Self-identification is an essential facet of self-determination; a reviving society habitually pursues the quest for self-identification. Responding to the collective question of “who are we” construes a stumbling projection for any community to define its cherished common values, to collectively counter social wrenches, to regain deprived rights and chart its common destiny—a revival process stems and extends to subtle revolts, soft protests and eventually culminates to an all-out uprising and violent revolution.
Our forefathers responded to the question of “who are we?” in a clear-cut definition: we are Eritreans. And by extension, we are not Ethiopians. They established the constant basics of the nation, its substantial idea, and proceeded with promoting its common destiny. They resented, protested and finally launched the long road of struggle for freedom and Hamid Idris Awate was there, the right man at the right time and place. A brave revolutionary whose first gunshot revived the hope of self-determination across the nation in times of despair and confusion; a confusion where disgraceful elements of the nation have compromised their dignity by licking the Abyssinian boot. Hamid Idris Awate and his colleagues, the free-men that they were, kicked the boots and stood firmly against the annihilation of the common Eritrean destiny; what followed of historical consequences is known to all.
In the last decade of the twentieth century, Eritrea was liberated; but unfortunately not free—liberated from the Ethiopian occupation, yet it entered a new era of domestic colonization, a wild colony of sorts; for the dismay of the pioneers of the struggle for freedom, the substantial idea upon which Eritrea was basically founded was robbed. An ethnocentric regime emerged from within the nation and under a gloomy but euphoric situation, a betrayal of the nation. An ethnocentric regime secured total dominance over the entire nation, the Tigrigna minority (I have no reason to believe in the 50/50 ratio imposed by EPLF/PFDJ) has been controlling, manipulating and gambling with the nation’s affairs since the establishment of EPLF.
The ethnocentric regime has reined over the nation for two decades now; the bad thing was that, non-Tigrignas are made to feel inferiors in their own country where they are adapted to inhabit the false-guilt complex. The bet timhirti sawra machine has produced thousands of Deqi Halima, who perfected the mentality of the victim in which they apologize to the murderer; it is not freakish for the victims of such a massive oppression to swear “we are all right” while unable to look out for their knocked-off teeth and bleeding noses. The good thing is that the ethnocentric rulers never considered compassion but kept showing sheer arrogance and infinite cruelty coupled with open bigotry. Thus, non-Tigrigna communities have developed common understanding of the kind of destiny that awaits them under the ethnocentric dictatorship.
Lebamat-Tigrigna intellectuals woke up from their deep hibernation only in December 2001, ba’ad Kharab Betho—when the tsunami hit their own shady-tree. It was then that they run away bare-foot and discovered democracy, what a fantastic idea, democracy! Eritrean children would love to enjoy watching a movie of devils switching to angels and former offenders to innocent victims. The actual reasons compelled this bunch of lebamat Tigrigna to revolt against the regime and discover the goodness of democracy. But is non other than the paranoid president, the blind wolf Isaias Afwerki, who trashed the halter rope constitution that was drafted to manipulate and stifle the non-Tigrigna Eritreans—had the mad-man not dispersed their ambitions, the inventors of the halter rope would have bridled the nation towards realizing the same objectives the mad-man is struggling nail and teeth to realize. Under constitutional maneuvers, they could have achieved their sub-national mission, and yet, could have drawn big smiles and a thank you gesture from the halter-rope-bridled peoples. The mentally disturbed Isaias Afwerki, wose endless military adventures resulted in damaging the nation, is as fatalist as the elements who caused the rivers of blood of the Eritrean martyrs. The blood has been flowing beginning with Abdulkadir Kabire, through Hamid Awate and his heroic comrades, and continuing with the blood that spilled recently from the martyrdom of the young combatants of the Eritrean National Salvation Front and the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization who gave their lives on the 1st of January 2010, defending their land and dignity.
The madness of Isaias Afwerki has a lot to do with the wrecked heart of our national hero Abu-Rejela who shed tears watching the pale faces of his fellow ex-combatants who are condemned to languish in refugee camps and deprived of setting foot in the land for which they waged the struggle, including the historical Togoruba battle. The souls of the pioneers of the Eritrean struggle have departed this world, one after another. They were unable to utter anything, but their souls must have been cursing the generation of rascals and bigots spearheaded by Isaias Afwerki.
In his latest interview (Aljazeera February 20, 2010) Isaias Afwerki startled Jane Dutton by abruptly calling her names. He spat lies that are not news to the Eritrean people. Isaias Afwerki is a prominent liar, again, not news to us “Eritreans”. The monster was dumbfounded by the audacity of the journalist who confronted him face up and gave him a nice lesson on who she was and who he was. Isaias generally prefers to be interviewed by the meek (except for Donald Boström and Osman Ay Farah); this time he was taken by surprise and showed his paranoid personality which is described by Paula Anne Ford-Martin as follows:
Persons with paranoid personality disorder tend to be self-centered, self-important, defensive, and emotionally distant. Their paranoia manifests itself in constant suspicions rather than full-blown delusions. The disorder often impedes social and personal relationships and career advancement. Some individuals with PPD are described as “litigious,” as they are constantly initiating frivolous law suits. PPD is more common in men than in women, and typically begins in early adulthood. (Judge for yourself),
Suppose Isaias Afwerki is proven a certified Tselul, an insane, what is wrong with the tens of thousands of his supporters, particularly those in the Diaspora? Let us presume, for the sake of argument, that the veterans of the Diaspora are unaware of the dire situations in the country, then, what is happening to the young men and women who fled the country in recent years and months? The young who are hosted by democratic nations and who now enjoys sweet freedom? How could those who dodged gunshots to cross extremely dangerous borders, those who made a run for their lives, would forget the disastrous situations under which their fellow citizens are tottering? Yet, unashamedly they joined the gatherings to support the very regime which poisoned their peaceful lives at home—it is mind boggling to see such people carrying “Nhna Nsu, Nsu Nhna” banners while the horrifying conditions they went through still buzzes in their ears.
When I published an article extremism versus chauvinism, (awate.com May 16, 2009), I certainly expected to receive insulting and degrading e-mail reactions though my simple dream was nothing more than to be heard by some fair minded fellow citizens. I wished to be heard by solution-oriented people who could stand on their feet and call the Spade a Spade. At least people who could give their opinion and challenge me. However, what I got in return was e-mails of the “ata hatela adgi, ata teref Jebha” kind—very few e-mails that addressed the issues in a civilized manner; e-mails dropped like green leaves on a pile of dry wood. That hideous phenomenon is but a direct corollary of the art of denial and blind hatred that Isaias Afwerki and his bunch of bigots planted and nurtured throughout the long years of their political control over the nation’s affairs. It is a disgraceful mental craze that we must deal with and cure in time. Otherwise, our national debate, including the “National Conference for Democratic Change” scheduled on July 30, 2010 would amount to plowing the sea. For example, see the Readers’ Comments on asmarino.com, once you are done, go and check the Readers’ Comments on farajat.com, then, compare where bigotry is more flourishing. You be the judge.
The ongoing national debate on awate.com has drawn the attention of the Eritrean public, including in Keren Wo Asmara—writers have sparked the torch of the campaign of enlightenment, and it seems it will not stop. Eventually, I think it will lead to the total rejection of the expansionist ethnocentric regime. Arguments that Ali Salim along with other writers brought forth have pushed the high tides and fiercely shook the Train of Bigotry. In an attempt to mend the issues, fair-minded Ethnic Tigrignas are trying hard to shed some light on the legitimacy of the grievances of non-Tigrigna Eritreans under the PFDJ regime. Unfortunately, some of them has not elevated the argument to calling things in their right names; all they have done, so far, doesn’t exceed hovering above the taboo issues, and somehow misfiring and missing the target by attributing the disparities among Tigrigna and non-tigrignas to the Italian, British and Ethiopian colonial rules. According to Ahmed Raji, under the rein of Haile Selassie non-Tigrignas constituted 60% of senior government official posts in Barka and Gash-Setit in 1965 while under the PFDG rule, in 2009, non-Tigrignas constituted 6% of senior government officials in the same region. That is despite the fact that non-Tigrignas have enough educational qualifications and experiences that they earned through individual initiatives. Even the black and white statistics by Mr. Raji didn’t persuade many of those intellectuals who kept misfiring. As recently as March 01, 2010, Dr. Bereket Habteselassie describes Isaias Afwerki’s government as “an equal opportunity oppressor,” which it is not. Few Tigrigna writers attempted to disown chauvinism and jump-off the Bigotry Train. Alas, some were pulled back (by the tail) to the train or made to keep quite and hide from the surveillance radar. The bigotry train is heading for indefinite hell. It is up to the ethnic Tigrigna to continue on it or drop-off and put brakes on the falsity of the imagined ethnic superiority.
But all is not that bad. All of the sudden, The Eritrean Covenant of Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhtar has caught Tigrigna chauvinists off guard; especially the kind of ethnic guards who have tried every leaf and every rag to cover the private parts of PFDJ. The Covenant has loosened the last knot in the pants of the notorious Jigna Ba’al Srre and rendered him Srre zeybellu qetafi. Ali Afa (awate February 24,2010) has extracted statistics from the Eritrean Covenant and calculated that ethnic Tigrigna occupy 99% of the actual governing positions; they couldn’t have achieved these total hegemony if not for the deceitful and fraudulent manners—shiftinet and qeteftef. Non-Tigrigna morons who occupy the few senior positions in Isaias’ regime must think about restoring their lost dignity and for once be loyal to their society, especially the society that is experiencing ethnic cleansing and annihilation—history doesn’t forgive quislings collaborating with oppressors to destroy their people.
Non-Tigrigna Eritreans are poised for the second Eritrean Revolution; a new generation of Eritreans is ushering its way towards a new democratic Eritrea, the revolution is imminent to reclaim the commonly cherished values of respect, tolerance and coexistence. It has already been mapped, the necessity of self-preservation dictates on everyone to define their goals. Our forefathers have answered the most important question: we are not Ethiopians and we are Eritreans.
The ethnocentric clique might try to calm the waters with sweet talk; the habitual attitude of lowlanders who would give-up their children’s’ meal to a seemingly nice talking, hungry stranger, will not work anymore.
Eritreans must walk firmly towards building strong, peaceful, tolerant, developed and stable nation. For the non-Tigrigna, Eritrea is strictly defined as the ideal principle embodying Eritreanism. Get ready to defend the cherished and common principles of the nation. Beware of another bunch of wimps who might attempt to deceive the people and take them for a ride by imprisoning, terrorizing and killing citizens or by spying on them. It is a fact that Eritrean soldiers below the rank of NCO serving under the current regime are simple Askaris, but the officers might already be building robust trenches that the PFDJ couldn’t over run. The cheap game of violating national unity and utilizing the territorial integrity of Eritrea as scarecrow to chock the legitimate demands of non-Tigrigna Eritreans is over—they will not settle for half baked solutions; nothing would be postponed for tomorrow either. Our rights must be regained immediately, even if we do not belong to the ethnocentric regime, and its miscreant leader, who treats our children like orphans our dignified elders like beggars on their own land.