Report from Ethiopia

Dear Friends,

During the last ten days we filmed another fundamental chapter in the story of If Only I Were That Warrior. We traveled to where it all began: Ethiopia.

We spent a lot of time with Giuseppe Debac, one of the film’s main characters. Giuseppe is an agronomist at the head of FAO’s agricultural projects in the northern region of Tigray. He introduced us to this beautiful part of the country, and showed us the impact of Italian aid and cooperation in today’s Ethiopia.

But Giuseppe is also a history buff, and an expert on the Italian-Ethiopian conflict, taking advantage of his long days in the field to search for the signs of the Italian troops’ passage. We followed him to some of the battlefields of the Italian invasion of 1936, where tangible remains of the war can still be found.

The last few days of our trip were spent in the capital Addis Ababa. Here we met with some of the most authoritative voices on the history of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia. Richard Pankhurst, founder of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University, and his wife Rita have been living in Ethiopia for more than half a century, and have authored an extensive body of work on Ethiopian history and the Italian period in particular.

Mr. Ian Campbell, also a longtime Addis resident, is probably the greatest expert when it comes to Graziani’s career in Ethiopia and the massacres that took place under his command in Addis Ababa and in Debre Libanos. His 20-year long research led to the publication of the first ever detailed account of these events.

While in Addis we also wanted to check out its famous Ethio-Jazz scene, which we were lucky enough to catch on tape at the historic Jazzamba. This storied club is a landmark in the Piazza district — the old Italian neighborhood.

Thanks to all the people who welcomed us in this fascinating country. And once again, a huge thank you goes to our supporters on Kickstarter who made this trip possible. Ameseginalehu!


The If Only I Were That Warrior Team