Bravo à Fartoun Aden.

Dans notre monde actuel, les rassemblements plus ou moins partisans, les cérémonies de remises de prix et autres distinctions honorifiques, sont des moments très bien préparés et orchestrés avec minutie. Ce sont des moments où rien n’est laissé au hasard. Chaque mot, chaque geste, chaque couleur, chaque tenue vestimentaire sont scrutés, vérifiés revérifiés et re-revérifiés derrière des porte closes par… des politiques. Si vous scrutez à la loupe la liste des récipiendaires du prix Nobel de la paix, vous comprendrez de quoi je parle! Le politique est derrière tout. C’est vraiment déprimant.

 Heureusement, il a aussi des moments, certes très rares, où la langue de bois et le lobbying sont dépassés volontairement ou involontairement. 

La cérémonie de remise du prix «Prix international femme de courage»(1) décerné par le Département d’état américain a récompensé cette année plusieurs femmes de tous les continents dont la canado-somalienne Faroun Aden. Cette cérémonie a été présidé par la première dame des USA, Michelle Obama et le nouveau secrétaire, John Kerry.

Quand ce dernier a invité Fartoun au micro pour prononcer une allocution (sûrement bien préparée et pleine de termes fleuries) au nom de toutes les récipiendaires, la cérémonie a viré à la communion. Qui s’en plaint? Fartoun était trop émue pour prononcer «son discours». Fort heureusement, son langage très naturel était nettement plus touchant que tous les discours de la terre. Bravo!

Voici une vidéo de 45 minutes de la cérémonie (en anglais) :

Hassan A. Aden
hassan.aden@ncf.ca

(1) International Women of Courage Award (ou Prix international femme de courage) est un prix américain décerné chaque année par le Département d’état américain aux femmes du monde entier qui ont fait preuve de leadership, de courage, d’ingéniosité et d’une volonté de se sacrifier pour les autres, en particulier pour une meilleure promotion du droits des femmes. (source : Wikipedia)

Reuters – Riot police in Djibouti city fought street battles on Friday with protesters

DJIBOUTI | Fri Mar 1, 2013 12:31pm EST

Reuters – Riot police in Djibouti city fought street battles on Friday with protesters alleging fraud in last week’s parliamentary election and demanding the release of detained opposition activists.

The unrest follows clashes earlier this week and raises the specter of mounting instability in a Red Sea state that is an important ally of the United States in its fight against militant Islam.

Some protesters threw petrol bombs and security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds chanting « freedom » and « free our leaders », a reference to the detention of several moderate Islamists from the opposition.

« We won’t stop until their release, » Mahdi Ali told Reuters in the run-down suburb of Balbala, an opposition stronghold. The opposition rejects the result of last Friday’s election and says the vote was rigged.

President Ismail Omar Guelleh’s Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP) declared victory in Friday’s vote, claiming 49 of the National Assembly’s 65 seats.

Djibouti has been ruled since 1999 by Guelleh, effectively as a one-party state. Last week’s vote was the first time the opposition had won a single seat in the assembly.

International observers reported no major violations of electoral procedures.

Opposition leaders called for demonstrations after Friday prayers to protest the disputed result and detention of Sheikh Bashir Abdourahim, a prominent opposition figure, and two others from the Movement for Democracy and Freedom (MODEL), a moderate Islamist party.

Other leaders of the main opposition Union for National Salvation (USN) are under house arrest, including the city’s mayor, a USN spokesman said.

SMOKE AND BARRICADES

On Friday evening, plumes of black smoke swirled above Balbala as youths burned tires, erected barricades and threw stones at armed police officers.

Djibouti’s city center was calm as dark fell. The police set up roadblocks on the bridge linking Balbala’s congested streets to the downtown area.

The USN says more than 500 of its supporters have been arrested in the past week – a figure the authorities have not confirmed.

Interior Minister Hassan Darar had appealed for calm late on Wednesday and said any street demonstrations were illegal.

Djibouti hosts the United States’ only military base in Africa. The former French colony’s port is also used by foreign navies protecting the Gulf of Aden’s shipping lanes, some of the busiest in the world, from Somali pirates.

The last time unrest broke out in Djibouti was in 2011 when anti-government demonstrators buoyed by the revolutions sweeping through North Africa demanded Guelleh step down. The authorities cracked down hard on the opposition.

(Writing by Richard Lough; editing by Andrew Roche)

Tweeting Djibouti’s election protests

Tweeting Djibouti’s election protests

Despite ending a ten-year election boycott, opposition rejects ruling party’s parliamentary victory.

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Police outside a polling station in Djibouti’s capital. Photo by Asma Farhan. [Twitter]

Djibouti has been swept by a week of protests over disputed parliamentary elections. Police clashed with demonstrators reportedly numbering in the thousands on Friday. The protesters are demanding the release of several prominent opposition figures. Some have pledged to continue demonstrations until the fall of the government.

After a Djibouti’s ruling party, the Union for the Presidential Majority, declared victory the opposition rejected the win and called for demonstrations. The election was the first in ten years that saw participation by the opposition, which boycotted previous votes. Djibouti’s president Ismail Omar Guelleh, who has ruled the country since 1999, called the vote a « milestone for the democratisation » of Djibouti

Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens

US flag-120Since the electoral hold-up on Friday February 22, the uprising is common in Djibouti. Despite this, the kapo regime in place since 1977 in the country, tell from rooftops that the situation is calm and the popular protests are a pure creation of the diaspora.
Too bad! The embassies of the great powers, usualy not very talkative, are not of the same opinion. The situation is far from calm in the country. After warning from the French authorities, the U.S. Embassy issued the following emergency press release for its nationals in the country. But the kapo of Beil-el-Wali will of course disagree with that and talk about conspiracy!

United States Embassy Djibouti
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens

To: All U.S. Citizens
From: U.S. Embassy Djibouti

The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens that there has been sporadic protesting around the city including on Avenue Charles De Gaulle (near the University), Siesta Beach Road, Avenue Nasser and the area surrounding Gabode High School. The protests typically consist of young persons who engage police by throwing rocks and attempting to block roads. Djiboutian police respond with tear gas and other crowd control measures and have set up temporary road blocks throughout the city to control crowds. Most protests have been dispersed within two hours. The Embassy recommends that official personnel limit movement around the city and continue to avoid large gatherings and protests. Private U.S. citizens living in Djibouti should consider taking similar precautions. If you see a demonstration, do not try to walk or drive through it. Remember the importance of maintaining a low profile. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities. Keep a fully charged cell phone with you at all times, but develop a backup communication plan in the event that cell phone service is disrupted.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Djibouti enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov, where you can find current Worldwide Caution,Travel Warning, and Travel Alerts. Read the Country Specific Information for Djibouti here. For additional information, refer to « A Safe Trip Abroad » on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us onTwitter and Facebook, or you can download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Android Marketplace, to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Lot number 350-B, Lotissement Haramous, Djibouti City. The mailing address is B.P. 185, Lot number 350-B, Lotissement Haramous, Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti. U.S. citizens may contact the U.S. Embassy at any time by dialing (253) 21-453-000. Regular business hours are Sundays – Thursdays 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.