by Tedla Asfaw
The 76th anniversary of fascist Italy crimes against the Ethiopian people, Ye Sematat Ken, was remembered on Yekatit 12/Feb. 19 worldwide today. Here in New York City the first action of the day was to give a letter addressed to H.H. Pope Benedict the 16th.The letter that was prepared by Global Alliance for Justice, the Ethiopian Cause, was handed to the Permanent Staff, Rev.Msgr. Jansuz Urbancyzk, Counselor General Assembly at Manhattan Office of the Holy See Mission to United Nations.
We demanded on this letter first and for most for Vatican to correct the blunder it made in August 11, 2012 by sending its delegates in the opening ceremony for the memorial for Rodolfo Graziani at Affile, South of Rome. Vatican was also asked for officially to apologize for the people of Ethiopia like it did for Jewish people few years back. The Affile debacle is a good opportunity to redress all past blunders of the Vatican. We also asked for the Vatican to return all the Ethiopian historical materials it has in its library.
After we completed this mission around 9:30 am the next step was to join the rally in front of the Italian Mission to United Nations at 48th Street and 2nd Avenue scheduled from 10 am to noon. The crowd which was assembled in front of the Italian Mission carried a lot of slogans and the Ethiopian Flag, Green, Yellow and Red was flying high.
This was the first Ethiopian Martyr’s Day we remembered in front of the Italian Mission here in New York City for more than two decades. Since we Ethiopians were busy in fighting the home grown tribalism and fascism we completely forgot the millions who lost their lives to give us an Independent country Ethiopia. But not this time !!!!
The little more than one thousand fascists from birth place of Graziani in Affili might have seen our weakness and spit on our face last summer by erecting a Mausoleum for Rodolfo Graziani. The sleeping lion woke up thanks to Global Alliance for Justice, the Ethiopian Cause, by organizing rallies in Italy and America in the fall of 2012. The worldwide rally that is going on today on more than twenty cities was a follow up of the action plan to tell the government of Italy that Ethiopians will come out every year starting this year until the Graziani Mausoleum is gone for good.
The placards were reflecting that global cry for justice for Ethiopia and Ethiopians. “Dismantle the Graziani Mausoleum Now”, “Graziani is a War Criminal does not deserve a stick let alone a Mausoleum”, “Shame on Vatican for joining the Graziani Party”, ” Shame on Italy” etc. The press release for the day was out and disseminated to the public.
At 11am three Ethiopians and Nicola De Marco an Italian American from Global Alliance met the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations Mr. Giuseppe M. Perricone. We had almost half hour cordial discussion. The Secretary promised to hand over the letter to his government assured us that his government has been against the erection of the Graziani Mausoleum from day one.
The delegates want the government of Italy to remove this insulting Graziani Mausoleum immediately. The local government of Italy should not be above the constitution of Italy as was confirmed by the Secretary. We agree with him that the Affile municipality should not be above the constitution of Italy which criminalizes any attempt to rewrite the history of fascism.
We made it clear for the Secretary that until his government removes the Graziani Mausoleum we will be assembling every year in front of Italy Mission. It was a very cordial discussion and we want to thank the Secretary for his good knowledge of what Graziani did to the residents of Addis Ababa in 1937.
We went back to the crowd outside and informed what we had with the Secretary. Aba Mihret Amlak the Medhanealem Tewahedo Church in New York City shared with us what he saw as a child 76 years ago. The memory is still fresh in his mind. Holding tears coming down from his eyes, the brutal killing of Ethiopian monks in Debre Lebanos Monastery was barbaric to say the least. He said thousands perished in his neighborhood and there is not even a stick to commemorate those while fascist leader who has blood on his hand is now remembered by Mausoleum and Park. What a travesty of justice !!! Mr. Nicola DeMarco read a moving letter from Pankhurst, a known fighter for Justice for Ethiopia and Ethiopians and other person.
We Ethiopians know very well that our country for the last two decades under Woyane is mirroring “Graziani” without him. Like Grazaini then now Ethiopia is divided as Amhara, Sidama, Oromo, Tigre etc. Like then now one single ethnic group, Amhara, was accused as enemy to be eliminated. The attack on Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is going on. The attack on our Monasteries is going on.
It is time to fight the revival of fascism in Italy and the ethno fascism under Woyane by uniting as one like our ancestors did 76 years ago. Let us learn from fellow Ethiopian Muslims right now and unite as one.
The government of Italy and Vatican would not have dared to insult us in public had we have a government of the People of Ethiopia back home and if Ethiopians had united as One. We have a lot to work hard if we would like to see Ethiopians get a respect they deserve and the justice overdue.