By Melody Sundberg |

The communication is working, but no one is answering. It is too late to warn. The arrests have already taken place. In just a few hours, nine of Jomanex Kasaye friends have been arrested. He knows that it will only be a matter of time before the police will come after him. He has to leave his country – and his home. The reason is that just like his friends, he is a human rights activist.

Jomanex Kasaye’s deep, dark brown eyes tell a story of their own. They are filled with kindness and compassion, and yet a hint of sadness. We meet at the end of June. It is a beautiful, warm summer’s day and the rays of the afternoon sun shine through the windows. I find myself regretting having asked what he misses from his home country of Ethiopia, from which he was forced to leave. The man who, just before the interview, was laughing and joking is now silent. He looks slightly past me, into nothing. His eyes fill with sorrow; what he sees is a memory. After a long silence, he answers my question in a quiet voice.

– What is there not to miss? Everything. The friends’ smiles. Macchiato, the coffee. My mother’s calls. The landlords. My friends. From small to big things – I miss everything. I do not want to think about it… it hurts. I do not want to accept it. I miss everything.

Jomanex used to live a decent life in a small town. He owned a computer shop and Internet café. The business was going pretty well, but corruption made things difficult. The power of the government and ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), stretches far and wide. Sometimes, the omnipotence of their power affected his business, hindering him from doing what he wanted to do. Being young and ambitious, Jomanex felt his life was not fulfilled under such restrictions. He describes it as an unfinished chapter in his life.

Continue reading the full interview on Untold Stories of the Silenced 
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