Open letter to Dr Abiy Ahmed 


Dear Dr Abiy,


Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate.

Proverbs 31:8


Ofcourse Asmara and the whole of Eritrea welcome you and our mothers bless your peace loving heart… that is so very Eritrean… 


Here is a list of my regrets….

Oh how I wish Bitweded Abraha was there to receive you! Your views on peace and love your determination for honest development and your straightforward approach to justice (and truth) would have resonated with all his beliefs. Not to mention any discussions regarding Assab would have been based on solid policy foundations and not temporary feel-good-factors that respond to the emotion and not the hard cold reality of the complexities on the ground. He will probably not know of your visit as I don’t think they allow communication like that to the dungeons…


I also wish Aster Yohaness was there to receive you… the woman who has come to personify everything you say about women and mothers… patriotic to core… educated and resourceful and the best mother and wife that a family could ever ask for…. She has been languishing in Karsheli (not far from the streets that are being decorated awaiting your arrival)since for over a decade! Her husband envisioned Eritreans of your vision and calibre,  taking over from his generation to build and develop the country that was realised at the cost of all the sacrifice. Alas he was devoured alive and his dreams became a wish that we Eritreans can only admire from afar as it is being realised by you and your colleagues. 


Dr Kiflu is a pastor… a fellow Mulu Wengel believer… your ‘bekurnethin atshit’ sermon could easily have been a page from his seminal book on building Eritrea’s Values and Moral Ground… infact everything you say about rooting out corruption from the ground up is in the book he published just before he was sent to prison 16 years ago… for preaching sermons very similar to your one at the Addis Stadium… I wish he was here to meet you… his analytic brain of a mathematic professor would have enthralled you!


…I am sure you know about Haile Derue… he signed the Algiers agreement that you will (I assume) be attempting to implement… prominent arbitrators used to say how much of an astute peace negotiator he was… oh how he would have fascinated you with his depth of personality and integrity. He is said to have passed away a few months ago after many years in prison and very ill for much of that time… his family including his children and wife haven’t even had the closure of burying his remains… 


Oh while in Asmara please don’t forget to pay tribute (even if you do it secretly in your heart) to Haji Musa he died few months ago after spending several months in prison for leading a protest against the interference of government in the his school that had managed to teach generations of Eritreans throughout all the changes that Asmara witnessed. You will, I am sure be driven across the streets where he, his students and their parents marched chanting ‘Praise God!’… say a prayer for them as you are driven across the city…


Finally I just want to mention… I know you probably won’t be in a position to make an appeal for any of the people above but if the opportunity arises… (in the very slim hope that an opportunity would)… please do mention Ciham Ali Abdu… she was 15 when she was arrested… she was as bright and cheerful as your own pretty girls and has spent over five years incarceration paying for the decision her dad made to leave the system and seek asylum…. It is one of the most shameful episodes of our recent history… 


Once again may God bless and keep you.

Best regards 

Selam Kidane