Dr. Yohannes Aberra Ayele 5-2-19
I had a chance to see the Berlin wall before it was torn down 1989. It was a scene of irrationality where you sadly observe folks on both sides of the wall hanging their clothes to dry on the balconies of their apartments, less than 100 meters of distance separated by a wall. It was not just 100 meters, but West and East Berlin were worlds apart. There was no way that one can cross to the other side without facing gunfire, barbed wire, and hound dogs. The people in both sections of the same City were not responsible for the separation; but they have bitterly endured the separation of families for over 40 years. People are too care-free to ignite wars. Any irresponsible individual, like Hitler, can trigger it. However, it is the life of the innocent civilians that will be wrecked by the consequences. World War II ended in five years; but the consequences remain forever. For those consequences that luckily could be reversed like the Berlin Wall a lot of diplomatic efforts were made to bring back a united Berlin for a united Germany. Of all such efforts a single four-word request by President Ronald Reagan of USA remained shining brightly in the history of Germany. Ronald Reagan roared with his commanding Holly Wood voice: "Gorbachev, tear down this wall". Two year later the wall was demolished by the people themselves from both sides. It was the greatest celebration Germany has ever seen! Justice triumphed over tyranny.
The separation of the same people of the Ancient core of civilization into two was done not only once but several times; but every time with the same goal: weakening the Region. It started with the separation into two of the Region as Bahre Negasi and Tigray. One slice, Bahre Negasi was weakened into subjugation by colonial power as awarded by those who divided it. Tigray, another slice, was subject to persistent instability and abject poverty. History has proved that none of the two benefited from the artificial separation. None of the two were able to regain the Axum-Adulis glory they had experienced for a thousand years. That was what was needed by their enemies.
Leaving history to history which we can never undo however hard we try, what we need to do now is expressed beautifully by a Tigrigna saying: "ናይ ሞት ይፅናሕ፣ ናይ ሕልፈት ይበኸ"። We have to look back into history in order to learn from it; but we should not live in it as we have a long future to deal with. Whatever caused the existing state of affairs in the Tigray-Eritrean relations has to be considered as a terrible thing of the past. We have to learn from it because we cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes. We were fighting when they want us to fight; we were insulting and degrading each other because they tricked us (or played some of us) into doing that; and they controlled our familial people to people relations by denying us the decision making power to take our affairs into our hands.
The time has never been right as it is now for the people of Tigray and Eritrea to restore what they have lost by the medieval separation into north and south. The "two" people must never miss this opportunity to mix and develop in unison. We have to unite in such a way that no one will have the power to separate us ever again. By this, I don't mean violating Eritrea as an independent state and Tigray as a State in the FDRE. I am talking about an innovative way of restoring the social and economic unity in a manner that does not adversely affect the existing or future political arrangements in both independent countries.
President Dr. Debretsion delivered "The State of Tigray" speech this week. To me it was an amazing speech; so informative and humorous as well. In the face of great adversity it is sedating to see leaders smiling and cracking jokes, which shows their good control of situations. He was talking so casually that he created an atmosphere of friendly chat. I say keep up Sir! Everyone is behind you! In his speech Dr. Debretsion appealed to the Eritrean leader to open the border for the people. This reminded of the appeal by President Ronald Reagan to Michael Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall. He demanded that the Berliners be allowed to live with their brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, sons and daughters and parents.
Government to Government diplomatic relations are routine formability of state to state relations, which have little to do with the interest of the ordinary people on both sides. The relation is happening between diplomats, politicians and business people in Asmara and Addis Ababa not between ordinary farmers and petty traders in Gerhusernay and Tsorona, not between Zalambessa and Senafe, not between Adiabo and Barentu, and not between Setit Humera and Gash Setit.
While we are trying hard for the reunification of the people of Tigray and Eritrea the unity of Tigray must be ensured. Dr. Debretsion expressed his bitterness about the campaign to disunite the people of Tigray. This is unacceptable to anyone who loves to see Tigray prosper. Everyone has to fight back. This is not what Tigray needs at this critical juncture in its history. No one should be allowed to make Tigray like in the years after Yohannes IV. This is not a matter for Dr. Debretsion and his party alone; it is the responsibility of every Tigrayan to root this out mercilessly. What awrajas have been demanding is equality not superiority or disunity.Back to Front Page