Thousands of revolutionary soldiers (the Fighters) paid with their life to bring about Eritrean independence and overthrow the brutal Ethiopian dictator.
Eritreans are mindful of this high price paid by so many. For the government and its supporters, this high price the martyrs paid is where thy get their confidence and their courage. To those that are bitterly opposed to the government, from the same price they draw indignation and zeal. Often, the argument boils down to, “Is this what our martyrs died for?!” versus, “This is what our martyrs died for.”
It is honorable that martyrs risked their life for what they believed was the right thing, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13), but what if I disagree with some of the martyrs’ opinions? or their cause or methods? Am I disrespecting them?
I would imagine many of my fellow Eritreans answer yes and almost everyone would be irritated (if not outright offended). The mere suggestion of disagreeing with the opinions that the martyrs held or criticizing their choices, even at a theoretical level, is too much for a lot of Eritreans I know.
I believe it is OK to disagree and hold different opinions to those held by the martyrs. This is not because I think the price paid was too little but because I believe freedom of thought and opinion are priceless and cannot be bought by any price.
Even if you have not paid as high a price for your opinion that does not mean they are less worthy. I believe anyone trying to devalue ideas and opinions based on what price has or has not been paid is wrong. Ideas, opinions, and beliefs (political or otherwise) should be evaluated on their own merit. And anyone who thinks a price has been paid to take away my basic human rights is wrong.
ምርሳን (trolling) ኣብ ኤርትራውያን፡ ኣብ መንጎ ደለይቲ ፍትሕን ደገፍቲ መንግስትን፡ ጥራይ ዝተወሰነ ተርእዮ ኣይኮነን። ይኹን ደኣ እንበር ናይ ኢንተርነት ምርሳን፡ ንቑነገርን ርዝነትን ምይይጥ ኤርትራውያን ደለይቲ-ፍትሒ ሃስይዎ እዩ።
ናይ ኢንተርነት መራሰንቲ፣ ሰባት ኣብ ዝመያየጡሉን ሓበሬታ ኣብ ዝቀያየሩሉን ናይ ኢንተርነት ገጻት ኮነ ኢሎም ኣነዳሪን ኣረሳሳኒን ጽሑፍ ብምጽሓፍ ታዕታዕን ዕግርግርን ይፈጥሩ። ብዛዕባዞም ናይ ኢንተርነት ‘መራሰንቲ’ (trolls) ክሓስብ ከለኹ እታ፡ “ከምቲ ድዅዕን ማይን ንዘራእቲ፣ ምምልላስ ን ኢንተርነት መራሰንቲ።” እትብል ናይ ጥንቲ ምስላ እያ ትዝ ትብለኒ።
ናይ ኢንተርነት መራሰንቲ ንኽዕወቱ ዘድልዮም ቀንዲ ባእታ፡ ነቲ መራሰኒ ጽሑፎም ከተንብበሎም፡ ካብኡ ሓሊፍካ ድማ መልሲ ክትህቦም እዩ። ንኣንባቢ ከቖጥዕ ኢሎም ዝጸሓፍዎ ርእይቶ: ከም ዘየለ ሸለል ምባሉ ንመራሰንቲ ዝዓበየ ጽፍዒት እዩ::
ነቶም “ኢሳይያስ ወይ ሞት፡” እናበሉ እግርእግርና ኣብ ኢንተርነት፡ ኣብ ፌስ-ቡክ፡ መራሰኒ ርእይቶ ዝጽሕፉልና ክንምልሰሎምን ክንመላለሶምን፣ ነቲ ዘለፍኦም ብዘለፋ፡ ንባጭኦም ከኣ ብባጫ ዓጸፋ ክንምልሰሎም ጥበብ ኣይኮነን። ንሓንቲ ኣሻኹ ተኽሊ በብመዓልቱ ማይ እንተኣስተኻያን እንተኾስኮስካያን፡ መመሊሳ ትዓቢ ኢምበር ኣይትቕምስልን’ያ። መራሰንቲ ምእንቲ ክቕምስሉ ነቲ መራሰኒ ጽሑፋቶም ሸለል ንበሎ።
ን መራሰንቲ ዝዓበየ ጉስጢ ሸለል ምባሎም እዩ::
mother of five, now alone
her beautiful sons, all gone
was it too ambitious? a dream?
having a family, a place to call home.
Love for our enemies may compel us to downplay their abuse, but love for the victims should compel us not to.
“Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship.”
“We must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy.“
Racists are nice people….
“Dr. E. Franklin Fraizer, in an interesting essay entitled ‘the Pathology of Race Prejudice,’ included several examples of white persons who were normal, amiable, and congenial in their day-to-day relationships with other white persons but when they were challenged to think of Negroes as equals or even to discuss the question of racial injustice, they reacted with unbelievable irrationality and an abnormal unbalance. This happens when hate lingers in our minds…”
I find the writings of Dr King useful in explaining how to love our enemy-neighbours (i.e. government supporters).
[Quotes from Dr Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, Ch. 5: Loving your enemies]
They are enemies. (Eritrean president Issaias Afewerki and high-ranking officials)
When a government in ancient Persia decided to put an end to a religion it deemed hostile to the nation (Book of Esther), Mordecai went into great mourning. Mordecai believes in God and it was this faith that fueled the campaign against him and his fellow Jews in the first place. He had refused to bow down to a government official citing religion as his reason.
Mordecai didn’t find his faith in an able God conflicting with the idea of involving in a political solution. On the contrary, his faith gave him the confidence and the courage to make a dangerous political move. He messages his cousin Esther (who happens to be a Queen) and asks her to go before the King and plead for her people. He encourages the Queen who is about to risk her life by approaching the King without first being called, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.” He continues, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?“1.
In many ways, the Eritrean Church is in a similar place. Its government is out to eradicate the religions they deem hostile to their rule. Eritrean churches and individual Christians, particularly those in the diaspora, are in a situation very similar to that of Queen Esther. Mordecai’s message is relevant today: For Eritrean Christians to remain completely silent at a time like this is unacceptable! …Yet who knows whether you have come to such a position for such a time as this?
The complete silence of Eritrean Churches to officially acknowledge the oppression in Eritrea, and their reluctance to encourage the faithful to involve in political solutions is strange. I have shared my views on this topic in an earlier article:
Mute and without opinion: The Eritrean Churchs
“The church must be the guide and the critic of the State and never its tool.” writes Dr Martin Luther King Jr, outraged by the silence of many American churches on the racial injustice of his time. The church, or any religious institution for that matter, should not hope to earn favours or avert scorn from government by such means as self-censoring on issues that the government labels “politics”. Especially not when the issues are well within the domain of the church’s teachings. Dr King continues and warns that unless the church recaptures its position in society as a guide and critic of the state “…it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” [Open the full article]
ኣብ ኤርትራ ተጋደልቲ ናይ በይኖም ዓሌት ኣይኮኑን። ከምኡ ድማ ንሕና ሲቪል ዜጋታት ዓሌት ኣይኮንናን። ይኹን ደኣ እምበር ብመንጽር መንግስቲ ኤርትራ ተጋዳላይን ሲቪልን ክልተ ዝተፈላልዩ ደረጃታት ዜግነት እዮም። ነዚ ኣብ ሃገርና ንቡር ኮይኑ ዘሎ ኣፋላላይ ቀው ኢልና ምስ እነስተውዕሎ፣ ብብዙሕ መዳያቱ ምስ ስርዓት ኣፓርታይድ ይመሳሰል’ዩ።
ብዘመነ ኣፓርታይድ: ኣብ ደቡብ-ኣፍሪቃ: ጸዕዳ ምዃን ምንም ገበን የብሉን። ገበነኛስ እቲ ንጸዕዳ ደቡብ-ኣፍሪቃዊ ልዕሊ ጸሊም ደቡብ-ኣፍሪቃዊ ጌሩ ዝቖጽር ፈላላዩ ሕገ መንግስቲ እዩ።
ብዘመነ ኣፓርታይድ: ጸዕዳ ደቡብ-ኣፍሪቃዊ ምዃን ዓወትን ሃብትን፣ ወይ ድማ ካብ መንግስቲ ፍሉይ ክብረት፣ ፍሉይ ምትሕብባርን ሓገዝን ግድን የውህበካ ማለት ኣይኮነን። አረ ብዙሓት መደንገጽ ጸዓዱ ደቡብ-ኣፍሪቃውያን ነይሮምዮም። ብዙሓት ድኻታት ጸዓዱ ኔሮም: ብዙሓት ውጹዓት ጸዓዱ ኔሮም። እዚ ማለት ግን ኣፓርታይድ ኣይነበረን፣ ወይውን እቲ ስርዓት ኣፓርታይድ ድኹም’ዩ ኔሩ ማለት ኣትይኮነን።
ብተመሳሳሊ ኣብ ሃገርና ሎሚ: ብዙሓት ዘይጠዓሞም፣ መደንገጽ፣ ተጋደልቲ ኣለዉና። ኩሎም ተጋደልቲ ኣብ ስልጣን ዘይምህላዎም፣ ወይ ውን ኩሎም ተጋደልቲ ጥዒምዎም ዘይምህላዉ ምልክት ድኽመት “ኣፓርታይድ” ኣብ ኤርትራ ክኸውን ኣይክእልንዩ።
ብመንጽሩ ግና: ሓደኳ ሲቪል በዓል ስልጣን ዘይምህላዉ ንህላወ “ኣፓርታይድ” ኣብ ኤርትራ የርእየና። ኣብ ኤርትራ: ኩሉ ዝርኤ ስልጣናት (ከምኒ ኣመሓዳሪ፣ ሚኒስተር፣ ኣምባሳደር)፣ ከምኡ’ውን ኩሉ ‘ዘይርኤ’ ስልጣናት (ብድሕረ መድረክ ኣብ’ቲ ውልቀ-ምልኪ ጽልዋ ዘለዎም፣ ወይ ከኣ ዘተግብሩ) ብ ተጋደልቲ እዩ። እዚ “ኣፓርታይድ” ወለዶ ውን ይሰግርን እናሰገረን እዩ። ንኣብነት ነቲ መንግስቲ ልዕል ዝበለ ተኣማንነንት (loyalty) የድልዮ ንዝበሎ ናይ ወተሃደር-ነፋሪት ምብራር (ፓይሎት) ናይ ትምህርቲ ዕድል ንሲቪል መንእሰይ በጭራሽ ኣይወሃብን።
ከምቲ ኣቀዲመ ዝበልክዎ: ብዘመነ ኣፓርታይድ: ኣብ ደቡብ-ኣፍሪቃ ጸዕዳ ምዃን ምንም ገበን የብሉን። ግናኸ ጸዕዳ ደቡብ-ኣፍሪቃዊ ኮንካ ብኣካይዳ ኣፓርታይድ ዘይምጉሃይ፣ ዘይ-ጸዓዱ ዜጋታት ክግፉዑ ርኢኻ “ዓገብ” ዘይምባል፣ ብፍላይ ይብደሉ ምህላዎም ዘይምእማን፣ ወዘተ. ተኻፋሊ ወይውን ተጠቃሚ ግፍዒ ኣፓርታይድ ይገብረካ እዩ።
ተጋዳላይ፣ ወዲ-ተጋዳላይ ወይ ውን ዕባይ ቤት-ትምህርቲ-ሰውራ ምዃን ገበን የብሉን። የግዳስ ብግብርካ ወይ ውን ብዘይ ምግባርካ: ብ ስቕታኻ: ተኻፋሊ “ኣፓርታይድ”፣ ወይ ከኣ ተጠቃሚ ግፍዒ “ኣፓርታይድ” ኣብ ኤርትራ ክትከውን ኣዝዩ ዝከኣልዩ።
Eritrean president and high ranking officials at Independence Day celebration in Asmara May 24, 2007. All high ranking government officials are former soldiers of the EPLF group.
ነዚ ኣብ ሃገርና ንቡር ዝኾነ ተጋዳላይ–ሲቪል ምፍልላይ ዜጋታት: “ኣፓርታይድ” ክትብሎ: ቃልብቓሉ ቅኑዕ ኣጸዋውዓ ኣይከውንን። ኣፓርታይድ (Apartheid) ዝብል ቃል ቀንዲ መቦቆሉ ካብቲ ኣብ ኣብ ደቡብ-ኣፍሪቃ ካብ 1948 ክሳዕ 1990 ዝነበረ: ማዕርነት ጸዓዱን ጸለምትን ዜጋታት ዘየኽብር ሕገ መንግስቲ እዩ። ካብዚ ዝነቐለ ድማ ሎሚ ሓደ ምምሕዳር ኣብ መንጎ ዜጋታት ሃገሩ: ዓሌታዊ ኣፈላላይ ምስ ዝገብር “ኣፓርታይድ” ብዝብል ንገልጾ።
“We are born fighters, but we do it mostly within ourselves than against a common enemy. We are freedom lovers but seem to find it difficult to distinguish between personal freedom and political freedom. We have a culture of organization and have our own written customary laws and ordinances, yet we always looked for someone to dictate us to do things that we wouldn’t do if we had been left alone.
And finally we had to listen to a dictator instead of to common sense to get our independence. A well organized but ruthless group, the forerunners of PFDJ, succeeded to rout the enemy and bring the promised independence where other, less despotic, groups failed. Only those who acted like invaders could succeed. Strange, isn’t it?”
-Amanuel Sahle (excerpt from article “The Trouble With Eritrea“, Awate.com)
Born in 1944 in Asmara, Amanuel Sahle is best known as a long time columnist in the Eritrean newspaper. Amanuel has authored several books including: Comprehensive Tigrinya Grammar, Good Morning Eritrea, and The Universe According to Delphine. Amanuel now lives in Sweden.