CALL ME BY MY NAME: Solutions with Debteraw, XXIII
Obo Arada Shawl alias Wolde Tewolde – February 13, 2008

The crocodiles are dead
The Animals are imprisoned
The Oak is still burning
Badme and Assab are in non-negotiating
EPDJ and TPLF live by your name
Let us give EPRP a break so as to stay in its true name!


A change is an essence of life. An attitude change is much needed. Practically everyday, we change our clothes, shoes, and take shower (personally I don’t) food and so on and so forth. When we were young, we think differently, when we are old, we cannot think in the old way. We should grow old and be mature. In what way, one might ask?

History and Culture are our main references for survival, stability and unity. However, as elites we do not distinguish between history (by the way there are hundreds of history types) and culture (of course there are many cultures.) Our political history is full of errors. Our cultural history is not documented. Our revolutionary history is being discarded. So how can we trust one another and understand each other? It is a tough call.

As for me, the followers of king Minliks I & II, Tewodros, Yohannes are the real hindrance to progress and understanding. These kings have done their useful work. Their history is done. It is no use to follow their ideas of holding to and transferring of power. If reference is needed for stability, take the case of Jesus the Great who ruled Ethiopia in 1704 when the stability of the country was at its peak. It was after his death that the local lords became stronger. We should all remember that we had kings and kingdoms without maps and demarcation.

The point I am trying to make is that if we want change as we did in the 1960s and 1970, then we have to abide by all rules and regulations that govern human beings. For almost fifty years, I have heard the same slogans and intrigues from our elites. Don’t we have the capacity to learn? Don’t we read maps, least directions? When I was in high school, there were some seventy countries, now there are over two hundred countries. When I used to travel from Addis Ababa to Asmara, it used to take me three weeks, now it takes a day and a half. Can’t we see this? I see in our community a lot of people (including me) carrying cell phones, for what? Is it not for communication unless we have different meanings for communication?

What is going on with our lecturers (including those who are on radio talk show) and writers? Is anybody listening to what they are lecturing or any one reading to what they are writing. I leave this for them to answer. I demand them to heed to John Adams, 1765 that wrote as “ let us dare to read, think, speak and write.”

Notwithstanding these elites, the general populace of E-countries have already the answers for the journalistic questions of what, who, where and when long time ago thanks to people like Debteraw. What the EE-peoples are asking now is the Socratic question of Why and How. Debteraw has fought and still struggling to do that by showering questions of why and how even to his captors.

Politics demand that some truths cannot be told. In hindsight our politics was a cheap piece of instant wisdom. We had operated on passion at the exclusion of intelligence. We should have done both then and do it now.

We need the intellectual firepower from our professors and PhDs to those of us who want to preserve it and pass it on. My partial inquiry is provided in the following paragraphs.

However, unlike the current American primary election that is based on personalities our own struggle is based on issues. Let us examine a group of individuals who were part and parcel of the progressive movements of Ethiopia.


BADME: Border demarcation as disturbing news by DR. YACOB H. MARIAM

ASSAB: Natural outlet to the Sea by NEGUSSAY AYELE, Ethiopian scholar

A lawyer and a Politician (YHM & NA)

The old guards of Haile Selassie I University Muhuran’s reasoning concerning the port of Assab and Eritrea is as follows: –

“Assab in the hands of Eritrea will always be a menace to peace for Ethiopia as well as for Eritrea itself. Nobody can deny that Eritrean struggle for secession from the day of its inception has enjoyed material and diplomatic support of we know who, without whose support the secessions would have been a pipe dream. It is not farfetched to think that piper may one day feel that she has to be paid, embroiling the Horn of African in the Arab-Israeli conflict. In addition, since Eritrea has absolutely no use for the Port of Assab, it may pass it over to enemies of Ethiopia, providing yet another opportunity for Assab to become a flash point for conflict. I can also not imagine that any future generation of Ethiopians will ever acquiesce to Eritrean annexation of Assab and let itself be asphyxiated. These statements should be construed as pleas for banishing war from our region. We Ethiopians want to live with our neighbors in peace and good neighborliness, particularly with Eritreans with whom we are inextricably intertwined for the better or worse- a relationship that could be developed for mutual benefit. The Eritrean and Ethiopian politicians who in my view could not see beyond the tip of their noses elected for separation of a people, which should never have been torn asunder. Though we do not know the wherever they are. Nonetheless, we cannot afford to allow ourselves to be landlocked and condemned to perpetual poverty and approbation and entrust our security to even our kin, if we can help it.

The ball is on the Eritrean court. For us Ethiopians, access to the sea and the rights of the Red Sea Afars hold the key to the bliss that may await Ethiopia and Eritrea. The Eritreans we hope will understand the emotion, sense of anxiety the loss of Assab spells among Ethiopians, and we hope they will have the foresight and the maturity to see to it that this useless piece of property for Eritrea, yet a life-line for Ethiopia, will forever be a wedge of hostility between these two sisterly African nations. There are myriad peaceful ways of incorporating Assab with Ethiopia, which are equitable, fair and just to all parties concerned. What is needed is goodwill on the largest recently landlocked country and yet the closest to sea anywhere in the world, has an access to the sea as it did for several millennia.”

“ No Ethiopian issue in recent memory has galvanized the otherwise fractious Ethiopian intellectual with such unprecedented unanimity” ( 11/26/2007)

The above two professors at the height of the Ethiopian Student Movements, were supporters of the impending Eway Revolution. In fact when the Monarchy ended its life, both individuals had joined organizations in order to promote their interests (personal or public). I believe both were seeking for political solutions between Ethiopia and Eritrea. When they could not deliver the political solution, they have resorted to the economics of transportation. What do they know about economics of transport? If they do we want them to teach us. As far as I know, Assab is not useful for transport outlet for Ethiopia. And, Badme is not a cause for disturbing demarcation.

Consider this

Badme = Bad Me ( I am no good)

Asab = As AB (I am the father)

A BA (bachelor of Arts) is adequate to understand the culture of Ethiopia and Eritrea least the condition of a village and an artificial port.

I am so sorry that such fine professors in their own fields of study have sensationalized the case of Badme and Assab. I can understand why UNMEE and MI (Melese and Isayas) sensationalize and internationalize the village and the outlet, but not when these enlightened and one time Revolutionaries. I would ask these professors to re-examine their assertion of “useless piece of property for Eritrea, yet a life-line for Ethiopia.” Talks are cheap as they say. Your one time colleague Debteraw has a solution for your concerns. It is called AAGMELAGO (see Call me by my name: a small talk with Debteraw, part I). You wrote, “ There are myriad peaceful ways of incorporating Assab with Ethiopia”. Please name one.



A call for Movement: Eliminating the twin tyrants, by Mesfin Araya, PhD

Helter Skelter, Topsy Truvy, by Hama Tuma, A Revolutionary writer

The self-less generation (middle aged guards) of Haile Sellassie I University, a.k.a. Tsinhate Muhuran’s reasoning for the ills of Ethiopia and Eritrea are described as follows:

The student movements have created revolutionaries and nationalists. As professor Endrias Eshete wrote, “ the irrationals have done their useful work, it is for the rational to carry on” I believe these so-called rational are now carrying the duty of educating the young mind of Ethiopian students, carrying out the diplomatic programs in the USA and conducting business in the name of free market in Ethiopia. It is an anomaly that those who created them are out of the country, dead or imprisoned.

Mesfin Araya, on the one hand, has written an open letter calling for the need for resolving the ensuing problems of the Horn Africa by demanding removal of the twin tyrants again without telling us why and how to do it. Definitely, there is no progress but the process has been going on since professor Mesfin played a role in Haile Sellassie I University Campus. What has happened to the Revolutionaries? Or what has happened to their idea of unity, stability and prosperity? Were there flaws in their ideology of Philosophy, Religion or Politics? Or was the methodology of struggle was wrong? Why did everyone as the professor has indicated that everyone and everybody have returned safely into his/her mother’s “womb”? Can the professor distinguish between dictatorship and tyranny?

Or alternatively, do our intellectuals know that the entire system of global economy or the digital era have created havoc in our region? I wish all the professors could come together to form a Think Tank to solve the perceived problems of Ethiopia and Eritrea or what he call the “Horn of Africa.” I wish they could call me by my name? What is my name?

My own way of explanation is simple and straight foreword in that there is a switch of role models. Robin Hood is replacing Che Guevara. Reverend Martin Luther is replacing Malcolm X. Makonnen Bishaw is replacing Tilahun Gizaw and son on and so forth.

Hama Tuma, on the other hand, in his article of Helter and Skelter, Topsy Turvy, vividly explored the questions of what, who, where and the when questions without the why and the how questions. Here is what he wrote: –

“The victims always do the dying, the killers thrive. It is not a fair world. Tell me another story please.”

I will tell you this. ELF (Equality, Liberty and Fraternity), the story of the French Revolution has been and is being copied in Toto by our organic and inorganic intellectuals.

Hama Tuma presented 38 statistical figures concerning the status of the whole world including USA.

However, in America, unlike that of France, our struggle is for Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (LLH). Without statistics, can we choose between these two concepts? As an example, take the case of Jerome Keviel who embezzled US$7.2 billion or Euro $4.9 billion for our discussion. Mr. Jerome is becoming movie hero for the whole world including perhaps for Melese). In France, they say he is “Mis a pied”. In America, we say, “you’re fired”.

Is this an aberration or what? Tell me more Mr. Hama!

Mr. Hama Tuma! Who says the world is fair? Are we not struggling to bring another story? There is no fraternity and no equality in America. There is only liberty. That is our common denominator with you guys over there in Europe.

In general people don’t vote based on issues. They vote based on judgment and character. I believe it is true with the May election in Ethiopia. Most of the candidates have poor judgment and character.

Mr. Hama continues to write, “ People with short memories have messed it all up. Yesterday’s criminal can be feted as today’s hero without a pip of an apology or a mea culpa from them. The new persists and spreads. No wonder many people are confused and mediocrity has ascended to the throne.” I agree completely on this one. Here is what should be done.

On one hand, while on the process of changing everyday we may make mistakes, if we do, in religious lexicon, we have to REPENT or say MEA CULPA and move on to a new direction or position. Being stubborn is ignorance; arrogance offends not only God but also humans.

While on the other hand, if we make mistakes in our political belief systems or strategies be it military or propaganda, we have to admit and REGRET and say sorry.

Both requests are acceptable by both the Almighty and the Mighty.

In Ethiopia or Eritrea, there are no role models. Before the Revolution, there were the apostles, prophets, evangelist, priests and teachers. After the Revolution, there were only comrades (a good name became sour). Among the civilian population, there were mostly titles, which we labeled feudal. On hindsight, they may be useful. Now, we have Doctors and professors. It is for this reason that I ask the “organic intellectuals” to be role models.

In Ethiopia, we have to remember that Debteras are the role model for social justice. EPRP’s Debteraw is a scholar and a model for both Ethiopia and Eritrea. We are not asking to memorialize Debteraw, we are asking for immortalizing him and his works. That is the task of all the progressive elements of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I am wondering if these educated veterans of the Haile Sellasie era as prudent and cautious politicians as Negusse Ayele and Mesfin Araya, as bold and blunt Revolutionaries as Hama Tuma and Yacob H. Mariam, have a common culture and understanding towards Eritreans and Ethiopians. If not, we have to look for other serious relationships in familial, personal, religious and historical phenomena, in lieu of political revolution.

Freud’s famous case studies that seek to come up with an explanation for what happened could be a starting point.

Reading the Bush Tragedy by Jacob Weisber may help us to understand our own dilemma. It is about a plane crash with a black box that can help explain what brought the White House down in flames. A black box of ours with serious relationships is in order. Laboratory and diary can be our stepping-stone for our educators and revolutionary leaders to teach and lead us.


And then there is confusion when we see DEMOCRACIA in the name of EPRP in two websites. Apparently both seems the same outwardly but inwardly, they have deep differences in unresolved issues of Eritrea. For how many years can we use the case of Eritrea and Eritreans as an issue to be resolved? Eritrea and Eritreans have not changed since Gherhi (Adam), along with Dinkinesh (Eve) the father of humanity has been created and I do not believe they will change. In fact the world is going to change into their way of life. It seems to me that some ex-EPRP leadership assumes that by using DEMOCRACIA, which was and is the mouthpiece of EPRP can become automatically the heir of EPRP. DEMOCRACIA was not and is not the mouthpiece of some individuals but the mouthpiece of all its members, associate members and supporters. It should be identified with those held incommunicado and with those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of all Ethiopians. Above all it should be under one banner and leadership.

There is something about the word “Democracies” with the letter D: D for divide, divorce, doubt, drug, and dirt. So many words with a D are on our lips as in depression, debt, debauchery, dyslexia, dementia, and dysfunction

For us Defeat and Deny are important word concepts. Let us compare and contrast the case of Ethiopia and Eritrea using the following ten criteria: –


  • Elimination of Corruption

  • Crime Reduction

  • Protection of private property

  • Reduction of Taxes

  • Enforcement of Contracts

  • Supporting the Rule of Law

  • Encouraging Savings and Investment

  • Educate their population

  • Become self-sufficient in food production

  • Stopping fight with neighbors


The above analysis may help to evaluate the current situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea. This is a choice to make for non-political individuals. Just to give them a hint, Estonia and Ireland are examples where creating it is creating not by buying but wealth.

The interest of EPRP, I believe is to challenge the governments of EPDJ of Isayas and the TPLF of Melees do not think that EPRP neither challenge the ownership of Assab nor the demarcation of Badme. It was not and should not be an issue for EPRP.

Consider these:

The Tsinhate Muhuran Akals of the Haile Sellassie I University were hoping to continue to implement the following: –

Representatives = Rs of EPRP (animals)

Senators + Ss of EPRP known as (crocodiles)


Decipher the letter B and spin the letter E and be whatever you want to be.

  • Bellette (excellence)

  • Berhanu (enlightment)

  • Beyene (justice prevails)

  • Bereket (blessing)

  • Bekele (planting seeds)

Call me by my name: what is my name?



The Long March of experience in the Eway Revolution and the bitter lesson of Badme war do not seem to sink in our head least in our soul. Have we learned to decipher the alphabet of English? If so we have just not progressing. It seems that we have not grasped the letter A and still we have not been able to decipher the letter B.

If there is no BDT (building democratic tradition), we have to BBC (building bridges for communication). Liberty is promoting virtues and excellence. Liberty is in Europe and USA and we should have it for all Ethiopians and Eritreans regardless where they live.

Let us have a common call.


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