Home Opinion A Morning Interrupted by War: The Tragic Tale of Mr. Belayneh

A Morning Interrupted by War: The Tragic Tale of Mr. Belayneh

Amanuel _ East Gojjam _ Ethiopia _ morning
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By Zemenu የደምበጫው!

In the district of Amanuel, part of the East Gojjam zone, traders and farmers live side by side. On the morning of June 8, 2024, in a place just 5 km from Amanuel, tragedy struck.

The sun rose as usual in the east, casting its light over a peaceful countryside. A gentle rain fell, adding a touch of freshness to the air. Many animals were grazing in the green fields, oblivious to the tension that had gripped the region for months. Mr. Belayneh (his name has been changed for his safety) was preparing for another day of farming, a routine he cherished. His eldest daughter was tending to the ox that would assist him in plowing the fields.

For the past ten months, the sound of gunfire had become a grimly familiar backdrop to life in this area. On this particular day, the gunshots started early. Mr. Belayneh hesitated, torn between the need to work the land and the safety of staying home. With five family members depending on him, the stakes were high. Without cultivating cereals and other crops, they would face hunger and deprivation. The gunfire grew louder and more frequent, a stark reminder of the ongoing conflict.

As his wife prepared breakfast, the sound of gunfire came alarmingly close. It was Abiy Ahmed’s soldiers, sweeping through the village with a barrage of bullets. The small, serene village was quickly engulfed in chaos. Mr. Belayneh rushed out of his modest house, calling urgently for his daughter to come inside. In an instant, a heavy weapon struck the door. In the ensuing confusion and terror, Mr. Belayneh’s daughter was tragically killed by the soldiers’ firepower.

The horror that befell Mr. Belayneh’s family is not an isolated incident. The Amhara people have become all too familiar with such violence. Day and night, they are targeted with artillery, Zu-23 anti-aircraft guns, tanks, and drones. Since the state of emergency was proclaimed in the Amhara region, Abiy Ahmed’s soldiers have killed innocent people, especially mothers and children, in this small village area on at least six occasions. 

The soldiers often deliver chilling messages to the villagers: “If the Fano (the collective name for Amhara fighters against Abiy’s regime) don’t stop fighting, we won’t stop killing you. You will not have any children anymore. It’s our time (Oromo), and we will govern you as we want. You have no rights, but you can live if you accept what we say.”

When his daughter was killed, Mr. Belayneh shouted and cried loudly. He knew that expressing anger was dangerous, but he could not contain his grief. All the neighbors heard, but no one came out of their houses. Everyone stayed inside and prayed for their lives.

Information gathered by the writer indicates that before Mr. Belayneh’s daughter was killed, there was a significant battle between Fano soldiers and Abiy’s forces about 11 km from the village. Abiy’s soldiers were defeated and were fleeing when they attacked the village.

This is the day-to-day life of the Amhara people, yet the world remains silent. International media often focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict or the Russia-Ukraine war. While those wars are indeed devastating, the conflict led by Abiy Ahmed is also resulting in immense suffering, with millions of Amhara people sacrificing their lives. Why does the international community, media, and leaders remain silent? Is there any difference in the value of human life beyond skin color?

This relentless assault has turned their lives into a constant struggle for survival amid the devastation wrought by the conflict. Mr. Belayneh’s story is a poignant reminder of the human cost of warfare. It underscores the urgent need for peace and stability in regions torn apart by violence. The daily lives disrupted, the families shattered, and the innocent lives lost should compel us to seek solutions that honor the dignity and humanity of all people affected by conflict.

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


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