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Brief Eulogy to Osman Mohammed Ismail

Yesterday, early morning of the 4th of November 2021, Eritrea and its people have once again lost one of their national liberation armed struggle heroes. Osman Mohamnmed Ismail had passed away in Cairo, Egypt, after fighting illness for months.

Osman had joined in 1965 the ranks of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) at quite an early age. He enlisted with the 4th Zone, one of the military command zones in to which the ELF forces were deployed at the time. As a young fighter, he served under  the command of Mohammed Ali Omaru in the region of the Northern Red Sea (Samhar). As an extremely insightful fighter, Osman Mohammed Ismail had quickly earned the attention of his fellow fighters and commanders. He was  a focused and easily lovable fighter, and had shown from early time of his presence in the ranks of the army that he was  a prospective brilliant military-political leader, which he had soon markedly demonstrated within the then ELF reformist trend movement whose goal was the revocation of the zonal deployment military order that had at the time proven redundantly deficient and re-unification of the Eritrean Liberation Army (ELA) under one command and control center.

Osman Mohammed and his fellow fighters’ role and effort reached fruition when the first phase of their corrective measures succeeded in 1967 as the tripartite union of three of the five zonal commands, which opened the way to the abandoning of the de-centralized command zones. This became a prelude to the 1968 military conference at Adobaha that had united the five zones under one political-military leadership that came to be known as the General Command.

Subsequent to that eventful episode, the ELF and the Eritrean liberation struggle arena as a whole had witnessed landmark episodes both militarily and politically, one of which was the holding of the first national congress of 1971 which embraced a wide military and civilian representation, and from which an elaborate national democratic political program, organizational guidelines and a democratically elected political leadership had emerged.  Throughout the journey to that significant development, Osman Mohammed’s role was conspicuously was marked by his fellow rank and file fighters as well as his senior commanders.

From that time on,  Osman Mohammed rose in the ladder of the military hierarchy until the ELF Second National Congress of 1975, which, following the 1974 political events in Ethiopia that resulted in the toppling of the government of Emperor Hailesellassie I and emergence of the Ethiopian Military junta under Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam, had significantly reflected in the political and military developments that had impacted the Eritrean people’s liberation struggle.

 One of the qualitative and quantitative developments was the closing of national ranks of the nearly entire Eritrean people  and rallying behind the patriotic liberation struggle movement. The Eritrean youth had, since the Spring of 1975, joined the ELF in large numbers that had swelled the rank and file of the ELA. This had generated transformation of the military deployment formation order from the then working  platoon formation to higher levels of brigades.  The command of one of the brigades (72) was given to Osman Mohammed Ismail. It was at that level that he had demonstrated his leadership potential merged with political acumen that his fighters had admired. His military skills and foresight were augmented by his sociable and friendly character as a person. His personal social concern for the wellbeing and needs of his fighters had become on every one’s conversation encounters by those  who had associated with him Osman Mohammed Ismail whether in the battle fields or  personal affairs of his fighters. He was known for not eating a meal  or drinking before those who happened to be present around him had eaten or drunk. This jovial and sociable  had spread among the ELF rank and leadership throughout the ELF and its successor formations, the last of which has been the Eritrean National Salvation Front, which he had served as military leader and member of the higher political leadership. His brilliance and wisdom in leadership and social life will be greatly missed by his fellow Eritreans.

May his soul rest in eternal peace, and his children, wife, his comrades-in-struggle and people of Eritrea whose because he had served throughout his life be graced by the power to work out this deep grief and his absences from the struggle arena.

About Ismail Ali Ahmad

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  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Awatistas,

    ኣብ ጻዕረሞት ዝርከብ ስርዓት ኣብይ ኣሕመድ ንምርኮኛታት ሰራዊቱ ሎሚ መዓልቲ ብድሮን ደብዲብዎም። ትማሊ ኣብ ዘካዮዶ ኣኼባ ድማ ነቲ ኣብይ አበይ ኣሎ፣ ብዛዕባ ግንባር ደሴን ኮምበቻን ንህዝቢ ኢትዮጵያ ጸብጻብ ዘይህበና ዝብል ተባራሪ ወረ ክምልስ ኮሎ፣ ኣብይ ኣብዝኸዶ የለን፤ የግዳስ ኣብታ መርከብ ኢትዮጵያ ኾይኑ ይመርሕን ስረሓት የታሓባብርን ኢዩ ዘሎ ክብል መሊሱ። እቲ ክነግሮም ዘይደለየ ግን፣ እታ መርከብ ብሓያል ማዕበል ተናዊጻ ትጥሕል ከምዘላ ጎስይዎ ሓሊፋ።

    In any case TDF is in the making history. In a repeat of history, TDF with its allies will disintegrate the huge Ethiopian military force foiling the conspiracy of Abiy with the Eritrean despot against the people of Tigray. This reminds me the remark of General Taddesse Werede: we can not open our encirclement by begging or asking others to beg them. It can only be by breaking the enemy that is encircling us. And that we can do it in short days. They are almost doing it by defeating the huge Ethiopian army and their allies in Dessie and Combelcha, now heading to Addis along highway A-3 and Bahir Dar along highway B-22. Truth and justice always prevails in a protracted war of justice vs injustice.


  • said

    Ismail AA
    For generation Eritrean are Living with Regime terror. There’s so much nameless terror behind every smile or friendly wave we see, when you visit our country . And as the horror film rolls on and on for years , it gets harder and harder to pretend it’s not there. when it so obvious in your face , like Eritrean shining sun . We all know something deeply wrong with Eritrea . I had something deeper, something primal. I had no reactionary illusions about what my country was and is today. But there was something sickening ,prior to independence .The godless commie IA/PFDJ terror regime ,was already known to us ,we closed our eyes and heart , we extended our hand to evil man, to the hardcore communist revolutionary regime , they deliberately promoted ugliness, spat upon everything in our country ,they had accomplished, and rejoiced at the destruction of the historic Eritrea . And so they did — and destroyed ourselves. Millions of Eritrean have come to this realization or they will come to this conclusion . Eritrea could not be saved from itself. they seem indifferent that what was once their country has become an especially large combination of a gulag prison and youth seeking asylum abroad to no end and to unknown destination . We collectively failed to created just and democratic modern Eritrea . we continue to cling to no value abstractions. We know Eritrean have decent values. It’s no small thing to give up on your country that sacrificed so much of its people, through war and struggle . It is part of us, as much a part of you as it is your hometown, it is our and it is your ancestorial land, were we all real belong from the time of memorial . But our people moved away from those things too ,to far land, to escape hell in the earth .as many of us did . But the fact remains that this small and beautiful land is my only country — and no other — there are elements of that historic Eritrea that will always resonate with our people no matter what where we live .

    I’ve always loved my people and country Eritrea —or at least the idea of it. But Eritrea regime isn’t mine anymore and never was . It hasn’t been mine to start with for a long, long time and I could not connect with barbaric regime at the helm .
    There is a great deal of ruin in Eritrea. I’m simply defending our diverse communities like those I came from — and the right of Eritrean to live in their land in peace and prosperity . I could say that — but it isn’t really true this time.. Today, the entire Eritrean national power structure, political system, and moral code is built around suppressing of Eritrean true multiethnic and religious identity. I want and wish Eritrean to have a normal life in a homeland for my Eritrean people that won’t need any kind of professional revolutionaries, all kind dissident writers, or the profession of “activism.” The truth is something deeper, I can not defined in few words . but it is something that was always there, from the earliest point I can remember. Eritrean could have easily being prosperous, orderly, harmoniums ,tolerant society and to live a life that is enjoyable ,a decent great life that our country we know can eastly offer , but there’s something deeply wrong and sick beneath the surface like old horror movie. The old days walks through an idyllic Eritrean town and cities of past era . from the surface you visit Eritrea Everything seems to be and perfect even when it is not , but there’s something ominous you can’t put your finger on and not matter how to describe it, it is more than PFDJ regime
    It all started the year 1991 even before ,it is of great epics, grave accidents of history , catastrophic events had arrived , colossal calamities, multiplication of evils, confluence of matters, succession of adversities, disruption of time, reversal of normal life and matter, reversal of subject matter, succession of horrors have falling on us , with a new different conditions of murderous regime , corruption of deep moral, occurrence of destruction, general desolation, and the frequency of causes that never ended yet .

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Ismailo,

    Every time I hear our patriots and and our heroes passes away, and can not buried in the country they fought for its birth, it pains me enormously. I don’t know when this country whose sons and daughters bleed and sacrificed for it, could be welcomed without segregation. We have a country that does not honor and celebrate its patriots and its heroes/heroines; it will continue to be so as long as the highlanders who directly or indirectly protect the beast at home. Rest In Peace a hero, sooner or later, your services and sacrifice will be remembered when we erect a country of the heroes and heroines, and not a country identified by the symbols of shidas, tortoises, and camels. A heroes is always in the mind of his comrades. May his families and his comrades get strength through these difficult days. RIP.

  • said

    Salam Br .Ismail AA

    May Almighty Allah dwell him in Jannatul Firdaus.

    The famous saying during Hitler era , Pastor Niemoller famously said when they came for Communists, Socialists, and others he didn’t resist because he was not one of them, and when they came for him, there was no one left to resist. In the end, it rendered the entire people captive in a nightmare in which the only options for survival were hysterIcal worship or catatonic submission.

    For generation our faith in humanity has been undermined by IA regime ,nothing thing new.
    Under IA leader and his absolutist regime, He is by far more repressive, politically punishing, and viciously criminal ,name them, and still some of our people have a public adulation of IA dictator is sickening . As happened very often order of business is to obliterate all possibility of public and opposition resistance and including its own regime cadre , they begin with selected high target individual and eventually they go for widespread murder. as well as many disappearances, assassinations in a daily basses , It is not done in secrecy; it is done flagrantly, openly , blatantly, in broad day light ,not a dark alley , with the terrifying intent to demonstrate the helplessness of their victims. Sadly ,they view our destruction of our peoples and their death with indifference. Years of unrestrained mayhem and murder. the naked truth And this what they have brought us. The gruesome thing has shown what it is. And some are blind to the fact as those who will not see. Their time will come

    In time. gradually with chilling indifference of its agents to our society agony. Soon the entire Eritrean population knows and feels the dread of being powerless before remorseless and absolute subjection and being instilled by IA regime oppression and violence. That time will be too late for many of us. And therefore to revere the power of IA regime and Moran elite that molds and control Eritrea .something need to be done. Our good society being polarized—people being violently divided on matters rooted deeply in their moral and cultural biases and unreconcilable in this modern era . the people are blinded, despised, bamboozled, our poor helpless people being weakened . To keep them so is the purpose and intent of the system that rules them. While this is nothing new.
    It is more intense than ever. IA Tyranny that owns them. Still kicking , using the deep hunger of the ignorant and powerless people to identify with victorious EPLF liberation force to bind their loyalty in the brazen face of their endless betrayal and murdering their own cadre and own children being enslaved , is not enough , feeding them poison exceptionalism of great IA leader . instead of nurturing our people for peace prosperity to a civilized, to be modern, just and humanistic state. Instead we have a civilizational crime state, lead by tyranny ,its dark and devious malignity. They enslaved and brutalized our people with its raging, insatiable voracity, violated and destroyed our rights and destroyed our country . In time the crippling damage will be done to its own hard core regime and it will comes to collapse.

    PFDJ lives often seem to eclipse the mountains of corpses on which they stand atop. Our people left in disarray and ruin. The mass killing of lives and families and hopes that were forever disfigured or shattered. All of that disappears, is explained away, or is designated as a mere footnote. This somehow our real Eritrean heroes die in exile ,is very sad,an heard any where ,what a shame to our society The so called nationalistic panegyrics that PFDJ employed are designed to do just that glazes over our eyes and numbs collective memory.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam said,

      Thank you for your in-depth look in to the ordeal our society is facing under tyrany. You aptly wrote: “… some are blind to the fact as those who will not see. Their time will come”. The tragedy is when those who can see strive to make those who cannot see stay blind. Both of them are made to think time is static, and that what tyrany provides and stands for would lasting. Tyrany thrives and feeds on them.

  • iSem

    Hi Ismail AA and all Eritreans
    We are from HIM and to HIM we return
    A veteran of the ghedli passes away in exile. From what Ismail AA shared, we in normal times should have celebrated his death not mourn it, a life lived in sacrifice for other, but today we should mourn his death in exile, away from his beloved country. more reason to mourn May 24, not celebrate it. There a lot of veteran Eritrean fighters, some disabled still languishing in the sh**le country called Sudan that swaps dictators after 56 years of independence. I know Sarita will be mad at me, but she also know that I adore the people of Sudan and their culture but sadly they are represented by tyranny now.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam iSem,

      You have pressed on an already painful wound. This man had commanded the fighters who gave us the first taste of a liberated urban settlement. He led the battles that liberated Tessenei, and supported the liberation of Agordat. This is the last of the ELF commanders who charted the way to 1991. Four of them were assassinated in Sudan by EPLF murder squads. The rest died natural deaths, among them Tesfai Tecle. Osman Mohammed survived 7-year EPLF jail, and continued his journey as military-political leader until he had succumbed in Cairo to the inevitable in the morning hours of the 4th of the current month. It crosses no one’s mind among us, the still breathing veterans, that one day we will expire and get buried in exile. I am sure, Osman Mohammed Ismail too never thought he will end up in the soil of Egypt in Cairo. It is the harsh working of fate, dear Semere.

      • iSem

        Hi Ismail AA:
        Thanks for at least telling the story of this genuine son of Eritrea. Believe it or not such stories and my little interaction with the ELF fighters that infuriates me about PFDJ here and am not a veteran.
        I do not want to start the debate again here but you know that PFDJ is not working for Eritrea when it assassinates and kidnaps ELF vets. I hope what you said about the remaining vets passing away in exile does not pass, but as people and country we are in bad place, teh worst we have been even during the so called colonixation

  • Brhan

    May Allah bless him, my deepest condolences to his family.