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Book Launch: The Hidden Party

Book: The Hidden Party
Language: Tigrinya
Paperback, nonfiction, 281 pages
Publisher: Negarit Media

Finally, Tsegu F. Bahta’s book, the Hidden party, is out and has reached distribution points. A list of distribution associates and their contact addresses is given below.

Tsegu’s book cover displays an image of Nakfa, the town that saw the fiercest battles between the Eritrean liberation forces and the occupying Ethiopian army. Towards the end of the war Nakfa was totally destroyed, a lone building, a mosque, remained standing until the end of the war in 1991.

In the cover, a drawing depicting Isaias as a president of the country, whose head is exemplified by an F1 bomb, to describe his belligerent character, and one of his feet in an over-sized boot, describing his megalomania, and thinking of himself bigger than he actually is, yet representing Eritrea and Eritreans who are ashamed to end up with a dictator like him after a long struggle that required heavy sacrifices.

The cover also shows the two flags that the EPLF carried until Isaias unilaterally replaced them with his own design. The blue flag is the Eritrean flag while the one with the star is the EPLF organizational symbol. That is how they were until 1993.

The book was edited by Semere T. Habtemarian and it is published by Negarit Media Publishing that was set to assist and support would-be authors to get you published.

The Hidden Party is divided into ten chapters and its main focus is on shedding light into the otherwise unknown party that secretly steered the EPLF until it was disbanded in 1994 in Nakfa when Isaias Afwerki decided he didn’t need it anymore and began to consolidate his powers after the independence of Eritrea by controlling the EPLF, the secrete party and the government.

In chapter one, Tsegu introduces himself and describes his childhood friends, life in Asmara and its outskirts in the first half of 1975, and how his father and his grandfather impacted his life. He fondly describes his brief stay with his grandfather, a product of his time who wondered about the difference between principles and guts!

It was from there that Tsegu left to join the EPLF, and here is where the flowery, impeccable Tigrinya description starts: the voyage to the training camp, a journey that captures the feeling of the recruits, their worries, the hardships they faced in the journey, and how the veterans handled them.

The Hidden Party gives an bird’s eye view of the 1977 liberation of cities and covers in great details the events of what became known as “the Strategic Withdrawal” when overwhelmed by the combined forces of the Ethiopian Derg, and Soviets specialists and armaments, forced the Eritrean liberation armies to withdraw from towns they liberated by paying immense sacrifices.

A chapter is dedicated for the Derg’s Red Star campaign and its repercussions, and another chapter for the Ethiopian prisoners of war.

The fifth chapter describes the second initiative of the Liberation Army as well as the second organizational congress of the EPLF. And here is the heart of the book, The Hijacking of the Revolution: the struggle that missed its direction. In this chapter Tsegu explains how the secret party got complete control of the EPLF organization, the mechanizations that were used, the recklessness that was observed, something that led to the current situation, where Isaias Afwerki was left the only person standing in Eritrea to run it as his private property.

In Chapter 8, The Downward Spiral of The PFDJ, Tsegu writes in details about the Ethio-Eritrean border war of 1998-2000, and its ramifications and negative outcome. In Chapter 9, as expected, he laments about leaving his country, similar to many others who left the land they gave great sacrifices to liberate.

The Hidden Party is full of anecdotes, humorous moments, sad events and heart wrenching experiences. It describes the story of the EPLF, from the an eyewitness perspective, written in the first person which makes it more insightful for Tsegu has worked in the Vigilance Department, under many leaders, including, the late Solomon Weldemariam, the late Ali Sayed Abdallah, the late Tekhlai Aden, Mussa Naib and the late Naizghi Kiflu. After the independence of Eritrea, he worked under Petros Solomon and the late Ali Sayed Abdallah in Intelligence field.

Tsegu Bahta, Washington DC, Cell: 202-280-4692
Fozia Hassen, Washington DC, Cell : 571-215-4545
Daniel Adhanom, Washington DC, cell: 703-975-1211
Kelit Alazar, Bronx, NY, Cell: 917-757-5068
Michael Eyob, Boston MS, Cell 617-290-7664
Saba Fessehaye, Tucker GA, Cell: 678-683-2034
Danile Yemane, St. Louis MO, Tel. 314-225-3792
Michael Berhane, Hopkins MN, Cell: 651-428-8794
Haregu Keleta Kidane, Seattle WA, Cell: 206-356-0899
Yosief H. Neraio, Lathrop CA, Cell: 408-396-3436
Michael Damtew, Troutdale, OR, Cell 503-803-5979

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  • Daniel Mehary (metaabity)

    ካብቶም ቀተልቲ ተስፋንኪኤል ጆርጆ (ወዲ ጆርጆ) መጽሓፍ ጽሒፉ ኣሎ።

    ሕብእቲ ሰልፊ ትብል መጽሓፍ ብጸጉ ፍስሃየ ኣብ ዕዳጋ ወሪዳ ኣላ ኮይኑ ግን እታ ሕብእቲ ሰልፊ ኣብታ ምጽሓፍ የላን እንታይ ድኣ ታሪኽ ሂወት ደራሲ ኢዩ ተጻሒፉ ዘሎ።
    ቅድሚ ዝኾነ ምዝራበይ ነቀፌታይ ንፕሮፈሰር በረኽት ሃብተስላሴ፣ ሚኪኤል ኣዶናይ፣ ሰመረ ተስፋማርያም፣ ሳሊሕ ቃዲ ጀውሃርን ዶክተር ኣሰፋው ተኸስተ እዩ። ንሱ ኻኣ ንሕብእቲ ሰልፊ መጽሓፍ ኣንቢቦም ዝሃቡና ሪኢቶ ቅኑዕን ሓቀኛ ኣይኮነን ዝንቡዕ ሪኢቶ እዩ።
    ዝኾነ ኮይኑ መን እዩ ጸጉ ፍስሃየ? ከምቲ ባዕሉ ታሪኹ ዘዘንትዎ ሓላፊ ድዩ ዋላ ማእከላይ ሓላፊ ሓላው ሰውራ ከምዝነበር እዩ ዘዝንትው ዘሎ። ኣብዛ መጽሓፉ ኣብ ሓላው ሰውራ ከሎ ከመይ ጌሩ ንዝተፈላለዩ እሱራት ኤርትራውያን ናይ ተሓኤ፣ ተቃወምቲ ምስጢራዊት ሰልፊ ዝነበሩ ኤርትራውያን ይምርምሮም ኔሩ ንመንከ ቀጥቂጡ ኣሳቀየ ዝብል ዋላ ሓንቲ ቃል ምስኽርነት ኣይሃበን ዘሎ ክሳብ ሕጂ። ኣብ ሓላው ሰውራ ዝተኣሰሩ ኣሕዋትና፣ ኣዝማድና፣ መታዓቢቲና፣ መጋደልትና፣ ኣለውና ሓላው ሰውራ ህግሓኤ ከመይ ከምዝነበረ ኣዘንቲየሙልና ኣለው። ኣብ ጊዜ ምሕራር ደቀምሓረ 1978 ብኢድ ሙሳ ናይብን፣ ጸጉ ፍስሃየ ዝተቀጥቀጠን ዝተሳቀየን ቤተሰበይ ኣለኒ ብዓይነይ በሰላ ዝባኑ ስለ ዝራኣኹ። ስለዚ ኣነ ንጸጉ ፍስሃየ ብግልጹነትን፣ ሓቂነትን፣ ቅንዕናን ሕልናን ዘልዎ ንሕዝቢ ኤርትራ ተንቲኑ ክዛረብ ብትሕትና ይሓቶ ኣለኹ። ተዘይኮይኑ ግን ንኤርትራውያን ብኣሰቃቅ ቀጥቂጥካ፣ መርሚርካ ኣብ ሓላው ሰውራ፣ ሎሚ ከምደላይ ፍትሒ መሲልካ ታሪኽ ገድልና ታሪኽ ሓቀኛታት ኤርትራውያን ውሽጢ ውሽጢ ሓቢእካ ላዕሊ ላዕሊ ጽሒፍካ ክተቅርበልና ዓያሹ ኣይኮንናን።
    ብተወሳኺ ብዙሕ ሕቶታት ክምለስ ዘለዎ ውን ኣሎ። ጸጉ ፍስሃየ ኣብ ውግእ ተሳቲፉዶ ይፈልጥ? ስለምንታይ እዩ ጸጉ ፍስሃየ ካብ ዝተጋደለላ መዓልቲ ኣትሒዙ ኣብ ሓንቲ ኣሃዱ ጸኒሑ? ጸጉ ፍስሃየ ሽልማት ማዕርጉ ምሉእ ኮሬነል እዩ፣ ምሉእ ኮሬነልከ ይግብኦ ድዩ? ምናልባት ኣነ ኣብ ህግሓኤ ስለ ዘይነበርኩ ክምልሶ ኣይክእልን እየ። ኮይኑ ግን ምስኡ ዝነበሩ ጥራሕ እዮም ዝምልስዎ ዝኽእሉ።

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Daniel:
      Former Killers, former torturers who got us here, who give our Ghedli that was sparked for justice and self-determination bad name, these are the same people who hijacked our Ghedli during it s budding and nascent years to create the “kirdad” (as Alena calls it ) we have reigning today. There is a temptation to excessively miniaturize theirs numbers, they are for sure way fewer than the actual freedom tegadalty, who embarked on the long journey to free us from bondage by putting themselves in bondage but these career criminals, swaddled by the beautiful garb of a freedom fighter are lurking amongst us, they are in the refugee camps, in our cities here were we live, living peacefully, mimicking as you say as justice lovers and their souls always anguished by the blood and wailing of the innocent.That is PFDJs/EPLF’s legacy.

      You will also find them in the churches “sebake gubaE” and do not be surprised if they become your pastor, elder or sheik in your religeous gathering. When the power vested on them by the dictator slowly starts to vanish for myriad reasons they are reluctant to relinquish it, they will seek it somewhere else. We have to be mindful about them and even in free Eritrea they will be “deki gezawitina” and the neighborhoods we grew up, being safe, protected by older “deki gezawitna” will be littered with these former criminals. Our job is first to avoid what PFDJ/EPLF did: killing and accusing people by suspicion at a whim of ignorant robots in the court of the thugs. We have to be very cognizant, lest we repeat those legacies and convict people in such a court. But we have to document, investigate and bring these criminals who lurk among us to the court of justice where a jury of their peers, witness of their contemporaries find them guilty without any shred of reasonable doubte. If you know their crimes, write it down, video tape it before your relative before he passes away, do the same with witness who are alive. One day this will come handy and victims will thank you.
      Look what the Jews did to the Nazis, they are still hunting them from their hide outs, that is what we need to do.
      The suffering of innocent Eritreans cannot just be passed us the cost of doing business. But also the court of public opinion is dangerous, we have to follow due process not just because of the kindness of hears but it serves our posterity well by starkly delineating ourselves from the thugs, otherwise no one can tell who is who, we must be distinguished not by our lip-service to the ideals we want, but by our actions to follow due process when we persecute those criminals. The tone, toner and example we follow when we persecute the criminals among us will be the indelible mark that will irrevocably erase the scars of torture that these criminals have inflicted on thousands of innocent Eritreans.


      • Daniel Mehary (metaabity)

        @Semere Andom: We better not to generalize there are great Tegadelti and Gedli was fought for Eritrea independent.

  • Jabber

    Where and how do we get the this book and other Tigrigna books in Canada

  • I am just trying to learn more about our history. Comments like this keeps many young people like myself who are interested in Eritrea away from Eritrean affairs. You can’t build a strong community by calling people ignorant and shunning them.

  • JXX

    Did I say , Tigrigna is the only Eritrean mother language?

  • nrufaelwolderufael

    How can I get a copy?

    • Saleh Johar

      Read it again, there is a list of associate distributors at the bottom.

  • I’m also interested in an English version, even an eBook. Is there a Tigrinya to English auto-translator that can make this happen? It is a shame there are very few English books on Eritrea written by Eritreans.

  • Rodab

    Book reading in the Eritrean diaspora community is shockingly low. Forget books, even internet usage is very limited (for news). From what I observe, most Eritreans get their news (regrettably) from EriTv. Radio Erena is a distant second. Entayke yibehal alo is a third. Internet is tail.

    In contrast, folks back home are eager to read, except there isn’t much to read. Even the only one and the torturous Hadas Ertra news paper is hunted down. Of course there is always the elite Auget, if you can afford to buy books. And if someone manages to buy a book, the neighbors take turn to read it. It is a life of both, social and scarcity.