Calgary, Canada, December 13, 2019 (GMN) – The length of time since these acts were carried out should be no impediment to exposing the truth. We will not forget them, their names and their faces.
More than 60 years after the Nazi atrocities against the Jews in Europe, the world still mourns, remembers, and erects monuments and museums to that violent holocaust that killed 6 million Jews, yet they survived. How they are done, to whom they are done and to how many does not make the crimes any more or less heinous. They can never be justified even on the strength of one state’s rationale that other people ought to be punished, or worse still, are simply inferior or worthless beings. It should lead all of us to question on whose judgment are such decisions made and how can we possibly justify such crimes at all? We will rise up and we will survive.”
It happened 16 years ago; 13 December 2003. A massacre was so awful that people who know about it cannot forget it. December 13th, 2003 a solemn day in the history of Anywaa people. On this day we mourn the deaths of our people and remember their sacrifices. It has been 16 years since Ethiopian defense armed forces assisted by some elite forces who massacred Anywaa civilians and countless others in Gambella, Ethiopia. We are indeed persisted out collective memory, the persistence of our memories for them, however, may not be in exactly the way they anticipated. “We will never forget them”.
The photos are gruesome reminders charred, decapitated, indecently violated corpses, the smell of rotting flesh, still as foul to those who remember it as when they were recoiling from it all those years ago. For the victims and the handful of survivors, it was a 36-hour massacre without mercy. It was deliberate, it was planned and it was overseen. But to this day, the killers have gone unpunished.
Gambella, Ethiopia was the theatres for this staged slaughter. The other is a ghostly and ghastly reminder of man’s inhumanity to men, more specifically, Ethiopia's regime’s inhumanity, and the inhumanity of the people who did the bidding and Ethiopia’s inhumanity for pretending it was of no consequence. There were international witnesses’ doctors, nurses, journalists who saw the macabre scenes and have tried to tell the world in vain ever since.
Each act was barbarous enough on its own to warrant fear and loathing. It was human savagery at its worst and an eyewitness as he worked with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society on the dying and the wounded amongst the dead. The U.S Marines who rescued their citizens at the scene, what they saw were so unimaginable that the atrocities committed needs to be separated from each other to even begin comprehending the viciousness of the crimes.
People tortured. Blackened bodies smelling of roasted flesh from the power shocks that had convulsed their bodies before their hearts gave out – the electric wires still tied around their lifeless limbs.
There were also journalists who were there in the aftermath and who had equally gruesome stories to tell, none of which made the sort of screaming front-page headlines that should have caused lawmakers to demand immediate answers. What they saw led them to write shell-shocked accounts that have vanished now into the archives, but are no less disturbing now. These accounts too need to be individually absorbed, lest they are lumped together as just the collective dead rather than the systematic torture and killing of individual, innocent human beings.
In addition, most numbing of all are the recollections of the survivors whose experiences were so shockingly traumatic that to recall them must have been painful beyond all imaginings.
The statistics of those killed vary, but even according to the Ethiopian military, the official count was 424 plus people killed while according to eyewitness put the figure at 2500. Regardless of the numbers, they would not and could not mitigate what are clear crimes against humanity. One person shouldn’t have died.
Yet this weekend, not a single newspaper in Ethiopia or in the western world for that matter has even mentioned the anniversary of December 13, massacre. God is great. May God Bless Gambella land and its people. (Gambella Media Network)