Ethiopians, Eritreans desirous of renewal of relations - By Abebe Gellaw

March 17th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopian and Eritrean scholars took turns to lay the blame for the separation of the Ethiopian and Eritrean people on dictatorial rulers and extremist “liberation fronts” that took secession as the only viable solution to a complex problem.

Speaking at the Ethiopian and Eritrean Friendship Conference in San Jose, California, which was held from March 12-14, panellists and members of the public emphasized the need to start a process of healing, renewal and normalisation of people to people relations as the feeling of enmity were created and fuelled by succeeding rulers and elites that never represent the interests and desires of their people.

Opening the conference, Dr Worku Negash, who moderated the dialogue without taking sides on behalf of the Stanford Ethiopian Forum, noted that the unique gathering was a beginning in the right direction to normalize the toxic relations between Ethiopians and Eritreans, who have been through so much conflicts and pains due to their tragic past.
Eritrean Professor Mesfin Araya of City University of New York said that the Eritrean middle class that blindly rallied around Isaias Afeworki and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front committed a “collective suicide in post-independence Eritrea.”

He noted that even during the Eritrean referendum, there had never been a public debate on the available options to resolve the Eritrean question. “It was merely the EPLF’s agenda that was carried out with TPLF. The intellectual class never demanded a public debate over the cost and benefits of independence,” he said.

According to Professor Mesfin, the Eritrean intelligentsia should particularly take the responsibility for sheepishly allowing the political class led by the EPLF to impose its narrow will and opt for the territorial independence of Eritrea without involving and consulting the people. “Spinelessly, the intellectual class backed EPLF actions to support the referendum in the total absence of democratic debates.” The Professor, who was bluntly honest, pointed out that it would be logical to argue that the Eritrean referendum was not really authentic.

Professor Mesfin also questioned the motive and wisdom of the Eritrean business class to opt for separation in spite of the fact that a significant number of its members had comfortable lives and thriving businesses within Ethiopia since the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. “Normally, one would expect that the Eritrean business class, driven by self-interest, would seek a bigger and expanding market. Why they have chosen to confine themselves to a much narrower market is incomprehensible.” The professor went on to say that the business and intellectual classes in post-independence Eritrea ended up paying a heavy price because of their myopic miscalculations.

“Monopolizing business activities, EPLF has almost wiped out the Eritrean business class. The wealthy Eritrean business people of the good old days are no more there,” he said. Professor Mesfin underscored the fact that those Eritrean intellectuals and business people, who had given unwarranted support to independence, have now been losers confronting a crisis of hegemony as well as political, economic and social problems in liberated Eritrea under Isaias Afeworki, who has turned the nation into a pariah state.
The professor pointed out that the Horn of Africa, which has been facing cyclic tyranny and poverty, has a potential to unify gradually on condition that the sub-region is free from destructive and divisive tyrannies. For that to happen, according to Professor Mesfin, the intellectual class need to reflect on its past mistakes and develop the capacity to “dream big and beautiful” to reconcile with its tragic past and envision a better future for generations to come.

Another Eritrean scholar, Professor Tesfatsion Medhanie, who teaches politics and law at Bremen University, Germany, on his part tried to analyse why Ethiopia and Eritrea were separated and how they can start a process of reunification that can lead up to federation. According to him, the main cause of the conflict between the Ethiopian state and Eritrean nationalists was mainly a result of the decision taken by Emperor Haile Selassie to dissolve Eritrea’s federal status in 1962.

The professor went on to claim that the ruling elites, both in Ethiopia and Eritrea, were not ready for rational solutions as they held extremist views akin to Manichaeism, which sees the world as a struggle between the forces of good and evil. Professor Tesfatsion identified the current rulers of both nations as tyrannical that did not even allow popular debates and dialogues on the question of Eritrea. He also admitted the fact that the separation of Eritrea was not done in a legitimate and just manner but emphasized that people have to accept the current reality.

While TPLF sees itself as the champion of Eritrean independence but with a sinister motive, the EPLF, backed by the TPLF, has taken an unscientific view that claimed that the Ethio-Eritrean problem was a colonial issue. Professor Tesfatsion said that both Eritreans and Ethiopians, who have suffered a great deal as a result of their terrible history of conflict and hostility, need to make efforts to treat and understand one another with “deep sense of sympathy.” He also lambasted Ethiopian opposition groups who naively believe that Eritrean dictator Isaias Afeworki would genuinely help liberate Ethiopia. He said it was insensitive on the part of some Ethiopian groups and individuals who have gone to the extent of naming the Eritrean tyrant Isaias Afeworki person of the year.

The professor said that Ethiopians and Eritreans, should the pre-conditions be fulfilled, need to consider an “open confederation” that can lead to reunion based on a fair federal arrangement.

Historian Dr Daniel Kindie, argued that federation, in stead of confederation, was much more plausible than confederation given the history of the two nations. Dr Daniel laced his argument with a historical context by emphasising on the root causes of tensions and conflicts that were deliberately created and sustained by colonial powers especially the British Empire that has deliberately sowed deadly divisions and conflicts among the people of Africa.
One of the founders of the Tigray People Liberation Front, Dr. Aregawi Berhe, who resides in The Hague and is currently a researcher at Leiden University, spoke about the “horrendous looting and plundering” being committed by Meles Zenawi and his cronies. According to Dr. Aregawi, the main obstacles for peace, reconciliation and unity in the Horn of Africa are the ruthless rulers robbing and messing up the poor people.
He said that the most important precondition for co-operation and reconciliation between the oppressed people of Ethiopia and Eritrea is freedom. “Under these dictatorial regimes, neither confederation nor federation can be viable alternatives,” he noted.

Executive director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia, Obang Metho took the podium and delivered a rousing speech that touched the hearts of so many people. After talking about his own experience of being treated differently by fellow Ethiopians because of the colour of his skin, Obang highlighted the need to focus more on our humanity than ethnic origins, commonness rather than differences as people of one nation.

Obang pointed out that there was an urgent need for healing among Ethiopians and Eritreans who have been subjected to extremely traumatic suffering and bloodshed. He said that people should go through four phases of transitions: awareness of the truth, transformation, healing and embracing one another with wholehearted compassion and forgiveness.

Jawar Mohammed talked about the need to challenge tyranny through nonviolence, which has proven to be a potent force of change across the world. In a well-articulated presentation, he forcefully advocated that opposition groups need to adapt nonviolent struggle as a means to bring about change in Ethiopia. According to Jawar, nonviolent strategies and tactics have yet to be employed to mobilize people to confront and disobey those who are abusing them in a well-coordinated and systematic manner.
On my part, I emphasized on the need to confront the truth to start a process of healing and reconciliation as well as taking Ethio-Eritrean initiatives at grassroots levels that can deepen trust and eventually help rebuild the broken bridges and bonds between the two nations.

Other panellists and members of the public lined up to speak out their divergent views on issues related to Ethio-Eritrean relations and the prevailing realities in the two nations. While the majority of participants have expressed their delight with the start of such a unique dialogue which can eventually lead to repair the damage done on Ethio-Eritrean relations, there were also few suspected supporters of the TPLF who exhibited their lack of civility and intolerance to freedom of expression. A couple of them were seen hurling tantrums, shaking their fists and pulling out their hairs in a futile bid to intimidate participants, including myself, from expressing honest views. Despite all that, the conference was concluded without any serious incident and renewed hope for a better future.

At the conclusion of the three-day conference, special plaques were presented to Professor Tesfatsion Medhanie and Dr. Daniel Kindie for their extraordinary effort to promote peace and reconciliation between Eritreans and Ethiopians. Other members of the panel were also awarded certificates of commendations.

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  1. Ethiopiawi
    March 17th, 2010 at 09:06 | #1

    Really Interesting debate is i think on the way. But still we have to consider main points. Blaming any one will never lead us to unification and harmony. it is bcs of Meles or Esyas and the likes will never be the solution. Dr. Aregawi specially I ashamed of you. if your problem is Meles Zenawi go and ask him unless pretending to represent depressed Ethiopians and revenge will not go together. If his problem is with Meles he should not talk on behalf of Ethiopians. Because it is not Meles or some one else is the problematic. It is the system and tell us the better system. Avoiding a single person is initiative of revenge and personal but who can assure us Dr. Aregawi is Better than Meles. So be like a PhD some times when I read his articles it seems that he is still writing from Dedebit. Try to know what is the current situation in Ethiopia. Try to avoid a “Single History” thinking.

    I am happy to see Intellectuals to discus this issue but try to bring the debate to the hot youth residing in both nations. You are pretending still to need us in times of war. Now you like it or not in Ethiopia only there are more than 150,000 University students that need real awareness and diversified ideas about these issues who want to never see any more war who are on their way to receive every posion in the nation not heading to exile. So let them know your intellectuality and your ideology in accordancce how to fit it to the reality.

    Thank you so much!!

  2. Jarra
    March 17th, 2010 at 09:24 | #2

    It is good. At least we tell the truth and hope things will change for good. Ethiopia had been, was and is a country of nations need to live together.

    I hope the professors will continue the noble job they started for the sake of the truth and future development and well being of its people.

  3. Dr G Ghebremariam
    March 17th, 2010 at 09:36 | #3

    I can not see myself represented by the bankrupted wanna be Eritreans in this forum. These individuals were fighting against their own people during the bitter struggle for self destiny.

    Let me ask you this? What does referendum mean? Does not this reflect our opinion

    Have a nice day

  4. Tulu Oda
    March 17th, 2010 at 09:37 | #4

    I thank the author of this promising event

  5. Asefa
    March 17th, 2010 at 10:11 | #5

    The writer mentioned that Professor Tesfatsion Medhanie received a special plaques for for his extraordinary effort to promote peace and reconciliation between Eritreans and Ethiopians.

    The fact of the matter is that most Eritreans have no respect Professor Tesfatsion Medhanie, let alone be his followers. He has no influence whatsoever.

    The only way that Eritreans and Ethiopians will reconcile is one Ethiopians respect the territorial integrity of Eritrea. Everything else is a cheap talk that will take us no where.

  6. Garbage
    March 17th, 2010 at 10:13 | #6

    This is a non-issue for Ethiopia. People have nothing better to do than to find occasions to while away the time. Eritrea and Ethiopia are two nations recognized by the world community as such. There is no sense in going back and blaming the reason for separation on leaders or the middle class or the devil. They are separate, period. Eritreans should organize themselves and clean their own house. Any idea of federation, etc only advantages Eritreans.

  7. samuel
    March 17th, 2010 at 10:20 | #7

    before any federetion or confederation agrement between ethiopia and rengage ethiopian teritory eritrea ethiopia must get a right to use its sovereign port assab with out any precondition,ethiopia must get garantee no more conflict will never occure bcse of any land or political issue ‘ertrea must assure for ethiopia that ertrea is part of ethiopia’ertrea defence force must be dismantled and integrate in to ethiopia defence force.and administered by the comand of ethiopia defence force etc……..

  8. Samson
    March 17th, 2010 at 10:22 | #8

    amen to this. This is the ‘only’ way forward.

  9. Anonymous
    March 17th, 2010 at 12:00 | #9

    May God have marcy for our rulers!!They have been departed amoung one nation,creat feel of enemy to one another…this have to get end soon!!!

  10. Cynic
    March 17th, 2010 at 12:40 | #10

    I am not a Cynic this time round.I am quite optimistic.
    I believe that this initiative can lay the foundation of a reconciled brotherhood between the two kindred people.
    Despite the mutual destruction,suffering and bitterness caused by the long civil war that lasted more than thirty years,it is now possible to leave that behind and look ahead with a sense of renewed hope and realism for a reconstituted and revitalized relationship.
    Needless to say,the current global situation demands it.The fractured history of the region also calls for it.The rapprochement between the two nations has a huge potential not just for the troubled Horn.It will have a significant political and developmental impact on the rest of the continent as well.
    It is true that this has to be a grass roots level movement.It should not be a top-to-bottom project.
    While it is good that this was initiated by responsible and far sighted educated individuals of the two nations,it should not be confined to the educated elite.
    What has been put asunder by the destructive political elite can not be put back by its educated (no matter how well meaning)counterpart.
    The recent demonstration staged in the U.S against people-hurting sanctions imposed on Eritrea where Ethiopians holding Eritrean flag marched shoulder to shoulder with their Eritrean brothers and sisters holding high the Ethiopian tricolor was not only touching but it should be the idiom and the future direction of the movement.
    There is no better healing potency of a fractured relationships than feeling the pain of and standing in solidarity with the alienated
    This paves the way for the growth of joint popular democratic movements in both countries that aims at doing away with tyranny in both lands.One can not succeed with out the other.
    The destiny of Eritrea and Ethiopia have always been indissolubly linked.

  11. Hagos
    March 17th, 2010 at 13:11 | #11

    I read the article with interest but surprised by the last two paragraphs. Are you trying to put TPLF (Tigres vs Other Ethio-Eritrieans)? what does respecting one another despite different political views mean to you? Why don’t you be honest with your self first.

  12. MT
    March 17th, 2010 at 13:55 | #12

    if you going to call the Eritrean and Ethiopians friendship how are you going to speak on in Amharic only not english or Eritrean language. it was only the ethiopians why or the highway.

  13. mengis b haaile
    March 17th, 2010 at 14:39 | #13

    thank you atto a Abebe g usefull foundation, not with Eritrea alone but Sudan, Kenya, Djibuty,and others country too. I did not forget Somalia too.

  14. ደስ
    March 17th, 2010 at 15:40 | #14

    ስብሰባው ላይ ነበርኩ:: ውይይቱ ያተኮረው, ሰፋ ባለው የመሰባሰብና የመጠናከር ሃሳብ ላይ ነው:: ስለዚህ “ድር ቢያብር አንበሳ ያስር” እንደሚባለው የምሥራቅ አፍርቃን አገራት ያካለለ ሥነ-መንግስታዊ ጥንድ ወይንም ፌዴሬሽን ወይንም ኮንፌዴሬሽን የመፍጠር ፅንሰ-ሃሳብ ላይ ነው:: በጣም የገረመኝ ይህ ጽንሰ-ሃሳብ ኢትዮጵያን, ጂቡቲን, ሶማሌ ምድርን እና ኤርትራን አካሎ የቀረበ መሆኑ ነው:: በሌላ በኩል ኬንያ, ታንዛኒያ እና ኡጋንዳ በበኩላቸው ሩዋንዳንና ቡሩንዲን ጨምሮ የጥንድ መንግሥት ለመመስረት እየተነጋገሩ ነው:: ለምን ይህ እንደሆነ አለገባኝም:: ለምን ኢትዮጵያውያን ከነ ኬንያ ጋር የመቆራኘት ሃሳብ እንደማያስተናግዱ ነው:: ምክንያቱም በኬንያና በኢትዮጵያ መሃል በታሪክ ያልነቀዘ, ያልቆሰለ ጥሩ ጉርብትና ስላለ ነው::

    ኢትዮጵያ, ሶማሊያ, ኤርትራ እና ጅቡቲ እጅግ የሚፈራና ብቁ የሆነ የሥነ-መንግሥት ውህደት መፍጠር ቢችሉም, ይህ “ላም አለኝ በሰማይ ወተቷን የማላይ” እንደሚባለው እስከሚታየን የጊዜ አድማስ ድረስ የሚቻል አይደለም:: ስር የሰደደ የልቦና ቁስል ያለበት አካባቢ ነው።
    ባለው የኢትዮጵያና የሶማሌ ምድር ለዘብ ያለ ግንኙነት እርከን ላይ የመዋሃድን ሃሳብ ማብሰልሰል ይቻል ይሆናል። ከኤርትራ ጋር ግን ግዜው ገና ነው።

    በበኩሌ ጅምሩ እሰየው የሚያሰኝ ነው እላለሁ፣ ነገር ግን በሁለቱም፣ ማለትም በኤርትራውያንና በኢትዮጵያውያን መካከል ያመለካከት ለውጥ ማድረግ አስፈላጊ ነው። ከነበሩት አንደኛው ኤርትራዊ ምሁር የተናገሩ ቃል ትዝ ይለኛል። “እኔ በውስጤ የመበደል ስሜት አለብኝ፣ ግፍ ተሰርቶብኛል ሰለዚህ የመበቀል ሰሜት የመላለስብኛል ካልኳችሁ፣ አልተበደልክም፣ የሚሰማህም የህሊና ቁስል ትክክል አይደለም አትበሉኝ። አዳምጡኝ፣ ብሶቴን ተረዱልኝ፣ መግባባት ከዚያ ነው የሚጀምረው።”"
    ይህ ትልቅ አባባል ነው። ከኢትዮጵያውያኑ ወገን ይነሳ የነበረው አስተያየት ግን፣ የአሰብን ወደብ ለማግኘት የሚያስመስል ችኮላ የሞላበት፣ የኤርትራውያንን ብሶት ለመረዳት ያላዘነበለ ስሜታዊነት ያለው ነበር።

    ሌላው ኦባንግ የተባለው ኢትዮጵያዊ የተናገረው ጉዳይ ብዙ ክብደት አለው። ኢትዮጵያውያን ከሌሎች ጋር ውህደት ከማሰባችን በፊት የራሳችንን ቤት እናጽዳ፣ ሁሉንም አይነት ባህል፣ አስተሳሰብና ወግ የማስተናገድ ችሎታ ይኑረን የሚል ነበር። ስለ ራሱ ጎሳ ስለጋምቤላ አንስቶ የተናገረው ውነትነት ያለው ነው። በብዙ አጋጣሚዎች ሌሎች ኢትዮጵያውያን የሱን የውጫዊ አካል በማየት ኢትዮጵያዊነቱን እንደሚጠራጠሩ ተናግሯል።

    ፎቅ መውጣት በአንድኛዋ ደረጃ ይጀምራል እንደሚባለው ጅምሩ ድንቅ ነው። ብዛትና ጥራት ያላቸው ኢትዮጵያውያንና ኤርትራውያን ነበሩ። ስላዚህ ፍላጎቱ እንዳለ ያሳያል። የበጎን ነገር ፈለግ መከተል በጎ ነውና ቢ’ቀ’ጠልበት ፋይዳ ይኖረዋል።

    በነገራችን ላይ፣ የፓልቶክ ጀግኖች ለስሜቶቻችሁ ገደብ ይኑረው። መጮህና መወራጨት መልሶ መቀመቅ ነው የሚከተው።

  15. ደስ
    March 17th, 2010 at 16:02 | #15

    ልሁቃኑ ያስተሳሰብ አድማሳቸው የሰፋና የረዘመ፣ የኋላውናን የፊቱን አርቀው ያዩ መሆናቸው ጥርጥር የለውም። በተለይ አዎሮፓዊ ቅኝ ገዢዎች ከክፋት፣ ከቅናት እና ከተንኮል የመነጨ የይገባኛል ስሜት አፍሪቃውያንን መከፋፈላቸውንና የብጥብጥ አዝመራ ዘርተው መሄዳቸውን በግልጽ አይተውታል። ዛሬ አውሮጳውያን ከላይ ሆነው እየተዋሃዱ እነሱ የፈጠሩት በጥባጭ ሥነ-መንግስታዊ አወቃቀር አፍሪቃውያንን በየአገሩ እያባላን የገኛል። እነሱ አለምን የራሳቸው አድርገው እየተምነሸነሹበት እኛ አፍሪቃውያን ግን በተፈጠርንባት ምድር ሁሌ እንግዳ ሆነን እንንኖራለን።
    ያልተማረ ተመነጠረ እንደሚባለው አብዛኞቻችን ነገሩን አጥብበን እያየን ከጎናችን ያለው አፍርቃዊ ላይ ጥርሳችንን እየነከስን እንገኛለን። “በርበሬው በዛና ምላስክን ተኮሰው፣ አነካክቶ መብላት አታውቅም እንደሰው” እነሚባለው፣ የውጭ ቀናተኛ ሃይሎች በመሃላችን ገብተው እያበጣበጡን ነው። ይህን መረዳት የነጻነት ጉዞ የመጀመሪያው እርምጃ ነው።

  16. Anonymous
    March 17th, 2010 at 16:18 | #16

    Sorry, I have no faith in EPLF, TPLF, OLF and ONLF. They are all bunch of hateful racist groups who are trying to dismantle Ethiopia. You might take Africans out of Africa to educate them, but they will always remain tribalist. Each group will always fight for their own ethnic group, these people don’t have pure love and unity of country. I came from a family of two different ethnic groups: I never felt to separate from Ethiopia, why did they? Did these individuals grew up in a racist family atmosphere? I am afraid, once a racist, is always a racist.

    Viva EPPF!!!

  17. Anonymous
    March 17th, 2010 at 16:41 | #17

    these people are realy dreaming again and again they are out of this world eritrea will never ever fedrat with ethiopia it is done. no single person will exsept from eritrea to with poor ethiopia

  18. Anonymous
    March 17th, 2010 at 16:43 | #18

    this talk of loosers eritrea will never become with poor ethiopia

  19. Ethiopiawi
    March 17th, 2010 at 16:54 | #19

    Some comments seem to reflect as if no generation will follow after the current one. We have to think that can be possible some time later that seems not real right today. Still putting preconditions for negotiation is irrelevant rather make the negotiation and debate in the right land with the most concerned people of the two nations here at home. being in Exile alone could not be a solution But i am not rejecting the good start.

    The problem is how could we believe and trust these “Professors” motivation, goal and destiny. They are deciding this has to be done, this must be first then that one last, Mr bla bla should be out of position and should not rule, that has to be dismantle and that has to be constructed …. I think this is the not the way that can result in peace and stability moreover these professors are not the only once who wish peace and security plus development. There are many more and some times with first hand information about the reality here in the region. Find sponsors, invite scholars and politicians from home and other sides of the world or try to go the region and make a wider investigation and study. Make constructive debates and discussions among the people. Support for those who are doing it. ” Mahiber Hiwinet Ethio-Eritreawian” In Mekelle and Shimelba is one of them lead by an academician young brother in mekelle university and I hope similar things can happen in Eritrea. Our exiled professors leave balming each other there in the west and inforce these beginers of new vision try to work with them and wit the poeple.

    Shouting from a full apartments in Europe cannot make peace alone.

    I thank you!

  20. fb
    March 17th, 2010 at 17:15 | #20

    why some profesors and doctors have defnitions of like apupil of elementary school? they can’t explain what is the basic problem the two countries? if not please don’t teach us lies

  21. Hiyab
    March 17th, 2010 at 17:18 | #21

    There will be no federation or federalism. Let the border demarcated and do business nothing else. No spin doctor will change the reality on the ground. Eritrea is a country and member of the UN. These two retarded Eritrean doctors don’t represent any Eritrean or Eritrea.

  22. ደስ
    March 17th, 2010 at 17:41 | #22

    ኤርትራውያን መገንጠላቸውን እንደነጻነት, ኢትዮጵያውያን ደግሞ የኤርትራውያንን ነጻነት እንደመገንጠል ነው የሚያዩት:: እነዚህ ሁለት አመለካከቶች ተጻራሪ ናቸው:: የነዚህን ሁለት ተጻራሪ አመለካከቶች መሃል ሰፈር አግኝቶ ፅንሰ ሃሳቡ በብዙዎች አእምሮ ውስጥ እንዲብላላ ማድረግ የስብስቡ ዋንኛና የቅርብ ሩቅ ራእይ መሆን አለበት:: ነገሩ “ከበሮ በሰው እጅ ሲያዩሽ…” እንደተባለው ቀላል አይደልም::

  23. ኣብርሕም ኽብርም
    March 17th, 2010 at 17:57 | #23

    ክ አገር ክወኡት ጌዝ ሰእለ አለአፋችው ሴል አግሩ ሁነታ ቡዙ ዕወክት የላችወም /

  24. Saba Solomon
    March 17th, 2010 at 18:01 | #24

    Why we Eritreans concentrate on minor things. No matter what language, as long as the majority of the audiance understand it. Do not be narrow minded. We shouldn’t feel inferior complex in every minor things. Grow up.

    Proud Eritrean!

  25. Saba Solomon
    March 17th, 2010 at 18:09 | #25

    Grow up! As long as the audience understand it, no matter what language we are using.

    This shows who colonilizm messed up our brain and made us to develope inferior complex.

    Proud Eritrean!

  26. Ethio
    March 17th, 2010 at 18:10 | #26

    The only way for eritrea is to accept ethiopian’s ownership of asseb.After that this to nations will be the most freindly countries on the planet.Economic cooprations and so on will follow.We can grow as two independent nations.

  27. Anonymous
    March 17th, 2010 at 18:13 | #27

    These people (particularly the Eritreans) seem intellectuals but it is sad to see that they are far away from reality. I don’t think they lived in Eritrea during the struggle for independence period nor do they seem to have intimate knowledge of Eritrea during those times.

    People, especially Ethiopians, you need need to open your minds and hearts and accept the reality. Ethiopia did not defend Eritrea when Eritrea became Italian colony for 50 years. Instead Ethiopia set a pact with Italy for Eritrea to be colonized (see Ethiopia/Italy Treaties of 1890, 1902 and 1908). If there is anyone who disputes this, we need to digest history and extract all relevant information until we are convinced that indeed this is what happened. Once we agree with this point, then a question comes: How can Ethiopia claim Eritrea should be reunited by federation or confederation? No, no way is the simple legal answer. Ethiopia has abandoned Eritrea and has to live with it.

    Another point is about lives of Eritreans during Haile Selassie or Derg era. Do Ethiopians know that we were treated like enemies and it wasn’t even possible to go outside the city of Asmara to see grandparents about 5-10km away? Not only that, do Ethiopians know that so many villages and people were burned like hell by successive Ethiopian rulers in Eritrea. Read what happened to SHIEB if interested.

    Taking the aforementioned points into account, majority of Eritreans indeed were longing for independence. In fact we never refered to ELF or EPLF fighters as rebels or fighters; we used to call them DEKINA meaning “our sons”. Every Eritrean mother sobbed and prayed every morning, day, and night to see her son (”DEKA”) to come with the flag, referred to as “AWLIE”. This is the reality of Eritrea prior to independence especially if you consider the farmers, pastoral communities and rural area people in Eritrea.

    This is the reality of Eritrea prior independence which is why overwhelmingly (almost all) Eritreans voted for independence during the referendum. The referendum was observed by UN and other agencies and it is witnessed that it was fair and authentic. For this reason we don’t have to go back and talk about Meles or Issaias or ELPF or TPLF to override what has been gained legally, morally and through dedication and martyrdom of so many Eritreans.

    Of course, one may ask did Eritrea benefit by being independent? The answer is yes and no. Yes because people were free especially for the first 4-5 years post independence and truly felt it was worth the sacrifice. But then yes, the victory that has been achieved by contribution from almost every Eritrean family was hijacked by PFDJ and their cronies who took to the country to pariah path and isolated themselves and are torturing the whole population as it would never have been imagined. It is sad to see Eritrea becoming the biggest prison in the world and majority of its youth fleeing the country. This is the reality of current Eritrea.

    The final question is: If we agree Eritrea became giant prison after independence, does it warrant to claim it has to be reunified (federation or confederation) with Ethiopia? The answer is BIG NOOOOOOOOOO!!! Let us not relate unrelated developments and try to take short-term advantage of current situation. First of all let us recall that “Correlation does not imply causation”! Eritrea is independent country and will live as an independent country. Our dictatorial government belongs to us and only us Eritreans and is non of the business of Ethiopians; and it is up to us Eritreans to make sure this dictatorship ceases to abuse our people and get to a stage where we have accountable, transparent and democratic government. This has nothing to do with Ethiopia and Ethiopia has to solve its sea outlet problems or other internal issues by doing business deals with countries with sea outlets; including Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea. Ethiopia’s land-locked-ness is not a pre-requisite for it to claim Eritrea or Eritrean waters; after all Ethiopia is not alone in the world being landlocked.

  28. Ene
    March 17th, 2010 at 18:16 | #28

    what are you saying? why do we need reunification with Eritrea? we are doing better without Eritrea I think. Is it to let them again rob the poor Ethiopians and suck their blood like their brothers doing?

    March 17th, 2010 at 18:36 | #29


  30. Eth-Eri
    March 17th, 2010 at 19:21 | #30

    I will guess than most of the younger generation will not mind to re-unify. The status quo will not work. Ethiopia will not always be poor and a victim of feudal/military overlords.

  31. binyam
    March 17th, 2010 at 20:51 | #31


  32. Ferenj Lebaw
    March 17th, 2010 at 20:55 | #32


  33. mateos
    March 17th, 2010 at 21:46 | #33


  34. Abselom
    March 17th, 2010 at 22:04 | #34

    If Eritrea annexed by Ethiopia or Federated again, … it’s “as if history repeats itself again”!!!! You all have not learned yet, better stay away from these dream. How many innocent life is going to waste?

  35. Yonas,kidane
    March 17th, 2010 at 22:17 | #35

    They call you professors.HA,HA.You are foxes covered with sheep cover
    among sheep.Your time is over,and you can’t return back the wheels of dev
    elopment,and Eritrea is a recognised country now in the world.The people
    of Eritrea don’t have problems living in peace with their neighbors with
    respect,and mutual interests,that means with Ethiopia too.However,when
    you mention on your discussions about federatio,and confederation you are
    scratching the old Eritreans’ wounds.At this point I will only tell you
    you are cheap,and traders who are trying to represent the interests of
    ethipia.,and its masters.I know I have got it right,and tell your masters
    the only solution for peace with Ethiopia is to respect the rule of law,
    and allow the demarcation process.

  36. Abselom
    March 17th, 2010 at 22:32 | #36

    Do you remember the Haile Selasie erra conispiracy with the UN; we tried to trust you guys, but you are not trusworthy creatures.You did what you did/WOLVES.So better stay away again. Don’t even think of reuniting.We are cool like that! we love our Ethiopian Sudanense Somalian and other neighbors. But everyone with his own freedom. Enough is enough. Don’t Start up!! Can you please put your self on picture as an eritrean for one minute? How do you feel? Please don’t waste your time. Otherwise, you’re only petty whitecolar opportunist. You’re only capable in watching, talking and writing, not grap a rifle and fight or die. @Abselom

  37. Zemenay
    March 17th, 2010 at 22:36 | #37

    Many thanks Gentlmen.You are on the right track KEEP IT UP!The Ethiopian and Eritrean people are related in blood and that could be exploited to promote good neighborliness based on mustual respect and benefit. Opening old wounds only leads to confrontation ultimately perpetuating poverty and unrest. The two peoples shuold take their lesson from the last boarder clash in which we sacrificed a lot. Now we need to promote people to people relations and stand united to preven further bloodshed.

    Ethio-Eritrea Friendship to promote peace and stability to enhance development and democracy in the two countries. This is a good begning.

  38. Wow!!
    March 17th, 2010 at 22:53 | #38

    No more Eritrian, backward or primitive people please!! Let them starve with their lovely dictator Isay-ass. The wanted freedom, they got it. 75% of the population is under some kind of starvation. They were much better of with dictator Mengistu. Why Ethiopia want be with these people? We only get misery from syco people. Even in Tigray there are more Universities or industries than the whole Eritra, let alone the rest of Ethiopia. Finally they missed Enjera and they wanted to be re-united. Please let them go hell. Make sure the border is fenced with high tech to make sure they do not sneak to Ethiopia.

  39. The Eritrean
    March 17th, 2010 at 23:03 | #39

    The listed above people are simply a dreamer, Eritrea is a unified independent country that said, one can dream but Eritrea’s freedom did not come easy and trying to work with the repressive and backward Ethiopians would not be acceptable, however i would agree with possibly working with economy which would benefit mutually both country.

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