April 7. 2021
I am not even sure if you will ever see this letter. Yet, I have written it in case it comes to your attention miraculously. Whatever happens to the letter, let me express my heartfelt gratitude by saying THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for your recent generous donation to your people in Ethiopia. It is something that needs to be given credit to and greatly appreciated by all. As you are aware, the situation in Ethiopia is very dire right now. The conflict in Tigray is affecting so many people in the region. There are also victims, mainly ethnic Amharas, who are being killed and displaced in many other parts of the country. Unfortunately, I have to say that the victims in the conflict are not only adults but also innocent children. It is heart-breaking to hear local or international media outlets reporting that children are shot and killed arbitrarily with no blame. There are also places where parents got killed leaving many children behind.
Having said this, let me now take the opportunity to kindly request you to engage in more relief efforts if it is not too much to ask. At this juncture, please also allow me to mention a past event to give you a hint in advance about what I would like to kindly request you to do specifically. As you may know, this is not the first time Ethiopia has faced difficult situations. There had also been some occasions when it needed support due to natural and human-made disasters. One, I can remember, is the famine of 1983-1985 which was exacerbated by an extended civil war.
Very sadly, the famine was reported to have caused the death of about a million people as well as displacement and destitution of many more. As a very young volunteer to help victims of the famine at the time, I witnessed first-hand the suffering and death not only of adults but also children because of the lack of food, drink, clothing and shelter. I vividly remember situations where I cuddled children whose fleshless skin was stuck to their bones due to hunger. As a child myself then, the agony and sufferings of the very many victims especially children were too much to handle due to which no day went by without me shedding tears in private because my culture does not allow boys to cry in public.
As the famine was severe, government and local community efforts were not sufficient to control if not minimize its impact. A call then was made to the global community to help improve situations in the country by saving lives, preventing displacement and destitution. As a result of the call, very many international organizations and support groups responded positively and channeled their food assistance to the people. One among those was the Live Aid organized by the famous Irish singer, songwriter, and political activist Sir Bob Geldof as well as the Scottish singer and songwriter Midge Ure. These two famous Artists managed to raise funds for the relief efforts. The King of Pop-Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie in collaboration with others also released a charity single famously known as “We are the world” to help famine victims rebuild their lives. These amazing jobs done by the artists demonstrated that Art is not only entertainment but also, among other things, a major tool in the fight against poverty.
It is in this context that I would like to kindly request you to do your best to form a band to either release a charity single or organize charity concerts to raise funds to support adults and children who are victims of conflicts in several parts of Ethiopia such as Metekel, Tigray, Wollega and some parts in Eastern Amhara. You may also consider supporting children and youth victims permanently through projects such as boarding schools and residential care homes designed to help them to control their lives when they become adults.
I do not doubt that the money you generously donated recently will help many of those in need. I also do hope to hear news outlets reporting about you aggressively widening your efforts in the relief and other community development activities in Ethiopia focusing mainly on children and young people.
Meseret Tesfu (Meserettesfu4@gmail.com)