The following is a translation by ELFNA from the monthly EPLF journal, Vanguard. Liberation. The article included here appeared in Vanguard in late 1976.
The struggle that the oppressed people of Eritrea have been and are still waging with the method of peoples’ war is essentially directed against foreign domination. Our fathers fought to destroy the colonial domination of the Turks, Egyptians,Italians and the British. The resistance we are putting up today is to smash the colonial system of expansionist Ethiopia. Our revolution unwaveringly fights to destroy imperialist exploitation and domination. We are fighting for the unity of the various nationalities and social groups, of men and women in the struggle.
Guided by a clear proletarian ideology, our revolution is waging a decisive struggle against all those who are against the unity of the masses, against progress. Our fight is also against all forms of feudal culture and reactionary bourgeois ideology. As our revolution represents the interest of the Eritrean masses, it is waging a resolute revolutionary struggle against internal reaction and opportunism of various shades.
Despite the inevitable ups and downs that the revolution has to go through and the human sacrifices that this entails, the objective conditions inside Eritrea, the surrounding region and the rest of the world, assert that the fruits of our struggle will culminate in the victory of the oppressed people of Eritrea.
At this stage, except for a few reactionaries and traitors whose interest is linked with colonialism and imperialist exploitation, the broad masses of Eritrea-both inside and outside the country-are allying themselves with the revolution and are devoting all their resources and creativity to advance the national democratic revolution to its final phase. The active participation of the masses in our revolution is not due to emotional reasons but as a result of a conscious understanding of the necessity of waging protracted people’s war to attain liberation.
Indeed, at this time, the motive forces of our revolution conscious of their responsibilities are actively participating in the National Democratic Revolution. This is also the time in which reactionary ideology and tendencies that are against progress and unity are evaporating from the midst of our society, and are being replaced by a revolutionary and scientific ideology. The dislike for and prejudice against work and workers is gradually being uprooted. The place of labour as the only respected task of human activity and the fact that those who labour are the makers of history is being ascertained. Conscious of this and in order to achieve self-sufficiency and guarantee the victory of the revolution, our fighters and people are engaged in production, in political as well as armed struggles.
Social and political relationships based on domination and favoritism are slowly being uprooted, giving way to relations based on democracy and equality.Economic relationships founded on exploitation and theft are gradually disintegrating and are being replaced by relationships based on collective work and mutual cooperation. In short, one sees a process of dissolution of the old oppressive and exploitative society and at the same time the emergency of a new and progressive one.
This achievement is the fruit of the stubborn political, economic, social, military and ideological struggles waged by our vanguard front, the democratic forces and mass organizations. These developments correspond to the level of destruction being inflicted upon the colonial expansionists and imperialist oppressors in our country. On the whole, these basic changes have been gradually translated into action in the liberated areas and have received wide acceptance from the masses in areas still under the control of the enemy forces and those forced to stay outside the country. Thus, the Eritrean people are prepared to fundamentally transform the society, and have attained great success in building the foundations for such a transformation. It becomes clear then that with the guidance of the vanguard organization and the sacrifices of the masses, our revolution will expand in width and deepen its roots.
As stated above, the colonized Eritrean people have a long history of strong resistance to foreign domination. But why has it taken so long to attain victory? On the one hand, there were and still are strong suppressive forces and intricate treachery and conspiracy machinations of colonialist and imperialist forces with local reactionary classes. On the other hand, there was an absence of an organized vanguard that could correctly mobilize and organize the masses and guide them in struggle. This was the determining factor that caused our struggle to grope in the dark. As a result of the correct and resolute internal struggle waged by the masses and democratic forces, the EPLF was formed in 1970, bringing the period of confusion to an end Today the torch lighted by the EPLF leads the masses on the road to victory.
Learning from the revolutionary experience of the masses, its own bitter struggle and that of the world revolution, the EPLF is leading the new democratic revolution. The EPLF unites all nationalities and sexes, organizes all anti-colonial, anti-imperialist classes and social forces and struggles to raise their
political consciousness. The EPLF scientifically analyzes the internal and external, the long-term and short-term enemies of the revolution and engages in struggle with well-studied strategy and tactics. Conscious of its internationalist duty, the EPLF cements its ties and works together with the basic allies of the
revolution. Without compromising its principles and employing tactics appropriate to each particular stage, it works with temporary allies of the revolution. These are the reasons why the mass of our fighters and the people of Eritrea say that the guarantee for the victory of the revolution is the consolidation
and development of the revolutionary EPLF.
DETERIORATING SITUATION IN THE ENEMY CAMP
The Eritrean people are not shaken by the glitter of the enemy’s military hardware. The oppressed people of Eritrea do not submit to the economic pressure of the colonial regime and the imperialist monopolies nor are they to be duped by any neocolonial conspiracy. The masses are determined to reach their
goal of independence and liberation by persisting in the armed struggle.Although the enemy has a temporary material superiority, its morale has been sapped, its movement disrupted and its offensive position overtaken by the revolution. The liberation forces attack the enemy at the day and hour of their
choosing, inflicting heavy losses in men and material. Large quantities of
captured weapons and materials are put at the service of the revolution, while
items difficult to transport are destroyed on the spot.
The enemy bases are falling one after another, their economic and military
structure coming under the control of the fighters and the people. By disrupting
communications between the various camps, the fighters isolate the enemy. The
usually destructive ground forces of the enemy have become a thing of the past in
the countryside, where their movement is constantly checked. Hence, the revolutionary activities of our people’s army has forced the enemy to rely only on aerial reinforcements in attempts to save besieged areas. Despite the extensive supply of arms, money and the advice it gets from the imperialists, the colonial regime, faced with the mounting waves of people’s revolution, is nothing but a
slowly dying beast.
For all practical purposes the colonial economic structure has lost its contact
with the Eritrean countryside. The people in the countryside are engaged in production with a capacity that is adequate to satisfy their needs and that of the revolution. In the cities, in opposition to the enemies’ economic pressure and oppression, the Eritrean revolution has mobilized the workers, handicraftsmen, small merchants, etc. to sabotage the economic life of the colonial system. Thus,
in most factories, production is at a standstill, import-export activities and market
exchanges have been held back. The effect of this is that Ethiopian revenues have
been drastically cut, and the subsidiaries of imperialist monopolies have closed down. The general situation is such that with the development and consolidation of the revolution, the economic resources of Eritrea have been withdrawn from the enemy and put at the disposal and control of its oppressed people. The continuation of this trend is guaranteed by the determination and self-sacrifice of
the popular masses in the armed struggle.
The petty-bourgeois, opportunist group holding the reign of power in Ethiopia believes in the philosophy of *‘Greater Ethiopia’ and Amhara supremacy. To quench its economic, strategic and political thirst and maintain the interest of imperialist monopolies, it has vowed to continue its colonial policy and war of
aggression in Eritrea. Nevertheless, the strengthened popular resistance of the Eritrean people is not only going to shatter its colonial hold in Eritrea but it is also shaking the foundation of the exploitative system within Ethiopian society. Learning from the struggle of the oppressed peoples of Eritrea, the Ethiopian
masses are rising to struggle with great energy. Despite the Junta’s attempt to employ tactics to hide its true nature, in Ethiopia and the international arena, it has long been exposed among the Ethiopian masses and all peace loving peoples of the world. Ethiopian workers, peasants and students are engaged in various forms of struggle. The problems of lack of leadership and organization are being solved. The democratic forces within the Ethiopian military have voiced their demand for a democratic peoples government in Ethiopia, and for the right of the Eritrean people to self-determination. The different subjugated nationalities in Ethiopia have resorted to revolutionary struggle to resolve the national question.
The war of aggression in Eritrea is maintained only at the expense of and costly price paid by the toiling Ethiopian masses who are faced with a worsening state of poverty and hunger. The present condition in Ethiopia is such that economic production is low, size of imported goods decreasing, business transaction stagnant, taxes levied by the fascist government are high and unemployment rampant. This is nothing other than a complete economic ruin. It is unthinkable to bring about a healthy economic life in Ethiopia without disbanding the colonial system in Eritrea and the oppressive and exploitative structure in Ethiopia.
Although U.S. and other imperialist aid to Ethiopia will continue, it will by no means save the colonial system from its final destruction. The political consciousness, moral strength, the aspiration for freedom and the preparedness for struggle and sacrifice of the Eritrean masses outweighs the enemy’s wealth,weapons and thirst for expansion. This is why in the final analysis, defeat
becomes the sure and only harvest of colonialists and imperialists.
THE REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION IN THE WORLD
The present international situation is such that it facilitates the downfall of Ethiopian colonialism and imperialist domination, and helps the consolidation of the victory of the oppressed peoples of Eritrea. Today, we see the crushing defeats of imperialist forces and their reactionary lackeys in the hands of the
revolutionary resistance of the oppressed peoples of the world. Peoples’ revolutions in Vietnam, Laso, Cambodia, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique have already achieved victories. Similarly, the anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, anti-reaction and anti-opportunist struggles of the oppressed peoples
of Eritrea, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Western Sahara, Djibouti, Palestine, Oman, etc. are heroically advancing toward inevitable victory.
Across the world, the proletarian struggle for socialism is in the process of fulfilling its historic mission, and the just struggle to break the shackles of neocolonialism in different parts of the world is not to be underestimated. The socialist camp is strengthening its principled alliance with the oppressed peoples
of the world and supporting their struggle against colonialism and exploitation. In
such revolutionary internal and international conditions, victory belongs to the
just struggle of the Eritrean people who are sacrificing for independence,
liberation, progress and peace.
The Cuban Revolution initially supported the Eritrean Revolution prior to the rise of the pseudo Marxist Derg regime who hijacked the Ethiopian Revolution. See more Here.
Despite the fact that Cuba switched sides to back the Derg regime before Eritrea’s liberation in 1991, the Eritrean elder revolutionary generation never viewed Cuba negatively. Instead, they have sought out solidarity and friendship with the Cubans. In fact, over 300 Eritrean medical students were trained by 67 Cuban doctors. As far as bilateral relations between Eritrea and Cuba are concerned, the two countries enjoy a warm relationship..Read more 1978 EPLF CAUTIOUSLY REJECTS RUMORS OF CUBAN FIGHTING IN ERITREA.
Online version ISSN 1729-519X
Rev haban cienc méd vol.11 no.3 Havana City July-Sept. 2012
The Orotta School of Medicine in Eritrea: another achievement of the Cuban collaboration
The Orotta School of medicine in Eritrea: another achievement of the cuban solidarity
Miguel Alfonso Álvarez Fornaris I , Estela Morales Peralta II
I Master of Science. First and Second Degree Specialist in Physiology. Assistant Professor. University of Medical Sciences of Havana. Faculty of Medical Sciences “Dr. Enrique Cabrera” email@example.com
II Doctor of Medical Sciences. First and Second Degree Specialist in Clinical Genetics. Professor and Senior Researcher. University of Medical Sciences of Havana. National Center for Medical Genetics. firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction : Cuban solidarity has also manifested itself in the creation of medical schools in poor countries. One of them is Eritrea, where the Orotta School of Medicine (EMO) was created by Cuba in 2004.
Objective: to show results of the work carried out at the EMO. Material and methods : We reviewed the governing documents available in the EMO archives from its foundation until February 2012. The data obtained were analyzed according to objective criteria included in the Academic Classification of Universities. Results:
A curriculum inspired by the Cuban one of 2002 has been followed. The current enrollment is 204 males and 60 females, 93 students having completed the degree. The teaching results have been satisfactory, endorsed by two separate external exams for the first four courses, given by prestigious professors from accredited foreign universities and by WHO observers. 67 Cubans have given classes and trained Eritrean teachers, three of them PhDs in science and 15 masters, who have participated in the publication of 51 papers in indexed journals. Discussion:
Enrollment could be expanded and female enrollment increased, taking into account infrastructure, faculty, library and intranet conditions, as well as the country’s low medical coverage. The EMO must contribute to Eritrea in 2012 as many doctors as the existing ones to its foundation and although its quality is recognized and the work carried out great, it is necessary to continue improving it. Conclusions: the EMO constitutes another triumph of Cuban solidarity with the dispossessed of the world.
Keywords: medical teaching, Cuban solidarity, Eritrea.
Introduction: Cuban solidarity has also been present at the foundation of Medical Schools in poor countries like Eritrea, where the Orotta School of Medicine (OSM) was opened in 2004 with the help of Cuba . Objective: to show results of the work done in the OSM. Material and methods : the main available documents in the archives of the OSM were revised. Data were analyzed following Essential Science Indicators. Results:
the OSM follows a curriculum inspired in the Cuban one on 2002. The current registration figures are 204 males and 60 females, while 93 students have finished the career with outstanding results, certified by four external exams (EE) given by prestigious professors of two foreign accredited Universities to the first four batches, as well as by WHO observers. 67 Cuban professors have worked in the OSM both teaching undergraduate students and training Eritrean professionals, out of them three PhD and 15 Master degree holders who have published 51 papers in recognized medical journals. Discussion
: both the current registration figures and the female ratio could be broadened having into account the conditions of the staff, infrastructure, library and intranet, as well as the needs of health coverage of the country. By 2012 the OSM must supply Eritrea as many medical doctors as those available in 2004 and although the quality of the OSM graduates is recognized and outstanding work has been done, they need to be improved. Conclusions : the OSM is another achievement of the Cuban solidarity with the poor countries of the world.
Key words: medical education, Cuban solidarity, Eritrea.
From its beginnings, the Cuban Revolution upheld the principle of human solidarity. 1 Our first brigade of International Medical Collaboration was sent to Algeria on May 23, 1963. 2 From then on, the number of countries to which assistance is provided increases every day, including the medical teaching area where inaugurated several medical schools abroad, preceded by the pioneer in Aden -Yemen-, in 1975, followed by those founded in Ethiopia and Guinea. At the same time, teachers have been sent to collaborate in various Educational Institutions in other countries. 1,3
Based on an Eritrean request, in 1998 our Commander in Chief offered help to open a school, and steps were taken to make this generous gesture of brotherhood a reality; which became official with the intergovernmental agreement in 2003. 4 In that year, above who would be the first dean, Dr. Mayra Más Juan del Pino, who began to organize the work with Eritrean experts. 5
On February 16, 2004, the Orotta School of Medicine (EMO), 4-6, was inaugurated in Asmara -capital of Eritrea- in order to train basic comprehensive doctors with community projection; whose knowledge, professional skills and practices in Medicine were in tune with scientific advances and satisfied the needs demanded by the health services of this brother Third World country. 6,7 This plan begins the comprehensive training of Eritrean doctors in their own territory.
The objective of this work is to show the results of the group that has made this project possible.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The guiding documents available in the archives of the Orotta School of Medicine from its foundation until February 2012 were reviewed. These included the catalog, the records of the general secretariat, library and the person in charge of the Cuban teaching collaboration. The data obtained were analyzed according to objective criteria contained in the Academic Classification of Non-bibliometric and Bibliometric Universities, ESI (Essential Science Indicators). 8.9
Among the non-bibliometrics, the number of:
• Enrolled students.
• Graduated students in relation to those enrolled.
• Teachers with a scientific degree.
The objective bibliometric criteria analyzed were:
• Number of publications in refereed and indexed journals.
• Number of publications in high impact factor journals.
Additionally, the following criteria were included:
• Results obtained in the four external exams (EE) carried out in the period. These were:
o EE made by professors from Jezira University, Sudan, to the group or class of 2010, in October 2009.
o EE carried out by Swiss professors from the University of Geneva to students of the class of 2009, in November 2009, at the end of the internship.
o EE made in November 2010 by Sudanese professors from Jezira University to the class of 2011.
o EE given to the students of the class of 2012 in November 2011, by Sudanese professors from the University of Jezira.
All the EE carried out by Sudanese teachers were to students, who finished the fifth year, before starting the internship. The results of the 3 years were compared using the Analysis of Variance test with a significance level of 0.05.
The teacher pre-accreditation evaluation carried out by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) in July 2010 was also consulted. 10
The study curriculum of the Orotta School of Medicine is based on the current Medicine Subjects program at the Cuban Medical Universities in 2002, adapted to the conditions of Eritrea; where the patient and the community are the focal points of instruction. 7.11
Table 1 shows the number of students enrolled by courses according to gender. The courses (classes) are named, according to the year in which their academic training culminates.
To date, two graduations corresponding to the 2009 and 2010 courses have been officially carried out at EMO, in accordance with regulations in force in the Republic of Eritrea. However, the class of 2011 has concluded its academic period, whose members have one year of social service left to achieve their official status as graduates.
Table 2 shows the number of students who have completed their academic training in relation to those initially enrolled.
The academic results have been generally satisfactory and the few casualties have occurred in almost all cases for non-teaching reasons.
When the EMO was inaugurated, it had six Cuban teachers, four Eritreans and two other teachers hired by the WHO. Progressively, Eritrean professionals have received preparation by our collaborators and have been assuming teaching functions 7,10 and strengthening the faculty with their own human resources, allowing the reduction of the Cuban presence. These results have been highlighted by the local press. 12-16
Table 3 includes the professionals who have provided teaching services at the Orotta School of Medicine since its creation and its scientific degree.
Table 4 shows the number of publications made by the Institution’s teachers that have appeared in refereed and indexed journals.
Of the 17 articles included in journals with international circulation, 12 appear in journals with a high impact factor. In addition to the publications mentioned by the teachers, we also add the authorship of four titles with ISBNs and the preparation of four complementary materials in English for teaching, which have been placed in the library.
In addition to what is summarized in Table 4, in the latest issue of the Journal of Eritrean Medical Association (JEMA. Volume V, Issue 1, September 2011) of a total of 11 articles, 9 were published by physicians belonging to the first group of graduates of the School, not included in Table 4. Cuban teachers have been authors of 36 publications on the site http://www.ilustrados.com . The conditions of the library, bibliography and intranet are considered satisfactory.
Table 5 shows the results obtained in the external exams, carried out by Sudanese professors in three groups or classes, in the five main disciplines of the degree (Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Community Medicine and Gynecology). The results of the EE for the first group (2009 class) are not comparable because other criteria were used.
No significant differences were found between the 3-year results (F= 0.325, NS)
Cuban medical collaboration abroad has been possible due to the effort made especially in the area of medical teaching, taking into account that in the first years of the Revolution, Cuba was left with just over three thousand doctors and 16 professors. 1 The high scientific level of Cuban Medicine is proven by the creation of Medical Schools for the training of health professionals in Cuba and in different countries 1 with graduates of a high professional level.
Table 1 shows an important gender difference with a male predominance and relatively low enrollment figures, according to the country’s needs, which could be increased given the infrastructure improvement and composition of the faculty. 10
Eritrea is one of the poorest countries in the world, located on the Red Sea coast of the African horn that was part of Ethiopia until 1993, with an estimated population of between 3 and 5 million and a subsistence economy. 10 It is estimated that in the Republic of Eritrea, before the creation of the EMO, there were 134 doctors, all graduated outside the country, which lacked a School of Medicine. Bearing in mind that up to the present moment, 93 doctors have completed their curricular studies corresponding to the Medicine career (as can be seen in Table 2 ).); its quantity has been increased by approximately 70%. At the end of the 2011-2012 academic year, the number of doctors in this African nation should rise to more than double the number that existed before the creation of this educational institution. These doctors have Primary Care as the fundamental axis of training and the main strategy to guarantee the health of the Eritrean people. 4-7 Its quality has been certified by four EEs and one WHO evaluation 10 , and is widely recognized by the population, authorities and foreign evaluators. 12-16
The number of publications in peer-reviewed and indexed journals of international circulation, which can be seen in Table 4 , demonstrates the scientific productivity of the mostly Cuban faculty and measures the ability of the teaching community to generate new knowledge, above all, taking into account that the EMO is a recently created institution with little permanence of the foreign faculty. Papers published in journals with a high impact factor are a sample of the knowledge generated among academic circles considered to be the most rigorous, and demonstrate the quality of the research, the results of which are published. However, a group of teachers still sends their work to non-refereed sites such as http://www.ilustrados.com. This evidently compromises the result of his own scientific effort, 17 a trend that shows a sustained and favorable decrease in recent years.
The results of the EE have been better and more stable in successive courses, without significant differences between them, which speaks in favor of the homogeneity of the students.
These results and the pre-professional and professional practices show the high quality of teaching, taught in English, which is not the mother tongue of Cuban teachers. This represents an additional effort and demonstrates the quality of the faculty. 12-16
From the internal and external evaluations as well as from the analysis of the documents 6,10 some recommendations emerge that show the need to:
-Continue increasing the objectivity of the teaching process and education at work, as well as evaluations.
-Continue to improve the infrastructure, which has been largely achieved with the move to a new facility, between May and August 2011.
-Regularize the process of categorization and promotion of teaching categories of the Eritrean faculty.
-Renew the study curriculum .
-Change the administrative structure to one that is in accordance with current regulations, the needs and possibilities of the country.
-Strengthen the structure and operation of teaching departments.
-Continue the process of institutionalization of the school.
– Make better use of the training capacity offered by Cuban teachers.
The EMO, founded by Cuban solidarity, has been established as a School of Medicine of recognized prestige, expressed by the quantity and quality of the graduates, as well as its faculty with high scientific productivity. This school constitutes another triumph of Cuban solidarity, helping the dispossessed of the world and must continue to improve its operation that allows it to maintain and exceed its results.
1. Marimon Torres N, Martinez Cruz IE. Evolution of the Cuban medical collaboration in 100 years of the Ministry of Public Health. Cuban Journal of Public Health. 2010; 36 (3) Online version ISSN 0864-3466.
2. MINREX. Cooperation of Cuba in the world. Document of the Vice Ministry of International Cooperation, MINREX, Havana, Cuba: January 15, 2009.
3. Rosell Puig W. Memories of that first trip [Internet site]. [cited 21 Jul 2005]. Available at: http://bvs.sld.cu/revistas/his/cua_88/cua0288.htm
4. Gebrehiwet M. Establishment of the Orotta School of Medicine: A vision at work. In: Orotta School of Medicine. First Commencement. Asmara: MBY Printing Press; Dec 5, 2009.
5. OSM characterization. Report requested by the MINSAP Postgraduate and International Relations Department. December 27, 2005.
6. Self Assessment Report for Orotta Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine; June 2009.
7. Orotta School of Medicine: School Catalog 2004/05, Sabur Printing Services. Asmara. Eritrea: 2004.
8. Essential Science Indicators (ESI). February. 2012. URL available at: http://ranking.heeact.edu.tw/en-us/2010/TOP/100
9. Hirsch JE: An index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. Proc Natl Acad Sci US A. 2005; 102(46):16569-72.
10. Chisi JE. Technical assistance for Regional Accreditation of the Orotta School of Medicine, Asmara, Eritrea. WHO Accreditation/WFME process. World Health Organization; July 2010.
11. Program of Medicine Subjects. Havana: Editorial Pueblo and Education; 1991.
12. Foreign experts laud the competence of students of Orotta School of Medicine [Editorial]. Eritrean Profile. Saturday, October 17, 2009. Page 1.
13. Issak T. First batch home grown doctors. Eritrean Profile. Wednesday, December 9, 2009. Pages 1, 3 and 4.
14. Major events in 2009: graduation of the first batch of Orotta School of Medicine [Editorial]. Eritrean Profile. Saturday, 2nd of January, 2010. Page 8.
15. Futsumbrham A. Orotta School of Medicine on its second commencement. Eritrean Profile. Saturday, December 10, 2011. Pages 2-3.
16. Gebrehiwet, K. The pursuit toward success bearing fruit. Eritrean Profile. Wednesday, January 4, 2012. Page 7.
17. Dorta Contreras AJ. In defense of our scientific production. ACIMED [Internet magazine]. 2006 Jun [cited 2012 Feb 29]; 14(3): Available at: http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1024-94352006000300015&lng=es
Received: April 26, 2012.
Approved: May 20, 2012.
Although the WashingtonPost has a long track record of demonizing the Eritrean state in its articles, this piece below points out the EPLF’s caution when it comes to taking a hardline stance and aggressive condemnation against Cuba, despite feeling of betrayal in supporting the pseudo Marxist Derg regime over the years.
April 9, 1978
Eritrean nationalists, now in their 17th year of fighting for
independence from Ethiopia(Eritrea Did Not Gain Independence From Ethiopia) are amused and embittered by the West’s sudden interest in what has long been Africa’s forgotten war. Recent American and British denunciations of possible Cuban and Soviet military intervention in Eritrea on the side of Ethiopian government forces have not sparked any illusions among the nationalists about the chances of the West coming to their aid.Their long struggle has taught them that Eritrean Nationalists have no strong friends – only changing and powerful enemies.Their attitude is illustrated by their own cautious reading of the present Cuban role in Eritrea, where White House officials last week charged the Cubans were already actively involved in the fighting.“We have no hard facts that the Cubans are involved in any front-line combat role,” said a spokesman for the Eritrean Liberation Front. His counterpart in the Marxist-oriented Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front said: “The Cubans are not yet fighting, according to our information, but they are not in (the capital of) Asmara to play football.”
“The whole world is against Eritrea,” the EPLF spokesman added, “but let the Cubans and Russians come and fight for Eritrea for it will be their Vietnam.”Such pronouncements are not just bravado.They reflect a healthy suspicion of superpower behavior befitting a people numbering no more than three million men women and children who feel they have been cheated out of their legitimate national rights by foreign connivence. Eritrean nationalists long ago realized that their fight to create a new nation with 600 miles of strategic coastline along the narrow entrance of the Red Sea inevitably would become caught up in superpower politics. But Eritreans concede that this latest betrayal, by Cuba and the Soviet Union, really hurts. Many of the Eritrean nationalists consider themselves Marxists. Eritrean guerrillas were trained in Cuba in 1969 and 1970. Also high on the Eritreans’ black list are Britain and the United States. Britain is blamed for having maneuvered Eritrea into a federation with Ethiopia in 1952 at the end of a United Nations mandate over the former Italian colony. The United States not only is held guilty in Eritrean eyes of having favored federation, but also of having gone along with the outright Ethiopian annexation 10 years later. The prize for the United States was Kagnew Station, a highly sophisticated communications based in Asmara which only in recent years became obsolete. Nor have the Eritreans and had happier experiences with fellow Africans.Despite nearly two decades of efforts, the Eritreans have failed to persuade Black Africans that they have a case. They argue that Eritrea is still a United Nations responsibility since it was brought about by a United Nations vote. They also argue that Ethiopia – in annexing Eritrea – betrayed its United Nation mandate. The Black Africans simply do not want to know the details. Many are suspicious of the aid that Syrian, Iraq, Saudi, Arabia, Sudan and other Arabs have provided the Eritreans.Almost all Africa fear that backing Eritrean claims to independence would throw open to challenge their own vulnerable and often arbitrary frontiers inherited from now departed colonial masters.Even the Sudan, whose president Gaafer Nimeri once called for Eritrean independence, by mid-1977 was pushing a more prudent scheme for autonomy. Sudanese efforts to mediate between the Eritreans and Ethiopians have failed so far to bear fruit amid suspicions that the Soviets oppose any
rapprochement. The Eritrean leaders demand total independence, contending that to ask anything less now would be political suicide. The Ethiopians still profess to offer regional autonomy, but analysts here are convinced that Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military regime would
prefer to crush the Eritreans if it can enlist Soviet and Cuban support for such a major undertaking.
At this point, Sudanese and foreign analysts here are working on the assumption that the Cubans and Soviets will intervene. A mid-March editorial in Pravda provided the ideological and political underpining.
Analysts are convinced, however, that military intervention could well pose a serious problem for the Kremlin Given the guerrillas a knowledge of the terrain, much of which is mountainous and ill-suited for armor, any plan designed to crush the nationalists who now occupy some 90 percent of the territory would have to be a brutal and destructive undertaking.Such is believed to be the keenest desire of Col. Mengistu, who has just returned from a visit to Moscow.But the Soviets could well prefer a less extensive operation involving opening up the road from the Red Sea port of Massawa to Asmara, and
possibly south to the border of Ethiopia proper.Even that limited an operation could prove difficult. On the road from Massawa to Asmara alone, there are more than 50 miles of mountains
where the guerrillas are well enconsed.Moreover, opening up that road would be of more political than military importance.The guerrillas never managed to shout down traffic from Assab, the other Eritrean Red Sea port, and now the railroad from Djibouti to Addis Ababa is no longer cut by the Somalis.But although the Ethiopians and their foreign backers are credited with being able to recapture most, if not all, the major towns and cities now under Eritrean guerrilla control, some analysts believe Soviet interests would be best served by a stalemate.A minor victory or series of victories would still leave Ethiopia dependent on continued Soviet aid and allow Moscow’s influence to grow.The Soviets are also believed to still be intrigued by a plan to federate Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. This scheme to further Soviet influence was first unveiled in the spring of 1976 by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro during a visit to the Horn of Africa. Military analysts also wonder about the timing of any anti-guerrilla offensive. The rainy season in much of Eritria begins in late May and continues until late October.
Some specialists feel the Soviets were surprised at the rapid success of their campaign to expel Somali forces from the Ogaden, and still need considerable time to work out plans for Eritrea.
A mid-March Ethiopian effort to push South from Asmara was stopped by the guerrillas, who claimed they killed as many as 1,500 Ethiopians,destroying six tanks and damaging three others.
Some analysts believe the Russians used the operation as a yardstick to judge how many Cuban troops might be required for an Eritrean campaign. Reports on the number of Cubans in Asmara vary. The White House says between 200 and 300, the EPLF said more than a month ago that 2,000 were there, and a high Sudanese official suggests that “more than a thousand” were airlifted in over the past three weeks.
Some intelligence sources maintain that Cubans are now flying reconnaissance flights from Asmara. Ethiopian bombing of Eritrean positions has also become so much accurate that some sources wonder if the pilots are Ethiopian. But the number already in action is less important than the knowledge that there are, according to U.S. estimates, as many as 17,000 Cubans in Ethiopia who could be easily airlifted into Asmara. Arrayed against the Ethiopians and their allies are perhaps as many as 25,000 EPLF guerrillas, 15,000 to 18,000 ELF fighters and 2,000 soldiers from a third, largely discredited group.
The nationalists say they do not need arms or ammunition. They have both from the Ethiopians over the years, especially thanks to an impressive string of victories last summer.What they claim to need is food, blankets, and medicine for the 110,000 Eritrean refugees in the Sudan and the many more in Eritrea.
“Why does the West neglect these people? What is happening to the democracies, the Red Cross, the church groups,” a nationalist spokesman asked. “What are they waiting for? If it continues like this, it will be your world that collapses, not ours.”
The last few years the term “ethnic federalism” has been used by opponents of the Washington-backed TPLF to describe the state structure of the last 30 years in Ethiopia when they were in power. In the same manner, they have ultimately attributed the present state of conflicts and power struggles to “ethnic federalism.” There are key ideological motivations and reasoning behind such an incorrect historic interpretation and framing. These can be traced to the political and intellectual class of the Abyssinian camp hailing from the Amhara region, as well as a few sympathetic hyper visible online personalities in the Eritrean community.
“Ethnic Federalism” is a pejorative slur employed by Abyssinians to discredit the historic developments of the National Question and its ideological foundation in Ethiopia. Furthermore, by presenting the issue as simply a matter of stereotyped African “tribal” infighting and ethnic conflict, the term itself minimizes the grievances of historically oppressed nationalities advocating for it, whereas it is actually about self-determination and political and cultural autonomy.
It is true that the Abyssinian camp from Amhara region want to dismantle the current system, which is not fully implementing multinational federalism, but it must be noted that their Abyssinian power rival from Tigray region, led by the TPLF, exploited the National Question and self-determination to put in place federalism on paper without addressing the historical imbalance and configuration.
The correct term and framing is multi-national federalism and must be viewed soberly through the National Question. This must be done by developing a proper transnational federal structure to instill trust in the oppressed nationalities. This will lend momentum to a struggle towards a true re-imagined centralized confederated Ethiopia which will hopefully lead to formation of a worker-led state.
Following is Stalin’s view adjusting the federal structure to suit the Soviet internal issue and contemporary needs after having full concerns initially.
March 28, 1917
Delo Naroda, 1 No. 5, carried an article entitled “Russia—a Union of Regions.” It recommends nothing more nor less than the conversion of Russia into a “union of regions,” a “federal state.” Listen to this :
“Be it declared that the federal state of Russia assumes the attributes of sovereignty vested in the various regions (Little Russia, Georgia, Siberia, Turkestan, etc.). . . . But let it grant the various regions internal sovereignty. And let the forthcoming Constituent Assembly establish a Russian Union of Regions.”
The author of the article (Jos. Okulich) explains this in the following manner :
“Let there be instituted a single Russian army, a single currency, a single foreign policy, a single supreme court. But let the various regions of the single state be free to build their new life independently. If already in 1776 the Americans . . . created a ‘United States’ by means of a treaty of union, why should we in 1917 be incapable of creating a firm union of regions?”
So says Delo Naroda.
One has to admit that the article is in many respects interesting and, at any rate, original. Intriguing, too, is the solemnity of its tone, its “manifesto” style, so to speak (“be it declared,” “let there be instituted”!).
For all that, it must be observed that in general it is a peculiar piece of muddle-headedness. And the muddle is due at bottom to its more than frivolous treatment of the constitutional history of the United States of America (as well as of Switzerland and Canada).
What does this history tell us?
In 1776, the United States was not a federation, but a confederation of what until then were independent colonies, or states. That is, there were independent colonies, but later, in order to protect their common interests against their enemies, chiefly external, they concluded an alliance (confederation), without, however, ceasing to be fully independent state units. In the 1800’s a crucial change took place in the political life of the country: the Northern states demanded a firmer and closer political connection between the states, in opposition to the Southern states, which protested against “centralism” and stood up for the old system. The “Civil War” broke out and resulted in the Northern states gaining the upper hand. A federation was established in America, that is, a union of sovereign states which shared power with the federal (central) government. But this system did not last long. Federation proved to be as much a transitional measure as confederation. The struggle between the states and the central government continued unceasingly, dual government became intolerable, and in the course of its further evolution the United States was transformed from a federation into a unitary (integral) state, with uniform constitutional provisions and the limited autonomy (not governmental, but political-administrative) permitted to the states by these provisions. The name “federation” as applied to the United States became an empty word, a relic of the past which had long since ceased to correspond to the actual state of affairs.
The same must be said of Switzerland and Canada, to whom the author of the article likewise refers. We find the same independent states (cantons) at the beginning, the same struggle for stronger union (the war against the Sonderbund 2 in Switzerland, the struggle between the British and French in Canada), and the same subsequent conversion of the federation into a unitary state.
What do these facts indicate?
Only that in America, as well as in Canada and Switzerland, the development was from independent regions, through their federation, to a unitary state; that the trend of development is not in favour of federation, but against it. Federation is a transitional form.
This is not fortuitous, because the development of capitalism in its higher forms, with the concomitant expansion of the economic territory, and its trend towards centralization, demands not a federal, but a unitary form of state.
We cannot ignore this trend, unless, of course, we try to turn back the wheel of history.
But it follows from this that in Russia it would be unwise to work for a federation, which is doomed by the very realities of life to disappear.
Delo Naroda proposes to repeat in Russia the experience of the United States of 1776. But is there even a remote analogy between the United States of 1776 and the Russia of today?
The United States was at that time a congeries of independent colonies, unconnected with one another and desirous of linking themselves together at least in the form of a confederation. And that desire was quite natural. Is the situation in any way similar in present-day Russia? Of course, not! It is clear to everyone that the regions (border districts) of Russia are linked with Central Russia by economic and political ties, and that the more democratic Russia becomes, the stronger these ties will be.
Further, in order to establish a confederation or federation in America, it was necessary to unite colonies which were unconnected with one another. And that was in the interest of the economic development of the United States. But in order to convert Russia into a federation, it would be necessary to break the already existing economic and political ties connecting the regions with one another, which would be absolutely unwise and reactionary.
Lastly, America (like Canada and Switzerland) is divided into states (cantons) not on national, but on geographical lines. The states evolved from colonial communities, irrespective of their national composition. There are several dozen states in the United States, but only seven or eight national groups. There are 25 cantons (regions) in Switzerland, but only three national groups. Not so in Russia. What in Russia are called regions which need, say, autonomy (the Ukraine, Transcaucasia, Siberia, Turkestan, etc.), are not simply geographical regions, as the Urals or the Volga area are; they are definite parts of Russia, each with its own definite way of life and a population of definite (non-Russian) national composition. Precisely for this reason autonomy (or federation) of the states in America or Switzerland, far from being a solution for the national problem (this, in fact, is not its aim!), does not even raise the question. But, in Russia, autonomy (or federation) of the regions is proposed precisely in order to raise and solve the national problem, because Russia is divided into regions on national lines.
Is it not clear then that the analogy between the United States of 1776 and the Russia of today is artificial and foolish?
Is it not clear that in Russia federalism would not, and cannot, solve the national problem, that it would only confuse and complicate it by quixotic attempts to turn back the wheel of history?
No, the proposal to repeat in Russia the experience of America of 1776 will positively not do. The transitional half-measure, federation, does not and cannot satisfy the interests of democracy.
The solution of the national problem must be as practicable as it is radical and final, viz.:
1) The right of secession for the nations inhabiting certain regions of Russia who cannot remain, or who do not desire to remain, within the integral framework;
2) Political autonomy within the framework of the single (integral) state, with uniform constitutional provisions, for the regions which have a specific nationalcomposition and which remain within the integral framework.
It is in this way, and in this way alone, that the problem of the regions should be solved in Russia.*
Pravda, No. 19, March 28, 1917
- This article reflects the attitude of disapproval towards a federal form of state which prevailed in our Party at that time. The objection to constitutional federalism was most distinctly expressed in Lenin’s letter to Shaumyan of November 1913. “We,” Lenin said in that letter, “stand for democratic centralism, unreservedly. We are opposed to federation. . . . We are opposed to federation in principle—it weakens economic ties, and is unsuitable for what is one state. You want to secede? Well, go to the devil if you can bring yourself to sever economic ties, or, rather, if the burden and friction of ‘cohabitation’ are such that they poison and corrode economic ties. You don’t want to secede? Good, but then don’t decide for me, and don’t think you have the ‘right’ to federation” (see Vol. XVII, p. 90).
It is noteworthy that in the resolution on the national question adopted by the April Conference of the Party in 1917, 3 the question of a federal structure was not even mentioned. The resolution spoke of the right of nations to secession, of autonomy for national regions within the framework of the integral (unitary) state, and, lastly, of the enactment of a fundamental law prohibiting all national privileges whatsoever, but not a word was said about the permissibility of a federal structure of the state.
In Lenin’s book, The State and Revolution (August 1917), the Party, in the person of Lenin, made the first serious step towards recognition of the permissibility of federation, as a transitional form “to a centralized republic,” this recognition, however, being accompanied by a number of substantial reservations.
“Approaching the matter from the point of view of the proletariat and the proletarian revolution,” Lenin says in this book, “Engels, like Marx, upheld democratic centralism, the republic — one and indivisible. He regarded the federal republic either as an exception and a hindrance to development, or as a transitional form from a monarchy to a centralized republic, as a ‘step forward’ under certain special conditions. And, as one of these special conditions, he mentions the national question. . . . Even in regard to England, where geographical conditions, a common language and the history of many centuries would seem to have ‘put an end’ to the national question in the separate small divisions of England—even in regard to that country, Engels reckoned with the patent fact that the national question was not yet a thing of the past, and recognized in consequence that the establishment of a federal republic would be a ‘step forward.’ Of course, there is not the slightest hint here of Engels abandoning the criticism of the shortcomings of a federal republic or that he abandoned the most determined propaganda and struggle for a unified and centralized democratic republic” (see Vol. XXI, p. 419).
Only after the October Revolution did the Party firmly and definitely adopt the position of state federation, advancing it as its own plan for the constitution of the Soviet Republics in the transitional period. This position was expressed for the first time in January 1918, in the “Declaration of Rights of the Toiling and Exploited People,” written by Lenin and approved by the Central Committee of the Party. This declaration said: “The Russian Soviet Republic is established on the principle of a free union of free nations, as a federation of Soviet national republics” (see Vol. XXII, p. 174).
Officially, this position was affirmed by the Party at its Eighth Congress (1919).4 It was at this congress, as we know, that the program of the Russian Communist Party was adopted. The program says: “As one of the transitional forms towards complete unity, the Party recommends a federal amalgamation of states organized on the Soviet pattern” (see Program of the R.C.P.).
Thus the Party traversed the path from denial of federation to recognition of federation as “a transitional form to the complete unity of the working people of the various nations” (see “Theses on the National Question” 5 adopted by the Second Congress of the Comintern).
This evolution in our Party’s views on the question of a federal state is to be attributed to three causes.
First, the fact that at the time of the October Revolution a number of the nationalities of Russia were actually in a state of complete secession and complete isolation from one another, and, in view of this, federation represented a step forward from the division of the working masses of these nationalities to their closer union, their amalgamation.
Secondly, the fact that the very forms of federation which suggested themselves in the course of Soviet development proved by no means so contradictory to the aim of closer economic unity between the working masses of the nationalities of Russia as might have appeared formerly, and even did not contradict this aim at all, as was subsequently demonstrated in practice.
Thirdly, the fact that the national movement proved to be far more weighty a factor, and the process of amalgamation of nations far more complicated a matter than might have appeared formerly, in the period prior to the war, or in the period prior to the October Revolution.
Eritrea and Namibia: Collateral Victims of the Korean War in Africa
By Asgede Hagos*
Note: This short article is adapted from along, 7,000-word academic paper scheduled to be published soon.
In a few weeks, on June 25, 2020, the world will mark the seventieth anniversary of the Korean War; efforts to officially end this conflict and denuclearize the region have been on and off the news pages since the June 2018 Washington-Pyongyang summit in Singapore. But, as this continues, it is important that the world pause to remember and assess the collateral damage this Asian conflict has caused and the seeds of other wars it left deeply planted in such distant lands as Eritrea and Namibia in Africa. Caught in the vortex of the Cold War, the decolonization of these two former colonies were derailed and delayed by more than 40 years, forcing their peoples into protracted and costly armed resistance to reclaim their national rights.
This is an issue that is never raised in the ongoing discourse on the Korean crisis.The purpose here is to shed some light into some of the dark corners of the history of that period and draw some attention to the harsh reality it created some of which is still with us today. For example, the extent of the damage the war has caused and the crises it spawned in the Horn of Africa are still here today, though the end now seems to be in sight with the recent thawing in relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
The Korean War broke out at a time when the fates of both Eritrea, a former Italian and British colony,and Namibia, a former German colony known at the time as South West Africa, were in the hands of the United Nations, which was and still is dominated by the United States, then in the process of building an anti-communist coalition to support its new global order. At the center of this geopolitical drama were also South Africa and Ethiopia and their cynical ploys to use the war at the other end of the world to achieve their annexationist goals at home. The leaders of both nations quickly attached their respective agendas to the Cold War, the same way other Third World expansionists were to leverage terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks half a century later to advance their goals.
The cases of these two former colonies had been going through the UN system for some time before the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25,1950. However, the conflict gave both Ethiopia and South Africa a new impetus to strengthen their respective claims over their neighboring territories. The conflict, Lefebvre says, “joltedthe [Ethiopian] emperor into recognizing” how much he needed the U.S. to secure Eritrea. He “abandoned all pretenses of playing up to the East bloc” and “declared Ethiopia to be a loyal ally of the West and offered” to send troops to join the anti-communist crusade.The Ethiopians, who arrived in South Korea six months after the UN voted for a “federation” between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the only African ground troops in the war, went through three rotations (1952, 1953, and 1954) with a small group remaining there until 1965, and were attached to the 32ndInfantry Regiment of the U.S. 7thInfantry Division. They were also considered the ‘show troops’ for visiting dignitaries coming to Korea during the war” and “were called upon to serve as protection for Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’s visit and formed the honor squad for President D. Eisenhower” when he visited the troops at the end of 1953.
The emperor was also willing to provide the U.S. full and unconditional access to a communication base in Eritrea that Washington wanted to turn into a major spy center to eavesdrop on communist activities in nearly half of the world–part of a worldwide effort to establish a network of global listening sites and military bases to counter communism. He went out of his way to polish the anti-communist image he was cultivating when an American news outlet called him, in a report from Addis Ababa, a “communist incubator” in Africa. The emperor deployed his American point man on the Eritrean case, John Spencer, to mobilize the U.S. Department of State and the American delegation to the UN to force the media organization to retract and threatened to sue for $500,000 in damages, which would be worth more than $5,355,00 in 2020 dollars.
South Africa also saw a new opportunity to utilize the crisis to achieve its goals of annexing Namibia and receiving acceptance or at least tolerance of its repugnant apartheid system at home. Though its foreign policy leading up to the start of the Korean conflict was decidedly against involvement in new foreign conflicts, the distant Asian war created a new situation that forced the regime to undergo what Borstelmann describes as “some sort of epiphany with a belated realization as to the potential benefits of [foreign] military involvement for South Africa,” the main benefit being a long-sought association with the then-emerging superpower, the United States, which Pretoria saw as “the natural opponent to communism.” It was the only other African country whose offer of military assistance was accepted.In addition to its commitment to send a fighter squadron to Korea, its willingness to “produce and sell large quantities of uranium ore to theU.S. and Britain entrenched the Union firmly in Washington’s good graces,” he argues.
Pretoria also had another epiphany moment—this time on the Eritrean question. When discussions on the decolonization of Eritrea began at the UNbefore the breakout of the war, South Africa expressed strong opposition to—and lobbied actively against—the idea of linking Eritrea to Ethiopia to avoid creating a precedent, particularly in Africa,of white people—i.e. Italians in Eritrea—being governed by a black leader—i.e. the Ethiopian emperor. The then Union of South Africa ambassador to the U.S. told American officials that “the Government of South Africa would not be happy to see Italians of Eritrea subjected to Ethiopian rule.” The ambassador, making the case against the emperor’s designs for Eritrea, also expressed “doubt that Ethiopia could properly administer additional territory.”
As a result, South Africa expressed strong support of Italian trusteeship over Eritrea and most of the rest of former Italian colonies. However, as a member of a five-nation UN Commission of Inquiry for Eritrea, Pretoria made a complete turn-around and accepted the U.S. and Ethiopian plan—with no questions asked–to have Eritrea incorporated into the Ethiopian empire, under the cover of a sham federation. Its inclusion as a member of the UN commission has raised many troubling questions, given the fact that it had repeatedly violated UN decisions with regards to its mandate over Namibia as well as its internationally condemned system of governance. For example, why was a country that was condemned by the UN over its policy and practice that prevented its own neighbor, Namibia, from authoring its own future, was allowed to sit in judgment of another former colony seeking to achieve the same thing?
The UN failed repeatedly to uphold the Eritrean people’s right to determine their own destiny, largely due to the outsize role the U.S. played in shaping and shepherding the case at the UN to make sure the final outcome met the Ethiopian emperor’s expectations. By contrast, though it was not successful in its attempt to free the territory from Pretoria’s defiant grip, the world body continued its commitment to the Namibian people’s struggle by establishing UN-affiliated organizations, to support their resistance against the apartheid regime.
The actions in New York and in Washington naturally prompted nationalistic pushback in both territories—ushering in a new era of organized resistance to fight against two of Africa’s largest and well-equipped armies, though with a marked difference in the alignment of forces for and against the leading nationalists in both nations. The Namibians were able to leverage the global anti-apartheid movement as well as the direct intervention in Africa of the USSR and its own clientele states, especially Cuba, to their benefit. However, Eritreans had to single-handedly face both sides in the Cold War. At the end of the Cold War, however, both Eritrea and Namibia, which trace their origins as multi-cultural nations to 1890, were able to liberate themselves and achieve independence one hundred years later, one year apart, Namibia in 1990, and Eritrea in 1991.
There is a Korean proverb that says when two whales fight the shrimp in the middle gets crushed! Well, the 45-year fight of the two Cold War superpower whales did a lot of collateral damage in both Eritrea and Namibia; however, these two small African nations didn’t give up,despite all the military and diplomatic power that was deployed against them. But, as efforts continue to officially end the Korean War, Washington and the rest of the West should pause to reflect on the destructive wars the conflict spawned thousands of miles away from the epicenter of the crisis, and to draw some lessons from it. One of the lessons that should be drawn from this is that the powerful nations should never underestimate the resolve of small nations fiercely determined to be free. _____________
Asgede Hagos,Ph.D.is the author of Hardened Images:The Western Media and the Marginalization of Africa.
Jeffrey Lefebvre, Arms for the Horn: U.S. Security Policy in Ethiopia and Somalia, 1953-1991, (Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg, 1991), 63.
 Paul Edwards, United Nations Participants in the Korean War: The Contribution of 45 MemberCountries(Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2013), 84.
U.S. Department of State (USDOS), Memorandum of Conversation, with the following participants: James E. Webb, acting secretary of state, James S. Moose Jr, Ras Imru, Ethiopian minister, and Haddish Alemayehou, first secretary, Ethiopian Legation in U.S., June 17, 1949.
Thomas Borstelmann,Apartheid’s Reluctant Uncle (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 160-161.
USDOS, Memorandum of Conversation, Folder:March, 1949, Collection:Dean G. Acheson Papers. Date: March 29, 1949, with Secretary of State Dean Acheson, H.T. Andrews, ambassador of the Union of South Africa, and James S. Moose, Jr., of the African Division.
The following few pages are an excerpt from the book Peasants and Nationalism in Eritrea a book by Jordan Gebre-Medhin which is a recommended essential reading for those who want to dive deep into what we mean by the Eritrean revolution and the historical basis of the peasant struggle. Despite the critical analysis of the ELF and its limitations, it is important to view the ELM, ELF, and EPLF as all connected to propelling the armed struggle and shaping the Eritrean revolution in totality.
Every year on May 24th Independence Day, we usually see the popular Time Magazine quote from 1998 posted on every social media outlet by Eritreans feeling patriotic for the moment. The quote itself is powerful, and it definitely expresses the sentiment of the Eritrean struggle but the particular “secessionist province” line is historically inaccurate and every year I have to always remind people why.
Zanzibar revolutionary Abdul Rahman Mohamed Babu in 1985 wrote the following of Eritrea & correctly understood our struggle. He visited Eritrea and firsthand observed the struggle for Independence was never a secessionists struggle nor was it a civil war but anti-colonial in the genuine sense.
Over the years, I have seen unprofessional and lazy journalist coverage of Eritrea. You can tell which journalists have not done a sincere job in researching the history when they describe Eritrea with the following words: “Seceded” “Former province” “Gained Independence from”. When journalists present the “seceded” “former province” description they are legitimizing inaccurate historical narrative of the Ethiopian settler state which is outright disregarding basic facts Eritrea never seceded it won its independence rightfully. Ethiopia as an entity is a recent European creation & to imply Eritrea seceded is to imply that Eritrea was part of the entity initially. Eritrea freed itself from the Europe-Abyssinian created settler state! The Eritrean struggle against the Abyssinian settler state wasn’t secessionist nor was Eritrea a province by legal or historical measures it was an anti-colonial struggle against a European-created African settler state. Buzzwords such as “civil war” “secessionist” enforce ideas of the fictionalize Greater Ethiopia myth.
To this day people’s understanding of Eritrea is through Ethiopian lenses rather than re-learning the Eritrean struggle as anti-colonial at its root. Eritrea is a unique case in which it fought, resisted, and defeated European colonialism by proxy against its own Ethiopian settler state.
In order to understand the mindset and ideological soul of Obama, one has to examine his political hero Ronald Reagan. As I highlighted in this tweet from last year how Reagan played a key role model for Obama.
The 2011 TIME magazine quotes Obama and his love affair with Reagan, which further enforces how far to the right we are now in and normalizes this type of hero-worshipping of right wing figures.
As the 1980s rolled on and Obama matured, Reagan became a model for leadership. The attraction was less substantive than stylistic and instinctive. Both had strong mothers and dysfunctional fathers. Both prided themselves on bringing people together. Obama even conceded that he sometimes felt the emotional pull of Reagan’s vision. “I understood his appeal,” Obama recalled in his second book, The Audacity of Hope . “Reagan spoke to America’s longing for order, our need to believe that we are not simply subject to blind, impersonal forces but that we can shape our individual and collective destinies.” The Great Communicator, it seems, had struck a chord. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2044712-2,00.html
The 2020 Showtime documentary does an outstanding job to unmask the Reagan mythology that was carefully manufactured over the decades. As Hollywood is attempting to push through a film on Reagan’s life in 2022 this documentary offers a proper counter. Reagan was a master at dog whistling, defeating organize labor, and making sure it satisfies his wealthy base. Below is an example of a dog-whistle he used and he was crafty in how he was able to hide his racism and contempt for the poor.
I recommend everyone watch this documentary to understand how from Bill Clinton to now there has been a serious campaign to push Black America to the right and Obama has successfully done that in his 8 years. Obama is the more surreptitious version of Ronald Reagan, with the same contempt of the poor and dog whistle that aims to satisfy his wealthy base as well. To unmask Reagan is to unmask the Obama mythology.
This file concerns US-UK discussions on the Indian Ocean in May 1977. Subjects covered are:
Affairs in Africa, including Ethiopia where Mengistu Haile Mariam has taken power; Somalia;and the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas [Djibouti], which is on the point of becoming independent from France
The activities of the Soviet Union across the Indian Ocean
Arms sales and economic aid to Indian Ocean littoral states
The Cuban presence in Africa
The future of the US military base on Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory
The strategic capabilities of India and other powers in the Indian Ocean
The US Middle East Force (MIDEASTFOR), based in Jufair in Bahrain; and proposed changes to this in light of Bahrain’s objections to the Force’s presence
US Navy deployments in the region, and discussions with Oman concerning the use of Masirah island
Negotiations with Singapore concerning naval facilities
Debates around arms limitation in the Indian Ocean, with a US Government paper evaluating the question
The US and UK position on the creation of an ‘Indian Ocean Peace Zone’, which was called for by the UN Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean
Issues of overflight rights for US and UK aircraft carrying military equipment to third countries