. The African Command is considered another mechanism of neo-colonization with another twist. So, long as African Resources are not utilized to improve African environments, the foul play will continue. It was precious metals yesterday, animals now and may be even humans tomorrow as the Breaking the Silence alerts us.

The story of Revolution gone amok; began in the Palaces, military barracks, colleges and high schools and development campaign villages and at last to the peasants and especially those peasants who were uprooted from their villages into new neighboring countries.

The Sudan and Djibouti which were the first stop temporary homes of the great majority immigrants is the place where the main shift in our culture and value system began. This story of Ethiopian Jews is not different to what happened to many respected families who were dispossessed and had to flee their homes and their neighborhoods to be denigrated first by the gangsters and criminals in their own communities and later passed on to the Arab, Somali, Jewish, European and American Criminals who posed as their helpers and raped many innocent Ethiopian girls and women.

The scar and the humiliating experience is now coming out in different formats and this new film from Jerusalem is just the beginning. Many Diaspora Film makers have exposed and continue to expose the dislocated and displaced new culture and its impact on immigrant and Diaspora communities. This Ethiopian Jewish Film is another exposition of the Diaspora life when Ethiopians were forced to leave their homes and cultures due to the mad and genocidal revolution which continues to rage to a certain extent in Ethiopia today.

The new millennium is giving us opportunity to review what took place over the past 1,000 (one thousand) years and what happened over the past 30 years is most vivid and painful to many of us alive. It is time that our children appreciate the pain and trauma we went through to be where we are and this Ethiopian Jewish story is worth exploring this further by comparing and contrasting it with the experience of many other Diaspora in different parts of the world.

As we plan to return and revisit our homeland Ethiopia almost after three decades of Diaspora existence. Some have good stories to tell and many more painful and rather depressing ones, what is referred to as the life of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder); just like the Iraq veterans will feel in years to come.

So, it is great to review this story of our people in Diaspora in Jerusalem, whose children are now trying to catch up by interviewing their parents before it is too late. I encourage other Diaspora communities to take the lesson from our people in Jerusalem and record in visual, audio and print Media lest we forget what happened to our great civilization.

A people who do not remember their past cannot charter the future with confidence. It is time to remember and learn from our past so that our children will face a better future with all the cultural and traditional values and the new experiences they face day by day.

The Ethiopian Millennium is enriched by the experience of our Jewish brothers in Jerusalem and what they can achieve in their new home and also in their ancestral homeland in Ethiopia.

Professor Ephrem Issac, an Ethiopian Jew who manged to re-establish the classical Ethiopian Elder's Council should consider a parallel Elder's Council of Mediation and Pardon in the Diaspora and it will be great if he begins with the Ethiopian Jews in Jerusalem as natural development of this interesting film, "Breaking the Silence".

Please review this article and watch this film for the sake of our future. May be the Diaspora Elders' Council should consider this film seriously and come up with a lasting solution.

First it was the Ethiopian Jews, then American Jews, now the Russian and Moroccan Jews have joined the abuse and disrespect of Ethiopian Jews. "Racism in the new Jerusalem" , please read on.

The attached four stories are interesting reflections of the needs of the time or challenges of the new millennium.



Aug. 8, 2007

Ruth Eglash

Breaking the silence

Having spent a recent morning with Yediot Aharonot
journalist Danny Adino Abebe, I know even before I
start watching his 2005 documentary, Code Name
Silence, that this film will be somewhat cynical and
certainly hard-hitting.

The Ethiopian-born Abebe does not waste time with
pleasantries, he is all about serious business. In
terms of this film, that business is exposing the
truth about what he claims happened to many Beta
Israel or Ethiopian Jews as they made their way to
Israel via Sudan in the 1980s.

"We are talking about rape and extortion," states
Abebe, who was 10 when he arrived here with his family
in 1984. "I don't believe there is an Ethiopian family
which arrived here via Sudan that was not affected by
these atrocities."

Most might believe that the atrocities were
perpetrated by the Sudanese, but Abebe says they were
committed by people from within the community itself,
by some of its own leaders.

While his extensive research exposes some of those
crimes and even points very specific fingers at those
who were responsible, what bothers Abebe - even more
than what actually happened in Sudan - is that his
community, which he claims "all knew what went on,"
kept quiet about it for 20 years.

"I know this community very well and one of the
problems is that it kept all the problems inside,
focusing instead on building a new life here," he
says. "But now it is time for us to talk about these
things and release some of the pain."

On August 27, when Code Name Silence, which has had
limited exposure on the international film festival
circuit, will be aired on prime time national
television on Channel 2, the Beta Israel community
will have no choice but to discuss Abebe's

"The pain does not go away with time," he emphasizes.
"Confronting the pain of what happened in Sudan is
part of the healing process that will allow the whole
Ethiopian community to move forward."

DIRECTED by Yifat Kedar and produced by Ziv Naveh, the
film opens with Abebe declaring his mission to "find
the truth." Still photographs take us back to 1984,
when thousands of Beta Israel were hiding in the
refugee camps of Sudan and were rescued by the Mossad
and brought here.

"[During that time] we in the Ethiopian community had
our heroes; they were known as the Committee and they
were our saviors," comments Abebe in the 50-minute
film's introduction.

Made up of Ethiopian Jews handpicked by the Mossad,
the Committee's task was to distribute food, medicine
and money to those waiting in the camps and facilitate
their emigration.

Many of the Committee members risked their lives to ensure that the 14,000 or so Jews made it to the Promised Land, but as Abebe reveals through
first-hand testimonies, several of the Committee's
members abused their powerful positions, raping women
and refusing to hand over the resources at their

The film's first, and perhaps most powerful, testimony
comes from a woman identified only as Ilana. She tells
the cameras that after 20 years, it is time for her to
come forward and tell her painful story.

"I'll never forget that day," she begins, a straight
black wig and large sunglasses obscuring the details
of her face. "It was the worst. His strength, that
devil." Asked whom she is talking about, and she
plainly says, "Worko Abuhai."

"He was a Committee man," she continues. "He came to
give me the money and told me how pretty I was. When I
told him that I was married and had a child, he hit me
and accused me of lying."

Ilana tells how she was then pushed to the floor. "We
wore no panties or trousers back then, so how could I
resist him?" she cries. "He raped me on the floor
right there and I was just frozen with shock. I had no

"They took advantage of the delicate situation, of the
fact that we were not in a place where we could
complain and they extorted families, asking for their
daughters, in return for speedy and safe passage to
Israel," Abebe says in the film.

ABEBE, who spent more than five years researching the
contents of this documentary, knows that his work is
contentious, raising some very ugly ghosts and perhaps
even causing a rift within an already trouble-ridden

"Many people have asked me not to show this film, but
I don't care," he says defiantly, adding that he has
even received some death threats.

"This film could cause some serious damage to the
Ethiopian community," comments Tsega Melaku, the
Israel Broadcasting Authority's Amharic radio

"If it all really did happen, then we have
to go to those in charge and question them, but I
believe it is too early for us to do an overall
assessment on our own activities during that time,
especially when the Ethiopian community is in such a
weak place right now."

However, Abebe responds: "I think it will only be good
for the community to discuss this issue. Before we can
solve the problems of our community, we must look
inside ourselves and note what mistakes we made. We
knew about this but kept quiet. If we talk about it
and get it all out, only then will we be able to
release the pain."

Benjamin Aklom, a student activist, whose father
worked for the Committee but has not been charged with
any of these crimes, believes that Abebe is
"forgetting where he has come from."

He is not looking at this from an Ethiopian
perspective, he points out. "In Ethiopia we have a
saying: 'His stomach is bigger than the sea.' This
means that in Ethiopian culture it is traditional to
keep many things inside. You can't criticize a
community for doing something if it is their custom."

"I am not sure whether it should be discussed in
public," continues Aklom, who agrees that those who
committed crimes should face some kind of judgment.
"If the women want to come forward and report the
crime, that is their right, but if they want to take
those experiences with them to the grave, they should
be allowed to."

IN ONE scene, Abebe bravely confronts two of the
accused - Worko Abuhai, who has since moved to Canada,
and Gaddam Mengistu, who runs a store in Rehovot. Both
refuse to talk, with Mengistu even slamming a door in
his face.

"Pay me some money and then I will answer all your
questions," Abuhai tells Abebe over the phone, and
then the line disconnects.

With little support or response from his own
community, Abebe turns his attention to the Israeli
officials - from the Mossad and the Jewish Agency -
who, he claims, knew about what was happening but
chose to ignore it.

"We arrived in Israel, were told to change our names,
dance the hora and forget about what happened in
Sudan," says Abebe in a powerful scene following a
confrontation with then-agency operative Micha

"I heard about the rapes," confesses Feldman, who has
been committed to helping Ethiopian aliya since the
early 1980s. "We are talking about dozens of women,
maybe hundreds.

Some people took advantage of their status to make women do things for them. I saw these things but we could not do anything about it."

"You have to keep things in proportion," responded the
late Simcha Dinitz, the Jewish Agency's former
director, when Abebe's questions him about why those
in charge did nothing to stop the crimes or failed to
punish those responsible.

The Mossad and the Prime Minister's Office refuse to
respond to Abebe's claims and the police say 20 years
after the event is too late to report a rape.

"It's exhausting," says Abebe in his narrative. "Those
people were not only left unpunished, they went on to
be nurtured by the establishment, which helped them to
start good lives in Israel, and our community was much
too scared to speak out against them."

But Abebe says he is not afraid and is not willing to
give up on finding some kind of justice for those who
were hurt.

"For me, this film was a personal journey to find the
truth," he says. "These people caused some serious
damage, nothing more and nothing less. And I believe
they should be taken to jail."


As the Ethiopian Jews try to break the silence about past abuses, new ones are being committed by none other than their Morocco Jewish group in the new Ministry of Interior. First it was the Polish Jews, then the German and Russian Jewis abusing Ethiopian Jews, now it is the turn of the Iranian Jews and Moroccan Jews.

This cycle of violence and abuse will only stop when we continously Break the Silence! Please read on this shameful new development!


2. Friday, August 03, 2007

Ethiopian immigrant groups have called an emergency meeting for next week to counter new Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit's demand for an immediate halt to the immigration of the Ethiopian Falash Mura population.

Sheetrit told The Jerusalem Post this week that the aliya of the Falash Mura - people whose Jewish ancestors were forcibly converted to Christianity centuries ago - should be stopped "tomorrow" and that Israel should instead focus on becoming a "real state" and not act as a committee for the Jewish people.

He also accused groups advocating for the arrival of the remaining Falash Mura of having "personal interests" and of "making a living off of this."

"We demand that the minister take back his words," stormed Avraham Neguise, director of advocacy group South Wing to Zion. The group is funded in part by the North American Coalition on Ethiopian Jewry - an organization directly involved in facilitating the aliya of Falash Mura.

"They were irresponsible comments that were made after such a short time in office," said Neguise. "He has not even made an effort to meet with Ethiopian Israeli families whose children or parents are still in Ethiopia and waiting to come here."

"Something does not smell right here," Neguise continued. He said that Ethiopian organizations had called an emergency meeting for next week in order to discuss a course of action, and added that he did not rule out a large demonstration against the Moroccan-born minister. Sheetrit, he said, should not forget "where he comes from."

Estimates by the Israeli government and Jewish Agency for Israel suggest there are 4,500 people remaining in Ethiopia eligible to immigrate. But according to Neguise some 15,000 people either have family members here or can prove they are descendents of Jews.

"We will continue our fight for the right of every Jew to make aliya," said Neguise, adding that, "Israel is the home for all Jews."

In his comments to the Post, Sheetrit also criticized US Jewry for its support of this immigration drive, which he said was "creating a hell of a job for ourselves."

"If they want to take care of them, take them to America," stated the minister. "I haven't seen them take even one Ethiopian to America and, in the meantime, Israel is the only country to get Ethiopians. And we accept them with open hearts."

Nachman Shai, senior vice president of the United Jewish Committee and director general of its Israel operations, said that over the past 20 years, the UJC had been helping tremendously in facilitating the aliya of Ethiopian Jews.

"We are very proud that we can help such people," said Shai. "I am very sorry to hear Sheetrit holds such an opinion."

He added that the UJC, which acts as an umbrella organization for Jewish community federations in the US, is committed to the fate and survival of all Jews anywhere in the world.


August 9, 2007
3. Ancient Human Fossils Show Women Much Smaller
Tim Cocks

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Homo erectus, long viewed as a crucial evolutionary link between modern humans and their tree-dwelling ancestors, may have been more ape-like than previously thought, scientists unveiling new-found fossils said on Thursday.

Revealing an ancient skull and a jawbone from two early branches of the human family tree -- Homo erectus and Homo habilis -- a team of Kenyan scientists said they were surprised to find that early female hominids were much smaller than males.

The skull was the first discovery of a female Homo erectus.

It suggests mankind's upright ancestors may have been physiologically closer to modern gorillas and chimpanzees, which also exhibit big differences in size between males and females, than had been supposed.

"Prior to the discovery of the new specimens, scientists did not know that Homo erectus males were far larger than the females," said Dr Emma Mbua, one of the team.

"This sexual dimorphism is considered a primitive character because it occurs in other apes," she said, standing in front of the bones at Kenya's National Museum.

She said this could also mean the sexual behavior of Homo erectus was more like that of apes, where individuals, especially males, mate with several partners, sometimes in a few hours, than that of its more monogamous human successors.

The fossils, discovered in east Africa's Rift Valley, regarded as the "cradle of humankind," challenge the idea that human prototypes evolved one after the other in a linear fashion from Homo habilis to Homo erectus, ending with modern humans.

Both fossils were found in 2000 east of Lake Turkana. But the Homo erectus skull, dating back 1.55 million years, was slightly older than the Homo habilis jawbone, which was found to be 1.44 million years old, the scientists said.


This means they must have co-existed, exploiting different habitats at the same time, they added.

"They were kind of sisters, if you like," said Frederick Manthi, the scientist who discovered the fossils. "Homo habilis never gave rise to Homo erectus. These discoveries have completely changed the story."

The research, first published in the journal Nature, was conducted by nine scientists including well-known paleontologist Meave Leakey and her daughter Louise Leakey.

The scientists think both Homo erectus and Homo habilis must have evolved from a common ancestor 2-3 million years ago.

The most famous such ancestor is Ethiopia's "Lucy," a fossil more than 3 million years old that set off this week for a tour of museums in the United States.

The basic evolutionary story -- that all humans came "out of Africa" after evolving from apes in the Rift Valley around 5 million years ago -- remains unchanged and may even be strengthened, the scientists said.

"The more fossils we find in Kenya, the more we justify the story that east Africa is the cradle of mankind," Manthi said. "These hominids tell us there was a large diversity within this species, which strengthens that convention."

The researchers said Homo habilis was largely a herbivore, so would have foraged for fruits in greener, more heavily forested areas than Homo erectus, who is thought to have been a hunter who thrived in east Africa's open savannah.

Manthi said the team would have to find more fossils to confirm the findings.

"The story of human evolution has not yet been (told)," said Kenya Museum director Farah Idle. "There are many missing links. The more discoveries you make, the more questions you raise."


4. Leakey calls Lucy skeleton tour 'prostitution'

Friday, August 10, 2007
NAIROBI, Kenya: Ethiopia's dispatching of the Lucy skeleton on a six-year-tour of the United States is akin to prostituting the fragile, 3.2 million year-old fossil, paleontologist Richard Leakey said Friday.

The Lucy skeleton — one of the world's most famous fossils — was quietly flown out of Ethiopia earlier this week for the U.S. tour. Leakey, one of the world's best-known fossil hunters, is not the first to criticize what some see as a gamble with an irreplaceable relic. The U.S. Smithsonian Institution also has objected to the tour, and the secretive manner in which the remains were sent abroad has raised eyebrows in Ethiopia, where the public has seen the real Lucy fossil only twice.

"It's a form of prostitution, it's gross exploitation of the ancestors of humanity and it should not be permitted," Leakey told The Associated Press in an interview at his Nairobi office.

Ethiopian officials were not immediately available for comment, but have said in the past that proceeds from the tour would be used to upgrade museums in one of the world's poorest countries. Dirk Van Tuerenhout, the curator of anthropology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where Lucy will be on display from Aug. 31 to April 20, said this week his museum will use "the utmost care."

Lucy, the fossilized partial skeleton of what was once a 3 1/2-foot-tall adult of an ape-man species, was discovered in 1974 in the remote, desert-like Afar region in northeastern Ethiopia. Lucy is classified as an Australopithecus afarensis, which lived in Africa between about 3 million to 4 million years ago, and is the earliest known hominid.

The U.S. State Department approved the exhibit for temporary importation into the U.S., saying that display of Lucy and the other artifacts is in the national interest because of their "cultural significance."

Stops beyond Houston have yet to be finalized, but Ethiopian officials have said they include New York, Denver and Chicago.

Leakey said the skeleton will almost certainly get damaged.

"These specimens will get damaged no matter how careful you are and every time she is moved there is a risk," he said. "A specimen that is that precious and unique shouldn't be exposed to the threats of damage by travel."

He also said keeping Lucy in Ethiopia would lure tourists to the country.

"The point is, what is the benefit of taking one of the most iconic examples of the human story from Africa to parade it around in second-level museums in the United States?" he said.

Leakey is one of the world's most renowned paleontologists. His team unearthed the bones of Turkana Boy — the most complete skeleton of a prehistoric human ever found — in the desolate, far northern reaches of Kenya in 1984.

He is also a conservationist credited with helping end the slaughter of elephants in Kenya during the 1980s.

No comments:

Post a Comment