Historically, Eritrean politics traces back its origin after the birth of colonized Eritrea. Italians mobilized thousands of Eritreans as Ascaries(conscripts). These conscripted ascaries were the first victims of fascism, especially in the 1935-1941 ambitious project of Benito Mussolini to colonize Ethiopia. Mussolini’s fascist ideology has left deep roots among the Eritrean elites of the 1940s and 50s. Since then, Eritrean politics is shaped as such.
To make it short, for the last 50 years(1941 – 1991) and then the pro-independence Eritrean thinking and organizational formation promotes “COUNTRY FIRST” ideology. The country is considered the source of everything. And, anyone is dictated to put first his country before even asking about basic human rights. “Before you ask your rights, first do what the country asks you to do” is a policy that we Eritreans are subjected for the last 30 years. As a result thousands of Eritreans have left the country in search of basic human rights, a right to live freely.
What is now so sad and worrying is to witness such tendencies again to rise. Eritrea by Eritreans for Eritreans; ኤርትራ ብኤርትራውያን ንኤርትራውያን – the most racist slogan, and another similar but promoted by different groups, ኤርትራ ንኤርትራውያን – Eritrea for Eritreans – has now elevated to a concrete ideologies of the now re-emerging political organizations such as EPDP and Global Yiakil.
EPDP – Eritrean People’s Democratic Party – a member of International Soclialist Organization (until its dissolution, 2019) – is now shifting to Eritreanism – an ideology which traces its origin from the Italian Fascism era – a right wing politics. By now, it means EPDP has left its Left Block – the Socialist Block. Well, good for them but we have noted.
Global Yiakil – a new political organization(2018) – has now formally embraced Eritreanism after its first Congress. This organization comprises members from 11 countries in its global umbrella. Since its birth, Yiakil has promoted Eritrea for Eritreans – a right wing politics – and they have clearly rejected any other political ideological tendencies. They use labels such as, “traitors, sellers, country first, etc.” a label which are so common among the PFDJ regime followers.
My objective here is not to exhaust my concern about the worrisome political landscape developments but rather to highlight and then continue to talk about the danger we are entering if these tendencies are left unchecked.
He was a technical, agriculturalist, fearless person. He was humble. I came to know him when he was forced to leave any government post and stay idle. He spent some years living a peaceful civilian life in the city where he was born, Keren. Abraha Garza.
Abraha, he studied Agriculture in Soviet Union, USSR, now Russia. He was one of the very few educated freedom fighters who did his study in Agronomic Engineering at Masters level.
From there, he joined EPLF to fight for freedom. He fought along with the people of Eritrea. After 1991, he thought Eritrea had became a free country but in reality it is not. The time I knew him(2010), I read from him mixed feelings, feelings of pain – especially the suffering of the youth. He wispered [us] to stay patient and fight for what is right.
One day, a colleague from Hamelmalo Agricultural College(Asmelash Mehari) and I went with Abraha to make a visit to a hardworking Agriculturalist to give an Agricultural Extension advice. We talked about his activity and gave our advice. Abraha Garza was listening with full interest. It was wonderful day. For dinner, we ate a nice Pizza at Sabrina Hotel(Keren). I still remember that. We were four. We had a wonderful day.
Later, I learnt that he is my near distant uncle, Adi Beynu Zauletay. But never raised this with him our meetings was more professional. I wanted to chat with him on family issue but never got a chance.
May He Rest in Peace.
He did all his best to expand and develop agriculture in Gash-Barka. But then a military junta and hulted his ambition to make Gash-Barka a hub of Agricultural products.
A brief Eulogy.