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A Dystonia-like Sickness Inflicts Eritrean Female Conscripts

A strange sickness that plagued the Sawa training camp for a few years has made a comeback. Recently, several cases were observed in the remote camps of Sahil region in Northern Eritrea.

Conscripts who went through Sawa military training say that it inflicts only girls.

A survey carried out by found out that nine out of the fifteen Eritreans who have been in Sawa for more than two years are aware of the sickness.

Based on the description of the sickness and its effects on the afflicted, “It is possibly Dystonia” a rare neurological disorder that affects different parts of the body.

The New York-Presbyterian Hospital website explains that , “…dystonia of the foot may occur when walking forward but disappear completely when walking backward.

The surveyed conscript narrated many stories related to Dystonia, one of them said, “the few girls who were afflicted by “Rit-Les” walked backwards with us when we moved ahead.” He added, “Somehow the name Rit-Les was coined for the sickness and it is widely known by that name.

“Rit Les” is an abbreviation of “Ndehrit Temeles,” a Tigrinya language military command equivalent to the USA military drill command, “To The Rear March.”

Neither the Eritrean government nor its women’s franchise, The National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW), have ever raised the issue of “Rit-Les”; so far it has been kept secret.

Around the military camps in Western Eritrea, it is commonly explained as a spell, and in terms of superstitious beliefs related to old graves around the area.

This year, NUEW has been busy celebrating its 35th anniversary across Eritrea and in many cities around the world where the Eritrean ruling party has a support base.

In 2009, the story of the twenty-five year old Desiree Jennings of Virginia was widely covered in the news; it was claimed that she developed dystonia after taking flu shot.

When shown the youtube video of Desiree Jennings, the conscript said, “the muscle spasm of this woman is bad, for Rit-Les victims it’s not this bad, but the backwards movement is identical.

It is possible the disease is caused by expired or contaminated medication. If that is the case, the medicine must have been given only to women, “because it could have been medications that only women can take.”

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  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Awatawyan,

    A digest from the lying web of PFDJ

    A propaganda heading: “UN delegation holds meetings with Eritrean officials – another inappropriate title ”

    The mouth of PFDJ news outlet came today headed by a very tricking title to its ardent receivers. Why the title is headed by UN while the whole content is all about UNICEF and UNDP issues. Of course UNICEF and UNDP will be there as they are becoming the first victims of surmounting budget pressure. These two UN branches prefer to deploy their all sided help whatever the end receiver is in trying to reduce the impact they are facing. In short, the refugees.

    The propaganda here is as if PFDJ is having talks with UN delegates so that he will use his usual lying machine. The truth is, UNICEF and UNDP will supply hard currency to its pocket and hence by he will continue his usual business.

    I will ask these two organizations to consider their approach and cut complete relationship only then a meaningful cooperation will exist. If not, UNDP will assist the slavery projects and UNICEF will receive those slaved people in near-by countries.



    The resilent unstoppable Eritreans… making woyane/pfdj despair by defeating their warmonger !I am quite sure that our unstopable ELF/EPLF march forward will make all woyanes and pfdjites change their mind from defeating Eritrea into “….if you can not beat them join them……” attitude !! which I see it already started and in motion ….!!
    Yes We Did !!
    Yes We Can !!

  • T..T.

    Thanks Awate Gedab News as well as sister Tzigereda for the NUEW report. I hope all the pro-Eritrean people will feel emotionally rewarded to see the issue being discussed to find treatments.

    Now that we know there may be more than two types of Dystonia:
    Type 1 caused by reaction to vaccination (1 in a million), which is irreversible or cannot be treated and thus the patients have to learn how to live with it,
    whereas Type 2 or SAWA Type, which is terror/hardship induced (1 in every 10 Sawa-girls)
    it may be treatable.
    Medicines such as Trihexyphenidyl (Artane) or Levodopa (Sinemet) or Clonazepam or Tetsrabenazine can be tried.

    The pro-Isayas group might have tried to cover up not because they were embarrassed or ashamed but because they knew it was another crime to be added to the list. The issue should not be dismissed as a mere cover up. I should be added to the list of Isayas’s crimes against the Eritrean youth.

    Awate thanks for the ongoing focus on primary issues of Eritreans.

  • John Saunders

    This disease is nothing new. From what I heard from some Eritrean friends it was very common in Ethiopian prisoners of war camps in the liberated areas of Eritrea during the war in the 80s. I think we can safely say that this is the effect of being kept in a prisoner of war camp environment that Sawa is. There is no difference between Sawa and a prisoner of war camp. Why do you think these young ladies ae marching backwards? It is a reaction to the military drill that requires them to march forward. It is just a psychological condition that requires understanding and psycho-social support to these young ladies – John, friend of Eritrea.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Hi AT,
    As many people are pointing out here, I also saw with my own eyes some girls suffering from this medical situtiation in the mid-ninties in Sawa. The girls really had a problem to keep balance and they were walking in pretty much the same way as in the youtube video you’ve linked. At that time, people were talking that the situation was a mental issue triggered by the harsh environment that the conscripts were exposed to. People were talking that specially girls from the cities, with a minimum experience of hardwork or any hardship were more exposed to the illness.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear sami,

    It is good that you witnessed also for the existence of such disease in the 1990s. If you read my hypothesis, I didn’t blame any except the conditions that it cause it. It could be environmental, medical or life condition that changes the hormonal change or which causes the physical disorder. But, we can agree on one thing I think, this is a serious issue.

    I have my uncle’s daughter who suffered from this for the last 10 years. After 7 or 8 years she was able managing to walk standing and with the help of a stick. Before, first she was completely paralaized and slowly she came to manage her hands which helped her to use wheel chair. And slowly, her leg muscles.

    Therefore, this is not of political issue, it is a serious medical problem that need to be investigated by concerned agents.


  • Hayat Adem

    We don’t want anyone, even you to burn on fire let alone Haile TG. What else is going crazy in your mind?

  • haileTG

    What a crazy woman!!! I just have question [you know that you and me go back and had some rocky relationship in the past, i.e when it was time ti nix it or fix it, I decided to drop you like hot fat potato…hahaha], given that you wished Elsa Chyrum to die of the hunger strike publicly and wishing me to burn and set alight, are you mentally sound? I mean did you ever get checked upstairs? N’aK’s gudguwad d’a yexb’bulki gual hidrtna:-)

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear haile TG,

      I didn’t know that there are deki hidirtaina here at awate though my mother used to tell me a lot about such. Real gual hidirtina Gud.


      • haileTG

        Hey Tes,

        What I am made to believe about deqi hidrtna is that they are ghost manifestation of people whose spirit is unable to depart the location where their soul parted their physical self (died). Religious believers consider that fithat (final rites) are needed to release the spirit and allow it to return to its origin (God). Even, some people assert that the reason the spirit refuses to leave the scene where the physical being was separated from the soul is because of strong unresolved attachments between the physical being and the physical surroundings and physical events that lead to the person passing away.

        Cyber deqi hidrtna is comparable in away because the individual nickname was exposed with some sordid writings it penned in other places and hence the nickname forced to separate from its orginal owner (it died). In this case, the spirit behind that nickname refuses to part the location and continues to Hercules the the comment section where nickname and real owner were separated and the nickname died. In this case, haileTG had much to do with such sudden death and the spirit is always returning to taunt haileTG. The problem is however, haileTG gives no hoots to some stupid and faceless demon and hence even this particular guwal hidrtna becomes troubled and restless when ever she senses the presence of the mentally, physically, linguistically and spiritually fearsome and fire breathing dragon haileTD (which she used to mean haile The Dragon in her other post).

        I was hoping to do her a favor and bring her abat nebsi qeshi Dimetros, but he told me he is no longer in business. Oh well…forget her, the little demon is screwed and will be tossing things around this place from time to time 🙂


  • Aman

    Dear Eritreans and Ethiopians @ Awate forum
    I am here today to congratulate you all on our
    collective achievements of our struggle against
    pfdj / woyane and their sickly media campaign against the people.
    I just want to share with you today our party’s obseravation
    on behalf of our party’s members and supporters.
    Though had been done slow we have been able to witness the changes
    we had been asking for from PFDJ and the fruits of our fight against tplf/
    eprdf media policy and cyberwar against the people. We can now see that
    all woyane media outlets like Aiga and Reporter have come to learn what
    we have been saying years ago the they can never win over our people
    with the attitude they had for over a decade long. They seem to have learned
    their lessons well now that………….the editions and even the tone of this once
    hostile media outlets have drastically changed, neutralized and tamed.
    Yeh that is how it works as the saying goes.
    “CHEW LERASIH SITILL ………..alebelezia Dingay new…………”
    YES WE DID !!
    And Still……….
    YES WE CAN………….!!!

  • dawit

    Selanat All

    Since recent AT articles are devoted to the Bela Below (Tigre adage, that has enhanced the lexicon of Tigrigna language, Mahmud can elaborate on its derivation and adoption). I have a fresh Bela Below story. I heard few days ago from a good Eritrean friend that surprised me a lot. When ELF was first organized itself in Cairo Egypt most of the members were Eritrean Moslems. They wanted Christians to be included in the organization. At that time Mr.Woldeab Woldemariam who is regarded by most Eritreans as the father of Eritreans for independence was also residing in Cairo, Egypt. The ELF organizers invited Mr. Woldeba to join them, and I was told he refused. As a result ELF started as a Moslem lead Eritrean Liberation Front. Ethiopia exploited this to divide Eritreans by labeling ELF as a Arab instigated Muslims organization and recruited exclusively Christian Highlanders to fight ELF. The rest is history. Is this Bela Below story true? Anxious to know.


    • Mahmud Saleh

      salam dawit
      If you take the launching of Eritrean armed struggle as a national project, it would be seen as a continuation of Eitrean Liberation Movement or maHber ShewaEte. It was a logical continuation (the intent to liberate Eritrea)although leaders of both groups (proponents of armed struggle, your topic, and ELM) had tactical difference. In that regard, you could say Eritrean christians were as pioneers as their Muslim brethrens. ELM was more metropolitan and encompassing all s3egments of our people.
      Regarding welwel, he preceeds them in terms of calling for liberation, so you could say, the students who were in Cairo were influenced by works of WelWel and sheiK Ibrahim SulTan and activities of Osman Sabe. I am not sure of the specific biela bielow you are talking about, but both fathers (welwel and Ibrahim) had a somewhat rocky relationship with the people who lead the revolution up until the mid eighties. They assumed their elderly position till the end, both calling for unity. Therfore, their story tells you they were there before the big bang, Ethiopian rulers know their roles, but they have to paint the revolution as instigated by Arab petrodollar. Wasn’t Woldeab targeted by Ethiopian agents, long before 1961, more than 7 times, resulting in bodily harms and wasn’t he forced to exile by Ethiopia?

      • Semere Andom

        Hi Mahmuday:
        You can also tell dawit about the moving speech/letter Welwel wrote as Ibrahim Sultan’s eulogy, “Yzkereka do”.
        Dawt, the Eritrean who was Eritrean before Eritreans knew they were Eritreans does not seem to know the solid unity between the founding fathers during the turbulent epoch between Muslims and Christians and how they committed their lives not only to the struggle but the unity and to the shunning of the divide between Muslims and Christians. Although I believe that later the divide was widened and used by IA to get the MenkaE by planting paranoia in the Muslims (different subject) but the point is our people remained united from the beginning despite the temptations by different quarters. I am critical of the Eritrean people as you know but one thing I am proud of about them is the bigots at least when I was growing up among them was very rare and the fact that the armed struggle that was sparked in the low lands by a Moslem caught like a wild fire among the highlanders and Christians, without whom the struggle could not have concluded to victory, a victor that dawit insults by his canonization of the criminals in the PFDJ and DIA, is an enduring testament of the trust that existed between
        You can also tell/remind the man who in the beginning created the Ethiopian and Eritrean identities , dawit about how Haile DeruE , now suffering from diabetic and blind in Ela-Ero how he practiced the “sefa”(chewing tobacco) to train his body for the ultimate joining of the struggle that was dominated by the Muslims. This is a testimony by his friend and school mate Amar W.
        Dawit true to his PFDJ pedigree is trying to widen the cleavage that IA created when he splintered and wrote Nihan Elamanan to paint ELF a Muslim front who slaughtered Christians. ELF was dominated both in its ranks and files and leadership by High Landers and Christians.

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Hala Y Abu sem
          Now, let this be clear:
          1. You passed Eritrean history ( I though your study didn’t go past Akheiba tekhli)
          2. ms dawit aytebaeseni, you are on your own.
          3. Hands off of the legendary EPLF; I don’t care about PIA, DIA, IA, CIA, WAAY-Ane,…EPLF belongs to Hafash, if you are not proud of that then you got nitrickay. Before that, though, you have an hour to repent (Hsebelu ikha, nab lbkha temeles).
          4. One thing is clear ( I have a say, one day, about NHnan Elamana, a poorly prepared manuscript of a young man, yet an original one, the only original attributable to IA, our beloved leader), back to the topic; check this out:
          In mid 1960s brave young students broke the psychological barrier of those days and joined what many (mostly rural and ill-informed Kebesites) thought was a band of bandits lead and composed of Muslims. They joined, and guess what? They were given proportional access to power and scholatship. When the time came to disperse the liberation army to Zonal operations, they gave our christian brothers their share (5th Zone). With the increase of Haileselassie atrocities, specifically targeting Muslim villages, in late 1960s, ELF leadership did not rise to the occasion in checking their combatants feelings. Many Muslim leaders were angry at what the comandos, who where mainly composed of the christian sector, were doing and overeacted in treating their christian comrades. The leadership of that time ( of which IA was a member) should have educated the combatants that Hailesselasie and not the poor peasant commandos who was responsible of the atrocities. We cannot forget what those brave brothers faced, who had no crime but the will to fight for their people. That black spot needs to be researched. However, that same ELF was later swelled with cjristian compatriots; until this time they are fiercest defenders of that organization. That shows you we are past that experience. Both organizations remain to be respected by the majority of Eritreans; anything else is done for narrow political scores.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Mahmuday:
            When I said the meeting of Tekli I was talking about how the Eritrean history is taught now under PFDJ. Actually I I heard that if you jsut listen Wedi Tukul’s and Senai Debesai’s “Lemin Leminay you can ace the Eritrean history with flying colors 😉
            I think the Zonal arrangement was geninuis because 5 years ago you cannot send Aslamay to Kebesa and expect a good result given what HS was doing and you cannot just send “Hibishtay” to low lands and expect to mobilize the people. About the comandis, I agree. But ELF quickly became a National Front and the Christians flocked to it and they dominated all arenas of the organization due to their demography, they learned Arabic and the culture of the Moslems and when the ELF was on the cusp of an other transition, the alliance of killers came swinging. I do not believe ELF destroyed itself. It was like a government in the field and everyone was a member of the single party and when you talk to the former ELF tegadalti they are more articulate, less arrogant, open to ideas and debate to the calm, less bigoted, way way, way less vulgar if they have to be than their counter part EPLF tegadalty. My only beef about former ELF tegadalti whether they are relatives or acquaintances is their almost universal lack of regret for not using the no hold bars with IA and his group, the same way he was determined to eliminate them and they tell you that because he had dangerous agenda by playing the Christian card, they did not want alienate the entire Kebesa and Christians. It back fired. They tell you, “nIsaias miqtal qelili eyu neru, gin fitah aykonen”
            about dawit, I am just saying take him under your wing to mentor him, if he is humble enough like Nitrikay to be under your wing. But do not let go Nitricc yet “ymetsa eyne eten zey abeay hansab hansab’, please do not translate this for him 🙂

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Sem A the Hfoonay (TH)
            I think we both have agreed on pre-1970. You just spoil the moment with your “alliance of killers.” Saay asked you to describe that coined word and here we are waiting. Please slow down your swagger, and sing: ሻዕብየት ጠወረት፡ እስትዕማር ኣፍገረት፡ —–ኣራዲ ዎ ሻዕባ ሓረረት. History needs some reflection and deep appreciation of the circumstances which had come to make it.
            On ELF tegadelti, I have the same feelings; Although I don’t forgive you for representing tegadelti shaebia as more vulgar, bigoted, hot tempered compared to their ELF counterparts. You will have to explain a lot of things Sem.
            Mentoring Nitrickay and dawit? Come on now; these guys are their own league, my buddy. I learn a lot from them as much as I learn from you. (Ehmmm..I am acting like a big brother these days)!! ይኽደነና።

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Abu Humed:

            Ok, I will sing the lines in deference to my older brother, “ayay teg/ Wedi Saleh and I am not being fecacious, but minus ሻዕባ ሓረረት.. Am I being spoiled brat expecting the rule of law in silver plate as I say about what the romantics say about the de-romantics?

            The history you and I disagree with is recent history just a few years older than I. The raw data, the people (etome zweAlu) are still alive despite the attempt to silence and burry them. You are one of them and I challenge you to write about it. You left Eritrea that you bled for without asking for a penny. You did your part that much I know and we cannot ask you to do more but you have the wherewithal the talent, the means to write and tell your story truly without sparing the feeling of those who will be hurt by the truth. I will be one of your readers. I am not only a fan/hobbitst of Tigrayit and Arabic but of history too, especially Eritrean history

            Mahmuday: the alliance of killers applies to a select people in the leadership who were killing just for the sake of it, not that I support killing Eritreans for dissenting. I do not understand why you guys this does not bother you? and it even bothers me more when I talk to former EPLF fighters they reply with their famous line , “sewra deqa eya tibeliE”, almost with beaming face. Why is that hard to understand/admit that the dark history has direct impact in our current predicament. The “alliance of killers” refers to those who fooled many who were paying dearly with their lives and playing God with the lives of innocent Eritreans be it fighters or even civilians. You agree with me that PFDJ and DIA hijacked Eritrea but I go further EPLF hijacked that burning yearning a long time ago, PFDJ was the completion of that shadow, let us call it “ምልኣተ ‘ቲጭውያ”
            If you have listened to the interview with Amb. Andebrhan about how he locked heads with IA and what he considered to be betrayal of the promise, ok I am impressed that he was trying to implement the rule of law in every assignment he was appointed to, but I am not impressed that he was expecting IA to keep his promise.
            There were people who figured IA long time ago and they organized clandestinely.They were the likes of btsay Goitom Berhe. What I came to know is that this group were this close to completing the democratic coup on IA and his “Alliance of Killers Co, that close that when Goitom was arrested IA feared that the deeply entrenched group my retaliate and he did not kill Goitom for a long time, until he was sure they arrested every member. You were there you can enlighten me. Call me a revisionist, history is important, if you do not know it, you are doomed to repeat it said someone who was much smarter than I am. A successful commodities investor, Jim Roger, who retired at the age 37 was asked by a young aspiring student for his advice of a field of study to be a success in investor, Mr.Roger without skipping a beat replied,: Study history.
            I find it disturbing the almost shunning of history from every EPLF tegadalai I talked so far, and this attitude has leaked to the youth.
            Now during our heated debate you always insinuate and many others that those of us who are very critical of the Ghedli take how hard it was and we lack the appreciation that is not true. I witnessed first hand when I visited that to be tegadalai is very hard even without the carnage of the war, maiming and death. I know that just o live in Hishskib is not for the faint of hearts. Collecting wood to burn fire when smoke blinds your eyes “Eufffff, Eufffff”, the skies of Sahel that does not rain even with “mihlela”, decides dribble when it smels the whiff of your fire as if to deliberately complicate life for you. The dribbles that does not give life even to a single straw successfully extinguishes the fire that gave life to with your tears. You start all over again, “tsnAt” under your belt. Fetching water, enduring the heat that the shining sun generously bestows onto the rocks, which amplify it by reflecting it back alone is a challenge. And I cannot even begin to imagine what war, bombing and daily death will require in terms of tenacity, guts and patience. So those who were enduring these with a smile in their faces, the “alliance of killers does not apply to them, only to DIA and the un repenting PFDJ would say that about those tegadalti, who I had pleasure to meet. among them my loved ones.
            And I belive that Eritrea is still run by what I call “The Alliance of killers”, some of them faced the “edit tsenahit shenahit” but that alliance still looms high and they may reign for a long time, they we were handling our affairs and they may sneak in the cracks of the democratic coup, their fate, future and is very survival is at steak and they will not let go that easilty

      • dawit

        First of all Ilike thank you for taking you time to respond to my enquiry. You were the only
        one who had the courage to responded, may be that explain the difference
        between pseudo tegadalelti who make loud noises here at AT and a true tegadali
        who shares his knowledge and experience calmly.

        Dear Muhamud, I did not questioned the lifelong contribution
        and dedication of Abotatna WelWol and Sheik Ibrahim Sultan or our gallant leader
        Osman Sabe. They were the anchors of Eritrean National Struggle from day one. I
        was referring to specific moment of our history on launching the armed struggle.
        As I wrote in my piece, this was what I heard it from a friend recently and I
        wanted to know the fact. Of course you answered it in general but not quite to
        my satisfaction, and I will search for the truth till I find it.

        If Abona Woldeab and Ibrahim had refused to join the ELM because of
        tactical difference or rocky relationship they had with the organizers ,
        I would say it was a grave tactical error on the part of our esteemed fathers,
        because it has lead us to the long civil wars that we engaged ourselves
        throughout the armed struggle even to this moment. The enemies of Eritrean
        independence and unity of our people of yesterday prolonged our sufferings, and
        even today the enemies of Eritrean unity and independence exploiting it.

        .I want to copy what you wrote in response to Semere (Halefko); who always
        volunteer to support anyone who is engaged inexchanges with dawit. I follow
        to read two groups of opinion writers at AT, some I read it for entertainment
        Semer’s falls on that group other I read thembecause I learn something from
        their writings such as Mahmud. (I wish AT has aseparate section for those who like to entertain)

        “In mid 1960s brave young students broke the psychological barrier of those days
        and joined what many (mostly rural and ill-informed Kebesites) thought was a
        band of bandits lead and composed of Muslims. They joined, and guess what? They
        were given proportional access to power and scholatship. When the time came to
        disperse the liberation army to Zonal operations, they gave our christian
        brothers their share (5th Zone). With the increase of Haileselassie atrocities,
        specifically targeting Muslim villages, in late 1960s, ELF leadership did not
        rise to the occasion in checking their combatants feelings. Many Muslim leaders
        were angry at what the comandos, who where mainly composed of the christian
        sector, were doing and overeacted in treating their christian comrades. The
        leadership of that time ( of which IA was a member) should have educated the
        combatants that Hailesselasie and not the poor peasant commandos who was
        responsible of the atrocities. We cannot forget what those brave brothers
        faced, who had no crime but the will to fight for their people. That black spot
        needs to be researched. However, that same ELF was later swelled with cjristian
        compatriots; until this time they are fiercest defenders of that organization.
        That shows you we are past that experience. Both organizations remain to be
        respected by the majority of Eritreans; anything else is done for narrow
        political scores”

        There is nothing I can add or subtract to the above brief true statement of our history.
        Let me add few of my historical observation from watching on the sideline.
        I believe towards the middle of 1967
        (July-August) a group Eritrean fighter left the organization Jebha and
        surrender themselves to Ethiopia, and that was fully exploited to demoralize
        the Eritrean Christian population enforcing the propaganda of the ‘Aslam,
        shifta’, which more or less freeze the christian highlanders support to the
        liberation struggle. The number defectors increased and that might have put to
        mistrust the few remaining fighter who demanded reform within the organization,
        the organization tried to reform, but the reform was not fast enough I.e
        according to historical record of ‘Nihnan Elamanan’, Jebha splited in to various
        factions some based on religious bases and others in regional bases. Three of
        splinter group banded together and formed EPLF a formal split of Eritrean
        Struggle that may have started at the inception of ELF. The news organizations
        start to write on their headlines about the two fronts, one supported by
        Christians and the other by Moslems. I will stop here and wait to your opinion on
        Nihinan Elamanan the historical document that played a leading role in shaping
        the direction of Eritrean Struggle for Independence.

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Hey dawit;

          Thanks man. Yes, I would really be interested to
          know if that really happened (if they refused to be included in the launching leadership, but don’t forget Welwel was involved and stayed close to Sabe, although not in an official capacity. One correction: I was referring to the tactical differences between
          those who had lead ELM and those who started the armed struggle, not between
          the two fathers and ELF leaders. Here again, there might have existed differences, just for clarification. As you know ELM (Hareka/maHber 7) was active
          in less violent political activities until much later; while ELF was an armed
          organization. The rest of your comment is similar to what I have been taught
          and read. Again, care is needed to also listen to the other side. For instance,
          how do ELF highlanders see those accounts brought in nHnan Elamanan. I’m always
          keen to hear how ELF narrates some of the controversial anecdotes, and I usually come out of such discussions surprised. There is variations in the nature and /or the severity of the
          accounts. So, I advise EPLF followers to learn as much as possible from ELF’s
          side and ELF’s folks from EPLF camp. Whether we like it or not, when Eritreans
          joined those organizations, they had only one consideration: liberating
          Eritrea. Our bad experience should not blind us from appreciating the
          sacrifices of our martyrs on all fronts. These types of efforts should be done with the intent of learning history, not for organizational revival. That era is behind us, anyway.

          I appreciate your words regarding my stands and

          Oh, on the document nHnan Elamanan, it’s an idea; but it won’t be in the immediate future.

          • dawit

            Dear Mahmudai,
            Thank you again for your kind response. I feel Eritrea is like a ship sailing on the ocean,
            heading for a safe harbor. The ship is steered by several captains, whose hand
            rest on the rudder, some have firm grip on the steering wheel or the rudder, others
            may put their fingers trying to help the ship to withstand the turbulent storm of the ocean..
            In this regard every tegadali, belonging to ELF, PLF or EPLF had contributed to
            the effort to bring the ship to a safe shelter harbor of “Independence”. The
            Eritrean ship is not in the middle of the ocean anymore, but resting at safe
            harbor, but still there are clouds hovering on the sky, that can bring violent
            storm and may damage the ship. I feel there are millions of Muhamuds inside and
            outside the country working hard and watching for the safety of the ship
            Eritrea I am confident Eritrea will reach its ultimate destination of peaceful, democratic and developed safe harbor.

            I picked the following passage from internet source that interested me,
            I thought you might like it and copied it share it to my fellow Eritreans to
            reflect on our past journey and contemplate our future and our country.

            There are times when I feel
            like I’m on a boat floating down a turbulent stream. The Present rapidly
            turning into the past and the future always being the present. By the time I
            get a chance to glance at the shore line beside me it’s already behind me and
            what is ahead goes by me too fast for me to enjoy. We travel through time in
            one direction and at a pretty good speed. Though it may seem too fast at times
            I have learned to cherish the moment at hand far more than the moments gone or
            yet to be had.

            There are times I look backward
            too long and miss the present and I find myself missing the wondrous things the
            present had in store for me. Other times I had looked too far ahead and found
            my course had been altered by the streams current. I have learned to cherish
            the moment at hand and focus on today and keep my hand on the rudder at all
            times. I no longer linger in the past nor do I worry about the future like I
            used to. I still plan for the future and remember the lessons of the past
            though. I just don’t let them get in the way of living my life or experiencing
            the here and now.

            We all are time travelers,
            Traveling through the present into the future at a pretty good pace. We must
            keep our hands on the rudder and learn to live in the here and now. Worry not
            about the future it will become what we make of it in the present and worry not
            of the past for it has long been gone”.

            Raymond Barbier



    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear dawit,

      Going back to 1961 will only teach you good lessons. The problem will start from 1970, right after EPLF’s birth. Else, it was a fabricated defamation though I will not be surpised when you bring your Nihnan Nisun allegation.

      From what I learned, Abona Ato Woldeab Woldemariam was an educator, agitator and orginzer of all activities that took place in Eritrea or in Cairo. If you deny that he was not broadcasting Radio program from Cairo, and if you deny that ELF was first established in 1960, then, you are nothing but a worshiper of Nuhnan Elamanan.


      • dawit

        If you real want to learn your history open your mid to read and understand for yourself. Repeating some jargon you heard is not knowledge. I bet you have not read Nihnan Elamanan document. TES I read your writings here at AT as an entertainment . I wish AT created ‘Entertainments Section” for people like you and Semere.

        • Tesfabirhan WR

          Dear dawit,

          It is good that mine is entertaining you. Through entertainment only the minds of like you can be educated. Thanks for saying this.

          To your attention, I read your trashy comments to see your ignorance. And I respond you to show how much ignorant and dump follower you are. Oh my God, you are betting as if I don’t read your bible. I wish I didn’t. I wish such satanic manifesto didn’t pollute our history. Unfortunately, through your bible (Nihnan Elamanan) that I came to learn how awful doctrine you guided with.

          May your redemption be soon here by Awate Forumers from your ignorance. You know why I am hoping this? It is simply because I love you as human being.


  • Fnote Selam

    BTW, ‘Rit-les’ is as old and synonymous as Sawa. Just ask any 1st round national service member….

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear AT,

    Oh my God, you have revealed a big secret. “It is possible the disease is caused by expired or contaminated medication. If that is the case, the medicine must have been given only to women, “because it could have been medications that only women can take.” I was in Sawa in 2001 and it was not uncommon to see women affected by ‘lewit’ And worse, the militry teachers treat it as psychological self-imposed escaping mechanism and hence are not allowed to take permission for medical treatment.

    This news must reach every where. WHO should come and respond. I have seen ladies walking “Lewit” but I never guesed as such. The cause is now revealed, it is the medication in which all ladies in Eritrea are almost taking these days.

    Three possible hypothesis

    1. Due to shortage of electric supply and most of the time being off, the storage condition of that medicine might not be met and hence changes its property.

    2. Sawa is harsh environoment and those women who take the medicine can be exposed immediately to non recommended weather condition

    3. The medicine can be expired.

    Thank you for bringing this to the public attention.


    • Fnote Selam

      I don’t think ‘Rit-les’ is related to expired medicine . I think it is physical manifestation of mental anxiety/stress, possibly magnified by hormonal changes.

      • Fnote Selam

        It usually goes away by itself when the patient is allowed to rest.

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear Fnote Selam,

        What I know that Eritrean women who go to Sawa and those at colleges take a regular vacacination. My students were doing that. I didn’t have any idea why they do it but it is a king of national campaign.

        Here is what I googled on youtube to get what dysonia is:

        And look at this video:

        Coontemplate please. If it is true, it is a national threat and we need to combat by all means we can.


  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    As mentioned in your article above, the PFDJ’s women’s organization’s planned festival in the city of Göppingen is being held in a hangar. The organizers of the event went as far as lying to the media recently when they came to claim they were not the PFDJ arm in the diaspora (Read). It was also previously reported that they invited the Mayor of the city to partake in their dictator worship inside the hangar, that will likely be surrounded by riot police, and he declined promptly. As many justice seekers work incredibly hard to humiliate and deny space the PFDJ, the limelight to sell its rotten image as popular, many people still misunderstand the purpose (or the tactical relevance to the struggle) of such confrontational engagements between justice seekers and regime operatives here in the diaspora.

    The particular approach of presenting an alternative narrative is actually indispensable to the struggle for justice and democracy. By holding such festivals, the regime is mainly attempting to write a falsified narrative that its policies are supported and its hold to power legitimate and popular. The justice seekers on the other hand would come to the scene, and do everything possible to humiliate, terrify and throw off course the regime operatives to write the opposite narrative that its attempt was challenged by popular resistance. There is no other way such a message can be communicated than by taking a direct route of challenging the events. Holding an alternative opposition event is not relevant to the issue or objective on hand. The goal here is to deny the regime the grounds to claim it is supported by people. Such is a dangerous propaganda feed that reinforces its oppressive rules and undermine the possibility of emboldening the masses to break the silent suffering. It can only be achieved by direct engagement head on.

    To get a summary of the way the concept works, if you are pressed for time, you can get Wikipedia summary (Here). If you’re the type with deep thirst for original knowledge, then you can read the whole book (Here).

    In both cases, you would appreciate why the regime doggedly spends so much time and resource to hold such useless gatherings that are often only attended by the elderly (ghedli era) supporters or those with personal gain as operatives or indirect beneficiaries of the crimes against the Eritrean people.

    May I wish total victory to the justice seeking forces gathering to face off the dictator and its nut cases in the city of Göppingen. Below is the map of the battlefield 🙂

  • AOsman


    The issue of walking backward was known before 2007, you can see it mentioned in the following comedy clip @1:40. The big man DIA was laughing, while the issue was affecting many young girls.


  • Fnote Selam

    It is also called ‘lewit’ as in switch from one posture or marching position to another. It is usually accompanied by incessant hiccup which lead the to the gross and disgusting joke ppl used to make…(ሰዓት ዊሒጣ)።