An Ethiopian hero By Yilma Bekele

Despite all that has happened to our country and people we have always managed to produce heroes that have kept hope alive when most things all around us seem to fall apart. It is not an accident. It is not by chance. In my humble opinion it is the result of our proud culture and ancient history that compels us to keep our head high when faced with adversity. For fortyfive years we have been tested mightily.

The last few days that aspect of our blessing has been in full bloom. Ethiopia’s children have been enjoying the latest crop of morale builders and national cheerleaders. Let me start with Almaz Ayana. She is like our country, deceitful at first glance. Almaz looks so small and fragile but don’t let that fool you. She conquered the 10K Olympic track record in Rio and signed her name in bold and it says ‘catch me if you can’. That is a personal achievement. It is also a national glory.

I have no words to describe the pride I felt when I saw Feyisa Lilesa raise his hands in Rio to reflect the pain in his heart. Our young hero in a moment of such personal glory decided to shine a bright light at the slaughter of his people by Woyane gangsters that are currently masquerading as a lawful regime. I was both in awe of his courage and proud of his achievement. How could one be so young and so unselfish to think of others less fortunate when the whole world was admiring his athletic ability? He turned things right side up. He said there are more important things we have to reflect upon together like the ‘lack of Freedom’ in Ethiopia.

That is what makes our people and country special. We produce selfless people and true leaders despite the beastly nature of the tyrants that have basically made us strangers in our own home. It is true we never give up. There has not been a single day Woyane has not been challenged in the country called Ethiopia. Woyane has spilled the blood of Ethiopians no matter what kilil one comes from.

Our young friend Feyisa is joining a noble company of warriors, freedom fighters and all around Ethiopians that have come before him. He is following their good steps. He is a disciple of Berhanu Nega, Birtukan Mideksa Reyot Alemu and others that have paid a heavy price for refusing to heel. Today Eskinder Nega, Wubshet Taye, Andualem Arage, Andargachew Tsige, Bekele Gerba, Abubeker Ahmed, Habtamu Ayalew, Temesgen Desalegn and many more are in Woyane dungen, not Ethiopian jail. The guards are Woyane, the language is Tigrean and life is harsh. The only crime they all committed is saying No to tyranny.

This unique Ethiopians have absorbed more of the ingredients that have produced such luminaries as Emperor Tewodros, Ras Alula, Itege Taitu, Dejazmach Balcha, Ras Desta, Ras Abebe, Mengistu and Germame, Tilahun Gizaw and many more beautiful Ethiopians. They all have one thing in common-unselfish behaviour in the service of people and country. Today Dr. Berhanu can sit back and enjoy the fruits of his hard work as a professor and watch his children grow, Judge Birtukan could have submitted to Meles and be left alone, Reyot has a chance to be an ordinary teacher and close her eyes to injustice, Eskinder could have kept quiet, Bekele Gerba was not tempted to lead the easy life outside nor did anyone push Temesgen to defy Woyane. Our young hero Feyisa could have gone home receive the accolades and may be open a Hotel and lead the life of leisure. What is real is sSome people add value to our life.

They all have the fire of freedom burning inside of them that wouldn’t allow them to take the easy way out. That is not the stuff heroes are made from. Our heros show us by example what it means to sacrifice for a cause and face even torture and death. They are showing us the way forward is to stand up straight.

It is heartwarming to see the result of Feyisa’s ‘teachable’ moment that garnered solidarity with the people of Ethiopia thus exposing the true nature of the fascist regime. The donations to help him settle in a new land are pouring in from all over the world. He has made our cause front page news, we owe a debt to the young Ethiopian from Oromia. Your family loves you.

It is no use talking, admiring, taking credit for the selfless act of our heroes. They sacrificed a lot, stuck their neck out on our behalf. The way we pay them back and stand beside them is by emulating their selfless act. Those at home are doing all they could to confront an armed opponent that is being cornered on all sides due to its criminal acts. I am sure they will feel empowered by Feyisa and double their efforts to win their Freedom. That is how they show their admiration.

The people of Bahr Dar have continued on the footsteps of Gondar. Three days Bahr Dar was a closed town. The people of Bahr Dar like the citizens of Gondar expressed their discontent with Woyane rule in the strongest way possible. They shunned the ethnic based rule with its local puppets by turning their face around not to look at such shameful opponent.

We on the outside should do the same. We should boycott all aspects, forms and manners of Woyane. Plenty of non Ethiopians contributed money, moral support and identified with the cause and are helping Feyisa settle and bring his family to join him. We Ethiopians have a greater responsibility and a debt to pay.

As Almaz was breaking records, as Feyisa was making history Woyane was blanketing Addis Ababa with troops to stop a vigil at Meskel Square. They closed every street and alley and arrested all those they think would lead the protest. They mobilized the Army, alerted the Air Force and packed their bags for easy exit. They worked out a real sweat because they thought the people of Addis are going to pour out of their houses corner them in a dead end street and hang them just like what happened to Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania. Not a good vision but when it is adorned with a tiny tint of realism what can one do except nod in agreement.

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Posted by on August 25, 2016. Filed under COMMENTARY,VIEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to An Ethiopian hero By Yilma Bekele

  1. Genet

    August 25, 2016 at 6:34 AM

    TPLF is trying to make a back door deals with Oromos
    And still trying to marginalized Amharas. By negotiating
    By giving most of what Oromos request. But thank God
    Oromos has learned from the past. The minority group
    Will say anything to stay in power and to suck Ethiopians
    Blood. No one will be a fool this time and we know the game they
    Play. Our demand is Ethiopia is not for sale. Our country
    Oneness is far more important than anything else
    To continue as a country. The blood you shed on
    The street not only our blood we want you to be removed as
    Government which Ethiopians never vote for you.
    We want you brought to International court for justice.
    It’s important others learn from this. Africa can not
    Continue business as usual. By silencing people
    By violating their human right. You are in office to serve
    Not to enrich yourself & killing innocent people.
    Our demand is a new government period. We don’t
    Want to hear more excuse & lies. 25 years of robbery
    And injustice is enough. It’s insulting to those parents
    You killed & imprisoned their children. No negotiation
    No more lies. No More TPLF!!!

  2. gamada gonfa

    August 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    Have you seen a report under the title “ዶ/ር ሼክስፒር ፈይሳ… ከአትሌት ፈይሳ ሌሊሳ ጋር ተነጋገረ!”? If you have not, it is available on Ethiopian Media Forum ( amharic section. It’s a short report loaded with outragious story and claims. I recommend that you see it.

    What’s intereting is a comment on the report which I have copied and pasted below.

    “To begin with, Shakespear F. is not a doctor. The last time I checked his C.V., he has a J.D. which is a three-year bachelor of laws degree.

    A practicing lawyer with J.D. never adds a doctor label to his name to avoid the confusion with a post J.D. masters and then doctoral degree in the field.

    Millions of lawyers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, etc. have J.D. but never call themselves doctors or enjoy the undeserving label added to their names by somebody else. Instead, they write esq. after their names signifying that they are lawyers. For example: Dugga Kure, Esq.
    What’s strange about Shakespear F. is he shamellesly uses the doctor label to confuse unsuspecting Ethiopians; maybe Latinos and few blacks too. He does not tell some (like the Ethiopian Media Forum guy) who call him with the “doctor” label that it is wrong. I suspect he has found the entire “doctor” thing a nice marketing gimmick. Lately, he appeared to have humbled himself and dropped the “doctor” label (at least when he talked in a public gathering in Toronto last year), but it certainly is not the case.

    The other thing about Shakespear F. is his habit of jumping on widely publicized cases as if he is on top of them. Take ex co-pilot H. Medhin’s case. Right after the hijack, it was reported that Shakespear is on his way to Switzerland to represent H. Medhin in court. But for some of us familiar with the law and the legal profession, it was clear from the start that he cannot represent him because he was not licensed to practice in Switzerland. We were sure that he can’t even see him while in detention let alone represent him before Swiss judges. Shakespear had nothing to say on the case after that report since he has was not involved. As in the present, the report on H. Medhin’s case added the “doctor” label to Shakespear’s name.

    Now, the same Shakespear is saying that he can represent Llesa in Brazil. What a wimp? No Wonder Lilesa got a hunch about Shakespear and gave him a luckwarm response to his overture. In fact, Lilesa did not want to talk to Shakespear at length becaue any statement he makes (if known to the wider public the way Shakespear talks now) can be used against him in determing his eligability for asylum or protection. Lilesa is not protected by prvilileged communication from the information Shakespear might release unless he retains him as his lawyer.

    Lilesa has already talked to journalists (available on Youtube) which is not likely to help his application. In any case, he should not talk to anybody before he gets lawyers. Not Shakespear, but Brazilian lawyers with speciality in immigration and refugee issues. He needs lawyers for an interview with UNHCR officers (if there are any in Brazil) for immigrating to the U.S. or anywhere else or if he decides to stay in Brazil.

    One misleading statement from Shakespear is that Brazil is bound by treaty not to return Lilesa to Ethiopia. That’s is wrong and raises Lilesa’s expectations too high. The fact that Lilesa is an Oromo and some Oromos are in uprising and are being killed and arrested by the governemt is not enough to grant him asylum. What has happened to him personally while in Ethiopia is the central question. Apart from the sign signifying his support to the uprising, has anything happened to him in the hands of government operatives? The fact that his family is doing fine, that he was being paid a salary by the government, that he was traing for Olympics without problem, that he was given a passport and exit visa to travel freely undermines his claim for asylum. Showing somekind of persecution by the government before he left the country is necessary. On top of that, the government is making promise nothing will happen to him if he returns. In his situation, one can only hope if he gets “a protected person” status owing to his gesture of solidarity during the maraton. The effect is more or less the same with getting asylum and he might end up in the U.S.

    As mentioned above, the Ethiopian government has made a statement suggesting that Lilesa does not need asylum or protection. A hero’s welcome awaiting Lilisa and nobody in his family is killed or arrested is to defeat his claim. But, Shakespear’s talk that the Ethiopian security might convice Brazilian authorities to send Lilesa home if we do not act before them is simply alarmist. Brazil is not Yemen (recall A. Tsege’s case) and Ethiopia’s power to sway Brazilian authorites is next to nothing. Before the UNHCR or Brazilian government , Lilesa will get a fair hearing and ruling.

    I don’t think the Ethiopian government cares if Lilesa gets asylum or protection anywhere in the world. It has made a statemet and moved on. In fact, it will be best if he settles somewhere, sponsor his wife and children, send money to the rest of his family and relatives. There are so many athelets in the country who want to keep on doing the good job and keep the nation’s flag up high.

    One final thing. Shakespear did not defeat lawyers in the M. Zenawi et al. case. Reports on the case confirm that M. Zenawi et al. did not want to pursue the case; if they did, it would have given undue publicity to Dawit W. They killed the case at a discovery stage. If Shakespear has proof to the contrary, tell him to publish it.

    Would the diploma police (now head of ESAT) do something about Shakespear F.? I don’t think so.

    Good luck to Lilesa.

  3. You are wrong

    September 4, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    Gamada, you are wrong about “JD” it is a professional degree. The same way we call a physician an “MD”. You must be confusing PhD with a professional Doctoral degree.