For twenty years, Eritreans in the diaspora have been forced to focus on the situation in Eritrea. Every day that went-by was a struggle as the situation in Eritrea was tough to say the least. Eritreans were inundated with news that made them feel uneasy.
As a result, Eritrean community was focusing on helping their country anyway they can. In the process, overlooked were the lives, the stories, achievements and businesses of Eritreans all over.
Eritreans are industrious, technical and brilliant entrepreneurs that have been able to adopt and strive everywhere they went. That story is yet to be told.
One such story is Abraham Melles’s who came to the US in 1998 from Eritrea and quickly established as one of the promising entrepreneurs that achieved many successes in relatively short period of time.
Most of the people that know his early business ventures know Enjera Restaurant in Metropolitan Washington DC, in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia.
Abraham opened Enjera restaurant as Eritrean cuisine against the advice of many who wanted him to promote it as Ethiopian but insisted to promote Enjera restaurant as Eritrean cuisine and did very well until he sold it for profit and moved on to other ventures.
Abraham has a good eye for business. A year after he came to the US and settled in Virginia he founded Crystal Parking, a Virginia-based parking services company. Crystal Parking has been operating for 18 years as parking management for businesses, special events, valet parking, transportation and temporary staffing company successfully. Abraham Melles has employed thousands, many of whom are Eritreans. These are Eritreans with little or no experience being acclimated to life in the US.
His latest ventures caught my attention because, this time Abraham is hoping to create opportunities in Eritrea and in the US simultaneously.
Abraham recently opened Star Hotel, a 28-room boutique hotel in Asmara, Eritrea and, in August of 2018, Abraham opened Delina Eritrean Urban Kitchen, 50-seat tapas-style restaurant that serves Eritrean cuisine in Bethesda, Maryland, 20 minutes outside DC, that he named after his 10-year-old daughter.
Abraham is always thinking about growing his business ventures while embracing his community, providing employment and business opportunity for all. In fact, in the very near future, Delina Kitchen will open a restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.
Delina Kitchen is very appealing because it is modern, hip and designed to expand beyond the Metro DC area and all over the country if not the world. Abraham Melles is one such person that could accomplish that.
The food is healthy and fresh prepared every day. It is a well executed concept that has been received very well by Bethesda community.
Delina Restaurant is serving an area that is home to Marriott Headquarters, National Institute of Health (NIH) and other major multi-national organizations. Delina creatively engages the community by providing healthy fun positive environment. They also have Jazz music on Thursdays.
Abraham Melles is an inspiration, he is part of the Eritrean Diaspora story that we must all tell from now on.
By Amanuel Biedemariam, Repost from October, 2011.
On a recent interview with ESAT, the Founder and President of Genocide Watch, Dr. Gregory Stanton stressed that Ethiopia is high on the list of countries of Genocide Watch. The reasons Dr. Stanton outlined are alarming; however true, yet, an opportunity for Ethiopians and other peace loving people to try to stop it from taking place. This is not the first time Dr. Stanton raised alarm publicly. However, this time, Dr. Stanton detailed the reasons why; as well as how and, what could trigger genocide in Ethiopia and specifically Tigray region.
Dr. Stanton comes with sizeable resume and expertise in genocide related matters because he has been closely associated with the formulation of the legal language and UN resolutions that govern the international standards and laws. He has dedicated great deal of time to understand the triggers, the damages, consequences, ramifications and preventive mechanisms.
Dr. Stanton said the reason he started Genocide Watch is that, after The Rwanda Genocide he came to the realization that there is need for watchdog group that specifically focused on genocide. And, that is the reason why he founded the organization.
While it is difficult to trust West- based organizations that claim to do good; I found Dr. Stanton’s reasoning compelling and his observation about the issues in Ethiopia spot-on. Dr. Stanton highlighted the stages or indicators that point to the likelihood of genocidal events in a given region and in this case Ethiopia, specifically Tigray.
One of the common factors in these countries is often, minority regimes ruling ethnically based administrations. Dr. Stanton said,
“Tigrayan minority that created its own colonies within the country rules Ethiopia.”
He further noted that the minority Tigrayan regime has created animosities and mistrust amongst the various ethnic groups in Ethiopia in order to divide and rule. In these circumstances a feeling of ”us-against-them” and resentment arises with deadly consequences. And there is always a nickname associated used to demonize the minority group as in Rwanda.
In Ethiopia, the minority Tigrayan regime has committed countless crimes against humanity in the Ogaden, the Gambella and other places. There has been a major forced uprooting of large populations to accommodate multinational organizations not to mention the ethnic cleansing of over eighty thousand Eritreans from Ethiopia from 1998-2000.
That is why Dr. Stanton was compelled to warn the world; ultimately, the people of Tigray will end up paying the price for the crimes the genocides Meles regime. He stated,
“My job is to identify trends that could cause genocides and what I am witnessing in Ethiopia is a great deal of concern for the people of Tigray because the regime is committing these crimes on their names.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpoOJZ2nU1Q
Here we go…, if an Ethiopian or Eritrean makes these remarks a Tigrayan is likely to brush it off as exaggeration. But what Dr. Stanton’s attempt to expose the minority Tigrayan genocidal regime does is, give weight to the subject and raise the ante. It gives it credibility. In a recent interview with ESAT, American Professor Theodore Vestal echoed similar concerns.
What is taking place in Ethiopia is real and not difficult to see the direction. All good things come to an end and the good time the genocidal TPLF clique enjoyed at the expense of Ethiopia and the regime is coming to end sooner than later. The regime, thinking that it will be the ultimate ruler in the region played a zero sum game with every country and ethnic group in the region. It committed genocides in the Ogaden and Gambella. It is dismembering the region by giving major land-away free; in Somalia, it has created a holocaust etc…
SIGNS OF A DYING REGIME
All of what the minority genocidal regime has done is ending. In 2006, Meles Zenawi waived the Holy Bible to invade an Islamic nation and failed leaving bloody trails. Now the Kenyans have taken that dubious honor to the dismay of the Transitional Government of Somalia. This clearly is a sign that the mercenary clique has failed to do the job and replaced by Kenya.
After the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia started, the minority regime established alliances with Omar Al Bashir of Sudan and Abdallah Sallah of Yemen to isolate and entrap Eritrea. Ten years removed, The Sallah regime is on life support and Sudan has distanced itself from Meles and strengthened her alliance with Eritrea. This is significant because there were major events that changed the dynamics of the frail Sudanese Ethiopian alliance for good.
Firstly, Sudan split into two. Secondly, the WikiLeaks revelation that Meles wanted Bashir gone is a certain dagger into the relationship and importantly, the TPLF clique is prone to pursue US interests at the expense of Ethiopia. While the minority regime has tried to show a positive face with Sudan, in a departure from the regular positive spins, the mouthpiece of TPLF Aigaforum website posted a critical article about Sudan while President Isaias Afwerki was in Sudan on a state visit.
All one has to do is understand what Sudan means to Tigray. The city of Kassala in Sudan is 182 km from the city of Humera Tigray [aka Beghemder]. Sudan is a lifeline to Tigray because Tigray is a landlocked province. Most of the goods that come into Tigray including oil come from Sudan. If Sudan closes borders with Tigray, there will be a drastic change in the economic realities of Tigray. For long, the genocidal Meles was able to play the ICC card against President Beshir but now the political dynamics have changed after the independence of South Sudan.
Furthermore, Eritrea is deeply entrenched in Sudan. In fact, during the opening ceremonies of a new highway between Eritrea and Sudan President Beshir said,
“I want no border between Eritrea and Sudan.”
This is significant because it means the interest of Sudan and Eritrea are in sink economically, politically, culturally and security wise. This clearly highlights the influence Meles lacks with his immediate neighbors. The only lifeline the genocidal regime has is Djibouti. In other words, he is alienated and, what he conspired against Eritrea turned on him.
The realities inside Ethiopia are not different. Meles Zenawi and his clique have no support of the Ethiopian people. The majority of Ethiopians in the 2005 election rejected them. And the crimes Meles committed in various Ethiopian regions is public record.
THE ALARM OF GENOCIDE
That being the case, what could push Ethiopia over the edge and create a scenario that could dismember the nation and create chaos? What could trigger a situation that makes a specific group of Ethiopians, in this case Tigray a target for mass killing? Why Tigray? Is there a truth behind Dr. Stanton’s alarm about genocide?
To say Ethiopia loathes the TPLF and Meles Zenawi is understatement. Hence, is there truth to the fact that Tigrayans will ultimately pay for the crimes Meles is committing in their name?
While there are many Tigrayans that say Meles does not represent Tigray; the reality is the main supporters of Meles are from Tigray. On the other hand, one of the main threats to his regime is Tigray based Tigray People Democratic Movement (TPDM), movement that is creating problems from within and gaining momentum with tens of thousands in the force already.
This shows that the people Tigray, at least a sizeable portion are, opposed to Meles Zenawi’s rule. However, a perception exists that Tigrayans are the ones perpetrating the oppression that is taking place in Ethiopia.
In 1998, Meles and his clique forced over 80,000 Eritreans out of their homes. What is interesting was that the majority of Ethiopians were opposed to this. They hated seeing their neighbors, their friends, friends of their sons and daughters, people they grew up and grew old with; old, young and people that knew little or nothing about Eritrea forced out of their homes and ethnic cleansed.
This is a precedent Meles Zenawi set, unheard-of before and breaking the fabric of a long-standing relationship between both peoples. Therefore, is it likely, when the opportunity arises for Ethiopians to say, “What is good for the goose is good for the gander” and repeat history and kick Tigrayans out of Ethiopia.
In 2003, a report that detailed the atrocities the minority clique committed in Gambella became public and it compelled Dr. Stanton to state,
“That the crimes fit the definitions of genocide and crimes against humanity.”
Human Rights Watch also conducted two investigations of their own and determined that the crimes against the Anuaks meet the stringent definition of crimes against humanity. This does not include the forced eviction of thousands of Anuak Ethiopians from their homes, villages and farmlands to accommodate Indian and other multinational corporations. Hence, if Anuaks have the opportunity, will they lash out?
The most Brutal atrocities by Meles and his clique are taking place in the Ogaden. Major humanitarian organizations have provided detailed account of the atrocities the genocidal clique is committing in the Ogaden. Horrid pictures of tortured and raped women; torched village after village; reports of systemic alienation and denial of humanitarian aid to millions of Ogadeni’s over a sustained period with irrefutable-evidences are abundant. Thousands have perished while millions remain disconnected from the outside world, deliberately. The international community has been-denied access to the area. In fact, two Swedish reporters are in jail captured by the minority clique while trying to report about the plight of the people of Ogaden. The list could go on…, but the question is there a repercussion? And who will pay?
What the minority clique is doing to the people Somalia is a historic crime that will reverberate for generations. It is the highest crime of humanity like the holocaust and the crimes of the Ottoman Empire on the Armenian people. What makes it more ironic is that the people of Somalia were not posing any threat to Tigray or TPLF; they were not in a position, did not have the capacity or, the ability to harm Ethipia.
The TPLF minority clique invaded a sovereign nation at the behest of Westerners and committed genocides needlessly. Unfortunately, the regime is still at-it exploiting the people of Somalia for political, monetary and military advantages from the West. TPLF is using the plight of the poor women and children as apolitical theater while squandering precious moments for the people Somalia. Will they have their day?
The people of Oromia didn’t fare better either. The first target of the minority clique was Oromia. The people of Oromo have suffered the most in the hands of TPLF. Any resistance against the clique meets brute force. Thousands of students have perished, beaten and jailed in high schools and colleges for showing a sign of opposition. Siye Abraha, member of the TPLF said that the jails are full of Oromo people. A fight with Tigrayan students in colleges is a reason for serious punishments. This is because Oromia poses the greatest threat since the Oromo represent the highest percentage of Ethiopia’s population and if they rise, it will end the regime’s reign.
Whilst the minority clique is-forced to apply an appeasement strategy, the people of Oromo are asserting their position evermore with vigor. And it is certain that they will clash in due time. The list of atrocities is long everywhere in Ethiopia.
These are the realities in Ethiopia today. The situation in Ethiopia is grave and requires urgent intervention. Numerous causalities can lead to calamitous and bloody events in Ethiopia at any time. There are different scenarios under which these events could become reality. However, the clique has ignored all the possibilities with a belief, as long as the international community is with us, the people of Ethiopia and the region does not matter. Hence, catered to the needs of foreign powers and businesses solely at the expense of people in the region.
For example: The regime is in violation of international laws for sitting on Eritrean territories which could trigger a conflict at any time when Eritrea sees it necessary. Furthermore, the Tigrayan minority regime has based its very existence on the destruction of Eritrea. Emboldened by the support it gets from the West, it is feeling invincible which could lead to conflict. Conflicts are opportunities for insurgencies that like to assert their positions forcefully and target their perceived threat, in this case the people of Tigray.
Sudan could close its border with Tigray and deny needed goods creating economic chaos for Tigray. This in turn will force Tigryans to migrate into areas where they may not be welcomed.
Frustration and helplessness of the youth will be rampant and a conflict from within will be deadly. Insurgencies will erupt and create a civil war inside Tigray. This grim assessment is happening as we speak and will gain momentum in a much faster pace if the regime falls. The TPLF has broken all the bridges with Ethiopians. It denied Tigrayans their traditional gateway and business partner in Eritrea isolating the people.
Dr. Gregory Stanton made it clear that Meles Zenawi will face justice for the crimes he is committing all over Ethiopia. There is always a price to be paid and someone is going to pay for all the crimes committed over the last two decades. The question, will that affect the people of Tigray and how? What can the average person do to avert disasters and unnecessary hardships of poor innocent people?
Meles Zenawi is a friend to no one. He is leading a minority clique that does not answer to the Ethiopian people. As he gets desperate, he is doing all he can to stay in power and if he cannot, he has already seeded all the destructive seeds to light the fire and destroy everything so he cannot be brought to justice. This alarm is a call to all.
Since the release of this article in October 2011, a lot of these predictions have materialized. Tigrayans that resided in various parts of Ethiopia have been evicted and forced back to Tigray. The TPLF has been defeated and retreated to Tigray and still exploiting Tigrayans using Tigray as hiding place. The people of Tigray are held hostage denied voice by the TPLF that wields all its force and money. The money they stole from the people of Ethiopia. Ethiopia remains under tremendous pressure, still as a result of the intransigence of the TPLF who is denying the people of Tigray the change. Ultimately things will come to a collusion point unless the people of Tigray collectively say enough and give up TPLF. Otherwise the threat remains real.
Sudan’s relations with TPLF has changed based on interests after the TPLF handed huge chunk of Ethiopian territories to Sudan. Omar Al Bashir has changed numerous times based on his opportunism. One thing for sure, Sudan is no longer in a position to be a factor in saving TPLF.
On Saturday August 4, 2018 I expressed my views on the current developments in our region, the peace agreement with Ethiopia, sanctions, geopolitical juxtaposition in the region, Eritrean community and the challenges we endured to get to where we are with EPLF HGDEF VISION ROOM Pal-talk. I discussed Tigray People’s Liberation Front and how it is using Tigrai region as human shields. I was compelled to get out and share my views to provide perspective. Please enjoy.
This article was written in in September, 2011 during President Isaias Afewerki’s visit to New York that galvanized Eritreans from all across the US, Canada and around the world. So much was done to demonize his Excellency then. It failed, they failed and those who rallied against him dropped one by one like Mosquitos-on-zapper, tzss… The people of Eritrea are the backbone of President Isaias and he is the backbone of the people. Most importantly, he is a man of the people, peace and proved as one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen!
We Are All Isaias Afewerki and He is us Amanuel Biedemariam
There is a Facebook group, which I belong to, ”We Are All Isaias Afewerki”. From the start, there were discussions about why we are all Isaias Afewerki? The answers were all the same worded and presented differently.
We are, because he is the embodiment of what Eritrea is all about. We are because he is and has been the face of Eritrea past, present and has set a precedent for the future. We are, because he is what Eritrea is all about; grit, determination, perseverance, commitment and he is a finisher. We are because he is like every one of us; humble and determined to leave within his means while focusing on the future sacrificing a great deal. We are because of his commitment to honor the martyrs by building a nation worthy of their sacrifices and, the list could go on…
One of the most important foundations to life is thankfulness to God/Allah for the small blessing. It is only then that the blessings multiply and recognizing those small blessings is a blessing in itself.
Eritrea was dealt many disadvantages. However, those disadvantages that we were dealt-with turned out to be blessing. For example the fact that Eritrea was denied independence when all African countries were handed their “freedom” turned out to be a major blessing. It gave Eritrea the opportunity and time to see the entrapments that are laid-out ahead in plain day light. Eritrea learned from them. There is a saying in Tigrigniya, “let him give you an example and not make you one.” Eritrea was lucky to have-had examples of how not to be. Eritrea needed direction on how to chart directions away from the failing of the others that regressed for many reasons including corruption with few on the top echelon sucking the foundations-away from the people to ruins. These indiscretions are rampant around the world particularly Africa.
The struggle for the independence of Eritrea was a blessing in a sense because it became a struggle for freedom not only from the chains of colonialism but also from the mental slavery that the west placed upon Africans.
The struggle gave Eritrea a space to deal with the political upheavals Eritrea faced during the first half of the struggle that could have undone the revolution. The ethnic, religious and regional divisions the Eritrean revolution inherited was paralyzing. These divisions and differences led to a civil war that lasted for years frustrating many that wanted to see Eritrea focus on the enemies. The infighting triggered massive exodus of Eritreans into Sudan and other places around the globe.
Eritrea also had nothing in terms of organizational structures, resources and support to start the struggle. There was no standing organized army. The tasks at hand seemed impossible or insurmountable, and the odds were stacked against Eritrea. The possibilities that Eritrea could eject Ethiopia a country backed by US, Israel and the USSR was almost unthinkable to the world. Then as now Ethiopia received massive military, political, financial, diplomatic and other assistances at the expense of Eritrea.
What Eritrea had were determined people that want independence, peace and life of their choosing. Eritrea had people willing to work hard, to sacrifice and pay all that they have in life that is necessary for freedom. Eritrea had people that are willing to endure the rigors, hardships and pain necessary for victory. Eritrea is blessed by people that want to chart their own course using uncharted ways and strategies.
It was miraculous because what Eritreans carried was a stick compared to the tanks that they fought against. One can easily say that Eritrea had only sling-shots to throw stones to fight war planes. That was all they had. Eritreans used ingenuity and illusiveness to elude the enemy and fought against organized armies with rifles.
In the process Eritreans learned to scavenge/rip-off the enemy’s arms and used it against them effectively. For the first time in the history of Africa, a well-trained and armed army was outmaneuvered by rebels armed with determination, brilliance and will.
At the end, Eritreans armed themselves with armaments they took away from enemy soldiers that they killed and captured in battle and used it to build a national army.
Eritreans fought Ethiopia and the superpowers with everything they had. They fought Ethiopian soldiers and intelligence from within Ethiopian-held cities and territories risking their lives. They fought the fight for freedom from every corner around the globe. They were resourceful, brilliant and dedicated.
That became yet another blessing that benefited independent Eritrea. It created a network of organized Eritreans in every corner of the world. The traditions and values that were established then are serving Eritrea in this challenging world in ways unseen anywhere. It is saving Eritrea from many threats that are threatening to wipe clean the history of the martyrs and to undo the hard won independence.
Central to these struggles was a group of Eritrean women and men that are farsighted, brilliant, dedicated, imaginative and fearless. They were humble, down-to-earth and cognizant on the fact that Eritrea’s number one asset is her people. They lead the struggle with a realistic approach to life grounded around established traditional, ethical, religious and cultural values.
They exploited those values and harnessed a work ethic that became a way of life in Eritrea. That work ethic was designed to empower the people and free Eritrea from handouts. They taught Eritrea only collective efforts can yield desired outcome, victory.
They supported their aim with a slogan that reflects the true nature of Eritrea, “Victory to the Masses.”
They trekked the hard unpaved roads of Eritrea believing, “Our struggle is long and VICTORY certain.” They trekked unfazed by distractions meant to derail the struggle.
They ignored the noises then as now saying, “let the DOGS bark as the camel strides.” And they arrived. They arrived into a new nation victorious led by Bitsay, Tegadalay, His Excellency President Isaias Afwerki.
As a new nation, Eritrea required her leaders to meet certain requirements. The leader needed to be strong, visionary, committed, selfless and experienced. It required a strong character with unshakeable faith on the people of Eritrea. It required incorruptible character that will not sell the people as they do all over Africa. It required someone with a military-like discipline, with a work ethic, unfazed by the glitziest and glamour. It required someone that knows the people of Eritrea and has personal attachments, understanding, compassion and genuine affection. It required someone that understands the anguishes, hardship and painful struggles that Eritreans endured to get her.
Eritreans needed someone who knows their homes and families; someone who is like them. Above all, they wanted someone that will honor their sons, daughters, mothers and fathers that perished. They needed someone that can carry the mantle in their honor everywhere.
What makes for a great partnership between a country and leadership and make everything work even when things look bleak and at their worst is that all Eritreans assume their roles effectively. Every Eritrean plays his or her part. That is what brought independence, what saves Eritrea during hardships and enable it to persevere. Eritrea does not need a ruler. Eritrea needs someone that can be a captain of the Eritrean ship in uncharted waters.
In that regard Eritrea is blessed by a unique leader that the world has ever seen. His Excellency President Isaias Afewerki is one of the greatest gifts Eritrea is blessed with. It is not common in Eritrea to praise a leader. Eritreans are squeamish since all have contributed mightily and equally. It is understandable because there are those that have given their life, their entire families, and limbs. Eritreans have lost their near and dear to worship anyone.
President Isaias met all the requirements that Eritrea required and more. He is the source of strength, unity, the voice, the parental figure, the brother and warrior in trenches. He is the guide that points Eritrea in the right direction. He led the mothers in a distant field toward the water that can quench the thirst of child. He is a farmer roaming throughout the entire country greening the land wherever he goes. He is the teacher that believes all kids deserve and must have the same opportunities to learn. He wants all Eritrean kids to thrive in life and in the process lift Eritrea to the highest of standards. He is the friend of the doctor that saw a nation’s health as a national imperative and built medical schools and facilities throughout Eritrea. He is a man that knows military strategy, intelligence, security and geopolitics. He is the man that spearheaded one of the strongest armies in the world and created a national service program to ensure perpetuity.
In the last 50 years Eritrea achieved miracles with brilliance of Eritrea’s leaders and a leader. When the history of the world looks back on this era and particularly relative to African nations, Eritrean leaders led by His Excellency will be looked at as the greatest role models. Their commitment to freedom and will to build a nation by relying on itself is unmatched. What is even mind-boggling is the simplicity of the formulas they employed.
It is a formula that just focused on the masses. It is formula that taught to be aware, organize and get armed, for life.
In life, the average person is limited to certain accomplishments mainly personal. Eritrea’s leaders have done wonders. And President Isaias epitomizes the best of them. He is selfless, focused, brilliant and a true Eritrean who made Eritrea, his life’s work. He lives Eritrea. Eritrea is his mission, his way of life and life. He has dedicated his life to Eritrea.
That commitment is the reason why he was able to oversee Eritrea transform through critical stages that propelled Eritrea into the world stage that we are witnessing today. He saw the beginning and lived the transformation. He experienced all the ups and downs of the Eritrean revolution from atop. He lived through the hardships to see the independence of Eritrea by defeating enemies. He directed the overthrowing of the Derg regime and facilitated a regime change. He ushered Eritrea into a new Era of independence through the referendum and produced the signature that engraved Eritrea at the United Nations.
Soon after independence, Eritrea was challenged as a nation militarily, politically, economically and in every conceivable way by enemies that wanted to reverse a hard won independence. His Excellency again guided the nation with strength, and showed Eritrea the way-out onto a new platform.
The simplest way to describe it will be to liken it to a nuclear submarine navigating through the darkest and most hostile of deep waters under extreme pressures. The President has guided Eritrea through the deep waters into freedom.
To say we are living in the most hostile part of the world is understatement. All one has to do is think of Djibouti, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia and think about the internal strife in these nations. Think about the geopolitical interests of the superpowers that want to destroy any semblance of nationalistic attitudes anywhere in the region. Think about the greedy that want to exploit our riches at the expense of the people. Yet, only Eritreans are truly enjoying their nation in its truest of form as one communally in unison with President Isaias in observance.
Not to say that Eritrea is unaffected but relative to the raging fire and destitution plaguing the region, Eritrea is peaceful because of leaders that bought Eritrea time and anchored the people in united purposes. That is the hard truth that the enemies are finding hard to swallow and forced to accept.
In an effort to subjugate Eritrea and make the people of Eritrea kneel and bow; with the idea, if you cut the head the body will fall; the enemies of Eritrea waged major demonizing campaigns against His Excellency President Isaias Afewerki and wanted to the takeaway the president from the people. President Isaias is Eritrean. He is part of people. Because, Eritrea is succeeding today due to the hard work of the people led by his excellency. I am, and we are Isaias Afewerki because we all stand for one common purpose, Eritrea.
Hence, His Excellency President Isaias is Eritrean representing Eritrea, his people. And the people are saying yes! Eritreans are flocking to New York from Europe, Canada, and West coast and all over US to show him support. They are flocking in busses, planes and cars spending thousands to say “We are All Isaias Afewerki. He is us, we are him and we are Eritrea and, nothing can change that”!
Peace is not lottery price that you win by gambling. Peace is not something we can buy or barter to get. Peace is not something that is handed as gift. Peace is a decision, a commitment for tranquil, quiet life free from disturbance. Peace is a decision a commitment to life-free from hostilities, wars and violence.
Eritrea suffered mightily due to the unwarranted Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) aggression that held peace hostage for twenty years. The people of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, development agendas of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union were artificially suppressed from conducting regular activities for lack of peace.
The Horn of Africa was in suspense unable to conduct normal business because the TPLF hampered movement of people, goods and services. Trade was halted in the entire region because the minority TPLF regime decided to play zero-sum game to defeat Eritrea by all means.
What did Eritrea try to achieve and achieved with the peace deal?
The number one achievement of the agreement is “wining peace” with Ethiopia! Because peace is catalyst to development, prosperity and stability. Without peace nothing is possible. Peace requires confidence, trust and willingness. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s call for peace with Eritrea was the right call and the response by President Isais Afewerki shows that Eritrea was waiting for the right partner. The response was swift.
To move forward with the agenda of peace and normalization however, clearing hurdles to peace was crucial. Because for peace to take hold, the implementation of the Border agreement must take center stage.
By signing the agreement, the government of Ethiopia agreed to the full implementation of the Algiers Agreement. Which means, there is absolutely no border issues with Ethiopia from this point forward. Eritrea and Ethiopia share a long boundary, 1033 Kilometers in length. From now-on none of it is in dispute. That is the second most important stage of the agreement.
By ending the dispute, Eritrea and Ethiopia will free money once squandered to protect the boundaries. Both sides can now use the resources once used for armaments to build a future. That is a major immediate achievement. Not to mention the incredible human resources both countries were forced to commit that will now be freed to help develop new found economic opportunities.
It will free the borders. Hence, traditional border control is all that is needed to enable the natural flow of goods and services. That can and will facilitate cross-border trade and at some-point, natural flow of people across borders for personal reasons.
Because of the tone the leaders set, more than ever, peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia is possible. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Eritrea which was immediately reciprocated by President Isaias Afewerki’s historic visit, the reaction of the people on both sides was something that history will revere for a long time because the rapprochement was unlike anything the world has ever seen.
The outburst of affection and desire to leave the hostilities behind and look forward was simply unexpected pleasant surprise. None of us were ready for the good news to take place as fast and the way it came about. The rapprochement that took place between Eritrea and Ethiopia is unlike anything we have seen before because it touches so many issues at one time making transition from hostilities to peace-time a lot easier.
The reasons being: A) Eritrea and Ethiopia have clearly identified the obstacle to peace. B) Both people have said enough and rendered the enemy impotent. C) They were hungry for change from the suffering and acrimony. D) They wanted economic freedom and movement. E) They wanted peace to achieve their goals and aspirations.
And for the first time, the stars were aligned, and everything worked-out including the sentiment of the people.
The sentiment of the people of Eritrea was natural when they expressed unreserved affection during Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s visit of Eritrea. The outburst of emotion by Eritrean people was inspiration to the people of Ethiopia that in turn used what Eritrea did as example and received President Isaias with exceptional level of hospitality.
Eritreans and Ethiopians embraced each other, showed love and expressed peace-gestures similarly and expressed it by the way they welcomed their leaders. It was love-fest between two countries in a manner unseen before.
People were glued to their television sets, internet and smartphones for days on-end to witness these historic events. It was full of suspense and intrigue. The possibility that things can go wrong was in the minds of everyone. But what became immediately clear was that the people of both countries were determined to ensure the success of the visits. People took it upon themselves to protect and safeguard the festivities. It was remarkable historic achievement for both peoples.
The implementation of Algiers Agreement comes with dividends that people in both countries want and for the first time, both leaders are willing to take it upon themselves and took necessary steps to push for normalization.
The third and significant achievement of the rapprochement is the recognition of the Independence of Eritrea by the people of Ethiopia.
The independence of Eritrea in 1991, ushered the fall of Derg and the ascension of the Tigray People’s Liberation front (TPLF) to power in Ethiopia. At the time, and after bloody 17 years of the military rule of Col. Mengistu Hailemariam, the people of Ethiopia were uncertain about the transition that took place. It was unexpected change with unfamiliar leaders.
Shocked and in denial, Ethiopia moved-on for about six years without processing the transition until the TPLF declared war against Eritrea in 1998. After the war started, it was easy to notice the pent-up emotions that was revealed, albeit deliberately stoked by TPLF in pursuit of its interest. The outburst of emotions in the streets of Addis after Badme was infiltrated by Ethiopian troops was evidence to the point.
At the time, the TPLF managed to bring all Ethiopians against Eritrea. The anger expressed then, the call to take Eritrea back and if that fails to take Assab was the bait TPLF used to keep the anti-Eritrea sentiment and campaign alive.
However, not long after the war ended, the people of Ethiopia recognized the brut nature of the TPLF and its evil agendas. Today, it is safe to say, all Ethiopians and Eritrea have identified their true enemy and have united approach on how to deal with it. And it is quite evident, the TPLF is no match for the collective power of the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia! The TPLF is an island, encircled by powerful peace-loving people on both sides. It is ironic, for a long time the TPLF used Eritrea as wedge and to galvanize the Ethiopian people. Today, it is safe to say, the desire to get rid of TPLF gangsters is one key reason the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea came together so quickly.
The twenty-year separation, conflicts and, the no war no peace suspense and the negative impact it brought to the lives of both people was good-enough reason to look for alternative and the alternative is peace.
The people of Ethiopia had twenty years to process the fact Eritrea is a nation independent from Ethiopia. Regardless of what some revisionist tries to inculcate in the minds of the youth and the gullible; Eritrea is independent nation recognized by the United Nations as member nation.
Hence, when Dr. Abiy announced he wanted to make peace with Eritrea and followed through with announcement that Ethiopia will implement fully the Algiers agreement and expressed willingness to normalize relations; the people of Ethiopia embraced it fully without qualifications.
Therefore, implementation of the Algiers Agreement, the call for peace and normalization of relations paved ways for the people of Ethiopia to accept Eritrea as a nation.
That culminated when both countries exchanged leaders for State visits and were both accorded warm welcome. Most significantly, they pushed for normalization quickly and reopened the Embassies.
The flag raising ceremony attended by President Isaias and Dr. Abiy will be remembered as the most significant turning point in the history of both nations. Reopening the embassy is symbolic because it signifies the resumption of relations between the two countries as sovereign entities.
That is a significant achievement only made possible by unwavering commitment and sacrifices the people of Eritrea made to ensure this day happened. To underscore the significance, one must listen carefully to the announcement President Isaias made on July 13, during Sawa graduation ceremony. He said,
“The prevailing situation in Eritrea and Ethiopia is unique in that it represents the renewed freedom for the two countries.”
The battle against the TPLF and its handlers was continuation of the struggle for independence! Nothing more and nothing less. With the agreement: peace was attained, they agreed to end war, implement the Algiers Agreement, resume bilateral relations, cooperate in many areas especially security and will work for regional issues together.
Peace has it dividends. Travel, economic cooperation, developing bilateral relations, people to people relations, cultural, sport and related activities-based relations etc. Partnering on security matters is incredibly important in thwarting threats of any kind. What has been achieving thus fur is remarkable.
There has been some confusion on social media about the agreements and implementation of it. The reality however, the focus should be on the main issues that were at one time barriers to peace.
That is, to ensure that the borders are defined in accordance with the final and binding ruling and the second and most profound point is to ensure the people of Ethiopia recognize Eritrea as a nation, peacefully. Everything else is a plus.
The people of Eritrea have already proved that they can secure and safeguard the sovereignty of the nation. The security agreement ensures further Eritrean rights to deal with the undesirable threats from within Ethiopia if they come up. Like the extremist groups that the TPLF trained for years.
Hence, now that the Ethiopian issue is settled, and normalization is on track, the future is bright. Eritrea’s quest for freedom free from existential threats is achieved. The people of Eritrea have done incredible job establishing infrastructure and mindset ready for the next phase.
It is not complete, but, now that we-are where want to be, it is time to focus on developing the social, political, economic, physical-infrastructure and develop human resources capacity. It is time ensure Eritrea has a transparent governance structure that reflect the needs of the people. For that to happen, we must all play our roles from wherever we are by contributing whatever to ensure a bright future.
Congratulations the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia for peace. Praise to his Excellency President Isaias Afewerki and His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed for charting a new path to peaceful coexistence.