December 13, 2012 marks the 9-year anniversary of the brutal massacre of 424 disarmed Anuak in Gambella, Ethiopia by the TPLF/EPRDF Defense Forces armed with guns and militia groups armed with machetes. Not just the families of the victims, but all Anuak, will forever remember that dark day that brought so many pains, tears and suffering.
Even after 9 years, some widows, some fathers, some mothers and children are still waiting to bury their loved ones properly. Some day their bodies, which were buried in mass graves, will be exhumed and buried with proper respect by their families and loved ones. Someday a memorial of remembrance may be erected in Gambella in their honor, to remind people that behind every name on that memorial, is a human life, given as a precious gift from God, our Creator.
Such memorials may be erected all over Ethiopia where innocent lives of Ethiopians have been taken. Someday, a large monument—a wall of shame—could be erected in Addis Ababa with the names of the Anuak and the names of all other people throughout Ethiopia who have lost their lives at the hands of this government that devalues human life.
On this Anuak Memorial Day, Anuak in Gambella cannot join with Anuak in the Diaspora in observing this day. It is prohibited by the TPLF or EPRDF government. Instead, they will have to look forward to the day they will be able to join together in a service such as the ones being held in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, Kenya, South Sudan and in other cities where there are Anuak where they are free to remember the death of more than 1500 other Anuak who were killed in the next two years following the December massacre.
Because public mourning is not allowed, those who want to remember family members, friends and community members who died, must quietly carry out some kind of observances within their homes and hearts.
This TPLF regime wants to erase it from the memory of the Anuak, but this will never happen. Someday, all the details will be revealed for all to see on the shame-filled pages of our Ethiopian history books. Until then, Anuak are still waiting for those responsible to be brought to justice. As one Anuak who lost a family member recently said, “the TPLF and it killers have moved on, but we will never stop grieving or rest until the killers have been brought to justice and until our family members are buried properly.”
For the Anuak people and supporters of the Anuak, let us all remember this day together. Let us take this day of sorrow and make it a day of reconciliation and healing among all peace-loving Ethiopians. This pain we feel was brought because of hate, anger, envy and greed and we want to create a different Ethiopia.
May God bless all of those who are remembering this day of tragedy and may God help bring about an Ethiopia where truth, justice, freedom, reconciliation and harmony prevail over death and destruction.
Please take a few minutes and watch this heartbreaking video below: The testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the December 13th Massacre. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Executive Director of SMNE