By Aida Kidane
I read the attacking articles against brother Ibrahim Gedem. To me Ibrahim is a friend and a much respected friend at that. When a respected friend is presented in the most negative way, one cannot keep quiet. I felt keeping quiet would make make me look as if I am an accomplice to those who have a negative attitude towards him.
I have known Ibrahim for more than 15 years now. He was member of our communal Eritrean "mahber" and had even volunteered to teach in some classes. For those of you who have never met him, Ibrahim is a soft spoken man with such humble behavior. He is never heard to talk loud or fast. He talks softly and with dignity. He is a hard working man and is often seen walking to his work.
Ibrahim is also a very patient man and takes time to help others in any way he can. I know this because on several occasions I used to go to him to ask questions about historical events within the ELF. Never had he lost patience with my intruding questions or our differences of thoughts. He was a member of the old ELF. And he always gave me a lot of his precious time.
In the mid 60's, he was a student and was well aware of the then surrounding political happenings. He and I have different views about the Eritrean politics but it is amazing how he can converse with me for several hours without even once raising his voice or getting angry. I would call him at any time and he took his time to explain my questions. Though he knows lots of information about Eritrean politics, he has completely refused my plea for him to write it down as a book. I hope he will rethink it.
As many fighters and supporters of the Eritrean struggle were, Ibrahim also had leftist views. I believe that he still is a member of the leftist party in Sweden. Does praying and going to the Mosque make him a fundamentalist? After his pilgrimage to Mecca I wanted to call him Haj Ibrahim. Besides, religion is private and I do not think his wife has converted to Islam
Many people I know talk about Ibrahim with great admiration. One of those people is Mr. Gebru Kifle, one great source of history…
I admire Ibrahim for speaking Tigrigna and Arabic fluently. When meetings were held by ELF officers in the 70s, Ibrahim was one of the few who needed no translation talking in Arabic and Tigrigna himself. He conducted himself as one of the masses in all ways….
Several months ago, we had a national election and Ibrahim as usual is in the electoral committee. I saw him carry a large bag full of votes to the waiting van. This shows how trusted person brother Ibrahim is even with the Swedes.
When asking him about killings or murders, he told me what he personally knew and that is one difference talking to other ELF officers who state it is too sensitive, or deny knowledge.
Assassinations below have partly influenced the fall of ELF and should be remembered. These are just a few of the many.
Bey Abe, chief of Bet Tawke former Eritrean parliament member in 1952, born 1889.
Kegnazmach Osman Abdulrahman, chief of Almada tribe.
Shum Ibrahim Shum Hamed Arey, chief of Maria Tselim tribe.
Dejazmach Hamed Ferej Hamed, former president of the Eritrean parliament. Assassinated in Akordet 1974-5.
Sayedna Fitwerari Mohammed Tahar El Hababi, revered Sheikh in Upper Barka. Assassinated in Akordet 1978.
800 Ethiopian POWs massacred at the cliff of Jemiel Mountain near Keru, Akordet of lower Barka in 1978
I saw a picture of him of the 70s where he was head of the Workers Organization of ELF, and he just smiled in his ever humble way when I told him that.
THE ERITREAN REVOLUTION magazine of April 1977