May my son Solomon Tekah be the last victim of racism
Opinion: In a special piece for Ynet, the father of the Israeli Ethiopian teen shot dead by an off-duty police officer asks the public to 'understand that my son has been murdered,' and calls for protests to continue until justice is served — but without any violence on either side
I lost a child. I lost a blameless, good and loving child who respected people. The best example for who he was is the number of people who came to comfort us during the traditional seven days of mourning.
His brothers wait for him to return and cannot believe he is no longer with us. His four-year-old brother walks around around the house, searching for him.
But this week wasn't only sad for our family, but for a whole community. And what saddened me even more were the lies told about my son's so-called criminal record in the media. I don't understand how their conscience allows them to say such things after Solomon was murdered.
Our family tried to calm the spirits of the protesters, despite our pain and grief. We asked them to postpone the protests until the mourning period was over, because we didn't want anyone else to be hurt — not a protestor nor a policeman. And certainly not fellow civilians who suffered the protests' side effects.
I know that in a democratic country like Israel, there is a right to protest. I also know that the struggle for justice isn't over. I support the legitimate struggle, but condemn any form of violence.
The struggle will continue until we, Solomon's family, get justice. I'm positive justice will be served, and when it does, it should be told far and wide.
As Solomon's father, I can't be the one to judge the policeman who shot my son. But I do expect and demand that a professional investigation and a fair trial take place, and it's not just me — it's the entire Ethiopian community.
From the deep sadness that I feel, I appeal to protesters nationwide, to all the people of Israel and especially to those born here: You have to understand that my son was murdered.
I know that you feel anger towards my community, which protested and expressed its pain last week. But you have to understand our anger and the terrible frustration resulting from the murder of Solomon, and of 11 other Ethiopian Israelis in recent years.
I want to tell protesters: continue your legitimate struggle. But I ask of each and every one of you to be responsible and not engage in violence. Express my pain and the pain of all other families who have paid this dear price. But don't engage in violence.
Perhaps my most important message is this: Let this be the end of racism. I hope that my son Solomon is the last victim.