Friday, 28 September 2012

Ethiopia's Korean War Heroes

There are some forgotten conflicts and nearly forgotten heroes. The Korean War for example was a strange conflict - fought under UN auspices, it was (as history has now shown), a fight between good or evil. The end result, although a stalemate on some levels, it left 50 million south Koreans to develop into a democratic highly advanced industrial nation, whereas the communist north, has a population of around 25 million, who are purged by starvation, and who live under hereditary 'communist' rulers. These rulers enjoy being worshipped as demi-gods. 50 million saved from this fate has to be deemed a success by any measure.

So its strange that the western warriors who fought in this war are all but forgotten .... almost disregarded, despite the hardships endured in terrible conditions. But in one almost forgotten corner of this world, its still remembered with some pride, and the heroes from this war are still honoured.

Ethiopia's Kagnew Battalion - North Korea
Ethiopia of all places, sent three battalions to fight under the US command, and by all accounts they fought like lions.These 'Kagnew' battalions  were drawn from the Emperor Haile Selassie's Imperial Bodyguard and were considered Ethiopia's elite troops. They were keen to go as it was considered an honour .... "Everyone was boasting when they came back from Korea, so everybody wanted to fight,"  Some were honoured by their own and other countries such as the US which awarded the Silver Star to some Ethiopian soldiers.

They proudly boasted on none being captured alive, and not losing battle. Considering all that's happened to Ethiopia since then, its still good to know that when for once it was on the right side, its people honoured that struggle and its warriors.

Others think the same, and this year the South Korean government announced it would give pensions to the surviving Ethiopian veterans of the Korean War.

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