During the next 12 months, Mammo will live and work in the apartment where Anne Frank and her family lived for nine years, which today functions as a residency for refuged writers.
Addis Neger - a critical independent voice in Ethiopia
Maresha Mammo is one of the founders of the independent Ethiopian newspaper Addis Neger (New Thing). Since its foundation in 2007, Addis Neger published critical articles about the government. As one of the few independent newspapers in Ethiopia, practicing critical journalism with credible and researched viewpoints, it rapidly gained popularity in the public sphere as a rising free voice, and reached out to a new and different audience.
In the aftermath of a chaotic 2005 election, the Ethiopian government shot down 200 peaceful protesters and 40.000 were imprisoned. Addis Neger issued several stories prior to the 2010 election about the challenges and unlikeliness, as in 2005, of a successful and fair election in the coming year.
The newspaper received public threats and was informed that the government would close it down. In late 2009, the Ethiopian government prepared criminal charges that entailed heavy imprisonment against all six co-founders of the paper, including Masresha Mammo. Since then, Mammo has lived in exile in Uganda, separated from his wife and child.
(Addis Neger Online is still alive on Facebook)
Two books about the life in Ethiopia and Addis Abeda
During his residency in Amsterdam Masresha Mammo will be writing a non-fiction book about the situation in Ethiopia. And a novel, in which he will demonstrate the current life in Ethiopia through a love affair between two civil servant and civil society workers, passing through despotism, nepotism, ambiguity and decay of values in the capital Addis Abeba.
Amsterdam city of refuge and the Anne Frank apartment
Amsterdam has been part of ICORN since it evolved out of Salman Rushdie’s International Parliament of Writers. In December 2004, the Anne Frank Foundation bought the apartment where the Frank family lived for nine years after fleeing Germany and Hitlers Nazi regime in 1933. The foundation soon developed a relationship with the Amsterdam Refugee Town Foundation and has since been housing many foreign writers, among them 3 ICORN guest writers. Amsterdam’s previous ICORN writer, Koulsy Lamko from Chad, has continued to Mexico City, where he is now the director of the Casa Refugio Hankili Africa.
In dialogue on Dictatorship and Exile
On June 10 Masresha Mammo will engage in a dialogue with Margot Dijkgraaf and Margot Dijkgraaf about Dictatorship and Exile at the university library.