By Wolde S. Asfaw
Tigrai Online Jan. 20, 2013
Semer’s article “The Political Chess Game to Tame the Woyanes” posted on awate.com.is provocative and uncalled-for.
Infused in most Ethiopian’s psychic is Eritrea: its people, their plight, and destiny. While in bedded herewith, is our inability to express to the public at large, that Eritrea is a by-product of the twin evils - colonial sentiment and Egyptian (Arab) instigation.
From the start Egypt and other Arab countries prompted and designed Eritrean independence. The Eritrean ruling clique, now known as the Peoples’ Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) was cultivated to protect the interest of Egypt not Eritrea. Obsessed by its underhanded methods; the sole and unchanging motive of Egypt has been to systematically destabilize and perpetually weaken Ethiopia to the extent that it will not tamper with the Nile for its own development.
The euphoria of Eritrean independence was shadowed by the realization of surviving in a highly competitive global economy. To endure in such environment, it needed versatility, agility, and sagacity which the Eritrean ruling cliques were not endowed. Regrettably, the Isayas‘s sole experience has been gun peddling and mismanaging the economy of state. From the start, the Mafia emulating totalitarian regime in Asmara was engaged in criminal activities including abduction, assassination, counterfeiting, contraband, tax evasion, systematic looting through doggy banks so much that ‘grey economy’ became a norm. These activates were not’ a flush on the pan’. It was done by seasoned mafia operators at the nose of the then new government in Ethiopia, which was busy clearing the residue and nursing the social trauma inflicted by the Dergue.
The mission of Semere’s article seems to gage how weak or strong our stamina is to provocative ideas. It is, however, imprudent to provoke someone by pocking his eyes. Whatever his motives are, it is quite insane and depraved to read an article preoccupied with hate and misplaced priorities! Semere, hating Ethiopia, Tigray, or Amhara, will not solve economic, political and social problems of Eritrean. What a waste of time and space! Why should Semere and co. consume their energy on such a pile of bitterness? Don’t you know you have more than enough problems on your plat? Why not ask others to help you sort out your mess than pretend nothing is happening within your surroundings and attempt to divert attention from the glaring realities on the ground.
Undoubtedly, you have expressed your pernicious views on the people of Ethiopia (Amhara,Tigray) . The essential reasoning behind your argument can be summed up by a simple explanation. The internal situation in Eritrea is on the verge of imploding. You are, however, pretending as if nothing is wrong in Eritrea and attempting to divert attention instead of finding a short and long term solution to the obvious problems that are grating the very existence of Eritrea. You are emulating the frog that drunk too much water to be as big as an ox and ended up in disaster. Ignominiously, Semere brought the same old hate propaganda that fascist Mussolini used to divide and rule people of similar origins. The relationship between Seraye, Hamasien, and Akologuzaye was designed by colonial masters to foster maximum mutual hatred and suspicion in order to deprive them homogenous defence against their common enemy. Thus, you may be one of those individuals who follow the banner of fascism without realizing what you are doing. On the other hand, you could be another mercenary doing your evil contract at the expense of your brothers and sisters. Can you see the parallel discourse pursued by another Eritrean social fascist?
An obvious example is Professor Tesfa sion Medhanie, who reiterates that Isayas is engaged in a plan of creating Tigrai-tigrigne empire i.e.to unify the Tigrigna speaking people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. In Ade Abo, the reprehensible Professor’s supposition is that the ruling cliques in Eritrea are of Tigrean descent. Thus, these so-called “Eritreans” have a mission of preparing the ground for Tigray-tigrigne agenda by getting rid of the pure Eritrean political figures. His flimsy evidence is the imprisonment of the previous Eritrean officials who are still incarcerated by Isayas. His main source is a French journalist. His central point is to get rid of all Eritreans of Tigrean decent who are conspiring against genetically pure Eritreans. The reckless Professor is just doing his business of implementing hate. The regime in Asmara is busy arming people of all ages including old people in their 70’s. Hence, in a society armed to the teeth with modern machine guns (AK-47), and with festering economic and political institutions, Tsefa sion is actively engaged in encouraging and turning the Eritrean crisis in to a full-fledged war that would impact maximum blood bath of immense degree hitherto unseen in the Horn of Africa, as if what the people of Eritrea had gone through in the last 50 years is not enough.
During economic and political crisis, it is such deadly nationalism that ferments irrational views and helps to create extreme interpretations and gives fascism an opportunity to cling to power.
The ruling clique of Eritrea, the mercenaries of Egypt and other Arab countries, use hate to create and foster dangerous nationalism of Eritrea. Thus, few Eritreans like Semere, have been blindfolded and taken into the dark corners of narrow nationalism. This reminds me of an Ethiopian activist by the name Berhan Eyasu who used to say, “Narrow nationalism is nothing but a distortion of truth”. How right he was! It is a disease that should be extricated with surgical precision from wherever it is.
What Eritrea needs is a non-violent social dialogue that will create awareness in order to debate issues of national and international relevance, as well differentiate reality from delusion. Eritrea led by the current leaders missed a golden opportunity to scrutinise itself and create social consciousness, that enlightens the path and destiny, creates social cohesion, and anticipate realistic expectations from itself and its surroundings. Knowingly or unknowingly, the ruling elites choose to go only through the military victory. Social problems cannot be solved without the participation of the public at large. The consequences of such deprivation are what Semere and few others are scared to even talk let alone avert the problems.
Leaving the major political and economic crisis aside, let us see some of the glaring problems of contemporary Eritrean society that Isayas & cliques created and Semere and his elks are evading to even mention:
a) Semere, please talk about creating harmony between Moslem lowlanders and Christian highlanders. It is not me who is concocting it. The seismic fault lines are there for everybody to see. Many Eritreans choose not to talk about the simmering divisive policy engrained in the public imagination and used as a divide and rule scheme by the Italians, Egyptians, etc. The current ruling elite have been using scaremongering tactics to prolong its life in power. The propaganda used by the government is to enhance the view that portrays; ‘we rather have Isayas than face internecine war’.
b) How many of your fellow citizens have been subjected to the most inhuman suffering in the last 50 years? How many fine citizens of the world who could have saved the debacle that Eritrea is in have perished in the mountains and gorges of Eritrea? Where are the followers of “Menkae” [Cancer], who genuinely stood for the interest of the people of Eritrea? Why are the apostils of death spreading their hate among peoples who co-existed for millenniums? Is the interest of one dictator to stay in power more important than the interest of 5 million Eritreans? If you love Eritrea, venerate the people first. The ordinary people will tell you that they have no animosity with their neighbours. Why create an imaginary Chinese wall in your mind and continuously hallucinate with panic attack whenever you hear the word Ethiopia, Tigray, Amhara, etc. Be bold and go to Ethiopia and explore your yesteryear history. Suddenly you will realize that the image of Ethiopians imprinted in your brain was divisive, deceptive, and false and its initial roots go back only 100 years with the Italian advent. This was rejuvenated 50 years ago by Egypt and other Arab countries to divide and rule, as well as to prolong instability in Ethiopia. Of course, Italy’s interest was to maintain and expand its colonial empire, while Egypt wanted uninterrupted flow of River Nile, as well as to make the Red Sea an Arab lake.
Who benefits from the suffering of Eritreans? Haw many of your fellow Eritreans have lost their life crossing the deserts of Sudan, Libya, and Egypt /Sinai? How many are being eaten by sharks in the Mediterranean Sea, and Red Sea? How many Eritrean soldiers were sold as mercenaries to defend the late Gadhafi’s regime? How many of them returned home? Who is accountable for all the tragedies faced by young Eritreans in the last 50 years? Is there transparency in the Eritrean regime? Or is it “put up or shut up” as usual?
c) Semere, you might wonder what I am going to say next. Do you know how many Eritrean youth are leaving the harsh reality in Eritrea at the risk of being shot at from the rear by the security services? To put it mildly, let us say thousands a month. But do you know what happens to those who escape towards Sudan? Many are caught near the border and sold to Sudanese mafia and then sold again to Egyptian mafias with the knowledge of some prominent Eritrean Generals who are beneficiaries of human trafficking of their fellow citizens. But worst of all, many Eritrean youth who are supposed to be the inheritors of tomorrows’ Eritrea are forced to give their kidney and other organs by Arab mafias to save the life of well-off Egyptians and other Arab recipients. After losing their kidney(s), the poor Eritreans are, if they survive the desert heat and unhygienic surgery, hold hostage to pay, yet again, ransom for their release. Who benefits from this man made tragedies? Organ harvest is not exclusive to Eritreans. It is rampant usually when states barely function as states. During the Balkan civil war in the 90’s, the European mafias were heavily involved in organ harvest in Kosovo. (Recent report in Asmerino indicated that investigators found over 4000 Eritrean bodies strewn in Sinai desert.)
d)Those who managed to cross over to Ethiopia are at least safe and are treated not with the malice and animosity that Semere projected, but with respect and self-worth like any other Ethiopians. Some of them even manage to study in the universities which the Eritrean regime deprived them in their home. If the young are not gaining education in Eritrea, why are they in military training schools? Whom are they training to fight against? Doesn’t Isayas realise Bademe is a lost case that he can never gain militarily?
e)The crisis in Eritrea is precipitating economic and political upheaval on a grand scale. The tremors are felt all over the Horn. Many senior and junior officials are choosing to reside in the west rather than perish with the wrecked ship.
f) Whole national football teams are abandoning tournaments which they dearly love, for their nation has begun hopelessly regressing on a fast reverse gear to nowhere. Worst of all, the tyrant has no clue where his nation is heading to. (Listening to the recent [New Year] interviews of Isayas, is enough to indicate that this man is a liability and impossible to bring him down to reality from his cloud cuckoo land).
g)Due to Arab spring, the promised of continuous flow of finance from Egypt, Libya, Qatar, to Isayas’s regime is drying up fast. Meanwhile, Isaya’s mission to destabilise Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, and Djibouti, failed miserably. He is not rewarded for his failure. As atonement, the Arabs have calculated that it is a waste and futile to resuscitate a failing regime and are in droves marching to words resourceful, reliable and rewarding opportunities in Ethiopia.
h)At the eleventh hour, the panicking regime in Asmara is desperately begging his “friends” to mediate in its self-made crisis. So far, Isayas has pleaded to heads of states of Uganda, South Sudan, Turkey, and Qatar to help him mediate in the catastrophe he created by thoughtlessly attacking a sovereign state. The Italians suffered humiliating defeats when they encountered the Ethiopian forces in Metema 1885; Sahati 1887; Dogale1887, Mekele & Adua 1896, etc. Similarly,the Egyptians suffered similar fate at Gundet 1875; Gurae 1876; Aylet 1887; etc. The tragedy is the underwriters of Isayas never taught him the consequences of tampering Ethiopian sovereignty.
Like any other society, Eritrea has a lot of problems. Unfortunately the Isayas fabricated problems are not easy to rinse them without reinstating a democratic and transparent system. It seems few are contemplating to tackle the problem once and for all. Either way, the wreckage seems imminent. The intensity of the wreck will depend on the degree of intervention of other benevolent societies in the vicinity. Some Eritreans choose not to see such plausible predicament and instead, engage in attacking Ethiopia/ Amhara/Tigray, with evil intent as if the solution to the problem is in Ethiopia. It is unfortunate that the major problems in Eritrea cannot be comprehended by people like Semere! By now, they must learn that every Ethiopian is electrified to see the continuous economic progress that Ethiopia is registering. No one would be wishing Ethiopia to plunging into another vicious war of hostility. Of course, unless and otherwise provoked by a monster of the vicinity. So, it is pointless questioning the integrity and sovereignty of Ethiopia. If you cannot see the problems of international magnitude that Eritrea is submerged in, it means you are not better than the ostrich that hides its head in the sand.
Addendum: Semere, to the ordinary people, war is not a game. It is real and painful. The victims are those who have no vested interest in war. The physical destruction and psychological impact it causes in society is immense. If “war is a continuation of politics by other means”, the deep lingering traumatic effect it leaves behind is beyond comprehension. A senior Eritrean security official who recently defected to the west nick-named Pilot said the death toll of Eritrean fighters up until the demise of the Derg (1991) was 150,000. Out of which 20,000 were killed by the EPLF. Isayas felt militarily strong and started bulling all his neighbours. He prepared to solve the economic crisis that was looming in Asmara by military means. Against the advice of seasoned economists, Isayas rushed to print a new currency and soon it became worthless. Out of frustration, the dictator showed his true colours. In violation of international law, he brazenly attacked Ethiopian sovereign territories and declared war on Ethiopia. To prove that he is invincible, Isayas targeted Mekele, and massacred school children and civilians unprovoked. In the War of Bademe (1998-2000), another 46,000 Eritreans were killed, and over 50,000 wounded. The overall death toll, including the ELF’s causality prior to its demise, will be nearly a quarter of a million. Yet again, Isayas is arming civilians for the only feat he identifies himself with is war.
Through reconciliation, and constructive dialogue, peaceful coexistence, and mutual support could have been achieved. Hate and war are short sighted answers to complex problems that could only prolong the dictators reign by few weeks. Do you think the Gadhafi’s and the Mubarak’s would care if millions of Ethiopians and Eritrean are wiped out from the face of the earth? From the precarious existence of Sahel, Woyane gave you lungs to breathe in. Unfortunately, you have no wits to appreciate what was given to you with precious life. You luck carriage to face the truth and decency to stand for Eritreans and Ethiopians who are suffering under the brutal regime of Isayas. Semere, think again!