A Forest Without A Tree
The ongoing mind to mind fight has to land somewhere with a fruit. The issue of land, as some writers used to depict, is neither complex nor a tricky. Land to the legitimate owner, empirically, is a just step that should be fulfilled accordingly. In Eritrea, the one time dignified and respectful citizens, endowed with full rights of possessing movable and immovable properties like land, livestock, households and furniture, are currently degraded and have become the most impoverished nationals who are sorted to the category of second-class citizenship. The vast, fertile and resourceful plains of the western Eritrea are also leveled to nil and declared “no man’s land”. And the indigenous inhabitants of the Eritrean lowlands are also promulgated officially as people without land or Eritrean Gypsies—meaning, natives with out land, and land devoid of original inhabitants. It is the timely project Isaias is working on to secure the interest of the land grabbers. This is how Isaias’s scheme of resettlement is working and supposed to work; it is the unresolved puzzle of the Western lowlands that threatens the very continuity of Eritrean statehood. As Eritreans, therefore, we should seek for an utmost urgent solution to preserve Eritrean sovereignty and the hard-won national liberty.
To flashback, the fifty-fifty partition of the Eritrean parliamentary system of the colonial era (Hailesillase regime) historically had a visible shaping role on the political landscape of Eritrea. The 68 seats were equally divided along lowland-highland equation. For some time and for some reason, it had shown dynamism in maintaining day-to-day peaceful coexistence of all Eritrean sectors. Was that a real haggled dividend or “God” given gift agreed upon by the subjects infatuated with the political sphere of the time? God knows.
Unlike in the past, these days, by now, Eritreans of all walks have fully understood why their very existence is challenged. Irrespective of the level of consciousness or the quality of thoughts, the index of our coexistence is based on equality of diversified descendants, not on the type of “qualitative unity” favored by “electronic journalists,” as Habtom Yohannis and his likes. They are fond of realizing the qualitative but unitary state with unscathed the already secured highland hegemony. To make it clearer, the supremacy of the highlanders, so far, has been hidden under the fabulous calculus of 50% majority myth for which Mohammed Ahmed has disapproved utterly (The “Bigoted Ertra” Aug 29, 2009.) Habtom is threatening and dragging us either to take the myth for granted or contemplate to the bargaining point his idols, Woldesus Ammar and Mesfun Hagos, if not PIA, have put forward. For sure, it has something to do with pride and prejudice of Jane Austin, perhaps. I would suggest for highland partners to put that pride aside and think otherwise for they are less wounded right now than they will be in the near future if they insist on their arrogance and contempt. For the time being, they are ok and may refuse to collate the degree of suffering we face and need them to react, and tomorrow is a shoe on the other foot and no reason to cooperate or negotiate either. Because as human beings, we all have that brutal and vengeful bartering mind. If we feel abated and be bent and sworn not to give in, the whole landmark of the Eritrean statehood will be broken. So, better we all bare our souls by admitting mistakes. My message to the lowlanders and ethnic minorities too is one and simple: history has its own flows and we may not be as accurate as we should be that our highland partners can change or digress that flow alone. So, let’s cooperate, think and sleep on it to bring the most accepted solution for all. We all shall bear the brunt of any failure.
Esteemed friends! Our partnership has to be revalidated and put on its dire and right leverage. To reach here, a thorough understanding among partners is mandatory after uncovering all the hard and paperbacks used to disguise the real threats and problems for the very existence of Eritrean statehood. As a matter of fact, our highland intellectuals usually exploit their intellectual leverage to diminish their opponent and promote their interest. For them, fighting for religious equality is taboo unless complemented or subordinated by the Christian religious splinter groups, like, Jehovah, Pentecostal or others. In other words, if there are political forces fighting for the equality of Islamic religion, they will not be recognized until equalizing forces from the opposite direction come into being. Worse than that, fighting for ethnic equity, is tihti hagerawinet (undervalued national quest) while Isaias is fighting at the lowest stratum or maybet to promote the Hamasien, the region with the lion’s share in political power of Eritrea. Time and again, the industrious Eritrean highlanders used to deceive the entire inhabitants of Eritrean lowlands, with internal fake smile and claim that Isaias does not have religion or ethnic base while all the ultimate calculations of Isaias, with utmost support of ardent highland intellectuals (like Bereket, Habtom, Gaim, Woldemicael), is to promote the highland interest at large and the Hamasenites to the least. Seriously then, the garbage deceptions at use, from now onward, are not valid, will never hold water and serve any longer. It’s time for the moderate highlanders to use their intellectual might to bring a decent but lasting solution in designing the fate of the country since the highlander is a whip to punish the others. To speak forthrightly then, we the moderate Eritreans, who wish every better and success, should not allow Isaias and his infatuated blind supporters (the Nazi-type intellectuals) to hammer the last nail on the coffin that would bury us for ever!!
While talking about property, citizens’ right and freedom, it’s not a matter of reputation or a matter of who paid more during liberation struggle. We all know the unavoidable tautology that the numerical majority with ultimate sense of community and national responsibility shall obviously pay the utmost and bitter sacrifice. Factually then, our Tigrinya speaking compatriots, have paid and gained the utmost national pride and homage save the highland intellectuals’ assertions: Eritrean liberation was won only by their kins. We are exhausted, sick and tired of such illusive and provocative assertions. We have suffered too much because of the seemingly descent and civilized but empty lip-services, still more, we are fed up with the artificial “hospitality” of highland intellectuals, of Hamasenites in particular. Dr Bereket Habtesillase is the sole architect and is responsible for the shelved constitution that allows today’s land grabbing policy that has changed the haves into have-nots. It’s Bereket Habtesillase’s constitution that banned the followers of African traditional beliefs—the Kunama—as ineligible nationals to register as party members (refer the news in www.mesel-biherat.com, 27, August 2009.) This is not something we should put off for the coming generation while thinking of cohesiveness. The feasibility of our intention, the intention to coexist and respect each other should be placed on the right spot. For your information and knowledge, the Lowlanders and ethnic minorities are weary to their bone morrows by the unsteady, impromptu invitations and wordy but empty promises of our highland intellectual partners.
To awaken the dizzied oppositions, especially the static, un-organized and inactive lowland forces from the current stupor and stagnation, to keep our liberty total, alive, attractive and guaranteed, we should not let our attentions drift by the sneaky tricks of most of the cynic elite of the highlands. The pressing issue to be discussed and resolved is the current standoff: the improper land grabbing system. The people of the Eritrean lowlands and ethnic minorities, in this regards, have declined and will decline to accept any false gestures from the deceitful highland intellectuals; they feel betrayed, deceived, and tricked for too long by no others but by the same affiliated shareholders.
To cite an example from “western” Hollywood films of the 1980’s, Dr Matlock, the best lawyer and advocate, has always against all odds used to come out victorious. Dr Matlock was portrayed as timeless winner because his character is designed to be like that, period. Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, like Dr Matlock is always goes for the throat of his neighbors but is always defeated, and he never learns from his weakness. However, he still wins the heart of some Westerners and Americans because they do not want to see the doom of their stooge before their interest is secured. Whatever he does, whenever he does it and wherever ever he spoils, trains, detains, arms, kills and sides with states sponsoring terrorism and terrorist forces, he is always empowered, encouraged, and promoted. A regime that supposedly cooperates to combat terrorism, instead, it trains, arms, funds and advises terrorist forces, is promoted and given equal leverage and opportunity with those countries that have vowed to fight global terrorism. Why? Only God knows.
There is an interesting point that I want to dwell on to show the relevancy of this issue. PIA may stand and serve as a stooge for any power and by doing so he may think he will keep Eritrean statehood united. But that hardly works; because, at this moment, Eritrean lowlanders, ethnic and political minorities, and moderate highlanders will not dole out to promote either the insane schemes of the obsessed fanatic intellectuals of the highland or the deliberate assistance of the super powers to safeguard the power of their stooge and exploit the geo-political strategy of Eritrea. The entire Eritrean population is ready to see the current regime removed by any means and have the right to regain and retain the lost vestiges of dignity either through legal terms (which is technocratic and time consuming) or through a workable method that secures justice and equality—power sharing formula similar to that used by the Lebanese people is a case in point. By now, and from all the piece of information posted in awate.com, I am confident and unfaltering that the highland intellectuals are aware and will arrive at a workable means that might speed up the doom of the regime before the lowland partners take the initiative. If done in time, there is a need for the aristocratic British host “nod” from the lowlanders, ethnics, and political minorities for tricky approaches by our highland political partners. They are ill at ease with them (highland intellectuals) because they don’t have a shred of credibility for the promises they had inked on papers, the constitution is an example.
Let’s say, willkomen! for the, moderate, genuine and democratic Tigrinya speaking intellectuals and give them time to come up with a workable equation. Unless pressed for a concrete solution, the politically subjugated and the masters of the subjugating plans, both, mentally as well as physically, will remain at the worst level of despair. Unless the issues are resolved, both shareholders will suffer equally. Again, both sides have equal opportunity to resort for alternatives if they feel discomforted, un-accommodated or isolated. It’s time to arrive at a possible frame of a genuine unity. If that fails, the highlanders (As per Isaias’ plans) have two choices: joining Mama Ethiopia as usual (with the Amhara this time?) or organize and fight the rebelling lowlanders to incorporate them forcefully in the unitary system as the evil godfather Isaias is doing now. The lowlanders, ethnic and political minorities with all their fortunes—fertile land, natural resources like mining, marine and other resources will disassociate and declare an autonomous state. If equality and a proper power-sharing formula is ignored, if the malicious schemes of the resettlement continues and the anticipated demographic change brings the ultimate goal of grabbing of the “no man’s land” by dismembering and ousting the aborigines from their ancestral lands and leave the forest with out tree, the fate of Eritrean sovereignty will remain at stake.
The resettlement schemes and all the cynic steps being taken to grab the land of the original citizens will work only if Isaias stays alive. All humans are mortals. Isaias Afwerki is human and he is mortal. His schemes will die with him and everything will regain its momentum. To accentuate this, we will teach and equip the current generation with these realities. We are here now: problems are identified, blankets are uncovered and now it’s time for a serious debate on the possible solutions not on the known and the already visited problems. Lowlanders and highlanders, collectively or separately have the inalienable right to declare for autonomy if ignored or dehumanized as a prelude for self-determination. However, and no matter how bitter it is, democratically united Eritrea is more pertinent and meaningful for us all, Eritreans who fought for three decades to realize an honorable nation.