Assefa Demissie Belete
Assefa Demissie Belete served in the Ethiopian army during the Korea War. He went to Korea at seventeen years of age in 1952. He was part of the famed Kagnew Battalion. The 2nd Kagnew Battalion served in Korea for one year and three months. Above all, Asefa Demissie Belete is excited to see what Korea has become. Further, Korea is like a brother to him. He has revisited Korea three times. His son even works in Korea. Assefa Demissie Belete wants Korea to keep being successful.
Danger in Korea
Assefa Demissie Belete describes the danger of Korea. For instance, he describes going on patrol at night and facing against the Chinese. But, he describes how the soldier did not have fear. Ethiopian soldiers were following orders. Assefa Demissie Belete describes one incident of a fellow soldier being hit by a heavy bomb. The other soldiers never found his body.
Bravery through Difficulties
Assefa Demissie Belete describes working with the 7th Division of the US military in the Korean War. Difficulties that the soldiers encountered was the snow and cold. Also, there were many snakes that were always following them. Overall, all of the troops fighting in Korea were very brave. When the troops came home to Ethiopia people received them nicely.
Assefa Demissie Belete describes his excitement for the transformation of Korea. He feels that Korea and Ethiopia are brothers. Ethiopia helped Korea, now Korea helps Ethiopia. Assefa Demissie Belete wants Korea to continue to help Ethiopia. Korea should not forget Ethiopian sacrifices.
[Beginning of Recorded Material]
Interviewer: It is November 13 2019 capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa my name is Jongwoo Han am the president of Korean War legacy foundation. We are ask by the Korean government to conduct this interviews for the 70th anniversary of the Korean War break up for next year. It is my great pleasure and honor to meet you sir. Please introduce yourself your name and spell it for the audience please?
Translator: የመጣሁት ከኮርያ ነው የእንናንተን ታሪክ ለማስጠበቅ የሚሰራ ድርጅት አለ የሱ ፕሬዝዳንት ነኝ እናየመጣሁት የናንተን ታሪክ ለማስቀመጥ እና የኛ የልጅ ልጆቻችሁን በትምህርት መልኩ እዲሰጥ ለማድረግ ነውየመጣሁት. ስለዚህ እባክዎትን ስምዎትን ያስተዋውቁኝ. (I came from Korea in order to keep your history alive. I am the president of the institution. We want to teach your children about your history. So please tell me your name.)
Assefa Demissie: My name is Sergeant Assefa Demissie Belete.
Translator: My name is Assefa Demissie.
Assefa Demissie: Demissie Belete.
Assefa Demissie: A S S E F A…
…D E M I S S I E.
Translator: የአያቶትን. (Your grandfather name?)
Assefa Demissie: Belete. B E L E T E.
Interviewer: Great. What is your birth day?
Translator: መቼ ነው የተወለዱት? (When were you born?)
Assefa Demissie: 1935.
Interviewer: 35. So how old are you?
Assefa Demissie: Now 86 years old.
Interviewer: 86 years old, you are the young group of Ethiopian soldiers.
Assefa Demissie: 17 in that time, when I was in Korea 17.
Interviewer: So tell me about what school did you go through here in Ethiopia?
Translator: ምን ትምህርት ቤት ነበር የገቡት የዛኔ ልጅ እያሉ? (What kind of school you joined?)
Assefa Demissie: Swedish mission entoto.
Translator: I was in a Swedish school.
Assefa Demissie: Swedish mission evangelical mission.
Interviewer: So what did they teach there? Did they teach in English?
Assefa Demissie: yeah English, Amharic.
Interviewer: So what did you learn from them?
Translator: ምንድን ነው የተማሩት? (What did you learn in school?)
Assefa Demissie: ኢንግሊሽ, አምሀሪክ ያው ሂሳብ ነው አካውንቲግ ነው ምሰራው. (English, Amharic, Math and Accounting.)
Translator: Also I use to learn mathematics.
Assefa Demissie: Mathematics, English, Amharic.
Interviewer: Did you learn any history of Ethiopia or any other country?
Assefa Demissie: No, no.
Interviewer: No, not at all?
Assefa Demissie: እኔ በድሬደዋ ጨርቃጨርቅ…
…ከዚህ ከኮርያ ዘመቻ በኃላ ድሬዳዋ ጨርቃጨርቅ ነበርኩኝ ለ36 አመት. (After I return from Korea I worked in Dire Dawa Textile Company for 36 years.)
Translator: ምንድን ነበር ሚሰሩት? (What was your job?)
Assefa Demissie: ፔይሮል ኦፊሰር የሂሳብ በሙሉ ፔይሮል ኦፊሰር ነበርኩኝ. (I was a payroll officer.)
Translator: When I get back from Korea I was payroll officer in Diredawa.
Assefa Demissie: Cotton Company.
Interviewer: So when did you join the military?
Translator: መቼ ነው ውትድርና የተቀላቀሉት? (When did you join the army?)
Assefa Demissie: እኔ በ 1943 ነው. (In 1943.)
Translator: በኛ ማለት ነው አይደለ? (In Ethiopia Calendar?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. (Yes.)
Translator: በኛ እዚ በ1943 የገቡት. (So you joined in 1943 Ethiopian Calendar?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. (Yes.)
Translator: I joined the military in 1950.
Interviewer: 50. And when did you leave for Korea?
Translator: ለኮርያስ መቼ ነበር የሄዱት? (So when did you went to Korea?)
Assefa Demissie: 1952.
Interviewer: Why does it takes two years when you go to Korea?
Translator: ሁለት አመት ለምንድን ነው የፈጀብዎት ወደ ኮርያ ለመሄድ? (Why does it takes two years to go to Korea?)
Assefa Demissie: ሁለት አመት አልፈጀም. አንድ አመት ከሶስት ወር ነው. (No, it was one year and three months.)
Translator: It took one year and three month.
Assefa Demissie: ስሪ መንዝ. ኤቭሪ ይር እንለዋወጣለን. (We replace each other every 1 year.)
Translator: I was there one year before.
Interviewer: One year. Ok so can you…
…tell me again, what year that you arrived in Korea?
Translator: መቼ ነበረ ኮርያ የደረሱት? ስንት አመተምህረት ነበር ያስታውሳሉ? (When did you arrive to Korea?)
Assefa Demissie: 1952 ነው. በግንቦት ነው ሀምሌ ይሆን. (In 1952, May or July I do not remember the month.)
Translator: It was in 1952 around May.
Interviewer: May. And where did you arrive in Korea? Busan?
Translator: የት ነበር? (Where did you arrive at?)
Assefa Demissie: Yeah Busan.
Interviewer: Busan, so tell me about the Busan that you first for the first time you saw? How was it?
Assefa Demissie: We are training in Busan 15 days after that just go front.
Interviewer: So how was Busan? How was living conditions of Korean people? How was it?
Assefa Demissie: They are living very poor, they…
…do not have money. በጣም ችግረኞች ነበሩ. (They were very poor.)
Translator: They were really poor at that time.
Interviewer: So from Busan where did you go?
Translator: ከቡሳን ወዴት ነበር የሄዱት ያስታውሳሉ? (Where did you went to after Busan?)
Assefa Demissie: ወደ ካሚል ሂል ይባላል ወደዛ ነው. (We went to camellia hill.)
Translator: It called Camel hill.
Assefa Demissie: Camel hill.
Interviewer: And how was the situation there? Was there any battle going around or how was it?
Translator: እንዴት ነበር እዛ አካባቢ ጦርነት በጣም ነበረ በዛ ሰአት? (How was the situation there? Was the war at strong times?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ በጣም, ከፍተኛ ጦርነት ነበረ. (Yes, the war was at its peak.)
Translator: Yeah it was.
Interviewer: Tell me about the details about the battle?
Translator: በደንብ ያብራሩልን. (Tell us in detail?)
Assefa Demissie: እኔ የሻለቃው የሁለተኛው ቃኘው ሻለቃ ሬዲዮ ኦፕሬተር ነኝ. ኤስ ቱ እና ኤስ ስሪ ይባላል.የዛ የሻለቃ ሬዲዮ ኦፕሬተር ነኝ. ከዛ የሚሰጠንን…
…ከአምስቱም ሻምበሎች የሚሰጡንን ሪፖርት ወደ ሬግመንት እናስተላልፋለን. (I was a radio operator of the ‘shaleka’ in the 2nd battalion. It was called S2 and S3. While I was radio operator we accept messages from five shambles and report it to the regiment.)
Translator: At that time I was a radio operator. It is called S2, S3 so every message we send to our regiment.
Interviewer: So did you work with the US military or what kind of message did you carry?
Translator: ከአሜሪካዎች ጋር ነበር የሚሰሩት እና ደሞ ምን አይነት መልእክት ነበረ…
…ሪፖርት የሚያደርጉት? (Were you working with Americans? And what kind of messages were you reporting?)
Assefa Demissie: ጠላት ከጠላት ውግያ በሚደረግብት ጊዜ ከጠላት የሚካሄደውን ነው ሪፖርትየምናደርገው. (During the war with the enemy, we report the situation in the fight.)
Translator: Everything that is happening in the battle we report to regiment.
Interviewer: And what was your unit?
Translator: ምድብዎት ምንድን ነበር የዛኔ? (What was your unit at that time?)
Assefa Demissie: የአምስቱንም ሻምበል ተቀብዬ…
…ለአለቃዬ አቀርባለው. አለቃዬ ከዛ ያሰባስብ እና ሪፖርት ያደርጋል. (I accept report from five shambles and give it to my leader and he report it to the regiment.)
Translator: የምድብዎት ስም ነው ያልኩዎት. (What was the name of your unit?)
Assefa Demissie: ኤስ ቱ እና ኤስ ስሪ. (S2 and S3.)
Translator: የምድቡ ስም ነው ኤስ ቱ እና ኤስ ስሪ. (Is it the name?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ ኤስ ቱ እና ኤስ ስሪ ነው ሚባለው. (Yes it is.)
Translator: My unit was S2, S3.
Interviewer: Yeah, so write it down please and where there any dangerous moments that you could be killed if there was anything like that please describe detail please.
Translator: በዛ ሰአት ያጋጠመዎት…
…የነበረ ልዩ የሆነ ትውስታ ወይም አደጋ የነበረው ነገር እስኪ እያብራሩ ይንገሩን ካጋጠመዎት. (Tell us if there is any special or dangerous moment you remember at that time?)
Assefa Demissie: እኔ አንድ አንድ ጊዜ ከሻምበሎቹ መድበውኝ ፓትሮል እወጣለሁ እና ፓትሮል ከምሽቱሁለት ሰአት እንሄዳለን አስር ሰአት ላይ እንመለሳለን. ይገኘሁትን ሪፖርት ሁለቱኛ ደሞ ካሚሊል…
…ላይ አንድ ኮርያዊ ማርከናል. (One time I was sent for patrol. We begin patrolling at 8 PM in the evening and return 4 AM after mid night. We surrender a Korean and return back to base.)
Translator: ሰሜንኮርያ? (Is it North Korean?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ ሰሜንኮርያዊ. ቻይናዊ ነው ይምንላቸው ቻይናዎችን ነው የማረክናቸው ምክንያቱምየነሱ እረዳቶች ናቸው እነሱ የነበሩት. (Yes North Korean. We called them Chinese we surrender at that because they support each other.)
Translator: So times we used to go out for patrol and then we use to check everything and then if we see something is happening…
…we use to report and then we use to go out in 8 PM in the evening time and then we use to go round and then see everything and check and then in camellia hill we surrender one North Korean but we use to call them Chinese.
Interviewer: But you said you patrol in night you can see much many things right? It was very scary must be right?
Translator: በዛሰአት ፓትሮል በሚያደርጉበት ሰአት ጨለማ ነው እና ምንም የሚያዩት ነገር የለም? (While you were in patrol was it dark?)
Assefa Demissie: እኛ አንድ ቦታ ላይ ይሉኩናል ቀን መጀመሪያ ቦታውን እንደዚህ አይነት ቦታ ላይነውአርፋቹ ሪፖርት ወደኛ አቅርቡ ነው የሚሉት. ከዛ የሚገኘውን ለሊት የምናገኘውን ራዲዮ እስተላልፋለው ለወገን. (When we sent we go to a certain place and we were told to report so we report the situation on the radio at night time.)
Translator: So our commander use to explain us in the moon time first and then we will go there…
…in the night even though still it was scary but we use to report us we order.
Interviewer: Any special memory you still have during your service in Korean War?
Translator: እዛ በሚያገለግሉ ጊዜ በጦርነት ላይ የሚያስታውሱት ልዩ የሆነ ትውስታ አለ? (While you were on the war was there any special moment you remember?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. አንድ የኛ መቶ አለቃ ፓትሮል ሄዶ ስለላ እንደሄደ እዛ ቦታ ላይ በቃ አነጣጥረው…
…በመትረየስ ገደሉት. ፈንጂ ጣሉበት ከርቀት ካሚሊል ሲጥሉበት እዛ ላይ ሞተ. (Yes, one commander of ours was sent for patrol and they shoot him with heavy gun and he died. This is one of the sad moment I remember.)
Translator: ፓትሮል ላይ ወጥቶ ማለት ነው? (He was dead while he was in patrol?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. እኔን ከመቶ አለቃ ጋር እና ከሰባት ወታደሮች ጋር ሄድን እዛ ቦታ ላይ ስንደርስ ምንምየተገኘ የለም ዳሽድ ሆኗል. ይህንን ነው በጣም አዝኜ የተመለስነው…
…እና አስከሬኑን ለማግኘት አልቻልንም ይህንን አስታውሳለው. (Yes, I was sent with a commander and seven soldiers to check for him in the area but there was nothing in the area they bombed the place. We could not even find his body and we returned sadly.)
Translator: The special thing I remember I could not say special but the dangerous thing I have seen in the war is one lieutenant our friend lieutenant go to patrol and the he was hit by really heavy machine in the middle of the night so also they.
Assefa Demissie: በአዳፍኔ ነው የተመታው. (He was hit by heavy gun.)
Translator: With the called “adafenea”…
…So it was really big bomb and then we could not even found his body when we get there with seven soldiers together with me.
Interviewer: Do you still have that horrible image and memory in your dream somehow?
Translator: አሁን ድረስ ያትውስታ አለ? በህልምዎ በምንም ያስታውሱታል? (Do you dream about it in night?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. በተፃፈው መፅሐፍ ላይ…
…እዛ ላይ ገልጻለው. (Yes, I remember it. It is even written in the book prepared. I have mentioned about it.)
Translator: I still remember that.
Assefa Demissie: ፉል ሂስትሪ እዛ ላይ አለ የኔ. (My full history is written in the book.)
Translator: So there is one book you can find it there the full history about me.
Interviewer: About you?
Assefa Demissie: Yeah, Yeah.
Interviewer: Did you get kagnew medal?
Translator: ሽልማት ተሸልመዋል ሜዳልያ ተሸልመዋል? (Where you awarded a medal?)
Assefa Demissie: እንዴ አዎ ታድያስ ያው. (Yes, I was awarded.)
Translator: Yeah I had.
Assefa Demissie: Have a look.
Interviewer: That is a lot there. Ok so what was the most difficult thing in Korea when you were their?
Translator: ኮርያ በነበሩበት ጊዜ በጣም አስቸጋሪው ነገር ምን ነበር? አየር ነው ምንድን ነበረ? (What was the difficult thing for you while you were in Korea? Was it the weather?)
Assefa Demissie: እሱማ በጣም ሀይለኛ በረዶ ነበረ እና በረዶውን እንደምንም ታግለናል. (The cold weather was difficult for us. We struggle very highly. )
Translator: It was the weather because the snow was really difficult even the ice was really difficult for us.
Interviewer: Any other thing that you…
…really did not like.
Translator: በጣም ያልወደዱት ሌላ ነገር አለ በዛ ሰአት? (Any other difficulties you face?)
Assefa Demissie: ምን? (Pardon me?)
Translator: በጣም ያስቸገረዎት ከአየሩ ውጭ ደሞ ሌላ በጣም ያስቸገረዎት. (Tell me if there was other difficult things you face?)
Assefa Demissie: እዛ ሀገር ላይ እባቦች ሁሉ አሉ ደግነቱ ሰው አይነክሱም. ድንኳን ስንተክል እዛውአጠገባችን እንትን የሚሉት. (There were a lot of snakes. We found them around our tents. The good thing they were not poisonous.)
Translator: The other thing is the snakes because there are so many snakes their but they do not bit…
…they just walked around with us in the tent.
Interviewer: Did you work with any other solder from other country?
Translator: ከሌላ ሀገር ወታደር ጋር አብረው ሰርተዋል? (Had you worked with other nation soldiers?)
Assefa Demissie: ፓትሮል ከሰባተኛ ዲቪዥን ጋር ተልኬ ፓትሮል እንትን ብዬ መጥቻለው ማስታውሰውታዝዤ ሄጄ. ከሰባተኛ ዲቪዥን. (Yes, I remembered I had patrolled with the 7th division.)
Translator: I go for patrol with the seventh division.
Interviewer: Seventh division…
…So the US soldiers right?
Translator: የአሜሪካዎቹ ወታደሮች ማለት ነው? (You mean with Americans?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. የአሜሪካን ወታደሮች. (Yes, the Americans.)
Interviewer: Who was most courageous brave than between Ethiopian solder and American solder?
Translator: ማን ነበር ጀግናው ከአሜሪካው እና ከኢትዮጵያው? (Who was most strong, Ethiopians or Americans?)
Assefa Demissie: መቼም ኢትዮጵያ እንከን የላትም እና በእውነት በአካባቢያችን ያሉት እንኳንይመሰክራሉ. (You know Ethiopia was almost perfect, there is no doubt on that even all others agree.)
Translator: There is no doubt in Ethiopian. Ethiopia is bravest one everybody can agree on that.
Interviewer: Can you give me some example?
Translator: ምሳሌ ይሰጡኛል እስኪ ጀግና የሚያስብላትን ነገር. (Give me some example that shows your heroism.)
Assefa Demissie: ጀግንነት መቼም አንድ ሰው የተላከ ሁሉ ሄዶ ይዋጋል የታወቀ ነው. ነገር ግን እያንዳንዱንዘርዝሮ መናገር ያስቸግራል. ለምሳሌ በአንደኛው ቃኘው የተለየ እንትን አላቸው ሁለተኛው ደግሞ የተለየ ነው እኔሁለተኛው ቃኘው ነኝ 1952 ነው የኔ. (Our heroism is that we accomplish the all mission we were given. The first battalion has their own heroism and the 2nd has its own. I was in the 2nd battalion. It is difficult to list all.)
Translator: So there is no one that I could say is not brave because everybody that been there participate and then is brave.
Interviewer: That is the right answer. I was just asking. So how long did you stay in Korea?
Translator: ምን ያህል ጊዜ ቆዩ ኮርያ? (How long you stayed in Korea?)
Assefa Demissie: አንድ አመት ከሶስት ወር. (One year and three months.)
Translator: I stayed there one year and three months.
Interviewer: So, when you left Korea was war still going around?
Translator: ከኮርያ ጥለው ሲመጡ ያኔም ጦርነት ነበር እርሶ ጥለው ሲመጡ? (When you returned back to Ethiopia, while the war was still going. Right?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. ሁለተኛ ቃኘው በጦርነቱ ላይ ጦርነት እንዳለ ነው ጥለን የመጣነው. እኛን የቀየሩት1953 soldier’s እነሱ ሶስት ወር ተዋጉ ከሶስት ወር በኃላ ጦርነቱ በቃ ቆመ. (Yes, the second battalion returned and the third replaced us. After they arrived in 1953 and fought for 3 months the war ended.)
Translator: There was still War in that time so the 1953 battalion they changed us so…
…after they fought three months and then the war stops.
Interviewer: So when you return from Korea how Ethiopian government and people received you?
Translator: ያኔ ከኮርያ ጦርነት ሲመለሱ የኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ እና የኢትዮጵያ መንግስት እንዴት ተቀበልዎት? (How did the people and government of Ethiopia accepted you when you come back?)
Assefa Demissie: በደንብ ነው በደንብ ነው የተቀበሉን በደንብ አርገው ነው የተቀበሉን. ስንሄድም ከአዲስአበባ ለምሳሌ ሁለተኛ ቃኘው…
…በከባድ መኪና ሰው እንዳያስቸግር ዱከም ላይ ነው ሄደን የተሳፈርነው ባቡር. (They welcomed us really well. It was all good. When we first went to Korea we go to Dukem by track and then by train till the port. That is to keep us not disturbed.)
Translator: They welcomed us really, really nicely.
Assefa Demissie: እያለቀሰ ህዝቡ. (The people were happily in tears.)
Translator: Even because of there was so many peoples waiting for us we changed our roots to go another place because it was so many people out there so they changed the road and then we go from another place.
Interviewer: And after that have you been back to Korea?
Translator: ከዛ በኃላ ኮርያ ሄደው ጎብኝተው ይውቃሉ? (Have you visited Korea after that?)
Assefa Demissie: ሶስት ጊዜ. (Three times.)
Translator: Three times.
Interviewer: Three times. You are very lucky. So you are in a right position to tell Ethiopian young children about the Korea in 1952 to 53 and now. How is been changed? Can you give me detail description?
Assefa Demissie: እጅግ አድርጌ ነው ማደንቀው. በኛ በሄድንበት ጊዜ ሶውል ራሱ በጣም ትንሽ ከተማሆና…
…በሙሉ የተመሰቃቀለ ሀገር ነበረ. ነገር ግን አሁን ስንሄድ የተለየ ሀገር ሆኖ ነው ያገኘነው በእውነት በጣም ነው ደስያለኝ እኔ እና የዘመትንበትን ቦታ ሁሉ ወስደውን አስጎብኝተውናል የተዋጋንበትን ቦታ. ያን ሁሉ አሳዩን በጣም በጣምነው ያደነኩት እኔ እና ጎበዝ ናቹ እናንተ ጥሩ ስራ ሰርታቹ መታየታቹ ታሪክ ነው ይሄ ሚመሰገን ነው በልልኝ. (I really appreciate it. While we first arrive in Korea Seoul was a small destroyed city. But in my recent visit it is totally different I was really happy to see the change. All the places we have been during the war are changed and developed. I am amazed you really did a good job. This is historic.)
Translator: I was really happy when I see Korea become like this changed because it was nothing back then that I hope to see but when I see this one it was really excited to see how changed Korea and I want to say really you guys are very, very clever that you change this country to this so please keep it up.
Assefa Demissie: እና የኔም ልጅ አሁን ኮርያ ነው ራሱ ዜግነቱ…
…ኮርያዊ ሆኗል. (And also my son is in Korea now. He got a Korean nationality.)
Translator: And also my son is living in Korea he is a Korean now.
Interviewer: What does he do?
Translator: ምንድን ነው ሚሰራው? (What did he do?)
Assefa Demissie: ፋክተሪ ውስጥ በየቦታው ይሰራል የፈለገውን ስራ በቃ ሀገሩ ነው ማለት ነው በለውእራሱ ዜግነቱ ኮርያዊ ነው ሄኖክ አሰፋ. (He works in factories. He can do anything in Korea. It is his country now. His name is Henok Assefa.)
Translator: His nationality is Korean because he is working everywhere now he is Korea is the second country for him.
Interviewer: What does …
…he doing in Korea.
Translator: He said he work in all factory.
Assefa Demissie: አንድ ልጅ እዛ ወልዶ ልጁም ያው. ሚስቱ ግን ኢትዮጵያዊ ነች በለው. (He is married and he has one children. His wife is Ethiopian.)
Translator: He have also a son in Korea.
Interviewer: So do you talk to him often or do you get some letter from him?
Translator: ደብዳቤ ያገኛሉ ወይስ በደንብ ያወራሉ ከሱጋር ከልጅዎት ጋር? (Do you exchange letters, how do you communicate with your son?)
Assefa Demissie: በስልክ ነው. (We use telephone.)
Translator: We often talk.
Assefa Demissie: ለምሳሌ አሁን በቀደም ለት ዶክተር አብይ የሄደ ጊዜ በኮርያ…
…ቋንቋ ያስተረጎመው እሱ ነው በለው ሄኖክ አሰፋ. (For example when our prime ministry Dr. Abiy visited Korea last time he was the translator to Korean.)
Translator: ለፕሬዚዳንቱ? (For the president.)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. (Yes.)
Translator: So he translated for our prime minister in Korea.
Interviewer: Very good.
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. እሱ ነው በኮርያዊ ቋንቋ የተረጎመ እና ሚተረጉም የነበረው እሱ ሲናገር. (Yes, he was the one translating between Amharic and Korean for the leaders.)
Interviewer: Does he like Korea there?
Translator: ኮርያ ይወዳል እዛ ተመችቶታል? (Does he like Korea?)
Assefa Demissie: ወዶታል. ወዶትማ ሀገሬ ብሏል. (Yes of course, that is why he is Korea now.)
Translator: Yeah he really likes Korea and the people.
Assefa Demissie: ቤትም ገዝቷል አሁን እዛ. (He bought a house there.)
Translator: He use to have a house there.
Interviewer: Very successful congratulations.
Assefa Demissie: እኔ እራሴ መሄድ እፍልጋለው በለው እዛ ሀገር ላይ የተወሰነ ጊዜ ኖሬ መምጣትእፈልጋለው. (I even went to go to Korea and live for some time.)
Translator: መጀመሪያ እንኳን ደስ አለዎት ልጆ ተሳክቶለት በጣም ብሎታል. (First congratulation that your son succeeded, you are happy right?)
Assefa Demissie: አዎ. (Yes.)
Translator: And also I want to, to go and see again.
Interviewer: Again yeah, yeah see this is the life you never imagine that you been Korea you did not even know about Korea now you been…
…Korea three times and even yours son is there.
Assefa Demissie: Yes.
Interviewer: So what is Korea to you now then? You did not Korea before and you fought for Korea now even your son is living in Korea so now you have a different idea about Korea right? And what is Korea to you?
Translator: ያኔ ኮርያን ሳያውቋት ነው ሁላ ሄደው የዘመቱላት እና ሂወትዎትን መስዋት ያረጉት እና እሁን ደሞልጅዎትም የልጅዎትም ቤተሰብ እዛ ሆነው እየኖሩ ነው…
…ስለዚ እስኪ ኮርያ ለርሶ ምንድን ናት? (At that time you fought for Korea without knowing about Korea well and you sacrificed your life for Korea and know your son is living in Korea. What is Korea to you?)
Assefa Demissie: ለኔ ሁለተኛ ሀገሬ ናት በለው. (Korea is my second country.)
Translator: Korea is my second country for me.
Interviewer: Ok, and what is the relationship between Ethiopia and Korea right now?
Translator: የኢትዮጵያ እና የኮርያ ግኑኝነት አሁን ላይ ምን አይነት ነው? (What is the relationship between Ethiopia and Korea now?)
Assefa Demissie: ያው የምለው በበለጠ ነው ተቀራርበው እንደ ሀገራችን ነው ምናያት. ሁለተኛ ሀገሬውደሞ ራሱ ኮርያ…
…እኛን እንደው በጣም ያው ውለታ ስላለባቸው በጣም ነው እኛን የሚያነሱት ሁል ጊዜ. (You know, we are related and so close now with Korea. It is my second country. The Koreans did not forget what we have done and they are doing well for us now.)
Translator: The relation we had with Korea is really strong because they treat us like we are brothers they never forgot what we have done and then they still are helping us in so many ways.
Assefa Demissie: ደሞ እየረዱን ነው እነሱ በየሁለት ወሩ 2100 ብር…
…ይከፍሉናል ይልኩልናል. (They help us a lot. We are getting 2100 Ethiopian birr every two months.)
Translator: Also they are supporting us on money every two month.
Assefa Demissie: እና ውለታቸውን አረሱም አሁንም እየጠበቅን ነው ከመሞታችን በፊት በበለጠእንዲረዱን ያስፈልጋል በለው. (So they are doing great in helping us. It is good we got this support before we died.)
Translator: They never forget what did there.
Interviewer: It is great. We have such relationship and next year will be 70th anniversary…
…of the Korean War do you have any message for the Korean people about Korean War and 70th anniversary.
Translator: አሁን የሚቀጥለው 70ኛ አመቱ ይከበራል እና ስለሱ ስለጦርነቱ እና ማንኛውንም መናገር የሚፈልጉትልዩ የሆነ መልእክት አለዎት ለኮርያ ህዝብ. (Next year the 70th anniversary will be celebrated. If there is anything you want to say about it for the Korean people. Let me give you the chance.)
Assefa Demissie: እኛ በጦርነቱ ላይ ስለተዋጋንላቸው በበለጠ እንደሚያመሰግኑን እየተጠባበቅን ነው.ሁለተኛ…
…ደሞ እኛ አሁን እድሚያችን እራሱ ወደ 86 አመቴ ነው እድሜያችንም እያለቀ ስለሆነ ከመሞታችን በፊት በበለጠአንድ ነገር እንዲያደርጉልን ነው ምመኘው እና ደሞ ሁለቱኛ እነሱ በአሉ የተከበረ እንዲያደርገው. 70ኛው ነው አይደልሚባለው? (We know that they are doing a lot for us because we fought in Korea war but we are getting older now, for example I am 86 years old so before we left this life something better should be done. It is the 70th anniversary right?)
Translator: አዎ. (Yes.)
Assefa Demissie: ከሁለት አመት በኃላ ማለት ነው? (Is it after two years?)
Translator: አይ በሚቀጥለው. (No, it is next year.)
Assefa Demissie: በሚቀጥለው? (Next year?)
Translator: አዎ. የሚመጣው አመት. (Yes, Next year?)
Translator: So what I want to say for the Korean people is you are helping us…
…supporting us on so many way’s so I want you to continue this because we need that help yours so and I want to thank you and then I want to say keep it up what you are doing.
Interviewer: In Ethiopia in the school I don’t think they really teach about the Korean War you fought for why is that?
Translator: እዚህ ኢትዮጵያ እናንተ ሄዳቹ ስለተፋለማችሁት ፍልሚያ ኢትዮጵያ…
…በትምህርት መንገድ አይሰጥም ለምን ይመስልዎታል? (The history of the Korean war and your history is not included in the education system. Why is that?)
Assefa Demissie: እዚህ ነው? (Here in Ethiopia?)
Translator: እዚህ አዎ. (Yes.)
Assefa Demissie: እዚህ የማይሰጥበት ምክንያት ብዙ የተባበሩት መንግሥታቶች ስላሉ እንደው ዘር ዘርእርጎ መግለፅ ያስቸግራል ይህ ነው እንጂ ቢደረግ ጥሩ ነው. (Am not sure but, since they teach world historyin school they did not teach it in details. But I say it should be taught in schools.)
Translator: I know that they did not learn this generation did not learn about this Korean War but I do not know the reason behind.
Interviewer: Ok alright sir do you have any other story you still have it when you have not told me yet.
Translator: የሚያስታውሱት ወይም የሚያስታውሱት ነገር እና ያለ ታሪክ አለ ያልነገሩኝ ለኔ. በኮርያ ጦርነት ላይ. (If there is any history you did not tell me in the Korean War. Here is a chance.)
Assefa Demissie: ይህ ነው እንግዲህ ሌላ የተጨመረ የለም. ሌላው ደሞ እንደዚ እንትን ይላል. ምክንያቱምጊዜው እረዘም ያለ ስለሆነ እያንዳንዱን በቃ ዲቴል ለመግለፅ ይህ ነው ችግር ያለብን. (This is all I can tell. Since it is long ago it is difficult to remember and tell you everything in detail.)
Translator: That is all I remember because it is been long time.
Interviewer: Thank you sir again for you fight for Korea and thank you for receiving me in your home this is been great and we will continue to work together okay for the for the cause of the Korean War thank you.
Translator: ላደረጉት ነገር ለመስዋቱ በጣም እናመሰግናለን መጥታቹ ስላተፋችሁን በጣም እናመሰግናለን እያለነው. (We would like to thank you for fighting for us in the war.)
Assefa Demissie: እሺ እኔም. (Thank you.)
Interviewer: Thank you.
[End of Recorded Material]