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Issayas Afeworki: The Inspiration for Oppressed Nationalities of the Horn

Issayas Afeworki: The Inspiration for Oppressed Nationalities of the Horn

Aden Sheikh Hassan

I’m writing this article to commemorate the 16th Eritrean Independence year since it occurred in May 1993. As a sympathiser of all oppressed nationalities of the Horn and as an activist of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) let me take this opportunity and share with those of you who believe in the freedom of the broad masses my heart-felt and warmest congratulations to the Iconic leader President Issayas Afeworki and to the people of Eritrea who not only waged an armed struggle and defeated Black Africa’s legendry colonialist – Ethiopia; but also paved the way to all other downtrodden and oppressed nationalities in the Horn by setting exemplary and undaunted struggle against imperialist powers of the globe. The liberation of Eritrea and the heavy sacrifices its people have paid thus far is not only a shinning symbol and an inspiration for all oppressed people of the Horn of Africa, but also a way to free one’s nation from the yoke of Imperialism by our relentless struggle. Indeed the victory of the Eritrean people against colonial Ethiopia and the imperialist powers that support it are vivid attests to the world watching with critical eyes. Indeed the hypocritical West is witnessing the fact that the desire for freedom and justice for the human spirit is indomitable and stronger than any mighty power may dare to stop it.

Supported by Imperialist powers, the previous Shoa Amhara and the contemporary Woyane regimes have tried to win the long and tough struggle of the Eritrean people, but in vain. Particularly the recent 3-Amhara-Woyane regimes to date have been committing and continue to commit genocide, war crimes and crimes against human right in front of the international community as is happening today in the Ogaden. As the gallant Eritrean leader Issayas Afeworki practically teach us and demonstrated tirelessly to us in frontal lines thus far those international and regional imperialist institutions who were supposed to protect humanity and human rights against crimes committed by the Colonial Amhara-Woyane regimes after the horrors of World War II never lifted a finger, simply caught up by their classical hypocrisy and empty cry for democracy that they don’t even practice in the true sense of it among themselves. Instead of facing up to dictatorial and criminal colonial regimes imperialist institutions are usually co-opted into facilitating the subjugation and destructions of the weak and vulnerable minority nationalities. They continue to wage religious war of wanton against Islamic nations all along the Islamic hemisphere.

As an activist of the Ogaden National Liberation Front I have eye-witnessed efforts done by the heroic and iconic leader Issayas Afeworki for giving not only trainings to people of oppressed nationalities from Oromia and Ogadenia but also assist those who would like to bring change in the current regime of Ethiopia. Indeed President Isayas has demonstrated that he is a great friend of the Horn by his unlimited support not only to ONLF and Al-Shebaab but also to EPPF and Ginbot-7. As a result I hold my highest regards for the people, government and President of Eritrea and wish them all peace and prosperity in their future endeavour against imperialism and against the Amharic-Tigre Colonial Ethiopia.

Inspired by the teachings of President Issayas Afeworki we have now totally stopped the Amhara-Tigre colonizers from exploiting our Oil & Gas wealth in Ogaden. When our people reclaim their rights to self-determination just as Eritrea, all legitimate ventures aimed at exploiting the Oil & Gas wealth of our country will be entertained. Until such time, thanks are to the Eritrean support, Ogaden will remain a war zone and that the Woyane regime does not have effective control of Ogaden, nor does it have the legitimacy to enter into contracts on behalf of our people. The rebellion we lead has an enviable socio-political milieu; a marginalized and oppressed ethnic group who view our association with colonial Ethiopia as just a sad geopolitical nightmare merely lingering around to be cleared by the maiden glimmer of dawn. For us the most critical political event in the Horn has been the successful secession of Eritrea, a milestone achieved through guerrilla rebellion.

Let me cite President Issayas Afeworki’s remarks in length as it worth the mention at this tumultuous moment of Eritrea that sets exemplary model for self-determination up to secession: “Ethiopia is a rebel’s paradise because of the country’s innate political dysfunction and historical infatuation with dictatorship and oppression. The ethnic variety of the country makes it susceptible to perennial conflicts and discontent. Although Ethiopia has big and powerful friends in the West, we continue with our tactics and strategies and grafting some dynamism into our operations. Guerrilla war has long been the natural human reaction when confronted by a superior colonial occupant. Indeed guerrilla warfare has remained the unmatched choice of the weak, the downtrodden and the rebellious. Its endurance as a choice of strategy for the weaker side is as a result of its dynamism and flexibility. It has to mix its classical rural-based insurgency of roaming the countryside, ambushing military convoys and occasionally attacking army outposts; to more radical measures that include an urban guerrilla insurgency that supplement the traditional rural-based operations. Candidly, an urban guerrilla offensive demands multi-faceted sophistication in training, equipment, coordination as well as in communication. It requires a level of logistical expertise and intelligence networking capable of measuring up to the rival military capacity. It will therefore require a significant material muscle. A liberation struggle must often play to the gallery of public pride and assuage the people’s battered egos. An urban rebellion will enable guerrilla insurgents to take the battle to the Woyane military. The urban warfare is the most potent technique to hit the Woyane military spirit where it hurts most. You can imagine how terrified a Woyane or an Amhara soldier will be when his camp is raided overnight and the next morning he is trapped in a street ambush. The crippling fear that nowhere is safe works wonders on even the most tenacious of men. Military offensives don’t yield without a corresponding psychological onslaught.”

Finally let me finish my commemoration with the following citation from President Issayas Afeworki’s 1991 speech that has actually become a ringing bell to oppressed nationalities of the Horn by the Amhara-Tigre colonialist power: "... there is no such thing as Ethiopia and what there is, is no more than a shadow of a country – a country that cannot be taken seriously as a state. The only reason that there is an Ethiopia is that the US needed it for the Cold War, and recreated it, otherwise it would have disappeared at the end of World War II."

Victory to those who struggle against oppression, injustices imperialism and colonialism!

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