A film Review: By Berhane Tadese Yenegen Alweldem

Yenegen Alweldem (የነገን አልወልድም)

Produced by: Fortuna Moges

Running Time: 1 hour 58 minutes

“Mengistu’s Red Terror campaign”. Ethiopian’s darkest chapter.

December 11, 2017


“Yenegen Alweldem” is a film based on true story that reflects the life of Ethiopians in the revolutionary upheaval of late 1970s. The Ethiopian youth has played significant role in this revolution.  Those who played significant roles in the student political activities later on emerged as part of a new political groups and courageously sacrificed their lives to free the oppressed people of Ethiopia. Those who had no direct political involvement still became victim of political violence due to erratic behavior and random actions of the Derg. The film shot in Ethiopia and is based on story extracted from the Amharic book titled “ኢሕአፓ እና ስፖርት”. Limited numbers of books have been written about red terror even much less documentary films have been produced.   This is one of the few documentary films about red terror. Much appreciation should go to the young female Producer, Ms. Fortuna Moges, for producing this documentary featured film.

This film shows some stories in one of the darkest time of Ethiopian history. It narrated the suffering of innocent mothers due mainly to consequences of differing political views and actions taken by Derg regime and Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party (EPRP).  The film tells the story at a time of intense struggle in which the government unleashed all the power it has to dismantle EPRP. The Derg brutal actions, the EPRP witty techniques, and mothers sufferings are all entwine and shown in the film.  This film ignites further discussions and comments on the merit and demerits of political actions taken by the political actors of the time.

The greater political repression began on the launching of the red terror campaign. Red terror is a campaign by Derg to destroy its major political opponents, the EPRP. The campaign was implemented by mobilizing the urban dwellers associations called Kebeles.  The Kebeles have been given full authority to jail or even kill with no due process of law whomever they find suspect of members of EPRP.  One of the daily routine of Kebele was conducting extensive house to house searching of EPRP members and supporters to jail them in Kebele’s detention center. In the film, Captain Astatke represented Kebele officials and head of the revolutionary army which was widely known for his notorious actions. The Captain targeted anyone suspected as members of EPRP.  Captain Astatke’s death squad murdered and jailed EPRP members and supporters irrespective of their age or gender.

During this chaotic time where Kebele officials like Captain Astatke continued to hunt down EPRP members, EPRP refined its technique to withstand the regime’s actions. EPRP members were embedded in a soccer club for cover-up and carry out their usual clandestine activities. The players took advantage of the early morning soccer practice to execute their propaganda work of distributing anti-regime leaflets and probably transferring illegal weapons and ammunition from place to place. The players manage to keep Adugna, the coach of the team, clueless about their secretive activities.   They were even successful to convince their coach to add an important killing squad member of EPRP to the soccer team and provided cover-up.

The film has narrated several sad stories of suffering mothers because their children are indiscriminately arrested and their fate is unknown.  The Derg regime shot people indiscriminately, incarcerated a great number youth in the state and kebele prisons, tortured young people in a manner hard to express in words, displayed the dead bodies in streets for hours for public to view. Families who were looking for loved ones were beaten and arrested.  Some families were forced to pay for the bullet in exchange of getting back dead bodies of their children for proper burial. Coach Adugna wife, Lensa was also one of the victims. She has witnessed the tragic killings of her only brother. All these waves of red terror has enforced on the victims’ mother. The mothers reached to a point of wishing not to bare child any more if God saved their child from the widespread killings. Mothers came up with this artful Amharic copulates which the producer used it for the title of the film wisely.


“አዬ አንተ ጊዜ የእግዜር ታናሽ ወንድም

የዛሬን ማርልኝ የነገን አልወልድም “.


The film is mesmerizing.  Red terror has had tremendous impact on various segments of the 1970s generation. The 1970s generation had the will, endurance, assertiveness and genuinely believed that through sheer determination of fighting against Derg’s dictatorship would bring social justice to all Ethiopian people.  Regrettably, Derg violent actions resulted wide spread suffering of the silent majority particularly the mothers. Most of the surviving youth members of EPRP forced to flee from Ethiopia.  Some joined the armed wing of EPRP to wage an armed struggle. Watching the film reminds us to honor the loss of this selfless generation for fighting for economic and social justice for all Ethiopian people.

Special thank you to the film Producer, Mrs. Fortuna Moges, for willing to come and aired her film. Thank you is extended to Ethiopians Community Mutual Assistance Association of NY, NJ&CT that facilitated to bring this film on Sunday, December 10, 2017 to NYC metropolitan Ethiopians residents.

Ethiopia will prevail!


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