BY BEREKET KIDANE
On September 1, 1961 at Mount Adal in the Gash-Barka region of Eritrea, a small band of 10 to 13 men commanded by Hamid Idris Awate opened fire on the occupying Ethiopian Army. The day’s confrontation between the Ethiopian Army and Eritrean combatants marked the first shot fired in the liberation of Eritrea.
Essentially, the battle that took place at Mount Adal on September 1, 1961 between the small group of men Hamid Idris Awate commanded and the regular Ethiopian Army was the first round of a long 30-year epic fight waged against all odds to establish a sovereign Eritrean State.
To borrow a phrase from essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, it was “the shot heard around the Horn of Africa.”
Fifty-seven years later, the sovereign State of Eritrea has literally become the center of gravity when it comes to the politics of the Horn of Africa. As anyone who has ever sat through a physics class knows, the center of gravity is important to the stability of an object. There is now a widespread recognition even among Eritrea’s detractors that the Horn of Africa’s road to stability runs through Eritrea.
The list of politicians from all brotherly nations of the Horn who have journeyed to Asmara this summer in an effort to bring peace and stability to the region and their respective countries is long and distinguished.
We are witnessing the dawn of a new post-TPLF era and a hopeful time for the Horn of Africa as peace has finally broken out in the region and the people of the Horn are dreaming of a better future. The sidelining of the region’s spoiler (TPLF) and its impending relegation to the dustbin of history has given the people of the Horn hope as evidenced by the rapprochement that has taken place between Eritrea and Ethiopia as well as between Eritrea and Somalia. Conflict and warfare are out while friendship and cooperation are in.
It goes without saying that the State of Eritrea has found a partner in peace in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and the coalition he leads. Prime Minister Abiy’s courage and vision for a peaceful Horn is in sync with the Government of Eritrea’s and has been vitally important in not only bringing peace to the region but also giving the people of the Horn hope for a bright future that holds economic cooperation and good neighborliness based on mutual respect.
September 1 (Revolution Day) is a national holiday on the Eritrean calendar that is widely celebrated by Eritreans at home and abroad.
Eritrean communities around the world celebrating September 1 (Bahti Meskerem) this year will find there is much to celebrate and be hopeful about. After all, the Wicked Witch of the Horn is out of power and can no longer poison the region’s political waters. Game Over!
Once more, the steadfastness, tenacity and principled stand of the Eritrean people carry the day.
Long Live September 1st!
Long Live the Revolution!
Awet n Hafash!