May 4, 2023
I never sent this part to Asmarino.com in 2002 to be published.At the last minute, I chickened out, I did not know what Eritreans would think of it, so I decided to make “Part 23 of 24” the final part. But this past few weeks, I started thinking about it, but I could not remember even a word of what I wrote then; whether I completed it or it was still in a draft form; also, I could not remember whether I had kept any copy of it. I thought I lost it forever. But as luck would have it, when last week, as I was searching for copies of messages I posted on Dehai.org in 1999 and 2000, I found it on a CD I backed up in 2004, along with other files.
As I read it now, I can tell it was still in draft form because a couple of verses from what I used to hear are also missing from it; also, I saw some grammar errors. In any case, my interpretation of the legend I heard many times as a little child and later in life was wrong, but still, I wonder whether I should have summoned enough courage to finish preparing and publishing it in 2002. Anyway, I have decided to publish it this time without changing a word, but precisely like I had left it off in August 2002.
In Solidarity With the Forces of Good
(part 24 of 24) (August or September 2002)
In the “topics” part of this series, posted on April 8, 2002, I tried to forewarn readers that this part, part 24, would be only for those who believe in legends and as such I have tried to slightly detach this part from the series by concluding the series in part 23 of 24.
Do You Believe in Prophesy.
Is it possible to see into the future before it occurs? I am one of those who believe that humans, with the help of God, (if you want to substitute God by the subconscious mind, fine, you will arrive at the same conclusion) can see into the future. The Koran, Bible, Torah and many other religious books have full roadmaps of the future.
In much the same way, in our land, a legend was being told and passed down from generation to generation, for many generations. The legend which I am about to put forth tells about the horrific misery that the people shall endure before God saves them. I could be wrong, but I am not aware if this legend was told in all parts of Eritrea except in parts of the Highland, and in parts of the Senhit and Semhar regions.
When I was gathering the materials for this piece I learned there were different versions of the legend as was told by different people, even so, here it is:
” An abomination (‘fenafnti’) shall be born, a creature in a disguise of a human child. The abomination shall have a hole in its palm. (I could not determine whether the hole in the palm is literal or metaphoric) When could not be raised by its mother, it shall be surrendered to a religious institution. It shall grow to become a vicious and militarist king. It shall rule the nation with an iron fist, or iron club (“bibetri HaZin zgeze’a negus”). During his reign, people shall live in siege, in fear, and in dead silence; anguish and death shall mount; corpses and skulls shall shroud, and blood shall drench the land; ghost villages shall multiply; children shall be snatched away from their mothers and shooed off to the battle field, and a childless infertile woman shall be more contented and grateful than a mother with a fertile womb.”
“Blood shall flow like river on the plains of Sembel (around Asmara) blood shall flow to the hoof of a horse. Bones shall pile up like a mountain.
“There shall be bickering between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, between neighbors, between relatives, and between friends and so forth.
“People shall lash out at their God in anger. They shall scream, what have we done to you. Why are you doing this to us.
“People shall admit their faults
“People shall repent of their sins and make an earnest plea to their God.
“God shall listen.
“God shall command light to perpetual shine upon them.
“God shall ordain them a king.
“The king shall arrive them from the eastern part of the land.
“The God-sent king shall pray to God and seek guidance from God.
“The God-sent king shall rule the nation with an extremely stick walking stick. (leyley tibl zengi) (This can be interpreted as with only his words, or the rule of law)
“The nation shall enjoy good seasons (sibuk akeza) and a rich harvest. Springs of water shall gush forth from the dry land and brooks, and clean water shall flow perennially on what were dry beds of brooks and rivers. Hills and mountains shall be covered with green vegetation, children shall play on every meadow, and animals shall graze on green grasses happily; and peace, love and riches prevail again. The people shall pile up their armaments then burn them at the stake”
I think the EPLF understood this legend because in the early to mid-Seventies it attempted to use the story in the legend for its benefit with the people of Kebesa, where the legend was told over and over again for many generations. In the early- and mid-Seventies, after arriving at the Highland from the north from the Sahel, by appearing as though coming from Semhar, from the east, it tried to sell itself to the Highlanders as the God-promised king in the legend whom people were expecting to arrive them from the east.
Eritrean were hoping that the evil king described in the legend would be Mengistu Haile Mariam. But Mengistu could not be the evil king of the legend because he has not been succeeded by a God-sent king.
And Issayas could not be the God-sent king, for many reasons: First, blood did not flow on the plains of Sembel before his arrival. Even when finally Asmara was liberated blood did not flow like river on the plains of Sembel. Second, Issayas is an atheist. Third, and most importantly, in 1991, Issayas entered the land (Eritrea) from Sudan, from the west, as a leader of an independent Eritrea, and not from the east.
But on the other hand, the similarities between what was prophesied in the legend, and what Eritreans are enduring on one part, and the similarities between the evil king in the legend and Issayas on the other part are striking. You might be wandering or fearing now, is blood yet to flow on the plains of Sembel? I hope not. Issayas might not leave power without taking more dead bodies with him, but the worst part of what was prophesied in the legend might already have come to pass.
Sembel means ‘close your eyes’, but also when referring to Sembel, it means a plain ground where one could walk or creep closed-eyed, without the fear of tumbling over the edges.
Badme (which in the Kunama or Baza language means, black soil, walka) might be the Sembel that the legend was referring to; it is a plain field just like Sembel, it is made of black soil (walka) as most part of Sembel, in addition, in less than two years, an estimated of over 40,000 soldiers, of whom about 14,000 Eritrean soldiers have died in Badme alone, thus figuratively speaking, blood has flown like a river on the Piano Badme, blood that could engulf the hoof of a horse.
If the legend is true, most of the prophecy has already come to pass and peace is around the corner.
Therefore, from this day forth, each measure that Issayas will take shall only fulfill the final prophecy.