The 2 or 3 readers of this personal journal may know that Cynthia and I produced a documentary film called Drawn From Water. The film explores a little-known practice called mingi — the ritualistic killing of children by S. Ethiopian tribes, and the efforts to rescue mingi children and ultimately stop the practice altogether.
Today, I’m elated to announce that the elders of the Kara tribe have voted to permanently end the practice of mingi. This decision was mostly the result of the tireless work of Lale Labuko, a Kara tribe member, who plays a central role in the film. Lale is one of very few Kara to receive a university education. He returned to the tribe four years ago to help end mingi killing.
Below are the translated statements of the Kara elders, explaining their reasoning for ending this century’s old tribal practice (from the Omo Child website). But this is just one step. At least two other S. Ethiopian tribes still practice mingi, such as the 45,000+ Hamer tribe members. The number of Ethiopian children (aged infant to 5) killed each year could still be in the thousands. Please help by going to the Drawn From Water page and making a donation or buying the film. 100% of donations go directly to on-the-ground efforts to end mingi. Other organizations working to end mingi include Omo Child and GTLI.
Elder Mero Dobo: This organization brought a good help for Kara land. We have seen a good development since this organization established. But before that everybody was assumed that Lale brought curse to the Kara land. However, we haven’t seen any curse both to the family and to the land. As I know so; far for the past four years nothing happen to the Kara land and family as well. But, last summer we discovered that Omo Child foundation became blessing for Kara land and we were astonished by John Rowe help which fed many families. As Kara elder last summer was unique, learning moment and an unseen blessing in our lifetime. Likewise, now we have a lot of rain in our land than before. Therefore, I am personal I say this organization brought blessing for Kara land. Now we have a grass for our cattle and everywhere is green. Thus, Omo Child/ Lale: we accepted and we agree with your plan to stop mingi and to change the culture next month. Therefore, we are ready to change the culture and it is mostly right all your advise Lale, for most
place and for most people to believe something on and existed for many years its very hard to break in short period of time. It takes time to understand new belief or idea. But in this case we are ready to change mingi practice to blessing. Likewise, we don’t have this knowledge and we think our ancestors were right and we an inherited this practice from our ancestors. That is why we kill the mingi children. Today as Kara elder I can say we ready for the change to avoid bad practice and only to keep useful tradition in Kara tribe. Lale you have been in different place and you have seen many good things now Lale we believe in you. Although, it’s not easy to bring change always needs sacrifice to bring sustainable development. Likewise, this culture has been developed over many centuries. So its hard to break down in one night or one day that why its took you four years to stop this practice but today we come to agreement to end this killing children from Kara land. I like all you speech and your Kara youth fellows speech in these week. In addition I felt like your speech was inspiring, honest and insightful for all of us.
Elder Hacha Arti;
Lale Labuko: we understood both you and your fellows plan. We learned from your speech, your speech is very touching and honest; it brought tears to my eyes. Specifically. You said, ” Life is precious, you can not buy or purchase somewhere in world.” We discussed the same issue for four years since you open the children home in Jinka. This is our fifth day of meeting with you but we are tired discussing the same issues every year. I am personal say for Kara people its better to change the culture and to move forward to get development instead of stay under poverty. We understood you Lale killing are not good practice it is bad practice. Also you explained today, that you have no space to take any more kids in Jinka. It’s hard to take all mingi children and also we knew you can’t feed all the children from three tribes that will be heavy burden for you. So we accepted your idea and plan. We are ready to change the culture next month.
Elder Dido Dobo
Lale four years ago we agree with you to give all mingi children to your organization. As you told us four years ago ” Please, give all mingi children to me in stead of killing let me be a bush, a river and a cliff I will take care of mingi children” As you requested we respected your request and we gave all the mingi children to your organization. Now you have more than 25 children from Kara tribe but nothing bad happen to family also to tribes land. Actually, we had blessing through your organization than we expected. Likewise, we have seen the mingi children are all grown health and no curse for the family and for our land as well.
Elder Sula Turguna:
Lale listen still I didn’t talk at any meeting even in government meeting this is my first day. This is my first meeting to say something about mingi. I am happy to have a chance to speak in front of you Lale and your fellows. Likewise, at this meeting has an essential message and also very good plan for Kara people. I am personal sad and disagree with killing the children, for instance as you said today to us ” All human beings has the right to live, human beings born free and equal in dignity and rights, and also all human beings has the right not be killed likewise justice for all” I like your saying and I love to quote your speech. As Kara elder we are your fathers but we don’t have knowledge as you do to understand things. You are educated and you know better and this is your time. In the same way all youth are agree to fellow your path so we have no an ideas secession from youths. We agree with you and this is history in Kara land and to come agreement to end the killing mingi children in the tribe. Lale you know better because you have been in America and other place and you have seen many teachable things. We as Kara elder we ready to learn from you. Please, teach us.
Elder Dore Lale:
Please, Lale listen: I am personal feel sad and regretted for all mingi children were killed in the past. For example, it’s very hard and painful for the mothers who carry the baby in womb for 9month. So that we accepted your advise and also we are ready to change the culture, please, bring you witness body to see when we do the culture change and no Mingi children would be killed in our land. Therefore, we ready to avoid our harmful traditional practice and to move another secession to attain development.
Elder Damo Bordo;
I’m elder and I am the father, all boys and girls are my children in Kara village. Last year we have concrete or solid decision not to listen for any body about mingi; because this culture scary and curse for our land. Also we were decided to fight anybody trying to stop this practice. You know Lale and you did many meetings with us and also with government for past four years but no an elder listen to you to change this culture at all. However, you never give, you continue giving us awareness to change the culture. Eventually, we agree with you 100% to change this culture next month on July 14th 2012 that our date to you. I speak in behalf of all Kara elder: we decided today as Kara elder and we want to see for the coming years if it’s blessing or curse. Therefore, we recommended you: to bring all your witness, stalk holders’ means government and donors to see cultural change. Special, we invited John Rowe to be at the cultural change meeting day with us; because we as Kara we deserve change and we want all people around to see our decision. We all say enough killing children we need a good name around the world. I am personal proud to stop this practice not only me all elders have the same opinion. Please, Omo Child invite all important government body, other tribal elders, all Kara youth, and all Kara and an American donors to see our decision. We as Kara “we honest and we can do what we say and also we keep our word.”