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From Shagar city property destruction to grand bribery at Addis Ababa detention camps: tragic experience of my ethnically profiled parents (part-1)    

Ethnic Profiling _ Amhara Shegar city
Mob crowed in the Oromo region of Ethiopia (Photo : file ) (Source : Reuters via Al Jazeera)

Rita Ethiopia 

Dear readers, you may have read various news articles on atrocities and property destructions committed by Shagar ‘City’ in 2023. Besides, following the war that the federal government of Ethiopia has waged on the people of Amhara/Fano, my mother was ethnically profiled and detained in one of the concentration camps in Addis. I will present the grand bribery that my parents have experienced in part 2 of this article. I am not sure if you have read an article from someone who encountered the brutality first hand. In this article, I’ll share my painful true story. For the purpose of this article, my name is Ritade. I do not want to expose my parents to another round of brutal attack by those who are currently in power in Addis and Shagar by using my real name.

Part One: The Shagar destruction  

 My parents are one of tens of thousands of families whose houses and commercial properties were destroyed by a decree issued by Teshome Adugna, the mayor of Shagar ‘City’.  About hundred thousand people have been displaced as a result of the destruction. Many have lost their property and lifetime investments because of the fascistic and hate driven actions of the ‘City’ Administration.

My dad legally bought a plot of land that could be used for multipurpose i.e. for commercial and residential purposes eight years ago in one of the sub-cities which are now included under Shagar ‘City’. Currently, he is working in a non-governmental organization. My father has a strong desire to live a self-sufficient life. Using his lifetime savings and borrowing from his family and friends, my father was financing construction of a building [which was at a finishing stage when demolished by Shagar ‘City’ Administration]. My parent’s plan was to use the building as a medical facility. After graduating from high school, I was following up the finishing works of building while waiting for my university admission.  My father used to say “you will lead a medical facility in this building once you graduate from university.” I was very happy about his plan and it became my dream too. As the building was in the finishing stage, my dad was planning to rent it for various purposes until I graduated from a university so that he could start paying the loans from his family and friends.

One fateful morning, my dad received a weird telegram call from an anonymous person who claimed that he was calling from the Shagar ‘City’ Administration. The anonymous caller requested to meet my father. The caller insisted that he had a very important and confidential message from the land administration unit of the City. However, my father declined to meet him and closed the call assuming that the caller is a silly scammer. Unsurprisingly, the phone number of the caller in telegram was hidden. We all assumed that it was an attempt to scam my dad.  

The anonymous person called my father again after an hour or so and told him that “you can still have the chance to ‘save’ your building at one of our target sites for demolition in Shagar ‘City’ provided that you agree to pay three hundred thousand Ethiopian Birr to the municipal engineers”. My father was somehow puzzled but still assumed that it was an attempt to scam. The demolition of a building at Shagar ‘City’ has been on pause for a month or so and he seemed unconcerned. However, he reported the case to the nearby police immediately for precautionary reasons. To our surprise, the police grossly underestimated the incident and were not sympathetic at all. [We faced a similar lack of sympathy from the police and other law enforcement organs when the residents of our locality reported that a green area, in which our parents jointly invested millions of Ethiopia Birr, was grabbed by a youth group who has political and ethnic affiliation with the ruling party. In fact, our green area, which could have a market value of at least 50 million Birr in current land price, has been illegally transferred to the politically and ethnically affiliated youth. These illegal youths constructed a business center at our green area which significantly blocked access to our residential places apart from destroying the green area in which our community has invested a lot. Noting this injustice, ethnic profiling and several other injustices, I joined Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice Party although I have had a very limited awareness on Ethiopian politics. After joining the party, I do not believe that this party has done anything good enough to confront the injustice which is rampant in Ethiopia partly because of the ruling party’s harassment of opposition party members and partly because of the weakness of our party itself.]

Three days after the anonymous call that my father had received, our neighbor, Mamite (her name is changed for safety reasons) called my mother at about 10 am and in a nervous and shaking voice, she asked my mother “are you coming to the construction site today?’  And started crying and said “your husband does not deserve this”. My mother became speechless and frozen for a while and then asked “what happened to my husband.” Mamite replied …”the building has been bulldozed and the ruthless City Administration has turned your building into ashes”.  My mother does not remember saying anything further to Mamite but my mother told me that she lost her consciousness for some minutes soon after the call. [Mamite is a very innocent and affectionate person. She used to provide kind assistance to the construction workers who were undertaking finishing activities in our building. ]

I still could not believe that a property from my father’s life savings, borrowings as well as my and my parents’ dream was turned into ashes senselessly. My father who wrongly used to believe that justice may be served in the Ethiopia legal system visited the municipality to log his grievance and seek justice. The verbal response that he got from the fascist municipality was as follows: ‘You may have to pay our bulldozer expenses, let alone getting compensation. Sixty percent of the buildings/houses will be demolished for a better Shagar city.’ Then I asked my dad what we would do next. He hopelessly said “ …we have at least a residential home in Addis. Think about the other 100 thousand fellow Ethiopians who have been displaced from Shagar and who may not even have a place to stay. So, we are better than most of the victims.  True, we lost our lifetime investment and I borrowed money for a building that was ruthlessly destroyed. Now I’ve lost all my hope in this country.”  

My father used to consider Ethiopia as his utopia. The chains of injustices seem to have changed his mind once and for all. I’ve joined a political party after encountering the first injustice [when our green area was taken and given to politically and ethnically youth which also led blockage of access to our residential area] but party politics leads to intimidation, imprisonment and has not yielded any fruitful result.  What hope do we have in this brutal regime?

In the next article, I will share the grand bribery that my parents have experienced at Addis Ababa detention camps (because my mom was ethnically profiled and detained when the federal government of Ethiopia has waged on the people of Amhara/Fano). 

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com  

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Very sad story. Looking back this is what exactly happened in 1975 during the Urban Housing Proclamations of the derg era.

    People who worked their entire lives and succeeded, who,were faithful to their motherland and who paid the taxes due during the Emperor Haile Selassie years were targeted as አድሃሪ : ፊውዳል ከበርቴ ኢምፔሪያሊስት ወዘተ. Their properties were confiscated and nationalized.

    Soon guess who started occupying the best villas and town houses nationalized by the derg. It was thetop echelons of the derg thugs.

    Then for 49 years these nationalized properties were used as a milk ow or a gold laying goose. Today most of these houses are in dilapidated and ruined status, desperately needing repair and renovation denied for nearly half a century.

    In Addis Ababa, one is shocked to see all these once beautiful works of architecture, civil engineering and high society culture, in shambles. I witnessed once the elevators of a classic apartment used as damping and trash collection room on all floors. All elevators on all the floors were nonfunctional and trashed out. I felt very ashamed of the public officials drawing their salary. I tried to envision the poor original owner, the dedication, ambition and sacrifice he or she made to build that apartment.

    ሃብታሞችን በመንጠቅ የማህበረሰብን ድህነት ማጥፋት አይቻልም!!!!! ታታሪ ጎበዝ አምራች የነበረውን ማህበረሰብ ብታፈናቅለው በውጭ አገር መብቱን ህልውናውን አስከብሮ ትውልድ አገሩ ከነበረው እጥፍ ድርብ ባለሃብት ሆኖ ተንፈላሶ ይኖራል :: የውጭ አገር መንግስታትም ብልህ ስለሆኑ በትውልድ አገሩ የሚገፋውን መብት የሚነፈገውን ህዝብ ሁሉ ሰብስበው በማስተናገድ አገራቸውን በጥበብና በብልሃት ይመራሉ::

    ከዚያ እንደአብይ ያለው ደንቆሮ መሪ ተብዬ ደግሞ እኛ አስተምረን አስተምረን እናንተ ወሰዳችሁብን ብሎ ይለፋደዳል:: የፈሲታ ተቆጢታ ማለትንይሄ ነው::

  2. do you think this is all made up, world, no, it is not. This is what awaits Ethiopia as the 400 years-old oromuma movement enters its ferocious stage and stars evicting non-oromos from all over the land whch their horsse tarmpled 400 years ago…a new African Gengihs Khan in the making….what is the civilized world going to do about this genocide?

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