I am a person who is obsessed with searching the truth about the world problems and their solution for the betterment of the humankind. My search is boundless within the never-ending journey of the cosmopolitan universe.
My journey is established within my self-guided formative spirituality which often rejoices me with ecstasy. Through these journies, what I experience is an enlightenment path filled with joy and ecstasy. Without doubt these transcedent experiences are uplifting my soul to ascend into a higher liberal order.
Hold on, I am not here to invite you to the world I live in. I do not think it will be well suited to you. Just be in your world. No matter where you live, my objective is to share my enlightenment path [that] I am passing through. This path is not an easy path though it can be like stepping into a red ribbon guided path in honor of my given almightiness.
I am doing this because the wisdom I am able to acquire so far could be an opportunity to broaden your understanding of the Eritrean matters, especially in government formation and power control.
I am a self-proclaimed politician ordained under the doctrine of liberal democratic ideology. My guidance is not different but the light given to every human being. I am saying this because all human beings are equal.
Though everyone is bestowed to the afforementioned precious gift, very few have succeeded to realize their grace that enable them share it with their fellows. I do not know why but the light I am talking about is embedded within me since my birth coded under my secret name – Tesfabirhan – “the Hope of Light”. Some angry pals often call me, “Tesfa Tselmat – hope of the darkness”. The good thing is, light and darkness are complementary. The power that govern the world relies on the illumination – the power of light and the power of darkness. Those who see my wisdom, they will call me Tesfabirhan, and those who don’t, Tesfatselmat.
Hold on, are you wondering what am I talking about? If you don’t, I can understand. One may wonder but the world we live in and the universe that surrounds us is full of secret things. Uncovering these secrets can either let you discover the beauty you live or understand the dark forces which are enslaving you by removing your full freedom.
For most, these secrets are hidden. Very few know the world secrets. Knowing these secrets is not an easy journey. The good thing is these secrets are not far from what we experience daily. Let us just contemplate. Through contemplation, we can be free from the chains we live in and be free people who live in this beautiful world.
On Tuesday, 24 July 2018, Eritrean Dictator Isaias Afewerqi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmded were bestowed the Order of Zayed for the so-called their remarkable achievement to bring peace in the horn of Africa and the region after signing a Peace agreement to end the bloody war conducted between Eritrea and Ethiopia in the year 1998-2000. This war took about 100,000 lives and displaced many people from their ancestral land. After the war, the two countries entered into a proxy-war through armed groups and political groups. In consequence, This senseless war had paralyzed the diplomatic and any other activities between the two countries.
With the election of the new Prime Minister in Ethiopia, the relationship between the two countries showed a fresh start and finally, a peace agreement was signed. This development is a relief to the horn of Africa region and the Red Sea zone. It is within this fresh discourse that many countries which have a strategic interest in the Red Sea and in the horn of Africa healed the accord.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates(UAE) are the first respondents who welcomed the agreement by inviting the two leaders. Though it is believed that these two countries played a major role in the Peace Agreement Process conducted mostly behind doors, no official statement was released whether they played any supportive role or not. In fact, the two countries claim that there was no any other part engaged in the process.
The objective of this article is not to see whether Saudi Arabia and UAE had a role in the peace process. Rather, I am trying to give importance to the prestigious reward given by these two countries to Dictator Isaias Afewerqi and Dr. Abiy Ahmed.
Saudi Arabia – f
on September 16, 2018, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has awarded its highest medal award to Dictator Isaias Afewerqi and Dr. Abiy Ahmed. In principle, the medal named, “The Order of King Abdulaziz” is a special award given to citizens of Saudi Arabia and world leaders for meritorious service to the Kingdom. I am not sure what service was given to Saudi Arabia by these two world leaders, especially the newly elected Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed. However, Saudi Arabia has a serious strategic interest in these two countries for many reasons.
Dictator Isaias Afaewerki is already engaging Eritrea with the Saudi Arabian lead allies in the war conducted in Yemen. The Yemeni civil war is killing innocent civilians. And, Eritrea is hosting Airbase in its territory that is been in use for operation. This is a great service to Saudi Arabia and its allies. I believe the occasions that can cover its true motive from the world while at the same time giving a world recognition to the services provided by Eritrea is the best opportunity Saudi Arabia to recognize Isaias Afewerki’s service.
Not only this, Saudi Arabia on the other side of the Red Sea. This means, what happens in Eritrea has a direct effect on Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Saudi Arabia a responsibility to step in and recognize any positive development in the horn of Africa, especially between Eritrea and Ethipia.
UAE – Order of Zayed
On 24/07/2018, UAE invited Dictator Isaias Afewerqi and Dr. Abiy Ahmed to Abu Dhabi and awarded them the highest civil decoration in the country. It is awarded to Kings, Presidents, and world leaders who played great role and efforts in supporting and developing the friendly relations and mutual cooperation between their country or organizations and the UAE.
So far, only about 18 world leaders have become beneficiaries of this prestigious award. Among these, President of China, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and President of Eritrea have received in 2018.
Though it is hard to imagine the positive role played by Eritrea and Ethiopia in improving the relationship with UAE, I believe this award is rather a means to put them under the watchdog. By doing so, UAE secures its strategic position in the Red Sea Trade activity as well as a secured ally and support for its military activity in Yemen. UAE has already established its Naval and Airbase in Eritrea along the Red Sea coast. A new and modern military airbase is constructed in Assab which is in use for military purpose by the UAE and its Allies. Signing a peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia has a direct consequence for this base. Therefore, UAE has no other option but either to engage itself in the peace process or welcome the agreement. By doing this, it grants its position along the coast.
This was a collection from my facebook post on 27/09/2018. It was meant to enlighten Eritreans on what is going on in today’s Eritrean politics. Learning experiences from other countries is vital in understanding the broader sense of the much complicated East African politics.
Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during the marriage and at its dissolution.
Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Article 16 is basically a right given to every human being to get married and have family at a free will and full consent of the intending spouses. Marriage is a universal right that belongs to all sexes without discrimination. Because of religious rules or other social constraints, Article 16 is always in danger, especially for the LGBT community. Many countries prohibit legal marriage of same-sex though they accept in principle the right to marry and have a family.
Another difficult is child marriage. Though Article 16 does not specify the exact minimum age limit, it is generally understood that marriage should be between adults. Some countries have laws which limit the minimum to get married. For example, Eritrea has issued a declaration who limits the minimum age to be 18. Proclamation No. 1/1991 of the Eritrean government noted that any contract of marriage made between persons (spouses) below 18 years of age is null and void which can to serious punishment.
Though Eritrea has no specific law that targets the LGBT community, let alone for marriage, the regime which is currently ruling Eritrea has zero tolerance towards the same-sex relationship. There is unconfirmed information that says gays have been detained without trial and persecuted simply because of their sexual orientation.
Eritrea: Challenges related to Article 16
Under-Age Marriage: Though there is a law that prohibits under-age marriage, the practice is common among the rural communities. The most vulnerable are women. because of poverty and religious constraints, women face serious constraints of equal opportunity as those of men. This exposes them to early marriage.
Arranged Marriage: Eritreans are traditional families. Parents have an ultimate power to decide the fate of marriage. Even if the intended espouses are ready to do it at their free will, parents may reject the decision. If espouses did not comply, then they may face rejection and discrimination. As most young Eritreans are highly dependent on their parents, it is not simple espouses to decide for themselves.
Silent Social Discrimination: Though these days social discrimination is reduced to a great extent, there are different forms of discriminations that had deep roots among Eritrean communities. Some societies have a kind of, “social caste system” which applies a systematic prohibition for marriage between the different castes. Some of them are based on social class status while others are racial. Today’s generation has little concern for such kind of discrimination. The problem comes from the parents. If the parents are very traditional and conservative, such discrimination is strong.
Religion: Because of religious diversity and cohabitation, often there is an incidence where espouses come from different religions. As discussed above, parents can implicate the marriage and not complying with family advice causes rejection or social discrimination. The one who converts his/her religion becomes the most vulnerable for such social pressures.
Discrimination against same-sex marriage: In general, Eritreans are conservative society. Christianity and Islam have a strong influence the way Eritreans live. Let alone same-sex marriage, discrimination exists in its strongest sense if someone is known to belong as LGBT.
Government Interference: It is not unusual to see the Eritrean government interfere in espouses decision and family life. In the last 20 years(since 1998), there are so many documented and undocumented incidences which violate the rights of Eritrean intended espouses being violated. For example, because of forced conscription and prolonged national service, many young Eritreans were unable to decide for their life. And, families are forced to live separately because of the forced assignment of the workplace which brings inconvenience to have a normal family life. As a result, many children live with one parent.
For further context: please follow my presentation below
The beauty of Agaw people in Eritrea as well as in Ethiopia is so remarkable that every time you spent searching about them, some great secrets are revealed. Of course, the horn of Africa has been a victim of foreign invaders and the history is full of distortions. Nevertheless, there are practices that have transcended all these challenges that enable the Agaws to tell their ancient history without ambiguity.
Based on the language they speak, the people of East Africa, especially Eritrea, has been referred to as “majority (more than 80%) Semitic.” Because of this, they have been considered as people who immigrated from the Arab Peninsula simply because of the language they are now speaking. To make their argument eminent, some western Anthropologists and Arab theologians and Pseudo-historians, they categorized Tigrigna and Tigrait languages in the Semitic Linguistic family group and then they applied it to the people. For a naive person or people with little information, such arguments might seem factual. However, it is simply a lie.
This carefully designed lie is then used to distort the history of the people. Many history books were produced, exclusively written by foreigners to serve their purpose. And this was done with a grand objective to colonize the people. Today, it is difficult to get an authenticated history that can tell the truth about the horn of Africa in general and Eritrea in particular.
Worse, the elites who grew up being educated by these foreigner’s prepared materials believed it without a doubt which later these elites themselves started to teach for the Eritreans using the same distorted books.
When ignorance is at its peak, it is hard to differentiate the truth from a lie. Hence, you believe what you are told even when it is about you. This is the current reality of Eritreans about the so-identified as “Semitic people”. Not only this, even those who are still speaking their Kushitic language have been brainwashed by religious theologians to believe they are also Semitic which became an integral part of the community only through integration with the ancient local people. Sadly, there is little or no information about the so-called, “native local people”. And the irony is they are the native people who are being lectured as such as if they are aliens to their own land.
But not everything is gone. Contrary to what was planned by the invaders, there are very few ancient people in Eritrea and Ethiopia who managed to preserve their original cultural and traditional identity. Among these Kushitic people are the Agaws of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The Agaws of the horn of Africa
As history recorded it, the Agaws of the horn of Africa has been subjected to persecution and discrimination for centuries. They became victims of local and alien warlords. They were forced to change their religion, speak another language, give their land. Not only this, they have been treated like slaves and discriminated against any social activities.
But luckily, very brave but few families have managed to keep some of the secret symbols of their ancestors – The Pharaohs.
The Blin People and their Prestigious Symbolic Ring – Telal – ተላል
As you can see in the picture below, it is an ancient archeological discovery of the Pharaoh’s painting which shows how they used to wear their costume. The young man has a ring in his ear which is shining. And the young woman has a ring but not as shining as that of the man. As ancient Egyptians were rich in Gold, most probably, the ring in the man’s is gold. In addition, the man and the woman are dressed well.,This could mean their wedding ceremony.
This painting is a perfect fit for what is in practice in today’s Eritrea among the Bilen speaking communities – specifically among the family of Tarqe Tribe.
As you can see below, it is a photo I am allowed to use by my good friend. As you can see in his (their) wedding photo, it is a seems a replica of the ancient practice. This is what I have been watching in the ears of the bridegroom in my home village. But, I never knew its real meaning except for some explanations about its meaning. Unfortunately, what I used to hear was more of a special practice for a selected group of family. Such tales never crossed my mind as they were more of discriminatory than a genuine culture. Such distorted meanings were creating some kind of social tensions among the Bilen speaking communities of Eritrea. Sometimes, the tensions were extended into the politics of pride and identity.
But now, all that I have been listening just got cleared from, my mind after seeing the ancient painting of the Egyptians. I know the Blien people of Eritrea belong to the Kushitic thereby related with the Egyptians in many cases. But, I had no such strong conviction that the Blin have still preserved their ancient practices. This is the moment where the whole secret of my people just came to be revealed.
As you can see in the figure above, the ring in the ear of the Bridegroom is one of the remarkable and well preserved traditional symbols which signifies a unique status of a newly married man. It is made from gold.
The bridegroom puts the ring in his one ear almost starting from one week before the wedding day and continues to wear it for the whole honeymoon period. Though these days it may vary depending on the area you live in and your work, normally the wedding and its honeymoon period among the Blin people lasts for about two to three months.
The bridegroom is considered as a king during these special days of his life and all his families give a respect like a king. And, the bride is like a queen.
Of course, my objective is not to discuss the culture of a wedding. My focus is on the ring.
In Bilen language, the ring is called “Telal- ተላል”. It is a very light golden ring prepared by goldsmith experts. Its weight may vary depending on, how much the bridegroom can afford to buy. In general, it is from 10 – 15 grams or 1/2 oz.
Comparing these two photos, it is not difficult to conclude that this practice has existed for thousands of years starting from ancient Egypt – the era of Pharaohs until today. I am not sure if Egyptians still wear that tradition. Like the ancient people of Egyp which are called the Kemant(please check the youtube link), the same people are still living in Ethiopia. And, the Blin people of Eritrea are direct descendants of these family. They have started to live in different areas because of migration after the fall of the Zagwe Dynasty. The Kemant of Ethiopia are still speaking their ancient language – Bilen but with a different accent from Bilen of Eritrea.
I am not sure if Kemant and other Agaws(likebQuara, Awli, etc.) of Ethiopia are wearing a ring during their wedding. On the Eritrean side – there are these ancient and indigenous people of the Bilen- who still practice it in different forms.
Among the Bilen speaking Agaws, not all of them wear the ring. I do not know why but those who put the ring in their ears are the direct descendants of Bet Tarqe(except Bet Debru of Edirba) – see the family tree. It is wonderfull to see the Descendants of Bet Tarque have preserved this ancient Hamatic and or Kushitic culture.
Though it is out of the scope of this article, it is believed that Bet Tarqe have also preserved the original form of Bilen language. But this claim has some controversies as there were other indigenous Bilen speaking communities who used to live in today’s Eritrea before Bet Tarqe settled in its current are. The Bilen language is believed to be the language of the Pharaohs.
Though these days the meaning of wearing the ring seems somehow adulterated, its actual practice says everything. There is no doubt that its true meaning is as pure as it serves its purpose today. It is a symbol that indicates the status of the bridegroom in his community. During the wedding days, the Blind people treat a bridegroom like a king. This kind of treatment is in practice among all the Blin communities. But, Bet Tarqe express it not only in practice but by providing him with a gold ring to be put in his ear during these special days.
Misconceptions about the Ring
There is some misconception among other families of Bilen speaking communities about this special ring. This could be because of the knowledge gap created after hundreds of years of migration and separation. The practice has existed for more than 5000 years. Though the Kushite people had their own civilization, the last one thousand years were really a challenge for their existence. They were exposed to different religion, culture, language. Not only this, but they were also victims of powerful invaders. This led them to leave their center and flee in all directions. Because of these, they might have abandoned some of their ancient cultures including their traditional wedding practice. Maybe those who managed to preserve it could have more power to claim ownership or as guardians of the ancient culture once the more victimized people started to join them after a prolonged separation.
The good thing is, history is a judge when there is the time of confusion. And, we know how this practice existed for centuries. And, all the Agaws are proud to agree on their common ancestral lineage. This makes an easy reconciliation for whatever misinterpretation exists.
As this practice is very ancient a strong identity traceability proofs, I hope everybody from the Agaw family of Eritrea will re-introduce this unique tradition and create the missing link with their ancestors.
I am sure the Kemant of Agaw people in Ethiopia are still keeping this tradition as they are the closest people to today’s Bilen speaking Agaws in Eritrea.
I am proud to learn that my mother’s family line has kept this tradition until today. My father’s line, though they are Agaws – descendants from Saqota, I can see they have lost their ancient culture. I don’t know what is the reason for not re-introducing it once they met with their brothers in Senhit. I will be glad if any from Adi-Beynu helps me to know why we did not start to wear that ring while we recovered all other cultures, including the Bilen language.
The majority of the Tigrait and Tigrigna speaking communities of Eritrea are direct descendants of the Agaws. For example – the Seraye and Hamasien people are majority Agaws. I am not sure if any Agaw descendants of highland Eritrea practice such cultures. For example – the Adkeme-Milga of Seraye is closely related with Bet-Tawqe. But, I do not think they have kept this practice with them.
As a liberal Democrat, I believe that the Cultural Renaissance is very important for human freedom and dignity. Human Being feels more secured when he knows himself very well. And to know yourself, culture plays a vital role. The ring is a strong evidence about many things that concerns the horn of Africa. Therefore, more work needs to be done to preserve this wonderful cultural heritage.
Many thanks to my dear friend and uncle Berhane Fisseha for giving me permission to use his wedding photo.
It is wise to state the truth as it is when you witness Eritrean history being hijacked by opportunists who try to promote their own agenda at this very critical moment dominated by chaos, confusion, depression, misery, division, sectarianism, religious fanaticsm, etc. by ignoring the precious cost paid by Eritrean people to liberate their land. While, the ruling regime, PFDJ, is the main institutionalized actor to hijack Eritrean history and sacrifice, there are also other forces with similar but opportunistic agenda who are trying hard to contain Eritrean history within their circle through elimination. Therefore, it is necessary to give due emphasis on important historical events that can help us to understand the political discourse of Eritrean people.
1965 Asmara Demonstration
Generally speaking, there are two most important demonstrations which changed the political discourse of Eritrea. These are demonstrations which took place in 1958 and 1965. Both of them were organized by the most important driving forces of any community is supposed to have: the working class (1958) and the students (1965).
These two demonstrations became one of those important factors as an instrumental driving force for the initiation of a fully fledged political mobilization which played the great role for launching armed struggle(1961) and then massive participation of young and educated people to the ranks of the ongoing armed struggle(1965).
The 1965 massive student strike was unique. Thousands of students roamed Asmara city center denouncing Ethiopian forced annexation. Not only condemnation bur also it inspired many highlanders to join the Army Struggle too.
As change seekers, Eritrean history tellers and political analysts are usually obsessed with the results and little or no focus is done on the people who contributed for the events to happen. It is with this objective that I have rather preferred to bring the untold stories of Eritreans who made the demonstration to be successful.
Though the 1965 demonstration was a collaborated activity of more than a dozen young students, I have chosen three individuals who made 1965 demonstration successful. These are Yohannes Naffe Mindal, Michael Ghabir, and Woldesus Amar.
The 1965 Asmara demonstration happened between 8 – 12 March 1965. It was organized by patriotic Eritreans who were working in a semi-organized clandestine student movement. These semi-organized students were self-motivated individuals who were working to increase political consciousness among students by exchanging information about the then increasing Ethiopian aggressive oppressions as well as the on-going armed struggle of Eritreans against Ethiopian forced annexation.
To illustrate the origin of the semi-organized groups behind the March 1965 demonstration, I will divide the incident into two phases:
The Initiation of Student Strike
Actors behind March 1965 Demonstration
1. The Initiation of Student Strike
After the 1958 demonstration, Asmara was under full control of Ethiopia. People were busy in adjusting themselves with the on-going political changes that resulted in a state of confusion after Ethiopia formally annexed Eritrea by ending the Federal system. The Highland of Eritrea was in a relatively peaceful period while the lowland was in a state of war and terror by the continued clashes between Eritrean Liberation Army groups and Ethiopia.
Most of the Highlanders, especially the youth, were exposed to Ethiopian propaganda that was portraying the Armed Struggle as if it was a war launched to Arabanize or Islamize Eritrea by killing the Christians. Many youths from the highland had no clear information about the objectives of the Armed Struggle. As a result, all they had was a negative perception.
Such perception started to change when students from the lowland started to join the Highlanders to pursue their secondary school studies. Among these are Woldesus Amar and Michael Gabir.
Woldesus Amar and Michael Gabir are originally from Senhit region of Eritrea from the Bilen speaking communities. Though both of them were not born in Keren, both of them started their early studies in Keren as there were no schools in small villages by that time. Michael Gabir was born in a small village called Musha, Northeast of Keren, while the other in Ashera found in the Southwest. Therefore, their relationship should have started in Keren. Since then, their friendship became ever strong.
In the early 1960s, there was no high school in Keren. Therefore, they were forced to go to the Capital city, Asmara in order to continue their studies as they did. Therefore, from 1961 to 1965, they stayed in Asmara before they moved to Addis Abba for further university studies. While they were in Keren, political consciousness among the students was so high.
The year Woldesus Amar and Michael Gabir went to Asmara, Eritrean Armed Struggle was already launched(1961). And a year after, 1962, the Eritrean flag was lowered by Ethiopia. Though the change in a political situation was supposed to have a drastic impact among the youth, the then high school students were relatively reluctant and unprepared to react accordingly to play their role in defending Eritrean federal sovereignty. Contrary to this, those who were coming from other regions to pursue their high school studies were more conscious. The reason could be exposed to different political forces.
Students who happen to live in Asmara were more exposed to Ethiopian propaganda. The propaganda was full of hatred towards those who launched armed struggle usually accompanied with labeling such as “Islamists”, “Bandits”, “Arabs”, fanatics, etc. It was a not a surprise if such blackmailings had ears to listen. In fact, the less informed and politically unconscious Eritreans were highly influenced by such kind of daily propaganda.
Many high School students were victims of such kind of propaganda. Some of them were naive to believe what Ethiopia was propagating. This was a shock to then relatively better-informed students who were going to Asmara to continue their studies.
Generally speaking, young students from Senhit, Seraye, Akeleguzay, Barka, etc. were very active during the 1960s politics. Students from Mendefera, Keren and Segeneyti were some of those who became the most active agents in mobilizing high school students of Asmara. Among those highly active students, Woldesus Amar and Michael Gabir of Senhit region are in the forefront. Others include Martyr Seyoum Ogbamichael; Martyr Woldedawit Temesgen; Martyr Mussie Tesfamichael; G-15 member and x-Foreign Minister of Eritrea Haile Woldetensae (DeruE); Tekle Ezaz; etc.
2. Actors behind March 1965 Demonstration
Woldesus Amar is one of those patriotic Eritreans who was actively engaged in mobilizing students in Asmara in the years between 1691 to 1965 and later in Addis Ababa University. He is the living legend who is giving primary information about the early student movements through his wonderful writings.
Woldesus Amar started to engage himself actively in politics in May 1962 by taking a courageous initiative to participate in one meeting of the then functioning Eritrean Federal Assembly. He had observed hot debates among the parliament that calls Ethiopia for not paying Eritrean government due to fees. He took notes and then used it to agitate students in his school. He wrote leaflets that call for a strike and distributed them in each class.
As a result, in May 1962 the first of its kind and unorganized student strike took place in the streets of Asmara. This gave the birth of the short-lived “Association of Eritrean Intellectuals”. This association organized itself and submitted a leaflet to the UN committee which was holding a meeting in Addis Ababa condemning Ethiopia. This single event became an inspiration for many young students to be acquainted with the armed struggle. After this, Woldesus Amar was among the Mastermind of all the student strikes that took place from 1962 throughout to 1965.
2. Michael Gabir (1940 – 1992)
Michael Gabir was a close friend of Woldesus Amar. In fact, Woldesus Amar describes him as a man who was the mastermind of his generations. Born in a small village called Musha around Keren, he graduated in History major from Addis Abba University. He was among the founders and schoolmaster of Refugee School in Kassala funded by UNHCR. During high school, he used to sit with Dictator Isaias Afewerqi.
Michael Gabir wrote extensively about Blin people and their history. Some of his works can be found here
Michael Gabir was living with his relative during his stay in Asmara. It is this house which became the most secure place to organize the most sensitive events. His relative, Yohannes Naffe, was a well-established man from Musha, Senhit. He[Yohannes Naffe] was a building contractor. He had a small wood workshop. Yohannes, not only he welcomed the young Eritreans to use his house to arrange the most sensitive meetings but also he supported them materially to conduct demonstrations.
Yohannes Naffe encouraged Michael Gabir and his friends to use his workshop in preparing placards that are used for demonstrations. The young students were free to use his material resources throughout the 1961 to 1965 demonstrations.
Not only this, Yohannes relationship with the then Eritrean Police force Commander, General Zeremariam Azazi helped the young students to have some security from the police. General Zeremariam Azazi, who is from Mensae, Senhit, stayed with Yohannes during his early days in Asmara when had difficulties.
General Zeremarian got the on-going preparation about March 1965 demonstration. But, he did not want to put the life of Yohannes Naffe at risk. This gave the success of the demonstration.
Life After 1965 Demonstration
After the demonstration, about 2000 students were detained for more than 40 hours. It was a great success and a blow to the Ethiopian expansion. Not only this, but it became an inspiration to many Eritreans to join in the armed struggle. After 1965, the Highlanders started to join the armed struggle in mass.
Wondesus Amar and Michael Gabir continued to work with the students in organizing demonstrations, conducting secret meetings, distribution of leaflets and contacting with ELF members. They started to receive magazines which were prepared by ELF and later managed to prepare student magazines called, “Our Voices”. Woldesus recalled Isaias Afewerqi was writing the contents as he had beautiful handwritings using different colors. Isaias Afewerqi became most active in the student movement only after 1964 when he was recruited to be the main member of the leaders.
Woldesus Amar and Michael Gabir became the target of Ethiopian security agents. This exposed them to several imprisonments.
Michael Gabir joined the Armed struggle in 1975 and was a member of ELF until he was mysteriously assassinated on May 25, 1992, in Kassala Sudan.
Woldesus Amar completed his Master’s degree and later served ELF in different areas. After independence, he continued his opposition to the dictatorial regime. Currently, he is a member of EPDP(Eritrean People’s Democratic Party) and is actively engaging in Eritrean politics and human rights.
After independence, Yohannes Naffe constructed a two-story beautiful hotel in Keren. He continued to serve his people through his wisdom and profession until his death in 2008. Though he was a person behind the youth movement of the 1960s in which dictator Isaias Afewerqi himself was part of the activities, it is sad the state did not give him formal recognition for his great contribution.