The Ethiopian Government must reconsider its policy on Ethiopians with Eritrean Origin
By Melat Goitom, MD
Tigrai Online, May 1, 2017
I was born in 1970 and I was born as an Ethiopian from a family with an Eritrean origin. When I was born Ethiopia was one and there was not country called Eritrea. Eritrea was part of Ethiopia.
In 1993 a state called Eritrea was created. I was not part of the creation of this state. That time I was living in Ethiopia and I was asked to vote for the Eritrean referendum as I was from an Ethiopian family with Eritrean origin. This time we were told that this is not a citizenship choice but it is only a political stand on the Eritrea fate. I believed them and never occurred to me that my Ethiopian citizenship would be compromised due to my participation on the referendum. Any way that would not have made any difference because even people who did not take part in the referendum has been affected by the policy.
Life continued and I never thought about it afterwards and my view on Ethiopia never changed. I loved Ethiopia. However, the romances between the EPLF and TPLF did not last long and it came to an end in 1998 and the Ethio-Eritrean war ignited. For the second time I would like to reiterate I never took part in it.
During this time the Ethiopian government launched a policy of deporting Ethiopians with an Eritrean origin to Eritrea, a country that I have never seen before, and I became a victim of this policy. I was deported to Eritrea and the Eritrean citizenship was imposed on me. For the third time I would like to reiterate that I did not have a say in all this.
The policy was discriminatory because it did not affect Ethiopians with an Eritrean origin who hold high place in the Ethiopian government eg Bereket Simon.
In a space of five years I was transformed from an Ethiopian citizen to an Eritrean citizen without my say so, without due judiciary processes. I am sure the people who have promoted this policy would remain to regret it because it was a big historical mistake.
In hindsight the whole political project of portioning Ethiopia into two was utterly wrong. Now I believe everyone who was involved in this process would agree with me and it is time to change it.
A lot of Eritreans who even voted to the Eritrean independence would regret it. Come to think of it though I do not blame them because they were ill informed and were driven by emotions. No debate took place about the pro’s and con’s of the separation. The information fed to everyone was one-sided.
Hence, I urge the Ethiopian government to be more prudent about the matter and reconsider about the citizenship of the Ethiopian people with Eritrean origin and restore the Ethiopian unity. The unity of the people goes beyond the port or economic issue. I am sure given the choice the Eritreans would like to come back to their mother country. I live the matter to the discretion of the Ethiopian people and the Ethiopian government.