HILINA: Dedicted to Dr. Asefaw Tekeste
HILINA Dedicted to Dr. Asefaw Tekeste by Fetsum Abraham I was pleased to see Dr. Assefaw Tekeste in the last Assenna interview, yet I apologize for not sharing my first impression of him in my last article. It
Dedicted to Dr. Asefaw Tekeste
by Fetsum Abraham
I was pleased to see Dr. Assefaw Tekeste in the last Assenna interview, yet I apologize for not sharing my first impression of him in my last article. It was in 1990 when our struggle already had Massawa under control and we were all psyched up to see the successful end of the Eritrean struggle ever since. I volunteered to participate in MAETOT and went to MEDA with my comrades to serve the struggle in the areas of installing Microwave Communication Systems in SAHEL And SENHIT. After staying for few days in Afabet, we headed on to Massawa by dark on an open truck loaded with probably about 10 people. The driver was cruising it at around 100 Kms an hour on a flat landscape called DOGALLI when my comrade Fikre Tsegay suddenly lost control and flew out of the truck like a piece of paper in a wind. Everyone was silently expressing the inevitable in different emotions. The driver stopped few meters ahead thinking what had dropped was a luggage to only learn that it was Fikre who suddenly got lost out of sight. He then drove back towards the spot and I still have a photographic memory of how I felt seeing him alive wounded everywhere and crying with pain. We then somehow helped him and continued driving towards Massawa where we finally dropped him off at the City Hospital which was then managed by the very interesting brother Dr. Assefaw Tekeste. The Doctor immediately took care of Fikre and literally saved him from death. He turned that hopelessness around by giving Fikre his life, of course after few weeks of suffering. Fikre lives in America today because of how brother Asefaw professionally and compassionately participated in the horrible event that almost stole his life. I take the opportunity here to salute my brother for what he did then and to our people in general during the struggle and far beyond. I take this opportunity to salute our people that are being dehumanized by the savage regime in the name of the brother doctor.
Our struggle for independence was full of patriots but few exceptional individuals surfaced as the most decisive elements of its objective. Literally speaking, the success of our struggle against the SHADISHAI WERAR and the SELAHTA WERAR offensives was impossible without the exceptional leadership of brother Ibrahim Affa (EPLF’s Chief of Stuff of the time) in the military sect, Petros Solomon’s genius in intelligence (Espionage) and General Ugbe Abraha’s capacity in the areas of logistics; and of course that of our medical doctors who were conditioned to sleeplessly work around the clock for many years at the expense of their comfortable lives elsewhere. Likewise, the destruction of the THE NADEW EZ (the strongest Ethiopian mechanized force) in the battle of Afabet in the late eighties would have been impossible without the brain power of brothers General Sebhat Efrem (EPLF’s Chief of Stuff of the time) and Mesfin Hagos (strategy), Petros Solomon (intelligence) and Uqbe Abraha (logistics) to say the least. I add the late brother Ali Saed Abdella and other distinguished patriots in this list. I am sorry if I made a mistake or if I missed a hero because of a certain degree of ignorance on the matter but stick to the idea if you can.
Apparently, the collective effort of the people liberated Eritrea for all Eritreans to live peacefully and lawfully in their homeland not for the convoluted mind of Afwerki to dictate alone. Eritreans liberated their country to use it democratically; not to make it the cause of their suffering; to be jailed and killed without justice. Eritreans liberated their country to develop it through education and participation; not to produce the highest refugee crisis in the world and to install institutionalized slavery and ignorance on the people indefinetelly. Eritreans did what they had to do for the comfort of all citizens and not for one man’s authoritarian ambition through the destructive and empty philosophy called Afwerkism that does not even allow an Eritrean’s burial in the motherland!!!!
Dear Eritreans; you know that our country under the current system has been reduced to rank at the bottom of the list in injustice, lack of freedom, lawlessness, refugee crisis, lack of education, censorship, etc. 10,000 brothers and sisters are behind bars without due trial. Human trafficking (organ selling, prostitution) and illegal activities have become the fate of the people under Afwerki’s vision-less brutality. The family structure is deliberately destroyed. Our people can not continue to suffer only for one man’s hallucinative ego trip. They are voiceless in Eritrea and we must carry our national and spiritual responsibility to salvage them from the chain of dictatorship without denial, pretension and fear.
Wherever you stand on the Eritrean issue and whatever you want to do with it is your choice but my spirituality does not allow me to take advantage of what brothers like Bitweded (long time prisoner) and sisters such as Senait Debessai (Base guitarist and Actor during the struggle now in jail for many years) brought for us without defending their rights and freedom. I just can not benefit from what they gave me in their absence without suffering guilt through clear-cut betrayal and opportunism. I can not swallow Afwerki’s denial of a grave yard to an Eritrean veteran (Naizghi Kiflue) without offending the creator and tress-passing my humanist concept of existences. I do not want to live in Eritrea knowing that the best actors of the revolution are either suffering in custody, killed or denied peaceful life at home. My rationality rejects the notion of living in Eritrea where brothers and sisters are permanently eliminated for just defending democracy. I can not justify my quietism in the face of the brutality dispatched upon sister Aster (Tegadalit mother of the kids of Petros Solomon) for just being the wife of the brother. I can not have peace of mind ignoring the sad destiny of their traumatized children who were condemned to everlasting parent-less existence for the rest of it. Nor can I expect happiness from this life suppressing my feeling about the fatherless-ness induced emotional consequences of Dawit Issac’s (Swedish Journalist) children who was lost for just writing few sentences in the press at the moment press freedom was legal in the country under this government. The abuse kept on going attacking the Sheriffos and their children as if human beings were disposable objects without trace. I can not do this to my self:
I can not justify the fate of Eritrean liberators Ugbe Abraha and Mahmood Sherifo who were forced to commit suicide or die in prison just for asking the implementation of our constitution. I despise to live in Eritrea where its liberators such as Dr. Asefaw, General Tekeste Haile and even brother Ali Addu can not live in because of senseless injustice. I do not want to be an Eritrean in an Eritrea that jails and kills its makers because I do not deserve it as much. I can not do it without being selfish. I just do not want to be an Eritrean for the sake of identity. It breaks down at this fundamental contradiction of the concept in my conditionally pacifist outlook of life.
At the bottom line, I can not compromise my spiritual integrity for anything and for anybody. I refuse to exchange my moral values for material advantage and I decline giving up my freedom through silence on the plight of innocent sufferers of injustice anywhere in the world. I am not saying the people imprisoned in Eritrea should be free with out due trial; nor am I saying the former leaders of the EPLF were innocent of whatever they were accused of doing by the government. They were not Angels and I believe they have done wrong things as important individuals in the system. One man alone could not have dictated with this amount of pressure had they been strong in principle anyway. Meles Zenawi, for example was not allowed to dictate as such by his comrades. I believe they are partially responsible for putting us in this situation ladies and gentlemen!
I am only saying that they must have been proven guilty first through the process of justice before facing the extent of suffering they have been going through. I am saying that the president can not be the accuser and the judge at the same time, but he was in this regard. I am saying that the president has refused to be a human being by standing above the law (only God can stand above the law). I am saying that the system has the burden of proof and the victims deserve the benefit of the doubt. In the absence of evidence for nearly 14 years, the universal perception of justice asserts that they were INNOCENT. Eritrea under Afwerki, therefore has ravaged human life unlawfully and is responsible for ITS ACTIONS.