Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Eritrea: Foreign Journalists Express Deep Impression With Peaceful Co-Existence of PeopleallAfrica.com
Asmara — Germany and Kenyan journalists who arrived here to participate in the 20th anniversary of Independence Day expressed deep impression with the colorful celebrations and the peaceful co-existence of the Eritrean people.
The German journalist, Dr. Werner Zeppenfeld, stated that the fact that a number of Eritrean citizens residing abroad arrived in the Homeland to participate in the Independence Day celebrations attests to the existing strong bond between the people and the leadership, in addition to the strong attachment to the nation.
He further explained that he has visited over 30 countries in Africa, but nowhere matches to the prevailing peace and security in Eritrea. Dr. Werner expressed desire to visit other parts of the country and that he would produce a program on the German media focusing on Eritrea's 20-year journey of independence, as well as the peace and security he experienced.
Likewise, Kenyan journalist, Mr. Jeff Koinange, who works at K-24 TV Station, stated that his visit to Eritrea is for the first time, and that he found out Eritrea to be quite unique compared to 46 other African countries that he has visited. He further noted that the development accomplishments the nation registered in a short period, coupled with the prevailing peace and stability could be cited as an example.
Moreover, Mr. Jeff Koinange stated that he is highly impressed with the colorful Independence Day celebrations, and that he came to understand that Eritreans have a strong sense of nationalism, besides being hospitable. The Kenyan journalist went on to say that he would broadcast his observations about Eritrea in the K-24 TV Station.
Israel detains Eritrean refugee for 18 months because he couldn't prove his identity - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News
The head of a custody court at the Givon prison has demanded that an asylum seeker from Eritrea validates his birth certificate at the Eritrean embassy, despite the risk this would pose to him and his family, Haaretz has learned.
The asylum seeker, who can only be identified as Ibrahim, came to Israel from Eritrea in November 2009. He was arrested a month later and held at the Givon prison in Ramle for a year and a half. The prolonged detention resulted from the Population and Immigration Authority insisting that he came, in fact, from Ethiopia.
After Ibrahim finally obtained his Eritrean birth certificate, Mani Pshitizky, a judge in the custody court, decided to have the authenticity of the birth certificate verified by sending it to the Eritrean embassy.
This requirement contradicts the safety guidelines of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR ).
"UNHCR strongly recommends that the identities of asylum seekers should remain confidential. This particularly applies to sharing identities with officials of the government from where the asylum seeker originates," an opinion submitted by the UNHCR to the Interior Ministry read. "The concern is that often people seeking asylum are considered as acting against their own state by seeking asylum and could thereafter be subjected to fines and punishment, further exacerbating their asylum claim."
Four days later, the Population and Immigration Authority told the court it was impossible to fulfill its request, as "approaching the consulate is tantamount to turning him in."
Undeterred, Pshitizky reiterated his request, which was yet again refused. He then ordered Ibrahim released, under the condition he himself approaches the Eritrean embassy to confirm his citizenship there, or leave Israel by May.
Despite this request, the court did not return the birth certificate to Ibrahim, prompting the We Are Refugees non-profit organization to approach the court and ask it to extended his conditional release. In response, Pshitizky ruled Ibrahim should arrive for an interview at the Interior Ministry's infiltrators unit, which will take his case from there. At the interview, Ibrahim was arrested. The authority claims he admitted that the birth certificate was forged.
Migrants from Eritrea rest in a building, used to house people waiting to be smuggled into Israel, near the Egyptian-Israeli border in Sinai, December 25, 2010.
|Photo by: Reuters|
"Ibrahim's citizenship was questioned, with the Interior Ministry consistently claiming he was Ethiopian. He was released by the court, which offered him an opportunity to prove his citizenship," the Justice Ministry said in response.
The Population and Immigration Authority said that Ibrahim attempted to escape during the interview, and eventually admitted he was Ethiopian, rather than Eritrean, and was therefore immediately returned to custody.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
A century before global Jewry reached out to Ethiopia's community, a researcher named Jacques Faitlovitch sowed the seeds for a future ingathering.By Ofer Aderet
Jacques Faitlovitch in Ethiopia.
|Photo by: Reproduction photo by Moti Milrod|
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Leader of Uganda's Jewish community balances spiritual, mundane matters
“Like being president of a country,” Rabbi Gershom Sizomu says of his work on behalf of his African Jewish community(James D. Davis, Sun Sentinel staff / May 16, 2011)
11:42 a.m. EDT, May 16, 2011
Rabbi Gershom Sizomu knew he wanted to be a Jewish scholar. He also understood his position as a leader in the small Jewish community of Uganda.
But he didn't quite grasp that he would one day deal with jobs, clinics, mosquito nets and other mundane matters.
But he says it's all part of spirituality. "Religion is not just about keeping Shabbat and kashrut alive. Good relationships include God and man. You must fulfill your obligations among people."
Sizomu, 42, may not be a president, but he does lead the 1,500-member Abayudaya community in Uganda. This past week he introduced the community around South Florida, not only speaking but playing guitar and singing in his tenor voice. In fact, he did take part in a recording that earned a Grammy nomination in 2004.
His main message: The Abayudaya, whose name means "People of Judah," are part of the worldwide Jewish community, and much of their story has reprised Jewish themes of liberation and community building.
"Judaism is not homogenous; it has different languages and cultures," Sizomu says. "The Abayudaya journey is the Jewish journey. We celebrate that."
The message meshes with that of Be'chol Lashon, an organization that emphasizes Jewish diversity, for which he is the senior rabbinic associate. His current 25-day tour began in San Francisco, where Be'chol Lashon has its headquarters, then went to Maryland, New York and Boston. From South Florida, Sizomu goes to New Mexico before returning to California.
In contrast to the Beta Israel of Ethiopia and the Lemba of southern Africa, the Abayudaya accepted Judaism less than a century ago. A great warrior named Semei Kakungulu gave Christian missionaries a hearing, but preferred Judaism.
"He found the Old Testament structure, of a relationship of obligation between God and man, resonated," Sizomu says. "If man does something for God, God does something for man."
The Abayudaya began practicing Judaism in 1919, but some gragually drifted away. Then Idi Amin, the nation's brutal dictator from 1971 to 1979, began to ban any expression of Judaism, including kippot or Sabbath services, on pain of death.
"We went underground, so when we emerged, we were stronger," he says.
He said Amin was overthrown on the eve of Passover. "We compared that to the Israelites who left Egypt."
To connected with world Jewry, more than 350 Abayudaya underwent a mass mikvah baptism in 2002. The following year, Sizomu entered the University of Judaism in Los Angeles. He was ordained in 2008, then returned to Uganda and opened a yeshiva, or rabbinic school.
Other big concerns are health and jobs for the Abayudaya.
With help from Be'chol Lashon, the Ugandan government and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Abayudaya have designed a five-year health and development plan. It includes things as simple as mosquito nets and as complicated as a medical clinic.
The clinic is up, but it hasn't been equipped yet. Sizomu is trying to find donors for X-ray, ultrasound and other equipment. That, plus personnel, will cost $300,000, he says.
Once up and running, the clinic could supply jobs for secretaries, security, teachers and maintenance workers, Sizomu says. Other enterprises include a guesthouse, an Internet café, bracelets and crocheted kippot.
So many mundane matters to handle. How does Sizomu keep from feeling overwhelmed?
His ebullience brings a quick answer.
"I just have no boundaries," he says, spreading his hands. "I just think and think. No end."
JDDavis@Tribune.com or 954-356-4730.