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Fisseha Abraha, the Family man from the North
By Teodros Kiros

Few are genuinely brave. Brave are those who are made out of moral discipline
and still disposition. Such rare individuals blend in one whole -compassion
and firmness.

Such was Fisseha Abraha, the gallant man from the north. A brother to Seeye
Abraha, an Ethiopian hero, Fisseha has paid heavy price for speaking power to
truth and was imprisoned in Ethiopian dungeon on false charges. Those days in
prison have cost him his health. It is said that while in prison he was
confined with six hundred others whose sweats were literally dropping on his
body against which he attempted to protect himself by covering himself with
plastic bags to no avail. During those prison days, many of his Oromo prison
mates profoundly thank him for empowering them to listen to the Ethiopian
opposition radio broadcasts in their native tongue, when the prison wardens of
existing regime had forbade their right to listen. The fearless Fisseha
defied that illegality. He heroically fought for their rights and the inmates
heralded his name and sung his praises.

The thinness, which invaded his elegant frame, began appearing during his prison
days. It lingered since then and diffused its power all over the body,
attacking his ailing body. There are those who attribute the cause of his death
to the nearly four long years in prison. He left prison as a weakened man,
consistent with the intentions of those who condemned him to the prison hole.
Of course, the powers to be will characteristically deny this charge, and will
dismiss it as a lie propagated by the infamous Diaspora.

Facts however, have a way of itching themselves to the souls of sensitive

Intimate friends and relatives of Fisseha Abraha speak of him, as a family man
who carried family matters on his burdened hands. His life long commitment to
the family who witnessed a string of tragedies begun with the death of his
brother Gebreselassie in 1978 during the red terror. Asmelash and
Woldeesellasie who were then in Mekele were forced to return to Adiha, their
birthplace to save their lives from the red terror campaign. Their father
Girazmzch Abraha Hagos was, however, subsequently killed and their property
burned to ashes in the hands of the Derg in 1979. Asmelash and Woldeesellasie
who were then in Mekele were forced to return to Adiha, their birthplace, to
take care of the family. Shortly thereafter Asmelash and Woldeesellasie
determined to join Seeye in the struggle against the Dreg. Fisseha and the
young Mihreteab were fated to face destiny.

The family home was thus emptied except for the unflinching efforts of Fisseha
to preserve and reconstruct it from a scratch. From then on Fisseha and his
youngest brother, Mehreteab, alone become the living pillars of the Abraha
family. Fisseha single-handedly stayed home to take care of their ailing mother,
woizero Alganesh, and the rest of the extended family.

In 1982 Fisseha decided to join his brothers in the fight against the military
regime. He was assigned to work around his birthplace as a public
administrator. During this time he survived several attempts to his life, by
assassination squads of the military regime.

Teodros Kiros
Professor of Philosophy and English (Liberal Arts)
Berklee College of Music