Ethiopia, Olympics medalist Lilesa and oppression


This 21 August 2016 video is called Ethiopian Feyisa Lilesa’s Protest at Rio 2016.

By Chauncey K Robinson:

Medallist highlights plight of his people

Thursday 25th August 2016

Marathon silver medal winner Feyisa Lilesa gestured his protest at Ethiopia’s government treatment of the Oromo.

The Olympic Games of 2016 held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil may have come to a close as of August 21, but many of the triumphs and controversies will continue to be talked about long after the closing ceremony. One such incident was that of Olympic marathon runner and silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa’s protest on Sunday against the government of his country of Ethiopia.

Lilesa defied the Olympics’ prohibition on political statements to shine a light for the world on what is happening in his home country. In doing so he may have also risked his life.

As he crossed the finish line of the marathon last Sunday, he raised his arms and crossed them above his head in an X — a gesture of protest against his country’s government. He did so again at the awards ceremony after accepting his silver medal.

In a press conference held after the ceremony, Lilesa explained that his protest came from his sense of duty to his family and to his people.

The Ethiopian government are killing the Oromo people and taking their land and resources so the Oromo people are protesting, and I support the protest as I am Oromo,” he explained.

“I was protesting for my people,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported him saying. “It was for all my relatives in prison. I am worried to ask my relatives to talk in prison — if you talk you get killed.”

Lilesa’s bold statement comes in the midst of the growing political unrest in Ethiopia, a nation once regarded as Africa’s most stable nation of the last decade.

Although the country has seen an economic boom in the last 10 years, in recent months anti-government protests have filled the streets. These demonstrations have been met with state violence — video clips have been shared around the world of police officers beating unarmed demonstrators. They show security officers whipping protesters with sticks as they are forced to perform handstands against a wall. The UN is now calling for a thorough investigation of these incidents.

According to a report by Human Rights Watch the government of Ethiopia has used “excessive and lethal force against largely peaceful protests” in Oromia, the country’s largest region, since November 2015. According to HRW “over 400 people are estimated to have been killed, thousands injured, tens of thousands arrested and hundreds, likely more, have been victims of enforced disappearances.”

“The Ethiopian government is killing my people, so I stand with all protests anywhere, as Oromo is my tribe,” Lilesa was quoted in The Washington Post.

The Oromo people — Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group — have a history of speaking out against their marginalisation by the government. They, along with the Amhara people, feel Ethiopia is unfairly dominated by members of the Tigrayan ethnic group, which makes up only 6 per cent of the population yet dominate the military, the intelligence services, commerce and politics.

In what was considered a controversial national election the governing party — Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front — won all 547 parliamentary seats last May thus taking full control of parliament.

The Oromo people have also been fighting against an urban plan — referred to as the master plan — that would link infrastructure development in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, with that of surrounding towns in Oromia, including Burayu. Activists say the plan threatens the sovereignty of Oromo communities.

Despite reports that Lilesa’s protest was not broadcast in Ethiopia it still quickly attracted supporters on social media as Twitter users chimed in on how the political gesture brought attention to the struggle of the Oromo people. Freelance journalist Mohammed Ademo twitted, “#FeyisaLelisa’s career with the Ethiopian Athletics Federation ended tonight. But his courageous act of protest is one for the history books.”

The silver medallist also said: “It is a very bad government [Ethiopian]. Now America, England, France support this government. When they give this support it buys machine guns, then they kill the people.”

The government has played down the unrest of recent months, claiming that “the attempted demonstrations were orchestrated by foreign enemies from near and far in partnership with local forces.” Lilesa’s bold public gesture is in direct defiance of that claim as the world now has a face for the resistance in Ethiopia.

“If I go back to Ethiopia maybe they will kill me. If not kill me, they will put me in prison. I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country,” the Olympic runner said at a press conference.

Whatever happens, the world is now watching as Lilesa risked his life and his career for a cause that he considers much bigger than himself or an Olympic medal.

Washington supports Turkey’s Erdogan’s anti-Syrian Kurds bloodshed


This video says about itself:

The Flowers of Rojava – A Feminist Revolution in Northern Syria (TRAILER)

5 November 2015

I am producing, with a small but very motivated team, a documentary on the situation of women in Rojava, the self-administered [mainly Kurdish] region in the North of Syria. This is the video trailer for our crowdfunding campaign.

Many politicians in many countries don’t often tell the truth. However, United States Vice President Joseph Biden did that at least once.

Mr Biden told Harvard University students in 2014 that Middle Eastern US allies such as Turkey strengthened extremist groups like ISIS in their bid to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Now, however, it looks like Mr Biden is betraying that moment of honesty.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

US calls on Syrian Kurds to withdraw

These Syrian Kurds are the only force effectively fighting ISIS terrorists. However, the Erdogan regime in Turkey hates them, and has fired artillery shells at them before, and has otherwise helped ISIS. Today, Turkish soldiers have crossed the Syrian border to attack Jarablus city, to prevent Syrian Kurds from entering it.

Today, 16:58

The US vice president, Joe Biden, has asked the Kurdish militias in northern Syria to withdraw behind the Euphrates river. If they do not do that, then the US will not “under any circumstances” support them. …

The Kurds expelled IS earlier this month from the southern city Manbij. Manbij is west of the Euphrates. Turkey therefore demands that the Kurds withdraw and for that, they now receive support from the US.

This blog has reported how happy the women of Manbij were when Syrian Kurds and their Syrian Arab allies drove away the ISIS reign of terror from Manbij, and the women were free again to dress the way they liked without fear of ISIS killing them. If Erdogan or the Joseph Biden of 2016 get their way in Manbij, then the women will have to fear another reign of terror, by ISIS or by a similar gang.

Armed French police forces Muslim woman to undress on beach


Armed police against Muslim woman on Nice beach

From the Daily Mail in Britain:

Get ’em off! Armed police order Muslim woman to remove her burkini on packed Nice beach – as mother, 34, wearing Islamic headscarf is threatened with pepper spray and fined in Cannes

These images show police in Nice ordering a woman to strip down

A woman in Cannes claimed ‘racist’ officers wanted to humiliate her

French court this week upheld ‘burkini ban‘ – ruling it could cause offence

Algerian businessman said that he will pay any penalties women incur …

Updated: 09:44 GMT, 24 August 2016 …

The French ban on the burkini is threatening to turn into a farce as police officers armed with pepper spray and batons marched onto a beach today and ordered a woman to strip off.

Four burly cops stood over the middle-aged woman, who had been quietly sunbathing on the Promenade des Anglais beach in Nice … and watched her take off a Muslim-style garment. …

Another young Muslim mother was ordered off the beach at Cannes and fined for simply wearing a headscarf.

Three armed officers pointed a pepper spray canister in the 34-year-old’s face and told her she was in breach of a new rule outlawing swimming costumes that cover the entire body.

She said the ‘racist’ officers simply wanted to humiliate her in front of her children and other family members, even though she was not even wearing a burkini.

The Nice authorities, according to Dutch NOS TV today, have banned ‘burkini’ bathing gear ‘because of terrorist attacks’.

‘Dear’ Nice authorities: the bloody atrocity in your city was not perpetrated by any headscarf or ‘burkini’ wearing woman. It was by a truck driver who never went to a mosque, never prayed, never fasted during Ramadan, who drank alcohol and ate pork. But who had grave mental health problems, financial problems and divorce problems, and was said to be a closet gay man.

Conspiracy theorists blame the 1789 French revolution on ‘the Illuminati’ or on ‘the Jews.’ Though the real cause was the inequality and oppression under the French absolute monarchy.

Conspiracy theorists claim that Jamaican Olympics gold medal athlete Usain Bolt is supposedly a member of the Illuminati; non-existent now, existent only for a short time in eighteenth century Bavaria in Germany.

Conspiracy theorists blame the 1917 Russian revolution on ‘the Jews’; more specifically on the non-existent ‘Elders of Zion’. Though the real cause was the inequality and oppression under the Russian czarist absolute monarchy.

And similarly now, ISIS-style terrorism gets blamed on women’s swimming gear; instead of on its real causes, like the CIA‘s 1980s war in Afghanistan; Bush‘s and Blair’s 2003 invasion of Iraq; NATO countries’ alliances with Erdogan’s Turkey, the Saudi monarchy and similar regimes; discrimination against immigrant people in NATO countries, driving naïve teenagers into the arms of jihadists; etc.

From daily The Guardian in Britain today:

French police make woman remove clothing on Nice beach following burkini ban

Authorities in 15 towns have banned burkinis, citing public concern following recent terrorist attacks in the country

Last year, French authorities closed off a public beach near Cannes for the benefit of the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

I bet the French authorities did not enforce ‘secularist’ and ‘republican’ ‘decency police’ rules against any Saudi royals then. And I suspect that if the Saudi royals will come back, then these authorities will close off that beach again for all non-royals; headscarf or no headscarf, ‘burkini’ or bikini. Even though it is far less far-fetched to link the Saudi government to terrorism than to link non-royal women wanting to swim or sunbathe in clothes they feel comfortable in.

The campaign in Germany for domestic repression and war is assuming ever more openly racist forms. Last Friday, the federal and state interior ministers of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) spoke out in favour of a partial ban on the burqa and niqab during their so-called “Berlin Declaration.” Since then, politicians and the media have intensified their agitation against Muslim citizens and refugees: here.