Angelina Jolie's film exploited my rape agony, says Ethiopian girl who 'wasn't told' Hollywood star was using her story
Angelina Jolie's acclaimed film about the kidnap and rape of a 14-year-old girl in Ethiopia has helped burnish her image as a human rights campaigner.
But the Hollywood star is at the centre of controversy after the makers of Difret were accused of exploiting the real-life victim at the heart of its story.
Aberash Bekele, 32, is angry at the filmmakers for using her story without her knowledge or consent, and failing, initially, to pay her compensation.
Miss Bekele was abducted so she could be pushed into a forced marriage. She escaped but was put on trial for killing one of her abductors. While she was released by the courts, local elders forced her into exile away from her home and family.
Miss Jolie, who helped produce the film, spoke about how it will 'make a change' in the world and it was screened last year at her Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, hosted in London, co-chaired by then Foreign Secretary William Hague.
But Miss Bekele believes the film, which has won awards around the world, could put her and her family in danger of reprisals.
She was never consulted by the film-makers and did not give them permission to lay her traumas bare on screen.
With the character based on Miss Bekele renamed Hirut and with the film focusing on her lawyer, the Ethiopian directors originally refused to acknowledge it was about her.
Miss Bekele, now a mother of one, was the focus of a 1999 BBC documentary Schoolgirl Killer, made by journalist Charlotte Metcalf.
Miss Metcalf, who saw Miss Bekele earlier this year, said: 'Aberash feels doubly abducted not to have had the story acknowledged as hers. It's an absolute outrage that they should pretend it could have been anyone's story and she's still fighting that.
'Today, she could be bathing in the glow of international admiration for her extraordinary courage and resilience. Instead she is invisible, her story taken.'
Last year, Miss Bekele won an injunction banning the film from being shown in Ethiopia.
Read More at Mail Online
Meet the New MK: Likud’s Naguise wants to set an example for youth from EthiopiaThe new Likud Knesset member hopes to focus on social issues such as bridging social gaps and helping new immigrants.
Pisgat Ze’ev, Jerusalem
Year of Aliya:
1985 from Ethiopia
Married with 2 children
Profession before becoming an MK:
Has a PhD in education and degrees in social work and law. Founder and director-general of South Wing to Zion, an advocacy organization for Ethiopian aliya and absorption. In that capacity, led the struggle to bring the rest of Ethiopian Jewry to Israel.Why did you decide to enter politics?
I entered politics because I believed that to promote our community’s integration in Israeli society, we must be integrated in politics. The minute we become part of the political system, we have an influence in promoting our issues and in serving all the people of Israel. I also want to be a role model for our youth, so they’ll be motivated to join local and national politics. If we sit on the side and watch while others try to help us, we won’t get anywhere. If we do things on our own, we can help ourselves.What are the first three bills you plan to propose?
I want to focus on social issues, which are very close to my heart. I want to help bring more equality and reduce social gaps and help new immigrants – not just from Ethiopia, but from the whole world – integrate into society.
I was elected in the Likud primary as the representative of new immigrants; therefore, I want to promote aliya. I believe that Israel can be strengthened as a Jewish and democratic state by bringing Jews from all four corners of the earth. I want to help make life better for new immigrants in areas of housing, employment and health. I want to make sure that laws passed in the Knesset are actually implemented, like the one requiring Ethiopian immigrants to be hired in government offices and government-owned companies.
I also want to deal with the issue of youth in distress, especially in the periphery. They need to be a priority and we have to create educational projects in underprivileged neighborhoods so that they can get higher education.What was the most interesting experience on the campaign trail?
I ran in the Likud primary on the national level, and went around the country and met people from all parts of Israeli society. It was a great experience for me.
In the general campaign, on the day of the election, I went all over the country and saw people from my community working hand in hand with the rest of society in the election, in Likud and in other parties. They did it all democratically and understood one another, without physical or verbal altercations, and were friends with one another. It was moving to see what democracy really means. Israel is a democratic state and society, and it was quite the experience to see it in this way.This Knesset has a record high number of women and Israeli Arabs. How do you think this will affect the way it functions and the kinds of changes it brings?
First of all, it is good that all parts of the nation are represented. We will get a true picture of Israel, which is a very multicultural country. That makes me happy. We have representatives of women, new immigrants and Arabs, and I think we can all work together in the Knesset.What is your position on talks with the Palestinian Authority and a possible Palestinian state?
In this area, my stance is that of the Likud. We have a prime minister whom we trust. He is a leader with experience and we stand behind him and strengthen him. We will support every initiative he wants to promote.What impact do you think the tension in US-Israel relations will have on us in the next few years?
I think the relations between Israel and America are very strong and are incontrovertible. I think ties and cooperation will continue to be strong; we have a mutual interest in that.What should the government’s response be to growing global anti-Semitism?
The State of Israel absorbs immigration from all four corners of the earth. This is the home of every Jewish person, and it is every Jewish person’s responsibility to defend it and explain to the world that Israel is a democratic state that embraces everyone as they are. We should explain it to people who don’t know that, so they will understand. Education and public diplomacy are very important.
I am an answer to those who attack and slander Israel. I grew up in a village in Africa as a shepherd, and moved to Israel, got a higher education with the support of the Israeli government, and reached the Knesset, as a lawmaker. That’s Israel. We help the weak. The slander of Israel is baseless. No country in the world does what Israel does.Do you support maintaining the status quo on religion and state – including issues like marriage, public transportation on Shabbat, kashrut and others?
There is a status quo and I think we have to maintain it and there is no reason to change it. I think that it’s good for everyone.What can be done to lower the cost of housing?
I hope the new government will make this issue a priority. The solution is construction. We have to build in the center of the country and other places where there is high demand. Freeing up land and building is the solution, which will lower prices.What should the government do to lower the poverty rate?
I believe that lowering prices will reduce poverty. We can lower prices by lowering value-added tax. We can also create more workplaces. We also need to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor. The rich have to know how to share with those who have, by raising workers’ salaries. We should also increase privatization and competition, which will develop Israel’s economy.
Read More at The Jerusalem Post
Commercial Bank of Ethiopia Launched ‘Sitota’ A Gift Payment Card
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) launched ‘Sitota’ A Gift Payment Card in collaboration with Shoa Supermarket at a special event held on April 16, 2015. The card is like a payment card and is to be given as a gift to friends, relatives and others during special occasions like weeding, birthdays, graduations and other special events.
This valuable gift product is prepared in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 birr and is available at all Shoa Shopping Centers. Holders of CBE Gift Card can shop in all the seven Shoa Supermarkets and it is possible to use the cards at all shopping centers where CBE’s POS Terminals are available.
The addition of this new banking product is part of the Bank’s endeavor to provide technologically assisted bank services that aims at creating a cashless society in the near future. Currently, different kinds of payments cards have been introduced to the market that have got acceptance by the Bank’s customers.
Read More at Africa Business
Boy, 11, arrested after gun goes off in classroom
LAS VEGAS -- An 11-year-old boy at Ruthe Deskin Elementary School was arrested after a gun in his backpack accidentally went off in a classroom Wednesday, Clark County School District Police said.
The .45-caliber, which police say was stolen, was in the boy's backpack and went off around 3:20 p.m. hitting a desk. The shooting occurred before school was dismissed and there were students in the classroom, school police said at a Thursday news conference.
No one was injured, but one parent whose child was in the classroom says the district should have acted faster to notify parents of what happened.
Rick Heilman couldn't believe the news his daughter shared with him Wednesday afternoon.
"She says, 'dad, there was a gunshot at school today,'" Heilman said. "I had to ask her twice, what?"
The gun went off in the girl's classroom.
Heilman says he didn't hear from the Clark County School District until Thursday morning about what happened.
"I'm very unhappy with the way this has been handled," he said.
He has two daughters who attend the school and kept both home on Thursday until he could get some answers.
"A kid falls on the playground and I get a phone call but gun shots are fired in a classroom and I don't get a phone call? I should have been notified something was going on," Heilman said.
School police said they wanted to make sure the situation was under control and no one was hurt. A notice was sent to parents through CCSD's Inifinite Campus website, police said.
Read More at 8News Now
Ethiopia’s stellar growth: Lessons for Kenya – and perhaps South Africa
By CHRISTOPHER CLAPHAM and GREG MILLS.
Over the last decade, Ethiopia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing – perhaps THE fastest-growing – economies in Africa. Even though “double-digit” growth has become something of an official mantra, independent appraisals still put it at over 10 percent from 2003-13, double the sub-Saharan average. Growth is driven by a determined government policy of creating the conditions for development, notably through a massive level of infrastructural investment.
At first glance you know that the head-office of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia on Addis Ababa’s Churchill Road must have been built in the 1960s. The tatty concrete rotunda has no redeeming features – save, as it turns out, its staff.
Inside the tellers are organised in a giant circle, the commercial signs advertising a plethora of money transfer agencies.
“You want to buy a bond for the Grand Renaissance Dam?” exclaimed the startled assistant. “Come with me,” she smiled, showing the way to her colleagues working the inner ring behind the tellers. Such old-world naiveté is unlikely in most places, where security takes precedence over service. “Sit down,” she said, while organising a conversion from dollars into birr.
Construction of the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam, known as the GERD, on the Blue Nile near to the Sudanese border began in 2011. When completed in 2017 it will produce 6,000 MW, making it the largest hydro-electric plant in Africa. With the turbines and other electrical equipment to be funded by Chinese banks to the tune of $1.8 billion, the remainder of the $4.8 billion bill is to be met with the Ethiopian government, financed in part through the bond, targeting diaspora and local Ethiopians.
A group of three Chinese men scuttled past as the bond forms were completed, pushing a trolley on which rested three bulky black holdalls.
Available in amounts from 25 to 1 million birr, and with a dollar denominated option, not many individual foreigners have so far taken up the offer. “You are the second,” said Eyob, the bank manager, “we had an Italian in here some time back”. An Italian construction firm is building the dam, memories of darker days of Abyssinian invasions forgiven. Indeed, Ethiopians exhibit a remarkable pragmatism about their history, intent mostly on looking forward, not back. As one official publication notes about the “Italian colonialists”, they “made enormous efforts to modernise the country with the construction of the first proper road network and numerous public buildings”.
“You want interest?” Eyob asks, frowning, before filling out the colourful bond certificate. A little surprised at that request, he was more perplexed by the stipulated date of repayment. “Why 2025?” he laughed. “Most Ethiopians give just five years”.
Without much in the way of natural resources and, since the independence of Eritrea in May 1991, landlocked, and with its population rising fast towards the hundred million mark, Ethiopia’s development options seem limited.
Yet, so far the absence of natural resource driven growth has proven an advantage.
Over the last decade, Ethiopia has emerged as one of the fastest-growing – perhaps the fastest-growing – economies in Africa. Even though ‘double-digit’ growth has become something of an official mantra, independent appraisals still put it at over ten percent from 2003-13, double the sub-Saharan average.
Growth is driven, rather, by a determined government policy of creating the conditions for development, notably through a massive level of infrastructural investment.
Read More at Daily Maverick
Adam Gadahn Was Propagandist for Al Qaeda Who Sold Terror in English
WASHINGTON — If Osama bin Laden was the founding force behind Al Qaeda, then Adam Gadahn was perhaps its leading American voice.
A California-born convert to Islam, Mr. Gadahn was long seen as an important Qaeda propagandist who, as a member of the terror network’s media arm, As Sahab, played instrumental roles including translator, video producer and cultural interpreter.
President Obama said on Thursday that Mr. Gadahn and another American-born Qaeda leader, Ahmed Farouq, were killed in January in separate strikes against terrorist targets in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, but that neither had been specifically targeted. Mr. Gadahn had been rumored killed several times before but had always popped up again.
Mr. Gadahn, who was 36, appeared in several Qaeda propaganda pieces from 2004 onward in which he threatened the United States in vitriolic tirades and urged Muslims living in America to conduct attacks. He was not an operational leader — unlike the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in 2011 by an American drone strike in Yemen — but instead conveyed Al Qaeda’s message to English-speaking audiences around the globe.
“Because Gadahn was a spokesman and not an operational planner, his death will have little practical bearing on Al Qaeda’s terrorist operations,” said an assessment issued on Thursday by Stratfor, a geopolitical risk analysis company. “However, it is quite telling that As Sahab media has been uncharacteristically silent in 2015.”
Mr. Gadahn grew up on a 40-acre goat farm in Southern California. His family, seeking a life of austerity and isolation, had no running water in their home and produced their own electricity from solar panels. Mr. Gadahn converted to Islam at age 17 and was said to have left the United States in the late 1990s during a period of questioning his family’s religious beliefs and the American political system.
Relatives portrayed him as an earnest pacifist seeking a simpler and less materialistic life than he had found in California. His father, Philip Gadahn, a goat farmer and carpenter in rural Riverside County, said in 2004 that he had not seen his son in five years or talked to him in more than two years.
Read More at The New York Times
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