1. Re-awakening the patriotic front;
4. A variable we do not need;
You may not enjoy this article for it is filled with some angry expressions which seem to be dominating my reasoning these days. Please take no offense!
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pea,r prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock, [not in the morning, but in the evening].
T. S. Eliot (The Hollow Men)
It is no secret that those who felt ‘empowered’ by Ethiopia tried to bully us into falling in line rather unsuccessfully. On the other front, those who have been undermining our past struggle are debased because their escapades are slowly coming to an end. In the beginning it was hard to get my head around what was happening – the gradual dismantling of our heroic history and the erosion of our moral dignity. No history, no identity. But now, as far as I am concerned, every alarming push seems to bring me back to the values I cherish the most as an Eritrean – the values instilled in me by the selflessness of our martyrs. And I believe there are many of us out there whose patriotism has been reawakened not only by the Ethiopian incursion into our affairs but also by the twisted tales that were narrated about our history.
My fellow Eritreans, we should pay particular attention to the importance of Eritrea’s sovereignty while we continue our struggle to rectify our problems. Those who are blinded by their hatred of Isaias and do not mind that Ethiopia loosens our grasp on our sovereignty need to think twice before things get out of hand. They think, rather naively, if they could only employ Ethiopia’s help in dislodging PFDJ the rest of our problems would somehow arrange themselves in a compelling and true solution – and we will live happily ever after alongside our neighbors from the South. No matter how fierce it is the temptation to take shortcuts in our campaigns, we need to remind ourselves there are no shortcuts to victory. If we ever apply the Ethiopia-shortcut, Eritrea will get cut short. Ask our martyrs! I truly believe Eritrea’s future is intertwined with the lives of those who passed before us. That is the trajectory of our struggle. Oh lord, my ‘paranoia’ never ends!
I believe that a strange turn of fate is bringing some of us together after witnessing the lies that were posted concerning our history. Perhaps I should personally thank Tesfay Temnewo for his lies because he made me realize how much some of our thinking has been sullied and how far some of compatriots have strayed from the course outlined by our martyrs’ character. Once again, I have seen how those skewed developments have been testing my nerves and harming my morale. On the other hand, I have observed those lies turn into some ingredients of patriotic awakening.
Following the negative outcome of our post-independence situation, the PFDJ reality, many are looking for apportioning blame unto others (but never to themselves). Tesfay Temnewo raised themes which did not resonate with me at all – he blamed everyone but himself. His case is a simple hindsight bias which led him to a false autobiographical memory. I am glad Mohamed Berhan Blatta contributed to the on-going discussion in exposing his lies. In order to underline his depraved standards, I have come to understand that the distorted version of our history he presented suited him well because it camouflaged the fact that he is a deserter.
A distorted understanding of our history certainly leads us to a distorted view of the present and is an impediment to our capacity to understand ourselves. Let me give you an example on the basis of Tesfay’s account. His accounts are full of ‘wegen’ stories – that our struggle for independence was filled with prejudice and small-mindedness regarding one’s place of birth and origin. His claims made me reflect on the relationships that existed between our former fighters in Eritrea’s battlefields. I thought about Samuel (China) who married a woman from Saho; I thought about Wuchu whose wife comes from Akeleguzay; I thought of Romodan and his Christian wife; I thought of Astier (gual Abatye) who married a Muslim from Saho (Sherifo); Mesfin Hagos’ wife is from Akeleguzay; DruE’s wife is from Seraye; Adhanom’s first wife was from Hamasien. Guess what, Isaias Afewerki’s wife is from Akeleguzay. The list goes on and on. As far as Ghedli is concerned there is no issue of parochial loyalties. Some with subnational mind-sets are simply bellowing without thinking. It would be a sign of our maturity as a people if we could relax, accept facts and seek a proper understanding of what happened before us.
My Simple Analysis
My fellow Eritreans, my simple analysis is that Ethiopia’s involvement in our campaign against PFDJ makes it a flawed one. First of all, why should we forfeit our self-respect and moral integrity and deny ourselves the dignity we very well deserve for driving the Ethiopians out of our country? The strategy of the Ethiopians is simple – they would like to live as they once lived (as masters). But our history will not permit it. They have already indicated, in many ways, for their right to a bigger living space – I am referring to appropriating Assab.
The incredible suffering of Eritreans who were victimized by the Ethiopians is a bitter memory that hasn’t disappeared from our consciousness. Why should the present day suffering under the PFDJ government erase the massacres in OmHajer, Hirgigo, Wekiduba, AQurdet, Una, Hazemo … etc? The ENCDC and the Debrezeit groups seem to have forgotten such key moments. Not only that, they seem to have misplaced their history books for they offhandedly talk about ‘federal system’, ‘future bilateral trade agreements’, ‘deploying our youth against PFDJ’, ‘the right to have access to seaports’ … all in accordance to Ethiopia’s design, and of course, in accordance to ‘the wishes of Eritrean people’. Mind you, once we cross the line, the line of assimilating to a corrupt system created by Ethiopian inducement, we will never be able to disentangle ourselves from ‘the dreams of the Big Brother’ or exonerate ourselves from betrayal.
The neo-Andinet group may feel uncomfortable now as it is being challenged for all the right reasons by the patriotic front. Their outlook is lopsided and short-sighted, and they know that they don’t have a leg to stand on when confronted with the Eritrean reality. I hope they are beginning to ask themselves whether they should yield to reason now or continue to yield to inducement. We need to harness the anger we feel towards the PFDJ regime and channel it towards our own campaigns instead of creating opportunities for the Ethiopians to encroach on our patriotic fervor.
Eritrean patriotism rests upon a pillar so solid that the unionist elements amongst us would never be able to destroy it with their capricious campaign for they do not know the fortitude of our forts built by the blood of our martyrs and those who hold the reins of reason in our communities on their behalf.
Here is why I think we need to do away with the Ethiopia-variable in our formula. The message we send home will be formidable only when it carries a message of hope to our people. We will give them a major moral boost if we respect the sacrifices our martyrs made in freeing Eritrea. We are talking about the comrades, parents, spouses, brothers and sisters of those heroes who are watching our errant ways when we flirt with Ethiopian officials. It is then they feel disrespected. And that is how we end up undermining our own struggle. Again, it is then they would rather stay on PFDJ’s side rather than ours – because of the litter we carry in our campaigns.
I would like to stop here for now. I would also like to apologize for not delivering what I promised in my last posting – the topic regarding plans to prepare ourselves for what the future has for us as Eritreans. I may have misjudged matters.
My fellow Eritreans, my wish is to call upon those who are linked by our past struggles to see to our current crisis. At the same time please allow me to state my objective once again. While we still have time we could examine the recurring tension in our lives: a) how we manage our campaign with what we have at our disposal or, how we are destroyed by the world around us; b) and how we assert ourselves against Ethiopia’s intrusion in some meaningful way.
I hope I will do better next time.
Sheda footprints marked their paths
Along the trenches of Denden
The Filfil Valley, the heart of Sheib village
Witnessed by the stars in the sky
Punctuated by the moon that rose up high
Take heed! It is the 20 Sene season!
Sunstroke will be merciless to those who forget
The memories of the three-day battle of Afabet
Take heed! It is 20 Sene season!
These are our people’s stories of that era
The roots of our rhythmic recalls
Sing bTsay sing, sing the ballad of Eritrea
Admas Haile, an Eritrean observer