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Monday, 20 April 2009

Sadness and Joy ??

Tedla Asfaw

The news of the passing of the legendary singer Tilahune Gessese coincided with the 113 Boston Marathon today which was concluded few minutes ago by the heart breaking loss of  Dire Tune, the defending champion by one second to Salina of Kenya finishing 2:32:17 and  2:32:16 receptively. On the men's side Deriba Merga won the race by beating the Kenyan rival Daniel with 2:08:42 for 2:09:12.

Unfortunately, the Boston Ethiopians who wave the flag and gave encouragement for our runners as they always do and the millions  of Ethiopians who watched the race live back home, their celebration was overshadowed by the sad news of the day, the passing of Tilahune Gessesse  on Ethiopian Easter/Fasika yesterday.

The young runners of Ethiopia once again put the Ethiopian flag high and say thank you to Tilahune Gesesse, the legendary singer  who sang for mother Ethiopia for half a century,  way long before these runners were born. We are mourning and celebrating today and whenever Easter and Boston Marathon is coming every year we will once again celebrate our heroes.

" Etu Yeshaleshal, Yeshaleishal, Abebe Bikila Yagebashale, Tilahune Gessese Yedereshal". The song of the time loved by Ethiopians to show their love for our legendary marathon runner, Abebe Bikila and the legendary singer Tilahune Gessese indeed reflected on Ethiopians mind when they watched Boston Marathon, running and music.

Though Abebe Bikila passed many years ago, hundreds of Ethiopian athletes followed on his footsteps like they did today in Boston and put our country on top of long distance running. The passing of Tilahune Gessesse whose voice that match the best of the world  is indeed a loss for not only Ethiopia but the whole world.

The sadness especially is very personal for all Ethiopian athletes because it is hard to separate Abebe Bikila's achievement and Tilahune Gessese's contribution to Ethiopian music. One can say easily that Abebe conquered marathon with and without shoes and became a benchmark for excellence in long distance  while Tilahune Gessese's voice has been part of us for more than half a century by way of producing young singers, the likes of Teddy Afro currently locked up by the tribal regime of Ethiopia to deny us his talent.

It is indeed a double tragedy when a legend passed, young artist Teddy Afro is jailed. It is impossible to imagine athletes like Deriba Merga and Dire Tune's to come out without the influence of Abebe Bikila. Music and athletics are inseparable in Ethiopia. They are the ones who brings us together in sadness and joy.