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An Interview With An Eritrean Icon: Ahmed M. Nasser

This interview with Ahmed Nasser was conducted by Saleh Younis. It was published at awate.com on January 29, 2001. We are republishing it on the occasion of Ahmed Nasser’s death on March 26, 2014

Editor’s Note: Eritrea’s proud history has produced heroes and giants, visionaries and selfless patriots. This is why awate.com feels no hesitation in bestowing labels like “legend” and “icon” on individuals whom we believe Eritrean history will judge as the Greatest Generation Eritrea offered. As part of its effort to acquaint the new generation of Eritreans to Eritrean leaders who have played a decisive role in Eritrea’s proud history, awate.com is pleased to announce that it will soon publish an interview with one of the many icons of Eritrean nationalism, Ahmed Mohammed Nasser. We are mindful of the fact that no single political party, movement or individual has a monopoly on Eritrean patriotism, vision of leadership or blueprints for development, unity and harmony. awate.com will endeavor to reach out to as broad and diverse group of individuals and spokespersons as possible regardless of whether these individuals are in Eritrea or in exile, in government or in opposition, active or retired. We hope that the exposure to diverse views and visions will lay the groundwork for preparing Eritrea to welcoming a common destiny that accepts, at minimum, values of democracy, truth, justice, unity, freedom and diversity. Below is the interview with Ahmed Mohammed Nasser…

Q1. Let’s begin by talking about the early days.  What was your background before you joined the Revolution?

Early during my childhood, I lived in a political atmosphere where the proponents of Eritrean national independence were expressing their resentment towards the disappointing result of their struggle of the 1940s. This was also associated with another fact related to the chats among the elders who were casting light on the old relations between our forefathers and the Ethiopian invaders. They were narrating and reciting to each other stories and poems about their fathers’ valor and bravery in different battles. Among these battle areas I recollect Rubrubia, Tokhonda, Karibossa, Kabuna and Adaito etc.   All chats or poems seldom missed to mention Ras Alula or Wbe.

During [the] fiftieth, Amharic language was introduced in all Eritrean schools under the pretext that it is a mother tongue that must be studied by all Eritrean children. It became a compulsory subject that determined the future of any student either for job or higher studies.

The above-mentioned factors obviously have their impact in developing some very rudimentary questions such as:  “What is Eritrea?”  “Why were the Ethiopians attacking our forefathers?”  “Who is Haile Selassie?”  “Why are we forced to study Amharic which is absolutely strange to us but claimed to be our mother tongue?”

Q2. When did you join the Revolution? And could you describe to us the different positions you held with the Eritrean Liberation Front [ELF]?

I became a member of the ELF in 1964. After I finished my secondary level [education], I crossed the Eritrean-Sudanese border and put myself under the disposal of the Revolutionary Command. In 1967, the ELF sent me to Iraq to study in its Military College and, after graduation, I specialized in artillery.

In 1970, I went to the field and was assigned as a cadre in the HQ [headquarters] of the General Command. Prior to the First National Congress of the ELF, I was given an assignment by the Preparatory Committee to mobilize the masses in accordance with the political items it issued subsequently. In 1971, I was elected from the congress as a member of the Revolutionary Council and as a member of the Military Bureau. In the second and third national congresses that were held in 1975 and 1989 respectively, I was assigned with the chairmanship responsibility until the fourth congress in 1995. Now I am a member in the Revolutionary Council.

Q3.What was the achievement of the First National Congress?

For the first time in the history of the Eritrean people and the ELF, a National Congress was held in which representatives of all segments of the Eritrean people participated. The Congress was a qualitative culmination of the 1969 Adobaha Conference that passed very important decisions and constitutes also a significant event in the course of the revolution. The achievement of the conference can be summed up in the following points:-

  • Adopted political and organizational programs.
  • Elected a leadership democratically for the first time since the inception of the ELF.
  • Confirmed that the HQ of the leadership must be inside Eritrea.
  • Defined friends and enemies of the legitimate struggle of the Eritrean people for national independence.
  •  Asserted the importance of establishing democratic mass organizations.
  • Established institutions that assume responsibilities of public services.

Q4. What were the highlights of the Second National Congress?

The 2nd National Congress made some amendments in the resolutions of the previous Congress. It committed to solve the political conflicts between the two organizations, ELF and ELF/PLF, through democratic dialogue.

Q5. One of the frequent criticisms against the ELF waged by the EPLF [Eritrean People Liberation Front] was that the ELF practiced “sddi democracy”.  Why do you think that is?

It has been an unequivocal fact that the ELF has been protecting the rights of its members to fully exercise publicly their inalienable rights and to participate in forming and holding their opinion on one condition: that the members adhere to the principle of democratic centralism. In the framework of this principle, every member, no matter his/her position in the hierarchy of the ELF, had the right to criticize the leadership either in broad meetings or in a written form.

No one was subjected to inquiry unless one otherwise deviated from this principle. This was the daily democratic political life that characterized the ELF´s activities since its first National Congress.

In addition to the above-articulated facts, ELF was holding its congresses in which democratically elected members, representing their respective institutions, were participating and freely electing the leaderships. From judicial point of view, the democratic right of a citizen to appeal from village court to regional, high court even to the Chairman of the RC was available.

In short, this was the way in which ELF practiced democracy since its first national congress. We cannot claim that its application was sound and perfect in every aspect; and no one is to be blamed for that because any experience can hardly evade committing errors in practice. Beyond doubt, the ELF, by pursuing this method, was partly ingraining the ideals of human rights in our masses and partly to habituate them beforehand to such style of governance in future Eritrea.

Unfortunately, some critics dubbed this style of ELF as being “sddi-democracy“! It seems that the only lesson from history that they are impressed with is an authoritarian system, which demands of people absolute obedience and submission to the ruler. The proponents of such systems relentlessly endeavor to inculcate among the masses that the ruler is endowed with unnatural inspiration that merits him to be the only source of wisdom. This presupposes that the people, despite their rich historical and cultural heritages and other potentialities, are too poor and barren to produce leaders from among themselves.

Since the critics construe ELF´s democracy as ´Sddi` to end up to the glorification of authoritarianism, I have nothing to say except re-affirming my pride in the legacy of the ELF. I prefer ´Sddi democracy´ of the ELF to that of suppressive—“nibleka sima’a wei aserka kirikeb aykonen; idna ikwa newih iyu” [listen to what we have to say or your traces won’t be found; our arms are long] system. In conjunction with this I call upon all Eritreans to get rid, once and forever, of such adjectives as `Qorratz’, [resolute] ‘Fellat’ [wise], ‘Sheitan’ [satan], ‘Gigna’ [brave] etc`, since they have become devoid of their appropriate meanings and have ended up in the glorification and legitimization of despotism in our country.

Q6. The EPLF seems to have understood something the ELF did not: that to wage a popular movement against an entrenched power, you need permanent symbols and myths. Like Ho Chi Minh, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Jomo Kenyata, Mao Tse Tung, etc. Throughout the life of the EPLF, there was one constant: Isaias Afwerki.  In contrast, the ELF went through many leaders and many competing and colorful characters. Do you think this was a mistake?

An excerpt from your question runs, “ELF went through many leaders and many competing and colorful characters. Do you think this was a mistake?”  At the outset, I would like to emphasize that one of the very meaningful yardsticks of democracy is a change in leaderships because that reflects the general will of the people. A change in itself is a law of nature. In political and social realms, if it comes to embody and express a free will of the people, it is taken as symptom of healthy development. In a society that is characterized by religious, cultural and linguistic diversities, a change might preclude the hegemony of a majority group in that society, so to speak. At least it dampens a psychological feeling of subordination. Today, if we look at different patterns of democracies in the world, we find that quotas constitutionally solve the question of diversity in some societies. If there is any lesson to be inferred from this example, changes that were taking place in ELF were relevant to its composition; thus, in light of this logic, there is no room to term it a mistake.

Concerning permanent symbols in any society, it is not something that drops as manna from the heaven or an artifact. It is a contribution of roles played by individuals in their society and it is manifest in overwhelming respect, recognition and universal acclamation in the societies of the individuals and the world at large. Any leader whose influence fails to transcend the limits of his/her party or organization cannot be articulated as a permanent symbol of any society. By the way, symbols are immortal. Relatively speaking, the heroic leader Hamid Idris Awate, who pioneered the armed struggle for national independence, was a symbol.

Sadly, Eritrea has lacked and is still lacking a leader who has acquired a nation-wide consensus to his leadership. Let’s dream of a Mandela type leader who got admiration the world over when he secured an overwhelming majority in the first democratic election in South Africa and opted to form a government where different parties participated. And, before his term of presidency ended, he smoothly passed his power to the new generation of leadership. Let’s stop dignifying dictatorship in this ephemeral realm of power.

Q7. Let’s talk about a critical decision during the Second National Congress.  During this period, the ELF was being transformed from a value system that was based on lowland, Muslim, rural and illiterate culture to a highland, Christian, urban and relatively literate body. Given this, do you think it was a big mistake that a symbol and a rising star of the new movement–Herui T. Bairu—was not elected in the Second National Congress? Some say that the rejection of Herui in the Second National Congress brought about the creation of Falul, which began the ELF’s long decline. What is your response to that?

It is incorrect and rather outrageous presentation to assume such transformation of ELF at that stage. The transformation was a national high time that led to qualitative and quantitative changes in the Eritrean political arena. It had nothing to with cultural dimension. One can hardly accept your assumption that all Muslims were illiterate. As a matter of fact, it was those members of the ELF you referred to who gave their votes and support unanimously to Herui T. Bairu to assume the vice-chairmanship in the first National Congress of ELF. This actually manifests their national political maturity irrespective of the level of their education.

To go back to your question, I don’t exonerate either Herui or the other side whom he blames for the errors. To be rational in his/her judgment, one must treat this within its historical context and gather detailed information pertinent to that episode. To give my conscientious verdict, I may partly lack some information for I could not participate in all the discussions [of the second national congress] for practical reasons.

After the congress issued its final statement, Herui immediately began to organize his group and instruct them in a way that would create an atmosphere that was conducive to forcing the ELF leadership to hold an extraordinary congress. As a result of this, the internal political and organizational life of the ELF was turbulent to a degree that, for roughly two years, turmoil and confusion became the daily order of the organization.

I regret that Herui resorted to these destructive tactics instead of dealing with that in a rational and peaceful way and wait another round. Obviously, this development was at the expense of the enhancement of the strength of the ELF, which was the strongest in all aspects in Eritrea at that time. No doubt, the ELF has been suffering from that deplorable experience until this moment.

I am of the opinion that we as advanced cadres of the ELF would have been able to surmount any difficulty whatever its magnitude might be if we had properly appreciated the new situation which was encompassing new political elements emerging out of the developments in Ethiopia, Eritrea and in our region as a whole.

Q8. Some allege that the Ba’ath movement virtually ran the Second National Congress.  What is your answer to that?

No doubt, there were ELF-friendly countries in the Arab World who openly supported the legitimate rights of the Eritrean case. These countries unconditionally extended ELF and other political organizations with material, financial and educational aid that contributed a conspicuous role in our struggle. This is a historical fact no one can deny. Delegations representing these friendly countries were being invited to attend ELF congresses as an indication of our veneration to their solidarity and to help us introduce our struggle to world opinion. Such gesture did not necessarily mean ELF accepted their political influence. It is a well-recorded historical fact that ELF never allowed itself to yield to such pressures under any conditions. There are a lot of incidents one can refer to in ELF´s record. In spite of this fact, we do not deny the existence of individuals who had ideological tendencies to some Arab nationalist parties within the organization. However, their influence was very, very limited.

The sort of accusations your question embodies actually destroys the very reasons, objectives and foundations upon which the Eritrean national struggle had been based. In addition to the fact that this accusation is baseless, it goes in congruence with Haile Selassie’s diplomatic endeavors, which tried to prove that the Eritrean revolution was a movement instigated and manipulated by the Arab nationalists in their efforts `to invade Africa`. On one hand, this allegation reduces the Eritrean legal struggle for national freedom as if it were a product of an international fabrication and, on the other hand, it amounts to a betrayal of our fathers struggle during the fortieth and to those martyrs who shed their blood, for not less than fifty years, in order to restore the usurped Eritrean rights for self-determination and independence.

How on earth can one believe that any people would accept with good grace inconceivable and colossal burdens that entail perpetual massacres, bloodshed and comprehensive socio-economic destruction on behalf of, or rather as a proxy to others, on their soil!


Q9. Recent declassified information reveals that you went to Moscow to meet with the leaders of Communist International. How did that meeting come about?

ELF leadership received an invitation to visit Moscow through the representative of the Soviet Union in the office of the Afro-Asian solidarity in Cairo. The invitation was handed to the late Idris Osman Glawdios who was representing the ELF in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The first visit was in June 1978 and the second in February/March 1980. The invitation was not subject to any condition as some, with ill intention, wanted to term it later. The invitation did not come out of vacuum, but it was a result of three factors: (1) the balanced and mature policy of the ELF; (2) the diplomatic pressure exerted from different states and national liberation movements that supported our national struggle upon the Soviets to open a dialogue with the Eritrean revolution; and finally (3) the wish of the latter to run preliminary meeting with the Eritrean side. The focal issues of our discussions can be summarized in the following points: –

*    Evaluation of the development in Ethiopia under the Derg;
*    Prospects of democratic settlement to the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia;
*    Who would represent Eritrea in any negotiation with the Derg?

In discussing these issues there were divergence in some areas and convergence in others. With regard to settling the conflict, we were reiterating the same positions declared publicly by the ELF, i.e, that the Eritrean revolution is ready to sit for negotiation with Ethiopia with a view to reach a democratic solution that satisfies the legitimate rights and aspiration of the Eritrean people for national independence and founds a base for a good friendly neighborhood with Ethiopia. Concerning the representation in any negotiation, we were keeping firmly to the principle that a united delegation that represents all Eritrean political organizations must represent Eritrea in any negotiation. This was in contrast to all perversions and distortions that were being circulated by ELF´s political adversaries at that time. To mention one, there was the baseless accusation that we accepted regional autonomy relinquishing our hallowed national goals.

Irrespective of the quick, tangible and fruitful outcome our people might have anticipated at that time, the visit to the Soviet Union is considered to be one of the most significant signs towards gaining an international recognition for our national cause which was suffering a setback for a long time in this connection. Without doubt, the second visit was more fruitful because it was concurrent with the rising doubt of the Soviets about the developing situation in Ethiopia at that time.

Q10. In a separate meeting, President Isaias Afwerki also met with the East Germans. At the time, they [the East Germans] wanted assurances that the EPLF was the true representative of the Eritrean movement. Were you asked for similar assurances?

We have never been asked such sort of assurance. I think what I clarified in the preceding answer is sufficient.

Q11. Was this [seeking assurance that one front was the true representative of Eritreans], in your opinion, an invitation for the ELF and the EPLF to engage in civil war?

Maybe, but that depends wholly on [how it was accepted by] the Eritrean side. For example, in the last of its three secret meetings in February 1980, in the then Democratic Republic of Germany, with Ethiopian delegation led by Berhanu Baiye, it was the EPLF that forwarded a 76-page paper supplemented by 11-points on a separate paper assumed to be a base for settlement of the conflict. In March 1980, the Germans contacted us and informed us about the two secret meetings that had already been ran between the two sides [Ethiopia and the EPLF] excluding us. It was a shocking surprise to us that the EPLF leadership chose to behave so. When we signed an agreement on October 20,1977, we had agreed that any negotiation with Ethiopia would be with a unified delegation.

The ostensible reason for the Germans to contact us was to invite us join in the third scheduled meeting between the two. We categorically refused to join in that meeting but we showed our preparedness to run bilateral discussions with the UDSPG on our return from the second invitation to Moscow.

In the beginning of March, our delegation was in Germany.  The EPLF delegation was also there for the third meeting with the Derg.  When the EPLF delegation came to know that the secret meetings were disclosed, they took an initiative and handed us, through the Germans, the 76-page paper while withholding the 11-point paper. However, we could get that paper later from other sources through our diplomatic contacts.

It is worth reminder that despite the EPLF leadership’s flagrant violation of the agreement, the ELF leadership stood fast to its principles of common goal and re-vitalized the October agreement with EPLF by signing in May 1980, in Aden, a new document that was then declared public in the same month by a joint delegation in a press conference in Beirut.

Q12. During the 1970s both the ELF and the EPLF were competing for the mantle of the more “progressive” party.  This brought about one of the least talked-about movement within a movement in the ELF: the Hzbel Amel [Labor Party].  Could you shed some light on this?

I was Chairman of the Revolutionary Council and Executive Committee. Therefore, I am ready to answer any question relevant to the ELF and allow me to refrain from answering questions pertaining to `Hzbel Amel`.

Q13. The ELF was always accused of being a front for the imperialists and the Arabs?  Why was that?

When dealing with this question, it becomes helpful if one grasps the elements that intricate the political developments in the region in the past and more recently and how they interplay with each other. During the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie, the pivot of Ethiopian diplomacy was revolving on accusing the Eritrean revolution as being the spearhead to the Arab cultural invasion of Africa. The object of this policy was to agitate the anti-Arab sentiments in Africa. And to the Western countries, the regime was trying convince them that it was facing extreme subversive Arab revolutionaries led by Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt.

In accordance with the volatile political developments in the region, Ethiopian diplomacy was taking different covers. Seemingly, there was difference but in essence it was the same. When the Ethiopian international alliance switched to the Soviet camp in the era of the Derg, Ethiopian diplomacy continued to accuse Arabs and Islam as main backers and troublemakers to Ethiopia. Thus, they followed on the same track as that of the Emperor despite the Cold War’s semblance of influence on the Derg, to some extent.

In the framework of the rivalry among Eritrean political organizations, the same elements as that used by Ethiopian diplomacy were used in the same manner or vice versa to countervail each other and widen their space of influence in the region or in Europe.

In the 1970s, it became commonplace for some Eritrean organizations, when waging diplomatic activities in Western European countries, to accuse the ELF as an Islamic or an Arab oriented organization.  The EPLF was well known for such activities. And some others, such as the PLF [Sabbe’s organization], when traveling to some Arab countries, were accusing the ELF as being a Marxist or a Baath proxy in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea area.  When it so happens that these organizations` diplomatic activities were targeting an audience of leftist circles, they were dubbing the ELF as a reactionary and an agent of the imperialist in the region.

This kind of selective activity acquired a more intensified momentum when ELF´s delegation visited Moscow two times as I pointed above. It was an opportune moment for the rival organizations to orchestrate in unison, no matter their bilateral relations, to accuse ELF as accepting regional autonomy by concluding a pact with the Derg through Soviet mediation.

Ironically, while all these organizations were disseminating all conceivable slander against the ELF, they were putting their maximum diplomatic efforts to receive invitation from the Soviet Union.

The reality is that ELF had never and never been engaged in anything that exposed the national objectives to any sort of compromise. Moreover, it has never deviated from the principle that any negotiations must be done by a united delegation that represents the Eritrean revolution in general. And it has been sticking to this principle until our country became liberated in 1991.

The aim of those unfounded accusations was boiling down to an attempt to isolate ELF politically with a view to strengthening their position at its expense.



Q14. In his book “Kalsi hzbi Ertra, Kabey Nabey”, Meles Zenawi gives the following reasons for the eventual military clash with the ELF (1) the ELF always treated the TPLF as a junior partner unfit to be an equal partner of “Gebha Abai” [“ELF The Great”].  (2) the ELF was the protector and guardian of I.h.A.Pa. (EPRP).  (3) the ELF leadership was not progressive but interested in promoting feudal values.  What were the manifestations of this belief?

Since its national congress in 1971, the ELF had adopted a crystal-clear stand towards the democratic struggles of the peoples of Ethiopia. It was its belief that the struggles in both countries are indivisible. No one can deny the fact that no other Eritrean organization has had the honor of precedence in this respect except ELF. Despite all objective constraints, the ELF had practically interpreted its stand in its co-operation with the nascent Ethiopian armed movements without exception. Ethiopian political organizations including TPLF cannot deny this historical fact. Nevertheless, we in the ELF cannot claim that we were angels and never committed any error. However, at the same time we have never committed an error with an intention to inflict damage upon others.

You remarked in your question that TPLF claims ELF treated it as a junior partner unfit to be equal partner of ´Jebha Abai`. Do such minor accusations give her the right to dismantle the mass organizations established in Tigrai by the ELF since the sixties in order to change their allegiance to its ally, EPLF? Why didn’t it accept our suggestion to arrange ways by which we can confirm the right of both organizations to organize their respective citizens who live in both countries on equal footing?

With regard to another accusation of the TPLF that “the ELF was a protector and guardian of EPRP ( Ehapa)”,  that was nothing more than a propaganda consumption exploited to rally Tigraian masses behind schemes to create hatred sentiments among the people against ELF. In this connection I have two points that justify my assertion. The first is that, the more common ground of understanding on central political issues between the parties concerned prevails, the more likely the probability of better relations.  The TPLF had more clear stand towards the Eritrean national struggle for independence when compared with that of EPRP´s. Therefore, the joint agreement between ELF and TPLF by which both exchange recognition was concluded in October 19977, whereas such agreement was not reached between ELF and EPRP. This would logically mean that ELF was more liable to seek ways with which it could strengthen its relation with the former. The second is that, no revolutionary movement, which respects itself, accepts to be under the guardianship of any power. And I am not of the opinion that EPRP was a movement ready to be malleable, let alone by ELF, but by regional powers.

What could have let TPLF to take a negative stand against ELF? To explore the presumable reason behind, it seems important to cast some light on the historical background of ELF´s relation with the political movements in Tigrai since early seventies.

Early in 1972, a group of Tigraians who identified themselves as Tigrai Liberation Front (TLF) contacted Dr. Futzum Ghebreselassie, a member of the [ELF] executive committee, and asked him to present them to the ELF. The leadership welcomed this and assigned Futzum, before his martyrdom in 1973, to be a contact person and decided to help them with anything at its disposal.  After that, the relation between the two sides developed in different cities and towns inside Eritrea and Ethiopia. Gradually, TLF´s political influence was enhanced in Tigrai.

In 1974, the TPLF was formed under the auspices of Eritrean Popular Liberation Forces which later became the EPLF. Thus, by 1975, there were already two organizations in action in Tigrai. TPLF, backed by EPLF, was engaged in a process of monopolizing political power in Tigrai and began to liquidate TLF in 1976. At this instance, ELF being aware of the negative consequences that would result of such incidents on the struggle of Tigrai and Eritrea, tried its best to mediate and encouraged both TLF and TPLF to settle their differences in a peaceful manner.

It seems ironical that an organization, ELF, which suffers of a similar problem, dared to take a stand to give a piece of advice to others. But that irony in no way diminishes the nobility of our purpose.  One is reminded of the deep meaning of the proverb “the burnt child fears the fire”. We were genuine in our effort to let the brotherly people of Tigrai avoid the same fate we faced.

Again, another clash erupted in 1980 in some parts of Tigrai, but this time between TPLF and EPRP. As an outcome of this fighting, EPRP units withdrew to the Eritrean soil and the ELF immediately disarmed and transported them to a safe place until they decided where to go. The TPLF was briefed with the measure taken and our objectives.

The above-explained positions of the ELF, at the two instances, were apparently construed by TPLF, as later developments showed, as if ELF was favoring other Ethiopian political organizations to it. Indeed, what we did, irrespective of the nature of relations we had with the Ethiopians, was purely on humanitarian basis. And I have no reason to regret that decision. In spite of all  the facts I highlighted, I would like to repeat again and again we have never claimed that we are angels. With this spirit and in line with our conviction that geo-political reality makes running a constructive dialogue imperative, we were and still stand for re-evaluation of the past to open a new chapter that consolidates the relations between our peoples.

But for the sake of clarity, how can the TPLF leadership reconcile with its claims that it is a progressive organization whereas ELF is feudal, when in the 1980s the TPLF was openly declaring that its Marxist Leninist League of Tigrai was welcomed in USA, Western Europe, Saudi Arabia etc. while the ELF was pursued by these circles as an unwelcome organization?

Finally, as to the accusation that the “ELF leadership was not progressive but interested in promoting feudal values”, I have nothing to say except that it is not a matter of much concern to us because we need neither a political letter of indulgence nor a certificate of merit from any one except our people who better know who is who.

Q15. Let’s talk about one of the saddest chapters of Eritrean history: the TPLF-EPLF Alliance in the War against the ELF.  What, in your opinion, was the cause of that?

It is difficult to exactly pinpoint what was the real cause behind that saddest and unholy war of the TPLF-EPLF alliance against ELF on the one hand and TPLF´s flagrant intervention in the internal affairs of Eritrea. Neither of them disclosed their reasons to this day. However, one cannot skip over the fact that both of them were exclusively preoccupied with the achievement of their hegemony over their respective areas. This ambition was converging with international political strategies drawn up for the region.

Was the aggression against ELF coincidental to be timed with those plans?! Do people know that a flow of logistics was not flowing to the ELF since 1978 for the Sudanese regime had refused to grant it facilities which was given prior to that time? In contrast to the ELF, other organizations were getting logistics in abundance.  It goes without saying the direct result of that war was tremendously harmful to ELF as well as to the Eritrean people. But the most dangerous aspect of this war, which the two leaderships would bear its historical responsibility, is inculcation of the principle of intervention, which might be an exemplary precedence for the coming generation in dealing with internal political conflicts.

Q16. There are claims that what destroyed the ELF was not the TPLF-EPLF war against it but the internal contradictions and disharmony within its own leadership and the rank and file.  What is your opinion about this?

This allegation is something that absolutely cannot be accepted. It lacks rudimentary logic. Those who say that ELF had withdrawn its military units in 1981 to the Sudanese border on its own claim so because they want to exonerate themselves from the crime they had committed against ELF. It was an outrageous attempt to hide the war that lasted for one year and was being waged by EPLF-TPLF alliance.

When the unholy alliance launched its aggression, ELF was confronting the Derg´s army at different fronts and liberated May Mine, then considered one of the Derg’s most famous bastions in Seraye Province.

If internal disharmony and contradiction were the reasons that destroyed ELF, what was the wisdom to withdraw an equipped army to another country to definitely expose it to disarming? It was not for the first time in its history that ELF had been facing crises. In 1964, even though the level of consciousness was low to a considerable degree, the veterans were able to surmount their internal problems. The same had happened in the late sixties and seventies. Such crises were settled by holding congresses and changing leaderships. Unfortunately some were ending in clashes.

Despite all these negative sides in the Eritrean revolution, no organization opted to settle its internal contradictions by moving to the Sudan. After all these clarification, is there any room for logic to drop the very destructive role the Alliance [EPLF-TPLF] had played in ensuing a heavy damage against ELF and our people? Yes, we had contradictions but their effect on ELF cannot offset the consequences of the crimes perverted by them against it. This is a fact that would never to be concealed back behind thick screen of smoke whatever endeavors might be exerted. The real reasons will be seen sooner or later; it is only a question of time.

Q17. Once again, to quote Meles Zenawi, in his book, he claims that the reason for the dissolution of the ELF could not have been the military setback it sustained.  To make his point, he alleges that the ELF lost more people in Barentu and that in 1980 the ELF’s manpower and military might was virtually intact.  How do you respond to that?

This question has close connection with the above already answered questions. However, there is one point to add concerning the allegation that ELF lost more people in Barentu.  The battle of Barentu was only one of the many battles waged by the ELF army. A focus on it amounts as part and parcel of the quest for any justification deemed to strengthen their position vis-a-vis the torrential questions the alliance was facing in terms of their action against ELF in 1980/1.

Let me remind the reader the ELF army was waging different battles against the Ethiopian army of occupation when it was ill equipped in the sixties and early seventies.  As an example, one can mention the Battle of Lokotat in 1970, which lasted one month. Furthermore, let me disclose something from the secret pages of the ELF army history: our fighter could sustain his morale and spirit to fight and defend his people when holding, for one year, only 35 bullets for Klashnikov and 18 for Simanov in 1971/2 during a full-fledged boycott against flow of logistics.

Q18. One of the reasons the ELF gave for why TPLF joined the Eritrean civil war was that the TPLF was encroaching on Eritrean territory and the ELF was the only Eritrean organization challenging its encroachment.  Could you elaborate on this?

I have noted in my answers to the previous questions with regard to the relation of the ELF and the TPLF. Sadly, the relation continued to aggravate daily during late seventies due to TPLF´s territorial claims with EPLF ´s indifference and support, or rather a connivance with that attitude. Killing and expulsion of some Eritrean citizens as well as fighters of ELF ensued out of the continuous provocative practices of TPLF. Hence, although we were abiding to the responsibility of defending our sovereignty, territorial integrity and interests of our citizens, we nevertheless stood for removing any barriers that might curb the normal activities between two brotherly peoples and tried our best to damp any negative sentiments.

Q19. Now that the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict is going to be resolved through arbitration, each side is going to have to submit documentation to prove that the disputed territories belong to it. There is a great deal of talk that the ELF used to administer areas like Badume, Laileway Adyabo, etc.  Does the ELF have documentation to prove this and does it have a mechanism to submit these documents to the Eritrean Government?

As I noted above, the ELF was the sole organization in the Horn of Africa whose military activities were internationally echoed from 1961 to 1974. By virtue of this reality, solely the ELF had been organizing all Eritreans not only in Eritrea but also in Ethiopian cities and towns. To maintain secrecy, it was administering the organized cells by very sophisticated methods. Obviously, it is clear that the territories where these cells were organized by ELF do not necessarily mean they belong to Eritrea. When an armed movement erupted and developed in Tigrai in the seventies, questions related with sovereignty eventually arose.

From the very inception of the agitation of that sort of problem, ELF dealt with it in a manner that reflects its conviction that such type of problem can be settled in a friendly way in the future by referring to the maps drawn by the European colonialists. Besides, ELF was considering raising such issues inappropriate at that particular moment.

The prominent site of contention was Badume area but still, although kept under low profile, there were other areas also. Rather than opting to the policy of exacerbating the friction to its maximum as pursued by the TPLF, it would have been applauded had it chosen the path of peaceful negotiation. The latter was our option in the ELF because we were aware of the fact that there is no other way to radically settle border conflict except through peace. In other words, border conflicts cannot be solved by war, which might recycle at any time.

Badume, yes we administered it with a firm belief that it is an Eritrean territory. Prior to the late Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict, and since independence, we have not seen any claim by EPLF government to this area, particularly during the declaration of independence. We were not asked for any documents or piece of advice, although the issue is relevant to national sovereignty.

With respect to submission of documents to the Eritrean Government, let alone to have such mechanism, it [the Eritrean Government] considers the opposition forces and the ELF, its peak enemies, second to none. The EPLF government is not ready to open a dialogue with the opposition; it is not ready to ask for any document pertinent to this case.

Q20. Let’s talk about the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.  Many of us long-time ELF sympathizers and members were quite stunned by what we perceived as the ELF, once again, being insensitive to the true feelings of its constituency.  Why did the ELF (and I mean the ELF-RC) not adopt, if not a nationalist, at least a neutral view?

To begin with your last expression “if not a nationalist at least neutral views” (!), I find attaching such expressions to the ELF that has been a pioneer of Eritrean nationalism, if I refrain to say outrageous, at least very unfortunate. In its long history, it [the ELF] has never compromised on anything that touches on Eritrean national sovereignty. I basically and totally refuse on principle to use the terms, nationalist and neutral, in matters of sovereignty. How can one conceive ELF takes a neutral position in case Eritrean sovereignty is being encroached!

The EPLF government alone bears the responsibility of decision-making with regard to declaring war and peace. ELF as an opposition has no a power of influence that transcends its real position currently on the political theatre. This objective limitation makes its stand confines it to declaring principled positions that safeguard the national sovereignty and strategic interests of our people and that promote a healthy, peaceful relation with neighboring countries. This was reflected on all the statements issued by ELF-RC since the war started between Eritrea and Ethiopia until the day a peace agreement was signed between the two sides in Algiers on 12 December 2000. Let’s ponder on the points included in different statements issued by ELF in connection to this war:

  • Called upon the two parties to go back to the status quo prevailing prior the eruption of war and resolve to settle the conflict by peaceful means and to totally refrain from pursuing propaganda activities that harm the relation between the two peoples in the future.
  • Called upon EPLF to immediately take practical steps towards national reconciliation to handle matters of war and peace on national level.
  • ELF has considered Badume as part and parcel of Eritrean soil.  However, it was aware that a conflict on it or elsewhere could only be solved properly by peaceful means.

Sadly, EPLF´s response to this position was irresponsible and irrational. It labeled ELF as ´traitor´ or ´ Wayanes´ as it found it pleasant to say so. But in the final analysis, it is a historical irony to find EPLF government accepting forcefully at every new phase of a battle much below what could have been saved if it would accept our early suggestions in advance.

Concerning ELF’s relation with Ethiopia, it is based on the above-enumerated principles and stands. Without doubt, ELF and other opposition forces have exerted their maximum efforts to save and secure the lives, properties and human rights of the Eritreans who live in Ethiopia so they may not be victims of any hatred sentiments that might grow among the Ethiopian peoples.

After all these clarification, is there any reason to reduce ELF´s nationalism to a mere neutral view as related to sovereignty?!

Q21. The ELF-RC claims that its presence in Addis Ababa has helped a great many Eritreans escape persecution and deportation from the Ethiopian Government.  Let me pose this question: in his essay, “The Uprooted”, Professor Asmerom Legesse says that the number one reason used as “Real Criteria for Deportation” was voting in the Eritrean Referendum.  My question is this: Given that the ELF-RC had called for boycotting a vote on the Referendum, wasn’t it, in essence, just “protecting” Eritreans who would not have been deported to begin with?

In Ethiopia there are about 200-300 thousand of Eritreans who have permanently lived [there] for a long time. During the Eritrean referendum, both regimes [Eritrean and Ethiopian] had a relation repeatedly termed as “strategic.” The Ethiopian government was giving to the regime in Asmara all facilities that helped the process of referendum to run smoothly. It is well recollected that the Eritreans´ enthusiasm to participate in the voting was very high to the extent one hardly doubts if there were non-participants. If voting was the number one reason used as “real criteria for deportation”, we know that the deported constitute less than 20% of all Eritreans. If that is the case, does it mean that the number of citizens who didn’t vote is round 80%? In accordance to the supposition of Professor Asmerom Legesse, does he mean 80% of the Eritrean population in Ethiopia support ELF? How do they reconcile this with their previous claim that all Eritreans in Ethiopia voted for independence and EPLF government? Thanks to the Professor who either tacitly wanted or unconsciously made clear for Eritreans that the result of direct, free and fair enfranchise in Eritrea would produce this result.

On this occasion I find it appropriate to raise one important question concerning the EPLF government scandal when it handed over data and statistics of Eritreans who voted in referendum to the Ethiopian authorities inside and to its embassies abroad. Therefore, who is to be blamed when Ethiopian authorities utilized this data whenever they saw it necessary to use it in pursuing certain policies toward Eritrea? To conclude my answer in this regard, the ELF has always defended the legitimate interests and rights of our people; and in line with that and to that end it defended in Ethiopia all Eritreans irrespective of their political affiliation.

Q22. Were alliance members present in any of the TPLF occupied Eritrean territories?

This is not a basic issue for Eritrea today. And sadly, such kind of issues have only been raised by EPLF leadership for mere blackmailing and character assassination.  Eritrea gains nothing out of it.

Q23. Speaking of the Referendum, Why did the ELF-RC call on boycotting the vote on the referendum?

Since 1961, our people had clearly declared and translated their aspiration for full national independence and sovereignty.  To attain that goal, Eritreans paid heavy sacrifices in all aspects.  This fact conveys one truth: that the referendum you are speaking about was only a nominal process and had no significant and decisive role to play in changing  Eritreans minds with regard to their position towards national independence. No matter the factors that pushed its imposition, the referendum was a de facto reality that entitled every Eritrean to participate and cast her/his vote in it.

From my point of view, a referendum is a principle by which an individual expresses his/her conviction freely. Hence, the implementation of this principle has no relation to a  ”group decision”, regardless of the identity of the group. In this sense, the individual has a right to vote or to refrain; and this is unequivocal manifestation of the individual democratic right as I’ve noted. With the exception of a very few countries that make voting compulsory, the overwhelming majority of states in the world constitutionally guarantee the freedom of choice to the citizen.

In conjunction with the context of referendum and issues pertinent to it, it was imperative to put some questions in front of ourselves: How can Eritreans turn the referendum to an event of a positive democratic political exhibition? What are the best procedures to be followed to that end? How can we democratize its process to let it be a hallmark inaugurating Eritrean national reconciliation? The answers to these questions would be summarized in one expression: The process should be democratized from A to Z to make it exemplary for the coming generation.

ELF/RC was calling for democratization of the process and not boycotting it, as you phrased it in your question. We realized from the beginning that EPLF leadership was connecting the referendum process to a political calculation to help it attain monopoly of political power and of other areas that buttress its objectives. At the end of the day, EPLF leadership combined two irreconcilable factors towards an unprecedented legal equation:  IDENTITY CARD is equal to VOTING CARD. No matter what your political persuasion might be, the very pre-requisite for voting, and to guarantee your voting right, was to accept EPLF I.D. card .  (I hope people have noticed that by now.)  The EPLF leadership deliberately equated proof of citizenship with proof of having an EPLF ID.  In this case, it becomes illogical for one to accept or comply to such conditions. Members of ELF had no reason to alter neither Eritreanship to EPLF nor replace their political persuasion to the one outlined by another organization that had abruptly controlled power machinery in independent Eritrea. Our members were ready to vote as Eritrean citizens not as EPLF members.

All the above referred to complexities would have been avoided if registration were done properly. The specifications needed to be recorded were: a citizen’s full name , date/place of birth, a document from an Eritrean organization that attests to his/her Eritreanship etc. Such form would be enough to make an Eritrean eligible for voting.

All efforts we put with EPLF leadership to amend the undemocratic procedures ended in failure. The Referendum Commission, although claiming to be neutral and representative, was indeed performing the directly- or remotely-controlled instructions of the leadership. Amare Tekle, Chairman of the Referendum Commission of Eritrea (RCE), sent  a very clearly articulated document of instruction to the branches of the Commission abroad. Among the orders he passed and one requiring strict observance by them, was the rejection of ELF/RC members request to obtain voter registration cards on the bases of their identity. He also instructed them to pursue a tactic of procrastination in replying to them so that their demands eventually lost their essence in terms of time.

Perhaps one might guess this is a pure allegation which has been woven from my side. To clear such doubts let me offer the exact text of the press release issued on April 8,1992 by the RCE:

“An officially received a copy of a declaration, dated 17 March,1993, allegedly made by the ELF/RC in which the organization, inter alia , calls upon the Referendum Commission of Eritrea (RCE) to recognise the ID card issued by that organization and to issue voter registration cards to holders of such ID cards. The RCE wishes to clearly state its position on the matter as follows:

The RCE was established by ,and must operate within the framework of the provisions of Eritrean Referendum Proclamation number 22/1992 issued by the Provisional Government of Eritrea on 7 April 1992.

Article 24 of the said Proclamation stipulates:

Any person having Eritrean citizenship pursuant to proclamation number 21/1992 on the date of his application for registration and who was of age 18 years or older or would attain such age at any time during the registration period, and who further possessed an identification card issued by the department of internal affairs, shall be qualified for registration (emphasis added [by Ahmed Nasser]). The RCE is thus bound by law to recognise only the ID card issued by the PGE [Provisional Government of Eritrea] since it is the only document that ascertains citizenship. It shall respect the law. Consequently, it will not recognise any ID card by any political party, movement or organisation including, for that matter, the Eritrean People´s Liberation Front (EPLF) and will not issue voter registration cards to any person not in possession of ID cards issued by the PGE.

Consequently, any endeavor with the Commission was immediately repulsed, sometimes with disdain. When the voting time was drawing on us, and it became a given fact that there was no room for further suggestions, the ELF instructed its members to vote but without dropping everyone’s individual right to exercise his/her option consistent with his or her conviction. And in light of these instructions, some of the members voted and some others went to the ballot-boxes and produced on the spot ELF-ID cards to vote and to prove that they are not against referendum but against undemocratic procedures.

Despite this fact, the propaganda machinery of EPLF regime perpetually attempted to propagate that ELF has been anti-independence or that its members are traitors who shall be submitted to trial for their treachery.

Ironically, EPLF leadership that was repeatedly calling for the protagonists of pro-union with Ethiopia to freely move in Eritrea amongst our people to advance their cause, was not ready to accept ELF in Eritrea to mobilise our people behind the slogan: ´´No Alternative To Full National Independence.”

Q24. Why did the ELF-RC not participate in the constitution drafting process?

The same errors–more detrimental this time–as to that of the referendum were repeated with the same aim but using different means.

As we all know the holiest secular document that is venerated by the people of any country is a Constitution. It is ´´the mother of laws” because it defines clearly the sovereignty of the people; the duties and rights of the individuals; the relationship between a citizen and officials in the state apparatus on whom the people vest authority to run the country and to observe rule of law.  A document of this degree of importance should not be prepared, drafted and ratified by a group of persons belonging to one party. It needs a full-fledged participation of parties, organisations, intellectuals, experienced elder national figures and even foreign experts.  It needs to be ratified democratically by a universal suffrage or democratically elected representatives of the people. Needless to say, the merits of any constitution cannot be gauged only by its highly styled presentation, content and formulation on paper. Such performance can certainly be conducted by any individual who has the intellectual capacity.

I see two alternative approaches to drafting constitutions.

One alternative when writing constitutions is to recognize that the most indispensable element is the democratic participation of the people starting from its drafting up to its ratification. A people’s constitution adopted in this manner can be respected for its sanctity, durability and consistency. It might lack style and it might embody shortcomings;  but that would be amended gradually with relevant experience accumulated by its application and in accordance to the level of consciousness acquired by the people in due time. This is one alternative.

Another alternative is to have a well-formulated constitution with an admirable content and an embellished style, but framed by a handful of regime-crony intellectuals.

A document of that type comes under a guise of constitution to get its way for imposition upon the people. To bestow its legality, deceptive steps have to be followed, internally and externally. People are asked in advance to grasp it instead of deliberate on it.  Procedurally, a theatre stage is systematically erected to achieve this end. The government schedules time and organizes meeting places for the so-called ”peoples deliberation” on the draft constitution. Nation-wide gatherings of the people commence as programmed.  Juxtaposed with these arrangements, the foreign mass media are invited to attend the sessions.  ”It is a good first step. This country is stepping on the right track of democratic governance” is heralded by the foreign media.  And later, the same drama has to be repeated on voting day. The drama process culminates with an issuance of a widely echoed political declaration, signifying that the same original draft has been supported by more than 90% of the populace.

“A wolf that howls in broad light of the day may pose a danger.” As the opposition, we were aware of the lessons we obtained from the referendum experience. Therefore, when the question of constitution was raised, we had to think twice on ways that could enable us to avoid replicating the negative experiences of the regimes in developing countries.

Certainly, our option was to follow the first alternative. To attain that objective, we contacted, through different channels, the allegedly neutral Commission of the Constitution. The efforts were futile. The EPLF government, one that in pursuit of monopolising political power never fails to design models for every aspect of Eritrean people, was absolutely not ready to give an ear to any constructive view from us or anybody else. The leadership arrogantly continued to practice its authoritative project and imposed the already prepared `´constitution“ by a sort of a decree before three years. In spite of this fact, this document has still been kept in the drawers of the decision makers of EPLF.

Time has proven that our vision was right. The so-called democratically ratified constitution of EPLF is ´covered by dust in the cupboard´ to borrow Ato Herui T.Bairu´s expression. Had the constitution been of our people’s making, it could not have been possible to tamper with it by ´one person or oligarchy´, to quote Dr.Bereket H. Selassie who was the framer of that document.

Q25. We hear that shortly after the liberation of Eritrea, there was a call for Reconciliation and all Eritrean movements had been invited home. We also hear that you made it all the way to Kassala [Sudan] and, once there, you were told that the EPLF had changed its mind and that you are welcome to join as an individual but not as a party.  Is there truth to this rumor?

The ELF was aware of the fact that the liberation of Eritrea had closed one chapter and opened another, which differed in all aspects from the former stages. The main task of the new chapter was national reconciliation in order to consolidate the Eritrean nation formation, drawing up reconstruction programs, establishing a political system and building compatible institutions relevant to the nature of the responsibilities. These ideas were submitted to the EPLF leadership in written forms and channeled through personal contacts. Finally, the EPLF replied with a suggestion to sit and discuss these issues in Asmara and fixed an appointment for the meeting. On the day the meeting was scheduled to occur and we were supposed to fly from Khartoum, we were suddenly informed that the meeting had been postponed. In fact, it is postponed up to this time! They didn’t elaborate nor give any palatable reason for that with the exception of a lame excuse that the leadership is engaged in extensive work, which ended in its failure to abide to the appointment. In different instances, when they were asked why they did not stick to their word with the ELF, they denied at times and that there was any invitation and, at times, they blamed the ELF leadership for disseminating issues when it had agreed to keep them in secrecy etc. On this subject, while in our hands there is a document from their side that disapproves their allegation, we absolutely negate that there was any sort of a protocol agreed upon to keep it as a secret.

All these lame excuses, in fact, reflect that the EPLF leadership was not genuinely trying to cope with Eritrean problems in an objective manner. As developments proved later, it is apparent it was exercising a kind of gambit, which asks us to comply with conditions that promulgate the dissolution of the ELF and to declare to join its organization as individuals. Of course, no organization that respects its long history and contribution as the ELF does, accepts such cruel political stipulation under any circumstances.

As for me, the issue is not a question of prestige and position seeking maneuver, but it is a concern of national interest.

Q26. Are you-or the ELF-RC-going to participate in the next elections?

Since independence, the EPLF and its exponents repeatedly attempted to imprint in the minds of our people that Eritrea does not need democracy. Ostensibly, the underpinning reason for that notion was that if democracy were introduced in Eritrea, whose population is characterized by diversity, it is so vulnerable; the probability of its disintegration would be high. Thus, they concluded that fulfilling certain prerequisites–among which are tremendous economic and social changes–must precede its introduction. From this, one can easily deduct that the only persons who are capable of gauging whether the scored level of achievement is satisfactory to introduce democracy or not would be the influential small group in the leadership of EPLF.

Suddenly, and without any prior notice, they changed their idea and began to speak in favor of democracy. My long experience with the EPLF leadership makes me very hesitant to take this gesture for granted and without questioning. However, irrespective of my well-stated doubt, I consider this a positive intimation in the framework of anticipating tens and tens of objective steps to be followed without delay. Personally, I don’t see any impediment to participation of the opposition forces in the election provided EPLF accepts the following points: –

* Declares its acceptance of the participation of all political forces on equal base with it in the Election Commission and that of Law Drafting Commission for the formation of parties.

* Declares the annulment of all regulations and other constraints of her making that curb political activities in Eritrea.

* Accepts publicly the neutrality and power of the Commissions to work independently without any intervention from the government. In addition to

this, all material needs, which facilitate their work, must be guaranteed.

* Approves the establishment of a Council of representatives of the political forces to overseeing the work of the Commissions.

* Asserts the equal rights of all political forces to utilize the available mass media from the beginning of the election process.

* Accepts international observers to attest the credibility of the election processes and procedures.

With regard to the factor as set by EPLF leadership for December 2001, I don’t see any reason why Eritrean political future would be pressed into such time period that the government would claim there is no time to fulfill the above-enumerated prerequisites. What is needed is a healthy and genuine political future and that would require a national planning.

Q27. Will the ELF-RC boycott the elections if the preconditions that you specified earlier are not met?

First of all, I would like to restate that the opinions expressed in this interview are my personal views and do not necessarily reflect the policy of ELF/RC or The Alliance. However, in forwarding these points, it is obvious that my answers cannot be seen in isolation to ELF-RC’s general policy. The ideas I presented in the referred question are my contribution to what I think may constitute a minimum common denominator for all.  Instead of terming them a ”precondition”, I would prefer to term them as a prelude for genuine election and to march on the right road that has as its rendezvous Eritrean reconciliation. Any side who rejects the spirit and letter of this idea will definitely  bear the responsibility of the continuation of the present predicament of our people.

Q28. How large is the membership of ELF-RC?  Membership of the Alliance?

I attach no significance to giving you the statistical data of ELF-RC membership. Instead of answering you with figures, I am inclined to referring you to the following fact: the most reliable figure is the number of votes ELF gets in any free, fair and democratic election. I am quite sure that in such an election,  those who boast of having ’mass support’ could possibly be bested by those who are assumed to be considerably marginal. So, let the ballot-boxes speak in a democratic Eritrea! The same criterion applies to all.

Q29. Do you have a military wing? If not, are you planning on an Armed struggle?

No. Planning for armed struggle is not something one can engineer with sheer personal will. It is ,of course, a last option one resorts to at a time when every possible means to achieve one’s goal ends in failure. It is not a plausible means with which one settles the internal contradictions ;but still, one may be compelled to pursue that direction. Our primary option as ELF was and is to resolve our problems in a democratic manner. When we stressed on the fundamentality of peacefully settling our problems, some Eritreans naively thought that we were begging EPLF. Ten years have elapsed since the liberation of Eritrea but the authoritative regime showed no intention to solve rationally our political contradictions until now. Who is to be blamed for the resumption of internal fighting as the case was during armed struggle? The first one to be blamed is the ruling clique in Eritrea. As regard to us, we are happy that history has exonerated us of any negative development that might follow in the future.

Q30. Why did you fail to win over the sympathy of the regional, Arab and other countries to support you?

Generally all Arab countries shared sympathy with the legitimate struggle of Eritreans for national independence. Some of them practically helped Eritrean organisations without exception– militarily, politically, educationally and financially. Yet the magnitude of the aid differed from one country to another.

Eritrea, to which they extended help, attained its independence in 1991.  No doubt,  the only thing these countries expected from the first government of independent Eritrea  was a good word that esteems the old relationship and solidarity. This reminds me of something that happened in the 1970s.  When there was a crisis in the relationship between Angola and Morocco, the leader of Angola, the late Augustino Nito, did not fail to thank the Morocco for its aid to the independence struggle of his country, despite his personal views of Shaba.

But in our case, contrary to all expectations, the EPLF government denied the Arabs’ role in our armed struggle and began to extend its hands and inaugurated a new relationship with the Arabs sworn enemy, Israel.

Here, it must be clear that Eritrea has full right to establish relationships with any country in the world on the basis of mutual respect and interests. Nonetheless, it is wise and far better for Eritrea to reinforce its past relations before it thinks of cultivating new friendship world-wide.

But to understand the sense of betrayal some Arab nations feel, it is vital to remind your readers of an article that appeared in the Washington Post on October 14, 1992 under the heading of “Emerging Eritrea Finds Friendship– And A Model—In Israel”. The very early signal or rather bullying message that was launched against Arab countries from an independent Eritrea, on the eve of formal independence,  was a shock to most of the Arabs. The bearing of this shock is still present and it still plays a negative role in molding their positions towards anything relevant to Eritrea. One cannot isolate the weak relations of Arab countries with the opposition forces from this fact. But limiting their positions only to the shock is obviously not enough. Surely, there are other regional and international factors that have contributed towards that.

No doubt, Eritrea became a sovereign state after independence. It is now a member of the United Nations and a considerable number of member states have diplomatic relations with it. This status alone compels other states to refrain from meddling in its internal affairs.

In spite of the afore mentioned facts , there is no doubt that some Arab countries, specifically popular Arab organisations, support or are sympathetic to the goals and objectives of the opposition forces. The same can be said about neighbouring countries irrespective of whether they are Arabs or not, albeit, all neighboring countries, without exception, are not in good terms with Eritrea’s ruling regime

Q31. You and the president (Isaias Afwerki) have more or less the same background. What are the obstacles that make reconciliation between you two so difficult?

I do not know whether our background is the same as you put it or not and whether a congruency in that area means a harmony in everything. Whatever the case might be, let me frankly say I have no personal conflict with Isaias Afwerki. The obstacles that make reconciliation between him and me difficult are purely political and nothing else. But one must understand that solving the nature and category of the problems we face on a personal level have no significance in a political realm. Any sort of such thought istantamount to de-railing from the right track of solving our problems to strengthen social coherence in our society, to promote peace and stability in our country.

Q32. Did any country or party ever try to reconcile your organization with the government of Eritrea?

Yes, but not many countries. In this sense there was an informal initiative from the Sudanese President, Omer El-Basheer. Isaias Afwerki´s response was to state absolute negation of the existence of Eritrean opposition forces.  According to him, they are no more than groups of people who are of Eritrean origin but who have become naturalised Sudanese citizens.

Q33. What do you say to people who say Ahmed Nasser has a great reputation and has a great deal to contribute to Eritrea and it is a shame that he has to live in exile when the goal he sought all his life-Eritrean Liberation-is a reality and he could return home and help his country?

I didn’t expect that in independent Eritrea innocent fighters and civil citizens who struggled for their beloved country to be requited with imprisonment without trial for more than eight years or perish in dungeons under an Eritrean national government. The prevalence of this reality induces me to work hand in hand, not only with the ELF, but also with all Eritreans who struggle to promote the ideals to which our people shed their blood. I am playing my part with others, to the capacity my health allows, in an effort to change this deplorable situation in our country.

Sometimes, objective reality dictates the destiny of a person. It was not my personal choice to live in exile but a situation has been imposed upon me to do so. Now I am a member in the revolutionary council and participate in decision-making. Hence, the difference between the present site of my residence and the previous one is geographical rather than political. Despite the objective obstacles I have faced, I was trying, and still try my best, to surmount them and to be at the center of the events. To those people who say “it is a shame for Ahmed Nasser to live in exile when the goal he sought had become a reality”, plainly, I say to them, either they are convinced that I am a supernatural person immunized from facing any natural problem that might face any human being, or I should prefer to concede to the harsh political conditions of the leadership of EPLF and join them as an individual. Let them understand I am neither supernatural nor a person who, being enticed by personal gains, sells his political conviction. It would be a shame to me if I would have accounts in banks at the expense of our people. It would be a shame to me if I had committed crimes against our people and opted to live in exile escaping a trial. I am quite sure I will be in Eritrea sooner or later to live among our people.

Q34. During the Armed Struggle, one of the frequent sayings was that “we will not see a free Eritrea in our life-time. Maybe our children or grandchildren will.” Given that the independence of Eritrea was achieved in our lifetime, do you think many of our leaders (in government and in the opposition) are not psychologically prepared for this and act in ways that are self-destructive and place the hard-won independence of Eritrea at risk?

It is irrelevant to be asked with such sort of a question. Who is to be blamed for the predicament our people are facing today? Does a very small group or rather one-man government running our country constitute an objective base to taking it as a criterion to give your judgment to a whole generation?

Q35. The ELF-RC has, ever since the Second National Congress-declared that it is a nationalist movement that does not welcome sectarianism and regionalism. Why then has it joined an Alliance that includes the Jihad, the [Red Sea] Afar Liberation Front and the Kunama Liberation Front?

Yes, in its Second National Congress, ELF-RC declared that it does not welcome tribalism, sectarianism and regionalism. It still sticks to that political line in principle. Nevertheless, it has no intention to impose that upon our people by force but to convince them only through peaceful democratic means. This is clearly confirmed in our program after liberation of Eritrea. In line with our struggle to establish pluralist political system in Eritrea, there is no reason to make a veto against establishment of parties and flourishing of different ideas. Otherwise, we will contradict ourselves when we call for basic democratic rights while pursuing policy opposing that.

It is a given fact that any evaluation must be analyzed in its historical context. If you look at the Eritrean political map at the present time, you find it very colorful ranging from secular to religious to tribal organizations. This is primarily a result of a wrong handling of political issues by the EPLF before and after independence. If things continue in this manner, Eritrea might be exposed to multi-facial problems in the future. Should we be onlookers and keep our hands off, or take certain policies, which could secure our unity, or confront such development with a gunpoint as EPLF does? In our party, we want to explore ways that respect an independent political program for each organization and keep all these movements under an umbrella on the bases of minimum program. Among other important principles, they [the minimum programs] include two: compliance to the unity of Eritrean people and land and establishing a pluralist political system in Eritrea. In politics, what had been true at one historical stage may not be true at another. By the way, we don’t want to be tenacious to that old Tigrigna proverb that runs ´zeben Wbe zi tzememe Wbe kibil mote´.

Q36. Shortly after the May 2000 war, you gave an interview to the MBC [Middle East Broadcasting Corporation] wherein you suggested that the solution to the post-war challenges of Eritrea is to form a Unity Government made up of the EPLF and the opposition. This invitation was rejected by both the EPLF and the opposition. Now what?

At the outset, I would like to correct you in two points. My suggestion was to form a Unity Government made up of the opposition and the EPLF exclusive from those who were directly responsible for bogging our country in catastrophic and senseless war. The second is that, with the exception of the EPLF government, no one from the opposition had rejected [the proposal]. If this had been accepted, we would not face these humiliating consequences. Primarily, the proposal was a personal initiative and the idea was not necessarily only to the decision-making circles but it was a message to the Eritrean general public opinion.

Now, the radical remedy of our problems, I am sure, is embodied in the points I articulated in my answer dealing with the conditions for the next election. No matter how the parties concerned reacted to my proposal, I believe it is still vital to minimizing the continuing and far-reaching negative consequences on the future of our people and country.

Q37. Let’s say you were the President of Eritrea. What steps would you take to ensure that Eritrea is at peace with itself and its neighbors, is enjoying democracy and making progress towards development and prosperity?

First of all, this question is suppositious. So let me leave it to the Eritrean reader of this interview to discern something from my answers to roughly envisage the steps I would take, if I would be a president, to materialize the goals which I stand for as highlighted in my words at different stances in this occasion. Otherwise, from a suppositious question can only come a suppositious answer, the aggregate of which would be fantasy rather than reality, in the end.


About Awate Team

The Awate Team is a group of individuals who collaborate in preparing editorial contents that mainly appear under the PENCIL signature and other columns that carry the Awate Team signature. It represents the collective team's view.

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  • Michael Solomon

    [Moderator: Michael, you cannot debate serious issues using vulgar street language and insults]

    I think the ELF-RC leader failed to comprehend that TPLF and HEGDEF were/are one and the same!! – He kept repeating the “EPLF” in every sentence!
    Perhaps he has been too far away from Eritrea he did not know the mighty EPLF has been hijacked and neutralized by the monkeys and kishas of abashawl a long time ago. The two TPLFs ( the tigrai based and Eritrea based) governing Ethiopia via tigrai and Eritrea had a long term strategy from their early associations and continues till today.
    The sad thing is that those worthless opposition XXX XXX XXXX That is why real Eritreans do not support them or trust them….

  • addisgeremew

    i was very much distressed by Eritreans that still do not accept the Geo-political facts that made possible the escalation the ethio- Eritrean conflict. a huge exaggeration was made of the internal factors that lead to the conflict and the role of external actors is barely mentioned. without the logistical, political and economic aid of our neighbors the so called Eritrean revolution would have not gone further than some street squabble or a mere shifta type terrorist activity. the supreme driver for the prolonged war was the desire to destroy or weaken ethiopia. therfore, i won’t be surprised if isayas goes to the fold of the likes of Qataries after his affair with isrealies. the arabs will tolerate evryvice of an eritrean as long as he proves his/her hatred to ethiopia by a concrete action. regretabbly this fact should have been clear to a knowlegable person as Mr. Nasser. Every analysis that won’t consider the ego-polotical dynamics of the region is very likely to be a sham. as a result, i won’t be surprised by the choice of Eplf by the regional players and the imperialists. the Eplf happens to be the effective force in back-biting of the target country(ethiopia). As always the eritrean fronts happen to be the mere instruments of strategic enemies of Ethiopia.

  • Hayat Adem

    And why am I expected to believe this news story? If the Eritrean officials have any document of that sort, they should come out and present it. If Lufthansa was pressured then, how is it freed now to reapply to resume service?
    If nothing is being released as evidence to disprove me, then my best educated guess as what it happened now is the Eritrean government has agreed to change the accumulated money in hard currency and asked Lufthansa to resume as per terms and condition the airline might have demanded earlier.

  • Sheba

    Indecent proposals from our elites wannabe. Now they are telling us not to talk about the TPLF past history since the cyber opposition is “TPLF-dependent Eritrean opposition”. They are saying that talking about TPLF mistakes will harm us. But i think we need to analyze TPLF mistakes so that we will not allow them to repeat the same mistakes again.

  • Airman

    Lufthansa admits it was pressure from the United States that made it cancel flights to Asmara.

    It appears the United States Government is doing everything it can to make life difficult for Eritreans. It has pressured the EU to suspend Eritrean Airlines from flying to Europe (it has nothing to do with safety concerns!). It has pressured Boeing and Airbus not to purchase or lease any planes to Eritrea. It has pressured Lufthansa not to carry diplomatic mail of Eritrean politicians. This is beyond obsession.


  • Kokhob Selam

    ………ትርእይዎ ጀብሃነት………….

    በሉ በሉ እንታይ ኣለዎ በሉ:-
    በልበል ምባል ቀሊል እንድኣሉ :-
    ውግእ ዘይውዓለ በሊሕ ቃሉ :-
    ብልዕ ዝኸረመ ድሙቅ ስእሉ ::

    እምበር ‘ቲ ሓቂ ‘ሲ ካልእ እዩ እመኑ :-
    ብተግባር ዝረኣ ሓልዩ ዘመኑ:-
    ሕሉፍ እኳ እዩ ንሎሚ ወሊዱ :-
    ኣሉታ በዚሑ እምብዛ ሰኒዱ ::

    ኣቱም ደቀይ ክነግረኩም ዛንታ :-
    እታ ጀብሃ ነብሳ በሊዓታ :-
    ምስ ወደቀት ግናይ ደፊኣታ :-
    እምበር ብጠጠዋ ምዓስ ክኢላታ ::

    ጀብሃ ዓሽያ “መሰል መስል” ኢላ :-
    ዝንባሌታት ኣብ ሕቆ ሓዚላ :-
    እቲ ንሰን ጥዒምወን ዝላ:-
    ፍልስፍና ከበሳ ምስ ቆላ :-
    ጀብሃ ዓባይ ብውሽጣ ቆሲላ :-
    ነይተሳዕረት ነባሳ እያ ቀቲላ ::

    ኣካል እንተደኺሙ ክንክን ስኢኑ:-
    ባዕዳዊ እዩ ዝኣትዎ ጠኒኑ ::
    ቅላጣፈ ዝህቦ ንኽዓኑ:-
    ህይወቱ ነይቅጽል ይተርፍ በርዒኑ::

    ንኽሉ ክትውክል ኢላ ‘ቲ ምሕሳባ :-
    ግርም ነይሩ ክትጥርንፍ ሰብሲባ :-
    ግዳ ማእከልነት እምብዛ ረጥባ:-
    ተገሪሃ ኣትማን እያ ኣጥዊባ ::

    ማእከልነት ኣልቦ —- ጠርናፊ ብትሪ :-
    ዓቅምኻ ሒዝካ እዩ ናይ ‘ቲ ገምድ ትሪ:-
    ዲምክራሲ ክትብል ኣብዘየሎ ምድሪ :-
    ሸኸም እዩ ኣጉል ሕቆኻ ሰባሪ ::

    ሻቡ :-
    ዘይጠቅሙ ዓዋሉ ዕሱኣባት ናይ ደገ :-
    ሳዕሳዒት ኣርዮማ ትዊስት በዓለገ :-
    ልኡኽ ቃኛው ድማ ደቂ ሰብ ዓደገ :-
    ተጠቂሙ ባሮት ሓረደ ጸረገ ::

    ኣብ ውሽጢ ‘ ዚ ገዛ ዝተጋድለ ኩሉ :-
    ሓያል ነይሩ ጉዕዞ – ብዙሕ እዩ ከፊሉ ::

    ‘ምበር መዓስ ኮይኑ ቀሊል ኩናት ምስ ቆሰልካ:-

    ናይ ደገ ዘይኮነስ ውሽጢ ይገደካ :-
    ጠያይት ክትስእን እንኮሎ ኣብ ውድብካ :-
    ዝብላዕ ክትስእን ስኣን ዘብጽሓልካ :-

    ጽጥታ እንተበልኩም ቁጠባ ምሕደራ :-
    ወተሃደራዊ እንተበልኩም ሕ-ሰብ ስድራ :-
    ኣብ ኩሉ መዳያ ቦኽቢኻ እያ ነይራ :-
    ጀብሃና ዝሞተት እታ ኣደ ሰውራ ::

    ግን፡ መትከል ግዲ ኮይኑ ንሜላ ዝስዕሮ :-
    ዘገም እናበለት ንኹሉ ክትሰግሮ :-
    እነሆ ሕጂ ‘ውን ቅልጽማ ተትርሮ :-
    ሕቆ ‘ቶም በተንቲ ብህድኣት ትሰብሮ ::

    እሞ እንተደሊኹም በሉ በሉ :-
    እንተደሊኹም ኣስተብህሉ :-
    ‘ቲ መድረኽ ነይተርፎ ምብሳሉ :-
    ትርእይዎ ጀብሃነት ዓብሊሉ ::

  • Semere Andom

    Hi Hayat, T.Kifle and Aman

    A note from a borderline contrarian;-)
    First, I know there is a tendency to stay away from the past. Past is history. No need to dwell on it, but I believe history informs our future as it is not just hindsight but foresight as well, and can have positive impact of what we become as people, if we learn it correctly that is. The crimes of EPLF/PFDJ is heinous towards Eritreans and they do that by shunning the study and documentation of history: do not learn history so you can repeat it is their motto.
    First. T.Kifle’s analysis is biased and I do not blame him nor do I blame TPLF because they are doing what best servers their purpose, their people in achieving their goals and if the goals tramp on the goals of the Eritrean people, so be it. I would have preferred a win/win type of situation, but you cannot blame TPLF or T.Kifle for rooting for their goals. – Everything they do is for the benefit of their people as it should be for whom they have waged the struggle in the first place.
    Think about the following about what TPLF did:
    Collaborated with an Eritrean movement to destroy an Eritrean movement
    Severed their ties with their partners in crime and worked both insidiously and openly to undermine the Eritrean movement
    Then when it suited them and they needed the power and ingenuity of Eritreans they reconciled

    Looked the other way when Eritrean Eritrean government hunted down freedom fighters in even business men and assassinate them like dogs in the street of Addis-Ababa

    And when the 1998 war ignited they humiliated the Eritreans by deporting them and cofisticating their properties. After winning the war on their choosing and terms, they opened their borders and hearts to Eritreans, not from the goodness of their hears but for the best interest of their goals.

    Every step bolstered the interest of their own people, goals and country. I commend them for that, I envy them, and I am cognizant that this commendation was gained on expenses of the Eritrean people, but TPLF was not in the business of charity.

    They must be commended on how they treated their dissidents also even during their tenure as rebels as Aman reminded us on Gidey Zeratsion. They have a fledgling democracy and this flies in the face of the Eritrean arrogance of “ tarki kdegmelka warsay temaharo eyom nerom”,

    Look where their G-13 are: freely roaming, writing books and openly critizing the them. Our G-15 are in Era-Ero, most of them dead and no one have seen them in the last 12 years

    So the blame goes to Eritreans, no all Eritreans to be sure, but those Eritreans who are defending and defended our modus-operandi by exonerating the crimes towards Eritreans as not guilty by reason of insanity, the insanity being the militarization and communism. As if militarization and communism has not afflicted TPLF. EPLF was not working in the best interests of Eritreans, they myopically slept with TPLF to endanger the Eritrean cause. How does the Eritrean struggle benefit by eliminating what some people in the know estimate that the ELF commanded about 70,000 fighters?

    The late PM Meles Zenawi piloted his movement to transform a rebel organization to national party to lead a complex country with reasonable stability. He read and learned history and thus avoided the follies of his predecessors, who established a narrow ethnic based governments. The accolades from the likes of Susan Rice on the occasion of his passing is an enduring testament of the respected he garnered internationally for his transformation to a statesman

    Sem Andom

    • Sheba

      Yes we learn from history. I hope more people will write books about the EPLF/ELF/TPLF triangle. The cyber opposition did not learn from history and they are heavily dependent on TPLF/Ethio again.

  • Haile Zeru


    Ones I had a conversation with a TPLF cadre. He was a Tegadalay from the 70’s.
    He repeated exactly what T.Kifle wrote. It seems that TPLF and EPLF have very similar
    political culture. The difference between the two are obvious, they are pointed
    out by many in this forum. No need to go thru it again. Suffice to say EPLF/PFDJ
    has turned into full blown dictatorship. It is also fair to say TPLF has quite
    a strong grip on power in Tigray. The fact that no opposition emerges in 20
    years is an obvious testament. I am not saying that the emerging opposition could
    favour/disfavour Eritrea. It is just the nature of humans societies. There is
    no such thing as single mindedness in societies. Even one person sometimes
    finds himself in dilemma. That there is no legal political opposition to TPLF among 6 to 7
    million people shows that there is something that I cannot see from where I am.

    T. Kifle, you listed all what you think correct actions, and policies that TPLF had taken since it is inception.
    Now, it is normal to hear the policies and actions (practical implementation) on which
    TPLF erred. Is there anything in your mind that TPLF could have done better or differently, or went totally wrong?

    In your summary you never mention the Albanian brand of Communism that was prevalent in
    TPLF leadership. And how easily or smoothly the transition was from that extreme to the later adopted political outlook. I like to hear from you on this one too.

    Last but not least how many TPLF soldiers were in Sahel at the peak, I think the sixth
    Derg Offensive? How many died and how many returned?

  • Hayat Adem

    Dearest T. Kifle,
    Your testimonies are very fair and objective, it sounds so to me. I have no problem believing you on the facts you report and weighing and valuing your opinions with greatest consideration. It is always a pleasure to get a person of such believability and detachment and depth. I would the same about my feelings of Amde except that you sound to be closer to the inner circles of power in Ethiopia. That way, I have so much interest curiosity in the on-going discussion. Now to my specific point below….
    Gergish, Gberebirhan and Zekarias: three other dynamic Eritrean political leaders I knew EPLF is responsible for neutralizing their lives. One of the worst group crime committed by EPLF happens to be not that it doesn’t listen to others Eritreans. It doesn’t want to be listened to by its opponents as its trigger-happy mind-set takes out their lives before giving a chance to any meaningful discussions. It is a criminal mind set, if you ask me in that it seems it harvests some solace in doing that. The three people I mentioned to you were known for owning very dynamic minds. And hizbawi ginbar always goes after the best ones. Probably you know these three people belonged to a low-profile Eritrean organization called Eritrean Democratic Liberation Movement. I only happen to have one letter exchange with Zekarias before he was assassinated by EPLF squads in mid 90s before the eyes of Ethiopian authorities. These three were Eritrean giants all murdered by EPLF one after the other the mafia way.
    EPDM, though a small organization was very enlightened group politically. They were very accurate about their forecasting evaluation of EPLF and Eritrea after independence. EPLf must have sensed to go after them where ever they were hiding and assassinate them. Some of the assassination plot was done inside Ethiopia. Ethiopian security couldn’t shelter these people in its own soil either out of tacit collaboration or negligence. What can you tell us why Ethiopian authorities allow the EPLF destroy EPDM while under Ethiopian custody?

    • T. Kifle

      Dear Hayat,

      Ha! I am not really “closer to the power circles” but I think myself as closer to my TPLF. Now, to the points you raised.

      1. I am aware of the movement, EPDM, which was hoped it would challenge the EPLF in a democratic independent Eritrea.

      2. The liquidation of the high profile members of the EPDM is a kind of unfortunate circumstance that ashamed well-meaning people. I am aware of their misfortune where EPLF had been given a free ride to assassinate opponent figures through its hidden cabals of the time. Can the EPRDF government justify that level of crime committed by EPLF killing squads in the heart land of sovereign Ethiopia? From insiders point of view, I can say nothing because I am nowhere closer to that level of influence.I am not aware if those crimes were effected under the vigilance of the the authorities. But, I can explain why EPRDF allowed EPLF to mess up the whole country, in all aspects of life including the mentioned atrocities, smuggling of goods, illegal trading of hard currencies etc.

      At the time EPRDF faced two equally destructive challenges: a) Ethiopians of all hues were more than eager to stereotype EPRDF as a messenger of evil, division and destruction. At the top of their agenda were the two Eritrean ports and Eritrea proper. Fully cognizant of the scale of the Eritrean problem, EPRDF tried to ensure at least that the ports serve their intended purposes and convince Ethiopians that nothing was lost as a result of Eritrean independence. so for that (b) It had to keep the EPLF happy at any cost. In the process EPRDF succumbed to the incessant demands of the spoiled EPLF. It digressed from the central መትከል of keeping the distance from EPLF that it passionately held for years. EPLF knew this. It’s continuously kept demanding privileges that otherwise wouldn’t have been demanded. EPRDFites abandoned their ambitions of “democratizing” of Eritrea where EPDM was expected to deliver home, and learned their lessons that in politics of state interests, “there are no permanent friends”. As a consequence ዲምሓኤ was neglected and its members and leaders been combed out by the crime-hardened EPLF. That really was a bad omen for the two fronts and countries.

      Whether that particular scenario happened under its knowledge or not, the EPRDF government cannot be exculpated of its responsibilities of ensuring safety to those who put their trust in it.

      • Haile Zeru

        Mr. T.Kifle,

        You said

        “EPRDFites abandoned their ambitions of “democratizing” Eritrea where EPDM was expected to deliver it home, and learned their lessons that in politics of state interests, “there are no permanent friends and/or enemies”. As a consequence ዲምሓኤ was neglected and its members and leaders been combed out by the crime-hardened EPLF. That really was a bad omen for the two fronts and countries.”

        ..and you think TPLF hands are clean washed from the combing out of the opposition leaders?

        It is not that simple you know. People were getting killed in Ethiopia by EPLF and TPLF was just watching because “there are no permanent friends and/or enemies”.

        What do you mean by neglect? The Ethiopian security new what was going on and turned a blind eye?
        I hope that TPLF has a little higher moral standard than this. Even though the reality points exactly to what you are saying.

        • Sheba

          Why should TPLF try to show some moral standards if the cyber opposition is clinging to them at any cost? Now that it is an easy ride to TPLF, they will do what ever is best for them, with out considering what is best for Eritreans and it seems they always did that, based on T.Kifle’s account. Way ane, lewahat (or may be desperate for power) “cyber opposition”.

        • Jo


          Good point!!! if the system aided and abetted the killing of innocent people its hands are as blood soaked as the hands of those who committed that crime. Those who try to justify that action are as guilty as those cold blooded killers as well.

          Moral standard? ouch!!! I don’t know what kind of moral standard could be attributed to a system that mows down university students in broad day light.

          EPRDF “democratizing” Eritrea, hell no!!! thanx! – but no thanx!!!!

          Luwam zelewo meAlti!!!

        • Jo

          Good point!! If the system aided and abetted the assassination of innocent individuals, as you alleged, then its hands are as blood soaked as those who committed the crime. any justification are as guilty as well.

          ERDF ambition to “democratizing” Eritrea, hell no!!! thanx – but no thanx!!!

          I don’t know what kind of moral standard could be attributed to a system that mows down university students in broad day light.

          Luwam zelewo meAlti!!

      • Allende

        Sorry Monsieur Kifle while most of your analysis are somewhat okay (70%) but the idea that EPRDF rejected EPDM is not true. Up untill they expelled them, Eritreans were being recruited by TPLF to join EPDM. How do I know this? My father used to be a consultant for PMMZ up untill 1994 (when I was 3rd year AAU student.) Upon refusing to join such thing he found his staff on the street the following morning. After collecting his staff, he was escorted out of the palace…. That said, those who obyed and joined EPDM were, not only left to continue their jobs, but also left untouched in the 1998-2000 deportation of Ethiopians of Eritrean origin. This is my first and last posting….

  • dawit

    I like to join those who expressed their condolence to the families and friends of our
    hero Tegadalay and leader Ahmed Nasser. I like also to congratulate Awate.com
    for making this informative interview to its readers. I am also disturbed by
    the trashy comment by the TPLFite agent remarks.

    “TPLF never fought unjustifiable wars in its entire history”.

    What an
    amazing fabrication of history. You may sell this fabricated story to Eskimo in the north pole and not to
    Ethiopians and Eritreans, Somalis and Sudanese or Africans. TPLF from its
    inception till today was and is a mercenary organization and its main
    objectives were to grab political power in the region by any means and enrich
    it members. . All the wars that TPLF fought are unjustifiable. The elimination
    of EDU, TLF, ELF, OLF and your genocidal wars in Ogaden, Gambella, Somalia and
    the unnecessary border war with Eritrea and your war in Somalia and you new war
    in South Sudan are all calculated wars that destroy the whole region of the
    Horn of Africa, TPLF had a connection from its inception with foreign forces
    that wanted to dominate the region. TPLF have been selling Ethiopia and Africa right
    and left denying its people their God given land. TPLF have been the cause of
    endless suffering in the region that pushed millions to abandon their homes.
    You have been trying to eliminate EPLF campaigning day and night against
    Eritrea. The time will come soon that your organization will be uprooted from
    the region and peace will prevail in the region. Your provocation to ignite a
    regional war with Egypt and the Arab world ultimately will end your mercenary army at
    last just like you great grandfather Kassa (Yohanis)that betrayed Thewodros 150
    years ago.

    Ahmed Nasser he is a genuine revolutionary leader of our region, unlike the pseudo and
    ignorant ‘hero’ Legese (Melese) Zenawi who died serving for eating crumbs from
    his masters table. ‘Sra le-seriw eshoh le-atariw’. TPLF/EPRDF will be thrown in thrash bin of history.

  • said

    I must say that I am disturbed to come across such unsubstantiated negative information bordering on slander and libel contained in such opinion against a great Eritrean leader Ahmad Nasser who scarified his
    entire for Eritrean cause. Admittedly,Ahmad might have, as we all do, erred in judgement; yet, Ahmad Nasser was
    courageous and forthright enough to express himself openly on the issues and spell out openly what he thinks and what he staunchly believes in and including his strength and short coming as is clearly stated in the above interview. I personally consider Ahmad Nasser as one of the great luminous of Eritrean political thinker of our time. He is of no less quality; in this regard he is as an asset and symbol to the Eritrea’s, May God bless his soul.

    One would listen to Ahmad Nasser speak on several occasions on matters related to both Eritrea and
    PFDJ , as someone who is independent myself, listening to Ahmad Nasser analysis, I found him to be logical , correct and forthcoming in his thinking.
    One can love DIA and the Regime in Eritrea, that brought hell on earth, yet one could never deny the indelible fact that the DIA regime was a ruthless dictatorship, corrupt and repressive with leaders of PFDJ and political opposition thrown in jail without trial and true free elections would never exist. Many be one day DIA could wake up and admit all his wrongs ,what an admission could be from DIA ,himself belatedly that he seriously erred and done irreparable damage to the nation and he had to institute some of the long needed reforms and that all Eritrean are expecting and ask the nation and all opposition that was ruthlessly put down asking for their forgiveness .At least for sake of his supporters, but is that far-fetched from reality and false hope.

    Ahmad Nasser as nationalist and same what liberal thinker,his Nationalist took a stand that’s no different from the stand taken by any other nationalist, independent liberal Eritrean thinker.

    One can Ahmad Nasser read and listen to his deep analysis and arguments in regard DIA regime question that one can find most impressive, most relevant and deeply insightful that I fully ascribe , to this very day and is proven true by the unfolding events, and I fully agree and subscribe to.Nobody for sure knows about everything in life, yet, to
    throw very serious unsubstantiated accusations against a luminous Eritrea patriot person is an offence that touches every free ordinary, liberal and independent Eritrean people’s dignity.

  • SM

    SM is back–after a week of —punishiment.
    I will clarify later on as to why I was banned.
    But what is the point here–debating on dead history?
    Past is past and we have to debate on as to who to reconcile and live peacefully–for the BEST interest of both people.I think you guys are just hurting wounds besides exposing yourselves as to who is who rather than trying to help in healing the wounds.
    -RIP one of our ICONS—Good to respect him and to give him the credit he deserves.
    but are we discriminating our Martyrs here though,as I feel enough –respect and credit have not being given to the other Icons as well.here.
    Just my opinion.

  • T. Kifle

    Part II

    The cunning “alliance of EDU and ELF”

    EDU, though a bunch of remnant feudalists and their minions, was armed to the teeth, had superb fighting capability and was a menace to the amateur TPLFites of the time. It launched unremitting attacks on TPLF. ELF, thinking that TPLF had been weakened due to the EDU effect, continued provoking it by restricting its movement in the border areas. It is an irony that a responsible liberation movement would succumb to secondary issues like claiming few kebeles as no value would be added to the vigour of the armed struggle. As per TPLF’s political analysis, ELF’s claim of territories was a ploy intended to trigger a conflict and carefully modulated with the attacks of EDU. That indeed was an existential challenge that tested the grit of early TPLFites when they single handedly repulsed all assaults from all sides with extra-ordinary human resolve and valour.

    Why Did ELF okyed EDU and EPRP to avail its safe-havens while unnecessarily restricting TPLF’s movement? The answer lies in that it wanted to undone TPLF at the earliest possible in a fit of grave miscalculations. See the paradox. TPLF accepted Eritrean self-determination out of the Ethiopian context. What else could ELF possibly wanted to prove by antagonizing TPLF?. Nothing except that TPLF in their eyes was inconsequential whether it supported or opposed the Eritrean quest for independence. They were looking for more formidable alliance that, they thought, had had broad mass base and legitimacy on the other side of the divide. They keep provoking it so that they could shove sandwiching it from three fronts (EDU, EPRP, and ELF). The whole endeavour of playing the “innocent card” makes little sense. ELF’s predicament was well earned. To the best of my knowledge TPLF had expressed no regrets in ousting ELF allied with EPLF. The only regret that the political history of TPLF recorded(to the best of my knowledge) is the the way it handled the then leaders of TLF.

    the allied battle that ousted ELF from the Eritrean fields was a survival expediency for TPLF and a quest of hegemony for EPLF. So this interview though comprehensive and sheds light to many issues pertaining to Eritrea falls to the common trap of Eritrean politicians easily bogged in as far as Ethiopia and TPLF is concerned. But I am not surprised at all since ELF has to find way of explaining its misfortunes somewhere outside of itself which looks a farce to TPLF which obsessively believed in that no magnitude of challenges would cripple a political entity worst than its own weight.

    • Hayat Adem

      Great perspective and thanks. Since it seems very appropriate to discuss this fronts and their dealings on one another in the 80s, why do you think TPLF was very thick-skinned with provocations of the EPLF such as the blockade incidence, but sort of trigger happy to minor provocations of the ELF? Its actions against ELF were very merciless as far as climbing to embai sora, pushing it down to the lowlands and wiping it with every assurance of non-revival…it would be great to read your comments.

      • T. Kifle

        Dear Hayat,

        1. Time was the essence. During ELF’s provocation, TPLF was small, expectedly wary of its survival and even eager to pass lessons to those who would care to listen, that it could fight and win. ELF had a condescending view on TPLF and even on EPLF. At that point in time EPLF was either neutral or cooperative in some areas like offering military trainings for conscripts.

        2. the blockade saga happened to be in the height of colossal famine where fighting would mean adding fuel to the fire. Some sort of psychological and tacit agreement seemed at play too which goes like the corridor belonged to Eritrea. So it chosen to clear roads from western Tigray all the way to Sudan instead of fighting an internecine war at that dire hour of need. It was also a time when Dergue launched successive offensives so need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of creating a new war front which would be a blessing to the fascist regime.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Mr. Kifle,

          I thought you are reasonable person. But I am reading in your comment something untrue. When did ELF provoked TPLF? If supporting EPRP and others does mean to you provocation, then it is not worth debating here, for there is nothing we can settle our differences in this forum. In fact bringing our perspectives about your interference in to our civil war will not be helpful for our future relationship.

          • Hayat Adem

            Who is better to put a balancing perspective on this issue! Please tell us what you know on this.
            1) If EPRP was in a bloody fighting with TPLF, why would you think supporting armed and fighting enemy (EPRP) should not be perceived as a provocation by the other conflicting party (TPLF)?
            2) You sound still bitter of the TPLF’s decision and action then, in your undercurrent tone, you seem not to have forgiven them at all. What is your testimony on the issue under discussion?

          • T. Kifle

            Mr. Amanuel

            I have already explained when ELF did provoke TPLF in my previous comments. I am not here to twist history as there is no necessity that warrants doing so. Did I touched your holy grail? I am sorry if hurting your feelings but that’s the explanation we TPLFite had for our decisions and actions of the time. ELF sided with EDU when it matters most. ELF sided with EPRP when it matters most. ELF sided with TLF when it matters most. ELF armed EPRP and TLF knowing fully that measure would create military asymmetry. And finally decided to guard EPRP that had been in a bloody conflict with TPLF. ELF claimed territories and created troubles upon the people lived in those territories. etc etec etc.

            That’s understandable but you have no explanation why ELF dissolved the way it did. And it doesn’t mean that ELF didn’t have good men. There is no guarantee that good men would produce good political entity.

            Emma, please understand that ELF’s behaviour in no way diminishes the Eritrean cause. That’s why TPLF always sided with the collective aspirations of the Eritrean people irrespective of the behaviours of the liberation fronts.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Mr. Kifle,
            Just one thing you should keep in mind : that because I didn’t respond to your argument or didn’t share my perspectives about the topic your are talking, doesn’t mean by all account everything you are saying is true. I am just leaving it aside for now, as it isn’t time insensitive issue. Just hold your breath for now and I will come with my own response when time permits to do that ( time is a commodity/necessity and we must utilize it appropriately to give the needed outcome on what should be done). In short I don’t want to be drifted into the old boys club handbook.

            Now You know and I know such topics will not help us to go forward on building bridges that bring both peoples closer to reconciliation and cooperate in economic development.. Mr. Kifle even in a peaceful time, when historians start to talk about the issue you now have the leisure to talk about out ( at least as I see you) will never settled it as they will have different accounts and perspectives on this issue. Count my words. Debating it now is just “halki” as we call it tigrigna. We can’t milk out of it or extract “any good” that will help to both brotherly people. So with due respect, do not try to pontificate as we were also part of that history (conflicting history) with different perspectives.


            Amanuel Hidrat

          • T. Kifle

            Mr. Amanuel,

            why don’t you tell the AT to stop posting anything that has to do with TPLF and/or Ethiopia if you want us keep quiet? I am responding to the allegations expounded in the interview. You are barking at the wrong tree dear.

            you need to know that “ግመልን ሰርቆ አጎንብሶ” now is outdated and doesn’t work at all. Do you think that I would be intimidated by your argument on here? Come with any justification you would think would be able to muster. So what?

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Mr. Kifle,

            For now I couldn’t read the words in the quotation, probably it is in tigrina or Amharic. But.. But Mr. Kifle, did in any ways my comment insinuate an intimidation or of that nature? In fact what I am saying is why do we argue for something, let alone we ” boys of the old club” (me and you included for that matter), historian will never come in to the “same conclusion” as there will be historians from both side of the argument. If this simple statement touches your nerve, I think when Historians of opposite argument comes, will definetly take its toll on you. You know there is always history’s variability and as such it always comes with new ounces of truth that change its narration (by the way in any historical accounts)…..so the topic you are talking is subjective to changes with new ounces of truth that comes from continuous digging. If you believe on that, and you also that even historians are not in the position to make researches on it, why are you indulging yourself in to such unproductive argumentative positions. In any case I believe things changes with new reveals and history also takes this path of rational logic. With that I close my case.

          • tes

            T.Kifle read the title and its date of publication, they posted here in memory of late Ahmed Mohammed Nasir. You wake-up and come out of the old boys tactics.

            I am very junior to politics hence you may play with me (yamral) such because I may get some provoking ideas that can help to search for further. Else, just time is commodity and remember you are posting in an interview done in Janaury 2001. Now for you, it is not time to debate, but time to write what you know and leave for us to shape for our future (us = young generation). But, remember, we have enough resources to explain what ELF was (All WH questions). Do not try to sharpen your bold history of the late 1970’s. TPLF was in fact too junior and amateur of politics to deal with ELF had it not being exploited by EPLF for good, you better know that how the great minded late Melles used his mind power in staying in power after the fall of the derg regime.

          • dine

            tigrains have a problem with history. they like to glorified anything tigrai, i think it comes with inferiority complex.

          • Sheba

            Your memory of TPLF sounds very painful to the point of avoiding to remember it. So how do you reconcile it with this one of your articles: “The Son of Africa And His Humble Moral Choices”. I hope it is not a classic case of selective amnesia.

        • Hayat Adem

          Okay, if fighting or escalating was unwise or bigger than what TPLF could chew then, how did it fall for a marriage with EPLF at later time? I don’t think TPLF is ever known for its short-memory. I am sure you can say something about this too.

          • T. Kifle

            That’s a misconstrued meaning Hayat. There was no marriage to speak of between the two but tactical cooperation that had been instrumental in puling down the legs of the fascist regime. After independence the co-operation grown to a higher level and EPRDF did its best to create an enabling environment based on win-win. EPLF gone the other way: ventured to a planned adventure of hooliganism and regional bully.

            Meles, when warned by his comrades that EPLF is preparing for war, as an ideologue as he was, reasoned that EPLF is not fool to commit suicide by invading Ethiopia. So the idea is that there was much hope that EPLF could evolve over the years in doing so know its limits and behave accordingly. That it didn’t and it will go to the dust been of history as did the adamant ELF.

    • Sheba

      Finally a reasonable guy. Thank you for your objective analysis. This website and Eritrean politics in general is suffering from people who can make an objective analysis.

      • Ermias

        Sheba, how do you know who to believe Ahmed Nasser vs T. Kifle? You weren’t there as far as my understanding goes. You just like to come here and provoke and get a kick out of it. You seem like an embittered person by Eritreans.

        T. Kifle makes very strong and logical arguments and I admire him but in this case we are presented with two opposite testimonies and how do we pick one over the other?

        The story told by Ahmed is congruous with what my uncles tell me, who were ELF cadres and fighters, many of them by the way. So I am biased towards that for now.

        • SA

          One wonders who is going to sort out all these testimonies from different sources and write an objective book about our armed struggle. I am waiting for such a book. I read that Andebrhan is out with a book (or will be soon), but I am not sure if his book will devote enough space to the civil war and more importantly be fair to the ELF. As you can imagine, as someone who has almost exhausted the good will I had for EPLF/PFDJ, I am going to be skeptical in reading his book.

          • Ermias

            Selam SA, I agree with you, however, I would say that there should be many books classified by specific time periods. For example, Ahmed Nasser would have been the best equipped to write a book covering the period 1975-1981 in collaboration with someone else. Hirui could outline his grievance in that time era and how he was partly responsible for the eventual dismantlement of the ELF. IA and his close allies could write a book about how and why they formed the EPLF, 1966-1970, etc. That way, we get a zoom in of every major time period during that 30 year. All of them would say ‘we were not guilty of this and that’ but at least when you read the book and its critics, then one can make an objective analysis and decide what makes more sense and which is more logical. For example, from this interview, I can conclude that ELF was dealt a big blow by the internal strife, particularly Hirui’s fall, and the alliance of EPLF-TPLF. There are two major components. I will not read a book by Andeberhan quite frankly.

          • haile

            Dear Ermias, Rodab and SA

            Let’s be frank here: we, as Eritreans, have long abandoned working together in a meaningful way. You can understand the prevailing situation and other economic (as well as infrastructural) limitations to do this job in Eritrea. But what about here in the west? We tend to take the easiest and cheapest way to do something, i.e instead of writing books, we spend hours talking over an interview, or writing piecemeal articles in various forums. This tells you that we work individually and not collaboratively. sources, writers, editors, publishers and printers don’t come together to produce a collaborative work. If you think of awate.com for example, you can exhaustively research it for a specific topic and you would be surprised how much is stored here covering that topic. There are countless paltalk interviews, radio presentations, web forums… burying all the information we seek. We lack any collaborative tendency and recording and presenting history is definitely not the work of a “man with a van” type undertaking. The regime is irresponsible, so don’t expect it to do anything (as per the recent VOA interview with an officer from EDF) and the diaspora….hmmm what can we say about us..hmmm

          • SA

            Dear Haile,
            I agree with your comments, and I admit that I am one of those persons who “tend to take the easiest and cheapest way to do something” when it comes to studying our history. I have read many of your comments and I appreciate that you grasp that the dysfunction that is called Eritrea goes much deeper than the failure of PFDJ. I can not tell you how sad I have been for the last few days in ruminating about the tragic nature of Ahmed Nasser’s passing away….With so much pain associated with the dysfunction called Eritrea, one has to ask what the relationship is between our pain and our dysfunctional relationships.

            Dear Ermi,
            Your suggestion is definitely the best way to get an objective assessment of the different actors in our struggle. I was hoping for the easiest way, which is to read a book which analyzes and pieces together the different accounts in an objective manner.

        • Rodab

          It is prudent to take comments on public forums as perspectives rather than hard facts, unless: a) one is naratting based on personal experience (I was there and this is what we did), or b) sufficient research/book citations are provided. Some comments APPEAR to be generally accepted facts. It won’t kill you to have a ‘doubting’ approach till you feel you have touched the ceiling.

          • Ermias

            Rodab, excuse me sir. But “This website and Eritrean politics in general is suffering from people who can make an objective analysis.” Do you agree with this? What is SAAY (just one example) doing here day and night? And yourself? This interview (a rare treasure for us) is courtesy of this website and SAAY. I am surprised that you were not offended by that blanket derogatory statement.

          • Rodab

            No, I do not agree and I did not have Sheba’s comment in mind. I was making a general observation on comments written specially by folks with pen names. This is not to say there aren’t valid and educational views.

        • Sheba

          Hi Ermias, i hope you will be winning again with your arsenal:)
          Let’s dissect your reply:
          1. You are asking me how do i know and then later you say you are
          biased even though you weren’t there, couldn’t the same criteria apply to me? First off all i am not
          believing him, but i see he is lying out the answer clearly with out
          “kolel”. If i ask you what did you eat for lunch and if your reply is
          “my lunch was not great, i will prepare a delicious dinner”, you are not
          answering my question(as most part of the interview in the above). But if you say i
          ate tibsi then you are answering the question but your answer can be
          true or false(may be you ate shiroo:)). This guy is answering the
          questions, may be true or may be false but i will consider them, at
          least he is giving a perspective that can be a fact or not with further
          study. I like his explanation not because i have proved them to be true, but you can follow the logic and connect the dots and then verify if it is true or not.
          2. I do know why you say i am embittered by Eritrean people. I love my people and I can tell you that they are way ahead than their supposed to be politicians or elites.

          3. I am not provoking anybody. You see you are smart, may be
          smarter than me but the difference between me and you is that may be you
          accept things easily with out further questioning. But i might be wrong.
          4. Me too I heard stories about the ELF from my family, friends and villagers. And also I met people from some of the ELF liberated places like Maymine, mentioned in this interview, and from their account of ELF, you can make judgement about ELF leadership (They hated ELF, their liberators to be).

          5. As an objective and responsible Eritrean citizen, i would like to know the history from both sides, ELF and EPLF. I have a good understanding of the history from EPLF’s point of view but not from ELF side. I had discussions with people from ELF. In most cases, they do not answer questions related to a) leadership skills in ELF, b) their relationship with EPLF(including about smur ginbar and civil war) and c) their relationship with TPLF. What i understand is that they have grievances. It would be great if they write a book from ELF’s point of view (obviously objective, not political).
          6. Nowadays, the remnants of ELF have hard time to articulate their politics. An the ethio factor makes it worse.
          7. The ELF/EPLF stuff should be for history, not really for day to day politics, if not we will be stuck in the 60’s and 70’s.

          8. If a look back, i think ELF leadership was necessary to initiate ghedli, EPLF leadership was necessary to complete ghedli up to independence. In all this process the missing part is the transition from EPLF to a civilian, democratic system. It is taking long time but hopefully we will make it.

    • Sheba

      Finally a reasonable guy! Thank you for your objective analysis. This
      website, and Eritrean politics in general, is suffering from lack of people who
      can make an objective analysis.

    • allelah

      “ELF was eradicated because it allowed sidi democracy to reign….blah blah”. tell this joke to those jokers. The main reason for the eradication of ELF was its core beliefs in regionalism, religion and corrupt leadership. The follow ups that came later are the just the off shots.

    • Habtegiorgis ABRAHA

      ብጣEሚ ዝምስገን ስራሕ ሳልሕ ዮኑስ! ዓዋተ ቲም!!!
      ዓዋተ ቲም፡ ምስ ኣቦ መንበር ተሓኤ ነበር፡ ሃገራዊ ጅግና ስዉE ኣሕመድ ናስር፡ ን2ይ/ 3ይ ጊዜ ናይ ቃለ መሕትት Eድል
      ረኺብኩም ኔርኩም Eንተትኰኑ፡ ብዙሕ ሰብ ኪብህግ ከምዝኽEል Eኣምን’የ። መንግስተ ሰማያት ንሓው ኣሕመድ ናስር!
      ጽንዓት ንባዓልቲ ቤቱን ጓሎምን ምሉE ስድራ በቱን ብጾቱን!

      ኣብ ቃልሲ ቀዳምነታትካ ምስራE ሓደ ካብቲ መAቀኒ ናይ ብቕዓታትን ቅሩብነትን መግለጺ ምኳኑ Eኣምን’የ። Eሞ
      Eቲ ካብ ብዙሓት ኣሕዋት/ ኣሓት፡ (ንሎሚ መልEኽቲ ናይ ሓውና ኣማኑኤል ሕድራት ክጠቅስ) ዝቐርብ ናይ ‘Eዋን’
      ሕቶ ይርዳኣኒ Iዩ። ኣብ Iድካ ዘሎን ዘየሎን ምድህሳስ ግን ወርትግ ካብ ዓቕሊ ጽበታዊ ስጉምትታት ምውሳድ
      (ስርሒት ፎርቶ 2013) ዘድሕነካን ምቹE ጊዜን ባይታን ዝፈጥረልካን ካኣ Iዩ። ቈልዓ ኰይነ፡ መግለጺ ናይ ትካዘ
      ዝድረፍ ዝነበረ ደርፊ (Eምኒ’ያ Eንተዝኸውን ሓውካ፡ ኣይሞት ኣይሓመካ . . .) ትዝ Iሉኒ። Eቲ ኪውንዘፍ
      ዝምረጽ ዘሎ ዋኒን ጽባሕ ካብ መን ብመን ይምላE ንብዙሕ ሰብ ዘተሓሳስብ ሕቶ Iዩ።

      ‘ጽብቕቲ ተኽሊ ንምEባይ ዝበለጸ ጊዜ፡ ቅድሚ 20 ዓመት ነይሩ፤ ቅድሚ 20 ዓመት ከይተኸልካ Eንተጸኒሕካ ግን፡ Eቲ
      ዝቕጽል ኣዝዩ ዝበለጸ ጊዜ፡ ሎሚ Iዩ።’ ዝብል ምስላ ብቻይናዊያን ዝዝረብ ይመስለኒ፤ ብዘየገድስ ግን መልEኽቱ ሎሚ
      ንዓና ንኤርትራዊያንን ንዞናናን ብፍላይ ምስናድ ብዝምልከት ኣዝዩ ጠቓሚ ኰይኑ ስለዝረኸብኩዎ Iዩ። ሽግር ናይ ጊዜ
      ምሕጻር ካብታ ምስላ Eትሕብሮ ንላEሊ ኣዝዩ ከቢድ Iዩ ዘሎ። Eቶም ኪነግሩ ዝኽEሉ ድሕሪ ገለ ዓመታት
      ኣይክህልውን Iዮም። Eቲ Eማም፡ ከምታ ተኽሊ፡ ዋላ’ውን ደንጒኻ ኪምላE ዝኽኣል ኣይኰነን።

      ከም ኣነ፡ ጊዜ ካብ ዝሓጽረና ነዊሕ ኰይኑ Iዩ፤ ብውሽቲ ይኹን ብግዳም ወተሃደራዊ ሓይሊ ስለ ዝምልስ ዘሎ ግን፡
      ዋላ ድሕሪ ኣህጉራዊ ሕጊ ብይን ሄግ’ውን Eንተኰነ ናይ ዶብ ጐንጺ ምስ Iትዮጵያ ኣብ ቅድሜና Eናተገተረ፡ ህዝብና
      ሓቢሩ ውሽጣዊ ዋኒኑ ከይገብር፤ ምስ Iትዮጵያን ዝተረፋ ካልOት ጐረባብቲ ሃገራትን ኣዝዩ ዝብህጎ ናይ ሰላሙን
      ማሕበራዊን ምጣነ-ሃብታዊን ጉEዞታቱን ከይገባር ቀይዱ ሒዝዎ ካብ ዘሎ ጉዳያት Iዩ። ሓውና ክፍለ፡ ካብዚ ወጻI
      ካልE ቋንቋ ዝዛረቡ ዘሎዉ ኣይመስለንን። ብዝተረፈ ብኣንጻር’ቲ ጊዜ ክርከበሉ ዚብሃግ ጦብላሕታታት ብዘይተኣደነ
      ናይ ሓይሊ ቁንጅና Iዩ “ያበጠው ይፈንዳ” ዝብሃል ዘሎ።

      Eቲ ኩሕሊ Eምብዛ ተደፍዲፉ ጽባቐ ህወሓትን ህዝቢ ትግራይን ኣህዛብ Iጵያጵን ዘበላሹ Iዩ፤ ከምU’ውን Eቲ
      ዝብሃግ ናይ ሰላምን ማሕበራዊን ምጣነ፥ሃብታዊን ጉEዞታትን ዓቢ ሕልምትሞ ክዘሎ፡ ሕልናታት ፈተውትንውን
      ዘቚስል Iዩ። ኣነ፡ ዋላኳ ብጊዜ Eናሃሰሰ ኪኸይድ ዝገብር ንሕልናታተይ ዘየቕስን ኤድያ ኣይቦትUን ዝብሎ ገለ
      ኣሉታዊ ስምIታት ካብ ኣመራርሓ ህወሓት ዝግንዘቦ Eንተሃሰየኒ፡ ሓደ ካብ ኣድነቕቲ ኣሰራርሓ ህወሓት (ሓልዮት
      ንህዝባን፣ ምስ መድረኻት ምትEጽጻፍን – ኣብ ወሳኒ ጊዜ ካብ ትግራይ ናብ ደብረታቦር ክትሰግር ምብቅዓን) Eየ።
      ኣሕዋት/ ኣሓት ንዓና ጊዜ ኣዝዩ ይሓጽረንና Iዩ ዘሎ። ብምምዝዛን፡ Eቲ ሃገራዊ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ቃልሲ ዘለኣለም
      ህያው Iዩ፤ ዘዝተፈጥረ ወለዶ ዝሓሸ ነገር ክሓስብን ክብህግን፡ Eቲ ኣረጊት ካኣ ብጊዜ ዝነደቆ ሓይሊ Eናተጠቕመ
      ብዋጋ ህይወት መንEሰያታን ናይ ቀጻሊ ጽቡቅ Eድላት ህዝብን’ውን ከይተረፈ፡ ጉጅላዊ ውልቃዊን ጥቕምታቱ
      ኪከላኸልን ዘይዓርፍ መስርሕ Iዩ፤ ብውሕዱ ድሮ ኣብዚ ደረጃዚ ክንበጽሕ ዝነበረና ህዝቢ ምኳንና ኣስተንቲንካን
      ዝርካቡ ኩሉ ትሕዝቶኻ ናብ ሓደ ኩርናE ኣቕኒEካን ዝዝለቕ ኣይኰነን።

      ናብቲ ጽቡቕ መልክE ዘበላሹ ዝብሎ ትሕዝቶ ናይ ሓው ክፍለ ክምለስ። መጀመሪያ፡ ኤድያ ዝዓበየ ነገርዶ ኣሎና
      ዝብል ናይ መድረኽን ምEብልናን ሕልና ዝጐደሎ፤ Eሞ ካኣ ካብ ከምዚ ዝኣመሰለ ናይ ምሁር ጽሑፍ፣ ካብ ሕግን
      ፍትሕን ወጻI ብድሑር ናይ ዱላ ሓይሊ – ኣካኪ ገዳይ – ዝብዳE ብዙሕ የሕፊሩኒ። ሎሚስ ሓይሊ ሰላም፣ ሓይሊ
      ሕግን ፍትሕን ብልጽግናን ኪዝመር ነይርዎ ስለ ዝብል! ዓለም ብቋንቋኣ ስለ ዝጽሓፍ ዘሎ ካኣ ናይ በዓል ኣቶ Iሳያስ
      ሕቱር ልሃጭ ውሒዱስ፡ ጥራይ ዝባንና ዘሳጣሓና ዘሐዝን መርኣያ ኰይኑ Eየ ረኺበዮ።
      ትሕዝቶU/ ታሪኽነቱ፡ ተደፍዲፉ! ተደፍዲፉ! Eምብዛ ተደፍዲፉ! ኣነ ላEለዋይ ካድር ናይ ሳግም ከሎኹ፡ ካብ
      መሪሕነት ህወሓት ናይቲ ጣልቃ ምEታው ‘ይቕሬታ’ ዝተባህለና ይመስለኒ። ስለዚ ናይ መሪሕነት ህወሓት ዘይኰነስ ናይ
      ሓደ ‘ግዱስ Iትዮጵያዊ (ትግራዋይ)’ ርEይቶ ጌረ Iየ ክርድO።

      ሓው ክፍለ Eቲ ኣብ ርEሲ ጅብሃ ዝተወስደ ናይ ውዲት ኲናት ኣልIሎም፡ ድሌታት መሪሕነት ህግ ጽቡቕ ጌሮም
      ኣቕሪቦም – ጅብሃ ኣጥፊEካ ኣብ ኤርትራ ስልጣን ንምብሓት – ማEሪU ድሌታት ህወ EPRP ኣጥፊEካ ኣብ
      Iትዮጵያ ስልጣን ንምብሓት ምንባሩ ከመይ Iዩ ማህደር ታሪኾም ተሰሪዙ፤ በይዛ! Eሞ ናብ ጓል ምኽኒት ናብ ዶብ
      ጥሒሳ፣ ዘርያትና፣ ፊውዳል’ያ ዘውደቖም!!

      ከምዝፈልጦ 2ቲU ምኽንያታት ካብ ታሪኽ፣ ካብ ፖሊትካ፣ ካብ ሓላፍነትን ካብ ውልቃዊ ሞራላዊ ክብርታትን
      Eውን ኰነ Iሉ ብምርጫ ዝርሓቐ ሕቱር መደረ Iዩ።

      ኣነ ካብቶም ናይ መወዳEታን 2ይትን ናይ ጅብሃ ሽምግለ መሪሖም ምስ መሪሕነት ህወሓት ዝሰርሑ ተጋደልቲ (ነበር)
      Eየ – ምስታ ብወገን ህወሓት ብነፍሰሄር ፕረዚደንት መለስ ዜናዊ (ነብሶም ይምሓር) ዝመርሕዋ ዝነበረት ሽማግለ።
      ከምዚ ምስ ኣቦመንበር ውድበይ ዝነበረ ነፍስሄር ኣሕመድ ናስር ጊዜ ኪህልወኒ ብዙሕ፡ ኣዝዩ ብዙሕ ሃንቀውታ
      ዝነበረኒ፡ ምስ ፕረዚደንት መለስ ዜናዊ Eውን ኣብ ጽቡቕ ጊዜ ምስOም ጉዳይ ኣህዛብ ከEልል Eናተመነኹ፡ ካብቶም
      ጊዜ ዝሓጸሮም ሰባት Eየ።

      Eዚ ማዓስ ነይሩ?

      ካብ ድሕሪ 1ይ ውድባዊ ጉባA ህወሓት ክሳብ መወዳEታ ኣዋርሕ ናይ 1979 ዓ.ም ነበረ። ንስሙ ናይ ሓባር ሽማግለ
      Iያ ነይራ።

      ሀ) ካብ Eለታት ሓደ ማዓልቲ፡ ኣብ ሰላሞ (ደቅ ዘርU) ዝብሃል ዓዲ፡ ኣብ ሞንጎ ኣኼባና ፥ “ባድመ ትግራይ ምዃና
      Eንተዘይ ኣረጋገጽካልና Eዚ ኣኼባ ኣይንቕጽሎን Iና” ዝብል መኸተ ቐረቡ። ብወገን ሽማግሌና፡ “ነዚ ሓላፍነት’ዚ
      ኣይተመዘዝናን፤ ንስኻትኩም’ውን ትፈልጥዎ Iዩ፤ ኣነ ከም ውልቀ ተጋዳላይ’ውን ናይ ዶብ ኣፍልጦ የብለይን፤ ናብ
      2ቲU መሪሕነታት ኣብ Eነቕርቦ ጸብጻብና ካኣ ከነስፍሮ ንኽEል Iና” ክብል መለስኩ። መልሲ Eንተዘይ ሃብካና
      ንመሪሕነትና ክንሕብር Iና፣ ክሳብ መልሲ ዝመጸና ግን ኣኼባ ከነቋርጽ Iና በሉ’ሞ፡ ዝቕርበሎም ዝደልይዎ መልሲ
      ስለ ዘይነበረንን ይትረፍ ኣብ ሞንጎ ኣኼባ ሽማግለ፡ ስራሕና ወዲEና ጸብጻብና ክሳብ Eነረክብን Eውን 2ቲAን
      መሪሕነታት ኣብ ውሽጢ ስራሕና ጣልቃ ኪኣትዋ ከምዘይብለን ኣመልከትኩ፤ ይኹንምበር ከምቲ ዝበልዎ ኣኼባ

      ካብ መሪሕነቶም መምርሒ ድሕሪ ምውሳድ፡ ኣኼባ ክንቅጽል ንኽEል Iና፤ መልሲ ግን ብጽሑፍ ኣቕርበልና በሉ።
      Eቲ ጣልቃ ግጉይ ምንባሩ Eንደገና ኣመልኪተ፡ Eቲ መልሲ ክፋል ናይቲ Eንዘራረበሉ ዘሎና ነጥብታት Iዩ፤ ብፍላይ
      ናይ ዶብ ሕቶ/ ባድሜ መልሲ ካብ ጠለብኩም ግን፡ ሕቶኹም ብጽሑፍ ሰሪEኹም ቀርቡለይ በልኩ። Eቲ መልሲውን
      ከምቲ ኣብ ላEልሊ ኣስፊረዮ ዘሎኹ መሰረት ቀረብኩሎም።

      ስለምንታ’የ ነዚ ብጭልፋ ዘልEል ዘሎኩ? ብሓደ ቓል ክሳብ’ቲ ጊዜ’ቲ – ድሮ’ቲ ብምስጢር ምስ መሪሕነት ህግ
      ንጀብሃ ኪወግU ዝኣተውዎ ውዲት – ጀብሃ ሕቶ ዶብ ኣልIላ ኣይትፈልጥን ነይራ። ካልE ይትረፍ ንካድራት ዝኸውን
      ውሽጣዊ መምርሒ’ውን ስለ ዘይነበረ፡ ዶብ ብዝምልከት ምንም መምርሒ ኣይነበረንን። መሪሕነት ህወ ካብ ነዊሕ ጊዜ
      ብጉዳይ ዶብን ምምሕዳርን ነቲ ኩነታት ኣቋሲላቶ ስለ ዝነበረት ግን፡ መሪሕነት ጀብሃ Eላዊ ብዘይኰነ መምርሒ፡
      ብጉዳይ ዶብ፡ ዓድታትን Eቲ ሕንጻጽ ዶብን ብዝምልከት፡ ብወገና ነቲ 2ይ ደረጃ ናይቲ ስምምE ዝምልከት ጥUይ
      ምቅርራባት ንምግባር ኪሕግዝ መታን ሓፈሻዊ መጽናEቲ ከካይድ ተወሳኺ Eማም ሂባትኒ ነይራ። ንመሪሕነት ህወ ግን
      ካርታኣ ዳርጋ መሰታኣ Iዩ ነይሩ። ክንደይኳ ጽቡቕ፤ ግን ኣብ ጊዜ ቃልሲ ሽፋን መጋራጨዊ ምኽንያትን ውዲት
      መስርIን ኪኸውን ኣይነበሮን።

      ስለ Eውነቱ፡ ጉዳይ ዶብ ካብ መትከልን Eላማን ወጻI፡ ድሕሪ’ቲ ኩሉ ውዲት’ውን፣ ድሕሪ ነጻነት ኤርትራ’ውን
      ዘይካኣልዎ፣ ብዙሕ ጻEርን ትEግስትን ዘድልዮ ተግባራዊ ሽግራት ነይርዎ። ባድመን ከባቢኣን 3 ጊዜ (ጊዜ ደጀዝማች
      ፋይቱንጋ፣ ጊዜ ደጀዝማች ገረቃል፣ ጊዜ ራEሲ መንገሻ)፣ ብዓሰብን ከባቢኣን ካኣ (ጊዜ ደርግ)፣ ናብ ውሽጢ
      ኤርትራ ዝተኣታቶ ናይ ምምሕዳር ነጥብታት ስለ ዝነበሮ፡ ኣብ ርEሲ’ዚ Eቲ ካርታ ህወሓት Eውን ሓድሽ ወሰናስን
      ናይ ትግራይ ሓንጺጹ ስለ ዝነበረ ነቲ ግርጭት ንምብድሁ ቀሊል ኣይምኰነን። ብርግጽ ኣብ’ቲ ጊዜ’ቲ ብወሰናስን

      ኤርትራን Iትዮጵያን ዘቲኻን ብተግባር ዘስርሕ ናይ ምምሕዳር መደባት ንምቕራብን ከቢድ ሕቶ Iዩ ነይሩ። ስለ
      ዝኸብድ ግን ናብ ውዲትን ኲናትን ዘEቱ ምኽንያት ፍጹም ምርጫን ቦትUን ኣይኰነን/ ኣይነበረን።

      ስለዚ ኣቋራጭ መፍትሒ ናይ ወሓለታት ኣርኪቡ! መሪሕነት ህወ፡ ካብ መሪሕነት ህግ ዝደልይዎ ውዱE መልሲ
      (ባድመን ከባቢኣን ንህወሓት ምርካብ) ረኸቡ። ብድሕሪU ግርጭት ብግቡE ኪውገን ግዲOም ኪገብሩ ይትረፍ፡ ናብ
      ናይ ቅንጸላ ውሽጣዊ ጉዳይ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ምEታው’ውን ኣይዓጠጦምን። ምኽንያቱ Eቲ ውዲት ኣውራ ኣውራ ነቲ
      ብጊዜU ሰጥ Iልካ ኪብዳህ ዝነበሮ ክብደት ናይቲ ናይ ዶብ ግርጭት ዘሐንኩል ናይ ከድዓት ሜላ Iዩ ነይሩ። ብU
      ንብU ካኣ ሓቢሮም ናብ ቀንዲ EላማOም – ስልጣን ናይ ምብሓት ሕማሞም – ኣቶው። ብዝላዓለ ደረጅU ካኣ ጀብሃ
      ዘይኰነትስ፡ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ግዳይ ኰነ። መፍትሒ ስለ ዘይተገብረሉ ካኣ ደጊሞም Eውን ኣድመይዎ (1986 –
      2000)፤ ብፍላጥ ወይ ብዘይ ፍላጥ ካኣ ነዚ ናይ ሕጂ ኣብ ውሽጢ ኣህዛብ ኤርትራን Iትዮጵያን ኣዝዩ ዓቢ ዝኰነ
      ሽግር ዝፈጠረ ጸረ 2ቲU ኣህዛብ ዘትከለ፡ ልEሲ ሰላምን ቅሳነትን ብልጽግናን ኣህዛብ ኤርትራን Iትዮጵያን ጉጅላዊ
      ረብሓታቱ ዝዓጠጦ ነናብ ነብሱ ዝተመልሰ ውዲት ኮነ።

      ለ) ኣብ ምሕዝነት ዝምልከትውን፡ ጀብሃ ኣብ ልEሊ ናይ ውድባት Iትዮጵያ ምርጫን ወገንን ኣይነበራን። ንኹሉ ጸረ
      ፋሽስታዊ ስርዓት ደርግ ዝልዓል ንዝነበረ ውድባት ተተባብE ነይራ። ሓደ ካብቶም ምስ ጀብሃ ጽቡቅ ምሕዝነት ዝነበሮ
      ውድብ TLF ምንባሩ ካብ ርኽክባቱ ዝርድኣኒ ነገር ነይሩ። ምኽንያቱ ኣብ 1976 ዓ.ም ውድባዊ መደበይ ኣብ
      ኣከለጉዛይ ስለ ዝነበረ ብዛEባ ምንቅስቓሳቶም (ዓሲምባን ከባቢ ዓድግራትን) ክፈልጥ EኽEል ነይረ። Eቲ ናይ
      መጀመሪያ ውድብ ናይ ህዝቢ ትግራይ ስለ ዝነበረ፡ ጅብሃ መጀመሪያ ዝምድናኣ ምስ TLF ምስራዓ ታሪኻዊ ናይ
      ጊዜ ሕቶ ነይሩ። ወከልቱ ኣብ 2ይ ሃገራዊ ጉባኤውን ዝተሳተፉ ይመስለኒ።

      TLFን TPLFን ኣብ ግርጭት ምስ ኣተዉ፡ ጀብሃ ክትሽምግሎም ኣብ ዝገበረቶ ቅኑE ፈተነ፡ ብሰንኪ ግጉይ ኣዳህላሊ
      ናይ መጥቃEቲ ስጉምቲ ናይ ህወሓት (TPLF) Eድል ኣይገበረትን፤ ብዓቢU ካኣ TLF ብ TPLF ተቐንጸለት። Eዚ
      በቲ 1ይ ኣቐዲመ ዝጠቐስክዎ ሽማግለ ጀብሃ ዝተገብረ ፈተነ ነበረ። ብስዉE ተጋ/ ፍስሃየ ገብረሚካኤል፡ ኣባል
      ሰውራዊ ባይቶ (መሪሕነት ተሓኤ) ዝተመርሐ ሽምግልና ነይሩ።

      Eዚ ቅንጸላ ተገይሩ ከብቅE ግን፡ መሪሕነት ተሓኤ፡ ሚዛናን ቅሬታኣን ኣምቢራ፣ ከም ሽግር ካኣ ውሽጣዊ ጉዳይ
      ትግራይ/ Iትዮጵያ ምኳኑ ብምEማን፡ ናይ ቃልሲ ዝምድናኣ ምስ ህወሓት ከምቲ ዝነበሮ ኪቕጽልን ኪምሓየሽን
      ጻEርታት ወሰደት። ስለምንታይ’የ Eዚ ዝጠቅስ ዘሎኹ፡ ተሓኤ ኣብ ርEሲ’ታ ብነዊሕ ዝተዛመደታ ውድብ ዝተኻየደ
      ቅንጸላ’ውን ምንም ጣልቃ ከይኣተወት ጸረ ፋሽስታዊ ስርዓት ደርግ ብሓላፍነት ቃልሲ ተተባብE ምንባራ ንምብራህ
      Iዩ። ምስ EDU፣ EPRP ዝነበረ ዝምድናታት Eውን በዚ መልክE ዝተርርA Iዩ ነይሩ። ኣነ ኣብ ክንዲ መሪሕነት
      ተሓኤ ክምልስ ሓላፍነት የብለይን፤ Aሰረይ ዝሓለፎ፣ Eፈልጦ’የ ዝብሎ፣ ጥራሕ’የ ዘልEል ዘሎኹ።

      ናብ ዝርዝር ምEታውኳ Eንተዘየድለየ፡ ምስ EPRP ዝነበረ ዝምድና ኣቐዲሙ ዝተሰርሓሉን ኣብ ከተማታት
      Iትዮጵያ ናይ ሓባር መደባት ዝኣሳሰሮ ተግባራዊ ባይታ ዝነበሮን Iዩ። TPLF ናብ ሜዳ ቃልሲ ክትጽምበር ከላ ግን
      ፍርቂ ነብሳ ነጸብራቕ ህ.ሓ (ህግ) ኰይና Iያ ኣትያ። ይኹን ‘ምበር፡ ተሓኤ ጽቡቕ ዝምድና Iያ ኣሚታ። TPLF
      ኣብ ዝሓለፈቶ ቦታ ኣብ ልEሊ ጀብሃ ተኣፋፊት Iያ ነይራ።

      ምስ ኣብ ኣድያቦ ዝነበረ ኤትርራዊ ትሓልፍያ ነበረ። ንምግላጹ ዘጸግም ሽግር ነይሩዋ። ከይወግሐ ካብ ኣብ ልEሊ
      ፋሽታዊ ደርግ ዝቐንE ብረት፡ ኣብ ልEሊ ህዝቢ ኤርትራን ናይ ቃልሲ ውድባት Iትዮጵያን ዝቐንE ይበዝህ ነበረ።
      ኣብ ኣድያቦ ናብ ጅብሃ ዝተሰርA ሚሊሻ ስለ ዝነበረ፣ ብውድባዊ ወተሃደራዊ ዲሲፕሊኑ ጌና ዘየልተዘመ ስለ
      ዝነበረን፣ ሽU ወያኔ ዓቕሚ Iዱውን ስለዝነበረትን፣ ምስOም ትጓነጽሞ፡ ባEላ ብዝፈጠረቶ ሽግራት ናብ ጀብሃ ተጸግO

      ቅድሚ 1ይ ውድባዊ ጉባኤ ህወ ኣብ ሞንጎ መሪሕነታት ተሓኤን ህወሓትን ኣብ ዝተገብረ ርክብ፡ ብወገና ዝቐርብ
      ዝነበረ ነጥብታት ኣብ ናይ ህዝቢ ስርርEን ሚሊሽያን ነበረ። (ኣባል ናይታ ናይ ዘተ ሽማግለ’የ ነይረ) ብወገን ህወ
      ኣባላት መሪሕነት፥ ተጋ/ በሪሁን ተጋ/ ስየን ተጋ/ መስፍንን ነበሩ። Eምብኣር፡ ክሳብ ክንደይ ዘEግቦም ነይሩ
      ኣይፈልጥን፤ ግን ብስምምE ተወዲU፣ ናይ ሓባር መደባት ተገይሩ፣ ድሕሪ ጉባኤOም ነቲ መደባት ናብ ዝለዓለ ደረጃU
      Eተሰጋግር ናይ ሓባር ሽማግለ ክትወጽE ተፈራሪሞምን ብሓባር ናይ ዝተበጽሐ ኣዋጅ ቅዳሕ ሒዞምን ብጽቡቕ መንፈስ

      ቀጺሉ፡ ብወገን ጅብሃ ኣዋጅ ኪዝርጋሕን መሪሕነት ወይኔ ኣዋጅ ክትቀድድን ከምዘይትፈልጦ ጐስጓስ ከተካይድን
      ጉባኤኣ ኣርከበ። ካብቲ ዝተበጽሐ ስምምE፡ 2ልተ ቀንዲ ነጥብታት፦ 1ይ ደረጃ ጽቡቅ ባይታ ናይ ምሕዝነት
      ምጥጣሕ፤ 2ይ ደረጃ ካኣ 2ቲU ውድባት ኣብ ኤርትራ ይኹን ኣብ ትግራይ ናይ ስርርEን ምምሕዳርን ጉዳይ
      ክምልስ (ኣጻሓሕፋይ ትኽክል ቃላት ዘይዝክር ኪኸውን ይኽEል Iዩ)። ዳርጋ ድሕሪ ናይ ሓደ ዓመት ናይ ሓባር
      ስራሓት፡ Eታ ዝተመዘት ሽማግለ ጸብጻባ ብሓባር ከየቕረበት፡ ብወገን ወያኔ ዝነበረት ክፋል ሽማግለ ከይሓበረት
      ሃንደበት ኣንሰሓበት። ህወሓት ቀጺላ ናብ ወተሃደራዊ ምፍትታን ኣተወት።

      ሐ) Eዚ ኣብ ከመይ ዝበለ ኩነታት ነይሩ?

      ሐ.1) ስብሓት ኤፍረም ናብ ወያኔ ተላIኹ ብምስጢር (ክሳብ ሎሚ ሚስጢር) መሪሕነታት ህግን ህወሓትን ጀብሃ
      ንምቕንጻል ናይ ውዲት ውEል ዝኣተውሉ፣
      ሐ.2) መሪሕነት ጀብሃ ናብ ሶቭየት ሕብረት ዝገበረቶ መገሻታት ምኽንያት ብምግባር፡ መንግስቲ ሳUዲ ዓረብ ኣንጻር
      ተሓኤ ተጻብOታት ዝሰራዓትሉ፤ መንግስቲ ሱዳን ካኣ ቀጥታ መሳርሒ ናይቲ ተጻብOታት ዝነበረትሉ ጊዜ፣
      ሐ.3) መሪሕነት ህግ ምስ ደርግ ናይ ውዲት ሰነዳት ዝተለዋወጠትሉ (ኣብ ልEሊቲ ከም ርኽክብ ብወግI ዝተዘርግሐ
      ሓብሬታ፡ ተወሳኺ 11 ገጽ ምስጡር ሰነድ)፣
      ሐ.4) ኣብቲ ጊዜቲ መሪሕነታት ተሓኤን ህግሓኤን ብዛEባ ዘተ ምስ ፋሽታዊ ስርዓት ደርግ ዝምልከት ናይ ዘተ ርኽክብ፣
      Eዚ ዘተዚ ብብሩህ ተዓጻጻፊ ውዲት Iዩ ነይሩ (ሐ.1)፣
      ሐ.5) መገሻታት መሪሕነት ተሓኤ ናብ ሶቭየት ሕብረት፣

      ከም ተሞኩሮ ኣተሓሒዝካ ኪርA Eንከሎ፡ Eቲ ናይ ሶቭየት ሕብረት ጻዊEታት’ውን መዳህለሊ ውዲት Iዩ ነይሩ ክትብሎ
      ዘኽEል Iዩ፤ ምኽንያቱ፡ ሶቭየት ሕብረት ምስ ደርጊ ኰይና ነጻ ከተማታትናን ህዝብናን ዝወቕAት Iያ፤ ፖሊትካዊ
      መርገጽ ጥራሕ ኣይነበረን። ብ1977 ዓ.ም ኣብ ሮማ ቆንስል ሶቭየት ሕብረት ኰይኑ ዘዛራረበና ሶቭየታዊ ኣብ ልEሊ
      ሰውራ ኤርትራ ዝነበሮ ጽልI ብነድሪ ስለ ዝገልጽ ዝነበረ ኣነውን ነገር ናይ ሰብ ኣብዘይዓቕመይ ነደርኩ። Eቲ ተስፋ
      ዘቊርጽ ዝነበረ መርገጹ ካብ ሓበሬታ ምሕጻር መሲሉና ሃለውለው በልና (ምስ ተጋ/ጅምE በኺት)። ኣብ መጨረስትU
      ግን፡ “ኣብ 2ይ ኲናት ዓለም ኣብ ሓደ ማዓልቲ ክንድቲ ቁጽሪ ህዝብኹም ከሲርና Iና፤ . . . “ ድሕሪ ምባል ቤት
      ጽሕፈቱ ክንገድፈሉ ነገረና።

      ሐ.6) ብርግጽ ተሓኤ ኣብ ውሽጣዊ ግርጭታት ነይራ፤ ንEሽቶ Eውን ኣይነበረን። Eቲ ግርጭታት ካኣ ጉEዞ ልUል
      ምEባሌታታ Eትሰርዓሉ፣ ኩሉ ጊዜ ምስኣ ዝነብር ዝነበረ፡ መግለጺ ውሽጣዊ ባህርያታ፣ ኩሉ ጊዜ ካኣ ብዝሓሸን
      ዝለዓለን ናይ ለውጢ ውጽIት Eተመዝግበሉ ዝነበረት መስርሕ፣ ንምቁጽጻሩ ካብ ማንም መድረኻት ንላEሊ ካብ
      ሕሉፍ ተሞኲሮታታ ዝተማህረትሉን ብዝላዓለ ደረጃ ዝተቐረበትሉን መድረኽ፣ ‘ሞ ናብ ዝለዓለ ሃገራዊ ሓላፍነት
      Eትሰጋገረሉ ዝነበረት Eዋን Iዩ ነይሩ። ኣብቲ መድረኽቲ ውሽጣዊ ቃልስታታ ልሙድን ብዝለዓለ ደረጃ ኣብ ትሕቲ
      ቁጽጽራን ዝነበረ Iዩ ነይሩ። ብኣንጻሩ Eኳድኣ ኣብቲ ፍሉይ መድረኽቲ ኣብ ርEሴኣ ተጻብOታት ካብ ግዳምን
      ውሽጥን ኪጠማጠምዋ ምጉያዮም ክሳብ ክንደይ ዘፍርሖም ምEባለ ኣብ ጉEዞ ምንባሩ ሓባሪ Iዩ።

      ሓው ተኽለ ውድቀታ ተሓኤ ብውሽጣ ጥራሕ ምንባሩ ዝተኸስተሎም ካበየናይ ኩርናE ናይ ቃልሲ ስለ ዝተበገሱ Iዩ?
      ዋላውን ኣብ ሜዳኣ ኣብ መዛግባ ኰይና ምስ ሽግራታ ክትመናጨት ኣይከኣልን ነይሩ? ንTLF፣ EDU፣ EPRP
      ብሓይልና ሓግሒግና ኣባረርናየን ኪብሃል ጸኒሑ፡ ጀብሃ ግን ብውሽጣ Eምበር Eዚ ኩሉ ውዲታትሲ ኣይምዓጀባን
      ድዩ ዝብሃል ዘሎ፤ ካበየናይ ናይ ሓይሊ መምዘኒ መርትOኸ ይብገስ? ሓይሊ ጀብሃን ዝነበረ ናይ ውሽጣ ሽግራትን
      ዝፈልጡ ይመስሉ ኣሎውሞ፡ ቤዛ’ባ ሓበሬታ!

      Eዚ ኩሉ ውዲታት ብሓባር ወይ ብተናጸል፡ ኣብ ልEሊ ተሓኤ ብሕሱም ዝዓጠቐ Iዩ ነይሩ። ሓንቲ ካብ ስግኣታቱ
      ካኣ Eቲ ኣብ ውሽጢ ተሓኤ ዝነበረ ግርጭታትን ምEባሌUን Iያ ነይራ።

      Eዞም 2 መሪሕነታት ካብ ሃገራዊን ህዝባዊን Eላማታት ወጻI ብዘብለጭልጭ ፕሮፖጋንዳታት Eናተሸፈኑ፡ ጉጅላዊ
      Eላማታቶም ዝፈለጡን ሜላታቶም ከይወግሐ ዝሰርUን ንምርግጋጹ ካኣ ኣሎ ዝብሃል ዝኰነ ኪብዝበዝ ዚኽEል
      ሕማማት Eናላዓዓሉ ን2ቲU ኣህዛብ መሳሪሒ ጉጅላዊ ጥቕምታቶም ዝገበሩን Iዮም።

      ብርግጽ ኣብ ስምIታት ውድባት ኤርትራ፡ (‘ጠባቦች’፣ ‘ተገንጣዮች’፣ … ዝብል ፕሮፖጋንዳ ናይ Iትዮጵያ
      መንግስታት ኣብ ሕልናታቱ ስክፍታታት ዝፈጥረሉ ዝነበረ ጉዳይ Iዩ) Eቲ ኣብ ልEሊ ውድባት ትግራይ ዝልዓል
      ዝነበረ ናይ ‘ጠባብ ቢሄርትነት’ ፕሮፖጋንዳ Eውን ከምU። ንዓይ ከም ውልቀ ተጋዳላይ ኣብ ሕልናታተይ ብዙሕ
      ስክፍታታት የሕድረለይ ነይሩ። ነቲ ዝግበር ዝነበረ ዝምድናታት ግን ብምንም ዓይነት ዝትንክፍ ኣይነበረን። ነዚ
      ስምIታትዚ ህወሓት ከምዚ ሓው ክፍለ ዝብልዎ ዘሎዉ ኣብ ውድባት ኤርትራ የንጸባርቕ ምንባሩ፡ ንኣቃላልሳ ህዝቢ
      ትግራይ ሓጋዚ ምንባሩ ‘ምበር ክሳብ ሎሚ ብቒም ኪኰማሳE ዘሎዎ ነገር ኣይብሎን። ብዝተረፈ ሓው ክፍለ፡ Eቲ
      ናይ ትግራይ ምግንጻል ‘ጠባብ ቢሄርትነት’ ተኣሪሙ Eንተዘይኰይኑ፡ ሎሚ ወያኔ ኣብ ኣዲስ ኣበባ ስልጣን Iትዮጵያ
      ምውናና Eንታይ መግለጺ ይህልዎ ከብርሁልና’ዶ ይኽEሉ?

      ንምድምዳሙ፡ ካብ ነብሳ ድዩ ዝነቅል ነይሩ ወይስ ካብቲ ካብ መሪሕነት ህግ ዝነበራ ጽልዋታት፡ ድሒሩ ካብ
      ዝተመስከረ ካኣ ክሳብ ኣብ ውሽጣዊ ጉዳይ ህዝቢ ኤርትራውን ንነብሳ ብውዲት ጣልቃ ክትኣቱ ዝፈቐደት፡ ሽግር ናይ
      ዝምድና፡ ብሓቂ መሪሕነት ህወሓት Iያ ነይራ።

      መ) መዘኻኸሪ
      መ.1) Eሞ ሕጂ’ውን Eቲ ናይ ምስናድ ግደ ናባኹም ዓዋተ ቲም – ስለዚ ምስ ኣባል ፈ.ሽ ተሓኤ ነበር ሓው Iብራሂም መ.
      ዓሊ ቃለ መሕትት ምክያድ ኣዝዩ ኣድላዪ ኰይኑ ይስምዓኒ።
      መ.2) ንዘላቒ ባህግታት ኣህዛብ ቀርኒ ኣፍሪቃ ዝኸውን ባይታታት ምርEራE . . . . . . !

  • T. Kifle

    Part I
    May his soul rest in peace.
    Then few points on the alleged accusations specific to TPLF

    1. ELF made known to TPLF that Badme and few swaths of land in its environs belonged to Eritrea. At the time Badme was indisputably under the administration of Tigray. For that simple reason, TPLF requested the ELF to mind its business of the armed struggle as delimiting borders was beyond the mandate of an armed outfit. ELF wanted to act a bully of the area for this very logical request from TPLF.

    2. The creation of TPLF was inconceivable to all the fronts (EPRP, ELF and EPLF) albeit for different reasons. EPRP considered itself the only progressive political movement that can “move the mountains” centring its political creed around class-struggle. The fact that “Ethiopia was the prison of its nations and nationalities” was an anathema that they would prefer dying rather than entertaining any sort of political pursuit that would remotely address those pressing problems. TPLF held that class-oppression is part of the problem but it was by no means the only one; so it adopted a program that addresses both forms of struggles. ELF and EPLF for some reason were so quick in embracing EPRP while side-lining TPLF for they both fronts thought a rug-tags of few inexperienced students would make nothing to reckon with. Because of better arms and logistics, EPRP inclined to deal with ELF than EPLF. In Tigray EPRA (EPRP’s armed wing) kept on provoking TPLF by assaulting its members and militia men. TPLF discussed the matter with EPRP’s leadership that things were changing for bad to worse and requested them to stop their blunders at the earliest.The same was communicated to the ELF leadership that they were making historical mistakes by acting a big-brother. They didn’t budge. To make matters even worse they provide a sanctuary in their strongholds to a retreating EDU force. They also sided with TLF, a preferred Tigray-based armed outfit. the last straw that broke the camel’s back came happen when EPRP killed brutally a renown TPLF militia in Bizet wereda and Embeyto,around Sobeya of eastern Tigray. Then TPLF formally launched an attack on EPRP and ousted it from all of Tigray within 2 weeks. The survivors crossed Eritrea and ELF provided the immunity and a safe passageway to Sudan. The history of armed indulgence of EPRP ended there for good. TPLF expressed its sadness that ELF sided with EPRP. In all of that, EPLF took a role of the bystander.

    • Hayat Adem

      Dear T. Kifle,
      What about the accusation in regard with the conspiring of EPLF and TPLF to destroy ELF? Do you take that accusation as fair enough? If yes, what is TPLF’s explanation to cross border to wipe-out an Eritrean front? Was it justifiable? Any regrets from TPLF on that on hindsight and especially if part of consideration for that decision was made believing that EPLF was a better friend and better organization than ELF.

      • T. Kifle

        Dear Hayat

        I tried to address your questions partly in my part II entry above.

        “TPLF’s explanation to cross border to wipe-out an Eritrean front? Was it justifiable?”

        1. the “cross border” thing is really a misnomer. Eritrea was under Ethiopia. and the fact that Eritreans restricted their struggle within their conceived “Eritrea” or expand it to all of Ethiopia was a matter of choice. So ELF’s attempt to delineate a border and restrict TPLF’s movement was superfluous. it’s simply a foolish move of manufacturing unwarranted enemy. I would say ELF’s move was deadly wrong.
        2. Yes, it was justifiable. TPLF never fought unjustifiable wars in its entire history. it was a matter of life and death. It had to survive before anything else.
        3. EPLF agreed to the principle that demarcation was not the responsibility of the fronts. Decision could be made in due time when independence is achieved. And the alliance was just tactical and remained tactical throughout the struggle. It was like choosing between two evils and TPLF settled for the lesser evil of the time.

        • Saleh Johar

          T. Kifle,
          For now, there is one thing that I would like to see your take on provided you acknowledge there was a lot of prejudice and bigotry involved in the whole exercise from all sides.

          Do you think that experience plays a role (however miniscule) in the current formulation of foreign policy (specifically concerning Eritrea)as far as the major players in the TPLF of the time are concerned?

          • T. Kifle

            Dear Saleh,

            My answer to your question is yes and no. TPLF leadership did totally ignored the past and wanted to make good neighbourliness with Eritrea before the war broke. Hence, my no. The yes part comes following the EPLF ambitions that transpired later and the myriads of Eritrean organizations that are no better than those in power in Eritrea when it comes to Ethiopia. Now, the public opinion in Ethiopia is that we shouldn’t trust any Eritrean political entity because it might turn an enemy any time soon. EPRDF is slowly taming its principled stance on Eritrea as it can’t keep on loosing its constituency. So my yes.

          • Hayat Adem

            I will take that as a yes because the no is short-lived and replaced by the yes that started in 1998, and highly likely to continue even after eplf/pfdj.

  • Hayat Adem

    Dearest Sal,
    That was a comprehensive interview and we are lucky that it was available for us to read it. Curiosity kills the cat, goes the saying. What do you think as to why, of all the questions, he didn’t want to answer your one question regarding Hzbel Amel? He just seemed not touch it in the same way one despises haram. Could throw some light on to his fending off ?

  • Kokhob Selam

    I can’t stop reading. that is wonderful interview. that is what I use to say – books are going to be written about heroes. look how he put things, isn’t here clear what we really want? Hey, now I am going to read the interview done to DIA to see the difference and compare, although I will give more weight to DIA as the interviewer is not the same one. you know what I mean (terrorized interviewer Can’t ask in the way Awate ask. haaaaaa. and of course the questions asked are not the same).

  • ህዝባዊ ግንባር الجبهة الشعبية لتحر

    Great interview Awate Team. Ahmed Nasser should have written a book about his life story and his years with the ELF as a combatant and later head of that organization. Your interview comes close to capturing all the stuff that people would have wanted to read about had he written that book. A couple of things stand out: (1) TPLF was capturing and killing Eritrean residents of border towns as far back as 1970s. EPLF, however, was determined to keep its eyes on the prize so it decided to deal with the issue at a later date. (2) EPLF basically created and organized TPLF and guided it through its days as an infant and into adulthood. Unfortunately, TPLF true to its “Libi Tigray” character stuck the knife in EPLF’s back in the end and attempted to erase Ertirea’s sovereignty. The interview sheds some important light on political matters and relationships that people wonder about. Good work Awate Team!

    • Olana

      ህዝባዊ ግንባር. It is shame you write about this great man who could have been an asset for Eritrea and a the region as a whole. You tried to raise insignificant issues to just show how little mind you and your EPLF are. It is sad there is no one like Ahmed Nasser in your EPLF circle who can try to solve the problems in our region democratically and peacefully.