Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum
Red Terror Martyrs' Memorial Museum: A Testament to a Tragic Past
The Red Terror Martyrs' Memorial Museum, located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a poignant reminder of the brutal regime of the Derg government, under which the "Red Terror" took place. Established in 2010, the museum serves to honor the memory of those who lost their lives during this tragic period of Ethiopian history.
Within the museum, visitors are confronted with chilling exhibits, including torture instruments, skulls and bones, coffins, blood-stained clothes, and photographs of victims. The guides provide free tours, recounting the history leading up to the Red Terror, starting from Haile Selassie's 80th birthday celebration. They also delve into the actions taken against citizens who opposed the Derg, the treatment of prisoners, and the secret forms of communication among the detainees.
The museum also offers a pictorial chronicle of the Red Terror, further immortalizing the lives of its victims. This grim period of Ethiopian history culminated in the conviction of Mengistu Haile Mariam, the leader of the Derg regime, who was found guilty of genocide in absentia and initially sentenced to life imprisonment in 2007.
However, Mengistu received sanctuary in Zimbabwe due to his friendship with Robert Mugabe, who stated that they would not extradite him. In May 2008, the Ethiopian Supreme Court further sentenced Mengistu to death in absentia. Eighteen of Mengistu's associates also received death sentences - two reside in the Italian embassy in Addis Ababa and sixteen are in Ethiopian prisons. Another individual, Kelbessa Negewo, who was found guilty in absentia in May 2002, was extradited from the United States to serve a life sentence in Ethiopia.
The Red Terror Martyrs' Memorial Museum is a sobering testament to a brutal era in Ethiopia's past, reminding visitors of the importance of remembering history to prevent the recurrence of such atrocities.
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