A friend in need is a friend in deed, indeed!
Last week, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stunned the world by rescuing more than two dozen abducted Ethiopians marked for beheadings in Libya by the ruthless self-styled terrorist group known as “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) (also known as “Islamic State of Iraq and (Syria) al-Sham (ISIS)”).
Ahram Online, Al-Ahram’s English-language website, announced, “The Egyptian army freed the Ethiopian workers who arrived at Cairo airport on Thursday morning, after they were kidnapped in Libya. The Egyptian president, who personally received the 27 Ethiopians, all Christian, when they arrived at the airport, did not explain how the army had rescued them.”
In mid-April 2015, that terrorist group released videos of beheadings of some 30 Ethiopians. In my April 26 commentary, I expressed my deepest grief for the victims and their families. I also expressed my outrage at the so-called government in Ethiopia for sitting on its duff, twiddling its thumbs, scratching its heads and doing nothing. I worried about the fate of the remaining Ethiopians in Libya.
I had plenty of reasons to be worried.
Following the first wave of beheadings, many Ethiopians in Libya, including those kidnapped by terrorists and rescued by President el-Sisi, were left to twist in the desert wind by the ruling Thugtatorship of the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (T-TPLF). The surviving Ethiopian refugees were given official instructions to contact the diplomatic representatives of the T-TPLF in Egypt. When the frightened refugees called to get assistance at the T-TPLF embassy in Egypt, they were “mocked” and given the run around. That is what several Ethiopians trapped in Libya told the Voice of America, Amharic Service. “They pick up the phone and mock us. They don’t talk to us. They pick up the phone and let our telephone calling card run out of time.”
It was against this background of official depravity and wickedness by the T-TPLF that I saw the Youtube video of the rescued Ethiopians as they arrived at Cairo International Airport on an Al Masria, a private Egyptian airline service, jetliner.
I do not have the words to express my feelings of joy and jubilation to see the young Ethiopians rescued from the jaws of the terrorist butchers. As the plane approached the gate, the captain proudly held out an Egyptian flag from the window in the cockpit. The message was unmistakable: Egypt did it!
It was an iconic moment for the Egyptian people, government and armed forces. It was a glorious moment for all Egyptians. It was a proud moment for President el-Sisi.
It was a historic moment of shame for the thugs that palm themselves off as a “government” in Ethiopia!
It was a bittersweet time of sadness and joy for all Ethiopians. They are joyful their brothers are rescued from certain death. They are heartbroken their “government” could not do a damn thing to help them.
When el-Sisi heard of the beheading of the Ethiopians, he came out and told the world Egypt was “pained by the gruesome beheading of innocent Ethiopians in Libya.”
President el-Sisi, by acting courageously and swiftly to rescue the kidnapped Ethiopians in Libya, cemented the millennia old friendship and sisterhood between two of the world’s oldest civilizations.
I must confess I was envious. I was grateful, but envious that el-Sisi, as an Egyptian leader, could do so much for persecuted Ethiopians while the shiftless TPLF thugs stood on the sidelines looking all powerless and helpless.
As I watched the video of the arrival of the Al Masria flight carrying the Ethiopians in Cairo, for a moment, I took flight in my imagination.