Caught in the Crossfire of Climate and Politics The Eritrean Afars in Ethiopia – Dan Connell

Conscription into the army or other government service for years on end, fear of detention and torture for real or imagined transgressions with no legal recourse, no prospect of schooling or meaningful work, and no

Conscription into the army or other government service for years on end, fear of detention and torture for real or imagined transgressions with no legal recourse, no prospect of schooling or meaningful work, and no personal freedom: The reasons Afar refugees in eastern Ethiopia gave for fleeing their homeland often echoed those I had heard from their countrymen in interviews I conducted in 19 countries over the last two years. But most I spoke with had another grievance—disempowerment and discrimination based on their ethnicity and culture.

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6 COMMENTS
  • k.tewolde March 18, 2016

    I spent a big portion of my struggle for liberation working with the afar people in that besieged area, what an experience! Dan describes them,’..A tightly knit insular society with strong warrior tradition…’, yep! that’s the Eritrean afars I know, DAGO MIEE AFARI from Iribli to Barrasoli,from Tio to Bailul, from Bada to Rahaile, this is not what I promised you when I was there, but one day soon we will join hands and dance under a starry Eritrean night and drink coconut water that you used to offer me when I came at your stead dry and parched.You don’t deserve what you going through.

    • k.tewolde March 18, 2016

      Tears are rolling down my face while jotting the above post, it is a country that lost it’s ways.

  • Setit March 19, 2016

    Thanks Dan for sharing the (heartbreaking) story!
    K_tewolde, I feel you brother. I also remember my days with the Afari! Assab, Bada, Harsile, Halieb, Eddy, Tio, Sorkale…
    With your wisdom, you should probably share this and other stories in full scripts or via interview with Assenna.
    As much as the diablos wants our story to be buried, we should tell it all! It is an archive for tomorrow!

  • k.tewolde March 19, 2016

    Setit, wherever you are wish you peace and tranquility, I like to share with you and the readers an incident, on my way to Dankalia in the vicinity of adi keyih, we run into an EPLF unit,soon after exchanging greetings the leader poses this question to us,’where are you really heading?’,I answered,’to southern Dankalia on assignment.’ He chuckled arrogantly and retorts,’ITI NAY BAHAKI WIGIEE[BATTLE]ABZI KOLOS NAB SEB YEBLU OM YEBLU BOTA TIKEDU,AYE AAMA!’ My answer,’the last time I remember our name is tegadlo harnet eritra not tegadlo harnet kebesa.dahan waalu.’ He couldn’t put it any better when Dan said,’..if you are outside the EPLF/PFDJ core, you are by default marginalized, and the Afars are the quintessential outsiders.’ So, HGDEF is looking more and more like a colonizer that a liberator.

  • Mahta March 19, 2016

    Thanks brother K.tewolde. I am not surprised that he reacted this way. The signs were always there but, for so many reasons, we never connected the dots the way we are doing now! As they say “it is better to be late than never” but we did pay a hefty price in the process of denial/innocence!

  • k.tewolde March 19, 2016

    Yep!innocence, that is what he exploited ‘the slick one’, half a century later ,he still pursuing the little innocent ones, he is not done.Thanks brother Mahta that was a bold and courageous answer at the same time honest and truthful.Time is fast approaching when people like you and me who slugged it out in the trenches will sit together and dust off and refresh the archives of the Eritrean liberation history and present it to our people to sign off.Talk to you soon.

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