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Posts Tagged ‘History’

My Grandmother’s Nazi Killer Evaded Justice. Modern War Criminals Like Abiy Ahmed Must Not

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 20, 2021

Who has stood trial, or will stand trial, for the appalling abuses committed against the Uyghurs in China, the Rohingya in Myanmar, the Yazidi in Iraq, or the people of Tigray in Ethiopia? How many mass murderers are walking free in Rwanda, or Syria?

As the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials approaches, Ilse Cohn’s grandson calls for international law to ensure those committing atrocities today face retribution.

The man who ordered the murder of my grandmother never stood trial for the crime. Nor did he stand trial for any of the other 137,000 murders he ordered during five short months in 1941.

I know who he was. His name was Karl Jäger, and he was the commander of a Nazi execution squad in Lithuania, where my 44-year-old grandmother had been deported from her home town in Germany. He is just one of several hundred thousand men and women who were never brought to justice for the part they played in the Nazi holocaust. It’s estimated that up to a million people were directly or indirectly involved in holocaust atrocities, yet only a tiny fraction – perhaps no more than 1% – were ever prosecuted.

Next month marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal at which 24 of the most senior Nazi leaders stood trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It was the first such trial in history, described at the time as “a shining light for justice”.

A dozen other trials followed – of bankers, lawyers, doctors and others – but according to Mary Fulbrook, professor of German history at University College London, once the Nuremberg process was over, the West Germans prosecuted only 6,000 people for their part in Nazi crimes, of whom some 4,000 were convicted.

Most holocaust perpetrators, such as Jäger, a music-loving SS colonel who ordered the murder of my grandmother and so many others, simply melted back into their community. Jäger, for example, led a quiet, inconspicuous life as a farmer in the German town of Waldkirch, not far from the borders with France and Switzerland, until he was finally arrested in 1959. He hanged himself in his prison cell with a length of electric cable before he could be brought to trial.

So why was Nuremberg, and the handful of other war crimes trials that followed, the exception rather than the rule?

First, because by 1945, large parts of Germany were a smouldering ruin. Millions of people were homeless, so the emphasis was primarily on reconstruction. And who was available to take charge in the “new Germany” if not the very same officials (supposedly de-Nazified) who had served under the Nazis?

Second, because with the start of the cold war and fears of Soviet domination in Europe, both the US and Britain believed that confronting the Soviet threat was more important than hunting down thousands of Nazis. Justice would have to take a back seat.

None of which excuses why, even today, so few perpetrators of the most egregious crimes against humanity are pursued and convicted. It’s true that Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić are both serving long prison sentences for their role in the atrocities of the war in Bosnia. The former Liberian president Charles Taylor is incarcerated after being convicted of what the judge at his trial in The Hague called ‘some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded human history’, and the former president of Chad, Hissène Habré, died of Covid-19 last month while serving a life sentence for human rights abuses.

But, like Nuremberg, they are the exceptions. Who has stood trial, or will stand trial, for the appalling abuses committed against the Uyghurs in China, the Rohingya in Myanmar, the Yazidi in Iraq, or the people of Tigray in Ethiopia? How many mass murderers are walking free in Rwanda, or Syria?

The anniversary of the Nuremberg verdicts offers an opportunity to revisit the debate over war crimes prosecutions, both past and future. It also marks the October release of a major new documentary film called Getting Away With Murder(s) which shines a spotlight on some of the thousands of unpunished Nazi war criminals who escaped after 1945 and lived the rest of their lives undisturbed, some of them in Britain.

Full disclosure: after the film’s director, David Wilkinson, read an article I wrote in the Observer three years ago, he invited me to appear in the film, visiting the site of my grandmother’s death.)

Seventy-five years after Nuremberg, at a time when war crimes are still being committed with shameful alacrity, it is more important than ever to re-emphasise the need to collect evidence when such crimes are committed, and to reaffirm the principle that they should never go unpunished.

History matters. We can learn from past mistakes, which is why in Germany, under the doctrine of “universal jurisdiction”, a Syrian doctor is now on trial charged with crimes against humanity for torturing people in military hospitals. In the Netherlands, another Syrian was sentenced last July to 20 years in prison, accused of being a member of the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida affiliate. In Sweden, a former Iranian deputy public prosecutor is currently on trial over the mass execution and torture of prisoners in the 1980s.

Source

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A Fascinating Book: Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy with Latin Europe

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 20, 2021

Among the most powerful kingdoms in the medieval period was Solomonic Ethiopia, a Christian kingdom that sought out contact with Western Europe in the Late Middle Ages. The BBC speaks with Verena Krebs about contact between Solomonic Ethiopia and Western Europe, how historians have misconstrued Ethiopian interests in the past, and what we can learn when we dig into primary sources.

Verena Krebs is Professor for Medieval Cultural Realms and their Entanglements at the Ruhr University Bochum in Germany. Her new book, Medieval Ethiopian Kingship, Craft, and Diplomacy with Latin Europe, is published by Palgrave Macmillan.

💭 ድንቅ መጽሐፍ፤ የመካከለኛው ዘመን የኢትዮጵያ ንጉሳዊነት ፣ የእጅ ጥበብ እና ዲፕሎማሲ ከላቲን አውሮፓ ጋር።

አዎ! ግራኝ አህመድ ቀዳማዊ በክርስቶስ ተቃዋሚ ቱርክ እርዳታ የአውሬ ተግባር ከመፈጸሙ በፊት ገናና እና ኃያል በአውሮፓውያኑ ዘንድ በጣም የሚከበሩና የሚፈሩ ኢትዮጵያውያን ነገሥታት ነበሩ። 😈 ጂኒው ግራኝ አብዮት አህመድ ዳግማዊ ከመምጣቱ ከሦስት ዓመታት በፊት ካዛሬው ውዳቂ የኦሮሞ አገዛዝ የተሻሉትና የአክሱምን ነገሥታት እንደገና ለማንሰራራት አስተዋጽኦ ለማበርከት ጥሩ ዕድል የነበራቸው የሰሜን ሰዎች ኢትዮጵያን ተረክብዋት ነበር። አለመታደል ነው፤ መቼስ ትንቢት ሊፈጸም ግድ ስለሆነ ቅድስት ሃገራችን በግራኝ እጅ በድጋሚ ወደቀች። አረመኔውን ኦሮሞ ግራኝ አብዮት አህመድን የዲፕሎማሲን ሀ ሁ ቆጥሮ ለመረዳት የዛሬዎቹ አውሮፓውያን የሸለሙት የኖቤል ሰላም ሽልማት እንኳን ሊረዳው አልቻለም። ይህን ያህል ነው ፀረኢትዮጵያዊነቱ። ሰሜን ኢትዮጵያውያን አዋርዶና አድቅቆ ኦሮሚያን ለመመስረት ያለውን ህልም ወደ አሰፈሪ ቅዠት እንለውጠዋለን፤ በቅዱስ ሚካኤል አጋዥነት በእሳት ግራኝን እና መንጋውን በእሳት የምንጠርግበት ጊዜ ሩቅ አይሆንምና።

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Russia Needs To Embrace Ethiopia…Now!

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on March 6, 2017

Strategic Context

Ethiopia was the world’s second-fastest-growing economy in 2015 at a rate of 8.7% growth, and its top trading partners are China, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Ethiopia primarily exports energy and agricultural products in exchange for importing refined fuel and industrial-electrical machinery, both pairs of which are valuable businesses that Russia is sorely missing out on. As Moscow searches for reliable non-Western economic partners and seeks to enhance the commercial viability of its Crimean merchant vessels, its presence in Syria and affiliated post-Daesh reconstruction plans there, and the Russian industrial zone in the second Suez Canal, it would do well to consider expanding its north-south maritime trading corridor to include the Ethiopian marketplace.

China has already invested billions of dollars in building a railroad between the port of Djibouti and the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa which is expected to open up later this year, and it’s also constructing a similar transport corridor (LAPSSET) through the south beginning at the Kenyan port of Lamu. This East African initiative is also Chinese-built and will be able to accommodate twice as much cargo as the region’s presently busiest port of Mombasa, with the BBC estimating that its capacity will eventually reach the jaw-dropping figure of 20 million containers per year.

These two projects will unlock Ethiopia’s vast economic potential and save Russian companies from excessive start-up costs in accessing the world’s most populous landlocked market. Moreover, China plans to ensure the Djibouti-Addis Ababa railway’s international security through its first-ever overseas military deployment in the former, which will complementarily safeguard both the maritime and mainland components of this pivotal Silk Road node. Russia can thus utilize China’s enormous infrastructure investments in affordably capitalizing off of what otherwise would have been a prohibitively expensive market to access. Therefore, what follows is a listing of the three industries that Russia should endeavor to tap into, including a review of their economic potential, foreign competitors, and strategic opportunities for access.

Oil And Natural Gas

Russian strategic investments in Ethiopia’s promising energy sector could open the door for a more robust partnership between the two historically friendly states and should thus represent the focus of Moscow’s reengagement with Addis Ababa. Most of Ethiopia’s resources are concentrated in the eastern Somali Region’s Ogaden Basin, which includes an estimated 2.7 billion barrels of oil and 133 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

China just recently announced that it will invest over $4 billion in a gas pipeline to Djibouti and a liquefaction plant at the port terminal, while Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia for exporting its oil through the LAPSSET Corridor. The second initiative is still at the drawing board and nothing legally binding has been agreed to thus far, which excitedly gives Russian companies a competitive opening to involve themselves in the process, whether as it relates to LAPSSET or perhaps to a totally new oil export route alongside the Chinese-built gas pipeline to Djibouti.

Furthermore, it mustn’t be forgotten that Russia has world-class experience in oil and natural gas extraction, pipeline construction, and project management, and that it would be an invaluable partner for Ethiopia as the traditionally agricultural country rapidly modernizes into a manufacturing stronghold. Bringing Russia on board in some capacity could be strategically beneficial for Ethiopia in the long term, and after confidence-building measures have been undertaken in this industry, they could then spread to other ones, too.

Security

While the Chinese military deployment in Djibouti protects the Addis Ababa railway’s maritime terminus and bottleneck location, there’s no such international security guarantee present along the Horn of Africa’s interior locations. This is troublesome because the railroad and any future pipeline routes to Djibouti must pass through the Somali Region, the one part of Ethiopia most intensely beset by ethnic, religious, and separatist conflict potential.

The heavy-handed military presence in this large, sparsely populated corner of the country has largely succeeded in keeping the peace and preventing the neighboring Al Shabaab terrorist group from carrying out the sort of atrocities that it regularly commits in Somalia. Nonetheless, it’s uncertain just how efficient the Ethiopian Armed Forces could be here if they become distracted by peripheral crises with Eritrea, Sudan, and/or South Sudan, to say nothing of the Hybrid War that could break out in the centrally positioned and most populous region of Oromia over expanded Identity Federalism demands.

Russian technical and training expertise could therefore fill a gaping void in Ethiopia’s security needs by equipping the military with state-of-the-art capabilities in defending its borders and promptly responding to asymmetrical internal threats.

Conventional military exports could help thaw the Soviet-era partnership that has remained largely frozen since the end of the Cold War, and the type of aircraft and weaponry that were used to devastating anti-terrorist effect during the Syrian operation could function as an ideal solution for forcibly dealing with a Daesh-like terrorist surge in the Somali Region.

Not to be neglected, Russia’s expert community could also play an irreplaceable role. If Democratic Security experts teamed up with their special forces counterparts in teaching the Ethiopians how to counter the phased transition from Color Revolutions to Unconventional Wars, then the African giant could better insulate itself from Hybrid War threats and react more confidently whenever its many foreign adversaries try to provoke asymmetrical conflict within its borders. The unparalleled trust that this would create between the Russian and Ethiopian “deep states” (the permanent military-intelligence-diplomatic bureaucracies) would go a far way towards accelerating their belatedly renewed partnership.

Agriculture

Over 40% Ethiopia’s GDP, around 73% of its population, and 84% of its exports are tied to the agricultural industry, meaning that the country will still remain largely agrarian in the medium term despite its rapid industrialization drive. Ethiopia’s exports in this sector mostly amount to coffee, livestock products, fruits, and vegetables – all of which are in high demand in Russia after Moscow’s retaliatory actions against the EU sanctions. Even if that spat gets cleared up in the next couple of years, the Russian leadership has evidently made it a point to seek out non-Western replacements as part of its forward-looking strategy in preventing future overdependence on any single supplier.

Ethiopia’s agricultural advantages are that it has plenty of fertile soil and ample water supplies coupled with a hard-working and low-wage labor force. The Gulf Kingdoms have already recognized the promise that Ethiopia provides and have invested heavily in farming out their foodstuffs there. Russia would be wise to follow in their footsteps by capitalizing off of the comparatively low cost of entry and potentially limitless yields in this sphere, as well as working to generate consistent business in the country for its profitable fertilizer exports.

Due to the Gulf Kingdoms’ attention to this field, it can circumstantially be concluded that foreign-supported Salafist terrorists will probably not operate in these domains or interfere with their trade out of fear of inadvertently targeting their most likely patrons’ investments. The most agriculturally productive regions of the country are in the north and west, which are less Muslim-populated than the other half of Ethiopia and thus less at risk from militarized radicalism. Despite this, the danger remains that the ever-present threat of ethnic, political, or refugee violence (like in the agriculturally productive Gambella Region) could pose a latent risk to any Russian investments in this sector.

Concluding Thoughts

In the global context of the New Cold War and the accelerated trend towards multipolarity, Russia urgently needs a reliable anchor in Africa in order to establish a concrete and visible presence on the continent.

Ethiopia satisfies this strategic imperative and is the most logical partner for Russia to reach out to because of its relative closeness to Russia’s Black Sea shore, location just past the Sea Lines of Communication linking Crimea, Syria, and the Russian investment zone in the Suez Canal, and nearly 100-million-person marketplace. On top of all of this, the country is inexpensively accessible due to China’s Horn of Africa Silk Road railway between Djibouti and the capital of Addis Ababa.

Russia stands to gain handsomely in the energy, security, and agricultural sectors if it harnesses the political-economic will to strengthen its full-spectrum engagement with Ethiopia, but the only obstacle standing in the way of this profitable partnership is a lack of awareness about these exciting opportunities.

Source

My Note: While reading this interesting article, I paused for a while to ask myself whether a Russian / Soviet leader has ever made a visit to Ethiopia, a country that gave to Russia the likes of Alexander Pushkin and Peter Ustinov. The answer: NEVER! Amazing!

The great Russian military officer, explorer, writer, and leader of the imiaslavie movement in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Alexander Bulatovich, wrote in the 1896-98 report, ETHIOPIA THROUGH RUSSIAN EYES the following words concerning Ethiopia, Egypt and Russia:

For the Abyssinians, the Egyptian, Arab, and, finally, European civilization which they have gradually adopted has not been pernicious: borrowing the fruits of these civilizations, and in turn conquering and annexing neighboring tribes and passing on to them her culture, Abyssinia did not obliterate from the face of the earth, did not destroy the uniqueness of any one of the conquered tribes, but rather gave them all the possibility of preserving their individual characteristics.

Thus Christian Abyssinia plays an important role in world progress as a transmission point of European civilization to wild central African peoples.

The high civilizing mission of Abyssinia, its centuries-old, almost uninterrupted struggle for faith and freedom against the surrounding Moslems, the nearness of her people to the Russian people in creed, won for her the favor of the Russian people.

Not just educated Russians know of her and sympathize with her, but also the common folk who saw black Christians, devout and often living in poverty, in Jerusalem.

We see much in common in the cultural problems of Abyssinia with our affairs in the East; and we cannot help but wish that our co-religionist nation would assimilate the best achievements of European civilization, while preserving for itself freedom, independence, and that scrap of land which its ancestors owned and which our greedy white brothers want to take.”

Russian Bell, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Around 1890 to 1900 or just before the Illuminaty-conspired Russian Bolshevik October revolution, there was a great activity between the Russians and the Ethiopians.

This massive bell was a gift from Czar Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia. It is displayed on the grounds of St. George’s Cathedral.

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Posted in Ethiopia, Faith, Infotainment | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Auschwitz Genocide Against Which All Genocides Are Judged

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 27, 2015

BlueWhiteMy Note: It’s 27th of January, 2015 – 70th Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation. President Putin avoids this special anniversary event amid tension with Poland. But, what is the reason that neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden attended the anniversary? An accident, that, on this very day, President Obama and his most senior officials prefer to be in the notorious nation of Saudi Arabia to the notorious death camp of Auschwitz?

Lee Zeldin of New York, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, told the Guardian earlier that the president’s attendance at the Auschwitz ceremony would send a strong message about the US commitment to rooting out antisemitism, especially in light of the recent attacks in Paris.

One interesting thing I notices is that the very same colors of prisoner clothing worn as a uniform at the Auschwitz concentration camp – trousers and a jacket made of blue-and-white striped cotton ticking – are to be found in the national flags of three countries which these days make news that are related to one another. Greece, the cradle of democracy, where the most avowed atheist grabbed power yesterday, (a fatal mistake by Greeks) captured the ignominious title of most anti-Semitic country in Europe. In Argentina, the prosecutor who died mysteriously last week had evidence tying Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

There are these opportunities the president has unfortunately not been seizing upon to show the rest of the world just how strongly America stands committed to the cause of freedom and liberty, and a never-ending commitment towards or everything that is right and just,” said Zeldin.

Auschwitz: a short history of the largest mass murder site in human history

AuschwitzOn 27 January 1945 Soviet soldiers entered the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp complex in south-west Poland. The site had been evacuated by the Nazis just days earlier. Thus ended the largest mass murder in a single location in human history.

Precise numbers are still debated, but according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the German SS systematically killed at least 960,000 of the 1.1-1.3 million Jews deported to the camp. Other victims included approximately 74,000 Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war and at least 10,000 from other nationalities. More people died at Auschwitz than at any other Nazi concentration camp and probably than at any death camp in history.

The Soviet troops found grisly evidence of the horror. About 7,000 starving prisoners were found alive in the camp. Millions of items of clothing that once belonged to men, women and children were discovered along with 6,350kg of human hair. The Auschwitz museum holds more than 100,000 pairs of shoes, 12,000 kitchen utensils, 3,800 suitcases and 350 striped camp garments.

The first Nazi base in Auschwitz, named after the nearby Silesian town of Oświęcim, was set up in May 1940, 37 miles west of Krakow. Now known as Auschwitz I, the site covered 40 square kilometres.

In January 1942, the Nazi party decided to roll out the “Final Solution”. Camps dedicated solely to the extermination of Jews had been created before, but this was formalised by SS Lieutenant General Reinhard Heydrich in a speech at the Wannsee conference. The extermination camp Auschwitz II (or Auschwitz-Birkenau) was opened in the same year.

With its sections separated by barbed-wire fences, Auschwitz II had the largest prisoner population of any of the three main camps. In January 1942, the first chamber using lethal Zyklon B gas was built on the camp. This building was judged inadequate for killing on the scale the Nazis wanted, and four further chambers were built. These were used for systematic genocide right up until November 1944, two months before the camp was liberated.

This is not the limit of the horrors of Auschwitz I. It was also the site of disturbing medical experimentation on Jewish and Roma prisoners, including castration, sterilisation and testing how they were affected by contagious diseases. The infamous “Angel of Death”, SS captain Dr Josef Mengele, was one of the physicians practising here. His particular interest was experimenting on twins.

According to the numbers provided by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Auschwitz was the site of the most deaths (1.1 million) of any of the six dedicated extermination camps. By these estimates, Auschwitz was the site of at least one out of every six deaths during the Holocaust. The only camp with comparable figures was Treblinka in north-east Poland, where about 850,000 are thought to have died.

The third camp, Auschwitz III, also called Monowitz, was opened in October 1942. It was predominantly used as a base for imprisoned labourers working for the German chemical company IG Farben. According to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial museum, an estimated 10,000 labourers are thought to have died there. Once they were judged incapable of work, most were killed with a phenol injection to the heart.

The SS began to evacuate the camp in mid-January 1945. About 60,000 prisoners were forced to march 30 miles westwards where they could board trains to other concentration camps. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates 15,000 died during the journey, with the Nazis killing anyone who fell behind.

More than 7,000 Nazi personnel are thought to have served at Auschwitz but just a few hundred have been prosecuted for the crimes committed there. The pursuit of justice has not ceased, with German justice officials saying on 2013 that there were 30 surviving Auschwitz officials who should face prosecution.

Source

The 10 most anti-Semitic countries

  1. West Bank and Gaza
  2. Iraq
  3. Yemen
  4. Algeria
  5. Libya
  6. Tunisia
  7. Kuwait
  8. Bahrain
  9. Jordan
  10. Morocco/Qatar/UAE

Source

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History Shall Repeat Itself

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on August 7, 2013

AppealToday is Wednesday, Aug. 7, the 219th (2+1+9= 12=Ethiopian New Year’s Day (September, on a leap year) day of 2013. There are 146 (1+4+6= 11= September, Ethiopian New Year’s Day) days left in the year.

In 1989, a plane carrying U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Texas, and 14 others disappeared over Ethiopia. (The wreckage of the plane was found six days later; there were no survivors.)

In 1998, terrorist bombs at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. Any connection to today’s huge fire that has ravaged the main international airport in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi?

What else?

In 1932 , Abebe Bikila, the great Ethiopian marathon runner (Olympic-gold-1960, 64) was born today. Thanks, AB!

South African actress Charlize Theron is 38 (3 + 8= 11) Happy Birth Day!

Marathon runner Alberto Salazar is 55. ! Salazar has worked with the doping disgraced, Lance Armstrong, is now coaching the Somali-born Mo Farah who won gold medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters for Britain in the 2012 London Olympics. Mo ‘dop’ Farah is also working with American sprint coach John Smith, who has been linked to the BALCO drugs factory in California, which was at the center of one of the biggest scandals to hit the athletics sport.  Happy Doping day

Thought for today: It is foolhardy to start a fire just to see the flames (Ethiopian proverb)

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November 25, 523 – Crucial Day in History

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on November 7, 2009

EthioYemen

The amazing story below is about the massacre of Christians on the Arabian peninsula back in 500’s A.D.

It happened in what is present day Yemen, on November 25 – on the same day as the start to the Christian holy season prior to the Feast of the Nativity of Jesus – Lidet (Christmas) of Tsome Neviyat (the fast of the Prophets known as Sebket / Advent – 15 November to 28 December Ethiopian Calendar )

The massacre of Christians on November 25, 523 has changed the entire world history in a very mysterious fashion.

In the sixth century, the nation of Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia) dominated the kingdoms of Himyar and Yemen on the southern Arabian peninsula. There were flourishing Christian churches in the area (also known as Homerites) which looked to Christian Abyssinia for protection.

It happened that a Himyarite Jew, Yusuf As’ar (better known by nicknames referring to his braids or ponytail: Dhu Nuwas, Dzu Nuwas, Dounaas, or Masruq), seized the throne from his king and revolted against Abyssinia, seeking to throw the Ethiopians out of the country. He captured an Ethiopian garrison at Zafar and burned the church there and burned other Christian churches.

Christians were strongest at the North Yemen city called Najran (sometimes spelled Nagran or Nadjran). Dhu Nuwas attacked it. The Christians held the town with desperate valor. Dhu Nuwas found he could not capture it. And so he resorted to treachery. He swore that he would grant the Christians of Najran full amnesty if they would surrender. The Christians, knowing they could not hold out forever, yielded against the advice of their leader Arethas (Aretas or Harith).

What happened next was so appalling that Bishop Simeon of Beth Arsham (a Syrian) traveled to the site to interview eyewitnesses and write a report… “The Jews amassed all the martyr’s bones and brought them into the church where they heaped them up. They then brought in the priests, deacons, sub-deacons, readers, and sons and daughters of the covenant…they filled the church from wall to wall, some 2,000 persons according to the men who came from Najran; then they piled wood all round the outside of the church and set light to it, thus burning the church with everyone inside it.”

In the ensuing week, hundreds more Christians were martyred, among them many godly women, who were killed with the most horrible tortures when they refused to renounce Christ. According to Simeon, many were told “Deny Christ and the cross and become Jewish like us; then you shall live.”

Versions differ as to date, but one says that it was on this day, November 25, 523, Dhu Nuwas took his vengeance on Arethas and 340 followers, killing them. These men were quickly included in martyr lists in the Greek, Latin and Russian churches. A song was even written about them by one Johannes Psaltes, although it reports only about 200 deaths.

Other accounts written within a century add that deep pits were dug, filled with combustible material, and set afire. Christians who refused to change faiths were hurled into the flame, thousands dying in this painful martyrdom. Some think that this is the event that the Koran refers to when it says, “Cursed be the diggers of the trench, who lighted the consuming fire and sat around it to watch the faithful being put to the torture!” although Muslim commentators deny this.

A wealthy lady named Ruhm was compelled to watch her virgin daughter and granddaughter executed and to taste their blood before she was killed herself. Asked how the blood tasted, she answered, “Like a pure, spotless offering.”

When word reached Constantinople, the Roman Emperor encouraged the Ethiopian king Ellesbaas (Ella Atsbeha or Kaleb) to intervene, as did the Patriarch of Alexandra. Ellesbaas was only too willing to do so, since his garrisons had been massacred and fellow Christians killed. He destroyed Dhu Nuwas and established a Christian kingdom. An Ethiopian-Jewish writing known as the Kebra Nagast regarded the downfall of Dhu Nuwas to be the final catastrophe for the Kingdom of Judah. Another Ethiopian book told the story of the massacre under the title The Book of the Himyarites.

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