By Tedla Asfaw
I remember Mandela walk out from his 27 years jail in 1990. The world media was there to report this historical moment. The Ethiopian Mandela, Andargatchew Tsige who was kidnapped four years ago from Sanna Airport, Yemen by Ethiopian and Yemeni unholy alliance did not get foreign media attention.
However, fellow Ethiopians did not disappoint all of us who were watching livestsream the celebration of his coming to his father home in Addis Ababa this afternoon.
Patriotic music was blaring. Andargatchew famous music “LanchiNewEthiopia” meaning “For Mother Ethiopia” with the tri color Ethiopian Green, Yellow and Red covering the huge tent erected for the celebration.
Late in the afternoon Addis Ababa time it was not easy for the hero to pass through the crowd and enter home. Few minutes after his arrival Andargatchew gave a short speech to his supporters home and all over the world.
He said four years of suffering in Ethiopian jail is nothing compared to the suffering of Ethiopians in every day life. My jailers wanted to break my spirit on their televised edited propaganda few days after he was kidnapped.
Andargatchew challenged his jailers to follow on their death penalty than beg for their forgiveness like some of the Derg officials who beg for forgiveness for lighter jail term.
Andargatchew looks thin and gray but not his voice. This was the same voice most of us know. Clear and straight. He meant what he says. He Walked the Talk.
He came out on balcony to address his supporters after few minutes of break inside home. He told the crowd there are many issues he will not discuss with them today but will do it in the coming days.
But the organizers have a surprise for Andargatchew. They have prepared a gold medal for his strength and sacrifice. On the medal it was inscribed his own famous poem “LanchiNewEthiopia” , “For Motherland Ethiopia”.
His father wife who never missed a day visiting him in the last four years in jail put the medal on his neck. That was the highest moment of the day.
Many Ethiopians watched gold medal hanged on our athletes neck. I cried with Derartu Tulu in 1992 10K win flying Ethiopian flag back home when many Ethnic flags mushroomed for the first time in our history.
Today I cried seeing hope from the true leader Andargatchew Tsige, our Mandela. We will celebrate tonight with Ethiopian Bread made for this occasion. I am proud to be Ethiopian !!!!