by Mohammed Ademo
For many in the audience, this was the first time they ever heard the name Oromo or Oromiya. Set in an ancient Oromo country, in north east Africa, the 30-minute play by Jerrie Steele, presented by Bedlam’s Cedar Riverside Art Zone for Youth, was based on a book by Janet Curiel and Lina Abdulaya, Once Upon a Time in Oromiya (Sheeko Sheeko): An East African Traditional Folktale.
“When I read the book, I needed to understand more about the Oromo people,” said Steele in an email to OPride. “I was moved to tears as I read about some of the abuses they have endured and the assault on their language and egalitarian way of life.” Read more…
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May 2, 2012, NEW YORK (Washington Post) — An imprisoned Ethiopian journalist and blogger who could face the death penalty for advocating peaceful protests in his Horn of Africa homeland was honored Tuesday with PEN America’s “Freedom to Write” award.
Eskinder Nega was arrested in 2011 under Ethiopia’s sweeping anti-terrorism laws, which PEN says criminalize any reporting deemed to “encourage” or “provide moral support” to groups and causes the government deems “terrorists.”
Nega is still in jail after a judge in Addis Ababa found him guilty Jan. 23 on terror charges. He could face the death penalty at sentencing.
Ethiopia has arrested close to 200 people, among them journalists and opposition politicians and members, under last year’s anti-terrorism proclamation.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, more journalists have fled Ethiopia than any other country in the world over the past decade.
Nega was honored at PEN/America’s annual gala dinner Tuesday at the American Museum of Natural History, with some 500 PEN members and supporters in attendance.
PEN/America granted him the year’s PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. Read more…
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