Project Description

Alemu Tebeje Ayele

 Alemu Tebeje Ayele

Alemu Tebeje Ayele is an Ethiopian exile journalist, teacher, poet, community activist and website campaigner based in London. He studied Ethiopian Languages and Literature, and Journalism at the universities of Addis Ababa and Wales respectively. He was also awarded a Diploma in Education and Training at the University of Westminster. His poems have been published in two anthologies ‘’Forever Spoken’’ and ‘’No Serenity Here’’, and other online and print literary magazines including Modern Poetry In Translation and The Missing Slate. He co-admins a website,, named after one of the Ethiopian literary giants, Tsegaye Gebre Medhin Lucha (a.k.a. Debteraw). Debteraw was a founding member of the EPRP, former leader of the Ethiopian Student Movement, poet and Amharic language expert. Debteraw fell into the hands of the current regime in June 1991 and was killed later on.

Greetings to the people of Europe!

Over land and sea, your fathers came to Africa
and unpacked bibles by the thousand,
filling our ancestors with words of love:

if someone slaps your right cheek,
let him slap your left cheek too!
if someone takes your coat,
let him have your trousers too!

Now we, their children’s children,
inheriting the words your fathers left behind,
our bodies slapped and stripped
by our lifetime presidents,

are braving seas and leaky boats,
cold waves of fear –
let salt winds punch our faces and your coast-guards
pluck us from the water like oily birds!

but here we are at last to knock at your front door,
hoping against hope that you remember
all the lovely words your fathers preached to ours.

ሰላምታ ለአውሮፓ ህዝብ!

አባቶቻችሁ! . . . በምድርም በሰማይ አቆራርጠው መጥተው፣
በአፍሪካ . . . መጽሀፍ ቅዱስን በገፍ አሰራጭተው!
ለቀደምቶቻችን፣ እንደዚህ እያሉ፣ ፍቅር ነበር ሰብከው:

ጉንጭህን ለሚመታ ደግሞ፣
ሁለተኛውን ስጠው፣
መጎናጸፊያህንም ለሚወስድ፣
እጄ ጠባብህን ደግሞ አትከልክለው . . .

አሁንም! . . . የእነሱ ልጅ ልጆች. . . እኛ!
የአባቶቻችሁ ልምድ ወራሽ፣ ህመምተኛ!
የስየል፣ የእርዛት የግፍ ሰለባዎች፣
ባገር በቀል ጨቋኝ፣ ለዕድሜ ተገዢዎች፣

ባህር አቆራረጠን፣ በአረጁ ጀልባዎች ፣
አስፈሪ ማዕበል፣ የተፋን ግልቶች፣
በጨዋማው ንፋስ፣ በድንበር ጠባቂ ወታደሮ ቻችሁ፣
በጥፊ ተላግተን፣ መለመላችንን ቆመን ከፊታችሁ፣
ከሞት የተረፍን . . . ይዘው እያወጡ ዘይት እንደገቡ ብርቅ ወፎቻችሁ!

ይኸው መጨረሻ ማንኳኳት ይዘናል ደርሰን ከበራችሁ፣
የተስፋ ቅራሬ ተስፋ በመሰነቅ፣ እንዳልተረሷችሁ፣
እኒያ! እኒያ! እኒያ! የፍቅር ቃላቱ . . . ለእኛ አባቶች የእናንት ያኔ የሰበኩቱ።