Monday, November 07, 2005

Political unrest in Ethiopia

Just wanted to share a little about what is currently going on in Ethiopia. Back in May elections were held and starting in June, the opposition party began saying that the election was rigged, corrupt, etc. These people have been staging protests. The police have been shooting and killing many of these protestors (prime minister Meles Zenawi and his government are responsible for having the police do this.) Meles' government is said to have little tolerance for opposition. At any rate, these violent demonstrations primarily took place in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa (where our agency's facility, as well as most of the NGO's, are located, as well as the American embassy, medical clinics, etc.)

The last couple of days have been peaceful, with no shootings. However the entire city has shut down due to the opposition party "organizing" a taxi strike (taxis are the main transportation there), in other words anyone operating their taxi or going somewhere in a car is risking being hurt by the opposition party.

What does this mean for adoption? Sadly, many of our agency's parents were scheduled to pick up their children this month, but that has been postponed for two weeks at least, because due to the fact that no one in Addis is going out of their home to go to work, the American embassy isn't able to offer travel visas to these kids and the kids are unable to go to the medical clinic to get their final medical (required for them to get the visa to leave.) Also, because the town is essentially shut down, that means that no deliveries are happening (to stores, etc.) so grocery stores that are open hardly have any food and our agency's facility is running low. No one knows yet what the next day will bring. Please pray that these political issues can be sorted out peacefully with no more lives lost and that life can return to normal for those living in Ethiopia.

I don't know if any of this affects us directly, but obviously it could affect our eventual travel to Ethiopia. Interestingly, just as quickly as these things crop up, they can calm down, at least for awhile (as evidenced by the last two days being extremely peaceful, and the fact that since June until now things have been calm.) Travel would be a long way off for us anyway being that we don't have a referral yet, but we are thankful that Ethiopia would allow us to just have the children escorted home, if unrest is still a problem then.

I find myself so thankful to live in a country where we (for the most part) have the freedom to disagree, voice our dissent, and walk down the street without fear of being arrested or killed. I know I take that for granted but have been reminded of our amazing freedoms these last few days.

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