Local Artist, Lynn DeBeal Unveils Her Wonderful Mural Done with Area Youth
“Awklenan! Yakiel, Yakiel!” “ Dictator! Enough is Enough!” I was the only young woman on the
sidewalk, but my voice was strong. The few other women were my mother’s age. All the men
were old, including my father. Yet we were giving our voices to the people walking and driving
by. The American passersby responded, “We are with you!” Our confidence and pride grew,
blunting the scornful laughter and threats of my fellow Eritrean classmates passing by and
through the festival gate. This was my first protest. My first freedom of expression.
Seattle leaders had allowed Eritrean government officials to present a festival in my new city,
my new home. But the festival was not a true reflection of Eritrean society. It was a lie dressed
in the beautiful fabric of my Habesha culture. A lie masked by the delicious aromas of Injera and
steaming clay pots of Doro Wat in festival booths. A festival hiding a dictatorship that ripped my
family from our mother country.