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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.He returned back to write elegant reportages supported by photographs snapped and frozen in testimony of an experienced and scrutinizing eye.In hindsight, it seems that it is an undeniable fact that the adventurous journey of Ahmed Tayfur to Eritrea was the hammer which singlehandedly brought down the siege of silence which was surrounding the Eritrean struggle, and indeed it was the hand which forced the doors open to the Eritrean rebels, to defeat the Ethiopian Empire’s persevering hard work in painting them as bandits and shifta gangs who prey on peaceful passengers, travelers and commercial convoys.Ahmed Teyfur’s story sounds as if it were a modern Sudanese replica of an excruciating Greek tragedy which the successive events of its chapters took place in the Sudan of the sixties.Yet, its horrific finale was not witnessed except by a few, when his corpse was found in that miserable room, where the stage curtains fell on a success story, assassinated at genesis.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.
It is impossible for one who reads and compares the two books to escape concluding that one is, definitely, a re-arrangement, rephrasing and compression of the other.
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.
Ahmed Teyfur’s life was terminated in 1966, long before his actual death from thirst and hunger, three decades later.
He escaped straying and roving the deserts of North Sudan, trying, in a moment of desperation, to leave the country heading for Egypt, where he may have hoped, to melt away in the human waves of Cairo, forget himself and be forgotten in a village or a town of that country.