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The purpose of this blog is to collect testimonials of all survivors of Mengestu Haile-Mariams Dictatorship. We trust that good will prevail only if the Human race will choose to learn from past wrongs. We will redeem our humanity if we recognize our responsibilities. We sincerely hope that the validity of this endeavor will be self-evident.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A film about the 'Red Terror' by an Ethiopian Director

Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 09:57 GMT 10:57

UKFilm pushes Ethiopia to confront pastStill from the movieWaiting to be executed: A dramatic thriller set during Mengistu's ruleBy Nita Bhalla in Addis AbabaThe Ethiopian film The Father has been winning awards across Africa for portraying the horrors of the "Red Terror" campaign unleashed by deposed dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam more than 20 years ago.

Rwandans are talking about genocide, South Africans about apartheid and so, Ethiopia has to talk about the Red TerrorDirector Ermias WoldeamlackAnd the 28-minute film, which is now on a satellite television channel in Ethiopia, has finally got people talking about the dark days in the late 1970s when tens of thousands of people were killed, tortured or disappeared.

First time director Ermias Woldeamlack, who is 37 years old, is firm in his belief that the story has to be told.There is little literature, film, theatre or music re-telling the "Red Terror" period, he says.And the absence of such materials indicates that Ethiopians are hiding from the goings on of that period rather than come to terms with them, Ermias believes."We didn't deal with them as it is not in our culture to have done so. But the only way we could move on, is to address them head on," he said.Its good to talkThe young director explains: "The Rwandans are talking about the genocide, the South Africans about the apartheid era and so, Ethiopia has to talk about the 'Red Terror'. The Father is the first step."



ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Reuters)
Thursday Jan 11, 2007

-- An Ethiopian court spared former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam from the death penalty on Thursday, sentencing him to life in prison for genocide during his brutal 17-year reign.


Ethiopia's Mengistu found guilty of genocide
Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:43 PM GMT145

By Tsegaye Tadesse

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - Ethiopia's former ruler Mengistu Haile Mariam was found guilty in absentia of genocide on Tuesday at the end of a 12-year trial over his bloody rule.

Mengistu, now nearing 70, is unlikely to serve any prison time because he is exiled in Zimbabwe and the government there said it would not extradite him.

The genocide verdict, which carries a death sentence, was passed by two votes to one on the three-judge panel.

Mengistu was ousted by guerrillas led by now Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and in 1991 fled to Zimbabwe, where he leads a luxurious though reclusive life.

The 12-year-trial focused on the so-called "red terror campaign," carried out by his military regime, the Dergue. Amnesty International estimates 500,000 people were killed from 1977 to 1991.


Write down the names of your loved ones and tell us who they were to you. Ask your parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, neighbors, grand-parents; did Mengestu Haile-Mariam destroy some one you loved? Let us build our list, our monument and please let us tell the people of Zimbabwe about our pain, let us tell the world that we have not forgotten and we will not rest until he is brought to justice.

Here in the West, the semantic debate rages on . . . Did Mengestu Haile-Mariam committ Genocide? We may have become derailed from the heart of the matter. The victims, (if they could speak) and we the survivors know the tyrannical rule 1974 - 1991 was atrocious, the horific years where havoc reigned and millions perished. Those responsible have indeed committed crimes against humanity. A crime of such proportion must not go unheeded. Those of us who have experienced the wrath must acknowledge our fate. . . The world must be made aware of our outrage, the scope of our loss.

We must appeal to every Zimbabwean young, old and in between. We are not politicians, officials or special interest groups. We are just citizens of Ethiopia, citizens of the world. After waiting years of deliberation, the verdict is in, and the time has come to stand up and get counted . . .

How many of us lost a mother, a brother, an uncle, a friend, a son? Has the experience of the Red Terror in Ethiopia become so distant and vague? We have lived so long without them, have we forgotten? Did they not deserve to live, start anew like us in our journery in the Diaspora. Have we become so hard in our struggle to survive, to make it . . .? If we stopped for a moment and remember do we not weep, does not our heart want to burst with agony and despair for our loss. Losses that were so needless, reckless and without just cause.

Emama, I see you often in my minds eye your silver hair. . . I have become old, older than you. If only I could show you my children. What I would give to see you doting on your grandchildren whom you would never know.

Wondeme, your step was broken, you never got the chance to say farewell, snuffed out before your seventeenth birthday. What amazing feat lay ahead for you, I thought, no, I was certain you were the one to show us the way, my pillar, my honor. They prayed on you, shattered you, like a creature of no consequence.

Ehete, that fateful day you went to out to the corner, the bullet found you in its aimless glare. What of all those sleepless nights studying, your yearning to become someone, it was all for nothing? How could it be, what nonsense?

Gashaye, my confidant, my mentor, I will never tell you how wise you were, I would only know it years later. You will never see and smile with pride that my son is just like you, so wise, sensitive and gallant. One look at him, and you would have known that I was listening. I took to heart all your advice. Here, he is my witness. Like you he knows so much, how could he know, but thank God for love and hope . . .

Leje, oh my son, my mortal wound, you took with you the meaning of laughter, and joy, I will never know these things ever again. I will never find my bearing, my reason to be.

Have we forgotten? Tell me why do we know about the Holocaust? Is it not because the survivors would never let us forget? We know and have the experience of those victims because their loved ones told us and kept telling us and it became a lesson for humanity, one that will never be forgotten. Let us learn this great lesson, and let us speak for them (our victims), let us tell the world that the madness, the slaughter of the Mengestu Haile-Mariam was horrific. We have been crippled, fractured body and soul for life, because our loved ones never got justice. Let us revive them, let us remember their names, their faces and the terrible injustice done to these children of Ethiopia.