TEGADALIT AB WUSHATE

TEGADALIT AB WUSHATE by Fetsum Abraham   The author of 'From Feminist to Rapist"  I dedicate this input to the eccentric Eritrean Feminist Martha Mebrahtu Quote of the moment: If the shelving of the first lady in Eritrea does not wake up women

TEGADALIT AB WUSHATE

by

Fetsum Abraham

 

The author of ‘From Feminist to Rapist”

 I dedicate this input to the eccentric Eritrean Feminist Martha Mebrahtu

Quote of the moment:

If the shelving of the first lady in Eritrea does not wake up women to Afwerki’s degree of Male Chauvinism, nothing will. A woman’s acceptance of second-class citizenship in Eritrea and her support of the president are mutually inclusive. Supporting the president in Eritrea directly implies a female’s admission of being inferior to the male gender.

Narrative

Eritrea has always been a deeply rooted male chauvinistic society. Added the burden of colonialism to this, the Eritrean women were circumstantially conditioned to suffer from two distinct forms of oppression: Domestic Male domination and colonialism triggered national oppression similar to any other Eritreans in general. The Eritrean struggle for independence, therefore offered a unique opportunity for Eritrean women to resolve the two oppressions through equal participation in the liberation army. At the end, they stood and still stand at the top of the list universally for personally participating in the struggle at about 30% of the liberation army composition. They were active internally and externally through out the struggle.

The Eritrean independence was impossible without the gallant participation of our women. So is the success of men in society without gender equality. Men have to support gender equality for their own advantage. The fact remains that our women’s incomparable input in the struggle liberated the country from Ethiopian colonialism together with the rest of the people. Yet; they failed short of achieving gender equality in our society. The dictatorship stood in the way of their freedom. As a result, the condition of women in today’s Eritrea remains to be more terrible than in the past; negatively reflecting the problem in our society in terms of family destruction.

The “dehan kuni wishate” moto of our women reflected by the talented Tegadalit Tanki during the struggle went down the drain by the chauvinist system that decided to confine the first lady in the kitchen (wishate). In so doing, the president dispatched male chauvinism from home grounds for the outlook to practically set the standard as to how women should be treated in our country, which is nothing more than second-class citizenship. He Role-modeled gender oppression by giving Eritrean men the green light to dominate their women at will.

As a consequence, sexual corruption became the government officials’ mode of communication with women. Divorces; intimidation and favoritism induced sexual abuse reigned in the society that was known for its cultural decency in this regard. With mistresses and side-kids everywhere, the wives of the government officials have as well been contained in the kitchen like the first lady of Eritrea.

Ladies and gentlemen! Eritrea after independence has become the entertainment bonanza of internal and external perverts and pedophiles that are reducing our young teenage girls to sexual objects. The Commanders rape them at SAWA and the sex-starved Eritreans travel to the country to sexually abuse them for small changes. Too many of them are left uneducated but rather making babies by unknown fathers and the escapees face human trafficking and asylum affiliated prostitution without any interference from the government.

 Apparently, one of the most distinguished Eritrean revolutionaries in the history of the struggle happened to be Feminist Martha Mebrahtu. Martha was an attractive and intelligent medical student at Haile Sellasie I University (now Addis Ababa University) back in the 1970s. As an elected president of the university’s medical students’ association; she was a fierce critic of the King Hailesselassie’s feudal system, a passionate advocate of women’s rights, an active member of the university students movement and a dedicated supporter of the Eritrean struggle for independence. Martha was an internationalist civil rights activist and an icon of East African FEMINISM, a socio-political position strongly influenced by the Leftist air of the moment and activists of the likes of Professor Angela Davis (a notorious Afro American Civil Rights Activist from California). They actually nicknamed Martha after this famous Feminist because she resembled her in intellectualism and looks.

 As much as Zerai Deres dignified the Eritrean society by sacrificing his life in front of Hitler and Mussolini in Rome for freedom from European colonialism, the selfless sister Martha Mebrahtu sacrificed herself in dramatic fashion for democracy, justice and gender equality overall and for Eritrean independence from Ethiopia in particular. Martha was killed on air on the 8th  December 1972 by the Ethiopian government in the active process of hijacking an Ethiopian airliner with few prominent revolutionary members of the radical Ethiopian Student’s Movement of the time.

Feminist Martha left behind the following message (‘”written on the 7th  December 1972”) a day before she participated in that historical plane hijacking experience that consumed her life for good.

 

 The Martha Manifesto”: (Thursday, 7 December 1972), (roughly translated from Amharic):

 

 “Our struggle demands a bitter sacrifice in order to liberate our oppressed and exploited people from the yokes of feudalism and imperialism. We, women of Ethiopia and Eritrea, are not only exploited as members of the working classes and peasants, we are also victims of gender inequality, treated as second-class citizens. Therefore, our participation in this struggle must double the efforts of other oppressed groups; we must fight harder, we must be at the forefront. We must equally participate in the struggle for economic and social justice that our brothers have waged. We have a responsibility to become a formidable force in the revolutionary army. The rights for freedom and equality are not manna from heaven. We, women, have to be organized and have to make ourselves ready for any armed struggle. We affirm our full support for the oppressed people of the world who are struggling to free themselves from imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism and racism! We stand by the freedom fighters in Vietnam, Palestine, Guinea-Bissau and in other African and Latin American countries; we also support the civil rights leaders in North America.

Victory to the popular struggle of the people! May the people’s movement for freedom in both Ethiopia and Eritrea live forever! My sisters and my brothers, let’s keep on fighting!”

May God bless her soul in heaven!

 

TEGADALIT

 

Colonialism produced humiliation; Feudalism, oppression

Federation was domination; Sexism, psychic manipulation 

I went through all this to wake up for the call

And joined the fight for the freedom of all

 

30 years after roughing it in the jungle;

For independence to reign, oppression to rumble;

The excessive sacrifice, hardship and strife

Got me dictatorship that controls my life

 

Freedom of speech caught by the throat, creativity bleeding in the gut

Intelligence rendered irrelevant, slap for assisting jail for thought

Abuse here, abuse there; control, control

Don’t touch anything I got to have it all

When they pushed freedom all the way to the wall

 

How long can a society sustain this?

When a burden dies out a parasite succeeds!

 

Kids running away from slavery, mothers left behind in misery

Schools colonized by the Army, young girls selling it for money

Prostitution instead of education, silence for expression

Parent-less children everywhere, in this hopelessness with no destination

Traumatized girls in pregnancy, society feeling their dependency

How terrible life is, under this autocracy!

 

Oh Liberation! The mother of total destruction

You have left our women in desperation, exposing them for rape and abduction                                                        

You liberation! Allowed chauvinism to manifest itself

By storing the first lady on the shelf

This role modeling undermined women’s dignity

Gender equality lost essence in society

Sexual abuse became a priority; for perverts obsessed with busting virginity

 

Leaders with mistresses, wives in divorce

Raising the kids alone having had no choice

What a disaster what an experience!

Is this really the time for women to rejoice?

 

Where are you Senait, where in the world is your guitar?

How is your sister Amina, after thrown in the gutter?

Ahmed melts without explanation, his brother Girmai dissolves in incarceration

What did my people do for this elimination?

I thought we secured freedom through the revolution

 

If the fight was to liberate me at the expense of their freedom

To hell with Eritrea and its totalitarian kingdom!

 

Long live the Eritrean women’s struggle for gender equality!

aseye.asena@gmail.com

Review overview
12 COMMENTS
  • Awet March 9, 2013

    Fetsum:
    Thank you for what you and continue your struggle on behalf of the Eritrean people. What bothers me is that their are many individuals like yourself who would be good ambassadors of our people/country but unfortunately because of the dictator in Eritrea, such realism remains just a dream.
    Once again, thank you and continue the good work brother.

  • Awet March 9, 2013

    Please read as “Thank you for what you do”

  • tedros March 9, 2013

    as ever great piece of work… keep up the googd job

  • Mehret March 9, 2013

    Fitsum,
    What can I say except that I am proud to have a brother like you who feels the pain and stands up for and beside his sisters!
    Wish the women in eritrea read it. Great work as usual!!!!
    Thanks!!!!!!!

  • MEHRETU HABTE March 9, 2013

    Brother Fitsum,

    I am gainning a new respect for Marta Mebrahtu, whom I thought was emotional adventurist.Her death I respectfully accept as MARTYRDOM.She knew her cause & indeed the sacrifice was worth the price.
    God bless you Fitsum ,by standing on our sisters’ side we are standing on owr own side.My respect for the real women..who made a real difference or were martyred trying to do so.

  • belay nega March 9, 2013

    BROTHER FETSUM

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE THANKS FOR REMEMBERING MARTA

  • Tewelde T March 10, 2013

    The one who demands my silence while my people are tortured is not my friend but my worst enemy. Let the voice of the people be heard from east to west and south to north, and may it awaken the the sleeping once. Human beings are made equally even of women and men together. Liberating women is liberating our mothers from brutality of HGDEF. Being loyal and blindly supportive to President Isayas will not make anyone more Eritrean, in fact it is wise to say and tell the truth and remain respected and honored for years to come. First we have to liberate ourselves from fear of the police state in Eritrea by sharing the truth. Our people are actually afraid at this moment to hear others speak the truth about the regime let alone to criticize and speak out the facts. Fetsum,
    Thank you for your gorgeous article.

    • belay nega March 10, 2013

      “to liberate ourselves from fear of the police state in Eritrea by sharing the truth”

      DO YOU KNOW THAT DYING FOR OTHERS IS NO MORE PATRIOTIC BUT ADVENTURE?

      • Tewelde T March 10, 2013

        Belay, if dying for others is not patriotic no more then die for yourself and for yourself alone and then try to be more patriotic, We like it or not we are all connected to each other in our social web fabrics as Eritreans and globally all of us as human beings. The oppressors and the liberators are and will be always part of our lives.

        • belay nega March 10, 2013

          HALLOW TEWELDE

          I FEEL YOU BUT AS A SURVIVAL OF THE EMOTION OF THE LATE 70’S THE WORD DYING FOR OTHERS REMIND ME :

          “tarik ayeresahim”

          THE FAKE BLESSING OF THE SO CALLED COMMUNISTS WHO WAS BEING GIVEN TO A LOT OF INNOCENT ERITREANS AS WELL AS ETHIOPIANS.

      • MEHRETU HABTE March 10, 2013

        Brother Belay,

        It depends if the cause is worth the price that is being paid.If we have to look things relatively ,by African standard …Ethiopia was a sissy colonizer,that Eritrea became ¨independent¨for Ethopia´s sake.
        Love is indeed dying for others.Love is no coward..when an attacker comes in the middle of the night any coward would get up to protect his/her family.People have to ask for redemption though..you can not force them to be victims & recruit them to ¨save¨ them from victimhood of other ¨victimizer¨and then..victimaze them. Human life is precious except in few countries. As for me ,I would rather be a martyr to save ¨THE PURPLE COSTA RICA´S LIZARD..than some useless purpose.
        I guess freedom is in the eye of the beholder (bitch)…I guess.

        • belay nega March 10, 2013

          HALLOW MEHRETU

          THE DYING FOR OTHERS IS A NIGHT MARE

          IT TAKE ME BACK TO THE ADVENTURE OF THE LATE 70’S

          THOUGH IN LIFE “WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS GOING TO HAPPEN ANYWAY”

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