By Teferra Haile-Giorgis
AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK
Key Themes: suicide, victim of political and military conflict, refugee experience, ethnic minorities, post-traumatic stress disorder, mother's story, mental health services
Written by his mother, this is the tragic story of Abi, a young man from Ethiopia who took his own life after a battle against mental illness. Abi escaped the horror of Ethiopia’s Marxist military revolution; this book provides a unique insight into the psychological trauma suffered by the victims of war. This original and extraordinarily moving book charts Abi’s life in words and pictures and attempts to make sense of his tragic death.
About the Author
Dr Teferra Haile-Giorgis is Abi's mother. This book was written by her and her family in Abi's memory. Dr Haile-Giorgis set up a trust to fund research into the psychological problems of the victims of war. Her aim is to help people in a similar position to her son. She also wants to provide more insight into this area and inform psychiatrists of this type of ‘mental illness’.
We never know what it feels like to be with the Good Lord and have no more earthly care to worry about. I hope, somehow, those who have left us to be with Him can see or know that their past concerns are addressed and that their wishes have been fulfilled.
What was worrying our beloved Abi at the last session in the hospital consulting room, at the Royal Preston Hospital Avondale Unit, where we were sitting for group discussion? I clearly remember what the Psychiatrist said; “I am afraid your son’s case does not fit into a British Black or a British white mental illness category”. I can just remember my son abruptly getting up very angry and rushing to the door, opening it and turning towards me before walking out. I can still hear him saying “You are wasting your time, Emamma, these people are dummies. I have repeatedly told you that they do not understand my case. I think that, if I ever get healed, I will help other victims like myself. It will only be someone like me who has been through such illness that can help those in similar circumstances”. He was not only concerned for himself but for all others in similar circumstances. He obviously had a burning desire to be in a position to help those victims of political conflict, political imprisonment, displacement and other human suffering such as escapees, like himself, from enforced conscription.
In today’s world we are told that some 20 or more wars officially or unofficially go on in different parts of the world. Therefore, there must surely be more and more Abi’s whose pain, agony and depression and other related mental health problems are not understood or dismissed by the ordinary mental health services and psychiatrists.
Abi, very unfortunately, has suddenly chosen to leave us by taking his own life. We will always feel hurt and upset and cherish his memory whenever we think how much pain, agony and suffering have caused this action. But we can still save many of them who are in his ‛category’. We, as a family, have felt committed to his cause. Within our limitation we can, at least, address his concern by setting up a Trust to help carry out research which will result in attention being given to, and focusing on, victims of wars, political conflicts, political imprisonment, enforced conscriptions and displacement as well as any direct or indirect problems related to these situations.
Abi, who has enabled this concern to be addressed, is challenging us today. May God help us to voice his grievances, be advocates for his cause and promote ideas to challenge the mental health institutions and psychiatrists, at all levels, to listen to voices of such victims and not be dismissive as Abi’s Psychiatrists were. In his death he challenges us all today, as we set up this Trust for all the neglected and misunderstood thousands whose human rights agendas have never been addressed in any meaningful way. Abi challenges us even in his death. May God Almighty let him know that, even though he is gone, those who have suffered like him will get a relief in the future- however few or however many. May God make Abi’s dream a reality; then for him the bells will toll to congratulate him for including us in his endeavour.
This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 31 October, 2006.