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But, before elaborating on and resuming the story, it may be helpful to step back a little, and have a look at the relations of Sudan with its two neighbors to the East, Ethiopia and Eritrea.There is no need to go as far back as to the Mahdiyya and the slaying of Emperor Yohannes IV[ii] but a good start may be the arrival of Emperor Haile Sellasie to Sudan, escaping the troops of Mussolini, which at that time had overrun Ethiopia using its colony, Eritrea, as a springboard, on the eve of World War II.
The effects of these evil works are still echoing in the Eritrean collective memory with reverberations working havoc to this day.The Emperor was welcomed and accommodated by Al-Sherif Yousif Al-Hindi[iii], in Burri[iv], offering his majesty his utmost magnanimity.From there, the Emperor went to address and try actuating the League of Nations, which, a working, organization was as good as a dead body at that time, paralyzed and unable to raise as much as a finger in the face of the imminent danger threatening Humanity — a danger the clouds of which were accumulating and hanging everywhere, though its first calamity fell down upon the Horn of Africa before engulfing and drowning Europe.The battles of the valleys and highlands of Anseba and Keren–which were immortalized in popular songs–and the martyrs and the wounded of the Sudanese battalions were only testimonials to this fact.And when the British forces accompanied by Sudanese battalions[v] entered the Eritrean capital, Asmara, they were escorting Sudanese teachers, engineers, nurses, musicians, singers, and craftsmen ready to open schools and construct canals, roads, heal wounds, restore life-beats and manifestations.This article is a detailed story of a book which, in its time, influenced the Eritrean National Movement in a deep negative way and caused schisms which kept developing, morphing and clustering until today.
It details the story and the circumstances that led to the appearance of the book and the reactions which followed its publication.
Nevertheless, the Eritrean National Movement have, ironically, fallen, at a time in its history, victim to two contaminant books and got infected and negatively affected to the core thereby.
The two books, published early at the beginnings of the Eritrean Armed Struggle, succeeded in driving a series of wedges between the components of the movement, and perpetuated discord and fragmentation among them.
The first book was a foreign based, external effort, nominally authored by a Sudanese reporter, Ahmed Tayfur, titled “The Truth about the ELF”.
The second was an insider job, an effort from within the national movement itself, a manifesto, said to have been authored by Issayas Afeworki, Titled “Nehnan alamanan”.
Ahmed Teyfur’s sun rose in the newspaper (“October 21”), which was being issued by Saleh Mahmoud Ismail, one of the most eminent personalities of the Nationalist Unionist Party, and the Minister of Information in the October era[i].