The Global Lead News SEPT | OCT 2016 - Page 25

Lale Labuko was born in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, as a member of the Kara tribe. Unknown to Lale, he was born into a village with a heartbreaking tradition. It wasn’t until Lale was older, and he became one of the first members of his tribe to receive a formal education, that Lale began to become aware of the tradition and what it truly meant for children in his village. Because of the formal education that Lale received, he was able to get a glimpse into the world outside his village. Only after learning more, did Lale realize the devastation of Mingi, the ritualistic killing of infants and children, who are believed to be cursed by The Kara, Banna and Hamer tribes living in the remote Omo Valley region of Southwest Ethiopia.

When a child is determined to be Mingi – a decision taken by the elders who have authority over the entire tribe – the infant is either left alone in the bush without food and water so wild animals can eat them, or they are left in the huts to starve, or they are thrown in the river or they have dirt put in their mouths to stop breathing. All mean certain death for the child if he or she is not rescued.

Lale, educated and determined, decided it was of critical importance that he stop the outdated tribal practice and rescue those

that he could.

Lale was also told by his mother that he had previously had two older sisters he never knew he had. Unfortunately, both had been deemed Mingi, and they were killed before he ever had the chance to meet them. Lale did not allow this new information to stop him. If nothing else, it sent him farther into his life goals. Soon, outlawing the Mingi meant more to Lale than ever before, and it became his life’s mission.

Mingi is the traditional belief among the Omotic-speaking Karo and Hamar tribes in southern Ethiopia that adults and children born Mingi They are believed to exert an evil influence upon others, and bring disease and famine to the tribes.

“When I saw this baby killed, I was crying and saying this is not right and that changed my life….so I began in 2008 to start to sit down with the elders…. I asked to be the river, the bush, the hut- give the children to me. I can take the children. How can I save my friend’s children? How can I stop this practice? It was very dangerous for me… “ -Lale Labuko

Perreault Magazine - 25 -

tHE DEFINITION OF MINGI AND WHY LALE FIGHTS IT

Lale, educated and determined, decided it was of critical importance that he stop the outdated tribal practice and rescue those that he could.