I would like to extend my condolence to the Afar community in the diaspora and to the people of Afar from Red Sea port of Asab to the highland of Desse and to the plains of Awash valley for the passing away of Bitweded Sultan Ali Mirah, the beloved leader of the Afar people and the Unity Voice of Ethiopia. I happen to learn about this wise and generous leader during the Imperial regime of Haile Selassie when Sultan Ali Mirah comes to his guest house in Addis Ababa where I grew up.
Our local community/Eder sent its elderly representatives to talk to Sultan about his community where he has a guest house. Their journey saved our "Eder" thanks to the generous gift of Sultan. He donated them 10,000 Bir at that time the equivalent of $5,000 dollar. In a current rate more than 200,000 Bir, a lot of money.
Why I brought this story of kindness more than two decades ago is because I still remember it as if it is today. This generous man came into my heart when I was a high school boy where One Bir was precious, can buy you a lot of things. For our "Eder" it is like winning a Lotto. I have admired this man since then and I was sad to hear Derg try to kill him. Sultan was exiled by Derg for almost two decades. I was one of the luckiest to live and work in Dubti, Lower Awash Valley of Ethiopia, in 1980s where I learned a lot and know about the proud people of Afar.
Unless you live with the Afar people it is not possible to know them. Afars are proud and gentle people. No wonder such people produced a giant like Bitweded Sultan Ali Mirah. I heard about him in Logia, Dubti, Serdo, Banda, Assaita, Afambo Bati, Desse and Asab that he was a kind man who lived his people life and worked his best to bring health and education to them.
Most of all he and the late professor Asrat Woldeyse commitment to United Ethiopia is unparalleled. They warned Ethiopians early on during TPLF/Shabia rule of Ethiopia, Ethiopia should remain united. TPLF and Shabia waged war on the Afar people before Eritrean Referendum in 1990s to make sure that the people of Afar will not stand on their way. Many Afars were killed but the struggle of the people of Afar for united Ethiopia by Afars continued. The sold out like Mohamada Gas who was exiled in London and many others from America are now profiting from the blood of the Afar people by joining the Divide and Loot wing of TPLF in the name of the Afar people.
TPLF propagandists without any shame are sending their condolence on the passing away of Sultan Ali Mirah. We know that the vision of TPLF and Sultan Ali Mirah remains incompatible. Sultan was for Unity with Dignity, for tolerance, did not target any ethnic group for revenge. Two decades of Ethiopia under TPLF did a lot of damage on the people of Afar and the struggle to remain Ethiopian is a gift Bitweded Sultan Ali Mirah passed to the young generation of the proud people of Afar. Ethiopian Flag will always fly high on the Afar Desert.
A man I learned about his kindness as a teenager passed away but my admiration for him still intact. Whenever I see the Ethiopian flag waves high, Bitweded Sulatn Ali Mirah and the people of Afar comes to my mind. Let him rest in peace.