DENVER – The Ethiopian community in Aurora was already planning to get together Sunday evening to celebrate a historic day, but that celebration became bittersweet with the news of another Ethiopian plane crashing and killing everyone on board.
“It was just heartbreaking,” said Neb Asfaw, a community organizer. “I’m just numbed really.”
Asfaw and many others gathered to celebrate the 123rd anniversary of the victory of Italy in the Battle of Adwa, when Ethiopians became the only African county to resist being colonized by Europe.
“It heralded in a way the beginning of the liberation movement in most African states, even the civil rights movement here in the United States,” said Deacon Yoseph Tafari, the chairman of the Ethiopian Civic Council.
Every year, the Ethiopian community re-enacts the victory, but the celebration ended in mourning this year with a prayer for the 157 people killed.
But Asfaw says the rest of the world is not always as heartbroken when tragedies happen in Africa.
“It’s really unfortunate that people give different values to different communities,” Asfaw said. “But globally we’re all the same boat, we’re all connected and our destinies are intertwined.”
Airlines in Ethiopia, China, Indonesia and elsewhere grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner Monday after the second devasting crash of one of the planes in five months.
Ethiopian authorities are leading the investigation into the crash.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)