Fekede Belachew served in the Ethiopian military in Korea. His service came after the signing of the armistice. However, he came into contact with many Chinese soldiers. Tasks for soldiers during this time were to be a presence in case of invasion. While there was no fighting, Fekede Belachew went on patrols and protected Korea from the threat of invasion. He also saw children starving and donated part of his wages to an orphanage in Seoul. He is happy for what South Korea has become and would fight again if called upon.
Medley of Korean War Topics
Fekede Belachew describes various topics about his Korean War experience. He discusses talking to wounded returning soldiers about their experience. He describes Korean people in sad shape. He also describes that the Americans supplied United Nations troops with food and clothing.
Service After Armistice
Fekede Belachew describes his service after the Korean War. He explains how the thought at the time was the Communists would break the truce. Fekede Belachew patrolled jungle where he frequently encountered Chinese at a distance. He also describes his fondness for injera, an Ethiopian dish, that he missed in Korea.
Very Happy for Korea
Fekede Belachew describes the amazing transformation that South Korea has taken after the war. His service contributed to the security of South Korea. He describes how he would still defend Korea if called upon.
[Beginning of Recorded Material]
Interviewer: It is November 15 2019 the capital city of Ethiopia Addis Ababa my name is Jongwoohan I am the president of Korea war legacy foundation we have above fifteen hundred interviews of Korean Veterans from 19 countries that participate in the Korean War. We are doing this interview specially commission by the ministry of Patriot and Veterans Affairs of Republic of Korea to memory the 70th anniversary of the…
…breakup of the Korean War next year in 2020. It is my great honor and pleasure to have you and thank you for coming. Please introduce yourself, your name and spell it for the audience please.
Translator: እኔ የመጣሁት የናንተን ታሪክ ለማስጠበቅ ብለው የኮርያ መንግሥት ነው የላከኝ እና ድርጅቴ እንዲሰራይህን ቃለ ምልልስ ተልኬ ነው የመጣሁት. የእናንተን ታሪክ አስቀምጠን ለልጅ ልጆቻችሁ ትምህርት መማሪያ እንዲሆንእና ታሪካችሁ ተረስቶ እንዳይቀር በሚል ነው የመጣሁት…
… የተላኩት ከኮርያ መንግሥት ነው. አሁን ሙሉ ስምዎትን ያስተዋውቁኝ. ስለመጡ በጣም አመሰግናለሁ. (I come here to preserve your history. I am sent from Korean government to interview Korean War Veterans. We will save your history and your children and grandchildren’s will learn from it and it will not be forgotten. I want to thank you for coming to the interview. Please tell me your full name?)
Fekede Belachew: ፈቀደ በላቸው. (Fekede Belachew)
Translator: My name is Fekede Belachew am gone to spell it F E K E D E and the middle name B E L A C H E W
Interviewer: What is your birthday sir?
Translator: መቼ ነው የተወለዱት አባባ? (When were you born?)
Fekede Belachew: በ 1926. (In 1934.)
Translator: በ 26 ነው የተወለዱት? (Where you born at 34?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ. (Yes.)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ. (Yes.)
Translator: I was born in 1943.
Interviewer: 1933. So how old are you sir now?
Translator: ስንት አመትዎት ነው ማለት ነው አሁን? (So how old are you now?)
Fekede Belachew: አሁን 86. (Now I am 86.)
Translator: Now I am 86 years old.
Interviewer: 86 years old. So you are one of the youngest Ethiopian solider alone Korean War veterans hear right?
Translator: እስካሁን ካገኘናቸው ዘማች ወታደሮች ትንሹ እርሶ ኖት. (You are the youngest Veterans we have ever met.)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ. (Yes.)
Interviewer: Good to be young.
Translator: ወጣት መሆን ደስ ይላል. (It’s good to be young.)
Interviewer: And where were you born?
Translator: የት ነበር የተወለዱት? (Where were you born?)
Fekede Belachew: አዲስ አበባ. (Addis Ababa.)
Translator: I was born in Addis Ababa.
Interviewer: So when you and tell me about your family background. Your parents and your brothers and sisters when you growing up?
Translator: እስኪ ሲወለዱ ያኔ ልጅ እያሉ…
…ስለ እናትዎት እና ስለ ቤተሰብዎት እስኪ ይንገሩን? ስንት ወንድም ነበረዎት ስንት እህት ነበረዎት? (Tell us about your mother and family when you were a child? How many brothers and sisters did you had?)
Fekede Belachew: አንድ ሴት እና አንድ ወንድ. (I had one brother and one sister.)
Translator: I have one sister and one brother at that time.
Translator: እናት እና አባትዎትስ? (What about your mother and father?)
Fekede Belachew: እናት እና አባቴ ሞተዋል. ነበሩ ሞተዋል እዚህ ጊዮርጊስ ነው የተቀበሩት. (My mother and father are died and they buried in St. Georgies church here in Addis.)
Translator: Also we use to live with my mother and father but they passed away now.
Interviewer: And what kind of school did you attend?
Translator: ምን አይነት ትምህርት ቤት ነበር የሚማሩት አባባ? (What kind of school did you attend?)
Fekede Belachew: እኔ ምንም አይነት ትምህርት አልተማርኩም. ቄስ ትምህርት ቤት…
…ብቻ ተማርኩ እና ከዛ ወደ ወታደርነት ገባው. ድሆች ስለነበሩ አባት እና እናቴ. (I did not attend any modern school. I only attend at priest school and then I joined the military because my father and my mother were poor.)
Translator: I study on religious school at that time because there is no school but I didn’t join the school.
Interviewer: So when did you join the military then?
Translator: መቼ ነበር ውትድርናውን የተቀላቀሉት? (When did you join the military?)
Fekede Belachew: በ 43 አ.ም. (In1950 A.D.)
Translator: በ 43 አ.ም.? (In1950 A.D?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ. (Yes.)
Translator: I joined the military in 1950.
Interviewer: 50. Did you learn anything about Korea by the time history or…
…where it was in the map or anything about Korea?
Translator: በዛን ጊዜ ስለ ኮርያ የሚያውቁት ነገር አለ? ትምህርት ላይ በመማር ታሪካዊ ትምህርት በመማር ያውቃሉ? (Did you know anything about Korea at that time? May be if you take history lesson?)
Fekede Belachew: ምንም አላውቅም. (I don’t know anything.)
Translator: I did not know about anything about Korea.
Interviewer: And when did you leave for Korea from Ethiopia?
Translator: ወደ ኮርያ ጦርነት መቼ ነበር የሄዱት? (When did you go to the Korean War?)
Fekede Belachew: በ 46. (In1953.)
Translator: በ 1946 ነው የሄዱት? (Did you leave in1953?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ በ46. (Yes in 1946.)
Translator: I was in Korea in 1953.
Interviewer: 53. Was it…
…during the war or after the war?
Translator: ያኔ ሲደርሱ ጦርነት ነበር ወይስ ጦርነት ካበቃ በኃላ ነው? (When you arrived, was there a war or was it over?)
Fekede Belachew: ገና ጦርነቱ እንደቆመ ነው ቀጥታውን እኛ የደረስነው. (We just arrived when the war was over.)
Translator: We was there when the war was stopped at that time.
Interviewer: Was it after or?
Translator: After the war.
Interviewer: So you landed in Korea after the war. Okay and when you were in Ethiopia before you left for Korea did you see Ethiopian…
…solider returning from Korea and if so what did they talk to you I mean what did they told you about the Korean War.
Translator: ያኔ እርሶ ወደ ኮርይ ከመሄድዎ በፊት ኮርያ ዘምተው የመጡ ሌላ ዘማቾችን ያዩ ነበር? (Did you see any other soldiers who came from Korea before you went to Korea?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ አያለው. (Yes, I have seen.)
Translator: ካገኙስ በኃላ ምን ይነግርዎት ነበረ? ምንስ ይባል ነበር? (What did they tell you after you found them? What did they say?)
Fekede Belachew: እነ አንደኛው ቃኘው እና ሁለተኛው ቃኘው በሚሄዱበት ጊዜ ከባድ ጦርነት ነው እና በጣምበጣም አስከፊ ጦርነት ነው ብለው ቆስለው የመጡ ወታደሮች ይነግሩን ነበር. (The injured Veterans from first and second battalion told us that the war was very, very Harish and terrible.)
Translator: Yes, There was the first And the second battalion used tell us and also we used to see them came back from the Korea and then the wounded soldiers use to tell us that it was really, really difficult situation back then the war was really, really hard so the used to tell us like that.
Interviewer: I see. And how did you go to Korea was it ship or and if it was ship how was it? Was it difficult ride?
Translator: በምንድን ነበር ኮርያ የሄዱት? በመርከብ ነበር? (What transport did you use when you go to Korea? Was it on a ship?)
Fekede Belachew: በመርከብ ነው. (It was ship.)
Translator: በመርከብስ ከሆነ እንዴት ነበር? ስሜቱን ይንገሩኝ የዛኔ የተሰማዎትን? (If it was by ship? Tell me what you feel?)
Fekede Belachew: በጣም ያማል, ወደላይ ይላል የበላነውም የጠጣነውም ወደላይ እንትን ይለናል እያስታወክን በቃበዚህ ምክንያት ነው የሄድነው. ቡሳን ድረስ ነው የሄድነው. በቡሳን በኩል. (It make us sick. We were all Veterans vomiting. We did not feel comfortable all the way to Busan.)
Translator: It was really dizzy…
…inside the ship and also through up so many times because it was really dizzy in that time and then we pass to we arrive in Busan.
Interviewer: Because Ethiopian is land locked country there is no access to the sea otherwise you have to cross the border of Somali right? When did you land in Korea? How was it? How did it look to you for the first time you never knew anything about Korea before? …
…So when you landed how did it look to you?
Translator: መቼ ነበር ኮርያ የደረሱት እና ልክ ኮርያ ሲደርሱ ያዩት እና የተሰማዎት ነገር ኮርያን ሲያዩት ምንድን ነበር? (When did you arrive to Korea and what did you see and feel when you arrived in Korea?)
FEKEDE BELACHEW: ኮርያ ምን በጠቅላላ በጣም ምስቅልቅል ብሏል ሀገሬው ህዝብ በጠቅላላ ምንም ደስተኛአይደለም ህዝቡ በቃ ወዲያ እና ወዲህ ይላል በቃ ያየነው ነገር. (As a whole Korea was in mess and the people of the country were not happy at all and they run all over the place.)
Translator: መቼ ነበር የደረሱት? (When did you arrive?)
Fekede Belachew: እኛ በ ታህሳስ ነው ምንናምን አካባቢ ጥቅምት አካባቢ. (We arrived on December or may be on October.)
Translator: በዛው አመት ማለት ነው? (On the same year?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ. (Yes.)
Translator: We landed in 1953 so everything was damaged in that time everything was destroyed in that time we could not see anything but the destroyed land there.
Interviewer: So compare to Ethiopia, Korea was much worse right?
Translator: ከኢትዮጵያ ጋር ስትወዳደ ኮርያ የዛን ጊዜ በጣም ደሀ ነበረች አይደል? (Korea were very poor at the time compared to Ethiopia, right?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ በጣም በጣም እኛ የምንበለውን ሁሉ ለነሱ…
…እንሰጥ ነበር. የሚሰጠንን በጠቅላላ ለእነሱ ነው የምንሰጠው. ሰሀን ምናምን ሲሉን በቃ ድሆች ናቸው ብለንቀጥታ ስንረዳቸው ነበር የምንበላውን ምግብ. (Yes, we always give them our food for the people. We give everything to them what we take. They were so poor.)
Translator: Yeah they were really, really poorest than Ethiopian in that time. We use to give the our left over, we use to give our food even in that time.
Interviewer: Did not they have anything to eat or how was it and what about the children? Did they go around and asking…
…for food? How was it?
Translator: በዛ ሰአት ምግብ የሚበሉት የላቸውም ነበር ማለት ነው? እንደዛ የሚበሉት እና ልጆቹስ ይመጡናይለምኗቹ ነበር? (Does that mean they do not have nothing to eat at that time? And did the children come and beg you for food?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ ልጆቹም, ትልልቆቹም, አሮጊቶቹ ሁሉ እየመጡ ምግብ ስጡን ይሉናል. አባባ ሳና ምናምንእማማ ሳና ይሉናል ቀጥታውን ምግብ ምንሰጣቸውን እንሰጣለን ይበላሉ. (Yes, the children, the adults and the old people all come and tell us to feed them. They call us Daddy Sana, Mama Sana. Then we give them food and they ate.)
Translator: Yeah there was no food they cannot eat so the children even the old person came to us and beg for food also in that time and…
…we will give them.
Interviewer: Must be Very sad.
Translator: በጣም ያሳዝን ነበር ማለት ነው. (It was very so sad.)
Fekede Belachew: በጣም በጣም ነው የምናዝነው, ልጆቹ ምናምን በቃ የምንበላውን ለነሱ ነው የምንሰጠው በቃበጣም እያዘንን. ጦርነት ላይ እኛ እንበላለን እንጠጣለን እነዚህ አሁን በእዚህ አገር ላይ የሚበሉት አጡ የሚቀምሱትአጡ አጥተው ነው ብለን እያዘንን በጣም ነበር የምናዝነው. (We were very, very sad and we gave the children what we eat and we were very touched. In war we eat and drink. We were saddened that these people now had nothing to eat in this country.)
Translator: It was really sad because we are eating but they are not eating so we use to give what we said that
Interviewer: And did you get the…
…uniform and weapons from U.S. military in Busan?
Translator: ያኔ ቡሳን በደረሱ ጊዜ የወታደር ልብስ እና የወታደር ሽጉጥ የተሰጥዎት ከአሜሪካ ነበር? (When you arrived in Busan, did the American gave you military cloth and weapons?)
Fekede Belachew: አሜሪካን ነው የሰጠን. (Yes it was the America gave us.)
Translator: Yes the American gave us.
Interviewer: So from Busan where did you go?
Translator: ከቡሳን ወዴት ነበር የሄዱት? (Where did you go from Busan?)
Fekede Belachew: እኛ ቦታውን አናውቀውም በመኪና ነው ቀጥታውን በመኪና ወሰዱን የትዴት እንዳደረጉን እኛሀገሩን አናውቀውም. (We don’t know the place, they took us by car and we don’t know the country where they took us.)
Translator: We did not know where they were took us because they took us with car so we did not where.
Interviewer: Where you 3rd battalion and what was your specialty.
Translator: ሶስተኛው ቃኘው ነበሩ አደለ? (Where you 3rd battalion?)
Fekede Belachew: አራተኛ ቃኘው ነው ቅያሪ የተቀየርነው እኛ ነን የቀየርናቸው. (We are 4th battalion, we replaced them.)
Translator: አራተኛ ቃኘውን? (The 4th battalion?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ እኛ ነን የቀየርናቸው ሶስተኛውን. (Yes, we replaced the 3rd battalion.)
Translator: ሶስተኛውን? ስለዚህ አራተኛው ቃኘው ነዎት እርሶ? (The 3rd? So you are 4th battalion?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ አራተኛው. (Yes the 4th.)
Translator: እሺ የዛኔ ምንድን ነበር የሚችሉት? ተኳሽ ነበሩ? ወታደር ነበሩ? (So what was your specialty at that time? Were you shooter?)
Fekede Belachew: እግረኛ ወታደር ነኝ.
ጠብመንጃ ኤም 1 እይዛለሁ ቢአር 57 ሁሉንም እተኩሳለሁ. (I am an infantryman. I carry a gun M1, BR 57, I can shoot it all.)
Translator: So I was in 4th battalion so we change the 3rd battalion and I was a solider infantry we use to I use to shoot M1 gun and also B4 and 57.
Interviewer: So how was the situation in front line was there any battle going around or was just come and…
…peace full and if so why did you have to server there.
Translator: በዛን ጊዜ ፊት ለፊት በነበሩበት ጊዜ ውጊያው ላይ ጦርነት ነበረ? እንዴት ነበረ? በጣም አደገኛ ነበረ? ወይስ ሰላም ነበረ? (At that time when you were on front line was there a war? How was it? Was it very dangerous? Or was there peace?)
Fekede Belachew: ሰላም ነው. እኛ ስንመጣ ሰላም ነው የደረስነው. እኛ ስናይ እነሱ ባንከርን ይዘው ቀጥታውንወጡ እኛ ቦታውን ተረከብን. (It was Peace full when we arrive. They left the Banker and we over took.)
Translator: ለምን ነበር ትድያ እዛ የነበራችሁት? ምን እያረጋቹ ነበረ? (So why were you there? What were you doing?)
Fekede Belachew: ፖትሮል እንወጣለን. አሁን አሁን ይተኮሳል አሁን አሁን ይተኩሳሉ እያልን ቀጥታውን ቁጭ ብለንብቻ ጠብመንጃውን ይዘን መጠበቅ ብቻ ነው…
…ጥይት አጉርሰን. (We patrol the area. We were on standby waiting for the enemy to fire.)
Translator: So the war was stopped almost there but we were doing for patrol at that time because we have to see we were not sure at that time but the war was stop because we were expecting a shoot from the enemy side but we used to be just patrol and then keep eyes on.
Interviewer: So there was no shoot going around and just patrolling right?
Translator: ያማለት የሽጉጥ ተኩስ አልነበረም ፓትሮል ማረግ ብቻ ነበረ? (So there was no gun fire only patrol?)
Fekede Belachew: ፓትሮል ብቻ ነው. ማታ 11 ሰአት
ማነው 11:30 እንሄድና በጫካ ውስጥ ጫካ ጫካውን ውስጡን እየሄድን ማታ ደግሞ እዛው አድረን ሲጋራ ማጨስየለም እሳት ላይ አንድ ነገር ማሳየት የለም ሁላችንም ከሰል መስለን ጥላሸት ለብሰን ሄደን ተደብቀን 11 ሰአት ከለሌቱእንወጣለን. ሲጋራ ማጨስ የለም ምን የለም በቃ እዛው ጫካ ውስጥ. ደግሞ እነሱ ይነጋገራሉ ቻይናዎቹ ከማዶ. (It’s just a patrol. At 11:30 o’clock in the night we go through the forest and spend the night there, no smoking, no showing anything on the fire. There is no smoking. We paint our self with shadows and charcoal to get darker. We hide our self in there. We get back at 5 o’clock before morning. We hear the Chinese speaking during our patrol.)
Translator: So in that time there was no war it was
peaceful but we use go out and patrol around 5PM with started 5 PM and then we used to hide inside the jungle there is no fire we have to do we cannot smoke in that time because if they see the smoke they will come so we did not use that but we still see the Chinese hiding from the far away from us so we was really waiting for them.
Was there any dangerous moment you could be wounded or killed?
Translator: በዛን ሰአት…
…ሊሞቱ ወይም ሊጎዱ የሚችሉበት አደጋ አጋጥሞዎታል? (Was there you in danger of being killed or injured at that time?)
FEKEDE BELACHEW: ምንም እስካሁን እኔ በተጠንቀቅ ነው ያለሁት እኔ እሞታለሁ ብዬ ስላሰብኩ ምንምየማስበው የለም አልደነግጥም ምንም አልልም. (No, We were just ready to fight. I thought about dying at the moment but nothing happened through I did not fear anything.)
Translator: አላጋጠምዎትም ሞትም? አላገጠምዎትም ወይም? (So there was no dangerous?)
Fekede Belachew: ምንም አንድም ነገር አላጋጠመኝም. (Nothing dangerous happened.)
Translator: Nothing happen.
Interviewer: Did you sleep in the tenet or on core and what about eating? How was living condition there?
Translator: የት ነበር የሚተኙት ድንኳን ውስጥ ነው ወይስ ምሽጎት ላይ ነው? (Where did you sleep in a tent or in a banker?)
Fekede Belachew: ምሽግ ውስጥ ነው. (It was in banker.)
Translator: የሚበሉትስ ምን ነበረ? (What did you eat?)
Fekede Belachew: እዛው ይመጣል በሄሊኮፕተር አምጥተው እዛው ይሰጡናል በባንከር ውስጥ ነው ምሳ ሚሰጡንበመኪና በሄሊኮፕተር አምጥተው ቦታው በጣም ተራራ የበዛበት ነው. ተራራ የሚባል አንድ ቦታ አለ. በጣም መጥፎቦታ እዛ ነበር የምንጠብቀው እና በሄሊኮፕተር አምጥተው ምግብ ይሰጣሉ ውስጥ ውስጡን በባንከር ውስጥአምጥተው ምግብ የሚሰጡን. (We get food in our banker. They bring us food with helicopter and vehicles. Since the area was mountain we wait for the food in a designated place and they bring us the food through the banker to that place.)
Translator: So we used to sleep in our banker at that time and then the food was coming from the helicopter because it was in the mountain…
…we had our banker so we use to eat and we use to sleep in the banker.
Interviewer: And what was the most difficult thing in your service in Korea was it weather or was it anything?
Translator: በዛ ሰአት በጣም ያስቸገረዎት የነበረው ነገር ምንድን ነበር? አየሩ ነበር, ምግቡ ነበር, ምኑ ነበር በጣምአስቸጋሪ የነበረው ነገር? (What was the difficult thing for you at the time? Was it the air? Was it the food? What was the hardest thing?)
Fekede Belachew: ምግቡ በጣም ሀይለኛ ነው ከባድ ነው. ምግቡ በጣም ስንበላም በቃ አይስማማንም እንጀራለምደናል በቃ ዳቦ
ጁስ ምናምን እንደዚህ እያደረግን እሱን ነው የምንጠጣው. ሻይ, ወተት ምናምን እንጂ ስጋው ምናምኑ በጣምይከብደን ነበር. (It was difficult for us to eat the food. Since we were adapted to our cultural food ‘injera’. We could not eat the meat meal, we only eat the bread, juice and milk.)
Translator: The most difficult thing was learning the food because we used to eat injera
Translator: So it was really difficult for us to eat every time bread with juice with eggs and the meat even was not like Ethiopia so it was really difficult the food.
Interviewer: I tried injera and I could not eat I did not really enjoy to be honest with you because it was to sour but you like it right?
Translator: እኔም እንጀራ ለመብላት ሞክሬያለሁ እና ትንሽዬ ይቆመጥጣል ምንም ልወደው አልቻልኩም. (I also tried to eat injera and it tasted a little sour I couldn’t like it.)
Fekede Belachew: አንድ ነው. ለኛ ጥሩ ነው ለእናንተ ደግሞ . (It is the same. It’s good for us and but not for you.)
Translator: It is good for us but it is not good for the foreigners.
Interviewer: So it is not sour to you at all?
Translator: ለእኛ አይቆመጥጥም አይደል እንጀራ? (It is not sour for us. Right?)
Fekede Belachew: ለእኛ አይቆመጥጥም. (It is not sour for us.)
Translator: Not at all not at all sour for us.
Interviewer: That is not true it is sour?
Translator: አላምንዎትም ይቆመጥጣል እያለዎት ነው. (He is telling you that is not true, it is sour.)
Fekede Belachew: እኛ ምንም. (Not for us.)
Interviewer: So then what did you do over the weekend Saturday and Sunday did you stay inside or were you able to go out and see like the city like Seoul.
Translator: ቅዳሜ እና እሁድ ምንድን ነበር የሚያደርጉት በዛ ሰአት
ይውጡና ወደ ሶውል ከተማ ምናምን ያዮ ነበር እንዴ? (What did you do on Saturday and Sunday at that time? Did you visit Seoul?)
Fekede Belachew: አይ ሰላም ከሆነ ወዲህ አንድ ወር ከተቀመጠን በኃላ እረፍት ነው ብለው ወደ ሶውል እዛይወስዱናል በመኪና በማክ ወስደው ቀጥታውን ያዞሩናል ከተማውን አይተን ማታ ተመልሰን ወደ ካምፓችንእንመጣለን. (When it is peace full and stayed a month we had a break. They took us to Seoul by car. They tour us and we return at night.)
Translator: ሶውልን አይተዋታል ማለት ነው? (So you have visited Seoul?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ አውቃለሁ. (Yes.)
Translator: We are not going on Saturday or Sunday but when we have a break in fourteen days we will use to go to Seoul…
…and visit and come back.
Interviewer: So how was it, was Seoul completely destroyed or there any people, how was how did look to you? Tell me detail description please?
Translator: የዛኔ ሶውል ሲሄዱ የነበረ ጊዜ እንዳለ ፈራርሳ ነበረ ወይስ ሰውስ ይኖርባት ነበረ? እንዴት ነበረች እስኪበደንብ አብራርተው ይንገሩኝ. (What did Seoul look like at that time? Was it ruined? Did people live there? Tell me in detail.)
Fekede Belachew: ምንም ደስታ ያለው የለም በፍፁም አልተረጋጋም ህዝቡ እና በጣም በፍፁም…
…ህዝቡ ወዲያ እና ወዲህ ተደስቶ የሚሄድ የለም በቃ ደስተኛ የለም በቃ እንደው ምስቅልቅል ብሏል. በጣም ደስተኛም የለም አንድም ሰው. እዛው ከተማ ውስጥ ዞረን ስናይ ልብሳቸውን እንዲህ ያረጋሉ ምን ይላሉ በቃ ምንምደስታ የለም. ደስ የሚለው የለም ከተማው ውስጥ ህዝቡ. (The people were in sad face. They move around unhappy and the city was ruined. When we move around we saw people without cloths and unhappy at all.)
Translator: In that time when we see around the Seoul the people all of the people was not happy
…we could not see we could not read any happy face on the all face because they are not still happy in that time they are not still did not finished they were not sure the war was ended so that we are see.
Interviewer: There are many children who lost their parents and I heard that the Ethiopian soldiers donated there some money from out of their salary and give it to the orphanage is that right? Do you know anything about those?
Translator: ያኔ በኮሪያ በነበሩ ጊዜ እናት እና አባታቸውን ላጡ ኮርያዎች የኢትዮጵያ ወታደሮች አሰባስባቹ ትንሽዬገንዘብ ከደሞዛቹ ለነሱ ድጋፍ አርጋቹሀል ይሄ እውነት ነው ወይ? (When you were in Korea, the Ethiopian soldiers collect and raised money for the Koreans who lost their mothers and fathers. Is it right?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ እውነት ነው አድርገናል. (Yes, we did.)
Translator: Yes we did.
Fekede Belachew: አድርገናል. (We did.)
Interviewer: So you did too.
Fekede Belachew: አዎ. (Yes.)
Interviewer: Did you give your portion of your salary to orphans.
Translator: እርሶም ደሞዝዎትን ቆርጠው ቤተሰብ ላጡ ሰዎች እረድተዋል? (So you also have donated from your salary to the orphanes?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ እንዴ, ስጡ ይሉናል ቀጥታ እንሰጥ ነበረ. (Yes, I did give too.)
Translator: Yes I did give for orphanage.
Interviewer: When did you leave Korea?
Translator: ኮርያን መቼ ነበረ ለቀው የመጡት ወደ ኢትዮጵያ? (When did you leave Korea and come back to Ethiopia?)
Fekede Belachew: በ43 ሄድን በ 47 መጣን? (We go in 50 and come back in 54?)
Translator: በ44 ነው የመጡት? (Did you come back in 51?)
Fekede Belachew: በ43 ሄድን እና በ46 ሄድን እና በ47 መጣን. (We went there in 53 and we came back in 54.)
Translator: አራተኛ ቃኘው ኖት አይደል? (You are the 4th battalion right?)
Fekede Belachew: አራተኛ. (The 4th.)
Translator: በ44 ሄዱና በ45 መጡ? (You went there in 51 and come back in 52?)
Fekede Belachew: አዎ. (Yes.)
Translator: We came back in 1954.
Interviewer: And since then have you been back to Korea?
Translator: ከዛ በኃላ ኮርያ ሄደው ጉብኝተዋል? (Did you go to visit Korea after that?)
Fekede Belachew: ድጋሚ አልሄድኩም. (I never went again.)
Translator: ለጉብኝት አልሄዱም ኮርያ? (Didn’t you go to visit Korea?)
Fekede Belachew: አልሄድኩም. (I did not go.)
Translator: I never go to Korea.
Fekede Belachew: አልሄድኩም. (I did not go.)
Interviewer: So then did you know how Korean economy is now and anything do you know recent Korea.
Translator: ሰለ ኮርያ አሁን የሚሰሙት ነገር አለ? ስለ ሀብቷ, ምን ላይ እንደደረሰች, አሁን ላይ ስላለው ነገር ያውቃሉሰምተው ያውቃሉ? (Do you hear anything about Korea now a days? Do you know about Korean wealth, what is happening now?)
Fekede Belachew: በጣም ያቺ ከተማ በጣም ሌላ ነገር ነች. ያየሁት ከተማ አይደለችም. በጣም በጣም አምራለች. ህዝቡም ሌላ ነገር ነው እያሉ ይነግሩኛል ጏደኞቼ በሙሉ በጣም ጥሩ ሀገር ሆናለች. (My friends told me the city is in a different shape. Now it is beautiful city. They told me the people and the country are in a good shape.)
Translator: My friends told me about Korea they said you could not find the one you see last time now so they told me that how Korea is.
Interviewer: Is it not amazing I mean did you think that Korea become like this today when you left Korea in 1954?
Translator: እና ይሄ አያስደንቅም ያኔ ጥላቹሀት የመጣቹሀት ሀገር እንደዚህ መቀየሯ? (Was this amazing the change that happened in Korea?)
Fekede Belachew: በጣም ከረባት አስረው አስረው ነው የሚሄዱት ከዛ ወዲህ ሌላ ሆነው አሁን ሌላ ነግር ሆኗልአሁን ሲሉኝ እኔ በጣም ይገርመኛል. በጣም በጣም በጣም ነው ደስ ያለኝ. ሀገሩን ስላየሁት በጣም ህዝቡ ርሀብተኛነበረ ምንም ችግር ችግር ያለበት ሰው ነበረ በእውነት…
…በጣም ምግብ ስጠኝ እያሉ ነበር የሚለምኑት እና በጣም እኔ ዛሬ እነሱን ሳይ በጣም እንደው ትዝ ይለኛል በጣም. (They told me the people wear suits and ties and walk around. I am very happy about it. Since I have seen the war of the problems and the hunger in Korea.)
Translator: Every time I heard and every time my friends told me that what Korea has become and then I remember that Korea people who beg for food from us so they become changed and they even start to wear a tie they was really, really amazing because in that time even there was…
…no tie and also so it was really, really amazing to see.
Interviewer: Next year will be 70th anniversary of the breakup of the Korean War. Korean peninsula still divided and we are technically at war. What do you think about this and if you have any messages please tell me to the Korean People.
Translator: አሁን የሚቀጥለው አመት 70ኛው ክብረ በዓል ይደረጋል የኮርያ ጦርነት እና ኮርያ አሁንም…
…ሰሜን ኮርያ እና ደቡብ ኮርያ አሁንም ጦርነት ላይ ናቸው አልተታረቁም እና ስለሱ ምን ያስባሉ. አሁንምአልተስማማችም ሰሜን ኮርያ እና ደቡብ ኮርያ አልተስማሙም እና ስለሱ ምን ያስባሉ እስኪ? (Next year will be the 70th anniversary of the Korean War and North Korea and South Korea are still at war. And what are your opinion tell me about it.)
Fekede Belachew: እኔ አሁንም እሄዳለው. አሁን ዛሬ ዛሬ ቢሆን አሁን ሄድ ቢሉኝ መሳሪያ ይዤ እሄዳለው በዛሬ ቀን. አገሪቱን እወዳታለሁ ህዝቡን ስለምወዳቸው መሄድ አሁንም ሄጄ እዋጋለሁ. (I’m still going. If they tell me to go now, I’ll take a gun to fight for South Korea. I love the country because I love the people and I still go and fight.)
Translator: እሺ ለሚቀጥለው አመት 70ኛው ክብረ በዓል ይከበራል እና ስለሱስ ማለት የሚፈልጉት ነገር? (Okay, next year will be the 70th anniversary and what do you want to say about it?)
Fekede Belachew: ምን እንግዲህ እግዚአብሔር ለእነርሱ እኔ ምን ለእነርሱ ምን ቃላት ያጥረኛል የሚያደርጉት ነገርከባድ ነው እግዚአብሔር ይስጣቸው እኔ ምንም ላደርግ አልችልም መቼስ እግዚአብሔር ያክብራቹ ነው. በጣም ፅሎቴ ለነሱ ነው እኔ እና ምንም ጉድለት የለውም እነሱ የሚያደርጉት ለኔ አድራጎት. በእውነት እንኳን ለኛለቤተሰቦቻችን የሚያደርጉ ቀላል አይደለም. እኔ እግዚአብሔር ይስጣቹ በጣም በጣም ነው…
…ማመሰግናቹ. (I am speech less about it. May God give Koreans all the good things, they are helping us and our family very well. I will pray for them and I thank them. )
Translator: What I want to say about the North Korea and the South Korea I still will go for the War for the South Korea because I still love my country I still love one to protect this country because I have been protecting since then I will still go if they call me so that is what I want to say about that peninsula North Korea and what I want to say the people of Korea is that I do not have any word to explain how happy I am because of the
Korean government the Korean people the respect that they love us they still did not forget what we have done so may GOD give you everything what you want.
Interviewer: Ethiopians soldiers are really nice really respect full I mean you went there and you sacrifice and now you see Korea us your Country this is wonderful history that we need to tell our young children in Ethiopia and in Korea and again I want to thank you for your love of…
…Korea, your friendship and your service owner able service that made the difference so we do not forget and I want to say thank you sir.
Translator: የኢትዮጵያ ወታደሮች በጣም ጀግና ናችሁ. ያኔ ሄዳችሁ ሂወታችሁንም መስዋት አርጋቹ መጥታቹአሁንም ቢሆን ትሄዳላችሁ እና ኮርያን እንደራሳችሁ አገር አርጋችሁ ነው የምታስቡት እና ይህንን ነው ለልጅ ልጆቻችሁማስተማር ምንፈልገው. ልጆቻችሁ እንዲማሩት የምንፈልገው ይህንን ነው እና እጅግ አድርጌ በጣም አመሰግናለሁ. (You Ethiopian soldiers are very brave. You have given your life for Korea. You even have the courage to fight now to Korea. You love Korea like your own country and this is what we want to teach your grandchildren. This is what we want your children to learn and I thank you very much.)
Fekede Belachew: እሺ እሺ. (Ok, ok.)
Interviewer: Thank you
FEKEDE BELACHEW: እሺ. (Ok.)
[End of Recorded Material]