National Unity Is No Substitute For Our Dignity
(Reminders for Semere Tesfai)
I am not one who believes in the Carrot-plus-Stick theory as the only explanation for effectively manipulating stimulus and response in politics because there are situations where the stick alone is more than enough to get people going and there are situations where the carrot should never be mixed with the stick. Tigrigna supremacists have tried the stick on us for the last twenty years and we tried the carrot on them for the last fifty years. Neither of them has worked mainly for our reluctance to entertain the possibility that it might all depend on the cultural context within which the transaction takes place. Now tell me, does it hurt to exchange the tools and try them for a couple of years and see if they work this time?
After seeing the kind of little but pleasant surprises that we had from His Excellency the President (who had refused to listen but to himself and his fellow Neo-Nazis) declaring better prospects for ending the Eritrean-Ethiopian border war in the year 2000 following a humiliating defeat (and a painful sting in the pride of every Eritrean) in Baduma, it got many of us marveling on the “Magic of the Stick” in triggering dormant cultural loopholes to transform unsuspecting citizens into docile armies. Now that we are all watching a Live Somali Show of His Excellency (Our Excellency) spitting all the carrots and farting all the goodwill gestures by western diplomats, it will be interesting to learn another lesson and specialize in how the magic works.
With the exception of a few who seem to be under pressure to deliver some names to the “Men in Black” by hunting down mysterious “pen-name Beni Amer” in cyberspace (instead of telling us more about the Land Grabbers and their Melisha Sirnay), the majority of Tigrigna intellectuals, slowly but surely, are starting to pay attention to the fact that the spices of the “Magic Wand” are being assembled and the proven spell is being cooked. As Muslims and Lowlanders in particular and genuine New Born Eritreans (NBEs) in general, we have a responsibility to guide those who have shown an interest and started asking the right questions as gently as possible: tate … tate Mamay Adka Ti’ate!
SEMERE TESFAI, INTRODUCED
This brings us to brother Semere Tesfai (not to be confused with my good friend and veteran NBE Semere Habtemariam), a good Eritrean who sat down to assemble 15,532 words into an excellent and well written article, genuinely trying to figure out what might be happening to our beloved Eritrea. I have no doubt that Semere’s article had lots of faulty arguments, dishonest quotations and representations, some unfortunate remarks on components of the Islamic faith, and aspects of the typical ethnic bigotry as practiced by the masters. Considering the loaded nature of our debate and the spiraling politics of fear-mongering and prick-tutoring that might have intoxicated his thinking at the moment of writing, however, we apologize for any misgivings on our side, excuse him for unintended mishaps and give him the benefit of the doubt and declare him an “NBE on Probation” and offer him a standing ovation for his first courageous attempt. Well done my dear brother and please come back with more.
If I had the slightest suspicion that you (Semere Tesfai) might be one of those guys, I would have gone for “the ticklish” and faced you with “What is your opinion on the Land Grabbers that we saw on Hadas Ertra as there was no trace of them in your article?” But I won’t bother you with that because I know that deep in your heart you are a sober Eritrean who would tell the difference between the natural demographic evolutions (that are typical of exclusively the Eritrean Lowlands) where formerly antagonistic communities would find themselves in each other’s arms without realizing what was actually happening (according to Grandpa), and the deliberately induced greed-driven demographic engineering where thousands of thieves rally around “keytemelesu a’qedimna bota kiniHiz” and rush to dig trenches in other people’s ancestral land leaving their own behind.
Your analysis that whatever combination of alliances of socio-political forces is picked, Muslims and Lowlanders are destined to lose and no matter how hard they might try by the barrel or by the ballot there is no way they can override Tigrigna Supremacy in Eritrea is the most brilliant and most candid conclusion that every intelligent Eritrean should take for granted. Ironically and as a matter of pure coincidence, it is the central argument that we have been trying to make to our fellow Muslims and Lowlanders (Thank you for helping). For the sake of being neutral, however, let me pass (for your attention) a question proposed by one of the intelligent guys in the Awate Forum (Vertical, December 11, 2009): “Why would Moslems fight to replace I Afeworq if his replacement (is guaranteed to be His Excellency Ato Wecho IntegelbeTkayo Wecho)?”
TERMS FOR DEBATE
You don’t have to answer the above questions (we know the answers) but will you do us a favor and let us enjoy a revised version of your wonderful article if you would be kind enough to spare some more time to consider some more inputs? The first thing you should keep in your mind while writing is that this is not a game where success is measured by the points individual writers might score against one another. In case you didn’t know, we are dealing with the single most important issue in Eritrean politics whose resolution will no doubt define the nation’s future, a catastrophe that has already claimed thousands of innocent lives and is threatening to shake our very foundations, and a nightmare that thousands of Eritreans and their families are living in dungeons and black holes. Success in this debate is measured by our collective ability to get opposition politicians and intellectuals on their feet, freedom fighters on the street and the ethnic supremacists of the PFDJ on their toes and by the extent to which we reduce the challenges of the terms of our mutual coexistence into simple, tangible and negotiable ingredients that cut through the garbage of meaningless rhetoric.
The second thing you should keep in mind is that Eritrea is a composition of two fundamentally different cultural motivations: a farmers’ culture where survival depends on competition over the extent to which one is fit enough to access more and better resources on the one hand; and a pastoralist’s culture where survival depends on cooperation to maintain and enhance the extent to which nature continues to nurture growing populations. Keeping this cultural duality in mind is crucial in understanding that the articles we write are bound to have two diametrically opposed interpretations by readers (Group 1: competing to disrupt your efforts; and Group 2: cooperating to make a nation’s dream come true). In case you had difficulty finding honest Tigrigna intellectuals (in the black market) who would tell you the reason they decided to shut up and shamelessly listen to us like kindergarten babies, or if you do not have the decency to support your fellow countrymen (the ones you “love”) to stand up to the Evil Empire of Neo-Nazi Fanatics, trust me, you too are better off shutting up and imitating ab may ziatewet anchiwa (in one of the micro-dams) while “seHabti gemel” like us shape the future “memhrey tsibuq tmhru” style.
Here are some of the spices that your article might have missed and may help you navigate your way towards the inevitable, during this difficult period of probation as a candidate for the NBE Team. Your official baptism will follow immediately as soon as you scrutinize the EPP-EDP using the same recipe you used, of candor and truthfulness. Then to update yourself on what else is going on. It is Christmas and you never know there might be some surprises for you from Santa Claus.
Should we start or do you first want to visit our beloved Mesel-Biherat website just to check out what might have happened on our Saho front (in Gaza Strip) following the October 15, 2009 congress of the National Salvation Front (NSF) or inquire about their new network of initiatives such as the “INKETTINO FORUM” before you start your assignment and get to meet a few courageous young men and women who have been motivated to reach deep into the legacy of rebellion and militancy that enabled their forefathers to keep their identity planted for centuries where no other people would have survived for weeks?
It might also be a good idea to check out our Blin front and ask around as to what they might be up to in their attempt to bypass their crusading Islamophobes who are auctioning the soul of one of our most dignified frontlines for cheap.
You did an excellent job, though, in elaborating on the PFDJ’s formula for Eritrea’s “democratic future”. Your formula is in fact the exact one that underlies Dr. Bereket’s infamous Constitution, which we like to call “The Manual of Land Grabbers” and “The Black Book of Swindlers” (with apologies to the good Professor) as it underlies the PFDJ Charter and most of the Charters of our traditional politics including those of some of the fundamentalist Islamic organizations that Woldesus Amar is alleged to have described as Swat Valley Jihadis.
I agree with you that the result is always Tigrigna Supremacy since all the variables in this formula are determined through simple, free and fair democratic procedures of voting and through a bit of perfectly legal manipulations. Tigrigna & Satellites are always guaranteed to make up a majority to chart the future [of Lowlanders & Muslims (L & M)] by either blending or purging the nation into a pure Aryan Race. Tigrignas of course cannot be affected by whatever goes on among politicians since (according to Semere Tesfai) they are always guaranteed a majority even under worst case scenarios. The reason for the survival of this formula (in spite of the outrageous disadvantage for non-Tigrignas) rests on the assumption that there is one and only one fixed constant which is a “National Unity” exogenously determined by the Good Lord and is out of reach for discussion or desecration by the common man.
THE OLD (“GEDIMA”) FORMULA
Let us play a little game here (to help my niece with some homework). It describes an old formula advanced by PFDJ, EPP, EDP, one so ingrained in the psyche that even a NBE on probation, Semere Tesfai, is advancing.
Let us say “X” represents every conceivable Orwellian concern including land, settlements, refugees, language, and prayer times for Muslims and anything you might want to add. These, according to Semere Tesfai, are issues that L & M will never be able to influence due to a determined Tigrigna majority and hence are independent variables shaped outside the formula and flown in from Timbuktu. “X” will represent whatever is determined through a political process where common citizens cannot control (except through an ethnically stratified political process). In other words “X” is the percentage of your life run by the government.
The letter “C” represents “National Unity” which is a single fixed constant. In this, non-mathematical English in numbers, we will take “C” to represent what the government and the people should take for granted and should never have a say in how it is administered but have the responsibility to defend by unleashing every mandate at their disposal in case it is threatened.
To sum up, the formula looks something like this:
Y = C + X1 + X2 + … + Xn + e
Y=C + Xi + e where X = x1 + x2 + … + xn ; i = 1 … n
Where: Y = the outcome for Eritrea as a nation; C = National Unity; X1 = Land; X2 = Language; continue adding whatever you may think of until you reach Xn = Guidelines for cohesive existence; and e = the formula’s “error” in predicting Y.
Semere’s formula tells us that we, Lowlanders and Muslims, should take National Unity as a sacred and non-negotiable constant and let everything else that matters be determined by the free interaction of politicians (primarily disguised ethnic politics dominated by absolute “Tigrigna majority”). The most important variable in his formula is the “e” which is the error term because as “n” approaches infinity “e” will approach zero, meaning: if government ends up controlling your life a 100%, then the outcome of the political process is perfectly predictable. In other words what Semere is telling us (assuming he understands what he himself wrote) is that if future Eritrea is modeled along his ideals (or along the tricks in Dr. Berekhet’s Constitution) Lowlanders & Muslims can rest assured that they are screwed up for good.
I will leave the rest of the interpretation for Semere but in case he might need help with what it would mean for the rest of the nation (including ethnic Tigrignas), the answer is a State modeled on Classical Orwellian Fascism under a façade of fake democracy.
The best example of a regime established under “the old formula” would be Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, where Shias and Kurds were killed and persecuted by the Sunni regime for threatening National Unity, and Sunnis were killed and persecuted by their own Sunni regime for failing to realise that National Unity was in danger from their fellow countrymen. That precisely is where the President and his gang of Neo-Nazi fanatics were the ones who voted and ratified the infamous “Constitution”. Those who may be tempted to pick on this point will argue that the “Ratified Constitution” guarantees all kinds of freedoms, but their argument is a stillborn and a cripple by birth and a cover-up for what they are not telling since the excuse of “National Unity is at Risk” practically does justifiably override all the copy-paste lists of endless freedoms from UN Charters.
THE NEW “NBE” FORMULA
How about making a little bit of change to the formula (my niece looks excited and wants to write her own formula, if you don’t mind) just to accommodate the possibility that Lowlanders & Muslims are not as dumb and as helpless as you might think and to simplify things so that the terms of the union become crystal clear? Let us exchange the meaning of the letters and rewrite the formula as something like this:
Y = c1 + c2 + … + cn + X + e
Y=Ci + X + e where C = c1 + c2 + … + cn; i = 1 … n
Where: Y = the outcome for Eritrea; c1 = Freedom to own ancestral Land; c2 = Freedom to adopt the Chinese language as the official language; continue adding whatever you may think of until you reach cn = Freedom to refuse harm; X = National Unity (the single independent variable determined through Semere Tesfai’s dynamics of ethnic politics); and e = error as defined above.
The constant here is not national unity but the freedom of the people; and national unity is a negotiated result.
In other words, given the probability of absolute Tigrigna Supremacy as described by Semere and reinforced by Dr. Berekhet’s Constitution, no Muslim & Lowlander and for that matter no decent Tigrigna with a bit of self-respect should hand over decisions affecting his/her identity and destiny as a dignified citizen to a nation of control freak fascists. The only aspect of our nationhood that may be determined through any form of negotiated political processes of “ethnic democrats” is our National Unity, not our right to own our ancestral land and not our right to practice personal hygiene in washrooms.
The best example of a regime established under “The New Born Constitution” is the City of St. Louis (Semere Tesfai’s home in the USA) where citizens can ask their politicians to kiss their behinds for trying to impose into their private affairs and where Semere Tesfai himself would think twice before being inspired by “The Manual of Land Grabbers” and three times before invading other people’s ancestral land and telling them about “free movement” in Eritrea. That precisely is why the Afari Organization deserves a monument of honor for courageously pioneering and demanding the Right to Self-determination and that’s why Semere Tesfai should replace one of his naïve “bumper stickers” with one from Denkalia.
THE SUPERIORITY OF THE NBE FORMULA
We don’t know what the bad guys are whispering into your ears, but it is under our formula and only our formula that Eritrea has the slightest chance of marching towards true democracy and bulldoze through the blockades of institutionalizing injustice through intellectual inspirations for Land Grabbers and Exclusionists. The reasons are clear and simple:
(1) it is only under our formula that citizens (especially Tigrignas) can give the President the finger every time a freaking ri’esi GABA shows up for Gifa into endless servitude because “National Unity is at risk”;
(2) it is only under our formula that Eritreans can spit on the President’s face and tell him to go to hell to re-negotiate the terms of our mutual coexistence every time a component of the Eritrean mosaic complains about their status in the Union;
(3) it is only under our formula that Eritrea will be able to exploit centuries old cross-border ties into a dynamic regional mechanism for the common good and not as instruments of mischief as it is the case today and potentially the case under the “Ratified Constitution”;
(4) and above all, it is only under our formula that ethnic Tigrignas will not have to sweat and die to service the greedy fantasies of a select aristocracy and their armies of Land Grabbers that might benefit from playing cheap and explosive ethnic politics.
But, mind you also: it is under our formula that a United Eritrea will be history if ethnic Tigrignas in general and intelligent people like our dear Semere Tesfai in particular continue to brown and bow to the whims and wishes of narrow-minded and short-sighted ethnic Supremacists. Do we sound like we don’t care about the Simpsons? Absolutely no! Because we are the only ones who have an interest in ethnic Tigrignas standing up against the thuggish irresponsibility that has characterized the behavior and outlook of their politicians for the last twenty years and we are the only ones who have an interest in ethnic Tigrignas sticking a tongue to the Neo-Nazis; and we are the only ones who have an interest in ethnic Tigrignas washing their hands clean and joining us to complete the Jigsaw and the rainbow. It is only “us” New Born Eritreans who can effect change on the ground that will guarantee ethno-regional groups their right to dignity and a fair game as a crucial pillar in guaranteeing ethnic Tigrignas freedom from the thugs and blunderers who see in them nothing but a bottomless pond of Militias and Warsays and Yika’alos whose destiny is to die and to kill in endless chains of meaningless wars to defend the narrow interests of decaying ethnic aristocracies.
Would you take the ride with us?