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Saleh "Gadi" Johar

Born and raised in Keren, Eritrea, now a US citizen residing in California, Mr. Saleh “Gadi” Johar is founder and publisher of awate.com. Author of Miriam was Here, Of Kings and Bandits, and Simply Echoes. Saleh is acclaimed for his wealth of experience and knowledge in the history and politics of the Horn of Africa. A prominent public speaker and a researcher specializing on the Horn of Africa, he has given many distinguished lectures and participated in numerous seminars and conferences around the world. Activism Awate.com was founded by Saleh “Gadi” Johar and is administered by the Awate Team and a group of volunteers who serve as the website’s advisory committee. The mission of awate.com is to provide Eritreans and friends of Eritrea with information that is hidden by the Eritrean regime and its surrogates; to provide a platform for information dissemination and opinion sharing; to inspire Eritreans, to embolden them into taking action, and finally, to lay the groundwork for reconciliation whose pillars are the truth. Miriam Was Here This book that was launched on August 16, 2013, is based on true stories; in writing it, Saleh has interviewed dozens of victims and eye-witnesses of Human trafficking, Eritrea, human rights, forced labor.and researched hundreds of pages of materials. The novel describes the ordeal of a nation, its youth, women and parents. It focuses on violation of human rights of the citizens and a country whose youth have become victims of slave labor, human trafficking, hostage taking, and human organ harvesting--all a result of bad governance. The main character of the story is Miriam, a young Eritrean woman; her father Zerom Bahta Hadgembes, a veteran of the struggle who resides in America and her childhood friend Senay who wanted to marry her but ended up being conscripted. Kings and Bandits Saleh “Gadi” Johar tells a powerful story that is never told: that many "child warriors" to whom we are asked to offer sympathies befitting helpless victims and hostages are actually premature adults who have made a conscious decision to stand up against brutality and oppression, and actually deserve our admiration. And that many of those whom we instinctively feel sympathetic towards, like the Ethiopian king Emperor Haile Sellassie, were actually world-class tyrants whose transgressions would normally be cases in the World Court. Simply Echoes A collection of romantic, political observations and travel poems; a reflection of the euphoric years that followed Eritrean Independence in 1991.

Singers and Poets

About ten years ago there was a popular singer named Tarreqe. He had a unique voice. Until his slow disappearance, he used to remind me of Mohammed Wardi the Sudanese singer. Last time I watched Isaias’ marathon interview–I had to because it’s my raw material. After the end of the …

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The Story of the #BlueEritrea Flag

Today, I hope the restless would stay calm as I narrate a basic history of the Eritrean flag–the significance of our AwlieE, meley, HKhedra. I realize some people may have an opposing view, or to believe a contrary narration; it’s fine provided the counter narration is based on knowledge not …

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Tug Of War

When a country faces a risk of war and invasion, the best precaution is to strengthen is national unity. But what kind of unity? And exclusive unity or a comprehensive one? When ruling parties fight, it’s mostly like a tug of war; forces pulling each other to the fall line. …

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Eritrea, Ethiopia’s Hostage

Anyone who went through the miseries and cruelties of the successive Ethiopian occupation (Haile Selassie’s and Mengistu’s) followed by the PFDJ oppression, would never wish for a perpetual rule by similar regimes. In fact, if it was possible, the victims of these regimes wish to erase the painful memories, let …

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The Era of PFDJ-Stupidity

This is excerpts from my Negarit 151, a presentation of Carlo Cippola’s book, “The 5 Basic Laws of Human Stupidity.” It is based on Antonello Zanini’s series of articles about Cippola’s theory on stupidity. In early 2000 I spend hours at Schiphol Airpot in Amesterdam, waiting for my connection flight. …

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The Six-Husbands of Eritrea

In the Tigrinya language we do not have separate words for sebay, as in husband, and sebaay, as in Man. Both are sebay. Therefore, the title is not about men but about husbands. Also, we refer to Eritrea in the feminine gender, Eritra t’Ewet, not Ertra y’Ewet, always in the …

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Eritrea and the Ethiopian Civil war

[9 mnts. reading] Writers or speakers who discuss everything under the sun should not shy away from raising critical topics for fear of annoying a few. Discussing sensitive issues is what I intend to do in the coming few episodes.   In today’s Negarit 149, which is an introductory episode, …

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Casualty and Effect

Living in Eritrea, far from the Sea, I only knew canned Sardines. Then I went to Massawa and tried grilled chunks of fish—I thought Massawans were pulling a joke on me, giving me beef, and claiming it was fish! Years later I lived in Jeddah and AlKhober but never cared …

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The Hyena-leg, Egri Zb’ee

When I was a child, there was a man who had a big funnel-shaped wooden leg. His steps made a bang every time he stepped. The children would say, Ennguuuy, and he will chase them. His nick was Egri Zb’ee and children never let him live in peace. Years ago, …

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“May You Beget A Black Cat”

In 1986 a border conflict erupted between Qatar and Bahrain over the ownership of the Hawar Islands (Fisht AlDibal). Qatari forces arrested 29 workers sent by Bahrain on a construction job. Soon, Saudi Arabia succeeded in mediating and securing the release of the prisoners; in 1994, the case was resolved …

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The General’s Bad Lessons

A longtime ago in the environs of Kulentebai, the late Tesfai Tekhle, the liberation era commander, told a group of young combatants a joke. He was warning of a military involvement in governance in post-independence Eritrea. That is an important lesson I learned from him. Tesfai told us the joke: …

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Please Come and Invade Us!

A fringe racist, bigoted, and servile group has been trying hard to undo Eritrea and what its people stand for. They have been mocking the struggle for self-determination and freedom including its veterans. They were in the verge of  losing steam when the Ethiopian civil war erupted and the fringe Tigrayan groups became …

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Rude Awakening

Emperor Humayun was the ruler of the Moghul empire in the 16th century in what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, North India, and Bangladesh. One day in 1556, Humayun carried some books from his library, stepped on his robe and tripped on the stairs and injured himself, and died a few …

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Kings of Kings and Colonels

In ancient times, each locality, and later each city, had a king. One of them emerged stronger and subjugated the rest. They accepted his authority over them and submitted to his rule with varying level of autonomy. Thus, he became King of Kings, who overtime became an expansionist emperor. Some …

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Whispering to the Eritrean Forces

Addey Abeba’s* husband and elder son died in a car accident while the family was returning home from a pilgrimage. Since that incident, the traumatized woman became over-protective of her younger son and wouldn’t let him play in the streets for fear of cars, though daily, hardly more than three …

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A Message To Tigrayans

A fed-up worker decided to quit his job. He approached his boss who was standing behind a workbench, looked him straight in thes eyes, and told him, “Give me my dues, I don’t want to work for you anymore.” The boss asked for a reason, but the worker was adamant, …

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Surrender To Peace

In Germany a friend surrendered to the German police:  A long time I go when visiting Germany, I heard a joke of a struggle era veteran who wanted to apply for asylum there. His friends showed him the nearest police station and told him to just surrender there. The veteran, …

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