Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas in Kaliti Jail-Ethiopia

Merry Christmas in Kaliti Jail-Ethiopia
December 23, 2006 12:00 PM EST

Having the nerve to spend a few festive days, exchanging gifts and sharing moments of gullible if not guilty happiness is an outrage, when on this very planet, dozens of millions in a single country are stripped of their national homeland, hundreds of thousands are tyrannized under the boot of a shameful, totalitarian regime, and dozens of thousands are tortured in jails because of their political aspirations for Democracy and their national expectations for a Free Oromo Ethiopia.

End the Hell of Hells Abyssinia, the country that usurped the fair name of Ethiopia!

The world should listen to both parts, the oppressors and the oppressed, to get a final idea, before action is taken. This article, first of a series of authentic papers and texts written by both sides, brings to your wonderfully decorated house the testimony of a tortured young Oromo scholar, who after spending two years in the Gulag of Abyssinia, found peace in Djibouti as refugee. Throughout the text Finfinne, the real capital name of Ethiopia, stands for ‘Addis Ababa’. And never forget; as long as Amharas and Tigrays tyrannize the Christian, Muslim and Animist Oromos, Sidamas, Ogadenis, and Afars, the country should not be called ‘Ethiopia’, but Abyssinia.

Listen to the voice of Mr. Madda Walabu, Oromo Biologist, and try to find out what went wrong with our Humanity. Read his own text, and evaluate for yourselves to what extent you believe in a God of Love and Justice, either you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish or believer of any other religion.

All ye that pass by, behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto his sorrow.

My memories from the Kaliti Jail

By Walabu Madda – Oromo biologist, former Kaliti jail detainee, currently refugee in Djibouti

The Kaliti Jail resembles more to a concentration camp than to regular African prison. It is located in the south-eastern outskirts of Finfinne. Kaliti jail is actually one of the two most notorious prisons of conscience in Abyssinia. The other one is known as the Central Federal Jail.

Prisoners are usually transferred from other jails throughout Abyssinia to Kaliti jail as this jail is the ‘correct’ place for more intense torture and severe, inhuman punishment. The buildings are made of grey stone. Numerous rooms have been arranged for accommodating thousands of prisoners.

Welcome to a Kaliti jail room!

The room I was in was approximately 16x16m, and although it sounds improbable in its 256m2 were accommodated around 100 prisoners, literally squeezed as in a sardine conserve. The only space everyone gets is the space needed for one’s body. If at a moment you happen to turn around, you automatically touch the person next to you - or under you - or above you!

All prisoners sleep on concrete floor, and they are given small, thin mats. While sleeping or at the moment of awaking, the person who sleeps on the edge of your head extends his feet, subsequently hitting you as you are equally positioned to do the same to others. The hit is not deliberate but due to dramatic lack of space.

Abominable hygiene conditions

Perhaps worse than the torture, the low hygiene. Kaliti is worse than what I had imagined as hell, when I was a child. When the room is congested with hundreds of prisoners, it is so unbearably filthy that every minute looks as long as a century of misery. Under these circumstances, it is only normal that, if one has got flu, the next day everyone in the room has flu too. This is however the least, as prisoners are constantly exposed to a great number of contagious diseases, grave contaminations, and lethal sicknesses.

Amhara – Tigray anti-Oromo racism best expressed in Health

Sick Oromo prisoners are never taken to clinics. Actually, no one cares about a prisoner's health. When a prisoner is stricken by a disease, this is rather viewed by the inhuman jail authorities as a most welcome form of torture, something to be added to the conventional torture that is constantly perpetrated by prison officials.

No toiletry for Oromos!

The time prisoners are allowed to spend in the toilet is restricted to a few minutes twice a day, in the morning and the evening. The time in-between prisoners are constrained to stay in their congested rooms; horribly enough, some prisoners who have runny stomach can't wait until the time officially fixed for toilet visit. They are therefore inhumanly forced to discharge their excrements in the very limited space reserved for themselves, next to so many others, making therefore the whole room stink unbearably and appallingly.

All sorts of insects, rats, etc.

As second type of severe hygiene problem is caused by a great number of most disturbing and extremely perilous parasites that also dwell in the congested prisoner rooms. These rooms are the abode of lice, fleas, and their likes. At times, rats sneak into the rooms as they smell remnants of food cooked and brought by the prisoners’ relatives and friends.

Oromo prisoners constrained to starvation

A third category of hygiene problem is provoked by the food cooked in the jail’s disreputably soiled kitchens. The only food prisoners can expect to have in the horrible Kaliti jail is just a small roll of bread and stew called "Dokkee". Dokkee is prepared, believe it or not, in just 10 minutes, and thus undercooked, it is miserably served in a massive bowl for all prisoners.

I am sure if Lord Byron had had an idea of the Kaliti jail before composing his famous 'Devil's Drive', he would have said that "The Devil dined on an Abyssinian stew”....

Truly speaking, people are literarily starving in the Kaliti jail. It is the Amhara / Tigray policy to make Oromos, Sidamas, Ogadenis, Afars and other political prisoners starve to death.

Only in the weekends, on Saturdays and Sundays, parents, relatives and friends of the prisoners are allowed to visit, and doing so they deliver decent homemade food, as they know that the Kaliti jail food is closer to poisoning than to nutrition. However, few are the lucky ones!

Biyya Oromo (land) is a huge country, totaling more than half the Abyssinia’s surface, and taking into consideration the primitive transportation infrastructure and the local temperatures, no food has chance to be properly delivered, if the prisoner’s family or friends live at a distance of more than 30 km from the jail. With the country population being mostly rural and decentralized, less than 10% of the prisoners have the privilege of homemade food delivered by the loved ones. Those having relatives located faraway limit themselves to some cans and conserves, when their relatives come from faraway provinces, after spending two or three days for travel.

Jail: the typical Amhara / Tigray tyranny’s reward for Oromo students

The Oromo political prisoners are highly educated, as the percentage of Oromo literate population is far higher than that of the Amharas and the Tigrays.

The Oromo prisoners are arrested either at their workplaces or in universities, vocational centers, and high schools. They are jailed because suspected as members of the Oromo Liberation Front and other resistance organizations. I spent two years of my life (2004-2005) in jail.

Torture Oromo students to maintain underdevelopment, illiteracy and obscurantism!

For the first two months of my stay in Kaliti jail, I was being beaten twice a week, more specifically on Tuesdays and Fridays. I was asked whether I was member of the Oromo Liberation Front, and irrespective of the answer, yes or no, I knew that I would be beaten, and I was mercilessly beaten every time.

We are more than 40 million people, Oromos, Sidamas and other southern peoples of Abyssinia, and we know very well that every one of us, who has got higher education and a (normal for every body in this world) feeling of patriotism, is viewed by the murderous Amhara – Tigray tyranny as a serious danger that must be eliminated. They know that if free, within a few years we will make of our Oromo Ethiopia Africa’s first nation in Development, Arts and Sciences. Some of the reasons they hate us are their illiteracy and obscurantism that they know but are unable to get rid of them.

Kangaroo court in 21st century African Gulag - ‘Ethiopia’

I was regularly taken to a kangaroo court*1 every two three months. As I as not charged with any crime, I was taken to Kaliti jail, where verything is done arbitrarily. People are imprisoned without court warrant and then they stay in prison for many years without trial. Among my friends, many have long been kept in isolated and underground darkrooms. They were forced sit on electric chair.

Torture practices

Constant practices involve the lacing of heavy objects, like a bar of metal or a stone, with the male prisoners’ genitals. A great variety of similar torture objects are available at the Kaliti jail.

Despicable insults in unknown language

Among the prison officials, they worse are Tigrigna speakers, who scoffed at me, insulting me in tyrant Meles Zenawi’s tongue that I did not know until I came to learn its worst part of vocabulary.

If jailed, better to be unmarried!

In the Kaliti jail there are many who happen to be husbands to wives and fathers to numerous children. On Sundays, their wives do their best to travel and visit them, bringing their beloved children with. A visit to the unjustly and inhumanly jailed father is for these children the most passionately expected moment.

One attests some of the most emotional expressions of distress, grief and agony. As they don’t know whether they are going to see their father alive next time, these children live many subsequent deaths of father, experiencing what is worse in one’s dwelling in the Hell of Hells.

There is a 1m wide bar separating the prisoner from the visitor, therefore prohibiting the direct contact. To contravene this inhuman arrangement of places, visitors have the children lifted up and passed on to their fathers over the bar. At the end of a brief visit, the most hated bell rings, and every prisoner is rushed back to the common room for the detainees.

The worst scene I saw in my life

At that moment, you see fathers and mothers crying, children refusing to depart from their fathers’ hands, babies horridly panicked and screaming, a most tumultuous and heart breaking scene of people who do not know whether that is their last moment in their lives they see their beloved father or husband or son. I thank God for having not been a father so far, otherwise my condition would have been far more painful.

Prison buildings turned to mortuaries

As more and more prisoners are brought in every day, the new cells are constructed to have only corrugated roof tins. Upon learning about manifestations taking place in Finfinne, the prisoners enthused overwhelmingly, and feeling that the ultimate collapse of the murderous Abyssinian tyranny is close, they started shouting in Oromo, welcoming the end of Meles Zenawi’s dictatorship. The Tigray prison guards immediately fired at, and killed, many among the shouting prisoners in their rooms. Inhumanly but commonly enough in the Cenotaph – Ethiopia, the injured prisoners were not taken to hospitals. They were rather left to bleed to death.

Liberate immediately the Oromo students of the Kaliti jail!

I was left to go, and currently live as refugee in Djibouti, but my mind is back there, the Kaliti Hell. I still remember that there were, along with me, about 40 third year students of the university at Finfinne. They must still be there, probably joined by freshly captured Oromo patriots. They have been jailed because of allegedly protesting against the dictatorial decision to remove Oromia province’s capital from Finfinne in 2004.

Let the Christian World celebrating Christmas and the Islamic World commemorating Eid el Adha at the end of the month, let all the Humans rejoicing for a happy New Year 2007 remember the Kaliti Hell of the Cenotaph Ethiopia and call for, demand, and ultimately impose the obliteration of both, the Kaliti Jail and Meles Zenawi’s fake-‘Ethiopia’.

Note:*1 For those who live far from the African Gulag – ‘Ethiopia’, from wikipedia: A kangaroo court is a 'judicial' proceeding that denies proper procedure in the name of expediency; a fraudulent or unjust trial where the decision has essentially been made in advance, usually for the purpose of providing a conviction, either going through the motions of manipulated procedure or allowing no defense at all.

source: http://www.theconservativevoice.com/article/21341.html

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