Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ethiopia's Student Movement Relatively Quiet in Political Arena voa


Ethiopia’s government just won another five years in power. Students have played a vital role in the country's political history. The ruling party is often accused of not being democratic, but while former Ethiopian regimes faced politically active student movements, Ethiopian students today appear less involved.
Addis Ababa University law student Nathanael agrees that his generation is not as active.
“I do admire the sacrifice they have paid. And I think the reason why youth and students that are my contemporaries do not behave in this manner is because they do not have a point to rally behind,” he said. “Right now, there is a divide between the youth. It could be from an ethnic point of view, it could be financial because of difference between the rich and poor. They cannot set their differences aside to rally behind a point.”
No freedom of expression 

Besides the divisions, more students say they find it difficult to freely voice their opinion. They save political discussions for when they are in safe spaces with only close friends and family.
Nathanael, who did not want his last name used in this report, said it is implied there might be consequences of having a different opinion. “Voicing your opinions as maybe a fully-fledged democratic state would have it, and voicing your opinions in this particular state might not be considered the same thing,” he explained.
Economics student Menelik said today’s students have no one else but themselves to blame for their passiveness as they have now better access to information. But Menelik also believes the divisions keep today’s students from being successfully organized.
“If we had something to die for like our ancestors, our ancestor had something to die for. They thought that if they die, there is somebody else carrying the torch who would take it to the finish line. They were 100 percent convinced about that. We are not united,” he said. “If I die, I die. Close friends come to my funeral and that is it, and family. It ends there.”

The former regime of Mengistu Hailemariam was especially tough on students, forcing many to flee the country, go underground or join armed movements.

Ethiopia’s current government came to power in 1991 after overthrowing the former regime. Students such as former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi led a 17 year guerilla war.
But before that, Ethiopia’s last emperor, Haile Selassie, also had to deal with critical students protesting his policies. Yakob Hailemariam was the president of the National Union of Ethiopian University Students in 1966. He said that even though the emperor ran an absolute monarchy, students could still protest against issues such as landownership.
“The emperor was very paternalistic. There was no cruelty involved,” Yakob said. “And they looked at us really as misbehaving children rather than somebody that is to be taken seriously in terms of their ideas and so on. So there were no large scale imprisonments.”
Yakob wishes more students of the current generation were actively involved in their countries affairs, saying they are not as militant as his generation used to be.
Students made up a large part of those who protested against the 2005 election results.
But as expected, there were no student protests after the 2015 election results were announced. The ruling Ethiopia’s People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, and their affiliated parties won 546 out of 547 parliament seats.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Jewels from an Ethiopian grave reveal 2,000-year-old link to Rome | World news | The Guardian

Grave in Ethiopia
Perfume flask found at the site.

 Perfume flask found at the site.

Spectacular 2,000-year-old treasures from the Roman empire and the Aksumite kingdom, which ruled parts of north-east Africa for several centuries before 940AD, have been discovered by British archaeologists in northern Ethiopia.
Louise Schofield, a former British Museum curator, headed a major six-week excavation of the ancient city of Aksum where her team of 11 uncovered graves with “extraordinary” artefacts dating from the first and second centuries. They offer evidence that the Romans were trading there hundreds of years earlier than previously thought.
Schofield told the Observer: “Every day we had shed-loads of treasure coming out of all the graves. I was blown away: I’d been confident we’d find something, but not on this scale.”
She was particularly excited about the grave of a woman she has named “Sleeping Beauty”. The way the body and its grave goods had been positioned suggest that she had been beautiful and much-loved.
Schofield said: “She was curled up on her side, with her chin resting on her hand, wearing a beautiful bronze ring. She was buried gazing into an extraordinary Roman bronze mirror. She had next to her a beautiful and incredibly ornate bronze cosmetics spoon with a lump of kohl eyeliner.”
The woman was also wearing a necklace of thousands of tiny beads, and a beaded belt. The quality of the jewellery suggests that she was a person of very high status, able to command the very best luxurious goods. Other artefacts with her include Roman glass vessels – two perfectly preserved drinking beakers and a flask to catch the tears of the dead.
There was also a clay jug. Schofield hopes that its contents can be analysed. She believes it would have contained food and drink for the afterlife.
Although “Sleeping Beauty” was covered only with soil, her grave was cut into a rock overhang, which is why the finds survived intact.
The team also found buried warriors, with each skeleton wearing large iron bangles. They may have been killed in nearby battlefields.
Other finds include another female skeleton with a valuable necklace of 1,065 coloured glass beads, and, elsewhere, a striking glass perfume flask.
In 2012, the Observer reported that Schofield’s earlier excavations in the regionhad discovered an ancient goldmine that may solve the mystery of from where the Queen of Sheba of biblical legend derived her fabled treasures.
Aksum, the capital of the Aksumite kingdom, was a major trading power from the first to the seventh centuries, linking the Roman Empire and India. Aksumites were a literate people. Yet little is known about this so-called “lost”’ civilisation.
“Ethiopia is a mysterious place steeped in legend, but nobody knows very much about it,” said Schofield. “We know from the later Aksumite period – the fourth and fifth centuries, when they adopted Christianity – that they were trading very intensely with Rome. But our finds are from much earlier. So it shows that extraordinarily precious things were travelling from the Roman Empire through this region centuries before.”
In return, the Romans sought ivory tusks, frankincense and metals. Schofield’s excavations also found evidence of iron working.
The finds will go to a new German-funded museum, opening in October. Schofield hopes to organise a loan to the British Museum, but first the finds must be conserved: the mirror, for example, is corroded and slightly buckled. Germany is sending nine conservators.
Excavations were paid for by the Sainsbury family’s Headley Trust and the Tigray Trust, a charity that promotes sustainability in the region; and by individual donations.

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.