Oh- November 7 – By Ephrem Madebo
“Today is the saddest day ever . . . seriously!” said a ten years old boy who for the first time in his short life experienced a horrible loss of life. The little boy has everything ahead of him, but with his mom and dad taken away from him by Zenawi’s bullet, he has no one to guide him through the uncertainties of the future. He has nowhere to go and no one to talk to. His tears running freely on his chicks, the little boy solemnly steeped out of his ghost haunted house and shuffled quietly into the world of street life. As he joined his new friends, the little boy said: “I think I might be sad forever”. Obviously, he won’t be sad forever, but definitely and for sure a small part of his innocence has been stripped away by Meles Zenawi who is ‘entrusted’ to cherish him.
Oh November! What a mild and pleasant month thou are, but thou have cold and gloomy days. Oh November! You were bright and ornate, but look how quickly you turned into a dark and bare month of carnage. Where are your flowers November? Instead – Lying on the streets of Addis Ababa are over 200 bodies of children, adults, men, and women. Their chests and foreheads pierced with 50-caliber machine-gun bullets and their bodies trampled by Humvees. Are you listening November? Where is your scented smoke that heralds the coming of summer? Instead – Fresh blood of young men & women smells on the streets of Addis Ababa, and the air is filled with sounds of ladies and children crying, widows weeping for their husbands, sisters lamenting to their brothers, mothers mourning for their children, and orphans crying for their fathers.
Anxious doctors banged their heads in grief against a wall inside the hospital morgue where young bodies lay on the floor, and harried nurses run on little sleep to save the wounded. But, at the end of the day, the doctors, the nurses, and the entire nation were enduringly wounded when they found out that the dead were innocent citizens and the killer was the “government”. The reason for death was so obvious, however, on the death certificate of the victims, the “reason for death” column was deliberately skipped. The reason for death was – Meles Zenawi.
Ethiopians have their own word for expressing the feeling of nostalgic longing for Addis Ababa. Many call this large modern metropolis Addis Ababa, some would call her “Finfinnee”, “Sheger” and yet some call her “Adu Genet”. Throughout the years, Addis Ababa has been a city of two faces. In its good side, Addis has been a symbol of struggle against dictators and the last line of shelter for the poor and the neglected. But, there were also some tragic moments in the history of Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa has been the site of pain, agony, betrayal, and sacrifice where tens of thousands of Ethiopians were ruthlessly massacred by external and internal enemies of Ethiopia.
In February 1937, in reprisal to the attempt to kill the pitiless Italian general – Rodolfo Graziani, the Italian Fascists carried out three days of massacre in Addis Ababa in which tens of thousands of Ethiopians were shot and killed at point blank range, burned alive, or beheaded. In April 1977, Colonel Mengistu [another fascist personality] mercilessly killed thousands of defenseless young men and women whose only crime was yearning for freedom.
In November 2005, “fascist numero tre” repeated the exact same acts of the previous two fascists. The events of November 2005 were like history repeating itself – In 1937; it was the white Graziani who said “vada ucciderlo tutti!” from the balconies of the 6 kilo palace. In November 2005, the order to kill came from the black Graziani, and his savage Agazi killing squad shot and killed peaceful students, mothers, fathers, and everyday citizens who peacefully requested – respect to their God given right . . . yes, fellow Ethiopians brutally killed for loudly calling that precious name of freedom.
In 2005, just like 1977 and 1937, the streets of Addis Ababa were soaked with the blood of innocent Ethiopians. History repeated itself because nobody listened, or because we as a society failed to learn. We quickly forgot our recent past and we were condemned to repeat it. This time we must learn a lesson or two – Never wrestle with Zenawi, I repeat, never wrestle wth Zenawi. You get dirty, and besides, Meles seems to like the dirt just like a pig does.
In a very long historical existence of Ethiopia, the elects of each generation have suffered for the freedom of the rest. Our fathers and forefathers have given their precious life for the independence and territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Sacrifice by no means is a strange phenomenon to Ethiopians of all generations, and it still exists everywhere in the heart of every Ethiopian. Sacrificing their happiness for the happiness of the nation was by far the truest love that we received from generation of self-less Ethiopian heroes and heroine.
The patriotism and the courage of this generation of Ethiopians is no different from their forefathers, but the enemy of Ethiopia today is significantly different from the enemy our forefathers faced. In the 16th century it was the Ottoman Turks, in the 17th and 18th century it was the Egyptians, and in the late 19th and early 20th century the enemy was the Italians. Today, the enemies of Ethiopia are in-house, and they are the sons and daughters of our heroes who defended our freedom in Adwa, Maichew, and Enda Mariam Shewito. Today, Ethiopia’s enemy is its treacherous leader. In November 2005, it is this unscrupulous leader who washed his hands with the blood of our brothers and sisters.
The 2005 election, the public events, the short lived victory, the killings, and the arrest of the CUD leaders are all characterized by hopefulness and pessimism, by elation and desolation, and by agony and passion. November is a month that we always will remember, and every November, the conscious mind of parents tussles with the memory of their killed children and takes an instant break to grief the heartbreaking loss of life. Between May and November 2005, the Ethiopian people have dangled between hope and despair, between power and helplessness and between joy and sorrow. This agonizing emotional rollercoaster has compelled many Ethiopians to revise their journey of the past and look for alternative ways that could take them to the promise land.
The November 2005 senseless killing was not only physical, it was also emotional which has immoral, racial, and prejudice forms. The November massacre signifies the remorseless brutality of the TPLF regime and the decaying moral values of its leaders. On that cold November day, the sensibility of the human soul was battered in the name of general elections. For the first time since King Herod of the New Testament, children were killed in front of their parents and for the first time in our nation’s history, the Church closed its doors on boys and girls who sought refuge. A fourteen years old boy who impatiently was waiting to hear the “death rattle” of his mother was himself silenced by the same sniper that killed his father. What a Nero like cruelty!
To the heroes of November 2005, dying for freedom was the right thing to do. Actually, to them, dying for freedom is always right even if everyone is against it; and settling for slavery is wrong, even if everyone is for it. When the nation asked for, the November heroes gave their toil, tear, and sweat – finally when the nation needed more, they offered their blood and died for a cause that is much, much, and much larger than them.
This coming November and for infinite Novembers to come, the Ethiopian people will pay tribute to those men and women who were brutally killed while defending the freedom of this great nation. Obviously, memorials to great people who defended freedom and liberty are national obligations, but we must remember that November 2005 is also a day of courage and triumph – triumph of placidity over brutality, democracy over autocracy, and humanity over tyranny. The human- side of the TPLF leaders is rotting towards its final collapse that immoral men like Meles Zenawi work harder to kill than to save. After killing more than 200 people and wounding thousands more, Meles still claims to be honest and innocent. Well, nothing new! People like Meles who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of brutality than out of honesty.
Those who died for us died fighting a brutal force that ultimately consumed them. They refused to band with brutality and died with honor. I’m sure as they see us down from the skies; they expect nothing less from us; and here is a message from them: He that is gentle to the brutal will end up being brutal to the gentle – A quote from the Talmud
If we are determined to avoid the repeat of “November 2005”, then we must be prepared to make real sacrifices in our political attitude and painful adjustments in our political priorities. We must stop throwing knife at each other’s throat and end discrediting each other. We must understand that our struggle is not to win election; but to have the freedom of holding free & fair election. We are so diverse in our background and experience and so large in number, therefore, our strategy of fighting the enemy must reflect this reality. Our strategy must never be violent or non-violent strategy; it must be violent and non-violent strategy and any combination of the two in between. We must do everything to free our people.
Ethnically assembled bad men and women have combined against our country. My fellow Ethiopians, when the bad mingle to hurt us, we the good must at least get together and defend ourselves. Otherwise, we will die one by one – which is nothing but unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle against a monster of remorseless cruelty.
Finally, it is my strong belief that as long as the TPLF party is a king or king maker in Ethiopia, a peaceful transition of power is a daydream. By now, It is very clear that Meles and his gangs are here to stay. Therefore, fighting Meles Zenawi in a way he told us to fight him is tantamount to offering a moment of silence for those who were killed in November 2005 and allowing more “Novembers” to come. I personally can’t afford this. I will fight my enemies in multiple fronts in multiple ways to either beat them, or to significantly change their behavior in favor of me.
We can keep on quoting Gandhi, Mandela, or MLK Jr. to justify our stand, but this kind of “nonsense” argument is a justification only to those who told us …”Mengedun Cherk Yadergilachehu”. If the TPLF regime unconditionally and unambiguously commits to a mutually agreed terms of free, fair, and just election, there is no need to look for alternative ways of struggle. Otherwise, this hoopla of only “peaceful” struggle, as silly as it is, it is also pointless, haughtiness, and foot-dragging.