Happy New Year 2018 and keep struggling because there is no other choice!" This was one of the strong messages Ibrahim Mohammed Ali (IMA), one of Eritrea's respected veteran freedom fighters, wished to convey to old comrades-in-struggle and to today's justice seekers, old and young.
Seizing a casual telephone communication with him in Port Sudan on Monday, 5 February 2018, the veteran freedom fighter said he is following with a heavy heart most of what is going on in the Eritrean political landscape. Nevertheless, he wanted to encourage everyone in the current struggle for democratic change to "never let up or quit" (shidu-helkum) because the Eritrean people deserve good governance "after all these long years of struggle".
When told about some details in a new book published recently in Tigrinya by his former social affairs colleagues in the liberation struggle era, Ibrahim said their effort is worth very high praise because what was done during the liberation struggle to plant the seeds for promotion of social justice in future Eritrea were great and deserved to be recorded for history.
Ibrahim Mohammed Ali also wanted all friends to know that his illness is now quite endurable although he cannot walk around his "boyhood streets" of Port Sudan, a city where he grew and now lives with his family members.
2001: Ibrahim chairing EC meeting attended by Martyr Seyoum Harestai; today's EPDP Chairman Mengesteab, and Mohammed Ali who was kidnapped in Kassala in 2013. Second picture of 2008 shows IMA voting at 6th ELF-RC congress transforming the organization to a party.
For the benefit of those who knew little about him, Ibrahim Mohammed Ali joined the struggle in the mid-1960s and later served as Executive Committee member of the Eritrean liberation Front (ELF) between 1975 and 1981. IMA was the central person around whom the ELF-RC was built after the ELF encountered splits after its military defeat in 1981. He served as chairman of the ELF-RC between 1995 and 2001, and its Afebaito/Speaker (chairman of the legislative council) between 2002 and 2008. Ibrahim was also among the key founders of the Alliance of Eritrean National Forces in March 1999, which he served as chairman in 2000-2001. He had health problems since 2005 but did not quit providing his informal advisory services, including to today's EPDP.