Ethiopia’s Notorious Campus Wars: Causes, Goals, and Impacts – By Jawar Siraj Mohammed

May 15th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

The last ten years have seen increased ethnic-based conflicts among university students in Ethiopia. (more…)

The last ten years have seen increased ethnic-based conflicts among university students in Ethiopia. Many of my own friends have become victims of these spontaneous eruptions. After interviewing several students involved in these conflicts and witnessing two violent episodes in Haramaya and Adama universities in 2006, I have come to the conclusion that lack of academic freedom at the universities and infiltration by agents of Ethiopia’s secret police and security services are the major sources of conflict.


Causes: Restricted freedom of association, poor communication è creating ethnic ghettos

Students generally don’t (and should not) go to colleges to learn specialized subject matters only. They want to experience broader social, political, and cultural lives and activities which would later give them the opportunity to develop social skills, analytical tools and eventually become critical thinkers. Higher education institutions are learning contexts; and communication and networking are crucial skills that colleges provide. Clubs, fraternities and associations that are formed based on shared interests, identities, and projected professions form ways in which students can network and communicate to advance their personal growth and promote ideals. Furthermore, unbridled professorial writings, colloquia, panels, seminars and all other intellectual exercise around higher learning institutions ultimately provide that learning context for students.

However, on a campus where academic freedom (of association, publication, etc.) is heavily restricted, and where the government recruits hundreds of informants to spy on their peers, a primordial identity becomes the only secure, dependable and accessible means of networking and communication. Without opportunities for cross-identity association, the social environment revolves around assumption, misinformation, and suspicion which pave the way for prejudices and discrimination, and eventually that becomes a norm. Such a campus is a time bomb for group violence. I think academic un-freedom and authoritarian repression causes and sustains much of the recurring violence around Ethiopia’s higher learning institutions.

Goal: Keep them divided and at war with each other è Easy to subdue

I am not surprised that Ethiopian colleges and universities have become home to what can be categorized as “ethnic ghettos”. But one would rightly ask that why a state would waste public resources to bring students from Bale, Adigrat, Debremarkos and Jijigga to one campus only to let them live segregated? These ghettos are strategically important for the regime, which invests highly in their maintenance. Keeping the student population divided and at war with each other physically or psychologically is crucial to sustaining the regime’s power. Well, physical segregation in the sense of sending them to different universities is not viable. It would have obvious backlashes. Here is thus how it works.

Let’s take the case of Oromo students, a group that has always had an uneasy relationship with the current government. In the universities, there are no forums where Oromo students can air their concerns, promote their culture, or showcase their poetry and creativity. Therefore, they are forced to establish informal underground networks. Worse, they are usually harassed, antagonized and insulted by regime cadres posing as ordinary students, most recently coming from Tigray.

What exactly is going on with Tigrean students? As I have discussed in my previous pieces,1 the regime wants Tigreans to remain isolated from the rest of students. Rumors have it that they enjoy special privileges and that some are even armed. But I believe privilege has less to do with the segregation. I think most Tigrean students stick to their kin because of the unfriendly behavior of suspicious and angry students from other groups.

Agent-provocateurs: Boiling emotions to fuel anger

Ethnic segregation of the student body has allowed the regime to install agent provocateurs. These agents join their respective ethnic groups to prepare the ground for violence by propagating rumors and conspiracy theories. For instance, to Tigrean students, the Oromos would be portrayed as hateful, narrow-minded nationalists siding with the OLF to wage mass murder against Tigrean people. To the Oromo students, Tigreans are portrayed as a group ridden with superiority complexes and disrespect for others. Interestingly enough some of these rumors are backed by reality as well. A Tigrean student would act or say things that are offensive to the Oromo, which confirms the truthfulness of the rumors. An Oromo student would in turn utter words that confirm the Tigrean student’s suspicion. Unknown to the innocent students, many of such interactions arise deliberately on the part of agent provocateurs playing both sides. The secret police have assets within all student groups: Tigre, Oromo, Amhara and others. In this way, the tension becomes intense between student groups.

When disturbance becomes tactically relevant, the same assets light the fire. A Tigrean agent will beat an Oromo in front of a crowd that is already enraged by tensions. Mass violence breaks up; the police come in and take sides with Tigrean students, making the issue a national scene. Then an opposition political group would be accused of instigating the violence. The wave continues until it gets to where it was designed for!

This is exactly what happened last week, when mass violence broke out supposedly over a stolen cell phone. The police arrived late, and by then several students were seriously injured. Since the goal is to enrage the Oromo public, male Tigrean students broke into a female dormitory and beat up Oromo girls. When the enraged students staged a protest, they were rounded up and thrown into jail for inciting violence. They are accused of being used by “external actors” – a code name for the OLF and possibly others as well.

In fact, since this story failed to sell, Bereket Simon changed the story and now alleges that “… hard core supporters of Arena and OPC [Oromo People Congress] are trying to rally each other and have their hands adding fuel to the fire.” Let’s put this statement to test. What benefit would either Arena or OPC gain by pitting their supporters against each other? Due to their past role in TPLF, Arena officials have a tainted relationship with the Oromo electorate; hence their objective at this time is to repair the relationship. Thus, there is no way they can benefit by agitating Tigreans to attack Oromo students. It is simply illogical. Similarly, the Oromo opposition is traveling as far as Mekele to engage Tigreans and rebuild the relationship severed by the current regime. It goes against their interest to incite Oromo students to fight Tigreans. In fact, I personally know, since the conflict broke out, Oromo elders and senior leaders have been advising the students against retaliation and escalating the conflict.

An Improvised Old Game: If It Worked In the Past, You Repeat It

This is not the first time the regime pitted students of one ethnic group against the other for transient political gain. In the past, it was Amhara and Oromo students who fought this manufactured wars. Books, articles and events that ridiculed and humiliated the Oromo people were intentionally organized to infuriate Oromo students and make them appear high-tempered trouble makers. Given the ideological differences that existed between the two groups, government infiltrators could easily exploit the communication gap. The agent-provocateurs painted Amhara students as chauvinists bent on downgrading Oromo cultural identity, while Oromos were portrayed as narrow nationalists aiming to dismantle Ethiopia. A façade of victim victimizer role.

In 2006, when the OLF and CUD formed the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD), the regime feared the Oromo and Amhara students might follow suit and establish alliance, breaking down segregation. Hence, agent-provocateurs instigated well-coordinated violence that rocked almost every university. First, a child guest on the popular TV show hosted by Ababa Tesfaye uttered the offensive term “Gala”. Following furious viewer response, an Amhara student at Haromaya University wore a t-shirt saying “Gala is the Greatest Animal Living In Africa”. This led to nationwide student violence from Haramaya to Jimma, from Adama to Mekele, Arbaminch to Bahir Dar. Many lives were lost.

This instigation of controversy was declared successful as violence further deteriorated the already ugly student relations. It was based on this accomplishment that the current Tigrean-Oromo tension began to be facilitated. Sometimes the instigation and violence has assumed religious faces.

How Does The Regime Benefit From The Current Conflict?

1. It keeps students disunited, weak and voiceless. Instead of working together for mutual benefit, they sabotage each other and allow the regime to use one group against the other.

2. Student violence helps the regime to identify and eliminate key emerging leaders. During crisis, those with leadership potential step up to be voices of dissent and expose themselves. For example, since Meles came to power, every year, the most promising young Oromo student leaders were identified in this way and eliminated through assassination, imprisonment, expulsion and forced exile. We can count all day many that are languishing in refugee camps, whose whereabouts are unknown to date, and others who were murdered in cold blood.

3. Remember, Meles cannot afford Tigrean students to listen to the concern and grievances of others. If so, these young people will begin sympathizing with the oppressed group, and will tell their parents about it. He cannot afford it particularly at this time, when Tigrean elites are coming to the opposition side, and losing the students would speed up the end. In recent months, with the formation of Medrek, some sign of cross-ethnic dialogue was seen between Tigrean and other students. Hence, the violence was instigated to short-cut this initiative.

Recommendations:

1. Tigrean elites and elders should carefully study this phenomenon and take control of their students. The regime is attempting to install the most chauvinistic form of nationalism in these young minds. 6% of the population ruling the country is justified as the uniqueness, especial bravery and intellect of Tigray people, and students are called up on to be proud and defend the system, leading to the inevitable chosen race propaganda. This fantastic delusion needs to be ceased in time.

2. ) Tigrean students should know that the welfare of their people is intertwined with the well-being of the rest of the country. Allowing themselves to be used by the regime not only put their lives in danger, but also increases the hatred towards their people, and in the long run creates a dangerous situation for everybody.

3. Oromo leaders and organizations should refrain from inflaming the situation. While it is justified and expected that they stand with Oromo students, the situation should be carefully assessed and understand the strategic rationale behind these attacks and devise a counter strategy to undermine their efficiency. The root cause needs to be addressed systematically, instead of the spontaneous and sporadic reactions.

4. For the Oromo student, as difficult as it is to live under constant bullying and demoralization, it is crucial to understand that Ethiopia is currently ruled as an authoritarian and tyrannical economic oligarchy, hiding behind particular ethnic group. Hence, fighting Tigreans misses the point. That is what the system wants: to isolate you and make you fight the wrong war. Instead you should devise a strategy to bring All Ethiopian Students to your side on mutual grounds. The effective strategy is depleting the regime’s support base by exposing its naked identity.

5. The Ethiopian government should be careful with the fire it’s playing. We know these tactics do work, but in the long run, they will have dangerous consequences. One of the government strategists joked they are exercising with a controlled fire. I asked, God forbid, what if un-forecast wind comes and blow the fire out of your control? You might think you can incite the violence and put it down as easily, but you are forgetting the long term impact of psychological and emotional trauma those violent events would leave in the minds of students. Universities ought to be the place that nurtures free spirit, elevated and constructive discourse to find creative ways of solving our multifaceted problems. To the contrary, the Ethiopian colleges are becoming incubators of racism, prejudices and violence. These will have a far reaching negative consequence. The tactical gains such situation is not worth the long term damage. Just stop it, and discipline racism, prejudice and the discrimination.

  1. aklilu
    | #1

    nice article with peaceful message

  2. Daniel
    | #2

    Thankyou Jawar for your comment about this issue.

    Keep itup,God/hala bless you.You are a wounderful young Oromo’s son.
    Thankyou again.
    God bless our country.And I wish to read all your geniune comments or what so ever!

  3. Daniel
    | #3

    Geletomi!! I am so sorry I can’t write lattin(affan oromia,words).

  4. Faysaa
    | #4

    Dear Jawar,

    You have really a very deep understanding of our real problem. Your analysis and recomendations are very nice and we all have to look into it seriously. Please if there is any body from the Tgrians who can give us his experience which we can consider it would be nice to widen our outlook.

    Thanks a lot Jawar

  5. Assta B. Gettu
    | #5

    Jawar Siraj Mohammed,

    The advices you have offered to the authorities responsible for the ethnically divided Ethiopian students to avoid further clashes, confrontations, and even blood shed throughout the Ethiopian colleges and universities are commendable.

    However, it seems you have forgotten that in Ethiopia there is no rule of law, and there is no legitimate government called the Ethiopian government; if there were a legitimate government, a government elected by the Ethiopian people and a government that allows its college and university students to express their opinions or complaints not only about the bad food they eat in the campus cafeteria but about the misguided leadership of the Woyanne government, there would be strong friendship or camaraderie, intellectual discussions, and sharing different ideas among the students regardless of their ethnicities.

    Nevertheless, in the absence of a legitimate government, students in Ethiopia and as well as their parents always live in tense situations, in a scarey or chilling way, and a minor cause such as “a stolen cell phone” can trigger the conflict that may lead to blood shed, and the blood thirsty Woyanne dogs – the Agazi – will highly benefit from the clashes by jailing the non-Tigrean students and leaving more spaces in the college or university dormitories for the coming new Tigrean students.

    When campus clashes occur among the students, and when the Woyanne soldiers arrive at the campus to stop the violence, the Tegaru students have always the advantage of effective communications with the Tegaru soldiers, and they can easily twist and ascribe the cause of the violence to the Oromo or the Amhara students since the Oromos and the Amhara students do not speak Tigrigna, and since the soldiers do not speak Amharic or Orominga.

    After I have read the article, I have concluded there are profound similarities between Muslim Mosques and today’s Ethiopian colleges and universities. Many Muslim faithful all over the world go every Friday to the Mosques to pray to Allah, and after their Imams preached violence against the Christian West, especially against the United States, they all shout: “Allah Akbar,” and, forgetting their prayers, they go out of their Mosques and join the mob in demonstration and in burning the United States or the Israelis’ flag.

    For example, one United States Imam by the name Mr. Anwar Al-Awlaki preached to his Muslim followers: “America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil,” and he continued to say: “I eventually came to the conclusion that Jihad against America is binding upon myself, just as it is binding on every other able Muslim.” —The New York Times, May 9, 2010.

    Further, the Walid Shoebat Foundation Blog also says: “Based on interviews and speaking to many former Muslims we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that 99.9% of mosques in America and around the world preach the hatred of Jews, Israel, Christians and the west probably in that order. The expansion of Islamic religion in the west needs to be stopped until the first church or synagogue can freely worship in Saudi Arabia….” (March 21, 2010)

    In the same way, many Ethiopian students from every corner of the country go to Ethiopian colleges and universities to learn something important for them and for their country; however, like a Muslim religion, their learning is affected by violence and interrupted now and then by the unexpected presence of well-armed Woyanne soldiers in the campus. Who knows, the inciters of such violence could be the professors – the Imams of the Ethiopian colleges and universities – who want some kind of attentions or recognitions, like Professor Mesfin Welde Mariam, from the Woyanne government.

    In reality, the sources of all the divisions, the tensions, and the conflicts at various Ethiopian colleges and universities are only four mischievous people, perhaps, not the students, not the professors – and these four are Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi) his wife Jezebel (Azeb), Al Amoudi, and Aba Paulos. Starting from Kindergarten to the university level, nothing is done without the full knowledge of these culpable individuals who always construe the good intentions of the students or the professors into politics. Like in the Woyanne army, the Ethiopian colleges and universities are filled by the Tegaru professors who give the Oromo and the Amhara students C- or D+ grade, but they give the Tegaru students A or A+ all the time so that they can get scholarship in America for higher education. This is the secretive command from Meles Seitanawi to the Tegaru professors to give high grades to the Tegaru students but low grades to the non Tegaru ones. No doubt, such grading distinctions will create deep rooted animosities among the Amhara and the Oromo students against their Tegaru professors.

    The solutions for all the problems in Ethiopia as a whole is to get rid of the four evils peacefully if it is possible; if not, aggressively using sticks, hatchets, spears, knives, swords if we failed to afford modern weapons.

    May God help Ethiopia!

  6. Selam
    | #6

    Jowar, You started okay ended up where the regime want you to be. Pairing people ethnic with there political association. I am a tigrian and passionately hate EPRDF policy and rule. And I know a lot of tigrians that does not support the regime. why can’t we start seeing people individually. EPRDF is the most dangerous regime we ever had and the mere consequence of this regime did not happen yet.

  7. Assta B. Gettu
    | #7

    Daniel,

    Better to say “You are a wonderful young Ethiopia’s son” than to say “Oromo’s son.”

  8. Mezgebe Wedi-Hadush Berhe
    | #8

    Hello, Selam above:
    How did Jawar Siraj Mohammed pair with the government? It sounds funny assertion. To me, Jawar has proved himself to be an epitome of true Ethiopianness! He has meticulously analyzed the way Meles and his gangs of thieves work to strengthen their grip to power in Ethiopia. He has rendered the government naked to an endless shame. Wonderful job, Jawar, wedi-adey (yeageree-lij!!!!
    Assta B.: it is OK to say “Oromo’s son!” I love it as much as to say “Tigray’s son.” It is sweet to my ears as much as it is to say “kembata’s son.” It all depends how you perceive these identities that make up our Ethiopia. If you were to go to an arboretum, you will see various species of plants, various types of flowers all working together to beautify the garden. The botanist then identifies each of those verities of plants not to make them pit against one another but to take care of them according to their individual needs to ensure their survival and comfort in the garden. Take it easy our individual ethnic names represent our unique cultures and languages and it is these that make up the beautiful arboretum called “Ethiopia!” Take these languages and cultures away, you have no Ethiopia, probably, “Ethiopia” that has the property of an alloy. That will probably deprive Ethiopia of its beauty that comes as the result of its being a mosaic of cultures and languages and peoples. If the various plants live in harmony, why cannot humans? The answer is, it is because humans abuse their intelligence. Let us not abuse our intelligence to pit one another! We should love and honor one another and live in harmony without losing our cultures and languages. Cultures and languages are not inherently divisive, it is how we perceive them and use them that can make them so.
    Keep in mind: If we are looking at these differences through the eyes and minds of Meles-Sebhat, the venoms of Shaabia,we are doomed to extinction! Do Not Let That Happen! You have the power in your hands, my dear fellow Ethiopians!

    Jawar, I bless you by saying: “May the Lord bless Ethiopia with your mother’s womb!”

  9. KUSA
    | #9

    Jewar is just a wonderful Oromo son and no doubt that he is a wonderful African son. Yet, the time that Oromos uphold Etiopia under which they captives is over. The dream of Habasha Chauvanists to use Oromo mind to perpetuate their selfish interest shall end. Oromia shall be free.

  10. Anonymous
    | #10

    Dear Abugida:
    How come my comment is not posted? I am very surprised! Did I say anything wrong? Is this the kind of freedom you guys are working hard to see in Ethiopia? I am very puzzled! Please reply to my e-mail berhem@comcast.net

    Thank you very much for your sober mind!

  11. guttu
    | #11

    jawaar. well articulated ,well written to your side point of view. keep
    in mind my point of view is this. we oromos are fighting countless enemies which we do for our survival. you have mentioned altrications
    we had with our neighboure amhara’s . please understand it was not one time or not only in 2006. we had altrication with tigreans it is not one
    time it is for the last 19 years .to summarize none of them are good for
    our oromo students,farmers,proffessors,doctors ,bussiness ,you name it.
    oromo people became victim thier resource . if oromo are meant to be poor we would have had our freedom with no question ahead of eritrea.
    on your thoughts of feuling the unrest,elders are discusing of self defense or stand your ground moral. i personaly will involve my self adivising and implimenting such move. we been steped on ,kicked to the curb,dis regarded , our rights stolen, our resouce over taken, we oromo
    became the epidemic of hunger. what more left for us to suffer? I personal call the country ETHIOPIa, as nation of bussiness card to bank crupt oromia. or anation that eats oromo as her diet.

  12. Anonymous
    | #12

    Assta Getu,

    You think you are smart, and we can’t smell when a low life shabiya sprinkles gasoline over an Ethiopian issue. Get lost, loser.

  13. Abebe
    | #13

    Most of what Jawar stated on this article is right, but he fell to mention OLF is also to blame for this kind of dangerous game. OLF is the same as TPLF except OLF has no power. All these libration fronts that push for the ethnicity agenda too far only bring genocide and blood shied to our country. They have nothing good to offer to anybody. Now, we are seeing the very ugly face of ethnic politics, I just pray that God help us to be wise and stay away from it before it and be united before it is too late.

  14. Assta B. Gettu
    | #14

    Anonymous,

    As your real name remains anonymous, so does your tendentious thought that cannot be taken seriously.

    Before you open your damned mouth and talk to me, you must, first, expectorate the mucus that your expiring lungs have collected; then you will have a clear thought that reveals your real name.

    Why do you hide your real name under anonymous name if you are a real person and at that an Oromo nationalist or federalist, Mr. irksome Anonymous?

    For a sissy person like you born in sin and raised by wicked parents, everybody is shabiya. Go to your grave carrying the word shabiya, and the sooner you die, the better for us, the living. There in your grave you will smell nothing, and let the hungry worms feast on your lifeless body.

  15. Assta B. Gettu
    | #15

    Anonymous,

    No doubt in my mind you are a contumacious person who always exhibits his hanky-panky to the Abugida readers by bewailing like a small baby because your balderdash has not been posted. Do you understand Abugida has an exclusive right to post or to ignore posting obscure ideas like yours, and this will be a good lesson for you to shut up your mouth or to think seven times before you try to post something unproductive to the readers?

  16. Assta B. Gettu
    | #16

    Mezgebe Wedi-Hadus Berhe,

    Yes, Ethiopia has many highly educated sons and daughters throughout its territories, not only from Oromos who always complain they have not been allowed to secede from Ethiopia and form their own government and run their own Oromia, which is impossible to do so.

    I live in the United States, and when someone asks me where I am from, I tell the person I am from Ethiopia; I have never said that I am from Oromia or Mekelle, or Gondar, or any other region in Ethiopia. In this way, I am representing my country rather than my locality. The same is probably true with many other people, who say they are Canadians, or Americans, or Italians, but not Saskatchewan, Californians, and Cosenzans respectively if they are asked the same question I have been asked.

    Of course, there is no rule that says that I have to tell my locality or my home town rather than to tell my country. What ever great knowledge a person has, what ever new medicine he has discovered, and what ever race he has won – all his accomplishments represent his country, not his hometown, not his small village. Most people would say that he is from Ethiopia, but they would not say that he is from Gambella or from Wollo. The name Ethiopia represents every village, every town, every city, and every person in Ethiopia; therefore, it is the safest way and the smartest one to say: “I am the son of Ethiopia rather than to say: “I am the son of Oromia.” To say otherwise shows isolationism, exclusiveness, loneliness, narrow-mindedness, and selfishness (ዝምተኝነት ልዩነት ብቸኝነት ጠባብነት ግድየለሽነት, respectively).

  17. atuba dolla
    | #17

    It is true;the system which Zinawians built is mainly surviving on instigating and promoting all sorts of violence and thereby controlling and conditioning Ethiopians to going astray.The primary deterent for such wicked tactic is to not be gullible and let ourselves not subject to the negative circustances that Zinawians trap us to.

    As initial step,we should intervene to break the system Zinawians built merely to extend thei lives in our homeland.It is our homeland that is being looted,it is our children that are being subjected to daily subugation and other forms of oppressions and suppression;therefore,knowning that we can fully control the situations that we are in,it is only being united on a common ground would defeat Zinawians.

  18. Negash
    | #18

    Abebe,

    Do not try to confuse us. You lack the ethics of saying things professionally. It is not time to vomit; it is time to chew. Your slanted outlook is something which is going to cut your limbs! Hope, you got it.

  19. Anonymous
    | #19

    By the way I am not #10 or #12.

    Assta B. Gettu, in the past, you have said on Ethiopian Review that you want Issayass to came to Ethiopia and be the president of Ethiopia…Why in God’s name you want the other evil Issayass, the blood cousin of evil Meles, the very man who hates everything about Ethiopia and a man who is responsible for the death of thousands of our Ethiopian soldiers, the very man who created all the separatist groups…to come back and run Ethiopia? Because of this and your fanatic religious believes and your intolerance of other people’s religion makes yourself to be unstable.

  20. Assta B. Gettu
    | #20

    Anonymous #19,

    What is the distinguishing mark between you #19 and him/her #10 & #12?

    He called me “Shabiya” and you dubbed me “unstable.” To me, you are the same flesh and blood with the Anonymous #10 & #12, for I could see on his and your foreheads the mark of the beast, and you are not one of those who have Jesus’ name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads.

    Isaiah Afewerki has a vision for Ethiopia and Eritrea that would bring the two countries together. When he explains about the future economic cooperation between Eretria and Ethiopia, he says that “the sky is the limit.”

    Indeed, there are so many good things the two countries could achieve if they work together, learn together, plan together, and live together. Isaiah Afeworki believes Eritrea and Ethiopia are brothers and sisters, and they could not afford to see each other as enemies rather than as close friends, and what I have concluded from the interview is that Isaiah wants Ethiopia and Eritrea establish a federal system of government and live together under this system. If his wishes come true, is there anything that prevents him from becoming the first president of the two federally united countries?

    What is the vision of Meles Seitanawi for Eritrea? He has no vision what so ever, except that he wants the Eritreans to see Ethiopia as their enemy instead of as their country.

  21. Assta B. Gettu
    | #21

    My view points about the unique closeness between Ethiopia and Eritrea!

    Ethiopia + Eritrea = one nation, one country, not two countries. Their system of government is the same, i.e., dictatorial democracy. They have one common language – Amharic – and one common religion – Christianity. In both countries there are minority Muslims, Jews, and others with different beliefs.

    The glory, the prosperity, and the wealth of Ethiopia is the glory, the prosperity, and the wealth of Eritrea, and the downfall of Eritrea is the downfall of Ethiopia. If an enemy attacks Eritrea, it is understandable he is also attacking Ethiopia.

    The two-year war that was waged between Eritrea and Ethiopia was a conflict between families, not between two enemy countries, because Ethiopia and Eritrea have always been brothers and sisters who live on the same soil – African soil.

    Anything that belongs to Eritrea belongs to Ethiopia, and anything that belongs to Ethiopia belongs to Eritrea. For example, Aseb and Mesewa belong to Ethiopia because they belong to Eritrea. River Nile belongs to Eritrea because the Nile River belongs to Ethiopia.

    I am an Ethiopian because I am an Eritrean; therefore, Eritreans and Ethiopians are one people, one country, one nation with the same destiny to glorify God and to live in peace forever and ever.

    While the whole world, thanks to modern technology, is coming closer and closer than ever before in the history of human beings, some narrow-minded people who glorify Meles Seitanawi for his political skills in dividing his country on ethnic lines and for pitting one tribe against the other one still believe Ethiopia and Eritrea are two different countries with boundaries that separate the two nations.

    The boundaries between Eritrea and Ethiopia are artificial ones like the boundaries between Canada and the United States of America; they are not like the boundaries between the United States and Great Britain which are separated by the Atlantic Ocean. This is indeed a natural boundary that no one fights for a peace of land between America and Great Britain; for Great Britain and the United States, the Atlantic Ocean is the limit, but between Ethiopia and Eritrea there is no ocean or mountain that separates Eritrea from Ethiopia and Ethiopia from Eritrea, so, the only difference between Ethiopia and Eretria is that there is no difference at all even though Meles Seitanawi works hard to create some sorts of differences between the two loving nations – differences such as Eritreans had been colonized by foreign powers; it is true because their Ethiopian brothers and sisters betrayed them to fall into the hands of foreign powers, which is not their fault by any means.

    The more we create differences in stead of similarities between the two countries, the further the two countries will go in the opposite directions, and these opposite directions may not be productive for the two nations. Therefore, it is our prime duty to keep the two countries together. We must convince Eritrea to have a feeling of belongingness to Ethiopia and Ethiopia to Eritrea.

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