Loose translation: “I won’t celebrate when my mother is shedding tears of blood; my brother brutally slaughtered & his body thrown off a cliff; & my genteel sister raped by hooligans. I shall celebrate when my mothers’ tears are wiped & the dignity of my homeland is restored.”
This is the acceptance speech by artist Isayas Tadesse, winner of the “Short Film” category at the annual Gumma Awards.
There is so much to unpack about his speech on a stage where many expect it the least; but I would only say a few things.
Isayas spoke that in front of the pseudo “arts community”, a distinct member of our society majority whom lost the moral courage that being an artist requires – to speak for the downtrodden & the hurting. It’s particularly clear since November 04; a rupture the war in #Tigray revealed.
As such what that also laid bare or confirmed is that the “arts community” in Ethiopia has always been the bastion of the voices of the status quo set & defined by the powers that be.
In this regard, Isayas showed he is an affront to the “arts community” but a hero to his own.
That explains why he chose to speak in Tigrinya, his mother tongue, & used the term ዓደይ (Adey) which Tegarus use to refer specifically to Tigray & not necessarily Ethiopia. Isayas used it when referring to celebrating his award when or after the dignity of Adey is restored.
The rest of us are better off accepting the bitter truth that an overwhelming majority of Tegarus have given up on the idea of Ethiopia, whatever its structure. We have made that possible when we let foreign invaders violate their way of being! I don’t know how we can reverse it.
by Tsedale Lemma ,