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A Notch Up in Eritrea’s Struggle For Liberty and Justice

Circumstances surrounding a student-led public protest that took place in the Eritrean capital, Asmara on October 31, 2017, were lauded by many citizens as a historical event that marks the beginning of an end of one of the modern world’s ugliest tyrannies. Accounts of the protest were extensively reported by opposition websites and radio stations and covered on social media. Reviewing these reports and piecing together facts and figures presented therein yield a fairly-complete picture of the sociopolitical factors that gave rise to the protest, the nature of the protest and the role it played in fueling popular anti-regime sentiments.

It is important to note that in the weeks following the reporting and initial analysis of the event, a great deal more has been written, said and done not only to express support for the public protest but to analyze how it all might impact the struggle for democratic change. To be sure, the Al-Diaa School protest and its implications for Eritrea’s political dynamics will continue to take center stage in the broader discourse and activism of the opposition movement for some time to come. As such, no amount of sustained political agitation (in the form of write-ups, debates, seminars, demonstrations, etc.) that nurtures such activism would be too much or too late for advancing the national cause of liberty and justice.

The democracy movement would stand to gain by continuing to state and restate the facts and observations around the protest for the benefit of the ‘silent majority’ specially the uninformed, the misinformed and the wavering lots among them. Those facts also ought to provide a basis for envisioning the sociopolitical path the country is likely to take and for adjusting the priorities and strategies of the movement accordingly. In line with this outlook, the present article attempts to focus on aspects of the protest and examine what they may portend for the future of the struggle.

PFDJ-government’s Anti-religion Campaign

Sensibly, the nature and significance of the October 31 protest must be viewed within a proper historical context, lest one be misled by misinformation and outright propaganda that unsavory characters have been spreading. It is worth noting that the PFDJ-regime’s heavy-handed intrusion into the affairs of Al-Diaa Islamic School in the Akhriya District of Asmara is only the latest in a long series of measures it has taken to control and weaken religious institutions in the country. The regime launched its anti-religion campaign in the early years of its rule by banning various religions long practiced in the country and proceeding to imprison their leaders and many of their followers. With time, not even the four government-sanctioned religions in the country were spared its malice. One by one they too became victims of its harsh treatment which included an appropriation of revenues, confiscation of property, arbitrary dismissal or imposition of top religious leaders, imprisonment of members of the clergy and their forced conscription into the National Service Program.

Focusing attention on the disturbing problem of government assault on religious schools reveals that the Al-Diaa case is hardly an isolated occurrence. Indeed, none of the presently-functioning religions has been exempted from the regime’s evil agenda of undermining their social and economic foundations as a prelude to relegating them to oblivion. It is in keeping with this very agenda that the regime shut down a Catholic Seminary in Asmara a few weeks ago and arrested its administrators for resisting directives to hand over the institution. Likewise, the main Tewahdo Orthodox Church in the capital is presently grappling with similar order to transfer a church-run school to government control. The regime has thus been truly a non-discriminating in its hostility toward religious institutions – hostility borne out of fear and hatred of the ideals and principles they stand for.

School Children ‘Showing the Way’

According to news reports, the Al-Diaa School crisis developed out of sustained pressure that the government exerted on the School Board to eliminate cultural and religious elements/guidelines from the contents and administration of the school’s academic program. Having apparently reached an impasse in its negotiations with the regime on these issues, the school board finally rejected the regime’s demands as unacceptable. It then held a meeting with parents to report on its dealings with the government during which its highly-respected, patriotic president gave an impassionate speech imploring attendees to stand up for their rights to run their school in a way that best satisfies their needs. The following day, board members found themselves in jail for having engaged in these activities.

In opposition to government interference in the school’s affairs and demanding the release of their school officials, the Akhriya community moved to stop a hateful regime from trampling on its collective rights and interests. What is even more impressive is the fact that this unprecedented community-action was spearheaded by the district’s youngest residents. Students of the besieged school assembled at their campus to organize and stage a protest march and take their outrage to the doorsteps of the powers that be. Their courage became evident before they even left their premises where they were confronted by an armed contingent (of militia and police) dispatched to confine the gathering to the school compound. Yet they managed to break through the encirclement!

Regrouping after the brief melee and witnessing their ranks swell with parents and teachers, the students took to the streets equipped with a bullhorn and “armed” with sticks and rocks. As the march reached the city center, however, protesters faced gun-wielding troops who did not hesitate to fire live ammunition into the air. The resulting barrage of gunfire broke up the demonstration and was followed by phased arrests of hundreds of demonstrators and other residents of Akhriya District throughout the week. And so, it came to pass that a courageous Akhriya community managed to accomplish what no other community has ever been able to do in post-independence Eritrea!

Partisan Reactions to the Public Protest

As expected, the PFDJ-regime and its supporters abroad did not waste time in their attempt to avert further unrest by putting a spin to the Al-Diaa incident and giving it a slant intended to thwart democratic change. In their characteristically treacherous ways, they tried to ascribe Islamist motives to a public protest that was indisputably triggered by government violation of citizen rights. Their aim was to sow fear and mistrust as instruments for suppressing potential popular uprisings inside the country and undermining unity and solidarity within the opposition movement in the diaspora. Democratic forces must, therefore, vigorously fight the regime’s manipulative tactics and expose its divisive propaganda by continuing to detail the evidentiary facts of the October 31 protest.

The government harassment of Al-Diaa School does indeed tell a unique story; but certainly not in the sense that regime collaborators make it out to be. Contrary to their distortions, the public sentiment that the harassment provoked among the Akhriya community is not any different from emotions that were aroused in other affected communities when the regime took similar steps against schools run by other religions. In all cases, the public’s anti-regime sentiment was neither partisan nor religion-specific; rather, it was one driven by people’s universal instinctual desire to protect their civil and democratic rights. What made the Al-Diaa case unique was, therefore, the community’s courage to have given voice to that sentiment by standing up to power; it is the heroic defense of democratic rights against the onslaught of tyranny which, for various reasons, other communities had passively succumbed to in similar previous situations.

A Sober Look into the Future

The Akhriya community not only collectively and publicly expressed their rejection of unwarranted government imposition, but did so carrying objects that symbolized their determination to rally support for their cause and fight back for their rights as citizens. These events have undoubtedly awakened a population long gripped in fear and heralded the end of the era of apathy and passivity.

After the Al-Diaa event, there can no longer exists a need for speaking in hypotheticals of what must be done to embolden the population and how to shake the confidence, shatter the invincibility, expose the weaknesses and challenge the authority of the tyrannical regime in Eritrea. In unison, Sheik Mussa Mohamed Noor, the Akhriya community he represented as their elder and president of their school board and especially the district’s youngsters have shown the rest of the populace “how it is done” and offered them a prototype of an effective political mass action they can model after.

Eritreans who agonize over their people’s subjugation to brutal tyranny and therefore struggle to restore liberty and justice in their homeland see the October 31 protest as a harbinger of their people’s emancipation and their nation’s salvation. They are too realistic and mission-focused to be distracted by the dwindling few who have been enslaved by their self-interests to defend the status quo. October 31 has amply shown that, for the ailing homeland that BOTH groups profess to love, things have changed yet they have remained the same: The split of political forces into pro-regime and anti-regime camps is too deeply entrenched to have been shifted by the public protest. Yet that very event has invigorated the latter group by injecting hope and wisdom into its democracy movement. The bottom line is that ‘the struggle continues!’ and seems to be poised to culminate in the inevitable triumph of the forces of liberty and justice.

About Yohannes Zerai

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[Editor’s note: Reflections is Beyan Negash’s new column. He selected, edited and presents the following …

  • Berhe Y

    Hi Hope,

    Simple. All these problems are not in our control.

    You can only do what’s in your control, then the rest will fall into places.

    Such as:

    Implement constitution
    Release prisoners
    Open free / private media
    Limit national services
    Open for business / investors
    Reconciliation etc.
    President resign / transfer power etc.

    In other words, build peace with ourselves.


  • RufaelW

    Selam Hope, you said: “I ask you to refrain from regurgitating the same litany/blames,excuses we have heard about the negative role of the we have had enough of it.”
    How come you just regurgitated the same excuses ‘that we have had enough of it’.. to borrow your phrase. A doctor would worry about the things that could kill you, more so than the things that would affect your looks. It is a matter of priority. It’s like a podiatrist or a dentist would worry about the body parts when infact the patient is dying of a heart attack. It’s not the occupation of Bademe that is the cause of the youth’s exodus, the non-implementation of the constitution or the absence of sensible governance. Your concerns listed can’t be serious other than that they are EXCUSES. Must we say this a thousand times?

  • Da Yo

    Hello Hope,

    I definitely agree. We shouldn’t have free speech–why should we let people like Da Yo say their piece. We should instead ram down the throats of our people slogans like ‘We are one’, ‘No one will divide us’, ‘One heart, one beat’ because you know our are people are gullibly and given the slightest chance they will tear each other to pieces. We should do all the thinking for them now and until they are matured enough to handle case that things like free speech might bring up– like the things this Da Yo has been saying. Look at what’s his name news– that tesfa guy– the minute he sees something he doesn’t like, he deletes, he censors– I think this website is owned by woyane. Why do they let him say the things he’s been saying? I’m glad you noticed Hope. keep up the good work– we can’t let these children hear the kind of treasonous things like he’s been saying. We have killed and imprisoned people for saying a lot less than this. If we ever find him, you know what we’ll do to him, right Hope? BTW do you know if he has family back home– we should confiscate whatever they own and put them in jail. Maybe that will shut him up. What do you think?

    Da Yo

  • Da Yo

    Hello Hope,

    When it comes to politics, everything is fair game. Why wouldn’t tplf and Ali Salim try to break the backbone of the Highlander? If the backbone of PFDJ is the christian highlander, that’s who’s back they must brake. If I were you, I would think the sensible question to ask Ali Salim would be, how different does he think things would have been under some muslim dictatorship? I personally would agree with him that PFDJ dictatorship doesn’t smell and feel like muslim dictatorship.

    • blink

      Dear Dayo
      As You know most of the muslim opposition leaders especially the old once were part of ELF and what they did with ELF was turning the Organization in to a muslim party and a muslim based party would have done what Muslim party are doing all over the world. You can look at the trails of Brotherhood and others ,But how could they be like that ? they have no means to do that in Eritrea because almost most muslims Eritreans are not loyal to the old playing book or religion based rules . Do you forget how the jehadists lost the game in 1995 ? These islamists have no base because the experience of the Eritrean people was and is more than Ali salim small world. I think destroying religious based political party must be destroyed at any price.

      The inventory of people like ali salim is the last residual of that old one and it will die soon.

      • Da Yo

        Hello blink,

        I agree 100%. I don’t want anything to do with politics that mixes itself with religion. But the ones that do (christians or muslim ), we should actually encourage them to come out and tell us about the Eritrea they envision. Maybe people like you and me could learn something. We have nothing to lose by listening.

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Da Yo,

      Does it feel like a Tewahdo dictatorship then? Can you give an example of a Tewahdo/Methodist/Adventist dictatorship in the world [using a holy book]?

      Muslim dictatorships are very rare because there are only Muslim paradises, I presume.

  • Yohannes Zerai

    Dear Hope,

    At the level of principle, your argument makes a lot of sense and your criticisms obviously have some validity. It would be unfair for me to try to speak for other forumers on this. But limiting myself to personal matters, I remember to have suggested in a couple of past debates on this forum that the opposition movement should conceptually address the national challenges we accuse the regime of having created, screwed up and/or neglected. But, I certainly am not going to try to hide behind this little gesture and deny guilt for not having written anything that attempted to speak to any one of those challenges.

    That said, we have to climb down from the skies of perfection and deal with the crude realities of life on the ground. The extent to which an honest political critique is able to balance criticism of failures with acknowledgements of accomplishments is dependent on both the PERFORMANCE and ATTITUDE of the system/government that is the subject of the assessment. Unfortunately, what we really have in the country is a president/regime whose belligerence, lawlessness and underhandedness are adept at creating crises; and whose diktat, arrogance and rigidity are foolproof in their ability to perpetuate those crises. Given these hard facts, one must be either a saint (infinitely forgiving) or a moron (full of stale thinking) to spend time and effort searching for little things, if any at all, that the president and his regime can be credited for!

    When you have a president who publicly uses the term “scum of society” to refer to the hundreds of thousands of young people who continue to flee their country to escape his brutal rule; a president who, having brought international sanctions upon the country through his recklessness, ensures its continuation by refusing to adhere to universally accepted UN compliance verification procedures — when you have a president of that type, you do not prowl the world in search of “external enemies” to blame for your self-created troubles. You work relentlessly to remove the system responsible for creating them.

    I agree with you that the affairs/conditions/impacts that you have listed in your comment indeed constitute challenges that seriously impeded the country’s socio-economic development and progress. But as serious as they are, they pale in their effect by comparison to the fatal existential threats that the actions/decisions/policies of the leader and his regime pose to the country. So, as much as we would love to see the country’s problems and challenges wiped out in one sweep, we are too realistic to expect that such could ever happen! We thus logically give precedence — neither do we have the luxury of alternatives — to dealing with existential issues over addressing political and socio-economic challenges of the nation. The overarching mission is thus scrambling to help remove the regime before it could take the country and its people down the drain!

    As for your request urging me “to refrain from regurgitating the same litany/blames,excuses …”, there already is NO regurgitating going on here and there will not be any in the future. Rather, what has really been going on is that we happen to be dealing with an evolving situation and so events/situations are being analyzed, information is being exchanged, ideas are being debated, understanding is being expanded, positions are being formulated and consensus is being built — all SLOWLY, BUT SURELY. I think we both agree that none of these activities can be characterized as regurgitation.

    Thank you.

  • Ismail AA

    Selam Yohannes,
    I was absent for some days ( a week or two actually) and have just seen your excellent article that it is so well written and thoroughly thought out to allow a space for negative criticism and provide sufficient reason for admiration. You have added an essential aspect to the appraisal, defense and assessment of the Oktober 31 A

  • Thomas

    Hi Nitricc,
    I thought you left for good. Welcome back again as they say “habesh/Abesha tesfa aikortm”😀😀 I know you lost Everything here & cried so hard for weeks, right? It is ok you have hope to second you now. People have finally seen your real colors. No one takes what write here seriously anymore. Keep writing your useless comment & get the satisfaction as much….

  • Da Yo

    Hello Tesfu,

    I wasn’t lynching anything. It was just me thinking out loud. Sorry if I offended anyone. I was just point out that the muslim is always the first to stick his neck out. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to say that without offending anyone? This site is for honest and open discussion, isn’t it?

  • said

    Thank you Yohannes Zerai .In view of the Fantastic Truth Most eloquently expressed.
    Promoting democracy and Fighting against Tyranny,
    Akhriya popular uprising solidly united Eritrean Muslims and Christians, angry demonstrations against Eritrean regime is courageous, Eritrean took part in angary protests, in many countries, This is not to mention the demonstrations in Canada ,US ,Berlin, London and elsewhere in Europe. in Eritrean in diaspora and directly protesting the closure of Al-Diaa School. this a new beginning, there was an extraordinary spirit of unity among Eritrean, true to the spirit and the anger felt true, honest and full of life.
    But There is evidence in some quarter in Eritrean community’s moral bankruptcy and indifference when approaching Eritrean light and perish and suffering, ignoring Eritrean cries for justice once again. What is even more distressing is the fact that this would not have been possible without the full support made by Eritrean intellectuals elite leadership to Asmara regime. their regime support consistently conflating with true aspiration of Eritrean dream, this false premise, these charlatan, they remain definitive to their juvenile and representing the less enlightened parts of Eritrea.
    Political trickeries is not new . But the fact and history stare them down. The seed was seeded long time ago during the struggle for Eritrean independence, The ante religious sentiment is part and parcel of EPLF/PFDJ policy Eritrean intellectual’s elite ideologues played big part ,those ideologues are poorly and falsely educated propagandists of the regime and collaborator with the IA Communist regime, a fanatical disposition they have sold Bolshevik and Maoist as convictions to their Eritrean poor naïve audiences. In the name of progress and not reading history well .The best of them are sold on this dangerous delusion of communism dream . The worst of them is, IA ruling Eritrea , He has no serious challengers .None of this is a surprise, nobody in the political elite of EPLF took IA seriously. That was a grave mistake and major political error. IA more unlikely ruthless politician. He would be the first in a long line of underestimated buffoons of the post communism and IA beginning start to unravel. A the face of this new political order and that seems to have become our present situation .
    But it raises the question of where Eritrea is heading, and how to deal with it. can go on for much longer. Binary, contradictory narratives about Eritrean are nothing new. State failed miserably .Add to this IA never appointing qualified a cabinet guided by the principle of inclusive meritocracy: not a single highly competent ministerial line-up of experts in their respective domains, no gender balance and regime ,regime is not representative of Eritrean. much explain the dismal state of the Eritrea and the total failure of IA Stalinist Communist, today he remains a deeply unpopular president. unelected tyrant dictator rules to perform his worst act. This simple historical fact goes to the ideologically sick mind of the godless communism system applied in Eritrea , is Couse of all of our suffering and proven self-defeating. ideologues ,they have no real interest in democracy and It has given steady complicity and benediction of mythical reversibility. Today the burden of that had fallen disproportionately on Eritrean intellectuals elite ideologues .They’d suffered the early consequences of the regime cruelty. Some with time gradually grew more and more disillusioned with the regime cruelty. Few publicly repented.
    That’s nonsense. Sigh and Eritreans feel much closer to western democracy than they do to the Chinese and Russians communism. communism ideological struggles have lost their relevance, Eritrean regime embrace it, IA identified a political opportunity on the communism and he squeaked into power with help of his core day hard ideologues.
    if Eritrean knew what they’d left behind and were fervent about where they were heading, they had little idea about the nature of the journey they were undertaking, Eritrean intellectual’s elite instead of being in the front run to create political vibrant parties and political institutions, to establish the basis for a market economy, and to build a proper civil society. liberal politics that would had delivered Eritrea to the promised land. but the opposite is true. These intolerant nationalists, Eritrean intellectuals have communism political philosophies and their illiberal policies and operate in Eritrean cultural contexts, but they all share one thing: an aversion to the democracy and liberal project. They are tarter and byturid their country and this was a ideologues delusion, leave Eritrea and many people behind . And this gargled back into that communism gibberish Eritrean ideology.
    In late 1960th and 70th and 80th . Eritrean politics have been marred with pity factional rivalry, at the expense of Eritrean, undermined by disunity and the cultivation of victimhood and reflecting powerlessness and humiliated Eritrean people, hardly anyone would have predicted the demise of all Eritrean fronts ,it roots of the travesty bestowed upon Eritrean people and to this day Eritrean dream that have never encapsulated the fundamentals of Eritrean demands; justice, democracy, freedom dignity and basic human rights. In the modern history of Eritrea, there had never been a Eritrean leadership more willing to one that would hold regime accountable for its crimes. We, Eritrean or many of us, have put all our eggs in one basket, the EPLF/PFDJ basket. despite all THE FACT that is recorded and clear signs and indications advising us against blindly supporting the regime and allowed ourselves to become very doing so Eritrean are paying the price. For too long, the signs were there.
    Eritrean want to live in a “normal” society, In 1991 Eritrea become independent, the chose was obvious to model .And transform Eritrea politics along the lines of that country’s like Japan in the 1950s and 1960s or like South Korea in the 1970s. In 1965, West Germany was already the wealthiest and most productive country in Europe. At time In 1991 Eastern Europe were leaving communism in drove and learned how to transform their economy and politics .
    In 1991, according to the World Bank’s figures, Hungary’s per capita gross domestic product was $3,333, Austria’s $22,356. By 2016, Hungary’s had risen to $27,481, while Austria’s stood at $48,004. In other words, though the gap had been narrowed considerably, as with other Eastern European countries — Poland ($27,764), Romania ($22,347), Bulgaria ($20,326) —
    For many Eritrean in diaspora “promoting democracy” and “fighting against tyranny,” is their objective . The beauty of the Twilight of Age, especially for those dedicated for justices and to an observant and inquisitive thinkers , and despite all the inevitable waning of a mortal’s faculties, is that all formalities and caveats of false appearances of niceties conforming to social conditioning seeking validation all Drop by the obvious ultimate realization, through accretion of huge mounds of wisdom of a long journey: “Why Make Weight to Fallible Mortals, Deficient, Immoral and Deeply Faulted?” I.e. the entire human race, past and present as well into the future are deeply faulted, fallible and misguided with narcissist vain and inflated self-aggrandizement. So, goes of me, not giving a hute, stating it as it is at the twilight of age in full commands of one’s faculties: ” in the name of independence PFDJ ruled , as an Exclusivist ethnos Chauvinistic ,Nationalist with communist Doctrine and many ethnic groups are not heavily represented and are powerless, restive underclass who have been marginalized, ignored and no political hope or reform from the brutal Eritrean dictatorship .All Eritrean are equally suffering from regime brutality. The independence of Eritrea is Anathema to Eritrean People, Christian and Muslim Religion and to Humanity’s March of History. Eritrean want a country for everyone and for everything, a country that represent every one and isn’t so tough on its people and to have harmony among its citizens . Now people aren’t just looking to the past, it’s about our present and future. Eritrean realise the needs to be able to choose its own future.

  • Da Yo

    Hi all,

    Almost 60 years ago, a muslim man fired the first shots and today a muslim clergy fires his shots. The christians are always a day late. What’s the deal with that? Maybe there is something to be learned here.

    • Fanti Ghana

      Selam Da Yo,

      You said something somewhere else yesterday to which I was contemplating responding to but life refused to cooperate, so here I am.

      You said that your disappointment with Eritrean government began when it failed to repatriate Eritrean refugees from the Sudan to which I strongly relate to. I had lived a very fast and intense a year plus in western Eritrea before I crossed over to the Sudan, and I was blessed enough to have spend most of my several years there among Eritrean refugees.

      When Eritrean government failed to realize the 1993 referendum as the perfect time to repatriate Eritreans everywhere and to use that momentum to reconcile past differences, which would have automatically became petty quarrels at most after independence, was when I seriously began to worry. As you can imagine, I made it personal in my part. To make matters worse, subsequent steps taken by the government also made all my predication regarding Eritrea false.

      However, what I want to say to you was to not ever give up, and here is why. If you take the last 75 years as starting point for Eritrea and its struggles, the nature of the struggle is getting smaller and narrower roughly every 25 years.

      The first 1/3rd of the struggle was how to stir clear of international powers who were poised to seal its fate. The second 1/3rd of the struggle became only against one neighboring country and it was more focused.

      The third 1/3rd obviously is a quarrel between the same family in the same household. Taken all together, the progress is undeniable, and there is the comfort of knowing that any current misery is a temporary one.

      Stay frustrated, but never give up!

      • Da Yo

        Selam Fanti Ghana,

        Well, I guess I will patiently wait for another 25 years. You make a good point. We made it through two-thirds of our problems and now all we have to do is just iron out some minor family quarrel and we’re good to go. That simple, huh?! One thing I have noticed throughout my life is we love to quarrel and we’re not the most forgiving type especially when it involves family. Maybe that’s just my family….But one thing we can count on without a doubt is that good ol’ misery, our best friend, is not going anywhere.

        Won’t stay frustrated, cause I’ve given up!

      • blink

        Dear Fanti
        This the extent of weyane spying muscle while people at home are hungry, why are you guys active on Eritreans issues than your own ? Is this because you love us or …., would not be ok to look inward then out ward ?

        • Fanti Ghana

          Selam blink,

          Watch out blink; Berhe Y may misinterpret your question for an attempt to deflect attention from PFDJ.

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Fanti,

            I guess my efforts from last week have paid off. At least Fanti instead of wasting time responding to him, it helped you see his objective.

            It doesn’t matter what you wrote came from Ethiopian and ERITREAN but you were making a point that the last 25 years under pfdj is the struggle Eritreans waging. You said 25 years, because every 25 years it appears the struggle wins the phase. And now are arezon that mark to defeat the PFDJ and reason for deflection:), save the PFDJ.

            Good job.


          • blink

            Dear Fanti
            That can be but what can he possibly say ? He has been all over still this is real news of the day with millions lost on spying individuals.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Fanti (you are my messenger),

            Now you care about money the Ethiopian government spend on software that use to spy people deemed opposition?

            You care about this, because of what ?

            Now compare that with the PFDJ offices world wide filled with their spy. PFDF offices abroad serve no purpose other than organizing festivals to Fijian even their spy operations. Let alone to help ERITREANS who are in need, they don’t even issue a single press statement.

            If Ethiopia breach its legal jurisdiction then this can be challenged legally. But it’s not uncommon to gather intelligence on individuals that deemed a threat.

            Off course blink know this very well, he is planted here to do exactly that:).


  • Fanti Ghana

    Selam Kibur Yohannes Zerai,

    There is an old story I heard many times about how one evil woman* accomplished a mutual annihilation of two villages.

    The story goes like this: A woman had an evil plan. She told village A that village B was arming to invade their village, and so they should get ready to defend it. Once successful with village A, she also rushed to village B and told them the same thing: village A was on its way to invade them.

    When both villages decided to preemptively attack the other, they met half way, and of course, it looked as the woman foretold it, and voila, the two villages annihilated one another. Imagine if only one of them took a chance and send a messenger either to verify the rumor or to attempt pacification.

    Akhria’s seven year olds miraculously caused mutual fear to become mutual strength. During this momentum, every Eritrean should remember the deep rooted desire for unity by generations of Eritreans culminated in 1952 with the historic phrase “aynfelalen.”

    That phrase, quite literally, gave birth to Eritrea. It is unimaginable any Eritrean willing to sacrifice for Eritrea would be unwilling to do the same for aynfelalen. The way I see it Eritrea = aynfelalen, period. In fact, why Eritrea’s national anthem is not named “aynfelalen” is beyond me.

    * Some feminist deki Adina may argue that paternalistic societies tend to associate negative or “evil” stories with women unfairly. I must agree. Although the story has been told as is for generations, there is no proof whatsoever that the messenger was actually a woman.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Fanti,

      The perspective you provided on a salient aspect of the Akhriya incident is as incisive as usual and I thank you for it. The moral of the story that you told in your comment and its implications for the public protest staged by the Akhriya community go right to the heart of the current “political struggle” between regime propagandists/apologists on the one hand, and the foot soldiers of the opposition movement on the other.

      The first group HOPES (privately) and CLAIMS (publicly) that the “Islamist motives” of the protest will earn the Akhriya community the fear and suspicion of their Christian counterparts. The second group KNOWS – for a fact – that the Akhriya protest was a turning point which saw passive citizens radicalized and timid activists emboldened among the Eritrean population – Muslim and Christian alike. Unlike the propagandists who have remained stuck with the events of October 31, pro-change and pro-democracy activists have moved on and are facilitating the transformation in the thinking of the majority Eritreans to bring about fundamental changes in the realities of the country.

      Thank you

    • AliSalim

      Selam Fanti, YZ and Byan,

      Wedi Zerai as always a fantastic read that instills a lot of hope and optimism. Although the argument is almost identical to Beyan’s beautiful piece, you always somehow manage to stir clear of the combative attitude that plagues most of us.

      I should have written the above separately for the two great writers but Fanti has his own ways of coming up stuff that squeeze the best out of the worst. Here he has Mr. or Madame Zeragi/t causing mayhem. As simple as the parable is, his call is for all to rise above the mess.

      Of course Fanti’s solution is just as good as any other. It may be the best in some circumstances where a no-war no-peace solution is optimal. The parable is built on some form of prisoner’s dilemma. Because of extreme mistrust and a blockage of communication to verify gossip, the two villages eventually settle for the worst choice. Just like the interrogators are the only line of communications in jail the gossip master is the only link here.

      Ideally a prisoner’s dilemma works under the assumption that both parties have a shared interest in some challenge and are better off trusting each other and cooperating than competing. How would it work if we assumed that what relates the two villages is a competition over resources and that each village’s optimum solution is achieved if it manages to crush the other village and claim the whole cake?

      Some of the solutions may include a scenario where the two villages declare themselves as two separate and equal blocks and split the cake in half. Unless the populations sizes are equal in both, at least one of the villages will end up with lower percapita cake than the other. The may alternatively all join and consider themselves as one block and split the cake as separate but equal individual citizens. Here too those who would have had a bigger share percapita under the two-block solution will end up with a smaller share.

      To block easy exit solution, let us assume that individuals in both villages are mean and selfish and will go to way over a teaspoon more of their share of the cake.

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Ali Salim

        I always say: use analogies, parables and proverbs at your own risk – as they are subject to different interpretations – interpretations sometimes that work against the very point you were trying to make. Now:

        I’m not going to put words in Mr. Fantis mouth – trying to explain what he had in mind, when he brought the old Tigrigna parable (ፈላሲት ዑና-(ኩ)ጉዶ) in this argument, as he is more capable than I’m to explain his ideas.

        But the premise of your (Ali Salim’s) argument is false. And as you do clearly know, you can’t reach a right (true) conclusion, by building your case based on a false premise(s). And let me explain the false premises that you’re depending on to build your case:

        1. – ” The parable is built on some form of prisoner’s dilemma. Because of extreme mistrust (between Eritrean Muslims and Christians) and a blockage of communication to verify gossip, the two villages eventually settle for the worst choice. Just like the interrogators are the only line of communications in jail the gossip master is the only link here.”

        Wrong, wrong, wrong. If I understood you insinuation right (that there is mistrust between Eritrean Muslims and Christians that warrant alarm) then that is wrong, that is dishonest, that is sowing mistrust between UNITED Muslim and Christian Eritrean communities, and that is counter productive. Now, if you truly believe your premise is still true, then tell me…….



        2. – “How would it work if we assumed that what relates the two villages is a competition over resources and that each village’s optimum solution is achieved if it manages to crush the other village and claim the whole cake?”

        Again you assumption is wrong. There are no “two Villages” competing for the same resources. We can’t be citizens of one nation, mixed ethnic communities in every neighborhood, ethnic minorities in every region and still be divided into two. That doesn’t add up.

        Let me tell you a fact (an anecdotal that I believe is/was a fact). Eritrean Christians are nor richer than Muslim Eritreans. In Eritrea, Bilen are the smallest ethnic community (probably 2%) but arguably they were/are the most educated ethnic community (comparing their ratio to other ethnics) in Eritrea. Again, comparing to other ethnic, arguably, Jeberti are/were the richest and probably most educated comparing their ratio to the whole. From ethnic Tigrignas, the Tewahdos were the poorest and least educated comparing to Eritrean Catholics and Protestants. That is the Eritrea I know.

        3. – “Some of the solutions may include a scenario where the two villages declare themselves as two separate and equal blocks and split the cake in half.”

        There is one nation, one mixed family of citizens mixed in every shape and form, one farmland, one ሞሶብ, one shared መኣዲ, and one destiny.

        Semere Tesfai

        • AliSalim

          Hey Semere,

          Hope all is good on your side. I always want to ask where Amanuel Hidrat is and I keep missing.

          On you comments: for some reason you seem obsessed with peace and harmony in the US. I think I should propose that Canadians move south. The scenarios I described were hypothetical to see how Madam Felasit would have handled the situations I described. If applicable as you did I would have been describing Eritrea not the US.

          Eritrea is the place where in your previous post on another threat you described how the BeniAmr of the ELF were treating you and how people around you including your childhood were referring to you as Habeshtay. Eritrea is the country where village A turned itself Teraray and moved west permanently displacing the refugees who have been counting every minute of the last 50 years for the day when they would come home. Eritrea is the place where non-Tigrignas are made to accept second class citizenship and those who raise their voices are silenced.

          I would love to see any signs of what you described ever coming true.

          Tigrignas of course have every reason to oppose the regime and I only blame them for doing less not more. They are the ones who are paying heavily for some supremacists implementing the project of claiming the whole cake. Eritrea is not an easy takeover by either side and whoever attempts has to be prepared to pay a heavy price.

          If you really want to help, I suggest you translate this to ordinary Tigrignas.

          • Da Yo

            Hello AliSalim,

            I’m assuming you are a muslim and excuse me for being too forward, as muslims, what do you guys want? I really don’t know what you guys want. Your own muslim country? Sharia law? I will tell you one thing I know for sure, I don’t want to be with anyone that don’t want to be with me. So let’s be brave and try to solve the deeper issues than just beating around the bush and acting like everything will be peaches and cream once these idiots are gone. Why do we have to be a thorn in each others side?

          • Ismail AA

            Dear Da Yo (presumably Daniel Yohannes),

            I like your straightforward view irrespective of the gab between subjective and objective aspects of the issue, which is about a geo-political polity that forces (colonialists) of history had created and compelled communities of various religious, cultural and social affiliations to share. I mean the fate of coexistence was imposed on them and their future settled under international law and norms like others with similar background.

            So, the issue is not so simple that one constituent not wishing to stay can simply go away as your view seems to suggest. The question that will face you is how would you work out the separation you have suggested!!. I am reading you comments addressed to Ali Salim in conjunction with the content of your rejoinder to Semere Tesfai with a note that the latter was very much shrouded in ambiguity.

          • Da Yo

            Hello Ismail AA,

            You got it. You were forced into this miserable union and you will never find your way out of it on your own.

          • AliSalim

            Hey DaYo and Ismail,

            Earlier I wrote some comments to DaYo but it disappeared. May be didn’t save. Welcome back Ismail.

            DaYo I like you ideas and share the concern. I have been reading your interesting conversations on other threads. In one of them on race relations in the US, you make a very blunt argument where you describe blacks as essentially criminals, drug dealers/abusers, and alcoholics. The point you made was that instead of blaming white people, they should sober up and prove others wrong.

            I am not interested in the specific suggestion in that argument but wanted to draw your attention to something that you might have overlooked. The conversation I am referring to and any discussion on American race relations is necessarily premised on the presumption that white supremacy is a reality that must be confronted. I can’t seem to understand why while you (and you are not alone) give yourself the right to make blanket assessments of blacks and whites in the US at liberty and with no reservations, you act so sensitive when these issues are raised in relation to Eritrea.

            In the US anyone including the President can use phrases such as “white supremacist” knowing full well that the only person who may get offended would most probably be a white supremacist. Mind you, the only reason a white supremacist gets offended isn’t because he denies being one but because the phrase implies that white supremacy is wrong. There is nothing wrong with supremacy if you see that’s how God meant it to be.

            Question for you: is it possible that we could have Tigrigna supremacy in Eritrea? Is it possible that such people might be in government? Is there any problem with having such people in government? Do you think Eritreans are entitled to raise concerns with that possibility?

            If you know of any secrets that we don’t know that enable Eritrea to be the only country that does not produce Tigrigna supremacists, please e-mail me privately – I don’t want the others to know (:-)

            All respect!

          • Da Yo

            Hello AliSalim,

            1. If I ever described blacks as being criminals, drug dealers/abusers, and alcoholics it is me being polite. If I were to be blunt, I would describe the AA black as an animal bred to be exactly what he is, an animal ( a farm animal ). And I don’t need someone to tell me about white supremacy because I deal with it every day. Do I honestly expect the people who have gone to the moon and conquered every other race on the face of the planet to feel like they are equal to me? Are you crazy……really

            2. When it comes to Eritrea, there is noting that is off the topic for me. Everything is open to discussion. Is there Tigrigna supremacy in Eritrea? You damn right there is. What has allowed for that to exist…..the simple and honest truth to me is because the muslims are pathetic. If they were unite into a single front and say this and this is what we demand, the christian would have no choice but to sit down and listen. Otherwise what reason would a christian have to hand you the country willingly so you can turn it in to saudi arabia? Don’t blame the christian for the mess the muslim is in. It’s like saying the nig*er sucks because whitey is the devil. The nig*er sucks simply because he sucks.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Da Yo,

            “Otherwise what reason would a christian have to hand you the country willingly so you can turn it in to saudi arabia?”

            That is the main reason Ali Salim feels he is severely oppressed. His divine right to impose and practice Shari’a has been denied.

          • Da Yo

            Hello Simon,

            I don’t deny that there is a problem, my friend. He has the divine right to try to impose Shari’a law on me just as much as I have the right to oppose. I would never want to live in a land ruled by shari’a law and why should I force him to live in a godless society? We can go our separate ways.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Da Yo,

            The issue is not to create a godless society.

            The point is for everyone to keep their fairy gods private and out of the legal, political, educational and other public aspects of society. It is very simple.

          • Da Yo

            Hello Simon,

            I agree. Keep your fairy god away from me, and you don’t have to worry about mine because I don’t have one.

          • blink

            Dear Da yo
            Ohh they will ride their horses day and night to make you kneel down on their desert land god , that is problem unless who can care if they tattooed their whole body by verse, I will gladly open tattoos House just get their money and joke about the reason behind their god. I find it irresponsible to find them demand democracy in order to kneel down society. Horrific experience with that kind.

          • Kokhob Selam


            “Hope all is good on your side. I always want to ask where Amanuel Hidrat is and I keep missing.”
            He is around..I think I noted him in FB, those days..

          • AliSalim

            Thanks Kokhob,

            Tell him to come back. We need his help on Semere (:-)

          • Kokhob Selam

            Dear AliSalim

            I already inform him.. and I am afraid he will not come by now… just he inform me he is too busy at this moment..For sure he will be visiting and with new article at the end of this month.


          • Ismail AA

            Hayak Allah Ali,
            Fine that you had inquired about Amanuel Hidrat. I did not realize he has been absent long enough for people to inquire about him because I too was absent for some days. We need him here as often as his time would allow.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Ali Salim

            “Eritrea is the country where village A turned itself Teraray and moved west permanently displacing village B”

            In case you forgot, let me remind you how our conversation started years back.

            A. – Saleh Johar with frastration:

            “The main cause for the tantrums is the inability to challenge Ali Salim’s arguments word for word; the next best thing seems to be confusing the issue, dwelling on trivialities…….But one cannot present arguments one doesn’t have as the Arabic saying goes: faqid Ashsh’e la Yaatihu. Saleh (Gadi) Johar – Sep 09, 2009”

            B. – Ali Salim call for Jihad:

            “…….stand up and say I am a Muslim and a Saho. I want an organization that defends my ancestral land against the Land Grabbers (Christian Tigrignas) that have over-flown to Gash and Barka, and an organization that will defend my right to stand in the middle of Kombshtato to preach my beautiful faith (Islam) to others (Christians)……… Ali Salim – Sep 03, 2009

            C. – Semere Tesfai with sarcasm

            “What? What? What? Did you hear what I heard? Did he (Ali Salim) say to preach my beautiful faith in the middle of Kombshtato? Did he really say Kombshtao? Preach what? Preach to whom? Am I supposed to be the “others”? I thought Kombshtato was in the Highlands, a Tigrigna Land, my ancestors land, a Christian Land. I thought you (Ali Salim) were supposed to preach your beautiful faith, in the Lowlands, in your ancestor’s Land, in the Muslim Land.”

            Let me get this straight: you will kick me out from “your Muslim Land” and at the sametime you are want to preach your beautiful faith in “my Christian Land”? Abu-Ulwa, now you got me confused.”

            The point: I don’t believe, you truly believe there exist village A and village B in Eritrea today – exactly like I do. Our difference of opinion? I wanted to share the cake, and you wanted the whole cake for yourself – up to and including Kombishtato. And if that is the case, wouldn’t that make the fight, a fight for survival for me?

            By the way: could you explain to me, why “village A” was sweating, bleeding, and dying in “village B” for decades if village B is alien land to them?

            Semere Tesfai

        • Da Yo

          Hello Semere Tesfai,

          Let’s not deny the obvious fact. You know it won’t make it go away. There is a definite mistrust between Eritrean Muslims and Christians. Stating an obvious fact doesn’t mean the end of things for us. Doing the opposite is where I see the danger lies. The sooner we deal with this the better off we will be.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Da Yo

            1. – “Let’s not deny the obvious fact. You know it won’t make it go away. There is a definite mistrust between Eritrean Muslims and Christians.”

            To be honest, the Muslim Christian “mistrust” is a false alarm funned by unionists, regionalists, ethnic warriors, and religious extremists from both faiths (Islamists Jihadists AgAzians and the we’re all Habesha people) for ulterior motives. And this is where the “mistrust” between faiths argument falls apart: The same people also claim……..

            A. – Eritreans Muslims and christians has lived side by side in peace for millennia – without a single bloodshed

            B. – There is a pent-up anger and mistrust between Eritrean Muslims and Christians that warrant alarm……..

            all in the same breath. But as we all know, both A and B could not be true, one has to be false – and we all know which one.

            If you want to know the truth: Eritreans has been terrorized, bled, died….. by their southern kin/neighbors, than by any other people or faith – be from within or from their north. That is a fact.

            And sadly, the very people who sell the “mistrust” between Eritrean Muslims and Christians false alarm, are the same people who fan and spread the wind of regional politics (within Tigrignas, Seraye Hamassien Akeleguzay – within Tigres, Tigres of Barka Sahel Semhar, political Islam, Ethnic politics, and nostalgia of mama Ethiopia.)

            Semere Tesfai

          • Da Yo

            Selam Semere,

            I honestly don’t think an honest person would say, “Eritrean muslims and christians have lived side by side in peace for millennia without a single bloodshed.” I can’t imagine an honest man saying that.
            I don’t see the point in touching (B)………why bother when we can just wait until the alarm goes off, if it ever goes off, right?

            Now, this is what I’ve been wanting to deal with the longest. When we’re talking about the southern kin/neighbors, we’re talking about woyane right? If we are, then who’s to blame for what happened? Everyone has acknowledged that it was Eritrea that has started the war, right? If you were to put yourself in woyane’s shoes, would you have acted any differently than they did? What would you have done? Wouldn’t you have done everything to save yourself knowing that you were caught between a rock and a hard place? History repeats itself they say and fortunately this time around the kid from tigray found a buyer for his soul and he got you in a bind. End of story……btw didn’t you team up with the same devil to kill your own people….the so called ‘regionalists, ethnic warriors’? Hey, you know what, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I completely understand.

            The ONE that has terrorized and continues to terrorize Eritreans is – we all know who that is.

            Da Yo

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Da Yo

            1. – “This is what I’ve been wanting to deal with the longest. When we’re talking about the southern kin/neighbors, we’re talking about woyane right?”

            I didn’t say for the past twenty six years, I said for the past hundred fifty + years. There is a difference.

            2. – “Who’s to blame for what happened (the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war)? Everyone has acknowledged that it was Eritrea that has started the war, right?”

            True, you do believe that, but everyone doesn’t believe that. Mind you: you speak for yourself, you don’t speak for everyone.

            3.- “If you were to put yourself in Woyane’s shoes, would you have acted any differently than they did? What would you have done?”

            Definitely, I would’ve acted differently. ብልቢ ንዝቐረበካን ንዝኣመነካን ህዝቢ ኤርትራ – ጥልመት፡ ክሕደት፡ ምጉብዕባዕ፡
            ብድዐ፡ ናብ ኣደዳ ስቓይን መግረፍትን ስደትን ምቅላዕ ኣይኢዱን ‘ዩ። ሕማቕ ስለ-ምግባርን፡ ንኽልተ ኣሕዋት ህዝቢ ዘቃሓሕርን ዘራሓሕቕን ሕማቕ ተግባር ስለዝኾነ ድማ፡ ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ ክጎድእ ኣይምተበገስኩን። እቲ ናይ ብሓቂ ናይ ዶብ ሽግር እንተዳኣ ነሩ፡ ተኸባቢርካ ኮፍ ኢልካ ዘይፍታሕ ሽግር ኣይነበረን። ግን፡ ብልቢ ከረጋግጸልካ ዝደሊ ሓደ ነገር ኣሎ። ብመሰረቱ እቲ ሽግር ናይ ዶብ ሽግር ኣይነበረን። ሕጅውን ናይ ዶብ ምሕንጻጽ ነቲ ሽግር ኣይፈትሖን ዩ።

            ሕጂ፡ መን ነቲ 1998 ኩናት ደልይዎን ጀሚርዎን፡፡ ስለምንታይከ ኲናት ተደልየ ኢልካ ንነብስኻ ሕተት።

            4. – “History repeats itself they say and fortunately this time around the kid from tigray found a buyer for his soul and he got you (Eritreans/PFDJ) in a bind. End of story…..”

            Eritrea (PFDJ) the “enemy” to your north, a raging fire to your south, little or no friends to turn to, your Woyane singing መዝሙር ሰላም……. Well, don’t be so sure about who is the bind.

            Semere Tsfai

          • Da Yo

            Dear Semere,

            PFDJ and TPLF are ONE and the SAME to me, sir. The only thing I’m guilty of, if anything, is I’m just sitting back and watching the noose get tighter and tighter around both your necks. Is that a crime? Is watching two idiots fumble through life a crime?

            We can spin it the way we like all day, the truth of the matter is, two Tigryans came to power and made a mess out of two countries. Can you dispute that?

          • Semere Tesfai

            Da yo

            1. – “We can spin it the way we like all day, the truth of the matter is, two Tigryans came to power and made a mess out of two countries. Can you dispute that?”

            My bad, I thought you were a “Tigryan” from the south of the Mereb River. I hope Fanti helped to translate my Tigryan.

            But seriously, I believe you’re very young – I blame it to your age. Take it from me: the two Tigryans are victims like you and like many other victims that you know.

            Please don’t blame the two poor people, for the actions of leaders whom they never elected and who are not accountable to them.

            Semere Tesfai

          • Da Yo

            Dear Semere,

            Take it from you? In up where? You gotta be kidding me. I’ll say this though, one thing you guys are an expert at is blaming others – unelected leaders, whitey, TPLF, PFDJ, satan, arabs, colonialists, Da yo, young age,……where does it end? How old are you ? Aren’t you old enough to understand that at least you should feel the slightest bit of guilt for what has happened? I’m not saying here nothing that I haven’t been saying for the last 20 years. I kept telling you, don’t let woyane become your disease. You didn’t listen, so now you suffer from a serious case of Woyaneaffective disorder ( in every nook and cranny, there lies a woyane to get you ). Get off of it already man.

            Hey in all seriousness though, i don’t know you i’m just having fun (engaging). RESPECT!!

            Da Yo

  • Beyan

    Selam Yohannes,

    Your article fabulously, dispassionately, and objectively assesses the Al Diaa in its proper social, political, and historical context to give your readers the overarching themes that emboldened a community to face off tyranny. The latter might have been able to quell one Eritrean community’s aspiration for freedom temporarily, simply because it wields not only an awesome fire power, which it wouldn’t hesitate to utilize even on children as young as five and seven years olds, but it has political power with another awesome reservoir of coffers that can build prison systems that can house the entire Akhriya’s youth and old. Since the nation’s inception, the regime managed to build 361 dungeons and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it isn’t already building some more now because it has gotten new customers, children, mothers (young and old), men (young and old).

    The indisputable fact is that the regime has now been bruised and is staggering like a heaving hyena on its last throw as it won’t be too long before its succumbs to the will of the people. Because the moral high ground shifted from beneath its feet as it was never on the heads of the honchos who are doing the dirty work for the menace at the helm of power. A wise 93-year-old citizen, armed only with words and the will and the gravitas that galvanized his community’s ire on the regime that was bent out of shape to destroy the fabric of Eritrean society forever. At long last, the Eritrean spirit rose through Aboy Musa, and the Diaspora Eritreans showed their support with equal magnitude throughout the month of November, the combined reverberations of which has arisen the imagination of the public of what’s possible and what’s not.

    Thank you for giving us a sober assessment of it all, one that will help continue the momentum unabated.



    • Paulos

      Selam Dr. Beyan,

      From time to time the website “Sallina” complies the number of soldiers who deserted the regime where often times than not it is astounding to see the sheer size and the common reason they abandoned the regime through series of interviews.

      The none-military citizens, one can make the argument that leave the country for they don’t have the means to fight back but the soldiers would be expected to stay put and fight the regime instead for in the first place they are soldiers and they have the means to call out the regime for what it is as well. One would expect the soldiers to find courage to the very least when uprising as in Akhria dares to stand up to the regime armed with guts and convictions when the soldiers remain mere on-lookers if not elect to flee instead. Perhaps the meaning of a soldier may have lost in them. Perhaps.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Beyan,

      Beautifully put; nothing much to add….. except to call attention to the weighty idea conveyed by the first sentence, second paragraph of your comment. You write “The indisputable fact is that the regime has now been bruised and is staggering like a heaving hyena on its last throw as it won’t be too long before its succumbs to the will of the people.” Yes indeed! And that is why the forces of change should henceforth set their minor differences aside and go at it to subdue the aging monster with relentless attacks – attacks that never give respite but keep pushing it further & farther toward the edge of the cliff!

      In the past, the regime has ironically benefitted from short-lived spells of popular indignation manifested by different elements/segments of the population. It cunningly used such events to (i) gauge the level of anger, determination and unity of the population, (ii) hone its containment and preemptive skills accordingly, and (iii) ensure that the next challenge to its authority is put down with ferocity and agility. Therefore pro-change forces must strive to ensure there will be no let up in future uprisings and rebellions: Once set in motion they will be carried through to completion OR at least until substantial damage has been inflicted on the system.

      Finally, an archaic, abominable political system cannot be expected to be defeated by a strategy that is itself based on an equally outmoded and regressive ‘philosophy’ of prejudice, hatred, division, intolerance and greed. Eritrea’s democratic movement for change needs to undergo self-renewal and enlightenment to a level of virtuosity that allows it to claim for itself the glory of bringing peace, freedom, justice and hope to a long-suffering people.

  • Paulos

    Selam Yohannes,

    It is always a joy to read you and certainly this article is not an exception either. That said, a new debunking reality emerged in the aftermath of the Akhria uprising where the suspicion if there was any religious disunity was shattered beyond doubt when a picture was a million times stronger than words as an indication to that effect. If anything, what living under tyranny gave us on a silver platter is unity, unity and unity. The regime with a ultra-nationalistic undertone claims ሓደ ህዝቢ ሓደ ልቢ where there is none, Akhria however demonstrated that post-tyranny Eritrea is unity in diversity.

    If I have to raise a point or two, in your article you said about the “silent majority…uninformed and misinformed…” I find the characterization a bit misplaced for the given fact that the predicament the nation finds itself in is palpable and too conspicuous for anybody to miss it. To be more precise, the actions of the regime are too blunt where there is no even a semblance of normalcy to have it confused with misinterpretation. Instead, there is a murmuring minority flying in an abject dissonance for a reason that defies logic.

    • Yohannes Zerai

      Dear Paulos,

      Thank you for your comments. The intended thrust of the statement you referred to in your comment was the need to (i) aggressively inform and sensitize citizens so that we could get rid of the scourge of apathy and passivity from the democracy movement (as is stated elsewhere in the article), and (ii) debunk the misinformation that the regime and its supporters have been busily spreading around regarding the Akhriya protest. It was certainly NOT intended to claim a worrisome number of Eritreans remain uninformed about the realities in their country and NOT even to criticize the few who unavoidably do. But poor choice of words on my part may have given a wrong impression of my intentions. I regret if that was the case, and thank you for having pointed that out to me.