BREAKING THE “VICIOUS CYCLE” OF RESENTMENT

BREAKING THE “VICIOUS CYCLE” OF RESENTMENT By Haben Zeray (Those of us who believed in common sense diplomacy have been advocating the need to forge peace, simply because the Eritrean and Ethiopian people can benefit from each

BREAKING THE “VICIOUS CYCLE” OF RESENTMENT

By Haben Zeray

(Those of us who believed in common sense diplomacy have been advocating the need to forge peace, simply because the Eritrean and Ethiopian people can benefit from each other if they can create a process that heals the wounds inflicted on both sides in the last 50 years.  I posted this article last year on Assenna and I feel it fits our times to repeat with some minor modifications).   

I once heard a wise man say, “Bitterness is a poison pill you take-in and expect the other guy (enemy) to die from it”.   Well, if you take the pill you will die from it, guaranteed!  Bitterness is like the root of a tree buried inside, and manifests itself by the words you utter, the actions you take, the stress you feel or the opportunities you miss .

Bitterness can be very destructive to individuals, communities and countries.

For example, Eritreans have reasons to be bitter.  We have been betrayed for many generations, namely by Italians and the British, we were indiscriminately massacred by Ethiopians (Haile Seleassie), Menghistu Haile Mariam (1960-1991),  and now independent Eritrea lacks freedom because of its military dictatorship.  Eritreans have every reason to be resentful.   For generations we have been betrayed, and this betrayal have created bitterness, and unless we deal with betrayal and resentment, we may end up self-destructing both as individuals and as a nation.  As stated above, bitterness is a poison pill you take expecting the opponent to die from it, however, whomever takes the pill dies.  For the sake of the Eritrean people and for the sake of the Ethiopian group who are also mired in resentment, we must devise a plan to break this destructive vicious cycle of resentment. And I hope Ethiopians realize this hurtful cycle as well and want to heal themselves.

In the past 12 years the Issayas government has been stuck in the vicious cycle of  resentment against Ethiopia. and is having debilitating effect on  the Eritrean people and economy.  The PFDJ repeated statements have been, not to have any negotiation with Ethiopia on the issue of Badime, and has put the nation in a military alert for over 12 years. I have heard many of the arguments against making peace with Ethiopia.  The pre-requisites and conditions of abiding by the “Badime” ruling has been repeated by PFDJ and its supporters.    Eritreans have sacrificed a lot.  But I want to ask those who refuse to talk, what do we do next?  What options do we have?  Should we continue to suffer and continue this road of stalemate? The consequences of refusal to talk, I believe have hurt us more than Ethiopia.  Here are some of the reasons why I think we are hurting more:

a)      Port of Assab could have been a source of hundreds of millions  of dollars per year, instead we are suffering from  unemployment and poverty, while our neighbor Djibouti is reaping the benefit of our “bitterness”. Why should we suffer?

b)      The people of Eritrea are separated from the people of Ethiopia in all aspects.  PFJD and EPRDF have let their political differences to create walls among the people.  Thousands of Eritreans who have families are separated and are not able to enjoy family life.  Some have likened Eritrea and Ethiopia to N. Korea and S. Korea respectively.  Eritreans can’t even make telephone contacts to their children who reside in Ethiopia. Why shouldn’t the civilian Eritreans be able to have contact with their own families who are mostly an average one-hour flight away from them?

c)      In underdeveloped countries like Eritrea human aresources  is the main asset and its people are the future hope for development.  PFDJ or the government of Eritrea does not seem to care when thousands of capable and many educated Eritreans are leaving the country.  Most are now making their ways to Ethiopia. Why shouldn’t  Eritrea be a welcome home for its own citizens?

d)     PFDJ have used the walls that got created in the late 1990’s  to become an excuse to put Eritrean youth and even the elderly on military alert; while the Ethiopian government is having a field day welcoming the able-bodied and military fit Eritreans to their country.  The result is going to make Ethiopia stronger while Eritrea weaker.  Of course the GOE leadership will not agree with this assessment.  They may not realize it but President Issayas and his followers are laughing themselves to death.  The policies of  PFDJ work against the interests of  Eritreans and are going to be suicidal for the leadership. Does PFDJ care about its own citizens leaving the country? Why don’t they create an inviting environment for Eritrean citizens to stay in their own country?

e)      For an Eritrean merchant it is natural and easy to trade with Ethiopians.  Most Eritreans know the country, they can relate with the citizens and have a commanding understanding of Ethiopian culture and marketing strategy.  Eritreans should make peace with Ethiopia and open the door for trade with Ethiopia.  What is wrong with giving Ethiopians tourist visas to visit Eritrea and vice versa?

Resentment is destructive and costly.  We must break this vicious cycle whether the Eritrean leadership works on it or not.  Even though the government of Eritrea have opted not to start the road to dialogue, the people, especially those in Diaspora are subtly co-mingling with the people.  There are more Eritreans visiting Ethiopia in 2012 than any other year in the last 12 years.  For many Eritreans, Ethiopia has become the vacation destination.  Thousands of Eritreans have made Ethiopia their temporary home now by crossing the border.

I believe Eritreans are tired of wars, rumors of wars and they are also tired of being ruled by military dictatorship that cares more for the dead than the living.  Eritreans are starving for peace.  They want peace in their homes, they want normal family life where teen-agers are not separated from their homes prematurely.  Eritreans do not want to be alienated from the rest of the world and especially from their neighbor countries and want peace so that they can trade and travel freely.

The point I am trying to make is the need for dialogue with Ethiopia is a must in order to complete the process for peace. PFDJ and its chairman have the responsibility to work out ways to implement by further negotiating with Ethiopia, for the best interest of both countries.  When you resolve a conflict it is never “my way or the highway” resolution.  It has always been, how can I get what I want by giving what they want.     All Conflict Resolution Models (CRM) suggest that, in order to resolve a conflict, you must have a concern for self, and at the same time you must have a concern for others.   In our case, the Eritrean government  is not even willing to sit and discuss.  In my opinion this stand-off is the “ poison  pill” that is killing us.

While the brave Eritrean military performed their jobs superbly, the leadership of the Eritrean government has chosen a hard-liner policy that does not solve the current crisis.   The government of Eritrea has the responsibility to negotiate for the best interest of its citizens. The government defiance has worked to go against the welfare of its own people. The consequence right now is many Eritreans are taking matters into their hands and are beginning to speak out and ignore their stubborn government.  We must think “outside the box” and break the “vicious cycle of war and rumors of wars” and forge peace with our neighbor.  Eritreans and Ethiopians will benefit from this and can be done.

I understand time is of the essence in our quest for peace for Eritrea.  I believe the “youth” of Eritrea are the hope who can bring the dignity that all Eritreans deserve, a democratic process that the people desire, and peace and reconciliation within ourselves and with our neighbors.

Concluding remarks:

We need to learn from history.  In a war situation everybody is a looser.  No one wins.  Even the super-powers with all their technological might have a hard time winning a war. Peace is only achieved when  “enemies” sit on the table and mediate for peace.

Talking about reconciliation is a complicated subject in a country setting, because the wounds that were inflicted on both sides are still fresh. As neighbors though I believe we need to learn to step aside from politics and make business decisions. We need to set aside our emotions and use our intellects and become rational.   The options now are either we continue this road of a non-ending tantrums and bitterness, or we break this resentful vicious cycle and choose the road of healing the wounds and ultimately achieve peace. Are Ethiopians capable for bringing more misery to Eritrea and keep us from developing? Yes, they can. Can Eritreans do the same to Ethiopians? Yes, we can.  But to go this road is to choose death, destruction, poverty and ignorance.  We must be courageous enough to stand for peace and achieve healthy living, economic development and respect among ourselves and with our neighbors.  I applaud those who have already started this process.  Ethiopian and Eritrean churches are praying to God (as we must) for peace in our countries.  Eritrean university students and professors are now collaborating with their Ethiopian students and professors to bring understanding with the two brotherly people.  We have began to see “light at the end of the tunnel”.   Ethiopian leaders during this current administration have shown the need to move forward and forge peace with Eritrea. We should respond in kind.  Let’s remember peace starts within each one of us.

aseye.asena@gmail.com

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99 COMMENTS
  • denden May 3, 2013

    Why are the woyanne boys like to deep their finger on issues thaqt does not concern them to make it worset their gisue is absulutly disgusting.

    well woyane or woyane kids are not going to make a single differnce to Eritrea and Eritreans.

    • MightyEmbasoyra May 4, 2013

      Denden,
      Just curious. When someone mentioned about Eritrea, why are some of you guys jump to name calling. We have a problem in Eritrea, let’s solve our issue. Forget about woyane or Ethiopia. That’s not our problem.
      By the way, you can always communicate in a civilized way. Since this is cyberspace, anyone can call names but definitely reflect on yourself.

    • jonas May 6, 2013

      Denden
      Ethiopia accept a thousand refugees a month from Eritrea, these refugees can live any where in Ethiopia unlike Eritrea where even Eritreans can’t travel from one place to another without a permit, it is a matter of time when Eritrea will become a failed state which endangers the whole region, what is disgusting is pervert like you who live abroad but would have run to Ethiopia if you were living there.

  • Zola May 4, 2013

    Denden,
    Let me remind you that the topic under discussion concerns Ethiopia, as such.
    You are correct in saying that Ethiopians will not work to make Eritrea as such.Eritrea is an independent state, after all. We do that as far as it benefits us and within a limit allowed under international law. While trying to create havoc in Ethiopia, you won’t have a moral standing to demand Ethiopia staying away. Good luck with your struggle to creat a better state.

  • Mebrahtu Tewelde May 4, 2013

    ምሰ ወያነ ይኹን ምስ ዝኾነ ካልእ ኣካለ ናይ ኢትዮጵያ ብጉዳይ ዶብ ይኹን ዝምድናታት ናይ ክልቲአን ሃገራተ ናብ ንቡር ንምምላስ፣ ኣብ ክቢብ ጣውላ ኮፍ ኢሉ ክዝራረብ መንግስቲ አርተራ ኣብዩ ኣይፈልጥን ኢዩ። ወያነ ‘ንሰላም ይኹን ዝምድና ናብ ንቡር ንምምላሰ
    ምስ መንገስቲ ኢርተራ ዝርርብ ብዜይ ቅድመ ኩነት’ክብሉ ከለዉ፡ ባድመ ዝባሃል ዘረባ ክንሰምዕ የብልናን ማለቶም ኢዩ። ኮምሽን ዶብ ክልቲአን ሃገራት ዝሃቦ ብይን ኣብ ግብሪ ከይተተርጎመ ከሎ፤ ምስ ወያነ ኣብ ድርድር ምእታው ማለትከ እንታይ ማለት ሙኻኑኸ ንፈልጥ
    ዲና? ናይዚ ከምዚ ዝመሰለ ኢትዮጵያዊ ዝኾነ ጽሑፍ ትጽሕፉ ዘለኹም ሰባትከ፤ ወያነ ውሳነ ኮምሽን ዶበ ክልቲአን ሃገራት ንከኽብር ዘይትጽውዑ ስለምንታየ? መንግስትኹም ናይ ምጽላእ ምሉእ መሰል ኣለኩም። መሬትኩመን ባሕርኹምን ንወያነ የሕሊፍኩም ክትህቡ ግን፡
    ነገር ጣቁዋ ኣይኮነን። ወያነ ንስምምዕ ኣልጀርስ፡ ኣብ ቅድሚ ማሕበረሰብ ዓለምዩ ፈሪምሉ። ዘራይ ስለዝረኸበ ግን፡ ንምትግባሩ ሓንጊዱሎ።
    ዝቐደመ ውሳኔታት ከይተተግበረ ንኻልእ ዝርርብ ኣብ ጣውላ ኮፍ ክንነብልከ እንታይ ውሕስነት ኣሎና? ማሕበረሰብ ዓለም? ውድብ ሕቡራት ሃገራት? ካልኣይ ገዜ ክንህመል ኣይኮናን!!!

    • MightyEmbasoyra May 4, 2013

      Mebrahtu,
      I think you missing the point here. So, Ethiopia said that let’s talk otherwise we are not going to get our from Badme. What is your solution? They are doing their daily business. Why don’t you ask that let’s do our daily business. The country is in stand still (or worse, going backward).
      There is no power to remove them by force, as of now, and what choice do we have?
      By the way, Isayas started the war. Have you asked why he did that?
      When someone is calling for peace, it doesn’t meant that selling the country to Woyane or Ethiopia. You got it backward, in this case.
      On the contrary, Isayas is selling Eritrea to woyane. How? He is making Eritrea weak by the day (demoralizing, arresting, or making our people leave their country, etc.).

  • ማሊሻ May 4, 2013

    ናይ ሳዳም ውይ ቀዛፊ ስኮላርሺፕ ረኺቡ ኣብ ዒራቅ ወይ ሊብያ ዓረብኛ እተማህረ ኤርትራዊ እንታይ ይብል ፧
    ቋንቋና ዓረብ እዩ። ንሕና ዓረብ ኢና። ቋንቋ ትግረ ኩናማ ዓፈር ትግርኛ ኣይረብሕን እዩ፣ እንተነደደ ይሓይሽ።

    ኣብ ኩሉ ዘገርም ግን እቲ ትማሊ ትማሊ ካብ ትግራይን ወሎን ናይ ኢትዮጵያ ተሰዲዱ ዝኣተወ ከሎ፣ ነዚ ክደግሞ ከሎ እዩ።

    Why would someone who went on Gadaffi or sadam scholaraship want to burn Eritrean languages and declare that Eritrea is an Arab nation, as the Arabs and buy and sell Eritreans like their goats?

    • NEW HOPE ERITREA May 4, 2013

      Brother Militia,

      I think the orientation of Arabism goes beyond few who went to saddam or Gadhaffi school. If we are to solve the issue do we just look at it according to our Christian language & culture or also listen & respect the 50% of our people .Arabic has been second Eritrean language. When ever I hear the word Arab ,my mind goes to fanatic ,idiot ,sexist ,without reason..and the more educated the more illiterate..but, that is my feeling ,not the feeling of 50% of Eritreans

  • ማሊሻ May 4, 2013

    ato Belay Nega,
    In your Arab screwed little heads, the issue is not Eritrea but “Tigray” while you are being raped and enslaved. Let the Tigrayan worry about Tigray.
    Is that the reason you want to make Arabic language a legally protected language while the Tigre, Kunama, Afar, Bilin languages are not only denied legal protection in their own homes but also burned down?
    Are you telling me that the “good” Arabs and their servants will be protecting Eritrean languages while Arabic is enjoying a legal constitutional protection outside a none Arab nation?
    Is this what “liberation” means according to Sewra? 30 years of none sense so that a self hating can say Arabic is Eritrea’s language? Arabic language to enjoy everything under Eritrean Sun but native Eritrean languages are discarded like a condom? Call it voluntary Arabization or is it Abeedazation as one Darfuri called it.
    People who disrespect their own and hate themselves voluntarily do not deserve and sovereignty except slavery, no wonder the Arabs are raping and enslaving my own Eritreans.
    There are still many in the opposition who will never accept any educational or radio broadcast except Arabic, talk to me about inferiority laced slaves who want to be more Arab than the Arabs.

    Here is what you will see according to wishes:
    History repeated itself again 28 years later after the second organizational conference of the ELF/Jebha in 1975. Educational books, which were prepared in the Tigré language by teachers at the Sawa training center, were ordered to be burned by the Executive Committee, citing the reason that it was a conspiracy directed against the status and prominence of the Arabic language in Eritrea. The leadership of the ELF gave orders not to prepare any more educational texts in the Tigré language henceforth.

    “ኣብ ፕሮግራም ናይቲ ቀዳማይ ጉባኤ፣ ኣብ ሕቶ ቋንቋታት፣ ትግርኛን ዓረብን ወግዓውያን ቋንቋታት ኮይነን፣ ናይ ኩለን ቋንቋታት ኤርትራ መስልን ማዕርነትን ክሕሎ ዝብል ነጥቢ ነይሩ እዩ። እዚ ነጥቢ’ዚ ድሓር በቶም ዓቃባውያን ወገናት፣ ከም ኣንጻር ዓረብ ዝቐንዐ ውዲት እዩ ተራእዩ። “እዚአን ቋንቋታት ኣይኮናን ዲያለክትስ እየን” ዝብል ምጉት ኣምጺኦም። ከም ውጽኢት ናይዚ ኣመለኻኽታ’ዚ፣ ኩሉ ተጋዳላይ ጀብሃ ከምዝዝከሮ፣ ድሕሪ 2ይ ውድባዊ ጉባኤ፣ ኣብ 1975 ኣብቲ ውድብ ዝነበረ ንመምሃሪ ተባሂሉ ዝተዳለወ ናይ ትግረ መጻሕፍቲ ተቓጺሉ እዩ። ኣብ መዓስከር ሳዋ ዝነበሩ መማህራን፣ ካልኣይ ቋንቋ ናይ ኤርትራ ትግረ’ዩ ብዝብል ገርሃዊ ኣተሓሳስባ እዮም ብትግረ መምሃሪ መጻሕፍቲ ኣዳልዮም። እዚ ምስተሰምዐ፣ ኣብ ኣኼባ ፈጻሚት ሽማግለ ጀብሃ “ናይ ትግረ መጻሕፍቲ ክጸሓፍ የብሉን” ዝብል ውሳነ ሓሊፉ ከምዝቃጸል ተገይሩ። እቲ ውሳነ ኣብ ገለ መራሕቲ ጀብሃ ዝነበረ ናይ መንነት ቅልውላው ዘንጸባርቕ እዩ ነይሩ።” (http://www.ehrea.org/dont_forget_history_01.pdf)

  • jose May 6, 2013

    Isn’t Eritrea the land of “”the different people””. they don’t need to trade and work hand in hand with other Africans as they wanted to be Arabs and have already established good human organ trade relationship with them.

    Kedaeti. Zekolesekum eid nekesti.

    • Haben May 6, 2013

      jose

      Ouch! from your comment you have no heart. You are no better than those “human organ traders”. Why do you have to stoop down to the Sinai Bedouin level? Besides don’t lump every Eritrean into your angry tone.

      • jose May 6, 2013

        I understand what you mean.

  • kahsay May 7, 2013

    Dear Haben,

    i applaud your courage.It is not easy to break older box even in the open socirty let alone in Eritrea.So it is a good start.And i hop you will keep your effort in creating awareness of such a noble idea.But i am not clear with the term” Ethiopian leaders during this current administration have shown the need to move forward and forge peace with Eritrea”what do you mean by the current Administration ?.I hop you are splitting out the Hailemariam vs meles.If,unfortunately, you mean the hailemariam administration/not Melese’s, ..but i don’t think so/ your are still trying to hide yourself in a new box.There is no and there will not be any new policy by Ethiopia towards Eritrea.What we are doing and what we will keep is what we used to ,Demik arbaete Netbi !!!

    Hence,If you are following the HIBIHIBIETOy TSEWATA, just play it with the diaspora extremist, the result of which would be,as proven so far, is nothing but shouting for ever while the camel…. !!!!

    So wake up , get the bitter medicine courageously/Bizeykala’lem/ get out of the old box
    work and pray hard for peace with your self first and with your neighbors/inc.Ethiopia,…Ethiopia in its new definition/ as well

  • kahsay May 7, 2013

    Dear Haben,

    i applaud your courage.It is not easy to break older box even in the open society let alone in Eritrea.So it is a good start.And i hop you will keep your effort in creating awareness of such a noble idea.But i am not clear with the term” Ethiopian leaders during this current administration have shown the need to move forward and forge peace with Eritrea”what do you mean by the current Administration ?.I hop you are not splitting out the Hailemariam vs meles.If,unfortunately, you mean the hailemariam administration/not Melese’s, ..but i don’t think so/ your are still trying to hide yourself in a new box.There is no and there will not be any new policy by Ethiopia towards Eritrea.What we are doing and what we will keep is what we used to ,Demik arbaete Netbi !!!

    Hence,If you are following the HIBIHIBIETOy TSEWATA, just play it with the diaspora extremist, the result of which would be,as proven so far, is nothing but shouting for ever while the camel…. !!!!

    So wake up , get the bitter medicine courageously/Bizeykala’lem/ get out of the old box
    work and pray hard for peace with your self first and with your neighbors/inc.Ethiopia,…Ethiopia in its new definition/ as well

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