CALL ME BY MY NAME: A small talk with Debteraw, IX

Wolde Tewolde alias Obo Arada Shawl, April 23, 2007

Why have you forsaken me?

The Military ruler of Ethiopia aka DERG used to classify its arch enemy EPRP into 4 categories, MEWAQ’REGNOTCH (in reference to the leadership); Qitr Nebse Gedayotch (in reference to MEDEGNOTCH aka EPRA); DISIPLEGNOTCH (in reference to the regular members) and JELEWOTCH (in reference to associate members). The history of EPRP cannot be complete without the full account of these categories, though.

But who knows or who is responsible for the dead, the living, and the lost and/or for those coming of age? On the one hand, to give due credit to EPLF, but mostly to the family structure of Eritrea, all are accounted for, while on the other hand, be it under the DERG or the current regime of EPRDF, few has the ability or the gut to search for the dead, the lost or the living. What a terrible dilemma we all are facing?

What about EPRP’s accountability for its members and supporters? Although I believe Debteraw is alive and well, we have to know what has happened or happening to his compatriots in the field of Struggle of ATM (referring to AAssimba: Past; Tselemt: Present; Mercato: future)? Where am I? Don’t abandon me! Call me by my name!

Two decades ago, Debteraw had sent me a message from Quara via a personal delegation advising me to return home in his own words “Home is always Home, no matter what.” On my part, I was projecting as to how to resettle Ethiopians or Eritreans in the Appalachian Mountains of America in contradiction to the government of Ethiopia which was resettling the Abyssinians into the lowlands of Ethiopia. My view was that all Amharas or Hamassiens alias known as ABYSSinans could not live in low lands. They can only live in the natural setting of room temperatures. Debteraw’s view concurs with me but it must be in Ethiopia. He is unappreciative to be neither immigrants nor emigrants. He loves the country of Gherhi (ADAM) and DInknesh (EVE). Debteraw said he will never exchange living outside Ethiopia for all Worldly WEALTH or POWER.

At the time, I was in Blacksburg, VA Tech University when he sent this important wisdom. A week ago, the world has seen what has happened in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. Personally, I have failed to resettle either an émigré Eritrean or an émigré Ethiopian. Debteraw was right again. Call me by name! What is my name?

A decade ago, I have attended a funeral service for one of the DISIPLEGNA who was gunned down while working in a parking garage. He was new to America. He was in prison during the era of the DERG. He was also against the nationalists of Tigrai and Eritrea while in Ethiopia. Incidentally, he was from SEMEN ETHIOPIA.

About five years ago, I have also attended a funeral service for one of the MEWAQREGNA who committed suicide for unknown reasons. I am told his family members were glad for his passing away. He belonged to an Ethiopian aristocratic family. It was a kind of revenge for his involvement in EPRP. Incidentally, he was from MEHAL ETHIOPIA.

Last week, I have attended a funeral service for one of the MEDEGNA (rebel group).This time it was the service for the dead who became paralyzed for 11 years. Although a large number of people attended the funeral service and his corpse was placed in an expensive Casket, there was real sadness in the community. There was nobody who was related in blood. He was by himself. His only family was EPRP community. Full Stop.

Incidentally, he was from DEBUB Ethiopia. Surprisingly, all three services were conducted in the same funeral home, in Georgia Ave, NW, Washington, DC. I wonder whether EPRP owns the Funeral Home or could it be that we Ethiopians use the same place, product or service time and again. And I am wondering myself why I keep attending these services as I am not so keen in attending burials, weddings, or meetings. One thing, I like for sure is that I want to deal with the living, especially with the underdog. Why one might ask?

Let me briefly explain. The first was gunned down by an assailant, the 2nd was suicidal and the third was paralyzed for 11 years. EPRP was and is an immense and unparalleled political party, mainly as far as doing the right thing. Nevertheless, EPRP remains largely unappreciated by Ethiopians and Eritreans. Why because many negative comments and criticism have been launched for so long. But the fact of the matter is that there are very few negative figures in the entire history of EPRP. One should not forget that EPRP is a political party. Its personalities stand on Principle as opposed to Blood or Benefit (BPB).

EPRP will be the first legitimate Political Party rested on genuine popular support of the entire Ethiopian and Eritrean populace for it has brought public politics to a country where for thousand of years, politics had been confined to the kings and the aristocrat’s court intrigues and Politburo who fight behind the back of all Ethiopians.

EPRP has a clear vision and a strong sense of purpose. It is trying to attain freedom for Ethiopia, whose people had always lived in fear of the State. EPRP has achieved both goals, at least for its members and supporters. Yet EPRP made many mistakes. Some were inevitable; some probably could have been avoided. But it took responsibility for all that its members did in its name. EPRP yearned to make Ethiopia a better place. And so nobody in his right mind would be interested in destroying the mission and the institution of EPRP.

EPRP, from the outset wanted to establish a multi party system, a representative government, an independent media, and a sound judiciary system, all of which are still missing in both Eritrea and Ethiopia. For now, two countries and one system may be the answer.  Hellewe, Hellewe, Laba Sebertani is the current cry of all Ethiopians.

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Published in: on April 28, 2007 at 7:14 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. EPRP is dead. Leave it to rest in peace.

  2. Dear Ato Tedla

    Many a time I have heard people talking about the death of the EPRP. I kept wondering why such people etch to pronounce such death wishes, and when an Ethiopian passes such comments I honestly feel ashamed to hear it. I feel embarrassed of these people for they know not the difference between a living and a dead party. “MoGNe BaYaFiR ZeMeDu YaFiR” sort of to say. While we all are kicking alive they tell us we are dead. While we still breath they wish to asphyxiate us so that we no more prevail in their sight. This has been consistent right from the birth of EPRP. With the death of one fascist another will carry on the battle cry. With the death of one system another is being born to finish us off. This has been going on. The death of a party begins with the death of the idea it stands for. When goals and mission are no more valid, when the idea it stands for no more appeals then we may say that such party is on its deathbed. Such was the case of the many parties in Ethiopia, and you know deep in your heart which parties I am referring to. If the writer of the above comment is referring to the ‘zombies of our day’ we may not have to wait 35 years to see where they will end up. Many in the past have tried to kill a member to kill a party. Some others have followed the well-trodden road of “kill the party-kill the idea”. They all have failed. For to kill a party one has to kill the idea. As long as the idea exists members are interconnected both in asynchronous (rally type) and synchronized (marathon type) manner. Does EPRP have an idea? Go and check it on its website, if you fail to find it ask its members, if you fail to find a self-professing member, then you may go and find it in the graveyard. Before you do this simple exercise, kindly save your breath and pen before you pronounce it dead.

  3. Dear Obo Arada Shawel,

    I invite you to read the following lyrics of the Irish singer, Paul Brady. The title of the number is “Dancer in the fire”. I was a young boy of 16 when I heard about the EPRP back in 1975 or around that time. Many of my age mates including me were “Jelles’’’. Most of them are dead now, and I am here to narrate their stories. I survived because “I was scared to get too near”. It is not only three years as in the lyrics but thirty five years later “the party is still eager for the game”. As the lyrics the music is just superb.

    Dancer In The Fire (Paul Brady)
    The last time I saw you
    Was the spring of ’75
    And way back then I was afraid
    to look you in the eye
    Yes even then I found it hard to
    To look you in the eye
    Come a running to me with your soul in your hand
    Like a child who knew no fear
    With such a need to be alive
    I was scared to get too near
    With such a need to be alive
    I was scared to get too near
    You burned so bright into the night
    A dancer in the fire
    I wished I had your nerve back then
    But I was scared to walk the wire
    Yes i was scared to walk the wire
    I was afraid to walk the wire
    And now it’s three years later
    You’re still eager for the game
    But your eyes can’t hide the times you tried
    To live too near too the flame
    Your eyes can’t hide the tears you cried
    When you got too near the flame.
    But to you it makes no difference
    Just how many times you fall
    For you’ve seen the freedom through the flame
    And you can’t resist the call . . .
    you’ve seen the freedom through the flame
    And you want to taste it all
    You burn so bright into the night
    A dancer in the fire
    I wish I had your nerve right now
    But I’m still scared to walk the wire
    Yes I’m still scared to walk the wire
    I’m still afraid to walk the wire
    The last time I saw you
    Was the spring of ’75
    And way back then I was afraid
    Of dancing in the fire
    And even now I can’t reach out
    To join you on the wire

    Thank you

  4. Hello! Dear EPRPs I have a great respect for you. And for sure all Ethioians know you for your sacrifices. For one or another reason you failed. Now I, as a reasonable Ethiopian, want to remind you two things:
    1. Please do not give attention to the criticsms of few. Once you are moving there are naturally criticisms here and there. You should have the moral capacity to do this.
    2. More importantly, please be part of the present political party in Ethiopia- Kinigit- today and support the Ethiopian people at least by sharing your experience to Kinigit and all Ethiopians.
    If you cannot do this, please, Iam sorry, do not cry about only past. Life is today and tomorow. Past is only little support to these.
    With great respect

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