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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ethiopian Adventure Day 10 (Addis Ababa)

Today I visited the "Red Terror" Martyrs' Memorial Museum in Addis Ababa, ‪‎Ethiopia‬, at the suggestion of my brother Christopher, and learned about a frightening and disturbing period in the country's history  the 1975-91 era of the Derg and Mengistu governments. While I was there I also tried to lend my efforts as a writer and editor to helping out in a small way. 

By 1974 there was much discontentment throughout Ethiopia against Emperor Haille Selassie and in September of that year the leaders of a military council known as the Derg took over the government and had him arrested. They had him transported to his confinement in a VW Beatle rather than one of the Rolls Royces he was more accustomed as a means of humbling him. A year later he died and is believed to have been murdered, despite Derg contentions that it was due to medical complications, and idea that is supported by his remains not being discovered until 1992, when they were found hidden under the floor of his old palace (now home to the Ethnographic Museum located on the grounds of Addis Ababa University). 

Derg leader Mengistu Haille Mariam, at left, and two of his compatriots, Aman Mikael Andom and Atnafu Abate, who he eventually had killed. When Mengistu was deposed in 1991 he fled to Zimbabwe, where he was granted asylum and lives to this day. Pictures of known victims of Ethiopia's Red Terror are displayed at the museum. Tens of thousands of people were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered by the Derg government. 

Remains of some Red Terror victims who have been identified are displayed at the museum, with photographs of them in life and the ropes they were strangled to death with. Remains of unidentified Mengistu regime victims found in mass graves are displayed at the "Red Terror" Martyrs' Memorial Museum​ in Addis Ababa. 

Exhibits at the "Red Terror" museum​ include artworks, like the one shown here, depicting the violent excesses of the Derg and Mengistu regimes. After going through the museum​ I met with its curators and then went back through it with them to correct misspellings and other minor errors on the exhibit placards. If I can be of help in getting out critical stories like the one they are telling at this museum then it is important to me that I do so! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ethiopian Adventure Day 9 (Addis Ababa)

Woke up early to the sound of prayers being broadcast from the local churches, around 5 a.m. I would guess. Had breakfast with my brother and his kids and then walked with them over to the international school where I met and had coffee with several of the other parents and the school administrator. Came back and threw in a load of laundry and then did some work ahead of venturing out into Addis Ababa. 

Had lunch at the Lucy Gazebo & Restaurant with my brother Christopher and then visited the National Museum of Ethiopia in downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, today! Enjoyed viewing art and artifacts associated with the history of the country and, especially, seeing the remains of the famous "Lucy" pre-human hominid that were found in the Great Rift Valley.