By Dawit Leake
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The murderous attack on Ethiopians by ISIS terrorists shocked Ethiopians, who learned about it in a video released April 19.
The mood then quickly shifted as everyone started crying. There have been marches and the nation is an official mourning period until Saturday.
The beheading of our fellow citizens on a beach in Libya was not something that Ethiopians, including me, expected to see happening.
People here thought the terrorist killings were something that happened far away from Ethiopia and others didn’t even know about previous ISIS attacks. For them it was a brutal and satanic thing that they saw for the first time.
Most of the people I talked to were very sad and yet very angry at the killings of Christians by terrorists of the so-called Islamic State. Some said that they would fight against ISIS if they got the chance and that they would not tolerate any threats from ISIS.
The insulting way the terrorists killed the Ethiopian captives – by decapitation – made it even more upsetting. People saw it as slaughtering sheep at home, which is a holiday custom in Ethiopia.
On Tuesday, April 21, the national capital of Addis Ababa slowly turned quiet and that night, the government announced that three official days of grieving would begin Wednesday and end on Saturday.
On Wednesday, there was a rally, organized by the government, at Meskel Square, which is a large gathering place in Addis Ababa, where many local residents came to let out their grief.
The mood here is still sad and bitter. I believe that this is an act by ISIS to disturb the peace between Muslims and Christians in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is a country that has about an equal number of Muslims and Christians, with a longstanding culture of harmony and unity.
Some Ethiopians even have names that start with a Muslim name and end with a Christian name and vice versa, showing the long integration and harmony of the two religions.
People here believe that the ISIS killings are acts not of Islam, but of Satan.
For me, something that came out of this horrific misfortune is that despite the awful crime and that sadness it brought, everyone is even more united and standing strong against ISIS.
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