By Assta B. Gettu – Caught between the loves of the two nations, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Elias Kifle is a hero who will die for the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Determination to go some extra miles, immeasurable intellect to analyze complicated issues, unfathomable wisdom to love, not to hate even one’s own enemy, amazing insight to predict the futurity of Ethiopia, and unsurpassed understanding of the present political issues about Ethiopia and Eritrea – all of these God-given gifts – are the marks of a distinguished journalist, Elias Kifle, editor of the Ethiopian Review.
Taking the pressing case of Ethiopia as his own, leaving behind the comfortable life here in Washington, and risking his own life, Elias Kifle has traveled hundreds of miles, has interviewed the President of Eritrea, Issayas Afewerki, and has met with some of the most notable Ethiopia’s patriots in Asmara.
For the extra miles he has covered, for the money and the time he has spent, for the courage he has demonstrated, and for his tireless effort to bring down the corrupt Woyanne regime, and to establish normalcy between Ethiopia and Eritrea so that the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea can have a better life in the future, Elias Kifle has been getting significant praises and gratitude from hundreds of people concerned about the lack of the peace progress between Ethiopia and Eritrea. So he deserves to get our praises for the job he has professionally accomplished so far.
For those carpers – fault finders – who are dishonestly criticizing Elias’ mission to Asmara have no clue what it takes to establish a broken friendship between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It takes selflessness, courage, patience, wisdom, and the art of modern politics.
Equipped with such proven weapons, Elias Kifle has been doing just that, whatever criticism he may have from some mount bank commentators such as Mintesinot Haile whose article: “Disgusting Cry on behalf of Issayas Afeworki” that Nazret.com has posted recently and others like him.
In his article, the author shamelessly and irrationally states that Elias Kifle “…has given clear evidence by his repeated deeds that he is a 100% Shaabia stooge among us who dare to tell us that Issayas Afeworki we know of is a rational man that hosts LFits and opposition leaders in a more friendly manner.”
Let us be clear here that Issayas Afeworki is not the enemy of the Ethiopian people: He is an African, an Ethiopian, and an Eritrean man who may have different ideology from the ideology of the corrupt Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi); even if some commentators like Mintesinot Haile believe that Issayas is a formidable enemy of Ethiopia, Elias Kifle has done the right thing by going to Asmara, according to the word of the Almighty God who commands us to love even our enemies, to interview the leader of Eretria and try to find out if there is a possibility to bring the two independent nations to a better understanding of each other in a civilized way.
To some unlearned journalists and commentators, Elias Kifle may have appeared as if he were an underling or as the butt of jocks to entertain a foreign enemy – Issayas Afeworki. I’m sure Elias Kifle knows ahead of time that his detractors will assume that he is on the side of Issayas Afeworki; these are the people who do not know the scriptures very well. It was the Apostle Paul who once said that to the Jews he became like a Jew, and to the gentiles he became like a gentile in order to bring both to Christ Jesus.
In the same way, if Elias Kifle has appeared to the Ethiopians as if he were from Eritrea and to the Eritreans as if he was from Ethiopia in order to bring the two divided countries together, there is nothing wrong in such smart and timely approach.
Who knows, because of Elias Kifle’s hard work, Ethiopia and Eritrea may one day bury their differences and come together and live peacefully for ever? To bring such a bright hope, Elias is doing his job because he believes in peace, and as a peace maker, Elias will be called one of those blessed sons of God (Matthew 5:9).
So far no other Ethiopian journalist in the diaspora or at home has ever tried or planned to bring peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea but Elias Kifle, one of the brightest and the true children of God.
When I see the children of Ethiopia denouncing each other instead of encouraging one another, it makes me sick and numb. To such quarrelsome children of Ethiopia, whether they are journalists or theologians, farmers or merchants (it doesn’t matter too much), St. Paul’s message is quite appropriate: “If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15)
Who cares whether Elias Kifle is 100% Shaabia or 100% Ethiopian; what matters here to the ordinary person is the message Elias Kifle has been disseminating to both the Ethiopian and the Eritrean people – a message of peace, cooperation, unification, prosperity, and mutual respect.
Why Elias Kifle has to be criticized for interviewing a foreign leader that happened to be an Ethiopian origin, whose culture is an Ethiopian culture, whose religion is an Ethiopian religion, and his goal is the unity of Ethiopia and Eretria and the destruction of ethnicity and tribalism?
We all Ethiopians should be proud we have a uniquely qualified Ethiopian journalist who crosses the Atlantic Ocean and presents our wishes – the death of the Woyanne regime – to the Eritrean leader who seems to have the same desire – that distinguished journalist is no one else but Elias Kifle who also spent few hours with the Ethiopian patriots, encouraging them that he is on their side and ready to tell their remarkable stories to the world.
May the Almighty God be always on your side, my dear Elias because you are one of those people called “Doctors without boarders.” You will see one day that Ethiopia and Eritrea will work together freely without boarders between them.