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Tesemma, The Lion Of Maareba

The history of Eritrea in the forties cannot be remembered without mentioning the Independence Block. And that cannot be mentioned without remembering Ras Tessema Asmerom. The independence block played an important role in the struggle against Eritrea’s unconditional unity with Ethiopia.

Tessema Asmerom, a member of the Akele-Guzai nobility, was exposed to limited traditional church education. Yet, he was much revered for his wisdom and intelligence. So brave that he was known as the Lion of Maareba, his village. Just like his wisdom has been exemplary, his wit was astounding. Folktales are full of stories related to the great man who is known for his generosity. Ras Tessema’s house was the refuge for the hungry and the helpless; it was the equivalent of a modern day charitable soup kitchen. It was common in the old days for the peasants to offer a big portion of their harvest to their leaders. Rich and able people would never visit Ras Tessema’s quarters without carrying a gift…mostly in the form of sheep, goats, cattle, milk and honey and the generous Ras shared his wealth with the poor.

A folktale about a poor woman who once walked to Ras Tessema’s house to be fed illustrates his wit. She had approached the Ras, who upon detecting that she wanted to say something, asked what he could do for her. She told him of a dream that she had. Describing he dream she said, that in her dream she slept with the Ras and bore him a baby. The Ras, in his usual wit, smiled and sarcastically told the woman to dream “achievable dreams”–the now common “Aqmekhen Helema” parable.

In the forties when the future of Eritrea was being debated internally and internationally, a naïve person is said to have approached Ras Tessema to give his unsolicited advice. “We have tried the rule of Shoa; we have tried the Italian rule; and we have tried the British rule, and all are not good; why don’t we try the American rule?” Ras Tessema smiled and told the naïve advisor that he should rephrase his advice and instead say ”We Eritreans have tried slavery under different rules, and they are all the same; we might as well try being the masters of our destiny!”

A traditional man, he excelled in the intrigues and diplomacy of Modern politics. The Italians took him seriously and tried to neutralize him by bestowing the title of Degazmatch on him. Later, the British Administration, faced with the same situation, bestowed the title of Ras on Tessema. Equally, in a feudal setting, the son usually follows the footsteps of the father; his son Abraha Tessema got the title of Fitewrari fom the Italians and later the title of Dejazmatch by the British.

Ras Tessema’s family was close to the Tigrayan nobility. In addition, he was a friend of Ras Seyoum Mengesha of Tigrai, the grandson of Emperor Yohannes IV. The relations with the Tigrai nobility was further strengthened when the Italians briefly occupied Ethiopia and annexed Tigrai to their Eritrean territory, thus creating “Grande Eritrea’’ or what came to be known in Tigrinya as “Tigrai-Tigrigni”. Ras Tessema was so much resentful of the “unjust Amhara rule” over Tigrai and feared Shoan Hegemony. As far as the Tigrai was concerned, to Ras Tessema, who was a strong exponent of the “Tigrai-Tigrigni” homeland, and to many people of his time, Tigrai and highland Eritrea was one social and geographical unit inhabited by one people, the Bhere Agaazi (the nation of Agaazi).

In 1947, Ras Tessema and some members of the Akele-Guzai nobility founded the Liberal Progressive Party (LPP) to advance their political objectives. The main objective of the party was to establish a homeland for the “Agaazi Nation”, the Tigrai of Ethiopia and Hamassien, Seraye and Akele-Guzai regions of Eritrea. As was evident from the Party’s ID card, the boundaries of the dream nation included most of the coastal areas of Eritrea, the whole of Tigrai with parts of Welqait and parts of Wollo. Ras Tessema believed that the region was part of the old governorate of Dejazmach Sabagadis, the early 20th century warlord, whose dominion was taken over after the death by the Solomonic Dynasty to which Haile Sellasie belonged. Initially, the LPP had an objective to establish a monarchy under the leadership of the descendants of Yohannes IV. It had entertained the idea of crowning Seyoum Mengesha, the grandson of Emperor Yohannes IV, as the leader of the Agaazi Nation, the Tigrai-Tigrigni region, or what the British called “Political Tigrai”.

After the defeat of the Italians, Tigrai was severed from the Italian-created “Grande Eritrea” and returned to the Ethiopian rule under Emperor Haile Selassie, while Eritrea was put under the British trusteeship and governed by The British Military Administration. The resumption of ruling Tigrai by “The Government of Shoa” was not accepted by many people, but mainly by the nobility from both sides of the Mereb River. Furthermore, it shattered the dream of establishing a state for the nation of “Agaazi,” the ancient name of the people of the region who founded the Axumite civilization.

In Eritrea, the unionists become stronger and the chances of an unconditional unity with Ethiopia was becoming greater by the day. Ras Tessema’s argument was that King Minelik of Ethiopia has sold Eritrea to the Italians and that Ethiopia doesn’t have any moral or legal justification to claim Eritrea after Menelik signed an agreement with Colonial Italy accepting the fact that Eritrea is not part of Ethiopia. Therefore, he believed that it is the responsibility of Eritreans, and only Eritreans, to decide the fate of their country.

As The United Nations Commission arrived in Eritrea to study “the choice of Eritreans for the future of their country”, international politics was on a serious deliberations and debates where representatives of different countries were at loggerheads protecting their interests. Immediately it became evident to Ras Tessema and the LPP that the idea of severing Tigrai from Ethiopia was no more attainable. Thus, the dream of the “Agaazi Nation” was shattered and the previously harmonious nobility on both sides of the Mereb was divided. Ras Seyoum shot the bullet of mercy to the dying idea of Tigrai-Tigrigni when he made his preference to a united Ethiopia; thus, he went to Addis Ababa and vowed his allegiance to Emperor Haile Sellasie. The LPP made major adjustments to its objectives and programs and started to redraw the Map of Eritrea, as we know it today. The renowned Weldaab Weldemariam became the major advocate for the independence of the Eritrean entity, a sovereign country of the Eritrean Nation. And the Newspaper that he published, Haddas Ertra, was considered the mouthpiece of the LPP party. The newspaper developed into a formidable propaganda tool and fervently advanced the idea of Eritrean Independence and emboldened the struggle against the agendas of Mahber Andnet, the Unionist Party.

As a result of the developments, intensive deliberations were held between the Rabita Al Islamiya, led by Ibrahim Sultan, and the LPP, led by Ras Tessema to counter the influence of the Unionists and to keep them at bay. The two parties approached other four small Eritrean parties to join hands with them to face the challenges ahead. All parties responded favorably and together, the six parties formed the Independence Bloc. Ras Tessema became the chairman of the Independence Bloc, while Ibrahim Sultan served as its secretary general. The Independence Bloc, popularly known it’s slogan, “Ertra n Ertrawyan” (Eritrea for Eritreans), become a formidable force and foiled the Unionist’s plan for unconditional unity with Ethiopia.

When the United Nations resolution 390 A was passed as a decision to federate Eritrea with Ethiopia, Ras Tessema was the only political leader who did not accept it. Other prominent politicians of the time, including Ibrahim Sultan, Weldaab Weldemariam, both from the LPP, Tedla Bairu and Ras Beyene Berakhi, both from the Unionist Party, accepted the resolution.

The resolution was considered a compromise formula by many because the two conflicting demands–that of total independence of Eritrea and that of unconditional union with Ethiopia–could not be satisfied at the same time. Ras Tessema publicly told the British governor that the UN resolution was in fact a verdict by the UN, never the choice of Eritreans. Refusing to elect or be elected anymore, Ras Tessema disassociated himself from the Eritrean Parliament and resigned to his village Maareba.

Once when Haile Sellasie visited Eritrea, it is widely believed that he invited Ras Tessema to meet him in Asmara. The proud Ras Tessema refused to ascend from hills of Maareba insisting that Haile Sellasie was the guest and as such, he should come to Maareba if he wants to see him. Another story claims that later on, Ras Tessema reconciled with Haile Sellasie.

That was Ras Tesemma, the Lion of Maareba.


 

This brief introduction of the history of Ras Tessema was written by Saleh Johar and was published on awate.com on November 8, 2000.

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  • John “Doe” Doe

    I agree with you, but Menelik did “sell” Eritrea to Italy.. He himself said “Those on the other side of the mereb are not Abyssinians, they are Agew and Beja” So why he did it doesent matter because he said those words (We are not Abyssinians) and was the emperor of Ethiopia at that time, Ethiopia has no right to Assab, Massawa or Eritrea..

  • TwylaNix1

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  • Zara Yaqob

    Dear Tedi,

    The treaty of Wuchale was signed on May 2 1889, two months after Emperor Yohannes died. So your argument that he made the agreement to defeat Emperor Yohannes does not hold water.

    Emperor Menelik abdicated his dominion over Eritrea because the Eritrean Rases of Hamasien and Akale Guzay did not recognize him as emperor of Ethiopia nor paid loyalty towards him. In fact they made a similar pact with the Italians to fight against Tigray or Shoan Kings. So there is no incentive for Menelik to fight for a region whose rulers chose to side with the Italians. He was wise enough to profit himself from the situation by getting the arm supplies he needed and bid his time until the Eritrean and Tigrean came to their senses and join his side into driving the Italians out. They (Ras Mengesha, Ras Alula, Ras Bahta, Ras Wolde Michael Solomon) actually came to their senses after 5 years in June 1894 and apologized to Menelik and decided to join his Ethiopian force to drive out the Italians.

    Sincerely,
    Zara Yaqob

    • tedi

      Dear Zara,

      You missed the right thing and that’s why you reflected the wrong idea, therefore instead of going around just come to the core point [real idea]. You need to know about what was/is the WICHHALE TREATY mean. Try to research about it in depth and you will get the right things especially on the first link. This is the evidence about what I explained last time. Please read all the entire links then you will grasp some point. Just try to learn/know more rather than to try to be smart by saying some phrases/words like [doesn’t hold water]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuchale
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Wuchale

      ar,

  • Abi

    Hi Hope
    I’m kind of busy. You have to call again.
    Nurow America ereftu Addis Ababa
    Gira yetegaba
    Yemaneh geriba?
    Hilmih Adama, mignotih Finfine
    MeTne! MeTne! MeTne!
    Hasabih Bahir Dar
    Fiqrih qere Gonder
    Ethiopia yene nat endamareh yiqir

    Sorry , I have to go.
    BTW, last time I checked Tigry was still in Ethiopia. Later.

    • Hope

      Please Abitti,
      Go and never come back !
      Stay in Tigray!
      Yeah that is True that I love Ethiopia!
      But,hey, my Public Health Research Result scared me that STD and HIV infection included, Prevalence was and is one of the top pest bin the world
      Finfinie/Addis is labeled as Number ONE Hub in Prostitution per the U.S. State Department!
      Take note visitors !
      The Famous Ethiopian online web confirmed now that the top business of the Sex Industry has focused on:
      -the High School Teens
      -College Students
      -Office Workers
      -Top Artists and Ethio Models,I.e.,those assumed to be relatively “safer “are top notch targets !
      The Sex Industry has become official and ” Legal”!
      Top Customers:
      Middle East Tourists as usual and Europeans!
      Price Range:$20-$300 depending who the target is(High School Teen to top Models)!
      Better deal than the Russian beauties in St Petersburg)!
      This is based on the online web and eye-witness accounts !
      So my dear Abichu,not much interested but love the new Resorts and the Food!
      And yes I do not hate Ethiopia and Ethioppiand,rather love them and respect them and expect to be loved and respected equally by them!
      If not,that is your problem !

      • Abi

        Hope nefse
        Are you expecting a reply? I’m kind of busy watching games. Coming up:
        Barcelona VS Roma
        You see I have better things to do.
        PS
        Milas bicha neh senber yelehim
        Mefoker enji mewerwer atawqim.

  • Fetima Dechasa

    Dearest Hope,

    Well, I would have invited you to Negele or Finchawa for some fresh qishira but I don’t think that’s a good idea. In addition, worry less about us Oromos and more about your country. We got this!

  • Abi

    Hi Hope
    Ale silut yelem, hede silut meTa
    Adeb giza belut yihen qebeTbaTa
    KeKeren tenesto beGonder aquwarTo
    Cleveland derese roTo, roTo, roTo
    Tesfa leqoreTe fano mebrat hono
    Nigigru demqo beqale agano !!!!!
    Zeraf! Yilal tesfa
    Eyut siyanqelafa
    Simut siyankorafa
    Yemanew kerfafa?
    Lekas behilmu new
    Alemin yezorew

  • Fetima Dechasa

    Agarrii Hope,

    No problem. I didn’t think you crossed the line just yet. However, I’m not sure what you mean by Oromia, being in Oromia, and it being your favorite place as though we are one small state, with the same culture, history, etcetera. I’ve as much in common with a Wellegan or Wello Oromo as I do with an Afar. Though one people, it’s important to understand our differences, not all Oromo people are from the same place.

    In any case, what part of Oromiya region were you in?

    • Hope

      Dear Fetima!
      Did you say a ” small state “?
      What do yo call that ” small State,your Honor?
      Talk about the 40 million plus people!!
      Yeah,it is none of my business but it should be your serious business!
      BTW,if I may ask,why are you here @ Awate.com?
      For what business?
      I am here to own and to do my own business!
      Makes sense?
      Hope not to belittle Eritrea and ERITREANS and their heroes like Abicha et al!

  • Abi

    Hi Hope
    As far as I know Amanuel did the most damage than any human being alive or dead. He used our trust to cause the most damage. He lived with us, worked with us, worshipped with us …. We opened our hearts, our homes for him. In return, he sold us in the daylight.
    Then he went to Port Sudan to receive armaments . He became chief distributor of armaments. Finally, he went back to Ethiopia , a country he betrayed and coused the most damage , to beg PMMZ to extend his hand in educating eritreans in refugee camps. Now you have many eritreans in universities and colleges in Mama Ethiopia.
    Hope, a hero doesn’t describe Amanuel’s dedication to eritrea. How about a saint?
    St Amanuel! Can you imagine worshipping with him. Funny, when you close your eyes to pray, he was recruiting fedayeen. When you open your eyes, there is something on your back. If you notice, he always preach about trust. I wonder why?
    St Amanuel!

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Abi,
      What happen Abi? I just did the call of my people. I don’t have hate to the Ethiopian people. In fact I have enormous respect to the people who are indeed identified by their hospitality. What I stood at that time was against the government of Ethiopia to protect my people and respect their rights – the right to self-determination. That is all. I thought we made peace. I will call you home with your family to make a closure to your grievance with Ethio-foods and Ethio-hospitality. How about that Abi?

      regards,
      Amanuel Hidrat

    • Hope

      Dear Abicha Or is it Abichu in Oromifa?
      ” Letekematch Semay kirb new “Le enne Abu et al!
      U need a Gut and COURAGE to the job Vet Amanuel Hidrat has done!
      Yes Indeed,it was a sacred job and MISSION what Vet Aman et al did to bring down the Terrorist Menghistu and the ailing and corrupted Janhoy,the Silent Killer!
      Not sure if Amanuel was a Fefayeen or not but let me tell you what the EPLF Fedayeen did(Ustaz Kokheb Selam,please take a note):
      The likes of the late Gen Vanyak et al chased the Dergue criminals inside a Church and killed them in a day light in the Heart of Asmera!
      Call it ” Devilism” if you wish but that is what Real Heroes with real GUT and COURAGE!
      What the fake heroes do is nonstop Gurra and empty mantra!
      Akaki Zeraf!
      Kind of ferrah aserte betru!, who knows only belittling and making jones about real Heroes!
      Diros kemenquashisj bestekere Lela kumnegher alasayenehim so far

      • Abi

        Hi Hope Nefse
        OK! What’s up
        I told you already Vet Amanuel did the most damage. He doesn’t want you advertise for him. He is kind of humble.( moya belib new.)
        Regarding EPLF fedayeen in asmara , I’m not surprised. In case you forgot more than 100,000 people have experienced it when you inhumanly kicked them out of your country. Some died in the process. I call it mass fedayeen. You call it eritrean heroism. Even a dog doesn’t bite if you sit down. Your fedayeen heroes in asmara found the helpless ethiopians and showed them their gut and courage by robbing them of the little they had and kicked them out. Selam described it nicely how these people were begging for water while dying.
        it is all good, Hope.
        Talk about fedayeen. You have a lot of them.

  • Zara Yaqob

    Dear Saleh,

    I disagree with the statement that Menelik sold Eritrea to the Italians. After the fall of King Yohannes IV, the region of Tigray and Eritrea had descended into a power struggle which was being fueled by the Italians divide and conquer strategy. You have Dejach Debebe, Ras Sebhat, Ras Gugsa on one side fighting against Ras Mengesha (heir apparent) and Ras Alula. And then you have Dejazmach Bahta of Akele Guzay and Ras Woldemichael Solomon of Hamasien fighting and plotting against Ras Mengesha and Ras Alula. On top of this, no one among the different factions recognized Menelik as king of Ethiopia. So Menelik would have to use either diplomacy or force to get their loyalty first before unifying them into fighting the italians. The first one was not successful and the latter would mean falling into the same trap of Italian divide and rule strategy by becoming another faction in the power struggle. It was not until late in the game that Ras Mengesha, Ras Alula, Dejazmatch Bahta and Ras Woldemichael realized that they were being played by the italians into fighting each other and decimating their forces and they came to Menelik to ask forgiveness for their dealing with Baratieri and recognized him as king. It was after this that they were able to unify and join forces to fight and drive out the Italians. Alas, the combined forces of all was only able to drive the italians out of Adwa which begs the question that if Tigray, Hamasien and Akele Guzay Rases had not thinned their forces fighting each other, there would have still been enough force left to push out Italians all the way from Massawa too. Also, note that after the battle of Adwa, the italians reinforced their garrison in Asmara by sending additional 15,000 troops under the command of the well known General Baldesira. Also, it goes without saying that the italians were not only successful in getting the Rases into fighting each other but also getting a lot of Eritrean people to join their troops.
    So, saying Menelik sold Eritrea to Italians overlooks this major detail in history and I hope you take note of it.

    Sincerely,

    Zara Yaqob

    • Saleh Johar

      Selam Zara Yaqob,
      Thank you for the comment. But please remember the content of the article is not an exhaustive history of the intrigues, politicking, and primordial relations, that dictated shifting alliances, and politics of the time. It is rather a glimpse, a sort of introductory brief, about the leader Ras Tessema. Going into the quagmire of dirty politics of the region was not my focus though I could write a lot about it. In 2000, we were attempting to reintroduce our heroes who were neglected, their mention corrupted, and they were made to disappear from our collective knowledge. Look at it from that perspective.

      As far as Eritreans are concerned, we consider Ras Tessema a hero who fought for independence in the way he saw fit, and considering the politics of the time. What interests most Eritreans is his role in the formation of the independence Block and in the formation of modern Eritrean nationalism.

      • Zara Yaqob

        Dear Saleh,

        You’re right, a lot could be written about the regional politics and power dynamics during that time and I understand it will distract from the original purpose of your article. I guess I was just filling in some of the details since our history is not as black and white as some politicians make it out to be.

        Sincerely,

        Zara Yaqob

        • Hope

          Dear Zera Yacob:
          You seem to be a Student of ” Prof” Pankrust,who taught me ” Ethiopian History” in the BEST biased way I have ever witnessed!
          Good luck!

          • Zara Yaqob

            Hi Hope,

            That was funny. How about Paul Henze and Haggai Erlich ? Do you consider them biased as well ? What I stated is written in more details in their book.

            Sincerely,
            Zarayaqob

        • Jacob

          Zara Yaqob,
          Dejat Bahta Hagos died in 1894. Ras Woldemichael was already imprisoned and in exile at Axum from 1879. Yohannes died in 1889(March). Menelik sold Eritrea to the Italians in 1889 the same year(May). Ras Gugsa was four years old at that time.So, which feud are you talking about? Sometimes, I kind of feel really insulting people like you. First, be well informed about what you are talking before you even think of writing.
          NB: Raesi Tessema fought alongside the Italians against his fellow Tigraians/Ethiopians as a young man. Ahun Frdu Lenante.

          • Zara Yaqob

            Dear Jacob,

            No need for insults as that wouldn’t help any discussion. And sorry for the late response as I don’t log in to my disqus account that often. In any case, I would like to quote the following from Wikipedia on the profile of Bahta Hagos. The original quote is from Paul Henzes book ‘Layers of Time, A History of Ethiopia’

            “However Bahta became increasingly frustrated with the conduct of the Italian Colonial Government and their soldiers, particularly the expropriation of land from the clergy.[5] He understood that Menelik was consolidating his power to the south with plans to displace the Italians. In June 1894, he, along with Ras Mengesha Yohannes, Ras Alula, and Ras Woldemikael Selomontraveled to Addis Ababa to seek forgiveness from the Negus for their dealings with Baratieri.[6] Menelik forgave them and offered Mengesha the crown of Tigray in exchange for his loyalty and help in evicting the Italians. The Tigrian leaders plotted against Baratieri while maintaining a guise of friendship with him. Bahta even led an army into the western province of Shiray on the pretext of fighting the Mahdists, but instead subjugated Kitet and started recruiting an even larger army.”

            From the time Emperor Yohannes IV died in 1889 until 1894, This group of Rases never acknowledged King Menelik as King of Ethiopia. It was in 1894 that they put their difference aside and decided to unify as can be seen above. This has been documented on a lot of history books, I was just able to find the one from Paul Henze who is a well reputed historian.

            Your second point was that Ras Gugsa was 4 years old at the time and is not capable of leading a power struggle. I’m not a fan of insulting peoples knowledge but I would suggest delving into the history of the house of Tigray. I will summarize it here in short. After Emperor Yohannes sudden death, there were to lines that claimed hereditary right to the throne. Ras Mengesha who was his natural son and Ras Gugsa who was his legitimate son. Ras Alula and a couple other Rases (I forgot their names) sided with Ras Mengesha as the heir while Dejach Debebe and Dejach Sebhat were sort of acting as regents of Ras Gugsa and fight for his right to the throne. This internal war caused a huge loss of fighting power and resources on the house of Tigray by 1894. As far as the fights between Ras WoldeMichael and Ras Bahta with the Tigrayan houses, I think you as an Eritrean should be familiar with that story.

            Sincerely,
            Zarayakob

  • Gogo

    Dear Ustaz Saleh,
    This is an excellent piece. What you are doing is incomparable. A minor correction though: the newspaper of which WelWel was the head was not Haddas Eretra. He was first the chief editor of the BMA owned Eritrea Weekly News (nay Eretra semunawi gazeta) and when the independence block was established in 1948 he became the head of its mouthpiece ‘hanti Eretra’
    Regards

    • Saleh Johar

      Dear Gogo,
      Thanks, maybe I was overwhelmed by the one and only Haddas Eritrea of the PFDJ. I will check it thoroughly and do the change if neccessary

      • wedi cambebelo

        like pfdj you make erirea and eritrean history belongs to bihere tigrina.what about jeberti ,binamir and so on.

  • Fetima Dechasa

    Selamta Hope,

    Of course we do that’s our Ethiopian tradition. I’m quite certain that you’ve seen images of our glorious Oromo warriors wearing their lion’s mane headdresses. But I didn’t think that it was part of your tradition. Does the lion of Nakifa has 26 lions as well?

    • SenaiErtrawi

      Akamjurtu Fetima,
      How come an Oromo man, who stays by the name Fetima Dechasa and not Tilahun Gesese or Haile Ghebreselasie, wears the King of Judah flag and talks about Ethiopian tradition – “Sew Atigdel xxxxm bihon”? 🙂

      • Fetima Dechasa

        Akkam SenaiErtraw,

        It’s because Fetima Dechassa is my name and I’m a woman. The Anuak man in my avatar is not wearing Ye Yhuda Anbessa flag (which I wouldn’t mind at all), he is wearing the green, yellow, and red colors proudly as our country’s colors. The question is, why do you even concern yourself with my ethnicity or tradition? Perhaps because you Eritreans all assume all Oromos are the same?

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Ayneta,
    hhahaha..
    እዞም ኣማኑኤላት ከኣ በዚሖም እንድዮም ::ኣማኑኤል ዝብል ሽም- ኣዴታትና ይቀዳደማሉ እየን ነይረን መስለኒ:: but I am wondering, how do you get the name Ayneta?

    • PTS

      Kokhob,
      It was Aynom but mom changed to Ayneta.
      You know how our mothers modify our names to extra sweet….

      • Kokhob Selam

        Thanks PTS,
        It is like Kokhobay..Lol. but how is you mother calling you to make it sweet? PTSAY, or PTSA,?

      • Ayneta

        PTS:
        Nice try,but you missed.

  • Abi

    Hi Hope GUREGNAW
    Count how many times you said ” if given opportunity “. That is what you WERE given.
    You welcome.
    Now, unique people with extra special genome create opportunities against all odds.

    • Hope

      U got it My DearGuaddu!
      No Nonesense when it comes to ERITREAN Heroism!
      Just read history!

  • said

    Selamat,

    My eulogy for RAS Tessema Asmerom,

    It is Never to let,

    In my imagination, RAS Tessema Asmerom,bid for the presidency. Let me begin by assuming and assuring you that RAS Tessema Asmerom is alive and well ,the man of high caliber of Akele-Guzai nobility , the Lion of Maareba, the founder of the LPP, led by Ras Tessema in 1950 , his Party LLP and part of Independence Bloc and decided to run and bid in democratic Eritrea for the presidency of independent Eritrea , he by grace LPP won majority, he selected Ibrahim Sultan as prime minster , Weldaab Weldemariam as Eritrean foreign afire ,Therefore and sadly,

    I shall speak of him in the past tense, as a beacon of progressive and light,he political carrier was short, prematurely and surreptitiously extinguished by his many enemies internal and external . like many Eritrean of that era ,although in realty I do not know much about Ras Tessema Asmerom , i am assume many Eritrean and i would have counted myself among his most enthusiastic followers and supporters. Ras Tessema Asmerom was a rare commodity, Ras Tessema’s house was welcoming the refuge for the hungry and the helpless; what a kind and decent man was , and he was taken from us much too soon Ras Tessema Asmerom, knew and must have sensed that he was expediting his own untimely political death , but a fierce fire burned within his soul transcending all concerns for his own physical safety. he knew in his deep heart that they’d never allow him to touch the reins of power no matter what , with his team and two top pillar Ibrahim Sultan and Weldaab Weldemariam ,they all marched forward with heroic determination. Heroic and undeterred by overwhelming odd Ras Tessema Asmeroms, was true visionary and windmill tilter who dreamed of Eritrea that could be. His ideas of independent Eritrea (Eritrea for Eritreans) were just too dangerous to be heard by the Unionist’s sellout minions of brainwashed, subservient of Ethiopian flag-waving citizens of Ethipoian Empire. Unionist allegiance to Emperor Haile Sellasie were to be feared .

    Ras Tessema Asmeroms party and His demise become apparent , although extremely unfortunate, was a necessary sacrifice upon the altar of unionist of Addis Ababa .

    In his own way, he spoke loudly and clearly against all Ethiopian oppression and ongoing war waged on defenseless Eritrean . Ras Tessema Asmerom As president, he would declare –, one of his first acts would be to democratic and peaceful country and focus internally to improve economics and that any aggression or warfare is not waged with the goal of winning hearts, minds, and victory, as not to create chaos, destruction with neighboring country . Ras Tessema Asmerom’s grasp of the heartless voraciousness of the Ethiopian history and the ugly fascist military- unfortunately he knew his people very well , spicily the sell out Unionist their an warrant allegiance to Emperor Haile Sellasie alone was more than enough to sign his death warrant, but there was much more.

    Akele-Guzai nobility, and the Lion of Maareba , The beautiful, gentle man, whom I eulogize today had grand vision and ambitions to change the entire complexion of Ethiopian Empire, may be for better of Eritrea and Ethiopia ,yes to put an end to Ethiopian cruel imperial activity completely. Ras Tessema Asmerom , As president he would have made Eritrea in his image and of Ibrahim Sultan and Weldaab Weldemariam and once and for all ,there will be no Sawa and shut down al he would have pulled all military personnel out of boarder of Eritrean neighbour ,to signal peace and prosperity era and will never be a killing fields in Eritrea . he would have ended all undemocratic role . he would have worked to destroy one man show and permanently ban unionist group from regrouping . Under his watch would adhere to rule of law . Eritrea would have become a productive and progressive member of the world community and ceased claims of being warmonger and arrogant and exceptional nation, respect all international rules. Obviously, even the marginal and fringe group would a chance any of Eritrea 9 ethnicity, region and tribe might assume the highest office in the nation

    But Ras Tessema Asmerom passions were not limited to high position or for that military matters. his heart was filled with compassion for down rotten, empathy and kindness for the most vulnerable among our people . he would for sure rejected the bootstrap philosophy of extremist of capitalist system and an regulated and unchained free market. he deeply believed that come to him naturally and all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights. That these rights include life, freedom of press ,rule of low ,liberty, food, shelter, free education and medical care, and the pursuit of happiness. inclusiveness and equality, he would decently supported all public programs which accommodate basic human needs. And his policy strongly in favor of sustainable agriculture and Subsidizing farmer to compete in international market and modernize Eritrean agriculture, and he would fully supported every noble political issue and he be for poor and would subsidized housing, and public education, industry , commerce and trade will flourish and two sea port will be a gate and crest competitive and very effective Eritrean airline and transportation, free healthcare. He even would dare tax himself and live simple life like ordinary like Gandy or Mandela and only very rich Eritrean and wealthy will pay their due tax at higher rate in order that the very poor might live with some kind of semblance of dignity and comfort. and would element poverty once and for all.

    Ras Tessema Asmerom must have known the tendency and that his folks, be in his government or of his party that will might want to own many scoter of economies and make all the decisions and he wouldn’t let them or get away with it easily with such henanigans. He would had a chance to not let his government control Eritrea resources as state monopoly.

    The great man, Akele-Guzai nobility, who might have guided this nation out of the darkness is gone from us. He sought to eliminate Ethiopian colonization forcefully or peacefully .

    Ras Tessema Asmerom had he been succeed in his impossible bid for the presidency, in the shining Eritrean , might have become quite a different place to live and proposer .

    So today we mourn his passing. Ras Tessema Asmerom might have being idealistic and a dreamer. He saw what was coming and his an born country yet going on a dark path and he would had versioned and said Let there be newly independent country and let be light. he should have known that he was committing a capital offense. The many unionist and alike princes of darkness killed him. It was easy setting duck for them. No weapons were necessary. No assassination needed ,No gun, No bullets, no knives, no poisons food . Simply death by ignore him, by omission, political and social elimination. he was omitted, candidate for president does not exist. Most of us probably and many Eritreans have never wrote about or even heard his name. i hope and pray he will lived out his healthy days as a man not forgotten by history, not just remembered only by a few of his fellow closest friends..

    Perhaps the most mournful chapter in the very sad tale of Ras Tessema Asmerom passing is the fact that the final nails in his coffin were pounded tight by those who loved and knew him so well and closest to his inspiration. By those who loved Eritrea an conditionally by all of us, he was inclusive man love by you and me. he loved his people and he would have represented every issue we care deeply about, but some refused to bet on long vision of Eritrea and by his the longshot. The Intelligent man , loving and caring people to some degree, We’ve all become skeptics who’ve forgotten how to dream and honour Akele-Guzai nobility, and the Lion of Maareba , in his memory and justice done to read about at awate site. Rest in peace Ras Tessema Asmerom. We’re sorry to not follow on your foot.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Selam Saleh J,

    Thank you for sharing with us the historic deeds of one of our indpendence patriots; Raesi Tessema Asmerom/(Asberom)? From what I read the original or primary objective of the LPP was the formation of Agaazi Nation/Tigray-Tigrini/Political Tigray. And that it woud encompass the Eritrean Kebessa provinces, most of the coastal Eritrea, and the Ethiopian Tigray region. Could you Saleh J., or any other tell us what the LPP’s plan was as regards the rest of Eritrea; that is to say the Western lowlands and other “Qolatat”? And what is the differnece of this old idea of Agaazi Nation, and the idea of Abay Tigray of the Woyanes?

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Abraham,
      As I mentioned in an earlier comment, in 2000, one of our major goals was to reintroduce our heroes whose history was sidelined by the PFDJ thus contributing in the weakening of our national cohesion. We did a few such briefs and carried our an extensive documenting exercise of interviews with the major players of the time. I believe that we need to emulate our heroes who defended the Eritrean identity with unparalleled resolve and tenacity. Over the last few years, I feel that a fringe group who walk around with a large brush and black paint have been wreaking havoc on our collective memories targeting our self-confidence, and the PFDJ is the major culprit in this–in order to make room for the tyrant, they have to liquidate the history of our heroes. I believe we need to bring all these old pieces again and fight back the best way we know how.

      As for your question, we do not want to be revisionists but accept our history for what it was, not for what we wish it was. In the forties, the nascent nation of our was going through untold challenges. Fragmentation was eminent buy at the end, the wise prevailed and handed us Eritrea. Regardless of the setbacks, we have a nation to protect; that can only be accomplished by removing the PFDJ. As for what the LPP thought of other parts of Eritrea, it thought of it as an integral part of Eritrea. I recommend Aynefalale by Alemseghed Tesfai and you will find most of the answers there. And if you can read Arabic, look for Osman Saleh Sabbe’s books. The past history of the players is just past positions dictated by difficult circumstances that were defeated. Now, we should stick to the slogan “Long Live the Eritrean nation.”

  • Music Novice

    Greetings FM,

    “The resistance against Italian rule is unrecorded and unappreciated history, yet to be told.”

    I am not convinced about Ras Tesemma’s credentials. What was he before the arrival of the Italians?

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear MN,

      Ras Tesema Asmerom was born in 1870 as the record shows. Positions and opinions oftentimes evolve and change with circumstances. Wouldn’t be enough the account given by the author regarding the positions of Ras Tesama on the Eritrean independence? Remember Eritrean nationalism was developing in the 40s with the defeat of European colonialism as it is in all African countries. Do you have any reason to doubt about the man and his pedigree not to be remembered as one of the founders of Eritrean nationalism? Before the arrival of Italians, Eritrea was divided under feudal lords the same like any modern African countries of that era. Can you bring your doubts to the surface as it doesn’t make sense to question the role of individuals before the creation of nation and nation states in Africa.

      Regards,
      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Music Novice

        Greetings Amanuel H.,

        Don’t you think Telling the life history of Ras Tesema before, during and after the Italians is worthwhile? It can give a full picture of the individual. Do you think this creates a problem and discomfort?

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Dear MN,
          what it matters to me and most Eritreans is the evolvement of Eritrean nationalism. The man has a recognizable contribution on the rise of Eritrean nationalism.

          Regards

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Amanuel H.,

            You seem to be uncomfortable and defensive with my questions; just as uncle Isaias does when he is asked questions by people.

            You said: “did you Ask the same question for the rest of our icons?”

            Sure, I will ask questions and search for answers when opportunities arise.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam MN,

            I am not defending the man, the man has un refutable history on Eritrean nationalism. If you have something you know that is different than we know, go ahead share it with us. Don’t go around the bush. Do it yourself and don’t wait someone to do it, if we know nothing other than the author had explained.

            regards

          • Music Novice

            Greeting Amanuel H.,

            Relax, do not panic, I only wanted to hear the complete history.

            You seem to have a Police State mentality of controlling every aspect of what needs or needs not to be discussed in this forum.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam MN,

            I think I posted Dr Mohamed kier ‘s statement on the other thread (check on saay ‘s article). I stood on those ideals – the freedom to question about anything and everything for anyone. The issue is, it is you who have question and doubt about the man. If you have issues that makes you to question about the pedigree of the man go ahead and give us the hints. I haven ‘t anything to be afraid of. If you want you could make formal biographical research, the door is always open to you. So do not dance for simple thing you could do it yourself.

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Amanuel H.,

            Unfortunately, I am still not convinced that you have democratic tendencies. However, do not worry, you are not alone in this; you are in the company of distinguished people such as uncle Isaias.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear MN,

            Anta sebaay you throw me in the same basket with the despot. Gedef -eba. We gave you the podium to tell us what you know. What else can we tell you . Hisebelu deA.

          • Ted

            Hi MN, for a change i agree with AH, you seem to know what you let us believe. No one keeps record who was right or wrong. If you look back in our currency exchange debate, we all make it appear commenting from IMF high office. Some of us predicted Asmarinos exchange their nakfa to cows and keep the rest worthless currency as cattle feed plus all kind out of the box thinkings. It didn’t matter what, who said it, we moved on. You my friend like answering comments by questions that left us to assume other than knowledge seeking. please do share about our hero’s past. We don’t get offended.

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Ted,

            What I know for certain relates to Dej. Mahray Mogos. That he was arrested by the Italians based on an informer’s tip off in the dead of the night, sent to Nakura prison, he then organised a prison break, swam some length of the sea, was rescued by Afar fishermen, and managed to land off-shore and then escaped to Tigray.

            In addition, I was told that Dej. Bahta Hagos was at first collaborating with the Italians, and then made a change of heart, for one reason or another, when it was too late, after all the brave men were either killed, captured or exiled; and finally was killed fighting against the Italian coloniser near Halaay. I was shown the tree under which he fell while dying.

            As far as Ras Tesema is concerned, my information is not conclusive and is scant. I was told that he was a minor official until the Italians arrived and the field was cleared of all the brave people. I would be glad to know if someone, from you knowledgeable people, can corroborate or refute the inconclusive information I have. What battles did the Ras fight and win and what were his achievements in other areas to be called a Lion and a Jigna?

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear MN,
            here is the article and here are the comments. We are here to learn and reconcile. I am satisfied when I get clear information and if in doubt I will ask. if I oppose then I will have to come with my own version other than, I have to struggle to clean the old baseless and wrong information I was told in my childhood days. that is what you should do, come with your version and convince us.

          • Mesfin

            Dear MV! If you know about the great man, R as Asmera, please tell us. Hope has advice you in easier words. Don’t go around and ask the team the same question. Can I provoke you? Was your grandfather one of the Unionist. They might have told you different. It is still okay. Most of the christian orthodox followers were in the unionist group.

            So, go ahead. Tell us what you know.

            Regards.
            Mesfin

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Mesfin,

            You asked: “Was your grandfather one of the Unionist(s)?”
            No.

            Mesfin, was your grandfather an Italian collaborator?

          • Mesfin

            Gd day. To answer ur queation: My grandfather was an Italian soldier, but I don’t know what you mean collaborator? All I heard from my father and my uncle’s that my grand father was one of the Italian soldiers and he went to Libya with with brothers and his homies. Following his return from Libya, he started farming. One more, he was a very wise man: he used to hide Muslim brothers in his house when the unionists with Haile Silasie were hunting Muslim brothers.

            I hope, I answered ur question.

            Bye fore now.
            Mesfin

        • saay7

          Hi MN:

          There is a book, in Tigrinya, “Megaera Tlyan ab Ertra” (Italian Rule in Eritrea) by Zemehrer Yohannes. Maybe someone at Awate University (L.T., Gogo can give us a digest.

          Meanwhile, in the alternate-history of Eritreans as told by Ethiopians, Ras Tesema is mentioned in “ye Ertra guday” and I am sure he is not remembered fondly. Ye Ertra Guday is Eyobs favorite book and he once wrote me to express his supreme satisfaction that it’s the favorite book at YG Univesity:)

          saay

          • Music Novice

            Greetings Saay,

            I will not contest Ras Tesema’s position during Ethiopian rule, for it is well known. I am only curious to know about his deeds and achievements during the pre-Italian period.

          • Gogo

            Selam MN and Saay,
            Ras Tessema Asmerom was not enamored with the Italian Colonial establishment during its fascist days for sure as the likes of Asfa Woldemichael, Eyob’s favorite Eritrean- I assume, was. I do know the nature of his relationship with the Italians before the Fascist take over. But when you speak about Eritrean chiefs collaborating with the colonial system, you would not find instances where they were used to squash native rebellion or resistance. And there is no trace of them being used as instruments by the Italian colonial system to neutralize/harass/cower a specific social group. If anything the Eritrean chiefs who collaborated with Italians were benign intermediaries. So one cant find the textbook sellouts with blood in their hands in the Eritrean case. (may be Dawit can use this for his ‘we are number one’ sloganeering).

            And about the book that Saay was talking about: in fact Zemheret has written two books: one Italiawi megzaeti ab erittrrea and a supplement titled “Mekete eritrawyan anxar megzaeti italya’. The first is a fairly good book, spiced with Marxist language and structure of historical interpretation. It main thrust is the dialectical connection of Eritrean nationalism and Italian colonialism. It tries to analyse how the socio-economic transformations affected by Italian colonialism has paved the way for the emergence of a fledgling sense of distinct national identity. The broad interpretive framework of the book is the classical Marxist frame which bestows the economic substructure as defining factor in the birth of nations. The book is first of its kind to be written in Tigrigna and anyone who is interested in that part of our history must read it.

            The second book is a sort of an inventory of Eritreans who resisted and rebelled against the Italians. Included here are Zemat Wedi Ekud, Degiate Bahta, Degiat Mahray, Aberra, Abubaker, and yes Abi’s favorites Mussie Asghedom and Abraham Doboch and others.

            GoGo

          • saay7

            Selamat GoGo:

            You forgot to include TBS (truth bound society) in ur signature: That’s how it’s done!

            Aces, my boy, aces. That’s what I call knowledge-based argument. Eyob is waving the white flag already. Ted is voting with me to make u the co-chairman of TBS. Tzigereda just wrote me and I told her, yep, this is the dude I was advertising. MaHmuday, that americano, is watching the Seattle-San Francisco football game.

            Confession: I have (somewhere) Zemehrets book, but I judged a book by its cover, he is such a commie I assumed the book would be hard core commie and it would give me a headache:)

            saay

          • Gogo

            Ahlen Saay,
            Thanks for nice words and I wont forget the signature. if elected to the co-chairmanship I will compete with brother Muaamer Gadafi and probably Mengstu (nezi dahreways eko ayerkebnalun anta!) as the youngest chairman. But we need to promote one of you guys so that we can have our perfect troika.

            You are right Zemheret is the typical commie and his tigrigna is a bit difficult. But he is still worth reading if you have the patience to navigate yourself through the dense Marxist fog. Or you can elist Mahmuday to interpret Zem’s tigrigna to ordinary Asmarino one.

            humble member of the TBS,
            GoGo

      • Music Novice

        Greetings Amanuel H.,

        You said “… with the defeat of European colonialism”.

        This statement is false. European colonialism was not defeated.

  • Abi

    Hi Hope GUREGNAW
    I have neve read a comment full of the phrase ” eritreans WERE “. I am waiting to read “eritreans are”.
    Eritreans in a present continues tense rather than a past tense.
    ” yeneberew endalnebere ”
    What happened to the great eritreans genome?
    ” Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me.” I got this . Eritreans genome WERE good. Eritreans wombs WERE good. Because eritreans WERE treated better in Mama Ethiopia.
    Guad Abiyot
    Chairman,ESEPA central committee.
    PS
    Should His Excellency Isayas Afewerki, the Lion of Nakfa, a legendary Hero of The Great State of Eritrea be worried of assassination attempt by an eritrean? Nah. As Mr Hope said it Eritreans WERE heroes only outside eritrea.
    Wusha beseferu anbessa nebere
    Endet yasazinal gezew teqeyere.
    Yewuchi anbessa
    YewusT resa.

    • Amde

      Abi,

      This reminds me of the joke/anecdote about a Yemeni merchant in Dembiya. The local agere-gezhi was giving him a hard time, and he decided to appeal his case to Gonder. At the Gonder court, he sees this man who was giving him such a hard time, grovel at the foot of the Provincial governor. So when asked to state his case, he decides to refer to his tormentor as “getaye, ye dembiyaw anbessa, ye gonderu dimet”

      • Abi

        Amdachin
        This is what I say to cousin Hope along the same line.
        Hope,
        YeAddis anbessa
        YeAsmara eresa
        Ende dimet qesleslasa
        Ende wusha lekeskasa
        Ende jib ankasa
        Ende doro kosasa
        Temro neber gonder
        Tesfaw bayiseber
        Nigigiru hulu ” neber”,”neber”, “neber”
        Neber bayiseber!

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Abi,

          Ha ha ha, ነገረኛ!

    • Fetima Dechasa

      Akkam bulte Abu,

      I have a question: Is the lion of Nakifa or line of mareba like የይሁዳ አንበሳ? I often wondered what it means and how people get to be ‘the lion of’ something.

      Thanks

      • saay7

        Well Fetima:

        Bob Marley answered the question of one way to become a lion in his classic: “Iron, Lion, Zion.”: I wanna be iron like a lion in Zion. It has something to do with being a fugitive and exile.

        It’s Sunday so here’s Bobs son Ziggy covering his dad’s song with the great guitarist Santana

        http://youtu.be/hskVL7OPX18

        saay

        • Fetima Dechasa

          Isin attam saay,

          That is a wonderful song, but doesn’t the lion of Yehuda predate the song hence everything after that is a copy or inspired by it.

      • Abi

        Fatima Gifti
        Atam? Ani uma enjenu.
        Nakfa is where ” tegenTay wenbedewoch ” used to hide and learn why they WERE special before they shipped them to Cairo for special gene improvement. Some became lions in the process. ( those with extra special genome)

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Abo,
          I thought you drop this “Cairo” thing. PFDJ mentions “weyane” as the main cause of all problems. you mention Egypt to defend Mengstu. there were heroes among heroes who went to china.Iraq, USSR etc. but i never heard a fighter who went to Egypt for any course. if so happen there were, it the same with other countries who support the struggle.

          your logic, Eritrean struggle was created by Egypt to let Ethiopia busy so they can use Nile is not correct. don’t become “ye Areb Buchla” Lol.

        • Fetima Dechasa

          Midhaga Abiti,

          I just thought that our proud Northern neighbors wouldn’t use such tradition as the Lion of… I’m also shocked that the Cairo doctrine doesn’t mandate on the camel of _____ instead of the lion.

          Argachuu naga gelchuma garaa tokko.

          • Abi

            Fatima Gifti
            Can you believe everybody calls me Abiti in the real world?
            Well, the eritrean national soccer team is called Red Sea Camels. They are slow to play but fast to run.

          • Fetima Dechasa

            Abiti,

            Really? You know we Oromos love the name Abiti.

            See… I knew the camel was a mandate :).

          • Abi

            Gifti
            My friend who was born and grew up in Asela is Abiti. I called him Abichu. I used to tease him by singing ” Abichu nega nega”

          • Fetima Dechasa

            Dammee Abiti,

            I call my younger brother Abiti also, though my father thinks it isn’t Guji enough and he insists on us calling him Boonsaa to show our father’s Arsiness 🙂

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear abi,

      Every society has heroes so do every generation. All heroes are relative to their society. So we don ‘t need to argue on heroes. Not only that people of the same society do revere on different heroes. Sometimes heroes are on the eye of the beholder.

      Regards

  • Amanuel

    Amanuel
    Hi moderator
    Some one is using my name. Is it possible to have identical (duplicated) names?

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear Amanuel,

      The name “Amanuel” is so common among christian household, too many in a nutshell. To avoid “confusion” and “mistaken identity” add either your middle name or your last name. If you don’t want that, use any adjective as suffix to your name. Example, Amanuel-Gomida, Amanuel-Tihisha, Amanuel-equilibrium..etc.

      regards,
      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Amanuel

        Hi Amanuel H
        I know Amanuel is a common name. What I am asking is does the system allows identical names (as in user name)? As far I know it shouldn’t. What would you say if some one try to use Amanuel Hidrat and sacseffuly manage to post and it happens that is his given name? I think the system should have rejected him as the name have been already taken by yourself.

        • AOsman

          Dear Amanuel,

          Not that I know much about the system, but Awate cannot control it as your nick name is registered in disqus, while Amanuel (2) is using awate as a guest……unless Awate do not allow guests to post comments, then anyone can use your nick.

          At times AT may delete a post when they realise someone is playing a game, but that is a reactive and resource intensive approach. What Emma suggested is good, as I guarantee you in future your nick will be in use by many, but if you insist on one name nick that is fine as well. We can differentiate you from others as yours is in BLUE color (disqus registered), while those in grey are not registered…

          Regards
          AOsman

          • Amanuel

            Hi AOsman
            Thanks for the clarification. It makes sense now.However,I don’t think Emma’s suggestion will solve the problem as any one can use what ever nick name I use as far as awate allowed guested to post comments unregistered. I also think that having an avatar will help to differentiate.
            Kind regards
            Amanuel

  • Saleh Johar

    Hope,
    Thank you for the nice words, and the “Noble prize” which you already gave me. I am honored and I hope I deserve a tiny fraction of that.

    • Hope

      My Pleasure,Your Excellency,Ustaz Salih Gadi Johar!
      BTW,this is from the Real Cousin Hope,not from the ” Flip-Flopper,the Confused ” one!
      Kudos to you,my HERO!

      Stick to the TRUTH and the Truth will set you FREE!
      The Desrevedly Legitimate Noble Prize will follow through!
      This is a fact and a credit NO one can deny you under any circumstance or pretext,and no matter what !

      • Saleh Johar

        Dear Hope,

        Thank you very much.

  • Saleh Johar

    Dear Teazabi,
    Thank you for the comment.
    I am sorry, to me all feudal and warlords, and emperors, from the beginning of time, are villains because they are unjust and anti-freedom. Not every view is respected even at a certain time it is popular because it was not accomplished for the good of the people though it might be by accident and coincidence. Unionists were villains because the region had to pay heavy prices because they decided to side with an unjust anti-freedom archaic emperor.

    Also, my world view and that of Tekeste Negash (whom I admire as a scholar) are diametrically opposed. We reflect our views based on our intrinsic values. Therefore, you have to accept the differences of views. No malice just a historical reality.

    Thank you

    • Eyob Medhane

      Gash Saleh,

      Did you just say,

      “….to me all feudal and warlords, and emperors, from the beginning of time, are villains….”

      And, if this Tessema Asmerom fellow was not a warlord, what the heck was he then? And you dare to equate this small time ragtag rebel to a man, who defeated two different kinds of foreign invaders (Egyptians & Italians) Alula Aba Nega? This kind of attitude that emanates from just a desire of vengeance is not something one should expect from a scholar…

  • Abi

    Hi Hope
    I don’t know an eritrean hero who attempted to assassinate mengistu. I know of eritreans who attempted to assassinate graziani. Real Heroes! They live with us forever. The rest of your comment is the usual you. Nothing new.

    • Saleh Johar

      Abi,
      The man in question the martyr Goitom Lebassi, a member of the ELF with whom we spent months in Hamassen region and became very close friends. He attempted to kill Mengistu and that cost him his life.

      • Abi

        Selam Ato Saleh
        Sorry for the lose of your friend. We all missed that chance. I was very young in the early days of derg.
        Thank you for the information.

      • Resun

        Could you please tell us more about this jigna ?

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Abo,
      we were busy in our land not in Addis. Hey, weren’t there EPRP Eritreans by the way …

      • Abi

        Hi Kokobe
        Apparently you tried. I think IA is safe as long as he stays in Eritrea. I advise him to stay away from Addis and Sudan where eritreans are more courageous.

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Abi,
          I am safe . as culture and ethics of my front, we never kill Eritreans out of the field and that even when war is declared already and forced to defend. leave alone outside out nation. We principally believe 2ndary contradictions should be solved on table. If we we were not people of principle, we could have killed EPLF leadership in Sudan and also when there were in honey moon with TPLF right in Addis. (I was criticizing my front for not doing so..Lol, I was trouble maker before I became Kokhob Selam).

          regarding Mengstu, trust me we have tried it but we couldn’t continue as the front’s structure was badly broken.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Dear kohobay,

        Yes indeed ELF’s fedayne did attempt to assassinate Mengstu around meskel adababy area in early 1978, though the operation didn ‘t succeed. He was sent for that particular mission because he was a leader of a betallion in the northern sahel area. I chatted with him in the same year in Portsudan. I will reserve his name for now.

        Amanuel Hidrat

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Amanuel,
          Abo is forcing us to tell him everything, he don’t know that things are not over yet even Mengstu is gone. He don’t know also, we don’t expose things that don’t serve us and others. forgive him.

        • Amde

          Selam Amanuel,

          I was really young (elementary school), but I remember the sounds of shootout around Mesqel Adebabay. And then I believe that very evening, Mengistu showed up on TV with General Teferi Benti and Col Atnafu Abate to show that he was fine. He stood up from the chair and stomped his feet around to show he was unharmed. I remember that on TV very distinctly.

          This must be before February 1977, when Teferi Benti was killed and before the Red Terror. Since I was too young I really didn’t know that he was considered THE power behind the throne if he was targetted and not the nominal chairman – General Teferi.

          The 1978 one you are talking about must be a different attempt. By then the Red Terror was fully on, and he was the official head of state.

          I always thought that it was basically EPRP who made mutiple attempts. An ELF operation by fighters from the field in the Sahel sounds really strange to be honest. Something like this would most likely be done by someone who knows the city well enough to scope it out real well and set up ambushes in heavily populated and travelled sections of town. Perhaps a joint EPRP and ELF operation makes more sense to me.

          Amde

          • Abi

            Hi Amde
            In case you forgot, Ato Amanuel was the mass mobilizer in Addis. He knows the city better than everyone. He went door to door, office to office, church to church in his recruiting projects. Since Ato Amanuel didn’t disclose the name of his friend, either he worked with this person very closely or this person must be Amanuel himself. Or this person was recruited by Amanuel for the job.

          • Amde

            Selam Abi,

            I am sure Ato Amanuel knows a lot more than he is saying. I am just interested in the historical record though. There was one assassination attempt the public knew about around Mesqel Square. This was the one where all the top officers of the Derg felt it was important enough for them all to go on TV and declare that it was not successful. I think there were a number of attempts, I am just astounded they would repeat it around Mesqel Adebabay.

            There is a bigger picture here. If you read the Wikipedia entry on Mengistu Hailemariam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mengistu_Haile_Mariam), it repeatedly states that he was mentored and promoted by General Aman Andom, who saw in him a lot of promise even if he came from a humble background. On the other side, Mengistu says the he was the one who pushed to get General Aman Andom to be chairman of the Derg.

            Amde

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Amde,

            If Mengistu, did push for Gen Aman Andom to the position of Chairman of the Derg as he says, he must have done this purposely knowing that Aman Andom was Eritrean and hence could easily be sidelined from the core of the Derg; a plan that worked perfecctly for Mengistu.

          • Amde

            Selam Abraham,

            But I don’t think that makes sense. The history rather suggests Mengistu promoted to the chair someone whom he thought would be an unmatched ally. I am not sure there were that many Derg members who had Generals as their mentors. Most of those who ended up in the Derg were very junior officers, or non-comissioned. Having the General as Chair AND Head of State would really give him an edge none of the other ones could match.

            Amde

          • Abi

            Hi Amde
            Ato Amanuel knows a lot more than he wants to speak.
            Amde , do you expect mengistu to tell the truth ?

          • Amde

            Abi,

            Self serving truths yes.

          • Saleh Johar

            Amde,
            Regarding the specific attempt I mentioned, it was an ELF operation, no one else. The late Goitom Lebassi was not a stranger to Ethiopia, he was in Debrezeit, Air Force, before joining the struggle. He was assigned to Addis and daringly lived there until he was killed in the attempt.

          • Amde

            Selam Saleh,

            Do you have a timeline for his particular attempt?

          • Saleh Johar

            Amde,
            I am not sure of the exact time, but it should be beyond 1977. We parted with Goitom from Saharti (between Dekemhare and Asmara) towards the end of 1976. He still had a brownish air force coverall with he which he joined, and it was so old I left him my new field jacket which a friend had sent me from Keren, because i was on my way to the warm lowland part of Eritrea.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Saleh,

            I think we have a different info on the history of our Ghedli. It will persist our difference until it will be scrutinize and collected by historians. But the patriot I was referring is still alive and will give us his account at one point. If my memory serves me well his name is Mehari Tesfay he was a Battalion leader in brigade-97. I will not contest about late Goitom lebassi if he was part of the operations. The shooter and the one who attempt to kill him is Mahari Tesfay. For now let us stop as to who was the shooter in the attempt as the question was whether there was an attempt to kill Mengstu by our Ghedli. And there is no descripancy on the attempt but on the mission taker.

        • PTS

          Aman,
          You don’t have to bother naming the Fedayeen. Selah already did below:-)

          • Saleh Johar

            Ho PTS,
            Amanuel is refuting my story, but I don’t think it was one attempt, though I can’t say with authority on what happened in Addis Ababa. There are many who were engaged in internal activities in major cities, and they may clarify this.

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Amanuel,
          yes, I was recalling. by the way that is different one. there was one operation in 1976 by both EPRP and ELF. stories to be told after removal of PFDJ when heroes are back to their mother land.

          • Hope

            Kokhobay:
            Thanks for the correction and I was about to mention it based on the eye witness accounts (credible source),not that I remember a lot things before 1975!
            I think my source concurs with SGJ and Alem Wedi Gen Goiti’om!
            Btw,there should not be a time limit and restricion to narrate the Unwritten History of our Heroes and Heroines!
            Even if you did it, say it using a Third Person!

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear Hope,
            Thank you. But there are stories that should be kept to the right time. first, the one in power some time didn’t record all and again the once recorded are not to be told by him as he don’t want to show there was another front who did things except those he put as spices when making some films. again most of the heroes from ELF didn’t join EPLF and PFDJ.

            from our side, we are not hurry to say it all for different reasons including for security purposes. I know heroes who start an ordinary life and are based in Eritrea for example. there are a lot among them in meddle east and around the glob doing still there job. So I don’t see reason to talk about it much.

            for your information operations of this type were the most difficult once and books will not be enough to put them. In fact we will have a lot of films to enjoy after reconciliation of all Eritrean sectors.

            I have seen some films, but PFDJ put them as they have been done by them while we have histories recorded by other fronts . I don’t care much about it as at the end of the day it is done by an Eritrean against Derg and Haileslase.

            For now, we have to make peace with ourselves and with our history .. eventually reconciliation is the way out. keep things for the right time.

  • Goitom

    Thanks Saleh for writing and sharing this Golden history of our Father

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Ahlan Hope
    I agree, mia felmia (100%), with some maHmuday additives.

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Mahmuday,
      Really awate com is the best site. for those who read regularly, the reconciliation process is already on the way. we were able to jump a lot of mind blocking walls. See even how much you and me have discussed, debated and were able to see things from other perspective. I wish this site reaches every single Eritrean. I wish even the leadership was EPLF is reading our comments and the articles of our great minds Amuni, Saay, Beyan, etc and the complete job of our SGL the most transparent man of our times. I love awate com I wish I am strong enough to support this site.

  • stewie

    Selam all

    Its interesting how the only time Eritrea bravery manifest its self vis-à-vis Ethiopia…

  • Kokhob Selam

    Thank you,
    our nation has enough experience with heroes like the lion above and with different version and view of freedom. putting their era in to consideration we are proud of all those heroes. the way one plans about future depends on what reality looks like. one may not imagine the structure of today’s Eritrea at the time of our Maareba lion. But again we c an all note the heroism and strong stand against any type of slavery. question comes to mind, are we doing fine?

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Selam Saleh
    Thank you for reposting this piece. This man has mesmerized me for as long as I heard about him, in my teen years. In 1990, I spent a week in his “White House”, frankly, the only standing villa in MaEreba while we where tightening the noose around Durg’s Huletegna abyotawi serawit. We where at the gates of Afelba before moving to the West sector of the front. I met elders who spoke of the old good times, of course accompanied by the treat of Kebessa coffee tradition. I have a mounting respect for this man who went to his grave sticking to what he believed was right and being honest about it.
    Thank you for contributing to our literature, you have kept the grand prize well lit and alive: let’s think Eritrea in its entirety.

  • PTS

    Ato Saleh,
    Nice piece. Is it known when and how Raesi Tesema passed away?

  • Eyob Medhane

    Gash Saleh,
    Hummm.. In the interest of balance, I look forward to read about say, Bitweded Asfha Woldemichael or NibureEd Dimetros or even the ERLIER, political position of Tedla Bairu.. in such glowing terms.. 🙂 Interesting read, though.

    • Saleh Johar

      Eyob,
      What balance? I will balance it the moment you balance your hate for our heroes 🙂
      When Eritreans cook, they don’t mix heroes and villain, in fact nobody does. Adored by patriotic Eritreans (with the exception of the onion peels) we all love our heroes and we revere them. I will write about Tedros though just to appease Abi. In an unpublished manuscript, Marx said, To each according to his heroes from each according to his villains. Read it again Eyob, it will come on the certification exam 🙂

      • Hope

        Bingo,Mr Bold and Truthfull man!
        I guess Mr Eyob Medhanie does learn fast enough albeit deliberately!
        He is pushing against the WALL!
        As some observed it though ,Prof SAAY’s well trained Sniper cannot miss Mr Eyob !
        Oops,Mr Moderator,missed the Salutation part!
        Dear Salih Gadi Johar….

      • Hope

        Addendum /Correction: ….
        Read as Mr . Eyob Medhanie Does NOT learn fast …,

    • PTS

      Eyob,
      Is Bitweded the son of Raesi Weldemichael?
      The story goes because Raesi Alula was unable to defeat Raesi Weldemichael he had to trick him to come visit him and when the trusting Weldemichael went to visit, Alula sent his troops and had him arrested. Weldemichael then told Alula he was too weak to face him in the battle field and even weaker to arrest him under such circumstances.
      Do you know anything about the story?

      • Eyob Medhane

        PTS,

        I am not sure, who Bitweded Asfaha’s father was. Bitweded Asfha was a president of Eritrean federation parliament, who dissolved the parliament and declared Eritrea’s union to Ethiopia. I had the privilege to meet him in person in 1993 just only a year before he passed away. He was a frail old gentleman, then.

        P.S I also am not familiar with the story you just told, but it’s fascinating.

      • Abrehet Yosief

        Hi PTS,
        In the case of Bitweded Asfha Woldemichael, the word Bitweded is a title given to him by Emperor Haile Selassie it is not his name. As Eyob Medhanie mentioned below, Asfaha Woldemichael was appointed governor of Eritrea by the king and later on until his death he lived in Ethiopia, including voting in accordance to his belief during the referendum of 1993. The story of Raesi Weldemichael you are referring to, is much earlier during King Yohannes IV of Ethiopia. It was King Yohannes who tricked Raesi Weldemichael (of Tse’Azega) and imprisoned him. Raesi Weldemichael died in prison, he never returned to his birth place. They were not father and son.

        • PTS

          Selam Abrehet
          Thanks for the nfo. I didn’t know Bitweded was a title (it is tegadalay Biweded Abraha’s fault:))
          Timeline-wise, it is possible Asfaha could be the son of Raesi Weldemichael, but we don’t know if infact he is the son of the Raesi. Speaking of which, I found the followong info on Wikipedia

          “Ras Woldemichael Solomon fought against Emperor Yohannes IV who sent Ras Alula to fight him. When Ras Alula became aware of the difficulties fighting Woldemichael, he tricked him by arranging a peace treaty that he had no intention of observing, swearing on The Bible that he wouldn’t attack. However, Alula broke his promise and imprisoned Ras Woldemichael at Amba Selama, ruling Hamasien himself afterwards. Woldemichael later settled in Axum, Ethiopia until his death in 1906.”

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam PTS
            Bitweded Asfaha Weldemichael is from a different region. Raesi Weldemichael is from Tseazega. The women of Tigray sang the famous song after his arrest. “ngus Hamasien Ewnwano ab Idka nierus Hji limnao”.

            By the way Bitweded Abraha was given the name Bitweded because he was a precious gift to his parents, the name means most loved. His parents had difficulty having a child after their first born daughter. He was born after a lot of prayer and “mebtse’a” thus the name.

          • PTS

            Abrehet,
            Oh ok. I was not disputing you by the way, but I didn’t know you were saying what you said now.
            As for women of Tigray, they sang for the wrong cause. The song should have been “raesi alula raesi alula: Telimom eza maHla: ketsrfu nhager kula”.

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