Yekatit 12, Ethiopian Martyrs’ Day

Today, February 19, is remembered by Ethiopians around the world as Martyrs’ Day in commemoration of one of the bloodiest days of the Italian occupation. On February 19 (Yekatit 12 in the Ethiopian calendar) 1937, following an attack on the life of Viceroy Rodolfo Graziani, the city of Addis Ababa was swept by a wave of indiscriminate violence at the hands of Fascist blackshirts and Italian civilians. Brutal reprisals continued in the following months as Graziani took advantage of the attack to suppress all opposition to his rule in the new colony.

One of the most infamous episodes of this period of violence was the massacre that took place at the monastery of Debre Libanos in May of the same year. While filming in Ethiopia, we recorded the account of an eyewitness to those events, which you can view here. This interview will also be featured in the film.

This day is important for us because it was one year ago that we launched the Kickstarter campaign for If Only I Were That Warrior. Thanks to you we were able to undertake of a journey across three continents, filming so much great footage and telling this important story. And now we are finally close to finishing the movie.

We have finished scoring the film with original music composed by Francesco Venturi, and we have begun sound mixing with Luigi Porto here in New York. As we move closer to a final cut, our editor and visual effects guru Giovanni Pompetti is also working on our archival material, creating beautiful animations that will bring the images to life.

Over the weekend meetings and events to commemorate Yekatit 12 will be taking place in cities across the world. If you would like to learn more about these events, contact the Global Alliance for Justice – The Ethiopian Cause. If you are in Rome, our friends of the Ethiopian Community and F.A.R.I. are organizing an event here.

Stay tuned for more updates soon.

The If Only I Were That Warrior Team