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Remembering Professor Amdetsion Kidane

Remembering Professor Amdetsion Kidane

By Haile Bokure

Professor Amdetsion was among those highly educated Eritreans of the post-war period. He was a Professor of Statistics at Howard University, one of the historic institutions that cultivated outstanding African-Americans like Ambassador Andrew Young including some Africans who were a driving forces in inspiring and liberating their people from colonial rule.

Professor Amdetsion as I knew him then, was an ardent, humble and prolific scholar. He was a frequent contributor in Dehai forum and other Eritrean websites. As a decent man-of-letters, he reviewed my book: “Antigone” by Sophocles both in English and Tigrigna languages. I am very grateful to him for encouraging me to keep writing in this fast-moving society we live in. For all this, I didn’t see him in person, but we had occasional conversations on the phone.

Professor Amdetsion was the author of two books one being “Tragedy and Sorrow” pertaining to the event of September 11. The slim book covers a very painful and memorable poems written by the families and friends of those innocent Americans who lost their precious lives in man-made inferno. The other book is in Tigrigna “ እኹል መለበሚ” explaining the impact of succeeding foreign domination on a typical Eritrean woman who ended up in exile with her entire family.

Of course, a cessation of life is a common denominator that we, mortals could not have a dominion over its divine entity. But his literary opus, and contributions in the Eritrean mass organization during the struggle years would endure for ever.

May he rest in peace.

Following is one of the poems composed by Professor Amdetsion in a memoir of those poor souls who lost their lives in the aftermath of untold human crime:-

“Why Does Man Inflict Hurt?”

The question “why”
Has lingered in my mind,
Why since time immemorial
Man has been unkind to a fellow man
As Cain was to his brother Abel?
Philosophers of the world
Enlighten me
With convincing explanation
Why man concocts evil act
On a fellow being so senselessly
As happened so recently.
The questions are still lingering in my mind
Tormenting me inside searching for an answer
Why man kills his fellow being?
And inflict sorrow on the bereaved?
By robbing him/her of earthly possessions?
And leaving him/her great hardship
I know for sure
Killing will not help him live longer
As the years he dispossessed others do not belong to him
Robbing other will not make him richer either
And smearing a fellow being’s personality
Will not add to his dignity?
Wise men of the world,
Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Hindus,
And of other nationalities wherever you may be
Explain to me with convincing philosophy
Why man hates, deprives and kills
Denying the right of his fellow being to live
Enlighten me with your proven wisdom
Why evil triumphs and becomes the norm.

Source:- Kidane, Amdetsion (2002). Tragedy and Sorrow. Page 22-23.

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