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Color Blindness: The Bubbles Of Political Gimmicks

The key to wisdom is constant and frequent questioning, for by   doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.”  (Peter Abelard a French Philosopher)

Crystal ball is still cloudy

It was Macbeth who spoke wearily of life as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” But it might as well be our average political pundits either plucking meager meaning or outlandishly ignoring the grievances of our society, as it surfaced in our debate to demand solutions and retain the natural existence of our rainbows. Is there anything more exhausting than trying to explain the obvious? Sad, depressing, frustrating, maddening, call it what you wish, but it is still so. Why the crystal ball is still cloudy for some of us? In this article I will just brush Mr. Ande’s article which lacks substances, but I will fully tackle Mr. Moges’s argument which has some merits in his decency by putting it into a socio-cultural prospect.

Recently, I read an amusing article written by Mr. G. Ande to change the amplitude of the current wave of consciousness of our public. Albeit, with no substance to counter the two eloquent writers Ahmed Raji and Mengs TM. Unlike his claim, the cyber politics in awate.com is flourishing with insightful writers of all colors that reflect our rainbow. His article which appeared in Asmarino.com on Nov. 1, 2009 with logo “color blindness” and titled “how many colors does a rainbow have?” was a pointless critic. As usual it was an attempt to discredit and paint the scholastic approach of Ahmed and Mengs to the issue of our concern. In Mr. Ande’s mind, scholastic approach is dangerous as he characterized them, and of course he could not challenge them with the kind and caliber these two citizens have brought to us for a grasp. What Mr. Ande could have done is a rebuttal of their scholastic arguments with the same breath, eloquence and magnitude of knowledge of our society, above all with facts and references rather than coping from PFDJ’s book which says “persecute the shinning.” If he needs to know how many colors a rainbow has scientifically, he might need to take some courses in physical chemistry. But if he is not sure about the rainbow of our social make-up, he better listens and learns from the scholastic teachers out there.

Mr. Ande could not and would not be “colorblind” by the mare fact that he is mud-slinging against our own in every article he came up. The only thing I cross my hand in this matter is that, I hope Asmarino.com didn’t create that “logo – colorblindness” which does not fit to the content and message of that essay. But if they did, they concur with his argument and approach and that will affect the credibility of the website. In any case, in his political dancing, you can’t really expect a lot of changing. After all his echo is not for the Eritrean mosaic. Though, by his own admission, Mr. Ande didn’t hesitate to state this stark statement, and I quote “this is not to say that there is no disparity in Eritrean society under this regime,” his position is understandable on the diversity issue. We get all the hints. If not show us your outcry against the regime regarding the disparity. By the way, what else did then elaborate Mr. Ahmed other than the disparity within the Eritrean society? Indeed, we like and strive to keep our diversity and any proposal or talk that lacks a rainbow array will come to seem diminished if not diseased.

Jockeying for Solution

None of what is true or obvious precludes rational approaches to fair practices or tweaks, to make the live of our people more workable and pleasant. But, though we celebrate our diversity, equality and justice isn’t likely until we alter the social stratification of our society which exists today. In that effort Mr, Mogos Tekeste has proposed English as the only working national language to bring justice and equality. He tried to reason out why many African and Asian countries are successful in doing English language to be official language as oppose to their native language. He argued intellectually why English could also work in the nation of ours. But, recently as of Oct. 31, 2009, he amended his position in his article “the language question revisited” and re-proposed English, Tigrigna, and Tigre to be the working languages.

Let me bring the issue of fallibility to counter argue his proposal not for the sake of argument but for the sake of the ultimate desire of the Eritrean population regarding what should be the official language. If Mogos allows himself to share this wisdom, and that is “reason it self is fallible, and this fallibility can not some times find place in the logic of our people.” Yes diversity is the art of “thinking independently together” and Mr. Mogos at least from the surface of his argument had showed that he is an independent thinker but failed to “think independently together.” I will show you using the same chart “the Eritrean native languages” and why his accounts are fallible from the prospect and desire of the eight ethno-linguistic communities. I am sure if he would have extended his research specifically to these ethno-linguistics communities, he would have come with different proposal as he did in his last article.

 Table (1) of Eritrean Native Languages

Language

Percentage

Tigrinya

50%

Tigre 

31%

Saho

5%

Afar

5%

Beja (spoken by Hedareb)

2.5%

Arabic (spoken by Rashaida)

2.4%

Bilen

2%

Kunama

2%

Nara

1.5%

     

Justice and equality could not be attained by logics and mathematical calculation as we use in physical science. It will be only attained by probing questions what each stakeholder (ethno-linguistic communities) desire and accommodate each other. In fact, I don’t believe on the accuracy of this chart, because our country is a “sealed-nation” from independent researchers. The source of this statistical numbers is of course from the planning office of Ministry of education. But assume that the general public will accept the statistics as it shows above which is extracted from the Wikipedia.org. I will not have a problem at least for making my argument. 

Now, as I mentioned above, from his argument, Mogos didn’t make extra effort to extend his query to our ethno-linguistic communities. Mogos will be surprised, that if he ask to any Eritrean from the 8-ethno-liguistic communities other than the Christian from within them selves, they will prefer and fight for “Arabic” to be the official language. I will not go to the underlining reason why they will prefer Arabic (it is another subject for another time “culture politics”), but from my experience I found reasons sometimes are fallible until I find the reason behind the reason. 

During the revolution era for the same reason and not for research purposes, but for personal understanding to the “struggle within the struggle,” I tried to ask to the ranks and files of the revolutionary army and the general population (of the 8-ethno-linguistic communities) as to what they prefer as official language. The answer was astoundingly “Tigrigna and Arabic.” Mogos can revisit the issue of language again if he opted to do it. I am sure his feedback from the other ethno-linguistic will be extremely limited if he has at all. If one argues other wise, he/she will argue to impose his/her own desire as a physician of socio-politics and I will not surprise if I saw some.  Below is the same statistics but conversely used based on Religious-ethno-linguistic approach. Since Tigrigna is accepted as one of the official language by both sides in our cyber debate, I will omit from Table-2 just for now, but I will add Jeberti to it.

Table (2) Preference of official language of the 9-Ethno-linguistic Communities

Religious-ethno-linguistic communities

% for Arabic
preference

Tigre

     31%

Saho

      5.0%

Afar

      5.0%

Beja

      2.5%

Rashaida

      2.4%

Bilen

      1.0%

Kunama

      1.0%

Nara (Baria)

      1.5%

Jeberti   ( fair estimate )

      2.0%

Total

      51.4%

From my query back then, I didn’t find any Muslim of Tigre, Saho, Afar, Beja, Bilen, Kunama, Nara (Baria) or Jeberti by  the way, to opt Tigre as one of the official language of Eritrea. They all are for Arabic language. Now conversely, convert the same statistical percentage from ethno-linguistic communities to religious-ethno-linguistic communities. Despite we don’t have any clue as to what the Bilen and Kunama Christians will opt for that matter, for the purpose of calculation I will use 1% to allocate for Muslim as a statistical number from each these two ethno-linguistic communities (using 1:1 ratio). Fair enough to put my argument. Certainly now is simple addition from the Table-2 and the result will be 51.4% will opt for Arabic. No one will accuse me for these numbers. I already showed my position on how to decide and that is by giving the voice and listening to the people only. But, since Mogos has brought these numbers to persuade his argument, I will definitely use them for my own persuasion.

Keeping all constant, and using the R-factor the result might be inconvenient Mogos to accept it. But, however inconvenient it is, you need to reach out your diversity and listen to their voices rather to come up with this mathematical calculation. You don’t have to take my word, but do your home work. Unfortunately it is not an easy task and I would not blame you for that. In the Eritrea nation of today, which is sealed from everything, unless you want to believe in the compromised number of EPFDJ figures, there is no reliable and researched numbers that we can confidently argue with.

For now enough to the statistics, and let me come to the other factors he used to substantiate his argument. (a) Mogos somehow infer as he see it, English is the only “economic-integrating language in the horn of Africa or in the whole continent of Africa.”  I beg to differ. Due to a geo-political location of our nation, we are highly influenced to trade with the Arabic nations surrounding us; something Mr. Mogos intentionally dismissed it. It is imperative to appreciate the importance of Arabic language even more in the booming global economics. Imagine Dubai in UAE which is the center of Global economics for Europe, Asia, and Africa and is few hundred miles away from the Port Assab. Do you think English will outshine Arabic in that part of our world? Please let us cure this unnecessary itching of Arabic language. Even by your own chart you admit that Arabic is part of our ethno-linguistic mosaic, and I said amen, which by the way many are still on denial. (b) In other occasions he joined to the denial group when he emphatically equates Arabic with Geez to undermine the magnitude of usage of that language within our communities. Unfortunately Mr. Mogos sounds like an Eritrean born in the western world yet to see the country of origin. Allow me to quote his own statement and I quote, “I don not see that much difference in the way the Tewahdos use geez from that our Muslim compatriots use Arabic during comparable occasions.”  For the haven sake are you kidding? It is a long way to learn about your people or else denying it. You have all the rights not to believe on what our fathers have decided. But don’t try to tell us that the Eritrean people do not vote for it during Federation. They did vote by their representative to the drafted constitution submitted to them which contains the subject we are debating. Both official languages are used for official communications and publications. Even the current government is using to a lesser degree (Hint: Eritrya Al-Haditha). Our fathers did it for reasons as Mengs TM indicated in his essay. But, it is your task to find out that “wisdom of resolution” as to why they did it. For me both languages are symbols of our unity as they are demanded by our diversity back then and now. 

Another concern for Mr. Mogos as he eluded it in his last article is the big proportion of the Eritrean people dispersed all over the world. Well, it is the concern of every Eritrean citizen as it should be. But also he continued to indicate that a big share of that includes Eritrean born and raised in foreign lands. No one will dispute that also. But the catch-word is this, and I quote, “the majority has no ability to speak the native language but it has [sic] a good command of the English language.” Now look Mr. Mogos is talking only about the Eritrean born and raised in USA, UK and Canada just by implying his own statement. He has not even an iota of inkling about those born and raised in other countries of Europe and Middle Eastern countries. I don’t know how his calculation work, But I bet the biggest proportion of our dispersed population by any account is in the Arab world. The last but not least his comment on Awate.com on the proportionality of English language articles seen is even the weakest-link to his argument. Awate.com is the house of diverse community. If you want to visit the other side of our community, visit “alnahda1.8m.com/” but don’t be surprised.

Tebeges@yahoo.com

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About Amanuel Hidrat

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