Thursday, May 18, 2006

Last Day in Ethiopia

On the morning of May 12th, I awoke in my bed at the Taitu hotel in Addis Ababa to the very proximate sound of a large explosion. At the time I thought that maybe a constructions worker at the building site across the street had dropped a wheelbarrow full of bricks from a few stories up. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that a taxi driver told us that nine synchronized blasts had rocked Addis that morning and that one of them was in the Piazza neighborhood, a stone’s throw from our hotel. A little over two weeks since the Dahab Bombings, the terror had finally caught up with us on our last day in Ethiopia. “The government wants to turn our country into another Rwanda or Somalia.” Exclaimed our distraught driver, who went on to describe how the situation in Ethiopia was going from bad to worse. Over the last few moths--since the election that they lost--the local government has imprisoned any vocal members of their opposition (ie: they arrested and incarcerated the guys who the population voted in) and the army has killed dozens of protestors. The bombs 6 days ago, which killed four innocent civilians, were only the latest in a recent series.

On the plane over the United Arab Emirates that evening, Sierra says that we’re just experiencing culture shock, coming from our peaceful cocoon in Canada, but I find the proximity of murderous terror rather unnerving and painful.


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