Wedi Temnewo vs. Wedi Bilata: Self-exposed system doesn’t need makeup to cover up
The members of Johar Ibrahim Sisto Group first came together when the members of the Jeberti delegation, who flew from Saudi Arabia, on a special mission of Jeberti nationality, were arrested upon their arrival at Asmara airport. To many of the Jebertis, the myth that Isayas hates them became realty when the arrest controversy became a serious political incident due to their questioning why and who had ordered the gunning down of Dr. Yassin Aberra. As a result, Isayas accused the arrestees of being enemies of his regime and other serious crimes. Isayas even denied hearing to the case of Jeberti nationality because he sensed that the Jebertis had no willingness to commit their monies and subordinate themselves to his kingdom or rule.
Because most of members of Johar Ibrahim Sisto Group were also members of ELF-RC (presently Dehnet/Inqaz/Salvation) turning to the leadership of the ELF-RC for help on the case of the arrestees was the only available option. The ELF-RC promised to follow up and brief the world on the arrestees’ situations and health conditions through its newsletters, magazines and news releases. As promised, the organization reported the arrestees’ case to the United Nation’s human rights and kept briefing the world on their case and situations until the day of their release.
The case wasn’t without collateral damage. Because the arrestees’ situation was a disappearance case for a long time, many of their family members suffered heart attacks and sudden deaths. Also, because the members of the Johar group were in Saudi Arabia, the Isayas group right away unleashed its coercive measures of denying passport renewal and other ambassadorial/consular services. Most of the members, then, had to leave Saudi Arabia to avoid being victims of coercion or being targeted for denied consular services.
One of the leaders of Johar group was an ELF Wooga’At Harinet and an expert on group organization. His big time organizational advice was on safety of the members of the group. He used to describe Isayas as a monster claiming to be Rebicoom Al’AlaA (supreme power) with long arms to reach any point. This expert used to describe Isayas’s false supremacy as to be revolving around telling the Eritrean families and its members that “if you are one I am the second; if you are two I am the third; if you are three I am the fourth; and so on.” So, this Woogu’Harinet’s advice to members of the Group was to have a strong filtering process to filter out Isayas’s infiltrators. Indeed, that advice helped the members of Johar Group to safely go underground without any trace until most of the members left Saudi Arabia.
This response paper pursues some special discussions on the nationality question of Jeberti and seeks to touch upon and respond to Wedi Temnewo and Wedi Bilata narratives in their interview contexts regarding issues related to the question of Jeberti nationality. From the standpoint of Johar Group, no one nationality is better because all of the Eritrean nationalities are oppressed and persecuted. As a matter of fact, the other Eritrean nationalities are better off in the absence of Isayas’s recognition of the Jeberti’s nationality for if he does grant his recognition to the Jebertis he will start charging yearly renewal fee targeting the Jeberti’s monies, the wealth that is a threat to his rule.
After the attending members of Johar Group discussed the question of Jeberti nationality, they tried to reduce the Jebertis difference with Isayas to just a resolvable misunderstanding. However, the members of the Group found the difference to be hatred fed by fear of Jebertis’s wealth and that adds up to other elements that Isayas uses to divide and rule the Eritreans. The Group had no agenda to issue any resolution but opted to issue a reminder to the Eritrean public as regards to their ongoing revolution. Surely, it is time to remember how the Eritreans won over the occupying forces by opinionating in unison, no matter how it seemed unreasonable initially, that “what is taken by force must be regained by force.” And now, it is time to sing the song of the ENCDC and the opposition that “what has been hijacked must be brought back and handed to the people either by will or by force.” Additionally, in pointing out at some cover ups by some individuals, this respnse paper will not elaborate in detail the repressions practiced by Isayas and will not unveil the sinister activities of his Diaspora agents.
Comparing myths to facts about the question of Jeberti Nationality
Wedi Temnewo as a walking encyclopedia with a lot of narratives of matter-of-fact on Isayas’s crimes kept telling the world how Isayas purged all those whom he deemed threats to his power. In widening and protecting his territory, Isayas is continuing to trample on some people’s rights, crush some resisting people, and eliminate some groups totally. These are everyday occurrences in Eritrea; what the Eritrean people hear/see every minute every day about sufferings of their fellow Eritreans and what they themselves experience every minute every day.
Some so-called self-exiled leaders are coming out of their shells or seclusions, like Wedi Bilata, claiming as the actual eye witnesses, and groping for words against the narratives of Wedi Temnewo but yet not a drop of fact to disqualify him as the real eye witness. Those anti-Wedi Temnewo groups are giving their counter-accounts and are openly saying that all narratives of the undocumented lives (witnesses’ accounts) about Isayas’s crimes are lies, only based and arising out of a deliberate conspiracy to tarnish or damage the name of Isayas. Wedi Bilata, if you would know, your belying the opposition amounts to renouncing the opposition and that de-associates you from the opposition like your ingrained Isayas politics or approach of resolving problems de-associates you from the ELF history.
If Wedi Temnewo is tarnishing Isayas’s name to advance the oppositions’ political gains! What is wrong with that? Isn’t that what you too, Wedi Bilata, should do as an opposition in support of the Eritrean people, who are suffering at the hands of Isayas? Otherwise, tell the whole world in simple and clear words that you are in Isayas Trojan Horse trying, under the cover of self-exiled ex-leaders; to crush or weaken the opposition and to enable Isayas continue enslaving the Eritrean people endlessly. If so, you are not self-exiled but sent out to become an opposition against the opposition.
In this endeavor, Wedi Bilata is not alone or the only infiltrator seeking to save-face Isayas. There are many Jeberti Higdef members who infiltrated the Diasporas Jeberti communities in a mission to protect Isayas’s interest under the cover that communities should be non-political organizations. These infiltrators are missing the essence of non-political organization stance. That stance gives priority to the interest of the members of the community through non-association with any governmental or non-governmental or political parties. That stance, for example, enables a community’s leadership to speak up against Isayas if Isayas is abusing power against the community’s interests and so also equally against the opposition when the opposition is neglecting to respect the community’s interest. So, the goal of the infiltrators is to strip the communities of their rights to speak up against Isayas’s abuses by having the community’s hands tied behind its back and its tongue tied not to utter a word of truth, just making it look and behave like a confused and dead inside person with no feelings towards anything.
To all anti-Wedi Temnewo groups, don’t you know by your de-tarnishing Isayas, you are not only exonerating Isayas from all wrongdoing but also portraying Isayas as fair and just as well as a great leader? Believe us; by so doing you are only dumping your good names into the sewage system of the history of spies and traitors of the Eritrean Revolution. What a shame! But what you are doing won’t stop or affect the flow of the untold stories of crimes against humanity in Eritrea.
Wedi Bilata, as anti-Wedi Temnewo lately resorted to a business of sorting people into who should get rights and who should get recognition. This ex-fighter, Wedi Bilata, as cheerleader of an abuser, an abuser against whom he didn’t even say a word as an eye witness of Isayas’s abuses of his comrades of G-15, now is coming out from his shell again to repeat the betrayal. Politically, Wedi Bilata remained mouth dry even about G-15. We don’t know as to why Wedi Bilata rushed to make the Jeberti nationality question his mouth water. In so doing, we believe, he exposed himself and he is only moments away to foam around his mouth when he reads some essential points presented by his arrestees back then at his presence.
When the people were waiting for Wedi Bilata’s narratives about matter-of-fact and not his opinion about the conditions of G-15, he chose to remain silent. We all know that Wedi Bilata was there with the G-15 before he changed side and he was there when they were sent into disappearance; yes again Wedi Bilata was there when the G-15 were picked and thrown one by one into their graves and yet he claims having soul and power to proudly come out into another betrayal in commending Isayas for his mistreatment and abuses against the Jebertis. Does Wedi Bilata know about the roles of the Jebertis in the Eritrean Revolution? We don’t think so. If he did, he would have not said what he said about the Jebertis’s rights.
For sure, trailing back the history of the Eritrean Revolution will surprise Wedi Bilata to find how heavily the Jebertis paid as the initiators of the Eritrean revolution. Again, trailing back into how Isayas had ordered the gunning down of Dr. Yassin Aberra, the advocate for Jeberti nationality, will surprise Wedi Bilata how much Isayas is involved into purging those who stand for the rights of their people. No doubt, Wedi Temnewo as a close friend of Dr. Yassin’s family knows the smallest of smallest as to what led Isayas to commit his heinous crime on Dr. Yassin. Accordingly, Wedi Bilata should be missing the full picture of what went wrong and that totally disqualifies his narratives about the Jeberti’s nationality question. That is why Wedi Balata is repeating Isayas’s words. In so doing, Wedi Bilata chose to wholly and entirely associate himself with the stand taken by Isayas against the Jebertis.
At a time when many Eritrean youths are being pulled in many directions in their struggle to make sure that their basic requirements for survival are met, Wedi Temnewo has a job to finish telling the world about the untold crimes of Isayas and that could be crucial part of the sought solution to what the youth are facing in Sinai and other places where their lives are endangered. Similarly, Wedi Bilata has a job to finish with the deliberate cover ups of the perpetrated crimes against the youth. Wedi Bilata, rather than be involved in cover ups, he better play clean politics because post-Forto the truth is coming out faster and it is readily out there. Wedi Bilata should take notice that nowadays Isayas’s secret books that were kept by his office are no more secret and therefore it is better to stop cover ups and to start airing publicly the dirty launders of Isayas.
By the way, Wedi Bilata – do you know that when Eritrea was under Derg, its Leninist-Marxist department entrusted with the studies of nationalities, reviewed the ethnic makeup of Eritrea and agreed to consider the Eritrean Jeberti as the tenth nationality? Even thought that method (Leninist-Marxist) of defining ethnic groups based on common language and shared territory is outdated by the fact of free movement under globalization, we can still prove Jeberti’s nationality because it meets the ethnogenesis theory that Wedi-Bilata referred to in support of Isayas’s unfair treatment of Jeberti.
Facts that support the question of Jeberti Nationality
Firstly, in defining the Jeberti’s and describing what differed them during the federation days from the Bihere Tigrigna was that most of the Jebertis as industrialist or business people they did not have loyalty to a small plot of land as the Bihere Tigrigna did. The loyalty to a small plot of land made the Bihere Tignrigna micro-regionalists. On the other hand, The Jebertis loyalty was to the whole nation of Eritrea, conducting business within its borders, and that was why they were more nationalists than any ethnic group in Eritrea. They were all over Eritrea, unlike the other ethnic groups and were/are known in all places as Jebertis.
Secondly, the Jebertis’ nationality is unique among the other Eritrean nationality in their mode of dress and as such they can be identified by their different way of dressing from the others. The Jebertis also differ from Bihere Tigrigna in their values, way of greeting, food and food/eating habits. In their values, the Jebertis are guided by the word “Amana” or their commitment to a balanced scale and they keep warning themselves “stay away from unbalanced scales and don’t manipulate the objects over the scale.”
Thirdly, due to foreign borrowed words, the languages of the two Biheres are also different as different as Saho and Afar are. That is why, the members of “Johar Ibrahim Sisto Group” referred to Jeberti’s Language as Al Jebertia.
Each group’s language influenced their culture in assembling, wedding, celebrating and marriage ceremonies. Moreover, ethnic groups should be defined by their spoken languages and not by what the authority wants them to be known by.
Therefore, if the Afars and Sahos speak a semi-common language but do not share a territory, yet they are allowed to constitute two different nationalities. And, if the Bilenis and Tegres share the same territory but do not speak the same language, yet they are allowed to constitute two different nationalities. Then, why Isayas is imposing on Jebertis and wants them assimilated. By the way, the melting pot in the U.S.A. is about assimilating into the nation and not assimilating an ethnic group into another ethnic group.
If we look into what made Hindi and Urdu two different languages, we will find that the two languages are the same, developed from a dialect spoken in the Delhi region and yet through time the two languages developed their difference through their incorporation of borrowed words. There are some words unique to one culture and there are times when new word-phrases get introduced into a language bring or cause a cultural shock, just as in the case of the Tigrigna phrase “Com’Dilayie” of early 1970. That single and only single word “Com’Dilayie” brought cultural divide and cultural liberalism to many Eritrean families as well as division and difference between parents and their children.
By The Ways
The first by the way is that the Leninist-Marxist theory of nationality requires the nationals to share common language and territory repeat a shared territory within a defined border. That shared territory within a defined border is solely about creating grounds for the “right to secession.” As we all know that the clause “the right to secession” within the nationality theory is the most hated thing to Isayas because someone like he did can use the clause or surprise him with another version of “Nihnan Ilamanan” to dismantle the unity of Eritreans.
The second by the way is that the Isayas’s one person party should not partially accept the theory of nationality. Either accept and practice it wholly or reject it wholly. Partial acceptance and application shows that Isayas does not have a good grasp of the theory. If he did he would not impose on the recognized nationalities of Eritrea a forced resettlement despite the fact that the decision is causing nationalities conflict and hatred.
The third by the way is that the Jebertis are all over Eritrea by their free will. Because they believe in free movement, the Jebertis adopted local globalization within Eritrea long before the world knew about the term globalization and its concept of free movement. Knowing well about the dynamics of the free movement within a nation enabled the Jebertis to be open and mingle-able with all Eritrean cultures and languages. However, the Jebertis are against forced resettlement.
The Jebertis voluntarily move to resettle elsewhere within Eritrea. But for those forced by Isayas to resettle, they are not moving with their own freewill. They are on a coerced movement and they are driven from their houses by force to be resettled elsewhere. That decision is a Eib (defective) decision and is totally unacceptable. However, if the purpose of Isayas’s resettlement is to produce Jeberti like nationalities first he has to commend and not condemn Al-Jebertia or Jebertinet.
More to the explanation of power abuses against Eritreans, in conclusion, there is this: Since the infiltrators in all communities and organizations aim at defamation, weakening and destruction of internal unity of the opposition, it is imperative that in order for the opposition to stand up together for their rights, they need to fight back together as well as they need to support each other and to express theirr solicitude for each other as victims of Isayas. So long the infiltrators are among us, we will remain weak and divided. The infiltrators are successfully keeping their infiltration into the opposition because the oppositions do not care to filter them out and to keep the opposition’s arenas safe. So also Isayas is continuing his abuses of power because the people are not confronting him together nor any one is resisting him from being the ultimate power in all Eritrean issue that he is pursuing either directly or through his infiltrators or his agents.
Johar Ibrahim Sisto Group
Zahara Ahmed, Coordinator