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On Reconciliation

The last article invited few people to comment on the question of RECCONCILLATION and here is the collective input. Wedimahta: “The absence of reconciliation process right after independence has partly played a vital role to the

The last article invited few people to comment on the question of RECCONCILLATION and here is the collective input.

Wedimahta: “The absence of reconciliation process right after independence has partly played a vital role to the regimes transformation into a total brutal dictatorship. A struggle for ‘unconditional unity’ must be still based on a true national reconciliation btwn all citizens. This is because 1) the lack of a commonly agreed true story of what really happened during the time that ELF was evicted has created a widespread of suspicions as to whether their decision to leave the field(meda) was a patriotic or selfishness. (2) A deep hatred has developed … between the two blocks [ELF/EPLF] which both have been working hard to prove the other has been wrong for all the past [events]. Does all this matter to the new generation? Yes it absolutely does. A democratic future Eritrea is not going to start from zero. The families of the martyries have a greater stake and concern about the country’s history and future. Unconditional Unity for them would naturally involve in clearing the air by unclosing the truth and reconciling for the better future of the country. “

Comment: An interesting point raised by this brother is that “The absence of reconciliation process right after independence has partly played a vital role to the regimes transformation into a total brutal dictatorship”. I agree because Afwerki would have ruled with a check and balance mechanism in the system had we gone through this process. My question is on what social elements should the Eritreans reconcile today to reverse the negative effects of said ABSENCE? How does the theory of reconciliation relate the relatives of our martyrs (almost the whole population) to the issues separating ELF and EPLF veteran remnants and sympathizers of the independence struggle? If the whole people contributed to the struggle in terms of life, would not this common issue neutralize the concept of reconciliation between them based on their past history as liberation fronts? Brother, please deliver your wisdom on the questions if you may and thank you.

Hitzit :”In ours, it is not a matter of reconciliation like that of South Africa; rather it is a matter of finding the truth of who committed a crime or crimes during and after the revolution. Based on the truth, let the future justice system decide the fate of those defendants.”

Comment: Hitzit to my understanding undermines the difference between the two liberation fronts in favor of fair justice on all inclusive fishy happenstances during and after the entire history of the independence struggle (on every front that claimed to have fought for the Eritrean independence including ELF, EPLF and the current government). This is a legitimate theory but too difficult to apply in practice in my opinion. I just cannot imagine our society going through such a process that would take ages to resolve at extraordinary material and emotional cost.

Kalighe: “There is an element in our ‘revolutionary culture: asking for reconciliation is seen as a sign of weakness; if you are strong then others should join your party on terms you set for them.

That is why all merges (unity) sooner or later fail. Even within the same organization a problem between different groups leads to a conflict in which the strong swallows the weak.
The issue is not about one generation or another, it’s about lack of a culture of reconciliation and compromise. Not all those in the ELF/EPLF generation are old people, the most difficult people are the young who were indoctrinated in the fronts (“Betimhirti Sewra”). Because of years of indoctrination and highly regimented life, they are not used to tolerate differences in opinion. It will take decades for them to accept “others” as having God given rights to differ with a government or a leader. The old ‘tegadelti’ may be passing away with their history and grudges but their culture is there to remain for long time, until it’s properly tackled and removed from main stream culture for good.”

Comment: this is a good contribution brother K and thank you. HILIK, ANENET, REVENGE and IMAGE are killing the Eritreans alive. Our culture is obstinate and backward because these approaches reflect the narratives. We personalize opinion differences because of ignorance and extreme ego to the point of self destruction. Eritreans need anger management training to control their emotions. We need education and Cultural Revolution to help us adopt democratic values in many states of our psychic makeup but of course in democratic Eritrea. This brother thinks that the residue of the contradiction between the two fronts will stay behind after that generation responsible for it passes away and therefore, reconciliation is necessary in post Afwerki Eritrea for the sake of the youth’s decent future coexistence: it makes sense.


Comment: A very interesting expression on the monotonous grudges of the old generation by a young man tired of the BS! The problem is that I do not read any formula that resolves the Eritrean issue without the old from this young man.

belay nega on: “Fitsum: Reconciliation who with who? At what cost?
As far as Eritrean issue is concerned there are two antagonistic ideas between Eritrean and Ethiopian gov “TO BE OR NOT TO BE A COUNTRY”

Comment: The first two questions were good for challenge; yet the mind of Belay Nega continues to worship a creator called Ethiopia for his Eritrean identity. That mind refuses to accept its own independent existence. He needs permission from master Ethiopia to approve his identify 22 years after the country accepted the full independence of our nation. He constantly expects sympathy for no concrete reason like the boss in Asmara: he does not want to be Ethiopian because of nationalism and is afraid of being Eritrean because of insecurity. The brother’s psychic condition has created a master in ETHIOPIA that controls his Eritrean identity and a messiah in Afwerki that keeps alive his shaky confidence on the same. I am neither God nor a psychiatrist to offer a solution but I WONDER about what this brother thinks about the concept of ERITREA overall after the messiah is removed from power one way or another.


Comment: Reality says that Ethiopians are now treating Eritreans better than our government. A reason otherwise is hard to prove in front of the disastrous refugee crisis in our society with a huge number of them being assisted by the Ethiopian government. I wonder how Belay Nega feels about this postulate. Would this reality agitate the brother into deeper state of worshiping the master called ETHIOPIA?

Kuiper Belt: “The reconciliation b/n ELF and FPLF is not the timely issue; this was supposed to be done so many years ago, way before independence or right after independence. If reconciliation is going to happen, it is between the government and its victims of now. Therefore, it is going to take a big deal of courage to forgive and forget to what is happening because that is what reconciliation literally mean. Now to you Mr. Fitsum: Do you believe in reconciliation between the PFDJ and its victims of now or your reconciliation is limited to between ELF and EPLF?”

Response: Dear Kuiper; as you know the subject matter needs discussion for me to see what appears to be practical in today’s Eritrea. I had so far been a strong advocate of reconciliation between the leftovers of the two fronts responsible for the causes and effects of the Eritrean life during and after the struggle. To expect an answer for everything that happened then is of course crazy and impractical. Although there is no revolution that did not kill its members, I believe ours was excessively intense in this regard. Too many Eritrean activists were liquidated in the life cycle of the revolution overall, meaning that both fronts have killed people unjustly during the struggle while this government has been doing it as of today.

As a matter of time, the importance of reconciliation between the two fronts in our society appears to have at least partially faded away in my opinion with the priority changed towards the common struggle for freedom and democracy; and justice for the victims of the current regime. Criminalizing the current government on the merit is certainly necessary in our situation with at least the most urgent of them all being the following:

a)      Justice to the thousands of political prisoners in Eritrea.

b)      Investigation to the condition of prisoners that passed away in their cells without due trial.

c)       Working together to establish democracy and justice in our society.

d)      Bringing the criminals who are directly responsible for all this to justice with their full right to legally defend themselves in future Eritrea.


22 years after independence, Eritrea has undergone through new generations that have little connection with the liberation struggle. The only trace of the struggle today is the existence of a regime that was molded during that era and the rigid opposition forces that have a problem with unity. This regime is not the SHAEBIA that we knew but a different version of the front in incomplete form because most of the front’s leaders have been eliminated through the years. Afwerki cannot represent the old SHAEBIA but only a portion of it so to say. Neither can the remnants of ELF represent JEBHA at large because of fragmentation and other factors like:

a)      ELF and EPLF are history today that may not even have a role to play in democratizing our country. They did not do it until now and chances are they won’t do it in the future.

b)      New political leaders will emerge in Eritrea to further diminish their importance in the democratic process of the nation ahead.

c)       The contradictions between the two fronts may be irrelevant to the decent survival of our society because both fronts have died out as a function of time. But what do you do with their unavoidable RESDUE that still lingers on carry grudges in the heart? I think we need to reconcile them at some points in the go.

Kalighe: “For reconciliation to be a healing process and an effective way to come to terms with past, the generation that went through the ‘gedli’ experience, should be encouraged to look critically at their past, lead the reconciliation process jointly with the young, and pass the positive lessons learned in our recent history to the young, so that they can build on it. Building on positive experience of past generations is a good way to start nation building.

History is always present even when a generation that has produced it is already gone.
How many of those who were into politics in early fifties are still alive, very few I suppose, but the effect of their decisions is still felt now. There is no way the young generation can start a new Eritrean era from zero, practically that will not be possible, instead people should be encouraged to discuss about reconciliation process and take practical steps to that effect.”

Genet: “Hi Fetsum; Reconciliation is most of time relevant and useful in any given context: Helps to bring civility to a society. It helps for us to be fair to one another. I disagree with the views of that we don’t care about the reconciliation between ELF and EPLF/PFDJ. No matter how old/young we are, as Eritreans, we are the product of ELF and EPLF/PFDJ members. To say we are young generation, so reconciliation is not useful to us is just wrong. Anybody who is born after our independent is the offspring of ELF and EPLF/PFDJ members. Why does anybody think that reconciliation between his/her parents is not relevant? If there is a young adult (person age between 20 and 40) saying reconciliation is not relevant, then we have a problem. If a youngster (person age between age 13 and 19), then we have to do some education. Unless we want to be unfair to one another, reconciliation is very much relevant and it is a crucial conversation.”

Comment:  I think the two bright individuals above have brought a strategic and visionary idea. I agree because reconciliation can only affect us positively and therefore. it is worth experiencing it in post Afwerki Eritrea.

Review overview
  • wedimahta July 26, 2013

    Dear brother Futsum, thank you for inviting me in to reflect on the three points. Briefly: 1) The negative effects of the absence of the a political reconcilation right after independence is the internal crisis we are in now. we are socially, politically and economically in crisis. In my view, reconcilation in the present situation is dependent on one of the ff situations or both-a)the government has to wake up, accept its mistakes including the subsquent damage, assume responsibility and make a fundamental change towards rule of law and democracy (eg. the case of Berma also called myamar??)- then follow the process of truth and reconcilation which is not limited to the social element. b) A new force either from within or from outside the government circle has to emerge with a new spirite and commitment towards the recreation of a new democratic Eritrea governed by the principles of its constitution. This new force has to undertake the reconcilation process to heal the wounds. 2)The relatives of Martyries vis a vis EPLF/ELF. The high cost paid over the years of strugle for independece as well as during the wars followed independence has had a direct negative impact on the families of the martyries. These families have personal attachments to the fate of the country through their loved ones. More than anyone of us they want toknow what really happened during Gedli that led some to continue t n e strugle and others to advance their personal safty. In what circumstances and who did kill their loved one ? Above all they feel the pain of betrail when there is no peace, rule of law and progress. Unfortunatly, they have become the most victims of all the events that have been taking place in the country. who has relatively benefited from independence? And who should have felt the fruits of independece? these who decided to advace their safty and their families or families of the martyries?The answers in relation to the current development tell it all about the main issue at discussion. 3) I believe your question no.3 is an answer by itself if we put it in a non question form. If there was no ELF/EPLF there was no need for reconcilation process right after independence. I hope this gives some clarification to my previous post. keep the good work!

    • fetsum abrahamt July 26, 2013

      Dear Wedimahta
      Thank u for the answers and I am satisfied.I am glad I got into this subject by accident. Like walks forward with issues coming here and there accidentally when u open ur mind and I hope there will be more issues to be discussed in our journey to peaceful ASMARA. Please continue participating so that we can share ur wisdom. God bless, brother

      • wedimahta July 26, 2013

        It is a real pleasure and appreciated. As you have rightly said this has been an eye opening, as a new participant, and many issues are coming out of my little head, one of which I would like you to moderate, if you can, is the role that has been played by our educated intelectuals, during and after the struggle for independece, in the affairs of Eritrea in relation to how they are viewed by the rest of the population as well as the implications in forming a united force capable of gaining the general public’s trust and hope. My observation is that a bad seed has been planted and grown among the eritrean population mainly during the struggle- kab muhro a’emro, which undermined the skills of the intelectuals while at the same time benefiting from their fruits without acknowledment. In the course of time, this bad seed has developed into a kind of attitude that intelectuals are not able. Lack of such recognition is pushing aside many eritrean intelectuals from the affaires of their beloved country, at the same time, we are witnessing many less able individuals trying to fill the gap. I do credit such individuals for their passion, time and resources, however, we see them reaching to a dead end in a short journey without acheiving much. What is keeping us from having the right people performing the right work? our attitude? Please share my appreciation with brother Amanuel of Assena for his public service.

        • fetsum abrahamt July 26, 2013

          I have written probably ten articles on the intellectual freeze and do not have the energy to do it any more. please click at my pic in assenna and read my opinion so that we can discuss it at different level of conciousness. tnx

  • Salem October 31, 2013

    Thank you Fetsum for raising this important point “RECONCILATION” at this Particular time. Please hummer it more so that heaps of beautiful ideas will come out. I believe this is the only way to save our Eritrea. As you and everybody knows Afeworki has made Eritrea a one mane show without institution and constitution(My intention is not to talk about the crimes of the regime. Because they are countless and are clear for everyone). I believe these two are very crucial for smooth transition.
    Dear all we are demanding change. I am sure either way the regime will go. But we don’t know who comes next (this is more important). The only way I believe for smooth transition is through RECONCILTION. I reckon reconciliation process will give us time to know who is who, will help us to digest ideas and make choices. Dear Fetsum and all knowing history of ELF/EPLF is obviously good but let us focuse on how we should smoothly bring the change. what I would suggest is through reconciliatory process let us bring the two opposing parties to the table. let us create a forum let us talk about it loudly. Let us invite people without discrimination to talk about reconciliation. I believe this reconciliation process should start now.

    Salem From Asmara.