An eyewitness account

By Saba D

Feb. 29 2008

It was 33 years ago this month February 11th 1967 when the young Tigrayan men and women lifted up their weapons to fight to remove deeply rooted feudalism and the brutal fascists from the scene.

Looking back into those dark times that we were living in it was essential for the fighters to free and restore peace and democracy in the country, from this we would all benefit.

The objectives and visions we carried reached out and connected to the people and organisations who were struggling for democracy in the nation.

In spite of the hardships and nonstop battles with different enemies we paid a huge price to reach our goals to be the winner of the day. These goals and visions are maintained and implemented to this very day and allow Ethiopia to be a leader of all aspects of government in Africa at this time.

I am grateful to see the results of what we fought for existing in a free society and the tremendous advancement in technology that allows all Ethiopians to connect both at home and abroad of course with the rest of the world. I thank the E.P.R.D.F.commitment and and their determimation for letting this to happen.

As much as I admire what the Ethiopian people have achieved so far I wish to high light some points that I believe need to be corrected. One of my favourite radio stations that I listen to is voice of Woyane. The employees are exceptional, they work hard to get facts, news,and information to the people, I enjoy their work very much, recently though they broadcast a story about two brave martyrs I knew very well. They were Dawit Abraha and H/Eyesus [Dambush].

In 1973 Dawit and I were attending the nursing school in the hospital in Akmara in Tembiem district, we were together for over six months. Towards our graduation Dawit left with a group of nurses on a mission to Southern Tigray where furious battles were occuring and sadly he never returned. The rest of the team came back to the base safetly. It was in August of that year when Dawit was martyred. What I heard from the man being interviewed on the radio though was troubling. What he said was as follows, Dawit had already lost a sister and a brother previously in the revolution and in order to save Dawit he was to be assigned to the base. So he had a discusion with his battalion commander Hayelom, about the idea and they agreed Dawit then left with this man to Maikinetal. The story teller said that Dawit secretly left over night and went back to his battalion. Later the battalion engaged in an operation in Dibdibo in north east Adua town and Dawit was martyred there.This is misinformation.

Regarding the second comrade H/Eyesus [Dambush]. We used to be in the same battalion and platoon in 1971.and in 1977we attended a political course in Akmara. I knew him very well, as described on the radio he was creative, adored, and loved by everyone who knew him.

On the same radio station his mother was interviewed and she told her and her hero sons story. She was blind her only son left home and joined the revolution and this left no one to look after her. In order to survive she sat on the edge of the road begging for money. Her life became even more devasting when she learnt of her son being martyred. However she remained very proud of her son for what he achieved.

What I rember though is that the T.P.L.F. had an effective policy for the parents who sent their loved ones into the revolution. This policy ensured that in the harvest season the parents land was ploughed,sowed, weeded, and finally harvested by the community to make sure no one was left behind.,This support made significant changes into parents lives and even more made them to be proud of their children and the T.P.L.F.

Why was Dambushes mother not part of this package then? The same story teller on the radio said Dambush was in his brigade and he happened to meet him in the area where he was born and grew up in and I raised the issue regarding his mothers condition. He said he suggested buying her one ox to help her, but Dambudh replyed no she is like anybody else.

I found it was irresponsible and inappropriate to ask a silly question in the frist place. In 1978 I was on a mission travelling to Edaga Arbe, on my way I met Dambushes mother in her home, it was heartbreaking to see such a beautiful humble blind woman living in an empty room alone. I realise even more today being blind myself how difficult a life she had then.

I think it is everyones obligation to honour and to justify and to print the true facts of individual hero,s stories because it is impossible to forget that the historic events made by extraordinary Tigrayan people only happened just yesterday. Before life ends make sure the true story is down in print for future generations to read. From Saba Webb.