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Remembering the lives of MamaKiros and Ageazi

Remembering the lives of MamaKiros and Ageazi

Dawit Abay 05-05-20

We humans forget. It is a blessing that we can forget certain things. We need also to be reminded of our past to be inspired, to be human, and work out our differences.That why we have history and monuments in various forms.We need them during times of changes and challenges as we are facing now in the form a pandemic and national questions.

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Take for example the events and heroic stories of the Weyane Tigray. We have to revisit them from time to time. They are part of us. Weall had experienced them one way or another. They are exceptional.

Some of us read and watched a great deal about the Cuban revolution andcharacters like Che and Fidel. We know about the heroic deeds of the North Vietnamese who stood up against the French and Americans. You can get new documentaries about these revolutions in Netflix to this day.  None or not so much about Weyane/TPLF (which includes the Eritrean struggle for that matter). I am not of course not surprised. The sacrifices, resourcefulness and heroic combats of Weyane Tigray are similar in terms of the heroic sacrifices they entailed (even greater in some respects than the Cuban struggle in my opinion). However, ours was not as close as the othersto the interests of the main players at the world stage.  And most importantly, itoccurred in Africa.African stories are often neglected or depicted with familiar stereotypes and generalizations without investigative efforts.  Iremember watchinga Hollywood movie produced in the 1990/2000s that accidentally touches upon TPLF. TPLF fighters are shownas gun-toting village-burning gangsters who stop passing vehicles for whisky and cigarettes.Sounds familiar?We are talking here about one of the most disciplined guerrilla fighters the world has ever seen.

Consider this story. There was this dashing law student at the end ofhis college years with a great future. He left the university in the 1970sand joined a group of other students to start a movement having in mind the betterment of others.He was the focal point of the networking of the movement. Many of the group members were introduced to each other by this student.  He is courageous, energetic witha great sense of humor and exceptional social skills. These are substantiated by many stories from his comrades-in-arms, neighbors, peasants etc.

His mother is a correctional police officer. She toiled all these years for him and his sister, the only children she had. She made sure he and his younger sister go to school and excel. Her son was an outstanding student. He joined the national university and went to a law school.  As he grew and matured, she could see he hada great future and she was proud of him.  Like many Tigrian mothers, her children were all she had. But she began to notice that her son was engaged in anti-governmentactivities. Through time, she understood why he was doing this.  She knew such resistance was inevitable. She has seen it all- the abuses and injustices in the system. But she is a mother, she fears her son will be harmed or be killed. One day her son and his friend reasoned out with her, ‘do you want us to die here in the city for nothing or die while struggling for the people?’The government was killing students for suspected subversive activities in the cities.She acquiesced and her son left to the bushes.

He did not disappear altogether. He was daring enough to come to the towns to organize underground cells and obtain intelligence. She met him several times. She had sometimes to travel through a difficult terrain to meet him far away from the towns. The last time she saw him was in one of the towns. He came disguised to distribute leaflets.  She gave him loaves of traditional bread ( kicha) for the road. She remembers he was carrying leaflets.

Hours or a day after her son left, she was summoned bythe police and takento an open marketplace where a young man was laying shot on the head. The leaflets and pieces of ‘kicha’ were scattered around his body. She was asked if that was her son. Imagine (no we can’t!) how she felt! She staggered and eventually collapsed from the shock. She was traumatized and was heavily bleeding. She had to be hospitalized. Her ordeal was not over. She similarly witnessed the killing of her daughter who was around 18 years old when she was killed by a government agent. This affected the mother’s mental health and had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Thankfully, she regained her health and stayed long enough to meet her son’s friends’ whocame out victorious from the struggle after untold heroism and human sacrifices by the people against all odds.She passed away last week. In nutshell, that was the story of Mama Kiros and her son Ageazi.  And our story!  Now that is a sobering and inspiring story worth remembering.




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