Oromay by Bealu Girma Book PDF Summary
This is the first complete English translation of Bealu Girma's classic. Originally published in 1983 in Ethiopia, the novel served as a critical account of the Red Star Campaign, the Communist Derg government's attempt at a final comprehensive victory over the secessionist rebellion in Eritrea. A passionate and turbulent story of love and war, Oromay mocked high-level members of Ethiopia's communist regime and criticized the Derg's actions in Eritrea. The criticism contained in this incisive political allegory put Bealu in considerable danger owing to the repressive environment in which it was published. The novel was almost immediately banned after publication. Government officials attempted to confiscate all available copies but bootleg versions continued to circulate. In the aftermath, Bealu was fired from his job in Ethiopia's Ministry of Information and a few months later disappeared. It is generally believed that he was abducted and killed on the orders of government officials in retaliation for Oromay. Bealu's life had a dramatic arc of its own. Born in rural Ethiopia to an Ethiopian mother and Indian father, he was a graduate of Addis Ababa University and later studied journalism in the United States. In addition to serving as editor of several of Ethiopia's most respected magazines and newspapers (including Addis Zemen and The Ethiopian Herald) he also worked as a civil servant in Ethiopia's Ministry of Information. This position allowed him access to government officials during both the Imperial and Communist governments. Prior to Oromay, he wrote five other popular and critically-acclaimed Amharic-language novels: Beyond the Horizon, The Bell of Conscience, The Call of the Red Star, Haddis, and The Author. His integrity as a journalist, courageous criticism of repressive regimes, and martyrdom to the cause of literary freedom make him a significant figure in modern Ethiopian history and Amharic literature.