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Fetsum: Personal appeal to Eritrean Musicians: Part II – Dedicated to our prisoner of concise Brother Bitweded Abraha!

I dedicate this work to our prisoner of concise Brother Bitweded Abraha! Reality: There may be a minute difference between the advocates of the global initiative and the localized initiative of democratizing the country through grassroots

I dedicate this work to our prisoner of concise Brother Bitweded Abraha!
Reality: There may be a minute difference between the advocates of the global initiative and the localized initiative of democratizing the country through grassroots based political strategy, but there is no doubt that Eziwin KIhalif Eyu! The ultimate priority of genuine Eritrean activists, which is the well-being of our people will resolve it at the end of the day.
The localized initiative (the older version of the grassroots movement) was indeed beautiful and may have been effectively executed in some parts of the US by the hard working Eritreans that put it to effect. The fact, however, remains that it was limited in scope that did not visualize impacting our people beyond continental or regional frame of thought. We did not in the past witness the effort’s expansion from continental to global, which is not only important but mandatory for this fight to succeed, meaning there was no known strategy in the Diaspora that entertained the collection of all committees in the world under a common umbrella that can internationally represent us all before the emergence of Prof. Araya et al’s Bottom-Up/Grassroots movement for global leadership (global initiative) currently in sync with the ideologies of Our Voice – Eritrea and Assenna Foundation in Europe, to say the least.
The emergence of the global initiative is therefore a powerful radiation or an extension of the localized initiative that can only energize the continental grassroots concept being experienced by the older school of thought in the US. There is no conflict of interest that can divide us conceptually and the two sides shall amalgamate their resources to confront the dictatorship from global perspective of the challenge.
We leave the current difference between the advocates of the global initiative and that of the localized initiative for time and benevolence to resolve, but this time our people will be fully aware of what has been going on from both sides of the fence so they can minimize the drift through constructive interference. May God help us rectify the hiccup in between that appears to stand in the way of our freedom so we can together advance to the next level of the fight as soon as possible!
‘I pray for God to give me the chance of being part of the elements that will directly eliminate the poisonous germs out of the Eritrean society’; says the extra ordinary Artist Kiros Asfaha in expressing our people’s agony under this ruthless dictatorship!
How would other musicians in contrast shy away from delivering their artistic punch without risking their lives? How can they do this without suffering the guilt of betraying their people? Freedom of speech being a fundamental democratic value and requirement for progressive music, how can they contradict the gist of Art by ignoring the truth in fear of the dictator? Weren’t  FEAR and MUSIC mutually exclusive? Do they really believe they were Artists while scared of the killers of Art for no more benefit than safely travelling to the motherland to take advantage of the poor society for a little change?
Hugh Masekela: “Yeah, when [Mandela] went to jail he made one of the greatest speeches ever. You know. ‘Freedom is a thing I stand for and I’m prepared to die for it’. And then he disappeared for 27 years. “
Is not this the story of our Mandela Tegadalai Bitweded Abraha, by unfortunate destiny? The precious revolutionary said the same words when briefly released after 6 years of unprovoked incarceration just before immediately forced back to prison for nothing other than unconditionally forgiving his offenders and planning to continue peaceful struggle for the rights of his people. They took him back because they could not handle his inner peace. The dignified freedom fighter who deserves memorial statues and maximum comfort is just one more year in hell away, Folks, to match Mandela’s very long confinement in comparatively far better condition. Brother Bitweded is heading on to become the longest African prisoner of conscience in continental history in independent Eritrea?
Marsalis: “Mandela went to prison. Musicians like Masekela and Miriam Makeba were forced into exile. But both outside and inside the country, music powered the struggle and became the soundtrack of a nation. We’re talking about the power of music that can change minds and hearts and enlighten people.
Similarly, Bitweded et al went to prison. musicians like Usman Abdulrahim and Tewelde Redda were forced into exile; Art is, however, mushrooming to unite the Eritrean people under a defined political strategy for democracy. Though the aging veterans may be tired a bit, the talented young will certainly carry the torch of freedom to Asmara. We shall construct the bridge of unity with our progressive musicians using the grassroots movement to overcome the problem at hand because “WAR DIVIDES; MUSIC CONNECTS”.
Masekela: “South Africa is probably the only country historically where music was a major catalyst for its freedom.”
I strongly disagree because so did all other societies that went through revolutions. From Cuba to Vietnam, Guinea Bissau to Mozambique, Algeria to Egypt, Ethiopia to Namibia, and Angola to Palestine; all movements heavily depended on patriotic native musicians to confront their oppressors, although most of their leaders murdered freedom in the name of it at the end of the day! One cannot ignore the role of Teddy Afro for example in artistically provoking peace between the Eritreans and Ethiopians, and Christians and Moslems; positively influencing millions of people from the region at the risk of being jailed for years.
We could not escape from this reality and our struggle for independence succeeded with unlimited contribution of our patriotic Artists andMusicians of the likes of Yemane Barya, Bereket Menghisteab, Usman Abdulrahim, Tiberih Tesfahunei, Alamin Abdulatif and Tewelde Redda, etc. We could not have made it without WediShek and Fihira et al, Senait Debessai and Dehab Fatiga et al to recall a bit, although the dictator diminished their legendary values for his petit intelligence that screwed his mind into believing of being the only person that mattered in the process by which Eritrea’s nation-hood was achieved. History says that our artists overall and musicians in particular played one of the most important roles motivating thousands of ordinary Eritreans to join the fight for independence that we eventually achieved through the selfless sacrifice of our fighters.
In my case, I could not have grown up from Ethiopian background being conscious of the Eritrean struggle for independence without our fabulous musicians of the era. I would not have left the US for MAETOT in Eritrea without the explosive and patriotic musicians of the struggle overall no matter how romantically involved I had been with the country’s struggle for independence. I cannot forget the influence of WediTukul the great, who put the icing on the cake for me to abandon my first professional job in America and join the struggle to help out in my limited capacity.
Any person with a wounded heart can suddenly become a musician to express the feel of the moment. Real emotions matter most after all in producing deeply penetrating musical articulations. Hidden talents reveal themselves in precarious situations like ours similar to how The Blues originated from sorrow and despair to eventually transcend becoming the common expression of wounded societies across the globe. A paradigm shifting disappointment can therefore induce a psychic condition for progressive music like the melancholic outcome of our independence struggle among other terrible experiences agitated me to emotionally express my depressed state of mind viamisfortune with a set of lyrics that reads;
It is not permanence fairness is the deal
Productive existence ain’t how much ego you pile
Power is okay if you don’t let it sway your mind
Over-stretching it will exchange you for your pride
          {What’s going on, why is it so hard
          To give peace a chance, I don’t understand}
Respect for every life is harmonic substance
Guarantee for comfort peaceful coexistence
But too much suffering hard times and strife
Had I had known this I wouldn’t have come to this life
{                           }
Existence is imposed you are here for a while
Legacy is a choice; wrap your life with a style
Without compassion solid spiritual ground
Ecstatic existence is illusion in your mind
I could not have written this song without contemplating President Isaias’s unfortunate misunderstanding of life; his lost opportunities to change our society under extremely favorable grounds. I couldn’t without being convinced that he was a thinker of living forever, a destructive mindset that stopped him from helping our obedient and desperate society, still having his hunger for power intact. I wrote it to express what arrogance and rigidity can do to people; how ego magnified his selfishness to the level of nullifying his legacy in the process of destroying our society without any provocation. I did it to express how power finally stole his humanness for his pride to the point he lost every piece of compassion from his inner soul into developing the tenacity rusting his comrades to death in extremely inhuman conditions and permanently devastating their helpless kids through. I wrote it to express how sad I felt involuntarily born a human being from Eritrea which I wouldn’t, had I known this was what it was all about. I did it to articulate that life is imposed and temporary that should better be invested for humanity rather than the illusive permanence in our selfish minds. The unexpected bitter experience of our society after independence served to radiate the hidden artistic talent within me whether the postulate makes sense or not.
Dear Eritrean Artists and specially our Musicians;
I believe you clearly understand what has been going on in our country since independence, obvious saying that you know we are all responsible for changing the depressing situation using our collective resources for the common cause. Our freedom has been brutally and visionlessly stolen in our eyes, our family structure intentionally vandalized and people deserting our country in extremely terrifying proportions. Ignorance and death have become the fate of our children under the morally decadent regime currently destroying people’s homes with demonic passion and without compensation. Hopelessness, filth and poverty have reigned in our dark and water-less cities and towns more than any other time in the history of our people. The society is bleeding in the deep cavity placed for the many years of anguish by the heinous internal enemies. It is silently crying, begging its musicians to tell its story through songs and plays to domestic and external audiences in this emergency situation. It badly needs its artistic resources specially the musicians to openly agitate the people and the international community for freedom, peace and justice.
Brothers and sisters;
We have heard the desperate voices of our people in the seas and deserts of the planet; the emotional implosion of our helpless daughters, sisters and mothers exposed to brutal rape in the Sinai and the Middle East. We are also hearing the tragedy of the depressed society from the young musicians of this generation that are trying to individually answer the motherland’s call for artistic warfare against the enemy. We need to unify and amplify the message internationally multiplying our potential for the sake of freedom and there is no doubt that you have the capacity to mobilize, energize and unite the Eritrean people in bringing an end to their suffering from this unique dictatorship.
Some of you could have so far been passively watching our society’s unacceptable situation hoping it would change for the better in time. Pessimism on how ridiculously the current struggle for freedom had been navigated could also have induced your deafening silence till this moment in time. But everything is clear now with no room for fear and deception. We, a portion of the society believe of today having a clear Grassroots or bottom-up strategy at hand aiming at organizing our Diaspora community for global leadership that would pave the way to democratic Eritrea behind international support. This movement is trying its best to attract as many citizens as possible only for mass-based democratic future of the country without standing on the way of all other political activities in our society. We are convinced that all opposition groups must come to a common ground through civilized encounters, free exchange of ideas and respect for each other. We are ready to accommodate different ideas and compress the scattered elements of the fight to a common political infrastructure through genuine debate and down to earth relationship, yet sticking to the grassroots ideology as the best political remedy to our people. We stand united to never ever let our society re-experience dictatorship via Top-Down strategy because we have seen its consequence from the Eritrean regime that forced itself to power with the same political philosophy. We simply cannot see another alternative to secular democracy for our society from here on trying hard to collect all Eritreans to the camp with maximum determination and humility.
But we know we cannot succeed without your intense involvement no matter how many of us engage in this opportunity, nor can Eritrean Art find a better situation to develop than the degrading situation currently being experienced by our people. Our bluesy situation is favorable for expressive art and please use it to excel your music from the bottom of the heart. Help us help our oppressed society using your talents to the best of your capacity. We modestly appeal for your cooperation to echo the voice of our voiceless society in the upcoming efforts of organizing the communities to the end of the anticipated global leadership hand in hand with all peace loving Eritreans in different parts of the world.
In closing this work, society will continue to exist until the end of time but talent withers away at the end of life. We shall then use it for our people while still alive. Our generation is responsible after all for leaving a more livable situation for the members of the next generation and we must together do the right thing for this to take place. Let us maximize productivity taking our inherent natural freedom as much as possible for the society in dire need of our attention. This is time for us to join hands and break the chain of fear and selfishness using the global grassroots movement as stepping ground for success. Please contact me at for any progressive idea you may have including lyrics that you may want to talk about that reflects the real condition of our society. We can change our situation with your support like our musicians of the era did it during the struggle against colonialism.
God bless our artists and musicians forever and long live the global initiative for genuine democracy in our country!

Review overview
  • Berhe Tensea May 1, 2016

    We must do every thing to help this noble and hero Eritrean.
    Death to the telamatn kedaatn

  • k.tewolde May 1, 2016

    It is a noble call, brother Fitsum. Let’s rise for the occasion. As for old colonial patriotic songs, Wedi Abdel Rehim did it for me ‘AB GEZANA ZELEKUM TEKEMATO SEB KIRAY’.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! May 2, 2016

    Selam brother Futsum
    So far Eritrean grass root movements gained satisfactory support in the
    last couple of years . But I think it lacks organized activists plus intellectuals leadership who have time and means to take the process
    at desired stage . If we observe the momentum , it favors Deleyti fithi
    inspiration for change .
    Recent political experience of grass root movements in USA found great
    men to name few like Obama and Senator B.Sanders to promote progressive ideology against haves and have not unbalanced social fabrics .

  • Teclay May 2, 2016

    Believing you are welcome for any genuine comment,may i add my comment?
    Your appeal is timely and good ,but you forget some basic realities:
    -You know our culture of reading is almost zero ,so how many of Bahre-Negassians do you expect to read and digest your appeal?
    -How many of our musicians do you think ,they had had an opportunity to finish high-school?
    -The musicians are part and parcel of the society ,So evaluate the standard of our society’s knowledge and self-confidence.
    Therefore your work would have been more productive had it been written as short as 10 lines in Tigrigna language.

    with all due respect .

  • Zewoldi May 2, 2016

    Dear Fisum

    Well done job; that great appeal even we need to approach also in person to conivnce them to do so
    thank you Sir

  • Dala Ksha May 2, 2016

    Again thanks festum,for reminding our Artists to do their share in our collective struggle to remove the enemies of people.

  • Genet-orginal May 3, 2016

    Dear Mr Fetsum
    A great article about our artists power to motivate us to do the right thing for our people and our beloved nation Eritrea. I believe they have the power to untangle the psychological chain in our peoples’ neck. We the Eritrean people have been silent far too long. We have been too gullible, even when the day, after our independence some of our fighters were made to disappeared no one noticed, but their immediate families. When Eritrean’s son Bitweded Abraha was ambushed for just doing the right thing. All the atrocious acts carried out against our people, under the direct order of the diabolical DIA. I wish we had an artist to tell the world what was happening, right from the beginning. However, never too late for our people to do right by our nation Eritrea and our people. Our Independence is made up of our fighter/family members bone and blood. Not by a Nutjob DIA from Tembien. The past 25 years have been pure destruction of family and a nation, only possible by the worst enemy than by a subject who was born and raised in our country. It is time for our artist to do the right thing and show us the way. It can be done.

    Dear Fetsum your work is excellent! don’t make any changes. It is up to every Eritrean to spread this message to any Eritrean who can’t read or use the web. Let us do our part to help our people, if we are real Eritrean by heart and soul. Everything has limit. Yes, even the horrific destruction of the Eritrean family will pass.
    God bless our people and our nation Eritrea!

  • Gezae May 10, 2016

    There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to ask and request. Release my dear compatriot Bitweded Abraha!!!!