Accusing the victim or victims for wrong doing and boycotting the conference hall for protest and cover up is a quintessential dirty Eritrean politics; and this time is Hussein Khalifa’s turn, of course. Remember a few years back in our short history as an Independent Nation when Isayas Afewerki walked out in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and the same thing is repeated by the leadership of ELF-RC in Addis Ababa. And this time Hussein Khalifa’s turn in Addis again!
Well. Well. Well. You know what? We, Eritreans in general and Kunama in particular, are sick and tired of these undemocratic and undiplomatic politicians in the land of democracy, the Conference Hall.
The Kunama around the globe are not surprised by the Hussein Khalifa’s walk out. But we are surprised that walking out was not from Kunama delegation to the Ethiopian summoned Conference for the presence of Idris Awate’s people, Hussein Khalifa and his group. For us Kunama Idris Awate’s evil legacy was racism, discrimination and killing of innocent Kunama. So who is Hussein Khalifa and what he did being as one of the Jebha’s leaders, and decision makers called “arcan” for the past 40 years?
To write down everything what Hussein Khelifa has done here is going to be a long list of events… mistreatment, discrimination, ethnic cleansing etc. So, let me limit my self to 3 events that I vividly remember as ex-ELF fighter for it has happened yesterday.
1. Year 1967, the nightmare at Karkasha village: where Jebha forces, burnt to the ground, half of Karkasha village, including this writer’s family house and property; beat up the inhabitants of Karkasha and labelling them as “jawasis” meaning spies. Deliberately they set fire in a house, killing all 7 members of the same family. By then Karkasha was not an Ethiopian garrison. In fact, on that fateful day, it was Jabha’s temporary “difa or trench” to ambush the Ethiopian mobile forces, on Shambako/Barentu line, to hit and run. So why did they burn the village, property and human lives? Well, just hatred, discrimination and racism.
2. The Siege of Barentu by Jebha forces, 1977/78:- The entire Gash/Setit area and the entire Kunama population were under the yoke of Jebha and Barentu under siege. Kunama, young and old were not allowed to enter Barentu. If they do, or come out of Barentu, the Jebha forces beat them up with the butt of rifles, with sticks and thorny branches. Some Kunama were severely injured. Some had infections that took months to heal. And some had died at the result of these complications etc. And the culprit of all these “ameliat, operations” was Hussein Khalifa. No wonder why he is afraid of Kunama to the point to leave the conference room area in Addis. And that’s his problem not Kunama problem.
3. The slavery of Kunama women and their children by Jebha forces, 1977-78:- Why Jebha forces did what they did, regrouping and slaving only Kunama women and children, let me repeat again, Only Kunama women and children the most vulnerable, sweetest and nicest God creatures on planet earth. I could and cannot understand till this very day why the leadership of jebha has discreminatedly slaved the Kunama women. Only criminal Jebha leaders, Ahmed Nasser, Ibrahim Toteel… Hussein Khalifa and others can answer this question. These humble creatures, anyway, were humiliated, physically, mentally and sexually abused by unscrupulous “Tegadelti” forgetting they should work for all people, to all people, with all people without any discrimination for future and better Eritrea and women were sent to Jabha’s Gulag, Alighidir for sorghum work owned by Jebha. The women worked from dawn to dusk. Their plight was appalling. Women sang songs with nostalgia remembering their husbands, mothers, relatives and their respective villages, etc. The arrogant Jebha leaders did not take in to consideration that many Kunama, including me, were fighting and dying with valour alongside Eritreans or Jebha fighters. In fact they used to call calling us “debaba al basheria” in Arabic meaning “human tank.” We Kunama in Jebha were mostly young, determined and courageous. But we were not able to liberate our sisters, mothers, from these human animals except think of them and look at them with sympathy and empathy.
Finally, Hussein Khalifa, the bearer of Idris Awate’s evil legacy and one of the criminal leaders in Jabha’s echelon himself, is afraid of Kunama. He is allergic to Kunama. And he cannot see eye to eye with Kunama. He, therefore, has to avoid Kunama by walking out of the conference hall. This is just the beginning and Kunama are here to stay… this time for good, whether Hussein Khalifa and the likes like it or not; and that is for sure.