On the Run in the Blue Nile

On-the-Run-Image My memoir, On the Run in the Blue Nile, has been published. You can buy the book from Createspace or Amazon.com for $17.95.

I have written this book to tell my survival story: how I managed to avoid death in spite of numerous attempts by government authorities in Ethiopia to arrest and kill me during the Ethiopian Revolution of the 1970s. My political persecution was a consequence of being a member of an opposition group, the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Party (EPRP). My survival story is a testament to the human spirit’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable adversities.

My story is only one of thousands that could be told by Ethiopians who experienced Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam’s brutal regime from 1974 to 1991. The Mengistu regime commanded as many as half a million regular soldiers and militiamen. It had a communist ideology and was heavily armed by the former Soviet Union and other communist countries. It is believed that about one million Ethiopians were killed or injured during the Mengistu regime. Thousands of intellectuals, including teachers, students, and other professionals, were gunned down, tortured, and imprisoned. A generation of educated Ethiopians was lost in a span of a few years.

The destruction did not end there. Government officials confiscated the properties of countless city dwellers, including businesses and houses. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Ethiopians were displaced from their homes, becoming refugees in the neighboring countries of Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, and elsewhere. The lives of nearly all Ethiopians were negatively affected by the Mengistu regime, in one way or another. The Mengistu regime was without a doubt one of the harshest in human history.

Although this book is not primarily about the Ethiopian revolution that deposed Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1974, I have provided a brief historical background about why and how the revolution began, as well as written the story of my own involvement in a literacy campaign promoted by the Mengistu regime. I have also interjected some personal and family stories in the memoir. Finally, I have reflected on the culture and values of the people in the countryside of my home province Gojjam, where I spent two of my three years in hiding.

Gizachew Tiruneh, Ph. D.
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
University of Central Arkansas
Conway, Arkansas, U.S.A.