The word “brave” is thrown around a lot during the Olympics.
But Ethiopian long-distance runner Feyisa Lilesa showed what true bravery looks like during the men’s marathon on Sunday.
Crossing the finish line for a silver medal, it looked like Lilesa was simply raising his arms to celebrate. Yet those paying attention to the Oromo protests in Ethiopia realized it was much more than that.
Since Nov. 2015, the Ethiopian government has killed an estimated 400 people, and injured thousands more, for participating in the Oromo protests,according to Human Rights Watch.
The protests started as an effort to stop the government from expanding the limits of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, into the surrounding towns and villages of the Oromo people, the country’s largest ethnic group.
What came next was brutal.
“Security forces … shot into crowds, summarily killing people during mass roundups, and torturing detained protesters,” wrote Human Rights Watch, citing a report that included interviews with 125 witnesses. “Because primary and secondary school students in Oromia were among the early protesters, many of those arrested or killed were children under the age of 18.”
In the graphic video above you can see protesters making the same gesture as Lilesa did when finishing his race.
“If I go back to Ethiopia maybe they will kill me,” he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If I am not killed maybe they will put me in prison. [If ] they [do] not put me in prison they will block me at airport. I have got a decision. Maybe I move to another country.”
Source – Mashable