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Monday, November 27, 2006

The Great Protest

A.k. knows more than most people about the appallingly miserable conditions of the EPRDF prison. He had suffered the macabre conditions of the Ziway concentration camp. His body swarmed by all kind of bedbugs, he endured one-bread a day meals with thousands of terrified and cadaverous inmates. A powerful image still haunts him. "Rats skittered throughout our cell with utmost freedom. It seemed that they knew we were too weak and emaciated to respond to them. It was so deflating and bitter that it left most of us breathless. I feel nervous when I see rats after that."
A.K. was 23 when he was rounded up on June 8, 2005 and incarcerated at Ziway for a month. There, he went through a rapid and remarkable period of maturing. "My life's watershed moment," he called it. Yet his agony at the concentration camp was accompanied by an enduring resentment to the EPRDF. "The resentment is liberating in a way. I couldn't have been tough if I hadn't passed through the horror and scare. A life away from the struggle is now no longer sustainable. I will be fighting to make sure that nothing that ghastly happens to other Ethiopians in the future. That purpose has entered my soul as a permanent resident"
On Sunday, A.K took part in the Great Run, his first in four years. He knew there were spontaneous protests against the government in both Great Runs last year. "There was a heightened, almost erotic, sense of anticipation of opposition among the athletes on Sunday. It was godsend for people like me who are muzzled from speaking out," he recounted. The government had predicted the protests equally. This year the media had kept the event as low profile as they could do. Most of the registration of athletes was made in work places. There were reports that it had planned to cancel the event. Only the popularity of the run among diplomats and expatriates saved it.
The protest started with the outburst of few people but rapidly grew to engulf thousands. Tension gave way to courage. Songs of opposition, some silly, some funny and some dreary, were sung; anti-Meles and anti-war chants made and the release of political leaders demanded. With the security forces, not reacting, the Great Run ended up being the first peaceful and spontaneous public protest since the election. For many it was a lesson to the government that people hadn't forgotten. A. K was philosophical about the protest. In a typical Ethiopian melodramatic flourish he declared: "If those who died in 1970s and 805 for the cause of freedom here rise up from their graveyard and see where Ethiopia is now, they will think their sacrifice wasn't worth it. The fallen heroes of this generation should not feel the same,"

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Addis is a Kinjit Land.The spirit,the love, the trust of the kinjit principles remains on everone's heart.It has been a refreshing event for the addis ababans which really annoys the oppressors.

Anonymous said...

dear bloger,
i appreciate your commitment to inform and keep up-to-date your people.
i also found your page thrustworthy and dependable.

Anonymous said...

In my house, you are now officially the most trustworthy source of information

thank you

Anonymous said...

Zagol the great!

You moved my spirit! My profound admiration for the young turk and his sacrifice will be worth it. we will not rest until the evil thugs in Menelik's palace are paraded at the Hague for crimes against humanity. No wonder people were chanting Kewoyane Yeshalal Sumale!

Anonymous said...

meles zenawi

http://ethiopianhero.8.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=8

.

Anonymous said...

Thousands? Common don't lie... There were "Some" people, but "Thousands" is a strech... Other news source would have reported if "Thousands" of runners were shouting. Don't lie to us.

Anonymous said...

If you love your country go head and join the union islamic court (ICU)to tople Meles govt and be part of the new breed of terrorist in the horn of Africa. Listen Meles's leadership is determind by courage and determination not by just an ordenery talk. If you want to fight the fight join the political system let your voice be heard face the hardship fight like a real man's fight, don't just talk the talk... walk the walk. show your love for your people and your country. Don't Just be full of BS. Be a real men.