Meskerem Discussion Forum

  Dear Eritreans:
                       Today, I want you to read what Saleh AA Younis had written in August of 1999, that is before he metamorphed to be what he has become.
                       The question is: What could be the root cause  for some one to hate whom he had loved  and love whom he had  hated, without an aiota of scruple?
 When Your Bluff Is Called, Change The Subject

By: Saleh AA Younis   Aug. 27,1999

Recently, the ever-busy Spokesperson of the FDRE, who is trying desperately to change the subject from the obvious question of "Why won't Ethiopia accept the peace treaty it has been presented by the OAU?" decided to compare and contrast the government in Eritrea and Ethiopia. The purpose of this exercise is unknown. If the point is to say, "we can't accept a peace treaty with the Eritrean Government because we don't trust them" then why did Ethiopia claim to have accepted the Framework Agreement in November and the Modalities just last month? The Government in Eritrea, as far as I know,  hasn't changed since July 1999. Could it be that Ethiopia really never accepted the Framework and the Modalities and was merely paying lip service to paint itself as a peace-loving government?

In any event, here is a true "compare and contrast" between Ethiopia and   Eritrea--written in the format of the Spokesperson. We hope this will help the Spokesperson diffuse the stress of having its government's bluff called and being exposed for the war-mongering power that it is. This time, there is no Salim, no Aptidon, no Campore to run to...It is just Eritrea, Ethiopia and honest brokers.

Sit back, relax, enjoy a cup of coffee and wonder why the birr and
nakfa, whose one-to-one exchange rate request by Eritrea was considered so rude by Ethiopia that it waged war on Eritrea, is exchanging, a year and half  later, at 1 to 1.

(1) Political Parties

The Abyssinian Empire
There are currently 60 registered political parties throughout the country. And every single one of them reports to the Tigray People Liberation Front  (TPLF). Parties that are not beholden to the TPLF and actually enjoy  grassroots support from the Ethiopian Empire, such as the OLF, are liquidated.

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
In the past 7 years, it would, of course, have been fairly easy for the Eritrean Government to create 75 political parties all beholden to EPLF; after all, the Ethiopian Government was able to create 10 Eritrean political parties within 3 months. However, the Eritrean Government believes that parties will emerge naturally in line with the Eritrean Constitution, which, unlike the Ethiopian constitution, was debated for two years by the citizens.

(2) Elections

The Abyssinian Empire
The May 2000 elections promise to be a repeat of the 1994 elections. In fact, they are likely to be even less legitimate because many of the  Ethiopian citizens that voted for TPLF's ascendancy to power have been stripped of their citizenship and deported to Eritrea by the ethno-obsessed Ethiopian Government. The last time elections were held in Ethiopia,  Ethiopia's armed forces, which are supposed to be apolitical and independent, acted as intimidators of the opposition forces. How else could a thoroughly despised minority party come to power and dominate the disenfranchised Amhara
and Southern Ethiopians?

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
Presidential and Parliamentary elections were scheduled for late 1998-around the time the Abyssinian Empire declared war on Eritrea. If an election were held today, in secret ballot, the overwhelming majority of Eritreans would vote for the present Government of Eritrea.

(3) Power Legitimacy

The Abyssinian Empire
The Ethiopian government is led by the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary   Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition party comprising other political movements. Each of these movements is a satellite of TPLF and has no support in the grassroots of the Abyssinian Empire.

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
As leaders of the vanguard movement that liberated Eritrea from the shackles of brutal Ethiopian rule and rid the neighborhood of Ethiopia's last bully  (Mengistu), President Isaias and his 'small cohort of elites' are immensely popular and enjoy the grassroot support of the overwhelming majority of  Eritreans. This has been attested to by every independent journalist who  visits Eritrea.

(4) Power Decentralization

The Abyssinian Empire
The Empire's so-called recognition of "the rights of all nations and
nationalities" has resulted in the balkanization of Ethiopia along ethnic
lines where unity is fragile and can only be sustained by trumped up and   non-existent foreign threats. Ironically, TPLF cites the
ethnic-balkanization policy it is responsible for to convince the donor
nations that the unity of Ethiopia is so fragile and could disintegrate
without the TPLF. This entrenches TPLF dynasty and ensures massive subsidies making Ethiopia--or is it Tigray--the largest per capita welfare nation in Africa.

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
The "recognition" of the rights of diverse nations in a nation comprised of  3.5 million and 9 ethnic groups would result in the balkanization of Eritrea into tiny powerless enclaves which would make it easy pickings for land-locked neighbors. This would be ideal for Ethiopia--which explains the Ethiopian Government's touching soft spot for the Afar Eritreans.

(5) Freedom of The Press

The Abyssinian Empire
Freedom of the press is constitutionally guaranteed…but Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, has been cited as Enemy of The Press for three consecutive years by two international journalists associations. This is because the Ethiopian Government, despite its free press pretensions, regularly and routinely imprisons and disappears members of the press who are critical of its policies. The offices of an independent Ethiopian paper that
dared to criticize the Empire's policy of deportation and looting were burned down and its editors arrested. Others were paroled on condition that they write hateful and irrational pieces for Walta.

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
There are 6 private papers and three government-owned newspapers in Eritrea. The independence of the free press is maturing, every year, and the press shows an increasingly independent streak. Eritrea has a longer "free press" history than Ethiopia--as anyone who read the independent papers during the Federation Era will testify.

(6) Transparency

The Abyssinian Empire
Ethiopia routinely denies access to independent and politically untainted journalists to keep Ethiopians in the dark about the ramifications of its misguided war against Eritrea. The press is denied access to the concentration camps Ethiopia runs in Blatien where young Eritreans are held without charge and some tortured and others die in captivity. The poor Eritreans that have been deported by Malawi to the Mother of Deportations, Ethiopia, are likely to face torture and abuse in the "democratic" and "rule of law" abiding Ethiopia.

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
Eritrea's treatment of POW is exemplary and has been commended by many independent organizations. The Eritrean Government treats prisoners of war humanely not to please donor nations or get a pat on the head from moral crusaders but as a matter of principle and decency. It is this decency that allows Ethiopian pilots to be downed, imprisoned, released and come back to bomb again.

(7) Signing Treaties vs Implementing Treaties

The Abyssinian Empire
Ethiopia respects international law and the sovereignty of its  neighbors…except on those occasions when it imprisons members of the press, tortures prisoners, steals elections, bombs civilians. It regularly crosses international borders in "hot pursuit" of "terrorists" to every single one of its neighbors: Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya and Somalia.

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
Eritrea has made a habit of asserting its rights in a neighborhood where looting of its material resources and abusing its citizens was accepted for years. Eritrea's efforts are directed towards stabilizing the Horn of Africa, which, for decades, and under the hegemony of Ethiopia, has been a tinderbox. Ethiopia, on the other hand, sees Somalia as a threat and is engaged in activities to turn that nation into tiny clan fiefdoms.

(8) Makeup of Armed Forces

The Abyssinian Empire
The Ethiopian "defense forces" includes mercenaries from Eastern Europe, conscripts from Southern Sudan, children from Oromia to be used as cannon fodder, and famous war criminals from the Mengistu Regime who gained notoriety by inflicting pain on innocent civilians---including the innocent citizens of Tigray. All, of course, reporting to Tigrayan officers. The Ethiopian Government is so commited to war, it sees no contradiction in trying people for war crimes and then hiring them to commit more of the same.

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
Many small nations surrounded by large and militarily ambitious government like that of Ethiopia have found it necessary to provide military training to their citizens. The military training Eritreans receive is only a fraction of the national service which includes reconstruction projects and "Get To Know Your Country" tours to rural areas where Eritreans get meet their compatriots of different ethnicity--in keeping with the Eritrean Government's policy of minimizing ethnic differences. This may be shocking in the ethno-segregation policy pursued by the Ethiopian Government. National  Service is considered an honorable and great tradition in Eritrea and, prior
to the war waged by Ethiopia, the send-off of the youth was greeted
cheerfully by mothers of the youth.

(9) Treaties and their meaning

The Abyssinian Empire
Ethiopia has signed many conventions and treaties even during the brutal Mengistu Regime. Ethiopia attaches great significance to signing forms--even when it knows fully well that it has no intention of implementing what it signs. Surely, a government that respects treaties would not deport its own citizens and strip them of their citizenship and property. Ethiopia's signatures are all done for the appeasement of the donor nations upon whom the Ethiopian economy relies for its daily sustenance. The TPLF used to advocate that Eritrea was a colony of Ethiopia and that territorial disputes should be resolved based on colonial treaties. Now that it has agitated itself to the throne of the Empire, it is adopting the language of elite that it replaced.

Sovereign Republic of Eritrea
Eritrea has signed many international conventions that it supports and are in its national interest. Unlike Ethiopia, its economy is not reliant on foreign largesse and it has no intention of signing documents that it has no intention of implementing--even when this results in withholding of funds by the donor nations.

In the end, this is what separates truly free nations who chart their destiny from neo-colonial empires that subjugate their people and live off the handouts of donor nations, year in and year out.

I'm awestruck at how he reversed his position on major issues. lol

Thanks for unearthing this article, good-guad

★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★ ✩★✩★✩★✩★✩★
«ናይ ጽቡቕ: ሕማቕ ኣብነት»
"Eritrea has become a threat - 'a threat of a good example,' a beacon of hope in a continent filled with misery and despair, and where Africans, despite their abundant resources, because of corruption and greed, and most of all because of economic programs prescribed by self-serving external forces, have been relegated to live on handouts from the "generous" west"
-- ✽(Sophia Tesfamariam)✽

  Dear Eritreans:

                     Why then   Saleh AA Younis  became what he has become after all that flowery eulogy on the superiority of leadership of the Eritrean Government?
                    Knowing full well where  Saleh AA Younis grew up, retail industry, and knowing full well his being Tigraway alien, basing on these two traits alone, one can exactly answer the question to the point.

                     One thing the people of Tigray ,as a whole, takes pride upon is their unscrupulous treachery, of which woyane can serve as the embodiment, who, after 17 years of living on the generosity  of Eritreans, professing to acknowledge the Eritrean struggle for Independence and eulogizing on the intelligence of its leadership, attempted to murder His Excellency Isaias Afewerki and his family, and two years later, launched a premeditated invasion on our country under the false pretext of border dispute.

   Dear Eritreans:

                     The behavior of  Saleh AA Younis and his likes may  be a shock for us but it is in their  Tigray blood and therefore, as long they can get away with it, they have no qualm with any kind of treachery and betrayal, including murder, theft etc. It is us who should be on our constant vigilance, lest those who are still in our midst can creat havoc whenever we become vulnerable.



 GudGuad the racist  you are one idiot.What is wrong with having retail biusness ? what was your father Job?insulting salih is insulting his family including hos brother Ali Abdu right hand of the despot insulting Ali Abdu is insulting Your Higdef bunch and your semi God. You guys are comical  Ali Abdu will take care of your diabolic racist attitude.

   Dear Eritreans:
                       The following article is written by Saleh AA Younis in June 26, 2000, criticising Alemseged Abay,a woyane, just before he crossed and joined woyane camp, soul and body.  
Warping History, Ethiopian Style
Saleh AA Younis
June 26, 2000

Back in 1993-1994, an Ethiopian scholar from Tigray and a graduate from UC Berkeley in California, was working on a thesis to explain why, in 1991, the EPLF opted for Eritrean secession, whereas the TPLF "preferred to grab the state machinery in Addis Ababa and stay Ethiopian." His field survey included visiting Eritrea and Ethiopia, interviewing Eritrean and Ethiopian civilians and government officials (even the usually tight-lipped EPLF officials were willing to be interviewed on the record) and pouring through Eritrean and Ethiopian archives as well as the Public Records Office (London) and the U.S. National Arhives (Maryland.) The research culminated in a book ("Identity Jilted or Re-imagining Identity?",Red Sea Press, Inc., 1998)

In the last two years, as Eritrea and Ethiopia faced one of the toughest periods of their history, Ato Alemseged was nowhere to be found. When the Ethiopian Government shut down the office and deported the employees of his publisher (Red Sea Press), because they were Eritreans, he wasn't heard from.

Fast forward to June 20, 2000. In a piece entitled "A truly tragic and fratricidal war", Alemseged Abbay gives us four reality checks and invites "Eritrean leaders to face realities." It seems that only Eritreans have something to learn from this bloody war and every Ethiopian is going to tell us what the lesson is. Alemseged's lessons are called "realities" and they go something like this:

  • Reality # 1: Africa's stupidest war was fought among siblings. The Afars, Agaws, Kunamas and Tigrayans straddle the boundary between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

  • Reality # 2: 'Eritrea's unity with Ethiopia is necessary... Eritrea can not achieve economic growth with out unity [with Ethiopia]'. Walde-Ab Walde-Mariam, 'Ertra ne'man?' ['Eritrea for whom?'] Nay Ertrea Semunawi Gazetta, May 22, 1947, part IV, p. 4.

  • Reality # 3: Italy did not give education or significant technological skills to the Eritreans.

  • Reality # 4:'If we do wish the best for our children and the future generations, then let us not hate unity [with Ethiopia]. Unity is strength, unity is dignity, unity is prosperity, unity is victory.' Walde-Ab Walde-Mariam, 'Ertra ne'man?' ['Eritrea for whom?'] Nay Ertra Semunawi Gazetta, May 22, 1947, part IV, p. 4.

Let's first address "Reality # 2" and "Reality # 4" because they are, in reality, the same realities. To quote Wolde-Ab Wolde-Mariam to argue the case that he was for (conditional or unconditional) unity with Ethiopia is like talking about Saul before he became Paul on the road to Demascus. It is like writing the biography of Malcolm X without talking about his pilgrimage to Mecca and how the experience totally transformed him. This would be typically ignorant if coming from the typical Walta writer but coming from a serious researcher like Alemseged Abbay, it is, to put it charitably, intellectually dishonest because the writer knows better.

Wolde-ab Woldemariam's political activism spanned 50 years (1941 - 1991). In the 1940's, he began his political career as a unionist, then moved to the Liberal Progressive Party and then finally to the Independence Bloc. From the 1950's on, he was a very vocal critic of Ethiopia's attempt to destroy Eritrea's autonomous status during the Federation; he was an outspoken critic of the leadership of Tedla Bairu in facilitating Eritrea's absorption by Ethiopia. He was maligned; an election was stolen from him and he survived not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six but seven assassination attempts on his life by the Ethiopian Unionists. When he asked for a visa to be a political immigrant, the Haile Selassie Government tried to bribe him with a cushy job at the Ministry of Information; he declined. When it acquiesced to his request, it tried to suggest that he go to Europe; he declined. He took refuge in Egypt in 1953 where, thanks to Jamal Abdel-Nasser, he propagated his fight against Ethiopia's annexation of Eritrea via radio broadcasts. For nearly 40 years, he lived in exile at once promoting the Eritrean cause and serving as an inspiration to a generation of Eritreans. He lived long enough to see a free Eritrea: he returned in 1991 and, true to his legend for eloquence, said: "O, my land! Forty years ago, before I left thee, I shed blood for thy sake. Today, forty years later, I return to shed tears of joy."

But then I am telling Mr. Alemseged Abbay information he knows because his books includes hundreds of reference material including from Research and Information Center of Eritrea (RICE). Why then this dishonesty? Can't people like Mr. Alemseged Abbay see nothing beyond ancestry and the theory that heritage is destiny? Why is Mr. Alemseged trying to turn an Eritrean legend into a poster boy for Ethiopianism. What is next? Ibrahim Sultan, at heart, was a unionist? Abdelkader Kebire, had he not been assassinated by the unionist, would have endorsed union with Ethiopia? When will the desecration of our heroes end?

That's exactly the point, isn't it? To many Ethiopians, the entire existence of "Eritrea" is a sacrilege; an affront to Ethiopian one-ness. And so, a student of identities and how they are jilted comes now because he knows that one way to destroy Eritrea is to destroy its icons, to steal them and to sully them. Another way is to exile them (something successive Ethio governments have done.) Still another way is to destroy its towns its assets so that people will say, "an Eritrea without ____ is not worth fighting for." It is all futile but they never give up.

Let's now address more of Alemseged's realities. Going back to reality # 1, yes, the people who straddle the Mereb River are siblings. This may be earthshaking news to Alemseged but there is nothing terribly remarkable about this. The "hadendawa" who straddle the Sudan-Eritrea border are siblings; the Somalis who straddle the Ethio-Somali border are siblings; the Bedouin who straddle the borders of all the Gulf States are siblings. So what? What made the Eritrea-Ethiopia war senseless (not stupid) is not that it was waged between siblings but that it was waged at all.

Another entirely unremarkable observation is Alemseged's reality # 3: that the Italians treated Eritreans shabbily. Oh, what a shocker that a colonial European power would abuse its African colony. When the fate of Eritrea was in the hands of the "international community" and Eritreans organized themselves politically to chart their future, those calling for return of Italy were almost non-existent; the pro-Italy party was made up largely of retired war veterans of Italy's wars. What was a shocker (to the international community) was that faced with an option of partitioning Eritrea to Sudan and Ethiopia, all the parties (except for the pro-Ethiopia unionists) formed an Independence Bloc to successfully fight the partition. What was a shocker (to Eritrea) was how cruel its African colonizer (Ethiopia) would be in destroying its autonomy and waging a war of extermination against its "siblings."

That Italy would be a cruel colonizer and that, at the same time, Eritrea would be more politically and economically advanced or value education more than Ethiopia of the first half of the 20th century are not inconsistent. In 1949s, in one of the exchanges between Ibrahim Sultan (representing the Independence Bloc) and the Ethiopian delegation to the UN, Ethiopia was trying to make the point that Eritrea could not be a viable state because it doesn't have an educated class that could run the government. Ibrahim Sultan, after acknowledging that because of Italian colonization, Eritreans had to be educated in neighboring countries including Ethiopia says the following:

"...The educated Eritreans that we have, let alone for their country Eritrea, they are doing a service for Ethiopia. If evidence is needed, without going too far, in this assembly, 99% of the Ethiopian delegation to the UN are of Eritrean ancestry...
People like Alemseged can read Eritrean history without and fast forward the pages that deal with people like Ibrahim Sultan. In his thesis, Alemseged argued that the Derg's viciousness drove Eritrea away from Ethiopia. What he forgets--or perhaps is not terribly concerned about because it doesn't involve people of the "trans-Mereb"--is that Ethiopia's organized savagery against Eritrea did not begin with the Derg and, sadly, has not ended with the Derg. For every "sheEb" that the Derg pepetrated, there was an "Una" that Haile Selassie initiated. So, yes, Eritreans do in speak in broken Italian and and play Amharic songs at weddings not because we are proud of either period in our history but because it is our history.

Remember Paul Henze telling us that the Eritrean referendum was a sham because Eritreans were not given a choice? Well, now Alemseged carries that argument further by saying that the EPLF made a mistake in presenting Eritreans with an "all or nothing" choice. Well, here's another reality check that a researcher like Alemseged can find out: during Eritrea's armed struggle, the Eritrean field was crowded by quite a few idologues: the ELF, ELF-PLF, EPLF and their splinter groups and subgroups: the MenkaI, the falul, the Sagems, the Baath party (Syrian and Iraqi brands), the Hzbel Amel, etc. They disagreed in virtually everything but every single one of them had one thing in common: they wanted to bring about Eritrea's independence and they all pledged that they would die trying to bring that outcome rather than settle for anything less. That was the mandate of the Eritrean people.

Whether Eritrea can be a "viable state" because it cannot sustain itself or feed its population, if self-sustenance was a pre-requisite to statehood then Ethiopia wouldn't qualify to be a nation for a year much less "3000 years." As to the cliché of Eritrea wanting to be Singapore (ha, ha, what a riot), why does that ambition cause so much giggle in Ethiopian circles? Ethiopia is on record as pursuing an import-substitution economy. Should I experience hysteria and giggle that Ethiopia wants to be (hee, hee) South Korea? Or should I applaud and wish Ethiopia best of luck? An Eritrea using Singapore as an economic model would be a net benefit to Eritrea and Ethiopia. To argue that while it would help Ethiopia marginally it would help Eritrea significantly and therefore it must be rejected is straight from the Patrick Buchanan School of Economics. While Buchananism's "America First" economics is considered kooky and backward in the US, judging from everything I read, it is the mainstream belief of every economist in Ethiopia.

The real reality check is this: Ethiopia's economy is modeled after Patrick Buchanan; its political organization is modeled after the Roman Empire; its government is elected by margins approaching those that used to be announced by the Soviet Bloc; its health care system is a mess with one of the highest cases of HIV; its chronic drought and famine is world-renowned; its peace and security is dependent on one elite ethnic group not being too impatient to wait their turn "to grab the state machinery in Addis Ababa" And this is the nation that is inviting Eritrea to join it.

Thanks, Alemseged, but Eritrea's odds don't look that dismal, relatively speaking.


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