Setting: Misyam, Seraye (Zoba Debub), Eritrea
|Yemane Baliho||Wedi-Baliho||Selfi- Swa|
|Mohammed Birhan Imam||Wedi-Zemzem||Selfi-Alamel|
|Abdella A Zerom||Wed-Inharish||Selfi-Gebil|
|Tirhas Kindya||Trishi (Gual G’bitan)||Demit Eritrea|
|Mohammed I Abdella||Wed-Sudan||Hizb Aljemahir|
|Zewdi Andemariam||Gual Bashay||Gual Bashay ?|
|Najib A Kahsay||Hargetz||Selfi-Abaeke|
|Dr. Basilios Angesom||Gnogno||Selfi-Bun|
|Melake Gebrekidan||Dem Draru||Selfi-Ts’ray|
|Dr.Semira OuraFura||Hakim Snni||Selfi-Halib|
Scene: The streets of Misyam and the courtyard of Misyam’s Mosque
(Characters shooting the breeze and ambling along the streets of Misyam. They happened upon a demonstration. A battle royal ensued and went like this.
Dr. Basilios: What is going on here? Why are these people gathered? What seems to be their complaints?
Wedi-Baliho: What is the matter with you, Gnogno? Can’t you hear what the whole fistful are saying? If not that, can’t you read the placards they are carrying? It is all spelled out loud and clear!
Wed- Inharish: I think Gnogno can hear them. I am, also, sure he can read as they are written in bold RED letters!
Dr. Basilios: Yes, you are right, Wed-Inharish, the first one says: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET THE MASSACRE OF MISYAM”! I have read and known of many massacres that were committed in Eritrea by the Ethiopian armed forces, but I came across this Misyam Massacre. Did it really happen? Was there a massacre in this village?
Wedi-Zemzem: I don’t blame Dr. Basilios for not knowing about the massacre of Misyam. Really, I don’t. Very few Eritreans, with the exception of those affected KNOW about this massacre. It literally doesn’t exist in the collective Eritrean memory. Blame it on those who have arrogated to themselves the role of the sole chroniclers of Eritrean history. The Jebhas, the shaebias, the Teqawemtis (Oppostion Groupings) and the Whatnots!
Hargetz: One hears nary a peep about the massacre of Misyam. This is MIND-BENDING, to say the least!
Gual Bashay: Eiway Atum Sebat ( Oh, you people), the massacre of Misyam is part of me. Its wailing reverberated from Misyam to the villages of Mai Mefles (The water of Rhinoceros), Mai Lam (The Water of Cow), Tsibuq Girat ( Good Farming Land) and beyond. I used to live in those years in Tsibuq Girat. It’s indelibly etched in my memories and that is why I said it is still part of me.
Dr. Basilios: What, then, happened? What was this “Misyam Massacre” that you are talking about folks? I honestly want to know and find out what actually transpired ???
Hakim Snni: If my memory serves me well, this is what I ‘remember’ about the massacre of Misyam: ” In the Autumn (Fall) of 1967, (Forty) MEN from this village (Misyam) were MASSACRED by the Ethiopian Colonial/Occupational Armed forces. The massacre that the Tor Serawit-cum-Komandis perpetrated was COLD-BLOODED because they BAYONETED their victims by SLITTING their throats infront of their WIVES and CHILDREN.
Wedi-Baliho: You said in Autumn of 1967, Hakim Snni? Is that right?
Hakim Snni: Yeah, that is correct Wedi-Baliho. The incident occurred in the FALL of 1967!
(Dr. Basilios in a SOMBER mood and on the verge of Melancholy)
Dr. Basilios: Why did the Ethiopian Armed Forces had to go to such a length and perpetrate such a GRISLY and GHASTLY massacre? Yes, WHY? What did these 40 Eritreans did to deserve their throats SLIT with BAYONETS supplied by America? What was their crime? What did they do to end up HEINOUSLY BUTCHERED? Who were these 40 men? Who were THEY?
Hakim Snni: I am pretty sure they were Muslim Jebertis hailing right here from this VERY village of Misyam!
Dr. Basilios: You are saying that the 40 men were inhabitants of Misyam and they were Jeberti Muslims. Am I right, Hakim Snni???
Hakim Snni: You are ALMOST right, Dr. Basilios.
Dr. Basilios: Why were these men killed by the Ethiopian armed forces? Why were they targeted, Hakim Snni?? Do you mind ventilating a hypothesis? A Conjecture? A leap in the dark?
Hakim Snni: Well, I am not sure. But, my corns tell me that it has something to do with the victims being Muslim Jebertis!
YaAsina: Well, I want to say something here, Hakim Snni and Dr. Basilios. The ELF-RC (Jebha) reported the massacre of Misyam in its official publications. I remember reading about it in “The Eritrean Revolution” which was ELF official organ in English
Wedi-Zemzem: Can you tell us more about the massacre of Misyam, YaAsina???
YaAsina: Well, I DON’T remember much save the fact that the Ethiopians massacred some civilians in Misyam. To be honest, I didn’t recall the incidence occurred in the Fall of 1967, until Hakim Snni mentioned it!
Hakim Snni: Let me say this regarding the massacre of Misyam: On a quiet Autumn day in 1967, a gruesome event unfolded in Misyam. The Ethiopians and their Armed Forces comprised of Tor-Serawit and Kommandis, mercilessly SLIT THE THROATS of 40 MEN, right here in Misyam. This and all the other ghastly and hideous acts by the Ethiopian Colonial Forces in Eritrea the massacre perfectly illumines the Ethiopians slogan of, “To Kill the Fish, one need to dry the sea.” It was in this line of that the Ethiopians were engaged in the wanton decimation of the Eritrean population. Well, some two decades after the massacre of Misyam, the Eritreans of ShieB faced the same fate at the hands of the very same Ethiopians!
Wed-Sudan: Gazing at the sky and exceedingly quiet and Soliloquizing.
(In those years at the tender age of 17, he was visiting his grandparents in MENSURA, Barka. He remembered the residents of Mensura trekking to Misyam to attend the funerals of the victims of that particular massacre. He recalled how morose and sad his grandparents were upon their return from Misyam. He remembered vividly all the curse that his grandmother was heaping on those savage Ethiopians during all her coffee ceremonies. All his relatives and people were upset and livid. They wished nothing short of God’s vengeance to descend on those bestial Ethiopians. He heard a similar maledictory refrain throughout his stay in Mensura !)
Wed-Inharish: This is really astounding and breathtaking. I could never fathom the OMISSION of such a mammoth incident from the annals of the Eritrean history. Why is everyone practically mum about it?
Hargets: It really doesn’t blow my mind that no one talks about the Misyam Massacre. What I find incomprehensible, however, is why those Gujile Wegahta (The League Of Dawn) who claim to speak for the Eritrean Jebertis are utterly BECALMED about this issue. Frankly, nothing hacks me off more than this.
Wedi-Zemzem: You are absolutely right Hargets. Those Gujile Wegahta are either blissfully ignorant of the massacre of Misyam or they are simply preoccupied with promoting this Jeberti family or plugging for that Jeberti Clan. Honestly, their utter failure of echoing the massacre of Misyam puts them beyond the pale!
Dr. Basilios: Listen, brothers Hargets and Wedi-Zemzem. I am of the belief that the victims of this horrifying massacre were, first and foremost, Eritreans. Moreover, they were targeted by the Ethiopians not because they were Jeberti Muslims, but because the Ethiopians believed that they were the FOUNTAINHEADS (Source) of Eritreanism.
Hargets: Dr. Basilios ( Gnogno), what you are saying is true only to a point. The issue at hand is not why they were targeted. Instead, what explains this seemingly willful omission of the Misyam Massacre from the ‘collective Eritrean memory’.
Wedi-Baliho: Come to think of it, there is nothing to memorialize this massacre of Misyam. No statues; no ceremonies; no martyrs Square. Not even a mention in the Newspapers, Radio,TV. Nothing. As if this gruesome incident did not happen. It is without mincing words tantamount to victimizing the victims again.
Dem-Draru: Bejakhum Gidefuna Eske. Suq Belu (Please leave us alone and be quiet). You want to talk about this incident of Misyam. Why are you unwilling to speak about Amma’s ( ELF) crimes. Amma slaughtering all kinds of fighters. Amma butchering the Kebessa/ Christian fighters. Amma decimating the highly educated fighters. You know, those referred as the Siryet Addis And here you are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. Nay Qiyada Alamma Gebenat Gida Zeytzirzru? ( Why don’t you talk about (list) the crimes of the ‘General Command’ ?)
Wedi-Balio: Look, Dem-Draru, what you are saying that the ELF (Amma) did has absolutely nothing to do with what had befallen those innocent Eritrean civilians. What does Amma’s (ELF) transgressions got to do with what transpired in this village?
Hakim Snni: You must be NON COMPOS MENTIS, Dem-Draru. What are you trying to say here? Are you implying that the victims deserved to be slaughtered in cold blood? Is that what you are saying, Dem-Draru?
Dem-Draru: Kab Afinchakhum Arhiqkum KitrEu Aytikhelun Ekhum Ember…( For you can’t see beyond your noses…), Ammas (ELF’s) grand strategy of ETHNIC-CLEANSING and execution was in full swing during those years. Ehhh, Ehhh, Hmmmm, Hmmm.. The Carnage, the butchery that Amma (ELF) unleashed is indeed INEFFABLE and bloodcurdling!
Wedi-Zemzem: The reason that Dem-Draru is disinclined to talk about the massacre of Misyam is because he thinks that it will STEAL THUNDER from the Amma Haradit (ELF the Butcher) narratives that he loves to talk about !
Dem-Draru: Kila Esikha Dima (Oh, you, please!) You are talking about this Misyam incidence only because the victims happened to be Jebertis. Otherwise, if you were fair and honest, you would have concentrated on the victims of the Eritrean Revolution. The ones that Amma (ELF) killed.
( Dem-Draru started humming a roundelay)
Nay Kummandis Neger Zikhone Mikhone (The issue of Kommandis ain’t a big deal)
Nay Qiyada Al-Amma Gerimuni Ane! Gerimuni Ane! (But, the General Commands case has left me bewildered!)
Hargets: Dem-Draru, why don’t you say that you will only talk about Christian victims and especially those killed by the ELF.
Hakim-Snni: A psychologist would surely characterize Dem-Draru’s reactions as PROJECTION (Attributing your own feelings, biases and prejudices to other people.).
Dem-Draru: Wey Gud! Hiji Khea Sikolojist Wedi-Sikolojist Temtsieu Alekhum? (Now you are bringing Psychologists and their kind? Oh, my goodness). Let me tell you this, Hakim Snni: The ones that you love to talk about, the psychologists and the learned lots, if truth be told, they are no better than our Merahti Mesarie (Platoon Leaders)!
Hargets: I didn’t know that your Selfi-Natsnet had also a SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY!
Dem-Draru: Siq Elka Gida Zereba Zeytewahlil. (Why don’t you be quiet and listen, Hargets??)
Dr. Basilios: What exactly is your beef with people talking about and addressing the Misyam Massacre, Dem-Draru?
Dem-Draru: Ehh… Ehhhh… Ehhhhhhh… WE have opted not to dwell on this issue at all because we want nothing more than the total harmony of Eritreans. Eritreans getting along. We chose to let bygones be bygones and let what is past be the past. We opted to be quiet!
(Gual Bashay and Trishi Gual G’bitan parted away from the group and headed to the door of the Mosque’s courtyard)
Trishi Gual G’bitan: (Looking at the men standing by the door of the mosque’s courtyard.) “Eitewa Dea Aytiblunan Dikhum” (Aren’t you going to ask us to come in?)
Gual Bashay: Retreating and moving backwards from the door. Eiway! Zeyhafir Dimus Geremariam Shimu. (A shameless cat monickering itself Gebremariam.)
Trishi Gual G’bitan: Still standing on the doorsteps of the mosque’s courtyard and soliloquizing.
(I want to be Eritrea’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s Human Right Icon/Fighter. Ah, how I wish the day when my name, Tirhas Kidane, would be synonymous with Justice, Democracy, Human Rights; how I wish that I will be a household name. So popular; so illustrious; so celebrated. A phalanx of bodyguards and a retinue of aides steps. Oh, all the cameras snapping to get my pictures, journalists jostling to have a word with me! Eh.. Ehhhh…Alas, though, Burma is so far away and Aung San Suu Kyi so foreign; so gaijin! Maybe, I should look from some places closer to home. Aha, I want to be ORANGE. You know, BIRTUKAN. The one that all the Amharas and the Ethiopian Diaspora are fawning and swooning over. That should make all my struggle worth the effort. But, then again, who am I kidding. Eritreans will never accept any Amhara Symbolism, much less an Amhara Beau ideal. She furrowed her brow and was deeply cerebrating and pondering to find something closer to home (Eritrea). All of a sudden, Trishi started to yell, “Eureka!” and Eureka,” “Aha,” and she started to run towards the group.)
Dr. Basilios: Are you OK, Trishi? You seem like something has possessed you! Bisme Aab Beli Ati Qola! (Child, say in the name of the Father)
Trishi Gual G’bitan: Well, Dr. Basilios and others, I have something to say: “I want to be Azeb Mesfin!”
Dr. Basilios : Oh, my stars and my garters! Oh, my stars and my garters! What could possibly goad you to want to be like the wife of the Weyane’s prime minster, Meles Zenawi! Wow. One has to be a certified BEDLAMITE to entertain such kind of a crotchet. Then again, nothing surprises me about you anymore!
Dem-Draru: Aadia Gedifas HatinoA Tinafiq (Instead of missing her mother, she longs for her aunt.) Gual G’bitan, why do you need to go to far flung places to find someone to look up to. Eten WaErotat Selfi-Natsnet Ke? (How about the Tigresses of Self-Natsnet?)
Trishi Gual G’bitan : If I had my druthers, I want to be Azeb Mesfin!
Dr. Basilios: I am really intrigued by Dem-Draru’s utter reluctance to discuss this Misyam incident. It is quite perplexing, if you ask me!
Hakim Snni: Any Eritrean worthy of that name should discuss this issue forthrightly. It is puzzling to see Dem-Draru hemming and hawing about an incident that is etched in our memories!
Dem-Draru: Atum Sebat Gedfuna Bejakhum. Ketezarubuna Dikhum Delikhum? (Please, folks, leave us alone. Do you want us to talk?)
Wedi-Baliho: Why all this aversion, Dem-Draru? Dergohayo Endo ! (Why don’t you blurt it out!)
Hargets: If I were to hazard a guess, Dem-Draru may have participated in the commission of the massacre of Misyam!
Dem-Draru: Ayiblukhan! (They won’t say). Ane Dem-Draru, Libey Ember Eidey Dem Yeblun! (I, Dem-Draru, Blood may run through my heart, but my hand is nonetheless blood-free!)
Wedi-Tiebe: Why all this Idee-fixe about this insignificant incident, while ignoring the big elephant sitting right infront of you? The E Eritrean Ghedli had inflicted innumerable crimes against the Eritrean peasants. Both ELF and Shaebia had victimized, abused, killed raped, plundered, conscripted, terrorized, executed and rendered invisible the Eritrean peasants. And here you are jabbering effusively about the death of 40 men? What a bunch of scatterbrains!
Dr. Basilios: Sure, Wedi-Tiebe. You never fail to ascribe all the blames on the Eritrean revolution while, implicitly, by discounting the crime of the Ethiopians you are unabashedly trying to absolve them of their transgressions! Nice try, Wedi-Tiebe!
(A group of no more than of 3 Men, 1 Woman, 1 Teenager and a Goat were standing not far from the venue of the demo singing a cappella, but accompanied by the goat’s bleating):
Aab Dendes Ruba Tekeze (By The Rivers Of Tekeze)
NebaEna Tiz Eluna Nay Ediga Arbi (Oh, we wept and Remembered ‘ The Friday Market’s’ )
Injera Mis Awaze , Injera and Awaze (Hot Sauce) )
Gual Bashay: We are wrestling with some serious issues and these nimrods are singing? What are we going to hear next???
Dr.Basilios: Who are you and what are you up to, folks?
Teenager: Oh, we are, you know!
Man (1): Shut up you NITWIT, Teenager! You see, Dr. Basilios, people know me by this cognomen: Uber-Lewah Zega!
Wedi-Baliho: And, you miss Injera Mis Awaze?
Man (1): ( Uber-Lewah Zega) Oh, Yeah! By The Rivers of Tekeze, Oh, yeah, we truly miss Injera and Awaze!
Gual Bashay: If you want Injera Mis Awaze and miss it that much, come to my place and eat gratis all you want!
Man (1): If you want to be taken seriously, Gual-Bashay, then shut up! By The Rivers Of Tekeze, oh, how I miss Injera and Awaze!
Gual-Bashay: Entay Gudu Eyu, Wedy! (Oh, boy, what a problem we are facing?)
Wedi-Tiebe: Look, Gual-Bashay. These poor folks are the descendants of the Eritrean peasants that the Eritrean Ghedli has killed. annihilated, decimated and mercilessly exploited. A population of farmers that suffered incalculable devastation because of the misguided Ghedli that the Eritrean urban elites IMPOSED on the Eritrean peasants. These poor souls are not singing out of joy. Rather, theirs is a lamentation, a requiem, if you will.
Man (1): Wow! This Wedi-Tiebe guy is really a genius ! He really is !
Wedi-Baliho: Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!…This missing of Injera and Awaze must have really messed up your thinking, Uber-Lewah Zega!
Hakim Snni: I submit that Wedi-Tiebe has a genius (as in PENCHANT) for an irrefragable Ethio-Philia. That is WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get !)
Wedi-Zemzem: For the last time, let me ask Dem-Draru this: Listen Dem-Draru, why all this shilly-shallying about the Misyam massacre? We are all adults here and I assure you that we can handle whatever that you might say. Frankly, your excuses are wearing thin. Man, go ahead and say what is in your mind!
Dem-Draru: Ahem…Ahem… Well, I don’t want to go there, but now I must say this: I believe that the reason that Amma (ELF) killed and slaughtered all those Christian fighters in its midst, including the Siryet Addis ( Addis’s Company) was because Amma (ELF) was avenging the blood of its Muslim brethren like the ones killed in the Misyam massacre !!
(A donnybrook erupted. Characters yelling, shouting at each other from the top of their lungs. Hollering, arguing, all at once)
(Demonstrators gathered outside the mosque’s courtyard just across from where the characters were standing. Gazing with mouth agape at characters. All wide-eyed, silent and still.)
Next: Act (VI)