The Reasonable Dream
ዓቅምኹም ሕለሙ ክትዕወቱ – فن الحلم الممكن
My Harassing Client : I will introduce you to one of my regular clients. Last time he was looking for an assassin and promised to send $1000 through western Union to anyone who could kill me. Here is his threat in Negarit 72. So callous. I took the case to the police but then I found out they were profoundly serious, and the paperwork was tedious. At the same time, the client slowed down, I had a second thought—is it worth the time?
Lately he resumed writing nasty comments. I was curious and looked him up and found his YouTube channel. I will show a clip, but if you have underage children with you, either send them away until you watch or fast forward the video. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the guy who harasses me endlessly….
See, I guess he is PFDJ-light because the party sends such delinquent persons to harass its opponents. Whenever I harshly criticize the corrupt Eritrean ruling party, he puts a nasty comment–and we have to deal with such narcissists who think they are Mona Lisa.
For those who do not know it, this was a well-trained Commando force set up to fight the ELF that was a guerrilla army. It was the brainchild of Asrate Kassa, the governor of Eritrea, who believed he had more legitimacy to the Ethiopian throne than Haile Selassie. The Israeli trained forces were his security in the expected confrontation with Haile Selassie.
The Commandis force was a formidable fighting machine. Its members were carefully selected from the countryside–brutes who would execute orders without using their brain. Acceptance to the force was based on how dumb they were: they asked them question like, for how many months does the mule get pregnant, or, what is a mule’s baby called. If they said, mules do not conceive, they are too smart for the force and were sent away, and they recruited the rest—so goes the Commandis legend. But I know a few of them who were smart, kind and brave, like Redie. I am indebted to Redie who took care of me when I was on the verge of dying.
Redie used to live in a rented place close to where I grew up. He was always in white shorts, white shirt, white socks and white sandals… and he always carried a radio on his shoulder, way before carrying the Boom Box became fashionable in New York. He always had a smiling face and ;oved to walk in the middle of the street as if it was a walkway in a park. Everybody in the neighborhood liked him but he was exceptionally popular with bar workers. One day in “the field” I ate an orange in the Michallazzo plantation; I didn’t know they had sprayed the trees with sei-cento, the deadly poison that was so popular at the time and known as “fewsi Keren”, the deadly insecticide that became a popular suicide potion. I was poisoned.
The villagers carried me to a clinic where I stayed for about two weeks, so sick I couldn’t eat or raise my fingers or fully move my eye lids. Together with the late Mokonnen Weldesellasie, the clinic administrator, Redie was my nurse; they would carry me in turns on their back to distant place, open my pants and wait for me, and then they would carry me back to the clinic where Redie would always feed me soup until I recovered.
Now why do I mention the Commandis? I gave you an example of a smart Commandis soldier, now here is an example of the dumb ones:
There used to be a Yemeni man in Keren, Saleim, He owned the building across from Bruno Pharmacy, where he had a garment shop. During lunch time, he would not do anything but sit on a chair behind the counter, bring bundles of ghat and tea and chew silently. It was a ritual he wouldn’t interrupt at all. One day a Commandis walked into the shop, picked a child-size shirt from the hangers and was looking at it. Then he began to try it. Salim shouted, aygyaska ya muqafil, ayAgmkha (it’s not your size!) But the guy would not stop until the shirt gave in, it was torn apart over his head. Salim wanted the price of the shirt, but the guy insisted it was not his size and he didn’t buy it. In surprise he asked, “why should I pay for something I didn’t buy?”He was not familiar with the concept of paying for damages. But the hilarious incident was resolved.
See! I was think of ego size of some persons and remembered a story about the size of dreams— according to our sizes!
Ras Tessema Asberom
There is a wide spread folktale about the generosity of Ras Tessema of maareba and people came to eat in his house. Once one such woman came to Ras Tessema’s house and the Ras, who upon detecting that she wanted to say something, asked what he could do for her. She told him of a dream she had, of sleeping with the Ras and bearing him a child. The Ras, in his usual wit, smiled and sarcastically told the woman to dream “achievable dreams”–the now common “Aqmekhen Helema” parable. I wish he was alive to advice a pseudo journalist!
إذا ابتليتم فاستتروا (If you are plagued, take cover)
I cannot utter the name of the block because it’s so sinful I will have to repent by fasting for a month. This man is so proud of one of his major achievement, being a spy of the PFDJ. He was one of the major instigators against the G15 and waged a wild campaign of defamation that resulted in their arrest. He has been doing that in pursuit of some fantastic and unrealistic dreams that he has– that’s why I remembered Ras Tessema.
I and my colleagues predicted that one day, he will be used and thrown away– and that seems to be happening now. The story goes, recently some officials in Vienna wanted to talk to him thinking he was a real diplomat but couldn’t find his name or address in the Eritrean embassy website. The called the embassy and the stuff told them the person is a freelancer, or a private businessman.
Now he is angry and is bouncing back: “I have a letter of appointment from Brezidenti Isyas.” He is also incriminating the embassy staff in Europe–he says they are moles and leftovers of the G15. The clown who dreams of becoming something big in the PFDJ establishment is now attacking the PFDJ-YPFDJ affiliates in the West. And calling them spies, qarmatat.
I wish Ras Tessema was alive to tell him, he would have told him to dream according to his size, ‘Aqmkha daa’a Hlem.’ At any rate, it will be fun to watch how the protégés of the two Yemane’s and Hagos Kisha will react after being called “sleeper-cells?” But I can tell him that he will pay for all the pain he caused to so many patriots who are languishing in the PFDJ jails.
Who is he? If I utter his name not even the entire Nile water can clean my mouth and “Enat ager”, Ethiopia will not allow me to wash my mouth in Abay. And since we remembered it, …
Let’s visit Enat Ager
This year’s politicians’ championship cup goes to Kheria Ibrahim, the Ethiopian speaker of the House who gracefully resigned ahead of time before Abiy’s flood came her way. Very smart indeed. Some of those who should have followed her step are licking their wounds; three people, including lemma Meghersa the defense minister, were fired from some party. Meghersa even made a funny remark, ‘I was not a member of the Abiy’s prosperity Party, how could they even fire me!’
Ironically, Abiy used to describe Meghersa as his true friend. His mentor. His boss and all things imaginable. Now, the whereabouts of the defense minister is unknown.
Abiy showed so much affection to Lemma, Jawar and others, how could all that affection have evaporated? Now you know the situation of Lemma, the defense minister who has disappeared from the scene, and Jawar who is in jail. Who’s next?
Last night I threw the can cowrie and it told me something: Abiy will fire Isaias from the Prosperity Party! But what if his consultant Isaias reacts by withdrawing the delegation he gave Abiy to be the dictator of Eritrea! The UAE could fire both Abiy or Isaias, or the two might find independent sponsors individually or together, and then drop out from gulf alliance?
But what’s happening in the region is like a cartoon show, if only the lives of innocent people were not involved. And who knows! The days ahead are pregnant with events and if carried out, the Tigrai election will kickstart the show, let’s just hope the recklessness doesn’t turn into a tragic show. Does Abiy realize he is steering the fate of 110 million people to the unknown? Does he understand the gravity of the situation? We will see. But to Abiy I would say, Aqmikha hlem, seb ayteTf’e—limit your dreams, they are costly.
In the meantime, let’s hope the cult in Asmara doesn’t do something foolish, though old habits die hard. I hope the man learns to dream differently and stop dreaming wild stuff. Let’s hope the rooster’s crow gets sharper voice before the guns shout. So far, it’s the rooster’s crow is the only sound of hope that we have– looking towards the horizon, the glow of the rooster’s colorful feathers, and that of the horizon at dawn, is soothing.
1.Ras Tessema Asberom: The Lion of Maareba