Ethiopians: November is to Remember! Alemayehu G. Mariam

November 14th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it,” cautioned Albert Einstein. (more…)

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it,” cautioned Albert Einstein. Because Germans who could have done something did not, on 9-10 November 1938, the Nazis killed nearly 100 innocent Jewish people and arrested and deported 30,000 others. They also burned thousands of Jewish synagogues and businesses. That was Krystallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). It was the forerunner to the Jewish Holocaust.

On 6-8 June and 1-4 November 2005, following the Ethiopian elections that year, scores of unarmed men, women and children were killed by security personnel loyal to the ruling regime. An official Inquiry Commission established by dictator Meles Zenawi documented that 193 unarmed Ethiopians demonstrating in the streets and others held in detention were intentionally shot and killed by police and paramilitary forces and 763 wounded. The Commission completely exonerated the victims and pinned the entire blame on the police and paramilitary forces and those who had command and control over them:

There was no property destroyed [by protesters]. There was not a single protester who was armed with a gun or a hand grenade (as reported by the government-controlled media that some of theprotesters were armed with guns and bombs). The Commission members agreed that the shots fired by government forces were not to disperse the crowd of protesters but to kill by targeting the head and chest of the protesters.”

To testify against Evil is the moral and civic duty of the living. Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and the man the Nobel Committee called the “messenger to mankind”, reminds us all that as the survivors of the victims of Evil we have to make a choice:

For the survivor who chooses to testify, it is clear: his duty is to bear witness for the dead and the living. He has no right to deprive future generations of a past that belongs to our collective memory. To forget would be not only dangerous but offensive; to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time. The witness has forced himself to testify. For the youth of today, for the children who will be born tomorrow. He does not want his past to become their future.”

For the past five years, I have sought to testify against Evil by bearing witness for the victims of June and November 2005, and for Ethiopia’s youth of today and for the children who will be born tomorrow. In 2007, I appeared in the court of world opinion and testified for the first time on behalf of the innocent victims of crimes against humanity. I testified for them in 2008. I testified for them in 2009, and again in 2010. I shall continue to testify because that is my way of making the “world a less dangerous place” for the powerless, the voiceless, the hopeless, the voteless, the defenseless, the nameless, the faceless, the jobless, the foodless, the landless, the leaderless, the homeless and the parentless. It is also my way of making the world a more accountable place for the conscienceless, the ruthless, the merciless, the remorseless, the reckless, the senseless, the shameless, the soulless, the thoughtless and the thankless.

The high and mighty who reigned over the 2005 massacres now sit ensconced in their stately pleasure domes drunk with power, consumed by hate and frolicking in decadence. They look down swaggering with hubris, sneering at justice, scorning truth, and desecrating the memory of the innocent. But recent history teaches a harsh lesson: “Truth and justice will not forever hang on the scaffold nor wrong cling to the throne forever.” Justice shall “roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

As we remember the martyrs of June and November, let us also remember the debt of gratitude we owe our Ethiopian heroes who stood up for justice and truth in revealing and documenting the horrific stories of the 2005 massacres. These monstrous crimes against humanity would have been swept into the dustbin of oblivion and lost in the mist of time but for the courageous and meticulous investigations carried out by Inquiry Commission chairman and vice chairman and former judges Frehiwot Samuel and Woldemichael Meshesha, lawyer Mitiku Teshome and human rights investigator/defender Yared Hailemariam. These individuals chose to testify and paid a high personal price for telling the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking and mindbending truth about the massacres. They now live in exile facing extreme hardship, separated from their families and unable to pursue the professions they cherished so much.

When the modern history of Ethiopia is written, their names will be listed at the very top for displaying courage under fire, hope in the face of despair, bravery in the face of personal danger, and unflinching fortitude in the face of extreme adversity. I can only offer them my profound thanks and express my deepest appreciation for what they have done. An entire nation, indeed an entire continent, owes them a heavy debt of gratitude: “Never have so many owed so much to so few!”

Remember the Martyrs of June and November 2005

On May 15, 2005, Meles Zenawi declared a State of Emergency in Ethiopia and brought all security and military forces in the country under his personal command and control: “As of tomorrow, for the next one month no demonstrations of any sort will be allowed within the city and its environs. As peace should be respected within the city and its environs, the government has decided to bring all the security forces, the police and the local militias, under one command accountable to the prime minister.”

On June 6-8 and November 1-4, 2005, the following individuals were gunned down by state security forces in street demonstrations or trapped in their cells at Kality Prison just outside the capital Addis Ababa. The victims enumerated below are included in the Testimony of Yared Hailemariam, investigator for the Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) and human rights defender in exile (extremely graphic pictures included in report, reader discretion advised), before the Extraordinary Joint Committee Meeting of the European Parliament on Development and Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Human Rights, “Crimes Against Humanity in Ethiopia: The Addis Ababa Massacres of June and November, 2005”.

The number of victims reported in the Inquiry Commission report list only those casualties for the particular dates in June and November. There is undisclosed evidence by the Commission which shows a much higher casualty figure than those reported if other dates in 2005 were included. No one has yet to be held accountable for these crimes against humanity. In fact, there is a confirmed list of at least 237 policemen who actually pulled the trigger to cause the carnage, and all of them are still walking the streets free today.

Our heads bowed in honor and respect for these martyrs, our hearts filled with the hope of justice to flow like a mighty stream and our minds resolved in steely determination, let us read out the names of the victims and reflect on their sacrifices for the youth of Ethiopia today and the children who will be born tomorrow:

1. Shibre Delelegn, age 23, female, shot in the neck and killed.

2. Yesuf Abdela, age 23, male, student at Kotebe Teachers’ College, shot in the back with two bullets and killed.

3. Hadra Shikurana, age 20, male, shot in the forehead and killed.

4. Nebiy Alemayehu, age 16, male, 10th grade student, shot in the chest on the way to school and killed.

5. Yonas Asseffa, age 24, male, shot through the right ear and killed.

6. Dawit Fekadu, age 18, male, shot in the chest and killed.

7. Melisachew Demissie, age 16, male, 6th grade student on the way to school to take his examination, shot in the forehead and killed.

8. Wessen Assefa, age 28, male, a trader, shot in the chest and killed.

9. Zulufa Surur, age 50, male, a mother of seven shot in the back while standing in the doorway of her house and killed.

10. Fekadu Negash, age 22, male, shot in the chest and killed as he stood near his residence.

11. Abraham Yilma, age 16, male, brother of Fekadu (victim no. 10), upon hearing that his brother was shot by the police, Abraham ran to aid his brother. As he lifted up his dying brother to help, a policeman shot him. Both brothers died on the scene.

12. Biniyam Dembel, age 19, male, shot and killed.

13. Negussie Wabedo and Mohammed Hassen, ages unknown, male, both individuals were shot in the forehead and killed.

14. Beliyu Dufa, age 20, male, shot in the chest and killed.

15. Redela Kombado, age 26, male, an assistant to a taxi driver, shot in the chest and killed.

16. Milion Kebede, age 30, male, a cashier with Anbessa city bus, shot and killed on the way to work.

17. Getnet Ayalew, age 24, male, first shot and wounded in his right thigh. As a friend was helping him to reach a safe place, the policeman realized that he was still alive and shot him in the abdomen for the second time. The friend ran away terrified. When Getnet’s family members came, the policeman took aim and threatened to shoot them if they tried to help him. He bled for about half an hour and died in the hospital.

18. Wassihun Kebede, age 22, male, shot in the head and killed.

19. Dereje Damena, age 24, male, shot in the forehead and killed.

20. Esubalew Ashenafi, age unknown, male, shot and killed near his home.

21. Addisu Belachew, age 23, male, a businessman and father of 3 children, shot in the eye and killed.

22. Legesse Tulu, age 64, male, a carpenter and father of 5, shot and killed as he looked for his son.

23. Jafar Seid, age 28, male, shot in the forehead and killed.

24. Ashenafi Derese, age 22, male, shot and killed near his home.

25. Girma Alemu, age 38, male, shot the chest and killed.

26. Meki Negash, age unknown, male, shot and killed while going to mosque at Sebategna Agip.

27. Desta, age 28, female, (her father listed at #28) shot in the chest and killed.

28. Beliyu Bayu, age 20, male, shot in the left side of his body and killed.

29. Endalkachew Megersa, age 18, male, shot in the forehead and killed.

30. Demeke Kassa, age 24, male, shot in the forehead and killed.

31. Anwar Kiyar Surur, age 20, male, shot in the forehead and killed.

32. Kasim Ali, age 23, male, shot in the forehead and killed.

33. Berhanu Aynie, age estimated 20-25, male, shot and killed in front of Addis Ketema School.

  1. kechinu
    | #1

    I guess it is a typo:victim #9 Zulufa Surur, age 50, male, a mother of seven???, and victim # 27 Desta, age 28, female, (her father listed at #28) shot in the chest and killed. But victim #28 Beliyu Bayu, was only 20 yeras old-8 years younger than his daughter.

  2. Jallala
    | #2

    There is only one way to replace the current Government in Ethiopia: through election which could only be possible through peaceful organization and struggle. The problem is that there are more than 50 opposition parties, inside and outside Ethiopia, with 50 different ideas and programs. The only thing common about them is that they all want to hold power by any means possible, including anarchy and chaos. The opposition in Ethiopia is a joke.

  3. Sheger
    | #3

    A store is owned by a Nigerian, one of the colonizer of Ethiopia.

  4. Sheger
    | #4

    But God said that man shale live on earth but not just a Nigerian or a Chinise or any body who thinks separately from the rest of the world. We are all people and we shale all prevail.

  5. SOFANIT
    | #5

    I DO NOT THINK IT IS JUST A COENCIDENCE THAT I DID NOT SEE ANY TIGRE NAME ABOVE, AMONG THE LIST OF THE MARTYRS.

    MOST LIKELY THE TIGRES WERE NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE PROTEST BECAUSE THEY WERE GETING READY TO JOIN THE KILLINGS.

  6. Abiy
    | #6

    These heroes and heroines who become victims of the RACIST TIGRAY PEOPLE’S LIBERATION FONT will live in our memory forever. The LORD as well as Ethiopians won’t forget the blood spill of these innocent citizens. Because they dared to be different than many of us they are exemplary and courages citizens.
    The struggle to free Ethiopia still continues. I believe we are nearer to that defining moment at the present than we like to admit. Notwithstanding, the propaganda that emanates from the TPLF cabal, the regime is done.
    Ethiopians are pushed to the edge of the cliff more than ever, so long the condition continues this way, and at the present no one is prepared to say it will, there will be confrontation of Ethiopians against the evil TPLF. Perhaps, thus far many might have thought Melese is in control of the military. On the surface may appear that way.Neverthless,it still remains the only way to find out whether he is in control or not is to launch the uprising and test this assertion. It is one thing to have apparent control of the military generals in time of peace, it is quite another to have such control of the military in a time of stress and strain. He certainly has no control of the police force that happens to know the security apparatus and its officials. He definitely has no control of the Ethiopian people who are grown tired of his TIFRAM SLURE AND CURSE.

    Not to mention the fact that during public uprising officials within the army will find opportunity to adjust themselves according to changing circumstances and will likely do so than to follow rigid orders from Melees. Therefore apparent control in peace time and really reign over situation in the moment of unrest are quite different matters.

    [Jallala],
    With out any doubt Ethiopians know who you are-BLIND FOLLOWER AND ENBATEBAKI TPLF BANDA.Make no mistake about this,I believe you will live to see it,and when it comes to pass you will regret that it could have not come this way.Because TPLF has wasted innumerable opportunities to resolve the matter peacefully with Ethiopian people. I might add you and your likes will be responsible for what takes place in that country. Perhaps only then you will be convinced which might be too late to do anything about it.

  7. Sheger
    | #7

    I have been harassed by an African man to a point of physical fight. Possibly a Nigerian.

    I thought I should report that some where.

    Gigi.

  8. Zerayakob Yared
    | #8

    Jallala the #2 is seconded by me!

  9. Sheger
    | #9

    And I think he stalled my phone.

  10. beyya
    | #10

    We will never forget the victims of the fascist Tigre People Liberation Front, TPLF. The families of victims of the TPLF have never been compensated and live in despair and grief unable to understand why their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters have to be gunned down by the TPLF.

  11. T 2
    | #11

    ከመጠን በላይ ካቲካላ ጠጥቶ ለሞተ ሰካራም እንደ ቱኒዚያዉ ግብጹ እና የሊብያዉ ወጣት ማመሳሰል ዉርደት ነው እናንተ በየትኛው ወኔና ወንድነት ነው ይህን የምትሰሩ የትኛው ታሪካቹ ነው ይህ አይነት ወንድነት የሚያሳየን ፈሪ ወራዳ ነበሰ ገዳይ ሁላ ”ወንዶች ከሆናቹ ማአት በረሃ አለ በኢትዮጵያ ወረድ ማለት ነው ሌባ ወረበላ ገፋ ቢል ዲሲ ሁኖ ማልቅስ ነው ተግባራቹ

  12. T 10000
    | #12

    Ethiopia reaches 2nd round of WCup qualifying

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    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) -Ethiopia became the 12th and final team to reach the second round of African qualifying for the 2014 World Cup after beating Somalia 5-0 in the second leg of their first-round match on Wednesday.

    The win gave Ethiopia a 5-0 aggregate win after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

    Striker Omod Okwury opened the scoring in the fifth minute, although Ethiopia didn’t score again until the 62nd when Shimeles Bekele netted twice in three minutes. Getaneh Kebede also had a brace – in the 87th and 90th minutes – to eventually take the host through comfortably.

    Ethiopia joins 11 more of Africa’s lowest-ranked teams alongside the continent’s top 28 teams in a main group stage.

    Five teams will qualify from Africa for football’s showpiece.

    Somalia had gained credit for holding Ethiopia to a goalless draw in neutral Djibouti in the first leg, but the Somalis were soon behind in Addis Ababa as Okwury broke clear to score.

    The Ethiopians bungled a host of chances to increase their lead before Bekele finally added a second from close range and then lobbed Somali goalkeeper Qalid Ali Mursal soon after to send the home team clear.

    Ten teams had already qualified on Tuesday for the second round, while Liberia benefited from a walkover in its first-round match after Mauritius withdrew.

    The second round of qualifying matches kick off in June next year, when the likes of Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon become involved.

    Africa’s five successful teams will eventually book their tickets to Brazil after a third round of playoff matches in late 2013.

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/soccer/wires/11/16/2080.ap.soc.ethiopia.somalia.1st.ld.writethru.0275/index.html#ixzz1dtcAMZHh

  13. kechinu
    | #13

    I thought the master of the page go through the comments and provide clarification or comment or request clarification from the original author like the sex and age mismatch in this article.Cases dealing with lost life are sensitive and needs thorough reading before copying and pasting.
    Best

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