Friday, 30 September 2016

Ethiopia's old soldiers

The best thing about travel is the unexpected, the chance encounters that happen as you're just wandering around. For example, I was checking out St George's Cathedral in Addis Ababa - built to commemorate the victims of Italy's 1930s invasion of Ethiopia - when a bunch of war veterans turned up for an official photo session. The Italians killed tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians, including with poison gas, and the country's war veterans are revered. (The invaders were eventually pushed out, just as they were in the 1890s). I'm not sure if these old soldiers are old enough to have fought in the 1930s but there was no mistaking the respect Ethiopians have for them. It felt a bit like being at an Anzac Day service in New Zealand. I didn't know enough Amharic to say anything to them but I'm sure they understood my salute.

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