Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stop exporting weapons! Swedish Anti-war activists

Ant-war activists here in Stockholm early this evening (November 28, 2012) urged their government to stop manufacturing and exporting weapons. The activists staged their protest outside at a defense fair which is entitled  "the Future Defense & Security", Nordic's largest ever fair held in Sweden where more than 1000 people from around the world were attending the fair. Members of the Facebook group "stop the death fair" during the fair's second day staged a mass deaths in that harsh weather which participants laid themselves outside the exhibition hall and played dead for 10 minutes to symbolize victims in various countries across the globe who are/were affected by Swedish weapon exports. A local amateur band played a kind of funereal song which reflects human suffering due to weapons used in various parts of the earth. The organizer, Swedish Peace, on the occasion said weapons factories in Sweden can be converted in to various civilian facilities to improve the livelihood of humankind. Reports shows that Sweden's Arms exports have more than quadrupled over the past decade, from just over three billion to over 13 billion. This represents an increase of over 300 percent. The five largest recipients of military armaments from Sweden in 2011 were in order Thailand, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan and Britain. These five countries alone accounted for 60 percent of exports.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'll stand by my imprisoned colleagues: Turkish Journalist

Baris Pehlivan made this remark today at a public gathering organized early in the afternoon by the European Federation of Journalists as part of the international campaign called "Set Turkish Journalists Free". Right now, there around 76 journalists who are behind bars in various prisons of Turkey. Pehlivan works for a private Turkish TV channel called ODATV and he was imprisoned, released and tomorrow he will face another terrorism charges in Istanbul's court. I asked him why doesn't he seek asylum in Sweden instead of risking his life and he said he would rather stand by his colleagues and live in Turkey until all of them are set free. He is accused by Turkish authorities for being a member of an imaginary terrorist group which allegedly plotting a coup d'eta in Turkey. He and his wife claimed that hundreds of innocent Turkish citizens are being locked up for having different opinions than the regime allows. There is a terrible situation for the press and freedom of expression in Turkey. The number of imprisoned journalists in spring was more than 100, which was more than in China. Pehlivan was jailed together with some 40 journalists during last Christmas, for being involved in the so-called Ergenekon plot.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Americans didn't prove me wrong this time.

This image was taken in Stockholm, Sweden  on the eve of  America's 2012 presidential electio , as part of international CNNiReporters' opinion on U.S.A's election. First of all I would like to thank team CNNiReport for giving me this opportunity to express my choice of America's 2012 presidential candidate. As for the for first question, hmm who in his/her right mind would vote for a person who bashes everybody but the riches. So, my answer is I would have elected Mr. President Obama for his wonderful ideals and values, even though I have some reservations like he didn't put pressure on Ethiopia's late prime minister to release all prisoners of conscious in my home country. The second question is a bit tricky, in American election anything can happen; Americans have a different psyche, do you remember the 2004 election? I never and ever imagined George W. Bush would have had a second term; well the Americans proved me wrong so, the same thing may happen during this election. Fortunately, Americans didn't prove me wrong this time, they learned from their past mistake and elected the right person for the Oval Office. I do hope and wish Mr. Obama will deliver some of his promises from 2008 in his second term to Americans in particular and the world in general. I know everyone of us are expecting him to do so many things before the end of his tenure notwithstanding his enormous local and international challenge. My only demand for him is just to stop pampering and sponsoring tyrants in my home country Ethiopia and other nations across the globe; that really makes a big difference in millions people's lives in those respective countries where these dictators are trumping up human rights, abuse their powers and embezzle millions of aid money with impunity because of their western and eastern backings.   

Swedes are for Obama

As part of CNN's global iReporters team, I interviewed students of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication here in Stockholm, Sweden on November 6, 2012 to find out their opinions about America's 2012 presidential election, who they would vote for and who they think will win this election. All of them said they would vote for Obama and they think/hope that he would get a second term; even though they consider him as a right-wing by Swedish political standard. Their wish is fulfilled and Mr. Barack Obama will lead America for another four years.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

No to foreign intervention! Pro-Assad demonstrators

Hundreds of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's supporters in Stockholm went to the street early this evening downtown to protest against foreign intervention proposed by Syrian rebels to end the bloodshed in their home-country. These demonstrators were holding pictures of their president who lost credibility worldwide due to his brutality against his own people. In the meantime, more than two dozens of their fellow counterparts, mainly young boys/men, also held a spontaneous counter rally on the opposite side Sergel's square condemning the killing spree which has been being perpetrated by the regime in Syria since last year. The anti-Assad protesters chanting Koranic slogans and waving Syrian as well as Kurdish national flags.

Is it me or the "smartphones" aren't really "smart"?

As you may remember, I got my first ever smartphone a few weeks back and I'm blending into the "smart" crowd. Before I knew it, I just can't help but hooked up to my new toy:-), you know the usual, just trying to figure out some of the tricks how to sort out some problems, tweeting, facebooking,  playing games ( I missed the station I was supposed to get off while playing my favorite gran turismo video game last week). If anybody uses these gadgets, they really make life easier and do some magic with some exception. For example, one can download very many apps like video editors, photo editors and thousands of other apps to execute jobs that might take a lot of time, energy, expertise and money. I downloaded this video editor app which can trim images, as well as enables you to grab still pictures from those videos you've taken. So, with this background information, I went yesterday night to attend Selam Festival's (an entertainment/promotion organization based in Stockholm which has been bringing many artists from all the world to Sweden) 15th anniversary, leaving behind my borrowed camera home thinking that I would look cool & smart with my "smartphone":-), not really! I was standing and filming those amazing Ethiopian traditional singers and dancers the whole time, while almost everybody was shaking to the tunes. Alas, when the show was finished and I started to check out the images that my "smartphone" I thought captured, I couldn't believe none of them were there! Not even a single 50'' frame! I searched and searched but in vain, I will never forgive myself for being so stupid and relying on something which is called "smart". To make the long story short, I found out later that I should punch the save button every freaking time I finished filming which is not the case with "dummyphones" or my traditional camera. What's the point of making something simple complicated? My job, I suppose was/is just to choose my subjects, a good angle and press record and then the camera do the rest.
I learnt my lesson in a hard way; anyway, I will never leave my camera especially if I've to go to a big event like this one. Happy 15th Birthday Selam; it was really an honor to watch those dancers rocking the entire public. If some kind of devil didn't tell me still-pictures with the "smartphone", I would have ended up coming home empty handed. I think, I've a lot of catching-up for me as far as these "smartphones" are concerned. But, I wonder how many of those people with zero knowledge about technology, are managing their very expensive "smartphones":-) or are these gadgets just a status symbol?           

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Unsung Journalists of Ethiopian Gov't Media

Ethiopia's unsung prisoner
of conscious
Ethiopia is known for all bad reasons. Thanks to our late “visionary” and “democratic” leader, it's the second journalists jailer nation in Africa next to neighboring country Eritrea and it is in the top-list of those countries which forced their journalists into exile over the last decade. It is also known for other “good” reasons like its imprisoned or “freed” journalists are being honored by international advocacy groups; Reeyot Alemu an Ethiopian columnist sentenced to 11 years last July for the “terrorism” charges by Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), is among four of the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) 2012's Courage to Write award winners. Serkalem Fasil; another IWMF-2007 winner; who gave birth while in custody in 2005 and the wife of the prominent journalist/dissident blogger Eskinder Nega who was sentenced to 18 years jail term last July accused of terrorism charges and treason; received on her husband's behalf Pen-American writers' Foundation for 2012. I really appreciate such gestures given by these advocacy groups to acknowledge the plights of Ethiopian journalists but every time I read