(EritreaAt24 Series: May 12th) Remembering She'eb Victims: Part of the Huge Price for May 24

Remembering She'eb Victims
Part of the Huge Price for May 24

On 12 May, 1988 Ethiopian soldiers, in cold blood, massacred more than 400 elderly, women and children in She'eb and surrounding villages. About 80 of these victims were crashed by tank chains. As we prepare to celebrate May 24 in 12 days, we pause to remember these innocent victims of one of the many Ethiopian atrocities.


Eritrea's Independence is a reality today because of the very high price that the gallant sons and daughters of Eritrea paid. More than 65,000 of them passed to achieve it, and more than 19,000 gave their young lives defending it. In addition to these, thousands of civilians were massacred in cold blood by successive Ethiopian regimes. Starting from 1961 to 1991 the horrors Eritrean civilians met at the hands of barbaric Ethiopian occupatio is beyond description. From Ona, Besgedira and Adi Ibrahim (1970) to Um Hajer (1974); from Asmara, Weki Diba, Agordet, Hirgigo and Emberemi (1975-76), to Molqi and Naro (1984); from She'eb and Shebah (1988), to Massawa in 1990; the deliberate and brutal crimes against Eritrean civilians are yet to be told in detail. Below, we will start with a Tigrigna broadcast of Dimtzi Hafash on the tragedy of She'eb 27 years ago, followed by a poem on Ona and She'eb and an exhibit of a partial list of those who perished at She'eb the afternoon of May 12, 1988. The list of the victims is taken from the plaques that one can find at the memorial north of the rebuilt and currently vibrant town of She'eb. The list is grouped by family, starting with mother or father and then followed with the list of the children that perished that fateful afternoon.

She'eb Massacre
She'eb Massacre

When my Home Burned
by Sophia Tesfamariam

Trouble sought Ona
Across her barren plain
Prowling birds sprayed fire in the skies
And nobody was there
To hear, their lonely cries
Or see all their pain
Please somebody!


Ona was burning
Gone was my bed
And so was my pillow
It’s where I lay my head
My home was burning
Where will I dream tomorrow?
She'eb Massacre
She'eb Massacre

Tanks razed the crowds
At She’eb that day
Screams turn into deadly silence
Women and children alone
No one to come to their defense
Wailings disappeared
Gently into the clouds
It’s where I dream
Somebody help!


She’eb was burning
Gone was my bed
And so was my pillow
It’s where I lay my head
My home was burning
Where will I dream tomorrow?


Mother holds her child
Struggling, she takes her last breath
While little lips settled gently
On her lifeless breast
It’s where I dream
Close to her chest
Do something!



Ona was burning,
Gone was my bed
And so was my pillow
It’s where I lay my head


She’eb was burning,
It’s where I dream
Where will I dream tomorrow?
She'eb Massacre

Partial List of those that were Massacred by Ethiopia at She'eb on May 12, 1998

Partial She'eb Massacre List

Partial She'eb Massacre List
Partial She'eb Massacre List

She'eb Memorial

Partial She'eb Massacre List
Partial She'eb Massacre List