Many Ethiopian Americans are disappointed the US isn’t supporting the Ethiopian government.
Scores fled to the US the last time the Tigray People’s Liberian Front was in power in the 1990’s.
Critics want the Biden administration to lift sanctions and send aid to help the Tigrayian people.
As thousands of Ethiopian Americans marched in front of the White House on November 8th, Hermela Aregawi, an Ethiopian American journalist, felt energized.
Protesters waved Ethiopian flags, and carried signs reading “Hands off Ethiopia” and “US Support Ethiopia in its fight against extremists!”
Over the last few weeks between ground mobilization efforts, across the country, and the #NoMore hashtag on social media, Aregawi said Ethiopians across the diaspora are feeling like they can finally express how they feel about the civil war ravaging the east African country.
According to the United Nations,of Ethiopians have been killed in the year-long conflict. A third of the 6 million people in the Tigray region have been displaced with a famine on the , as more than 80% of the region is .
As the Tigray People’s Liberian Frontcloser to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Americans told Insider they are fed up with US policy toward Ethiopia in response to the ongoing armed conflict.
They want all sanctions removed from Ethiopia and Eritrea and for the US to support Ethiopia’s democratically elected leaders.
“It’s a lot of disappointment in the suffering that’s happening back in our native country,” Aregawi said. “A lot of disappointment in our home here in America and that some officials just don’t seem to be living up to values that we expected them to.”
Situation in Ethiopia is complex, historian says
While the situation reflects a complicated history in Ethiopia, James McCann, professor of history at Boston University, told Insider that the origins of the conflict draw back to the start of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The TPLF began in 1975 as agroup, which later ousted former President and military leader Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991. The group held national power in Ethiopia from 1991 to 2018. The TPLF was listed as a three Terrorist Organization by the US Citizens and Immigration Services.
The US then lifted that status in 1991.
The TPLFit fights for the interests of the Tigrayian ethnic group, who are mostly based in Ethiopia’s Tigray region – located on the mountainous northern border of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Fast forward to the current conflict, McCann said the TPLFthe unrest last November with a strike against an Ethiopian military base in Tigray.
TPLF take issue with a number of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s policies.
The TPLF’s objectives, McCann says, have always been to highlight allwith separate identities. Since he took office in 2018, however, Ahmed has .
In 2018, Ahmed’s nationalmessage spread to mending the decades-long conflict with Eritrea, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
As a Tigrayian native, Aregawi, said the TPLF does not represent the views of Tigrayian people. She said most Ethiopian Americans support Ahmed’s message of collective national identity and a move past ethnic differences. Ethiopia’s national elections were scheduled for August 2020 but were postponed todue to the . In June, Ahmed’s won reelection and an overwhelming majority of seats in parliament, assuring him another term and five years in office.
TPLF officials objected to the delay.
“Time is running out for him,” Berhane Gebrekristos, a former Ethiopian ambassador to the US and a TPLF leader, said last week about Ahmed during an announcement of a new coalition between the TPLF and other rebel groups in the country.
Many Ethiopian Americans say the US is picking a side and meddling
The US has beenby and leaders of fueling the conflict, as well as siding with the TPLF’s leaders.
The group TPLF is viewed by many Ethiopians across the diaspora as threatening the economic and democratic well being of Ethiopia, Mesfin Tegenu, Chairman of American Ethiopian Public Affairs Committee, tells Insider.
“Ethiopian Americans in the US feel the Biden administration is ignoring the context and history,” Tegenu said.
The US announced sanctions on November 12th targeting‘s military and other Eritrea-based individuals and entities for their role in fueling the year-long war in neighboring northern Ethiopia. The Ethiopian National Defense Force is allied with Eritrea.
Ethiopian Americans tell Insider they were initially skeptical of Eritrea’s role in helping the Ethiopian government but they say the current government and military wouldn’t be able to sustain itself without Eritrea’s allyship.
A sanction is an economic penalty applied by a country targeted at another country, group, or individual.
The White House National Security Council wrote in an email to Insider that it is in continuous contact with Ethiopian American organizations and welcomes “their unique ideas and contributions to promote understanding and healing across ethnic and political lines we seek to achieve the shared goal of a united, peaceful Ethiopia.”
For some, US policy during the conflict is confusing
The US hasthat it is not taking a side in the unrest. It blames all sides for the armed conflict and fatalities.
However, President Joe BidenAhmed’s government for “gross violations” of human rights earlier this month and removed Ethiopia from a US .
The US said it hasready to respond and has called for a ceasefire between both sides. This week, Ethiopia was placed on of the US travel advisory because of the chaos in the region.
According to the Associated Press, the Ethiopiandeclared a ceasefire in June but it was quickly over. The TPLF continued to expand its territory into other regions of Ethiopia after the Ethiopian government declared a ceasefire, reports.
Insider reached out to Ethiopian Prime Minister Ahmed’s office for comment.
: “War was not and is not the first option for the people and government of Tigray. We have repeatedly expressed our commitment to negotiate a ceasefire.”
A TPLF spokesperson, Getachew K Reda, did not respond to an Insider request for comment.
McCann says the USon the conflict between the TPLF and Ahmed’s government is not consistent. He doesn’t know what to make of what the US aim is. Ethiopia is an ally of the US.
“It’s just very confusing,” he said.
Ethiopian Americans say they fled Ethiopia because of crackdowns while the TPLF were in power
Many Ethiopian Americans say during the TPLF’s time in power in the 90’s their families were forced to flee Ethiopia, arriving to the US onbecause of what they say was a “brutal crackdown” by the group.
That’s why they tell Insider they are so frustrated with the US and want them to stop what they say is enabling the TPLF’s push to regain power.
“They’re disappointed that the current administration just seems to be aligning with the previous regime, which has turned into an armed insurgency against the elected government in Ethiopia, Aregawi said.
Ethiopian Americans want peace, but disagree about the process
Some in the Ethiopian American community support what the TPLF are doing and don’t disagree with the US policy, Dr. Tsehaye Teferra, president of the Ethiopian Development Community Council, told Insider.
Some in the diaspora, he says, do not support Prime Minister Ahmed.
But they believe the US could be doing more to get resources to the Tigray region where thehas declared food, water, and basic resources are needed. The says it has given nearly $637 million to the Tigray region since the conflict began.
“Ethiopia is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic nation,” Teferra said. “There is no one voice that speaks for the entire community.”
While the pathway to peace remains unclear for Ethiopian Americans on either side of the debate, US policy is only hurting their families still in Ethiopia. Neither side is advocating for a US military intervention.
“There is a democratically elected government for the first time in Ethiopian history,” Tegenu said. “We want the US to work with the democratically elected government and be on the side of the Ethiopian people. Resolve the issue in a way that makes sense.”
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MasterChef Christmas special 2021 | Release date, celebrity line-up
The BBC has announced a trio of MasterChef specials to entertain us through the festive season this year, including special episodes of Celebrity MasterChef.
BBC One’s Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off will feature 10 of the most memorable celebrities from former series returning to compete in two festive themed specials.
MasterChef judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode will be back to critique celebrities including ex-EastEnders star Joe Swash, Strictly Come Dancing pro Oti Mabuse, TOWIE’s Gemma Collins, the Reverend Richard Coles, and Loose Women’s Judi Love. They’ll be competing in the kitchen for the prestigious title of Christmas champion and the glamorous all-new Celebrity MasterChef Golden Whisk trophy.
Meanwhile, the MasterChef Champions Special features five of the most memorable amateur champions returning to the MasterChef kitchen. They are: Tim Anderson (Champion 2011), Ping Coombes (Champion 2014), Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed (Champion 2017), Kenny Tutt (Champion 2018), and Irini Tzortzoglou (Champion 2019).
The MasterChef: The Professionals Rematch Special will see four of the most memorable chefs from past MasterChef: The Professionals series returning to battle it out and complete challenges set by MasterChef judges Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace.
The line-up includes: Philli Armitage-Mattin (finalist 2020), Jamie Park (finalist 2017), Santosh Shah (finalist 2020) and Bart van der Lee (finalist 2020).
Here’s everything we know about the MasterChef Christmas specials so far…
MasterChef Christmas special release date
The exact air date for the Masterchef Christmas specials has yet to be confirmed by the BBC, but we do know that they will arrive in time for the festive season in December.
Who is in the MasterChef Christmas special line-up?
Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off will feature the welcome return of some of the most unforgettable celebrities from past series. The celebrity line-up includes actor Les Dennis, singer Mica Paris, former professional football player Neil Ruddock, national treasure Su Pollard, Loose Women’s Judi Love, former EastEnders star Joe Swash, reality TV star Joey Essex, Strictly Come Dancing pro Oti Mabuse, TOWIE’s Gemma Collins, and broadcaster the Reverend Richard Coles.
Last year’s Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off featured Janet Street-Porter winning the first edition of the series, and Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood named the second winner.
Is there a trailer?
There isn’t a trailer yet for Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off, so we’ll keep you updated.
MasterChef Christmas specials returns to BBC One in December. Visit our Entertainment hub for more news and features, or find something to watch with our TV Guide.
Minnesota Republicans take aim at President Joe Biden ahead of today’s visit to state
In a set of news releases and a morning news conference, Minnesota GOP officials and lawmakers pointed to Biden’s lagging approval ratings and called on the president to address pressing issues affecting Minnesotans. Biden is set to speak at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, Minnesota, about the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill that was recently signed into law.
The city is part of the politically split 2nd Congressional District, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Angie Craig narrowly won reelection in 2020. Craig is set to join Biden for his visit, as will other Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor policymakers.
“The Democrats know Angie Craig is in serious jeopardy of losing her seat in 2022 and are using their deeply flawed infrastructure legislation as an excuse to bring Joe Biden in to save Craig’s floundering political career,” said Republican Tyler Kistner, who ran against Craig in 2020 and is set to again challenge the congresswoman in 2022.
GOP lawmakers said the visit would offer them an opportunity to contrast Republican priorities against those of the Biden administration and Democrats. And they said they supported projects that were included in the proposal but felt there were too many non-infrastructure pieces added to it.
“We deserve better and we’re certainly going to push back on many of these failed policies,” said Rep. Pete Stauber, a Republican representing the state’s 8th Congressional District.
White House officials have said Biden will tout the infrastructure plan and how it could improve the flow of supply chains around the country, reducing bottlenecks and resulting delays. Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chair Ken Martin on Tuesday said the passage of the massive plan was proof that Biden was able to break through partisan gridlock.
“Despite being in office for less than a year, President Biden has already delivered for Minnesotans everywhere,” Martin said.
Craig in a news release on Tuesday said the package will create jobs in Minnesota and show “that we’re working tirelessly to make good on our promises, and that we’re committed to working on a bipartisan basis to get it done.”
The federal boost is set to fund more than $4 billion in improvements to Minnesota highways, $818 million for public transportation investments and $302 million to help repair and replace bridges, according to the White House. The plan will also fund broadband expansion, port and airport improvements, water quality projects and electric car charging stations in the state.
State transportation officials have said the funds could allow Minnesota to move forward with projects earlier than they’d planned. More than 661 bridges and 4,986 miles of highway in Minnesota are considered to be in poor condition by the White House.
Minnesota’s congressional delegation split almost on party lines on the infrastructure proposal. All of the state’s Republicans, along with Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, voted against the proposal, while the other Democrats voted in favor. Omar said she wanted the infrastructure package to come up for a vote alongside a larger spending plan.
Biden in 2020 won Minnesota with a 7-percentage point advantage over then-President Donald Trump. But Biden’s approval rating has declined during his first year in office.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates later in the day.
Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter [email protected], call 651-290-0707 or email
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