Tesfamariam Woldemariam Kiflu

12 December 1950 - 27 March 2015
December 12, 1950 - March 27, 2015
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A Little About Tesfamariam

Veteran of the Eritrean Liberation Front, Tesfamariam Woldemariam, who was a member of the ELF Executive Committee and head of Information Bureau from 1975 - 1981 succumbed to his ailment and passed away on March 27, 2015 in Atlanta Georgia.Enter a brief description of the deceased in this space


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Recent Messages of Condolence


Yes in deed what a loss to the country and people of Eritrea.

Rahiwa 3 June, 2015

what a loss. RIP my dear friend

shikor 15 May, 2015

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Tesfamariam woldemariam, a student leader, a revolutionary and a talented writer. we deeply miss him as a brother and friend. Tesfamriam will always be remembered for his valuable contribution in the Eritrean revolution for independence. A selfless and committed fighter. My heartfelt condolence to his family and old frinds in struggle. Rest in Peace Haileab

Haileab Andu 12 April, 2015

By Ghirmai Negash (4/5/15 translation added and edited for names on 4/7/15) In Memoriam: Tesfamariam Woldemariam (December 12, 1950 – March 27, 2015) Time has come. Today, we mourn our loss as we celebrate his life and honor his legacy. With deep sadness, we say farewell to Tesfamariam Woldemariam. Tesfamariam has been a good son of the nation, and a loving person to his family. He was a good brother, friend, and mentor to many of us. He will be dearly missed and will always remain in our hearts. Today, we grieve our loss. But we should also celebrate our brother’s life, for he lived his life to the fullest, and more importantly, he lived his life the way he wanted it. Tesfamariam was a profound thinker, and a person of great courage. Self-assured, he lived his life with dignity yet with modesty he often chose a path less traveled and yet persisted as he walked it, and sometimes simply opted for the risky and the unknown while treading with poise and bravery—traits that stayed with him until the last minute he succumbed to that terrible illness. The American philosopher and writer Elbert Hubbard once wrote that in order to live a free, full, and meaningful life, one must be brave enough to stand social censure and other risks of disapproval. Hubbard put it this way: “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” He was right, and Tesfamariam is the proof. Tesfamariam lived his life the way he wanted to live it, doing everything he saw necessary, and standing for what he believed without any sense of fear or regret. Tesfamariam’s life was marked by a mix of politics and aesthetics. And I particularly would like to celebrate and memorialize (with you) Tesfamariam the thinker, Tesfamariam the writer, Tesfamariam the poet. During his time as President of the Student Union at the University of Asmara, he developed strong leadership and debating skills. Those qualities served him well when he joined the Eritrean nationalist movement for independence in 1974 in 1975, barely a year later, Tesfamariam was elected as the Head of ELF’s Information Office, and he quickly established himself as one of the main intellectuals and thinkers of the revolution. In Eritrean history, Tesfamariam will be most remembered, in addition to his other contributions, for creating some of the most powerful African-language journals produced by a resistance movement on the continent during the 1970s and 80s. Two of these journals were Gedli Hizbi Ertra, addressed to the general audience, and Gesgis, mainly targeted at the learned, political elite of the movement. Not surprisingly, Tesfamariam wrote many historical pieces, essays, and political commentary for the periodicals and, in so doing, shaped the political discourse of the movement. Strongly influenced by leftist European thinkers and writers, like Karl Marx and Jean-Paul Sartre, Tesfamariam was also the movement’s chief figure to develop the genre of the “political essay” in Tigrinya. His essay embodied the values of the revolution mixed with personal insight, and he fashioned a new style of Tigrinya writing characterized by complex sentences and many newly fangled words which he consciously and successfully coined in order to enrich the language so that it can carry the weight of the then evolving modernist ideals of the revolution and emergent Eritrea. The emergence of the modern “essay” form in the Tigrinya language was closely associated with the establishment of Nay Ertra Semunawi Gazetta and the formation of the “Tigrinya Language Council” in 1944 in Asmara. The editor of Nay Ertra Semunawi Gazetta, abona Weldeab Woldemariam, and other prominent political figures of the time like Abraha Tessema, Zerai Seqwar, Girmu Zeberakit, Tesfazion Deres, and Gebremeskel Weldu contributed hugely to the modernization of the Tigrinya language, and particularly to the emergence of the political essay. Tesfamariam Woldemariam can be grouped in that category for his impact on Tigrinya. Tesfamariam also wrote poetry. His poems, especially those he wrote from exile in the United States, portray a man who wrote for survival. The poems depict a man who loved life, nature, and art they also depict a vulnerable solitary man subject to what William Shakespeare called the “grunt and sweat” under which life wears us down. One of the poems he wrote in 2001 is titled “A Dialog with Loneliness.” The loneliness of the poet, as he sits by himself in his room, is vividly described, in both disquieting and tender language. But the climax draws to a close—and this is characteristic of the man and his poetic persona—by decidedly defeating, in fact mocking, the solitude troubling his soul. Humorously he writes, ‘come solitude, come don’t be shy let me make you tea made of words and poetry.’ In this memorable verse the feeling of “loneliness” is personified, made human, and thus becomes a friend rather than an enemy of the poet but the originality of the idea of

Dr. Ghirmai Negash 8 April, 2015

He was my father, I loved him I cherished him and I respected him.Yes we had our disagreements but I still loved him.What I remember about my father was his kindness.One day late evening my father and I were walking it was very cold my father saw a young lady without a coat on. He took his coat off and gave it to her a complete stranger what a man! My father was very disciplined in terms of studying and educating himself. He love to read he love to always challenge himself mentally.

Faitom Tesformriam 7 April, 2015

Rest in Peace