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Eritrea 1968: An Article By The Late Melake Tecle

Long before Microsoft copyrighted “Outlook” there was a high school magazine by that name. I am not sure if former students of the Atzie Dawit Secondary School in Keren can sue for compensation from Microsoft, but I wouldn’t. I am satisfied with the 1968 copy of the school magazine that I have and as it gets older, it becomes more invaluable.

The copy that I have was kept in a store thanks to my late aunt, Dahab Adem Mismar, who kept many papers after my immediate family left town–the last of them were chased out from Keren after it was liberated from the Derg in 1977. But that is another story, now I will just express my gratitude to my late aunt for keeping a copy of the magazine and a few valuable pictures.

The Outlook magazine staff was composed of the following:

English Staff:
Teclay Zerom (11B)
Sub Editor: Tesfamichael Fessahaie (10C)
Reporters: Ibrahim Ukud (10A); Ahmed Hamid (10A); and Kifle Weldesellasie (10C)

Amharic Staff:
Editor: Tereza Tesfamariam (11A)
Sub Editor: Decan Ucbalidet (10B)
Reporters: Kebra Tewelde (10A), Girmai Michael (11A); Abraham Kidane (10A)

Artists: Mohammed Nur Said (11B); and Idris Mohammed Ali (9A)

Of course, it was the golden age of the Keren Secondary School; under the leadership of Ustaz Mohammed Ali, the iconic director of the school, and an array of Eritrean, Ethiopian, Indian, Pakistani, Sri-Lankan and American Peace Corps teachers, the school was involved in so many extra-curricular activities including poultry, boxing, drama, after school lecture including on weird topics like hypnotism and time travel, science shows, gardening, and many other activities. The magazine was a product of that age.

I will present all the articles that appeared in the copy I have in installments. It features articles by Ahmed Haj Ali (the now imprisoned Eritrean minister of mining), Misghinna Yassin, Hassen Ferej, Weldesus Gebrezghi, Decan Uqbalidet, Awate, Elias Mehreteab, Bahlebi Weldense, Hussen Abubaker (my older brother), Abdulhamid Osman, Abdulkarim Mohammed, Kaleab Negusse, Mathewos Hagos, Mohammed Adem.

Until then, today I am featuring a short article by the late martyr Melake Tecle.

Outlook School Magazine
Atzie Dawit Secondary S
chool, Keren, 1968

How Can We Reform Our Minds
(by Melake Tecle, 10B)

Ignorance being darkness, what we need is intellectual light.

This can be, if we avoid waste of time and waste of energy.

“Time and tide wait for no one.” This proverb expresses all that we are expected to do to satisfy the hunger of our minds. By working hard, we can develop our mind. And by developing our mind we can over-come the obstruction that puts its shadow on our lives.

Let us be the masters of ourselves, and rule only ourselves. This can be done simply through study, thought, and efforts to strive to reach only the first stairs of improvement in our mind.

I know some boys who spend their nights praying without working, hoping that the supernatural will help them. This is an absolute ignorance that cannot be lit even by the powerful sunlight.

Worship does not create knowledge nor wealth. Prosperity and intelligence are the children of working.

Let us turn our attention to our working and studies so as to reform our mind. The only way we can reform our mind is through intellectual labor.

Actually it seems Melake was a blogger long before blogging was invented—his short article proves that. But what do you notice from his thinking as a tenth grader in an Eritrean school? Does his writing give a hint that he was destined to join the Eritrean liberation struggle shortly after he wrote the above? How do you think a typical Eritrean tenth grader of today compares to Melake in the way he thinks?

NB: it would be nice if all those who are mentioned sent me their facebook page or contact address so that we can link it to their name…wouldn’t you like to be connected? Currently only Ibrahim Ukud’ and Hussein Abubaker have a link to their facebook pages.

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

Born and raised in Keren, Eritrea, now a US citizen residing in California, Mr. Saleh “Gadi” Johar is founder and publisher of Author of Miriam was Here, Of Kings and Bandits, and Simply Echoes. Saleh is acclaimed for his wealth of experience and knowledge in the history and politics of the Horn of Africa. A prominent public speaker and a researcher specializing on the Horn of Africa, he has given many distinguished lectures and participated in numerous seminars and conferences around the world. Activism was founded by Saleh “Gadi” Johar and is administered by the Awate Team and a group of volunteers who serve as the website’s advisory committee. The mission of is to provide Eritreans and friends of Eritrea with information that is hidden by the Eritrean regime and its surrogates; to provide a platform for information dissemination and opinion sharing; to inspire Eritreans, to embolden them into taking action, and finally, to lay the groundwork for reconciliation whose pillars are the truth. Miriam Was Here This book that was launched on August 16, 2013, is based on true stories; in writing it, Saleh has interviewed dozens of victims and eye-witnesses of Human trafficking, Eritrea, human rights, forced labor.and researched hundreds of pages of materials. The novel describes the ordeal of a nation, its youth, women and parents. It focuses on violation of human rights of the citizens and a country whose youth have become victims of slave labor, human trafficking, hostage taking, and human organ harvesting--all a result of bad governance. The main character of the story is Miriam, a young Eritrean woman; her father Zerom Bahta Hadgembes, a veteran of the struggle who resides in America and her childhood friend Senay who wanted to marry her but ended up being conscripted. Kings and Bandits Saleh “Gadi” Johar tells a powerful story that is never told: that many "child warriors" to whom we are asked to offer sympathies befitting helpless victims and hostages are actually premature adults who have made a conscious decision to stand up against brutality and oppression, and actually deserve our admiration. And that many of those whom we instinctively feel sympathetic towards, like the Ethiopian king Emperor Haile Sellassie, were actually world-class tyrants whose transgressions would normally be cases in the World Court. Simply Echoes A collection of romantic, political observations and travel poems; a reflection of the euphoric years that followed Eritrean Independence in 1991.

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