Eritrea Filmmaker Refugee Stuck in Libya Amid Raging Civil

New York (TADIAS) – Abraha Taeme, who is in a refugee camp near Tripoli in Libya, has a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from a university in Ethiopia, and he has been sending out desperate calls for help through Facebook to whoever may listen to his plea. His heart-wrenching messages was recently forwarded to Tadias by an American filmmaker in California who happened to be researching human trafficking in the region and befriended Abraha through Facebook messenger.

Abraha says he was staying in Qasir bin Gashir detention center along with several hundred East African refugees, which he described as including “children, women and sick people among us” before he was transferred into another camp.

“Yesterday UNHCR transfer 140 refugees from Zahawia to the GDF and I am one of them,” he wrote last week. “Zahawia is dang near a death camp due to disease and IF they’re taken there ….they won’t get them because of fear of spreading infection.” He also mentioned that a local charity organization is helping to supply one meal a day as well as access to electricity. “These are the good news so far,” he adds. “About the war, still it is close to our center. Restless heavy weapons bursts close to our ears. We can’t get sleep. When we see the children and our sisters our hearts sunken in a deep grief. Literary they are shocked.”

According to AP: “The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched an offensive on Tripoli last month. His force, based in eastern Libya, is battling rival militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported government in the capital.”

Caught in the middle are foreign refugees like Abraha. Last month around 146 asylum seekers arrived in Italy as part of a U.N.-backed humanitarian evacuation from Libya. The Associated Press notes that “the U.N. refugee agency says it’s the fifth such evacuation since 2017, though previous airlifts have taken migrants to Niger and elsewhere. Dozens of the asylum-seekers are minors, many of whom are unaccompanied. They hail from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Ethiopia.”

But Abraha was not among them and his Facebook friend Flip Webster of Jurupa Valley, California hopes that Ethiopian or the Eritrean government will step in to help or international media agencies like Voice of America could try to locate him.

Webster said Abraha is originally from Eritrea. “I am a refuge from Ethiopia (Addis Abeba) I was a film maker, I have BA Degree in Theater Arts,” Abraha wrote to Webster. “I was working with a lot of governmental and non-governmental organizations during my stay in Ethiopia.” He added: “I had my own theater and film company. Unfortunately right now I am here. What are my hopes? I spent two solid years here in Libya in a warehouses owned by smugglers. They hit us, gave us small portion of meal two times a day, no medication, even sun light was luxury.”

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JURUPA VALLEY: Group sees scholarships as key to better Rubidoux

When Jurupa Valley businessman Flip Webster looks around his Rubidoux neighborhood, he sees graffiti, drug activity, abandoned belongings in the street and other signs of a community struggling for its soul.

When he looks into the future, however, he envisions a city better known for higher-education admissions than for crime and economic obstacles. And he has a plan for making that a reality in the coming 10 years.

“Our goal is to put 56 kids through college a year within seven years,” said Webster, who added he hopes to enroll 300 youths in mentorship programs to ensure Rubidoux students are highly recruited by colleges.

Webster and several fellow organizers, all Rubidoux High School alumni, will introduce the program at 8 a.m. Saturday with a block party at the intersection of Rodeo and Mary Ellen drives. Featuring live music and comedy, plus awards for local leaders, the event will offer community members an opportunity to learn the details of the Edistsew scholarship and mentoring program that Webster sees as the key to “turning the Westside around.”

Edistsew (pronounced eh-dis-teh-SOO) is Westside spelled backwards.

An entrepreneur who works in the fashion and entertainment industries, Webster, 49, is also a longtime Rubidoux resident who said he has seen his neighborhood and others affected by drug use, crime and gang violence, and also by a lack of economic opportunity.

Down the line, he said, the Edistsew plan calls for attracting businesses to Jurupa Valley to employ residents and make the city a destination for visitors.

The first phases of the plan involve a mentoring program for high school students, plus raising scholarship money using such strategies as selling commercial time on a local cable channel that would offer a variety of entertainment options.

Edistsew organizers want to work with area colleges and universities as they recruit incoming students. Webster said he hopes to present the program to the Jurupa Unified School District board next month.

The program would start between the sophomore and junior years of high school, he said, matching students with mentors who would encourage them and make sure they fulfill academic goals for college and university admission. He figures 700 mentors will be needed.

The students, he said, will come from Jurupa high schools, selected from academics, the arts, athletics and a fourth category that would cover students headed to specific trade schools.

Last year, Webster got on Facebook to contact other Rubidoux High graduates from the classes of 1978 through 1983. Webster graduated in 1982.

Block party organizers will present awards to several community leaders: Eugene Perkins, education; Matt Stanford, public safety; bus driver Theaddy Jenkins, who saved a passenger’s life this year; and Carl Dameron of Dameron Communications.

Posthumous citations will be presented in memory of community leaders Leroy Ray and Allen Lee, Webster said.


Flip Webster has been involved in the production of new media for over 25 years.

Flip Webster has been involved in the production of new media for over 25 years. A background in music video production with over 60 -MTV/VH-1/ MUSIC PLUS titles under his belt and 2 BillBoard Nominated music videos which carried over to the creation of productions for direct to video and independent television. Creating productions from concept to placement for distribution domestically and internationally. He has trained directors and producers in new media and has acted as consultant for numerous indi productions throughout the US and Canada. He is a strong advocate for programming reform for faith & family friendly properties and the creation of more opportunities for production companies to become more self sufficient.He is putting together companies to be able to create more jobs for entertainment professionals. a background in music, film, garmentand industrial engineering has aided to create production formulas and solutions. Flenoit’s family spans 4 generations in entertainement. Specialties: creating properties that people want to see and having a pulse on the needs for programmes, marketing and sales of programmes and products for call to action and “BETTER POSITIONED” product placement integration , creating non-signiture networks and syndications for indi programmes , direct to disc marketing in promotions for on-line and retail sales.