LETTER FROM REERIHII. By Farah @ 13 February 2008 08:05 PM
LETTER FROM REERIHII
‘Whatever goes upon four legs or has wings is a friend.’ The second commandment in George Orwell’s Animal Farm
I am writing to you from Nusdariq triangle, sitting under the neem tree in my family’s compound. I wish to send the message in this letter with no less urgency than that Hanuniye demanded of the Shimbir when he implored it to get across his feelings to the far-off Deeqa. If you find it as a palaver or sort of, bear with me; for us still in the homeland, in perpetual anguish and agony- we find solace in talking endlessly in hush-hush dialogues or in restless monologues. Consequently, we just can’t be brief when presented with this unfamiliar occasion. I am also entrusted with the burden of telling you, all that the oppressed people in the homeland feel.
I hear a lot, here. I hear the Diaspora are angry and depressed over the killings, rape, food blockades and deprival of water to home community. I was told the literati among you discuss about the famine here, at least once a week over a dinner. Yes, over the sizzling pepper steak and vanilla Dessert- swapping gossips. I distressfully heard some of you wish to believe the palpable untruth about ‘people killed by ONLF in Dobowein, Danot, Gunagado, Garbo etc.’ I am saddened by the gullibility of you people! I wryly laugh at the supreme naivety of some of you; who would not blink an eye to mourn the death of the walking sticks of Meles’s messengers in the region.
I get mad at the inordinate fascination of you with ‘peace via submission’; as if to mock the Somali maxim ‘he who does not feel the pain of your spear would never listen to your words’. Even more, I am sickened by the perceived ambiguity of ONLF on what they are fighting for, and the flurry of speculations in the western media on its vision. Not to mention, the mockery that what has hitherto been sold as ‘The Obole massacre’ by the enemy, should have to be cleared up by Human Right Watch’s January Report - and not by the more knowledgeable ONLF!
Let me tell you what is going on here, dear all. If you heard Meles has sealed off entire zones of the region, and denied people access to buy food or sell their livestock, - you heard it right. But have you dissected why? Or you still, in your usual credulity, think it is just part of the multiple means he is fighting the freedom-fighters? No, brothers/sisters, it is an end by itself; not a means. For a colonizer, what is more efficient than to impoverish an entire people and reduce them to begging hordes-dependent on food aid-, to firmly stamp his boot on their hungry faces? What is more revelling than the callous pleasure of looking down on the mouth of the defeated, perhaps bellicosely declaring itself unconquered-but from well under the jackboot of the ‘victor’?
But again, if that was what the midget Meles hoped for, it utterly failed. It is hopeless times two! The tyrant’s calculations were based on the cruel logic that a beggar is not a chooser; and therefore it can safely be deduced that freedom, right and dignity are invariably alien to him. For all his shrewdness, Meles is a man who deals with the same cards for different games, in a Poker played by maestros.
Presumably, just because when that same strategy was played against his Tigre tribes by the Derg it nearly worked; he thought it just might work with the Somali’s as well. Unfortunately for him, what works for Hagos doesn’t necessarily work for the industrious Macallin Abdullahi. Not surprisingly, the people have coped very well; if at all, it has galvanized the struggle. But, the look in the eyes of the emaciated children and mothers in Gode ‘Hospital’- a sarcastic misnomer for empty building-drops a critical hint to the life the Tigrean demagogue wished for our people.
On the story of the ‘people killed by ONLF’, may I take the liberty of classifying the dead in Garbo, Gunagao, Dobowein and elsewhere into three? The first group were the ‘willing’ traitors-maamulka and bogus ‘clan leaders’-who sucked the blood of their brethren in exchange for the bones thrown to them by their Tigre masters. No need to name the dead-out of courtesy for their innocent children and widows (and not for them) - but if I were to write an epitaph on their graves, it would have read: Traitors-may your soul never rest in peace!
Don’t listen to the cant of the hypocrites who would call them ‘one of our own’ in consonance with the second commandment in the Animal Farm. Tell them the story of the vulture and the dove-who both subscribe to the label of friends if we follow the commandment in the fable. Yet, the vulture preys upon the dove. Tell them in poem or prose-whichever they understand- that the struggle is between ideals not individuals: freedom against oppression. It is which of the conflicting ideals you opt for, that ultimately defines whose ‘own’ you are. Not your name- Wolde-Giorgis or Adan Dheere!!
And as much as the line ‘the necessary murder’ in Auden’s poem is not to be condoned, these ones died fighting for whatever they believed in; put inelegantly, to fill their pot bellies. It is wise to have mercy on the dead, but if that were to be the case for all, then Hitler and Fircoon’s legacy should have been romanticised. So, don’t allow your decency to give way to their lies. Blow away their ‘myth of humanity’-which is selectively applied; never ever for the raped ‘Ridwans’ and compatriots whose corpses lie in the middle of Qabridahar as I am writing this letter.
The second group were hapless youth and elderly pushed from behind the edge by the ‘peasant colonisers’ who wanted to measure an unknown depth through a human pebble. To this group did my late nephew belong-his truck hit by a land mine- while carrying, forced at gun point, dozens of Tigre militias. The last group are the unfortunate products of war-the collateral damage; to whom our love and heart goes out.
On a different note, why does the human rights watch report, after nearly a year, has to clarify the confusion on the casualties in Obole? Yes, the ONLF had stated in its military communiqué, it had killed armed military in that fruitful operation. But, why did it not say, that apart from the 28 Somali’s (who were unfortunately caught up in the crossfire), and the 9 Chinese (who were recklessly daring to ignore repeated warnings) - the rest were combatants. I am glad HRW finally unravelled Meles’s lies and misinformation, but would certainly like more work from the freedom fighters and their sympathetic media in the future. It is correct that Meles’ propaganda is much akin to ‘war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength’ slogans; but the other version must to be told, anyway. Lest ‘a sluggish truth might not catch up with a sprinting falsehood’!
More vital stuff. What exactly is the ONLF fighting for? A recent report by a western journalist speculated that the front is fighting for more rights within Ethiopia, for an independent state or to join a greater Somalia. The community here in Nusdariq are unfazed by the speculations but are bothered by the haze on this issue. This is the message they wanted the ONLF to give to the press on that particular question:
‘Ladies and gentlemen- the ONLF, as a front has no right to impose any of that choice on its people. It understands that the ultimate binding decision will have to be made by free citizens in an internationally accepted referendum. What to choose is the sole prerogative of the people. The leadership of the front and the rank and file- is obligated to secure that choice to its people. Our people had been under the yoke of colonialism-a barbaric and primitive one. They have never breathed an air of freedom, and choice has never been part of their vocabulary. In this 21st century, notwithstanding all the fanfare over MDGs (millennium development goals) and the luxury of liberty, fraternity, and equality for others; for this people, life is a privilege -taken away at will by their illegitimate rulers. The ONLF is desirous to install the inalienable right of this people: choice and self-determination. For now, though, it is fighting to put tyranny and the massacre of its people to an end. It affirms its faith in and loyalty to the people and whatever they decide.’
In the likely event the pathetic question ‘why don’t you seek your rights in a peaceful manner, and stop the armed resistance’ resurfaces, - with the natural undertone of ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’- I would have added the qualifying line that is conveniently omitted from Bulwer Lytton’s famous epigraph: ‘the pen is mightier than the sword, But, only beneath the rule of men entirely great.’ Not under tiny kleptocrats like Meles! Give me a sound brake!
My dear brothers, in Maraykanka, Yurub and elsewhere- the story of Maori’s in New Zealand and the Aborigines in Australia is a textbook example of the differing fate of people under the talons of colonialism due to different approaches they took in confronting it. And although both later succumbed to British imperialism- the noble birth of what Niall Ferguson calls the ‘new empire in all but name’, i.e., the USA in his controversial book empire – the combative Maori’s have fared better in preserving their identity and land, than the docile Aborigines.
The relevance of this analogy might be, rightly, questioned; but with a closer inspection, it is not entirely misplaced. The ‘subservient’ Afars have recently woken up to the reality in what they so fondly referred to their ‘region’: the gruelling reality that the Afars account for only 45-50% of the population in their land! As if that is not enough, they are now faced with the resettlement of 100, 000 highlanders on the banks of Awash River; ostensibly to enhance food security to poor ‘farmers’ through intensive irrigation. An expert in the World Bank confided to me, that in many ways, the rebellious Somali’s are by far better off than the tame Afars. I quote him, ‘You have not yet seen the worst face of Abyssinian colonization’, he said.
I am not being xenophobic here; nor do I nurse a pathological dislike to any nation or nationality. But the fact is, a stranger in your house can only be considered ‘a guest,’ if the owner had consented to his presence! If he hadn’t, then he is an intruder and hence is not welcomed. To argue that people in the US and Europe are from all over the world and therefore it is alright for X’s to occupy the land of Y’s; is an illegitimate reasoning by way of analogy. True, all kinds of human race are in the US; but with the permission of a sovereign state. If with a bit of stretch, we liken the current situation in our homeland to the very creation of America, and treat the Abyssinian aggression as preserving ‘its empire’, much the same way the whites did to the red Indians-it will only reinforce our conviction why we have to stand up to it and stop it. Not, why we have to accept it!
I am tired and want to stop, but the community asked me to convoy pieces of advice on many fronts to the freedom fighters:
1. Militarily:- aim for the figure of 20,000;resources and logistics permitting. It is the optimal size that would transform the struggle to its second stage of freeing urban areas. Work together with other freedom loving fronts- mainly the Oromo’s. Lending your military muscle to them would yield great returns. So, don’t shy away from it. Expand the territories of ‘military engagements’ to Hararge mountains.
2. Diplomatically:-sell your agenda to all; and never tire from telling the same message to even those who don’t wish to listen. Engage the powers that be, but rely on your strength. Seldom had Sympathy shaped anybody’s policy towards a needy people.
3. Politically:-organise meetings for all the people in the region and don’t treat any subject as a taboo. Let all rise in unity-and by all we mean all that could come together. We are aware that some would go astray. We understand that there is no foolproof way to derive complete and transitive social preference-by aggregating individual aspirations. Kenneth Arrow’s impossibility theorem rules out such a thing. But, we are glad that the overwhelming majority are focused and in line.
4. Never compromise on the wish of your people. Be pragmatic- but always principled. The least you aim for has to be the south Sudan achievement. Let it be known to you that changing strategies and adapting to the dynamics of the environs is strength not a weakness.
Last, I salute all of you-my compatriots; and after the long gloomy tale, wish to give you a piece of good news. Despite the pain of hunger and horror of death, here, we all are defiantly singing in tremendous unison Arliga iyo ciidaydaa xaq iigu leh (I owe this to my land and soil). Here, we know the regime is hanging innocent children and raping women; not out of victory but from the desperation of its weakness. We understand it is the twilight of colonialism and in much the same way as a thirsty infant expects a drop from a milky breast; we see and await the dawn of freedom from the horizon. Yes, we feel it -it is near!! The young girls, the gashaantimo here, have even begun rehearsing for that day:
Hadii la helay gobanimada laxaadka leh
Hadii la helay caafimaad iyo doog
Waxa lumay oo liicay oo la waayay- waa nacabkii
Hadii la helay dadkoo wada lilaahi ah
Hadii la helay xornimo loo riyaaqay
Waxa lumay oo liicay oo la waayay- waa nacabkii
Hadii la helay kuwa ku dhaanteeyaa Hidihii
Hadii la helay kuwaan cadow u loogahayn
Waxa lumay oo liicay oo la waayay- waa nacabkii
Xaajo online http://www.xaajo.com Email: email@example.com