By Robele Ababya, 01 February 2013
This writing is prompted by: (i) the recent Mutiny in Eritrea in so far as its merits of orderly change of regime in Eritrea and the ensuing better relations with Ethiopia are concerned; and (ii) the warming of interpersonal and community relations between Ethiopians and Eritreans that I have been witnessing in the Diaspora.
Genuine cooperation is evolving as demonstrated by: worship at churches or mosques; funerals; rendering assistance in times of emergencies; interaction in social functions such as weddings; and commercial partnership. Names like “Abyssinian” or “Ethiopian –Eritrean” are seen written on business sign posts at bars, restaurants and accommodations. In a larger sense in my view, the motto “Africa for Africans first” is in motion heralding exemplary cooperation.
Dawn of harmonious relation between Ethiopia and Eretria
I was blessed to witness firsthand the emerging friendship between the Ethiopian and Eritrean youths in more than one instance to my utter delight as briefly written below:-
1a. Hana Metasebia, a beautiful young Eritrean girl clad with her Eritrean flag, joined the mammoth Ethiopian fans during the AFCON match in RSA in support of the Ethiopian team playing against Zambia. The crowd pleasantly welcomed her gut to cross the political ’border’. I watched this on the television and got the following picture from Photos ETNTC. At this time of writing I learnt that several Eritreans were fans of the Ethiopian team. What the young lady did is a reflection of political maturity and realization that the Ethiopian and Eritrean people are bound by blood, culture and long history.
1b. I was deeply touched by the courage and the profound power of the message that the beautiful Hana in the picture above carried to the equally beautiful and enthusiastic Ethiopian fans. I thought she was saying that she loves her flag as much as she cherishes the unbreakable historical ties between the Ethiopian and the Eritrean people. Note: The script in Amharic in the picture above translates into English almost as: “How Pleasant! Having ignored the political boundary the Eritrean came to support the Walya team.”
1c. The picture provides an unmistakable hint for pundits engaged in finding durable solution to the present draconian social, economic and political problems created by despotic rulers Isaias Afeworki and the late Meles Zenawi. The youths on both sides are telling to us the older generation that they sleep in separate tents but with their hearts together with common aspirations carried on the on the same wave length!
1d. The young lady is in my opinion a revolutionary leader who had seized the moment to light the torch for change in Ethiopia-Eritrea relation. She has evidently understood that the special relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea will stay even after the United States of Africa has become a reality.
2. My wife and I were invited two separate weddings involving two sets of Eritrean couples in a span of three weeks. We sincerely felt and appreciated the genuine warmth of trust and friendship with which our presence was welcomed. We made friends with parents of the brides and bridegrooms who came from Eritrea and other countries in the Diaspora. Our friendly conversation evoked the memory of the old days before the separation with which the jubilant youth confidently dancing in succession to Tigrigna and Amharic music on the floor had nothing to do. We discussed that better days are yet to come for the dawn of peace is breaking between Ethiopia and Eretria
Mutiny in Eritrea
As reported by William Davison & Bealfan T. Hayle on 25 Jan 2013, “As many as 200 soldiers stormed the Ministry of Information building that houses state television in the capital, Asmara, on Jan. 21 and took its occupants hostage, according to Stratfor. A newsreader then read a list of demands including calls for the release of political prisoner and the implementation of a 1997 constitution”.
The one day long Mutiny ended in peace without a single bullet being fired and the mutineers returning to their barracks intact. What an exemplary testimony to the discipline and confidence of the EDF! The soldiers broke the arrogant ego of Dictator Isaias.
I watched on U-Tube the occupation of the Eritrean Embassy by young Eritreans (a) in London on 24 Jan 2013 protesting against Isaias Afeworki and supporting the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF). The protesters snatched the tyrant’s photograph from the wall, broke its frame and stood on his picture laid on the floor. On the contrary they showed veneration to the Eritrean Flag as demonstrated by a young man wrapped in it; and (b) in Rome on 29 Jan 2013 in support of the Mutiny. They were quoted as saying “We are romantic revolutionaries. It is true we are so different; we are willing to give their lives for what we believe.”
There is the old adage that Great Marshalls and Generals are scared to death by mutiny of soldiers under their command. I recall Emperor Haile Selassie directly pleaded with the leader of the mutiny in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force on the eve of the Ethiopia revolution of February 1974. But that did not save the Crown. The same fate is bound to happen to tyrant Isaias sooner than later.
Reminder to Ethiopian & Eritrean youths
From my article titled Ethiopian and Eritrean youths should work together dated 31 March 2011, I would like to provide the following extracts in support of this piece:-
Quote The utterly irrational and despicable war of 1998 -2000 between Ethiopia and Eretria cost the precious lives of 70 to 80 thousand – some say 100, 000 – soldiers (arguably the overwhelming majority in their prime age) on both sides not to mention the billions of dollars spent on modern military hardware, personnel recruitment and training. Laughably, the war was between former comrades-in-arms that jointly fought the Derg regime with massive all round support of autocratic rulers in the Arab world, notably Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia Syria, et al.
It is long overdue to take stock of our recent past of destruction to our livelihood due to shallow understanding of our common history and rich culture. We have paid mammoth sacrifice in the last 40 years in particular in terms of precious lives and on military weapons, which we could have invested on ploughshares to alleviate our abject poverty. It is a shame that Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees are scattered in no small numbers everywhere in our global village swallowing their pride and subjected to horrendous human misery in some places in the Arab world.”
The youths of Ethiopia and Eritrea should collaborate to reverse the shame perpetrated by their respective tyrants; they should seize this propitious moment of massive movement driven by the young generation for democratic change to usher in a new era of human dignity, liberty, freedom and social justice.
All tyrants are alike in many ways than one. In the end, their fate is to part with their amassed wealth and fall from power in disgrace. The youth of Ethiopia and Eritrea should make this fate of their respective tyrants happen promptly.
To the tyrants Meles and Isaias we should say: ??! ??! Enough! We should say the same to parochial views, tyranny, wars and abject poverty. Unquote
The Ethiopian and Eritrean youths:-
- love their national flags; the former have yet to reclaim theirs by removing the satanic pentagram emblem – the sore in the eye of the Ethiopian people.
- will categorically reject the repeat of the utterly irrational and despicable war of 1998 -2000 that claimed 70 to 80 thousand precious lives on both sides.
- want to be governed by constitution
The above reality should be taken into account by pundits working to bring and promote harmonious relations between the two states. I surmise that Professors Tesfatsion Medhanie, Daniel Kinde and others who had carried out extensive studies on Ethiopian – Eritrean issues will find the rapidly evolving political environment in the two countries. And no doubt that Professor Bereket Hapte Selassie in his capacity as the one who drafted the Eritrean constitution (which has not been implemented to date) and on grounds of his publicly stated wish to see the two countries united in his life time will hopefully play key roles in the quintessential journey towards truth, peace, and reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The Ethiopian opposition political parties and independent civic organizations at home and in the Diaspora will no doubt seize the moment to ensure the success of the desire of the Ethiopian and Eritrean youths, which can only be realized with the removal of dictators from power.
The task ahead would be difficult, but in view the demand of the youths and the overwhelming majority of the people on both sides, it has to be done without unnecessary delay.
My mantra: “The Almighty God has done His part leaving to us what we in the opposition can do to remove divisive regimes from power.
Release all political prisoners including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba, Reeyot Alemu, Leaders of the Ethiopian Muslims et al!
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!