Daily Archives: April 15, 2014
Today: April 15 is Oromo Martyrs Day. It is an occasion to remember all our martyr’s work for the country’s freedom, peace, unity, progress and welfare.
Advocacy for Oromia calls upon you-all, Oromos, to rededicate yourselves to our national cause: Kaayyoo Oromoo. An Oromo national cause which does not accept a degenerate standard, the standard of most, but one that is determined by dedication, character, & deeds.
Dedication- completely to our Oromo cause
Character: The doing of what is right, just, honorable under all circumstances.
Deeds: Action in support of our national cause.
Let’s value our Kaayyoo Oromoo by not forgetting the sacrifices of the martyrs. It’s time for us to unite and fight any kind of domination that affects our national Kaayyoo!
Let us pray and fight to make every subsequent 15 April a happy Remembrance Day!
Let us remember our martyrs’ work for freedom, peace, and goodwill!!.
“Think locally, act globally”
Advocacy for Oromia
Victoria Police gets new traffic cameras to nab motorists using mobile phones or not wearing seat belts from 700m away
VICTORIA Police has started using futuristic new traffic cameras to nab drivers who text, talk or tweet on mobile phones.
Camera operators can zoom in and snap offending drivers from 700m away — long before motorists spot the camera.
Mobile phone users caught by the hi-tech traffic cameras will be hit with a $433 fine and get four demerit points.
IMPORTANT FOR SAFETY OR TOO INTRUSIVE? Tell us in the comments below.
The new cameras will also be used to detect and fine drivers and passengers who aren’t wearing seat belts, as well as motorists driving carelessly by doing such things as applying make-up or eating at the wheel.
Top traffic cop Robert Hill yesterday confirmed the new hi-tech cameras will be out in force from today in what will be Victoria Police’s longest and biggest ever Easter road blitz.
“We received the technology last week. We have trained our members and we are now deploying the technology across Victoria,” he told the Herald Sun.
Speeding, drink, drug and distracted drivers will be busted by thousands of police on patrol and hundreds of fixed and mobile traffic cameras during the record Easter blitz.
Assistant Commissioner Hill said the new cameras to tackle driver distraction were a welcome addition to the arsenal of other detection devices that will be used during the Easter crackdown, which will run for 13 days from today.
Because the new cameras are mobile they can be moved and set up quickly in many locations — so motorists never know where or when they will pop up.
“I drive the Monash Freeway to and from work and what I see in congested traffic are people taking their eyes off the road, being distracted and looking at their mobile phones,” assistant commissioner Hill said.
“These irresponsible drivers are putting themselves and others at risk and that’s a concern to Victoria Police.
“This new piece of technology is a way of combating that.
“With these cameras we can see from 700m away who is distracted and who is not concentrating.
“We can see them before they can see us.
“We don’t need to actually see them holding their mobile phone for them to be breaching the road rules.
The Herald Sun has also discovered speed camera commissioner Gordon Lewis is recommending the State Government buy an even more sophisticated version of the new cameras Victoria Police has just started using.
IMPORTANT FOR SAFETY OR TOO INTRUSIVE? Tell us in the comments below.
Mr Lewis last week made the recommendation in a letter to Police Minister Kim Wells after attending a UK road safety conference, where he was briefed on the car-mounted cameras police in Manchester, England, are using to target mobile phone use in particular.
Victoria Police has already sent a team of officers to Manchester to watch the cameras in operation.
Assistant commissioner Hill yesterday said they would be a valuable addition to the road safety tools available in Victoria, but it was a matter for the State Government to decide whether or not to buy them.
Mr Lewis said he was impressed by how good a deterrent to dangerous driver behaviour the UK car-mounted cameras are.
“I would like the State Government to consider their introduction here,” Mr Lewis told the Herald Sun yesterday.
“Using a mobile phone while driving and failing to wear a seat belt are already offences. What I propose is a process designed to assist in the detection of these offences.
“I believe I speak for the great majority of motorists when I say that road users are utterly intolerant of the menace created by drivers who are either distracted by the use of a mobile phone or, perhaps worse, devoting their attention to texting.
“Once the telescopic camera is deployed the operator can view oncoming traffic at a distance, with the ability to pivot the camera about the telescopic arm as well as zoom in to get a clear view of what is happening inside the vehicle.
“I am not alone when I say I am sick and tired of having distracted drivers immobile at green lights in front of me, or threatening to rear-end me, because of lack of attention.
“Driving is a full time occupation, not a part time responsibility to be squeezed in while steering a mobile telephone box.
“Our roads will be safer with improved detection of mobile phone use and better enforcement of the wearing of seat belts.”
Even without the new cameras, almost 80,000 drivers in Victoria were last year fined more than $29 million for mobile phone and seat belt offences.
The UK camera system Mr Lewis is recommending is used to automatically send fines out to drivers in the same way Victoria’s speed and red light camera system already works.
Victoria Police is using a similar camera, with the same capability as those police in Manchester are using, but a legislative change would be needed for them to be used to automatically issue fines.
Instead, police in Victoria are mounting the new cameras on tripods and using officers in patrol cars to immediately intercept and fine offending drivers.
IMPORTANT FOR SAFETY OR TOO INTRUSIVE? Tell us in the comments below.
The traffic cameras Mr Lewis is recommending for use in Victoria sit on top of extendible poles fitted to the roof of cars.
They are controlled from inside the car by a camera operator who uses a joystick to rotate them through 360 degrees, extend them to a height of 3.6m and zoom in to get close-up views of offending drivers.
Because the spy cameras are attached to the roof of a car they can be moved and parked just about anywhere.
The UK camera cars are marked police vehicles, but, if introduced in Victoria, it is possible the cameras would be fitted to unmarked cars as mobile speed camera cars used here are unmarked.
Police Minister Kim Wells yesterday said the traffic camera car technology being recommended by Mr Lewis would be evaluated.
“Victoria is considered internationally to be a leader in road safety and always interested in potential advances in road safety technology,” he told the Herald Sun.
“When assessing new technology, Victoria Police and the Department of Justice consider whether the technology is appropriate and compatible for local enforcement and its potential to make Victorian roads safer.
“There are approximately 2000 pre-approved mobile camera sites across Victoria, which together with Victoria Police on-the-spot enforcement sends a strong message to Victorians that they can be caught anywhere, anytime.”
A Victorian TAC campaign against driver distraction was launched last year by Vicki Richardson, whose daughter Brooke, 20, died in December 2012 when her car hit a tree just moments after she had been texting.
Ms Richardson made an emotional public appeal to motorists not to be tempted to use a mobile phone while driving.
“It’s just not worth cutting a life short,” Ms Richardson said.
Mr Lewis yesterday said the presence of cameras to detect drivers using mobile phones would help prevent tragedies like the senseless death of Brooke Richardson.
The Victorian Government’s latest road safety action plan claims texting increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by up to 15 times for car drivers and more than 20 times for truck drivers.
It also claims 80 per cent of crashes and 65 per cent of near crashes involve driver inattention in the few seconds prior to the onset of the crash or near crash.
The 2013-2016 plan also revealed almost half of all truck drivers killed during the past three years were not wearing a seat belt and that wearing a seatbelt doubles the chances of surviving a serious crash.
Assistant commissioner Hill said the new camera to detect driver distractions — known as the Ranger camera — was just one of the techniques officers will use to capture irresponsible drivers during the high risk Easter and Anzac Day holiday period.
He said police from Highway Patrol, general duties and specialist areas would be saturating Victorian Roads in a bid to reduce road trauma.
“This is one of the most significant road policing operations conducted in this state over the Easter period,” assistant commissioner Hill said.
“History tells us that we experience significant trauma on our roads during the Easter holiday break.
“Over the past five years, 1385 people have suffered as a result of 1018 collisions on Victorian roads. That means 22 people have been killed, 528 have suffered life threatening or life changing injuries and 835 suffered minor injuries.
“As a community, we need to more to reduce the pain and suffering. We all have a role to play to reduce the risks on our roads.
“We know that during this time people will be travelling to see family and friends, they will be on unfamiliar roads, driving long distances with distractions in the car. These factors are what result in terrifying collisions. My message is plan your trip, take regular rest breaks and stay alert and focused.
“We’ll be doing what we can to ensure that people behaviour responsibly.
“We will be using the Ranger. We know motorists are quick to put their phone down and put their seatbelt on when they see a police car. With this long lens camera, we will see them first.
“During this long weekend there are a lot of people riding dirt bikes off road. We’ll be watching this closely because it causes high levels of trauma.
“We’ll be on the roads intercepting drivers, enforcing the road rules and you can expect to be breathalysed during your trip.”
My father and his generation started struggling against injustice when they were youth. We are now raising awareness on the atrocities committed against our people. Our healing is tied to the healing of our people. As long as our people are in shackles in Oromia, we cannot be free here.
I was born in Canada. My father is Oromo from Oromia, Ethiopia. My mother is East Indian from Guyana. I come out of a confluence of all these wonderful cultures. Growing up in multicultural Toronto, my boundaries are far more fluid than what these rigid cultural identities define…I am Hindu by religion but I also appreciate other religions, including the Oromo culture and spirituality of Irreecha.
Born in multicultural Canada from two recent immigrants, culture has played a large part in the making of my identity. Being a part of two historically oppressed peoples, I have seen injustice…we Oromos have yet to find an identifiable niche in Canadian society. The indigenous Oromo people have been tortured, oppressed, and silenced for centuries in Ethiopia. This is the course of history that Oromos here in Canada and around the world have been trying to change, and this is a challenge in which I am entirely engulfed…Oromos must take their rightful place in the world. This is an issue of equity and justice…this sense of doing justice brought me to OCAYA. I looked at the injustice our youth are suffering and committed to alleviating the community suffering.
I regret that I did not grow up speaking my father’s native tongue. But I am taking Afaan Oromo classes now and I’m pursuing it with passion. I value my culture so much; that’s why a deeper understanding of Afan Oromo is very important to me. Growing up, I felt like an outsider who did not belong in any culture, whether it is Oromo, Guyanese, or Canadian. I felt the alienation very deeply. It is like the gut wounds we try to address in our healing program of HAC. Actually HAC was primarily for me as it healed me from the violence of cultural alienation and connected me to my culture. OCAYA became my home where I felt I belonged and where I got to learn about my culture. It fostered within me an increased sense of self that I knew translated across my peers.
In our HAC programs, we really do a great deal of healing and connecting. We actively and creatively engage a great many of our children to keep them off the streets and out of harm’s way…when we learn our people’s language and culture, we are healing ourselves by connecting back to what has been violently taken away from us. When we organize Irreecha celebrations and recognition events and bring together the entire community, we nurture a sense of community healing.
The recent Arab Spring inspired me beyond belief. Nothing makes me happier than seeing youth take leadership in the struggle against injustice, getting rid of tyrants, and changing their societies for the better. My father and his generation started struggling against injustice when they were youth. We are now raising awareness on the atrocities committed against our people. Our healing is tied to the healing of our people. As long as our people are in shackles in Oromia, we cannot be free here.
B.K. is a human rights activist based in Canada.
*The following piece was first published in Songs of Exile by Kuwee Kumsa. With permission, we are reproducing it here as part of the series on young Oromos in the diaspora.Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @oromusings to add your experience and perspective to the series*