This piece was written in response to a respected Ethiopian Awatista after he tried to put a shade on what Abay Woldu, an Ethiopian, from Tigray region, who was a member of TPLF leadership during the armed struggle and now a governor of Tigray state, said on the occasion of 40 anniversary of TPLF.
I am in a different opinion with many here, including my compatriots and the writter himself. I don’t see any problem that Ato Abay mentioning his triumph, trials and tribulations with different political opponents during the early stage of the armed struggle. He did not call for a revenge, now he is in a better place. He did not differentiate between Ethiopian oppositions and Eritrean one. He did not demand an apology from these groups for for fighting him. He just said, how it was, and who he had to fight to get where he is now. In fact, I see the writter holding grudge and demanding never to be mentioned in a darker light by anyone. Ato Abay’s comment seems to be a passing one to explain the stages of the struggle and who were the actors of that struggle of the opposite sides. Stories like that don’t belong only in a library and museums as the writter suggests, but also in occasions to commemorate the struggle. I am not for glossing over certain important truth, if the speaker deems them appropriate to tell them. We also need to remember that Abay Weldu is not part of the new breed of leaders of TPLF/EPRDF. He was part of that struggle. He may have lost close friends, comrades or relatives, during the fight with these groups. He himself may have been shot at. He himself personally may have been victimized. Therefore, as human emotions dictate it, he should at least be allowed to vent in what ever venue and whatever manner he chooses. He doesn’t have to bite his tangue forever for being politically correct to be falsely polite, while there is something he feels important to be told. That is what I think….
I flet that what Eyob supported is a flaw and for that I responded to show my disagreement on the said above. Here it follows.
Dear Eyob Medhane,
Let me bring the said and quoted to us here by AT.
During the 17 years of popular struggle, since the sea of reactionaries was wide, there was no one who didn’t attempt to annihilate this [TPLF] democratic organization… [Derg, EPLF, EDU and a host of others are mentioned] Jebha, supported all reactionaries to annihilate us, but in the end, it fell in [the fire], was charred, and disappeared.”
The quoted above in general and in particular “… Jebha, supported all reactionaries to annihilate us, but in the end, it fell in [the fire], was charred, and disappeared.”This is the core issue of the subject matter.
Well, first of all, there are first hand eye-witness here (we are blessed for having them). They can give us what happened exactly during that period. They did so before, they are doing it now and they will do it till the end.
First of all, you said, “We also need to remember that Abay Weldu is not part of the new breed of leaders of TPLF/EPRDF. He was part of that struggle. He may have lost close friends, comrades or relatives, during the fight with these groups. He himself may have been shot at.”
Dear Eyob, we should also equally know that some of the AT members, prominant writers and commenters (Amanuel H., Kokhob S., Semere A., and many) are the first victims of TPLF collaboration with EPLF indeafeating ELF (Jebha) militarily. To repeat, “MILITARILY” not “politically”, economically or socially. No Eritrean was happy with what happened to ELF and hence the grievance is still alive. And a supposed respected by virtue touches that wound, the pain becomes more.
To come back to the quote, let me bisect it so that we can have an insight.
- The sea of reactionaries was wide.
He (Abay Woldu) should remember that ELF was in Eritrea and defeated militarily when it was in her homeland. We cannot blindly say that why TPLF was in Eritrea at that time as we know the history but there is a valid and acceptable reason ELF to react TPLF though strategically it might not be correct. To mention EPLF as a reactionary within the TPLF history book is also another historical flaw. There were disagreements among EPLF and TPLF but that cannot be labeled as reactionary in its nature. Therefore, Abay Woldu denied the historical facts from two dimensions and this exposes his sleepiness.
- Jebha, supported all reactionaries to annihilate us
I elaborated the reactionary term in my first point. But let it assume it in that way as what is in his words. If EPLF was among the reactionaries, did ELF helped? As for me, I don’t think so. Let SGJ and Amanuel Hidrat interject here. I need to learn more about this. The conflict that happened with ELF and TPLF was mainly a territorial issue. That single phenomenon has led both fronts into a bitter relationships. And as we all know, the 1998-2000 was a continuation of that disagreement though the player is different. Had the incidence of ELF and TPLF was solved wisely, we could not have such terrible war of after independence. ELF was much more mature politically than EPLF at that time and he knew what it will happen if they ignore that issue.
- but in the end, it fell in [the fire]
Where is the end? ELF never stopped its struggle and still they are continuing. Can one declare victory temporarily because one has stopped doing it? ELF by 1982 was a front with more than 15,000 well equiped freedom fighters. Some of them joined EPLF (Sagem), some of them continued their struggle armed but in different form, some returned back to their civilian life and very dedicated leaders and members continued their peaceful political struggle. We have still political organizations and parties, prominent individuals within the struggle against the tyranny. Abay Woldu know them very well as there are some who are stationed in Tigray and above all the ENCDC with its head office in Ethiopia.
If we see the Derge issue, Dergue regime was defeated in all areas and especially “POLITICALLY and ECONOMICALLY”. It was only then after it became easy to remove from power. I might be naive but I am quite confident that no one, NO ONE, within the opposition is fighting again to Re-install the Derge system in Ethiopia. Rather, there could be some who romantize Emperor Hailes Silassie Era and want to maintain that legitimacy.
In the case of ELF, it is different. No single Eritrean was happy with what happened with ELF except couples of EPLF leaders. Even top ideologues of of PFDJ today are members of ELF till its disintegration, like Zemheret Yohaness and Ahferom Tewelde. Majority of freedom fighters still regret for what happened between ELF and EPLF.
The good thing is, all happened inside Eritrea. How can then a man supposed to be honored by virtue tell us that Jebha went to fell in [fire]. Does it make hil proud also if one segment of Eritrean freedom fighters went to fire? Today, Ethiopia knows more than almost anybody the significance of political solutions. It is because of this wisdom that TPLF formed a united EPRDF front and now opened the country for democratization process. There is no way to return Ethiopia in the hands of TPLF and there is no wish from TPLF to do so. Political solutions are the only means at the end. Military defeat is always temporary in nature. people can raise even after 2000 or more years to bring the question they had by their ancestors. You know better than me Eyob in this regard and hence no need to be a cadre over you though it is not a mistake if I remind you.
- [Jebha] was charred
According to Cambridge advanced learner’s dictionary, charred is defined as: burnt and black. Andworldreferenece.com has defined charred as “blackened by fire”.
let it be in that way according to him for a moment. If that is so, is it then a “GENOCIDE” for what it happened to 15,000 armed freedom fighters of ELF? I have followed an excellent discussion between Amde and Saleh Johar and brother destaa interject to define what GENOCIDE is. destaa put,
“The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court definition of Genocide. Article 6 of the Rome Statute provides that ‘genocide’ means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”
If that is so, then, Eritreans will need to open a file for what it happened to her freedom fighters. They were charred, burned to fire by TPLF and still lost soul individuals like Abay Woldu are among the criminals who did that happen and are still walking among us freely. Worse, they are still proud of it.
Dear, Eyob, what Abay Woldu said is not to remember history but to tell us that he is proud of been among the genociders. I am quite sure this is completely none of Tigray peoples business and if they say so, it is only a mistake. It is him and those who share the same thinking.
Last but not list,
- [Jebha]… and disappeared.
Here is see a confusion of Abay Woldu. Let’s define what it mean “disappeared”
When used without object and hence in Abay Woldu’s words
- to cease to be seen; vanish from sight.
- to cease to exist or be known; pass away; end gradually:
- (of a person) to vanish under suspicious circumstances:
Well, if ELF was charred, Abay Woldu has seen were these freedom fighters went. They are burnt to hell, simple. He saw the anguish, the cry, the flame and he personally felt the energy radiated from the heat generated. They [ELF] deserved that (according to him as they are reactionaries and who cooperated also other reactionaries). Then why he is looking an innocent about where they are about? 15,000 men and women just vanished because of TPLF criminals [according to Abay Woldu’s testimony].
Well, AT are too generous. Very generous! And Eyod Medhane, a man respectd by all Awatistas and a source of wisdom to many, is coming to tell us to be humble with Abay Woldu, one of among TPLF leaders, a man at the top to make decisions, and a man who is not even shy after 33 years of the GENOCIDE [according to his own words] and is still who is walking freely, without any case opened on him.
Dear Eyob Medhane, we know our history. We cannot wait one to tell us to be shy simply because one is telling his old day acts. I am disappointed at you. Many may respect you as a source of knowledge but I disrespect you, “DISREPECT”, to repeat “DISRESPECT” you for not KNOWING your knowledge. You did before similar mistakes here at awate.com and now you are coming to tell us to ignore our history. How disrespectful person you are? Can’t you be shy on your knowledge?
I will not be give-up on you though as I believe you will process your knowledge sooner or later. Just have a look on the difference between “KNOWLEDGE” and “KNOWING”.
I would also like T.Kifle to share this as a message to him. T.Kifle also acknowledged that what Abay Woldu said is RIGHT but not Necessary. A message to you T.Kifle, if he is right and if it shared by you too though not a right time to say it, you both are responsible for what happened to ELF members GENOCIDE.
(Originally written at the comment section of http://awate.com/tplf-anniversary-celebrations-looks-ahead-to-regional-integration/ by me
I congratulate for TPLF in doing a commendable job by changing himself from a marxist-leninist freedom fighter to the one who accepts political diversity and still keep his prmosie to his own people. TPLF was courageous enough to drop his original manifesto of Abay Tigray and took a universal approach to fight for social grievances. Tigray people were oppressed people and their social grievances forced them to fight so that the source of their grievances can not stopped. They did this by toppling the brutal Derge regime. They cooperated with all possibel allies to make their dreams happen. Once the brutal regime was removed, they look deeply into the prevailing problems of their own people while working with other people too.
There is one fact in this regard, the role of EPLF can not be forgotten. Without this historical link, TPLF’s history is INCOMPLETE. I wish former EPLF members were invited there and proudly express their historical contribution at this special day. PFDJ is not EPLF and hence can not represent EPLF. But officials within PFDJ are still alive who did a great role for TPLF’s dream to come true.
Today, PFDJ is against everything, against history and against peace. If TPLF’s original manifesto was kept as it is, may be what we see today in Tigray could not have happened. They were wise to change their program of making an independent state country called Tigray. Now, it is a state within bigger Ethiopia, state that has its own way of doing things. And the social grievances that happened before has very least chance to re-occur.
Yet, there are thousands of miles to go so that a regional peace can be established, first in Ethiopia, as there still social grievances in other states, like the Oromo, debub Hizboch, Afar, etc, taking a brave politcal decision will enhance by many folds the progress we see both at state (kilil) and national level. The government at Addis Ababa should continue to be brave in accomodating extermists and discuss to end the remaining social grievances. If not, no state can sleep well when there is someone who is still screaming from anguish.
Second point: Addis Ababa government which is still under huge influence of TPLF should be brave enough to end the border dispute with Eritrea. Regional integration within the horn of Africa can only be achieved by respecting each other not by keeping a hostage of each other. the border issue should be and must be finalized once and for ever. Then, Eritrea will also join the on-going regional integration for ever.
Unfortunately, PFDJ system will not allow for economic integration. But, I am quite sure in one thing. If the government of Ethiopia and the government of Eritrea, no matter who is in power agreed to settle the border issue and this is of course the Ethiopian government who rejects the implementation of the agreement, then, the political evolution within each country can take its own course.
Whether the border issue is resolved or not, Eritrea will not live in PEACE with every one, be it with its own people or neighbouring, under the PFDJ system. But, the PFDJ system matters above all for Eritreans. Eritreans can choose to stay in slavery under the brutal system if they choose so or completely dismantle it and install a new system that gives them peace within themselves and their neighbouring countries. Within this context then, the Government of Addis Ababa should pull out the PFDJ issue while dealing with the BORDER ISSUE. PFDJ will decay sooner or later but the border will not. Today, we might feel that the border issue can be resolved once PFDJ is removed. But the truth is not.
We, Eritreans, above everything fought war to make our country free of foreign occupation and TPLF did a big role in this regard. I thank you on this historical day. Neverthless, we removed one dictator and another home grown dictator was nurtured. This is our own problem. Our problems can be olved by ourselves. We allowed a dictator to grow up and we are responsible for this and to remove it, it rellies on our shoulder. If you help us, like what we did to each other during the armed struggle, it is good and welcomed. But, still another pressing issue still remains.
On this occasion then, I will remind the Ethiopian government and historically, TPLF, to END the border dispute once for ever. This is the demand of Eritrean people. We didn’t chose to go to war with Ethiopia, PFDJ pushed us. We went and we fought to keep our sovereignity alive, there us no sin within this. People did before and they will do now. The war for Eritreans was just like as if two individuals (like the Greek history) or kings went to war because of their son and daughter’s love affair. The king (PFDJ – without official declaration and no parliament involved in the decision making process) called us, the same to Ethiopia (though much wiser to decide it at parliamental level through official declarations – the EPRDF lead government – it is a wisdom actually) and we went. This is what kings do when they have absolute power and in the case of Eritrea, it becomes more noticeable, this is what I see in our side, I have little idea on how Ethiopians see the declaration done by the government in Addis-Ababa. In this regard, the government of Ethiopia did everything through official declarations, even for the deportation of innocent Eritreans from Ethiopia. PFDJ government, which I prefer to call it, as the Eritrean government is 100% controlled and manipulated by PFDJ, didn’t make official declarations. He had all the right to declare in reaction. This is a normal norm of governments. Governments has all rights that they assume to protect their country. PFDJ is not a government and hence can not make declarations. What he will pretend is, as a front, he has a right to defend the country, not as a government to protect the country. Politically, defense and protection are different things.
I believe that there exists Eritrean government because Eritrea is a sovereign country. We have all the government structures and above all the people. What I reject is the system installed by PFDJ to run the government. Eritreans did not chose that system but all they believe is they have a government. be it weak, corrupted, communist, athiest bla bla does not matter. And the people believe that Eritrea is a sovereign country with definite border lines. And if there is any foreigner who lives in the country illegally, they have a right to bring him to the international rule of law. In this regard then, Ethiopian government should leave without any pre-condtion from the area that he is living illegally. If he choses, let him get a legal document, a VISA (seriously). The Ethiopian government can not send his people or his army to USA because he wanted so. Or, he can not bargain politically to change a system that he is confortable with.
Yes, I do agree that PFDJ is not for PEACE and development. If it does, let it be. Ethiopians are capable to guard their peace while they are in their own land. Living inside a foreign country can not give one PEACE. And PFDJ is anti-development (indeed he is), let him collapse. It is a very simple economic principle. Ethiopia has lots of gates to make business with. They have verified this throught their own experiences. Home grown and internally focused policies are always the means for PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT. PFDJ policy is above everything an enemy to Eritreans, to his own people. The Ethiopian government has see this and Eritreans are experiencing it.
To conclude, Ethiopian government should believe that there is an Eritrean government no matter what system he has. Then, respect the Eritrean sovereignity. Ethiopian government under the leadership of EPRDF in which TPLF is part didn’t make any hesitation to accept Eritrean sovereignity and to respect what you accept makes you only STRONGER and more wiser. Because, Eritrea and Ethiopia as countries, Eritreans and Ethiopians as people is the scale finally. This is our measurement scale. Systems die, evolve or remain unchanged. TPLF evolved into where it is today, from 11 young freedom fighters inspired by marxist-leninist ideology to EPRDF then to government and a capitalist and some how democratic power. On the other hand, EPLF, initially of the same history, evolved into a national government and was able to form a transition government, a very commendable historical acchivement, just like that of EPRF upto 1994. Then, he handed power to PFDJ and we are where we are now, we see TPLF evolved while PFDJ decayed. It is historical discourse.
And, I call your friendship to help Eritrean people who are in desperate need of help. We have hundred thousands of refugees who need care. We call for unconditional helping hand by all means possible. Eritreans at this time are faced with very complex probles, social grievances, political grievances, ecocomical grievances, just to mention some. For this the minimim demand is basic human rights respect. Else, it will be solved by the Eritreans themselves. Eritreans problems should not be used as a tool to advance the political dispute with PFDJ. Marxists do that because that is how they solve problems. Ethiopia can not be a substitute of our country. We are refugees there, just like the Jews in Egypt and later all over the world. They were not happy till they get a country they call home. Equally, we Eritreans may live in comfort in your country but we know that it is not our home. We can build houses, accumulate wealth and get integrated. But, but, we can not considered as HOME. Home is sweet and hence Eritrea is SWEET. We are only safe when we live in a country that we are attached emotionally, culturally, historically and with the soil that we came from. Therefore, we are refugees in Ethiopia and treat us most. We are so delicate and easy to cry. We are so sensitive and always orphaned. (This is my personal two years experience – I am living in France relatively safe and confort, as a student) but I am missing my HOME, the simple hut, covered by grass, with no bath room, toilet, salon bla bla – but that room is the most beautiful house that I ever slept peacefully and so is Eritrea.)
Congratulations again TPLF for making your dreams come true and I wish you good luck with the rest remaining journey. Long live TPLF.
I feel some responsibility to put the following post for public awareness and thereby as Eritreans and Ethiopian readers here to voice for protecting our local and tradition products.
Those who might be busy and not able to finish the who readings, please sign your petition here
Therefore, I call all concerned Eritreans to sign for this petition and in the comment section to put Eritrea also has a right to claim a right for this product.
This is the petition form
Before going into the subject, just some questions
Have you ever heard egyptians fishing from the Red Sea Eritrea and sell the fish in their local market as it is coming from nearby Red Sea Egypt?
Have you ever heard fishermen from Yemen trying to reach Eritrean territory and harvet fish illegally?
Have you ever heard camels from Eritrean being sold in the middle east markets?
Have you ever heard a local or traditional product coming from Eritrea or Ethiopia with a protected sign, just like an intellectual property?
I am quite sure everybody is aware on the 09 (PFDJ trading company) activity of the 1990s on COFFEE business. They buy from Ethiopian market and pack it as it is a product of Eritrea and export to the world market. http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/events/2011/gi-africa-2011/sentayhu_en.pdf
I am quite also sure on your awareness regarding what PFDJ agricultural processing industries are trying to do. For example, potato processing industry which is established in Alebu is getting its raw product from local area, process it and then directly export to Italian market in gross quanity. The Italian company then divide into small packaging and sell as if it is of local product originated from Italy or a product processed by Italian company. Eritrea is almost benefitting nothing from this unacceptable procedure.
Have a read please on what it mean to protect local and traditional products. Those from USA, the subject might be strange but it is an on-going trade dispute between US and EU and a major block from reaching the international Trade Agreements.
Just a general introduction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographical_indications_and_traditional_specialities_in_the_European_Union
This kind of trade cheating is now ending by having a right to origin and tradition.
Today, my objective is to call you to join the petition group and sign against a Dutch company which is trying to use illegally Teff in the world market. Here it follows
A call for petition and for public awareness
At this time, Eritrea might not be able to introduce a protecting strategy to its local and tradition food products. But soon a policy need to be introduced for protecting Geographical Indication products so that the owners of the product should be the sole property owners and beneficiers. In Europe and now at world level, protecting local and traditional product is of major concern in the world trade agreerments. I am studying my masters degree in this regard and I hope one day Eritrea to introduce such protocols and reach the world market through its geographical indicated products. Eritrea has a very promising potential in different varieties of food products which can be protected and marketed within thin norm such as fish product, meat products, crop products and different fruits and vegetables
Within this context, Ethiopia has started to protect its product under PGI sich as coffee and now are heading to protect other crop products like teff. Though Ethiopia is a world known producer and consumer of teff, Eritrea also produces and consumes teff in different forms.
Before, the origin of food product was not a big issue though in Europe it has a long history wihich dates back to 1890s (Paris agreement). Today, almost all local and traditional products originated from Europe are protected under PGI or AOP/PDO. And protecting the product benefits and protects the owner and thereby plays a great role in impactining positively local economy.
Teff was not from Europe but today they are either able to produce or import. Once imported or produced they process and add value and thereby generate huge profits. And during this process, the original owners benefit almost nothing and are ignored. This was what was happening in the world market before and it will continue to happen unless the owners of such local and traditional products claim for their rights and develop a means to protect under the international norms.
It is within this context that Ethiopia is suing a case against Dutch company to protect her right on teff. This case should not be left to Ethiopia alone. Because it is not only Ethiopia that owns this product, at least Eritrea also shares some cultural similarities on the cultivation, production, processing and consumption of Teff. Joining the petition therefore helps us to give our voice and to tell the world that Eritreans will also have a right to protect products that they claim it belongs them.
For more information about PGI and PDO or TSG products, you can have a read on http://en.wikipedia.org/…/Geographical_indications_and_trad…
Or you can also contact me if you need more information as I am particularly studying this subject for my masters degree
Therefore, I call all concerned Eritreans to sign for this petition and in the comment section to put Eritrea also has a right to claim a right for this product.
This is the petition form
Our political organization groups are easily shakable. History shake them, human rights activity shake them and individuals who have big mouth can shake them.
We need to build our political organization in such away that they can absorb any shake. If human rights activity reach them, let the door be open and be audited. But let not their visit shake the organization. We should have a capacity to absorb big earthquake if not what we design will fail again and again.
For example, the Kunama opposition leader generated a big earthquake after denying Hamid Idris Awate as our icon in the armed struggle. The whole meeting attaendants diverted their attention and stood to correct him. Just a waste of time. history has it all. History is merciless and anyone who denies history denies himself and also history denies him.
Now, the case of IT and coming of Elsa Chrum has shaked ESMYS and everybody has been affected. Many from EYSC came in and tried to manupilate the case by their crocodile tears. Many from ESMYS vomited their hatred towards the accusers.This is a waste of time and energy and it is simply a shame to see our political organizations being easily shaked.
Lets design a much stronger political movements that has a capacity to overcome any stress or earthquake imposed on them. I am talking about all and especially our YOUTH opposition camps, both EYSC and EMYNS, and if there are others, let them be strong.
Wasting a valuable energy and time watching the other to fail is nothing but a weakness. Lets build all rounded with what ever political line of thinking organizations to defeat PFDJ politically, militarily, socially and economically.
I am very hopeful that the case of IT has tested our status and it is not that much difficult to guage where we are.
I am calling some emotionally drived individuals who are threating openly individuals like Elsa Chrum. I am following the on-going word exchange and outraged hatred based accusations.
My call is, if ESMNS is fighting for justice, and it stands against the PFDJ system, there is no rational reason to follow injustice and PFDJ way of threatening people. If Elsa Chrum did something wrong, let you open a file and charge her. She is living in the world where there is justice and any concerned group or individual can suit a case.
Concerning Esayas, I hope he will not be endangered like our previous freedom figheters, the Menkae, who vanished unnoticed by EPLF. Let’s remember that history can repeat.
To conclude, my call is for wisdom, justice and free from emotions. This will not help the journey to end the tyranny in Asmara. Equally, I call the leadership of ESMNS to intervene genuinely and rest the case for the common good. If this case is handled wrongly, the YOUTH opposition group will be nothing but a carbon copy of PFDJ and a possible future dictator.
tes, one of your good wishers