Dr Hailu Araya- A Man of Peace and Courage – By Girma Kassa (Chicago)
Dr Hailu Araya is one of the prominent leaders of Kinijit who is currently languishing in Kaliti prison. (more…)
Dr Hailu Araya is one of the prominent leaders of Kinijit who is currently languishing in Kaliti prison.
It is known to many, that Kaliti leaders were first accused of “genocide”. This charge was later taken back by the so called prosecutor and replaced by another ridiculous charge of “inciting genocide”.
Dr Hailu Araya, who is from one of our Northern Province Tigray, was also accused of genocide/inciting genocide.
Dr Hailu Araya was supportive of the 1991 peace initiative proposed by the father of Kinijit, Professor Mesfin Woldmariam, who is also in Kaliti prison.
The proposal of Professor Mesfin was a proposal that was intended to bring all Ethiopians together. It called for national reconciliation and a new beginning based on traditional and “ethiopiawi” values of “shemguelena” and “forgiveness”.
This proposal was courageously presented on April 1st 1991, at the 11th International Conference of East Africa Studies in Addis Ababa.
Professor Mesfin risked his life when he boldly challenged Colonel Mengistu Hailemarim and called for his regime to be replaced with a government of “shemageles”.
During that time Dr Hailu Araya who was a member of the then Shengo (People’s representative Assembly), publicly rebuked Colonel Mengistu, declared that the people and the government are “Hod and Jerba”. He insisted that the peace proposal of Prof Mesfin be considered.
As Prof. Mesfin did, Dr Hailu Araya risked his life by telling it as it is to the military junta. For him, to publicly confront the brutal dictator was basically equivalent to signing his death sentence. Dr Hailu did just that for the sake of peace, Ethiopian Unity and the cessation of hostilities.
Dr Hailu Araya joined the opposition group and continued his struggle for peace, democracy and national unity of Ethiopia by joining the EDP-MEDHIN party. (One of the four founders of Kinijit). He was the vice chairman of EDP-MEDHIN party.
When Kinijit was formed, Dr Hailu Araya served as the Public Relation chief of KINIJIT. (Replacing Ato Lidetu Ayalew). Since then he has been one of the leading and much respected figure within Kinijt and nationally.
With his other colleagues in Kaliti, Dr Hailu Araya has been repeatedly showing with deeds and self-sacrifice his love for Ethiopia, his determination to peaceful struggle and his humble, matured and civilized politics.
Dr Hailu Araya is an Ethiopian patriot who loves Ethiopia. Yes, Ethiopia may be poor now. She may not be a good place to live on the surface. Many of her children may have left her to spend their time and energy in foreign lands. However, Dr Hailu in the love poem he wrote to Ethiopia, from Kaliti prison, eloquently expressed the deep rooted love he has for his country whatever different circumstances it may be in.
Dr Hailu is not only showing us his love of country with a poem. He has been showing us his love of country, courage and selflessness by again standing against another “high-tech dictator” (which claims to be a democrat and a modern on the outside but is backward and totalitarian from the inside).
It is an embarrassment and shame to see such brave Ethiopians in prison. Dr Hailu Araya and his colleagues in Kaliti must be unconditionally released from any incarcerations.
The current regime in Arat Kilo must remember that Dr Hailu Araya has been always a man of peace. They must remember that he risked his life back in 1991 so that the government can make peace with them. When the Derg declared “Kitet” to eliminate the “weyanes”, Dr Hailu advised engaging and talking to latter.
As he had been asking for a dialog, peace and reconciliation with the TPLF leaders while there were rebels with “kumta” and sugars in their pocket (their food), he is also calling dialog with the same people who are this time in Minilik Palace. Dr Hailu’s view has been consistent and principled.
As the TPLF rulers alleged, Dr Hailu and his colleagues in Kaliti are not individuals who incite violence. They are men and women of Peace, who love their country in deeds and have been preaching all their life civility, dialog, ethiopiawinet and democracy.
What a fool would be the one who keep such people in jail?