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This Ethiopian runner just won silver in the marathon. And then he led a protest of his government that could land him in jail. (MSN)
Category: Activism
Tags: Ethiopia Feyisa Lilesa sports Oromo Olympics-Brazil Amhara track & field Gambella protest Ogaden Africa
The Washington Post

NAIROBI — When he crossed the Olympics marathon finish line, Feyisa Lilesa put his hands above his head in an "X." Most of those who watched Lilesa's spectacular silver medal performance didn't know what that meant — or just how dangerous a protest they were watching.

Lilesa was protesting the Ethiopian government's killing of hundreds of the country's Oromo people — an ethnic majority that has long complained about being marginalized by the country's government. The group has held protests this year over plans to reallocate Oromo land. Many of those protests ended in bloodshed. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 people have been killed since November.

For months, the Oromo have been using the same "X" gesture that Lilesa, 26, used at the finish line.

At a news conference following the race, he reiterated his defiant message.

"The Ethiopian government is killing my people, so I stand with all protests anywhere, as Oromo is my tribe," Lilesa said. "My relatives are in prison and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed."

It was a remarkable turn of events — within seconds, Lilesa had gone from a national hero to a man who might not be able to return to his home country. In addition to those killed, many Oromo protesters are currently languishing in prison.

In Ethiopia, the state broadcaster did not air a replay of the finish.

Lilesa was conscious of the danger. He immediately suggested that he might have to move somewhere else.

"If I go back to Ethiopia maybe they will kill me. If not kill me, they will put me in prison. I have not decided yet, but maybe I will move to another country," he said.

It wasn’t the first time an Ethiopian athlete had considered defecting after competition. In 2014, four of the country’s runners applied for asylum in the United States after disappearing from the international junior track championships in Eugene, Ore.

The plight of the Oromo and the Ethiopian government's use of force against civilians have received some attention recently, but nothing as prominent as Lilesa's defiance. Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa said that it was “deeply concerned” about the most recent killing of protesters. But likely because Ethiopia remains a U.S. ally in the fight against Somali Islamist group Al-Shabab, American officials have been reluctant to offer any further condemnation.

Oromo dissidents, particularly those outside Ethiopia, have been active on social media about their cause. As soon as Lilesa crossed the finish line, tweets and Facebook posts went up with pictures of their new folk hero. Ethiopia is one of Africa's fastest growing nations, and it seen by many as a model of economic potential. The government has played down the protests, saying earlier this month that “the attempted demonstrations were orchestrated by foreign enemies from near and far in partnership with local forces.”

Lilesa has been racing internationally for Ethiopia for more than eight years, and holds one of the world's fastest ever marathon times: 2:04:52.

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Weekly Torah Portion:
Our Sabbath Readings
This Week's Torah Portion
Yom Kippur Torah Readings
Posted by RastafariGroundation

Yom Kippur Torah Readings

Yom Kippur | יום כיפור | "Day of Atonement"

Yom Kippur Torah Readings:

Shabbat

Service

Torah

Haftarah

Brit Chadashah

Sept.  29, 2017
Tishri 9-10

Kol Nidrei
(opening)

Kol Nidrei Recitation [before sundown on Tishri 9]

Maariv
(evening)

After sundown (Tishri 10); half-Kaddish; the Shema; the Amidah; Confession (al chet); Selichot and Piyyutim (poems)
 

Sept.  30, 2017
Tishri 10

Shacharit
(morning)

Lev. 16:1-34
Num. 29:7-11

Isa. 57:14-58:14

Rom. 3:21-26;
2 Cor. 5:10-21

Yizkor

Memorial service for departed family members

Musaf
(additional)

The [musaf] Amidah; retelling of the Yom Kippur service at the Temple; the priestly blessing (birkat kohanim)

Minchah
(afternoon)

Lev. 18:1-30

Jonah 1:1-4:11;
Micah 7:18-20

Hebrews

Neilah
(closing)

Thought to symbolize the "closing and sealing" of the Book of Life, when the "great shofar" is sounded.

Portion Commentary

Holiest Day of the Year

Thought for the Week:

According to the writer of the book of Hebrews, Messiah has become our High Priest. He entered into the Holy of Holies in heaven,��the actual throne room of God,��and applied His own blood for atonement. He entered into the presence of God for us so that He might usher us in as well (Hebrews 9:11,��12). Messiah is our High Priest, ,��a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the LORD pitched, not man,�� (Hebrews 8:2). Therein He applied His atoning blood. Therefore, the ceremony of the Day of Atonement uniquely patterns the work of Messiah: His death, His sacrifice and the atonement of His blood. We boldly enter the presence of God because the blood of Messiah covers us. Today He stands interceding on our behalf before the throne of God, just like a high priest.

Commentary:

The LORD said to Moses, ,��Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.,�� (Leviticus 16:2)

After the deaths of the two sons of Aaron, the LORD warned Aaron not to enter the Holy of Holies but once a year. On that day, Aaron alone (or the high priest after him) was to enter in order to make atonement for Israel, the holy place and the altar. The day on which the high priest entered the Holy of Holies was called the Day of Atonement. Even then, Aaron was to enter only with blood and under the cloud of incense. Leviticus 16, the Torah reading for the Day of Atonement, describes the Tabernacle/Temple ceremony of the Day of Atonement: the two goats,��the sin offering and the scapegoat,��the incense, the sprinkling with blood and the high priest,��s entrance into the Holy of Holies. In Leviticus 16 we read about the intersection of three spheres of holiness. On the holiest day of the year (the Day of Atonement), the holiest man in the world (the high priest of Israel) goes into the holiest place in the world (the Holy of Holies). The high priest had to enter in order to make atonement for Israel, atonement for the Holy of Holies, atonement for the Tabernacle and atonement for the altar. Because these things remained continually in the presence of God, they needed to be atoned for. Without atonement they could not remain in the presence of God.

The Day of Atonement is the holiest day of the year. All of God,��s appointed times are holy to the LORD, but the Day of Atonement is the holiest of all. It is set apart even from the other holy days.

All other Sabbaths and holidays are times of feasting and celebration. However, on the Day of Atonement, everyone is commanded to afflict himself through fasting and abstinence. The LORD says, ,��If there is any person who will not afflict his soul on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people,�� (Leviticus 23:29).

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