This piece was written in response to a respected Ethiopian Awatista after he tried to put a shade on what Abay Woldu, an Ethiopian, from Tigray region, who was a member of TPLF leadership during the armed struggle and now a governor of Tigray state, said on the occasion of 40 anniversary of TPLF.
I am in a different opinion with many here, including my compatriots and the writter himself. I don’t see any problem that Ato Abay mentioning his triumph, trials and tribulations with different political opponents during the early stage of the armed struggle. He did not call for a revenge, now he is in a better place. He did not differentiate between Ethiopian oppositions and Eritrean one. He did not demand an apology from these groups for for fighting him. He just said, how it was, and who he had to fight to get where he is now. In fact, I see the writter holding grudge and demanding never to be mentioned in a darker light by anyone. Ato Abay’s comment seems to be a passing one to explain the stages of the struggle and who were the actors of that struggle of the opposite sides. Stories like that don’t belong only in a library and museums as the writter suggests, but also in occasions to commemorate the struggle. I am not for glossing over certain important truth, if the speaker deems them appropriate to tell them. We also need to remember that Abay Weldu is not part of the new breed of leaders of TPLF/EPRDF. He was part of that struggle. He may have lost close friends, comrades or relatives, during the fight with these groups. He himself may have been shot at. He himself personally may have been victimized. Therefore, as human emotions dictate it, he should at least be allowed to vent in what ever venue and whatever manner he chooses. He doesn’t have to bite his tangue forever for being politically correct to be falsely polite, while there is something he feels important to be told. That is what I think….
I flet that what Eyob supported is a flaw and for that I responded to show my disagreement on the said above. Here it follows.
Dear Eyob Medhane,
Let me bring the said and quoted to us here by AT.
During the 17 years of popular struggle, since the sea of reactionaries was wide, there was no one who didn’t attempt to annihilate this [TPLF] democratic organization… [Derg, EPLF, EDU and a host of others are mentioned] Jebha, supported all reactionaries to annihilate us, but in the end, it fell in [the fire], was charred, and disappeared.”
The quoted above in general and in particular “… Jebha, supported all reactionaries to annihilate us, but in the end, it fell in [the fire], was charred, and disappeared.”This is the core issue of the subject matter.
Well, first of all, there are first hand eye-witness here (we are blessed for having them). They can give us what happened exactly during that period. They did so before, they are doing it now and they will do it till the end.
First of all, you said, “We also need to remember that Abay Weldu is not part of the new breed of leaders of TPLF/EPRDF. He was part of that struggle. He may have lost close friends, comrades or relatives, during the fight with these groups. He himself may have been shot at.”
Dear Eyob, we should also equally know that some of the AT members, prominant writers and commenters (Amanuel H., Kokhob S., Semere A., and many) are the first victims of TPLF collaboration with EPLF indeafeating ELF (Jebha) militarily. To repeat, “MILITARILY” not “politically”, economically or socially. No Eritrean was happy with what happened to ELF and hence the grievance is still alive. And a supposed respected by virtue touches that wound, the pain becomes more.
To come back to the quote, let me bisect it so that we can have an insight.
- The sea of reactionaries was wide.
He (Abay Woldu) should remember that ELF was in Eritrea and defeated militarily when it was in her homeland. We cannot blindly say that why TPLF was in Eritrea at that time as we know the history but there is a valid and acceptable reason ELF to react TPLF though strategically it might not be correct. To mention EPLF as a reactionary within the TPLF history book is also another historical flaw. There were disagreements among EPLF and TPLF but that cannot be labeled as reactionary in its nature. Therefore, Abay Woldu denied the historical facts from two dimensions and this exposes his sleepiness.
- Jebha, supported all reactionaries to annihilate us
I elaborated the reactionary term in my first point. But let it assume it in that way as what is in his words. If EPLF was among the reactionaries, did ELF helped? As for me, I don’t think so. Let SGJ and Amanuel Hidrat interject here. I need to learn more about this. The conflict that happened with ELF and TPLF was mainly a territorial issue. That single phenomenon has led both fronts into a bitter relationships. And as we all know, the 1998-2000 was a continuation of that disagreement though the player is different. Had the incidence of ELF and TPLF was solved wisely, we could not have such terrible war of after independence. ELF was much more mature politically than EPLF at that time and he knew what it will happen if they ignore that issue.
- but in the end, it fell in [the fire]
Where is the end? ELF never stopped its struggle and still they are continuing. Can one declare victory temporarily because one has stopped doing it? ELF by 1982 was a front with more than 15,000 well equiped freedom fighters. Some of them joined EPLF (Sagem), some of them continued their struggle armed but in different form, some returned back to their civilian life and very dedicated leaders and members continued their peaceful political struggle. We have still political organizations and parties, prominent individuals within the struggle against the tyranny. Abay Woldu know them very well as there are some who are stationed in Tigray and above all the ENCDC with its head office in Ethiopia.
If we see the Derge issue, Dergue regime was defeated in all areas and especially “POLITICALLY and ECONOMICALLY”. It was only then after it became easy to remove from power. I might be naive but I am quite confident that no one, NO ONE, within the opposition is fighting again to Re-install the Derge system in Ethiopia. Rather, there could be some who romantize Emperor Hailes Silassie Era and want to maintain that legitimacy.
In the case of ELF, it is different. No single Eritrean was happy with what happened with ELF except couples of EPLF leaders. Even top ideologues of of PFDJ today are members of ELF till its disintegration, like Zemheret Yohaness and Ahferom Tewelde. Majority of freedom fighters still regret for what happened between ELF and EPLF.
The good thing is, all happened inside Eritrea. How can then a man supposed to be honored by virtue tell us that Jebha went to fell in [fire]. Does it make hil proud also if one segment of Eritrean freedom fighters went to fire? Today, Ethiopia knows more than almost anybody the significance of political solutions. It is because of this wisdom that TPLF formed a united EPRDF front and now opened the country for democratization process. There is no way to return Ethiopia in the hands of TPLF and there is no wish from TPLF to do so. Political solutions are the only means at the end. Military defeat is always temporary in nature. people can raise even after 2000 or more years to bring the question they had by their ancestors. You know better than me Eyob in this regard and hence no need to be a cadre over you though it is not a mistake if I remind you.
- [Jebha] was charred
According to Cambridge advanced learner’s dictionary, charred is defined as: burnt and black. Andworldreferenece.com has defined charred as “blackened by fire”.
let it be in that way according to him for a moment. If that is so, is it then a “GENOCIDE” for what it happened to 15,000 armed freedom fighters of ELF? I have followed an excellent discussion between Amde and Saleh Johar and brother destaa interject to define what GENOCIDE is. destaa put,
“The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court definition of Genocide. Article 6 of the Rome Statute provides that ‘genocide’ means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”
If that is so, then, Eritreans will need to open a file for what it happened to her freedom fighters. They were charred, burned to fire by TPLF and still lost soul individuals like Abay Woldu are among the criminals who did that happen and are still walking among us freely. Worse, they are still proud of it.
Dear, Eyob, what Abay Woldu said is not to remember history but to tell us that he is proud of been among the genociders. I am quite sure this is completely none of Tigray peoples business and if they say so, it is only a mistake. It is him and those who share the same thinking.
Last but not list,
- [Jebha]… and disappeared.
Here is see a confusion of Abay Woldu. Let’s define what it mean “disappeared”
When used without object and hence in Abay Woldu’s words
- to cease to be seen; vanish from sight.
- to cease to exist or be known; pass away; end gradually:
- (of a person) to vanish under suspicious circumstances:
Well, if ELF was charred, Abay Woldu has seen were these freedom fighters went. They are burnt to hell, simple. He saw the anguish, the cry, the flame and he personally felt the energy radiated from the heat generated. They [ELF] deserved that (according to him as they are reactionaries and who cooperated also other reactionaries). Then why he is looking an innocent about where they are about? 15,000 men and women just vanished because of TPLF criminals [according to Abay Woldu’s testimony].
Well, AT are too generous. Very generous! And Eyod Medhane, a man respectd by all Awatistas and a source of wisdom to many, is coming to tell us to be humble with Abay Woldu, one of among TPLF leaders, a man at the top to make decisions, and a man who is not even shy after 33 years of the GENOCIDE [according to his own words] and is still who is walking freely, without any case opened on him.
Dear Eyob Medhane, we know our history. We cannot wait one to tell us to be shy simply because one is telling his old day acts. I am disappointed at you. Many may respect you as a source of knowledge but I disrespect you, “DISREPECT”, to repeat “DISRESPECT” you for not KNOWING your knowledge. You did before similar mistakes here at awate.com and now you are coming to tell us to ignore our history. How disrespectful person you are? Can’t you be shy on your knowledge?
I will not be give-up on you though as I believe you will process your knowledge sooner or later. Just have a look on the difference between “KNOWLEDGE” and “KNOWING”.
I would also like T.Kifle to share this as a message to him. T.Kifle also acknowledged that what Abay Woldu said is RIGHT but not Necessary. A message to you T.Kifle, if he is right and if it shared by you too though not a right time to say it, you both are responsible for what happened to ELF members GENOCIDE.