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09/01/2019 16:40 PM


In relation to Eritreans in Diasporas

ምስላ ናይቶም ክልተ በረርቲ ሓሰኻታት፡ ብምዝማድ ኩነታት ኤርትራውያን ዲያስፖራ

By Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin
West Virginia University.

Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin

By Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin, West Virginia University

When thinking about the current situation of our Eritrean communities, religious institutions and Eritrean political groups in Diasporas, there is a parable of two flying insects that comes to mind. Honey bees (ንህቢ) and houseflies (ሃመማ) are both insects that belong to the same fly species. However, they have fundamental differences in terms of their lifestyle, social behaviors, and institutional formation. It is essential to illustrate the moral and social order of the tale of these two flying insects as related to the social behaviors and institutional norms of our Eritrean communities, religious institutions and Eritrean political groups in Diasporas. We hope that we can learn an important lesson from the analogy of the parables of these two flying insects.

Honey bees belong to the third largest insect order. They have been acclaimed for their wisdom and wit since ancient times. They display memory, learning capacity, and the ability to correct mistakes. Honey bees have formidable communities of their own because they live in harmonious colonies with a caste system. HoneyBeeThey share the same physical setting called the bee-hive. They share common community activities by having institutional formation and organizational functions with discernible communication linkages. They share communal social concerns by protecting their hives from intruders. They keep honey in their mouths for friends and sting in their tails for enemies. Honey bees are highly social insects and communicate with each other by relaying direction and distance of food sources. Like rational and normal human societies, the honey bee colonies have their own expertise in maintaining economic sustenance. They furnish food for the colonies in the form of honey. They practice the most sophisticated division of labor. Some of them guard the hive entrance and others help to keep the hive cool by fanning their wings. Many of them pollinate flowering plants and collect nectar and pollen to make honey and wax comb. The honey bee colony, through overlapping generations, can persist to live on stored honey for many years. Honey bees have been around for millions of years and they are vital for the survival of flowers. They are respected and emulated by human beings for their social order, discipline, and work ethics. Honey bees are the only insects that produce food eaten by humans. History tells us that humans have harvested honey for food from the bee hive for thousands of years.

Houseflies, on the other hand, do not live in colonies with a caste system like honey bees. They do not have organized communities characterized by a common physical setting with shared geographic locations, social concerns, economic interest, and community activities. Houseflies do not embrace family matters and values because they do not have common social concerns and connections. They do not practice division of labor because they do not share common economic interests. They do not have common communication networks that relay guidance to provide social order and discipline. Houseflies do not have profound and appropriate social values, behaviors, traditional norms and order to be inherited by their little ones. They do not have a common place or a home HouseFlyto live in like a hive for the bees. Unlike the honey bees, houseflies live homeless throughout their entire lives. They live in mobs without distinct physical setting, communal economic sustenance, and institutions for social order and community functions. Individually, houseflies collect and eat food from garbage cans or any other source of germy food. They are scavengers because they feed on decaying waste matter such as sewage and fecal matter, rotting flesh of dead animals and plants. Houseflies are worthless and annoying insects and they have filthy habits of eating and spreading diseases. They are regarded as distasteful pests by human beings. It is hard to advocate that houseflies are a necessary part of the world order. There is not much good to be said for the existence of houseflies in this world because they contaminate our food and irritate us with their unpleasant social behavior when they live around us.

Which character of the two flying insects reflects the organizational skills, institutional function, and social order and behavior of the Eritrean communities and Eritrean political groups? It is highly impossible to find a single Eritrean community and Eritrean political group in Diasporas that is remotely related to the honey bee colony in terms of having a profound institutional formation, an appropriate organizational function, and a proper social order and behavior. If we think that our Eritrean communities and Eritrean political groups are as formidable and viable as the honey bee colonies, we are really evading the objective realities and situations of our Eritrean communities and political groups in Diasporas and we are simply living in mere hallucination and delusion. It is commonly observed that Eritreans in Diaspora generally act and behave like the disintegrated and dysfunctional houseflies when it comes to establishing and maintaining viable Eritrean communities with profound institutional formations, proper organizational structure and appropriate social order. It is quite evident that we have dysfunctional Eritrean communities, fractured religious institutions and disintegrated Eritrean political groups. We, Eritreans in Diaspora, more than ever, are polarized across so many different political groups, contaminated by the illusion of regionalism, infested by unnecessary religious disputes, and silenced by the idea of senseless neutrality and meaningless indifferences. Eritreans in Diasporas are reticent and reluctant to talk openly about their country’s socio-economic problems and national affairs with confidence and integrity. We need to have broad popular participation in all national issues and social affairs of our people that can bring us together to resolve our disagreements and differences with humility respect and decency so that we can pass over our rich cultural legacy and national identity to our children and grandchildren.

Under the current unpleasant situation in our Eritrean communities, religious institutions and Eritrean political groups in Diasporas, what should our younger generation do with their lives today? Currently, our children in Diasporas are raised in a hostile and toxic social and political environment of our communities and surrounded by unhealthy and unfriendly dispute amid our religious institutions. The Eritrean social and political environment have been creating animosity and hostility among ourselves. We have failed to connect our children with our Eritrean communities and religious institutions. Subsequently many of our children have run away from our Eritrean communities and religious institutions. Most of our children do not have the slightest interest and even care to get involved in our religious, social and political activities. Consequently, our children are deliberately isolated and deprived from adapting and inheriting our rich Eritrean cultural heritage, traditional values, indigenous knowledge and wisdom, and national identity from their elders. It is sad to observe and watch in silence when we are losing our younger generation through massive outmigration of youth from Eritrea and due to the negligence of our children by our communities in Diasporas. Obviously, our children should do many things that enrich their lives. However, it is important that they completely eradicate the current illusions and delusions of their parents and to take over and build their own stable and viable Eritrean communities and lead our religious institutions and Eritrean political functions that reflect their basic interest and desire in order to cherish their cultural heritage and honor their Eritrean national identity. It is quite clear that many of our children basically have the capability that indicate their potential and readiness for taking a leadership role in their Eritrean communities, religious institutions and Eritrean political functions. The Eritrean scholars and professionals together with concerned parents should also play an important role in helping the younger generation to build their own communities, lead their own religious institutions and participate in their own political functions. Our children need to be cultivated and enlightened in order to develop their own common goals and vision and honor their Eritrean identify so that they can safeguard, defend and protect Eritrea from its adversaries. If we, as parents, fail not to do our part now, our children and grandchildren will always remember us not because we did evil things to them, but because we completely neglected them, or we kept our silence and we did nothing to strengthen their national identity and cherish their cultural heritage. We need to remember that there will never be a generation of good Eritrean children and grandchildren until there has been a generation of good parents surrounded and supported by concerned Eritrean communities and religious institutions.

In general, the first duty of every Eritrean in Diaspora, as a rational human being, is to assume and maintain the right functional relationship with a viable Eritrean community, a formidable religious institution, and an appropriate political function. It is evident that if we act and behave like houseflies, there is a high probability that we will contribute evil with our adversaries to the demise and sacrifice of our sovereign country. However, if we act and behave like honey bees, there is a great chance that we can stand strong and united with our friends in upholding the welfare of our people. To have the latter commitment in place, we, Eritreans in Diasporas, should be able to talk and listen to each other with decency and great respect instead of insulting and scolding one another on the social media because such behavior is simply the reflection of immaturity and immorality. Such behavior does not help us to come together in unity to develop a common ground that enables us to be on the same page so that we can advocate for the national identity of our people. We, need to resolve our petty political or religious disagreements and senseless frictions by building bridges of peace and harmony among ourselves. We can have strong unity by respecting our diversity because regional, ethnic and religious diversity add richness and strength to our Eritrean identity. This happens only and always when we put our differences aside and bring ourselves together to do the right thing. Thus, we can learn from the life style and social behavior of the honey bee because it is the depiction of an appropriate organizational structure, institutional formation, and social order. We can pass on to our children these values and traits that shape and define us as Eritreans. We need to understand that unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the big ocean, we, Eritreans in Diasporas, should not lose our being or identity in any society or country on which we live. In the social jungle of human existence in this world, there is no feeling of being alive as an Eritrean without a sense of national identity. We should not have any desire to lose our Eritrean identity by trying to please others because the only true joy in life lies in knowing exactly our own identity. Our pride for Eritrea should not come after Eritrea becomes great, Eritrea becomes great because of our pride in Eritrea.

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See also recent Articles by Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin:

See also Related / ምስዚ ዝዛመድ ሓበሬታ፡-

Advice for All Eritreans ምኽሪ ንኹሎም ኤርትራውያን

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