እኔ ተፈናቃይ (I, The Displaced)

እኔ ተፈናቃይ
ባገሬ አፈር ላይ
ላቤን ጠብ አድርጌ
ሳር ቤቴን መርጌ
ወግ ማረግን ሳላይ
እኔ ተፈናቃይ
ለፍቼ ለፍቼ
አምርቼ አምርቼ
ስመኝ የምስራች
እኔ ተፈናቃይ
የበይ ተመልካች

***

I, the displaced
from my home,
from my land.
I toiled and toiled,
plowed and plowed,
only to find myself
forcibly removed
from my worked land
and to watch
others savor
fruits of my labor.

***

I wrote this piece, not only because I recently read about the internally displaced Ethiopians, but also because in the past, in the 1990s, my family and many other families too had gone through a similar experience—we were forced to leave the small village we lived in and we had to migrate to a small town where I grew up later on; back then, there was no intense media coverage like today, so our case was hardly known; the federal government was aware of it, but they buried it for the sake of stability because if people in other parts of the country had found out, it could have had a very negative effect. The country was already fragile at that time. Our displacement happened soon after the collapse of the military regime.

We did get some help in the form of food/cooking oil from Ethiopian Red Cross, but no compensation for the destroyed properties. Eventually things calmed down, and people were asked to re-settle, to go back to the village. Some people did return, but majority of them left the area altogether. My family decided to stay in the small town, though financially we had a hard time; we literally had almost nothing as most of what my parents owned was left behind. At least we were alive because some people had perished in the cover of darkness.

It was the worst experience to be a displaced person. Call it a nightmare. My family did not have our own place for almost one year; we were lucky to have few relatives who sheltered us temporarily. I clearly remember the discomfort and sadness in my parents’ eyes for occupying their friends’ space. We soon restarted life from scratch in the new town, renting someone’s basement first. I know how painful the people who are currently displaced must feel. No one deserves to go through such an experience.

It is unjust to displace people and unfair to claim or destroy everything they had worked on so hard. But of course there is always a reason why such things happen. I will write about my experience soon, why it happened and how it happened, and using that I will discuss the current issue.

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4 thoughts on “እኔ ተፈናቃይ (I, The Displaced)

  1. Your story is really sad Elyas …when a country is not at peace sadly it’s the people who suffer. Our country went through something similar to that. And it was heartbreaking for me to hear about my friends who were literally being chased from their homes, Because they didn’t come from a particular tribe. Even now the country is still trying to settle the IDPs, it’s the worst thing that can happen to anyone.

    • Thank you Veeh! :) Yes, it’s a sad story and for whatever mess politicians create it’s always the people who pay the price. It sucks. And the worst part is when one is denied the right to live, at the minimum, because as you mentioned they happen to be from this or that tribe, ethnicity, race, religion, or what have you. I am not against people embracing an ethnic, tribal, racial or religious identity, no one can deny them that right, but am against exploiting such identities for political and economic gain at the cost of someone else’s life. Unfortunately, often people are easily manipulated by politicians who want to grab political power through identity politics or other cunning tactics. And the consequence of that could be grave.

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