By Mensour Kerrar - Mar 22, 2001   
On the beginning of this year (January), I read with an assortment of mystification and reverence, an article in "Eritrea AlHaditha". The article was about the so-called  schooling in  "mother tongue" and was written by  Idris AbbaArre , an EPLF veteran. Mystification owing to the fact that the said paper was never known to be guilty of entertaining any views other  than mimicking the Boss. Also, the writer could have been a person who authored the theoretical justifications for the closure of the Islamic schools (Al MaAahid AlDiniya). The reverence was appropriate to the high resonance of the substance and the valour of the writer. He had indulged himself in the TABOOLAND, in a blatant challenge to the well known stand of "anything but Arabic" hullabaloo which is  imposed on our people since the PFDJ assumed power in Asmara. I discussed the article with some friends. They spurned it as some sort of testing the waters by PFDJ to absorb peoples` acrimony and resentment to its position from the Arabic language. It could have been written under the instructions of the PFDJ. It was knotty to ingest the argument as it was. I had some qualms.

I was waiting for the right thrust to write the promised article on the issue of language for my awate.com family and readers, when the dauntless AbbaArre came out with his well articulated and strongly substantiated second article. The second article appeared  on 2001-02-10 on the same paper and on the same issue. This time I din?t need to confer with any one. I believed the man meant business. He wrote under no instructions. He was by  himself?. I hope so! Therefore, I said: "La youfta wa Malik filmadina". I hate repeating what others have already said; he has spared me a couple of hours that I used to enjoy the company of  my children and my ever-protesting wife.

Opposition does not mean beat and reticulate whatever your opponent had said or did. The chore of opposition includes embracing, paising, giving confidence, supporting, encouraging the progress of every positive move and co-operating whenever the opponent endorses a positive move. AbbArre knows well that me and him and all Eritreans are not supposed to bow for any one but the Almighty. I wear no hats to raise but a big five-meter-long turban; therefore I stand up for him in salutation and acknowledgement.  I want him and all others to know one thing: yes, we sturdily resist the frail and iniquitous policies of the EPLF/PFDJ. However, we lever, prop up and encourage all positive changes in views, gestures, policies or actions from individuals, institutions or parties. We support positive moves wether it comes from within the EPLF/PFDJ or from its adversaries. When the EPLF/PFDJ will be for the people, all the people, then we are for the EPLF/PFDJ. When the PFDJ chooses to be from the people, all the Eritrean people without exception, then we are all for, from and to the EPLF/PFDJ.

Presumably, initiated by the two mentioned articles of AbbaArre, Mohamed Dawud Abdalla of the Amal school wrote another excellent article on the same issue (Eritrea Alhaditha, # 97, 2001-03-03). It was followed by a conference where many people from out side Asmara traveled to attend. In contrast to the pig-headed position of PFDJ leaders against the will of a large segment of our people concerning Arabic, the deliberations in the conference were a vote of no confidence targeting the EPLF/PFDJ. It was an obvious sullenness against its policies in the fields of education and language. The conference and the articles are a plus-points for Eritrea-Alhaditha in particular and Eritrean journalism in general. Keep up with the heartbeat of your people.

The Arabic language in our country is, and has always been, one of the variables of national unity and  harmony of our society. It has been the cause for participation and inclusion. It is a national issue and is not restricted to the disgraceful policies of the Ministry of Education. In this provision, it goes without saying that it is misapprehension to ignore the elephant and lance its shadow - "shaief al fiel wa tattAn fi dhullu?" I think AbbArre and the others are quite aware of the false impression of criticizing the Ministry of Education alone ignoring the central fallacy of the so-called "nine nationalities" and its consequences of unabated Habashanization of the country. The source of the controversy is the unholy Manifesto and its die-hard author's attitudes infested with prejudice and intolerance adopted by the EPLF/PFDJ. I abhor the division of our people into the unfounded discordant so-called "nine nationalities". It is heart breaking to see many pseudo-nationalists and the government insisting on investing valuable time, efforts and resources, which are vital for the economic and social reconstruction of the country, wasted on the so called "development of the ethnic mother tongue". I detest the paranoia and those who initiated it. One important  comment: All these articles and the deliberations of the conference in "Eritrea Alhaditha" is like selling water in the quarters of water sellers- "beyA almuya fi harati alsagayin". It would have been more fruitful for an exclusive public consensus if it was published in "Haddas Ertra".      

Conferences on imperative issues of national concerns are excellent and progressive step towards resolving contradictions and controversies in a peaceful and civilized manner. It is the public educating process that thwarts the society towards the edifice of a culture of democracy.  It should be applauded and encouraged. Conferences are not decision-making organs. However, through a healthy and free media and conferences, opinions are sold and bought and information and knowledge are disseminated to initiate debate that may ultimately generate public consensus that influences decision makers. I highly value and respect those who organized, initiated and participated in the mentioned gathering in Asmara. In particular I want to extend my greetings, among other participants, to Mr.- Taddese Sebhatu, Abdu Andu, Abdalla Moh. Ali, Adem Sukar,  Moh. Dawoud, Moh. Nur Ahmed, Moh. Idris, Dr. Yusuf Nabarai, Ismail Moh. Ali and last but not lease, the chairman of the conference Ahmed Omer Shiekh. All deserve our respect.

In our beloved country there is a mischief that led to the instability of the country's and long-standing tear in its social fabric. Through out history, our people quite strongly expressed Their desire for peace, social harmony and democracy. This desire is stronger than the desire of the few who want to hold on power through war-mongering, terror and intimidation. This desire and will of our proud people is a giant monster that no one can keep hostage for a long time. Our people are forgiving and loyal by their nature, but mistaken is he who capitalize in those virtues and tries to continue cheating or intimidating our people for an infinite time.

There is a difference between being loyal to a group, a party or an organization and being enslaved by it. There is a great difference between being owned and being loyal. A party or its leader does not own the members. The brain we carry is an endowment from God. It cannot be hired, leased or borrowed; it is for our exclusive use. We Eritreans ought to liberate our minds from any slave-like loyalties. Bow to no one but the Almighty. We must speak our minds out and stick to our convections and principles tenaciously. Our people will respect us for that and not for reducing ourselves (veterans, war-disabled heroes and citizens) to parroting words of intolerance and disrespect to the choices, traditions, morals and ethics of our great peoples. No one owns us; no individual must possess our souls and bodies. We are free people and  masters of ourselves. "It is better to be a head of a lizard than a tail of a lion". We must encourage the sense of freethinking. Living a day true to ourselves is much more worthy than living years worshiping an idol, a paper tiger suffering from a never ending  ELF/EPLF civil war dementia. That epoch is over; it must be over. We must not allow ourselves to be possessed by it. Shame on those who live in the comforts of hiring their names. They would never expect or deserve the respect of their people.
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