By Fesseha Nair
Honourable Party Executive Committee,
Respected Party Legislative Committee,
With due respect to your leadership, I would like to beg you as conflicting party come to the table of negotiation with the EDA member organizations and break the stalemate for the sake of the Eritrean people. Here I would like to take a classic example of our elders:
When there is a quarrel between two tribes, the neighbours come to mediate, they used to meet at the border or in a river where three of them fetch water or graze their cattle. Sitting under the trees along the river while some of them keep their cattle the elders sit and resolve the conflicts. Here , I can remind Brother Woldessu Ammar, the River Shitel where the Hamsien, Belain and Beniamr meet in the river, whenever there is a conflict, the Belain used to mediate between the conflicting parties. I remember this when I was a boy of 8 years old keeping the calves of my father along the river. In this area of our birth place, I remember elders from Hamasien , Barka and Ashera met in Shitel and resolve the problem of bandits robbing cattles from this area. Such was the substance of their relationship that was saving the peace and stability of the people who were living together in this area. Such working relationships were established by convening conferences or “ Waala” as it is called in tigrinya.
It was this culture of working relationship that made our people live together in peace in their living areas. Remember our elders either from any part of Eritrea are good negotiators developing a common understanding of each other’s positions. In their case, it was this common understanding that led them to resolve conflicts in peace. They have been putting themselves in the shoes of the person on the other side, this does not mean you are weak but how strong and responsible you are to salvage the Eritrean people from the darkest days.
The outbreak from the conference is not the major problem that you break all contact with EDA member organizations, still there is an open chaneel of communication between the constituents of the political organizations and the civil society. Your fears, concerns and interests will be discussed at the conference openly by all the participants and be resolved. Let us assume this conference as the meeting of “Shitel”that has been practiced by our elders where they were resolving conflicts by waalas. I beg the EPDP leaders to go back to their constituents and try to persuade them that the conditions that they are putting ahead of the conference are not insoluble and can be solved at the conference and let them move towards the conference.
Do you know that ANC suspended its armed struggle in order to facilitate a move towards dialogue? What if the EPDP suspends its conflict issue with the preparatory committee and move towards the conference? It is time to put your personalities aside and discuss on the salvation of our people suffering under the dictator. The Eritrean people need the “ Shitel” mantra, “ talk to your conflict partner.” The issue you are raising is minor and should not be intractable barrier to the conference. This conference is not the last but the beginning and need to be developed both at the national and international level.
This conference is not something to compete for power positions. It is not something that one is advantaged and the other disadvantaged but is an opportunity for building working relationships.
I urge the EPDP leaders to act in our elder’s mantra and join the process of the conference with all their fears, concerns and interests to the conference and show the participants how much they are concerned with the salvation of the people.