Mohamed Bouazizi who set himself alight in a protest over unemployment and police humiliation, sparked a wave of unrest and clashes, after he died in hospital. After a wave of deadly social protests the Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has fled to Saudi Arabia in a dramatic end to his 23 years in power that is unprecedented for a leader in the Arab world. The Tunisian people rewarded their patriot while the Ethiopian patriot Ynesew Gebre who set ablaze outside a public meeting hall in Southern Ethiopia for the same reason as that of Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi, has no one followed his funeral. Here is Ethiopia, home of fear and slavery.





Ethiopian Patriot Yenesew Gebre: Give me Liberty or Give me Death!

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

Give me Liberty or Give me Death!

On 11/11/11, Yenesew Gebre, a 29 year-old Ethiopian school teacher and human rights activist set himself ablaze outside a public meeting hall in the town of Tarcha located in Dawro Zone in Southern Ethiopia. He died three days later from his injuries. In an interview with the Voice of America Amharic program, a witness described the horrific event:

Teacher Yenesew Gebre was in the meeting hall telling officials that the young people were being held in detention for 15 days without their right to bail being honored. On Friday, the young detainees were expected to have a hearing. Yenesew said ‘the young detainees have been held for a very long time and their rights should be protected and honored. They must not be imprisoned; they must be released.’ When he demanded that they [officials] told him, ‘here is 200 birr, go and enjoy yourself. We are busy at this meeting.’ He said, ‘I am not going to sell my conscience. I do not want money. I want my people released.’ He told them: ‘In a country where there is no justice and no fair administration, where human rights are not respected, I will sacrifice myself so that these young people will be set free.’ He went outside and set himself on fire. They put out the fire and rushed him to the hospital. He died yesterday and was buried today at 2 p.m. under police cordon.

Others witnesses reported that Yenesew walked out of the meeting and addressed a group of people before setting himself on fire:

I want to show to all that death is preferable than a life without justice and liberty and I call upon my fellow compatriots to fear nothing and rise up to wrest their freedom and rights from the hands of the local and national tyrants.

Give me liberty or give me death! Such were the last words spoken by a young Ethiopian patriot and martyr to the ruthless tyrants that cling to power in Ethiopia today.

Yenesew remained under police guard while he was hospitalized for two days. The attending physician recommended that he be transferred to a facility in the capital where he could receive a higher level of care for second degree burns and very likely save his life. That recommendation was disregarded for fear that news of his self-immolation in the capital could spark spontaneous public protests. No one was allowed to visit Yenesew at the hospital (clinic). His family, friends and neighbors were warned to stay away. Officials denied his family’s request for a decent public burial. They also banned family members, friends, neighbors and community folks from attending the funeral fearing a spontaneous public demonstration.

Dictator Meles Zenawi sent a reinforcement of some 300 police officers, imposed a complete news blackout and sealed off the town. Telephone services to the town were cut in a futile attempt to stonewall all news of Yenesew’s sacrifice from spreading throughout Ethiopia.

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