The Smoldering Tears is about the struggle of three people (Hiwett, Gidey and Syom), as their lives were tested against all forms of despotic rule that denied them and their families the rights to live, to love and to mourn. Although fictional, the stories are inspired by actual events during the Mengistu Hailemariam era. And in order to foster imagination of the circumstances under which the journey of the three took place, the book attempts to provide the reader with a picture of the socio-cultural and political turmoil of the time. It narrates stories of heartbreak and the triumph of love; it also tells stories of defiance, as well as the ultimate human endurance and tenacity.
When their loved ones were killed, many lived in fear of the consequences of their own emotions, for the regime had forbidden them from expressing sorrow. And the years felt like eternity, with their lives turned into an abysmal emptiness. In those bleak days, Gidey held on to her promise—the only thing she had left to carry on the battle against all obstacles. And throughout the dark period, where love and grief were constantly policed along with all the daily lives of the people, Hiwett was determined never to give in to the inhuman laws of the brutal regime. And ironically, it was these very laws—designed to smother her—that had continued to give her reason and purpose to fight to the end.