Yilma Gebru 01-06-20
In the past couple of days, the senior TPLF Veteran, Ato Sibhat Nega, reportedly said so long as Essaias is alive there will be no peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea. I really share this view. The whole problem has something to do with Essais’ sadist nature.
In the first place, peace is something president Essaias hates. Look, this man struggled for 30 years claiming to make Eritrea an independent country. Thousands of Ethiopians and Eritreans alike paid an unimaginable price for that.Not only out of his secessionist and Ethiopian rebels’ bravery, but also due to the changing world fortune falls in to his hand. When the Ethiopian rebels-controlled Ethiopia, he seceded Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1991. When that happened Eritreans excitement was immeasurable hoping their hardship was over. Because of that, they worshiped Essaias. For many he was a divine not a human being. Immediately, he declared a national service which he called ‘sewa’. Eritreans probably didn’t oppose it when it was announced. This reminded me of one Eritrean family story.
Daniel Eyob from Eritrean family was one of my best childhood friends. Ato Eyob Daniel’s father was a truck driver. I was very close to that family. His older sister Ababa the very year Essaias controlled Eritrea got a chance to go to Germany with the help of one of her wealthy uncles. After living there for five or six years, she got engaged with an Eritrean man and gave a birth to a daughter. The couple came to Addis for a wedding in august, 1997. By then, Daniel completing high school became idle. His older brother Kibrom was the only person absent in the family for his sister wedding, as he had already gone to Eritrea to do his military service (Sewa’). I remember even a sister the family never met who was living in America was present.
As Daniel narrated me, this half-sister was his father daughter he fathered out of wedlock before he married his mum. Deciding on Daniel’s fate was a headache for the family. They tried to make him study in college in extension program, but education doesn’t attract Daniel. Many Ethiopian youth when their family member lives in Europe or America, they hope their future is bright expecting one day their family member abroad would sponsor them to settle in the West, Daniel was no different. He was hoping his sister would sponsor him for Germany. That was not what Ababa was regurgitating in her mind. Here begins the interesting matter that prompted me to narrate this family’s story. While the family was bustling and hustling for the wedding, Ababa was busy on deciding Daniel’s fate. Her optimism in Eritrea was so immense.
0ne day I showed up in their house while the family was discussing as to what Daniel should do. Like I said, I was very close to the family. Therefore, at times his parents consulted me to urge Daniel to behave. That day Ababa told me she wanted to talk to me. I sat down, Daniel, his mum and his little brother and sister were also there. “Yilma, look this country (Ethiopia) isdying, Eritrea is thriving, exhort Daniel to go to “Sewa”. He just gives a two-year military service, then myriads of opportunities will be opened up for him in a flourishing Eritrea. “, said Ababa Eyob. In that same year after a very colorful wedding, Ababa and her family returned to Germany and Danielleft for Asmara to do his military service(‘Sewa’). A few months after Daniel left, the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war broke out. AtoEyobe was on the road when he was deported to Eritrea. w/roZewdi Daniel’s mum and the children were also deported. Rewa Daniel’s younger sister stayed in Ethiopia for a while with friends trying to go abroad avoiding Eritrea. I am not sure if she succeeded or not.
This war claimed Kibrom’s lives, Daneal’s older brother.What is more pathetic, after twenty or so years life is still miserable for Daniel. Recently, I heard Daniel came back to Ethiopia enduring a painstaking journey through Sudan. Contrary to Ababa’s prediction, he told friends he came to Ethiopia, expecting a better life as he heard Ethiopia has thrived. Hearing Ethiopia’s remarkable growth he built confidence in his childhood friends. He told friends he met, these guys (he meant his childhood friends such as us) are in a very good condition so they will be able to find me one kind of job or another.
This one family story does describe many Eritreans condition. What is that Eritreans gain from Essaias? Probably, a six- or seven-years respite; otherwise misery continues to be the hallmark of Eritreans. In the past two decades the two countries went to war, there is really a remarkable growth in Ethiopia. On the contrary, we are hearing that let alone establishing new universities, the existing universities are not functioning in Eritrea.
The indefinite military service (‘sewa’) is making the youth desperate seeing no option but deserting. I don’t think abating Eritreans pain is Essias’ headache. That is why we should look in to the Ethio-Eritrean peace agreement cautiously. When Abyi was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, many people were surprised with Essais’ silence. But for someone who observes his behavior, it shouldn’t be surprising. When Abyi was awarded the Nobel, probably, Essias was annoyed. Of course, we didn’t hear him expressing his fury in public. Let alone the award going to Abyi, if they bestowed the award to him, it could still annoy him as such he could refuse it. Why because, then he should strive to create peace. Even in his recent visit to Addis, this issue was not raised in the two leader’s summit. For the time being, he is pretending to be Abyi’s friend, only because he wants toaffront TPLF. Why?
The answer is simple that is how he finds happiness. Some so-called nationalist Ethiopians praise Essais, depicting him as a peace-loving person. They too are after one thing namely, offending TPLF. This is really, a dangerous and ludicrous approach. I am not trying to defend TPLF. There could be many TPLF members who should be accountable for crimes committed in Ethiopia in the last 27 years, but, making one party alone accountable is wrong. Should Abyi create peace with TPLF, Essias won’t spend a minute to demonize Abyi. Therefore, I would say if both Abyi and TPLF are wise, it may be better to patch-up their rift and work together towards removing this man. That would be a big relief not only to Ethiopia and Eritrea but to the wider region.
When the protest in Sudan started to shake Omar Ali Bashir’s rule, Essais bolstered his crackdown in Eritrea. But, why was that? Are sadists’ coward? They must be, otherwise, there is nothing for Essaias to fear. Today Eritrea is deserted, most cities look like a ghost city in Eritrea. The youth is fleeing everyday using any means they may find escaping the indefinite military service ‘Sewa”. That is why I say removing Esaias from Eritrea is very significant for both Eritrea and Ethiopia. But, the idea that Essias wishes seeing a peaceful Ethiopia is preposterous to say the least.