The following is a transcription of my YouTube Channel, “Negarit 97: ሰብኣይ ተመሪቁ – the man graduated – وتخرج الرجل“. Some parts are not properly structured. Saleh Johar
When people reminisce about their neighborhood, they remember their good neighbors together with their families or relatives; they remember the neighbors they grew up calling aunties and uncles and their peers but try to forget their troublesome neighbors.
We look into some of our immediate neighbors, Eritrea has borders with the Afar and Tigrai region and through them to the rest of Ethiopia and we should have had a peaceful relation. But just like the rest of the world, for instance the Kashmir region which is divided between India and Pakistan and the unstable region straddles both countries. There is also some tension between Egypt and Sudan over the Halaib territory of Ethiopia.
For instance, if the case of Badme was settled when it started in the seventies and eighties of the last century, we wouldn’t have inherited an old case that cots us tens of thousands of lives and unimaginable loss of property and opportunities. But the Eritrean and Tigrayan leaders of the struggle area kept it unresolved. Since 1998, we have been preoccupied with Badme, border delineation and the like—something that has kept the lived of the people frozen.
During the height of the Badme conflict, I hoped the region would be turned into an education city where students from both countries, including the rest of Africa, will come to be educated and return home. I still believe that could have contributed greatly towards the development of the region instead of the youth wasting their lives unnecessarily. But the moment I made my views in an article, I was bombarded by people who insisted that every inch of the territory significant, though I never said it was insignificant.
Now we are still dealing with the destruction created by the fools that no wise person can reverse. And the fire is not extinguished; it’s lightly covered by sand.
The mutual incrimination between the two peoples didn’t appear from a vacuum, there are some truth to it.
For instance, the incriminations have their roots in our history, though the Eritrean regime is keeping them alive. Accusations of ancient times, such as the widespread belief that Tigrayans are deceitful, Dragon, Alula, personalities selectively invoked.
On the Tigrayan side, they accuse Eritreans of arrogance due to being colonized by Italy, and they add to it slurs like Banda, etc. But we know the emotional pressure that Tigrayans went through in Eritrea. However, at the time, even Eritreans were oppressed by the Ethiopian governments, but people remember their own sufferings only.
But Eritreans who lived in Ethiopia generally identified themselves as Tigre, anyone who hails from Eritrea and the Tigrai region. It’s history and we went through it. But importantly, the tens of thousands of Eritreans wrongly deported from Ethiopia due to their Eritrean ancestry has left a long-lasting scare on many and that is still a hindrance to resolving pertinent issues focusing on the future.
There are many who see this as an obstacle, and they try to see the problems rationally so that we can navigate a future of peaceful coexistence.
However, we have a bunch of fascists, similar to Mussolini’s Camicie Nere, the black shirts, who are exacerbating the problems. And as long as these forces are not properly confronted, they will keep aggravating the crisis.
Also, the Tigrayan initiative which they call ‘people to people’ get together is pursued from the wrong footing. Political and social leaders should not limit the stakeholders to the people who are either under their control or the control of the PFDJ. There are many Eritrea who are not under the control of any of them. And they are not uninterested watchers but Bonafide stakeholders.
The political leaders of Tigray, most of them, have unequivocally declared they stand with the freedom of Eritrea and respect its sovereignty. But why don’t many Eritreans question the sincerity of such declaration? I think there are some things whose rough surface needs some polishing. I think the Tigrayan leaders should look into that seriously.
If people are anxious about their national unity, they do not look outside their boundaries but are preoccupied with their internal priorities. National unity is a priority for Eritreans like any other nation. Anxious people need to be assured that the risks they face, real or imagined, are fully removed. In addition, Eritreans wish for consistency, not different gestures depending on changing situations.
On the Eritreans side, the government is leaving bad influences such as insisting on living in caves as if venturing outside it is damaging. It has been 22 years of endless repeating of Weyane slur though it is the name of the rebellion of Tigray—it’s time we dropped the demagogy. It’s not inviting and doesn’t help the pursuit of peace. In addition, activists or leaders considered opposition elements, particularly the educated class, should educate the public and influence them to stop street languages. They shouldn’t push the people to the swamps of ignorance. That way the people can think rationally and be psychologically ready for change.
But we have to recognize that we have proved to be weak. So far, we have failed in alleviating our miserable situation that allowed a bunch of useless leaders to lord over us unelected. They do not care if the people are engaged in wars and violence indefinitely as long as they secure their privileges positions.
Tigray is Ethiopian
We have to realize r=that whenever we have a conflict or a relation with Tigray, it involves Ethiopia. WE should not consider Tigray a separate country as long as it is in Ethiopia. Unless the Tigrayan people decide to succeed, their region remains an integral part of Ethiopia. It’s also important to note that the confrontation between the federal government and the regional government of Tigray does not bode well with the stability of the region. We should hope that they resolve their issues peacefully, through dialogue and serious negotiations. But as I see it, the few bravados related to the secession of Tigray are political gesture, a tactical ploy to pressure the federal government in the ultimate negotiations for normalcy.
Bir Tiran—The Yellow Mountain State
Do you know of this imaginary country? It’s a piece of land (2000 sq Kms) found between the Sudan and Egypt. Neither governments have claimed it in their maps—it’s one of the many vague borders, a legacy the British colonizers left behind.
The Sudanese-Egyptian border runs along the 22nd. Parallel with the exception of the Halaib boundary which veers north of the 22nd until it reaches the Rd Sea coast. The Bir Tiran enclave is south of the 22nd. And since Sudan claims Halaib because it says the people who live there, the Beshareen, are an extension of the Sudanese tribes though it’s located north of the straight-line border. Claiming the Bir Tiran enclave would spoil the arguments of both countries and they find it convenient for their arguments on Halaib if they ignored the Bir Tiran area. And that has created the perception that Bir Tiran is a no man’s land.
Over the years, several individuals have sneaked into the region and hoisted flags in Bir Tiran and claimed the territory. Among them were an American man, an Indian IT technician and a Russian person. But in September of 2019, a certain woman appeared on TV and baptized the territory “the Kingdom of the Yellow Mountain”. She said the kingdom has a king, a functioning cabinet, an anthem and a flag. She also said that the kingdom sells honorary titles, passports and plans to be home to the refugees and stateless people of the region.
In recent years, Egypt has ceased sovereignty of two Islands, Tiran and Senafir, to Saudi Arabia. Observers have explained the relevance of the two islands to the 2030 vision that Saudi Arabia launched a few years ago. The vision is related to a development project in Northern Saudi Arabia and centred around a proposed city named Neom. Many world leaders and investors have shown interest, or are involved, in the project including big names like Bezos and Gates, Zuckerberg and others.
I am bringing this as an example to show that there are many neutral, disputed, or unclaimed territories all over the world. And our outlook should be saving lives and resources of the country and its people. Egypt and Sudan’s have decided to leave the Halaib conflict pending while they focus their energy on other productive issues.
The Kilo-Halo Institute
Lately the kilo-Halo institute graduated its first student. But since it’s covid19 era, the graduation didn’t attract crowds and was concluded silently. This news was leaked by Kilo-Halo Leaks, named after WikiLeaks, it’s named after the Arat-Kilo palace of Addis Ababa, Abiy’s palace, and the Adi-Halo office of Isaias Afwerki.
Abiy Ahmed has been studying online due to the pandemic imposed regulation and every three-months he went to Adi-Halo for a test, and he passed every test he took. His first class was how to liquidate people who threaten your grip of power. The instructor told him to begin with those closest to him citing his own experience with his closest colleagues, like Sheriffo, Petros Solomon and Haile Deroue, who he made vanish. And that is what Abiy did arrested Berhanu Negga, Jawar, and many, many others—there is a list of about 10,000 prisoners but it’s too long to list here.
In addition, in one of the elective courses, Abiy learned how to ward off the risk that the youth might pose. The best solution is to gather all the youth in a camp which becomes like a conveyor belt, rolling over new arrivals who can be used for any labour around the vast Ethiopian lands. That was illustrated in a trip that Abiy made to Sawa where he saw thousands of school age children wasting their time marching under the scorching heat.
Intermission: Tzzegai Iyassu was a very intelligent and successful lawyer whose Ethiopian friends in Addis Ababa asked him where he was educated. He replied, abroad. Then they discovered the man was educated in Asmara and he was mainly self-made. They asked him, why do you tell us you went school abroad when you were schooled in Eritrea? The lawyer said, Eritrea is a foreign land.
Anyway, Abiy returned to Ethiopia and in a few weeks, he implemented the financial system that he learned. Now Ethiopians cannot carry more than 1.5 million Birr in cash; they have to deposit it in a bank. If Abiy goes further and implements the system he learned abroad, in Eritrea, Ethiopians will submit an application with their shopping list to get the money from the bank; 1 kilo of meat, a litre of oil, etc. Then, the bank will release the amount from their accounts. That is surely to improve the Ethiopian economy and finances, just like it improved the Eritrean economy.
Isaias’ Cults, Abiy’s cult
We have dealt with the Isaias cult for too long. Now Abiy has created a similar cult. That cult is becoming as noisy and irrational as Isaias and they have even started to abuse many people. But if one dealt with Isaias’ cult, how difficult is it going to be dealing with his student’s cult! The experience has proven to be beneficial.
In 2018, Major Dawit wrote an article in which he implored (almost a reprimand) me to join Dr. Abiy’s arithmetic class. But I was not that excited about the 1+1 elementary class that I went through as a child, I needed mathematics, Algebra and the like that I was never good at. But Dawit didn’t complete two years in that class. Last week, he wrote a scathing criticism about Abiy, lambasting him together with the country he is running, as a terrorist state. See, Dawit wanted me in the class when he was not sure whether he will stay long enough. How would I feel if I was in a class and then he leaves me behind and disown the class to which he was inviting me?
But I am concerned about the Eritreans youth who are being subtracted by the PFDJ on a daily basis. They are escaping the country by the thousands, but the government considers them a source of hard currency because whatever money they transfer to their families will end up in the economy. And the PFDJ boast of self-reliance and other bravados when it’s a human trafficker pushing out its youth while denying them opportunities in the own habitat.
Finally, all of that has come to pass. Eritrea will welcome its children and will prosper. Remember that—and remember I was certain about it.