Idris Glaidos The Political Legend:
The page you allocated for our political and military legends in your web-site is not only a good idea to inform the new generation about those men who most of them have already passed away, but it's also a kind of making them justice by showing gratitude for their contributions and great deeds they made for their country and people. If you allow me, I would like to talk about the late political legend and born-diplomat, Idris Osman Glaidos. Idris was born in Medr-Betjuk (Anseba), not far from Keren, in 1934. When he was a child, his family moved to the Western Lowlands, namely, to the Aligidir agricultural project. He joined school in 1942 and finished his elementary school education in Algidir in 1947. After that he was sent with three other classmates, namely, Mohammed Saleh Yasin, Said Ahmed Mohammed Hashim and Osman Ali Ahmed to continue his middle school education. During the four years he spent in Kassala - Sudan, he came into close contact with politicians And political parties especially the Anti Colonial Front, which was led by progressive elements. This together with his love for reading of political literature resulted in his early political consciousness. During the period of self-determination, his father being a prominent member of the Rabita Islamia (Islamic league), the main political party that was struggling for the independence of Eritrea, Idris joined the youth of the Islamic league, where he learned and developed a strong sense of patriotism. In 1951 he was awarded with some other Eritrean students an Egyptian scholar-ship to continue his studies in Cairo. He arrived in Egypt a couple of years after the 1948 Arab defeat, which led together with the corruption of the Monarchy Regime, as well as, the presence of the British occupation army on the Egyptian soil, to political unrest and turmoil.
The Egyptian masses were by then politically conscious and waited for a drastic change. Idris was plunged into this boiling political arena and the politically diverse organisations. After only a year of his arrival the "Free officers", under the leadership of Gamal Abdul Nasser, toppled the king and took over power. Their first motto was freedom and decolonisation. Abdul Nasser confronted the Western colonisers especially Great Britain, and challenged western imperialism in Africa and The Middle East, and supported liberation movements in Asia and Latin America. Idris like a number of his comrades such as Mohammed Saleh Hommad was highly impressed and exited by Nasser's revolution, and was influenced too by the "international revolution" as a whole. All this, of course, deepened the political consciousness of the Eritrean youth so it was natural that they started to think about and study the situation in their country, Eritrea. First they started with organizing themselves. They established the Eritrean student union in Cairo in 1952; which became the first stronghold for the Eritrean political struggle.
In 1960, their struggle took a serious course when Idris and some fellow university students founded the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), in Cairo. Among the founders were: Mohammed Saleh Hommad, Said Hussein, Taha Mohammed Nour and Said Ahmed Mohammed Hashim and others. Unlike the ELM, the ELF called for armed struggle as the only way to stop Ethiopia form swallowing Eritrea. Idris Glaidos was chosen by his comrades as the first secretary of the Supreme Council of the ELF. The well know nationalist leader and ex- president of the Eritrean parliament Idris Mohammed Adam, who was a political refuge in Egypt, was chosen for the position of chairman of the ELF S.C. In 1961 Idris Glaidos being the dynamic secretary of the ELF S.C, the Ethiopian intelligence service targeted him. An Israeli-Ethiopian spy by the name of Ali Afendi was dispatched to Cairo. This spy befriended Idris as an Eritrean activist and tried to appear with him in public. When Ali Afendi was spotted and arrested by the Egyptians, he alleged that Idris cooperated with him.
This was off course an Ethiopian plot to crush the ELF at its very cradle. At that time the issue of spying for Israel was a very sensitive and dangerous matter. After more than a year in detention the Egyptian inelegance service discovered the plot! And Afendi spoke the truth about his mission so Idris was found non-guilty and was acquitted. During his detention, Idris became popular as a national struggler among all Eritreans specially those abroad who contributed money for the remuneration of his defence lawyers. After his release and graduation from the Faculty of Law, he was assigned to the Sudan where he succeeded in uniting all Eritreans under the banner of the ELF, and won the support of all the Sudanese political parties and masses for the Eritrean revolution. Under Iris's political leadership, the Eritrean Liberation Army (ELA) expanded in number and developed in training, witch was reflected in the successful battles it waged against the Ethiopian forces. Then the need and necessity arose for the ELF to establish relations with the progressive countries and organisations al over the world. Idris as a democratic leader was chosen to lead delegations to a number of progressive countries. First he led a delegation composed of other two democratic members of the S.C, namely, Taha Mohammed Nour who was known for his connections with European progressive parties and organisations; and Mohammed Saleh Hommad, to China in 1967 where they convinced the Chinese to support the revolution by supplying it with arms and training of cadres. The first batch of cadres which was sent for training in China included: Mahmoud Ibrahim (Chekine), Ahmed Adam Omer, Ahmed Ibrahim (secretary), Osman Sabe (a cousin of the late Sabbe), Ramadan Mohammed Nour (ex sec. general of the EPLF), and the new comer to the revolution at that time, Isaias Afewerki, the present president of Eritrea. Idris also represented the ELF in the Afro Asian solidarity conference in Cuba, which also trained some ELF fighters in City commando- warfare, among whom were famous freedom fighters such as martyrs: Mahmoud Hassab, Debrome Tuluk and Ibrahim Afa.
In 1968 Idris and Taha Mohammed Nour also visited some European countries at the invitation of European progressive parties and organisations to seek their support for the Eritrean revolution. It was also thanks to Idris's diplomatic endeavours that the ELF was admitted as a member of the Afro- Asian solidarity organisation. In 1969 after the Adobha conference of the field commanders who deposed the ELF S.C, Idris unlike some other members of the S.C, who did not accept the decision of the General Command and tried to impede it by every means, he or Idris complied with the G.C decision and resolutions and expressed his readiness to struggle at any other capacity. Starting from that date he struggled in the diplomatic front as a representative of the ELF in a number of countries, especially in Egypt. His great diplomatic achievement was in 1978 when he secured an invitation from the Soviet Union to the ELF.
This, of course, was considered an implicit recognition of the ELF by the Soviet Union, during the "Cold War". In 1991, after Liberation, he was the first ELF senior member who declared his support and allegiance to the Eritrean Provisional Government, and made himself available at its disposal. In Free Eritrea, as a graduate of Law and because of his abundant political experience, he was appointed as a deputy commissioner of the referendum commission. After independence he was appointed as a member of the Constitution Committee in which he served until his death in May 1998. He was honoured and buried at the Martyrs' Cemetery in a state funeral which was attended by the president and the members of the government of Eritrea, as well as, thousands of Eritreans who came from different parts of the country to pay him the last homage.
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