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Gallicano nel Lazio (Rome)   February 22, 2017

Today, February 19, is remembered by Ethiopians around the world as Martyrs’ Day in commemoration of one of the bloodiest days of the Italian occupation. On February 19 (Yekatit 12 in the Ethiopian calendar) 1937, following an attack on the life of Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani, the city of Addis Ababa was swept by a wave of indiscriminate violence at the hands of Fascist blackshirts and Italian civilians. Brutal reprisals continued in the following months as Graziani took advantage of the attack to suppress all opposition to his rule in the new colony.

On 18th of February, 2017, the Federation of the Assembly of RasTafari in Italy (F.A.R.I.) together with the Association of the Ethiopian Community in Italy in the presence of its President Wayzero Mulu Ayele held the commemorative celebration of the Ethiopian martyr’s day in Rome. We also organized a similar meeting in Belluno province, in the north of Italy. At the meeting in Rome, the conference was held in a place called “Casa della cultura (House of the culture)” in the presence of more than 54 persons. The first speaker of the event was Ato Carmelo GebreSellassie who dealt generally with the most important facts of the Italian aggression and occupation including some of the terrible crimes that the Italians committed against the Ethiopian soldiers, the innocent people, the clergy and the use of the poison gas and some other inhuman methods. Wayzaro Mulu dealt in her speech  with the recent visit of the Italian President of Republic, Sergio Mattarella, to Ethiopia, where he paid homage to Ethiopians Martyrs’ monument in Arat kilo but nothing was stated by him against the shameful monument established for the killer Graziani in Affile. The last speaker was Dr. Lorenzo Morricone (an elderly professor), president of the association: “Centro Studi Patrizia Leonardi”, who presented his  reflections on the reasons why after the second world war there was no Nuremberg type of trial against the Fascist war criminals for their atrocities in Ethiopia similar to what happened generally for Nazi crimes.

After the conference, we screened the documentary film produced by Valerio Ciriaci. At the end of the meeting, many of the participants, in particular some Italian youths, expressed their gratitude because they learned for the first time this part of the Italian dramatic history that they never knew in their schools, because in their scholastic books there is only half a page that deals with the subject.

Some of the people at the meeting asked to us to repeat the event in their schools or in their cities. Generally, we were very happy with the success of this commemoration.

Before the conference started, the participants visited the exhibition of 24 pictures that I sent to you by dropbox. We always bring it (the exhibition) with us on such occasions and entitle it “The Martyrdom and the struggle of the Ethiopian people”.

A similar meeting, as I stated above, was held in Alano di Piave (a little town near the city of Belluno). Also there our organization brought a photographic exhibition entitled: “Ethiopia 1935-1941: fascist crimes and Ethiopian resistance”. The sponsor of the meeting was our organization F.A.R.I. The speakers and hosts there were: Ato Marcus Fent (member of F.A.R.I.); Dott. Matteo Dominioni an Historian that did some research in the caves of Zeret, a place in Ethiopia where the Italians killed, with poison gas, many Ethiopian people from the adjacent villages that were hiding in that cave to avoid the  extermination by the Italian soldiers. In Italy, before these researches of  Prof. Matteo, nobody knew about this other crime.

Another speaker there was our dear friend Ato Belay Mesgena,a descendant of the “first general of Ethiopia” the martyr Dejazmatch Haylu Kebbede. Belay dealt about the story of the Dej. and of his terrible martyrdom. Also in this town the people showed us gratitude, solidarity and great interest in the historical events of the Ethiopian sufferings.

We are also preparing a brief documentary film about these meetings, and when we finish the task, I’ll send to you some other document regarding the Sama’tat Qen in Italy.

My best regards to you and to the brothers and sisters of the Ethiopian diaspora and their true friends of all nationalities throughout the world.


Carmelo GebreSellassie


(President of “F.A.R.I.” and of “EXODUS: Ethiopian Cultural Service”)



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