Caught between the Gambella genocide and Newtown massacre.
By Getahun Bekele
In a nation like Ethiopia, savagely devoured by a brutal clannish tyranny, there is very little difference between the living and the dead; with the living hunkering for the liberty of six feet under rather than living in penury.
On 13 Dec 2012, Ethiopian ethnic Anuaks held a small but harrowing remembrance ceremony for 424 victims of genocide, massacred by TPLF Trojan horses 9 years ago.
At a safe location in Africa, as an elderly Anuak goes through the painstaking job of reading out the name of each victim, at times posing to shed a tear, I quickly glanced at the list given to us and was deeply moved when seeing names of infants and 6 – 7 year olds; the little Obi, 3, being one of them.
Obi’s sobbing and sulking father, Oryamin Ogala’s sun-burnt face and slovenliness weren’t just the reflection of the frugal and cruel life he is leading in a foreign land as refugee. In fact, it is a sign of him failing to overcome the unimaginable loss he suffered 9 years ago on Dec 13, 2003.
On that fateful day, he was sitting under one of his several mango trees when a detachment of TPLF battalion and allied militia groups with a gargantuan appetite for human blood disturbed the peace of his village with automatic gun fire and grenade attack.
Amid the chaos, his fatherly instinct rushed him to the field where the little Obi, his only son, was happily gamboling in the tall grass with his friends.
“I watched a TPLF soldier pumping Ak-47 bullets in to the chest of my baby boy. I was fatally wounded on my left shoulder but survived because our pastor, the Reverend Okwier Oletho threw himself in front of me and took rounds of bullets meant for me.”
The grief stricken Ogala further told the Horn Times that from now his only hope is one day to return to his village and give his son who was buried in mass grave a decent burial.
“We Anuaks usually say sons and daughters must bury their fathers and mothers, not fathers and mothers bury their sons and daughters, and in my case, tragically, the later is true.” He said as we left the tiny mud hut late in to the night.
Then, a day later on Dec 14, we woke up to a heartrending horror of the Connecticut school massacre in the United States of America.
Again a cursory glance at the list of those massacred by the lone gun man, Adam Lanza showed that kids who had no stake on the matter Lanza pursued were made to pay with their precious lives.
From Africa across the Atlantic in the US, why did these cold blooded murderers like Adam Lanza and Meles Zenawi targeted little ones?
Out of more than 250 Ethiopians massacred during what is now known as the November terror in 2005, 40 of them were Kids.
A year later in 2006, this grieving mother of 7 year old Abush, waylaid the genocidal fuehrer Meles Zenawi near the parliament buildings. Waving her little boys’ school books and blood stained uniforms, the brave mother screamed for justice.
However, immediately recognizing her face, the fearsome tyrant shouted at then Addis Ababa mayor, warlord Arkebe Ouqubay to get her “out of his face.”
Noah Pozner, Jack Pinto, Emilie Parker and 17 other 6 -7 year olds from Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in the US; Obi Oryamine, Abush and 39 other kids from Ethiopia were all taken away from their parents by two shallow characters in Lanza and Zenawi.
Moreover, what makes the tragic loss even bitterer is that both child killers have died without giving humanity an explanation as to why they choose the little ones.
Their arrest, trial and eventually death by hanging or by lethal injection would have given the grieved some sort of closure.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be.