Books

Wake up world. Read this book.

Justice Magazine

1. Old & New Covers

On the left is the cover for the 2nd edition of Lucy’s People: An Ethiopian Memoir by Mesfin Tadesse. On the right image is the cover for our 1st edition. Our book is for general readers over 16. To read a definition of ‘memoir’ click here.

2. Lucy

Who Was Lucy?

Lucy is the nickname for the fossil of an early hominoid, who lived in Ethiopia. In Ethiopian Amharic, she is Dnknesh. Dnknesh is a name for girls. It means, ‘you are marvellous and unique’.

3. Synopses

Non-Spoiler

In May 1991, the communist party governs Ethiopia. It orders Mesfin to stop work at a nuclear-missile factory. Foreign-backed rebels rampage towards Addis Ababa. Does the young engineer stay or leave? Born during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I, Mesfin’s early education & home life are inspiring. 1974 brings revolution and terror to Ethiopians. Conscripted in his teens, he trains for the Airborne special force. Earning 2 engineering degrees, he then serves his family and country. From a family of decorated war veterans and patriots, Mesfin strives to be his best. His people are survivors like Lucy, the hominid fossil from Ethiopia’s Rift Valley. After 3.2-million-years, her skeleton is intact. What will the new rulers do to this heritage and Ethiopian workers?

Alert

Here is a spoiler synopsis. It tells what happens.

Derg Fails

Ethiopian engineer Mesfin has endured 17 years under the communist Derg. In May 1991, the party orders him to stop work at a nuclear missile factory. Foreign-backed rebels rampage towards Addis Ababa.

Early Life

Her people are survivors like the 3.2-million-year-old skeleton of the early hominid Lucy.

Mesfin is born during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I. Click here, to read our post about him. He comes from a family of decorated war veterans. His father commands Border Security. Between 1935 and 1941, his mother fought against Mussolini’s fascists. While playing chess with generals, Mesfin learns about Ethiopia’s role in pan-Africanism.

In Addis Ababa, Mesfin attends Emperor Haile Selassie I’s Jubilee in Palace School, plays in the palace grounds, falls asleep with a lion, and stows away on trains. He learns of Ethiopia’s resistance to invaders – she has not been colonised. View statistics here. Her people are survivors like the 3.2-million-year-old skeleton of the early hominid Lucy. To read about her, click here.

Mesfin learns traditional Ethiopian skills. His role models include women: Mama Teliqwa, his patriot grandmother, and Engineer Queen Saba (Sheba) of antiquity.

Youth

He trains for the Airborne special force.

In 1973, Mesfin and a friend discover famine survivors outside Addis Ababa. Their fathers get them to the city, but revolution follows. The communists shoot Mesfin’s father, imprison his mother and murder the emperor. The children face hunger, Derg raids and Red Terror death squads. Imprisoned dozens of times, Mesfin is tortured repeatedly. View a documentary about the Derg & its Red Terror – WARNING: this is disturbing. Click here.

Mesfin completes his first degree, in construction engineering. Then at 16, he is conscripted and trains for Airborne special force. To view a documentary about it, click here. At the Eritrean war front he survives missions impossible. Saved by a general, Mesfin returns to study. He gains a second engineering degree in water development. This is in Egypt as a United Nations Development Programme scholarship recipient. Mesfin then works as a construction and water-development engineer in Ethiopia.

Departure

Mesfin and his wife move south, hosted by Konso farmers, who are brilliant with animals and technology.

Until the last, the Derg continues to conscript youth though millions have died in the Eritrean War of Independence. To read about it, click here. The young soldiers then flee the rebel government. Mesfin and his wife move south. Konso farmers host them. They are brilliant with animals and technology. Elders invite Mesfin to stay on, but his wife wants to leave. The couple departs for Kenya.

For book extracts, click here.

4. Review

In 13 years, I have not read an Ethiopian book like this one. It is genuine and tells the truth fearlessly. Amazingly, this story has come to us from Australia.

For more than 4 centuries, Arabic nations and Europe have frequently been hostile towards Ethiopia. They have proven to be a unique enemy to Lucy’s people. This is because they are unforgiving. Today, Europeans, Americans and Middle Easterners attack in many ways.

Recently, they have been a huge headache. For example, we have not been left in peace to build a dam on our own Blue Nile River. It starts in the middle of Ethiopia, crosses Sudan and flows to Egypt, yet they oppose our own hydroelectricity and irrigation project for agriculture.

The authors of Lucy’s People: An Ethiopian Memoir reside in Australia. Because of this, they have a refreshing perspective on the treatment of Ethiopia by outsiders. Wake up world. Read this book.

___”Around the World.” Review of Lucy’s People: An Ethiopian Memoir, by Mesfin Tadesse & Ianet Bastyan. Justice Magazine, May 1-2, 2020. Translated by Mesfin Tadesse.

5. Bibliographic Details

  • Title: Lucy’s People: An Ethiopian Memoir
  • Authors: Mesfin Tadesse & Ianet Bastyan
  • Publisher: Yerada Lij Australia
  • Place: Perth, Western Australia
  • Date: 2020
  • Length: 287 pages ; 10 portraits
  • Price: 17 AUD; 200 ETB
  • ISBN: 9780648828709
  • Series: Saba & Lucy’s People books ; 1

  • Photos: Muger Cement Factory Workers © Selfie by Mesfin Tadesse, 1989?; Lion of Judah at Addis Ababa University Museum © Mesfin Tadesse, 2020; Tigalachin Halwelt Monument, Addis Ababa © Mesfin Tadesse, 198-; Lucy’s People Books © Ianet Bastyan, 2021; Addis Ababa Bookshop © Ianet Bastyan, 2020

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