In the Senhit region, all the way to the West, there are rock mounds, there are ancient conical tukul-shaped pyramids covered in fist size stones scattered in many places. They are covered in black stones, rarely with white. I discovered they were graves of notable warriors or clan leaders. The locals told me the colors of the stones depend on the revenge status of the buried person—they cover the graves with white stones if the death of the person is avenged (blood cooled), and with black if it is not avenged. In the old times they used to insult clan members whose ancestors’ tombs were covered in black: “go whiten your ancestor’s grave before you talk to me.” Pride!
Once asked a man if he can identify his ancestors’ grave and whether it is covered with white or black stone. In surprise he replied, “these are ancient traditions, no one knows who is buried in the grave … it’s folklore.” Well, the supremacists of today despise anyone who doesn’t know his abowatun emewatun (male and female ancestors) as if they know theirs. Blood feuds are the cause of many conflicts and then clan members will not rest until they take revenge (it doesn’t matter if one’s relative was the victim of the aggressor).
Most of the time the relatives of a murdered person would seek revenge by killing any of the killer’s relatives–the closer the relative the better. It’s pride. However, in time the society developed a mechanism to resolve such problems in village councils where blood feud is traditionally resolved by a payment of retribution money or by offering a girl to marry into the family of the killed person–thus, a poor girl given away even against her will. If the marriage produces a child soon, the blood of the two parties is intermingled and cements the reconciliation.
In the Bedouin culture around Jordan, male members kill their own relatives, even their own children though they rarely kill their males. If a girl is caught in what’s considered an immoral act by the society, like dating a stranger–a man who is not legally married to her–she has brough shame to her family and any family that has pride must kill the girl and restore the honor of family. Though the tradition of honor-killing is as prevalent as it used to be, it is engrained in the psyche of the people to the extent that governments fail to punish the perpetrators. That tradition of blood feud is still alive in places like the “European Albania.” Watch a video of a young boy who stayed locked in his house for seven-years because people were waiting to find and kill him as a revenge for the killing one of theirs.
Albania was an isolated communist country and its leader Envar Hoxha [enver hoja, 1944-1985) left behind a closed militarized country. It’s only in the early 1990s it become a relatively normal country after many years of totalitarian rule. And though Albania is just a fourth the size of Eritrea, (about 11000 sq miles) the communist government invested heavily in building 173,000 bunkers all over the country to deter real and perceived enemies. Since then, Albanians have transformed the useless bunkers that they now use as living or business spaces and entertainment.
The feud in Abyssinia has developed “beyond life for a life,” into group vendetta. They have been doing it to each other for over 800 years—throughout the rule of the so-called Solomonic kings. They vilify enemies by insulted them repeatedly and depict the targeted people as monsters to create a negative perception of the other, condition and agitate the common people. Once the ethnic gaps widen, the waiting extremists take revenge. Ask anyone why they hate the other and you are in for a long soliloquy of real and perceived grievances, sometimes centuries old, wrong perceptions imprinted in the mind in bedtime stories, spiced up with biblical quotes, superstitions, bigotry, hypocrisy and the usual thirst for blood.
Some people hold centuries-old grudges and believe it is their responsibility to avenge their imagined ancestors’ grievances. Such thinking is irrational because as a backward society, neither the Abyssinians or the others have a tradition of keeping family records—which even if they had, it should be used as a historical material and not as a cause for civil strife. How could someone depend on selecte-hearsay? It’s likely that the ancestors of someone who believes his ancestors are the victims could have committed the crimes. However, many boast of their claimed family linage, and confidently count to seven ancestors (just repeating names) with no mention of their ancestor’s race, tribe, birthplace or anything else except word of mouth laced with superstitions mythologies. Worse, pseudo scholars perpetuate such ignorance. It’s interesting to see them run a DNA test that would really confuse many of them when they discover their genes are far removed from their perceived ancestry or race.
Grave of Black and White stones
Going back to the vengeance, just like the physical white and black stone covered graves in Senhit, the Abyssinians have such imaginary graves in their minds. And that is why they continuously seek to avenge an imaginary ancestor they whimsically picture in their mind. Meanwhile, others who went through such fresh-in-the-mind atrocities that they vividly remember, do not make such noise or scream of vengeance.
This is the 21st century and Such claims are futile—everyone is just an individual life and can only prove what they are, here and now. No one can be a victim retroactively by simply claiming selected ancestry they can’t prove. Even if they can, there are modern laws that all civilized societies should follow and that must be the arbitrator. Worse, some people think God has sanctioned their ugly actions—too bad God will not come on social media to declare He has nothing to do with their brutal deeds.
International Criminal Court
Initially, perpetrators of atrocities and cruelties have a long leash; gradually they begin to believe they will never be accountable. But metaphorically speaking, images of the black stone covered graves are imprinted in the minds of the victims who aspire to change it with white stones through a civilized, legal, and reconciliatory process. It’s only that the leaders of the East African region prevent the establishment of a genuine rule of law and justice to protect themselves from accountability. It’s time the International Criminal Court acted to stop the perpetrators of the crimes who must face the ICC tribunal.
The leaders of the genocide committed in old Yugoslavia faced the same ICC for the crimes they committed in places like Srebrenica. The Radovan Karadzic (serving 40 years prison) and Slobodan Milosevic who died in 2006 while in trial–the first ever sitting president charged with war crimes, and others who exterminated communities as if they were an ant colony. Finally, they were held accountable though it was too late for the victims. But it is the only proper way to remedy to rehabilitate wounded societies.
The long arm of international law must visit the blood-soaked Horn of Africa and a serious work is needed to make that a reality.
Snack (Kefo Hllekum—Kef Haalkum)
I have been learning Musned whenever I had the time memorized the alphabets, I am also typing it on my computer thanks to the free fonts that I downloaded. Now you can also download it from this link if you wish. Alternately, you can just search “upload Musned fonts.” But remember, the lots who ignore science and technology and cling to superstitions and empty bravado, the “we are the children of Solomon lots “didn’t develop it. A little humility is badly needed.
I am also presenting to you a Yemeni language that is an offshoot the Sabic language. I found striking similarities between it and the Eritrean Tigrayit language which is much closer to Geez. So, here is today’s “Moqwaseyi” (snack), the Sabaic Musned fonts–note Musned, Arabic, and Sened, Geez are similar (root word is Sened–document). And he is what it looks on the computer:
msnd az ab Hws dst Arb zlw kaltat zmAblw ny Tnt nY sbwyn msnd zbhl ay::
Note: originally it had no vowels and was written from right to left, Geez is credited for expanding the alphabets into seven parts and adding the vowels to it.
Learning requires peeling off prejudice from the mind and considering yourself a student, not an expert when you are not. Learning requires sharing knowledge and helping others. There are many subjects that people can learn on their own; knowledge is no more monopolized and if one tries, it is all out there, for free. What is needed is training on the methodologies and other technical aspects of learning. I strongly believe that ignorance is our main enemy and that is why I will keep providing those who want to learn more with information. No one can teach us anything unless we are willing and ready to learn. That way we can help in protect our own mind and that of the others from being poisoned.
Is that a Deluge?
A flood is building in the Horn of Africa and we should expect serious political changes– we better be prepared and not caught unprepared. If not, others will impose their solution in the Horn of. Africa and it might not be what the stakeholders wish for. In the upcoming episodes of Negarit I will tell you the information I have and my personal views on how to prepare and deal with it. Eritrea has not been in such a risky turn as it is now. It is on the agenda of the countries that surround it in three rings: 1) immediate neighbors, 2) the larger region, and 3) the rest of the vested world countries.
Until then, as usual, stay steadfast, alert, open-minded, Eritrea focused and importantly, positive minded. I have no doubt Eritreans will overcome any trouble thrown at them though the cost is becaming unbearable. This time, the risk of the floods is unlike the past.
I can’t say more about that at this moment, but I will in the coming few episodes.