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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Yager Fikir Likift – Dr. Hailu Araya

Throughout Mengistu hailemariam’s reign of terror; shengo meetings were simply political rallies of the faithful. When Mengistu took the podium of this semi-parliamentary body, an eerie quiet of the graveyard dropped on the 835 delegates. They simply listened, clapped hands, applauded and rubber stamped the resolutions of Mengistu's central committee politburo. No single protest was ever raised. (Paulos Milkias, ER, February 1994)

This was true until 1991 when two daring individuals braved personal risk to do the unthinkable, Confront colonel Mengistu on live TV. The first was a priest who brought the Shengo to a screeching halt with the now famous prophetic speech referring to the colonel as “Menge” and telling Mengistu of the two choices left before him: “to run like a coward or drink from the chalice of Tewodros”. History, the priest said, will forever remember the choice he (Mengistu) was about to make.

The second person to confront colonel Mengistu in public was Dr Hailu Araya (video clip available below), now imprisoned for doing the very same thing he did back then, stand up for what is right. He was an academic by profession, editor of the highly acclaimed press digest, winner of the parliamentary elections of 2005 and a spokesperson for the CUDP. He has sacrificed his entire life persisting through three regimes for the cause of democracy, justice, and peace in Ethiopia.

Below is an excerpt from Dr. Hailu's poem entitled “YAGER FIKIR LIKIFT” first published in the former monthly magazine – TOBIA:

Click here to Read the poem in its entirety.
(Audio)Poem narrated by Tiringo (Ethio-view)

Here is a video clip of Dr. Hailu admonishing Mengistu for his failures.(mahder)

Readers below the age of thirty may not fully comprehend the implications of this defiance, but for those of us who witnessed the event transpire live, it continues to be a shining example of an unbending principle and of personal courage.

Free Dr. Hailu Araya!