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Descendants of settlers would never tell you the whole truth. Part 1

The task of a writer is not to solve the problem, but to state the problem correctly (Anton Chekhov) note.

 As a concerned and resposible Eritrean citizen and of the world, and in order to help solve our many problems back home in Eritrea, everyday I read all important writings of fellow Eritreans and listen to all our  opposition Radios: Radio Assenna, Wegahta, Erimedrek and Radio Erena... And one day, July/08/17, I found an interesting interview by Radio Erena interviewing a fellow Eritrean called  Ghirmai Haile Atsbeha who gave some reasonable but also some shameful and distorted answers; and I decided to correct those answers or, in Anton Chekhov's language, "To state the problem correctly" and with it I decided to accompany my own comments from a storical point of view. So good reading. Good discovering. Good correcting and, perhaps, good fixing the problem altogether. The interviewer, therefore, asked  Ghirmai Haile Atsbeha to introduce himself to "Our listeners." And Ghirmai briefly introduced himself by saying that he was born at Addi-Hagherai, in the vicinity of the "famous" town of Badme (Badumma); and that he went to school there and in different cities of the provinces of then Ethiopia... like Massawa, Asmara, Axum, Shire and then Ghirmai said that he went to "Meda" to ELF in 1974. And that, to make a long story short, after the military defeat of Jebha by Shabia and by Weane Tigray, Ghirmai emigrated to Sweden where he now lives with his family; and that he is still an "eternal" Tegadelay struggling alonside of former comrades and belonging to Eritrea's Congress Party led by the former Jebha leader, Hurui Tedla Bairu. Now the interviwer, who apparently sounded a younger fellow with a very limited knowledge of ELF (Jebha) and Gash/Barka itself, asked Ghirmai this naive question: as I can hear from you, Ghirmai, in Gash/Barka there are different and strange sound names e.g Addi Hagherai, Biara, Badme, Gheza-Ghere etc. etc..How come? 

 At first Ghirmai admitted that the area was a Kunama land with Kunama names, of course; and that the"Eritreans" he meant Tigrigna speakers of Hamasien and Anseba, came  later as guasot, shepherds, to live and to graze their animals there, in Kunama land and, therefore, that was the time when the new comers gave new villages or places after their back home's names; and that is why you see, hear some strange and different names; that was the answer. However, the interviewer did not stop there; he wanted to know more. So by digging and finding this name, Addi-Abo, he asked " what's that? And Ghirmai divided Addi-Abo into two at first as a "seffi meriet" a large swathe of land extending and belonging to Eritrea and Tigray and by contradicting himself and shamefully he said this: " Iti shim, Addi-Abo, Kunama ibehal" meaning, they say that the name Addi-Abo is a Kunama name.

Comment: What a shame, Ghirmai! You are not sure, aren't you? In the beginning you said that you were born, grew up and went to school there, in Kunama land and now you don't know if Addi-Abo is a Kunama name or not? Or just a typical denial of descendants of settlers and settlers themselves?  Well, exactly from this denial and apathy of yours and settlers themselves that I have drawn the tittle of my writing: Descendants of settlers would never tell you the whole truth.

 The Russian doctor and freelance writer, Anton Chekhov, said this: "The task of a writer is to state the problem correctly." So let me state the problem correctly for you, Ghirmai, and for many others whose Kunama language is not their mother tongue.

1) Abo, a personal Kunama name.

2) Quala, a personal Kunama name.

3) Badumme, a personal Kunama name.

4) Badumma, a local, village, Kunama name.

5) Ugaro, a local, village, Kunama name...and so forth and so on

And these are distorted and meaningless settlers names, of course.

1) Badme, Awgaro, Sheshebit, Ghirme etc..etc.

These and many other names are personal and local ones; you agree, sir? Well, you better do because I am a Kunama and these are my personal and local names and I know what I am saying or writing about. Our personal and local Kunama names, moreover, are:

a) some corrupted;

b) some altered;

c) and some are eliminated altogether. And all this mess, catastrophe, according to U.N charter on Minority People's right and their land, is called "Cultural Genocide," which is a crime against humanity. And we, Kunama, will sue, pursue in due time to get our identity and pride back in court of law and the money will follow from a responsible Eritrean Government or from culprits who did this mess. And we will never again let anybody or group or Government to treat us like this in the future in our own territory, in Kunama ancestral land. I can't wait! Another very naive statement uttered by Ghirmai during the interview was this: "The area, Addi-Abo, was found and inhabited first by quasot, shepherds, then pioneers and thieves joined later."

 Comment: Hmm... you must be kidding, Ghirmai. I can only assume that, a) you don't know the history of that territory, area, at all or b) you don't want to tell the whole truth at all. So let me "state the problem, history, correctly. Briefly, I am going to take you back in history and time, that is, before European, Italian colonialism of 1890's. So we are in 1700s and 1800s, in Zemene Mesafinti, when Kunama Nation had its own territory, borders with adjacet Nations and Nationalities, language, religion, customs etc. etc...And so Tigrigna, Tigre, Bilen Nations..had their own, of course. In today's Eritrea, these Nations and Nationalities were living side by side but never together; only during the creation of Nationhood in Africa in 1900s by European Colonizers they were forged into Nation States to which we all  belong to. And on somebody's creation we shamefully or proudly said: I am an Eritrean, Sudanese, Kenyan and so on and so forth.

Thus, to say long story short, your "quasot or shepherds" Ghirmai, unless something terrible had happened to Kunama Nation, they could not enter the "uncharted Kunama territory" to live and to graze their animals at all. It's impossible. So your information you gave to your interviwer was wrong and misleading. So, again, as the renowned writer, Anton Chekhov, taught us let me "State the problem, history, correctly" for you and for many others like you.

1)   In 1850s tens of thousands of Kunama had been killed and uprooted from some parts of their territory by the regional ruler, Ras Alula Abba Negga. Ras Alula was a regional ruler of today's High Land Eritrea and messenger of Yohannes the fourth and Abyssinia which comprised of Tigray, Wollo, Beghemidir and Gojam. 

2)   Then in 1890s Italians came to today's Eritrea by colonizing and subjugating everybody, including the people with guns, that is, Alula's soldiers.

3)   Kunama had a relative peace for 50 plus years for the first time. So, arguably, the Italian conquest of Eritrea was a blessing than a curse for Kunama; however, later, Italians or rather il Duce Benito Mussolini declared the Kunama land as "La terra demaniale" by boastfully saying this motto: "Venite da me ed io vi darò una terra al sole or follow me I'll give you a land in the sun." But before bringing his white farmers in tens of thousands from Italy to squat the Kunama land, Sona (Gash), the Allied Forces WW2 swept Mussolini's Fascist Government away from Eritrea for good, fortunately.

4)   So after Italians left Eritrea in 1940s, this area, Addi-Abo, was infested with Shiftas from both sides of Eritrea and Tigray by restarting the harassment of remaining Kunama in that area and by pushing them further into interior Kunama land  in Eritrea and Tigray that Kunama call it "Shukuru." 

5)   By this time, after world war two, the first pioneers and shiftas, therefore, found the area almost empty and squatters started to squat en mass there for the first time And now you could say that your " quasot, shepherds, joined the booty, last; and so your family, Ghirmai.

 

Continues……………