Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sheka Forest

Only less than 3% of Ethiopia is covered with high forest! A greater portion of this forested area is found in the south west part of the country. This is where Sheka Forest is located, and the story in the video below is about how the Shekacho people, assisted by a local NGO, are attempting to reclaim and rejuvinate the forest.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

This Music is Good for You - IX

A great song, a beautiful video, a superb delivery. This is Eyerusalem (Jerri) Negiya, a rising star in the Ethiopian Christian music scene. Simply the best Ethiopian song of the past few years!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Manhattan Declaration

Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we affirm:

1. The profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human life
2. Marriage as a union of one man and one woman
3. Religious liberty and the inherent freedom of human beings

This is the Manhattan Declaration. If you care about these issues, then you should consider signing the declaration.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

America will survive this bad decision

Congratulations to the redistributor-in-chief and his supporters. They campaigned on more of the same policies of the last four years that did not bear fruit, but they have won. What this means is that, with two distinct choices in front of them, Americans chose more government dependence and higher taxes as a solution to their problems.

Mitt Romney would have taken us on a different path, a path where the government's role is limited in size and scope and a government that stays clear of stifling economic growth. Romney had the experience which uniquely qualified him to help rekindle the animal spirits of the American economy, but that was not to be.

There were many other important issues on which voters based their decisions, but the economy was the most important. We shall see what happens in the coming months and years, but I believe America will survive this bad decision by an electorate that has increasingly become more dependent on government. One way or another, this trajectory must and will be reversed. May God Bless America!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (The Bible)

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A little lesson from the Gipper

A little lesson from the Gipper on why socialism (redistribution of wealth) does not work. Funny and instructive.

Monday, October 29, 2012

To my Wisconsin friends...

A week from tomorrow, you will be casting your vote to help decide who our next president will be for the next four years. There are a few states, including yours, where the incumbent (Mr. Obama) and the challenger (Mr. Romney) are closely contesting the election. All of them are important, but Wisconsin is more important for the same reasons that you re-elected your governor, Scott Walker, a few months ago in that closely watched recall election. By giving Mr. Walker a bigger margin of victory than he got when he was first elected in 2010, you gave him a clear mandate to continue his reforms efforts to bring fiscal sanity to Madison. It's now time to bring that kind of fiscal sanity to the federal government in Washington, DC.

Thanks to your decision, Wisconsin has become a model state in reforming the role and size of government. You showed the nation that it is critical to check the power of labor unions and reign in on their unholy alliance with politicians. You have also made the principle of living within one's means a cool idea and gave us hope that our elected officials will embrace this principle as their governing credo. Isn't it immoral for our governments at all levels to spend far beyond the ability of its citizens can afford? America needs your help to reverse the out-of-control spending habits of our federal government. Help us by voting for the challenger on November 6th. As a bonus, you will get your favorite son, Paul Ryan, to be our next vice-president and play a critical role in reforming our national government.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Same speeches, same promises

The old proverb "Fool me once, shame one you. Fool me twice, shame on me." is apt for those of us who voted for this guy in 2008.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My electoral college prediction

Romney will squeak out a narrow electoral college win, but he will win the popular vote by a comfortable 3 percentage points. NH was the last one I decided on while using this election map tool, by which time Romney had already gotten the 270 electoral college votes necessary to win. So, I gave NH to the apologizer-and-redistributor-in-chief even though I liked Romney's chances in the Granite State. I could have made WI blue and NH red instead, in which case Romney would win with the bare minimum 270 electoral college votes. But I think this is the year for Wisconsin to shine. By re-electing Scott Walker as their governor in a nationalized recall election in June of this year, Wisconsonites had shown that living within one's means is a politically winning proposition and they will do it once again by voting for the Romney-Ryan ticket. I would like to believe NV will go red, but I am sure the Reid vote rigging machine will be hard at work to tilt that state blue. I believe CO will be the most tightly contested of all the states.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A disorganized opposition

Ambassador David Shinn, a former US ambassador to Ethiopia, and Jennifer Cooke, Director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies discuss the leadership transitions in Ethiopia and Somalia. Find it here.

I am in agreement with their analyses that the Ethiopian opposition is disorganized and is unable to present a cohesive alternative vision for Ethiopia.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

An olive branch to the new old rulers

There is a discussion going on among Ethiopian opposition circles on the possibilities of a change occurring in Ethiopia as a result of a new leadership taking over the reigns of the ruling party. It is natural to expect a change when there is a change in leadership. Unfortunately, the new leaders of the Ethiopian government have already stated that they are going to stay on the same course that was chartered for them by their former leader.

What is the opposition to do? In my opinion, the opposition groups would be better off if they keep their focus on only what THEY can do to precipitate a change, instead of expecting a change to originate from the ruling group. They can do many things, but here is one suggestion for them: find an area where they have a common objective with the ruling party and offer their cooperation to achieve that objective -- in other words, offer the new old rulers an olive branch.

The building of a dam on Abay (Blue Nile) River, which is dubbed the Renaissance Dam, could be one such an objective where there is a common goal among all Ethiopian political groups, since there is a near unanimous consensus that building a dam on Abay is not only in Ethiopia's national interest but it is also necessary for her survival.

There were and still are some legitimate questions on whether or not sufficient financial planning had taken place prior to the commencement of the building of the dam in April of 2011. There were also questions on the timing of the dam building announcement. Some had suggested that the timing was designed to divert the attention of Ethiopians from the so-called Arab Spring that was happening in the region. This is now a mute question since construction of the dam is already underway. But Ethiopia's ability to raise the necessary financial resources to carry out this project to completion without external loans is still in serious doubt. This is where the opposition comes in.

It is important that the Abay dam project continue at full speed and is completed as scheduled in 2017 regardless of whether or not Ethiopia is able to get external loans for the project. The reason Ethiopia has been unable to secure external loans for this project is because of opposition from Egypt. Egypt has stymied all good faith efforts by Ethiopia and other Nile riparian countries in their attempt to create a mutually beneficial framework of understanding on the use of the Nile waters. Egypt has also been blocking loans to Ethiopia from multilateral institutions to build a dam on the Nile for a long time and she is continuing the same belligerent practice today.

The Woyane regime had made a bold effort to raise the required resources for the Abay dam project through the issuance of treasury bonds from domestic resources and the Ethiopian Diaspora. The estimated cost for building the dam at the time of the announcement was 4.8 billion dollar. The final cost of the dam will most likely exceed the initial figure, and the government is far from raising the funds it needs.

The only way the dam project can come to fruition as scheduled is if the government can bring all Ethiopians together for this common objective irrespective of their political affiliations. This can be done only if the government can persuade the Diaspora to wholeheartedly support the project. And the only way to have the full support of the Diaspora is through the endorsement of the dam project by opposition groups.

This should be a win-win proposition for both sides. At the end of the day, everyone will get a credit for playing a role in the project. The Woyane regime will get the credit for starting it, and the opposition groups will get the credit for getting the critical funds that will enable Ethiopia to circumvent Egypt's bellicose actions. If this proposal comes to pass, Ethiopians may finally usher in an era of real renaissance.

On the face of it, such a proposition for finding a common ground would seem a no-brainer idea. But the Ethiopian culture of suspicion may get in the way of capitalizing on opportunities for a positive change as has been the case way too many times in their history.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hailemariam Desalegn

The selection of Hailemariam Desalegn as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia is now official. Here is his 18 minute acceptance speech that is heavy on adulation of the late dear-great-visionary leader. It also strikes me that the speech is devoid of his personal input. Could this be the clearest signal yet that Hailemariam will be a puppet leader? I hope not.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Long live entrepreneurial wealth creation!

Yesterday was the first anniversary of a fad movement that is known as "occupy this or that place." One would hope that these people have learned a few good lessons about why the profit/loss instruments of a free enterprise society is the most efficient and fairest way by which wealth is created and allocated. In case they have not, here is a clip from a year ago that explains to them how the real world works.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Congratulations Ethiopians!

This is my message to Ethiopians on their New Year and the selection of their new leader.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Should America Promote Democracy Abroad?

This is about an hour of good discussion with Elliot Abrams and Nicholas Burns on how best to use American foreign policy as a tool for promoting democracy. They talk at length about the illusive balancing act between US interests (economic, geopolitical, etc) and the ideals of America (democracy, freedom, etc) in the process of conducting US foreign policy. They both agree on the need to balance between what is "just" and what is "practical," but they differ on how and when the US should use its hard/soft power to promote democracy and freedom.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Henock Temesgen

An improvised presentation of Jazz with a good message. There is hope for Ethiopian music!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The unbridled secularism of Bill Nye

There is a Bill Nye YouTube video that has gone viral where Nye expresses his disdain for those of us who do not conform to his belief system. He ridicules parents who teach a Biblical view of creation in the video and says they are holding back scientific progress. I find his logic to be deficient and his type of secularism to be an intolerant one, almost bordering on bigotry. Here is an article ("Bill Nye the Pseudoscience Guy") that does a pretty good job of refuting his pontification.

Why is Bill Nye so obsessed with our kids' minds anyway?
I'll still get his old videos at the local library to help teach my kids about basic science, but I will have to start advising them about a class of scientists, like him, who have a craving to indoctrinate our kids in their secularist faith. Neil deGrasse Tyson's agnostic views are much more palatable to me and a lot more consistent with a free society than Nye's secularism.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Stand up for your rights!

There is an acute need for a consolidation among Ethiopia's splintered opposition political groupings. In light of the opportunity created by the passing of the "dear-great-leader," it is incumbent on all of them to double and triple their efforts to bring about a transitional government that will facilitate the inclusion of all Ethiopians in their own affairs along similar lines that Messay Kebede is talking about below (the pro-Woyane guy also makes some valid points). I do not see any reason why all opposition groupings can't be brought under one or two umbrellas to accomplish this objective. Otherwise, Woyane's lucky streak will continue well into the future.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Clint Eastwood at RNC

"When somebody does not do the job, we've got to let them go."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My kind of politician

Had Paul Ryan run for president in the primaries earlier this year, he would have been my choice to be the GOP nominee for the US presidency, but he did not. The next best thing is to have him as the candidate for Vice-President. By selecting Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has shown that he is very serious about making sure that the US will remain that shiny city on a hill by tackling the tough fiscal issues we are facing before they tackle us. Ethiopian-Americans should have many compelling reasons to support the Romney-Ryan ticket, one among which is the failure of the Obama Administration to do anything of significance as the Ethiopian regime eviscerated its political opponents under its watch. I regret my vote for Obama in 2008. I will certainly vote for the Republican ticket on November 6th.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meles on the African Union

I do believe that every human being has at least one redeeming quality. Meles is not an exception to this and he certainly has had some. One of them was being a pragmatic and, perhaps, a staunch advocate of African solidarity as the video below shows. I am not trying to minimize his tyrannical qualities, which he obviously had many. I think it is only fair to see the man in his totality. I just wish he could have shown some pragmatism in dealing with his domestic critics, especially since 2005. I find it ironic that he referred to Mengistu as the butcher in this clip.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Good riddance Haile Gebrselassie!

After watching Haile Gebrselassie, a genuine sporting legend of our time, sing high praises to Meles Zenawi, the late Ethiopian dictator, I have to rescind the encouraging words I had for him three years ago in projecting him as an aspiring political leader that Ethiopians could look up to. Watch these two clips (forward to 3:48 and 1:05 respectively) and you be the judge.

The commentator on the clip below has expressed my sentiments about Haile's betrayal better than I could.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Washington Should Encourage Reforms

The Heritage Foundation, an influential conservative think tank, says the departure of Meles offers the US "an unprecedented opportunity to encourage democracy and economic reform and bolster security partnership between the two nations." Is anyone at Arat Kilo listening? Read here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ethiopia After Meles

The International Crisis Group has a lengthy paper out titled "Ethiopia After Meles." It's a must read.
The government claims its socio-economic policies have produced sustainable internal development. However, many critics call them state-driven capitalism or authoritarian development, whose major beneficiaries are the political elite and their entourage, not the wider polity. While they have superficial similarity to those in China, they face greater challenges and are unlikely to work well in the long run. The system in Ethiopia was almost entirely dependent on Meles, whereas in China it is based on a party not as troubled by ethnic diversity and with a relatively effective mechanism for transferring power. Now that Meles is no longer at the helm, the Ethiopian elite may well pay a high cost for years of corruption and factionalism and of decreasing attention to the complexity of the society and its demands.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Meles has vanished for good

After two months of prevarications, the Woyane regime finally admitted today that Meles Zenawi has died. I do not feel sad that Meles is gone (he has too much blood in his hands), but I do feel sad for his children that he passed away so young.

Now that Meles is gone, what will the future hold for Ethiopia? Will the ruling clique seize this opportunity to bring those Ethiopians that have been excluded from the political process in the last two decades of Meles' rule? Knowing what I know about Ethiopians, I do not have high hopes that they will recognize the need for a reconciliation. But, who knows, only time will tell.

David Shinn, a former US ambassador to Ethiopia, gives his take on Meles' death to PRI's The Take Away (listen below). I think he gives a fair analysis of Meles as a person and his style of rule.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marathon Debacle

The Ethiopian Olympic men marathon team selection process was deeply flawed and it showed yesterday at the London Olympics as none of the Ethiopian athletes made it to the finish line. Here is how analyzed the selection when the team was announced back in May:
The Ethiopian team ended up being based solely on time, picking the runners with the fastest times in 2012 who had only run 1 marathon. The alternates thus are Markos Geneti and Tadesse Tola who were 3rd and 5th in Dubai.

That means Ethiopia's best marathoner the last four years, Tsegaye Kebede is not even an alternate.  After his London victory in 2010, Kebede was the top marathoner in the world. He was the Olympic bronze medalist in 2008 and the Worlds bronze medalist in 2009. This spring he finished third in London, which is without a doubt the most competitive marathon in the world. Gebre Gebremariam the 2010 Boston Champ, who was 3rd in Boston last year and 4th in New York, also won't be on the team.

If the team was solely going to be based on time, that criteria should have been announced in advance and people might have run different marathons. Regardless, considering all the unknowns in the marathon and different course conditions, going off of time in different races, is a poor way to pick the team.

It's hard to argue with the women's team selected as all 3 are sub 2:20 performers.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Bahraini Ethiopians

The London Olympics offers lots of interesting facts. One of them is how one's citizenship has become so fungible. A case in point: 10 out of the 12 athletes who represent Bahrain were born some place else, 7 of them in Ethiopia.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

"You didn't build that!"

Thanks to the redistributionist policies of President Barack Obama, American conservatives are finding their voices again. Surprisingly, they are making use of humor to make their points. Here is one such video from a cousin of Obama. It is entertaining. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Whom do you believe?

The BBC reports that Meles Zenawi is getting treatment at a hospital in Belgium. Here are revealing quotes from the report:
"He is not in a critical state. He is in good condition," spokesman Bereket Simon told the AFP news agency.

"He is in a critical state, his life is in danger," the agency was told by a diplomat who asked not to be named.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ethiopia's 2012 Olympics Team

The full list of athletes here. Good luck to Team Ethiopia!

Marathon (men)
Marathon (women)
10K (men)
10K (women)
5K (men)
5K (women)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mitt Romney's Speech to the NAACP

The presumptive GOP nominee for President of the United States gave a speech at the NAACP convention yesterday. I thought the speech was substantive and addressed the issues that the vast majority of African Americans should be concerned about: economic and educational opportunities.

Isn't it about time that African Americans stopped putting all their eggs in one basket? Yes, that means that realizing that the more you vote for a party that only promises you more government programs to solve your problems, the less free you will be and the more you will be beholden to the agenda of the statists, whose main goal is to get you hooked to government handouts so that you will keep voting for them. Once the statists get you on the hook for handouts, you will then be impotent to fight back against their other agenda that you may or do not approve of. A case in point: Obamacare! If Obamacare was intended to be a sound healthcare reform, it would have been done incrementally, responsibly (not as an experiment on 313 million people) and with the support of a large majority in Congress.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Milky Way by Royce Bair

You can see Royce Bair's fascinating photos of the Milky Way like the one below and many others at his Flickr page.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday, April 06, 2012

The crime of being an Amhara in today's Ethiopia

This report of ethnic Amharas being displaced from their homes in Bench Maji zone in Southern Ethiopia is very alarming. Their crime: being a native of another region of Ethiopia. Please click here to listen to the 18 minute VOA Amharic report.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ethiopians: Wake up!

It is reported that the Ethiopian woman that was video taped being abused in the streets of Beirut has committed suicide. Her name was Alem Dechasa. This is a very sad ending to a tragic story! May her soul rest in peace.

While thousands of Alem Dechasas are being abused in the Mideast, the Ethiopian government is bragging that it has destroyed "enemy" camps in Eritrea. Its mouthpieces like and have also not carried Alem's story. Sadly, also posted the story on its web site only after learning her name sounded like an Oromo name. What have become of us? Wake up, Ethiopians!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Modern day slavery

It is very hard to watch this video footage of an Ethiopian woman being dragged into a car against her will in the streets of Beirut, Lebanon, and not be filled with rage. This incident happened just outside the Ethiopian consulate a few days ago. Apparently, this is a common occurrence in front of the consulate.

The abusive and inhumane treatment of Ethiopian women who work as maids in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab countries has been in the news for more than a decade. The Ethiopian government, however, has ignored the issue. This is an abdication of its number one duty, which is the protection of its citizens. Ethiopians must do something about this modern day slavery.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Lamu Port Project

Not sure how long the Lamu port project has been in the drawing boards, but the governments of Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia should be commended for embarking on it so soon after the independence of South Sudan.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This Music is Good for You - VIII

Enjoy Antonín Dvorák's 4th movement from his Symphony No. 9 played by the Berlin Philharmonic and the Swedish symphonic metal band Therion (you will need to click on the "Watch on YouTube" link to watch the Therion version). Dvorák composed Symphony No. 9 while on a visit to the United States in 1893.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"I feel duped"

In a new book titled "Die Kalte Sonne" (The Cold Sun), one of Germany's best known environmentalists and an electric utility executive, Fritz Vahrenholt, argues that the official United Nations forecasts on the severity of climate change are overstated and supported by weak science. He writes boldly that "the climate catastrophe is not occurring." Here is an excerpt from an interview he gave to DER SPIEGEL magazine.
SPIEGEL: Why are you taking on the role of the climate rebel with such passion? Where does this rage come from?

Vahrenholt: For years, I disseminated the hypotheses of the IPCC, and I feel duped. Renewable energy is near and dear to me, and I've been fighting for its expansion for more than 30 years. My concern is that if citizens discover that the people who warn of a climate disaster are only telling half the truth, they will no longer be prepared to pay higher electricity costs for wind and solar (energy). Then the conversion of our energy supply will lack the necessary acceptance.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How the US lost on iWork

A fascinating look at how the US lost on iPhone work from the New York Times.
When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president.

But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?

Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.

Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked.

Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.


Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”

Friday, January 13, 2012

Student Protest in Hossana

VOA reported students protested in Ethiopia over the last week. Muslim high school students in Addis Ababa protested the removal of their Imam and other perceived government interferences in their education. College students in Nekemte protested over poor cafeteria food conditions. Meanwhile, post-college students in Hossana also protested. But why?

It was reported that 429 recent college graduates in Hadiya zone got together in Hossana, the regional capital, to petition the regional administration for jobs. The students elected their representatives and went to the government office to discuss their petition. When the student representatives remained in the office for a long time, the students outside suspected foul play and started asking for their representative to come out. The police, however, responded by beating the students and shooting at them. That is when the petition turned into a protest.

These job-seeking college graduates should be given credit for being proactive in their job search, but I am baffled as to why they thought it was worth their time to petition the Hadiya zonal government for jobs. Don't they know that regional governments at the zonal level in Ethiopia have no authority to tax and, therefore, no real power to create jobs? Regardless, the fact that they had the temerity to organize themselves to petition at a time when such activities are not tolerated, as was clearly evidenced by the way they were treated, is in itself a pleasant surprise!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Santorum makes a lot of sense!

The Left in the US has been trying to make a mountain out of a molehill on this issue (see the video) for quite sometime. If you ask me, this is just one more sign of a society that is fast loosing its priorities. A tyranny of the minority is not the antidote for a tyranny of the majority! In this case, the people who advocate for this issue are a minority and will always be a minority in this republic.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Europe at the Brink

A WSJ Documentary - Wall Street Journal editors and reporters examine the origins of Europe's debt crisis and why it spread with such ferocity to engulf much of the continent and threaten the entire world.