Zerai Deres (Ge'ez: ዘርኣይ ደረስ; 1 March 1915 – 6 July 1945) was an Eritrean translator and patriotic revolutionary. In 1938, he engaged in an act of public devotion to an important symbol of his native country, the Monument to the Lion of Judah, at the time kept in Rome. When interrupted, he violently protested against Italian colonialism while brandishing a scimitar, which led to his arrest and internment in a psychiatric hospital for seven years, until his death. However, contemporary Italian historians doubt the claim that he was mentally unstable. Zerai's protest, lionized after the end of the Second World War, is considered by Eritrean and Ethiopian historiography as part of the movement against Italian occupation. To this day, Zerai is considered a legend and a folk hero of anticolonialism and antifascism both in Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Early life and education
Zerai Deres was born in the kebele of Adihiyis, in the province of Serae, in Italian Eritr