Toronto – Of the many things Ethiopians value most, Enkutatash new year in Ethiopia is one of them. In just two days time, the new year will usher but it is not like it. Despite over-inflated narratives of economic growth, celebrating Ethiopian New year has never been easy under the ruling minority regime -especially in the past 10 or so years.
A holiday as cherished as enkutatash normally stretches spending powers of households, some times beyond their limit, and leave them cash strapped. With cost of living sky-rocketing, even stable foods most Ethiopians used to afford,fairly with ease, turned out to be completely not affordable over the past several years let alone to have capacity to spend on sheep and hen to be slaughtered as part of the festivities. For that reason, for many years now enkutatash has never been fun it used to be for millions of Ethiopians.
This Ethiopian New Year is worse and for a different reason. Close to one thousand Ethiopians are brutally killed by the regime in Amhara and Oromia regions of Ethiopia. A fear for genocide, and there are credible signs of it, is looming over Amhara region as the armed force is mobilized and deployed to the region. Telephone and internet are reportedly disconnected in Amhara regions as the minority Tigray government is unleashing most brutal forms of attack on civilians.
As a result, Ethiopians are not feeling like it is Ethiopian New Year time. Dozens of popular singer in Ethiopia and abroad have cancelled scheduled New year concerts to mourn those who are brutally killed by the regime and as a show of respect for the struggle for freedom. On the other hand, at least four new singles have been released but just for purposes of honoring victims of the minority regime and supporting ongoing struggle for freedom.
Historically, and in recent past, the day after enkutatash was political feast to commemorate what was then perceived as revolutionary change that was declared after imperial regime was deposed in Ethiopia.
Grief and concern for genocide is most visible in social media which was other wise,since it reached Ethiopians, a medium where young Ethiopians express best wishes for Ethiopian new year. From the news feeds and status updates, what reigns now is anger and grief over the loss of Ethiopian lives at a time when families are supposed to gather to celebrate new year.
What seem to be promising, and consolation for many, is the hope and determination that the struggle for freedom, in the case of Amhara region of Ethiopia struggle to avert genocide by minority Tigray government, will continue.