[DEHAI] FW: The way forward for Ethiopia and Eritrea

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Mon Jun 29 2009 - 05:33:18 EDT

The way forward for Ethiopia and Eritrea

June 29th, 2009

By Dawit WoldeGiorgis


I read Neamin Zeleke's recent article,
<http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10037> The Imperative of Ethiopians
Dealing with Eritrea, about his reflection and opinions on the future of
Ethiopian and Eritrean relationship. I would like to compliment his very
wise observation on this very important issue of our times. I believe that
not relating with the Eritrean government is a misguided position. Let me
explain why based on my own personal experience.

After a rigorous three-year military training in the Haile Selassie I
Military Academy I spent my entire military career in Eritrea. I was there
as an infantry training and operation officer in the 2nd infantry division
for six years. Even after I left Eritrea to attend university, I went back
to Eritrea every summer to proudly serve in the army.

I was in Eritrea during and after the federation. During the last day of the
federation I was there in Asmara on security mission watching the Eritrean
Assembly when they were voting. It was unanimous vote. The Eritrean elites
were the first to express their joy. There was in fact a competition within
the Eritrean elites to send telegrams and messages to Emperor HaileSelassie
expressing their joy and congratulating him.

There were some disgruntled elements that felt excluded from the new
dispensation and therefore expressed dissatisfaction for personal reasons -
the loss of power and influence. I was there celebrating with the Eritreans
the long awaited unity of Eritrea with the mother land. It was an
unforgettable moment. There was spontaneous and almost universal rejoicing
by the entire Eritrean population. Undoubtedly, the response was genuine. I
have gone across the length and breadth of Eritrea and experienced the
outpouring of joy over the decision to unite with Ethiopia. Throughout
Eritrea, and I have been to every big and small village, there was a sense
of exuberance for the few years after the union. Whatever happened after
that is completely inconsistent with what the people felt at the time. It
suggests that there was a serious mishandling of the federal arrangement and
the union that followed. If it had been handled with caution and without
haste, things might have been different today.

I was there with my troops at the door step of the police headquarters when
the first dissent had its first causality, General Tedla Ekubit, the
Eritrean police commander. I was there during the most critical times in the
development of the Eritrean rebel forces. I was there as troop commander
when the first conflict started between the government troops and the rebel
forces (then they were just bandits) because they did not have any political
agenda. They were just a band of people headed by Idris Awate, a notorious
shifta imprisoned by the British and then escaped to continue banditry act.
He was again pardoned and was living peacefully when the newly established
ELF recruited him and he went back to do what he had been doing all his
life. I was there when he was captured and killed.

I was also there when in September 1956 (Eth. Cal.) our troops suffered
their first causality at a place called Haikota, close to Agordat. The ELF
took out peaceful soldiers on leave from a public bus and executed them.
Until then Eritrea was peaceful. Even after that until the coming of the
Derg and its draconian military and security polices, the EPLF did not
control a single village or area in Eritrea except the rugged mountains of
Nakfa. The EPLF did not enjoy any meaningful support from the population.
Despite the fact that the process of uniting Eritrea with Ethiopia was
flawed with technical and strategic errors, the people of Eritrea believed
sincerely and sometimes manifested in extreme ways that I have not seen
anywhere else in Ethiopia. (Refer to my book Kihdet be Dem Meret).

As a soldier, I have been involved in military operations. We were seven
young officers, the first of the kind, in those times to come to Eritrea to
train the troops. We used to be called Para Commandos, airborne and special
force. (After three years in the military academy, few months airborne and a
year in advanced infantry school in USA. That was a lot of military
training.) All my six colleagues died in the service of the country. I am
the only survivor from this pioneer group. For us the sanctity of the flag,
the unity of Ethiopia was paramount. It was not questioned and dying for it
was a cause to be celebrated. That is how most of the people I worked with
in Eritrea and most of the soldiers I knew much later in life lived and
died. They were in hundreds of thousands and all died with a smile on their
face: because the cause was the flag and the unity of Ethiopia.

I came to the USA for my graduate studies and after the overthrow of Emperor
HaileSelassie I returned to Ethiopia. I was an active part of the revolution
which I sincerely supported until a certain time. But throughout the times I
worked under the Derg I was very close to Eritrea. I followed the situation
very closely until I was finally appointed as its governor (the party's
representative) for three years, 1980 to 1983.

When I was governor for three years, my task was to pacify the rebellion and
stop people from supporting the EPLF. And indeed, as many who were there at
the time would testify, we succeeded to the extent that the EPLF leadership
later admitted to me and my colleagues that it was one of the toughest times
in their war against Ethiopia. Suddenly young people stopped joining the
rebels and many started deserting from the EPLF and joined their families.
It was not a miracle nor was it a complicated task. The wisdom is simply
treating the Eritrean community as citizens with certain inalienable rights.
When we stopped arresting people at random, established the rule of law and
treated people on equal terms, people stayed in the country and once again
Asmara became bustling metropolitan and other major cities returned to their
former status. What we proved was the eternal truth that the major cause of
the rebellion was the oppression of the population by successive governments
in Addis Ababa. The EPLF and the ELF grew out of the atrocities committed by
the Derg and to a certain extent during the Emperor's era. It became clear
to us that the reason why many joined the rebels was not because they really
believed that they were not part of Ethiopia but because they were denied
their right to live without fear of being persecuted, arrested and tortured
and executed. At some point in the history of the Derg this happened
routinely. (for more detail refer to Red Tears)

During my tenure as governor, I was convinced that the Eritrean situation
could be reversed if we could do less of military and more of governance and
rule of law. I also suggested that we recognize the EPLF and engage with it.
This created an outrage. Even after I left my country I have been condemned
by my closest colleagues of suggesting that Ethiopian government recognize
the EPLF and engage it in dialogue. My proposal for dialogue put me in
trouble with the military establishment. As the records would show, I had
serious confrontations with the then military leadership over this. Key
Kokeb was not about war. Key Kokeb was about multifaceted approach for the
Eritrean issue. HULEGEB ZEMETCHA. It was hijacked by the military and it
launched an all out war which ended disgracefully and my showdown with the
military ended with me leaving Eritrea and being assigned as the
Commissioner of Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.

After I left the Derg at the end of 1985, I became actively involved in the
effort to overthrow the regime through the movement we had established, The
Free Ethiopian Soldiers Movement. The first attempt was the failed coup of
the generals. I and my colleagues did the external arrangement for the coup.
During those times I went into the area controlled by the EPLF in Nakfa. We
discussed the role of the EPLF and suggested to EPLF leaders to participate
in a transitional government in the post Derg period. EPLF agreed that it
will unilaterally implement a cease fire and participate in the transitional
government to negotiate the future of Eritrea. After this attempt failed, I
was again involved in another similar effort. The EPLF's position was
unchanged. The EPLF was willing to participate in a transitional government
of Ethiopia. And this was only a few months before TPLF marched into Addis
Ababa. We were about to try once again, but the TPLF rejected the proposal
and the attempt was aborted. Throughout these activities against the Derg,
my colleagues and I worked very closely with the EPLF leadership. Despite
the fact that I was an ardent supporter of unity, an officer who fought
them, a governor who condemned them at every available opportunity, my
relationship with the EPLF leadership was cordial and constructive.

Sometimes when we talk about the heroism of our forefathers in defending the
motherland, we forget that a significant number of Eritreans sacrificed
their lives for the defense of our independence against colonialists. How
can we talk about the heroic struggle of our ancestors without acknowledging
the key role that Eritreans played? For me it is ridiculous to say, We
Ethiopians, in the context of history, without including Eritreans.

When, for example, we write and talk about Ras Alula and the battles he
fought and won, we must remember that the bulk of his troops were Eritreans
and their sacrifice was enormous. As well documented, almost all our
external wars came through the Red Sea. Eritrea had always been the
frontline for almost all the wars fought against the invaders. Eritrean
patriots and Tigreans were part and parcel of these wars against foreign
aggressors. Eritreans have always been at the forefront of the wars fought
to preserve the independence of and unity of Ethiopia. During the war of
resistance against Italian invasion, thousands of Eritrean patriots fought
alongside mehal ager arbegnotch. The head of the military of the Black Lion
was an Eritrean Colonel Haileab. Eritrean patriots shaped the foreign and
military policies and structures after liberation. The first and second
foreign ministers were Eritreans. The first ambassador to the UN was an
Eritrean. Eritreans played key roles in organizing and modernizing the
Ethiopian Armed Forces. There were more than 20 senior Eritrean generals at
some point in the Ethiopian armed forces ranging from chief of staff, ground
force commanders, air force commanders and division commanders. General Aman
Andom was the most prominent among these senior commanders of Eritrean
origin. It must also be remembered that considerable percentages of the
soldiers in the Army were Eritreans.

During the war fought between the Ethiopian troops and the EPLF/ELF, there
was a special Eritrean commando force which proved to be one of the hardest
and in fact most brutal of all the forces of the times. The Eritrean
militia, like the most wonderful people of Kohayne, fought to the bitter end
until the country was taken over by the EPLF. (Refer Khidet be Dem Meret)

It is hard to understand how this center broke from the whole. Perhaps it
was because the Eritreans have been exposed to many kinds of propaganda and
external interests. Unlike the rest of Ethiopia which was ruled by
successive kings and kingdoms, in the Eritrean coast land and at a later
phase in its history, in the highlands, the Turks, the Egyptians, the
Italians and the British have played some roles in shaping the minds of
people. These experiences have left some imprints which influenced the
growth of different kinds of political thoughts and alliances.

Throughout my stay in Eritrea as a soldier, and later as Deputy Foreign
Minister and then governor of Eritrea, I have delivered many speeches on the
unity of Ethiopia, that Eritrea was part of Ethiopia and asking the question
if Eritreans are not Ethiopians then who else is? Eritrea is Mehal Ager. It
is the center of our civilization and faith, the source of our culture and
literature, the place where Ethiopiwinet began. I believed in this and every
Eritrean I spoke to at the time believed in this ultimate truth. For me, it
was my passion. I grew up taking the unity of Ethiopia and the inviolability
of its frontiers as sacred oath not to be broken or questioned. But this
oath, this timeless sacred alliance between us and the spirits of our
ancestors, hundreds of thousands who died defending this cause, has been
brutally ravaged by a bunch of arrogant self-righteous ethno centric
individuals who are at the helm of leadership to destroy this unique legacy.

It must also be understood that the cause of Eritrean independence was
supported by the student movement for years. I remember I was in New York's
Colombia University in early 1972-74 and I used to participate in student
movement meetings. It was fashionable to talk about self determination up to
and including secession. Anybody that did not support the cause of the
Eritrean struggle was labeled as reactionary. I tried to explain in some
meetings why our soldiers are fighting in Eritrea and why it is wrong to
condemn them for protecting the unity of Ethiopia. As usual, I was labeled
as a reactionary soldier who has been serving the interest of the feudal
regime and my concern was dismissed. There is some credence to the claim
that the student movement unwittingly allowed itself to be used by forces
that had inimical agenda to Ethiopia's interest.

When I was in the foreign office and later governor, and even when I was the
Commissioner for Relief and Rehabilitation, I had meetings with the EPLF in
some European countries organized by some NGOs, usually the Red Cross and
Scandinavian human rights activists. The main purpose was to negotiate the
opening of peace corridor in the conflict areas to provide humanitarian
assistance to the civilian population trapped by the conflict. These
meetings were not sanctioned by the government because it would be
considered treason for anybody to have this kind of communication without
the knowledge of the government. The once that were done with government's
knowledge had heavy pre-conditions. It was almost demanding the surrender of
the EPLF. It therefore did not go anywhere. Ours was an effort by groups of
concerned people who were trying to explore options to this endless war.
When I and my colleagues met with the EPLF in very informal settings, they
were and have always been very open to options besides full independence.
There was no doubt in my mind then that EPLF would have accepted some sort
of federation. But the Derg/WPE regime was never prepared to discuss this. I
was even more certain about the position of the EPLF after my latter

After I left Ethiopia the first thing that I and my colleagues did was to
establish a movement to overthrow the Derg. In this Eritrea was a key
factor. I met the leadership of the EPLF and current President Isaias
Afwerki several times in Europe and America and ultimately in Nakfa ,
through the back door into those parts of Eritrea controlled by the EPLF and
meeting the leaders , the very people I have been fighting and condemning
for years felt weird to me. That was the time when we were trying to
coordinate the external factors with internal preparations for a coup. In an
official agreement the EPLF stated that when and if the coup takes place, it
will immediately cease fire and be part of the transitional government to
discuss the future of Eritrea. True to their words, at the time the coup
attempt was taking place, they did a unilateral cease fire and asked us if
there is anything that they can do to make the coup successful. They could
have taken advantage of the confusion in Eritrea when the commanders were
killed and government troops were in disarray, but they did not. They were
in constant touch with me and they were very disappointed by the failure of
the coup.

A few years later, we tried to make another change from the inside before
TPLF went too far. Again, we had discussions with EPLF and TPLF several
times. We had completed preparations from the inside and what was needed was
for the fighting forces to agree to implement a cease fire and be part of
the transitional government. Until April 1991, two months before the TPLF
entered Addis and EPLF Asmara, the EPLF supported the idea of making the
change from the inside. They agreed after several meetings that they will be
willing to stop fighting and participate in the transitional government and
discuss the future of Eritrea. As the war continued, it became difficult to
get the same kind of agreement from the TPLF. We had several meetings but
eventually they sent us a long letter stating that they are heading to Addis
Ababa and they asked us to be part of the EPRDF. Of course, we refused. That
is when they established their own Free Ethiopian Officers Movement in order
to confuse our followers in the military establishment.

The EPLF until the last days believed that the best option was to negotiate
with the transitional government that would be established after a
successful coup. And they know that the negotiation would not be about
independence. I was aware that they were ready for some sort of federal
arrangement. I was sure about that.

Besides the misguided policies of successive governments in Ethiopia, and
the failure of the military to defend against the breakup of the nation, the
overriding factor that eventually led to the independence of Eritrea was the
policy of Woyanne. It gave away independence in a silver platter.
Now, if from early on the student movement had supported the secession and
made it possible for the EPLF to be a strong internationally acknowledged
liberation movement, if the Derg in the name of national unity committed
atrocities that alienated a big portion of the Eritrean population, and if
Woyanne regime eventually gave away the independence without consulting the
Ethiopian people, why should the Eritreans be blamed for it? Why should we
create animosity with the Eritrean people?

We have to remember that throughout the period of war between the government
troops and EPLF and ELF, there had never been a war amongst the people. It
never reached a level of civil war like in other parts of Africa. It was a
war that went on for several years between the EPLF/ELF forces and
government troops but never a war between the people. I am a living witness
and can clearly testify that the war had never affected the relationship
between the people. While the war was going on in the mountains, Amharas,
Oromos, Tigres, and other ethnic groups lived together in peace,
intermarried, helped each other, shared whatever they had and lived nothing
less than a harmonious life. Over most Ethiopian troops in Eritrea were
married to Eritreans. There are hundreds of thousands of their off springs
today all over Ethiopia. Internal conflicts in Ethiopia have always been
about power and not ethnicity. To my best recollection, the Tigreans in
Gondar used to call themselves first Gonderes and vice versa. It is amazing
that after years of war in Eritrea, the relationship between the people was
never seriously damaged. It never went to a level of civil war. That is the
greatness of the Ethiopian people. It demonstrates how deep our culture, our
understanding and levels of tolerance have evolved over the centuries. This
bonding between the people was broken by Woyanne. The Woaynne incited hate.
It started sawing the seeds of ethnicity not only between the people of
Eritrea and the rest of Ethiopia but amongst the Ethiopian people, too. This
is indeed the saddest moment in Ethiopian history.

Eritrea is now independent. That reality cannot be reversed by force. There
are two things that need to be done.

1. The national security and interest of Ethiopia have been and will
continue revolving around three man issues. The Nile, the Red Sea (Eritrea)
and Somalia (the Ogaden). Since they are very much interrelated, they could
be considered as one. I have explained this in my book Kihdet be Dem Meret.
There is no need to do that here. In all this, Eritrea plays a vital role.
Ethiopia and Eritrea have a common destiny. Whatever happens in Eritrea will
affect Ethiopia and vice versa. Whoever wants to hurt Ethiopia uses Eritrea
as stepping stone. Arab Chauvinism (expansionism) and Islamic Fundamentalism
have always been real threats to Ethiopia, and Eritrea can possibly turn out
to be the main conduit. Therefore, any responsible Ethiopian government will
have to develop a policy of peaceful co-existence with Eritrea and go even
further and ensure that Eritrea remains a stable, peaceful and independent
ally of Ethiopia. And this can only be done through diplomacy and not

2. Whatever the policies of current governments may be, the people of
Ethiopia and Eritrea are one people. We cannot and need not live apart. Our
genes, our culture, language and history are identical. There are no people
on earth that are closer to Ethiopians than the Eritreans and vice versa. We
are destined to live together. Therefore the effort should be not to allow
politics to change our historical oneness but to work towards integration.
The will and conviction of people is mightier than the sword and we will
beat the ethno- centricity and be once again one people. There needs to be a
conscious effort by civil society groups to bring the two people together
despite the politics in their respective countries.

The national interest of Ethiopia can be packed into three major issues.

1. The inviolability of state frontiers (territorial integrity)
2. The unity of the Ethiopian people
3. Freedom of its people

Our relationship with Eritrea should be based on these three fundamentals.
If the Eritrean government respects the above fundamental principles and is
willing to agree on polices that promote peace and development in order to
create the necessary conditions for the union of the two people, then there
would be no reason why Ethiopians of any group should not establish
relationship with the government of Eritrea. Likewise, Ethiopians of all
groups should recognize the sovereignty of Eritrea and work towards the
fulfillment of our common aspirations.

After what I have done and spoken for most of my life, it has been difficult
to swallow the reality that Eritrea is now an independent country. But I
have to face the reality like many of us and look beyond. The reality of
today and tomorrow should be on how we can advance the interests of our
people in the context of this new reality. We might or might not agree with
the policies of the current government in Eritrea. The relationship of the
people outlasts leaders and their polices. We should therefore strengthen
the foundations of our historical relationship and be careful not to be the
victims of the poisonous propaganda by Woyanne. Meles Zenawi has attempted
to define what Ethiopiawinet is and what Eritreayawinet is in his own terms
and based on his own interests. The truth is: there is no drawing line. His
own identity and that of his trusted advisers are testimonies of this
reality and truth. It is only the governments that are two. The people have
been one and are one. All responsible Ethiopians and Eritreans should
endeavor to up hold this truth and reinforce it by focusing on what binds us
together rather than what divides us.

As a neighbor with vested interest in Eritrean affairs, Ethiopians can only
take hard positions when the steps being taken by the Eritrean government
violates the fundamental principles of our relationship and endangers our
peace and security. The current government has emphatically stated that it
will not violate these principles and, in fact, it will be willing to work
toward the building of a stable Ethiopia. I believed earlier that Eritrea
was trying to strengthen its economy and its standing in the region at the
expense of Ethiopia. It was my impression that Eritrea wanted a weak
Ethiopia that is divided and not capable of posing any threat to Eritrea.
This might have been true at some point in its existence. But I believe that
Eritrean government realizes now that destabilizing Ethiopia will only bound
to hurt it more and will not be in the best interest of the people and the
government of Eritrea. Ethiopians are already angry that Eritrea seceded,
and for it to go beyond that and try to destabilize Ethiopia will evoke
greater anger that could justify conflict. It is wise for Eritrea to adjust
to realities and work hard for peaceful co- existence which acknowledges
mutual interests. Neither side should try to destabilize the other. Eritrea
and Ethiopia can prosper in a peaceful co-existence with each other.
Eritrea's security can be guaranteed through a good relationship with a much
stronger Ethiopia. The free movement between the two countries will further
strengthen the unity of its people possibly leading to some sort of
political union. Eritreans and Ethiopians can't hide from the truth. No
matter what is being written and being told, we are one people with common
history, common enemies, common threats and interests.
Today, the issue is Woynne and not Eritrea. For Ethiopians as well as for
Eritreans, Woyanne is a threat. Remove Woyanne and Ethiopians and Eritreans
can breathe a sigh of relief and begin a new relationship based on mutual
respect and working towards unifying the people. Assab is negotiable. Badme
is negotiable. As President Isaias stated, "the sky is the limit." Knowing
how the Eritreans are straightforward and consistent in their words and
deeds, there is no reason to suspect that his statement is one of a
political gimmicks.

A friend of mine sent me the following e-mail on the issue:

I did not say that we should not engage - what I said is that our assessment
of Eritrea's intention should not be based on the assumption that the
current leadership would like to see "a strong, united and democratic
Ethiopia." Their own history has evolved to the extent that an apparent
state of paranoia has set in, and by all indications of their regional
engagement in the region, we cannot escape this conclusion. However, it does
not, by any means suggest that we should not engage them.

Why do we believe them? We don't have to. Relationship with the Government
of Eritrea for a common cause needs to be built, of course, in the framework
of our fundamental interests outlined above. If they cannot translate their
words in to deeds, they will be the losers, too. Ethiopians sooner or later
will get rid of Woyanne and will come out stronger from this tragic
political impasse. I am inclined to believe Eritreans because there is
simply no option at this time except peaceful coexistence. The initial
problem with the Eritrean elites was recognition. It seems now that most
Ethiopians have taken this bitter pill and accepted that Eritrea is an
independent state.

Woyanne cooperated in the drive for the independence Eritrea. But it now
wants to manipulate Eritrea and make it surrender to its will. Woyanne
cannot dupe the Ethiopians by false sense of patriotism over peripheral
issues like Badme. Today, the issue is the survival of Ethiopia as we have
known it and as it should be. Woyanne is destroying the fabrics of the
Ethiopian society by bringing back a Bantustanisation policy from the junk
yards of African history, by introducing ethnic politics and dividing people
along ethnic lines, slicing our land and giving it away, unleashing poverty
the kind that has not been seen in our history, arresting and torturing
political opponents, perpetuating a dictatorship by a few Tigrean elite
people from Adwa, Axum and Shire, facilitating the spread of fundamentalism
and creating hostility with the Muslim world with whom we had a carefully
crafted cordial relationship for decades. Woyanne has made Ethiopia
technologically the most backward country in the world. Certainly and
unequivocally Ethiopia is in grave danger.

The history of Ethiopia has been about winners and leaders. It was so during
the times of the monarchies, was so during the time of the Derg, and has
been so now. Our genuine historians had to dig a lot to bring the truth out
and popularize it. It has not been an easy task. Once again, Woyanne is
rewriting history. Great weight must be given to the damage that will be
caused on the younger generation if we allow this distortion to continue
unabated. At some point, it might have served a purpose, but now that we are
talking about the two people living and working together, we have to design
a relationship between the people that will facilitate the truth to be told.
The two people have been one and need to be one for more than one reason.
With truth there will be no losers but winners. Our destinies are
inextricably tied to each other. Those of us who have lived long enough know
and understand the truth but the new generation is exposed to the history of
denial. The truth will only make us stronger in pursuing our common
interest. Emotions must subside and give way to pragmatism. We have to work
very closely with our Eritrean brothers and sisters to get rid of Woyanne
and establish a new era of peaceful co existence, common prosperity that
will lead to a reunion of our people. And this must start from the streets,
the restaurants, the clubs, churches and various forums in Ethiopia,
Eritrea, America, USA and Africa.

At one point, I was discussing with the leader of the EPLF, the current
President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki. I asked him why instead of
partitioning Ethiopia, he does not become the President of Ethiopia. He gave
me some reason why this would not be possible but assured me: "You can be
certain, Mr. Dawit, that if and when we get our independence, our priority
will be to unite the people under some sort of federal arrangement."

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9 Responses to "The way forward for Ethiopia and Eritrea"

1. habte says:


You mentioned some good points. for example, i support these:

- we have to accept Eritrean independence
- we have to keep our people united while leaders divide us
- Eritrea and Ethiopia have common destiny,

these are good points and i hope we will some day be in peace and united. i
hope you don't, however, exaggerate TPLF role in Eritrean independence.
isayas afewerki famously told Eritreans to choose "between freedom and
slavery" during the referendum. so don't make isaias an angel. (especially
since BBC and others showed isaias triggered the last war against woyane by
taking badme)

also, you correctly pointed out the somalia/OGADEN issue as one of the top 3
issues for Ethiopia. but you forgot to mention about ONLF which is fighting
for referendum. and BBC and others have said isaias afewerki finances and
trains ONLF rebels. OBAMA also accused isaias afewerki of financing and
arming somali islamists (who seek "greater somalia"). so i hope you will
write all of this in your next article because ignoring these facts that all
of us know will not help us move forward.

As you said, accepting realities is the only way that Eritrea and Ethiopia
will one day become in peace and wealthy together.

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67672> 29th,
2009 at 12:29 am

2. Gabra says:

What an article!!! What an honest and accurate conclusion!!! It contains a
must-to-do list for all the protagonists here and inside the country. God
Bless You Sir!!!!

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67673> 29th,
2009 at 12:38 am

3. Woldegabriel says:

Bravo Dawit, Well done! You have always been courageous, honest and
decisive! I know the writer in person very well. What he has presented in
writing here about himself and his analysis and story about the peoples of
Eritrea and Ethiopia are clear, honest and indeed very, important and
correct! His contribution should be reproduced and disseminated widely, not
only to Eritreans and Ethiopians, but to all others who may be interested in
promoting peace and prosperity in this part of Africa. I congratulate the
Editor of the Ethiopian Review for opening up the dialogue and for allowing
people like Dawit W. Giyorgis, Tesfatsion, Daniel Kinde and others share
their experience and views about this important issue.

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67674> 29th,
2009 at 12:51 am

4. Anonymous says:

This is not only the opinion of Col. Dawit Woldegiorgis but it is a well
researched analysis about the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea. No
one better than an army leader, a governor of Eritrea, about the relation
between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

I think it is high time to topple over the TPLF, which has a hidden agenda
to dismantle the country or might have a mission to disintegrate the country
and built the Tigray republic, i was glad that the attempt of Woyane foiled
by Shabia, to grab the land and get sea access, rob ethiopia all its
resources and declare Tigray Republic, Woyane has achieved everything but
could not get the Sea,thanks to Shabia.

Now Woyane is in great fear because they have created enemies from north ,
east , south and West. The only way we topple woyane is by building good
relationship with Eritrea, as the writer quotes many eritreans fight for
Ethiopia with out hesitation, like General oqubit, Aman andom, Zerai Derse,
Abrha Deboche, Moges Asgedom, both in military and civilian service.

The reason why woayna avoids shabia, at the 1991 is to avoid competetion or
opposition if shabaia, is around the translational government.

Are we to worry about the post woyana if we cooperate with Shabia, or do you
want to live under ethnocentric regime , while our resources are being
robbed, and our people live in draconian law. This is a choice we have to
make in order to remove the Woyana Junta.

Thanks for wide analysis Col. Dawit

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67676> 29th,
2009 at 1:13 am

5. Fekeke says:

a nice read Mr dawit

Thank you

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67677> 29th,
2009 at 1:25 am

6. Anonymous says:

As an Eritrean, despite my misgivings of your leadership during Red star
campaign, I admire your forward looking and fankness!! The realities of the
21st century in regard to independence and terriotrial integrity may not
match with that of the the sixities.Eritrea and ethiopia could form the most
viable economical and secuirty integration than any country in the world for
the very reason you described at lenght.again thank you. Shaleka Dawit as
the saying goes in tigrigna..haqi Tezarebkas Ab megedi babure deqes", haqun
tenagreh hadid lay tegna! you told the truth and you are a freeman!!

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67678> 29th,
2009 at 1:44 am

7. Samuel Habtu Belay says:

Simply the best article I have read in the last few years. Thank you Ato
Dawit for enlightening me!

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67683> 29th,
2009 at 2:18 am

8. Eritran says:

Dawit has been a out of the box thinker, this paper is as close as it gets
to the real story. History is a lesson that we should learn from to shape
our future. Yesterday is gone, we have to do what is good in the shight of
God for better tomorrow, because it is Gods will that we live in peace, Love
and Harmony. May the God pour out his forgivnes and his etrnal peace and
wisdom in Christ. So our people can enjoy the true meaning of Peace.

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67684> 29th,
2009 at 2:20 am

9. Obzerver (TeAzabi) says:

Thank you Mr. Dawit for your indept analysis on Eritrea-Ethiopia
While some of your statements have truth in them, there are others that are
misconstrued and way out of line.
I would like for some Eritrean Historians to expand on these issues. But,
here are some brief facts that took place before and after federation that I
feel were misrepresented on your article.
Fact 1. The few Eritrean rebels that initiated the Armed struggle were
genuine freedom fighters who opposed Eritrea's annexation imposed by Emperor
Haileselassie against the will of the Eritrean people. They were not bandits
or "Shifta" as you described them for they had a legitimate political
Fact 2. Those who received the decision of Federation with "joy" were
actually insignificant in numbers and belonged to "Mahber Andenet", an
organization whose members were been bribed to go around the country and
harras and intimidate people into calling for unity. You might have been
around those people when the announcement for federation was made, but the
fact is that for the majority people it was a bitter pill to swallow. The
fact that many young Eritreans left home to join the liberation movement
soon after attests to such reality.
Fact 3. Mr. Dawit, I also heard that the judicial system in dealing with
Eritreans was much more tolerable when you were that country's Governor. For
that, and regardless of what your motive was, I give you credit. However, it
would be naive to think that your way of handling the situation had slowed
down the efflux of Eritrean youth to the liberation field. It's true that
due to the military friction between ELF and EPLF many ELF members abandoned
the movement and surrendered to the Dergue. They were referred to as "Wedo
Gheba" and very despised by the people in Asmara.
Having said that, let me emphasise that I am all for the initiatives taken
by ER, EPPF and other wise Ethiopians to engage with Eritrea, It's a
positive move. However, in order for it to bear fruit, we have to make
statements based on facts and not popularity. The word "unity" void of solid
arguement and on the bases of fabricated story will take us no where.
Economic integration, a principle the EPLF strongly supported post
independence, is one of the main remedies for unification we should strive
for. Some of the prerequisites for a healthy and strong Eri-Ethio
relationship should include: 1. The recognition of the hard-earned Eritrean
independence. Remember: such prize was a result of blood and sweat of
countless Eritreans. 2. Respect for the sovereignty of Eritrea.
Best Wishes for the People of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

June <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/10213#comment-67692> 29th,
2009 at 3:24 am




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