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Abdurahman Younis: My Proud Friend Moves On

A famous commercial tagline goes, “Never let them see you sweat.” And there was a man who never let them see him sweat. A free-spirited man who faced adversity, jail, and deprivation, but never capitulated. How could he? How could he when he was blessed with a free, stubborn soul that refused to depart except on its own terms! That stubborn soul didn’t die, it just left the body.

I am describing a man for whom the world seemed so small, a man they forced to stay confined within the fence of his house. Maybe, despite the risk, he ventured out and walked around a few blocks near his house, nowhere further. Imagine being denied the freedom to walk in your own streets, in your own city, in your own country. They decided enjoying freedom was a crime. They tried everything, to see him broken. They failed miserably. He never broke down. He never surrendered his free spirit.

On Thursday, that proud gentleman, Abdulrahman Ahmed Younis, was buried in Asmara and the city bid farewell to one of its famous, walking landmarks.

Amm Abdu’s fate is a depiction of the fate of many Eritrean elders. The death of several of his peers was hastened by the inhuman, and monstrous regime lording over Eritrea: Hassen Kekia, Sunabera, and Captain Ahmed Faras are among the many octogenarians who scared the ruling party’s gang before they were scared by Hajji Musa and Sheikh Abrar.

We cannot help but be enraged by the actions of the brigands in Asmara who are dismantling families and communities. Amm Abdu raised enough children to assemble a football team, yet, none of them were by his bedside in his last moments! How could they? Some of them are exiled, or refugees. Even one of his sons has been put in jail since 2012 by the vengeful brigand rulers of Eritrea, when Ali Abdu Younis, the ex-minister of information abandoned the regime. In revenge, the regime immediately jailed his father, his brother, and his sixteen-year old daughter, Ciham. They are still in jail without charges, forget a trial. Also, there is no case to be tried! It is all revenge and cruelty. However, they let Amm Abdu out of prison when his health deteriorated—and put him under house arrest, and denied him an exit visa when he wanted to seek medical attention outside Eritrea. Yes, don’t be surprised: after 26 years of ill managing Eritrea, the regime failed to provide basic medical care.

Admirably, despite all of that, Amm Abdu never lost his sense of humor and his smile. He never bowed down to tyranny but remained a free-spirited, proud man. And we are left with that memory of Amm Abdurahman Ahmed Younis.

Since his early adulthood in Keren, to his final moment in a hospital bed in Asmara, Amm Abdu has lived an adventurous life. He lived and worked in many places in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia. He traveled all over the world, from Europe to the Soviet Union, to North Africa, and to the USA. He simply adored life and lived a colorful life of class and friendships. His list of friends, people he helped, and many who knew him and fondly remember him, are scattered all over the world. Not surprisingly, hardly a person skips mentioning his unmatched taste and elegance–the way he dressed up, and the way he carried himself, is too obvious to miss. But for me, what strikes me is, despite his long life, he remained a jovial and youthful character.

Among the first Eritreans to receive the luxury of modern education, he was a true embodiment of a cultured Urbanite. “My generation is genuine Asmarino, not fake ones” he used to boast. That is true. And the evidence is what the breed of Asmarino street boys that followed the jovial generation of Amm Abdu are doing to Eritrea–that group of bloodsucking parasites ruling Eritrea is so embarrassingly displaying its ugliness for all to see.

Indeed, Amm Abdu lived a classy Urbanite life that he proudly and ably represented. And that was reflected in the way he dressed, the way he selected even the mundane necessities of a modern life–he would spend hours choosing the right shaving cream, the right balsam, while explaining the qualities of each.

After living in the luxury of the Gulf states for years, where one easily gets the best of everything, and takes them for granted, I never knew there existed three or four bladed razors. He smiled at my ignorance and explained to me the difference.

When I was growing up, as usual, Amm Abdu was bigger than life. No child of my age would think of rubbing shoulders with him because his stature, his presence, and his charisma was so intimidating. But then the ice broke after my marriage. Since he attended our wedding party where he stole the spotlight, I started to become closer to him—and he was someone I can call both, a father and a friend.

When Amm Abdu visited the USA over a decade ago, I spend so much time with him. I fondly remember him insisting that I drive him for an hour to Oakland, to an Italian coffee shop where he said they brewed a perfect coffee… and of course, a perfect cappuccino—he took his Macchiato or double-shot espresso very seriously, never settling for a paper cup, but a ceramic one.

A conversation with Amm Abdu is quite an experience and an educational moment. Thankfully, he patched up several empty parts in my knowledge about history. And he did it in his usual calm, insightful and humorous way, switching between Arabic, Italian, English and Tigrayit to make a point, with amazing details. One just forgot Amm Abdu was an old man because his youthful character was overwhelmingly self-imposing.

My book that he is holding in the picture was taken one cold morning as we basked under the sun, sipping tea in the backyard of my old house. As you can see in the picture, all the time Amm Abdu is at least half-formally dressed; notice the formal jacket over his casual Jalabiya! That is him. He has to appear that way, otherwise, he might not recognize himself.

It was in those days that I expressed my serious nostalgia, “I miss my childhood streets. I miss Eritrea.” He smiled and said, “Paciencia!” Patience I have a lot of, but the nostalgia is becoming too painful. Still, I plead guilty, I wrote many notes about topics that Amm Abdu told me about, though not enough. My worst crime, I don’t have a single audio recording from him, and I will never forgive myself for that.

One day, Amm Abdu seriously berated me and Saleh Younis: “why don’t you compile what you write in a book? Documentation is important!” Saleh Younis was not as touched as I was. Immediately I asked Amm Abdu to convince Saleh to commit himself to help me with editing. Saleh agreed, as always. And I began to write “Of Kings and Bandits”. Now I am proud to say that his push made me write it.

Today, as I express my feelings, in what I thought would be a eulogy, all I can think of was that Amm Abdu defeated his jailers by not breaking down. He took everything with courage, with pride. He never succumbed to despair and resisted the humility the gangs subjected him to. Neither the mean-spirited Isaias nor his minions could break Amm Abdu who lived through whatever they threw at him. He defeated them because he never broke down. He lived proudly and left a proud man. Yet, certainly heartbroken to leave alone as if he was a childless man. His son Hassen and his grandchild Ciham Ali were languishing in jail as he was breathing his last breath. That hurts. And that is what is happening to the young and the old of Eritrea. The corrupted ruling gang in Eritrea has subjected the people to much pain, and they should be made to pay for it all. Still, I am angry. I am still enraged. Nothing will calm me down except the demise of the parasites and their entire ruling edifice.

Have a nice journey Amm Abdu, my dear friend.

A tribute to Amm Abdu by his son Saleh Younis written in 2004: For the Man You Are

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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  • Dis Donc

    Dear Saay,
    First of, let me say that I am so sorry for the loss of your pa. I am even sorrier that I am this late for the consolation message. In our short life, we have all been through many things; told and untold! Many of us have a unique way dislodging the depression that saps our life. And in my case, in all of my ups and downs, I have always listened musics and songs. That is what Michel Sardu said, not me. (Just in case!) Whether we go pray to Jehova, Jesus, Alahu, or Budha; we are all singing. Whether we despair, love, hate, are happy, are sad, die or live; we sing. The world is Marrant (merrir). And death is plus marrant (merrar). Hence, the title “En chantant.”

    Quand j’étais petit garçon, Je repassais mes leçons
    En chantant
    Et bien des années plus tard, Je chassais mes idées noires
    En chantant
    C’est beaucoup moins inquiétant, De parler du mauvais temps
    En chantant
    Et c’est tellement plus mignon, De se faire traiter de con
    En chanson
    La vie c’est plus marrant, C’est moins désespérant
    En chantant
    La première fille de ma vie, Dans la rue je l’ai suivi
    En chantant
    Quand elle s’est déshabillée, J’ai joué le vieil habitué
    En chantant
    J’étais si content de moi, Que j’ai fait l’amour dix fois
    En chantant
    Mais je n’peux pas m’expliquer, Qu’au matin elle m’ait quitté
    L’amour c’est plus marrant, C’est moins désespérant
    En chantant
    Tous les hommes vont en galère, A la pêche ou à la guerre
    En chantant
    La fleur au bout du fusil, La victoire se gagne aussi
    En chantant
    On ne parle à Jéhovah, A Jupiter, à Bouddha
    Qu’en chantant
    Qu’elles que soient nos opinions, On fait sa révolution
    En chanson
    Le monde est plus marrant, C’est moins désespérant
    En chantant
    Puisqu’il faut mourir enfin, Que ce soit côté jardin
    En chantant
    Si ma femme a de la peine Que mes enfants la soutiennent
    En chantant
    Quand j’irai revoir mon père, Qui m’attend les bras ouverts
    En chantant
    J’aimerais que sur la terre, Tous mes bons copains m’enterrent
    En chantant
    La mort c’est plus marrant, C’est moins désespérant
    En chantant
    Quand j’étais petit garçon, Je repassais mes leçons
    En chantant
    Et bien des années plus tard, Je chassais mes idées noires
    En chantant
    C’est beaucoup moins inquiétant, De parler du mauvais temps
    En chantant
    Et c’est tellement plus mignon, De se faire traiter de con
    En chanson

  • Hayat Adem

    My heart felt condolences for Saay and the family and friends! Thanks for the good tribute SGJ!

  • ghezaehagos

    Selam SG and all,

    I thank Saleh for writing this heartfelt tribute to Abona Abdurahman Younis. You made us share a glimpse of the rich and blessed life of the departed father of us all. I was touched.

    I send my condolences to my friend and mentor, Saleh Younis, and the family of Abona Abdu. A parent can never be replaced. But in children like Sal, Abona Abdu has left us with brave and proud Eritreans who teach the ways of defying tyranny.

    Reading Saleh and Sal’s previous article “for the man you are’ made me remember my own father who passed away on July 1st, 2008 in Asmara, Eritrea. I still have not grappled fully with that; I remember him daily and it is hard even after all these years, after witnessing tragic stories of Eritreans every day. I couldn’t bury him.

    AmLak neBoy Abddu Ab mengstu yikebelom and Xinaat nbeteseb!


    Ghezae Hagos.

    • Paulos

      Selam Ghezae,

      There is something of a consistency through the flow of history. Evil can never win. If I could get philosophical, I say, if evil had a complete control of time, humanity as a species would have been annihilated eons ago, instead good prevails in the end and that is precisely the reason we are standing and the future of humanity is brighter as if it is being guided by a force that is set out to destroy evil. Sure enough, part of us departs in the middle but we find consolation in the fact that they died standing up to evil and refusing to be part of it. They die only once as they are made by their creator as opposed to those who die twice by being part of the machinery of evil. The reason the sun rises everyday is precisely for a metaphoric reason that darkness is ephemeral. አጆና ክወግሕ እዩ!

      • Ismail AA

        Selam Paulos,

        I raise the hut to Ghezae for provoking you to let me (probably others too) to spy on how much you are deep in one of you sources of a human quality of wisdom: philosophy. You have summed up in a few words what the essence of time and species (creation both organic and inorganic) are. Evil is endowed with energy of machinations which is much weaker than power time and life (humanity). You are right that decent men, women, heroes and heroines die once as you have correctly stated, and as the indomitable Nelson Mandela once said.

        • Paulos

          Selam Ismail AA,

          Many thanks for those kind words. Philosophy or if we could put it colloquially is introspection or self reflection. It behooves us to step back and examine why unpleasant circumstances are haunting us as people where often times than not we feel helpless and suffocated. And I say, it is in those dark moments that we need insights based on historical perspectives and a bit of intuition as well.

          The triumph of good over evil is seamless through out a scale if you will where good triumphs when an individual goes through crises and when a society goes through a crises as well. The sages and early men of the Holy Books call it providence where history is not a random of events but a well planned dynamics guided by a benevolent being.

          The learned men of our time seem to tacitly allude to that effect when particularly the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics attests to that effect(read: The Higgs field or boson.) The much sought field since the 60s was assumed to be the critical “element” that gives or assigns mass to the all known particles. The question that had created a hung up for all these years was: Why do the fundamental particles differ in mass when they are all essentially the same? And finally they found the answer in Higgs field. Higgs field gives them mass. It is the ultimate real deal.

          If there is a philosophical implication in this finding, before the creation of the universe or the Big-Bang, there was a symmetry in the sense that there was this field where everything in it was perfect symmetry—smooth and the same through out. Close to 14 billion years ago, something the learned men still do not know happened to it where they call it “Spontaneous breaking of the symmetry” and this perturbation of the symmetry gave rise to the four fundamental forces that we know today. That is, the four fundamental forces are essentially different manifestation of the same field or force. It means we as species are the product of the fundamental field as well. During the very few seconds of the big-bang, there was an incredible annihilation of the particles against each other (in a more technical term, they call it matter against anti-matter) and for a reason still unknown, 1 in a billion of matter came out “triumphed” and that 1 in a billion became us and everything around us. The perfect symmetry was not random nor is its dynamics and it flows through the annals of time with a sense of purpose and for a good purpose as well. My apologies, I got carried away.

          • Ismail AA

            Dear Paulos,

            Nothing to apologize for when what you have given is bonus knowledge because individuals like myself who had opted to invest their enthusiasm driven phases of life for the pursuit for knowledge in the pursuit of common cause, do try to consult and urge younger people like you to share with us what they know since we no longer possess the energy and rigor the search for knowledge demands just like (let me put it figuratively) an opportunistic organism that settles in a body of another. Thank you so much for expanding on the relationship of elements of the natural world to science. For ordinary person understanding symmetry of his inner living being with dynamics of his/her environment is crucial in making sense of existence.

          • Nitricc

            Hey P: so, you don’t believe in god, is that right?

          • Paulos

            Selam Nitrikay,

            To the contrary. I do believe in God but will get back to it on the weekend due to time constraints.

          • Amde

            Selam Paulos,

            Please please get more carried away like this.


            PS: I don’t think the concept of “good” vs “evil” is practical. There was a bit of a metaphysical book I read a long time ago. It used “service to other” and “service to self” as a differentiator of action. “Love” vs “Self-Love” Now – a caveat – it starts off from the pantheistic idea that All Is God. So, the one who feeds his brother and the one who robs his brother are all ultimately part of God. I don’t think it is a philosophy that (just by itself) will make stable communities. And it leads to moral ambiguities that make me uncomfortable.

            But, as a better model founderstanding

          • Paulos

            Selam Amde,

            If you remember particularly in the 90s, there was so much hype about the “New Age” movement and as you have put it, the central tenet of the movement was “We are all manifestations of one and the same reality where by we are essentially part of the higher-being.” Thing is, these kind of cultural hypes seem to die out through time for they find it hard to find a reception with in the realm of Western rather uncompromising “Reductionist Paradigm.” The paradigm finds its roots in Aristotolian “The Great Chain of Beings” then later on the Aristotolian philosophy got synthesized with in the dogma of Christianity first by Saint Paul and later on by St. Thomas Aquinas among others.

            The idea of evil certainly challenged thinkers and theologians alike where the idea created varying school of thoughts if humans are naturally evil or good. To cut to the chase and to save you from boredom, I say this, if the goodness in us didn’t conquer the day, we would have been gone long ago. And evolution favors the good over evil.

          • Amde

            Selam Paulos,

            Ah.. don’t cut to the chase please.

            I have a couple of questions for what you just delivered.

            1. I think it was the last Pope who is reputed to have said that “There is nothing new the ‘New Age’ movement. It is the same Pantheism the Church has fought for millenia.”. You said something interesting though, when you state that these are cultural fads that fail due to Western Philosophy’s reductionist drive. I had thought it was more of institutional and political pressure that consistently suppresses different thoughts. If the Church had accepted it, don’t you think it would have been accepted?

            2. “Evolution favors good over evil.” I wish it were so

          • Paulos

            Selam Amde,

            Certainly there is huge dogmatic differences between the central teachings of the Church and the New Age movement where the latter is more on self-discovery and enlightenment. Second, it can only get “accepted” as a power to recon with if it wins huge traction. Remember, Martin Luther was taken for a heretic when he came up with his rather razor sharp thesis against some of the teachings of the Church in the 16 century. He became a power in his own right not because the Catholic Church was willing to accept his ideas but because he garnered a sizable movement.

            Evolution as you know is based on three fundamental pillars if you will as in “Variation, Mutation and Natural Selection.” Essentially if a trait say a brown color of an eye is favorable for our survival, it will be selected and the other traits will be selected against. The question is then, what is the force behind evolution where it selects traits based on their fitness for our survival? Well, the answer seems to be, we are wired with a power for self preservation. That is, every thing in us is designed to evade death and danger. And one might make the argument that, self preservation can not be an appendage of evil rather product of good instead.

      • Haile S.

        Selam Paulos,
        I agree with Ismail. You were provoked by Ghezae and you are provoking me and giving a substance to a tigrigna poem I was scribbling. You are the perfect candidate for the Muftiriarch I am imagining for Eritrea.

        ሙፍቲሪያርክ ንኤርትራ

        ንኤርትራ የድልያ ሙፍቲሪያርክ
        ንክርስትያን ኣስላምን ኮፍ ኣቢሉ ዝመርሕ
        እምነት ንቕንዕና ንጽቡቕ ምኻኑ ዝትርኽ
        ደቂ ተኸባቢሮም ክነብሩ ዘዘክር ዝባርኽ

        ኣብ ጉርብትና ተቐራሪብካ
        ኣብ ሓጎስ ኣብ ሓዘን ተሓቛቚፍካ
        ኣብ በዓላት ሃይማኖት ተነጋጊድካ
        ኣይግድን ኣብ ቤት ጽሕፈት ትራሓሒቕካ
        ኣብ መሪሕነት ብማዕዶ ተጠማሚትካ
        ኣብ ተመራሒነት ጎኒ ንጎኒ ኮፍ ኢልካ
        ነቲ ክትገንሖ ዘይትኽእል ኣኽቢርካ
        ኣይፋል ክትብል ዘይመልቆካ
        ንስኻ ሙፍቲሪያርክ የድልየካ
        ናይ ሓባር ኣፍ ዝኾነካ
        ኣብ ባእሲ ዝዓርቀካ
        ኣብ ሰላም ክትማሙቕ ጓህሪ ዘንበድብደልካ

        • Paulos

          Selam Hailat,

          Damn, you’re something. Really! We here by witness the creation of an ingenious word into the Eritrean word-tapestry. Not sure if Isaias will fear you or admire you for he is known in creating words. The difference between you and him is, he leaves the words hanging but you weave them into beautiful poetry. Thank you really!

      • Saleh Johar

        Hello Ismael Paulos, and others.
        I have been thinking a lot lately. Can a people understand concepts if they do not have a word for concept? Can they understand philosophy if that means hulballoo or hateftef to them? If one gets the chance to learn other developed languages he can understand them properly but what about people who do not get the opportunity? What is good and bad? For example, bloodshed is considered bad in common discussion and is accepted as a wisdom. But you see people repeating it as if thay are simply saying “four legs good two legal bad” is bloodshed to reclaim what is yours bad? Is violence in pursuit of rights bad?

        And that led me to a word I am beginning to hate: tolerance! What do we tolerate? And what are we thinking when we say it, in what context? I hope you and others can take it further.

        As for me, I am thinking of promoting INTOLERANCE—within a given situation and context. What do you say?

        • Paulos

          Selam Ayay,

          That certainly is a great insight—-if it is possible for one to grasp a concept if one doesn’t know what a concept is in the first place. In a typical Kantian lingua, one ought to have apriori knowledge of something to deduce or reason out something as in causality. To be more precise, one wouldn’t know what an ice is if one doesn’t know water is. But again philosophy has a habit of moving to and from like a pendulum from a school of thought to another. For instance, is there inborn knowledge (read: moral codes) or are we born as in Lockian with a “Tabula Raza”? Social psychologists play an arbiter where by the former seems the case. The raionale then goes, if we are inherently moral beings what is the standard where we measure our values against? If we set a standard, the standard could have a potential of being biased for our experience in life and cultural underpinnings differ from one another, the way out of the conendrum seems to be found in “Moral Relativism.” That is, moral relativism denies determinism any room so that tolerance can play a role.

          If I understood you correctly, a means to a greater end is a difficult question for it doesn’t narrow down the scope of the means. I say this though, if we truly believe in the power of reason, there shouldn’t be any room for bloodshed particularly in this day and age as violence is taken for a thing of the past. Tolerance and peaceful means should rule the day.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Paulo’s, the resident philosopher
            I am very skeptical of Lock’s Tabula Raza, which I believe is not Raza at all. How does a baby feel pain, hunger, etc? Okay, it is physical and easy to understand. Try crying in front of a baby, and it will cry! Many such psychological reaction that cannot be explained by Lick’theory. Why can’ such feeling evolve in humans starting from the embryonic stages? Why can’t it be got given instincts? Why can’t that apply to right and wrong?

            On a different note, regarding using the scripture to explain everything as some religious people do. I like a Muslim wisdom uttered by Inman Ali when the Umayyad rebel king Muawya met him in battle. He was losing and he ordered his soldiers to challenge Ali to submit to the edicts of the Quran. They carried the book by their spears and challenged Ali to resolve the differences between him and Mawya according to the Quran. That is when Ali uttered his immortal words: al kitab hammal awjuh( the book can justify all viewpoints) that is why I do not like to bring scripture in an debate. That’s because you can justify opposing views with select verses.


          • Fanti Ghana

            Selam Memhir,

            Too bad Locke was not a goat herder. Had he been a goat herder, like you, sir, he would have noticed that a baby goat knows exactly where the milk is the moment it is born!

            There are necessary truths Tabula Rasa (blank slate), as intriguing as it is, cannot explain. I find it difficult to believe humans and the rest of the animal kingdom would have survived without an “innate knowledge” or instinct to at least self preserve.

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear SGL,

          It depends on the situation …Yes and No..depending in when,where and how …it depends ..

          “within a given situation and context.” Perfect..


        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Selam SG,

          Indeed mostly our debates is not based on “conceptual knowledge” and on how to relate to our circumstances and our objective realities on the ground to challenge our problem. Knowledge based debate is always productive. It is a learning process of give and take to shape our common understanding for our common goal. The intention of awate team in opening this forum was precisely for that. Unfortunately, so far very small people engage on that understanding.

          Saleh, you don’t have to hate the concept of “tolerance” and “intolerance”. Though both these concepts are contrarian to each other, both have positive values and purpose to human being. Let me start now with tolerance and if I defined tolerance then intolerance is exactly the opposite. The American Heritage dictionary described tolerance as “the appreciation of diversity and the ability to live and let others live.” Also as a political concept, William Ury defined as “tolerance is not just agreeing with one another or remaining indifferent in the face of injustice, but rather showing respect for the essential humanity in every person.” What positive value does intolerance have? Its positive value are expressed when being intolerant to injustice, to oppression, to subjugation, and to discrimination.

          If democracy is the marketplace of ideas, then political tolerance in democracy requires that all political ideas get the same access to the market place of ideas. The theory of market place of ideas anticipate some restraints of freedom, such as racism, bigotry, defamation. So tolerance is relative and contextual in its nature.


        • Da Yo

          Hello Saleh,

          C’mon, you don’t know what is good/bad? Well, I’ll tell you. You see….
          – When you fight to reclaim what is yours, it is GOOD.
          – When others are fighting you to reclaim what is theirs, that is BAD.
          – When you shed and spill blood telling everyone you are fighting for your freedom, that is GOOD.
          – When the other guy turns to bloodshed to gain his freedom from you, that is VERY BAD.
          The rulers of Eritrea are only doing what is good for them, and you with all your rights, is not a good thing them. You prostrated yourself before them, begged, tried to reason but to no avail. Didn’t somebody even try that peaceful protest thing just recently? You saw what happened, so what other option do you have besides violence? Isn’t it violence and fear they are using against you to stay in power?

          What do we tolerate? It’s the BS we tolerate. If someone was to say, the real problem is much deeper than just the lack of democracy and individual rights, that would ruffle too many feathers, and it would be considered BAD right? Just tell it like you see it and if that promotes INTOLERANCE, oh well.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Da Yo,
            Simply beautiful. Years ago when I said the regime is using terror that can only be fought by terror , die skin was raffled let alone feathers. I hated the slogan “peaceful resistance” when many believed that to mean sit and watch for miracles. Peaceful struggle has requirements but a few of us wanted the slogan without the action that supports. Breaking the embassies is a peaceful struggle as far as I am concerned. But when it comes to real hardcore struggle for peace is considered, what? We cannot fight our brethren! The army that protects Isaias is, of course, made of our brethren. Right?

            Please be more provoked. I like the thread you are pulling.

          • Paulos

            Selam Ayay,

            “Satyagraha” was a powerful term which was coined and popularized by the one and only Mahatma Gandhi where in Sanskrit, it means “Insistence to the truth.” Later on, it became a powerful intellectual weapon utilized including by MLK and others after him.

            Insistence to the truth of course doesn’t simply mean watch events as they unfold with your arms crossed. It implies that in the end activism based on debunking the lies peddled by the oppressing regime wins for resorting to violence can not be the solution.

            They say, one can empty an ocean with a table spoon. Obviously, the difference between Gandhi and the others was Gandhi not only internalized patience but he was able to empty an Empire with a tablespoon.

            C.o.I was a product of years long activism and it shocked the regime to its core. It may seem tedious and time consuming but chipping away the layers of the regime where it is dying under its unbearable weight should be the way forward. Violence is not a solution.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Abu Salah,

            Power is snatched by power from power holders. Tyrants do not relinquish power simply by begging and demos, because they resist to the end, even if it cost them their lives. Calling for the removal of tyrants by peaceful means is calling for emasculating the real means of removing dictators. You should not be ready to give your lives if you are not ready to take the lives of your enemy who is ready to take your lives. So Abu Salah, everyone should know his/her enemy and should act accordingly.

          • Haile S.

            Selam Emma,
            You are right saying “relinquish power simply by begging….”. We have been under dictators, emperors and colonizers who never relinquished their grip peacefully. Even before, during the abyssinian time, peaceful change of power was quasi-inexistant, unless the king dies of sickness. That viscious cycle remains our killer and the killer of development. How to remove the Eritrean dictatorial leadership is part of the puzzle on how to stop this perpepetuity. The lively discusion on whether to use only flame or only water is a little artificial. Both are inevitable. The objectives of those who advocate for peacefull means is to break that perpetual vicious cycle and to lay a foundation for a certain democratic practice., to make the new holder of the sword realize, he will not be able to continue like before. Admittedly, eritrea is loosing precious innocent lives and time doing that, but no hope lost. Despite the reserved observation of the opposition camp, the rise of last Octobers aKhrya breakers of mental prison and fear has demobstrated such movement if amply reverberated can attain and shake the mighty shanks of a dictator.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Hailat,

            We are simply paying our best without making our enemy accountable by paying his due and feeling the pain. While our youth and our elders are facing the wrath of the despot, it is simply nonsense to fight him by demos and crying slogans. It just shows no commitment to unseat this evil system. Actually if they would have felt the pain of our people, they wouldn’t say peaceful removal to a brute dictator. They are simply appeasing the evil system that devours us.

          • Haile S.

            ኣንታ ኤማ፡

            ንስኻ በዚ መፍታሕቲ ስረ ትብለና
            ህግደፋውያን loosers ኪዱ ተዋግኡ ይደግሙልና
            ኩሉ መንጎ እግሪ ዘይብልና ጌሩ ወሲዱና
            የማን ጸጋም ብኺዱ እኮ ተቓቒርና
            በጃኻ ልደት’ዩ ሎምስ ምሓረና.

          • blink

            Dear Da Yo
            Yes you are right, the problem we have is , who is going to fight ? The guys showing off their photos? The guys begging for weyane to help ? The guys who sale their brothers? Who is going to fight? This all lies about fighting terror with terror is a lie . No one is going to be cheated by these old time losers . They have been lying for ages and here terror by terror aka fighters. These people you see are self loving people blinded by imagination of hate and they will not fight. So who is going to reclaim his right ? The guy going 100 weyane convenient meeting or the guy looking at them ? Come after 5 or more years these people will do nothing except mastering how to talk to each other about themselves. Eritrean organized opposition that can fight is dead, and it has been dead for long , the only difference is they just don’t get told by weyane .

        • Ismail AA

          Ahlen Saleh,

          I am just coming in and seen your in put to what Paulos and I were exchanging in passing. I see that some robust in puts by knowledgeable friends has followed under the bridge since yesterday on what you raised – concept, tolerance and its opposite as philosophical and practical postulates applied in the framework of separating what is good from what is bad.

          To save my neck from savvy students of the discipline (philosophy) like Paulos and a lot more who grace us in this forum, I declare that I am not a bit more than mere provocateur in the field of philosophy save rudimentary biographical aspect of philosophers in the pages of history books. I just urge Paulos to give more when I detect him throw one idea or concept. Thus, what I got to scribble here is simply unbaked amateurish understanding of the things raised.

          For me, an idea is mother of a concept. The former is simply the product of mind endowed by faculty of thinking within subjective and objective environment. An idea is generated as an abstract in the mind and gains dimension and depth to pass in to the realm of logical thesis, which in turn transforms to executable concept.

          Now, to jump back to the question you had stated: ” Can a people understand concepts if they do not have a word for concept?”, I think constructing ideas in the mind of humans is natural function of the mind aside from language as tool of expression. Thus, if this is basic function of the mind, an idea shaping up to become a concept may not need to have in advance linguistic term to pronounce it. It is still a concept and end product of an idea. The essences of the ideas and concepts of good and bad or tolerance and intolerance do depend on developed or underdeveloped languages.

          • Paulos

            Selam Ismail AA,

            I envy your sense of humility where what you just jotted down is anything but amateurish particularly when you said, “An idea is a mother of a concept…..idea is simply the product of the mind endowed by faculty of thinking with in subjective and objective environment. An idea is generated as an abstract in the mind and gains dimension and depth to pass in to the realms of logical thesis, which in turn to executable concept.” I say that is deep and brilliant.

        • MS

          Hala Ya ustazna IsmailAA, Paulosay
          Tolerance is suggestive of something admissible, something positive…as in the case of tolerating normally existing difference such as viewpoints, cultural expressions, etc. In this case, the word is not associated with tolerating oppression, injustice, racial discrimination, etc. Naturally, this values are not supposed to be tolerated. Individuals, cultures or people who tolerate them need to be take to Mariam Der’Anto for a Holly water treatment…
          Intolerance has unpleasant connotation: that’s it is the unwillingness to accept the presence of views or cultural expressions that you don’t subscribe to which often leads to bigotry and radicalism. I know you are saying “So, what new have U brought to the table?”
          Well, you are promoting INTOLERANCE with a caveat, “within a given situation and context.”. That’s indeed good. I know you mean intolerance to injustice, tyranny, oppression, the notion that someone is above law, etc.
          When we say tolerance, it is also understood that it comes with the caveat that we tolerate only those values that should be tolerated, not oppression, tyranny, injustice, and so on.
          Conclusion: when taken each within their commonly understood definitions and connotations, I think we can still use them as they are.
          IsmailAA: you are too nice a man, but do n ot even try to convince us that you are amateurish. Keep up the cool contributions. You have been one of the few foruumers who scramble to neutralize the discussions when they get sour. Very pleased to have you around. A typical Sahotay gentleman…..
          Paulosay: I learn a lot from what you occasionally drop, a well read man….thank you.
          Now, what time is it?

  • Mike

    MY deepest condolences to the families and friends.
    May the soul of our father R.I.P.

  • Mike

    My deepest condolences to the families and friends. May the soul of our father R.I.P.


  • Acria

    AWW Saleh
    Allah Yerhamuhu wa Allah yehdeyekum Iman.

  • Amde

    Selam Memhir,

    What a wonderful tribute!

    Everybody passes … but we are given the grace of a tiny taste of immortality in the memories we leave. It has been said that a person only truly dies when there is no one left to remember them. I feel with this tribute you wrote the man in many more memories.


  • Amanuel Hidrat

    My deepest condolence to my dear friend Saleh Younis and his entire families. May God bless the soul of Aboy Abdelrahman and rest him in peace. And may God give strength to the family in this difficult times.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Aman Hidrat,
      Glad you came back. You have been missed for too long, and your contributions are much need. Actually, these days we are missing a few familiar fellow forumers on both side of the gender divide. I miss for example Saba, Sara and Hayat.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Ismailo,

        I am back. I was busy in the wedding of my daughter. Though the subject on discussion doesn’t provoke me to actively engage in the debate, I am closely following your debates (yourself, Haile, Paulos and others). I will be slowly into it eventually. In the mean time I will try to jot down something for my column tebeges.


        • Haile S.

          Selam Emma,
          በል ንዓና ከተንብብ ጻሕሊ ከይተቐርዕን። ኣብቲ ዘለኻዮ ሰብኡት እዮም ጸብሒ ዝሰርሑ፡ መጎጎ ዝ ኣጉዱ ሰሚዔ’የ።
          የግዳስ ..ንመን ድኣ ሃብካያ..ኣበይ ድኣ ኣተት
          ዋእ፡ ቄናን ቆብዓ ድኣ ወዲ መን ኮይኑ
          ኣጌናዕ ዝሓውይ እንዳ መኳንንቲ ኣእቲኻና
          ኣንትን ኣንስቲ እልል በላ

        • Paulos

          Selam Professor A. Hidrat,

          Congratulations a million times over! እንታይ በዲልና’ድኣ ዘይዓደምካና?

        • Thomas

          Hi Amma,

          Congratulations for the wedding of your daughter!! It is really a blessing!!

        • Ismail AA

          Selam Aman,
          Heartfelt congratulations to you all. I can imagine how hectic the preparation was. The wedded do deserve your time and attention. I wish them happy, healthy and prosperous life together.

        • Kokhob Selam

          Dear Amuni,,

          Great Amuni!! Congratulations ..


        • Peace!

          Selam Emma,

          Congratulations on your daughter’s weddding, ከም ኣብራሃምን ሳራን ይጸምብሮም!!!


          • Beyan

            Selam Peace,

            I am trying to snick this gwayla for Awatawyan to virtually dance along in a spirit of congratulating Ato Amanuel for being a proud father who just gave away his daughter to a suitor. Next year, as the Arabs say, bilmal wa-alEyal, inshallah. So, before he becomes a grandfather, let us say hade, hade with Andat. I am a sucker for any excuse to throw in a little music here and there. You will really be hard pressed to resist the temptation of letting those should from doing their thing when some such music comes, especially, at an unexpected time like right now:


          • Peace!

            Selam Beyanom,

            What a nice way to congratulate Emma, don’t know why he didn’t invite us to watch him ጋቢ (ቲቶ) ተጎልቢቡ ስክትሽም… ሰሐብ …ሰሐብ ክብል እንከሎ 🙂

            Thank you for the beautiful song, ኬፍ ኣለኪ ዝሓፍተየ!


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Peace & Beyan,

            Thank you guys.

            Thank you Beyan for the song ; and Peace you are right, yes I did. እወ ጋቢ ተጎልቢበ ስክትሽም ኢለዮ::

          • Haile S.

            ሰላም ኤማ፡
            ጋቢ ተጎልቢቡ ዳዊት ዝደግም እምበር ስክትሽም ዝብል ርኢና ኣይንፈልጥን 🙂 ። ነጸላ ተዓጢቑ ግን ርኢና።
            መቸም ነዞም ከምዚኸማይ ከተርቲ ዘረባ ዛላዕል ኣይሰኣነካንዩ!

          • Peace!

            Selam Haile S.

            ባዓል ውራይ ወይ ካኣ መርዓዊ ጋቢ እዬም ዘምጽእሉ መስለኒ ወይ ይጉልበቦ ወይ ድማ ኣብ ክሳዱ ይጥምጠሞ, ከምኡዶ ኣይኮነን?


          • Haile S.

            ሰላም Peace!
            ይመስለኒ በዓል ውራይ ይዕጠቕ ወይ ይውንዘፍ። ኣደ መርዓዊት ከኣ ንመርዓዊ ጋቢ ተጎልብቦ፡ ከምታ ዝበክካያ። ኣቦ ግን ተዓጢቑ ዘሳስን ዝስዕስዕን ይመስለኒ።

          • Peace!

            Selam Haile S.

            ጹቡቕ ኣለኻ ክምኣ እያ…ኣነስ ከራጉድ ኢለ እየ ዳሓር ካኣ Emma እንድዩ 🙂


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            ሰላም ሃይላት,

            እዋእ አንታ ሃይላት “ንሰላም” ምስቲ ቃላቱ አሰማሚዔ መሊሸ በሃላይ ደአየምበር: ብሐቂ ብሐቂ እቲ ትብሎ ዘለኻ አብ ቦትኡዩ ዘሎ:። ዝኾነኾይኑ ንመጸኢ ጊዜ ንቃላተይ አጠቃቅማ ከስተባህለሎም ጌርካኒ አሎኻ እሞ: የቀንየለይ::

  • Amanuel

    My condolences to family and friends.

  • said

    Selam Saleh,
    My condolences and sympathy to the remaining family of Amm Abdurahman Younis .
    To Allah (swt) we belong and to Him we shall return!”, asking Allah to grant him the highest level of Paradise. Pray that his grave is filled with noor (light) and the fragrance of Jannah (paradise), and that Allah eases the pain and suffering of the loved ones left behind.
    He was blessed with a wonderful family. And they loved him dearly .he is kindest and wonderful grandfather . Courageous and peaceful man .It is unfortunate their son and granddaughter languish in Eritrean jail for nor apparent reason . He dealt with his jailer with high spirit ,Faith ,Patience, Perseverance and Determination. He encountered sever difficulties, but he was optimistic. And spoke his mind with feeling of pride and integrity .And elderly and A pivotal figure in Eritrea . for no crime of his own, he was put in jail.His death comes at another inflection point in the country’s history following among many others elderly mentioned. Their life spanned Eritrea’s ’s tumultuous and often tragic 20th century. In their good will and love of their country genuinely thought the country had been liberated, and they had a new hope, that they then somehow believed in the early government ’s promises that Eritrea would become democratic. Respected and Elderly contributions to the nation did not save them from IA ‘s ant-human and anti-intellectual campaigns aimed at eliminating any dissent voices .
    From your eulogy Br . Gadi ,he was a considered and deep caring person , almost bottomless well of kindness. And full open warmth of a soft and generous heart, a sensitive, furiously intelligent, deeply learned person.
    May God Bliss and have mercy on his soul .


  • Aklilu Zere

    May the soul of Our Good Man Amm Abdu Rest in Peace. God is waiting for him with open arms.

    And may the Almighty God furnish his Family with abundance of Hope, Health, Happines, Faith, Love, Peace and Success in all their Dreams and Endeavors.

    Good Men don’t die so let’s celebrate Amm Abdu by remembering and cherishing his life and following his examples.

    Again thanks Brother Ghadi for sharing the story of our Good Man Amm Abdu.

  • Mohammed Ahmed

    Ahlan Saleh –
    The humanity you speak of in the person of Am Abdulrahman is very touching. A courageous life, well lived and one that refused to be broken despite the killer pressures unleashed by the bigoted regime and those who religiously subscribe to its evil agenda. But little do these sadistic fanatics know that in death, our elders carve a path of dignity just as they did in life. And what will suck the remaining life-line off HGDEF’s miserable existence is if we all stay true to this dignified path our elders carved.
    My deepest condolences to Saleh and the rest of the family.
    الله ىرحم الفقىد وىحسن الىه
    وانا لله وانا الىه راجعون

  • Peace!


    ወላድን ውሕሉል ዓርክን ኣይምነውን እዮም እሞ ረቢ ኢማንን ሰብርን ይሀብኩም ንብለኩም ወላ ኣቦ ኹላትና እንተኾነውን!

    Salih, thank you for the beautiful and touching memory, alhamdillulah as some say:

    “When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure”


  • HuAh

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute that reflected on some of dad’s characteristics only someone who really knew him would know about. Thanks again cuz.

  • Ismail AA

    Dear Saleh,
    You wrote a tribute one of the great elders of Eritrea deserves, and of which generations of Eritreans would be proud to read. You have represented many of us in eulogizing this honorable man and his peers whom we take as embodiments of the best of our society’s values. Thank you.

  • Beyan

    Selam Bete-Seb end Aboy Abdu Younis,

    Thanks Saleh Gadi Johar for sharing this wonderful tribute. Not many readers follow what goes on in Jebena, you truly included. Therefore, I am going to share here what I stated there. May you draw solace and comfort in being surrounded with your family in this difficult time. No words one can say would capture how one feels when losing loved ones. Nevertheless, the best way I know how to say this is to let you know that my thoughts are with you. My heartfelt condolences to you and your loved ones, and may he rest in peace.

    As the image of Aboy Abdu Younis makes it clear and reading the two tributes shared herewith, it is abundantly clear that this is a family of letters, and I am now taking the liberty to confidently say you will find comfort in reading some of the quotes in how writers express their grief. Family of letters in you might find comfort in reading some quotes in how writers express their grief. We all grief in our own ways, for me it is returning to C.S. Lewis – a very thin book – but profoundly insightful. Of course, if reading anything isn’t the way you process grief, please disregard, but herein follow some thought provoking words from the late C.S. Lewis, just in case, you felt the need to read:

    “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”

    “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”

    “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing… At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

    “For in grief nothing “stays put.” One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?… But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?…

    “The death of a beloved is an amputation… How often — will it be for always? — how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, “I never realized my loss till this moment”? The same leg is cut off time after time.”

    ― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

    • Bashir Saleh

      Saleh Gadi. thanks for your great tribute of a great Man….. I my heartfelt condolences to Saleh ,Ali, Kabire and the rest of Younus family ..Ina Lilahi wa Inna ilayhi Rajeeon

  • MS

    Selam Negarit/AT
    Ustaz Gadi and the team, thanks for this wonderful article. This is a good way to remember Amm (uncle) AbdulraHman AHmed Younis. He represents our desire for freedom, our never-wavering resolute to see Eritrea embark on the trails of justice. Unfortunately, the story of Amm AbdulraHman is a story that many Eritrean families recite. It is also the fuel that drive us to say “This is wrong,” and to get really mad at how things are going on in Eritrea in these days and ages. Governments have the power to arrest you. But at the same time they have the OBLIGATION to prove through due process that why they arrested you for was warranted. This is a basic thing that even totalitarian regimes from Sudan to Iran exercise. Even if their Judicial system is flawed, they still acknowledge this basic right of citizens. There are universal legal and moral obligations not to cause undue duress to frail people. What happened to Amm Abdulrahman and his granddaughter, the teenage Cyham, is a textbook case of torture, depriving them of their basic right to see court and family, seek leniency, and so on. The psychological torture is worse than the physical one. And by extension, all decent people who read these all too familiar stories are psychologically jailed and tortured. This is an area that able persons of the opposition should focus on. Eritreans paid all that prohibitive price in the search for human dignity more so than in the search of a territorial separation.
    As the writer aptly described it the late SheiK AbdulraHman defied the pressure of authorities heavy-handedness to jail his soul, he lived free, and departs the world on his own per his creator’s schedule. May he RIP. He represents the story of thousands of Eritreans, elders, underage, men, women, Christian, Muslims, Highlanders, lowlander, etc. He also represents those who want to live compliant ONLY to their conscience. Let the torch for the search of liberty burning.
    I’m pleased that you remembered and celebrated the man he was rather than passing it as news.
    Again, my condolence to the family and friends.

  • Kebessa

    Thanks AT. This is a nice tribute.
    My understanding is Sheikh Abdurahman was one of the elderly who attempted to mediate G15 with the President and got apprehended. Of course we have heard a lot about the arrests but very little is known on the details. When he came to the US, did he chat with you guys about that and are you at liberty to shed some light on what exactly happened?
    Again, Rest In Peace Sheikh Abdurahman!

  • Paulos

    Selam Awate team,

    A tribute well put. This is one of the essays where one says I wish I had written it. May the Lord God rest his soul in peace!

  • Berhan Beyan

    Selam All,

    It is very sad to hear the death of Aboy Abdurahman, Rebi yrhamelu, n jena ybelo.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Awate Participants,

    “That stubborn soul didn’t die, it just left the body.”.

    .”Admirably, despite all that, Amm Abdu never lost his sense of humor, and his smile. He never bowed down to tyranny, but remained a free spirited, proud man. And we are left with that memory of Amm Abdurahman Ahmed Younis.”

    ..”My book that he is holding in the picture was taken one cold morning as we basked under the sun, sipping tea in the backyard of my old house.” “Today, as I express my feelings, in what I thought would be an eulogy, all I can think of was that Amm Abdu defeated his jailers by not breaking down.”

    Yes,,nice Awate team ..perfect article.. whoever read this will enjoy it to the end..and all words will take him near to heaven ..

    Kokob Selam

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam Kokob Selam,
      Let me attach my expression of condolence to yours. His family and friends in particular and the country have lost truly a great man. I wish them all strength and grace. May he rest in peace.
      Mr. K. H

  • chefena

    ንስድራ ጽንዓት ይሃብ፡ ንክቡር ኣቦ ድማ ኣምላክ ይቀበሎም!