Living in Humiliation; a Turning Point for a Tough Decision in Life By Zenebe G. Tamirat
Last weekend we sadly abided the shocking death of an extraordinary compatriot, Memher (teacher) Yeniesew Gabrie in a town known as Waka where Governors of 6 districts were assembling to discuss various issues in their respective administrative units. Waka is the capital town of Dawro Zone in Southern provinces of Ethiopia collectively named now as “Debub Killil,” a kind of Bantustan type of language based regionalization introduced by the TPLF with nuisance intention of dismantling Ethiopia and the psychological feeling that make up Pan-Ethiopianism.
The teacher died a heroic death sprinkling benzene, a toxic liquid from petroleum & setting fire on his own body and telling the assembled officials that he was fed up of living in a state where there is no justice & democracy. “It is difficult to continue life in such conditions” he is quoted to have said as he approached the district governors with fire on him. To quote exactly what he said in the Amharic language he spoke and the meaning of which is what I translated above “ፍትህ እና ዲሞክራሲ በሌለበት አገር መኖር ሰልችቶኛል፣ በዚህ ሁኔታ በህይወት መቀጠል አዳጋች ነው” he was saying as he entered the house where the officials assembled while the episode took place. The officials are reported to have “ran away” as they see the fire coming on them. They might have escaped the fire on that day but never can they be sure of escaping it forever, for, this little fire will come back soon glowing like the balls of fire in hell as described in Dante’s “infemo” in the“ Divine Comedy;” it is evident.
The causes and incidents for the death of Memher Yeniesew Gabrie & Mohamed Bouzazizi are very much similar. They both lived under repressive governments in the same continent but different countries; the former in Ethiopia and the latter in Tunisia. The leaders of both victims ruled their nations in absolute tyranny for twenty years, both leaders enjoyed massacres instead of peaceful solutions and both leaders showed a sign of unparalleled greed to stay in power; moreover both nations of the deceased were commonly thirsted of democracy for a long time. So, Mohamed Bouzazizi & Yeniesew had to reach a decisive decision either to live in humiliation or to die as heroes. They preferred the latter, to die in pride instead of living in humiliation.
There are also other similarities to mention here. According to historian and research fellow at the Russian Academy of Science, Vastly Kuznetsove, (PhD) the people of Tunisia are very peaceful. So are the people of Ethiopia who lived tolerating suppression and exploitation for thousands of years. We can see therefore that both victims came from a decent society of non-violent back ground. The way the duo died is also another similarity. Mohamed died setting fire on himself in front of an administrative building in a city called “Sidi Bouzid.” Ironically Memher Yeniesew chose the same type of death setting fire on his own body as did Mohamed in a town city called Waka and in front of Administrative officials sat at a meeting.
What is not similar at this point in this issue is the response of the people of Tunisia and that of Ethiopia. In the case of Tunisia the death of Bouzazizi has been paid by the glorious success of the revolution that ended in the ousting of the brutal dictator. In the case of Memher Yeniesew his blood is calling on all Ethiopians to respond duly by uprising against the oppressive system & thereby bringing down the tyrant at Arat Killo to justice by all means and at the earliest possibility.
Listening to the BBC broadcast this morning through the link that ETHIOPIA.ORG provided, I was impressed by the reporter’s question of what was Yeniesew was up to burning himself in day light and at a place where public officials were meeting. Although the answer to the question was given to the enquirer at the spot I feel that it needs a further detailed reply that may not be possible to provide in a radio or TV interview because it consumes a long air-time. I also feel that the reporter’s comment that the TPLF officials consider the Ethiopians in Diaspora as “trouble makers” also needs a further response.
Moreover I found both questions to be justifiable and serious enough to be directed to Ethiopians, particularly to the elites of the nation and need be answered promptly. I therefore believe that this article will be a jump-start to a more discussion to provide a meaningful answer to the reasonable question raised here. The question thus must be answered clearly, abundantly and to the satisfaction of the enquirer and to those who intend to find facts on the ground now in Ethiopia.
To start with the second and relatively easy question let us ask, who is trouble maker now? Just take the case under discussion that reflects the objective reality of the political situation in Ethiopia and marshal your judgment. One can just see that individuals are sacrificing their lives in order to call on the attention of the world, in an attempt to convey the plight of their fellow men and women to democratic forces of the world because the later has turned a deaf ear to the repeated revelation of the gross human rights violation in the country under normal surcumstances. The transposition of this revelation has thus required a tougher means of deliverance such as burning oneself alive as did Memher Yeniesew.
Trouble makers don’t kill themselves. They do not commit suicide. Trouble makers kill others. As has been seen vividly it is the rulers of Ethiopia under the leadership of Melese Zenawi that kill the people en mass. This has been demonstrated by the brutal killings in the streets of Addis Ababa again and again since Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) snatched power by the muzzle of the gun and reaching its climax in 2005, in the genocide in Gambela, in the massacre in Awasa, Gondere, Arsi, and Harrar and everywhere in Ethiopia with the exception of Tigrai. All of these killings have been witnessed by human right watchdogs and the main Mass media of the world including the BBC during the twenty years of Reign of Terror of the Melese led TPLF government. Thus by any axiom that maybe raised here in this connection, the trouble makers are those involved in the ethno-centered leadership of the TPLF led government of Ethiopia and its allied forces at home and abroad.
What is going on in Ethiopia right now is actually “State Terrorism,” for which the TPLF is documented in its background history. State terrorism is the most dangerous crime committed against humanity. It is most dangerous because the “terrorist” here is a sovereign government recognized by the United Nation. It takes the shield of sovereignty for its clandestine crime of murder, genocide and repression. It forces its constituents to “shut up” and carry out its order at the expense of their freedom of expression. It accuses those who come forward to demand their basic rights as “trouble makers,” it covers itself in the shell of “anti-terrorism” by pretending as if it were a lieutenant of those who think can fight terrorism with the help of the “state terrorist,” and yet it goes on terrorizing its own people day in and day out.
The TPLF led government in Ethiopia accuses the Ethiopians in the Diaspora as “trouble makers” because the Diaspora speaks. It speaks loud in various forums of the world revealing the hidden agenda of the repressive government. The Diaspora is a good source of information to bring news of repression and human right violation in the country to the Mass Media in the free world. The Diaspora speaks because it is out of the sphere of repression of the government. The local people cannot speak because there is a gun leaning at their mouth; thus forcing them to “shut up.” The local people however have their limit to tolerating state terrorism and when they speak they really speak. They speak the way Memher Yeniesew spoke last Friday. They speak once and for all, never to speak again, as did Yeniesew speaking in front of the agents of State Terrorism. “I am unable to live in a state where there is no justice and democracy. It is difficult to continue life in such a situation.” Period!
(To continue in successive parts)
The writer Zenebe Tamirat is available at firstname.lastname@example.org