My Facebook Newsfeed is Covered in Blood

5th January 2016  By Melody Sundberg

An endless stream of pictures of injured and dead people. Pictures of men and women lying on beds or on the street. Some of them are surrounded by a grieving crowd, others are alone. Some of them are crying and screaming because of their pain, some are staring hopelessly into nothing. For the last few weeks my Facebook newsfeed has been covered in blood.

The injured and dead are protesters. They criticized the irresponsible expansion of Addis Ababa, the capital in Ethiopia, that is threatening to displace Oromo farmers living close to the city. Many of the protesters are students coming from universities. They wanted someone to listen. They demanded their basic human rights to be respected. Now, they are dead. The closeup photos of their horrifying injuries makes me feel sick to my stomach.

In many countries, these people would have been allowed to hold their peaceful demonstrations without interference. Their right to protest would have been respected. But not in Ethiopia, not under the governance of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, because they make sure that anyone who is protesting, criticizing or demanding their rights gets tortured, jailed or killed. The pictures that have flooded Facebook are speaking a clear language. The police use brutal force on peaceful protesters, and for the last few weeks not only protesters have been targeted, but the crackdown on press freedom in general has intensified too. Journalists have been jailed, and the blogging group Zone 9 Bloggers, who were released in July respectively October 2015, have been summoned to court again. The ending of 2015 and the start of 2016 does not look good.

But there is still hope, and it is lit by people who refuse to give up. Among the pictures of injured and dead, other pictures show up. They are coming from Ethiopia, USA, Sweden, Australia, Netherlands, and many other countries. Dressed in black and with down-turned faces, people continue their protests in silence. Holding their fists crossed, as if they are shackled, they are showing solidarity with the protesters who were robbed of their freedom and lives; in a country where no one is allowed to express opinions, no one is free. Their determination and message is clear: They will not let the evil win.

Melody Sundberg
Project manager of Untold Stories. Photographer and artist. Educated in Psychology.

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Dear Melody,

Thank you for becoming a voice for the voiceless. My facebook and twitter page is also covered with the blood of peaceful protesters mostly students as young as 7.

I am not an Oromo but like hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians I was forced to flee my country because the authoritarian regime was not happy with what I was writing about the land grab in Gambella and Oromia.

The regime is killing people in most of the regions in the country but no one is reporting about it. Besides, many people are dying of starvation and still there is no report about it.

From a refugee camp in Sweden I am daily posting about #OromoProtests which has now become #EthiopiaProtests.

We will soon be free but the cost of becoming free is going to be high and bloody.

Thank you once again for telling our stories. You have become our witness and at least our dying and suffering is not in vain.

Hi Meloday,
Thank you for speaking out. Even though I am not in Ethiopia, I have not been able sleep for the past 2 months for the reasons you clearly described. The TPLF is doing what all dictators have been doing to stay in power. The question is how can peaceful protesters get support from world communities?
For organizations and governments whose interests are to keep the TPLF on power, we have very little chance to get their attention. However, there are groups and media outlets who care. Can you please kindly help us spread new.
Thank you so much

My dear brother, your words this very clear what the Oromo people live from mass murder and expulsion from their agricultural lands by the dictatorial government. But does this appeal to ears ???? The death toll so far has reached more than 140 people dead and the wounded and injured has reached to a large extent even hospitals are full of them. In the final I thank you for the wonderful effort to save this people Almthd. Thank you so much

From Ethiopia…..No democracy no human right In Ethiopia because peoples killed simply by the gov.ts soldiers any attempt to protest peacefully results death and arrest.the situation is serious the ruling class killed three peoples from one family mother with two students are killed and arrested including farmers merchants…..please say something give us ur ear speak the voice of victemed oromo peoples in Ethiopia Africa….many tnxs!!

Dear sister Melody,
You are a true human being from this ugly and cruel world. When Western powers finance and support the terrorist and genocidal Tgre regime, your exposing the crimes committed against the protesting Oromo school children.

I thank you very much.

Asafa Jalata

God bless u, Sister

Dear Ms Melody,
You made me cry; you made me feel the torture while I am thousands of miles away here in the Netherlands, where I live in exile. My heart bleeds not just because of your touching narration, but because it is the reality in which I grew up since my childhood. My own story is not different from what you narrate here. It hurts. It really hurts deep. I feel guilt for surviving, while others are dying. What can I do? What can you do?
Let’s begin with this. I, with other friends organized a rally on 14th of January, 2016 in Brussels in front of EU Parliament from 10:00 – 13:00. We know EU has a lot of economic, cooperation and aid leverage on Ethiopian government, the government who commits these heinous crimes against humanity. Let’s ask if EU can help? Let’s ask if a clear call for humanity, justice and democracy attract the ear of EU as enshrined in their laws. Let’s ask them to live up to their promises, values and constitutions. Let’s demand them to stop the genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia. Let’s march together for Justice!

I wanna apreciate you!because you have true eye
you have fair mind
you wish peace
you wish freedom.
For look from out what the dictator of ethiopia happen to innocent civilian,student!i want to say thankeyou!

I think this will be where you can work and it is a virgin , please you have much followers on this issue and thank you in advance for giving your attention.

Thank you for being witness how US and UN works and government kills its people to cling to power rather than working for its people.
The say “development” but what type of development is this which impoverish huge percentage of population and make few millionaires ? As you know 15000000 people need food aid in Ethiopia.
This is how the world is today and only we OROMOS in particular and the whole Ethiopians must fight to get rid of this injustice torture and killing! With this type of divide and rule policy Ethiopia will not have bright future. No “Adwa” any more with this situation! There is too much blood on the hands of “Ethiopia!”
Hope other ethnic groups in Ethiopia realize the positive or negative impact of this situation to join or not.

Unforgettable.Little love is a drope of water giving strength not our advice and certainly not our judgment.Stay focused,Stay steady do the right thing each and every day.He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.water win pour out in the dry places stream will flow in the desert.It’s not land grab only it’s life grab.There is nothing so powerful as truth,and often nothing so strange.The best way to pursuit happiness is to help other people.There’s nothing else that will make you happy.Thank you so much for every thing you express Oromo student protest.

Stay blessed


I thank you very much

Dear Melody,

First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to what you are doing in relation to human rights issues in Ethiopia and other countries. I am glad to know that there are people like you. You are just working for the mere benefit of voiceless people who are suffering too much just because they were born in those countries. I have a big hope and wish the effort made by those citizens, you and few others in the fight will bear fruit.

May God be with you and pay back your sincere!

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