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Same March, Different Drummer

The Circular Journey in Search of Eritrea: A “World Distance” that Never Was ( by Yosief Gebrehiwet) is an answer to the question posed by Eritrean Independence: Is It Worth All The Sacrifice? (also by Yosief Ghebrehiwet). The answer, it appears, is an emphatic no. The 50-year long journey for Eritrea’s independence was all a…

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Free Citizens and Foot Soldiers

What does a national institution with a name like “Research and Documentation Department” do? If you answered: “Research and publish basic data like the census, national budget, unemployment rate, inflation rate, GDP growth, demographics, etc.” you would be right—for any country in the world.  But in Eritrea, where everything, including the population, is a state…

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Isaias Afwerki’s Five Stages Of Dealing With Crisis

Outrageous things happen in Eritrea all the time. But outrageous things have a scale and sometimes even people who have been conditioned to accept the outrageous as the normal are jolted. The refusal of Isaias Afwerki to allow the body of long-time (40 years) EPLF/PFDJ functionary Naizghi Kiflu to be returned to Eritrea for proper burial…

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Isaias Shrugged: And The Eritrean People Sighed

In fact, in the entire 6-hour interview, you will never find these words escape his lips: “Eritrea”, “Eritreans,” “Eritrean people.” It is always, “izi hager” (this country), “izi hzbi” (these people.) Go ahead, check it, if you got 6 hours to kill. And it is a habit with him: when it comes to Eritrea, Isaias talks like a consultant, as this column observed years ago when Isaias expressed amazement about people who speak of the private sector. abzi hager bHtawi kfal kblu ygermeni iyu…

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Isaias Shrugged: And The World Rolled Its Eyes

In 10 short years, Isaias Afwerki has achieved the status which took Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez longer to accomplish: an annoying loudmouth just tilting at the windmill. In 2007, Spain’s king famously told Hugo Chavez: “why don’t you just shut up?” after he kept interrupting, over, and over, and over, the Spanish prime minister.…

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Isaias Shrugged: And The State Media Nodded Its Head

A powerful title that authoritarians have, rivaling that of their role as Chief Commanding Officer of the armed forces, is that they are also the State’s Chief Epistemology Officer. Epistemology is the science which tries to answer the question “how do we know that what we think we know is true?” Authoritarians have one answer:…

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The Atrophied Deny Their Atrophy: Part 2

On October 17, 2011, the Eritrean authorities provided a reply to the UN.   The Reply, which is 38 pages, not counting the 54-page annex, was drafted in response to the Report of the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (“Report”), which issued its 416-page report on July 18, 2011.   The Reply of the Eritrean…

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The Atrophied Deny Their Atrophy: Part 1

On October 17, 2011, the Eritrean authorities provided a reply to the UN. The Reply, which is 38 pages, not counting the 54-page annex, was drafted in response to the Report of the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (“Report”), which issued its 416-page report on July 18, 2011. The Reply of the Eritrean authorities is…

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Hearts Like Birds: Romantics Like Romance

Hearts Like Birds: An Alleged Book Review Diversity is the norm in nature.  The best naturalists and astronomers and geologist and anthropologists are able to share with us how truly, mind-bogglingly diverse this universe is.  In one passage in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, naturalist and Pulitzer prize winning Annie Dillard, who immersed herself in the…

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Eritrea: Caught In A Trap

We are stuck in a rut, going nowhere fast, running on a treadmill. There is this crushing familiarity from the headlines of the Eritrean state media; the announcements of the opposition organizations; the polemic writings of the writers; the readers’ responses to the writers; and the non-response of those who have opted to disengage. I…

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