40th Anniversary of Somalia’s Invasion
Ethiopia has numerous heroes registering remarkable heroism and dedication in the fight against invasion and aggression. Unfortunately only some lucky heroes are celebrated due to various reasons such as absence of written documents for those heroes who gave their precious life to patriotism. Another reason is the fact that the patriots are not willing to tell their heroism. The story of adventures of many patriots is untold and forgotten.
During Somalia’s invasion in 1969 many heroes who have gone beyond and above to protect the sovereignty of the country are also forgotten due to absence of written documents. Staff Sergeant Bekele Belay is one hero among those whose stories were not written by others. However, in a book he wrote by the title “ “ Yejegna Welleta “ literally meaning “ A hero’s Accomplishments “ he wrote about the war fronts he has fought against Somalia’s invasion.
Staff Sergeant Bekele Belay was a selfless hero made of genuine spirit. He was not advantage seeker. In his book he retells a story where he had the chance for a better position in the military or a scholarship overseas or anything that can be given as a favor to him for his patriotism. He narrates that President Mengistu Hailemariam of the former regime, asked me “ What do you want me to do for you? “ Staff Sergeant Bekele responded proudly, “ I do not seek or deserve any favor. I fought for my own country. The medallion I have been given for my patriotism is good enough. I am very happy for receiving the medallion. “
Even though Sergeant Bekele Belay has served his country as a loyal and genuine invasion fighter, he has been through a lot. He said he suffered serving time in prison. He is currently living a life of poverty. He is compelled to beg alms for his daily bread.
Listen to an interview of Bekele Belay with Dire Tube’s G/Medhin Baraki.