Saturday, November 05, 2005

News that's not in the news

Last night Sarah and I arrived in St. Louis to visit our daughter, Heidi, and our son-in-law, Woju. Shortly after we arrived Woju began listening on the web to an Ethiopian radio station in Washington, DC.

Soon I heard the voice of a woman speaking Amharic, a language I don't understand, but I could tell she was in great distress.

The radio station called her in Ethiopia, Woju explained, and she is crying out because her son was killed by government soldiers.

In June Ethiopia held parlimentary elections. When the elections appeared to endanger Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's hold on power he ordered international election observers out of Ethiopia.

Even without the international observers and with suspected fraud, the opposition won forty percent of the seats in parliament. When people ammassed to protest the voter fraud in June, 36 people were killed.

This week the opposition announced peaceful protests. A Reuters story today indicates that 46 people were killed this week.

Woju says that police shot on a group of unarmed demonstrators killing men, women, and children. Once the demonstrators fled the government would not allow family members to return to claim the dead. The goverment removed the bodies to prevent an accurate count of the dead but Woju has heard that as many as 1000 were killed.

Ethiopia was ruled by Marxists for nearly two decades until 1991 when the Marxist regime was overthrown by a group of guerillas led by Meles Zenawi.

The Marxists had overthrown 82 year-old Emperor Haile Selassie on September 12, 1974.

When Sarah's father, a Baptist missionary, was killed in Ethiopia in 1951 the Princess met with Sarah's mother as she grieved her husband's death. Sarah's Dad is buried in Addis Abba so we have deep ties to the country.

This week 25 leaders of the opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD)were arrested this week. Woju has been reading online witness reports of people suspected of being part of the opposition being loaded on buses and taken to unknown location.

Woju's brother is in a college surrounded by troops. No one is allowed to go out of doors.

Wars and rumors of wars.

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