The extent to which humans are willing to compromise their integrity and the “tangled web they weave” when they want “to deceive” is just beyond comprehension sometimes. The recent articles that were posted in Asmarino that address child soldiering in Eritrea are intellectual and philosophical stuttering at best. As humans with some disposition of sensibilities we are accustomed to respect certain matters; matters of religion, matters of spiritual world, and some aspects of what we believe to be sacred in nature. I, therefore, will burst to the fore and give it everything I’ve got whenever I feel someone is contravening into that sacred territory as Yosief Ghebrehiwet (YG), seems to draw comfort in doing so from discrediting the Ghedli years. The Weldeab and the Idriss in me will spontaneously defend the principles and the spirit of Ghedli from those who wish to drop it to the bottomless pit of the abyss. The liberation fronts in which Eritreans of all stripes fought to liberate Eritrea and its people will always be remembered fondly and respectfully; that’s the threshold I will never transgress and will argue with those who nonchalantly attempt to abuse it; never mind what became of those who were liberators turned homemade oppressors; there is a clear delineation there and those are fair game for a well deserved criticisms. And that’s precisely why I am being compelled to come forward and challenge YG & Zekre Libona (ZL).
With my previous article that dealt with Ethiopia’s documented crimes and brutalities as a background, let me fodder my cannon and return at once to the articles in question.
Juxtaposing the two articles, YG’s “What the Book of Martyrs Doesn’t Say: Part I” and Part II, , and ZL’s “The Eritrean Revolution and Its Child Soldiers” and reading them side by side will prompt the reader to notice how closely they complement each other to a point of succinctly fitting the maxim: birds of the same feather flock together. The first ‘bird’ wants exhumation through an archaeological dig to show that Ghedli indeed had child solders; as if that wasn’t hilarious enough, the second ‘bird’ not only wants the resurrection of children soldiers’ remains, but also extracting their fossils, I suppose via Carbon-14, in order of uncovering the motives, the cause, and the intentions of Eritreans for fighting mother Ethiopia. Never mind that C-14 can only give the age and the dates of any remains. These two ‘birds’ all and all want the dead men and women to walk and talk. Hell, Rapture must be here!
The preoccupation with the secondary reasons for living were so overwhelming to YG that none of the lofty words that were bandied about, words such as “creativity, prosperity, liberty, etc.,” rendered as the primary reasons a person should strive for in life, receive any attention at all. Apparently our YG never draws anything positive from what Eritreans do let alone drawing positive intents from what Ghedli stood for.
Allow me to use an analogy that will help illustrate the point. Does one see Americans preoccupying themselves with the intentions behind the framers of The Declaration of Independence, part of which states: “We hold these truths to be self- evident, that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” however imperfect this declaration maybe, minorities (Blacks, Women, Asians, etc…) of this country didn’t go on arguing about the intentions of the framers who were slaveholders themselves when these words were uttered. Pragmatism & human decency compels all Americans to say it was intended for all Americans, Black, Yellow, and White alike and gallop forward. No one demands the resurrection of John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and Samuel Adams; the Forefathers of this country, to find out of their intentions and motives when they began to imagine the future of this great country we call the U.S.of A. They simply give it positive interpretation and move on for something better and build upon what was given to them. But not in the world of these two ‘birds.’ These ‘birds’ want to get to the bottom of things. One can’t build a nation without unpacking the meaning behind hidri suwwat seems to be the mantra here. In the mindset of these flocks everything must be unpacked to ground zero even if it took an archaeological dig to do it. MaHarenna Khrustos eyyu zebbl. The moral of the parallel story drawn from the United States’ experience is: Tegadelti liberated you from the shackles of slavery and now it is up to us to do something good with it.
If there was an ultimate ugliness in human behavior it is when humans begin to see other humans as commodity and as collaterals to be dispensed at a whim. The wisdom to the Americans experience once independence was declared from the British monarchy didn’t wallow too much over their fate, they simply made good of the circumstance and fought in every aspect of American life and made this country what it is today. Unlike these two hollow ‘birds’ whose endless philosophical banters lead to nowhere, who by the way, neglected the real cause for the fight for independence, which was Ethiopia, the endless atrocities of which is there for the naked eye to see. One could simply read the enumeration of some of the documented atrocities committed by the Dergue on the first part of this series, which would propel any person with some dignity in his bones to say enough is enough and begin to fight back; fighting back Eritreans of all stripes had done for more than thirty years. Certainly, along the way mistakes were made; mistakes that caused some to vanish but never were there any inkling doubt of the ultimate goal. The intent and the motive were simply to rid the Eritrean people from the Dergue.
Of course, these two ‘birds’ barely mention who the real culprit was and they leave a gaping contextual hole in their frantic search for an answer of child soldiering during the liberation era. They simply want us to believe in a world bereft of contexts. The real context that motivated Eritreans and Tigrayans to fight the pandemonium and the carnage that was visited upon them was no other than Ethiopia’s Dergue. But, of course, you won’t hear it from these featherless and gutless birds. Ethiopia’s Mengistu never made any distinctions between adults and teens when willingly and indiscriminately made thousands of innocent lives disappear. The Scorched Earth Policy was in full gears in Ethiopia’s Dergue who never hesitated to kill children. Addressing issues of race, racism, and slavery without mentioning blacks as the subjugated entities and whites as the perpetrators of it would just be unthinkable; the duo here though make an attempt to elude the reader it was so in Eritrea’s case, that there was no subjugation on Eritreans that Eritreans were the perpetrators of thirty years fight for liberation against themselves; but the bluff is being called upon for what it is: hot air with no substance.
Interestingly one of the birds seems to itch around the Fall Season in calling unflattering names of the founding father of Ghedli, Hamid Idris Awate. This reminds one of President Obama’s references to the political campaign season as “silly season,” a season in which unfounded allegations and right out lies are disseminated in the media outlets in the U.S. for political reasons. Indeed, this particular bird seems to have found a silly season around September 1st in which epithets are on a free fall mode. Be that as it may here is where one of the two birds misses the ball entirely.
Questioning Eritreans’ motive, intent, cause, and all the garbage that is thrown at the readers is nothing but camouflage of one’s inability to help throw the idiot who is at the helm of Eritrean government. Misplacing the blame will not absolve one from his responsibilities and the responsible thing to do would be to fight the existing system not blame those who spent their life fighting to rid of the cancer that was, Ethiopia. Lacking leadership doesn’t mean lacking able bodies, it just means that we must find a way to rid the monster amongst us not begin to question whether those who vanished had left any hidri for us or not. Or question the living gallant tegadelti’s motive, who fought for independence and delivered their promise; and it is up to us now to make it work. Of course, such endless philosophical diatribe must be met with swift rebuttal. With all that drivel that was spewed to-date, the entire argument hinges in this one philosophical formula…separation of “Motive” from “Cause”. Let’s see whether the following Philosophical Enklil used as an analogy holds when put to the test. In YG’s words:
“A thief plans to break into a rich man’s house. He waits until the family is on vacation to enact his plan. After using all his tricks, he realizes he will be unable to open the door by himself. Only one man in the town could do it: the locksmith. The thief has also got another important piece of information: that the locksmith is extremely jealous of his wife, who is believed to have numerous affairs in the town. After making sure that his wife is not in her house, the thief leaves a written message in the locksmith’s shop telling him that his wife is right now having an affair in the rich man’s house. The hotheaded locksmith rushes to the scene and pounds at the door; and when no response is coming, he unlocks the door using his skill and rushes in. The thief, who has been stealthily following him, enters the house and hides himself until the locksmith storms out of the room. The rest is history: the thief escapes with all the jewelry he could put his hands on.”
And concludes with the following…
“The action needed, the opening of the door, remains invariable be it under the thief’s or the locksmith’s “cause”. But the thief knows that unless the locksmith is given a motive of his own, he wouldn’t act. In the end, even as the locksmith believed it is his “cause” that is served as he unlocks the door, it was the thief’s “cause” that was actually served. To get this result, what the thief has done is separate the locksmith’s motivation from its cause, and use the former [motivation of the locksmith] while discarding the latter. [The locksmith’s cause] Similarly, YG continues Ghedli, ”… was able to neatly separate the motivation of well-intended individuals from the original cause they had in mind, and exploited the former [motive of individual tegadelti] effectively to meet its own end while discarding the latter [their cause].”
Now, what the thief effectively has done is use the locksmith to his own advantage. In other words the thief had an ulterior motive (with the intent to deceive) not known to the locksmith. And the locksmith took the bait and helped the thief achieve his goals albeit inadvertently.
The opposite is true of Ghedli!
Ghedli’s motivation was then and is now clear to whoever joined it, to rid Ethiopia and liberate Eritrea, advertently at that. And those who joined Ghedli knew from the get go what the cause was and what the motivation of Ghedli was, for they were joining an existing entity, whereas in the locksmith’s case, he had no clue of the thief’s existence let alone his motives, which goes to show that the metaphor just doesn’t hold up when put to scrutiny.
Furthermore, to follow another philosophical enkilil, if the “Marxists, Baathists, Arabists, Islamists, Tribalists, Nationalists and Patriots” joined Ghedli for their own “cause”…for the Marxist to have a Marxist Eritrea, for the Baathists to have a Baathist Eritrea, and for the Islamists to have an Islamic Eritrea…etc. We are being told that Ghedli had used these people’s motivation to its own end, and discarded their cause…then by all means…one could only say hooray to the ingenuity of Ghedli. For the very reason that Ghedli was not there to furnish a Marxist Eritrea for the Marxist; or an Islamic Eritrea for the Islamist; Ghedli’s role was limited in its scope and clear in its endeavors. Rid Ethiopia and liberate Eritrea. To the disillusionment of some, however, Ghedli succeeded in achieving what it set out to accomplish. For YG’s philosophical analogy about the thief to hold water, it would be prudent that the following questions receive answers:
- What ulterior motive (with the intent to deceive) Ghedli had in fighting Ethiopia?
- What ulterior motive Ghedli had in liberating Eritrea?
After filtering out the background noise of YG articles, what we are left with is just simply intellectual stuttering. This stuttering of YG has been going on for far too long with utter disregard to fact, truth, or decency. Day in and day out he has made a mockery of everything Eritrea and what Eritreans aspire for. It is shamelessly driven to prove a philosophical point that cannot withstand the smell test let alone a thorough analysis. Yet he goes on to stutter endlessly.
YG takes a daring poke to our collective sense of humility, patience, and respect, by selecting a thief, as analogy to compare Ghedli to, followed by Hamid Idris Awate in the same breath is not an accident. It is a deliberate attempt to draw a settle link and insult the founder of Eritrean armed struggle willfully. It is an act of malevolence at work.
He belittles the character of our heroes in life, and defames their names in death. Only because they did not confirm to the irrational logic that is trapped in his mind and could not dislodge and liberate himself from it… he gets irate at the mention of those liberators and displays nothing but contempt and hatred. It is an act of derision.
Himself at war with his own demons, he thumb-sucks it when he is caught lying, and he wants the rest of the world to thumb-suck it as well when he is called upon to stand corrected. It is an act of immature revulsion.
We the living and the liberated are eternally indebted to our liberators, who gave their precious lives, and asked nothing in return. They are neither collateral nor dispensable figures. They are our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, neighbors, relatives, and darn it, they are we. We therefore attribute “all earthly good” to that gift of life, in order to preserve, honor and never let their reputation be prostituted.
Finally, as YG stutters to separate “motivation from cause”, let us try combining these two and see what has emerged…a liberated Eritrea that hase a potential to write its own destiny. Proud in its tenacious people and splendid heritage, it too will some day carve its own declaration, the solemn words ever written by humans “…unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” and to the dismay of some, we proudly take that to be our hidri.