Although he has been extradited
from Israel, 30-year-old Eritrean Johny Goytiom Kafl who had sought for refuge
brims with satisfaction as he looks out upon thousands of fellow protesters
rallying against the impending expulsions all while peacefully secured by
police. It’s such displays of civil action that he most admires about his
adoptive home of the past nine years since he escaped one of the world’s most
oppressive regimes, and then faced torture, kidnapping and abuse during his
exodus throughout Africa. “You are treated like a human being in Israel,” he
said in fluent Hebrew. “Here I am not afraid, but in Eritrea, I was afraid.” He
was heard as saying. Kafl, along with tens of thousands of other Africans, now
fear their stay in the Holy Land is coming to an abrupt end. Israel has given
many of them until April 1 to leave for an unnamed African destination. Israel
considers the vast majority of the nearly 40,000 migrants to be job seekers and
says it has no legal obligation to keep them.
African migrants gather during a protest in front of
Rwanda embassy in Herzeliya, Israel. Tens of thousands of African asylum
seekers, nearly all from dictatorial Eritrea and war-torn Sudan, fear their
stay in Israel is coming to an abrupt end. The Israeli government has given
them until April 1 to leave the country.
The Africans, nearly all from
dictatorial Eritrea and war-torn Sudan, say they fled for their lives and face
renewed danger if they return. As the world grapples with the worst refugee
crisis since World War II, the issue has struck a raw nerve in Israel —
established on the heels of the Holocaust. Critics at home and in the Jewish
American community have called the government’s proposed response unethical and
a stain on Israel’s image as a refuge for Jewish migrants. The optics of black
asylum seekers accusing the country of racism has turned into a public
relations liability for Israel, and groups of Israeli doctors, academics, poets,
Holocaust survivors, rabbis and pilots have all appealed to halt the plan. But
the government remains steadfast, bristling at what it considers cynical
comparisons to the plight of Jews in Nazi Germany. The Africans started moving
toward Israel in 2005 after neighboring Egypt violently quashed a refugee
demonstration and word spread of safety and job opportunities in Israel. Tens
of thousands crossed the porous desert border before Israel completed a barrier
in 2012 that stopped the influx. But Israel has struggled with what to do with
those already in the country, alternating between plans to deport them and
offering them menial jobs in hotels and local municipalities. Kafl, like many
of his compatriots, fled Eritrea to escape its lifelong military conscription
in slavery-like conditions and fears death if he returns.
I won the second prize in policy category of the African Information society Initiative ( AISI) awards 2004 which is annually organized by the United Nations- Economic Commission for Africa ( UNECA) based in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. On the first photo above standing with other awardees after the Ceremony at the National Settlers monument in Grahamstown, South Africa.This was during the 8th Highway Africa Conference.The second photo shows the cross section of Jounalists from different African countries who attended the ceremony.
I also won the AISI-GKP/SDC Media Award special reporting on WSIS process and Africa, and conferred with the award in Tunis, Tunisia during WSIS summit in 2005. See the photo above.
Winner on the Media Competition on writing about " Stigma denial and Discrimination" associated with HIV/AIDS. This was organized by theAssociation of Journalists Against Aids in Tanzania ( AJAAT). On the Photo above President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, ( then the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) was the guest of honour during the award giving ceremony.This was at Maelezo auditorium in Dar-es-Salaam September 2005.
Winner on the Media Competition on writing about "Vulnerable Children" associated with HIV/AIDS This was organized by the Association of Journalists Against Aids in Tanzania ( AJAAT)
Winner of the National ICT Media Award organized By SWOPNET in the Country. On the photo above Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Brigadier General ( Rt) Saidi Kalembo was the guest of honour during the award giving ceremony which was held at New Sarvoy Hotel in morogoro town.I was awarded a Mobile phone and a tape-recorder.
I participated in the Media Competition in writing about VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) in Tanzania which was held between July 15th and October 30th 2008 whereby I emerged among the top five winners. The competition was under the program known as “Tanzania bila Ukwimwi inawezekana” which literally means, Tanzania without AIDS disease transmission is possible”. This is a program which was organizedby the Association of Journalists Against AIDS in Tanzania (AJAAT) under TACAIDS funding. In the photo, I am being presented with a certificate of participation by the Chairman of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) Dr. Fatma Mrisho in a colorful ceremony which was held on 22nd December 2008 at Tanzania Information Centre in Dar es Salaam.
I was among the top 17 best selected students who excelled in their final examinations of the 2010/2011 academic year and awarded with the Vice-Chancellor’s prize. I scored 4.5 GPA (First Class) in BA in Journalism. Above I am being given a certificate by the Chairman of the Open University of Tanzania Board of Senate. Standing at the centre facing camera is the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tolly Mbwette. Extreme left partly hidden is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Elifas Bisanda. This occasion took place during the convocation meeting, a day before the graduation day at the prospective permanent headquarter of the Open University of Tanzania which is currently under construction at Bungo-Kibaha in Coast region 40 kilometers away west of Dar es Salaam city.