‘It takes courage to do the right thing’ Serkalem Fasil – By Yilma Bekele

April 6th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

When Abune Petros came to the place of execution and was given to say his last words, he took his hand cross and removed the blue cloth that was rapped around it and blessed the people and said the following last words:

“… May God give the people of Ethiopia the strength to resist and never bow down to the fascist army and its violence. May the Ethiopian earth never accept the invading army’s rule.”

After that a swarm of bullets from the execution platoon pierced and killed bishop Abune Petros.

You see we came from a long line of brave and selfless ancestors. We have countless heroes and heroines to fall back on and re-inspire ourselves and continue the tradition of asserting our god given right to be free and independent. The swarm of bullets fired at Abune Petros came from the guns of fellow Ethiopians. They were called ‘Banda’ the predecessors to the Agazi soldiers of Meles Zenawi.

What inspired this article is the documentary by ‘International Women’s Media Foundation’ (IWMF) ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs-WZnVkGtM )It is recognition of the selflessness and courage of the human spirit as exemplified by this beautiful Ethiopian family. Serkalem Facil and her husband Eskender Nega are the symbols of freedom for Ethiopia.

Their main fault is that they told the truth. In a land where the government uses every available media to misinform and mislead the population, they had the audacity to print three newspapers to tell the truth. Asqual, Menilik, and Satenaw were three independent newspapers edited by Serkalem and Eskinder. Due to government created paper, ink and printing facilities shortage their paper was priced much higher than official papers. Distribution was regulated and vendors were routinely harassed, beaten up and their supply confiscated. But the Independent papers thrived. The people were willing to pay the outrageous price imposed by the regime and went out of their way to help the independent media.

In November of 2005 after the election debacle and Prime Minster ordered massacre of fellow citizens, Serkalem and Eskender were thrown into Kaliti Prison charged with ‘treason, outrage against the constitution and attempted genocide’ against the Tigrai people. Suffice to say that there in no truth to the charges. Two long years of kangaroo court trial did not present an iota of evidence. It was just a ploy to muddy the waters of stolen elections, massacre and failed policy of the Woyane regime.

Serkalem was pregnant. She was thrown with sixty other prisoners in a dungeon full of rats and other varmint. The supply of food and water was just enough to sustain life. It was no place for an expecting mother. In this time of agony, Serkalem got her strength from her fellow Kinijit prisoners and her deep love for her country. Her strength in turn was an inspiration for all the prisoners. Nafkot was born premature and underweight. Nafkot survived. He is as strong as his parents.

Serkalem and Eskender are testimonial to the fact that there is a price to be paid for freedom. It is personal. They did not close shop and abandon all hope when the going got tough. They did not wait for others to do the job. They did not lament the ‘indifference’ by others and made excise about the lack of unity. No, they just went about their business of telling the truth and informing their fellow citizens the best way they could. They took responsibility for their actions. They showed the rest of us by example that ‘courage in the face of adversity, principle in the face of wishy-washy stand, and love for Ethiopia instead of personal allegiance’ is what the struggle is all about.

Upon their release Serkalem and Eskender have asked their license back. The Woyane regime let alone pay compensation for two years of false imprisonment has refused to return their property back. They along with Sisay Agena of ‘Ethiop’ have been refused to publish. So much for press freedom.

Thank you Serkalem, thank you Eskender for you exemplify the true sense of what it means to be an Ethiopian. We share your burden and we promise to follow the path you have chartered for us. Nafkot is truly the real son of Ethiopia and deserves a special name and place. We are grateful and proud of you.

  1. Mederksa
    | #1

    Speaking of Democracy and Majority rule,

    “Ethiopias national language should be changed from Amaras minority (Amharic)to Ethiopias Majority (Afaan Oromoffiaa).

  2. fasil
    | #2

    it has nothing to do with the language and your comment and the article has no relation as expected from ppls of your kind Tigrea ppls liberation front. You should learn to respond to what is written not what you are told to say for tomorrow.

  3. Robele Ababya
    | #3

    Thank you Ato Yilma for your enlightening article and untiring effort in writing excellent inspiring articles.
    Abune Petros paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we shall be free and independent. He was indeed one of the distinguished heroes and heroines.
    I congratulate Serkalem and her husband for adding their names to the list of heroes and heroines.

  4. mohammed
    | #4

    Mederksa that is a good idia. what about majority of Ehiopian population are muslims, we should have a muslim presedinet

  5. yikerbelen
    | #5

    It isd true our holly father abune petros was kill exceuted by banda who came from northren ethiopia.[ either from tegeray or eritrea] who knows , could be melese’s father, he was one of the well known bandas for five years. what is so pity now Ethiopia’s orthodox church doesn’t have such couragious fathers. they bully hodams, folks with sheep’s skin, bandas and more cruel than geragn mehamed’s yodit’s soldiers against their church

  6. | #6

    I am very happy to read the story of Abune petros, I am proud of it and those who present the story, but those who suggest division like language in the first article. what you need to know is language is a means of communication, but you are using it as a tool of politics against amhara people.You can soeak whatever language you can, but we use one national language to communicate among themselves. Lets unite Ethiopia, Unity is strength. One Ethiopia

  7. | #7

    Please those dividers like mederksa and windsor ontario, both of you need to learn something, that is langusge is a means of communication. Amharic is for all Ethiopians not for amhara people you understand the language as if it is for Amhara because the people don’t speak another language.You can speak whatever you can, but don’t write a dividing idea.Because most people speak amharic, it is a national language. Let’s Unite Ethiopia. Unity is strength!!!!

  8. almaz
    | #8

    JZB,you don’t know what you are talking about the same as Mederksa.I feel bad that you have almost the same name like our heroen Bertukan Mideksa.Please change your name.You are narrow minded.You guys have to educate your self to understand the important of Amarigna to Ethiopia.Ethiopia is the only African country that has it’s own Alphabet. Why do we have to use Latin a foreign language.We are proud of what is ours.

  9. fasil
    | #9

    Dear JzB: you need to stop the hostility to ward the ethiopians and look in to yourself and find out why you are sohated by the whole ppls in the windsor area.I guess that ethiopian comunity the most conscious and active community. If you really want you can reconcile and avoid the rejection. It is very obvious from your article you are very primitive and at the same time primitive.

  10. sweet
    | #10

    hi mederksa first of all you dont know about the holey father of abun petros you have to read some book and undrstand befor you give negative commentok dont be smartwe know you are not smart.the othre person who wont be smart mohammed did you think we need musliem prasdanti dont think so but i would like to ask you what mad you think we need muslime persdant?

  11. Shamma
    | #11

    Stop being growing child,and Stop insulting and attacking Mr. Medeksa personally, if you can challenge his logically. What medeksa asking is legetimate democratic concern and demand you like it or not.

  12. JzB
    | #12


    Caged monkies despise everyone who stand outside of their cage.

  13. Windsorite
    | #13

    Lesson to Mr.Fasil (Another uneducated dummy)

    In social issues, “Hate no one,hate their flaws and vices,not themselves.”
    Remember, The greatest gift of Democracy is not in agreement rather in to learn to agree to disagree.

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