IN REMEMBRANCE OF OUR GREAT EMPEROR
AND SIXTY MURDERED HEROES, 23 NOVEMBER 1974
Tecola W Hagos, 23 November 2018
Not long ago, I wrote about my disgust with the Ethiopian Government of Meles Zenawi for pardoning some twenty high ranking Derg Officials who were convicted of murder, Red Terror, atrocities of all types on innocent Ethiopians, including the execution of high officials on the grounds of Alem Bekagn on 23 November 1974. I consider such pardon to be unjust and a violation of the rights of the victims and a permanent threat to our humanity. Even worse the Government of PM Abiy Ahmed invited a few such murderers and Red Terror participants to a State Banquette honoring the departing President Mulatu Teshome on the evening of November 2, 2018. We are hypocrites to the bone. Those Derg Officials, now being embraced by Abiy and by the degenerate former Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn (pictured few months back smiling with the mass murderer Mengistu Hailemariam), had murdered and tortured countless innocent Ethiopians from 1974 to 1991. They showed no mercy or any humane consideration to any of their victims. Let me state again that the blood that was socking Mengistu’s hands and the hands of the convicted Derg Officials, released from prison, was not that of dogs, but of human beings—of our heroes and our fellow Ethiopians.
I write with great vehemence because of the fact that we are morally neutered and frozen in fear, and that we do next to nothing when our people are dehumanized and our heroes thrown into prison, while murderers and torturers are freed from prisons. This is also a chance to channel our resistance and opposition in the right direction away from the distortions of old ideology and possible usurped power structure in the hands of Abiy Ahmed and the new political predators.
II. Responsible Ethiopians Remember and Honor
Let us Honor and Remember foremost Ethiopia’s Greatest Emperor Haile Selassie I who was murdered by Mengistu Haile Mariam. Let us Honor and Remember our great leaders murdered by Mengistu Hailemariam and his collaborator Derg Members such as Fikreselassie Wogderese. Shame on you Abiy Ahmed, Demeke Mekonnen, Gedu Andargatchew et cetera for your promotion and collaboration with such murderers and terrorists trying to make some diabolical political gain. Sooner or later the Ethiopian People would bring you down for such insult and for working with terrorists and for further fracturing a divided nation into possible disintegration.
A. Summarily executed for allegedly committing the crime of “Gross Abuse of Authority.” Most of these senior officials were Members of the Patriotic movement that battled Fascist Italy during the five-years Italian occupation of Ethiopia 1935-41:
1. Tsehafe Tizaz Aklilu Habtewold (served as prime minister under H.I.M. Haile Selassie for 13 years and in other high-level positions for a total of 39 years).
2. H.H. Ras Asrate Kassa (member Crown Council, Senate President, Enderassie; served in various high-level positions for over 34 years).
3. Lij Endalkachew Mekonnen (prime minister; Ethiopian ambassador to the U.N., served in various high-level positions for 23 years).
4. Ras Mesfin Seleshi (war veteran, Enderassie; served in various high-level positions for over 54 years).
5. Ato Abebe Retta (Minister, linguist, scholar in history and religion, particularly the Ethiopian Orthodox Church; served in various capacities for 47 years).
6. Lt. Col. Tamirat Yegezu (Enderassie, Crown Council member; served in various capacities for 38 years).
7. Ato Akaleworq Habtewold (Minister, ambassador, served in various capacities for 39 years).
8. Dr. Tesfaye Gebre-Egzy (Minister, Representative Diplomate to the United Nations, OAU).
9. Ato Mulatu Debebe (Minister; served in various capacities for 22 years).
10. Dejazmach Solomon Abraha (Enderassie; served in various capacities).
11. Dejazmach Legesse Bezu (Enderassie; served in various capacities for a total of 29 years).
12. Dejazmach Sahlu Defaye (Enderassie, veteran; served in various capacities for a total of 46 years).
13. Dejazmach Workneh Wolde Amanuel (Minister, Senator, Enderassie; served in various capacities for a total of 30 years).
14. Dejazmach Kifle Ergetu (Ambassador, diplomat, Senator).
15. Dejazmach Worku Enqoselassie (Enderassie; served in various capacities for a total of 26 years).
16. Dejazmach Aemeroselassie Abebe (Enderassie, civil servant; served in various capacities for 35 years).
17. Dejazmach Kebede Ali Wole (Enderassie military commander served in various capacities for 34 years)
18. Ato Nebeye Leul Kifle (Minister, Crown special cabinet member; served for a total of 24 years).
19. Col. Solomon Kedir (Chief of security, minister; served in various capacities for 25 years).
20. Afenegus Abeje Debalq (Judge, Crown Counsellor, Senator; served in various capacities for 44 years).
21. Ato Yilma Aboye (Palace courtier, served in various capacities for 18 years).
22. Ato Tegen Yeteshaworq (Minister, editor Ethiopian Herald; served for 12 years).
23. Ato Solomon Gebremariam (Minister; served in various capacities for 31 years).
24. Ato Hailu Teklu (civil servant).
25. Blata Admassu Retta (Palace Courtier and Master of the Royal Purse).
26. Lij Hailu Desta (Ethiopian Red Cross President, served in various capacities for 26 years).
27. Fitewrari Amede Aberra (rancher, served in various capacities).
28. Fitewrari Demessie Alamerew (Enderassie).
29. Fitewrari Tadesse Enquselassie (Enderassie).
B. Summarily executed Senior Military and Security Commanders
30. Lt. General Abiye Abebe (Minister, ambassador, Senate President).
31. Lt. General Kebde Gebre (Minister, Enderassie).
32. Lt. General Dressie Dubale (Commander, Ground Forces).
33. Lt. General Abebe Gemeda (Commander, Imperial Body Guard, Enderassie; served in various capacities for a total of 40 years).
34. Lt. General Yilma Shibeshi (Chief of national police; served in various capacities for 34 years).
35. Lt. General Haile Baykedagn (Chief of staff; served in various capacities for 32 years).
36. Lt. General Assefa Ayene (Minister, chief of staff; served in various capacities for a total of 38 years).
37. Lt. General Belete Abebe (Chief of staff, served in various capacities for a total of 40 years).
38. Lt. General Isayas Gebreselassie (Senator).
39. Lt. General Assefa Demissie (ADC H.I.M.).
40. Lt. General Debebe Hailemariam (war veteran, palace courtier, commander ground forces; served a total of 33 years).
41. Maj. General Seyoum Gedle Giorgis (served in various capacities in the military for a total of 31 years).
42. Maj. General Gashaw Kebede (served in the national police force and other capacities for a total of 33 years).
43. Maj. General Tafesse Lemma (Military attache, palace courtier; served total of 28 years).
44. Vice Admiral Iskinder Desta (Prince) (Commander of the navy, modernized Ethiopia Navy, diplomat).
45. Brig. General Mulugetta Woldeyohannes (Chief of National Police; served in various capacities for 31 years).
46. Brig. General Girma Yohannes (served in national police force for 28 years).
47. Col. Yalem Zewd Tessema (Commander, Army Airborne).
48. Col. Tassew Mojo
49. Col. Yigezu Yimer
50. Major Berhanu Metcha
51. Capt. Molla Wakene
C. Summarily executed for allegedly committing the crime of “Plotting to Incite Civil War and Disrupt Popular Movement”
52. Cpt. Demessie Shiferaw.
53. Cpt. Belay Tsegaye (Army aviation helicopter pilot; served a total of 31 years).
54. Cpt. Woldeyohanes Zergaw.
55. Lance Cpl. Teklu Hailu (18 year-old and member of Army engineers; executed for opposing the idea of military government).
56. Pvt. Bekele Woldegiorgis (served 22 years.)
D. Summarily executed for allegedly committing the “Breach of Oath of Office and Attempt to Create Divisions in the Armed Forces”
57. Lt. General Aman Michael Andom (chairman of Derg and Council of Ministers, Defense Minsiter and Chief of Statff of the Armed Forces).
58. Lt. Tesfaye Takele (24 years-old Army aviation pilot, Derg member).
59. Junior Aircraftsman Yohanes Fitiwi (Derg member).
[The above list is compiled from several sources and in particular from Prof Al Mariam’s excellent tribute to the murdered victims, titled “Ethiopia: Remember the 24th of November 1974” of 1 December 2014.]
In an article I wrote about seven years ago titled “Forgiveness, reconciliation, and pardon: a challenge to a just society” (January 25, 2011), I emphasized that “forgiveness is hardly a political solution.” I elaborated on that theme further by writing that in a strong democratic society crimes are well defined in administrative traditions, in statutes and in case laws in advance. The legislative body in such a community is distinct from both the judiciary and the executive organs of the government. The judicial system is well developed, transparent, and independent of the executive. Prosecutors and investigators are well trained professionals with great moral integrity and abide by rules of procedures of the judicial system et cetera. I am afraid that PM Abiy has not read that article, for his “medemer” and the concept of “forgiveness” are eschewed and unworkable in the Ethiopia of the Present.
By contrast, in a society or community where the government structure is weak, and the leaders are sycophantic and greedy for power as is the case with Abiy Ahmed, such society or community tends to be despotic where the executive body has as its primary function to stay in power through illegal and undemocratic means. In such system of government, the individual citizen is subordinated to the interest of the state (the dictator) and the in-group. There is no consistent application of law if there is any law at all. Citizens are insecure, apprehensive of government representatives, and very fearful of their leaders. When I look back into the last twenty years in the life of Ethiopia, what I see is a wasteland of missed opportunities. Nothing has changed, for our leaders are still practicing or overlooking murders, ethnic cleansing, and massive displacement of tens of thousands of Ethiopians. The same type of justice that I am demanding for the victims of the Derg, may well be demanded by current victims (displaced, murdered Ethiopians in Amhara, Oromo, and Somali Kilils) of the current Ethiopian Government Leaders spearheaded by PM Abiy Ahmed. [This article is adopted from my article of a couple of years ago: ”The Courage to Swallow the Bitter Truth: A Response and a Cure” and also from several recent articles.]
Tecola W. Hagos, 23 November 2018