Sunday, January 10, 2016 was ordinary Sunday in Ethiopia. Most are resting from a long work week, visiting families, catching up with friends. For some, since this was a wedding season, they are preparing to attend wedding of family or friend. This same Sunday two grooms are preparing to wed their loved ones, hundreds of miles apart.
The first groom was Abel Tesfaye, he was preparing to marry his lover, Dr. Sosina Haile Mariam at the Apostolic Church of Ethiopia in the capitol Addis Ababa. This wedding was all over the news since it was the first official wedding that will take place in the National Palace of Ethiopia. Since his soon to be wife was the daughter of the Prime Minster of Ethiopia Haile Mariam Desalegn and w/o Roman Tesfaye. I am sure the wedding was special to the PM and his family since there is nothing more important and moving than giving the hand of his daughter in marriage. The videos that was released from the church was very nice and moving. Congratulation is in order to the Prime Minster and his family. I am sure Groom number one, Abel Tesfaye, will continue to live happily ever after with his beloved wife Dr. Sosina Haile Mariam. With God’s will they will have kids and make the PM a proud Grand father.
The second Groom was teacher Fitsum Abate of Gurissa, Illibabour at Oromia region. He was preparing to marry his lover Frehiwot Belete. According to the reports from different media outlets, the night before, Ethiopian Security forces show up in his place and knock on his door. He opened the door only to be met with a barrage of bullets which hit him in his head. The day that was suppose to be the happiest of his life, Fitsum spend the night in Metu hospital in life support. The day of his wedding he was taken to the capital to get a better treatment and as the reports show he is in critical condition at Tikur Anbessa Hospital.
Here is where the story meets. In early December, a protest started in a city of Ginchi, because of the government’s plan of expanding Addis Ababa’s territory into Oromia administered areas. In the effort to stop a private company’s bulldozers from destroying a Chilimo forest, residents of Ginchi started protesting and the government starting shooting innocent protesters. Most young students and some children laid dead in the streets. The protest erupted throughout Oromia and in an effort to squash the movement the Government set up command posts and dispatched a brutal Agazi brigade which escalates the number of dead quickly. As of today, 140 plus dead, 2000 plus injured and 35000 imprisoned.
At this point, the father of bride number one, the Prime Minster gave a TV interview and we all hoped for a comment of reason to stop the senseless killing and move the country to healthier atmosphere and we were shocked and disappointed to hear his angry comments and his regrets for the destruction of property before life. He said “For the people that involved in the protest in destruction of property, we will take action against them without any mercy”. Most of us know really well what comments like this mean. The mass arrest of protesters and opposition political leaders like Bekele Gerba continued and the number of dead escalated right away. The PM’s comment meant the green light to hunt and kill what the government believes to be anti-government without any due-process. It meant a green light to harass one in his or her home and shoot them. It meant a green light to shoot groom number two, teacher Fitsum Abate just because the security forces suspected him or not. Don’t hold your breath to see if justice will be served for Fitsum, it is not. He just end up being another person without a voice in his own country.
From the wedding video of the PM’s daughter, I can’t help it but see the emotions of the Prime Minster while he was reading the scripture. He was wiping his eyes with emotions of happiness and I hope he know there are thousands of other parents wiping their eyes too but only in misery and sadness. I hope he knows he and his administrations actions unleashed misery on thousands of families and the only way they remember their kids is by small plot in a nameless graveyard due to the bullets of blood hungry butchers. I hope every time he cherish his family, he remembers, those mothers and fathers and their pain.
The story of the two grooms is a perfect face of today’s Ethiopia. The land of so many struggling families and few completely out-of-touch supporters. The land of the exiled, tortured, imprisoned masses and few greedy millionaires that can loot, steal, lie and prosper without consequences. The land of tens of millions starving and few living in their villas crying foul.
This is the end of the tale of the two grooms and I hope we will have a country where the two grooms live happily ever after. Hope both families cry the tear of joy and be able to hug their kids and grand kids. I hope we will have a country where the rule of law prevails. I hope and pray!