From: Thomas mountain (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Apr 30 2009 - 11:01:10 EDT
The story of Berhe Gebre-Kidan and the Eritrea for Eritreans Party is not one I had heard before. We were returning from Keren after Fasegha and Aboy Welday, 90 years and counting, was accompanying us to Asmara for a follow up with his doctor. While negotiating the twisted snake of a road our forefathers so presciently named Libee Tigray he told us the tale of Berhe the Martyr.
Berhe Gebre-Kidan Melkai Tensae was first cousin to my wifes grandfather, Tecle Welde-Kidan Melkai Tensae, much to her honor. Berhe was leader of four villages in Serai and the surrounds, including Aboy Welday's village of Damba Minchey, where our family still owns land. Berhe was also a staunch and active leader in the Eritrea for Eritreans Party during the times of the British colonial period during and after World War 2.
Apparently the British, in collusion with the comprador ethnic minority regime of Haile Sellasie, carried out a policy of assasination against Eritrean patriots in the Eritrea for Eritrean Party and Berhe was one of their targets. The local patriots in Berhes area understood this threat, to a degree, and had armed guards stationed at Berhes house. Unfortunately, these guards left early every morning to look after their fields and it would seem that someone in the community betrayed this fact to the shiftas that the Ethiopian regime in league with the British occupiers had hired to murder Berhe. One morning when Berhes guards had left the shiftas attacked Berhes hudmho and assasinated Berhe.
Ethiopians, Tigrayans, even Eritreans, the shiftas took their blood money and shot down one of Eritreas heros.
Aboy Kuflom, my wifes uncle, was home in Damba Minchey, and when hearing news of this heinous act took up his rifle and single handedly pursued the shifta gang. After a long chase he finally had a chance at a long range shot, and Kuflom being a noted marksman, was able to wound one of the shifta dogs.
This story and many, many others, was recounted to us in more detail in the days to follow by Aboy Kuflom, an Eritrean patriot and activist in his own right. To show you how really rotten the British were, during the mourning period for Berhe, they approached Aboy Kuflom, then a young man, and encouraged him to revenge Berhes death by, what else, but joining the British Army.
This young Kuflom did, and went on to train many other Eritrean patriots in military science, including Idris Awate himself, but this is another tale for another time. One can only hope that Eri-TV will interview Aboy Kuflom before he joins the ancestors for he is 86 years of age and blind for many years now.
The story of Berhe the Martyr needs to be told in all its glory and bitterness, something i hope to be able to do someday here on dehai.
Selam and Rain for Eritrea,
Thomas C. Mountain
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