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Atlantic Council: Leaving Eritreans In The Cold

On December 8, the Atlantic Council, an American think-tank, organized a panel discussion on Eritrea. Entitled “Rethinking Eritrea”, the event was moderated by Bronwyn Bruton,the deputy director of the think tank’s Africa Center; and the panelists were Seth Kaplan, a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins University; Anthony Carroll, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Dan Connell, visiting scholar, African Studies Center, Boston University. Ms. Bruton and Mr Kaplan presented papers, which you can read here and here. Mr Carroll and Mr Connell had notes and you can watch and listen to what they said here and here.

If you are thinking that this article will focus exclusively on the presentation by Ms Bruton (a frequent guest in this column), you will be mistaken. If you are thinking why Westerners who study Africa (and not Eritrea) are prescribing its medicine, in a town (DC) that has one of the densest population of Eritreans, you will also be mistaken.

What is it which motivates Ms. Bruton? Her paper, “Eritrea: Coming In from the Cold” has a resemblance (coincidental?) to ambassador/lobbyist Herman Cohen’s article 3 years ago: “Time to Bring Eritrea In from the Cold”.  Moreover, a few years ago, Eritrean Chargé d’Affaires to the United States had directed Ambassador-Now-Lobbyist Herman Cohen to change American public opinion about Eritrea by conducting symposiums exactly like the one just organized by the Atlantic Council. She also appears to share Herman Cohen’s view that US policy towards Eritrea is not merit-based, but the outcome of grudges held by Susan Rice, the National Security Advisor.

In any event, “Eritrea: Coming In From The Cold” is basically the same paper she presented in her testimony to the US Congress in September 2016, and I would be repeating myself if I offered a counter-argument. In support of my claim that Ms Bruton is a work in progress and that all you have to do is wait a couple of months for her to learn new facts and to espouse them more passionately than you did, I submit this exhibit: in her testimony to the US congress, she had said “nobody knows” who controls Eritrea outside the capital city.  Really. Not “I don’t know”, but “nobody knows.”  Why? Because an American intelligence officer who learned she was going to Eritrea had asked Bronwyn (in hushed tones, I imagine): “Find out if there is a government in Eritrea, outside of Asmara.” (This, in a totalitarian country that has a ruling party office in every hamlet.) Now she is saying (in her role as moderator) that “like it, or not”, the Government of Eritrea controls all of Eritrea’s territories. So she learned at least one thing in three months; although this one thing she learned completely undermines the argument she was making to the US congress—”nobody knows” who is in charge in Eritrea and we can’t afford a power vacuum in Eritrea; so, let’s engage.

As the saying goes, “Africa is not a country” and people can’t be “Africa experts.”  They can barely be regional experts (after decades of toiling) and so it is always absurd when individuals present themselves as “Africa experts” after a few years.  The Atlantic Council’s Africa Center was opened in….2009.   Are there “Europe experts”, by the way? But, after listening to all the cringe-inducing “questions” from Eritreans in the audience, I am sympathetic to why the Atlantic decided to exclude us.  We Eritreans are hot heads: we have not developed the skill set required to listen and to have dispassionate discussions and intelligent discourse.  Example: “Dan Connell, how can you say Ethiopia has vacated Badme when clearly you didn’t say that and I just imagined it because my government ordered me to hate you?”  Example: “I am from the opposition and this is perhaps the first time the Atlantic Council has ever heard from the pro-democracy opposition so let me begin my question, which is actually a statement, with ‘I like dictatorship.’”  I wish I could blame only the Eritrean government for the deformity in our discourse: 25 years later, there is no parliament in Eritrea, and the government’s idea of discourse is: we talk, you listen which it names “seminars” without any irony.  Seminars have one indoctrination message; love whom we order you to love; hate whom we command you to hate. But there is more. I think something in our culture is broken. This is why the (it’s not even close) by-far-most-knowledgeable person in the panel—Professor/author Dan Connell—appeared to be the least comfortable, because the audience was packed with pro-Government Eritreans trained and coiled to attack.

Yes, we Eritreans should have been in the panel and we would have provided context to all our Mzungus.  But first we have to learn to keep our emotions in check.

All of the above, by way of setting the scene.

What I found most interesting is the paper by Professor Seth Kaplan. And by interesting I mean surreal, and by surreal I mean that it feels like we just boarded a time machine and were transformed to 1991 and we are discussing what the new government should do. There is even a picture of Asmara’s tank graveyard in Professor Kaplan’s paper: yep, it all happened yesterday in this virgin country.  It is as if Eritrea hasn’t had the same government in power for 25 years. The topic he discusses—what form of economic policies should the government of Eritrea pursue—is (if you are nerdy enough) captivating and well researched, with over a hundred endnotes. But not one of the end notes is Eritrea’s macroeconomic policy, investment policy, or industrial policy.  They exist but nobody, including the government, takes them seriously.  It’s like he just stumbled on a post-war country with a new government and no laws. This is because Eritrea is a blank slate: what happens in Eritrea is that the policy is whatever a government official says it is in an interview (preferably, if not exclusively, with a Westerner), as was apparently the case here, when Professor Kaplan went to Eritrea in March 2016 and conducted “dark research.” (Interviews without attribution.) Mercifully, President Isaias Afwerki was not one of the officials he interviewed so we are spared from creating a Bruton Unit, i.e, the number of times she says “when I interviewed President Isaias.”

The problem with the “when I interviewed President Isaias” argument is that President Isaias says a lot of contradictory things in a meandering and rambling way, and the one he repeats often—one he used when he removed the life support from Eritrea’s constitution and mercy-killed it in 2014—is “over the past 15 years, we have learned a lot,” without specifying what is it he has learned.  So, there is no enduring “value”—neither EPLF Marxism, nor revolutionary-chic, nor neo-liberalism of the 1990s, not anti-terrorism coalition of 2000s (although it was a nice touch to add the Isaias-Rumsfeld picture, btw)—nothing that people can refer to as the guide-post of the government except for: ‘what does it take to stay in power, what does it take to be relevant in the region, and where do we get the money to fund it?’ Consequently, stalls, half-starts, u-turns, imaginary constitutions, imaginary penal codes, imaginary raises for conscripts, imaginary limits to conscription, and soapbox railing against the US are not a bug but a feature of Eritrean government policy. But let’s review Professor Seth Kaplan’s arguments and try to also add the major points of Mr. Carroll and Mr Connell to complement his earnest report.

Seth Kaplan’s Assessment & Recommendations

I probably won’t do justice to his paper and I strongly recommend you read it. Sure, you will have to gloss over lines (helpfully excerpted in bold) like “The birth of the Eritrean state resulted entirely from the tenacity, resilience, and keen organizational skills of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF)” and shrug them off as the hyperbole of a newbie who has just had a sip of the EPLF/PFDJ Kool-Aid and focus on his assessment and recommendations.  It is so because the EPLF/PFDJ told him so.  It is what “Africa experts” do: talk to African leaders.  Next!

The assessment is worth it: because he is using the same sources (EIU, AfDB), he is saying the same things we have been saying. But perhaps now the government supporters will accept it (instead of waging war against data) when it comes from a government-friendly source. (“Government-friendly” broadly defined to mean, in the Eritrean context, someone who is given a visa to enter the country.) His assessment of the challenges to Eritrea’s economy, quoted verbatim:

• Eritrea has few exports and thus consistently runs a large trade deficit;
• Reserves have rarely, if ever, climbed above the amount required for three months of imports, the internationally recommended minimum (they generally hover at a number between two and three months now). Such a low level of foreign reserves leaves the country susceptible to any crisis that might affect its finances;
• The price of copper, which made up 94 percent of total Eritrean exports in 2014, has fallen by more than half since 2013;
• The government is estimated to have “a highly unsustainable public debt burden, estimated at 108 percent of GDP in 2015,” making it “among the most heavily indebted countries in the world”;
• Fiscal deficits averaged a whopping 16 percent of GDP between 2005 and 2015. There has been a modest decline in deficits since Bisha opened and brought an increase in revenue, but the figure remains around 12 percent;
• When the government prints money to pay its bills, it increases the money supply faster than it should. Inflation has been in double digits since at least the early 2000s, peaking at about 20 percent in 2008–2011 before dropping to around 12 percent in 2014;
• Demand for goods and services has significantly declined in the months since the new tender was introduced [November 2015]. Businesspeople—whether they drive a taxi, manage a retail store, run a restaurant, or own a hotel—bitterly complain about the currency change;
• Since 2008, the private investment rate has been between 2 and 3 percent of GDP, an extraordinarily low figure. FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] per capita is among the lowest in Africa, with only Burundi, the Central African Republic, and Malawi doing worse in 2014;
• Foreign investors face an almost impossible task if they wish to involve themselves with Eritrea in a way that completely avoids the entanglements the program [National Service] brings from almost every direction. National service thus creates a litigation and public relations risk that is not present in any other developing country. As such, it is a severe drag on Eritrea’s economic development.
• Emigration has devastated the country’s human resources, weakened the capacity of its institutions (likely including the military), and limited its geostrategic and economic options. It has also had a debilitating effect on Eritrea’s image abroad and the morale of the people at home.
• The lack of capable middle managers (and the risk-adverse atmosphere generated by the Eritrean political context) enervates most institutions in the country. This dynamic is exacerbated by the emigration of many educated young people who should be filling up middle management positions in key organizations.
• The country ranks last out of 189 countries on the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators, scoring especially low on issues related to regulation (e.g., starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and resolving insolvency), international trade, and access to credit.
• The country has major deficiencies in energy supply, roads, telecommunications, and ports.
• Eritrea ranked forty-seven out of fifty-three countries across the continent in the 2013 Africa Infrastructure Development Index “due to poor road networks, water and sanitation, energy, and ICT [information and communications technology] deficiencies.”
• It ranked 156 out of 160 countries in the 2014 Logistics Performance Index, which measures, among other things, perceptions of the quality and efficiency of a country’s trade- and transport-related infrastructure and logistics services. Only Congo-Brazzaville, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia fared worse.
• It had the lowest per capita numbers of mobile phone subscribers and Internet users in Africa in 2014.
• Eritrea has one of the lowest scores on the Human Development Index, ranking 186 out of 188 countries worldwide in 2014, far behind the averages for Africa as well as the low development group of countries. Of the countries assessed, only the Central African Republic and Niger did worse. Over four-fifths of students finish high school without employable work skills, and this produces legions of people unemployable for any job requiring specialized knowledge.

Now if we replace “Eritrea” with the name of any generic country which had the same government for 25 years, the prescription would be “these guys have failed; we need a change of government in this generic country.” Especially if you conclude, as Kaplan has, that “the anti-business sentiments of many top government officials do not help matters.” Even more, when you conclude, as Kaplan has, that the Eritrean revolution has forged a  leadership with a set of rigid values (like a religion) that makes it very unlikely for them to change. Even more so, if you learn, as Kaplan did (and notes in his endnotes), the government doesn’t even like the word “reform.”

What we need is regime change.  “Regime change” simply means change of one government by another, a right recognized as universal by the UN: the power to hire and fire your government.  But “regime change” now has entirely different meaning: change of government by force by external powers (thank you George W Bush.) People are so terrified of recommending the former (peaceful change of government) because it will be mistaken for the latter (external military enforced change) that they suspend their critical thinking and strain to recommend things that won’t happen.  We have to hold one constant–the government must stay in place–and demand that everybody else change and that the government, which we just described is not open to change, actually change its behavior. We externalize.  Three things that are allegedly entirely outside the control of the government of Eritrea–Sanctions, Demarcation, Indefinite National Service–have to change, we are told, before anything changes.

1. Sanctions: the PFDJ narrative is that the UN, under the direction of the US, sanctioned Eritrea for no good reason. This is having disastrous consequences and the US is to blame. Stretching the argument to its limit, Kaplan says that investment in Eritrea froze up as early as 2005 when the UN was hinting at sanctions, not just when it imposed it in 2009. Well, OK: but what was the Government of Eritrea doing when it was being warned by the UN to reverse course in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and most of 2009? What was it doing in 2009 and 2010 to get the sanctions strengthened in 2011? Does it bear any, some, most, all of the responsibility for getting Eritrea sanctioned? Is there any clue in the fact that only Libya voted no for the 2009 sanctions?  Does it bear any responsibility for getting the African Union to do something it has never done since South African apartheid: vote for sanctioning a fellow African country? Does it, or its supporters who were telling it “you are on the right track”, bear any responsibility for the disastrous consequences? Kaplan, an economist, is agnostic on that.

Inconvenient as it may be, one has to remember that there are three sanctions on Eritrea: by the US, the UN and the EU. If what people like Herman Cohen and Bronwyn Bruton claim is true—that the sanctions are there only because the US (Susan Rice) insists for personal reasons, a dubious claim given the absence of a single NO vote the last time the issue was voted on—what is stopping the EU and the UN from lifting their sanctions? Specially, as we keep being reminded, since EU is fully engaged with Eritrea?

Given that the Government of Eritrea was sanctioned for two reasons–its role in Somalia and its role in Djibouti–are there any assurances that the irresponsible government won’t get Eritrea sanctioned again for yet another self-destructive policy?

2. Demarcation: Since April 13, 2002 when the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) gave its ruling, the three parties have not changed their positions: Eritrea says that there is nothing to negotiate here: the ruling is final and binding, get out of our land. Ethiopia says, maybe, kinda, here’s a five point plan and first we have to talk about it. And those who are described as witnesses (in writing) and as guarantors (in oral representation)—the UN, the US—say, “it is up to the two parties to figure this out.” For more than fourteen years, this has remained the position of the three parties. Fourteen long years.

Why is Ethiopia refusing to abide? Because, explained Ms Bruton—proving once again that every time she learns something, she unlearns something else—because of Ethiopia’s “irredentist” claims.  An “irredentist” is “a person advocating the restoration to their country of any territory formerly belonging to it.” Now, let’s be honest and take off our pamphleteer hat for a second: does this description fit the Government of Ethiopia or some of the Ethiopian opposition hosted by Eritrea which still claims that the Eritrean Red Sea belongs to Ethiopia?

To the surprise of nobody, the panelist who has been following the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict since before it began—Dan Connell—gave the only coherent and workable plan to extricate Eritrea from the conundrum it is in.  Unless, of course, you still believe moral indignation and scolding Ethiopia, the US and the UN will work.   He says that in an outcome-focused proposal, both countries can maintain their positions, and the US or Europe can have proxy talks and proximity talks to ensure that each party gets what it wants: for Eritrea: Ethiopia vacating lands ruled Eritrean; for Ethiopia, an assurance that once it vacates the land, it will never have to worry about war from the Northern front; for the UN-US, to close that file permanently (I don’t agree with Dan that Europeans have to drive this: it can only be done by the US.)

It is insane to not take a single initiative to solve this problem, given that, as two of the panelists told us, the most impactful economic stimulus to Eritrea would be opening up the Eritrea-Ethiopia border for trade.

As a government which has successfully negotiated the Sudanese conflict (Eastern Province vs Khartoum), the Eritrean government has the diplomatic acumen to resolve this. But three things stand on its way: one, it doesn’t just want the Government of Ethiopia to reverse its policy unconditionally; it wants such about-face policy to result in its downfall as it sees it as the destabilizer of the Horn and it sees itself as the Savior of the region, including Ethiopia; two: it has painted itself into a corner of “there is nothing to talk about” for 14 years, that it can’t show any flexibility and eagerness to talk (never mind all the catastrophic data that the good professor cited) without losing face with its Parrot Constituency; three: once in a while, somebody from the West springs out of the blue to give it false hope that the US policy of benign neglect is just about to be reversed.

3. National Service: Kaplan here makes the same point I have made: that Eritrea can copy Israel’s national service which is time-limited. I have argued that if there is a single country in the world that can rationalize extreme mandatory conscription on the basis of hostile neighborhood, it is Israel; yet, Israel doesn’t have a military conscription policy as crazy as ours. It is for limited time, and it has conscientious objection exemptions.

What is the rationale for indefinite national service?  It is, we are told, to enable Eritrea to defend itself if (or when) Ethiopia attacks.  But given that indefinite national service is the key driver of emigration and the attendant terrible consequences of that (hallowing out Eritrea’s human resource, death and carnage; denying Eritrea its traditional trading partner), given that nobody will invest in Eritrea for fear of litigation or ruining its reputation by using forced labor (National Service), how long is that policy supposed to be pursued until new initiatives are introduced?

The Government of Eritrea–and its Mzungus–hopes to shame Ethiopia, the US and the UN into doing the right thing. What if they don’t? Well, Kaplan has an answer: one of the guiding principles of Eritrea’s government is: “Backing down from difficulties is unacceptable; instead, efforts should be doubled to achieve one’s goals.”  Doubled, quadrupled, quintupled, ad infinitum.   First of all, this is suicidal.  Secondly, it is (thank God) not always the case.  The Government of Eritrea famously reversed two long-standing major policies just recently:

(A) On Eritrean Ports: April 1 Editorial by Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Eritrea is the only country in the world that does not allow its territory to be a camp of foreign powers. It will never allow its islands, ports, land to be leased or sold.”

(B) On joining alliances: (editorial in Haddas Ertra) ኤርትራ ኣብ ፖሊሲ ኪዳናት ኣይትኣምንን፣ ስለዚ ድማ ኣይትጽንበሮን – ኣይትድግፎን’ውን። በዚ ምኽንያት ኣብ ዝኾነ ይኹን ተመሳሳሊ ምትእኽኻባት ኣባልነት ከምዘይብላ ደጊማ ተረጋግጽ፣ (Translation: Eritrea is against the policy of alliances and interventions and it will never join nor support them.)

Both these “never!” statements were made in April 2014. And we know what happened since then: Eritrea leased Assab to the United Arab Emirates and it joined the Saudi Alliance.

The truth is: even if the most Eritrea-friendly person is named as US Sec of State (Ambassador Bolton), or holds some senior position dealing with Africa, he will follow exactly the recommendation given by Dan Connell because Ethiopia is too important to the US.

But in the meantime, 14 of Eritrea’s post-independence lives have been wasted resulting in massive militarization, indefinite national service, and migration with thousands of the lives of our youth wasted away.  And as long as there is national service–which is a different name for “forced labor”–there will be no investment from companies who care about the risks associated with their reputation and litigation, as Mr. Carroll and Professor Kaplan reiterated.  Those of you who have interacted with Eritrean refugees know this–and Dan Connell has interviewed exponentially more–have you heard anyone of them say “if only Weyane/Ethiopia would vacate our lands!”  What they say is, “if only my government wasn’t so monumentally stupid.”

And what exactly will change if the sanctions are lifted tomorrow and the boundary is demarcated the day after? Professor Kaplan recommends that the Eritrean government learn from the practices of China and Vietnam. Of course, China and Vietnam–unlike Eritrea–have actual functioning political parties which meet regularly.  They are not One Man shows, like the one in Eritrea which hasn’t had a party congress since 1994 (its first and only.)  Moreover, whatever change happened in China and Vietnam was only after they shed their “liberators.”  And, have you ever heard Vietnam rail about China the way Eritrea rails about the US?  The government and its supporters are more inspired by Cuba: in fact, this guy and this guy are pushing “Eritrea the African Cuba” narrative.  It so happens that both are exempt from the National Service policy of the government, and it so happens that both conveniently forget Cuba was a client state of the Soviet Union from the beginning of its revolution to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Questions.  Will we have peace or will have another war somewhere because the PFDJ’s national charter says Eritrea’s foreign policy should be ambititious “notwithstanding our limited capabilities” [Page 26 of the National Charter]? Will Eritrea take advantage of its massive shoreline, will it have a decent tourism industry, or will we cede the Sea to Djibouti, as we have for two decades now? Will the Eritrean government transform the country into a service hub, a manufacturing hub, or will it continue to micromanage it to oblivion? Will it allow the entrepreneurship of Eritreans (that Anthony Carroll witnessed in Ethiopia were critical to its economy) to thrive or will it insist on dominating all economic space? Will it pursue policies to welcome back the hundreds of thousands of Eritreans who still languish in refugee camps or will it hope their die off or adopt Sudanese nationalities? Here’s an easy one: Will the Atlantic Council video be aired by the Government of Eritrea or its satellites like EastAfro or will it be edited to eliminate Dan Connell?

If you just discovered Eritrea, all these are mysteries. If you have been following everything Eritrea’s ruling party has done since it came to power, it’s all predictible: take the most rational thing to do, then do its opposite.  It will remain so until those in power convince themselves or are convinced by others that they should pursue some other interest besides the one they are terrible at: governing.  The best contribution all our Mzungus can do for us–and oh, we will be so thankful we would name streets after them–is to convince Eritrea’s rulers to go away.

But they won’t, and you can see it in the cold detachment of the Atlantic Council presentation. The fact that a UN body found the leaders of the Government of Eritrea guilty of crimes against humanity is barely mentioned.  Not a single panelist, with the exception of Dan Connell, appears to have spoken to a single escapee from Eritrea. There are hundreds of thousands of them giving testimonies that contradict the whitewashing of the Atlantic Council.  The massive human rights violations the Government of Eritrea commits are normalized: meh, everybody does it–despite the fact that those who study this for a living–Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Council– say Eritrea’s is far worse. So, it turns out, the “Eritrea” the Atlantic Council wants to bring in from the cold is made up of Eritrean officials they interview and have on their speed dial.  The average Eritrean?  Well, he can just stay out in the cold: the government will eventually give blankets to those who didn’t freeze to death.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Who cares?

About Salyounis

Saleh Younis (SAAY) has been writing about Eritrea since 1994 when he published "Eritrean Exponent", a quarterly print journal. His writing has been published in several media outlets including Dehai, Eritrean Studies Review, Visafric, Asmarino and, of course, Awate where his column has appeared since the launch of the website in 2000. Focusing on political, economic, educational policies, he approaches his writing from the perspective of the individual citizens' civil liberties and how collectivist governments and overbearing organizations trample all over it in pursuit of their interests. SAAY is the president and CEO of a college with a focus in sound arts and video games and his writing often veers to music critique. He has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BA from St Mary's College.

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  • tes

    Dear Awatawyan and AT in particular,

    Saleh Johar has pulled already the important accustions which are going against this justice seekers, Awate website, Awate Team and all opposition camp. My objective is then just a continuation of what Saleh Johar did and highlight on the most important accusations coming from shameless Mahmud Saleh, MS.

    Accusation #1

    It’s[Atlantic Council] not set up to fight for Eritreans’ cause. This article, and several other articles published in this website, tend to treat the AC as an Eritrean opposition council, blaming it for not taking the exact position that the authors of those articles would want it to have taken, for not fighting the fight we failed to wage, for not delivering the victories we should have delivered…forgetting that this is a Council that does its business regardless of how wildly we can scream.

    This accusation is compounded one.

    First; He[MS] is trying to remind us that AC is not for Eritrean cause. Of course yes, we know MS. AC was/is/will not work for Eritrean cause rather against it. Whether it is an already established institute or not, what we know is AC is a paid agent for PFDJ’s dictatorial mission. We know it perfectly.

    Second; None of the published articles, here or anywhere else has treated AC as an Eritrean Opposition Council rather exposing its Anti-Eritrean cause mission. Any article published so far is exposing the venom circulating in USA land that intends to suppress the voice of the voiceless people.

    third; No one, including this article, is expecting AC to take an exact position as the opposition camp rather telling AC to stop its work for the dictatorial regime. We know what AC Eritrea mission stands for and we are against it. Point

    Above all, what this shameless Mahmud Saleh is telling us is that why we are standing against AC’s business. He is mocking at us for standing against their business. He is accusing us for being jeaulous about their work.

    Accusation #2


    MS is shame to accuse the article, hence the author for misinforming readers. He referred an article that was written in August and is accusing it for misinforming simply because the article exposed that Brownyn Bruton is funded by Nevsun. I don’t know why he is misinforming us now while Ms. Brownyn herself told us that she received money from Nevsun. Even Nevsun officials didn’t hide this money transfer. What MS is trying to mischieve us is that though he knows that Bruton received money, he didn’t want to equate it with funding. Word game and gambling.

    While he[MS] is telling us that he has the same access as AT has on disclosed public information, he considered AT as an Amateur to make it further available to Eritreans for a matter that he is accusing AT and Saleh Younis’s work as misinforming. What a disgusting man.

    What makes Mahmud Saleh as a PFDJ agent is when he writes this:

    Well, Yemane knew from the get-go that he would not travel outside NY because of the diplomatic meltdown between Eritrea and the USA.

    Well, MS knows exactly what YG knows well before activists called USA to take action on YG. MS is telling us that it was a useless job to remind US while YG knew why he won’t go outsideWashington DC.

    Well, what MS is telling us is to remain silent as before while PFDJ sneaks as before as they wanted to be. He is not for the opposition camp(as he described it ..when our activists were in different dimensional plane to remind US officials that there are criminals freely circulating in the land of justice.

    Accusation #3

    MS is accusing Saleh Younis for using Condescending/Demeaning attitutes. from his line:

    …The language of the articles make use of a lot of demeaning references.

    Well, he is protecting Bruton for she is accused of for someone who does not know what she was talking about….

    Shame be up on him that he[MS] wants to reminds us that all foreigners seem to graps the complexity of the situation better than expected.

    To emphasise

    …better than expected

    I will just laugh at him simply. I don’t know if a doctor knows the suffering of a patient than the patient himself. Good Mahmud Saleh to remind this: “The victims know less about themselves than one who wants to put a shade on the victim themselves”.

    Accusation #4

    MS is accusing the opposition camp for continuing to accuse as he put it

    Complain…complain…and complain.

    What MS ignoring purposefully is the reason why Eritreans were not there. Well, as he always accuses, the opposition camp is a failed one and its presence is useless therefore if I interprate his take.

    Accusation #5

    This was too personal and targeting the author of this article. He wrote this

    Abu Dunya[Saleh Younis], you seem to be losing your unique character by the day.

    MS has observed that Abu Dunya is fast becoming “one of the” instead of “the”.

    Well, yah, MS didn’t want Saleh Younis to talk about individuals but collective (I think MS is reading Marxist book when he was writing this).

    In his conclusion, he reminded us that chasing Bruton and AC was counter productive. He is calling us to engage them. What he forgot here is Bruton and AC didn’t want Eritreans to interfer in their business. I don’t know how fast he forgot his first point when he called us not to interfer in their business. Shame!

    Accusation #6

    To underestimate Awate Com’s role, he brought a term called “part of the opposition” and “the opposition”. This is purely calling Awate Website to consider itself as an Opposition website. It is purely belittling the work of this website. Well, as a reader of Awate Com, I never came across to read that Awate Com represents the “Opposition”. Sadly MS is calling Awate com as such and then telling it to stop acting. I don’t know why he is acting everything – labeling and accusing.

    While he was exchaning with Saleh Johar MS highlighted his opposition for PFDJ and why he couldn’t go home when his father died. Well, it could be true. I won’t argue on this; What I would like say is that criticing PFDJ doesn’t make you against it while you support all its policies. Mahmud Saleh is all for PFDJ against taking official position.

    For now these are enough I think.


    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam tes,

      He is wooing PFDJ to throw him a bone (official position) hope he gets meat in it.


  • said


    Instant Communication & Environmental Challenges Versus Nostalgic Return to Nationalism & Isolationism

    The Populism Movements –as epitomized by the Trumpism Phenomenon – spreading across the advanced Western democracies with incredible speed are defying the logic of the Movement of History much dictated in our current era by irreversible revolutionary technological breakthroughs bringing the world together; simultaneously with challenging climatic, environmental and ecological risks threatening life on our tiny Planet Earth. These realities render anomalies politicians’ outcries of return to protectionism, isolationism and nationalism.

    The indelible fact is that The Globe is converging into a village that the very destinies of its inhabitants are increasingly far more inextricably intertwined and interdependently interwoven.

    The Outcry for protectionism, isolationism and nationalism; and as have always been the case in history, are the slogans emanating by the very controlling interest groups and oligarchies whose direct generally privileged monopolistic interests feel threatened by changing realities and the changing rules of the game.

    Instant communication; the flourishing weapons of mass destruction and environmental deterioration are putting the entire world populations and the entire Earth planet before increasingly common, rather same existential challenges.

    Western Capitalism thriving on the serendipities of the combined plundering of the riches of colonialized territories and the technological breakthroughs witnessed with the advent of the Industrial revolution, reaped new accumulated wealth that simultaneously improved the general welfare of the working classes and the emerging middle classes in the advanced Western countries. However, the truth of the dominance of Western Capitalists, and following on the credo of “The Golden Rule,” i.e. that who has the gold makes the rules; the dominating privileged oligarchs of the Western Capitalist system contrived the Rules, Economic theories, and general political and socio-economic philosophies tailored to their vision of the advancement of the Oligarchs’ interests perceived as indirectly benefiting – although significantly less proportionately – the welfare of the less privileged as drawing on Adam Smith concept of Laissez-Faire.

    Thus, it was the Western Capitalists’ theorists who promoted and advanced the concepts of unbridled capitalism; new coined concepts of freedom of movements of goods and capital often brandishing the wisdom of merits on the basis of the “Comparative & Competitive Advantages.”

    However, as by extension and in due course with changing business practices and business environments, the concepts of “Comparative & Competitive Advantages” developed new concepts of “Outsourcing” and “Strategic Alliances” with the increasing popularity of the concept of globalization made the more possibly by instant technological breakthroughs in instant communication and computerization. “Outsourcing,” “Free-Trade,” and Universal everything: Banking, Securities Trading, etc., were further advanced to keep pace as thought to further benefit the interests of Western Oligarchs as local businesses began to dislocate to foreign localities causing profound dislocation of resources. The Dislocation of Resources, as combined with the mania of Reganomics dismantling regulations and compounding income and wealth disparities compounded the plight of Western workers by worsening job opportunities at home and the stagnation and the plummeting of income levels of American and Western workers and the Western Middle Class.

    Interestingly, when somehow the new emerging economic powers of the world as represented foremost by behemoth China and India with inexhaustible sources of cheap and fast learning labor did the economic balance tip in favor of citizens and the new emerging oligarchs of these new emerging economic powers of the world.

    It is here where Western oligarchs, in almost unison, began to shout “Foul.”

    Foreign minorities and immigrants enthralled by the job opportunities and higher standard of living existing in the West start becoming caught in the cross-fire, becoming increasingly unwelcome burden in view of the shifting of the economic growth and the increasing loss of jobs by the indigenous Western workers populations. In this vein, fast growing Muslim minorities with disproportionate high birth rates in Europe were made the easier target for discrimination by virtue of their failure to assimilate to the European cultural mainstream; stubbornly holding on to irreconcilable and at times less inclusive doctrine; beside the increasing redundancy of their generally competing low-paid mostly low skilled tasks.

    The Outcry of Western Capitalists for enclosure and withdrawal seeing with changing rules of the game loss of long enjoyed competitive advantages reflects on realization that the economic prosperities of the new emerging world economic powers hinge significantly on trade and open economic exchanges. It is here where Western Oligarchs are calling for trade wars, protectionism and isolationism.

    In conclusion, the sudden shift in the Western Capitalists’ mood, rather the right wing Oligarchs, is throwing the world in a huge vacuum of a state of flux. It is rendering the world chaotic and increasingly disorderly as the original designer and manipulator of the system, the world order, are suddenly throwing the towel. It is a move against the currents; the natural historic evolution, boding ills to global stability and the future of constructive international relations.

  • Semere Tesfai

    Selam All

    Eritrea is Ethiopia’s northern firewall. The people of northern Ethiopia are enjoying a good night sleep because their northern firewall is still intact. For the people of northern Ethiopia, the war on terror and the war on Islamic fundamentalism is something they hear on the news. Northern Ethiopia is so peaceful, the war on terror feels something that is happening somewhere half the globe away from them. And this firewall, this peace of mind, this stable life….. is not even costing them a dime.

    And one would think, their leaders in Addis, even if they don’t want to invest a dime to fortify this wall, just to keep the peace and stability they are enjoying, they wouldn’t be stupid enough to put dynamite to blow it in pieces. But guess what! Blowing this firewall into pieces, is exactly what they have been trying to do for the past decade and half. Yes, for the past decade and half, they have been doing everything in their power (militarily, financially, diplomatically…) to blow thit firewall by “breaking Eritrea’s spine”.

    For the past decade and half, these good for nothing Addis leaders and their gun-toting elite (Nefteghoch) truly believed, Ethiopia’s peace security stability and prosperity, won’t be affected by instability in Eritrea. They truly believed a raging fire to their east, a raging fire to their west, a raging fire to their north, coupled with exponential population growth at home – won’t affect their Ethiopia. They truly believed landlocked Ethiopia has so smart leadership, is so democratic country, is so strong and powerful, its economy is growing so fast (double digit) of course without any neighboring trading partner…. they believed soon their Ethiopia would become a middle class country.

    But all it took was one, yes just one, bad (dry) season to ask donor countries to help them feed their people.

    For the sake of us both (Ethiopians and Eritreans), for the sake of our poor people, please let’s stop this madness. We need each other. Us for peace, security, and economic gain – and you if not for our market and expertise, for the access we can offer you to gain your rightful place in the region. I know, and you know, we can’t do it alone, but at least we both can ask the West to help us get where we need to be.

    And that begs the question: what is that we need to do? What is our place and role in the region? Why would/should the West care? What is there for us and what is there for them? Now, let me say few things to explain what I think.

    1. – When Western Powers look at our region, what do they see?

    When Western powers see our region, they see, TEMPORARY ALLIES that behave good every now and then, and PERMANENT ALLIES (natural allies) that behave bad every now and then. Permanent (natural) allies : Israel, Ethiopia, Eritrea – funding, access, might, leadership role, trust…… goes in that order. Temporary allies: Gulf and Arabian peninsula countries + Red Sea and Horn region region countries, that are willing to align their policy and values, with Western policy and values.

    2. – What is the objective of Western policy makers in the Red Sea-Gulf region? What is there for them?

    The ideal objective of Western Powers in our region is, to have a strong political, diplomatic, military, economic, security…. regional alliance based on Western values. Not just between their natural allies, but also between their natural and permanent allies – of course, the natural allies playing a core leadership role. The job of this alliance would be to create peace and stability in the region – from the tip of the Mediterranean Sea, to the Persian Gulf region, all the way to the tip of the Indian Ocean. And as the alliance protect Western interest in the region, the national interest of the nations in the alliance would be protected as well – through investment, trade, access to Western markets, insurance protection, technological and scientific assistance…… that is.

    3. – What is that the Western Powers need to accomplish in the Arabian Peninsula-Gulf region?

    No much really! In that region, you could argue, they are where they need to be. The Arab league is reduced to irrelevance skillfully, the attention is deflected from Israel masterfully, oil and gas are flowing without any interruption. Basically, all they have to do is – protect their Clerks Sheikhs and Kings, keep the Shia-Sunni fire burning – and just manage the size and intensity of the fire properly from afar.

    4. – What do Western Powers need to do in Eritrea, to make their policy work?

    I don’t know, but I don’t see much of a problem on the Eritrean side. I suppose they don’t want Isaias Afewerki at the helm. But I know for sure, what they want at the helm is someone exactly like Isaias in every-way – only a little mellow. I don’t really know how harshly they want to punish him (see him in a criminal way). After all he was their boy, and as far as I know, he never stood against Western interest, except that Somalia thing. And – I don’t know if they would buy it, but he has a valid explanation for that: Ethiopia. I know they don’t have any qualm with PFDJ. I believe, under any circumstance, they wouldn’t choose the current Eritrean opposition over PFDJ. Therefore, in Eritrea, it is fair to assume, at the most, what they want is Isaias gone (may be few men with him).

    5. – What do Western Powers need to do in Ethiopia, to make their policy work?

    A lot! I don’t know if Western Powers know about this, or care to know about it, but when it comes to the Ethio-Eritrean problem, the core problem is, and it has always been, the Woyanes being at the helm. The reason: power in Ethiopia is dominated by the Woyanes – which are Tigreans. Tigreans constitute about 6% of the Ethiopian population. Power in Eritrea is run by a single party, the PFDJ party – which is dominated by ethnic Tigrignas – an ethnic that is about 50% of the Eritrean population. The Tigreans of Ethiopia and the ethnic Tigrigna of Eritrea – which both are dominant in the politics of both governments – are basically identical people separated by geography. Not only they are identical people but also, most are blood relatives (through movement of people and cross border marriage).

    And any close relation between Ethiopia and Eritrea – where leaders from the same ethnic origin (Tireans/Tigrignas) dominating the politics of both capitals (Addis and Asmara), is making the culturally and ethnically diverse people of both countries very nervous. In Eritrea, Ethio-Eritrean close relation, makes Eritrean Muslim population which is about 50% of the Eritrean population very nervous. Because they are afraid, any close Ethio-Eritrean relation under the current power structure is going further erode Eritrean Muslims power and influence in their own country – which is a reminiscent of their unpleasant experience of the 1940s and 1950s.

    In Ethiopia, especially for the Amara and Oromo ethnics – which are the two largest ethnic groups (about 2/3 of Ethiopians), Ethio-Eritrea close relation while the politics of both nations is dominated by people who share the same ethnic origin (Tigreans/Tigrignas), is seen as an impediment to their ambition to get to the helm. Therefore, the Amara and Oromos of Ethiopia are against Ethio-Eritrean close relation under the current Asmara/Addis power configuration.

    To complicate things even more, the Woyanes (Tigreans who are dominant power in Ethiopia), are opposed to the idea of Ethio-Eritrean close relation. Why? In order to prolong their stay in power, they are using anti-Eritrea rhetoric to assure and comfort their Amara and Oromo compatriots. And every time the Woyanes raise the rhetoric of hate and warmongering against Eritrea, the more the resentful gun-toting Ethiopian elite rally behind them. Therefore, in the absence of any support for Ethio-Eritrean close relation from the Amaras Oromos and Tigreans (about 3/4 of Ethiopians), trying to bring these two countries (Ethiopia and Eritrea) closer is, if not absolutely impossible, a daunting endeavor to achieve.

    Mind you: I’m well aware of the polynomial nature politics of our region, with its so many variables coefficients exponents, with all its ups and downs, all the additions and subtractions of players that would be involved in the process. I understand with so many global powers in the global scene, Western powers are not the kingmakers they use to be.

    But still, if there is willingness on both sides, we, just we – we can have US-Canada kind border and people to people relation. And if we manage to achieve successfully solid people to people relation, who knows where our great grand-kids would be one hundred years from now.

    Semere Tesfai

    • Dear Semere Tesfai,

      I can understand the firewall (eritrea), but not the fire (terrorists and fundamentalist). Up to now, we have not heard of eritrea being the victim of terrorism. Of course, another failed state to the north will be a problem for ethiopia, but if the seeds of terrorism and fundamentalism are already there or will be imported, you should have explained. The role played by the regime in asmara in alienating social groups thus forcing them to adopt extremist ideas should have also been mentioned.

      When you say such words as “we need each other…..for security and economic gain….”, it is like an echo than the reality. Just few days ago you were saying “bleed ethiopia from all directions”. From bleed ethiopia to a changed tone of ‘no confrontation, but cooperation’, is like traveling a light-year just within days. In this relationship, you have introduced new factors, like the west, permanent allies in the region who have western values (israel, ethiopia & eritrea) who should stand for the protection of western interests and the interest of those in this permanent alliance. It looks very convenient, only that the outcome, confronting the whole arab world for the sake of the west and the pfdj system, is equivalent to playing with fire.

      A quarter century of confrontational policy toward ethiopia forcing her to look eastwards, south and west and not to the north, and the train unable to wait in the station any longer and forced to travel to djibouti instead of asab; interconnections with roads, electricity grids and even electric trains in the future to travel to and fro between addis and nairobi, khartoum and juba; awakening at last (if we can believe it), is somehow better than the status quo as it has existed over the last 15 yrs.

      How to handle the controversies of tigrayans/woyanes and tigrignas, identical and relatives as so often mentioned, is a million dollar question. All these scenarios to save the pfdj system by sacrificing some who are of no use to it anymore, and also to get even with woyane, who betrayed them (i do not know how, i can only guess), by deposing it by all means possible. Tigreans are only 6% and therefore do not deserve to rule, while tigrignas deserves to rule because they are 50%. Of course, within this is the famous tigriniazation of eritrea and tigrigna hegemony in eritrea. In addition, as long as tigreans and tigrignas are in power in both capitals, the formulated rapprochement will be opposed by eritrean muslims, amharas and oromos and even woyanes themselves (the last to keep tigrignas at bay), and therefore, the only way to bring about this rapprochement is to depose woyane from power. Unfortunately, by demonizing tigreans, (otherwise woyanes), who are supposed to be the main stumbling block to ethio-eritrean rapprochement, and yet wishing for an open border similar to that of the us/canada, forgetful of the fact that on the other side of the border are the woyanes, seems miscalculating things. Look, one should take ethiopians as they are, the whole bunch. What to do of tplf that is in power is an ethiopian problem that will be tackled the ethiopian way and when the right time comes. It will be in a peaceful way and for the best of the country and its people. If there are some people who think that ethiopians will be at each others throat because of a sinister insinuation that comes from asmara, they should know that they are making a big mistake.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Horizon,

        The following statement is a good response to the optics of foreigners and Semere towards Ethiopia: ” Look one should take Ethiopias as they are, the whole bunch.” To add to your statement, one who wishes to disintegrate Ethiopia is the enemy of the social groups that makes the modern nation called Ethiopia. By the way, the same can be said to Eritrea and the social groups that makes Eritrea.


      • Nitricc

        Horzon; no worries about Eritrea. I suggest you worry about your ticking timing bomb in your Ethiopia. the way i see it, Eritrea is inch by inch sumerging in Arabs hand. Don’t blame anyone, it your stupid leaders doing. your Dedebit leaders thought they can bering Eritrea to kneel down by force, by sabotaging economically, by bending to the whites so Eritrea can be sanctioned, you name it they tried it and it failed. little do they know, now Eritrea is stronger than ever. There are F-18 and Mirrages in Eritrea despite the toothless arms embargo. Yes, despite arms embargo that was catalyzed by your dead midget. so, As far as Eritrea needing Ethiopia, nhooooooooo, Semere T is wrong when he said we need each other, no we don’t. we have foiled every attack that came from you and today, we are in better than yesterday. as far as for Ethiopia and weyane, you will never be as united and as strong in Ethio-Eritrea war never! so, that was your chance and now, bye bye to Eritrea, say bye. no worries, at least you have Somalia and Djibouti to play with.

    • Ismail AA

      Selam Semere,
      I think Horizon has responded to this rather extended comment in such succinct way that precludes further feedback unless one insists to fall for the risk of repetition.

      But after reading the comment, I could not help but ponder with a measure of surprise on from where the whole analysis is coming, especially when one poses on the classification of what the so called natural (perennial) and transient allies comprise. When one takes note of the candidates, it is clear that the departure point is sheer bigotry. The driver here is the faith of the candidate, which is very unfortunate to say the least. I do not know what “natural” and its opposite “unnatural” constitute in the politics of nations and crafting of their strategic interest imbued relations.

      Moreover, it is difficult to understand that according to the Semere’s view whether the more than half a century old alliance of Saudi Arabia with USA is temporary or permanent, in addition to whether US relation with Egypt or Morroco, for example, is less important and, therefore, should fall under the rubric of “temporary” because they do not qualify to be “natural allies” due to the criteria Semere insinuates, as his listing of Israel, Ethiopia and Eritrea ( the latter two on the merit of supposed Christian population size) connotes. I would imagine that a student of international relation would find such line of thinking outlandish.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam Semere Tesfai,

      I think within the past few days Semere Tesfai felt for the first time about the danger that encircles him. This made him say loudly “እሕዋት እንድና”. It is wonderful after all that we heard from him (ዝኣኽለን ጥሕነን በዓል ኣደይ ማርያም ይብላ) he made a U-turn to say we are brothers, we are firewalls. Mr. Semere Tesfai and his likes made Ethiopia bleed for past eight decades. They were not a firewall for the people of Ethiopia, but the source of all Ethiopia’s unrest and misery. They made Ethiopia lag behind, live in starvation and become home of all diseases and ignorance. The Oromo, Amhara, Tigray, Sidama, Gurage, Somali, Afar, Welayta, Gamo, etc. comprehend very well the negative role this group played. These extremists, fear and greed driven guys created a lot of problems for both Ethiopians and Eritreans. I think it is high-time to be curtailed to their real size and role by both peoples. We are firewall and brothers is just a bait to ride the Ethiopian people again to accomplish some target. Semere Tesfai and his likes are parasites that kill its host.


      • G. Gebru

        Hi Al-Arabi,
        Weeeeeell said!!!

    • Simon Kaleab

      A good post, but with some critical flaws.

      1) ” …keep the Shia-Sunni fire burning”

      – The Shi’a-Sunni fire had been burning, sometimes overtly and at other times covertly, for centuries. It was there long before a country called America, European nation states came into being or Israel was re-born.

      2) To complicate things even more, the Woyanes (Tigreans who are dominant
      power in Ethiopia), are opposed to the idea of Ethio-Eritrean close
      relation. Why? In order to prolong their stay in power, they are using
      anti-Eritrea rhetoric to assure and comfort their Amara and Oromo

      – These assertions are contrary to the facts. The Tigreans are very well aware of their vulnerable position in Ethiopia. They know that they were helped by their cousins from Eritrea to come to power. They know that support from the Amaras and Oromos will not be long lasting.

      – During the last monarchy the Amaras proved to be inept. The Oromos are perpetual underachievers and losers who suffer from identity crisis. Contrary to the accepted wisdom, it is the Amaras and Oromos who show ethnic hatred towards Tigreans. The Amaras are unreliable and uncontrollable, but the Oromos can be put on a leash by Eritrea.

      – As far as Eritrea is concerned, Isaias is stubborn. Matters are further complicated by the actions of the fake democrats aka G-15.

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam all,

      Isaias’ stubbornness and TPLF’s miscalculation and complacency will lead to the undoing of both countries.

      The difference between Hitler and Stalin: the former was a rigid fanatic while the latter was very flexible, to the point of breaking taboos, which is one of the factors that contributed to USSR’s victory in WW2.

      One measure of Intelligence is being able to adopt to new conditions and to new reality.

      • ‘Gheteb

        Selam Simon Kaleab,

        You are saying here ” Isaias’ stubbornness……” and again in your comment below, you wrote: ” …. Isaias is stubborn”.

        Are you repeating what others wrote about their “perception”, misperception, really, about Isaias or are you basing such an assessment on other sources or your personal experience/observations or knowledge?

        I am raising this issue because Semere Tesfay has also asserted Isaias not being “mellow” and I am amazed by such a reductionist take — reducing the Eritrean issue/case to one individual’s “perceived” or misperceived personality flaw or temperament.

        • Simon Kaleab

          Selam Gheteb,

          Isaias’ stubbornness can be deduced from the following facts:

          – Squandering Eritrea’s wealth and future i.e. the youth

          – Shutting shop because of some border problem. Is Eritrea open for business? The sign on the door says we are closed until …

          • ‘Gheteb

            Selam Simon Kaleab,

            Here is how your “deduction” goes:

            – The Eritrean youth have been made or forced to squander their life.
            – Eritrea is closed to business because of some border problems.

            You are also assuming this assertions to be “facts”, which ,in my considered opinion, are NOT. Here are my counterpoints:

            (A) What you and some may think that the Eritrean youths’ life being squandered is actually a “purposeful action” that they are forced to participate in defense of Eritrea. Without this very purposeful action, Eritrea could NOT have existed as we know it now. It was a challenge that was imposed on Eritrea and Eritrea and by extension the Eritrean youth, perforce, have to participate in it, if Eritrea is to exist as a sovereign nation. No other way about it.

            (B) Eritrea is doing business except with the perfidious Weyane led Ethiopia. From international mining companies to other foreign national firms are doing business in Eritrea. This is in addition to the local, state and parastatal business activities. Remember the hostilities and the sanction regime that Eritrea has been facing and the fact that Eritrea is still soldiering on is a testament to the farsightedness and judiciousness of the PFDJ leadership and Isaias.

            I think people are, wittingly or unwittingly, confusing firmness and steadfastness in ones principled beliefs with being “stubborn” or not being mellow. Had Isaias and Co. were not “stubborn” , FIRM and STEADFAST really, those who are mischaracterizing Isaias for being stubborn, could NOT have been afforded the opportunity to call themselves Eritrean citizens.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Gheteb,

            You need to stop and think.

            You call the forcible conscription of reluctant youth a proper defence of Eritrea. These youth are running out of the country even before the first shots are fired. What will happen when a real war breaks out? Some defence this is, which is not fit for purpose!

            As far as business is concerned, free enterprise does not exist in Eritrea. There is so much regulation and government interference and micro-management that the Oxygen is sucked out of and business activity. Even if private business is allowed to be active in the future, where is the important component of skilled labour? The potential skilled labour is busy loitering in the trenches meaninglessly.

            We need a thinking and problem solving approach and not symbolic bravado and sloganeering. A quarter of a century has been wasted through misguided vision.

          • ‘Gheteb

            Selam Simon Kaleab,

            I don’t think one needs to “stop” in order to think. I think some of us can think while we are walking . I hope you have heard the expression “think on your feet”.

            I have asked you to substantiate your characterization of Isaias as a stubborn person and so far you have not provided even a whit or a drop of supporting evidence or logically sound observations.

            You are changing your previous assertions. In the beginning you said there was no business in Eritrea or the door for business is closed. And now you have changed it to “free enterprise does not exist in Eritrea”. Amazing, indeed!

            Regarding the Eritrean youth, here is what I have said:

            ” …. What you and some may think that the Eritrean youths’ life being squandered is actually a “purposeful action” that they are forced to participate in defense of Eritrea”.

            There are NO other viable alternatives to what the Eritrean government has come up with in regards to Eritrea’s defensive strategies. I haven’t seen any so far coming from those who are “… thinking and problem solving approach and not symbolic bravado and sloganeering. A quarter of a century has been wasted through misguided vision”. If you have it, please bring it on. But, I am sure you don’t have any.

            You are saying that:

            ” These youth are running out of the country even before the first shots are fired. What will happen when a real war breaks out”?

            There has been many wars before, 1998-2000, and many, many aggressions by the loathsome Weyane troops against Eritrea and what you are claiming is going to happen one’s war breaks out did NOT transpire then. What is more, is the fact that as recent as July? of this year, the Weyane, had conducted military attack or offensive against the EDF.

            Last time I checked, it was the Weyane troops who run away and not the EDF (Eritrean youth). I think you couldn’t be more wrong on your assessment of the military situations or capabilities of Eritrea these days. I recommend that you bone up on your information first, before proffering here some shaky and wobbly prognostication.

          • saay7


            On: Isaias Stubbornes

            By: Isaias

            As told by: Dan Connell

            I recall an agonizing encounter I had with the charismatic EPLF field commander in November 1978, a day after we evacuated the city of Keren during the front’s Strategic
            Retreat and hours after Ethiopian jets strafed a column of war-refugees fleeing north toward the Sudan border. “The face of the war has changed,” Isaias said to me with
            fierce determination. “Whatever their intentions, whatever their interests, we will continue to fight.”

            Much later, when I asked him how he had maintained his resolve at that disheartening moment, he said to me: “When I am challenged, I become more stubborn-more and
            more rigid. I’m very emotional.”

            But where Isaias’s personal strength and single-mindedness were virtues during the protracted liberation struggle, they have turned into barriers to Eritrea’s maturation and
            development and no longer serve the interests of the nation. It is time for him to move on, and it is long past time for the PFDJ to detach itself from the state and contend for
            power and influence with other political forces in an open, transparent environment.



          • ‘Gheteb


            That was why I was pushing Simon Kaleab to come up with a source and as I expected you coughed up the only source where Isaias’s stubbornness is mentioned. Amazingly, people fail to appreciate the context under which it was mentioned and go about offering a de-contextualized rendition and go about their mischaracterization of Isaias’s personality.

            You say:

            ” ..But where Isaias’s personal strength and single-mindedness were virtues during the protracted liberation struggle, they have turned into barriers to Eritrea’s maturation and
            development and no longer serve the interests of the nation”.

            Contraiwise, let alone “Eritrea’s maturation”, Eritrea’s very existence as a sovereign nation would have been put into a question mark or jeopardized had it not been for the firmness and unyielding steadfastness or what you call “single-mindedness” of Isaias and Co.

            Believe it or not, Eritrea would have turned into the play ground of those forces who consider Isaias and co. as the big hurdle standing on their way of rendering Eritrea of becoming independent nominally and in name only.

          • saay7


            What do you mean “you say”. Weriduni: that’s Dan Connells assessment.

            An assessment I half agree with. That’s to say: it didn’t serve us well DURING the revolution OR the post independence era.

            This “where is the evidence” thing you are doing is like asking us to prove we breathe oxygen. Too obvious to prove, not worth the effort when we think the inquirer is being his usual contrarian. If you do random word association of Isaias, one of them will be stubborn as a mule. Kicks like one, too.


          • ‘Gheteb


            What I meant when I said “you say:”, of course, saying what you said quoting “Dan the man”.

            Actually, it is so easy to prove that “we breath oxygen” and if you think your assertion about Isaias is stubborn is “too obvious to prove”, what does that say about those “non-contrarians” inability to prove a “too obvious” thing to prove?

            Or going on assumptions and half-baked idea is the rage in the echo chambers of the non-contrarians?

          • saay7


            I updated my post; u replied too quick.

            Ok since you have taken then challenge, and its lazy Sunday: prove to us you breathe in oxygen 🙂

            And by contrarian I mean with us: with enda hgdef you are as conformist as they come 😂


          • ‘Gheteb


            Oh, Puleeeeeez… The ball is on your court, I mean in the echo chamber, to prove that Isaias is “as stubborn as a mule”. Mind you, merely regurgitating a man –Dan– whose axe grinding has deafened many a sentient Eritrean ears doesn’t add much in the way of adding heft to the issue at hand.

          • saay7

            Cuz Gheteb:

            Ummmm, do carry on your debate with Simon because I have zero interest in proving he is “stubborn” which is not a crime. I am more interested in the fact that substantial documentation has been provided that he and his regime have committed crimes against humanity.


          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Gheteb,

            Stop and think means stop what you usually do, such as empty sloganeering, and reflect upon a serious problem. It does not mean stop to a standstill.

            You know it, deep down in your mind, the silly games the leaderships in both Eritrea and Ethiopia are playing can only bring mutually assured disaster.

          • ‘Gheteb

            Selam Simon Kaleab,

            You have absolutely no clue or you are as clueless as it can be what is “deep down in [my] mind”. So, please concentrate on what is in your mind and speak for yourself and quit trying to do something that you are utterly incapable of.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Gheteb,

            Do you believe flexibility of mind is an essential quality for a leadership position?

            Do you agree that one measure of Intelligence is being able to adopt to new conditions and to new reality?

            Does the Eritrean leadership encourage the youth to achieve their potential in Mathematics, Science and the many fields of Engineering?

            Is Eritrea open for business [free enterprise]?

          • ‘Gheteb

            Selam Simon Kaleab,

            Just show and prove that the Eritrean leadership lack flexibility and do not and did not adapt ( mind you, NOT adopt) to “new conditions and new reality” and then I will show you how they have so MAGINFICENTLY shown the “flexibility” that you are accusing them of lacking.

            Yeah, the Eritrean leadership are encouraging and doing whatever they can to boost education in the fields of science and mathematics.

            Regarding “free enterprise” in Eritrea, it will be there once the condition surrounding Eritrea change for the better.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Gheteb,

            What constitutes a proof?

            A written statement or a spoken word only? Can actions be considered as proof?

            In so far as the youth are concerned, Eritrea has become like a leaking bucket with a big hole.

            Economy wise, Eritrea has been plagued with shortages of consumer goods from bread and milk, to vegetables, fuel and electricity. Clearly, the current PFDJ/EPLF political and economic system is not working! 25 years at the helm and doing the same thing again and again expecting different results.

            Do you think that failure and refusal to fix a leaking bucket and restructure an economy, that is on crutches, can be considered as ineptitude and stubborn?

          • Kebessa

            Selam Gheteb,
            Merriam Webster’s definition of ‘stubborn’
            1) refusing to change your ideas or to stop something
            2) difficult to deal with, remove, etc.

            Looking at these definitions, the name Isaias Afewerki is synonymous with the word stubborn. His stubbornness caused immeasurable suffering to so many. For example, it is because of his stubbornness that
            1) we accepted the US-Rwanda peace deal only AFTER heavy losses of lives.
            2) mediating elders (mediating G15 & G1) who were acting according to our culture and norms were shipped to prison.
            3) the ban on private press continues, even though it was announced as temporary measure until press law was reviewed,
            4) the parliament hasn’t convened for over 14 years. PFDJ hasn’t convened for 22 years!!
            5) he continues to imprison US embassy employees lawlessly for 15 years.
            6) he refused to allow one of his senior official’s burial in Eritrea, rejecting plea from family members.

          • ‘Gheteb

            Selam Kebessa,

            What you jotted down are not, in and of themselves, signs of one being stubborn. They are merely reflections of deeply held stances and principles. Agree or disagree, its these firmness of belief that has become the very pillars that are helping Eritrea to stand as a free and sovereign nation.

            Not being a pushover or a weakling does NOT make one a stubborn person.

  • MS

    Selam Saleh
    I’m going to jot down general observations only. Topics related to Eritrea AND the international community (USA), the border, sanctions…have been debated here. We agreed on some, we did not on others, mainly sanctions. I have been seized by family emergency, and it would not be specific enough to comment on the article, point by point. Therefore, it will be an observation on the general vibe.
    1. The Atlantic Council is a nongovernmental, and decades-old think tank. It caters to its “clients” which are superpower governments and international business community. It’s not set up to fight for Eritreans’ cause. This article, and several other articles published in this website, including this one tend to treat the AC as an Eritrean opposition council, blaming it for not taking the exact position that the authors of those articles would want it to have taken, for not fighting the fight we failed to wage, for not delivering the victories we should have delivered…forgetting that this is a Council that does its business regardless how wildly we can scream. Atlantic Council will remain Atlantic. It will organize workshops, and lobbying business conferences, publish articles, offer advice, etc., whenever it sees an opportunity that the quarters it serves may benefit from. American adventurism in the Middle East has created challenges for domestic forces who seek change in that region; it has caused the Rethinking of American and European policy makers, hence, comes the “Rethinking of Eritrea”. The Rethinking of Eritrea” or “bringing Eritrea from the cold” has not come out of the blue. It’s the bitter realization of the Neo-liberals who had thought that by the mere sophistication of their war arsenal, and by the mere pressure of their weight, they could change the Middle East overnight. It backfired, and now, we have AlQaeda to the power of a big number. The tune of rock for “regime change” has been changed to a mellow sentimental one. The neoliberals have accomplished ravaging of nations and societies. I’m very glad that that havoc did not spread to the Eritrea and to its neighbors. It is time for the likes of Susan Rice to exit and the likes of Ms. Bruton to take charge. Today, Eritreans are looking for basic life supporting conditions. International engagements create a fertile ground for youth to have opportunities where they live so that they can create the political system they see fit their unique situation; engagements also puts more pressure on the regime to open up. There is no correlation between isolation/sanctions and liberalization. But there is ample evidences that engagements and economic opportunities retain the most productive force of the society which will eventually bring about change. I don’t know how encirclements and collective strangulations of a nation will bring about change.
    2. 2. Misinformation: I read condescending remarks in this article and the rest concerning Brownyn Bruton and the AC. On December 8, 2016, there was an editorial by AT entitled “Undercover Lobbyists Rethinking Eritrea”, and accused Ms.Bruton as if she failed to disclose that AC was funded by Nevsun. Anyone who cares to verify this can go back to the video of the hearing the subcommittee held and watch Ms. Bruton testifying that she was not personally paid by Nevsun but her organization had accepted a contribution from Nevsun in the past. She stressed her visit to Eritrea had nothing to do with Nevsun’s past contribution. It would be too amateurish to think AC would put its reputation on the line for a small company like Nevsun which is prone to litigations. And the good thing about America is that I have the same access that has in finding that out, because disclosable public information is available for anyone who cares to pick up the phone and call the Congressional office of the Subcommittee, or spare some minutes on line. The point is: Readers have multiple options nowadays, the era when audiences were loyal to one source of information is gone forever. The ownership, and the spread of information has been democratized. Last time we read that Yemane Gebreab was blocked from attending a meeting of Eritreans that was scheduled to be held in DC. And we read the “heroic” actions taken by activists, and so on. Well, Yemane knew from the get-go that he would not travel outside NY because of the diplomatic meltdown between Eritrea and the USA. Even professionals who come to attend certain functions, and other functionaries such as Eritrean women representatives who arrive for certain international conferences could not go outside the destination their visa allows them to travel to. Osman Saleh, the foreign Minister, could not do that either, etc. It’s true, PFDJ leaders were sneaking out in the past (when our activists were in different dimensional plane); what PFDJ did not know is that our activists now were vigilant enough to notice a highly publicized meeting, posted in Eritrean Embassy, and several independent and community websites. They probably called the state department, and as we all know, bureaucrat scramble to action if they fear something that hurt their reputation is going to go to the news. The State department was reminded of an Executive Action the President had signed years ago. And we all came to know Yemane Gebreab was a Somali.
    3. Condescending/ Demeaning attitudes: The language of the articles make use of a lot of demeaning references.
    – Ms. Bruton is frequently mentioned as someone who does not know what she was talking about; as a student in the process of learning, albeit slow, as undercover lobbyist (in another related article)…With all due respect, and this is a bitter pill we Eritreans have to swallow, the panelists (all foreigners) seem to grasp the complexity of the situation. Given the fact that these panelists are narrating the situation from the interest of the interest groups they cater to, the recommendations were solution oriented, and well balanced. Their audience was not Eritreans but policy makers and international business community.
    – Stay Proactive: The wise approach would be producing/ presenting a levelheaded competing proposals. Reacting to and chasing AC and Ms.Bruton is counterproductive, and at the end sounds personal. Acting proactive is better than going reactive.
    3. 3. Complain…complain…and complain: “Eritreans were not there” is not a good argument. I wish I could say something good of exclusively meetings, conferences, and workshops that pedaled us forward. Is it a must that Eritrean be present in any Eritrea-related workshops? Do panelists have to be Eritreans if the topic is Eritrea? The authors of the many books and papers we continue to reference are mostly foreigners. Eritreans in DC, Frankfurt…Asmara…can confrere to discuss international issues; there need not be citizens of the countries in the discussion. One need not be Eritrean in order to teach Eritrean history… AC is giving feedbacks to its interest groups how they could benefit if they take into account certain considerations; it’s not embarked on deciding Eritrean situation, one way or another.
    4. Saleh Younis in one of his articles, mainly the visit of BBC, but also included commenting on Ms.Bruton’s visit to Eritrea, said something to the effect of “Welcome, Come here, see yourself, but write what we want you to say.” In his latest article chastised Eritreans of becoming to hot-headed, and coarse in our discourse…yet, people who clearly oppose the government but question the validity and appropriateness of some of the views of entities which identify as belonging to the Eritrean opposition have been time and again called names. You were standing keeping your unique voice. Abu Dunya, you seem to be losing your unique character by the day. I’m afraid to tell you that you are fast becoming “one of the” instead of “the”. Your impeccable rational penchant that we have all grown to admire seems to be waning. Why would you resort to labeling business, you are more than that. You have the skill and knowledge to conduct a debate without name-calling. If you are going to add some labels to the ones I have proudly collected, you are more than welcome. The thing is Abu SalaH: It has become a boring reality that anyone who does not subscribe to the way our activists want to shape up our perspective will end up being labeled a “parrot of the ruling PFDJ”; an apologist of the government of Eritrea; someone who lacks conscience; a koboro-junky…a zombie…..I remember when you were objecting to those labels. Please stay away from that style; you don’t need it; you are more than capable of convincing people through calm dialogue.
    5. Condescending attitudes: The panelists, including Ms.Bruton, seem to have been more abreast of the complex situation; their papers/presentations appear to be more solution oriented than what is commonly seen in the Eritrean elite’s hot-tempered rebuttals. They are experts on their own rights. And as I said, it is useful if people like you rise to the challenge and produce works that would outsmart and bypass AC; works that the quarters AC cater to would find more convincing than AC. You could do that without appearing combative and personal to what AC and your BFF Ms. Bruton do.
    Conclusion: Chasing Ms.Bruton and AC is counter productive. Engaging diplomatically the same interest groups that the AC serve is more feasible. You can be one of those who could engage those3 interest groups; you could produce works that outshine the AC proposals, without appearing personal. You could lead the voice of a responsible opposition, one that does not compromise on core national issues, one that espouses a lasting peace. Keeping your uniqueness will make you stand out strong while entering joining the fray of throwing names and labels to anyone who questions the validity of a word that comes from you or anyone who believe they are the Alpha Omega of opposition will make you just one of them. A rational voice will slowly get drowned in the sea of irrationality, like those who publish maps of battered Eritrea, along ethnic faults, when the feel takes the heck of them; like those who map out strategies of dismantling the regime from the comfort of their four-walled world; like those fat-assed who declare unashamedly that they are the only fighters standing against the regime, from the capitals of the world, far from the daily reality of Eritreans at home; like those who consider their say as if it is a statement from the Holy Book; like those cowards who are tarnishing Eritrean heroism and steadfastness, who are willing to disintegrate Eritrea in a bid to get IA; like those who raise Eritrean topic in order to create an apologetic air of past Ethiopian atrocities…you are not one of them and you should not write like them. You are not one of them, you are Saleh, who has kept his uniqueness, and hence, you are not “one of the”, but “the”.

    • saay7

      Hala Mahmuday:

      1. You are mistaken:) The Atlantic Council is 55 years old but its Africa Center is only 8 years old, as its Director was kind enough to tell us. The “Rethinking Eritrea” is entirely the initiative of Bronwyn Bruton and its goal was/is to present a “consensus view” to policy makers. This consensus view does not require the Government of Eritrea to change anything, but for the US to change everything. We don’t have its megaphone, but that still does not exempt us from our obligation to express our dissent (please refer to my reply to Tewelde on this subject.)

      2. You are also mistaken on the itinerary of Yemane Gebreab and his travel arrangements the last time the Atlantic Council’s rethinking Eritrea was scheduled and cancelled:) So whatever “outside” sources you have tegagiyom agagiyomkha:) He did have a visa, the veto didn’t come from the State Department but the White House:)

      3. A very reasonable request that a panel about Eritrea, in a city (DC) that has the highest concentration of Eritreans outside Eritrea should have Eritreans, has somehow devolved into is angry it wasn’t invited by your buddies at and tesfanews. Can you imagine a conference about women where not a single panelist was a women? A panel on Islam without Muslims? A panel on African Americans without a single African American? So why is it considered whiny and “complain, complain, complain” to demand that a panel about Eritrea have Eritreans? Why is this necessary? Because the panel would have been enriched by context and Eritreans would have filled the gaps. Odd to hear such defense from our “self-reliance” and “bixifrina”–I guess bxifrikum is fine as lone as you are going to say EXACTLY what we would say if we were there?

      4. Your criticism is valid and accepted. My only defense: I tend to do that every December; I will leave it to you to figure out why every December the vulcan becomes human. Hint: December has international human rights day AND International children’s day.


    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam MS,

      The regime funds foreign councils to polish itself in front of superpowers. As a government they failed to improve their relations through governments not through lobbies. This is down to earth cheap methods. It can be swallowed if it is carried out by organizations, but to be exercised by gangsters they consider themselves a government is a shame. This practices doesn’t honor the Eritrean people. Really, it is a national treason.

      If we assume this is the right way governments utilize to make and improve relations, then Eritrean opposition could attempt to authorize foreign countries to speak in their name.

      The governments that use lobbies are those who are notorious for their crimes. The mafia in Asmara proved through funding, publicly declaring and honoring lobbies they are criminals not a peer to governments of the world.

      Is there anyone heard Weyane hired lobbies? Really, they make us feel ashamed in front of Weyane.



    • Tzigereda

      Dear Mahmuday,

      You wrote “AC..It’s not set up to fight for Eritreans cause”, true, but it is talking about us, Eritreans. And the way it presentes Eritrea doesnt reflect the reality on the ground . The draft for solutions is manily based on distorted statments, huge human rights violations in Eritrea and exodus downplayed as ” it is happening everywhere so what ( ” it aint that bad”), ” the COIE was misguided…”, and so on. So, should all this be left uncritisezed just because this NGO’ s primary goal is to assure the interest of the USA? As an eritrean citizen, I consider it as my right and obligation to protest against false narratives concerning my country.
      When a foreigner dares to tell me distorted stories of what I know better about my own country, why should I hesitate, stay away or shut up? Any well-intentioned involvement should be supported if and only if it is designed to benefit those suffering under the regime and its policy. And in our case, it is about those langushing in prison since decades, it is about the generation abused under the indefinite national service…

      AC (Atlantic council) is not atriving for the pacification of Eritrea. This would presuppose to demand the regime to release political prisoners, limit national service, implement constitution, allow opposition parties etc., No, it is about being part of the ongoing geopolitical race in the horn.

      Bronwy Bruton is asking her gvt to change their attitude towards Isaias Afewerki for the political & economical advantage of her country and we (those who are opposing the whitewashing of PFDJ crimes) are fighting for the survival of the whole nation and its people who are suffering under the rule of the PFDJ. Helping dictators has always a detrimental effect, it doesn’t contribute to de-escalation of tensions. It leads to more radicalisations; the people of the region remain furthermore the victims. The cause of the problems should be addressed. As AC fails to attain this goal, we should do it. The era of serving the superpowers uncritically and unconditionally should have an end. If an abused woman seeks for help and your verdict goes “well, he rapes her, abuses, beats her, but he is a handsome , Hadaru zifetu sebay; donating some money will help”, how do you think the woman will respond?
      Human rights cant be interpreted differently depending on where the abused people live. There is no apology for human rights abuses wherever it happens.

      It is really saddening and sickening to see that many Eritreans ( regime supportres & opposition) acting as helpless creatures and cornering themselves to observers. We should regain our selfrespect and confidence and start solving our problems ourselves, recognizing the home made disasters and refuting proposals which exclude the main stakeholders and dictate us to endure abuses.

      The attitude ” nisom sirHom iyom zigebru zelewu, mis-om mitraK intay adleye” is misplaced. I wish representatives of the eritrean political organizations & civil societies were established enough to be part of the panel get heard.The era of a “modified Berlin Conference” should have an end. A written rebuttal is another option/form of showing protest. Thus, I am thankfull Saleh Younis did it in an excellent way.

      • MS

        Dearest of all, even dearer than SAAY, Teg Tzigereda
        I thank you for this well formulated response. Before I go farther let me say this: I was not really commenting on the article. That would need time, and I didn’t have time when I jotted down those observations. Even now, I don’t have the time it needs to give the article a comprehensive response. Secondly, I have no doubt that SAAY is the right person to mount a response to such an institution.
        Thirdly, I agree with you and SAAY that the presence of Eritreans would give it more concreteness and an enhancement of the workshop.
        Fourthly: I understand those conference could not have the intimacy we have with Eritrean problems.
        Fifthly, and this was my point, understanding that AC is an institution that promotes US relations with the world, its purpose is not primarily allaying political, economic or humanitarian of the targeted regions and countries. If, along the way, the proposed recommendation result in solving those problems in the targeted countries, that’s fine, if not they discuss and recommend with the interest of the USA in the forefront.
        My observations were more on mannerism, style and approach, and not on objecting or rejecting Eritrean say in such a conference. But the reality is such conferences are common, and it’s not a must that Eritreans be present. Here is how SAAY the great preempted his complain of “There were no Eritreans.”
        [A]fter listening to all the cringe-inducing “questions” from Eritreans in the audience, I am sympathetic to why the Atlantic decided to exclude us. We Eritreans are hot heads: we have not developed the skill set required to listen and to have dispassionate discussions and intelligent discourse…. I think something in our culture is broken. This is why the (it’s not even close) by-far-most-knowledgeable person in the panel—Professor/author Dan Connell—appeared to be the least comfortable, because the audience was packed with pro-Government Eritreans trained and coiled to attack.//////////////////END
        I touched this indirectly in my comment saying that I wish we say leaps resulting of exclusively Eritrean conferences. I think I’m right. How many Eritrean conferences have we witnessed Tzige Habtey? SAAY is famous for mocking such conferences as bAwet tezazimu (saay, brother you wrote so many papers, and there are people who have followed you all along. Remember in the seventies when folks quoted bxaay Mao…haha… so, you will be quoted, take it easy…it Sunday). This is not to say that Eritrean Conferences are unproductive but to assert that it is a provable fallacy to say that Eritrea-related conferences would not be productive if Eritrean did not participate in it. I’m actually proposing to people like SAAY who have the skill and clout to present a counter narrative in a positive way, which is giving policy makers and the administration convincing proposal that outweigh the AC narration. In that way, our SAAY and his colleagues outshine on the merits of their proposals rather than being seen as a typical Eritrean “hot-headedness”.
        Again, I want to avoid labeling people. We can all be on the same page in our intent to see a better nation but may somehow differ on how we think that’s attainable. That leads me to my last point: there is clearly a difference of how we view change is going to/should happen. I personally believe a lasting change will and should come from within; I don’t support outside interventions; I don’t support violent tactics; I believe the Diaspora could play a catalyst role if it plays it smartly (without acting or appearing as a sellout). I understand the diplomatic blunders the PFDJ had done particularly with Somalia, but believe there was no cause for the sanction to continue. Some think it should continue because that would weaken the regime. I believe there is no correlation between sanctions/isolations and the democratization of the sanctioned. Sanctions simply empowers regimes to be more draconian and to shift blames to the sanctioning regime. On the contrary engagements induces openly, it may differ in its weight of impact in different nations. I support engagement because:
        – It is a moral thing, I better support a conditional engagement that creates some opportunities for our people who should be the agents of change than supporting sanctions that have no effect on the purported goals while degrading the life of citizens even more.
        – I believe any economic engagement will have a retaining effect for the youth who are fleeing the country, those youth are the agents of change.
        – We should have drawn a lesson that the shortest and easiest way for change is finding ways of having the youth to stay in their country. Two points are important at this time, and if implemented change will come running. First: Support engagement, end sanctions, that will create opportunities for our youth who will be the agents and drivers of change, a change that suits them. Second: The border issue is real. We have to be frank about it and demand that it be solved according to the EEBC. Any move/excuse that gives TPLF regime any moral boost in this issue will continue to distance the beholden of that notion even farther from the sentiments of Eritrean mainstream.

    • Saleh Johar

      Ahlan Mahmouday,

      As you know, there a few similar comments that we raised in the past, but honestly, your last comment cleared a few things, at least for me–you might remember I objected to some of your comments a few times before. So, if you find some of my comments below (and what might follow) not to your taste, please bear with me, if not for anything, just as a compensation for your continued and unqualified aggression on the opposition.

      True, any sane person within the “genuine” opposition is aware, that the AC “is not set up to fight for Eritreans’ cause”, but you forgot to mention it was not set up to fight for Isaias’ cause either.

      At any rate, since the two facts above cancel each other, instead, let’s focus on some twisted logic. It seems that logic insinuates that it is fine for AC to supports Isaias and his partners (in this case, the culprits in question); they can recruit any entity to advance their interests. However, that same logic that brazenly recognizes the right of AC and its clients to protect their interests, conveniently denies the right of the opposition to protect and advance its interest!

      It is also true that the AC “does its business regardless of how wild” the scream against it is. So, what does that mean?

      I am fine as long as that does not follow a dictum (or a proclamation) stating that anyone who works against the interest of the opposition must get a free pass! Also, we all know that Isais will continue doing what he does regardless of how loudly we scream. Here I am worried because, using the same logic, some people might be expecting (if not demanding) the opposition to stop screaming and let papa Isaias continue his job in peace! That’s the natural conclusion of the above logic. Unfortunately for some, as many of us understand it, the opposition’s job is to fight Isaias and anyone who is in his orbit, pseudo opposition included, with whatever tools is has at its disposal.

      No one dislikes a swift success in a struggle, but that doesn’t mean the opposition should be insulted for the delay in removing the homegrown tyranny. Ironically, those who belittle and insult the opposition for not finishing the job sooner were the builders of the edifices of the same tyranny—they have built it so well that removing it is taking longer. But some of us are not (and cannot) ask anyone to show remorse for their role in creating the chaos and misery that is embodied in the regime that is ruling Eritrea, but decency requires they act humbly.

      No one with his rightful mind can blame the Eritreans struggle (regardless of the impediments, hindrances and backstabbing) for taking three decades to accomplish its initial goals of liberating the land. It was not because Eritreans enjoyed the sacrifices they made that delayed the struggle, but many reasons outside their control just like now. It took as long as it took, but at the end, those with enough stamina and dedication reached the finish line. Unfortunately, in hindsight it appears that some were struggling only to end the Ethiopian occupation, not to achieve Eritrean independence.

      Exposing intricacies and conspiracies against the interest of Eritreans is one of the job description of the opposition. I am not sure how one can miss such a basic fact!

      Finally, dear Mahmouday, please refrain from taking occasional jabs at–not that I am worried you could make a dent with your jabs, but I am selfishly asking you to kindly save me from the burden of responding to you with equally abrasive and annoying tone.

      • Ismail AA

        Ahlen Saleh,
        Thank you for your mature and responsible response to our dear brother Ustaz MS; it represents me exactly in the way I would have done it had I been compelled to do it.
        Responding to the vituperative some almost habitually (and unfairly) peddle direct the opposition has become routine. When it comes from especially individuals who count themselves in the opposition camp (in whatever form that may be) it becomes extremely tasteless because they forget that all the opposition is in fact on the same boat. I do not understand why they want some on the boat should work the sails more than others or themselves.

        • MS

          Ahlan IsmailAA
          Sorry for the interjection, to be honest I would want to be counted simply as a citizen. I’m not in the “opposition” but I oppose the regime in my own way. How about that. Let’s make it simple. I don’t envy any accolades that the title opposition may entail. I dream to see a nation where its citizens enjoy semblance of life. That’s all.

          • Ismail AA

            Ahlen Mahmoud,
            That is just fine that you oppose! the regime “in your own way. No one would insist on you being part of the opposition. But you do have, I assume, moral responsibility to let others to oppose the regime in their own, too. Why should the opposition you seem to underrate be target of jabs and tasteless vituperative from those who have chosen to ” oppose the regime in their own way”. If there are shortcomings in discharging the common job of getting rid of the dictatorship, the blame should shared, and not be throw to the doorsteps the opposition.
            Thus, sir, peace requires both sides to do whatever they do, or can do, without the one side belittling or diminishing the role of the other. All are “fil hawa sawa”.

          • MS

            Salam IsmailAA
            First: The opposition is diverse, and it does not have a unified stance in many issues. I don’t know which part of the opposition you belong to. There mau be some who agree with what I say. I will come it below. Second: it has to be able to absorb criticisms that come from citizens. It’s good for its vitality.
            Moving on, let’s see the flipflops of your point. I’m accused of supporting the regime (some say I’m a member of a team of propagandists for the regime, others say, I’m a spy of PFDJ. Bless their heart, they are busy categorizing people); anyway, some in the opposition and in this forum are lazily assigned names because we say:
            – The sanctions were uncalled for, and anyway, they have outstayed the purported reasons they were set to penalize Eritrea for. Anyone who understands the region should also understand at least the country’s right to defend itself. Some in the opposition and in this forum are so comfortable with wayane, that they downplay the significance of this need, and the fact that the country needs normal relations in order for its youth to get opportunities at home. We are called PFDJites.
            – We say engaging Eritrea does not conflict with hour to get rid of a totalitarian regime. Actually, CONDITIONED engagement coupled with security guarantees divert citizens’ attention to domestic issues. We are called PFDJites
            – We say we should not give the Ethiopia regime any moral boost by trivializing the border ruling. We are called PFDJites.
            – We say PFDJ does not represent our Ethnic Tigrigna, the bad policies belong to the ruling clique. We promote social harmony, we say what we see today is a manifestation of a bad governance and not a sealed fate of Eritrean reality. Most of the grievances could be solved through free deliberations between Eritrean stakeholders. We are called PFDJites
            – We learned from the “let the mouse pass lest break the clay oven” ምእንቲ መጎጎ ትሕለፍ ኣንጭዋ this unyielding loyalty has put us to the mess we are in;the opposition is not going to benefit from a tendency that has wrecked us in the first place. Hence, every now and then we express our criticism. We are called PFDJites.
            – We have unequivocally condemned the regimes transgressions on citizens’ rights, in our own language, and based in our own experience. We are called pseudo, spies…
            Now where does that lead us to? Of course, we did not parrot Addis Ababa and MeQele rumor mills’ propaganda. For that, we are called PFDJites. That is a price we seem to be willing to pay.

          • Ismail AA

            Ahlen Mahmoud,

            Just a couple of points.

            The fact that the opposition is diverse is a fact. I would be a novice to the arena if I would argue that the opposition you might be comfortable with is monolithic. This is, for bad or worse, the reality we have to live with. As to the fact that the opposition should have a warm heart for critics, that is in fact a virtue and “manure” for healthy growth. But I am sure you would concur with me that well-meaning and constructive criticism is not the same as jabs and unfair underrating of the opposition.

            The factions, whatever nature they may have and convictions they uphold, are formations of noble citizens. They are not damned to be jabbed at or belittled; they have the same rights to be respected, as you and I do.

            Were I in your shoes, I would not to forfeit the grace humility accords my person, and would think a million times about the noble Eritrean veteran fighters and activists who still are doing their bit in the struggle within the ranks of the opposition that are being condemn as feeble and useless. Uncalled for, and reckless, tarnishing of their role pains them. Some of them are so old and cannot defend themselves; many may have passed away with bitterness and resting in grave outside their own land for which they had paid so much to liberate.

            So, since you wanted to know to which opposition I belong, I let you to find the answer in these few sentences I have just scribbled. Sir, people are having problems with what you sometimes write, and the way you formulate what you might believe are legitimate criticisms. The opposition is not allergic to criticism; for reckless jabs and vituperative, it sure is.

          • MS

            Ahlan Ustaz IsmailAA
            Fair enough but that’s a two way. You are among the coolest guys in this form and I really value your inputs. Whatever differences we may have I could do business with you. I just want to remind you that respect, humility and sensitivity call for mutual application. You are frequently on record reducing EPLF to IA and the manifesto of NehNan Elamanan whenever. Am I right? Is this due to your scarce knowledge of the organization or a political attack?
            I understand your point. And if I were to unleash malice on the opposition it would be against my interest. Opposing injustice is a noble cause. It’s a right of everyone. However, following a certain strain of opposition requires that the candidate be convinced it’s worth his/her efforts. Therefore, citizens are clustered in different islands. We need ferries that make transactions and dialogue between these islands possible. Most of my comments are out of frustration that we should have done more. At any rate, I do also have a self deprecating remark or self-criticism, if you will. And that’s focus more on the positive side of the equation, and be more active. I promise you that.
            With all due respect,

          • Ismail AA

            Ahlen Ustazna Mahmoud,

            A big thumps up for your sober interaction. Cool-minded conversation produces more gain than hot-minded outbursts.

            Having jotted this much, let me scribble a few sentences on: “You are frequently on record reducing EPLF to IA and the manifesto of NehNan Elamanan. Am I right? ” speculation. No sir, you are not right, is of course the quick answer. But, I should add that we, the students of history, have a nagging habit of demanding evidence or sources for assertions made about events, episodes or remarks related to the past. Thus, it would have helped me if you had also referred me to the source that told you that I am ” frequently on record reducing EPLF to IA and the manifesto of NehNan Elamanan.”

            Furthermore, I cannot claim that I am aware of much of the internal workings of the organs of the EPLF, but I can tell you with absolute modesty that I happen to be contemporary of the organization since it inception. After all, the youth of the formative periods of our liberation struggle era had distributed themselves across the then existing fronts. I think I have mentioned in one of my recent exchanges with you that I do have close and dear friends (school and college mates included) in the ranks of Selfi-Netsanet, then ELF-PLF, then EPLF and now EPLF-PFDJ: some martyred and some others still alive and in very high posts. Thus, I do not consider my self that much ignorant about the background and history of the EPLF.

            Now, to come back to the main issue you have raised, I think it would be an uphill feat to separate IA, NehNan Elamanan and the EPLF. How would a serious professional historian separate a foundational document from its author? And similarly, how would it be possible to distinguish a person from an organization when it is known that he was the decisive actor in everything related to it starting from the incubation of the idea in his mind to its birth, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Thus, my dear brother, Mahmoud, when I may have expressed an opinion about one of the three issues you have mentioned, I do not really do it for vindictive passion or for points on political scoreboard.

            As to the general political-social history related to these issues, and the whole epoch of the Eritrean people’s struggle and the organizations involved, it is the property of posterity, and the agents qualified to sort the events out and document them are trained researchers who would do their job guided by the skills the work demands, and the integrity expertise on the field requires. If you and I attempt to mess ourselves in such undertaking, we will be trespassing a terrain that should wait for historians, lest we be accused of wanton amateurism. But, this does not mean we should not express our personal views in the context of random political issues.

          • MS

            MarHaben Bek Ya Ustazna almuKhadrem
            Understood that we live it to professionals to sort it out, and I would wish we did that. That’s why I always lamented to my baddest friend Semere Andom reminding him not to feed us half-baked bojboj. The reason why I don’t comment on ELF leaders (the Grand ELF) is not because I don’t have personal observations and things that were told to me about them. I just have a respect for the historic organization, its ideals and our people who toiled and bled under its banner. That’s because it was greater than few publications that I might have come across, or the vitriolic comments I heard about it; that’s because it was bigger than a collective or any of its leaders. I suck up any grievance I might have had and move on. By the same token, the EPLF I knew had its dark and bright side, but all in all, its bright side outshined; it’s bigger than IA or any specific manifesto. I don’t think that vast participation would be possible if the organization was the way some portray it recognizing that rationality and irrationality have equal chance of prevailing among us. The greater takeaway is that let history worry about it. And I agree.

      • MS

        Ahlan Saleh
        Thanks. Everything you say is shahi leben. So, I don’t know how to say this, but let me just put it as diplomatically as possible.
        1. My thrust was AC and how we ought to put forward any counter presentation. It was not the opposition. I don’t think you read my take.
        2. is a website, it’s a part of the opposition. It’s not THE opposition. You represent Awate, and I would kindly ask you to refrain from acting as THE representative or THE spokesperson of the opposition. I’m an Eritrean; I have every right to comment on the opposition in a way and manner I feel fit the situation. But my objective was not the opposition and I don’t think I said much about it.
        3. You said “Unfortunately, in hindsight it appears that some were struggling only to end the Ethiopian occupation, not to achieve Eritrean independence.”
        I don’t know what you mean, but it’s natural that members of any movement will have different perspectives and varying degrees of understanding of the cause they are struggling for. But believe me, there were people who died fighting in the outskirts of Asmara, a few kilometers from their homes. They died believing so that Eritreans would live a decent life. Many of our comrades, some of them the founders of EPLF, are languishing in prison because they spoke for transparency, accountability, and the expediency of the stalled democratization process. I know how they and the organization they had led have been tainted in this forum. The dichotomy that opposition belongs to ELF and statues quo to EPLF is simply misleading. Truth be told, the opposition as per its current arrayment and orientation has nothing to show that it could govern, let alone bring about a just system; it needs to revitalize itself before dreaming about governing Eritrea. That’s my genuine assessment. You have made similar remarks in the past. Sadly, it’s Halal when you say it, but becomes Haram when former EPLF folks say it! Very sad, indeed.
        4. You said ” Ironically, those who belittle and insult the opposition for not finishing the job sooner were the builders of the edifices of the same tyranny” I know you are talking about me, or people like me; I can tell you that I spent 6 years while you were in the field and 13 years after you left the field, under the worst life conditions, along the way, I lost hundreds of my precious friends. And yes, I made it to the finish line then, and I will make it to the finish line this time too (meaning, I’m not going to surrender my principled stances). I left Eritrea a year after the referendum. There was no salary, or any form of benefits. I could not go to visit my dying father simply because I rejected PFDJ; this is almost a decade before joining this form. As far as PFDJ is concerned, I’m not an Eritrean simply because I don’t support its policies; basically, you and I can’t go home unless we surrender our principles, and that’s unthinkable to me. And you tell me I’m pseudo. That’s fine Saleh. Because as long as I’m true to myself, nothing will make any dent on my feelings.
        5. You can pile names and mischaracterizations on me, unfortunately that is the nature of the forum. I’m coming willingly, therefore, I’m not going to complain. However, I did not like it when people threw bad names on you and I’m not going to do it.

        • Saleh Johar

          Ahlan mahmouday,
          Likewise, your comment is shahi though without leben, but too much herbs. Thank you for serving it hot.

          Your #1 comment is a dead horse, I will not beat on it.

          #2 bele lebam: first, you couldn’t resist inserting awate. com for no reason, why that hateful tone ya Mahmoud? Aren’t the meshrefet.coms of Eritrea not enough? What’s is there between you and awate to be this bitter? Anyway, I would hate to see you become a successor to the 16 years of anti awate jabs. Not for anything, but I do not wish to see you disappointed though the bitterness is something g I never expected. But this is me, forget awate .com, may it be banned like the private press of 2000 🙂 This is me and please address me as an individual, awate, mesetana aykonetn, though we might try to belittle it.

          You wondered why I defend the opposition, and I will explain:

          I am sure you were always alert in protecting your comrades while in the struggle, not because you were the protector in chief, but camaraderie and the feeling of responsibility obliges you to look out for your friends and protect ghem as much as you can. In our case, allies in the fight against Isaias and his corrupt regime are the colleagues who protect each other. That is my position, I do not need to be appointed spokesman to defend my cause and that of my friends and allies—the spirit of camaraderie is still alive in some quarters. It should, because if everyone said “I am not a spokesperson and let anyone shoot holes”, it would be disastrous–we already have holes, some self-inflicted, and others by the “temelketeley” shooters from the peripheries, and still the worst, friendly fire.

          Dear Mahmouday, I see that you do not hold us (the opposition) in high esteem, nay, in any esteem. But I would expect you to recognize that we are your allies as long as you are against Isaias, though we might have issue with our positions on the regime that I believe should be weeded out. That is not a big deal, when the time comes, the people will know how to deal with the little Derg ruling Eritrea, and I will be content with their verdict.

          Nevertheless, I hate to disappoint you, but I will always defend my camp, the justice seekers camp—why should that be wrong when even the anti-justice camp is getting overt and covert support! And just like you have the right to comment on the opposition, regardless of your objectivity or veracity of your accusations, remember I have similar right to challenge and criticize you. All I am suggesting is that we be courteous about it and refrain from stepping on each other’s toes, unless one of us thinks we don’t need each other in this vicious fight against tyranny.

          #3. Honestly, there is nothing to convince me otherwise: the ruling party and those who still support it could only have been fighting to end the Ethiopian occupation, not to achieve Eritrean independence. For, how could anyone be that cruel against his own people? How callous can one be to the misery of Eritreans? How evil can one be to demand submission as some sort of a god? If you have any other explanation, I would like to learn from you.

          As for the heroes who died at the gates of Asmara, and other places, I am not stranger to that story though I was not physically there in 1991. It is my loyalty to the fallen that drives me—but we might bore the readers if we keep repeating our soliloquy. I say that because the regime in Asmara has overused the emotional rhetoric and depleted the goodwill credit of our struggle to the extent that the youth are rebelling against the dearly guarded legacy. Dear Mahmoud, you might not know this but I warned about it two decades ago after I read some rebellious Algerian youth (just like our disenchanted youth of today) desecrated the martyrs’ cemetery. To me, that happening in Algeria, whose other name is “the land of a million martyr” was shocking. So, the degradation of our situation and the growing unpatriotic sentiments, has their roots in the injustices committed by the regime in Eritrea. Even if one disagree with that assertion, the fact that it is not willing to even acknowledge the problem and look for a solution is a crime against the nation—the regime screams “Key saArere” only when it decides to put its opponents behind bars.

          At any rate, I feel your pain and all I am saying is, let’s not make it worse on ourselves and our people.

          Mahmouday, you might not know it, but people are liberated from the EPLF-ELF dichotomy, you know which party is having difficulty moving on. This is probably the first time I am bringing this because it is very clear in your comments, you still have that ELF ghost chasing you Mahmoud. That ghost is gone, thanks to the collaboration whose other party was “Weyane”, the enemy of today. Let’s leave that behind for scholars and for the right time; we should move on.

          Mahmoud, if there are parties you know aspiring to govern Eritrea, direct your criticism to them, all I want is that I go back to Keren and sip tea, my wishes are very modest. As for the haram and Halal distinction, it is the tone Mahmoud: your tone is angry and condescending. A friend can jokingly call you “ya kezaab” and you would laugh about it, someone one who always belittles your efforts calls you “ya kezaab” in an angry tone and you are up in arms. It is human nature. Your type of criticism seems it aims at damaging and destroying, not a constructive one to help the opposition to improve its performance. It’s the tone Mahmoud, and it doesn’t hurt to look into that and assess it honestly. I will do the same. But for you to criticize is as Halal as Zemzem water provided it is delivered in the right tone.

          #5. There is a stream of blood and sweat that made this forum what it is, we should all strive to improve its performance by cooperating to make it better, and still better. But that cannot be done by aimlessly undermining the flagship: which will then require wasting unnecessary energy.
          #4 (purposely last) This was meant to shake you up a little, not with the intent of malice—please do not read too much into it. I just wanted you to see how it feels when you are wrongly accused. Semaah and shahi b’leben on me.

          • MS

            Ahlan AbuSalaH
            #1: OK, let’s skip it.
            #2: I won’t repeat myself. I hate to see you repeating….line; that’s what SAAY says to me when he is not listening to his “lbey mdrebeda (Aqli xbet koynuni” tune. For a Sunday break: I googled and I could not find it, any clue. I pray for your health to stand tall for all of us, the sinner, the righteous, the angry, the calm, the coherent, the confused….not only for the few chosen…..yqxl.
            3. “… thanks to the collaboration whose other party was “Weyane”, the enemy of today.” Abu SalaH, this is another jab, but I’m

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi MS,

            Fine. Just one point.

            No one is telling you to parrot, but we see a lot of parroting here.
            The gates of awate are open and it doesn’t mean all those who visit “love it”.
            When you see something you do nt like, by all means, criticize it. That is what awate encouraged and hosted for years. But here is the issues:

            If you were travelling by bus, let’s call it Sataeo bus, and then a passenger quarreled with you, would you criticize the bus company? If you wanted to occupy two seats and the driver prevented you from doing it, would you criticize the company? If you don’t like the scenery of the countryside, would you criticize the company? If you do not like the color of the bus…. okay, here you can hate it but your criticism would be tasteless because you don’t get to chose the color. Likewise, if you do not like Saay’s article, give it to him not awate. If you do not agree with me, direct your jabs at me, not the website, if you do not like Semere Tesfais arguments, well, criticize him, not…wait a minute, will never happen. See! Awate as a website has done nothing to you. So, leave it alone, mba’estkha dle. That is all ya Mahmuday.

          • MS

            Ahlan AbusalaH
            Technically, yes, I would blame the company and would take it to court. That’s if there is a court in Asmara. But I get your message. Thank you.

          • Peace!

            Selam Mahmuday,

            Hope all is well. Actually I was going to comment on the degree of tolerance of this website with regard to unprecedented bigotry from Semere Tesfay, and then I asked myself if he has somebody here to advise him at least to act as human being, and within seconds, your name popped up only to realize, to
            my disappointment, I have never seen you helping him out to show some respect and humility when he vomits Islamophobia and demonize minority ethnic Eritreans, Why? if you care!


          • MS

            Ahlen Peace
            With all due respect, I have not noticed statements that would make me believe Semere Tesfai vomits “Islamophobia and demonizes minority Eritreans”. I will be happy if you could forward any. I do sympathize with your disappointment, though. Although I disagree with Semere in many details, we seldom cross paths, and that’s not by agreement but rather due to the itinerary of the orbits of our views. For instance, on the subject that you raised, you could see our differences. Since he was busy engaging other people, and since I presented my views parallel to his, I did not think I needed to respond to him. But this is a good opportunity for me to see a dimension that I may have missed. So, could you quote him on bigotry, islamophobia, and demonizing minorities. I think we should when we accuse some one of this magnitude.
            To be frank, I read a Semere who is more of a Tigrigna nationalist than a Semere who is bigoted and islamophobic. I was disappointed when he would crunch numbers. I don’t know who pushed first who, is it Ali Salim pushing Semere’s buttons or Semere pushing Ali Salim’s buttons, but things deteriorated to parochial sentiments. But don’t mistake a political calculation with a bigoted view. If someone thinks Arabic is not “workable” in Eritrea and itemizes a technical list for a political point (may be monopolizing power), that does not make him a bigot. If the motive is power, it’s politics; if the motive is hate, then it could be bigotry. So, I see him as a man who wants to have most of the lunch with the door closed (Correct me ST, if I’m wrong).
            Mind you this is not unique to Semere, I’m just disappointed that with his close relations with most Eritrean groups, a veteran who understands the complexity of the issue, and his obvious intelligence, he failed to understand that the Co-status of Arabic and Tigrigna has been sealed, any tinkering with this issue is akin to opening the Pandora box. We need to be responsible, restrain our feeling and think about the future of the peoples of the region. We are on our way out, God knows if we are able to visit Eritrea. But what people like Semere say has far-reaching effects. And if people like Semere could not get this, I don’t know who will.
            Now, to be fair, this type of sectarian zeal comes from all corners. I have watched seminars and interviews in which some opposition officials characterize Eritrea as ruled by the Tigrigna Ethnic group, and Tigrigna is frequently blamed for land grabbing,etc. Any bad policy that emanate from the Presidential Palace should be blamed on the ruling clique, and not on ethnic Tigrigna, who also are the victims , the regime was not elected or given legitimacy by Tigrigna) and we just have to be careful. Eritrea is portrayed in Arab media as having 75% Muslim population, Eritrea is mentioned as a forgotten Islamic State (none of which is correct, for the first, there hasn’t been an officially published census; and for the second one, Eritrea the state that we know since 1890 has never been an Islamic State) and so on. Add to that unhelpful publications and vitriolic articles and comments by people who “speak” on behalf of the Muslim population. Well, some have patience to wait it out, others run for the bait.
            Dear Peace: I’m just bringing to your attention if it could help you understand how I see things. I’m still revolutionary, I had close contact with all social groups, and there is no bad group. We are all under the mercy of PFDJ rules. We can’t make an Eritrea that is complete by thinking parochially. However, thinking parochial within the relation to the whole is not bad

          • Peace!

            Selam Mahmuday,

            Regardless whether Ali Salim sarted, or others on the other side are saying similar things, if you think he is then I am sure you would know what to do. But “I haven’t noticed” is totally different thing. Nevertheless, I see no point dragging you into ሓሸውየ if you think he doesn’t deserve your criticism, then your saying “I have differences with him” is misleading.


          • MS

            Ahlen Peace
            No, no, it’s not misleading. I read Semere’s comments. And I characterized Semere the way I see him in my previous reply to you. All I’m saying is that I have areas where I differ with Semere, and it’s obvious for all who follow our feeds. Now, with all due respect, Sir, it’s a modest request that you backup your allegation that he is a bigot, islamophobic or a person who demonizes minorities. The thing is, dear, peace, you can’t see the size of the forest if you are in it. You have to take an areal tour. That’s why I brought the other side’s counterpoints in order to make the point that we just need to be careful in weighing the objectivity of our statements when we raise sociopolitical issues. We better look for a healing strategy. This is not to lecture you, but to give you my honest appraisal of the situation. There are already forces in this field who are vying to break us up to pieces.

          • Peace!

            Dear Mahmuday,

            Well, I didn’t find it hard to read between the lines and call him what I called him. I am not even as smart as you are, sir. He is for Tigrinalization and pro murderouse PFDJ as simple as that.


          • sara

            Dear peace,
            Do you know i envy your choice of peace as Nick name.
            Please keep its originality.

          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Peace

            Would, you please, please, please quote (me), the “unprecedented bigotry from Semere Tesfay – the vomits of Islamophobia and demonize minority ethnic Eritreans” that you’re alluding to – so the whole world (Awate readers) can see.

            I’m sure you’re not going to do it. I just felt like asking, in case you would.

            Semere Tesfai

          • Peace!

            Selam Semere T

            Please stop with the fake-out rage: ኣነ እታ ኣብ ልብኻ ዘላ እየ ቦንቂረ ኣውጺኢያ which is way more juicy than the words you want me to quote, and keep in mind now adays, people no longer pay attention to explicit or politically correct attitude; it is time to call a spade is spade.


          • Semere Tesfai

            Selam Peace

            I know እታ ኣብ ልበይ ዘላ ኢኻ ቦንቂርካ ኣውጺእካያ:: But….

            All I asked you is, እታ ኣብ ልበይ ዘላ to share it with all Awate readers. Now, if you fail to share “what is in my heart” (which you’re claiming to know) with the world, what does that make you? Thank you anyway.

            Semere Tesfai

          • Saleh Johar

            Ahlan Mahmuday,

            The more I try, the more I fail with you. Litigious, ha!

            Welcome to the group of blaming the company. Blame all you want, you will just be another number added to the many. But nothing stops it until justice prevails in our kidnapped “Hostage Eritrea. “. If you decide to put hurdles on the opposition and this company, I can not stop you. Go ahead. And though I wish to see a fraction of your bitterness directed at the culprit and the enablers, you prefer to save everything to bombard the opposition and awate. And you seem bent on stubbornness. Thank you and you can have the last word if you wish. I am done.

            NB: you know what awaits awate if you take it to court in Asmara, there will not be a trail but the gallows. Yet you wish it to be taken to that court. Good wishes that reflect something I would think. But if that is post PFDJ, then the goal would have been achieved. I would love to live to see that.

          • MS

            You see you have not drunk your tea this morning; I can see that. Awate has not done anything to me to even think taking it to court. You misunderstood my reply, or may be I did not make it clear enough. You brought a bus company to make a point that one should not blame the company if the riders quarrel with me. It all depends on the situation. If I could establish a pattern that the bus company has unsafe travel condition, yes, I could. That was the first part of my reply. The second part was one sentence, “I understand the message.” I’m saying “I got it, and I will be careful to separate, the institution, and the writers therein.” I hope I’m clear now. لا تغضب يا استاذ دون سبب كاف

          • Saleh Johar

            Ahlan Mahmoud,

            I can live with that. Usually I was worried for you. You cannot fight an institution unless you want to destroy it, like we fight against the PFDJ to weed it out. And I do not count you with those who want this website closed and have been praying for that for many years. And if you did, it will only be for that reason. I wish Abraham is reading this as well. But if anyone has suggestions to improve awate’s performance, there is always an open channel and you know it. But just in case, here it is, , if you would rather put it in writing.

          • MS

            Dear Saleh
            I’m sorry that this thread has been dragged this long, but let me make this clear (particularly to you and AT, to all deleyti FitHi and PFDJites), and it’s deep from the bottom of my heart; I’m grateful to what Awate the institution and the team have provided me with. I clearly have some disagreement with some of the views expressed here, but that should go back to the originators of those views. I don’t promise I will change any of my views, but I believe when expressed carefully and discretely, those views are not against the mission this institution is set for. Thank you for providing us with this platform.
            To Saleh Younis: In hindsight, I regret I was so single-minded in my response to your article, singling you out. I understand the pressure this issue causes on you. I hope all prisoners of conscience to have a break, I hope all Eritreans to have a break.

          • Nitricc

            Hey Mahmuday; I have no idea why you are apologizing for but it is clear from the reactions and abuse you getting; i guess it is sin and taboo expressing your ideas and feelings. Everyone should have the freedom and the privilege to express their feeling and what they really think. The so-called justice seekers are only interested on their own views and ideas by ridiculing any idea that deviates for their own. You are not doing any justice by giving up to their demand and to trying to silencing you. They love to accuse PFDJ for not allowing people to speak their mind, yet, the so-called justice seekers they couldn’t tolerate any idea that differs from theirs. now you know why the so-called oppositions are no existence and dead. please stop apologizing for speaking your mind. say it and let it fly.

          • MS

            Selam Nitrickay
            Nitrickay, there is a real demand for justice and change. And there are real justice-seekers. We can’t ignore that. Otherwise, it will make us blind nationalists. I belong to, AT, and its views more than to PFDJ views and policies. The core message is ” I clearly have some disagreement with some of the views expressed here, but that should go back to the originators of those views. I don’t promise I will change any of my views, but I believe when expressed carefully and discretely, those views are not against the mission this institution is set for. Thank you for providing us with this platform.” Nitrickay, apologizing helps you have a state of pause, it refreshes you. If my comments are irritating people I consider to be fair, there should be something in it that needs to be looked at, either the message or its deliverance:)

          • Saleh Johar

            Likewise dear Mahmouday,

            That proves your mantle and I am elated to have helped and provoked enough for that personality and character to reappear. Apologies if you felt I crossed the line. Now you CA prepare that shahi bl’leben and I will be delighted to consume it to the last drop.
            Thank you

          • saay7

            Hala MaHmuday:

            No apologies necessary MaHmuday.

            I think just understanding the context is helpful. And the context is this: there is a relentless campaign by the PFDJ to normalize itself: to showcase that everything it is doing is working, and the stuff that is not working is the direct result of US/UN policies. And, for any number of reasons, it has found allies in think tanks, in the European parliament and among some Eritreans. Just last month, the European parliament hosted Info Minister Yemane “Charlie” Gebremeskel. There were European parliamentarians, CEO of a mining company, Ethiopian opposition figures, UNDP Eritrea country representative giving their unqualified endorsement of the government. You can read a reportage of the surreal event courtesy of the blog of our sister Zara Tewolde.

            Sara reports that at this event where European parliamentarians were flattering Yemane about how Europe can learn from Eritrea (insert as many exclamation marks as necessary here), one Eritrean refugee crashed the gates of the parliamentarians and spoke the truth to power. So, Mahmuday, it is not just the pressure it causes me: it is that people with much bigger megaphones are trying to drown out the voice of the drowned and the victims who chronicled their sad tales to CoIE.

            On our differences of opinion regarding SEMG, sanctions, etc, it is all good, buddy. That’s why forums like this exist. But one thing that we don’t do is revisit our assumptions. For example, when SEMG wrote about the Djibouti prisoners who escaped from Eritrea, you wrote a long post, talking about how you are intimately familiar with the area and everything the SEMG wrote on the subject rings false. Well, earlier this year (August?), when Qatar “accounted” for the Djibouti prisoners of war, it essentially endorsed the report of SEMG on the escaped POWs (date of escape, number of escapees). On this subject, the only one who is reconciling the Djibouti POWs–Djibouti still claims it has unaccounted for prisoners and the Djibouti ambassador attended the Atlantic Council meeting to register his voice—is not the Government of Eritrea, not Qatar but…. Bronwyn Bruton. She keeps qualifying the number of POWs Eritrea returned by saying “Eritrea has returned all living Djibouti POWs.” This means that the number Eritrea and Djibouti are haggling over are dead POWs. Isn’t it stunning that this blockbuster info is left for Bronwyn–a person with no Eritrean portfolio– to share with the world?

            Anyway, Abu Hmeid, no apologies needed. You reminded me to cut back on the adjectives, and it is a fine advice. Years ago, I attended a writing class and I only remember two assignments: one, we were given a pencil, and told to write a one page description of the damn pencil. Another, we were told to write an entire page about any subject without a single adjective. Maybe we can make that our assignment at awate forum—no adjective posts–for the rest of the year:)


          • Abraham H.

            Dear SGJ, so are you telling us that the awate website as an institution or as part of the opposition to the PFDJ regime is not open for criticism from well meaning people who would like to challenge and enrich its contents?

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Abraham,

   gave us a platforum for engagement to Eritreans of different political persuasion on the issue of their country. Unless we are against that platforum we can ‘t crticize it. What we can criticize is to the writers view that include AT ‘s editorial, columnists, occussional writers and commentators.

            What haw Mahmuday is doing to the website and the opposition camp has never been fair and as a matter and for obvious reasons, I will not even expect him to be fair in the future. One of the qualms I have with haw Mahmuday always is to characterize

          • MS

            Marhaba Emma
            ዓቢ ሰብ፡ ኣየኽበድካለይን’ዶ? ማሕሙድ ጥዉይ ጨርቁ እንታይ ሓይሊ ኣለዎ ኮይኑ እዩ ክንድ’ዚ ዱላታት ዝዓልቦ? ሕሰበሉ ኢኻ

          • Abraham H.

            Dear Amanuel Hidrat,
            I agree with you about the awate website as providing its readers the platform to convey their various views despite its limited resources is commendable. But i disagree with your view that criticizing the website is going against its service; actually constructive criticism is healthy to the development of the website. Regarding what you said about Mahmuday though it was better had you directed your views directly to him, i believe having dissenting views on certain issues is natural and hence i don’t share your judgement on him.
            Selam hider

          • tes

            Dear Saleh,

            I think it could be more than enough just call Mahmud: “Ya Kezaab”. No other word fits hm best.


          • sara

            ya tes, selam..-
            in tigrina they say “ayte takhus”….or metakhosi, … let us follow the rules,as the motto of awate is — reconciliation.

          • tes

            ya sara,

            the dispute between Mahmud and me is irreconciliable, If my intervention works well I will therefore be happy, Take note on this, Mahmud is a paid agent of PFDJ officials, Let him meet PFDJ higher officials behind doors whenever they visit USA and via telephone,

            Mahmud is worthless, shameless and corrupted man like Mesfin Hagos and many like minded x-EPLF members;


          • sara

            ya tes,
            why use all that harsh vocabulary, isn’t this what Amee salih was telling mahmuday…
            be cordial on our discussion etc. is this the most you could come up or you have difficulty in English . OK… if you are good in french …say it in french and thanks to google translation.
            as for the irreconcilable dispute,i believe you are giving more to your hart not your mind.
            our tes, after all said and done we have only one country called eritrea where we are bound to live together.
            you also commented about x-eplf, does this also extend to those x-national service
            members… aka- Warsay?

          • MS

            Dearest sara
            Cuz saay alerted us all to be more tolerant; I do respect all awatistas who care to respond to my comments. I do revisit some of the comments if they have created unexpected reactions to people I consider to be adult enough and rational enough. Amek Saleh is one of the people who knows how to get us straight and I respect him dearly. Of course, once a while there happens heated exchanges, but at the end, adult people work it out. But few will just continue acting ጥረ (raw), the cooking point is so high that you will just need to keep fueling the furnace. We should not shy from airing our views, with respect. They just have to get used to diversified views. They are bound by hot-hotheadedness and extreme paranoia. Poor Mesfun Hagos has become mexrey aff. Anyway, thanks.

          • Abi

            Hi Vet
            ስደት አመሳስሎት ትልቁን ከትንሽ
            ትንሹ ሲሳደብ ታላቁን ሲያንቁሽሽ
            አየሁት በትዝብት ይኄን እንቆቅልሽ

          • tes

            Sealm Abi,

            Well, you came when the fire is “ON”. I don’t know if you will survive on it till you fully assimilate.

            Welcome back!


          • Abi

            Thanks Tes
            You got it wrong as always. I’m the fire.
            Watch Out!!!!
            Hey, wait a minute! You talking about the kitchen fire? That is your territory.
            Thanks again. I almost missed you 😜

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Abisha,

            I am not dreaming; am I?

            አብረ ተጉዘን አብረን ስንመለስ
            ጉድ አይል ዘመድ በዘመድ ስንከሰስ፤

            ቡና ማጠፈጫ ልንሆን ነው ዘንድሮ
            ፋንቲ ብቅ ሲል ከጓሮ
            አቢሻ ድቅን አለ ዞሮ ዞሮ፤

            You may come out now Hayata!

          • Abi

            ምን ትከጅላለኅ እስው ጉዋሮ
            ኣቢ ከች ብሏል እንደ ንስር በሮ

          • Nitricc

            Ato Aby where have you been? I never thought i miss you.
            Ay Gonder endet ykebdal ager yizo mozor! toothless 🙂

          • Amde

            Welcome back Abinetachin!!

          • Saleh Johar

            Ari Abi,
            Welcome back. It seems the shoe business didn’t work, if the wholesaler and retailer give it up! Next time try suq bederetie.

            Welcome home

          • Abi

            Selam Ato Saleh
            Fanti melti is so desperate he is putting those shoes on the mannequins all over Addis.
            Desperate times desperate measures.
            Thanks for welcoming me.

          • Hayat Adem

            Welcome Saint Fanti and Sweet Abi,
            As soon as the tow of you landed here at Awate, I counted the stars in the sky and their numbers are down by two. You are the real jewels here and Awate looks better when you are on board. I don’t how I should welcome you when I myself have been going AWOL more often! And if I appear regularly as of now, there is a risk that people may not see it as purely coincidental.

          • Kim Hanna

            Selam Fanti Ghana,
            I am glad to see your visit of Awate and throw your pearl of wisdom on occasions. I missed your post. I thought you might have gone out campaigning for the Libertarian Party of the U.S.
            Mr. K.H

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello, Hello Brother KH,
            Although I was able to read most posts of the last three months, I missed the interaction a great deal. My greatest contribution this week has been my karma based dragging back of Abi from God knows where.

            I am experiencing a hint of subliminal pleasure for showing up hours ahead of him. Just imagine what he would have made of it had I shown up at Awate after him.

            Regardless of Amde’s complete monopoly of our political landscape, you are still my most cherished!

          • Abi

            Don’t push it!
            I just used you as “ፈንጂ ረጋጭ”.
            ALL CLEAR!!! Ras Abi arrived in one piece!

          • MS

            Selam Abi
            Welcome , man. Good to see you.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Mahmuday,

            Would you please welcome me too; what’s wrong with you?

          • MS

            Hello Dear Fanti
            You know I love you, man. Welcome back. I was thinking for a special welcome, a cyber ceremony, one that has Hamed Abdalllah with his Rababa, and a sword dance where SAAY is seated in the fore of the first row. Yesterday, as you know was not a joke for me. Every time I arranged a plot of the ceremony some one would wack me hard and the day ended. This morning, I licked my bruises and started thinking about you (I’m not joking), but I got stuck at work. Abi came from no where and since you worked hard yesterday to drag him out of his Command Post overseeing the “State of Emergency”, I had to accord him the courtesy of his reachout. That’s how Abi beat you, in addition to the fact that he has also been missed all along. Emma does not like too long Hateta, so I have to cut it short here. But a big WELCOME BACK, brother.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Selamat PM,

            I was laughing all the way home at my own silliness.

            It is amazing the way Abi tiptoed right behind me. I won’t even argue against any conspiracy theory that may arise from this coincidence.

            As usual, you are right. He has been gone for too long and deserved the priority.

          • saay7


            Learned the hard way: never welcome Fantiness and back. All that warmth spooks them and they disappear again. Instead, treat them like deserters and ask them to explain themselves. If their explanation sounds valid, then ask for volunteers to update them since they were last here.

            For example, in Abis absence, some argued that the “wisdom” of Tigrinya proverbs and by extension Amharic ones, overstated. Proverbs are, it was postulated, self-contradictory, state the obvious or nonsensical. Since 33% of Abis posts are Amharic proverbs (the other 67% being awesome and spontaneous limericks, put downs, and futile campaigns), we wished we had his input then.

            His Fantiness…well he always gave off that man on spiritual journey vibe…well that’s what we used to think but now we know he was on some global protest organized by everybody’s least favorite billionaire.

            And keep those swords off me.


          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            As expected a Typical Saaytanic welcome.

          • saay7

            Well played, Abi:)

            So, how long are you going to keep us in suspense? We all want to know what the Chief Evangelist of “Dabo Now, Democracy Later” thinks given the Ethiopian developments of November. There was news today (unconfirmed by Horizon and Amde) that Ethiopia released 10,000 prisoners? The question is out of how many. And do they sign confession letters: all Stalinist States demand that citizens humiliate themselves first.


          • Abi

            Hi Saay
            It seems like ስባቱ ኣጋንንት ኣለቀቁንም
            Now I’m preaching ዳቦ በዲሞክራሲ!
            You know what the confession letter says?
            ኣውቀን በድፍረት ሳናውቅ በስህተት ላጠፋነው ቸሩ ኢህአዲግ ይቅር ይበለን::

          • Tzigereda

            Hi Abi,
            I’m glad to see you back!

          • Abi

            Kemey, Kemey Tsegereda haftey.
            Thanks for welcoming me.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Abi,

            What makes you to disappear this long? Welcome back. Abi Aha-Hana you were missed.

          • tes

            selam sara,

            What I said is very specific: like minded x-EPLF members” It stops there. I know what words I use and I am responsible for every line put here. For Mahmud, I am in fact very friendly considering his rude and arrogant comments here at this forum and others.


          • Nitricc

            hi Tes, okay Mahmuday is an x-EPLF and we know the history of EPLF and it heroic deeds. What have you done personally that able you to insult and degrade x-EPLF members? I know rearranging cafeteria chairs are considered monumental achievements to you; by
            the way it is only to you is “monumental achievement” because you have nothing better to show or offer. What I don’t get is that do you know you, Tes, are no one and worthless at that? You were told ” you are crazy and unstable” when you were in school of Cadre in Sahil and today is very true, you are the same unstable narcissistic crazy.

          • tes

            Hello Nitricc,

            You said this so many times. if you have any new terms you are welcome. As per Cadre’s School, just go and open recorded video. For sure you will open your eyes on who I am.


  • ‘Gheteb

    The Soliloquy Of A Hypothetical Opposition Character


    An Eritrean opposition group’s element fancies that he was invited to give a presentation at the recently held panel discussion organized by the Atlantic Council about Eritrea. This character is a composite of a vast multifarious political striations of the dramatis personae that are present within the Eritrean opposition groups. Here is how his peroration at the Atlantic Council went through.

    I would like to extend my appreciations and thanks to the organizer(s) of this panel discussion. However, I would also like to remind you all that my invitation was BELATED, a mere AFTERTHOUGHT and was done out of pure PRO FORMA. We in the Eritrean opposition, don’t like to be mere INVITEES; we want to set the agendas of a meeting, decide who should be included in the panel and who should be EXCLUDED at all cost. We like to even decide what the themes and title be of the panel discussion . You know, we love to be in the loop as this makes us and our patron eminently proud. Heck, it will even convince our patron that we are earning our keeps.

    I am going here for a full disclosure. We would have loved to see this panel discussion CANCELLED. But, alas, there was no Executive Order that ‘our people at the State Department’ can call upon to outlaw this meeting. Not achieving that, we would have liked to see the title of the panel discussion changed. The title “Rethinking Eritrea”, “Eritrea: Coming in from the cold” is so REVISIONIST, as one of our “non-Mzungu Mzungu” colleague, aptly described it. The title should have been ” uprooting and weeding out the PFDJ regime in Eritrea” or “Regime change in Eritrea and the triumph of the Weyanes” or ” Ethnic federalism in post-PFDJ Eritrea” or to make it even more palatable to our American friends here “getting rid of the monocracy in Eritrea through a democratic coup” or something in those lines.

    As you may know, we in the Eritrean opposition, oppose whatever the PFDJ supports and support whatever the PFDJ opposes. We take this Maoist dictum to its ludicrous heights, even in doing so we end up standing against the very interest of the Eritrean people in whose name we peddle our political wares. We stood on the sidelines when the Weyanes invaded Eritrea in the late nineties. Some of us cheered while some of us expressed our glees and utter schadenfreude at the military setbacks of the Eritrean Defense Forces. Heck, some of us were even playing the role of a soccer referee or umpire whistling our whistles as if those Eritreans defending their country against a naked invasion were involved in a soccer match.

    Regarding the Ethio-Eritrean border issue, we in the Eritrean opposition group, could not have made our position more clearer. We oppose whatever the Government of Eritrea supports regarding this issue. Though the ruling of the border commission was FINAL and BINDING, we in the Eritrean opposition, just like the Weyanes, do not want to see that Eritrea won and want to see this FINAL and BINDING verdict DILUTED through “dialogue”, “shuttle diplomacy”, “proxy talks” so much so that the PFDJ and by extension Eritrea would end up “losing the border case by winning it in the international tribunal”.

    Sitting next to me here is Dan Connell whom we in the Eritrean opposition affectionately refer as “our man Dan”. Our man Dan, has come from the ‘land of burnt faces’, the Weyane-led Ethiopia, with an old wine in a new bottle. You know, the Weyanes, their handlers and those Eritreans who are at the beck and call of the Weyanes, in the past a decade and half have left no stone unturned in their effort of trying to DILUTE the final and binding verdict of the EEBC through dialogue, shuttle diplomacy and proxy talks. It was tried at the UN, through some African leaders and even some State Department officials tried to use “the European route” by involving a Norwegian delegation.

    Now here comes Dan Connell parading the old wine in a new bottle proposing a European led diplomatic initiative, which aims at DILUTING the EEBC verdict and ends up demanding the impossible from Eritrea like guaranteeing the peace of Ethiopia or Ethiopia would not be attacked from this or that direction and absolving the international community in general and the USA in particular of their moral irresponsibility.

    Many a PFDJ African Greys (Parrots) spout incessantly that the Ethio-Eritrean border verdict is final and binding. They don’t understand diplomacy at all and like those who suffer from Tourette’s syndrome. they repeat this final and binding line involuntarily and compulsively. We in the Eritrean opposition have come with an effective antidote to such PFDJite line. Whenever a PFDJ African Grey utters this final and binding line, we pull a ‘Jimmy Carter line’ on him or her.

    You may wonder and ask what is this ‘pulling a Jimmy Carter line’ means in the Eritrean context. Well, in the late 80s, the ex-president, Mr. Carter, led a negotiation between the EPLF and Ethiopia’s Dergue. When the EPLF delegation demurred and rejected Carter’s proposed solution to the Ethio- Eritrean conflict, Mr. Carter told the EPLF delegation that if they rejected his solution, they will go back to continue living their lives in the caves of Eritrea like they did in the past 19 years. Similarly, we in the Eritrean opposition are now telling the PFDJ that if they reject ‘our man Dan’s’ proposal, Eritrea will continue to suffer like it did in the past 14 years.

    Yey, we are the Eritrean opposition group and we are incognizantly oblivious to our own kryptonite: Eritrea, Eritrean sovereignty and Eritrea’s national interests.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam Gheteb,

      I propose to change the title to “The Soliloquy Of A Hypothetical Mafia Charater”.

      All what you have written and exhausted yourself with heard and read it tens of thousands time. Only remained to bring “Chirawatta” and dance on its tunes. I have a brainstorming opinion for you why don’t make a song from it and distribute it all over the world.

      In the past travelling salesmen who roam towns are used to say loudly “Bella Roppa, Bella Roppa”. Nowadays, they just open the recorded “Bella Roppa” while roaming around the town. They are intelligent people introduced modern technology in their business. It is very sad technology didn’t reach the guys in Asmara, the town that is bathing in darkness.


  • Nitricc

    Greetings people! I will have something to say about this absolute madness but let me remind you that you are not going to live for ever, remember, there is called death. take it easy. there was a singer who i thought had a great potential and i was waiting for his new music. when i check up on him, i found out he is dead and his funeral was on Thursday in Adama.
    anyway chill out and here is his only one song, that his first and the last. he is too young to check out this early. oh well!

  • Solomon

    Selamat Yoty Topy, “Oh Captain my Captain” Saay7, iSEM, Semere Tesfay, ኣያ Amanuel Hidrat, Hyat Adam, Mr. Beyan Negash, Mr. IsmaelAA, Mr. Hamid Al Arabi, Teg. MaHmood “The Best” SaliH, Gheteb, “ክንዲ ሽሕ” Nitric, ኣቶ SaliH “Ghadi” Johar, ተስ and Forum,

    Karma isn’t anything but reaping what you sow. Karma, however, does not preclude a bad or worst rain season, (ክራማት), an incompetent agricultutalists/farmers nor bedeveld weather forcasters, for the Farmer’s Almanac, as well as soil specialsts or geologists as well as politicaly bought/biased climatalogists excluded from the obstacles and hurdles that Karma puts on the path of he and she on the quest to towards the joy of attaining the harvest that is your enlightenment. Karma conspires for your success.

    ጀነራል እይ ሰም፡ in his latest reactionary speedy preemptive diversionary stealth mortar or ሰሚር ኣል ዲን scud missile attack was forcasted for example by the American Panalists on the Atlantic counsil we heard. I think it was Proffesor Don Connell one of his Rethinking Eritrea event that said that when Israel and Palestine peace talks are at their most favorable possitive stage, the Hawks or war mongers, that are in reality over used pawns that are paranoid and who erroneously belueve their purpose in this realm of life or the next is now endangered, increase or exponentially step up their military escapades. Speaking of Israel and Palestine, ዮስየፍ or Joseph the youngest of Jacob’s Sons from the scriptures came to mind when iSEM and his young romantic or pubrity enduced/pressured lustful fantasies alluded to the flesh’e weakness to seduction. In his recent article, with a General’s speed I will add, tells us a boy’s interrest on becoming an Egyptologist and Caligraphy expert or a victorious political contest winner like “Dum Diddy Don(ald) Duck Chump” or President Elect Mr. Donald Trump. Mr. Semere “SEMi” (ስሚ) with his semi/pseudo satire, speaks of his infintile victory speach as President/Senator/Mayor Elect where he would promise his constituents to erradicate starvation, (ጥምየት), but alludes that no man is capable of riding hunger (ምውርይራይ pertaining to ኣውረሪኻ). Even Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, stated “The Poor will always be with you,” when grumblings was heard that the priceless oils and scents were utilized by Mary Magdalen to cleanse the Lords feet with her hair. So our very resourceful friend Mr. Semere Andom, iSEM/”ስሚ/SEMi” is right in this regard. His latter days lamentations of becoming the under achiever for not reaching his goals and life’s ambitions, and stealthy satire stealth scud missile, though missed it’s mark due to his admitted weakness of the flesh contributing to the lack of good or excellent and pricise calebrations at his high IQ’s disposal ample arsenal, I rather enjoyed and gained tremendously from it. Not only was Jacob’s son Joseph was sold as a slave, (ባርያ) by his older brothers, who rose to prominence in Pharo’s Court conjured the science of economics by iSEM’s satire, but I am a man who has Candidly stated Voltair’s Candeed is my favorite book.
    “Captain” Saay7, my personal Panglos, will tell iSEM and all of us that the “General” Andom continues to “fail in netting converts.” Miranda Rights may be referred to with a different phrase north of the Peace Bridge, but invoking the Fifth Amendment and or the Right to Remain Silent is directly proportional to Karma’s reactioin in putting either hurdles of ease or hurdles of difficulty in one’s path.
    Margines of return, Kenesyan Microeconomics, The Attlanti Council, Saay7, Semere Tesfay AND ኢሂን ሚሂን፨። ይቕጽል።



  • Dear All,

    Dan connell’s “exchange badme for peace”, as if ethiopia’s peace is in the hands of the regime in asmara, deliberately forgetful of the fact that the regime is waterboarded by the no-war-no-peace situation economically, militarily and socially, is less credible than ethiopia’s signature to abide by the eebb decisions. That is why I say, no whiteman’s solution for african problems.
    Moreover, when some people say that eritrea is the most peaceful country in the horn, is also misleading and it misses certain points. Citizens feel defeated, the country has lost the young and educated – the change seekers (makers) who could face the regime, and change in eritrea from inside has been abandoned and replaced by vacating the land, because they believe that it is hopeless. On the contrary, ethiopians believe in change from inside, they are facing the government and they are ready to pay the price for it.

    • abysinay

      dear horizon..i don’t think badme is the only reason..both parties should come to the table and discuss for the good of their peoples…and the world knows who always reject this idea from the beginning. and in Ethiopia at least the government hears the say of the people and try to solve their problem even if its elementary.

  • Yoty Topy

    Hi Saay,

    I don’t know what your take on Karma is but it seems that, that belief is becoming harder and harder to sustain in observing how global events are manifesting these days.Almost approaching the second decade mark since the onset of this quagmire , we could not help but notice how the cards are sorting out themselves nicely for Eritrean government. Alas,persistence seems to have paid in the end. As the plight seems to gradually fade from news outlets radar, today, most European capitals are eager to reestablish liaison with the Eritrean government with a misguided hope of reducing migration onto their offshores. But also looking at the map of Horn/Redsea, one gets the impression that in fact the most stable government at this point is actually the Eritrean Gov: Sudan is Sudan; There is never an end to the story of Somalia. It is hard to see any silver lining beneath those dark clouds on the Skies of Ethiopia with all the protest and what not. Even the neighbor across the Sea has been reduced to rubble. It seems , for now the tinny state of Djibouti seems to be doing okay. For now.

    • saay7

      Selamat Yoty Toty:

      Well, yes, but that is very true of most authoritarian/totalitarian heads of state: they can almost always outlast those who want them to moderate their behavior or to give up power. Consider how long Kaddaffi outlasted sanctions; how long the Castro brothers endured; how long the Bashar Assad family has been in power; how long Mugabe has been in power.

      So, the Gov of Eritrea outlasting pressures does not make it an exception; nor does it show that it has popular mandate. It just means, like all authoritarian governments, it is willing to do whatever it takes–depopulating the country, committing crimes against humanity, joining alliances, leasing ports, incarcerate people by the tens of thousands, lie, cheat, steal, run contraband—to stay in power.

      Incidentally, Martin Plaut has excerpted from his book on Eritrea the section which deals with the last Engagement Guy (EU’s Louis Michel) getting all excited about engagement because, in exchange, he was going to bring back with him Eritrean-Swede journalist Dawit Isaac. In the end, he returned empty-handed and humiliated.


      • Yoty Topy

        Hi Saay,

        At times , you wonder are they really that gullible (of course referring to the diplomat who believed he can free Dawit) or just plainly uniformed about the region.

        By no means was I trivializing the cost of this ‘persistence’ to the people and the nation at large.When I was writing this comment, the images of Aleppo and how Assad declared it as ‘a history in the making’ were at the back of mind. It made me ponder what conflict resolution looks like in the post Trump/Brexit/PostTruth world that is unfolding in front of us. As the West retreats from international commitments , how do, say , conflicts in our region come to a conclusion?

        May be I am still wallowing the post election glooms, however one looks at it, it doesn’t look very promising .

        • Amde

          Selam Yoty,

          Ahhh… the pessimistic/cynical answer is they won’t. It seems the best thing countries can do to get out of trouble is to not get into one in the first. Once the fires have started there are too many parties willing to add fuel and fan the flames. Conversely, it seems that for all the PhDs in conflict resolution, the world generally sucks at the business of making peace, while it has never been better at the business of making war. Example: South Sudan, Somalia

          Since it has been traditional to use the name “World War” only when it involves multiple European states, it has not been referred to as such, but I think historians will look back at the current set of interlocking “Shia vs Sunni Islam / Arab vs Persia” and “Islam vs Secularism” conflicts and consider this to be “World War the Third” as The Donald might call it.

          And if that is the correct framework, we just have to remember the last two ended with the total surrender of the losing side and significant changes opening new opportunities for map printers and flagmakers.

          The end of the oil age will help in getting non-local players out of the game, but that will present its own set of challenges.


          • Dis Donc

            Dear Amde, y Yoty Toty, tambien SAAY

            Amde: I could not agree more with you in that the best remedy, these days, is to stay out of trouble from the beginning, i.e. to avoid them all together.

            Yoty: Ethiopia can only come of it, without a scar, if she involves all her sons to cooperate. That effectively means that both the incumbent and oppositions would have to sit down and hammer out their differences. But they have to, first, be willing to do so. As I see it, neither want to do so. More so the gov’t, as baffling as it may sound, considering how they came to power themselves. As for the election and its results all I can say is that all will pass. Remember that when Bush-son came to power it was the same, if not worse. If I were you, two, I would have gone into flag making business. Because I suspect that for the next 4-8 years lots American flags are going to burn.

            SAAY: I will pretend that I didn’t read your last comment about gov’t checks balances. I hope you understand that I am squeezed with lack of time.

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Disc Donc,

            ‘That effectively means that both the incumbent and oppositions would have to sit down and hammer out their differences.’

            No one would dispute this but implementing is another story. I am curious how does our predisposition to ‘zero sum game’ and ‘winner takes it all’ mentality helps us navigate these thorny roads.

            Do you seriously think that these elections are life as usual ? I wonder what people were saying on the eve of 1932/33. I think Monday morning quarterbacking is a lot easier after the fact but what we need is grounded foresights based on patterns.

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Amde,

            Couldn’t frame it any better; ‘Don’t get in’ as you said. It appears that the stats-quo will prolong for a while in the absence ‘gate-keepers’ (term used advisedly).If you are Ghana which managed to conduct peaceful transitions for the 4th time , you got to feel relieved where you are. If you are Ethiopia which is flirting with danger ,you would be wise to heed Ato Amde’s words of wisdom (BtW, there is a great article on OPride that I think deserves a great attention, will share the link tomorrow if u have not read it) and if you are Eritrea then the gridlock continues. I might be myopic here and welcome an uplifting alternative outcome scenarios:)

            ‘the last two ended with the surrender of the loosing side……new opportunity .’

            It makes me wonder what kind of opportunity will be there after the next time. Do you think ,the next time there is a conflict which involves any of the nuclear power nations they will refrain to use them ?

            Your other point on how the world is hopeless when it comes to the business of managing conflicts, can you elaborate more on that ? You are on to something here and this topic interests me a lot.Is it because it doesn’t have a good grasp of why conflicts happen therefore leading to wrong prognosis or competing interests make solutions unworkable . For instance , in California, they burn forests in order to prevent fores fires and wonder what kind of lesson is can be drown from this practice to human disputes ?Should we try to identify conflicts that are about to explode in advance and make accommodations for a small but manageable conflicts to to take place ( literally tell them fight!)that way bigger and mass catastrophes are avoided?

          • Amde

            Selam Yoty,

            You know, I am convinced that if it wasn’t for nuclear weapons, Europe would have found another reason to get into yet another industrial war within a generation or two. If you look at the European WW2 by the number of casualties, it can be called a Soviet-German war, with everybody else playing side shows. There was a striking visualization I saw a while ago, I will try to post it this weekend. Even today, it seems there is consensus that (from both sides) if you took nukes off the table, Russia would come out the winner.

            Of course with the major powers locked out of fighting each other via the logic of mutual nuclear annihilation, they can turn their attention to finding, sparking, supporting and sustaining proxy wars. So while nukes brought peace to the west, it became an instrument of outsourcing war to the south. Jembere must die so that Jimmy won’t.


        • saay7

          Selamat Yoty:

          That’s an excellent and complex question: as the West retreats from international commitments, how will conflicts in our region be resolved?

          Can you define “international commitment” before we can agree that the West is retreating from them?

          Here are more points to add to the stew:

          1. A very long time ago, war meant Party A fights Party B until there is a clear answer. Sometimes they fight to a draw but often one party decisively defeats the other and then dictates terms of surrender. That doesn’t happen now. The “international community” helps the losing side negotiate terms of surrender. Discuss: the pros and cons of this development.

          2. I think it was a Guardian journalist who came up with some conversion system of how many European deaths demand calls for action vs African lives. Does this result in premature retribution when white lives are at sake or no action when black lives are at stake (Congo)

          • Amde

            Hello Saay, Yoty, DisDonc


            With respect to your point 1 on the dearth of decisive defeats nowadays…

            You know, they talk about Moore’s law in chips and IT in general, where to paraphrase.. technology gets cheaper and better over time. Part of the answer to your question 1 must be the fact that sustaining conflict (wars.. insurgencies.. whatnot) gets easier over time. Generally speaking the world

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Saay,

            I was thinking of collective solutions for global issues.It is a very inclusive term so what I meant by that is the shifting attitudes of Governments, non governmental actors and electorates of these societies of what it means to live in a globalized world. Do they think on a minimum, they have a moral responsibility to get involved in far places in order to minimize human sufferings . Or is it the case; ‘Out of sight , Out of mind?’

            These commitments are expressed through various organs whether it is the UN that helped negotiate East Timorese peace ; NATO playing an important role in ending the Balkan wars of the 90s; Rights groups that play crucial role in raising awareness of many transgressions; Or charity groups that have contributed a lot in fighting poverty and illnesses.

            All these efforts require a lot of resources,time and attention and if you do a quick pulse check across these societies you don’t get the impression that they have any appetite meaning that rest of the world has to learn to solve its problems.

            Now, this is gem:

            ‘very long time ago, war meant Party A fights Party B until there is a clear answer. Sometimes they fight to a draw but often one party decisively defeats the other and then dictates terms of surrender.’

            We actually can Carbon-date this statement and it was 1918 at the Versailles Treaty. But as a result of that kind of attitude, ‘to the victor goes all the spoils’ ,which Hitler referred it ‘dictat’ , produced WWII.It is a brutal settlement and the comebacks are very violent. The post war world order , learning from the war experiences , redefined differently what ‘losing’ means.i.e you can loose a war but still end up looking like a winner ( does this sound familiar?) The drawbacks to this is , less disincentive to go to war if the penalties are not severe.

            But related to that what I would love to hear your view is , in the absence of big actors to intervene will that discourage conflicts? I remember when I was a kid, I had a mental list of the people who could beat me and the ones I could (only one 😉 This list was not static. It changed from time to time. I would fight someone when I was absolutely sure. As a result fights were very rare. The person who beats you can order you about and there is nothing you can do about it. Of course , this was way before group fights appeared on the scene.

            What I am trying to get at is, if I nations know that there is less external interference they might be forced to weigh in consequences more heavily.

          • saay7

            Hi Yoty:

            This is why economists should be heads of states: only economist John Maynard Keynes predicted Germany would wage World War II based on the treatment it received from winners of World War I.

            On globalism, my read is this: the welfare states of the West were designed as safety net for citizens, not for immigrants. As both the safety net got bigger and bigger to accomodate more and more of those who those who needed it, resentment grew at the…People Who Don’t Look Like Us. Thus the rise of all the neo-nationalist movements in the US, UK…soon Italy and most likely Germany.

            As for globalization, that appears to mean “free movement of labor and capital” and when u restrict movement of labor, the other side may say we will restrict movement of capital. No?

            This all is happening right around the time the African Union abandoned its long-standing policy of “non interference” and adopted “non indifference.” The problem is non-interference , while wrong, is cheap and non-indifference, while right, is costly. And Africa is always cash poor.

            In the Middle East, one of the legacies of Obama might well be that the US won’t fight Gulf Arabs wars and they may learn to stand on their feet and learn to make war-and-peace decisions, without the crutch of the US. A lesson the Saudis are learning the hard way.

            To further support Amdes point about the ease of sustain a skirmish forever, I read in some parts of Africa it costs less to buy an AK-47 than Coca Cola. The other reason of course is our definition of war and its new rules: whatever the world did for centuries is now called “ethnic cleansing.” Can u imagine the South Sudan war if it happened a century ago?


          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Saay,


            Matters pertaining to conflict tend to excite me and as such overlooked attending to your other queries.

            Why West Africa seem to be advanced then East Africa in conflict resolution?

            My 2 cent on this is that I know we are all Africans but I think there are distinct worldview differences between these regions therefore different approaches to solutions. Just my 2 cents.

          • Nitricc

            Hey SAAY and YT: I was reading your correspondence between you two and I felt you guys were beating around the push rather than getting to the point.
            SAAY said to YT; ” 3. When you say “our region” I presume you mean East Africa. Why is it
            that West Africa appears to be more advanced than East Africa when it
            comes to war and peace?”
            Since when is indifference and conformity become “advanced” for nor lunching war for their rights and dignity? The truth is west Africans are more oppressed by their corrupted leaders and more and exploit by the westerners than eastern Africans; so, their silence and accepting what it is, does not quantify to being advanced or peace loving. because simply the west Africans accepted the statuesque, it does mean their are advanced but to the opposite of it.
            then YT answer to SAAY, well, nothing but going around it.
            YT said, ” My 2 cent on this is that I know we are all Africans but I think there
            are distinct worldview differences between these regions therefore
            different approaches to solutions. Just my 2 cents.”

            what does it mean to say “there are worldview differences between these regions”?
            are you saying that the east Africans are more more good-looking, more advanced and more educated than the west Africans? I have no idea what YT is implying but i will reserve what i am thinking what he means. what do you mean Yoty Topy?

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Nitricc,

            We were discussing within the context of conflict resolution management failures/success rates between the two regions. I don’t think it is a secret that the Horn is the most volatile region in the continent and while West Africa has its share of conflicts , I think you would agree with me that it has done a great job of maintaining peacekeeping through its regional military force, ECOMOG , in some of its most troubled member states including :Liberia (1990-1997),(Sierra Leone( 1996-1999),Guinea Bissau(1998-1999) and Cote d’Ivoire(2002- 2005). Compared that to the Horn which has the highest number of failed states in the continent.

            So, you have to ask why are they more successful than us? Please dispense as with the legacy of colonialism excuse . Though no one denies that dark chapter, it has outlived it usefulness for myriad of problems we have..

            The UNESCO constitution states that ‘War begins in the minds of men’ which I think is the Theory of War’s equivalent of Einstein’s E=MC2. For me , this is the key in understanding why conflicts happen and measures needed to address them. When I mentioned ‘worldview’, no, it is not because ‘east Africans are more good-lookin’ as you said. Without sounding wonky, worldview is a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.

            A very long time I remember taking a course called African Philosophy and I distinctly remember talking about 3 types of philosophies; Sub Saharan, North African and Nile Philosophies and while I can’t exactly remember what they entailed , but I remember what a great impression it left on me.

            May be we do have different worldviews that shape our approach addressing differences.Would love to hear if there is anyone who can shed more knowledge on this.

          • saay7

            Selamat Yoty and Nitrric:

            Nitric, I can’t add much to what Yoty said. And mind you, this is just in matters of peace and war. If you really want to be depressed about other other metrics–including Human Development Index, economic development, IT hubs, ecommerce–u can find them. And I will tell you why below when we discuss African philsophy.

            Yoty, I am not familiar at all of that breakdown of African Culture and its influences. I am more familiar with Egyptian, Christian, Islamic, west African and East African. The Egyptian is a form of yin-yang: I don’t know if she stands for yin or yang but in Egyptian philosophy (pre Arab, pre Islam) there was a goddess named “ma’at” (as in the Tigrinya expression of eway Ma’at 🙂

            East African philosophy is persinalized in the Ethiopian “Zere Yacob”. Until Eyob jumps in and tells us everything he knows about it, the philosophy of Zere Yacob is about relying on your reason (not authority figures) to gain knowledge. It’s safe to say his philosophy did not have enduring impression, judging by the authority-worshipping culture that prevails in the Horn.


          • Nitricc

            Hey YT; Thanks for the explanation but there one question that is omitted by SAAY and YT. that is, who is endured / enduring more the west or East Africans when it comes to exploitation by westerners and repression by greedy and corrupted leaders of Africa? I think the answer for this question will unlock and answer many questions, including the different types of philosophical thinking you have mentioned.

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Nitricc,

            It doesn’t sound like your heart is in this conversation:) Does it ? It is void of the usual fiery thrust with which you defend issues that touch your buddies (which shall remain nameless)

            Don’t expect to get away easily by throwing half-cooked statements like ‘exploitation of westerners….corrupted leaders.’

            I was going to ask you if you could narrow it down but it seems with MS’ commentary this house is about to go down and I take it you would probably need every bit of your bits for that . So I would totally understand:)

      • Amde

        Selam Saay,

        Completely out of context, but I thought you might like this since you seem to be familiar with some of Ayn Rand’s works.

        I had read The Fountainhead in Ethiopia of the Derg years, and it spoke to the experience of living in a totalitarian state. I picked up Atlas Shrugged after I came to the US and it just felt too much – I started it and was put off with the tone.


        • saay7

          Hey Amde:

          Did you ever watch the 80s TV show “Cheers”? In one episode, the owner/bartender Sam (a playboy) who is falling for the waitress Dianne (an intellectual of sorts) wants to impress her and although he hasn’t cracked a book open in forever, manages to read “War and Peace” over a weekend. The show ends with some the bar regulars asking him why he didn’t watch the movie instead. A very remorseful Sam “there is a movie?!?!?!”

          I could tell you the same of Atlas Shrugged but the three part movie is as unwatchable as the book is unreadable. Of all the mandatory reads ordered by college admins, I must say that is the least enjoyable. But it does give you insight into a particular philosophy in the US – and some of its terms are used now in diluted form. Instead of a world of “creators” and “looters”, some republicans speak of “job creators” and “leeches”. Progress!

          You know Amde, I had seen the cover of the Politico article but from the pic I assumed it would be about Trotsky. I think we should delegate Dis Donc and Yoty Toty to read it and give us his view 🙂


          • Amde

            Selam Saay,

            I think the phrase you are looking for is “Makers vs Takers”

            It is said that The Donald’s new cabinet is the most Ayn Rand friendly ever…

            Check out the first half of this WashingtonPost piece:


          • saay7

            Hey Amde:

            And now, in the words of Monty Python for something completely different:

            Congratulations on Gibe III. I usually send my congratulations on any good news about Ethiopia whether it is economy or sports to Eyob but he is ignoring me so accept on his behalf.

            Speaking of sports, did you hear how Nike picked an Eritrean, Ethiopian and Kenyan to train, challenge them to break the marathon record and run it under two minutes. Two predictions:

            1. The Eritrean, Zeresenay, will break it. He already holds the world record for half marathon. In fact he holds the record for #1 -and #2. The ethiopian and the Kenyan are past their prime (sorry)

            2. As soon as Zerseney breaks it, 10 other guys will break it. That’s what happened with the 5-minute mile. Nobody could run a mile under 5 minutes: the year after it was broken multiple of people did.


          • Amde

            Selam Saay, Horizon

            Thank you on GibeIII.

            It was thrilling to watch photos of the water gradually filling up behind the dam last year. Personally, I think Gibe III looks better than GERD, but maybe it is the difference in terrain – we will see once GERD starts filling. In anycase, government is reporting that just this one dam doubles the current electricity output of the country by generating 1900MW. Gibe III is already the third largest dam in Africa, GERD is supposed to generate close to 6000MW when completed.

            Interesting sidenote – apparently an adviser to the Saudi King was taken on a tour of the GERD construction site – a visit that had not been officially put on his schedule. PM Hailemariam had urged Saudi investment in the GERD as part of his overall invitation for Saudis to invest in Ethiopia. Saudis seem to be interested in using the GERD electricity to help Sudan and Yemen. Needless to say, the Egyptians are freaking out.

            PM Hailemariam is a lucky man. His speciality is in water engineering, so this is definitely up his alley. An engineer who was close to the technical processes of designing and launching these major capital projects gets to see them completed and launched as a political leader. Prior to being PM, one of his portfolios was Ethiopian Railways. He inaugurated the Addis – Djibouti line in October. He will most likely also be in a position to inaugurate the Awash – Mekele line, a project that effectively links Mekele to Djibouti.

            As to the running.. I didn’t know about it until you mentioned it. The running joke at work is that I got deported from Ethiopia because I sucked at running. I wish Zeresenay the best, but I thought he had been in the running business for a while now… All the best to all three.

            Horizon, this is the first I heard about Sudan and Kenya going Nuclear. IF – a big IF – it works safely, the promise has always been that nuclear energy is “..too cheap to meter…” to hear its advocates say it. But the safety issues are still a huge concern.

            You know, it looks like with wind and especially solar costs really dropping, the world seems to be turning from a paradigm of centralized generation (Large dams, power stations, nukes etc…) to one of distributed generation. In that sense, even GibeIII and GERD are a bit old school. Considering the amount of solar radiation Egypt or Sudan or Kenya get, it may be that by the time these projects get finished, they would have been better off using the same investment toward renewables. In 15 years time (a realistic timeline for the completion of a nuclear project), it might be a moot point, with its problems outweighing its benefits. Definitely concerning though.


          • Ismail AA

            Selam Amde,

            Thank you for your useful input. It is my hope the PMHD shall also be lucky in leading the country out of the current political situation peacefully towards grand national dialogue focusing on accommodating the interest of all the stakeholders under solid democratic governance whatever the form they collectively agree upon. Failure in realm would be misfortune that will render the precious and hard-earned resources the country had expended useless because the people would not be able to benefit from the returns those grand and projects are earmarked to provide. Those projects could, God forbid, become curse instead of boding the blessing for which the Ethiopians are aspiring.

            Regarding the countries like Egypt that may have legitimate concerns due to the existential needs related to water resources that involve the GERD, it is also every well-wishers hope that realpolitik shall supersede the politics of brinkmanship. Good will and mutual concern guided diplomacy can generate win-win resolutions that can serve all stakeholders well.

            When all is said and done, nations ruled by authentic representatives of peoples do settle for cooperation and for the politics of sharing benefits under policies of complementarity as opposed to aggrandizement and unfair advantage seeking adventures.


          • Amde

            Selam Ismail AA,

            I like PM Hailemariam. I also hope he can get the political system and process in a good track. You know, one of the criticisms against him is that “he is not decisive”. He is said to want to ask a lot of input and opinion before making a decision. In my book that makes him a breath of fresh air.. he respects his colleagues and recognizes he is part of a team. The political culture so far has been built around a strongman surrounded by Yes men. So you can imagine a gaggle of Yes men confused by someone who asks for more than a Yes-sir from them. So far it looks like he is doing a decent job making his office as relatively independent as can be reasonably expected. It appears the member parties in EPRDF who get their act reasonably together get rewarded with getting more influence in the PM’s office. If Africa Confidential is to be believed, so far ANDM is coming up better organized than TPLF. We will see whether that is illusion or reality. But in any case, the facts are still that for the non EPRDF Ethiopians, the system’s response has been harsh. Dr. Merera Gudina is jailed, and the army is burning peasant farms and homes in Gonder. I hope to see PM Hailemariam in a position where he can improve on these.


          • Ismail AA

            Selam Amde,

            In my view, PMHD’s approach is how wise leadership should work its way in a sensitive and polarized socio-political environment. Some may take that as lack of resoluteness; but is a mark of skill as long as the leader remains focused on the endgame; showing flexibility on the tactics realm is very essential to win confidence of the people. Broader and expanded space of consultation and participation would allow drawing opponents or critics towards dialogue and search for the best path that leads to unity of effort and purpose.

            The Prime Minister and his government should watch out, and stem off excesses of law and order agencies because their action could derail their efforts to calm the situation and push the country towards peaceful engagement of the vital forces, and crafting the best political formulations fit to produce inclusive unity without alienating any stakeholder. Detaining activists like Dr. Merara or excesses that you have mentioned should quickly be addressed. This will help in underscoring the good will and leadership quality of the Prime Minister and his team.

          • saay7

            Hey Horizon and Amde:

            Amde, That was super funny on being deported because u can’t run 😂 Tall people are all supposed to be experts in basketball and East Africans in running. I have a friend who trains for marathons by averaging 80 miles a week and then comes first in his age group: he rarely gets credit for his hard work: oh well what do you expect, he is from Eritrea.

            Horizon: On nuclear power, there is a lot of apprehension thanks to Chernobyl, Three Mile Island. It’s one of those things where failure to be perfect punishes generations of people and their land. In the US, Republicans hate everything about France: the only time they mention it favorably is to extol its nuclear power.

            It’s one of the issues I am ambivalent about: I can actually sympathize with both sides of the argument. Although if push comes to shove I would side with nuclear power folks only because those who are against it have made so many arguments that are based more on New Age philosophy than science. Which reminds me: have you ever read the book “Denialism”? It’s a catalog of all the unscientific conclusions of the back-to-nature movement whether it is: blocking penicillin, outlawing DDT, or (most harmful to Africa) campaigning against genetically modified grains.


          • Dear Saay,
            The informations we get lately do not seem to be as enthusiastic as they were in the beginning, as much as genetically modified seeds are concerned. There is the fear that the production of food may fall under the control of as few as three multinationals. They control all the phases of food production, from the manufacturing of agricultural machinery up to the chemicals needed in agriculture such as pesticides and fertilizers and the production of genetically modified seeds. The other point is that, studies carried out recently show that genetically modified seeds do not seem to have increased output compared to the seeds farmers normally use. Agricultural output in Europe where GM seeds are not usually used, has not shown any decrease compared to the USA and Canada where GM seeds are used widely. In some cases there is even an increase.
            This is to say that human beings should take steps forward by using science and technology, but these steps should be taken cautiously, and it is better that it is not a giant step forward for the sake of profit, especially for the multinationals, without taking into consideration factors that may prove in the future to be against the interest of the majority.

          • saay7

            Hi Horizon:

            In the West, people can afford to have this fight, where the difference is between whether you buy your food at Safeway or Whole Foods* But, when it comes to very, very poor countries where people still die from hunger….. I strongly recommend you read “Denialism” by Michael Specter.

            Excerpts from the chapter that deals with organic vs genetically engineered food:

            “Natural” does not mean good, or safe, or healthy, or wholesome. It never did. In fact, legally, it means nothing at all. Mercury, lead, and asbestos are natural, and so are viruses, E.coli, and salmonella.”

            “If scientific consensus mattered, there would be little debate about whether to use our most promising technology to help feed billions of people who have no reasonable alternative. Nor would there be much question that genetically engineered crops, which require fewer and less-toxic chemicals, are at least as good for the environment as organic crops that guzzle more water per acre and require up to seven times as much herbicide.”

            “Even if the worst thing anyone imagines about genetically modified organisms were true, they would be worth it….If you look at what people are dying in Africa and what these plants could do to produce food, we would have to be absolutely out of our mind not to use them. You could triple the risks. Make them the worst risk imaginable. Even then, it would be worth it.”


            * there is an expose on Whole Foods Market and how “organic” their organic food is. Author makes a compelling case that “organic” is a marketing buzzword which means nothing:)

          • Dear Saay,

            Organic farming, which does not use GM seeds and pesticides and uses organic fertilizers, was not on my mind. it is impossible to feed the world by implementing organic farming. What I had in mind was the classical way of farming that uses seeds that are not genetically modified but continues to use pesticides and fertilizers.

            That GM crops need less pesticides and water is much more said than is the reality on the ground.

            When every seed a farmer sows is GM and these are bought from multinationals at a monopoly price, then the world will be at their mercy. What usually happens in third world countries as ours, is to save part of the seeds for the next farming season. With this diversity is maintained, e.g. the different types of Teff. Just imagine the impact on ethiopian and eritrean farmers if they are forced to buy GM Teff from multinationals at exorbitant prices. What these countries really need is mechanization of their farming system and implementation of irrigation farming more than GM seeds..

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Brother Saay and Horizon,

            The most interesting book I ever read about your topic is:

            “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals:
            Author MIchael Pollan, 2007.”

            I strongly recommend for everyone to read this book. This author is as neutral as it gets, and he actually traveled to farms and food processing factories for a first hand knowledge and understanding of the life of a food from start to finish and the food politics that go along with it.


            I have read your above quote somewhere before, and I remember reacting violently to it because I strongly oppose Genetically Modified anything. If the GM advocates’ main concern is feeding Africa, let them share the secrets of their technology and we will use it when and if it becomes necessary. By the way I went to bed laughing last night after your “It is what ‘Africa experts’ do: talk to African leaders. Next!”

            Organic farming is capable of feeding the world 3 times over. Mind you “organic” does not mean no fertilizer, but choosing the right “natural” fertilizer when needed and keeping the harmony of animals and soil as intended by nature.

            If you account for the amount of food we throw away everyday (check any major restaurant in any major city and notice the amount of garbage (food) they throw into their garbage trailers everyday.), add every “expired” food that is thrown from every household of the developed world, add also all the grain fed to animals instead of letting them graze, would account to at least 50% of all food production today.

          • saay7

            Selam Fanti,Amde, Horizon, Berhe:

            So, I think we need to separate two issues: (1) are genetically modified (GM) grains necessary and (2) If they are, should they be treated like any product that can be monopolized by a for-profit company.

            On the first issue, I think we all agree that who are best-situated to answer this question are food scientists, particularly those who are in the business of dealing with a world where a large chunk of the population (including children) go to bed hungry, eat one meal a day, which happens to be not nourishing. And my understanding of this is that both the UN’s Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) are all for it. So, unless we want to be like those people who find one scientist who denies global warming, it is best to yield (get it) to the experts here. Food scientists say that GM is absolutely necessary given that “natural” farming requires massive amounts of water and land. Listen to the scientists:)

            On the issue of ownership, I readily concede that Monsanto and its former chairman, Robert Shapiro, do come across like the bad guys in any sci-fi movie. In the book, Shapiro is described as some who “saw seeds in much the same way that Bill Gates thought about software: as a form of intellectual property.” Bad, bad, bad. But what if it was more like shareware, linux, owned by all and improved by all? Would we still have a problem with genetically modified grain?


          • Amde

            Selam Saay,

            I think Fanti is on to something. There appears to be consensus that there is significant food waste even using the current methods – starting from the farm all the discarded “expired” food. It almost calls for a Toyota production method mentality – after they were decimated in WW2, they focused on eliminating waste while their American competitors focused on volume.

            The question is – at a global level, are we producing enough food to feed people? If the answer is that we are, the real issue is not quantity but access. Of course this is where the cold hand of capitalism comes in – again, physical demand exists but is made invisible simply because the once-upon-a-time-intermediating-convenience-called-money is scarce. A couple of online sources seem to indicate that the numbers right now seem to support that at global level, there are sufficient calories being produced, but that distribution is warped. The real challenge seems to be in the future – looking at 2050.

            Perhaps we have not exhausted the non-GM routes of increasing food production. Check out Vertical farming for example, something thought to be a feasible alternative where urbanization and distributed energy production with renewables make it a feasible alternative. Genetic means may also be used on things like pest control or addressing diseases that attack crops without genetically modifying the food itself.

            To be honest, I think the genie (geddit?) is out of the bottle on GMO – whether or not the world needs it. Evolution and adaptation itself is also genetic modification – humans are just saying “Nature be too slo’ ” In a world where the modifications of human genes is being actively explored for both medical and trans-human goals, whether the food a genetically modified human eats is genetically modified or not becomes a moot point.

            To me the crux of the matter is your second point – management and ownership. Nature is doing GM all the time, but she does it slow enough that there is always some sort of an adapting ecosystem. We just don’t know enough what the long term effects are (even though many scientists give assurances on a case by case basis). Having huge commercial interests can only complicate things. Your vision of open source genetic manipulation also seems scary, but it is here now, especially with a quick, cheap, efficient gene editing technology called CRISPR. People are seriously debating using it to eliminate mosquitoes as a completely-good-for-nothing-species from the whole planet for example (apparently elimination of mosquitoes will throw no ecosystem out of balance while eliminating scores of diseases transferred through mosquito blood-lust). Humans being humans, what can be the expected outcome of something like this in 20 years? So, I guess my feeling is that knowing that it is inevitable, it is better to be proactive and try to shape it.


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Saay,

            On the first point I think it depends which scientists that we need to listen to. If we look at EU, I think most of the affluent countries seem to favour the ban of GMO but the less affluent countries seem to approve it. I think this to me says that, the jury is out there, and specially at he UN level, I think the corporations have a lot of say, so I don’t believe they are really free from influence.

            In the second point, I think the comparison with software I don’t think is accurate. In case of Microsoft, it created the software and it wanted to get paid for what it created. Sure one can argue that it copied from others like Zerox but I think for the most part it created the OS system and it wanted to be paid for licensing to use. Like you said, Linux have come to combat it and for the most part it succeed, specially the third world and in many corporations today. This system or model works, I think because MS can’t do much harm to countries or companies or individuals if they chose to use Linux instead of MS.

            In case GMO and Monsanto and their “patent” they wanted from any farmer, even if they don’t use their grain but instead, if there is traces of contamination and polination for example for neighbouring field, may be by insects or wind..they wanted the farmers to pay license fees because they own the “patent”.

            I know you are not making an argument in support of Monsanto but, as Amde said I think it’s too late to reverse the trend and the influence these companies have. They have 1-800 for people to report them, even in the 3rd world countries if farmers are using their grains without paying license.

            So for example if they managed to modify Teff as in example and some farmers in Ethiopia have started the crop and if it happens to contaminate other farms crops then they will sue the farmer for using their grain without license.

            I don’t the science of it, but from what I guess is, once a farmer starts using their grain as a seed, I don’t think it’s possible after they harvested they can use them to plant as seed again….I think they are forced to purchase the grain back. This to me in sense makes the farmer an orphan and there is no way to go back (there is with those activist scientist who are collecting the original seeds and distributing them) but for most farmers they lose their lands because they are not able to pay after the crops failed.

            To me I think banning them is probably the best solution at this point until this licensing has stopped.


          • Dear Berhe Y,

            That is the main point, GM seeds can not be used again to produce the next year’s food, but only for consumption, and poor farmers should buy their seeds every single year. Worse still is that if you plant GM seeds in one farmland, genes are transferred to the other farmlands as well, and the seeds you get become useless for sowing. It has a domino effect, until every seed produced in that region becomes GM and local diversity is lost.

            P.S: what i like most about is that you can pick the relay baton and run in a completely different direction and there are always people to chase you, until another person picks the relay baton again and runs in an other direction. that i think is the beauty of this website.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Selamat Ustaz,

            Saay, do you know that corn cannot grow in the US soil for more than 3 years without human technology interference? On the very birth place of maize, our “scientists” have managed to make corn as foreigner as a meteor in less than 100 or so years. Choosing the best yielding grain from the stock for ultimately a better yield is one thing but to actually genetically modify it to behave in a specific way based on limited understanding of nature is a sign of how deep rooted corporate greed has become.

            There is one and only one litmus test to the honesty of those advocates of the necessity and viability of GM foods: make it an an open source! Spending millions of dollars to their UN lobbyists is not good enough. And a resounding NO to point number 2.

            Brother Saay, I will not ask you for another favor for 6 months after this one: read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma!” It is very interesting, it will not try to convince you of anything, but it is full of wisdom to make you think about food from the ground up. I strongly recommend it. Berhe Y had said below whatever more I had to say.

            I miss you too!

          • saay7

            Hey His Fantiness:

            Ok, I will read the book and if it changes my mind, I will report back. If It didn’t, it wasn’t because it wasn’t open.

            I tend to be very skeptical of any anti-science activism especially if if which emanates from crackpot and aggressive religion, of the kind that created the “anti vaccination movement.” Specially if it’s advocates are latte-sipping pony-tailed people wearing sandals and murmuring “far out dude” or “no worries.” So what do I mean by the “consensus view of scientists”? Simple: it means what do the overhwleming majority of FOOD SCIENTISTS believe? I understand that this issue arouses passions (how did we even get into it? I blame Horizon:)) but we should always be skeptical of anti-science passionate people like the anti-voxx movement whose passion endangers their children and by extension our children’s lives.

            “I think the controversy over GMOs represents one of the greatest science communications failures of the past half-century. Millions, possibly billions, of people have come to believe what is essentially a conspiracy theory, generating fear and misunderstanding about a whole class of technologies on an unprecedentedly global scale.”

            You can google the rest of this opus at “time to call out the anti GMO conspiracy theory.”


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Saay,

            I don’t know how you don’t see the problem with GMO in the poor farming community. For example in Ethiopia, or India there is a farmer who use to farm his field using seeds that he owns. He gets his harvest and sells what he can and keep some for next year, go and go on. On some occasion there will be bad harvest and the crops fail….so he will starve out but next year he will be able to plant his seeds and life goes on.

            The same farmer now given this GMO seeds to plant and he normally mortgages his field as collateral. He gets good harvest and pays pack the money to the seed owners and everyone is happy. On occasion the crops fail and he has no harvest. He wants to plant the seed but he has no money…and he didn’t pay for the seeds from the year before…so he loses his land…and he can’t seed the original seeds any more because his land is contaminated and i think the land may not be able to produce the normal harvest..(I don’t know the whole detail) but it takes years to bring back to the condition before. And he will be sued because traces of the “patented seed” exist in his field.. there was a documentary to that effect I heard on CBC and this relates to farmers in India and how when they have no options left, they commit suicide for losing their lands..

            Would you advice a Teff or Coffee growing farmer in Ethiopia for example to abandon his natural seeds and use the GMO seeds instead.

            May be for another day, on the “anti vaccination movement” topic…but I believe there is a link between Autism and the vaccination as in MMR. I reason I think there is problem is that, a scientist and a doctor (Dr. Wakefield) did the research and published his findings on a journal and his recommendation was to separate the dosage and give it at different shots instead of putting all together and give the shots at a young age (less than 2 years).

            And this research “busted” by an investigative journalist (Brain Dee) who works for the The Sunday Times, which is owned by the News Corp. Now the bust was not if the actual research was wrong or not, but on the ethics of how the research was done, or if the Dr. followed procedure and got consent for his research etc..But the pure Dr. doesn’t have the finiancial muscle of the governments, the pharma companies or the media organizations or the lawyers to defend and clear his research or his name. CBC the current interviewed him and he said,….he just gave up, there is nothing more he can do..

            The problem I think, both the governments and the pharma companies are really terrified on the legal battle and compensation night mare and they decided to fight it vigorously and “bust” the research. At the same time, they have a way of protecting themselves those in the know, for example by making is optional / opt-out from making the vaccine mandatory for all school children if it was safe for everyone.

            Tony Blair was asked if he has given the MMR vaccine to his children (at the time he was a PM) and had young children, where his government was busting the research and advocating for the vaccine and it’s safety…he wouldn’t say Yes or No but didn’t answer because of privacy.

            What’s worst Pfizer I think disappeared the single shot of measles and doesn’t sell it any longer, but instead they force everyone to take the MMR vaccine. Even they have admitted I think how strong the dosage might be and they changed it into different dosage before 2 and another at 4, where they use to give at the same time.

            Yes, I will defiantly opt out knowing what i know now. The risk of getting measles and consequences is much lower risk than, the unknowns effects it may have for life long.

            So when a doctor or a government official or a lawyer or comes on the news and talk about the safety of I would ask, if he or she gave the vaccine to their children and if they can share the record with the public….


          • saay7

            Selamat Berhe Y:

            The thing is that with the proliferation of information, we have all become “experts” in areas we have no business being experts, which is fine, but I think science should be exempted from this. You can always find a contrarian scientists in every field, but what should guide is the consensus view of scientists and when it comes to vaccinations, it is not even close. I mean there should be an AUTHORITY on this and is there a better one that the Center for Disease Control? I mean, basically the job of these people is to stop the spread of diseases. And their view on the importance of vaccination is firm: it is necessary.

            Similarly, on the pros and cons of GMO, particularly as it relates to the Third World, there is no higher authority than the UN’s FAO and WFP. And their view on it is firm: they consider it necessary to ameliorate world hunger.

            The issue you keep bringing up–how a private company can not only treat essential things like grain as an intellectual property, for which it produces a line of products of fertilizers and insecticide to treat its own seed–is very troubling indeed. That should be outlawed, period.


          • iSem

            Hi BY and Sal: Good debate, here my in coherence about a subject that BY heard before:-)
            Oh, Vaccination, how we are spoiled now!! The men and women who labored to liberate us from the scourge of diseases, polio etc. and disability, now the new thing is boycotting vaccination, People forget how mere 100 years ago people were crippled by lack of vaccination. Vaccination connection with Autism, well, that is hypothesis and was not proved.
            BY, remember the swine flu vaccine, in a few it causes GBS, temporary paralyzes, so would you opt out that vaccination? If you do, then you should stop walking in the street because you have higher chances of being killed by a car then the said vaccine’s rare paralysis. If your plane crashes, you have zero chance of surviving, but plane crashing is very rate and flying safer than driving for several reasons, more than million people die from car accidents in the world annually and how many plane crashes do we have in the 40 million flight per year? but the fear of flying is more prevalent than the fear of driving. I also think more ppl die while walking from car accidents than flying. Sleep at least one of the different stages of sleep is risky for us in terms of heart attacks
            I think science is good, it the government is that needs to regulate it, balancing the corporate greed.
            I am surprised at how many Eritreans believe that there is cure for cancer and that pharma hides it to make money with their current drugs by hooking us up, sure, they want us to be hooked, the conspiracy theory? I do not believe it because, whoever cures cancer, the number 2 killer in the west will make trillions and the company that is supposedly hiding it will be scared to death from the prospect of one smart gal or dude discovering the cure
            The corporate greed? I call it human greed, is the job of the society to protect itself from no one else but ITSELF. In Africa, lots of people are putting poison on their faces and bodies because their leaders are busy stealing their money.
            People demonstrate and hate oil companies, but if you take away their oil they will be crying, yes it is bad for the environment, especially the Canadian tar oil (oh, tar is not p. correct, it is oil sands, hope there is no Canadian here;-)), but the keyboard, I am suing, the computer, I am using, the medicine we take, the paper we use, the catch up you enjoy when you eat when you eat something that is more poison son than oil( the fries and junk food) all will be unavailable without good old oil.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear iSem and Saay,

            I am not against science or against Vaccination, but I don’t think all vaccination are necessary and good either. Flu shot, no matter what you say or the expert say, I would rather have the flu and let my body fight it out rather than taking the shots without knowing if will get the flu or not. When I know the science of the flu shot which is basically based on probability and guess work but have absolute no knowledge if the shot is needed or not to protect the type of flu one will get.

            So in other words, the pharma companies have changed the game, now it’s profit driven, quick to market and when they can meet the sales target. They do it not out of necessity (as use to be with polio for example), to help cure the disease for society as a whole but based on fear and media tactics, marketing and a lot of influence on the politicians, the doctors.

            Saay, I am not a pessimist but I don’t have faith in the pharma companies, or food producing companies or banks and insurance companies, basically most of the big profit driving large corporations. I trust all public institutions and government entities but these institutions have a lot of influence and say in those government entities.

            When it comes to health care, food, I believe the nuts in Europe than their counter part in the US and less than those in Canada. The fact that the US health care system is (correct me if I am wrong) driven by profit and not the well being of the public good, I am skeptical.

            If what we say that scientists have the say in what’s good for society, then why is that, the R&D on on antibiotics are almost non existent but vaccins exploded… Reason given is that, antibiotics do not sell, they seat on a shelf for long time where as vaccins sell on regular basis. I don’t know if the whole truth but it kind of make sense to me.

            So the rate of autism increase to 600% percent in the last 20 years…is with what……for parents I think it a concern and rightly so..and the fact that the government and the pharma DO everything possible to muzzle people and end the conspiracy….as I said..why do they have to shove it on people and force people to take the MMR vaccin as example as one shot and at the age where a child development suppose to be identified. Why not when the child is 3 years old..or 4 years old, why not have the option to separate the doses, why are boys affected almost twice as much with autism, why the number have increased 600% times in the last 20 years..

            And the company who has the patent I think Merick, do not produce the single shot any more..WHY?


          • saay7

            Hey Berhe Y:

            Well, ok don’t take the flu shot (I don’t because the virus is constantly evolving:) but would you deny your children from being vaccinated for: cholera, anthrax, rabies, typhoid diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tuberculosis. tetanus (good luck getting a passport), yellow fever, typhus. polio, measles and mumps (make sure to get Embaba America for deqi Hdrtna), rubella, chicken pox, pneumonia, meningitis, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, lyme disease…..? Our parents were smarter: they made us wait in long lines at school to get vaccinated for anything that was invented.

            And, um, I don’t want to raise the ire of Tes…but if you remove the profit motive from medicine, you remove inventions and innovations. If you make a list of all the life-saving inventions and innovations by American pharmaceuticals and physicians on Column A and the rest of the world (including Canada in Column B 😄), well, you know. Don’t blame me: consult with Adam Smith.

            So you don’t trust Big Business but you trust Big Government? Really, Berhe? Ok, I am going to run away now before Tes comes with his big rocks…. Cuz Semere, I am expecting you now to speak on my behalf on this subject. I am going to try to find His Fantiness hippie book.


          • Berhe Y

            Hi Saay,

            I did not say I don’t believe in all vaccinations. No I don’t deny my children from getting those vaccines but I have delayed some and deny all flu vaccination.

            How many of those vaccines were created in the last 20 or 30 years?

            And most of them are invip the US because of the special visa, including lots of Canadian graduates.

            Now China and have figured it out the trick.


          • saay7

            Hahaha Berhe:

            The part that China hasn’t figured out is….your research paper doesn’t get peer-reviewed unless you work in an Ivy-league school, an American one. But hussssh, let’s keep it on the down low:)


          • iSem

            Over all Big Pharam or small biotech firms, which get acquired by big pharma, when they take all the risk and the guts, do a lot of good for society and yes, it is for their selfish reasons. Adam Smith said it, we do not got our beer from the brewer or our tires from the gomista(joke BY) because of his good heart but because he looks for his own interes, so is the butcher, so is the pharma:-))).
            Yea, the contradiction of big government and small firms is the lefty syndrome. Over the 100 years the pharma discovery saved lives. when we came here 20 years breast cancer was a death sentence, now can be cured if detect early.

            Big pharma also invents and designs medical devices not just compounds It is the mostly the USA stubborn desire and the ingenuity of all scientists all over the globe that made it possible the life saving drugs we have today. Companies like Geron are at it to cure injuries and disease with stem cells and 25 years from now, when Eritrea becomes 50 when dawit is 110 and IA is 120, the world will not be the same in terms of the landscape of diseases that ppl suffer from, Most cancers will be manageable, like normal sickes by taking one pill a day, many will be cured when denderimers use existing and new drugs to deliver medicine to the right place at the right time with the right dosage, no more loosing your hair and all the side effects. There will be vaccine for HIV or maybe cure with Vivgel, a nano tech cream that will trap the vires before infecting the person, Those cancers who are hard to cure, cus their are rare, will be detected when there are only a few hundred bad cells and stopped in its tracks, Add to that the personalized medicine based on ones unique DNA, the DNA mapping will help expedite that and add to that the advent of quantum computers, drug discover and approval will take a fraction of that it takes today (15yrs now)
            The human race does not get hurt by vaccines, it benefits, the vaccine bashing (not BY) we hear today is from the spoiled brats who take the toil of fine scientists for granted. But some countries like their are going bust and hungry when the globe is booming and well fed, they will go sick and die with simple diseases while the rest of the civilized word is vibrant and is healthy and these countries will be in Africa and the middle east where they are hide innovation and cures from their ppl.

            China, regardless its skycrapers and flashy Shangahai and fast trains will need 100 years to catch what USA and Europe have.

          • Nitricc

            Hi Semere; I wish you refrain from exposing your ignorance and saying something you have no clue. I get it, you must sound knowledgeable and say something but I know two people who contracted hepatitis C from a flu shot vaccine. true, most vaccines are beneficiaries but not always. so, for you to say and to conclude …
            “The human race does not get hurt by vaccines, it benefits, the vaccine bashing (not BY) we hear today is from the spoiled brats who take the toil of fine scientists for granted.” is simply stupid!!!!

          • iSem

            Get a life:, getting Hep from vaccin, read that again, toothless
            I mean read your comment

          • Nitricc

            semere: i wish you stop writing something you over heard Doctors talking bout during their lunch time. I know you work at mental hospital; being a security guard out there doesn’t entitle your to speak about elements and its treatments. all vaccines are not safe to all peoples. the end!!!

          • Dear Berhe Y,

            In medicine there is this inviolable and accepted philosophical truth which all doctors are expected to abide by, “avoid doing more harm than good”, and before the fda approves any drug it should have passed 3 phase study, to prove its efficacy and that that it does not have serious side effects. No doubt few physicians and pharmaceutical companies might not follow these rigorously. That is why from time to time doctors are litigated and drugs are withdrawn.

            Before the discovery of drugs and vaccinations people died of minor infections (viral and microbial) that are easily prevented and treated today. Without the science of medicine human beings would not have enjoyed healthy life or lived to old age or world population would not have been above 7bn, as it is today. I have read somewhere that before the discovery of antibiotics people grew beards not because it was the fashion, but mainly because a cut could put a person’s life in danger. One should remember the flu pandemic of 1918 that killed about 20m, if I am not mistaken. Patients who have chronic heart disease, diabetes,are debilitated or those above the age of 65 whose immune system is gradually weakening, etc, could die of a flu infection complicated with secondary bacterial infection or an overwhelming infection.

            Therefore, we cannot discard vaccinations or drugs altogether (i do not mean you said that, rather a proof-based vaccination is what you have in mind, if i am not mistaken) or completely distrust pharmaceutical companies, who are working hard to find new drugs for different ailments. Nevertheless, they should be followed by the state for good practice.

          • tes

            Selam Berhe Y.,

            Now that protecting any Agricultural Product is legalized in Europe first and expanding fast in Asia and Africa, farmers and food producers will have a protected Rights of ownership. So far Ethiopia has Coffee products and working at large to protect other local and traditional products, the history of Monsanto will only be a history.

            Thereare three ways to protect the rights of ownership for agricultural products now.

            1. PDO – Protected Designation of Origin – meaning the know-how, origin of the products and geography are all in the same surrounding

            2. PGI – Geographical Protected Indication either the know-how or origin of the produc is from a delineated area

            3. TSG – Traditoinal Speciality Guaranted – which protects special traditional product.

            these are equivalent to Intellectual Copy Rights. USA is still refusing these labels though Canada has recently accepted these norms. China, as a beneficiary of these marks, it was not late to accept and implement it on its food and other related agricultural products. Monsanto is hindering from reaching international agreements though FAO is working on this issue seriously.


          • Fanti Ghana

            Selamat Saay,
            I guaranty it you will get a couple of new perspectives about food and survival from this book. This is one of those books with absolutely no down side whatsoever. You will see.

            I see what you mean about those who blindly oppose everything, but if you take out all the lobbyists and anarchists out of the picture, what you will have left is that organic farming is viable, it can be improved naturally to increase yield, and there are minimum or zero risks (it has been proven in Ethiopia not long ago).

            GM technology in the other hand is a good science, it should be pursued and researched farther because there are and will be several applications for it. However, the consequences of Monsanto’s and the like’s persistent drive to control all right to all seeds of the world should not be ignored.

          • saay7

            Hey Fantiness:

            I thought you were chiw zbelka hagereseb from Raya-Azebbo. You do know that, ummm, corn does not grow in the wild (US or Timbuktu) and it was due to human cultivation that it even exists, right? If we all go on a one year corn-diet (and we should, it is nasty stuff) it would disappear from Planet Earth. GMO is just super-cultivation and nudging evolution just a bit, in much the same way it is done in every field. A embryo-lab child is indistinguishable from any other child.

            We agree on open-sourcing GMO.


          • Fanti Ghana

            Selamat Saay,

            entuf, shake!

          • tes

            Selam saay7,

            If you were in Italy’s biggest event of “Slow Food Movement” Exhibition that takes place in Torino (which I visited personally), for sure your mind on food could have been changed. My Master’s study is all on the Identity of Food (Master Food Identity). Its main objective is to identify and protect the food we consume.

            I could proudly discuss on this subject but all I can say for now is you are mistreating the subject matter by bringing American arguments


          • Nitricc

            Hey your greatness: nice to see you around. I could have said a few word about this ridiculous subjects of food but what is the point. I wish people will stick to their expertise which is wasteful African politics. wow! just to add to your point, last week i was flying back to the USA from UK and i was sitting next to this lady and when ever the food was offered by the flight attendants, i keep refusing and she asked why i refused the airlines food. I told her my reason and she told me that she runs high school in Ohio, and she was telling me that everyday they prepare food for thousands of students and when the classes are cancelled due to snow and extreme cold temperature, the food is dumped in a dumpster. I asked her why not give it to the homeless shelter or to the food bank, and her replay was, oh no the law does not allow to do so. the point is the amount food we waste is amazing. people are scared of ISIS, the real ISIS is monsanto and GMO.
            all i can say on this subject is if you have especially young girls, please make sure to feed them organic food and especially organic milk.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Brother Nitricc,

            The food crisis, if I may call it that, is totally self inflicted one. Someone once told me that the US actually dumps thousands of tons of wheat to the ocean to keep the balance of farm subsidies! Like the teacher you talked to said there are laws and regulations that are intended to cover one issue to only open another twice as big.

            Nice to hear from you too Nitriccay!

            Although I haven’t been actively participating in the many interesting topics of late, I was able to follow you my follow Awatistas most of the time, so I don’t feel I have been gone, but I miss talking.

          • Saleh Johar

            Welcome Abu seb Fanti Ghana,

            It is a crime to disappear for that long, I will tell my colleagues to include that in the many Draconian posting guidelines. Welcome back dear.

            By the way, since it is the jab taking season, how is the Abi your shoe retailer doing?

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello, Hello Memhirey!

            Imagine my agony too for not being able to participate as much I would like to.

            Abi! I hope he is alright. I ruled out several scary scenarios that could have tied him for this long:

            Divorce: it takes only 5 weeks and three witnesses in Ethiopia,
            Forced recruitment to the army: He would be dishonorably discharged by now for “too much Quine,”
            Hayata didn’t kidnap him because she is still here, sort of,
            Weyane didn’t arrest him because he believes Dabo before Freedom any way,

            I am totally out of ideas… he owes me big time for making my shoe hunting uninteresting without a formidable competition.

            An after thought: could it be “እኔን ወይም ዓዋተን፤ አንዷን ምረጥ አሁን” ultimatum from his wife?

          • Dear Fanti Ghana,

            welcome back from me too. K.S (the eritrean gojjame) and Abi (the proud gondere) are always on my mind. i hope they are both ok wherever they are.

            concerning food that has expired on supermarket shelves, you might know that strict laws were enacted lately in france and italy, which prohibit food to be thrown away. the expired food, unless there is visible sign of decay, a change in taste, or the producers can prove that there is some sort of toxicity, does not really mean anything. it is a market gimmick to increase wastefulness and consumption, which means increased profit, as in the so called “programmed obsolescence”, where for example, electronic gadgets simply die out, because of a program inserted into them by the producers and not that they have reached their lifespan. the food is repackaged, given another expiry date, and distributed to the poor.

            the funniest thing that happened was that the number of people who declared they are poor and cannot feed themselves soon increased. these were people who used to buy their food themselves, and consequently, super markets started to complain that since the new law, they are selling less food items.

            the core problem is therefore “greed”. the world suffers not because there is not enough for everybody’s needs, but that there is not enough for everybody’s greed, as Mahatma Ghandi said.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello and thank you brother Horizon,

            I miss Kokhob’s poems a great deal. He is one of the hearts of gold Awatistas, and I hope he will come back soon.

            There are several, well-crafted arguments whether to GM or not GM, but the bottom line is that it is profit/greed driven by those proponents of GM while a section of those who oppose it also go to the opposite extreme as part of their “oppose everything modern” scheme.

            However, the technology is worth pursuing and they should be financed to continue researching it to bug out any long term biodiversity consequences, but strong laws need to be placed before the greed spirals out of control, and suddenly, we have nothing to eat.

            Monsanto is busy buying and collecting “rights” for seeds as part of its “feed the globe” drive: haha!

          • tes

            Selam Horizon,

            Your lines are misleading and unprofessional. I am a food expert and I know what it mean expired food.

            Mind you, there are two types of putting expirey dates:

            1. A date that indicates for food’s preferred consumption –

            This date indication has nothing to do with food spoilage and hence danger to health rather the nutrient contents are reduced and its consumption is not worth. In fact frozen foods fall on this category.

            2. A specific date after which the food is dangerous for health.

            Here biological changes and hence chemical changes happen which can seriously affect our heath. Though the date is not exact, which it usually included certainities and storage conditions, consuming these products after the specified date could have serious consequences.

            On the French Law: I think you have misunderstood what the law states. I am living in France and I am a living witness on the application of this law.

            The law is introduced to reduce food waste. It forces any food grocery not to waste food rather either sell it or donate before dumping it. For this there are so far two well established beneficiaries who are collecting food from groceries before expiration date and distribute to those who need it for free(Charity center).

            Banque Alimentaire and Resto du Cœur are now the receivers of these near to be expired food and distribute it to people who need help. I have got a chance to work with Resto du Coeur in their Logistique House and I know how the system is working. And if the expirey date is reached before reaching to the needy people, it is thrown away for good. But the way it works is very encouraging. Thousands of tonnes of near to be expired food are now successfully distributed to people.

            In fact France is a leading country on reducing food waste by example.

            Therefore the notion of “Expirey date has nothing to do with business or greedy” but it is a natural process of food decay – just as that of human body decay.

            Refrain therefore from giving a wrong information.


          • Dear tes,
            I do not think that I was talking as a food expert or as a professional. What I brought was what was in the the news. I did not say I have a detailed knowledge of what is happening in france.
            The point is that most foods are edible after expiration dates have passed. Just an example, milk expired in 3 days in the country I live. Its expiry date has been extended to 7 days with no problem.
            Finally, I will try to heed your order to refrain from giving the wrong information in the future.

          • tes

            Selam Horizon,

            Let me explain on the example you brought: Milk

            There are three types of milk on market

            1. Raw Milk – I think US FDA(Food and Drug Administration) prohibits/bans such products from USA markets. This milk is raw, unprocessed whole milk. It has a very short life period, not more than a week or so and in a highly controlled environment. If consumed beyond strictly specified expiray date it can have serious healthy consequence as the microorganisms within the milk alters its chemical and biological behaviour. I don’t think therefore there is a possibility of extending beyond its shelf period.

            2. Pasteurized Milk (processed at 72°C and for 3-5 minutes. May differ also depending on the processing type)- here only harmful bacteria are killed yet spoiling bacteria and other toxic producing microorganisms and fungs are not completely eliminated. The milk has still life and the microorganisms continue to multiply. Especially those spore forming micro-organisms are dangeroous. For such milk products, the expiray Date is very crucial. We need to observe it. if not, spoialge and toxic producing bacteria can affect our health seriously. This becomes more dangerious especially when the health of the milk producing cows are not health and the shelfing environment is not appropriate. Hence for Pasteurized milk, we need to be very serious on date.

            3. UHT milk – Ultra High Temperature Milk – these milk products are treated at very high temperature (around 121°C). Here almost all harmful microorganisms are eliminated. What could be left are spores of spoilage bacteria. Some spoilage bacteria cause Cancer and other long effect health consequences. Though there is no direct danger of consuming UHT Milk, for those who are serious on their health, it is recommended to observe expiry date. In general, for UHT treated milk, it is not that dangerious even if we consume it one weak and sometimes a month or so after the mentioned expiray date.

            Dear Horizon, the way food is processed matters. In general, sterilized foods, hence no life in the food, are somehow OK if the expiry Date is almost around. Some sterilized foods have safe days that extends upto months. But the expiry date has many other implications and considers different aspects. As Food Engineer, I could say, it is better to respect Expiry date, as there are many uncertain issues when such dates are mentioned.

            I hope it gives you some help. if not, ask any question about food and I will help you as much as I can. There are many conspiracies about food. All we need to take care is respecting guidelines.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam tes,

            With the permission of saay to divert from his article, I would like to comment on the “expiration date”you have raised, that is mostly related to food and drug administrations.

            I do not know on the specificity on food administration, but on drugs, according medical professionals, the “expiration date” is the “shelving date ” for which the specific drug should stay in the shelve provided it is kept at room temperature (with no humidity and heat). There is always exceptions for refrigerated items the shelve refers to refrigerator. The assumptions is: after the shelving date the drug decrease its potency. The degree of losing its potency depend on the stability of the drugs. Under normal conditions, it does not mean the drugs are not usable after the shelving date except you might not get the same effect as the drug start to lose its potency from after the expiration date.

            Now, since drug’s stability are affected by heat and humidty, and start to lose their potency after the shelving date, then as a rule patients must not use the meds after that given specific date. But sometime when you do not have access to get new order for “maintenance ” you could still use them than to be without med.

          • tes

            Dear Amanuel H.,

            I agree with your take though my knowledge on medical science. But the notion of expiry is almost similar.


          • Nitricc

            Hi Tes, i hate to inform you but food is medicine, that is the best medicine. You take one drug to treat one illness while you are exposed to 15 side effects. take any drug and read its side effects. as a food scientist, you should have known better. but you don’t.

          • tes

            Hi Nitricc,

            When you come to food, you know how much you will be a loser. If we human beings were able to eat the diet we need according to our biological, chemical and physical needs, for sure there could not be the word “medicine” in our dictionary. Unfortunately medicine is nothing but the missing part of our food requirement.

            I know you are much dumper than anyone can imagine you.


          • Nitricc

            Hi Tes, the only difference between you and me is that i know i am dumb but you have no idea how you are clueless and you don’t know everything. I know you think that you are an expert but that is only in your head. you can believe all you want but the facts are to the contrary . I wish you know how dumb you are . there is a big difference between knowing and to thinking you know. You are too hyper, undisciplined and emotional to know jack. one more time, food is medicine. I didn’t say cocktail now; please make a note there.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Prof. tes,

            How are you my friend; Long time no talk!

            Forgive us for playing experts on your field of study, but I think what Horizon was alluding to was the involvement of greed/corporate driven misleading information conveyed to the public. I believe he is right.

            They have expiration dates for their “pure and all natural spring water” for god’s sake.

            However, what really knocks your socks off about these expiration dates is some foods labeled “expiration date: X3Z4Q9NB…”

            The idea is that since people are refraining from buying these food items even when there is some life left on them, US food industries successfully lobbied to the US government to allow them to code these expiration dates, and to give them the power to regulate themselves and to occasionally visit stores where their products are sold and remove those that are “expired” just in time. Wow!

            However, it is entirely possible that Europeans may have stronger “public safety driven” laws than those that are in the US.

            When and if these topics become our main discussion here in the future, I will have lots of questions and lots of lessons to learn from you brother tes.

          • tes

            Dear od dearest Fanti Ghana,

            Missing your wisdom and warm greetings!

            Well, I think your health Science background is well enough to put you on food expert category. However I am slightly disappointed when you are surprised to see expiry date on bottled water.

            Dear Fanti Ghana, there are things that we need to put into consideration when we label food products. Just suppose pure water is pure and its expiry date is non existent. However bottled water is inside a material that is not non-porous. As time goes on some micro-organisms and chemicals penetrate the nano porous material hence affecting the quality of the water. The main problem with this could be on taste of water.

            In this, wine follows a different coarse. It will be another subject to discuss.

            There are many dirty businesses related to food labeling but the the scientific truth always exists; If we have any doubt, thanks to laboratories, we can just take a sample and visit for checking. For sure we will get some thing.

            I think in USA, food regulation is not strict. Here in France(I can not say much outsie), food safety and security is a very serious issue. And now there is another issue of not wasting any food. very complex but easy to cope with in countries where food consciousness is at its peak point.

            On the subject to discuss about,

            Well, never to wait for good time to come. Any spontaneous moment is enough to give a highlighted discussion as we are doing.

            By the way, Ethiopia has so far secured International Protection on

            1. ‘Yirgacheffe’,
            2. Harrar’ and
            3. Sidamo

            Dear Fanti Ghana, since I will not go back to my country sooner(thanks to PFDJ for his brutality), I could have transferred my knowledge on Development of Traditional and Local Food Products to Ethiopian next generation food technologists so that they Ethiopia can prosper oby relying on its own traditional and local foods. Do you think there is a teaching job post in Mekele University? I will be happy to teach there.

            Welcome back again


          • Fanti Ghana

            Selamat Prof., and thank you.

            I/We would be more than honored to have you in our beautiful city of Mekele not only for all the benefits we will gain from your expertise and wisdom but also your presence as our honored guest alone would be rewarding enough.

            Having said that however, there is actually a very well developed and state of the art biotechnology and agricultural Research Center (Holetta Agricultural Research Center) just outside Addis Abeba in Oromia Region where I think you would be more beneficial as well as beneficiary.

            Either way, you will not be bored at all.

          • tes

            SElam saay7,

            I won’t be surprised if you bring the American version of argument on GMO and Organic Food Products. Saying that Fanti Ghana’s point is strong enough to go in this subject matter.

            I could have said on this subject matter but it will deviate us from the subject at hand. For the time being, I will just appreciate Fanti Ghana’s take.

            Welcome back @Fanti Ghana


          • saay7

            Hi Tes:

            Well, actually, I would love to hear your take on this, since it is your expertise.

            Don’t worry about the subject morphing: its what the Forum does best and at least in this case it is something we can learn from.


          • tes

            Selam saay7,

            Most conspiracies about food are either created by big companies or enterpreneurs who want to inject their hand on the food market. Saying that “food has life” and as we know life passes all processes.

            Let me make it more social: just suppose a political program that is intented to brainwash innocent mind, as I am who is a brainwashed innocent young man by PFDJ. The political program has serious consequences on the way I think and interact with people.

            Same holds for food. Any modification – especially genetically- is like brainwashing the food item. And its consequence is parallel to it and sometimes multiplied.

            We can not therefore ignore the effect of GMO.

            But there is another safe methods of improving or augmenting produciton: Selection and breeding. These two are now leading agricultural systems that follow natural process.

            Let us therefore broaden our understanding on

            1. Genetically Modified Products

            2. Production through Selection

            3. Breeding

            The New Version of Agricultural Science is working on the later two while examining the long lasting effect of GMOs.

            Monsanto will continue to work on GMO unless a good hearted American President with Agricultural Education from Europe comes to power in USA. Till then, I think Americans will not dominate the world of Obesity.

            Europe has already proved that there is no need to modify genetics inorder to increase food production. All needed is changing food production and marketing systems.


          • Berhe Y

            Dear saay,

            You can put me the list of debates with some aspects of science and complexly controlled and monopolized by corporations and multinational companies which are driven by greed and profit.

            Don’t believe in flu shots and most form of vaccines who keep piping so the pharmacy companies to make their quarter sales targets. I do not believe companies like Monsanto who are causing so much hoax to the farmers with their “patent” and control of the crops, in India there are 250 divide of farmers because they lose their lands when crops fail that they can’t able to pay the seed owners.

            Nuclear in the third world countries, God help us.

            I don’t think it’s safe without full fledged democracy, watch dog and free media to run that kind of complex and dangerous system.

            Even Japan failed to secure it.


          • Amde

            Selam Berhe,

            A few years ago there was a Dutch company who wanted to take out a patent on the genetics of Teff. Google Teff gene dutch and read the story of how Ethiopia gave away the right to benefit from genetic improvements in some Teff strains. It was supposed to be an exemplary good faith deal that went bad. It is sobering at the very least.

            The problem with these kinds of issues is that railing against it will not do much to stop it. Some of the most interesting fights to preserve the rights of poor people happen in conferences focused on biodiversity and the environment. How are poor countries with native strains of economically useful plants and animals supposed to compete? For example, it is said that the most genetically diverse stock of wild coffee plants is in Keffa Ethiopia. In general, in biology as well as linguistics, a location hat hosts the most diversity is generally thought of as the oldest and thus the source location. Diversity is nature’s laboratory. That gives Ethiopia a genetic heritage and Ethiopian farmers a vast resource to draw on. But, should Folgers coffee decide to engineer a strain of coffee that can grow in the plains of Illinois, I don’t see what Ethiopia can do to stop it. The situation with the Monsanto seeds is even more insidious.


          • Berhe Y

            Thank you Amde. So what’s the story of Teff export from Ethiopia. You know there is Ethiopian injera that is delivered three times in Toronto a week now, and when possible that’s what I buy. I know it’s selfish, I am sure it’s probably draining the supply inside and I hate to think what happens to the waste. But I think it’s good idea, at least it crests jobs there and bring some forex to the country.

            The Ethiopian / ERITREAN owned shops, they sell a flour that they call “Ethiopian Teff”, I have hard time believing it’s a real thing.

            So I think in my opinion, if the flour forum can be exported may be a good idea. And people can make their own and avoid waste.

            Do you think the flour are genuine, and does export of the raw teff allowed (I heard it isn’t but I heard this Ethiopian lady from the UK, advocating to lift the ban, as a form to benefit the farmers.


          • Amde

            Selam Berhe,

            Isn’t it crazy that we are talking about INJERA export, and not just Teff? The few times I go to the Washington DC area, they ask you in a restaurant whether the enjera you want is American or from Ethiopia. They can bake, pack, airlift, distribute Injera from Addis across the continent and the Atlantic ocean and still make very good money. What luxury!!

            BTW – I have always thought there might be good business in a well designed small kitchen countertop Injera making machine. Feed it packs of semi-fermented mix and water, and press a button – voila. A friend of mine introduced me to a rice cooker and I am hooked. Why not for Injera?

            I believe the injera in the stores is the real thing. Go for it and support the farmers.

            Exporting the flour may be big business. The export ban was lifted in 2015. Teff has started being called a super-food, and that means we are seeing Teff breads, pastries, morning cereals, power bars etc etc… That is good as it creates demand, but if prices start getting set by international demand, it may become an unaffordable luxury in the land it was cultivated for millenia.


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Amde,

            I love the Ethiopian injera and it’s real. I was asking the Teff flour they sell in those stores are the real thing or not. The packaging seems shady.

          • Amde

            Lol Berhe,

            If the packaging is shady then most likely the flour is legit. hahaha.. We are not quite there on this fancy making it look good stuff… gen-u-wine E-thi-yo-pian

          • Berhe Y

            Hi Amde,

            That’s funny. The reason I thought was shady because the packaging is good:). Packaged somewhere in Canada with Canadian address and all. It didn’t say imported from Ethiopia. May be I should just call and find out.

            As to the machine, I think so too, but the Ayni (we call it eye in tigtina, I don’t know what’s called in Amharic), the wholes are too hard to make without opening and closing in a timed manner, but who knows. I asked a cousin, if it makes any difference if injera baked like pancake or nan. She said yes, the taste is not the same and it may be heavy too. Too be honest the science of it, really blows my mind, I wish I knew the history of it.


          • Amde

            Selam Berhe,


            After having lived in the US over two decades I am almost convinced the secret of making Injera with proudly wide open eyes (ayn as it is also called in Amharic), is almost as closely held as the key to Fort Knox. In the small towns across America with small abesha communities where the women make their own Injera, each lady guards her secret jealously. I have heard recipes on mixing with beer, ginger ale, carbonated water, hot water, cold water. Blend by hand, blend with machine. Fermenting late, fermenting early. Mix it twice. Mix once and leave alone. I have heard theories on elevation being too low and air pressure being too high, of something in the water (water too hard, too fluoridated, too soft). It is definitely an art form. But what was funny was when I innocently asked why the ladies who have figured it out won’t share their discovery with others. Oh no you are such a sweet sweet innocent man, I was told. That is just not done.


          • Nitricc

            Hey SAAY I was horrified when i heard Ethiopians use DDT to get rid of lice in their hair. I just couldn’t believe it, i wonder what else those Ethiopians use?

          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Amde,
            I have heard this idea being floated a few times before, how does the logistics of exporting electricity across the Red Sea works ?

          • Amde

            Selam Yoty,

            I am assuming underwater cable. I think we are talking about 30kms or so at the narrowest point.

            BTW, have you heard of the mega project to build a bridge between Djibouti and Yemen? They call it the Bab-el-Mandeb bridge. In that case, adding a power line might be a breeze.

            The bridge would definitely transform Addis into a very cosmopolitan city. Supposedly, part of the economic reasoning for the project is the volume of Hajj traffic from much of western and Sahara Africa.


          • Yoty Topy

            Hi Amde,

            30km isn’t that long I guess.

            No, I haven’t heard of that . That would probably impart a biblical proportions (pan intended) of economic opportunity for the region. Do you know if any feasibility studies have already been commissioned or just a proposal at this juncture? Tackling some of the deepest seabeds (1.6km) might pause some challenges but it would be a fantastic undertaking needless to say.

          • Amde

            Selam Yoty,

            I think there are more than feasibility studies. It just ran afoul of other events – oil price crashing, ISIS, etc etc…

            And to be honest, after the initial excitement, I don’t know if we are ready. Our identity for a long time was/is as an insular people. We were an out of the way destination. Never a stopping point on a trans-continental trade route. This project has the potential to socially be really transformative.

            Wikipedia says the stretch along the Bab el-Mandab is probably about 360 meters at the deepest. The bridge supports would be built in much shallower water I would imagine. So that makes the depth a bit more doable.

            I had to go back and look – it seems there is consensus that during the last ice age (about 10K years ago) when modern humans (good looking abeshas like us) crossed from Africa to Asia they probably did it by walking across the Bab el-Mandab, which was a land bridge (making the Red Sea a lake at the time) Sea levels were definitely much lower.


    • Nitricc

      Hi Yoty Topy; you said; ” Alas,persistence seems to have paid in the end.”
      it always does!!!!!! and At the end, Eritrea will come-out on the top. because………..
      “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful
      men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
      Calvin Coolidge

      • Yoty Topy

        Hi Nitricc,

        I guess I should have qualified the word ‘persistently’ adequately but I will spare you the duplicity and refer you to Saay’s response below.

        That’s a good quote albeit bares no semblance of truth or whatsoever to the issue at hand:)

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      The EU or any power in the world can pump life to a dead corpse. The regime is no more a choice to Eritreans, there is nothing positive that makes them defend it. All his wars against neighbors were to escape from facing real demands of the Eritrean people. The regime failed in all fields of governing within the twenty-five years. They failed diplomatically, economically, socially, militarily, and even in wining hearts of the very youth who have grown under their guidance and control. As far as the regime failed to possess cards of Eritreans, it will not lead a peaceful life. Always the reason that led Isaias to wars with his neighbors will be there. Always there will be fear that will never be cured even by lifting sanctions or donation from west or east. This is a regime built on fear from its own people, and there is no cure for such ailment except by handing power to the people of Eritrea. This is a regime that has stolen freedom and power of people. Moreover, they committed mass crimes to hide their very crime. They have reached a point of no return, they have to continue same path up-to the end. Only an insane person may believe the regime will change its policies. I think the EU are dreaming, and it will not take a long time to taste bitterness of their failure and frustration.

      Persistence of the regime led Eritrea to a continuous deterioration in all aspects of life. The regime didn’t leave space for quick recovery, every aspect of hope has been butchered. It is better for EU to seek a better exit for Isaias and his cohorts. In case such an opportunity crop up, the regime should seize it; this is my advise to Isaias.


  • Tewelde gebremariam

    Hi Saa7

    Your argument, hundred percent in support of woyane/ Ethiopia , devoid of any ‘Eritrean intetest, typical of the so called ” ‘Eritrean Oppositions”, is the very precept that has been lending the impostor isaias afewerk the critical support it needs to stay in power to destroy Eritrea and it’s people.

    The so called” ‘Eritrean opppsitions” , you have identified yourself to be part of, ought to stop parroting woyane as Jesus Christ or prophet Muhammed in the affairs of Eritrean interest.

    For one, there is no fundamental difference between woyane and the impostor isaias afewerk, both of whom are brutal tyrants ruling as masters without the consent of the subjugated people.

    Secondly, your relationship with woyane is unsustanable because it is just a matter of time before it is thrown out by the people, unravelling its chicanery of having been elected by 99.9% of the people.

    Thirdly, it is now sandwiched between the rising tide of the people’s anger and it’s Western Masters objection to its resort to raw military rule to subdue the people. The obvious outcome of this is clear: the people will win and the Western countries will discard woyane to the hot furnace of the people.

    Fourthly, since you were the mouthpiece of woyane propaganda, it’s image makers, the victorious Ethiopians will doubling you up in their hot furnace along with woyane.

    There is no doubt if you persist in this wrong path for any longer, you will lose your country and your body ( those of you residing in various part of Ethiopia) but you do not have to:

    Dissociate yourself from woyane, stand up for your country’s Unity, Sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    Stop imitating woyane by portraying the Tigrigna pupolation as chauvinist analogous to Amhara of Ethiopia. The Tigrigna population paid disproportionate price to free Eritrea from Ethiopian colonialism. They deserve respect and admiration for their valor.

    Call upon woyane to cut it’s subterfuges —– five point dialogue etc.—— and to abide by the Final and Binding decision of the EEBC it had signed to honor.

    Remind woyane that it was because bilateral dialogue of the two countries failed and led to war that the EEBC was set up in the first place, and that it is insane to do the same failed act over and over again and expect positive result.

    And remember, woyane is not as smart as you think. Don’t you recall it’s foolish jubilation convinced that it was awarded Badme ?

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam Tewelde gebremariam,

      You and your likes have become same as a mangy animal that all run away from touching it. All peoples of our region have suffered from your naughty behavior. Don’t forget 70% of Oromians are Muslims and they don’t agree with your policies in Eritrea. Moreover, you have betrayed Amhara and Tigrai people. I think they will never forget your betrayal and back stabbing.

      Do’t forget Mr. Tewelde you have betrayed Eritreans and all peoples of the region and you will pay dear for that. Believe me, you are not in safe haven. This is just a reminder for you to change your behavior positively, before you are face to face with the raging hot furnace.


    • tes

      Selam Tewelde Gebre,

      I don’t think you are relevant to comment your views after writing your gibberish article. You are much lighter than a feather. Saying that you are welcome to vomit your remaining views. Here ate awate com, nothing is a taboo. Say anything you want, you can win if your ideals are good and will lose terribly if they are wegithless. By now you have lost all your what is called “human values”.

      As meshrefet net has welcomed you, i think you are a good distructor there than here to be a contributor.

      Anyway, we need your views as it is giving us the other side of the justice.


    • Nitricc

      Hi Tewelde; I read it twice and the first time, I thought it was Semere Andom’s article, not believing Semere could come up with such sophistication, i read it again, I said this is Hayat: and i say to my self, wait a minute, there two lines or so that sounded true and fair, can’t be Hayat. then I read it one more time and Only to find it out this was indeed written by the great SAAY and I was really depressed. Read any SAAAY articles, i mean any beside this one, he never abandoned the core value of defending the best interest of the nation and her people, NEVER! while dismantling the government of Eritrea. In a sense, SAAY was representing the true definition of an opposition, oppose the government while protect the nation, on this article he came out just like the usual toothless and irresponsible opposition we are accustomed to.
      May be SAAY is tried of the criticisms he is getting for being fair and reasonable opposition so, he may have tried to throw them a bone just to shut them up, i don’t know?
      my point; I agree with your take Tewelde!!!!

    • saay7

      Selam Tewelde:

      Wow, I think your post has the most Weyane/sentence than any I have seen. I think this makes you the most patriotic Eritrean–ever! Or, one of those people that my people say this about: ረቢ ይሳህለልካ (iSem will like it.)

      But seriously, buddy, this is not about what people *say*, but what they do to *solve* a festering problem.

      If words mean something to you, can you guess who has set this as a general principle?

      ሃገራዊ ልኡላውነታን፥ ሓድነት ህዝብን መሬትን ኤርትራ፥ ብኣህጉራዊ ተፈላጥነት ዝተኣምነሉ ጅዮግራፋዊ ዶባትን ምዕቃብ*

      It was said by the Eritrean Democratic Alliance in its charter. But it is not in a position to bring this to reality; I am not; you are not. The only one who is the government of Eritrea. And over the last 12 years, it has proven entirely incapable of making sure that Eritrea’s borders are demarcated in accordance with EEBC. Your ears heard what I didn’t say; your eyes read what I didn’t read. You are thinking I said, “therefore, let’s give up.” I am saying, “therefore, let’s use a third party to make sure that we move along this thing which has been neglected so that we get exactly what the internationally recognized EEBC gave us.”

      The rest of your halewlew and your prediction about the demise of Woyane, etc, I will ignore.


      • Tewelde gebremariam

        Hi saay7,
        In spite of the glaring historical reasons to the contrary, which I have no doubt you know well, your implied support to the ludicurous idea that woyane set five-point-dialogue- precondition as insurance to prevent future Eritrean invasion speaks well to your unmistakeable anti Eritrean position.

        Among the many historical reasons, the following an be cited as substantial evidences that the so called “five point dialogue” were subterfuges, and that you are purposely supporting woyane against ‘Eritrean:

        1. It was woyane who, in 1977, issued a manifesto declaring a section of Eritrea as part of Greater Tigrai

        2. It was woyane and not Eritrea who started the border instigations…

        3. It was woyane who had forcefully evicted Eritreans from Badme , knowing full well that Badme was an Eritrean integral territory

        4. It was woyane who had tried ownership of Badme by tempering with the Eritrean Western Geographical boundary with Ethiopia. Remember the straight line that woyane turned into curve.

        5. It was woyane, who, ignorantly convinced that EEBC awarded It Badme, had immediately called on Eritrea to accept the verdict and implement Final and Binding resolution.

        6. Woyane turned 180 degrees tom condemn and reject the EEBC decision after it was told the Truth of the matter…….Flip-flop is the hallmark of treachery. Once a liar is always a liar.

        7. Wasn’t it after the current German Chancellor’s, who came to Addis Abeba in person, advice that woyane came up with five-point-dialogue subterfuges? Yes, it is true!!!

        Your allegation that the so called “Eritrean Oppositions” are for Eritrean Unity and territorial integrity…. is farcical as well. As we say in our Dear Old Tigrigna Adage: Men Mukuonka Knegreka, Ms Men KemtwEl Ngereni…

        • saay7

          Selamat Tewelde:

          You remind me of one of those students who is sitting for a test and when confronted with a question, rather than give an answer, dumps everything he knows about the subject, hoping that the answer is somewhere in his data dump.

          Where exactly did I say, implicitly or explicitly, that I support Ethiopia’s Five Point Plan? Dan Connell was very clear that dialogue is not possible and that discussions should be by proxy.

          If you don’t want to take advantage of the proposal Dan Connell gave, here are your options:

          (a) Wait indefinitely for Ethiopian government to change its mind (you have waited 14, what is another 14: it is not like you are paying the price for it)
          (b) Wait for the US to “pressure” (order) Ethiopia to comply. (you have wait 14 years….)
          (c) Wait for Ethiopians to overthrow the Ethiopian government (your president has been promising you Weyane is on its 11th hour and is about to go for 11 years)

          As for the old Tigrinya adage, I thought it was Italian, but it wouldn’t suprise me if Italians copied it from us. But using that “tell me your friends…” (if you define someone you agree with as a ‘friend’), does that mean you are a friend of the PFDJ and you support a government which has been accused, with compelling evidence, that is guilty of crimes against humanity including torture, murder, enslavement?


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay

            Aha! wonderful, you make me laugh about the students story that you brought up to make your point, not that the story is laughable, but you remind me the same story in my middle school era. Back in late 50s and early 60s we had three semesters rather than two. In the 5th grade all the subjects in the first semester was taught in tigrigna language. The last two semesters were taught in English. I had two classmates who were accused of the same thing by the teacher (our history teacher). Switching from tigrigna to English in the middle of the year at 5th grade (to learn about feudalism, Charles the great, the French revolution, the 30 years of war, and the 100 years of war etc..) the English language was a little tough at that time. So when they could not understand the question but identified from which title it was, they write the whole chapter as their answers. In any case you know how to make your point easily , using metaphors. Actually you make me to read TG’s response to your response. Keep alive the debate.


          • Tewelde gebremariam

            Hi Saa7,

            When you lauded Dan Connel’ proposal characterizing it as—– the only coherent and workable to extricate Eritrea from the conundrum it is in—- you are in effect paradoxically blaming Eritrea for the stalled border demarcation process and continued occupation of ‘Eritrean Territory by woyane. You cannot be more woyane than this!! But let me remind you, a genuine ‘Eritrean will not be lured by mirages and charms. The “Final and Binding “phrase was purposely inserted to nail down woyane, knowing full well it’s proverbial treacherous nature .

            On the other hand, to preempt the process of restoration of justice , you jumped like a beast on the throats of those panelists who saw the injustice perpetrated on Eritrea by western supporters of woyane, and voiced for rectification of the injustice. Any genuine ‘Eritrean ,except the sellout like yourself,would welcome such a positive move towards peace based on the Final and Binding resolution of the EEBC.

            About our Good Old Adage—-Men Mukuanka Knegrekas Ms Men KemtwEl Negereni— , I am not surprised with your attribution to Italians, you owe them a gratitude.

            The Mighty EPLFs ,who crushed Ethiopian colonialism, are the embodiment of ‘Eritrean valor and pride, and conversely, shame and embarrassment to their former 17 year piggyback, woyane, and therefore, I am not amazed with your objection when one of panelists paid a tribute to their gigantic accomplishment.

            And by the way, unlike your naively optimistic outlook, woyane is indeed fast dissipating into the trash bin of history and so are its appendages, the so called “‘Eritrean oppositions”. You are set for huge and rude awakening in the very near future. I putty you!!

          • saay7

            Selamat Tewelde:

            Eritrean politics is not binary, divided between “genuine Eritrean” vs “Weyane.” You may wish to consider the possibility that Eritreans who disagree with you are not “lured by mirages and charms.” Nothing in what I said, nothing in what Dan Connell said recommends changing the final and binding nature of the EEBC. It adds facilitator to translate what is on paper into the ground. The late Eritrean ambassador to the AU/US once said words to the effect, “if you demarcate the border in the morning, we will have discussions in the afternoon.” So that sequence–morning/afternoon–is “genuine Eritrean” and everything else is Woyane with two exclamation points?

            I have told everyone here, many times, (sometimes calling her my bff) that I admire Bronwyn Bruton. She, an American, is looking out what is in the best interest of America and calling on her government to change. Not one of her recommendations calls on the Government of Eritrea to change anything. I am doing the same: I am calling on the Eritrean government (can’t call it mine cause I had no voice in its position of power) to change.

            The objective of the Atlantic Council presentation is to assemble experts and present a “consensus view” (by hand-picking people who agree with your worldview.). While this consensus view may persuade American policy makers, those of us who disagree with its recommendations that do not place a single demand on the Government of Eritrea to go on record and say “leave Eritreans under the mercy of a government accused of crimes against humanity” is not desirable. That is: we are telling the West, while you have the leverage–to lift sanctions, to expedite the demarcation, to increase foreign direct investment–use some of it for the betterment of Eritreans.

            On the EPLF, one of the panelists, an economist who went to Eritrea for the first time in March 2016, said, “The birth of the Eritrean state resulted entirely from the tenacity, resilience, and keen organizational skills of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF).” He didn’t qualify this with “some say”, despite the fact that this statement is manifestly false. That he was willing to repeat this sentence from his interview subjects (EPLF veterans) tells me that he was just as likely to repeat other things they told him about its economy.

            Finally, I understand your obsession with Woyane and your never-ending prediction about its demise. I am indifferent whether it governs for perpetuity or disappears tomorrow because my strategy of enduring peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia is not dependent on who governs Ethiopia. In the imaginary world you live in, all Eritrean opposition will disappear the day after TPLF is gone: talk about rude awakening. Having an opposition is the natural state of having a country and a government.


          • Tewelde gebremariam

            Hi saa7,
            As I said, the Final and Binding, was purposely inserted to nail woyane down and force it to implement the decision without Etsai Mtsatsai—-Qemish Adey Yehonkulni—, knowing full well, I repeat, it’s proverbial treachery— libi Tigrai TwiTwai, which, I am sure Dan Connel did not have a clue. And when he suggested,therefore, a dialogue through proxies, I do not think he did it to harm the interest of Eritrea but to end the stalemate once and for all. But this ,unbeknown to him, is tantamount to opening the prison gate wide and expect lifers to stay put, a naivete born of his lack of intimate knowlegde of the treacherous nature of woyane. I do not blame him for his naivete but I blame you for, under the cover of his authority, you purposely attempted to mislead Eritreans into bogging themselves down in a perpetual down word spiral.

            You censured those panelists ,who voiced for rectification of the injustice the western supporters of woyane perpetrated on the people of Eritrea, allegedly because ,instead, they ought to have called for regime change. And your objection is in spite of the fact that if the western countries listened and act on the recommendation of the panelists, the impostor iaias afewerk would have no place to hide—— no more false enemies, no more false wars to keep Eritreans hostages. Why then are you centuring them?

            Because you are in bed with woyane/ isaias afewerk to kill Eritrean sovereignty and the unity of Eritreans in a protracted no war no peace state of condition, of which your fragmented organization ( fragmented by ethnic, religion, region, language etc.), carefully crafted under the counsel of woyane in the image of what it has inflicted on the people of Ethiopia, is the harbinger, an evil plot, to say the least.

            Let me finish by reiterating what I said yesterday, The Might EPLFs’ valor and achievements is the pride of all genuine Eritreans— Muslims, Christians, Highlanders and Lowlanders. And the Sovereignty and Unity of Eritrea shall live for Eternity drawing it’s sustenance and nourishment from their indomitable spirit and heroic victory.

            Conversely, the defeatists, those who knelt down to Mengistu Hailemariam and Woyane shall live in shame and disgrace. Mark My Words!!!

          • saay7

            Selamat Tewelde:

            There is nothing naive in what Dan Connell said. One party (Ethiopia) to a two party deal (Algiers Agreement) has reneged on its commitment. Now what do we do? You and the Eritrean government have been saying “Ethiopia should get out of our land!” What if it doesn’t? We wait until it does because, according to President Isaias Afwerki, virtual demarcation is superior to actual demarcation. Or whatever other inane thing he said. Dan Connell, is proposing an outcome-focused proxy talk. You keep ignoring his emphasis on “outcome focused” (in our case, faithful implementation of EEBC) so that the discussions don’t become Israeli-Palestinian discussions with the goal post constantly moving.

            Connell also reported that this is already happening: with European countries.

            I am completely unmoved by you blaming me for this or that: consider the source: someone who still thinks “libi Tigrai TwiTwai” is a respectable position to espouse when it fact all it does is expose your medieval mind which also considers Isaias Afwerki an “impostor.”

            I am in bed with Woyane/Isaias Afewerk? Wow, that’s one huge bed. And how is proposal to change the status quo (the current no war no peace) making it protracted? Not only have you stopped reading me and replying to it, I think you have stopped reading what you are writing.

            And who is doubting the valor and achievements of EPLF? I am objecting to the statement I quoted– [“The birth of the Eritrean state resulted *entirely* from the tenacity, resilience, and keen organizational skills of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF)]– is (a) inaccurate: Eritrea independence is not “ENTIRELY” the result of the EPLF and (b) since the person who said it doesn’t have a long history of studying Eritrea, he could only have been repeating what he was told. And if he can distort history that readily, he is also willing to distort economics that readily. (Pay attention MaHmuday: one more reason these ‘instant experts’ will always be fact-checked by 🙂

            As for marking your words, there is nothing mark-worthy: it is a collection of banalities, covered in cliches, with ribbons made of platitudes. Adding exclamation marks doesn’t make boring stuff interesting.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Good morning Saay,

            I hope you are recording as to how many times this dude have uttered “Mark my words” in every issue he commented for. What ever the educational background he has, his intelligence is to no match within the pool of Eritrean intellectuals. If he believes on the mighty of EPLF, its valor, and achievement, there is nothing that could be accounted without its leadership, being Issayas at the helm of power and the architect of that success. If Issayas was the imposter, he should be the imposter during the revolution and after the revolution. I have no doubt this dude was one of the worshipers of Issayas, who sees “EPLF and Issayas as synonyms” in the context of the Eritrean revolution.

            Perplexed by his rudeness, I have no clue on this dude, for a man who endures the pain of his love ones and are suffering in jail, but yet stood his ground for the common good of his people, tries to paint your image as one who sleeps in the policy bed with Issayas. I wish, you with your impeccable image and him with his image expressed in his words, come to an open town hall debate to prove him his emptiness and send him naked all of us see.

            Keep in mind, he is interested in the message he wanted to pass, and not to debate and answer your questions. If he answered your questions he will be more exposed who he is. Keep in mind, suppose this dude was ex-EPLFites (he sounds from his argument) and let us assume his characterization “libi Tigrai TwiTwai” (as he believes), how did he approve to ride the TPLF horse in the bloody civil war to eject their brothers ELFites – to conspire with them? Remember also when he used this adage: “Men Mukuanka Knegrekas Ms Men KemtwEl Negereni ” to explain who you are. Isn’t he by a simple logic accusing EPLF as “libi Tigrai TwiTwai” because they engaged and collaborated with wayane in the bloody civil war? The guy doesn’t have a clue that his words will in return will haunt him back.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7

            Selamat Emma:

            Anytime someone equates Weyane with Tigray and then uses “lbii tigray twitway” to slander 5 million people in the year 2016;

            Anytime someone calls Isaias Afwerki “an impostor” as if he is not an Eritrean;

            That person should be shunned and relegated to the ignore file for the creepy bigot he is, because you just know what he says about other ethnic groups behind their back.

            But Eritreas political discourse is so deformed that if this same person says “weyane”, “final and binding” and other buzzwords he is not only taken seriously as a patriot, he feels entitled to assume a moral high ground and lecture others.

            As you know: I don’t go into long exchanges to change the views of people like him (they are far too hateful to rehabilitate) but those who may be persuaded by their emotional arguments and those who who may be bullied by their blackmail.


          • Tewelde gebremariam

            Hi saay7,
            Dan Connel was naive relative to woyane’s inherently treacherous and untrustworthy nature,which is not of recent origin but a genetic trait it had inherited from its forefathers. Our forefathers likened this evil trait to the winding and tortuous of Asmera-Kern road; the Tigrai Muslims who are still around are descendants of those whom the Sudanese saved by killing the murderous bigot,so called king yohannes. When Meles Zenawi boasted that, unlike Eritrea, Tigrai is almost hundred percent Christians, he was lauding the work of the murderous bigot-king for whom he built a manument. Yohannes and woyane ascended to Ethiopian throne in the same way, by committing national treason: yohannes, by collaborating with foreign invaders, the British, and woyanr, with the EPLFs. For you, saay7 though, all this is medieval archaic, of no relevance to the present. I know you are knowingly uttering false notions to deceive and mislead but you miserably failed. You did not fool us: He who forgets the past relives it.

            It is the same with the western countries proxy dialogue. If they did not want to enforce the Final and Binding decision of EEBC, which is the product of their own brainchild which they promised to enforce but did not. These are also the very people who turned the other way when Haile Selase abrogated the Eritrean-Ethiopian Federation. It is all conspiracy ,as the Federation was, aimed at doing away with the Final and Binding, which I am sure has been bothering their sense of morality.

            With regard to your question, What do we do under the circumstance? I would reply rhetorically, What did Hamid Idris Awate and his few group with few guandye in their hands did when Haile Selase Regime unilaterally and forcefully abrogated the Eritrean-Ethiopian Federation?
            Stand foursquare and follow the footsteps of our Martyrs! Welq zeleq aytbel. Woyane is the enemy ,face it squarely in the face.

        • Abraham H.

          Dear TG,
          You said “It was woyane who had forcefully evicted Eritreans from Badme , knowing full well that Badme was an Eritrean integral territory”. If that was the case then why did the EPLF cede administrative control of the town of Badme to the TPLF during the armed struggle? And why did this control continue for seven years even after the whole of Eritrea was liberated and its independence declared? Why did Badme suddenly become so important during that fateful day of May 1998 that it was worth consuming the lives of tens of thousands of Eritreans to liberate it from Ethiopian control?

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            ሓው አብርሃም

            ነቲ ልዓት ናይ ጉዳይ ዶብ ግርም ገይርካ ሒዝካዮ አለኻ:: እቲ ሐቂ ካብ 1981(ጀብሃ ተደፊአ ዝወጸትሉ ጀሚሩ) ክሳዕ እታ ሐደገኛ ዕለት ግንቦት 6, 1998 “ባድመ” አብ ትሕቲ ምምሕዳር ኢትዮጵያ እያ ነይራ:: ከም መራጋገጺ ዘሎ ሰነድ ከአ :አብ ጊዜ ሪፈረንደም ኤርትራውያን ተቀምጦ ባድመ ከምቶም ካልኦት አሕዋትና ኤርትራውያን አብ ካልኦት ከተማታት ኢትዮጵያ ዝቅመጡ አገባብ አደማምጻ እዮም አድሚጾም:: አቲ ንዕኡ ዘግበረ ምኽንያታት ግምታት እኳ እንተሃለወ : ዝተረጋገጸ መልሲ ክሳዕዚ እዋንዚ አይተረኽበን::

            ስለዚ እቲ አብዚ ግዜዚ ዘድሊ ዘሎ ብዛዕባ ባድመ ኸአ : ድፕለማስያዊ ልዝብ ናይ ክልተኤን ሃገራት አብ ጉዳይ አተራጉማ ናይቲ ብይን እዩ:: ብዘይዝርርብ ዝፍታሕ ግርጭት የለን:: ዋላውን እቲ ብይን እንተተዋህበ: ነቲ አዕኑድ ዶብ አብ ባይታ አወዓዕልኡ ክልተኤን ክዛራርባሉ ክበቅዓ አለወን:; አብ ካርታ ተሐንጺጹ እዩ ስለዚ ውጹ ዝበሃል ጉዳይ አይኮነን::

          • Abraham H.

            ሰላም ኣማኑአል ዓቢ ሰብ፣
            የቐንየለይ ሓው ኣምኑአል ስለ’ቲ ሕያዋይን ኣተባባዕን ቃላትካ፣ ትሕሾ ደኣ ክብለካ:-) አንተ ነቶም ብኣካልን ኣአምሮን ገላዩ ህግደፍ ኮይኖም ዘለዉ ኣብ ውሽጢ ዓዲ ይኹን ኣብ ወጻኢ ዘለዉ ደቂ ሃገርና፥ ነጻን ሓራን ኮይንኩም ኢኹም ተፈጢርኩም አሞ ሃየ ካብ ኣርዑት ህግደፍ ተገላገሉ ንብሎም።
            ንምዃኑ ደሃይ ኮኾብ ሰላም ኣለካ ‘ዶ፣ ተስፋ ይገብር ደሓን ክህሉ፣ አቲ ዘይውዳአ ዋሕዚ መሳጢ ግጥምታቱ ናፊቕናዮ አኮ:-)

        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Salam Tewelde gebremariam,

          “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” James Allen

          Why Jonny can’t think? Where saying Americans in eighties of the last century when their fourth grade children became dull. Today we have to replace “Jonny” with “Tewelde” and say: Why Teweldino can’t think?

          Mr. Tewelde, you have to understand your previous thoughts have brought you to the present quagmire, and your distorted thoughts will lead you to intricate situations. You are heading with the country to disaster. Isn’t enough that all has been fallen on Eritreans? Are you going to scratch it till you turn Eritreans beautiful dreams to ashes.

          There is also a Tigrinia adage which falls in line with your worn-out record that you repeated for more than a decade. I think you are also ready to repeat it for more than hundred years. The adage goes as, “Tsemam Hade Derfu”. You have only one way to solve all problems; try it the other way is not available in your dictionary. (عميان ومسكوه عكاز) You hand a blind man staff and tell him to fight; he will beat foes and friends altogether. He will spare no one. Eritrea is on the hands of blinds; who will rescue her that is the question?


  • Semere Tesfai

    Selam Saa7 and All

    Too many indefensible arguments in the article; but too little time. Just to make a point, let me mention few:

    1. – “The PFDJ regime has painted itself into a corner of “there is nothing to talk about (the Ethio-Eritrean border)” for 14 years, that it can’t show any flexibility and eagerness to talk (never mind all the catastrophic data that the good professor cited) without losing face with its Parrot Constituency.

    Parrot Constituency? Wow. Please get off your high horse and show some humility.

    Now: I challenge you to look straight in the eye and explain to your readers, the border flexibility you’re talking about? If you dare do, the gloves are off on my end 🙂

    2. – “Inconvenient as it may be, one has to remember that there are three sanctions on Eritrea: by the US, the UN and the EU. If what people like Herman Cohen and Bronwyn Bruton claim is true—that the sanctions are there only because the US (Susan Rice) insists for personal reasons, a dubious claim given the absence of a single NO vote the last time the issue was voted on—what is stopping the EU and the UN from lifting their sanctions?”

    When the US leads, the rest of its Western allies fellow. It is that simple. If they would’ve had contradictory policies they wouldn’t be allies. Would they? The show at the UN, at the SC, at EU and in Washington is run by the same people. That’s why.

    3. – “Well, OK: but what was the Government of Eritrea doing when it was being warned by the UN to reverse course in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and most of 2009? What was it doing in 2009 and 2010 to get the sanctions strengthened in 2011? Does it bear any, some, most, all of the responsibility for getting Eritrea sanctioned?”

    Those were the years, when the Meles Zenawi’s regime was at its peak strength. Those were the years, when the Meles regime was declaring regime change in Eritrea in broad daylight. Those were the years where – the Meles government was giving press briefings to the world media in Addis, to inform the world how the invincible Ethiopian army time and again penetrated deep into Eritrean territory without any resistance from the Eritrean army. Those were the years where the Woyane dominated Addis regime enjoyed the highest political and diplomatic influence in the Horn region.

    Now, I’m not talking on behalf of the PFDJ regime, just my opinion, so it is clear to everyone. And this is the thing: When you have an enemy the size of Ethiopia, when you have an enemy that has regional governments (IGAD), continental institutions, and global powers and institutions on its side, fighting it alone is SUICIDAL. And we ‘re not. Therefore, in such scenario, there is a basic military strategy you use when you fight your formidable foe: YOU EXPAND THE WAR THEATER to bleed your enemy from all directions. If you died in that fight, you died fighting a good fight – no regret there. If you live to see another day – to move forward, you negotiate with with your enemy, with pride as a statesmen. That was the plan. And it worked.

    Just to let you know – during our revolution, when the world turned its back on us, we called the Cuban government, the South African National congress, the Palestinian organizations, the MPLA of Angola, the ZANU-PF of Zimbabwe, the North Korean Kim senior…… comrades. After 1991, we started talking to the “world” as statesmen.

    4. – “National Service: I have argued that if there is a single country in the world that can rationalize extreme mandatory conscription on the basis of hostile neighborhood, it is Israel; yet, Israel doesn’t have a military conscription policy as crazy as ours. It is for limited time, and it has conscientious objection exemptions.”

    The difference: Israel is Western ally. We are not. Israel has the full backing of the West. We don’t. War against Israel is war against the West. War against Eritrea is war against small poor African nation. A single phone call from Washington would change Ethiopia’s policy – if the US government wants to.

    If Ethiopian HOSTILITY TOWARDS ERITREA IS WITHOUT A LIMIT, how could there be A LIMIT to Eritrea’s national service? If you’re so confident there is an alternative idea to national service, I CHALLENGE YOU to bring it on!

    5. – “What is the rationale for indefinite national service? It is, we are told, to enable Eritrea to defend itself if (or when) Ethiopia attacks. But given that indefinite national service is the key driver of emigration and the attendant terrible consequences of that (hallowing out Eritrea’s human resource, death and carnage; denying Eritrea its traditional trading partner), given that nobody will invest in Eritrea for fear of litigation or ruining its reputation by using forced labor (National Service), how long is that policy supposed to be pursued until new initiatives are introduced?”
    The Government of Eritrea–and its Mzungus–hopes to shame Ethiopia, the US and the UN into doing the right thing. What if they don’t?” Without a doubt it is to defend Eritrea. And so far it has. For how long? For as long as Ethiopian hostility exist. ”

    Hollowing of Eritrea? I know, you trying to make us believe young Eritreans are living home because of the repressive PFDJ regime, but like many, I beg to differ. There are tens of thousands of Cubans in the US. That is a fact. But, but, but…. whether it is the US policy that attracted them to come to the US, or it is the repressive Castro regime that forced them to leave their country is debatable. What if there are the same number (in proportion) of Haitians in the US? What if there are the same number (proportionally) of Mexicans in the US? Could it be just political propaganda?

    When we demand the return of our sovereign lands before normalization, we’re not trying to shame anyone. We’re just demanding our sovereignty and territorial integrity to be respected. And until Ethiopia respects and abides by the rule of law, we will fight them, aligning ourselves with people and governments that have policies that converge with ours. And they damn know it!

    I could say more, but, its getting late in my neck of the woods. I better head home.

    Semere Tesfai

    • Dear Semere Tesfai,

      It is unfortunate that you still have a warmongering and a guerilla-fighter mindset. You do not seem to care the least for people’s lives, provided that your political viewpoint, which you say is your own and nonpartisan, despite the contrary, is fulfilled. You are telling the eritrean people the famous greek/roman phrase “come home with your shield or on it”. You are ready to open the flood gates, but you forget that this is not the 70s or 80s, and ethiopians and eritreans are no more the same people they used to be.

      You are talking as if ethiopia is a usa colony and its allies are yes-men, with no political views of their own.

      Your last paragraph is similar to a casus belli and a war declaration: bleed ethiopia from all directions. Which countries are going to heed your war cry and die for you, arab countries? Let me bring this scenario (although i hope that there will be no war). Suppose that you lose more land or you lose everything. Oh, I forget, you have already said; if eritreans die fighting, it will be with dignity and if they lose everything, again it will be with dignity. Emperors used to say the same thing to innocent farmers as they sent them to their deaths; for emperor and country. Your declaration should not have been made from faraway places.
      A person who knows about wars is supposed to be nostalgic for peace. It is difficult to understand, especially when he says that he is ready to lose everything for the sake of 180 sq miles of land.

    • Thomas

      Hi Semere T,

      Like I said you talk like Guay Barjimma. I cannot see any content on your above writing except your quotes from SAAY. You seem to repeat DIA like a papagalo, stating USA and Ethiopia/Meles. Shame on you for attacking those youth who are running from your master in 5000/month. I know you are talking from the comfort of your rotten house, but don’t forget there will be time where you will be trashed by the Eritrean community!! I am sure people living in your area are disgusted to see you. You are a pathological lair.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Salam Semere Tesfai,

      You haven’t said anything new, all is ragged policies of the gangsters in Asmara . Bademe in itself is not the core problem of conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is just a pretext to hide behind against internal exigencies. As we all remember, Isaias has left Bademe to TPLF in eighties of last centuries not to raise confronts between them. I think we all know there are many countries that have border conflict, but life there didn’t stop.

      Do you agree, Mr. Semere, no-war-no-peace and state of emergency to continue in Eritrea for HUNDRED YEARS or more? Of course if Ethiopia refused to hand over Bademe to Eritreans. Is the solution to wait until Ethiopia abides by law? Do lifting sanctions will bring peace and prosperity to Eritrea?

      In the past the west were aiding to regimes they support. I perceive you dream to be flooded by alms of the west when they left sanctions. That policy is changed to serve yourself in our contemporary world; assistance of the west are in their lowest levels at present.

      I encourage all fear driven gangsters to continue same policies to the end. You are doing well, Mr. Semere, “khid Nigdmit Tirai” carry on your excellent job.


    • iSem

      Hi Semere Tesfai:
      I want to pick your brain to help me reconcile the difference between the following:
      When Eritrean were eaten by hyenas and dying in the way to Sudan albeit in much much fewer numbers than now you and your comrades both in ELF and EPLF were saying, Eritreans are risking it to escape from the brutal Dergi
      now when they are dying and eaten by hyenas and drowning in the high seas in untold numbers, they at not fleeing the brutal regime but for economic reason
      Can you coax your one of a kind brain and enlighten us, I know it is in your brain to do so

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam iSem

        1. – “When Eritrean were eaten by hyenas and dying in the way to Sudan albeit in MUCH MUCH fewer numbers than now you and your comrades both in ELF and EPLF were saying, Eritreans are risking it to escape from the brutal Dergi”

        Mokhsi: I know you’re trying to implant in the head of your readers, the narrative that life in Eritrea was better under the Derg than it is under the PFDJ regime. I know you hate the PFDJ regime. I know you want to vilify and to demonize the PFDJ regime….. But, but, but throwing every monkey wrench, every kitchen knife, every Menqerqer Hawi, every Mokhoster Mdri-Biet and every GelE MeTsHar Hawi….. at the PFDJ regime is not going to do, any good to your argument 🙂

        Now let’s not insult our readers intelligence, and as rational people see the Derg era facts. During the last years of the Derg regime, just in one refuge camp in Sudan (Wedi-Sheriffe) there were 145,000 Eritreans (Dan Connell Against All Odds) refugees. On top of those, as you’re well aware, there were thousands of Eritrean refugees in in each of these places – Port Sudan, Sewakin, Kassalaa, Girba, Wedel-Hilewi, Shuwek, Um Rakuba, Semsem, Abu Rekhem, Suki, Khartoum……. Now, are these number of refugees that were in Sudan prior to 1991, really, much much much fewer than the refugees that are in Sudan today? I doubt it?

        2. – “Now when they are dying and eaten by hyenas and drowning in the high seas in untold numbers, they at not fleeing the brutal regime but for economic reasons. Can you coax your one of a kind brain and enlighten us, I know it is in your brain to do so.”

        I’m not stupid to say every single Eritrean who is leaving Eritrea is leaving because of economic reasons. And smart that you’re, I’m sure you’re not going to tell the world (your readers) that – all Eritreans leaving Eritrea are victims of the PFDJ regime. Therefore the truth lies somewhere in between. And if you really care to know the exact number of Eritreans that left Eritrea as a result of PFDJ repression, this is the formula
        TERDR = TNEOE – (X1 + X2 + X3 + X4………. XN)

        Total Eritrean Refugees Due to Repression (TERDR) = Total Number of Eritreans Outside Eritrea (TNEOE) – (X1 + X2 + X3 + X4 +X5……….Xn). X1, X2, X3….. being Eritreans who left Eritrea prior 1991 + Eritreans who left Eritrea to pursue higher education + Eritreans who left Eritrea due to marriage + Eritreans who left Eritrea for family reunion (mother, father, sibling, wife, husband) + Eritrean who left Eritrea while in tour/visit/business trip + Eritreans who left Eritrea because they don’t want to fight (die) at the front lines + Eritreans who left Eritrea for economic reasons + Eritreans who left Eritrea because to fallow the crowd…….

        You see, it is not that hard. After you subtract all these Eritreans from the total Eritreans outside Eritrea, then you will have the real number of PFDJ victims. And that explains why many people are listening and supporting the PFDJ regime, and not YOU. Makes sense, doesn’t it? of course it does.

        So, tell me: what category do you belong to?

        Semere Tesfai

        • iSem

          Hi Semere
          You have not tapped into your one of its kind brain, yet, try again, if that fails try your heart:-)
          I do not have to plant, people know life was much better under Dergi, and if you discount those who put up with the suffering cus they are deqqna, then it is clear, hqqiq kem mai ngho yblu abbotatka
          The Wesherifey refuge was established in 1982 and when I arrived in Kassala two year later the camo did not have close to 145,000, you have to know that Eritreans were forced to move to W.Sherify from town of Kassala and Ghedarif, that number must be taken with grain of salt and context, thee is double counting. I do not need to quote Dan, I know it. Since it was only 15 mints bus drive from Kassala, people still worked in Kassala and went to school in Kassala, so they moved, it was guess what, economic:-)
          Oh, you wan to know if I was economic or political, like every Erirean during Dergii and now I was political refugee
          Those who left for education are negligible, so are those who did mot want to die, those are following their friends, in the same manner those who joined ghedli to follow their friends and lovers is negligible
          The 145,000 number puts the refugees in W.Sherify at 25% of those who were left stranded there, 500,000

          • saay7

            Hey cousin iSem

   and smerrr are partnering to raise funds to buy blankets to Eritreas “forgotten refugees” (sentenced to extinction by PFDJ would be the correct description). Hope the moderator doesn’t remove the link, but this is where you can go to donate money:


            Thanks cuz and all Awatistas with a conscience.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Saay,

            First thank you for the analysis and summary report of the Atlantic Council sponsored and organized panel discussion on Eritrea. Second you are spot on , on the characterization to the plight of the Eritrean refugee as Eritreans “sentenced to extinction by PFDJ.” The PFDJ diaspora cavalry who glorify the “land” more than its “people” won’t mind about the systemic dispersal and extinction of our people.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7

            Thanks Emma:

            But, “cavalry” is too good: cavalry are horsemen who risked life and limb.

            These are Isaias (not even PFDJ) court jesters. You know, Hamien and Wata who believe in nothing except flattering the lord and master.

            Tigrayit speakers simply say “qul hua allah tigbae deebom”


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Saay,

            Thank you for bringing this to the attention of awatista and everyone attention.

            I will do my share and I hope everyone here awate do their part.

            It’s holiday season and we all reminded to help those others who are unfortunate to help them selves and in this case those who are sentenced to extinction by their own.


        • Hameed Al-Arabi

          Salam Semere Tesfai,

          Most of refugees you mentioned are dispersed to all directions of the world. It is good to remember you are addressing Eritreans not people descended from Mars. I think you don’t follow conditions back in Eritrea and abroad. It seems you are a record of 1990’s of the last century. I was hearing such kind of discussions back in that period of time. At that time your discourse could be heard from some superficial entities, but today facts have become more louder than any argument by any fluent person.

          When you see a gray hair man lies, you feel ashamed instead of him. You are old enough to feel ashamed of lies you attempt to pass. Lies are accepted from Isaias and his cohorts, because they want to hide their crimes. The only reason that makes you reach to such an extent of defense is you have a pie in crimes perpetrated against the people of Eritrea. Is there any person who suspects Semere Tesfai for crimes committed against Eritreans while he was in Eritrea or abroad?


      • Nitricc

        Semere, back then people were flaking to answer the call of the mother land. of course there were few cowards who fled to Sudan to save their sorry self. you are very well know where you belong. there is no other way to tell you but the truth. Now, the youth are fleeing not that the regime is that brute but the youth had learn from the like of you who brag day and night about your modern slavery, so what is the surprise if the youth is trying to feel what it is like to live in Canada which is you keep telling them that Canada is heaven? Trust me you are too slow to understand the cause and effect of the matter.

        • iSem

          Hi Nitricc:
          How comfy Semere Tesfay’s bossom where you burry your head. You claim to know about me, but you have no clue and I do not regret dodging the EPLF to come to Sudan, no regrets at all.
          How about you, what did your father or mother did for Eritrea, I will write about what my own father did for Eritrea, so I will not do anything and if they did not tell u that in YPFDJ meeting, let me tell you ghedli was conducted so the newer generation would not suffer, not endless suffering
          I was right all long about you, the great Serray was right all long when we both said you cannot learn and worse yet, you cannot unlearn

    • Abraham H.

      Dear Semere, you said “When we demand the return of our sovereign lands before normalization, we’re not trying to shame anyone. We’re just demanding our sovereignty and territorial integrity to be respected”. But how do you think the sovereign lands could be returned without sitting together and discussing the issue with the party that is holding on to them? Who do you think would give us the lands on silver platter without us doing anything? What if Ethiopia continues to occupy the lands for decades to come? Would you insist on your demand, without facing the reality and do you think the economic, social, and demographic negative consequences resulting from the status quo are sustainable to Eritrea in the long run?
      The real issue is when the PFDJ gangster leaders and their apologizers in the diaspora cry ‘return of sovereign land before normalization’ they don’t really mean it. They are only using this issue as a safe haven for the hellish life they’ve created in Eritrea-they know very well that they’re completely incapable of dislodging Ethiopia from those lands, no matter how loud they cry unless they try to solve the matter diplomatically.
      ዘይስንኻስ ሑጻ ቆርጥመሉ ኣይትግበሮ በጃኻ። ንርእስኻ ኣብ ነጻን ሰላማውን ሃገር አንዳ ተቐመጥካ፣ ነቶም ዕድሎም ኮይኑ ኣብ ትሕቲ መግዛአቲ ኢሳያስ ዘዝተወለደ ንባርነት ዝተፈርዱ ደቂ ሃገርካ ሕማቕ ምምናይ መስጣ ኣለዎ።

      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Abraham H.

        1. – “How do you think the sovereign lands could be returned without sitting together and discussing the issue with the party that is holding on to them?”

        I don’t have any qualm, ANY Eritrean government “discussing the border issue” with any Addis regime, as long the intent of the discussion is to implement the EEBC ruling. What I have a problem with is, in the name of peaceful negotiation opening a Pandora’s Box, or to be exact – re-negotiating the Ethi-Eritrean border under the pretext – “facing the reality on the ground and because the economic, social, and demographic negative consequences resulting from the status quo are unsustainable to Eritrea in the long run”. When in reality – if it is unsustainable for Eritrea, it is unsustainable for Ethiopia as well.

        Mind you: without blinking – the chief of the arsonists of the 1998 war, Melez Zenawi, told the world on tape, the war had nothing to do with border. And if you are not going to believe words uttered from the horse’s mouth (Meles), I don’t know who you will believe. The point: to assume leaving Badme to Woyane (Ethiopia) is going to solve the problem is ludicrous. The 1998 war, the no-war-no-peace Addis current policy, the regime change policy – has nothing, yes nothing to do with the ACTUAL BORDER OR BADME.


        2. – ” The real issue is when the PFDJ gangster leaders and their apologizers in the diaspora cry ‘return of sovereign land before normalization’ they don’t really mean it.”

        How do you know they don’t mean it? I mean it! Assuming you’re an Eritrean:


        3. – “They know very well that they’re completely incapable of dislodging Ethiopia from those lands, no matter how loud they cry unless they try to solve the matter diplomatically.”

        Stop being Woyane apologist. Again assuming you’re Eritrean, talk to me in a language the world (readers) can understand:


        And I’m sure, when it comes to a solution, you got none.

        4. – “ዘይስንኻስ ሑጻ ቆርጥመሉ ኣይትግበሮ በጃኻ። ንርእስኻ ኣብ ነጻን ሰላማውን ሃገር አንዳ ተቐመጥካ፣ ነቶም ዕድሎም ኮይኑ ኣብ ትሕቲ መግዛአቲ ኢሳያስ ዘዝተወለደ ንባርነት ዝተፈርዱ ደቂ ሃገርካ ሕማቕ ምምናይ መስጣ ኣለዎ።”

        ጭርሖ ኤርትራውነት – ‘ኣብዘለኻዮ መክት: ዝካኣለካ በርክት’ ‘ዩ:: ዓቅመይ ድማ ‘ገብር ኣለዅ:: ኢትዮጵያውያን ካኣ: ፈትዮምናን ደንጊጾምልናን ኣይኮኑን ካብ መሬትና ዝወጹ: ምስ ኮርኮሖም ‘ዮም::

        Semere Tesfai

        • Abraham H.

          Dear Semere T.,
          You said “to claim, leaving Badme to Woyane (Ethiopia) is going to solve Ethio-Eritrean problem is ludicrous. The 1998 war, the no-war-no-peace Addis current policy, the regime change policy – has nothing, yes nothing to do with the ACTUAL BORDER OR BADME”. Let’s assume that is the case, then why does the PFDJ regime insists on demarcation before any dialogue with Ethiopia? How could you solve issues that have nothing to do with the border demarcation without sitting down with the other side and trying to find a solutiion? If the border issue is only a symptom, then one has to show leadership and political maturity to face the underlining differences. But there is no such kind of willingless esp. from the Eritrean side because they want to hide behind the “border issue” and use it as excuse to enslave and rule over the Eritrean people in perpetuity.
          Trying to find solution to the sticking points through dialogue doesn’t change the whole EEBC ruling, in fact the ruling leaves it to the parties to find out solutions to possible complications that would arise from the actual demarcation process. Remember there were some adjustments made to the ruling around the areas of Tserona and Zalambesa after the verdict was passed. The Ethiopians had also agreed to demarcate the Eastern Sector (more than half of the entire frontier) of the EEBC ruling without any reservations, but that was not possible because of the PFDJ regime’s insistence on demarcation of the whole border at once. Ironically, the Isayas regime finally agreed to the so-called vitual demarcation of the border which in practice was not worth more than the paper it was drawn on.
          You asked me what i would do to solve the border issue that the PFDJ has not done; first and foremost not use the border issue to discard a ratified constitution, not to keep Eritrea under undeclared perpetrual state of emergency and not taking all basic human rights from its citizens. Then you need to proceed with demarcation of most of the border where there is no contention and finally sit down with the other party to find a workable solution to the problematic areas of the border, as well as other issues that have to do with peaceful neighborly co-existence.

    • saay7

      Selamat Semere:

      Are we going to do this now? Our hashewye? Hrray bel:

      1. Parrot Constituency Defined: Since 2013, you have posted 356 comments. Not one, not a single one, criticizes or differs with anything IA has done, including the time an Eritrean veteran died in prison. So, “parrot constituency: what Semere T sees in the mirror every day:)

      You also challenged me to explain what I mean by flexibility? This begs the question: did you read my article or is it more fun to fight the demons you have created? Did you watch Dan Connell video? He talks about “outcome focused” discussions that are proxied by Europe (I prefer US). What he means by that, in my view, is that each country gives its irreducible minimum–for Eritrea it is faithful implementation of the EEBC ruling as immediately as possible; for Ethiopia, it is assurance that once it vacates the land, it is not going to be used as staging ground for Ethiopian oppo. This is what diplomacy was invented for.

      2. The facts do not support you on this. Are you aware that the EU has sanctions on the US? The argument you make–that the US controls everything and all countries in the West and all “satellite” countries follow its orders–is an outdated idea you have that enables you to swallow the catastrophic diplomatic failure of the Eri Government. In this world view: US ordered African Union, US orders IGAD, US orders Ethiopia, US orders EU, hell US even orders Russia to vote for sanctions and China to abstain.

      3. Well, you are the military strategist here…just ask yourself, and how’s that strategy of expansion working out for us? Two sanctions. The alternative to indefinite national service is finite national service. If your interest is in making sure that you have, lets say, 200,000 trained/armed Eritreans, and your version results in 400,000 people of whom 200,000 are miserable and plotting to escape every single day; and mine results in 200,000 who know they have a limited time to serve, I would say we have tried your method for 14 years, the results are dismal, and time for plan B: finite service. If Ethiopian hostility is without limit (all caps), and there shouldn’t be a limit (all caps) to Eritrea’s national defense, how come all you pro-PFDJ papagalos and your children are safely esconsed? In Israel, those in Diaspora go home to serve. Your guy consider tweeting and attending seminars “ane n’hagerey”

      Hallowing Eritrea was said by one of the speakers at the Atlantic Council. I think you should read before your reply; load that gun before you shoot blanks.

      And yes, right now, the 12-year plan to get Ethiopia to comply with EEBC, the 12 year plan to get the US and the UN to play their role is nothing more than trying to shame someone to do the right thing. That is the entirety of Eritrea’s strategy: make a demand, make it louder, make it even louder. You and I will check back in a few months or years: what will happen is exactly what Dan Connell recommended….and the Papagalo Constituency will applaud it:)


      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Dear Saay,

        If the regime and his supporters really want the border to be demarcated, why did they remove the EEBC mechanism of implmentation for demarcation? If they do not respect the mechanism of implementation, how do they expect their counterpart nation to respect the ruling? They remove UN peace forces and violate the existence of the buffer zone before the border is demarcated. If they become unruling to the process, that is what they get.

        Again if they want the border to demarcated they have to fight diplomatically to reinstate the mechanism. They should not expect Ethiopia to pack and leave the area without the completion of the process. It is simple to do it, if they are uncomfortable with the current no war no peace status. The reality as we know it, the regime is using it as tool for paralysing the entire life of our people and for staying on power.


        • Berhe Y

          Dear Emma, Saay and all,

          In the PFDJ land everything is upside down..girmbiT may nAqeb.

          Exactly the point. The boarder issue was costing US millions of dollars a year, and the SC had always in it’s agenda after the recommendation of the secretary general. If you notice for as long as the EEBC were in Eritrea, the demarcation and boarder issue was on the SC council agenda and it was discussed. The demand was always:

          1) For Ethiopia to be abide by the ruling and agree the demarcation to start.
          2) For Eritrea to stop interfering with the UN and to allow fight access for safety of the stuff/millitary.

          Compared to the pressure Ethiopia had, since Eritrea allowed the UN in the first place to be stationed in its boarder, it had absolutely nothing to lose by co-operating fully.. Not only that, it needs to go further than co-operation and only make Ethiopia the subject of the UN violations. But Isayas kept pushing the UN, I don’t know, for what reason…

          So the UN for it’s own sake (to save the millions of dollars it was spending) would sooner or later would force Ethiopia to comply. And it did for the first three years, Ethiopia went through few cases of acceptance..we don’t accept it, to we accept it with 5 points, to we accept it fully in principle..and I think in one of the last interview, Melles even said,….we accept it fully and if villages needs to be divided let it be…

          Isayas for his own selfish means…I don’t know the exact reason, the only conclusion that I can think of is, he doesn’t wanted the boarder demarcated or the issue resolved.

          Now all those awat Nhafash, reverse sanctions….what have they to show after 4 years of campaign…

          Can they even show if there is anytime since the evacuation of the UN that the boarder issue has been an agenda in the security council.

          Out of Sight, out of mind..

          The next time they hope this will happen is if there is an all out war….

          Semere T. Good luck forcing Ethiopia to demarcate now…Isayas lost the opportunity.

          I can say, if it wasn’t for Haile DurE as FM and Haile Menkorios as ambassador, I don’t think the UN would have intervened and send troops in the first place.

          You should listen to DurE speech in Germany and pay attention to the boarder, the UN and Ethiopia government relationship….and compare to the likes of you giving use the useless excuses talk about luck of leadership and lack of diplomat.


      • Semere Tesfai

        Selam Saay7

        1. – Parrot Constituency:

        “So, “parrot constituency”: what Semere T sees in the mirror every day:)”

        With all due respect, even if we assume – all along, you believed Semere Tesfai to be a PFDJ cardholder, even if we assume, all along, you believed Semere Tesfai to be a “Parrot Constituency”, still you are not making any sense. Because you didn’t pen this article Semere Tesfai in mind. You penned this article your constituency (readers) in mind. Therefore, what you think of Semere Tesfai is irrelevant to your ‘Parrot Constituency’ label.

        And this is my take on your ‘Parrot Constituency’ label. When you called the whole PFDJ constituency “Parrot Constituency” with a condescending tone, I think you crossed the line. I believe, even if you have fundamental difference of opinion with the PFDJ constituency, make no mistake – they are as Eritreans as you are, they are as patriots as you are, they are as smart as intelligent as levelheaded people who could identify right from wrong as you are. They just happen to be people who disagree with you. I believe, labeling a sizable segment of an Eritrean society, and painting these diverse segment of an Eritrean society with a broad brush, is something I didn’t expect from you. From other Awate forumers? Definitely yes . From you? Absolutely not.

        2.- Flexibility About The Border:

        If your position is inline with that of Dan Connell, which is, “for Eritrea: Ethiopia vacating lands ruled Eritrean; for Ethiopia, an assurance that once it vacates the land, it will never have to worry about war from the Northern front” Well, if that is your position, I’m with you 200% on that.

        But, but, but…. honestly, I don’t see the flexibility on border negotiation part of your argument (except implementation) on that. Not just pessimist me, but even Meles Zenawi himself, many EPRDF leaders, and many Ethiopian elites have told us on the record that the 1998 Ethio-Eritrean war has nothing to do with the border itself. I know the EPRDF government and all its vocal constituents don’t believe on the flexibility you’re talking about (the Dan Connell’s position you and I are supporting). Last time I checked, they were pushing for their five point plan, or to re-negotiate the border to be exact. And as far as I know, the current Addis leaders haven’t changed their position yet.

        Therefore, the Dan Connell proposal to become a reality – the Us policy makers, the Addis political strategists, the Ethiopian elite has to change their position 180 degrees, and the PFDJ political strategists and their “Parrot Constituents” have to be in festive ወጋሕ ትበል ለይቲ happy dance for the whole 2017 calendar year. Call me pessimist, but as much as I love to dance that ain’t going to happen.

        But hey, today, it is you and I that are exchanging ideas here. Now that I know clearly where you stand with regards to the border issue, all I can say is – SORRY, I MISUNDERSTOOD YOUR POSITION. I STAND CORRECTED.

        3. – How The US And Its Western Allies Handle Their Business

        Saleh, let’s be honest. Daily business at the global institutions is conducted by the leadership and by the direction of the dominant, aggressive, Western team of diplomats through – cajoling, arm-twisting, coaxing, bribing, threatening, manipulating, flattery, inducement, and sometimes God forbid by passing a “unanimous” resolution to “liberate” a member-nation from its tyrant regime. Is there minor differences among the global powers (allies)? I mean differences like – among PFDJ Generals or Colonels, or differences like outburst of anger among pride of lions over their kill…… type thing. Of course there is – if you want see that as a difference to make a point. But if that is a difference – all I can say is, I wish our (Eritreans) difference was that kind difference.

        4. – National Service And The Hollowing Of Eritrea Argument:

        (a) – National Service is a duty. Belonging to a nation and enjoying everything that a nation’s citizenship offers is not free. Without any ifs and any buts – not only every citizen of a nation has an obligation to serve, but also has an obligation to die for his nation if need be. No matter what nation you belong to, that is an obligation every citizen of a nation has to fulfill.

        (b). – If a global power(s) want to destabilize any small nation, they can do it any time. If a larger country (regional power like Ethiopia) wants to destabilize any of its smaller neighbors (of course with a full approval from the Western powers) it can do it anytime. If China want to destabilize any of it neighbors it could do it anytime. If Russia want to destabilize any of its smaller neighbor it can do the same…… Of course there is a price the nation would pay, when it destabilizes its neighbor. But that is another topic for another day.

        (C). – If there is no collective rule of law that restrain powerful nations from destabilizing smaller poor weak nations, – no matter what it does or doesn’t do – no small country could be safe, secure, stable, prosperous.

        Now, is the Ethio-Eritrean problem a border problem? Many say/said – including Meles Zenawi, it isn’t. Then, if it is not a border problem, what is it all about? If we don’t know what the cause of the Ethio-Eritrean problem is, then what is point of saying – we should compromise, we should show flexibility, we should talk, we should negotiate…… About what?

        I believe we (Eritreans and Ethiopians), were and still are incapable, to sit face to face in a round table to solve our problems. To save us both from ourselves, the US has to put its thumb on the scale – which is your position as well. Thank you.

        Semere Tesfai

        • saay7

          Selam Semere:

          I gave you the definition of a “parrot constituency”: someone who parrots whatever the government says and doesn’t appear to have a single dissenting view and when s/he does never epxresses. That fits you to a T. I don’t write with you in mind, I don’t write with readers in mind: I wrote the piece with one single goal: to showcase the flaw in the arguments of the presenters at the Atlantic Council.

          I will respect your “we are all Eritreans” haluma jerra when you say–once in 3 years–that it is wrong to accuse Eritreans of being Weyane, Islamist, traitors, and all the other names that we have been hearing since 2001. Fact is you never have and I very much you will. Everything you say and write is always, always, always in defense of PFDJ. You have never even once expressed any remorse or compassion for its victims. (Remember, I once helpfully suggested you take inventory of your Johari Window.

          2. On flexibility on the border, well, I don’t know what to tell you: you are an intelligent person with decent comprehension skills. Re-read my article. I accept your explanation but I am afraid this is a habit with you: you read what isn’t there and then emphatically (gloves are off, etc, capitalized, exclamation) argue about imaginary things.

          3. Again, you have failed to rebut the argument that the US has never been able to cajole the AU to take negative action against a fellow African country–except in the case of apartheid South Africa and the PFDJ government. Facts are facts. You have not shown how the US “cajoled” Russia to vote yes on the 2009 sanctions. Rather then face one distinct possibility–that the Eritrean government miscalculated badly and paid for it heavily–you keep looking for alibis and bad guys.

          4. The National Service Proclamation does NOT exempt Diaspora Eritreans. It applies to all Eritreans. So, you still haven’t explained why those who support and justify endless conscription have not gone to Eritrea to serve. The sad thing about Eritrea is that those who are LEAST AFFECTED by PFDJ RULE are its strongest supporters. Moreover, just last year (while it was getting ready to get 200 Euros), Eritrean government officials said publicly that they would limit national service to 18 months. Then, once they got the money, reversed themselves.

          You are AGAIN mischaracterizing my point on US role, in the same post where you claimed to have understood it. “The US has to put its thumb on the scale – which is your position as well.” Huh? The idiom means: “An act of bias or a tactic for cheating which creates a situation that unfairly benefits one party involved in an interaction.” Where, anywhere on the article or subsequent post did I say that? Do you even read what I write or do you just have arguments with imaginary things you hear? 🙂


          • Millennium

            HI Saay
            I do not have the link and I do not even remember where I read it but I think I read it in one of your comments or articles that your position regarding the border issue was that Eritrea has to go along with Ethiopian 5 points plan. I was under the impression that some where in the pile of comments on this website you had said that there is no other way for Eritrea but to have to negotiate based on the Ethiopian proposal? Is there a shift in your position regarding this issue or this ( the one you are agreeing with Dan) was your position all along?

            Thank you

          • saay7

            Selamat Millenium:

            Oh, no! No sir. I wrote a lot about Ethiopia’s Five Point plan to make these points:

            1. It was something the Meles Zenawi government came up with just before the May 2005 election when Kinjit was making a big deal aboout how “Ethiopia won Badme in war and lost it in peace” and
            2. The UNSC flat out rejected the Five Point Plan.

            Last year, in the comments section of an editorial entitled “A Glance To The Past; A Focus On The Future”, I also accused some in the Eritrean opposition of endorsing the Five Point Plan. Haile TG challenged me to provide a link and I couldn’t.

            While I have criticized the Five Point Plan often, I have also criticized the PFDJ’s “there is nothing to talk about” rigidity. I think Dan Connell probably articulated it better in a way that I don’t think anyone can argue with: he called it “focus on outcomes” and not the mechanics of whether it is shuttle diplomacy, envoy or proxy talks. First he defined the outcomes desired: Eritrea’s need for demarcation based on EEBC ruling; Ethiopia’s need for permanent peace. Where I think I disagree with Bronwyn and Connell is that Europe should drive this; I think the US should…but that would be getting stuck in mechanics.


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Saay,

            Although I admire Dan Connell efforts and suggestions for a positive outcome, I am really doubtful about it’s viability.

            First let’s just say, the only person who is making a decision on behalf of Eritrea is Isayas Afeworki, this has been the case not only now but even during 1998 when the war started, as we have seen the exchange letter between Isayas and one of the G-15.

            Here is what he said:

            ” Eritrea’s need for demarcation based on EEBC ruling; Ethiopia’s need for permanent peace.”.


            I don’t think Isayas Afeworki cares if the border is demarcated or NOT. He has absolutely no interest, because if the boarder is demarcated, something else more series will come his way, which is accountability. So long as he is the only decision maker on Eritrea, I see no reason how this can be achieved.


            Ethiopia’s need for permanent peace:

            There is nothing further from reality. Eritrea today or in the future have no capability ever to threat Ethiopia’s peace. Eritrea can spoil here and there but it has absolutely no capability of doing that, if it did, it will just be the end of PFDJ. So I don’t this is what Ethiopia is looking for.

            In my opinion here is what the two government want:

            Ethiopia has no interest in helping Eritrea get out of the mess it got it self too and certainly not at the expense of the ruling party, EPRDF. It’s already blamed for agreeing Eritrea’s referendum and it has no reason to help seal the deal. If the boarder remained in limbo limbo, who knows down the road something else would come. The only way Ethiopia would be interested to make peace is, it needs to see incentive to do so….like the use Asab etc.. Other than that, they can stay like that as far as Ethiopia is concerned, now that the UNSC is OFF their back. Thank you to Isyas Afeworki.

            Isayas would give the whole Eritrea if he wants to, as long as TPLF / Weyane are punished and removed from power. His only obsession is to prove that he was right and he wants to do what ever he can to make sure the TPLF government is removed from power. Until that happened, then he will not agree to any peace deal that would make him a “Loser” in the end. Remember he doesn’t care about Eritrea or Eritrean people well being. Worst case scenario for him is to see the boarder demarcated without any condition, then he can boost I was correct, we defeated weyane…..and still ride on the outcome.

            The only way to see the boarder demarcated is, his power is threaten and he will agree to anything and everything he was asked was the case in 2000.

            Semere T.

            Did you forget Isayas reaction and decision in 2000. Have you seen Haile DuruE epic speech.

            Do you know what he meant when he said ወያነ አጠላቅዮሙና ነይሮም፡፡ It means ወያነ ንኢሳያስ አብ ሱርኡ አሽኖሞ ነይሮም፡፡

            በጃኻ ይአኽለና፡ ዘራፍ ዘራፍ ::


          • saay7

            Hi Berhe Y:

            I think Ethiopia will, because you are forgetting one very crucial factor: how the no-war no-peace is affecting the State of Tigray. If we borrow the EEBC vocabulary for segmentation of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border as West, Central and East, the great concentration of people and trade routes is Central, ie, Tigray and Eritrean highlands. Demarcation, normalizing relation, trade would be to the great benefit of both peoples and, by extension, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

            The reason I am focusing on the Dan Connell contribution in the Atlantic Council’s “Rethinking Eritrea” is because of the four speakers, I felt that he was the only one whose takeway had a workable plan for three parties–Eritrea, Ethiopia, West– to solve the problem. In contrast, Bronwyn Bruton’s 5 Recommendations are all calls to the US (lift sanctions, reject Ethiopia’s irredentist claims on Eritrea, depersonalize US policy to Eritrea, let Europe lead, don’t single out Eritrea on human rights violations) whereas Kaplans’s takeaways are all focused on Gov of Eritrea reforming its economic policy ala Rwanda, Vietnam and China.

            I don’t think I agree with you that IA does not want the border demarcated. He does, but his desire to have it demarcated is less than his desire to humiliate EPRDF and, he figures, change the dynamic to the point that it is removed from power in Ethiopia.


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Saay,

            I agree the benefit to both Eritrean and Ethiopians people specially those in the center as you said, but also to the Eritreans in the east (Asab) area, which their lively hood has been wiped out because of this.

            I agree Dan Connell approach is more workable and more reasonable, if the suffering and the benefit of the people is put into considerations. Does Isayas really cares about that? I think NOT, everything he has done so far is putting the country future into high and unknown risk.

            As far as Ethiopia / EPRDF government goes, I think they can sustain the hardship in Tigray rather settle the no-war no-peace situation than make Isayas the winner at their expense. They too would rather settle the boarder issue with future government in Eritrea.

            I think his line of thinking is along Bronwyn recommendation and if he achieves that, he wouldn’t care much about the boarder.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Saay,

            One of the articles of PFDJ brain wash manual is: do not criticize your own organization. If you do, it will be considered detrimental to the organization, and hence it is punishable under their criminal codes. This kind of organizational discipline is not limited to PFDJ, but also to its parent organization EPLF. Semere T. is aware about that, and he will not commit sucide himself, if he is one of those who likes to satisfy the urge of homesikness than to defend humanity. The “parrot constituency ” is part of the must do items to be a member of the organizations.

            Second, one of the rules in the brain wash manual is also: do not answer questions from the adversary groups rather use that occasion to pass their outlined propaganda and name callings to discredit the opponent or individuals who critic them. So when Semere tried to put his own words to your mouth and talk unrelated arguments it is part of their diversionary plots. Semere claimed that he is not a member of PFDJ, while there is none who forcefully defend Issayas and his organization than himself. One who has not a stake in the organization can not defend it the way he is defending.

            Amanuel Hidrat

  • Solomon

    Selamat Captain Saay7 and Awate forum,

    Louis Gosset Jr. and Richard Gere, in the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, have a fight seen that was a redeeming factor in reinstatement to the forces of good for the character played by the Late Actor Richard Gere.

    MY empirical learIing has also taught me that in high scoring and a big lead basket or football, one has to assure not to blow it, i.e. the advantage.

    ኢሂን ሚህን ተሪፉ ይብል ኣሎ ኣቶ ሳልሕ ዩንስ ኣብዛ ኣቕሪብዋ ዘሎ ጽሕፍቱ። መን ከ ኣሎ ንዚ ዝነጽግ?

    However, there are numerous errors in Saay7’s analysis that I will address very shortly. Due Dilligence and Modeling cobtrasts will be my theme.

    I am posting this ahead of time due to my analogy of sports above.


    • Berhe Y

      Hey TsaTse,

      This is the second time you wrote the late Richard Gere. Last time I checked but didn’t see any indication of his death.

      I checked again today still couldn’t find anything that said he is dead.

      Can you please elaborate?


      • Solomon

        Selamat Berhe-Yemen,

        I have just check as well. Apparantly I fell for fake news I fleetingly read somewhere. During the USA Presidential elections fake news was rampant and targeted with sophisticated algorithms. I am glad you have corrected me. ከመይ ብስራትካ ይጥዓም። Though not a groupy or any celebrity’s follower, ever since the movie I mentioned above, that I snuck into because of its R rating, I like Richard Gere. He is very Present and on time and not late.


  • said

    Thank you for thoughtful and great article.
    Message to Eritrean elite and leaders, present and former EPLF. One who would hope there was a clear warning to our generation, fathers and ancestors, a message of what to come from the future IA government, a message based on existed horrific knowledge of past crimes of EPLF and the future should have been foretold that a terrible, tragic catastrophe will be looming on Eritrea. That EPLF was taking a direction and a path into darkness. It began years ago around late 70th and continuing till today,.

    With your acceptance of crimes and inhuman practices on a small number, a tiny scale elimination of our nationalist, patriotic, honest and uncompromising heroic cadre, were vanished in broad light and never to be heard off, buried in dust of history. In later stage atrocious of massacre grew and grew, we all know what happened ,to the Menkah cadres and that broke the camel back, undoubtedly and unfortunately, was it “worth it the death of so many cadres.” your crimes of aggression and torture openly committed by EPLF leaders. Yet there was no outcry, no outrage, not even a peep of quite protest. There might had being secretly on individual level. Indeed, the collective leadership of EPLF who carried out this slaughter of innocent freedom fighters, action ended mitigated by IA and his henchmen and at time his reign on 1991 new heights of popularity and forever NUS, was considered a beloved statesman.
    instead, PFDJ continued the same awful fascists practices, enshrining many of the heinous practices into the newly born state. They brought with them, what they practiced, but it was already deeply entrenched and deeply rotted from within EPLF culture — rotted by your years of brainwash and turning a blind eye to monstrous crimes committed in your name (ERITREA)by EPLF monster’s, in order to keep in their hegemonic power structure.

    Again one wishes there was a foretold, a message of what to come and expect in approximation. Because and spicily of our elite class, their shameful acquiescence, their shallow understanding of the dark forces that ruled EPLF. You could not see in clear day and blinded or you chose to see or you were just like mafia boss you were an opportunist and sell out and used you and manipulated your way , your incredible bedazzlement by false public image, your astonishing credulity at the transparent lies and much hollower than one can believe , your sinister pieties you were able to fed to poor people ,you should have known much better what was coming ,inferno, hell on the earth , your arrogance and descendants, have lived in squalor, hate ,revenge, rancor, violence and despair you brought to all of all Eritrean lives, and spicily younger generations. There is no hope for Eritrean people unless, IA minions and PFDJ abandon their old ingrained criminal practices, Elimination Assassination. jailing, torture. Dehumanization and demonization of our fellow Eritreans to your fellow citizens
    It is high time you should start treat them as human beings for once for a change. for god sake ,if you believe in god ,You are not chosen nor exceptional Eritreans , you are not a preferred bunch of group people or selected and plucked out by God for special favor up on you ,ask yourself you are mere human beings like the rest of us , and like so many human beings in so many societies down through the ages, you have failed to look your own bloody evil deed ,please look in your heart and your eye, you have failed to contemplate in the crime committed and confront and condemn your regime acts that make you shudder with horror when you hear of them committed by very self, how it could be. Have a mercy on our people, if you an iota of conciseness.

    Yes have a mercy, as humans, the people of all Eritrean ethnic and shape wandering around in a misery , with no dignity and pride, fearful of you, all will remind you that this is, in actuality, is the realty of Eritrean world, it is also a world of Eritrea we don’t have today ,what a wonderful world; that for those who are alive; that the gift of living is seeing and feeling around, feeling blessed that being in full possession of the full faculties of the sensory perception and more, they blessed in freedom .
    Seeing existence in the eyes of the Divine, I hope some how, suddenly dawns on your souls the secret, the joy and the deep meaning of existence: livening the moment fully wrapped up in the bless of the Within, as the Without, in all its varied expressions and manifestations is the continuum of what lies within, the beauty of the mind and the soul, the primordial custody of the Divine.
    The continuous recreation of life is living the beauty in its absolute and ubiquitous expression in the fulfillment of a Grander Purpose communicated to mortals’ in the silence of the spirit, the attuned intuition of a cleansed heart, the whispers of the Divinity in the majestic silence of the soul.
    I hope, you Let your ego brush, the cacophonies of your sick ego to connect with the broader Eritrean and universe to render you humans, me and you, embraced with the spirit in our utter humility as the One and Whole.
    In Eritrea will remind the stars in the sky twinkle with the smiles of the promise of better tomorrow for Eritreans ; of the light of the beautiful golden sun of the breaking of the dawn on Eritrean cost ; the enchanting melodies of the robins trotting the pinnacles of the trees of highland ; the breeze of the red sea flirting with the roses, the iris and violets; are reminders: it is a wonderful Eritrea that we are all dreaming of.

    your slavish selfish ignorance, your adherence to Maoist fantasies about the power structure that rules us and make change internally and rise up to overthrow the oppressive regime. Instead bring yourself to human sense and be fearless with true clarity to bear on the reality of what you have to accept freedom, democracy and equal justice for all.

    By late 90th this time, the moral degradation of our people was so complete and finished — they had countenanced, cheered or ignored so many crimes and so much oppression, subjection and corruption on so many layer and levels of a cruel regime — they oppressed our people, that they easily fell prey to a voracious, full -crazed demagogue and the forces of fascism, communism and lawless rule that IA brought into power.

    The leader as usual lied brazenly to start an needed war that killed a tens of thousands of innocent people and led directly to months of murderous instability in numerous costly war with neighbouring country Ethiopia.

    Over two decades and half later, there are millions of innocent civilians in Eritrea who are still paying for the arrogance, political and economical terrible mistakes of IA ’s political leadership that brought a failed nation.
    we also have to remember that it is IA violence that got us here. It is hatred, ignorance, division, intimidation — all manifestations of its inherited violence — that brought IA to be head of nation.
    If we choose to be motivated by anger and hatred, if we choose to divide our communities even more, all we do is continue to feed the exact energy that got us regime. Even if the anger is towards IA and minion and hard core supporters, we are empowering the forces that allowed him to rise to power. We need to be angry, but at the forces of injustice and criminal persona, but not necessary its all fringe human participants.
    Eritrea and after all this, anyone who refuses to acknowledge this reality is, in effect, complicit in the degradation of our people and one hopes, and it’s a slim hope, that perhaps the dormant consciences of a regime supporters will be awakened and the nation will be free united together.

  • Thomas

    Great job, SAAY. I agree, “The best contribution all our Mzungus can do for us–and oh, we will be so
    thankful we would name streets after them–is to convince Eritrea’s rulers to go away.” It has never been external, it is them (the gangsters/fugitives/criminals) vs us (good wishing/hardworking Eritrean civilians) and our beloved nation. It is the mafias who have decided to execute their devilish policy/agenda against the most hardworking peaceful people and the beloved nation which could have been an exemplary to African countries.

  • Brhan

    I believe Atlantic Council is approached by a US public relations firm paid by the regime to do this seminar as part of the regime’s effort to fix its image in the west in general and in the US in particular, especially with a new US administration coming to power soon.
    The PR firm has chosen a good medium: the Atlantic council and communicators: academicians.
    Many dictatorial regimes have hired PR firms, but it is seen that no matter how much the dictators pay and how sophisticated the PR work , the result is zero because the essence of public relations is to create and maintain good relations between an organization, this time PF(JD) and the public, which is negative and it is reflected to the mass fleeing of the youth out of Eritrea, thousand prisoners languishing in prisons and even the abandoning of many government officials to the regime.

  • Ambassador

    Dear SAAY,

    I couldn’t agree more with your analysis. “African Experts”, especially when they are non-Africans, have this “working theory” that they always use in analyzing African countries. You often see it in their analysis or report. That “working theory” is that when they write or talk about a country in Africa, they say it as though the country in question is stuck in a time spectrum. That people within the country (or those in leadership) are incapable of moving forward; hence they are backwards. But, the “expert” would risk a backlash if he/she came out and say backward bluntly; because even the uninitiated would recognize it as an insult. So what do they do? They will analyze you as though you are stuck in your history. In their analysis, these African countries are constructed as that of underdeveloped vacant lot in a county waiting for development. Hence, the nomenclature of a “developing country” will come to be a legitimate representation. These experts believe that they cannot go wrong by building their analysis on this premise. In a sort, they already have a ready-made paper with all the assumptions and misconceptions, and all they need to do is change the country’s name. To look more intellectual, who is sensitive to nuances, they would add a sentence or two to show the peculiarities of the country in question in the summary section of the paper.

    As you rightly pointed it out, that is exactly what Mr. Kaplan has done; the treatment of Eritrea as though it is stuck in 1991. Mr. Carroll even went further by comparing Eritrean exports with that of a price of a house in a neighborhood. That is what you will constantly see in a non-african “Africa Expert’s” analysis: the comparison of a contemporary African country with its own (or at times with a western countries’) past and its entire resources and capabilities with a minuscule resource in the west. And such comparison is enduring for it feeds into peoples’ misconceptions about Africa.

    The argument will then be, what is wrong with that characterization of Eritrea as long as what they say about it can aptly be described as correct to a degree? For me, it is problematic, because it is such characterization of Eritrea that informs policy recommendations. It is such characterization that makes set of ineffective solutions obvious in spite of them being detrimental. It is such characterization of Eritrea that hinders other ways of looking the situation at hand. In a sort, such characterization has a monopoly over all other ways of analyzing the Eritrean situation. It discourages critical thinking in the Eritrean context. For example, the panelists’ firm belief that the Eritrean problem is a problem of underdevelopment, they all came with a set of economic solutions (or observations) that they believe would mitigate the problem, even for human right violations. The Eritrean government is described as inherently benevolent, which turns into what it is now because of Eritrean history. The argument in the panel was, in light of contesting interests and meager resources prevalent in Eritrea, the government trades democracy and openness for security and dictatorship. See, in Eritrean context being a dictator and lack of human rights has a grand reason. It is just us who fail to see it from that view point. Sarcasm off….

    The other way of seeing it would have been, Isaias is a dictator. Period. Even if we are in an amicable relationship with Ethiopia, even if we have nothing to fear from the inside (no contesting interests-“those damn Muslims and ethnic minorities”), Isaias would still come with a bunch of excuses to be a dictator. He would still use demagoguery to stifle dissent and our martyrs will always be invoked when you opposed the state. Isaias will always say ብደም: ብርሃጽ: ብጭቃ: ብዅቦ ዝመጸት ሃገር መጻወቲ መልመጽቲ ሸሓኒ ኣይትኸውንን እያ. See, a dictator will never be out of reasons to oppress. It is not the economic situation (or set of bad economic policies) or Eritrean history that created a dictator that would otherwise be liberal and democratic; it is the dictator that created the economic malaise just because it serves its interest.

  • Dear All,

    Here is a surreal briefing given to D. Trump (the future president of the usa) on the ethio-eritrean problem.

    Mr. President, in the horn of africa………
    (P.T., Where the hell is it?)

    ….there is a problem between ethiopians and eritreans……
    (P.T., Who are these people, are they martians or what?)

    ….two poor nations who had been fighting each other for the last half century….
    (P.T., No wonder they are poor.)

    … ..requires your decision on how our policy should be.
    (P. T., Please, do not burden me with their problems. I am not going to waste time and money on them, not even on our friends in nato anymore. I have one policy, that is to make the usa great again by building walls and fences.)

    …..but the usa should have a policy …..
    (P.T., Yes, yes, if you insist, our policy should be to tell them not to send us any more of their people. Their problem is not ours, and the usa is no more the policeman of the world. Tell them to solve their problems themselves.)

    ….but, we have imposed sanctions on one of them…
    (P.T., c’mon, we are not alone. Then, how come they still find weapons to fight each other. If some of their government officials cannot travel to the usa, they can go to china.)

    ….the other party gets billions of dollars from us….
    (P.T., wow, how is it possible to throw away billions. Billions are good money. Believe me, i know and i mean it. Throwing away money right and left while we have problems here at home. Frugality is not a bad idea, we should save money at least from now on.)

    ….but Mr. President…
    (P.T., please, do not waste my time.)

    Any number of ferenjis could get together now and then and discuss ethio-eritrean problems, but they will never bring a solution to a problem that is not theirs. The problem and the solution are owned by both people. If there ever is a solution in the ethio-eritrean problem, it will be the work of ethiopians and eritreans, not the work of any ferenji. It could be in five, ten, twenty…. years; but still it will be the work of ethiopians and eritrean. An impossed solution from outside is a no solution.

    • Hameed Al-Arabi

      Verily, it is time for BUSINESS. You pay you get service, otherwise don’t waste his time. Trump is telling the world frankly, America is not ready to pay for your mistakes. Please, safeguard and administer yourselves properly. PERIOD.


      • Hameed Al-Arabi

        Dear Awate Moderator,

        I am very sorry, I just forgot. You are truly right, Salam and justice for all are our motto and target, it should not be forgotten.


    • blink

      Dear Horizon
      The issue could have been only Eritrea’s problem yet Ethiopia is in because Ethiopia refused to withdraw from an Eritrean land as the internationally recognized agreements and law was supposed to . I believe there is no problem between Eritreans and ethiopians but the crooked governments of both sides make such hardle especially to Eritreans and Tigrai people.Trump as we all can see is an expected and a bully , I hope he slap both to at least do the right thing.But is simply sad that HGDEF is unchallenged by a strong Eritrean opposition , that sadness me dearly.

    • Kim Hanna

      Selam Horizon,
      I could imagine that the State Department official who is supposed to know the issues of the Ethio/Eritrean stalemate explaining the factual summery of the problem to President D. Trump.
      In the off chance that D.T is interested to understand the details of what the actual problem seems to be, the State Dept. official would be stumped.
      Most PHDs in the absence of a clear picture of the situation are glad to philosophize about the problems and solutions and get paid in the process, I cannot blame them.
      To be perfectly honest, most Ethiopian and Eritrean elites themselves would be unable to answer the question. I am discounting the boiler plate responses each side advances to support their sides.
      The answer might be reachable and revealed only, perhaps, through a qualified African Psychiatrist’s extensive examination of the pertinent leaders.
      The solution or the sure answer might lie, at least it has a 50/50 chance, in time the nature’s course and the appearance of new leaderships. Till then, such is our fate.
      Mr. K.H

  • Nitricc

    Greetings; something wrong with the forum? Testing……………………………….testing …………………..

    • Nitricc

      the forum I see working just fine!!!!!!! So, where is everybody? Lol

      • Saleh Johar

        Hi Nitricc,
        Maybe holiday shopping! Maybe the deep analysis is too numbing, and covers everything. I am sure everybody is looking for an angle, and they haven’t found any so far. I am sure Semere T is still working on it. He may come with an earth shattering rebuttal. Just guessing:-)

  • Berhe Y

    Hi Saay,

    Great analysis. You know if we had you in the panel and if you represent us, we can be saved all the pain.

    I didn’t seen listen to the video and I am not sure I get what’s the objective and agenda of the panel discussion from AC and the sponsors, Nevsun and Eritrean government sympathizers and the government it self.

    My guess is that this meeting had an agenda and it’s agenda as the topic indicated to “Bring Eritrea from the Cold”. Basically a follow up the last meeting, and before the Obama administration leaves office, they want to achieve:

    1) Remove the sanctions (US support)
    2) Leave Eritrea alone with the human rights violations and accusations.

    Listening Dr. Kaplan introductory video of few minutes he said the objective of his report was

    1) to give back ground of the Eritrean situation and history of the government
    2) to highlight the economic challenges the government have meeting it’s obligation re: financial means, and how heavy in debt it is. Therefore it’s NOT be able to END (afford) the military / Sawa national service program.
    3) to conclude that, because Eritrea has all this challenges, and the boarder is not demarcated, it will need the SAWA program to be able to defend from Ethiopia threat.

    So basically all the economic mismanagement and the problem in the country he highlighted is not to criticize the mis management of the country but instead, to help the government get a break from the pressure of ending the SAWA program, the economic sanctions lifted so the stock market of Nevsun to go higher for those sponsors.


    • saay7

      Hi Berhe Y:

      You said in a few words what took me pages to say. The Eritrean Regime Normalizers are contrarians who flip conventional wisdom on its head and argue:

      * Everything you heard is bad about Eritrea is not really that bad, and to the extent it is, it is due to factors outside the control of the government:

      1. lack of demarcation ====> massive conscription. Consequence: high migration, high militarization. Demarcate border, and national service will be normalize. Eritrea alone can’t demarcate border; Ethiopia has to: US should apply pressure;

      2. Unfair sanction ====> economic strangulation. Remove unfair sanction, economy will greatly improve, which will result in fewer Eritreans migrating.

      3. The human rights violations you hear about are common in all African countries, nothing to see here.

      * Everything you didn’t hear which is good about Eritrea includes:

      1. Eritrea met its MDG goals
      2. Eritrea meets its people’s basic needs
      3. Eritrea is the only peaceful country in the region and a force for stabilization
      4. Eritrea is making positive changes: drafting new constitution, drafting penal/civil codes, “quietly” releasing prisoners.

      Their sources for all of the above? The same government officials who have a vested interest in making all these claims.


      • Berhe Y

        Hi Saay,

        I didn’t mean it that way. I am sure what ever I scribble here is no match with your well researched and supported analysis.

        Here is a thing I don’t understand. Assume all they said about Eritrea government and the challenges are true. These guys have to bow to Isayas demands and make all kind of excuses for his stubbornness and foolishness and use it as a fact to justify his recklessness. My guess is, they know the fact really well, but they are afraid to rock the boat, as they don’t know what this guy will do to them (I mean Nevsun) and their business interests.

        Are they really stupid not to suggest the following, win-win situations…

        1) Eritrea can’t afford to release those in Sawa immediately but why can’t do it gradually. For example, why do they need to keep taking young people to Sawa every year, why can’t they stop doing so in the mean time. Or why can’t the release the same amount / number every time they add new fresh recruits. For example if they take 25,000 these year (who are not servicing the country in any way), how is this so difficult to replace the 25,000 that are currently serving?

        2) They played Isayas in the Nevsun deal so well, they can’t afford for him to do any harm to their interests. By this I mean, Nevsun had no other business interests any where except in Eritrea. All the value of the company was solely dependent on Bisha share become operational. In Canada other than head office, may be some facility, it has no operations. So I think it’s safe to assume the whole company worth was for it’s operations in Eritrea.

        Isayas the fool, when he negotiated to purchase 30% ownership of Nevsun, instead of purchasing the 30% shares of Nevsun Inc in Canada (I think they have 200 million share so with the 10% free total of 40%, that’s about 80 million (10% gets free) shares of Nevsun). If he paid at 2 dollars a share, that’s about 160 million or if he paid 3 dollars a share (what the average value at the time) that’s around 200 million dollars.

        So if he actually goes to the open market and decides to buy the 30% market share he can probably paid less than 300 million dollars.

        So what they do to him, the create this ghost company called Nevsun Share company in Eritrea, that’s owned by Eritrean government and Nevsun and they made him pay the market value for that company and tell him he owns 40% of the company.

        Sure he is getting his share now, but he could have gotten a lot more if he had purchased the share of Nevsun instead. So the company knows this very well, and all it wants to do is, milk Bisha as much as possible, stash away the cash as quickly as possible and using that money it wants to start another operation or purchase another mine. And that’s exactly what it did, recently it purchased another mine operation somewhere in Eastern Europe for the amount of 300 million or something.

        As soon as the mines in Eritrea dry up, and Nevsun is going to say good bye and leave the country, Isayas is left with ownership of Bisha mine company which actually mean nothing and can’t sell to anyone and no body is buying. In the mean time, Nevsun has all the cash stashed away, bought another company and it continues it’s operation with 100% ownership.

        Had Isayas purchased owned the 40% share of Nevsun, then he would have ownership for as long as the company exists.

        I don’t believe he wouldn’t able to negotiate that kind of deal, specially when the only operation Nevsun had was in Eritrea and if it got kicked out of Eritrea, it had NO money, NO operations and No where to go but bankrupt.

        So Nevsun and the Atlantic Council are not fools for not inviting Eritreans who can challenge them as the Eritrean doctor did at the US Congress hearing.


    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Berhe,
      Have you noticed they don’t even mention the predicament of Eritreans but slightly, as a side issue?

      • Berhe Y

        Hi SGJ,

        They are paid agents and lobbyist who have an agenda to protect the interest of those who hired them. The Eritrean people plight is the last thing in their agenda, we are just lamb that needs to be sacrificed so they can fatten their pockets or advance their carriers.


  • Hameed Al-Arabi

    Salam Ustaz Saa7,

    Really, strongly trenched “Mekhete” rebuttal against the mafia in Asmara mercenaries. Thanks Ustaz Saleh.