By Seyoum Workneh
Ethiopia is one of the oldest and independent countries in Africa. As far as most Ethiopians agreed Eritrea is part of Ethiopia even though the Weyanna/EPRDF and Shabiya ruling members divided the Eritrean state based on their desert agreement without the consent of the Ethiopian people. Eritreans were forced to give their vote based on the wrong perceptions of “freedom or slavery”.
Reference to making a choice between slavery and freedom was found in two sources. The first was in a story published in The Observer on 28 March 1993. The author reports:
The local radio in Asmara describes the referendum choice simply as: ‘Do you choose freedom or slavery?’ Because of the high level of illiteracy, the ballot papers are coloured. Blue is for yes, red is for no. Or, as the local radio helpfully puts it, ‘Red is for blood.’ (Observer 28 March 1993)
In an Addis Tribune opinion piece, Dr. Yacob Haile-Mariam wrote:
When Eritreans voted in favor of the bizarre referendum question ‘do you want to be free?’ as if anybody in his right mind would want to be a slave, they voted for a concept known as Eritrea and not for a definite geographic entity (Addis Tribune 3 Dec. 1999).
At the end of the day, Eritrean People Libration Front (EPLF) led by Isayas Afewerki with the support of the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) led by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi isolated Eritrean state and its people from Ethiopia which somehow creates hatred between the Ethiopian and Eritreans who doesn’t clearly understand the drama of the two groups. Finally this creates chaos in the two sides in the pretext of border conflict which lasts for two years that costs more than 80,000 lives in the two sides.
Having said I want to go back to the main agenda of this paper title. Currently the number of ethio-eritrean crossing the Shabia administration area is more than doubled over the past two years. Per Liya Nuru sources (http://www.amharicmovies.com/headlines/5865-number-of-eritreans-crossing-border-into-ethiopia-is-on-the-rise.html) and According to Nur-Hussein Mohammed, Program Coordination Office for Northern Eritrean Office head, the number of Eritreans crossing the border into Ethiopia daily has more than doubled over the past two years taking the total number of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia to over 82 thousand.
A fourth and new camp has been opened at a place called ‘Hitsats’ in an effort to accommodate the influx.
More than five thousand Eritrean refugees have already been received since the opening of the camp some five months back.
Of the Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia, over 80 percent are youngsters; 40 percent are ex-soldiers; the remaining are civil servants who have completed national military service.
Mandatory national military service, human rights violations and high cost of living are the major factors forcing Eritreans to migrate, some of the refugees have said.
With the same token all Ethiopian people are prisoner of conscience since the weyanna/EPRDF administration came to power more than ever. This shows there is a need of cooperation between the Ethiopian and Eritrean to free ourselves from those cruel regimes and bring a democratic Ethiopia. Don’t forget the number of peoples who lost and lose their life when they try to evacuate from these dictatorship in the hope of getting a better future and freedom. We are in prison in the free world. We need to stand in unison to free ourselves.
“We are in prison in the free world”