“Freedom of the mind requires not only the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thought.” (Alan Bloom)
For purposes of clearing my mistaken identity, perceived by many other than those who know me, some disclosures must be in order on my side, to clear once for all. I have been writing for more than 10 years, more frequently since the inception of the senseless border war. For reasons unknown to me, and from the feedback of my e-mails, I am being perceived by many as Bilen-Christian or Mensae-Christian. Probably from the stand I took to voice the grievances of our minority. For whatever reason of perception they might have, I believe nature abhors hidden identity and pen names. Hence I am not. I am a Christian from the highland of Saraye. I am against “re-constructivism of new identity.” I am proud of my village, district, province, and my Eritreanism. It sounds Hiruy’s “strategy of Adi.” Yes, I am for it. I am reminded that some of our ethnic-minorities are in the brink of extinction (Kunama and Baria) by the regimes social-engineering to dismantle the rainbow of our social-make-up. All our Kunamas are pushed out to our neighbor country Ethiopia. Their exodus of resettlement in recent time to the western countries is a “call for awakening” for those who live in denial or in hindsight supporting the strategy of the regime. I am also aware that “the struggle for identity-survival” by our minorities is considered as “sub-national movement” by the regime and his cohorts. It hurts and pushes you to raise your voice to stop this social-engineering. So I am precisely doing that.
Before going to my topic, some clearances must also be made on the unfortunate fate of our nation, which demands a reverberant of soul searching. The last few months, the real Eritrean social contradiction, which was considered as “secondary” and left out for generations, came to an open debate. I salute it, simply, because without tackling the true nature of our social contradictions, we cannot come to a solution and save our unity.
After an angry and pessimist Ali Salim came with all his grievances (which by the way has some elements of truth), and gave us the undesired shock therapy; I was also expecting an angry and “hegemonic shock therapy” from the other side, which lately was expressed by Semere Tesfai in his recent essay at awate.com. Ali Salim and Semere Tesfai are the microcosm expression of Eritrean socio-political contradiction. Hence, the topic of my essay will address these fundamental social conflicts through the law of opposites using examples of chemistry as the law of opposites and relate to the bipolar “perception and reality” of highland/lowland within the Eritrean politics. In doing that I will avoid abstract explanations for the sake of citizens of none science background, but instead I will use combination of symbols to illustrate my argument.
Since I have addressed Ali Salim’s argument on my previous installations, let us observe why Semere represents the “angry hegemonic” part of our society by listening his words.
“I don’t care how you slice it, ethnic Tigrigna are the dominant ethnic group in Eritrea and due to their sheer numbers, ethnic Tigrigna’s right to govern should be honored in order to have stable and prosperous Eritrea, otherwise Eritrea will be unstable country.” (Bumper sticker # 9 Semere Tesfai)
Semere used E-factor (ethnic as factor) to justify and echoed that we the majority (ethnic-Tigrigna) must rule and the rest must be ruled, no matter what other circumstances might influence in governing (Semere’s calculation for governing). In physics there is a natural law that governs motion, and that is, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Ostensively, the game of political science also governed by the same proved hypothesis and experiments. Unfortunately, his formula calls for a protracted conflict and restlessness.
Surprisingly, Ali Salim knew it before Semere came with his bumper sticker #9. Ali wants to use the R-factor (religion as factor) to unite all Muslims in all the highland and lowland to balance the power within the governing authority. When I listen to these two citizens, nothing is far from the truth, from what I have expressed on my previous essay – the problem of “chauvinism and mistrust.”
My fears are: if Semere’s presumptuous arguments are largely the overwhelming held opinion on the highland side, which by the way is a concluded perception by the other side, we are really in a quagmire beyond redemption. We were not and are not at peace for generations with each other, no matter how we keep our internal problems aside for the sake of our common primary challenge at every turn of our history. The unity of our people has never been at the center of our struggle, but instead power was the driving force of Eritrean politics as it is attested by our history. The existence of our internal societal contradictions was denied (as hade libi hade hizbee an outrageous lies) since independence, by us the highlanders so speak. I am sure some will come with an absurd answer that this slogan was sang during the bloody border war; and I will say to them it is a plain lie before they attempt too. We must admit unequivocally this plain truth, before we try any kind of attempt to solve this reality. Any legal and political culture that could be generated by our elites and our intellectuals, without addressing the existence of the subject matter I am talking, will end us in a fiasco as it happened in our history for decades.
As a matter of indulgence and courtesy, we need an urgent round table discussion to prevent the escalation of our social contradiction into a conflict. But before we put a harness to the hegemonic attitudes expressed by Semere, one has to see the intended and unintended implications of his words.
Semere, by expressing his chauvinism, tried to project what shaebia’s reasoning for their success was; I don’t know what success means in the eye of Semere, especially in the contemporary Eritrea as it stands to day. But let us see and listen to the words he holds in for reverence:
“We were educated but they were…, we were fierce fighters but they were…, we were visionaries but they were…attitudes.”
These attitudes are still alive and thrive on our side (the highlanders) as we encounter in our daily life. Now, be on their shoes, and look how we will fill if we flip the scenario and assumptions of Semere’s formula of governance against us (the highlanders). Wouldn’t we react the way they are doing? I believe we would react more vigorously. Is it real fact that we are more educated than them (the lowlanders) in the contemporary Eritrea, if we don’t segregate those who pursue their schools in the Arab countries and those who pursue in the Western countries, the way the current government is doing? Where are the courtesy and the learned wisdoms?
Furthermore, Semere didn’t hastate to paint ELF as “Mina emir organization.” He sounds as he got it from the pages of the history book of shaebia. For me and those who fought with the organization of ELF, it is unforgettable contempt, and nothing is new, in undermining the heterogeneity of ELF organization and its contribution in the army struggle. His model of his contention in correlating Ali Salim and ELF is designed around the description of EPLF and now EPFDJ. No surprise for most of us, it has been floating for decades. For the sake of the public though, I will not be tempted to delve into history now, for it will be told the other side of the story in due time. However, it is this contempt and arrogance of chauvinism that needs a harness not to go out of its way. Henceforth, let me stop my reflections about Semere Tesfai and Ali Salim here, and bring you back home to the issue I want to address it.
If we admit that Ali Salim and Semere Tesfai as microcosm of our social problem, and that the search is for power sharing, there is a law that governs opposites to keep the balance. Politics usually teaches us for every great man’s to solve socio-political problems, others are created. So contradictions will pop up at any time and space, in any form or essence, and will be challenged by any generation that follows. Contradictions are considered as the engine of development, and are handled by the law of negation. But when it is not handled with courtesy, it is a mess that will take us all together to our extinction. To avert such scenario, science created a law that alludes, matter is neither created nor destroyed; but transform, and govern by the law of opposites. Forgive me for giving you the impression of dialectical materialism. But the laws of nature govern matters as well as human being; and just keep it within that proximity in light of my argument.
The law of opposites states: Human beings as contradictory objects, create a cycle that alternate between symmetry and broken symmetry. Only by breaking symmetry do we ever perceive manifestation. As a result, all elements of human desire will also exhibit alternating balance and influx with regard to their effect on each other. In other words, human society is a perpetual struggle between balance and flux. So also are its individual parts with each other, because they are in fact, what the nets of societies are. Equally true, and it seems only logical for us to respect the existence of binary world in every aspect of human life, even of those things not to be observed by our finite minds, a condition representative of our true nature. Binary natures of human being or other in the universe are governed by law of opposites.
Now Ali Salim and Semere Tesfai broke the symmetry to see who we are, and what our bonds are in terms of our group identity and common identity. Beyond that they brought the subtle of our behavioral manifestation of the two sections of our society (highland/lowland) in terms of our socio-political moods, defining the nature of our bond, if we are going to be held together. It is in the light of these manifestations that I would like to bring and illustrate the law of opposites as stated above to use as a model, and chemistry as the rule of unity for diversity to solve our social contradictions. If I am successful in projecting this idea among our educated section of our society as it should be, then I will extend the understanding that comes out from here, to replicate the same approach, to the nature of governance that will holds us together as a united people, to be governed by the rule of law, but subjected to the approval by the whole section of our society. Keep in mind again that I will not bring the abstract nature of chemistry and the terminologies that define their interactions which is the most hated subject by most students. I will use the symbols and combinations and their valences as the power used for their combinations or the contribution of power from each attributed to their unity.
Hence, let us observe the law of opposites in chemistry and let me bring an example of a compound of a unity of four elements (Na, H, C, and O = sodium, Hydrogen, Carbon, and Oxygen respectively). For simplicity purposes, let me use “NaHCO3” a compound also known as “Sodium Bicarbonate,” or its commercial name as “baking soda” which is made of these four elements. Besides, I wanted you to be reminded that each element has a power for combination called “valence” either it could be negative valence or positive valence – to give the unity of opposites. Here is the combining equation as illustrated below.
(A) Na+1 + (HCO3)-1 ß—-à NaHCO3 (baking soda)
In this equation, in order Hydrogen (H), Carbon (C), and Oxygen (O) to combine with Sodium (Na), they need to make their alliance to create a power that is equal and opposite in valence to that of Sodium (Na) to form a unity of one compound called baking soda. Keep in mind that Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Carbon independently can not be combined with Sodium to form a compound or a tangible unity of a definable substance. Hence the combination of the three is a pre-requisite before they combine or united with Sodium (Na) to form a unity of tangible substance. Also watch another example below:
(B) Na+1 + CI-1 ß—-à NaCI (common salt – used in our daily food)
In this equation, Sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl) have an equal and opposite valence (power of combination) and when they combine they form Sodium Chloride (NaCl) also known “common salt,” the salt we use in our foods. In both cases there are conditions that bind them, and both side must observe the conditions that binds them and protect collectively from any condition that reverse their unity.
In the above two examples we have observed two different method of forming unity of compound. In the first equation we saw different mechanism of combination as such the three has to make their own unity to form an equal but opposite to the other (sodium), before they form the bigger common identity (call it the process for unity of diversity). In the second equation, it is simple unity of two of equal power but opposite, forming common identity while they are recognizing their individual identity (call it less diversified). In both cases there are conditions that bind them and must be keep constant to endure as long as it is needed. Otherwise, they are reversible under certain conditions, hence their equation for their unity are indicated by reversible arrows.
In part-I of this essay (Nature abhors vacuum); I was looking how to make pillars for bridging, the solid pillars when bridged, that could survive for generations. In part-II (which is this essay), I am trying to show how the law of opposite governs, and as such, that there is not unity without observing the rule of nature which governs society as well. The two above equations clearly shows us that there could be no unity (combinations) without creating an equal and opposite between the two or more, which are perceived to give us a usable and tangible substance to human being. By the same token, in a society as diversified as ours, one has to determine the “affinity of power” that could be exerted by each group of our society. Thereafter we will frame the grouping by addition and subtraction to find the balance of power to hold our unity.
Clearly, the problem at hand is the issue of “power and justice,” and all other issue falls as a subset to these two formidable problems. Justice can only be observed under a balanced power. Unbalanced power encroach the rights of others capriciously. We Eritreans have common grievances as well as specific grievances as a group, whatever the shape or form the grievances they might be. Those who look to the common grievances only, are not sincere, for they have never addressed the specific grievance of others; and those who focus to their specific grievances only, are not sincere either, for they don’t offer solutions for their grievances within the frame of our common identity.
For our minority I have showed you two metaphoric examples whichever factor is applicable to generate an equitable power to hold the equilibrium of our unity. Tyranny is not only that uses force to assure uniformity, which by the way EPFDJ is doing, but also those who tries to remove awareness of other reality and possibilities. All forms of tempering with your human rights and justice, shaping you against your will to their own pattern, control, and conditioning, is therefore, a denial of that which makes you who you are and your values. I for one will defend your rights no matter what it takes.
On the flipside, I will summon courtesy on your side, that whatever calculations or formulas you want to take to equilibrate the momentum of Eritrean politics, do not do it out of hate. Just do it, because you have to follow the law of opposites that nature taught us to balance the system in which we live in. The seed of justice cannot be germinates in a hateful ground, and the nation we create will not stand with divided and unbalanced force of equilibrium. Focus on the elements of politics embedded on conscious and intelligent manipulation to seek justice stubbornly. Build a conscious base that holds the pillar of the bridge that all we can walk through peacefully.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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