During the five years of resistance, when I was between 4 and 6 years old, I wandered in the jungles of Merhabete and its surroundings with my father Dejazmach Abebe Shenk’ut’ and my mother W/o Lak’ech Mekit. I had unforgettable experiences of the time, four episodes that always glitter in my mind. The experiences were so horrid that the scar they left on me did not cure over the years.
One relates to the fact that my father Dejazmach Abebe Shenk’ut’ was wounded more than six times while he was fighting sometimes in collaboration with his brothers Dejazmach Teshome, Lij Haile, Lij Yinesu and Lij T’ilahun, and sometimes on his own. The worst one was the day he was shot by an enemy machinegun around his thighs and his arm pit. He bled so profusely that no one believed he would survive it. This piece of information had reached the enemy camp and, convinced that it was the right moment to apprehend Lij Abebe, the enemy intensified its pursuit.
Lij Abebe had to move from one locality to another, on horseback and on a traditional stretcher, supported by his wife on one side and his soldiers on the other. While trying hard to hide and recover, he once rested at the Jema River side in a field of wild banana trees under a huge oak tree. The enemy troops started shooting at the vanguard group and were fast approaching. There was commotion as they quickly removed the tents and crossed the Jema River to occupy a strategic corner and mount a defense. In the commotion, I had been forgotten. When they were aware that I was missing (MIA), T’egaw Ayele, one of the foot soldiers of Lij Abebe turned to look back in the direction of the place they had just evacuated. He saw a woman kneeling down on all fours over me, thus covering me with the intention of giving me away later on to the enemy. He quickly came to us with his gun on his shoulder, kicked the woman with his foot away from me, grabbed me with his right hand and ran into the Jema River. We had dived a couple of times when a grenade thrown by the enemy exploded very close to us. Fortunately, nothing happened to us and we safely joined our troop. Our troup managed to reorganize a defense and set the enemy troops back. We understood later on why that woman was hiding me under her; she had been hired to hijack me and keep me with her until the enemy troops reached to hand me over to the enemy. The calculation was that since Lij Abebe had had serious injuries and was unlikely to engender another child, the prospect of his only son being harmed would oblige him to surrender. They did not know that Lij Abebe would never surrender even if the enemy threatened to kill his son. As for me, the experience remained a nightmare, especially every time I see a big oak tree.
The second experience I had was at a lowland area known as Belbelit during a fierce fighting with the enemy. My father had left me in custody of Ato Addissie, one of his relatives. Ato Addissie was carrying me on his shoulders and moving around when the confrontation got worse. I could hear the bullets whistling by and every time I heard one, I asked him to turn me around. He put me down and tried to help me cope on my own but I clung to his legs and would not let go. As the shots got closer and fiercer, Ato Addissie shook me off his legs and ran for his life, following the other patriots. Shots from both sides turned the place into hell. I ran around not knowing where to hide. I believe the bullets were flying over me, not a single one caught me, though. After a long horrifying moment, I sat under a bush and fell fast asleep. I had not slept for a long time and must have been exhausted. I had no idea how long I slept. When I finally saw light and woke up, the fighting was over and there was not a soul around. I was at the same time shivering with fear and starving. I ran around wildly guided only by my instinct when Providence came to my rescue in the form of a woman. She was carrying a sac full of cereals on one shoulder. She saw me from far away and came to me. She quickly recognized that I was the son of Lij Abebe and understod that I was missing in action. She picked me up, flung me on her other shoulder, took me to her house, fed me and kept me with her for three days. She then identified the village where Lij Abebe was to be found , she took me over and handed me to my parents. I was thrilled. Today, the sight of a bush brings a flash of the terrible fighting and the stampede of people in every direction.
My third childhood experience is not only sad but also funny. During a fierce battle I told someone, I do not remember who, that I wanted to relieve myself. The situation was one where the enemy was getting the upper hand and retreat was in order. There, as a result, was no one in a position to accommodate my request. That was a difficult moment when dear lives had to be saved. I, on the other hand, was extremely pressed and the pressure was getting to my head. I found myself in a situation where I could no longer control the urge to relieve myself. I begged and implored but no one listened to me. Identifying a corner and finding relief was totally out of question. I was left with no choice but to release it all on my frocks – my “teferi suri”, one that was tailored for my small size. I was smeared with my own excrement which soon started trickling down into my feets. I stayed that way all day long and when our army positioned itself in a strategic position and put up a staunch defense thereby checking the advance of the enemy troops, they got me rid of the smeared trousers and cleaned me up.
Leave a Reply.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.