OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER MELES ZENAWI AND PRESIDENT ISSAYAS AFEWORKI
February 15, 2008
First I would like to extend my greetings and good wishes. May the Peace and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you and your families!
As an alumnum of Asmara University, I lived for years in Eritrea and got to know how well and God fearing the Eritrean People is. I know that there are no historic, major problems between the people north and south of the Mereb River, that leads them to kill one another. “Eritrean and Ethiopians are brothers and all we want is to live with them in peace.” said Haile Gebre a resident of Badme. Yes, indeed, I believe we are all brothers and sisters. We are all one family.
This week, the UN personnel who had been used to patrol territory on the Eritrean side and keep relative peace along the Mereb River has started leaving the buffer zone. “Without the fuel needed to conduct its operations, the mission has been effectively immobilized and rendered unable to carry out its critical functions” said the UN secretary general, explaining the latest shameful measure from the part of his organization. Political pundits are predicting a possible war.
I believe, had Ethiopia/Eritrea been a European country, the UN would have quickly taken some serious concrete actions to peacefully solve this crisis. They would have given it high priority to make sure that another devastating war would not happen in that region again (if they wanted to). They would have found some solution to the current crisis. They would have used multiple leverages to de-escalate the tension and find permanent solutions.
Unfortunately they failed. As was the case in Somalia and the Sudan, the UN is freezing if not abandoning all together, another African mission.
This is a clear indication to Ethiopians and all Africans at large, that the fate and our destiny lie only in our hand. Other than empty rethorics and false hope, meaningful actions from the part of the International Community come more often when it is too late.
I believe it is time to stop expecting solutions from New York and Brussels and start taking major steps to turn around the fate of our country on our own. We do not need the Algerian President or Ban Ki-moon. The solution is in our hand. If we want we can end this crisis in one day. If we want we can end the suffering of our people. Our problem is not Badme or the economy. Our problem is our hearts which are hard and filled with hate, vengeance and empty pride. Our problem is that we do not want to be seen as losers at any costs (even if our rigidities may cause the loss of lives) .
I believe it is possible to break the gridlock if we open up our heart a little bit to humility. I believe we can have a dialog as brothers, solve our differences and make our region, a region of peace and prosperity than a region of blood.
In 1998-2000 war more than 70000 brothers and sisters of ours have died. Some of them could have been doctors, engineers, member of parliaments. Some of them were the only child for their parents. Some are fathers and mothers of little kids.
I therefore, write to you that you come to your senses; think for the well-being of your fellow citizens who may be dying should another crazy war erupts and have a true dialog with each other. It is to your humanity and your conscious that I am making a call to, hoping that you refrain from sacrificing again thousands of lives for nothing.
Both of you are parents. Just for a second, imagine your sons and your daughters being blinded or loosing their legs because of explosives. Imagine their corpses being dragged on the desert and their flesh eaten up by scavengers. Imagine the horror and devastation a war may cause.
For once I am pleading with you to treat young Ethiopians and Eritreans as your own children. If you do that, I know you would swallow your pride, take of the cloth of “arrogance”, humble yourselves and find a solution to this crisis. You would stop acting like kids and be matured enough to call directly each other and put an end to this nonsense right now. You would have given us the news that we all want, that there will be no bloodshed any more. Why? Because no-one would want to sacrifice his own children?
Some may call me a dreamer and simply dismiss my call as unpractical, the same way many had dismissed the Reverend Martin Luther King dreams back in 1960th.
However dreams will happen as we are witnessing with the Obama movement. Yes, I will continue dreaming, praying, hoping and striving for the Spirit of blood shed and hate be expelled out from our country once and for all. I will continue dreaming and praying to see the port of Assab and Massawa being used again. I will continue dreaming and praying to see a soccer game between Giorgis and Chipolini in Saba Stadium. I will continue praying and dreaming that the “them versus us” talk stop and we all embrace one another as one family.
Let us show the world that we are not wild animals and that we can think and act like humans.