A Nation Family in Mourning

Some first learned of the atrocity via social media. Others went online and saw images purported to be those of the gruesome massacre of Ethiopians in Libya by the Islamic State in Iraq & the Levant (ISIL) aka Islamic State. The crime of the Ethiopians – they were Christians. Only the dead or the extremely wicked and heartless did not share in the sense of national family moment in response to that tragic event. Grief also emboldens and so, when three of those massacred were identified, family and friends in the Kirkos District did not fall apart as they may have done, but took their sadness and their anger to the streets to let the government know they could not fail to respond. The government, part of the national family in mourning took the cue and called a rally to condemn the murder of the migrants in the strongest terms. The people turned out in strong numbers, some youth frustration spilled over and the police responded as police sometimes do. Political motives were probably present anyway because a general election was pending but to their credit, some of the political leaders went beyond the call of ministerial duty and paid personal calls on affected family members to express their sympathy.

By and large, there was nothing short of an outpouring. Streets were jammed on the morning of the rally. Taking a roundabout route that passed through the Kirkos District, I too was moved to tears and bonded with my crying taxi driver. Tears do not always represent weakness; sometimes they represent power – the power to release and to heal and even to forgive and not retaliate in like manner. Ethiopians showed their emotional power during those days of national mourning, all the while demanding that the government improve its measures to protect Ethiopian migrants abroad. Fortune’s front page headline, Ethiopia Cries (Vol. 16, No. 782, Sunday, April 26, 2015), captioned the photo of a female relative in the throes of grief, with others providing comfort. It was hard to write that story and still difficult to review it.

Massive Show of Grief, Outrage, read the headline on the Agenda page. The killing was also that subject of that issue’s Editorial, Opinion and View from Arada. Other news was reported but all else seemed irrelevant at that time.

“Mourners from different parts of Addis Abeba flocked today to Mesqel Square, in numbers not seen since the 2005 pre-election rally, which was estimated to be attended by close to one million voters. Young and old, Muslim and Christian gathered en masse on the morning of April 22, 2015, to express their rage against Libyan militants affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) and displayed their frustration with what they say is the passivity their own government showed to the plight of their compatriots overseas.”

Published on Sep 07,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 801]



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