The story of the Three Oxen
By Haben Zeray
A story is told about three oxen. They are Black, White and Brown. These three friends were very close. They would play and graze the grass together the whole day and stay and watch over each other at night. These oxen were very smart. For example, when they slept at night they would form a circle. Each one of them would face different directions, and would cover any possible enemy attacks from all directions. The enemy “Hyena” was watching at these oxen, and was very surprised how they protected and covered themselves. It was impossible for him to attack and get his dinner.
The Hyena thought of a master plan. The plan is called Divide and Conquer. On one cloudy morning while the oxen were grazing the grass peacefully, the hyena approached the Black ox discretely. The hyena said, “good morning Mr. Black”. The ox was surprised the hyena could speak his language and replied “Good Morning” with excitement. The hyena began to talk to him and admired the friendship he had with the White and Brown oxen. He continued and said, “do you know that if it were not for the White ox, you and the Brown Ox are naturally protected by the darkness of night?” As I make my routine rounds at nights, I could always spot you without any effort. Do you know why? Asked the hyena. The Black Ox replied and said, “I know white is very easy to spot at night”. “Right”, said the hyena. The Hyena suggested to the Black ox and said, “why don’t you ask the White Ox to find his own sleeping quarters, alone?”. This way when the two of you are sleeping, no one can spot you.
The Black Ox thought about the advice from the hyena and decided to have a meeting with his two friends. The Black and the Brown oxen complained to the White ox, and said “because you are easy to spot at nights, you are going to make us supper for the hyenas, and get us killed”. The White Ox did not like the conspiracy and betrayal by his two “trusted” friends and replied in anger and said, “okay! I can protect myself”, and separated from them with disgust and contempt. The Black and Brown were very happy and felt safe when the White Ox left them. The next night, while the hyenas were making their routine rounds of their areas they spotted the White Ox resting all by himself at night. They started calling each other and told all the hyenas in the area that the foolish White Ox is sleeping under the tree all by himself. Many of them started laughing for joy. And they attacked and made the ox their dinner and left the scene.
The next week the deceptive hyena decided to continue his master plan. Again in his usual desecrate way, he met with the Black Ox again. He said, you know Mr. Black, when there is a full moon at night, no one can see you, but your friend Mr. Brown glows in the moon light, especially when it is full moon. The next day the Black Ox decided to complain to the Brown Ox and the Brown was offended and left him. You guessed it! The next night the hyenas were laughing for joy again, (hyenas laugh before they attack and they fight while feasting I wonder why?) and decided to attack the Brown Ox, they made him their delicious supper!
Before long, the hyenas led by their deceptive friend came to the Black Ox and began to sarcastically play and laugh with him and among themselves. The leader hyena told the Ox, “you are our dinner tonight”. The Black Ox said, “but I thought you were concerned about my protection?” The hyena replied when I first met you, I knew you were eventually going to be our dinner. The hyenas attacked and the rest is history. But as usual the hyenas could never feast without fighting among themselves. It is like laugh now and cry later!
What this small story highlights is, if you can divide and weaken then conquering is basically effortless. As you will see a few examples below, Eritreans have been weakened in every sect of the society and has made the government of Eritrea to control the people effortlessly. Now, the government can even hand out guns to every citizen in the country and they are confident that there is no organized group to use it against them. There are not organized groups to challenge the atrocities. If you want to know how they achieved this please read my previous article on this website, titled, “The Evils of Dictatorship”. When the late PM Meles Zenawi saw all the atrocities that was happening to Eritreans, he was appaled by the passiveness of the people and he asked, “whatever happened to the stamina and determination of Eritreans?”
There is a disturbing trend in Eritrea which has created a major havoc in the core fabric of the society. The Government of Eritrea led by PFDJ party with President Issayas as chairman, have a carefully crafted system that is designed to help them ensure a prolonged sustenance of power in Eritrea. This system is simply called Divide and conquer system. When you divide you basically create resentment between individuals, organizations or any organized group and disable them from doing anything constructive. If anything is to be done by an organized group it has to be under the control and supervision of the government. To ensure such system the government recruits people from all walks of life to watch for them. These spies are not necessarily on government payroll, but they could be under the guise of neighborhood watch where mothers who stay at home during the day are watching our if any out of the ordinary movements are seen. If they see anything they are instructed to report only and are prohibited to confront the issue. Do you see the “Divide”, when other citizens spy on other obviously resentment between the two groups is inevitable.
On similar note, to ensure that those groups (Muslims, Christians, merchants or any non-governmental teams) don’t regroup again they have a way of creating contradictions among them and against them. For example, it was only in 1993 that Issayas Afewerke accused our Muslim brothers and sisters as Jihadists and the 5th group (Hamushay Mesrii). Another example, would the split of the Orthodox church into two groups by deposing the Patriarch. In the Diaspora we are witnessing two Mariam’s, namely Marim PFDJ Orthodox church, and Mariam Diaspora Orthodox church. This division is the creation of the Government of Eritrea. The reason we know this is, among many, examples could be cited on those who died in Diaspora and whose wish was to be buried in Eritrea. When their bodies arrived in Eritrea many relatives and parents of the diseased were questioned what church they attended in Diaspora. And many were denied proper burial services simply because they did not attend the PFDJ Tewahido church, or they belonged to a church that is not approved by the government. Further, we also have seen what was done to many other religious groups, namely the Jehovah Witnesses, Kale Hiwot Church, Seventh Day Adventist and other Charismatic groups were prohibited the freedom to worship as church entities. We should also not forget the plight of the Kunama people. We know that the Eritrean government targeted the Kunama cultural and holy sites in order to dilute Kunama cohesion and cultural distinctness. Many families fled to Ethiopia.
Why was the government restrictive and harsh on religious groups? In my opinion, PFDJ figured out if you can destroy the core ethics and morale of individuals and if you can create a materialistic state of mind in individuals,, then it is very easy to weaken and divide people based on their economic needs. The government can control the economy but they would have a hard time controlling people’s beliefs and aspirations. Also weak morale makes you passive when you see others hurt. What have Eritreans done when they heard over 4,000 Eritreans perish in the Sinai Deseret? What did the Tewahdo church do when the other religions were being persecuted? Didn’t some of them participate? What are we doing when PFDJ repeatedly commits heinous crimes against Eritreans almost every day? PFDJ is morally bankrupt, do the people have to be? It looks like their “divide actions” worked effectively for Issayas and now he can practically do whatever he wants. I would not be surprised if in the near future Issayas orders all Eritreans to go to war without giving any reason and get thousands slaughtered. He did it a decade ago, what makes us think he can’t do it again?
Eritrea is said to have less than 5 million people and yet in this relatively small country the hostile divisions that got created by PFDJ are too many to write here. The details could be held for another time. In civilized countries diversity is seen as a strength and each diverse group come with different skills, approaches, culture, experience, creativity and political opinions. The Eritrean government led by Issayas Afwerke will work overtime to make sure every sect of the society is deemed as unacceptable, worthless and are treated as less than humans.
As I was preparing this article, I caught an article on Assenna.com by Mr Mulugheta Andu written in eloquent Tigrigna, and here is one paragraph of it. I tried to translate it to English, and I know I have killed the flavor of it, but I hope you get the idea. This example, will show you how PFDJ play their “divide and conquer” cards.
ንስሓ ህግደፍ ንሓደ መዓልቲ
ወዮ ደኣ በይኑ ዝምድር ረታዒ ነይብሉ ኮይኑ እምበር፣ እቲ ትማሊ ንስንኩላን ሓንቂቕኩም ዝበለ፣ እቲ ትማሊ በይንኽን ዘምጻክንኦ ማዕርነት የለን! ማዕርነት፣ ማዕርነት ኣይትበላ ኢሉ በልማማ ንደቀንስትዮ ዝዘለፈ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ሚኒስተራትን ጋዜጠኛታትን ብክድዓት ዝኸሰሰ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ካብ ኣስመራን ካልኦት ከተማታትን ኣኪቡ ብጂሃድ ከሲሱ ዝቐፈደ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ንኣምቸ ብዓመጽን ስርቅን ዝወንጀለ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ን1ይ ዙርያ ብሰረቕቲ ኮቦርታ ዝመሰለ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ዓዲ ገዲፎም ዝኸዱ መንእሰያት ማዳ ሃገር ዝበለ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ንነጋዶን ሃብታማትን ብስሰዐ ከሲሱ ዝዳጎነ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ንገባሮ እኽሊ ከይሸጡ ዝኣገደ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ንህዝቢ ሓምሳ ሽሕ ዘኽፈለ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ንገለ ስውኣት ተጋደልቲ ሃሱሳት ኢዮም ኔሮም ዝበለ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ንደቂ ስዉኣት ብዘይ ጠዋሪ ዘትረፈ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ንመላእ ህዝቢ “በጊዕ ክንሓርደልካ ዲኻ ደሊኻ” ኢሉ ዝገዓረ፣ እቲ ትማሊ መሬት ንሰብ ዶላር ጥራይ ኢና ቀዳምነት ንህብ ዝበለ፣ እቲ ትማሊ ልዕሊ 300 ቤት ማእሰርቲ ዝሃነጸ፣ እቲ ከም ኣመንዝራ ንሓደ መዓልቲ ዘሕድር ንስሓ ዝለመደ፣ ሎሚ ኣፍ ኣውጺኡ “ነዞም ዝምንጭቱኻ ዘለዉ ጎሓሉ ኣብቲ ባዕልኻ ዝሰራሕካዮ ቤት ማእሰርቲ ክዳጉነልካ ኢየ፣ በጃኻ ጥራይ ምሳይ ኩን” ክብለና። ሄሄሄ…ዓሻ ድየ በራኺ?
CONFESION OF PFDJ IS ONLY FOR ONE DAY
Who is he trying to fool, wasn’t he [ Issayas] who labeled the disabled veterans “spoiled”, just a while ago. It feels like yesterday, when he said, equality was not brought by you only, therefore, don’t be demanding equality scolding the women who asked for equality. How about when he accused Ministers and journalists as traitors. Wasn’t it a short time ago, when he brought various people and accused them as “Jehaad” and imprisoned them. How about accusing the “amichee” or those who immigrated from Ethiopia, as criminals and robbers. And to those who were serving the First round of Sawa, he called and accused them as stealing the blankets. He called to those youth who left the country “the evil representation” of the country. He is the one who accused merchants and richer people as selfish and proceeded to imprison them. It was just short time ago when he prohibited the farmers not sell their grains. It was just a short time ago who asked many people to pay 50,000. It was yesterday when he commented on those who sacrificed for their country as spies. It was only yesterday, when people shared their plight to him and responded by shouting, do you want us to kill sheep for you and have a feast? It was only yesterday who said, land will be given first to those who can show dollars. It was only yesterday, when he built 300 prisons. He has the audacity to confess and promise by saying, “ I am going to throw those who are exploiting you in the very prisons that you made for them. ….now wait a minute, says the author quoting a famous Tigrigna line from a book, and says, “Aasha diye Beraki”- meaning you can’t ever fool Beraki (me) again.
Those of you who hold the power and who were members of EPLF and now have joined PFDJ, you probably are elders by now. I say this to make you think about your legacy. Please understand from now on you have the duty to worry about how you want to be remembered and what kind of legacy or footmark you will be leaving on this earth. Wouldn’t you want to be remembered as someone who saw atrocities committed by your leadership and you said NO? Wouldn’t you want to include your name with those who will always be remembered as gallant warriors? Or are you going to pass as people who followed and helped implement policies that inflicted pain on your fellow Eritreans? You really want to be remembered as someone who betrayed those who you buried while struggling for independence? Who wants to be linked to the human trafficking that killed over 4,000 Eritreans in the Sinai Deseret? You want to be remembered with those who let slow torturous death of thousands of political prisoners whose crime was expression of one-self? If you don’t change your ways and join the peace and democracy movements that are protesting against this current government, you will be linked with thousands who have become homeless in all countries of the world. You will also be guilty of destroying Eritrean culture, respect and dignity. In my opinion you still have time to side with your brothers and sisters and help drive this failed liability system whose only method of government has been Divide and Rule. The hopeless are waiting for you to rescue them.