The sky was overcast, the rain had just stopped. People are running up and down as if something of urgency compelled them to act like that. Someone had snatches a lady’s bag and disappeared. It was in the attempt of retrieving the bag that such a situation was created. The woman was wailing and begging the people to get her bag back. Fortunately, the robber did not get away with it and two guys came back with the bag to the joy of the woman. Hence, when they arrived at the place where the woman was standing, they did not hand her the bag right away. They demanded money for their labor to chase the robber. The amount they charged her was far more than the price of the bag. The woman was confused and in fact afraid that they would harm her. At that intensive moment, luckily, Ato Awulachew and Obo Duguma were at the scene. A couple of people brought the woman and the two guys to these gentlemen for resolution which of course they did. Both the woman and the perpetrators departed peacefully.
“I don’t understand what is really taking place. The things that I see and hear are all hard to believe. We are in the time when human life is least considered.” said Ato Awulachew while chatting with his friend. Both were elderly people in their mid-sixties. They were behind a church sitting under a big tree that was standing tall.
Obo Duguma, who was gazing at the beautiful structure of the church, turned to his friend, with a very soft voice said, “You are right, the news of people dying here and there has almost become common. Unjustified death is rather intriguing. We, Ethiopians, who have grown in faith-based culture and discipline and fear of God, cannot at all imagine that such atrocity would happen in our country. If someone were to die due to illnesses, it is normal and natural, no question about that.”
“As you said, the news of death that we daily hear is horrendous. Imagine, if a person whom you have never seen suddenly steps into your house and starts shooting down anybody in his way what do you make out of this?” asked Ato Awulachew with anger clearly visible on his face.
“As a matter of fact, the crime being done on humanity by the TPLF’s terrorists group is in northern Ethiopia is much deeper than one can ever think of. Killing and the burning twelve young people for no purpose other than cremation is among what has been done to unarmed civilians in Amhara and Afar regions.” said Obo Duguma with tears welling up in his eyes. He could not speak more for a short while as though he was imagining the agony the victims were undergoing.
After a long sigh, Ato Awulachew slowly shifting his position said, “The crime done to those people does not end there. The sad story about the woman who was raped by four thugs and cruelly beaten and forcing her to prepare food only to killed her at last.” He wept uncontrollably until people around turned their heads to where the two individuals were sitting. Ato Awulachew was normally noted for his seriousness let alone crying like a child with raising his voice. Obo Duguma, although he too was in the same mood, was trying to calm down his friend. As people started coming to where they were one by one. Soon the area was filled with people who were hurling enquiries of all sorts to find out why the two old people were in that situation. Apologizing for the inconvenience, Ato Awulachew wiped the tears off his face and told the people that it was just personal reason upon which the people left the place one by one reluctantly though.
“Awulachew!” Obo Duguma sternly said, “You should not be like that; you have to be able to control your emotion at least when you are in such places. People can attach any meaning to it which may sometimes not be favorable. After all, we are old people to advice and comfort others, rather than to be advised and comforted.” They expect much more than this from us. Especially, in times of trouble, they turn to us for solution; it is embarrassing when they see us like this. The people were still looking at them from distance, it seems as though they were not convinced by the excuse of Ato Awulachew.
With regret for being like that, Ato Awulachew said, “Sometimes it is not easy to subdue our emotions just like that. I was overwhelmed by the death and the misery of the people out there at the battle front. I’m sorry for causing such a big inconvenience to you all. The case of massacring people, who are not involved in the war in one way or the other, is something that torments you. Farmers, while they were working in the fields, being shot down like they were not human beings is appalling. The deep shock caused by the inhuman act of the terrorists fills us with fear and shock.”
With no less feeling, Obo Duguma looking in the eye, “Awulachew my friend, there is no limit to the atrocities done to our people. It is the act of devil incarnate in this twenty first century. Many people say the devil could not have done worse. It is the worst crime ever recorded in the history of the world.”
“You are absolutely right. Shamelessly, there are numerous sympathizers of these crimes in some western countries and some politicians in the Biden administration and the United Nations.” said Ato Awulachew.
“You are right, not all Europeans or Americans should be implicated; there are a lot who do not have a share in the crime. Generalizing is a crime by itself.” affirmed Obo Duguma with certainty.
“Yet, those implicated are publicly seen and heard showing their support for the Junta on every international forum available.” said Ato Awulachew without hesitation. He shook his fist toward the sky as if challenging God for not interfering with flashes of lightening and roars of thunder. He lowered his hand when God did not reply instantly. As the church was located on a higher ground, from top he looked down as if the answer had landed on the land below. Having noticed the highly disturbed situation of his friend, Obo Duguma patiently kept quiet until the tide in his friend subsided. As a break away, he was watching people coming out of the fog far behind the church perhaps, going to the market to sell their merchandise. When he realized that Ato Awulachew was cool, he decided to break the silence.
“As you have previously said, Ethiopia is fighting terrorism alone; overlooking the objecting reality about the war in Ethiopia, they shamelessly supported the Junta to intensify its attack on unarmed civilians. Their media disseminate fake news to mislead international community and arouse them against Ethiopia.” said Ato Duguma.
“Think of plundering houses of all that was worth. The worst part of the ransacking is they destroy everything that they cannot carry away. Breaking down chairs, tables, beds, even pouring down the dough reading for baking, name it. It is heart rending news that we receive from CNN, Reuters, AFP and the like every day.” added Ato Awulachew.
After a long silence, Obo Duguma cleared his throat and said, “For instance to mention what has happened to Ethiopia is beyond our comprehension. The mere thought of it is sickening. Just to mention only one incidence, let us take into consideration what has happened in east Amhara zone. A hospital worth 26 billion birr was ransacked and the immovable machines and other facilities including medicines were totally destroyed. Bear in mind, the hospital renders health services for 10,000 people living in the town and the surrounding near and far. Altogether, 40 health facilities are destroyed. My brother, we cannot recite all that has happened. Now it’s getting late. Let’s go back to our homes.”
By JOSEPH SOBOKA
THE THURSDAY 20 JANUARY 2022