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Refugees held hostage in Sinai Desert- EveryOne Group December 17, 2010

Posted by habeshaviews in Ethiopia, What's on the News?.
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We write to draw your attention to, and to appeal for, urgent intervention in the appalling plight of hundreds of refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia who are currently held hostage in the Sinai Desert by Bedouin people traffickers.

These people have been held for months on the outskirts of a town in Sinai in purpose-built containers. Their captors are demanding payment of up to US$8,000 per person before releasing them, and are subjecting them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. They are bound by chains around their ankles, have been deprived of adequate food, are given salty water to drink, and have been tortured using extreme methods, including electric shocks, to force friends and families abroad to make these payments. The women in the group, who have been separated from the rest, are particularly vulnerable to severe abuse.

 Over the weekend the situation of these refugees appears to have deteriorated markedly. Hostages were branded like cattle, and on Sunday evening, three Eritrean men were reportedly shot dead after their families confirmed to the kidnappers that they were unable to meet the additional payments – the hostages had already paid US$2000.

 On Tuesday morning, three more hostages were reported to have died following a severe assault administered by the traffickers after a group of 12 attempted to escape. Hostages now report being beaten so badly that their backs are bloody and bruised.

   Due to a series of human rights crises, the Horn of Africa in general and the Sinai   in particular have now become major centres for people trafficking by highly organized crime syndicates. In a harrowing report recently compiled in Israel, (1) refugees recount the horrors that were inflicted on them at this purpose-built desert facility as traffickers attempted to elicit increasingly large sums of money from them, including systematic rape, electrocution, branding with hot metal, severe and sustained beatings and extrajudicial killing.

In August, AFP news agency reported the deaths of six Eritreans on the Egypt-Israel border, four of whom were killed in a dispute with people smugglers. In June, ten African refugees, including Eritreans, were reportedly killed by human smugglers in Sinai after they had been held for more than two months in these secret locations


Steps November 25, 2010

Posted by habeshaviews in Ethiopia, My life, The blog.
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Massive travel plans a head. You know the kind you could describe as “doomsday scale.”    Some might even take it as a big step. 

I have gotten the calls and the looks and     tones telling me “I must be out of my freakin’ mind.”

Am I scared ? Of course ! too many unknowns and may bes and  uncertainties….

Am I a risk taker? You have no idea!

Am  I a quitter? Never !

I am just a knower (is there such a word?) when it’s enough and time to move on. And that’s exactly what I am doing, moving on. So much as I drag on decisions, ones I made them I never look back.

Had a chance to make a tiny bit of difference in people’s lives. I know changes are on a micro, nano , petite, tiny scale but still most annoying steps were worth it. Others, I just did it to prove you wrong.   

Had a chance to spend time with very very cool ppl. And, very very uncool people , you know the type it should be legal to punch every now and then? 

As I do my final inland travel , thanks for all the cool people I have come to know. I know my path will cross again with most of you.

The Highland Kids July 9, 2010

Posted by habeshaviews in Ethiopia, Travel.
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If you have ever driven down south , a little outside of Arbaminch, you definitely have met the highland kids.

These are basically very young children running along side your car asking for an empty plastic bottle. Whenever they see a car driving by or a stranger around they shout non- stop “highland…highland …”  They sometimes do dances by the road side as well. When you get used to it , it can be a little annoying but the first times it’s really funny.

Highland is a lable to one of the first  bottled water in Ethiopia. For many in Ethiopia ,the name has come to mean bottled water in general. The plastic bottle comes in handy in the towns closer to arbaminch since school lunch packing is in  liquid form.Cheka is the traditional drink kids take to school everyday hence why they run as fast as possible trying to catch up with your car shouting “highland ..highland ….”