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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.

Just Don’t Call It A War: People May Get Ideas

This article originally appeared at awate on June 27, 2008.  It is being republished in light of recent news that Eritrea has, after 7 years, released Djibouti prisoners of war. I. The Djibouti “Fabrication”? Djibouti. We have seen this movie before.  Twice.  In 1995 and 1998. The atmospherics is the same: …

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Eritrea And The Hood – 2015

JANUARY 1. Every year begins with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki’s “State of the Nation” interviews with his own media.  Although we have a draft constitution, he explained, a new constitution had to be drafted because “we are not naive and we refuse to allow them to weaken our capacity.” 2. …

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Eritrea’s King Isaias Afwerki Judges The World

Recall that in Part 1 of the interview with Eritrean state media (EriTV), President Isaias Afwerki addressed domestic issues and essentially said there is nothing wrong in Eritrea that a little more controlling and louder commanding couldn’t fix.  Alnahda’s commentary on that can be found here.  In part 2 of …

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Interview: Isaias Plans To Command Economy, Society

In an interview conducted by EriTV, Eritrea’s state television, which is owned and operated by Isaias Afwerki, Eritrea’s Auditor General, Isaias Afwerki, conducted a thorough assessment of Eritrea’s President, Isaias Afwerki, and found him wanting in all aspects. The take-away message from the two-part interview is one: the government intends …

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On the Wings of Malice and Idiocy

Observing the government of Eritrea and its functionaries, one is always struck which one of their two wings is heavier: the malicious one or the stupid one? One can build a case for either one, and it is a running debate among the Eritrean opposition and the silent majority. In …

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Eritrea 2015: Feels Like Eritrea 2002

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) just released its annual Human Development Report and Eritrea is ranked third from bottom, next to Central African Republic and Niger, in Human Development Index (HDI). HDI is a qualify of life index which measures factors that contribute to developing human capacity and the …

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Mzungu Herman Cohen Whitesplains Eritrea, Africa

The problem is that Cohen is a relic of the Cold War era. He comes from a period of time where American diplomats had no compulsion about advising an African country to annex another African country as he, admittedly, did in advising Senegal to annex The Gambia. He comes from a period where “culture” is a convenient substitute for “race”: Middle Easterners are violent, East Africans are violent, so, culturally, East Afrians are really Middle Easterners. Cohen comes from a bygone era where white Americans were sent as delegates to Africa, when it would be unthinkable to send a non-Catholic envoy to The Vatican or a non-Jewish ambassador to Israel.

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Like An Addict, Eritrea Needs Family Intervention

The Pope was there. Russia’s Putin was there for the first time in 10 years. China’s Xi Jinping was there for the first time. Cuba’s Raul Castro was there for the first time. The Palestinian flag was there for the first time. In fact, a “record number of world leaders”—150—were …

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Eritrea – Prisoner of Conscience Day

We have “Armed Struggle Launch Day” (September 1), “Martyr’s Day” (June 20) and “Independence Day” (May 24.) It stands to reason that we should have “Prisoner of Conscience Day” because those who didn’t die for the revolution, and who didn’t live to see Eritrea’s independence, have been imprisoned by it. Actually, …

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Professor Asmerom Legesse Gets It Wrong

In an article entitled “Critique of the Human Rights Commission [sic] on Eritrea”, Professor Asmerom Legesse attempts to take to task the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea (CoI-E) as well as Ms. Sheila Keetharuth, the UN-appointed Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in Eritrea.” Unfortunately, even very able …

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The Churning

There were two demonstrations in Geneva in June 2015 on the occasion of the Human Right Council’s 29th session (HRC 29): one was in opposition to the damning report issued to the HRC by a body it mandated, the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea (CoIE), and the other was in …

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When Eritreans Went To The Polls In 1997

Everybody is going to the polls, let’s go to ours. Well, it is a different kind of poll our is an opinion poll and not voting poll. And it requires a time machine…that takes us 18 years back. And it is not by the millions but by the dozens. But it …

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Come And See (What We Want You To See)!

The good news is that the Eritrean opposition and the Eritrean government have started talking to one another. The bad news is that it is proxy talks: it is discussions by our favorite foreigners. Pro-oppo Foreigner Narrative: Eritrea is one of the worst violators of human rights and exporters of …

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Congratulations Mr. Yemane Gebremeskel, Incoming MoI

Mr. Yemane Gebremeskel, aka “Charlie”, has been named Eritrea’s Minister of Information, according to his ghost writers at Tesfanews.com. He replaces Ali Abdu, who defected from the post in November 2012.   I think it was November 2012 although I can’t be sure because the other ghost writers at madote.com had …

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I Was Wrong

Ever ordered “Chef’s Special” at a restaurant? Don’t: it is stuff the restaurant couldn’t sell. Also, two Americans opened a Chinese restaurant in China and everything Chinese was alien to the Chinese: kung-pao chicken, Mongolian beef, and definitely Chow Mein, invented by a San Franciscan chef and of course the …

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Afro-Pessimism, Optimism, Realism And Eritrea

Much of the scholarship that deals with African development can be categorized as Afro-pessimist, Afro-optimist or Afro-realist.  To-date, the case for pessimism had been easier to make: Africa is so far behind on nearly every metric, and it has been stuck there for so long, and it is growing at such …

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How To Win Eritrea’s “Political Legitimacy” Argument

Since 1991, the debate between Eritrean regime supporters and the opposition has been that of legitimacy. Back in the 1990s, the arguments were crude. The opposition would ask “who elected you to lead me?” and the regime spokesperson would answer: “And who elected me to fight for your independence?” Ah, …

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Breaking Through Our Dejavu of Disasters

You could spend a lifetime marveling at the criminality of the Eritrean government, if you were not so awestruck by its stupidity.  I am saying the Eritrean government because using its substitute—Isaias Afwerki, Isaias Afwerki regime, PFDJ—will get in the way of my argument here.   In any event, I will …

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Yohannes Tikabo and the King’s Men

This is the story of Yohannes Tikabo and Yosief Ghebrehiwet.  More accurately, about their beliefs. Two Eritreans, with varying degrees of enthusiasm for their particular identity. First things first:  I am and have been a fan of Yohannes Tikabo ever since Zemen.Actually, before Zemen: I go back to the days …

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