(By Belay Ambelay) –
For anyone who knows the place, Rama was the gateway where the Italian colonial appetite to expand southward was brought to a halt. Rama meant everything then. It was an area covered with thick forest where, among other animals, loins, leopards and elephants roared, roamed and thudded around.
Furthermore, till early 70 s Rama and its environs fed the Eritrean households and industrial furnaces with sturdy charcoal at knocked down price of Eth. $0.50 per sack weighing 100 kilos until finally Rama got bald and could supply no more. Without the charcoal from Rama and its environs Eritreans and their economy could have had gone cold long before dawn.
It was not only its forests that were preyed upon, its rich agricultural land used to grow ground nuts for Eritrean to flourish and export abroad – As lambs (Cabreto) from Timben and cattle from all over Tigray but especially from Raya fed the slaughter houses (Encodo) of Asmera only to increase the foreign earnings of the Eritreans at the expense of the rest of Ethiopia.
Rama, given it got adequate rain, was a place where anything and everything used to grow. And the Eritreans were amongst if not the leading benefactors of the place. Besides, Rama appears to have seated on a dried up sandy seabed rock. Thus it has been the rich source of highly sought after white sand for construction through out the southern Eritrean region.
The irony, however, what did the Eritreans pay Rama, the place and the people, in return? From my observation: a repeated fist blows in the face.
Around 1974 an Eritrean well to do and highly he educated farmer – Mr. Redaezgi won the favour of the then governor of Tigray – Prince Mengesha Seyum, and undertook a large scale scheme of fruit plantation, which proved successful. However, when the benefits of the plantation began to flow and the pocket of the well to do farmer started to swell with cash events in Ethiopia took turn. The military men from the barracks took power. And the Eritrean farmer for reasons known to himself ran away abroad. There after it took only about three months for the Eritreans operating in the name of liberation fronts to emerge and invade Rama under the cover of dark. They shelled and razed the entire agricultural scheme to ground; claiming that it was the property of an Eritrean citizen and they had every right to do what they thought was the right thing with the place.
Somebody had written a poem about Nero when he burned down Rome:
ርእሰይ እንታይ አበሰ
ኸብደይ ደጋ ጊምካ ገትሮ::
“why my bonce bludgeon,
An sin has committed none,
if anyone deserves,
it is my abdomen
that carried a foetus
and nurtured for nine months –
Nero now a mad man!“
Likewise the Eritreans conducted many times more than once raids on the place and the military base stationed at Mereb – five kilometers away from Rama.
At one time they rounded up and abducted young men and women who came from all corners of Ethiopia to Rama coerced by the military regime to take part in its “Zemecha” እድገ በህብረት Development Campaign and kept them in the liberation front hide out for three months. When finally the soldiers of the Derg retreated under pressure from Mereb outpost as a retaliatory measures they took out their revengeful anger on the people of Rama and massacred anyone found on their way. Luckily it was dark and as there was no nightlife in a place like Rama there were only some unfortunate people who were exposed to the murderous act of the soldiers in retreat. Most people had gone home for the night as they always do when the sun sets. Although the entire place was terrorized with the sound of heavy guns and some housed ravaged seven people were were brutally killed by the retreating army of the Derg. Make a mark, if there are people in arms who wantonly and needlessly kill innocent people in this world. the Amhara top the list.
Rama had to pay a price for the acts and provocations of the Eritrean with only one dream of seceding from the rest. Following on heels of the retreating army the Eritrean men/women of arms took charge of the town until they were in turn dislodged by the second come back of the Derg.
In 1998 before and after they invaded Bademe instead of paying back for the injustice Rama had to endure for a cause which was but Eritrean, the Eritreans, in a manner reminiscent of the past, shelled the place from a high ground of Adiquala, as the Italians did during their second invasion, and killed two and injured eight more people.
There are no Ethiopian soldiers in town of Rama; it was clearly intended to kill civilians. As planned they did kill civilians. Over ten thousand people from Rama have been living for the last two years in plastic sheeting in a distant place far removed from the town itself, except for the old, sick and disabled who could not make the trip.
It is very likely it is the same old, sick and disabled who are now the victims of the Eritrean spate of bombing. Such acts of aggression against civilians and abodes of civilians must not be tolerated and the Eritrean leaders responsible for such cowardly acts needed to be taught a lesson expeditiously for their acts of crime.
For the third time Rama is now visited by the marauding Eritrean. most building bombed and destroyed, including the famous Italian Mereb Bridge, hai Fred of thousands people displaced living in caves and foxholes like Hyraxes.
One thing is clear are inept unable to be creative and resort to epicarcacy to compensate their deficiencies: if I cannot not make it. No one will: I won’t allow others to succeed. We all rather go down hill. This was their motto from the beginning to the end in the name of liberation front/s. Sad people with sad track records!
Have you ever seen people hack fruit bearing tress in mass and gloat over as the invading Eritrean armies did in Rama! The level of insanity Eritreans suffer will haunt them for years to come. The then need to blame themselves but no one!
Rama has been weeping for long from the injuries inflicted by reckless vagabonds. Rama calls for an action to prevent further acts of aggression!