3 July 2016

Ethiopia: The 'Two Seventeen' Miracles

Photo: The Daily Nation
Former PM the Late Meles Zenawi.

A book that entirely revolve around with the life, experiences and contributions of the Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi meant to the whole Ethiopian people was published late this year by an author Esubalew Kasa in Bahir Dar, Amhara State.

By chance, Esubalew was invited to showcase his artistic and poetry works in the National Arts, Painting, Musical Instruments, Cultural and Traditional Values and Book Fair and Festival organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism recently at the Oromia Cultural Centre. The writer of this piece had approached him for an interview.

The author was born in Debre-Markos and raised up close to churches imbibing biblical thoughts. It was this way, he managed to write some poems and war songs in war fronts and training camps after he joined the Derg military staff. He then moved to Asmara for military campaign to reinforce the mission of socialist ideological order of the then regime. There he got an opportunity to secure some knowledge of literature.

Relating about his life experiences, Esubalew served the Derg regime for long. He recalls that surprisingly there were groups that used to highly appreciate the level of intelligence and visions of the great leader Meles Zenawi while serving the regime militating against Meles's group. Esubalew was one of them. He was trying to communicate with Meles during days of confrontation. Though he wrote two letters to Meles Zenawi, the icon of the TPLF forces, he failed due to communication barriers between the two combating forces.

After the demise of the Derg regime, Esubalew made it back to his home country from Asmara and fully engaged his whole attention towards his calling--writing. Since then, he has written many stagy works put on air in various radio stations and mainly Amhara TV. He has authored two long fictional books. This collection of poems makes his third book.

The book, he came up with for the Festival is entitled 'YEKENYELEY' which literary means 'I thank you'. It is dedicated to the late Prime Minister Meles. It has seventeen poems that bespeak the good deeds of the late Prime Minister. The author is of the opinion that seventeen poems are quite insufficient to describe the contributions of the great leader Meles Zenawi, but that is intentionally done to hint at the seventeen years of struggle against the military regime and the seventeen years of his selfless devotion for the Ethiopian people while Prime Minister of the FDRE.

"Meles had also served the people of Ethiopia for 21 years besides the crucial role he played in the armed struggle. During the course of the first four years he had served the country as President of the transitional government. Those years are excluded from the two seventeen years of miraculous deeds. The personal charisma he had exhibited in his life time has laid the corner stone for the present peace, development and inclusive progress. These contributions make him the living legend in the minds and hearts of peace loving Ethiopians. These things are what encouraged me to write about him," said the author.

Asked about readers' feedback and the market condition of writing in Ethiopia, Esubalew said that he is unhappy with the current generation's reading culture. All what this generation needs to read is literature of political context and related issues. Based on this book-drop, his third book- 'YEKENYELEY' has proved very interesting in the eyes of readers unlike his earlier two books. He called up on the educational centres at every level to have book corners and reading weeks for the development of readership and authorship with emphasis on works conveying social messages.

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